A World

(Republishing this, my favourite of my poems, after having submitted it and heard nothing. I’m nonetheless extremely proud of it.)

Wavecolour

There is a beyond I want –
It sits in the bay – swelling
and parches colour from skies
If it were to flatten – I
would hover in galactic
clearness as whale stock rolling
through depths of flat darkness

It is a mess of futures
I want to feel weight holding –
not pulling me down, not crass
If I were to dive, would it
help me to feel this soft truth?
All its cruxes, circulate
into my skull sockets, pour

Skycolour

In the original slow
blue-shift on crystal axes
and the cloud-plane’s flat chatter
which gulls inhabit – It strokes
our lives with rotations
so unnoticed – like a spine
holds us, cranks us all onwards

This thing, this vast thing thralls me
with the subtlety of god
I want to live as slow as
this thing is the thing itself
as uncaring, swept distance
that it unfolds me into
a greater care, the air itself

Earthcolour

When I stand in the peach-rock
plain – hear cicadas eat sound
and grind my soul off on sand
using just my feet, my flat boots
– I want to hear the pattern
of sun-dry olives falling
of mountains blowing in wind

I want to smell the dry cracks
splitting the earth and the ants
cacophonous rustling will
The sweat which drops from my brow
– can it birth a cold spring – no
it crackles into the dirt
then a sun bleached toothless skull

Suncolour

Once, the sun was in my urn
buried, half-buried in sand
half in air, then it poured out
and the corona blasted
a hole through me, I smiled clean
I fell and my body spread
in a floating slow dissolve

Light was everywhere – light swam
in oceans of light, pearlesced
in the centre, a headache
a burning, a green cactus,
bee mantra, a pebbled floor
and a pale darting lizard
The gull shadow sweeps within

Starcolour

A fell day, a final drive
Long journeys open cold doors
and out – look upwards – yes
There is the ancient cave wall
where myth crystallises – whites
and all reds and bright far dawns
brim softly with absolutes

They are eyes, palantíri –
Vectors indicate some truth
– whatever, the darkness fades
from a pale light to shimmer –
Orion’s heavy shoulder
It ripples, this fabric lives –
swear it was not known ’til now

V.99

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

V.98

Eggs salivate in the pan – and
all mistakes that remain are mine
THE WORLD IS ALL THAT IS THE CASE
is no materialist take –

I am condemned simply by not
having violence trapped in my name
as a deed weaves you to the state
as a wave talks upon the beach

At night I play videogames
at night the storm rolls over us
inside us in static, forget
it says, forget the world, and fear.

In the day I go to the car
which has cut us off from the past
through rhythm and distance, and dream
(in trying to claw some short rest)

of moments in videogames
where I could have performed better
these performances being real
(At least outlined like a series

of logical atoms.) The game
is all that is the case, and I
have made the world mine. Thus I pass
over everything in silence

V.92

Come to me now, being of dark
body, smooth and night sky-like. Come
being with a galaxy head
and lie with me under the moon

The night is passing too slowly
the clouds ensure a tempered glow
My window is fluorescent, dull
and shelves stretch to the roof above

But I have no one to work it out
come, body of the supple stars
touch my skin so I may feel you
the softness from which I am built.

You have lain in the sky too long
The moon breast, and the other, sharp
sun hidden under the planet
veil, I draw you back for long hours

The stars are the hair on your back
and I smell the warm air which climbs
up, having held your body, now
in my lungs, I hold your hot scent

and the metal in my fillings
melts, draining down my throat. Come now
sex of the night with the landscape
achieve your end with me and sleep

I Would like to Pay for your Chips, by Cécile Coulon (2018, Le Castor Astral)

