Aphorisms VIII

Scripturience is always eschatological in the end.

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I read in Luke Kennard’s poem Ghost Story, where he talks about god making the soul pass through all possible human lives as a kind of edification or explanation or challenge or trick or joke, and remembered a very similar thought I’d had since childhood – except I imagined it would be every animal I ever stepped on, every living being including the long and interminable lives of trees, the short and inexplicable lives of mushrooms. I just remembered an ancestor to this idea, or maybe the source of it, in Douglas Adam’s book where there exists a creature that in all of its incarnations is killed by Arthur Dent. I imagine incarnations shares its root with french carné, and carnivore. Lives are the mind made meat, expendable and eaten by god’s great experiment.

I can imagine a Koan based around a similar idea – if you are to live the life of every person you have ever met, every plant you have ever seen, and every animal, fish and vegetable that you have ever eaten, would you agree to live? And then we can go on to include rocks and stars and clouds in this, and the answer might be – but this is how things already are. You are living the last life in the universe.

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Art for art’s sake is just a warning not to expect more.

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Aphorisms VII

On a Certain Experience in Relation to Sex – In response to a talk by Leila Slimani, I think of someone I love browsing on tinder, or not even that, but of spontaneously, magically, having found someone to bring home and fuck. And this causes a pang of something in me. But where does this pang happen? And in relation to what? Is it a spur to action, to step through into my ideal space to avoid missing out, or to assert control? Or is it the same as the anxiety dreams I have sometimes, that in some manner everything would fall apart, that I actually have no power over them, all my power, our relationship, has been undermined or not existed quite how I thought?

What, after all, could I do? For it must be an issue of confidence here, of self-worth. I fear having no recourse to a response, no power to respond to such a situation. Insofar as it is not just a kind of pang of sadness, or of lost hope, of ‘I thought you cared, but now it seems you don’t, or at least not in the way I hoped, to enchant everything about you sexually, morally, like a kind of drug’, it is also this self-relation, that I do not even see the potential to action in response, and rather just experience it, curl up like the proverbial stamped on worm.

But of course, if someone were to perform this act, in reality, what is to say we would not be able to respond, to say ‘I value myself more than this experience, I demand of you something (submission?), a tribute, a change in you, or I will simply walk away, believing I can achieve great things again. In this way it becomes clear that the whole thing about these experiences is that they are tied up with power and power relations, which is another way of saying relations of self-image. Because power is not inherent but relational. I would not care in this case if I did not see myself as essentially powerless, though unconsciously. The whole situation would not occur without neurotic and twisted power relations already being present. All of which would indicate that people don’t get sexually jealous unless they are insecure in some basic way, or in an insecure situation.

But is this any different from betrayal, from paranoia tout court? I can imagine similar pangs happening if I knew I was missing out or hadn’t been invited to some event, though without the extra sexual fizz and burn. Then, maybe that extra fizz is just sex itself, and that is all that there is particular to an experience of sexual jealousy. Thought invests so much in sexual relationships, that they become monolithic and hard to parse.

As Leila Slimani says, I think that having secrets is important, and if not vital then helpful in all things. We must fight the urge to know all, to totalise the relationship, to totalise anything, really. We know that the total is the real lie, the real wasteland. We sense this because knowing everything can bring the moment of banal clarity, and that clarity wipes away all sexiness, all suspense, or it controls and prescribes til that controlling and prescribing becomes everything. We all agree that we shouldn’t know everything about our partners, our friends, because we agree not to know a prescribed set of things about them every day, their breakfast, their toilet routine, their every thought. We just need to accept more secrets, not worry about finding out. Why act as if Love is an investigation, when it’s a lot closer to gambling? In gambling, we know we lose sometimes, that’s part of the charm. But then that also brings its own problems.

Provocatively put you might say sexual jealousy is not something that people in general have, but rather certain societies have.

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Three Poems after Amelia Humber

Goss

After Amelia Humber

The tongue of the cosmos mouth
drags its mist along the pond
many eyes of the coral
or barnacle prayers impact
with a soft white thud and cloud
on the world’s hill – and deeper
the deep ink behind things seeps.

I stand in the softened copse
of the shore – rain drenched but warm
unnamed white flowers blow here
amongst the heather – their heads
bob and jump in the quantum
breeze – where I once might have thought
I now dwell with the land’s power.

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Coopers

After Amelia Humber

Strobe lights over the shallows.
The marsh flows, hardly, but still
it flows here with the thin grass
so thin and black, it’s like hair.
A magnesium surface
and water, as the flock-spheres
make their debris way through air


In the mist there are things now
things you never wanted but
were offered for your viewing –
A procession of faceless
saints, a small black sheep hovers
legless, only seen in dark,
an entirely different sky

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Point

After Amelia Humber

With a faint humming, negate
the sky as an unreached space
(a space we can hardly grasp)
and split open a vault – to
the dark above the grave pit
ridden with frost and snowlit
pourings – through this chasm tear


see the world as it could be
bare of all ground, all solids
floating in nothingness – then
between abyss and abyss
as it sees you – iris
vaster even than god’s eye
and the pupil that screams ‘live’

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Painting credit to https://www.ameliahumber.com/

Aphorisms V

As a puzzle can have several logical solutions, so movie or a book, a system of statements and objects, can have several interpretations that ‘solve’ it.

