Archives for posts with tag: construct

It was already the end, but no one moved | as if staying in their seats after the film | like generals commanding dead divisions | The channels kept up their broadcasts | shops were full | signal was good | Soon we floated into another story | decorating our apartment, carefully | choosing the wallpaper to illustrate our taste | making love like | nesting in nothing for a few seconds | planning our holidays | Driving into the desert, Russ’s old Dodge | an olive meteor with a tail of dust, it felt | heroic, and yet | too sudden | like a hat blowing off the head | of a passenger standing at the rail | spinning up and away, into the sea | very small, and the waves | very many | On the other side | waking to a sound of gulls | then hiking for two days | all the time, feeling as if we were building | what we approached | At last, after camping in a hollow on the ridge | we came to the cave system | known as the Giants’ Dreams  | Google it

Wishing the words back into life again | As if in a medieval parable, puzzling over | a choice of apparent evils | to take the road which leads | to empty success, or the path | ending in honourable failure | Looking back, things appear | less clear-cut | life’s insistence on fertility, entanglement | draws into league the saints and fools | the knaves and angels | often leaving mere mortals | marooned on isles of bemusement and rue | In any case, I soon left that town | and, swiftly | this ceased to be my story | The rhododendron forests were in bloom | the air at altitude so pure | we felt there was no atmosphere at all | Was there no hope? Of course not! | We had the young | to fashion a simpler tale | For you, though, irony grew | inescapable, like a form of gravity | Finding yourself jostled | in a crowd of hermits, forever | glancing towards the exit | while far to the north | in terrible snows | dead soldiers broke | free from their frozen posts, and reached out | to take up their frozen guns

 


from the series construct (2012–present, ongoing)
(this poem, August 2013)

Her lonely chores | Her day that was like picking titles for abstract paintings | Land Ahoy! | Cannibal Island | Hypergammaglobulinemia | Alone With Others | Pausing, toothbrush in hand | pushing through the curtains of the mirror | into the magic forest | Walking for hours until she came to a glade with short grass, like a suburban lawn | The sound of children playing in the plastic paddling pool | Riding the bus to school | listening to pop | feeling the back of the seat so hot in 1976 | waistband of her skirt | damp with perspiration | the boys geeky or full of a dumb swagger | Show Offs | The Speed of Tears

At 17, she feels so old, her arms like rotten timber | with fan-shaped fungi growing on her | Hopeless, the world deprived of destinations | the blue hole of the sky into which | tiny glittering sounds were falling | upwards | She wishes she didn’t have a navel | it spoils her stomach | and the car is a grave, or will be, one day | Her mind is full of lilacs and skulls | a boy’s penis erecting | alien and comical | a dew of sperm | At this rate, how will she ever make 20? | Even 18 seems distant | the years ahead already abandoned | like remote huts | left behind in lost Antarctic expeditions | The Tigers Listen to the Flute | Fifteen Raindrops Long

Old people at bus stops, with their weird clothes | blinking | gawping at nothing much | tortoise, parrot, turkey, slug | The god, Apollo, will turn them into small brown shrubs | with their handbags still hanging from branches | ancient black shoes tangled in the roots | where amber millipedes coil and creep | like the parts of dismantled watches | I Fancy You | Heart of the Strawberry | His street from space | An order constructed around Sta-Press and swimming pools | with NASA in the background

The funfair in his cranium | the slides and waltzers | denuded of serotonin | stripped and rusting | He notes how the weatherpersons mention | “areas of depression” | The cool girl in the black dress | with her honey-coloured skin and blonde afro | is she a writer or something? | maybe even in a band | His feelings, laid out like surgical instruments on a tray | a limited choice | and he knows | all cold and dangerous to touch | The Weird Boy and the Bear | A moment of happiness, so flimsy | like a parachute that seems to open, but then fails | delivering him to the blue quick ride of the sky | Ships, and their Thoughts of Sinking

