Saturday, July 30, 2016

Our Death 7 / On Being a Good Person

Time and again I tell myself I’ll stay clean tonight - David Bowie

It is important to be on good terms with the neighbours. To discuss with them your fears about the meaning of your passport. To share with them the results of your investigations into the meaning of the rent equation. It is important to explain the central mathematics of the noises they’ll have heard coming from your apartment at random hours of the day and night. To demonstrate both the internal and external nature of those hours, and their connection with the signals you receive from the lights in windows you can see from your balcony, and how those signals reflect the secret passions contained in your passport, and how all of this determines how many times a day you think about suicide, and murder. Think about, not contemplate. That’s a very important distinction, and one not unrelated to the enormous electronic screech you sometime hear coming from what you can only assume must be the centre of the earth. Always make it clear that the centre of the earth is more than likely not where they think it is. That there are storms that have been raging there for longer than the collective age of everyone who lives in this city, both documented and undocumented. That you love only sex workers, drug addicts, refugees and the terminally ill. That most mornings you think they are the only people deserving of citizenship. That you are disturbed by the hatred continually emitting from the drawer in which you keep your passport. It is important they understand how that hatred’s foul metallic shriek is in no way connected with the way in which you would like to continue to conduct your business. That your business is somehow connected with the scorched and horrific colours the sky produces as it sends murderous darts through your window each evening between the hours of 8 and 9. The reasons you have for burying those darts in the shallowest earth. The meaning of the gentle sounds you make as you do this. It is important to be on good terms, to share your knowledge, your sugar, your brightly coloured powders.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Our Death 6 / On Throwing Bricks

“Some things are reserved for the dead and they can’t imagine them”. That’s either Artaud or Heraclitus, or more likely a combination of both, I don’t remember, but anyway its been echoing around whatever remains of my skull these past few days as I wander around the neighbourhood trying to work out exactly when it was the catastrophe took place. My routine is simple. I go to the cafe. I order breakfast. I usually eat it. I sit by the canal. I go to the bar. I talk to people. I want things. I never fuck. I’m not bothered. At some point I make minor adjustments to the flow of red and white corpuscles through my body. Eventually the day stops and I sit around in Kotti and drink beer and sometimes I spit blood and I wonder what, if any, micro-social effects my corpuscles might have on the cobblestones, kind of like if you threw a brick at a window and both of them shattered, both brick and window, and the pieces then combined and mutated and split apart and cut across corporate time and un-lived time and un-dreamt time and, well, yeh, the catastrophe, whatever that is. We all know its happened. We’re all pretty sure what it means. Most of us know that most of its light has yet to reach us. Britain’s preening little act of self-destruction was one of its more minor manifestations, of course. And the sound of the word “Britain” ringing inside my skull forces me to my feet, and I stare at the faces of a few passing strangers and wonder about the ratio that must exist between the precise number of blood-cells tormenting my body, and the precise number of unidentified stars in what we still so un-precisely call the sky. Somewhere down near the bridge I pick up a brick. It’s rough and smooth in my hand like the bones of a murdered aristocrat. I drop it again and it breaks into two pieces. I pick up those pieces. I drop them again. I keep doing this. I start to scream. I arrange the pieces on the ground. With each scream I name one of them. The bones of Boris Johnson. The face of Theresa May. The sudden screeches of a million birds descending on the broken alchemical stench of what was once called London. One of those screeches is called the Human Rights Act. One of them is called Immigration Policy. Each of them sounds like the noise I imagine a comet would make as it slammed into the earth, and smashed into roughly the same number of pieces as there are blood-cells in my body. I feel the need to sleep. I pick up another brick. I stare at nothing. Everything is silent now, silent like the noises the canal sometimes makes at dawn. Of course, none of this actually happened. I live a quiet life, and it is many years since I threw a brick through a window. I am, as the saying goes, “worried but outwardly calm”. I lean against the wall of the elevator as it carries me up to my 6th floor apartment in this more-or-less modern building in this still more-or-less working class part of Kreuzberg, and I wonder about the sounds the dead would make if they could imagine the light that surely does reach them from whatever future still remains to us. I open the door to my apartment and sit there in the dark. I feel old and tired and deeply afraid of my dreams.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Our Death 5 / About the Weather

