Issue 9
—Spring 2019

Work

Temporary

Corin Sworn

Temp

Temporary, from time
lasting but a time, a season

1886 short for temperature
1909 short for temporary
job, employee, etc.

By 1932 a noun—she is a temp
By 1973 a verb—she temped, he is temping

By 2002—I was temping

My Pink Labor Days

At the front desk,
I perform acclimatizing novice for a while
then leave.

 

In the suit, I am strange
to myself. As the office temp
odd to the office.

In imagining I weird the system
I enjoy being weirded by it.

I visit the kitchen
as if it is the depiction
of another city
always empty and guidebook perfect.

I drink the invisibly made coffee.

Then masturbate in the bathroom.

 

Last Season’s Semi-Gloss

I’d like to find a book on photocopiers
not a manual or history
but a promotional guide to what I’ve known
and don’t find anymore.

It would have showroom photographs
of their oxen bodies on display
each machine girth offset
in halftone hues of beige and grey.

I’d turn the semi-gloss pages
where typists of yesteryear
celebrate, latently.
Their cheers unheard

in the vacuum
of a distant Arcadian field
green and still
as yet to happen.

Sweeteners

Finding the dried cherries were
covered in false chocolate
I bought good chocolate
covering “natural” raspberries.

Finding the “berries” were
Juice-rich jelly blocks
I considered carriages for inconsistent cargo
and opened a fortune cookie.

—To achieve wisdom, you must first desire it—

And if I did, would it change that
my berry was and was not a fruit
that day?

As a temp I tried not
to be a poor substitute
while caressing
any number of designations
and taking pleasure in
only ever approximating the job.

Now, I still lie down
the same distance from the night sky
but no longer imagine any system expanded
through what I am not.

Lunch Break

I stitched the clothes
of an East Village dancer
born 20 years before me
and roamed streets
of not belonging.

I emerged in an office
wearing the suit of a long-since
retired secretary.
Each movement of mine
nudged her atoms,
some gentle and placid dying dust
cascading secretly into
my quietly carpeted
present.

At the reception desk
I consider all the
salubrious options grown dry
and when they will catch fire
in the infra world.

Contributors

Corin Sworn

Corin Sworn (born 1976 in London) grew up in Toronto. She moved to Vancouver to study Psychology at the University of British Columbia before studying an art degree at Emily Carr University of Art + Design. She moved to Glasgow in 2007 to complete an MFA at The Glasgow School of Art.
Recent solo exhibitions include The Rag Papers at Chisenhale Gallery, London and Neuer Aachener Kunstverein, Aachen (2013); ArtNow at Tate Britain (2011); and The Lens Prism at Tramway, Glasgow (2010). She is associate professor of Fine Art at the Ruskin School of Drawing & Fine Art, Oxford and was one of three artists in the Scotland + Venice 2013 exhibition for the 55th Venice Biennale.
Sworn lives and works in Glasgow and was awarded the Max Mara Art Prize for Women in 2014.

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