Han Smith OH Competition

Han Smith

Open House Competition 2019: Highly Commended

a history of the world as viewed from the sports hall girls’ changing room (with wall-to-wall mirror)

the history of the world is largely a history of formations and beings with no capacity for shaming: the
Earth took shape some 4.54 billion years ago through accretion from the solar nebula remaining molten
due to frequent collisions with other bodies – collisions with other bodies at that point not the kind
claimed when an arm that is buttoning a blouse is declared touched – with temperatures
still scalding and hellish until they cooled and a geological crust could then solidify (not yet the
crust a person might need as protection against all touch imagined or not) and
at the beginning of the Archaean eonthe first undisputed lifeforms emerged most likely in hydrothermal
vents in the Nuvvuagittuq Greenstone Belt fissures deep enough and far enough away for a person
to long for as refuge with the iron deposits knowing that these early prokaryote cells had no
defined nuclei or other complex structures
but also had no-one to point out what they lacked – to
tell them that they were defective and freakish or revel in their disinterest in copulative
reproduction (how come we’ve never seen you in town with a boy then) then then then came
jellyfish and fresh, writhing worms then scaled fish and trilobites corals and molluscs naulitoids
sea scorpions that pinched flesh (but not for sport) the first amphibians insects and spiders
and land plants – Archaeopteris the first tree to grow as forests wildly and unkempt in the
dark and not yet comparison for what grows naturally on skin that is hidden but found and glee-seized by creatures who come to decide which hair is right when and which hair is wrong where – and reptiles and extinctions and crocodiles. the first mammals with milk-secreting glands of all sizes and
none and snakes, shrews, hedgehogs, rabbits, mice, rats (rat-faced), sheep apes and
finally in a period amounting to less than 1% of the history of the world so far the first
animals now classified as Homo evolved – four letters to be scrawled mouthed, muttered,
screamed, choked – with descendants that would develop over time to be the dominant force of
global change
, unleashing irreversible damage to the biosphere, the solid crust, the hydrosphere the
destruction of wild lands and exploitation of oceans and also develop the ability to say she’s
looking at us in the mirror again see she is so disgusting
and perverted it’s filth

Han Smith is a writer, translator, teacher and learner, currently quite interested in tides, steel and unbodying. Published/commissioned by the European Poetry Festival, Spread the Word, Litro Magazine and LossLit Magazine; recipient of a 2019 London Writers Award and shortlisted for the 2018 Mslexia & Galley Beggar Press Novella Award. www.han--smith.com; Twitter: @han_smiff