Sunday, January 29, 2006

the art (from 'The Beak's Poems)

fair play and optics

at cost

an insight

at great cost (the eye perceives in straight lines)

dividing sectors, crossing the frontiers

like rain, sunset, clearing mist

on window (how is it resolved?)


smashed and joining in light, colour

by such timelessness ordinary

distances receding (the ear hears layers of disturbance)

focus, refocus, knowing, like rain (what remembers this air?)

spins, rising, projected, condensed,

at such spinning. Is it any

wonder that it applies (the wind, the rain)

to both and whirls above (light following tile rain back

to the sun)

so many stories (charged and true each moment)

a people, a place, a nation (lightning, fire)


movement, yet are one

so rich ungrasped (yet money and light stand for beauty

while hating it)

clamouring to be (a woman, a bird, rain)

against everything it was (only not the valleys, the rivers)

serving at birth asking only

rage against determined programme and is (sometimes too close

because of faulty reference)

is maker from, breaker, burster,

automatic from, unrestricted

borne from light, wind, rain

mountains on

fire -- things safe from abuse and distortion

decisive in spirit

step by step



Sunday, January 22, 2006

the whale

Since I have an apartment which overlooks the Thames at the deepest part I have an obligation to write to you about that whale.

It went by my place in the dark at about five. My partner was dreaming of me drowning off Ghana and I heard cries from behind the moon. As is usual for events like this (the princess dying, the bombings) I had a feeling something was up. I checked the TV and radio, nothing.

Then at noon there it was. A blue bottle whale which is supposed to be 1000 metres under the ocean off Iceland was in the river at Chelsea beyond parliament forty miles up from the river mouth.

The news spread and eddied. What gender was the whale? What had happened to it?
Was something going on with all the whales? Some had been seen fof Cork but not this sort of whale. Two had been seen swimming down from Scotland and one was now off Southend. Was it a partner? A mother?

The whale tried to beach itself. Two men jumped into the river to scare it off. The beaching was explained not as suicide but a way of trying to survive when too weak to swim. The whale didn’t want to drown. It was trying to be a land animal.

And for good reason. It had come past the Thames barrier, the anti-flood gates, the sewer outlets under the ferries and water taxis around barges. In all this it was blind in murky water and its sonar would not work well. Was it crying for other whales?

There had never been such a whale in the Thames.

Thousands gathered. There now arose an order of officials. There was something called ‘official whale sightings’ as opposed to what we could all see. And that was distress. There was a rescue strategy. It couldn’t be discussed yet. We were to stop jumping into the river. There were official experts and spokesmen. They knew not much about whales, their intelligence, their means of communication and their torments. They wouldn’t speculate. But we knew that they are as smart as us, can cry for hundreds of miles. We were that whale.

The people in the bars and on the embankment knew. Some heard the low frequency sounds. But also cynical voices made fun of it. It had come to tell Tony Blair to stop helping Bush avoid
Kyoto. It was fleeing the Japanese. It was Osama Ben Whale come about Iraq (how did it get by the anti-terrorist measures in the river? They had been unbreached since the cold war). The jokes and cynicism were to avoid the feeling of great disaster. We were that whale.

The whale was dying. Its breathing was rapid. It kept trying to swim in the wrong direction. It always faced the tide, the highest, fastest tide of the year.

The commentary was elaborating theses that this whale was showing us something. Could this lead to political events?

I have written that in the next apocalypse the animals would participate on the side of God to undo creation. Probably on the second day. It is what I was thinking.

Others saw whales everywhere. The partner was in the estuary. Another had died in Peckham. Were the ice sheets melting? Someone, a whale expert, spoke of explosions and sonar weapons testing in the Orkneys. The radios played whale related music, the Theme from Baywatch. The record of politicians on the environment was reviewed in a new light. This will show them.

It was too much. A rescue by volunteers, navy divers from an unnamed agency and veterinarians was launched. The whale was hoisted onto a fast barge, wet down with watering cans and the barge ‘raced’, they were saying, down the Thames to the sea.

Information resonated. Someone said that an official embargo had now been lifted so that he could reveal government dolphins were in the river. Then we heard that the whale in Peckham was a dead dolphin not related to our whale.

He could not comment on what was happening in the North Atlantic.

Barges don’t race. We know that. Thousands gathered on all the historic bridges. They ran along the river. We chanted the bridges names as the helicopter broadcast the progress from high above. We knew those bridges. It was so far to the sea. Albert, Waterloo, London. So much to go. Way past the London Eye, past the new Tate. So far to go.

