The Burning

Personal, Poetry

I’m feeling a bit weird at the moment, maybe because I don’t travel much and I’m going to Finland in a couple of weeks. I told a mate of mine I was going and he said “Finland – what a beautiful city”. I’ll let you work out what’s wrong with that.

Spark-ling eyes, tender-cheeked free
Inebriate, base, elemental creature
How tender, even
Feminine as it charms,
Soothing in the blanket
Adoring conversation
And vibrating wine, drowned to the eyeline
Coke-mugged, shamed Temple goes
Friend in hand home, where the dripping
And licking and moist whispers
Penetrate his mind’s ear howling
Bouncing bed, books and blood
In the heroic past midnight
Those super-human greats, those gentle
Words, kind gestures:
So dandied, proud and unafraid,
Thinking of her he takes him in
For little words and warmth,
Miasmic pleasantries that trip off
Tongues lolling beneath,
Reassuring in the soberless sweats
But bed arises and
The angel-daemon stripping erect
Languished in love in smooth sheets
Alluring smiles, scorching in the summer
Dark. Temple falling closer to his lips,
The beauty in her eyes, the curves of his
Face, her handsome beauty and willing:
He asks, like a gentleman: it smiles lips
Touch and tongues squeezing, the
Elemental covering and feeling and
Our dear Temple is locked in the flames.
And they lie there, that elemental baby
Head safe on his breast,
Fingers stroking unruly
A bellybutton, erstwhile
Flames now a little
Cooled and tender
Licking skin on skin,
Nuzzling wet nose
Until
The sun
Appears
And
The light
Goes out.

This is an old one, like probably a few years now. There’s a bit of a religious string going through with the Temple and stuff – I kinda wanted to leave Temple as more of a person originally, but now I’m more keen on it as a symbol. I did a real quick edit to put this up but I think I might try a full rewrite to make it all a bit more thematic. This is like another, more emotional take on the “story” in ‘The Lusty Abbatoir‘. I wrote that one after and it did a better job expressing some of the content here. So yeah, there’s room for adjustment and development of this one. Honing.

Earlier this week we found a seagull that had been poisoned/poisoned itself, was just lying on the beach and my friends said it couldn’t even support it’s own head. Poor little thing was barely breathing. I arrived as they were calling various numbers to find a working seagull rescue service. One friend was supporting the dying seagull, one calling the rescue. I said, well, shall I get some wine? They nodded. I brought the wine back and we all agreed it was suffering and – because of that and because it’s a fucking seagull – we kinda wanted to kill it. But, a rescue service had picked up and since they exist is seems wrong not to use them. When they arrived, they said it’d probably die before they could get any help to it anyway, and it did. Got me thinking of this video on youtube where some environmental activists in a vet open up a dead seagull to show how bloated it is with plastic pieces. I mean we should get rid of plastic, but also if the creature’s stupid enough to eat a ton of material with no nutritional value…while pissing people off…and then choke on that nutritionless material…

I guess we can all agree human society hasn’t exactly been designed with ecosystems in mind. Maybe we should be thinking about that, not so much for the animals and plants (though I do like animals and plants) but for our own designs. If our cities and towns and industries are fucking up the world for everything else, surely that says they’re fucking it up for us too, that the design is wrong or inefficient? It’s old now but I like to mention it – there was this study by a guy called Calhoun, on rat colonies. He’s remembered for the experiment in which all the rats grew to live in shit then killed eachother. But he ran a lot of other colonies, basically enclosed environments set up to encourage different behaviours in the rats, and many of those ran well, often reaching a stage where the rats independently started maintaining their numbers, instead of growing. In other words, it reached a point in some of the colonies where the rats were just content. It seemed like Calhoun had found that our environment changes how we feel about eachother and how we deal with life. He thought specifically our cities could do with a bit of a review, bearing in mind that the rats in the poorly designed ‘city’ had destroyed themselves. But, in the end, this positive side to the research was buried under the panic caused by the colony that self-destructed, and all the people who believe we’re going to run out of space on Earth. Contrary to their opinions though, evidence suggests we just need to better manage what we have.

