Chris Gylee


Columbia 1 (after Roofs, by Oscar Williams)

We don’t live in those attic rooms any longer —
hot, small spaces.
The underside of the roof
sloping to such an extent
that a neck would be forever extended
heads tilted sidewards
caught in the moment between upright and reclining
a permanent, coy question.
A scrap of balcony
two tiles wide.
Pull through, legs into a crouch
cigarette in hand
façades fall away
slipping to the traffic below.
The whip of the sky
stinging the eyes.

We came down against our will —
the pull of our hearts
stretching back up the worn staircase
to lay low again on the mattress
a breath off the floor
to roll up in the dirty-warm sheets
to flow around the record player
Marion’s voice
turning languorously on itself
calling out her old blues, stupidly
to the stacks of manifestos
and chapbooks
the crisping flowers
blue and dusty
the sticky, iron breakfast-pan
waiting in a remnant of water.

We will sleep under the sky from now on —
the grass beneath us is cold
and a sycamore towers overhead in the dimming light
transforming inch by inch
into the blackest void of night
darker than the surrounding heavens
that grey and dim
but won’t ever catch the tree.
It is a dense black I could step into
a doorway into the night.
We’re low people now.
Bodies closer to the earth than they have ever been.
Clattering down the stairs
long nails on the balustrade

slipping on the polished wood
six flights down
and out
bursting from the hallway into cobbles and smoke
the door wrenched from the jamb, lying
like a body in the street.

Strange dream.

(Untitled collage - 2021)

Submission Title

From a Chapbook (2021).

Submission Location

12047, Berlin, Germany.

Manifesto Statement

"England is the first lie. England is a lie invading kings told you to take your actual land from you ..." — Robert Montgomery

Additional Responses from D5

The name of someone in your field you admire

Taylor Mac

One narrative idea

To take Zoe Leonard’s 1992 poem ‘I Want A Dyke For President’ and to turn it into a narrative film in the form of a pseudo-documentary — as though this desire is in fact a reality and has already happened in recent months.

Details of a location, real or imagined, where a filmic scene could take place

A recognisable theatre building that has been repurposed into a womxn & children's community housing project.

A photograph you’ve taken

A historical image

An existing image of current affairs

D5 Response Prompt Material

The Chapbook
(May 1921)


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