Busan

i was treated to a short respite from work with a trip to Korea’s 2nd largest city, Busan (부산).
Busan was spared the artillery impact of the Korean war & contains historical areas that Korea on the whole, doesn’t have. There is a balance between the hyper-new, chic, beach side with glass skyscrapers scratching cloud; old fish markets with leathery faces haggling & hodge podge, pastel villages where artists make their beds & face off against the rich by scrabbling the hills.
My wife wanted to shop (which is an new ring of hell for me) so i took the opportunity to walk around a maze-like department store with a camera, with some interesting results.
i’ll try to make this weekend all about photographs if i can edit them in time.

Thinking out loud in no particular order

Roy Fisher in his Jacket2 interview, explained that his poetry could sometimes be explained as thinking out loud. i’ve been quite taken by this & for the past 3 days i have written something like 25 pages or round there about of this thinking out loud poetry & i am quite pleased with the results & the oiling of the pistons encouraged. i don’t know if i’d call it experimental or even poetry, but it is something & the product is too tantalizing for the method to be cast to the dogs.  Here’s a palm through to scrape your brain across.

Thinking out loud
in no particular order

—blah blah Black Sheep have you
any bank notes made
of human skin
a neo-liberal, whachya-call-it
-thingy-ma-jig
y’ know, for key changes

— a post-structural
rustic dance with bells,

a popular tune,
rabbits in weak light
bending shadow
with the pulse
of their tails.

What are the gestures of unreason?
In the spotlight
gold tussocked clods of men

Boris here, Tony there
blazers with Eleusian emblems, meaning
something to them;
the sort of men who
consult harridan oracles.

: (a)versions of a meme
what’s that?

Graves would whisper
Greek nothings in the ears
of sex & love gods
in Deià Majorca, before
the Brits made it shit,
occupying villas, turning
the local cuisine to
egg, chips & mushy peas with bread n’ butter
or banger’s & mash, Sunday’s
for roasting, obviously
—where he buried himself
in unpopular ideas
that made so much sense & rose
to brain the Times’ academia
with its own absence
of curiosity.

24 hour news
is a dull, great abstract
the separation of truth,
the surface of it, but not
it: too many ifs &
not enough humility.

i’ll plagiarize myself
truly Modern
then blackmail me
for the ransom.

Wallace’s Prophecy of Plagiarism

Another new addition to The Wallace Variations. 

Wallace’s Prophecy of Plagiarism

He climbed into the dome
of a zelkova tree
& wouldn’t come down
for love nor money,
said he was a blackbird

with a catchphrase on
the tip of his tongue
stained red with cherry
sherbet— i thought, i may
need to call the fire brigade.

He took out a yellow post-it
& starting writing,
i tried to interrupt, but
he shushed! me, so
i waited my neck sore.

He let the note flutter
to my feet, it said
As soon as it appears
that I’m repeating myself,
it means I’m no longer
in control, but corporately
branded, turned out.

These works cannot
be trusted, cannot be given
the space to resist me.
At this point, I must be
stamped from history, again
that I may be reborn
to start the process of
my Complete Works anew.

Sincerely, your pal, Wally.

He began to cry, so
i called a meteorologist.

Wally Draws Real Gulls in an Empty Sky

Another new poem for The Wallace Variations.

Wally Draws Real Gulls in an Empty Sky

i walk with Wally & the dogs
down to the shore. On the way he
was all pipperoo, pippera, pipperum.
i asked the meaning of this, each word
(a neologism?) inflected, before
dropping into plosive starts— he shrugged,
pulled a face, dramatizing his shrug.
Much of the wind about
& clouds like bracketed prose

from which all sound issued
the largess of itself. He took
a pencil from his inside pocket
& waved it like a wand, lines drawn
he said let gulls with the faces of famous
men, in our likeness, but other,
throng like the rattle of dead sticks,
like things we have no name for,
yet know with the instinct.

& gulls appeared, like tuning forks,
populated all aspects & yet
remained, very much, gulls; perhaps
slightly pixelated, but that may
have been the effect of distances on
the eye— whether they had
the faces of famous men
i could not tell, they flew at such
exceptional heights, only imagining

could fill the gaps
the mind misplaced.

