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EMILY CRITCHLEY 

3 POEMS [3 DEDICATIONS]
& PAST FILMIC TENSE








1.TONIGHT  [for Marianne Morris]



Everything is a part of everything which is a part of everything else.
& any decision is like a huge moon
tossed from the top of a great hill. It gathers speed
in direct proportion to height
taking each prisoner down with it.
It & the tides.
And when we were younger
things dropped
were as stones
into that ocean. But now
just as the moon gapes we have run out
of ideas.

Everything is a part of everything else
that is a part of nothing.
The moon moves. Cuts its teeth
on our regretful actions. Like that time
we made bombs out of love. Live
bombs sent to rip us with.
& she grew, O,
into a strong one.

But look, if you see
the moon
above
(
it is what I drew
)
there is still some hope then.




2.IT'S NOT PERSONAL [For Ellie Butler & her sister]


Born not into this world, but entangled,
impact hardest hit on landing – & he knew
she knew she was a punching bag because her mother
had before her, & her sister, & there were the exes
before that, now strewing tears about daytime television,
& the public stranglings & the pregnant girlfriend
& the retinal haemorrhages & the burns on her fingers
& her forehead (at 5 weeks) & the little broken arm
& exoneration from the judge & incredulity from everyone. 

The trouble is she had no say because she was only five years old.

& although several key professionals engaged purposefully,
directly, there is a general lack of focus on the child
or on her sister as individuals and their wishes,
feelings and characters do not feature strongly
because she was only five years old – the other even younger –
inchoate human beings that never really
counted, among the stinging branches & the scalding currents,
the expert testimonies & the legal wranglings. & we all know
have heard it said, how important it is for kids
to be with their parents: that special bond, those precious rights;
the swirling currents – impact of which will be referred to later.

Because now the child is dead; she had her head bashed in.

& all narrative and professional attention is paid
[following a state apology] to the say-so of her [grown-up] parents.
The child – she knew & begged not to be taken
back to ‘the bad house’ – has come & gone.
Brief promise of a human being petrified in tears
who stumbled, briefly, into the dark fray of familial love
that spins about the centre of this world / stamps
its expert seal on everything & knows, she knew,
we all know how it happened, how it never should & how it will again.




3.NOTHING ABOUT LOVE [for Timothy Thornton]



There is duck tape round
    Everything It looks
    Wack
    Must be a memory
Of o/r even inching for the rim
On good taste      

The lead-in syllables, collectively,
The full measure Melismatic
Countenance
    Of sweet tasting
    Or locate your gills
You will be ever more & so
 Where citadels coat wax &
We are burnt licking of that

I am very happy now: ever more
Back against the rack

Set yr alarum
To turn on charm like
Tungsten against the flame

Lick that
    Dance around
    Sleep on, ah sleep
    All laden –
Out to a journey’s zero hour
Up the walls of fort-
    Itude or
No come on, spit it up

We know how it fucking hurts
You’ve just got to admit that it fucking hurts If you just admit it fucking hurts
We’ll either let you
    Go/ ose step
    To a fire exit
Where the untouched stick of you
    Slaps A baton round
    Her skull
We’ll send a rope down
    To it Measures what thinking
    You’ve had to expunge
The sight of
It Will shave
3 seconds off the Or
-dinary tincture The prelude
to wax

Or slap yr knuckles gainst the chrome
    Of it The crackly walls
    It rubs of it
    Frwards Back the metronome
Yre that fish outside fluid
All in a happy torture soup

It wouldn’t hurt you to be a little nice would it
Just into the camera while we pretend you’re a little nice &

Sick it up out you
Into the bowl of dried
    Plaster Over
    The hurt all you like
It’s timed to self-descry
On exiting
Or any way you want to
Lick to the floor
You can never fall it Try all you like









Studies have shown there are 3 different
‘genres’ of happiness: basic / sensual;
connectedness / eudemonia; & higher purpose.
Curiosity kills which of these.