In class | measuring devices | Adjacent | incline | millimetres | arc | perpendicular | What will they do with the lions? | And the lioness’s roar? | Walk the long dead pavements | through the estate | Her parents are dinosaurs | big bodies, tiny brains | grazing sedately | unwittingly, each evening, itemising | the different manners of their defeats | If you think in angles, you only end up with angles | If you think in circles… | The children play with the snake | and put it into black structures | On the train into town | she is in Wisconsin | like Russia is | like Minsk, and Kiev, and Guangdong | No one riding today | Like rollercoasters with only shadows | Delta Series, No. 5 | Monkey and Coconut Milk | It is hard to put a shape to absence | draw clear lines around it | One day, there | One day… | Carriage on the charm bracelet | Vacant Lot | He is not coming today | the boy with two scalpels for eyes | And soon, the holidays… | Land Ahoy!

 


from the series construct (2012–present, ongoing)

We had assembled the tower | now, we waited for people to visit it | But the channel was wrong, somehow | time was leaking away | I was growing weary, chaperoning the famous diva | the “Great Voice” | who could imitate the songs of robins and nightingales | but who sounded less | imposing ordering perfumes or cigarettes | The guards in their smart uniforms | of khaki with white fittings | flat peaked caps | trembled with yawns | and gazed stolidly out into the timeless | void of the plain | What was in their eyes? | No one waited for answers in those days | everything was rushed | Silence was a unicorn | galloping through light snow | and the air was filled with the sound | of complaints or elegies | of barter and soliloquies | theories and insults | a stew | a bruit, which | perhaps | as you drew further away | might mute and dampen | down to a murmur, like that | of a distant avalanche | destroying a village, or a helpless | party of skiers | Hotels, travelling, the endless | shopping | the desultory | rehearsals | none of this | was my real life, yet | it took up | nearly all of my days | and the diva didn’t even sing | so often | the era’s | taste was changing | and soon, plague | would close the theatres, the meteor | fall and instruct us | on the necessity for a new beginning

No one’s fault, and no one’s story | But we were restless, and melancholy | so we tried to explain, anyway | Perhaps we were too attached to Reason? | Scientists set off the beacon, plotted | the demographic | yet whole generations went missing | forgotten by love and lost in malls | Two lit trains, passing in a tunnel | your face as I kissed you for the last time | a sense of opacity even in | the slightest detail of a | fingernail and a caress | as if I were one of Odysseus’ oarsmen | watching Odysseus writhe and weep | as we rowed past the isle | of the Sirens | Bemusement, then | the tapeworm’s | view of her gut | a racket inside the sapphire, a menu | of empty compulsions | and always | it began to feel | between us | as if we were trying to build a pyramid | starting at the tip | A landscape, dotted with suicides | dipped in brandy and cologne | the deer’s | understanding of the hunting horn | That was the day | I saw the unicorn

 


from the series construct (2012–present, ongoing)
(this poem, August 2013)

At Tom’s. A sense of the drift of mores — of a culture at odds with one’s assumptions. Trying to remember the difference between stalagmites and stalactites. Kagemusha — the shadow warrior. A film about acting. Peter’s tragedy. Defeat in the stirring of coffee, the way the spoon is laid with a measured, clicking finality on the saucer; cataclysm in a blink.

Looking away: like the movement of a tide, the retreat or onset of an ice age. The actor who spends too long in her role — like a swimmer too far from land to get back. No self there, waiting. Just the shore, as after a great naval engagement, the beach littered with the bodies of drowned sailors, debris. Sarah still talking about the Cadillac.

We follow the seductive implication of our routine lives that there will be continuity, that the days have a certain architecture, like a building with a regular series of arches.

I realise I have spent too long at the angels’ tea party, and that I find it difficult to return to mortal company. The gravity seems heavy, my bones have adapted to weightlessness. The grossness of the vocabulary shocks me. The imprecision of the concepts is depressing. And the constant hurry — the desperate, avaricious, mortal hurry. Even the torpor is avaricious. The angels are self-satisfied, it’s true, and their levity unfathomable, given what is going on here. Scarab beetles, but human beings labour not with balls of dung but with slow-rolling boulders of hatred. Not to care is hard. Caring is easy. What mortals fear most, they also crave most: oblivion. What else drives every sentence? This one, and the next? The hurry, the hurry…

 


from the series construct (2012–present, ongoing)
(this poem, July 2017)

I’m full of graves and guitars.

