Sheathed in prophylactic | body & conscience

It may appear that i am a Neo-Luddite proselytizing an impending apocalypse of human consciousness as it becomes absorbed into the devices sold it by the great Silicon Overlords (Overloads?). But i am not, really.
i am not religious, though may be along the lines of what Shelley said (as i seem to remember he says somewhere) when he expresses that he was profoundly religious. As Kenneth Burke said to a Communist Writing Conference in 1935, the worker should be replaced by the people. Nobody wants their fate to be a cog in a machine. Marxism, according to Burke, should borrow something from religion, owing to the root meaning of religion, from religare meaning a “binding together of people.” & isn’t this what tech promises? But is it delivering our humanity, or making us a cog in its apparatus?
i am not particularly fond, nor am i against tech. It interests me in no other way than as a phenomenon that expresses something about us.
There is something tugging me to it as a metaphor, a replacement for the poet who is moving from religious & pantheistic speculations, into a world in which these matters struggle to the fore in their own wardrobe & rather dress themselves in another’s, incapable of hiding themselves entirely, the parapraxes of their inherent character bubbling to the surface in anticipation, in hope of being found out.
There is only the human to figure in this; nature, nor God says much without personification & systems of power that invest interest in the pursuit of correction or faith.
These days, in my poems, there is something of a will-to-get-to-grips with the modern problem of conditioned reflexes of the psyche, of the things that are currently appearing & happening.
i don’t want to change anything, or rather, i do not presume to be able to change anything with a line, stanza, poem or even collection; neither do i want to, as such, speculate to make advances; i only want to be a witness of my time & let others judge the standard.
i get the feeling at times that people who don’t write poetry seem to assume we all want to make alterations to the regulating systems of society, to be a branch in the spokes, that we think our way is a way to make advanced decisions; this is seldom, if ever the case.
The poet observes & alters only what is perceived, into a format at once both at odds & in cahoots with a certain method of looking & converting, which a few train or are just able to do. There is something of an elitism, but not because we are better, but only because we chose to invest more of ourselves in one method of creating culture with art. Poetry doesn’t have to be a universal medium, though it can be, same as any other creative medium.
Does that make sense as a brief expression of my intent? Or have i just said a lot of words which seem to be an effort to make myself look clued in? Should i just shut up & get to the poetry? Be honest, & perhaps we can discuss this effort. i do think transparency of intent is important though, if only to lessen the mystery of communication through art.

Sheathed in prophylactic | body & conscience
—nothing gets in nor out
not the old woman hit by a car |
the magpie that broke its neck on the billboard
thinking it was just sky—nothing.

Once upon a time God saw all this
but He’s got all preoccupied or | dead.
“Now the algorithm took his job & it’s doing fine”
—Google knows no matter your discretion
your face to face cautions.

The head of the mob is bowed |
their chins lit not by
buttercups | nodeenodee no no NO!
Not by a vegetative thing | no carrots
stuffed with LED or

halogen kelp.— “Do you think
it’s morally correct to
program wires | chips & silicon into a God?
To have our mathematics play
guess who/what | & commit psychometric tests

to memory?” Knock…knock…

The curated aside of modern man…

There is a rhyme scheme here in this sonnet, but it isn’t a pattern & the counterpoint is a line early.
There is a tacit subtext between the words which rhyme, developing the function of the poem at a subtler level. These have been orchestrated, but they may have (& so i encourage) relations you interpret personally. For example, man, open & done; no doubt these words have alternate significance to all who read them next to each other & then again in the context of the poem— like manufacture & nature, again outside & within the context of the poem. You get the jist.

The curated aside of modern man
: invisible | even with eyes & gates wide open
by the prop of Internet & liberal media jizzing out
the Wi-Fi®. The target is to manufacture
mimicries— to imitate inviolable mechanisms from nature.
The old fella who helps us run the B&B brought
a wren with a broken wing to me— one hand clap!
He pleaded sad: “don’t let it die” | as if i were a vet.
i put it in a tall box (so it couldn’t escape) with water & oats.
When he went out i put it in a nearby hedge beneath a tree
—where nature is involved there’s constant threat.
He’s counting on me | i can’t snuff his hope
—so i’ll lie to him | i’ll tell him it must have miraculously
flew off. We shouldn’t interfere
—just look around & see what that’s done.

Toward a Critical Habit II

V

There were 3 major terrorist incidents in England in 2017. Morally despicable acts of cruelty designed to spread panic & to inflict suffering on innocent people, & by enlarge, to terrify the country into a constant state of anxiety. The crimes were committed by a minority sample of Muslims who were radicalized because they listened to the propaganda of another minority sample of Muslims.
This has aggravated the schism in British public opinion: people who once defended their dislike of Muslims under a belief in each country taking care of their own, has become unadorned racism.
There are non-Muslims in England, organized bodies of them, who from this, deduce that the population of around 2 1/2 million Muslims in England are all sleeping terrorists. i know at least 10 people (my own aunty being one, along with her clique of equestrians) personally who believe this & have harvested the information from a wider organization of people who accept this as fact. Britain First propaganda informs them. An organization that went to refugee camps, asked Syrian refugees who could hardly speak English, where they wanted to go, when they replied England they forcibly told them not to go, then when they noted the smart phones in the refugees’ hands, quizzed them, as if they’d caught them red handed as frauds, on where they got them. It never occurred to this Britain First supporters that Syria did once have economic structures in place or that these refugees came from relatively wealthy families that could afford such objects. Nor, whether there might be an industry of used phones sold on the cheap, despite the war.
What is more absurd is how they’d fix this problem: “just send them back.” How many times i’ve asked these Britain First supporters what they’d do & received this answer is astonishing.
An insignificant amount of critical thinking exposes the immense complexity of doing this. A great many Muslims have lived in England for generations. How do you determine where “back” is for young Muslims who never visited the countries their grandfathers came from? Young people who identify as Brits. The extreme right often forget that Muslim isn’t a country. Let’s say you do have a system to decide, which is unlikely; who will pay for the transportation to return 2 1/2 million Muslims, or even half that amount? If no one, then do they expect them to be herded by force to Dover & forced onto boats? What then of European countries where they will perhaps land? Will they pick a single country to drop them all, or send vessels to the multitude of countries where Muslims live? What boats will be used & who will pay?
The logistics to successfully carry out such a ludicrous solution is fraught with difficulties; considering that there will never be a clear majority that believe this a morally just course of action; in that case, there would never be a majority vote to shoulder the pecuniary responsibility for something they find morally reprehensible.
An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, has become the apothegm of some, Darren Osbourne, for example, who took his ideology to the point of mowing down Muslims outside Finsbury Park mosque, killing one & maiming several others. He transmuted his nationalistic anger & anxiety to protect his country into belligerent action, as if there were a holy war we’d all agreed on.
The truth is that people living inside the borders of England just go about their busy, their ideologies or opinions, remaining dormant until they are provoked into use. People don’t tend to think about, or to correlate information, if they do, it is from sources similar in scope to each other. This means the dialectic in society is largely passive, then a slanging match.
i’m with Northrop Frye on the value of argument:
“I detest arguments because you’re going to lose any argument with an ideologue because you can only argue on the basis of a counter ideology, and I’m not doing that. I think that the ideologue addresses his public and wants to make a kinetic effect on it. He wants people to get out there and do something.” He goes on to say “The actual technique of argumentative writing is something I avoid as far as possible because when you argue, you are selecting points to emphasize and there can never be anything definitively right or wrong about an emphasis. It’s simply a choice among possibilities, and consequently argument is always a half truth.”

