Rene And Georgette Magritte With Their Dog After The War

Le peintre Rene Magritte (1898-1967) et sa femme Georgette Berger vers 1922

Le peintre Rene Magritte (1898-1967) et sa femme Georgette Berger vers 1922

Today, after a calm time visiting my folks, I spiralled into a sarlacc pit of worrying about money, worrying about work, worrying about my label, worrying that I’m not doing enough, worrying that I’m doing too much, worrying about my weight, worrying about the fasting I’ve been doing, worrying about worrying, worrying that I’m not worrying enough.

It’s the kind of worrying that, if my ex was still here, I know she could take away with one hug and a few words of her calm, Vulcan-like reason. I miss her so terribly at these times, in a very child-like way. I feel like when I was little and I’d lose my Mum in a shop and all I could do was wail and perhaps have a sit down, hoping she’d come to find me. Which my Mum always did, of course.

To be so deeply in love with someone so many years after you last saw their face is raising idiocy to an entirely new artform. The Dadaists, the Surrealists, the Situationists… these people may have laid the foundations but I’m building the ugly, stupid skyscraper. The higher it gets, the more I’m likely to jump.

So, I was crying anyway so I figured, what the fuck, I might as well listen to a song which always makes me cry, Paul Simon’s Rene And Georgette Magritte With Their Dog After The War. 

Here’s the version I first heard, decades ago:

I listen to this song and it reminds me of living Paris in the ‘30s and Norwich in the ‘70s. I remember falling in love with her two times, at least. I get confused, though ~ we didn’t start speaking again till 1940 but I remember it as being 1994. I guess they can be both since science has proved time doesn’t exist. It’s all now, there is no past or future. Remember, if you’re a photon the lifetime of the universe is shorter than the snap of your fingers as you remember what you forgot.

wit

Those early days, burning CDRs of my music and packing the little jiffy bags together, she’d do the artwork because I’m rubbish at that. Well, apart from the Picassos and Braques I faked to make a living, obviously. Hell, art is printing money. Which is also good.

So, we put on the envelopes: ‘Features the international number 1′ and, in some bizarre MWI quantum shit way, it did. Just like when I said this isn’t a pipe and she asked if I meant because it’s a painting of a pipe and then that escalated into that whole argument about Panjabi MC. I remember the tears streaming down her face, how unfixable it all was. But we fixed it because we were young then. The cover had a hand with a wedding ring on it. We got married later that year, 1997 or perhaps 1922.

We moved so much when we finally had money, packing all our things in the car and driving like idiots. Anywhere is glamorous when you’re young and in love. Could be Lessines, could be Derby, could be Hellesdon, it doesn’t matter. I can’t paint but I painted all those pictures for her. The bears, the fish, the clouds, the birdcage, the butterflies.

peng01

I guess the song reminds me of the bands that inspired me, the deep forbidden music of my youth in 1950s America and 1920s Belgium and 1970s Britain: The Penguins, The Moonglows, Telex, Kraftwerk.

Like I said, I get confused. The war, New York, Pitlochrie, going round her father’s house after he died, so empty of life and love, the place she was born.

So I worked the song out. It was easier using this version:

We never had a dog, though. And the picture that Wolleh took, that was very obviously of us after the war, look how old we are. But we’re together.

I wish we still were. Maybe we should have bought a dog?

 

Nightmare

Last night I had a horrible nightmare where I was trying to fight this monster made out of sliding slabs of stone. It kept blocking my path out of rooms, the noise of it sliding over itself was horrific, like nails on blackboard.

I got so scared I woke up and hugged my wife to me, spooning her like she loves. I could smell her hair, feel the soft plumpness of her hips, her little belly under my hand.

After a while I realised I was dreaming and that she left years ago but I wanted to stay in the dream. So badly.

I woke up alone.

Fucking Asda

asda

I was alright in Mosh
Not happy because it was pretty shite
Swamped by Scream blokes doing comedy moshing
But alright.

I was alright driving driving home
Didn’t miss you one fucking bit
Didn’t even think about you
That’s how over you I am
And how much I don’t care about you.

And then I got to fucking Asda.

Every aisle was a gut punch
Every aisle I could remember you running about,
Gleefully disparaging JML merchandise,
Cooing at kids’ cute duvet covers,
Trying to find films you’d not seen before
An impossible task.

The weight of your absence
Fell on me from five miles up
And I was ridiculous
A lonely man walking round Asda
With a basket full of junk food
And a heart empty of hope.

Once your ghost had risen
She came with me to the car
And sang along to Fall Out Boy
While she danced round in her seat
Doing those crazy arm moves
Nobody does.
Nobody, you idiot.

I imagined what we’d be talking about
I imagined you not waiting to get home to eat
And snaffling the chocs as soon as you could
No patience, that’s your problem
No wonder I dislike you so much

So now what?
Do I never go to Asda at 2.30am again?
I mean, I can’t avoid everywhere we ever went
Can I?
That’s just fucking stupid.
Impractical.
Silly.

I almost bought some stupid fruit
Hairy, wizened, delights
From far-off lands
But I’m glad I didn’t.
Eating it on my own would have been weird.

I miss you.

Moravec, Marchal & Tegmark (1930)

everett-02

I’m home and I’m listening to the new Belle And Sebastian album
And it’s good and it reminds me of you.

And I was okay cos I was in town with Emma and distracted
Probably talking shit about something or someone.

And I was okay because I’ve learned how to not see you
There, at the edge, don’t look, don’t think.
When I’m distracted enough.

