[Ar]ts of love

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-


ing maso-

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-


can re-

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

free of

trees of passing hierarchy which heavily de-

mand we

tramp our souls so

gravely under-

growth and

weighty foot,

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.