church

Wishsongs

the walls are crumbling, but only because so many were built - skeletal ruins in the style of all the dead kings together, dark against reddened clouds. licked by dragons curled around the rotten foundations. the players are picking the last tiles, one by one, placing them carefully on the green felt. white dragon, five circles, west wind. they are all holding and so the final end is only ritual, until the final brick is exposed and the wall is no more, and the board is washed by impatient, happy hands. the family heirlooms in the attic turn out to be empty rusted biscuit tins and torn clothes, newspaper cuttings from an imaginary country, unplayable vision reels and books in a script that swims and dances. this house is a person and this person is a universe, and the mind has swarmed through every barrier, lives in the abandoned cobwebs and spider corpses, the hunched, autistic corners of the sitting room, the god-intoxicated wishsongs of the One True Church.

Seven Seven

I was in Iraq, staying in a large house with my wife, my Italian cousin Francesco, and Saddam Hussein. Francesco and Saddam got on very well because they were both heavy metal fans. They especially liked a song by Bruce Dickinson called "Seven Seven", which they were playing and singing along to constantly. One of the lyrics of the chorus was "I am the mother of Touch Hero."

My wife and I were getting bored watching Saddam and Francesco get drunk and play air guitar together. Saddam's face was getting redder and redder, and the right hand side of it had taken on the colour and texture of raw beef, leathery and pink. He looked very unhealthy, close to death even. I was playing with a cat, who kept trying to crawl on to Saddam's lap and bite his fingers. I pulled it back and said "Silly kitty, don't scratch Saddam," and I nearly added out loud, as a joke, "Or he'll gas and torture you," but I stopped myself because it occurred to me that he might not find this funny.

I turned around on the bench we were sitting on to look out of the window. We were on the 1st floor of the house, and I could see people in robes and sandals walking on the path below. The air was full of huge wasps, each one at least as long as a human thumb, some of them even larger, buzzing angrily over the heads of the people as they walked.

My wife and I went out for a walk because we were so bored of Saddam and Francesco's little double act, but she turned back after a minute or two because of the wasps. It was hard not to panic, hearing them buzzing and circling just overhead. It began to rain, at leat at first I thought it was rain, and I thought, "Good, now maybe the wasps will go away," but there was something strange about the impacts on my hood and my coat. I looked around, and I saw that it was raining locusts. They were bright green, and they were falling from the sky in their millions, hammering on everyone's heads and clothes and turning the earth green. I ducked and hid around the corner of a building to get out of the shower. A voice in my mind told me that these locust storms happened regularly in Iraq, and that it was illegal to collect the locusts when they happened.

Finally I made it to a large, dark cathedral or mosque of some kind, a historical building which was full of tourists. I was glad to make it in out of the rain of locusts, but then I looked over to an alcove on the left and saw that it was a polar bear enclosure, separated from the rest of the interior by a thin rope barrier. There was music playing, and two of the polar bears were having sex in the missionary position while the others loafed around and read books. I was scared of the bears, and decided I wanted to get out of there. Then I woke up.

Ghost Ship

her mind is disintegrating
blood leaking between memories
every day melting into one breakfast
every evening into one cup of sugary tea
there was a father, a husband, a church
images rewinding on a damaged videotape
giving way to unknown faces and voices
that slide easily off the mind's surface
recycling like paper and glass and identity
and the house setting sail across the sea
into the deep straw horizon glow
with her crew of photographs and ghosts
bound by memory into deathless illusion

Johnny No-Name

I am mute torn orange leaf sucked into white sky
word made flesh rooted in shrine body shaking
cemetery kiss in ivy silent cloud-waiting laughing
and true sacred psychosis bubbling bright in blood
blue mountains weeping and fat river choking hills
world-serpent son of battlefield-broken god
wolf-son destiny for bringing blessed mother darkness
all churches mumbling nursery rhyme revelation
reawakening birdsong in glass house sweet air
burnt clothes burning mind beautiful burning hair

Morning Laugh

this is my morning, hidden in the urban sprawl with sore back and axle grease on my arms, the girl I love is asleep in our bed and I'm not with her because I'm still trying to find a real voice, down here in the electromagnetic  screen limbo, trying to stir the energy, like Schauberger building spiral flumes down an infinite river in his dreams, then waking up again broke and giggling in America, just trying to catch a big wave in my mind and body and ride it the rest of my life, like all those friends who took me to parties and strange brown rooms in strange cities and got me high and watched me walk out of their lives again into some other future

this is my morning in a circle, on a train that rocks on silver tracks through foggy churchgrounds and pastures into a tunnel to the center of the earth. Some guys like to drink and fight and pass out, some guys like to fuck and forget, like starting fires in your own garden and then running away as a joke, like playing chicken with a brick wall. I like to look out the windows of my nightmare bus at the raindrops and contrails, or try to meditate squeezed tight between the woman with her walkman at max volume and the young guys smoking cigarettes and talking about death. They don't realize they're talking about death but I can hear it behind their voices.

