'Never sleep with anyone who has more scars than you,' warns Sean Burn in a book about historical scars, scarred landscapes and mental chains. dante in the laundrette is a study in extreme urban lyricism, a love-song from the Third Circle of Hell, where it is always raining. In the Third Circle, Lear is a council estate bully; Caedmon has been gender-reassigned and re-housed in a Newcastle tower block. Meanwhile Dante is sitting in the all-night launderette, contemplating the endless washing-cycles of Hell. dante in the laundrette is an early morning walk through hungover Northern streets, a vision of innocence and beauty framed by the gaze of the cctv cameras and the drum 'n' bass soundtrack of the rain.
prologue root, bark, leaf - yggdrasil the guardian tree branching out and across many worlds. root, bark, leaf - yggdrasil's early days and late nights journeying this multiverse. root, bark, leaf - yggdrasil our guardian tree carving where past-present-futures collide 1 moors above, smokemonster below and my longings for beyond. teessides street-lights, gasflares, bonfires - who in their solitude didn't rhyme the night-sky alight? yet each morning made anew - sun-warp, leaf-bright, web-dew. pulling keys off ash-trees - those single-winged seeds - and pickling the greenest, not everything is syrup as i have learnt. a friend brings rowan jelly, hold that up against sun-warp, leaf-bright, web-dew and you will be transported too. still points in the tippings of child-destiny, aye. cleveland moors above, smokemonster below, and my longing for beyond 2 this mazer, this one who amazes, who amazes me still, spent their childhood in a hedge. clambering years inside that great knotted length. read in their eyes the shapeshift-imagined back and rooting. of course, that was now and this is then - how time circles, times circling yes, and not as clockface, rather the roll-and-tumble raven in long-flight, cascading ever-game thermals, that feather-river of all. how in any hundred foot of hedge each plant found means a hundred years of life. hawthorn, blackthorn, beech, sweet-briar, dog rose, holly, bramble, rowan, honeysuckle and hop and that great woven wall goes right back to the writing down of north myths. smokemonster's hedge was one species - municipal, rightangled, evergreen. once, this wee blob pink at me feet. had i stepped in bubblegum? then blob-pink starts scrattling: beak wider than the imagined future. i place that tiny croak back to its nest, a rune only time will read 3 above roseberry topping, clouds were longboats, dragons, lungs. and up ahead this weather-worn, this beech-nut, this gargoyle, words slow as volcano. - you placed that fallen fledgeling back to nest. - howdya? - one wish. -but howdya? - this is about you no me. one wish now, what would it be? - a story then. - aah, a dreamer. they say two ravens - hugin and munin, thought and memory - sit one to each my shoulders. truth is, i was called to their flight. what i have learnt is you must write your own story. lonely is it no? roots like iron, but always looking to blossom, even in midwinter. for you a joke : why do bees strike? for more honey and shorter working flowers! i look into a great whorled pool, forged and furrowed where his eye should. the haar swallows moors around while a pair of ravens caa-caak caa-caak in warp and weft 4 raven-we above all your cloud appreciation societies, catchme- if-you-can out of asia, bridging greenland to america - our winged speak, how our wings speak. an unkindness of ravens - no - call us a kindliness rather! didn't we give away stars, water and fire, aye, when the whole of creation hung from cruel eagles lodge and you cowered before. not raven! we snatched creation up, loop-outlooping the chase, finding just where to hang up the stars; out-out-tumbling the chase until exactly where to let flow and fall all waters of this world; wing-whistle-outwit and ... only firebrand in beak and don't laugh no, our feathers singed from that day on, raven-we dropping firebrand down among rock. how you learnt to strike two stones, sparks firing, and off-and-outing. and now? high above your cacophony, our brothers/sisters wingclipped in london tower, they call out free-free, free us, free! 5 that long-ago mead of climbing out and above and what i have seen in the clouds since. odin giving an eye to drink from that wisdom well, hanging nine days from yggdrasil so his mind could fill with poetry, and still we search for that midwinter garden in full blossom. now fix to memory, völuspá. vö-lus-pá! this wise-woman's runes and ruins, dust and dusk of a thousand years, back when volcanoes spat the skies dark and the rising sea threatened to wash all away 6 waters rising, mountains burning, summer after summer the sunshine black, do you see? white mud spattering brown leaves of yggdrasil, do you see yet, do you see? beaks trembling with red soot, words break, their long-line sundered, do you see? at last moon-dark, earth-sink, tremble-star. moon-dark, earth-sink, tremble-star. is this the void? no. that wise-woman vö-lus-pá clings with iron roots, seeing beyond. seize beyond. we may yet break this leash. break this leash! arise a second time, earth from ocean, and beautifully green. see? see! earth from ocean, a second time, and beautifully green epilogue leaf - bark - root : - this guardian tree of yggdrasil. how those ravens thought and memory rebuild their nest, rebuild their nest, rebuild, times circlings. so take a sapling, a youngling, a wildling, allow their branching out and across multiverses, carving where past-present-futures collide
'Powered by raw angry energy, a kaleidoscope of images, languages and references... it has a sinuous gutsy kind of music, part chant, part rant.'
'Thank goodness that Sean Burn is keeping the alternative poetry scene alive and kicking.'
'This is writing that flows and mutates, collages, intertwining, overlapping, voices that make us contemplate.'
'full-on and full of energy, with driving rhythms, startling images and, in places, incantatory zeal... If there is an interface between performance poetry and page poetry, this is it.'