(I know, because a moralist am I.)
Religions are more or less
the same concoction.
Truth is the weirdest kind of lie.
THE MYTH OF COMMUNICATION
Language is a
millions of little pieces
which can be strung together :
an infinity of monkey-kebabs.
I am a poet with a beard
who has little interest in being read
and none at all in being heard.
When you are so deeply other
why bother ?
PLANTS IN MY ATTIC
My lovely, lonely, gentle
who lives on a 'social welfare' pittance
no greater than my own,
frets about the size and performance of his penis,
is terrified of tenderness,
has a lovely hairy dog
and grows Weed for his unlimited consumption,
was arrested for driving an uninsured
car without a licence (not his first offence)
- and with THC
in his bloodstream.
his tattered identity-card was four years
out of date. He is one
of the law-enforcers' more gratifying cases.
Since he cannot possibly
pay the inevitable large fine, he faces
confinement in a centre of correction.
He said to me, sadly, smiling:
"Life is just
one long rejection."
THE DAILY POEM
What I thought today
was How fine and fit and fun I felt
in splendid, silent, rural isolation.
This glorious banality was all
that I could find to say.
remember, I remember..."
the pig-swill man,
the buttermilk-seller's pony, the old woman
wrapped in shawls who came once a fortnight
begging at the door;
of plastic bags and buckets,
emulsion paints and nylon shirts,
vinyl records (45 rpm), pop-up toasters,
terylene trousers, exotic plants,
paperbacks with arty covers,
formica, my early denial of a deity,
the death of Stalin, the end of rationing,
the arrival of
tomatoes throughout winter, TV
(which appeared next-door in 1953),
muesli, yogurt, butane in bottles,
Diên Biên Phu,
the Cod War, brown rice, Suez
and Hungary 1956 (which may have been fomented
by the MVD to discredit Khruschev's plans for disarmament)
my first house with an inside lavatory
(which flushed! such hideous waste of water!)
and hot water from a wood-stove boiler,
the first avocados,
courgettes, sugar-peas and sweet-corn,
the first wine shop in our neighbourhood,
just 4 news bulletins a day, the start of sport as
hideous industrial circus, jet travel, cheap
the loss of words like wholesome,
the creep (post-1971) of the new homogeneity
when way of life turned into life-style,
the death of spontaneity.
A HISTORY OF CANNIBALISM
When protestant king Henry
laid siege to catholic Paris
to gain his throne
as king of France
(this was in 1588)
the starving dug up cemetery
to grind into false flour
to make fake bread
which of course could never rise
And a widow of the lesser
whose children died of hunger
roasted their skinny little bodies
and eked them out
over the following fortnight
and eking, eating, sobbed.
Twenty-two years later
the man who murdered the now catholic
and popular king Henri IV
was scalded and then ripped to pieces
some of which were eaten
by unknowns of a Paris mob.
In 1717 a girl was roasted
on a spit
in the faubourg Saint-Marceau.
The spit went through her head.
Armies and mobs
are the entertainment
of the evil.
Every army - every human
- is edible
alive or dead.
the record straight
when the multiple history books
to be written
I guess I'm kind of
you know sort of
in a different ball-park
on a daily basis
in my DNA
as a matter of fact
at the epicentre
of the loo
for a nanosecond
one of a vast
of loved ones
the litmus test
at the dawn of time
when the shit hits the fan
pee and poo
to the Nth degree
on a regular basis
but the jury's still out
in the last analysis
the bottom line
when push comes to shove
in this iconic
day and age:
it takes two to tango
to be honest
all it takes is love.
I could murder a mango.
What follows is too much
but here's how I wrote it:
It's not the use of one
kind of lightbulb over another
(one that no longer makes money for the manufacturers and retailers)
and not the use of machines that are trashing the earth
polluting the air
so much as the exploitation for exploitation's self-aggrandising sake
- the destruction of forests and bleak monocultures to feed them;
the acquired addiction to meat.
