Strings 1

‘dreams jangling with lost connections’

March 2024

Three Scabiosas / Three Pincushions

Scabiosa atropurpurea / Sweet scabious

O, unfortunate attachment
this returning vibe,
Wah, wah, wah, etc. but look—
you know you love how
it gives big seed head
after baubled wand
and microphone explosion.

Growing up, as I did, as you might,
where roses were, still may be rooted,
beauty is tasked to manage, in writing.
Wah, wah, wah, etc., we get it.
They didn’t all grow on
from their itchy germination,

Stuck at true leaves
debased of their stalk.
But look, but look—
one: Hello, the scabious!
             (are there really no poems for you already?)
Singing october summer
a purple knight wandering the
evening primrose border:
emollient for the prick of darkest loss,
he does ever belate himself.
O, mourningbride!

No backside
but a hairy rosette lately unfurled
the darker stage of twilight
jocolatley musk
spindling up and WAVING

Succisa pratensis / Devil’s bit scabious

Did you hear the friars’ tale,
a prior underground dimension?
The devils bite
you into privation.

Try drinking the juice of the
meadow’s pharmacy
mix with wine &
gargling mouth—
drown your inner itch mites
nipping round unquenched edges.

Scratch my back, scab you in yours
scrape off phloem through the cortex
beat herb and root together
then lay on hands and petals
to regenerate some skin.
If the colony is gone, I use a Q-Tip:
lay it down as I lie in a bed.
No layoff from this nectary

Knautia arvensis / Field scabious

The outside, pithless,
repeats itself in a ring.
               Oh unhealing bleb!

And the sleet won’t stop.
Send in the clowns
make them bring cream pies,
soft lathery noughts.

Pop all the carbuncles
decoct the essences
throw up your cold phlegm
bundle the dad bods
to lick down the bruises
to loosen the splinters.

No more tricks, just this
chalked up pincushion
scoured over land
a cultivated puncture
to loop back in
pinched anticipation of the itch

SAMUEL SOLOMON lives in Brighton, UK, where he teaches English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Sussex and co-directs the Centre for the Study of Sexual Dissidence. He is the author of Special Subcommittee (Commune Editions, 2017) and Lyric Pedagogy and Marxist-Feminism: Social Reproduction and the Institutions of Poetry (Bloomsbury, 2019), and he is co-translator from the Yiddish of The Acrobat: Selected Poems of Celia Dropkin (Tebot Bach, 2014).

DECLAN WIFFEN is a teacher and writer living in Kent. His first pamphlet, indiscriminate lanking, was published by Invisible Hand Press in 2022.