Sunday, April 6, 2014

The only time, by Sinclair Beiles

They might have been twins.
they looked exactly like each other
and they sat facing each other
in the underground.
Each of them was hesitant to speak
to the other.
But when one got off, the other
followed him and saw him disappear
into the side entrance of a bank.
He obviously worked in a bank
like the man who had taken the trouble
to follow him. That was the only time
they saw each other.

(Published in The Idiot's Voice, Cold Turkey Press, France, 2012)

Friday, February 21, 2014

Cut up! An anthology inspired by the cut-up method of William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin




Coming soon from Oneiros Books, UK. Contains a cut-up letter by Sinclair Beiles. Read more here

Saturday, February 8, 2014

MIT Exhibit Reveals How A Beat Poet Conquered Space Before Yuri Gagarin


The first man in space was Sinclair Beiles. A beatnik living in Paris, Beiles was recruited by a young Greek artist named Vassilakis Takis, who coaxed him to strap on a helmet and hover for several minutes, suspended electromagnetically, while reciting poetry. Beiles made his voyage in the Fall of 1960, and although he later said that the magnetism scrambled his brain, Takis proudly asserted that his expedition anticipated Yuri Gagarin’s space launch by six months...Read more here 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Karoo Bathtime, by Sinclair Beiles

In the Karoo we had a bath.
If you wanted warm water
You had to take The Farmer's Weekly
To the bath with you
And when you read it the water got warm.
You had to be sure it was the latest copy.
O yes the Karoo is full of miracles.
Take the Spring for instance.
In the Spring the desert is a myriad of flowers
And if you fill your bath with desert flowers
And get in with The Farmer's Weekly
You turn into a faun
And you can get a job with the ballet in Cape Town.

(From Dowsings, Victor Sega, Johannesburg, 1979) 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Loss of face, by Sinclair Beiles

the time came for the bridegroom
to kiss the bride.
when they pulled apart
the bridegroom was munching
and the bride was seen to have no face.

(published in 20 Poems, privately printed, 1980)

Richard Wright, haiku and Sinclair Beiles

"In 1959, he (Richard Wright) was introduced to haiku by Sinclair Beiles , a young South African poet who loved its form. Beiles was living in Paris and associating with other poets of the 'Beat generation' such as Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs and Gary Snyder. Beiles's and the Beat poets' interest in Zen led Wright to the knowledge of haiku. Because the Beat Hotel was in the Latin Quarter and Wright lived very close to the hotel, Wright often frequented the hotel bar....Wright borrowed, from Sinclair Beiles,  RH Blyth's four volumes on the art and history of the haiku and its relationship to Zen philosophy and settled down to rediscover his old dream of oneness with life..."

(from The Richard Wright Encyclopedia,  Jerry W Ward, Robert J Butler)   

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The child in the corner, by Sinclair Beiles

there is a child in the corner.
cobwebs cover it
and it is so white.
the other children have been playing
outside for years,
but all it can do is thump its little chest.
its mother is holding a tea party on the verandah.

(from 20 Poems, privately published, 1980)


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Yannis Livadas on Sinclair Beiles

‘I believe Beiles was an extraordinary poet. One of the masters of the last century; and one of the most tragically unappreciated. Possibly because of his mastery, because of his holy shadow which danced only to its own tambourine.

‘When creativity and pathos were coming down from the heavens like an acid rain, Beiles was walking his lonesome road soaked to the skin. That's it, that was and that will ever be. 

‘I have no intention of ruining Sinclair Beiles's memory with a special essay on his tremendous work; he simply does not need it. If you are able to read him someday, you will also understand. Everything you may need is there. For sure.’ 

‒ from ‘Sinclair Beiles: a way of committing poetry’, Bone Hebrew, published by Cold Turkey Press, France, 2012.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

At the time of the Christmas cut sales

At the time of the Christmas cut sales
Slash, in red, screamed at an angle
Across the shopwindows behind which lifelike puppets sat
Made festive with glitter and tinsel.
Overnight to everyone's amazement the puppets changed their price tags
And no-one could afford to buy them.
The tinsel and glitter turned into a kind of camouflage.
From their pulpits priests announced that infant Christ
Had thrown an elaborate tantrum
And was spoiling Christmas.
Many Worlds shut down.
All that was left was printer's ink
For fingerprints.
This year many martyrs were manufactured
Not for export.
The electricity bills at police stations increased unaccountably.

Published in Quarry '78-'79: New South African Writing   

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

On the ninth floor

On the ninth floor
it was on the ninth floor where they plotted
on the ninth floor
the top of the Baobab Hotel
where the gleaming razors were passed out
to the blackfaced maids
from the ninth floor from the ninth
they descended when dawn was lifting its coffin lid
every throat was slit
from the ninth floor
they walked with silent smiles to the suburbs
they scattered
they threw off their clothes
and leaped into the swimming-pools
from the ninth floor Christ descended
and blessed them with his sword.

Published in Quarry '78-'79: New South African Writing

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Michael Adamis - Sinclair Beiles: collaboration on Genesis

Sinclair Beiles: "(I wrote a) choral drama called Genesis, which I did with the Greek composer Micheal Adamis, which was originally performed at the Athens festival, which is the largest cultural festival in the world. The text was a cut-up which I used from a book on water, and after the cut-up, the text began to look like the story of a rise and fall of a civilisation. I wanted to have it performed here (in Johannesburg), but the arsehole I spoke to said no, because it was written in Greek. I objected, saying that it had been performed in Japan, to which he replied 'That’s different'.

(Sinclair Beiles interviewed by Gary Cummiskey, 1994, included in Who was Sinclair Beiles?, edited by Gary Cummiskey and Eva Kowalska, Dye Hard Press, 2009). 

You can read more about Beiles's Genesis collaboration with Michael Adamis here