On Beauty

Considered with reference to bodies

Standing water, in the cold night
reflects the crisp moon,
thin stars in the eye’s quiet corner

In its shallows the dark leaves rot
starving greens and wriggling things
’til stillness reigns

There is only so much you can get
from a reflection –
just ask these dying flowers on the shore

But a river – god damn it
just look – look at that flow
It goes where it wants to

But slip up, take a photo
and there! It’s a pool again.
For gods’ sake delete it

Let us leave all our still disasters
a night of stars, devastated
without their flutter, their refocus and shift

and lay paper puppets, torn and sullied
by the fire which crackles with time
and burns with everything you needed

V.58

Air raid sirens are full of dust
in a culture my ears know. Let
fail the mode of lamentation,
let us breathe in the dust we are

and be happy, let us have strength
we can direct over the form of
the book, the film, the cigarette,
the vape, the game, the small figures

we create in our new-born minds.
Let me just remember this is
pouring rain, this is paradise.
If you feel your life won’t make sense

if conditions aren’t met, forget
that, and luminesce. You may think
maybe our parents shouldn’t have
had us, knowing then what they knew

and leaving the planet in states
difficult to parse, and this holds
for all ages, and all people
in them, what a hot sin it is

to create a newborn person,
it scalds and leaves us hollowing.
But it is a great miracle
like lives and all things in their grasp

V.52

The world that reflections fall to
beneath the petrol station in
the rain – that world where things are good
how can we reach it? The world where

the chemical imbalances
are mostly corrected. In there
where people don’t get stuck. I love
all of my friends, I love you all.

But you need to go to buildings
everyday, in other cities.
Things are made difficult by this.
You need to tap at keys and make

small adjustments, and be harrassed
by parents as their children cry
and try to cope with complex stress.
There is no line. no prime matter

that would lie down beneath things and
smoothly answer questions. Like why
argent, a cross gules, prevails here?
a symbol of stupidity

flutters in the cold wind. As I
attempt to make myself think well,
Reach that world dropping away now
beneath the rivers, beneath seas

Sisyphus

I hate this slow moment most of all –
The jog down the pylon line pathway
swatting the damn flies which lick my neck,
which never land the same place again.
In the moor gloam either side of me
run streams and flow pools I could never
taste – trust me I tried. Where lignified
weeds and deep bogs block my sly attempts
the world chuckles – and I can’t stand it.

Each time I reach the rock’s resting place
I breathe deep, smell the old and empty
concrete garages of my youth-time.
Hear in my head the forgotten words
or wordless voice of the long deceased
and this directedness towards tools
– god, with no element of purpose
even then. I never learned to build.
Now push, again unsure how I feel.

My hands lost the rock, my god, the dull
rock which propogates each night within
my skull. And it flew down the incline
of this humid and reed haired hillside –
to the point where I can find no sleep
except when walking behind me, I
see me, with nothing else to guess at –
I hope, god this is not some new thing
some terrible newness they would add.

Life is an infinite sided die,
containing within it dice to reign
over all the realms of being me.
But every single throw shows up ones –
I am used to this – may it go on.
Between searching for the dull boulder
and pushing the damn thing up the hill
I think I may have got things just right.
I’ve learned to love it. Let it not change.

Silenus

In the smooth dark the faun first arrives,
stepping from the skin of my best friend.
So much support has gone into this
and now we’re dancing and all call out
which older films had taught us to love.
Things swim before my eyes, and I too
swim in these moments as I placate.
We are far from home and soon will leave
for those far shores again. Oh soft time.

Drinking whisky they dream or don’t dream
as is their need. The old bottles pall
as their blood is drunk. And the sober
watch on at the loud speeches and song
and the night becomes long. And yet still,
in this time and place where we cannot
get precisely what we want, and feel
pain, the smiles around us float on streams
of lesser darknesses and heat to boil

that pool of life’s worth again. We hear
Sigur Ros sing as we change places
again. And sit in the darkening
moments that fade. And look into eyes
We shall not see for other ages.
Silenus sits and watches smiling
Before he scratches an ear puzzled.
Something seems not quite right to his eye.
He is wrong. There is nothing wrong here

Audio

4, 7×7, Drive Home in the Rain

Outside this plastic-smell car
the rain whirls like a muscle
set off wonderfully, fine
brighted by the too-sharp lamps
in windy spasms of curve
and softens my face, cooling

I feel life has been jammed
like a filament burning
too hot to shed much lighter
than a dark emphasising
fizz and sticky resistance –
the rain and cold air soften

The car steams up, it’s human
my friends are drunk, I listen
to their lubricate jaw joints
It is strange and wonderful
music to hear them talk, now
In the dark roadway, I hang

I hang as the world unfurls
its scoreboard display signposts
a smashed out car, black wreckage
My throat twitches with a cold
surge, we fly home fast as time
I exit and crush a snail
sigh, the paths are full of them.

Music credit to Ben Salisbury & Geoff Barrow for ‘Ava’

Life’s Attempt

Do not debase yourself – you are gold, and you know
You need only find the friends that will hold you as standard.
And learn to expect a little less from life,
And see how we die, how we weren’t designed for this living;
Designed at all, apart from a certain sketching,
Loathe to confer strong lines, conveying our motion.
This earthly fact need not ashcut our hair with hot sorrow,
Though of course it may do for a moment, a dry-haunting phase:
Learning the blood and the tears that rest in salvation
Not dropped from above, in a white hot holy inferno
Of passionate revenge. No, these great tears are ours
Believer, as we bear up the world on our backs, and build
Our commune here on earth, our only connection
Where we tie our authority, where we can decide on our lives.
Not alone; these golden souls around us glimmer
As we pile together in a vast open treasure of days:
Supporting each other as cold water clings to cold water
Thundering slow as a star, and frantic reshaping
It glints – over the falls and out into darkness;
This thunder is purity, this thunder is gold in its forging.

And our blood belongs too, and it brings with it ancient foundations
Of life in the dawning of sacred human electrics.
We do not need more, I promise, and offer my words
As a jumpstart to show you how it can be: have you heard?
We only need thriving, we only need close interaction,
(and hoping for endlessness here will bring unbidden pain)
With the group of bright people called wonders who show us the way
To shore up our breathing, our justifiable madness
At having to live in a world that we have made,
Which teaches us we lack the spinning centre: We.
The people who beat the heart of humanities pace?
This is the horror, the shock and the shame of those
Who project with intensity, blinding sovereign light
On the walls and blind us, this is why it takes time.
To learn we can float, calm on our backs in the sea
Of a disc, on the back of four elephants, looming calm
On the back of a turtle, ponderous floating through space.

It is no easy thing, and there is no certain winning,
But if we can cope well, there’s a fell chance that so then can you.
Glowing human structures support this crowing communion,
Some shaking with white hot threads of dancing desire;
And yes there is violence, but here in the gaps inbetween,
Which like air are so hard to avoid, and yet so hard to see
Lie yet softer gradients of all of the earthier pleasures,
A glass of water, a book, a handshake, a look in the eyes.
A cuddle at dawn, a song, a joke, or a poem,
A long conversation, a cry, or some faith in your friends.
Ask not for justification, for there is no need.
In the grand scheme of things we are great enough. This you can believe.