Bottle-banks, taxes on
are cynical ploys to ease the infantile consciences
that our comfort and greed allow us to keep.
Our capacity to reason is early on
put to sleep
(this is what education and upbringing seem to be bent on)
and is replaced by childish addiction to optimism.
to see what we're doing,
unable to think much beyond immediate crises,
as the sky becomes more and more like Baudelaire's cauldron,
we refuse to admit that the only possible way
to even start to "be green" and reduce our "carbon footprint"
is to stop having children.
When I rang The Speaking
(many years ago)
I didn't get a shock
on hearing "Time is only
part of you that's dead."
Eat in the South
and the Russians sweep in from the North
Drink in the North
and the Taliban come from the South
Piss in the East
and the Yanks fly in from the West
Shit in the West
and the Chinese come selling
flip-flops and computers
After moving pictures
we all became
the walking dead.
ART IS NOT STUFF, BUT
HOW YOU LIVE YOUR LIFE
The lovely fugs or fungal smells of unaired rooms
Delicious whiffs of garlic sweat I used to get
in Paris buses
Old books, wet dogs and steaming horses
(and their steaming piss)
Old ladies in old taffeta
Haylofts, rotting bananas
Sheep-wool gathered from barbed-wire
Undeodorised lovers' armpits
The sludgy must in cider-presses
Old leather trousers
Ear-wax (whose smell my dog loved too)
Melianthus major and Clerodendron fargesii:
the odour of old pharmacies
Fresh tar or asphalt
Fragrance of chrysanthemums
Foreskins unwashed for a day or two
Attics where forgotten pears have shrivelled
The faintly camel-smell of Balouch rugs
Compost-heaps, the drains of old hotels
Cigars smoked or unsmoked
Sour milk, blackcurrant leaves
Burning marijuana or peat
Freshly-dug and rained-on loam
and my unwrapped, sweet
yet-to-be-recently-dead body underneath.
(Loved and unbeloved all
into death's disputed sludge.)
ENOUGH IS NOT ENOUGH
Capitalism: the cunning
fleecing the stupefied.
And we all smile
and we all smile
AND ARE WE REALLY MORE
THAN THE MACHINES WHICH ARE OUR ONLY PROGRESS ?
John Stuart Mill
and others believed in
The Perfectibility of Man.
But the last thing humans
want to do is perfect themselves -
indeed their civilisations ban it
so we can get on with our business
of wrecking the planet.
CONSCIOUSNESS MAKES COWARDS OF US
With human reason came irrational
flight from reason to religion and belief
(false linking of effects and their imagined
causes) - and cowardice.
Rats are not afraid of us
who are a hundred times their size
and can kill them a dozen different
dreadful ways - as we can also kill
each other, or at the very least give
one another most appalling grief.
When the oil runs out
human genius might
(but probably will not)
be able to tap into an old and trite
source of energy at last made
planet-friendly: human spite.
when you became
PORTRAIT OF THE WEEPING MADONNA
Weeping is better than
This is the Instrument of Love defined.
This is the Vessel of the Virgin Birth.
A woman weeping for mankind:
One painted tear is all we're worth.
MIASMA OF A ROTTING
is to eat the dead flesh of the innocent within
and ghost-live through the child that's made
from mystic incapacity
and moral void.
Stupidity is faster than wisdom.
Sterilised, I am merely a lesser,
Everything I want to celebrate
is threatened or destroyed.
HOW WONDERFUL IT WOULD
TO LIBERATE EUROPE AND THE U.S.A.
Freedom of speech for
the religiously wicked
Freedom of thought for the garrulous dead
Democracy for the greedy,
the smug and the obscenely overfed.
