PUPPY by Marcus Slease

Marcus Slease is a (mostly) absurdist, surrealist and minimalist writer from Portadown, N. Ireland and Utah. His writing has been translated into Danish and Polish, and has been published in various magazines and anthologies, including Tin House, Poetry, Fence, Bath Magg, The Lincoln Review, Black Box Manifold, and Best British Poetry 2015. He is the author of numerous books from indie presses, including: Never Mind the Beasts (Dostoyevsky Wannabe), The Green Monk (Boiler House Press), Play Yr Kardz Right (Dostoyevsky Wannabe), and Rides (Blart Books). He comes from a working class background and currently teaches high school in Barcelona. Find out more at: Never Mind the Beasts (www.nevermindthebeasts.com) and follow him on Twitter @postpran


A book is not a crust. It is a ball of light. Sweeping the puppy hair. It is all one big mystery. Long gone from London and all my friends there. Sometimes I feel them. Puppy out among the big dogs. In the green grass. Beside the splashing sea waves.

The new flat in Sitges is coming together. Two weeks of unpacking and assembling furniture from Ikea. 200 meters down the hill equals La Fragata beach. Up the hill is Parellades street full of throngs of shoppers. We weave between feet. Puppy meets many dogs in Sitges. Sniffing the bum hole and crotch. Sniffing the sniffer. Puppy grazes on grass. Puppy loves to run with giant leaves in mouth up the new street to the new flat in Sitges. 

Words of Praise

“This gentle series of prose poems follows the adventures of a young dog and his boy as they negotiate life in a small Spanish town during the pandemic lockdown. In Marcus Slease’s world, Puppy is everywhere, like the proverbial jewel of interdependence in the Buddhist image of Indra’s Net that opens the book. This net reminds us that “no one knows where the soul sits.” Is it everywhere or is it nowhere, here or not here? On the way to find out, Puppy and boy romp through a range of everyday objects (urine, sand, wood) and not so everyday references (the New Testament, Greek Mythology, the music of Bach and Max Richter). Can they reconcile the domestic and the wild? Like so much of Slease’s writing, this book is at once ludic, lucid and profoundly welcoming.” – Peter Jaeger, author of Postamble : For an Invisible Sangha

“Feel the heat, the distance. The need for puppy. The awe at puppy. Slease walks his puppy along a threadbare path between knowing and not knowing – flashes of wisdom jump up at you from the puppy dog panting of ‘just trying to hold on’. Slease leads you into his worlds easily and it feels all right, anecdotal, familiar. The rhythm hooks, the pace builds. You’re dizzy. Something has happened to you but you’re not sure what. The person who enters the book is not the same as the person who leaves.”  – Lydia Unsworth, poet (Mortar, Some Murmur, Certain Manoeuvres), based between Manchester and Amsterdam

“Whatever you do, do not chase the puppy. The puppy will come to you. The puppy will choose you. You can never own a puppy. But you can live with one. The puppy will teach you new tricks and remind you that each moment exists to be fully inhabited. Marcus Slease’s Puppy is a dog manual. A how to. A book not for the future or the past but for the present. For the right here and now. A puppy knows how to live. And so do you.”  – Stephen Emmerson.

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