Masturbation in the face of banality

I don’t know but I suppose it all
must mean something:

people walk & talk but don’t look,
too much in or out of love with…

what?

I watch while they live &
two birds in the trees wont shut up;
pigeons are fighting
or trying to fuck.

I watch this &
still know nothing.

The wind grows sharp teeth &
greedily devours the trees,
in the static isolation
of our civil jungles,
& forest jails;
 
our vast deserts of furious action.

While weather beaten rocks are washed over
by the noise of conversation:

talk about what we love,
of who we hate & what went wrong
but only one to one.

In groups we speak only of safe & comfortable
things:
weather, banal media &
commodified games,

to distract from the future that awaits
& the present confronting
us all
 
with the face of forces beyond our control.

Zabbaleen

& like any god
-forsaken thing, I want nothing more
than my breaths
– Ocean Vuong

Signals traverse spines & veins.

Eyes dilate.

Tracing ancient patterns,
twisting sinuous ribbons
of memory
renewed through constant sacrifice
rise:

another performance of terror &
necessity.

Animals survive & others must die,
while through it all light plays majestic games
across the spectacle,

watched over by gods who care nothing for
mercy.

~~~

Here though, there are no gods;
here the wind touches glass & concrete trees
fells greasy cardboard leaves,
plastic carrier bags,
cigarette ends,
empty cans &
people.

~~~

The Gazelle has broken limbs,
has lost it’s noble frame
& the grace of such delicate movements

between jaws, claws, teeth &
brutal muscle;
 
adrenaline,
instinct
& chance.
 
The Gazelle searches for a place to hide,
somewhere to die in peace
before the scavengers arrive
to tear away still-fresh meat
soft with the warmth of life.

Such an ugly fate for a gentle beast.

Just look at the fucking state of it,

watch the blood draining from a dead-eyed dream.

~~~

The Zabbaleen
have been forced to become human garbage.

There are many others like them.

It need not be this way.

Here there are no gods but
mercy could exist, this

makes me ashamed to be human.

What about you?

Enough

You have a favourite tree in this city,
& the one he hung himself from
is in the same public garden.

You took me there once:
                        2 am.,
we were drunk.

You climbed the trunk & sat on the branch
where he swung
for hours, years ago, until
the grounds-keeper found him in the morning.
& quit their job soon after.

He is always somewhere in your mind,
the memories you want desperately to survive
come flooding back to you sometimes
& the pain in your eyes is unbearable.

So much trauma.

Every year
you plant flowers at the base of the tree.
Every year
you despair as age reminds you again
just how young he was.

So much trauma.

I asked permission
& you let me sit on the branch with you.

Looking down on the ground,
every suicidal thought returned &
I realised I wasn't ready;

                        I wanted
to lay beneath a cherry tree
& bleed, buried beneath fallen blossoms:

no,
I wasn't ready then…

was your friend?

You asked me & the only answer
that I could find
was that some of us need more

than life can provide,
but we search
                    until the searching

becomes too much.

Alive

Here we’re
            alive.

Here we are as we love & complain,
orgasm & menstruate;
vomit & piss & waste our hate
on the smallest of things.

Here we are
            with or without
mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters;

comrades or enemies;
consumers or revolutionaries*,
            attack or defence,
for or against:

reasons so solid yet insubstantial
at the same time.
 
An accident upon infinite accidents,
so improbable
as to constitute a miracle,

here we’re alive
                to the glorious light:

your life is not a cage, a stage
or a performance,

                it’s just an accident.

You’re alive, & one day you will die

So…laugh until we burst**?

*Those Anarcho Punks Are Mysterious – Against Me!

**Idioteque – Radiohead

Sand Mandala

For once on the face of the earth
let’s not speak in any language,
let’s stop for one second,
and not move our arms so much.

It would be an exotic moment
without rush, without engines,
we would all be together
in a sudden strangeness

Keeping Quiet – Pablo Naruda

 

Using water to gild wild flowers with gold leaf
for hours.

The technique requires practise that few will ever
master,

                            yet still you keep trying,
while the world around you ignores all that you
want to
                            give: a delicate gift;

desperate attempt to prove that you still exist,

before a silence, so intense
descends, just as you have been dreaming of
                            ever since

your first fascination
                            with gold leaf & flowers.

Unsaved Document

Returned now to habitude & ugly
old attitudes resume.

Refrain from razor-blades against
                                the skin
but now place them instead between the teeth
so during sleep the mouth
fills with blood

forcing shame to keep
a silence unredeemed
by graceful movement or delicate features;

eyes that do not see the open,
                                absent
of the pulsation, the differentiation
                                separating
life from death, death from dying.

Until, once again, the morning comes when
a mother bends to brush against
                                her child
& the animal rejoins the wild challenge
of existence:

begin a new day, with
different hunters, different prey yet
always the same ancient struggle
                                despite
the panic, the shit, the pain that afflicts
all living things.

Grace is acceptance, grace is
defiance;

for the hunter to eat the prey must die,
& for each to drink
the gaze must sink down toward the water.

There, where the reflection resides.

There, where there is nowhere

                            to hide.

Memory

The weight of the rain cripples the name
of a person & place
once delicately traced,
like a a sketch by Toulouse-Lautrec;

all colour & movement, sweeping angles
tangled into a lie more real than the truth:

                                    who is that person now?

What do they dream about?

That the past is forever lost
is the only proof we have that it existed*,

                                    but the city,
the city stays standing:

poisonous giant always reneging
on its promise to keep us safe.

Just as memories will disappear
                                    so too will the city
& all those within it & all those yet to come.

Even the light will die in time
& nothing will remain of the elegant lines;
not yours or mine.

Our strange gift is to know this
                                    & then try

to accept it.

* J.M. Coetzee

Mythology

In the beginning
                there were two Lovers & one Mother.

The Lovers believed in her dreams & she
believed that memory hides like
                                shadows in light,
like death in life.

The Lovers soon decided that
they wanted pretty lies
                                &,
equating beauty with simplicity,
demanded a story explaining everything.

So the Mother told them
that songbirds never remain in cages
without dreams of escaping;

                                that agape love
is a concept only a virgin could conceive of,
because rejection is integral
to all romance;

                                that others
must be sacrificed to indifference
or love means nothing; fabric stretched too thin
always tears apart at the seams.

The Lovers rejected this:
                                they wanted comforting,
to believe in their selflessness
& inherent goodness.

So they ignored the Mother, searched
for a new teacher & found the Father.

The Father took the little songbirds &
plucked out all their feathers;
broke their necks
to make them
appreciate
                                the sky,

& refused to answer any questions

including “why?”.

Writing

You want to put the barrel of the gun in their mouth,
to stop the noise drowning the music out;

in thrall to the curvatures described by birds in flight
& feelings inscribed in nameless streelights.

You want a language defiant of time:

                                    indelible lines,
chords of memory
                                    transcendental & sublime,

the contingencies of life unified
into one
        single

                song.

You want what you cannot have:

an abstract/visceral expression of all that

unknowable,
                                    ephemeral

sound enclosed within bones
where the brain sits
& compels you to this
                                    futile release,

the fading gaze of a caged beast,

never the same as it's first raw moment
of existence.
 

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:

no longer threatening to 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,
it changes 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;
                            different desperate measures,
a new insanity
to replace the one you gave us.

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…