97. Towards a Common Place, at Last?

too much said
emptily voiced rhetoric
but still
just to live freely
common place together

oh those old gods again
don’t we always dream of them?
our circumstances
                  caught this?

let’s start again
The People’s Republic of Albion
                                 – truly meant
                                 – who wouldn’t desire this?
dignified women & men relishing their lives
who can accept anything for us that’s less?

old stars –
what shattered fragments watch us
we are children
our knowledge of this world
too brief

do you remember landscapes
or people?
maybe failure here1

Alle die Schlafgestalten, kristallin
die du annahmst
im Sprachschatten,

führ ich mein Blut zu

Paul Celan, “Alle die Schlafgestalten”, in edited & translated by Michael Hamburger, Paul Celan: Poems (Carcanet New Press, 1980), p 296


The crowd howls like a woman in labour. The crowd writhes in giving birth to its own destiny … Everything is ardour and clamour, creation and intoxication, peril and victory, beneath the murky sky of battle where swallows flash and cry.

Gabriele D’Annunzio, speech May 1915, quoted in Lucy Hughes-Hackett, The Pike: Gabriele D’Annunzio poet seducer & preacher of war (Fourth Estate, 2013), p 2962

complex surfaces
– yes that’s a good slogan
what we must aim for
pullulating & fractal
this whole thin membrane
so fragile
           mustn’t let it break

regret the morning in a coffee shop
trying to write poetry
                       about the sunlight in the street
                       & the people
                                    passing in & out
                                    not the top of craft
                                    its lowliness to love

only us at last
ran to the ship and thanked
if we’re not dead
we’d better try living
this time round at last3



1 “Oh jesus! Too true. Time to bring on the quotations now & see if they’ll help us get going again.”



2 “Ahh, listen you can actually hear the twin glittering swollen bollox of the political poet chiming here.”



3 “Oh dear fuck – this poetry is depressingly hopeful as it ends. Easy to maintain that negative critical stance when you’re a university lecturer – the rest of us poor mortal wretches need something better this time round, I can tell you.”

82. All Now Making Sense at Last, Alas!

these relics or fragments now
– abrade into dust
  mix w/ yr spittle
  build up
           then breathe
                miswrite their names

reborn w/
flaming red hair
                 – scarlet
                   why not?

appearance is all
only the shine
– when that’s gone

Verwandlungzauber zu einem Tapir
eterocliti, tapiri e preoccupazione rendono un paio
sulla strada vanno sulle gambe tozze
camminare con gli zoccoli troppo sensibili

significant ceremonies
news of Sheffield1
delicious laughter
let’s wait
for carnival together

what is more use here?
   – the world and all its people
     the poem and all its words
     what has been
     or what will come
     remains here now
huge in an eyeblink astart

meadowsweet across the Rhine
– what can it epitomise?
what familiar perversity
threatens now our waterfowl?

maybe no real worry
    – let’s learn German
      get a job
      decide which warband
      might protect us best2

1.(a) At top of steps, some half-mile from the sea3
      Sat——in the morning and out of the sea up to him
      Came——seeking favour and on left and right
      Stood——quick as trees, then said——
      These are ours and therein all that is
      And the living creatures of the field and fen
      Made echo sound upon the day’s platface.

p 318

(b)   The Towers came nearer over the mist.4
      I heard my kind pattering all about
      The shafts, the upward and the downward shafts,
      And rolling silent out in silent daylight
      Innumerous pellicules.
                             Passed the X
      And cliff of many windows, slept along
      Crossed by the Pass of two Towers
      And so ad infinitum to the stars.

p 319

(c)   It is today, when silence falls,5
      And all the people standing on the quay
      To watch the big ships sail away
      Stop waving to their friends
                                   and say
      The answer to the sun is death

Charles Madge, “The Hours of the Planets”, p 324

2    You above all who have come to the far end, victims
      Of a run-down machine, who can bear it no longer;
      Whether in easy chairs chafing at impotence
      Or against hunger, bullies and spies preserving
      The nerve for action, the spark of indignation——
      Need fight in the dark no more, you know your enemies.
      You shall be leaders when zero hour is signalled,
      Wielders of power and welders of a new world.

C. Day Lewis, “‘You that love England’”, in edited by Michael Roberts, The Faber Book of Modern Verse (Faber & Faber, 1936), p 265

what’s offered
by little creatures
                    all inside
won’t redeem
             just carry on
             dappled in the shade

all our disordered selves



1 drips of water, drips of steel



2 The future is feudal; the past was progress; the present no longer



3 “The rise of the bourgeoisie”



4 “Glimpses of reality”




78. At Last – All the Wonder of Tapirs

that strangeness
yes, that strangeness
            then this

a paradise of sea & boats
– what do we know about this
   & why did it change?

circumstances do
come round again
stick w/ the seagulls
& do what you do
improve each day
& improvise
            near the end

this is all
such a long way
from where we
thought we’d be

all mammals together
why can’t we just
hold on to that?

like bubbles
         & in wonder
no more

don’t you like watching people?
tenderly, tenderly
no gross expectation

A solution is seen as desirable and is actually anticipated
but it must come from the collective enterprise of the audience
Umberto Eco, The Open Work, translated Anna Canacogni, (Harvard U.P., 1989), p 11

tapire sind komplexe gesellen der sorgfalt.
wie sie so einhergehen auf niedrigen beinen
mit ihren viel zu zierlichen hufen –

