Friday, December 29, 2006

the smoking mirror

Dead to the fairies

Smoking Mirror, what is that whisper,
what is that shadow
that walks at noon,
the silence
that grows like ancient trees
whispering through roots
that do not seek water,
but the access of language
through all temporal lobes
all channels?
Smoking Mirror,
what are the words

that the shadow speaks?
A signal beamed from stars:
it runs like a bright thing
between the trees,
a hole, still smoking,
where something was taken.
This is the message,
this at this moment
is the loudest
the shadow will speak
the closest it will come
Here are the coordinates,
move to these places, and watch closely, attend,
speak from,

of, your body.

These are the other ears
the other eyes,
and without these
you will hear no words,
but only
the wind
as it dances down
to where the weirs and cataracts
are flattened
into rivulets
and the roar and the trickle
of them, the whisper
and the flood of them
are sucked back
up onto the watershedding moors
feeling for peaks
to alight from,
from which to birth again
into the sky,
convinced of your inattention
and the futility
of pressing the point.

Giving names - first few words of another attempt to write about poetry

I'm giving names to the part of me that needs to speak. I'm calling it Sensorium, and I'm calling it Monster. Sensorium, because it is all that comes in, and Monster because it is monstrum, it reveals, it uncovers, it demonstrates. Monster, because I wake at night, in fear, with it arched across me. I follow it into the wardrobe and down the steps through the wall. I see now that all poems are brought back at night from these journeys into the Land of the Dead. But it is not a land of the dead, it is halfway between waking and sleep, halfway between words and what is beneath words. It is that place that you know from sitting in sunlight, unaware of anything other than the dust circulating in a shaft of light. It's very close to that place, and when you are near you are somehow aware and not aware of the voices from the sensorium writing furious poems in that language of light, webs forming all around in startled air, disintegrating, spreading, dying, all of it taking No Time, and then you are back, befuddled and halfway through speaking of what plants you will grow next Spring, to someone who regards you strangely, then stands and leaves. The only sign of their presence a flutter in the hedge. Shake your head quickly - none of this was real.

assemblage of components for poems about poetry - first draft

Some words it is necessary to sacrifice at the outset. Some words have every intention of subverting the entire deal, and can not be safely included in any delicate work. It is important to establish right away which are the dangerous words and deal with them. So which words are they? They are probably the words you would write if you were a keyboard without a human attached to it, or some mechanical fingers clicking away in space somewhere, lacking empathy with anything anywhere, just a wired heart beating like a metronome in the cold wash of an alien sun. Throw these words down the well and let them learn what it is to mean something. I'm trusting that you have a well, as it's unlikely you would have even read this far otherwise.

Then it is necessary to assemble the words to be used. This begins with establishing intent. In this case the intent is to speak about poetry, to unearth what is going on beneath the nomenclature, and the nomenclature here means not only words and names, but images, sensations, all the multi-media assemblage of our senses. At this level, the inner landscape of my knees is spoken of in terms of playing fields, rain, sadness of school days, retreat into long corridors and cloakrooms, insistent tapping of childhood threat, bone metastasis, osseous dream-fixes - the hidden language of the dreaming of the body. This requires particular words and materials, those which have been made active with both deep sympathy and fixity of poetic intent. Furthermore, it must be clear at the outset that some degree of failure is certain. The most one might hope for is to open the door at morning and find oneself naked and bereft on the doorstep with a mouthful of ash and a glimpse of something that ran around corners up ahead, never quite seen. I want to talk about mathematics and morphology, but I can't. Something is wrong, and it's possible that I'll never know what it is. Poetry is a little like that - like the awareness of brain damage. And now the moment has died anyway... I'm going to come back to this time and time again.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

night don't stop -
black stars burn forever
at my door

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

the work of reassembly

The man rakes through knapped flakes
of flint, like leaves or blades, slices
of a body. He pictures unknown molluscs boring
into chalk, breaking down, leaving holes
that fill slowly with black, going bad, going hard;
thinks of an edge slitting hide, a heart flapping

in its own cavity. He finds the next piece,
sticks it carefully to the last, Superglue and blood
on his fingers. He's surrounded here by flint,
a thousand facets, more, spread out in shiny slices,
eyes staring up, frozen, each preserving an image
of a man swinging a stone blade, working flint,
moments captured in an immutable emulsion
of geology, fixed in leaching calcites and metamorphic
pressure - a record of clicking, grunting, industry

of rainfall or sunlight, smells of roasting
flesh, fur, cracking of fat and bone -
but he knows that these eyes look out only
from the impossible. These are not the flint roads
to a land of the dead, we shall not reach out
quivering hands to our mitochondria through this
avalanche of fossil. There are no sparks left
here, these fragments are cold as fish scales
to his fingers, this pool blind to both oceans

and the man refitting the scales, jigsawing through
codas of the Permian and Palaeolithic. He is precise,
determined; he assembles, he attempts, he rejects,
searches. He finds, growing in his hands, a nodule,
a flint - three dimensions, four, others perhaps
inert, coiled in a hole in the core in the shape
of an axe head. This is what he finds here

