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HEMINGWAY a farewell to arms

i was
always embarrassed
by the words,

glori o us,


and the expression



we heard them
sometimes standing

in the r

almost out of ear shot, so that

the sh out ed
words came through,

and had read them,

on proclamations

that were

slapped up by billposters
other proclamations,

now for a long time,

and I had seen nothing sacred,

and the things
that were glorious
had no

and the sacrifices were like

the stockyards of Chicago


nothing was done

with the meat


to bury it.
kafka's last words

probably near low, snow covered houses

on an endless winding street, doors closed,
the illusion of leading somewhere

is, in a corner of time, a smoky hovel,

with bearded men soaking in the washtub
and a dying candle and guestless moon

suggesting wet boots on the floor,

a coachman's discarded black loaf.
there is a church in this village under shadow

only because there is a church square;

a narrow place where all is reduced to reference
and knowledge is passed in whispers.

here, one can only imagine things

that are not the sum of experience,
that emergence is possible from the present state;

that a third [psychic] event can occur out of THE finitude OF

from the bitterness of lemons, perhaps,
and sweetness of sugar

an event in continuum and newness like an inkpot

and pen hidden in a wall's niche,
where possibility is elation under night:

"lemonade, everything was so infinite"


The Babylonians invented the zero

Which the Greeks banned
And the Hindus worshipped
Christians fought off heretics with its curves
And now it is set to destroy astrophysics
As the mystery of a black hole;

A kind of loving opens with Victor Brown

In the Yorkshire town, Cressley;
It ends with a cold night two-weeks before Christmas;

A picture of William’s army caught in quicksand

Precedes Harold rescuing two soldiers;
Which rests next to Stevenson beside a donkey
Eating chocolate
Swallowing a mouthful of brandy
And smoking a cigarette in time
Before the cold disables his fingers;

It would be idle to search for the grass-pea

Until the flowers are out
I am told – for it grows in meadows among grass
And it is got up to resemble a grass plant exactly;

Anne Frank writes that Peter thanks her

A thousand times
For helping with French
- but he’s much better at English and geography!

Huxley’s essay on Japan details his arrival at Kobe:

The air was cold and smelt of soot
There was deep mud in the streets,
A little while after he had stepped on the shore
It began to rain: “We might have been landing
At Leith in the height of a Scotch November.”

Avaricious and Envious

Are granted by Jupiter
Whatever they wish
On the condition that each neighbour has twice as much as he:
One asks for a room filled with gold
The other requests a single eye to be blinded;

“All of us, at the same moment”, Octavio Paz declares,

in his Labyrinth,
“have had a vision of existence as something unique, untransferable
and very precious”;

“So it was the janitor”, said the teacher,

pushing the assistants away and turning to K.,
who had been listening all the time
leaning on the handle of his broom.

* from an idea of an ongoing poem by Jim C. Wilson

fresh woods

i'll be naked under the carnations

clipped between celan and cummings

you'll be tatooed in newspaper print

from international air mail presses
and we'll meet in the poetry library
up stairs
and following
skin kisses between the wooded bookshelves
you'll be fragmented and fully flowered
i'll be stamped with the words between us
and like suited flares
marigold of meadows
there'll be a constellation of visitors
or vagrant deft scholarships
dripping down ankle bones
a suited meadow
flaming marigold
imperfect and fresh
on the myth of longing

she picked at old diaries

and looked for your name
found it scribbled with an exclamation mark
underlined, or the page punctuated by stars;
the joy of finding it...
thought to look at the map to see your house
and imagine life on those westward street-names nearby
witness the london borough of ealing
all its glorious snakes of lanes
and cuckoo alleys
with late august sun painting shadows on irish footpaths;

she’d cut out pictures and colours from magazines, too

which most days said you'd enjoy
a farm tractor nestled by sheep, a train cutting through
the landscape of cerrara,
deep rouge, soft nettle-green, an egg-shell orange,
but she wanted to pass them on
in the way you speak of things
leaving them perfect
and fresh
without wrapping them up

no icebox
only part of the process
of being out and making do
in the creeping of autumn
into time
when the fiction is over, the myth boarded up
the train parked, the sheep asleep
and the longing wrestled,
but rested
white canoe
(after peter doig)

