Catherine Vidler

Catherine Vidler

Catherine Vidler edits Snorkel magazine. In October a chapbook of visual poems in response to ‘chaingrass’, a word from Bill Manhire’s poem ‘Falseweed’, will be published by Jazz Cigarette. A collection comprising both chaingrass ‘patterns’ and the original set of poems will also shortly be published by STALE OBJECTS dePRESS.

“These ghost poems come from a long series titled ‘The Ghost and the Machine’. All poems in the series, with the exception of those published here, were made by selecting and recombining fragments of text found in google search results. These poems, by contrast, were made ‘freestyle’ at the end of the series, and while they do not use any found text, their style and presentation is itself a kind of ‘ghost’ of the ghost poems which have preceded them in the collection.”


from The Ghost and the Machine

the ghost tried to draw

the wind
his feelings
a useful comparison between the two

the ghost was surprised

by the persistent rain
by his tendency to remain dry
by the intensity of his desire to be wet

the ghost wondered

whether he made an opaque impression
whether (and if so when) the elocution lessons would start to pay off
whether to submit his concrete poems
whether he would ever conquer his fear of flying
whether to holiday at the lake again this year
whether to invite Georgette
whether he was doing enough exercise
whether he was getting his message across
whether to experiment with different forms
whether the flower-box on the second floor was really worth haunting
whether to pour water on his Regrets

the ghost stumbled

across the threshold
over the cobblestones
onto the wet grass
and fell
through the bulk of his Latin translation
upon the answer to his question
directly into her imagination

the ghost wandered

away from his residence
accidentally on purpose
into the fog
further than he intended
off the chart
into a spookily familiar relationship
without thinking of the consequences
with admirable dedication
at length

the ghost was a bit unsure

of the way to the bathroom
of the moon’s influence on his visibility
of the exact year
when it came to matters of the heart
when it came to existential matters too
which was perfectly understandable given his situation
about some things but not about the kayaking idea

First published takahe 87
August 2016