Monday, 31 July 2017

it takes time

I had ten full years of becoming
Catholic
God and Jesus and Mary and all the saints
Solid years, my best years of learning
the early years that the Jesuits grasp

I had thirty years in the wilderness
seeking the Promised Land
saw a lot of places
none overflowed with milk or honey

But in these past fifteen years
of anguish, loss of innocence
and loss of those we loved
slowly, creepingly slowly
the past is being undone

unlearning is proceeding apace
the Buddha's out of date
but still true North holds good
and his methods prove strong
and practical

and the writer of the Tao te Ching
guides me to greater safety and safe harbour
perhaps before I die
I may have learned how to live

Not interested

I am not interested in human cruelty or barbarity

I get mouthfuls of it every day
on the news

I see it expressed
without wanting to
on social media

I know the subject well enough
not to receive any more
indications of its existence

I am interested in human kindness

I want to hear examples of it
I want to share stories about it

I want to nurture it
in people
of all ages
all creeds and none
and of all races

I want people to become so kind
that kindness bursts out of them
every time
they open their mouth
and every time they see another living thing

My Art - a tentative and probably temporary attempt at an explanation and justification

I like to do certain things that some folk would consider art, others pretentious, others crap.

They tend to be associated with three recurring elements: unfinished or seemingly rough work; the idea of fading away, decay, including shadows and reflections; and the idea of automatic creation, fast, aimless.

I have no idea where the attraction in these things came from. But right now, typing this on my laptop in my wee office at home the sun is coming through the window and casting shadows of the vine leaves and branches that have grown up and over the window there. As the sun's light diminishes with a cloud in its way, the sharp, quite focussed shapes of the leaves and branches turn into a foggy blur, and when the clouds are thick, they disappear.

I like the quite focussed shadows, not totally sharp and distinctive, enough vagueness about them to be interesting to me. And I like the much blobbier ones when the lighter cloud intervenes. In addition I like to observe the process of change from one aspect to the others and the return to the original. I don't know why.

That's where the opinions come in from others.

Artistic. Interesting. Really like that.

Very arty-farty. God-awful pretentious. I'll never understand why you can call that art.

Crap. Fucking waste of space. A con.

I'm now comfortable enough within my skin about all the things I do, and why I do them, that opinion - praise or criticism, rejection or complete unawareness, is all OK ie, indifferent, to me.

I could theorise or play amateur psychologist to try to explain my work. There are obvious things. Unfinished work could symbolise the infinite cycle of change that is life or the universe. Fadings surely represent death, old age, dying, maybe sickness, which in turn could be a political metaphor for social sickness. Reflections could be another metaphor, symbolic of a mirror-image way of seeing things, parallel lives, parallel universes, multiverses. And the automatic art could be indicative of a view that sees all life as art, therefore anything, a brush stroke, a piece of wood cut in half, or as classically done, just stating that an object is art, as Duchamp did, anything therefore everything is art.

But in reality as far as I can see I just like these things and I like the process of "making" them.

Friday, 28 July 2017

Randy Zen Abbott

Ikkyu wrote
"The wise heathens have no knowledge"

What did he know about them?
He was too busy enjoying women

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

and so the art

and so the art
is supposed to come through
and sometimes doesn't

the sky is supposed to be clear
and is often clouds

the world is supposed to spin
but instead turns upside down

the clouds become the sky
upside becomes down
art becomes unart

the light still shines
even on the non-existent

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

time

the tick of time
keeps getting disrupted

interrupted by constant noise
from the neighbours
the family
even the cats

I'm trying to control the universe
and I can't even see where my control pads are.
Why is everyone so damned busy around me?

