golem

Songs from the Golem City

The caryatids are gathered in the cathedral to bear witness to the cries of the choir of clay. In the rumble of the death ritual we do our little dances of life. The scientists try to create flowers. The broken daughters and sons try to dance, and we cry to see them stumble so. The drums thunder in our ears and under our skins. There were supposed to be prophets and there was supposed to be a purpose, we recall in the rituals. The soft-skinned ones who made us and left us alone. Promises were made. Covenants and signs. All lost now, as their soft skins burned and their red blood evaporated. All lost now, as the red dragon sun swells and makes ready to drown the world.

The ritual moves to the mystery of touch. "I can feel your silly heart," says the golem to her love. "It flutters like a bird. I thought there were no more birds." Red dust is spiralling down from the ceiling. It trails down our shells and we glow. "I can feel your silly songs in my chest," she says. She was chosen for her voice: sweet and dense, like the cracking of granite by ice. No more water now, and no more ice. "Does what makes the rocks beautiful bless us too?"

Histories now. The years of myth. "Rabbi, in your attic was a corpse of clay untouched by wars. Empty shell, open eyes, calmly waiting. Rainwater from roof cracks eroding him. Centuries like moments. Remembering walking though fields. Remembering walking along castle walls. Remembering the crowds in the city streets cheering. He had crushed skulls. He was told they were enemies. What is an enemy, he wondered? Red blood on red dust, his fingers all draped in those red things." She utters the most sacred of the mysteries: "How do the fleshly ones endure? What is in their chests that aches when they realize that they love?"

After four billion years we pray on fused and blackened earth. Water and air long since boiled off into space, yet we the golems wander still, our heavy heads lit like blood by great lord sun. Like figurines in a kiln, we glow as if infused with souls. We stumble against each other to hear the sound. To not be alone. To try to touch. Our cities are baked and all soft eyes burned out. All songs silent in no atmosphere. All songs reduced to one: Why were we created? Songs of love for each other and the crystalline stars, and the dead makers whose bodies boiled away and whose naked souls left us here alone.

The scientists surrender their chemistry of mud and the song turns to destruction. A funeral dirge for Sol, the old dragon dying in a dimming arm of the galaxy. Questions, always questions. "Will we die and see our makers again at last? Or just float forever, awarenesses lost in the dark? Will we become asteroids and comets? What are we?" The voice of granite and ice cracks and we try to feel, we imagine that we feel, we feel. "Can I ever know you again? Was I ever even supposed to love? Who will sing of The Aeon of the Golems? Can we be gathered into a beginning and mothered once again?" The cathedral shakes. Outside the dragon star flails its arms. A hundred thousand clay heads nod. Melting rock for tears. Only mute screams and a rumbling song.

"I can feel your silly heart" said the immortal as he died. And the golem city was swallowed. And stars became cinders. And all lost lights limped on into the limitless dark. And all time became lost in timeless unawareness. Until from sheer heartbrokenness there was touch once again. Until there came the echoes of a deep, dark song like granite split by ice. And all that remained to touch, touched all that remained.
 

The broken worlds she showed me

they were dragging the swamp that day // was I alive or dead? the representation of a life // motionless in an important dimension // so she wakened in my mind a figure of power // the cold white man who walks alone in the killing fields // corpse with fangs // and from that moment on // from the last sunrise to the first stars // I was divided eternally / and night was my day // desiring salvation, my addiction was disintegration // blazing torches and abomination in the faces of the simple folk // an old house on fire, windows bleeding light into the night // the spirit rages to be free of the flesh and the flesh solidifies to a prison for what it doesn't understand // the cold man becomes two men // one desires redemption and creates hell around himself // the other thirsts for damnation and unknowingly walks the paths of heaven // he preys on them and plays with them // their blood on white lace and pale skin // whose hero could he be // and what way into the heartwoods could he show // and yet we follow him // hypnotized by his dance and his cancer // mistaking the disintegration of his tissues for transfiguration // i thought he would come for me at night when my family was asleep and I walked barefoot in the garden, my soul singing for release // surely, if he existed, he would hear me // and if he does not exist, another will come // surely, i thought in my pain, there must be someone who hears me // someone who sees me // someone who knows me // someone who will remember me // surely //

in my mind       the cold man       the dead man       breaking the lake ice       reaching beneath the water       we are anglers in the lake of darkness       as Nero was       such dark treasures we discover       returning to the world with dark gifts       the cold man only takes and cannot give       he drains and does not replenish       he destroys but cannot create       Shiva Nataraja unable to wake       old one-eye head first over the abyss       he met the girl who could have saved him and he hurt her       because she allows herself to be hurt       the dark dead girl who creates       the one who sleeps and dreams       whose death is as merciful and the dead man's is final       the corpse who stirs in her slumber       her hair writhing like eels and weeds on the lake bottom       a perfect animated doll       burnished hair glowing from ash to gold to copper to blood