- holes - here in his hands, holes like words
transmitted from the Stone Age in its cataract
of sediment. He senses violence gestated, birthed
in these sockets, and his fingers sting
with the sensing. He knows the excitement,
the slight tremor as his fingers reach back,
adding more fragments, more of the hole, ignoring
the dreams that crowd upon him. He feels the void,

the discovery, absence, the discovery of absence.
The finding of holes. The shape of the absent -
he traces its periphery, its rim, feels the shape
of what has been taken. This is the beginning
of the work of reassembly: the finding of holes.
Later will come measuring and recording, cataloguing,
later still the taking of casts. Much later,
the tentative matching of specimens. For now,
he feels them in his hands, flints with no hearts,
light as pumice, warm as fists, dark as deep history.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


The following poems are more or less traditional haiku inspired by reading Matsuo Basho. I tried to use some of the common nature images familiar from Basho and his disciples. The first one (kireji haiku, which also occurs later) breaks a rule by including an extra word in the title, but I wanted to use the image of kireji (referring to a traditional cutting word in Japanese, used to divide the two halves of haiku). In this case it becomes a pun as the two halves might be both two seasons divided by snowfall, and the two 'faces' of the poem.

(Click the title of this introduction or see the links below for articles about the elements of haiku, including kireji.)

kireji haiku

winter snows
in late autumn -
two-faced year
8 haiku

a jumping frog
breaks the pond mirror -
a spring day shivers

summer rose petals
cover the pond -
pink carpet roof

autumn moon
eclipsed by a snowy owl -
see her white crown

winter snows
in late autumn -
two-faced year

the wintry clatter
of machines on fields -
a flower factory

sound of engines
on the cool spring air -
frogs are courting

a single drop
from the spring blossom -
a beetle sips wine

the rich man
throws coins from his balloon-
summer fields glisten

Plutonium enrichment - Ahmadinejad and the Axis of Evil

This is intended as a poem about the US and Europe, not about Ahmadinejad or Iran. It just struck me that there was something deeply racist and disingenuous about the West declaring an 'Arab' (Persian, actually, but how many Westerners know the difference?) state seeking nuclear power to be irresponsible, war-mongering and evil, and potentially grounds for military intervention. Okay for us, but not for them? What's the difference between us and them? Oh, yeah, the balance of power, the benign hegemony, the Manifest Destiny, the right, the power, the imbalance... Oh, it's a Found Object, by the way.

Now I'm the king of the swingers
Oh, the jungle VIP
I've reached the top and had to stop
And that's what botherin' me
I wanna be a man, mancub
And stroll right into town
And be just like the other men
I'm tired of monkeyin' around!

Oh, oobee doo
I wanna be like you
I wanna walk like you
Talk like you, too
You'll see it's true
An ape like me
Can learn to be human too

(Gee, cousin Louie
You're doin' real good

Now here's your part of the deal, cuz
Lay the secret on me of man's red fire

But I don't know how to make fire )

Now don't try to kid me, mancub
I made a deal with you
What I desire is man's red fire
To make my dream come true
Give me the secret, mancub
Clue me what to do
Give me the power of man's red flower
So I can be like you

I wanna be like you
I wanna talk like you
Walk like you, too
You'll see it's true
Someone like me
Can learn to be
Like someone like me
Can learn to be
Like someone like you
Can learn to be
Like someone like me!

(Bagheera: 'Fire! So that's what that scoundrel's after!')

I wanna be like you!

the apes storm the tower - solo climbing poem

...some dynamic of wind
that blows through
when you look down
some mathematical thrust
of stark distance
galvanising musculature
without attention or intent
(and there is movement
in the boulder field
something bright flaps
in the corner of your eye)

and the moment yawns
and expands
says No, says Yes,
says nothing
says Describe
the next clear movement
in increments of unconsciousness,
break it into fragments,
so tiny, so infinitesimal
that it is no longer possible to focus

and then the whole thing just happens
without you even noticing
in one dynamic sweep
that you won't really remember
like you will never know
what birds flew over
what mindless tune you hummed
where your tongue was in your mouth
in the long instant that it took
to make one clear movement
that fades suddenly
into heartbeat, breath
and the world
rushing in.

