81. When Need Met Mud Again (at the Dig in the Woods)

So it is all tender. What accumulated, the opposite of ordinary, made us replete. You know this. The novel elements – some performance! My instincts say: it was the adventurous outsiders, those well-belted ones, their alcohol, their poems, their anxiety. In reality, it is generally found, the horizontal zones appear shorter, whereas particular individuals are represented by more colourful statue menhirs. Offa, David, Anna, the Bretwalda & all the Bishops – just incised decorations. These relics or fragments – yeah, we’re fucked all right, typically so.

Their battleaxes, their Bell-Beakers, their well-designed shopping centres – something like a new social reality. It’s not we’re scared of self consciousness, just the radical upheaval it symbolizes. It’s all a textile-like ornament that has transformed us laughing into customers – as if we were tapirs or toddlers, marginal prepositions to understate our ritual life. Our gathering places soon seem stupid, & our appearance jokey as broad bellied pots. This is expressed badly, I fear, crouched & psychotic today.

A community could present itself this way. Established values & significant ceremonies have been absorbing dye for 4000 years. Babies are flayed: they whined. This has a dramatic impact. The powerful ones (the hedgies and their thugs) adapted challenging postures. “We are indigenous groups,” they suggested. No impact. Their emotional imagery was complex & uncertain. The trolley-boy epitomized the disadvantaged elements – a dry detail for such an intrusion. That he was twinkly is unexpected, but not unpleasant – the warriors, though, unpredictable, disruptive characters.

Yeah, names are noisy. But they are never monofunctional. What they schematically represent may be archaic & largely alien: bone rings, drinking cups, encounters at Starbucks – but their widespread appearance demonstrated not just prominent individuals but ordinary working persons, more mobile populations as a whole. Meadowsweet across the Rhine Delta balances the armoured ducks at the office. Such figures represent not marginal groups or local élites but everyone. Your name is there as well. What a fucking performance! Give me my typical drinking vessel now! This zone is now veiled. Slender numbers to epitomize.

In the soft bank of the fragrant
The worst drops backing down –
That they are there!

                  Their earth
Exotic, the strange leaves
Number and the archaic soft things
Think at the grave

                  The rest of it
Displays from their mud
Startling eyes in the small words
They who are there.

                  Their psalms
Nuzzled thru the frauds, the lips that show them
Held in the disorders
Of self

                  The soft names
Casting fact
In this in which the worst drops
Scatter, and start out.

77. Some Sloppy Debris, Unabased, Yet as Tragically True as Everything Else

And then in a paradise of sea & boats
the surf ran its sloppy debris up
OK, not dark native mud, just sand
polished clean as words, as bones
we play upon once and ever

Cast up at Broadstairs yet again
oh, family things – you know, that compulsion
paint peels then slowly renewed
but the foreign students wander yet
                                – lost on the same maps
                      circumstances do come round again
edges softened & removed through rolling erosions
picked over continually by gulls & ravens
fr a late-blooming career at Thanet Cat Shelter
helping run workshops in the new Town Shed
yes! all boons to elderly gentlemen & blokes
the sea & the sun cast us all up here
daily patrolling The Esplanade w/ ice creams
childhood repeated more slowly this time
even français: oo-where is thee boating-poule?
please sirr? no matter
stick w/ the seagulls & do what you do

Let’s play on the bouncy castle first!
it’s a fine tall young giraffe we see
tenderly holding us & uplifting lightly
I could believe
                (if I wasn’t dead
it was just birth I’d come through not
all the slow mucky stuff at this end

Let’s catch the bubbles though!
they’re birds & worlds & words & brief
yes, like all of this, fat slippery
membranes holding nothing from nothing

Time – – no, not for nothing here
it’s all gone, long gone, a dream
that this wasn’t a dream, or that praise
will still buy us out from somewhere where
there isn’t an out:
                    the world here
alone & fragile now as always