PAST FILMIC TENSE



it’s said that whatever happens in life – desire consciousness self-consciousness alienation dread – is really struggle of recognition. Mother was there for baby, just not with her, or when, & then e.g. taken in all this to be a product of particles

maybe as each cloud now passes overhead, they are the same clouds, though different, just as we each get a second chance, now, sometimes (to commit the same error over again). This is what we might call marginalia

(Sense-Certainty, which starts out from the Here & Now, & deals with the This, the particular): London Paris LA New York you me Unreal

my presumption hooked up to your presumption e.g. Euridice serially let down by one she loves – dragged backward through alterior arches – in perpetuity hoping. Temperament  akes. Lost hillside. Ridiculous struggle. Acquiescence unexpected

the rules (of lm noir) dictate that the female is predator even when she is incidentally nature









the throwback to the tunnel }from which
                                         where you emerged recalls convenience. In sharp
memory Euridice’s really a cipher, & the arch is a tongue of weakness, the fault of belief. Believing
where we cannot prove. Proof to each shout of gratitude

the child recalls all this &, generationally, the part of her brain where memory burns heats like a glow-torch. Meaning to see fire. Come in curiously – there must we seek other ways

(Perception which may involve deception & / or reveals the contradictory nature of awareness of world)










otherwise one could ask at any moment e.g. how is the hero troubled by such a detail – training or bodily – & are we alone? (Is such moment really of weather, or the result of mirrors.) Says the Orpheus cipher to the Euridice substitute: why do you demand so. What is the same story not always split into different branches, each absorbed trichromatically by eager, retinal cones? Each, brazen on the moist surface, each clanging on the dumb shell

say there isn’t an arch of memory merely the mode through which

& we can see back to (the Understanding which reveals order, regularities & organization, i.e. the) one before this one










if e.g. in the past 30 years it’s become accidental to pay more heed to nurture than nature how unlucky the heroine / base matter of our story, one that could so easily have been avoided, if different seeds had been sought to react, etc., different logics of myth

but it’s really too funny to think so differently; how one thinks on such occasions yet feels suddenly on others; & to touch through eyes, as in water or air, things swept whole into the stream

e.g. can sunlight be responsible thus for this shimmer, this photon-dance? A beam in darkness: let it burst out of its language to comfort our gloom


                 come quickly the idea, leave your building behind you
                 come light without memory come come come come










while the past 30 years have swept by some daughters have lit up the details of memory with something like gratitude, prepared to repair. Now we are gratefully forward & bursting sweet violence out of history particles

doing her best to restrain lips she points to the bridge of necessity, silence on some other arch, doing her best without song

though Certainty of the Self may be lacking, may be out of this shot completely, the angle for freedom, & so, in a calm, clear voice...










here the arches may narrow, here, widen a little as if crowds consciousness contrast or fear may be taken as a result if not through them. The songs are both screams of passion & duets for distance

the brain repairs back to the walls of memory, green shoots flow over the walls & the subsequent song may be either of victory or warmth. Personal





observing reason which includes observation of nature & of self is engaging (then) now in ambiguity & a range of genres which may bring happiness lightly or may be in droves










less a port from the storm, more stain and stress. & it’s super being so human, as in the body is made of the (past) – as curiously we differ from nature – might we not live than with reason (the many creatures depend) might we not clutch at such gold rays in the bath

some may see at this point some point necessarily Actual, or set down in words, of rational self-consciousness so much is unseen though willed

(in selfish pleasure, in morality, we see so self-important)








Emily Critchley has poetry collections with Crater, Barque, Intercapillary, Corrupt, Holdfire, Torque, Oystercatcher, Dusie, Bad and Arehouse presses and a selected writing: Love / All That / & OK (Penned in the Margins, 2011). She has also published critical articles on poetry, philosophy and feminism and is the editor of Out of Everywhere 2: Linguistically Innovative Poetry by Women in North America & the UK (Reality Street, 2016). Critchley is Senior Lecturer in English and Creative Writing at the University of Greenwich, London. ‘Past Filmic Tense’ is an extract from Critchley’s new collection Some Curious Thing, published by Barque Press (2016); ‘IT'S NOT PERSONAL’ is published by Hotel for the first time.





2017.