Everything is made of loneliness.

The return to the screen and the keyboard | postcards of the Taj Mahal | Tahitian maidens with cape jasmine flowers in their hair | degraded stock footage of a road in Nebraska | sleek airline termini in Asia | prescriptions for gastroenteritis | phone calls we halt | your mouth moving around the words “lace” and “pink” | the Atlas Mountains

Others have their opinions | atoms and the void, mental phenomena, perception | and so forth | but they don’t understand a skinhead’s motives | his love of his Swiss army knife, they can’t realise how their opinions | lie down in the early hours and don’t sleep | and the room | floats left, floats right | drifts aimlessly into the darkness | they don’t see the children grow old | they don’t listen, they don’t hear | the silence under the sea

Everything is made of atoms and the void | they tell me | it is like | throwing a handful of pebbles | into the Atlantic | antique photographs | of beggars and peddlers and street magicians | or travelling | inarguably the world’s most beautiful and thrilling sightseeing route | along the Amalfi coastline | No, no, no | Andrew says | Everything is made of words | but he doesn’t understand when I ask him | You mean words like “pink” and “hunt” and “stone”?

The crowds are made of loneliness | departure in every face | reading On Being Misled in a late tube train | the hustle and rattle of the carriage | comforting in some ways | the sound of distance being ground up and fed | into the past | perception | mental phenomena

Reality is made of work | Reality is made of economic relations | Sex, instinct, dreams | There are many different versions | the triumph at the top of Annapurna | the accord between warring politicians | Debbie’s lace | Why can’t they understand anything? | Are they just too busy, too hurried, too intent | on getting to the next moment, not this moment | where things are empty and the road leads out from Eureka | and there are no towns or services | no lights of towns or services | at night as you drive, settling over you | there are some of the darkest skies in the country | and the mountains are more lunar then earthly | with a scrape of a wheel on an axle | This is not a place you want to break down

Gangsters in their lonely cars | performing their grisly tasks | guns, spades and banknotes | kudos, respect, champagne | the loneliness waits at the bottom of the well | of each of these things | rolls in the barrel of the pistol | like a dry pea | in a tin can | flutters in the lira and the yen | coughs out the soil | and the bits of roots at the dumping grounds | and the desperate parties gangsters hold | are some of the most | desolate places on Earth | and always the good ones | want to get out | but they never do

The cinemas are made of loneliness | with their titanic images | of cities with rivers and many bridges | statues, fountains | strip joints | galleries and back streets | As all things in a film are made of film | all things in my life | are made of dog teams | pulling sledges north | further and further | supplies forever running low | the shape of your shadow on the wall | just before we leave | and the sun | must rouse itself to rise again | on a world so bare | in the evening | people drain away to their rooms | and the silence | from under the sea | slips back in and fills all parts | of every nook and crevice and corner | of every atom of noise | so the piano | sounds useless | and Simon | is wrong about everything | especially the truth | especially my smile

And loneliness waits | at the book’s finale | in cramped kitchens | under the pillow | where the caresses | become untethered and go | floating downstream | past pleasure boats dotted with studious, vacuous tourists | bobbing and sidling | in invisible currents | past water dispensers, staff canteens, rooms with servers | Loneliness waits | at the core of the poem | where people are shouting and, possibly, fighting | Under the pillow the most | under the head | and under the hand | caressing the head | in the past the distance | we fed | ground up and cast | into the slipstream | the loneliness waits | Five Stars, “life enhancing” | a struggle worth winning | a just cause | “Superb. Life affirming”

My heart’s in the Highlands | wherever I go | No, no, no said Andrew | Reality is the sum | of all possible and actual and impossible | interpretations of reality | that | is what everything is made of | there’s nothing else

Not wanting | On Being Misled to reach | its final page | Pulling the light cord | looking up | into the nothing | this is ranching country, filled with enormous ranches tens of thousands of acres in size | and travelling at this speed | it will take a long time to reach Venus

 


from the series bliss point | angels of disorder
(open-ended, 2012–present)
(this poem: September, 2014)

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