He tried all the techniques for proof of evidence that something was going on, there beneath the surface of the bark. Little, swirling shells wedged in the runnels. They tried and succeeded, in putting up paperwork, showing imprints in the sand, vanishing pools that would slowly merge with the tide of glass, and you beside.
I sat and waited on an outcrop. I hooked my hat on some snapped branches, and tried to sketch. I sat and waited for something to happen, for an armchair of earth to break off. The absence of wind made the day feel summery. I could see a tree blanched in blossomy white, a house on the crest of a hill on the opposite side of the valley, and I thought of the plastic in my body. I sat and waited for the spare hours to pass, trying to forget that all those wires and roads and new-builds needed writing about, wanted people to pocket them, to capture them. I sat and waited, running my hands through my hair, thinner now. I sat and closed my eyes, feeling things shift, feeling like a boot-sale poet. The sketch beside me was reflective of things almost touching, of the elements which shaped themselves around others, of the river water which clasps me, of fusion which combines existing elements into something new. I sat and waited, my body stiff, and when a stranger asked me how I was doing I responded without pause, “I’m okay.” I looked around, stepped out of my station. Inevitably, I will wait some more. I will just wait in a different place.
I sat and waited
The usual path Worn away The road between the terraced houses The path that has been driven into the turf The furrows in the fields The tracks that guide locomotives The stuff that gives way to motion The commute, up towards Two Mile Hill, flattening out Intersections that are too broad Obtuse, unreflective rivers Only crossable at night Save for the light and sound Which drags itself across and past The grid which channels movement The porosity of physical things, Disintegrating, sweating, melting, Turning to ash, soil, or sediment The centripetal force The feinting thought which prevents An expulsion of gibberish The things which come out, Expressions, turns of phrase, The unaccountable and uncountable The swaying, the movement back and forth, The vertiginous feeling When the trees detach themselves from themselves Where resistance falls completely Where desire is conjured and accomplished Where there are desire ruins Where we run from each-other
Possible basis for poetry on a single page: least resistance from least resistance
A film. A view from a train window. There is a turquoise coloured lake glistening in the sunshine. The train travels past it. You can hear the sound of the train: da-dum da-dum, da-dum da-dum. On the opposite shore of the lake rise hills and mountains. The water seems very pure, and the film gives you the impression of an invented past, warm and sweet. The camera zooms in on a patch of the light-dappled lake. There is the sound of writing, pencil on paper, and a guitar in the background, an accomplished player trying out flamenco chords. The camera begins to glitch, passing the same rectangle of water over and over. You can see the borders of each image flicker as the film runs out. A click and the image changes, on the left half a brick wall, on the right the view of a street. People walk along the pavements on either side. Through the centre of the street is a body of water, smooth and dark, like mercury. It reflects the street perfectly. The guitar plays louder, more dissonant chords. The sound of the pencil on paper is sharper, as though whoever is writing is more frustrated. There are bars and restaurants on either side of the street. The camera pans right so that the brick wall is no longer in view. It pans and then begins travelling forward, through the street. Either side of the water, there is hyper-activity, hyper-inspiration. Neon lights, circus clowns on stilts, smoke spiralling out of of windows, robot waiters withdrawing meals from their stomachs. At the end of the street, beyond the commotion, glass towers rise. The guitar is frantic, the writing a frenzied scribble. You begin to hear animalistic cackles, shouts and hoots. The camera wobbles, moving forward. The image becomes a blur, a spinning collage, the sounds a wall of noise, and the camera pitches forward into the liquid. The screen goes black, the noise snaps to silence.
Description of a film I will never make
He wondered how he had ended up where he was; poet laureate for the park-dwellers, father to a dozen illegitimate children with six different women, his career in finance now something from the distant past. The last of his money had all but disappeared, blown on and endless list of drugs each more exotic and addictive than the previous one, in what he thought would be his glorious farewell to the world. He had survived it, however, and the people he met during this fantastic binge had vanished as well, leaving in their wake a trail of misery and betrayal that made him dread leaving his corner of the park. Only one thing had remained: a scrunched-up piece of paper in his hand. He opened it. A roman centurion emerged, hailed Caesar and stamped the base of his spear into the floor. I offered him a beer, which immediately dissolved his prickly and stoic demeanour, and we began to exchange niceties. The poet laureate eyed us from his trolley, and I became acutely conscious that it was his bit of paper out of which the centurion had emerged and, thus, the laureate perfectly justified in stabbing at us with his glare. I knew he would not forgive me, so I pointed the centurion in his direction and opened my own scrunched up bit of paper: it contained another tab of acid, which I placed on my tongue.