A POEM MAGNETIC
using a refrigerator magnet kit
romantic heart felt true as
pleasure some lovely river singing once
though any lip must beg for gift of skin
every deep dark moon
drink from bloodwhisper
almost soak or burn so slow
to die devoured
in sweeter hunger
am eye aroma ocean candle
away from which my dance of life is over
the glistening creature
as each pure torrent touches
the pale petal magnificent as
morning perfume blows soul not self
secret sensuous wild inspired explorer
a thousand sunwaves boil
liquid naked as fresh wine
would touch cup kiss flame and cover hand
and long for love and light
for air fire god
always taste time missed withal
my head hard rose feels
my pitmind flower
haunt that live red star of ache
clutching the unsurrounded universe
the dear hairy man
warm beautiful nectar drunk
soft blaze of cuddle joy
I kissed him and all angels
IS AS DIFFICULT AS NOT DECEIVING YOURSELF"
The animals are too
good for us:
under the dead moon
we are beyond the Pale of evolution
and of revelation;
we go mad when we see the truth too soon.
The larger the species
the smaller the numbers:
this was a natural law
until we came along.
According to that natural law
we are now at least ten thousand
times too numerous, devouring nature
in our addictive greed and through
our greedy cerebration
like there's no tomorrow.
Sorrow is my kind of
LOVE AND LONELINESS
Words are on the surface.
The more words there are
the more we can describe only the surface.
Depth is silent, wisdom profoundly silent
like the sap of trees.
Words buzz on the raging surface
of man's cacophonous experience
like poisoned bees.
We do not connect with
the always-connecting animals,
nor can we connect with the things we worship.
The paltry best we can achieve in the panic of our words
is to connect with the idea of connectedness
imagining that we are parts returning to a whole.
Desire is the destruction
of the world,
love another stratagem of control.
DOORS OF ESTRANGEMENT
(a song for the ghost of Jacques Brel)
When you're strange
of the world is
always out of range.
People who are feared
are never free from fear,
go very soon insane.
All of us are losers
in a world hijacked by gain.
When you're strange
the douceur of the world
out of range.
Our minds are dirty cages
crammed with beasts in pain.
When you're strange you bite
the barbed-wire of your brain.
one is a lie
the other a slick
There is an Islamic saying:
"When a dog barks, angels flee"
- which does not say much for angels
or their inventors.
Nor can one pray where a dog has been.
As Oscar (who never barks
and never licks anyone but himself) lies on
a beautiful Balouchi prayer-mat
waiting to go and run
among the sycamores and cedars,
I consider how comparatively tolerant I am
even to talk to carnivores and breeders.
THE WIDTH OF EMPTINESS
The Roman poet
a poet should tell the truth with wit and humour.
really interested in truth
and with all
that has been said and done
truth is not a lot of fun.
do a great deal of harm in this world."
- Oscar Wilde (Lady Windermere's Fan)
The lone, stunted tree
on the long, dreary street
is not pathetic
- but glorious.
TO THE HYPOCRITE
So why did you
not call for
Three Minutes' Silence
for the raped of Rwanda
the butchered of the Congo
or the incinerated of VietNam ?
is such a deadening experience)
March 2004 - September 2006
The twilight of life
seeps like bad poems
through the cracks of our failure
the downfall and darkness that we
call culture, humanity - ruins of being
through which only lamentation can pass.
Grief is the window beyond all walking
and soon the talking will turn
and all worldliness
Writing my poor, bleak
poems which nobody reads
(not even I)
is every bit as vain as
worshipping an infantile
dream in the sky.
Death is possessiveness.
From the heights
of despairing there's no descent.
I can hardly inspire.
Each breath is a stupefied sigh.
The destructiveness of Man
is the banal frivolity of Why.
What I write is not so much mission
as witness that the beginning of terror
is not so much beauty
And isolation - floating
with butterflies in the stomach
above the abyss of stupidity -
is not so much loneliness as loss
of what never was but cry...
No word for 'must' or 'have to'
for any creature
nor art nor manufacture
which are blasphemy
as terrible as man's proliferation
And no name that does not change
and no name to a face
No kingdoms of regret
nor republics of sleep
nor ministries of sickness,
theft and lies and death
shame in stifling a starving child
nor stopping an old man's breath.
