angel

Biological Angels

Christ's face on a bronze crucifix worn smooth by fingertips. Beside a book about angels by a Spanish priest who says they are all unique, utterly magnificent, flawless kaleidoscope snowglobe dynamos of Divine love influxing into the universe as conscious spiritual energy. Angels for planets, countries, and even poor individual people like the smiling Spanish woman with deep dark eyes who used to see them rippling like firelight along the walls of her bedroom. They spoke to her and told her that she would have a daughter and a son and that they would both die; but she herself, Manuela Estes, was chosen by god as a messenger. He treats his dear ones badly so that they know two things: life is suffering, and he, God, MEANS BUSINESS. The seven thousand year old texts have been corrupted into fables or buried under the ash of liberated buildings so it's time to inject some religious methadone into the veins of a society that's crumbling and trembling to its end. If I was God I'd ignore everyone with any idea of what it means to be holy, or any idea of what society is, or even what a human being is; I'd enlighten a naked ape by a river somewhere, fill him full of such a glorious god-song that lacking language his skin would shine radioactive with it. Do it properly, you know? You can't talk about it anyway without being misunderstood for two thousand years, so why bother trying? Pour so much divinity, so much of the angel-energy into some poor mud-born creature that the mere sight of it would trigger reactions in other mud creatures; seizures and revelations and diarrhoea and suchlike. Let the cult of the Ape Christ begin, and may every notion of pride and sacredness be trampled into the mire of discarded bodies.

Today's list of desires: vegetable soup with a nice bit of chicken. White bread and butter and some lemon curd. A sardine with half a cup of sweet tea. Something woollen to warm the knees, and a nightcap for the head at night, because it sticks out of the covers, happily excreting half of the body's heat due to the inconvenient placement of the nostrils. Stamps for Christmas letters, and presents for the family; books for preference. Everyone likes books.

The sitting room drifts sideways through the afternoon shifting between universes - no choices are being made there after fifty years of gathering and fifteen of quiet dusty memorial: LPs, cracker animals, bills neatly folded in decade-long piles, artificial and dried flowers, books no one needs to read any more, out-of-date stamps and chequebooks; boxes of whitened, stale chocolates, congealed jellies and rancid nutty treats. Once every year the crib comes out and pictures are taken and saved in an album full of identical pictures, and at the end of our lives we will play with the album like a flip-book, watching ourselves decay. This may seem pointless but what else is there to do? Unless God is hidden in the chemistry of the cells and we're all biological angels with wings of muscle and bone and lymph and blood singing with mystery. Evidence for this hypothesis is slim but we refuse to give up hope. We have dedicated ourselves to the assertion of impossible truths and we will never give up.

Pendulum

the russian army officers shout in the long, cold darkness together with the barking of dogs and the constant, low whistle of the wind. starving in the arms of a dying superpower while new gods and angels stand astride the world. the sound of their horns brings the stars  down. the seas are filling up and the bread is all stale and they're selling their uniforms for milk. the body of the great god is rotten and the woman clothed with the sun is getting big and craving weird things. she's raging; she's nesting in a web of flame and waiting for the armies to build. the soil won't accept seed and the air carries no scent.

the warehouse streets outside the city shake at night with the roar of joyrider engines; and then it all collapses with the silence pouring into the light of morning and the burnt out car shells smoke in the wood. glass and charcoal in a blasted black circle and tyre tracks through the snowdrop patches. because everything is like that. like balance. your god is a marble rolling in a shallow bowl, a number dancing opposite its negative around the void. the superunknown. pendulums straining for the centre of the earth. your biorhythmic low, your wild mood swings, your unimaginable zero. fascinated and distantly watching the bathwater spiral away, wanting to understand. watching the sparrows coming back into the trees and the flowers tearing their way through the pavements. even the rock flows. nothing is solid.

we began on the grasslands and the marshes wading through the floods for food, holding each other in the dark and listening fearfully for the cough of the lion and the hyena's cackle. sky fire, rolling earth, and each other. the tower was struck down and the language broken, and there was no brother or sister any more. astral babies trapped in a birth sack made of thoughts and images and memories, knowing nothing but the surface, the membrane warped by touch. music swelling in the muscles of the throat like vomit and sadness, and the stars indestructible and indifferent in the dark.

there's an invisible thing in the yellow bedroom living in the quiet space between gestures, and if we let it, it would crawl into our warm lives like a child. a piece of fruit desperate to ripen. an inside cat, staring in fear and longing through the weird cold of the sitting room window. a tiny universe of walls and carpets with no time and no balance, just voices and smells from a temporary set of lives. water spiralling into the plughole, the pendulum falling forever. the cat growing sleepy and finally drifting sideways into the place of veils and confusion.

still, always, hopelessly straining for the real voice, the pure violin string in the centrifuge, the knife shriek in the earthquake howl, the mouse squeak in the menagerie madness, the impossible contact that puts you in the fusion core of the fever and shows you the truth. a pendulum seeking the centre of the earth, not through choice but just because this is how things are: they balance. you'll know it when it comes because it will be nothing at all. a mirror, a surface like the skin of a ghost, something pure because it protects nothing.

