Monday, 13 May 2013

Natural History

The sign as an instruction, and not just in a physical sense: go up to the next floor, and you will see the insects: this commonish mayfly, ephemera danica: notice the constant: the vacuum: the airless fly, and danceless.

In the next case: moths, melanised against the city: see how they disappear into the illness and health of a city: the dust of a city stacked in their pigments: dormant cancer.

Think of the museum as a failed hospital where patients are left pinned in death’s-head mask: toys in a macabre toyshop.

Open a row of identical drawers, one by one: a bee-eater, a brown rat, and, coffin-shaped, a barn owl on its back, preparing for dignity, eyes out.

Stoat in summer, stoat in winter: side-by-side: russet and white.

The shrew-box holds little slips of fur and skin aligned parallel, not topping-and-tailing: notice how small they look, and real: realer that when alive, and warm, and wild.

Step out of the lift: remember, for some reason, your grandfather having TB: remember that the last time you came hear you had a cold: spat bloody brownish phlegm into the sink: ask yourself if people can even get TB these days: notice how someone has taken a red marker and drawn a deathly trickle on the off-white fur below the stuffed badger’s angry mouth.

The same person, maybe, who took a tooth from the crocodile: for luck.

Saturday, 16 February 2013


Here’s an idea: let’s listen to the onset of spring
with, perhaps, eyes closed. The sound is of
an internal drip, you think. So, what’s the problem?
There’s a grandfather clock in the hall
that does this sort of thing all the time.
We simply can’t sit still. There is newness in everything,
and blondeness – the hinge of the white cupboard
creaks, you know it’s brass but it will always be the gold
of the best of The Hay Wain. Just can’t sit still. Much less
the flowers, the intricate noses of daffodils
that have no smell like a bad joke. The cape-like
ears of spaniels. The city has drifted out to sea somehow
like Arthur Cravan and has left nothing of itself
except a pair of unused boxing gloves, a box
of bad poetry and a beautiful, trite American wife.

The smell of bus fumes can permeate sleep, sometimes;
the trick is to lie on the pavement. What is more
distinguished than that? The rain, when it comes,
will bring everything you need to your nostrils.
Thanks for being there whilst I have done this.
It is nearly four o’clock, people. People
are like posters of Che Guevara, the way they replicate.

I have caused something to exist – and whilst he is
blindish, or can see only in monochrome,
he has the ideal tools to observe the arrival
of house martins. Yes, sitting motionless is not
a prerequisite of observance. Today, I have pushed
a pram over bubbling stones, but I did not feel
like a stream. The city returns in an MPV
weaving through static sports cars
in a way that reminds us inexplicably of salmon.

It has always been spring. I cannot leave
anything behind and I am going to have to learn.
There are two ways this could go. We could open our eyes.