‘Visual cues suggest an extreme sonic environment’
— Lawrence English on latent sound, 2016

‘I like to think of latent sound as a kind of spectral haunting’
Lawrence English, 2020

the attendant is
reading the Qu’ran best
leave him to his
tone poem
his mood piece
gentle octaves

understand as you do
of the old town
& dark hills behind

as you do
absorbed from artefacts—

artefacts go
on eating each other

then reset as cold
in proud white rooms
that buzz & cough


the act of attending:
noble if to nothing

latent sound is nothing

from studied
woman by the door
& aching feet exodus

[dilating tones]
quarrel          cuddle          squirm           peep           ignite
sigh               stretch         perform         notate         imbibe  
grit                house          locate            imagine           

conversations with
the walls & let loudness

& inhabit
deep, invisible time—

frequencies staying lost
as realities come & go—
& remote as breath




the semantic problems of child-rearing (i-iii)

the dog died

my mother cocked her head
on an afternoon
& a year or so later
the 1990s felt like
vague heat
tangled up / it is imagined
told or guessed


last thing at night

dull lingering impressions in the country
& inescapable frequent sadness
for children, clumsy & limited
with beasts on the doorstep

haunting is the word—
the muffled squeak inside
defeated by a wandering neighbour
they’re gone & that’s all


not drowned

not drowned. but in the absence of answers
psychology grows & grows
                 evidence is usually better:
                 a wet body isn’t speculated
no questions for the empty day

indoors is well-meaning
overflowing usually
           towards one reality
           damaged & blurred—
           the supposed
                       years as myth



[ Barnaby Smith is a poet, critic, journalist and musician living on Darug and Gundungurra land near Sydney, Australia. Recent work has appeared in journals such as Erbacce (UK), Orbis (UK), Marble (UK) and Blaze Vox (US), as well as Cordite, Southerly, Australian Poetry Journal, Australian Poetry Anthology, Best Australian Poems, and more. He is an award-winning art and music critic, and records music under the name Brigadoon, having released the album, Itch Factor, in 2020.]

Copyright © 2022 by Barnaby Smith, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of Copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.