Close To The Ground Reading

We can talk about the distance between neighbours now, and the strange, cold curiosity that comes from us walking that line between friendly, and unobtrusive. We don’t want to get too close to our neighbours, because we don’t want to take them on as friends — because if we did we’d have to share their burdens, and expose ours to them.

It’s strange, a border, whatever it might be, makes us very nervous about what we have and what we have to lose.


The Burying Beetle is that kind of pastoral which is less like Blake’s use of lambkins, and more to do with an exchange of energy with your allotment. Mucky hands and love of the land. People die, parasites consume the plants from the inside out and comfort is far away — she puts her love into the dirt and, in tidying for their physical freedom, her own sense of what she cannot control is enhanced.

The poem is full of guilt of what you have, of having the chance to miss someone and spend time in the garden giving energy back to the land. As the distance between neighbours talks about who we keep out, here we look at what we want to return to us: “a physical need to be touched by someone decent, a pulsing palm to the back.”

Alison Graham’s shoplifting abroad & other poems in 3:AM magazine this week are in that new internet style that exists only of itself — that is to say it’s filled with slashes and ampersands in the way that Carson uses them. I am never sure how to read them other than the // is taken to mean a pause but also a connected thought, a little like a semi-colon, and the & should run the two words closely together as a single item, rather than the expression of and which can suggest two separate things are connected, but not the same.


Looking for desires of being whole through medical (and minty) consumption — a similar protective desire to keep yourself from giving it all away, and the guilt of what it is to have anything at all.

Ruby Brunton’s there is strength in red is a homage to the colour rituals we all use — but that women use in particular. Red concealing, altering, and of the earth.


Here, there is the negotiation of the masculine, destructive invader, upstart, and the resourceful feminine curator of the universe. The desire for change comes from the power of red, and it is a free woman’s thing to wield it.


Katie Fanthorpe uses her colour for blood, and the swirl of the riverbed in her chest. She asks, what’s your excuse?

This week was filled with these things — sad longing poems and fictions about lost land, the fear of it; not belonging and not being yourself. Each it’s own offer of a challenge — whether to be more empathetic, to covertly alter the state of being, to withdraw.


Fancy an out of print chapbook to go with your modernist magazines from a couple of issues ago? You’re in luck — Ugly Duckling Presse has put together and archive of out of print chapbooks

Archive of out of print chapbooks hosted by Ugly Duckling Presse

Some of them are really lovely, harsh art-objects, and it’s great to work through them.


Today’s Song:


Sega Bodega — 3310


Thanks for slogging through Etch to Their Own #7 — I guess my close reading skills aren’t what they used to be? Or it could just be all the sleep I didn’t have. Etch To Their Own #7 was written by @CJEggett on a very boring, but loud, keyboard — and proofread by no one. Send your friends here for the next exciting instalment. Or here for the prior exciting instalments. Do you know what, I completely forgot to talk about the moon museum — which somehow I had only discovered this week!

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