After baby brain

The cheerful Christian teleologies with which I grew up had the self on some kind of graceful trajectory towards knowledge. This might not be communicable in the language to hand nor even available in the fixed-term agreement of this life, but it would, we inferred, nonetheless arise. This expectation I carried into the apostasy of early adulthood unchallenged. Retrospectively, I see how readily it was elided by the world of the liberal arts in which I was immersed. Knowledge, self-actualisation, accommodation of, maybe even mastery over, one’s considerable limitations: these were the Protestant pathways that were also trammelled by atheists aplenty, even atheists like me whose scholarly topic was, more or less, ambiguity itself.

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Meet me on my horse in eight seconds

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From a time of life when I had leisure and limited tools, the intention to interpret deeply.

We – my peers and me, in different times, different places, and with different dubbed copies from household VCRs – watched again and again this scene, this season, this series. It became, as texts do, part of the teenage patois. Which was your favourite line?

Flashheart was both anachronism and relict of his imagined time: equal parts Renaissance shapeshifter (Marlowe walking to the tavern; Hawkins casting off for the Indies) and 70s horndog. With loudness and lust one could navigate the court and the world, turning gender and sexual tastes upside down in a manner that included, momentarily, everyone.

This miniature carnivale stayed with me, not only in its performance (the fey, innocent Bob suddenly the agent of gender confusion) but also in the dream of its writing. Here was a group of writers and performers who seemed to know something I had hoped to be true: that everyone might have a stake in desire, no matter their age or gender or social standing, and that to blow up this notion, with this character and in this way – “Woof!” – might not only be funny but also fun. Flashheart, in silliness and in chutzpah, was a man for a hopeful future.

(In memoriam Rik Mayall.)

 

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The ambitious contemplative

My precious attention!

A friend of my coined this phrase in service of a socially conscious argument, and I have turned it into an object for lament. I don’t know what to do about my attention.

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New poems in May

An ongoing project at Bat, Bean, Beam.

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New Poems in April

An ongoing project at Bat, Bean, Beam

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