As if they’d give money for that!

It’s not frightening, it’s what I want. Although I don’t know. You won’t be there when it’s gone. That’s how you never even see anything.

If I could go up the hill, I could write a song as big as the cellar.

No, I’ll get round to it. Listen. If you don’t see how it ends, how do you know it’s ended?

Some of the graves are ships.

I spend eight hours of the day wasting my time. I’m not a romantic. I’d rather get paid. I like geometry, the calmness of those structures. If I could get to the top, I’d see what I’d lost.

Evenings are the saddest. Evenings in the hold. There is a song, just beyond the tip of the oh I don’t know.

They don’t pay you for your pain, they take money from you for it, because you’re no good at the things that don’t give you pain. It’s obvious, but I can’t see why. It’s bound to show.

There’s no darkness inside it, there isn’t enough room. You need space for darkness.

There’s no time inside it because of the war.

Just right on the edge of the maybe later, after I’ve slept.

Mondrian, for example. You think it’s ethereal, but it’s concrete for me. You just fill it with thoughts, so it isn’t. Even before I’ve started, you’ve started first. Always, so you don’t get to the voyage, not really.

Yes, if you said I was going to die alone and poorly dressed, you would be like the fortune cookie. Evenings are also beautiful, of course, if you make them like that. You have to put in more effort, the moon in labour, the horses in Cameron’s Field.

Its scalar. What do they say these days — granular. Einstein was right, so he was wrong.

I’m treading the vanishing path. I understand things by avoiding them. The more I avoid, the less there is to cause me pain. If you worry, that would be nice, for both of us, perhaps?

They want to pay you, so they can understand. If they can buy it, that’s part of the structure. You end up with the odds and sods, the bits left out. They can’t see the money in them. You try to show them, but they just take money from you, because they can’t understand. If they only looked closer, but they don’t have the time or the patience, they never really follow their eyes. Eyes are like wells, like rabbit holes. They don’t look down their eyes. They just see dice, but they don’t call them dice. It isn’t mixed up. There’s a grammar for it. Or, well — not rules, precisely, but still, a form of precision.

I’m not a romantic, I like circles, squares. Euclid. Rhomboids. Pentagons. Triangles.

They get paid, but they don’t see the moon giving birth to the foals. Then the money comes, and they see the horses.

They take the money off you, and show you the street. There’s plenty of room there!

I guess it is frightening, but eventually you’ll reach a circle, and then there will be no one. It’s like sleeping on a ship as it sails. Like the views you don’t see as you sleep. That part of the voyage, filled with everyone else. Even you.

If you don’t see how it ends, how do you know what it was?

Is it the last thing we have in common? How could you see? There isn’t a side or an angle. You can’t even negate it! How can you tell a song that it’s not a song? And why would you?

I give them the money I can’t afford, so they can go home and rest their eyes.

Graves are full of people like us.

All you can say is, it ends if you don’t see how it ends.

You see?

 


from the series construct (2012–present, ongoing)
(this poem, October 2016)

1 | How fares the muting word?

From The Dictionary of Semantics and Metasemantics, Miles and Sigurðardóttir, 2010, no publisher, retrieved artifact — oblivion factor 9.975.

Invariant variation | The law of semantics. Nothing ever means the same.

Departure shadow | The word as it understood to leave.

Arrival tremor | The word as a tremor of premonition. Before we hear what we hear, before know what we know.

Semantic horizon | The limit ascribed to a parcel of semantic information: for example, how much a word can possibly mean; how far the meaning of a sentence can travel before effective dissolution.

Un-zone | An impossible construct, or a construct indicating impossibility or no further conceivable semantic progress — the “place” we imagine where there is no meaning. The un-zone is said to “occur” beyond the semantic horizon. It is an indicated place: an outline of nothing. Certain commentators ascribe to it a sacred function: and some of these commentators have called the un-zone God.

