Sunday, 9 March 2014

63. Little Ones Climbing Up and Out. What Do We See? We See the End of Their World.

for old friends

Oh well, here’s a very familiar to do. Is it time to start again, work together yet again? – no. It’s like something more general & at a deeper level. Whatever it is is with old friends now. Who? Some people in particular (like Taylors & Eckersleys, Pauline, Symondsons, Dunbars/Bristows, Youngmans and all the others). I hope you will yet enjoy (that simple!) this, this whatever it is, once you’ve recovered from that that’s gone before (which may also be where we were apparently heading). Try and think of this in terms of texture, taste & aroma – rich chocolate, sweet, soggy and granular, mildly psychotropic, verging on the migrainous.

What is going on then? I’m trying to see an answer to “Do I know about human action?” Can this be, like, pinned down, or etched into definition? Is it actually this, say, or something else, entirely? What I take as given: that we are variously coloured etc, delightful & dangerous in ourselves & in our interactions. And too that we are all trapped, here in this place & situation – no! no alternative universe! – but trying, always, to fly free.

What do we need, then, here? We can draw up lists of needful things: chocolate dinosaurs and their ghosts, ten geese a-laying golden eggs, sour ale with watercress, dried & fibrous cat sick, small books about notable failures, cheap talismans to make all well, ice-cream wafers flavoured with penicillin, pearls still vibrating in their teaspoons, old dusty opened bottles of rum, just dregs really, some of it left over from Christmas.

Where will it take us to? Shall it be rich, we wish, hot and strange, a plumped up utopian fantasy? Oh boy, I could imagine that. I’ve been there. Last night I was in a room full of poets (oh, no, maybe not last night, but some night, you know). We were all mouthing revolution, clapping and cheering as if we’d just written The Tennis Court Oath, or condemned the Queen to execution. We thought we were doing well just through this shared enthusiasm, that briefly made us feel better. Sharing is good, yes, but real riots need a better start than this. I fear careers were being built, not new orderings of the world set in motion.

Don’t you think we need actually to do something completely new, not just a batch of late 60s flashbacks? “Just follow the instructions” says the guy with the loudhailer. “That’s the way to make the revolution easy.” Do you remember believing that hillbilly kings shall lead the way, shambling and laughing? Their photos stared from a thousand album covers. We thought, hey, it’s not that difficult, & to remake the world would indeed be very useful. We’re ready! Then, inexorably, it was our turn to crash up on this stony beach, stranded and spluttering. We’d come up against the hard edge of hegemony, complete with the useless but inescapable limit of our own inadequate impetus. That we objected to all this – oh, just a joke and a trope, another dumb reflux in the service of power.

The result of course a long drift through all the alternative systems – Freud & Lacan & alchemy & ley-lines & heavy theory & handwoven stuff & fucking fringe medicine. OK, it is fun, like food, wine, drink & sex, like botany on holidays – look the sea pink or thrift, Armeria! And there’s mugwort, of course, over there. But they’re both basically metaphors, because that’s just how we operate.[1] All these networks of purpose and purposelessness – you don’t need them, but you can’t shake them free, ever. We ended up writing conference reports instead of taking the action needed here.

Let’s set on from here. This luscious mess we’re in – yes, it is a fine one too – nothing for it, but, as I keep saying, cook it up & cook it on. Start with the stuff. Deal with that & work with it. What it does, you are realising. Bits are usable directly; others need more consideration, careful stirring and stewing to wherever it will all end. Then, simply, use your head and steer & support whatever works to its desired completion. Oh, this is gratuitously naive, I hear you cry. You’re right, there probably isn’t any such resolution – but we need a process predicated upon the brute things of this world, for that great & grainy category is ours.

Always another bowl to fill already – then fill it – isn’t that just it? – to take up what is needed from those with excess. Those sorts of things, the things of economy & societal organisation, the things that power actually guards – free them and share them as we like, as if they were poetry, painting, weaving, cooking, the planting of gardens everywhere. Let’s have lots of things going on & kept in play. We need to act like you do with a crowd of children – involve, develop & enlarge them so they are growing freely up into what you have assured them. Call children people & people children. Yes, late ‘60s traps still – actual, but not theoretical. Fill another bowl now!

Oh fuck! – where are we headed? More writing! More writing! How long will it take to transform? Well, all of our lives I guess. There isn’t a solution to being where we are. We will riot, sing it, therefore. Of course, what’s after is the problem. Whether we put something aside to shelter it from the storm, or hope that things will come, I can’t imagine right, but at least better. Being riotous burns books, replaces the complicated networks power maintains us by by home grown simple violence & conformity. What goes on is not clean, cool & justified – the sound of really hollow laughter comes in. This future soundtrack modulates into our diurnal rhythm – but keep that fungible, corrosive, & yet, oh yes fucking please, creative.[2]

Communism? Community politics? Communion of the Saints? Just communal. Common or mundane events. Also then, take just one. As it arrives like a rising wave. Swim it or surf it. Call it, umm, revolution, riots, payback to power, change, change at last. A lot of things will get broken. Not even not particularly, but quite heavily, poetry. Current or correct theory will not power or channel or even describe this – it is mainly (& in total[3]) just an empty legend – Charlie Marx, Big Ted Adorno, Artognou the King, Paul of Bloody Tarsus[4] - oh who can divide up their books correctly? Who wants to? Or feels it is important? In a new landscape, there will be new lives & new languages. May we live to see and say these together, healed.

[1] Beat in each bit of ingredient carefully into the poem, so it isn’t, like, personal or individual, and it somehow objectifies the process. Clots it more likely.
[2] Uh-oh! Yes, I know it’s a word often used for dreadful things. Big Ted would hate it – but what didn’t he? Words I’ll declare as innocent as puddings. And beyond that: if you don’t welcome the birth of new things into this world, why are you reading this?
[3] OK, maybe not in some detail, at some times.
[4] Oh thy heads, thy guilty heads!

1 comment:

  1. para 10: “Artognou the King”: the name on the famous Tintagel Stone. Transliteration of inscription on Celtic Inscribed Stones Project (CISP) on line database at < > as “PATERN[--] | COLIAVIFICIT | ARTOGNOU | COL[.] | FICIT”. “FICIT”: “a post classical spelling of FECIT”.