Dingo the Dissident

DINGO THE DISSIDENT : Qweir Notions in the Anus of Diogenes, weBlog of a nearly-octogenarian Binge-thinker since February 2008.

Sunday, 20 September 2020


Although it seems that the Greeks and the Romans
were not obsessed by skin-colour,
the Chinese and Indians were - and are.
Skin-lightening products are big business in India
whose rulers have for long been pale.
White has forever been associated with clean
and pure; stains are dark. Stains on character,
stains on souls, stains on underwear, stains on walls...
Christianity glorifies white and light and illumination.
Hell and the Devil are black, as were Moors, Muslims,
Blackamoors blind to Salvation in outer and utter darkness,
while doubters and atheists suffer the soul's Long Dark Night.
Aztecs awaited pale saviours who came and destroyed them.
White even starts with advantage in chess.
Depressingly, it always claims to be right.

Saturday, 19 September 2020

An Introduction to the Rigidity of the French Mind.

"You cannot serve raw with cooked."
(Very Claude Lévy-Strauss!)
Only a foreigner like me in France would eat salad
together with something hot.
It is a gustatory crime
which I commit all the time.

Friday, 18 September 2020

Jesus, in paintings,

never looks cheerful, always looks thin,
a bit gaunt, sometimes emaciated, his skin
colour that of the painter's countrymen*.

But his mother is quite a different
kettle of fish - almost always simpering
teenage soft porn.  So I was pleased
that a Valencian furniture-restorer
gave some earthiness to a copy
of a painting by Murillo (a painter of the Sentimental
School of art) which he volunteered to restore
(for a fee).

On the left you can see
the original (copy of the) cute little
porn-Queen of Heaven,
and on the right, the two more-convincing
(if badly-painted) imaginings of the restorer.

Why would Jesus' mother have conformed
to some European male fantasy ?  Why would
she not have been 'ugly', scrawny from hunger,
perhaps even bruised by
her fraught relationship with her husband ?

more here >

*Being bearded and skeletal, though not circumcised,
 I was once proclaimed Saviour
as I gave suck to a sweet and impassioned
(perhaps over-wrought, too-religious)
young man in a corner of Venice at night.

Thursday, 17 September 2020

The Insistence of Memory.

Time is ripe and short,
an illusion, a curve,
a line, a dimension,
a wheel within wheels
an invisible beast.

Zero, like time, is not nothing,
is the world without us,
unfeeling, unseeing,
without numbers or data,
without urgency, timeless
for the time being.

Wednesday, 16 September 2020

My best friend

is silence
who lolls voluptuously
beyond the grave, behind the veil
of time and hope, beyond the pale.

Tuesday, 15 September 2020

Sparisoma cretense says hello.

And by the way, everything that is not human matters more.

"Great White Hunters"

loved to kill the finest specimens
of Big Beautiful Animals,
thus weakening the species.
Because of their particular æsthetic
they tended not to include hippos
in their collections of trophies.

Monday, 14 September 2020

Just say NO.

Human credulity
is matched only by the
human capacity for distrust.
"Our Common Humanity" ?
No, thanks.

Sunday, 13 September 2020

The tee-shirt.

(reblogged from somewhere)

Imagine that you are part of a tiny minority

engulfed by a criminal majority whom you have defined
not according to 'race', 'ethnicity' or colour or accent
but because of your belief that the eating of meat
has become a crime against nature -,
especially the raising of animals and birds in horrible conditions
solely to end up in abattoirs,
sometimes ground into sludge to feed other animals.

The more unconventional and downright dissident you are
the more tolerant of the majority you have to be.
In my case, not just the thoughtless breeders and meat/fish eaters,
but also the police, people in any kind of uniform,
beer-swilling sports enthusiasts,
tv-watchers, Facebook-slaves, mindless 'holiday-makers'
(trippers who trudge through mediæval villages gazing at their screens),
dog-dislikers, plant-destroyers, water-wasters...almost everyone
outside my moral twilight zone.

Thus I (who could almost be an anti-natalist kind of Jain)
feel sad, impotent and ashamed when I wake up each day.
But I cheer up as I realise how splendidly tolerant I am (if inclined to whine
about these matters in this blog)
as my snot-green age surpasses seventy-nine.

Saturday, 12 September 2020

It goes without saying

that - introduced and spread
by the travelling and ski-ing rich -
The Virus most affects the destitute and poor.
But to what extent it is spread by cash itself
will we ever know - or care ?

There is only one word for 'time'

in most languages. But Japanese
has several.  We can't be freer than thought -
and thoughts depend upon words.

Friday, 11 September 2020

Oh! it's sad and it's sad...

...and it's sad...to be (like me) an intellectual
without much intellect. Such people
(Hitler, Qaddafi, Mao, Pol-Pot, Assad)
can easily go mad -
unlike real intellectuals such as Nietzsche
who contracted syphilis instead.

Thursday, 10 September 2020

The sad thing about Google

is not Google's fault
but the stupidity of millions
who - even if they choose it
to verify or find something out -
only half-know how to use it.

Wednesday, 9 September 2020

Bossy, vulgar - and thus comforting.

"I can't stand religion," Meg said. "It's so bossy, 
so pointless, so vulgar." - Elizabeth Buchan, The Good Wife.

"And grief should stop while it is still genuine."

Tuesday, 8 September 2020

When a tiny number

of the astounding ancient Greeks
began to consider The Good Life
and how it should be lived,
they (all, except Diogenes, of course)
were not thinking of slaves or women,
Persians, Italians, Jews or Phoenicians,
but of the privileged young men of Athens
or Corinth, Mycenæ or Rhodes.

Epicurus wrote a splendid recipe
for living 'appropriately',
without excess, kindly - but he was not
considering the lives of women,
slaves, dogs, donkeys, captured enemies,
peasants or unwanted children.
Few human beings
experience life as a pleasure - far less a gift,
and for most, living is not even an option
but a duty to others. It is only when living stops being
dutiful that it becomes an option - for the privileged -
to be crafted, ignored, explored or renounced.

'Intensive Care'

- a contradiction in terms,
otherwise known as an oxymoron.

