Beswick Muse 2006



‘Rotating with the Earth’: Beswick memorabilia


How many nights and parts of days have we spent thus,
sat on carpets, speaking inert of the things that mattered
exclusively to us; to us, exclusively. And how many
more nights in your semi-lit room reeking of cold fag ash,
rolling on bedcovers, fathoming tyrant truths about
what we could not fathom, what escaped us but we
could not escape, this injustice. But how
many hours wasted at the kitchen table, ‘badding’?
Burying our faces in mattresses to avoid the slapping
of what we discovered, cowardly ostriches.
On Friday nights we dissected the universe
and that tiny atom of it, ourselves.


And we heard shouts from the streets but we had
shriller shouts stored inside our lungs, to be released.
There was your maidenhood, there was anger,
the disappointments and our curse. We were alone
and we had no lovers. I could not write,
you could not paint, I had lost words
and you had lost colours. Lose we could so we did.
For instance our ideas and our ideals,
the men and women we wanted to keep, our nerves,
our patience and our time, sitting on those carpets –
compiling our losses into film sequences,
décortiquing a world that was evading us.


The curse, you laugh. It does sound dumb.
I believe in nothing but what else do you call
a long stretch of defeats that drive you ever numb,
a pattern of failures that dynamite your heart? We thought
everything would happen and it all dishappened.
We left home at eighteen, hurrying towards life,
we found a vacuum: like a sink with no plug.
You fill it up, you fill it up, Sysiphus mad and proud.
There is no way but to renew the hope.
Your instinct will always throw you a rescue rope.
We are still young but we are bruised,
I’m not sure really of our youth.

I let you check my pulse
and say
‘I am too dead to write’.
Oh, I beat –
only like a Swiss clock,
a pretty metronome.

I beat like an object;
I want to beat like art.

The requirements

What I want from you is the complete religious disbelief,
The transcendence of the growing nails on the buried corpse,
Merteuil’s treachery and her cruel, sad sagacity,
The magician’s tricks on the wizard mode.
But sometimes the amazed gaze of the explorer
And the tyrant’s love and the aurasmic presence.

What I can’t accept is the plastic look of the boots-licker,
The no to hypnosis because Desnos did it,
An Aristotelian conviction.

What you can expect from me I wouldn’t bet on.
I might send pregnant red ants to your prince-head
Or the mosquito to tickle your sleep, bleed you.
Maybe a sarcasm for your awful talent. Maybe a slap
In your inspirer’s face or a nakedness in praise of your rage,
Neologisms in an attempt to speak fully of you.

Camera obscura

We withdrew

The sun molested us,
horror dressed up in gold.

We have been
subjected to rays,
hard-watted searchlight-beams
probing our prolix eyes
whose ceaseless script is not for crowds, is for
the private crew
we whisper to
in eyelash tongue.

Us we’re not meant for warmth,
we’ll take no

We orchestrate
shows in

But night and day
the light stalked us,
trying to infiltrate,
tracking our thoughts,
profiling our faces that only begged
to move and grin unseen,

We only wished to morph at will,
exempted by photons.

Daylight slapped us
bred bathos from blinding brightness,

too much.
We fled
to the dark room

for the wicked and the trembling,
the best of our vintage. The world
we want it dim, we’ll ignite it
from our recoin, with our fossils.

Sparks in black box rise like
great fireworks.
My bats,
we’ll always be
of the darkness, claustrophobia
and of the confined space. We’ll always eat
meats from our laps, discuss science and ends, heart stops,
in the narrow antechambers we used to know as home,

watch all happen
on a small screen

from the confines

of a gnawing obscurity.