Saturday, March 02, 2019

The Vote

So divisive is a visitor,
Viz., potentially the canvasser
For one or other of the campaigns,
That we have long since discouraged strains
Of journeyer, excursionist and guest.

So bides the vote, vis-à-vis unrest,
That old gammon in a hi-viz vest,
Whose will’s still accruing interest,
How outdated soever expressed.

Saturday, February 02, 2019


The one thing in favour of my writing
Is that I am skilfully desisting,
And, now that I am absent, inviting
A reader to write by their assisting,
Context to write with ways mercurial;
Then, if part of writing is the reading,
Procrastinating past my burial,
Exegesis my intent succeeding.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019


He suggests 9.30 a.m. on Monday, and I ask for a moment to check my diary. Keeping the phone to my ear, I use my other hand to open the top drawer of the tall dresser next to me. I use my index finger to press down on a folded blue jumper. I do so three times, saying, with feigned hesitance, “Right, um, that might be, actually that could work.”

Sunday, December 23, 2018

The Point of Interest

Hardly had he followed his father into the room when he started crying.
Certainly, the boy would be impressed by the emaciated man lying
On the bed, dimly lit, but scarce had he acclimatised when he emoted.
Soon as he had, his father showed embarrassment, and the dying man noted
That his friend's son was crying, and looked at this boy who did not know him fiercely.
No sooner does the writer reflect on his impressions as a boy than he
Rejects the point of interest, that first thought, left unmediated by his
Desire to be literary, and his recounting of the episode is
Certain that pity was the cause for the boy's tears; the writer persists, despite
Again sensing his father's embarrassment, pursues certainty in hindsight
Like the boy persevered with the sentiment, though he cried softly by degrees
Towards a terminus, which seemed, to him, natural; and so to appease
The dying man who has long looked hatefully at him, the writer regulates
The time flow between that boy entering and his beginning to cry, now waits
Until the parties are introduced before the tears, those awkward tears, are shed.
This substantiates pity, and makes it certain, too, that the man on the bed
Is offended by it, and yet the first thought proffered, for the writer to scan,
Necessitated neither pity nor a need to appease the dying man.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

On Dress

Arrayed in the clothes I bought over a lifetime, but only those that I earned the money myself to buy, I am brief. I am wearing the maroon fleece Kangol hat, with its high crown and ear flaps, which was stolen from my locker when I worked as a library assistant 20 years ago, the satin Union Jack boxer shorts, with a high crotch and high hem, that fitted when I was 14, paid for out of my final wages as a paperboy, and the pair of dark blue leather shoes bought for my wedding, that I'd mistaken for black ones in the shop and so returned.

Put together, there is poor balance between these garments, and my penis breaches the boxer shorts, but it is satisfactory, having the potential to be my signature outfit.

This is my look, and, yes, it is satisfactory, as an answer to "what would my character wear?" the question I ask myself every day when I'm deciding what to put on, imagining that it matters to someone watching me on screen, imagining too that these are the only clothes I ever wear, making them as consistent and identifiable as the grey and classical look adopted by Harold Lloyd. The outfit, flimsy as it is, will become me, and, in this light, the shoes look black once again, in my footwell on this rocket, as I journey to the moon as one of seven artists given a free seat by Yusaku Maezawa.

He gave me this free ride on the condition that I would be there to bear witness to the reactions of the other artists, who themselves will be tasked to describe the moon. They will necessarily need to observe the moon, give it their full attention, while it is my duty to resist looking at it as best I can. I am brief, and so, I suppose, what couldn't be foreseen by our sponsor is that the other six artists will have a job trying to resist looking at me. But I am not wretched, I am not embarrassed. My nutation migraine, now that we have left Earth's atmosphere, is much relieved. I feel well. 

My Forgetfulness Relieves You

Some days ago, I learned a new word. The sound of it was surprising, and therefore pleasing, embroidering a meaning I knew I would surely have occasion to express in the future. In the days that followed, as I recalled it naturally, unconsciously, I neglected to create an entry for it in the pad I keep by my bed. Yesterday evening, feeling too tired to write it down, I promised myself that I would do so the next morning. This morning, however, I find that I have all but lost the word. My usual mnemonics fail me: going through the alphabet is not helping, possibly it might contain a “d” or a “v”, but I have largely forgotten its sound, and have completely forgotten its meaning, but also, crucially, I cannot recall the source, where I read it, nor can I pinpoint exactly how long ago I learned it. Could it be among the translation of Catullus’s poems, Herbert Read, Brecht?  I can still see that lost word’s residual colour and its attack, but these are fading as the morning turns to the afternoon.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Attentional Empathy

Only now, on committing myself to dying, do I realise the truth about empathy, my empathy. I always thought that it was attentional, that my ability to feel it would fall away with attention intermitted, I felt I had to devise and focus meticulously on analogous situations in order to empathise. I was too afraid to ever stop constructing these ideas and was indefatigable in holding them crystallised.

I can still empathise, without effort or technique. I know this because I am now too weak to make such mental constructs, yet I feel empathy. Nor do I even have strength to write of this realisation that would have overhauled my motif — no one will ever know that I finally felt this peculiar empathy.

Monday, September 03, 2018


Standing up in the shoes I have just put on, I think: do I take them off again to adjust my sock, or spend the whole day being conscious of my sock, lumpiness caused by the toe being folded slightly under itself? I have often put on one or other sock half-heartedly, and no matter how scrunched it is, it seems through some mechanism to self-right — or at least I can eventually walk without noticing it. How many discrete discomforts do I filter out, little soreness, little pinch, little dryness, little itch, little guilt, little despair?