A face…

A face | with more secrets patched in than Bletchley Park |
in a street | a transient space to move from A-B | the jaundiced buildings
scuppered by draughts of salt & age | a broken egg resembling seagull shit

on the sea wall
“Among us | daytime is not failed night |
as much as night is not failed noon.”

Unless projected from its target | light | is of little use | “it blinds.”
Is fruit a burden on the branch or is the branch a burden on the fruit?
“Nobody ought to stop me from becoming God”

explains Professor Whatshisname
Ought implies can
— time’s a-ticking | crack on…

A roiling tundra of obsolete cell phones. Worn buttons loaded with thumbprints |
the lottery sized numbers of friends & family | selfies & holiday pics
inside— they all begin to ring at once as the earth thrums.

A miserable git no quarrel there…

One of them difficult poems i’ve been banging on about lately.

A miserable git no quarrel there | Larkin
the everyman’s bard, the lad the lark Going, going
— i see what he was driving at | it came to pass
: our tarmac | clogged up vagus nerves & ventricles
the fields fenced & penalties for fishing pools
—the folk don’t give a toss so long
as there’s a Topshop in town & extra pubs
so they can move in cycles of that place
got shit so now I drink in the Lamb’s Arse
.
They’re all the same unless a messery’s on draught
or the landlord never rinses out the pipes
—maybe if the Guinness doesn’t go down well.

The world’s always been down the shitter
& yet Max Tegmark blathers on about AI
to a crowd of Google maniacs | the coming
Enlightenment of Tech
— everyone claps
he sells books of guess work | larkin about.
Seems to me another resource squanderer
but i like him & | a Luddite with an LED candle
worried machines will lay off some poor sod
left to scrap a livelihood from soup kitchens
& what he forages in refuse. There’re interims
between the point of calculus & results put
to some benefit | “by the populace for the populace.”

In that gray patch | plenty of room for error.
Regard Thatcher’s great plan for the city
Gillette’s cylindrical monolith apartments
J.W. Dunne’s Serialism & inventive streak on time.
i’m pissed up | the booze is cheap | best quit
while i’m ahead | trail off to the Land of Nod…
(…Tardigrades living on the floss n’ lint
of my nonsense | when you’ve so much to eat
beyond the Oort Cloud! | Millennia later
you returned to Earth evolved & full of fever.

i speak with one of them | measured words
from the lips of a doughy scholar | looks like us.)

A tousle with a Keyboard Warrior

A tousle with a Keyboard Warrior

‘Keyboard Warrior’

(Footnote 1. i. A Person who, being unable to express his anger through physical violence (owning to their physical weakness, lack of bravery and/or conviction in real life), instead manifests said emotions through the text-based medium of the internet, usually in the form of aggressive writing that the Keyboard Warrior would not (for reasons previously mentioned) be able to give form to in real life.
ii. The term is a combination of the word ‘keyboard’ (the main tool by which the person expresses his/her latent rage) and ‘warrior’ (due to the warrior-like aggression, tendency towards violence, headstrong nature and propensity towards brute force as a means of resolving conflict rather than more subtle means dependent on finesse).
iii. The Keyboard Warrior seeks to use the power imbued in his ‘weapon’ to effect death and destruction (in a strictly-metaphorical sense) upon his foes (other virtual identities he has encountered on the internet). In essence, the keyboard (ie. text input ability) allows the keyboard warrior to manifest his true warrior nature in a safe and removed environment, from which no real-life repercussions.
iv. Keyboard Warriors are generally identified by unnecessary rage in their written communications, and are regarded as ‘losers’ by other virtual identities on the internet. (The Urban Dictionary))

is thankfully a derogatory term. On hearing it i/we & the Urban Dictionary (here’s me hoping we are on the same page) think of a lonely, white, middle class person, in the suburbs, with super-fast Broadband, between 16-30 something, living at home, jobless &, between meals, preparing for the impending Tory apocalypse & adding to their George Monbiot shrine, whilst scouring the Internet for the best Hentai/Anime porn sites featuring their most loved cartoon & video game characters so they can wank their wrists cramped in an addictive, time sensitive schedule of ecstasy ———y’know, to fill the time between 2 p.m. & 4 a.m all the while probably wearing a t-shirt with some witticism on it like Star Whores or I am Beta than You. They used to be greebos, but have slightly grown out of that late 90’s fad.

