I'm not curious. I would not dismantle a thing simply to reconstruct it, to substantiate its existence by labelling all the subset things that make up the whole of a thing. There is the obvious skin and there is the mystery it contains. Schrödinger’s Cat is a box until I choose to open it. I look at things and try to see what it is I am watching. A box that meows or stinks of death?
The train is a beast, a liveried wyrm - we are its organs, well-packed within. The train is a chain of blood sausage, we are the offal stuffing of it. The railways are the arteries that bloat this heart London - we are the corpuscles, we are clot fit to burst. I mean to say, the commuter trains are overcrowded. It is often an overblown experience, compressed inside a carriage, butt to cheek, elbow to gut, compacted. Then, uh, the delays.
INTIMACY AND STRANGENESS
After work, I ride the Circle Line down to Cannon Street. It takes, what, 15 minutes. I spend the time doing one of three things - re-reading William Carlos William’s Paterson, or gushing crude oil lines of poetry, or I nap that semiconcious, station-concious kip of a commuter. Every so often, I overshoot, get off at Mansion House, cross platforms and sneak back up the line - reading, writing or sleeping, all are causal.
Can’t see the wood for the trees. With poetry, it’s often ‘can’t see the words for the text’. The following ‘poem’ was heading for the sidelining of my tumblr, Piecemeal. It's a beached thing, a creature that shifts and stirs on the sands, but, really, it's just lifeless out of the water and it's incapable of returning. I’m just a callous beachcomer who pauses along the tideline to poke at it with a stick, making it flinch.
Sometimes I watch life like it’s tv. Stuff happening beyond my reach. And episodes repeat, the same thing over and over (remade, really). When I watch life like it’s tv, I am not a camera - I’ve no say in what I see. I will write down what I see: it’s not documentary, it’s not fiction. It’s a form of paraphrase. Things occur in black & white, I ‘audience’ that stuff, then write what I saw in colour.
No.2, back and sides. No.3 on top. First buzzcut I got, I was twelve. God knows why, I wanted a crewcut. Butcher Bates’ electric clippers swarmed this way and that, ticklish about the nape, harmonious behind the ears. It was a hair cut for touching, for stroking. All intimacy. The open air licked the exposed scalp. A keen style, unsentimental. How it staggered mam when she saw it. No.2. plus No.3 equals an effect (that is a rare achievement).
It's rare to write anything straight off, plop-there-it-is. Might happen, a poem drops, unexpected. Nah, it never occurs, there has to be impregnation (a collision of things) and gestation. Thought is continual frog spawn fertilised by life (yes, yes, it is frogs fucking). Myth says, a girl goes for a dump and she births a baby into the toilet bowl, she hadn't known she was pregnant. It might happen. Intent on making a shopping list, you shit out a poem. You're not always aware you are carrying.
The first murder I committed was of a bird, a sparrow. I fired from the hip. Phut, the air rifle spat. Phut, the little thing fell dead onto the pavement. Fuck, I was so elated. Such a sweet shot I thought. A Peckinpah of a shot, the kind we rejoiced in the Westerns we watched. We were hypocrites. We are hypocrites. The succulent violence of bullets balloon-bursting flesh that we sought in cinema, we don’t want for real.