:: Article

Environmental Art & other poems

By Ian Cartland.


Birds use up energy wheeling for no reason. They never heard of utility. Animals are perfectly adapted to their natural environment is so obviously a lie, you only have to look at them. Most of them can barely do their job. The West has run out of convincing principles. There’s nothing remotely funny about streaming Jim Davidson from a foreign server. People who are infatuated, in laser sights or fleeing persecution give it more than people giving it 110%. Anyway if you beat the system in a casino etc. you just get banned. Why do toilet bowls in the States brim so full with water? It is a form of absolution.

Environmental Art

Small birds are improbably compact. Hummingbirds’ wings are the immaculate dreams of dental hygienists. Turtles are what slow motion looks like from an aeroplane. Their flippers are elliptical sanders for the beach. At hen parties in Ancient Greece they would sacrifice ten thousand hens and burn their corpses to form an altar. Archaeologists can tell such an altar by its congealed strips of pink sash. The material being flame retardant and non biodegradable. Sheep hardly ever stop eating grass. What have they discovered?

Waiters’ Captain

When I go to restaurants I like to try everything off of the menu. It can become unsanitary. I have to ask permission to leave the table. I had to stop going jogging. I’d been running at a loss. I would cry in the shower after, undetectably. If you sleep in a barn you’re going to get voles. If you sleep in a rap you’re going to get vowels. If you sleep in a nightclub you’re going to get escorted out with no pretence at kindness or sympathy. Clouds are full of ice and demons. Governments are at an increasing loss. What disgusts me is that if you eat enough chocolate brownies you can’t operate a mobile phone.

Installation Culture

Nightclub toilet stalls remind us of the depth of human suffering. Why don’t they have plaques? Shopping is the most important thing you can do. If you sleep in the treetops you must be prepared for the unexpected. E.g. a storm, a bat etc. The designer jeans I wanted had some paint on them. What is seldom sought, always proffered, often disregarded and religiously metrical? It’s not what you think. You know I filled the oil lamp again tonight. When will I learn? I fear the rebels. I fear the regime. I fear consumption more than anything. And the sweet, noxious smell of every Co-op.

of you ( little bit afraid romance )

I might as well
have known you
all these light bulbs filled
with honey,
anything you stole
unintentionally from me
in a great languor
which couldn’t be misinterpreted
except by the kind
of person there is none of,
I’d go right to where
you come from
the sound of night time
in a motorway tunnel
(am I inside something
or huger than a land),
your sickly childhood
is an ice muzzle
a muscle bridle
clamping on the fortunes
that spill in any case
from your outdishing mouth,
you who are unlike
the quietest thing
anyone would think of,
the crown lads who always
think of you but never
know you the way I do,
your face your skin
dusted with gunshot
you suit perfectly
the name I just gave you,
there are facts we’re told
like the brain will go on
for six to twelve minutes
after you appear.

Ian Cartland was born in Derbyshire and lives in Cambridge, where he helps out a bit at poetry events. His work has been included in magazines and anthologies such as Poetry London, Poems in Which, Blackbox Manifold, Best British Poetry and, in literary critical form, Prac Crit.

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Saturday, December 9th, 2017.