Here we’re allowed*

Here we are
            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**;

These distinctions mean nothing
say the insistent whispers that come to me
from distant places.

They taunt & they menace,
they make glorious promises:

you are all an
accident upon accidents
so improbable as to constitute a miracle,

here you’re alive
                to the glorious light;

your life is not a cage
but a grain of sand in the hands
of another
            creature

who understands nothing

                    either.

So laugh until you burst.

*Idioteque – Radiohead

**Those Anarcho Punks Are Mysterious – Against Me!

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 profound
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 the silver-mirror light,

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 the bone
where the brain sits
& compels you to this
                                    futile release,
knowing that we never can understand…

                                    but that it doesn’t matter,
                                 
so long as the song is as beautiful as you.
 

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,
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;
                            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…

 

Pathétique

For days I’ve said only
half of what I did and didn’t want to say,

& did all that I do every day:

tried to escape.

I don’t know what I’m doing anymore
& escape makes such a mess on the floor.

Maybe one day I’ll make a decision
I won’t regret again
        & again
            & again:

always the same,
always failing to stand up to myself
& forgetting
to hide from the scaring knowledge

that all things are pretence
yet everything is true…

but I’m lying to you
            again.

I have no pain
just a feeling of constant nausea
& all the talk of trying to escape

is just a way
to plead for sympathy;

pathetic, really,

            isn’t it?

Rain

“I love the sensation of shelter from
                the storm.
I like it when it rains outside,
how it makes me feel warm.”
she said.

“I used to feel like that.”
I said back. “It’s a safety thing, I think”.

She said “Maybe…”

& I replied:

“It doesn’t happen now though, now the sound
just makes me sad.”

“Why?” she asked

“I can’t say I think about it
all that much any more…I just
don’t care.

It isn’t worth a waste of words.”

Then we were silent:

I was evading the question

                again.

****

Created from a structure of complex
cells & cells we find ourselves in:

always questioning more than answering;

a distance between who we are & what we love;
                the difference
between what we do &
                what we dream:

we are everything & nothing:

both subject & object,
the language animal playing games in the cave…

We’re the process of knowing that
we’re reading this poem;

body & mind,
trapped in time &
sub specie aeternitatis*;

                double-helix dance of meaning.

****

Security is the supremacy
of survival.

Natural data & culture
compel the worship of the Self,

but worship has always been dangerous:

people do not treat their gods well.

If they did there would be
less fear of Hell,

                or banishment.

****

“I wish I could feel content again, like
when we were young,
but I’m trapped by everything I
have and haven’t done”

I said.

“But you are content” She
said back. “You told me once,
that only the moments of fleeting, true
feelings mean anything to you”.

“I say a lot of things my love
..and I talk far too much”

But then came her smile &

I fell silent

                again.

* Sub specie aeternitatis

#First World Problems

Swept along by the causal tide,
riding the waves of time

or

        if the numbers cease to speak
& the edifice crumbles,
revealing only a single peace-
full, temporal ontology,

what then?

How do we end
or continue, or begin to
make sense of it all without stories we
can now only read
            but never believe?

I think a 12-hour shift
constantly on your feet,
making pointless shit for foreigners you
will never meet

could answer that question:

“I don’t care anymore.
All I want is to feed my family
& sleep beneath a roof & between 4 walls…”