i.m. joan

there is a light
rolling when fences come down
and locally quarried stone bleeds the undergrowth of reckoning:
a stilled train on an empty track
cloud flocks over humbled terraces
the green within the heather
and the huge bright sword of rainbow
on a process to somewhere else
by factories facing north
tarmac vibrating the red
and ploughed field bends in crystal skies

there is a light
whipped in the thickened grass of mid-September evenings
in the pattern of a guardsman's waistcoat
a tiny tree from a distance
the red of the signal stop
and the pines under cirrostratus in Northumbria
starlings at dusk
the edge of hayfields under blue and partings in hair
in the loss of folk
on a process to somewhere else
cows black against green
and the solitude of a lighthouse
the last great romantic war

It was a town
an inestimable fraction in size
of a real town some miles away
under the hills and rains of Austerlitz;
a wooden miniature
in which a shop had little loaves carved from lolly sticks
and a puddle-lake homed whale-minnows
by the matchbox church;
it was a miniature Wednesday
a little time in the middle of a smaller week
in the crack of the licorice-stick schoolyard gates
and the roofs of the farm barns built from book covers
in the compressed village
in an opening to a short-story I found
in a book of stories on an orange seat
of a tube train built by Metro Cammell ninety-four years ago
part of the D stock wrapping its way through Chiswick:
there it goes past Ravenscourt
on a Wednesday in January
that I’ll enter in a few moments time
ten years ago.
urban history

my weekly planner may come alive

when i have a big bounding
panther shaped dream of you
the two-dimensional page
unfolding into a wild theatre;
orange tigers roaming in
dagger shaped leaves of green
shadowing a beach scene;
phosphorescent stars
of the night
raining down as the birds
squalk and cry sharp songs
of their nesting
and plight.
unsent postcard #2

i n c a r n a t i o n
that greets Gatsby

before he kisses Daisy

after l i s t e n i n g to the stars
is an elusive descendental moment
following a vision:
a ladder of houselights l e a d i n g to the pap of life
available to the anonymous, the alone;
while in the kissing
the l i n k to the perishable
and the human

must be warm
or a form of slow-motion
s n o w slow
new jersey ode (2005-07-16 @ 5:17 p.m.)

are you weary, blue sky,

in this easterly, hoboken division?

tickled by the oaks

standing in early shadows

do you wish for rain

montclair-boonton drops, forever dropping?

you enter into darknesses

releasing your song of pascack stars

while the blinking moon

hangs heavy over the northeast corridor

oh, blue magician sky

scissoring the newark way

- to the rhythm of boy-scouts

picking the border at the delaware banks

the sounds of sledding, skiing and fishing

in vorhees and hacklebarney

and the ice-cracking on musconetcong -

bring me home, lead me to lusscroft

and let me lie there, lovely and lonely

The Rashomon Effect (by Geof Hajcman)

The river is a natural


In profile you mention


Before the grandeur of


is in stasis

Everything is visible
below the surface

Look fiercely! Even

the water

Eventually ceases to
be water

[The Rashomon effect is the effect of the subjectivity of perception

on recollection, by which observers of an event are able to produce
substantially different but equally plausible accounts of it]
clarification over the phone

In oils, right?
Black? Yep, jet black night
Deep background, no light save a flamboyant spray of purple for moon
With hand-scythed hay, a pressed field as the middle, using a knife
Below the veranda of the house on stilts
A wooden American-type thing, bamboo colours from candlelight
But just the decking in view; Foreground? Yep,
But this bit: torn by a tremendous gale and loose impressionist rain
Rabid, a man, sanding a rocking-chair
With all the diligence and envy of a honey-bee.
writing pastoralles centralle

from the hog-fog of the demi-god came ‘epilogue!’

make it sheen Pythagorean
like renaissance diligence en france per chance
acute observation not telecommuni-fuckin-cation

‘preface’ said the red-faced ace race at pace in my space

give it to ‘em shoeing and chewing
trance ‘em by dancing and chancin’, johanessen
manicured manipulation not mental masturbation
complete neat and sweet off the street

the forget-me-not plot claimed ‘the goddam lot!’

lock-stock and copshop sweatshop and hot bot you twot
not the quilled tranquil pastorale
but hyperbolic tropic bucolic colonic kaleidoscopic
the danger of the stranger, l’estranger tout le mange

so it couldn’t get much better with the editor in a sweater

wetter than a jetter on the never-ever lake metier
said ‘cut the rope and quash the dope!’ NO FUCKING HOPE
- but hun, the sun undone all the un-fun, so we could run!