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Remember – the artists you have heard about, whose names are on the lips of literary history, are for the most part those who have been promoted massively. This is the machinery of the canon.

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Types of poem – a story, an aphorism, an apology, a thank you, a celebration, a memory, a machine for – disturbing, reinforcing, calming – a cryptic object, a puzzle, an object of conspicuous reference, a song, a praise, a lament, a memoriam, a riddle, a marker of occasion, a cry of – fear, love, undetermined – a conversation with – self, other, influence, nothing – a look into the void, an evoker of images, a vault, a tissue, an ice pack, a pet, a project, a cuddly toy, an aspirant object, a thing original, a thing thought original, a mantra, a thing, a sculpture, a picture, a cry of pain, a cry, a hand, and countless more.

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Do you know any precious rhythms in those around you? Patterns that are unique to the person? Never repeated by anyone else, they define the moments of a life that have seen lonely practice; a laugh, an improvisation on guitar, a facial expression, a method of moving the conversation. Perhaps they move through us like memes, but we know them to embody our friends. Are the memes passing through us, or we through them? I know one set of improvisations, made by a loved one, which are unique in the history of the universe. I would bet my life on it.

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Write What You Know

“It rests on the assumption that a particular linguistic community is the best artisan of its own language, or even its own mythology, which is a vast overestimation of the value of experience, or rather an extreme strengthening of the principle that language grows precisely out of experience, rather like regular crystals forming in a puddle of salt. In fact it is much more messy.” – The Ghost of Ludwig Wittgenstein

“If we tried to philosophise only what we knew, we would be pre-empting failure by giving up philosophy before we even began” – Anti-Russell

“A surfer does not surf, instead they ride waves which are so unique, they will never occur again in the history of the universe” – Surfer on a Late Night Rerun of The Tide

Hang on a second, go back.
your captains name wasn’t Ahab?
Don’t tell me
What about the shark sermon?
Give it up old boy
Let me say why not make all your characters
You with a moustache and glasses?
Call them Melville
What do you mean they all survived?
I thought I alone escaped?
Scrap it – instead why not write
About sitting down to write?
And all those little ideas you have.
Best to keep it little –
Replace the white what
With your cat, little Moby here
And of the problems of fur on clothing
Write revenges of tiny majesty

But hang on a sec. Again
But your cat does so much without you
Better to avoid such difficult subjects
As it stalks apt nouns in the fields
Better to talk about this chair, this table
Are you feeling quite up to it?
A table is a difficult subject
I met a man once who wrote a whole
Book on it
It was called ‘The Point of Pure Intelligence
Hovers in a Blank Space Slightly Too Close
To The Dim Screen, Typing –
The Adventures of Said Table’
It was okay if you like that sort of
Table. But hang on

A second where was this beauty made?
Oh dear.
I’m fast becoming a flat plain
Free of everything – is it not liberating?
Almost pure prose, pure purpose – but not quite, yet
Aha! Let me ask you, writer
Can your pen bend round end to end
To write upon itself?
If not then we are really in trouble.
Better to just start scribbling, quickly
Quickly
Before anything else disappe

A Chance Betrayal

Her dark eyes and dark hair drew
My body to hers, although we stood in regiment
Forward facing to the band –
And only for the third time, burned
My living with a brand of love
Or let me grasp again, at least
The meaning of that ancient phrase –
From life to life; love at first touch
Though I can no more believe it, fallen
In pragmatics, as I am
Or simple shyness to the flame
Which makes us small and stays our moving
Paralyzed with lack of vision.
Betrayed by confidence, I flee – and not
By my own legs, but led on thoughtless
Stancing back to her – we leave
And I don’t speak of it til later,
In a lonely tent, now taken
With a lonely hue I had not noticed
And quickly smother my grief in sleep.

The forecast is for rain, that this poet
Would rather do poetical work
Than the real work of the leap of faith
That I won’t be laughed away by empty sheets
Of paper – at least on a good day
And try and tell of why I didn’t
Rather than rushing out to throw my life
On the pulsing rack and await reply.
Well, here’s my confession, nonetheless
Pulled in lead across the page
As I am pulled in soft self rage.

Three times say I that I’ve been cracked
Upon the rocks of the female form
The second was more slow than this,
More sparkling, more warm.
But the first is why I leave the way
Willingly whenever such grief appears
I broke myself, that time, in years
As an animal, and now I rue these days
When, chaos forged cog, I see
Another closely matching my speed
Of rotation, and am tempted to engage –
A perfect storm of human attributes
And dancing before the stage.
And instead I spin in place.
Rather than risk collision
The chancing of disaster, even if it goes our way.

(Note – The aspects of attraction aren’t all nameable, but they are all relations of one to another, which is to say ‘subjective’ or experienced. And they are not only to do with the individuality of the person but their surroundings, which is to say they infuse and are infused by their surroundings. And they are not straightforwardly physical attributes like dark hair, or dark eyes, or boxes to tick, but storms or nebulae which can centre on such things, stretched over you and the world, which are to some extent, lesser or greater, sourced from this body, not that one.)