'So sad I am! but should a friend and I
Grow cool and miff, O! I am very sad!'
The bush in the garden is covered in fruit
I cut it right back to the root
But it grew back again against the wall
Pushing the bricks. I ought to cut it down.
The dead cat that I kicked there starts to smell
Under the tree where there used to be a lawn.
Out through the window glass there is no rain
But there is water coming from my eyes
And rolling down my face,
It’s better out than in
And there is wind to shake the memories.
I cannot tell if I’m alive or dead
I think I’m sitting on the double bed
That’s where I was at the last check
It’s true it is pathetic.
The motives and inspired ideas I had
When I think I was living don’t come back.
There are no memories inside my head.
Mostly the loves I had were a mistake.
While living I lived in an old empire
An empire reaching round the world
My forebears made it itchy and aware
Restless pioneers with mind and sword.
Bored and usually ill, broken and dying
Spreading and afflicted with disease
They navigated with their feeble limbs
With guns and pens raised up societies
Obsessive, pale and sickly in dark rooms
They died and then, more came with cold bodies.
Pompous, flag waving, cut down, and believing;
Scientists, observers, justices
With weakling women, peevish wormy kids.
And on it goes and on for centuries.
See, they burn on the stake, their lungs fill up;
Or they sit at table in their monasteries.
Brown tattooed bodies dance around a fire
And black men shoot at them amongst the trees
While ladies birth more children to the air.
That could be over, but it carries on:
The leaky boats, the sweaty human,
Fickle beliefs of men, the nation state.
I do not know what it was all about.
I do not know. And what is that? I think it is a cooling fan
Rotating in the belly of the tower
Under the desk, under the PC screen.
The screen I’m looking at shines like a fire
At my immobile stare.
We are not fit to carry a real fire
A torch, a light, a vision, or victory.
Ideas, like love and justice, or the truth
Can’t grow inside a man like this and still be true.
Not far away there is a dome
Not so far from the place I think I am;
There, cows stand up all day, stood side by side
And eat from troughs close next to one another
Row upon row high up into the air
A thousand of them eating happily
A bucket for each one for its excrescence
And milking pipes attached to all the udders
Their hooves are clean and everything that matters
Is there for them in such a calm existence.
And I’m the same as them with my computer
It never contradicts, it never fails;
It’s nice to turn it on and off whenever.
It has a kind of brain wired for electric signals.
But I am one who rots and dies, in the end,
And like a fool I talk to myself, and more
Talk like a child to an unseen old friend.
My mental itch, like itchy balls
Believes that someone listens to me out there
Some really real one out beyond the walls
Of this confinement of the garden, the tree,
The rotting animal, the buzzing machine,
The dying generations, and me dying.
What lying gift and madness of clairvoyance,
What tiresome solitude to hear a voice
And visions of the departed famous dead!
Do they speak to me from their abyss,
To me in my electric room, to say:
What happened at Trafalgar and Biscay
And what Sir Isaac Newton really did?
The dead are all the same, and just like me
We are the same in mouldering away.
And what the ghosts say does not change
They murmur that they merely were around
That they survived, then struggled and survived.
And then they say: ‘The one who bled
From hands and feet, and on his head
A crown of thorns, associate
Of tramps and sluts, came from the dead
Still with the cuts -
That one did not intend just to survive
As we do struggling and moribund
But he is alive.’
But it is not for me to understand.
Should I go on, make good, survive?
Or should I stop pretending and depart?
Because what I most want I cannot have,
Here where that divine hand and arm
Can’t touch my shoulder with a real love.
That cannot happen here.
Stop beating heart and breath finish.
I cannot see the ground before my feet
It would be better if I were to vanish
I am aware of dying.
I am aware also
Of some beauty in existence
There is a true world where these dead men are alive
There, justice is not just expedience.
And yet, enough. I will not go on.
I will try to lie myself down in the garden.
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