Livia Franchini



Best Practice


There is no urgency, you see Lloyd
in sitting down here on the curb
Maybe a scrap or paper or car may
fly by maybe some understanding
worth your time if a little awkward
Maybe I’ll cradle in my face and cry or
keep talking keep answering the question
of what language do I dream in
Rehearsing pathways to your heart my darling
I’ve been in bed to think about this for 2 days
time-wise I’ll take from 5 to 7 minutes

Metrically I have learnt to talk
in fragments
coming up to breathe
now and then then
breathless with no joy in it

Artificial intervals
open up the sealed fridge check
that dark still broth at dawn
and all the exotic spices before work
one toast
one naked lightbulb
the carcass in its tinfoil
the meat you said came off
so easily
after simmering
and I wondered for how long
you’d kept it hidden

So let’s not spoil things between us
Lloyd I’m
sorry I keep talking
I felt tonight a need for syntax
Lloyd listen
Sometimes when you stand up I worry
this is the way eventually you’ll find me
out circling your legs
and how I have a habit
of jutting out my chin to speak so much
sometimes my bottom teeth are chattering
like an old elk and I surprise myself
in my unattractiveness
my lack of English poise in copying
your plastic facial features

What gets me, Lloyd is I’ll put up with this
five-month of Ladbrokes inbox for the time when
we cracked the algorithm with one pound bets
I bought a puffer coat unconsciously in a sale
I bought it red and judged a competition
and stood before a panel
the theme was unity
the thing is honey
I’m sorry I called you that again
the thing is with compassion
is that it is a word that rhymes with many
Where is your act of contrition
I know that you don’t know how
we are supposed to deal with this
look I’m asking
or shall we carry on with it regardless
tuck your gut in lovely
right at home
I’ve held this breath in for what feels like an eternity






A Balcony


Faulty zipline of our window, each time I pull it
shut in, draughty, this honey love I cultivate
from behind dirty curtains, this new routine
of cleanliness, the black cat has left the walls,
haunts the animal shelter, the rota is initialled

There is no deity on the bed, curled softly
No pets no smoke cleaned professionally
crossing off two hundred for repainting
that corner of the door where it chipped
I swear I minded, I kicked it softly

Of course I’m mixing the right colours
to make the perfect flat white each time
a tulip a heart a wall gladiolus
stick a poster on top of mould and press it
paint around it in orange 60s
style, get tired, abandon it

Playing house is easy to do
you know I break up every time I break up with you
Up among the rich the tomb of Marx is cluttered
with Marxist scholars like forefathers
the queue for the lion tamer’s grand interring
starts up on the hill and ends up in the City

Dark falls on the flat earth and the roundabout glitters
across this stretch of road happen many crashes
many carry on through, in three directions opposite





Smart Fridge


man eats live mouse
dipping it in sauce
nun mugged by man with machete
icecap melting released

Various News

bank loan denied
sweetest play school love heart
lemon foot bath
new viruses

Various News

chocolate as secret to good life
sweet heart today is 1 1 6
lemon foot bath
beneficial ritual

Various News

live mouse! man must eat
no loan permitted
sweetest love heart won heart of all parents
new viruses

Various News

chocolate secret to longevity
dripping in its sauce
nun mugged but survived
man with machete

Various News

1 1 6 beneficial rituals
coming together expelling toxins
lose as much weight with a walk as
memorable lemon bath

Various News

man throws molotov at bank branch
bottled corona on table
knife chop spoon fork stick cut hand
mouse eats live man




1 <Last accessed, Sunday 1st March, 2020)>




Livia Franchini is a writer from Tuscany, Italy. She has translated Michael Donaghy, Sam Riviere and James Tiptree Jr. among many others and is the author of a poetry pamphlet, OUR AVAILABLE MAGIC (Makina Books, 2019) and a novel, SHELF LIFE (Doubleday, 2019). She coordinates the Goldsmiths Prize for fiction.

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