Archives for posts with tag: sentence

At once, divides. As a sea, with wake. Dacha, from desire. In the forest, of your youth. In the glade, the horses | clouds of small flies | and the light like milk | pouring. In the clearing, of your memory. In your memory | of desire. At once, closes. And is seamless, after the episode. Like a sky, after our glance. Like a love, after our love.

Put flowers into it. Sunflowers, in winter. Like lumps of bell or | dead dragons’ heads | hung.

Put your sex into it. Frizzled | withered | of the brown plain | the grey plain | in winter and sometimes | there is snow. Long, long way to walk. Clump, in your boots. Stubborn old child. Eyes like angels counting on their fingers | yet to learn | of evil. Hands | caged in unknown | tensions: hands, very soft, like angels dying in their sleep. Ignorant of the shapes | of all the caresses they may form | the gates | they have not but must | open. Perfect. Like a sky, during our love. And the light | just light | with a little wet | salt | pouring.

Put your back into it. Labour, to a stench of bitumen in April. Your thoughts | scrunch like shovels | scattering gravels: put your back into it. Hunch your shoulders | drift from | job to | job. Squat down in your own | heart | brooding and mute | observe | how the moments are polished and | cut | each to an acme | each | like a view | from a tall tower, looking down | over the brown plain | the cold plain | frozen | wishing to be | completed by snow. Perfect. Like a glance, as carbon goes by | hooded in a jewel | in a mask | of diamond. Hostage | to loss. Unable | to accept | defeat. Like a god, after neglect. Like a science, after a new science.

A new scene. Feet hung down like the heads of dead geese on | long white necks. It allows | you to travel. At once, with ships. As a sea, with wakes. Find a | private Russia. The ideas | fail here, you feel | the immunity of peasant boredom, how time | inoculates them | with the summers’ | towering volumes of | sky | a bastion | of empty blue | no thought will ever take, no | word could dint | the land beneath is | littered with “fucks” like | glistening needles | like stalks of straw | you | lie down at | nightfall | in the stables of your own heart | and feel how | all the horses of your youth | are beginning to | run.

A new sea. At once, divides. You’ve aged. Love has re-made you | taken a little | of the god out | put in | pinches of | children’s laughter. A land, clustered with the word “BUT”. The virus of roads | has not left you.

Put journeys into it. Teeming with junctures, it has become a semapolis. Showman, it performs | the old routine | miracle | of being one and at once | divides. In a sideshow booth | in a side-street afternoon | soda and no sex and flies, and the empty bottle | in your hand for no reason, and then | the evening | in a no-horse town. An imponderable melancholy, like joy | after true joy | like a good lie | after the best lie.

Foolish old child. Mouth | very quietly | humming with the | millions of words to come. Brow | troubled | scooping up the pearls of | teenage troubles | chucking them in a bucket, see | how they turn to | atoms | obedient | going off to school | to classes they can’t abide | like History or Latin.

At once, reforms. As a sea, with wake. Put your | mind to it. As it creates, so it | vanishes. Dacha, from desire. And the light like truth | sculpting the glade | the horses | in the heat | their heads | hung down.

A new scene. In the petrified forest | silent | imprints of birds | sing. It has become | a habit of ends.

This is a bad day. People will die in housefires, and you will never | write this poem. To have fought so long | for your place in injustice – is this all there is? The weather is no longer | the weather of desire | of sunflowers | of glorious | marks. Imagined | disaster. Already, heading out of here. At once, you can’t remember. At once, it closes. Like a sea, with wake. Like a book, with story.

Figure it out. It has no need for you, and yet | waits for you. Beautiful, and flawless. Like a sky, filling with dawn. Like a love | before our love.


from the sequence, sentence (2012–present, in progress)


