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.
The problem with a generation declaring literature to be basically over is that it deprives the following generations of the thought that their lives and thoughts might be worth novelising. It results in the experience I’ve had with Ben Lerner, Luke Kennard, Sally Rooney, suddenly recognising myself in the books, thinking – ah, so this is how novels shore us up. But then on the back cover of The Topeka School I read Sally Rooney’s comment – “To the extent that we can speak of a future at present, I think that the future of the novel is here”. And I feel strange. Does each modern novel writer think they are entourage to the last writers? Do they always feel the door shutting after them?
The extravagance of poetry is this contention that it deserves the amount of space it takes up. If done unconsciously, it can underwhelm, but with great confidence it shines. Like a single acorn sat in the centre of an small warehouse.
I imagine a solid gold maze hung from invisible wires in a large room, undulating under the diffuse light. Although for some it is not a luxury, poetry is luxurious speech.
Oh please please please let me not step
on snails any more, it provokes
moments of panic and questions.
Like what makes a snail the lesser?
We all squirm and have our dark shells.
Entire belief systems are crushed,
just like that. By small accident.
If the snail doesn’t matter, then…
My hopes and dreams bypass the snail
and I can live in a dream world
beyond, where political talk
never betrays anyone. Where
good men are honoured. Good people.
There once was a world where good reigned.
The demons got bored and planned coups.
Death meant nothing to them. They ran
in the streets screaming slanderous
screams that cut the good buildings down.
They wrote newspapers and chattered
in their odd logic, disregarding
tears, emotions. They thought little.
They rolled around in little shells
like a physical process, then
I knew. I was better than them.