Plenty of Nothing

Ian Patterson

in memoriam Jenny Diski 1947-2016

Pale duty stamps about in plenty of nothing
        like the night when you knew everything to time
when each step was beaten off when the rack might add
        more glory and I would watch the stars
not kin nor proof to rule the sphere to know
        by clothes and tea how to cut them out of lino

Now see who has the little boat of love and wave
        adrift more salt at its best splash scornful enough
away on your right to curve well in some hope then
        plunge like blame, a hat tossed up and gone
and lost wires humming if ever there was one at hand
        always apt to walk with me out of my mind’s eye

Old china caught to hold as springless nature seeps up
        and wells and brims and falls back again
in a forest of beasts where silent stories reach an end
        or in dark lists above the clause that starts to die
left to review by me my kindest cut scabbed as a free
        local disguise made naked to suffer for doing just that

You could give it up for hope’s always a bit of web to ignore
        bound into the relief wire bad as you wish for
this lack of a figure in the grip of method on the screen
        to burst out of acid to be like last at the spindle instant
as a gripping vertigo flash vacuum leaves spores in place
        of humanism for us when this frolic unveils payment

End a hard time to get enough pink forms to reconcile
        two worlds of the mind to say the least and work
safe hands on what we know to move abroad like autumn
        leaves the trees revealed at last as a mouthpiece for language
a copy to taste such stress detail at times of less art chat tangled
        to a dead tune in sharp clothes in a space of her own

Make one pall as another hand leaves another letter fail to
        earth what it says out walking on skin debris from two
true stories in matters as if we lavish its fine tip on lungs of art
        to put a stop to this tread or peg out between ruts
in thin sheen as that eye that glass jar screwed cold and dark in pots
        too out all the same with a stump eyed from the window

After midnight it was a baffle or a very good copy in some style
        stapled deep with a mist full of blood for free detritus
flooding slides in capital sequence to watch them drive stout posts
        bleak to look at into the dark ground the black lightless fen
all about the aims of the whole bound in like a literary theory
        snarled in rough cuts to earn a living to repudiate

The hoover fades beneath a lethal march off this page
        to another partiality from the air against his masks
to form him now in terror forays or shape him in dumps
        in flame run half afraid on a floor of damp glass a lip
at fault speaking idle threads down to the bona fide dress
        shirt in hand over fist spooning into his face

So would you care to remain here and be consumed
        round the neck as the only way downward like a load
of light verse enduring through barrage and fancy filaments
        twittering in the ceanothus of invention parcels the
air bent into aesthetic shapes of this mercy or that or broken
        right apart eaten away starved crushed old mad blind and stamped on

Late level force embraces anybody it’s true and I must agree
        with you out of my hands to where the cities are power
splashed out in a witless sense, a complex merit or class say
        or ever becoming a kind of work out loud burning
it from one end to the other just because of skin declaring decay
        that might be a view from nowhere but a day in the country

What was made by us is hanging about covered in ribbons and birdshit
        and aprons all set on this time of night for any other way through
tangles of a seedy mind to hold nothing touched or even true
        to the same life just a door step away from a sheepish mouth
munching a sliver of something carmine and ludicrously
        pastoral as fishpaste or cracks full of dust or an entire bowl

Don’t nod or scramble so ruefully for dupes or lying for the poor
        furtive moon-blush army come back to try the view a lone
odour of almonds: am here am you we’re a monstrous pair of crows
        doubting summer’s purchase a blush in a garden of gleams
sowing seeds by the ankle path to sow wind in the tender cedar
        a charm above the door dilapidated its charm raddled

And see off a dumb tally over a long night’s counting till the sun
        gilds the new and sole account crowned legendary and lost
a film a few saw sheepishly on a blank promise to be better after it
        slipped inside to do as we go into the barrier; a face opens
the book of wishes and glides illegible as badgers in a complex pattern
        buries a bad label a gesture or tab scrawl I’d like to escape from

Oh secure fluid relief at your age one exists or leaves and will
        dissolve by final flux over you unaided inflicted and not once more
be ever one we hear so much and weep at windows in lost sentences
        ignored in the rest. The words on one level condemn us to death
of the use of them as we must simply know the part in the whole
        devoted to a singular being without being which there’s nothing left.