(I know, because a moralist am I.)
Religions are more or less
the same concoction.
Truth is the weirdest kind of lie.
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;
who was 'bottom of the class'
in my first year at school, who had a glass eye
and a shaved head (because of ringworm)
and an air of sweet bewilderment,
who lived in an old army hut
and who kindly took me, the teacher's boy,
fishing for sticklebacks and tadpoles;
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,
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,
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,
now the tittle-tattle and intrusiveness of Facebook
the shabby burial of spontaneity.
A HISTORY OF CANNIBALISM
king Henry of Navarre
laid siege to catholic Paris
to gain his throne
as king of France
(this was in
the starving dug
up cemetery bones
to grind into false flour
to make fake bread
which of course could never rise
And a widow of
whose children died of hunger
roasted their skinny little bodies
and eked them out
over the following fortnight
and eking, eating, sobbed.
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.
put 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
with collateral damage
to be honest
all it takes is love.
I could murder
What follows is
too much like prose
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
- the destruction of forests and bleak monocultures to feed
the acquired addiction to meat.
taxes on air-travel, recycling-plants
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
is to stop having children.
When I rang The
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
with Kalashnikovs and vodka
Drink in the North
and the Taliban come from the South
with Sharia and opium
Piss in the East
and the Yanks fly in from the West
with untold wealth and false promises
Crap in the West
and the Chinese come selling
roads and computers
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
into death's disputed sludge.)
ENOUGH IS NOT
fleecing the stupefied.
And we all smile
and we all smile
AND ARE WE
REALLY MORE ALIVE
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 ALL
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
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
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.
IT WOULD BE
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.
WRITE A POEM MAGNETIC
using a refrigerator magnet kit
young 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
blush in sweeter hunger
am eye aroma ocean candle
away from which my dance of life is over
celebrate the glistening creature
as each pure torrent touches
the pale petal magnificent as
morning perfume blows soul not self
listen secret sensuous wild inspired explorer
a thousand sunwaves boil
sacred liquid naked as fresh wine
would touch cup kiss flame and cover hand
and long for love and light
for air fire god
could always taste time missed withal
my head hard rose feels
my pitmind flower
haunt that live red star of ache
clutching the unsurrounded universe
remember 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"
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
the smaller the numbers:
this was a natural law
until we came along.
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 celebration.
Words are on
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.
(a song for the ghost of Jacques Brel)
of the world is
always out of range.
People who are
are never free from fear,
go very soon insane.
All of us are losers
in a world hijacked by gain.
the douceur of the world
out of range.
Our minds are
crammed with beasts in pain.
strange you bite
the barbed-wire of your brain.
one is a lie
the other a slick
There is an
"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
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.
Roman poet (Horace) said
a poet should tell the truth with wit and humour.
nobody's really interested in truth
with all that has been said and done
truth is not a lot of fun.
people do a great deal of harm in this world."
- Oscar Wilde (Lady Windermere's
The lone, stunted
on the long, dreary street
is not pathetic
- but glorious.
THE HYPOCRITE POLITICIANS
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
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,
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.
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
is just another word for pain,
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
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
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]
we are alone
in the Universe/our brains
or we are not.
Both situations are profound cause for profound thought
the only stupid animal
the only celebrating animal.
Our rarest attribute is honesty.
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.
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.
we confabulate ourselves into moral
and cerebral virgins: barbed hymens guard our brains
to stop us understanding just what we are:
the only stupid animals
(always celebrating our stupidity)
with our machinations and machines
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-invented, self-enhancing soul is only self
is only consciousness: continual neural, virtual masturbation
- or perhaps a deadly virus
strangely untraceable in its location.
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
The Eighth Deadly Sin: to be alive.
GOD AND ETERNITY
ARE FRACTIONS OF NOTHING
The most dangerous
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.
Flitting, swooping, chittering,
each weighs no more than a letter
and, feeding, feeding, flies each year
from Ireland to South Africa - and back.
the only superstitious, the only
or Arctic terns who fly from pole to pole,
of a foreskin-collector in the sky -
swallows instead of 'human spirit',
'human courage', 'human heroism'
and other sickening, self-congratulating
THAT I CAN NEVER KNOW
EVEN MY FATHER'S NAME
more conscious we are, the more mechanical we become."
John Gray, in
We have no Own
(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
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.
dreams and crippled by freedom
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 shame.
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 and sex
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.
rules the planet of the dead.
French the words 'auteur' and 'hauteur'
are indistinguishably pronounced.
Depressed people do not kill themselves
- because they simply haven't the energy/motivation.
Æschylus, Demosthenes, Xenophon, Archimedes.
Pædophiles are now beardless.
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
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.
Man puts into life
is Death - while seeing his 'soul' as sanctum
and not slaughterhouse.
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.
only problems are human - and
the human problem is the problem of scale.
darkness is much more inviting
than the inner one. What people call
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 ?
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 it is.
Sanity is what business makes us buy.
Life has become the madness of not being
but wanting to be: new rot in new wood.
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.
trodden mills for thousands of years.
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.