London Poetry: Spread and Division (Basic Perinatal Matrices) By Barnaby Tidman

Rachel Holdsworth
By Rachel Holdsworth Last edited 101 months ago
London Poetry: Spread and Division (Basic Perinatal Matrices) By Barnaby Tidman

BarnabyTidman.jpg Poems about our capital

Barnaby Tidman is a 24 year old poet. He currently lives in Greece on the Megaran isthmus, where he teaches English, cycles 27 miles a day, and reads. Since graduating he has worked as a taxi controller, barman, environmental journalist and primary school teaching assistant, as well as working at the head office of a major charity and completing an internship at the arts website He publishes the journal Summer Scars, which features original poetry and photographic work. Issue 2 traffics for £2 via the Summer Scars blog, which also features an essay on the film director Michael Haneke.

This poem was published in City State: New London Poetry (Penned in the Margins, 2010), which showcases the work of 27 London writers. From hyperlinked walks of Battersea bombsites and guerilla gardening projects to jagged urban lyrics and dark hymns to the East End, City State presents a confident, entertaining and truly diverse snapshot of the best new poetry from London.

Shadowliths of winter machines / brush the street,

centreless dimensions / filling

52inch plasma in the boot of the white-van

ripping its breath / running blank metres

bends suspicion

from sun rays, orbital contemplators, African accents inside that notch traffic

Isis, striking horizonal

whose tiny spine is a hallucinatory median

blazed between the algorithm of animal bones

pied in the water,

Pheisar, climbing gas of lightbulbs

muscling blank space, the fleshing beep of eternity

battled around French phonics, Russian digits

sleep machines, zone-dead happenings -

CityState.jpg .....

Jeans on a bathroom floor.



streamers, engines,

flesh on water.


oil on the tyres,

mirror on the car,

flesh on the mirror.

Isis pumping light-freeze,

swarming monoliths


P-Tsar walked absorbing rebellion

/his eyes swallowed

/through swarming Russian furs

mind fathomed a mile-long, downward echo

survived like an ant

infinitude of re-cognition;

arabesque of ego rotating,

harmonic drive sprawling through a second.

the lobes of sky /bleeding with shadows.

gauges of the present affected with nations

the thought of weather

lolling from skull-planets,

no extensions to keep shape, repel


Eye-beams swung by creeping minds

bordering on mergers,

gold escalators


sky high statues, aching currency

self-beheading leadership, nation-stone pandering sleep

to Battersea

pain of romanticism

trauma of time, relentless

ecstasy of location

post orgasm of isolation hustling for laughter

(grasping street-hands, remembered direction)

drop-ship mandalas hung from the seventh atmospheric layer

cloud-dust onto insane acres of imagination.

Fray-Seer hustling the laughter of phantoms, warming to the daze

of Malcolm X's echo-less morphine trip,

tears in the far corner of the eighth layer

hang from streaming ice eras -

Isis steams with memory

leans towards the ocean, the thump

of healing water.

To the sound of porcelain ripping

Fade Hard drops his eyes through storeys,

mouths high-winter

as the cracked lightning

fists and breeds

Note on text: I wrote this whilst living by the Thames in Barnes, SW London, yards from the site of Elizabethan occultist John Dee's house (you could see it from the local pub where I worked at night). I would focus on the river and its heavy speed as I was preparing for sleep, pleasantly linking my tall bedroom in the flat to Conradian seascapes far into the ocean. Within, two pseudo-mythological characters battle to a backdrop of exploding mental illness induced by the 'elemental' crossroads of river and street.

City State is available to buy from Amazon and Waterstone's, £9.99.

Last Updated 04 November 2010