Artifice. 2020

Is the definite memory
of several troubled months
significant enough to be transformed
by language which does not present
a naturalised situation or set of events
but is its own being, an artifice of experience,
a sculpture of an object only I have seen?

Should I remember her in this way.
Should I say that I have owned a dog and lived
in a cold house alone and struggled.

To write about events and shape them
into commodities is to have them announced,
and I do not think this is the purpose of this
cognitive space. Announcing your life
into someone’s face is rude.

But then maybe I should speak of other things,
or be more engaged politically.

Instagram is for images and when the poem
becomes an image, as this one already has,
then its existence has been rendered
into a strong shape, and the words in poems
have a duty to resist the strong shapes
of the world. The strong shapes

of the world are already strong shapes
and can be construed by your eyes
or written as thesis.

I cannot claim to have read enough about
language or cognition yet to have formed
a theory of why it is imperative to deny
language its natural code in a poem,
except in unusual circumstances such as this,
and there is the distinct and unsettling chance
that it doesn’t matter: there are different
kinds of brains. Some attracted to being lost,
some having the elements of the world
pointed out to them to make them clear.

All brains must be allowed to coexist.

I am reading Poetic Artifice. I have a job,
a good job and it is not to do with literature
but I am very lucky to have it and it has kept
me stable and I have learned how to work hard.

I lived in a cold house with an intelligent dog.
She was pathologically scared of strangers but very good at catch.

I tried clicker training with her. This is why I like to say ‘click’.

I had to have her re-homed and I spent a long time
very stressed about her life and about the best thing to do
but eventually I found her a very lovely new place to live,
and in doing so made a new friend.

I also suffered a significant depressive episode
and consumed far too much alcohol.

And then there was the time I was left without a boiler.

I have now announced several things that may
have the ring of interesting events
but they exist in the same way as they already existed
in the world that I regarded as metaphysically real
and now in memories that I can easily summon or entertain
or are clear images that suddenly appear as the result
of what I believe is the behaviour of matter.

I was left without a boiler for a whole month.

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