Wednesday, 23 December 2015

On Regimented Nihilism and Stockholm Syndrome

The flowers are not welcome.
They are tuneless and crass, a greasy regiment
Of soil-fed priests cutting deals with vagrants
In their subterranean Duchy of undying Narcissi 
And blood-metal towers.  

They are headaches; 
Tiny robots of precision, 
Their sharp anvil teeth relentlessly grinding sun as sky-shy
Invertebrates bathe indecently in the thick oil
Of their ancestors 
Coagulating clot-like in the straw-drawn rivers
Snaking around this Demi-kingdom of half-dead cigarette butts. 

(I will not read the suicide notes they leave on the snowy cobbles, 
I will not.)

They are of the Oldworld, prejudiced by their pedigree 
And disfigured by their resolute nihilism. They care not for sentiment
Or blithe being, yet they are ubiquitous!
A rotating sorority of predatory nurses cloaked in the
Redundant asymmetry of their own spoon-fed asexuality. 

(They ate all of the pigeons... they won’t come back.)

They have split my garden, 
Ripped it blindly into a colour-coded 
Regime of repetition, the leafy giants lassoing bees
Like furry humming balloons as laboured ants are held to order
Along the cracked checkpoints of inertia. 
They are everywhere: a shoal of anaemic anaesthetists 
Rooted in the waters of my subdued cognition, 
But I will not join them!  

I will not be that flower!
That sickle-spined orphan of communism, 
Shuffling heavy-leafed 
Into a personal apocalypse of howling morality. 

I will not be that flower, 
That rip-roaring shadow of light-stem 
And endless eyes, 

But I’d be the happiest prisoner...
Swapping spit with Moscow as Father rapes the winterlands
And the neighbours’ kids clap like geese 
With fat livers.
Yes, I’d be the most obliging prisoner, 
A downtrodden god with a dirty face
Knee-deep in reality and awash with the stains 
Of a pre-war dystopia. 

Oh, I’d be the most forgiving prisoner,
Breaking my wrists at the Altar of Weeds and
Content to accept the inevitable singularity 
Of existence,

But I will not be that flower. 

I will not.

I will not!


  1. Ah! The Wunderkind returns!

    I smiled all the way through, just for the sheer nostalgic pleasure of reading your poetry. I can think of no better poem to round off this miserable year than this gritty and unforgiving Dystopian vision.

  2. Strong, solid with lots of big words and I loved it!

    I will not be that flower! My favorite stanza but every line is still echoing in my head.

    Thanks for visiting. I wrote what I saw in the collage.

  3. The drooping top heavy sunflowers are the worst.
    I can’t stand to see them droop
    Faces hung like lamps bent over
    Their lights are out

    Their shame is as drastic
    as their joy was in August
    They burn at both ends

    Love the idea of them lassoing bees.

  4. What a wondrous way of accepting the Turning of the Wheel... I love the acceptance, and the joy it evokes.

  5. This is such an interesting an rich poem--even as a prisoner, you resist here! And always important to resist, I think, the pull of narcissi--your imagery is so rich and yet you manage in the jam to have a real voice of personality. Thanks. k. (

  6. Yikes, love this. Is it wrong that I love this? ;) Kids like geese with fat livers, that's some real darkness there. I will not! NOPE.

  7. Being a flower person myself, I have long since accepted that it is best to distrust those who garden with blood, and best as well not to try to be one that springs from it, better to be even a dirty-faced god imprisoned----"the leafy giants lassoing bees/Like furry humming balloons as laboured ants are held to order/Along the cracked checkpoints of inertia. '...good to read some real poetry for a change--thanks for coming back where I can find you.

  8. i think strophes i) and ii) are trying to tell me this :"no sir, i do not like to be told, i do not tolerate order and conformity".
    strophe iii) is a poetic case of the stockholm syndrome.
    interesting imagery! :)

  9. Wow! First, it is always LOVELY to see your name pop up in a link. This is a very potent write, dark and gritty, and I love the "I will NOT. I will NOT." Way to finish the year in a blazing blast of poetry! Smiles.

  10. Seeing your post pop up near year end is a treat far greater than any Who or Black Mirror christmas special. This piece evolves inward in a way that I enjoyed immensely. The opening line is a killer, and then you dig deeper into the flowers until the concept coils around itself, sheds it's skin and comes out in the third verse hissing a new song....great work OT!!!! Thanks for stopping by the nice cage as well. My work is posted infrequently these days, but always nice to see you've read the black birthday cake!

  11. Hey OT - how kind of you to stop by my blog, but more than that - how superb to see your work again ... as always, you are writing greatness and I am so glad to be exposed to it again ... so many great phrases; too many to pick just one but I must say, the line about "they ate all of the pigeons...they won't come back" keeps coming back to me - such a vivid image. That and, "I will not read the suicide notes they leave on the snowy cobbles, I will not." Your writing haunts me and I love that ... don't ever stop, okay? Best always.