With that out my system i can move on to why ‘Keyboard Warriors’. Recently i was character assassinated by one of their kind. An old pal of mine had put some meme about how to maintain your mental health at work. The guidelines were pretty obvious, stuff like, Make sure to take your breaks, Drink plenty of water, Do some stretches, Get some fresh air every now & then etc. Nothing much about the meme really suggested this was aimed at anyone other than John Smith Quotidian who suffers a crick in his neck from gawping at a screen all day, or any of your work-a-day folk with the woes of full time employment. My friend, had furthermore, tagged his chums, who assumedly shared the burden of their boring, daily graft as there was a lengthy hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah, which my friend had annexed to the close of his tagging spree.
Nothing about it was remotely to do with, or aimed at, those with severe mental collapse, schizophrenia, bi-polar or some such serious ailment; not even common depression seemed implied, just an average range of things, which my friend seemed to find funny as such options were denied him, so they seemed banal & yet impossible— benign in total.
i chimed in, & said something like you can also just get on with it & realize if you don’t you’ll have no food or shelter & no guitar strings when you thrash them snapped. My friend laughed at this & saw my point. i replied again i think sometimes people just need to suck it up. Now it is important to note the context, which is provided above, before we move on & in addition that i said people, a generalization, meaning the entire human race, but in tandem with the context suggests normal, admittedly stressed, but not chemically imbalanced people with serious ailments.
So you can imagine my surprise when his younger brother (the Keyboard Warrior) came along & said that mentally ill people can’t just “suck it up” they have chemical imbalances that prevent them from dealing with things (i am summarizing in my italics as the feed was eventually deleted, so i couldn’t quote this all verbatim). i thanked him for the chemistry lesson & said something else to piss him off. Then his girlfriend & a vegan PETA type joined in claiming that i am ignorant, i hate the mentally ill, that i am evil, i am a dreg on the brewery floor (i am being hyperbolic, they just insulted me generally) & more besides, which i didn’t memorize because, to be frank, it was all a load of guff.
i tried to explain myself, the context which i responded to & some other stuff about an ex of mine who had bi-polar, i apologized too; but nothing would stop their assassination attempt, which was very successful.

i had tried to make the whole discussion about the acceptance of work (the context), about how English people complain so much about work & should try to mirror the way work is viewed by Asian cultures. Wouldn’t budge. i remember him saying this isn’t about work or something along those lines, which of course, as you can see above, this is very much what the whole shebang was about. He brought up Aokigahara, the Japanese suicide forest, stating that he doesn’t want to live in a country where people commit suicide because of over work, which fairplay, but the place does get 4.2 stars on Google Reviews, so it can’t be that bad a place. Again though, recall the context

(FN2. This made me quite annoyed as i dislike it when a Westerner with no experience of another culture thinks they have the moral authority to criticize its customs, without knowing enough. This is Western thing).

Rather than fuel any anger or resentment, i started to doubt myself, was i a hater of the mental ailed? Was my comment to my friend somehow insensitive? i scrolled through my comments, re-read the meme, but could find no room for any charge against me. i became upset, i felt bullied. Suck it up! i told myself. Ok, so i shouldn’t have provoked him, but he also had no right to intrude on a perfectly harmless conversation between two old friends & subvert the wave length we were on, or did he? Is that how the world works for these people? Is this how it should be? A panopticon, a Big Brother within every informed person, ready to pounce & do us the service of correcting us, of policing our moral compass—can they swoop in from where ever & put everyone right, a super hero cracking skulls with a qwerty keyboard, plugged into a modem for power & masked by a VPN, to keep their identity a secret, about as subtle as Clark Kent’s specs.

