Hello Sadness 2020 – Part 1-3

The following morning a sharp, hot ray of sunlight woke me up, flooding my bed and drawing me from weird, confused dreams where I was struggling. I sleepily tried to shield my face against the heat but soon gave up. It was ten o’clock. I went down to the terrace in my pajamas and found Anne leafing through the morning’s papers, checking her work phone – her makeup was light and perfectly done. She never let herself have a real holiday. Since she was ignoring me I sat quietly on a step with a coffee and a cold orange, and focused on the benefits of the morning. I bit into the orange, feeling its sweet juices rushing into my mouth, then straight away took a gulp of the steaming black coffee, and then took another bite of the cool fruit. The morning sun made my hair hot, and smoothed out my arms where the sheets had left marks. I was thinking of going down to swim soon. Then Anne’s voice made me jump.

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Hello Sadness 2020 – Part 1-2

Anne wasn’t going to arrive for a week, so I made the most of my last days of real holiday. We had the villa for two months, but I knew once Anne arrived I wouldn’t be able to properly relax. Anne gave things an edge, and was pedantic about things me and dad would happily ignore. She decided what counted as good taste, what was worthwhile, and we learned about it from sudden changes in her… wounded silences… expressions… It could be interesting. But it was also tiring and humiliating because in the end she often had a point.

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Hello Sadness 2020 – Part 1-1

See an explanation for this project here.

Cold Open


I’m obsessed by a feeling. Boredom? Calm? Maybe I’d call it sadness. But that would be too beautiful and serious. The feeling I’m talking about is so selfish that I’m almost ashamed to feel it… and sadness always seemed to me to have some kind of honour. I’ve never felt it before… and I’ve felt boredom, regret, even remorse. Today it folds over me like soft silk. Irritating. Separating me from them.

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Two Poems

Sillhouette

The sun makes silent
all the small planets
of inner orbits
and we only hear –
when they pass in front;

The stars have planets
which tug the belly
of their nuclear
mass explosion – soft
but more than enough;

In the lower tones,
of the dawn rise – there
the small star, has grace
for one still moment –
in the day soon lost;

The world compels us.
We are charred by void
when its emptiness
eclipses ours – but
soft glow the small stars.

Memory of Florida (Helplessness Blues)

What I used to be, and now
what I am, as we drive down
motorways through forest mass
listening closely with my voice
align like an eclipse moon
and the past blooms in present
rapture – I love this album

Old as I get, I will not
forget the forest drifting
drowsily past the window
this rain sifting tambourine –
and damp strung up on song lines
for this perfect alignment
in time and of void cultus

Two Poems

Crowd

The vast pack turns now – howls
it echoes in the dark
locks of the valley cliffs
The whole hive mind stiffens –
an enemy appears
and soon becomes shadow.

The light of the howlers
is a dim-burning light
not hot like communion –
cold; cold as hill mist tears
that graze clean the day’s grime
From forgotten arches

Running silently through
damp places on the hill
Babbling under black clouds
And devouring, slowly
At first, skin from your flesh
And then, thoughts from your brain

Sun Worship

And as poetry dies a death
or is reborn – which is
the same, until it isn’t
And the sunlight takes on a sharpness
And the world begins again to end
quite unlike a mint falling to the floor
and breaking
cleanly in two upon the tiles
and the sheerness of thought stacks
so steeply –
Did not a roman slave walk
the dry paths of this split-cream coast
Does not this man hang such
washing as has never been bettered
in the warm air
Does not the mother walk a beach
as her dog exacts nothing from
the sea
as slow the waves pull down the coast
and the sun’s fog blurs horizons
and a thousand small discomforts –
there is still much to do
even on last days, which may fade
walking through a sliding glass door
as if to return shortly
but never returning (all this
in the sun)

Here, look up through the parasol
at the sun encased in black fabric
does this seem gaudy to you?
The prehistoric stands on a cliff
watching those same horizons
as the birdcalls change.
Ask for help from the sky-trails
as they spread into the blue.
Note the ferocious beautiful
of pre-bomb flares falling on a city
But note you may be thrown off the bus
by those who don’t understand
that a flower can exist in a wasteland.
Place your hands often on
warm heads of hair –
Cope like this – in sunlit ripples
on some body of water

some body of air

Collapse

In the winter sun I saw, a gold
forest of leafless trees appear
It was warm in the shower and the wind
could be heard at night on the eaves
I played games on the evening
and in the morning I played games
The tangle of ideas has become full
and the temptation arises of a sword
Stupid people say stupid things
and I cannot be sure of my difference
I cannot be sure of the world
but I can be sure of the deep house
I drink stimulants all day,
and in the morning I drink stimulants
My heart is a construct of ideas
of the faster beat and slower thought
I cannot be sure of my body,
my thoughts of my body are dark mirrors
I hold inside me a red liquid
I hold in my hands a rare earth element
In the winter sun I saw dirt on the screen,
and the night wind brought desert dust
I am a rare earth element, they know
my paranoia grows and shrinks in ceaseless
patterns I never see coming or going
It was warm in the shower as I heard
the guitar be generated by movement
The tangle of ideas is a symptom
of competing interests conceived as a whole
I cannot be sure of the political body
as its organs revolve, unconnected