Monday, 7 September 2020

This is the age of the portmanteau word,

one of the most ubiquitous being internet - which includes spam
(originally spiced ham in cans, a cheap-meat standby) - and which
would not have come into being without the transistor (transfer+resistor).
    Lewis Carroll invented several, but only chortle (snort+chuckle)
and possibly slithy (slimy+lithe) has entered common speech.
As with Lear and his limericks, Carroll's inventions were poor,
but since his time more-felicitous, less-manufactured portmanteau-words
have entered the language, among them: mizzle (mist+drizzle), smog (smoke+fog)
ruckus (ruction+rumpus), seascape (sea+landscape), soundscape,
sitcom (situation-comedy) and newscast.
    More recently: horrible Brexit (succeeding Grexit)
at which many word-sensitive souls like myself futilely grumble,
chugger (charity-collector + mugger), churgle (chuckle+gurgle),
brunch, and my favourites: flump (jump+flop),  thrumble (thrum+rumble)
and cremains (cremated remains of a mammal, usually human).
    I have of course invented my own: the delicious plumble (plum+crumble)
and, from snore/snort+gargle, to snore throatily rather than nasally - to snorgle.

    Note that the best of the portmanteau words end in -le.
I think that to toddle may well be a portmanteau of totter and dawdle or waddle...

    Portmanteau is not a portmanteau word, because no other words have been truncated.  It is an early example of franglais, coming from the hyphenated porte-manteau (=cloak-carrier).

Meanwhile, at the moment,
in the francosphere there is a sort of chronic diarrhœa (diarrhée) of franglais, or franglarrhée
which could fill a fair-sized booklet...hmmm...]

Sunday, 6 September 2020


A monster is not hideous -
but on the contrary
a horribly attractive
display - like the movies,
events, demonstrations
and gew-gaws
that shape and haunt
our awestruck, degenerate culture.

Saturday, 5 September 2020

I dislike anniversarism

- but, on this warm September day, 150 years ago,

Léon Gambetta, Interior Minister of the new, third, French Republic,
fled Paris (which was surrounded by German troops) for Tours,
to try and re-group the defeated Imperial army of Napoleon III.

Man's Tortured Friend.

A good time to die

is when one can no longer
step (while standing) into or out of one's
underpants, panties, long-johns, pyjamas,
shalwar, trousers, shorts, skirt, lederhosen or socks.
That is to say: before one becomes vulnerable
to Corona-virus attacks.

Friday, 4 September 2020

Thursday, 3 September 2020


Most of us have been tourists at some time.
My neighbour's father
called them 'tout-tristes' or 'tous tristes' -
Sad People.  There are still a few about,
gazing into smartphones, or at nothing in particular,
devoting their attention to marshalling the kids,
or walking briskly to get the visit done and over.

Love the Logic !

"I really don't like the culture of consumption,"
says my widowed neighbour as she opens the door
of her huge stainless-steel
double-coffin-sized fridge.
"I got rid of my grandmother's jewels."

The least we should do,
in our world-weary,
world-devastating luxury,
is be perfect.

Tuesday, 1 September 2020

Masks (and arabesques).

I took my mask off in the almost unpopulated gloam
of the cinema while I watched a feminist Saudi Arabian film.
Of course I hadn't realised until mask-wearing
became obligatory how horrible it must be
to have to wear the niqāb outside (sometimes even inside) the home.

After ten minutes in a shop behind a mask
I start to panic, hyperventilate, my glasses steam up,
I drop things, I can't see or hear how much I owe,
I offer too much or too little money,
I leave my purchases behind, I stumble through the door...

I can no longer help my scrambled hearing
by lip-reading, and if I put in my mini-hearing-aid
it can easily fall out when I rip off my mask.
It's worse even than the seat-belt in a car
which I cannot bear and for the not-wearing of which
I have paid obligatory fines. I know this is bizarre*.

But I have the choice.  And life is much worse
for the disabled and elsewhere.
I should pull myself together.
My problem with the anti-virus mask
is solved  by not going out to public places
which, anti-social in my incipient senility,
is my inclination, anyway.
In any case I panic long before I smother.
But if I had been born a woman in Arabia I'd have soon died
in one unpleasant fashion or another.

*And goes back to my anxious schooldays 
(at Cabin Hill Preparatory School, Belfast)
where I was occasionally sat upon, tied up, 
gagged, half-choked and spat upon 
by Happy, Wholesome Rugby-players -
some of who later Played for Ireland 
in what is now their glorious past.

Jesus' last post

on Facebook:
Survivors are the Biggest Losers.

Monday, 31 August 2020

"Poetry is pretty inconsequential

when written young," wrote the Great Poet Rilke. 
"But at the end of a (preferably long)
lifetime of sense and sweetness ten good lines might be written.
Real poetry comes not from emotion, but from experience."

What twaddle!  Lifetime of sense and sweetness ?
Keats had written fine poems by the time he was twenty -
and Rimbaud at seventeen had already written some of his best,
none of them pompous, some of them startlingly unrepressed...

Sunday, 30 August 2020

As our eyes aren't capable of seeing it:


Old, I don't feel particularly old.

When I was young
I didn't feel particularly young,
and rarely had the energy to be bold.
Death has always seemed to me
eternal respite, return to the organic fold,
and to lose my shameful humanity
as my corpse gives up its rigidity.
And I would rather die
a month, a year, a decade 'early', quietly at home
than later in a tasteless hospital. The end of life
is when we should be least controlled.

Saturday, 29 August 2020

The French are no longer starving.

The President has decreed a temporary ban on
on snaring blackbirds and thrushes with lime (glu)
on tree-branches, pending a decision on the venerable practice
by the upstart European Court of Justice.

To the terrible god of the imagination.

If only we in our heads could find ourselves
and be Us, not Thine
as wine in the cracked wine-glass is wine.

Friday, 28 August 2020

Celebrated until now

Sir Hans Sloane Square, Killyleagh, county Down, Northern Ireland.

for his Philanthropy
with statues
and squares named after him
in London and (more recently) in a little
Loyalist-British village in the county Down
where he was born an instrument
of local colonial oppression,

Sir Hans Sloane
used some of his large fortune
made from slave-breeding
and hideous slave-labour
without compassion or discretion
in sugar-virulent Jamaica
to found the British Museum -
itself a soul-numbing monument
to empire and possession.

