Verity Spott | Poems ((Poetics of Protest))


Last Manifesto

How hateful you’ve become. It’s the day before the deadline for the GRA consultation. Maybe you’re reading this in a few years time and you don’t know what that is – you don’t know what anything is. The whole world has been sucked out and paralysed and you’re not capable of knowing anything. No. That’s now. Hostile subject, you don’t know anything at all. We are left with almost nothing. Hatred is not knowledge, it is idiot passion. It burns in me. The reason this feels strange is because I barely know what any of it means anymore. It feels like they’re having another one of their elections which have collapsed onto us over and over again. Even that last one where that desperate little weapon called Jeremy Corbyn made a bit of headway. Everything that’s happened in electoral politics for the last ten years has been a hideous repulsive disgusting ridicule of human subjectivity. Actually, twenty years, actually, more or less forever, and more or less almost nothing. And so here I am in a horrible state not dressed yet, working away at the thing that occupies every minute of my entire life and often takes me closer to universal central point, making me worse, being told by my financial ombudsman (I don’t know what that is) that I am not working and that I need to be working, and I look at social media where loads of gorgeous people are doing their absolute best to accommodate people who are like me, or a bit like me, or not at all like me, or a little bit to the right if you squint but almost like me or who are almost nothing like I am or who are nothing like you and I also are, or who are a bit more than almost nothing, or who are almost nothing like almost nothing, asking things like “how can I be a good ally?”. I don’t know what this is. A nebulous vocoder. Fuck you, ally. You are as bad as rotten soil. That’s not even an insult. I am the thing rotting in the soil and you are the soil. “You are my dust” I read somewhere. It’s not even going to accumulate into some wonderful moment if it goes well, the GRA if reformed as proposed will at best attempt to save a few hundred lives and what are a few hundred lives now when we are almost less than nearly nothing, after all of this? How hateful I’ve become. It happens from time to time. I try to resist and curtail it but it’s so difficult. To have seen magnificent humans brimming with love deliberately fall out of this world and to have even a vague understanding of the mechanisms that seem to be sustaining it against so many incredible possibilities – rendering the better good utterly impossible, it’s hard not to recourse to hatred… It’s been a couple of hours since I wrote that. Now I’m a little calm. Or exhausted. The thing about this moment – the thing, is that it’s one of those questions that I can’t believe we’re even asking. Around that questions is a swarm of grieving fear being clutched tightly in the fists by opinion journalists and people who’ve been thrashing against us obsessively for years. Suddenly they’re walking under the banner of “legitimate concern”. We just want the noise to stop. That’s all I can hope for at the moment. I’m sick of human lives being at the centre of violent questioning. I’m sick of your pretend intellectualism. I’m sick of your stirring. There is no such thing as a trans poetics. I’m sick of the great big old world keeps on turning. There is a tongue in the neck. There is rotting soil. Moments of collective healing. What. Slow death.

(niner – after Nat Raha, after Linus Slug)

Slow death, now as in gently they made
a centre, this hazing remedy
hostility recognition act
legitimized until no moving;
slow death, slow death, slow gridded death, by
what. How hateful you’ve, no not “hateful”
exactly more like a gentle grind
called love, exactly. What. Reduced us
to releasing wasps in their houses.

