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

 AN OVERNIGHT (BAD DREAMS IN THREE)


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

Website: rhienna.com



Smoke Sky by Golnoosh Nour

 SMOKE SKY

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

INTERVIEW WITH NINA POWER



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

SPRUNG - AN EXCERPT



7/4/20


 

to wake stunning

 

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

 

the question of how to draw for true parlance

 

floats

 

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

 

son

 

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

 

son

 

am I grateful

 

for bumping into the couple who panic ate & scarpered  

 

for the lightness of my piss

 

mum

 

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

 

absurd

 

galactic

 

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  



8/4/20


 

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  



4/5/20

 


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