a verse essay on obscurity and illumination
which is to say, a cleansing
at the peat level in U Minh Thuong, man
grove and indigo, the densities
of flora which deaden
How can this long
advert get through
a history in which all events are the same?
By faint diffused light which remarks
the steps of the travellers
through no snow on the foreground
and no crow-claw in ink; by
the light filtered through a pint of blood
to which it links. By ire and walnut-
crusher leaning on the learner eye.
Reviewed he had to take this stand
because he was no longer covered with a skin.
Do you see what I'm saying
who is this one person the relic who wants
to know life
is getting better, depending on us
in Cau Mau, Numaniyah.
Some fanatical voices on the radio.
They don’t know how right they are
to be dispersed as a mist or a foam
a text of noughts:
C, P, O,
H, N, the record
conserved in the fulgent
martian head of the child of the exposed
peasant and on the helix: up five
all life climbs to air.
Thumbs the hand bearing
its light into darkest English, of history
in decay, to unlock the manufacturing
process and reveal a simple thesis
distilled for strife: that the edges
of history, past grill and lounger,
are eating inward as fire. My house
its fringe of chemical light, my child
will get sick as we all do. I am making us
a firebowl of auger of bay, to see her
to see all I can I would
like to call
your attention ‘p
here’s the church, here’s the steeple,
open the doors and see all the people dipping
their digits into a font of automatic fire:
clothes of the damaged to be baptised in saline,
tunics of the irrecuperable can melt on them,
the congregation reads in the glow of the lamb
‘if you dip a finger in it
‘it burns like a candle but produces no injury.
So open the texts, the source code a closely-guarded
state secret punishable immediate thunder.
Find what was keeping in the Bihac pocket,
the fighting compartment, abandoned
Andorinhas burned houses in the mountains
and the mountain itself. Find ourselves
in a coin war, primed to consume
the burnt, the wood, the stones, the dust,
lick up the water in the trench, to pay
whatever it costs in broken vessels
drive the point away.
All things are an equal exchange
for fire and fire for all things,
as goods are for gold and gold for goods
If that is true, if money is sterile
and blood in exchange carries congenital defect,
all life on fire going out
and rekindling in a circuit:
then destruction the rule of measure in change
for moderns like me, to circum
vent the law through a change of terms
e.g. mark 77 mirabilis reform
But to code in simple fricative repeat’s
a copout you process the interminable present
nude with content, as if repetition were endurance.
Wildfire is tame, modified clawed
broiler and combust engine made in the infants of cities
though energy is natural, a fountain
arcs illumination from Texas to Medes
depending on the altruistic solar centre.
It mewls and flashes its tongue on the trays.
Fire alone can be fed, kept captive
like a vestal helpmeet, lady or return it to the wild
let fly from canisters a living payload
to prowl the brush bury in an acreage
whose future growth it claims by tender.
The Persians back their
kitchens on the large and bright, free fire,
by which the clerical resistance can flow perpetually.
Rag-headed splinters drenched in the Tiber
by frenzied women. In Lebanon
they were waiting for the pitch
the tow, the puffed
Told by the CEO
to wipe the grass and young
plants in the dog days, we bury our hopes
in the autumn
rain begins to fall, the earth takes
its fire to all the inhabitants. As if the planet
were a woman, living, turned against us,
and the stars pin-hole cameras in a lacquer of burning
bark around a tree...
I have tried to make in a month what the sun
accomplishes in a year as in the brass sphere,
an excess, believing
if in fire we are in our element
then something can displace us,
that the hope is in
I might find not fire
but thick water
Remember I am
cannot be trusted.
The lending librarian cut from plasticene and toffee
knows the dewey decimal place
where Greek myth can be pulled out of ravel.
This morning a reader’s pass
will get you
now the government has turned bibliographer
the living archive mutated into a bird.
It’s no trouble, a caution and a few hours
answering questions about your fantasies
prove no flight risk you hop out
from stone to stone on stichomythic feet.
The ache comes back on renewal:
you cannot live here, you belong to a different crowd
you won’t save unless you pay from the gut.
But the future can see underground, its eyes
make their own light flash
along the subway tracks where everything you’ve done
blinks off like a solar-fired alarm.
If the living are still here
it will find and add them to the census
which you’ll find filed down by the past.
Inspectors rely on repeated structures
to make sense of the chaos of competing forms
that fall on cars and coffins, no wonder
foreign dying looks so simple,
slipping skirts of flesh in antique profile
like the geometry of Muslim wallpaper.
We go together. Rectangularise the cornered.
If I tell the one about the Byzantine armies, promise
not to believe that we are all human,
that I saw them walking on newsprint in Fallujah? Then
Of the two donors, the doctor
ceded to his poisoned fetlock, forethought
donated his liver and got life –
in one kill the medicine and
the heat which might preserve us
as we wait in a nest in Tora-Bora
for the samey future on which we’re trained.
‘So let the curling tendril of the fire
'from the lightning bolt be sent against me,
wind in savage convulse the world
the daily grind makes history and as I
wait to be seen and warned off
by an opened magazine,
consultants blame the time
on government targets blasted
from the trees of the Hesperides.
The heroic labourer has a right
to unpaid employment benefit (laughter).
The rubber tapper meek in the trees
also waits and is not known to speak.
Don’t force an axe against them:
I’ll need to eat them later, for
the tree of their fields is my life,
and when I am finished burn them
in envy of my self and that ash
fertilises the earth is another irony.
If I know the tree is not for meat,
cut it back in defence. The land is there
to be used, and without nerve
damage there is no sound of harm. If the lake
covers a gas field I suck it,
and cover the green line with
arum seeds. There is nothing here
but transfer. They mean
to burn everything, even the lungs.