The next day my friend came to my rescue, i hoped he’d be the trusted voice of reason to defuse the antagonism, as it was his brother & maybe he’d see i’m not the kind of person to spit on crippled people or urinate in the letterboxes of the mentally unstable. He reiterated that they have misunderstood the context & that they had no right to say such things to me. They then attacked him, saying much the same as they did to me. Turns out one of these two Keyboard Warriors didn’t work, can’t hold down a job for longer than a few months, due mostly to laziness, the other apparently actually having depression (which, remember, i didn’t actually insult directly), but nevertheless, apparently guilty of milking that a bit (not my assessment, i never even met the person) & pretty much matching the introductory depiction of them, not toe for toe, but enough (again not my direct assessment, because i don’t know these people).
This feels like a rant but is something resembling truth, if only because i can’t quote anyone, because the exchange (which i receded from like a middle-age hairline) got very nasty & by the next morning had been deleted. i do have a point to make, even though i think i’ve been making one, i hope;— it is, what is the driving force for this behavior? One of them actually suffers depression, but their behavior did little to nothing to make me sympathize with them. That is surely either a desire to make enemies, to shoot oneself in the foot, or hypersensitivity which led to a sort of blindness to the intentions of others, but if this were the case, why go like a bull at a gate & not try to see what is going on? Too many questions. So sorry.
i’d put it down to excessive moral policing, which is founded on the democratization of opinion & the protection of that. People have started wars for democracy & this is the cowardly, microcosm of that. For democratic conditioning infiltrates all aspects of people, not only their systems, by their etiquette & their manner of discussion & opining— centuries of democracy have evolved in psychological reflexes, ways (i can’t say for certain) that seem little studied (i hope somebody can point me in a direction for material on this).
Democracy means everyone has a right

(FN3. de·moc·ra·cy
(dĭ-mŏk′rə-sē)
n. pl. de·moc·ra·cies
1. Government by the people, exercised either directly or through elected representatives.
2. A political or social unit that has such a government.
3. The common people, considered as the primary source of political power.
4. Majority rule.
5. The principles of social equality and respect for the individual within a community.
[French démocratie, from Late Latin dēmocratia, from Greek dēmokratiā : dēmos, people; see dā- in Indo-European roots + -kratiā, -cracy.)

couple that with an over-sensitive, egotistical brain, which judges itself infallible because it has the internet to prop it up, to help it react, with a speedy rebuke, in real time; then we have people who use that for achieving & defending moral superiority, to the point where they are so hell bent on being morally perfect, they don’t consider the context & make spurious, emotionally fueled claims about a person’s character, using an ill-inflected medium as the platform for their rhetoric. Facebook is no place for an argument, it does not accommodate for the subtleties that are tone of voice, inflection, hand gestures, facial expression. Facebook is an arena of egos & little productive, without co-operation can be achieved through it.
The liberal has learned a few tricks from the conservative: yell loudly, respond angrily, but there is a difference: the liberal overwhelms with tons of facts, from various sources & smugly counters anything the stupid conservatives thinks, whereupon the conservative should, so the logic goes, crumple under the sheer gravity of knowledge & be converted to the light of liberalism.
However, such a process of dehumanization is dangerous. i have read in Facebook statuses that people who vote conservatively are apparently, soulless. i mean, conservatism has an immensely ugly side, but the voters are strung along by whatever scapegoat or lies are filtered to them through the small window of media they relate to: TV & tabloids mostly;— they are just people, who go to work, raise a family, have a pint on the weekend, watch football in the pub & whatnot. They are ordinary

(FN4. i must add here that i am not one of these people, the average Joe thinks of me as one of the over opinionated yobs of the liberal intelligentsia, but since living away i have changed & i have to express this, not directly, but through a new manner of reaction to this charge, which is fine— i was never a Keyboard Warrior though, i spoke to people & used what i knew & read to try to help people see something. Was i right? Probably not, i should have been more skillful in my method of delivery, but i was young & volatile; i’ve since deodorized that side of me).

Ok, so this yell tactic makes sense, it is a natural thing to do, it is what children do. The problem being that, when you have a democratized public opinion, who is right & wrong? Because somebody can sit at a computer, sight reading articles ticking them off for ammunition, bookmarking them, like a loaded gun, does this make you an authority? In March 2014, there was a Guardian article titled ‘Keyboard warriors’ have taken over climate debate, Bill Shorten says Shorten who is still the Leader of the Opposition in the Parliament of Australia said the following

“In this age of self-publishing platforms, it has never been easier for people to broadcast their opinion to the world – regardless of its veracity or foundation,” he said.
“On scientific matters, this means any outspoken blogger can pit their anecdotal ‘evidence’ and ‘commonsense’ reasoning against years of painstaking, peer-reviewed research.” (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/mar/17/keyboard-warriors-taking-over-climate-debate-shorten)

He hits the nail on the head.

