Excerpts from a previously unpublished sequence of poems named The Year of the Pin-Up Calendar.


there is a white pigeon opened like a book
on the kerb     poor it could not imagine
the unexpected glamour of being a pin-up –
process of     violence. carcass like fleecelined
glove turned insideout     like redweed in sea
foam     it is the second dead animal in a week,
before it was     ladybird the colour of tired blood
(dark especially orange) against classic carpet
in noncommittal blue     and spotting another
one crawling on the sill I realised it a room
infested with bloodspots going about
their daily selves as if there     were nothing
more natural or better to do than distract me
—-when I’m trying to grasp phenomenology


‘being in love is losing the ability to spell’ he says
onely half joking     I coud make some pithy
comment on modern words and their ioned out
shapes but     over the channel France has just
killed off the circumflex.     later when even
my skin smells of smoke     I sate on the bed
and he the floor and I asked him how he was he
—-looked at me like a dog. why did you put
—-your hand on my knee when you told me
you were going to bed and did you feel
the stubble from     where I shaved in the dark
this morning     sitting writing this my earrings
lie on the sheets like adjacent bodies where
I had not even noticed I took them out 


this month is a man standing in our tiny kitchen
—-a study in proportion     praise be for men,
for their bodies like ocean liners and desperate
need for a haircut     and the ear piercings they’ll
regret in middle age. even the blister ladybirds
are male.     standing eating by the stove they lower
their heads to the bowls and make no sound.
the light streams in through the window     and barely
gets around them     this is summ[a/e]ry work.
praise for their backs like ski slopes     out of season,
the surprise of their warmth     and delicate hands.
music swells. praise for tall buildings; for how
they hold women like bruised fruit, the tenderness
in their voices when asking me for a light


beacon without moth     the pin-up for
this month could be the cover photo for
the whole year     fact: the moth turns to ash
when crushed under the heel, the ladybirds
are scabs now     loving him is coming un
done but still in all the wrong ways     fact:
the morning before last I woke with him
kissing my best friend and unbuttoning
his shirt     with both hands on the dream
side of my retinas     more than picture it is
like a gif    like blackandwhite but colour-
photocopied, somehow blue – a window –
his shirt     replaying the image is a stinging but
does well that thing of making me like alive


Imogen Cassels is from Sheffield, and is currently reading English at Cambridge. In 2015 she was a Young Poet on the Underground, and in 2016 was a winner of the Poetry Business New Poets Prize. Her poems are published or forthcoming in Blackbox Manifold, Ambit, The Interpreter’s House, and The North.

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