As I've wasted a whole afternoon on these things, thought I'd at least stick them somewhere they'd be seen. They're dreadfully self-reflexive; never mind, that's always ever so slightly the point. The first one might seem a little bit tastless, so much as I hate explanatory notes, it might help to know that in younger and more innocent days I was a speaker at the travelling Anne Frank foundation holocaust exhibition and played the role when the drama came to Brighton. Anyway, enjoy.
Better by far than the fresh air this free june morning
Better than visions that teem and the sweetness of flesh
This strange substance, essence of being, terror, delight! Shuddering over the surface of paper,
More than two generations more, in the same moment, here, on this page,
is my handwriting, writing my hand, writing.
Crabbed and blackly imperfect, staining self-suspense.
Somehow I have been saved to this.
Surviving adolescence. Never easy.
We had our holocaust too, privately -
Hunted. hiding in hot rooms, the hand fisting dryly inside,
the wasted flesh, the scream -
sharpness of contours, searching for our own outline
in the shitandblood hole of self-seeking sickness we'd gouged ourselves out.
And the hunger that maddens, the shrunken limbs of loneliness,
angels made inhuman beating wings of bone
monstering shyly in summer bedrooms. Hunted. Haunted.
No blackbooted stickcracking maninamask
No worldmoving machinations of empire
No mass unmarked grave for the broken and creaturely young
Our holocaust is scattered to the winds,
No children's choir will light cheap candles for our shame, there will be
No lesson to learn. In half a million vaccumed rooms,
The radio peals thinly and the maninblack waits in the mirror
And we are still unsafe.
Push a thick finger
Into the wet and dark and sounding
Meat of my heart, and
Loosen the passages.
Let love lean
Along the racing blackframe contours
And heat-hardened ateries
Hasten and heighten and soften the sense.
For I'm sick of all this thinking.
To feel these things on the pulse.
Somewhere hibernating in the soft numbness of flesh
There is a beast of bone
Under the skin and meat and muscle
A creature of sense electric, skullsnapping sensation
Some untamed thing born to captivity
never knew more than the steel bars of its rage.
Darts of lethargy bolting down the veins.
Some hard-fought tranquilizer. I am afraid.
Someday I'm going to step out of the skin
Out of this soft slickfucking sheath, the contours
newly riven, claw back the flesh and the fright
Back to some honest madness.
Because these loves are far too heavy,
Dear friends, strong words, fast brightness! Ah, my dears,
Every day now dying for hollows and sharpness
The wasted, holy hellish deep nerve-pain
To strip me down to the sense
I am older and braver now and I have discovered
A gentle wantonness that's some compensation
I will write myself into the sense.
I'm going to throw up all the catches.
The tense air sickens with sugar and sawdust.
The tamer's spats are shined to a sparkle, a film of sweat
greasing the rim of his topper, his whip fails in his hand;
he is terribly afraid.
Listen to the boys and girls cheer!
Dazzle the gaslamps! The uncomprehending crowd!
Somewhere within, a wild, tormented thing
Rattles its cages and roars.