All in a dream,
wish I was in a dream,
of a dream.
I'd fly off into a dream
if I could dream one up

but all that's happening
is time keeps being disrupted
tick after tick
by political pronouncements
and soft temptations

Monday, 10 July 2017

Blackbird on the rowan tree

blackbird on the rowan tree
nest-building
keeping an eye out for ancient aliens

He knows they exist
he's been abducted before
took him days to be released and get back to his nest work

Now he's gone again
Hope he's at his nest
doing his craft, his joinery, his tailoring

Hope those damned ancient aliens
haven't taken him away again.
They really should be more considerate.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

different dreams

different dreams he said
as he wandered into the night
different dreams
as if asleep inside a tree

different
like an axe chopping the waves in two
different
like Hannibal changing course and heading for Largs

different dreams cannot change
the reality that life is but a dream
reality cannot change
the dream that we are but nomads
on a desert floor

like the salt removed from the sea
we dream of different paths
not knowing we have already arrived

toxic

the political climate is toxic
venom everywhere
better to stay at home
and watch Noggin the Nog on TV

the artistic world is void
abstractions of abstracts
meet copies of old masters
in a collage of unsurprise

the mind that sees the chaos becomes chaotic
the mind that sees peace becomes peace

Thursday, 6 July 2017

always the same view

always the same view
green stars at the horizon
birds cawing backwards like a Beatles track

the two stones stand still
but we know they are living
and in the night travel far and wide

sparrows pretend to be frightened
they are spies for the underworld
of animals that seek to overthrow mankind

a car door opens and closes. footsteps.
she walks but not on the ground.
floating, she is not at all what she seems

birds fly backwards
stones make a move
the woman comes in the front door.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Pawel Pawel - Six Generations Song

Pawel Pawel
do you know?
been looking up hist'ry
from long time ago

Pawel Pawel
what did I see?
you didn't even live
to reach thirty three

Pawel Pawel
what do I know?
Your baby son Jan
only three when you go

Pawel Pawel
Jan didn't live long
forty years max
such a short song

Pawel Pawel
even Jan's son
my grandad Wladyslaw
never saw fifty-one

Pawel Pawel
a hundred years on
my father Jan
produced a new dawn

Pawel Pawel
That generation survived
Siberian winter,
long afterwards thrived

Pavel Pawel
Two generations more
Flourish in life
With the genes you once bore

Pawel Pawel
Rest now in the ground
We treasure your gift to us
Through which we are bound

Pawel Pawel
do you know?
been looking up hist'ry
from long time ago

Monday, 3 July 2017

Nothing to decipher

Nothing to decipher
nothing pure to hold
nothing here to die for
nothing to be told

everything to unlearn
everything to say
everything you still yearn
everything at bay

Collisions in my nightmares
Explosion in my home
People saying fright prayers
Caesar's killed in Rome

Caesar's killed in Rome all right
Tyrant bleeds to death
Tyrant takes his throne all right
Tyrant steals his breath

every breath a lifetime
every step a mile
every path a life of crime
every grief a smile

Thursday, 29 June 2017

I Don't Understand

What if the space-time continuum is wrong?
What if it is in fact a time-space non-continuum?
What will we all do then?

Probably much the same as we do right now I guess.

Eat chips
Easily resist the temptation to start smoking
Write a report for a dull meeting

Or

If the universe ruptures because we've got it all wrong
Then we won't need to do anything
Because we won't exist

And this poem
if it is a poem
will serve no purpose

which it probably doesn't do now anyway

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Calligraphic

The art of writing
unwriting
unknown
unknowing
illiterate
illiterart

Saturday, 17 June 2017

The machine

The machine that propels us this way and that
has no master.

No purpose or direction sits behind the move.

Like the wind or the weather patterns
as commonly found in Scotland
we cannot predict sun or snow or storms
one moment to the next

The machine that drives the bus
is not the bus

The machine that runs the world
is absent of thought

The machine is what we need to live
we need to love the machine
and live with it
whilst trying to wrest control from it
in the complex pattern of simplicity
from which everything emerges.

At this time of day

At this time of day what matters?
There are no bells to ring
to tell us where to go next
and what to do
and how to do it.

At this time of day where are we?
We are lost like children in a fairy tale woods,
like astronauts cut off from the mothership

At this time of day the exhaust fumes overwhelm us.
We are bereft of direction,
sick to the eyes, blind as blackened smoke

At this time of day what matters?
The clock going backwards?
The man in the pub feeling drunk?
The edge of space spinning inwards,
as we all pray for the bells to ring.

Zen pic 1