Characters in their own stories

Characters in their own stories intermix
on avenues of danger, those not in
the frame invisible.
                                Now, and then, one
flees from us, becoming unreadable
from a point of view. More’s discernible
of those who stay, skewing interpretation.

We have fun at carnival, consuming that
which might have grown fat, fearing death. That fear
animates each. As we stir at our own fear.

Some of us. Fragmentary godlike words
collide in test chambers where exponents
of lies and terror clamber round others,
anthropomorphic inhumanity,
clinging. Indolence provides the ground cover,
overwhelming fences, bridges, thoroughfares.
Stories get muddied, muddled; directions
change in direction in their fat middles,
adjectives turned eponyms. Apposition
personalises fragmentarily.

Time for Herod to ponder Truth. We must
get moves on. Before we know, we’ll be back
at beginnings, every sphere windfallen,
every name half-lost; waiting





preparing the dead

the thing about preparing the dead
the way we prepared them!
was that they were less prepared than ever
when we were done

their insides were contained and muffled

their mouths were left inoperative

had they known, they might have felt discouraged

they were books of a single page, and that uncut

do you read me? / No / No? / No
Pickled in their own piss
Wrapped up in their own sticky blood

We prepare ourselves or let go the dead.
We prepare, ourselves, the dead.





Two graveyard poems

self   of friends
one selves; and, then,
regains, in timely
measure, growing
in importance, importing
ephemera and processes
taking down such barriers
as exist, fragmenting
parts played up and out

let us prey upon each other


ambiguities of inquiry
not   to react
inertia holding
a vacuum polarised
a set of expectations





glancing at his watch in shadow

glancing at his watch in shadow
an expression as deep in appearance
as it is shallowed in emotion

head nodding its numbing routine
as the way he committed data
from recollection to the hard world

news from blood rushed through a brain
being shown forth elsewhere, sand grains
on a promenade before rain water

pushes them into the gutter
down the drains and thence into ocean
where in due course they round more than once;

and so with this idiot chasing time –
as he smokes too rapidly for breath
and begins coughing, which lasts some gasps







[Lawrence Upton (lawrenceupton.org): poet and graphic & sound artist Recent publications: wrack (2012); Memory Fictions (2012); Unframed Pictures (2011); and Some commentaries on Bob Cobbing (2013). He co-edited Word Score Utterance Choreography in Verbal and Visual Poetry (1998) with Bob Cobbing, with whom he also made Domestic Ambient Noise, spanning 300 pamphlets totalling more than 1800 pages and taking over 6 years to complete (1994-2000).

20 + text-sound compositions with John Levack Drever.

Second solo exhibition (“from recent projects”) September 2012, London. Made photo, synthesis (for solo viola) on commission to Benedict Taylor (2013), now being premiered (Subverten CD).

Convenes Writers Forum Workshop (since Cobbing's death in 2002). Visiting Research Fellow in Music, Goldsmiths, University of London.

Copyright © 2014 by Lawrence Upton, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of Copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.