Archives for posts with tag: variant 1

Old mine vs. new mine thing | How the | carved starlight | in your lobes | cracks with sighs | an exquisite | emptiness, the forest | daunting but primeval | gushes with potential | memories | Nights in quiet | gorillas’ eyes | pink, shot-up | vivacities of parrots | tossing into the dawn their “no, me, me, me!” squawks | while | in milder climes | the moon is late to leave and in | the untended garden | dandelions feast on the remains of lawns… || Pleasure’s | exhaustion | sets in | park the car | feed the heat | spend the day | dozing and shopping | and, when, later | crowds gather round | the accident victim | the angle of the sun | is different but, in the main, all | things are equal | we know | after each disruption or virgin | chance | there is a kind of | settlement | the establishment | of uranium or tin or gold || That’s how it is, they’ll say, just how it is || In the old mine | a hermit silence appertains | to footless tunnels, rusted machines | even the spiders grow shy | it is a question, what may | root itself in the void, if anything? | while in the new | whispers patrol your ears | talk of bars and films and hope | and what we feel | so deeply speaks | of an uncharted beauty | prepares to use us, and the divine | senses we discover | in exploitation | spill out their breaking secrets and sing••

from the series fleeting pixel (series of 1,000 poems, 2012–2016)
(this poem, June 2013)


Connecting things already connected | Taking apart things which can’t be taken | apart | Rearranging the furniture in a nirvana room | Ink, written into the stars / and the stars | written in kisses | across the lit | clouds of our bodies…

Tracking ghosts across | a city of forests | Hazy figures | gathering your life for you | Leaving signs in your dreams | In a half sleep, you open a door, and | here | let the brightest one | in

from the series hypergrammar (open-ended, 2012–present)
(this poem, June 2012)

Setting out, late, to a new location | what will our thoughts do to it? | Putting the past “behind us”, and “looking ahead” — the space of time | naturally | set to the arrangements of our bodies | a geography of toys | the landscape seen through a show | of magic lantern slides | or lit in the optical theatre | a scene in a diorama | Death, apparently, is utterly blank: no one | goes there | Featureless, and uninhabited — not even a desert | or an icy pole, not even | the perfect emptiness of a summer sky | We collapse the tent | of our orgasm | the orchestra | packs up its instruments | the choir | checks times for metros and buses | the angels | instead of singing | put down their lyres | switch on the TV, turn | to cheetahs or Brittany or guns | And the new location | begins to slide towards us | the pink blossoms on wet black tarmac | through brief, abrupt rain | outside the club | where they have good DJs, a great | sound system | or the caves where the hermits live | refining their spirits | unquestionable, because they have no answers | biding their raw | jewel of time | in an insurmountable privacy | and if it isn’t futile | to visit them | neither is it | non-futile | in any case as we gaze | into their indecipherable isolation | our thoughts turn | to the one | crucial, inexplicable thing: the next | moment of leaving…

One of those evenings where | the past is ahead of us, the future | punctured | has deflated, shrunk | the white apartment complex | fringed with green palms | square windows lit irregularly | is an intricate arrangement of solitudes | consumers | digging their separate burrows | through a dark, rich earth | no one, ultimately, owns | Our thoughts | shake the crowds into their echo armies | idle | split off like the fragments of a firework | We put up the tent of skyscrapers, planes passing overhead | we will live here for a little while, we think | and the thinking | arranges it | Death, apparently, is utterly blank: no one | goes there | it is always in the future | and then, as if by magic | always in the past | in either case | it is an imagined country | measured, you may think, by the loss | we feel or the loss | we expect | or believe | or desire | other people might feel when we have gone | There is a sound of gunfire | of shells bursting bricks and mortar and plaster | out of the shapes of minarets and spires | to clouds of dust and the slumped | geometric intestines of rubble | these are the signs | that tell us this location is old | it is time | we left | and abruptly | as the bombs | start to fall | the musicians, packing up their instruments | no longer belong to the orchestra••

from the series fleeting pixel (series of 1,000 poems, 2012–2016)
(this poem, June 2016)