Where 'human life is sacred'
millions die in war and genocide
and the rich get richer
and the world becomes the wilderness
the hypocrites and warring rich call peace
and I am dream
and sex is just as
infantile as religion
and human soul
is nothing but
the human wilderness within
(Human, all too human)
Life is just
another word for pain,
Three million people died in the recent
Congolese wars, but no-one around here
or indeed in most of the armed-to-the-teeth world
seems to know or to care
(just like Rwanda)
though they are outraged when I suggest
that nobody important was crucified in Judæa that week.
Jesus, immured by a disappointed Peter
became even more cadaverous
before he was taken out to be disposed of
as my neighbour would dearly love to dispose of me.
our existential prison
Doctors will do all sorts of shocking
things to a person
for glory and money or just for the hell of it or out of 'duty'
They will irradiate you, put electricity through your brain
give you terrible drugs, remove parts of you
and rip out the organs of animals
to put into you - but for no money will they rid you of words
not even by simple lobotomy.
Trapped in their horrible system
they'd rather confine you to their medical prisons
than help you escape the prison of words
whose walls are like waves through which none
can pass into wisdom.
[Optimism = infantilism, voluntary blindness
born of words/language]
THE UNGRATEFUL LIVING
Either we are alone
in the Universe/our brains
or we are not.
Both situations are profound cause for profound thought
by the only stupid
the only celebrating animal.
Our rarest attribute
descended out of Africa
from a Hottentottish Eve
we are terribly inbred and, until our end,
there will be no end to our diseases.
We golden codgers who melt the world
are melted only by sentiment and loss.
Every human was - is - deadly,
even Gandhi, even Jesus.
For consciousness is
more than we can bear
and all our games, drugs, gadgets are failed escapes.
Art, religion, money, war, marriage, laws, progress,
nationality are attempts to squash it
into something we can manage.
So we confabulate ourselves
and cerebral virgins: barbed hymens guard our brains
to stop us understanding just what we are:
the only stupid animals
(always celebrating our stupidity)
who, with our machinations
remake ourselves as robots of desire.
I am acutely aware that I am not person but process
- and yet also an island accessible only at the highest tide.
self-enhancing soul is only self
is only consciousness: continual neural, virtual masturbation
- or perhaps a deadly virus
strangely untraceable in its location.
The Chinese Emperor
who built the Great Wall
had everything that was wrought or written before his reign
smashed upon his pavement or consumed by flame
so that he would be thought
the only source of civilisation.
Thomas Jefferson recommended to the State of
Virginia that 'sodomitical women'
should have the cartilage of their noses pierced with half-inch holes
The Eighth Deadly Sin: to be alive.
GOD AND ETERNITY ARE FRACTIONS
21st April 2003
The most dangerous animal
is an animal that's scared.
Civilisation makes sure that
most humans are mostly fearful -
which is why there is no such thing
as power for good.
The swallows arrived today.
Flitting, swooping, chittering,
each weighs no more than a letter
and, feeding, feeding, flies each year
from Ireland to South Africa - and back.
You'd think that
the only superstitious, the only
would worship swallows
or Arctic terns who fly from pole to pole,
instead of a foreskin-collector
in the sky -
would celebrate superhuman
swallows instead of 'human spirit',
'human courage', 'human heroism'
and other sickening, self-congratulating
GLAD THAT I CAN NEVER
EVEN MY FATHER'S NAME
more conscious we are, the more mechanical we become."
John Gray, in
We have no Own Beyond
(consciousness of consciousness is only words)
so death, and life outside our consciousness
are such a problem for us
(the only accusing, the only stupid animals -
the only contemptuous, therefore the only contemptible of beasts)
that we lie to ourselves all the time about everything.
We lie to ourselves that people
like people, really,
deny the astounding evidence (lest we're struck dumb
by admission) that there is no limit
to the contempt in which civilised people hold one another -
while the animals forgive us our unforgivingness
right up to their extinction.
