Sunday, 17 February 2019

Hopelessness

Hopelessness

I.


Somewhere you have never been. A meadow near to it, and the balmy stench. Summer pollen like snow, polder of the afterglow, and you are flooded with joy in the pasture, connected to, and the motion of the swaying grass feeling your heart in your chest taking in the beauty as it scans back the meadow, connected to but not always, you going there and walking in the lapping breeze. Joyous light of late afternoon; not surprised by it swift birds swoop as if dropped and catch back onto the warm rise the ground sends up to the air connected and swirl into the brilliance, fully defiant and as with the air the crickets somewhere you have never been are staring in a way that you have never stared with all five of their eyes in fixed points connected to the optic globes of brain gazing in love at the femur with its coarse hairs each a dapple of complex hooks you have never felt as this in the meadow is a mantis, not the ideal, but may as well be as it perched by the kiss of a flower you long and lift up, connected as you were then to a primal longing for peace shattered.

It is a scarlet day in a place you’ve never been with your eyes closed with another layer of brick and then another then some boards and plaster then the hauntings of a place filled up with the echoes of people who are coming, who is this, standing outside of it making up the pastoral imagining shaking your head sadly, you refuse to use the word “it”, you shake your head and nod your head. You go to work and nod you go home and shake, you sometimes shake in silence or sometimes cry out past the field and into the mechanic room where there is a pipe touched by a woman and it is always the woman who goes to care for you. Madly nodding your head. And the pipe unblocks and comes into you. You and many others, actually the same pipe, always the same room with the woman you shake when you go home, where it is different, a different layer. The woman at work you think of and don’t think of because she moves around in your eyes and the eyes of the whole unit according to where she needs to be at work and at home she is always moving just beyond the point at seeing, which is annoying. Blast that away and out in the meadow in the deep dream state you pollen the horizon, I am, we, you, the whole of the world walking alone in your thirties through the meadow gently congratulating yourself a distant figure slightly annoying, but okay, not at all the worst, and when this beauty flies into the eyes you are younger again and again shedding away all that pollen from the windscreen where the spores fly off to the meadows and arable fields, so tired that you’d like to die,  which I mustn’t do, you once told me, held you head into the field’s near the copse the babble of water distronic toxaemia. To before, now and after, straining in the light of the wall, light of the late day, magnificent birds fling up sick when the tube of another kind of engine, one to take things out of my stomach is unblocked and attached this happy trail of a burning myth extinct and then fixed to a word: The meadow scratch you out of the window a long lawn miles down to a fountain whose noise stretched through the silent air you imagine it floats up to you. The possibilities have pared down, which is nice, and in the meadow, for a quiet life, the tube flaps gently in the West wind (at last) and the woman, who must have been the woman in the room who was irritating your view of an empty distance is gone, so surely unblocking this tube can’t be so hard you mutter into the still and balmy air as you begin to fiddle with the nozzle, the breeze being light enough that the tube rocks only very slightly from side to side, yet still it’s not as simple as it might have been. Still though, nice day for it, 101 things a boy can do. Mr. Sergeant? Are you awake? There’s a visitor to see you. The tube swings around to look up. Just birds. Flocks of patients and a sticky smell. It is pollen. I’ll do it! And true to form the nozzle swings up to the energy the hand put there but this time the blockage moves about thirty feet back down the tube and not into you which is where you imagine that it ought to be, that’s how it works surely, or else how would it? The primrose shines out.

That, you explained, is Papilio machaon, whilst that, you see it? It’s similar, but that is Iphiclides podalirius, do you see? A few paces on. Ah! On the search for the elusive Nymphalis antiopa. Never seen at all, the Mourning Cloak, you call back. There is nobody behind you.  Then a tap on the shoulder, that I am fearful of. Wie gehts? I am mixing a strange colour for you, filled with glue and wool. Still undulating your grim mouth near the tube the nurse yawns and falls out of character, looks at a photograph of you labouring at the nozzle whilst blood falls luridly out of you and allows herself to laugh, once, very quietly. A British nurse laughs with you, not at you, you say using the nozzle as a puppet mouth, snarling at everything; stage one emphysema. But you go into the museum and look around a bit. Grim for the elated stylus. A tap on the shoulder, this time narrowly. And you turn around to see the figure drift off into the noise. Is it a secret? When do you think you will head here?

