jade meat-hooks for the rebellion

Map House

Stet domus haec donec fluctus formica marinos ebibat, et totum testudo permabulet orbem.*

I took the map and folded us together,
pressing Front Street into my peeling, sea-perished door.
A chiasmic trench scored the pale Atlantic –
an ant of memory draining the flowing ocean.
The snell haar swathered the harpstrings of Brooklyn Bridge,
Scots dew beading its idiom about Peck Slip
and cabling down Water Street, while South Street Seaport
flooded into Wardie Bay. In the Brooklyn sun
Wouter van Twiller wandered down the Granton groyne
(Coney Island whitefish slopping amongst the weed)
with axe heads in his hands, and nails, and beads,
laid them at St Colm’s feet, who bore them up
and walked the Don’t-go-on-us out to Inchcolm,
where Noten Eylant ran a sliding wave along Emonia’s flanks;
he bore them down the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, down
Pine and Cedar Streets, to you, to me where
Mingia muerta! the hogbacked stone, the chill, slimed rock
of the well, of Pagganck beneath shod feet ran
the el all the way down out past Cameron Toll
through Pearl Street and thence past Jeremy’s Ale House
to your unseen door.

And here, in my unmapped room, I look out across the Forth,
and see only the leaping, unreal flare
of the refinery flame, and,
irregularly, aircraft passing overhead. Slowly,
above the water, they pivot, and turn,
coming in to land.

* Medieval inscription over the doorway of the Abbey of St. Colm, on Inchcolm Island in the Firth of Forth: ‘May this house stand until an ant drains the flowing sea, and a tortoise walks around the whole world’.

(This one an old love poem now an elegy for a lost home.)

All Grass is Flesh

the grass grows, we all know
how it grows and grows —
every blade cuts us entirely

one's real nature

“Now what is the meaning of ‘one’s real nature’, from which one tries to appear ‘different’? First answer: ‘One’s real nature’ can be taken to be the sum of one’s animal impulses and instincts, and what one tries to appear as is the social- cultural ‘model’ of a certain historical epoch that one seeks to become. Second answer: It seems to me that ‘one’s real nature’ is determined by the struggle to become what one wants to become.”

~ Antonio Gramsci, Selections from the Cultural Writings

‘“Migrant” and “refugee” don’t represent individuals or groups or communities. Rather, they represent state regulated relations of governance.’
~ Angela Davis, @ Oranienplatz, Berlin, 6 Oct 2022 (YouTube link)

scads of goyim

“Golly,” I said, “look at all the white folks.”
There were scads of goyim: I was the only black-hearted Jewess there amid that abundance of Clairol straight blond hair, gingham bikinis, Peanuts beach towels, and estranged-looking young married couples down to visit the folks in the retirement paradise of Emerald Bay - a place nobody could afford until they were too old…

~ Eve Babitz, Slow Days, Fast Company

Leporine Lip

To be a rabbit—what a life—
grazing the grass in twitching tranquility:
green how much I want you green;
moderately, murderously.

Hare Trigger

To rabbit—what a twitch—
moderating the grass in greening:
yeşil come ti voglio yeşil
murderately, mormerously.

Saw a twitter thread from @astrobri about plans for a new library to be situated within a shopping mall. She makes the very good point that while there are several good arguments for colocation, mall security tends to be unwelcoming to the unhoused, the racialised, and teenagers, among others. The tweet that really hit home for me, though, was this one:

Seems like we are always having this discussion around "how do we attract people who aren't using the library" (middle class plus folks who like the mall) at the expense of "how do we serve people who are desperately trying to use the library and are pushed out". (5:05 PM · May 10, 2022)

This is the trap we are falling into.

No Byron

“Nowadays, there is no voice that the oligarchy will listen to. No Byron. After fourteen years living in this country he said he no longer believed in our democracy, it was only the English who were under the illusion they lived in a free society. Whatever advantage they had in the past, the rest of the world had passed by.

An old and decadent oligarchy creaking under the weight of vacuous institutions - look at the monarchy puffed up by the stale air of the tabloids, the whole country is so awry. It is, he observed, Europe’s madhouse, poor, derelict, and deprived; where the rulers batten on an ignorant and regressive working-class who are fed with the most tawdry material promises; so insular that no-one is able to see the shit-house this country has become.

What’s left? Not even a theatre; the apology that has taken its place is populated by the middle-classes with their strangled vowels. No English man or woman could play Antony and Cleopatra; passion and love were quite beyond them, they could never discard their suburban subservience. Antony and Cleopatra would always be mere John and Norma.”

~ Derek Jarman, from ‘No Byron’, in At Your Own Risk (1992), p.14

“A while ago I started wondering about the possibility of a poetry that only the enemy could understand. We both know what that means. […]
The poetic moans of this century have been, for the most part, a banal patina of snobbery, vanity and sophistry: we’re in need of a new prosody and while I’m pretty sure a simple riot doesn’t qualify, your refusal to leave the seminar room definitely doesn’t. But then again, you are right to worry that I’m making a fetish of the riot form.“Non-violence is key to my moral views”, you say. “I am proud of the fact that I never invented weapons to kill”, you say. […] The main problem with a riot is that all too easily it flips into a kind of negative intensity, that in the very act of breaking out of our commodity form we become more profoundly frozen within it. Externally at least we become the price of glass, or a pig’s overtime. But then again, I can only say that because there haven’t been any damn riots. Seriously, if we’re not setting fire to cars we’re nowhere. Think about this.The city gets hotter and deeper as the pressure soars.”

~ Sean Bonney, from ‘LETTER ON RIOTS AND DOUBT, Friday, August 05, 2011’, in All This Burning Earth, 2016

poetry is stupid

“Poetry is stupid, but then again, stupidity is not the absence of intellectual ability but rather the scar of its mutilation. Rimbaud hammered out his poetic programme in May 1871, the week before the Paris Communards were slaughtered. He wanted to be there, he kept saying it. The “long systematic derangement of the senses”, the “I is an other”, he’s talking about the destruction of bourgeois subjectivity, yeh? That’s clear, yeh? That’s his claim for the poetic imagination, that’s his idea of what poetic labour is. Obviously you could read that as a simple recipe for personal excess, but only from the perspective of police reality. Like, I just took some speed, then smoked a joint and now I’m gonna have a pepsi, but that’s not why I writing this and its not what its about. The “systematic derangement of the senses” is the social senses, ok, and the “I” becomes an “other” as in the transformation of the individual into the collective when it all kicks off. Its only in the English speaking world, where none of us know anything except how to kill, that you have to point simple shit like that out. In the enemy language it is necessary to lie. & seeing as language is probably the chief of the social senses, we have to derange that. But how do we get to that without turning into lame-assed conceptualists trying to get jiggy with their students. You know what, and who, I mean. For the vast majority of people, including the working class, the politicised workers and students are simply incomprehensible. Think about that when you’re going on about rebarbative avant-garde language. Or this: simple anticommunication, borrowed today from Dadaism by the most reactionary champions of the established lies, is worthless in an era when the most urgent question is to create a new communication on all levels of practice, from the most simple to the most complex. Or this: in the liberation struggles, these people who were once relegated to the realm of the imagination, victims of unspeakable terrors, but content to lose themselves in hallucinatory dreams, are thrown into disarray, reform, and amid blood and tears give birth to very real and urgent issues. Its simple, social being determines content, content deranges form etc.”

~ Sean Bonney, from ‘LETTER ON POETICS, Saturday, June 25, 2011’, in All This Burning Earth, 2016