the old, broken king drowning himself in the eely water off the metal jetty. frozen moments of motion between intervals of blindness, like movie reels and zoetropes and memories. photographs of stick fights outside run-down cottages. moonlight on the crabs and sandflies on the shore of a calm sea. nothing to describe. the feeling of falling in a dream, the feeling of crying in a dream. lentils sprouting in a shallow bowl set under a basement window. chai tea heating over a gas flame and children's voices through the wall. nothing to describe. everything running backwards like a clock returning to the beginning for a second chance, and all the wars erased and all the words nothing but sounds. memories churned into a soup of poetry and understanding. something lost on the road beside the orange peels and the coke cans. an old branch you swung on, and that was the moment you first knew. nothing to describe.

the mind is a train ride through regions of light and dark. it's a girl in a blue dressing gown who loves you. fishing for something perfect in the shallow floodwaters moving through the mansion hallway. reading the sacred texts of an unknown and doomed religion with your head rising like a seed on a stalk to the ceiling. shaving without a mirror in ice cold dirty water in a rusty basin, tiny happy guru picture at the foot of the bed making everything insanely new. impossible; nothing to describe. traffic cones and pizza boxes and papaya and incense muddled together into chaos. something like balance. something like zero. a watch chain seeking the planet core. your body flat on the floor before the altar, seeking the centre of the universe, and when you got there, there was nothing left to do but come back again.

criss cross, words minced and chopped together. anger against the father, the cabala, the computerized testosterone death machine of chanting bible heartbeat sine waves marching towards death like breastmilk soldiers. napoleon's men starving and freezing to death thousands of miles from mother and home. the wrinkled monkeys panicking in the treetops as the eagle passes; panicking in the banyan roots when the leopard's snout nudges through the undergrowth. death from above and death from below makes you the zero where everything meets. nothing to describe except the colour of the good leaves and the taste of the bad; the waxy smell of the air as you bowed to your icons in the dark; the way every flower thinks it's going to be the bloom that the poet falls in love with. for one immortal, a billion forgotten lives.

kissing her finger, lying beside her while the morning swells like a tide behind the curtains, wondering how much of your mind she sees when you're sitting across from each other in the jagged warm sitting room full of screens and empty plates and words everywhere. words in your head all the time, hanging from axons and dendrites over the unknown, swarming around the swallowing point, pendulums seeking the centre of the earth. you come close to her and then move away again. light grows and fades in a blue haze and the night comes before you're ready. then the day comes before you're ready. you're never ready. sleep and waking don't mean anything any more except as markers, limit points on an attractor. back to zero.

always returning to somewhere that doesn't exist.
 

Chain on an Angel

I thought I was raging to be free, but really it was something else, words and numbers and feelings inside me. they showed me visions. they said that I was their prison. that I am a chain on an angel who could sing to the heart of the world. the language of nothingness, the black-rimmed sun, like the dying petals of a lily. a lily in his hand for no reason.

I met my parents in the recesses of an infinite library, like Borges' brain, expanding on the fuel of phrases forever. I watched their outlines glimmer. all the colour faded from within their outlines, draining into the floor. they stayed still, like ice sculptures, empty. I saw how happy they'd be that way: clear and quiet, everything about them forgotten and at peace. the contours of their faces, their hands: a map of everything that was ever important.

in another dream, I was reading fire from yellow pages, my mind translucent, waiting for inspiration, a spider in a rain-bright web. the crows on the sunset-shadowed roof. the burning petals of a yellow rose. lonely for friends' voices, an unknown home, woodsmoke in the trees. hallucinogenic bluebells and pinkbells rippling through the undergrowth. running through tilted dreams of sky islands.

Anathema

so he woke through the night
head caught in some dream of beauty
her limbs orange against the dusty brick wall, eyes calm.
He spilled himself out on to the floor in love of her,
the image that promised herself to him, unconditionally.
He saw in her eyes a light from his childhood
that had caught him like a moth.
His hand smelled of salt and sweat. The morning was too near.

His soul was split in two halves like an avocado
served in a polite restaurant
the hard stone removed
the meat green and soft, not human at all -
an avocado,
unjustifiable

he lay in bed for hours feeding his store of dreams
great granary bins of the unreal, stories
he could live out for lifetimes
so much fascination, the boy the hero,
the familiar landscapes
a million voices calling him to push open the door
and enter the labyrinth of mirrors.
His God had told him
that he was a story being told.
He would have laughed if his heart had not spoken, as never before:
- TRUTH -

 - I am a chain on an angel
 - I am a party without invitations
 - I am a frenzy of reception
 - I am the maker of the need for freedom

There was no reason to do
or not to do
anything at all

there were only voices in an endless morning
drifting into the silence like distant railway sounds
under a crystal grey sky
fog wreathing the churches and the fields on the way out of the city
bodies stepping on and off the trains and exchanging faces at the stiles
conversations like the fluid steps of a waltz
fighting against the dissolution
of that slow dawn