A Silent Coaching

To be better feels like being a rose, opening

under the moon, a cut rose in a vase.

I want to feel like that rose, in our house –

It is an issue for me, it is unclear why –

this flower. I am involved, we are involved,

in each day, plumping ourselves like a bouquet.

The key feature is this – the satin petal,

curving, and of course the thorns. 

I assume so much each hour, I cannot move

but for assuming – If anything, I have sat

in quiet rooms, making plans for transformations

that would impact me later, my feet in the water, 

my head opening, giving me more options

for living – like absorbing the air through my skin,

and making a painting. 

I might just sit here for an eternity,

playing videogames with my friends – 

or I might eat a peach ice cream. 

I would build a world more just, and expand

into intergalactic space, a rose, orbiting these suns. 

My friend would do this better – don’t I know it.

On a scale, these options are as practical,

as ever anything was practical – a bee

climbs into a flower, brushing pollen on its legs –

that is practical.  No, I will sit in my vase,

dropping petals. Specifically, I will wilt.

Support me in this, support me

by allowing me to be away from you. Know

that I love you even as I go into the other room. 

There is no deadline for this – there is only

the living root line which knots around us, finally.

I will take a step out of the door, know I will return,

later, with flowers which you may cut and vase,

before we arrange and eat our lunch.

V.136

The house was on a steep. The sun
was belly button of the sky –
hot head, the red light of my blood
pearled with bright neuronal pearling.

They were shouting, I could hear it
from upstairs. There is so much love
in an exasperated scream.
In a textured chocolate croissant.

Sleep will take me soon and collapse
lose pertinence. After such days,
brimming call-centres of the heat
enrich my dreams. Hello you’re through –

Oh Sam, I know you’ve lost so much
and words are not the kind of thing
that can change our minds – but sometimes
I try to try – you were captain.

Life is a penguin, no life is
penguin egg cracked and just sizzling
on a cast iron pan. Oceans
shifted and took your ship out south.

I was stranded, you said, in cold
and night that lasted months. A light
on my far sailboat caught your eye –
you look up from your fire, and cry

V.134

I sit at the graduation
courtyard outside the function tent
drinking a red velvet latte,
and eating two halved eggs, just think.

I hover over the dry grass
and there was quiet in the shop
where I chose my sandwich. I eat
and others join me in the square

where poetry seems a stand in
for certainty – a red brick wall
a landscape of reds, wires and vines.
It’s the philosophy building.

I take a mint from a blue tin
with 50 mints in. Lunch poem.
It was onion, and cheese – the kind
which has no name. In my podcast

academics speak of poets.
I take another mint. My, my,
so many things call for worry,
don’t they. It puts me on notice

and I press my index fingers
together and against my lips.
All this. Let these celebrations,
I freshen by breath, let them in

The Flood

The Rain: streaming with direct argument through the air.
The Sea: calm as children swam with their dogs at the whispering surface.
The First Doubts: felt by those who stood by the rivers as they rose.
Torrents: under arches, creaking bridges.
The Water: rising, day on day – perhaps we had hit a galactic cloud of ice, which melted through the plum atmosphere. But it was so relaxing that the scientists lay down, or swam with their dogs in the lakes which were overcoming the cities on the plain.
God: when contacted, denied involvement.
The Priests: unworried, they lay in the belfry and felt the water lap their ears.
The Spire: up out of the water, the church became a rock in the sea, which pierced the bottom of a boat that had been constructed for fun.
The Boat Crew: relaxed. Went into the water slowly and quietly.
Soon: the earth was blue and yet the rain didn’t stop. It poured between the stars in an unknown mechanism, doubtless to do with the meanings imbued in some partial beginning when pure energy thundered out of the centre of things.
Soon: water filled the galaxy, and then the spaces between the galaxies.
Underwater Stars: booming in the depths.
Comets: moving very slowly, leaving trails in the intergalactic ice as it spread in the manner of mould with a dispersed origin.
The Water: perhaps streaming from black holes, connected to another, drowning, diluvian plane.
The Water: glub.
The Water: glub.
The Water: glub.

Mudflat Archive

The barn owl is an ancient vector
on the post in the blue silence
It slips a million years between
thin bones and structures of feather –
A predator engineered by galaxy –
Mudflats in the estuary pop and click
with the worms’ horrific cryptography –
Oystercatchers crack it as they pick
scraps from the crab corpse in the pool
then are torn from the sand by desire.
Tunnelling into the cliff, the sea pops
and clicks rocks against recorded time
and daylight in the tunnel sketches webs
on the vault-line of the limestone –
Striations of land are sunk into the coast
the marsh holds a sheep skeleton –
The lady joins the doomed Gawain,
topless and expecting courtesy

We are ancient predators –
our eyes scan the front and the field
shifts and pulls towards us –
folds in the land are held straight
by our mind whose horizon is fixed
even while the body scrambles –
The lord of the castle leaves Gawain
to trek a last trek to the the rock chapel
in the green-black velvet valley –
cold in the morning – the horse
shifts and breathes under them –
the image of a single carrot impressed
into the horse-mind network
Mist lifts off the sweating body of the hills –
Sleep is slight like ice on a puddle –
We could not climb the stair quietly
the wood would crack and souls stir
stilling erratic movement of the eyeball

