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special feature:
device squad

Is a poem, as Don Paterson has asserted on a number of occasions, a machine for remembering itself? Or can a poem be a machine of another kind? Can it break down, overheat, go haywire? And what if a machine-poem took on a life of its own, like HAL or GLaDOS? This issue's special feature sees four poets attempting to mimic, in language, the effects and character of various mechanisms or devices. Nicholas Liu tackles Conway's Game of Life, a cellular automaton, while Chrissy Williams, Sophia Blackwood and Niall O'Sullivan take on the Zamboni (a brand of ice resurfacer), the barometer and the dictaphone respectively. The results, as ever, are multimfarious and surprising. Try it yourself at home, but don't forget to take basic safety precautions!


Nicholas Liu

Glider

G l i d e r
n
o
o w l




h o
w l
a




o
s l
a v




i
l e
a v




h
e
a v n




s e
v n
e




e
r n
e t

Chrissy Williams

The Zamboni Clears the Ice

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Now make new lines.

Sophia Blackwell

Barometer


Falling
In vain.
I contain
magnitudes,
smell rain.
I am where
your prayers
end, in
the beat
of air.
Heavy
weather
squeezed
between
damp hands,
tightening
pressure
bands
crush my
accordion
sides like
a coffee can.
Sighing,
the vacuum
greets mercury
like a vial
takes blood,
incapable
of resistance,
incapable
of lying.
Inverted in a bath of mercurial bliss, sticky-fingered weather dips a slick kiss in the meniscus,
pushing the column low. I am all response, results, all molecules flirting with surfaces,
nosing the airtight glass. I am a vacuum, puckered, sucking the sinking air, nowhere to go.
I am the sum of damp beds, wind, cloud-sweat, shrouds of smog on fog-blind mornings.
Here is a fragile thing. This is your reading when the sky sheds layers like uneasy Spring.
You and your dumb numbers. You should be grateful. Here are millimetres. Here is data.
Batten down the hatches. Tug at the air. Readings drop, sky draining, skin cold.
Hang up a torch-round eye cinched in old gold. Look at that instead. By the way, it’s raining.

Niall O'Sullivan

A dicta-phone tape found within an old hotel bed frame

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