Abolition of Literature (Dreaming of Estuaries)

I.

Woke up with the word Shakespeare on his lips.

From outside came the echoes of crying.
People seeing their history in landfills:
forgotten presents, old Christmas annuals

and our language, once free as open sea  
with northern longships crossing freezing water,   
is now bound, masked, tortured in a cellar.

The simple joy of opening one’s mouth,
swearing with the most ‘offensive’ words known:
‘racist’; ‘sexist’; ‘homophobic’ – just sounds.

The past not past, that’s where I need to go.
I don’t believe laughing at swinging tits
caused sex crimes or discrimination. 

Nor did the execrable ‘Mind Your Language’
trigger anything but narcolepsy. 
I say this, then a recent graduate 

razor carves those words on my forehead. 
‘Bilbo woke up with the early sun in his eyes.’
Purity not ideology – cold air

cleaner than any thought now. 
I can’t believe they gave literature 
away to haters, beckoned them in.

Who can bear their doctrines of perfection?
The sun over clouds, dreaming of escape –
absolute beauty of scientific truth.

II.

Landfill culture – psychogeographers –
there’s nothing wrong with hating this country
(except you know hardly any of it).

We’ve been here before, obsession with the
Thames Estuary – Dickens, Conrad, Doyle,
doubtless too canonical, so instead

an exiled German in a terraced house –
missing (if honest) authoritarian
stamping, amazed by England’s sloppiness.

Terrifying vistas over nothing –
sea swill linking, somehow, to the Baltic –   
but slapdash, give a fuck, English freedom.

No intellectuals, no dialectics,
no shining utopian futures – just
net curtains in a seaside greasy spoon.

So this wounded writer would imagine.
Daft really – childhoods still shone, like Christmas, 
even better with North Sea waves slamming.

 
Paul Sutton

 

 

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