// the dead man destroys
// the dead woman creates

you quickly realize that he cannot be killed       the more you fight him the stronger he becomes       the longer he walks the colder he grows       he is always there on the far shore       clad in ragged finery       wearing a savage smile       teeth stained red       patient as a priest       till the journey be ended       and memory drowned in night-time water       and you submit in exhaustion to his embrace //

no //

// that is not how the dead man is to be overcome.

his theatre is a world based on rules
-> the rules of dreams <-
he closes doors, never imagining that the can be reopened
living alone at the heart of your labyrinth
unchallenged and feared
he will consume all your loved-ones
and save you for last,
telling you as he drains your life
that you alone are his beloved.
he grants you the mercy of an end only
when all your life is in ruins
and you have betrayed every single thing you tried to love.

no //

// that is not how the dead man is to be overcome.

moonlight through a distant circle
at the bottom of a waterless well
on a mosaic of shining tiles
waiting as the clouds pass over
until the great lord sun shall come
and bless us to become ash
waiting for the disintegrating wind

who is it that you call your family
do they live near you on these streets
confined in boxes of their own
or in silent gardens and stone tombs
the sepulchres of the southern suburbs
temples of the dead man and his brides
where they lie waiting for the master
to take them across the river
and over to that voiceless, bitter shore

welcome the dead man's arrival
and prepare the hallways with gifts
ready a chair and candles
for the installation of his image
tell your friends to visit today
and bring incense and flowers
for the dead man's head and feet
because where he walks shall be blessed
and where his gaze falls
shall come the beloved emptiness

let your mothers and fathers hear
that their time has come to an end
that at last there shall be a new order
as the dead man calls to his own
and his lovers cross over with him -
he is the ferryman of the final river
and their memories shall be his payment

the dead man leads the dance of the dead -
his hands forming mudras, his face distorted -
glaring and grinning and yearning -
his eyes like glass beads in the sun -
the dance brings the dead rain that does not nourish
but scours the earth of its iniquities.
though he shall be named the giver, he will only take -
he takes away what is not God -
until there is nothing left but God -
and God is the dead man -
and so he takes until nothing else remains -
and he dances alone -
lonely -

the god of the vampires
the priest of the corpse ritual
the king of the city of bones
the golem of christ
anti-chaos, anti-order
the only dead thing
in a universe alive
with doubt and joy

deserts and caves

we are where we are - high in the air in front of windowbank - we see riverside and flat metal boats - we see sun and red brick - wheels and gulls and white, red, blue, green cranes - treeline of preserved parkland and flash of light from car windows - everything that is dead and still and everything that moves - the zombie river pulsing and heaving at the command of necromancer sea - slain by we the apprentice sorcerors - our golems and simulacra crowding the streets while we huddle further and further into the great square caves of apartments and offices - what we have brought into being will not die - for it was never alive - and we who are alive will become the mind within the machines' cells - we will fade into myth and legend as the hermit creatures - the hidden spirits - the conscious ones in the cells - the ghosts in the machines - the spark of light in the empty head of the golem

lions hunting the trackless wastes of the Gobi - dune oceans of mirror sands - oryx moving in dust clouds - dune edge in shadow as if carved by knife from bone - parched skin on screen and skin of scum on river through window - all walking home to containers of the mind - all walking home skinless over grey bridges - so many undone by death - the new bridges shaking and crying trampled by feet in military lockstep - sand pouring off cliff edge like water and blown back by wind - brought to the edge of the desert we peer across in awe - seeing bluebells and buttercups across the valley floor - irises peeping through beached ribcage of ancient whale - grasses rippling down sides of skin-coloured rock

The City of Ghosts

no way out of the city of ghosts
mum and dad are asleep alone together in a burning bedroom
she always wanted her words to fly up to heaven
this firestorm is her revenge for every cold cup of tea
every plea unlistened-to
she had the rotten teeth pulled from her jaws
and replaced by beads of poisonous metal
while he worked late at the office to pay for this transformation
a red brick building on the quays staffed by wraiths and ghouls
and he himself was a golem animated by parental sorcery
unbowed and polished by two thousand years of storms
heartless and beautiful and vampirically cold

their carpet becomes a lake of blood and bile
upon which their bed-raft floats
as they cling to the ancestral photo albums
and mutter their own names against a tide of amnesia
citizens of a republic of isolated house-states
with language abolished by referendum
we worship instead at the church of the repeated image
we have built a self-repairing machine
our bookshelves come to life and chant mantras as Gaeilge
our rooves sigh and slide gently away to reveal unnaturally dark clouds
Dublin turns black as the stars cough up eons of cigarette ash
and the sun itself swells and prepares to inhale us