Thursday, 27 August 2020


don't stand on ceremony
but on shit
and us
and anything that's rotten.

Wednesday, 26 August 2020

Ever since I've lived alone

(since 1966, in fact) people have "dropped in".
For the first few years it didn't bother me,
I even welcomed one or two of them
with open arms (or, sometimes, fly).
But soon I found it tedious, especially
when I was painting, tubes scattered on the floor
(I painted on my knees, 'in all humility').

I find it impossible to say don't come, 
I like my solitude,
or come by mutual arrangement only;
come, take me to a megalith -
or something else of interest or fun.

Somehow I have always attracted
lonely, bored, rejected people.
So they've arrived and bored me.
Is it that I'm too good a listener
or just too easy to dump loneliness upon ?

Some, with whom I lost patience (in an unruly outburst)
were so aggrieved that they never got in touch again.
People I would have liked to visit tended not to come..

Even now a lonely 'burden on the state'
(much younger, less robust than I) drops by three times a week
to ease the burden of his isolation  - with a tot of  La Réunion rum.

Tuesday, 25 August 2020

If you thought (as I did)

that a little of Bach goes a long way:


Vicious Circle

The father and mother
of all crimes *
is Domestic Violence
which inevitably results in
'Adverse Childhood Experience'.

* (against humans, if not against Nature.)

Monday, 24 August 2020

A date to remember.

On this day
in 430 CE
the Visigoths
sacked Rome

and some of them
made it their home.

There are people who like dogs,

and there are The Enemy.
My favourite tongue-twister is
I am an anomalous, misanthropic, Irish entity.

Sunday, 23 August 2020

"Founded in 1506,

"this Care Home is set in splendid landscape
 and offers a perfect wellness-environment,

 with spacious, shady gardens
 and a balmy climate similar to that of Cannes and Nice.
 It is accessible by rail from Paris and Lyon
 via a branch-line from Tarascon which takes just twenty minutes.
 For further information, please contact the Director."

Vincent van Gogh: Quarry-entrance above St-Rémy-de-Provence, 1889.

for more astounding paintings from this place and time, see

Saturday, 22 August 2020

Here is a list

of the emigrants from the Swabian-German village
of  Glogowatz (now Vladimirescu) in the Banat (area then of Eastern Hungary
and now of Western Romania as well) between 1905 and 1914
to North America, mainly New York State,
on ships with such names as Pannonia (= Hungary)
Carpathia and Slavonia from Trieste,
as well as a few others from Hamburg:


And here is a painting found by my Lithuanian friend Almina in a second-hand shop
in Colorado, which has Glogowatz written on the back:

Swabian Germans founded settlements as far east as north-western Turkey
and the Russian river Volga.  Several famous Russian musicians,
notably Alfred Schnittke and Sviatoslav Richter, were of Volga-German stock.

Friday, 21 August 2020

Teeth, etc.

No wonder that I came to fancy
bald hairy men with rough hands and beards!

Doris Day, very popular when I was young.

Thursday, 20 August 2020

The green areas on this map of Africa

show where hippopotami still survive.

The red areas show where they used to thrive.

Wednesday, 19 August 2020

Pink square football.

The most dangerously-biased people
are those who are most insistent
that they are not biased.

The most dangerous bias is optimism.
But I would say that, wouldn't I !

Tuesday, 18 August 2020

The Good News

is that failure
is a pathetic social construct.
Or, to put it another way,
the greatest success is death.

Monday, 17 August 2020

Warfaring people

want panoramic views -
and so the planet will have innumerable vistas
of treeless landscape.

Sunday, 16 August 2020

Saturday, 15 August 2020

MoMA : Museums of Miserable Animals

Zoos are galleries of misery and torture
 - though some small creatures might be happy there.

Art galleries are painless zoos of paintings
for the same hungry ghosts who come to stare.

Friday, 14 August 2020

As civilisation progressed

life became less of a challenge
and more of a chore.
Hence the importance
of competitive sport.

To my self-centred shame,

I have noticed only intermittently
the blackbird song which has been with me
most of my life.
Now, a cracked and huffing little bellows,
I sit on my high balcony
and listen (also intermittently
with human fake-humility)
to the blackbird singing in the cherry-tree
below.  Within that fragile creature
is far more than I am, far more
than in all humanity
and its deafening, apocalyptical vulgarity.

Thursday, 13 August 2020

Once Upon a Time

everywhere was beautiful.
Then came a time to fell,
a time to burn, a time to sow,
a time to reap...to fight,
to get down on our knees,
to weep over human graves

but not the stumps of trees.

Wednesday, 12 August 2020

Being a somewhat gullible 'innocent',

it is only now that I discover that
Quaker Oats

has nothing to do with
and never had anything at all
to do with The Society of Friends,

and that it was an early brand-name
(after Coca-Cola, McCormick's Spices and Lipton's Tea)
in the hideously-serious marketing-game.

Note: Modern 'branding' began as a result of legislation
for the registration of exclusive trademarks
passed in the USA.

Quaker Oats is a bland baby-food - in contrast to authentic Scottish and Irish porridge
which is made using 'pin-head' oatmeal, has a nutty taste and an almost al dente texture.

Tuesday, 11 August 2020

So many novels

have been 'one of the best I've read'.
Fill in your name here to get one when I'm dead.


"Crown Shyness"

is a genuine - and wonderful - arboreal phenomenon.

See more pictures here.

Sunday, 9 August 2020

Saturday, 8 August 2020

Before the pandemic...

One of the many things

that I have never understood
is why people keep seeking status
when it piles on responsibilities,
stresses them out
and turns them into zombies.

