Monday, September 08, 2014

Letter Against the Firmament

this is a fairly extensive reworking of this, from a few weeks ago

Well, I dunno, it feels like we all just lost our minds. I mean, if you remember, not so long ago I tried to convince you that plague is the only solidarity we might have left, as if that plague might lead to some kind of new force of collectivity, on both molecular and social levels, wherein a new utopia might open up before our eyes, a rose-garden of strange harmony, new forms of human and inhuman love. Perhaps I got it wrong. I mean, I’ve been ill for quite a while now, and if I feel solidarity with anything at all, its simply with the forces of namelessness and invisibility, as if my body was less an ordered system of molecules and more a negative community of shattered, cannibalistic and stupid sub-atomic particles, and some of those particles are mine and some of them are not, as if my body had become an anti-linear intersection point where hail and domestic locusts had somehow mingled with the original recitation of Thomas Müntzer’s “Protest About the Condition of the Bohemians” - that would be 1521, something like that - and those two only coincidentally anti-capitalist forces have manifested themselves as a red, black and slightly painful rash that’s made it even more difficult than usual to leave the house. And if you can’t see just how politically inconvenient that is, its probably only because you’ve still got some kind of job, and your wage-slip still has the ability to stitch you together into some kind of utopian facsimile of, what, maturity, satisfaction, calm and good health. Like you’re a walking vaccine, or something. Don’t get me wrong, its not like I blame you or anything. There’s plenty of people, plenty of us, who have just carried on as if nothing was happening, as if the grievous black wind beating through our minds and our skies and our homes was either totally invisible, or simply something that didn’t apply, as if we had conjured up some kind of immunity to the swarms of metallic tumours that have for decades now replaced whatever it was used to pass for reasoned discourse in this, or any, country. Yes, it is of course more than reasonable to wander through all of this wreckage, this peevish radioactivity as if it was just another landscape ripe for gentrification, as if all of this was just the normal way of things, as if it was the way of the world, as if everything had always been like this, and it has, because as everybody knows, the projectile vomit of the present moment - in whatever “historical era” -  has always spattered and poisoned the entirety of written and unwritten history, all the kings and queens of England simply tiny worms wriggling about all over it, that vomit, that history. And all of those tiny little worms have by now been re-interpreted as a golden and glowing currency, the basis of our tradition, a word which rhymes oh so neatly, well almost, with radiation and rendition. Oh beautiful stinking England. And other blah blah blahs. I thought about making a copy of this letter, sending it to the Daily Mail. I’m serious. Because, and I don’t really need to tell you, I’m sure you’ve noticed, over the past few years, since the current administration “took power” or whatever it is you call it, I’ve become a monster, absolutely intolerant, psychopathic in my hatred for every cop and tory on this entire planet, and that would be fine if it wasn’t so clear just what a comfortable place in which to live that hatred has become. And I wonder how close that comfort is to whatever warm, titillated bliss your average Daily Mail reader feels as their own suburban hatred is tickled into being by, for example, the way they so fondly believe their taxes are being made to subsidise huge masses of starving people, the way their hard earned xenophobic cash goes to pay for all those unsavoury Victorian diseases the poor seem to feel so entitled to. That’s right, it must be very cozy in there, inside that glowing, subsidised hatred. There are, of course, some very serious differences. Because, for one thing, they actually own the hatred they live inside, they put a deposit down, they pay their mortgage, they ring it around with flowers, with birds and other things, the immense screeching of starlings, the avenues of devastated cities, all of it transformed by who knows what magic into a neatly mowed lawn, gadgets, polite chat about interior design. Not me. I have to rent mine. And every day I have to worry about the landlord, about how one day the rent will be too much too afford, because the landlord will have worked out that even embittered, quasi-principled political hatred can be converted into a slab of real-estate. That’s right, a slab. A slab composed of tungsten and dense micro-shrapnel, which explodes in deep, fabular silence somewhere on the other side of the planet, a dense micro-nebulae in which all of us - Daily Mail readers or not - are either vaporised or transformed into a dense organisation of molecular bullshit, a ring of roses, rigid and ossified, a foul-smelling network of bones, and all of those bones played upon like holy trumpets, because what is bone is also teeth, and when those teeth are scattered across the soil, the floodplains and the scorched tory desert, they start speaking, and the noise is tremendous, at frequencies no living creature can hear, but the dead do, and they crawl out from underneath their shattered houses, and the music is intolerable, because the time for tolerance is long past, and at this point I collapse, all of the creatures from which I’m made, all the constellations, they implode, they divide themselves, tear themselves to tatters, as if the heretics of Saturn and Venus and whatever remains of Hackney had been compressed into some kind of bacteria and preserved for years in a secret laboratory located several miles below the magnetic gulfs of the Bank of England, Threadneedle Street, London EC2R 8AH and, when released with great triumphalist fanfare by a gang of fearless anarchists, when those bacteria are released into the atmosphere like a huge trumpet-blast of invisible comets they achieve absolutely nothing, people breathe them in and sneeze and that’s about it, and that’s the type of solidarity I’m feeling right now, its like a vacuum, a microscopic black hole, an occupied territory, a supermarket, a net of protons passing through matter with no effect whatsoever, a hospital crackling and burning in the heat of the midnight sun. That’s right. Hatred is a very comfortable place. I’ve been living on speed and whisky for weeks. Come over if you fancy some. I’ll try not to puke.