For arguments sake, as a tactic, these Warriors would not agree to this charge but might raise the right to argue as justification for their opinion & explain they are informed enough to defend that opinion. But this becomes defunct if you won’t even pay mind to the context, which, if altered, if not agreed upon, means the information they spume becomes invalid. What are you even doing then? i’ll tell you, you’re turning people away from what should be a shared progression for a more informed society, who can use information to eradicate falsities & lies. But still, an agenda persists because of the right to opine, regardless of the lack of information a person has harvested from available sources.
It feels, when you’re on the receiving end of their vitriol, as if they want only their opinion to watermark forums & Facebook feeds. We the opposition, can be discounted in much the same manner as conspiracy theorists discount doubters, by saying you don’t get it, or that you are ignorant of the truth— myopic to the realities they seem to have extrapolated from the same information. Their opponents might as well be in parenthesis. An aside, inessential to their purpose, but necessary enough to be present, if only to give the mirage of an unbiased discussion. It reminds me of Kim Seung-hee’s For Nomads series, a verse of which goes

What seals me
within these parentheses?
Who is it that is secure
only when I am within these parentheses?
What is it? Who is it? Why this fascism of desire
below this old horizon
that is held up wholly
by these parentheses? (For Nomads 5, Kim Seung-hee)

This is what it feels like to be put down (attacked is a reasonable word to use) by a Keyboard Warrior, to be barred in parentheses. They need an opponent to be combative, you take the role of cannon fodder, sometimes blindfolded, for their reactionary impulse. They cannot diet from argumentation, the dull repetition of their anti-social life compels them; like my mother who tells me the mundanity of office work means when the coffee & biscuit trolley comes around, you always tuck in— she now works from home.
Now, i’m not saying tackling issues online cannot be a necessary part of society, but it must be approached with a better tact. People don’t like feeling stupid & certainly don’t want to be overloaded with facts that have no relevance to them. There needs to be coercion through understanding. & a realization that the answers for some is not the answers for others, but that a common ground must be discovered

(FN6 This is what i’ve always understood the appeal of Socrates to be, that he didn’t know how we could arrive at truth without a lung collapsing tirade of questioning, which may not get there, but is something.)

i’d like to say i have an answer for this, but i don’t, at all, & i can’t even articulate all i’d like to say, because, it seems as if everything comes back to something, which should be & is, a wonderful freedom of modern society: that we can have an opinion & that if it isn’t totally free of barriers then it isn’t free at all. i think that is right.

Let me know your thoughts. This needs to be discussed i think. The logical (not necessarily correct) conclusion, for me at least, is a gauge with which to measure a person’s take on a matter. This raises the problem of class & privilege, education & the baloney of higher intelligence (which is notoriously difficult to gauge as i hope is a little clear by now) & neglects the autodidact, who can often school themselves adequately enough to hold their own. But if we are to be sensible thinkers, we cannot override the work of experts, we have to initially trust them & do our utmost, if we want to be opinionated, to learn as much, from as many points of view as we can— which seems to contradict what i said earlier about overloading a discussion with irrelevant “facts”. This to me suggests that the platform we use to talk & what we talk about should be selective, to avoid know-it-alls interrupting & debunking what they don’t know enough about. What to do when you vertiginously spin at the mercy of a tornado? Dunno. We can only, tolerating & respecting each other, try as one to muddle through.

email to Tim Miller

just going to put this out there. Tim Miller at wordandsilence.com said that this passage from an email i sent him had literary merit, or as i interpreted his response, stirred in him something beyond an email response. i have a lot of trust in Tim’s opinions so i am going to test the waters. if it works it may become a new micro-fiction style which i’ll work on more.

email to Tim Miller

Tim,

here are some poems, which i am thinking about sending to the High Window. they are perhaps a bit raw, maybe into their 2 and a bit draft, & been swimming around in my thoughts for a very long time. they are hard to write because Master-nim, though he will never read them, deserves them to be the best i can produce, regardless; because the experiences i had with him were so life/mind altering, if only because i saw a whole new way of living, which is weird, because we had no in depth discussions, even though he seemed to be able to fill in the gaps of my pidgin Korean & we communicated to a certain point quite fluidly, but mostly we just dealt with stuff, we just got on with something, drank a lot & laughed at our predicament. he taught me through action to not grit & bear, but thrive in hardship. i am still not great at it, but at least i know how to approach that method of being. it is quite sad to see him decline into alcoholism & self-destruction because of his situation, but that is because he is not emotionally fertile, he doesn’t know how to rebel, to complain, to resist people’s manipulation, he just takes each day as it comes eat shit work work work shit work work shit drink eat drink drink eat shit sleep sleep sleep repeat

regards

daniel

Atman (mined from the Library of Babel)

i thought a break from the singing bowls in order & a thought a return to mining the library of Babel might clear the mind.

