Farewell, Universal Debit



When You are Old, by W B Yeats 

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim Soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;
And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.
                                                      William Butler Yeats

 Power Station Blues

This time last year, as I recall
I found myself intensely unemployed;
Jobless, worthless, a burden on the state

My coordinator issued me
With rancid lumps of regulated cash
Called Universal Credit – don’t worry,

She said; you’ll be allowed to pay it back
When you find work, at fifty pounds a week.

But now I have a job, a purpose, destiny;
I make my way with all the other citizen-units
To the power station where
Each of us has a dedicated lever to pull
And a set of dials to monitor. It keeps

Us busy throughout the day, but
Makes no difference to the world at large.
One day I will be fortunate enough
To own a small apartment; the walls will hang with
Sunflower and power station prints. The electricity will

Function perfectly from six ‘til ten.
And I shall count myself the happiest of men.


n Flagpoles outside the X-Y Hotel

The two of Wands, the three of Wands, the four of Wands, the five of Wands. Does the flag itself convey information? Do the length of the flagpole and the angle of elevation signify anything?
Consider the attributes or characteristics of the ‘object’: product, service or idea. How would these aspects be affected if the object was suddenly to become:

Significantly larger? Significantly smaller?
More numerous? Less readily available?
Durable? Fragile?
A different colour? A different shape?

Does the environment support the functions of the object, or does it challenge and inhibit those functions? Consider the spectrum of knowledge and information management:

Data – Capta – Knowledge – Information

Bits of information that are present – the Abraxas is the sum total of all things and ideas. It is not possible to process this mass of experience without performing a sequence of filter operations to render selected objects accessible and manageable.
The absence, the distorted, the corrupted, the unaware. The void which is not pure or innocent, but which has been erected for reasons which may be good or ill, to inhibit the retrieval or transmission of information.
This process may be motivated by a range of factors, which themselves can be based on flawed information, inaccurate data or conscious or subconscious bias.

Prevailing systemic assumptions:
Ideas which have been accepted for many years with no attempt made to understand their context or origins, or whether the objectives of the organisation are effectively served by preserving these cultural norms.

There are various forms of negative information flow:
Information which is held by the senior ranks of the organisation; the lower ranks are not allowed access to this information, nor are they expected to know that the information itself exists.

Information held by the senior ranks, but which cannot be disclosed to the lower ranks although they may become aware via unofficial channels that this (or similar) information can sometimes be obtained, stored, and used.

Information which is held by the senior ranks but which has been acquired by unethical or illegal means and so cannot be acted upon without damaging the firm’s reputation or incriminating the source.

Information which is held by the senior ranks and which is officially designated as confidential but which may be leaked to the lower ranks in order to foster mistrust and resentment.

Information which is held by the senior ranks and is deliberately withheld from the lower ranks in order to restrict their professional capacity.

Information which is held by the senior ranks and is officially meant to be made available to the lower ranks (in order to enable them to perform their duties correctly) but which is selectively withheld in order to foster political loyalty among favoured employees.

Information which is held by the lower ranks but which is concealed from the senior ranks for malicious reasons, in order to damage the commercial effectiveness of the organisation.

Information which is held by the lower ranks but which is concealed from the senior ranks for reasons of welfare, in order to protect some employees who might otherwise be victimised.

Information which is held by the lower ranks and is submitted for consideration as part of their job, but which is dismissed by the senior ranks as being irrelevant or worthless.

Information which is freely available and relevant to the organisation, but which has not yet been brought to the attention of the lower ranks or the senior ranks.

Information which is inaccurate or untrue but which is selectively broadcast in order to damage the reputation of particular individuals or agencies.

Information which is widely known and regarded as being true, but which is actually incorrect – urban myths in the grand scheme, company legend on the local scale. This information is difficult to challenge or displace because it has the tacit approval of the senior ranks.

There are known unknowns and unknown unknowns and true lies and untrue facts and fake news.

Unstable Power Blues

This time next year, with any luck
We’ll find each other waiting in the rain
Reflected trees, coordinates of half-remembered lines
And the shadow of Radium Street caught on an X-Ray slide. 

A frenzied chart of things to do and smiles to fake
Will occupy the northern wall; beneath the bridge
A stranger dreams of food and drink, but
Not too much. The rain still falls, each drop 

Directed at the centre of the triple ring
That breaks the tree and shakes the sun’s
Quicksilver glare that radiates inside, while a page
orn from a street-map tells us where we need to be.




Melittin and the Enzyme Krew

Like a cluster of angry notes
Buzzing from the second violin
Bartok would tell us all about how
Melittin and the phospholipase crew
Stab their microscopic holes.

You’ll never know how much it hurts
Until they sting; by then
It’s too late, we can’t do anything but wait. 

This will kill me
More than it hurts you, she said.
A gentle string of peptide beads will lacerate
The membrane of the cell, releasing
Scarlet p
ain; hexagonal agony
And histamine distress. 

Docile, anonymous, benign
These tiny creatures occupy a special place
In our conception of society. They move
As one

Rejoicing in their grand serenity
The movement of their wings in flight
Demands a new airborne geometry
Where twisted space-time takes a holiday
And lets creation fold and overflow.
We see things; but they can see ideas
A bright mosaic of ultraviolet possibilities. 


Coherent their inevitable harmony
All cast the same, yet each of them unique
They watch the city moving past
Red, gold and green, adorned by laughter
And glazed with admiration. They speak

A language made of honey, whose
Every word evokes the perfect sweep
Of pleasant dreams. 

In his catalogue of charming spaces green
Herr Froese neglects to mention Heaton Park; the orange house
And broken sundial
Tell another story of their own. A memory
Of training camps where khaki lads and officers
Whistled tuneless lies in harmony recalls
The sprawling hills and vital noise of ducks and geese

‘Perhaps, one day’ he mutters drowsily
‘A hypodermic pen will stab the clouds.’
But the strange electric monolith was yet to rise.

In his dream he walks towards
A giant bee that stands in silent painted fibreglass
While lesser bees with dusty legs make swarm
Around a smooth magnetic arc
To land with grace upon the waiting hive.

A floating pomegranate starts to turn
Until it spins, approaching
The perfect note of B,
Two-thirty-hertz, a gentle hum
That echoes like a honey-coloured bowl. Then
Magnetic lines begin to radiate, a
Map that guides the tired bees back home.