Longing, The Blues, and The World’s Last Darkness


In the tall blue fridge, there is a hunk of unwrapped cheese. A bloom has erupted on the
surface, like a caution; like the calm before the mould sets in. I touch the white stuff. It is
soft, like the fur on a petal, like the chickish down on his birthmark, which I stroked before I

I was free then. I was searing rods branding the thick days. 

Now, a precise ice-cold blast of fridge air —

Tragic kitchen scene.
Mouth stuffed full of mouldy cheese. 
Outside it's winter.

The Blues

I am not happy, I realise, as I pour milk into coffee the way I do: with one slop.
Coffee spatters over cup’s rim and across clean tablecloth, leaving a trail of flecks the colour
of old blood. I’m dabbing at the flecks with a wet napkin and looking at the clock on the wall
over my friend’s shoulder when I think: this is unhappiness, what I’m feeling.

And all around there are other people at tables. 
Conversation a steady drumroll beneath the clatter of glasses and crockery, 
Liquids being poured into vessels, wind blowing at the door.
It opens and closes again. 
Tap tap tap.  
The spoon makes circles in the coffee as I stir. 
Not even sadness, this feeling I have,
It’s enduring, like the long note held at the end of the last song.

And the air is too hot, and my neck feels sticky under my hair. And on the street outside a
little girl with dark skin and a winter coat lets go of her balloon, of course she does, her
chubby hand gasping after the string of it, her fist opening and closing, like a fish out of
water, mouth searching for breath. Her head is thrown back, eyes total Os of horror,
following the balloon, which is drifting off into the endless sky, the sea, the belly of a marine

All that blue. 

The world’s last darkness

After Anna Tsing

The mushroom at the end of the world leaks its wet fuzz onto my hand, 
I’m thankful for the low darkness, for the cap of red on the mushroom’s head, 
Thankful too for the cawing call of crows flying over ahead, bending as bow to arrow,
Like those geese on the beach that time, out on the long stretch of sand at Laguna,
It seemed the world could still be saved then, not that we did much toward saving it,
Prostrate under the sun’s gummy heat, we slept on striped towels, read novels,
Behind us, cranes of industry dipped their long necks in viscid oil,
Not that I knew how pleasant it would be, then, 
To lay in the low darkness at the end of the world, listening to crows caw,
Stroking my hand across the last mushroom’s red cap,
The umber glow on the mountain, not a warning now — now, an inevitability,
Give in to the moss, the mountain mumbles, 
                                                                           give in to the wet fuzz of what’s living.

Katie Beswick

Katie Beswick is a writer and academic. She teaches at Goldsmiths University of London. She publishes across genres (prose, scholarship, journalism, poetry, blogs). In March 2024 her poetry collection Being Slaggy was exhibited as an installation work at Camden People's Theatre SPRINT festival.

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