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from Song for Disaffection

All these years spent learning to describe 

              and now nothing. 

There’s only so many synonyms for glumness,

              so many vowels to yell. 

Most immediately:

00:00 / 06:19
00:00 / 03:29

a tumbleweed, obviously,

bumbling down the aisles — fresh fruit,

frozen desserts, household cleaning —

clambering shelves in search of a reasonably priced metaphor,

a bundle of similes. O, your honeyed voice,

your eyes like washed grapes, like seville oranges

simmering in their own glow. Your skin

pink as raw minced beef — O, anaemic radiance.

What’s more real

than a feeling?

this lonesome feeling



creatively shopping

my fabrics

in an all-night deli

pushing a rusted trolley


              actually              trudging


leaning for support 

attempting a stumble

as if midway through

an artful wade 

in some man-made river

of sunflower spread

00:00 / 09:58


The following three movements of music, An Artful Wade, Honeyed Voice, and Anaemic Radiance were created using MIDI generated by Jan Willem Kolkman’s Langorhythm 2.0 and an excerpt from my long poem, Song for Disaffection. The program uses a text input, in this case my poetry, and generates MIDI by assigning a note value to each letter, note length to use of vowels, chords per sentence by sentence length, and other parameters denoting scale, chord placement, etc.


Using the MIDI file, I arranged the music using various software synthesisers in the tradition of artists like Brian Eno and William Basinski, to create a situational piece of ambient music, which I hope will be listened to while you, the listener, go about your weekly shop. The melody of the piece, to me at least, feels reminiscent of those harsh, dentist-like lights often found in supermarkets. High frequency, washed out. 


This sound and association, whether a wondrous coincidence or tenuous clutching at straws by myself, is a natural accompaniment to you, bumbling down the aisles, trudging, clambering the shelves. 



Jordan Hayward is a poet and musician based in Manchester, UK.


His work has appeared in various journals, and was awarded the Brian Woodstream Prize for Poetry at the University of Manchester for his long poem Song for Disaffection. His debut pamphlet of unpublishable poems, a literary powerhouse, will be published by PINK in 2021.

He can be found @totoafricaremix.

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