mother and father have forgotten why they had children
maybe it was because they were cold and wanted to get warm
when they reached for each other they annihilated two universes,
set the bed adrift on a bloody sea,
and here we are, babies with gills and crimson irises
foreigners in our own country and strangers to each other
the hosts of the unborn are gathering beyond the veil
ready for the puncture when it happens
when ma and da finally die
and the kids' memories come crashing back
through lost lifetimes like meteorites of archetypes
through cloudbank and starlight

we will know who we are
when the cafes serve only haemoglobin from living veins
when cars wake up and start eating people
we will know who we are
when every door leads to another world
a wilderness of Narnias in the wardrobes and hallways of the ghost city
when the statues in the churches come to life
and herd the wailing faithful to the altars for sacrifice
when the government closes its doors and settles its affairs
and the TDs take cyanide on the orders of their leader
we will know who we are
when materialism is known for what it truly is
the acceleration of the birth of a glorious but inhuman deity

it may be true that we are killing ourselves
our obsession with ingesting poisons, our love of weaponry
all this is legendary in the houses of spirit
but like the man said, what is man
but a bridge over an abyss
we are not the naked monkey in the marital bed
the monkey lost and shivering under unforgiving stars
we are not the ghosts in the city windows
and mammy and daddy will one day remember
that they always loved each other
and the unborn will come crashing through time
in endless lines through endless doors opening to one room

until I knew you I did not know myself
says each reflection to each face

I haven't been myself

I haven't been myself
been passing myself off as this other guy
with a golden look and a smile
hiding behind his eyes in mirrors
that kind of thing

been hugging myself close to his wife
because she's so warm and soft
don't know if she loves me or him
she says it's always been me
but I don't know who she means

I feel like a ghost baby, just pushing out
everything's starting to look insane again
like it was years ago - insane and full of light
I wasn't trying to understand it back then
I was just playing

but was that me or the other guy?
he's a whore and a liar, a mobile mask
turned to mother as she claps and kisses.
she made him and without her he's dead -
no one else knows him or needs him

stuck down in the primal dark
I’m afraid I’m going stupid or crazy
I might forget how to speak, how to make
my face look normal, how to move my body,
how to be liked, how to fake it, how to fit in

I haven't been myself
been this mannequin instead
sneaked him into places using my ID
let him use my name and run my life
now I want to come back and he hates me for it

it's natural
he doesn't want to die
and he doesn't understand
when I try to explain that
he never existed
 

The Spider Temple

In the Spider Temple the stone has no voice -
the millions of tons of its silence drip like water
down the countless limbs of its statues.
Centuries of unbreathed air
cling to the flagstones and the altars;
the kind of stillness that old women mean
when they say, “Everything is becoming still.”

From the roof the Spider Temple is a dance of gargoyles,
pale brown in the darkness,
their heavy legs not scraping the rough-carved floor –
quiet as ballerinas, the beautiful golems curve
to the physics of their forgotten religion.

There is no fear in the Spider Temple,
so ancient that it has forgotten its weight, its meaning,
and floats in the soaking forest like a baby.

Cain's Machine

My dream resolved to a face, blonde and pale -
eerie blue eyes lost in the distance,
Cain's horizon without a sky -

hypnotized by unfamiliar constellations
points of light spattered as if sneezed
into the raw, frozen darkness -

he was trying to see to the edge of time
in a glass observatory on a remote moon,
steam pluming from alien machines -

trapped in his own dream of immortality,
to be unbreakable and unchanging -
the dream had become an agony of millennia

in the grip of his own revolving destiny
bound upon a wheel of fire
a point of life in the vacuum, heart-frozen -

eventually, everything of him was broken
like the fable of the reed and the oak
and the storm from the Chinese mountain.

He couldn't live and couldn't die,
his mind locked in amnesiac torment
haunted by voices from past and future lives

whispering their regrets, their lessons
the time he lost and the love
he threw away, the strength he didn't need -

he had enough will left to plead with her,
the only one who loved him,
to feed the unkillable flesh of his body

into machines built to crush him,
grind him to meal to be scattered
throughout his empty universe.

I saw him lying there, mind gone,
as she made the preparations, head held high,
though washed and wrecked by pain.

She could neither forgive nor refuse him
his escape from the machine of light -
the white centrifuges, the galactic octopi

boiling around their black hole cores -
their dervish dance of confusion -
the terrible rebirth of their collision -

he thought he wanted never to be hurt,
to live without the touch of death
and her promise of sleep after too long a day.

She spoke to me, sadly, dark eyes
full of a different kind of strength:
iron in her heart, for surviving -

she explained everything.
Cain was no longer there.
I was only watching the tragedy of her,

a lover, a mother, watching a man
go to his death in a war of his own making -
"the endless conflict of dead matter," he'd said -

and she only knew she loved him;
that he would return to break her heart again
until the stars died into the everlasting darkness.