Featured Poet: Chris McCabe (London, UK), author, "The Hutton Inquiry"

The emergence of Chris McCabe on the UK poetry stage heralds the arrival of a significant voice, one that is not afraid to be young, express "young" virtues- spontaneity, nerve, daring, humor (both coarse and refined), all balanced with an unflinching precision which validates the whole package.

McCabe is an urban poet with a keen awareness of history, and capable of a remarkably contemporary-feeling (and politicized) pathos. He is a lyricist whose limber use of free verse invites comparison to the best writing of post-modernity. Moreover, McCabe's willingness to work with conceptual elements links him securely to the post-modern tradition. His "Progress Poems" demonstrate a facility for glib-seeming yet dead-on irony, putting our humanist notions of psycho-spiritual progress on the spit for a thorough (and hilarious) grilling.

"The Hutton Inquiry" is Chris McCabe's first book, from Salt Publishing. You can visit the Salt website (http://www.saltpublishing.com) to obtain a copy, and it can be ordered from any Barnes and Noble. Below is a six-poem "sampler". Here you'll find a good-size interview with McCabe, which makes clear what his aesthetic, cultural, and poetic agenda is.

# 800: ivor cutler

see you next time he said I said not
if I'm like this (turned my back) he
said then I'll be like this (turned his
back) & there might be mirrors in front of us

he said there might be mirrors in front of us
I said not if I'm like this (turned my
back) he said then I'll be like this
(turned his back) see you next time I said


at the helm of the lightmachine bus
enter first through the on-come glass
into operating system white
heads down in handheld gadgetry
with a springing sound herein described as DIGI-BOING
we step off the bus into map zoned 2
having dogeared the tube route with the double-decker
which means now we have more money
but are in more danger
lost in the blueshrieked glass peacock's back
of South London

so every book is a car, then?

It has been published that George Bush is a reformed alcoholic with a conviction for drunk-driving, before becoming president of the United States and the driver, publisher of the middle-east 'road map'. all aboard & welcome. belt-up in the back.

# 659: cleaning habits

& for some- to wash & clean up- is to
piss their own shit-stains from the toilet pan

(after the first person to kill themselves live on the internet)

he told you he was hardcore.
his space in the network
was at equal distances
to everyone else- that is
immediate- simplified
into the boolean dichotomy
of voyeurism. he was the
watched. as he eat the string
of pills he could have
explained so much about
the geo-technology of
network space being
harder quicker faster
along broadbanded
bandwidth, although in
the general sense an
analysis far short of
Dr Johnson Re. 'network'
"anything reticulated or
decussated, at equal
distances with interstices
between the intersections"
short but Johnson did
not risk life to prove a
decision compensated for
in the technical common
sense of his final words:
"if I look dead give me a call"

# 1,906: bonnie & clyde

on the run from cops this life
of crime turns me on
snakes wrapped around ankles
red indians know our evil instinctively
each town appears in green neon
& people complain of bad head
but it makes me glad yours

Becky Hilliker (Boston, USA): Catch

The wind turns the water into an animal
& the boat rides the back of swells
bucking wetly.
My legs absorb the push & pull,
thinking only of the fish,
sleek & dripping on the line,
neon green parachute ballooning
from its mouth.

I arch my back
& the rod dives.
The fish lifts, slimy as an egg,
spinning like a ballerina
on a silver thread,
its marble eye mute,
fixed on white.

How many times have you been in this world?
Suddenly blinded, terrified?
There are hands on you
& pliers in your mouth,
metallic, blood-washed.
How many times have you waited
for the water
while everything lurches around you,
brilliant white, like the inside
of a hospital, like the underbelly
of a dream, gasping
to break the surface
toward that cold & sudden light?

David Prater (Australia): Two Poems


what happened to you boy the future
seemed too mad for some you were a
notorious phenomenon spoken of by
girls in reverent drools weird kind of
pop star heard of back in high school
if some girls said you were cool then
you were & while I could easily sneer
& pretend I knew you personally the
fact remains that you were out there
doing what you wanted to (whether
on stage or in the recording studios
but it was your habit of returning to
that tour bus each night after those
erratic performances (this clinched
it no one understands the pain not
even you it's that trusted four track
on which you'd lay down metallic &
magnetic loops never to be heard by
any record company a confused fan
even the file-trading fiends & their
relatives those parasitic journalists
you saw horns coming out of their
heads & wished the in-stores could
be re-scheduled I guess the third &
fourth albums may be sadder affairs
compared with the highly-evolved
winning days you've shown us all
how high you can fly how low you
fell (you'll strike a chord for three
more death-defying minutes then
disappear completely just the way
you were supposed to jilting fame
throwing those stars back in their
small faces the last entries in your
missing tour diary reveal the bad
hours between gods leading up to
that weirdest decision the boot in
the heads of those whose support
you still need & whose dismissals
count for everything in this fickle
game you knew the rules & bowed
out sad screaming leave me alone
& for once this spiteful world did