Friday, 7 August 2020

Thursday, 6 August 2020

'Farceur' P.G. Wodehouse invented a character called Psmith

(the P being silent, as in Freud).
His novel Leave it to P..... repeats and holds up
a single 'Poetic' line (or Line Poetical)
to ridicule.
I quote it here and add another
to make a splendid Rhyming Couplet
which Pelham G. would probably
have wished to smother
- so I have changed the first word
so as to make the first three accord
with the title of my website:

Across Beyond the pale parabola of joy
I spied the penis of a pissing boy.

Wednesday, 5 August 2020

Considering that the former, well-paid Spanish monarch,

(for insulting whom I risk gaol if ever I return to Spain)
has laundered millions upon millions of dollars
from Panama, Sa'udi Arabia, Liechtenstein, Bahrain...
and banked his cut in Switzerland,
I am wondering what other European royal families
are involved in similar self-enhancing but unpresentable activities.
The Heads of State of Belgium and the Netherlands
are well-known for nefarious activities in the past.
But what of the similarly well-paid monarchs of the semi-
United Kingdom, Norway, Sweden, Denmark (not to mention
the Grand-Duke of Luxembourg and the Prince of Monte Carlo) ? 
I surmise that their elegant but sticky fingers
are (or have been) in stinking pies -
from procurement of teenage children to more 'elevated' enterprise.
The rich have always wanted to be richer.  It has been so
since the invention of agriculture long ago.

Monday, 3 August 2020

After the Plague

after Jotamario Arbeláez

for there is a plague
running through us
the plague the terrible
plague upon the planet
After the plague
if there is an after
But there may not be an after
because of all that has gone before
After the plague there may be war
and after war there will be plague
and after war there will be famine
and drought and war and pestilence
and yachts and palaces
and much of what went before
but more

Sunday, 2 August 2020

Friday, 31 July 2020

During The Black Death

the shortage of priests
(on The Front Line of Mortality)
became so acute
that the confession of sins
could be made to anyone -
'even to a woman'.

Thursday, 30 July 2020

Two First-names.

When I was young, in the nineteen-forties
many older people were called Queenie.
It was several decades later that I realised
that they were baptised Victoria.

The other week I learned
that the very English-sounding Jennifer
is simply a transcription
of the Dutch genever (juniper, gin)
which the Dutch king William III
encouraged the English population to make and drink
instead of Papist French brandy.

more on the introduction of gin to England >

Tuesday, 28 July 2020


were not a Swiss invention
nor did they originate in the Black Forest.
But Orson Welles' unscripted
remarks about Switzerland
(in The Third Man)
are not quite so outrageous as I first thought :
no Swiss films come to mind...
although it didn't take me long to find a few -
my quick search did not come to naught.

some films-from-switzerland

Monday, 27 July 2020

An oxymoron

is not the same as
a paradox or
a contradiction of terms.

The term Hospitality Industry
is self-flatteringly

Sunday, 26 July 2020

No weasel

is as noxious

as weasel-words...

...and no woman

is as disheartening as
a two-faced - or worse, a three-faced - human.

photos by me taken at Corfu and Tuscania
are from my

Friday, 24 July 2020

Thursday, 23 July 2020

Wednesday, 22 July 2020

Chthonic Powers.

Vladimir Putin,
president of the Russian Federation
has such a attractive personality
that he has been able to move Magnetic North
towards Siberia, its true Homeland.


Monday, 20 July 2020

Another Note to Self.

When people ask me
that tedious, ritual question
How are you ?  (Not how are you, chum ?)
I must remember to answer:
I'm on the rather happy side of glum.

Sunday, 19 July 2020

On Aristophanes' Myth of Love

in Plato's Symposium.

Our "other halves"
if not suppressed inside us
may well be truly other.

We don't have anything to guide us -
except our tendency to smother...

(This did not impress my stuffy tutor
in his stuffy room at my stuffy university
from which I dropped out in the early nineteen-sixties.)

Saturday, 18 July 2020

"Needs the corners rubbed off." - School Report, 1954.

I knew the rules, of course,
but never understood them,
never realised that breaking them
made me resemble (to the rule-enforcers)
an unpredictable, unbroken horse.
And then there were the bullies and the teasers.

Friday, 17 July 2020

Some people are paid

to count stars in the sky;
others are paid to name them -
as others were paid to name the galaxies they're in.
Why should people not be paid
to count and name the wrinkles in their skin ?

Thursday, 16 July 2020

Creative Aphantasia.

How satisfying it would surely be,
like most people, to be able to conjure
even just a sexual fantasy;
or, better still, like so many splendid writers
to invent a story, a character, lines of dialogue.
I suffer from the limitation
of having almost no imagination.

Apparently, Normal People can imagine tastes and smells inside their heads.
Is this correct ?

Wednesday, 15 July 2020

Two of a famous poet's most famous lines

were common currency before he published them.
Such irony!
Whatever you say, say nothin' !  was the 'mantra'
of working-class people (not just Catholics) in Belfast,
with reference to the unsympathetic, crass police.
Between my finger and my thumb The squat pen rests. I'll dig with it.
He digs with a pen was said long ago, in Irish,
of rural boys who worked in offices.

Tuesday, 14 July 2020

There is a maggot

which can hatch in happiness -
the little worm of smugness
that turns contentment to conceit.

Monday, 13 July 2020

When, prodded by my desperate mother

I signed up to train as an interpreter
I was led to believe that I would have some choice
in the language that I learned.
I wanted to learn a Middle Eastern language
- Arabic or Persian, even Turkish.
But I was told that I would have to
take instruction in Russian.  I refused.
Eventually I was discharged as
Psychologically Unsuitable for Service -
Though really it was Her Britannic Majesty's Air Force
that was structurally unsuitable for the likes of me.

Sunday, 12 July 2020


Even in summer
my living-room sometimes smells
of Old Man.

Saturday, 11 July 2020

More thoughts on the Curse of Religion.

A religion which is a series of inculcated
beliefs and duties is a kind of blasphemy.

When you think about it
God is food.  If you are a hunter-gatherer
God is the all-providing forest.
If you are a suburbanite or inner-city prisoner
God is the Ultimate Owner
of the supermarket chain you patronise:
Tesco, Walmart, Safeway/Albertsons, Carrefour, Lidl, Aldi...
any in your country that you care to name.