Today is the last day in the entire world. Waiting at the end of something for almost nothing. Waiting at the end of something that is also nearly nothing for almost nothing to happen. Being attacked for nothing and for wanting nothing more than nearly nothing, for wanting almost nothing more to happen. Being killed for being almost nothing at all. Being nothing. Being almost something, nearly the idea of something but almost called nothing. Waiting at the end of nothing for almost nothing to achieve almost nothing; we are almost nothing waiting for almost nothing for an amount of time that feels like just a little more than almost nothing but is in fact barely anything, and is nearly almost nothing. Feeling almost nearly nothing about waiting for almost nothing being killed for almost very nearly nothing nothing and almost feeling nothing. Being feelingly crushed under the weight of almost nothing knowing nothing forward and nothing backward, knowing that ‘forward’ and ‘backward’ is less than almost nothing, the inescapable less than nearly almost nothing whose consensus we are stretched inside to the length of nearly nothing. The consensus of being almost nothing for almost no time, for feeling almost everything knowing that everything we are always feeling is slightly short of almost nothing. You are everything to me, and it feels like we are somehow going to be crushed again, gently crushed to the glint of a scent of a flavour of a speck of a maddeningly tiny almost nearly nothing, a minuscule almost nearly nothing coerced and tendered into a world of minute almost nothings forever, an objective and administrable, almost nothing. an objective and administrable slow and silent death.

18 October 2018



A Little Reverie – for Sean Bonney

Whatever happens next will be bettered by revenge. That cautiously flung cluster of words and sound that Ovid of bandage that scar tissue that diseased scrotum that thing we call an ally that limping pus that dragged head that block of torn out neighbours that yuppie in your tongue that screaming little boy they took him to the floor and they fucked him to death that fucking slow and soft that fucking hard and terminal that layrynx that when there is nothing left that adding to the happiness of the world that Duncan Smith we had him nailed to the floor and we rehearsed ourselves with hammers to flatten out his tongue it was a sordid meditation we were slowly and deliberately making him die and behind him close enough to see there was this queue of everyone who had ever spoken in his favour by accident or on purpose and as we sawed out his blood and his words we laughed and caressed one another and we snarled back at them “this is nothing but the natural restoration of life” and we were so fucking gentle and we sat in a circle and plaited our hair and we became stronger and stronger because of revenge and as we stalked up and down the line of them taking random shots at heads like Trotsky did to his troops (that horrible burning religion) we were wearing ribbons and we chattered and we laughed and made oneanother happy and went silent for days and abandonned our minds and we went very quiet and we listened to the earth we are here now it is all we can hear and I hold your head in my lap and tell you that I love you and put my breast to the freeIng stars,,,  and the blood of all the capitalists the world over is spilling into a drain. The night, so still and torrid.

And I will tear down anyone who hurts you
And I will strangle the world that shot you in the brain
And I will summon storms
And hold you
And chaos will burn from my fingers.

And we will all burn together we will  eat a final meal we will sleep in our whisky we will love in our splintered burning atoms we will know ourselves and each other in the whole of the freezing universe and we will live in all those spoiled words like marriage and wound and labour and sorry we will stoop down and kiss the water we will stretch out our lives oh wait that’s what we did we will stop the bastards any way we can with our feet and marrow the bruise in the sun the minerals, your eyes, a cacophonous orgasm,, alone again but you were never really there you are everywhere I go a million million voices. Revenge, revenge,, revenge.

2 August 2015



Monologue – from Sappho.


                               from Sappho

I am lying in a dead body under the dead water. You are the distance. As I lie here in my body in the warm dead sea, you are the distance, the light at the top of the water, the arriving and the leaving. I stare across the field towards the buildings. So many lives inside that place they move in the light and hide in the darkness, the field inside the dream, where I climbed into the ground through layers of wires and posts, down into the soil to find your still living body, having been  there, down in the earth all this time, and we began to climb up through layers of pipes and posts, to move into the light of the field.

You are still dead, still there in some churchyard asleep in the soil and I wonder who thinks of your name, goodbye until paradise, until we meet again.  I touch the surface of the water. We have sat quietly and suffered the violence. Lost our interior lives. My eyes are against the water. My body is beneath you, being slowly deadened by guilt and its attrition. The water has covered my body and I am lying dead in the water. What a frenzy in my breast raged and by what cure to be assuaged, what gentle youth I would allure whom in my haunted heart secure, who does this fractured life subdue, tell me water, tell me who. You may live between the sand and the salt and the breath.

