Thursday, August 04, 2016

Gwion Bach Hazih

Comment by gwionb on Guardian Poem of the Week nearly 500, 1-7 August 2016, You, Lizard-like, by Lynne Hjelngaard.


There's no way to know if the narrator's addressing someone or something other than their own countenance, figure, form, aspect, kind, or species.

You, a lizard-like anonymous genderless being the anonymous genderless narrator is addressing.

A very abstract poem that supports any projection and reading. The traits of a solitary squamatean being enunciated could equally refer to a specific being, history and/or relationship between two real people the poet is drawing into free verse from experience, or to an aspect of the Muse itself.

A 'mirror to the creative self', as Carol uniquely puts it in the 'wilful literary vandalism' of her exegesis week no nerly 500.

My first thought was a narrator addressing a break-up, or unhappy relationship. Until peering closer and seeing how cleverly the words are spun into this object wholly spirit. I saw a recording of the poet reading live and she reminds me of another American poet who writes finely wrought verbal threads of fragile gossamer power one can easily overlook and took me a second listen of the recording I'd made of her reading at the House of the Dead on Ushers Quay to appreciate it for the high-talk of an angelic voice well-versed in the noble art of spoken song superlatively spun upon the page of our visual eye and otherworldly aural ear inward within where the 'there' of all poetry at this level is silently heard.

Jane Hirshfield.

I'd not been long writing, April 2009, eight years at it, and still a student of The Handbook of the Learned and poet's primer Auraicept na n-éces, with at least four more years to make as many mistakes as one could wish without feeling silly or uncouth in front of any poetry professors of the contemporary commons practicing the art of letters and accent, dialect, and various different languages one finds to communicate with on a structured curriculum and twelve year course of bardic learning our poetry professors in the ollúna teach their charges.

When I heard Hirshfield reading in the busy room at full capacity, simultaneously recording it, as unobtrusively as one could, and aware that because at that time the etiquette around recording live poetry readings was still 'up for grabs', some people wudda felt as if their soul were being stolen and others could not care less, and not knowing if what i was doing was some kind of unforgivable act of the total w***** in the mind/s of those I recorded - i cudnt chillax 'n listen with the due care and attention the werk demanded.

The craven crass half of me at the time of the live reading was half-thinking what i wuz 'earin wuzza loada sh**e pal', as 'we' werking-klaws fowkza Kirkby 'n Ormskirk oft opine in matters such as pooatreh raidings, but oim gled one ad recorded and listened back to the reading because it was only in the silence and solitude of one's own study one heard its true register 'n pure vatic spirit.
I think this can be similarly judged.

The words are uniquely arranged in the most poetic and unusual order possible. In ways tharra lay reader will not be conscious of but the keener eye, all those regular ones here, for example, will be aware of, at various levels of articulacy and cognizance.

expert at loss, loyal to none .. two short declarative statements in a minimum of words, arranged unusually, to punch meaning largely into the mind of a Reader. And it continues all the way through the poem. The essential poetic brevity and method at the core of the poem spelled out as we learn: claws / digging quickly in, out. You disappear.
There's no messin abow 'ere innih?

An expert at what she does, in this poem, 'n wunza yuge nu-fan. & tho sumwun as expert in language and lingo as this week's poet number nearly five hundred can no doubt handle uz loh 'ere, tiz anly joost 'n faer she dunt cum 'ere ''n geh plooted by us comn az dertz wittalaery loutz 'n tha, innih?
Loving two supreme folds and divisions above us as the one sovereign human being doin shilly voices ov werk dahling, wivva birra iarm-berla, the unaccented words, 'the speech Iar Mac Nema discovered last, and it is not possible to analyse it', because of its cryptic iron-like hardness.
Practised from bardic grade five Clí/ridgepole on.

Kevin Desmond Swords

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Gobyohlat Armchairbro's Gaff

I know many on these threads will vividly recall the intensity of the Obama 2008 summer (at the discussion forum Harriet.). America was hemorrhaging debt, treasure and blood at an unprecedented level.

And the only reason I became interested in US politics for the first time in my life as a forty-one year old English emigrant four years in Dublin with few Irish friends and a fully flowing seven year old writing habit, was because of how monumentally and unprecedentedly badly daddy's boy George II was fucking up the planet.

For the very first time in my life - obviously, with hindsight, because of the internet, coupled with a then relatively new habit of writing spontaneous speculative discourse at any virtual venue that tolerated one's Dos or Cano/whelp grade three/four bardic blather of the new writing student in a full flush of unblocking the psychic wangst accrued by twenty years of unexpressed cerebral build-up, creative confusion, psychic madness and intellectual literary silence; i felt acutely unsettled by what was originating in America.

I had never before as a young man been interested. I was living in London at the 2000 election, and though momentarily registering the unusual-ness of it, one was not in the slightest interested in the 2000 steal Jeb and the Brooks Brothers riot instigated.

