For God’s sake, put something human there;
Add the I-word or rub in some personality;
Otherwise words only follow words,
Sense and nonsense in apparent order
Or none at all.
Like a landscape carefully observed,
Its image gathered up,
Brought to life on page or canvas…
I rebel and obliterate it with a scrawl.
Like music so perfect, so soulful,
A symphony rising, note by note,
Lifting the heart on violins…
I hate its recorded deadness and
End it in a scratch; erase all memory.
Like a story, meticulously composed,
Believable and real, full of people…
I throw my pen down,
Crumple the page and bin it.
How can truth be so frail?
Stories within stories; a thick weft of threads;
The intertwined strands of living:
People in impossible moments
Day-to-day people wrestling with a world
So few ever come to understand.
And no-one sees the landscape
Across whose blankness no-one creeps.
No music comes from silence: hands
Stroke strings, lungs inflate and breathe sound
Hammering hearts beat time.
No tale is told by rote; the predictable arc
Builds brick walls around its characters; weakness
Adds jeopardy; a wrecking ball crushes everything:
Some endless set piece runs the truth to ground.
I can no longer be like this: a cipher for a face,
A grimace, a keystroke and a download,
A dim reflection on a screen. Fiction flickers.
I strike out and pixels scatter in the data cloud,
I know nothing in the darkness that falls
Except that I am in it.
© BH, 2016
Clearing out my folders, this fragment, started in 2015, deserved a polish. So here it is. It’s probably about the stories we tell ourselves now, passively parked before our various tubes. Cathode Ray is gone but You lives on. In our ever-shrinking attention spans everything is brief and derivative. Nothing new under the sun, of course. Now more than ever.