dragon

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.

Forcefield

I was rearranging the furniture in our house and eventually I had moved everything out of the sitting room. It seemed empty and for some reason we thought we might have to move out of there soon. We were renting from a landlord we didn't know very well. When I went looking for the landlord, I stepped out of the door into a totally different place. It was a strange, heavily built-up urban area that looked as if it had been bombed and then left to crumble - there was graffiti all over the walls and only a few of the street lights were working. There were groups of people hanging around everywhere, as if it had turned into some kind of squatters' community since it was destroyed.

I found my landlord outside one of the buildings. He had multiple piercings and short-cropped hair dyed bright red. He was standing talking to a very large woman whose hair was tied into short dark read braids that made her look like a Medusa, who didn't say anything but glared at me, and disappeared into the tenement when I approached to talk to them. The problem, as I now understood it, was that someone else was living in our house, but I was sure I could prove that we were supposed to be there.

He seemed surprised when I described the house to him, and then when I said "We're your tenants," he understood. Immediately he invited me in "to go to the beach." We walked through the house, which was darkly lit and unfamiliar now, and he disappeared into a bedroom saying he'd follow me out. I saw that the large woman was in another bedroom so I peeped in, asking "Do you know if this house is going to be available to rent again? Are you moving out?"

The woman's head was upside down on her shoulders and she had a demonic grin. It looked very unnatural. I looked across the room to a smaller bed where a strange child was sitting looking at me. There was something wrong with its head too - it was too narrow, and seemd deformed, with strange lumps. My landlord came out of his bedroom and said "No, go outside now! GO!" so I left, walking through the back door on to a wide silver beach with rolling dunes, which looked like a desert in the night illumination.

I looked back to see that the weird child was following me. I considered running, but then I thought "What have I got to be afraid of?" so I just waited to see what it wanted. I looked behind it to see a dragon approaching - a fake one, like the ones at Chinese Pageants. I said "Gargamel" because that was the dragon's name. I remember now that that was the name of the evil wizard in The Smurfs. Then both the dragon and the child disappeared. My landlord came out and we went out to lie on the beach together.

I remembered after a while that I'd left Liadain behind so I said to him "I've got to go and get my wife, she's waiting for me," and he said "Sure." He gave me a piece of paper with a lot of numbers and information written on it - paperwork so that I could get back in to the house and the beach again if I wanted.

When I was on my way back through the tenement building, something strange happened when I was going through the entrance hall. People were unable to get out of the doorways because a force field of some kind was holding them back. I tried to walk through the door, but it was suddenly like walking through treacle, or pushing against an invisible membrane. At first I thought "it's a magnetic field" because I thought I could feel it dragging on my belt buckle, but it still affected me even when I took off my belt.

The force field turned into a pressure even inside the building. Everyone was starting to scream. It was like sinking under deep water. It felt like my skin and bones were being crushed slowly, and I couldn't breathe. I couldn't speak, except a kind of strangled gasp. I managed to heave myself out of the door, then felt myself rise up off the ground, and that's when I thought "My god, it's Planet X...these are all gravitational effects...Planet X is passing, it's all true and we're going to die..." I looked up into the sky but I couldn't see anything up there but stars.

I was rising further off the ground, and my body was still being crushed. I said "Liadain!" because I didn't want to die without her being there, or maybe I thought she could help me. She appeared in my arms, and was frightened because she didn't know what was going on. "What's happening?" We were both floating in this immense pressure, and so was everything around us, people and bricks and cars floating around as if in a slow whirlwind.

I said "I'm sorry...I'm having a bad dream and I called for you, but now you have to share my bad dream." She hugged me and buried her face in my neck. I felt a tugging on my hand and I looked up to see a falcon or a hawk, some kind of bird of prey, grasping my hand in its claw. It was trying to pull us both up and away to safety. It was finding it very difficult, but it flapped as hard as it could and slowly we were rising out of the influence of the force field. At that point I woke up.
 

Christmas Card

a small boy pushes a reindeer
in a trolley
through a snowy landscape
cartoon-blue night sky
bright smiling moon

his riches in the pocket of his body
his food in the air

careful of dragons
from ancient stories of how and why
patterns in spirals of the I and the I