I am hanging from an elaborate wooden structure in a featureless tundra. My arms are bound behind my back. I am being used as a live counterweight for a noose. I am unsure of my relationship with the person who is to be hanged, but I sense we were once allies. Possibly even friends. I do not know the circumstances which led to my bondage but given that I am being spared the penalty of death, it may be the case that I was the one who betrayed them.

A small crowd has gathered. Men in dark blue uniforms bring a young man towards the giant weather vane from which I am suspended. The young man has dark hair and eyes, tanned skin. He is dressed in sandy-brown fatigues. From the severity of his punishment, I infer that he has rebelled against the dominant regime.

The man is raised to the noose, causing every finger of the abstract scaffold to sway and buck, triggering a counter-force from an opposing limb. Only my legs can move freely, and though I splay them in different directions in an attempt to steady myself in the air, I cannot stop my body from oscillating and rotating at random.

Before long, the man is being hanged. He speaks to the crowds in a way not befitting a man approaching death — he talks with ease. He jeers at them. He almost breaks into a laugh.

Meanwhile I, in a futile attempt at protest, stretch one leg out and try to stomp on the head of one of my captors, but he is positioned in such a way that I can only pester him with light taps and nudges. He looks up at me with murderous ire and I am reminded that they would readily kill me too for the slightest transgression.

The audience, silent and stoic, frown at the hanging man. A woman with long dark hair and sharp, aquiline features stands out in the crowd. She has a sympathetic air — could she be an ally or even a lover to the hanging man? Her expression morphs into a sneer. She begins yelling at the doomed man, taunting him, relishing his death. I am suddenly aware of a popular stigma against us, we captives. The crowd came here to shame us.





a little grey room

for a shrunken grey man

dead or nearly dead




A threatened baby rabbit will push his face into a corner

Between two walls, ears folded back

Brown 9mm round fired into linoleum

Though exposed, stubbornly hard

Against all pronged voices

Fat, pinching insults


The corners

The underarm nook

The upturned mouth

The eye and its pink slime


I have always sought the corners

Of mouths, Of rooms,

Of hot, hollow thoughts, Mercuries

Poison planet,

Boundless, round

Foreign bodies

Distant messengers


Not for comfort

Not in the bookdog’s ears

(Folded and forgotten)

Nor in the sleeve peeking

Out of a coat cuff

Asking to be tugged

To be trimmed with teeth


I have never seen the centre

Middle of you, Man

In a silver hollow-point hole

I bury my face and wait

For anything to happen