VI

Guillaume Chaslot, a computer engineer who worked on the Youtube algorithm, discovered during the 3 years he worked on & with it, that how the algorithm decides the Up Next videos in the Youtube side bar, are dangerously skewed. Search terms often lead people down a rabbit hole of conspiracy videos. His website Algotransparency, gives the likelihood of Up Next videos when we search a term such as “Global Warming”. If we do search this in Youtube we are 5.6× more likely to have a video on the predictions of Nostradamus appear in the Up Next side bar. Can you imagine what sort of effect this has on elections? How this affects learning?
A lot of people watch Youtube videos & Google is the leading search engine—Google owns Youtube, so the algorithm is probably similar. What might begin as an effort to inform yourself on an important topic, can quickly lead you down a rabbit hole of questionable authorities. Someone with poor critical faculties can be led into a belief system filled with irregularities; without defense, without critical habits, we are open to suggestion & manipulation.
i don’t believe Google is evil. i don’t think Larry Page is a bad bloke, but i do think the technology is flawed in regards to the freedom it must maintain to be what it is. In this case, we must take measures ourselves rather than place the blame on the engineers of these tools, which can be utilized for as much good as the bad habits they induce.

Conspiracy Theories are probably the most peculiar form of questionable authority. i say authority, because they have a lot of reach these days: Alex Jones as millions of listeners & David Icke sold out Wembley.
Although, in the opinion of a locked in conspiracy theorist, due to the non-conformist (& often bizarre) restructuring of what they accept as the status quo, they are in fact, hyper-critical. They are able to read symbols planted in plain view, within society; usually in advertising, Hollywood movies, subliminal messaging in popular music & the geomancy of monuments or architecture. To them, a logo may be a code that interpreted correctly, reveals clues to the agenda of the puppet masters pulling the strings. They are warring against shadowy government agencies, a global cabal with infinite resources to silence its opponents. Conspiracy theorists, interpret a wholly other narrative from the news reel of the day, because they understand reality in the context of secrecy. Their efforts to expose this puts them at daily risk, they do what they do for liberty & democracy, just like those who accuse the shamed.
One of the major anxieties of the conspiracy theorists is mass de-population. David Icke & Alex Jones frequently raise this topic. Their evidence comes mostly from the Georgia Guidestones, an admittedly peculiar monument in Elbert County, Georgia. On it are written 10 instructions, in 8 modern & 4 ancient languages. The 10 instructions are:

I. Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature.
II. Guide reproduction wisely — improving fitness and diversity.
III. Unite humanity with a living new language.
IV. Rule passion — faith — tradition — and all things with tempered reason.
V. Protect people and nations with fair laws and just courts.
VI. Let all nations rule internally resolving external disputes in a world court.
VII. Avoid petty laws and useless officials.
VIII. Balance personal rights with social duties.
IX. Prize truth — beauty — love — seeking harmony with the infinite.
X. Be not a cancer on the earth — Leave room for nature — Leave room for nature.

i’ll just say something about number 1. There are 7,000,000,000 people on the planet. The extermination of 6,500,000,000 human beings is a messy business. The logistics of it, would mean, that of the 500,000,000, a reasonable percentage would need to be responsible for this. A conspiracy theorist might say the trade of labour for life, is one we already make & a work force could be selected with this promise. No doubt. However, would they have to kill us or be party to it? That’s a different conundrum. Cleaning up the already dead corpses of the entire planet is one thing but having to kill them, you have to be desensitized, propagandized and manipulated. They might say this is already being done. However the slow pile up of our bodies littering the planet & decomposing will cause famine if the select to deal with this don’t work constantly. In which case, we have an example at our disposal to illustrate the monumental strain this has on a power: the Nazi’s worked diligently to exterminate 6,000,000 over a period of a few years & it was fraught with logistical problems. & we are talking a number of much greater magnitude. How are even a million people going to clean up this? Moreover, the architects of this depopulation are supposed to be men who run businesses, whose interests are vested in manufacture & thus need a work force, on top of that, someone to buy their products. Why decimate the population of consumers? Isn’t the consumer supposed to be always right?
These are questions that are never raised by conspiracy theorists, because they want to believe. It gives them an advantage over the uninitiated, makes them feel they figured out a mystery.
Their anxieties are founded on an insanely improbable act of cruelty. But what knowledge can we harvest from merely denouncing them as crazy? It seems more profitable to be critical, then if they cannot answer us, they are forced to search themselves for a reply, from that we can put them in a position where they must interrogate their belief. That is what true criticism does: if the question cannot be answered, then there must be an attempt to uncover one.

VII

Moral obligation in public life should not begin & end with accusation, the act of the accused needs to be corrected; disciplinary action should follow. To explain what someone did wrong takes more effort than pointing a finger. The accused must be guided to understand the mechanisms & triggering of the act.
We have never been more informed, it is no excuse to blame over abundance for ignorance; that doesn’t sit well with me. Quality may be more difficult to obtain & even maintain. But if that is the state we find ourselves in, an open mind to the changing tides of information that inform a problem, should keep us alert to questioning & being questioned.
Why is critical thinking difficult for people? People are often confused about what it really is to criticize something. It is not an act of negation, it is an act of analysis, a practice of reasoning to evaluate & even classify information in order to better understand. It is not an opinion that needs to be defended with the best efforts of the ego. It is not something that shames, blames, points or belittles. It is the power of understanding. It is a device for regulating society’s behavior; for keeping an informed eye on ourselves.