We woke inside the dead water. We were scared… like any newly born baby opening our eyes to a gigantic glow — we lived in the dead water, our dead bodies glowed, we were frightened… every knock, every word. We realised our panic was minute compared to the panic of the mirrors, and it flashed: We were invincible… because we were everybody. We held our bodies together in the dead of the sea. It is a life of attrition I live to refuse, under the cover of the dead water in my dead body I hold you to myself, you are still older than I am. You died so long ago. I believe that you are still moving through the world and through time, through this slow dead water, so beautiful and calm, the surface that I touch with my palm. I stopped being living for you.

And this will be your food, the salt of the water. And this will be your air, my blood and my skin. And this will be your light, the pulse of my chest. And this will be your sleep, the sleep of my body. Look up, so much beauty, look into the ground. Squint with me, into the middle distance, so far back and I am dragging you out of the ground. The escape is corroded. Your overnight balance. We go out of our minds and tear the skin from fish with our teeth. I am lying beside you forever and speaking this. You are moving close again, handing me an open paper bag. I long for your heart to move. It is still. The ground is somewhere, gone. Wind tears the scaffold sheets. But I can barely speak. I lift your body out of the water and begin to walk, holding you in my arms, barely speakable. Please fall out of the dead ground. So far away, and into the hungry earth. I stretched and lifted you into the dried up sky.

The birds are silent (while you remain), in the woods a complete silence of birds. The beauty of the skies I hold you there, Come then, I pray, grant me surcease from sorrow. We are no mercenaries, shaking children unjust in the soil, we are destroyed at inception, dead in the soil, dead in the water, the water is dead, dead in the sockets, dead in the chest. We are dead in the water and the soil. Salt will be our food. Kill the soil and the water, I want you to live again. These are my last words for you, the salt and the water, the birth and the death. Come away from dying, come and stare at me again. Grant the sound to cease from sorrow, quickly the light will follow. I watch the lives are destroyed. Give you limbs and teeth, life after life, up from the soil, up to the air, limbs and a chest and eyes to stare and the peeling deadened water and the mouth of the ground.

Of barely seen, hardly noticed, you were in grey and red, some yellow and the sun in your glass. Would I breathe at you, strobing yellow, grey flecks of red would my dreams haunt me you climbing figure dangling from the sand and salt stained in the sun on the white paper day I stare down into the bag there’s nothing in it the colours are flotsam we’d array love arrests my heart it has destroyed the mind is over is all that is left O, slipping contrast love robbed my heart.

I love to fall asleep, but I fall asleep to you. I am robbed of sleep and robbed from the heart. We lurch up together in the dirty water like wooden deckchairs. I think your chest is moving, or peeling away from the earth. There will be eleven more summers, you said. And my hand moved slowly across the soil. I am near to screaming for you, because you bob in the soil like a collapsed deckchair, close the sky and a little like the light that is coming to touch the sky, and I do not expect your chest to move, nor for your eyes to gently fall open, nor for the ground to give you back, nor for my breath, for paradise singled down to a tiny fleck of yellow in a sea of gray, or a few red bands. But I can hear your voice.

A bit of your voice, a tiny glint of how you would speak with a little creak fleck of yellow, red and tongue glint from the glass, but exactly where we were at this moment or trace of you in a carpark as I sat there alone like the soil. Sometimes buried to me or sometimes that one time so alive and climbing back into the world, older and able to move through the ground. And what you do to the heaving chest though never my eyes or the chest dusted in soil and never decomposed, just a piece of your light seeping into the gorgeous creaking ground.

How the loud sky tugs the tiny chests from the ground. I clench all of my teeth. Deep into the scaffold sheet howls the cladding wind, paper and gold, grey or gray, two strips of red, eleven new summers, I am the birth and the death and the light that is coming, the hopeless stunted light that is come to go again, lain against the water’s top. Red on red I am dead to hope I know not what to do: I have two minds. In doubt I am, I have two minds, one is grey, the other a hopeless splash of yellow or gold I know not what to do. With my two arms I lift your tired body from the speechless ground, so, like a child after its mother, I flutter like a scaffold sheet in the tearing wind. The eyes of my head scan tenderly left to right, the eyes in the sockets of my body in the water stare up at the soil through the salt at your chest. To me thou didst seem a small and ungraceful sea.