The actual instigator, one discovered this year, from the man who wrote the playbook the privileged wealthy draft-dodging tramp is parroting from as his election bible: The Clintons' War on Women; Roger Stone.

Former GOP insider, arch Machiavellian strategist, style guru, and an incredibly eloquent and intelligent operator who can convince you white is black and vice versa. A veteran of nine presidential elections. Confidant of Nixon after he'd been disgraced, and now as a place-holder a member of the Libertarian party.

His insights are brilliantly poetic, 'I worked for forty years in the corroded rectum of the two-party system', and the four political history books he has written in the last four years are a fifty-fifty mixed bag of the living and the dead.

His first book: Who Killed Kennedy: The Case Against LBJ, as he points out, could not have been researched and written without all the other books that exhaustively documented numerous connections, links, movements of and relationships between the principle historical figures, cops, G men, politicians, secret service agents, and placements of the various people in the build up to and on the day of the murder itself.

It is written and footnoted with all the forensic factual detail of a fine English language QC, and the frighteningly brilliant barrister's mind bringing together a most compelling and sensible argument for the Veep being the principle actor in a fluid and multi-faceted cia-mob-gov plot to whack JFK.

As Jackie Kennedy and the rest of his family, I think i am correct in asserting, have always (privately) believed. His book Nixon's Secrets is also a must read as he manages to present him as a human being. He said Nixon answered cryptically when saying of the presidency, that though he was a sharp operator, he never killed anyone to get the job. 

His book on the Clintons, written off as a hatchet job and ignored, makes a compelling case that Hilary was involved in plenty of dodgy pranks from the first time she hung out with Bill when they bunked after hours into an empty Louvre art gallery together; painting them as Tom and Daisy Buchanan in the Great Gatsby, creating havoc wherever they go and leaving it to others to clean up their monumental messes as they skip off back to to their gilded and privileged existence.

His latest book: Jeb and the Bush Crime Family, dishes up the footnoted facts of Jeb's history as a bagman in South America and daddy's boy doing his father's work and in the family businesses of - according to the GOP insider - international arms and drugs smuggling, espionage and financial piracy; and, if you believe Stone, Bush dropped out of the race, because he knew his rival had the dirt on him from Stone's book.

Books that nobody is reviewing, apart from thousands of ordinary people online who've bought and read them. The Kennedy book is by far his most positive contribution of them all.

And now after eight years following American politics and contributing the odd rant, i feel that the next three months are gonna be as frantic, and more so, than 2008.

This time the black and white binary choice of McCain / Obama, has become less clear cut. Europe is experiencing a wave of refugees created by Hilary deciding to bomb Libya and (at first) covertly trying to overthrow the internationally recognised government of the sovereign state of Syria, by her hubris attenuating the legitimacy of the UN; whilst simultaneously deflecting our gaze from her own illegality by shouting very loudly for us to look how illegal all the other new enemies are behaving. China, look how Russia is behaving.

After she came up with her bright idea of a reset button, and courted all the news and made all the decisions, covertly, not admitting at the time what she was up to because it was a secret, and because she was trying to be too clever by half and completely fucking the world up in the process.

Though Bush started it, Clinton and to a lesser extent Cameron and our somewhat reluctant political pals in Brussels are the ones responsible for Europe now daily receiving thousands of people fleeing the consequence of her choices as Secretary of State, and causing what Bush had not.

Increasingly grave and troubling instability in Old/New Europe. For free we got the Ukraine mess. Look at Russia. When the factual claims are tested, they are proven to have no substance beyond the aspirational will of one woman and her State Department vision of the world order. If Europe goes down you (we won't be here) will be no doubt treated to a vintage Clinton tearjerker of a reality-performance. Maybe it all fucks up and Bill dies but it's ok, America, Hillary will soldier on all tearful and it'll be as if the death of one Bill Clinton can cancel out the millions in Europe who, oh, I dunno, get nuked when Putin doesn't back down to Hilary telling him to stop being so aggressive.

Trump, for all his oafish cruel and wicked evil dictatorial spirit and thought-crimes, has not created any of this. Which is not to say he wouldn't make things ten times worse than Billary, but my understanding is that this space-thread is a theoretical exercise-ground for the intellectual projection of conceptual possibilities and scenarios, and the questions we feel it is useful for us to speculatively muse on and ponder in order to become better and more perceptively philosophical pooertz yohl.

I suppose there's a case to be made that if Roger Stone hadn't have spontaneously led the Brooks Brothers riot that stopped the recount in Florida, as he himself is on record as saying; it would have been better for the country Gore had got in. If Stone hadn't made that choice and perhaps Bush would not have got in and made the most monumental mistake of the modern era. That we are still trying to clean up now and making only worse.

I feel the rhetoric is going to get red-hot over the next twelve weeks, and that there will be plenty of eructions of fuck and cnut and name-calling and everyone going bonkers and screaming at each other. Which will culminate on Tuesday 2nd. And by Wednesday morning a new global reality will slowly begin. A new tone. A new rhetoric.