Sometimes the heat gets so much the earth becomes invisible. This is the meaning of symbology. The imaginary walls of the city become real, become a hell of blinding mirrors and we do not know if we are gazing at those walls from the inside or the out. Everyone talks about the weather. So do we. Its been coming on with the speed of a feral hadron collider, a viscous amalgamation of water and glass, where the calendar of British incidents becomes transformed over and again into a posse of burning ballerinas advancing on the city across the landscape of some kind of scorched moon. Nobody can see anything except the murderous glare of the sky, the entirety of human history split to a constellation of more or less inaudible sound particles. The scrapings of giant beetles up and down Karl-Marx-Straße, for example. Or a righteous triangulation of the ghosts of Jean Charles de Menezes, Nat Turner and Lucy Parsons, injecting a supra-imaginary strain of Martian scabies into the collective body of the property developers of Berlin. That type of thing. Or the haunted secret corridor that leads from doing Special Brew screwdrivers in some godforsaken English town to lighting disposable barbecues under the wheels of parked cars in Friedrichshain. Or a meteor of pure plutonium smashing into the intersection of Parliament Square and Kottbusser Tor. Etc. It is difficult, in this heat, to know what a calendar or a nation is, beyond a shower of deafening bells, alterations in the so-called blood supply, corpuscles as expression of the rent equation, other specious horrors, that moment when the heat fades, and what was invisible becomes visible once more, and what was irresistible becomes unbearable, and everything is completely different to what it was before, and we wonder worriedly through the streets of the un-nameable city until the stink of dawn arises and everything vanishes once again.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Our Death 4 / A Butcher's Lullaby

Even in Kreuzberg I can smell the burning remnants of Britain. Each morning I’m out here on my balcony, as the sky flashes from red to white to deepest black, as strange patterns of geometrical dust settle across the body of the city. These patterns I think of as a calendar of British incidents, some erased, some imaginary, some appalling. I feel like a crater as I scratch small counter-patterns into them, something equivalent to the stark anger of the circling birds, the swifts and the sparrows that shriek like shattered human things all through the morning, or whatever it is we can call the strange glow of the sky in these peculiar, hijacked days. It’s all so quiet. The shrieking is quiet. The blank statistics of the calendar are quiet. The obsolete sigils scratched onto my window are quiet. Kreuzberg is beautiful in the summer. The sounds from the canal are ever louder, the screeching of invisible time-zones blocking out the shapes of the sun.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Our Death 3 / A Note on my Recent Poetics

I stopped smoking pot a few months ago because it was making me paranoid, but since then most days I’ve been taking potentially fatal doses of amphetamine. Its almost certainly making me psychotic, but it does at least have the advantage of saving me from the vast cataclysm that sleep has become. Most mornings I feel uneasy, visible and invisible at the same time, trapped between the proverbial two worlds, neither of which I’m prepared to accept or even tolerate. I can’t tell them apart anyway - everything’s functioning at some kind of stroboscopic level, where the invisible world is populated by a gaggle of flesh and blood insomniacs staggering around after a shipwreck, and the visible one by a weird star-map, a network of knots and tumours that up until now have been locked somewhere in the centre of the earth, a hell of alphabets and spectral injustices that we can summarise as a string of cysts arranged in strings along the chronology. Lets see. There was the poll tax revolt. There were punk houses. There was ecstasy and acid and free parties. The criminal justice bill. Britpop. The rise of the ironic wank. The phrase zero tolerance. The boredom of enforced hedonism. The skeleton of Tony Blair. The flames of humanitarian intervention. The inevitability of jihad. And thats just one more or less arbitrary little cluster, a hall of various mirrors that every morning I chop and snort increasingly gargantuan lines from until, in the words of Ernst Bloch, “years become minutes, as in legends where, in the apparent time span of a single night, a witch cheats her victim out of a long life”. And I don’t know whether I identify with that witch or not, but I do know that there are some mornings when I consider the possibility of powdering Blair’s bones, and then casting them at the feet of various monuments - say for example the statues that encircle Trafalgar Square - so as to transform them into real demons. The crisis, or whatever it is we’re supposed to call it. The ruins of the Ritz, for example. The broken glass of Millbank. The jail terms of the rioters. Ah shit. The smell of blood is overpowering. I have very serious doubts that my body will survive the current catastrophe but, what the hell, I know for a fact that my shadow will never be seen inside the Cities of the Dead. My skeleton, however, and those of my friends, may well one day be seen dancing on their embers. Their ashes. See you later. It is becoming increasingly clear that Thatcher faked her death.

