When she tells me she tastes death on my tongue, I know
She’s right: I taste death too, when I wake in the morning
Before I clear my lungs of devices; and where does it start?
It starts with the heart, as all things start with the heart,
A heart bruised until it’s become nothing but the bruise,
And beaten until it beats no more. When the music stops,
The dance stops too. The body swings from side to side;
Nothing keeping it moving except sheer force of habit.
Bodies walking through the crowd, not recognising life.
Slowly but surely the heart eats the body, starting with
The most profitable parts: stomach, gut, lining and liver,
Moving on to other organs as soon as the time is right.
Death comes at you unexpectedly, from the inside out.
That’s the death she tastes on my tongue, the sour bite;
Already dead on the inside, and waiting to finally fall.
It’s oh! A cottonmouth kiss that gets under her skin,
Plants doubts like seeds in the dark soil of her soul,
Grows whether she wants them or not, until they bloom.
She tells me suddenly she tastes death on my tongue.
Somehow I know this already, but it’s the last thing I know.
The music stops; the dance stops; and finally I can fall.
What do you say when she tells you about the taste?
That’s right – you say nothing – for what can you say,
When even the words in your mouth taste of death?
Mouth zippered shut tight, eyes squeezed against night,
Still hearing her talking, somewhere beside you, still
Moving the body from side to side until you finally fall.
(November 2012, Belgrade)
November 9, 2012 Leave a comment
I’m not a leader. I am, above all, in no way comparable to Gandhi, who was an ascetic. I love the world’s abundance of ordinary pleasures. And he was a leader. I have neither the character nor the abilities required for leadership. And I want no followers. If I looked back and saw myself being followed, my only wish would be to escape. I am a mostly solitary man, always in need of quiet, who has written some essays inviting, not converts or followers, but honest judgment…
In fact, Madhu, what we both want to happen—a counter movement to greed and waste and the dominance of corporations—is already happening. It is happening simply because a lot of people have seen things needing to be done and are doing them. They are at work without grants, without official instruction or permission, and mostly unnoticed by the politicians and the news industry. Eventually this movement will have political powers which will be in some ways regrettable. I hope it will have the sense and strength to remain locally oriented, and to resist the simplification and corruption that will come with power.
This movement involves a lot of people—as I know—who have never read a word I’ve written, who don’t know my name. And it would be happening now, for the same reasons, if I had never written a word. It would be happening because the justifications of individual and corporate greed are now exhausted, and better ways are available. The better ways will be helped along, as we know, by large historical forces such as rising energy costs, rising ecological and social costs, and the inability of governments, large institutions, and corporations to respond effectively.
October 8, 2012 Leave a comment
I run through fire
“I have tasted death, Ziller. When my twin and I merged, we were close enough to the ship being destroyed to maintain a real-time link to the substrate of the Mind within as it was torn apart by the tidal forces produced by a line gun. It was over in a micro-second, but we felt it die bit by bit, area by distorted area, memory by disappearing memory, all kept going until the absolute bitter end by the ingenuity of Mind design, falling back, stepping down, closing off and retreating and regrouping and compressing and abandoning and abstracting and finessing, always trying by whatever means possible to keep its personality, its soul intact until there was nothing remaining to sacrifice, nowhere else to go and no survival strategies left to apply. It leaked away to nothingness in the end, pulled to pieces until it just dissolved into a mist of sub-atomic particles and the energy of chaos. The last two coherent things it held onto were its name and the need to maintain the link that communicated all that was happening to it, from it, to us. We experienced everything it experienced; all its bewilderment and terror, each iota of anger and pride, every last nuance of grief and anguish. We died with it; it was us and we were it.”
And i am not burnt
Phlebas the Phoenician, a fortnight dead,
Forgot the cry of gulls, and the deep seas swell
And the profit and loss.
A current under sea
Picked his bones in whispers. As he rose and fell
He passed the stages of his age and youth
Entering the whirlpool.
Gentile or Jew
O you who turn the wheel and look to windward,
Consider Phlebas, who was once handsome and tall as you.
But soon i must halt
“He grows disenchanted with the intellect, disenchanted with ideas, disenchanted with consciousness at the intellect, disenchanted with contact at the intellect. And whatever there is that arises in dependence on contact at the intellect, experienced as pleasure, pain or neither-pleasure-nor-pain: He grows disenchanted with that too. Disenchanted, he becomes dispassionate. Through dispassion, he is fully released. With full release, there is the knowledge, ‘Fully released.’ He discerns that ‘Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.’”