Does George Bush see Ahmadinejad like this...

or like this...

or like this?

I sometimes see him like this...

and sometimes like this.

Ahmadinejad King Louie Ghazal Bop

I wrote this as an attempt at a ghazal, as it's a pretty ancient Persian poetry form to do with longing, but also to do with fire and righteousness. One of the most famous ghazal conjurers was the pretty incomparable Rumi, and anyone who hasn't read Rumi should start now. It seemed an appropriate form for the subject, despite the superficial levity. 'Ghazal', by the way, is apparently pronouced something like 'guzzle', which makes me a guzzler, I guess. Anyway, I regard this issue about Ahmadinejad as more or less on a par with US civil rights, the Ku Klux Klan and any other Naziism you can think of. Not to mention the deep spiritual dream-disparity. Let's get real, huh? I remember Gore Vidal saying back in the 80s, when Dubya was still guzzling, that the advent of Perestroika had left a vacuum, and that America would now have to turn on the Arabs, and revisit the process of demonization. That process, of course, is what the ancient Zoroastrian Persians (with their lightbulb god, Ahura Mazda) might have characterised as Ahriman, the principle of the Lie. How prescient that seems now. Anyway...

He says give me the power
give me the West’s grey flower.

He says Oh I wanna be like you
and affect that hegemon glower.

Man Cub come lemme join your club
lemme share your fragrant bower.

Am I not a man and a brother?
I'm claiming now as my hour.

You got it there so let's all share
that there nucular power!

Da zapbangronee, oopdeeweep,
oopdeeoobiedoop power flower!

He says give me the power
that doobydooby nucular flower!

Saturday, December 16, 2006


it goes on
the chatter
the end of the world
crackle of failing stars
of radio on hillsides
forest, wounded brothers
like you didn't know
this river leads only
to the land of the dead
no one swims upstream
against this

current. Yes, it's here, here
this moment
I'm dropping in real time
like I'm stepping out
of a helicopter, laughing
and the leaves fall slowly
around me
like dead snowflakes
like words raining down
like it made any difference
like anything
just this:
look here
the flames go on anyway
the madness, the fluids
the smoke
the intimacy of men
sweating, with their eyes
what about it?
These 3am rooms
are dead places
I awoke with men
on my chest
pumping my heart
I remember passing out
looking at the ceiling
the moment stretching
and you were still there
when I came back
laughing in the corner
with a tube full of black blood
hanging out of your arm
like some evil dick
like a disaster.
I couldn't see it in the same terms
as you, couldn't see the joke
the bravado,
just the black blood.
All things became possible
way back, did they?
You all looked askance at the river
then dived
All things jumped together
I imagine you
were even holding hands.
You entered deep and silent
descended, and failed to rise
just bubbles swirling
and a bright hole full of nothing
where you fought briefly
then succumbed
to the flood.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

hands haiku

tiny hands
clutch at the sky -
a child chasing birds


Monday, December 11, 2006

this site - click

cold crow haiku

fog in white fields -
cold crow on a wire
hears me stamping

shewstone haiku

a backlit screen -
ghostly hands paint words
on my window

Sunday, December 10, 2006

chatroom haiku

busy screen at night -
hands making shapes
across oceans

Ambrose Bierce - to be expanded

This is just a short improvisation, but I'll probably
write it up into a longer poem about Bierce, who is
something of a surreal literary icon - surreal for the
details of his life and his disappearance, as well as
(in a sense) the subject matter of his short stories.
It'll be a bit random for a while.

Ambrose Bierce saw a ghost in his room,
telling him of the ice and the many ways of dying.
He saw himself hanged at Owl Creek Bridge, waking
under water, his head full of sunbeams, fingers
raking new life in mud. He dreamed his own history
from the future, plotted the murder of his dead
father, disappeared into Mexico, just walked
down the dry roads and the dream
of the Aztec sun where the dazzle
of hummingbirds danced in his skull.
It is not known if he drowned in Morning Glory
(ololiuqui) or just shimmered into invisibility
amongst the fireflies, chasing his last
story with a Corona typewriter
in a canvas knapsack.

Blood arcing into rainbows
in low light.


