Twice a year my partner and I visit Katowice, Poland. At Christmas and also during the summer. It is a great time to visit Ewa’s family and it is also partly my writing retreat. I feel at home there even though my Polish is still basic. Like any forever beginner, I can of course understand a lot more Polish than I can speak. Someday I will speak better. I also lived in Poland for a number of years, in various parts of the country, and I feel connected to Poland, but per usual with every country, I am also an outsider. Occupying the outsider position is a good place to be, with the right mind.

One Christmas, it must have been 2012, there was magic snowman, with over 100 lights, and I sat next to the snowman, in my own mini room, tucked away to the side of the living room of Ewa’s parents. There was no door, but it was a nice writing nook. I sat on a nice hardwood rocking chair and took out my notebook. I was reading a lot of so-called Alt Lit back then (although that label, like most, encompasses a lot of very different writers). It was the big peak of so-called Alt Lit writing. Writers such as Chelsea MartinSam Pink, Melissa Broder, and many others. I finally felt like the writing I had been writing and reading, absurdist, sometimes surrealist, and often plainspoken, sometimes broadly confessionalist, had a larger community. Previously, closer to my generation, there were other writers with some similar inclinations as the so-called Alt Lit writers, and I was drawn to their writing very early. Poets like Matthew Rohrer and Dorothea Lasky and  Zachary Schomburg.

I was never at the centre of that Alt Lit community, but I attempted an essay/review entitled The New Poetics of Confession. The Alt Lit community had a lot of potential, as well as problems that led to its demise. It was good to feel that potential. That aliveness. Art outside the walls of various academies/universities. Something fresh. It all dissolved, as most artistic communities are prone to dissolve, with quite a bit of controversy. But no matter. Many of the writers associated with that largely online community have continued writing some interesting work.

So there I sat, with my notebook and pen, Christmas 2012 in Katowice, Poland, writing a nomadic surrealist prose poem. It all came at once. The voice and the story/lines. This doesn’t happen often. Usually there are years of tinkering and collaging. But it was a whole birth. It feels nice to be written though completely, to lose yourself. The radio of Orpheus speaking through you, as Jack Spicer would say.

It was also the Christmas my sister sent me a t-shirt. In Utah there is small town called Beaver, it is very famous, and my sister sent me one of their famous t-shirts for Christmas. I was wearing that t-shirt, in that little compartment, rocking on the wooden chair with my notebook, feeling the heat from the snowman with 100 lights, and remembering the dancing from the previous night, at Ewa’s brother, with Gangnam style. Gangnam style was sweeping all the nations, and I was feeling it. The birth of the Polish beaver.

Here is a reading of that prose poem/story, “I Love Beaver,” from my new book The Spirit of the Bathtub





My new book is just out! YIPPPIEEE!! Started this in 2008 when I first came to London. Picked it up again in 2012 after coming back from living in Poland and Turkey. It was poems written at tube stops around London. Then poems written on the circle line in London. Finally it became poems written on trains all over the U.K. Sitting backwards on the way there. Sitting forwards on the way back. Some real. Some imagined. What’s the difference? Super happy to have Blart Books publish it. Super happy!! Check it out!! Grab a copy!! It’s poetry for pirates!

Bernadette Mayer, Ted Berrigan, Ron Padgett are some of the influences. 

A little more about the book over at H_ngm_n (where some of the poems were also published):


Marcus Slease
There is only seeing and, in order to go to see, one must be
pirate” said Kathy Acker. This is pirate literature. On a train.
Partly inspired by Ted Berrigan’s Train Ride from 1971,
Rides has a reality hunger. A mash up of memories and 
observations on train rides all over the U.K.
“A moving stage theatre,” 
“A special mission with a Mormon bodybuilder,” 
“A donut the size of your face called the TexASS.”
The speaker is “staging the room for their own pornography.”
Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise make a special appearance in their epic blockbuster Far and Away on a train from Brighton. Natalie Portman’s dress appears on a train to Brighton. The “psycho southeast harbor” of Folkestone is an inferno of the shirtless being stuffed with chips. In Norwich children slide down a slide into a graveyard.The soundtrack is Pussy Riot and The Raincoats. Rides is a sad romance. “A gravy moat with mash potatoes in the middle.” Personal and personable, the speaker of these poems doesn’t “want to be
clever” they just want “to be real.” Domestic expansive and full
of truth nuggets: If you paint a person / with house paint
they will live / if you don’t paint / the bottom of their feet.”
Here’s Marcus reading a selection from Rides




(after Ginsberg)
America I am putting my pursy lips
to the wheel
America go to bed
dream new dream
America none of this
means anything
America I’ve got
your booty
in my laundry bag
America my potatoes
are puffy, cloudy, sexy
America I have
a queer head a queer
shoulder a queer toe
a queer knee
when are you coming
to save me
America will you kneed
me like
sour dough
America from your offices
of gloom into
Britannia offices
of doom oh
America I am like you
a tragic flaw
on a train
to nowhere
where Constitutional
lost & hard
at sea
America the man
ain’t coming
from sky
America bent down
withered Promethean
urge with milk
& creamy eggs
America I do not
rejoice in yr lamb
the impeachable
smart drone
dirty bombs
on & on
things that can’t be
and is
and isn’t









A great list of indie publishers. Yes. It does seem like a golden age. The big publishers have lost touch, created a vacuum (we know what nature does with vacuums). These publishers are pushing the best shit right now in the English speaking world. There are others that they missed (of course) like Octopus Books/Poor Claudia, Civil Coping Mechanisms, Curbside Splendor (I am sure there are more). But this is a damn good list!!