God Sat Brooding

fixing her eyes into the void.
She was eating –
though without need –
a bowl of noodles.
When she sucked a last
noodle in, another
universe flicked off the end.
And she sat quite perplexed
at what to do with the mess.
There were so many
little nebulous drops
sparkling in the depths
she decided not to bother
with a cleanup

Wetherby Road

The wood gate is crisp
driftwood’s dry mirror –
and the church behind
is the rock upon
which the waves crash hard.

This hubbub decries –
with the tree’s creaking –
those who seek a peace.
Really there is no
well chiselled message;

In the graveyard hear
soft undefined hums
of voice and organ
mixing in hollows –
hear wind whistle through.

Hear your insecure
thoughts tapping upon
the stained glass dust – hear
choral doom and then
lays of the bright voice;

continuity
in time’s long empire
has brought the air here
and the soft water
and me

Aphorisms IV

There is no compulsion to consume a particular form of media, or a piece of media. Remember this when it feels the other way – no duty to consume.

*

It is slightly odd that someone’s response to a fact might be – but that’s banal, ‘that’s obvious’. How self centred! We don’t say that to teachers, or to those reminding us of things we have forgotten. This response could be translated into emotional terms as “you have underestimated me!” – well, maybe you appeared to need reminding! But then, was the statement aimed at you, if you find it obvious? Think about it.

*

Philosophers have always changed the world, without realising it. Marx was wrong, to an extent. Because your interpretation will change the world, based on your philosophising, which has already changed you. People often do things for reasons, new or old, after all.

With regards to Marx, obviously this only transforms his point, which was that some philosophers have justified the world from a position of power, had provided reasons for the rich, for the abusers. Had built an intellectual parallel world whilst the chartered companies and city states expanded empires, pillaged the world. Some philosophers still do.

*

The myth that is the most beautiful, the ur-myth, is that there is meaning in things, not just in us. That the clouds of mustard gas are the wings of a terrible dragon. That everything will have its own moment where its particular purpose in the world-work of things becomes evident. That the unexpected family is waiting there at the end of the road. That the loss will have its redemption.

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Aphorisms III

Consuming isn’t easy, sometimes. It’s a form of emotional labour. Though series and films can play themselves out in front of us, we don’t just sit and absorb their images. Or at least, not by default. In this way, A Clockwork Orange has a fallacy in it – that being forced to watch something would change us, simply by being made spectator. Of course this is the case for certain experiences, that we are particularly receptive to, but the active spectator can critique whilst in the process of watching (hopefully not out loud though, for the sake of others…)

This idea has an interesting expression in the world of music – are there not songs that you love, whilst being almost completely ignorant of the lyrics, or cognisant of them only in a vague, catchphrase fashion. Consuming music like this is simply allowing it to bounce off us, alter our rhythms. But to consume the whole is to process the message of the song, and to come to a conclusion regarding its sense. I do this rarely. It’s a lot of work.

*

Sometimes I come across people like this. I ask – do you love books? They say – Yes, I love 1984.

*

Nationalism is the symptom of a badly functioning state.

*

“Become who you are!” Careful not to read this as an exhortation to selfishness. For who you are can well include others.

*

Le Corbusier said of the High Court building in Chandigarh “it’s about majesty, the power and home of the law”. And this is a crisp example of the way buildings are conditioned by histories – of the materials, of state and society. When I see poured concrete in the Indian sun’s heat, it can seem stuffy, and humid. I wonder at the corrosion brought by the rain, conditioned by my viewing of Slumdog Millionaire, absorbing the backgrounds of bollywood and countless documentaries. But to someone who was born and lives in Indian rain and humidity, coming to the High Court in 1955 will not have brought up these feelings. They might only see the rectangular immensity, the incredible newness of the state of India, the absolute unlikeness to bland imperial domination, they might see rebirth. They might see a clearness, and a simplicity which I can see through a glass darkly. Or they might not. I would love to read an account of someone coming to this building for the first time.

*

People say we are insulating ourselves in small online communities, because we won’t listen to their bullshit.

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Two Sea Poems

You’re the Shark Eating my Heart (A Love Poem)

You’re the shark eating my heart
slowly and with little care
while seagulls watch most bemused
and the bored sea smashes on
against sharp rocks, boringly
meanwhile the wind has died down
and the pool surface is glass

so the only noise is chomping.
looking across the bay sound
I think I see whales spouting
but no – that red is blood red,
not sunset. Splashes from where
you’re the shark eating my heart
slowly and with little care

Sea Memory

I do not remember
as if it has sunk deep
or diffused within me –
my first visit to sand
and sea – ever – as if
my genesis is now –

as if I were born out
of my sea memory –
as the long horizons
shone in the sea’s tearings
I materialised
crashed in, filling this space.

We talk of this later
our feet are hot and sand
rubs off them in our socks
I turn back and see it;
The dark grey portion sinks
Leaving a blank white sky.

Two Poems

Genesis: Coda

This book is an empty
room – on the walls are myths
carved in an ancient hand
the depth of the rock-line
is inch deep. Shadows seep
and diffuse light beckons.

As it happens – it makes
a perfect home for them;
spiders surge in a tide
of grey – babbling softly
build a web on this rock
til tall vault lines hang down.

At the door, sand blows in.
The longer you spend here
The deeper afraid you feel.
The way the grains’ pattern
ignores you – this scatter
Of faint theologies

Author, Do You Pray?

Do not ask if I pray.
There is no need – for life
life is a joke, like this:
You laugh until it hurts
then, as often happens, cry
because you needed to.

and then because all life –
like late Turner – is filled
with a steaming light – so
Hardly moving my hands
I am towed into joy
by rusty old tugboats.

Poem From Page 45 of the Butterfly Notebook

If a house holds old things of you;
such as you, leant on a wall
trying to cry to ‘An Ending: Ascent

or you, sat on a step
the salmon carpet wet with tears
your hair, the faintest warmness

even you, on the dark landing
taking a glance into partial rooms
where concepts of girlhood collide

It will also hold the sublime
the purposeless snare trap of time
things you can see, but never know –

A few of a godfather’s schoolbooks
a toolchest full of tools and old signs
and those we love, who see us with sad eyes.