americana churns a grist of slashes
and fear of the faces it burns

spits out a recurring broadcast of freddy
on screens in formation, grenade-fuelled

having claimed that if you slept
you’d die unwaking, you fled

rose to an observatory height

watching as agent orange
held tight to blood molecules

as the bombs that made you run
to a cold stretch of states

continued to bloom death
in home soils that noticed you depart

as mines and sweatshops back home
were squeezed for gleaming suburbs
that continue to laugh at the accents
with which you prayed, to avoid
terror under empire-moon

as suited men determined
these present, pixeled mausolea

where hollow memory-conscribers
confined traces of your bones
to blades seeking ingenue flesh
where are your hands in this celluloid
and how were they positioned

the overseers grasped at, sought to break
your minds’ eye
in a cycle of VHS-led obliteration

vastly beyond any vengeance
your sleep could imagine

flinging the cause of your desperate leaving
to an unfurling exploit
of further nightmares

[A Nightmare on Elm Street was inspired by 1980s reports of dozens of Southeast Asian men in the US—refugee men in particular, who had fled from Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia, and especially those from Hmong communities—dying in their sleep, with many having reported nightmares. Medical professionals called this Sudden Unexplained Nocturnal Death Syndrome (SUNDS).]

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Autumn 2022

Issue 103

Featuring a wholly new look, the magazine’s first radical redesign in twenty years, the Autumn 2022 issue of Poetry London carries a new poem by our featured author, Mark Ford, in addition to work by Katie Peterson, Khairani Barokka, Bernard O’Donoghue, Rachel Mannheimer, Oksana Maksymchuk, Shash Trevett and Jee Leong Koh. This issue also features the winners of the 2022 Poetry London Prize, judged by Romalyn Ante, as well as interviews with Pascale Petit and Victoria Adukwei Bulley.
Prose contributions include the 2022 Verve Poetry Festival Lecture by Stephanie Sy-Quia, Zoë Brigley on writing through borderline personality disorder, and the literary influence of Sylvia Plath and Jean Rhys, and reviews by Stephanie Burt, David Wheatley and Jennifer Wong, review collections by Victoria Chang, Paul Tran, Thomas Lynch, Carl Phillips, Claire Askew and Simone Atangana Bekono.
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