45. A Recipe for the Commitment of an Imprecise Poem

for the Veer Collective, who spat out what was offered them1

OK, no pressure, guys: your choice
is your choice & no one could think that
something this impaired could match what you require
publishing is hard but what you value I thought clear
but, well, I am reduced to talking snarkily just now
to say I find those values of commitment and precision to be
well, fucking inhuman – dead abstractions
orders from the mouths of disembodied heads2
I am disgusted by these words & turn
to where my attention is more upon the care of little ones
it isn’t that I believe in Liberty3 but
that comes from inside, yes? not
some retro Between-the-Wars ModernistTM delusion
planning the relaunch of New Masses yet again
now that’s what I call real corrosive kitsch
I prefer the stuff people do in kitchens for
more revolutions start over food than verse

OK then, dudes, I hear you say
so what are you working on? what
‘s new out of Bishops Stortford? OK
the game goes on & we start
                            where we are:
so no food & drink, my friends
                    no bread & water
but stones & gasoline for you to throw – OK?

And then to list my ingredients all dutifully?
they’re around us I reckon in common human actions
not committed to separation & asylums
but communal, messy & just happening:
      loudly saying no
      & calling out wrong decisions
      joining together against these
      & at the worst4 some
      active stand in opposition
      even with the risk of loss
                            or wound
      & we’d take from that
      human fellow feeling to
      see how a new ordering
      can form itself, as
      utopian dreams get realised
      through kitschy rituals so
      this should be then made into
      something joyful & sustaining
      no I can’t give you instructions how
      but suggest feeling & emotion, good
      like in a poem, OK, imprecise
      & what it is committed to
      never externally determined or adopted

      And all the processes that affect us
      huge & frightening
      new high status elites
      bursting from the carcass of the old
      seizing in their mandibles
      all common necessities
      & making us then pay
      over our entire lives
      just to exist in this world
      they claim they’ve bought
      & demonstrate possession
      by making all that there is good
      funnel into them & theirs
      it happens continually
      it is at
               that moment of change
      maybe now to be upset
      but how to do so
      without smashing our own life support
      or not surviving the guns they have already hired
      rather more effective than our poems I would guess
      no, I don’t know how
      & if you think you do
      oh you precise & committed ones
      then try it if you like
      but we are done with leninism
      as it brings nothing
      but another new elite
      – don’t you know?

The presentation of our change
must be less obvious, less
cut off in self-righteous correctness
but engaged through our human actions
which must include for us our writing
as that is what we have to do and if
we commit to something other than what’s our poetry
I think we’d be wasting our own best efforts then
I know it’s not heroic nor what you’d call political
but that too needs some total metamorphosis
not repetition of past failures yet again
“keep the line, boys, keep the line”
no – this is not the field of status games
but the whole of our human life

In the southwestern sky
that sun of winter dies
nonetheless, though we hibernate
or fly, burrow underneath
forage dutifully amongst the rubble
we’ll work for what comes after us
not for the absolute precise but
just a better life somehow

[I got this just from what I’ve lived and seen. It cost me (& 80 colleagues) our jobs; looks like it’ll cost me publication too now. That’s all I can say at present. Sorry if it’s not adequate; but not if not found precise or not demonstrating some image of commitment. It’s what I have found more important than adopted stances, disembodied thought & the glee songs that built mass movements. Memo: write poems, find some better publisher[5], carry on with the care of little ones and the preparation of our food.]

 

 

1 “Thanks for submitting the work. Veer editors have read it and reached the decision that it doesn’t fall within the currently more precise and committed stance that we are adopting.” Email dated November 16, 2013

 

 

2 that means Charlie Marx & Big Ted, remember? & now Paulina the Staffie bitch

 

 

3 as you know, free Americans have pissed all over this word, like mice raiding a larder

 

 

4 usually that means usually

 

 

5 any suggestions, please? anyone?

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