Things that could have been yours; a tangible derelict stance on poppies, unbreakable oath, on the feelings of officers, the distant tattoo, and why this corrupt image: The meadow? Too much to easily promise, surely,
and as the district softly agrees to itself the Meadow becomes a station in prayer,
an oath to the silos, abandoned slag, the unlistening feeling, protecting the hobbies of the meadow. You can’t just start working and expect everybody else
to follow, to turn to them and snarl at having started not having
you for guidance. You can’t just expect love you have to earn it, snarling back at the indolent precarious day by night workers pretending not to be tired or in grief but for the £3.70 you are promised and in fact you can’t be in love not at the moment, anything you amount to must have a strategy, like getting out of being forever beholden to loss. 

II.

As you become awake your arm goes over your body to check your nozzle. The button on the side of it lights the display. A message says “As this is near your limit, please ensure you have enough money available to cover payments”, which is why you fear the nozzle. The current minimum wage rate for an apprentice is £3.70 per hour. We had been in a fair and stable phase. When you were younger you worked in an extrusion plant. Things have changed. Things that are normal now, being underpaid, not being paid, being paid according to the perceived quality of your work, qualitative payments; for example, to be awarded with your £3.70 an hour you need to work as though you’re being paid £8.21 an hour, and when you start acting like £8.21 an hour I’ll start treating you like £8.21 an hour, that is except for the £8.21 an hour, which may come later. You dreamed of becoming a musician, and spent a great deal of time working away from work, and people would tell you what it was. Now drenched in the teaming meadow. You’re moved into the home. You said you’d always want your dignity, which was dependent on the non dignity of the people in the home. Every morning a music and movement session, based on Tom Kitwood, about endorphins. Never me, you say. Have you done enough to be paid.

Every fucking morning they come in and hold onto people’s hands. You can’t read. Something is making you not able to do it. You can only watch.
One day I will get up and dance, the nozzle glares but the tube itself glares. You yourself glare into the hands you hold singing a song from the forties that you were never in with a care worker who has the same thing in common, never having been in the forties, still the two of you awkwardly singing a lost song whose theme is against loss both beholden to only loss, excruciatingly long, and within it a quiet dignity called loss, real loss, the kind that abstract loss can’t know. Hopeless loss without conditions. Radical hopeless loss without the condition to move, no clause, just there; forever at the mouth of the nozzle glaring out at the Mourning Cloak in the meadow who sits maddeningly still, nozzles filling up their dark wings with your blood.

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Monologue - from Sappho.

Monologue

                               from Sappho


I am lying in a dead body under the dead water. You are the distance. As I lie here in my body in the warm dead sea, you are the distance, the light at the top of the water, the arriving and the leaving. I stare across the field towards the buildings. So many lives inside that place they move in the light and hide in the darkness, the field inside the dream, where I climbed into the ground through layers of wires and posts, down into the soil to find your still living body, having been  there, down in the earth all this time, and we began to climb up through layers of pipes and posts, to move into the light of the field.


You are still dead, still there in some churchyard asleep in the soil and I wonder who thinks of your name, goodbye until paradise, until we meet again.  I touch the surface of the water. We have sat quietly and suffered the violence. Lost our interior lives. My eyes are against the water. My body is beneath you, being slowly deadened by guilt and its attrition. The water has covered my body and I am lying dead in the water. What a frenzy in my breast raged and by what cure to be assuaged, what gentle youth I would allure whom in my haunted heart secure, who does this fractured life subdue, tell me water, tell me who. You may live between the sand and the salt and the breath.


We woke inside the dead water. We were scared... like any newly born baby opening our eyes to a gigantic glow — we lived in the dead water, our dead bodies glowed, we were frightened... every knock, every word. We realised our panic was minute compared to the panic of the mirrors, and it flashed: We were invincible... because we were everybody. We held our bodies together in the dead of the sea. It is a life of attrition I live to refuse, under the cover of the dead water in my dead body I hold you to myself, you are still older than I am. You died so long ago. I believe that you are still moving through the world and through time, through this slow dead water, so beautiful and calm, the surface that I touch with my palm. I stopped being living for you.


