Viruses are feeble, really –
Just can’t hope to make it
In this dangerous Outside –
There they are, alone and naked,
Lucky to survive a day or two,
Before they’re on the slide –
There’s nothing they can do, and there’s nowhere they can hide.
The trouble is, they’ve got no drive,
They’re just too small.
Chances are, they’ve died
Before we even can decide
If they ever were alive at all.
A little soap will crack them open,
Ultra vi’let shakes them to their core –
Or else they get digested by a passing virivore –
(High in protein, high in fat,
What germ could ask for more ?)
And if not that,
Then while they’re out there, waiting to congeal,
They cannot reproduce and cannot heal.
So keep them on the Outside, that’s the deal –
Until they all go splat.
Eeny meeny, counted Queenie,
Fingers one two three and four –
A fish alive and thumb makes five,
And on the other hand there’s more.
So rub-a-dub and squeeze and scrub,
And this little piggie wee wee wee
Index middle ring and little,
Pinkie perky owe-you-tee.
Queenie went to market
To buy a bar of soap
She went to Deal and Margate,
And Cape Town on the Hope,
But a laundry-maid from Washington
Had bought up ev’ry crate,
So Queenie had to wash with none
But ashes from the grate.
Queenie on her lone and only,
All her friends are all indoors –
All down with spots and chicken pox,
And tummy-aches and sores.
Queenie finds the streets are empty,
Like the swings and slides and stores –
They cannot come and play today,
They’ve all been through the wars.
If it’s true just as they say
That that which does not kill today
Shall only make us stronger yet
Then boy !- for all the bugs I get,
For all the lurgies, all the flus,
The injuries and aches and ooze –
For all of that, I should, I vow,
Be bloody Superman by now !
“No Free Will” can mean two different things –
The first of these is in our brains
That we’re simply biological robots,
Thinking we’re free but forever in chains.
The second is that the Future exists,
It already exists, so it has to arrive –
And the only way from here to there
Is to give up choice and to let fate drive.
According to boffins, it’s out of our hands,
That we’re all algorithms just floating in space,
And the only uncertainty’s not us, but quantum,
And anyway time is all over the place.
Now I know pressure, and I know predictable,
And I know duality – a body and a soul –
But minds are physical, products of biology,
Not separate from bodies, but under their control.
And yet…And yet…
I mean, yes, I get what they’re trying hard to say,
But it doesn’t sit with me.
I don’t feel a slave even on the dullest day –
You know, I’m feeling pretty free.
And yes, we could be programed so we never notice anyway,
Or maybe we’re just bluffing.
I mean, we’re self-aware – does that count for nothing ?,
Not that the universe would care.
But when it’s down to tails or heads,
To blues or reds,
Or jazz or blues,
That barely even matters which we choose.
Well…have we still the power to refuse ?
And as for that time thing…what’s there to discuss ?
How did the future even get ahead of us ?
They say it isn’t set,
That we still get to select, Except, of course, except,
That the causes haven’t happened yet,
But all of the effects are in effect.
But come on, we all know that it’s bollocks ! Of course we all get to make a choice,
We’re not all living in a virtual simulation,
And there is no cosmic script that we must voice,
Now normally I show respect to scientists,
But normally they have to prove their stuff –
So I’ll rely on common sense and take responsibility,
And I’ll be free, at least – or free enough.
I heard him say the universe
Is held within a glass of wine –
And yes, it’s true there’s science,
Even at the table when we dine –
The way the light reflects, refracts –
The way the liquid lets it shine –
The glass that’s made from sand-made-clear,
By how its molecules align –
And evolution never sleeps,
To accident’ly sculpt the vine.
So let me raise a toast to Richard
With this universe of mine.
February – season of mists
And sniffles and sneezes and snorts.
The lurgy is lurking, the palsy persists,
That no patent tonic or tincture can thwart.
My fluid-filled senses are under attack so,
And nothing can soothe me by Pfizer or Glaxo.
Instead I must mop them with Cussons and Lever –
The sweats and the shakes and the chills and the fever.
Is it just because my hands are swollen
That my nat’ral poise is stolen ?