I just got to thinking about this because the poem above is based on a pretty chaotic drunken night I had, in London. I mostly remember the nice parts but there were some seriously bad moments too. And everything, good and bad, happened in more or less a square mile. A relatively small space, crammed with the whole range from deepest pleasures to sharpest pains. Forgive me for wondering how useful or sustainable that model is.

Some fucking amazing music that gives the feels, on romance, on urban environments, on all sorts: Da Vosk Docta. Polish dude about town. His soundscape is just so absorbing, like some kind of neon honey. Neon honey, by the way, is probably a pretty decent way of describing 30% of my musical tastes. And this guy’s not the usual synthwave that’s probably inspired that description. I’d also recommend the synthwave though. Check Confused Bi-Product of a Misinformed Culture on youtube, also NewRetroWave.

Sleep, Waking and Work in Progress

Personal, Poetry

I can see this becoming a common theme here – I struggle with sleep. Like I struggle letting go of the waking hours, I don’t want to give up on all that stuff I’m supposed to be doing. Stuff that’s always on the cusp, that I seem always to be about to do. Plus the dreams are really weird, which I like, but which can also be unsettling. The other night I dreamt I was sleeping on a bench and then a seagull came down and nestled behind me, like in the bend of my back, and it wouldn’t go away. I told it to go away and I tried to lift it up, but it wouldn’t go. It just kept all closed up and sleepy like those pigeons you see hiding in small spaces. Weird.

But back to reality, struggles. It’s late. I’m sitting, staring at my lava lamp thinking whether to try and write something big and proper. Well, proper at least. But fuck it, like. It’s well late.

I start going through old poems and things, adding a few lines here and there to unfinished pieces – I might really have made some progress on a few of them this way, actually. Sometimes you’ve just got to spurt out those words and worry about the mess later, since clearing up the mess might just give you the stain you need. Ahem.

I’ve got this little dedication for you. Related to our Consul Lactarius back there.

When I met you you were walking dreams and fears woven
You had a glare like bemused coffee or cats and lizards
Framed by your windswept jaw cutting cheese cheeks
You live the less known parts with anonymous condoms broken on your fingers,
Flappy rubber rings making silent hilarious finger puppets
You fix the orange gloom of dusk while lazy eyes drink sleep bubbles
Breezy chest bird, you surprised me with a like mind gone for a film of a sculpture ticking
And poetry in pages as sheaves of grass innumerately knotted with pictures

With a few of these I get the feeling that I’m in cutesyness overload. I had a poem once called little perubird or something like that. I’d post it but honestly I think it’s borderline insulting to the subject, though that’s not what I meant at the time. It’s the dainty phrases like “cheese cheeks”, “finger puppets”, “drink sleep bubbles” – they’re the verbal equivalent of dancing tippy-toed. A ballet maybe, but a childish one. I don’t know my ballets particularly well, just searching for activities that fit the descriptor “tippy-toed”.

I mean I’m someone who likes dresses and heels and pink nail polish, so the cutesy is to be expected, but I really struggle to pull it off. There’s too much soldier culture in me through all the movies and the military history, like I’m obviously not a soldier but that kind of manly masculinity has got me needlepricked. It’s floating around in those veins. I try though. I’m searching for a kind of balance really and just not entirely sure where to find it. Occasionally it’ll show in the poetry, I think. And the other writing. Hey, we’ve all got to aspire to something, haven’t we?

Here’s a piece I’m working on. I don’t know why it’s in Acts, but until I’ve got a clear reason to change it, it’s staying that way. Posting now, before it’s finished, because I might not be blogging anything for a few days. We’ve got people round. So I figure I want to give you something to be getting on with (and not just that fucking dedication, that’d be cheating). Working title is “My First Dress”. Obviously the kind of thing I’m keen to write about, but don’t worry: this isn’t all I do.

