The Nameless Are In Me

Two poems from Dark Mountain: Issue 21

We are excited to announce the publication of our twenty-first book, available now from our online shop. This year's spring issue takes its inspiration from  the theme of 'confluence'. Today's extract showcases two startling and visceral poems from the collection: 'Stansbury Swarm' by Joel Long and 'Nigredo of the Bull' by Finn Haunch, with embodied artwork by Gustaf Broms.
Finn Haunch is a poet based in Newcastle. He is interested in the connections between theology, psychology and the occult. He works as a bookseller and has been published by Ink, Sweat & Tears. Joel Long’s book Winged Insects won the White Pine Press Poetry Prize. He is the author of Lessons in Disappearance and Knowing Time by Light as well as the chapbooks Chopin’s Preludes and Saffron Beneath Every Frost. He lives in Salt Lake City.

Stansbury Swarm

The nameless are in me, small flying
things, smoke parts that cover the island,
too big for smoke; they are alive. They move
toward blood with will. I come for beauty,
but there is swarm, scarf a mile wide,
flying insects that cover skin like foam.
I pull my hand across my arm, clean moment,
then covered again, light, blue cream,
lemon cream, honey the hills, the flies
biting me, not enough to distract me
from suffocation, flies fill the air so;
I breathe them, they stick the passage
between air, blood. I know nothing is not
infected with insects. I believe where
they are not, hair brushing against my ear,
I kill with the swipe of my hand. The island
is a hair shirt, woven fibres of angel wings.
I will not be done this day three days,
and then, parts of the skin remember,
remind of the sun dowsed in salt water
where little cares to live but colour and light,
and air that makes things live we do not want.

– Joel Long

 

Nigredo of the Bull

i.

Clump of roots & rabbit holes — crow hill
probably, thereabouts — my boots
slope the squelched loam, the smooth wet grass
grows underfoot, gives way unto my weight:

& of a sudden, like a man out of black sun,
my uncle — broken spectacles glued
up with tape,
                      that broken nose &
bottle in his pocket: dry-stone waller
for our right-of-way —
                                    the condensed
overcast overhead; king of the crossroads,
route into the underworld, door under the hill.

My uncle in his overcoat, his long hair &
uncartilaged knees, whose soles burned
from the black sun beneath him.

Moors all around him: those top-heavy boards
smother the black sun. The heat in the stones. 

 

ii.

Three of the bright ones on the rock. Their
blank faces,
                    their beautiful palms lined
with a ptolemaic map, the route to the soul —

word goes that when they fuck
for the very first time
dry, dead heather bursts into flame,

a gun goes off in the dark —
all for that groin-shattering joy.

 

iii.

Under the occulum, wet sun-hole dripping
manna — the horned bulla.

This is the indictment of the flesh.
This is the work of the Hierophant —
flesh nailed
to flesh.
              Four shadows on the four panels.

There was a green sword suspended in the air,
poised above the shoulder blades and
unless you knew where
to look,
             where to hold your breath,
where
a steel crescent pierces septum, snot —
without any of this, there is only a bull
in an eighteenth-century shed, penned
between four posts, tethered below
& above — the occulum snorts, contracts
to a pinpoint: the rainlight weakens. 

 

iv.

Out of that disembowelled dark, like the caves of
lascaux — where aurochs were scratched
over stone, bos taurus in charcoal
reverse constellated — the enormous sweep
of snow, and above it all
were the three bright ones with their blank
incredulous features.
                                  They pointed to
a mound in the distance, snow was upon it
& upon the snow were three turbine whose blades
become the body of the christ —

these were the geometries of the faith;
these were the watchers; 

these were some of the things
you could see
under a black sun.

– Finn Haunch

 

‘Stansbury Swarm’ was originally published in saltfront

 

 

IMAGE: ‘Perforated Realities’ by Gustaf Broms
Still from video
This work started out as a diary during 2020, an attempt at a dialogue, through a daily interaction between the organic surroundings and my own body. Being in a time and place, where identification with the thin membrane of skin, as container of self, is slowly dissolving, as borders between beings evaporate, the environment disintegrating into a myriad of sentient beings.

Gustaf Broms was born in Sweden in 1966. He currently lives and works in the Vendel forest. Gustaf’s practice is engaged with the exploration of the nature of consciousness. He started off working with photography and installation, but now works with performance that look at concepts of inner/outer and movement/stillness, working with his own body as the tool for examining these processes. The constant question is, ‘why are the dancing atoms of this body not merging with the dancing atoms surrounding it?’ orgchaosmilk.org

 

Dark Mountain: Issue 21

Our Spring 2022 issue is an anthology of non-fiction, fiction, poetry and artwork that revolves around the theme of confluence

 

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