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Fire & Darkness: And Also / No Join / Like

O Love, that fire and darkness should be mix'd, Or to thy triumphs such strange torments fix’d! – John Donne, Elegy XIII A northern street: the temperature of the ungovernable. The proud hooded stride. The skill to add up stone: cold – outlasting. The wealth of the land: stone. Kindness: the harsh kind. For each question, a better question. For each better question, one answer. For each good question – that’ll do. Not fussed.

I walk the hollow walk: loving more than loved; moved, scarce more than moving.

and also

In the south of this country, five times I have attended the celebrations that they hold in the dark of the year. Many centuries ago, there was a man whose name was Guy, or Guido. He practised a different, competing version of the national religion. He tried to explode an important government site. These buildings are still in use. You can visit the place, which is on the river. Some of the children who ask for money on British streets are simply trying to fund their construction of effigies of this hate figure, whose burning on public and domestic pyres on the so-called ‘Bonfire Night’ (5 November) has become a popular ritual. Fireworks are let off; it is legal to purchase them for your own festivities.

no join

A northern street, uphill. It branches, like – a Y, a peace sign, water coursing round an outcrop; like – part of the net of a tree; like – It branches in two. Upon the slope held between the branches stands a sooty church, now in use as a nightclub. This pale and brisk morning glances on the metal railings.

Who is he? Nobody. Who is he, between the fence and lamp post? Nobody. A hat stuck on the railing, abandoned by a tidy drunk. A feeble visual joke. Nobody’s head, nobody’s, supports a hat drooped at that angle.

It is a guy. A Guy Fawkes guy. The students left him there: lad for the burning: unreal, it has to be unreal. Check out this guy.

I have to cross the road, so I do. The ordinary-looking foot is wedged between the base of the fence and the lamp post. The left arm, bent at the elbow, has been tucked deep into the jacket pocket, toneless. It is not a bad face. The eye is

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