Wednesday, 3 December 2014

In hours like these...

Past one o’clock. You must have gone to bed.
The Milky Way streams silver through the night. 
I’m in no hurry; with lightning telegrams
I have no cause to wake or trouble you. 
And, as they say, the incident is closed.
Love’s boat has smashed against the daily grind. 
Now you and I are quits. Why bother then
To balance mutual sorrows, pains, and hurts. 
Behold what quiet settles on the world. 
Night wraps the sky in tribute from the stars.
In hours like these, one rises to address 
The ages, history, and all creation.

-Vladimir Mayakovsky


Tuesday, 7 October 2014


Scale continuous

 the staff 

never             flat.

Painting ~ Konstantin Yuon, 1913.


Thursday, 7 August 2014

To Laughingly Invoke...

I lit my cigar on nuclear ash,
And I Am,
Theoretically speaking…
A Doped up spaceman
Looking high
All the time.
And I laugh at everything
with the sternest of expressions;
my remarks will become
as disparate as your
principles and actions.
You should know that I never laugh
oh no,
I'm deadly serious
about the things that amuse me.
I am afraid
of my public face.
Hence why
my passions reside
In secret.
A closeted disposition
protects the world
from necessary
but unwelcome
As I've been lead
to believe,
it is my own
exclusive right
to trouble myself
with everything
that troubles me.

And so,
Nothing is ever

"Thanks to me".

the people who talk,
they are the ones who see,
eye to eye.
the precise feeling of understanding
your full capability,
and armed
with that
precise knowledge,
it is decided that you needn't exercise it.

gallivanting perniciousness
is the prescribed stance of the nihilist,
by those most in denial!

Infer what isn’t meant
and you adopt the stance of the angry political class;
Artless in your demeanour,
you perceive monochronism in plains of radiant colour;
A liberal 'thinker' is 'appalled'
by a perceived injustice
because he has never been angry;

Lawyers and politicians; the most artful of all prosaics.
Before whom,
Innate rights have to be qualified in tournaments of pre-requisite litigation.

And you, the jury,
The artless masses,
Overlook my 'neologistic' tendencies.
To the extent that highlighting the word
is still a pointless exercise:

To say that "when Cubism collaged futurism,
all other art was rendered pointless."

Gets me nowhere
in my pursuit of expression,
much like,
Gentlemanly affection;
in today’s world,
is an aphrodisiac in reverse.

The most pathetic kind of kind.

I could go on,
but such boredom
is a predicament
of which to be highly ashamed,
and righteously scorned
by people such as myself.
You should know that I never laugh

oh no,
I'm deadly serious
about what is humorous.

So you should know that I never laugh,
Such an Absurd stance,
is absurd
for those who don’t know the meaning 
of the word.

Yours, SiBot

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Today's Nonsense

"—You think I'll weep;
Lynd Ward
No, I'll not weep: I have full cause of weeping,
But this heart shall break into a hundred
thousand flaws,
Or ere I'll weep; O Fool, I shall go mad."
"Gradually there settles down a dreadful, eternal silence of the cemetery. All go mad, without words, they realise what is happening within them, and make up their minds for the last shift: to hide their grief for ever from men, and to speak in commonplace, trivial words which will be accepted as sensible, serious, and even lofty expressions. No longer will anyone cry: "Life is a waste," and intrude his feelings on his neighbours. Everybody knows that it is shameful for one's life to be a waste, and that this shame should be hidden from every eye. The last law on earth is—loneliness..." 

Résigne-toi, mon coeur, dors ton sommeil de brute!

(Resign yourself, my heart, sleep your brutish sleep) 

-Lev Shestov: Apotheosis of Groundlessness


Tuesday, 1 July 2014

сигарета | мазохизм | Маяковский

(I don't plan on petting you, Dear Friends, with that very introduction).

Given my artless surroundings, it seems my contemporaries think I should be embarrassed about what they don't understand. And so at their wish, as a necessary form of masochism, I'm considering taking up smoking as a pastime. 

So I put the question to you, and don't worry, I will measure your response by 
its artlessness, and thus despise myself further,

Is this the right course to take? 

Bear in mind the neigh'sayers (I'm expecting a riposte from many a horses mouth)... will likely find themselves scorned, given, a) the artlessness of their reproaches for such an activity, and b) my determination to infuriate those who think they know better, since those same people really are the most artful of all prosaics, who quite frankly need an artistic slap in the face. 
I'm becoming hastily sickened by your artlessness but you'd still rather I digest it all myself. Hence why...

I Better take up smoking.

