(poems for the summer)

Brighton coast / Photo by Rachel Silverlight

Night (summer).

 In the stillness of the night I hear
Some car pass down some road.

Or is it the sea? That roaring rumbling
Sound is so distant and so faint.

Or the wind that whistles down these streets
Between the buildings like channels to
The sea?

No matter; the laughing gulls are up.



The sea belongs to me.
The sea belongs to me.
Three times I have swum now
Three days in the sea
And three makes it true
Don’t it?

The sea belongs to me.


(after Camus)

I will die not happy not sad
it will come to me just as it is
and it will be everything
I will feel some trepidation before,
but no more than any man or woman
at any other change coming.

After all it is fixed
like pain is fixed
and joy has its limit
and cold is fixed
and so death
from the moment we’re birthed
and before
played out in the lottery of the stars
in the light of any distant sun
still playing out forever.


bus dreams


the seas were fake and made of plastic

Over the hill see the stars of the city red green yellow and a faraway peach coloured crescent of light glowing roman colonnade

 the comets bus window reflected lights

 Coast past handsome Georgian town houses like we’re entering the Mediterranean only not quite like they’re braced: against the weather, grey waves no gentle blue.

 huge halo dandelions of  streetlights rain-blurred

 Sudden bus smell something who knew you’d missed or would/could miss: musty, sweaty smell of someone once’s bed– gone.

misty on a runway in space.

the rattling road
the crumbling pen

A palace of light, signs where cassette lord reigns and fat man crossing road flaps his arms left right like an oversize duck attempting to take flight and stars approach and fade, a memorial, a memorial, a hall of strangers:
it is the City!

It is the city.

(peacehaven to brighon, last bus)

love not money

The Free University Brighton Launch

Free University revolution

Caroline Lucas
Bob Brecher
Martin Levy
Red Diamond Dragon Club

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midsummer’s day

tune yards // thousands

You would be forgiven for not noticing, given the overcast sky, but this time last week it was the summer solstice. Longest day of the year, what seems to me like the beginning of the summer and the beginning of the end. It always makes me sad to think that from here onwards the days are in decline. NEVERTHELESS, what a wonderful day it was, at least in Brighton, when the sun finally broke through the clouds, and I spent the evening at the Haunt where the glorious Thousands were playing.

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cixous on the telephone

On Tuesday I was lucky to attend a telephone conversation between French writer and thinker, Hélène Cixous, and our own Professor Nicholas Royle of Sussex University. I’m aware that a telephone conversation does not sound so very thrilling and it was certainly a shame that Cixous could not be there in person, as was originally intended, yet even so, everyone I have spoken to about the event agrees that it was a very curious and special thing indeed, something that even now I’m not sure I’ve caught the full meaning of, and to which my thoughts have kept spiralling back.

What I’ve got here are the notes I took from the conversation, and I was scribbling away as fast as possible trying not to miss anything. But of course it’s inevitable that I would miss some things and mishear some things. Maybe this is me joining the conversation, or extending the conversation, another act of translation and preservation; but maybe also creating something new again, and I thought my notes might be interesting for those who attended and hopefully for some who did not, those who already have some interest in Cixous, or language. It might be of no use to anyone, but I thought that in a way it might be interesting as an extension of the performance that was.

[EDIT 3rd January 2012] Hear the original conversation between Prof. Nicholas Royle & Hélène Cixous on the University of Sussex website:

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FOUTRE LE BIBLIOTHEQUE! (brighton beach sessions, i)

After handing in essays I went to the beach. Once I was there I felt very strongly against the library and was feeling dreadfully wordy and inspired, so I scribbled furiously for the next three days. It’s hard for me to comment on the quality; Hélène Cixous and Maurice Blanchot both propose that the skill of the writer is not in finding the words but in disposing with them; cut and keep cutting; it’s in the weak left hand that the writer’s talent lies. So I’ve tried to edit them all to hell, but they remain more or less the same, and what they are I’m not entirely sure. I would hesitate to call it poetry; admittedly I’m rather shy of poetry. Well it certainly isn’t prose. It’s an experiment, then; I’ll leave it at that and stop disclaiming.

(It began one night)

humid and green smelling
the whisky cat stretched out, fell asleep in front of
the window in the shabby garden room
where skin is sticky, socks, feet
hair sticky, palms sweaty, nails, knickers and
eyes are hot
darting swifts birds you can hear but not see
shrieks like sonar, like bats piercing
the sound of the silence of the laughing gulls
from their rooftops
and chimneypots, wherever white on purple
lavender dove grey indigo
ice cream van moment
the air of moisture; breathing steam
sweat, dew on arms, chests, legs
evaporates from the damp leaves and thunder
groans from vaults above
where the buckled ceiling expects;
the nestling violent cloud whose sighs
move so prettily with a song, in the flowers.
on either side of ours, where families came,
patios clean and pleasant
not this one.
tangled mess overgrown grass, weeds
even the rose not a real rose but a
dog rose
looking at
gaps in the pointing
wrinkles in flaking white wood of the pane
decking of old pallets
rotting breaking treacherous underfoot
wooden chair, cheap, sliver of wood
curling, cracking upwards but
I can see over walls
where the whisky cat sitting there looks back.

garden room where jewelled lights and silent gulls
hats furs clothes, shoe crammed floor
and red little toenails on the ends of legs
the wind always rises before the rain.


nothing separates us from the garden
not glass, not space between us
the chipped old red bricks
so favourably and fortunately keep us dry
warm in the red light crystalline garden room exotic where
whisky cat comes in because the window is wide open
but how to bear closing it when
the garden in the room the room in the garden
the sweet rain that falls on wood making it slick, shiny
first summer rain
falls like first snowdrop, daffodil, bluebell, dandelion
first dog rose to bloom

Don’t hesitate to tell me what you think. This doesn’t really feel like ‘my’ work – that is, I can’t appropriate the words. It’s become like a horse and I’m looking at it and I get on to ride, but it’s risky business – the horse is not yet broken; it’s doing what it wants to do and I just sit tight and try to get somewhere (anywhere).


(see below for previous two installments of my Brighton local travel diary sort of a thing)

Brighton Pier

thanks to Patrick for the photo

Thursday, Thursday… even less ready for life on Thursday morning. But Thursday is the last day and there is a helluva lot remains to be done. By now I must confess the events of these three days are muddled indeed: there are a couple of bookshops I want to say we looked in on Thursday but I’m suspicious we actually saw them Wednesday; well, for form’s sake (Tuesday was poetry, Wednesday was pubs and jazz – what can be said of Thursday if not shopping?) let me now pretend that all shopping occurred on Thursday.

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