It began at that so particular time of the night
where the end of one day bumps up against the start of another;
I went out in the rain, I was hungry.
The storm unleashed its warm hail on the flapping shutters,
no one else was walking in the streets
which were slick and seeped down to the square at the bottom
where the fountain overflowed.
Normally bony dogs would be having a bath there
but now, no barking, no whistles.
The night, the rain, the heat.
I crossed the road. A guy waved from the other side:
two fingers and a mouth ajar to ask
if I had something to smoke, I threw up an open hand
flapping, like the shutters, to show him that no,
and I went on, face buried in my oversize hoody,
hair full of the smell of a day
that wasn’t quite done.
By the sign, a young girl in a pink skirt and a guy
with a haircut that recalled the best moments
of Agnés Varda, waited their turn to order a kebab
with extra cheese.
The girl looked at the mounted flat-screen
on the wall showing clips of american pop,
the guy threw and caught a plastic bottle behind him
turning it over skilfully.
After they’d paid, the owner said
“Sorry for the wait”
I’d only just arrived, so that made me smile;
“a box of chips, with ketchup
okay
you can wait
inside.”
So I waited, standing, leant against the fridge
in front of the empty salad trays.
It was then that a man, soaked to the bone, came in.
I pushed myself aside to let him pass:
his clothes gave off a smell of cement
and cheap alcohol, his hair cropped short, grey,
held water
like the surface of a field at four in the morning.
He ordered.
At the moment I went to pay for my chips, he fixed his eyes,
eyes rounder than the beak of a Flemish rose,
the weak mouth of those tired men who drink
a bit too much and who accept it,
he looked at me for a while,
and stammered:
“I don’t know what to say to you.”
At first I thought he was winding me up, but all the same,
his eyes, his eyes!
“How’s that?”
He took a great breath, as if each word
tore from him half of a lung:
“I don’t know what to say to you, Miss”
The guy behind the counter listened with one ear
filling the industrial chip trays.
“You don’t have to say anything to me”
I responded, shaking my jumper.
“I don’t know what to say to you because I know who you are.”
The rain left lightly shining grooves, falling
from his skull to the bottom of his nose.
I didn’t know what to say either:
midnight wasn’t far off, I’d come looking for what to expect til morning,
and this guy, perfectly drunk and sound of mind, seemed
about to cave in on himself.
“I know who you are, you write books.
How do you do it?”
“Well, however I can.”
He gave himself a tap on the knees, and then
in one go,
tears, sweat
of the rain which comes from the inside
something humid and sincere came over his look,
already drowning in solitude and the bizarre night.
He turned towards the guy
who folded
the orange trays
with the precision of a dental surgeon.
“I can tell you that I didn’t get soaked tonight for nothing, no way!”
At my back, the fridge hummed.
A light smile installed itself, naturally
between my dimples.
On the counter, my chips were ready, well packed.
I took out my coin
a two euro piece and the drowned man said to me:
“I would like to pay for your chips, if you don’t mind.”
I sighed and left my coin between him and me, then I offered my hand.
He shook it.
“Thanks, mister”
and I left, my bundle of chips on my wrist.
On the way back, the characteristic smell of chip fat
invaded my nostrils, my hair, my clothes.
I will probably never see that man again, or at least, not like that.
Since yesterday, I’ve wanted to write about him, because I wonder
which of us in a few months, in a few years, will be betrayed
by the image they have constructed
of the outside world?
Will it be for others to shake hands
at that hour of the night
for a box of lukewarm chips and an iceless cola?
I would like for poetry to be as natural to those
who surround me as the emotion
that sprang forth that night, before that square
with the improbable ease of moments that might not have been,
but that happened all the same, poorly thought out
overflowing with grace, and impossible words

Calliope

Beautiful I want to receive you like the bed after becoming so tired I cannot sleep and odd things run through my feverish mind

I want to sit stunned cross legged on the covers and reach over to catalogue you mindlessly at first, but then knit all of you together with my tongue

I want to hear your voice collapse like, in the grey fog, immense waves in a storm collapse on chalk cliffs, I want to collapse

I want your eyes to become decentred from the locus of your self, allow the sun to become everything of you, scattered over you on the forest slopes in the snow

I want you to think of all of your best lovers whilst we recall them by knotting together, and it becomes hard to untangle from the past to go make coffee

