Calum Gardner


(from ‘summerletter’)



dream the abstract

something social:

beauty not coming

at the seams seems ineffable

colour-trumpets heraldically flush

but so tidy a system is bound to be whisked away


hard science wrecks a will

stands in for demolition

girlish on the face of it

and even improved has us running scared

phlogistonic itch for something part of that impenetrable

membranous medium between sense and nature


(neither of course being material

matter’d be better

and more separable and isomorphic

and thicker/muddier/wetter

and effabler

which (however) would be a change

nothing else counting but unnatural

inseparable (ah) matter (made of light))




the list of ways they use to make matter real


surely maintenance is conservatism

or is that the etymological fallacy at neverwork?

rough cities are dreamt of in the face of falling stock


how are long times preserved

how are stocks and bones

how are faces and shins

how are futures and shorts

or gold winters made up?

there’s nothing concrete

and it comes out of how we treat that sound, our son


the low temperatures at which biles

and other humourous flavours boil


stains living in woods are trees

cat-patterned, tortoise-shelled,

rabbit-tailed, barnacle-bottomed, sea-scraped





what matters is shaped by the directions taken

that allow things to appear in a certain way (ahmed)


if it matters, it is because of the movement it makes

through space (and) in relation to other things

and if something does not matter it is because

its movement blocks appearances

engendering that abnegative death

the death by blockage


blocked lives claim their mattering by eruptive means

mapped across and with history


whatever happens in the guts happens

at the product of convergent lines


overlapping patterns here of bodily winds –

not only (your) sirocco smell

but your velocity, heat, and consequences

Calum Gardner is a poet, critic, and editor of Zarf magazine, and currently teaches at the University of Leeds. Calum’s poems have been published in places like datableed, Poetry Wales, The Literateur, and Jungftak.