Now that we are allowed on the grass will you not speak. I will not speak. Your voice with a tiny creak. You drank in the water forever, every single piece of the water inside you, but you shall ever lie dead; it feels as though everyone has forgotten, that I alone burn for you to live, that tiny blotch of colour by the gate of the car park. Now we are allowed to go onto the grass you wonder unnoticed even through death folding into the shadows and fixed to the gloom where memory seeps away like the water you drink forever.

I clench my wet fists, shot up in colour. The killing of a wave in the colours of the field, the rain is done the sun is come. Circuits and the stars about the grey moon throw down their red beauty. I know one day that you will come, that your madness will step aboard the world, do not try to save me, stay in my arms. Do not save me again.

Down in the leaves press to my cheek the grassy eyes of the hollow bare ground. The motions of soil from the motions of the ground from the motions of water from the motions of your chest from the motions of the water from the motions of the ground to the motions of soil; I stand chest deep in your grave, my eyes gently scream in the rain. Why were the ground why were the chest why were the indicants of the field. Now we go are allowed to the grass and the grass for our feet is the life in the arc, we are falling and moaning, smiling and sharing, a prelude to taking you into the earth. I am stood in your grave neck deep, trying to dry out the last of my eyes. They will not come dry. They are like the dead water that won’t stop pouring into your mouth. Then never ending drinking of the dead water and the never stopping fleck of yellow or gold the grey and the grain of the floor, that pillar, the yellow tree in the corner, the birth and the death, slowly the death, lilting in the warm cool water, holding in a trance to our chests.

Sweet villains in the soil chewing the salt, I am so glad we’re allowed together to go out onto the grass, best to a tender front may I liken you to the quiet water’s top there was no other, no other sound but your quiet chest please come back to the grass, stir not the pebbles, I am standing in a grave up to my ankles and the rain has stopped, we are quite alone, with blushes and gently darting eyes; our kind voices reach up to the incredible colour, in the air, in the water, gathering chests and holding in the longing swell as soil to grey against red to the last fleck of yellow or gold creaking into the coming light.

2 January 2019


Poetics of Protest

Fit 1)

There are some things people will turn against you for saying. Things like:

“This form of protest isn’t working.”
“I find your witty attention grabbing physically and mentally distressing and alienating.”
“Theresa May will die today.”
“Reading, engaging, joining in etc. are not naturally and fundamentally good things.”
“We are at war.”

People who stood next to you protesting against the same enemies will suddenly say “wait, no, I didn’t mean that” or they will tell you that you are putting across the wrong message, that you give the movement a bad name. Good. Any anticapitalist movement should have a bad name. It should be the enemy of established thought.


Fit 2)

Earlier I wrote an ill advised post and put it on social media where it will be fought over, ridiculed, agreed with and then vanish. People will get fired up and then it will go. People might start to fight with one another. Below is my post as it was when I wrote it very early this morning – a couple of minor edits.

