Steven Hitchins: Glyph-licks of skitty squall: Listening to the Heat Poets

Open field music. Vine traces Torrance’s lyrical beat rather than the metronome. Harmonic grooves superimposed. Snippets weightlessly floating. Dislocated bars of hypnotic rhythm. Found melodies in chance conjunctions, rhythms of nature, patterns of moons, birds, stars, tracing terrain. Beat prosody rides the pulse. Dionysiac-ascetic hermit rap. Offbeat projective lines launch and constellate. Drums and riffs roll in and skitter out.



Frinite opens with its raunchy slab. Hot off the camel’s back. Bass bins jelly quiver. Tabla conga stampedes the veins. Flanged sirens starfall in intimate whispers. Shudders of trojan voodoo sub. Dubby strut bellying the neutron flightplan. Ectoplasmic hedonistic hymn. Gritty chip butty rainy souls hugging moon. Slithery slinky succubi vectors. Riffs gunge out halfway. Rimshots of ground glass celebrate the seamy.

A soft arpeggio. A slight aubade to the power of naming. Interlinked tumbles of reverbed electric guitar. Doubts unstable. Gulfs opening. Pain of reaching.

Submarine click percussion. Diesels greasily shifting and scooping a psychedelic screech of fuzzed guitar. Neath valley silica grits tangled in electric squeal. Frayed stabs of termite-human-machines dicing mountains. Submerged snare. Knots of line ravelling.

Keyboard streaks strata streams shallow or gone. Dawn chorus diminished in dog days of dryness. Kestrel soars anchoring. Scarlet incandescence of skies. Candlelight writing identifies with ancient humanity, faces of friends, losing self in plunged ambience. Gentle gibbering bull through swathes of mist. Cinnamon moon a slash of reverb. 

Wrought iron kissing gate. Living rock beyond which the miners did not cut. Quartzite bones of swelling guitar, descend in throbs, conjuring divinitory foam. Vertical horror of wobbling bends. Layered squiggles. Fissures and faults. Leaves falling in diamond squalls. Electric sketches floating drumless. Knots of distorted snare.

Broken melancholy of hanging arpeggios streams down drunken evenings in moonlit alleys. A sense of lonely wonder, being in hell. Dexter, Sonny Rollins. Guitar stitches poignant icy shouts. Of suffering. Of skin and ravage. London fog. 

Cindy seethes a hurricane of synth-char. Wasp-breath vowels. Metallic whine of hummering dread. Isotopes whipcrack. Brass stabs shuffle in on a stopstart beat.


A Book of Number

Counting birds, offerings, gestures to chance, divinatory birdwatching. Stuttershuffle drums a flux of decomposted number. Super-bird-tongue-dance of echo layered guitar twangs the spectrum. Lost in a whirlpool of reverberations. Shaker rhythms mark out time then echo away, the fading clatter of distant footsteps. Melodies plucked out of time.

Sightings journalled. Hustling motherfuckers panic-swerve through diary-style jottings. Clacked sticks. Shudders of feedback reverb. Ripped sheet of sound. Rattled away. Evading. Long drones of tonal hum. Corridoring harmonics. Circling and rising. Clatter of sticks, beaks, feathers.

Electric halos glow and snarl. Snagged licks. Twitchy volume-stabs. Horoscopes play you like a harp or piano. The throb gives way to a swaggering snare snap. Then Libra can dance all night. Cymbals dicing northeasterly in the mix. Panned snares collide left and right on the undulating tarmac stretch. Lichen galaxies. A wriggle of rumbling riff writing into future time. Past before its present. Melodic refrain tunnelling back under itself. Like an apprehension of goshawk. Always gaping in its wake.

Piano clongs out doom. Hauntings of guitar-ebb loom in and out. Walks like an egyptian in the tincan bongoing of toms padding the time. Scampering ticktock of numerological webbing. Stretched moments. One huge sky muscle of synth swash swathing the aural horizon. Snippets of dislocated drum scatter as samples of voice snap in and out. Breaking up time, chopping. 

Shagged-out arctic meltwater. Bass nubs hammerhead the tornado tailend. Ticklish nimbus of fret-scuttle. Sulk of squall. Steely muted clash. Chanting moon rhymes. Marking time through pattern. Two in a month, a two-note refrain, reading rhythms in lunar undulations of guitar-solo scramble. Distorted drums obliterate the mix.



Vaynor grids me east. To the lost continent of atomist timelords. Kaleidoscope of key shimmer. Escarpment genealogies of saint-dotted hills. Swoosh of tone, chordal reverse sweep. 

Land as glyph: Vine’s guitars weave and wind out like streams. Fixed point of kick drum. Swirl of electric tides pulls the poet onwards. Apricot cherry sun bleeding echo-skitter of drum whispers, as scales ruffle. Slowly placing tones to mark the boundaries. Dropped notes from loose melodies swarm about in wind.

Abrasive screech as Rori meets Kiri. Tribal cans scissoring slices of metallic pitch. Grave goods stowed in murmuring electric bloom of dusk. Rudder rumbles weaving a shirt of nettle. Gone-to-earth out-of-body psychedelic. Synth stratus over the New Republic of Vaynor. Ambient scuttles. Abstract sketches of relics and bones. Gurgling acid-jazz miasma of electric scree. Scrambled wrangled.

Piano and acoustic plucking blue cornflower on neanderthal grave. Torrance layering careful caring imagery and emotional observation.

Crack and shake urgent. Entrails of sacrifices. Glyph language of fossil limestone. Celestial barge of electric arpeggio rising out of the fog of zaps and ricochets. Collapsing into ominous shards of prayer.

Steven Hitchins edits The Literary Pocket Book press, producing miniature origami-style pamphlets of contemporary experimental poetry. Recent publications include Black Fens Viral by Frances Presley and NONglyns by Rhys Trimble and Harry Gilonis. In 2017-18 he ran Canalchemy, a series of walking-poetry events along the route of the now erased Glamorganshire canal from Merthyr Tydfil to Cardiff Bay, which fed into his most recent poetry collection, The Lager Kilns, available from Aquifer Books. His other books include Ilan (2018), The White City (2015) and Bitch Dust (2012), as well as the collaborative books Brynfab Collider (2019) and Yth (2015) both with Rhys Trimble, Winter Texts with John Maher (2016), and Translating the Coal Forests with Camilla Nelson (2015). His poetry has also featured in the anthologies The Edge of Necessary and Imagined Invited, as well as the recent Welsh innovative poetry edition of Blackbox Manifold (Issue 25). His book-work ‘a conduit or line of pipes’ was exhibited as part of ‘Without Borders’ curated by Elysium Gallery and 1SSUE magazine.


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