62. Skipping Behind Waitrose for Bêche-de-Mer & Moths

My friend came down into the ‘itchen wherein i was writin’ and as she opened the fridge door i said listen to this opening sentence and launched off out loud into the first sentence after that preface, the one beginning with the line:

“Each time you unscrew the head the truths burn out”

and i like it as a line even though it is set as “justified” prose and read for several lines as if they were / are lines:

“and fly away above the stack of basements inundated

in aboriginal mucus, elevating the impeccable,”

at which point that residual sense of line was forced into a prose flow as the network of thoughts expanded or was tumbled. Conjoining the rigid meat, budget pizzas and devirginated arctic rolls with miso paste, bok choy and basil seed drinks we get cheap here but weirdly sexualizing everything by this point. Later we celebrated Chinese New Year with sea cucumber, spinach and black buckwheat tea and she got a fortune cookie barely containing the extraordinary phrase “what’s the speed of dark?” i came back home sat down to this text, carried on looking back over that long drying cycle of a sentence with its pulsating ejaculatory cadences which at one point i thought had finished shuddering and trended ending only to realise and realize i was clutching at closure saving time and effort and money. in the midst of a bracket …

Closing the open url to thrownness the next throes to open was to Reclus On Vegetarianism where:

“How can it be that men having had the happiness of being caressed by their mother, and taught in school the words “justice” and “kindness,” how can it be that these wild beasts with human faces take pleasure in tying Chinese together by their garments and their pigtails before throwing them into a river? How is it that they kill off the wounded, and make the prisoners dig their own graves before shooting them?”

leaped out at me. I’m not making this shit up! Or, “fortune favors the prepared mind” as Louis Pasteur quipped

from a posting by cris cheek to UKPoetry ListServ, Feb 3, 2014, “opening The Odes to TL61P”

These little things come together we believe
synchronicity & magic moths1 – oh how we like them
hold on to the end to familiar tales
exotic & redemptive

So – OK, we’re making tapioca – really?
that’s it, just portions of the Empire’s mush
will get us there? Not delicious but
stodgy delusions. These long nights oppress
hallucinatory, we appeal to familiar gods (o gelded ones!)
Please bring comfort & our favourite lies. Odd
bits of the real hang on as dead leaves this February

Just add more turpentine! I heard
someone say – but it was just the apparatus creaking
In this city, winter now at fullest splurge
snow on the uplands, mud & mire here
We’ll write this neatly though, keep out the moths
& never eat the bêche-de-mer2 or read another ode
For poetry won’t wash any more & holothurians are a man’s thing
while the moths remind us only of the mess we used to be
There are so many stories in this city – none of ‘em true
but all so convincing: laughter not honour
Keep changing the frame, 24 times shuttering a second
and when the light plays through, don’t applaud, leave
This isn’t the real world, but where we all live
shared amongst ourselves in hatred & bondage, exploitation & love.

All in all, this work appears wasted & futile
each touch to the keyboard a further annoyance
how can we lift our eyes from off this mire
to see beyond the ever-darkening rainclouds?

Mirroring & variation are good – meanwhile
an orgy of streetfood – I mean right off the street
well – everything ends & will transform thus:
what is needed improving like good little ramekins
until you drop them – oh jiminy, it’s split!
the disgusting stuff oozes into the gutter

Welcome to post-apocalyptic country – years
will have passed to get you to this place, all empty
it’s dry then we’re all back skipping behind Waitrose again

 

 

1 Robin Blaser, The Moth Poems (Open Space, 1965) – Blaser somewhere has written or spoken about how the writing of these poems caused moths to appear.

 

 

2 Heidegger’s favourite food. He, too, regarded it as a vegetable, one whose quality was of being thrown down into the depths of the ocean. In fact, though, “they [echinoderms] rank as our closest genealogical cousins among the invertebrate phyla.” Stephen Jay Gould & Rosamund Wolff Purcell, Crossing Over: where art and science meet (Three Rivers Press, 2000), p 143.

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