48. & All the Silver Geckoes. . . 1

what do they dream of
we’re crossing the line now
to improvise power
briefly against or for

do they know more than the cats
leaping across the fenceways
a whole new geography
superior to our own

does our flesh know
accepting its comfort
whatever really
it might sleep after

we give to all vagrants
one single name
but every name different
every one so

like the gods much the same
all you’d imagine
centreless & white
then clear as a mirror

any escape will do
to get us outside
we blame & we love
out into wildwood

escaping like people
just denying this nightmare
let’s see what it is
really around us

the words are our wonder
yes we can learn
wander into these schools
& understand what is said

the year ends and
we’ll see then through vapours
the first glimmers
a new fragrant tone

our age doesn’t matter
does it Karla & Darrel
tenderly hand in hand
oh, this city now is ours



1 Crossing (or Xing) the Line reading series, organised by Jeff Hilson (with Sean Bonney), held, at the time of writing, upstairs in The Apple Tree, Mount Pleasant, Clerkenwell – the room redecorated in the summer of 2013 with a gorgeous wallpaper, black with silver lizards, as background for the poets (plus photos of Marx & Lenin – for the benefit of CWU meetings also we guess). Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/140494812663758.

42. A Praise Song by Sarah in Honour of Paulina

You are ferocious, Paulina as you are maimed
You are the source of delicious pleasure, kitschy & sincerely false
You fuse the fire of intent with incapability
You ignore all tenets but the right
You are never commonplace yet totally familiar
You are what is next
You are starting at 15.29 as a novelty act
You are an important relic of our trash
You are welcome, despite all your damage & your disorder

Yes! You are harsh as bones, as peacocks & our laughter
Even on your stick, you will outlast your friends
Once, you were what we chose
To our delight, you continually make up incomprehensible rules you order us in vain to follow
In all things, though you deny it you improvise
To say it again, you need to be exploring
In truth, you are the Empress of Xi
Poets say you are our warning
As society started, Paulina, you instructed us without words
                             stuck dumb upon your stake

41. Write Without Words (Relics of Trash Welcome)

Whatever’s all how – well
practically pleasurable I start
across the thing, fusing
gain and moment, tenets flying
yeah, all over commonplace geography
the next is marching
at 15.29 the pattern
turns important – relics of trash
welcome, never damaging or distorted

ja! ja! . . . harsh as bones
Pauline, John & Jesus – the storm
the old gang chose
something solid crashed: the rules
say, this simple, improvise
you need to be exploring:
perhaps it’s Xi – reader
rearrange all this as warning
as society started, writing
                    without words

40. Here in This Ragged Old World (When the Storm Has Passed)

Society & all its institutions now reformed
– like cheap meat


Oh Paulina, Paulina
so admonitory & warning
I get lost for words
what you say is so true
you’re as harsh as the storm
blowing over us now


Ja, das Meer ist blau, so blau        Ja, das Meer ist blau, so blau
    – und das geht alles seinen Gang      – und das geht alles seinen Gang
Und wenn die Chose aus ist            Und wenn die Chose aus ist
    – dann fängts von vorne an            – fängts nicht von vorne an
Ja, das Meer ist blau, so blau        Ja, das Meer ist blau, so blau
    – und das geht ja auch noch lang      – und das geht auch nicht noch lang
Ja, das Meer ist blau, so blau        Ja, das Meer ist blau, so blau
    – ja, das Meer usw.                   – ja, das Meer usw.

Berthold Brecht, “Was die Herren Matrosen sagen” (Matrosen Song), from Happy End


“I was challenged, or challenged myself, to begin writing a book . . . without knowing what the answer would be. This seemed a fair test of the idea, which I had become interested in exploring, that the superiority of narrative to other sorts of . . . writing was that you, meaning the author as well as the reader, did not necessarily know, and perhaps ought in principle not to know, the end before you started. In that condition I began to write the book . . .”

John Bossy, Giordano Bruno and the Embassy Affair (Vintage, 1992), p xi


let’s rearrange
this time
the rules
everything working


hundreds of trees down
but we’ll get through them
even escape
out of this cloying heart
M & S itself


The bowl cracked but
holds water still
just oscillating
as we work


sweet potatoes, broccoli
& carrots – something solid
but very simple & just
what we need


lit in what we improvise
– the flashing head of Jesus


all the ragged clouds & trees
& the humpbacked moon to view

39. Even When We Err

Veronica Very: what’s this one, mama?
               Munching Monsters & Sewer Critters
               Oh yes, you will accept all &
               it will all be full of memories
               for things start & stop
               even for blue talking horses
              (he didn’t tell you I was a mare?
               well, he wouldn’t, would he not at all
               and, well, what I’m writing is up to me
               not mine but of me, a folk memory
               that disordered feast, full of wonder
               time to work, to make ourselves younger.

Herei II: ktissueu!
          – count me in with that
          Gosh, it will go through at the deal
          ant vapour – ah yes, formless but formic
          & the intensity of tomatoes, them
          love apples, and so much to drench ourselves with
          excuse me, gosh, I may be mandarin but
          O woe, woe, woe! for me this it
          I’m staying & I’m nabbing & I’m knowing.

Pauline: It’s not complicated, like
         living in a village.
         Everyone’s outside me
         I don’t care: oh
         my top stories cut
         here in my head
         illuminated like a custom gaming case
         – succour not an issue –
         close attention, care & children
         all of them, oh all ourselves
         lit in what we improvise
         even when we err.