And how do we manage paradox?

 Posted by at 10:16 am  Atelier, Hitting the Potholes  Comments Off
Nov 222016

And how do we manage paradox?

The shimmering mirages of our minds?

Where the world is both fragmentary and dazzling?

This is such is it not?

I mean it’s like this; this is how it is

Can you see what I’m pointing at?

Indicating the target

But in my myopic dazzle

Can I trust that the target is the target

A bull’s eye of power?

Possibly not.


My hands shake with the tension of the bow 

Paradox is all of a shimmer

There is no target

Only my tears in the cold wind.

So I will sit for a while and gather my vulnerabilities.


Over there is here now;

I love to be surrounded by all these foreigners

It makes me feel at home

Perhaps at home I am not at home.

I need to turn round and catch a glimpse of the self behind me

Hiding perhaps 

Those opposite but maybe apposite impulses

Cheeky devils but devils non the less 

Twisting me about their talons . . .

Holding me to the flames.


I don’t think optimism is overly concerned with the contradictions of paradox,

Do you?

We could even make the next leap together . . . 

We shall discuss it at tomorrow’s conference and discover that the door is open 

Or if it’s not a door, then the path will be apparent

Though its degree of difficulty remains uncertain

Surprises are guaranteed.


Nov 182016

Being a think-and-write person:

…the hard things when you’re not thinking or writing and as far as you know
you are dead
or might as well be, with no word for yourself, just that suction-shush like a heart pump or straw in a milk shake…”
[CK Williams, Writers Writing Dying, Pp59]

It’s for keeping an eye on you, that’s what being a think-and-write person is for, for watching you, the you yourself
not a dream sequence at all “floating in the sidereal void”,
the you with a yellow hard-hat on, swamped wet,  and looking about to burst into song, or a snatch of song
shifting a word or two here or there like in a Prayer for the Dying (Lisa Hannigan, 2016),

to feel all                                      the ripples

and some mis –                        understood

gleefully taking liberties:

-singing songs or not even songs, just lolly-molly syllable sounds
and you’d escaped from language, from having to gab, from having to write down the idiot gab.”
[CK Williams, Writers Writing Dying, Pp60]

Is backward the new forward?

 Posted by at 10:38 am  Fundamental Perversions  Comments Off
Nov 172016

And what does forward mean?

No, don’t look at me like that,

That exasperated expression on your face;

I mean it seriously:

Forward is now back.


Is this Nietzsche’s Eternal Recurrence?


1970 is as far as got before the braying donkey of the right

Rediscovered those populist slogans 

To feed the resentments toxically exaggerated 

once equality was downgraded

To a shrug of indifference 

By the freeing of markets 

That poured billions into the open pockets

Of the rich.


After all we can always blame the stranger.

On the Road Again

 Posted by at 8:33 am  Echo Effects, Exodus, OUT in the WILDERNESS  Comments Off
Nov 152016

Carrying on, in times like these I turn to poetry. CK Williams is working best right now, The Collected Poems (up to 2003).I’ve also just bought Writers, Writing, Dying (2013).

I like his poems that are often slowly unfolding stories, long sentences, with spaces to pause and breath, both personal and political, moral and cosmopolitan.

Is this grief, he asks at one point. I have been feeling lost for words too, swamped.
We should walk the fens outside town today,
I say to him, the native wetlands, and we can go shopping on the way back.
The spring waters are clear and cold,
as I reach down for a smooth gravel stone lying on the bottom, and wonder
about slipping in deeper. Later I look up
that the statistical chance of this happening is less than 1:200.

Nov 112016

Brexit . . . Trump . . . is the darkness gathering? Is it Tolkein time? The gathering of the forces of tyranny? The denial of democracy as a system of enlightened governance? A realignment of world power? A Putin/Trump axis?

Should I pack my belongings on the poor donkey’s back and head for the hills?

Or will life carry on much as before apart from relatively isolated acts of mindless violence?

The sun is breaking through the clouds here in Florence. Perhaps I will go out to play.

Care worn

 Posted by at 3:45 pm  Hitting the Potholes  Comments Off
Nov 022016

I woke early this morning – maybe 5 o’clock – to a sense of being worn out and remember the phrase care worn – worn out by caring – the slow work of love, of caring for others, that gradual erosion of the outer layers until only some sort of essence remains: a skeleton of self. Work completed we slip along the darkening track that leads to death.

I get up and sit for twenty minutes and then return to bed and sleep some more and dream of my sister collapsing in the street, a thin stream of vomit issuing from her mouth. I rush towards her and wake from that image.

Later I read in the Guardian a piece by George Monbiot about his touring the country talking to audiences about loneliness and mental health. How do we care for each other? He invites people to turn to a stranger and say hello. In a few minutes it is difficult for the platform to regain the attention of the audience who are chatting away to each other.

Geoff Dyer, in Zona, reflects on the central theme of the Room being a place in which one’s deepest wishes can be met. He confesses to his own desire to have sex with two women but amazingly (to me) he doesn’t identify (my assumption) that our deepest desire is to love and to be loved.

In the current horror of the American presidential election campaign battle we have the bewildering sight of two brands of liars making their bids for power: one, the professional politician smoothly squaring any circle that is presented to her and the other a lying, cheating, abusive example from the business community, the entrepreneur, who doesn’t even attempt to refer to any tangible reality, merely fires off in all directions, pushing the buttons of all those who have been failed and feel cheated by the established political elite.