8. O Stella Maris, Stella Salutis

This is a very English dawn all right, roseate & sooty both. Your shrine is drowned, half-derelict, a Kentish ale-house within the ruins of vast and futile literatures. You are a beloved artefact of language & incompleteness we improvise in wonder – yet always the same.

Help me here, sudden shoe of our delight – “Can we get out of this room we all live in?” Gilda says no, for we aim to destroy ourselves within our generation. Yet she lives – blameless now & polished as this whole smoking world – aren’t we all like just ephemeral congeries of vapour, trapped briefly within the vast edifices built around us? Here planets burn entire. Time to reclaim their ruins. The vermin that infest, our hope at last, small timid girl, come join us sudden.

Help us, Kwan-Yin. No junk here of virgin birth, immortal suffering – the calm of identity as freely chosen self-directed loss. Help me then, friend Adrian. The night is black, the traffic slow, the apocalypse still stuttering forever in the eternal present. Help me, friend Richard, I can’t get out. I can’t get in. The words are all sand & shingle here. Help me, woman on a bus, lost in time & reverie – about to tip & fly. Oh to love that! And fly off into the dawn, dirty pink breaking into calm blank nothing.