Prologue

Your unicorn smile: smooth cornucopia Inserting
Real, the coca-cola room receeding, burning
For your hard hand-on-heart pushed past processional
Ribs, the flaming licks, flicks, knicks, and babbling rum
Incenses quietly forlorn young girls

Act 1

You’ve got some jam on your lip and
I
Don’t say
You’re making me new to your eyes –
They could be yellow –
And you gave me your ‘slut dress’ so that I could
Give
Myself
At home in the quiet I jut my hips and
Massage my lips
With clay and
Wandering fingers edge my tips and
Because you believed me without being told
Because
You didn’t slip under me or over me.

Act 2

I miss that slick prick
Pushing through skin
Dredging up thick weaves
The sinful sighs
Come again
Solicited and moaning
“but you’re not gay”
And I’m silent about my dress
And he’s laughing and smoking
And I’m sucking

I think “Act 3” (if I carry on with the frankly random theatre referencing, well, life is a stage and men and women merely players) is going to be about this wonderful man who I can never get off with, but we keep seeing eachother all the same.

If you’re a romantic, I think it’s important to keep these things going. Love isn’t all bodies, okay, and a personality is way harder to get to know than a body. Way more interesting in the long run too, way more dominant. Look, even “Platonic love” becomes beautiful and wildly emotional. So those friendships are worth keeping, and more than that: the friendship is the real content of a romance. It’s the exchange of emotions that give all that physical theatricality value, man. So when you fall in love with someone but the usual sexy thing doesn’t seem like the right move, or is literally the wrong move, just be friends. Do the sexy minds thing. Plus, that way you can go fuck other people too.

Love and sex – totally not the same thing. But sex – totally worth doing.

Now, before I go there’s a night band you really should listen to. Yes, night band does in this case mean that you should only listen to them at night. Probably after 1am. It’s Hungry Ghosts, an Australian group whose album “Alone, Alone” I got into while living in a flat off Brick Lane. They’re top for mangled morning sessions of whatever really. I tend to end up writing on ’em. The album really has been like a drug. Any other time I seem to find it less than inspiring, but in the wee small hours it transforms to a near-perfection. I guess it fits with the concept of a hungry ghost (at least the Chinese traditional/buddhist concept outlined by wikipedia). Also, the Hungry Ghosts I’m thinking of – who can be found on youtube – aren’t the supercool Hong Kong band of the same name. (Sorry.)


Attribution for original seagull pic: By Post of Armenia (http://www.armenianstamps.com/2003.html) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The Pigeon Has a Cold

Personal, Poetry

It’s about 8pm, and I’m sorry – I would’ve posted earlier but I’ve had a shit of a hangover. The best way to get over a hangover is to keep drinking (and sometimes to throw up) but I wanna take it easy on my liver and throwing up is really not something I like to do. Used to have a particular hatred of it as a kid, and even though I now realise it’s just a means to an end, reverse eating/drinking still seems very uncomfortable. So I’ve just been wallowing, watching youtube videos and Netflix, eating huge quantities of carbs. A couple of hours ago I had the recovery coffee that’ll set me up for a night of writing. It’s gonna be good, I think.

I was watching Night on Earth with a pal of mine and his son. It’s a proper movie, which for me is one that just looks at people without much of a “good vs bad” dynamic colouring the lens. I enjoy a grand narrative playfully referencing big ideas, but I enjoy a realistic narrative more. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? – a definite favourite movie…and presumably theatre performance if it comes to that. Two people who may or may not be in loving acting like idiots to eachother. Doesn’t get more real than that, eh?

