The language engineers at work
in caves, at the timefall, at work
tending herds of grammar, culling
precious words. Tapping flints on walls
patiently guiding neurons through
submerged caverns, through pinching caves,
seeding fields in the deep. Alas
memory is weak and falling
And the dark is never ending
Scathing eyes and reticent laughs
fill the blackness. Babel was made
here, by someone, alone. The bricks
to build towers are clay and hay
which pour from loners’ joyful mouths.
like wildfire a new word comes
and burns the village to the ground,
No, it says. I have caught this fire
I climbed the black mountain alone
and god spoke, spoke in flame to ME,
PROMETHEUS, MOSES, but fire
is fickle – do not expect much
The terrain is rough, and fools rush
to smooth it out. I build, I sculpt
a language which must crack and fail
The wode is a kind of dust –
it piles up around the land’s cracks
where the cleaning equipment
sighs and faints in exasperation
And up close and in it
a tangle and heap of word
with cuts and slices on the plane
where trees fall and bring light.
To walk by, paths which increase
and curve with a complex
runic twist – to read this
it would take a kind of Hecate
Bluebells raise their damp towers
where small grey flies hop to try
Pronouns again – A teenage girl bought the airfix. “Did she?” says my friend. But here is a place where I would say ‘they’ – uncertainty again being the aspect relevant to explaining why. I don’t know them…
Can there be a superlative without the disgust of the ordinary? Yes. In fact, that is a prerequisite. It’s not the difference from the ordinary that makes something superlative, but a superlative relation of that thing to us, experiencing it. And the disgust of the ordinary, the ranking, the military etymology often slides in surreptitiously at the back. It may seem stupid to say that the best film has no relation to other films by that fact, but it is stupider to say that any film could satisfy the language game of suiting the squirly set of conditions for bestness taken in the tool like sense. The best tool for the task does that one job better than the others. But a film without an adjective, has no one task. I guess it’s a classic example of language going on holiday.
Though it’s had a rough start, I think that social media will end up making us more dialogic, willing to consider other points and views. The same patchy start was true of the printing press, of books and pamphlets, right? It will take hundreds of years having all the impact it will have, and may never finish impacting us. Has the printer finished with us yet? Probably not.
There is a joy of history in the fact that the totalising force and the absolutist will always be dogged by those with a voice, a blog. The might of the word, of knowledge, is similar to the might of the ocean. You may divert its force for a time, but it will flatten all land eventually. You may think you can divert it. But once something is realised, it stays realised.
You can’t stop someone being right, even if you take everything else from them. And that is beautiful. The pen is longer than the sword.
When I hear someone exasperate about the internet, I always think – which comment annoyed you today? Which site fractured your sense of comfort in knowledge? Because of course, there is no such thing as the internet. There are only individual users, and groups… But then, that’s not quite right. The word – internet – like the word – society – has an image or sectional meaning whenever used in this way. It comes accompanied with – a comment section filled with drivel – the endless mass of opinions – lists of reviews, one to five stars, each with their set of entries… And I can’t help but think of this, whenever someone says ‘what’s wrong is the internet’ or jokes that… If it weren’t for the internet, we’d all be happy. The internet, they say, like a compulsion, their fingers itching to pick up a dustpan and brush, or an EMP device. I wonder if they know how they seem to us? We who have lived in the internet. They merely adopted the internet. We were born in it, moulded by it…
To rehash an old philosophical kick – It is an image with a great inner weakness that is destroyed simply by the existence of difference.
Since the old world is dead on its feet, we need only to keep living how we want, in order to push it softly into its grave. Culture is dead, long live culture.
“It’s too late to escape the hive
mind. It has always been too late!”
Influence cracks you like an egg,
you weak, weak being. “Oh forgive
me, lord forgive me I am proud
and I want to have my own things.
My work will not last, but I want
to speak in a language I have
made out of myself. The trouble
being that I am made of words
which I did not make. Oh lord, strike
out all words I did not author.
Erase history from language
with a pureness, and make me spark
with a creativity that
is greater than yours, a hot spark
that spews out works and words as if
at random. But make it all me.
Make everything me, make the hive
bow before me. Make it listen.”
Are you okay? You seem a bit
worked up. I’m sorry I don’t know
what you are saying. Do you speak?
Passerby, do you speak language