I once wanted to change
and now I can't ever stop
it all went too far and now I'm going to be sliding
for the rest of my life
and if you love me you're coming with me
do you want that? You can say no
most people have.

in the evening when the kids have stopped cycling around the concrete paths of the estate and the horizon is dark aquamarine and the air smells like the air of a country I can't quite remember, but I know I must have been there - I can't tell if the house is empty or full. I want to go upstairs and hold her and make her happy. I want to write something down that when I read it again in the morning will remind me who I am.

this is my morning that no one can take from me, 5 years old again reading boy thrillers by the light of the landing and listening to my parents' voices, connecting. I want to connect. The phone is always where I can reach it. Hook me up, please, I'm like an island without a sea, I don't have anyone to tell me what to do and that's how I wanted it but when there's no sound except rain water in the drainpipes then I feel lonely and suddenly nothing fucking matters at all

pretty soon they'll bomb us where we stand, shred our skin and smear our insides across the walls of the places we lived all our lives. They'll shell the libraries and the schools and hide the dead children in the walls of the churches, burn the oil fields for a hundred years and fill the mines with sulphur. They'll poison the water and release viruses into the air, and for anyone left alive, shaking and singing in the ruins of their homes, they will save their worst, they will tell them that there is no life but this one.

this is my morning, locked in a white cell, masked and gagged and running on a bone treadmill, surrounded by electricity, staggering, starting to howl, as the lights flicker and the walls tremble and the machinery starts to speak - and the machinery in me translates - don't turn us off - I wish I was a fish in a tank, bobbing in the bubble column and hiding under the rocks, a fish tank in a happy restaurant, where the lights would go out after midnight and I'd float in the dark without a name, without understanding the concept of a name, without even understanding what a life is. Just me, in my cold water chamber, dancing in the cooklights, the wok flames reflecting in the glass

sleep is like a hand around my head, the voice comes and goes and I'm still trying to tune myself in through the noise - obsessive phrases, song lyrics, chess pieces blinking in and out of existence in patterns so familiar I can dream about them. One day I'd like to open up my head and tip out everything I don't need, but maybe that already happened and I was too crazy to notice. this is my morning and this is me.
 

No Fingerprints!

I was on holiday in Europe with a group of friends who I didn't know very well, and my mother. One of my friends was gay, and the others were trying to set me up with him because they thought that I was gay too. I'd been going along with it for some reason, but I didn't want to do anything with him. We were in Amsterdam in a dark coffeehouse/nightclub, and we were just leaving when I decided to go to the toilet, and the guy followed me, and stood too close to me at the urinals. On the way back I knew he was checking out my ass, and it made me self-conscious, so I walked faster, pushing past people, as if I was putting on some kind of tough-guy performance.

When we left the coffeehouse we suddenly found ourselves in Paris. We wanted to go sightseeing, and the first place we went to was a huge art gallery which looked exactly like the Louvre, but for some reason I thought there was a way to get into 'the Louvre' from inside this place. I wanted to spend the day in the Louvre but no one else did, because they said they would get too tired from walking, and their necks would be too tired from craning to look at all the paintings and statues.

One of my friends and I split off from the others to look for 'the chapel of Camille Saint-Saens', a small chapel the size of a suitcase built by a priest of that name. On the way there we climbed weird off-kilter marble staircases and passed through huge rooms filled with paintings and artifacts. Every room was decorated like a palace. We couldn't find the chapel.

Eventually we emerged into a gigantic two-level gallery full of tourists. On the bottom level, in the centre of the floor, the famous pianist Evgeny Kissin was playing the biggest grand piano I had ever seen. It was dark brown, and so perfectly polished that he would glare at anyone who approached him to try and touch it. "No fingerprints!" As he reached the climax of the piece he was playing, his head tilted upwards so that I could see his face. His eyes were closed and he was grinning. When he finished, everyone clapped, and he bowed and smiled broadly, and said "The genius Mozart will play again at 4pm tomorrow!".

Peristalsis

slipping in mashes of rotting chestnut leaves
halo of orange street light mist
“You’re pathetic, you’re so - fucking - juvenile,
“You know that? You know that?”
smaller monkey bows, lowers head
witnessing trees shiver into moon-darkness

girl getting high picked up on security camera
leaning on shiny black sacks of leaf-rubbish
eyes exploded; the ‘other’ world until dawn
and head-sick under hallucinated neons
closed shop-fronts, decayed fruit-smells
distant conversations in no language

priest finding baby rats drowned in a puddle
pink-brown, twitching in rain as if alive -
‘other’ - church turned black like a bad tooth
damp wooden stone, voice-loosened
foundations broke and it fell into the sky
showering maggots and skeletons - accelerating -

scream from an endless runway
aeroplane door bursts open in green UFO light
woman without gravity drifts gently out
stretched forever in three bare dimensions
- motionless - “they took my whole life.”
Quantum children finger the mystery of her skin.

religious vandalism of cars - the ‘other’ -
bricked-up flats; cellars and attics haunted
by suicides and bindweed; boys and girls
hand in hand from the Hypermarket:
enamelled meats; Teflon; curtains
of cured human skin, surgical weaponry,
orchid seed for shit-filled window boxes.

Krishna - Shankara - Akira - Sega - the Other -
heart-filled children in a perfect circle -
the last freezing fog touched the morning grass
and gills formed on their wrinkling necks
“The New Genetics!” and no horror left - except -
pianos loud in the emptiness - cats smiling
through skinless pain - slave ships sailing again -
unholy patience in the face of a dark sun: