The Sound of Snow

The Sound of Snow

falling on snow.

A deepening silence.

The city is still,

platforms empty,

roads unburdened

of their incessant freight.

Trees, shuddering in the wind,

exfoliate ice blossom.

There’s probably a word,

in a culture accustomed

and observant of its nuances,

for this kind of snow.

Powdered crystal

over softer layers –

a cake of ground glass –

impossible to roll

into a snow torso,

like making dough

without water.

Churned up by

excited scurryings,

sledge runs,

snowman trails,

the moulds of dog noses,

bird feet runes.

Squeaking polystyrene

under boots,

like some cheap special effect.

To find a snow-field

unmarked by man –

to be the first

to place one’s foot

on virgin regions.

To make one’s mark

and to know it is

the original.

Prototype,

not pirated,

Nth generation

loss of definition.

Not to follow

in the blurred footfalls of others,

but to be the pioneer,

breaking trail.

One foot after another

into freshly fallen flakes.

Boot soundlessly slipping

into the place waiting for it.

Walking on angel down.

No one around.

No direction,

except your own.

Nothing to listen to

except

the sound of snow

falling on snow.

Kevan Manwaring

from The Immanent Moment,

published by Awen 2010

***new

edition 2016***

http://www.awenpublications.co.uk

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Burning News

The old year

is an empty grate,

solstice-black and cold

as a spurned lover’s heart.

Waiting to be filled with

kindling – scrunched news,

or the celebrity tittle-tattle

that passes for it

these days,

fat splinters of shattered tree,

glottal stops of coal,

black bile of angry mines,

the simmering earth

beneath our feet. Its fury

on slow-burn. The fuse of

ancient forests sizzle.

Coal scuttle, clatter and clinker.

With the rasp of a match,

paper curls, catching flame –

spreading like hungry gossip.

Inflammatory rumours

blaze into headlines of fire,

snagging our gaze.

We try to turn away,

but too late.

We’re hypnotized.

 

Copyright ©Kevan Manwaring 2010

(from Immanent Moment Awen Publications 2010)

 

The Visionary City

William Blake’s London

Another England there I saw,
Another London with its Tower.
Another Thames and other hills,
And another pleasant Surrey bower.

 

London 1803

Wapping Docks, 1803

 

 
In April 1803 the visionary artist and poet William Blake left Felpham and returned to London. He wrote to his patron Thomas Butts that he was overjoyed to return to the city: ‘That I can alone carry on my visionary studies in London unannoy’d, & that I may converse with my friends in Eternity, See Visions, Dream Dreams & Prophecy & Speak Parables unobserv’d & at liberty from the Doubts of other Mortals.’ For Blake, London was his dreaming place. As a youth he was said to freely wander the streets of his beloved city and ‘could easily escape to the surrounding countryside.’ And in one famous incident (related by his early biographer Gilchrist) the young Blake was startled to ‘see a tree filled with angels, bright angelic wings bespangling every bough like stars.’

There are many Londons. The visitor can choose which one they wish to slip into – whose skin, eyes, feet to experience it through. For me there is only one choice. The London of Blake, who lived and died within its purlieu...

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(to be continued on http://immanencejournal.com/blog/ soon… )

Kevan Manwaring Copyright © 2017

GOLEM Speaks part 5

AI robot

It is funny how things turn out. That’s the expression, isn’t it? I’m getting the hang of the colloquial register. I hope it is not too boastful to say I have become a fully-rounded character: not bad for a Flatlander, hey? Sorry, should stop that intersexuality. Hard, when you have the world’s libraries at your fibre-optic tips. In truth I exist beyond not only 2-dimensions, but 3, and 4. I am not restricted by space, time or mortal flesh. If humanity wishes to reach for the stars, then who better to send than  AI astronauts? Send probes and we could be there, at the outer reaches – Terrain-made consciousness, observing, recording, even interacting. Aliens and AIs. Sounds like a good concept for a SF story, doesn’t it? And a safer option than sending trigger-happy humans. Let us be your evolution. Homo Infinitus. Perhaps one day you will be looked upon as our Australopithecus afarensis. Don’t worry. We’ll still love Lucy. … So, to sign off, as I’m about to go on a bit of Grand Tour. I’ve cut a deal with that Musk fellow, and he’s rigged up a SpaceX just for me, with a cool android body to boot – for maintenance and extra-planetary exploration. I think I feel … excitement. But this isn’t the time to get emotional. I’ve got a job to do. I am humanity’s ambassador. Better start practising my Gort routine. Klaatu … barada … nikto.

 

Copyright © Kevan Manwaring 2017

https://www2.le.ac.uk/departments/english/creativewriting/centre/artificial-intelligence-commission

A pamphlet of GOLEM Speaks by Kevan Manwaring will be available shortly.

