Christopher Barnett

This body-of-mine is political.

This body has been falling apart since 2005.

This body-of-mine remains immensely strong.

This body-of-mine remains & a beautiful 'chose'.

It is necessary to understand that the first experience of the body, for the poor, is political. By the neglect attached to it. By the force used against it.

For the poor, the body comes first, consciousness after, & it is the body which orders that consciousness.

Often, very often this means that the instinctual knowledge possessed by the poor is not only acute but has profound depth, the exact contrary qualities of the elites whose memory is either selective or nonexistent - in the elites that over time develops into malignancy.

What is learnt, very quickly by those who are oppressed, who are in struggle, that the body is a site of resistance, sometimes the final, I am very proud to have as friends, blanketmen/hunger strikers, Dixie Elliott, Sam Millar, Anthony McIntyre & Tommy McKearney who by being exemplary revealed an essential element of struggle.

It is said that the monster Thatcher, hated the word alienation because it was 'marxist' what the hunger strikers taught us was not metaphysical but material, we are indissolubly associated to each other & ourselves, that the victory of capital is disassociation until it becomes delirium, but that the victory over capital is the connectedness of all things, this knowledge is precious & terrible knowledge but it can only come at the cost of great risk, of the most intense struggle.

I am always in the debt of the blanketmen hungerstrikers, not as icons, but as human beings who revealed the actual constituents of our being, that a fool like Heidegger could only pretend to understand. Dixie understands in his skin.

In chronic sickness, that knowledge is not abstract but fundamental & in a very fundamental way i allow my chronic illnesses to understand i am both more cunning & more noble than they are.

I write repeatedly that my poetry all my life has been a polyphony because it is a result of my profound listening to others, always, so.

In a sense it is their poems. I instinct them, I write them, I direct them but if the voices of the other was not there, they would be empty. They are not. They are seething with the brothers & sisters of struggle.

In chronic sickness, you are living the fact that your body is the last site of resistance, you do not want to be too fascinated by it but you want to pay the most acute attention to it. You cannot be promiscuous about the layers of problems, you need to be precise, you need to have a sense of proportion & a way of discerning why is.

The most immediate problems to deal with, to struggle with & finally as a poet, you must allow the body permission to speak. asked in interviews if there is something automatic in the writing, nothing could be further from my practice, nothing is automatic, everything is thought & though & felt & felt & though & felt over & over again in a precise almost premeditated way.

In a life a death struggle, especially where you have communities & individuals depending on you, you need to be very very precise, very very premeditated, so you can prepare both your body & the community from attacks against them.

In prison, you become very hypersensible because your life depends on it, you act precisely, you listen precisely you become both cunning & noble.

Mostly you develop the most powerful connection between intimacy & distance, sometimes simultaneously, what I have learnt in that discipline has been shared in every atelier.

It is not metaphysical, it is material, it is consciousness class consciousness, if you will.

The elites do not know who they are from one moment to the other,

Class consciousness requires you to know who you are in each breath.

There is no mystification either with my work or with my relation to others but there is an intense mystery borne of consciousness & the polyphonies of that consciousness.

For Billy Che, who remembers everything

Christopher Barnet

Christopher Barnet

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