As you'll know from my five thousand eight hundred blogs, 
I'd rather worship Forest than a supermarket food-chain.

Americans bow down to their Starry-Stripey Flag as a Fetish.
Its upkeep costs very little.
The British seem to worship the largest employer in the world: The NHS
(their underfunded national health service which, 'at point of delivery',
is, to all, and even with respect to ambulances,
and like the Fire Service, entirely free).

The former should be revering their (underfunded) National Parks.
The latter their unrivalled, unparalleled, amazing, underfunded BBC.

(Two of the British Broadcasting Corporation's radio channels
have been my Cerebral-support System since 1963.)

Friday, 10 July 2020

Zombie-created zombies.

If you go to
you will see an image of a person
which is not a photo of an actual person
but a computer-generated image.
Click on the refresh button of your browser
or wait two minutes
and the image will change
to another "fake person"
and another, and another, almost without end,
any of whom could become your Facebook Friend.

Thursday, 9 July 2020

The Bear-garden.

The seeds of apples brought
from the Eden of the Western Himalaya
and sown in fertile places all the way to Europe
were from varieties chosen over centuries
by sweetness-loving bears.

The Russian for this creature -
медведь, medvyed,
means melissophile, honey-lover -
but it might just as well have been apple-eater.

Wednesday, 8 July 2020

For much of my life

I have experienced a faint unease,
a feeling of being inappropriate
- not just socially - but existentially.
Will Self has felt this, too. He also
would like his 'consciousness to be
a reverie of landscape' if not landscape's reverie.

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

St Edna of Tuamgraney (county Clare)

Asked by The Guardian what was her 'Comfort Read',
Her Irish Majesty, Edna O'Brien, replied
I do not read for comfort. I read to be quickened, enlightened and brought to the frontiers of feeling.

For many quite bright people, however, the quaint Old Testament is Comfort Reading...

Monday, 6 July 2020

There is more art in nature

than in 'Art',
which is more a matter of attribution
than inspiration.

(I thought that there was a famous quotation:
there is more art in nature than nature in art -
but it seems I wrote it myself 50 years ago.)

Apparently*, more and more people are reading poetry.
That is because more and more poetry is pretentiously-expressed banality.

*that is to say - I heard it on the radio.

Pomacanthus imperator.  More here.

'Oil-bird'of the South Seas.

Sunday, 5 July 2020

"Fish are nothing like us - except that they are sentient beings."

click to read on...

     Zhuangzi and Huizi were enjoying themselves on the bridge over the Hao River.
Zhuangzi said, "The minnows are darting about free and easy! This is how fish are happy."

     Huizi replied, "You are not a fish. How do you know that the fish are happy?"
Zhuangzi said, "You are not I. How do you know that I do not know that the fish are happy?"

     Huizi said, "I am not you, to be sure, so of course I don't know about you.
But you obviously are not a fish; so the case is complete that you do not know that the fish are happy."

     Zhuangzi said, "Let's go back to the beginning of this. You said, How do you know that the fish are happy; but in asking me this, you already knew that I know it.
I know it right here above the Hao."
— Zhuangzi, chapter 17 


high-pitched, nasal, artificial
and actually unclear
American women's voices
grate on my ear.

I have a gut-feeling that
this strange fashion-trend may be due
to an unconsciously white-racist reaction to deep and gorgeous,
chthonically-feminine Afro-American voices
such as those of Toni Morrison and Maya Angelou.

On the other hand:


Saturday, 4 July 2020

The Dissident Bible, chapter I, 1-4.

In the Beginning was Plenty,
and Plenty was Enough,
and Man knew it not.

And God whispered in Man's Inner Ear
and told him that he could reproduce at will
unlike the Beasts and the Lily of the Field.

But reproducing plentifully was not enough
and overpopulation befell Man's habitat
which he called, variously Eden, Atlantis, Shangri-la.

And so we spread and spread
(we would say advanced)
until we populated the Whole World
while Satan danced.

Friday, 3 July 2020

Why I don’t write about George Floyd.

 a poem by Toi Derricotte

Because there is too much to say
Because I have nothing to say
Because I don’t know what to say
Because everything has been said
Because it hurts too much to say
What can I say what can I say
Something is stuck in my throat
Something is stuck like an apple
Something is stuck like a knife
Something is stuffed like a foot
Something is stuffed like a corpse

Copyright © 2020 by Toi Derricotte.
Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 3, 2020 by the Academy of American Poets.

I have long been puzzled

by Christian attitudes to Death.
If it promises a soaring to Heaven why are Christians
so frightened of it ?  If it threatens a descent to roaring Hell
why don't they even try to live elegantly, generously, well ?
Why are they obsessed with living longer
instead of better ?  Why do they bleed the resources
of the polluted and denuded  planet
in expensively extending the lives
of people progressively incapacitated by their age
- not to mention their disjunction from modernity
their distance from enjoyment and delight ?
Why do they (at such expense!) seek quantity
and not quality of life ?
Why can't they view it as release ?
Why have Christians trashed the world so they
can live more richly, consume ever more
and die so spiritually deprived ?
I guess they don't believe in Heaven or in Humility
or in anything much beyond draining to the very dregs
their cups of acquisition,
beyond multiplying themselves
and the consumer-goods of Christmas and chocolate Easter eggs.

Thursday, 2 July 2020

From the Ministry of Truth they came

to ask why they had not received my claim
to be a member of the Human Race.
I asked if I could choose - could I
for example apply to be a wolf ?
They said Don't waste our Time,
and if I didn't send in the requested claim
I'd be committing an Inhuman Crime
and would be expunged without a trace...
and if I did, and was successful,
I'd receive a New Improved Personality
and a more complaisant face.

Wednesday, 1 July 2020


Note to Self :

Look for other IMPORTANT note to self.
(not this one: In every cloud
                       I see the souls of dogs.
It won't be another poem
or be numbered among my many thousand blogs.
Dispose of it.)

Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Adapted from the subtitle file for "Frank", 2014.