Brutish it is, then brutish it must be
we can all start again at Totnes – oh
real mud along the Dart, smelling of nutmeg
are we lowly or just the dead giants?
yeah, both I guess & the mud not
as much spicy as oozily vital

Poets, you poets haven’t any age
not any more than tidal litter
it’s a grand life beached up here
planning on our next break through
we’re all food for sandhoppers, son
daughter, all the other people gathered up
is this the really The Esplanade?
at last & at here, attention then

76. Sometimes Poets Just Wanna Have Fun!

for Martock,  and   everyone   I   knew  there
for Martock,  and   everyone   I   knew  there
up  Martock,  and   everyone   I   knew  there
up  Harlow,   and   everyone   I   knew  there
up  Harlow, though  everyone   I   knew  there
up  Harlow, though everything  I   knew  there
up  Harlow, though everything you  knew  there
up  Harlow, though everything you praise there
up  Harlow, though everything you praise  here
up  Harlow, though everything you praise  here

Yes, fish are  glittering &  slippery2
Yes, fish are  glittering &  slippery
But, fish are  glittering &  slippery
But, men  are  glittering &  slippery
But, men shine glittering &  slippery
But, men shine  actually  &  slippery
But, men shine  actually but slippery
But, men shine  actually but remedied
But, men shine  actually but remedied

Cooking  is  what cooking is3
Cooking  is  what cooking is
Peppered is  what cooking is
Peppered has what cooking is
Peppered has how  cooking is
Peppered has how  sloppy  is
Peppered has how  sloppy can
Peppered has how  sloppy can

Let    us  be  thankful for that which   is4
Let    us  be  thankful for that which   is
Leave  us  be  thankful for that which   is
Leave them be  thankful for that which   is
Leave them say thankful for that which   is
Leave them say  tender  for that which   is
Leave them say  tender  as  that which   is
Leave them say  tender  as  this which   is
Leave them say  tender  as  this there   is
Leave them say  tender  as  this there must
Leave them say  tender  as  this there must

So  here it  is  like the debris  of   a   former  world5
So  here it  is  like the  debris of   a   former  world
And here it  is  like the debris  of   a   former  world
And what it  is  like the debris  of   a   former  world
And what she is  like the debris  of   a   former  world
And what she ate like the debris  of   a   former  world
And what she ate was  the debris  of   a   former  world
And what she ate was  my  debris  of   a   former  world
And what she ate was  my migrants of   a   former  world
And what she ate was  my migrants off  a   former  world
And what she ate was  my migrants off your former  world
And what she ate was  my migrants off your fertile world
And what she ate was  my migrants off your fertile   mud
And what she ate was  my migrants off your fertile   mud

[Though eating mackerel  reminds me somehow of childhood
 Though eating mackerel  reminds me somehow of childhood
 For    eating mackerel  reminds me somehow of childhood
 For    ending mackerel  reminds me somehow of childhood
 For    ending congeries reminds me somehow of childhood
 For    ending congeries abased  me somehow of childhood
 For    ending congeries abased you somehow of childhood
 For    ending congeries abased you always  of childhood
 For    ending congeries abased you always  in childhood
 For    ending congeries abased you always  in    nutmeg
 For    ending congeries abased you always  in    nutmeg]



1 human intellect



2 Nothing



3 this supreme experience



4 the reality of his intellect



5 when he returns from such contemplation



6 full of divine and inflowing splendour

75. A Recipe for Smoked Mackerel on Cabbage

for Martock, and everyone I knew there (and at Yeovil Grammar School – though how I rejoice that institution has long been totally dismantled!)