the more i construct these odd poems i note two methods for designing something resembling sense. the first, is to form characters, you may notice Yin & Rex as 2, being as they seem to crop up in most pages & especially in the books titled Brahma & Atman, respectively. the anchor of the character gives a pointed-ness to the nonsense, it is happening to someone, no matter how abstract or undeveloped they are. this acts as a compass to steer the reader out of the ambivalence of the taut often monosyllabic words that form the lines.
second;y, the use of punctuation
:

pep Yin, get vin, if get tax of wry red dal, odd?

looks much different without punctuation,

pep Yin get vin if get tax of wry red dal odd

it is just a line of separate words, but the caesuras give us a moment to pause & build a sense, to interpret in our own inimitable way. of course punctuation is for such a purpose, but i could write a grammatically correct poem without punctuation & make perfect sense for the reader with dots & colons & what not. in Korean poetry there is hardly any punctuation, for a question the post positional 을까 is used in place of ?. the context is naturally there for the Korean reader, punctuation or not.
if anyone has any thoughts on the limitations, or the openness for new modes of writing from these conceptual pieces, or if anyone has tried it out for themselves, i am very eager to know, so please comment.  if you are not familiar with how i developed the idea for these poems, there is an explanatory post here.

 

Atman

a wild ado tacks a brr on wind maps.
a pimp leaks red ash, left n’ go west, be dub him.
get cigs, beg n’ can get fat eggs, a
gin lass. a sod owns a spud belt; him
pep Yin, get vin, if get tax of wry red dal, odd?
can him rot? ago, wind tax him get n’ leak gas,
n’ wild ado a brr of wind. let go gin,
aim a haw yon sod of Rex, put spuds in
Yin. us web a lip in gas of dika. wind-
ikan be left him, n’ left him cig ash. an alb, ago,
left in a bog. put him in an elm for
west wind; a lass put salt n’ ash in elm.
an him left (“bye bye”) elm sap on mown eggs
– “him odd m’lud, him let lips be, get odd.”

(The book you were reading was Volume 21 on Shelf 4 of Wall 4 of Hexagon: nr5ekdlkz0xlhew2hpudtsfmpfjlxgbch4e6kanybzi4pa0kx30q04or3nov6edmdbpadflh56fvputhmnky520)

[dal = 달, which is the Korean word for moon]

& now for something compleeeeeetely different: conceptual poems inspired by libraryofbabel.info & the Upanishads

Jonathan Basile’s libraryofbabel.info is an astonishing piece of art. or, as he puts it, iterature. this compound comes from iteration & literature, two of his reasons for creating the sprawling online library. as he says on the website he has a desire

to seek other venues in which to undermine rational discourse, such as the Permuda Triangle.

Jonathan says of the library:

[it] is a place for scholars to do research, for artists and writers to seek inspiration, for anyone with curiosity or a sense of humor to reflect on the weirdness of existence – in short, it’s just like any other library.

