Metaphysick for the Tyrant

The picture shows the bottom of an ocean rift. Small lumps of mud or sand rest in focus in the centre and the rest is darkness.

This you?

*

Nihil of the world, ash and vibration in puddles of ash – your obelisks crushed
and sprinkled onto the beach for the sand to grasp and wipe.
Dog tags from the dead laid at your door will outlast you, scab of the world,
that architectonic of your emptiness, that emptiness of your nothingness, only delays
the time when the void will have its way with you in the way it will have all things –
your propaganda fails as it attempts to invent a face for a man who has no face.
And had you never existed, joy may still have lacked
but at least we wouldn’t have been forced to cope with your voice.
You are the white noise of the state, and entirely unnovel. Here is an overused phrase:
Forces you commanded lie sprawled by waves that liquefied their brains, and you
call meetings in vast halls and have others take the photos. Can you feel the plot?
All it would take for the world to forget you would be one shot from behind you
which would pass through the front of the skull and cause such blooms of flowers
to sprout immediately on the mahogany table perhaps inherited from a ship –
and from that same blood beautiful crystals would rise to melt the empire.
Those history enshrines, their people loved and white crabs tend to a vent in the blackness

*

The war stops. There is nothing else it can do when the soldiers have melted
Panting, you swim back and forth in a reactor pool, treading water –
glowing blue, you rest your collapsing ruins in the ruined body of the plant –
the sound of swan lake echoing through the corridors, over old tannoys –
over the sound of dripping water you breathe your last, while fireworks rear outside
as insects and raised dust whirl like a cloud of starlings above the forest clearing
Let us hold ourselves carefully and cause no vessels to rupture in innocent heads –
the void crackling across the years like glass on a car park floor, and more –
the sound of laughter like a morning chorus of birds being let out of a basement
There is much to think of in the slow walk in the dark back to the old bus
Even the smallest of our days like popcorn kernels that turn in the microwave
and conjure gunfire, or rubble falling from the roof until inside the pack a bomb
goes off and takes out the whole kitchen, leaving a cat yeowling in the rubble
What you destroy in emotion in the concrete city, all of it outweighs you
If even a small blackbird were caught in the crossfire, that would condemn you

*

May peace envelop you and absolve you and wipe you from the world, as quick
as bumping your head on the mantle as you stand up from the fireplace
causing a statue to fall in the desert and the wind to call – ozymandias –
Abel’s missile launcher smoking as Cain’s tank plinks cool in the dirt on the roadside
The charred turret of a tank becomes something ineffable in the dirt on a roadside
Given the unrestrained power of the state, all you could think of was pathetic
of metal whizzing around in the sky to strike upon towers of metal
Your name will go to rest having scraped itself from the slate of existence
as you scream. A tyrant opens its mouth and the wind of the universe blows,
raking the skin from animals and the bark from trees. A tyrant knows one word
and that word is dissolution but in a dialect of indelible slowness, one word
that is itself crushed by the vocabulary of a snail, or a thrush, or a thyme leaf
A tyrant knows one word which causes buildings to expel their insides onto the pavement
A tyrant knows one violently boring word, of unconfronted performance anxiety
A tyrant speaks of many things but always shows the turned face of his dying mother
A tyrant says one word and God places a hand over their mouth, offering silence –
the one word a tyrant says, is the final word, the word undignified, the word;

*

She should have died another time, you will shout – for this word deserves
a place for it to resonate – “Death!” But no, a cold concrete bunker will do for you both
Oh no, tomorrow, and tomorrow and the next day, and the following
sneak past like mice, each day along the cracks until the last echoes of your memories,
being dashed across the wall by a bullet, fade. And all your yesterdays will serve
only as entertainment for fools on their path to the final dust. Please turn off the light.
Your life is just a shadow that will pass. A clown that graced our screens for a moment
walking back and forth, wobbling – we will never see you again. You are a story
made solely of gunshots and screams, maintained by idiots. Signifying nothing

Charms for Defence of the City

In the name of the night
may all your bullets strike true
throwing clueless belligerent men
into soft beds of nettles or the pond

So they may immediately limp home
to their mothers, or to see their dog

*

In the name of the wind
may all bombs that fall find
they are caught in spider-webs
spun round and tightly held

So that you may take them down
disassemble them and bury them

*

In the name of thunder
may all their machines fail
to bring them any closer
May their wheels fall off

Roll down the hill, and splash
into the river, heading to sea

*

In the name of the sun
may the tyrant find himself
lost among people
unable to speak

Cold and dark
screaming for his father.

*

In the name of an angel
may all your children be wrapped
in invincible spheres of gold
to deliver them from evil

So they may someday speak
and we may someday listen

The Field

THE ARGUMENT

An itinerant treads through the fields in London, Wales and England, picking through the debris of a culture war, heading back home to the north. They record the thoughts of objects and see the others talking and gesturing, haunted by visions and dreams of the past and future. The field repeats, each time slightly differently. In each field a different assemblage – maybe a castle, or a festival, or a bird

Continue reading

Victory at Guernica (after Paul Éluard)

I
Quiet world of rundown homes
Of night and fields

II
Good faces ready for fire faces ready for full speed
For refusing the night, for injuries, for impacts

III
Faces ready for anything
Here comes the void to fix you
Your death’s going to be an example

IV
The death overthrown heart

V
They’ve made you pay in bread
Sky earth water sleep
And the misery
Of your life

VI
They say want good intelligence
They ration the strong judge the mad
Make charity divide one penny
They salute dead bodies
They bomb themselves with niceties

VII
They persevere they exaggerate they are not of our world

VIII
Women children have the same treasure
Of spring-green leaves and pure milk
And of legacy
In their clear eyes

IX
Women children have the same treasure
In the eyes
Some men have defended it if they could

X
Women children have the same pink roses
In the eyes
Each one lets out its blood

XI
Fear and courage to live and to die
Death so difficult and so easy

XII
Those for whom this treasure was sung
Those for whom this treasure was gashed

XIII
Those whose despair
Enrages the desolate flames of hope
Let’s crack open together the last bud of the future

XIV
Outcasts the death the soil and the disgust
Of our enemies has the dull
Colour of our night
We will defeat it.

V.23

To generalise is to hope
badly. While netting entangles
particles that were never meant
to be born and die together.

Just try to smush the world into
a little ball. All that said, those
who wage war are forfeit. Those who
choose to send various metals

in trajectories that later
intersect with human flesh are
forfeit. Who treat people as meat
are forfeit. Who make the world grind

out sad goals that beggar belief
are forfeit. Those who laugh at it –
this jiggling of the human real
as it is smoothed violently

out are forfeit. They are fair game.
They are morlocks. We are eloi.
We must not allow ourselves rest.
They will eat us. We are surveilled

by red endocrinal systems
in our heads, necks, hearts and stomachs.
Like our wallets and our shoes were
peeled from the carcasses of cows