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

Nationalism

Need I remind you
that I am not the land I live on

I am not the owner
Nor am I the hill over the moor

If you keep on associating me with them
In this cramped cage of a name

Well
I might explode
It’s already bad enough
That we share so much
Too much.

Listen:
We all have our own perfectly good names
and even they push it.

Fate

I see possibilities arrayed
like a great flagstone path
and each flagstone has moss
and plants grow inbetween

And each flagstone is carved
from stone milled from language
the language of books and films
they are stacked about the path

And the rain and wind-grit
are giving them a hard time
so the titles have ripped off
or faded in the sun – the path

(this may be important)
only appears retroactively
that is – I can only see it
looking over my shoulder.

The path in front of me
looks clean and I am walking
but I don’t mean to be walking
through a mist from the waterfall

Womb

Who creates an artificial womb?
Who spends their time in a room
of polished plastic thinking – fantastic
I’ll first make a womb for a sheep
Then later, for other things
like a car or just oil in a sac

then later still, human wombs can dangle
from skyscrapers
growing the next crop of office workers.
does money do that?
And then automatically flash pictures across
all its wires
so fast that progress happens
And no one has to do
anything

Thinks – first I’ll make a womb for a womb
And then grow wombs from them
Problem solved

but what was the problem again?
Today… what did I do at work..
But someone’s made a womb for a bomb
That’s a little strange
What if it goes off?

***

We can save with a womb
But carefully, oh so carefully
Quietly, sparsely

Don’t get over excited
Womb-born hearts still pump, pump
And bleed nicely

Getting born is just slightly more difficult.
We’ll just straddle the knife edge of getting born
Carefully, carefully
When necessary

Lock & Key

In the jangled clouds and beams of april
We walked the inhuman boulevards of Paris
We stood on the île and, pestered slyly
We reluctantly left a lock, engraved
With our names. We shouldn’t have.

When arguments began to stick and curdle
When our insults began their moth-flutters in the air
We tried our best to break up, it was no use
We would fight in the night, rot in our sourness and split
Only to wake again in bed, covered in rust.

Something was obviously wrong, the rust stung
Left sores where it touched, got in our crevices
So we first disliked each other more and more
Til pain, pain was the everyday way of things
And the friction so great we ground each other to stubs.

Snapping off one day I managed to run, return to the city
Again I saw the Seine and heard its whispers
I approximated the key’s trajectory, looked:
The water boiled and surged in whirlpool boils
Nothing. I saw nothing but the dirt-flow

But then, sudden, surfacing from a deep sound
It came: whale mass of iron, clumps of lock-keys
Heralding an orange trellis of rustwater currents
The lock-demon, the million locks key-keeper swam
A trembling mass of promise from the murk.

I gazed, terrified, amazed at this dark mound
Of keys. Its breath shook the waters, it rose
And groaned like the under-guts of Paris
Numbered on seismographs as an underground train
I realised then we had made a terrible mistake.

Narcissii

The cold mind of a philosopher
Might freeze love with a snowflake gaze
In the same dull ice that crystallises
Faultline truths on a heap of life.

Til hot dogma deigns them to preach
On politics, bearing confidence of the freeze
But narcissism is neither hot nor frozen
It’s just the mark of a certain childhood.

And poets who take their inspiration
From ‘religious sentiment’s’ gloaming cocktail
That quaintly drinks the soul with ecstasy
Til verses drop off the tongue like gold bricks

Think maybe religion is a knot
Their young life and guardians tied them of
And now its blank mythological verse
Finds acceptance among drunk critical cousins

These tender artists tend to sit
On good old knolls by the zenoic pool
(Far from the muddy estuaries) and swill
Till their daisy heads fall off and rot.

Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response

Oh your voice,
It carries the geology of the tongue
In a startling language
Your saliva and its stones, caught by geographical time
The knot and bark of your swallow
Sussurations of your lips, of fur
Brushing past itself, salted in the night-forest
And your eyes muddy marsh
Sodden in the hills and routes of our conversation
Between moon-dragging planets.

Female, you shake me
Your strata bared by the sandblasting wind
The grass bent, rent and shattered by a foot
That mountain collapses and tectonic plates tear
You gulp in the nothing of my ear.