Thursday, September 04, 2014


Remember this. You were given laws
to mark your childhood > were tunes
you knew that, sung for centuries
in prison cells, even yours > gods
stashed below your bed, fairy tales
their blue love < from below the sea
that stranger, each night, before bed
takes off his burning skin, hangs it
burning, in his cell, his Egyptian
slaves & shattered charts < remember
you must take these tales as advice
as an organising vortex only > each
sentence stolen, each law pronounced
each word a double claw. Remember it.

OK, so here’s a brief exposition on religious temptation, bearing in mind what Ulrike Meinhoff wrote in 1976, that “you can only achieve something with words if they lead to a correct understanding of the situation in which each of us finds ourselves under imperialism”, that it is “senseless to want to fight with words, when one can only fight with clarity and truth”. Or Blanqui, more or a less a century before that: “it is the stupid practice of our times to complain instead of acting. Jeremiads are the fashion. Jeremiah is found in all attitudes. He cries, he lashes, he dogmatises, he dictates, he rages, himself the scourge of all scourges. Let us leave the elegising clowns, those gravediggers of liberty. The duty of a revolutionary is to always struggle, to struggle no matter what, to struggle to extinction.” Get it?

The choir, if there is one, is a flock of ghosts. The chorus a mob of disenchanted sloganeers boiled down into stock reports, as in a spectral analysis of a particular moment as it impacts upon the lingering reality of Blanqui’s imprisonment, i.e. right now, so that basic banalities such as “law is the contradiction that fixes reality as conflict”, or whatever it was that Hölderlin was trying to get at, a particular moment broken down into all of its elemental forces, its ghosts and gods and waking dreams, whatever illusions we have been expressing, as in (a) GOD ONE: the - perhaps not all that preposterous - idea that revolutionary and bourgeois time are two parallels, whereby for instance, for them, 1968 ended sometime between 1976 and 1979, while for others it lingered on, disastrously, until sometime fairly recently (b) GOD TWO: what did appear, for a few months, to be an unpredicted upsurge of revolutionary possibility - in the UK that would be from November 2010 until the months immediately following August 2011 - has now become some kind of active gap, a discus of irreality inside of which we are not so much trapped as involuntarily reluctant to exit (c) GOD THREE: that is to say we have become simply a bundle of peak realities, a set of spikes made up from steel, flint and asbestos, totally inert and noble and medicated, because ever since August 2011 skeletons have been clambering out of the earth and (d) GOD FOUR nothing. That last one is the most important. And in the meantime, Ebola is the “limit” of knowable neoliberalism. The mad monks of Westminster. One scried with swallows. One split with scissors.


the ghost of your father
gave words to the storm
trapped rain in his songs
have torn his mouth apart -

the rain will not speak of this

- it is your beauty, apocalyptica -


The last line was nicked from Hölderlin. The two verse passages began as versions of a couple of early poems by René Depestre; with the exception of the edges of one of the images, nothing much remains of the originals, but they still wouldn't have been written without Depestre's work.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Letter Against the Firmament (four)

