I talk to a reader I do not have.
Feeling an urge to transcend words through writing, a desire periodically chronic in my poetry: as certain types of prayer resemble a demand that God exist.
Expressing a spirit of insurrection against language from within. Or was it closer to some hermaphroditic quest for union?
Thus silence, as darkness to the light of words, is broken by its own negation.
While, if signs function in relation to others, separation will not reveal their true nature.
Once structure is missing, criteria of evaluation may likewise be lost.
In a behavioural frame, one could compare the way we call an act “free” that is self-caused, not uncaused.
Yet, rather than resolve, my thought switches from free will to the idea of eternal recurrence: how this might contain traces of a nihilism it purports to overcome. In toiling on treadmills of eternity, akin to a Sisyphus, repetition can devalue existence as it does time. Though the “once only” of mortality could seem as hard to bear as the “once again” of an absurd forever.
I talk to a reader I do not have.
About whether what matters for our future is not how intelligent we are, but how intelligent we can become?
Wondering if we could have a non-specific capability for love: only accidentally fixed onto certain objects?
Or if humans also need to be polite because we are warlike?
Then, perhaps I should avoid mentioning that my heart feels like an open wound?
And how, after falling asleep hoping to experience significant dreams,
I spent my latest one searching for a towel.
We can view life through a microscope of cares, or a telescope of events.
In certain cases, intoxication seems to boost esteem. I have met those who talk about their lives in mythic tones after shedding fetters of sobriety. Yet, by next day, the spell is usually broken.
What liberates may also enslave.
Freedoms infringe each other.
Means pollute ends.
We might be tempted to find “good” in accordance with our will.
A person acting in a way they had previously condemned brushed off my charge of inconsistency with the response, “It is my morality to avoid rigid rules.”
It is easy to debate the rightness of an action, however “Why should I do good?” forms a more radical question.
The ascription of beauty to an artwork does not mean other painters should copy it; but calling action “good” implies that, in such situations, it is worthy of imitation.
Life demands we cope with what we know. For some that feels already too much.
Is there an endurable existence beyond illusion?
I write things down in order to be free of them.
So that I can move on.
Someone says: “Given that the world is divided into mental or physical spheres…” And the fatal step has already been taken!
Dualism opens a chasm then wonders how to close it.
Man is a problem to himself.
Would we have motivation without emotion?
Even logic is a product of will.
Some disconnected thoughts strive after aphorism…
Most systems produce attitudes unsuited to freedom.
Opinions that cannot be defended are not worth holding.
Firing-patterns: thought from the viewpoint of an electrode.
Asking a question could indicate the overcoming of a problem.
Certain optimists hope to change what people want by not giving it to them.
Arguments from design appeal to natures not disgusted by biology.
We learn the result of refusal to learn from history, from history.
For believers incapable of life, its postponement until after death seems a useful option.
Many praise virtue, yet dislike those who hold its mirror to their faces.
Love your enemies: so they may hate you even more.
Deception is parasitic upon truth.
Dissatisfaction with my writing
shed in these
words like dead leaves
scattered across whiteness.
I imagine a multi-gun salute fired into my grave, instead of over it.
Someone in a dream insists “Special relativity is all very well, however the time I am referring to is the same throughout the universe!”
Trust is needed by infants, but an open book can be filled with lies.
Lacking knowledge of either parent a child may be partly an enigma to itself.
My freedom feels greatest in actions of least importance.
Moves of chessmen are determined, not the game.
Art is one of the better ways to waste time.
A culture should leave space for activities which lead to its advance.
What I reject philosophically can still affect me emotionally.
Alienation could lead to identification with the oppressed.
Explanatory power might make a theory more harmful, especially if it is false.
I return to this moment won from death
in defiance of entropy.
Inexperience made him shy. Shyness kept him inexperienced.
Happiness often seemed a product of action.
Passing a block of flats where he spent childhood years, there came an impulse to look inside.
