I woke up to a sweating sick-stained sun, locked in a lunacy of suited normals clacketing blackberries hum thrum hangover drum, happy transparent heads.

I woke up sodden, frozen, crusted with tears from dreams of desert spaces, neon electric amphetamine places, haunted keening faces, ant-crawling into undergrowth decaying nests flinging formic burial dance ejaculations at their dying queen.

I woke up homeless, skin grotesqued on John Lewis glass, caged in beige and cursed and coughed and incantated and deflated and scoffed and stoned and slashing, smashing crashing at the window for my outside home.

I woke up on the office floor sodomised by spreadsheet slutting gang-rape jargon-happy whores in shirts and ties and CK1 and stripped and mocked by flights of office angels careening heavenward-career kicks to my crotch.

I woke up staring at the eyes of Martin Luther King, the gaze of Kurt Cobain, the glaze of Janis, Jimi, Jack, the drug-drawn, the persecuted, spat on, the unvoiced, the bony-fingered, track-marked, the unwritten gospels, cracked canvas and dried-up colour-wombs.

I woke up staring at the billion unaccounted reasons not to die, slapped welts to make my cheeks too raw to turn away and cry and cursed the mornings spooling out towards the sunset, and the daily pill the act of will required to make the choice to live.

There is no more tomorrow

There is only an endless today strung out like a thousand junkies coming down the mountain cradling tablets carved with promises from their gods.

We woke up you and me, undreaming dreamers we bark out our caffeine chorus at the midnight sun

We run, fucked-up and spectacular, into the dervish hills singing flail-body ballads at the sky.

Heavy-legged triumphant we outrun the sunset,
slash our sinful eyelids,
fix on the skimming morning star horizon,
empty our birthing wail into the dawn
and wait and run and wail and wake and wait

and flash and fill with sheeting screams and answers build and burst and brightness comet-summoning shaman mummers flame the heavens burning relentless the dreaming drabness suits and skirts and office-dark nights and towerblock evening grey and paypacket veins and expectation gym kit briefcase jumpsuit duvet madness

and in the warm the wake they give we take the fireball dawn

we are awake.

~ by yearzerowriters on April 26, 2010.

14 Responses to “Awake”

  1. Dan – this is so devastating, just tears the brain to pieces. I love writing that just crawls up inside the inside of the inside and bares its flesh, all its scars and wounds and love and hate (same thing really) – and you keep taking us further and further – that last paragraph ‘and flash and fill with sheeting screams and answers build and burst and brightness comet-summoning shaman mummers flame…’ gorgeous insanity, carried off in it.


    • thank you 🙂 And like you said on twitter, how apropos the title given what time it must be with you!!

  2. Fantastic rhythms & syncopations.

    Really liked “sodomised by spreadsheet slutting gang-rape jargon-happy whores” that suggests to me you need to change your daytime job!

    For me this is your best poem yet. I still find it hard to match this kind of work with your novels though!

    marc nash

    • If you can find me a job that pays the bills where that’s not true I’m there 🙂

      By “hard to match” do you mean the voice or the standard? I think what I’m realising is just how half-baked my own voice is. My novels feel like Murakami rip-offs and my poems feel like Ginsberg rip-offs. And as for my shorts, heaven only knows!! I thik I need to keep experimenting to find “me”

      • Firstly they are not half-baked. One sees your influences, but your renderings are not homages, or pastiches or anything of the sort. You may take off from these 2 masters, but then you do unerringly find your own path through your work. I’m merely saying that the two voices are so different from one another, but that is not necessarily a bad thing, nor does it evidence you still need to find your ‘true’ voice. (unified field theory comes to mind here).

        I do understand the doubts and anxiety, but they are misplaced. I also think it doesn’t matter how many times I or any of your supporters and fans tell you that, you won’t take it into your self-doubting core.


        • You’re probably right. I just feel like there’s something more if only I could squeeze hard enough – only Larry’s right that the less I squeeze the more at home I am with the writing. I just want something less banal, less obvious, but I guess most I want to get what’s in me out, every drop of it, and I feel that there’s something left at the moment, something I can’t quite pick at, like the last bit oif duck between the teeth.

  3. ‘We run, fucked-up and spectacular, into the dervish hills singing flail-body ballads at the sky.’ This line is the bee’s knees. ‘…fucked-up & spectacular’ – that is my new mantra! Would like it on my gravestone or urn or bin bag or…

  4. I already told you I liked this. On the second reading, I see a little Whitman in this — Whitman filtered through Ginsberg & Burroughs.

  5. Like Marc, I feel you moved forward with this poem (as I said on your blog). There is a definite Ginsberg influence – Ginsberg was fond of formulations like ‘office angels’ & ‘dervish hills’ – but that’s not a rip-off, more a starting point. I suspect that you do your best work when you’re no longer worrying about style or voice, and just focussing on what you must say. (Zen Art of Poetry). It feels unfinished – I’d like to see this as the intro to a much longer, perhaps less polished, poem?

  6. “I’d like to see this as the intro to a much longer, perhaps less polished, poem?”

    So would I, I think. 🙂

  7. Now that was just amazing. Just blew me away.

  8. […] Holloway – Awake, […]

  9. Absolutely fantastic Dan

  10. Wake up

    Sun-drenched costumes hug skin tight contours the valleys the hills the forest tufts tucked neatly away on colorful rectangles peppered with sand and sun block oil.

    Behind the darkened glass of small windows their eyes shut out the world cell phone on silent work left at work significant others significantly elsewhere with a long blink like a sigh of melancholy or that post-orgasmic lungful of nicotine racing from fingertips to lungs to a vanity of red rivers to a gallery titled Peanut.

    A cloud wanders lonely and mean across the sun, casting shadow shapes over sun-worshipers and shadow-lovers alike.

    They wake up stiff sore limbs crackle and snap and pop in their joints muscles creak like over-strung bows or the tight leather belt a beefy man stretches between two large fists as he approaches the sun-punished slaves spread-eagled without costumes or sun block or a towel or sunglasses or dignity or a hope in hell.

    Do you exhibit your body by choice today or as a sleepwalker do you flash a nipple and an ankle, a knee and a thigh, an ass-crack and an ear, a neck and a shoulder for the voyeur in all of us – craving any attention even the leering dirty anonymous kind?

    Wake up the passionate beast within your damned soul and live in your sand castle at the incoming tide’s edge for life will crumble be swallowed be built anew possessed and lost again.

    Fear not the waking nightmare of dreams gone sour southward or the ritual killing of the hours spent at work in a dead-end job with grinning maniacs in unsuitable suits dumbing down your efforts.

    Be unafraid of that man on a cross or that long line of untranslatable stuff of biblical importance as your eyes open in prayer or to stare at the men in black the women in red the stained glass pictures losing their details on the kaleidoscopic patterns they make on the floor at your feet.

    Count only the things that matter to you.

    Tune in to you and switch off your berries and pods and eat them instead as you unfreeze time and the images imprisoning the spirits of artists such as yourself.

    Unlock your chastity devices and throw them away and tongue-fuck the world with your words written in speech bubbles breaking the silence of sleep the shuddering coma cravings of little deaths.

    Erase the past as your reinvent the day again wheels and warts and all.

    Yesterday never was.

    Wake up to today to the life you live you choose to live the people you love and hurt the memories you make only to erase upon waking up again.

    Ignore the pain
    And the beefy man
    And wake up.

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