The Hanged Man by Joanna Walsh

Merleau-Ponty's grave, Cimetiere Père-Lachaise, Paris photo Joanna Walsh

“The Hanged Man shows a man suspended, upside-down, from the living World Tree, rooted in the underworld and supporting the heavens. Given the serene expression on his face, it is believed he is hanging on the tree of his own will.”

Do you know the streets I like

In Paris?

They are the streets along the top Of the cemetery wall.

The cemetery walls are white; they don’t know what to do with themselves So all of them turn from each other.

At steep angles

Still I like them


Because they are always going away from something.

I am going away from something in order to be here. Here I do not go away from something. I am in the first place I have been in not in order to get away from something. Does this mean I am going toward something? If so, I do not put it like that.

I have generally gone away from men. But wherever I am, I find another

Here are some things men have said to me during sex…

Due to the formatting of this text the full version is only viewable as a PDF. Download and read the piece in full here:Hanged Man_Walsh

You can also watch a live performance of the full piece below, from Joanna’s appearance at ‘The Real Story: In the Half-light’ on 17/05/18, as part of the Not Quite Light Weekend 2018.

Joanna Walsh is the author of seven books including a digital novel, Seed which has also been adapted for performance. Her writing has been widely published in anthologies and journals including The Dalkey Archive’s Best European Fiction 2015, Granta Magazine, gorse journal and Salt’s Best British Short Stories, 2014 and 2015. She writes criticism for The Guardian, The New Statesman, and The LARB amongst others. She is a contributing editor at 3:AM Magazine, and she runs #readwomen, described by the New York Times as “a rallying cry for equal treatment for women writers”. In 2017 she was awarded the UK Arts Foundation’s Fellowship in Literature for the manuscript of Break.up. She is currently the Anthony Burgess Fellow at the University of Manchester, UK