Blot by Brian Catling

Brian Catling is a poet, sculptor and performance artist who is currently making egg-tempera paintings and writing novels. He has performed and exhibited installations in many countries. His 2015 book The Vorrh drew much critical acclaim and is being made into a much-anticipated TV series directed by Terry Gilliam. Last year he won the Cholmondeley Award from the Society of Authors for his poetic works and this year he was elected a Royal Academician. He is the co-founder of the international performance collective The Wolf in the Winter and professor of fine art at the Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford. briancatling.net

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Flash fiction n.1
The world seemed so far away as the word entered her mouth along with the champagne. In distress the word paused and then spluttered out, darkening a stain on the perfect white page. All watched as the shadow deepened at its centre and sensually conspired to become a map. Tiny bubbles escaped gravity, wanting to join the stars outside where they might be able to forget about the momentum of mistakes.

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Flash fiction n.2
On the blindside, beneath, a whisper could be heard encouraging a shadow to leak its inky blackness into a conversation. A conversation about tanks made of glass, or at least about the agreed rhythm that commands their transparency. Here the shadow would become more solid: a tongue of coal, a jet of anthracite burning to a panther’s fearful breath.

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Flash fiction n.3
On this page a mouth is formed around a bubble of speech. Saggy at its edges but hungry as well – wanting to lick at the sweetness of kinship and wanting to write a code between dignity and offal.

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Flash fiction n.4
The whiteness of the walls unfolds and dazzles, giving a wince of retreat. The word apes an eye so as to lick at a painterly lie.

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Flash fiction n.5
The curves are nudging us to believe in the intimate and the stain is longing to become the spine. But that’s not the way of poetry. At the fulcrum’s point, certainty meets the cover and this locks its progress turning it back to make a full circle. Now the original word can only ever be read like a blot.

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