Gone Lawn
a journal of word-things
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Gone Lawn 50
buck moon, 2023

Featured artwork, Frank along the Cumbres and Toltec, by Kathleen Frank

new works

Vik Shirley

Crossing the streams

A pastry brush summoned a demon, but the demon had issues with being told what to do. It spent more time sulking and having an attitude problem than committing evil acts. The whole scene was a complete embarrassment. The pastry brush had taken a decade to work out how to summon a demon, and it was the first time it had learnt how to do anything other than be used to apply butter, oil or glaze. So, you can imagine what being disrespected by a demon did for its confidence; the therapy that would be required for it to bounce back; how long it would take for it to get outside its comfort zone again. The demon was being unreasonable, now refusing to go back from where he was summoned, which kind of put the whole universe out of kilter. The reason the pastry brush had summoned a demon in the first place remained a mystery, until many years later when it transpired it had a jealousy-based beef with a lemon juicer. Due to the glass item being easier on the eye. Jealously was rife in that era in the Duchess's kitchen, and summoning demons more of a trend than it is in the kitchens of nobility today. Now you'll more likely get kitchen utensils and appliances embroiled in sex scandals, crossing those forbidden and taboo streams.

after Tom Jenks

Ostracised at the annual luncheon for crimes against cutlery etiquette, I escaped to the maze of a stately home, where I spent several years amongst the hedge animals, developing emotional attachments to the visitors who glanced in my direction, occasionally attempting to pick their picnics out of their teeth with my fingernails. I kept well hidden, feeding on litter, hydrating on dew. It was hard, but there was no pressure. I would have stayed longer, but the grounds were to be made into an Iceland car park, so I decided to start a new life in a nearby sloth-mimicry, therapeutic playpark. I had to kill some paying customers to obtain a variety of different sloth-suits for hygiene and to satisfy mood varieties, but the killing was character building, and took me out of my comfort zone, something I always respond well to, and life has been good ever since.

Vik Shirley is a UK poet and writer whose collection, The Continued Closure of the Blue Door (HVTN), pamphlets, Corpses (Sublunary Editions), Grotesquerie for the Apocalypse (Beir Bua), Poets (The Red Ceilings Press), and book of photo-poetry Disrupted Blue and other poems on Polaroid (Hesterglock) were all published 2020-2022. Her chthonic sequel to Corpses, Notes from the Underworld, is forthcoming from Sublunary Editions and will feature illustrations by Joshua Rothes. Her work has appeared in such places as Poetry London, The Rialto, Magma, 3am Magazine, The Indianapolis Review, Tentacular, Perverse and Tears in the Fence. A Poetry School tutor, teaching on the Surreal Narrative and the Grotesque in Poetry, she has a PhD in Dark Humour and the Surreal from the University of Birmingham (under the supervision of Forward Prize-Winning poet, Luke Kennard). Vik is Associate Editor of Sublunary Editions and Co-Editor of Surreal-Absurd for Mercurius magazine. @VikShirley, vikshirley.com