Tag Archive | dying

From “Bank of Scotland”

By nick-e melville.

when the car finally dies on you.

From “Mix Tapping”

By Jennifer Cooke.

How hot is too much cleansing for meta-
phors are porous in the morning dew-stains.
Embraces are less neutral under my water,
weed hair-tresses spelling out the future
forment, a froth of protest we are terrific
stupid and slow.

Stop the flow funding: water socialism is
not battered cod for £4 with mushy peas

Elsewhere: Contraband Books.

From “Total War 2006”

By Simon Pearson.

The Islamic Alliance had spent years studying and learning Nato’s air assault techniques, always searching for weaknesses. The Egyptians and Saudis had all been taught first hand. No wonder they were able to give the first wave such a bloody nose. From Hardy’s Cyprus package thirty-seven aircraft were shot down. The other three packages and two Israeli equivalents had fared almost as badly in similarly sprung traps. A total of 106 Nato jets and 22 Israeli jets were lost. The silence of the air defences and the patience of the commanders had been richly rewarded. For the second time in a week the air campaign was suspended. With the loss of a total of five Death Stars, even the operations of the B-2s and F-117s were halted, their invisibility now very much past tense and clouded with uncertainty, while the way ahead was considered. The Islamic Alliance had moved every single SAM between dusk on the 30th and dawn on the 31st. ‘Air supremacy’ was replaced by ‘air denial’. The Alliance had won another round.

The roots of this failure could be traced back to a combination of the information revolution of the 1990s and a complacency about the problems posed by a sizeable opponent that was more reactive and flexible than the Iraqis in 1991, and the North Koreans and Serbs in 2002. The West had singularly failed to heed the warning signals. While more and more money was spent on tactical, operational and strategic information-gathering systems the complementary infrastructure required to sift, assimilate and then disseminate to the decision-makers and war-fighters remained woefully inadequate. The generals remained bullish, repeating worn-out phrases such as ‘Information is power’. What they failed to see was that the whole system was creaking under a flood of information. Throwing more computers and complex software at the problem actually slowed the whole process down as the information had to pass through an increasing number of interested parties before getting to where it was needed in a timely fashion. The revolutionary idea of a ‘military information buffet (much like a cybercafé)’, where all information and intelligence was freely and immediately available to all end-users, who would be able to take exactly what they required for their missions when they required it, were rejected on grounds of security.

From “Approaches To How They Behave”

By W S Graham.

Speaking is difficult and one tries
To be exact and yet not to
Exact the prime intention to death.
On the other hand the appearance of things
Must not be made to mean another
Thing. It is a kind of triumph
To see them and to put them down
As what they are. The inadequacy
Of the living, animal language drives
Us all to metaphor and an attempt
To organize the spaces we think
We have made occur between the words.

On the theory of ghosts

By Adorno & Horkheimer.

Freud’s theory that belief in ghosts stem from the evil thoughts of living people about the dead, and from the memory of old dead wishes, is too limited. Hatred of the dead is made up of envy no less than a feeling of guilt. The living individual feels deserted and attributes his pain to the dead person who caused this state of affairs. At the stages of humanity in which death appeared as the direct continuation of existence, the desertion in death necessarily seems to be a betrayal, and even the enlightened individual has not completely overcome the old belief. It is not possible for the consciousness to conceive of death as absolute nothingness, since absolute nothingness is inconceivable. If the burden of life weighs on the living, the position of the dead may easily seem preferable. The manner in which many people reorganize their lives after the death of someone close to them as an active cult of the dead, or as rationalized oblivion, is the modern counterpart of the belief in ghosts which lives on in unsublimated form as spiritualism. Only the conscious horror of destruction creates the correct relationship with the dead: unity with them because we, like them, are the victims of the same condition and the same disappointed hope.


The disturbed relationship with the dead – forgotten and embalmed – is one of the symptoms of the sickness of experience today. One might almost say that the notion of human life as the unity in the history of an individual has been abolished: the life of the individual is defined only by its opposite, destruction, but all harmony and all continuity of conscious and involuntary memory have lost their meaning.

Individuals are reduced to a mere sequence of instantaneous experiences which leave no trace, or rather whose trace is hated as irrational, superfluous, and “overtaken” in the literal sense of the word. Just as every book which has not been published recently is suspect, and the idea of history outside the specific sphere of historical science makes modern men nervous, so the past becomes a source o anger. What a man was and experienced in the past is as nothing when set against what he now is and has and what he can be used for. The well-meaning if threatening advice frequently given to emigrants to forget all their past because it cannot be transferred, and to begin a completely new life, simply represents a forcible reminder to the newcomer of something which he has long since learned for himself. History is eliminated in oneself and others out of a fear that it may remind the individual of the degeneration of his own existence – which itself continues. The respect for something which has no market value and runs contrary to all feelings is experienced most sharply by the person in mourning, in whose case not even the psychological restoration of labor power is possible. It becomes a wound in civilization, asocial sentimentality, showing that it has still not been possible to compel men to indulge solely in purposeful behavior. That is why mourning is watered down more than anything else and consciously turned into social formality; indeed the beautified corpse has always been a mere formality for the hardened survivors. In the funeral home and crematorium, where the corpse is processed into portable ashes – an unpleasant item of property – it is not considered proper to show emotion, and the girl who proudly described the first-class burial of her grandmother, adding “a pity that Daddy lost control” (because he shed a few tears), accurately reflects the situation. In reality, the dead suffer a fate which the Jews in olden days considered the worst possible curse: they are expunged from the memory of those who live on. Men have ceased to consider their own purpose and fate; they work their despair out on the dead.

From “Ode to TL61P 1”

By Keston Sutherland.

The code TL61P belongs to a Hotpoint dryer;
You’ll find out nothing if you look
it up through the sky in the screen, the vault
of exchangable passion, Vertigo at
the horizon prostrate as an outstretched
cheek; but in the mouth that grows
in capacity behind that overflow,
Nobody can take away the word for it:
love, the provisional end until death;
TL61P its unconditional perfected shadow
opposite; Now go back to the start.