Saturday, 23 May 2020

Poems from the Backroom 69: Chris Kelso

The excitement and sheer range continues! I came across Kilmarnock writer Chris Kelso via Graham Rae who I highlighted in the Poets' Republic Magazine as someone who has investigated Scottish links to the Beats. Graham, who is featured later in the series, has done quite a lot of gonzo journalism on this topic and did some fantastic work tracking down and interviewing Alex Neish, the maverick editor of The Scottish literary magazine Jabberwock which introduced Beat writers like Ginsberg and Corso to the arguably less demonstrative revolution of the Scottish literary renaissance back in the 1950s. Graham had just written the introduction to a book on William Burroughs by, I heard, a young writer called Chris Kelso. This book 'Burroughs and Scotland' is soon to be published by 'Beatdom', and I am fascinated to learn will feature Burroughs' connection with the Edinburgh Scientologists, an organisation that myself and my friend John Durnin were briefly kidnapped by in the early 70s. I remember as we eventually fled from the building we ran past a curiously carved wooden ear trumpet with the logo 'Speak direct to L Ron Hubbard' and I often imagine him sitting sipping a daiquiri in his yacht in international waters when a great cry of 'FUCK OFF HUBBARD' rang out over the ether.

Chris comes at writing across a wide range of genres, from bizarro to science fiction, graphic, horror to transgressive, and almost all combinations possible, all slightly different versions of the attack all we poets make on the ordinary. He is extremely versatile, in style and genre.

He is a British Fantasy Award-nominated novelist, screenwriter, and anthologist. His work has been published in - '3AM Magazine', 'Black Static', 'Locus', 'Daily Science Fiction', 'Antipodean-SF', 'SF Signal', 'Dark Discoveries', 'The Lovecraft e-zine', 'Sensitive Skin', 'Evergreen Review', 'Verbicide', 'The Unquiet Dreamer' - a Literary tribute to Harlan Ellison, and many others.

Here he Reads 'Love Bug'

Here is Chris' Website:

A review of hhis book 'The Dregs'

Two more Poems here:

I love humans, I do.
In fact, I’m addicted to humans.
I have been since you first came to this place.

Beneath your clothes,
I love the diaphanous flesh that covers your muscle-buried bones.
Lips set in soft vermillion
Blood cells like rushing rhinestones

The burning scintillas of hope and hopelessness,
Always in perpetual duality,
Which you uniform your souls with

                 So proudly, I adore (C'est Magnifique!).

                 Your life, your death, your minds, your goals!

I love the way your eyes gaze at me through the visors, through the cosy penumbra like chatoyant rings - amongst other things, I even love the complicated little hypocrisies that make you - you.
Then there’s the jobs that kill most of you before I get the chance to…
I’ll say this though,
There is no better organism in the solar system to inhibit
I’m convinced of it!
Than human beings
Now, other, less infectious, diseases might disagree.
But I love you, I love you, I love you…I do.

So when I’m looking for a human host,
Browsing through profiles
Taking notes of prolate skulls
With eyes that stare like herring gull,
Or bursting stars in the sky,
I like to make sure I find one who really meets my needs as a virus.
That’s pretty important when you’re looking for a partner
- to find someone compatible, to find a nice guy.

You know,
I’ve spent the best part of existence understanding your behaviours,
Micro-expressions, what you like, what you don’t like
The sudden onset of lumbago…
You know what I mean? Right?

And, I think I’ve finally cracked the formula.

Of course, no two humans are ever the same,
You’re unique in that sense, your pathos,
And your pain

My last human host, it didn’t work out.
Oh now, we ended on good terms! I didn’t go without.

But when you reject me, I get upset,
I react with violence and misplaced hate
My ego is fragile, it’s male

Then it’s all over, like a sun gone nova. 

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