Watch, Listen, Read Carbon Red - Fiona Curran Carbon Red I am a collection of dismantled almosts - Anne Sexton Yes, of course we can start with the dress. Can talk of the performative, of the poetic handmaiden, your present congregation are a speculation, an alibi. So, you turn up the flame underneath your audience, until they stand and warm their hands by the poet. Language burning away like coals. There will be much guesswork, mention of the drape, the cut, the belt; the heels required to keep it from the floor. And of course, the dress is RED, a great big red problem. But nothing like as scarlet as your loaded voice. That’s what I’d call a proper blaze, the silver melting, your family home on fire. So, let’s discuss said voice, Anne. It has the very quality of an aftermath. A vermillion tone, a ruby, the mosquito’s draft. A voice smoking like a war horse after battle, the heat rising from a body in destruction spent, while the rider rolls claret dregs around the mouth, the victor. My battle, my rules baby. Reading to me. Reading at me. Insistent. And at the end of a phone line, in the loop of the headphones, time’s arrow flying, you crackle and flame. From a great distance, I can hear you mixing Madder, Minium, even, as you press, a less than holy word onto the page using the embers of your attention. Post wildfire. And that word is out, and as the applause rings, she lifts a smouldering cigarette from the huge glass ashtray. Raises her refreshed drink. “You see, God”, she says, to the acolytes, to the choir, “is not indifferent to our need”. Poem by Fiona Curran commissioned by Poet in the City, University of Liverpool and Loughborough University as part of Poets in Vogue.