01:31:14,869 -- 01:31:20,298
♪ Banjaxed and broken

99901:31:20,333 --01:31:25,344
♪ Smashed up in bits

01:31:25,880 -- 01:31:30,675
♪ The only way

01:31:30,676 -- 01:31:34,979
♪ That everything fits

01:31:35,765 --01:31:39,810
♪ All held together

01:31:39,811 --01:31:44,447
♪ With spitballs and string

01:31:45,066 -- 01:31:48,902
♪ And splinters of wood

01:31:48,903 -- 01:31:53,706
♪ On a wren's broken wing.

01:31:54,117 -- 01:31:58,495
♪ Now what's together

01:31:58,496 -- 01:32:03,716
♪ Will soon come apart

01:32:03,876 -- 01:32:08,547
♪ And there's no going

01:32:08,548 -- 01:32:13,309
♪ Back to the start.


Monday, 29 June 2020

This is my modest Installation

called The Castle and the Chairs
upon the Terrace.

(In fact, the castle is a 12th century keep or donjon.
I live 200 yards and over 800 years away.
This sort of 'castle', rare in France,
became common in Ireland...
which was occupied for 800 years
- though not by the French.)

Sunday, 28 June 2020

I liked the term "Significant Other"

when it was current several years ago.
It has been replaced by the cardboard "Partner".
My Significant (or, as I prefer, Special) Other
has never 'co-habited' with me, lives in a different country,
visits me for a month or so at least three times a year.
He is my non-cohabiting, celibate end-of-life-partner.
We have many things 'in common',
but sexual congress is not one of them.

He is a Dead-Head. He has two Significant Others.
My surname is the same as that of The Grateful Dead's
great rhythm guitarist.
His other Significant Other (whom he hasn't seen for years
but talks with several times a week on the old-fashioned
landline telephone) has the same first name
as the G.D.'s brilliant lead guitarist with an Hispanic surname.
I think this is Otherly Significant.

Friday, 26 June 2020

Doing very well for themselves.

I ruined my mother's life
by getting conceived
- even if it was my mysterious father's fault.
(It's possible he never knew, unless, of course,
he was a member of the non-immediate family -
but that's irrelevant.)
Perhaps I suffer from Survivor Guilt.

'When I was young' I used to hear about people
who 'had done very well for themselves'.
I did very well for myself quite quickly
by jumping off the social ladder, and, much later,
thanks to the mother whose life I did not enhance,
guiltily acquiring a modest and delightful home in France.

Thursday, 25 June 2020

The Pilate Syndrome Updated.

As well as bullet-proof vests,
guns, radiophones and tazers,
police now carry

The achieving do-gooders and saviours

may, 'in the larger scheme of things',
do less good than is commonly supposed -
by making so many of those that they work with and on
feel like failures.

(There must be exceptions - of course.)

Wednesday, 24 June 2020

You might think that you wouldn't need to treat the French police

with quite as much caution as police, State Troopers or the National Guard in the USA,
or, indeed,  the Revolutionary Guard in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Think again...

On the third of January this year, Cédric Chouviat, a courier on a scooter
was stopped by French police, thrown to the ground, throttled,
and passed out, shouting  "I can't breathe!". (J'étouffe!)
Two days later he died.  [read more]

Show annoyance, anger, outrage or contempt for such bullies
and you will probably not be beaten up, but will end up in court,
receiving a 3-month prison sentence (suspended for five years),
and very likely personal damages to the gendarme you annoyed
 - for to annoy a gendarme is Verbal Assault as well as a Crime against the State.

For calling a gendarme un con (an asshole)
when he gave me twenty minutes' petty, xenophobic grief,
I had to pay him six hundred euros 'compensation'
 on top of the mandatory suspended sentence
- plus administrative costs. But my obligatory,
charming, and quite useless advocate came free
because of my considered poverty.

Tuesday, 23 June 2020

I have always loved

the Grimm story of The Feisty Little Tailor.
who, like governments and corporations everywhere
boasted successfully of his achievement,
not letting on that the Seven at One Blow that he killed
were flies, not men.

Today, single-handedly, I changed the cover of my king-sized duvet*.

*Formerly known as Continental Quilt, the French word applies only
to a couette filled with goose- or eider-down.

Monday, 22 June 2020

Sooner or later

(probably sooner for me than for you)
everyone will discover, with their last breath,
that the New Normal is the infinitely-old Death,
the non-experience of liberation entirely new.

Sunday, 21 June 2020

What's in a name ?

Swiftopecten swiftii 'Hamburger'

A "New Normal" is unlikely.

Double and triple air-kissing
is back in France, alas! 
though hand-shaking seems not to be...yet.

Perhaps touching cheeks isn't particularly infectious
if both parties hold their breaths...

The figures will show if, two weeks from now
there will be a rise in the number of deaths.*

*currently only six in this département of little more than a quarter of a million humans.

Saturday, 20 June 2020

In Shakespeare's time and later

people would unashamedly swear and curse:
Zounds! for example (= Christ's Wounds)
and Plague Upon You! 

Not many today
would shout at others: Covid Get You!
or Cancer take you in a hearse!
- not even in a controversial play.

I curse the voracious little Bambi
that ate the red-flowered horse-chestnut seedling,
which I planted in my unfenced acre of deciduous trees
to enhance it and attract the bees.

In Ireland I left behind my little badger-sanctuary
of elder-trees so dear to brocks
in which I planted dozens of trees, both native and exotic
- including Eucryphia and Embothrium from Chile,
Rhododendron macabeanum from Nepal,
and from New Zealand, Pseudopanax ferox.
from cool, damp climates all.
By now it will be impenetrable
to all but the badgers and the fox.

Friday, 19 June 2020

The Forward Fixation

People have been coming forward
constantly in this (difficult) (testing) time (of crisis)
to tell us (more or less straightforwardly)
about the way forward to meet the challenge,
boldly proceed along a road-map through uncharted waters
so that we can advance, move forward (if not look forward)
towards actually going forward to a future
called The New Normal
in which, indulging in the old, familiar vices,
we can again advance our aspiration
to be very comfortable being backward.

                 Fifty Ways to avoid being The New Normal
place your order now with  Heart of Albion Press.

