The world is not a game of chess –
A game of chess is not a game
sometimes it’s something more and less
When a world turns on an evening
When rain churns upon the roof tiles
and rain sounds dance inside the ear
and rain worlds are raised from the red
depths of the mind, a damp childhood.
In an oxbow lake three kids act
in a pirate film, and leap out
in the rain, to feel the warm depths
and feel roots in the dark water
touch their legs, and shiver. A fish
a dead fish bobs among the reeds
Its unused eye staring at clouds
dark with the shadow of water.
In a film a neat cottage stands
by the sea, and an old man gives
advice that, being trite, this time
because of something deep, and past
returning, brings with it a roar
like the sun checkmates the dark sea
and castles on the sand, kids hands
had made, are washed away. I love
Memory danger. It’s a pinch.
They’re in our heads, in our bodies –
they could strike at any time. Know:
Memories are dangerous things.
They wrench our heads through time, it’s worse
even than the ground opening
and letting you plummet away,
just to jangle from side to side
from rock face to rock face – insults
raining from their mouths. “Good lord, boy,
Call that falling!? A downy scrap
of feather would do it better.
Call that hitting your head? Go on…
Pull the other one! Try again –
Oof but that was okay, good byeeee!
AND THE DARKNESS SWALLOWS YOU UP.
So, melodramatic, but yeah.
It’s like the world is scattered all
with massive invisible traps.
Bear traps with a ghost chain attached.
And then you drag the ghost around
as it complains mightily – “Please,
I’m as tired as you, my liege. But
can’t you stop that racket I’m sick”
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 world that reflections fall to
beneath the petrol station in
the rain – that world where things are good
how can we reach it? The world where
the chemical imbalances
are mostly corrected. In there
where people don’t get stuck. I love
all of my friends, I love you all.
But you need to go to buildings
everyday, in other cities.
Things are made difficult by this.
You need to tap at keys and make
small adjustments, and be harrassed
by parents as their children cry
and try to cope with complex stress.
There is no line. No prime matter
that would lie down beneath things and
smoothly answer questions. Like why
argent, a cross gules, prevails here?
a symbol of stupidity
flutters in the cold wind. As I
attempt to make myself think well,
reach that world dropping away now
beneath the rivers, beneath seas
I fear the dark, like anyone
that grows along the surface like
moss. Dear friend, I fear I am done
writing outside of fashion
and that is life. Lichen grows in
me, letting out its frost tendrils.
I am clean and clear throughout when
I have the better understood
moments. But to reach those I need
suns and locales I am far from.
I am out beyond the long range
of the beautiful. Juxtapose
this evening, alone, and unpained,
with an evening we knew by sea
where I had pain, yes, but also
peace. I live, now, to reach that peace.
Moss, you will note, is oft unsung.
Though it arrives first, and fastens
black rock for the later aeons
who soon forget it. I lie here
reaching for soft Erato’s hair,
or the bend of her ear, to breathe
whispers and promises of things
she wants me to do for her yet
I see possibilities arrayed
like a great flagstone path
and each flagstone has moss
and plants grow inbetween
And each flagstone is carved
from stone milled from language
the language of books and films
they are stacked about the path
And the rain and wind-grit
are giving them a hard time
so the titles have ripped off
or faded in the sun – the path
(this may be important)
only appears retroactively
that is – I can only see it
looking over my shoulder.
The path in front of me
looks clean and I am walking
but I don’t mean to be walking
through a mist from the waterfall
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 the thoughtless
death-machines, our dreams turned nightmares,
teach us mercilessness to utopian thinking.
We live on the thin red line which hedges provisionally
the gap between 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. No.
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 red martian grass,
disaster comes, we will deal with that disaster –
shuffling our cards and smiling at the draw:
We keep the red fire and pass it on,
whirling and dancing from soul to soul
lift the handful of dice and play your role,
forging and reforging humanity from the sparks
and defying the world to fall.
Get angry, get warm, and never bow.
Never bow at all.