Tuesday 26 September 2023

Moritz Erhardt as Gekko Grundgesetz or WeiƟ Erlaubniselite , 2023


30cm x 25 cm, Oil on Expensive European Canvas 

Ah Beautiful Sky, Cole Denyer (Slubpress, 2023)


Ah Beautiful Sky

Cole Denyer (Slubpress, 2023)

‘Sir the State,
You are Britain’s Fairest Man
Denyer’s salvo brutalises hope - one cannot be in a state of health, let alone happiness, in the state of Great Britain Ltd.; one cannot be in ‘a state of complete physical mental and social wellbeing’, as the definition has it, within a state that denies any of its dysfunctioning parts a chance at the latter two criteria. In a state made up of masters and slaves, of lords and ladies and statistics, each lives according to the rule - contentment and joy as we know them, are possible only within the dire crucible of this ultimate relation, whose greatest legacy is suffering and abuse - and, what is the same, each is therefore that malodorous dialectic in and of themselves, while such untold grace persists. One’s physical, mental and social state - one’s medical, financial, emotional condition, one’s private and public being, one’s relation to others and (and as) to oneself - is undeniably a product of this state of affairs, this endless shift. Denyer’s text demonstrates this sickly proliferation of infection and bitter conditioning deftly, as though it were not also his body, his account, this ‘voice’ - as indeed it must be, though it speaks also our own, all of us, here. And it does this to the extent that, at intervals, we recognise that eidolon - ‘the voice of the nation’, amidst the poem’s voices, and cannot extricate one from another, cannot unpick the seam we find at our lips. The horror, the horror!
The text bleeds, is ill, so many symptoms and side-effects in the guise of a pantheon of planning acts, penumbrous acronyms and formal titles, fiscal punishments, idiomatic axioms, profitable ‘scandals’ and other media dirges, etc etc…; as a cursed body, a curse that is its own hex (Dieu et mon droit) the text haunts names that themselves haunt us, though we do not or did not know them - names whose stories, whose lives, are so many parts of our own; indeed, in this tableau, they R’ us. Ah Beautiful Sky seems to my mind, herein, the metonym of our discontent, a receptacle of our sickly firmament built of itself in our delusion; its very symptoms are the glass that binds the case, our cup, our affliction overflowing. And yet - they are beautiful, these accursed vignettes. For a consciousness of self and world arising from these maladies, finds space for what of love persists - though this is often presented indirectly, hid behind the onslaught, the poem’s ceaseless spectacle of collusion, shame, mourning and neglect. And in so doing Denyer gives us, darkly, a dying fall of hope, straining to be free of the incursions of debt and repossession - a memoriam to the truth of experience that is enough, or must be, in its truth, to assure that merry rabble in our disarray, that life is that which could be so much more than this, and nothing more. ‘We’ could be what we know ourselves to be, but never find entirely before us, finding itself instead, as ever, for now, in such teeming, maladjusted reveries of verse. And nothing more, sir?

Owen Brakspear

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