Times

 

I
It needs to be
              cinematic
for this to stick,
for the here to arise, draw breath –
take grips. Through eyes,
faulty graphers in low definition,
so little is; exists: meagre outlines
and reflections – smoke signals puffed
by a slow cog machine
for the unfiled records
                       of broken memory.
II
The harshness of used to. Drowning
in some sea-filled region,
one lost
Atlantis a minute: perhaps in bile,
wasted saliva – blood!, perhaps
your tear, my dear, perhaps…
I don’t know yet, I don’t
know where, I haven’t
yet
mapped you
(it takes some time
                   these things).
III
I wish I were
Lorca, who wished
we wished
we could be clouds, I do,
                         and other things
remote. Tell me
you don’t tire
of being solid, bodyful,
of being young, then old,
of being even you.
IV
I shall stop asking why
for it doesn’t pay to think more
than a body ought to, than a brain
can process, yes will, and shall
count my thoughts
and time them – no need
to work extra, my dear:
we all live on minimum wage,
we are all bound by the dark games,
all get the sack when the heart fails.
And there is no union to join,
no embassy to occupy
                    when your gut takes
to rebellion.
V
I see the nights follow
the nights: a day, a day, a day, a
day, and write
ugly repetitions, the way it drugs
you to be sane, and how
soothing madness
can be, and eat and drink and
go to bed,
thinking:
it needs to be
raw and savage.
It needs to sting, it needs to
bite.
If only time could miss a train.
VI
You know
the clouds are
just
an example. They might as well
be stars, mountains, be any
thing (that is: whatever is
not me, nor you).
VII
It isn’t like you to complain,
but you
who work and raise and pay the debts,
say you
don’t care
about the clouds.
VIII
Time will put its own spin on it.
Never erase: pervert.
Twisting the fat out of the roast,
seasoning love with five winters
dry and arid as ten decades.
Time will
wall up the fissure in your brain,
paint over the concrete façade,
                               and then
paint and repaint over the paint.
If I summon you in a year
you will wear a snake in your hair,
your white collar will be bile-stained,
and I’ll never have known
                          your name.

IX
But I, I can never
stop asking why, I can
never
quit playing poker with the Fates,
and look for proofs in the gardens
                    in the houses
                    in the poems
                    on the bright screens the lips the veins,
combing every square inch in vain.

X

It was just signs; you can’t
believe
everything that flickers in red: I know
this date
was the same as that date
and you and I are the same brand.
                                 Yet
you’re as early as I am late, and though
the signs demultiply,
the miracles proliferate
but don’t pollinize your bud-eyes.

I give you ticks on the blackboard,
I cross your face out of the books,

and put them back
down
on the shelf.

 

Loop

I call midwives
to my deathbed of solitude,
shrunk body’s side. Extract
a life from me, new happenings.
I have revolved like a planet
in an endless orbit, stubborn-
ly circular. This cannot –
there must be –
give me –

More.

The Only Immortality You And I May Share

 
There came the time

I had

to retrieve my eyes from your eyes,

to check my tongue out of your throat,

untwine my fingers from your own

that fist-like fought the withdrawal

without breaking the nails, without breaking

a bone, without

– even –

slicing a nerve.
 
 
You

no longer owe me the destination

of your steps, the location of your

absence, the timetables of your thinking.
 
 
I

no longer awe you.
 
 
I cashed out my life from the bank of you

for no reason other than life,

it is long and it must be stood. I stand it

in my mini-might, I fight

it with my dwindled strength, my bare knuckles

and my patience, and I

stand it

– maybe? – just fine,
 
 
every other time.
 
 
I had some nerve and felt the nerves

of one who skipped the rehearsals, who

stumbled on stage bound and blind, mumbled

dark spells from a sad script

fished out of the slush pile.
 
 
I bore the brunt

of one who hates the plays she plays, who wants to hell

with theatre. The only way was to duck out, hang up my

wig on the top shelf, shed off my second

and third skins, make a new dress with the curtains. But I

was cast

in the longest period drama.
 
 
You no longer

tickle me out of my last breath,

summon the laughter out of me.
 
 
I no longer

coax out the cravings of your mind.
 
 
My god, I lie: I stand it half or nought,

most every other time, I under-

stand this life too right

for the good

of our kind, with-

stand it with the pieced-up remains of my corrupt mind,

my punctured blow-up heart, and my brain that I now

conserve

in brine.
 
 
I subtracted my shares of our futures

for no reason other than death,

it is harsh and potent in me. I tackle it

with my left kick, my mistakes on automatic, I handle it

with feeble defence on repeat, and haggle

with it for mercy.
 
 
There came the time to cut

the heartstrings shooting in-between.

I severed them with a rough knife,

one at a time, one at a time – sometimes

tying them back, until you begged for the butcher,

who doesn’t go round roundabouts, what with the

pigs the geese the cows

waiting their turn in the chamber.
 
 
 
Two years later I piece us back.
 
 
This is our hope and our collage.
 

