A canvas: on uncertain blue
place a pink tear and a black plane
moving across the sky. Fragments
of torn cotton ringed with magma
beyond the train that collects thoughts
as it passes – dreams of metal
and paint, and nights of sweat on seats
of blue nylon. Dark reflections
in the glass as country lights slide –
each a knot in the night canvas
that rocks sleepiness into us.
Brakes squeal, and I am back again.
On the York train once someone put
a shopping trolley full of rocks
on the tracks. Metal squealed and tore
and I was mildly shocked. Around,
people glanced at the sidings, sat
still in their seats til the rattling
stopped, and the rain began. I sit
on this bus and look at the dusk
and use mindfulness to silence –
or some material memories
– dull you in my mind. I paint you
out but like sun you ramify
The peculiar tale of the discovery and ordering of this manuscript will be told at a more convenient time. The peculiarities of its form of recording deserve their own discussion – suffice it to say that the text is a gloss of a Hittite or eastern ancient Mediterranean language unknown until the ‘Vrontin’ carving was found in the cave in mountainous central Anatolia. It is perhaps the stub of an alternative development of a primitive religion, although the inclusion of unparsable terms makes its translation very difficult. To aid in comprehension, we have entered the most likely English counterparts, although it should be remembered that, for example, the goose noted in 15  is probably not any species of goose that the reader will be familiar with, although similar behaviours have been found to exist in aggregate over many populations of goose across the world. The most difficult term to translate was found in carving 3.1, where a term for emotional brain capacity was found wanting. We have used the vastly unsatisfactory ‘limbic system’ as a stand in, waiting for a time when a translator with the right powers of sight can offer up a more fitting word.
There is a joy of history in the fact that the totalising force and the absolutist will always be dogged by those with a voice, a blog. The might of the word, of knowledge, is similar to the might of the ocean. You may divert its force for a time, but it will flatten all land eventually. You may think you can divert it. But once something is realised, it stays realised.
You can’t stop someone being right, even if you take everything else from them. And that is beautiful. The pen is longer than the sword.
When I hear someone exasperate about the internet, I always think – which comment annoyed you today? Which site fractured your sense of comfort in knowledge? Because of course, there is no such thing as the internet. There are only individual users, and groups… But then, that’s not quite right. The word – internet – like the word – society – has an image or sectional meaning whenever used in this way. It comes accompanied with – a comment section filled with drivel – the endless mass of opinions – lists of reviews, one to five stars, each with their set of entries… And I can’t help but think of this, whenever someone says ‘what’s wrong is the internet’ or jokes that… If it weren’t for the internet, we’d all be happy. The internet, they say, like a compulsion, their fingers itching to pick up a dustpan and brush, or an EMP device. I wonder if they know how they seem to us? We who have lived in the internet. They merely adopted the internet. We were born in it, moulded by it…
To rehash an old philosophical kick – It is an image with a great inner weakness that is destroyed simply by the existence of difference.
Since the old world is dead on its feet, we need only to keep living how we want, in order to push it softly into its grave. Culture is dead, long live culture.
How your voice comes to me through doors
that shut too soon and leave me spent
ammunition on the pavement.
I hear each consonant as fire
crackles on a summer beach
beyond the waves a jellyfish
moans and those are vowels of your throat
singing, of your hair which hangs like
for like, eye for an eye, my eye
which is hooked like the subtle fish
wife in barbaric times. I want
to talk to you about Rosa
Luxembourg, about just how right
we are about the large, inapt
empty spaces between the clouds
where no thought interrupts the flat
tones and gradients of the air
in its wider form. Free of life.
Barbarism it seems is willed
by the people, and so we cut
onions to pretend we aren’t despair’s
pawns and playthings in an open
gambit. I want to hear your crisp cough
as we laugh too much while drinking
Can you put the lines in order?
Can you love, and save someone with that love?
Can you watch TV with a wry smile and think of witchcraft?
Can you fit paper into a typewriter and roll it slowly through
By pressing on the keys?
By stepping on the ledge?
Can you ring a twelve bell peal with your tongue?
Can you swing in the sea til your arms tire
And you grow as old as you ever will be?
Can you infatuate yourself with every mark you make?
And roll your rs slightly in the reading?
Can you hail onto a feeling
and fail to inscribe it by the slightest mistake. Fail.
Can you fail?
Can you be idolised faintly, saint, by a dying culture
And rest all too happy in a leery obsolescence, a personal implosion?
Can you die? When it is time?
And think on death and dying?
Can you ignore those who think that they know what you are doing?
Can you tear paper, really tear it?
Are you afraid of yourself sometimes, really afraid?
Can you burn, can you burn?
Can you burn?
Can you become righteous?
Then, poet, you can be.
Can you stand on the sea?
Mystic, can you stand on the sea?
Can you stand on the sea?
Can you see?