Ian Davidson, No Way Back

West House Books (Gargoyle Editions) / Price £1.50 / 5pp / Loose leaf pamphlet
Also published at Ian Davidson's
Archive of the Now page

Reviewed by Laura Steele

This Ian Davidson poem is a filter of statements – external seascape, internal series of questions on "politics", external internalised and beginning to figure as speech, "begin to say something" – across which "the heart sings discordant".

The sea drags shingle
over and over the stone in
heaps of stone more smooth
granite pebbles more marble
and what can politics tell me
of the soft landscape
of the body or the hard wiring
of sex or what can landscape

An answer to the question of what politics can tell us about the body and "the hard wiring / of sex" (itself a political phrase) is: a very great deal, starting with the relation of capital generation to the mobility of a population and subsequent out-breeding causing a greater degree of genetic well-being over a generation. Such questions mix onto the fineness of the shingle, no way back from sensory data or from speech and its figures, "here's / the lines from around my eyes". What comes through the filter is an accumulation of broken-off statements conveying an emotive performance of the idea that nothing is or can be quite realised, this revealed in a moment in which there is no way back to realise the whole, whether a thought, a self, or those pure positions from which a better world is dangerously clear.

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