I always have this painful feeling on protests when it comes to slogans. I’ve barely ever heard a good one. The other day there was an impromptu March against May and the DUP and here we are again: “I said hey! Ho! Theresa May has got to go!”. I mean, it’s really fucking embarrassing. I feel like a scab for saying it, but really, what the fuck are we doing? I’ve spent the last however many years engaging with genuinely radical poetry yet at every protest I attend I end up with a mouth full of shit. Seems like a very British accident of a tradition. People still turning up with “witty” banners etc. The whole thing turned into some quaint little routine. Actually, I say always… when theysmashed up Millbank there was some weird chant at one point, something like “smash, break, dismantle; our chains are not forever.” That one stayed with me. Meanwhile on the mainstream right there are some truly horrific slogans going around. One in particular has shaken me and keeps me up sometimes: “You can’t run, you can’t hide, you get helicopter ride”. That slogan refers to Pinochet’s “Death Flights”, where political opponents were dropped from aircraft into the sea and volcanoes (most recovered bodies had their eyes gouged out) to their deaths. This disjunction (between poetics) is terrifying to me – how the right suddenly have these sophisticated and horrific slogans about literally murdering us whereas we have these hashed together nothings – slogans that have proven time and time again to have zero traction. And what to do? We are badly in need of a new poetics of protest. But it’s really hard to convince anyone to break away from certain rhythmical patterns. Ones I can’t help but feel are incredibly white (in their poetics of English self deprivation – that fucking tone) and unlovably certain – liberal. The last couple of times I’ve tried to get people shouting “Theresa May will die today” because at least that is some kind of fucking spell even though it is obviously shit. You get these weird looks from people like you have the wrong kind of shit in your mouth, and then it goes back to the same old dum dee dum nothingness. I’ve no idea what to do about this but I feel that a political slogan is about manifesting part of the reality that is being made and that the slogans commonly used right now are actively blocking that. Meanwhile the far right are openly hexing us and calling for genocide. Somehow we need to fill our protests with magical fire and resist their horror. It’s hard to think with a mouth full of shit. No more irony. No more witticisms. No more dead metre. No fucking clue.

Please do hold onto the fact that the above does not have any claim on a solution. If anything the slogan “Theresa May will die today” is worse than the slogan “Theresa May has got to go”. It isn’t worse because of the fact it is invoking death. I mean, it isn’t actually invoking death is it? I mean, it’s not like anything can get to her. That waste-cluster of damaged human senses is surrounded by every kind of protection imaginable – from the military to the forces of extreme magic. You could get 10,000 people together and hex her, pray for her suicide – you could even bore those thoughts into her head and nothing would happen. Anything we are saying dies on their ears. Meanwhile the things they say – “we are cutting the benefits of disabled people” are literally murder. They are speaking people’s murder into the air and then those people are being murdered. This is a fact. It’s with that fact in mind that this slogan becomes stupid. It has no traction, no danger and it is a deadened opposite of the type of slogan it is trying really hard to escape from. As it stands just now there is a glimmer of a chance that Theresa May and the Conservative party at large might be feeling a little afraid – no, troubled. They have just had something turn against them, and that is, for once, their lies. But when they see a bunch of (what they call) liberals (some of them really are liberals too) marching through Brighton changing “Theresa May has got to go” I’m pretty sure they just go “oh well, nothing to worry about then”. On the other hand when the Greek anarchists come out in Athens, sure, there are plenty of problems but on the other hand they are in occupation of an actual section of city. They say things like “We are smashing up the present because we come from the future” and “A day of normality is more violent than a month of insurrection.” and “All that continues to live, lives against this society.” I mean, those are really powerful. They are full. Especially that last one. It actually positions the enemy (of society) as life. That which continues, that moves against the realisation of death.


Fit 3)

And surely
the realisation of death / is life

a means
against suffering. All that continues
to live, lives
against this society. All

that is alive is the force
that lives against
the already dead.