Thursday, 18 June 2020


is just a silly version
of the Attention or Attentiveness
described at length by Don Juán Matus
in Castaneda's allegories

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Fawn seems now to be called Beige

Nigger was what black labradors were named when I was young
 (though nigger-brown meant chestnut-coloured)
Puce is the colour of squashed fleas
Magenta was a battle celebrated by an early artificial dye
 and by a famous Paris boulevard
Reds are found beneath Louisiana beds
 and (with black) is the colour of Hell
Yellow were the bellies of eels and men of Lincolnshire
 who may have been unusually prone to jaundice
 (and is The Colour of Coyotes - another good title for a book)
Purplish are the acorns of men's cocks
 and many find it suitable for scarves and socks
 Red-Purple dye came once from boiling small Tyrrhenian molluscs
 now choked by microplastic
White is the colour of the Most Evolved Zincky-Flakey and Callow
 - and probably of God and Racism and fantastic Chance
Mauve is named after the flower and was also known as Mallow
Orange is the brazen shade of the monarchs of the Netherlands,
 is a town in France, and (as a fruit) lost its initial N in France
Blue meant sad (or beaten black and) way back in the 1300s
 A ship which lost its captain flew a blue flag

Brown was the mistress of a notorious German leader
Black (see also above) was an Irish Augustinian hag
 (Cailleach Dhubh) reputed to have been a witch
Grey is the polluted water in a ditch
 and the colour of money the minds of the rich
Green composed Aida

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Maybe it's not quite true,

but it sounds good:
only tourism and dumping waste
are more banal than human reproduction.

Talking of waste: the thousands upon thousands 
of tons of fantastic
anti-virus protective gear
manufactured in such haste this year
is made of plastic...

[composed 18th April 2020]

Monday, 15 June 2020

Talking of statues

(but it's time to stop it even in joking) -
here is a very fine statue
of a clothed white writer...smoking!

James Joyce

While everyone's mentioning statues

(most of them hideous)
why not talk about 19th and 20th century
crosses in concrete or iron or stone
on streets or on squares or by roadsides
all over Europe and over most of the world
taken over, converted by Christians -
those ugly, obsessive
erections which mildly-to-sorely offend
millions of non-Christians ?
Get rid of them.  They are all
triumphal, aggressive.

Sunday, 14 June 2020

Social, Philosophical and Artistic Distance.

My Netherlandish Neighbour
(and successfully-bad painter
born a few miles from the birthplace of van Gogh)
who invited me to dine and came to dine with me
called me (online) The Man without Empathy
(good title for a book!),
No-one has hitherto suggested that I am
'a cold fish' - but perhaps he thinks that men
who are not fathers are unfeeling.
Empathy's a fancy word for sleeve-worn
In return, I called him (in an e-mail)
an Abrahamic dynast.
Now we ignore each other in the street
on the very rare occasions that we meet.

Saturday, 13 June 2020

Pondering racism,

thinking of Covid-19,
I'm wondering
do bleak lives matter ?
Mine is not bleak
and doesn't matter at all,
not even to me.  But of course
I'd rather not suffer.

(I write as an inside-sort of outsider.)

Pondering racism
I notice that no-one is saying or writing
that many brown people,
(most of them Hindus locked into Caste)
are racist, and in countries where skins
are a pale shade of yellow
people in the quite recent past
have been known to avoid or attack
humans with skins which are black.

"We treat airport luggage

far better than we treat
the animals we eat."

- Bill Maher of HBO an American tv network.

NO!  We deal with garbage
 better than we treat
the animals we eat.

Friday, 12 June 2020

Thursday, 11 June 2020

I was right...

...of course !
There are demonic mega-business profiteers from the pandemic.
Big Pharma
(who also sell environmental poisons like there's no tomorrow)
are selling millions of unreliable - indeed bogus - testing kits.
Medico-agri-pharma-corporations rule the world!
Of course the quack-junk and the quick-fix merchants
(like slave-traffickers) won't see (or even acknowledge) the sorrow.

Wednesday, 10 June 2020


are In The News today -
slave-owners' effigies toppled or quietly removed.
But statues of Leopold II, monstrous King of the Belgians and of the Congo, remain
(in Belgium).

The Chancellor of Oxford University
revealed this morning that a statue of him,
the last Colonial Governor of Hong-Kong,
is to be erected in Beijing.

No-one is remarking that full-length, clothed portrait-statues
on pompous plinths are almost always ugly,
often ridiculous, grotesque.
It would be better to celebrate celebrities with busts
that can easily be put on or taken away from
a ledge, a modest pedestal - or a back-room desk.

Perhaps the falseness of friendship

is merely precautionary
self-defeating defence ?

Tuesday, 9 June 2020

Another view on it.

is just mathematics
strangely elastic,
wobbly like a nervous soufflé.
Suddenly, this year, in an exciting way,
it has begun to pass delightfully quickly.

Monday, 8 June 2020

Property matters more

than Black Lives, of course.
The bandwagon rolling briefly
through the cities and the towns
avoids those areas where house-prices
will decrease or have decreased already
due to inflow of yellows, blacks or browns,
or Muslims (though, mostly,
no longer thin or fat Jews).

The vicious circle
of property-value racism
can't be broken.
But the most aspirational
protesters can topple the statues.

Like Diogenes,

I despise the rich and the smug
and of course the police.
Like Diogenes
I'm more emotional than intellectual
which is why I failed to acquire a degree.
I wonder did he, too, distrust the sea...

Sunday, 7 June 2020


It took me over seventy years to learn
that I can learn nothing,
guess nothing from human faces,
unlike the faces of dogs, and of dogs
in the sky and the earth.

Saturday, 6 June 2020

They risked a Resurrection

rather than take heed
of what he had to say.

Man's deadliest weapon
is stupidity.

Friday, 5 June 2020

On Property

"Poetry does not belong
to those who write it,
but to those who need it,"
says the postman to Neruda in the film*.
The food is now the dog's
though it did seem to belong
to those who, daily, feed it.

*Il Postino, 1994.

