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There is a long history of works of art that could be described as “The things I love and the things I hate” poems or songs. Sometimes they take the form of a love song- the things I offer to you my lover as thanks or as an act of worship or as a token towards seduction. Sometimes they deal with the things that make life worth living or the things I would pass on to my children or the things I believe in.

Most of us who write will come at some time to the idea that it is our time to produce a poem or song in this mode. They are exciting and comforting because of their lyric feeling and because they come with an easy to follow form, they are basically lists.

Also, they let the writer get a lot of personally indulgent stuff off their chests.

This is my contribution to that body of work in the form of  a “what I would not destroy utterly if I were a rampaging, fifty-foot tall, mutant Catholic Saint”. There’s a little more to it than that (but we all have that arrogance I guess) as it has been influenced greatly by reading and re-reading an old JG Ballard story called “The Illuminated Man” which is mind-bendingly wonderful on the subjects of science, religion, time and space and an awful lot more and as the title suggests looking too much at a certain painting of St. Francis that you can find in the National Gallery in London. There’s a Nick Ray film that has something to do with it and the occasional moment of low blood pressure and… but there I go with the lists again.

The trouble with looking

What will remain after the fifty-foot man?

After he expands into a painting of a saint

Into a saint surrounded by beasts

Into a beast.

Surrounded by his own expanding flesh

Shoulders twisting in their sockets

Skin like a bicycle wheel inner tube

Teeth liberating from gums and jaws

Speech impossible

Altering the angle of the horizon

with every step

What will remain when he reaches the sea?

Nick Ray’s blind right eye

and the blues and reds it saw,

The shiver of a horse’s hindquarters

Several large oaks

the pile of warm, wet leaves around them

The hips of old men and old dogs met

just after dawn

when they own the world and its rising light

A bear’s lack of affect and

the sorrow bomb it detonates in your gut

Ippon, orgasm

A stream’s technique of breaking light

merging time and space

{Strange that the streams must stop for the fifty-foot man to expand}

Whatever made John Cassevettes feel

that only the old could be beautiful

and Gena Rowlands’ face that proved him wrong.

The making of icons

and the fictions of monks

that write history

The central nervous system

dancing in a box

and the tiny shed from which consciousness

is being created.

The stations of the cross

and the sudden reality of knives

Buildings, collapsed from pure entropy,

that were standing last night when you passed them

drunk and nervous

Ready

WS, Sam, JG, their names cut up

As a charm against evil,

The things seen in childhood

That cannot exist, what would they feed on?

(Then what does mental illness feed on?)…

I’ll keep adding to this I think, as I don’t feel I’ve reached the sea quite yet… and the streams are still flowing.

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