Continuing the theme of found poetry, here's a concoction pulled from the fever dream of my Facebook posts over the last few years...


Are you superstitious? (Asking for a friend)


Last night I dreamt I had to drown my cat

He flew me up into the sky like Superman

No pasaran!

Another blast from the past

My brain is whirring

It’s bizarre, and quite frightening

I’m not sure there’s a word for it

Remember this?

My last outing of the year

They welcomed me in and gave me a tour

(David Lynch’s work has hung on those walls!

Absorb his wholesome wonder for the world

Steel fork, mudguard mounts)

I died

Nervous and excited in equal measure

I’m hoping to pull some threads together

Bob, crumpets and lard

These are a tiny handful

We must all do more

Join us?

(And please keep a look out for Bettie!)

Since there hasn't been much chance for going out this year, here's a poem I found nestled among the materials in my home studio... Each line is a fragment from a label, sticker or instructions booklet of some supply or other, assembled into a reflection on relationships, domesticity and turbulence.


Slip-stones

Two surfaces joined at an apex

stretch, relax

allow bond to set –

a five-year guarantee

Paint on walls,

make them glow bright,

their white pearl permanence

may cause dizziness

But fragile peaks tend to break,

the artist’s choice

a choking hazard;

the ancient art of floating

Your razor edge always ready,

turn it clockwise

make your mark,

each design unique as a fingerprint

Then move to fresh air

away from sunlight,

water-based relief

a starter set for binding and repairing.


Earlier this year I won a GM Covid Commission to create a piece of work exploring life during the coronavirus pandemic. The work now forms part of a digital archive of artistic responses from creatives living and working in Greater Manchester. I created The Pengguling Egg – an invented, poetic origin myth where the narrative elements are derived and abstracted from news stories, social media shares and questionnaire responses (thank you SO much to everyone who sent a reply and shared their stories).


You can read the full poem and view the artwork here.

The Pengguling Egg story is in part our own complex journey – one in which many of us have experienced fear, anxiety and loss, while others have found a new kind of contentment in slowness and domesticity. It's also a story of our precarious relationship to nature in which our customs and behaviours pose a potentially fatal threat to ourselves and the species we share the earth with. Think about the pangolin, for example, who takes the lead in this invented myth. The pangolin is the world's most trafficked and highly endangered animal, and was initially suspected to be at the heart of the coronavirus scientific origin story. Like the civet (or 'Toddy cat') during the SARS outbreak, the pangolin found itself facing threat of mass culling and potential extinction.


Finally, the work is a kind of clumsy collective narrative in which ancient mythologies from different cultures across the world become tangled and entwined... as are our fates. To accompany the written story, I hand carved and pressed a detailed linoleum print in the style of Azoth woodcuts from the 1600s. I chose this aesthetic since Azoth is the "essential agent of transformation" in alchemy. It felt apt for a story of change and renewal.


At some point I'll share a few more details about where the narrative elements came from (the pangolin, the toddy cat, the hoodwink bird, the terrapin, and so on...), but for now I hope you enjoy the work.