Clumsy fingers uncontrolling,
Rolling like they’re locked in boxing gloves.
Is it just the syrup that I’m spooning
That sets my giddy head to swooning ?
Drifting in and out of tuning,
Mooning like I’m some young thing in love.
Either way, the outlook’s flaky –
Something’s come and left me shaky.
How am I to stem this phlegm cocooning me,
That’s strewn in tubes below and pipes above ?
Unless it is you who is making me bluesy,
Unless it is you who is laying me low,
Weary and woozy and bleary and boozy
I hate to be choosy, but say it ain’t so !
A cold front is passing, a hard sleet is falling –
I hope they will blow over once spring comes a-calling…
Yet if I’m infected by what I suspect –
Then there’s no cure can save me, and no ward protect.
Is it just because my eyes are streaming
That the world looks like I’m dreaming ?
Hazy psychedelic gleaming,
Seeming strangely vivid yet unreal.
Or is it my subconscious that I’m spying ?
All the drugs my brain’s supplying
Must have set my nerves to frying,
Flying off and sleeping at the wheel.
Either way, the outlook’s gloomy –
Something’s come and left me rheumy.
How can I declare my love undyingly,
When dying is precisely how I feel ?
Gods dammit !, I’ve let myself grow optimistic !
I can’t believe I’ve let myself get hopeful-careless now !
“Cynical and real”, a jaded zeal and nihilistic tantra,
That was long my mantra, was my self-improving vow –
Forever “Cynical and real”, from Shangri-La to Slough.
Expect the worst – the worst exists – be never solipsistic –
I’m not alone, alas ! – there’s people ev’ry-bloody-where,
Who seem to think their mission is to try and make me care. But hey, I seem to say, chuck that away for ‘anyhow’,
For grasping at what-ifs and maybes, any passing stray statistic,
Gleaning gosh and go-for-it from what-about and wow.
Oh, this is gonna hurt, I know,
Oh, this is gonna crush me in the vice of lessons learned.
But truly I deserve this blow,
Because the flame of Hope must feed on hope,
Must burn up hope, till hope is burned.
I should, I do, know better than to think that this old rope
At which I grope, is yet a lifeline, not a noose.
Ah, what’s the use…
However much I tell myself
That hopefulness is bad for health
My under-mind is getting drunk on jubilation juice.
Defeat is gonna flood this town
Because I let my shields down,
And all because I let the bastard Hope get on the loose.
So come and claim me, He-Who-Wins,
Come poke my eyes and kick my shins,
My inner-voice needs dowsing and my spirit’s due a sluice.
But still…but still I hear its whisper, even now –
I hear it over ev’ry chanting of my vow –
“Cynical and real, must keep it cynical and real.
There’s no repeal.”
And if that’s bleak and bitchy, good !
It’s time I understood that harsh reality’s a cow,
It ain’t some sweet and sad-eyed pup.
So please, Defeat, please shoo the mutt
And shut the damn thing up !
Please be the poison in the buttercup,
The fungus in the bough.
Please, Defeat, for once, for all,
Please stop me dreaming quite so tall –
I cannot take another fall,
Another draining of my tao.
A swift one-two into the gut
Should hobble me my cocky strut
And fill my saccharine with gall.
Quick ! I feel another wave of optimism building –
But lilies aren’t for gilding,
They’re for bearers of the pall.
Quick ! Construct a wall to keep my pessimism filled in –
I pray for mental doors of bronze
To shut out Hope and all his cons,
And fire arrows at his swans, until the dread is drilled-in.
Don’t drag a plough across my brow,
I can’t allow these worries and these fears.
So please, to anyone who hears me
Hear me now !
Pray dim my eyes and salt my tears,
And help me chant my vow:
“Cynical and real, keep me cynical and real.”
And all you optimists, forgive me,
For I never meant to sign your deal.
“Cynical and real, always cynical and real.”
Let my fear of life outlive me,
For I never meant to let me feel.
Chant it with me,
Chant it with me,
Never let my let-downs heal.
Keep me coping, keep me numb,
Before all Hope is come.