The hope drunk in which we dress ourselves
for a day labour gaming
with maximum power and killer graphics
taking it hard, the must-haves this autumn
whinge at the prison of the veil.
Secularism is another orthodoxy we can’t shake,
to recognise the politics in fancy dress
also buries its charge under the base
though the countdown is not due to start
for you or your oldest child
or for the slaves you inherit after that.
Dress the wound in salted water
as the salted water rises:
fashion turns dressing from repeat
to a ‘statement’ of ‘interest’, marking the day
mine one eternal need to keep out the cold.
Garment of fire, washed in boiling water or sandia
decon foam. Judicial molestation in orange one piece
or Walmart sweatshirt made by the guest
workers in Vietnam, 'seeds of war in the outfits
'we array by the full-length mirrors of Beximco
and Daewoosa. In the grove of war hangs
a fleece of recycled Coke bottles,
boob-tubes and desert grades making out
the farthest voyage from Sunrise Exports
of Mumbai is inevitable, we can do no more
than vote with our feet dragged over the gap
to Níκη, though in the docks
they tell of ears floating on the surface
and a chin like a monkey’s in the wash.
The consumption loop is politics,
potential flash points all down
the supply chains the head
stepped on lights
her gown before her maid knew what was happening.
Everywhere she goes she makes
money. Can we break the news of repetition
the vulture supposed of ‘nowhere’ the target liver
returning to the impact to look for any
growth are given the shirt off their backs
washed out by tide, released from the burden
of fertility and insecticide by a little powder
the tick-tock waves the motive, the distance
By ‘accident’ and ‘sacrifice’ we have heard
how the irrational like a bunker-buster
can reach the deepest dugout.
But reason for penetration
is a substitution also countenanced by revenge:
it’s ok, it’s only a story.
Come closer. The doting wife
burps the Tupperware, robes the patriarch
but his sacrifices overstimulate the sexual charm.
She has kept too much aside for the uncertain
future, and watches the body she meant
to cherish turn to batter in its lining.
The introversions of sacrifice that char
other countries begin with this one,
spent after his labours to be kept close to home.
The janitorial sub-contractor rips himself to you.
Our family is also known to worship the well.
Our turn to nominate the victim is magic
as a campaign donation gives the vultures
power over reconstruction. They choose life
incense the flame, the father a pillar
or a blue tongue reaching towards heaven,
and reap the substitute teacher held
captive here in a bunker of volumes.
The magician votes. The word supplies
where the bodies were bungled in a sundried wrap.
And though the beloved cannot be blamed,
though Medea is known as the foundress
of medicine in an oil-rich state, I am not
complete in horror if I suppose
she did feel sorry finally.
...left flesh and bone
On many a flinty furlong of this land.
Also, the country-side is all on fire
Was the god talking, or pursuing,
on a journey, or asleep?
The only way out a sea of flames
You lot: rush yourself out of here
The earliest publications were coin. Publication
got the drift: ships loaded with potential,
resinated drawn on currents
towards the tortoise towers, helepolis, piers
lapped in the dark. Propulsion
by toxon and bronze spout collapsed distances
formerly concrete, traducible only by wheels
or machines powered by caloric energy, into nothing:
two frames, couplets, inseparable by any moral force
more actionable than geometry. Now in syndicated repeat
the ‘brutal crackdown’ in Erbil exacted by its geocoordinates
(3412N/04401E), Dohuk (3625N/04301E)
these sites visible from space aflame their ground
cover: nothing lives underneath, pyrotechne
converts all that is solid into feed, and at Oak Ridge
they make the bacteria which eats even that.
Now it’s easy to reach the target, unbearably
precise the nozzle turns the snout sniffing puckers:
I see you there. I consume you in a burst.
Take five and drop them . . . but who knows his mind,
The Syrian runagate I trust this to?
His service payeth me a sublimate
Blown up his nose to help the ailing eye
vases of quicklime and white lily, scented to consume the air
herald of the resurrection of the ambiguous
winner from Maalbek who cooked up the original, prop
to the dead man of Europe – guarantees defeat
of Luitprand of Cremona,
surrender of the Russian idea to another
empire with no life left in it either. Brand
heating his own modern piss, sold by Kraft
to the crowned heads for writing ‘Domini’
illuminating paper. 'how beautiful
'all our centuries can be garlic bloom
integuements and pork powders and invisible ink:
A good time for the industrious, until a shortage
of beer and milk bottles hit the happy, the baby.
After the retreat of the shamed Diodachi the weapons
scattered on the highway of death were sold
to finance the building of the Colossus, the pillars of Hercules,
the double bars struck through a glowing S, lamented
twins remembered by scorchlight on our anniversary.
The peripherique manacles these victories,
monuments the spoils of survival too bitter
to be named for itself caress the air at the centre,
whose bricks also listen to the dead.
by the naffatoun in their asbestos shirts,
learning from the 30,000 lost to a sickened Byzantine parade
the irrelevance of numbers. In 683
lighting the kiswah, splitting the black stone in three pieces
a triad in which opposition can solidify over its middle,
an axis through which enmity radiates,
terms of concession, obliteration and raw nerve.
Sizzling through fat and liquid, pausing finally on the bone
puts me off
my pork crackling
The more life a thing has, the less it can defend itself
thickened with soap trying to be clean of
my hair began to singe in the public lavatory
While researching ‘weapons for the burning of armies’
by report: 30,000 men of the Muslin navy, Kyzikos 680.
35,000 houses in Fallujah but not a one among them.
From ’54 in Algeria, through Attrition in the Nile Delta.
The Jordan. Durazzo. ‘Rome on her march
‘to stamp out like a little spark thy town Grozny
the Seventh Crusade
at Syllaeum or against the Vikings in 941
and in translation: occasions the first Arabic medical textbook in Basra
the album of the poisoner above.