We remember dreams – of snakes
coiled around us, writhing on the bed –
of a silent goblin, watching, still,
until he fades – and tales of animals –
bouldering to find an adder nest
suddenly, and the shock was great –
a spider hides in the folds of a bag.
The engine pops and clicks as it cools
as the road humps over the land
holding us fixed, as the earth moves.
Swallows pop and click on the wires –
Geiger counters of each other’s name.
We are naked under these clothes –
she said it herself and I can feel it –
Scars on the land of the robes –
A bird warbles and beeps frantically –
then the fell runner whose hooves
scar the peat in flight from the lord’s hunt

Swallows struck from silver hang
in the sky like the bright moon
beyond three embracing drops in glass
and the black slate of the belfry –
the university where someone sits
in the library, feet up, on the phone –
and thrift clings to the rock pool –
small purple flowers held
for convolutional identification –
I hold the hand of an ancient woman
to help her through a gate and see
the old post office by the field.
I hold a red layered geode
someone had cracked on the beach
I hold a stone like a bearded capuchin
and bring it down to pop and click
rocks on the hard-edged beach

My friends, there is no end
though the sun will soon expand
and the earth be smoothed
by the weight of the turbulent sea
There is no end – the habitable zone
will slip beyond us as we cling
by thrift, like thrift to the rock –
We might build a planet engine
to shift whole seas to tack our orbit
or we might not – it changes nothing
You want to preserve us forever
but we are preserved – I declare it
We are archived of ourselves
of this moment – I archive us.
Now tie these greens around your waist
and watch the grass move under cows
who carefully avoid (though they kiss)
the bluebells

Aphorisms XXVI

Build up your pretentiousness, but smash your pretensions.

*

But you’re just repeating the points made by X… – thinking my own life after my own manner. And this objection is only raised in my own head. There should be no need to attribute ideas that have use-value in my life, or at least, it shouldn’t be the primary thought. Maneuvering on the surface, rather than diving into the logic of concepts and the forging, shaping, reshaping and tempering of concepts.

*

Obsession with form in poetry is exactly like obsession with the folds in origami.

Continue reading

V.103 Antipoetic

Heat without respite stills the voice
and dreams of redemption arise
stood microwaving a pizza
halving a scone, after a day

when digital ends, achieved, bring
a small smile and the motivate
gaping. Help me, I can’t stop plans
from forming out of computers

Better stop this hot dithering
the real does not suffer the fake
to install itself here for long
always some half muttered question

And scared of the voiding of life
I remember the hanging sun
at midnight when you were married
The drive to the naked ski slope

The stumble on the rocks. The week
of trekking with mosquitoes, bears
Hiding out in the empty, dark
forest of the distant image

Mounds of pine needles and their ants
You crying at intensity
of feeling, of the days that passed
when time became saturated

V.102 Apophenic

The path is overgrown and I
am lost – the way ahead is full
of ferns and low branches and moist
air. The sun flies off the grey lake

to dance in the trees. I am lost
which cause can be drawn from these facts
and the quality of sunlight.
It’s changed since I was young. Not me

I remain the same through all the change
my beard lost, my hair cut, my strength
curtailed. My gender uncertain
my sex with those others behind

the red curtain, on the neat tiles
means nothing when it comes to me
– the clean statue hidden inside
the flesh like a glacier mint…

As the leaves from last year engrain
and worms eat them, this certainty
grows – nothing causes anything
anymore, the cause sails silent

among air packed with miracle
More can be said but the dawning
of meaning on the word has gone
there is no duty to call it

V.100 Loki

You know what to do, in lastness
you feel the god of steel growing
you pray that all will fall away
as hesitation corrupts us

Our time is lived but once, and yet
that doesn’t seem to move us much
But what can we expect from voices
peeling the skin of older gods

The courts of law arranged behind
the gate, behind the projector
screen, where the greyscale mouse dances
and buried viking chess sets crack

A hedonism ramifies –
you don’t know that you’re born, they say
Response: You don’t know that you’re dead –
building great towers in the west

exactly like giant gravestones
and in memoriam to what?
Allow us talk, sir. Allow us
our fortresses in the dark air

Something is dead and its absence
thickens through non-acknowledgement
The engines of capital burn
as particles plot against us

Aphorisms XX

My guitar teacher used to say to me – learn the theory, learn the chords, learn riffs and learn songs. But try your best to forget it all when you need to write music.

The same goes for advice on writing. You can’t have all that rattling around in your head when you’re trying to get something done. When it comes up, it should pop in like a friend to remind you you need a cup of tea, or better, bring you that cup, with a biscuit.

(This fits into the probably quite voluminous category of meta-advice.)

*

When you play a videogame with gestural graphics, that don’t quite add up, you bring a kind of supplement to it. An ideal space opens up on top of everything on the game and adds materiality, similar to when you’re reading a book and you bring images, material from the memory into the book-image. It fills in the gaps, making the whole painting pop. At least, it did when I was a kid.

Continue reading