Perception investment (1) | The process by which a non-existent phenomenon is constructed by the amount of attention we choose to allot to it.

Perception investment (2) | The process by which an existent phenomenon is regulated by the amount of attention we choose to allot to it.

Perception investment royale | A phenomenon is the amount of attention of we choose to allot to it.

Semantic ratio | The ratio of meaning to non-meaning in any semantic construct. A notional and indeterminate value: A word means far less than it doesn’t mean.

Zauberfeld | “The domain of magic” | “The charmed field” | “Magic country” || Language; language as it operates; the operation of language: semantic country — the place of meaning, or the state where meaning occurs. A conjured space, wherein life floats semantically.

Ghost tailor | Semantic actor in their role as designing and dressing other actors.

Discussion | reading and interpretation: interpretation – words don’t pre-exist, and we don’t interpret pre-existing words. We don’t “place a construction” upon the meaning of a person’s words, because that would be to suppose that there is an ideal entity underlying speech or writing. Language is a form of semantic energy. Language is not a set of objects, but a series of events that can look like objects, or we treat as objects – but are “wrong” in so doing. We don’t place a construction upon a person’s speech – we perform construction upon it. “It” is a fiery detonation of non-existent explosions, the creation of modalities.

Invest | To clothe a ghost.

Investor | Actor in a semantic play.

Semantic capital | The amount of meaning accumulated within a semantic construct.

Semantic hoard | Another term for semantic capital.

Semantic bank | Another term for semantic capital.

Semantic metropolis | A construct with a high semantic population.

Semantic province | The area of meaning not included under the portfolio of a semantic capital.

Semantic coherence | The moment of meaning.

Capital semantic coherence | What you are reading.

Provincial semantic coherence | What you are not reading.

Semantic decoherence | The moment of semantic capital fading into semantic provinces.

Semantic incoherence | The region of neither semantic capital nor any semantic province.

Hodgepodge | The actual state of the total semantic field value at any one moment.

Semantic field | Ghost envelope of semantic activity assumed at any one moment.

Glass capital | The desired investment value in a semantic capital (as opposed to the actual state of the total semantic field value) at any one moment.

Glass capital games | The analogous semantic spree that includes “glass jaw” , “glass ceiling”, “glass floor”, “glass walls”: glass country…

Recursor | Semantic actor exhibiting a pattern of behaviour.

Strong recursor | Semantic actor with a pattern of behaviour that imposes attraction, either on a large semantic population, or with great power on a solitary semantic actor.

Weak recursor | Semantic actor with an apparent predisposition towards ephemerality; a semantic actor unable to assert its attraction over others. It should be borne in mind that recursors are subject to the law of invariant variation — in other words, a strong recursor can grow weak; and a weak recursor can strengthen. Any actor’s semantic horizon is endlessly and necessarily in the process of expanding or contracting: no semantic horizon can remain stable, because no semantic actor can dominate the stage for more than a certain amount of time.

Dominant weak recursor | An actor that is constrained by logic to appear to provide a stable pattern of behaviour; a quasi-logical operator, yet still subject to the law of invariant variation.

Dominant strong recursor | An actor who holds a starring role in the Zauberfeld: the audience for a dominant strong recursor is large, and this audience is highly convinced by the actor’s performance. A strong recursor in the dominant phase can hold sway over nations, and even over entire trans-national blocks of population. Such a strong recursor is so convincing that their pattern of behaviour is accepted as literal: the performance, in other words, is no longer a performance, and what the audience believe they are seeing is their own lives, and the basis for all their lives. Only age may diminish the powers of a dominant strong recursor. On all screens, on all channels. Charismatic. A world-swaying actor — “the foundations of civilisation”, “the Lord”, “Her Majesty”, “Rule”, “Law”, “Public good”, “Public order”, “Revolution”, and so on.

