There really is no alternative – to the truth By William Bowles

22 July 2017 — investigating imperialism

But then I think, no! This can’t be so, how can life be so cruel?

But then I think, we have so little power but so much comprehension, so maybe that’s it;

Comprehend but do nothing.

This is Grenfell Tower, so much comprehension, so much understanding, so little power.

The unpacking begins. The explorations wander through mazes. We catalogue, we classify, we empathise, we explicate, we condemn, but do nothing.

The act of describing is enough. Enough is enough.

Is enough.

And as the days roll by, more explications roll by.

The tests. I laugh!

The tests a sham.

The tests begin – again.

Then bizarrely music fills my brain. Somehow, the music explains.

I hear chords, they strike a chord.

The corpses, they pile up in a strange land. Corpses are the same everywhere. And not surprisingly, the Grenfell corpses are identical to Aleppo corpses, as are Mosul corpses, are the same as the…I can’t go on.

This has to stop!

But then I think, this can’t be so.

But it is.

That woman, blonde she was, well coiffed she was. Beautiful nails, she spoke and out came shit, nothing but empty shit, and so well coiffed, but shit just the same.

How can this be so? So much is known, so little acted on.

They explicate, they analyse, they categorise, they bury us with little truths, piled up like corpses in a stairwell, each one a truth, each truth a little death.

Lots of little deaths don’t make one big death.

Perhaps the causes somehow change the end. The end becomes the beginning and in doing becomes the end.

They bury us with little truths

The truths pile up like corpses

Each corpse a truth, each truth a lie

Each lie a death

Each death a life.

St. Thomas’s Hospital, 22 July 2017

Jozi dusty, Jozi blue By William Bowles

9 August 2001

Written toward the end of my life in South Africa, ‘Jozi Dusty, Jozy blue’, saw a return to my writing poetry again. In fact writing poems was the first ‘serious’ writing I did, spurred on by a friend, also a poet who dared me to write a poem in the manner of a Which Consumer Report on men’s underpants. I’m not at all sure what makes us write poetry or even where the words come from. I just know that when they all ‘fit’ together, the poem is finished.

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Portrait of Jozi By William Bowles

1 May 2014

Believe or not, I have been known to write poetry occasionally. Now I’m clueless when it comes to poetry, whatever rhythms I generate are entirely intuitive. Here’s one I wrote back in 2001 when I lived in Johannesburg that I’m kinda fond of. It really is how I reacted to my ten years there as I sat in my back yard overlooking the city of Johannesburg.

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Aish, Hola and All That

The world rolls round,
As I stride the globe,
Bits of my past,
From tube station, red, white, blue
To Eastside, 100th streetAish, Hola and all thatWicked words spin off Babel’s tongue
Streets run, under the sun
East to west, north to south
The world’s mouth,
Speak your life,
Chesa, chesa

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