This is how we live now (if you were born after 1984)

Expensive mistakes made to wait
for the cancelled screening of lost futures.

                            Never mind,
just watch the trailer;

a sentence cut short for bad behaviour,
particular particulates chosen
                            for both air & water.

Which method of suicide would you like?

No need for haste,
we have a decade to waste first,
                            & anyway
the decision has already been made.

                ****

Words twirled like sugar cubes
                            by silver spoons
into porcelain cups are not enough.

They’re useless.

Images are different.

With careful consideration
they will change the world,
                            or else become exhibitions
to be sold & then interpolated
into the process of rebellion:

they won’t threaten the system.

                ****

We drown in noise, suffocated by information.

Anhedonic hedonism,
                            cynicism,
& one more beer, one more smoke,
just one last line of coke;

desperate times & desperate measures,
insanity as a reflex against insanity;

                            a litany
of clichés & new prescriptions
for yet more medication. Don’t question
the efficacy, or the necessity or
                            the cause,

just take what you’re given & be grateful
someone is pretending to listen.

This is how our problems are solved now…

                ****

Pull out the roots & the flower wont grow,
just like weeds won’t;
                            to consider
weeds to be as beautiful as flowers,
is to consider the power of words
to change the world
                            which is to say,
to change your perspective;

to hold contradictory thoughts,
                            is to survive
& thrive, like weeds & not flowers.

                ****

To speak of flowers is to dissapear
into the ideas of others but this
is consistent with the insistence that
                            nothing is new
until it’s too late:

words no longer matter on the page.

Now only screens change the world
& dreams become as tacky as a pearl necklace,
draped around the neck

                ****

So now of, course, we want not just answers
but solutions;
                            desperate measures:
give us insanity & you can have it back.

Don’t think that we lack the courage needed:

we know what must be done,

we just don’t know how to do it…

                ****

They say that thinking of these things
will only make matters worse;

those of us for whom the drugs don’t work are told
                           to focus on the small things
& ignore the dying world,

drowning us all.

So:

crouch down to a round, purple flower,
notice the green-tipped wing of a butterfly
upon it.

                            Reach for the phone as a reflex
to take a photograph, &

watch as the butterfly flickers away…

 

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 tachyonic 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