Midway, we paused, turned, and looked back down the staircase | It was a tremendous effect, a kind of cataract of white marble, spilling away in mathematical fashion, and narrowing into the gloom below | I felt a little dizzy, put out my hand to cling | to the cool, smooth stone of the bannister | After having taken in this sight, we returned to the long climb | Arriving at last at the top, we passed through the “Doors of Regret”, and began to ascend the famous flight of steps beyond | Built in the ninth century with 4,500 narrow steps and 13 stories | the Kem-in-on Stairs, zigzagging up a sheer face, offered a tremendous spectacle | It took us over half an hour to complete the climb | and on the spacious landing, we took advantage of the rows of handsome Empire bergère chairs | set against the wall | Our guides | highly knowledgeable, and indefatigable in their determination to inform us | of all the details of the treasures contained within this fabulous building | explained that the chairs were c. 1815, of gessoed and gilded beech, upholstered in a sky-blue silk | with ornate embroidery in golden thread | of laurel wreaths, stylised suns and eagles | designs so rich we felt embarrassed to use the chairs as seats, and not to stand and contemplate them as the works of art they undoubtedly were | Higher, then | Our footsteps echoing on the bare marble floor | then muffled when we stepped onto rugs | we left the landing, via a handsome set of plain doors | coated with a thick cream gloss | and began to go up the carved wooden staircase beyond | the curved bannisters and lush deep velvet red of the steps | producing a sense of the grace and inevitability of nature | of organs swelling and enclosing | as we ascended | via a sombre, somewhat blank and secretive side-door | the sandstone spiral of grey-brown | a shell-like whorling and steep incline | around the central spine of ancient build | diverted from the usual route by barriers with signs informing us | of restoration work | we passed through a service entrance | into a shadowy stairwell, musky with several different odours | tobacco, steamed cabbage, fresh paint, even a scent of human urine | and as we went on up the stairs | we passed several rooms | mostly with the doors closed | but some with doors ajar | and one room in particular | struck us as oddly desolate | unoccupied, with stepladders, brushes, and dust sheets laid on the floor and over furniture, the walls scraped and prepared | for fresh rolls of paper | This staircase grew darker and darker | the higher we went | and yet there was no sign of a ceiling above us | or of a skylight | and we wondered if now was the time | to finish and go back, but | after some delay | we decided to proceed | and having negotiated | a narrow gallery | possessing a fine balustrade | of wrought iron | decorated with a motif of tulips | we found ourselves faced by another majestic flight of stairs | of supple marble | pale in the twilight | flowing upwards as far as we could see | Undaunted by the scale and magnificence of the staircase | we continued on our way | though alone, now, without our guides



from the sequence, sentence (2012–present, in progress)

At last the time for simple beauty comes | away from the immense distraction | of responsibilities | The walks through the forests | the spicy scent of pine cones | the children running along peaty paths, the girls in silk frocks | sleeveless | one in apricot, and one in lime | punctuating the quiet with squeals and screams, but then, moments later, with the grave | peace of their study | as we come across | fly agaric mushrooms | with their fairytale fever | their hectic | flagrant | drive to flirtation | The girls peer, fascinated, at these | deadly abodes | of goblins and toxins | Our lectures | are awed, but delicious to us, as we warn our children | of the poison within | such sweet | exteriors | The shadow of our fears | and hence of our | purpose | intensifies | Then we walk on | and the fairies and the elves | creep out | from under the trees and | watch us go || So, this is the famous “present”, a time we had almost forgotten: now we indulge ourselves, taking advantage of all its amenities, and those other, implied regions of time, the past and the future, we allocate to them | a condition of | sumptuous ethereality || Our love is a reasonable beginning, we are sure | a first step | a template | The failure at the edge | is not our | concern | quite | We deserve | some rest from the restless | quizzing of our own | spirits | Today, we may bathe ourselves in the most perfect and calming | oblivion | of them all | This day | is ours | and in its | heart | we may relax, and grow small: | we may forget | the others

They know that all the time, the armies of the god of silence are assembling on the plain, yet who can blame these innocents for their desire to escape SENTENCE’s “labyrinthine” web of responsibility? | Pull on the thread of a single word, all the other words | shift slightly | and some of those other words | lead to places, perhaps, we do not wish | to go || Yet is it not also true that we should honour the beauty of the moment, pay proper attention to the details of the life before us? Even though | the city is imperilled and the threat | grows greater with every instant, is it so foolish | to bend down and peer | at the frost in a spider’s web, or to tell our | serious-eyed children | how migrating swallows | sleep on the wing?



from the sequence, sentence (2012–present, in progress)