This is

not the first time, this is
not the first time.
We part in a backstreet,
somewhere narrow and black.
Look at my bile
dripping from the lamppost. I’ll mop
it up later. We part
for good. You think this is morning
in spite of this whole night
shadowing us.
I suck my thumb, not nearly weaned.
I’ve lived too many lives.
The premise is
silence.

I will never be young again,
and this is what my youth is like. Gotta love it
this mess. We are survivors of the plague,
our faces slightly scarred.
For two hours burning from a lack of belief
we sat in the cafe antagonised.
The stupor was the same when Antigone agonised
in a Theban household, over
duties to love.
I talk Agon, I could talk lies. You feel
nothing, I know.

I was not asked to sit and wait
in vain, but I wait like no one. O
do tell me again why it is we are doomed
and I should feel sated. I am not just
half-starved. I do wonder handsome
at your Babel babble and your nut for a heart.
I do wonders with nulls.

(For two hours sitting and risking all at once:
talking the talk, breaking the news
to a dead tree. Your hair is a concern;
the rest may simply burn. Freedom is many things;
your freedom is a boat, and no freedom
to some. I did single you out,
undo the knot.)

But to think, to think –

The bile, plop plop. Look at
the dark the fog the rats:
you think that a morning?
I must be put to bed
and cured with medicines.

I bite my mind’s tongue
with two lids
and this rack of eye whips.

Days go by meaningless
now I sweat a sickness.

Make Do

1

We are the clowns of the Wage Age,
the footsoldiers hopping along
the tracks, waiting for the next convoy
to mow us. We are
the casualties.
The sounds of cash machines
lullaby us, and the infinities
they are/we are building, for you,
for you,
for us,
the sound of the billions
injected here, injected there,
not in our veins or in our arteries:
in a network intangible as God,
loathable/lovable as God,
fickle as God, un-
necessary as God, un-
forgiving as God.

Life would be easier
had we been born
a bank.

2

Were we
a bank
we would be
rescued.

Were we
a bank
we would not
be let die.

3

In your embrace I thought
I saw a remedy. I know
I saw
a denial.

I want you as a screen.

And for this I would give
up
my home cinema.

4

In undergrounds
we stare.
There is a mass perspiring sweat.
Together we go through
the same tunnels, the same
darkness. Our shared experience
pushes us apart.

We share the newspapers we do not bin,
we share the trash, the doom. Perhaps
I could love you?

(But we have come
to the end
of the ride.

(And ALL CHANGE,
PLEASE
)).

5

Were we a bank, we would have ties
with a (foot)bridge, we would be felt up by
water.

Were we a bank, we would have a sibling,
a twin, always under our gaze.

6

I know the citizens of the polis,
of the accro, of the metro,
the mega and the megalo.

We use the poles
to dance and strip.

Billions of us, billions of us,
thirsty, thirsty, thirsty.

I don’t know
you
you
you
nor you.
I know
no one.

7

Morning headlines:

“MAN CHATS UP BARBIE DOLLS”
“WOMAN GIVES UP HOME CINEMA FOR AN EMBRACE”
“WOMEN OVULATE APRICOTS, MEN EJACULATE CAKE ICING”

PM headlines:

“MAN FONDLES MANNEQUINS”
“WOMAN GAVE UP HOME CINEMA FOR AN UNREQUITED EMBRACE”
“WOMEN OVULATE KINDER EGGS, MEN EJACULATE CUSTARD SAUCE”

Evening headlines:

“MAN COPULATES WITH HIS IPHONE”
“WOMAN GAVE UP”
“WOMEN OVULATE NUTS, MEN EJACULATE MUD”

(It could have been poison).

8

Soldiers of my boundless nation, you are
not an army, you have
no uniforms. You are a head, a head, a head, and
a face, and
a face, and
a face.

***

We are:
– raised by gimmicks.
– descended from punchlines.
– abandoned by posters.
– adopted by slogans.

This is
what we are worth.

We have:
– been moulded on a bench.
– grown up between school terms.
– repressed quite everything.
– decayed in offices.

The cleaning services came twice a week
to bin our strips of skin.

We are scared of:
– the hairy animals.
– living alone.
– living with company.
– living full stop.

(Notwithstanding dying).

We lala it away,
we lala it away,

while dreaming like crazy.

9

And now down the main road:

Look at the whore, the whore of the Wage Age,
the whore who fucks
not for money – who fucks for love.

The whore who gives out her body
for free, who shoves it up
all hands, maniac, hoping
someone holds on to it,
hoping to hit
a jealous claw.

She leads the life of the lost souls,
the plight of the lone souls.

Her birth was cursed by CEOs,
by the cosmos.

They cursed her with
lackings.
Looking closely,
beyond the breasts and the marrow,
underneath the lid of sorrow,
you see –
you see that she
has one hole too many –
and really too narrow.

It is the hole through which
what could make her complete
evaporates.

10

Little whorie, I also see
what no one sees:
I see your humbleness,
and your degrees,
and your fire at my parties.

The violence of your dance
in this blurry kitchen
is your hymn to chaos,
challenge to decadence. You know
the laws and the morals, they have shaped your
disgust, and curbed
nobody’s soul. You brush
them off, panting. Your realm
is of freedom, and you drink more
venom.