Even the stone tomb of Moses releases what distilled
water in the alembic burns
hotter than wood.
by naphtha arrows, mangonels and flake
'so entertaining I have to smile ablaze white-turbaned
‘the falling trunk and limbs, the crash, the muffled shriek, the groan
suicide squads pumping the dead smoke and trench full of horses
in Acre 1291, templars best known for defeating
church policy on usury and for services to capitalism
‘They can indeed be soldiers of Christ blood for bitter wine
rubbled under burning, sublimate
to the medieval air. Pledge
look up to Beau Seant, financiers
locked in fealty to the company
to their desks in floors above the impact.
Gawain locked in single combat for Jerusalem:
he who conquered the technology of fear ended
the age of heroism leaving an instinct unemployed.
Battling degraded the city resembles Chicago,
its walls wailing, its night of the mount continuous
limit of our decay for strauss and rose,
an transitional attachment a dummy
unspeakables cures by the smokes
of sacrifice and longing that light
the napalm that pulverises leaves. On the home
front strongholds of clay and waddle and steers’
skins draped over the city walls to forestall fire:
and undoubtedly the mechanization of laughter
hanging upside-down from a line
that circles from hell back into morning glare.
In stockyard light to see
as if by day the camp, our own people
Fragmentation set off among the fire-fighters,
each piece has designs on an individual
but the movement of the avant-garde
plans to enrapture whole cities
lends to the shade the appearance of shining.
Embed Darrin Mortenson reports ‘the boom
'kicked the dust around
'the pit as they ran through the drill stern efforts
to avoid cracking, came on to them
like a vinegar-cask the noise the sexual
like thunder spearing fire from perronels
fully orchestrated to cause notional breakdown.
Beards singed but not much
injured for sake of
being on their knees in prayer at the time sold
to Louis XV in 1756, saltpetre, turpentine,
tallow that carcass composition rosin, crude
which may be deemed excessively indiscriminate
like history into which it all disintegrates
the Congreve rockets glaring down on McHenry
make the top-ten forever
'Discourse to him of prodigious armaments
'Assembled to besiege his city now,
'And of the passing of a mule with gourds—
antimony nights of wrath and ashes, the Greek Fire
of another translation of faith ‘burnt to dust and ashes
'the centuries of the middle ages, …with their poetry
'and lack of thought, birthing the time of the public,
Napoleon, and la puissance du journalisme.
'I see the genius of the modern, child of the real and ideal,
'Clearing the ground for broad humanity, the true America, heir of the past so grand,
'To build a grander future
also in soft drinks, and toothpaste.
Anything organic can be drawn, calcined
for days on the stove, from this need for gold.
Hot bones. Slick from the periodical table,
degreased by the Danube.
A history of deception and trade
secrets, the spirit of fireflies trapped in pine
or growing with age and envy to a hoop
the nature sits there waiting to be discovered.
Then patents apply: Sweden
forested with matchsticks, lights to secure the hold
of ships from burning
sandwiched in the enmity of elements, sealed in glass
bulbs to attract fish, to illuminate the hands
of clocks and sweated workers, to guide mowers
by living lamps and courtesy, to represent
friendship with the dark
classes. Next in Denmark a fiction dies
plum puddings, and shooting stars.
Marie Jankovitz, her power to eat and speak
'faded away as they had been petals of a fading flower,
tarnished and pointless, repeating
by the dip-tanks, venerate the compo,
infused in illumination under the low ceiling.
Is this labour, pinks
unfading perennials, tarnish its aim:
by return to uncover what in the composition –
that nothing turns on illumination
the Delphi women were just high on ether
and Princess Ida’s college full of wet matches
singed their fine Linnen with the bedtime exercises,
that the process, though plain, cannot say so…?
Cyril. Fancy, a hundred matches – all alight! –
That’s if I strike them as I hope to do!
Gama. …strike their teeming brains,
And not their hearts. They’re safety matches, sir,
And they light only on the knowledge box –
Quakers in Oldbury,
free of the Test,
by experience to legislate and use
the coal, the alkali to break faith
with absolute conviction. Or model
on Fairfield Row, arched and turreted
so completed the blight. Their emblem the ark,
secure profit even by light,
‘a natural and beautiful image even
'in these days of neon and the hologram.
George Fox dreamed then of infinite ocean, ‘of light
'and love, which flowed over the ocean of darkness,
the light which ‘shines on in the dark, and the darkness
'has never mastered it. The stacks
changed the night to concert, the birds
driven by industrial choirmasters to up their piece-rate...
The chocolate-maker, Darby the smelter found profit
in the red glare. John Woolman declared
against wars walking in the light: ‘may we look upon our treasures
'and the furniture of our houses, and the garments
'in which we array ourselves, and try whether the seeds
'of war have any nourishment in these, our possessions.
The Children of Light developed reputations for honouring
contracts and selling quality goods, for industrial experiment,
factories like minor cities full of the remediated.
Added phosgene to their job list. A kind of inner light
they took to the people at Cherbourg, Hamburg, Sachon.
'In other words, we may need to
'to destroy it.
'to grind it,
'and salt the soil, as the Romans did
'to make an example (Joseph Farah)
‘Viscous, not unlike the Gum of Cherries,
'and some others newly taken from the Tree:
the contractors “debased” on a bridge in March
are rich fruit gone off and strange turn
cherry-bombs to stink out Pallugtha.
32 seconds to contact; the audio tells: ‘aw dude’.
Hit him; hit the truck and him; the truck
in the subject is part of him, violated mechanisms.