Oh how short our memories are. What got me into the 2008 election, apart from being slung off everywhere in the UK and having no choice but to start trolling the Foetry Poundation where i met and united with fellow trolls/language freedom fighters; Cordle, Graves and Woodman, was the rhetoric of Bush. Bellicose, vulgar, anti-intellectual and no shred of eloquence. A then life-long disinterested citizen of the Soul drawn to speak up and out about this recovering alcoholic 'n witless fok.

And though not feeling personally threatened by the madness of George II, one was exercising in a relatively new activity of writing a view of impending doom that if McCain got in and threw more troops into Iraq, carried on killing thousands of innocent civilians and continuing the Bush 2 (Cheney/Rove/Rumsfeld) doctrine that Obama's Hope alone quenched in the landslide victory; there would be an increased sense of feeling personally more anxious. 

I just wanted the Bush madness to stop.

And now Obama is leaving as the historical first working-class crooner from the bi-racial bardic school of world class poetically eloquent domestic American politicians, that feeling of doom is only increasing from 2008; at the farthest western shore of Europe, several seas distant from the insanity slowly unfurling at the eastern end of this continent and small shared European landmass. The one certainty throughout our shared history of which is its regular collapse into anarchy, nihilism and dark ages.

And so as KEB is trying to communicate, I think, 'we' in Europe are faced with and experiencing a starker reality perhaps than yawl there. Where an evil tramp is attempting to claim exists in America all the stuff we alone are just beginning to experience. Like we never had the mass-shootings you had but now it is appearing in a new and virulent form of craziness created by the decisions taken there o'er the nine waves three thousand miles across clear blue sea distant from and safely insulated from. The entire collective cultural memory of world war, over there, is one of the boom years of WW2 when war was great for the economy and improved everyone's standard of living. Whilst at the same time it took the rest of us back to a stone age. With a similar cast of utterly evil men.

I dunno what I am trying to say. Just exercising the intellect and imagination on this very healthy talkative pool of chat, that, perhaps, won't solve any great questions or yield any world-changing answers to our current dilemmas and challenges we in the world face today; but it is testament to the shared symbiotic acts of reading and of writing and communication and whatever else we choose to make it or are led to finding it become.

With three months to go, the goal of one's own election speculation exercise here speaking virtually with an audience of one's own conception of the lala land America one has never been to and never will because i pledged never to fly again after that last drunken fortnight in Magaluf; is to keep a lid on the shoutyness and keep dry a powder that may well ignite the biggun/s of literary noise for a more apt and the most appropriate time.

As the date draws near all kinds of fleeting off the cuff remarks from across the world will float into a daily shorter and shriller mix. We just do not know who we will end up interacting with online. For the great talkers who can gi tae fook 'n tie oop in nots and paint on a pig the shit that sticks and causes it to mortally fall exposed broken and with the election in the bag for whoever. This the stuff our dreams in America are made of. Here.

Even as the rhetoric becomes less articulate and more crass, as the underlying ineffable passion and unspeakable cultural intensity heats up. And unlike in 2008, less clear-cut now the choice a variable choice/s with numerous possibilities and pathways to a successful other side and outcome on November 3rd which are the routes successfully to 'this', that, as a Wisdom Saying of Cuchulain tells us, 'only one in a hundred will get you across'.

Hope not fear.

Sunday, July 03, 2016


Roger Dow

'A common wisdom shared by psychotherapists etc. is: "If someone could hear the conversations we have inside our heads about ourselves, they'd probably be so alarmed they'd call the police". 

Swords Odes

What we need today more than doctors, nurses, firefighters, and first responders, are two class of professional soul-doctors, and i mean of course, first, perhaps the most important people in the world right now; patrolling borders, keeping our country safe and out of harms way: DJ's.

And right behind them, at number two in the world's most needed more of profession, what we need more, we need more, we need loads more of right now today, are psychotherapists. 

Whilst many do help people recover from horrific trauma, there are a handful of psychotherapists who silently listen to paying clients talk at great length about the way they feel, and just milk them for every penny they can get by fueling the delusion, by agreeing for money with every single lie, manic vision, outrageously dumb idea, lie and word eructing from a deeply troubled and psychotic billionaire.

With the wealthiest and least principled of this profession becoming indispensable gurus to wealthy functioning mentally ill and psychotic million and billionaires, agreeing with people that need sectioning into mental hospitals, but are so wealthy it's not gonna happen without a tussle; and before we know it are on 30,000 dollars a week hanging round a global narcissist thinking, 'it's this easy, eff me this is bonkers. Yeh that's right Tyga and Karmwae, deep.

Of course, that's right, yep, of course, i've always said that, agree, agree, agree, you'd know far better than me, yep, yep, totally, as we've said, well , they're calling you the New Messiah, well yeh, of course, America needs you; and think, think Donald, come on and think hard, and yeh, harder, all the way, of course it's working, and remember, hardest when the Slug gets here with terms from the Programming Department of HBO Television Monster Series, Monsters Big Day Out At The Psychotherapists. 

