Sunday, 15 December 2019

Alan Watts said something like

the future is a mirage made up of fanciful notions.
Bad things will happen; good things will happen.
And when the bad things have happened,
we will carve them out of stone,
add them to the collection,
and carry them with us wherever we may go;
the more awkward, the better.
Smash up these little works of art.
Melt them down in the fire of your anger.

It is not our job to create the universe;
our job is to experience it,
finally realising, in the moment of death,
that what’s inside our fragile heads
is a metaphor for the whole of the cosmos,
simultaneously real and figurative.


Cast your net as far as it will go.
Will it find any answers?

Is the best way to write different poems
to become a different person?

I ask myself too many questions.

Reality is what’s in front of you.
Reality is what is with you now.


Can words be empty, even when you take them
away from what they represent? Right now,
I place the pencil on the page and see
what words arrive. I wonder what they mean. 


I set off down the path in search of truth.
I know that I won’t find it, and I hope
that I won’t find it.

I take my mask off.
There is no cure for life.
There is no cure for existential angst.

We spend our whole life climbing different mountains
and when we reach the top, ‘What now?’ we ask.
We find another mountain, and we climb.

Why do we climb the mountain? So that we
can throw rocks at the sun. We always miss.

I know that I will never find ‘enlightenment’;
it’s not a thing which can be found.

I find that isolation works the best.

The Car Park with a View

What questions can we ask ourselves, if any?
Where do we go in life? What do we see?
Do you have your hand upon the wheel?
Or is it that the car is automatic?
What is it for? Or are these things for nothing?
And what is nothing anyway? And what
is ‘this’ that we call it? We surely mean
to call it ‘these’: the things we see; the things
we do; or write; and on and on and on.
The Car Park with a View lacks relevance
within the hazy context of this poem.

Poetry Trips You Up

Like a step that isn’t there.
Like a satnav sending you 
to the wrong place, deliberately,
and you end up somewhere 
you didn’t know you wanted to be
(if that’s possible).
Like a hatstand for flamingoes.
Like a staircase without a house.
Like entering a house in one location
and exiting it at another,
and you can’t get back to where you were.
Like driving into a wall at eighty miles per hour,
which, on impact, turns out not to be there.
Like diving into a swimming pool,
only to find that you’ve jumped off a cloud.
Like wearing make-up for a sauna.
Thus, every mortal doth from himself flee. 


The weather outside
is like the worst poem
ever written.

Or the blackest. 

The Emperor's New Words

I write from nothing; let the words fall on
the page from nowhere. This is what we have
to do: to write without ideas, meaning,
or subject matter. Life is bloody stupid.
We live it. Why? Because we have to live it.
The flow of water interrupted when
the tap turns off. We live our lives and then,
when old age has rolled on our rusted chains,
we find that all we do is ask ourselves,
‘What happened there? Was that a life?’ It was.
Today is not a day for writing poems.

No, but listen

You cannot change the world
unless you change yourself.

Catching Exclamation Marks from Frank O'Hara

What lies beneath these random lines of verse?
They are not random; they escape from far
below and years away. What lies beneath 
our thoughts? The truth of evolution’s lives;
its many lives. We strive each day - for what?
We should be useless! Strive for contemplation!
Or simply watch those thoughts go by. They are
not even ours! My best response is laughter!

A Man is Talking to Himself

‘Everyone is talking to themselves - what
would happen if we had to articulate our
thoughts out loud? We would learn to
silence them, and then what might we
find? Get on to it. Your thoughts are already
audible to the entire universe,
because that is what you are.’

Yet More Sky

Today, the sun is shining, and the sky
is blue. The sun shines every day; the sky 
is always blue. Grey clouds deceive us. Here is
your reality: no sun; no sky.
Evaporate the clouds with thoughts. Bring back
the blue sky and its sun. They never went away.


In one of those ‘misread at a glance’ moments,
my eye deceives me once again,
and this time, it’s awkward.
Not awkward as in awkward,
but awkward as in awkward -
no, wait - oh, ‘awakened’.


Disquiet barge engulfed with broken wheels
meanders awkwardly. Civilian berths 
traduced by megalomaniac pursuits.
Indelible remarks scuff lemon ears
at twilight where the rooftop tumbles always.
Boulders in tea-cups held by heavy hands.
The minimalist will only rob a bank
to rid it of its money; fortune favours
the broke. The elemental herbivore
will save the world with dietary choices.
Catch with your eyes and fill your clumsy hands;
the aftertaste of metalwork arrives.
Avoiding prepositions for the fear
of repetition. Pardoned parcels lighten
the heavy carpet testament: religion
for floors; music for armchairs; art for art’s sake.
A caravan of tables makes its way
across Saharan sand dunes, carried sideways
by time and fortune. Life will spill its life
on the nearest surface available.
Lights become lights when switched with other lights,
the ones which always/never work. Be still.
Be being. Be whatever you must be.
The last line’s not a hymn to being sung.

Guru 1

‘Inside every one of us, there is the Light of God,’
says the Guru.
‘What if you’re mistaken, and it’s actually a light-bulb?
I ask/suggest.
‘Good point,’ says the Guru.
‘I hadn’t thought of that. 
Inside every one of you,’ he continues,
‘there is a light-bulb,’
‘Hang on,’ I interrupt (again).
‘Are we talking here about an actual light-bulb,
or a light-bulb of the mind?'
‘Yes,’ replies the Guru.
‘It wasn’t a yes or no question,’ I counter,
somewhat peevishly.
‘But it was a yes or no answer,’
explains the Guru.
I can’t argue with this,
and I decide to let him carry on.
‘Inside every one of us,’ says the Guru, guardedly,
looking at me with his smile
which I can’t tell is real or imaginary,
‘blah, blah, blah, whatever, things,
spirituality, etc., etc., like a wave
on the ocean of the Universe’s Consciousness, waffle,
waffle, waffle, God/Godhead/Ego,
intuition, the Age of Aquarius, or was it Incurious?
la-de-da, peace of mind, eschew possessions, or,
in the case of a dog, chew them,
mumble, mumble, mutter,  
there’ll be a hat passed round at the end, 
calmness, hushness, thisness, stillness, peace,
your karma suggests you lend me a tenner
which will be paid back in the next life, 
leaves, breezes, clouds, God-stuff,
inner something-or-other,
love, bish-bash-bosh!
Enlightenment at two o’clock.’
He doesn’t really say any of these things,
and I curse my habit of never listening when people talk.
What if I’ve just missed hearing the meaning of life,
or the purpose of existence,
or the essence of truth,
which will sustain me for the rest of my days?
‘...and so you see,’ the Guru’s words
intrude on my thoughts, ‘that is the way of things.’
A big Oh, I see now! noise escapes
from the collective audience (minus one).
An aide to the Guru stands and walks towards the microphone.
‘We have time for a couple of questions.’
Immediately, I put my hand in the air.
‘Yes,’ he says, and, with an irony he is unaware of, 
‘if you could speak so that everyone can hear you.’
‘Okay,’ I say, ‘Did anyone catch any of that on their phone?’ I ask.
‘Only, I wasn’t listening.’