Aphorisms XXVIII

Condescension of Revolution – It is so easy when you look at what such an upheaval costs, first, in violent reaction and, then, the counter reaction which tends to follow. But when a political arrangement will not change, has no inbuilt manner through which to change it to make it more democratic – when the tantrums of imperial powers set their unwieldy mass behind autocracy and freely exercise and defend their monopoly on violence – then what else is there left to do? As the gridlock tightens, as reaction tightens, the temptation grows and grows…

And when democratic revolution can be undertaken peacefully, for the most part, the arguments against it are dulled to a whisper.

What am I saying here? I’m saying that there is space for a democratic revolution even in a nominally democratic system, a system which bears traces of democracy already.

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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.135

and history may say alas,
but cannot help nor pardon –
ruins of empires are flowers
in Europe’s garden. Let more fall

’til empire is a lost nightmare
on endless dunes of autumn leaves.
Death-pale warriors and a king –
bearing black stars and stripes, and old –

were sent to quell humanity
wherever it was found – they cried
in joy as kind democrats died
and bestowed themselves red honours…

Now with desolated brains, shout
Vote! to us as we cry – power.
The only response they merit;
tears of sadness as we laugh hate.

All those they murder wait for them
in hell, with visitor’s tickets –
given dispensation to see
lives relived if the roles were swapped

Imperial officers scream
for their fathers as they clock it –
they are to be shot, shortly,
chopped up and put in a barrel.

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 Witch of Endor

A worried king came to me, lord knows why
to measure his luck against the Philistines.
Strange how an eldritch technique can change
from heresy to dogma for reasons of state –
anyway, for all my murdered sisters I gave
him just enough doubt to put off his aim –
he’ll lay down his sword from anxiety, then
lie down and slide along it, slowly, to rest.
I slaughtered a calf to give precursive thanks
and fed him libation to his own pierced flank.

When the gods ascend from out the earth,
justice sees tyrants come off the worse.

V.133

The slogginess and haecceity
of the evening away from you –
trapped in a metre that repeats
while dust mites settle on my face –

make me feel like a half-played game
packed up with cards badly shuffled.
The blueness and depth of the sky –
against the gold of these string lights –

that’s the thing that passes the night.
I send a picture of the sky
through the sky to you in your bed –
it looks inky black, you reply.

//Words encrypt me and decrypt me
depending on the time. Neural
phenomenology in dreams
has a logos before language –

and reveries are chained and flayed
by the stumbling explanation.
I try to describe a rain field
which constitutes a fraught meeting

but it doesn’t quite come across//
I have homework in the morning
but for now I will listen – there’s new
tarmac on the road and it’s crisp

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.

V.132 Saggittarius A*

The horror is at the centre –
of the galaxy, in this case –
effigy of darkness, grey fire
that once outlined the small gods’ heads.

A colossus of roads inwards
each with a donkey and lantern –
a one way street – an archer fires
their bow and infinite arrow.

The great Buddha sits there, spinning –
you’d better believe you’ll feel peace
as you breathe deep and cross the line
where Ying and Yang get singular.

In this old place, the logos fails
for now, but then, what is now? No
word can explain the difference
between the future and the past.

Sanctis tuis in aeternam
on a galactic pin-head
which defies perspective with law –
to tint it with a golden skin.

In soft radiance, that black lack
accepts us in, and absolves us
the sin of being data – then
shakes space itself with its laughter.

V.131 Ad Vitam

A monkey, given endlessness
A tamarin, say, freed from death
has a long continuity
but soon elements in it shift

It becomes more gentle, it lies
in branch-dark and smiles at eras
proportioned each to new problems
each dealt with in fertility

But day to day life continues –
a melon, a sweet mango,
oranges freed from clinging peel –
they swing, becoming-antic

Eyes that saw the sun hacking down
almost making the waxy leaves
shake, like chess figures with no shape
still see the same, the same frantic

world bearing on with curved spacetime –
our brains are lathed by the planet –
infinity cannot change us
as much as we would like it to

Hold the glowing orb and think it:
how loss will always assault us
every moment – it need not be
a death – only a forgetting