Yep, yep, you first, ok me, yup all the way, explain, yep, of course, of course, it'll be a cinch, yip, yup, it's vile, yuh, urgh, losers, bums, nobody needs em, nobody loves em, they're haters Donald.'

Thom & Deso


Reasons I talk to myself.

1. I don't interrupt.
2. I can say absolutely anything.
3. No negative feedback.

So I wonder: why isn't everybody talking to themselves? All that truth, drama, art, expression lost! Lost forever! Lost to the tyrannical reign of silent, mumbling, morbid, unreflective thought!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

-night energy
mythic past
one in light-

Hey man, you can't talk to yourself because the Thought Police will lock you effin up dudemanbrosis.

You'll be arraigned for a Facebook Trial by a team of luvvies for the prosecution from The Ministry of Truth who talk in a language that unlike ours is fit for purpose and full of inclusive terms that show how hard they are working at becoming the very best hardworking people of this country they can be. 

Unlike us, unkewl skwares from the counter ainti-intellectual Love Police that don't kno wot wer doin, who haven't had the experience of launching a collection in a small bookshop with a packed out successful night of twenty people there, all but four buying the book, and showing the real way to be successful to those twerps who haven't been snapped up by the professional poetry presses doing the work of Culture on the American Poetry Commons.

The ones that save all our thoughts for dead-wood pubs yohl, bcuz if it aint on a shelf in Walmart, it aint poetry geeza. The silent fb'ers who know what they're doin keeping it all in, seeing the mentally ill psychiatric patients bleeding in rant all ova this august and profoundly meaingful platform; and thinking, too kewl 4 skool, eff that, I am a professional published poet on the American Poetry Commons and deeply respected member of our community (Facebook) where we can do more with one line than any of those mountebacks with all the arguments and unguents of a two dollar huckstar.

Yeah, wodda we need to talk for anyway. We are right. That's the end of it.

God it feels good to be only a conceptual poetry critic, sitting here thinking, no, no, no, that's not right, that's not real poetry like we the real poetry souljahs got doin ih fo da burn n gorjaz dudesisbroman; and the buzz of being (silently) well-thought of by all the other exciting and excellent members in our gang of silent professional poets with interesting and excellent shit to change the political system of the US-world with.

Get it working, fit for purpose, one poem and critical text at a time.

Eff you Thom. Stop writing right now and just leave it to the professionals.

God i just created an award-winning Tarantinoesk conceptual flash-fiction micro-Thought-movie. Yeah, conceptual social-media stars all silent and really with it.

We need more of 'us' and less of 'you' little people without assistants to shout at. How many flunkies you got, Thom?


I have eight on a rotating basis so their hard work of having me shout at them doesn't damage the lazy takers.

Work Camps, 'voluntary' labor programs, round them up and do it with a bit of class, get The Donald in to sort this holy crap show out.



Thursday, September 17, 2015

Fucking Reply to Fucking Prole's Fucking Poetry Editor

Originally a response to a s/m FB photo-update prefaced by the words above it, reprinted below; from the mind of Prole poetry and prose magazine's co-founder, publisher, and Poetry Editor, Brett Evans, writing from Abergele, on the North Wales coast.

Only for the fuckwits - you know who you are: those sharing Britain First posts and banging on about if foreigners want to be in the UK they should 'learn the fucking language' - well, it's a fucking school day.
Not that I expect you to have read this far. Well done if you have - yes, that was meant as patronising as it reads.


The most inventive repetitive use of the word fuck that I ever witnessed was at the National Student Drama Festival, Spring 2003, to the background of the Iraq invasion, watching tellies of 'us' going all in on the major invasion and diet of smart-bombs. Shock and Awe.

Khalid Abdalla and Cressida Trew in the Cambridge Footlights version of Bedbound, by Dublin playwright, Enda Walsh. Abdalla was truly mesmeric in the role of the father of a paralysed girl. The set was a cube, that when the audience was seated, wondering what was going on - a cube onstage - the wall facing the audience fell down. And this ingenious use of cramped bed-set of a girl and her dad sitting on it, with both taking turns doing their monologues, was a key element in the successful telling of a story by nothing but the use of hyper-real prose-poetic lingo. 

The father recounting his past as a ruthless furniture salesman who conquered Cork, at the expense of his daughter and her health.

Abdalla is such a brilliant actor, as his starring roles in the film of the book, The Kite Runner, and his debut Hollywood critical smash and classic thriller, United 93, attest - that I wondered if he was an Irish actor. For thirty or so seconds until it became apparent it was not an authentic Irish voice. By which time it did not matter a jot because the language was so gorgeously earthy, and everything one associates with the corporeal elementary and profoundly poetic Irish voice - we'd been grabbed hold of and were on a magic carpet journey powered by unadulterated linguistic joy alone. With nowt but creative faery dust and artistic verbal twinkle.

