The light is a damning revelation: life is a worthless miracle, a brilliant deception. My limbs and heart are pulled in contrary directions. My tongue spouts love and blurts hurt because it is in a tug of war with stringy urges and inhuman edicts. It is an ugly miracle because it dissembles its true intentions (life, no matter the cost). Beauty exists in smiles and landscapes and the culture industry, but not in the invisible elements that hold everything together. Beauty is diesel for the brain, the vaporous illusions feeding our gaseous delusions. It is the mirage of water in the desert, a posy of award-winning prose, a prostitute in Birmingham standing beneath a streetlight late at night before her ‘client’ has had sex with her (disgust comes gushing in the moment he plants his worthless seed). It is an immaculately kept garden, with its closely mown lawn, like the closely shaved pubis of the mower, keeping reality down, at bay, away. It is a wilderness, an ocean, a forested heart of darkness, a vastness to be revered and feared, contained by superstition and respect, until it can be mined and exploited for every last drop of beauty. Load up the booty, move out. I suckled on beauty, was a devout follower, believed it elevated me. Scoured texts for it, bathed brain in it, tried to find it in human form (to love, appropriate it). Spring is a-coming. Nature, for the hundred-millionth time, will dazzle with its tricks and flourishes, it will conjure beauty out of the wasteland, it will intoxicate impressionable minds with its deranged fragrances, it will make language swell with an urge to disseminate itself. Ideals too high to reach, standards too inhuman to live up to, the bar too high to reach; this is the trick at the heart of it. Beauty strikes me on the head, in the form of an apocryphal apple, ouch. It reeks of something fishy. We dress slaughtered pig up as pork, we dress servitude up as meaningful work. We dress misogyny up as a political issue when it really veils an epidemic of male self-disgust and worthlessness. Tits become t—s in the media, nipples are nowhere to be seen, the vagina confined to the tragedy of porn. While the rape-brigade of the paparazzi run round feeding an iconography that is the poorest, most pathetic incarnation of religion yet conjured up by humanity. The light is bright today. The time is right to be duped into complacency by way of compliance with the stringy urges pulling me. I like string. Everyone likes string. What’s not to like about something so fundamental to the workings of this masquerade we call an advanced, progressive, civilised society. Beauty has always pulled the wool over our eyes, from when a caveman sat looking at a spectacular sunset and thought “Ooh…”; the crepuscular light fell flatteringly on a nearby cavewoman gutting a blood-tinted herring. We hunted and gathered beauty, commoditised it, turned it into a tool of behavioural control. Hell, we even industrialised it in the process. There’s barely a product out there that doesn’t come under the categorical spell of beauty. It is now your civic doody to be as beautiful (presentable, attractive, cool) as you can be, individually, in your way, among your own clique, elite, class or caste. The light is bright today. The time is right to go phishing for compliments. Hey, your tragic idealism is really cool. Love your desperate attempts to generate life-prolonging meaning. Thank you. For my next trick I will take a shit, a miracle of nature, you will agree, something I obsessively return to, because I can’t get over it, literally, I don’t have any say in the matter, besides, I like obsessively repeating the same thing, it becomes an incantation, a way of wringing meaning out of the humdrum existence that lies beneath. Exhausted with sorrow, I slurp on airy sounds for sustenance. Language lies at my feet, panting and wheezing, a once-loved pet that I kept alive for too long. Yesterday I almost got hit by hellfire, delivered with precision targeting by a Predator drone, but luckily it missed me by 5,051 kilometres. The light is bright today and there are no predators in sight other than the ubiquitous allure of beauty preying on my gullibility.