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

69. Our Lives Lived Here in the Dark

for UKPoetry ListServ & especially for Keith Tuma

Our lives lived as we know we ought
our lives lived in ordinary disorder
strangeness smiling at the heart of what we are
half-illumination by clumsy ochre light

Lives must now be living tenderly
each worthless object irradiated by wonder
the future always let be postponed
leading us into screen memory in its maze

& laws, inescapable & unwanted
people unaware they are people or dust
everything held into the missing dimensions
the ones that pretend the unconditional

Can we still manage w/in this improvisation?
Spicer found this pressure absolute & fatal
the mind overtaken by particular certainties
infinite consequences bleeding out the brain

Nowhere, I think nowhere, is here
flesh suddenly unapparent, worthless, fake
oh shit! – this total suspension, no
lived again & again just here in the dark

68. Our Lives Cutting Silver in the Dark

Our lives flourishing & dignified
– strangers, inhabitants, all unabased
dapples radiating in ochre lights
a brief smile thanked tenderly
we developed in concert & wonder
the fresh future had not a king
leading this always outside, delight
et leges civitatis, common rule
people, people shine, familiar stars

together, the loneliest, the unconditional
psychotic on principle, some gross improvisation
Spicer or Bonney or Amiri Baraka
demanding change, never certainties
infinite consequences – this is really magic next
nowhere outside, of course too delusion & death
demonic worship on the pavements (fake)
oh hit it! We knew, never did
movement of flesh cutting silver in the dark

52. A Recipe for I Don’t Know What

for someone close to me

Can I really give you this advice
everything hanging in frozen air
great stillness and profound arranging
all this emptiness within
we know one moment it will switch
a full plenary of rain
or the dingy mush when heaven is obscured
but today bright, delicious

OK, well, how can I
except as an other
in a world where what the gods wrote
is a phrase for laughter
& quite rightly not honour
for what the gods are is familiar
as ourselves
             their huge absoluteness
like vast capital letters
to say: this is more than troubled optics
dismal banality of entoptic flux
oh let them then be counters or relics
we shuffle to work out the final sums
our lives suddenly ending up as here

So, they’re contained & quivering
vibrating within this flawed blue bowl
heaped then in holiness
                        children &
                        parents &
                        partners &
                        families &
                        houses &
                        distances &
                        money &
                        its lack and
                        the decay of things
                        their inadequacy
                        & besides
                        the whole nature
                        of rule & control
                        & the point at which
                        what we’ve got is still better
                        than the guys w/ hatchets & big hammers
                        & then too
                        that absolute
                        sense of difference
                        to the world
                        & people
                        we are variously
                        born into

                        I can’t see
                        your collection
                        I expect
                        I’ve put
                        the ingredients here
                        & then
                        what processes
                        of lives & aging
                        of saying & not saying
                        of meaning & projecting
                        of hoping & of fantasising
                        carried on or rejected
                        the rules are rigorous
                        & I don’t understand them either
                        I think it needs
                        negotiating tenderly
                        as if a dark room
                        approaching the little one
                        & I know
                        you can do this
                        & do it so often
                        that all can be well
                        as the room’s vacuity
                        will surely decay
                        within hazes of nothingness
                        into human love acting

Then, like
it’s starting to bake
let it cohere
around what there is
& who there is
that runs around
laughing with life
believe in this
as your gods
hidden within
this sorry world
to redeem us yourself

[I got this from nowhere but here, and having stood here, all my life.1 I don’t really know what can help you; here is where “hope” and “faith”, like brown and red sauce in an unreconstructed cafe, make the whole mess better is the plan. Somehow & nevertheless these things may work – tenderly, not splurging, never to gain, but to live within & give. Yes?

But nothing is really from nowhere & I did get some of this recipe from Kenneth Rexroth’s poem “A Sword in a Cloud of Light”, from the sequence “The Lights in the Sky Are Stars” (dedicated to his daughter, Mary), The Collected Shorter Poems (New Directions, 1966), p 239 – tho first encountered by me with surprised delight on an A-level English “unseen poem” paper I was teaching.]



1 To lead on further, through the pressure of the maintaining of the reality of powerfully projected mental forms I’m exploring, as you know, through Dion Fortune, Stortford’s greatest student. Thank you here then too, Dr Theodore Moriarty, and all at The Grange.