a retrospective of work
by Alan Halsey
see also: graphic work
touch a square
Repeating at speed all night
the message is denied
recoded and returned. The radar
ensures that the reader
deciphered and in that
sense foresuffered will sleep
undisturbed: his dreams
have been distributed
as type / as a sidelight
signals to a minus factor
sing or else.
Dichotomedes called himself the Casual Dogmatist. He said sleep is the mother of all and the father of all and Will by necessity calls forth the unwilled. He liked to speak of ‘abundant chaos’ and said the four elements are pleasure, pain, intention and resistance.
The saying ‘The polis falling out with itself looks for enemies everywhere’ is attributed to him and also the fragment
‘Heraclitus was wrong when he said that the sun will not overstep his measure because everything does’.
‘Speaking up, talking down.’ This remark, supposedly referring to Plato’s epis- temology, is cited as the reason for Dichotomedes’ expulsion from the Academy.
Dichotomedes also said ‘The void fills [itself] as smoke [does].’ And: ‘disparateness is only sometimes disparity’.
‘First traveller from Dismay,’ Beddoes told his notebook on 10th November 1821.
‘33 Coventry Street.’
‘The expectation determines the event,’ said Dichotomedes.
you’ll find Mercurialis’ house at the edge
of the city - protected by two stone dogs
either side of his front door -
everybody knows he’s found his true lover
and they’ve planted their garden on a ledge
above the road with aconite, borage,
clematis and hellebore -
say they prefer to manage
a modest estate with a bog
they call a pond and a symposium of frogs
Those dizzy oysters said the lizopard
had eaten their Christmas Roses.
Their magic so politely professed while they passed
an heap of other accidents, etc., talked of metempsychosis.
As to Odysseus but as the bats squeak in different voices:
coherent light as tensor to shadow recension
where meaning is the function of fixed phase difference
or the news they thoughght [ sic ] to print.
‘Myself being the person I am’
I and I as distinct as the ostensibly
identical species of Pipistrellus pipistrellus.
‘The bat people have measured everything you can think of measuring.’
Everybody is about to forget whose name his soul was.
(It looks as if a high-risk daub
became an off-the-books debauch.)
(When all the ducks are in a line
all the golden parachutes will open.)
An intense sultry furnace-glow had replaced the flood of sunlight: thunder, jagged clouds, oily-looking fields. A sort of luminous fringe in a net woven of dew-beams.
Black lines, dirty rushing rags hanging splendour, and a Shape: the smoke on the water tempering the light.
Moved, as I moved. The million with fierce song. Phosphoric. When they turned to look back it was a mere little glittering patch.
Shelley, the sea is all coming down. It’s only our friend Tre. I’d go to Leghorn or anywhere in her. Sail to America.
They had seen her founder at four o’clock [var. about 5] and in their vessel Roberts found spars [var. an English-made oar]
var. Roberts recognized on board a ship at the Port of [ ] a spar & other equipments belonging to Shellys boat
var. Trelawny’s Genoese mate pointed out an English-made oar and various timbers, but the entire crew swore by all the saints in the calendar
var. the sailors gave a very embarassed account & said they saw a boat with men in her before them, & never saw them again. They afterwards denied that there were men in her
var. at 4 o’clock they saw that the boy had climbed the mainmast, when a violent gust of wind took the sails crosswise
They cd not they said get near her. It blew too hard for him to haul his wind. In a few minutes after, she had disappeared and [ deletion ] foundered.
...but what of the details of common perception language endeavours when written to devour?
‘Wrong words, how can we tell but we can.’ Little slips of the pen become spells calling demons (nomadic) from the spillage constantly threatening religious and secular authority.
Excessive mistake or mystique? The pen stalks letters or pens talk or they did until as children were warned in the 1950s Biro’s invention killed the art of fair writing an example perhaps of the fall as broken enchantment re-enacted.
‘Theoretically starlings could compose in counterpoint’ shows how theory might reveal the way things used to be. An alien voiceprint, let’s suppose, which records that speech was the only substance the visitors identified on earth
and no more connected with the practice the locals call ‘writing’ than painting a picture or blowing through a tube. Not as such to be considered as a sign as of commandment. Here as elsewhere the letter Y makes supplication (broken attachment re-enacted) .