Saturday, July 09, 2016

Our Death 2 / From Deep Darkness

The violent disk in the centre of the sky and the coins in my pocket both radiate the same infernal energy. I know this because I have been awake for five days. I know I’ve been awake for five days because when I went out onto my balcony this morning all the buildings in the city collapsed. This seemed to me to be something of a cause for concern, so I sat down to write my will. Here goes. My coffee cups and typewriter I leave to, I dunno, whoever can scream the loudest. My collection of empty beer bottles I leave to my landlord. My library I leave to the homeless of Kottbusser Tor. My credit card likewise. My sexual uncertainty I keep to myself. My love I leave to the suicided. My drug habit I leave to cops, let them wither, mutate and die. My hatred I keep close to my heart. My heart I leave to the centre of the earth. My grief. Gah. My grief which is the size of the tiny racist island on which I was born, I compress it, I transmute it into something like the wild and collectively inhuman joy of the swifts that circle the city with a frenzy wilder than. Oh whatever. The heart is such a lame metaphor. And so pathetic, the idea of  burying it in the earth, when I could just as easily fire it into the centre of the red spot of Jupiter. For example. My sensory system. For example. My five senses I leave to the invisible moons of Pluto, like a cluster of burst and eclipsed stars, like the city’s swifts, flickering in and out of calendrical time, where coffee cups and typewriters and habits and all the rest become a violent disk of knots and tumours trapped somewhere far outside of the known world, because obviously after five days without sleep your heart gets into some fairly interesting unknowable rhythms and your connections with the earth and its five senses become increasingly tenuous and I think at this point of Will Alexander’s essay “A Note on the Ghost Dimension”, I don’t know if you’ve read it, he writes in it somewhere about the missing five days of the Mayan calendar, which apparently is a time when monsters and poisons will appear, and I don’t know much about the Mayan calendar, but after five days without sleep I know a lot about ghosts and monsters and poisons, and a lot about how the missing five days could be taken to mean the fate of the five senses themselves, and how those missing five senses have been kidnapped and held for no ransom on some irrelevant island deep within the centre of some capitalist astrological system. My tiny racist island I leave to the monsters and poisons. The ghost dimension I leave to my dearest friends. My knots and tumours I leave to those who would form a new government, that they might learn just how tiny, how rabid and lost a hijacked sensory system can become. Ah fuck it. I leave the look on my face to my enemies. I leave the red spot of Jupiter to the unemployed, I’m sure they know what to do with it. Screw my heart. Resist death by water. By fire and rope also. I am fearful of nothing. I love you all so fucking much.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Our Death 1 / Letter in Turmoil

“It is no longer possible to have a balanced relationship with the world”. I read that somewhere in Ernst Bloch, throw the book at the wall, scream for a while, then run down six flights of stairs to the street below. This seems to happen just about every morning. I head to the canal and stand there staring at the swans, and pronounce certain words of shrivelled power. Theresa May, for example. Stephen Crabb. Of course, these words only have purchase in the land of the dead, but still I recite them, their syllables grinding together like the ghosts of medieval machinery, like a parade of headless skeletons or the wonder of a ghost train perfectly preserved in post-apocalyptic brine, the auditory bleach we bathe in every day. The canal is called the Landwehr and is famous. On June 1st 1919 they dragged Rosa Luxemburg’s insulted body from it. It had been there for six months. I think about that as I stare at the swans. I also think about the well known poem by Paul Celan that alludes to that incident, and about how he talks about the silence of the canal, or at least about how the canal has become silent, and I think about how wrong that is. Its inaudible radioactive signals never stop shrieking, an impossible music I’ve been unable to stop dancing to for days now, each of its notes the representation of an impossible world flickering somewhere just outside the borders of the known imaginary spectrum, those impossible borders, those ridiculous walls. We scratch ourselves to pieces on those walls. Or rather we write there. And what we write there would explode all known dictionaries were it not for the foul neoliberal glow of the so-called sun transforming all we have written into, once again, those aforementioned words of power. May. Crabb. Dirt and bones and gas. Yes every morning I sit there by the canal and when the panic has passed I murmur softly to the swans, and then I go home and dream that I have befriended them and they have flown high across the border and into the land of the dead, and there they have torn out the throats of all of our tormentors and they have passed a soothing balm among the souls of all those who continue to live but are trapped in that land, and obviously by soothing I mean usefully corrosive and deadly, and it is rare that I don’t wake up in tears. I’m trying to stop that shit. I’ve been studying magic, utopia and weaponry. I’ll keep you up to date with my progress.