And this will be your food, the salt of the water. And this will be your air, my blood and my skin. And this will be your light, the pulse of my chest. And this will be your sleep, the sleep of my body. Look up, so much beauty, look into the ground. Squint with me, into the middle distance, so far back and I am dragging you out of the ground. The escape is corroded. Your overnight balance. We go out of our minds and tear the skin from fish with our teeth. I am lying beside you forever and speaking this. You are moving close again, handing me an open paper bag. I long for your heart to move. It is still. The ground is somewhere, gone. Wind tears the scaffold sheets. But I can barely speak. I lift your body out of the water and begin to walk, holding you in my arms, barely speakable. Please fall out of the dead ground. So far away, and into the hungry earth. I stretched and lifted you into the dried up sky.


The birds are silent (while you remain), in the woods a complete silence of birds. The beauty of the skies I hold you there, Come then, I pray, grant me surcease from sorrow. We are no mercenaries, shaking children unjust in the soil, we are destroyed at inception, dead in the soil, dead in the water, the water is dead, dead in the sockets, dead in the chest. We are dead in the water and the soil. Salt will be our food. Kill the soil and the water, I want you to live again. These are my last words for you, the salt and the water, the birth and the death. Come away from dying, come and stare at me again. Grant the sound to cease from sorrow, quickly the light will follow. I watch the lives are destroyed. Give you limbs and teeth, life after life, up from the soil, up to the air, limbs and a chest and eyes to stare and the peeling deadened water and the mouth of the ground.



Of barely seen, hardly noticed, you were in grey and red, some yellow and the sun in your glass. Would I breathe at you, strobing yellow, grey flecks of red would my dreams haunt me you climbing figure dangling from the sand and salt stained in the sun on the white paper day I stare down into the bag there’s nothing in it the colours are flotsam we’d array love arrests my heart it has destroyed the mind is over is all that is left O, slipping contrast love robbed my heart.


I love to fall asleep, but I fall asleep to you. I am robbed of sleep and robbed from the heart. We lurch up together in the dirty water like wooden deckchairs. I think your chest is moving, or peeling away from the earth. There will be eleven more summers, you said. And my hand moved slowly across the soil. I am near to screaming for you, because you bob in the soil like a collapsed deckchair, close the sky and a little like the light that is coming to touch the sky, and I do not expect your chest to move, nor for your eyes to gently fall open, nor for the ground to give you back, nor for my breath, for paradise singled down to a tiny fleck of yellow in a sea of gray, or a few red bands. But I can hear your voice.


A bit of your voice, a tiny glint of how you would speak with a little creak fleck of yellow, red and tongue glint from the glass, but exactly where we were at this moment or trace of you in a carpark as I sat there alone like the soil. Sometimes buried to me or sometimes that one time so alive and climbing back into the world, older and able to move through the ground. And what you do to the heaving chest though never my eyes or the chest dusted in soil and never decomposed, just a piece of your light seeping into the gorgeous creaking ground.


How the loud sky tugs the tiny chests from the ground. I clench all of my teeth. Deep into the scaffold sheet howls the cladding wind, paper and gold, grey or gray, two strips of red, eleven new summers, I am the birth and the death and the light that is coming, the hopeless stunted light that is come to go again, lain against the water’s top. Red on red I am dead to hope I know not what to do: I have two minds. In doubt I am, I have two minds, one is grey, the other a hopeless splash of yellow or gold I know not what to do. With my two arms I lift your tired body from the speechless ground, so, like a child after its mother, I flutter like a scaffold sheet in the tearing wind. The eyes of my head scan tenderly left to right, the eyes in the sockets of my body in the water stare up at the soil through the salt at your chest. To me thou didst seem a small and ungraceful sea.


Now that we are allowed on the grass will you not speak. I will not speak. Your voice with a tiny creak. You drank in the water forever, every single piece of the water inside you, but you shall ever lie dead; it feels as though everyone has forgotten, that I alone burn for you to live, that tiny blotch of colour by the gate of the car park. Now we are allowed to go onto the grass you wonder unnoticed even through death folding into the shadows and fixed to the gloom where memory seeps away like the water you drink forever.


I clench my wet fists, shot up in colour. The killing of a wave in the colours of the field, the rain is done the sun is come. Circuits and the stars about the grey moon throw down their red beauty. I know one day that you will come, that your madness will step aboard the world, do not try to save me, stay in my arms. Do not save me again.


