Kew

It’s as hot as the sun
can make it here
where water forgets
its natural direction
of downhill, & hovers

That is apart from the salted
water on our brows,
your smooth and pale back
your classically refined
tanned toes

seeing plants everywhere
on tables, panels, hanging gardens
in our eyelids, lashes –
my mind loses place
arborial beauty hangs together

with the small and hot haired
nymph of the sweat water
I see before me. You
smile again an evil smile
at my fear of heights – & I

see your eyes glitter
organically
small sticky rust grey seeds
which lodge in my mind
and breed

Sun 1st July 2018

I can only think of
your blue bathing suit
over the brown sands
with their holes and emulsions

I can only think of
your legs lit by crystal shallows –
of the bruise by your knee
and the flat, sodden beach you gazed at

I can only think of
you at different intensities
as if a shell sound lodged in my mind
and the waves of you repeat

I can only think of
you, and your sunburnt lower back
you shouted, it was so sunburnt
I almost evaporated

When I try to think of
other things
you come riding back
on a standing wave

A Theology of Thunder

The peculiar tale of the discovery and ordering of this manuscript will be told at a more convenient time. The peculiarities of its form of recording deserve their own discussion – suffice it to say that the text is a gloss of a Hittite or eastern ancient Mediterranean language unknown until the ‘Vrontin’ carving was found in the cave in mountainous central Anatolia. It is perhaps the stub of an alternative development of a primitive religion, although the inclusion of unparsable terms makes its translation very difficult. To aid in comprehension, we have entered the most likely English counterparts, although it should be remembered that, for example, the goose noted in 15 [1] is probably not any species of goose that the reader will be familiar with, although similar behaviours have been found to exist in aggregate over many populations of goose across the world. The most difficult term to translate was found in carving 3.1, where a term for emotional brain capacity was found wanting. We have used the vastly unsatisfactory ‘limbic system’ as a stand in, waiting for a time when a translator with the right powers of sight can offer up a more fitting word.

With regards to the numbering of the individual epigrams, the translators have here grouped the terms in order of likely relation, given the variety of their array and depth in the cave. Roughly (and this will be gone into in more detail in later articles) the lower the appended figure, the deeper into the cave its hieroglyphics were found. Numbers in square brackets indicate the rough location of repeated forms of the epigram, but changed. For example the repeated refrain of epigram 2 repeats unchanged within the system of carvings several times. But the figure of 21 [1.1] is one of these altered carvings, that appears in (roughly) position 21 but also appears redacted in position 1.1, which is to say, related to carving 1 spatially, but struck out, or reversed, or written in a different hand. One of the deficiencies of our manuscript is that it does not indicate which of these separations has occurred. But we considered that even an unsatisfactory preliminary exposure to these texts was worthwhile to readers of this series.

We will of course update you with any exegesis we receive of the religious system here denoted, and of any further carvings that come to light. If you are reading this, we assume you are of high-caliber and fully suited to do the exegetical or theological work required. We look forward to receiving your suggestions.

A quick word for the working title. Originally we had intended to replace the title which casts anachronistically back western intellectual categories into the ancient past. One of our interns suggested Vrontinalia but again, that seemed unacceptable. We assume that a new title will emerge in time through academic consensus.

– The Text –

1 The white moon is rung with haze.

2 The storm has no parent but rises out of the past without ancestor.

3 The storm neither breathes, nor holds its breath, but breathes and holds silence within itself.

3.1 The storm propogates out of itself in shapes different and indifferent, in the limb, the nose, the eye, the limbic system.

4 The storm is peace and war, and fear and love echo from it.

4.1 The storm is peace – thunder brings the force of silent contrast.

4.2 The storm is war – lightning breaks the branch and water breaks the land.

4.3 Fear echoes from the dark storm but love is bright in the eyes beneath it.

[…]

5 Nothing can stop the storm, neither can it be held back from where it wishes to go.

5.1 Only by moving the land under it, or by moving upon that land can an end be found.

5.2 The storm moves on, and beneath it the land changes, or does not change.

6 The air is heavy with rain.

6.1 Quenching will bring emptiness and fill the land, and press it down.

6.2 Water is heavy as rock, and yet the storm holds it dark in the sky.

6.3 A feather is light, and yet the storm brings it to the surface of the water.

7.1 The storm has an eye but cannot see.

7.2 The storm has arms that cannot touch, and cannot help but touch.

7.3 The storm has no head, and so when it thinks, it thinks only in patterns of water.

7.4 The thoughts of water guide the sky.

8 The storm cares not where it strikes.

8.1 It will strike the same place again and again until that place is wrack, as no custom has reach over thunder.

8.2 The storm’s finger points but does not blame.

8.3 Blame is for the breeze, and the small branch that taps on the window.

[…]

10 The storm cannot be read, for the world has tried to read the storm and failed.

[…]

12 When it rains, it pours, or the pour is missed.

13 [10.1] The storm is never the same, for sameness is never present within it.