6 may 08
the blue cat dreams of the planets created for you
[* Gk. Kobalt, Kobald: lit. 'fairy, demon']

Cow-cat chewing
grassy telescope-bored dreams
tuning into the disposition of sea-horses
argot smoulder
causes of wind, tides of hay
and moonbeam quiverings.

Sea-cat non-bedevilled
by the pebbly perception
in Damascan afternoons
comet flotsam
the spectrum of gesture
nor currencies' shorelines, tidal repetitions.

Space-cat you are

nomadic and Arabian
sweeping through galaxies and snow-time
slickly stepping solar-system shadows
bolting across history but always histrionic
with dream-grace, rested ease, effortless cobalt.
imaginary ordnance with progressive romantic ornamentation #3
for maddie walder

the wondrous new water feature and buckled radii in Saint Andrews
Square with cornered micro coffee house is not enough for us:

let’s meet
under Houckgeest’s classical swan-contemplative,
‘Architectural Fantasy’

in the middle of a mid-week school-trip scene in Edinburgh’s National


hold our breaths

dash through the Weston Link

then gasp at the Academy’s flat-line and faultless Finlay Room airs

- all modernist wash, clean hang peaceful precision of spaces -

only a brief skip from our minds

(pear tree still,
creased and
in red leather chairs,
dodgem-car backed to the custard sculpted Graces;

or, in Lady Stair’s house

by Burns’ rustic reciting stool
where dreaming of a sailboat
off to a wild mint and nettle laced medieval castle of peach-coloured
quarry eggs
positioned firm on a highland headland with heaven-
reflected pools -- the muscular belting

of cloud undersides,
asymmetrical armour
and trademark Scotia sublime latitudes --

while Aengus Óg spells summer calm on the amorous reach of sea,


eagerly embark upon downstream-tributary-drifting

for three days and three nights

like “Diana and her Nymphs’” freeze-frame flight zoetrope-flickering

through analogue patchwork earth-bandwidth forests

like the passing stop-frame animated bucket-thrown hooked and silver

eyes of stars snagged on space,
viewed on our backs, chests high,
on a handmade bamboo raft,

an amalgam wedded by weeds

things unspoken
swords of native alumina
and balm of heartbeats

go through cloud-grained quiet rested villages in owl-purple night

tunneled and banked by grasses’ malachite diamond dew

with broomed infiltration of ink-wash spreading shadows
making a late sunset soaked sapphire sky slip
through the fading fuchsia fired fabric
of the moment’s finite

(falling phantom-like from the furnace of fantasy

in freckles, in festivity
in fertility and futurity)

and (in) farmhands driving cattle to a farmhouse under moon.

Old Library, Institute of Geography, 29 April, 2009.

The notion of imperfection

‘The great fact all the while however had been the incalculability,
allowing, in the most liberal manner,
for brilliancy of change;’

The universe is flawed,

All’s past is unchangeable, beautifully so
And the dead often speak, clumsily.

We orbit acts of kindness

Graft memories to presentness
Splice the circuitry of the universe

While acorns hang in stillness

Under cloud-racked near-Easter suns
That defy causality

[Acorns, being too heavy for wind dispersal, require other elements
to spread. Oaks therefore depend on biological seed dispersal agents
to move the acorns beyond the mother tree and into a suitable area
for germination (including access to adequate water, sunlight and
soil nutrients) ideally a minimum of 20–30 m from the parent tree]
In literature they have long been a symbol of patience (can take
between 6-24months to mature).
[my bergson poem:]
not immutability

the discussion o
n the subject of
free will would
come to an end
if we saw oursel
ves where we are
really, in a co
ncrete duration
where the idea o
f necessary dete
rmination loses
all significance
, since in it th
e past becomes i
dentical with th
e present and co
ntinuously creat
es with it - if
only by the fact
of being added
to it - somethin
g absolutely new
mount eden the fifth

try to imagine
a city
with two harbours
(siblings or lovers)
stretching into the suburb’s sleep:
crippled octopus metropolis
crackered city to sing
of blitzing pockets
firework veined
phosphorous lightning
with far off fisher-folk
morning-star guided and reigned
by near whispering November trade winds
while every block
wades into
the momentous musical mystery
of sea-torn sparkling southern-hemisphere halos
and above
the watery Auckland moon
New Year Hangover Punctum