many will know it as a popular story by Borges.
on my first learning of & sitting transfixed in front of the static blocks of text, i knew i had to put it to some creative use. of course poetry was always going to be my go to. but why?
the library offers a conceptual framework from which to reference from, but if you were to make too rigid the parameters you have to work with, it would prove difficult to maneuver, too complex & you’d get nothing done, or you would, slowly. so i constricted myself to the sonnet, because why not; a traditional form with enough space to convey a message using language.
the library panders to an instinct for nonsense, to expose the absurdities of language; the irony that even with so much of it handed to you, still you labour to produce, to articulate.
to begin the production of these poems, i start by searching in the library, terms from the glossary of Swami Nikhilananda’s translation of the Upanishads, Hindu terms that attribute titles to the infinite that contribute to a system that explains things cosmic & earthly: a suitable reference for extracting words from a gigantic library, which is essentially limitless like Brahman. these words are just a springboard for mining the library for language. once the word has been searched i choose the title search, which means the title of the book is the chosen term. the titles of the poems are the titles of books inside the library.
next i sift the words from the chaff. here things become interesting. many of the words appear nonsense at first, but searching for them in a dictionary reveals they are merely obscure. for instance i came across the three letter u.l.u: ulu, which is the name of an Inuit knife, with a curved blade used for skinning animals. i would have to read a very specific text to discover this word, but there it was in among a jumble of letters in an online library.
the whole process, additionally, becomes a means of discovering a whole range of vocabulary you wouldn’t otherwise learn. it becomes a matter of sifting through the page of text to extract useful verbs, nouns, pronouns, articles, conjunctives & adjectives. the words are never more than 4 letters long, so there is a tautness to the monosyllabic lines, a staccato feel, made interesting by the bizarreness of the content that arises out of the struggle to make a line & also the sound of the word itself.
it becomes clear very soon, once you get into the process, that you have to sort of haphazardly gum a line into form. but this is the point. this is the fun. you would probably have great difficulty writing these lines without restrictions of this kind, as you will discover upon reading one.
i have never been a supporter of conceptual poetics, but i find the idea of mining information, of borrowing from the world to progress forms of poetry, to bring it up to date with a technological age, profitable for aesthetic & even philosophical reasons. however, the outcome, the finished product always feels empty, it doesn’t do anything.
someone i am sure could make a strong case that any outside influence that an artist or poets transmutes into a piece of art, is borrowed information, a recycling of specifics from everything. that any poem then becomes a restoration of experience & learning, something like Hermann von Humboldt’s

prediction machine, and that what we see, hear and feel are nothing more than the brain’s best guesses about the causes of its sensory inputs. Think of it like this. The brain is locked inside a bony skull. All it receives are ambiguous and noisy sensory signals that are only indirectly related to objects in the world. Perception must therefore be a process of inference, in which indeterminate sensory signals are combined with prior expectations or ‘beliefs’ about the way the world is, to form the brain’s optimal hypotheses of the causes of these sensory signals – of coffee cups, computers and clouds. What we see is the brain’s ‘best guess’ of what’s out there.

which is i quote taken from this essay by Anil K. Seth in Aeon, well worth a read. in this case what we have learned or experienced is combined with a new experience or piece of information that triggers a form, a poem. i am not negating a poem, written with prior experience or learning in mind, whether used consciously or unconsciously, but that the use of a source that essentially gives us all the materials, in way the library has provided me with every word for a poem, is something that could be argued from two extremes, one accepted as the common method for making, while the other one remains mechanic, reproducible & unorthodox; but there is an essential similarity: both use something to make something.
here, i think, i have remedied that extremity by drawing from both sides. here we have a monumental amount of information, essentially limitless, which we have to decode through a personal method to extract anything of value, even if that value is just a laugh at the absurdities we can form with restricted access to language. is there not something beautiful about restriction within infinity, unavoidable absurdity from chaos, a semblance of aesthetic out of a jumble of letters.
what it amounts to is that though the materials are provided, there is something individual inherent in the outcome: it is fed through the production line developed by the individual, who is bending his consciousness around the materials, which inevitably inspires the words to form a certain way. restriction does not mean there is no choice; i’d say one page offers roughly 30-40 monosyllabic words, with perhaps one or two disyllabic words creeping in, but rarely.
this then, surely appeals to both the common method of writing & the conceptual. this does feel very much like a production line product. there is a process, which could be nuanced upon, but when the goal is production, the most efficient method is the best; then again, method is developed according to the individual coordinating the development, which makes this a conceptual model that navigates away from the cold, uncreative writing of the conceptual poets. it could be argued that what this is isn’t conceptual at all. i am fine with that. i hope only that my process may be mimicked to produce some absurd poetry or create a dialogue, to discover ways of undermining rational discourse, especially with so much confusion going on around us.

if you create your own poems using the above aum, method, please, please share them with me. & of course your thoughts on this process.

the book reference is at the end of each poem if you want to make sure i didn’t use any extra words, just in case, don’t want to leave my self open to the charge of massive bullshitter.

brahma

go nth Lear, peg a wry hiss, a surd on a lotus.
pats six lite clits & rubs his nob
at Eve of Khi. flu swims a coo.
awls rub lite elms cuz Rex wed pubs.
info qua info. pory pus box.
ado Rob, bam! nowt… fob a lit pyx,
aw, a koel rasps a gaol guy in a lum
if Lear kips in a lum by pubs.
hub of a zuz not a bee. erm…
i spy Lear pus lotus info in a box
if khi a ton, if ulu, surd yin.
wry Rex box me, hiss me, fob me.
kid Lear jogs lax, kips in elms
– go vex yin, pat Lear rex & ban stilbs: chao.

