The future doesn’t exist
only the moment exists, and the moment
is the moment of despair that the future does not exist.
There are no hopes
There are only desires and deepest of those
the desire to have hopes.
I ride the bus back from town
having achieved a slight melancholy
and bought things I did not need
when I should have been saving
for the future I do not have.
Love once tore my head open
and everything inside fell on the ground.
Now, I feel no love.
And my head remains empty.
such is time’s slow dripping
and the cloud moves toward the horizon.
Should I be angry? No.
Should I want
Note to this poem: this is not really what I am feeling. In reality the hopes I have are what has led to a situation with an inbuilt lack. But of course, we are fundamentally messed up due to the situation we find ourselves in. Maybe it is that the deepest hopes we have can send us into a jammed cog situation. That our estimations of the world are systematically wrong in a way that functions as an excuse to continue in an equilibrium that leaves us in a bearable situation, even if that situation is dead and jellyfish like. Maybe a moment of decision deferred is like a coagulant.
This and the next few poems were rejected from the Poetry Review. I really don’t like resubmitting poems, it feels like the moment has gone. So I will send these on into the aether, rather than having them sat in a black case with other miscellaneous papers.
I don’t mind that they were rejected. Why be sad that one person is not in the right mood to hear what you were saying, or doesn’t like your clothes, or just isn’t open to you. That doesn’t change what you have to say. Why be sad that your picture doesn’t hang nicely amongst the others. It just means it doesn’t fit there. Paintings are beautiful even leant on the wall in the attic with a layer of dust. My own space is wherever I am. Like here.
“If your everyday life seems poor, don’t blame it; blame yourself; admit to yourself that you are not enough of a poet to call forth its riches” – Rilke
There’s nothing really wrong now, per say.
The day was good – disjunct as often
with the day I thought that it might be.
As I wait for the bath to fill up
the room fills with warmer, wetter air.
Not to begin on the day hoped for.
There is just a lightness missing – mist
takes the windows. Empires have been won
and lost because of this wistfulness.
My body floats ever so slightly.
The deep element we were borne from
laps my chin as if to say nothing –
is enough, and indeed it is, better, yes.
The sweat beads run out to meet it here
they orbit my body, salts dancing.
Is that enough? To attempt to think
in the calmest way. The figure: still
sea glitters in the sun’s soft twilight.
Now – a new series of figures pass;
the wind blowing of trees in dusk dark.
the grey boiling of a deep sea vent.
small blank fish in Mariana black.
a blinding light as torn blinds open.
an ache in the neck which fades slowly.
a small smile quickly dances outward.
A last hope was that bath – just know it.
How your voice comes to me through doors
that shut too soon and leave me spent
ammunition on the pavement.
I hear each consonant as fire
crackles on a summer beach
beyond the waves a jellyfish
moans and those are vowels of your throat
singing, of your hair which hangs like
for like, eye for an eye, my eye
which is hooked like the subtle fish
wife in barbaric times. i want
to talk to you about Rosa
Luxembourg, about just how right
we are about the large, inapt
empty spaces between the clouds
where no thought interrupts the flat
tones and gradients of the air
in its wider form. free of life.
Barbarism it seems is willed
by the people, and so we cut
onions to pretend we aren’t despair’s
pawns and playthings in an open
gambit. i want to hear your crisp cough
as we laugh too much while drinking
Worry fills the air, it has always filled the air
In the dark crouched under a cliff edge, clutching
Close our churchly comforts, curling
Fingers round our hope and hurting.
In bed caressed by muster horns of a great storm
Our worries go riding out over the top of the trenches
Gunned down by thoughtless death-machines, our dreams
Turned nightmares, teach us mercilessness to utopian thinking.
We live on the thin red line which hedges provisionally
The blurry gap of dystopia and the real.
We see burbling spitting demagogues rising from the ashes of war and despair,
And wait for nothingness to dry like mould in the bathroom
Peeling into oblivion and resting on a stone floor, forgotten by the universe,
Not marked by a single smile, but marked by a single frown or dry tearduct.
Our challenge, our tribulations and trials
Are but one – to keep the bleeding faith in life, sharp teeth gritted
To stand high above the wave and teach it like lightning it lacks a purpose we fulfil
To dance in the fire like fire and lift our friends up, and the weak,
(who are strong but if they can flow
like mercury among the other metals)
Say, Drudgers, worriers of the world, rise up, you have nothing to lose but your fear
We have the stars to win.
And if one day, sun rising on a field of martian grass,
Disaster comes, we will deal with this disaster
Shuffling our cards and smiling at the draw:
We keep the fire and pass it on, whirling and cavorting from soul to soul
Lift the handful of dice and play your role,
Forging humanity from the sparks and defying the world to fall.
Get angry, get warm, and never bow.
Never bow at all.
If sometimes it seems that I have no hope
and sometimes it seems that I cannot rest
with the state things are, and stinging riposte
the many gifts of life – forgive me.
For something grave must force your hand
to pick up the pen and rage at the light
and its dying.
And often for me, it’s rage or despair
the savage bites of the worm in the bud
which have their source of inner trouble
struggling to find a name.
These constellations of rage ignore
The manifold ways we have much more –
The gleaming of this human planet.
We, all of us, have it.
This fear in the night, trembling
at the horizon of our life – waiting
to unfold from the world, unknown
up until the crystalline moment
when we die with surprise.
We, all of us, battle
to sleep with the knowledge:
our hearts, our stomachs, broken
by this sadness, our terror – alternating
which rise and fall with the tides of living:
a bird flashing in the quiet sun, then gone.
We, all of us, have the solution: embrace it.
When the darkness is whole and the feeling strong.
This pain is certain; learn to love it.
Smile in the blackness
at this strange elevation – it won’t be long.
Join in the chorus and chant of life
for it cannot destroy us, this fact that we die.