11. A Grounding In Numbers

Your time starts now

Your time starts now
without a question,
without a clue,
your response will attest
to suggestion’s power, so strong
and growing stronger.
With self-belief
you’ve pulled through but you belong here no longer.

Fly by night, it’s over; day by day it’s done.
Was it simply oversight that’s left you overcome?
While you’ve been distracted –
playfully, no doubt –
your time’s been running out.

Your time starts now
and that’s the poser.
You’re going to need
all the help you can get
for the ride’s nearly over.

All that information,
all that warp and weft…
for all your patient fortitude you’re patently bereft
of clue, of hint, of notion,
of answers, even vague.
You’re ploughing forward nonetheless
as though by simple doggedness
the far side’ll see you saved.

Your time starts now
and yes, you’d best begin it,
however long
you’ve held back,
you’ve demurred,
get on track, pace by pace,
just go on,
just go further…


Here be numbers transcendental,
on an imaginary axis spun,
decimal places without limit
and zero and one.

simply pure beyond belief.

e to the power of i times pi plus one is zero
e to the power of i times pi plus one is zero
e to the power of i times pi is minus one
e to the power of i times pi is minus one

A single function, exponential,
just one addition must be done…
multiplication in completion
of zero, of one.

just so „wow” it brooks belief.

(You’d better believe, you’d better believe it.)

Highly Strung

The beat, the beat at my temples;
my pulse, my pulse in a rush.
I’m feeling increasingly mental,
legs shaking , my face flushed.

The lights so bright in a dazzle,
the pumping that thumps at my chest.
I’m feeling increasingly frazzled,
need some comfort, need some bedrest
or some kind of intervention,
cold sweat beading up on my brow,
the hairs on my neck at attention.
I don’t know why but somehow

I’m highly strung, I’m stressed as hell,
I bite my tongue, I hold my breath as well.
The iron lung, the diving bell…
time to depressurise, my nerves are shot to hell.

The beat, the heat is astounding,
the pressure, the tension full-blown,
the static is cracking around me.
I can’t hold on, I can’t let go…

I’m highly strung, panic attack,
can’t do this one, can’t go on with the act.
I’m frozen on the topmost rung,
I can’t go on, I’m just too highly strung.

Hold her steady as she goes,
just be ready, on your toes,
hold her steady…there she blows!

The case is shut, the song is sung,
the wire’s been cut and the acrobat’s well hung.


I’d just done the best work
to fall into my hands for quite some time:
of night oil I’d burned much,
made sure both style and content were sublime
So I put it forward
to the public forum
in anticipation of my due acclaim.

And meanwhile, by contrast,
I’d penned a eulogy, pure workaday,
just hack work, just dashed off,
packed full of prolix puff and sad cliche….
No-one can really tell
when their hand’s been played out well
and I don’t even know
how my own story goes
or if it’s worth a jot.

I can’t see my stream.

What I thought was perfect,
what I thought was polished,
no-one thought it worth much
and they made that clear.
What I thought was worthless,
merely repetition
somehow tugged the heartstrings,
brought them all to tears.

I can’t see my stream.

No-one can ever know
what of their own’s their very best.

Snake Oil

Best of intentions, fresh-faced devotees display,
sat at the feet of the master,
hoping that this is the one true way.
Eager awareness,
picking the wood from the trees,
only belief is important,
only obedience can set them free.

Here come the paraphernalia,
here come the catch-all refrains,
repeat ad infinitum.

Slavish devotion, that’s how it usually presents,
in an impossibly pompous
addiction to doctrines that make no sense.
Anal retention to an astounding degree,
self-absorption is total,
making obedience compulsory
if they want to reach the inner mystery.

Welcome to the bats in the belfry,
the buzz-words echo around,
repeated ad infinitum.

Brainwashed and bound to believe in
the orthodox text, slogans on t-shirts,
the punters can’t wait to be told
what to think of next…
oh, what’s coming next?

Well, nothing is coming and nobody here goes
in search of the questions posterity might pose.
There’s only one answer the believers can allow…

Yes, teacher knows best, teacher knows best.
Let’s put the teacher to the test.

There’s only one answer the disciples will allow out.
Cultish convention repeated again and again
until the words have no meaning,
until the means have become the end.

