Abridged 0 – 52: Contagion.
Imagine the worst. Then Tweet about it. The new intimacy.
‘A touch/A sore touch’ Irish euphemism for telling off someone angrily.
D’you get scared to feel so much? To let somebody touch you? So hot, so cold, so far so out of control. Hard to come by, and harder to hold. (Andrew Eldritch)
We are intimate with the end of things. Infection comes from close contact. Out of control, it makes us crazy. Suspicion plants its roots deep and spores. Trust nobody. This is the threat. It is enormous but made of tiny things that are everywhere. We speak for it with our words that aren’t ours. Nothing is ours. The threat is panic. What sneaks in will eat us up whole. It is getting too close, it is sticky on our fingertips. Are you afraid of other people? How they touch you, love you, need you, change you? How they look like you and can rearrange you? We come together in touch. This is contagion. Don’t be touched if you want to survive. And you want to survive. With plague comes suspicion, comes isolation, comes hysteria, comes total destruction. In the violet hour we are identical, gathered in a mass of the blind and terrified. The worst is the not seeing, just feeling yourself alone and caught in the current of a flood that cleans with chaos and makes the world forget what it seemed to be. The worst is the not knowing, the losing the capacity to know that you know. Those who are different are surely threats, those similar surely competition. The worst is forgetting. You’re up against a rip-tide of bodies, everybody else and their horrifying mutability, and you’re too full of holes.
Abridged explores when intimacy goes wrong. When uncertainty becomes conspiracy. When imagination and intimacy mutate to destroy the self and the society. When Cupid and the Green Eyed Monster are one and the same. When love is Love. When a touch can kill.
You can submit up to four poems on MS Word or similar or pieces of artwork. Artwork should be up to A4 landscaped sized and 300 dpi or above. The deadline is 23rd Feb 2018. Please put your name on submissions. Please note this issue is landscape format. Submissions should be sent to email@example.com.
Image by Aaron Hardin: ‘Snake’ from ‘The 13th Spring’ series. http://www.aaronhardinphoto.com/
Abridged is supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.