energy

Chi Gung

we stand still, legs apart, feet forward,
hands held up, palms inward,
and we breathe as if we are mountains,
we breathe as if we are geological

skin swollen and mind pushed out to the walls
fingers the size of trees and legs of black iron
legs like sea volcanos growing and steaming
we are the continent of ourselves

with our eyes closed we become the room
we push into each other's space and breathe each other
we don't think of it as strange
we don't suffocate or panic or cry

and if our arms burn or our legs shake
we don't feel sorry for ourselves
we don't wonder why we are here
isn't it strange that we don't wonder
 

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.

Moral Terror

In the rainbow jungle the soldier said that you must make a friend of horror and moral terror and I listened not because I understood but because it was Brando and when he speaks we listen and when he dies then god has died too and we are alone in the jungle at last with all the other monkeys who fight and fuck and sacrifice and feel feel feel in their hearts sensations so real they can be weighed in ounces or metres or joules - the units don't matter what matters is that the heart emits a measurable force that is not magnetism or gravity - the monkeys are adaptable and can swim through those like void but the heart-force twists them shapeless and kills the cramp out of every cell of their bodies. the body is ash and mud and levers and sacks, it is a suit of armour, a cello, a computer. like the knights of god riding into battle waving the banner of the skull and bones, we charge headlong into the unknown journey of our lives with every breath reminding us of the end. Yeats said man created death - did he know, or was he just writing pretty poetry? I know what the mystics know but I am not mystical - I'm nothing but a flower falling off a winter stem. I understand everything but I don't have any words for it. I know who I am but I can't tell you. I've been spending my life trying to bridge the gap between the body and the mind - what we know and what we can communicate - and I think it can't be done. I thought if you brought the gap close enough that a mind would pull sparks across it like a synapse but I've never seen it happen and maybe it will never happen. The body knows. The mind can never know.

Moral terror is an old woman lying in bed at night praying to Jesus to keep her from shitting herself while she sleeps. Jesus doesn't care; if he's listening I'm sure he loves her, but her shit and dignity is of no concern to him. He wants to bring her home and he knows she can't bring the flesh with her. Her body will die like everything else and no history will record her shame. She says that when she brought me walking through the park when I was younger she never imagined I would see her this way and she cries and she says that we are only clay, only mud, what are we, what are we? In her dreams she chases rabbits to try to cuddle them. Every corner of memory in the house is emptying itself. The bird died months ago and the empty cage catches her eye in the evenings, and she calls herself a little bird. In the bathroom as she takes off her soiled nightdress she says that it's time for her to die. I told her that she still had things to do and she smiled and said "Like what?" She knows what we are and there's nothing she can do or say about it. There are no words for what's really happening to her. She says that she doesn't know what to say to me, that nothing she can think of suffices. I am more and more quiet. She's dying, whether it's a month or a year or ten years, and there's nothing to say about it because every pretension and hope and platitude is dead in the naked body.

Fire Biology

there's only one secret
the spirit loose in the body
glowing in the bones
fusing like a star
many-petalled fire biology

taking shape from gravity
I danced with my imaginary enemy
my beautiful friend, my patient lover
but there never was really any other
she was not she and I am not me

I can't quite find a way to express it
I don't see any differences
one heart apparently multiplied
the same light in every pair of eyes
I gave my life to avoiding it

awake through the dark until dawn
drugged insensory
tinnitus, anger and caffeine
straining against the mind's membrane
life support for the dying dream

I've known all my life what I have to be
the spirit loose in the body
glowing in the bones
fusing like a star
many-petalled fire biology

Homelight

when I lifted my hand
I felt blood and nerve and sinew stretch out
like ropes along a slender bridge,
the feeling of water curving in a circuit -
and there was Jupiter and its faint moons, Orion
through the gap between my arm and the side of the house,
icy blue black sparkled sky -
I wanted to walk slower and slower -
I need the planets, the stars, like food -
warm little limbs pulsing against the chill,
vision drawn into infinity
where it belongs

Mind Rain

she's there, between the eye and the brain,
like liquid crystal under the surface of a lens
listening to rain, thunder, strange city weather
like flames and devils in the wallpaper,
dancers in the air of the bedroom on dim mornings,
the shifting, coy disguises of the body
possessed by the ghosts of actors and the words of history
we like to take a walk to buy chocolate at night
we like to lie beside each other
raining through each other's minds

this is the outside, streams of whatever-you-call-it
flailing like octopus arms around whatever-it-is
everything bleeding, everything exploding
in and out of forms and bodies, the hot red and yellow
of it all, the deep green taste of the thawed lake,
blinding, tilted out over the trees, mirroring
their echo, their resonance to their own insane sound

this has no direction, that has no flavour, no texture
the ice cream is the same to me as the news and the sex
as I swim into the flow, as I divide into a million rivers
of attention and thought, tickling at the molecules -
they say it's an illusion that one second follows another,
one thought into the next, one dream into another day -
one by one we unreal things kneel down in the dust to pray.

Tyrannosaurus Rex

      In a return to the kind of dreams I used to have all the time when I was younger, my family and I were being chased all around a gigantic house and garden by a Tyrannosaurus Rex. I don't know where it came from. It started off quite small, but soon it was huge, slavering and thunderous, like something out of Jurassic Park. It ate my dad, who for some reason was a total stranger to me, so I wasn't as upset as I should have been when I saw his head and upper body disappear into the monster's jaws. I was trying to find Lindsay to make sure she was safe, but then the Tyrannosaur came after me. For a long time I was able to elude it, hiding under beds and behind doors while it stalked heavily through the doorways of ballroom-sized bedrooms.

      Eventually, though, it found me under one of the beds, and started roaring and trying to push its jaws under the bed. I cowered all the way back against the wall, and it couldn't seem to move the bed, but then it started shrinking again. Its jaws became smaller and smaller, and it wouldn't be long before it was small enough to fit underneath and come to get me. I decided I preferred a cliffhanger ending to getting eaten, so I left the dream.

      I was 'pushing hands' with a small Chinese girl who was expert in Tai Chi. Even though I'd never done it before, I found it came naturally - all you have to do is follow the natural flow of energy in your body, the way your arms want to move along the path of least resistance, the way you can feel someone else's flow and spiral around it with your own.

      I got too excited once, and used too much strength. She frowned at me, and I said "Sorry," because I knew that I was there to learn about energy, not to demonstrate how much stronger I was than her. We pushed hands together for a while longer, and then the lesson was finished, and so was the dream.
 

XTC

I'm running
I'm high on birdwing delight
I'm drunk on old sunlight
I've had enough of insight

I'm suddenly brave
I'm dashing through the streets at night
I'm not wrong and I'm not right
I'm insane and impolite

I'm shadow, I'm ammonite
I'm spiralling through time tonight
I'm breathing and bright
I'm stealing the moonlight

I'm struck dumb
I'm afraid of the energy
I'm in love with the anarchy
I'm a part of the synergy

I'm as fluid as a symphony
I'm enraged in ecstasy
I'm the enemy of entropy
I'm a tender anemone

I'm a melody of one
I'm Celsius, I'm Farenheit
I'm running at a great height
I'm stealing the afterlife

I'm dawning in the dark
I'm in the park in the morning
I'm the man you see yawning
In the lemon-yellow light.