And when in hospital bed with a screaming heart, 
just dying to be
Don't be fooled. 
If this kind of masochism is 
the only way,
to live, 
then it is better  
to be alive now,
so to regret later on...



1, Smoking hasn't been banned
2,"Smoking is not a rational, informed choice of adulthood. Eighty percent of smokers start as teenagers as a result of intense peer pressure." As I have posited, quite on the contrary, its a rational deduction, given our surroundings; a slow process of self-immolation.
3, Thankfully I'll still be free/classified old enough to still be able to necessarily intoxicate myself.

It takes

quite a time,
to get to know people,
smoke many a packet of cigarettes
till you raise
that wonderful word
you're needing
from the deep artesian
folk wells.

-Mayakovsky, 'Talking with the taxman about poetry'

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Phoneticism / Maya-krazy

   though phonetically unsound...
Kruchenykh would be proud; 
such sonorousness!
whistled in wind. 

Such words, phrases.
Mean everything,
To no-one;

But you, Life.
plangent with me,
you are, indeed.                                                                                                
-Regards, SiBot

(instead of a letter)
Tobacco smoke has consumed the air.
The room
is a chapter in Kruchenykh's inferno.
Remember -
beyond that window
in a frenzy
I first stroked your hands.
You sit here today
with an iron-clad heart.
One more day
you'll toss me out,
perhaps, cursing.
In the dim front hall my arm,
broken by trembling won't fit right away in my sleeve.
I'll run out,
throw my body into the street.
I'll rave,
lashed by despair.
Don't let it happen
my dear,
my darling,
let us part now.
After all
my love
is a heavy weight
hanging on you
no matter where you go.
Let me bellow a final cry
of bitter, wounded grievance.
If you drive a bull to exhaustion
he will run away,
lay himself down in the cold waters.
Besides your love
I have
no ocean
and your love won't grant even a tearful plea for rest.
When a tired elephant wants peace
he lies down regally in the firebound sand.
Besides your love
I have
no sun,
but I don't even know where you are and with whom.
If you tortured a poet like this,
would berate his beloved for money and fame,
but for me
no sound is joyous
but the sound of your beloved name.
I won't throw myself downstairs
or drink poison
nor can I put a gun to my head.
No blade
holds me transfixed
but your glance.
Tomorrow you'll forget
that I have crowned you,
that I burned my flowering soul with love,
and the whirling carnival of trivial days
will ruffle the pages of my books...
Would the dry leaves of my words
force you to a stop
gasping for air?

At least let me
pave with a parting endearment
your retreating path.

Lilichka, Vladimir Mayakovsky, 
Petrograd, 1916

Friday, 2 May 2014


Futurist made his stand
earning the wrath of hipsters;
more modern than they.

turning back in time
outdid their modernity;
Forever avant-garde.


Friday, 11 April 2014

From under the floorboards...

Dear Friends, there's a flickering in my right eye, I'd suggest its becoming more than a mere irritation. But I have to consider my situation as a barrage of mere irritations that I wouldn't dare offload onto others... after all, why would I inflict upon someone something that is entirely of my own doing... better to revel in it, and enjoy this twitch in my right eye. 
How would a civilised, upstanding person deal with this twitch? Well, its a ridiculous thing to suggest that he would ever suffer it in the first place, we have the laws of nature to thank for that. But if, through some absurdity he became afflicted, I'd suggest he'd be publicly heralded for his bravery, in carrying it round with him in public, absurdly honouring his own disease. 
So let me explain to you dear friends, through translated means, how it is that I come to understand this twitch as an endemic, publicly unacceptable trait of mine, that you might soon know better than to try and civilise...