Cloud Chamber

He puts his head in the jar
they seal it
remove the air
then they let in the smoke
and blood
mixed with ash
and the intentional hatred
of several observers
after a few days
his eyes are sealed over
and his face
is more or less black
with the tissue coming away
and a low whine
issuing from his mouth
he submits without protest
to this experiment
compelled by loving voices
from the deep past.

sun in the south - haiga/haiku

midday sun -
beetles make sand rivers
down white banks

dry years

I dried out I was bone and gravel desiccated cartilage teeth joints that did not fit the wind blew through me whistled through my mandibles tunes of longing of emptiness of the desert high pitched vanishing aloft whipping dust into a shimmer of heat silver haze of distance my inner ear its tiny bones the dry clink of my phalanges my nails my baked core cracked my iron rusted my linen my leather my natron salt my alliance with the darkness fell in flakes in powder of stale herbs and dry poultice for the heart wounds I was discolouration on the earth stain of ochre lime rictus dream of waiting centuries to be borne into the future on the backs of white ants and scorpions gathered at the riverbed at half-moon sensing water in their chitin shine beginning the slow work of reassembly


The Egyptian goddess Nuit represents the night sky. The myth involves the stars, and especially the sun, being taken into her mouth every nightfall, passing through her body, and being reborn every morning at sunrise. This was seen as a cosmic sexual process, and I used some of this ancient imagery, jazzed up a little, in the Nuit poem below.

Nuit and Kephra: night train jazz Beat stops downwind of dawn
a soul-shiver through the fields
blows the platforms
into overcoat starlight
dust of forgotten days,
...............ghost-cries of memory
through the cell-momentum
of those
........who would ride the night.
eater of miles, moon-train melting
all down the Eastern pull
of the Milky Way,
blow all night from your black kettle
..............steamfusing with track
hit the last Great Bear tunnel
..........................with a shriek
from a mouth clasped
by the kiss
.............of night
blow like a whale
spray your ash on the backwash
of the backends of cities,
black hammers
..................of pistons
............dead mathematics
wailing beauty of steel
blowing the erections of landscape
clatter over the neck of Orion
rolling the dawn down the track
...............beetling and blowing
its beat pistons
up the last flat iron mile

blow, firebox, blow...

Saturday, December 09, 2006

god of the waxing year

This is just a context pic
for the following poem.
It's a carved foliate mask
representing the Green Man
or the God of the Waxing Year,
who supersedes his brother,
the God of the Waning Year,
at Yuletide.

Jól's axle: seasonal terza rima

A yellow light through mist amongst the trees:
below the frosted branches, freezing snow,
a flame is fanned by winter's quick'ning breeze.

It flickers first, then bright begins to glow,
and creatures creep from holes to see the sight;
then feel the shift as ice does turn to flow.

At yellow dawn, the bested year takes flight:
the wheel that creaked all night to broken rest
awaits the horny wrest of summer's wright.

That infant nestled in the mossy breast,
where earth and sky do suckle: doubly blest.

Alternative version - still working on this:

A yellow light through mist amongst the trees:
below the frosted branches, freezing snow,
a flame is fanned by winter's quick'ning breeze.

It feints and flicks, then bright begins to glow,
and creatures drawn from holes to see the wight
do sense the shift as light does start to flow.

At waxing dawn, the bested year takes flight:
that wheel that waned all night to broken rest
awaits the healing wrest of summer's wright.

Bright infant nestled in the mossy breast,
where earth and air do suckle: doubly blest.

Some stuff about terza rima

This form was invented by Dante Alighieri, probably for the Divine Comedy.
It uses a chain rhyme of a/b/a b/c/b c/d/c etc; and, in English, it's usually
written in iambic pentametre, as I've done above. I'm very much a beginner
at this kind of form, but it's a challenge, and quite enjoyable to have a go at.
The easy pitfall is the overuse of modifiers as an easy means to fill the metre.
I used rather a lot here, although they are fairly appropriate in this sort of
context. I also used a lot of internal rhymes, alliteration and assonance to
try and create some mood and symmetry, which seemed appropriate to the
context. It's rather more about the pagan associations of Yule than it is about
Christmas, though there are overlaps, of course - the latter having borrowed
much from the former. The symbolic associations with Yule that I've used
here are to do with fire, yellow, wheel etc. The title is also a link to a
Wikipedia article about Yule, if you're interested. For more on terza rima,
click the title of this note.

Friday, December 08, 2006

gnostic telescope

don't let them fool you
the sun is no flaming ball of gas
it is, as any eye can tell,
a hole in the sky
through which can be glimpsed
the unimaginable brilliance
of the world beyond

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Monday, December 04, 2006

words, don't fail

It was all dangerous
it settled over the river like smoke
and I had to look
there were bells ringing
and I lay there
looking up
looking out
clouds rolling in. Thunder.
You couldn't get away from this
for much longer. I knew that much.
I was trying to write the unwritable,
trying to find the courage
trying to summon up
what I was
before it started:
the chatter, the flowers
roots breaking my temples
but I just don't remember
past tomorrow
there is just the lying
in the dark riverbed;
the tar, the slurry;
the choking;
the way down;
the road to extinction.
Lies, all of it was about lies.

