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3 poems by Stuart McPherson

Latitude: 56° 00’ 0.00”N

I pick a hole in my heel, dig out

calloused skin. A moment frozen in

nothingness but the peel of thinned

nerves. I sink inside of it. Into an ill tide

of water sick with a foam, waves curled

like wanton arms. I’m trying to change,

Lord knows I’m trying, but the Lord

made the Octopus master of the deep.

Master of long tentacles, strong

suckers. Some bad luck tales of

molluscs sinking ships. In a night

washed violet the waves breaks as high

as a thrashing horse. Plastics. Blood

lanterns on sopping white. Discarded

wire twisted into hands that grab with a

rottenness that wraps around wrists. A

listless ramp angled upwards from the

sea and slanted towards town. Of

dwellings, its matchbox fires, the

soundest of ignorant slumbers. Sand

beneath fingers. Umber of the body

crawling sideways as a wounded crab.

Battling up and out of myself and

sprung into motionless day. Its cups, an

open book, a white rectangular packet.

Self-Transformation Mood Board

This centrality of question, of lineage. The

gathering up of broken boughs ill- fated to

a crudeness of rooted things. Memories

cradled in the air, how softly plucked to fall

and gathered. Placed by the tall trunk, our

sequestered young mulch.

Albeit a lacquer-less handle. An absent

rake clatters to the floor asking to be

gripped. There are pieces I have taken.

Pieces picked up and mounted in place.

Renovation tutorials that I have read and

re-read. Misunderstandings gently

removed with a low, blue heat.

Rubbing alcohol removes lips. I click into

place a droll mouth. Click together two

white plates of a skull that used to let out

deciduous leaves, a dusking light. A pink

knife handle. Unironic right angle stabbed

into the fat of it, the dry aged flesh.

Embedded as past history spatters in the

hot oil of it’s ludicrous self. I pull out the

blade. Fill a plate with lusciousness. With

the greenery of the fields, golden corn

peeled open, its buttery sunlit kernels. I

open my mouth to taste.

Eternally tied to the geometrics of the

mind. Imprisoned spaces peered into, to

gaze at hollow sockets supremely

scaffolded. My own engineering from chin

to ear to cranium, pulling at the clasp.

And cut wide open, reveals my habit for

collecting teeth. I put a finger inside a dry

socket , just to smell its stink. My body or a

dogs as it runs towards this open hand, a

red mouth grinning with rescinded fangs

before I grab the jaw just beneath.

Withdraw its skeleton from within, and from

the pile make a pelt. Drape the bloody

gown of skin around my shoulders. I howl

as I step outside the ghost of my own

shape, a worn wolfs head spitting into

mirrors once resigned.

For this is all there is and can ever be. I

have slept between the ribs of a deer. Felt

its arrows from the outside in. I will never

be young again. Repeat that to yourself,

and in the fullest of moons I ask- But what

might I become? What I am I now,


Comfortable Room, Some Talking.

Loudness collects in places waiting to be opened. A slow

breathing, like loam loosened around toes, buried feet. The

anticipation of chrysanthemums opening in the sky that rise

up like a cruel hand. The colours are beautiful. The way a

palm squeaks the skin of a balloon as inside all the things

waiting to escape are brought to the boil. I flinch. I am

flinching. A naivety to voices froths from a bottle, froths over

my legs. They are all so loud. Their noise is a dead body on a

lawn. The heightening of greenness throttling the neck, the

head, a sudden clapping of hands. Every year I light more

fireworks just to stare at silhouettes. I tell myself that delay is

just fear of the unexpected and so I hold them in my eyes, feel

the angled grass beneath my soles. The thump of sound

rising up and down again. From the ground across the cold

sky or a cupboard door suddenly wrenched open to stark

shouting. I remove my hands from my ears. Someone talks

about rest. Someone is talking about rest.


Stuart McPherson is a poet living near Leicester, UK. His debut pamphlet Pale

Mnemonic was published by Legitimate Snack in April 2021. The pamphlet Waterbearer was published in December 2021 by Broken Sleep Books. A debut full length collection Obligate Carnivore will be published by Broken Sleep Books in August 2022.

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