He had an animal magnetism and it was no surprise he got nominated for an Academy Award, and such was his acting, I was surprised to discover his parents are Egyptian dissidents, and Abdallah, eight years later, became one of the central English language media figures documenting from Tahir Square; living in Cairo and bringing his gifts as a filmmaker to the process of the Egyptian Revolution. At the time, watching him onstage, such was his natural physical ability I thought i was watching an actor as Celtic/Irish/Scot/Welsh as myself, to look at.

The opening. A man on a bed, in it is his daughter:

fuking hell fucking hell fuck fuck fuck Jesus fuck!!!

fucking hell!!


On the bed. I can feel that blanket wrapped around me like a sea; and me a little shrimpways underneath.

Feel them wrapped around me bony body ribs making me stay in bed.

Squeeze me lungs out of me gob and making me shout: 'Fucking hell Maxie, get out of bed, you're late!'

I swing me legs out of the bed already running I run inta tha jacks.

There's me big brother Jerry on the jacks having an early morning crap! I smack him a left hook!! Shamck!!

He hits the ground like the sack of shit he is! 'I'll deal with you later kiddo!'

Splish splash run the tap get scrubbing me face!

Look in the miror at the fifteen year-old me looking back! 'Gotta get to work, Maxie! only fifteen minutes to save planet Earth, Flash!' Spin back to the bedroom and into a suit!! A bit of damp from washing it last night but fuck it! Isn't it always damp from the late night wash!?

Have ta be clean! Gotta get going! Inta the wet shirt! On with the damp suit! Jesus I'm the smart one! Sharp is what I am!!

Outta my smelly hole gaffe, the stink of the hot sweet milk in the air, a breakfast puke! A family of lazy fucks huddled around the electric heater like laboratory rats, I leave the fucks behind. Shame shame!! Fucking shame!! I'm at the bus-stop! Bus stops and I'm on! The usual faces stuck in their morning sleep! 'Great workers of Ireland! Is it not time to drag our priest-ridden, second-rate, potato-peopled country of ours into the twenty-first century before we're spat into the next shagging hundred years?'

They half-smile like I'm a fucking psycho!


I had such a great experience writing there for the daily paper, Noises Off, NOFF, where anyone was free to write and submit. Short squibs; a poem, and enough by the end of the week, to have felt a part of something uniquely British, and not only that but English as well; what with writing on that beautiful cliff-side terrace of the Spa complex overlooking the South bay. And there was a truly democratic spirit in the NOFF office, a large conference room in the complex with ten or so free-access computers. 

By the end of my first year there, with a couple of extemporized comedy reportages that got noticed, I felt grand. The following year, i was a real contender for the hack laurel. I lost to Cambridge mafia office souljah, Chris Wilkinson, a Guardian theatre section stalwart. He won. He beat me. So, what are we going to do about it?

At the following year's festival, I think it was Next Generation 2014 poet, Luke Kennard, who returned from a collaborative smash from Bristol Uni, Freudian Slip, a Monty Pythonesque surreal gold-dust of a play, that had won the previous year's 03 comedy award.

In 04 he came back with a solo effort, a radio play that had been one of the opening specials and centre-piece of pre-recorded theatre to kick the week off, and there was a lot of expectation surrounding it. His first time alone, surely the magic of Freudian Slip would be there? Alas no. It bombed. Lots of respectful bemused silence. On his own, a year later, the mojo had gone.

Desmond Swords

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Thank you Muireann, a star in Poetry Ireland.

Thanks very much Muireann, you are a star in Tara's vigorous throng of rhymers. May we all live forever and never grow up, old, or lose our way when seeking truth thru the literary thickets and spoken word woods. may Her hand guide ours on and off the page of our imagination and stage of Her reality, life, love; and letters that will bring us a path over the other side of a stream only one in a hundred will get you across.

Kookullanary (copyright John Cummins Poetician) Chuculainary. Thanks very much. This is our first time in Westport and it could well be, i suspect, the one heat that a canny slammer may well have the best shot of winning, as it being the first time, who knows how many will turn up? It may be a repeat of the 2008 Leinster final, in O'Neill's pub on Suffolk Street, booked two months in advance, on what turned out to be, the inaugural Arthur's Day.

The two poets that managed to find in the jammers madness, the snug there - in this unforeseen potential disaster - they won just by turning up and going thru the motions, doing one or two poems each. Live, to a packed room of competing social interests, low down the list of which was poetry. And judged by Fintan O'Higgins, and a kind couple of random strangers, it happened, democratic, straight and true. And two very lucky poets that won by default and just turning up, fell into the all Ireland final in Limerick 2008 - and second ever one that came perilously close to not happening on the night - by good fortune of fate/poetry/dán.

Sláinte, grá agus síocháin.