Nothing else.
I resist, for a moment,
then my words fail.
I have got to make a deal here
about tomorrow
and what it means.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

ghosts on Stairs Lane

Soon the orange shoulders
of Cock Hill and Stairs Lane
will sleep under snow
and grouse will huddle
in ditches
below the wind farm.
The children by the paper mill
at Goose Eye
will make ice slides
past the Turkey Inn

while the bus steams,
spinning its wheels
at Slippery Ford
watched by men
from the high intakes
remembering the thrill
of being snowed in.

lime mortar

The lime powder whips up
out of the bag
in a cloud
and sticks to his eyes
he falls back
into the rotating drum
of the mixer
and the flanges
catch his jacket
he rotates there
for fifteen minutes
half in, half out
head in the mortar
he wonders vaguely
if he'll die
a kind of peace
comes over him
and he learns to go with it
he surrenders to the spin
augments it
with quick skips
each time his feet
touch down.
After a while, his eyes
stop burning
and he looks into
that whirling world of mud
perfect now,
sticky and fluid
he prods it, smells it
it smells like a grave
he wants to taste it
to feel it in his mouth
to know its cold, its grit,
its heaviness.

He can't quite stand
when they turn the mixer off
he sort of slumps
between two of the guys
a dead weight
his mouth hanging open
full of mortar
and a crazy light
in his eyes
like an animal
or a dead person.

But the mortar flops out
of the mixer
just right, grey-brown
and firm,
ready to use.

Saturday, December 02, 2006


crows 2 by Deb. C

This was Deb's take on the 'crows' haiku. I thought I'd put them together:

wave upon wave
crows spiral
black stars


wave upon wave
crows falling
like black stars.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Beckett poem

I had this meet, see,
with Sam Beckett's ghost,
I was trying very hard
to survive,
to make something work,
trying to be well.

The river sent telegraphs,
black things that fizzed at nightfall,
that sat outside

(They were going to kill me:
that was all pretty obvious.)

That turkey with no head
rode out across the clifftops
towards Dun Laoghaire,
but we paid him no attention.
All day we shuffled
on the Liffy bridges
looking keen,
grunting through our cans.
Nightfall we drifted
down the antique hoardings,
feeling the gut
welling in our barrels,
doing the tour -
the poets, the Provos,
Easter 1916, a gun cache
in a wardrobe...

me invisible to myself,
Sam a gaunt hawk
like some other
Max Ernst-birdhead-Loplop,
as though
to remind all people
of the violation of childhood,
make them look,
make them look away.

That tower out there
past the bay (a Joyce-dish
filled with foam)
collapsed into the sea,
and we both went running
after John stuck on the train
his face full of alarm
waving under the bridges.

I was trying to ask the right questions
very carefully and slowly,
see past it all, what it was really.
Trying to stand alone
in the dark
with my omens,
with my stuff.

No one got a light?
No one?
Fucking disaster
of a place.

radio rain

the chair, the skeleton
I'll be here
when the dawn blows nails
through the heads
of the pumpkins
I'll be here
when the radio rain
turns to grey sweeps
across the fields
I'll always be here
in this chair
no matter how
no matter

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

iron eye

This thing on a long iron stalk appeared from the surface of a reservoir in West Yorkshire during a recent drought. The water was around six metres lower than average, and the 'thing' is a little under a metre in diametre. I assume it's some obsolete part of the filtration system, left 'tethered' to the lake bed like a dead mine. It has since disappeared back into the black, peaty water, which no light penetrates. I like to think of it down there, preserved in a peat solution like a huge iron eye in the darkness, until the next long drought.

You can click on most of the pictures for the larger versions.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

reservoir dog

This was washed up on a beach exposed by the drought. It was some matted, compacted pile of reeds and vegetation, but it had me thinking of garrotted bog men, macabre corn dollies, and some grisly pagan artefacts from Medieval Britain. I thought it looked a little like some ghastly head of a dog or a horse left on a beach as some sort of sacrifice. Perhaps a kelpie?
The light was quite unbelievable, and the whole place felt dreamlike.




(A panel saw with a wooden handle, the old type
that you might even resharpen.
A tenon saw with a brass back, a crosscut saw
and a rip saw - all years old, with the blades oiled
to stop the rust.)

punched into the handles.

