issue 5

Welcome to the fifth edition of Junction Box. Fifth sounds good, in a modest sort of a way, it has a hint of a jaunty outgoing air about it. The pubescent hippogriff paws at the grass, eyes the horizon and senses the viability of its full-fledged vans. That kind of thing. Anyway, it feels like one of those stages worth a mention. At the start - cheerfully mixing metaphors here - Junction Box was a bit of a leap into the unknown; a tentative leap into the unknown at that. It still feels like an experiment and I hope it always will, but thanks to the openness and generosity of so many fine writers, the experiment has already more than justified itself, in my opinion and judging by the comments rolling in (for which, heartfelt gratitude). The fifth edition, like the first four, is a fascinating...

We like infants descend In our shadows on earth, Like a weak mortal birth. William Blake, Sussex, 1800   I stayed away till now. I was upset, so they said. He came home with me, gave me chocolates and a card. I came with an egg and ten shillings. I told him I loved him in sign-language. Airfix airbrick. He found my name on a certificate, later in The Shoreham Herald. Me. Me. Me. I was the new girl, and I threw a party to celebrate. I felt ill. I came with a husband. It was my birthday. I took him to Derry and Toms’ roof-garden. Nylon starspin. He left us all behind. I was still smiling, my public disposition. He came back to see me. I saw two lights over the Downs: could it have been one of his flying saucers? Salt in the air, chalk in the water. I was christened. I went over....

On Sunday mornings, in the church across the street from my grandmother’s confiserie cum movie theater, during the eleven o’clock high mass, we were told by the priest — I believe his name was Här Meyer — at just the moment when I had started to think this through on my own, how we had gotten here (to Ettelbruck?) in the first place. At The Beginning, he informed us, we had been in Paradise & that we, well, actually a woman, of course, of course, a woman had screwed that up and so now we had to live or rather labor by the sweat of our brows etc., that is, survive this early loss in some kind of nasty limbo called our base world and pay our dues through the nose. It was further decreed that after we had shuffled off this mortal coil, if we had suffered enough and had been righteous...

  I want look at Hazel Eardley-Wilmot’s interest in and ‘acquaintance with the vagaries of language’, to use a phrase from the autobiographical note which opens Ancient Exmoor.  I will discuss two examples of it in her writing: the invented foreign language and the study of place names.  All her words were carefully chosen and I think I should define the word ‘vagary’, which comes from the Latin ‘to wander’ and its primary meaning is a devious excursion. 1.  The uses of language in Coffin’s Burden I will begin with Eardley-Wilmot’s comic novel, Coffin’s Burden, written in 1948, but never published.  It was based on her experience of working for the British Council in Czechoslovakia between the end of World War Two and the beginning of the Cold War.  Set in the...

Dots & jabs of light too transient to see - gone before you can attend. When they’ve gone you can see where they were, as that trace too then slides away. They come from every direction & coalesce behind or within, disappearing. Inside the eyelids & early universe. Shadows of debris floating within the eyeball, a balletic disintegration. Trace & cause. Can’t breathe deeply as the world presses down on the chest. Remove & clean filter regularly. Allow to dry fully before replacing. Somewhere there is eggshell, sharp edged, & a growing dampness. Grit & seeds. Ground teeth & sufficient warmth for germination. Good to take stock soon when there is something to take stock with. Then stock of. Stock stuck against the right shoulder, perhaps a brick. Way off in...

Broken it shows inside a kind of buttery filling, as if all along its roboticality was only on the outside, they were not after all mechanisms but soft things with flows and runs of sense. But perhaps I thought this only applies to the larger insects, in smaller ones the liquidity is no more than a smear, that can hardly, I thought, speak of animal passions. Each awn wants, to feel is to ride the sentence out where in the dust, limbs strut and tent. Only as verb does mind name something real, in the empire of the sensible on a typestract at x ideaspersecond. Daddy Longlegs belongs with that troupe of wrestlers from 70s Saturday afternoons, Giant Haystack etc. I considered how a windshield’s starcrack is already bugred, gunshot-holed. A scrapmetal spectre, wrought by fingers of air, one of...

