Apologies for those who cannot bear more than a moment’s glance ( perhaps I should add in adverts for peanut butter and carpet cleaners, spread thereby the attention load). This piece came around and about from considering the general squirming embarrassment our culture seems to feel about art, and poetry in general, and the inability of educators to enthuse or value creativity in any heartfelt way. ( there are, of course, exceptions ( but are they waving or drowning?))
There is a weaving of voices and opinions here, quite knotted in places, but the thread moves on around dark corners….
SPINE AND SPINELESS, THIS ART
What is this form, this fashion, so disregarded, so fey? Why should one choice of words, one pattern, one rhythm be slighted, thought spineless, out of date? Difficult, too difficult are the equations, obscurity built on subtle shadow play, and hide and seek. Do not seek. It dives without breath. Without breathing, get lost, translate sound to blood, to surge, to weeping. It is not blood, though it moves in pumping tumbled capillaries. It is not tears but can move as oceans move, and salt fills all taste, all airs.
We so long for clarity
For surcease of thought,
Abandonment of care,
Cradled and lulled by voices of nonsense,
Nurture that asks nothing but for existence and smiles,
Asks no questions that require anything but joy.
Imprisoned in the walls of language. Right and wrong, skill and ignorance, affront and glib approval. We move from oceans to estuaries. From the far banks of expectation we flow upstream our own thoughts to praise neat canals and cultured meadow parklands. And soon that flow becomes stream, that stream a slight rill, a line of dribble, a small pool, a puddle, a gurgle, an empty dry openness, windswept, parched, a nothing but thirst, a certainty of sorts – enough to become harsh-voiced, enough to become rigid, narrow-eyed, suspicious of movement.
We have clambered upwards
Taught sinews to strive on
The goal of
Of knowing enough,
Of getting by on seeming.
A false economy, a slavery of usefulness, a sharing of all petty failures, a payment of sorts. Nothing but payment for maintaining existence, right to live, no right to live. Show yourself worthy, a useful member of society, citizen, tied down, voiceless.
For what do we have to pay?
Distraction from the climb
To singular goals.
Those ambiguities that allow doubt,
That resonate with no logical cause,
That no science can measure
No statistics analyse
No financier weigh or assay.
Rile and rise, rebel and foment. Sound, mad sound as catalyst for new memory, old memory, new sight, old view. A way to push through. Slogans against polite propaganda, jewels to blind the bland normal levelling, the levelling of passion into cattle quietude.
Dismiss the fools,
Dismiss the jokers,
Their bladder alarms,
Their jingled bells.
The emperor is clothed,
Fully clothed, adorned,
Effulgent in power and glory.
We need no wonder, no alternate glances, no doubts to shadow our mighty ordained progress. No worm words to eat sweet certainty. No slick lyric to stir loins, to bring sly smiles, to bring to boil,
To question the inept, sinking boat.
Cast them over,
Let them drown-
These voicers of fancy,
The shapers of satire
For we have chosen our palette. It is harmless, dull and bland. Trained and wired to climb no great heights nor to topple or destroy. The boat will not be rocked by winds of word. Mind not belittled by sharp, pointing laughter.
For there is no alternative, no dreaming worthwhile. We strive for a limit, a judicious, paid-for maintenance of time and space. Rough edges removed.
Fists can be padlocks,
Rebellious reasons shot down.
Mindless violence is a world without eloquence.
Hate screams is a world without song.
Wasteland of arrogance is a world without satire.
Stalking mass dreams of broadcast conditioning is a world divorced from the ocean of time dream.
Kill poetry and quieten the spirit,
Quieten the voice. Quieten the voice and kill the soul. For it is reckless, antiquated irrelevance. Old dust gathered into monsters in the vents of air-conditioned rooms. Refrigerated, vacuum-packed, pre-formed, conveniently stackable, endlessly expendible.
These new nursemaids
Are our murderers.
The window left cracked open,
The knifeman’s long shadows
In the dark.
Murderer of dreams, of futures,
Of roads unseen,
Of magnificent sound.
Silence will descend
And the fast, bright blood
Congeal and pool.
The endless buzzing