Monika Rinck, “disembodiment”, from Verzückte Distanzen (zu Klampen Verlag, Lüneberg, 2004) (sourced from http://www.greatworks.org.uk/poems/awe4.html

hold on
when young
let go
when old

leave dispute
beyond question
bear us
like time

64bis. All My Own Words Now:

some pasquinades & squibs consequent to the preceding, that were passed around the crowds, as is the tradition

to write on paper
is an absolute act

as an author

cadences writing poems
& fertile glitters
hallucinatory appeal finished
dead joy spilt

the water bubbles & coils
falls down then rises
slowly coming up

& the children gather
learning to be serious as old folk
but breaking into bursts
of occasional glee

and we do have free choice
        – in small matters

lolloping along
an English bulldog
agape through carefully bred
inherent malformation

& how can we make these people real?
– w/ names, attributes & no inner being
endlessly repeated yet fortunately
each operation marred

The sun in splendour shines through wintriest skies

– oh, that’s brief, alright

64. Some Specimens from the Odes Pinned to the Triumphal Arches

Each time you unscrew the head the truths burn out
But reality is not at the bottom of the abyss
Make it now. They hate our way of life
to be a shard of broken glass, shining like life.

Keston Sutherland, The Odes to TL61P (Enitharmon Press, 2013)


Career poets are part of the problem, smearing up the polish, drying out the fire; chucking shit all over the place; not being party to the solution; banking on the nodding head ‘the reader’ saying ‘yes, that’s what it’s like’ so as not to know what it’s for, since meaning is easier that way, gaped at through the defrosted back window of the Audi, hence the spring for a neck; we all know where that shit got us: being what we eat.

Sutherland, p 68


Poetry evolves from a vivid play of nerves and confusions into sedative aporiae in mock-heroic marginalese, if you don’t take precautions to prevent it.

Sutherland, p 41


The driving forces of the universe, the framework upon which it is built up in all its parts, belong to another phase of manifestation than our physical plane, having other dimensions than the three to which we are habituated, and perceived by other modes of consciousness than those to which we are accustomed. We live in the midst of invisible forces whose effects alone we perceive. We move among invisible forms whose actions we very often do not perceive at all, though we may be profoundly affected by them

Dion Fortune, Psychic Self-Defence (Rider & Co., 1930) p 10   < http://chomikuj.pl/proezekiel666/occultus/Dion+Fortune >


Any act performed with intention becomes a rite. We can take a bath with no more in mind than physical cleanliness; in which case the bath will cleanse our bodies and no more. Or we can take a bath with a view to ritual cleanliness, in which case its efficacy will extend beyond the physical plane.

Fortune (1930), p 80


no such thing as liberty
sunlight and vitamins, misunderstanding
for the gods upon the tree
free from bondage the misguided soul
– cannot trust unless you give a sign
for in this suit we find the Lords of Pleasure

Fortune (1930 & 1935)


And all the others together with them took unto themselves wives, and each chose for himself one, and they began to go in unto them and to defile themselves with them, and they taught them charms and enchantments, and the cutting of roots, and made them acquainted with plants.
And they became pregnant, and they bare great giants, whose height was three thousand ells:
Who consumed all the acquisitions of men. And when men could no longer sustain them,
The giants turned against them and devoured mankind.
And they began to sin against birds, and beasts, and reptiles, and fish, and to devour one another’s flesh, and drink the blood.
Then the earth laid accusation against the lawless ones.

The Book of Enoch the Prophet, translated by R H Charles, (Weiser Books, 2012), VII, 1‑6 (pp 5-6)


Mein innerstes Gefühl dazu ist: im Augenblick ist alles zu, aber es kann in jedem Augenblick anders werden. Ich stelle dazu folgende Überlegung an: diese Gesellschaft bewegt sich nicht auf einen Wohlfahrtsstaat zu. Diese Gesellschaft, die die Menschen immer mehr erfaßt, wächst gleichzeitig mit ihrer Irrationalität, und zwar konstitutiv. Solange diese Spannung besteht, ist sozusagen der Ausgleich der Wärme nicht herbeigeführt, der notwendig wäre, damit es keine Spontanheit mehr gibt. Ich kann mir nicht vorstellen, daß es eine bis zum Wahnsinn gesteigerte Welt gibt, ohne daß objektive Gegenkräfte entbunden würden.1 TWA

Max Horkheimer und Theodor W.Adorno, Nachtrag zu Band 13: Nachgelassene Schriften 1949-1972; 2. Gespräche: “Diskussion über Theorie und Praxis” (1956) (S. Fischer, 1989), p 47 < http://platypus1917.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/horkheimeradorno_theorieundpraxis1956.pdf >


Das was im Zusammenleben der Menschen als das Richtige angelegt ist, steckt in der Sprache: wenn man sagt, es soll gut werden. Wenn man den Mund zum Sprechen auftut, sagt man das immer mit.2 MH

Adorno & Horkheimer, p 36


Wir lehnen nicht die Praxis ab, aber das Verfügen. Weil wir noch leben dürfen, sind wir verpflichtet, etwas zu machen.3 MH

Adorno & Horkheimer, p 109



1 My innermost feeling is that at the moment everything has shut down, but it could all change at a moment’s notice. My own belief is as follows: this society is not moving towards a welfare state. It is gaining increasing control over its citizens but this control grows in tandem with the growth in its irrationality. And the combination of the two is constitutive. As long as this tension persists, you cannot arrive at the equilibrium that would be needed to put an end to all spontaneity. I cannot imagine a world intensified to the point of insanity without objective oppositional forces being unleashed. Theodor Adorno & Max Horkheimer, translated by Rodney Livingstone, Towards a New Manifesto (Verso, 2011), pp 38‑39



2 Whatever is right about human society is embedded in the language – the idea that all will be well. When you open your mouth to speak, you always say that too. Adorno & Horkheimer, p 5



3 What we reject is not practice but telling others what to do. Because we are still permitted to live, we are under an obligation to do something. Adorno & Horkheimer, p 109