 天安门 | Tiananmen

Social tranquility | Soon it will be time | to fit you with your wheels | Push you gently | to the summer, waiting for you | subdued sunshine tailed | on vacuous shopping malls | Hidden in the corner | of a plot of rapture | scarlet and carnelian, mushroom and purple | sculpted honey dripping towards the desired | jewel of stasis | riding on the hoods | fleeting light on lotus feet | escape, for a moment, the avid | collectors of order | Appear, illicitly, and we will | put you in a book of vanishing | Besides, effort to | resist | only rushes to rupture | unseemly | fluid | bodies broken | stoven in | to where the clouds | have loosened entirely, lastly, from our names | Look up: hawk | hovers to a hole in the sky | all tension and suspension points | to the dropping | bliss of the dive | Run as you will | as fast as you can | we’ll catch you into your new formation | you will fall to rounds | or just fall in | with your brothers and sisters | who hunt you down | to your opposition | The night | thickens and the moon thins | in an old, old illusion | Twist and buck | cry and mourn | squeal and riot | but when you come to | sense how right | the tracks fit to you | feel how smooth | the spin, spin, spin of your wheels

In lotus shoes | erotically contained | like a mist His gaze | parts and swirls for her | She feels its moisture | in her lungs | upon her nipples tingling | like tiny bells | a fairy clatter | of dispersing pearls | from a torn | rope | necklace | Wrapped | tight | her limbs constrained | to beauty | so dainty, her walk | on the bound feet, stubs | of nature | elegant, cultured hooves | Cover her | with glances | a tightened grace | you are | tautened to admire | but looking with such living | uneasily conceals | a warning, as a closed stove | conceals a fire: if you remove the shoes and bindings, the aesthetic feeling will be destroyed forever


from the series fleeting pixel (series of 1,000 poems, 2012–2016)
(this poem, September 2014)

The coda is very long | We wonder why? | The main movements were immense, ancient, unstoppable, like glaciers, but now this muted music goes on and on | with no drama, only nuance, melancholy, resignation | Small fires break out | the city endures its own ruins | people meet among the shadows, they keep their voices low | everyone is dazed, concussed by events signalling the end | of a meaningful history | ten centuries raised in the blade of a bulldozer | pulverized visions, I love you, twitch of pupils dilating, the sound | of the west wind among rainy sycamores in November | all leaves down | It’s a great party, plenty of booze, good music, at some point | I have the feeling I’m on a treadmill | even my own body is a treadmill | and I wonder | if that feeling might be called a soul? | The war is an anti-climax | the stories from the refugees | conform to well-known patterns | and in the children’s eyes | as they gaze at the capital | you can find a prophecy: These may not be called fragments now | but they will be

The soul endures after death | but death endures, too, as part of the soul | you cannot separate them | they lead to each other | immortality is no memory | Unlike us, they had no written language | although stone for carving was all around them | They were very young, the children, yet already they knew | sometimes water is for drinking | but sometimes | drowning


from the series fleeting pixel (series of 1,000 poems, 2012–2016)
(this poem, November 2014)

Fragile beast | Take off your bison head, tingling, swinging | Take off your bear’s head of glass, jaws | swagged with blood | feckless | beast | Hero of the underground | rest your panicked heart, put it | aside awhile | lay your claws beside the bed | let sleep | syphon you off into darkness and the one | true quiet | Futile | beast | forget your purposes, drop a compass | in a forest pool | set off in the direction | not of the ogre’s | fortress, but of the nightingales, wrap yourself | in the soft, green leaves of their song, ignore | the squalid tumult at its core || What does white lace | mean to the barmaid? | And the sultry cowboy | why does he care so much for those pretty guns? || Elect | a lovely murderer | Worship | a broken god | Avoid, if you can, waking | under stars seething | with furious life | Forget, as you wish to, every word she said | Watch the others | wrestle the ocean | for a while | restless | beast | Leading | voice of the avant garde | abandon the cabaret, settle down | to sell insurance or teach | literature in some | doldrums nook || Why must the mirror | lie so of you? | Where do the crowds | take your little matter? || Huge the voice that pounds inside your brain, a volcanic roar and multiple rumble | of stampeding hooves | yet no one | takes issue with a word you say! || Prophet from | an unwritten bible | haranguing pleasure- | seekers in a park | just shut the fuck up! | Add to the generous mass, the dangerous yeast | of your intangible spirit || Close this book of waves and shells | awash with plundering threat and rumour, the sea’s | reiterated whisper | and slip off into your silent life | delicate | tender | troubled | beast

