Something happens butconceptual irony turns upin isolation. Not bound bythe authority of content orobliged by the feudal, subjectsI like resist irony becauseirony’s about the rat race.Trying to talk about contempt,the self-gratifying bully istoo much of a bad thing. He’sovermuch and woundy, andnot an authority. To take ironyseriously isn’t possible. It’s notthe story of a sense bearer, oreven the invocation of a figure.Irony isn’t a dream or an in-joke.Adapt if you are obliged, butthis is the real Belford, exceptthe sarcastic authority isn’t mine.The problem with irony isit isn’t worth taking seriously.It’s very something. At firstit carries the whip hand ofauthority into the future, thenposes for meaning. This is theantagonistic argument crankymen use to explain their hate.It isn’t fairly accountable andhas nothing useful to say.I’m the immaterial plural,a variant best reviewed whennot named, for I am changedand colourful and unrelated tothe Erl’s of the world. Somedaysoon we will come to the endof the age of irony and it willno longer be easy to go alongwith. This is it. To be for irony isto surrender to the loss of hope.There are reasons to be optimisticrather than the other way around.Living roots are like eyes in the wildand are not that different from talkingtrees. They are made of signals thathonour light and touch. But a wordof caution: intelligence is biased andmade of memory forms, a series ofsuccessive new tissues taking place,unfolding in time, and stored on topof the old. They are unfolding wavesof separate functions, and they flowthrough all networks, and all neurallayers while taking different forms,and do not remain stationary whilecancelling memories of the ongoing,but keep an eye out to the foregoingand the wide reading of expressionsthat are not in need of explanation.
Ken Belford lives in Western Canada; not in Vancouver, not in Calgary, and not in Edmonton, not even on the coast, but in the BC interior, with his remarkable partner, Si. His most recent books are lan(d)guage (Caitlin Press, 2008), decompositions (Talonbooks, 2010), and internodes (Talonbooks, 2013). The poem “the sense bearer,” reproduced here, is from an as-yet unpublished book-length manuscript. He is 68, and still beautiful, still creative, still dangerous.
the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan