Monday, March 30, 2009

Hercules: The Untold Story.

I am in my bunker walling in again. Searching for ammo, kicking the rats in the scrotum, (or what might be deemed scrotum if they had one…). I smoke a nervous cigarette (cigarettes are always nervous). My ammo is my excuse for a few more minutes of solitude. Thud! Thud! Thud! The shells over head are rattling the earth, and the dirt falls upon me. It falls down a sick brown kind of confetti. The bombs burst like wombs upon no-man’s-land, were many men live and die, and many nations too, and many how centuries have bent and broken there?

I am sure someone is boiling a pot of communal tea before battle. Someone is praying to Mary, someone to Melanie, someone to a secret Derek, polishing their rifles carefully, straightening their uniforms. Swearing oaths and reaping prayers, psyching up for the mad rush. I recall an infantry man saying to me: 'the existence of the Universe was optional’ Who ticked the box? I ask myself, needing such a choice reconsidered now more than ever. My bunker is the entire universe right now, my private ward. Young, soft in the head, wandering about my mind, made nervous by the mountain I cannot climb down from. My mind trapped like a rat in a skull, scratching my scrotum, biting my nails, pacing the floor, worrying if the general will notice my absence.

‘You need a rude awakening Son!' He said to me with certainty to me at roll call. 'Get a hold of your weakness.' Of course, he is right; though I won’t tell him that. To acquiesce, to put the hands up clear in the air and admit: it was me, I could not cope, weakness wracked me. It is hard to concede our failing. I was foolish and untrained. I was laughing in the face of responsibilities stone weight. I wanted to become lost in the whirl of time. There was a shadow in my thoughts. An unspeakable thing. I wanted to elude forever the great seriousness of age and the great honour of war.

What can be done, truth speaks through many passing voices, listen. I had large sheepish brown boy eyes and I nod in agreement. I can not fight my way out of a paper bag. I am not much of a solider. The war fights itself. All wars are one war. One perpetual human war: the flowers garland themselves. The blood is overwrought. I am overwrought. This whole thing reeks of the navel: a longing for the return to the womb.

Despite myself, I soldier on, a mere 23, my rife like a snake from some mad taxidermist. My hands like great roots of some mind tree. But I am not much of a mind; I am infantry, infantile, infinite midst the decibels of shells. I’ll be gone in a quick mist. Ack! I could murder a good woman right now. By that I mine, I could love one, I could fold myself into her, but I’m so bad at folding, I do it either to eagerly or not at all, I have all the hallmarks of a bad amateur with women: over confident, self-conscious, showy. But! I am too harsh. They are equally shaky immature flower openers of lust. They could be English, French, Italian, Japanese, but each one I would kiss, with ten times the lips. Ah, but these women of love and ball squeeze and heart ache are a million bombs away, a thousand realities from here.

The Commander and Chiefs whisper voodoo into each others ears, conspiratorial, stroking some grandiose behemoth scheme, which, I we you them us our all, know nothing about. I am riddled with doubt. But it passes till death do us part. Logistics/practicalities/numbers: This is a Commanders Holy tablet. There is no doubt. We don’t have much time to learn the steps, before we’re on under the flare of the bright Light.

Here I pace the floor expecting the worst of life. The rats are at ease in the corner. I am thin. My sabre glints its third eye. I am barely a man but you should see me animal on the park. Fired up, trench-wise, feral and frantic, primed for destruction. Switched alive, ready for Agamemnon, Troy – some Battlefield of Medals and casualty rolls. This is the place were tiny pawns: stand side by side: explode one way or the other, who rush into the lions jaw, who pour into the fiery chasm of artless war, who rush like fireflies fire wise into the belly of Moloch, Ares, Madeleine, Medusa, who rush hell bent toward the future, screaming like a choir of eunuchs.wailing through bestial throats the blood of Worlds pummelling.

I am Ready. I am Fierce. I am Possessed. I am Fire of Flesh. I am Skyscraper. I am Wall. I am Metal. I am Jaw. My bullets shall kiss the blood and with that paint themselves and laugh with the shrieks of whores! GOD MAKES MEN MAD, BUT SOMETIMES, WAR MAKES MEN GODS. Insane enough to return again and again.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Coffin nails.

(Painting by Van Gough)

Written in general disgust with smoking.
(I, too, am guilty.)

Every minute constantly aflame,
- a lunatic chimney smoking ashes.
Puffing plumes in a private holocaust.

Ten cancerous fingers
stab the great chambers,
knife the intricate theatre of breathing.

Pure patricide.
Embossed upon the pack, mock coffin:
This is intended to kill you.

What immensity grips
your mind as you inhale
rich plumes of hydrogen cyanide?

Coughing stupefied,
Zyklon B coursing veins;
smoking like a chicken on a spit.

If poison was offered to you in a tall glass,
you would decline? Yet in this twig form,
mere tinder wood, you draw down foolhardy.