Blood maps a recalcitrant journey | Desire mimes a stolen play | French William, and scalded Harald, stuff your mouth | with long-suffering words | and they | offer you the limits of your speech | leave you mired in what you call your own | tongue… | Brilliant | tangents | drive the detour on | You spend your days | fixated upon | the doings of the most famous troll | and total your beautiful car | against the wall of a hardware store || Grand the wrought | iron of your mansion’s gates | aspirational the towers | but in the bedroom’s early hours | the hours of fidget, crick and aftermath | though the dragon’s corpse has yet to start | stinking | the genius | swords of your early forays are still dwarfed | by the mounds of scales | of your slain prey | The years | with their soft | moth mouths | begin to bite | You realise | that second thoughts absorb your fate | and your saga ends in differing, in a dull stranger’s | bar-room story | Bathos awaits


from the series fleeting pixel (series of 1,000 poems, 2012–2016)
(this poem, December 2013)

I’d put a little something at the start | just to throw you off the scent | And you’d wonder how it would relate | but it won’t | You’d think it was irrelevant | but it isn’t | Or a trick | But it isn’t | You’d think you’d go on reading | But you aren’t and you don’t | Just a little something | like everything | Just a little bigger | for a moment…

And I’ll walk through the lobby | in my dark blue suit | the Zegna | white shirt, no tie, collar open | and the ladies will raise their hands | before their beautiful mouths | the gentlemen | lift their programmes | and speak discreetly | behind the Chekhov | or the Ibsen | and they’ll say | Yes, that’s him | Yes, that’s Ayres | Looks amazing, despite his years | So elegant, so distinguished | The master | Shorter, than I imagined | His hair so white | Eyes of sea grey, still with a little | of the cold sea inside them | Will he speak, do you think? | Will he honour us with a few words?… 

In the ballroom, the fans will flash and flutter | like a colony of butterflies | the lips will be so red | the music grave and polished | in the club | the German DJ | will leaf through her vinyl | in the bay | the yacht | gaff cutter — gleaming, and sculpted like the most perfect | idea: perhaps the most perfect | idea there has ever been — will ride gently at anchor | and on her back | Francesca will rest | in her turquoise bathing suit | under the low rays of the afternoon sun | while stowed away | in the cabin | hung neatly | in the cabinet of cedar | will be her tutu | and her ballet slippers | in an old shoe box | Capezio | Her long legs | the left | stretched straight out | the right | crooked loosely into a ‘V’ | and her lovely feet | will point, the left to the prow | and the right, nearly to starboard | and her auburn hair | fanned across the deck | will echo the tumble | of bougainvillea on the shore | She will be dreaming of Hampshire | the apartment in Rome | perhaps | even of this poem | I have yet | to show her | in the trees | the paperbarks and scribbly gums | kookaburras and cockatoos | will fluster and stare | out over the waves | twisted to a tinsel glare | one moment | then flickering back | to hauling shades | of lead and pitch | in the grass | by the picnic table | a party of ants | will reconnoitre | the fallen rind | of a watermelon | at the window I will | set my headphones down around my neck | track still playing | Stones | live at Hampton, Virginia, the Coliseum | 1981 | look at the page | of my notebook | lay aside the pen | quite useless now | and settle back | in the creaking chair | feel sleep | that pocket | in nothing | lined with a stray whisper’s | black velvet | reach over | and turn off the amp | so Mick and the boys | are cut into silence | and history | close my eyes | put the bag | over my head | wait for the famous | footsteps to start | and my youth on the streets | to begin | running and running! — so fast | I sort of knew | those skinny legs | would bring me | eventually | to Kent and Francesca | and would release | my genius for love | in that most | humble | and heavenly | of kisses | the first | the one | that closed the gate | on the path | back to the garden | and sent me off | to the dusty days | living rough | with Karl and Hooper | under the concrete arches | of the flyover | long before Beethoven | and long before Rilke | and long, long after home | became a place only | to rob and leave…