Desmond Swords, three-quarters Mayo (grandparents), and a quarter wesht Cark Macroom bae shoal, trapped in a proto-Lancashababru voice and language invented by the 14C Hiberno-Norman Poet Earl, Gerald FitzGerald, 3rd Earl of Desmond, Lord Chief Justice 1367-70, who turned the French speaking Hiberno-Norman aristocracy into Gaeic speakers, and his most famous work, composed when held hostage by an O'Brien rival in the Kingdom of Desmond, Mairg adeir olc ris na mnáibh, was traditionally translated during the Celtic Twilight:

Speak not ill of womankind,
'Tis no wisdom if you do.
You that fault in women find,
I would not be praised of you.

Sweetly speaking, witty, clear,
Tribe most lovely to my mind,
Blame of such I hate to hear.
Speak not ill of womankind.

Bloody treason, murderous act,
Not by women were designed,
Bells o'erthrown nor churches sacked,
Speak not ill of womankind.

Bishop, King upon his throne,
Primate skilled to loose and bind,
Sprung of women every one!
Speak not ill of womankind.

For a brave young fellow long
Hearts of women oft have pined.
Who would dare their love to wrong?
Speak not ill of womankind.

Paunchy greybeards never more
Hope to please a woman's mind.
Poor young chieftains they adore!
Speak not ill of womankind.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Response to Ian Duhig / Kate Tempest Post

Comment not posted on Ian Duhig's Facebook, as it was too long. The discussion is on Kate Tempest.


When i pitched up in Bubbalin dubalin tewn eleven years ago, at the height of the delusional era, the page poets, headed by he who needs no name, the greatest and most successful living page poet of the final third of the 20C, and then some; all those orbiting round him in the ollúna inner golden circle of poets - measured there own standing in the world of poetry, i thought, in relation to where they stood with Famous. As U2 have seven degrees of separation, with level three in a hotel party suite emptying the bar for free, but still four levels off meeting Bono, so Famous had many ripples of invisible social, cultural, political and otherworldly force protecting him from unwanted intruders. If you knew him personally, that would be enough of a top up, i suspect, to feel ten times better about yourself already. Just him cracking onto you would make your day.

As soon as i landed i threw myself into the only open mic in Dublin, the weekly Write and Recite, that was the Dublin poetry WaR scene before the Super Happy Yummy Dublin Fun Times scene that succeeded it, and, unlike WaR, did make a very large and seismic impact, after social-media and the Facebook platform took off and all at once the grubby and disheartening grass-roots open-mic work, the printing of little cards and flyers, trying to get the word out in public, evaporated. And the lonely bored and mixed up kids thinking of poetry, alone in their bedrooms, could be coaxed out by a new buzz. Wholly different from the one we had at Write and Recite. Austerity replaced excess and the kids came out to shout the old guard down.

And they/we were very successful at it. The new slam and spoken word scene was perfect for radio, and many of the old guard whose poems of expensive holidays in Umbria and villa stays in Tuscany, no longer relevant to the newly poor and fucked over masses, were replaced with the new young kids in fairly short order after the Crash. I played a minor part by creating the All Ireland Poetry Slam.

I created the AIPS when i was in the Iveagh homeless hostel, at the end of my 18 month stay there, and where i'd moved to after graduating uni in England. It was after a particularly low night at WaR, getting roaring drunk and shouting at the top of my lungs, songs in the doorway of the Duke pub off Grafton Street - where WaR was on its fifth week of what the MC, Gerry Mac, hoped would become a permanent weekly residency.

The song was the full song we used to blast out at full volume every new years eve in our cul de sac in tolerant Ormskirk, where the neighbours would indulge us as we played rebel songs, 'come out ye black and tans, come out and fight me like a man, tell your wife how you won medals down in Flanders.'

A crowd of homeless alcoholics and drug addicts gathered round me, joining in, and one of them insisted, i'm getting ye a pint. And at the bar the manager behind it said, 'out, and never come back.' He then barred WaR, and i got barred (for a short time) from attending at its new venue, and the only way i could think of wheedling a way back in was to create the All Ireland Slam and hand it to Gerry on a plate. Which i did.

Most of the new breed of successful performance poets that came to prominence thru winning the all ireland slam, replaced a lot of the senior page-bound anti-performance alpha poets that thought their RTE gigs were for life, when Famous was alive and his stability was the feature of poetry in Ireland, as the living tide lifting all other Irish poets. Now in its ninth year, the eight annual --(two from each province that compete in a rotating  final, this year in Ulster, Belfast)-- Connacht, Leinster, Munster, and Ulster titles, along with the one All Ireland Live Poetry Champion title, are very coveted because this competition is transparently fair, democratic and the most authentic and successful live poetry competition in Ireland. 

