Letters Against Enchainment is a book that is many things: a collection of prose poetry and an epistolary novel, detailing a history of class struggle, slave revolts, dialectical terror; it is also a manifesto of militant poetics, demanding remuneration and revenge; and last but not least, it is a social analysis of the present by means of “the signals from the future.” In the letters, Sean Bonney‘s writing does many things: it “attacks rather than seduces,” aiming to “make some fucking noise […] as the etymological relative of nausea, noise in the face of every apologist for corporate reality.” It follows the idea from Walter Benjamin’s Theses on the Philosophy of History, according to which “certain clusters of energy within the past – the history of the oppressed – and be brought into the present in a more or less explosive way.” It considers its political task to “give information, an account of a social reality, that other types of writing don’t.” Written as blog entries (at Abandoned Buildings) over the course of the past 7 years, Letters Against Enchainment is unafraid to scream out, loud and clear, in the face of the most scandalous as well as most commonplace injustices of contemporary post-capitalist social reality which breed oppression, poverty, frustration, and violence. Reality in which noise is poetry and poetry is noise and every second of dreaming is to be paid for with hours of insomnia…
Sean Bonney, LETTERS AGAINST ENCHAINMENT. ISBN 978-0-9571213-6-2. Publication date: January 2014.
Letter Against Drowning
I haven’t written to you for a while, I know. There’s not been much to write about, to be honest, apart from the recurrence of a few elementary social equations. Here’s just one, to be going on with – (1) the forced removal of the homeless and benefit claimants from commercial zones (2) the subliminal encouragement of suicide for everyone with less than twenty pounds in their pocket (3) random police checks, arbitrary incarceration, racial profiling. If you take any one of those elements, or any one combination of same, and turn it inside out, the results will be all too simple: one royal birth, one state funeral, pageants, olympic panegyrics, etc etc etc, all expressed via the square root of silence, fast acquiescence and bewilderment. I thought, this morning, that I might be able to put all this together for you, as some kind of wondrous mathematics, a monumental calculus, but I can’t get it to fit. It keeps coming out more like an oracular scattering of starling bones, of meat and shrieking larks, an extrasolar dog world made up of three parts rat nationalism divided by the given names of every human being who has died in police custody since the riots. Their names, all paid for with the collective revenue the government has collected from the manufacture, sale and distribution of third degree burns, multiple organ failure, and tiny droplets of phosphoric acid. And that’s just the piss-stained surface, yeh. Pretty simple. Manage to boil it down into an infinitely dense, attractively coloured pill and you too can imagine that all of this is just a golden swarm of dragonflies and pretty moths, and not merely an injection of rabies into the group mind of every well-meaning liberal in this entire town. And you ask me why I don’t write poetry. As if a metaphor could actually be a working hypothesis, and not just a cluster of more-or-less decorative alibis. I can’t do it. I haven’t slept since Thatcher. Curses on the midnight hag.