I won’t speak | I won’t say a word | I’ll walk calmly | into the tremendous shell | of the auditorium | take my seat | wait for the show to start | and in those unspoken words | I’ll be composed | having made myself | ready for the grief to come

from the series fp2 (on-going sequence of poems, commenced 2016)
(this poem, October 2017)

For a moment, everything hung in a kind of solution, with nothing decided, no centre determined, no map drawn up, no conclusion: it was like a photograph of falling snow.

You’ve just defined any moment


from the series fleeting pixel (series of 1,000 poems, 2012–2016)
(this poem, October 2012)

Mr Shimmer smiled his “very sincere shark” smile.

In lamé and velvet. His soul felt too tight, like a badly fitting suit, like a chafing cliché. He couldn’t stop the fat. Moral, of course. Corset and jowls.

He was at a signing session in a fashionable bookshop in the middle of town, but no one wanted his autograph. Then he was in the Caribbean, some island, Marco’s yacht. Memories like jewels. A hole in things, where the youth went.

Mr Shimmer, Mr Shimmer, with the shim-sham-shom. Schmoove Mr Shimmer. Svelte and slender, with glitter and clatter of hard-soled shoes.

Entertainment, these days! God!

Is that what they call it?

Soul too tight. Collar garotting, the hitched crotch of trousers serrating through balls, belt squeezing into his guts, cutting. The feeling that if he moved too sharply, buttons would burst, material rip: goodness fall out.

They were no help. Antoine and Maisie.

It was difficult getting good quality sycophants these days. What had happened to the world? Back in the old days, it was easy getting sycophants. Mr Shimmer himself had been a sycophant, that’s how he’d started out. Mrs Pooh-Pooh, Guardiola, the Dom Twins, all the greats, it was the same, they’d all started out as sycophants before they were famous.

There was no shame in it. The cartel in banality insisted on it, you had no choice, sycophancy was an art form then. Guardiola, Mrs Pooh-Pooh. All the greats. Boy, could they turn a compliment! Flatter, but gracefully. Butter you up so smoothly, place a tribute so casually, but so elegantly, like a diamond pin perfectly sited for the tie, just the right sapphires for the medallion. It would set you off. It wasn’t even a lie. Guardiola, the Dom Twins, they understood servitude, they knew greatness. They recognised the genius of fame, how demanding that genius must be. The Palace of Celebrity was a rickety, glamorous edifice, trembling on foundations of tilted mirrors, floating on a mirage of gossip, in a pool somewhere in the centre, a pure white lotus of skill, and at the heart of the lotus, a dirty little bug of will, while in the gut of the bug, a tiny parasitical worm of ambition. Jack and Jill Dom, Guardiola, they knew.

Antoine? No. Maisie? No. They were hollow people, without awe. Youngsters. They hadn’t suffered like Mr Shimmer. They hadn’t fought their way up, licking and licking. Spittle in the face? Hot spittle from a tortured dolly? Fine! Get on with it. Look up. Smile. Look ahead, to the time when you were doing the spitting, and they the licking. Maisie, Antoine? No. Hollow. Shallow. Too easy. Death was too far away from them. Poverty, just something in a magazine.

But the greats? They understood. They knew what it meant to step into the Palace. They felt awe, serving the stars. How brutal it was, galaxies of flashbulbs popping off all around, taxidermy in light. They knew the bargains, they knew the poison swilled and swilled. Sustained contortion, the injuries, like Snake Johanson, like Billie the Banana Girl, Flying Pete. They knew the gravity pulling you down, you swan, you boy, you girl, how you were out there, exposed to the elements, Hurricane Fickle and Typhoon Whim. They knew, the cruelty of being someone who was made up of others, careless others who liked to peek, liked a snide remark, liked to dream, and then move on, or the damaged, the psychotic others who wouldn’t stop loving and wouldn’t go away, the terrible ones you sometimes found in the Deer In The Headlights Motel, when cavorting with members of the ZigZag Club, hunting the thrills, the thrills, those exquisite filthy thrills, the ones that only genuine pain inflicted or received could give you, ah…

