Strings 1

‘dreams jangling with lost connections’

March 2024


Thrown when a thread is waiting, sleeping, or otherwise occupied, and the thread is interrupted.

a little drum of forgotten buzzwords;
i am armed with an amateur
butterfly net – the work is flitting
out the holes in my punch-cards;

each Exception is a portrait –
some predicted calamity
we can prepare for;
black box imagination of the outside

singing the semicolons
early; pinch this thrill
between your typing fingers,
find an appropriate frame;

look how pretty
mistakes can be
when we pin them down;


Thrown to indicate that a method has been passed an illegal or inappropriate argument.

sickly, broiling mother
board – exorcise
restraint && gather
all these elements
unto variable i; cast loose
a random memory
to watch it float down
like something physical
from the runtime place;

pick up the machine && draw a knife
across its plastic belly;
we must examine
the design patterns
when they lay
rotting on the floor;
they have been known
to portend to error;

mother tells us we must travel back,
to unspool further ancestry
from the elder machines;
bugs have been left
to gum up the gaps in the syntax;
unclean; we must start this process again;
they buzz as they work, inscribing
their own warnings:

        remember that the nerds
        do not know what is coming:
        all they can give you is instruction;

from Clink Ode

1. Hard Work

My yearning tour of the clink ode left me
a disheartened dork. I trek the happy path,
with no legend of princes, disciples, or sand
patterns. You muzzled, eight-toed ferret!

While humour fills your icicled track,
you've fanned your itchy pack-horse frail.
Humour stitched the sap with ice
while the sand was left to fail.

Byte Thetis, now a worn out mime,
she who wears the glow
whilst out in her allotments.

These thoughts moor me in the bubbled hotel
– the one they'd inferred
lay rancid in oodles of cock ode.

6. Express Yourself

Prosecco! Shriven dark or down good
over a kick of the green. Manlier is the rotten
tomato dragon inside yourself, inside the code.

Dust is also sickening when positive,
benign, or wearing our unseen markings.
You should consider learning Latin
to overcome these inevitably sexy keys.

Bodily impact is about making functions
which can change. Programmers will follow
the promiscuous console, but write
at the level of trite. Everyone desires

this irrelevant code. Intuit from the drunken
elves while they peer at the marketing. Shift, move,
all while grimacing into hot, fallen expressions.

STUART RAWLINSON (he/him) is a writer living in Glasgow, Scotland, where he works as a software developer. Poems of his can be found in or are forthcoming in Magma, Gutter, Travesties!? and Fruit Journal, among other places. In 2022 he was selected as one of four mentees for the Clydebuilt 15 program, designed by St Mungo's Mirrorball.