Archives for the month of: December, 2016

There’s a loud cry, and then the word scatters to all parts of the song

A woman steps out of the car, one foot | out of the door |     | It isn’t fire washing down the street, not today | There is peace in the centre

A man gets into a car, it isn’t the start | of a joke |     | People in the back of a van carry guns | Their faces are covered |      | Graves draped over them

Children are lined up, rising on the escalator |     | They each have ideas, can we not be | a little sentimental | on this day, of all days?

A bag, and a loud bang | We walked by the storm in the novel: More detonations, and the sound of the giant dice of thunder, softened by distance, rolled and re-rolled and faded across the valley. | I touched your arm

A song with moonlight, Americana and cocaine | Another song, with God and heaven |     | We are stirred

First, there’s no reason at all | Later, we have ideas: we can be better, we can forgive, or be more tactical

There’s a rush, and the buildings begin to flatten | in a wave |      | sunlight, in the window of a department store, she dawdles, you |      | tug at her | trying to draw her | away

History pours in where the song | gets fused with metal — no angels for Papa, no bliss for Drug Boy, mango for Sheila

A rush of hush, like a spurt of soda water |     | Then come the trees, to begin again with forest

You don’t |     | normally sing, but now, you start singing | and crying |     | I’m not sure | we deserve to cry? — after what we’ve done?

Folding the world into our sleep | by the edge of the sea | under the water | we can’t speak

History pours out where the cry fades | the Underground begins to empty

Crude graves, with no time |     | to dig better

You hang on, and you don’t | stop singing | but you do | stop weeping | and because you keep | singing | though your voice is growing hoarse | and neither you, nor I, know if we’re right | or wrong | or even if | wrong or right | comes into it, now |     | still, I am stirred

For a moment

the song scatters to every part of the word


Ceasing to be | each moment | you reach a | caesura | the summit of the | heart’s mountain | Fugu | tingle of | kissing poison | orgasm’s | no-man’s | land | your first | footfall | on the moon of | a new thought | the break | in your memory | horses moving through the meadows of your sleep disturbing the | bees and butterflies | air hanging | in unrung bells | the great wait for | return | the most fragile | crux | the altitude | of your senses | the point of silence | in every word

Never coming back | A secret apex | in each thing | and a secret | perfection

Burning house 1

I carry out | the shoes | the boxes |     | teaspoons |     | your face, on its side |     | your feet, in a bag |     | shapes of echoes, covered in gold leaf |     | the last of the 3 angels | nose broken |     | I carry everything

Burning house 2

Out, I carry | in my hands, in | bundles in my arms |     | the box, with teaspoons |     | a bag with no feet | very light |     | shoes, with fragments of your feet |     | an angel’s head | marble |      | on its side, shapes of echoes |      | I carry everything

Burning house 3

In I bring | the ashes | I carry out |     | the box | on its side |     | I carry

Burning house 4

I carry out | the feet | the last | of the echoes |      | your face |      | in a teaspoon |      | I carry the new clouds | the ashes | in the shoes |      | on their side |      | I carry |     | I carry everything

First, take any poetry out.
It will only get in the way.

Leave in some sky, a kettle, pan, suchlike —
a few objects, real things to comfort people.

Don’t worry about technique —
technique is only for a select cadre of readers,

and their kind will pass:
meanwhile, let them talk about end-stops and enjambment

if they wish. It’s pretty harmless,
like guard towers or thorns reflected in a river.

Don’t get too hooked on meaning:
this happens anyway, but never forget to mention time.

Teach people to improve themselves: they like that.
Use metaphor a lot: disguise it as advice,

or fables, mirrors, or simply plain fact.
Leopards are fine. Ambivalence, so-so. Allusion (literary), bad. Critics

need you more than you need them.
Treat them with disdain, especially if they like your work.

Style? It’s personal. Maybe give it a classic sheen:
rusting cars in vacant lots, nubile girls — each

a dawn — waiting for the sun to rise,

Never, ever, leave anything of importance
locked inside:

keep your valuables with you,
vagabonds may often haunt your heels,

but give yourself a chance, at least, of getting clean away.
Be too clever. Be callous, and inconsistent. Irony

is a subtle god, worship it carefully.
Avoid the big themes: they’re tiresome,

just large potatoes among small potatoes,
centuries among instants.

Make your work as worthless as you can:
never trust a wealthy poet. Avoid fashion. Crucially,

never wear a cravat. Never obey
your own maxims. But be more generous, always. Serve the people.

You’re not the finished article, merely
a by-product. A part of silence, after

a sung song.
When the end comes,

you should be used up.
What’s left is everything.

Oh, and one more thing:
Forgive me if I have said anything wrong.

I am so sorry to take leave of you.
Peace be with you.

