An Overnight (Bad Dreams in Three) by Rhienna Renèe Guedry


Bad dreams in threes caused by rich 

food, night sweats, the news. In one, 

blanket in my arms holds

the disfigured infant

shaped like a wrench, a claw.

one tiny arm, and one giant one

and everyone cheered as the child ate itself.

In another, the land flat the buildings

gingerbread: one tall one square one

an apple core my weight against the

bathroom-stall door reloading

the heat of firing, he asked to check

beneath the cushions of our couch that night,

but there was no softness, no furniture: it was a

warehouse hell of other people

a sewage-and-compost-and-rusty-nail vision

the hum of chainsaws cutting people into thin sheer wedges 

set between sheets of glass like microscope slides.

I rolled my body in as much blood as possible to seem 

closer to death, to be left alone. Third, the one I awoke from 

after you had gone: a girl with a ball leaned

against a fence and warned me not to

touch anything. Shiny elephants, no taller than hip-height, as 

babies perched at our knees, their dry-skinned warm bodies

sweet but monstrous, shelter dogs left behind.

Rhienna Renèe Guedry is a Louisiana-born writer and artist who found her way to the Pacific Northwest, perhaps solely to get use of her vintage outerwear collection. Her work can be found or is forthcoming in Empty Mirror, Bitch Magazine, Screen Door, Scalawag Magazine, Taking the Lane, and elsewhere. 

Twitter: @chouchoot


Smoke Sky by Golnoosh Nour


After Dennis Cooper

The sky is so tight I want to puncture it with my eyes.

All the boys I wanted

turned up in my mother’s funeral

in masks and niqab and no this did not

make them hot

nor did they make me cum

Every woman I’ve ever loved plunged

her pens deep inside my smoked out lungs

And sucked my blood

raw and no

it was not hot

I have war fatigue but my frustrations make me strong

I scoot around this ghost town too pissed off to be suicidal

Been there and done that, selfish and selfless, I smirk and the sky is sable-black

like my mind

I bathe in my dirt and urine and count the stars I have

Fucked. I am filled with filth and this knowledge

makes me a nervous saint.

Dr Golnoosh Nour is the author of Sorrows of the Sun (2017) and The Ministry of Guidance (2020).

Interview with Nina Power by Tom Bland


Nina Power is a poet and philosopher whose recent work, Platforms, has been published by Morbid Books. It is a beautiful and brilliant work.

How did your new work, Platforms, come to be written?


It was originally written not to be published, but rather as something I felt compelled to do. After a particularly intense few days away with the man addressed in the text, I found myself alone, jetlagged, heartbroken and in a state of such unbearable despair that writing a letter to him seemed to be the only thing I could do. I think it says something about my relation to writing that this was the only kind of solace I could get – not in sleep, not in drugs (although sometimes that ‘works’, sort of), not in the company of anyone else, but only in trying to capture exactly what it was that I was feeling – this crushing combination of love, being spurned, confusion, asymmetry, anger, abjection.


In retrospect, it seems obvious to me that it was a way of remaining in contact with someone I was at that time not in touch with (he had returned to his usual set-up, and we’d agreed not to contact each other for a while). It’s a series of increasingly delusional attempts to try to rationalise an extreme emotional state. I’m trying to draw on all these different resources – Philosophy, poetry, nature, words, in order to try to put things in order, but everything is scattered and fucked and gloomy. ‘It has no plot’ as my friend Manick Govinda put it. It really doesn’t. It’s just open-ended and broken, though I try to be optimistic at the end, which I think makes it even sadder!

I was in touch with a male artist the other day, struggling with heartbreak and rejection, and he pointed out that it doesn’t often get discussed in any real way, as if we’ve all overcome such pathetic states, as if we’re all just moving onto the next thing, selling ourselves, circulating our bodies, back on the apps, or whatever. But this shit is crushing! It does an injustice to these states of being to pretend they aren’t brutalising. I think probably everyone has had an experience of being in love with someone, feeling this great lack, and the other person doesn’t really know what to do with what you’re trying to give them – either they don’t want it or they can’t accept it (love is giving something you don’t have to someone who doesn’t want it, as Lacan puts it).


