STEPHEN EMMERSON: Poems from Sector Lights

from Sector Lights


My lighthouse is in Dungeness.

There are two. The old and the new.

Yes you can read about history, but

you can only live in the past.


I have decided to write letters to

the lighthouse and throw them into

the sea. Everything else is illusion.


We all fall down.


These letters will be destroyed.

The old and the new. I will learn nothing

and neither will you. Yes, you can read

about history. But you can only live

on the path.


& watch the rain falling. Falling into

the sea. Watch the rain falling.


Falling into the sea.



I is inside and outside. I am outside.

I am only inside when I am staring at

the sea. I throw stones into the sea.



The rock is in my and, and the

rock is in my &. The rock. There

is a dog in me. It barks. It has bitten

and it will bite again.


In me a dog drowned in the sea.

A dog drowned in the sea in me.

It was white. The dog was black

and white.


The dog was black in me. The sea

in me a dog drowned. The sea in me.

A dog drowned in the sea in me.

A dog drowned in the sea. A dog.



This speak kills love. What speak?

Exactly. Now fold your thoughts and

put them in a drawer. I gift this to you,

my fingernails and hair. Now I am

yours, completely.


This speak is our weapon against

what’s granted. It is my knife, and I

will never let it go. Even if I have to

hold it in my mouth when you’ve

cut off my arms.


Crossed fingers/severed hands.

A votive tied around a tree.


Language erodes first. Regimes

create nonsense. Leaving words

meaningless. What’s left?


There’s nothing to understand.



Under certain external pressures

language begins to break down. The

lighthouse told me so. It calls out to me in

the early hours. Not by voice by drone.


I get up. Get dressed. Start the car and

drive to Dungeness. 2,3,4, sometimes 5

in the morning. I get out and listen to its

3 million bricks against the backdrop of the

100 billion stars of the milky way.


I am devastated. The self disintegrates.

Melting into the Geiger counter of the

constantly shifting stones.


The sea deposits objects of a similar size

and weight in the same troughs. A line of

bottles, a line of ropes, a line of driftwood.


Here lie the bones of a dog.



We skim stones across

the surface of the sea


The first time we made time the

time we made the first


We Skimmed stones holding hands,

the surface of the sea


The rock is in my and, and the

rock is in my &


Our love






Flows though






Stephen Emmerson is the author of Comfortable Knives (KFS), Family Portraits, and Poetry Wholes (If P Then Q), The Journal of Baal (Veer), and Invisible Poems (ZimZalla). He also makes and exhibits poetry objects. More information can be found here:


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