You who we see and who is spoken to
now a vapour, a phantom fury
writes with 'a more blazing
'and pleasant flame shooting
downwards through the Jolan precipitate,
brings light along the trench line
(if lyrics could be sewn with razors),
and bites all the legs in the spider-holes,
and bites the long tucked tail of smoke.
Keeping the ‘house of Satan’
cruciform in chaos, tipped MDF panel
on lineoleum, or floral ticking, an arm lock
as if it could be wind
a watch or stick up a dozing head
We recharge our batteries in Dreamland,
get the hygiene stuff at the PX, watch
the boat races of stiff young coxes with their whole lives
Egyptian cotton, from the university. A stone bridge
with white lamp-posts on the island tends
the lumen naturalis through the sanded night.
Look at the race. Now also can we look
at the dead postures of accident,
their homes, their stuff
looked at them also. A rubber sandal. Plates.
A white surrender. The ulcerous Aleppo button.
The leather casing of a face, dented
like a football. Invert skin continues
the body beyond the fingertips, collapsed
concrete distances into nothing, now distance
is nothing, the alternatives spin web-
reports of illegal weapons you can almost touch them
into nothing but sloppy joes. This dead girl
is trying to hold your hhhhhh her palm
a pilgrim into air, a vapour, a breath away.
The niggers of the dunes. Salted
ash from the braai does the job on the earth
for my Romans, to sell
at Sanctuary in Covent Garden.
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The spirit of violets cannot wash the floor in green
or relieve blood jammed up in an eyeball: it complains,
every time you piss you are pissing in its socket
it is a drunkard whose thousand orifices new-modelled
are the American drains
“Although mathematically it can be shown that the human body contains enough energy stored in the form of fat and other tissues to consume it completely, in normal circumstances bodies will not sustain a flame on their own.”
So much fat for soap in seven cakes on a spatula,
with burnt lipids or boneash making a fine organic spectacle,
the composition flourishes in a sheltered spot.
It is just mass. A number. Nothing special.
'If we admit, with many Learned Moderns,
'a flamma vitalis in the heart…
Again again foaming in the washhouse, the bedroom
where all obscurity ceases under cover
the ecstatic fumbling with masks… have a letter-press
invitation to witness
the girls strip off and curse their indulgences
(the handlers are prone
to venereal excitation)
as fat is especially likeable to the custom
eats itself into the life of life,
As saffron tingeth flesh, blood, bones and all!
For see, how he takes up the after-life
dressed in salt to prevent his skin reigniting
the little marks he brought back, the pins, shark tooth
keloids form a collar are ethnically selective
Meaning the wound coils
black nut purged from its catkin a lacquer
shell the head is fathomless
look down towards the bridge of your nose and the brain
quietens its steady chatter. Ride out
the monkey mind. The fullness of time
is deceptive, the ignition skin just a bit more grey than usual.
contacts between meanings
I can feel the structure giving way
needing treatment, a liquid
to massify the gaps
become giddy, anxious, you get confused,
convulsing, hard breathing, sweat, salivate,
cramp and piss: the iris of your eye closing
body without outlet,
closed, afraid of a photo, lacrimating.
Bereft of greens, nothing but pain is left what
can you see out there
in everything? No stupid.
Richness, blazing even under water.
Clouds of ash on the perimeter. A biosphere.
All of this will be forgotten, she
said, sweeping her arm across the city.
All that human diversity a plate of embers, ‘with a likeness
‘burst in memory preserved in by-products of insect death.
The ability to harm is limited by stupidity.
From Lincke at the Golden Lion you could have caught
your death in gold or silver capsules.
But death slips gilded through the colon
without ever sipping air. 2,200 matches
cursing a live feed, tripwire around
entry points for basic information on the body,
the literal point of entry
is small and precise in the neck for these enfolds
compare skin where chicken nuggets bark and fry.
In a precise manner what man is made.
A wick effect leaves the foot
of Mary Reeser
untucked, the sequence so mysterious
it makes death more curious than generic.
And for the daily worker an assault on the jaw,
days follow the bitter taste of sequestra
eating, talking, consolation dissolve
before anything nudges the radiogram. The myth
of one a highlight for the
drinks his way out of melancholy and stink
Sanatogen tonic wine and white lightning,
delayed healing troubles the practice
nurse on her home visits reads a bottle of urine,
or at least the domestic effects
should pay for our emissions. Days after the encounter
skin still flashes like a refinery seen from the express,
like bargain fairy lights loose on their stolon.
A firm eschar surrounded by vesiculation is the key
hole in a canvas whose surface is made artistic by its destruction,
as fire makes itself through destruction,
wet and sticky explorations of the inner body
with knife back, finding I had lost the capacity to feel
his body is his answer
much more than relief as I turned on my life
rough dunked in the tunic salt-water.
Poisoned by copper sulphate. The hands meant
to help me bursting also into flame
who might leave nothing but a foot in a slipper.
and after the recitation found
that in coffee sweet with splenda
I have been displaced
I am a kind of sucrose, a walking
salt-cellar, unexpired match
bodies assembled properties
with industrial uses, so we can belong
to the logic of mechanized labour even
as deep into this study as
I am from a mass movement.
All solids melt to air, dust
resettles as dust, we can still be useful
like the cremaines in the egg timer,
or Anne King yielded back by weight, the text charged
to audit each Grane and Atome of his relief.
In time. Pissing to the wind
we miss a target cycle: the leaves, the marrow
pass through the human tube with some
of their manichean light still shining,
an armoury / an entrepreneur are waiting
to collect our excess and feed the fire.
Consumption frees energy and vapour
bound with steel wool, or gas released
by instant charges appropriate
wherever there is water, there is life
foaming with light, the eddy is vital
clue to the confusion of an animal world.
Space is its limit, contains its impossibility.
