Question & Answer 3 – Jon Stone

Question 3

It’s the depth charges, Jon,
the underwater butterflies
that turn nuclear when fed
to the undercurrents.

This is a carousel in an
amphitheatre in an amphibian’s
beating heart, and you’re
the spawn we nurtured.

We’ve kept things whispered,
so far, don’t you think?
Kept our voices at a level
lower than that of the dusk.

I am Auster’s detective
searching for Kent who
has helped Kent team
up with a guy called Auster.

We are the spy and the
saboteur, and we are trying
to keep thing Guðless
from the Eyðileggingomb.

– Aaron Kent

Answer 3

Apologies for being out of town of late,
the town in question being [gestures to his mind].
I was in exile, struck off as a reprobate,
and only gained re-entry when the gates weren’t manned.
I hoped, of course, to find the place a dire state,
the law books full of damned fool statues to amend,
the streets aghast with rubbish and inanimate,
but no such luck. Things hummed. My absence went unmourned.
I took another name and job. I manned the gate
and listened for your whispers. Being thus marooned
inside myself, however, all the inchoate
and half-said things unpick me – all the me I’ve mained
gets snarled up with the not-me, and I wait. I wait
for this, for that, a card, the dark, my pants, my end.

– Jon Stone


Question & Answer 1 – Peter Hughes

Question 1

I was unprepared.

Lost in the Mariana trench.
Have you ever been that deep?

…yes, unprepared, but at least he kept his ink.

I twisted my knee
at night,
cowered from lobsters,
watched Alex’s crucifixion.

McGinty pissed on the floor
and my feet.

(Dave Sherfield, Crown Copyright/MOD 2009)

The Skeleton and Tobin cut the cake
while I sat, knowing I i should have cut my ties
with Durham
and St Austell,
fed them to each other,
and iced the cracks.

[///Dave Sherfield, Crown Copyright/MOD 2009\\\]

Burn your cathedrals to the ground.
Run until your shins splinter.

‘runaway’ (runaway)

– Aaron Kent

Answer 1

I once plunged into
.a piatto profundo
….of squid ink
……with a chilling
……..Pino Nero
……….mask & snorkel
å………..pushed back
………..high on my forehead
……….& flippers extending
………far under the table
…… never know
…….if past & future
……might gang up upon
…..& then ensnare you
….with something
more toxic
..than a donut
.from Torvaianica
it may not have been
.Torvaianica it may
..not have been
a donut
…’s good to stay alert
….you can swim
but you can’t run

– Peter Hughes

Question & Answer 3 – Anthony Frame

Question 3

Without googling:
Kazoo Dreamboats
White Stones
Kitchen Poems

When I read Ocean Vuong’s
work I find myself at a loss
for how I can continue to write
in a world where he exists.

Without googling:
Night Sky with Exit Wounds

Both Prynne and Vuong
harbingers of the verse
I will never have the talent
to write or produce.

Without googling:
Autobiography of Red
Eros the Bittersweet

…and I reading Carson, Vuong,
Prynne and feeling worse about
myself. Whose work do you admire
in creative self-criticism?

– Aaron Kent

Answer 3

Why is there a Frame when
there’s an Akbar? When I grow up
I want nothing more than a list of
more poems by Chen Chen to read.

But here I am and here is the sun,
finally. I wonder which came first,
the phoenix or the Christ – twelve years
of catholic school clearly served me well.

But I was talking about the sun,
but in the yard across from me a son
rolls in grass and dew and rising light,
and I’m reading in a truck warmed

by itself. I guess it’s time to leave
Levine behind. Oh, mercy. Mercy.
Me. Akbar writes, “It’s difficult /
to be anything at all” but I’m lying

as usual. Is there an evolution of self
beyond self, beyond ego, id, I’d?
Is that what work is? (which work?)
Rane told me pest control was labor

unfit for humans, “but think of all
the poems!” Remember which work,
his final living lesson for me. I’ve
got a point I’m trying to make

and it’s desperate and it’s about
desperation. I don’t need Google
to know why the sun rose today.
And for whom. Sometimes, the boy

needs to see the dew. Sometimes,
he needs more light to keep reading:
“It’s difficult / to be anything at all with
the whole world right here for the having.”

– Anthony Frame

Question & Answer 2 – Annie Harrison

Question 2

I hear your voice
in every word
and every
sunken stranger’s sky.

So why did the ink well
dry up? Your words
had always been
so precious

and so shrouded in
the weight of your
world. I want

– Aaron Kent

Answer 2

I wanted to tattoo your words across my body
so I could never lose them
I wished I could wrap my bones
in the paper that carpeted your bedroom floor
and consume the half-written poems
that ached for the return of your pen

But the inky sea beat against your fractured walls
and pushed you back towards the safety of the city
you found clean water to wash away
the love I inscribed on your skin
as if it wasn’t you who fell first

I no longer need your words
I have my own.

– Annie Harrison

Question & Answer 2 – Elizabeth Scanlon

Question 2

The clouds are in the cornfields today
and I’m still counting the letters I receive
every time I dream of my mother. There
are always submarines, shades of regret,
and artificial sand, and me climbing into
the litter box to escape the claustrophobia.
I am not sure I am worth an award. Do you
ever celebrate yourself? Sing your own body
electric? I am still awake and still asleep
and now I have read the words pasted to the
walls, and they tell me my father will phone
today, but only to tell me it was an accident.

– Aaron Kent

Answer 2

Most celebrations make me a little uneasy –
weddings, graduations, the occasional bris –
each seem to hold the promise of some affiliation
I’m not sure I can fulfill, a reckoning
of worth that makes all the to-do called for,
and/or come with a big bar bill. Though I do
like to throw a party, especially the inviting part,
the part where you say come on,
come through, there’s going to be a dance-off,
a piñata, some recklessness, some ridiculousness
and it won’t be any fun without you. I like to host.
Is that the opposite of self-aggrandizement, or its pinnacle?

– Elizabeth Scanlon

Question & Answer 3 – Logan February

Question 3

The snow is always lighter
than the weight of the world,
don’t you think? I count my
gains in Saturn’s satellites,
and my losses in the shape
of bougainvillea. It’s always
Anthe and anti, negativity
in the form of an optimistic
outlook. And I know things
have gone wrong when we
have no garlic bread left.

– Aaron Kent

Answer 3

I know things, too. But not snow. I know
I am not from a cold, wet place. I know
I am a cold, wet thing. I know how to be
my lover’s very own idyll. An endless prairie,
yellow with heat & daisies. The ground
rises, then folds itself in two. The line
between my lips is where it all went missing.
I’m bloated with my secrets—I keep them
even from myself. This, too, I know.
If I have lost anything, I do not remember it.
If I am heavy, it doesn’t matter. I am floating.
Sometimes, the sun seeps into me
& replaces the chill. & I know I want to speak,
so I keep my mouth full. & I know my lover
wants to know, so he hides the food.
& I’m starving. & I know things have gone
wrong when we have no garlic bread left.
My mouth is as bleak as a winter, empty.
My confessions are creeping up my throat.

– Logan February