Dishevelled shadows, timber-hitch knot of dark

                Invading sleep, monster

                                I made from apps, from blood,

                                From codes, gamers’ sweat, kite marks, desperate 

                Melodies of steel braid, humming cables to abandoned resorts

                Of high snows, ice route to plague diaries, 

Distancing, this is what the past looks like, 

                Afterthoughts, no time to savour, to breathe


I no one remembers, I, piecemeal, homeless beneath

                The hoarding , my cardboard bed, my newspaper 

                                Covers, my death stare

                                The sound in my mouth black plumbing, my history 

                Howling, you can hear it, even

            Where you live, through your shiny vaginas, your

Subsequent statement to what you heard in your isolation, 

                 In soft encryptions, diamond edged labia, your vote registered 


The villagers have torches, monster, they

                Said, we ping your signal between masts 

                                Follow your streaming biopic to find you

                                Your rags filthy, sour, the wonder vaccine spoiled

                Are your genes still yours so much

                Of others in you, your market test stats, donor card sharks 

Troll this make us whole again beyond

                 Our designer houses a death covenant 


No cash, contactless now, instead of sky miles I, walking

                Across Europe, Turin Paris Madrid

                                The old stone cities empty, London full of ghosts

                                Streets bars cafes nobody there

            The killing swathe of it, all, maybe

                Maybe not, I hear piano music

Teased from ancient air fossil voices

                Somebody hidden inside, no one buries the dead


No cash, contactless now, I at the border, metal miles

                Of ditches of corpses burned without prayers

                                My soul goes everywhere, for visas, for the  lost world

                                New York Hanoi, the beautiful girl in the mask

                Sitting naked by the open fridge in the heatwave

            I’m crazy, I think it’s all about me

Monster, passing through a country so peaceful

            I hope if I’m dead already somebody will say


We the people of the grave, coming back to our hometowns

                Silently but cherished, those diseases behind us

                                 No way back, Wuhan those 

                                Other places so stressful

                My consciousness a dragonfly, people sad

                Because of worrying

Knowing that all the rich houses are broken

                Their contents their pianos coffins bombs, no matter


My consciousness, wet market product selfish 

                Suffering, sufferers the people

                                Off work, stopped schools, no rhymes now

                                Confused hope for safety like the past this

                Is what the past looks like, greaseball RNA choking 

                Sterile the distance between us

Song for the hustlers, the badass down grid dealers extinct

                Dreams your hookup guy with no name, monster


Your people a thousand years ago, your likeness 

                Its generation of farms armies drawing rooms

                                Swindlers clerks in low lit back rooms 

                                The midwife the gambler the one who preached

                Salvation the one who sickened, the one

                Lucky in love in business in not dying


The one who came to the mind’s high place 

                Beyond the sickness leaning into every breath 

Along the road a lone blue surgical glove, skinned

                Crumpled animal tumbles randomly, chance patterns

                                Of rest and motion, hazardous waste escapee

                                Across restricted zones one way only disembodied

                 Infractions this is what the past looks like

                Think of stars coming round into shapes 

Connected making gods animals humans

                Fate notions history notions these predictions 


Guatemala is a cardboard coffin no carved mahogany 

                No angels the dead are in their houses the dead

                                Bagged boxed loaded into trucks

                                From their houses, hazmat teams blinking back

                Sweat, the load heavy endless deep in the houses

                Families waiting in hallways by the dead room

Dust stirs from the roads the trucks moving

                Along the roads the dust rising through the trees 


Who is that, walking, who is it approaches

                So near, how will we be known in these distances

                                Dissolving in a touch, threatens 

                                 Kills, remote sniper shot, timer switch

                Greetings monster, a fair morning your gutter

                Bedding your pedigree insouciance at ease

Where the nurses whisper all is well my love

                Where pale passengers on the empty bus, whisper 


Connect upload imagine join awake with others

                Tech surge washing through the rooms 

                                By the hallway that opens

                                To wide vistas where the dead have gone

                Peace be unto you, and unto you,  monster

                Your newspaper bed, receipts prescriptions shredding 

For your mattress your hope

                Your breath your breath your breath your breath


A rainy Monday stare, blank mirror look

                And now my attention to all these things adrift 

                                The villagers redeem with fire purify with fire

                                Monster they say, from your sanctuary dreams you

                Will arise, from your rage, from your rags

                From the delicate hands of the nurses who

Were with you at the end, here where the dead are tallied, this

                Is what the past looked like




Projected Letters is a literary magazine dedicated to publishing the best new and established writing from around the world.


Estill Pollock's publications include the book cycles Blackwater Quartet and Relic Environments Trilogy.