26 Jan 2018

On Demand

In my time, I’ve heard many students pitch the question, ‘Where does inspiration come from?’ Truth be told, it doesn’t come from anywhere, not like some apple off a tree, no—we manufacture it.
    I’m quite serious. You can ask my colleagues in Harlem and Munich. We keep them under strict surveillance, adhering to a most rigid of routines. They wake and drink a jug of coffee laced with extended-release psychoactive performance enhancers, provided half a pack of cigarettes and four hours over which to read, ruminate and regret.
    What follows is six hours of intense creative output as they’re drip-fed a nutrient-rich slurry to stave of such trivialities as thirst and hunger. During two hours of agonising self-loathing, the individual is free to wander in public—chaperoned, of course, by a pair of our supervisors—free to indulge in their hedonistic impulses, or simply weep silently as they gaze out of a coffeehouse’s misty window.
    A further six hours has them fine-tuning previous days’ work, if only to divert their attention away from more recent activity. They pace aimlessly, sighing deeply as they descend into what we record as CC: creative catatonia. The sun sets, and for the remainder of the day they drift into an unresponsive ennui until a calculated sleep finally takes them.
    At this point, we begin a battery of subconscious stimuli such as unsettling low-frequency sounds in order to manipulate their dreaming state. This causes them to experience baffling, vivid dreams interspersed with Dantian, revelatory nightmares, all feeding the next day’s productive cycle.
    This all takes place in purpose-built, mass-produced ‘units’, synecdoches of the artist’s studio, replete with creative materia, unnecessary but awfully aesthetic mess, all manner of purposeless substance with the result being an environment—an ecosystem, a microcosm, if you will—of the creator’s natural habitat.
    The result is lurid, poignant, esoteric, crushing and sumptuous.
    That, my dear, is where inspiration comes from.

Black Seed

Strange tree gone sideways, roots gripping
like insufficient fingers, frail hold on
coarse earth, the grey earth, before
a bird too late for summer, tempting
winter, whose harp mingles
with the creak of wooden limbs, uncertainty
turning with the sweeping winds, gentle
rhythm, first rise for the tree that came from a black seed
and in spring brings thorny growth,
nest enough for the bird
in spite of the prick.

28 Dec 2017

Mind the Gap

Tenement, shuttered shopfront, tenement
and polite despair laid on thick like smog,
abandoned construction site—installation piece—
a layer of grime that’s just divine.

Island complex, people straightforward:
fear and detachment uniting us beneath power
lines where tos and fros go by in time lapse, idly
without cause or aspiration past submission.

Sun’s retired to fairer climes; we tunnel down
and down with the binge, drawn
by constant drone, that sound
more alive than we are, inside or out.

Anything you’re still missing is up there
on the shelf in between the gaudy and sickening,
but that one bitter cocktail, the fact of it all: out of reach.
What’s awake still sleeps, dreams, knows nightmare.

Nothing wrong with your eyes, mate:
serfs in soul to feudal rulers, honesty
to these as honour to—well—thieves, petty kings
for petty schemes, only cabinets instead of castles.

Mind the what? Mind the gap?
You mean the bloated abyss beyond
our grave new world—wait, do I know you?
It’s just, you look familiar.


Clay in need of shaping wonders
damply, grey in thought over the promise
of something surely better, a sculpture there
only in mind’s eye, formless like potential.

White Flag

In these things, one witness is plenty.
It’s less moth to the candle, more arsonist to the embers.
Some months are thirty days too long, and I had to ask
why we draw lines in the sand for the wind to move.

27 Nov 2017

To the Dead Bird

You’re what I felt closest to this week.
Flattened, still, unrecognisable against wet stone,
you had a familiar look of dejection on your face.
Tell me, how'd you get up from there?

25 Nov 2017

Like Circles Have Corners

How wrong for a shape not to fit
the slots that suit, assigned by masses
most comfortable with the one and zero,
what’s black or white, here or there
and nothing in between.

You are. You simply are
chaos and multitude,
burningly bright sky,
passing storm, dark little wave
on a sea of the forgettable.