friendship

For The Last Time

For the last time, the last time
I will not remember what they said
on the television between the exploding stars
and the million miles asleep in midnight red
I will not seem angry
when my friends neither live nor die
but freeze in a smile and a moment
like loved characters in their final episode

not because there was no more time
but because in my dreaming mind
I wandered, and left them behind

this is no voice speaking
rain of flower shades in blindness
just the sound of it behind cafe windows
the colours flushed from the streetlights
and birds burning and singing on the wires

it all goes wrong when I try to talk about myself
so I will talk about everything else
except that there's this question, "who's talking?"
"Who's singing, who's burning, who's sad?"

Who misses their nonexistent friends
who laments their long-distant dad
and the long-distance chats
sizzling along dark wires
and the moist fresh-dug graves of beloved cats
hissing with rain or vampire hostility
and can cats become vampires anyway
or can humans - reality and fantasy
are not much different for me these days

like the one about the beautiful killer
with the power to share his destiny
and of course he would choose me
and I would not care about killing
if only I could be beautiful and immortal too

surely it can't be time to review my life again
and all the crumbling myths I built
how are they still there, how am I the same?
how can I not have changed into something
extraordinary and entirely different?

bless me to let go of these stories
that never belonged to me
nothing glows like nothingness
and I have a weird craving for the womb
no, not even the womb - just pure emptiness
endless space without even one sparkling star
just an abyss without a face or a name
and finally I'd know that awareness
that they say extends beyond both ends of this life

wine from old arteries in a singing glass
images and feelings torn loose from narrative
here is a bottomless sea and a roofless house
no meaning, no weapons, no voices
and a yellow wind from below the horizon
and I will be made ashes in the furnace of the sun

Resonances

Wandering around school as usual, reading the notices and popping my head into the classrooms. I have some homework to do but I can't remember what it is - something about an essay. Is it in Irish or French or English? I know exactly what I will write about but not in what language or for what class. There are instructions on the blackboards of various classrooms but nothing seems quite right. All of the pupils are wandering around like me; there don't seem to be any teachers.

I got a letter from an old friend telling me about how he has felt about me over the years. He is talking from a perspective that looks back over our whole time together and says that he has always only wanted to maintain a connection between us, and that twice now I have broken it and hurt both of us. It seems like he is talking in a way that someone far wiser than me would, but I don't know if I should take it that way or only as an expression of his perspective. I think I try to explain myself; I can't remember. I only remember stumbling up in the darkness of a bedroom of a strange house and making my way to the bathroom without turning the lights on. While I piss I see the dim reflection of my head in the mirror; it looks like my head is shaved.

I am explaining to someone about how to design a structure like the Eiffel Tower so that it doesn't get destroyed by the wind. Wind of the right frequency can induce a resonance in a structure like that which can tear it apart if it goes on long enough; you have to add extra strength or weight at certain points in the structure to destroy the harmonics.

Back To School

I was in school, preparing to do my final year exams again, but this time I was only going to be doing English and Irish. My mother  was annoying me, trying to help me and tell me what to do in my English paper, and I was worried that I was going to do badly. I was thinking, "How embarrassing, I have a masters in literature and I'm not going to get an A in the Leaving Certificate exams in English..." I'd had an insight earlier in the dream into why I never got the highest marks in my university studies - I'd been reading Liadain's essays, and I realized that she was objective about her sources in a way I never was. If she thinks a commentator or writer is full of shit, she says this in her essay, whereas I never did this - if someone said something I agreed with, I would use this in my essay, and if someone said something I disagreed with, I would ignore them.

I left the class room to go to the toilet, and found myself wandering through the basement of a strange building, lit by dim lightbulbs. The walls were pale and kind of slick, like sweaty old school basement paint. I entered a large room like a firing range, where a man and a woman were testing an experimental laser cannon. The woman shot a human-shaped dummy in the chest with a handgun, and the man used the laser cannon on his dummy. The laser burned a huge hole in the dummy's chest. The man went on to explain that even though the laser was powerful, the handgun was a far more efficient weapon in terms of "destruction per pound" and simplicity of design. I thought "I want a handgun!" and then left the room.

I found my way out of the basement and back to the classroom, where a substitute teacher was supervising my classmates as they talked and wandered around the aisles. I saw my old friends B and F but I felt no connection to them at all, and no urge to talk to them. One of the other guys in the class told me to sit down next to him and his friends, and I did, thinking that this was all very strange, but glad to see them all again. It was as if the teachers and the lessons were all irrelevant, and always had been, and we'd all been there just to interact with each other. I'd missed them.

Wedding From Hell

I was meeting Liadain  and my mother in a gigantic shopping mall, after a play I'd been acting in, in which I had forgotten almost all of my lines. The play was being held in my old school and all the actors were my classmates, my teachers the directors, my friends' parents the audience. After the first act they didn't even fucking applaud, it was so bad. I was so embarrassed and angry that I walked out.

