a little hope from Thoreau

January 31, 2015 § Leave a comment


That man who does not believe that
each day contains an earlier, more sacred, and auroral hour than he
has yet profaned, has despaired of life, and is pursuing a descending
and darkening way.
I know of no more encouraging
fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his
life by a conscious endeavor.
The News
What news! how much more important to know what that is
which was never old! “Kieou-he-yu (great dignitary of the state of
Wei) sent a man to Khoung-tseu to know his news. Khoung-tseu
caused the messenger to be seated near him, and questioned him in
these terms: What is your master doing? The messenger answered
with respect: My master desires to diminish the number of his faults,
but he cannot come to the end of them. The messenger being gone,
the philosopher remarked: What a worthy messenger! What a worthy
Shams and delusions are esteemed for soundest truths, while reality
is fabulous. If men would steadily observe realities only, and not
allow themselves to be deluded, life, to compare it with such things
as we know, would be like a fairy tale and the Arabian Nights’ Entertainments.
Look at a meeting-house, or a court-house, or a jail, or a shop, or a
dwelling-house, and say what that thing really is before a true gaze,
and they would all go to pieces in your account of them.
(Walden, from Ch. ‘Where I Lived, And What I Lived For’)

Sean Hayes – Powerful Stuff (Run Wolves Run)

January 30, 2015 § Leave a comment


January 28, 2015 § Leave a comment

I’m in awe of you also.
I could not tell you that, because I am older than you, so less pure.
Today I walked to the station with Jo(h?)n, and we talked, and I realised my shirt and my trousers and my voice. I talked too fast and I dropped the word ‘manipulate’ and I wish I hadn’t. He picked up on that and, I explained it: catholic guilt. conditioning. My parents are
The real explanation might be a sense never of having merited, always of displacement, eternal debt, fraud. How ever do we earn the beauty to which we are witness? we do not.
I wish I were 18, but with this head and not that before. Part of this mind (but I question that, unsure), and the clarity. do not revere me. I am nothing.
My body aches, my throat stings. Last night, walking, I thought about what it was to be called strong, and that there was no thing good in it. And then this afternoon about war, because Jo(h?)n talked about men and war when we talked about women and subjection. He said that men were trained not to feel, but more eloquently. The simple difference of physical strength.
I am happier than I can recall, even without an understanding of happiness


January 26, 2015 § Leave a comment

It is time again for greater sincerity and care, in choosing words. I had thought it might be time for silence, but that could be failure, is only to submit. Today I met someone lovely and I was grateful for that. I listened to a poem of Frank O’Hara’s, O’Hara’s reading, one I’d not heard before but just presenting itself. Having a Coke With You. I suppose it might well have been the last line that had me replay it. Tonight, rather than write sonnets I am trying instead for a little continuity. What will that do to the salt on my cheeks. It sounds the same outside, perhaps a little louder, but not really. Only that everyone else has gone away. And it only makes sense to be here and with these people and doing this and, why would I ever have really thought otherwise. Did I? Anyway it is lovely this afternoon, and the poetry, Darwish, water, and you are kind. Not to send the small disembodied faces over the messaging service is too sombre, and we are sober, so the faces as we send them smile, and I too.

by Mahmoud Darwish, ‘The law of fear’. Thank you, O.

January 26, 2015 § Leave a comment

The law of fear


January 25, 2015 § Leave a comment

train home, back

We may be in a tunnel, I don’t know, it’s night out

Just an occasional flash distracts the eyes

Anxiety hit this afternoon, this new evening

2 weeks cold and then smack

My chest is filling up, breath evading

Suck it in, they’re watching and talking it would seem, even faster across one another


is hot footing it

I want to get a starred first on this next essay,


Same impetus, I guess, as that which makes you time your early runs,

each one to be faster than the last, /longer.

This would be OK if I were training hard and steady, dedicated , but 

Teenage terms, these last.

I’ve spent the weekend at home picking out books, notebooks, clothes, all my gear

all spanning back over the years, my different places,

Maybe my stomach hurts with the fear of me at 19.

I pack, in the end, as I always do,

this year’s clothes.

All other paraphernalia scattered about the house in the rooms I alit in.

parents no longer protest. And they’re so happy to see me, undeservéd.

I went for an unholy mass this morning alone.

Laughed a little, smiled,

my favourite part the stream of seven altar girls,

after the one tall altar man. Gotta be a fad.

Also the music group were arguing, one marked out clearly boss of herself,

and changing the hymns as they went. Abomination.

I stare at the kid in front, misbehaving, his brother’s good but he, the squirmer, is readying for First Holy Communion. Flashes me looks.

They’ve changed the hymns. The red ones are new, and atrocious. More atrocious maybe than the old monochrome.

It’s a jolly thing,

The priest gives out orders


and the other, deacon, has a voice makes me wonder if he has been docked. 

I leave gratefully, cleaner outside, noting again that I now go, like my parents, like clockwork, even if I won’t be confirmed.


January 24, 2015 § Leave a comment

Dialogue begins. after dark

-I think you are back to showing what you are really made of.

Mother, what does that mean?

I call you up and tell you not to be proud, I hadn’t earned it.

Mother what does that mean.

force my gaze out of the window in order to see this is a train

high sky already, but low sun,

can it be low?

trees beginning to stand taller.

I wish someone would agree to a conversation about good and evil.

If we are, some of us, born less good and must become good.

if we differ originally upon the scale. 

Yes, the sun has just come up, you are going for your run, it may be low.

I want to quit forcing my personality down your throat.

six a.m. and I wake four ways barred by wet,

a sweat I do not understand.

My ribs wet through my skin.

Last night there was a man who used to be a bookseller, but in a shop that was here before this, quite different. The counter stretched up on the opposite wall and he had once, he said, punched a fellow who leapt up on the books, trampling the paperbacks… He was so thin, and I put it by for age but, so thin. Couldn’t find his wallet, new coat, and I watched frozen as he patted legs that disappeared as he searched them and a torso that flattened too.

in spite of poetry


I’m throwing names out now and I know it,

the old man, Ben Lerner, John Steinbeck

John? I don’t tend to think of him with the first name attached. 


I’m reading your East of Eden, and I think I understand it too well. No doubt I miss a great deal, I hope so.

Christmas is one month old and my sensibility reeling.

Why do you tolerate me, my teacher? 

Pity, amusement, incomprehension?

Where Am I?

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