Issue Four:

By Sean Burn

crow-light heaton and daemon-yu squatting t.v. aerial opposite, summon(s)ing.  life-long republicans, we loathe streets called after king, such un-earned naming turn us berserker.  ugly-love calls us station, ends platform two, northbound outta newcastle.  that glint yr eye, pale-lights still.  awaiting our edinburgh change, yu delight over pastie scraps.  at perths platform seven, change again for highlands, and yu crap over pitted stone ov no roof.  pick us up again outside inverness, in easy pace, all along heron-hunched beauly firth.  

rucksack to writing cottage, step outside moniack mhor and yu laugh the near-pine having won our bet, winner another race, all aces down.  dark-knife the cairngorms, shadow-flow/n over spey, longboat prowling moray – yr crow-proud-prow breasting / beasting all.  singer ov sweet carrion, no waste to yr dirk-world, regrets rien.  to outlast the human-sung and never forget those old geographies.  familiar, shield, winged-wisdom.  yu are sunset and sunrise, laughter and loss, mediator between caul and winding-sheet – have long wound us in.  philip pullman swears by yu, his dark materials trilogy.  daemons who choose / that we choose, shaping alongside, ultimately to fight and die w/ us – never (to be) denied.  mine is no beauty, has immense tale, is survived.  pullman  also swears we most need story after food, water, warmth.  read yu into this latest existence – a loveless leeds.  so thats why yuv always been beside, from first snatching our fried potato on teesside lawn as bairn- us clapping, aye never denied.  how and now, yu sing again that southern psych-hospital, centre/d ov language.  outside our ground-floor window, yu pace garden-walled, impatience for largactyl slowing our reading-pace to ghosted-shutterspeeds rather than t/race ov bullet.  yu sing how painting the peacock exhaust all-colour, leaving only black for yr feather/ings, why yr now jet, obsidian, coal.  & no jes yr seam ov discourse, yr seething monologue, yr searing ov tongues.  oh tonguing trickster, predictor ov longed-for rain, revealer ov ambush – how yu arrow to here, now.  familiar outside our spider-web rooms.  child-hood to adolescence snatched night-marings and then down repeated adult s/cowl road/s.  teesside and fried potato.  always hanging snowdonia, yr eye the exact pool ov our idwals lyn, eye-spy unspooling, yu joust the very slash outta that cwms cliff, twl du.  and since ancient death yr only bird will fly that lyns surface.  yr always chorusing-and-climaxing, us in careless echo, all the ours ov our daze.   from that home ov uncare to the whitewaters ov afon wysg.  catch-as-catch-can that unpaveable street ov stoke.  outta jessie kessons somewhere beyond until grampian hunger-striking.  yu honeysuckling south to newcastle, us swig yr bottle.  leeds knows only defiance impeached on tower-block, no speaking whole year till armed unit interview, us as victim – another reason no to sing.  flee south where they lift money out our wallet, tut yr collapse the rich cobbles, wont dial 999 but instead shout jump!  hospitals and hospitalisations, i.c.u.’s and intravenouses, the meds-shove jes-so.  mental distress as product/s ov trauma, our tongues stolen, nest robbed.  but theres new growth always, however slow.  swellings, swollen, light graining new pollens.  gaining newcastle again via walsall and powys – art and heart and pulsings.  arrowing to here, to now, yuv always had our back.  called us to living after heart-attack, sung balm over our love-wounds, our love-woundings, sutures in the many tongues ov loss.  died, dying, dead – by rights more than once.  again again again row us back – the terrible dead-end such that cannot rest.  & sometimes, jes sometimes, returning this side ov light, how to put those wrong things right.   now yu bob down fence-post past strawberry bed, inspect impressive talons, nod and ca-aw/e.   yu do each day as i hold mugs of mocha matarri espresso and look on.  so nodding terms yeah, weve reached understanding, accord.  far cries from discord/ing our many separate battlings.  long since no fami-lies, all shed ov carings, our comrades chosen jes so.  no sex between, no gender, no agenda – jes mutual-assured-survivings.  yu predicted this future where the jewels ov compost gleam, worms turning over rich pickings?  the best carry-on, the righteous carrion, even the rhubarbs no longer sleeping.  throw yu eggs, abriachans free-range finest, and only a little after their sell-by.  yu gleam and glint.  then glean.  tap and crack thin skulls, swallow greedily to the meniscus and beyond.  sun and wind scream the-gether, harmonies perfecting balance such that yu flit lookout, our lucked-out post.  harry the height ov our pine, surge-sudden on mead-beam and skywrite yr kenning – bontemps roulez, always coming hone

About the Contributor

Sean Burn’s third full volume of poetry is that a bruise or a tattoo? was published by Shearsman Press in 2013.  He was Jessie Kesson 2016 literary fellow, Moniack Mhor – Scotland’s writing centre where he wrote crowlight, associate writer with Greyscale Theatre developing a new play joey s/he – ‘they gave lou reed e.c.t. cos he wz bi, dont let ’em give yu’ – spanning 1981 (hard-right government, race-hate, savage cuts but punk not pop-punk) through to 2041.

Losslit canon

Monochords - Yannis Ritsos

Yannis Ritsos is touchstone to us in his work, life and politics. Poetic moments are what we seek out - nudging meteors, tuning things to a slightly different trajectory. Monochords - a book written late in life - contains 336 one line poems - summing a difficult life including many losses. We have produced our own responses to all these poems - and sometimes present them in a variety of forms - i.m. of too many missing

See all entries in the Losslit canon

More from Issue Ten: