Process Texts

 

I often use writing as way to think through a  work.  Here's a selection.

PORTUGAL

 

Listen to your listening, turn you ear on your ear

mumbling that which is mumbling,

warbling that which is warbling,

Opening to that which is opening,

reaching to that which is reaching to,

bringing-in that which is bringing-in,

straining to that which is straining to.

warbling, mumbling, straining to.

Bringing-in, opening to, reaching to, listening.

The sound of sediment, the screech of porcelain,

mumbling steel, warbling milk,

resonant manure, the tonal ear

hears melody in hearing, listening, sensing.

If you listen to listening, turn your ear on your ear,

you hear that which is hearing

and that which is heard.

 

Then by walking up the mountain,

you walk up the mountain twice.

In the pit of the moment,

inside the belly of the mountain:

both sources to the same river.

 

 

I began singing along, growling, whining, stamping and hissing.  I realised I could embody most of these sounds, however non-human.  Animistic aspects began evolving - possessions of the body: being dog-like requires a push up in the gut, pushing up air like you’ve been punched, then letting it roar out.  You mustn’t move your tongue or palate, the sound must emerge in a rush, with no possibility of word-ing.  That is, no sense of the sound even beginning to be moulded into language.  The sound is literally pre-language, before that moment your mouth captures the air and bends and squeezes it into language, your mind forming text and sending messages to the mechanics of your body to shape itself in the correct way so the product can be formed and dispatched.  Dog-sound is ante-language.

 

 

A dog under each syllable:

a mangy dog rolling with a wet tongue lolling.

A dog in each grunt, a dog gnaws the palette

a dog bleeds my gums, each word dripping

red meat, dog-boned paragraph.

Mongrel poems, cross-bred stanza.

Throw a bone and leave the sentence dog-eared,

A dog under each groan, dog will make my mouth a home.

Dog-house language, kennelled-dog bookcase.

The dog sends noise across the valley,

dog-noise rolls down, gnaws the covas,

dog-words, dog-verse, dog-bred

rhymes with wet tongue lolling.

 

 

Words misunderstood slip below meaning-ground

into doubts sown beneath consciousness.

Water gushes below, louder than fire.

Words are moans made meaningful

sighs and wails and feeling-sung.

My tongue on your tongue, not touching,

nor wet, but dry as ashes, dehydrating

bone-dry speech, speech as bone-dry branches

rubbed to make sparks, doubtful sparks,

fearful sparks, warm sparks in the eye of laughter.

Sparkles long in the eye of laughter.

Speak to me and lose your words, I will devour

intention: your words are lost on me.

 

 

Two-headed dog louder

than all the thousand pointless birds.

A phantasm in sound

rising up and scolding the valley.

Rue!

Rue!

You!

I’m a listening dog.

A dog listening to its howls,

listening to it listening to its howls,

hearing its mind listening to the sound of its howling.

The sound of howling echoing through the mind of a dog listening to its howling sound.

The sound of listening to the hearing dog howling its listening-mind full of dog howling.

One dog hears this all in one hearing.

Conglomerated dog howling,

howling as sound and hearing.

Howling is heard to exist and sounds to exist as howling.

In order of existence:

Hearing is first,

then the howling,

then the dog.

 

 

Birds that squeal, chortle, brap-brap,

coo-eee-woo—eee-woo-kee birds.

Between distant trees that form caverns of imagined depth.

Invisible holes into the centre of the earth,

resonant feedback of bird-call and response.

Chirrup, kweee-keee-keee-keee

as loud as my concentration allows,

moving ground back to fore,

as my inner voice falls silent

or babbles, “…birds”.

Birds lifting my flesh towards them,

birds as sound not flesh, ghost birds.

apparitions of ear and lobe-called birds,

lobe calls as otolith tremors; birds.

Birds seeping like mercury

through stirrup and hammer, thundered birds.

Birds in chorus, phasing birds,

birds delayed and reverbed birds,

modulated sine-tone birds,

sawtooth pink and white noise birds,

birds as pop and rock-strewn birds,

birds in blue - pained dying birds.

Fornicating fallen birds,

birds that dream of flying birds,

birds on wings or flightless birds,

resting, nesting, questing birds.

Birds from beating waves of birds,

alpha-beta-brainwave birds.

Birds who don’t exist in books,

who look like humans shaped as birds.

Relenting speech and lost in bird song,

speaking ceased to be a bird song.

Humans long to sing in birdsong.

Birds are humans raised as birds.

Birds are silence sung as birds,

birds know speaking is not words,

words are wrenched through throats of birds

hung and gutted, eaten birds.

Stuff the bird with bird-sung birds,

eat the flesh of singing birds,

hum the blood of murder, birds

you are but sticky, stupid words.

Birds are gutless, pointless birds,

spoke the bird who said the words:

Birds are humans bred as birds.

Human-birds who said the words.

Birds are human-bird as heard.

Birds in human-sung as words.

 

 

The village is silent and clocks tick behind windows to keep the beat

of each step in time with time bent around the curvature of mountains.

Time drifts, time ambles, never running, a moment spent never out of pocket.

The voice is inside, murmuring in hot sun, mumbling verse

written when dreaming about my love and our unborn baby.

Her face, her body in a new blue dress, the sun beating,

beating waves, tones mingling in close proximity.

She sighs like a baby sighs, the baby sighs inside her,

the baby sleeps inside her as she wakes and forgets her dreams.

Her dreams are woven in wool pulled from a sheep’s overcoat,

into socks, scarfs and winter pullovers;

dreams to keep you warm when the weather drops.

As I’m waking in the village the chickens crow

the snakes sheepish and the dogs sloth-like

the frogs fishy and the cats pigs

feeding on silence with long lingering paws.

Pauses become days and conversations take weeks,

an old man in the village was waiting for us for seven days

In such silence my tinnitus gushes like a new river

threaded through the eye of a needle.

Hissing streams of tiny water, water squeezed through the pores of a mosquito.

I hear her hissing until she move to my left ear,

there she merges with electrostatic errors in my brain.

My left ear hears the world as it is, as sound as energy in flesh,

outside is vibration in the pay of atoms,

oblivious to the effect it has on neurology,

music itself is oblivious to music:

the Girl From Ipenema:

each man she passes go “ahhhh”

but she just doesn’t see.

 

PORTUGAL 2008

 

The landscape has skin,

sun-bleached marbled shells:

 

Its cooked on by maids, looked on by princes,

The quarry of men, risen up into homes.

The soil has black-gold veins and clinches

to white dust whit to cover the walls,

and schoolrooms are writ on in marble-white prints,

A solitary rock that forever greets summer

is dappled with lightning that chose there to rest.

I seek you in words but perhaps that’s no quest

when what is needed is here and not there.

 

A marble city, who lives there but rocks?

Who thinks on it?  Only the birds.

Its theatres blank, its music not heard,

Its semi-quavering notes last an epoch,

Its quarried and hunted and dug-up dirt,

For who knows the name of abandonment?

I see the footsteps of mountain ranges,

foothills of marble, tablet stone pages.

A home is forgot made from bricks and cement.

 

So, humans made these holes, these inverted mountains?

They hammered its summit, all sinners,

Their peaks underscoring elaborate dinners

They sung on the rock, they smoked in its ear.

(If I made a mountain I’d build it upwards

but where would you put all that dirt?)

Hide it in statues, or under her skirt,

make pavements and kitchen cupboards.

 

What comes from the ground bound baiting?

Only ripe fruit and the owl-eyed goddess

The rest we have to explain to ourselves

By hammering, or fighting, or waiting

I’ll explain you the rock by making a man.

Then, burying your bones when you die,

Your thick skin, impervious, all-settled, you lie.

As history stacks up above you in tan-

coloured hues that geologists struggle to name.

 

 

Above, below.

No escape from death

Even in breathing

I have less and less,

Counting down,

Until one becomes the last

With none to follow.

 

All bones look alike

and skulls never smile

nor frown.

They just exist.

And what a crowd

they make in silence!

It’s not our bones that make us human,

that’s for sure.

 

 

The bones of sheep look like people

when surrounded by glass and rotten sofas.

The quarry buried a thousand secrets and,

in my own heart, I dig a few more.

I scatter them across the chalk

where the birds sing in agreement.

 

China half buried or plastic congealed.

Perhaps an ice age passed by here

and we missed it; we were driving to work

as beer cans evolved into enigmas.

Mutate into memories or unbalanced equations,

rock on the one side, on the other infinity.

Oh death!

I aspire to expire

alone!  A bone

am I!  Do you

Recognise

my distant eyes?

My smile

from a mile?

My field

of dark hair?

Not at all.

I am a twig

A branch only

of a felled tree.

 

 

 

 

©2019 by Dan Scott