And an old spirit level
made of wood and brass
with glass vessels
for the spirit
and some bubbles
of old air
for fifty years.
I don't know
who he was
but he liked these tools
and he oiled them
cared for them
so I'm fitting a wire head
in my drill
and grinding off
the specks of rust
that have appeared
as a result
of my neglect
then I'm oiling them
using them
grasping the sweat
the grime
the blood
the skin
in the handle
the spirit
grasping the ghost
hand of the man
that liked these tools
and how they felt
the patina
that was left
by his grip
this is as close
as it gets
to shaking his hand -
using his tools,
most of all
using them,
bringing something
back to life.

goose alcohol sutra

There's a goose outside
at the edge of the field
honking, squawking
every year a goose
doing that goose thing
that sway, jerk, dance
by a big old bath
where the sheep drink.

Crying for her kind
wondering how
same as the last one
the last sad goose
in early December...

...and the moment hits
somewhere in the night
when the needle counts zero
and the wind blows in
and you fall back
into the wreckage
crash into empty cans
and bottles
and dead cigarettes
and the storm finally
blows the roof off
and the waves
crash through
your head
and you lie there
in the mess
kind of laughing
kind of not
somehow at peace
unhurt, that's the thing,
peaceful, listening
to the rain blowing in
and the stars

and the moon
is a goose
all night
for her lost friends
by the big grey bath
where the sheep drink.

Saturday, November 11, 2006


You have seen my secret place,
my foundation of ash where I coil.
Now there will be no silence between us
though our mouths may remain sealed.
Death will hold no fears for us
who have already died
and walked back into the light
through pine trees
engulfed by the mouth of winter
and shaking with the poems
that the Spring left here
like stars beneath the sea.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


We found this copper funnel in a hole in the ground near the reservoir. We suspected fairies were afoot, and we played with it for a while, saturated in light. Then we hid it again. The light reminded me of something Henry Miller wrote about the Iera Ogos (the Sacred Way) in Athens. He said that beneath the veneer, just under our impressions of modern reality, as you walk the Iera Ogos through the ugly, noisy back streets of Athens, everything is still flooded with light. That's the impression I have of this moment: flooded with light, almost numinous. The pagan priest at the centre of this ritual of light is my son, who was actually looking hard for badgers.


leaping at clouds
as though excitement
could wake skies

one dead by morning
a confused mother
crying over wet fields

dawn vignette

The shoulder of Boulsworth Hill
thrust against the cloud
like a half awake lover,
and the dawn's sweep
down to wet Wycoller
where the bridges crash into the beck,
and ghosts crowd the ruins
in the night's flood.

History is close here:
the Iron Age, the Saxons
with their wykes,
vaccary walls
still stark on the brows
like tombstones in the mist
down the hillsides
to where the alders shuffle
about the beck,
waiting for dawn
to drive back the ghosts.

The message

The message
is paraffin
and ash,
iron filings
and spent oil.
The message
is a room
in the afternoon
with no light
with the curtains
and grey rain
on the panes.

The message
is the shapes
beneath the skin
looking out,
behind the face
that demands
you attend
to the words
the absence of light
the anger
the alchemy
the message
until it becomes
no longer
the message
from the father
to the son
but the long
from the son
to his own
worthless soul.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The workaday psychology of shamans

This is dark crimson
dyed with berries
and the blood of stags
filthy with age
and stinking of Christmas
drumming red spirals
across the snow
spindrift dancing
in the air like stars
I pull up in my sleigh
and tell the reindeer to wait
Yeah, I'll pay, I tell them,
I'll pay in kicks and Fly Agaric
and cold urine.
And I drop the package
into the chimney hole
of the yurt
hearing the babble
as the inhabitants
to grab it from the fire
hoping for money
and finding a salmon
a piece of antler carved like a face
some cured venison.
That makes me laugh.

I kick the reindeer into life,
and we are gone
like blood in snow:
singing to staunch
our winter wounds.
like blood streaming in the snow.

animal on the roof

the night outside
battering at the roof
I picture it as a thing
with a mouth
an angry animal
licking at the tiles
I see it with intent
though it can't have intent
surely it's just the night
and the wind
and the dark
that surrounds me
that fills my head
with those thoughts
as though some giant
had walked across the sky
to tear off my roof
and roar in my ear.

5 poems

  1. wall-eyed philosophe seeks love
(she laughs at both
...........................their stories
comes in time to feel
................dissatisfied with

it is I who desire it

she whirls before them, rumishhhwirrls
(no one can condemn
...............................or absolve her)
—it is not precisely the eyes
..........—its imprecisly th eys—
(see at least this: ashamed
I appear to other )
................................nor is this all.