13.1 [10.2] The storm is never different, for difference is not present within it.

14 The storm has no parent but rises out of the past without ancestor.

15 [5.3] The storm rests in the sky whilst it boils in the cup.

15 [1] Every day the goose flies low under the black clouds.

16 [2] The storm is afraid of the spiders web, and of the dew on the grass, for the spider is sharp and straight, and the dew is a small jewel.

16 [1] The moon’s black belly holds within it the storm, therefore watch for the black moon if you search for the storm.

17 [5.4] The storm tears when it moves against itself.

18 The storm will strike down the highest first, but will strike the dancer before all, though it loves a dancer.

18.1 The storm cannot abide disregard.

19 The storm is sad and slow, and the storm is fast and joyful.

20 The storm will wake the sleeper.

20.1 The storm draws unto one all who hear her.

20.2 The storm will wake and draw all unto one who hear her, and all that cannot hear her, but feel her.

20.3 Lightning in time is nothing compared to the storm in time. But in mind the flash overrides beyond its realm.

21 [1.1] The storm is heralded from afar by thunder that ties time to the land.

[…] the storm without warning […] shores [illegible]

22 The storm has no parent but rises out of the past without ancestor.

C to M

Unbelievable. Words are meant for pages,
not to echo over the fields behind houses
disturbing the moths in their evening light.
Words are meant only for games
and this is not a game. I said stop.
You need to speak now, we’re here.
I’m here, you’re here, we’re here.
What are we playing at? What just happened?
We had an ice-cream together
and it was like the last ice-cream piece
of the ice cream puzzle. But it’s gone.
We were like two intercity kiloton trains
that missed the crash we could have been.
Ignorant that all of us crash, it’s life.

But our verdict is not stayed by vague gestures.

You are like the frame of everything;
I’m like your cracked painting.
And you’re mine. You’re my painting,
my nude by Georges Braque, a person,
but unlike any person they know.
I could never have said this til now,
it’s like someone is speaking through me,
my voice is no longer my own,
but I’m going to take this chance to say
I love you, M, I’ve said it before.
But I don’t think we ever got through
to a precise entailment of that statement.
You are the thorn in my side that I need.
You are the constant pain that lets me know I’m alive.
Or am I that to you? I’ve lost track. But that’s it;
If they tried to unweave me from this world,
they’d have to take you too, otherwise
what’s left would not make sense.
You’re like the light by which I am seen.
Without you I am not me.
We evolve together like the beetle and magnolia,
But who is which, changes.
Stop, let me make you a statue to yourself.
Let me be your pedestal. Let us hold us.
Stop, let me punch your enemies in the nose,
and redeem all your relations.
Let me become something that we become together
Let us realise that we become together.
Stop, let’s lie down here in our hole, our glass bauble
And work through everything in glorious variations
of sex, like we were carved by the ancients.
Things are going wrong all the time
And we aren’t owning it. Let us own it.

When we are hurt, we are the uneasy angel,
making uncertain vows to save us.
Now Editor, Stop. Allow us this
Of course things happen in unlikely ways,
Let’s not be melodramatic about it.
Leave the future to those who live there.
We are our fate.

Hello Sadness – Part 2-5

All that about the cigarettes wasn’t without consequences. Like some people who think a lot before acting, who are very sure of themselves, Anne wouldn’t tolerate being disobeyed, dishonoured. By doing the soft thing, by releasing her harsh hands from my face, she was going against that side of herself. She’d guessed that something was happening, and she would have made me own up to whatever it was, but at the last moment she gave in to pity or indifference. Because she had just as much trouble taking care of me, training me even, as she did admitting my weaknesses. The only thing that pushed her into this role as my tutor, my teacher, was a feeling of duty – that by marrying my dad, she was taking responsibility for me as well. I would have liked it if the constant disapproval, if I can call it that, could have improved to just annoyance. I would have liked it if I could have felt that she was just over-sensitive, because then it would have faded as she got used to me. It’s much easier to get used to someone’s behaviour if you don’t feel like it’s up to you to sort them out. In six months she would have been tired of me, but in an affectionate way, and that was exactly what I needed. But that wasn’t going to happen, because she felt responsible for me, and in a way she was, because I was still easily mouldable. That and stubborn.

