Tuesday, October 31, 2006

lotos eaters

This time last year I wrote about a biscuity look that comes over the sycamore leaves at this time of year. (nb for US readers, I am talking about Acer pseudoplatanus not Platanus occidentalis)

This wet, warm October is, like the burning of Africa and the melting of polar ice, all about us not acting like citizens.

["Climate change presents a unique challenge for economics: it is the greatest
example of market failure we have ever seen." Start reading the Stern report here.]

Capitalism has no fear of ideologies, but in the end destroys itself - Unfortunately, it destroys a bunch of other poor bastards first, so it might take a while.

When I saw the sycamore effect I felt pleasure. Autumn seemed beautiful, as beautiful as spring. Why should recognition have the effect of beauty?

So now it's all out in the open. "Reply to All" has been inadvertently responsible for much honesty in this world.

And it's a fine line.

What is?

Between unwinding and unravelling.

Friday, October 27, 2006

casement

What will we do? Win a 3 day mini break? Both the sweet-wrappers, though empty, reassumed their lozenge shapes.

There's some shit in there.

What is it?

Something crushed under her finger-tips. She came down off the steps.

Some shit or something. It's like a snail-shell. A shed skin.

We had a violin made of clear resin which was its own case. I never used to practise. Remarkably dusty it got. You never wanted to put it under your chin. I don't mean the rosin-dust. Rosin on resin, I know. You got so you didn't notice, like when we lived in Frog's Bottom.

When you open a case like that, each half is known as a casement

opening on the foam of perilous seas

and when they're closed, secondary glazing, but it started as evacuated glazing.

Secondary glazing. I didn't have much to do with it, ever. But it makes me think of fitting up the ledges - you know, for mosquitoes. The fixing screw put a camber in the sill.

Just before sunrise, the sky was barred with cloud and it went surprised into gold. Moment the sun was up it all went. Do you get a different kind of clouds forming when it's dark?

Last night, just after sunset, there was one cherubic bar-fire, a fat contrail like Garrard the Jewellers.

You could buy a London Bus with diamonds in the headlights. Carnelian bead on a swizzle stick. All the same names: Garrards, Harrods, Gamleys, Hamleys. I held on to Grannie's hand, our breath was clouds at Hyde Park Corner. I can still see him hammering the air, and I can still hear every word I heard that day: nothing.

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Monday, October 23, 2006

a link

Currently, a discussion on Mark Scroggins' Culture Industry about UK poetry and other things, including various rash opinions by me. Mark's blog is great. It's one of the (remarkably few) literary blogs where people not only sound their opinions but give fairly frequent signs of listening to each other, and a lot of the credit for that has to go to Mark, who's prone to pick up comments and use them as the basis for his own entries, an amazingly self-effacing (and humbling) thing to do.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

at his feet

    to state the obvious
    we.

    the rims a polish, indented yellow; alcoholic leader.

    not unreasonably
    launch forth.

    on the palmy way, when their curtain sang celestars. Rid

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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

dropping like flies

It made Kasia's head itch. Most of the flies were dying inside the striplight, but sometimes they came spiralling down between where they were sitting. She put her hand over her tea-mug.

- Triton, well that's a really hostile world, I mean cold, minus four hundred degrees cold, with geysers of frozen nitrogen. They're all hostile. Mercury wobbling in the huge sun, Venus in acid, Io erupting constantly inside Jupiter's radiation zones, on Uranus it's dark for twenty years at a time, and so right down through the list to Pluto and Charon, two evil bits of rock going round each other like those guys in Endgame.

He was living in a very compact flat. The bike was at the end of his bed, and if you opened the bedroom door you couldn't open the wardrobe, or the doorknobs snagged each other; he laughed when she did it and called them "Basher & Basher".

One of the flies was right in front of her on the table on its back. Sometimes it was motionless and she thought it might be dead. But then she'd suddenly notice the legs had started their absent knitting again and she'd wonder if it was a different fly because she was distracted by what they were saying to each other.