The gap between what you said and what you wished you knew or felt
Did not make the subject of the comportment of your breath, or the
locus of meaning half-said
Just empty

You played the card dealer as you were painting the crystalline
structure of..
The emptiness that is working you, and you hate it,
Is unreadable to you

And none of this matters

[A camera lucida is an optical device used as a drawing aid by


The camera lucida performs an optical superimposition of the subject

being viewed upon the surface upon which the artist is drawing. The
artist sees both scene and drawing surface simultaneously, as in a
photographic double exposure. This allows the artist to duplicate key
points of the scene on the drawing surface, thus aiding in the
accurate rendering of perspective. At times, the artist can even
trace the outlines of objects.]

[Punctum is a genus of very small air-breathing land snails; ALSO:

[as Derrida clarifies when reading Barthes’ CAMERA LUCIDA –
inconspicuous spot – a little thing – is detail/ point of singularity
that punctures the surface of the reproduction]
Victorious, Happy and Glorious
(with borrowings from Don Paterson’s Rain)

As the horse is to the open field
The dolphin to sea
And the man is to the dream
When I went out
To gather daffodils
In the Spring meadows
I enjoyed myself
So much that I walked home by the moon
And found the skies, once again silent
unnamed by e.e. cummings

Yes is a pleasant country

If’s wintry
(my lovely)
let’s open the year

both is the very weather

(not either)
my treasure,
when violets appear

love is a deeper season

than reason;
my sweet one
(and april’s where we’re)
XIX by Hitomaro

Gossip grows like weeds

In a summer meadow.
My girl and I
Sleep arm in arm.
[Lenin’s seat in the British Museum Reading Room, 1902-03]

the hills are shadows

and they flow
flow into the time outwith and beyond us
and north bridge eyes

original soundtrack available in july

executive producer rooibosch chai
the plaintiff and sycamore fold under north bridge eyes
and everything else in the world, my friend, steals and then lies

dockyards and cargo, years of solitary-fire-escape-haste

radio romances and doors marked private gather then lay waste
the minor atlantic dante cries wolf and then (most quietly) sighs
for the taste and the quick of the loch of north bridge eyes

conjur a thicket with pond and blackboard resting still

use your gaze to etch the time of your awakening if you will
not the spirit level and tempest apprenticed first by north bridge
but an alka seltza helter skelter which never knowingly satisfies

- the climate saving industry of deepstream technology

conductor solar technik the stealing cameo-logy
as clouds in their flocks number in series and fly by;
an aperitif, no more, to edinburgh's nightly north bridge eyes

- a widow smiles with menace in a weary antique land

a roadside jay darts selectively from the border truck's rumbling
great american cities die in the pearl of north bridge eyes
and diaries fade-out to the measure of edinburgh’s michaelmas skies

how late the true history and bedtime cartography

how small the last mystery and lead-limed bar Socrates
how quaint and kitsch the past and its ties
seen lovelorn and luckless near noontide babylonian norse brave north
bridge new born eyes.
tutorial email

after seeing you in the national [library] yesterday

I had this amazing dream last night
and you were in it
- you won this amazing aston martin car
and it was filled with tropical green flowers
and leaves and things
and we had to climb in
amongst the foliage
to get to the poetry class
- except when we got in
you drove off to this big white house with massive windows
and made us
shout the poems
out the window.
facebook response, april 09

seat yourself sultanically among the moons of Saturn,

cross the galaxy with eyes to this encompassed honeycomb finality:
a cloistered embrace of internal tidemarks, winds, and poles,
the environing blue crystal ball/churn chalk mark of inland souls.

it sneaks and nudges in silver rushes

a maddening dandelion cajoling grace;
a wild lawned island lost laboratory
in the shadows and steppes of space.

detect the morning siren’s call,

the rhymes in history,
the embedded, half-hidden cushion of crocuses’ spring cartography –

abundant in meadows and the clocks of waste,

moving across the world in horses […]

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