What is Historical Materialism?

The blood runs – and it sings
to listen is the trick.
The flesh sits, and its past
there with it, subterranean
we mine it, and we
ask not for excuses.
We take the work as is,
not how it aspires us to be
with moral wishes.

We are not children – we read
of the childhood of all things;
the darkness recedes only then,
when you follow the light back to source
– and you recognise the shadow
(for not all darkness is shadow).
It is the physical labour of thinking.

But we are not inhuman
though we may mock them
and use our long words;
in truth we take humanity
(the strength of sibling to sibling)
to be the heat and source of joy.
We find joy in revolution,
in the placing of the joy of things
in the centre.

The banality of joy of the courts,
of the commercial laboratory
is of no interest to us.
We are angels
who watch the wreckage of history,
tears in our eyes;
but we smile, because we have hope.

Behind us stretches the future of work
(the varied plane of opportunity)
where for a brief moment
we will siblize each other
and lose the property of our minds,
giving it to all.
We work by each other – for each other.
And from the past of each other.
This is historical materialism.

Speak, thought.

Speak, friend, then only know:
words do not offer themselves up
simply to lay some garish support
under your longings, deep emotions.
That, friend, is the hardest thing
the toughest thing, about them:
That they are not so tough, so durable
when they rush out, such, back to front.
You must be careful as a foreman is careful
checking the dynamite is layed correct
that is doesn’t jump before its time
that it lies along the faultlines, trim.

Don’t make yourself comfortable
making the air vibrate – wait.
Dwell with your ideas, test them
as a lover tests their lover:
caressing to find the right response
but not with force, though they may find
those which bring forth forceful truth
which chime the bells already hung
(rather than busily hanging false ones)
which call reality into the light
not those which clash and disappoint –
with the only half resplendent noise
that gives the word its reputation
as a toy…

Only think what you are saying.
You need not say it, though it’s hard to keep.
And if after, you have seen the truth,
shining in its constant glory…
Then, friend, speak.

Our Century

The boat was unmoored years ago.
But we don’t know that.
To us we have always rushed
On a foaming river.
And to us, this is calm
The endless stillness
of absolute unrest.

Your necks are aching now, for sure
But we can swivel
Our heads back and forth
watching the shore
This relaxes us, deeply
The saintly newness
of a future we expect.

There are no doors, only corridors
in our houses – we run
To open them was too much
we tore them out
Now the wind follows
Do we give cause to it?
Or does it give cause to us?


The sea can seem still from a distance
but its true form is movement, listen:

From the edge of the dunes, stood in the lands
bordering the grass and the dust and the sand
you may not always be able to see
the trillion dancing pyramids; the surface can seem

But standing in the shallow surf
with the ocean sucking your toes, and her verse;
dragging pebbles along the soles of your feet

But leaning over rusted bars
at the back of a ferry, starting to tire
as the whole body vibrates underneath you, and with you
as you stare into the engine spray

But sitting, pale and sick, at the fore
of a sailing boat, one mile’s distance from shore
and the waves draw back and roll away
piling amongst each other, and sinking you
until you can’t tell the horizon:

Movement reveals itself as her essence.
You could say stillness is the symptom of distance.
For calm is a relative term: listen:

Lonely Traveller


What use, friend, is leaving your friends
the only ones who keep us calm
on the stage of life with curtains down
after all, in the end?

For our short way is so uncertain
travelling this way and that
with days that each could be your last;
this is a human’s heavy burden.

What use, then, is saying goodbye
an age too soon and heading out
to search for others in manic bouts
of confidence all given the lie?

If this is how I am, and it seems,
then staying home, hearty and bold
not wasting away, but growing old
with more certain help and joys for me:
this is how I know to be.


Perhaps, friend, let it lie
for given time your buzz will fade
vent of that particular haze
and your uncertain being, gentrify.

For though uncertain, life is full
and all the others there will wait
until returned and all with haste
to feel the light again and choose:

To sometime perhaps, say goodbye
sometime that suits, and fly again
to see what comes, what alien
experience will beckon – ‘try’.

We are the change we aim to tell.
And leaving home, hearty and bold
not wasting away, but growing old
with the wonder of the world to delve;
and with the journey, make ourselves.


The dark sounds of the aether
rain from without upon me
but, I think, how can they?
For the aether has no sound.
It must be my speaker vibrating.
But my complex soul
more so than any simple wave
is shaken corewise
and threshed of all calm

Where they used to cite the iliad,
the oddysey and the comedy,
or mahler or wagner, they were right.
But I, with equal right,
cite Skyrim, for holding my hand
and guiding me through the mess of life.
Each moment planned, as it were.
But iterations of an artwork.
And shining with a snowy light.

Meanings 1

My words betray me
I speak them and they scamper
into the nearest shadow

Their invoice left at my feet
I hold it, awful damp
and sodden now with time

The words betray me
deserting the field to join
my enemy and partner

Who shows me they were built to do so
and that I their foreman,
neglected their foundations

Rashly they betray me
always too quickly
with intentions falling away
like brick dust to a paint brush.

And I sit, unsure:
why do I have a mouth
when it so seldom shows its worth?

(Later thought: …or rather the problem is that you can never be sure that you have worked through enough.)