  12. Literally most disliked are often noxious weeds, sapping the soil of nutrients and moisture to the detriment of cash crop plants. Example, the beautiful Russian Thistle plant. Though not 'noxious' are the dandelion, seeded one used as an illustration for your post, and the wild African violet were my favorites as a child. My Mom and my teachers received mant bouquets from these as they grew wild in the schoolyard.
    Still application of the viscous flower example to human experience here is hard for me. Though beautifully written it nags at me for finding more than Mother Nature's schemes.
    BTW, this fall we have, not by design, planted a Pansy grazing field in our flower beds for the neighborhood rabbits. I'm tempted to make myself a Pansy green salad.
    Thank you for peeking in on my simple 'Turn' writing. Sometimes latent feelings are put to words via the keyboards.

  13. Apologies, I've managed to accidentally delete half of these comments instead of publishing (mobile blogger is not cooperative), but they were all appreciated :)

  14. Weeds turning soil evil because of their choking stems. Your piece speaks of the word's garden we live in. It seems the louder the weed, the more we accept its seed.

  15. I relish the pace and heft of your pen. Good to read you again. ~

  16. I adore dark-themed poetry. This is one is very powerful and with strong convictions. I particularly liked the voice of iii. It's determined and focused.

    Happy New Year.

  17. This is such a perfect poem for my reading right now.. I could have been some of the voices in Svetlana Alexievich books... A dark delight, like 99% chocolate

  18. I love the (internal dialogue) ...sometimes our will to read those notes and be that flower get the better of us..perhaps flowers are underrated in their ability to survive whatever darkness falls around them...a wonderfully dark, wry and captivating poem..i love the nods to other poets but also the sense of it being completely your own..

  19. This is great writing...

  20. i think all discussions around nihilism , should end up with acceptance

  21. Ah, your words are a feast! Unique and original. A poem to savor. Good to see you again!

  22. strong images and interesting concept.

  23. very interesting and thought-provoking scenarios. bravo!

  24. This is a fabulous write. I most enjoyed the bracketed asides and the repeated "I will not"'s. SO good to see you linking and to read your work, my friend. Yay. Great start for a brand new year of writing.

  25. Oooo, you are gnashing teeth, clawing and kicking and screaming, aren't you? You put that ink-spilling sword away before you cut someone ;)

    And my oh my, while you were spitting fire a phrase scorched my eyeballs and I was unable to see past it...

    "lassoing bees like furry humming balloons"

    Furry humming balloons? Who comes up with that?!

    No one but you, my friend. No one but you.

    The tone is so biting and acidic. The wording phenomenal but also exposing. The blood-guilt, the greed, the smooth and buttery lies and drip from all authoritative voices that claim to be the flowers. And if these are the flowers of our world who strip us of heart soul and mind and feast upon our innocence, who can blame you for choosing to be a weed? For choosing to be a prisoner rather than the freedom they offer?

    You are a scream that is being heard all over the world:


  26. Some world-bending imagery here! I am looking forward to reading more of your work.

  27. With all the protesting at the end, I'm pretty sure you already are that prisoner. :)

    These are my favorites:

    "They are headaches;
    Tiny robots of precision,
    Their sharp anvil teeth relentlessly grinding sun as sky-shy"

    "They have split my garden,
    Ripped it blindly into a colour-coded
    Regime of repetition"

    "Oh, I’d be the most forgiving prisoner,
    Breaking my wrists at the Altar of Weeds"

  28. Intense and moving. A strong, emotive piece of writing!

  29. I'm in awe! My mind does not think this way and it takes me a few reads to grasp your brilliant meaning. From your archives it looks like you write maybe one poem a year...I can see why! Whew, intense. Really like your vehement protesting...I will not!
    Gayle ~

  30. This is a real treat..such a blast of words, imagery in the making of what makes a poem a poem...

  31. I admire the passion and strong verses specially with:

    I will not be that flower!

    How lovely to read you again OT as it has been a long time ~ Will be relishing this again as your words are so far in between ~

    Enjoy your journey and wishing you a wonderful 2016!

  32. Some wondrous words here, 'sickle-spined orphan', 'rotating sorority of predatory nurses' - will read again

  33. Left vs Right
    Black vs White
    Light vs Dark
    at one point
    i only make
    lists but

  34. Wonderfully ambitious and stimulating work... Good to be reading you again...

  35. I love it and loved it and will re-read it at least another 30 times. How lovely it is to read a poem of such weight and poetic dramatis. This piece, to me at least, points knowing fingers at the hypocrisy of organized religion and dogma. The words and imagery you use are heart-stopping. "...Lassoing bees...." And the suicide notes on cobbled stones snowed over hit me right in the gut, searing imagery. Color me mindblown yet again. <3

  36. " I will not be that flower!
    That sickle-spined orphan of communism,
    Shuffling heavy-leafed
    Into a personal apocalypse of howling morality. "

    Very powerful writing - I love it. Sorry it took long before I could visit you. Thanks for joining OLN.

  37. I'm so glad I decided to stop by in the hope of a new poem! It's been far too long since I could revel between your words and images, and how I need it this week.

    I miss the days when I left essays on your poems.

    There's so much power here in these words, the echoes of emotions and buried intents (some less buried, more flaunted). I can't do this justice so I won't try, I'm too rusty to comment like I used to, and for that, I'm sorry.


    1. always pleased to see you've popped by! Hope everything's going well with your own writes!

  38. Google deleted my comment.

    I miss the days when I would leave you essays, unfortunately I'm too rusty to try and do this beautiful piece of art justice. For that, I'm sorry.

    I'm so glad to find this, I needed to revel between your words and images this week.