RTE last had a slam eleven years ago, by private entry, and it was won by a Trinity academic with a truly awful piece of doggerel. I think the slam is so respected by the national broadcaster, because it was created out of the real stuff of living poetry, and not in some lofty high-vaulted drawing room of a government arts office on Merrion Square. It has a reputation as the real thing. Giving a leg up with nothing more than a few words arranged into a title most irish people would not say no to being. An All Ireland Live Poetry Champion.

Of course, being English, though i was unaware of it in the early years i was handing out prize money and doing something for nothing in the service of other poets; what has ended up most interesting to me, is how i got treated by the very people that made careers and were involved with the competition i created - treating it as a stepping stone upon their own way to wherever they think it is they have arrived at doing their spoken-word versions of fíliocht.

I wrote to the RTE show that a lot of the people i'd given money to for being ace poets, had got gigs on as talking heads, usually interviewed and poached by RTE the day they won the all ireland slam competition, such is the national cultural excitement around my creation. After writing nobody replied, and i asked one of the winners who had a regular spot on the show, hey, i wrote three weeks ago and haven't heard back, did anyone say anything to you?

And was given a devastatingly clever and perfect answer, 'i haven't been there for three weeks'. I suspected this was a cute way of avoiding answering a straight question, which in ireland, unlike the UK, is generally avoided, and a lot of dancing round has to happen with everyone holding their cards close to their chest, before, if at all, you discover the knowledge you want.

I wrote to another contributor to the same show, in the comment section of their blog, who is now full time at RTE poetry department, and the main editorial leader of the new kiss-ass gen of shmokin shpoken wordas in peroppa woppa orda. And they were very brusque and replied as if i had done something exasperatingly wrong even contacting them. And no, it was my problem, they had no input into the show, and, it felt like at the time, like being told to go away and why don't ye just die and let someone else take over the all ireland now you've done all the hard work of creating and establishing it.

Then i wrote to a producer of the show on fb and got ignored and blocked by them. i thought then that perhaps all the ace poets i'd given money to and helped with their careers, were perhaps jealous of me, and, perhaps, hated the fact i was English.

And of course, over the next few years, it was obvious by the silence, avoidance of any contact with me, making it plain i was not welcome at any of the many gigs they had the power to invite me to, not answering any simple emails, and no contact whatsoever from those i helped out, once my use had stopped, that of course i was just another English mug in their eyes. 

There is now a very powerful loosely connected and working band of thirty-something nod and wink live poatz on their now seven year old (yawn) New Scene, of a handful of the same old faces saying the same old poems, and just as laughably pulling every stroke in the 'fuk u ova' playbook - and doing the exact same petty guarding of their hard-won small poetry patches in Ireland - as the lot they replaced where doing when i first arrived and before the supposed saviours came in and tipped over the furniture whilst using the word fuck a lot as proof of their revolutionary credentials.

One brave young voice who does have the balls to speak his mind, Cal Doyle, stated in a new Burning Bush 2 Literary Magazine interview:
'I almost threw up recently in a bar with some writer friends who were discussing, no, gushing over a poet and one poem in particular; a poem that is utterly incompetent, megalomaniacal and clichéd all at the same time. But one has to bite their tongue in such situations: there is no room for dissent, or in this particular case, basic common sense. This needs to be addressed. If one smells bullshit, then one should be free to say ‘I smell bullshit’ without fear of being alienated from the wider community. And of course this bullshit only exists because of dubious editorial practises at various journals—these editors publish bad poems and writers see the bad poems and reproduce them ad nauseam, then they build up a minor reputation, publish a collection with an imprint that churns out book after book, poet after poet, then they get a job teaching impressionable young people how to write bad poems.'
Tis a tuf aul road being an English poet in Dublin. You have to base your 14 year training in the answers and advice found reading over and over again the contents of the core technical manual used on the fourteen year filidh/poets training curriculum, Auraicept na n-Éces, as that is the only way you wont lose out to all the very many petty strokes and stunts pulled by the incredibly childish poetry assassins that smile to your face as they stick the knife in and fuk u ova.

Ah, tis a grand old loif.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Advice to the newly official poet, Doowred Nukcaj

Desmond's words as Ovid Yeats, 8 Jul 2007 15:37, comment on the Guardian Culture pages book-blog by Jonathan Morrison, How about a genuinely dangerous book for boys?

rayz: Most of these boys wouldn't know how to read...
CJUnderwood: Actually, in my experience they do know how to read. They just don't, and for good reason because beyond the purposes of enjoyment and self-edification that reading serves for the dear writers and posters on this blog, for most ordinary young men (and by ordinary I mean those who don't have parents who are art dealers, stockbrokers, teachers and high ranking company execs) reading serves no practical purpose. So they just don't. I've been reading virtually non-stop since I was 16 (now 23) in preparation for and then when studying for my English Literature degree; to be honest it's done nothing for me but give me a vocabulary that makes me sound like a walking dictionary in casual conversation. Since my father has been a mechanic for Volvo Construction Machinery for the last thirty years, and all my friends come from similar stock, it makes for some interesting if exasperating evenings in the local pub. If I could have that time back and spend it playing football instead of reading, I would gladly take it.


