Do’s & Don’ts

Pay no attention to the world outside of your city,
or the sunlight bleeding across the sky.

Don’t look at the photographs of Henri Cartier-Bresson,
or allow yourself to cry.

Do not listen to the Gymnopédies everyday for a month,
while taking commuter trains;

don’t look at single-platform stations as you pass them by,
or aimlessly observe the detritus trying to hide
 
in the fringes of everything. Never create, only consume
but don’t drink alone so much that you

begin to loose your mind…

***

Listen to teachers & parents & always do as you’re told,
exercise regularly & deny you’re growing old.

Listen to Spotify playlists & buy the latest clothes,
have faith in reason & that technology will save us all.

Always assume a community is just a collection of potential enemies
waiting to steal all that you own.

Believe that you are where you are through merit alone,
& only drink in moderation.

Ignore the homeless, have faith in the government
& believe that you are free.

Teach your children to respect authority
& do the same yourself.

Use razor-blades only to remove hair,
not to mutilate yourself.

Learn to accept your place…

***

Follow these rules & you will never
become like me:

don’t question anything

so you can always choose pleasure over meaning.

Broken corollas

For D

Pressing flowers between the pages of
                    stolen poetry books,
not knowing
or caring
how long the process took
or if it would work or
                    just cover us
in the evanescing colours
of broken corollas…

Gladly wasting away the day
we discussed stolen poetry books &
                    plucked flowers;
distinctions & equivalence;
the thrill of transgression
& the ambiguity of possession.

Telluric currents of nuance
passed through us as
a consequence of curvatures
                    of time,
of our spines, of
the invisible line

unspoken, our agreement breaks
upon the edge of love & hate:
permanent & inconclusive

our ideas about true beauty
make it hard to live
but if you promise to stay
            I’ll promise not to leave…

“I remember when we were young”*

“With rebellion, awareness is born.” – Albert Camus

When we were young
They told us
“Never look directly at the Sun.”

& for a while we didn’t.

Not from deference
to the authority of parents,
but out of reverence
                for the warmth:

It was the animal – the It
& not the I – that compelled us
to wear the warm veil of our eyelids
when we dared to approach the source
of all light & benevolent warmth…

…but we are human:
curiosity always defeats humility,

& so we looked

& what we saw
changed us forever:

suddenly
small animals stood before ancient energy,
a cosmic distance too magnificent
for our minor eyes to ever truly see;

a violence our gaze could never meet,
but only lose itself
in a fatal & final ecstasy
            of rebellion.

Once
I looked directly at the Sun,
& now

I’m not afraid anymore.

*Insight – Joy Division

The Gaze

“That which is light looks at me,
and by means of that light in the depths of my eye,
something is painted.”
– Jacques Lacan

The gaze contains a curse & a gift, it
turns us into an object yet
confirms that we exist.

The vision of the other can either
become a prison, a figment
of our imagination, or
the one & only means of escape:

take your pick, because either way
it's not what you think;

the light decides
between a painting or a stain,
between pleasure or pain…

everywhere & nowhere but
                    always outside,
it will eat us alive
from the inside:

thoughts of what the other thinks,
                    a black hole
into which we sink
as comprehending apperception
twists the thread
again & again…

                …until the light fights back,
& unties the knots: there is not (yet)
an answer, only the fantasy of two dancers
moving slowly then faster,
both tragic & absurd,
as an audience laughs
& cries as they turn.

Here in the Light

Here in the light
that forever fights the darkness,
we exist. Incomplete
                    objects;

nothing more than sentient flesh, yet
there’s always a surplus,
haunting us &
always finding ways to evade our gaze.

We call this thing our Self.

We can never have it; never know it,
not by demanding
                    or calmly asking

but we can see it,
                    sometimes,
in other eyes.

Mi fea, eres una castaña despeinada*

For S

Far above us

the Sun burns
                
fierce & uncaring;

a soundless scream of light
in infinite darkness….

but down here,
                        where we’re hiding,
the firmament of our world
is the bedroom window
& the Sun has become
lambent limbs of gold,
                        reaching out
to garland us
                        with sepia tones…

…but then
biology disrupts this reverie:

you need to piss.
                           
If, in this poem
I wanted to make you a goddess;
                        an image
that could represent everything from blue
                        to red,
I wouldn’t include your need to piss,

but I did it anyway because you
asked me to, in your humble &
                        beautiful way,
try not to make you
poetic & perfect
but instead
write about you as you really are,
complete with all your flaws.

This is the best that I could accomplish.

Do you like it?

 

*Sonnet XX – Pablo Neruda

“When night comes black”*

Tattered feathers matted with carrion,
poisonous blood & a gland beneath the
                                    tongue
containing venom waiting to be sprayed
into the face of innocent creatures:

a hideous specimen, we should not
refrain from judgment; look & see
what it really is:

                a mistake.

Let it die unmourned, like morning worms
                            without the worth;
nothing can be birthed from this thing.

Watch it’s shaking skull cage, let the taloned
brain starve in it’s rage & let the last blood –
drop of it’s heart fall from self-inflicted
wounds into the dark,

                        unnoticed…

…& stop reading:

                stop writing,

just

stop.

*The Shrike Sylvia Plath

Our Silences

For S

“The moment exists only in silence…” – Søren Kierkegaard

I like our silences,
        those shared moments
beyond the hungry gaze, into
a simple but absolute
                    attention.

I like it when we’re quiet
        because then, when
our eyes meet & I see you seeing me,
I can believe
        in the existence
            of what you see.

Your silence is still & speaks to me
like star-light speaks of intense heat;
defined by distance & perspective,
        a secret
            revealed in concealment,
traverses immense distance
to bring warmth,
        colour
            & life.

In silence, as in soil,
slow roots grow strong,
& the dilation of every second
            endures beyond
the depraved authority of time: we
cease to be a complex pattern
            woven from
                a fabric of neurons
& electrostatic dreaming,
                    
to become

something more,
something I am only sure exists when
we twist together beneath the sheets,
sharing our body heat,
giving the prayer of our attention*
seeing beyond the iris reflection,
to where it lays waiting

                in the silence.

* Attention and Will – Simone Weil

Lost Futures

For S

Today gave me a vision
of what could have been; I saw
between all the mistakes
I’ve made,
there in your home where
you & your children live:

an echo of
hauntology;
the lost future that could have been
if only

life had treated us differently,
if only

we’d received

what we really wanted.

King Panic

With so many questions lacking answers
& too many others
            lacking comfort,
& the days slipping past us
                faster & faster,

once again King Panic* wins:

thin layer of foil beneath the skin**,
            & as if in a dream
wind contributes to the scene:

the rain hard & wild against the window,
& the Sun fleeing the grey sky
as tired eyes
            shrink from the fading light.

Sullen shudders of self-awareness &
            the contemplation
                
            of desperate measures.

Sensing this,
            the tachhyonic voltage
running between us
            prompts you to ask
“What’s wrong?” & though
I fail to convey it to you
through speech,
language is not all that we need
for us both to believe
that the other understands:

the calm of your hand against my neck
            slowly
                    returns me,
& the questions no longer matter:

without an answer
there can be no question to begin with;
in silence, there is peace

                    in silence

there is the strength to start again.

* Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams – Sylvia Plath
** Leaving the Atocha Station – Ben Lerner