I mean, that is a message of hope. Whenever I start to have this discussion I feel I am shouted down. People actually start invoking the word “hate speech”. I’ll come to that shortly. But people actually destroy hope with attacks on what they consider violence to be. This is what I mean by a change of poetics. It doesn’t mean just changing the words, it means poetic thinking. Poetic thinking has been ritually beaten out of us – deprogrammed. At the top of this post I made a point about reading. People often say when someone is reading shit “at least they are reading”. Invoking reading as a fundamentally good thing. That’s horse shit. I would rather march alongside the illiterate than swallow some of the filth that is publicly called literature – made entirely cynically as a professional venture. Poetic thinking requires a lot, but so does the kind of thinking that the professional publishers put out. I mean, you really have to suspend your disbelief in the actual lived experience of poetics when you find out that the poets you’re reading have fucking agents! In so many insurrections poetics has been in the mouths and hearts of everyone. We are really wantonly devoid of that right now. What that leads to is this kind of weird situation where screaming isn’t enough, where the same noises are made in the same established patterns again and again and when you say “death to the oppressor” people start jumping down your throat and saying “oh no! We mustn’t go down that route! No violence!”. No violence is not an option,. Violence is what is happening now. What we need to stop. Saying “Death to the oppressor” is in part an invocation of a hope to end the order of oppression. But do we actually need to say that? Explain it all vowel by vowel.


Fit 4)

Protest does work. But what “protest” is isn’t the same as “a protest”, and some protests work better than others. If you don’t think protests work you are cheering for the security guards at Yarl’s Wood Detention Centre who want to blog the eyes and ears of the detainees who see the regular protests outside the windows and feel some actual human compassion whilst living in a very real hell. This kind of protest is vital and unstoppable.

Acts of protest can be carried out all the time. Mere passing on of messages, acts of insurrection etc.

Disabled people are among those experiencing the most violent impacts of austerity. Many disabled people find protests ablest (often literally impossible) and non inclusive. We have to think about these things – I’m not only talking about physical difficulties, obviously. Again, these are things we shouldn’t have to repeat.

Making a protest into a good natured joke is an act of imposition – a limit.

Protests are carnivalesque. In many ways they can come to uphold the social order rather than changing it. That is why they are sanctioned. In order to change this protests need to go underground in their organisation but be publicly visible in their actions. More media coverage, cameras and professional speakers are not always good things. Protests should fit their situations, and they should scare those they are moving against. The media organs will never truly be on our side. We should fill them with noise not with our faces.

Professional affirmation is the voice of the enemy.

There is a wellspring of social poetics waiting to be tapped.

We are in a good position. It will get better. All

that is alive is the force
that lives against
the already dead.

14 June 2017



Discordian Tenderness – Second Manifesto

for Fern

(after Sappho)

Discord, the blast                                                                                                                                                                                                                                mirror
the magic columns,, tenderness does not. There is nothing but the void. The genderless chain of exactitude.. :
pin,, “there is nothing                                                                                                                                                                                                                          but the void” is tireless, tenderness is the gaping void. Is the entropic frontier is this joke
called the cosmos is this implacable enemy,, easy the way that leads to the void. The void will loom eternal and



The precinct of the void is a mirror, the mirror of the precinct, the void.

Some say there are no enemies, no oppositions. They are hacks and liars. Enemies. Your violence is in panic at the void. Violence to us is that we represent it: shreds and blots of the void dapple us. We are feared. We sometimes remain silent in public because our voices will out us. Afraid in this moment. Of physical attack. The void is full and empty. The world is slated with opposites and estrangements. We are gambled for and over. Subjects of the Gay Masters. Our bodies, occupied buildings. Private sectors. I fear those that gamble against our lives. I Hail Discordia those that gamble us against them. Throw an apple at a cop: The queered void is grounded in the free.

31 July 2016


My young domestic lifeline came to sit
exhausted, by the ashes of its lot
for what these boys so bravely now commit
when life itself is grounded in their rot?                                                                                                                                                                If I would be the guillotine, its rungs
the head of Richard Spencer cold, shoved in
the microwave as testament to none,
his resolute interior, the pin:
To stretch the dried up soul into its frame                                                                                                                                                            wafting paradichlorobenzene
his molded face and maggot mouth regained
let out in one last slip to feel obscene.
All gains in this lush meadow held my head:
Will summer ‘s fragrance block their throats instead?


Two Torn Halves 
Barque Press
Veer Books
Shit Valley


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