Sunday, May 29, 2016

a war on tar

brown or black zones, unstable of matrix or distillation
into the breath of bystanders, over many generations
Lysander at the Hellespont landing
at midnight
triangulated who knows they come running
in light all of it now in pieces on the floor to skate
like matches made in porcelain by mongrel disdain
went to see Sylvia's grave not stylish or cultic, but a kind

planting even of borage perhaps in symbology eek bees
which beo she approbeth in bear and wulf-honey
but anyway of a peace near the gothic reviv and the setts

unbrocked in gelato and quattrocento figures of rhet and stet
maraccas and whistles there were and a clapsed columnar
and in the writing a bullfinch at the glass looking, scratched


Thursday, May 26, 2016

Anyone need this explaining?

"Socialism for the rich, free enterprise for the rest ..."—Milton Friedman.


Monday, May 23, 2016

Nocturne (2010/16)

imagine a journey on a ship
and the ship is on fire
okay forget that you are floating

on clouds and you are a Hindu god

in the bushes off to the left something
is waiting for you and you are about to die

what does 'datejust' mean?

a man on a ship humiliates himself
he leaps on the table while drunk
urinates in someone's soup
this an old time steamer between
Liverpool and New York (and your Mother)
gets on stage and this is not
a Graham Greene novel

Miles Davis is on this ship
when the man starts urinating
in his soup he reaches up with fingers
almost each a foot long takes him by the throat
pulls him down says listen

the man by now is too drunk does not listen
goes on to attack the captain is looking
for ice ought not to be assailed so

shows his buttocks to the ladies in cabin 339
laughing as he does it oh life on a ship oh

of all he sidles alongside the chaplain
has by now spotted the ice has no time to waste
hey you wanna do it he asks
not now not now says the chaplain
for ice, ice

morning the man remembers little 
but signals come 
by noon he knows enough
within him starts to die
good intentions fail he cannot
venture on deck apologise
to the other passengers

not that Miles wants an apology
Miles thinks he is a fuck and isn't interested today
in a fuck
while he rows through the bodies

the Purser's daughter's body was not violated
but the intentions had been clear enough
at 2 am when he approached her bed
with suggestions of Jazz 

man doesn't know how to return from this 
retires to his bunk
where he lies urinating in his own soup
buzzing like a kazoo

something has died in him from this events
would rather now he went down

whose lights are even now 

I have fucked up again 
so profoundly 
that though the ship sinks
I will lie here and mime
for you just can't keep doing
this pissing in soup
not if you want
to stay in the group

Miles sculls soft
imagine him there blow
in the cold
nothing left
Carpathia hours later
where's the president?
a great sea monster beneath
a monkey at the prow laugh its arse

oh the birth of Jazz on the frozen sea

little pixies in Elmo blue 
drowning on all sides coughing as they go
you ever see someone drown they cough then go quiet

but I love you you know I do

keep your hands off 

something went wrong
all over frozen wrong
don't pick me up
play on monkeyface, drown


if like this, like this (2008)

hands in your hair
your hair your hair of olive wind
if language flowing outward

if filaments of memory if
everything here warm slow
wild and slow-wild if how you come to life

in my hands your hair flowing out
if all morning flowing out descending bright birds
our inside us calling long ago this moment keening

your contours your hachures your ascent
your planes your whirling Sufi gasp
if like this, like this

heartbeat and breath and hollow ground
and midnight morning and all day and dusk arcing between
blue spirit flames, radio crackling

and if along our hillsides
like this, like this, we start to collapse

fading red shadow of this our body

spray of night reeling out

[duende, red-black, in murmurs]


Friday, May 20, 2016

gibbous is our phase
though even our pale shades
still feel full to me

poem: get it wrong
means stuck forever
in iteration.stop


Thursday, May 19, 2016

the ontological argument

... that, than which
nothing greater can be 


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

those bridges
under water
still burning

midnight door
at last
someone to talk to


where all is secret where all is forgotten

some vacated scene
on the distant hillside
a patch of grass
ringed in gorse
caught in slanted sunlight as

though forever
an island
inside the atoll
in the green breakers
some wreck heaves, caught
as by lanterns
(in sunlight

only dull hares now stir
the brightness)
in this place, at this distance:
stunned, clustered in sunlight
slanted for a moment, muted
looking out
all else gone

warm silence
uncertain loss


Monday, May 09, 2016

on our deathbeds
we will cry to have it back
this wasted time

America: it's like watching
a brain-damaged child
slapping its own face
again and again