Recursor royale | Highly controversial actor, the existence of which, even as a concept, is hotly debated. A quasi-mystical actor, often attributed with divine qualities — the ability, for example, to exist outside of the Zauberfeld, or to possess the power to bring the Zauberfeld to an end, or to create, or to have created, the Zauberfeld. Beyond aporia, and not subject to the law of invariant variation. Some commentators align “the royale” with (in English) the “I” — the individual human agent, and the source of that agent: a specialised notion of self. The actor who never appears on stage, The sleeping actor, The actor in the audience, The actor without a play — “the royale” has been the recipient of many different epithets, with the validity of these epithets also a subject of much discussion. A “symptom of a decadent discipline”? Or “the longed-for figure of absolute unconstraint: freedom from traditional models of humanity — a revolution not by, but in, humanity”? Or (my own favourite characterisation): “It will do until we get bored — like anything”.

Recursion | Both the institution that employs semantic actors, and the theatrical principle of definition. Actors gain and lose status by their powers of recursion: actors likely to enjoy a long run in a production (in the Zauberfeld) recur over and over again, performing night after night: some are mere humble extras, others enjoy the privileges of fame and celebrity — but like all actors, semantic actors only exist if they have roles, and the roles of semantic actors change at an imponderable rate. (The paradox of the “out-of-work actor” is a famous example of recursion theory.)

Semantic population | The people who mean: also, the numbers of people who invest in a particular semantic capital.

 


from the series construct (2012–present, ongoing)
(this poem, October 2018)

Every spirit brings a perspective | Fold my awkward wings, give up the air awhile | break into the vacant house by the shore | use it as my own, a borrowed luxury | Sleep on my back on the sleek oak floor | contemplate what you’ve done to me, introducing | once more | this longed-for unease | rendered the sea a moth’s flight, the mountains | shiver in the dark | seeking safety | to the leak of wild | honey from cracks in living trees | turning the roots and earth below | sweet, and sticky, and shining || Is wild honey like that? | I don’t know | They have dropped from the tip of a telescope, are tiny, their voices | are so soft, and fine | like mist or silk, you might lower precious necklaces into them | to store out the turbulent era | bury the meat in the fire | Like chess pieces on a board, they must | keep to their squares | rook move in straight lines | the King one step at a time | When the cat disturbs | an abandoned game | I hear the figures clink and roll | Hours later, when all is still | I forget what you look like || Call it Siamese, call it a bear | It has made me its home, its den | works regular hours | keeps surfaces reasonably clean | watches the sun set from the train, is too | tired to read in the evening | Often, despite you, the flowers droop in their vases | Sheets go unwashed | You wouldn’t care for these things, but the end begins | when we started writing different kinds of poems, ones | only we cared for, bound by laws | most people couldn’t detect, never mind | understand | and the point | failed | You go against all of that, but | because I do not, quite, I | cannot bring you in here with me | to winter the summer through | or to survive | only by the thread of a stranger’s glances

Every spirit brings a perspective | You inspire in me a heightened | access to detail | respect for the nuance of matter and mood | the coagulated white smoke of the freezer | how the woods feel just before the storm | so very delicate | the trees motionless | the birdsong muted | any gesture would be lost in this, and so | I make one | Walk by the sea | recall your face | continue this | process of scattering | across the days | Like a monk, put the gold | to the ‘I’ | in a monastery cell | Drop out of school, waste my youth, then my whole life | Most of the time, the Marquess of Queensberry | had no mind for his rules

 


from the series construct (2012–present, ongoing)
(this poem, August 2013)