With increasing fragmentation into neuroses and suburbs, hotspots and passions | fracturing east | devolving into sunsets or stock markets | the maze of orchids and techno | subplots or side alleys | the notion of a state or a grand reality begins to erode and the public realm is lost, becomes a rare or mythical beast / glimpsed in a forest of haze / a dragon or white leopard || SENTENCE no longer belongs to anyone, and its cornucopia of cities spills and sprawls into the electric complexity of a single head, a glimpse of seagulls in a blustery wind | in a bleached photograph from 1958 / an esplanade in an English seaside town, on a day in summer / forgotten by everyone || The more, the merrier the saying goes, but | Three’s a crowd | In this flawed synopsis, the individual begins its long rise, a figure haunted by society, its SENTENCE fraught with competing or ill-defined or / contended or / gloriously unconstrained or / deformed meanings [and/or], each one a home to which one never gets back, a lover one casually discards but then, later / when one tries to remember / remembers as beautiful || Solitude and anonymity, those two astonishing conditions, affect these increasingly labyrinthine individuals, and they tremble as their commercial existence, their value in terms of capital, fluctuates | moment by moment | Clouds of money cover the sky, and the flags hang limply on the flagstaffs, a great storm is coming or so / I’ve heard

Whole lives lost in illusion / whole cities vanish into mistaken aims / Is it the case that a few words might have saved them? We cannot know, and in any case | the words were never said, or if they were, were never heard



from the sequence, sentence (2012–present, in progress)

With no anchor, it is a ship, drifting.

With no captain, it is a crew, seeking orders | within itself. The ship is attached to the stars | by means of the journey, the journey is attached to the lack | of a port, the fact | of the sea.

With no sea, it is a wave | passing through space.

With no song, it is a Siren | mutely staring | at a Greek ship | the oarsmen rowing, staring back at her.

Its surface? Honed to a mirror’s facility (with no ship | drifting). | Across it the world is sliding | back and forth | we are so | used to the movement, sometimes | we hardly notice | how the cars slide, how the trees | slide, the | sky slides.

Nest of atoms | a bird has sought rest here, bees | have sought rest here | wrapped themselves in a limit, but the limit | has no limit and the bird | sings for no limit, the bees | are entered into the mill of their honey for no | limit. Sensing this, we hurry to call up beauty (with no | captain, by means of the journey) | we must lash down the stars, by means of the storm | we arrive at our wreck, the wreck | is attached to our | failure to land, to make | landfall. In a crack in the tree | hollowed by lightning | wild bees have sought their share | of the dream, the play | is attached to our orders and we, too, sing and surrender to the production of nectar. The dream | deepens and the ship begins.

Its surface? Impossibly smooth, across it | all the things of the world are skating, sliding, slipping. | With no end, the stars are attached | to the burden of the journey, by means of the journey | the new day is sought, the sun | attached to no limit | burns and we stare at a Siren, crouched | on her island of bones. She looks | tortured, by means of her silence, her pain | is amplified and her routine | of agony and thirst | strikes us mute, we | feel sorry for her who would | by means of her song | lure us to her and melodious | slaughter, with no | song, she hungers and, parched of blood, writhes, it is | her part, therefore, it is | our part, with no | play to enclose us, only | the song of a mistle thrush | in a landowner’s woods | only the soft | assemblies of the bees | making of their hive | a nest of atoms.

With no voice, it is a song | attached by means of the journey to | nullity.

With no anchor, it is a wreck, drifting | by means of the currents, it is a wreck | drawn to an island, compiling a home.

With no song, it is a voice | croaking. With no time, it is a clock | neither still nor in motion, it is no clock, attached to the wreck | by means of a nullity | with no voice, it is a song | wandering, seeking a throat, with no | anchor.

We row, and our ship | resides in the classical | we row and our hands | no longer blister. When we come to an island | to find fresh water | a new | order of paths begins, we sing and surrender to the consumption of nectar, with no | limit, we | move on | the island | is attached to the stars, and the night | holds us, but is no mother. We remember the Siren, we forget | our purpose in coming here. The purpose was attached | to the moments, to commands, the moments | have slid away | across this, the surface, the commands | have been wrapped in leaves, and cooked | on a wood fire, we may call this | an idyll, we may make this | our hope. In the morning | I remember the gates | to the village church | the steep damp | green of English age and timber | of graves | slumped and leaning, sliding | with the ivy across | this, its surface | the song of a mistle thrush | from a landowner’s woods, by means of a memory, I am attached | to a past, I recall my labour | to reach the next lover | how she waited for me | by means of the journey, how as she waited | by the old church gates | she held in her hands | a small song | wrapped in lilac mittens, so my youth | slowly escaped me, and I woke | alone, on the island, how I slept | by means of a nullity | how I forget.

