Saturday, August 31, 2013

Letter Against Drowning

I haven't written to you for a while, I know. There's not been much to write about, to be honest, apart from the recurrence of a few elementary social equations. Here's just one, to be going on with - (1) the forced removal of the homeless and benefit claimants from commercial zones (2) the subliminal encouragement of suicide for everyone with less than twenty pounds in their pocket (3) random police checks, arbitrary incarceration, racial profiling. If you take any one of those elements, or any one combination of same, and turn it inside out, the results will be all too simple: one royal birth, one state funeral, pageants, olympic panegyrics, etc etc etc, all expressed via the square root of silence, fast acquiescence and bewilderment. I thought, this morning, that I might be able to put all this together for you, as some kind of wondrous mathematics, a monumental calculus, but I can't get it to fit. It keeps coming out more like an oracular scattering of starling bones, of meat and shrieking larks, an extrasolar dog world made up of three parts rat nationalism divided by the given names of every human being who has died in police custody since the riots. Their names, all paid for with the collective revenue the government has collected from the manufacture, sale and distribution of third degree burns, multiple organ failure, and tiny droplets of phosphoric acid. And that's just the piss-stained surface, yeh. Pretty simple. Manage to boil it down into an infinitely dense, attractively coloured pill and you too can imagine that all of this is just a golden swarm of dragonflies and pretty moths, and not merely an injection of rabies into the group mind of every well-meaning liberal in this entire town. And you ask me why I don't write poetry. As if a metaphor could actually be a working hypothesis, and not just a cluster of more-or-less decorative alibis. I can't do it. I haven't slept since Thatcher. Curses on the midnight hag.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Letter Against Ritual

So I guess by now you'll have recovered from the voodoo routines at St Pauls. Guess its nice that we won't have to pronounce the syllables Margaret Thatcher again. It all seems very distant now, like when you've been up for four nights, finally get some sleep, and then you're sitting there drinking a cup of coffee trying to remember what the hell you've been up to. You still know that feeling? You'd better. Anyway, the thing I remember most clearly is Glenda Jackson's speech in parliament, when all the rest of them were wittering on about Thatcher and God and the entire fucking cosmos and there was Jackson laying out a few home truths. But really, it's a measure of the weirdness of those few days how fearless that speech seemed: and, obviously, a measure of the weirdness that it actually was some kind of act of bravery. Tho the best bit was when the anonymous Tory MP started wailing “I can't stand it” in the middle of it. Like, that's right, motherfucker. Anyway, so I listened to Jackson's speech on Youtube a few times, and then I went and checked her voting record in parliament - bit of a letdown, yeh. Abstained on the workfare vote, yeh. So that's her, she can fuck off. She made a much better speech back in 1966, I think it was, playing Charlotte Corday in the film of Peter Weiss' “Marat-Sade” - I guess you remember it, she's up at the top of a ladder, going off her head, and screaming something along the lines of “what is this city, what is this thing they're dragging through the streets?”. Christ, if she'd done that in parliament, I might have rethought my relationship with electoral politics. Well, maybe not. But seriously, what was that thing they were dragging through the streets on April 17th, or whatever day it was. Through that silenced, terrified city. I thought of Thatcher as some kind of rancid projectile, and they were firing her back into time, and the reverberations from wherever it was she landed, probably some time in around 1946, were clearly a more-or-less successful attempt to erase everything that wasn't in a dull, harmonic agreement with whatever it is those razorhead vampire suckworms in parliament are actually trying to do with us. Firing us into some kind of future constructed on absolute fear. Or that future is a victorious vacuum, a hellish rotating disc of gratuitous blades, and they are speaking to you, those blades, and what they are saying is this: “one day you will be unemployed, one day you will be homeless, one day you will become one of the invisible, and monsters will suck whatever flesh remains on your cancelled bones”. They're not kidding. And the grotesque and craggy rhythms of those monsters are already in our throats, right now. In our throats, our mouths, the cracked centre of our language, fascist syllables, sharp barking. You know I'm not exaggerating. What they're planning is nothing small. We're talking about thousands of years, their claws extending into the past and into the future. A geometrical city of forced dogs, glycerin waves, gelignite. And what a strange, negative expression of the scandalous joy we were all feeling, at the death-parties, pissed out of our heads in Brixton, in Trafalgar Square, all of those site of ancient disturbances suddenly blasted wide apart. A pack of Victorian ghosts. Nights of bleeding and electricity. Boiling gin and police-lines. White phosphorous. Memories. It was like we were a blister on the law. Inmates. Fancy-dress jacobins. Jesters. And yes. Every single one of us was well aware that we hadn't won anything, that her legacy “still lived on”, and whatever other sanctimonious spittle was being coughed up by liberal shitheads in the Guardian and on Facebook. That wasn't the point. It was horrible. Deliberately so. Like the plague-feast in Nosferatu. I loved it. I had two bottles of champagne, a handful of pills and a massive cigar, it was great. I walked home and I wanted to spray-paint “Never Work” on the wall of every Job Centre I passed. That's right, I'm a sentimental motherfucker when I'm out of my head. But no, already that foul, virtuous fear was sinking back into me, taking possession of my every step. I was thinking about Blanqui, right at the end of his life, sitting in his prison cell, knowing full well that what he was writing he was going to be writing for ever, that he would always be wearing the clothes he was wearing, that he would always be sitting there, that his circumstances would never, ever change. How he couldn't tell the difference between his prison cell and the entire cluster of universes. How the stars were nothing but apocalypse routines, the constellations negative barricades. I was thinking about the work-ethic, how it's evoked obsessively, like an enemy ritual, some kind of barbaric, aristocratic superstition. About zero-hours contracts, anti-magnetic nebulae sucking the working day inside out. Negative-hours. Gruel shovelled into all the spinning pits of past and future centuries, spellbound in absolute gravity, an invisibility blocking every pavement I was walking down. I wanted to cry. In fact I think I did. Actually, no. I was laughing my head off. A grotesque, medieval cackle. No despair, just defiance and contempt. Ancient disturbances. Ghost towns and marching bands. Invisible factories. Nostalgia crackling into pain and pure noise. No sleep. No dreams. An endless, undifferentiated regime of ersatz work. All of us boiled down into some stupid, Tory alarm clock. A ringing so loud we can no longer even hear it. But whatever. It seems pretty obvious we should adopt the Thatcher death-day as some kind of workers holiday. Actually, scratch that, lets just celebrate it every day, for ever and ever, like a ring of plague-sores, botulism and roses. A barbaric carnival of rotten gold and infinite vowels. Sorcery. Rabies. You know what I mean? I hope so. Anyway, things have been pretty quiet since then. I've been thinking about paying you a visit. Oh shit.

a rewrite of this piece