Matthew Haigh

the poet

Matthew Haigh is from Cardiff, Wales. He is the author of Death Magazine (Salt Publishing, 2019) and Black Jam (Broken Sleep Books, 2019). His work has appeared in numerous journals, online and in print, as well as in anthologies by The Emma Press, Sidekick Books and Bad Betty Press. He is co-organiser of CRASH: a quarterly poetry night in Cardiff focused on the experimental, surreal, humorous and strange.

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the poems

A Luxurious Death

00:00 / 01:03

After years working as a makeup artist, I decided there had to 
be a death with a velvety finish.
 
To be honest, our whole lives are unnecessary. The fabric of life 
is thick silver, fruitless. The person you love has a 100 per cent 
chance of embarking on a kitchen renovation project. We think 
of death as the heart of the home.
 
Be vulnerable, be young. Death happens to everyone; it makes 
you laugh so hard you snort as your eyes well up with beeswax.
 
The challenge is a familiar one: breathe new life into a widow 
with a black pencil. Advice on how to die well? I start with skin 
butter, followed by nude lip loss.

Christian Bale

00:00 / 01:11

Bale has become so milky that simply spending 

an hour in his presence probably leaves a faint 

gleam. The actor was determined to incorporate 

petals, seeds and fruits into his skin. He trained 

six hours a day, six days a week, for six months to 

bottle a happier future. Synonymous with physi- 

cal transformations, Bale developed plant leaves 

as his body adapted to changes in technology. He 

reportedly puts a soft little cushion between his 

face and a thistle. Ironically, American Psycho 

was interpreted as a moisturiser by many reflexol- 

ogists. The precise nature of his soothing presence 

is unknown, but the smart guess is that he is like 

a mountain of white lily.

What Will Your Sims Do Now?

00:00 / 01:32

Like a good nephew, I save your computer 
from the skip’s slew of lifelong wreckage, 
lug its black lake-weight back to my room
even though the tower is now a humming grave.
Inside still live the pixel kids 
you abandoned to a timeless
paradise, still frolicking poolside, 
spouting gibberish, clownish, in a summer 
that will never end. They know nothing
of the absent God act you’ve pulled, these tiny 
Adams and Eves in cherry-print kaftans.
I feed and clothe and shower them, strange 
skin cells you’ve shed in your swift exit,
my head haloed by the screen’s Heaven- 
blue, the way yours must have been as you 
crafted your craved reflection.
Here is the candy-haired
mohawk girl modelled on your ideal. 
I push her around her little kitchen,
fingers lingering on the keys that yours 
last touched. Her chip pan has caught fire. 
The girl’s face bursts open with tears.
Scorched walls. Her kitchen is 
ruined. I can’t console her.

Publishing credits

All poems: Death Magazine (Salt Publishing)

A Luxurious Death: Burning House Press

Christian Bale: exclusive first publication by iamb

What Will Your Sims Do Now?: Anthology of Aunts

  (The Emma Press) and Black Jam (Broken Sleep Books)

© original authors 2020

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