Notes on a Meeting

or, ’10 Questions to ask a Flat Earther‘.


Oh my god I’m so
sorry why does the moon
have craters like
your brain I didn’t mean to –
why doesnt the air
all shoot off upwards out
of cracks in the glass

Why why would the pilot
spacemen scientist sailor
explorers lie?
Oh my god what’s through the glass
It’s Cthulu isn’t it –
Oh my god that’s probably – why
are there – I’m sorry
to rip our whole being
apart like this
no pictures of people
– – – leaning on it?
at the edge
of your brain?

What is under us
– miners are in on it too
and why does it keep
shooting out of volcanoes – oh my
god – so hot
you see they have an
answer to everything
you see… curvature ,

Just different kinds of
brains , there there
it’s okay, we can embrace
in the existential
space soup where do comets come from
– oh god I did it again so sorry
all the
thousands of the
neurons in your brain
sucked on and
fired by the space squid
to end, support all meanings

and built the glass dome then?
well I suppose that’s a stupid question
we don’t know that either but we –
you fell over, be careful
this gravity is
out to get you
, sorry ,density
But this density is driven
by what if not –

cavity in your
world-view great cavity
covered by a glass dome
we can’t quite reach it
to destroy it’s not really
about this earth
is it? its
something else

Maybe it’s not the kind of
thing that can be built
or knocked down and
I suppose its magic
that the stars
are the same
in australia
and south america
, seriously, what towering
immense magic could
do such a thing

I feel so stupid
you make me
feel so stupid
how strange

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’

One View

Sex isn’t all that great
It’s just another thing you can do

With someone you love
Trust me there are better things to do

With someone you love
To talk all day

To sit and rest on each other’s stomachs in a field
To watch a great film

Don’t get me wrong, sex can be grand
In an upswell of fluidity

But mostly it is tiring and
Sucks your soul out through each other’s mouths

You lie
And asleep

These Brutal Lungs

Sometimes it hurts
To be caught alone in the morning coughing
Waking from some tangle-dream, sweating;
To be unable to breathe, as these lungs betray you.

Heart rate rising, you stagger downstairs
(after a moment long with quiet indecision)
Sputtering sparks of panic,
Hoping not to ignite the aura, the gas of despair
(and die writhing on the floor, imagination says)
As if your whole life was but a dream to make
The illness take its full effect, this pain
An exposition dump, whose only purpose is to build the horror,
To a level where it seems you have lived it.

At how easily a life is knotted,
And the rope left to fall, useless by the wakeside,
Dangling in cold water,
Perhaps cut and left in the waves,
To sink slowly into the gloom,
Motionless into the gloom.

This pale ordeal has one redeeming feature,
And one dark condition.
Brought near by breathing deeply,
Deep enough to test the roll;
Where did the dice fall?

The condition? Recovery.
That hidden clause of all life’s illness,
When lacking, shaken, chaos plays.
And the redeemer?
This glorious shelter from the burning sun,
A deep breath, whose mostly silent joy seeps throughout me,
As oxygen soothes and body tentatively smoothes.
Maybe it was worth it for this, but only maybe,
To reveal to me one unnoticed minor bliss.

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.

Of Cultivated Quiet

Perhaps there is more?
Something to expect from things, a tangle, or some crunch.
Sings the body, as its silent vibrations
(to which we are blind and impatient) erupt
Into glorious assonance, and deep in my gut
That tiny spring of pleasure starts up
Only a trickle, and hesistant
As it might be cut short by rocks and bits of stone
Dislodged by the slow moving of tectonic life-plates
But quiet – it waits, buoying me up on its flowing
And little by little,

A moose, born from the trees
shakes off fallen snow, crosses a road and sees
out on the river, the frozen river, dark in the dusk
a quicker path, and tentative paces out
feels the deep crackings of the ancient water
echo through its soft-shined hooves

Just so, little by little, my life begins
To ring so soft, in bright cascades
Of cultivated quiet.

Pleasure leaps forth in orgasm, in winning, in commanding
And this leaping can distract (behold the heart’s hard landing)
from the budding growth of softer joy
The intellect, and itself, deploy.

Cold Car in the Dawn

Each and every bright city morning
Like countless fires extinguished falling
Dark and letting darkness reign:
The people wake, in bursts, a flood
Of living drowns the world again

And along the cold cracked-concrete roads
With cold-cracked paint, the living go
To and fro about the earth
And driving quickly up and down.
Each darkling dawn a swarming birth.

But in each cask, each bleary eye
Sees dawning sun conduct the sky
In symphonies of light and shade
And sometimes from them tears are drawn
By dawnings from which days are made.

Though sufferers may infuse the world
In screaming song, and shouting hurl
Sharp judgements out upon the head
Of human shadows, enemies
And screaming wish the world were dead:

Shadows vanish in the light
And leave the mind from time to time.
And wiping sand from out their eyes
The humans bear upon the sun
And bask resolving under sky.