V.83

I am one with all the insects
that will one day eat my body
When I have stopped, and am resting
In a sense, when resting is gone

I am one with the plants that grow
of me, in my head, in my trunk
I will give to the cold flowers
what they once gave to me: a hope

I am one with the air I breathe
that will burn me and dissolve me
for aeons, my skeleton rests
until it too crumbles like cake

I am one with the diseases
that will grind me down, as my mind
flares and splutters like a damp flare
in the faint waves on the dark beach

I am one with the words of things
the vast and tangled forest where
nothing can change without changing
everything. My paths will go on

I am one with the small beings
that fizz in and upon my skin
with legs and arms and carapace
made of me. I will be made free

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

Duck

Does any animal float as well?
Resting on this peel of thickness
pedalling slowly, and honking

Duck taught the angels
how to fly – see them now
by the barrage, watching for tips –

just put your face in your armpit
and hang there, careless –
that is how to go about it.

Lessons such as that.
And how to remain calm
in the face of such rain

After duck stands up, wrings out his coat
he waves to the angels, who nod abashed
and calmly floats off into the sky

V. 82

“All this usury really fucks
me up” he said to the door guard.
“It makes me itch? You understand?
“When I was in that cage, oh yeah

“I could feel it crawling on me
like ideograms.” The guard smiles.
Unstuck in time, he has one task.
He’s met a million like this –

Bad money driving out the good.
“Hey there fella, could you get me
water?” How easy to just leave.
But the aesthetic demanded

A more apposite fate. The guy
held the glass and slurped, with a grin.
“I can’t believe I did it, wow
“I’m finally getting out. Heh

“I really fooled those old suckers
“worthless cunts who couldn’t read me
“given half a year and the books
“I cut up.” You’re very strange, Pound

said the guard, later, down the path.
When the poet tried to salute,
the visitor grasped his daft hand
and firmly held it down. Justice.

*

The apparition of these blood spots on the path:
Petals on a wet, black, bough.

V.81

Sunlight pours onto the woods like
a proprietary logo,
And my movement changes, I am
now able to jump slow and high,

The trees are so crisp, they are cut
from the woods and become assets –
a simple tap and hold of A,
and the wood, leaves, something would be

mine. How well the code works, how well
the random terrain generates –
seeding nettles and cow parsley
over the seasonal bluebells.

How smoothly the particles fall,
how elegant the light engine,
how quirky are the NPCs –
here comes one now, out on a jog –

How quaint! I begin an event,
someone talks and I miss the prompt –
failing the conversation. I
activate my door and head in.

Congratulations! You have found
poplars today. The next level
begins tomorrow. One percent
completion remains an odd myth.

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.

V.80

Memory danger. It’s a pinch.
They’re in our heads, in our bodies
They could strike at any time. Know:
Memories are dangerous things.

They wrench our heads through time, it’s worse
even than the ground opening
and letting you plummet away.
Just to jangle from side to side

from rock face to rock face – insults
raining from their mouths. “Good lord, boy,
Call that falling!? A downy scrap
of feather would do it better.

Call that hitting your head? Go on…
Pull the other one! Try again –
Oof but that was okay, good byeeee!
AND THE DARKNESS SWALLOWS YOU UP.

So melodramatic, but yeah.
It’s like the world is scattered all
with massive invisible traps.
Bear traps with a ghost chain attached.

And then you drag the ghost around
as it complains mightily – “Please,
I’m as tired as you, my liege. But
can’t you stop that racket I’m sick”

Aphorisms XI

A plot or storyline can be outlined in a more or less random string of images. If you want to, you just have to massage them into shape to make them seem like they were destined to appear together.

*

Say a french novel was published in 1954. If you are nostalgic, or a scholar, you may want to translate it in a way that expresses the 1950s in France through a kind of amalgamated 1950s english. But, If I want to really relate with the characters, as it were, I have to go all the way, and rather than travelling back in time to put myself in their positions, I bring them forward in time, putting them in our positions, or at least positions more well known to us, living as we do. If we are going to translate a book, why not really translate it? We need both kinds of translations, and more and different still, if we are to really translate something.

To do otherwise is to fetishize language, do our best to ignore who was speaking it, or at least to try and control them by confining them to the past, or to a kind of nostalgic revery.

Good lord, listen to me, I’ve only just  started translating. So ignore me, or don’t. It doesn’t matter.

*

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Aphorisms X

The problem with a generation declaring literature to be basically over is that it deprives the following generations of the thought that their lives and thoughts might be worth novelising. It results in the experience I’ve had with Ben Lerner, Luke Kennard, Sally Rooney, suddenly recognising myself in the books, thinking – ah, so this is how novels shore us up. But then on the back cover of The Topeka School I read Sally Rooney’s comment – “To the extent that we can speak of a future at present, I think that the future of the novel is here”. And I feel strange. Does each modern novel writer think they are entourage to the last writers? Do they always feel the door shutting after them?

*

The extravagance of poetry is this contention that it deserves the amount of space it takes up. If done unconsciously, it can underwhelm, but with great confidence it shines. Like a single acorn sat in the centre of an small warehouse.

I imagine a solid gold maze hung from invisible wires in a large room, undulating under the diffuse light. Although for some it is not a luxury, poetry is luxurious speech.

*

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