On its first floor stood a small boy. He climbed past the infant, quickly reaching the top landing. Outside that door to his old flat, a strange feeling he still lived here moved through him. And a memory of how those large windows in the stairway would sound when hit by gusts of wind on stormy nights.
Love can be a faith. Its main drawback being the other.
Do not fall in love with a mask hoping to find something behind it.
He heard splintered impacts as myriad raindrops scattered across concrete. A storm had crept over the area swiftly. Suddenly roofs were lashed by a sweeping curtain of water, which rose above pavements in fine spray. An angry rushing noise reached its furious peak, then fell, via flickering hiss, to staccato mutters. Soon only dripping gutters and pipework were audible.
Dark cloud now clustered along a distant hillside, amid bristling trees.
He turned away from the window.
An open notebook lay on his bed. “One has to choose to live,” read the last line.
Once we dislike a person their virtues become even harder to bear.
He sat in a hard plastic chair. The room had doors on each side. One way led to offices, unseen by the public. Another to a waiting area.
He had been summoned here, but not told why.
A man entered, leafing through a large file. He spoke without eye-contact.
“I asked you to attend to inform you of the decision of the Commission.”
Who were the Commission, he wondered. What did they know about him?
“As empowered by the Act of 1976, section 25, it has been decided that, in view of your persistent and wilful inability to obtain suitable employment: you should be charged with failure to maintain yourself. Which carries a possible penalty of a fine and/or a period of imprisonment, not exceeding three months.”
So the state would have its revenge against an offence of nonconformity. He must grovel before the dismal god of work?
What to do next?
He wanted to be a writer or artist, but could not see the path forward. Some way beyond his current isolation and depression. A critical inner voice undermined such hopes. With fear that any feelings of potential were just another illusion.
Lostness (5) 1977
History could be shown as a struggle against knowledge, not just for it.
Logic’s appeal can relate to the pain of feeling.
Are we the only animal that needs lies to go on?
The cult of despair. A refuge from dreaded banality?
How well I torment myself. I am an expert in something, at least.
Is nothing worth dying for? “I’m going to die for it anyway,” says the nihilist.
Today revolution. Tomorrow repression.
Philosophy seen in a necessary quest after the impossible; or is that art?
Only subjects have objects.
Words lead to others, like a broken waterfall over the page.
Lostness (4) 1976
Rain patters in an upturned dustbin lid.
One street ruptures into another.
Which way next?
What to do with freedom when you have no money?
An alien walks into a crowded cafe. Its internal organs are visible through transparent flesh. People stare.
I shout: “Hey waiter! Get me one of those.”
A laugh goes around.
I wake up saying: “They really do have a ‘special’ for today.”
Lostness (3) 1974
The loss of art
Picking a flower kills it. Art has wilted on my fingers. Something missing inside me. No motivation. No flow. Took up my old sketch-pad, but could not get anywhere.
My mind lets me loose in dark waters. An artist can lose his light.
This head feels like a pillow of blood. Yet so much left to express.
Viewer: “What does it all mean?”
Message from psychobureaucracy
Good neighbours need no fences. However, in your case, steady soul-erosion spreads until only fearful and angry ghosts of you are permitted to wander, alone, through estates of north Bristol. Then, one day, it is over. A last gasp as helpless as the first.
Regretfully we inform you that the reason for this correspondence has been forgotten.
Please do not reply to: Department for attrition of the poor.
With age scorn will come. Under the smile: the teeth.
Though from women’s eyes I see myself extinguished by a blink
or skewered on vibrant thorns of laughter
still I hope love may visit me one day
after life spent arguing in its favour.
Lostness (2) 1973
Am I ever to draw again? My ability seems lost. All that lies between this hand and the paper is effort.
I think I lack talent. Which is tough for a dreamer. I fail to see a way for art or writing.
Living has no appeal.
The window is open. Sounds of night through shifting curtains.
Death wins over life. In the end. Perhaps evil wins over good?
There is no justice in the world. Justice only comes from us.
Suffering continues everywhere.
The foetus hears a cry
in its red lair.