Carrying a maze in a bag | Putting the bag down, opening it | Taking out the maze and walking in | The music grows more lush, moving smoothly | like dense vegetation seen from the side of a boat | gliding through deep forest | Pink-winged parrots paint the air | at speed with cursive squawks | pass and score raucously overhead | while purple-faced baboons | scoff and grunt in troupes | from the other shore | Our role, grown blurred, does it trouble us? | Are we conquerors, or sightseers, or explorers? | Business, Madame, Sir, or pleasure? | Are we the border guards, musing over visas, or the travellers, with our coats and luggage, quinine and guns? | Or drug smugglers, police or users? | Spanish moss festoons the cedars | like primaeval party streamers or partly | solidified smoke | Elephants trumpet in the distance | We sip the boat, and settle for the night | in steamy rooms, a rough hotel | so far up-country, there is no rail | the nearest airstrip is five days away, the fan | rotates erratically on the ceiling | the plaster is a warped and faded | pistachio green, from the balcony | there is a view of low-rise buildings with rooves | of corrugated iron | gleaming dully in the moonlight | Sleep, the annex of death, awaits us | and sleep is crammed in everywhere | within our days | slitted in a blink | hiding below the up-turned cup | stashed just beyond the limit | of our perplexed vision | and yet | for a moment more | we linger | where sense can still be made | and slowly | almost boredly | we measure our lips | with kisses | washing us to a dreamy shore | making us ask | Do we know this place?

It was a renovation/extension project | for a wealthy client in Hampshire | We had tendered | Negotiations were advanced | Our lead architect had excelled herself | the modern element was beautifully done | elegant, streamlined, inevitable | the interior | graceful, understated | I left a laptop with the plans one night | on a train | promo, mock-ups, everything | I still think of those designs sometimes | although in the end we didn’t get the contract | and the extension was never built | Was it progress? | Perhaps, but in such fits and starts | sometimes we seemed to be going nowhere | and often, we were | frustrated | Time passed | Years, in fact | Eventually, the longueurs became our situation | we found ourselves relaxing, admiring the view | enjoying coffee at the Italian place | making love with new, exciting strangers | Like miners, whose labours | in exhausting ore | produce magnificent, carved-out galleries | we lost ourselves in exercises | that appeared, on the surface, practical | but were, in the end, indistinguishable | from stupendous reveries | the wheels not turning | the engine idle as the gangsters sit | waiting for their target to show | Dissatisfaction, not a god or | moral high | drove us on, but I wondered | would our achievements ever be | as significant, as lovely | as those inspired by greater aims? | — and would we ever reach the state | where we really wanted less | for ourselves | and more for others: might we be called | to desire even these doldrums | as whirling dervishes worship | simply by going round in circles?

 


from the series construct (2012–present, ongoing)
(this poem, August 2013)

The present had grown mysterious. It floated like mist at the heart of a derelict building, the windows all blasted out. You had to clamber over the rubble in the street, massed before the entrance, and by the time you’d made your way into the interior, you were back on the street, facing a derelict house full of mist.

In an odd way, you never reached the present. And the place the present was kept — the past — was also inaccessible. By the time the present had occurred, or you were able to make sense of it, it had been packed into another derelict house, the house of expended things. And the house, because it had no doors hung in the doorways, and no glass in the window frames, couldn’t prevent the mist from entering it, and floating over the old, ruined armchairs and settees, drifting up the rotten stairs, dampening the peeling 1930s wallpaper with lupins and butterflies.

The future, too, was inaccessible. The future was the place all the presents pointed to: it was a kind of phantasmal museum, with collections of hopes and dreams and plans, none of which could possibly ever come to fruition, because by the time they came to fruition, they were already in the past — the future was a place people browsed round exhibits of elapsed projections. The future, therefore, made up the ghostly triumvirate of derelict houses, the three houses of time.

Of course, this ghostly triumvirate was actually just the same property, perceived from different points of view.

At the heart of the mystery of the present — and thus, at the heart of the mystery of the past and the future, too — there was the moment.

Nothing could have been more perplexing or bedazzling to your imagination than the moment. It was the trace of an enigma, or the skeleton of an enigma, an enigma that had died and lost its life. It was as if a building had had all its foundations removed, and yet, instead of collapsing, floated.

The crystal machinery of the moment was more complicated than the burning neuron forest of the human brain, yet simpler than a black crayon dot on white paper. It could be divided and divided and divided, and yet never broken down to its constituent element. It multiplied everywhere, in its billions and billions, and yet everywhere it vanished. When it vanished, it left no trace, except for the world. And the world suckled from the moment like a baby at a mother’s breast.

