Rg Gregory


from Proverbs of Hell

(a) radical

ban all fires
and places where people congregate
to create comfort
put an end to sleep
good cooking
and the delectation of wine
tear lovers apart
piss on the sun and moon
degut all heavenly harmony
strike out across the bitter ice
and the poisonous marshes

make (if you dare) a better world

(b) expect poison from standing water
lake erie
why not as a joke one night
pick up your bed and walk
to washington â€" sleep
your damned sleep in its streets
so that one bright metallic morning
it can wake up to the stench
and fermentation of flesh
the gutrot of nerves â€" the blood's
green effervescence so active
your skin has a job to keep it all in

isn't that what things with the palsy
are supposed to do â€" lovely lake
give the world the miracle it waits for
what a laugh that would be

especially if washington lost its temper
and screamed christ lake erie
i don't even know what to do
with my own garbage

pollution is just one of those things

go on lake erie
do it tonight

(c) drive your cart and your plow over the bones of the dead

isn't the next one
easter egg

i don't want to live any more in an old way

yes it is

to be a socialist wearing capitalism's cap
a teacher in the shadow of a dead headmaster
a tree using somebody else's old sap

i want to build my future out of new emotions
to seek more than my own in a spring surround
to move amongst people keen to move outwards
putting love and ideas into fresh ground

who will come with me across this border
not anywhere but in the bonds we make
taking the old apart to find new order
living ourselves boldly for each other's sake

then love is

if you ask me today what love is
i should have to name the people i love
and perhaps because it's spring
and i cannot control the knife that's in me
their names would surprise me as much as you

for years i have assumed that love is bloody
a thing locked up in house and a family tree
but suddenly its ache goes out beyond me
and the first love is greater for the new

this year more than any other
the winter has savaged my deepest roots
and the easter sun is banging hard against the window
the arms of my loves are flowering widely
and over the fields a new definition is running

even though the streets we walk cannot be altered
and faces there are that will not understand
we have a sun born of our mutual longings
whose shine is a hard fact - love is a new land

new spartans

i haven't felt this young for twenty years
yesterday i felt twenty years older
then i had the curtains drawn over recluse fears
today the sun comes in and instantly it's colder

must shave and get dressed - i'm being nagged
to shove my suspicions in a corner and get out
what use the sun if being plagued with new life
i can't throw off this centrally-heated doubt

accept people with ice in their brows
are the new spartans - they wait
shall i go with them
indoor delights that slowly breed into lies
need to be dumped out of doors - and paralysis with them

no leave it
there's still one more
the need now

the need now is to chronicle new times
by their own statutes not as fag-ends of the old
ideas stand out bravely against the surrounding grey
seeking their own order in what themselves proclaim
fortresses no longer belong by right to an older day

i want to gather in my hands things i believe in
not to be told that other rules prevail - there is
a treading forward to be done of great excitement
and people to be found who by the old laws
should be little more than dead
this enlightment

is cutting like spring into a bitter winter
and there is this smashing of many concrete shells
a dream with the cheek to be aggressive has assumed
its own flesh and bone and will not put up with sleep
as its prime condition - life out of death is exhumed

it's the other side
is so disappointing
no thanks
leave it for now


there follows a brief interlude in honour of mr vasko popa
(the yugoslav poet who in a short visit to this country
has stayed a long time)
and it will not now take place

this game is called x
no one else can play

when the game is over
we have all joined in

those who have not been playing
have to give in an ear

if you don't have an ear
use one of those lying about

left over from the last time
the game wasn't played

this game is not to do with ears
shooting must be done from the heart

x sits in the middle of the ring - he
has gone for a stroll up his left nostril

how can he seize a left-over ear
and drag it under the ground

hands up if you have been shot from the heart
x comes up in the middle of himself

in this way the game is over before
it began and everyone willy-nilly

has had to go home
before he could put a foot outside
(d) enough! â€" or too much

reading popa
i let fly
too many words

i bang away
at the seed
but can't break it

hurt i turn to
castles with cards

if you can't split
the atom
man stop writing
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