Toward a Critical Habit

Tim Miller, in a recent comment, said he’d race me to an essay on critical thinking, after i said i might write an As I Please on it. This has become more than that: as i started thinking about it, more & more stuff just kept coming.
i think i’ve won Tim lad, haha.
This is the part I-IV, i will post V-VII probably Monday, as i have noted that more than 2000 words seems a bit too much, the essay runs to 4000 (whittled down from something ridiculous like 7000), after i’ve edited the crap out of it, so i thinking cutting it gives people an opportunity to read qualitatively.
i completely understand people’s reading habits online (i often want to read something but then see the length & get a little put off) & am more than happy to oblige taking out my Okkham’s Razor, or just splitting things up if it means people can read my stuff more attentively.

I

Society, in general, is not trained to think critically. Our schools are founded on monastic & military paradigms, as Foucault tells us: “…the idea of an educational ‘programme’ that would follow the child to the end of his schooling and which would involve from year to year, month to month, exercises of increasing complexity, first appeared, it seems, in a religious group, the Brothers of the Common Life.”
We are exercised. Over the last 200 years, itinerary & repetition in the classroom, have been developing us to perform the tasks necessitous to the functioning of a perpetually shifting society; preparatory conditioning for our adulthood. We are not taught, as individuals, to alter them, but to either function as a cog, or to improve them. Thinking critically isn’t essential to the mundanity of most work; satisfactory performance is; so that industries succeed & governments can rule. It is no coincidence that the layout of the classroom is similar to the office or the factory.
There is critical thinking— no quarrel there; however, it is something easily refuted on the basis of the right to an opinion, no matter how uninformed it is; in addition, it’s something misunderstood as a skill available to an elite. i can’t accept this. There is too much history behind us & too much information around us to settle for this. But really, it isn’t that difficult to take information & question it— even the child can ask why. The diallelus is a formidable tool in the arsenal of the most amateur critic, even if it does go on & on & on…

i will talk generally, the exception to the rule is too often inflammatory, standing in opposition to the general, wider effects of an event or problem. If critical thought was more habitual, the events we have witnessed usurping the front pages of newspapers over the last couple of years, simply could not have courted a majority enough to tip the balance. i doubt there’d be a schism between the EU & Britain; Britain wouldn’t be in the throes of an ideological civil war; & of course Donald Trump would not be the president of the U.S.A.
i recognize a world beyond Britain, Europe & America, but i have to limit myself.

II

i make use of criticism as it is applicable in literature. We may not realize it, but we use literary devices to tell anecdotes, the news uses them all the time to report tragic events & deceptions. The intellectual equipment available from a study of literature, its terminology, has application in society & life. i take this relationship of literature to society from Kenneth Burke.
Burke wrote an essay, which is in his book The Philosophy of Literary Form called The Rhetoric of Hitler’s Battle; one of his reasons: “There are other ways of burning books than on the pyre.”
Burke was acutely aware of how people might take his writing an essay on a sensitive subject. He stresses at the beginning:
“Hitler’s “Battle” is exasperating, even nauseating; yet the fact remains: If the reviewer but knocks off a few adverse attitudinizings and calls it a day, with a guaranty in advance that his article will have a favorable reception among the decent members of our population, he is contributing more to our gratification than to our enlightenment.”
He wrote it to explain the circumstances & events that altered Hitler’s perceptions, which spurred him to alter those of the German public; it was written to educate us, in the hope we become trained to recognize the patterns of behavior at their inception, in the unfortunate circumstances of demagoguery’s return.
An admirable attempt at a safety measure: an early warning signal for when maneuvers in politics are on the brink of taking nefarious turns.
“[And] he was helpful enough to put his cards face up on the table, that we might examine his hands. Let us then, for God’s sake, examine them. This book is the well of Nazi magic; crude magic, but effective. A people trained in pragmatism should want to inspect this magic.”
It is often too easy to misunderstand an intention like Burke’s, the guaranty in advance in the mind of a public unschooled in critical approaches, is to think there is something improper in the intention itself of wanting to say anything about a book like Mein Kampf other than, pure evil. But the fact of the matter is that this reaction, despite being correct, doesn’t help us get to the root of why it is pure evil, so regardless of it being a correct statement & warning against the book, it doesn’t necessarily end the problem of demagoguery or racism.

III

History is full of instances where the critical faculties were needed. However, i am more forgiving of the public of our past: hierarchies were more dug in theologically & more difficult to rebel against due to a lack of widely available broadcasting means to advertise & organize a will to reform. It took brave individuals to stand firm first of all, before other’s rallied behind them. There was little more than the nom de plume or guerre for protection from the tyrant.
Men in power have always sought, with systems & rights available to them exclusively, to control the masses; creating a culture & environment of suspicion, in which to question the authority meant punishment or discipline.
Reading Foucault’s Discipline & Punish we learn of the reformations that took place in the judicial & punitive systems of law throughout the 18th & 19th Centuries, into something approaching what we recognize today.
“In the old system, the body of the condemned man became the king’s property, on which the sovereign left his mark and brought down the effects of his power. Now he will be rather the property of society, the object of a collective and useful appropriation.”
Our courts have opened into social media, mutating into a form we might find fair warning against in Foucault:
“The right to punish has been shifted from the vengeance of the sovereign to the defense of society. But it now finds itself recombined with elements so strong that it becomes almost more to be feared. The malefactor has been saved from a threat that is by its very nature excessive, but he is exposed to a penalty that seems to be without bounds. It is a return to a terrible “super-power”. It brings with it the need to establish a principle of moderation for the power of punishment.”
Foucault’s historical context is different. However, our systems of social moralizing, our collective obligation, the contemporary phenomenon of shaming, for example, i imagine, would interest Foucault, especially when he explains:
“In short, the power to judge should no longer depend on the innumerable, discontinuous, sometimes contradictory privileges of sovereignty, but on the continuously distributed effects of public power.” The effects of a multitude to judge, rather than a single man, was more cost effective & far reaching. But could the masses be trusted to do it fairly & constructively?

