love

Alexa, what is there to know about love?

Some news. I’m delighted to have a new poetry collection publishing next year with Picador Books: ‘Alexa, what is there to know about love?’

It’s coming in January to coincide with the seventh wave of the virus, and can be preordered now.

You can find out more at the link below:

https://www.panmacmillan.com/authors/brian-bilston/alexa-what-is-there-to-know-about-love/9781529051629

Kindness

To recap what we now know: it did not begin
in a laboratory in Wuhan, nor with a pangolin or bat,
but it already lay dormant within us, like a seed
in need of certain conditions to grow;

its symptoms are many and various,
and may include some, or all, of the following:
tear drops, sudden laughter, a feeling of warmth,
and a peculiar uplifting of the heart;

it leaves its traces everywhere: from boxes
left on doorsteps to conversations over fences;
it can be transmitted over vast distances,
through a phone call, or from a smile across a street,

or a certain softness of tone spoken beside
a hospital bed; it affects young and old equally;
there is no race or gender immune from it;
it has the power to topple bad governments;

if one person were to pass it on to just three others
and they, in turn, were to pass it on to three more,
in no time at all, the world would be full of it,
and where, might we ask ourselves, would we be then.

Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Love

I convened an academic symposium
and gathered together the great and the good
from a wide variety of disciplines
to consider the question, ‘What is love?’

The philosophers said we must first start with Plato.
The historians showed how it had changed over time.
The chemists spoke of oxytocin and dopamine.
The psychologists thought it was all in the mind.

The political scientists declared it undemocratic.
The sociologists deemed it a social construct.
The economists said that nothing else mattered
except for how little there was, or how much.

The linguists explained the word came from Old English.
The theologians claimed it came straight from God.
The media studies professors weren’t present
but they said they’d send their thoughts in a vlog.

The anthropologists spoke of love across cultures.
The mathematicians tried to work out its square root.
The neuroscientists pointed at MRI scans.
The musicologists played its song on a lute.

The art historians said it was all about perspective.
The geologists believed it from molten rock hewn.
The classicists read extracts from Sappho and Ovid.
The astrophysicists thought it to do with the moon.

The geographers tried to map all its contours.
The literature scholars quoted Auden and Keats.
At the end we were no nearer an answer;
we reconvene on Wednesday next week.

Love in the Age of Google

is love an abstract noun
is love a verb
is love actually on Netflix
is love a word

love is a temporary madness
love is a hurricane
love is a smoke made with the fume of sighs
love is a losing game

can love last forever
can love break your heart
can love2shop vouchers be used online
can lovebites scar

love can build a bridge
love can set you free
love can hurt ed sheeran
love cannot heal me

does love cure depression
does love have an age
does lovejoy marry charlotte
does love always fade

love does not need an explanation
love does not exist
love doesn’t need a slogan
love is all there is

 

This poem was constructed entirely from auto-completed searches about love on Google.

Alexa, What Is There to Know about Love?

Alexa, what is there to know about love?
What is there to know about love?
A glove is a garment that covers the hand
for protection from the cold or dirt and –

Alexa, how does a human heart work?
How does a human heart work?
Blood is first received in the right atrium via
two veins, the vena cava superior and inferior –

Alexa, where do we go to when we die?
Where do we go to when we die?
Activating Google Maps. Completed activation.
Would you like to start from your current location?

Alexa, what does it mean to be alone?
What does it mean to be alone?
It is the silence left by words unsaid,
the cold expanse of half a bed.
It is the endless stretching of the hours,
the needless tending of plastic flowers.
It is an echo unanswered in a cave,
the fateful ping of the microwave.
It is the fraying of a worn shirt cuff,
and the howl –
Stop, Alexa. That’s enough.

She’s Opted Out of Me

She’s unsubscribed from all my lists.
She tells me I will not be missed.
She’d only joined when she was pissed.
She’s opted out of me.

She’s updated all her preferences.
She’s removed me from her references.
She can’t see what my relevance is.
She’s opted out of me.

She says that she is sick of me.
She claims she wants some privacy.
I’ve opted into misery
Now she’s opted out of me.

ee cummings attempts online banking

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i carry your heart with me

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