(The book you were reading was Volume 17 on Shelf 1 of Wall 2 of Hexagon: xc9ksqxiifhzf8coi4gtevv9ksiq5rl32uuvi7wc2075x3jzugn1hvhrtn5s0apbm)

begin in Seoul

i am still reeling in my tongue from the surprise reception i received after Tim Miller published me on wordandsilence. i have never had that much focus before & it felt good.
i am following it up with a poem Tim helped me edit, an apt follow up then.
Cities terrify me & here is what seeps from me after a visit to one of them. (none of my own photography in this post.)

begin in Seoul

하나 : Seoul’s nervous system

the subway trains i think of as electrical impulses bolting
through tunnels fixed with myelin wires synchronous
with axon tracks that hurtle & swerve toward dendrite terminals
at which passengers, each an extension to a diallelus, get off
& knot each, in itself, coagulate system, a complex entirety;
all of which keeps the nucleus of the Seoul’s organism
palpitating & suspended like a heart on the cusp…
29 bridges leap back & forth, south to north over the wide hips of the Han
from Gangnam to Jongno-gu, linking fleets of metal phoenixes
which transport Seoul’s population to endless options of luxury.

Bukhan Mt leers down on all of us in impartial judgment
& filters lungfuls of our smog each minute- who has
known the inflexible torments of history’s pitfalls;
mislaid entire idioms in the sharp angles of her mind
& witnessed lost alphabets, philologists recovered for their king,
liberate the illiterate poor & stoke the pipe fume of the bitter aristocracy.
watched infectious paranoia consume monarchs with madness,
the last tigers that haunted her forests hunted down for sport,
& heroes rise out of the Imjin war & in ’68 erected in stone
at Gwanghwamun, as a reminder of the indomitable spirit of Korea.
seen calendars switched as the opulent stars seeped into traffic
& span with a celerity beyond the dawn’s circuitous grief.
it will protect her Seoul, even from the consumption of its self.
as the turbid river- where the constellations once knelt & drank
& the people flocked its banks, washed, communed, fished,
as it escorted Bukhan’s mineral volumes, rich oath of rock,
to the rapid verbosity of the undine’s alluvion
-is mopped up by the sea like gravy from a sailor’s dish.

everything seems caught in quotation marks here.
idling people dozing or waiting to receive updates,
to see if so & so got something better than they got;
prodding rapidly their screens to collect worthless points
in cartooinsh games so garish & quick they foment epileptic starts.
there could be drastic consequences if that young chap doesn’t
turn that tinny, synthetic K-pop, like nails rattled in a can, off, soon!
i hear old men fart on their seats to keep them warm & ward
off potential seat usurpers; 3 codgers stare, size me up,
regardless of my having no intention to take their designated seat.
children too, stare, ruffling their eye brows like muslin curtains
to say why does that face have a beard & why’s it here?
desperate sales men & women staccato quick step
along every carriage . stop . to spin their well-rehearsed spiel
to flog their picnic mats, gloves, pocket radios, rain macs
– practical items people don’t realise they need until they do.

it would be easier if i could envision Seoul as how things are;
but an errant synapse in me will not permit complicity.
between this many vapid, pale faces, there must be,
there has to be according to the law of averages, just one
capable of muddling the whole grimy lot of it together
into an adequate transliteration of the death trope, for us to quote.

둘 : subway soliloquy

i cotton on to the mannerisms of others, i know
them better than they know themselves & yet
i haven’t a clue as to who i am, what i am doing here;
am i on a tour of their sin, to share their gluttony for haste
& the morning after imprecations in favour of slothfulness?
in this place i have more opinions about than i ever
had regarding myself. i’ve always been deliberately evasive
with traffic lights. i’ll begin being all over again in a year or so;
i’ll take myself some place else i can never understand.
& still, though i have some vague hope, no one will
come to me with arms full of themselves revealed
& explain to me how best to mimic them without
missing a step or having to make a second attempt
: that would make all the difference to me- until then…

셋 : a short nocturne

no doubt it’s just the solemn collapse
of the nocturne over the slab of city
that swings a lonely girl
like the hidden stars into an object of pity
whilst ambulances stencil hazards out incomplete dark.