Yes, fish are glittering & slippery
always leave me a little unsure
but here my imperfect grasp is remedied
through already processed product which
cook themselves up minimally problematically
& remind me always of the mackerel men
selling the catch off the backs of lorries
straight up from West Bay1
the nearest bit of coast due South to Martock
so holidays there meant a caravan by West Bay’s shingle2
& this isn’t how anyone ever ate in Martock anyway
grilled or fried with potatoes & peas or boiled cabbage
which you don’t need me to tell you how to make
but this dish much more full of divine & inflowing splendour

Cooking is what cooking is
and what food is has everything
to do with the infilling of imaginary’s belly3
as pragmatic a reason as possible please
so make whatever approximation you would like
it’ll be true as anything else: 4 or so smoked mackerel fillets
                                – peppered is great
                                an onion (or half)
                                a carrot (or half)
                                some mushrooms
                                white cabbage
                                              a fair amount
                                              all split into shards
                                (or you can veer from
                                the type & bastard mix
                                always good – nice
                                pointed spring cabbage yes
                                and some greens
                                                even kale
                                                not any savoy
                                – misguided & a fault I find)4
                                a little marrow
                                                or courgette5
                                a pepper green & shiny
                                maybe some peas
                                and some things lighter also
                                                        broccoli sprouts
                                                        or chard
                                                        even lettuce
                                plus added to all these
                                                        ground pepper
                                maybe some chillies
                                or your favourite chilli sauce
                                important the fish sauce of Vietnam
                                & a little soy a must

Let us be thankful for that which is
& whatever congeries of vegetables have come through
reverberating endlessly
sliced finely to hand
                      – except those you’ll use softly
                        as a bed above the rest
then fry up the onions, carrots
                                & the chillies
                                (if you like
& add in the cut up vegetables
all within a large & heavy pan
let them begin to work & season now
w/ a bit of pepper & a little soy & added too
a useful splash of fishy sauce
then cover for a little
say 10 minutes or more
& like a melting glacier rich juices begin to form beneath
drop on your soft bed of more tender leaves or shoots
& add the mackerel after them
                              then cover again
you can leave it be on a lower heat
for half an hour or less – no
                              fashionably wilted greens but
a thick & mixed up British mud of vegetable & liquor
serve this lovely stodginess with rice
                                       – it’s nice!
                                       (still we are children in some kind

So here it is like the debris of a former world
recast as something newer, dark & nutritious
food like compost to nourish up your belly
leaving you heavy but full of fertile vigour

[Though eating mackerel reminds me somehow of childhood, we actually rarely ate them – I think my mother, East London middle-class, was a little uneasy about fish sold off of lorries on the village street. But, she’d approve the nourishment & all the vegetables. The recipe was suggested to me again by Ginie (& it’s like a Chinese hotpot dish6), but ending up usually played out this way (depending on what material there is). It is a matter of inhabiting, in the food, and in the writing, what actually you do inhabit, and inhabiting it fully, even down to the dark rich lower depths that are what we spring from & must return to. Not Dorset shingle, but Somerset mud. Not purified origins, but that appalling multitextual sea we drift on.]



1 now chichi incomer artisanal Dorset – Café Surf at last



2 the alternative was Burnham mud



3 thus making it constant & real. And, yes, Keston, we are what we ate – are you not a materialist, then?



4 steam it & it’s delicious – serve buttered (w/ a little nutmeg & lemon juice also, plus pepper)



5 a mock-heroic marrow – either adds a little added substance like sweet stodginess



6 hmm – might work well with glass noodles included? – & preserved radish, yes

71. A Poetry That Allows the Broadcast Now

Our lives here a disordered commonplace
                         – so let it be
what we must do unapparent & compulsive
                         – these are the cunningest things

but need met mud then something grew
                         – look, keeping moving balance with
the wider world, those relics of that green one
                         – once mutually sustaining

yes we are born with its memories still
                         – even here, the 3rd millennium
oh what a hopeless mess, a buzzy smog
                         – so let it all go

sometimes overwhelmed by nostalgia for birthrights
                         – we grow new things
constant creation our means of transformation
                         – so I here miswrite

we & all of us inside the fading of our failure
                         – live out each slow day
light playing no matter how greyly
                         – never halting what must be