An itinerant worker returns from a civil war that never quite happened, back through time to their partner, and on their way they see things in England that cause thoughts to occur. In sequence the field repeats, each one slightly differently. In each field a different voice, a different group. Maybe a village, or a city, or a bird.
The vast pack turns now – howls
it echoes in the dark
locks of the valley cliffs.
The whole hive mind stiffens –
an enemy appears
and soon becomes shadow.
The light of the howlers
is a dim-burning light
not hot like communion –
cold; cold as hill mist tears
that graze clean the day’s grime
from forgotten arches
Running silently through
damp places on the hill
babbling under black clouds
and devouring, slowly.
At first, skin from your flesh.
And then, thoughts from your brain
And as poetry dies a death
or is reborn – which is
the same, until it isn’t
And the sunlight takes on a sharpness
And the world begins again to end
quite unlike a mint falling to the floor
cleanly in two upon the tiles
and the sheerness of thought stacks
so steeply –
Did not a roman slave walk
the dry paths of this split-cream coast
Does not this man hang such
washing as has never been bettered
in the warm air
Does not the mother walk a beach
as her dog exacts nothing from
as slow the waves pull down the coast
and the sun’s fog blurs horizons
and a thousand small discomforts –
there is still much to do
even on last days, which may fade
walking through a sliding glass door
as if to return shortly
but never returning (all this
in the sun)
Here, look up through the parasol
at the sun encased in black fabric
does this seem gaudy to you?
The prehistoric stands on a cliff
watching those same horizons
as the birdcalls change.
Ask for help from the sky-trails
as they spread into the blue.
Note the ferocious beautiful
of pre-bomb flares falling on the city
but note you may be thrown off the bus
by those who don’t understand
that a flower can exist in a wasteland.
Place your hands often on
warm heads of hair –
cope like this – in sunlit ripples
on some body of water
some body of air
In the winter sun I saw, a gold
forest of leafless trees appear
It was warm in the shower and the wind
could be heard at night on the eaves
I played games on the evening
and in the morning I played games
The tangle of ideas has become full
and the temptation arises of a sword
Stupid people say stupid things
and I cannot be sure of my difference
I cannot be sure of the world
but I can be sure of the deep house
I drink stimulants all day,
and in the morning I drink stimulants
My heart is a construct of ideas
of the faster beat and slower thought
I cannot be sure of my body,
my thoughts of my body are dark mirrors
I hold inside me a red liquid
I hold in my hands a rare earth element
In the winter sun I saw dirt on the screen,
and the night wind brought desert dust
I am a rare earth element, they know
my paranoia grows and shrinks in ceaseless
patterns I never see coming or going
It was warm in the shower as I heard
the guitar be generated by movement
The tangle of ideas is a symptom
of competing interests conceived as a whole
I cannot be sure of the political body
as its organs revolve, unconnected
In the stream of time games appear
and the faint sound of choirs
Things repeat and repeat and I hold
within me this repetition and outside
the wind flicks between warm and cold
I hold my loved ones close
I hold my hands clasped in the darkness
The answers I have found to crumble
and rebuild, and repeat only in torn
forms like recycled paper used for chips
or packing paper used to wrap objects
Words lie in ranks on the tablecloth
Connections form and are lost again,
being lines between lost things
In the christmas quiet I heard peace
In the blue fire of the hob,
small fragments of history gave us heat
The world is an organic simulation
Time pours through us and damages us.
The tangle of ideas rests in parallel lines
and smooths out the kind of fear we feel
The fire is warm on an evening
the sting of heat on my legs
the sound of ancient voices from my childhood
and far off trumpets and the brightness
Another year passes, I cope more easily
In the christmas quiet I heard peace
And what is there to say
when all stories are noise
and all stories are equal in their relation
to the void and what is there to say
and what is worth saying
when all words are noise and void
and all stories are at risk
From day to day I tumble from this mood to that
and often forget what I have said and believed
From day to day my purse grows lighter and heavier
From day to day the world goes darker
and darker and brighter and hotter
From day to day the clouds pass over the face of the sky
and the moon’s blank eye, and I
If they do not care to save the earth
why should we care for them?
If they do not care to save the earth
why should we care for them?
In the end, the sun enfolds the trees
and as I gaze at the page, it watches me
Collapse is a strange thing, it threatens,
but never quite finishes with us –
my heart is a construct of golden ideas
a web, a force, a soul, a sun tower
The future cannot help, but out of the present
it flowers, and we can help ourselves
In the sun, I see, a winter sun behind a sea
of branches, there where I lose myself
to find what there is to see
Out of the bay the new ship –
empty, and in the hold
scrolls are worked on
later, years later
the fires, the repairs made
And each time something falls
or a scroll falls apart
something else takes place.