......................she is not in the café café are all fractures
attenuated in her shape
............................(she gulfs elsewhere)
she inhabits not at now.
..................nor she here.
................................nor this all.

...............................he know it his askance when he comes look ..with ..a/a...bifurcated .........(glass)
................instrument .he/he .calls...head

[in this
moment we're hearing dreary he is here looking merely for dear love]

..............................nor is this all
......................of which she gulfs
this imprecision and

several of these are put in the mouth
........(several of these are put in the mouth)

this imprecision is precisely
the gulfing she elsewhere
(This is a transtextual poem using rearranged text fragments by Jean Paul Sartre and Maurice Cranston, interspersed with original material.)

2. eyeless in

Пусть он вспомнит девушку простую,
Пусть услышит, как она поёт,
Пусть он землю бережёт родную,
А любовь Катюша сбережёт - Mikhail Isakovsky

I see nobody
—the Stalin Organs
shrill at night—on the road
—they fill the players
said [.....]—with delight
to be able to see nobody
(the river bank steep in the mist)
—clear black sky eyeless from al-Attara
to the Ashkelon dream-Kessel....Shhhh

O—the road at night—I wish I
had such eyes— let him hear
Katyusha’s clear song—they fill
the players—to see nobody
(Russian manufacture 122mm BM-21 GRAD)
and at that (hush now)
distanceto see nobody
said the [.......]

"We will continue
to respond, to initiate and to harm...")

—the one whose letters
she has kept ............(Stalin Organs..................shrill

[of rivers]
night fill .........
[like a bird]

........................................................................we players
...........[homeland and their love]

.......................................................with ........................delight)

........................such eyes

(This is a transtextual poem composed of reordered text fragments by Lewis Carroll, Mikhail Isakovsky, and Ehud Olmert, interspersed with original material.)

3. Epitaxy

"All of you know nothing; I alone know something" - Wilhelm II

let this be an end to it

flowers unarrayed funerary sprays of moment
..........................(whiter than Gogs) from the Northwith
..............a surrounded look (just don't, don't)
...........................or looks ..............on which
..................they take wing each other his face

shines flicker with digital craquelure

"all this is drift only of interest

to the novelty hunters it obscures

the true processes beneath

once in Macau in Spring
a man sat in an alley with shears and
live tortoises

"zunguzung .......................the archbishop warns
ungu..................................that Sharia law is soon
zunguzeng". be implemented wholesale
- Yellowman.......................across Europe

they have lock-ins nightly till two
it is here that the real business
of the speed-dating enters its
tertiary phase

........................................[behind shutters outside
........................................policemen with moustaches truncheons
........................................lanterns whistles smell trouble
........................................up iron drainpipes of the now true process]

you'll have to stop all this masturbating he said why doctor will it
make me go blind no it's upsetting the people in the waiting room
B. Manning

where flyspray flowers shook safe as houses
at the passage of steamtrains—there there


is this drift into breakout.there.uncertain (even
as) informations have not come to.our inattention.
leave quietly the back door.there.

they have till two by the back door uncertain .........he beat Old Ama Kow the first with a hammer fracturing
...........................the rim of its shell began to open it
with the shears its head concealed alive
...............................(((legs moving in clear distress there there)
as he cut in was impossible (not to look) in Old Rainwater-Macau they sang
O lost songs of turtle goddess love not to watch
.............................down running culverts

to the harbour dreams (now virtually
certain) quietly by the back door

the busy temple terrapins in plastic bowls
of banknotes assure the safety of seafarers

..........................(that Stonings 'n' Beheadings
..........................of adulterers and homosexuals
..........................routine in London by 2010 a arcbishop infronted accusatives of High Trees and Heresay
..........................qualify earlier abatements
..........................—I didn't mean it as it sounded and one would really call the Queen a MILF
......................................he says as though aloud)

new terrible vernaculars array themselves
....................................on all sides on the beaches

(want to die peacefully quiet in my sleep
like my father not terrified screaming
like his passengers - B. Monkhouse)