It shakes its head, it shakes its head. Coughs and splutters and feels it’s dead.
The pigeon has a cold.
Outside the sun, on a stony run, it spasms its neck, its brain to check.
The pigeon has a cold.
It waddles
along, standing still too long; too far from the friendly throng.
The pigeon has a cold.
Its bloated body rises above its shoulders to cushion its pecking head. The sun is down. The others have flown.
The pigeon has a cold.
The wind is gone. The frost is come. The day is done. The warm is run.
The pigeon has a cold.
It takes to the skies, so low it flies, the trees – all these – not below its knees. The pigeon is old. Wishes it had been told.
The pigeon has a cold.

A bit depressing amirite? Yeah, well I was going through a rough patch a few years ago. Anyway, if you’ve ever been to London you’ll know some of those pigeons have much worse than a cold.

It just seemed like an interesting thing to focus on at the time, the idea that a pigeon could be feeling under the weather too, just like us. But as with everything I did back then the idea got sidetracked by misery haha. Maybe I’ll do a re-write or try something about seagulls – those fuckers are everywhere, and I saw one steal a lady’s ice cream last week. It was rude and uncouth and it got mobbed by about ten other seagulls once the ice cream hit the floor. “Just go fishing like you used to you lazy fucks,” is what I often find myself thinking. Sadly they’re not psychic enough to hear me though.


Attribution for original pigeon image: By Alpsdake [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, from Wikimedia Commons

Consul Lactarius Aurantiacus

Personal, Poetry

I’m taking way too much time over this because it was for someone I really care about and I kinda want to get it right. But as ever that’s a bit of a self-defeating exercise – getting it right – and hey, I’ve not seen him for years anyway so who gives a fuck? This is the latest version of Consul Orange, now with a picture.

I can smell your flat Shandy Bass:
Crazy fresh open window Streathamings despite 4x4s
Maybe the glaucous seal,
Guardian of sheet seas and water-treading,
The glint and prickle of Sainsbury’s soave:
Demented cartoon solipsism and no
Questions, seeping into the night:
Some kind of pure morning sun feeling
Bursts November snow flow,
Their latex drops on the draught,
And on vague attempts at siphoning
The hairy gills embrace:
Oesophageal anticipation,
That exhausted Tadcaster blur moaning,
Bound eyes dour to the ceiling,
And white emperor armour self-inflicted orange
Somehow unjust, tearing and milk spilling
Like discarded lines sweat-patched,
Invader Zim acceptance, lonely perfumed
Shower soap irritating unknown orgasm:
A world set above the world claws
Your shiny glass skull, self-reflecting or alien crystal,
Talking fish singing penitent,
Discarded shirt, tie, lissom French letters,
Vapor boots neatly stacked with wine glass columns:
Your epic poetic resounding sweet chill pizza,
And the last hungry dribbles shared:
I could have laid the whole mo[u]rning through
No cold in the exhausted breeze cradling
Drowned sugar between sheets.

I performed this once, and the crowd looked at me as though I wasn’t finished. I’m not sure if it was just shellshock (I’m awkward and embarrassed about these things – I could get some kind of shock from performing I’m sure) but I think they didn’t do anything, whereas for everyone else including the people whose performance skills were as inspiring as my own, they’d at least clapped. I remember the host/MC saying, as I walked back to the masses cuddling their wine glasses, “That was great…I really liked the [and he misquoted a line]”. I thought, well, I’m glad you liked the version you made up at least.

Performing poetry is fucking weird. Also if they thought I wasn’t finished, they were right. This is still a work in progress. A labour, if not of love then of…labour.

For those of you keeping track, I promised you a poem about a pigeon that has a cold. You’re going to get it. Tomorrow. I just felt like putting this out today…it’s overdue really.

On an unrelated note, has anyone seen that Netflix series the Last Kingdom?  That Alexander Dreymon is what we used to call “a lovely bit of slice”. You have to say that with as much phlegm and spittle in your mouth as possible to show how tasty the person you’re talking about is. It’s an Essex/Saaaaf Lundon thing, don’t worry about it.