Then it turned the corner to the river in front of my house. There were a thousand gathered below on the railings. Many confused children. They were the reason the whale had been given no name. What if something happened? Everyone was silent. The sky darkened. A thousand seagulls landed on a nearby pier and froze. The air seemed to collapse with their lack of screaming.

The whale was in purple blankets. The boat seemed to crawl. Then it turned past the dome and was gone.

There had been now only one pilot boat ahead and one other behind where there earlier had been dozens of many agencies. It was a small cortège. It was not right.

One hour later, near the open mouth to the sea, near the place of release, near the sighting of the other whale, it died.

I had filmed its passing by. I had shouted ‘Hey Whale’. That’s all.

Many cried.

Next day it was a small item on the news. It had affected more people here than anything since our bombings. We await the autopsy.

What were you doing here whale?

Friday, January 20, 2006

ruling classes

Humans associate so as not to be naked temporary ridiculous lumps.Bush associates himself in hope with eagles, big soldiers, mom andthe sacred institutions. The political sub stratum of the chattering classes associates itself with deadly infallible things. It can be God, the people, the founders, ideas. All associations lead to fullblown stories and this is awful if the association is with dead things. It is worse if the story has an army or even a single government department.

The narrative seduces and kills with its bad magic. Its pretended inevitability. Its false sentiment and impossible promise. Its origin of lies.

No politics is ever a science. If it were - it would be experimentaland so know and record that some of the laws it refers too were big screw-ups. The political narratives would not make heroes of its sulphur burned mouldy dead failed alchemists. It would rather reduce them to the chanting and silly comic book banalities to which they deserve to be reduced and transformed. Tommy the Turd–Eating Prince. Some to very bad failed and unread poets who should have stayed at their Wal-Mart desks or alternatively flourished and lived by panhandling on the street as faux Aspergers. Some can be better as little fat big balled ferocious animals in tiny cages.

You know who I mean.

The political sub-stratum in the present should always be accountable in dada and acid. It should not get to write the conclusion of any social narrative let alone the cultural one. Such would lead to annihilation of the human race. It almost has many times. The proper job of the political stratum is to be marvellously incompetent at redemption. It is to be opposed and overthrown hopefully by laughter but it is ok too to do it with contempt. That is everyone else's job as part of living and enjoying it.

You see politicians have personality disorders. They must. It is necessary for their life work. One disorder is that the world is inside their mind except for the bits that need to be controlled. The other is that everything is right or wrong in relationship to their destiny. There are more. If they didn't have these disorders they wouldn't be politicians. They would be great people.

Politicians work for others - usually. They do it for oily, usurious, murderous thieves in their silken turded pantaloons. Or worse. Have you ever imagined what it must be like to be a whore's whore? Did you like it? But if they are ever in charge themselves and without any paying clients they are death incarnate. They will screw the universe for everything. Then they write the final story of self on the people and landscape.

The best times on earth were when politicians were absurdly incompetent and universally ridiculed, restrained, people fought with ribboned sticks, the poets were organised into partying parliaments, the farmers had no landowners and death and life sang scat in the moonlight.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

cliches revisited

I have written elsewhere that a rant is the emanation of an old argument. It is the rational co-relative of a public bean fart. It relieves distortions and creates a demystifying human solidarity. But only if you don’t do it too often.

There is the contrary too. If there is an unacknowledged elephant crapping in the room it will radically affect your language and behaviour especially when you are asking guests to remove their shoes. It is the equivalent of an avoided martyrdom for a spiritual leader. It makes the divine path seem dodgy.

When I met you on the road to Damascus you asked directions to downtown Toronto.

I regret now that time has passed, that you have been wrongfully criticised by former teachers for not reaching the depths of your potential superficiality. I affirm here in your support as a peer that rather than that you have succeeded beyond our dreams in finding the essence of the commonplaces of your generation. That is only one of your mean feats. You are a guardian of the cultural narrative of the inarticulate. You have called many others ugly, everyone actually, which is so therapeutically devastating for an aspirant soul coming as it does from a leprous iguana. I have heard you mutilate the competent in your mind in the privacy of your own room as a stimulant and inspiration for your minimalist output. I must acknowledge that commitment to professionalism if true is unmatched.

I loved your ‘Cockroach of the State’ and ‘Orpheus Goes to Las Vegas’. I loved the passionate journalism and the opaque opinion you have written over the years on the nuances of re-zoning in Pickle Crow. That denunciation of your High School and old girlfriends for forgetting your conquests, that thing you wrote last year, ‘Paper Cuts’ was it?, was one of the year’s best soporifics! It was quite the anti-dote to Viagra! I have for one referred to that work when teaching others not to confuse you with that fellow who has the same name as you, the Calcutta Burger Eating Champion of 1966, who is still much better known. I wish you had written the planned “From Jonestown to The Stars”. Why didn’t you? Writer’s Tapeworm? I was awestruck when you renounced intellect, imagination, form and content saying they were the sure signs of dead arts like snowshoeing and hum jobs.