Liadain had written a song for me, and I sat down to read it. I wish I could remember the words. A friend of mine from Leeds, R, arrived and we started to talk about our personalities. I got really superior with R when he asked me to describe him, and I said something which offended him. I wish I could remember what it was. Anyway, he got up, hugged Liadain goodbye, and said there was "dissent" between me and him. I followed him to the elevator and told him I was sorry. He said that I had no right to say things like that to him after what happened between me and his girlfriend a couple of years ago. We hugged and made up.

For some reason, when I returned there was a wedding party in full swing. Liadain and my mother had gotten into a conversation with a real asshole, someone I knew and didn't like. He had long, curly dark hair. I kept trying to explain what had happened with me and R, and he kept interrupting me, so I stormed off and sat on some railings outside the building in a big huff. Liadain and my mother came looking for me. When Liadain couldn't find me, she turned around to the dark-haired asshole and started to kiss him. I was shocked, and I thought she must have forgotten about me completely.

When I went back inside to go to the toilets and splash water on my face to help with the shock, Ariel Sharon greeted me, handing me a fake cardboard dress shirt and a black tuxedo jacket. There was also a letter which began "I am a member of the Nazi party," and went on to describe his plans to cleanse Palestine. I looked back at him, and I saw that he and Yasser Arafat were leaving the party together! It was obviously a conspiracy. I raced back upstairs to see Arafat heading towards the car park. He glanced back at me, and all I could see were small, beady, gleaming eyes which told me I was going to die. I knew I was in trouble, and I started trying to show the incriminating letter to people: "Ariel Sharon and Yasser Arafat gave me this!" Someone said, "They're going to get you."

I had to find Liadain. When I tracked her down, she was different - her face was oriental-looking, and she was dressed in a black leather skirt. She seemed older. I asked her why she kissed that asshole. She didn't want to look me in the eye, and I suddenly understood what was going on around me: this whole party, the wedding, was for her! Her marriage was being arranged to someone she hardly knew. She told me that she felt "freer" now, and that she had discovered that she didn't need me any more. I said "Liadain, I feel like my life is coming to an end. Are you joking? Please tell me you're joking." I knew that once I left the building I was liable to be shot by Sharon and Arafat's troops, but I didn't care because all the stories of my life were over now anyway.

You, The Marionette

you, the unstrung cello, with your factory hands and your crazy pale hair, what do you think you're doing? knives for the kitchen and kisses for the bedroom. you're supposed to be a healer. what else did you think would be any use? no physician heals the self

you, the bad actor, you live in a sea of mirrors, you're running through streets paved with faces cut from friends and family, you're always lost in someone else's labyrinth. you told yourself you were a chain on an angel but did you really think about it? your storm-smashed glass, your excuses to be angry. you, the maker of the sea. smiling shining everlasting if only it could always be that way



like furrows for planting seeds, red lines on your forearm. you, the unimportance of damage. so what does it mean when you stand in the empty white kitchen imagining yourself torn to pieces by knives. something is calling you - let me go. you said it was the closest thing to your dreams of flying, weaving through the rushhour animals with a mind like a razor, a razor through meat. let me go past the ring of hills into the psychic woodlands where dead pine needles crunched under the soles of my shoes in the silence of sleeping shadows. let me go out of the gravity well to swim in your space hotel.

you, the imaginary one. you met your twin and he told you the truth. he loved you and gave you the truth. where were you when the sky froze and the neverending mirrors toppled into the darkness of the sea, when the girl with no face danced the other universe open, when the star maker was visible in the eyes of every living thing, where were you when the fox screamed in the early morning through the fine mist of the woods, where was your heart when everyone else was given theirs. you, the island of the sun. you'd like to be marked. you'd like to be special. you'd like to be noticed. you'd like to tear yourself apart. you'd like to disappear. you, the one who was supposed to be loved and never hated, the gazer upon the face of the dark waters. Nero was an angler in the lake of darkness. we love for so many different reasons. we are shaken through space and time until we are free.



