When you read an ancient poet
and find yourself or part of you
becoming-drift with ancient sands
always enfolding each other,
it is not something of success
or failure – to be the great soul
is to draw all strings into one
cord, and feel your sudden failure –
everything has its ancestor –
unwind one thread and say of it
this is my colour, my tenor…
It’s all a scrub with tiny blooms –
stone, shell, what more? Repetition
is never quite exactly apt –
this courtly poet whispers through
eleven centuries to tell
me of my love for you, clearer
than the scarcest cut ice, trekked out
across the sands and wrapped in palm
to impress the caliph. My song
is an alm on the tree which grows
and falls and grows again. Years pass
and the desert widens, but faint
movements stir the clacking branches
Pain in my hands as I hold them
grasping a book, obsolescence
staring me down across thirteen
futures, just those from that second –
Le Grande Chartreuse chants ply away
in chorus across the copper
and fibreglass, a chant of years
of imaginary journeys.
I can hear imaginary
thoughts of those who would use oldness
to justify anything new
they fancied the look of. Silence
for example. A lost image
which is strings of words and phrases
and none of it uncreated –
it was sung in old emotions
we learned (and we is a loose term)
in ages past (every term is)
when we were openings among
the trees. I mean to say that no
singer can by their song undo
hope, though the lost hope may argue.
No dice throw can abolish chance.
The new world will come regardless
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
There is a gradient. The sky
moves from polluted red through pale
to black. And orange flashes as
the tractor trails wheat dust. The road
merges off the circular path,
intentions are coded in light.
Industrial farming machines
don’t fit through the old town crossing
and crunch the box off the lamppost.
In the streams of thick logistics
molecules are reshaped en masse,
and fly into the gradient –
the dark leans over the ripped grass
like a pervert, waiting to glance
the raw dirt and turn it to dust
to fall onto the road and sink
in the torrents of the moist air
gradient down to the river.
A car is shifted by the flood
and sits at the car park entrance.
Gradient of dystopia,
this passing through the osmotic
barrier of roads, where wheat dust
bounces, falls and scatters like bone
If you’re there, then now would be it
the time to let an autodidact rise
with the dreams of his grandchildren
And as I say this, to myself
under the graveyard tree, which is,
I think, nourished by the dead,
and yet lives, a breeze softly stokes
the leaves, each a red flag, and green.
A pile of ash keys against the wall
turns to dust, and the rain begins –
touching a white poppy in the field
but under the ground, under, waits
something, a crowd. A mass,
that moved once, and will move again.
For we know what happens,
when we bury a seed
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.
Sunlight pours onto the woods like
a proprietary logo,
and my movement changes, I am
now able to jump slow and high.
The trees are so crisp, they are cut
from the woods and become assets –
a simple tap and hold of A,
and the wood, leaves, something would be
mine. How well the code works, how well
the random terrain generates –
seeding nettles and cow parsley
over the seasonal bluebells.
How smoothly the particles fall,
how elegant the light engine,
how quirky are the NPCs –
here comes one now, out on a jog –
How quaint! I begin an event,
someone talks and I miss the prompt –
failing the conversation. I
activate my door and head in.
Congratulations! You have found
poplars today. The next level
begins tomorrow. One percent
completion remains an odd myth
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.
Memory danger. It’s a pinch.
They’re in our heads, in our bodies –
they could strike at any time. Know:
Memories are dangerous things.
They wrench our heads through time, it’s worse
even than the ground opening
and letting you plummet away,
just to jangle from side to side
from rock face to rock face – insults
raining from their mouths. “Good lord, boy,
Call that falling!? A downy scrap
of feather would do it better.
Call that hitting your head? Go on…
Pull the other one! Try again –
Oof but that was okay, good byeeee!
AND THE DARKNESS SWALLOWS YOU UP.
So, melodramatic, but yeah.
It’s like the world is scattered all
with massive invisible traps.
Bear traps with a ghost chain attached.
And then you drag the ghost around
as it complains mightily – “Please,
I’m as tired as you, my liege. But
can’t you stop that racket I’m sick”