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Lawrence Upton

The kind of poetry

as a well-made well-placed bomb
will not only dismember
and thus disable one's enemy's intentions,
but also turn their bodies
and what may be learned from them
into something not only harmless
but also, partially, unrecognisable
and, perhaps, therefore, indescribable 
and, therefore, uninterpretable; 

so the unexpected understanding of a crafted phrase
which has been placed in the auditor's environment
and left as a puzzle ready to trip and go unstable
in an unexpected contradistinction (a big
leading foot goes down
with an inappropriate stress
on a lexical wire
and all the attention of those listening
goes through critical into the demolition 
of the ability to reconstruct what it was one thought 
might have been in the process of
being said) may give those
who think things simple
a jolt

 there are many mechanisms available to linguistic engineers
but the difference between
transformation of the means
of production of meaning,
whereby it will be impossible
for us to be
misunderstood in socio-
economic terms which are
not in our class of interests,
and the armed truces of
difference of opinion,
leaving us with the almost
universal panmunjom of unreal
realities of diplomatic speech
crossing razorwire borders
(at work, at school, in bed)
just to stay alive
is effected by the ability
of our makers to produce
the perfect weapon
through which they who
cast the first stone at
their comrade will find
belief in the gravity of
their situation leaving them;
so that they cease
circuitous worship of the
norm just long enough to
ensure derision and hence
superiority of their
unwilling adversaries' position --
let them really believe the world is flat
and see how they like the plumbing
through which they who
make an over-pompous point
will lose their insubordinate ranks to sleep
and its increase of potential
thence to be outranked
by the simplicity of first waking's utterance, 
an irritable dismissal perhaps?

Leave the inadequate teachers
to their gabbling silence:
words which encourage those who hear them 
to turn to those who utter less fortunate phrasing 
and say "shut up, you do not understand: listen and do not lie to me again";
words which make us laugh at liars; 
words which dispossess their hearers of the inclination to lie;
words with the strength and purpose of a honeycomb;
words with the fleet existence of a trailback marijuana smile;
words which are words and nothing more;
words which bury an emperor's army with a meadow;
words which move a finger from a trigger;
words which wash away sand-castles, word tides no longer tied to locality;
spontaneous systematisation of the system by the system for the system 
(which is not the system the system thought it was)
in which an act of humour is an act of survival,
natural not forced selection;
species of saying which are saying of species
not the species;
code of the genus which our genius elaborates --
hence democracy from, finally, theocracy;
not degradation of unspoken ideas --
the autocratic voice will always speak if you have the words to trick it;
but the spread of seeds in an autumn wind;
syntaxes of ants taking carrion windfall into the ground;
sounds which move, as wind moves leaves, the hearer over stone;
wind which is also molecules in systems;
systems which use their context as their mechanism;
mechanicals turning the world of words 
into whirls of words which speak lightly about chaos

that is the kind of poetry




Poet; graphic artist; sound artist. Forthcoming publications: Balcony Poems for Richard Kessling & walking poems. Recent publications: wrack (2012); Memory Fictions (2012); Unframed Pictures (2011) and Wire Sculptures (2003). Co-edited Word Score Utterance Choreography in verbal and visual poetry (1998) with Bob Cobbing, with whom he wrote collaboratively (NB D.A.N. 1994-2000 & Commentaries on Bob Cobbing 2013). 2008-2011 funded as AHRC Research Fellow at Goldsmiths: "Notation for Sound Art involving live presence". Visiting Research Fellow in Music, Goldsmiths, University of London 2011 +. Academic Member Athens Institute for Education and Research. Belongs to Cloud Appreciation Society. photo, synthesis - Singing Marram (for solo viola) commissioned by Benedict Taylor (2013). Upton is now working on a graphic score for harp and voice. Second solo exhibition from recent projects September 2012 St James Hatcham. Maker of "artists' books" especially in collaboration with Guy Begbie. Has made many text-sound compositions with John Levack Drever (2004 +). Convenes Writers Forum Workshop; directs Writers Forum.


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