I want us to forget each of us which gender we are, at the moment of climax when all there are are damp surfaces and depths and the universe achieves its end smiling, I want us to sweat

I want you to feel your dark hair rise all over your body, feel it grasp everything like snakes as I become statuesque

I want it to be like tearing the book of your life in half from that moment each time, each time you look at me and laugh or sigh and the rain pelts jealously on the window

I often think of collapsing with you on the floor as soon as we cross the threshold, with a little ceremony and incense, the censer swaying back and forth over the carpet. I often think of you

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 of our brows,
your smooth and pale back
your classically refined
tanned toes

seeing plants everywhere
on tables, panels, hanging gardens
tangled in our eyelids, lashes –
my mind loses place.
Arboreal 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 beads
which lodge in my mind
and seed

01/07/2018

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 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 swimming back
diving through a wave

Aphorisms VIII

Scripturience is always eschatological in the end.

*

I read in Luke Kennard’s poem Ghost Story, where he talks about god making the soul pass through all possible human lives as a kind of edification or explanation or challenge or trick or joke, and remembered a very similar thought I’d had since childhood – except I imagined it would be every animal I ever stepped on, every living being including the long and interminable lives of trees, the short and inexplicable lives of mushrooms. I just remembered an ancestor to this idea in my head, or maybe the source of it, in Douglas Adam’s book where there exists a creature that in all of its incarnations is killed by Arthur Dent. Incarnations shares its root with french carné, and carnivore. Lives are the mind made meat, expendable and eaten by god’s great experiment.

I can imagine a Koan based around a similar idea – if you are to live the life of every person you have ever met, every plant you have ever seen, and every animal, fish and vegetable that you have ever eaten, would you agree to live? And then we can go on to include rocks and stars and clouds in this, and the answer might be – but this is how things already are. You are living the last life in the universe.

*

Art for art’s sake is just a warning not to expect more.

*

Continue reading

Chronicle

I here chronicle the events on Twitter of the 13th July 2024. I here chronicle the implosion of an industry, and the sociological deaths of at least three well know personalities. I here chronicle schadenfreude, accidental implosion, carelessness and fuck you, deserved comeuppance, and vicarious retort. I here chronicle 13,777 tweets, totalling 1,804,787 characters, being lived as 3,444 (and a quarter) human life hours. I here chronicle at least 956 subtweets, of various levels of passive aggressiveness. I here chronicle the sad tweets, alone in a desert of talk, who made comment without the full context, isolated in history, who post to advertise their blog, the promoted tweets to satisfy curiosity, to satisfy revenge as the dragon is tempted with a sweaty maiden. I here chronicle the vastly greater lurking viewers, the aeons worth of unsent messages and multiple thousand revised drafts. I here chronicle spelling mistakes noticed and unnoticed, atoned and unatoned for. I chronicle three burned meals, a stubbed toe, the faded white and blue afterimage decaying and pushing sleep, cats and dogs and fish unfed, general malaise, unlocalizable unease, no one feels like they won except the machinelike who continue to believe they have never made a mistake even as they pile up like carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. I chronicle the year following where 13 lost their jobs in ways directly or indirectly linked to particular tweets sent in this period. I chronicle the further deterioration of the environment over the next 100 years, the anthropocene, then the anti-anthropocene, the post-anthropocene waste. I chronicle the advent of generalised affordable commercial spaceflight whilst those with easily curable diseases continue to die due to the fact that some object by force of arms to the principle of charity. I here chronicle the sun, the sun, the sun, as it grows, as it grows, as it grows. I chronicle the messianic advent of immense power. I here chronicle that it came too late.

I here chronicle the field, in the sun, the grass waving in the warm breeze. There is no one here. The insects are silent, or gone, and occasionally a bird flies through heading elsewhere. The warmth of redness in your eyes, and the cold air’s caress of your back. The waft of your t-shirt, and the smell of spring. You look up and see immense superobjects of water vapour interact in the stinging blue.