The greens who say the future’s humanure
make waste a historical tie-in,
but the dream of total expenditure without redemption
is an open market where we can detonate:
over fields of blé, militant clouds
pose another challenge for the cyanometer,
the search for all possible initials
driven to extinction, and thus discovers californium.
With the powder dry references scatter,
but we began with somewhat that belonged
to the body of man…
For the aetiology of phosphorescence
substitute bone. For lightness substitute ash.
Bone, or human water, or all organic matter
lain in a great heat can shine on in the dark
or bring tactical darkness to conflict.
At the bottom of a glazed earthenware jar
closed carefully with philosophical lute
there is bone, and bone belongs to ash.
Bone softened in acid,
its liquour treated with milk
of lime, washed and dried; bone
closed in a body of philosophical lute
gives itself up to an instrumental ministry.
If the timing is right, the know-how
it can be sublimed
and to encourage amplitude and reflection,
thermal penetration, the advice is use
more if he is distant.
‘The mass must be stirred
‘at mid-day, with care, the body protected
‘kept from the sun until it is wanted.
‘Engines smeared in the evening,
‘at sunrise all will be burnt:
such recipes are magical, really pretty evocative,
but primitive as you can see. The effect is wanting.
Rock forms cast into wedges with the extra
gypsum sold to strengthen the fields, acid
dried in iron pots and flung on faces.
Albright at the slaughter-houses of Galaţi
the bones too noisome to ship, or the crews
did not survive a furnace
to feed the British
industrial scene, banked in Russia, Morocco,
Florida, Tennessee apatite,
Caribbean Sombrero, West Indian
Redonda, or Charleston; white
or yellow, red, black or violet, as it darkens
it becomes less dangerous to its handlers.
But must still be wrapped and tanked under water,
water-boarded but treated with dignity
more if he is distant.
As it dissolves in the same water it absorbs
it is a model of antiperistasis, a pump-primed cycle
bulks its efficiency, pound for pound.
In principle opposites
replace each other until both are spent,
less dialectic than mutually-assured gavotte,
leaving casualties with a bad throat: all that’s left
of politics is an evacuation,
and all that’s redeemed is pulp
at the end of the tumble
that schoolkids can use to make paper.
Accepting loss turns to giving. What’s
the matter is hygroscopic, like honey,
ethanol or glycerine, the gifts of the three sovereigns
for marriage, blindness and bakery.
The early chemists bashed it out essentially,
their brute solutions displaced
for a double order on the fireworks
of nostalgia and Scott Key. Their lists
magical, poetical, dependent
on linseed or laurel oil.
The power of obscurity to bring it all
to life. Who
The search for a purer fire recedes
deep in the angles of history: wildfire,
a boy’s own myth, its obscurity fastidious
as its composition unknown:
concocted oil, sulphur, resin, willow
charcoal, sale nitro, aqua vite, and camphor
the hectic business of the living day
bitumen, slaked lime,
collect the death certificate from the
bones, charcoal, lithium,
and wrap and pacify the spirit in Ethiopian wool
sodium, incense, tow,
paste of talc, eggwhites, gum, and salamander
whose skin is our asbestos and her disease
powdered aconite root, monkshood, magic
beans, arsenic, hemp for hallucination,
receipts for the secret of angels
blister beetles, rock salt, incense, thunderbolt stone or pyrites,
ground in a black mortar in the mid-day sun,
the elemental found in combination
mixed with resin of the black sycamore
and liquid asphalt of Zakynthos to a paste
indentures industrial workers and other janissaries
a talcum of phosphorous pentoxide: whiskey pete
bunching overhead like men o’ war, luminous, ballooned
bellies ‘not wan from Asia’s fetiches
with quicklime, syrupy liquid removed calcium
by nitric or sulphuric acid
reduced by ignition with carbon
all variation is a mark on a paper, by a worker
hoping for even numinous reward.
// said powder
// said fire
And what is left to say. Those wars are over.
This war a target cycle, feeds itself
on water and air, and will outlast us all:
for science an arrow burns perpetually
in all bright rhetoric and in clouds
a treachery of movers looks just elemental,
dust returning through fire to its resting.
In its pure state a body is clear as optical glass,
refractive index like a diamond
hard, beautiful and almost incapable
of succumbing to mechanical pressure.
But it is only ever found in combination.
So we await patiently the results of the inquiry,
and stand far behind Kyoto, in shadow.
Fierce Feavers must calcine The Body of this World:
and there will be a reward at the end
for those who can continue
This is automatic fire.
This is automatic fire, a token ring
each extruder talking English to themselves.
The technology driven since 4 BCE
by carpooled naptha
‘their backs which are dark and evil-smelling
the dark night of the well anyway
we have always been like that
milking the fabled white worm of Punjab
stuffing the carburettor with chip fat
heavy and burning for it, the marshals
deeply at the wells of Baku to the energy
and ideals on which our Nation was founded.
Counterfeitted gluttony as medical fire, oil of Persia
its lifeblood rid of hope and freedom
when explosions flash along the street like bunting.
Used as patching, to blacken insipid inks. From it
we take our English word that overspill
coats the wings of seabirds and coughs
their little throats up, all the shores
make a circle for the broadcast. Trade goods distilled
as liquid fire that runs into the thousands
of syllables of a world order duped by RepRap,
and runs the little heaters in poor homes.
I dried my curls before the soph hop,
came aspiring into the night perfumed like a pick-up;
and often woke to see it creeping under the door
as we lay dying, the wick gasping
for its dangerous life, my rayon pyjamas
flashing with static charges that blued
the petrochemical pale. For which reason
which is obscene, especially for lips,
and keep the window open all through winter.
In oils danger-close relate to fire,
which leaps upon it from anywhere as soon as it beholds it
and stuns the leg, and stuns
a girl in her nightgown in Haditha.
