When the angels heard an old one wake –
a black supernova, eye crack
deep in the centre of the ‘verse,
trained on earth, and dreaming dead dreams
they made sure Dave got a guitar.
The birds stopped singing for a week,
just to listen, but he was kept
rapt by the way his fingers swept
chords it seemed from inner spaces,
unleafing. He joined a band, and
they did okay. But that was all
just celestial practice for
the time he was needed. The cloud
of darkness was drawing near – felt
in quarrels in the studio,
in breakups in the near future
and the slitherings of money.
The angels watched with bristling wings –
here it came. The moment planned for
so long ago. The room was dark.
At the first solo, the beast wept,
but ploughed the stars for earth still –
at the second, it screamed and tore
apart, raining down. Dave just smiled.
I am one with all the insects
that will one day eat my body –
when I have stopped, and am resting
in a sense, when resting is gone
I am one with the plants that grow
of me, in my head, in my trunk.
I will give to the cold flowers
what they once gave to me: a hope
I am one with the air I breathe
that will burn me and dissolve me
for aeons, my skeleton rests
until it too crumbles like cake
I am one with the diseases
that will grind me down, as my mind
flares and splutters like a damp flare
in the faint waves on the dark beach
I am one with the words of things
the vast and tangled forest where
nothing can change without changing
everything. My paths will go on
I am one with the small beings
that fizz in and upon my skin
with legs and arms and carapace
made of me. I will be made free
The quicksand and sea of mud
and the sea itself, running
with cold skies as long and deep.
Trees step out from cobbled banks
and the train’s rumble stirring
the café in the pale house –
I cannot escape from this
barbaric lyric’s enclave –
with the way that the world goes on
why can I still find this peace?
Maybe I should have chosen
to be the gull, the shaggy
dog in the rail underpass
whose soft songs betray no-one.
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
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”
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
After accomplishing feats beyond our far sight with compounds that behave like emotions, growing crisp if left alone in rain – time travel was begun.
We did not realise at first. When we become this complex, new things often appear first as violent accidents – the death of 2 by light
speed, unexpected. More – death of 1 by extreme gravity, of sudden onset, quite a surprise. With time, it was the same. The girl was unprepared.
When sped up that vastly the speed of earth through space becomes quite a sight; her laboratory jumped up, blazed like a star and was gone. No-one ever knew
I hear the year’s first owl, I see
the summer evenings of wide eyes
come to me, hot on the covers.
I smell and hear the summer come
in dark night at spring’s beginning.
In the parks, people can perform
their social media, can get
the right light, and the right shot done
with the intermittent flash thing
on a stick. Or take photos of
nature, such as it is, confined
within the bounds of the black fence.
The crown-bearer virus is swept
basculating into the rare
and transformative air of the
space between minds, within the park
It propagates everywhere now,
’til every object collapses
into a simulacra full
of small and spherical crystals –
They are spraying from the fountain.
They are clinging to your damp hands.
If you listen you can hear it
their small and terrible prayer
Being in love with you is like
wrongly putting the recycling
in the black bin, but liking it.
And the rubbish in the green bin,
but liking it. Being in love
with you is like getting my ears
syringed, and I can hear a range
of high and annoying tones I lack
at any other time, but it’s great.
It is knowing that any mar
of my ears is now down to meat
asymmetry, rather than wax –
you reveal my material
defaults, simply by existing.
Being in love with you is like
accepting the judges’ avis
despite knowing that taste and all
aesthetic sensation is based
on subjective judgements, grinding
my teeth to get out that word ‘good’,
sitting in the cold waiting room
on the almost unused sofas
shivering with nerves, until I
hear your voice call out ‘we’re ready’
When I was lying amongst them –
the tubs of biochemical
waste – I had a thought, on the floor
there, under the bright yellow tubs
I cried later, the self-service
checkout beeped and I cried weakly
Julian of Norwich touched me
on the shoulder. She hugged me and
I cried at the gap. The quiet
where visions should have poured outward
was a small cracked rock in the dark.
The Wu tang Clan sung me back with
C.R.E.A.M. as my selfhood rebooted.
My heartbeat was slow, I was born
again, from a song I can’t know.
I thought: what has happened? I know
nothing anymore, just this face
and the other, staring back down
as I lay on the smooth cold floor.
The lady passed by, I sat up
and stood up, slowly. I wandered
from here to there, bought frozen food
and went to the checkout. She had
hollow eyes and she hugged me close