Money is Our Assonance: Seven Short Poems

Still Brazil, Still India, Not Hegel, Not Pinker

As we are
human beings, the highest point
of our culture should be
being human.
Is this what you feel? That humanity
has aimed its bow this way?

Instead of always becoming
human humans became chattels
and consumers, and if not
they found themselves
in profit’s way, to be wiped out
or removed. Maybe the arrow
of humanity has been fired in reverse.

Gone, Be Gone

Robinson Jeffers wrote
‘civilisation is a transient sickness,’
From his granite poetry outpost
And, so it goes, welcomed its end
Long before the methane bubbled out
From under the permafrost
And before we knew the shipping lanes
Had stupefied
The breath of the seas.

(Quote from ‘New Mexican Mountain’, Robinson Jeffers 1931, The Saturday Review, Sept 5, 1931.)


The Problem with Trump

The problem with Trump
Is the awful inelegance.
Oh how we now long for
The measured lies of Obama.

What we desire is elegance
In leadership. We desire more
Elegant brutality, more elegant
Lies, more elegant turbidity.

Money Is Our Assonance

Art is a function of money, discuss.
Philosophy is a function
of money, discuss.
Love is a function of money, discuss.
Too little, too much, or just
the life you lead
is a function of money.

Fleeting… elusive

From the time of Herodotus
– the father of history –
tis the habitual requirement
that any histology
of social life
both in-significant
and world-significant
should serve
either or both
as panegyric or warning.
(We must, so they say,
hold on to the good
– maintain the movement –
and scratch out the bad.
But where have these
noisy, self-assured,
gold-rimmed lectures
left us?)
It is only within
the convention of fiction
that one is permitted to refuse
to write out solutions,
To doubt
And doubt doubly.
And so, fiction
of all the fictions
before us
in the library of our society
the truest type of fiction.


Oh to be a child climbing
hills of garbage, dragging
bags and body across
a malodorous,
tetanus flecked,
quagmire kingdom,
under an inescapably
just risen sun.

Lying Angels

History was the prosaic
all too suspiciously
rational tale
of how the gates before us
continued to open
on the climb to an
incarnate Heaven.

But now the prospect
of ecological Armageddon
hangs before us
like the gates to a real
all-encompassing hell
and history falls away
like nonsense.

More articles by:

Peter Harrison wrote ‘The Freedom of Things: An Ethnology of Control,’ and co-authored ‘Nihilist Communism: A Critique of Optimism in the Far Left.’ For work Harrison drives a bus.  Email: contrahistorical@gmail.com 

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