Litter Home Page

Peter Hughes

A Berlin Entrainment (22-25)

Messe Nord/ICC

soothing summer rain that orchestrates these
visionary skies between the branches
over slaughter lake we’re making our way

back to the train & scratchy headphone sounds
someone else’s rap or unsuccessful
language course or what might be another

Beirut come-back track the little Turkish
girl in an azure dress is teaching both
her stroppy younger brothers how to count


We thought we glimpsed the Eiffel Tower, the bus route underwater, components of another wall or two made out of crushed, recycled language. You invited us into your garden, then locked the gates and unleashed the dogs. Now you bulldozer the gardens of my ancestors and build rest rooms over their bones. This is the only place to learn another language but the necessary language hasn’t yet been written. It is the mother tongue of everyone.



what is the big pink cuboid by the rails
near the country track with someone’s trumpet
playing on a balcony alongside

two bicycles & seven wheels with time
to register the beauty of the curves
along the lines that travel round the head

passengers for Tegel airport change here
but we stay on for another chorus
the line-up will never be repeated


Every other weekend that tricksy double dip as you cross over the tracks; relative and conditional. The constellations slowly change but the puddle at the crossroads stays the same. Compaction. Compaction still has a lot to answer for but remains unable to speak. Everybody’s life feels abstract this evening, the streetlight catching random spatters. And yet the  purple light of hunger is a dark claw reaching upwards from the gut to rearrange the world, talk about the props and lighting.



we came from different places & stayed there/
here despite the years of separation
warped concentric rings reciprocating

filters for a few views of foliage
the awe-inspiring weight of two flat tomb
stones balancing on straws a birch among

the sycamores punctuated by the
one lop-sided nest perched in the top-left
branch a magpie’s or a cancellation


The girdle of emotional support can be restrictive; you feel exceedingly vertical as if confronting these nocturnal elements in artificial lunar light, a Hepworth piece left standing in the unemployed north Cornish hail. That can’t be right. The intolerable grinding, the food mixer remains switched on however much is in the actual bowl. I could have been a delicately poised substantive in an elegant yet sensitively nuanced late syntactic dark negotiation but that is to misunderstand how language and the human subject… wait: this is but prose.



Florian & Jeremy get married
the cuisine is Viennese the city
in the sunset decides to turn light green

revivified the band begins to play
intangible cultural heritage
an edgy contemporary tango

where we take it in turns to be leading
wiry flamenco now dimming the lights
we dance at the edge of the loading bays


When she first came here she spent days on end without speaking to a soul. Then she taught herself guitar. What is this now? A feeling that visits the outside of your mouth but then flutters away towards the nearest window. Towards the window, an artificial light source or the time you can’t forget or quite remember when the moth touched your lip and then lapsed back towards the flame. Someone holds a cold glass up into a cloudless sky and stares right through it. She taught herself guitar so she could hear her own voice singing.




Copyright © Peter Hughes, 2018.