IV

The social media channels available to us, allow for a constant clock on moral policing; we are moment by moment, updated on the conversations taking place in extensive networks & no matter where we are or what we are doing, we can respond. This public, answering on a whim, distracted by other things going on around them, are not prepared for the details necessary for interrogation; couple this with poor (if any, solid) instruction in critical thinking— it’s a recipe for disaster.
Our media sources extend to amateurism. There are amateur news shows on Youtube, a plentitude of DIY documentaries & short video analyses on popular news items, which also pop up on Facebook. The public, picks up on & moves according to the whims of itself as individuals, part of & working for, the betterment of the collective; a crowd often follows anonymous persons who bring something to their attention, with a tacit stance. The people who watch & create with these available media, believe they are doing the work of democracy, they have a right to their opinions & to broadcast them & to point the finger when someone gives them the go ahead. Because of the safety in numbers, people can rally behind this anonymous upholder of justice, they become a credibility reference to justify the ideas fused with their identity.
Justine Sacco’s story is a typical example of shaming.
Sacco, worked in PR for a New York company. She was going to visit family in South Africa. Bored, waiting for her flight, she wrote some mildly disparaging Tweets. One of these included: “Weird German dude: you’re in 1st class. It’s 2014. Get some deodorant.” This remained local to her community, which understood it in context. Another was something about crap sandwiches & bad teeth, she was in London. Her final Tweet was: “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDs. Just kidding. I’m white.”
Sacco, got on her plane to no great fuss from her Tweet. During her flight, the Tweet exploded. Some internet journalist looking for a scoop picked it up & broadcast it to his flock of followers. People without any knowledge of who she was, were calling her a racist, someone even got the idea to go & photograph Justine getting off the plane, to catch her at the moment she realized she had been shamed. It was fun for the community to gang up on Justine, safe in the knowledge they were righting wrongs. It was easy too; an opportunity for people to show how morally responsible they were, by casting judgement on someone they knew nothing about.
Of course, for Justine, it was devastating. In a matter of weeks she lost her job, the respect of her family & friends; she couldn’t leave her house. She was ruined.
What she said was stupid; she acquiesced to this when interviewed by Jon Ronson of the New Yorker (whose article on Justine & shaming is worth a read). i wouldn’t peg Justine as a racist just as Ronson doesn’t. “Only an insane person would think that white people don’t get AIDS” were Justine’s first words to Ronson.
Justine’s accusers were wrong too, with the power of anonymous community behind them (just like the executioner behind his mask), to immediately punish Justine. But unlike the executioner who is guilty about his role, Justine’s accusers feel no such guilt.
They didn’t question her first, they made no effort to critically interact with her. They didn’t even make an effort to discipline her, on what amounts to a single sentence, a Tweet— they went right for the jugular.
It might have been a different fate for Justine if rather than jumping on the band wagon, her accusers asked her “What do you mean by this?” How difficult would that have been?
i do not know the mind or character of Justine Sacco; she could have lied about everything, she could be a racist. How can i know any of this? i have a small amount of information about her. So why would i go for the jugular? Why would i not keep an open mind? There is no history of Justine being part of a racist organization. No history of violence. Nothing in her past to condemn her for what she was condemned, so rashly, as being.
There is an egotism behind pointing the finger at the mistake of the shamed. We have begun to surveil each other, our moral nose snooping, not to fix the moral hiccups of each other, but only to punish for social benefit, for praise & our 15 minutes. Discipline? Of course. Guidance? Without doubt. But not a digital executioner, punishing people for a slip of the tongue.

The Common Man…

The original Betty Crocker cake mix required no ingredients but water & the cake mix wouldn’t sell. So they did some market research & discovered that women felt like they were cheating at being a house wife. So the company included in the directions to also add an egg, something feminine, to make women feel less guilty. A genius move in subliminal messaging.

The Common Man | his impaired hearing | fixed |
listens but | all the poets have gone deaf
: they jabbed their fingers too far down their “lug ‘ols”
& caused a tympanic membrane perforation.

The Man of Answers docks in a digital vessel composed
of envelopes | armed with his Book of Parodies | an
antidote | boosting insight into the knotty wiring
& combustions of Contemporary Verse | otherwise awry.

Listen! “You can hear his enzymes sob.” The wind
has switched the direction of the chequered flag.
“We’re nostalgic | we want the myth of simpler times
to do re-runs on Netflix— back then all you had to keep you up at night

was the threat of fascist dictatorship & A or H-bombs
or whether to continue purchasing | the readymade
cake mixture cuz it’z cheatin’ if’n you ownly ‘av
to add 100ml of water | I don’ feel like a real woman.”

—DIRECTION FOR USE: tip 1 sachet of Betty Crocker
cake mix into a large bowl | add 100 ml of milk or water &
a large egg | whisk the mixture until smooth then pour into
a grease proof cake tin | bake for 20 mins at 200ºC | &

[be] cool for 5 mins—

Facebook is not sentient

This is not a defense of Facebook, but it is a criticism of how we think about it & act in a world where it is no longer seen as a company but a silicon appendage to the functioning & entertainment of society.
i have often heard people blame Facebook, even a couple of times recently, & i too in the past have been to blame for this, as if it were an annexation to the reborn old gods, a jacked in, downloaded addition, an upgrade, broadband brained & USB ports plugged into the world, where its fingernails might otherwise be. But what use has Facebook for fingernails?
People blame it for their addiction, they blame it for its existence, for its affect on them, for diverting their attention. i sort of understand: we like a scapegoat, someone to shift the blame to, then we don’t have to take responsibility. Unloading the blame on something for our drifted attention & difficulty concentrating, makes a malady of the problem, it becomes more serious & necessitates a push to act. It’s a bit like a crime committed by a mad man: the clinically insane man who commits the crime, though guilty, is cleared of any conscious wrong doing & the efforts of the law, are to fix the man, not punish.
However, Facebook isn’t sentient, it is a tool, a system of communication that we pack with friends & loved ones & yes, new acquaintances we met in a bar in Thailand, but who we have grown weary of, because they post too many selfies, had more holidays than us, or perhaps turned out to be someone with vile & heinous opinions on matters that are important to us.
We wrestle with Facebook, we blame it yet we cannot give it up, which we again blame on its gravity, suspending us in its orbit. But this is not why we are obsessed with it, we are obsessed with it, because we are obsessed with ourselves & the ones who we love.
Facebook is not sentient, it does not have opinions, it has no regard for human dilemmas, not even Zuckerberg is Facebook, he is a man. He doesn’t think like Facebook, because it doesn’t think, regardless the emoji & the algorithms.
Facebook is not one of the new gods. We are to blame if we filled it with undesirables or if we chose to click on it & indulge in its scrolls of abundant, spur of the moment & poorly fed content. Our content, the content of brains full with the garbage of boredom. If the algorithm spews out crap, that is not Facebook’s fault, it is because you are prone to acknowledge too much nonsense. Like the brain’s plasticity for memorization the algorithm too alters with the patterns of content you choose to entertain.
Facebook allows me to meet people with a knowledge i don’t possess & i have been introduced to many poets, thinkers & what not because of the people i chose to fill Facebook with, it has been a tool for good in my case; i have managed the content, to an extent.
Living so long, far from home, i started to utilize Facebook after a few months away, because i didn’t want to sever my ties with family & friends. i could speak with people in real time, my breakfast is just before Europe’s bedtime, my evening, just after breakfast in England. It has been useful in this purpose, it has kept the bonds of friendship.
Blame yourself for your addiction, because you filled Facebook, it asked nothing of you, its mouth zipped up with code.

i don’t mean to sound angry, but i do mean to sound curt. i am thinking a good deal about responsibility these days. We enjoy a great many freedoms nowadays & need to realize where they are & what they enable us to do & how we might live our life with them. i seem to be stumbling across a lot of self imposed barriers.
As always, the comments are below to disagree or to expand the discussion.