 Our illnesses are mostly political illnesses - Peter Weiss

Well, I dunno, its like we all went mad or something. That “all” is not at all inclusive, obviously. I mean, a lot of us just continued as if nothing was happening, as if the black wind beating through our minds and our skies and our homes was either totally invisible, or simply something that didn’t apply to us. I became a monster, that’s for sure, intolerant and violent, psychopathic in my hatred for every cop and tory in this entire town. I’d have been an asshole if I hadn’t. That impotent frenzy, that whirling, high-pitched metallic growl was entirely justified, and seemed to me to be the only collectivity still available to us. And obviously, the government too had their share in that collectivity. Actually, theirs was far more solid and terminal than ours: its stupid now to name names, as if those gorgons in power really had names, as if they weren’t simply different aspects of the same bacterial meteor smashing into our faces over and over again until we too were unrecognisable, nameless and, if not defeated, then certainly broken beyond all previous recognition and naming. For others, it was far worse. Actually, in a lot of ways I’m far more reprehensible than all those middle-class fuckers I claim to hate so much. Rage can become very comfortable, very quickly. Obviously I don’t quite mean that. Actually, I don’t mean that at all. Sure it seems like I’ve been living in a bubble for the last few years, a bubble that stretches roughly from November 2010 to sometime around August 2011. That is, not quite a year. But whatever, that bubble is a cell, in all the meanings that word carries, and that cell is injected every day with soil and minced dog, over and over again, and it stays that way until the rent even on that cell becomes too much to afford because some yuppie wants to live there and some landlord somewhere has converted even political anger into a slab of real estate. That’s right, a slab. And on bad nights I start dreaming - well not dreaming because I don’t really sleep - I start imagining that we’re all bricked up behind that slab, sucking at the bread that is only baked at midnight. But its not us behind that slab at all, is it, that slab composed of tungsten and dense micro shrapnel, which explodes in deep, fabular silence somewhere on the other side of the planet, a dense micro-nebulae of our own design, in which all calendars - solar, lunar, whatever - are either vaporised or revealed to be a dense organisation of multilinear bullshit, a ring of roses, rigid and ossified, a foul-smelling network of bones, and all of those bones played upon like holy trumpets, ringing and ringing, a massive flood of paralegal gods, almost, a small but effective blast radius, a vacuum of coins and tourists, a reasonable point of view. That’s right, some of us went mad. Every night I go out and gawp at the stars, those fascist narratives stamped across the firmament, those jumbles of rape and carrion. Years ago, back when I was still a fucking human being, I had the idea that we could invent a whole new network of constellations, could exorcise all of the spit and rancid daisies, all of the idiot alchemy of the centuries. But no, why blast ourselves into another system of gravitational mythology - the necrorealism of the current constellations, meteors and laughing gas, still works as a perfectly serviceable map, an osteoblast completely impenetrable to those we still fondly refer to as our enemies. Once we recognise the calendar as a system of mineralised bone we might start getting somewhere. Because what is bone is also teeth, and when those teeth are scattered across the soil, the floodplains and new build deserts, they start speaking, and the noise is tremendous, at frequencies no living creature can hear, but the dead do, and crawl out from underneath their shattered houses, and the music is intolerable, because the time for tolerance is long past, and at this point I collapse. Rage, as I said, is a very comfortable place. I’ve been living on speed and whisky for weeks. But don’t get the wrong idea, things round here are quiet and very pleasant. Any time you fancy popping over for breakfast, you’ll be very welcome.

Monday, July 28, 2014


it is a storm of monstrous drums

the war has not been declared
                         it only shrieks
the way ghosts shriek &
          ashes are the shrieks
                             of ghosts are
burnt water       are skalds
of coins & lawful slumber
and scarlet stars of rotten silver
I want to never forget how I was forced to become a monster of justice and intolerance, a narrow minded simplifier, an arctic character uninterested in anyone who was not in league with him to kill the dogs of hell - (René Char)

& this sentence
must not make you bitter
              it has made you bitter



From now on use only the pronoun “we”. It is not universal.
“We” the liars. “We” the obedient, “we” the imperial teeth.
No birds, no suits, no sacrificial spiders.
This history passes through us like ghosts.
Various acronyms. Nostalgia for electric colour.
The inevitable black hole.
Black and murderous pink.