Now I want to tell you, Dear Friends, whether you want to hear it or not, why I couldn't even manage to make myself into an insect. I tell you solemnly that I often wanted to become an insect but didn't manage even that. I swear to you, gentlemen, that to be too much aware of things is an illness, a real, genuine illness. For ordinary purposes it would be quite enough for people to have half, or even a quarter of the awareness that falls to the lot of the educated individual in our wretched century – an individual, what’s more, with the additional misfortune of living here, the most abstract and premeditated place on the globe. (There are premeditated and unpremeditated places.) It would for instance be quite enough to be as aware as so-called spontaneous and decisive people. I bet you think I’m writing all this in order to boast or to make fun of decisive people and that I’m boasting in bad taste too, rattling my sword like my officer. But, gentlemen, who wants to admit his own infirmities, let alone boast and glory in them?
   But why just me… everyone does it; everyone shows off their infirmities and I possibly more than anyone else. Don’t let’s argue; my point is absurd. But, in spite of it, I’m firmly convinced that not just excessive awareness, but any awareness at all, is in itself an illness. I insist on that. Let’s put it aside for a minute. Tell me this: why did it sometimes happen that just at the moment – yes, at the very moment – at which I was most capable of appreciating all the fine points of everything “beautiful and sublime”, as they used to say, I found that I was capable of not only appreciating but of actually performing acts so unseemly that… well, in a word, acts which I suppose everyone performs but which I happened to perform, as if deliberately, at the moment when I was most aware they ought not to be performed?  And the more I was aware of the Good, of everything “beautiful and sublime”, the deeper I sank into my own mire and the more capable I was of being submerged in it altogether. But the main thing was not that I just happened to do it, but that it felt as if it was right and proper for it to be like that, as if it was my absolutely normal condition – not at all an illness or a damaging addiction. So, at least, even the desire to struggle against the addiction left me and it all ended up with my almost believing, or perhaps really believing, that it was my absolutely normal condition and not an illness or an addiction at all. But at first, at the beginning, how much torment I suffered in that struggle! I did not believe that the same sort of thing happened to other people and all my life I kept it to myself, as a secret. I was ashamed of it – and perhaps I still feel ashamed. It reached such a point that I used to feel a sort of secret, abnormal, contemptible little delight coming back to my corner on some foul evening, acutely aware that only that day I’d done something abominable, that what had been done could in no way be undone; and I would inwardly, secretly, gnaw, gnaw at myself with some shameful, damnable sweetness and finally into definite, serious delight. Yes into delight! I insist on that. In fact, that’s why I started this conversation: because I want to know for certain whether other people experience this kind of delight.

I’ll explain. The delight that I felt came precisely from being too acutely aware of my own degradation, from the feeling that you've come up against a brick wall, that it’s bad but at the same time cannot be otherwise, that there is no way out, that you’ll never become a different person, that even if you still had sufficient time or belief to change into something else, you probably wouldn't want to change. And if you did want to, you probably wouldn't do anything about it because, in fact, there’s simply nothing to change into. But the main and final point is this: it all happens in accordance with the normal, basic laws of heightened awareness, and the inertia that follows from these laws. Therefore, it’s not only that you can’t change yourself, but that there’s nothing in this case that you can do about it. So for example, as a consequence of heightened awareness, one feels comfortable performing villainous actions, as though it’s a consolation to a villain to realise that he really is a villain. But enough… Oh! I've blathered on but what have I explained?... How to explain this delight? But I will explain! I’ll get there in the end! That is why I took up my pen…

   I am for, for example, terribly touchy. I’m mistrustful and quick to take offence, like a hunchback or a dwarf. But there have been actual moments in my life when, if somebody had slapped my face, I would have been able to find a kind of delight, particularly when you can see no way out of your situation. And when your face has been slapped – well, then you’ll be crushed by the consciousness of the pulp to which you've been reduced. But the main thing is, whichever way you look at it, the result is that I’m always the first to be blamed and, worst of all, I’m guilty though guiltless, so to speak, simply for acting in conformity with the laws of nature. I am held responsible first, because I’m more intelligent than anyone else around me. (I have always considered myself more intelligent than anyone else around me and, would you believe it, sometimes I was even ashamed of it; at least, all my life I have averted my gaze and could never look people straight in the eye.) And that is why, in the last resort, I am responsible: because, even if I’d had any magnanimity of spirit, I would have been aware of its irrelevance and then become even more tormented. I would probably not have been able to do anything with my magnanimity – not even forgive, because the offender probably would have slapped me in conformity with the laws of nature. You can’t forgive the laws of nature – but nor can you forget them because, laws of nature or not, the sense of grievance still remains. And finally, even if I had no desire whatsoever to be magnanimous but, on the contrary, wanted to take revenge on the offender, I would not have been able to take revenge on anyone because, even if I had been able, I would never have dared…

-The Underground Man, 'Notes From (the) Underground', Fyodor Dostoevsky.

I relish every word.

Best, and entirely logical, to leave a masochist to his own devices.


Monday, 24 March 2014

Dear Friends!


Dear Friends, 

I live without hope of ever communicating my gratitude to you, to any extent I might consider satisfactory.

But please do not think of me as a pessimist! Anguish might well interrupt me on most days I wake, including those meant to be celebrated, but without your support and kind wishes, I couldn't live in the hope of otherwise making myself understood... 

And so as lousy as things have been, it just so happens the date of my birth coincides with the beginning of Spring...

Last of the tempest-scattered clouds!
You alone charge upon the azure;
You alone cast a shadow, sad;
You alone temper the brightness of day.