Thursday, 4 June 2020


photo by Frank Liu

spotted zebra, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Tanzania.l Reserve

It is difficult for a poet

not to be sententious or, on the other hand, banal.
There was once a smug New Englander who ventured in a wood,
saw two paths and chose one, Sinatra-like, his way.
He was probably not a nature-lover, nor philosophical,
for in any wood or field or life
there is a multiplicity of ways
for those who see beyond the daily daze
and have the subtlety to sense the maze.

Wednesday, 3 June 2020

'Might the history of thought be actually driven by aphorism ?'

asks a philosopher in Aeon magazine.

                          Montaigne replies:

'Reason is forever defective, lame and lop-sided.'

One of the crimes

that capitalism is not accused of
is the gradual abolition of ritual
except where it can be monetised
or ghettoised to rite. This is one reason why
outrageous, evangelistic religions stamp triumphantly on reason.

Tuesday, 2 June 2020


'progresses', ever 'going forward'
by ever more individual isolation.
Just recently came (pseudo-) social media,
then the oxymoronic social distancing -
and louder come the cries of Family!

I was alienated before I was born.

Saturday, 30 May 2020

Black is sheer brilliance.

Why hasn’t anyone written a story from the view that Man is a blemish on the cosmos 
who ought to be eradicated?'  - H.P. Lovecraft.

'The Universe' is just an impenetrable thought.

Is there a gene for the sense of humour ?

Friday, 29 May 2020

On language and thought.

‘A great many people think they are thinking
when they are really rearranging their prejudices.’

(attributed to William James, and quoted in Daniel Everett's article about language in Aeon.)

Nobody except me seems to think that language
(and indeed thought) might be unfortunate developments
which we are stuck with...

On the other hand, on language depends a sense of humour,
evidence of sanity and a sense of proportion
which the brave Diogenes had 'in spades'.  

Thursday, 28 May 2020

Narcissus revisited

Archæologists now think
that the disaster of human language
appeared around the same time as the Olduvai Axe.
One word can  sum up the essence of humanity,
every technological advance, every war, every 'brilliant idea' :

and our glorious revolution against evolution
amounts only to the 'progression' from
looking at our ugly faces in pools of water
to looking at them via a cellphone camera
and a defoliated planet.

Monday, 25 May 2020

The discreet charm of superstition.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Tiger bone wine 
(Chinese虎骨酒pinyinHǔ gǔ jiǔ
is an alcoholic beverage originally produced in China using bone from tigers as main ingredient. 
The production process takes approximately eight years and results in a high alcohol concentration. According to traditional Chinese medicine, the specific use of certain body parts is capable of healing diseases according to the characteristics of the animal used to obtain the product, that is believed to be connected with the disease of the person...

... Tiger farms are located in China,South East Asia and South Africa.[6] In February 2018, these facilities were estimated to host more than 8,000 tigers, double the number in the wild. An investigation in Thailand led to the discovery of a disguised tiger farm with an income of about 3 million dollars a year. In a raid in 2016, Thai authorities seized the 137 tigers in a temple that lead to the discovery of tiger parts and 40 dead tiger cubs which were about to be used for wines and medical purposes...

I couldn't quite "get the hang"

of heterosexuality.  Nor, in the bitter end,
of  homosexuality.  But now I have
very much "got the hang" of
senile, erotic asexuality.

Sunday, 24 May 2020

'In the steps of' Diogenes ?

When I learned that "refugee food"
in the Middle Eastern camps was
tomatoes, onions and egg with flat-bread,
I realised that I had, once a week for years,
been enjoying "the food of the dispossessed".

Saturday, 23 May 2020

Jules Boissière: The Buddha (from the Occitan)

A poem about the  French colonisation of  what is now Viêt-Nam,
but was then Indo-China or Cochin-China,
translated by A.Z. Foreman

Our soldiers won then torched a domicile.

The owner with his sons ran half a mile
Under gunfire. On the ancestors' altar
Not guarding the old creeds or their old shelter,
The Buddha gave the wolfish men a smile.

How many hours has it been since! Where now

Is that house? Where's the pudgy god whose brow
And smile are sign of fate's indifferent law?
When man beneath mute Heaven prays or cries
I see again that Buddha's ruddy jaw,
His moonlike face and his too tranquil eyes.

Audio of Mr Foreman reading this poem in Occitan:

The Original:

Though Boissière was a native speaker of Lengadocian (Languedocian) Occitan, he, like the rest of his generation, wrote in Provençal Occitan, specifically the variety of Rhodanian (Rhône Valley) Provençal which had been raised to literary status in the late 19th century  by Mistral and others among the Félibrige movement. I give the poem in original Roumanille-Mistralian orthography, copied directly from Li Gabian, and in the more recent 'classicising' orthography. .

Classical Orthography

Lo Boddha
Juli Boïssièra

Brulavan un ostau, nòstei soudards   vincèires;

— Lo mèstre ambé sei fius peralin   fugissiá
Sota la fusilhada; e sus l'autar dei   rèires,
Luènh d'aparar l'ostau, l'autar e lei   vièlhs crèires,
Ais òme' alobatits lo Boddha sorrisiá

Quant d'ora' an debanat desempèi! Monte es ara

L'ostau? Monte es lo Dièu poput de   quau la cara
Sorrisenta retrais lo Sòrt indifferent?
— E sota lo cèu mut, quand l'òme   prèga e crida,
Revese dau Boddha lei gauta'   acolorida'
E sa fàcia de luna, e sei vistóns serens.

Original Lengadocian Orthography

Lou Bouddha
Juli Bouissiero

Brulavon un oustau nòsti soudard vincèire;

Lou mèstre emé si fiéu peralin fugissié
Souto la fusihado; e sus l’autar di rèire,
Liuen d’apara l’oustau, l’autar e li vièi   crèire,
Is ome aloubati lou Bouddha sourrisié.

Quant d’ouro an debana desempèi! Mounte   es aro

L’oustau? Mount es lou diéu poupu de quau   la caro
Sourrisènto retrais lou sort indiferènt?
E souto lou cèu mut, quand l’ome prègo e   crido,
Revese dóu Bouddha li gauto acoulourido,
E sa fàci de luno, e si vistoun seren.

from http://poemsintranslation.blogspot.com