Letters from Ausland
1. The reasons were never clear – only that we
acted as we did, setting out as though by accident
across the open stage-space. It represented
the only distance we knew – one more new
botched beginning like a half-born calf
protruding from its mother, given up to the
lottery of the commonplace. The operations of
reason alone aren’t enough, first you must be
made to suffer and go on suffering, for good
and all. A cracked interior-being aided by cunning
and violence – leading you on to the promised
elucidation: I did X, I thought Y, and everything
could’ve been made up and you wouldn’t
know – plotting the defection to the other side.
2. To reckon the point from which departure begins
or relinquish the path back through an austerity of
judgement, or its poverty – the trees in Central Park,
boots full of rainwater and middle-of-the-night
conversion to unheard-of beliefs. To say: all things
are purchasable and truth is the purchase made upon
all things? A serene inhuman truth – forever
expanding outwards from the smallest integer –
the time of experience, of our actions in the new
dance and of the twitching of those strings. Thus
my days are passed in contradiction – the lost power
of remembrance and the visionary dreariness in which
nothing is too trivial to harbour consequences.
For the time being, at least. Subject to further notice.
3. What’s the true substance of our present? Pursued
by obligation across a calm thematic sea – a strait
within the neutrality of a still-life and its aura
of attenuation. To attain the eye that sees that it
does not see or the mirror image submerged and lost.
Prudence, circumspection, infinite delay –
a mathematics of division and subdivision playing out
its small liturgical operas on the one theme of
all that’s precious and vanishing (to the self or to
others?) A scratched record, pricked under the needle
of conscience – each instant seen and heard for the
first and last time, as if it were a punishment
infinitely revisited and equally unremembered –
no matter how scrupulously the sentence is carried out.
4. A tenth year of reckoning through marginal weather.
The storm edges out, wears thin – a cracked bootsole
sucking mud in through its teeth. Another lame
wandering fable – the source of a bland determination
to go on regardless, but regardless of what? The
various convictions upon which to act or else declaim
all truth as optional. An ice cream vendor outside
a cemetery / sun gilding the carafes of vin rosé.
A world of circumstances joined to the universe
by a tattered thread: each is no more provisional
than the one that follows – a comedic reverie, arriving
as though at the point from which you started off;
a point of understanding? As the circus wheel revolves
on its still axis, secretly arbitrating a timeless dispute.
5. The forms of this landscape are repeated; forms
that become volatile through too much seeing –
placed as we are on this isthmus of our middle state
between denunciation and indifference. What
is a poet for in a destitute time? If only to fail
in all but the attempt, the fact of the attempt
with its crudities, doubts, confusions; to mitigate
the darkness in the weather of the eye – self-
abjured, as though some desperate illusionary
Sisyphus of whom no one can say if he died or
escaped or still survives? Gaston’s exit with the little
Madensale boy or the postman who brings the
long-awaited letter – telling of the sprit of our times:
the one that guards and the one that always denies.
6. An elected symbol – to keep alive a useless and
necessary hope? The place evoked nothing, it was
as it was, all dark commandments stripped from it,
roots and fibres naked as chalkstone. Jurassic birds
screech in the concrete foliage of towerblocks
smashed from their foundations – the skyline
blacked-out under a hulked massif, thick
bituminous smoke: it’s always places you think of
not people. Of course this can’t last. Between
a wrecking ball and empty nature, some form of
consoling ethic rebounds in the bicameral mind:
the age-old vaudeville in which existence struggles
with annihilation, headlights lighting up the ruins –
the great metal bridges that once spanned that divide.
7. The rules of the game have become infinitely clear.
To be alive, to change – constantly preparing yourself,
constantly waiting. The act preserves no record
of the thought that made it – even the body, locked
into its privacy with the aggregate mind.
To withstand the world the weak must understand it.
Learnt at second hand and by halves, from those
who’ve always managed to save their own skins;
to tell the difference between the profit margin
and the hunger margin, the stylised victimage where
no aesthetic image is without fatality? Years have
transformed the blood you fed upon, blackened
by old hatreds that rave in the night like an
ugly reminder of what you once considered beautiful.
8. To arbitrarily resolve the whole thing into nothing:
space swarms, words flicker and vanish through the
constant masquerade; fake, phoney, fraud. A mind
consumed with pretence and failed force. The history
of its one great moment relived ad infinitum
in guileless self-love – its almost high, theological virtue
built around a hollow voice in which contempt
vies with grief for the sake of cacophony. It’s a tale
told to death and retold, full of private horror, insect
copulations, the frayed masks of an invisible leprosy:
as if to reverse an evil spell – an adolescent
child’s sniggering, or the mocking green-eyed parrot
observing the lamb for the slaughter. Reminds that
we too are the implied offerings in this universe.
9. That we are destined to the chastening life against
the greater abundance of sentiment and bad grace –
an isolated cell of comparison and the body’s
sceptical appraisal of these things that’ve come to pass,
setting the words aslant. How fast the surge
of discovery ebbs – diminished to a mere disturbance.
Like a ghost it appeared and disappeared unpredictably;
a refraction, a vague rememoration – of what
continues to exist in us, but suppressed, confined
to a subterranean life of dreams. Its transcript of un-
lived actions. Even in denial there’s a haunting sense
of vanished things; other-bodily transfusions
that awaken only laughter or doubt in those effortless
human values we were once constrained to believe in.
10. The path you arrive by is not the path by which
you departed. Burning the last bridge in a game
that’s never allowed to end, even when nothing’s
left to thieve. We’ve fallen out of cowardice into the
symbol – it’s neither the first nor the last struggle
of conscience, forcing the hand on to further and more
wilful capitulations. The four-square recess of a stage
unbounded by rules of inadmissible evidence –
no charge is stated, there’s no plea to enter,
the witness alone is prosecuted by what or how
he’s seen. Telling of mechanical caresses in one-
night border towns, running-down the scapegoat.
Or years spent under curfew scratching at the
surface of the inner eye, in a failed bid to escape.