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D A V I D   S P I T T L E

3 poems








Were he quiet              red

            evening is


miles and i

the solitary past our


            half as

in         h  e  a  r  t                    i  light

‘say’              to

                        CRO –





he does not lay quiet and I ask you find the blood in where it lacks or hear the sound in gaps


and this he is only who I make or want to see in where recording speaks over the recorded


voice to vocalize the miles between his saying and my hearing in the text as what was said






            Was he it once


            (so they say)



                        Ages since

He                                           gathered





and that brings with it the baggage of having moved through those miles of solitary past


gathered up in interference as a kind of temporal moss that breathes another half to share


and cries out or alongside and celebrates the soil and how it looks to fill the empty sockets





Now – he undoes

      a tree

            As you

distinguish slopes of verdure

            rain ills

                  from the i 

sect                       a name to






genealogies without root or speculatively charred in estimations of an absent branch spurred 


to graft entire families or maze the grain like weevils and eat the print of former pages turned 


outward to delude myself in kindling’s forest disappearing between the trees 






Where the daring lace



Othered           a          circuit


of marble, men                        arch

orb             rest

            T’                    last




and now a correspondence in gaps between the trees to free me from that other delusion that 


overhead begins to pour in a naming that makes me and makes me associate its act and being 


now with me so that I am soaked through with its suggestion and equally turn to it for cover






and such and see

            of as

                        ever was

            a carpet is summer



Every vestige of the i, guessed


            or one



mine’s a metaphysical make-it-up- as-you-go-along and so cannot be mine but belongs only 


in its effort to belong which toes the line between a glib nothing and a miraculous everything


fallen like a dog-eared greeting card on the mat and waiting intent on greeting in the opening to be 











it would be the same with anyone. the doubt. like grains of white rice. what environment 

allows ‘moving on’. what time. in folds of warm matter. up to 500 eggs in one batch. 

as in, one will reach this stage with anyone. eggs within a nutritional landscape. enough

time and proximity to induce the feelings to plateau. about 2.1 mm. nothing changed 

but my depression. that we were as we always had been and. the mulch and slow collapse of.

we should stay together. we could. settled in alchemical manure. as long as. ideally damp or

that exiled word, ‘moist’ in dreamy rot of newly dead. build a life together. in fine clusters. to

second-guess what is felt sincerely and what is made to feel in depressive compulsion.

nestling in the compost of. not a plateau but a deepening and changing. i saw and wanted to

see how beautiful disintegration was and is in everything we betray with fixity. each cell

and ageing definition of the names we give to it, long after it has changed. a short lifetime.

and though it couldn’t work. fermenting kitchen waste. it was still a life together left. each

tiny shine. choosing kinds of lonely. a perfect tic tac lodged. with and without. in the carcass. produced as if by magic. to see at first the fertility in decay. in order to hatch they must

remain moist. blooming into and gently cavorting with connections as they fall. to see 

a dance. the incubation. shuddering apart as only new disarrangements that might better lift

love through struggle. just a day. how celluloid film will flower captured light when left

mouldering in the dark. and they will hatch. and of course you lose not one but two.

translucent burst from casing. i left you and. ghost rubber in hungering release. the myth we

make together, shared and now. pulsing the hot shine. turning again to you and this writing 

a searching for. Robert and Elizabeth. nutrition in the slidings of form. to love like that,

through letters. returning to a shared third receding. rice boiling opens. myth. teeming

appetite for change. a film through time and pressure interrupted. each frame in séance with

another film fluttering between us. our myth is not ours but. steam from body. collecting

tributes to remember how and what we shared. the doubt had its convictions. the larvae

leave the eggs. i began in celebration of this rot. moving. they devour shape. as if knowing

it. unwittingly recording the way it ends, praising an aesthetic in the thinking absence of its

flesh and wishing it out from how it was. reading into Robert and Elizabeth. to read a union

that dreamt itself together. i was looking for. as if 


i could hold us at a distance.










Where a body breathes out from limits, run

The waters disembodied from the dam

Of skin’s shut-in mass a chorus swelling

Kept, so cordially in life, a man.

Yet now a swamp in liquid’s when to mix

The ‘he’ and ‘she’ a play of his and her

That, as in Robert’s ‘Essay on Shelley’

Finds the running-in of ‘one’ and ‘other’

To be the ‘ordinary circumstance’.

Do you ordinarily sup corpse juice?

Chug flagons mutable of graveside lash

And steep in churning earth the binaries?

A friend of mine once said to me, “It’s fucked –

Depictions of love and death are both fucked.”

The mythic cinema of ‘what love is’;

Venerated goo coaxing the fable

From a wild accident of happening

Or declining to show the uneventful

Favouring some operatic jigsaw

To fit it all together – with such heart!

He repeated, “It’s all so very fucked.”

Yon western croak of capitalism

In its own drawn-out decay (but without

Any understanding of value slipped

From valuation’s claw) denies us sight

Of how it is to really live with, share,

Grow and change alongside the one you love

– as it cannot be in singular, you –

Who in euphoric glance is everything...

But the milling crowd in one, maybe one

Body: the Effluence and Work; Lyric

And Dramatic, housed in its own falling

To rise in ruin and hold fast the slip

That lets us be together, faltering

In this active and shared incompletion;

Each permeable embrace the exchange

Of noise laid bare, and tenderly, hands held

Prepared to fall with company, adrift.

And how they stop us and draw the curtain

As if death really was the final act –

Quarantined from living’s passage, kept dark

And so loudly unspoken, its trauma

A separation from its place in life.

Gut yawn, the ribs teeth, fluid a flat tongue

To speak out in the escape from naming

Or not naming but the insipid need 

To name, with terminal stasis, movement

That falls between two people, each one

Only in and as the movement from within

And moved again from without by movement

Moving into new muddled approximations

Of where next to move, asking each other:

Are we together now? Are we apart?

Can we admit yet – there is no knowing?

And it is a yet – a feeling of time

Folding the details for later to name.

So, in tribute, let now the body leak.

Spread out the stomach to pool its contents,

Joining out into and slurring our time.

Vomit from ruptured form, be restless be


As far from caved body’s definition 

to better sign

                the wordless earth


and ask of me, of this

why tunnel on my knees



flab marbl


t           ex          t         

livid it

              y                      d



David Spittle is a poet, filmmaker and essayist. Following his pamphlet, BOX (HVTN, 2018), Spittle has published four poetry collections: How Eyes Rest (HVTN, forthcoming), Decomposing Robert (Black Herald Press, 2023), Rubbles (Broken Sleep Books, 2022), and All Particles and Waves (Black Herald Press, 2020). He runs an ongoing series of interviews with filmmakers talking-about-poetry and poets talking-about-film and the first volume, Light Glyphs (Broken Sleep Books, 2021), includes interviews with John Ashbery, Guy Maddin, Andrew Kötting, Iain Sinclair, So Mayer, Lisa Samuels and many others. Spittle's films have screened in festivals and been broadcast on the BBC and, alongside filmmaking, his film criticism has appeared in Sight & Sound and as part of select Blu-ray releases. He continues independent research across film and philosophy.

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