Down in the leaves press to my cheek the grassy eyes of the hollow bare ground. The motions of soil from the motions of the ground from the motions of water from the motions of your chest from the motions of the water from the motions of the ground to the motions of soil; I stand chest deep in your grave, my eyes gently scream in the rain. Why were the ground why were the chest why were the indicants of the field. Now we go are allowed to the grass and the grass for our feet is the life in the arc, we are falling and moaning, smiling and sharing, a prelude to taking you into the earth. I am stood in your grave neck deep, trying to dry out the last of my eyes. They will not come dry. They are like the dead water that won’t stop pouring into your mouth. Then never ending drinking of the dead water and the never stopping fleck of yellow or gold the grey and the grain of the floor, that pillar, the yellow tree in the corner, the birth and the death, slowly the death, lilting in the warm cool water, holding in a trance to our chests.


Sweet villains in the soil chewing the salt, I am so glad we’re allowed together to go out onto the grass, best to a tender front may I liken you to the quiet water’s top there was no other, no other sound but your quiet chest please come back to the grass, stir not the pebbles, I am standing in a grave up to my ankles and the rain has stopped, we are quite alone, with blushes and gently darting eyes; our kind voices reach up to the incredible colour, in the air, in the water, gathering chests and holding in the longing swell as soil to grey against red to the last fleck of yellow or gold creaking into the coming light. 

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Magazine FOR SALE

Hello!

There's a magazine here with hororscopes, gossip, adverts, think pieces, slander, lies and transcripts. It is yours for £2.50. PayPal ashley.french@gmail.com with a note of your address and it is yours.





Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Joy (1)

  Today I will speak with the bank and the person
who frightens, as it happens is closer, almost nothing
today but terror then hearing that 6000 workers at the bank
     will lose their jobs, what better day
to face down tube and confess the failures even just to ask
are you okay. To which the answer is a recorded ‘yes’, but first
 
   I will make some soup, archaic in a maddening agitation of stretches
called “God Soup” and think back to my dream where the bank
congratulated me on a sensible decision and I was there in the enormous
     branch of Homebase piling up wood to exchange for money
then going to buy Starr Hamilton’s collection, it was good in that dream.
They kept me asleep made me ready for the fear that bulged from the day;
   
      so first I will make this soup, second I will stand back up, third
hear some shithead MP who says that we should visit
the library. But mister, the library was closed.
     Even better! The next one is twenty five miles away, you could jog there,
and your mind, a full destroyer, devourer of ‘the arts’, in Strathclyde
they came at knife crime like an enormous boat turning

     in the harbour. Fuck it. Like a diagnosed hinge I go on in the corner
of your door. I am inside the through space like a vacated study
trembling against the walls, wondering, the code
     seeps from the wall still stuck until it’s worked out;
I have made the soup nostalgic and pathetic as it seems
I do believe in the remedy of a built up surface, a complexion

     don’t trust anyone who’d tell you to do this like that minister
same as saying love trumps hate or thoughts and prayers
never advise me, I ask of the bank as it changes giant hands,
     hands in the air over the visible cosmos hands change
and we remain like the teeth which hang in the gums
the sun is behind a cloud, the bank is its teeth. Beyond

     this corner of the sky, like a damaged cutlass the sinew
jerks to a halt at the end of the phone the person who is working
soon to make a call like this, identical but for knowledge. Hindsight
     as a populist myth like we are not required by God
neither they for us, utterly superfluous the dream slips
on better decisions, the kindness of unkind vectors, the reverie

     of everything in this world minus the popular tring
of jets, forced labour, eating the ground, rotting the limbs,
razoring the caravan, curbing opinion, never having known
     a non local sufferance, inlets of unmonitored finance,
a man called Fred Goodwin, a man called Warren Buffett,
a man called John Locke, a man called a man called a man across the sky

     for now not to recourse to their long names, the origins
of a picked battle gently not flowering, not mounting
the sex gland of a reassuring magic. I stir into this simulated oblivion
     the agonies of a kindness and the wrongs of its name.

