16. To Live for Obedience and Mean

No – processed giggling too much
I think I do, ya
With the ruling elite reimposing power
The new transnational feudal order
All the folkways full fucked
I tell you


The sun glitters above
the great shapes of the city
they have no colour or light


The sun glitters above this lake
glistens & scintillates
dancing in a crowd
beautiful as alive


Oh – luscious darkness too
intensity of purpose
pushing in
then out


I’ve never been first class
That’s not fair
– but absolutely


“Artists, in old age, should not appear eagerly grateful for belated attention to their work. A decent courtesy is more than sufficient.”

Gilbert Sorrentino, Something Said (Dalkey Archive Press, 2001), p 434 – cited by Jenny Davies, “Well you Needn’t, Motherfucker: Sometimes Underground”, in Armand, p 105.


Dangerously personal
– may be less dangerous
than the dangerously
don’t y’think?


Ganz ohne groß Umtrieb, wie der liebe Gott tut
Wenn er am Abend noch in seinen Flüssen schwimmt.

Brecht, p 106 “Vom Schwimmen in Seen und Flüssen”


To flourish
in the deep summer
when the warmth tends
this good world real


How comes it then that earth is filled with slaves?
Millions on millions prostrate in the dust,
Rank are the despots’ weeds which now o’er-run
How comes it then that minds are thus abased?

from Edward Rushton, “Human Debasement: A Fragment” (1793), in ed. Roger Lonsdale, The Oxford Book of Eighteenth Century Verse (OUP, 1987), pp 792-3

1. Man macht ein Gedicht

OK and now
everything that isn’t
will be lost
– so then?


2 puddings & the nut butter
– no reason not to eat
and don’t those children still need feeding?
all this white hair
– time to cut it off?


How we might begin to answer such questions
a lyric paradigm that beneath resides machinery
oh, this is a poem of duplicity
to keep trying that legacy of flesh

Sam Ladkin, “Problems for Lyric Poetry”, in edited Brian Purves & Sam Ladkin, Complicities: British Poetry 1945-2007 (Litteraria Pragensia, 2007), pp 281-284 (final quote citing Andrea Brady, “Displaces”)


Man raucht. Man befleckt sich. Man trinkt sich hinüber.
Man schläft. Man grinst in ein nacktes Gesicht.
Der Zahn der Zeit nagt zu langsam, mein Lieber!
Man raucht. Man geht kacken. Man macht ein Gedicht.

Bertold Brecht, “Über die Anstrengung”, Manual of Piety (Die Hauspostille) (translated Eric Bentley) (George Weidenfeld, 1991), p 98


repetitive always
as the doings of small animals


starting again in a late spring
– oh god! what escape
from this banal actuality of metaphor


fine & clear at last on may day
jazz trumpeting thru the high street
good day then to plant more poppies
perennial, sanguinary, disordered blossom


oh words
just words?
no never more
gnarly & basting
determined must overthrow
high status elites
they just piss