We grow into the mask of our parents’ face:
They come back to tell us how we shall join them
Soon in a cold country the other side of the mirror
Our lives are written deep across our fronts
The role cannot not be taken despite the claque’s uproar:
It will happen. This regardlessness at first appeals
Then can lead to levity, a fine swagger:
Good morning, Mr Executioner, is your axe sharp enough today?
Oh sir, I cannot tell you, but shall we try it nonetheless?
Oh the parents shall feast on this and our hunger begin and grow.


Does being forgetful help?
There is no something
I am preparing for my next flight
Winged and furry as a moth, as
Mothman himself. Who isn’t me.
That’s two of us at least.
I don’t know how many more
Numerous as the drops of sweat etc
Or the fine grain in hot bedclothes
Pawed by tired & feeble hands
I am haunted by something
I can’t remember
Like a black moth.


Things escape me.
I can’t blame them
If only intertextuality would work
You could navigate through the blind spots
Manoeuvre about their looming bulks
Like penguins on an iceflow.
Here comes the leopard seal.
I am turning inside out.
The sea is very red.
I am the blind spot.
Metaphors & similes don’t work
Leopard seals don’t often eat people
Not in these latitudes anyway
But I am still turning inside out
My bloody skin covering my eyes
& slow shock waving over and over.


Only a brief time really
Raised our snouts above the dirt
Didn’t look where we shat
There will be nothing left
But sweat & dust
God knew we’d come to this


Oh despair! How much we love you
Cold & clear like Northern rain
You slowly abrade & chill us
The dark liquor of your grace
Penetrates the heart & stomach
A suspended viscous motion pervades
Like that of naughty children
We who think we are illuminated
Like in lightning a strobe sampling
In which nothing moves but
The shadows are free to rearrange & pile up
Oh despair, I regret
That I ever said I loved you once.


In some kind of like despite
(Do I mean despair?
Oh these interruptions of consciousness
Boy, that is ambiguous
What place I am
Oh some kind of despond (better!
That isn’t there
Suddenly: clear narrative arc
The hero & his struggle: holy contestation
Market-testing eternity to destruction
That explains big clouds: oh welcome end time
No more heartache now: the embrace
Suddenly determined on deicide
Deciding discipline determinated
Abrupt & flagrant
Resolved around I make
The same each time and different
The warmth of flesh, its love
Tender and in need of cherishing
Our tongues caress each other
Mould us brief slivers of delight


Wish I was a bonabo
Then I wouldn’t need to do this:

the rest of the page
a few smears
& a rip
a little saliva

Much longer
Can I do


This opens up into commercial channels:
The plays of flawed & aged flesh
I like these stories, no matter how they frighten
(Like our scars –but you may get it.
Everything unravels. We’d like it different.
It isn’t.

This slow ache revealed in the thaw.

peterphilpott was born in Martock, Somerset in 1949. He attended the University of Keele. He lives in Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire, and teaches media and film at a further education college in Essex. From 1971 to 1981, initially with Bill Symondson, he ran Great Works magazine and small press; and started the website in 2001. His publications include What Was Shown (Ferry Press, 1980), Some Action Upon the World (Grosseteste, 1982), and Textual Possessions (Shearsman, 2004), and he appeared in the anthology A Various Art (ed Andrew Crozier & Tim Longville, Carcanet, 1987). He also performed as vocalist for The Playground in the late 1980s.  <source>
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