Beaten up Converse | of course | So, Sanjay, why are you so skinny and lithe? Is it the yoga? | The right | length of pause | Yeah, Mick … and the prosecco | The nightly bathing | in prosecco | Right angles, of course | summer in a bowl | the windows open | the music radiating | the conversation | and some people are even talking | about the dialectic of negation | They’re standing | near the peonies | which are on the side table | near the bookshelf | the small | bookshelf | In the round vase | pretty chipped up | a little gnarly | we bought in Camden | in about | I don’t know… 1806 or something | so | you’re saying I’m | getting old? | Or | Is that your polite way | of saying | I’m getting old? | And you will say | eventually | for as long as this | link works | and these | pages turn | and the gliding | mass of clouded | neurons | is casting shadows | over the moonlit terrain | No, that’s my way of satirising my own | inability to calculate quite how old | you are, Mick | Radio silence | Because you’re | so old! | Angry that they are so | sad | the peonies are setting themselves | on fire | and they are asserting | their allegiance | to burning solar systems | and to mute people being abruptly | gifted | the power of speech | their manes | ruffle | they dilate | into the figural | then detumesce | into the literal | they tremble as people | dance | or just walk past them | brushing their hips against | the side table | So I begin | to drift away | the music | streamed from Yann’s | battered laptop | and Sanjay’s moved around the room | he’s talking to Lisa | you can feel the energy | from here | are they talking about | prosecco? | Low light | Time | in beats and clocks and memories | Pathos | of course | A little eros | of course | Logos | naturally | but not | too much logos | tonight | or less and less | the later we get | pathos and eros begin | to take over | or at least | I dream that pathos and eros | are rising | among the peonies | which tend to attract | ants to their flower buds | due to the glistening | exudation | of nectar | Now I am | moving round the room | so to me | the spine of Nihei’s BLAME! is | no longer readable | on the arm | of the sofa | (it’s going to fall | someone’s | bound to knock it off) | and I’m by the balcony | which is empty for some reason | and London is laid out for as long | as I glance at it | street grid | the back of a fridge | crossed with some | sublime element | of eternity | useless trying to talk it into | contention | just flag it up | and move on | Coral, sunset and a crowded room | hipsters | and pseudo | hipsters | surrounded by repeated | walls of heaven | that rich | orange pink | the peonies are from Luoyang | have travelled a long way | to wilt and twitch | on a side table | for some reason they | make me bashful | when I look at them | then they diffuse | away from the contemporary | referential system | and divulge themselves | as more fire | on the plain and | in the sentry towers | at the remote frontier | the guards | years into their | posting | trying to recall | the scents of home | When does your | album drop? | young people | well, younger people | say “drop” when I would say | in this case | come out | jeez | I’m letting language | gently kick me | off the stage | I must keep up! | The balcony | of course | smoking a forbidden | cigarette | then I | have a moment | and the pathos rises | and the sorrow ignites | (I’m so sorry) | so the eros | fades to zero | and for a while | I’m super-aware | that the sustained | run of good luck | of my life | can’t go on | Mick, face it, you’re so | fucking old! | I notice that there are a lot | of pretty iffy dance | moves being made | and there’s no | copy of BLAME! on the arm | of the sofa anymore | it’s not the march | of socialism | or the nature of angles | in isosceles | triangle theorem | it’s not the effect | of the Alt-right | or a consequence | of Jupiter moving | into Mars | not quite | not much | not exactly | and Sanjay is | waving his hands around | he gets more | gestural | the more | absorbed he is | in debate | But nothing can prepare for it | and when it’s over | nothing can recall you to it | and Sanjay | doesn’t know that yet | and maybe | he never will | he’s still in touch | with the scents of home | when the light of the moon | is the only source of light | in the early hours | and Sanjay has got up to pee | and | above the illegible | print of the poem | on the book open | on the kitchen table | there is only | that same | light of a different moon

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from the series fp2 (on-going sequence of poems, commenced 2016)

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