A Life of William Shenstone
I have no idea but what comes in at my eyes which is a landskip garden
(an alcove six elegies a seat two epitaphs and a serpentine river)
my Inactivity’s enchantment a precipitate cascade in my (Virgil’s) Grove
a thousand antic motions around Indolence a kind of centripetal force
Colquhoun and MacBryde
they went for a ride
MacBryde and Colquhoun
by the light of the moon
We set out to make
of whatever we take
to be some kind of order
over the border
said Colquhoun or MacBryde
for you’ll have to decide
if MacBryde or Colquhoun
was the speaker or whom
Colquhoun and MacBryde
MacBryde and Colquhoun
No excuse nexus, discuss to excess, spruce as surprise. Placebo and scan who can, remembering a headache or noise in the ear in a sudden silence: welcome to Wales and the Big Pit.
Gwent in the grip of, Gwent’s always in the grip of something. A postal strike or an outbid, edible or flat, tally essence of the new white bridge deriving Loegr in a sunshine shuffle ex Logres. Today’s
football with commentary by Aaron Williamson and Geraldine Monk, better mention to swell his primal and her scream. ‘One for one and the other for the other but what for whom?’
A moment in some such text is extra when compounded with a footnote dilemma to a BM shelfmark in one whose keeper let get away.
The lucky thing for me was that being an author I could always
plead absence and so I wasn’t there that day when there was all
that trouble in Matthias’s office. Nor, you will notice, was
Matthias. But the story goes that
The boys came in by mistake. Thought it was a brothel
Thought we were printing seditious
Thought it was a smell
Thought it was
It was a time when the forests were being eroded from within by enclosure of land for out-of-town development and ring-roads. As the century came to an end retail parks and industrial estates proliferated. Between February **** and July **** there were fifteen commissions of oyer and terminer occasioned by raids on business parks, Tescos and Texas Homecare and attacks on quangoists and hypermarketeers. And Robyn hod in scherewod stod, hodud and hathud and hosut and schod: his four and thuynti arowus like jingling spells against prestige employment developers. He gadered and assembled unto him many misdoers beynge of his clothinge and, in manere of insurrection, wente into the wodes and strange contrays as outlawes, waitynge a tyme to murdre, sclee, and other grete harmes in that contray to do.
...that the book contained false and malicious
matter about time...
and in the other’s dream
paranoia blended with a special disguise,
a trap had been set in the refusal.
‘They loved power and the Anglo-Saxon world’
thus blurring those passages with battle-
shot gossip and disintegrating spirit, human being
in the process which was ‘nature’, or the routine
excess they had hoped for.
All the rung notes and the spirit of the ladder, avoiding pitifulls, etc.: for you have few wordes but they signifie divers things distinguished only by their tunes that are sung in the utterance. One woman's head of hair is a halo of holly as the wordland slips through the faults of the dreamtime and reified intention becomes Tenerife: a great Mystery and worthier the searching then you would imagine.
Anarchist insomniacs who raised hell in the wordland are pushed off the balcony of dreamtime. It will be one of those weeks like the one last autumn when everyone was looking at Birmingham from Denmark and apology was recognised as knowledge of something : the enemy of substance, or shadow of a style.
Where rumour’s the coin the penny
drops a bit late. The cost is what the land
which in this case means the hills
and valleys when unveiled pay the price
of off. Some muse or other
If a keyword turns and calls
the beam-ends names with Eleatic
precision at the roadhouse on
the bypass which is locally
known as the Brotherhood of Man
will they meet? With universal
acclaim? At no particular time?
As if the great white Whole were
absolutely human I'm telling
you everything and nothing O
Theomachismo even seems
to me to want to change
this tune and start a praise-song.
Vows are refashioned as the voice
dies out along the flightpath. The paradox
points back to the problem arrow. The voice
dying out describes the view
whereas the view describes more than
the limits of the voice. Reconnaissance looks
westward: renaissance dies out along
the flightpath. Can I out-describe you
or you me? It is the arrow on a map,
pointing west of the page, which the paradox
points back to. Isn’t all time lost by definition?
It points back along the flightpath, refashioned.
There being nothing doing here I am
wholly resigned to. The flags
flak & flak. Every word has a sense
of what’s about to have happened.
Beyond this we can advance
a proposition which slides
as a rule into
place and no further
than the art of flight
or fugue will allow
us to mark or remark
describes an impasse
between identical figures of
its own contrivance as natural
numbers no mind
can exhaust but will
add one term
the same as itself
to the progression that
can but be but
advances beyond this
that it follows
everything he ever had known was another state of mind.