The website you edit is the perfect graveyard for retired stereotypes of the seventies. It is the mullet haircut of literary fashion. It is magic realism dragged ruthlessly through the prism of Fox TV. Each posting is more repetitive than the last! How were you ever able to select these few key and fundamental works now published in these your selected works? Or did you write them beforehand in primary school for your mom and then expand them in later life for later rebirth? This is a literary strategy that goobers the mind.

By the way, are you dead?

Borderline excerpt 1

Was it necessary? Was I too proud, too pretentious, what did I expect? Where did I make my mistake? I kept my other self always hidden when I could have used it. I had to. I was ashamed of it. Pitiful. Gas. A hero. Good at games. Say little. Think a lot. Cope with grotesques. Bea knew that. Used it. Using it now. She knows how I will take this. All words now. A game. Smart stupid me who never suspected the less subtle bits of the obvious on my shoes. A gibbering animal throwing its stuff at the bars.

They imagined our streets and valleys as ancient shit. I imagined myself that way too.
And we imagined theirs as a paradise but also it had alleys of hairy unburied vermin, leprous hucksters, stinking and preying on our pockets and on our good sense. But we had none left, or we had forgotten it. This really helps, Bea. I see what you mean. Pain reduction. It works.

Yes, we never had anything, we are hairy and unburied and leprous as they were imagining us. Each trying to steal from the other. We hunt and are hunted down like noble animals, those animals that have become sick scavengers. We hunted each other. We cross over, back and forth, us and them, lovers and haters, running and dodging, desperately limping through the line of fire. Guilty carrion in our mouths, back and forth, nearly free, but not, nearly saved.

Separated from each other by imaginary lines. That was pretty good too Bea. Maybe this is worth it. Good game. Therapy.

From 'The Borderline', a novel.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

happy st. nik's day

And I’m saying to you that writing, not just poetry or even not just writing but even language and thinking, even the mind and maybe the body too, certainly the feelings and the soul governing what the body does and the spirit which sends it all messages from the writing and language and all the rest of it outside; I’m saying all this has to be wrested and torn from the dead grasp of commercial leisure reading and spiderworked masturbatory doing, stripped out of the clichés or plundered from the box of vocabulary being pissed and dipped into with greasy fingers by every songwriter and sloganeering bullshitter; I’m saying that it should be put back into the ears and guts maybe even onto dat ‘ol street because we gotta break out of all this dreaming once more.

Did you ever notice sweetheart that it’s the assholes at war and mayhem that make the myths from lovely Orpheus to Cowboy Joe. To cover it up and say oh my look at tragic us. But groping the pony at the same time. There’s 2000 novels a minute and a million poemz and they all spin the wheels on the beach until they connect with the otherside. I’m writing from the otherside witnessing the first Armageddon in which the divine is getting real assistance from the animals.
That’s what I’m gonna do. Thats what I’m saying.

Rules of The River:

1. Only a corner, a certain limited size of great horror, can be grasped. 90 bodies, not 600. One sinking boat overloaded. Two burning cars. Stained newspaper.

2. Even then you look to dream (the wrinkled blue robes, crushed cellophane, a humming sound).

3. The purpose of the pharaoh is to be divine. To bring a logic to a rhythm, flood seasons, incest, insects and the ducks rising noiselessly above the river.

4. A sleeping dream is rational. In doing it brings an absurd logic to feelings and sensations recollected or feared. The associations are rational. It follows the laws and above the natural. It is not the real world which has broken the laws. They have rotted here.

5. All life seeks to dream, to associate itself with a new size andspeed easily grasped. To encompass everything. To connect differently. To feel right through.

6. Dreaming comes faster than making sense. All the men wear armbands (they don't). My loved one is crying (no). They fired at children (but the fathers did do that).

7. Dreams collide, individuals, nations, epochs. With each other. It is a storm of dust.

8. No one can read hieroglyphics (the frauds!) or old ideograms. The new ones haven't arrived yet to be buttoned into the brain. We're detached.

9. Catch feelings and logic in a folding, speeding structure, beginning middle end, not that it is a dream explained, or death of dream let alone reality. Plot, character development, fear different sleep. Forgetting in the morning.

10. Then there is the not dream, the awake! Stunned passive or embracing dream detached. Stunned white light.

Law of Lek: everything fights back

11. Non-graspable things (as chaos). Fathers shoot children, the walls collapse on the pilgrim, non-story things outside reason —outside god-making leak from my dreams.