bob mould's screaming eight miles high
can you feel his sheets of pain inside yer
headphones boy take notes & duplicate
on yer long walks home through those
graveyards in yer long coat there's that
crow he's eating all yer dead mix-tapes
feature angry men & the odd soft-rock
stooge eg john cougar's song scarecrow
that's the sound of yer stadium funeral
furious bic lighters melt in unison only
stinking out the stands forcing another
evacuation pathetic really listen to yer
idol bob mould screaming eight miles
high he's not coming down (off speed
apparently that was his problem not to
mention homophobia eight (gay miles
high & he's not going back! inside that
electric closet now it's our fathers who
take the pills that were meant for the
likes of bob dressed in his incendiary
black you'll come around to this way
of thinking some day come hell's high
water mark eight miles high the flood
of fuel for bob's maniacal fire screams
eight miles high fucked if I'm coming!
fuck you sixty eight miles fucking high
& it's too late to come down now we're
in outer space bob we're still alive how
i scream six hundred & sixty six miles
higher than I've ever been higher than
rainy crow grey streets of down town
known for that sad sound never touch
down bob taking me six thousand six
hundred & sixty six point eight miles
beyond darkness at the edges of town
& nowhere is yer warmth to be found
in a stadium's steel glare fans remain
there laughing at yer shapeless forms
fucking hair metal sidewalk scenes &
headjobs in black limousines we're all
living bob & we're all standing alone
higher than the sun or even the byrds!


Jeffrey Side (London, UK): Six Poems


I mark the time when I fly high.
I'll be landing very soon.

I cannot relocate my genes.
I cannot fix the balloon.

When suspicion is in your heart
the innocent are hurt too.

My ambitions are paved with
thoughts of a nature aimed at you..

I'll take you off that man one day.
I'll take you at your word.

I'll take you very far away
to somewhere you preferred.

I need you in this room dead soon.
I need you in the air.

I need you on the moon in June.
I need you everywhere.

I knew someone who looked like you.
She haunts me to this day.

She was a screamer too.
She left without delay.


we are moving towards
a theory of beauty
tremenous natures veiled
butane on jehoaphat

stigmata nationalist
condensation steals redemptive
like cool alabaster twixt the
seasons of love and pornography

darkness is rechargeable
for ignition through
contemplation of stench
I was abandoned with reclaims

of the high nature and there
are no accidents except her
anatomy bred forth organism
like that time she stood me up her

dominant motherhood
wave-matron phallic surplus
condition of autonomy closing
her flesh envelope

over her minoan female tower
made me curious as I crept
towards moment maximum intensity
horizontal chain-like arranged

whereby conversation became
pointless camouflage
consumption for the sailors
was her call


Make room
inside the
steaming glove
if you
have time to sell.

Keep to the right
all things
that please
and things will turn
out well.

You must come
upon your knees
and admit
to all your thefts.

You must come
upon your knees
and pay
the fine that's left.

I cannot explore anymore.
I cannot count to ten.

The downward journey
was not fair
and roads congest again.

You have your torches
and have
become the symbols
you despised.

You cannot live a lie
this way
and still keep the things
you prized.


the high kingdom beautific
go we drop bassoonist

meadow jolly congeneric
wavering candle heronry

you old heavens lenticular
love's day numinous

rubies after the kiss
trapped in brutality

river shades
lesbian celebrated

changing skin absorbed
lazarus regains the spear

destiny night reserved
uncas I heard a great voice

shell-encased turtledove
like walpurgisnacht

and tripoli like them
I'm gonna get home tonight


Sometimes voices
in the light
will call me back to them.

Back out of this
place where
I have spoken from.

And then I will turn my
back on you,
and on the storm-bled sea.

And even
on the sleeping faces
that will never wake for me.

I will find myself
out of limitations plight.

And no earthly cause
or battle
will keep me in this fight.

And what will seem like
nothingness to
those that have remained

to me will seem like
when in the time of May.


The vessels of love crowd in.
Their traumas hidden
among the reeds.

No love is lost or given to them
as they clutter the minds
of thieves.

Strong, sober and drunk
I come to you.
My weakness revealed
in my glee.

And book-like I pray on
your need
to comfort - sometimes.

Now there is light.
And now there is dark.

And that is the way that you
can pay
the charity you give
to men like me.