This bloodbath is
your scene: in vino veritas
and in wino a mass, heretic priest preaching
for the good of the good, urging you on to try
the cure of Epicure, whose wisdom teeth were long,
always stained by liquors. Ravenous fangs!
You too
must eat, must beat and cheat
and sin, and bitterly regret
the neglected mornings, the troubled afternoons,
the skins that were unscarred, the juicy fruits unsucked,
the many unlicked lids and uncharted bodies
where your hooky fingers
could have planted
your flag.

You must
betray, beguile, delight in your treasons – revelries! revelries!
bathe in the pools of doubts – the rejuvenating ponds – and regret
the regrets. Stand in the rainforest while the grilling rain rains,
the tornado threatens. In those heavy jungles, your aim is
survival, your ideal
existence, and your conscience the yellow fork-tongued snake
with the mortal sting
curled around the palm tree.
You juggle with your guilt, three firelit torches
circling around your head, coming
to no standstill.

Those ballons are your lungs,
those little sticks
your bones, and this great pump
your heart
that can never
be stopped.

And when you spin,
inflamed, on top of this table, you summon
an excess, invoke adrenaline
to smother your pathos. You seek
a mouth to kiss, and a spine
to caress, with a full set of ribs
that will be used to sculp
temporary husbands.

Little whorie, what an addict!
This thing in your liver
is called a crave.

And so all day
she’ll rave, sprinting across
the streets, throwing herself
at knees. Tall men pat her
bare chest and drag her on
for miles, her belly cut open. On train platforms
they shake her off, and she has left
a trace
on their raincoats.

(Sometimes
she even slips
a note.)

11

Inside page 3:

‘When he was found
grabbing the loins of his iPhone,
strocking the buttons as buttocks,
he was singing it a lovesong,
the only one
he knew by heart, the only one
one needs to know.
He had his tongue
between two limbs, and the song goes
I love you I love you I love you
for three minutes fifty (longer would be
too long). In crescendo.
His eyes had popped
out of his head, his skull was touching the ceiling,
his trousers lay flat on the floor, and he rocked
to and fro, sometimes
hitting the wall.’

12

Oh my Mummy,
you have grown old,
you have gone deaf,
and the world has bled me.

I am your young
who climbed the trees
to build my nest.

We were always
so late.

13

I sleep with you, holding your hand
pale as my hand.
I CANNOT
sleep alone.

(Be)Longing

 

4429_592313389090_6715772_n

 

I belong
nowhere.

I don’t belong where
I belong. I am part of
the no man’s land
of
first and last Eurostars,
delayed Ryanair planes
and Eurolines coaches
when ferry drivers
strike.

I lie inside the gaps.

My heart rests on the road
in a dark countryside between Venice and Treviso
where the blackness was so blinding
I had to shut one eye
and the other melted
all over my tee-shirt.

My lungs are in the nets
behind the seats
of the buses
that took me there, to carless-
ness and absences, to
Hollywood décors for mediocre
horror.

And I live in overnight trains,
my biography a journey, a series
of journeys, back and
forth, back and
forth. Back and forthness
ad lib.

Paris-London-Paris-London.

Paris.

London.

I live inside the in-betweens.

I live outside the core.

All the shops to me are
gift shops
selling me souvenirs,
and I will buy Eiffel Towers, and I will buy
Big Bens. I belong to
neither.
/either.

You will see me as a tourist
and I appraise you neutrally.

I speak your language but not quite.
‘Cunt’ to me means nothing, I can put it
in a poem. It doesn’t hurt. I could never
say ‘enc***’.

You will see me as a tourist
for I don’t know your arrondissement
and I need maps.

I belong
to the cockpit of the plane
where I whiled away a whole night
starving on films and live
satellite images
that teased me with
the shapes of Montreal,
city of the before.

I belong at the back of the back of men’s brains,
in the corner, the private cell,
for repression. In the left
hemisphere. I have been squeezed
against neurones, in the cortex of men
I never saw again,
who may have died or run away
with a girl who’s chewing their gum
a few houses away, trying to remodel their brain
with not a feel for art.

And there I lurk,
waiting
to haunt their Alzheimer.

Oh, but.

I must belong to my nation
for look at my ID, and my passport.
I MUST
belong.

My fingers are inside a girl
who it was sweet to know,
and corrosive. The nails are gone.
My fingers are inside that girl
who was pale and fleshly, who
spoke in tongues. She too
has gone. Has gone, missing
and missed.

My wit is at your door
where I left wooden spoons –
or meant to and did not.

I am part of intersections.

My lifeline is a boundary,
that very line –

Beswick Muse 2006

 

23670_625036766180_7730513_n-1

‘Rotating with the Earth’: Beswick memorabilia

1

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.

2

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.

3

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
underground.

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
aureoles.

We orchestrate
shows in
tenebrae.

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,
unrecognised.

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

Daylight slapped us
heavy-handed,
bred bathos from blinding brightness,
exposed

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
ourselves
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.