Conspiracy Poem, I’m at the wick of my life which means light me on fire, &, Bird Tax by Tiia Kelly

Conspiracy Poem, I’m at the wick of my life which means light me on fire, &, Bird Tax by Tiia Kelly

Conspiracy Poem

i read my favourite conspiracy theory    

it is the one about the organisation

that did a selection of things      to make the world

a teensy bit

worse      nothing on the scale      

    of a global humanitarian crisis

    just some very modest        emotional discomfort


i read it out loud to myself in the shower

hone it

       like steam       between two thighs     

       pull it up         in a safari tab

embroider the conspiracy

       into my underwear’s waistband


i think conspiracy theorists are romantics by trade        


they believe in things based only on circumstance

which is the most romantic thing i’ve ever heard


i think every conspiracy theory in history has contained a romantic subplot     


my favourite is a wormhole

     of romantic subplots

that all lead       to one another — 

    sixty lovers squeezed

into one coat      but instead of a coat

    it is my embroidered underwear


what i mean is i am alive with romantic conspiracies


      what i mean is     

i have assembled them down my pants

      where they are easier      to believe       i mean

only that i must do the work of being romantic     

      which is a trait that rises     steady from the groin


i’m so human i’m so slutty on belief


scrawling on loins in hot ink     

joining apps

            for people

to conspire forever        it’s like


everyone i meet is a new piece

       of evidence       it’s like       a race

to see whose theory will be proven first 

       and then………. subsequently disproven

it’s like      

 the conspiracy gets bigger

and harder to contain        


it descends over fields of children

the shadow of a blimp in front of the sun


the kids

all sweaty with collusion



do myth blimps have blimp stations

and when do they leave them???


me sobbing        

never and always and maybe

once you’re thirty???

       even now

i am tending to my conspiracies with great ceremony

       laying wreaths at their feet       going shhh

don’t speak      we’re celebrating the conspiracies today

manifesting my conspiracies

      pants and all

 visualising       one big phallic

     shooting the sun out of the sky       


I’m at the wick of my life which means light me on fire

can’t you tell i bought an aromatherapy candle


this is where i begin: imported materials mingling

with pine—

my blind faith rotating in my pelvis

my teeth starting up between the rocks—


i’m reclaiming something or other & i didn’t even

know it                   god! even thinking

                                about it makes me feel it

                                behind my knees


there are so many contradictions i don’t

know How not to die. a half-formed thing


can become oxidized & set off a chain reaction:


an unflinching notion on the back

of your neck, the creaking of decay


finding your way through death in an UberPool


it feels so grand


to claim light as the absence

of a thing. my complete equivalence

swept where nothing can


touch it.              the healthiest kind of repression:

  a piece of technology i can mine out of me


i’m so hot breath

these days, laid to rest

in the stomach. a consequence

hurrying back to life


Bird Tax

I imagine we’re walking

down a street that could be

any street given we are

on it & people

paid taxes for it. I imagine

birds but not

too many as though

fewer birds make things

more elegant &

to have more birds

would detract from

the very nice time

we are having. I imagine

you are commending me

on the very nice street I

have picked although

the street doesn’t matter & to

be anywhere with you

is like a semi-bird-filled

tax-street on the corner

of the very nice

time I’ve imagined. 


There’s a point I imagine

to being hypothetically

with you when I can’t be

with you in an

un-hypothetical way. I imagine

it is something

to do with

two different people on two

separate couches alone

& contemplating bird quantities. I imagine

it is something

that when it’s over we’re commending

one another for

the very nice time we’ve

been spending separately



The point here

I imagine is hypothetical

or at least that

to find it would require a

separate endeavour. I imagine

that to find the point &

hold on to it would

convince me of its

permanence or that

I could hold it

un-hypothetically. I imagine

if the point and I

were hypothetical we

would be on a street

with no birds.


I imagine a street

which is a street of

our own making probably

because of

the taxes we paid. I imagine

the point is

we paid them together.


BONUS poems from Tiia are available on our Patreon from tomorrow. You can find more from her over on Twitter!


Executive Producers

Karolina Ristevski

Elliot Cameron

Daniel Henson

Sue White

Interview Transcript by Simonn Stratton

Interview Transcript by Simonn Stratton

The Swooping Season by Jen Saunders

The Swooping Season by Jen Saunders