James Coghill



the impulse is
with the political is [where i pin my scalp
& wait for the head to sag
into / to, the dogfish pup unformed
in its purse that recalls
mesh-work where it breathes. oh. it’s always
been like this, with the moulds full of blanched air
[they fix and stack
some rustic, ingenuous land
of glamour & breton is not paradise but the taste
of polystyrene / of a floating culpability: will it
out of nothing
[work before ‘work’
some toil re-routed
an ultimate


you & me & all the faerie stuff:
milk-skin, stooks, the paper that gulped down
spilt blood
& didn’t ask for more [remembers the pelican,
shimmies its hands
& covets a riskier accent: i was rich & now
i am riches-infected. how [the splayed world ribs
the role right out of me,
puts nib to chit my phantom arthur
[& sicks his betrothed
(an ambient power) that proves /
no possessing body i, no modern heir wading in—
[the gorgeous one on his
knock-off vespa: i said
take me
with you


i’ve had
a thought. [it’s unhappy about this. woken
from a modal pause, the current said:
1. rush where it meant to say ‘perdure’
2. go where it meant to say ‘subside’
3. thrive where it meant to say ‘breathe’
[to say: what is it coming?
friend or foe or salmon?
the atomic nightwatchman bites moons from his nails,
rounds on a gang of armoured teenagers
as ships assemble themselves from fog / it is
[transgression that is our
morbid edge our wrested at the i-don’t-know,
not unspiritual, but a comic, clown-wise tumbling,
or where theory becomes
the new mysticism / i have

James Coghill has most recently had poems published in Blackbox Manifold, Datableed, and Shearsman, as well as in a number of the Headbook anthologies from Sidekick Books. His debut pamphlet, Anteater, was published in May, 2018. Among his preoccupations are: Ecology, Christian mysticism, and Early Modern literature. A second pamphlet (concerning, for the most part, Piddocks) is currently in progress.