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Hello Sadness – Part 2-4

My father showed no other feelings, just surprise. The cleaner explained to him that Elsa had picked up her suitcases and left straight away. I don’t know why she didn’t mention Elsa and me meeting. She was a woman from the countryside, and very sweet. She must have known more or less exactly what was going on, especially since she’d changed all the rooms around. I felt suddenly very grateful to her.

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V.79

See all the souls anchored to you
each faint and crackling golden line
like a nylon line, but neater,
each is a life you’ve saved in here.

You look like a heaven-flower
like an aurum tree. The fire-work
frozen in time, on the blue black
all the still-paths, the fizzing strings.

The key to self-hood is the gap
between what we would like to be
and what is. These things are all sent
to test us, see: to build us up

Without these moments we would fall
again, into the depths of hell
which is a flat, blank, pool of white
like milk. But tastless, vigorless.

Humans need this pain to grow full.
If there was fruit hanging from each
tree, we would never need to think,
never need a revelation.

And so, these two things connect us.
These metallic wires, our trellis.
To be saviour to each other
And see what newness can encroach

Hello Sadness – Part 2-3

The next day, as I was walking down to Sal’s house, I felt a lot less sure of my thoughts. To celebrate the feeling of closure, I’d drunk a lot at dinner – I ended up pretty drunk. I explained to my dad how I was going to study literature, visit professors, that I would end up famous and boring. He would need to use all the techniques of advertising and probably a scandal to set off my caree. We were in hysterics, talking over our crazy ideas. Anne laughed too, less loudly – she was indulging us. From time to time she stopped laughing, when my ideas strayed from literature into simple decadence. But my dad was so obviously enjoying himself messing around with me that she said nothing. Eventually they put me to bed, tucking me in. I thanked them profusely, asked what I would do without them. My dad really didn’t know, and Anne seemed to have some pretty brutal ideas on the subject, but as I was begging her to tell me, as she leaned over, I fell asleep. In the middle of the night, I threw up a lot. Waking up in the morning taught me just how crappy waking up can be. It was worse than I’d ever had before. My thoughts fuzzy, my heart beating too fast, I headed towards the pine woods without noticing the sea at all, or probably the overexcited seagulls.

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Hello Sadness (1954-2020) Part 2-2

Two days passed, I was treading water, tiring myself out. I couldn’t free myself, I was obsessed – Anne was going to trash our existence. I didn’t go looking for Salil, he reassured me and gave me happiness and I didn’t want that. I just collapsed into questioning myself with impossible questions, remembering the days before, fearing the days that would come. It was so hot – my room was shadowed, my shutters closed, but that wasn’t enough to drain away the heaviness, the stickiness in the air. It was unbearable. I stayed on my bed, head thrown back, eyes on the ceiling, barely moving and then only to find a bit of cold sheet. I didn’t really sleep, I put the digital radio on at the foot of the bed, found a synthwave channel, where they were playing their slow records, almost melody free, just a kind of beautiful rhythm. I smoked a lot, it was decadent, and I liked it. But all this playing couldn’t distract me, I was sad and disoriented.

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Hello Sadness (1954-2020) Part 2-1

Intermission Montage SoundtrackSal sailing around the coast trying to catch a glimpse of her, partying with his friends, thinking about being with another girl who he knows, then turning away at her memory. Her lying on her bed losing her mind. The sun, the sun everywhere.


The clarity of my memories from that point onwards is really surprising. I took on a greater consciousness of others, of myself, I paid attention. Before that I was always quite spontaneous, in a selfish way – it was a luxury that came naturally to me, but those few days were problematic enough that I had to start thinking, had to watch myself live. I went through all this incredible pain of thinking my life, and still didn’t end up any more relaxed about my situation. This feeling, I thought, this feeling about Anne is stupid and simple, like this need to separate her from my dad is intense. But, in the end, why judge myself? I didn’t have to do anything, I was just me, I was just free to experience whatever happened. For the first time in my life, this ‘me’, my self, seemed split in two, and the existence of this two-facedness was a massive surprise. I found excuses, whispered them to myself, feeling sincere, only to have this other ‘me’ exploding my own arguments, crying to me that I was fooling myself, even though they looked true at first glance. But wasn’t it really this other ‘me’ who tricked me? Wasn’t this obvious response really the worst mistake? Sat in my room I debated for hours whether this fear, this anger that Anne made me feel was justified, or whether I was just a selfish little girl, spoiled, just lucky to have had a false independence.

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