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Jennifer Williams and James Iremonger


copenhagen 2010

We would like to thank Mikkel Bogh and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, the Scottish Arts Council (now Creative Scotland) and especially Dagmar Glausnitzer and transitstation for allowing us to travel to Copenhagen and perform our 'melopoesie' (music and poetry) composition  Pteria  a month following our grounding due to the explosion and ensuing ash clouds of the Icelandic volcano.

This bruise on my hand is a message from god, here is flesh. His words came as lightning to the girls in gold heels stumbling petulant night — FIRE, and the lemonwine stain of a face in love.

Our code will be the unembarrassed whelp of ecstasy.

(music comes in pause)

The one washed between legs in a bath of oil and holy emission, this that madness craved bled beauty over, this kiss recovered I'd press between my breasts and forever hold, risen of mist like a new-legged beast from water.


Made over, forded and forged, in the city of fallen down buildings learned BLISS, a bruise across the cheekbone, lip, the beating of a drum on a distant shore.

What we make will outlast the duty of our bodies.

(8/4 count)

sleep now boy
n I hold you now
n I hold you now n i
hold you now i
sleep sleep i
n I n i n i
hold you now
hold you now
sleep boy
now the circus come
now the circus come
now the circus come
ony one a year
n I hold you now
n I hold you now
n i


sleep little boy sleep
n I n I n I n I n i

(pause — crescendo music, come in when quiet)

n I hold you now
sleep little boy
little boy
ni hold you
n I n i n I n I n I
ah (into trains)

(long pause — listen to trains and long pauses between lines)


It was one of those mornings when the light doesn't ever really come, when the sky is a grey shrug and the cows crowd together as if in fear.

A little rain coming out of the sky, just enough to make the ground suck at your feet.

They came from the river.

I could hear the horses — they were worse than the women, their screams and the sound of their hooves.

The smell of their sweaty leather belts, blood on metal, and fire, fire in the rain.

(pause for shiny sound)


It wasn't long before another army came and set up camp right in front of 'em.

And the slaughter began.

When you don't have your freedom, does it matter who your owner is?

One master or another, one god or another, not one grain of rice tastes right when your life is not your own.

There are times when I cannot
bear to say my mother
or my father's names.

Months later a trader came over the river. He had been to Sardis, he had been with the Egyptians. His face was covered in red paint. He told of a city where hundreds and thousands of snakes swarmed the streets...
then the snakes were eaten by horses.

The man who took our home now a prisoner, and still I hear it every time it starts to rain; the screaming of the horses.


Creature whose battle lost ignores wounds and wound licking
spends instead what time is left replaying the blows, considering
attack and alter attack, foil and counter foil, dies with
mourning doves in pools of blood.

In the city
where this war crumbles worlds, lives,
one brief encounter falls from the sky,
hawk shot from high tower. Burned, all remnants of
fear's clothes and skin, the night ash-laden

Bandits in underpasses and women
cover their mouths with metal.

All trespass, all familial bonds, all economy
slaughtered by solstice.


And the oracle said:

if the King should cross the River, a great empire would be destroyed the King was delighted, certain now of victory

never once did he think
that the empire destroyed
would be his

the cost of this presumption
the loss of pride
the loss of flowers
the loss of a kingdom
the loss of hope
the loss of so many believers
the loss of ships
the loss of light
the loss of machines
the loss of freedom
the loss of pens
the loss of high towers
the loss of birds
the loss of dreams
the loss of power
the loss of gold
the loss of sleep
the loss of music...


What does it mean, 'always'?
That the picture is still, the subjects
dead and the leaves of the tree
waving like wings in the wind?

'Always', as if before and after
were not darkness, as if not to remember
meant nothingness...
Even if just a soul,
a fluff on the wind.

Rue eyasses, rue silence, rue death, rue
the bitter tonic of this grace... never.


eyasses moulting for flight,
feathers bolted with gold,
eyes reflecting beaks,
a thousand white mares,
ten thousand white mares.

JL Williams 2010
J. L. WilliamsR. J. Iremonger

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James Iremonger @