I cried a lot in the past two years, firstly because I had to get over my original and deepest boyfriend, alcohol (in the form of red wine), which had been a two-decade love affair. Dionysus was a cunt to me, but I loved him. There’s all this abjection there too. I transferred a lot of worship and self-abnegation, but also pleasure, let’s face it, and pleasure in abjection, passivity and submission, from this bastard to another man, and a lot of life seems to me to be swapping one obsession or addiction for another. It’s really hard to find balance anywhere – it’s almost a miracle when you do. It makes you believe in God, if you can make it through to that point.


The text also has this positive side, I suppose I should mention, which is the love of nature, and being outside and the delights of dialogue: it’s not all about being on my metaphysical knees.


I’m really interested in female states of suffering and masochism. Feminism for me is not about success or getting status in this world. On the contrary, it’s about the freedom to fail, to fuck up, to be a loser, but autonomously, in a liberated way! Deanna Havas often makes this point very well on her Twitter about not an either or (kids or a career!) but rather a neither-nor: neither a tradwife nor a perky capitalist artist, but just a fucking loser, who everybody hates. I think this is real historical emancipation, genuinely.

Extract from Platforms


Ballard was obsessed with his obsessions as a basis of his work. What would you say is your obsessions or recurring themes?


Writing itself, first and foremost, which is something I’ve done pretty much everyday since I was ten. I kept a diary every day from the ages of 11-21, then a blog for eight years, plus voluminous amounts of poems, notes, stories, letters, posts, articles, etc. I have recently started reading my diaries out loud to someone else from the very beginning, having not looked at most of them since I wrote them, and it is absolutely uncanny to reencounter oneself from thirty years earlier, the everyday mundanity of all the things I recorded, whose reality partially comes back to you as you read them. I love how jaded and world-weary I am at twelve, in stark contrast to the enthusiastic and in some ways highly naïve adult I became.


Other things I am or have been obsessed with: Samuel Beckett, Patricia Highsmith, Philip K. Dick, Thomas Bernhard, Pier Paolo Pasolini (particularly Theorem), David Cronenberg’s Crash, Howard Shore’s soundtrack, Denise Cronenberg’s (RIP) costume design, Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Querelle, particularly Jeanne Moreau’s character, Lysiane. I love Diogenes, de Beauvoir on the female mystics, Sartre on groups, R. D. Laing and David Cooper on anything. I adore Laibach, Marc Almond and Soft Cell, Coil, Current 93 and anything that combines folk, industrial, gothiness, paganism and sex.


Also: justice, truth, beauty, sexual difference and honesty!


Who is Georges Bataille to you?


I find Bataille fascinating because he is impossible to pin down or reduce to any of the schools or tendencies around him, although is proximate to so many of them. He’s just permanently oppositional and disagreeable, and profoundly insightful, and relentless, which characteristics I suppose I admire in the people I adore. He has this really violent relationship to the history of thought which just turns everything around in extremely convincing ways, making the universe seem both more rotten and more beautiful than it did before.


Bataille was a pornographic writer as well as philosopher... do you see any relation between pornographic and philosophical writing?


After Sade, there is no escape from philosophy being in the bedroom, or the bedroom being in philosophy. This goes double or maximally for politics too: you can’t dissociate libido from politics, which is what Bruno and Hobbes and others understood about the relationship between desire and political control (or ‘magic’) many centuries before.


All thought is a desire: all desire is a thought. In order to understand the ways in which it is possible to dominate people, or to be dominated oneself, it is necessary to understand one’s own desires in these regards: they are completely connected, there is no getting away from it.


What does having tarot as a phone app tell us?


