You face is music to my hears:
Your grave voice is my choice of right:
Your body thin is skin easily enough:
And the stuff of your brain is such clever tough
All I want of you is the lasting thrive
Of life around you.
My recent visit to Belfast showed me the kind of muscular beauty I love in any city or urban space.
And then, towards the end of my stay there, I ventured over to Queen’s University. I had a fab Guinness in the SU Speakeasy bar; a grand fry in the Other Place nearby, the following day; wonderful walks around campus; bought a primer on Criminology at Blackwell’s; and generally fell in love with evident history and reputation.
But what really blew my mind away were two buildings of such profound contemplation that the peace I found there – as I am remembering it now – can only make me a tad weepy in hindsight.
The first – visited second – was the postgraduate School of Law building: curiously unsigned from without, and entirely sensible and embracing from within. I spoke with a very gentle and softly spoken woman, who provided me with contact details for further information. I went to the website yesterday: I now have a clearcut, absolute goal – achieve a 2:1 in my Master, taking the time I need to do so, and then researching at PhD level in a place I could only dream of being at a year ago.
The second was the wonderful wonderful McClay Library. Oh, what a dream of a building and space. And then inside, on the first floor, to the right as you come out of the lift, the astonishing C.S. Lewis Reading Room. I wrote a poem whilst sitting there; and I wrote it in the presence of a beautiful young woman who reminded me so much of the beautiful Belfast woman the poem was about. The woman who, if nothing else, has been my all-too-real muse over the last thirteen months.
And I realise my future lies in my future; and I realise there is so much I must discard from my past that I really don’t know where to finish.
But at least I have started. At least I have started.
The question he posed wasn’t Shakespeare’s at all.
It wasn’t being or not being:
the master was quite wrong.
“To be or not to be” was a solitary question.
He didn’t want to live alone.
Alone wasn’t his thing any more.
He wanted to be an artist with muse he could
touch, and smother and love and
take with an abandon she’d abandon her everything
in order to acquire: and he wanted her to acquire
him; he wanted to be owned; he wanted that
person to own him and want the body
he now had, battered and bowed – but
desperate for her lips and her ears and her neck,
and her long thin ankles, and the eyes that danced,
and the romance in her mindful sex and
teasing fingers, and the ways she knew how to
make his brain tingle: all he needed, in fact,
was to see her face, and he was no longer
sure if the same was for her, but if she did
meet him again, he’d surely be hers.
And the question the master should
really have asked was:
“Are or not are – let’s do whatever together.”
Why do they always say have your cake and eat it?
Shouldn’t it be a case of have your cake or eat it?
Or, on the other silver platter, eat your cake and have it –
where have means eat rather than possess it?
Life, in a way, is very like that cake.
Multiple options which confuse and bemuse.
Even the syntax of such multiple options doesn’t half
flatly refuse to lay itself out clear.
And I no longer want to square circles as before;
as once I might have needed to grandly proclaim;
as once I clearly needed to.
But listen, dear universe – listen and advise:
is my art worth any sacrifice – or am I mediocre
beyond trivial measure? Or can the sacrifice, even now,
if worthy of art I mean, still be made in a squaring of wagon-trailed
circles, which command pioneering movement?
I’d love to know not where to go, nor who might be
waiting, nor even if no one rightly cares any more
for what are ridiculous thoughts at nineteen to a dozen (although I do
have to say I prefer twenty …).
I’d far rather love to know if anyone really thinks
it’d be better for me to give up what I’m doing, because
in simple artistic terms of critical bent, I’m halfway round a curve
looking for idiocy all the time.
And talking about oneself, and talking about others,
has helped me recover – I think – a semblance of myself
but I realise, right now, I can’t do this art stuff without talking about
others who might sensibly object.
And if talking about others who might sensibly object
is all I know how to do in the art that I do, and this is
quite wrong, and I am out of work, like coffee machine in corporate
pecking order, maybe the art that’s been lost
all these years I’m alone, and without beloved contact
with the muse of my life, must continue to be unmade
as much as it can. For what right do I have to uncover the sadness
that drove me to madness and the cell I am in?
I wonder, as I do, if pain is [f]actually needed
for art to cre-
mate, or otherwise conjoin, the misery we feel
which drives us on to wonder, as I shall
will myself now beyond a doubt, whether
truth is to be found
only in loss – or if happi-
ness and gay pursuit can bring
about a routing of pain to such an ex-
tent we can shroud this thing we call death
Really, all I want to know is if the pro-
spect of a life in art requires us to
hurt ourselves in sav-
chisms of abys-
ms which defend our right
to up the price of what we do – of
everything we do.
And really, all I want to
know is if comm-
engineer – without sneering at all –
the practice of art
to such an ex–
tent that together we’d work and
at the same time be
trees of passing hierarchy which heavily de-
tramp our souls so
forgotten and recalled, and easily neglected
by other challENGINE: that other band of tightening
noose around the life we
loosen without thinking that thinking is
precisely what we need to tighten
grips on tips of living life before we lose
a chance, a favour: the colour of love.