Appears |     | The built instant | spring | snowflake monument |     | From a state of equilibrium | to a state of disequilibrium || Tommy said: Christ, what a year! David gone, and first Brexit, then Trumpet… |     | Vanishes

Yeah, but as a country, we’re gonna look stupid |      | Well, it’s one thing to look stupid, but to act intelligently: it’s another thing to look stupid, and to be stupid |      | Rome dust |     | and Julie from across the room | in disco lights and party streamers |     | Vanishes

She leaves the swords of her footsteps | in another story | Each morning, you find your way back | to the beginning, only | it has turned into the middle, déjà vu | haunts your day | Although the blades still | cut | someone has | named you, and the trees outside your room | have already | chosen their season

At night, you gather up the necklace of your thoughts | The beads of money and loss, herbs and hunger | Pausing at the edge of | sleep | as at the fringe of a fairytale forest | you miss the hand which used to | undo that necklace for you, then | fix the clasp again once the morning came | When autumn comes, it enters everything, even iron

Temples and palaces | local Tescos | instant | mystery of morning snow | all your grades | and the tiny | corners of love you found | tomorrow | today | the things you called yourself | collected and lost, then | collected again | then lost | arrangements you made | glass | promises not yet | left to shatter | songs of beluga whales | and the digital glitter of the | ocean | sculpted and planed before you | the blind | touch | the acute | vision | moments of epiphany and of ennui | the last words | the long haul | all | melting: edge of sleep

Shipwreck on velvet rocks | a whole mission | cargo of copper, bananas, scooters | scatter to a cry of | lonesome-sounding | gulls from | 45 years ago | balm of | your mother’s voice poured | down through a dream | across your skin, riotous with psoriasis | the || personal things || Keats’ nightingale and | tetrahedrons | the facts, the | unassailable truth | the words of God | and of | gods | bobbing and | rocking now | caught by | unseen currents | eddied and cast | joining the wild | herds of jellyfish on their long journeys | Achilles’ | heel in the head | a | blank | spot | to pour a coffee or a sea | rates of exchange | ominous | presence of Captain Black, a Mysteron || can you | hold off what is | so much inside you? | and once you’ve gone | will you ever be called back | drowsy to a new shore still | born glistening and freshly wrought?

Breaking off from death for just a little moment,
heart-burst rain on cars and falcon glimpses,
the slick flash of wipers, the city hooded
under a great electrical storm, what were your feelings
when you realised the wagons had gone on without you
leaving you to the wilderness of no paths or days?

Moss covers the lost axe and his song begins once more
to revive the winding stems of climbing flowers inside you:
your eyes grow endless trees and the frenetic calls of birds
craze your sleep and begin to pull apart
the limits of your flesh and memory, it has the essence
and the purpose of a bared blade, although the lake
washes it in eras of mist and ripples, and insects,
mistaking such stillness for neutrality, traverse it without concern
to trail a haze of pheromones across a night on purring wings.

Forever partisan for those who demand its power,
the song is dropped among the golden carcases of honeybees,
rolls its silence like a child’s marble slipped away
among adult feet in stations or on
the crowded carriages of outbound trains,
enlarges only solitary hearts into an ache or tangled yelp of passion,
pioneers with new worlds to master and convert
pass over his torn body with indifference or a small regret
for useless beauty and a sound
too pure for our commodity, and only later apprehend
the storm itself has been bound up with the song
and threatens us with paradise, on busy shower-roused streets
umbrellas open like mindless anemones, its haunted music
takes us aside and fills us with the terror
of virgin plains and raging sapphires and tiger stars,
brings our limitations back to us as gifts and the partial light
of troubled, trembling suns, in the pitiful hours of our division, for instants
reaches the status of a fragile notion
which, by belonging to no one, belongs to each one.

Yeah, that’s me, the good-looking zombie in front of the burning Volvo, glancing wistfully | out of shot | the other zombies milling around in classic fashion | with their I-support-Man-Utd expression | all the go of a vacant parking space | no cuckoo in their cuckoo clocks | and the sky behind the filling station | a saturated klein blue | its imperious yet trashy power | lost on everyone | Very little facial decay | skin really good, if pale | I know I’m drooling a bit, but still | my clothes are quite neat | and I have the intense but fretful air | of an ardent teenager | despite the fact my brain is just rabid soup | don’t I remind you | of a young man who is too absorbed | by a quasi-quantum-romantic entanglement | and is worried he’s missed the train | that was to take him to a tryst with his possibly hopefully maybe probably not at least from her side but definitely totally I think from my side | belovéd | to register in a substantial way | the apocalypse that has exploded the whole neighbourhood | and derailed said train | in such a reverie | the stream of ignited petrol flaming in a zoom | across the foreground | is of less concern to me | than the efficacy of the deodorant I’m wearing | or whether the scent of my Hunk aftershave | is quite as powerful as those people on the tube | seemed to be implying | unimportant problems, you might say | but of the type we cherished | before the virus fell like transparent snow | from that random asteroid in outer space | and we somehow started to get shot in the head a lot | and then wake up | and we somehow began to forget | to go to work or pay the rent | or have sex or, in my case, not have sex | or even to think about sex or | not having sex | and so on | and not | on | Anyway, Man Utd are the greatest | and I hear in fact that you can buy love | so | the song was wrong | who’d have thought it? | Now I really want to go shopping | and as I go shopping I kind of notice | a woman sitting at an overturned café table | with headline-grave newspapers blowing around her, and some guy with a terrible injury to his neck | lying to her left, a discarded notebook growing increasingly irrelevant, at a frightening speed, and his copy of | Jean-Paul Sartre’s Critique de la raison dialectique | flying like a rapidly failing species of bird | towards extinction | towards what might be called, paradoxically, a utopian malaise | a getting elsewhere quick | when I realise | I find the woman oddly attractive | not erotic exactly but | no, yes, she does actually exude quite an erotic charge | perhaps it’s the skull peeping out through the gash in her hair | or the blank melancholia of her gaze | into nothing | like a bored travel agent | having to sell another fabulous holiday