Gas flown overhead into safety as the wind
blows the drone away. A lob would suffice
to bring the nature of this appetite in close,
what fine traces it ribbons
through the mezzanine, that dark wish
between two fronts. On the home
front a pen of sparklers
and recipes on the body of the state-
torture artist. Fame
hides her in the fragrant rich
bosom of the Arabian mountains, but she
flies haughty through our own skies, untaxed
for the vapour which zips our joint intemperance
the ariel bombers, the cargo flights that cross
above the cradle of history become a sink.
I love what I hate
can't stop drinking,
shooing out the windows, pumping it
into my lap. It fills life automatically
and makes that life an odometer.
You know that, it’s your mango, radio,
factoid in the siphon, but we are automatic
fire our reps with Nectar, and landscapes.
You are now entering the marshes:
no kite-flying beyond this point.
Smeared with crows flown against the tents
flies away suddenly to whatever place you wish
burns up everything. Vectors born
in nectar by the Nile piggyback birds
make their way to New York, swimming in encephalitis.
How can a wish,
wishing even to destroy, transport itself.
By falarica, and fire-flutes played slowly
towards the target so that the bitumen melody
can flicker along the fortified register.
By Howitzer, in a 155 mm shell, and hand
grenades, built to appeal to the hand
like an American football, degenerate
son of mikroi siphones. Or hurling jars.
The story of ballistics is convection
of spite. When nothing else will traverse
the dangerous gap between owned and aspired,
and evacuation still seems necessary, fire.
The origin of human flight is not birds.
To avoid the pent-house the Saracens
shot straight up into the clouds,
their darts fall back on top of them,
their bodies, houses that move
now only language. Kept off by tourniquet
and perronel, hailed by angelic technique
rocks and timber baulks, a hundred stealth
taxes under labour. The caliph
of Damascus with his blatant equipment,
the refining explosion pulled back
on credit by international inspectors
is redeployed by rational actors on the north stage.
Clearance of one organisation to its opposite
is known as no man's
land is all the difference
between loyalty and hate. The whites
of their eyes – pseudo-intimacies of the machines,
the pocket-mark on a body infused
with the differential breath of aerosols.
Opposites critiqued, alarming
Ktebisios’ double-acting piston, replaced
horses plunging desperately into water
but the logic of elemental opposition has finally reached its end.
Though the danger of the instability of our weapons
sometimes results in friendly fire consumption
of the whole deck, we stick by our strategies,
or stick like melted candles to the table.
Fused like the forked legs of the animal,
a structure designed chronometer
recharged by shaking. Or a fuze
barrette that knows the rider
is in the air, or got sufficiently older,
helps us to see how time’s the interval
to the airburst: and we might go
in yellow. Our little pointless arrow
brightens as it goes over. While it shines
we remain harmless.
Then sinks the object in darkness.
Phosphor a beacon to the resurrection men
agenting the trenches, to the infantry
on a slippery bank following their
strafing – into bush, rock ornamental
motion and heat the human signs –
like would-be Roman spies
from inside a smoke of Venus. And the queen,
what she could see through the smoke
she clears herself, hiding her gaping
expectation behind the privacy glass of heroic death
which neither blocks the image nor reveals it.
Screened, blocked, scared, on the move
at a crawl within the smoke an armoured city.
Used to limit his vision, his access to his ammunition.
And if I were to use that language – a mode
that absorbs its screening mass from the atmosphere
of commerce, politics and waste, from the family
and the strangers in no one man's land
to work or friendship, thinking only of themselves,
that takes up its position in bright balloons
could grow infinitely given a will and a hand,
an output hot, white and dense –
have I scored a blinder, or run blind
myself in all this vapour quickly spending
its burn I think I’m seeing the future?
Mass extinction of smokes, relative tenacity
depends on the ambient moisture, the life
that can be lived even in banks of sand.
Fight to hold a gap that might not even be contested.
Kissing E. B. Hershberg’s plunging rod
surrounded by phosphor, and by napalm
like an ice-cream sandwich or an experimental
poem dashed onto political density:
the insert from Save the Children fragments
the cloudy raiment of late-industrial processing,
the gas scatters, inflamed, but as there is nothing
here worth burning we are off the hook again.
And left in the artist colony, attached to a hose
of advantageous melancholy be sure
your mouth is clear before the stolen gas rises
in the siphon. So continue.
For what it’s worth fighting for brass
with a legendary mischief, right
as rain might get beaten
back or just dissolve our hopes like sugar.
15% in the charred wedge lives to fight again,
the rebel army pins its hopes
on the nugget of information secreted
under the emperor’s skin. He is a blue torch
in the last scene, when all our colonies are destroyed,
and we a band of villains with some ancient fliers.
I aggrandise myself among them. Belonging to me
as good belongs to you in theory, blown
by violent and continuous breath
shadowed by the obscure precision
of the typewriter, rigidly translating the spaces
left open in the liber ignium of Marcus Graecus.
The case for flying fire
The case for making thunder
unrestrained, it drops
as a gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath,
Safwan Hill, swabs the river and canal there.
A new name covers it: mark there,
oil displaced by kerosene is 'no great way
'but the generals love it. It has a big psychological effect
a history of pity and the smell of victory
flashes burning the breathed into the breather,
a child at cross-purposes heading the other way
in shredded lettuce, dressed sort of uh aioli.
Fire plays on the mind, as if its form depends
on imagining the
toxic effects that breach nature's
Genevan protocols, to depend on its toxicity, to cause
through chemical action
temporary or permanent harm
humans or animals
the wrong hands ablaze the humans come
to an animal end in snuff shots too tough
for prime time if not walking on
real estate. But the stocks had already fallen
anyway, from my eyes, in the extraordinary enclaves of Cuba,
cremated at Rocketdyne, or donated
to the kilns by Fallbrook.
