“Jeremy Corbyn will quit if Labour loses the general election expected within months!”

Oh, JC, surely not? What will you do with your time? Your old Marxist soul – fed for so many years on such a rich diet of materialistic interpretations of historical development – will shrivel and die. It must not happen.

Imagine: no more of those amazing Private Eye front covers. You must remember the one that contained an image of JC behind a ship’s wheel. The speech bubble over his head declaring: “Full steam aground!”

Or the front cover that displayed JC in a floppy-brimmed hat, collarless shirt and vest, saying “I love Marx – it’s where I get my vests”

Wonderful stuff.

To lose all that, seems a loss too great for us mere mortals. No more newspaper exposés on JC’s lurid private life, on his class-war politics, his lies and deceit, bullying and intimidation, all while playing Mr. Nice Guy – it can’t be allowed to happen! JC declared he’d lead us to the promised land where public ownership of UK railways would ensure cheap fares and seats for all; where the utility companies would be taken back into state ownership which would lead to a fall in energy prices; free childcare and early years support; the abolition of student tuition fees and the reintroduction of maintenance grants; free lunches for school pupils. Oh, on and on went the promises. And now we are abruptly faced with his stepping down as Labour Messiah if he doesn’t win a general election – and the opinion polls, if they’re to be trusted, suggest he doesn’t have an ice cube in Hell’s chance of winning a majority.

I refuse to accept that a time could come when JC will not stand in Parliament at Prime Minister’s Questions and speak in that tone of strangely arresting innocence, bitter wisdom, and childlike whimsy, but with his peculiar intensity of focus. While all around the sitting MP’s in the house (including his own party) look on equally fascinated and baffled.

Our only hope now, is that the original statement about JC’s stepping down was made by John McDonnell – who promises to ‘follow him out the door’. Comrade McDonnell is not known for 100% veracity in the public statements he makes. So this could all be a load of ol’ bollox. To quote JC’s great hero, Lenin: ‘A lie told often enough, becomes the truth.’ We will see.

Educational Good Read

October 12, 2019

The Glass House

October 12, 2019

i.

It’s still warm from the day,
the seedbed, light and moist.
Leafy greens are best
sown during a waxing moon
roots during a wane
even better
seeded
at night,
like tonight,
in a faint
glow.
The fingers know
the shape of seeds,
the necessary depth
of planting
and how to envelop
everything
in readiness.

ii.

At forty-five there is still time.
Systems are functioning
although
there is a rumour
things may not be
all go.

iii.

Frost’s first kiss
lies upon the ground.
Brassicas and spinach may still be planted —
these seedlings already hardened outside
for days and nights to come.
More important, garlic.
Ready the beds
for the longest night
choose the largest
healthiest
cloves
from last year’s harvest
(crush the remainder into virgin olive oil or compost)
gently rub the papery skin
to liberate a bare bulb
hold tip upwards
insert to depth
no more than twice the bulb length
cover with compost then pea straw
for nourishment, water retention, weed suppression
continue:
feed
water
weed
until the shortest night

iv.

Her body has changed shape —
carries weight and water.
Her face has a decoration of unevenness.
These nights, and sometimes days
the bed she sleeps in
presses back
and there are unforgiven aches.
Finally, the mattress
needs to be
replaced.

v.
Cloches ease transition

through these days of early winter.
The glasshouse
brittles with age.
Surfaces are etched.
There is a fungus
that cannot be
washed out
in spite of days
spent scrubbing.

vi.

The heart. The mind.
This ready pair.
Something is always missing.
A matter of the senses.
A matter of connection.
Seductive.
Isolation.
There is the matter of fate.
There is an inability
to convey
se paraten ess.

vii.

The nursery lights
shut off
automatically.
There is nothing to see
at night and light
can only give so much.
Days shorten without notice.
Still the bed lies prepared
and the cup of the moon
holds a smile.

viii.

Through winter’s dark
the plantings grow
in the ground
around her.
Nourished.
Spoken to.

ix.

She bleeds
with the moon.
Meanwhile the quick of her thins,
and what she grows
no longer sustains her.
Soon she will be transparent
and on some unexpected
cold night
in spring
like a glasshouse
of unseeded beds
she will shatter.

Hayden Carruth

Witches

October 12, 2019

I know of witches who whistle at different pitches, calling things that don’t have names

Helen Oyeyemi
White is for Witching

Bonsai

October 12, 2019

Her rooms were filled with Bonsai trees. It was her hobby, creating those miniature oaks, elms and maples. She trimmed their roots and crowns keeping the trees small to meet her exacting aesthetic standards.

‘It is an artform,’ she said. ‘They need care and attention – sunlight, water and occasional fertilizing. My next project is to refashion a man. Create a living Bonsai man.’

‘Surely that’s not possible,’ I said, smiling.

‘Yes, it is. Bonsai symbolizes harmony, peace and balance. I will create such a man. He will need much careful trimming to begin, regular pruning. But I can do it. I will do it -’

‘No man would allow himself to be used in such a way,’ I said. ‘Surely you’re joking?’

‘No joke. Consent is not required. Training will take around two to three years, I imagine. And you are already here, bound to my bed. You are a man who pays to visit a professional dominatrix. A man full of unwholesome desires and needs. A man drowning in imperfections. A perfect subject for my experiment…’

Her laughter sounds not quite sane.

‘You must untie me,’ I said.

‘Must I?’ She held up a coil of copper wire in a leather gloved hand. ‘This will assist in bending your limbs into the desired shape. This will all take time of course. But you will experience a great sense of pride, I’m certain, as the first of a new type of man. Bonsai man…’

Language is my home. It is alive other than in speech. It is beyond a thing to be carried with me. It is ineluctable, variegated and muscular. A flicker and drag emanates from the very idea of it. Language seems capable of girding the oceanic earth, like the world-serpent of Norse legend. It is as if language places a shaping pressure upon our territories of habitation and voyage; thrashing, independent, threatening to drive our known world apart.

Yet thought is not bounded by language. At least, my experience of thinking does not appear so bound.

Vahni Capildeo
Five Measures of Expatriation