The ray of light that reveals the whole to be untrue in all its moments is none other than utopia, the utopia of the whole truth, which has yet to be revealed - (Theodor Adorno)

- all this we have not lived through, all this we have never seen -

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


“The rupture of continuity isn’t sufficient to explain pain” - Novalis

five days without sleep
the law is fixed and burns
we who are captive here
each night the same figure
on the same road, stops
roaring, like a brain
roaring out our ghosts
hyacinth and snap-flower
my ghosts, a river of bones
my ghosts, narcissi, my
scrambled jarrow zodiac
“evil-doing falls like rain”

Who are these judges, who made them custodians? Of what? What are those things in the centre of their mouths, that ringed silence, that crushed clock, screams of dead and flying things: as if all of their verbs, those private plazas, had coagulated, into nouns, and the nouns themselves  something subterranean, blind and telescopic, crooked and evil, the paths of the law
                                                                                                                   all of them, constructed by "suicides", other meaningless euphemisms, their eyes, their mouths removed, more likely murder, their throats marked, the angles impossible, a long and entirely rational coagulation of all the senses.


some grow in dust
are not to be picked
opponents of day
and night’s


“But for you it would be something of a duty in that you could perform in Tübingen the role of a waker of the dead. It is true that the Tübingen gravediggers would do their utmost against you.” - Hölderlin to Hegel, 25 November 1795.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Lamentations (inc. some lines from Louise Michel)

“We will return, an infinite mob
through all their doors, we’ll return
vengeful spectres, out from the shadows
with raised fists, we will return”

Because we do not exist  the years of our birth are stacked inside the shadows of our mouths like imaginary cities or the pits of heaven and other basic banalities.

                                                                                                                      Say  those rats. Say those rats have names say you know those names. You do not know those names. Say black powder say a lot of things. And then, a fascist victory, say that. And then. Say it seemed like a door was opened like just for a second and we hurtled through that door or was it things hurtled toward us I don’t know and. Say it was just a cloud of powdered blood. Say you know their names and then suffer from beneath those names and live and tunnel inside those names and. Ask what becomes of the motherfucking broken hearted


Watch out for melancholy.
Tell a few jokes.
Blow up Stonehenge.

So anyway, insomniacs or the wandering dead sleep by walking invisibly through the department, yeh, through the golden city. Well screw them. Do this instead: take some sulphide, some hydrogen, whatever you want, elements, elementals, mash em all up and boil the invisible. Just do it. The ecstasy of oxygen molecules, their barbarism, in disputation, with the technical wheel of the world. Or something like that. Because it is invisible and we are going down in it. Tell me about your holidays.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Hölderlin after Meinhoff (Lamentations)

these towers and cities
these desert plains
these tasteful burning
skies, what are they
what has been forgotten
in these shanty towns
these parks and legends
solid, bright, concealed
strange and distant
ghosts, our stark ghosts

pass the soul of your body like water
boiling water that scalds forever


It breathes, the law, and those it protects it sings inside, and they are like flowers, chaste and tranquil as glass.

It stares at us, the music of the law, and its fingers, they pluck us, as if we were strings, golden, and we are their songs, the inhabitants of the law.

And we have no foothold, and we stumble, backward and backward, hour by hour, as stars or buildings collapsing, into the abyss, of their hearts, the inheritors of the law, and we sing there, unimagined, in the ice of our silence, falling.

And their souls will flow like piss in the streets of the great city.


Say they have enclosed us in blank stone. You wake up, you open your eyes, is simple: we have been consumed like blood and water, and our language - you wake up, sibilants and syntax a jet of bleach and concepts. Think stuff up: the enemy is non-material, we are not.

Say they have choked us with black sugar. Ask who are these custodians of yesterday’s rebellions - insist that it really happened, we are not at all imaginary. You wake up, you open your eyes - there is a border separates us, the deserving, the un-deserving dead. Post no miracles.