An itinerant worker returns from a civil war that never quite happened, back through time to their partner, and on their way they see things in England that cause thoughts to occur. In sequence the field repeats, each one slightly differently. In each field a different voice, a different group. Maybe a village, or a city, or a bird. A chaos of significance.
The lake surface is dusk-white noise –
Just so many cut paper gulls
and silhouette ducks – then the dark
cuts across this inner distance
I sit in the greying evening
reiterate a dead song-form
– that of assuming the stances
of nature. But nature is gone
and what remains is a dammed stream
and what remains is a lake house
– people moan and run from nothing
and wheeze. I can’t reach beyond it.
There’s only the monotone lake
whose forms insulate nothing from
nothing. An image of a false
image. I make my offering:
In the morning, a red dawn comes
and fixes the sky in crystal.
Intergalactic prison ships
revolt and institute the new
through law. But for now, the moon hangs
in soft focus, and swans are fed,
by fallen branches whose mirror
in the lake caresses the sky
It’s as hot as the sun
can make it here
where water forgets
its natural direction
of downhill, & hovers
That is apart from the salted
water of our brows,
your smooth and pale back
your classically refined
seeing plants everywhere
on tables, panels, hanging gardens
tangled in our eyelids, lashes –
my mind loses place.
Arboreal beauty hangs together
with the small and hot haired
nymph of the sweat water
I see before me. You
smile again an evil smile
at my fear of heights – & I
see your eyes glitter
small sticky rust grey beads
which lodge in my mind
Does any animal float as well?
Resting on this peel of thickness
pedalling slowly, and honking
Duck taught the angels
how to fly – see them now
by the barrage, watching for tips –
just put your face in your armpit
and hang there, careless –
that is how to go about it.
Lessons such as that.
And how to remain calm
in the face of such rain
After duck stands up, wrings out his coat
he waves to the angels, who nod abashed
and calmly floats off into the sky
“All this usury really fucks
me up” he said to the boat guard.
“It makes me itch? You understand?
“When I was in that cage, oh yeah
“I could feel it crawling on me
like ideograms.” The guard smiles.
Unstuck in time, he has one task.
He’s met a million like this –
bad money driving out the good.
“Hey there fella, could you get me
water?” How easy to just leave.
But the aesthetic demanded
a more apposite fate. The guy
held the glass and slurped, with a grin.
“I can’t believe I did it, wow
“I’m finally getting out. Heh
“I really fooled those old suckers
“worthless clots who couldn’t read me
“given half a year and the books
“I cut up.” You’re very strange, Pound
said the guard, later, down the path.
When the poet tried to salute,
the visitor grasped his daft hand
and firmly held it down. Justice.
The apparition of these blood spots on the path:
Petals on a wet, black, bough.
The peculiar tale of the discovery and ordering of this manuscript will be told at a more convenient time. The peculiarities of its form of recording deserve their own discussion – suffice it to say that the text is a gloss of a Hittite or eastern ancient Mediterranean language unknown until the ‘Vrontin’ carving was found in the cave in mountainous central Anatolia. It is perhaps the stub of an alternative development of a primitive religion, although the inclusion of unparsable terms makes its translation very difficult. To aid in comprehension, we have entered the most likely English counterparts, although it should be remembered that, for example, the goose noted in 15  is probably not any species of goose that the reader will be familiar with, although similar behaviours have been found to exist in aggregate over many populations of goose across the world. The most difficult term to translate was found in carving 3.1, where a term for emotional brain capacity was found wanting. We have used the vastly unsatisfactory ‘limbic system’ as a stand in, waiting for a time when a translator with the right powers of sight can offer up a more fitting word.
Unbelievable. Words are meant for pages,
not to echo over the fields behind houses
disturbing the moths in their evening light.
Words are meant only for games
and this is not a game. I said stop.
You need to speak now, we’re here.
I’m here, you’re here, we’re here.
What are we playing at? What just happened?
We had an ice-cream together
and it was like the last ice-cream piece
of the ice cream puzzle. But it’s gone.
We were like two intercity kiloton trains
that missed the crash we could have been.
Ignorant that all of us crash, it’s life.
But our verdict is not stayed by vague gestures.
You are like the frame of everything;
I’m like your cracked painting.
And you’re mine. You’re my painting,
my nude by Georges Braque, a person,
but unlike any person they know.
I could never have said this ’til now,
it’s like someone is speaking through me,
my voice is no longer my own,
so I’m going to take this chance to say
I love you, M, I’ve said it before.
But I don’t think we ever got through
to a precise entailment of that statement.
You are the thorn in my side that I need.
You are the constant pain that lets me know I’m alive.
Or am I that to you? I’ve lost track. But that’s it;
If they tried to unweave me from this world,
they’d have to take you too, otherwise
what’s left would not make sense.
You’re like the light by which I am seen.
Without you I am not me.
We evolve together like the beetle and magnolia,
But who is which, changes.
Stop, let me make you a statue to yourself.
Let me be your pedestal. Let us hold us.
Stop, let me punch your enemies in the nose,
and redeem all your relations.
Let me become something that we become together
Let us realise that we become together.
Stop, let’s lie down here in our hole, our glass sphere
And work through everything in glorious variations
of sex, like we were carved by the ancients.
Things are going wrong all the time
And we aren’t owning it. Let us own it.
When we are hurt, we are the uneasy angel,
making uncertain vows to save us.
Now Editor, Stop. Allow us this
Of course things happen in unlikely ways,
Let’s not be melodramatic about it.
Leave the future to those who live there.
We are our fate.
See all the souls anchored to you
each faint and crackling golden line
like a nylon line, but neater,
each is a life you’ve saved in here.
You look like a heaven-flower
like an aurum tree. The firework
frozen in time, on the blue black
all the still-paths, the fizzing strings.
The key to self-hood is the gap
between what we would like to be
and what is. These things are all sent
to test us, see: to build us up –
without these moments we would fall
again, into the depths of hell
which is a flat, blank, pool of white
like milk. But tasteless, vigourless.
Humans need this pain to grow full.
If there was fruit hanging from each
tree, we would never need to think,
never need a revelation.
And so, these two things connect us.
These metallic wires, our trellis.
To be saviour to each other
and see what newness can encroach
God will save you from this event
and here is how – she will give you
a soft egg, a beautiful egg.
Last one in the supermarket
cracked on the sun-baked shelf. And meat
reams and reams of gently rotting
meat in plastic packets. She wills
the whole toilet industry act,
to provide you with something clean
and needed to deck the cistern.
The power she wields provides you
cans of sharp green beer, to last out.
And then, just in case, everyday
God in her grace provides to you
in the form of a pub, out there
in the garden, your salvation.
The pandemic will now return
all your neuroses in new forms,
stronger forms, forms like journalists,
videos of ventilators.
The fear of death will wipe you out
courtesy of God herself, show
you the emptiness of requests.
And then, silence. Your miracle.
When mercury was first designed,
it was as a lesson. Silver
and undulant like nothing else,
disguised as a solid jewel
Have you ever spilled it? It’s like
letting out a secret, unthought
and feeling the moral landscape
shift and set snare traps in your gut.
It’s fractal ’til it disappears,
like the ramifications of
any action. It rolls across
the surfaces with great interest.
It’s vapours send us mad, and fish
become mercurial in this
disregard they have of our minds.
To be quite fair, who could blame them.
In landfill sites across the world
it falls, year after year, into
the sources of our deepest fear.
Our breath stutters at its slick thought.
‘This is a tricky thing’ they said.
Listing it on the slate of things –
alongside sex, and time, and dreams,
and cave paintings, and tv