I have this that I must do
One day: overdraw on my balance
Of air, and breaking the surface
Of water go down into the green
Darkness to search for the door
To myself in dumbness and blindness
And uproar of scared blood
At the eardrums. There are no signposts
There but bones of the dead
Conger, no light but the pale
Phosphorous, where the slow corpses
Swag. I must go down with the poor
Purse of my body and buy courage,
Paying for it with the coins of my breath.
I don’t know why it should be melancholy that the paintings of Simon Stålenhag eventually evoke, but melancholy it is. Perhaps melancholy is the underside of the failed sublime. These are supposed to be images of awe, but the people in them stare blankly, untroubled by affect, or warped by it.
It’s been a while. Quite a year, in fact. I’ve been learning to teach, and it turns out teaching is really hard. No matter. I’ve been posting the odd thing at somesmallcorner.co.uk, but not much. It’s a lot like unconscious babble, the mind fetching back what has happened in the world while I’ve been looking elsewhere.
One of those things has today been posted at Caught by the River. I went for a walk and met an old fella who made my heart leap. I’ve not been able to shake him. Hope that door is still open, Mike – I’ll be by at some point.
Let the day grow on you upward
through your feet,
the vegetal knuckles,
to your knees of stone,
until by evening you are a black tree;
feel, with evening,
the swifts thicken your hair,
the new moon rising out of your forehead,
and the moonlit veins of silver
running from your armpits
like rivulets under white leaves.
Sleep, as ants
cross over your eyelids.
You have never possessed anything
as deeply as this.
This is all you have owned
from the first outcry
you can never be dispossessed.