And then I get this wave crash over me
Always shocking, always smothering
Like, NO no NO NO NO!
Trying to wake myself out of a nightmare
But then I realise I’m awake
And that I can’t wake up any more than I am.

Do you remember when my eye got injured in Norwich?
I had to walk to the hospital and back on my own
We were both really worried
I didn’t lose my eye
I lost you.

I wish it was the other way around.

I know, in some universe, that it is
I lost my eye but you stayed with me
I am so envious of that me
He probably thinks he’s unlucky
But if he could see my life:

He’d hold you
And kiss you
And hug you forever
And never let you go
He’d tuck your hair behind your ear
And listen to your beautiful voice
As you made the world beautiful.

Back in this universe,
Nothing means anything
Nothing has any flavour
So I eat and eat and eat
And then I sleep,
Hoping to see you smile again.

You Put On Those Clothes

More reading...

You put on those clothes
Like they belong to you
Oblivious to how ridiculous
Your cultural calisthenics
Render you.

Last album you were folk,
This album you’re country,
Next one, maybe synthpop?
Or are the ‘80s uncool again?
Hey, maybe you’ll do “raw rock’n’roll”
You know, go back to the roots
That you never fucking had.

Easter in hip hop,
Summer in soul,
Christmas in klezmer,
But obviously only ironically
Because it’s so, so hilarious.

You’re layered in stolen cotton
So deep you can’t walk straight
And I can’t hear your voice
Any more.

When will you have the courage
To take off the kilts and brocade,
Drop the saris and miners’ boots
And stand naked?
Ugly
Alone
Proud
Free.

The Last Time You Said You Loved Me

Emowalking, missing you again.

I’m sitting in the university canteen
Waiting for Tom, who’s missed his bus
And I’m thinking about the last time you said you loved me.

We were driving and it was sunny
I’d been singing along to something
Probably braking on the harmonies.

There was a pause, a breath held
Just the rumble of the road
And the fluttering of sunlight through trees
It can’t have been more than a few seconds
When you chose to say:

“I love you.”

It was out of nowhere
I hadn’t said it first
We hadn’t been having “a moment”
Like they do in The Notebook
Or Twilight or Titanic
All those films people watch
To remind themselves what they’re missing
Have never had
Will never have

But this was real.

I looked at you the second after you said it
And your eyes met mine
Wide open,
Full of love,
Disarmed and disarming,
Startlingly new.
I guess, actually, that was “a moment”
Right there.

I haven’t heard those words for years
I miss them as I miss you
Even though you’re still here.
Sometimes, I hear echoes of them
But you’re acting now

It isn’t real.

Obviously, I didn’t know that would be
The last time you said you loved me
I thought we’d cry and touch forever
Or at least till I died

But you’ve put all that silliness away
It never happened
Never happened.
And when I remind you of how we were
You get angry and snappy

So I don’t.

Silver


‘Silver’ is my first photobook and also my first with the female nude. It features a prose poem I wrote last February about two lovers and the text is sexually explicit.

The original poem is here.

And you can buy the book here.

I’m soo happy that, after years of planning, I finally have a book of nude(s) finished and on sale. Go me! 🙂

A Poem With Harvard Referencing But Lacking Bibliography / Grace

This arrived! ❤❤❤

Your name has power (Bourdieu and Passeron, 1977 [1970])
When I see it pop up on my newsfeed
When it isn’t even you
My heart collapses (Schwarzschild, 1916)
Grabs hard in my flesh
A wave of cold / heat / cold
Damns me, guilty
Everything shivers

When you text me, everything stops
Stops stopped and shot
I get the passcode wrong
Once, twice, careful now (Aunger, 2004)
Sometimes I don’t rush
Because I know a no,
No, none taken, smiley returned
The osmotic gradient is overpowering
In terms of emoticons
And emotions
No wonder nothing lives here (Levison, 2008).

Even fragments of your name mean too much
If I see them unexpectedly
If I’m not prepared to lie
And cheat and steal and murder (Foucault, 1954)
And set fire to every truth I’ve ever professed to know
Because of the way your fucking face
Turns the world upside down (Bakhtin, 1968)
If I had Ray Milland’s guts
I could solve the sight, find joy (Barthes, 1975)
But I remain a coward, disgusting,
Outcast, filthy with love, rotten (Hebdige, 1979).

On the train home,
I was free.
Just for a second
And it was glorious
I was in sunlight (Burawoy, 2003)
In Paris and San Fransico and New York
Because I’d been in London
And she had kissed me, touched me, loved me.
When she threaded her fingers through mine
And pressed her body against me (Reich, 1927)
It felt good to not be ugly
Fuck, it felt good.

And
Just for a second
I wondered if I was actually mad
At all (Foucault, 1961)?

In conclusion,
This is an area that would benefit greatly
From further research (Mishra, 2012).

Four Years Ago Today

Four years ago today
My life ended
And this one began

Soon, I won’t remember that life
Because I can’t
It’s too beautiful

You’re too beautiful

Tonight, I’ll be wearing a mask
Over my mask
So people won’t ask me if I’m okay

If I look sideways
I don’t see it
I can pretend it’s not there

But I know it’s waiting

These last four years,
Trapped in the Wrong Universe
I’ve been running, hiding

Yet the memories hunt me down
In dreams, in moments
I see you, I love you

You love me

Unplugged from smiling
Released from laughing
Expelled, screaming

I wait,
For nothing, for nobody,
Blank.