Metatron Prize


for Rising Authors

 

 

 

 

 

L. Christie

 

Nymph Drainage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

L. Christie is a writer, disability support worker, and mutual aid worker. Her writing has appeared in Shitwonder, 3:AM Magazine, Exberliner, the Quietus, and others. She lives in London.

 

Who are you?

I’m a culture writer and poet from San Francisco working in London. My main job is as a mental health and disability support worker.

 

What is your book about? Could you tell us a bit about the process of writing this Nymph Drainage?

The book is a lot about work, solitude and escape. In our economy - of money and of "morality" and culture - how much do the individual worker's (and, in the context of the book, sex worker’s) motivations matter? Does feeling stable and economically taken care of outweigh the pain created by types of work that can be very taxing in other ways (for me, sex work and intense care work)? What does it mean if no, if yes? I’m also trying to find language that isn't just theory language to think about doctrines that pervade our world: in Devil Vignette, for example, a fear of sex and "immorality" alongside a blindness to such "immorality" in the deepest structures and highest tiers of society that then replicates itself again and again online. They're also about solitude and isolation in the in-the-news sense, about peering into our phones to watch things "happen" even though it seems impossible that things could be happening, efflorescing through magic internet reproduction, even though actual events rarely (at the time of writing, 2020-21) went forward, in a kind of perverse reanimation. Equally perversely, isolation also made me yearn for more isolation: cohabiting with different friends and strangers during the pandemic has meant a lack of private space as much as a feeling of total loneliness at times. A lot of the book has therefore ended up as odes to utter self-sufficiency and retreat into a protected and circumscribed domestic sphere, and a melting back into nature. The last long poem, The Sea, is a pastiche of my real grandfather's life, written in 2018, as I try and think through his life in Germany, which straddles world wars, and multiple infidelities that destroyed my grandmother and led to her divorcing him, but which also discloses a deep loneliness and helplessness as he becomes an old man who always needs to have a wife to survive.

 

What are some books you’ve read and enjoyed lately and/or books that influenced the writing in your submitted work?

Recently I’ve loved Margery Kempe by Robert Glueck and Lote by Shola von Reinhold. Nymph Drainage is partly influenced by these and by The Cow (Ariana Reines), Snowcrash and The Diamond Age (Neal Stephenson), and Ai Ogawa.

 

My book in emojis:

🛀🤢🫂🤳🕳🌿🪑

 

 

 

 

NYMPH

DRAINAGE

[EXCERPT]

 

 

BEL/L/E
 

Daybed apple whore
Sliding down the banister of the brothel

 

BE/L/L/E/VU/E
 

Blasted a dove
Out of the square


J/A/R/D/I/N


Pushing skull through dark but safe
Water
Early morning


GROWTH


Dreaming about
Silk fly white bones
Fishing bolero


SINE together, SIGN.
 
 
 

 

NOT REAL GIRL IT’S NOT REAL
 

I’m a gift for anyone who chooses to open me.


STOP CLEARING YOUR THROAT—


A line, ribbon. A line is what I want


From me to you, ribbon. Ribbon
Is you.


You can tie, you can slip.


You can bond and knot.


I am simply whatever is enclosed,
Air or coal.
Silky bitch—


Your substance tells you you are real,
In the box I can’t hear anything, Schrödinger’s bitch—
Very flexible, in a split forever.
 
 


 
LIMIT


I only feel happy when a cloud of gnats scrubs me like a wire brush1111111111
I only feel happy when I am drinking a basin of red wine
I only feel happy when I spent less than 5 [redacted] on it
I only frog with wet breath and horror sometimes, I only cry
In the dark when I am made to reveal the nakedness of how much of a baby I am
I only smell good when I’m naked
I only have all the other shit that everyone else has
I only see the oak leaves tapping at my window like a mom
I only close the window

 

 

PHONES


Everyone in the books is in love
Cotton candy internet is in love with her and them and it
Sweet sweet hands, every button is a hand
Every hand is for a button
Every thing can be emphasized
Every word means something
Flightless green 
– that’s how the world feels when you’re not on your phone.
Everything sits.
All the pathos, nowhere to flow, how did they do it...
Everybody tits
All the people bounce all over the world
All the people experiment
Even while they’re sitting on the ground.

 
 
 


PRAYER TO THE MOTHER OF DOGS
For Dorothea Tanning


Sickness recedes when you give me your wet hand,
A mass of primordial colours,
I am a blossom
In the watery cup of it
Thank you,
Thank you.
Gouache, the tea-
Coloured light
Coming through the bay window,
This life sits in a chair by the door in a skull that is mine, I’m looking at it.
In through the eyes,
Hungry and slick canine buttons,
I see my puggish self
Reflected-
And beyond that
The room we were in.
I know as we sat
In this thinking,
Our twined hands like the remaining hot drop of brine
In a conch’s whorl of corridors,
That sinister-mindedness swirled in you
Ready to be on the canvas,
Ready to walk out onto it.
At all other moments but that
One,
You are aloof,
Historical.
If my head is ever just bone,
You’ll still be in it.