*

In the stream of time games appear
and the faint sound of choirs
Things repeat and repeat and I hold
within me this repetition and outside
the wind flicks between warm and cold
I hold my loved ones close
I hold my hands clasped in the darkness
The answers I have found to crumble
and rebuild, and repeat only in torn
forms like recycled paper used for chips
or packing paper used to wrap objects
Words lie in ranks on the tablecloth
Connections form and are lost again,
being lines between lost things
In the christmas quiet I heard peace
In the blue fire of the hob,
small fragments of history gave us heat
The world is an organic simulation
Time pours through us and damages us.
The tangle of ideas rests in parallel lines
and smooths out the kind of fear we feel
The fire is warm on an evening
the sting of heat on my legs
the sound of ancient voices from my childhood
and far off trumpets and the brightness
Another year passes, I cope more easily
In the christmas quiet I heard peace

*

And what is there to say
when all stories are noise
and all stories are equal in their relation
to the void and what is there to say
and what is worth saying
when all words are noise and void
and all stories are at risk
From day to day I tumble from this mood to that
and often forget what I have said and believed
From day to day my purse grows lighter and heavier
From day to day the world goes darker
and darker and brighter and hotter

From day to day the clouds pass over the face of the sky
and the moon’s blank eye, and me –
If they do not care to save the earth
why should we care for them?
If they do not care to save the earth
why should we care for them?

*

In the end, the sun enfolds the trees
and as I gaze at the page, it watches me
Collapse is a strange thing, it threatens,
but never quite finishes with us –
my heart is a construct of golden ideas
a web, a force, a soul, a sun tower
The future cannot help, but out of the present
it flowers, and we can help ourselves
In the sun, I see, a winter sun behind a sea
of branches, there where I lose myself
to find what there is to see

V.59

I can’t wait to fall asleep, soft
and slow as a cloud dispersing.
With that ache and contrast shift where
things disappear and become blur,

words disconnect and disengage
and the images dance amongst
the silence. When mouths open, then
the silence deepens. I can’t find

the werewithal to concentrate.
I am a lizard with a tongue
slipping out fast to taste the air
in a desert and my light muse

water has been destroyed by sun
scratching its fingers over all,
leaving hot and cracked marks. Scuttle
into shadow, and soon the cold

is within. I can’t think to do
anything. I lie in the warm
glow of the new LED bulb
and stare at the ceiling. The word

approaches when, failing to find
my muse, I fall backwards in the
dark, and the she catches my shoulders
in an eldritch trust exercise

V.46

I sit and play around with you
like a dolphin enjoying the
water round a quiet ship – ice
soon takes the water and I leave.

A buttercup has been crushed here
all its petals are gone. I want
to find the key to unlock you –
not to know you, just to see a

smile break. Then a dog wanders up
oh holy dog. Accomplishes
with presence what I had failed at
attempting to stand on my head!

Sophie the dog gets scratched and I
see George Trakl’s pastoral field
scattered with corpses and blue mist
over the nebulae of grass

evaporate under our field
borrowed here on Hampstead Heath, sun
is altered and wizened by the
clouds that pile like a rock slide.

The entire sky is the open eye
of god, examining us
up close. And so few conclusions
are drawn. The eye begins to close

V.44

Coming home on a long warm night
where the air takes the noise of keys
and holds it cupped in its hand like
a ladybird which alighted

on the hand, and is climbing up.
Coming home after mild concern
has flared in a blank stare forward
and later a stratified phase

of conversation while the feet
hit their warm rubber on the path.
Coming home after talk of trade
and politics and other large

and uncontrollable forces
which fluctuate like black storms do,
hung waiting behind the buildings
on your right, and seen between them.

To say power is power just
raises violence to a law
and that seems a dull reversal.
There are as many reasons to

do a thing historically as
there are to do a thing today
at least, and as reasons densen
a cool breeze blows over the street

V.29

Matsuo Bashō reigns his horse
in and stops a moment. After
several seconds the 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