Ovid Yeats: I detect a lot of honesty on this thread, but the Love level is hovering below buoyancy and sinking. Underwood, now you have revealed your age, i am a lot closer to fixing a trace into your psyche as a lover looking to infuse the affirmational buzz on the floe for those of us yet to find their thought-fish and swim home in the mind to ones true omphalos. That on these islands, or certainly, Ireland, the Well of Segais, is the source of anwyn and imbas, or the ineffable literary poetic inspiration within our own imagination. It is the dead that make us so. The anima mundi. Human spirit and Greek world soul from which the poets of yore, that create the foundation of the English language poetry tradition, spent their time fishing for spoken song poems that are eternal and timeless.

Located at the equidistant node of self-revelation and the soul of understanding you alone possess, the polestar of rite and guidance one maps with as they learn to dance wisely thru music in time happening on the page as the printed utterance from our source, and the sum of millions of once living souls that randomly connected to create us and our brief flash of life atop a sidhe pyramid of the dead that speak thru us. Or nae.

Ones life, as Milton's concurs with Amergin, is nought but fate, dán, and a poem itself. And although not all who write go on to become verse-smiths, all literacy is essentially, poetic expression in various degrees of beauty and eloquence. As it is ability and poetic knowledge that make a writer so, and Morrison's deposit above is but one from many he will create in his career with the keypad, and the piece we are responding to is lite fluff.

However, whilst it will never be the tipping piece that caused Jonathan to win the imaginary Art correspondent of all time award, more importantly than that, one detects that the raw psychic weight imbuing this piece, the swirling abstract force of Johnnies mind which has been delineated ontop the floe for our perusal and critical response, is one of Love.

And i do not say this tongue in cheek or facetiously, as the piece leaves us not facing a call to arms or to make a supremely subliminal decision concerning the affairs of wo/men, but to be happy and go a bit daft at the weekend, and as a young person Jonathan's mind will carry little more than the wish to enjoy life, be it skinning up, boozing or cruising.

Most senior bores on this rag talk with more skill at combining words, attempting to paint the hard-working people of pen-craft, as being more important than us mere mortals, just because they write. But what they have not learnt, and what Jon has, is to harness to the positive within, the Love not hate.

Worse still, these armchair know-alls that would have us believe their utterances carry the import of a greater gravitas, beyond what words appear on the page. The supreme Yeatsean selfishness of wondering if men went out and shot other men as a result of your words.

But whereas an argument can be raised for Yeats' arrogance, given the particular circumstances in which his incoherent bundle of accident and chance passed itself off as the most important contemporary global poet composing with the English language in bubbalin Dubalin tewn, when in the fullness of his poetic maturity - the other bores here on this forum have not exhibited such obvious evidentiary support with our own letters, merely the petty tepid mores of secure middle-class hacks spouting off about what we witness remotely and electronically.

Not experience in the brutal flush. The music of what happens sung here by them without learning is absent and negative. Jon is singing of the music that happens in his own life, however humble or easy it may seem to be fo us dreamers pretending we are something we aren't, that mock, though we be the same.

For what is Art but the supreme and terrible Love that is beyond all ken and comprehension, the polar force of frozen stella scope and mirrored in the omphalas of molecular proportion?

What Love came from this cold beauty is but the act of very consciousness itself, live in the waking breath which guides us through whatever form and state within the greater play and field of eternal energy and bio-electro-magnetic flux human life is a derivative of.

And i think it is important here to inject a note on which to draw ones critical datum; the intellectual first sight and recording within, what collection of psychological proofing mechanisms one assembles as they tread their divinely unique path of Art.

The ineffable and literary something within that represents the deepest valency furthest from quotidian consciousness in which the lower emanations of existential reality presents itself to us whilst in our waking form, before the womb reclaims us and we snap back and retreat to shade, our brief rehearsal for cosmic fame continued as ghosts haunting for peace.

And maybe perhaps for a portion of the phantasmagoria in which to be of use to the diviners and prophets seeking to sway humanity at the seance and dig which is the very life force of Art.
The casting of fools into an ever less remote unknown, should ones practice have flowered in the sacred ground of whatever discipline one claims to have trained in.

Mine is language. I am training to be a professor of poetry, several more grades ahead of me. A full time bore and trainee saviour, street-corner rakehelly boy back from the pages time forgot. And a three-quarter Mayo, quarter Cork soul trapped in the body of a working-class Lancastrian spacer at the fame academy with fifteen minutes to look society directly in the eye and fear not, nor simper and beg ones audience, but to ignore them and walk on air, as Seamus Heaney famously wrote, in his poem The Gravel Walks; and what, I suspect, may well be his epitaph, carved on some slate grey stone of Ulster - and walk on with hope in your heart, against the better judgement of others that would have you believe, they know better and best of all about poetry and fíliocht.

For what is Art but acting the bollix and caring not what people think?