“I had never heard that bell strike before” —the clocktower, Bangor, Gwynedd How to start something? with my own handwriting—a wooden pen—gone for the cheaper book—not the moleskine—the two pound one [not weight] with 5 sections—orange, pink, yellow, green, blue—with a struck bell, with a departure. This is a practical creative writing manual—I will take all the advice I’m given—I advise myself to choose a springbound book—to be free, to use my own handwriting, to use a wooden pen. “we live here now” —I say, the coffee shop, puds laughs. “a bulky book I should fill up with stuff” some characters—me, Sveinn, Beatrice (say) & Annwn. “SHALL I GO DO MY SHOPPING?!” “do you want this kind of one—coconut?” “OKOK Ie” “to...

Submerged bells, ghostly bells, rebellious bells, the fake or fading bell. Debussy, Poe, Murdoch, the greenest city in England, Ys, the East end, Istanbul, the lost flooded villages of Europe, Sheffield, Cantre’r Gwaelod. The Fin-de-Siècle, suburban disturbance, the conversations of bells, the Tempest, the Olympics, Whitechapel bell foundry, the night’s bells, deregulated time,  shamanic darts of christendom. A Monday night in July, I am awake and thinking. I have been transplanted from a hot night-loving climate into the leafy suburban rim of Sheffield, the ‘greenest city in England’. Awake with a chattering mind. Everyone else in this house went to bed hours ago. It’s disorientatingly quiet here, the birds are ‘off doing things’, says my mum, ‘it’s summer, they don’t...

The previous evening, at the woodyard, they said to be there by six, and bring food for the day. The woman at the hotel said, ‘They always say six but nothing ever happens until seven or eight.’ But we got there before six. The ticket office was closed because the woman who sold the tickets hadn’t arrived yet. The only other person there, an elderly German in shorts with a rucksack, said, ‘I’m not waiting around here’ and marched off among the railway lines and rolling stock. We followed him, along the side of a long train of empty trans­porter wagons to a personnel wagon and a hissing locomotive. We climbed on board the wagon. It had a roof or canopy but no sides or windows and held about 20 people. It was already almost full but we found a double seat facing forwards. As soon...

     The procedure I set myself for ‘Red Light Radio’ was: whenever I stopped at a red light I had to have the radio playing a pop music station and then film through the windscreen using my phone until the lights changed. I did this for about a month.    I thought of it as a road movie. I was thinking of films like Radio On by Chris Petit and Robinson In Space by Patrick Keiller. I like the way Radio On is so slow. Long lingering camera shots with very little happening. And the use of music in the film. The character will put on a tape of Kraftwerk and just sit there listening to it. Then knock it off. (Click). In Robinson In Space there are these lovely static shots of mundane everyday scenes. (Click).    It seemed like these were a sort...

                            bent out of shape (in The Lewknor Turn, Shearsman, 2013), with its lower case imperative so as to not make too big a deal out of being bent out of shape, already seems too programmatic as a title. Was the ‘author’ of these 24 24 line poems (+ 2 stragglers) all twisted up before writing them, while writing them, and / or after writing them? Well, he does get a bit crotchety now and then, and sometimes he’s not sure of his direction or his feelings and wants the act of writing to tell him something about them. Otherwise, he wants to bend and reshape the familiar cadences of English poetry. It’s for readers to say whether these throw some new shapes...

'Contact Light' (first words spoken on the moon)  The Apollo missions to the moon present an environment in which the constraints of language are brought into relation with the sublime. Missions which were conceived as propaganda and a race for technological supremacy left a lasting legacy of longing by others to understand the experience, and a need for the moonwalkers to describe it. Armstrong and Aldrin spent only about three hours on the moon. Forty four years later Google automatically completes the question 'How did it feel to walk on the moon?'. Of course it is impossible to answer the question to the satisfaction of apparently limitless questioners, creating a kind of meaning vertigo. Edgar Mitchell, the Apollo 14 lunar module pilot, was so traumatised by his inability to respond...

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