Rough Trade Books!

After four decades of releasing records, Rough Trade expand into publishing

Rough Trade Books launches this month with 12 pamphlets – Rough Trade Editions – including a collection of poems from Salena Godden, drawings from experimental musician Daniel Blumberg, short fiction from Melissa Lee Houghton, drawings from Ana Da Silva, a zine from Jenn Pelly and an ‘tarot novella’ from music writer and novelist David Keenan with illustrations by Sophy Hollington.

Bonus fact: each pamphlets is a beautifully designed thing.

You can subscribe and get the pamphlets, plus news of forthcoming events and books, at Rough Trade Books. And you can read an exclusive extract from Keenan’s book, To Run Wild With It, right here:

To Run Wild In It: A Handbook Of Autonomic Tarot (extract)

II The High Priestess: She’s gone, I tell myself. To where. But I am gone too, just as surely. That girl, stood on the burning sand. Falling in love, already. But still with an identity, that barrier that time holds up to itself. That teases, love. That holds itself off. Why I must come to you, was with you, then, but still. Love lies in daring, in hiding, in what threatens to be revealed. Make of your heart a terror. Make of it a citadel in order to overthrow it. Run partisans in and out. But enforce it. And then: yield, is the law. And the division of time, is, also, for the same. Still, I say, still. Not to my heart, or time in vain, but to the storming of the boundaries. The breaking of the anklet. Long, nylon legged goddess, who goes with me, still.

IV The Emperor: My father arrives back home, alive, miraculously so. He is wearing a suit, looking like his archetypal self (do we all have an archetypal self, I think so) middle-aged but weary and obviously not well. When I hear he has returned from the dead I am immediately astounded. But we buried him, I say. He was in the grave. How did he rise through the soil and break through the coffin.

Through force of will, I am told, or sorrow. I rush to embrace him and he holds me close. I am overwhelmed to be back in his arms. I tell him how much his death affected us all and he tells me he knows. I know how much you have suffered by my death, he says. That is why I have broken the bonds of the grave. He holds his hand to his side. He is in a late-night movie. I am the living dead, he says. And love to me now is unbearable. His cold skin is no comfort. And his eyes, the sun in his eyes. Once you would have laughed. Give me a boy with imagination, you would have said. I dreamt it up, dad. It’s true. I dreamt up the whole damn thing.

VII: The Chariot: If they could send a satellite into space, what then, Jonah? What belly, star child, on the tips of your fingers. That is constellations, retreating. That is telescope the wrong way round. Look, here I have a belly button, pull on it. Sink the ship, it is what makes me balloon. A paratrooper, I would dream of them, these young boys, falling from the skies, all that colour. Early evening matching earth, the amber grass already burnt from the sun. Take your tops off, boys. You came from the sun, don’t you know. Wash your chests in abandoned quarries. Secret yourself there. In the orbit of small towns, name yourself! One day we shall come back and make races of your footsteps and call them constellations, send satellites up into space to fall back down to earth again. We dial the stars in the hope of retaliation, we call them. I draw my finger down your body. I wait to receive your names. Your skin responds, tightens, receives and then forgets. Receives or is given. You were alive too, water. What does it mean when a satellite falls to the skies? When an idea is swallowed what is given and what, yet, is received?

XV The Devil: Who are you? My name is Mr Scotia, I say it like that. It’s such a dream to see you here, I tell him. To talk about art. You were the beacon of my youth and they don’t make men like you anymore. Your brother sat on the top storey of the bus and broadcast it to everyone who was listening fuck-every-last-one-of-them, an education like it, or else. I have a bone to pick, he says. In my name you made up limericks, claimed I flashed my cock at assembly, whipped it out on stage. I did no such thing. Come on, I say, it was in the power of you to do that, to hold spellbound with a hose like that, come on, laugh at it. I saw the life in you yet. And I was never homosexual, he says, never after the war. I gambled, he boasts. I had many women friends. I played the slots and taught calligraphy into my dotage, then fled Safeway for a hideout in Fife when they came after me. What for? I ask him. That’s another thing, he says. I had my reasons, don’t doubt me. Don’t doubt that I could whip it out right now in the name of restitution and of the settling of scores.

XVI The Tower: I came to the idea of the Nazis through the nightmares of my Grandfather, through his collection of Nazis, the magazines screaming blue murder, lined up like Nuremburg, beneath his bed, his Teasmade high on the gallows of a dream of industrialised murder, his electric blanket, and Jersey too, under it. Ach tung for breakfast, he would say, and click his heels. The silence of the clock. Private Tosh crawls into Berlin to find the enemy gone; headlines like that. He travelled Europe with a free railway pass, re-traced his steps, visited the camps as a tourist. What kind of war is this where we purchase postcards? Holidays at the front of who knows what dream. Marshalling armies, drinking beer at an outdoor table in Plzen, arm in arm in St Bartholomew’s Square. Carefree, on a bench at Ypres, looking for the wrong war, all over again. I ask a question of memory and it turns on his own. I grew up on terror and suffering as comic books. And you draw a squiggle in the margin, mark my boyhood with a letter and a pencilled swastika that reads: Linz is the most beautiful city in Europe, had Hitler re-modelled it. And he did.

XVIII The Moon: Float out like whales, ha ha. Float out like whales. Crevice is lakes, seaweed. Way out. Float out like too big for lakes. Brain berage, damage, a whale is a slug. Don’t romantacise, is a bullet is the velocity and the reason for out is through the back of the head. The argument is null as the fish swims out and makes of itself islands, constant. Don’t fall in love with it as we swim, naked. Don’t say, where are you now, poetry.

XX The Aeon: Across Katherine Park and there you are again, Noah. You caught the spider in your net and when it fell you clapped your hands. The noise of it, against the earth. Like a blackbird, you said. The weight of its body, the speed of its heart, as it fell. How was it you put it. Sing for me, gravity, zing for me little bird. Make of this world both sides of my head. Pull my wings in tight, battery. And bring me back to earth. The outward journey was the inevitable. But the return will be harder. A young boy, in love with the edges. His memories, the measure of blackbirds.

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