Charity, you asked for that: tact
never a strong point. Consider yourself snubbed
by moral imbeciles, lesser imaginations,
the scale of valuation going right up
to its asymptote. Nobody knows /
everyone knows. Pivot on the bar.
You’re going to be living with yourself,
albeit in separate apartments, the makeshift
partition rattling in wartime Morse.
Steptoe is crushing. Covetousness makes
covenant with itself, renews its vows
each episode. There’s comedy in that.
Tactless but not artless. Some would say
demonic, aggrandizing a minor imp,
mascot of common turpitude. So tell me,
nameless self-accuser, who made you
chief of sinners? Rather a graceless bounder,
hopscotching to perdition across the coals.
Say you have lost, Perdita, a fat pearl;
lost or dissolved in vinegar. Say we
are the dead, as some of us might well be,
no longer credit-worthy; iris scans
to confirm ongoing probate of remainder.
Remind me: where exactly did we leave things?
a black swan he says
give us a black swan
no need to stir up the agon
over what very well might
swan on black water
through late evening
as the light
and shadows lie down across
the way you came
soundtracked with low strings
or bearing portent
of the air
the clouds’ high striated
rippling in convection
as the white neck bows
and horses in the next
start and trample
shaking themselves loose
UNDERSTAND LESS almost a Dadaist
slogan, anarchist oppugnancy
voicing the truth of power. Some are left
as ghosts in their own lives, materialising
under assumed names, ventriloquised by grief.
Destruction is safer to contemplate than healing,
I find, although my appetites are strange
even to me: I cling to gallows-humour
as others cleave to the cross. Cast CRUCIATUS
and see vengeance realised, bowels frothing
with boiling lead. You understand / condemn
and either way are caught in an imposture,
scrying closed-circuit footage, hearsay’s undead
certainties; the imagined reek of blood.
For amusement, re-run the delectable nude scene:
if you pause at the right moment, amplify
the brightness and contrast together, you can draw
the body parts out of their native shadows,
the shielding crux or crotch – mere faces blur,
farcically, in that saturating glare.
Troubles march in long lines, as it says
somewhere around the outset of A. D.’s
Pornography: here they form an unseemly rabble,
an indecent rout. Does clutter in itself make up
a system? Oppression is contingent, a low
defilement; noise to emancipation’s signal
which at this far remove is overheard –
as ever – as a trailing shriek of feedback.
This Monday’s poem is one of the fifty-word poems in my collection of fifty fifty-word poems, “Half Cocks“.
NOTES LIKE RAIN outpouring from overwhelmed
guttering during a deluge – “transcendental
technique”, now taught in magazines.
Numberless books on lepidoptery
an evening’s study. The mind’s uncageable
papillon, fluttering through the fingers.
“Some kind of spirit” as convected warmth,
as sonic youth, as torrents remotely
seeded, propagating to the last breath.
This one comes ready-glossed to some degree – see “Neovores and Educators“.
A landslide of hooves – first distant
and then up-close. The ear strains
after reminiscence or is punctured
by voices, snatches of uncouth song.
The inner life belongs to Genghis Khan.
Manners and love are things of circumstance –
not substance. The women melt away,
grow solid elsewhere, leave behind their names.
Cats come and go, frisking their way through poems.