the madman’s inkwell (poem constructed using William Burroughs’s cut-up technique)

dread the chains no longer

for the grace has fallen!

and many a land of poverty.

pose them to submission,

sanction the mystical obscurity

of a former age

how rich a cluster

of attitudes liable

to feel baffled

formidable only

in awful truth

Deadly terrors the stars now clasp

immortal hands threw down the spears

and the night

divided for us

the judgement of the lordly ones

could once twist the sinews

thy heart began

collocations of grave devotion

what wings dare he seize?

aspire the fire?

jostle against chaos

our first impulse distinguished

to mutter some statement

of cosmologised disguise

Eternal reason be borne

its proper act and end,

the elaborations it invites,

an array of books,

doctrines testify to the profound

dread grasp

what the anvil dares illustrate,

existence as a cosmic drama

the gloss of the human story

must decay

now free to confess

arrogance unbounded

lost in shining light

the creator smiled

with ferocious strength

with the smile of daybreak

throwing light beyond question

the spirit water’d heaven

convincing the divine spark

in the distant deeps of thine eyes

of instincts revolutionary

welcome again!

to an age of paradox

an impregnable,

divinely-ordered world

united, mortal body



and in tears…

time and death break down…

silent, invisible

and in thy well of broken sentence

Infant Sorrow imagines

Its first experience of danger

the world walk’d,

transformed, bewildering

among the lapsed souls

weeping, wooing

selfish father

chained in night

here afore thy sight

outward eyes

the mind descries

absorb’d by vacant mind

feelings… still

metaphors firmly

vision bestows

the vast temple buried

beneath all these things

this Universe within


striving against

bound and weary

upon the gate of the tongue


these abstract commandments

of Heaven and Hell


into the emotional reality

of the Ancients!

Call for fires!

For heaps of smoking ruins in the night

For splendour!

For Glory!

Abrupt bursts of words!

slumber my fears

eclipsing curse of God’s relation


we see…

into the life of things.


Continue reading “the madman’s inkwell (poem constructed using William Burroughs’s cut-up technique)”

art ‘striving for liberation’: quote from W. Somerset Maugham’s The Moon and Sixpence (novel loosely based on the life of Paul Gauguin)

“when I imagined that on seeing his pictures I should get a clue to the understanding of his strange character I was mistaken. They merely increased the astonishment with which he filled me. I was more at sea than ever. The only thing that seemed clear to me – and perhaps even this was fanciful – was that he was passionately striving for liberation from some power that held him. But what the power was and what line the liberation would take remained obscure. Each one of us is alone in the world. He is shut in a tower of brass, and can communicate with his fellows only by signs, and the signs have no common value, so that their sense is vague and uncertain. We seek pitifully to convey to others the treasures of our heart, but they have not the power to accept them, and so we go lonely, side by side but not together, unable to know our fellows and unknown to them. We are like people living in a country whose language they know so little that, with all manner of beautiful and profound things to say, they are condemned to the banalities of the conversation manual. Their brain is seething with ideas, and they can only tell you that the umbrella of the gardener’s aunt is in the house”

W. Somerset Maugham, The Moon and Sixpence

Continue reading “art ‘striving for liberation’: quote from W. Somerset Maugham’s The Moon and Sixpence (novel loosely based on the life of Paul Gauguin)”

Salvador Dalí – The Great Masturbator (1929)

“If there is to be art, if there is to be any aesthetic doing and seeing, one physiological condition is indispensable: frenzy. Frenzy must first have enhanced the excitability of the whole machine; else there is no art. All kinds of frenzy, however diversely conditioned, have the strength to accomplish this: above all, the frenzy of sexual excitement, this most ancient and original form of frenzy” – Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols

Giorgio de Chirico – Perseus with his horse (1940)


“We seek those moments and marvellous experiences when a great power has voluntarily come to a halt before the boundless and infinite, when a superabundance of refined delight has been enjoyed by a sudden checking and petrifying, by standing firmly and planting oneself fixedly on still trembling ground. Proportionateness is strange to us, let us confess it to ourselves; our itching is really the itching for the infinite, the immeasurable. Like the rider on his forward panting horse, we let the reins fall before the infinite, we modern men, we semi-barbarians, and are only in our highest bliss when we are most in danger!” – Friedrich Nietzsche