No one could name an individual moment. It wasn’t like a street — like Pearson Street, say, or Bokutei-dori. Too small to attach a name to, it didn’t work like that. The moment was general and anonymous, and at the same time, precious and utterly specific. It was translucent, and yet totally opaque. It contained nothing, and contained the universe. It was discrete, and yet attached to its fellows in long strings. The moment was there, whether you dreamed or not, whether you were alive or not. It had no witnesses to the way it moved, and yet every human life could be said, in a sense, to be a profound and extended testimony to the nature and effects of the movement of moments. Restless as the sea, still as a snowflake caught in a spider’s web, built in a gap in a drystone wall across a moor, on a windless day, in Yorkshire, England. It was the essence of the art of the riddle: from the Babylonians to the Anglo-Saxons to the PhD students dozing in their quantum cocoons, the moment was the spring, the first explosion, the first thought.

As for novelists, story-tellers, singers, musicians — what would they be without the moment?

The moment was a transcendental mechanism. With each new moment, the entire history of all things was transcended. Nothing was preserved, everything had to be rebuilt and the whole planet and its narrative shored up with logic and assumption, culture and hearsay. Your imagination was bound up into the moment, with its paths of orbit, divergence, bifurcation, circling, shattering. The moment’s precipice stood before you. To leap from the ledge would be to enter an entirely new world: it would be an act of sublime baptism, of absolute alchemy, of the radical and pervasive transformation of everything, from the core to the perimeter, from the edge to the centre. No one could survive that leap. You certainly couldn’t. And yet, what choice did you have, but to jump?

The moment is the supreme construct — a fabrication of such beige and vanilla humility, you can easily overlook its presence; but a fabrication, too, of such imperious and angel-subduing pride that even within the confines of a wristwatch or a sugarcube, its tremendous landscape rears up, with icy peaks and vertiginous ravines, to remind you of an 18th century copperplate print of the Swiss Alps, pitched at the trembling brink where the picturesque and pastoral morphs into the Gothic and sensational, where Reason plays Russian roulette with God and Satan and that whole starry crew of unleashed dogs and singed and smoking wings and letting-go…

When we’ve finished here, do you fancy a coffee?

 


from the series construct (2012–present, ongoing)

Rogue state | Dogged by ill-health he sought lodgings… in the heat, the cat snarls, can’t reach her fleas | You hear the missiles, feel their slipstreams | in landslide weather | can’t sleep | in the white nights | at the barriers | wait in the car as the train goes past | the gendarmes tell you | there is no need for alarm | the water on the strawberries | But the whine of the motor | the engines igniting | the air needs to move | he can’t sleep | the dog rests | in the cool shade of the silos | the tourists drift away | town empties | it’s the heat | you wake | to the smart click of the timer | my screen flickers | the information starts to leak | the little cars near the church | with POLIZEI | so we decide to turn back | the migraines worsen | they are posting notices | too much of you | Very tired, irritable | but can’t sleep | the cake went to waste | put the infinite on hold | By 1907, harassed by creditors, worn out by threats, she fled… the Federales | They were dredging the river | so we cancelled our walk | the camera came on | he lacked the will to continue | in the freezing cold | dogs dying in the street | the first indications | the same old same old | we felt so tired | the air-con was broken | the searchlight from the police | helicopter | the passing of a star | the rumours of cholera | the marshals usher you | away | When the network goes down | part of you is relieved | in breaking news | the suicide pact | the train strike is on | the sound in her head | was the ringing of an anvil | then we missed our flight | a problem with the visa | Lazio had won | and their fans celebrated | all night | we couldn’t sleep | you tried to deny it | in the powerful storm | the lines came down | at cherry-blossom time | in the middle of a speech | the screen went dead | the music was sombre | everything felt | as if it was wrapped in polythene | with a gag in my mouth | She couldn’t reach her hotel | and had nowhere to stay | the Carabinieri were pointing | making signs | the quiet was huge | the shadow of the cloud

 


from the series construct (2012–present, ongoing)
(this poem, July 2017)