No-one would have believed, in the first decades of the 21st century, that our world was being watched from a point in space barely a few trillion miles beyond the heliosphere of our life-giving sun.
But only few seem so stupid as to feel it – or dwell on it,
Those winter winds, and summer’s colder with each accelerating passing year.
Few see the birds as they fly south across autumn skies
But one by one, the flocks don’t come back to northern shores…
Remember autumn’s golden gown?
We used to kick our way, laugh, and you did so love this time of year,
Those fallen leaves lie undisturbed now,
Imagine that, nothing left of humankind, just houses of stone
and wooden boat.
It was stampede,
ten million people stampeding families
splintered by panic to escape the massacre,
Selfie sticks abandoned.
And that’s a scene if you think about it you either look at and feel antipathy and ‘just deserts’ or you feel sad lovingly, because the very absorption in the moment of something so stupid and faddish as a stick with a picture to photograph oneself: it is childish and child-like and therefore charming and what must it be like to care not just for oneself more than the stranger who once had a selfie stick, but to care to be acclaimed by, or served by, or paid by selfie-stick-sods?”
“I was walking across Hyde Park by the silly Buddha fountain that squirts water out of every orifice, finger and edge, dusk coming on in the velvet Beaujolais early summer gentle way, not noticing people, only seeing ghosts but loving how close they are: every woman Virginia Woolf telling nobody and saying nothing trivial, never, and what was personal was all in wrung out into the books until it wasn’t a room of one’s own she yearned to find, or a lamentation of Jacob and the bedroom undisturbed and blah blah great war – and the brick of a husband who somehow found he could be arsed to trek the fifty revolutions into insouciant Alzheimers without her, every girl Sylvia Plath and her balloon faces.
I can feel the velvet on my skin, velvet parkland summer and sure it’s the water vapour or something about being a rainy island having beautiful days but the worst thing about England is its relentless beauty when wanton and London the never fucking ceasing call to come home though that home is a different place in space-time.
Sure I get it: Jacob’s Room. We all have our own Jacob’s Room. Jacob stops coming back or going back or whatever, for everyone. I understand you Virginia, and I know they were beautiful things and I know you loved them and had to pretend to be so austere and fear them when you just wanted to run free with that pompous queer cunt Isherwood who showed all elbows because he felt snubbed and he knew you were a genius and an artist whose works would last forever while his own … well, you make your choices don’t you?
A century gives perspective, you see, and every one, idiots and heroes and criminals and poets, has died, old age less cruel than life in art? Yes Wystan Hugh Auden, you DID love more, you WERE the one who cared more, and it pleases me in smug livingness to read those crotchety Isherwood scribblings with their gap-tooth imperviousness to shaking for inner beauty, to read “Be SORRY you were not here!” and it’s makes no difference to have inked the same graffiti a hundred times and more sapient than you, phenomenon all burn out.
If there is an afterlife, and there should not be one, because it would be too ludicrous, but if there IS, then you will have seen Chuck’s face after you died and how the cube was holding himself together with a pledge of allegiance posture that saw nobody and nothing and only the fact he’d been an entitled bastard and ha! Dead Wystan, written into life by Prussian hill villagers who let the lordling roll and sing, dead W.H. you weren’t the one who loved more were you?
Pity the best and most noble sentiment you wrote (in a poem’s title anyway) turns out to be the most ironic; and the most wrong as anybody who looked at Chuck’s oil slick eyes and Art Nouveau imperviousness knew in an INSTANT but the stupid guinea had only just found out as the sculpture struck the iceberg and there’s no need to write any more.
La La La La La, and here’s to you Mr Parkinson, at least you’ve left a few brown suede easter eggs for the Suivre Voyage Au Fin de La Nuit all those who say “more, please!” ultimately traverse. And then become middle-aged rather early.
“Burning the candle at both ends doesn’t just shorten the candle’s life, it mutates the candle slowly into something grotesque; the more so because it’s still the same wax that once was so young and beautiful.”
Where have you gone “Joe di Maggio” the song sang, thinking of “No More Heroes” but – see – if the name evokes any impression of romance today, in those more than a generation further down the line?
Not in SPACE.