Blinded by dreams and crippled by
apparent or fetish, science and progress also are
religious dream and delusion - and not only because
they are hopelessly ranged with or against
the Christian delusion, the Christian denial
that the only salvation is acceptance that there is no salvation.
The only knowledge is that there
is no truth.
The only truth is that there is no human wisdom.
The only human wisdom is that there is no hope
(the worst evil in Pandora's Box).
The only hope is our extinction.
If there was ever god, he died of
If there is one, he, she or it is utterly shameless,
Madness is also believing that you are not -
or are - mad - for belief is madness, denial of facts
(though facts are no more 'truth' than belief is).
Here in this culture soaked in selling
we fancy we're free, masters of world and our fate
and not slaves of accident, roll of Darwinian dice,
Sixth Extinction, rapacious destroyers of all life and mystery,
crowing aloof, internecine, over poison and squalor
and world made only of money and trash that money
turns everything into - here in this unstoppable sink,
where, swamped with and stifled by information
almost nobody knows how to think.
mythical soul is no substitute for a tail.
Ephemerica rules the
planet of the dead.
In French the words 'auteur'
and 'hauteur' are indistinguishably pronounced.
Depressed people do not kill themselves - because
they simply haven't the energy/motivation.
Socrates, Pythagoras, Plato,
Æschylus, Demosthenes, Xenophon, Archimedes.
Pædophiles are now beardless.
Fuel prices go up
in the forecourts
They are forging the weapons of spite
Brecht in Hell! - let it all start crumbling
- preferably tonight!
WORK IN PROGRESS - CUT AND RE-ASSEMBLED
AND NEITHER FINISHED NOR TRASHED
Though quietude à
deux and sharing,
food and wine and music, plants and stones
are the best of pleasures,
solitude is the most
delicious, least of sorrows.
Uniquely, what Man puts
is Death - while seeing his 'soul' as sanctum
and not slaughterhouse.
Trapped in our private
catastophes of comfort
we only seem to live:
comfort, even more than consciousness,
makes criminals of us all.
...hovering like pale moths between madness and sanity.
Madness is what fashion-doctors say it is;
sanity: what business makes us buy;
consciousness: the madness of not being
but wanting to be: new rot in new wood.
We are no more alive
than the machines that are our only progress.
The only problems are
human - and
the human problem is the problem of scale.
The outer darkness is much more
than the inner one. What people call
'the miracle of life' is really the
malignance of existence,
a very expensive and consuming hotel.
Why should we need reasons for suicide
when life for those whose consciences are open
is the only Hell ?
"In cold blood"
- the cold blood of war and punishment
and especially punishment of hot-blooded acts.
Artifice and ruin,
structures of deceit and self-deception,
are the processes of civilisation...and things decay
because the Universe is expanding. When it
eventually starts to collapse
time may run backwards - and will we resurrect
and return to wombs, to seed, to ponds
to everything reducing into nothing
which is what we fear death might be ?
Religion's tissue is refusal to confront reality
- which places us lower than all other animals.
Religion (which is blasphemy) is just another
great fault in our horribly faulty design
The only problems are human - and
the human problem is the problem of scale.
Madness is what fashion-doctors say
Sanity is what business makes us buy.
Life has become the madness of not being
but wanting to be: new rot in new wood.
Because sanity has made us suppress
the primordial in us
and wipe out as much of the natural
as our mad technology is able to, I lie
like everyone else on the terrible edge of the clothed machine,
half-strangled by Ariadne's thread, watching the donkey
walk round and round, all day, every day for her whole life
to feed the arrogance and shamelessness
that come when the primordial goes.
Donkeys have trodden mills for thousands
There are no memorials for the millions of horses
that died in the First World War - for the propagation
of madness. We are no more alive
than the machines that are our only progress,
and we even think we are more free
than corn milled by the donkey in her misery.