The dogma of the fast: a catch up

The dogma of the fast: a catch up

—Olson’s manifesto projected onto now

Charles Olson begins his manifesto

[Projective] “Verse now, 1950, if it is to go ahead, if it is to be of essential use, must, I take it, catch up and put into itself certain laws and possibilities of the breath, of the breathing of the man who writes as well as of his listening.”

What grabs me is “catch up and put into itself certain laws and possibilities of the breath”— for to breathe & to follow it, extensively, is to know that we are alive at the most fundamental level & yet, the experience of it directly, to realize it apperceptively, is a profound moment— more so even than some quasi-spiritual experience. Olson, i feel, is right to point out this as the ground-up measure of the poem. For the poet, breath is the first “listening” from which issues the “kinetics” of the poem, in unison with this kinetic energy we can enter the field of composition, panting. The objects & themes that the poem treats fall into line with the breath.
My understanding of the Projective poet’s compositional template, is that it becomes a method for creating a personal condition from which to proceed with the poem— we all breathe & yet it is so automated like a mechanized Fredrik Winslow Taylor.

The poet of the new millennium breathes an air unlike any other poet that came before them: our air is no longer empty, a hive of activity— nor is it filled solely with the theoretical components of an ether; it is rather, alive with the clutter & chatter of codes, signals, waves, WiFi, & the back & forth of 10s of millions of messages, riding in & alongside these —passing through us even as we utilize & compose with them with the tools available to us—completely changing how & perhaps even why we communicate.

We could begin our own manifesto in quite the same way as Olson: “verse, 2018, if it is to go ahead…” & quote verbatim much of Olson’s manifesto & thereafter, with that in mind, we’d set ourselves plenty to get on with; we need only to alter the context to that of the current era & we’d not be denying ourselves a better course of action for taking poetry ahead ´to now.

Perhaps we’d best remind ourselves: this is the digital age & far from being an overwhelming era of myopia, we are awash with subject matter, with problems to be understood & solved, in manifold areas from tech & society to race & sexuality— pretty much everything, because we have no longer a clear precedent in history to liken the situation we find ourselves in. We cannot ignore history, however, 100 years ago, nobody grew up with a system as overwhelmingly abundant in information as the Internet.

i think of Camus’s The Plague: A section in which Dr. Rieux & Tarrou are speaking about their own reason to commit themselves to solving the plague, whatever that role might be. “Never ending defeat” informs Rieux via a daily confrontation with “suffering”; this gives him a purpose to commit to his doctoring & “common decency.” He then goes on to say to Tarrou:

“To tell the truth, all that’s outside my range. But you—what do you know about it?”
“Ah.” Tarrou replied coolly, “I’ve little left to learn.”
“Do you really imagine you know everything about life?”
Again, in the same cool manner, Tarrou replies, “Yes.”

It’s important to note Rieux’s use of the word imagine isn’t, as far as i can tell, confrontational. Rieux accept as a potential that Tarrou might be on the cusp of a complete understanding of life. In a world of finite information, despite the unlikelihood, it can be entertained, imagined even.
There was also a rumour (no doubt started by the man himself) that Byron had read every book in the Trinity College, Cambridge, library. A ridiculous rumour, but one we have to pause & think about for a moment, if only because that library at that point in the early 1800s, was finite & catalogued. Unlike now, where, if you were to have read everything, you’d have had to read every Buzzfeed article, scientific journal, Good Health magazine, Tweet &…well the list is endless, you couldn’t do it, even if you said “from today I will read everything posted or printed”, you’d need a month of none stop reading just to read all the newspapers printed. You cannot read everything that has ever been written now, you probably couldn’t in 1947 or 1805, but the conception of the idea that you could, wasn’t as ridiculous owing to the absence of two things: a computer & the Internet— a tool & its appended system, updated every split of a second.

Information abundance means quality suffers, but that is only if you do not select your myopia & concentrate— THERE LIES THE ISSUE. If we can utilize our information overload into an accessibility personalized for us by ourselves, then the variety can be managed & continue to be plentiful. Thereafter, it should be within the means of such a person, driven by their management of limitation, to deliver some of the best poetry ever written.

At this point we may take into consideration Olson’s

process of the thing [poem], how the principle can be made so to shape the energies that the form is accomplished. And I think it can be boiled down to one statement: ONE PERCEPTION MUST IMMEDIATELY AND DIRECTLY LEAD TO A FURTHER PERCEPTION. It means exactly what it says, is a matter of, at all points even, I should say, of our management of daily reality as of the daily work, get on with it, keep moving, keep in, speed, the nerves, their speed, the perceptions, theirs, the acts, the split second acts, the whole business, keep it moving as fast as you can, citizen.”

This suits the manifesto for poetry in the digital age, absolutely bang on the space bar. The business of writing is a dogma of fast— once a technology or paragon or anything becomes established in the business of life it doesn’t quit moving for us & we shouldn’t quit for it, we have to, like space & time, move in relative succession. We are like Mobius strips with a fortune written on it, you only get one clause unless you follow the twist around. Then, we must keep our senses peeled to the goings on of ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING & make no complaint of weariness, but soak up what we can &

“USE USE USE the process at all points in any given poem, always one perception must must must MOVE, INSTANTER, ON ANOTHER!”

& i should add, when i first read Olson’s manifesto 10yrs ago as an inchoate 22 yr old, i was horrified that a poet should have to rush anything, their looking, listening or any of it. But it seems hopelessly naïve of me to have gone ahead thinking that way so long, when the business is to have our environment pitch the process to us & we abide.
Olson’s excitability is palpable & i get it now; when understood, it stops us from making excuses for not writing, it become “daily reality as of the daily work” it becomes quotidian & relevant to that, the world & its happenings become the subjects of poetry.

“So there we are, fast, there’s the dogma.”