That magic comes in many forms. And that we live in a bastard, gnostic age in which people, if they learn to pay attention to nature of all kinds, including our own nature, which also includes our desire for technology and the artificial, can get a grip on things to a much higher degree than their cynical, miserable selves might imagine.


In a recent podcast, you defended ritual in relation to Bataille's early work. Do you see an importance to ritual? 


I think it is absolutely important to invent your own rituals, to design your own contracts to sign with other people, engage in various forms of nature worship, sexual rituals, reverence and gratitude, I think that entheogens and nudity are life-affirming and health-giving, and that you should never use your thoughts to do harm, because it is much better to understand, be passive and receptive and to not be a Satanist (egoist), which just seems to me to be a position that misunderstands nature completely, and is also really boring. But demons are real.  


Any further thoughts you'd like to share?


Only that I really liked your poetry book, The Death of a Clown. I read it in a park where I also did some yoga, and watched some old guy admire me flashing my pants. I think you have an utterly excruciating, beautiful and brilliant way of capturing the relationship between perversion, self-deprecation and intimacy. And it’s really funny. I think everyone should read it.

SPRUNG - an excerpt




to wake stunning


mum’s sixty sixth was a side-splitting candle cake tragedy


the question of how to draw for true parlance




in the poetry


a series of goldfinches busy as a series of sneezes


as for my mum I couldn’t do the surprise


waxwork model on horseback rearing  


it was too dangerous for the times




the window is thick with your lack of vision


so much of what we had to look forward to


bleeds itself out in the lines


at Tesco




am I grateful


for bumping into the couple who panic ate & scarpered  


for the lightness of my piss




yes as a question


what’s clear is that I’ve been seeking the fullness of my taste


the growing ends & the maximum


as if the world spins on an axis






tips cleaved to our lovers’ tip


to those of friends of sister & brother


of mothers


of the slowly growing tending of father


all good coverage


but when the teacup explodes in the poem


we are burning  



I will actually fight everybody


said the wrong manor cat to the rapper in the bath  


is literally this whole neighbourhood trying to build a pond


at least let me shit on the soily beginnings


I hate cats said the rapper & stop talking like that


the cat sidled up & stuck his arse on a spindly


spiralling arm of the galaxy


demanded Dreamies


this poem has got out of control said the rapper


it’s starting to sound like something else


be careful


what happened to the pond


what happened to the fight


or the fact that the cat was in the wrong manor


& then I remembered everything that was happening in the world


was happening inside my body


every second


in the living room


in our sexy times


the dirt under my nails from digging is full of it


sunlight through the lemon balm is full of it


the giant hole opening in the ozone layer


like a sideshow


the way it resembles a holiday


with the wrong people cooking the wrong breakfast  



blue curds lapped at in the moonlight


approximates the desire to commune


from the faux sixties Austin Powers grubby & prop-like chair


the Dolores Umbridge of existences


washed in smudge & thinnest pigments


crossing crass grasses to a Vauxhall Corsa always


somehow even more so with the sock & tarmac tip toe


twenty thousand pennies up a morsel


forgive me


this lacks as much as I am such to live with


lemon balm destroyed by imposter  


I squirm at the name of justice


a thing from a whole nother household


no wonder


a patent lack of tasks leaves me gagging at the roaches


& I don’t mean cock


& I’ve stopped giving fucks


when did Wensum Park get necrophiliac ducks  


as for me


if this fly continues its business


I am liable to do something I hold value against


namely imagine getting killed by a rich & lazy giant


not that the fly may be glory seeking  


but if it is


read it Defoe’s account of the 1665 sickness


smoke so much weed emails resemble a papier maché punch bowl


in a post-encounter hedge


& invite the fly to Valhalla


the rain seeping through like malware

Cai Draper is a poet living in Norwich. His work appears or is forthcoming in publications from Bad Betty Press, Lighthouse, Burning House Press, Tentacular & Lammergeier. He organises free poetry workshops at the Book Hive. @DraperCai