Over time just passed, you covered the sky,
With lightning wound around you;
You thundered into the earth;
Pouring rain upon its perpetual thirst,

Enough! Disappear, that time has passed,
The earth is refreshed; the tempest flown away,
As gentle wind, caressing the leaves of trees,
Brings forth a heavenly repose. 

*Alexandr Pushkin, 1835
Isaac Levitan: Above Eternal Peace (1894)

 "De los seres que amamos su existencia nos basta."
Of the beings we love, their existence is enough for us.

*I wasn't satisfied with the English versions already available, so I attempted to indirectly translate it myself. You may be surprised to know its a fairly common practice in the literary world for writers with very little knowledge of the original language to do this. The two versions I'd seen both tried to match the rhyming scheme (not strictly necessary considering the rhyming pairs in the original Russian alternated between genders) - obviously not possible to replicate in English. I also didn't pay too much attention to amphibrachic tetrameter, in favour of more closely replicating what the original actually said. E.g. the first of the below translations isn't sound English, and the second ignores the repetition of 'Одна ты'.

Monday, 10 March 2014

On Waking at Noon Without a Voice...

Called out to the world,
and heard by no one,

Became a thinking thing.

Eyes began to see themselves;
Cognition could be scrutinized,
in on itself.

Swallowed tongue
spoke to heart,
to cease its agitation!

And no protest was heard,
                                       nor seen,
let alone,


Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Lenin's Statue

"This is very important we must put a stop to forms of praise that are expressions of inadequately suppressed, inadequately extinguished reflexes on our part. That song, for example: 'O CNR, Thomas Sankara, may he forever be president!" is not good. Because when you're president, you're president. Either you're president of you're not. We must be clear. This song is not good. At this rate, in one year, or in two years, we'll find ourselves in some festivals with some troupes that will have practiced this a lot more and may also have nothing else to do than this." 

<^Thomas Sankara,
 President of Burkina-Faso 1983-87.

Just swap 'President' with your own 'Government' and consider how many PR Bureaucrats are employed to play the part of a well versed troupe, singing the praises of an already self-congratulatory caste. Its a rather adept diagnosis of man's ills; the superfluous pitfalls of bureaucracy: If I could cleanse myself of Oblomovschina and bother to read Lenin then I might find its origins somewhere in his writings. Only I suspect just a single department dedicating itself to the commissioning of his statues was never quite enough…

Thomas Sankara is oft referred to (well, let's face it, he's not often referred to)... but when he is... as 'The Upright Man', since it was he who gave Burkina-Faso its name. What then, does that make Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov?


Monday, 20 January 2014

Blue Monday

Dear Friends,

"You see, the trouble is that no devastating or redeeming fires have ever burnt in my life. It never was like a morning which gradually fills with light and colour and then turns, like other people's, into a blazing, hot day, when everything seethes and shimmers in the bright noonday sun, and then gradually grows paler and more subdued, fading naturally into the evening twilight. No! My life began by flickering out. It may sound strange but it is so. From the very first moment I became conscious of myself, I felt that I was already flickering out. I began to flicker out over the writing of official papers at the office; I went on flickering out when I read truths in books which I did not know how to apply in life, when I sat with friends listening to rumours, gossip, jeering, spiteful, cold, and empty chatter, and watching friendships kept up by meetings that were without aim or affection; I was flickering out and wasting my energies on those I imagined I loved; I was flickering out when I walked idly and dejectedly along Nevsky Avenue among people in raccoon coats and beaver collars - at parties on reception days, where I was welcomed with open arms as a fairly eligible young man; I was flickering out and wasting my life and mind on trifles moving from town to some country house, and from the country house to Gorokhovaya, fixing the arrival of spring by the fact that lobsters and oysters had appeared in the shops, of autumn and winter by the special visiting days, of summer by the fêtes, and in life in general by lazy and comfortable somnolence like the rest. ...Even ambition - what was it wasted on? To order clothes at a famous tailor's? To get an invitation to a famous house? To shake hands with Prince P.? And ambition is the salt of life! Where has it gone to? Either I have not understood this sort of life or it is utterly worthless; but I did not know of a better one. No one showed it to me. You appeared and disappeared like a bright and swiftly moving comet, and I forgot it all and went on flickering out. ...'
   You said just now that my face had lost its freshness and was flabby. Yes, I am an old shabby, worn-out coat, but not because of the climate or hard work, but because for years the light has been shut up within me and, unable to find an outlet, it merely consumed itself inside its prison house and was extinguished without breaking out into the open. And so years have passed. 
My dear friends: I do not want to wake up any more."

(Ilya Ilyich Oblomov).