Olson would have thrived in our short attention span economy of deliverance & reception, constantly working our way through something, skim reading like stones skipping over a pond— anticipating next. The technology in our pockets & purses, clocking in the hours of the entire world, all of recorded time, even geological & cosmic time; this auxiliary brain, monitoring us, informing us, perplexing us, emboldening us with a new quest of understanding & more besides— the dogma of the fast has never been easier to keep up with. & it is ours, it belongs to us, it is the achievement of the Millennial. To miss this opportunity is to miss the opportunity to be a generation.

—Tools of the trade

This dogma of alacrity needs a tool. The sinews of the hand do not offer the precision of the breath nor the fast we need for the quiddity of the daily business, which the Projective poet should crave. Olson’s tool was the typewriter

“due to its rigidity and space precisions, can, for a poet, indicate exactly the breath, the pauses, the suspensions even of syllables, the juxtapositions even of parts of phrases which he intends.”

It is interesting to remark that speed should be carried out on a tool that offers rigidity. Using a tool of limited capability, the poet’s field of composition is blown wide open.

In 1879, Nietzsche’s health had deteriorated. He’d resigned his philology post at Basel, at the age of 34. He was oscillating between the Mediterranean & the Swiss Alps. In 1881, his eye sight failing him, he was living in Genoa. His vision so bad, that any prolonged focus on the page brought about nausea, headaches & even vomiting. He ordered a typewriter, a Danish made, Malling-Hansen Writing Ball which had been invented by Hans Rasmus Johann Malling-Hansen. Nietzsche learned to touch type & was able to, essentially, write without the use of his sight, at least limiting its use. But the typewriter had a more subtle effect, which Nietzsche had not anticipated. His friend Heinrich Koselitz noticed

[his] “prose had become tighter, more telegraphic. There was a new forcefulness to it, as though the machine’s power, through some mystical metaphysical mechanism was being transferred into the words.”

Nietzsche himself expressed that

“Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts.”

The technology itself had become a formative extension of the content.

Will Self, the English novelist & journalist (perhaps the finest England has, currently, to offer) still uses a typewriter. Self prophesied the demise of literary fiction back in 2014, in an essay i can’t find. In a recent interview he thinks of literary fiction, at this present time, as

“a kind of decerebrated chicken clucking around in the farmyard.”

Owing to the novel being an analogue technology,

“the art form was to do with the medium—the codex in which it was presented; the literary form in the age of bidirectional digital media [i.e., modern-day communication devices] cannot sustain that enclosed quality. It becomes permeable. The other is, people just can’t stay in the text any more. They just can’t read in that way.”

He’s been carping about this since writing Umbrella, picking up with Shark but really making a splash with Phone. i am pleased that he has been given a platform in recent years to talk publicly, he’s very good at it & i believe he’s doing a fine job of holding a black mirror up to the problems of now.
The text should be drafted into its jacket. Self drafts his novels first by hand before transferring the draft into a type-written form, which is then fastidiously worked on by hand, overanover againanagain. Self’s thinking, is that, only when we work on the text in this way can we know it inside out. We become familiar with our own creation. We miss no opportunity, scribbling it out, having it physically, to hand, to rectify & improve it. More importantly, the analogue process is one without distractions.

(An aside: i agree with Self in regard to prose & especially the novel. i don’t think the reader in the digital age has the patience for it when it is handed to us digitally (studies on why to follow). i don’t think this wholly applies to poetry, however. Its atomization is easily done, even if the poem is a narrative one. The reading of a journal can easily be broken down & read over a period of days, we can pick up where we left off. But a novel isn’t so easy, even with chapters, unless they are only a page or 2 each & what room does that really offer a novelist who wants to develop the narrative & characters? It still, at least to me, feels like something i need in my hand— text in a jacket. i prefer a book of poetry in my hand too, but the computer can hold my attention long enough to engage with the works of poets who publish online, whereas i would never read a novel someone sent me, on the computer. i struggle with short stories, not because of my attention span, well sort of: i just don’t think the computer is a comfortable medium for reading prose. i can about manage articles, blogs & essays, of a reasonable length.)

i’ll hazard a guess, that most writers reading this use MS Word. If you don’t use it from the off, you at least use it in a good chunk of the drafting stage, the 3rd at least, if you are a meticulous drafter, like a well behaved poet should be.
MS Word, for all intents & purposes, offers everything the writer needs to get on with the daily business of writing. It seems a match made in heaven. If you do draft with MS Word, you can brainstorm bullet points, you may even make spider diagrams, little blue bottle ideas balled up in silk. As you draft, you can simultaneously, when a sentence feels right, copy & paste it to a new page to begin piecing together your poem, structuring it on the go— the process of it actualizing under our noses, spurs us. We feel a sense of reward when our brainstorm is producing something tangible. MS Word, allows us to draft multiple personalities of the same work with the copy & paste function, like two mirrors that domino an object into infinity. If we have a sonnet in our midst, we can duplicate it should a refrain form in our mind & in no time, have the additional lines for a villanelle. Doesn’t work out, no bother: Backspace! Backspace! Backspace!
The Word processor can do anything a typewriter can & more, it sounds so obvious to say, but i marvel at maximum efficiency. The speed is unrivalled. A click of the mouse, a few taps of the space bar, enter & voila: you have physically dragged & duplicated text, gashed open a yawning abyss between syllables, left letters dangling in the void, made the text spin or spatter. We can enlarge or atomize letters or words, embolden, italicize— everything & anything in the split of a second. Hardly any exertion required. & this all allows for the work content to change, one example is disembodied voices; how many do you want? Italicize, clamp in quotation marks. You have a rich range of clear personalities all vying for control of the reader’s attention.
In addition, a wide variety of punctuation & symbol options, allow us to personalize our writing, making the aesthetic appeal diverse & even original.
The whole editorial process is clean & immediate (you can’t spell media without immediate, owww). We can chop & replace, revert & convert & each time, see our work in its upgraded body. Then there is the built-in spelling & grammar, a thesaurus too. Building our vocabulary & even giving us additional freedom to make the text variable. (Anything i missed that you find useful or is an imperative function of MS Word, please don’t hesitate to comment below.)

—Disrupt & distract: studies for the digitized Self

So what is Self’s issue, what is so distracting that he neglects to utilize a tool designed for the business of writing?

A quote by John Naughton might help, [as the technical becomes social]

“given that, we would expect to see new kinds of literature emerging, composed not by techies celebrating the wonders of digital technology but by writers puzzled or disturbed by what it’s doing to society, or by people who are on the receiving end of the disruption.”