Wallace Counts Leaves

Up to now all poems from The Wallace Variations, were written years ago, but i have been writing new ones, here is a new one.

 

Wallace Counts Leaves

i.

There are not enough leaves on
this tree— I counted, it’s short.

It is mid-summer,
a few days after solstice.

Tree blown into ragged perms,
all the trees, old dames

with enough moppets to breed
a nation of hard-thinking,

quick-talking cosmopolitans.
Nations, bunked in ideals, stuck

in a lock of time they idolize
as ratio of themselves.

ii.

Cheap souvenirs in expensive
gift shops, wrapped in cellophane.

The internet abolished distances
better than telephones
,

though they live comfortably
side by side— you can touch

other cultures with the tips
of your fingers, even nomads.

So why does everything
keep separating at such

tremendous speeds, like
the Hollandaise left on the hob.

Coffee with Wallace

Sit with Wallace Stevens in my garden, drinking coffee & cloud spotting, in this poem from The Wallace Variations.

Coffee with Wallace

Look at this coffee pot,
it is metallic, figure of a dancer;

warm when acted upon, but cold.
Light distracts its mirrored face,

a design half-inched from a hall of mirrors,
to show us to ourselves, alternately.

The other day it was very windy,
the metallic coffee pot rattled a wooden spoon,

or did the wooden spoon rattle it?
i wanted it to whistle— it wasn’t a day for whistling.

When the wind fell apart, Wallace & i
took the pot into the parcelled garden

& as we sipped hot coffee all the stupid
afternoon, we shaped metaphors with passing clouds.

Re-humanization

10-propaganda-posters-from-the-world-war-period-5

i read recently, a short piece of prose by the Palestinian poet Ghassan Zactan, about his mother’s memories of a Jewish girl she liked, which led him to talk about his friend & fellow Palestinian poet, Mahmoud Darwish. Zactan, explains that just as his mother after years of occupation could still allow the memory to be un-corrupted by all the terrible things that had happened to her, that she could still humanize the enemy, so in his poetry Darwish had continually given the enemy “character traits”, which humanized them.
The article made me rethink what an enemy is. The original title for this poem was Enemies. This is not just a poem about Palestine, it just so happens a Palestinian poet helped me see differently. This poem applies to every marginalized people who are shadowed & in those shadows dehumanized into a dangerous mythology.It sickens me that even after all that has happened in the history of man, we are still led to these conclusions about entire peoples, because of how susceptible we remain to ignorance & rhetoric.

Re-humanization

First of all, if you want to overcome it,
you’d best give it a name; transparency
gets under the skin with the word a mother feeds
& loves, a friend puts at the start of sentences.

Once unraveled from the itchy thicket of it,
the name requires a body, something to cast shadows;
eyes that couple the sun, hair that gathers dew;
breath visible on January afternoons.

Mahmoud Darwish made clarity with enemies,
wrote their angle in space, the strait of time
& rendered forms from monstrous figurines
born of a thousand terrors, hidden in sounds.
The failure to meet such silence head on,
is to distend the story-making spleen of men.

i never had an enemy
— what do i know of them?

Harry_R._Hopps,_Destroy_this_mad_brute_Enlist_-_U.S._Army,_03216u_edit

Absurd Taxinomia (‘people’ cont…)

For anyone new, here is a link that transparently explains the genesis of these poems.

Absurd Taxinomia— People (cont…)

viii.

The woman, child, man,
on the other end,
who know nothing
& knowing nothing
can know everything
— beginnings are empty.

ix.

Believes in genius, that the actual genii
will always be found,
it matters little if they hide
above or below the shadows of the world,
in a council flat or war
—it is a stiff scent in the wind
the world rises to meet
& hand-holds into the light of day.

x.

A gamble with benign gestures
ending in decapitation
& a long sorrow
high as a window.

xi.

The ones,
always in fancy dress,
for a pageant,
nobody heard about
in a place
nobody thinks about
for a cause
nobody cares about.

xii.

With expensive pencils
& hollow bodies,
write lists of things
they want & never stop
writing those lists
& never stop
hoarding items.

xiii.

Waiting, like sunlight,
in the orchards of their chests.

xiv.