you, the mercenary. a visionary in the pounding aftermaths of your dreams, you're awake when you're invisible, forget what you think you know. your blood solves nothing, your thoughts are telegrams sent too late: when the door to the world of light closes stop you've seen all this before stop you've pushed the demons back a million times stop what new thing could you have to say now stop I broke myself, I lost myself, I wanted to eat the tendrils of the sun, they were made of gold sugar stop she told me I wouldn't ever die if I would only love

black windows falling. cold metal on your arm that you wish would bite deeper than you meant. oops - an accident. It's nothing. something bloody to show for all the wars you're going through. scars from someone else's battle. you, the healer. two homes high above the clouds, one a darkened pool of water that you fish in for tools, weapons, secrets. one a bright, quiet house, hidden between two leafs of a book with infinite pages. the clawed hand from the sky, the thousand-fired city catacombed through a mountainside. you, the hero, letting your friends pay the restaurant bill while you stare at the new continent in the sky. so strange you never noticed it before. I've been asleep all my life. crestfallen, ashamed, guilty. you stare at their faces full of love, at your own hands, twenty years older than you, the hands of someone shocked into silence and oblivion by a dead baby, a dark-eyed girl. never meant to hurt. you. anyone. dust and blood in spirals at the bottom of the broken staircase. the dread ringing in your ears fading with the grateful, lying thought, this is a dream as you give up the struggle and slip under the waves with your dark sister. sometimes it's true. if it's false, you lose everything, and start again with empty hands and a little more confusion. isn't it better for everything to be real than unreal?

your little comforts. the blue sky at the top of the mesa, the gravestones they turned into pavings for a park, dead acorns painted gold and hung on a string for Christmas. you, turning death into life. The mirror tells you that you’re dying with every second. life into death and death into life, the skeleton dancing in the valley of skulls and snowdrops. baby heads pushing out of the frozen soil of the suburban parks, the arcs of the suspension bridge lurking in the fog, bubbles and frogspawn collecting in the corners of the shattered cesspool. you, the witness, desperate for understanding. you, the mariner. you, the firm grip, the knife, the cut, and the end of the cut. you, the one who isn't harmed. you, the liar, the lie, and the truth the lie tried to hide. you, the menu and the meal, the map and the territory, the hand and the glove. you, the spiral flower.

offerings in the morning darkness to the empty chair, crying for a mother who never existed. you held her out of the bathwater until her death turned to life again. later by the wild shore raindrops closed your eyes, shouts from the hillside from friends hidden in the ferns and grass, hunting lemons and papaya for when the beach is set on fire. we'll set it on fire. we'll offer it up if you want. anything but what you're asking. you, the one who knows what the fire rituals mean, you, who kissed the sand at the centre of the universe, you, the only other person who saw the rainbow's end in the trees near the jetty, while the storm rains churned the sea and you floated with no dreams left.



the dreams came back. I am their playground, writhing between pillars of lightning. I, astronaut, caught in the birth of something that howls with flame and darkness. silent absolute zero burning through your bones. you, the one in the sun's heart. this is my mind. this is my gift and what it costs. to build bridges across a shifting sea, to link the cold cores of stars. this is the other world you wished for. I don't know how I didn't die.

The Dark Pool

My friends and I were clearing out the garden  of an old abandoned house - it was full of weeds and junk, and at the bottom of the garden was a deep pond, almost like a swamp. We had to clear out the pond, so we were taking turns to dive into the freezing cold water and fish stuff out of the bottom - old TV tubes, bits of wood, plastic milk cartons. The water was sludgy around the edges of the pond, clogged with floating weeds and mud, and some of us were getting stuck there, and had to be pulled out by the others.

Then P went to the bottom of the pond and didn't come back up. We were staring at the water, trying to see his outline, getting more and more anxious. We extended a length of black hosepipe down to him to grab on to, but nothing happened, so Paul decided to go down and get him. He took hold of the hosepipe and jumped into the deepest part of the pond. After a while he jerked on the hose, and we started to pull him up - as he got closer to the surface we could see that he'd found P, who had got stuck in some weeds at the bottom, and they were both holding their breath.

Something went wrong. The hosepipe came free, and they floated back down out of reach, so we sent it back down again. Everyone started to panic.

The next thing I remember, I was indoors, asleep, and I woke up to the feeling of sun on my face and the sound of laughing voices outside. I knew that something was very wrong, but I couldn't quite remember what. I went out and I was in the garden again, and P was standing talking to everyone. That's when I remembered that I had thought he was dead, and I ran up to him and hugged him really tightly, nearly in tears. I told him how happy I was that he was still alive, and he seemed almost a little embarrassed, but he hugged me back.

The Book of Dreams

I'm a friend killer; I stay the same
while you dream of union and forever,
crying until the next emptiness filler,
Spanish coffee beneath the rain mirror,
cherry blossom in your lying brain.

In mine: a figure in a shadow coat
on a strand that stretches out for miles
under a deep blue dusk; a bell's chimes
like droplets in the silence of his smile.
Music and seaspray, everything that floats.

I cut away my old face in a dream,
slicing carefully beneath the chin,
breathing wetly underneath the skin
of a film star. Then I looked within
in agony. I am not what I seem.

I will wear the ugliness today;
let my eyes turn black and let my mouth
split into a snarl. I'll cast you out
and stand alone and haloed. In my house
there are many mansions: here I'll stay.