Cadavre Exquis #2: Another Tab of Acid
Cadavre Exquis: Apathetic Youth
Shite (or: I needed a day off)
Home is not something with a definite structure. It is a relationship of sorts where we stick our past, where objects are magnetised and furniture is marked by muscle-memory. I am returned to the blue room, the maps and postcards taken down off the walls, scratch marks in the desk where I wrote without rest. Home is a tearing sensation once you begin to move, relating because you have become separate. Stalking other futures, passing the house on your street that remains, faded, fir trees shedding loads ripped net curtains in the windows, Home that draws you close. Home that lets you go.
Home is not something with a definite structure
The knocking came, rhythmically. Those who could earn going without notice when Turkish carpets came to dress the soles of most of our feet and ballads were strung out on washing lines to harvest in the heat. There was tapping, conflicted, too afraid of rhythm, too focused on it, wandering from place to place fearing the same usual motion that would become deafening.
The same usual motion
You are waiting for a call, listening out. There is something about background noise in the city which seems gentle, even whilst people are getting punched and stabbed and spat on. There is something lulling about it. It is a sea of noise, calm, vociferous. When you get behind the houses, behind their back gardens, with all sight of the main road cut off, the waves of sound roll gently in, roll in gently. In the near distance there is a large, squat red building from the early twentieth century. At least, that’s the age you’d guess. It makes you think of short men with arms full of soot and industrial pride. It is imposing, but sad, as if it knows its time is up, each brick containing the knowledge of its own passing into something else. Maybe it will remain, for the time being, as flats. Retrofitted. There is a blackened, battered metal log-burner on a patch of spare earth, a strange place, littered with bits of wood, some carved into stools. Your fingers are dry. You rub them together and hold them up to your ears. You can hear the roughness whispering. The city swells and breathes. There is an abruptness to the crackling and snapping of flames. It is sometimes a sign of low combustion efficiency, or moisture in the wood. It is a reaction to imperfect conditions. Things coming together and not getting on well, colliding, projecting and scattering marks of exertion. You are waiting for a call. This is a normal experience. We are often waiting for calls. The sea is close, but far off. You are waiting for a call.
Day 8 with advice (or 'Things you might notice whilst waiting for a call')
It is dark now. The screen is between us. I am sitting, waiting. I search the screen to distract myself, though I know you are waiting, too. You are reading something. You pause, and look into the space where I will submit. It is dark now. I am ready to confess.
The Art of Confession
The fridge whirrs in the background. This place is littered with things. It is 22.41. Partly peeled beetroot in a glass Pyrex dish. Yoghurt coated raisins. It is 22.43. Ketchup. Bike keys. A grinder. Tealights in glass jars. A plant on a plate. Pussywillow in an empty Corona bottle. Bananagrams. An apple. A jar of walnuts. Glasses, some empty. Things just appear. Things ooze into empty space, Filling up the kitchen table. It is 22.50. We are pushing away from ourselves, De-cluttering, itching to move. We are falling back through ourselves, Collapsing, recalling. We wake and things latch onto us Like burdock burrs, Or mobile phones, Used tissues, or Styrofoam. The fridge is no longer whirring. Through the window flickering lights on the other side of the valley. It is 23.02. Words. These are my tools.
Joy To be joyful To derive pleasure. To derive pleasure? To touch, To have the sun on my face. This place will be forgotten. The bingo hall, empty carpark. The barbers. When are they reopening? The sun on my face, a little cold wind sneaking into the collar of my jacket. It has been a long time since I’ve been pulled along by something, Pulled out of whatever it is I have some complacent and reluctant belief in. In a good way, though. In a good way. Yes, in a joyful way. To bring someone to the river. To bring someone into the river, At the beginning of spring, And to notice things I hadn’t really ever noticed (complacency) The catkins, the small shoots, those greyish branches that I assume are late blooming. Walking down the lanes that lead to the park, which leads to The Avon, and thinking that it reminds me of a seaside town. The salmon-pink late afternoon sun on the garage doors. The salinity of the air. Touching, our bodies touching. Getting carried away. You get undressed before me. I feel a little fear, a usual fear. A fear that queues up patiently, behind all the other quotidian things. Sitting outside, under a blanket. Food and pervasive nostalgia. Joy To be joyful To return, and see some beauty in patterns, some meaning in repetition. Joy To hum, to sing, to play out a rhythm on something Rhythm rhythm rhythm Have to Get it Right on Or off Just an inch off Like a tenth off Like I deliberately left the last Line to be Undone like a Bad goodbye Like something That reveals A rhythm incomplete A change, then repeat. Joy To be joyful To know when to stop. To know when to start. To remind ourselves of the reason Which is because we can’t not.
The end of March. It is warm and the seagulls are screaming. The sun is turning buildings into blinding instruments. Bottles clink, and I like to think they are filled with alcohol. A shadow passes overhead. That spindly, isolated bit of heather indicates left. I cannot see the whole of its dance. Someone on another hillock mentions wifi and I am reminded of exactly where I am. The seagulls are screaming.