Sunday, 2 April 2017

Dangerous Times

We think of teenage identity solely as a problem for the teenagers themselves. A decade long guerrilla campaign to be free of the parental empire; room by room their influence is resisted, then pushed back; we ignore the pictures, look away from the statuettes - beribboned milkmaids with sickly sweet lambs whose faces are a sentimental leer - quietly remove the Coronation mugs, replace the DVDs and the CDs, put Val Doonican in the bin. The soft tyranny undermined, attacked, finally usurped until…that glorious independence day! when Virginia Holt, Wilbur Smith, Jean Plaidy and John le Carré are deposed from the shelves, and a new head of state is appointed. Henry Green! No. Rhys Davis! Certainly not. Too too often: Borges, Kafka or Camus. But what happens to the governor and his wife when the new flag goes up and they sail back to the old country? 

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Freezing and Thawing

Grief. Such a difficult problem for public officials. Doctors, nurses, lawyers, teachers, police officers are all acting in roles they are finding difficult to perform. It is not easy to comfort a woman who has lost her children; it produces a glazed and inhibited look; the public face of compassion sculptured in stone is grim, opaque, immovable. Second husbands are finding it hard too. They need help. Religion offers much but delivers only a little: a fanatical Christian unable to prevent his alcoholic wife from returning to the bottle when her nerves overcome her redemptive aspirations.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Nalas wind up river

Two bullet holes. The second for certain. Hammer against nail sealing the box for good. Bang! No chance of resurrection; this day to die forever; water turned to mercury, summer frozen by winter’s gaze, Elysium caught in a mirror. Click click. Smile please. Snap! Snap!

Happiness transfixed to heavenly eternity. 

Coffins sleeping under water.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

The Apollonian

It started young, strangely enough when a teenager; though slow, very slow; then for years, in his twenties, hardly anything at all, when, suddenly, picking up pace, thirty through to the forties, it grew quickly, audaciously, overwhelmingly; a cataract of virtuosity, carrying him away…

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Thinking of Salomé

Across Europe he goes.
After her words, the loves,
Her clever vignettes,
All retailed by a friend.

He thinks of Hume, 
His old love Schopenhauer,
The poverty of passion
When you buy it secondhand.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

He Comes He Goes

Pans are boiling.
A field’s small talk,
Its steam rising up
Out of the dead
And dying.

In a shallow ditch, 
A small patch
Cleared of corpses,
Two strangers
Drink and smoke.

Monday, 2 January 2017

A Bad Trip

Beware of friends. Especially when they talk about novels. A friend calls this one a dream. And so we read the book as if in reverie; nodding off now and then we enhance the effect, an oil donkey over a well of words.