The potential for recombination is sublime,
too hard to legislate the patent
resourcefulness of medical doctors:
we can always remediate their sticky ends,
work through the scars in the parchment
with its Leagueish will to contain fire and harm...
'designing to attack persons with fire,
'not to give light or to be luminous
'or to lighteth every man that cometh into the world,
'or to walk as children of light, to profit by that
Light is everything, is the opposite of fat, is relish
Law promethean, expectation
bound not binding.
Are law's best or worst meanings concealed
in wood, barbed, poisoned, the points blazing with fire?
My paper is bogus – no pre-nup is airtight,
and its mark holds you in confusion as its proof-weight
of harmlessness. The wicked speak clearly,
broad-faced the court of appeals, so is obscurity
a moral option now?
burns up the outside, and in no wind
fire can sucks in and up from tenements like a stove-pipe
build to the power of a hurricane to pluck
pedestrians from their circuits redecorating
the communal stairwells in double grey.
From the echelon it is hard to see a raged city plan.
So what is ‘too murderous’ to the lateral council
anyway to use incendiary agents
against targets requiring their use,
you asked for it, I am not violative
of law, the law of land
warfare, we are just delegates to a different conference
tongue slower than bullets.
The coward strikes a bald head,
and a tyrant ages flying hair with charcoal;
the ambassador without portfolio sits down, says “I am thine”,
links his fortunes by watered recrimination to the attaché
opening up new causeways through the interior.
Danger gets the crystal mark for official clarity,
the truth a category of prisoners asleep, naked,
spectating, broken, afflicted and grievous, in fear or flight…
But for the apocalypse they give us the freedom
of information act, and for 2d five sparrows: that nothing
concealed will not be revealed, filmy nothings
said in the darkness heard in the light,
whispers in doorways proclaimed on the ridgepole.
As Liam Fox’s explanation it is a brutal weapon,
but we need to remember
that we were talking
about some pretty brutal insurgents.
A sheen of bolt truth lies boldly over the details,
two categories of happening, both of which make me afraid.
These are the gradations of obscurity in public discourse,
our work the endometrium that binds the naked surface
to a dark displaced richness of fact
which may or may not sustain the future.
Believing persecution is greater than slaughter,
that it builds the organisation in the long run
you’ll never make in that slip and trainers:
these are people, hoping they might evolve to be more
than numbers. Inmates. Waging asymmetrical war
in their jumpsuits might dream of the fire
they’re in as an airfield
in Bagram, we just can’t know for certain
what intentions in their rat hearts
their sports drinks.
Like they told us rules of our engagement with the dunes:
- feed the people poisoned rice and water for the gods;
- lie concealed in a hole bored into the body of an idol
after eating sacramental food and setting up an altar;
- lie in a secret hole in a wall;
- lie in a hole made in the body of an idol in an underground chamber;
- hide fiery spies in a tunnel, or inside a secret wall;
- confront them at night and run down the side;
- loosen the fastening of a machine to fall on them;
- set fire to their rooms smeared with poisons and explosives, or made of lac;
- slay them in pleasure parks and places of recreation;
- get out disguised as a heretic with his retinue;
- get out disguised as a woman following a corpse;
- get carried off by spies as a corpse. Women
- may throw a snake, or poison, or fire or poisonous smoke
over his sleeping person. Women
- having access to the enemy’s harem, may, when opportunities occur,
do to the enemy whatever is found possible on the occasion,
and then get out unknown.
The secrets of lightning are angels’,
force and friction, so struck its shareholders
anyone leaking into the marketplace
a weapon is naturally private, reticence
‘a tradition of the chemical industry the compound
is not an open field for those it changes.
Constantine Porphyrogenitus reserves his rights 'nor red
'from Europe’s old dynastic slaughter-house
is the stinking log-cabin of proprietary curiosity:
phantasm of ritual illuminates mouths of cows and sheep,
a new order of knowledge is here in democratic
like an ethnographer violated in a Parisian abattoir.
The structures of purity for meat replicate themselves
even at the terminal canteen, you, there, and on the cheap
flight you take to get there.
We consist in a fantasy of proportionality.
So our architecture narrows to a single point.
He may do nothing but by love's leave.
Smothered in bitter wine or mud, heart’s fire
your moist air immo fomento alitur uberrimo
an altogether different poison revised with kerosene
that enlightens the closed garden where she sits.
Nodding her head to the burnt heart. The lone star
states air conditioned, their walled gardens irrigated with glacial ice
while everyone burns our heads
with the desire to need – that stinkinde flesches luve
where we put the mince and the moving.
This subtle liquid fire that turns Jack
to meltwater, gathers in lipids, boils over
tongues too obligated to speak to it.
From donkey-jawed workers and plump
lipped law swillers, swaying in the doorframe
of history the holes in their bodies make against Angel,
a fountain of spontaneous relay lights:
glowing in the belly, swelling organs
making visible their breakdown in the dark
private places where they do embrace
without consequence. I want to ask my question, or break
felt into scraps the envelope in which this complex
and deepening past touches its pieces,
like the index corners for photoshopped families,
all jumbled in the bladder sack together.
‘But’ the language slides through, dental tape
caloric fire and phosphorescence, a paper wick
dunked in subtle liquid looking like gum.
And houses turning their faces
Make a mirrored wardrobe.
Make this mirrored wardrobe for the
silvering. These are the halos of magic dressing, under
which my body can become a torch. It’s been known
to happen. Breath extends towards man,
meets the fire on the tip and catches light and falls.
And when held inadvisably in the trouser pocket
the trousers catch on fire, scalding the walker
as he crosses towards the Chandos,
leaving a crease across his thigh.