Its surface? Infinite, with no subject to geometry.

Its surface? Infinite, wrapped in the clapping | of slender hands | clad in lilac wool, and the cold, damp | northern air…

Its surface? Finite, a clatter of limits falling, in this case | like sticks from a bag.

With no praise, it is a pure | song held up | I hear the oars | biting through waves, by means | of the dead, I | clatter on my island | this is what I own, I long | for the voice of a mistle thrush | can’t you | hear?

Her lover is unshaven, his stubble | scratches her cheek, he has no | aim, he drifts through life, looking for thrills | a humble beast | researching the next | source of his slavery, she | sighs and orgasms, he | grunts and falls | back into that space he | only recently vacated, has it | changed? | Attached to no | thoughts, he is herded | slowly through malls | slowly through offices, toilets, beaches, she | despairs of the love | she has come to feel for him, this | jovial | slave | cigarette in one hand, phone in the other | ordering drugs, grinning with such | pointless boyhood, where can she | go that is not | this ruin?

In a storm, the thunder | sets off car alarms | right down the street and in | neighbouring streets | the rain plunges and the horses of the rain | gallop faster and faster, for a moment | she loves her fear and the chance it gives her | to leave her heart and be another.

The rain goes on falling, has it lost all its horses?

He chomps his lips and murmurs | something fretful into the ceiling, churns and | slips off back | down the burrow of his warm sleep, and she | is left waiting on the surface. The room | is very still, except for the rain.

Through the semi-darkness, she looks down at him.

The dream deepens, and the ship begins.


from the sequence, sentence (2012–present, unfinished)

A bar in Mirage Q. And later, a bed in Mirage R. A dream in Mirage !. Waking, slowly, in Mirage B.

The formation of bubbles blown from a plastic dipper. Elongated, iridescent aubergines, tubers of soap and breath. A kind of tent of vacillation pitched in air. That eliciting of volume from a plane, kinda mysterious. Up out of nothing, so one is a sheik of a toy desert.

My work will never be understood, or certainly not in time for me to get my Nobel. No tenure, no Faber, no dinner-table talk. No book club. There won’t even be attention enough to huddle my bones in a brief obituary. My subject is the provisionality of subjects—the vulnerability of each subject to another (in fact, every other) subject. It’s probably the kind of writing that can only exist in a wealthy, “advanced” society: it’s an orchid beauty, cultured from a hothouse enclave, impossible in the streets. Decadent, I would say, to a certain extent. That’s not my fault, exactly. But it’s not what could be wanted. It just happens to be true, and — in a modest, shrug-the-shoulders, yeah-but-we-sort-of-knew-that, right-before-your-eyes, ubiquitous fashion — profound. But people want a practical truth, something they can use, something personally relevant — which is perfectly understandable, and warm, and human, and my work is cold and, in a way, elegantly brutal.

Unshaven when I wake in Mirage B. In a creased tuxedo, smelling of last night’s perfume, a detail from a 40s’ pulp novel. The vertigo of nostalgia for love already past.

Adjacency, the situation of adjoining or preceding or succeeding or remote subjects. So, it could be the death of the crowned head, and then the train wreck, and then the price of wheat or gold, or bread, or the desperate hustle of a game-show host, like Gustav in my story.

It could be anything, it can’t be nothing, and that’s it.

There’s nothing more to say, really — and that’s how we move on, finding new ways of saying that there’s nothing more to say, or saying the “nothing more to say”, either consciously or unconsciously (mostly the latter).

They’ve been doing a lot of work on Mirage Q. Refurbishment. Securing the fabric. It has nice lighting, now, very subdued. The furnishings are muted, subtle. There will be so many stories.