Purpose holds, to go on
into the sea,
and the ship sinks, over years
Ropes and nets, and shark’s teeth
Slowly, slowly, falling apart,
’til one day, with a shock
And the clear waves roll over
nothing was ever here
The rock will weather the human storm
and aeons hence will thrive still.
Over the cold mountain, the clouds arise
And the gold sun.
We may not have been together in life
but rock does not hesitate to fall.
Our dust will mingle
under the red sun.
I have lived as all have lived
with the infinite collapse of things.
I have loved, and will love still
and soundless in the darkness.
You know who you are, my friends.
I sing your song forever.
I chant the requiem and praise
of the bright world.
Your week this week will go off
like a rotten egg. Such is life.
This fragment of a year will crack
and spill all over you, achieve
new heights of boredom and disgust.
Why? Do you ask why the fungus
grows at the tree’s base and grows
rotten? Come on. Just accept it
like you accept that your eyes
will look where you decide
and not just swing around like
billiard balls in a washing machine.
Next week brings with it new challenges
as exactly the same thing happens
for the hundred and eleventh time.
But this one, this is the one, I can feel it.
The stars are spread out in the orrery
like thick yeast extract on toast.
Things are everywhere finding it difficult
to connect. Take Bellatrix
for example. A salty taste on the tongue
just don’t let it touch an open cut.
Inside this emptiness of pain feeling
there is another expanse of tiny stars –
from each new star, we see new constellations
and the red bloom in Orion
is aching to reach them.
Close one eye for a while and things look flat.
There are an endless array of bears in the sky
clouds, atoms, birds, planes, galaxies –
all of these are bears if you look closely.
This week will bring bears.
Considered with reference to bodies
Standing water, in the cold night
reflects the crisp moon,
thin stars in the eye’s quiet corner
In its shallows the dark leaves rot
starving greens and wriggling things
’til stillness reigns
There is only so much you can get
from a reflection –
just ask these dying flowers on the shore
But a river – god damn it
just look – look at that flow
It goes where it wants to
But slip up, take a photo
and there! It’s a pool again.
For gods’ sake delete it
Let us leave all our still disasters
a night of stars, devastated
without their flutter, their refocus and shift
and lay paper puppets, torn and sullied
by the fire which crackles with time
and burns with everything you needed
Air raid sirens are full of dust
in a culture my ears know. Let
fail the mode of lamentation,
let us breathe in the dust we are
and be happy, let us have strength
we can direct over the form of
the book, the film, the cigarette,
the vape, the game, the small figures
we create in our new-born minds.
Let me just remember this is
pouring rain, this is paradise.
If you feel your life won’t make sense
if conditions aren’t met, forget
that, and luminesce. You may think
maybe our parents shouldn’t have
had us, knowing then what they knew
and leaving the planet in states
difficult to parse, and this holds
for all ages, and all people
in them, what a hot sin it is
to create a newborn person,
it scalds and leaves us hollowing.
But it is a great miracle
like lives and all things in their grasp
The moss between cobblestones. Rain
to break rot weakened branches. Wind
on the puddle on the bridge tears
the world into sections. I step
in the puddle and move on. Step
through the humid air. Step. I fall
through the floor and the map appears
grey and unrendered. The cloudlines
were just painted on the skybox.
I look down and I have no feet.
But the air is humid, I breathe
and smell damp old cars. Will we get
thumb arthritis, when we are old?
I see objects from my youth hang
in the air, ready for the next
cutscene. Then the quick-time event
begins. I have to tap *a* as
I drive the car home from work and
a stupid pigeon accosts me
by flying into the road. I
then miss pressing *up*, and my mind
gets caught on climate, that I can’t
be driving. There is a glitch and
I am flung into the dark sky
Do you ever get that feeling
on a late spring day, at noon when
the sun bears down amongst vile blues
and undecided clouds, and yet
it’s night? When the high pollen count
and the feeling that everything
is just an instanciation
of old recycled days, textures
the graphic engine once used on
bricks, are now reused for the spilled
potatoes on the roundabout,
these things combine and you just feel
mad? And you aren’t sure you’ve ever
been awake? and the flagstones see
your shadow with an evident
disgust, fall upon them.
That its night with a veneer of day?
Your actions seem to multiply
without ending or beginning.
And sometimes it’s okay. Squirrels
pace around the garden of my
adolescent dreamscape, bouncing
off each other, the bird feeder
and their black eyes watch me, eating