Strings 1

‘dreams jangling with lost connections’

March 2024


How does it work for you to fuck an exhausted body? 

The day passed punctuated by small daily gestures of exorcism 
throwing from the shore, where the tides bite into the land, 
stones back into the water to change the proportion of wet and dry 
ambushed between the stomach pangs & shame
& silent soliloquies. 
turning on the lights to make the shadows disappear, so bright I lose outlines of things and
re-learning and mispronouncing the proper names of animals and plants
while weeding overgrowing herbs,
repurposing forever unopened mail as coasters
a toast!: to the ones whose rent 
is late again; to the demise of city, county, country, land, lords, and to their losses. 
A post on social media: things are alright

what is it I have done and don’t remember?

possibly staring at tiny flies preserved in the spattered oil rancid on the stove nourishing my starvation by
comparing bulk mail advertising scraps 
for cheapest offers on red meat 
no groceries just receipts
on the table

I’m only eating the blackest grapes of dried blood 
In the sweltering heat we 

take the bus to a post-war flat at the outskirts of the city
above the bed’s head an image of a guardian angel
beatific smiling 
at us fucking.
I, a reluctant subject of your hagiography,
of reductive acts of reproduction, 
fallen from grace, moving from speculation to assertion to annihilation. 
I place your image in my assumed pantheon 
between iconographies of bastard saints 
and imagined christs

As the mirror shatters, the image remains

hammering, tenderising meat with a hammer
pulling it through beaten eggs and breadcrumbs
And how does it work for you to fuck an exhausted body?


The child’s arrival was foretold by the protruding belly of the birth body
bloated flesh, stretched upholstery leather.
Calculated by a throw of sun-whitened, polished chicken bones 
the delivery was forecast for the last stretch of the year. 
It only produces weaklings, wretches and witches,
the month of December, or so goes the saying 
or so the people talked. 

A fortnight away snowfall set in 
then the icy winds, storms
sickle-wind coldness: 
soft wood ground turned solid
the winter gilt eating its young ones 
cold’s teeth gnawing on skeleton trees 
icicle jaw 
teeth biting washcloth 
bridle, bit - metal in mouth

labouring the birth body curses 
the husband, the unborn,
the stars and electricity 
the blood stained bedsheet 
[rooster’s blood, wedding gift]
hung from the bedroom window months ago 
shot through by drunk men with rifles 

the husband drunk on a tractor 
a screech the neighbours would attribute 
to the workings of 
the horse breeding ranch off the road.
In lack of a penis they call the child a 
a girl without

No son for a father 
no future for a daughter. 
A failure, familial financial burden - it is proclaimed so 
customary when a daughter is born
rusted cans constantly banging, clanking
cutting the 
night fabric,
tied to a makeshift sign, derogatory: can maker
placed in front of the house. 

The child will learn to speak in the mother’s tongue
as an own tongue she is denied 

The child will learn that in their language: 
the can
is vagina/deficiency/lack
the can, container for money
devouring daughter
can’t stop thinking that the word Bixn not only means woman and
can but also rifle/shotgun. 

The girl without will grow into a woman
the woman within still carries the girl without


I began reassembling my body the moment I woke. Scanning for emotions I find flinches, spasms, blows, shivers and convulsions. Stale water, air trapped on glas walls. I lost what I want what I was. I’m made of common insecurities, promiscious vanities, un-medicated madnesses, unclean incendiary thoughts, tendons wrapped around your throat, a clunky brain, callused feet, too much starchy carbs and everything else that gives form. 
You can be struck dead by water, not drowning, he said, a guillotine blade falling.
Taught to conflate hunger with desire, and cum with food 
Confusing legal correspondences with a language of erotics 
sadist satisfaction 
I’m feeling sorry not for myself – I am sorry in person – but for feeling something, and sorry is a start of being. Unravelling, coat like fabric of every day, thrown carelessly over the backrest of the chair. 
Armed against myself, my hand into the gutter to pull 
maroon furry animal in palm 
The sky empty as I become aware of my stomach.
Didn’t you say I’m someone without a clue?
But I have convictions and know my skin breaks out before my period
and that I hate licking jam directly from spoons. 

Moving was falling into a hole 
falling dopamine levels 
I am abyss-
I have been on both sides of it

A beer in the park, singed grass and salted earth
my blood is not clean 
on your hands
punched transport tickets rolled into filters
chronicling ways, above and below the city, cardinal points,
doctor’s appointments, the results came back you are alive 
I’m myself something of an expert on that he says
you will still be a woman (as if I ever was or asked for a verdict)
and alone we take the organ, you don’t need and
with a man only the growth.

KATHARINA LUDWIG is a writer, artist, and sometimes poet based in Berlin and London. Her/their work is concerned with narrative holes in women’s writing and the insurrectionary poetics of the 'wounded text'. Katharina’s work has been published, shown, performed, and read internationally. In addition to her/their own practice Katharina works on editorial, curatorial and educational projects.