A karaoke carry all. New York night – black cloud blotting out the lights as it rolls down monolith canyon cement. We played in it like kids on a demented carnival ride. There’s always survivors, even of corner gangs and chance greengrocers near midnight. We admired our ragged selves that night, clothes were camouflage, we weren’t walking targets but sudden conscious citizens of the city.
The noise like a jungle amplified through brass trumpets a mile long. Traffic surge like clogged metal arteries. Bookstalls with humans gathered, sorting out ideas. Parks with grass beaten to death or behind high wire fences. Beaten down humans under walk-up stairs staring from sleeping bag cocoons. A coffee at the corner, newspapers.
In the early summer morning already everything is on fast forward. I get a coffee for sixty American cents and sit on a hydrant because there’s no city benches. People seem to jitter, few dawdle. There’s the scavengers zooming with their crazy piled-high carts. A cigarette or two later I notice the lintel of the doorway in front of me. Bas relief of a man with a quill pen. Take it as a sign of something. Take a picture and go home.
Twisting styrene sprues over a flame Teasing out antennae Tiny testors paint bottles Flat desert yellow, khaki, mustard Airfix Airplane Glue Clear as glass, sharp chemical smell The new red and white finish The sticky, crumpled remains
It stopped when puberty hit But it didn’t stop I still construct these tiny models Word by word create worlds Line them up in rows Aim each and every little muzzle Cocked and loaded At you
Life sometimes finds itself in a bleak oblong, a trapezoid of time like an oil-soaked back channel of a once clean river. If I fight my way into the twentieth century, all the way from primordial cynicism in the face of all knowledge, to the twentieth century, then I’m Jack The Giant Killer. God is dead and his blood is on my hands, along with the blood of assorted ghosts, phantasms, and the brittle clay and straw of ideologies. True child of the twentieth century charnel house; now it’s over and still layers of empires and lords, power and wealth. A groaning planet, a collapsing new structure, never finished, never used, smashing down and crushing a car like a bug.
We struggle as if death is a personal affront, a trick, a cheat. As if we rate immortality. If there’s no other world beyond we’ll wrestle with genomes like Christ wrestled demons in the empty desert. We’ll crack that code and hang around here until the stars themselves sicken and die at the sight of us. The great project, it looks like a mad race to repair a broken clock when time itself needs fixing. It’s as if we’ve broken time and mistaken it for a clock.
Here’s another equation for science to crack: We are time. We tick like a clock and then we break down. Just like everything, lamps and trees and planets. It’s no cosmic joke, it’s everything. No time at all has passed in this space. The trick to life everlasting is to get an army to clear past and future out of your path. All the stars talk about it, Madonna enlists thirty thousand Japanese fans to flutter on the butterfly of eternity.
Africa only vaguely sensical on the screen. I yearn for something as refreshingly strange. A time away from everything. To sit on an unknown street drinking an unfamiliar beer.
Weakness is relative to habituation. The weak drug for one can kill another without the resistance built up by use. So it is for anything desireable. Fame or wealth or beauty or power, sometimes enough is too much is not enough.
Une belle laide. Triste femme avec un secret. Impossible truncheon of war blasting lives far beyond its end. Toujours enfin. Waiting for the past to yield its treasures now that all the pain has been weathered.
There’s always a struggle but I’m weary. Witness the righteous laying paradise to waste. We’re here and then we’re gone, and everything matters, every step, every word, every thought, every gesture a pulsion from moment to moment.
Blue the colour of old ice, of oceans and eyes. Bodies recalling themselves as they sleep, as they move. Wanting something. Some change, some repose. Not sure, but always wanting. Holding the wanting like a future, a fetish.
Apartments, arenas, galleries, smoke. A calculated gesture of indifference returns in a blaze Drowns in a shower. Blue fire courses through the veins of the tiny woman, Consuming her from within. She gestures like a tortured prophet in the wilderness of a city. What has drawn her face and made her lean, A diet of locusts and honeycomb? Something awry betwixt mind and body? What strange shapes her soul takes – A pirate banner, a brush with celebrity, A story bursting to escape her skin.
Pour water, pour water, the desert is thirsty. The skeleton key twirls on the sinister index As flash floods scrub the Sahara. Braids, barbaric under Italian awnings. Hysterical laughter in the charred offices of art. Singer sings a love song to hash As it all goes up in smoke. Tip of fire cupped in tobacco, I won’t cast you carelessly away tonight.
Rain on the veranda railing glistens in the sodium light. Sodium glisten – Lacking the clarity, brilliance, detail of other reflected light. City soaked in orange murk.
I throw some centimes of feeling upon the weather tonight – To be so young. It helps to think of Dakar, and it doesn’t help to think of Dakar. A palm tree, sand dunes, Night sky reflected in the clarity of mica particles.
No, it doesn’t help . . . like thinking of the unborn . . . To know I’m one speck of mica reflecting a spectral universe, Some obscure package of cigarette tubes.
Some nights are like the corpse of Madame Bovary Puking blue bile, Sharing in her bitterness at a world suited to automatons, armoured ants. I don’t feel much so there’s no point.
Rain on the veranda, my dear friends. Like old, lost guitar chords. Like broken chariots.
The bus crush, A record comes out and has to sell in six seconds flat.
A flat belly and a rhinestone nose stud, No. Yesterday’s clothes on tomorrow’s face, No. Hyper-everything video arcade butt grind, No. Tragic tragic tragic tragic ragamuffin art star, No. Happy puppy teeth snapping wiggle joy, No. No plan no thoughts no music no words, No. The wild wild foreverafter, No.
Dreaming through, Thread of thought pushing through the fabric of words Needle through the eye of a rich man’s gate You wonder where it comes from and I wonder with you Chasing the tatters of tea leaves The tarot tattoos Ching sticks Coin flips Watch them chasing their own dreams down the street.
A fevered sleep . . . war looms, Paris 1939. Dark streets and blue lights. A manuscript awaits the mail while the news talks strikes. Bodies exhumed from a swamp 53 years and laid to rest. Remains. The smiling Luftwaffe man mourns. The memories, the memories. My gaze drags across a memory and leaves traces of intense feeling Like falling stars. Feather pillow project and a dull grey sky meets us one day. All literature hangs like tapestries, dull grey skies and the bomber, Burning as it falls. The old eyes of the Luftwaffe. A fevered sleep.
There’s no here or there. I’m in a capsule full of tiny time pills, falling in endless commercial clips like an avalanche of exhortations over time. Much memory a storehouse of so much television gibberish – superstition panaceas. Not much on the mind, not much really of concern to me.
Jazz sounds like noise from the ether, the chatter of insects on the shortwave band at 3 am – alien stuff just blasting past, a rattle, a drone, a melody, a beat. Unhinged when everything else was unhinged, when painters fell into their canvases, when poets goggled over words and letters like toddlers with blocks on a carpet.
She likes blues, then she likes jazz, alien landscapes she escapes over like the final rays of sunset. Leaving everything twilit, radical, and malleable as features in the moonlight. Jazz. Shit. Jazz. Baby, what’s it to you? Wallpaper? The scene’s a scream. Word maniacs blather a mile a minute. Still, when we put it on we pull off magic moments.