September 27, 2012 Leave a comment
What do I know of war? Very little, I’m afraid.
Enough to feel foolish standing here alone.
You walked off the battlefield with no warning,
Leaving me panting in the ruins of the world,
Surrounded by these useless spears and shields.
I’ve been stuck with so many swords,
It’s a miracle that I’m still standing;
I guess that makes me a walking miracle.
Am I a lonely soldier on the battlefield,
or a child amongst his worn-out toys?
In the blink of an eye, you lost track of me
As a snake sloughs its skin, leaving it for dust,
And I want to say: if you could see inside
This arrow-stricken heart that I carry with me,
You would never have turned away.
But I don’t burn as bright as I once did –
One too many blows has cracked my casing –
And you looked away for a single second.
A second is all it takes for a battle to be lost,
Even if you’re the last man standing.
My weapons are words that never won a battle yet;
My words are tools that can’t fix what’s broken.
I’m lost, I’m tired, I’m cold, I’m bruised,
I’m aiming for greatness as I wait for you.
Now battle’s over, I suppose I’ll sit here and wait.
Of course I wait for you.
September 2, 2012 1 Comment
The day is like a feral thing, catching at my ankles;
Your voice is just an echo in the woods, lost to myths.
The chorus sings of somebody leaving, leaving without looking back,
And I, the blind man in the square, clutching at his staff.
Lines on your face scratched out in wood blood for ceremony,
Rituals half-remembered, scrabbled together in a passage
Through the trees, sheltered by the setting sun squeezing through
Gaps in the leaves, like gaps in our memory, like the wind.
Temperate to tropics, station to station, border to beach;
Colours are different across degrees of longitude, east to west.
The mask you wear for this sacrifice has changed from yesterday:
Now it looks less like your spirit animal; and more like you.
This isn’t serious business here – we’re just rebuilding
Myths that fled these shores so long ago, fearing for their safety
In the shadow of the new. I tap tap tap my way across the empty square,
Trying hard to remember what memory feels like.
July 28, 2012 Leave a comment
One of the remarkable effects of a smoothly fitting public surface is that it protects one from the sense of exposure without having to be in any way dishonest or deceptive, just as clothing does not conceal the fact that one is naked underneath. The mere sense that the gaze of others, and their explicit reactions, are conventionally discouraged from penetrating this surface, in spite of their unstated awareness of much that lies beneath it, allows a sense of freedom to lead one’s inner life as if it were invisible, even though it is not. It is enough that it is firmly excluded from direct public view, and that only what one puts out into the public domain is a legitimate object of explicit response from others.
July 7, 2012 Leave a comment
Finished on Friday, posted on Monday, so technically: June. Another roller-coaster of a month, but they all seem to be roller-coasters at the moment. At least it’s summer, which means I can run away to the sea, do beach parties until the sun comes up on the Adriatic, and forget about all the juvenile bullsh*t. This month’s mix is subtitled Action And Adrenalin, because we can all use more of that, right?
Action And Adrenalin Tracklist (Track/Artist/Album)
Suits, Glass Boy, Showzie
Marvin, SAD, Crystal Faces
Devil’s Pie (Krts 2-Step Remix), D’Angelo, Remixes for Beards and Flannels (from Krts)
Say Goodbye (Sweet Tears House Dub), Radius, Roy Ayers Project: Beat Submission Compilation Vol 2
This Must Be The Place (Young Edits Sophisticated Melody Version), Talking Heads (edit by Youth)
Give In (For The Fame), Kuhrye-oo
Plazzio’s revenge, Tensei
Fly, DaYz & KnItE, My Brother’s Know
Numbers in Action (Dobie mix), Wiley, Jubilee Shmubilee
Totem, Wiwek, Totem EP
Judas Goat (ft Hicham Enouiti), Filastine, netBloc Vol. 38: Sojourn In A Sonic Odyssey
Sniper Wolf, Ghosts, Judge
Xenas (Datacrashrobot rmx), Plaster, Soyuz EP
Jubokko (Zgomot Mare Degeaba Mix), Makunouchi Bento, Rinbo (Remixed)
Buried, Marble Lion, Foliage EP
July 2, 2012 Leave a comment