Self is disturbed & concerned that he (like all of us) will fall prey to disruption, because technology takes prisoners. His trilogy of novels, Umbrella, Shark & Phone are, in short, explorations of the problem of technology disturbing & disrupting us into psychological malady: from the mass production of artillery shells in the trenches of WW1, which shell shocked a generation; to the dropping of the A-bomb on Hiroshima & Nagasaki, with the USS Indianapolis, which transported the bomb, sinking, causing the single largest shark attack in history (divine retribution?); to the current era of the mobile phone as an auxiliary brain & the Iraq war’s guided missiles with cameras on their nose, so that we could watch Baghdad bombed, make sure, clap along even, gawk & gasp in awe— but who was gasping in disgust? The technology left us gawping, from the safety of our homes & now, even our phones.
The computer, for Self, connected to the Internet, is an ineluctable source of distraction for someone trying to write text. We become lost in the cornucopia of hyperlinks, dazzling us with the promise of more information, tugging at our curiosity— our greatest weakness.

Let’s say, you are trying to visualize something that has popped into your head, an object, it’s physical features are fuzzy. Let’s say this object is a cycad; though it could be anything. The Jurassic flora has become significant now & you have to see the object through. So you do what any right thinking person would do in the digital age, must must must do— you Google it. However, you forget to search images, to just have a glance at it, but instead get the Wikipedia entry at the top of the search list. Knowing you’ll kill two birds with one cycad frond, you enter Wikipedia. Now you are pulled into the scrolls of information on the cycad, its kingdom, division & class, ETC ETC ETC. You gravitate to a hyperlink, the botanist who first stumbled on it, on top of all the information on the plant itself, you now have the historical endeavours of a single man (William Stranger, according to WIKIPEDIA). We are twice or thrice removed, down another rabbit hole entirely, from our original intention, which is what?
We just wanted to see what a cycad looked like, now we are reading about William Stranger, some 19 Century what not, someone, who went off adventuring, doing whatever in some place for whatever reason. We don’t take it all in, we read down the text in an F patter, skipping over sentences.
Returning to our writing, sometime after our traipsing into unfamiliar territory, we think we’ve earned a coffee. The disruption is complete.
We are all liable to this. No one is excluded. Not Mr Self, nor our geography teacher or Helen Mirren. It isn’t our fault. The Internet did it. Really. Like the mythical dog who eats homework, or the vanishing old man who leaves his fart to break just as someone walks into the toilet, leaving you to take the blame.
Nicholas Carr in his insightful The Shallows: What the Internet is doing to our brains explains,

“The net seizes our attention only to scatter it.”

He continues, that this has

“…neurological consequences. Just as neurons that fire together wire together, neurons that don’t fire together don’t wire together. As the time we spend scanning web pages crowds out the time we spend reading books, as the time we spend exchanging bite-sized text messages crowds out the time we spend composing sentences and paragraphs, as the time we spend hopping across links crowds out the time we devote to quiet reflection and contemplation, the circuits that support those old intellectual functions and pursuits weaken and begin to break apart. The brain recycles the disused neurons and synapses for more, pressing work. We gain new skills and perspectives but we lose old ones.”

This, i’d bet, is one of Self’s concerns & what his concern is when he states that “people just can’t stay in the text any more. They just can’t read in that way.”
Now, let’s not accuse Self of saying everyone alive, at this split of a second, can’t read a book, he is not saying that, he clearly has an audience, he is published by Penguin & writes exactly what he wants to write, & that must be due to his work selling to some extent, for profit even. He is speaking generally, yes, (& about literary fiction) but nonetheless, i think there is some truth in what he says, especially when you look into the statistics of this & look at the crumbling (crumbled?) state of big book chains, like W.H.Smith. i went in there on my previous return to England & struggled to find a book. Hyperbole? Hardly. i swear, they felt hidden behind a trove of useless guff. When i found them it was the most banal selection of books i have ever come across. Better of as kindling.

(Another aside, this time, a daft aside: my horror forced me to be a bit of a dick to the cashier (not directly). When he asked us for a plastic bag charge (which i kind of agree with) i told him that

“Plastic bags used to cost nothing because of the plastic agent Imipolex G, which was cheap to make but didn’t meet modern health & safety standards.”

He looked at me as if i must be the dullest person ever. Thing is, if there were any books there, he might have read Gravity’s Rainbow & realized i was talking utter crap: Imipolex G was (as far as i know) a fictional material invented by Prof. Jamf, used to make the S-Gerat device & even Tyrone Slothrop’s synthetic penis (if memory serves). My friend afterwards looked at me oddly, until i explained my faux-boring-arse-act. Then she laughed. Reading is fun.
Waterstones has retained its dignity, thankfully, so no such prank was necessary. i just purchased a book & thanked them for not whoring themselves out with advent calendars & scented candles.)

This clearly applies to the concentration necessary for writing; the computer turns our attention, externalizing it, rather than setting us into and maintaining our internal focus. The brain’s plasticity is very sensitive, so that, even as we unlearn & acquire new habits, we can, easily replenish our old habits— they may die hard, but they can be reignited without wasting a box of matches.
Take the findings of UCLA professor of psychiatry Gary Small, who did experiments, comparing how novices & tech-savvies were affected by time spent Google searching & thumbing through web pages. He equipped the subjects with goggles (as computers don’t fit into a magnetic resonance imager) & projected images of web pages, which the subjects toggled through with a handheld touchpad. The scans showed that those who already knew how to use Google displayed more complex brain functioning than the novices.

“The computer savvy subjects used a specific network in the left front part of the brain, known as the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, [while] the Internet-naïve subjects showed minimal, if any, activity in this area.”

The researchers also got the subjects to read straight text in a simulation of book reading. Scans revealed no significant difference in brain activity. They had the novices go away & over a period of 5 days use the internet one hour a day. On returning, they scanned & found the same regions as the Internet-savvy users had developed extensively, from just 5 hours of internet use over 5 days.
However, the study discovered some important distinctions between brain activity during the reading of web pages & the reading of books. A book reader’s brain activity occurs in regions associated with language, memory & visual processing, but not much in the prefrontal regions, which are associated with decision making & problem solving. While the internet stimulates more activity in the brain, it doesn’t focus it for qualitative pursuits such as reading. It is evaluative, more geared for navigation & categorization than deep reading & the qualitative measure of meaning. The internet essentially overtaxes our brains, urging them to evaluate & decide rather than develop a deeper understanding of text.

“By allowing us to filter out distractions, to quiet the problem-solving functions of the frontal lobes, deep reading becomes a form of deep thinking. The mind of the experienced book reader is a calm mind, not a buzzing one. When it comes to the firing of neurons, it’s a mistake to assume that more is better.”

