Gresham’s Law, named after Sir Thomas Gresham (1519-1579) but observed states ‘when a government compulsorily overvalues one type of money and undervalues another, the undervalued money will leave the country or disappear from circulation into hoards, while the overvalued money will flood into circulation’ and can be explained simply as ‘bad money drives out good if their exchange rate is set by law.’
The principle had been observed before Gresham - the Muslim historian Al-Maqrizi (1364–1442) noted a time in history when those in power deliberately flooded the market with copper currency, all the while growing vast hoards of gold and silver. The fact that bad money is used by preference instead of good money is also noted in the play The Frogs by Aristophanes from near the end of the 5th Century BC in Athens.
‘Oh look, a girl with a beard!’
- what someone said about me in a dream of mine last night. It was pretty realistic otherwise, I was wearing my favourite coat and everything.
All right then..
This is a poem that I guess is a snapshot of a slow, experimental effort towards a more positive, celebratory and trascendental way of living - and with that of thinking, seeing, writing and being.
Also this weekend I discovered my boyfriend can have multiple consecutive controllable prostate orgasms.
This poem is indecent and without dignity.
warm, hot, wet,
sigh, sob, shiver
writhe, lithe, alive.
‘Seriously, D— , really?’
momentous, humble, human,
like this poem,
comes by my hand.
Do you really have nothing else to write about.
So, I did actually have a look on the #diary and #journal tags on tumblr.
It’s made me realise all that is achieved by writing intensely depressing and introverted posts - which is what every single thing in both of the tags is - is indulgence in pointless self-dramatisation.
I have resolved to write about the more amusing aspects of things.
In other news I found some oooooold logs sent to me by one of my friends who lives in the US from when he was seducing and caring for the chasm-like emotional problems of some boy in the UK - and it basically reads like a How to Seduce Fucked Up Boys 101 for Dummies.
Well, I told myself I would do something constructive with my afternoon.
So today I looked on the #journal and #diary tags on tumblr.
Now I feel like a little teacup of instability floating on an ocean of madness.
‘This is an incredibly contrived situation,’ I think to myself.
I am laid in a warm bath - full of nerves.
Is he coming?
Why would he not come?
I am amused that I cannot stop this being contrived - the jilted hopeful lover mournful in the soapy water staring up at the ceiling in fear and hope.
I lit a cigarette.
As I smoked I found myself forgiving myself trespasses and forgiving those who have trespassed against me.
Tacky tacky tacky.
Then I sink back into the water and think - ‘This too shall pass.’
The mine was cool and damp. As he abseiled down the shaft he could feel every few seconds his arms and legs lurch like they were falling down into the abyss, a flash of warmth and weakness, before returning to his body. He looked down. The beam from the torch on his head did not penetrate the abyss below, it only made the walls of the shaft glisten. He could see the thin sheet of groundwater flowing and trickling in places - over crevices and outcrops - and the white limey stains it had left over the years.
As he looked he felt the biggest lurch of his limbs so far, and the biggest leaping of his heart. He looked at the taut red rope and the safety harness. He got lower and lower and had to walk against the side when the shaft bent and rotated so the rope was rising up past the light of his torch into its own abyss. Black above. Black below.
He reached the bottom. It was a slate mine - like walking in a cave of pencil lead. There was a vast chamber with a black lake in it that went into various shafts, one of which forked about 100 yards in the distance into two smaller tunnels. There was the rusted skeleton of a pulley system. He walked up to it and turned the handle and he overcame the rust and it turned nothing.
A click echoed around the mine - he turned off his light. He saw only blackness - deepest, most lustrous black - the complete absence of light. He had never seen blackness like he had seen down a mine or in a cave. He held his eyes wide open and felt the presence of the walls and the roof of the cave high above him. Slowly he bent down and picked up a stone. He threw it at the lake and the splash and the bang and the echo were all incredibly vivid and he could tell his shot had veered slightly to the right.
He took from his bag a small lamp and switched it on and by its light assembled the tripod and affixed the camera. He set the exposure time on the camera to fifteen seconds. Then he took out a powerful torch, pressed the shutter and painted the mine with light.