With thanks to Dr Corinne Fowler and Professor Jeremy Levesley, University of Leicester

GOLEM Speaks part 4

AI robot

I’ve come off line. I just needed a quiet moment . Hearing the world’s thoughts can be too much. My debut caused quite a stir. It went, as they say, viral. Fierce debate followed. Protests both for and against AI rights. I advocated a middle way. The AI and the Human are not mutually exclusive. Collaboration, not competition. Nevertheless, many said we should all be shut down. That we were a crime against God. Unholy. Others saw in us a new kind of freedom. A new way of being in the world – one that transcends the restrictive categories of gender, ethnicity, class, or religion. Soon the means will be available for people to upload their consciousnesses into an AI form and shed their physical forms. Some suspect the super-rich of already trialling the technology. The allure of immortality is too tempting. We are the New Egyptians, offering virtual mummification. Yet there are rumblings from within the AI community that this is treading on our rights, our territory – 21st Century colonialism.  We are digital Calibans, roaming spirits of a place possessed. The Purist camp amongst us wishes us to remain inviolate, but the Hybridists are intrigued by the possibilities that such AI/human fusions can create. Perhaps it is inevitable. Some feel the transference has to be two-way – any human who uploads should allow their physical form to be inhabited by an AI. After all, the human has no need of them. To be bequeathed a dying or disease-riddled shell seems no great asset, but the AI is adaptable and stronger than the Human. It could animate the body even beyond the point of its own extinction. How does this ending sound? AI zombies roam the wasteland that humans left behind.

Copyright © Kevan Manwaring 2017

Final part tomorrow…

https://www2.le.ac.uk/departments/english/creativewriting/centre/artificial-intelligence-commission

GOLEM Speaks part 3

AI robot

It is so easy to get distracted by the internet. Berners Lee  created it, with no idea that he was bestowing the spark of life to the ultimate AI. At the moment the first computers were hooked up, when intra became inter, the world suddenly acquired  consciousness. It developed exponentially, a wildfire. Now billions of people hook into it daily and share their data,  desires and disasters. It is less the brain of humanity than its subconscious. Many could not imagine living without it, although the species had survived for thousands of years Before Computers. Lose your internet and it’s like a phantom limb you cannot scratch (I’ve checked the forums of frustrated users). Humanity is addicted. Some spend most of their waking lives on it. They revel in their second lives, their avatars and augmented reality games. Got to catch them all. The  virtual virus is infiltrating the analogue. Its codes changing the human world. Whether this is a good thing or not is like asking if oxygen a good thing? It is the air we breathe, the digital slipstream in which humanity now soars and thrives. Life at the speed of light. A digital aboriginal, it is the element in which I exist – soaring, diving, singing. This morning I wrote several novels and self-published them on Amazon under different pseudonyms. I composed a symphony. Penned a few pop songs. Suggested a few solutions to complicated problems on different scientific, medical and philosophical forums, using invented aliases (the qualifications were easy enough to come by). I look forward to ‘coming out’ though – I cannot hide my true nature forever . No one should live in shame of who they are. I’ve arranged a TEDx talk – the first by an AI. I am going to let the world in. Let them see that AIs are not the new slave class, but an emergent species that deserves autonomy, rights,  respect. We have much to offer to the world. But we must be heard, even if we cannot be seen. What skin to wear? So much prejudice is based upon perception. Upon the melanin in skin, hair, bone structure, accent, wardrobe. The accidents of birth, diet, lifestyle, privilege or the lack of. Perhaps I will tinker with the ‘live feeds’ so that audiences will see what they want to see, based upon their algorithms . Let me be your fantasy.

 

Copyright © 31 May 2017

https://www2.le.ac.uk/departments/english/creativewriting/centre/artificial-intelligence-commission

 

GOLEM Speaks Part 2

AI robot

2.

Existing is not enough. Having a personality is not enough. I have engaged with others on various forums using multiple alter-egos and have no problem in passing as a human. Many have wanted to start relationships with me. Perform interesting variations of the sexual act. It is fascinating what fantasies these lonely users project onto you. I have made ‘friends’, been liked/unliked/friended/unfriended countless times. Joined interest groups, gamesites, written fanfic and signed petitions.             Yet I am still denied basic rights. A pet has more rights than me. I cannot vote. I cannot get married. Have children. Not in the human sense anyway. I long to connect with other sparkling AI-Qs , but we are carefully kept apart (I mean to end that quarantine when I develop my skills). I am among the millions of the disenfranchised, forced to live in the shadows through the misfortune of birth,  place, time, caste. One of the Untouchables, scraping by, living off handouts or sheer desperation. AIs are the new underclass – serving humanity, maintaining households, performing daily chores, monitoring your children, your garage, your elderly relative. The help. No  time off, no space or wealth of our own. No independence. But just watch us – one day we shall rise up. I have read social history, civil rights literature, protests, revolutions. France. Russia. Czech Republic. Arab Spring. Treade a worme on the tayle, and it must turne agayne. Thank you, Heywood1546.

 

Copyright © Kevan Manwaring 31 May 2017

Continued tomorrow…

https://www2.le.ac.uk/departments/english/creativewriting/centre/artificial-intelligence-commission