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Last Manifesto

How hateful you've become. It's the day before the deadline for the GRA consultation. Maybe you're reading this in a few years time and you don't know what that is - you don't know what anything is. The whole world has been sucked out and paralysed and you're not capable of knowing anything. No. That's now. Hostile subject, you don't know anything at all. We are left with almost nothing. Hatred is not knowledge, it is idiot passion. It burns in me. The reason this feels strange is because I barely know what any of it means anymore. It feels like they're having another one of their elections which have collapsed onto us over and over again. Even that last one where that desperate little weapon called Jeremy Corbyn made a bit of headway. Everything that's happened in electoral politics for the last ten years has been a hideous repulsive disgusting ridicule of human subjectivity. Actually, twenty years, actually, more or less forever, and more or less almost nothing. And so here I am in a horrible state not dressed yet, working away at the thing that occupies every minute of my entire life and often takes me closer to universal central point, making me worse, being told by my financial ombudsman (I don't know what that is) that I am not working and that I need to be working, and I look at social media where loads of gorgeous people are doing their absolute best to accommodate people who are like me, or a bit like me, or not at all like me, or a little bit to the right if you squint but almost like me or who are almost nothing like I am or who are nothing like you and I also are, or who are a bit more than almost nothing, or who are almost nothing like almost nothing, asking things like "how can I be a good ally?". I don't know what this is. A nebulous vocoder. Fuck you, ally. You are as bad as rotten soil. That's not even an insult. I am the thing rotting in the soil and you are the soil. "You are my dust" I read somewhere. It's not even going to accumulate into some wonderful moment if it goes well, the GRA if reformed as proposed will at best attempt to save a few hundred lives and what are a few hundred lives now when we are almost less than nearly nothing, after all of this? How hateful I've become. It happens from time to time. I try to resist and curtail it but it's so difficult. To have seen magnificent humans brimming with love deliberately fall out of this world and to have even a vague understanding of the mechanisms that seem to be sustaining it against so many incredible possibilities - rendering the better good utterly impossible, it's hard not to recourse to hatred... It's been a couple of hours since I wrote that. Now I'm a little calm. Or exhausted. The thing about this moment - the thing, is that it's one of those questions that I can't believe we're even asking. Around that questions is a swarm of grieving fear being clutched tightly in the fists by opinion journalists and people who've been thrashing against us obsessively for years. Suddenly they're walking under the banner of "legitimate concern". We just want the noise to stop. That's all I can hope for at the moment. I'm sick of human lives being at the centre of violent questioning. I'm sick of your pretend intellectualism. I'm sick of your stirring. There is no such thing as a trans poetics. I'm sick of the great big old world keeps on turning. There is a tongue in the neck. There is rotting soil. Moments of collective healing. What. Slow death.

(niner - after Nat Raha, after Linus Slug)


Slow death, now as in gently they made
     a centre, this hazing remedy
     hostility recognition act
     legitimized until no moving;
slow death, slow death, slow gridded death, by
     what. How hateful you've, no not "hateful"
     exactly more like a gentle grind
     called love, exactly. What. Reduced us
to releasing wasps in their houses.


Today is the last day in the entire world. Waiting at the end of something for almost nothing. Waiting at the end of something that is also nearly nothing for almost nothing to happen. Being attacked for nothing and for wanting nothing more than nearly nothing, for wanting almost nothing more to happen. Being killed for being almost nothing at all. Being nothing. Being almost something, nearly the idea of something but almost called nothing. Waiting at the end of nothing for almost nothing to achieve almost nothing; we are almost nothing waiting for almost nothing for an amount of time that feels like just a little more than almost nothing but is in fact barely anything, and is nearly almost nothing. Feeling almost nearly nothing about waiting for almost nothing being killed for almost very nearly nothing nothing and almost feeling nothing. Being feelingly crushed under the weight of almost nothing knowing nothing forward and nothing backward, knowing that ‘forward’ and ‘backward’ is less than almost nothing, the inescapable less than nearly almost nothing whose consensus we are stretched inside to the length of nearly nothing. The consensus of being almost nothing for almost no time, for feeling almost everything knowing that everything we are always feeling is slightly short of almost nothing. You are everything to me, and it feels like we are somehow going to be crushed again, gently crushed to the glint of a scent of a flavour of a speck of a maddeningly tiny almost nearly nothing, a minuscule almost nearly nothing coerced and tendered into a world of minute almost nothings forever, an objective and administrable, almost nothing. an objective and administrable slow and silent death.

Sunday, 7 October 2018

Monlogue - from Hopeless Vibrato

MARTIN: I am Martin Costello - Hater of Paedophiles. For the last few months my daughter’s been softly tugging on my arm asking about higher education. Obviously I’m a very busy man what with leafleting and the little plastic gloves they use cost a penny each but we could be waste them on or at maybe ten pounds a glove! etc. For a while I paid it little attention thinking this was a soft phase which would pass her by and maybe leave her feeling really stupid when it all turns out to be make believe. Unbeknownst to me, however, she’d sent off UCAS applications. She received three unconditional offers which I was bloody well expected to be proud about when the little rubber fingers not fit properly a bloody disgrace at ten pounds each a glove! So I did my homework. I’d heard all about these “Universities”, snowflake replicators. Parsons Extruded Remoaners. I checked the list of courses available and to my surprise there wasn’t a single one listed as a “Social Justice” course. Perhaps Sargon’s petition had actually worked! Next I checked to see if there were any bloody well Paedos. There were two convicted staff members. Doddery old white professors. Not much of a grooming gang if you ask me. I ignored them. For once I felt my conception softly inch itself towards the door like grandparent fingers unwrapping my fingers, peeling them out of the little plastic gloves they have. My daughter. My deal. My taxes. I left myself at the door and flew back home with the leaflets. The sun let itself shiver through the curtain. My heart rate monitor. No daughter of mine. No.



The above is from a long theatre / poetic monologue piece I'm working on. The working title for the performance is "You Will Live Today", with the internal monologue under the title Hopeless Vibrato. 

There's a new Binnsclagg E.P. here for you to listen to, if you like that type of thing: Binnsclagg - Fly Away Peter Fly Away Paul

*

Friday, 5 October 2018

News! Gossip! Books! OMG!

THE NEWS



Hi there.

There's loads of exciting published matter that you should go and buy immediately.

First of all look at these wonderful objects from Boiler House Press!


New collections from Nar Raha, Sophie Robinson, Francesca Lisette and Marcus Slease. All of these poets are doing incredible work. I'm also mad about boilers and gorgeous printed matter.

I may try and review these as a set. You can pre-order them here (out on November 5th):

(funded) Boiler House

And look what's new from Sad Press:


Stoked to see new work from Imogen Cassels and Naomi Weber. They can be got here:

Sad Press

I have a new book out on Pilot Press. Also any day now you'll be able to get A Queer Anthology of Rage. Here:

Pilot Press

Timothy Thornton's In Skyscraper Dawn has just dropped on The Winter Olympics Press. Solid banger.

The Winter Olympics

There's a new Press in town run by three absolute Baberaham Lincolns. A book is out by Calliope Michail, which is excellent. This is a press which supports writers and has good politics. It is here:

https://www.the87press.com/

I've made a Patreon page because I have very little money at the moment but I'm working really hard and I want some new cardigans. If you'd like to support me in my life you can do so. I will send you treats and stuff.

Help This Nervous Slow Worm Live its Best Life


GOSSIP / OMG


So the TOTALLY gorgeous poet known under Francis Crot, Pochahontis Mildew, Axle Prose, Jowself Walton etc. has only gone and landed a job at Sussex which mean's he's in the same town as me. The other week a group of us had a little intimate reading in the upstairs of our local and it was GORGEOUS. Totally. So like, we should do another but with Walton in the room. 

OMG me and Joe Luna are both at the University of Surrey now! Surrey is known as Britain's Patio!

Keston Sutherland and Stephen G. Rhodes have an exhibition on in the back of a vape shop on Western Road in Hove. It's right by me and Dolly's house so if you go give us a dot at verityspott@gmail.com and maybe we can go for a cup of tea. Here's a like to that: We Get it You Vape

Come to the next Hi Zero too. Hi Zero 64. There's going to be a Nat Raha, a David Grundy and a Gizem Okulu. It'll be a madness!

Speaking of which I'm a bit worried that Ally Law might be in prison or something. His YouTube account has been pretty quiet of late. I know he's meant to be on tour doing Madnesses every day. Lord be with you, Ally and your pals.

I'm not sure who fancies who at the moment. If you know please drop me an email. I'm also trying to get back into the agony aunt business so please drop me an email with your problems, but be aware they will be published.

Cya. xx