heart

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.

A zero expanded as the world

one winter the man fell through the lakeshore ice and felt a god's cold hammer slam into his heart and his brain. in his terror he heard in the distant reaches of his memory  his mother's voice telling him the story of the snow queen and the young boy with a splinter of ice in his heart. his sister saved him. the ice was above him like an endless window to paradise and he beat upon it with his fists as you would beat upon a rock. the water of the lake was like liquid iron. he began to want the darkness. he turned from the unbreakable light and floated towards the darkness as if he had found a way to go home at last. on the ice above, his gloves and his canvas chair. a tartan  blanket for his legs. an unopened book.

the colour of her on the sheets of the bed. pale on the dark blue, she dances and drowns in your dreams. blood wave. star whisper. ice flame. she knows she is only in your mind.

WHO SAID that your heart is a zero - a zero expanded as the world - like that delicious raindrop summer that never existed except in your dreams of your dreams. the unimaginable zero summer. all of the things you ever saw and ever knew are melting like celluloid on fire while the obsessional music grows louder. carousel jingles. frantic, overwound musical boxes. fading away as if into intergalactic space.

a never ending chess game with your friends and lovers as pieces - their personalities, powers, likes and dislikes sliding and merging into geometric fields of influence in your tired brain as you slumber on the long train journey home. I have earned this. I have earned the voice that speaks like this, the vision that sees the world in this way. I earned it by enduring the madness that produces it. it is mine.

Samuel Beckett gives me props

I knew  I was dreaming, because Samuel Beckett was standing behind the hedge at the bottom of the garden, smoking a cigarette whose glowing red tip floated in the twilight  like a firefly. The dusk had brought a thick feeling of summer and smoke to the air, and I wandered across the uncut grass to talk to him.

He was dressed all in black, wearing a leather jacket and turtleneck and jeans. His face was deeply lined and his hair stiff like a yellow brush, just as he appeared in photographs towards the end of his life. He was reluctant to make eye contact, and pulled irritably at his cigarette, which I noticed was held the wrong way around, so that hot ash and unfiltered smoke poured into his lungs with every breath.

What are you doing here? I asked.
Well, they say I'm coming back into vogue now.

He shuffled slightly, staring at his feet. He wanted to tell me something, but was looking for words that wouldn't sound false. Finally he looked up and spoke softly:

You've got a strong heart. I can hear it from here. It'll carry you through.

He flicked his cigarette into the grass and walked away without saying goodbye. It was obvious to me that he hated melodrama and falsity above all things, and that he knew, with a painful awareness, how hard it can be to communicate truly and sincerely in words, so that someone can understand exactly what you mean. I listened to my heart for a few seconds - that barely audible pulse in the inner ear that tells you you're alive.