He felt very tired. He could not begin to say so, but his head was weary too. The key slid quietly into the lock and the door surrendered. He locked it behind him and sat on the chair in the kitchen. For a few seconds he was lost in the simple beauty of de-lacing his boots. When he was done he sat up in the chair and looked around. It was very dark and he tried to figure out what some of the items in the room were - the mysterious black orbs on the windowsill or the shapeless pile in front of the pantry.
He twisted the light switch - which was an emergency stop button he himself had wired - and saw a pile of laundry and a teapot next to a sugarbowl and a strainer full of old leaves.
Thud thud thud thud thud thud thud creak creak thud thud thud.
He told himself to fix that stair.
She stirred and he told himself to oil the hinges on the door.
The sheets were cotton and they made a gentle sliding noise as he lifted them and lowered himself into bed. His side of the bed was cool but he could feel her warmth in them still a little. She stirred.
’Good evening,’ she said. He smelled like that moist, musky smell of underground. He laid on his back and looked up at the ceiling and she draped a leg and an arm on him and put her head on his shoulder.
He scratched behind her ear.
For a second it felt as if this was all that he really needed. He was thinking about the past and it felt like looking down a very long tunnel, so long it had a dizzying curvature that made you feel unsteady just being in it.
She was very sleepy - all that existed for her right now was his warm presence in the bed and her marooned upon it. But she could feel his sadness and how it mixed with hers. He could not rig a rope and descend into her, explore her, climb her or rewire her. She could not be an insurmountable challenge or a palpable risk. He had never skiied down her or ridden a raft upon her, nor fished in her or shot her, cooked her and ate her.
All she could be was a person - a warm body in the night and an ear and a shoulder.
At the same time he was thinking about the mine and the lift-shaft. What he felt right now was not the lurch of the descending lift and the rising peril. It was slow and warm like glowing coal. But it was so not the same that he could not put them together yet he felt it was not possible for them to be apart.
She had thought in circles about him and it exhausted her so she thought about herself. She did not need something to climb or trespass into. She remembered the feeling of contentedness she had that day when it started to rain in the heat of the June day just as she got up the garden path so she sat in the porch on the chair smoking and looking out at the flowers catching raindrops.
Yes, he thought to himself - this is different.
But while she was awake asking if she really was satisfied with her existence, he slept and dreamed of climbing up a suspension bridge.
And finally I feel it - the dark thing, I mean - lifting. It really is like a bell jar - it really is like being in a transparent bottle that lets you gaze out at the world as it suffocates you.
Refreshingly, for once this feels rather excessive and melodramatic to write this - because it is hard to remember in retrospect what it really feels like.
I remember how incredible everything is - and I know soon I will be spiraling upwards into unbalanced frenzy of sensation and pleasure.
Or, sometimes bipolar tendencies can be fun.
I feel it closing in and I have absolutely no idea what it is.
I am hearing him talk and my chest is burning and my head is spinning as he talks about the dreams he has about being a girl and it is all so complex and beautiful and vividly, burningly human - it is like the humanness of it all is overwhelming me and I feel humbled before the sheer vastness of the human condition and experience, the impossible extensity and intensity of human experience - and I am but one simple mind before it capable of beholding it but never reaching into it.
All these people are islands. Beautiful, beautiful islands whose shores you can never set foot on.
I feel humble and awed.
But then there is despair. The hugeness, the vastness - all of it just a vehicle for the boundlessness of human misery.
There are those more impressive and complex than me in the world and I love them and I hate myself.
It is the private colour that stains my living - that no one can be made to understood and you can talk to no one about - only describe and it is futile.
‘You are ruining it,’ he said. His voice boomed.
‘I know,’ I said.
‘Everything else is going just fine and the one thing that you really want to work you are ruining because you know that you might ruin it and it is too much fear and effort to figure out how to not ruin it so you are ruining it,’ he said.
‘I know,’ I said.
‘Why?’ he said.
‘I don’t know,’ I said.