넷 : the one who sees gods

a young lad drank too much & made himself a shambles
: grass stains on his left shoulder & right knee,
he’d been hauling the world here & there methinks,
garbles the mouthwash of his woman troubles to me
in a language only the inebriate understand so well;
fails to stand still as the plinth i wish him to mount,
zig zags in an irregular helix shuffle narrowly missing curb-traffic.
every Seoul he meets he flatters with the title
god of my generation; he’s correct every time
: in this neon, the right application of moisturizer, toner, foundation,
oils, mascara, gloss, everyone glistens with alchemical scintillae,
the shadow cast from suspended footsteps follow under street lamps,
their unguents repel the sewage & cheap fried food
– these synthetic god types are the prototype of what
so many here pine for once their bank accounts flower.
all there is here is looking good, it is simple : keepmouthshut,
head in airplane mode, regulate breath & pray the surgeons
will look kindly on us all from their Gangnam offices
this summer & have a 50% sale on chin chiseling & eye widening
before the sea change of age decimates a chance of romance.
meanwhile, the fashion industry indiscreetly favours us,
the death of the old season takes care of our beatitude
& don’t forget booze, which is always a helping hand
: it, without altercation, fixes the ugly & shy into objects of adoration.

다섯 : bird in a bee hive

i feel at odds with this wide expanse
that claims so much of us, to be much of us,
its didactic, tarmacked arteries, telling us where to go,
promising us the will to choose rather than follow
the foul mouthed halitosis of its slogans pasted on billboards
telling us what to buy, suggesting insurance to coddle us
& loan interests’ %, to help give us more of…
taxi drivers’, gave me indigestion, more so even than
the piss-flat lager, the poxy ingredients for the pseudo curry
& greasy Chinese food ladies with fur clutch purses,
leopard print shirts, plastic stilettos & panda kohl ladle,
cloying to their trachea while they chat schools & cash.
the stench of faecal waste could ossify the clouds
& melt the glass façade of Yeouido, crisp its river park
: it’s no surprise i should feel claustrophobic then
: it is a tight space in me for it- we are not infinite
& neither is it infinite: it wouldn’t take much to level the Seoul.
a mosquito suffocating in urinals, squeezed
into dwarfish bathrooms in slim corridors of afterthought.
people narrowed into the Thermopylae of their screens
where they defend nothing but their single plate,
bowl or glass; occupation, job, routine, hobby, style, ideology.
i am grateful that birds with nooses round their throats
cannot from the avenues of birch & blossom nor
from gallows humour, be kicked to an untimely end.

2 humorous pieces: i deliberately broke my smartphone & Purefoy & the sparrows

i hope John Berryman smiles from his death-place on these light pieces. i try to do you proud master. 

smartphone
the object intact

i deliberately broke my smartphone

It is gone. i am free.
The glass of its face fractured & the battery having jettisoned
on impact with the wardrobe seems to have been the clincher.
No longer will precious time be spent on click bait
nor when i’m on the toilet will i read statuses & memes;
rather than gawp at the countless posing’s of pets & pints,
the seafood meals & selfies, i’ll do something else.
No god hurtled claps of lightning from stormy cumulus.
Neither liturgy nor elegy to the mechanical deceased is necessary.
The why of the matter is of no importance. What can it mean for man?
It is gone. i am free.

purefoy
thrilled to discover this (charcoal?) sketch of James Purefoy

Purefoy & the Sparrows

i wonder if birds yawn & if they don’t how is it they articulate
the drab monotony of
coo coo caw caw click click jug jug?

If they only had James Purefoy’s face
for properly expelling their disaffections to their species’ warbles
(that’s why they always chase each other)
& the likes of us
just by raising an eyebrow, curling their beak, sighing.

It makes sense why i saw a host of sparrows at the newsstand
flapping through Empire magazine for headshots of Purefoy
they could glue with spittle
to their tiny foreheads or impale on their beaks.