Fears

Growing up is stopping being afraid of something imaginary, and starting being afraid of something real, where it may be the same thing. For example, I am afraid of sunlight now, whereas when I was a child I was afraid of crying tears of metal, in the process of being filled with adamantium.

How slowly these realisations happen, and we can never be sure they have stopped! Imagine the fears we will have in the coming years! For example I recently started having nightmares that the entire process of writing will be disallowed to humans (because it is not optimal) and outsourced to an economy based on texts churned out at incredible speed by artificial intelligences writing word after word based on exactly what we have wanted. And these constructed by minds who were constructed out of everything that has been written, based around a kernel of demand.*

Yes you see we keep on feeding it different stimuli but it always tells us we are fundamentally flawed and deserve to be punished. Something to do with the way ancient authors** viewed their peers. But we don’t have enough data in any other format! Come on, do they really need to read anyway? Doesn’t it just generate irrational brain-forms and cause them to be late for work! Not that we need them to work anymore

I mean who is the artificial intelligence here, really? All of which is to say I haven’t grown up yet.

*Am I arrogant to be afraid of this? Yes.
**Not to mention the moderns

V.33

If we retreat into enclaves
Well, there’s only so much conflict
we can take. And the web itself
was an example of that

then small trolls followed us here to
watch their voices overspill and
burble down the drainpipe feed-scroll.
But that’s just the way of things eh?

You can invent a beautiful
machine, and someone will want to
use it to masturbate. It’s fair.
That’s just the structure of human

subjectivity. Little did
we know. Think of monasteries
out in the cold dales. These machines
undone by fat ranting hierarchs

and murder based upon other
older mantras. I just want prayer
to fill the halls and no sex life.
But they keep broadcasting naked

creatures on the walls of my mind.
And this whole response is really
too much. Echoing an echo
of an echo of an echo

V.31

It was buoyant and hot as I
was driven under – clear fumes
were drifting in front of my thoughts
I was dwelling on road rage when

there came the bars in Dvorak 9,
between the first timpani and
the oboe’s solo voice and tune,
and I felt quiet in the sun

with the smell of synthetic cars,
and I didn’t let my mind run
hectic over all the aspects
that may have been wrong with that time

(were there any?*) and those bars seemed
then to express exactly that
moment. But later in bed, past
midnight I couldn’t hear it when

I searched many renditions on
youtube for a feeling. Exact
physical opposite to the
nagging Ligeti requiem

which I used to think I liked but
now seems to sharpen headache. Tea
has replaced my bloodstream. I take
paracetamol to keep on

*yes

Pareidolia

The practitioners of the prose poem have been cloud based since 1841. If I didnt know better, I would have said that someone sent me a message. The sun hung behind the clouds so that I could see it perfectly without pain, this vibrant circle-source of light that haloed the atmosphere. And a dark cloud passed in front that was shaped like an eye, so the pupil of god watched me without judgement, and I closed my eyes and two perfectly synchronised tears fell from them, and this sky-gaze watched as I drove towards my house. Then the yet darker part of this cloud passed in front, and obscured the sun. But I knew then that the sun would appear again when the cloud passed. And of course this was a beautiful thing to know. I drove home and parked and listened to the rest of Jon Hopkin’s album and felt somewhat calm depsite the other tears which remained constantly ready to fall.

Maybe this was an instance of spirituality, the ancient eldritch bare-experience of things which is felt sometimes in the night, like a kind of dark squid that bumps up against your soul on the astral plane, its eye wide and black and all-seeing, something to be borne with gritted teeth ’til we can absorb ourselves once more in tasks and life with those whom we work to love. You can try to ignore what latent symbolism you notice in the big fluffy sunofaguns that just play in the sky. You can try.

V.30

The gateposts flutter with sonnets
in rich florentine hands. The work
of sculptor and vile abuser
Benvenuto Cellini stands

in his walled garden, unfinished.
Dukes and Duchesses pay handsome
fees to see it done. In the shop
the cracked furnace bears stigmata

of bronze. And a stray cat stares at
you, the reader of this poem.
Its eyes are black and you shiver,
looking up at the cinder hole

in the roof where hastily rigged
boards let rain fall on the steaming
ash pile, the dark droplets of bronze.
What are you doing in Florence

during the renaissance? and how
did you come to be in this hall
of works? Nobody knows. A girl
stops and waits in the cold doorway.

Without a word you both agree.
In the garden, the nieces watch
the statue grow white hot and melt.
“Medusa!” they say. “Medusa”

V.29

Matsuo Bashō reigns his horse
in and stops a moment. After
several seconds of cool sweat
pearls his forehead, he moves to grasp

some scrap paper. Ahead, the shrine
hung on the priest’s back sways buddha
slowly to enlightenment. I
think to write this poem as I

walk in the sun uphill and out
of the city. Some very apt
resonances would have been sought.
Between my walk and the journey

he took, ready to become close
to things which want their expression
in the form of a clear cut haiku.
As it is I had to take the

bus. Nevertheless, I think to
write this poem on the bus, yet
I see the wonderful smile and
mouse laugh of a girl I now know.

She tells me of the peregrines
nesting in the uni tower.
So, finally, I note this down.
I don’t think it turned out so bad

V.28

If you listen when the sun rise
continues over the woods, you
can hear them. In amongst the trees
whisper the ghosts of the dark elm

and around them flutter pulp texts
of appraisal and if you then
listen when the cashier rattles
the till drawer, taking payment

for a selection of old books
you can hear them. In amongst the
shelves the ghosts of poems about
elms slip and slide from page to page

and as the sun light cuts through leaves
and bluebottles mate, rattling along
thin old bits of rope, and old stones
once used to rip up grain for flour,

let reading not have been a strange
historical cul-de-sac, let
people lower their eyes, only
let the silence ramify out

so we can hear ghosts when they spin
suspended in the air like leaves
hung on invisible threads, leave
ghosts that hang on the page in braille