Explains Nicolas Carr.

What next?: buy an oar

So where does this leave us in regard to the dogma of the fast? Well, i think it is up to the poet how & what they designate to their attention. The novelist is up Shit’s Creek without an oar, if we interpret Self. Better start whittling that prose down at the inception of their career, then they might drag the attention of the digital reader into their large form worlds, their novels. MS Word, in my estimate, is a remarkable tool. i have got a pretty good handle on how to use it to best effect; in my own case: i draft out by hand, in a pocket notebook first, then into a manuscript sized book (sometimes) before transferring it to MS Word to fiddle with at length for, sometimes weeks. This balancing act between two worlds means the idea, the focus & the first step are researched & realized manually. The mechanization takes the thing out of the daily business of the thing done & into a place of duplicity & potential. The business of the handwritten draft, limits distraction, by the time i am typing up, i am seldom distracted as i am eager to see the cleanly presented text transmigrate from my chicken scratched (cerebral chickens by the way), barely legible original or draft into a cleaner & more finished text.
There is no one course of action in writing (as everyone who writes, & probably a good many who don’t, know) & the technology, subjects & sources available, enable us to tailor a process suited to our own needs. Abundance only limits those who are not intrepid enough to make choices & stick with them. We just have to remember the breath, listen to it & when distracted, note how its rhythm alters as the disruption takes charges & switch the focus on track to the dogma of fast.

“It’s been sometime since last I rubbed…”

This is a poem. It is not my opinion.
i am a little nervous posting it, because of its subject matter, i have however decided to post it, because i have thought a lot about why i should post it & that it is not unreasonable to do so. The ugly side of this poem is something i have heard said in similar contexts somewhere, but i can’t (much to my embarrassment) recall the source; it was a long time ago.
i don’t write poems wholly expressing my opinions on matters. My poems showcase society, environment, ideas, politics, ideology & more in their multifaceted subtleties & proclivities, from the ugly & improper to the morally correct & upstanding & as much as i can process in between & outside.
The world is a mess. This must be clear to anyone of sound judgement.
i do not aim to pull the wool over the ugly with the unquestionable beauty that manifests itself in such variety. That is not a poet’s task; it may be, but it is not how i see it. It is only by seeing the ugliness that beatitude is strengthened. Perfectibility is implausible to me, at this moment in time. i believe in constant change & the force of expression to be a vehicle of catharsis.
So if you are offended by this, you may be, i cannot staunch that emotion in you, in fact you should be, but it is society, ultimately, that you should be angry with, not me. i won’t take all that responsibility, only part of it, because i accept that we all allow ugliness to persist in some way or other, collectively.
This is a bleak admission. i do believe people are inherently good, but that we are pushed into our apathy & sometime cruelty. You only have to see the results of the Milgram or Zimbardo experiments to come to this conclusion. They haunt me in a way. We have a herd mentality. i am not extracting myself from this charge. Nor would i want to, for what would i be without my humanity?

“It’s been sometime since last I rubbed a banknote in my palm |
I quite forgot they smell of blood.”
Grave plots look tidier this time of year | nobody
can be arsed to clear the summer knot
grown wild with too much moisture in the roots.
You’d think | if God (“fictionally”) gave 2 figs
about us | he’d open up a hotline | an 0800 No | or
get himself some fibre optic Broadband | we’re
carbon-pylons our veins the cabling | brains the modem

—“utter guff! his silence has gone on long enough…
if he ain’t got a Twitter & Facebook page
this time next year i’m sending out a search party.”

& so the sexual predators think their unbiased
subscriptions to numerous porn sites |
is a sort of digital seraglio or seed-bank | they query
: “what will become of these women?
It would be like releasing farm animals back into the wild |
the eco-system would be over-burdened
with domesticated smut.” They are instantly struck
by heavy objects flung out the wind’s hand
with force enough to split their bone.
The collective sigh of demographics lowered
the oxygen content in the atmosphere…

“Asthma attacks were rampant | my boy…”

One woman refused to lift a finger
: to do so was to give the nonsense force.
“i should not have to babysit the mouths of men!”
Another woman became trapped in a feedback
loop of Ctrl + Alt + Del— Ctrl + Alt + Del
—Ctrl + Alt + Del— Ctrl + Alt + Del—Ctrl + Alt

+ Del … “eat!”…

“My predictive txt tells me…”

Technology is on my mind alot these days. i’ve been reading a lot about the Internet & its psychological effects. It seems to me the defining factor of everything at the moment, the myth of our times & something poets should be talking about, they are, we are are.

“My predictive txt tells me | I use
too much invective in my daily speech.”
The hubris of 20 somethings cultivating an identity |
the Internet their guru | until the early morning hours
—apparatus to cope or privilege?
It is not the content but the technology
that shapes us most: “that don’t make sense.”
Not much older than myself y’know
Some will mutate from Keyboard Warriors
to senile old codgers in wool & corduroy
in the time it takes to write QWERTY.
“I’ll tell you this for nowt: what we think
is profound in a 100[0]yr old book |
ain’t necessarily so in the context | of today |
this evening under awnings | the afternoon
just ended only minutes ago.”
Did u read ‘bout the kidz fightin’
an adult war for bags of Haribo?
“Nothing we did will matter in a 1000yrs…” |
yeh but, nothing in a 1000yrs matters now.

 

 

A funeral rite was once an art…

This is not a Christmas poem (i’ll pretend that isn’t happening), neither is it exclusively about Shelley, despite the Louis Edouard Fournier painting suggesting otherwise. i suppose, if the man being cremated is a poet, then the funeral rite, through contagious magic, becomes a work of art.

A funeral rite was once an art
but now | is nothing more (“or less”)
than | a service industry— a putting out of sight |
slinging the arrow of time | aflame
toward | at least | a metonymic pyre
—“to metaphor the dead is to keep
them dead | but metonym replaces with a life”
Why would you say such silliness?
: “the lobed hermaphrodite hunkered
in the snitching dynamo of our cortex |
acute enough to bathe us in dimethyltryptamine.
That’s what you said once over drinks.”
& yet | they swiped a digit round
the beveled edges of their Smartphone.
She shuts the device between her legs |
to trim & foul the agon of history
but | the mythos & logos tap
into her like a gavel rasping code.
“The beaches of man | now made with
the granulated pulp of their literature.
We pick through the silt rubble for more
coagulate bits intact | in search of …|…
in hope of | lost forbidden words | to hear
aloud | with our tremulous voice
for the first time in millennia
while 99% just sun bathe Self.”