Goes away. Returns. Away.
Returns…Yet never moves
from the spot nor pinches
the up // down
swing shut
of a hop-scotch.

Absurd Taxinomia

Will Self on his intention for writing his book Shark said he wanted to write Jaws without the Shark, which i took to mean using descriptive, prose to skirt around an object or situation in mind, somewhat like a riddle. If you coupled this with a bit of Phenomenology, Existentialism & the Preface to Foucault’s The Origin of Things, where he explains that the inception for the writing of

This book first arose out of a passage in Borges, out of the laughter that shattered, as I read the passage, all the familiar landmarks of my thought— our thought, the thought that bears the stamp of our age and our geography— breaking up all the ordered surfaces and all the planes with which we are accustomed to tame the wild profusion of existing things, and continuing long afterwards to disturb and threaten with collapse our age-old distinction between Same and the Other. This passage quotes a ‘certain Chinese encyclopaedia’ in which it is written that ‘animals are divided into: (a) belonging to the emperor, (b) embalmed, (c) tame, (d) sucking pigs, (e) sirens, (f) fabulous, (g) stray dogs, (h) included in the present classification, (i) frenzied, (j) innumerable, (k) drawn with a very fine camel hair brush, (l) et cetera, (m) having just broken the water pitcher, (n) that from a long way off look like flies.’ In the wonderment of this taxonomy, the thing we apprehend in one great leap, the thing that, by means of the fable, is demonstrated as the exotic charm of another system of thought, is the limitation of our own, the stark impossibility of thinking that. (Foucault, The Origin of Things)

Foucault then spends the entirety of the book tracing the history (in fastidious detail, painstaking, like making a ship in an aspirin bottle), since the 16th Century, to how Economics, Biology & Linguistics came out of the Classical period’s use of representation as a mode for classification, which it is not my purpose to go into here. But what a Preface. To say, essentially, that in the fabrication, in the attempt to understand, to get closer to truth, we neglect something, which becomes a limit of our own imaginative & creative faculties, whilst pressing to get at the right answer.
i wasn’t immediately drawn to all these considerations in one foul swoop, but over a period of time, which began with my being intrigued by Marie Marshall’s poems, which attempt to enlist the reader into working out interpretation from their own subjective position so that for each reader the poem has a different meaning(s). i wanted to do something similar, but couldn’t find my angle; i envied her freedom. Linking the riddle like quality of Self’s intention, my reading of Husserl, Camus & Foucault & Marie, i think i’ve found my angle— to write my own amplituhedronic taxinomia, which if you are positioned just right seems to constitute our reality both actual & imagined. Welcome.

Absurd Taxinomia— People

i.

Those that gather toast crumbs
into small piles
& them
that make scatter graphs.

ii.

Tuts when he drops his keys
which is a tut at improbability.

iii.

After so much time
alone
seeks friendship,
the company of beasts.

iv.

Tallies the days
of endless experience,
their minutiae
alphabetized like genera.

v.

The delirious surgeons of events,
getting to the heart of a matter.

vi.

The famished discounters,
ribs on parade,
gaunt as a pickle
skin like moth wings.

vii.

The Absurd Man,
doing something ordinary,
out of context,
intentionally & very well,
so well, nobody notices
— what could be more absurd?

3 poems published at the High Window

Very pleased to have 3 poems published at the High Window alongside so many talented poets. Thanks to the editors David Cooke & Anthony Costello for taking them. The Resident Artist, Angela Smyth also did art work for my poem Cover Story.

The poem Cover Story, just to give you a bit of background, is also about Master-nim, the subject of the second poem, who was the fella i worked alongside while building our guesthouse. The 2nd Master-nim poem was published at Underfoot.

i’d like to take this opportunity to thank & greet any new readers (followers) of my work & to those of you who continue to ‘like’ & comment. It means a lot & it is an essential part of my days, as i am very isolated where i am, so discussions are welcomed. i also want to apologize if i don’t get around to reading & discussing your work with you, it isn’t because i got tired of you, or bored, but Summer has flash flooded me with work. We are finishing up two new houses, which require our attention now, as well as tending to Inn Jeju & the larger volume of guests due to the Summer season starting. So i will always respond & try to get around as best i can to reading & engaging with your work (you know who you are).

Much obliged

daniel