Aphorisms XI

A plot or storyline can be outlined in a more or less random string of images. If you want to, you just have to massage them into shape to make them seem like they were destined to appear together.

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Say a french novel was published in 1954. If you are nostalgic, or a scholar, you may want to translate it in a way that expresses the 1950s in France through a kind of amalgamated 1950s english. But, If I want to really relate with the characters, as it were, I have to go all the way, and rather than travelling back in time to put myself in their positions, I bring them forward in time, putting them in our positions, or at least positions more well known to us, living as we do. If we are going to translate a book, why not really translate it? We need both kinds of translations, and more and different still, if we are to really translate something.

To do otherwise is to fetishize language, do our best to ignore who was speaking it, or at least to try and control them by confining them to the past, or to a kind of nostalgic revery.

Good lord, listen to me, I’ve only just  started translating. So ignore me, or don’t. It doesn’t matter.

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V.79

See all the souls anchored to you
each faint and crackling golden line
like a nylon line, but neater,
each is a life you’ve saved in here.

You look like a heaven-flower
like an aurum tree. The fire-work
frozen in time, on the blue black
all the still-paths, the fizzing strings.

The key to self-hood is the gap
between what we would like to be
and what is. These things are all sent
to test us, see: to build us up

Without these moments we would fall
again, into the depths of hell
which is a flat, blank, pool of white
like milk. But tastless, vigorless.

Humans need this pain to grow full.
If there was fruit hanging from each
tree, we would never need to think,
never need a revelation.

And so, these two things connect us.
These metallic wires, our trellis.
To be saviour to each other
And see what newness can encroach

Aphorisms VI

To ask – is it okay to have a child? If it is not okay to propogate existence as such, existence is said in practice to be ‘not okay’. We pronounce on ourselves that we are not okay. To lack even a baseline of worth. For who will continue to care about the world, if we don’t care enough to continue to propogate the possibility of care?

Our basic humanity rests on this acceptance that we can continue. Fantasies such as ‘Children of Men’ show us this emotional truth, that to not have children is to accept the apocalypse. A childless world is a slow apocalypse. And what right do we have to choose ourselves as those who do not deserve propagation? No one has this right. This first form is an attribution of nonexistent rights over nonexistents.

Another form of this is a kind of overload of care – we care about children so much that we will not let them live with a possibility of a worse life than ourselves… We care so much that we won’t allow care to exist. But of course, we will be living most of it with them.

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When I played Spyro as a child, the world of Spyro was complete, without traces of anything, no history. No background. A world with no influences, music which was never played by anyone, a beautiful summer forest, puzzles and gems and orbs. Now, I start to think about how the soundtrack is structured and that perfect being of Spyro starts to darken. Then I stop thinking because it is not worth the value lost to question the most deep art experiences.

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Isn’t there something disingenuous about a philosopher searching for arguments, as such, to prove a point? Surely they should be just looking closer at the way things work? But pragmatically a good, graspable argument is often hard to find.

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Aphorisms V

As a puzzle can have several logical solutions, so movie or a book, a system of statements and objects, can have several interpretations that ‘solve’ it.

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Remember – the artists you have heard about, whose names are on the lips of literary history, are for the most part those who have been promoted massively. This is the machinery of the canon.

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Types of poem – a story, an aphorism, an apology, a thank you, a celebration, a memory, a machine for – disturbing, reinforcing, calming – a cryptic object, a puzzle, an object of conspicuous reference, a song, a praise, a lament, a memoriam, a riddle, a marker of occasion, a cry of – fear, love, undetermined – a conversation with – self, other, influence, nothing – a look into the void, an evoker of images, a vault, a tissue, an ice pack, a pet, a project, a cuddly toy, an aspirant object, a thing original, a thing thought original, a mantra, a thing, a sculpture, a picture, a cry of pain, a cry, a hand, and countless more.

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Do you know any precious rhythms in those around you? Patterns that are unique to the person? Never repeated by anyone else, they define the moments of a life that have seen lonely practice; a laugh, an improvisation on guitar, a facial expression, a method of moving the conversation. Perhaps they move through us like memes, but we know them to embody our friends. Are the memes passing through us, or we through them? I know one set of improvisations, made by a loved one, which are unique in the history of the universe. I would bet my life on it.

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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 the 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

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.

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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.

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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.

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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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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.

Collapse

In the winter sun I saw, a gold
forest of leaveless 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 concieved as a whole.
I cannot be sure of the political body
as its organs revolve, unconnected.

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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 smoothes 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.

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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 I.
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?

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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

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