.......................and landing grounds
bedecked in bright bunting

there's just no arguing with you now, is there

let that
be an end
to it

4. slick of black flags

evidently supertuesday and not one solid pancake
to enliven a notification of aquifers in

the corner a capsized toilet brush holder leaks
faecal toxins bespeaking slovenliness and weak
ness of domestic intention week in week out so

to applaud failure O why such
that we have ever and roused suddenly
by fluttering no it won't dare say that

over the many dark islands the flags like lizards
ragged tissue of two hundred year old tortoises
but why not
we gather here hot hopping hipping hoo hoo at margins jump idiotic
crazed yes but not
foolish only seeking cooling

together under we throng submerged as sea-rats
rubbing up wrong ways
of current

(Darwin knows of…)

finched alive in fire and squeak

5. plighted the fieldmask encrypt

they came on in the same old way
and we stopped them in the same old way - Arthur Wellesley

on in the same old way we stopped this fall
of them and through the hearing [heart] wrink
of it now folded with very fear doesn't above all

shrink unto ever the wastes that so sing
ringèd brinks at the short slight doorways of frost—O
we confess shy of masonry shaven to shortcoming

of seasons of lack and ill-lustre how, ink, eek
we have state in the blank seas' moods where
time and tide shear upon our every waking sheek

will shove like all animals a heart yet all it
vergeth all confunded all in late grass love of
beneath all thinks where all lies stopt sunlit

Monday, August 28, 2006

Saturday, August 26, 2006


It wasn't love
it was cocaine metabolised out of my skin
that made animals dance outside the car
as we drove through the night
I don't remember where we were going
or if we we got there
I was wired up to the battery
and my teeth were chattering
like I was imbibing electrolytic speed
from the battery cells and the road ahead
with words falling from me like electric confetti
not even looking at you
not even certain that you were there
just that something other than myself
drove between lines and lights
almost forever, it seemed,
like it could never stop.

It wasn't love
because in dawn's grey light
I sat on the beach
with iron filings and ash
where loss should have been.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

autoflarf collaborations with PJO

1. oh imagine that unmoved she stood before
oh imagine that unmoved she stood before
Montenegro, Hotel Berane
engaged for a year but the cold
(each other in German, imagine

even he startled)
oh beautiful! beautiful! she cried as he standing behind her

his height, that hotspot in the middle
only one room heated

I do cuddle on the balcony
might even happen yet
woods pressing all around water I hate

(She stays out later and later every night
with her hand shading
her neat blue-and-white stripes she wears now
bent back before him
outcast of islands)

this country now everyone's too short
(imagine dispersing

oh imagine that unmoved she stood before)



Ok see ya hi boy
I sure love when you ignorant bastards
come through my line
acting like you know everything

why i hate ignoramus freaks:

u know absolutley fuck all
i dont know how old u r (but i do)
and you know grow up, wake up,
and quit fucking whining to me you ignorant


why I hate houses of freakin apollo:

fucking ignorant bastards hit me
with something I haven’t seen before
fuck all these conservative boneheads
if you're sick of stereotypes by all

why I hate blacks:

fuck all the surs the norts the cripps and bloods,
matter of fact fuck all
when are this ignorant bastards going?

why i hate Bush in Brasil go home nazi bastard:

aren't you paying attention you ignorant bastard?
there's three days on the Senate floor
and I can't fuck all them old men fast enough

why epileptics I hate:

fuck all of you who hate something
and fuck sum1 in your family had epilepsy
would you want them ignorant bastards?

Nigeria’s Next Top Model:

fuck nigeria fuck africa and fuck all
the blacks that continue to blame the world
haw u fink africa is fulll of low lives..
ure jus an ignorant bastard

why I hate you fucking Yankee bastards:

why I hate preaching:

all you fucking aetheist God hating
motherfuckers need to suck
GO THE FUCK BACK where you came from
ignorant bastard scum

3. a letter to the King of Brazil

Because I hate
I am sorry on all this
(approval V that certain love of boy)
when them ignorant come through my line

that act (as you knows): everything
(because I hate freaks of ignoramus)
and you know you grow above,
I wake
up above
if to lament you

(because I hate houses of freakin Apollo)

for everything because I hate black (color)
substance to me of the fuck-all-of-the-fact

we go to the same place of caralho
(because I hate Bush in Brazil)
(I go the Nazi bastard home)
I am you who paid the attention

(three days in the wooden floor of senate there)

epileptics me hates (I hate it bastard fodendo of Yankee)
the speech of preaching (all god of atheist) that she hates


4. a certain love of boy
Because I hate
(I am sorry on all this)
that certain love of boy
when them ignorant come through my line

that act (foder as you knows) everything
because I hate freaks of ignoramus)
and you know you grow
I wake up above if to lament you

because I hate houses of Apollo
for everything I hate
substance to me
of the fuck-all-of-the-fact

we go to the same place of caralho
(I go the Nazi bastard home)
I am you who paid the attention
(three days in the wooden floor
I hate it bastard fodendo of Yankee)