It’s right that it comes to this — to the personal, the individual, the self-absorbed. More orchid specialisation. I suppose a protestant impulse to claim ownership of meaning, as against the catholic retreat or storing of meaning in the hands of an elite. The platonic refrigerator of meaning, where ideal signs preserve their eternal values in an unadulterated space, a dimension of discretion. Stasis and freezing. The church guards the relics. The protestant impulse reserves for the individual the struggle with meaning. The individual is prioritised. Meaning is privatised. Or that’s the illusion. This is what they declare in Mirage !. Of course, across the sands, in Mirage Q, they dispute all such notions.

To stick with Mirage B… Their sentence is highly sensitive, very delicate, deeply cultured — and it’s the culture that gives the sentence its base, sets it four-square, permitting the intimate and gentle excursions to the bedroom, the foyer, the theatre, the hospital, the crematorium. Their sentence is the result of an absorbed imperialism, is the last in a series of exploded superiorities, the most advanced in a sequence of dismantled privileges. Perhaps over in Mirage !, they would describe this sentence as “bourgeois” or “reactionary” — they’re such firebrands! And I admire them, too, for their zealous appeal to the literal. I understand their pronounced, almost superstitious fear of irony. They are only interested in the little bit of grit at the centre, not the layers that go into making the pearl. They disregard the pearl entirely, or simply label it as an illusion or a pastime, or a gambit, or a stratagem. Their sentence could easily be parodied as a kind of Lutheran gruel, a dull, joyless dogma, lacking the rich corruption of their catholic forebears. And it should be borne in mind, they are pretty young over in Mirage ! — they haven’t, like those of us drawn to Mirage B, seen their values stewed over centuries of refinement, fatigue, assumption, habit, until those values have mutated into fantastic forms of sloth, ornament, tosh and bombast, with shapes derived less from Euclid or the long, patient study of political economy, but rather from the flamboyant, neon topography of forests of coral, the rustle of deer through a moist autumn glade in the highlands of Mirage A.


from the sequence, sentence (2012–present, unfinished)

From its own decay, it finds joy | and vanishing is its guide | The splendour of a wedding and of a sea, with the white foam-white, with the white a bridal white, and the blue the capping dome of a cloudless sky in summer, over the meadows and after the wine, and the white | of your eye | and the white of the horses | connect, though you will never | be sure how…

It is a matter of revelling | Certainly, there are reasons for it, but these cannot | entirely explain its ethereal glory, the mood it has | of a calm day in a still room with | two children | bowed, absorbed | over a book or a phone, and the sunlight | seems to fill each atom completely with a sense of | space and ease, there is | no force in it, existence | has no need of alibis today, and you | can stay here, if you want, and sleep with me.

Because we have the time, we have the leisure | It is not to do with the quarts or the watts, not to fuss over pumps or cylinders | it doesn’t | dig with its bare hands, anymore | desperate for roots | looking for shelter from the cold and snow | If it thinks of the dreams of those days, it does so | in metaphors, playfully | or to experiment | with attitudes and options | Style is its apparent necessity | for substance, it has | trends and fads and | the glittering debris | of freedom | Its affluence | trees out | it still has nightingales, it still values the young

Supremely articulate, it has no end – and yet, as in a riddle, is ending always | Think of fireworks, think of petals | Think of what it asks you to think | Follow its tributaries, follow its tweets | Its horses rush down from the heavens, today they are rain | so malleable are its organs, so diverse its agencies | It clips and splices into each article | a tiny sliver of infinity, the gap between | forgetting and knowing (for instance), between | rock and Rococo | Upon an ottoman, so idle! | with a cornucopia of books, lifting one, tossing it aside, raising another…

It accretes itself, builds out from encrustations of jargon and slang, the hip and the square, the raw and the cooked | With each instant, it extends with life its possibilities for comparison | it burrows off into diamond arteries of artifice and specialisation | goes missing for years | über-geek in ecstasy of task and invention | bearded and monomaniac excludes the magnolia and the passing cars | focuses | on the curious hybrids in the labs, the oceans of code and proteins | generates more and more complex laws for more and more complex societies of more and more complex individuals with more and more complex psyches and senses | of doubt and identity | for these, its fertile abundance | is a maze and a co-incidence, but what a | strange co-incidence! | Abrupt

transitions are inherent within its sleek modus operandi | its cafés are full, nightclubs rammed | subatomic particles have their sneaking | secrets and mystique, it has no | qualms about misleading you | for as long as the money holds out and the need to banish the fear of the stale and the old and the known | grips us | novelty will hold sway | the perimeters extend, the style of barrier | increase and the number of barriers | increase, including | the number and style of barriers | seen to fall | it is | talking in its sleep | it’s just | so easy!…