- It was amazing with you, he broke out.

Sometimes a fly would be on its side going around in a circle with its wings at a funny angle. Sometimes it would drop straight onto his hand and just sit there. HELLO. I'M DEAD. He jerked his hand and the fly flew off apparently OK.

Flying came more naturally to them than living. They're the most advanced, the most amazing fliers in the insect world, but of course they are rather stripped down. No-one had really thought about decommissioning and when the fly dies it does it in a grossly protracted way, like something going wonky when the batteries go flat or a printer when the chip gets screwed.

There was no sign of a dying fly feeling distressed. That was kind of a stupid thing to say, she knew. There it is lying there with no voice and a bone face that cannot hold an expression and you're saying to it: Dying, huh? Well you don't seem very upset.

- But, us...

- OK you. hey...

- don't chuckle like that, Kas, Cassie

But still, it's a lot more like a nano-machine than we are. Cut out a fly's brain and it still flies, eats and fucks.

She wanted to get back to the van. She went to have a wash.

Thinking about those terrible chills, those poisoned wastes, you think in contrast of the mild earth, food, warmth, us. The earth, they say, is slap in the ecosphere bounded by Mars and Venus. This little band is the only bit round a star that could feasibly support any life: outside it, no free water, not really worth thinking about.

And of course we are the earth's products, everything about the way we are just reflects the way it is on earth. But is the earth really so mild and friendly? Are the poles friendly? Are the tropics friendly? Is the middle of the sea friendly? Go out there - not to the window. Go outside the window. It's a mild night, but suppose you had nowhere to go, would it seem so friendly by dawn?

Your lifestyle is friendly, sure, you like your lifestyle. Suppose someone came and dropped you into the place of another human being somewhere else on this planet. You have to live their life. Chances are, you'd be terrified, you'd hate everything and understand nothing. Shouting, screaming, packed rooms.

Or faces you're used to, familiar faces you see every day, people you say Hello to and think you like. Imagine you went home with one of them, a fly on the wall, and spent their evening... wouldn't it probably turn out that you hated their lives, their incomprehensible TV programs, their endless phone conversations, their dirty ways, worn out by their excesses, maddened by their tedium.... Nearly every room in the town is like that. Nearly everywhere is hostile.

"Mildness" is the warmth and smell of your own body in the worn nest you've made for yourself and on the worn paths where you scuttle back and forth. You call that "the earth" but what you really mean is a tiny facing: you could go through it with a hand-drill.

He was still in bed and she threw her wet towel in his face.

They both stopped laughing, him first.

- You don't have to.

- My sister's waiting.

Her face, mobile and ruddy from the flannel, stopped looking so forbidding, her naked body flexed, tattooed, scarred, tawny.

- Don't go.

He didn't know how to follow it up. She turned away, pulling at her hair. He was putting on his trousers without underpants: that meant he was going back to bed again. Pacing through the streets to the van it was raining, but lightly, and the sky was patchy. She watched the coil light go out and set the motor juddering.

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Thursday, October 05, 2006

for my gravestone

Lights in the sky are always uplifting. Happily once you start to look for them they turn out to be more common than you'd imagine; I reckon I must see about twenty sun-dogs a year and I don't work out of doors.

But today (at about 08:30) I saw something I'd never seen before. It was just a rainbow, or rather the two feet of a rainbow. But what I mean by saying I'd never seen it before is that there wasn't any sun. The whole sky seemed to have a fairly uniform covering of white stratus; one of those ordinary dull skies. It wasn't raining either. I don't get it, but things must I suppose have been a lot different a few miles westward where the source of this refraction hung in the air.

So I add this to the list of wonderful things that I've been lucky enough to see. Along with the iridescent clouds, reflected sunlight arcs, and above all, but hold on a minute was it you who once saw a LUNAR RAINBOW!!?

No?

Guess it must have been me then!!

Oh yeah!!

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