What starts with self-obsession ends up in self-denial,
they just so want to believe…
slaves to the snake oil of this particular world,
elitist and self-referential,
the comfort’s in sharing the secret word
with the picture blurred…
the companionship of the herd.

Embarrassing Kid

Embarrassing kid looks into the mirror
and grins like an idiot at his own face.
For as long he lives he will not be delivered
from the stuff that he did, from his teenage mistakes.

I can barely believe it
how I went and let the old school down.
Yeah, whatever can I have been thinking of?

Embarrassing kid, I squirm at the memory,
try to bang down the lid on the can of worms.
It remains pretty strange and uncomfortable territory
where my secrets are hidden, however absurd.

I can hardly conceal it,
how my ashen face got drained of blood.
Yeah, everybody can have a damn good laugh.

Embarrassing kid, you don’t know the half of it,
but I’d stake a few quid you’ve got gaffes of your own.
Take a look at yourself and you might have to laugh a bit…
but the teeth that you grit, well at least they’re your own.

And yes at the end of the day
we get what we’ve given away,
you bet: our eternal embarrassment.


Welcome to the coils,
they’re here to set you free
from anguish and dull toil.

And she says
„What you see is what you get from me.”

You’re welcome in her world,
it’s clear you’ll never leave,
she’s a transparent kind of girl.

And she says
„What you see is what you get from me.”

Mr. Sands

Soon as you like, ladies and gentlemen, please take your seats.
In a moment there’ll be a test of your endurance.
Stay in your chairs in the event of a dramatic pause
please be aware nothing gets covered by insurance.

One final thing:
please take the trouble to read through your notes,
it’s important that you know where you’ve got to go to.
Wait a moment, maybe the usherette’ll show you.
Such excitement, these are the hoops you’ve got to go through…

The noises off that turn you on stage whispered from the wings,
a stifled cough, a joke that bombs, a smoldering fuse wire string.
When Mr. Sands is in the house the alarm bells start to ring.

Everything’s in code
in a world we barely know
and the truth is only slowly revealed…

With best intentions I have strayed far off the beaten track
and of attention I displayed a quite spectacular lack.
Now Mr. Sands is in the house and the panic button’s smacked.

Well, Mr. Sands is in the house: commotion in the stalls
and, from the gods, unruly shouts that echo round the hall
Yes, someone’s let the secret out…the safety curtain falls.

And as I look across the stage the thought that first occurs
is less that we have come of age and more that we’re preserved
to pass our time in different shades of ignorant reserve.

Everything’s in code
till the moment it explodes
we suspend belief, get ready to go
for the playout of the show –
here it is for all we know
Mr Sands is always ready to roll


Best be careful, maintain a tight grip,
Yes, be careful and keep the mouth zipped.
Best be careful, there’s no smoke without fire.

Clearly you don’t know where you’re going
But the beaten track behind you runs for miles.
You’ve blundered through the jungle
Like a hyperactive child.

Just be careful and think the thing through,
You must be careful of what you’re linked to –
Just be careful, there’s no smoke without fire.

You held your inattention
And your standing’s now as suspect as can be,
The charges telegraphed and tracked conspiratorially.

Just be careful of where your mouse clicks,
You must be careful because the mud sticks –
Just be careful, there’s no smoke without fire.


You can make a matrix pattern out of almost anything
Tracing causal imperfections in the information flow,
Counting out the footfall of professional identity.
And the number is…

As the primacy of digits ticks the boxes
So the codes that they unlock begin to run
And the synapses are snapped in to attention –
The observer, the observed become as one,
Reeling out the numbers
That are mapped in short-term memory,
So you key them in…


(Ten, six, four, three
Sixteen, seven


All Over The Place

So, driven to distraction
By witless repartee
And wittering conversation
Of deep banality,
He seeks out interaction,
Fresh eccentricity,
On closer observation
Nothing’s all that it seems to be,
Nothing’s more than it seems to be.

He scattered himself all over the place
While hiding behind closed doors
And day by dull day fell more off the pace –
A life suspended in live pause
He gave of himself in fractional clues,
Oblique synchronicities
But nobody knows how alien he grew,
How, drained away behind his open face,
He’d lost his identity.

Now nothing else is left behind,
Just the fallen side of the sky,
A thousand miles away from home
I feel the cold ghost breath fly by
Out of the dream.
Now the image blurs
Of how we seemed,
Of what we were.

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