The industry, the system, the whole country. Sometimes it felt as if the journalist was the star. The star! When the world was right, when Mr Shimmer was young, when the nation was young, when the universe dripped with milk and semen and the drugs jumped around the room like baby rabbits, teeming all over the floor and the bed, and the pools had a lucid turquoise hue to their waters, and the cars were big, heavy, redolent of eaten space and conquered plains, sporting the fins of jet planes and rocket ships, journalists knew their place, which was in the common dirt, and they wore their lackey livery before everybody, no platinum blonde or Parisian suits or Mexican stints or ropes of glistening pearls for them, but the sweat and the grovel and the slide, begging for entry to the wonderful Palace, slinking round the gates, clunky cameras like angular yokes hung round their greasy necks, Never let them get close Jill Dom would say, Keep them small and keep them guessing, give them nothing, and they will take nothing away. Aura is precious, Jackie my love: without our aura, what are we?, and the new concrete was so white in the new villas, white as fine cocaine, white as luminous clouds of bright cocaine rushing up into the sensitive spot in the skull where heaven might be found if you only flew faster, faster, faster…

Snake Johanson, Flying Pete, Banana Girl Billie, they’d understood, even then, before their careers turned into shaky, cheap, badly shot scenes in gas stations on the road to Oblivion, Oregon, before the junk and the infections, before the traditional squalor, the classical abandonment by friends: they’d understood, the Palace is no place for weaklings.

Maisie, Antoine? No. Too young. They think their life has only one direction: UP. No respect, not really: no idea. No sense of the death of kings, of beautiful queens who ruled a generation. No idea of the nerves, the precariousness of brilliance, the pressure! No sense how Time, that bastard son of Torture and Misery, slunk around, always haunting the pillars and the pillows, making the Palace a jittery, flickering place. And this country, now? They don’t want you old, or only to torment, or to congratulate themselves they’re better off than you, despising you for your arthritis, flaccid tits and penis, misplacing Idaho, the catheter in the geranium.

Entertainment, these days! My God! Is that what they call it?

Entertainment these days!

Oh, God!


from the series superstyler (open-ended, 2012–present)
(this poem, October 2014)

And then, abruptly, nothing | The storm stops cooking its violet | The train simmers, oil | is not enough | The dream is no longer shared among sleepers | Feathers | dither in the air, flakes | eddy and settle | around the body of the slaughtered goose, still, set to | one side a moment | What should I do? | Kiss your heels? | Stand up | in the burst of bright silence | deliver a lecture to the cows and fences? | Applaud the clouds? | Kiss | each of your four ankles, give up | waiting for the wings | to slow their beats?… | Childhood | rings us and there is a path | spongy, tawny with dry needles | under dark, imposing pines, it leads me back to | to the beasts of my childhood | and all I’ll lose to them, suddenly | I know I must take that path, if I | get going now, the sooner | I’ll reach you | At the edge of the field | in motorbike Arabia | pause though | poor white trash standing in | a free blaze | of poor white trash | wondering?… | And their breath smells | of hormones and sweet | anger | and their manners rough | their teeth for boxers and tinkers | and their need? | Their need? | Their need … enough…

Very still, like those mornings after heavy snowfall, your lungs and the backs of your eyes | lined with deep, white velvet | no choice but to love | It is decided | Your Holbein child’s | cheeks, roses from lullabies and nursery rhymes, clouds | on the edge | of dissolving | The darkest glance | Nodding off | in a lecture on the origin of | Romance languages, safe | to do | there is so much future | But also | as your body | releases the swans and ice | “beautiful, mysterious” | a place you | stop for | no | feelings to hand | maybe with crumpled daisy chains trailed | among the marking stones, the soft | light of buttercups held under the chin | on a hot, motionless day | entirely full | entirely empty | like graves in midsummer


from the series fleeting pixel (series of 1,000 poems, 2012–2016)
(this poem, October 2013)