The cults proliferate | the priests don | fine suits | display | emblems of their order | and the people follow them | into their respective enclaves and cadres, divisions and folds | find themselves upriver | find themselves in strangers’ bedrooms | holding strange guns | annihilating or embracing strangers | find themselves lost in personal crises | it offers them only | limited infinity, then | given | the factuality of bodies and the limited time | but this | is for another day | one more | dreary | because today | is for pleasure and a very particular manner of forgetting | the bliss of chopping away certain | relations and obligations and | instead | enjoying the fête | the blunder and trumpet of the elephants | cry of the hawkers | jewelled | costumes of resting acrobats | smoking at the back of their tent | talking about the weather and the stars, and the take

from the sequence, sentence (2012–present, unfinished)

By a series of ornate maps, steered to the heartland. The palm of the hand more mysterious. More precious when held.

Under the shade of coffee trees, sleeping securely. Wandering the ruins of an ancient city, an outpost of the past. Our voices reach to here.

From the floor of dry wells, the reproach to unfallen rain.


Dead sounds, clinks, clicks, shuffles.

River in the desert. At the Hôtel de l’Univers, ill for several days, delaying departure.

Our love deepens. It begins to eliminate others from our table, our bed no longer furniture but a plain. We secrete, in our future, positions.

From Mirage A to Mirage B: transport of weapons, food. But we have established Mirage K, on a lonely stretch of the coast where slaves can be exchanged for guns loaded.

Immediacy is both created and lost by these new projections. Origins are sought: ends delineated. By a series of worn maps, steered to the borderlands.

Held up for days by the volcano. Chic bars in the gentrified quarters where once the poor were assembled into generalities and forbidden their cages with canaries and goldfinches.

The proponents of Mirage A grow more radical by the day, expanding the powers of the federal government, investing vast sums in superstructure and dams. Materiel is delivered to reinforce the menacing fortifications of Mirage B.

On the black marble bar, the white book of philosophy: understated techno in the background, vintage road bikes hung from the exposed concrete ceiling. The dreams of lonely sailors, for weeks under the ice, the meaning of their nuclear submarines as yet undetermined, the scatter of relation uncontrolled, the rates of reindeer migration.

By a series of burnt maps, guided to your body. Loss of possibility for the others. Your long fingernails, the tear in the rind of Californian oranges. Scent of zest.

By sleigh, the curtailed frolic of the music of Hungarian saddle-bells, the snow extended to the fleeting haiku of Japanese pines: no release from my sadness, but the florid veins, the braid on the ambassador’s uniform, the expression of calm, oratorio.

Refugees heading for the myths of Mirage Y. An oasis with palms and peaches, hummingbirds, figs. Wanting to be here now: our love’s credo. The skyscrapers tumble in their disposable grace, stand for the future. Images of chameleons, a butterfly’s tongue. Salt cargo. Great storms. Spillage.


Crimson grammar. The spurs and offshoots of an echoing reference, the galleries and chambers of a widespread mine, only partly abandoned, wholly abandoned: revisted. Industrial gold from the cough of sick labourers, the libretto of magic forests and charming wolves, the Tokyo dreamscape rendered imperial, the aerial servants of Fujitsu and Dallas Semiconductor. Connected information, via the lines of Applied Materials and Rohm, airless Edens in Dustless, the place where the minds gather, the mind gathers.


Later, the history of the dominance of Mirage B. The Jang Dynasty, the neural cape, a Patagonia. Chipped and rotten sabre, thrust south into the sea and the wind, loneliness for Hong Kong wanderers. A kiss in a bottle. Her heartbeat, felt under a hymenal hand. The veils of membranes peeling away, her dress of aluminium in the English usage, his cock erect and related to crows: made possible by boron and gallium.




By a series of flawed maps, to a perfect objective.

March, 2016. By my own hand. From my own eyes. To your own lips. To your own signs.