Are you hastening your own death
to help reduce world population,
After due consideration? Smoke on.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Bed is always right

What made earth wake at all?
Bed is a pleasant Century or Ten,
don't you agree?
Bed is the Century for me.
It slips by without notice.
It 's not in-your-face
balshy brazen or bold,
it has the calmness of wisdom.
A wisdom that need not speak at all.
A wisdom that has its eyes closed,
drifts in its mind dozes
snoozes a fox a snooze bear
a cushion of mind;

kettle warm
cookie warm
bread warm
morning sock warm
central heating warm
Great tossing and turning
upon the great ease of
duvet love and pillow love
cosy foxes dose love.

the love that does not ask too much.
The love that settles down,
that is in no way reactionary
but is as peaceful hand upon hand
Bed is the century worth sleeping for.
Life is the great war of the tired.
Bed is the great peace of the content.

Bed is the President of the United States of Zzzzzz...
Bed is the only literal arena where equality lies.
(Bed proclaims, hating bad poetry and good poetry.
Shut up and come to me...)
Bed is always right.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Odour of Bari

(Provoked upon first living in Bari.
Hyperbolic culture shock.)

That stern Southern Italian frown.
Tight as a boot down in the
snow-wracked winter of Bari.

Dog shit cakes the street.
Stern men and severe women barge
past with umbrellas. Eyes down,
downtown in the grey gloom of Bari.

Choruses of atonal car horns.
Air of diesel coffee nicotine;
walls dyed in graffiti, declaring
in the dismal streets of Bari:

Bronx of the South!

Our 'play' Thing,
Arsehole of the south.
A without toliet seat city.

Achilles bloody heel.

- It would be down right insulting for me not to mention that I met some of the kindest and beautiful people in Bari - Ida, Valentina, Claudia, Gianni, Salva, Luca, Lino...and many, many more. When I arrived in Bari, it was experiencing (and would go on experiencing for 3 more months) a terrible winter, and the first month I spent there I was without work, living in relative misery, with no media (a gift really, not to be enslaved by it), no radiators, a crap dilapidated kitchen, and a poor grasp of the language. All these things compounded and I became quite lost and cynical. I'll never forget it. Even the parts I can't remember. Suffice to say the teaching experience itself was excellent, the students - brilliant, the teachers who supported me in the state school - amazing! X

The women who washed my clothes at the Lavanderia. I remember their faces. I can't remember their names. Always welcoming but never over enthusiastic, such as my manner often is. (Italians, in general, characteristically, are reserved for the most part). The men and women (family, I believe) of Azzuro Bar, they sold me beer, panzerotti 24/7, sometimes literally. They even barred me on occasion for the sake of my health, and decency. They fed me. Watered me. Endured me. We shared many a conversation which neither of us ever understood, because they spoke in Barese dialect, and I spoke in English with a Scottish accent. The night, I drank whisky and lemoncello, with a crowd of Italian guys my age, got drunk, I mentioned the Cosa Nostra, and got flung to the ground. The woman who sold me the bus tickets every day (generally her), she had a strange crusty growth on the anterior nasal spine (consulted anatomy book) that cleared up towards the end of my stay. She was kind and gentle, wore glasses, and spoke good English. And the women in Santeramo, who sold me focaccia every night before I got the hour long bus back to Bari, her welcome always quietly warm. The focaccia was always delicious. Pepe, a stranger who always got on the bus, and wore a fedora hat, and was friendly, and used to chat to everyone on the bus, eventually I built up the courage, after weeks, to say hello to him, and have short dialogue in Italian. He was an Angel. Always chatting to people. Open direct stare. Gregarious. Never forget him. Most nights he got on - going home from work. And the stray dogs of Santeramo - one with a grey bushy coat that was quite large and weathered, like a street urchin really - always barking at the busy traffic when I waited at the bus stop. And the black dog that always seemed to sleep. And the loud girl, with the large posterior, wearing purple or red in the teenage Italian style, she got on the bus, and generally spoke in a loud, brash tone, much like some teenage girls in Glasgow might. She was deeply insecure, pretending to be a loud mouth, indifferent to the judgements of other people - generally boys. And the cute boy with the blonde hair and camomile skin, who got the bus on several occasions at the same time as me, and knew it, and had sheepish eyes. (O the courage of my memory). And the old man who sat beside me once in a large rain coat, though it was sunny, and stank of stale smoke and muttered gibberish on and off, and even the Italians looked disgusted, and I couldn’t of cared less what he was saying. The farmer who had a little shop in the front of his apartment, and sold his produce from it, he was small, and weathered, hands rough and dirty from working the fields; he sold me a bag of onions, tomatos, lettuce and more...for 3 euros. He saved my stomach. I want to farm. Everyone should grow at least one crop - lazy slaves! And all the English teachers at the school, obnoxious, clique unwelcoming frauds...some of them were sincere....they know who they are (perhaps), such miserable people, perhaps encouraged by the miserable weather though. O, and Pasquale, in Kamera Cafe, beautiful vanished skin, who kissed me absolutely without knowing me, and I don't know what he is doing now, and never will. And so many things...I might get to later, if memory permits. The God of memory - a forgetful God...