The War

Is my story more exciting than yours?
Or did you get those scars in a bloodier war?

The pen can be mightier than the sword,
but guns would kill us all.

If only you could summon up the balls,
to stain the floor with your bullet-ridden corpse

                            or

vomit away your soul

                            &

say goodbye with the sound of broken bones
wirh a leap into the unknown.

Would your mind change before hitting the ground?
or would you leave with a taste of regret?

The war started before you were ready,
the fighting will fall silent without you knowing,

                            but

you were never ready for anything

at all.

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,
& drink only 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…

***

Choose pleasure over meaning, close
your eyes & let advertising
do your dreaming for you.

Ask no questions, you’ll hear no lies:

it’s the only way to survive.

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.

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

The Days Flow Away…

The days flow away & through me;
body submerged completely
in the river,
                where the light bends
& quivers
bringing with it
                a vision,
a form of seeing
beyond deceiving perception,
                & choosing
not just appearance,
                but essence:

                the nothingness
which only seems to have being.

                & as such
is not so much a nothingness
as the presence of an absence:

that which lives in me is only a dream.

The tragedy lies only in what I
cannot describe:

the rest is a beautiful,
        hideous
                mess.

The rest
                
            is life.

Bipolarity in Post-Modernity

Here I’m alive; a mediocre, twice-
failed suicide,
                hypomanic
in hyperreality
writing unremarkable poetry,
failing to be
               Homo Economicus, but
I’m not the only one

I know;
        this system fucks us all,
why do you think so many of us are so depressed?

                There is the voice,
have you heard it too?
                Telling you
it’s all your fault,
a flaw,
a weakness:
            
                – worthless piece of shit,
                can’t just get on with it.
                You’ve got so much privilege:
                just look at how much you can get when
                half the world lives on less than
                you earn in an hour.

                Don’t be so pathetic: you don’t deserve it –

Sometimes, I think the voice is right.

Sometimes,
I realise what it really is:
            
the propaganda of our disgusting society
that’s wormed its way inside of my psyche.

& yet knowing this doesn’t help

because
        this mind of mine can’t find
meaning in
the featherweight consolation
       of ironic distance.
I need
the romance of defiance;
I need
        all or nothing.

When Politics fought Art it ended
with a bullet in Mayakovsky’s heart,
for stamping on the throat of his own song;

when Art met Capital it ended
with Johnny Rotten complaining about homeless people
spoiling the view from his fucking disgusting L.A. mansion…

& when Politics starts fighting Capital,
that’s the sound of the revolution starting.

So now we have a choice to make:

“Revolution or suicide”**

* The Accursed Share – Georges Bataille
** Guy Debord

The thoughts that follow…

Crossing the unfeeling surface of this
                        ugly city,
lost in broken reveries &
                        the sophistry
of melancholy without origin,

thought begins
to blend into visceral abstraction:

the nausea of a simple creature
wanting only to know why it knows it
                        must suffer.

Wouldn’t it be better
not to think at all,
    to be
        
innocent & free

from the thoughts that follow
    the hollow feeling
        that everything

is meaningless?

                        …but meaning is a concept,

one of thought's
        many children,
so without thought
            there would be no concept
                of meaning to be lost…

through a clumsy succession of steps I
                        try to accept
that the words bring this suffering & yet
are the only source of my salvation:

no affirmation without negation;

                        nothing is something,
            & something
                is nothing
without opposition…

this is what brings me back to a fleeting
            consolation,
        my one broken prize;
a thought
        that isn't mine:

the tree is really rooted in the sky*;
    it is the light
falling continually from above
that provides
        the energy
needed
    to defy gravity,

by finding it's way upwards while
sending roots
    deep into
        the earth.

* Human Personality – Simone Weil

Melancholia

All these years;
the days spent waiting,
        hours just staring

at the walls.

All these years
of blunted & fading,
    wasted & wasting

melancholia…

I push my hands against the sides
of my skull & somehow
    somewhere between them

words form
& disappear…

Never let me forget…

For S

Never let me forget
    how much
        I wanted to forget
the way you looked when I left you in bed
    this morning,
to face the dawn & the dawning
knowledge that the futile elegance of
            transcendent vision
allowing us to see
the meaningless mystery
    of nothing,
means nothing to me
        compared to you.

As every breath in my lungs
pulled like wet leaves through mud,
    you looked
        so beautifully
           at peace:

a rare orchid on the far shore of sleep…

In that moment
        I decided
to quit smoking; that moment,
    knowing
I had to tear myself away from you
only to throw myself into
the world where bullshit is King,
    felt like a betrayal
        because I forced myself
to forget:

it was the only way
I could make myself leave
    the bed;
leave the island of peace
    of our bodies
        pressed together,
just to travel
        across the filthy sea
            of the city
that doesn’t give a fuck about you,
    or me
        – or anybody at all –
to work for the wealth of others,
    so that we can sleep beneath
        a roof & between walls;
            so that we
can eat without the need
to raid bins to survive,
    & I
        can return to you
            again.

So never let me forget
that the society we live in is disgusting
    & you
are the only reason
    I remain within it.

Never let me forget.

Acceptance as Defiance

Thought & image blend with emotion,
creating a weird creature
of our own creation,
& then
we attempt to control this creature
with language, but the wild horses
of desire,
of impulse & sensation,
cannot be tamed by satiation
or speech.

We must accept the existence
of an empty space,
the place
where we exist;
the solitude
that will always be with us,
& that can not be filled
by consumption;
by that
which consoles & poisons
in equal measure.

Nothing can save us
unless we shred instinct
& learn to forgive,
& to accept,
that sometimes we are scared
& sometimes lonely;
sometimes hurt &
sometimes just horny;

that sometimes
we are nothing more
than another animal,
born of a capricious mother
& a vast,
incomprehensible,
indifferent father,

& that all we really seek
is comfort
& some answers
to our never-ending questions,
& that these motivations
are in conflict with each other.

But acceptance is not giving up:
acceptance is defiance.