Sunday, May 08, 2016

I need to state this again...

across all of this
swooping bells
worlds of light


Friday, May 06, 2016

"like the deserts miss the rain"

all the things I never said
or did
all those words, all those places
all those futures
just dropped into a vast hole
and are still falling
my bundle of rags
a still-living thing
within, falling

Google Earth shows this scene from above
a great black well, stone-rimmed, at the equator
at the very mid-point of the Earth
a cry uplifting like a ghost
reaching out
a long shadow walking from it
never now to return

the screen is shaky, uncertain
then resolved

these are things of which
it can now never speak or think again


Tuesday, May 03, 2016

I should have been a pair of ragged claws...

'... a pair of ragged claws' is not synecdoche. Eliot means exactly what his metaphor says, and he doesn't need endless unimaginative critics second-guessing him and thinking, rather ludicrously, that really he means a crab. He says 'claws' because he means claws. He means disembodied claws, grasping, only able to grasp, unable to engage further, freed from the responsibility of engagement, lost in a silent world, picking over morsels, ideas, abstractions, detached from the world of people coming and going and judging, just pure apprehension freed from anxiety, freed from the slow death and banality of rooms and functions and society and coffee spoons. And yet infinitely sad in his loss of it.

And yet not sad, because claws by themselves cannot be sad. The sadness is Eliot's projection onto that abstract world, and expresses the impossible dichotomy of at once being wholly disembodied and free, yet still—from without—knowing the loss inherent in such a state.

A partial allusion in 'ragged claws' is to the compasses or dividers in Blake's watercolour of Isaac Newton. They are also claws, and they represent again this detachment from the outer world. Newton's focus is entirely upon his realm of signifiers, perceiving through his 'claws,' oblivious to the silent, inhuman submarine-scape that now surrounds him and isolates him, in consequence of such determined abstraction.

Eliot at once embraces such a possibility, yet still shrinks from it, as does Blake, whose painting foregrounds the unnatural state required for Newton's fixation. Both of them regard it as something near to oblivion. Blackness with only one tiny chink of light permitted to enter, like the room in which Newton performed his experiments with prisms and refraction. One tiny bead of light, but such brilliant light to force the moment to its crisis, to admit the drama and urgency of a new level of human understanding... But oh, what darkness surrounding it... What sort of life is that?

There may be no such brilliance in the rooms, the tea, the ices, and the deathly, ticking coffee spoons, but they are the stuff of human life and—perhaps unlike the inhuman Newton—Eliot knows he cannot, ultimately, abandon them for the 'floors of silent seas.' His moment has passed; he was too fearful, and the eternal footman knows it. And consequently snickers.

(Hermeneutics: actually, there are three possible places in this complex: the claws, the crisis, and the rooms. He wants to force the crisis, but is intimidated by the rooms. He thinks resignedly, wistfully, of the claws, relinquishes the crisis, accepts the rooms. The claws will remain as latent potency and denial in his secondary levels of expression in the rooms, never to be realised, but a source of intellectual/emotional wishful thinking/refuge.)


Monday, May 02, 2016

Normal service resumed...

over all of this:
swooping bells
worlds of light


W (a blessing)

 Ƿenne bruceþ, ðe can ƿeana lyt
sares and sorge and him sylfa hæf
blæd and blysse and eac byrga geniht.



move quickly
lest Time feel a heartbeat
and stamp again

"To fight to save these fragments, when our own civilisation is in ruins around us, is to make a statement of faith in the achievements of Humankind, however small"
—Michael Wood, on the preservation of the finds from Hissarlik (Troy) at the Charlottenburg Museum during the allied bombing raids of WW2.