In heavy fire some saw a living element
generated in destruction, fed on carbon and fresh air,
and so a character which could breach the places
in which women sat separate, washing their clothes.
On it, life. And life buckled within it.
Distance is a communication system. Generations
of advances in artillery demolish that orange and white
intimacy, league and beleaguered, script technician
and pasteurized re-enactors from Perth,
highly energetic types that explode over water. None of which
'worldliche tribulatiuns, nane temptatiuns,
'nowther inre ne utter can sound down to a stable compound
when down is cinders. Another kind
of relation spurts through siphons
hurled over mudflat walls, P4O10,
now distance is nothing. The alternatives spin
like the iPod wheel under chapped thumbs
as the milk-blistered lips synch silently.
To desire. To appear from nowhere, always expected.
in this week’s heat slummy mummies kindle it under
tank-tops, immolated virgins whip it out
in cargo and traffic, stringing pills on natural
diadems that light the air they spin like floss in.
Judge her yourself – isn’t she insane?
Fame puts her away nowhere, in Arab mountains
she loads a rifle or weeps her eyes out or writes
to the directorate of football, and it is waiting
for death to explode from her zipper as she walks
downstairs from a cookery class or watches Pop Idol
pumping the crossword for a lucent meaning.
Her petrarchan look downturns the bow-shaped mouth
from which these so-called flaming arrows
gave intoxication its prettier name.
Eyes like burning casks, the only relief to smother
in vinegar, piss, or damp sand, in idleness,
in mourning for a past which was reprehensible:
But one medium-sized nail drives out another, one desire
displaced by junk food, soft hair, skin and iron.
Feeding him you heap burning coals over his head.
The difficulty is not organic, meaning
you will eat through the flesh eventually and tamp down
your singularity verdict in a lucky dip. Smoke facts
obscurity a weapon snatched from insurgents
who know where it winters,
among rocks by the sunset theirs is general,
not launched into a field where his presence is made
known by the hidden particularity.
Doddery and schematic how we decline
the empire rusting, the AChE in the control
centre and finally expire paranoia in a billion particles
a curse makes the territorial managers legendary
and no-one with any wisdom will dig there,
corrugate the ceramic tooth. These are images
in a poem: tooth, rust, paranoia you may
insert your translation here, if the acquittals service
is still taking applications, and we insure they
are and know how, they have
the most recent binomial manual says
‘nonidentity’ when you get to the front.
That is, pound + shop, articles
for everyday life whose light
where am I myself,
where I originate, where I die, or most transparent
in the middle, where pure, unmixed
in relief I make no show but carrying.
You carry on. You give me the shivers.
“The pure work disappears into words,
text mobilized by the shock of differences;
you light up in their reciprocal reflection
like a virtual
stream of fireworks over jewels,
restoring breath to the impulse,
the sentence.” As canisters surface
from the north sea bed unchanged,
neither salted nor strange, and nostalgia
glows meekly over the Fourth. Your sentence
is new and runs consecutively,
you weigh it, minding the wishes
for a pearl, a win, restored breath.
We are put out with what we depend,
but must eat first before helping oxidise the earth.
Then wrap the others in a floatation cot.
Art is the limit of the empirical, a hashcake
is burning somewhere and a fistful of
weeping magic beans. So happy
that grown is combustible, the entelechy
made joules for the class is not,
so happily married. At the plummet
we have made our representations
besiege the represented and rep
resenters for honour
hey the task is serious: marathon irony
in which the man cradling his little son
is an instrument for a border
This is a wonderful experiment,
by which you can carry fire in your hand,
or walk on fire, without being burned,
in Australia, reattaching yourself to native sump
by the action of no more than your mind.
With a little double
mallow, or white of egg,
spare yourself any damage
the petit-pois of a climate of general clinical
depression little peas line up in this positive
bent of your power, a sac, it’s all in the mind
where decay is a recuperation the re-
I am not enough and don’t forget it
the corrosive pop of the safety match my kin
will eat through the speaker’s corner
of the face eventually: and the pure fire
is not within, but between, space lit
by the enmity and common fire of hope and envy
which one object kindles for the other:
the space can be pure so long as it remains empty
a carrier for the payload and the charity
acid that compresses the pupil
a hard knot of coal in the eye the small
nouns, the small resorts of the small poor, the little
hole in the eye, the little hole, the smallest corners
of man’s triumph is a block of coal, a plug
eaten by the flammula vita.
The body itself in repose
the magnesium to light a single photograph: raw
materials worth 25 franks if you can catch them.
We have no idea how to speak
clear truth, or
in thick of the doctrinal 600m danger-close
to take it in there and mass
fires on the little rabbity things, though fleet
of boot and sharp-jawed, they are susceptible to night
which they illuminate with the facts
embedded in their stinking fur so we can catch it
seeing outward with closed yes.
Light cast over our camp as if in day by reason
of the great mass of fire, and the brilliance of the light it shed,
the Four Moons of industry which delayed
the council for centuries to split
night with the criminals on the street we bought:
the celebrated luminous mists seen in 1783, 1831
and 1922, the limpid forever. Now
negation is so irresistible,
its price indexed to the high street and the aerial
though never knowingly undersold.
The Destruction of Language is proportionate,
and ratios of sleep and injury bound
between the newsbooks of anger and relief
to cause a minor ruckus on Today:
but never so tightly that the circulation stops.
Blooming and mating we turn on
step only once into view
with little yellow jewels burning on our eyebrows.
This is the reward, stepping out
into the innards whose inglorious
spit-roast makes the mute world present
outside a bereft and guilty place. In light of which
the infinite review burns out
wrapped in the whole,
design and act, shade and radiant
rides out the celestial outpouring
and seeks cover underground.