puja

Structure Inescapable

Fractal Veg

Afternoons of rice and and full and my eyes are darkness,
the inescapable family, a story, a purpose.
I being a boy.
I miss you, green tea in the darkness.
The analysis, bodylast
sputtering waiting -
heart aching for a far blue promised fascination of each other, bejewelled in air sun surface -
praying place of spiders and dreams and swimming peace,
a peace of friends - the machine of who were with me, who sang with upturned and
pouring into coherent

after the first wakeful mornings
when I knew into drowned catacombs and warm rain.
I miss your arms and jokes. Some jumbled memories of words and kisses
and discarded ghee candles lighting a way to -
the inverted pyramid, the arati, the kirtan -
nuclear floated in until I forgot my me
out of myself, out of the real.
I miss you - all of you - throat exploding: now
and world,
hanging from it head fingertips out
to understand the blue glimpsed above is universes.
That sky yawned, miss you, who were part of me reaching for your hands
and wandered golden thread we wove.
Papaya and lemons and starlight - infinite apes faces,
that silly one who had a clawing for awareness and voices, and how you took open
and in loneliness and structures,
withered like a galaxy, and into peace:
I had: a plucked flower. a few returned to me.
The love I call you to return.

The prayer of the cavern: that sugary spiral, its gelling witness star staying in that now,
lunatic under me endlessly on those together
of feet and frogs and me,
eyes wide and fingers -
mother father sister brother inside me, the flower that the skin held me
in an insane limestone flute
tones sinking first, ready to dive.
Those beasts at its heart.
Mornings trillion points of light - lover please hold me -
my lion who ends the world.
Remembered that this earthship the cave
is iron-ringing release
fists knotted and finding peace
I who one night endless points of light skin and eyes deconstructed,
beautiful apes severed branch, tasted cinnamon and oatmeal;
no one recognisable, no one that I was underneath, out in dead time to see, me,
ate with me, touched my shouting, reaching, running,
waiting to receive what I

Fire Puja

once just a bubble, something bursting and sprawling, then blankness,
a tired boy sleeping through a long car journey across Ireland
to the Sligo coast and a cottage near a bright strand
scared of being alone, scared of his grandfather
a ball of fire in a man's head, squeezed like a star's core
and the laughing pressure of the bedroom's darkness
I will only be the bright things, and the dark things will not be me
water bulging between pebbles or still like diamond in rock pools
fair hair in the wind and the sun, frozen in a photograph
staring at the sun until it burned blue and left tracers for hours
outshining everything

his brain the altar and shrine to the scientist superhero
not the bed-wetter, the boy of fevers and rashes and failures
not the boy with the broken parents but the warrior battling demons
with a wooden sword at the bottom of the garden, slashing nettles
and bindweed, dandelions, cattails and bluebells,
all of the living things advancing mindlessly on the realms of the dead
reading in the crook of tree branches under a laurel canopy
learning that stories can curve into a perfect fulfillment,
and that a life could be made into a story, his own devil's bargain

mama, dada, his heartbeat in the pillow,
reading comics in the windowlight with the darkness shaking -
his cuddly toys who walked unafraid into his dreams
and there built cities for him out of a churning red landscape -
they bred beings and stories like great factories of the unreal -
vast hands descending from the sky,
implacable beasts with lion heads and fish tails,
the endless running through endless corridors of a school,
a hospital, a tower, a labyrinth,
like a rabbit lost in the warren of the world.
he stole a red crystal in a trinket shop
and it poisoned him until he flung it into the undergrowth
that grew and grew like a cancer, crowding the edges of his awareness,
like the grass and the weeds, the rain, half-living forces,
revenants pressing their faces
against the windows of the kitchen and the hall, moaning,
until his whole family was mad with an unexpressed panic;
his dad went insane, quietly, in front of the evening news,
mud on his suit and money in his pocket,
walking blind into a different life, and his mother
burned everything in her mind
until it flew into the air on the wings of a firestorm -
all without speaking,
without moving from the bedroom where she sickened for years

he glimpsed the ghost of his death out of the corner of his eye
all his life, like horror movie eyes in dark windows
smoking his throat raw around the back of the house
where the wood rotted in the damp
and the country's granite skeleton poked out from under the foundations;
houses built around the margin of an eely reservoir
with a lightning-scarred pine and a broken throne where a cat slept, wind-sheltered and far from territory and food,
tiny under the humped orange clouds, bare awareness
of voices and water, traffic like remembered music,
air moving through reeds in gaps in the mortar
and no such thing as time - time measured by light and dark,
past and future gathered into the present
like friends into one room

points of light in the sky, lanterns on the river, phosphorus fish in caves,
distant headlights on roads, roads, roads
merging and splitting like stories,
like veins splayed out under spotlights in an operating theatre
he fell asleep on the ground behind the garden wall and woke up twenty years older
with lines on his palms and sadness held
in knots of muscle in his back and his chest -
two bottles of cheap red wine and three hours of hangover agony
high above the street, on a metal balcony in the sun
dizzy, almost dead, parched of water and love and meaning
and driven by the machine of superhumanity,
the total revolt of the total illusion
and all the words every spoken, ever written, melting
into this one crucible of his suffering body -
he wanted the elixir, he wanted the incorruptible element, and instead,
sick with vapour, he distilled the world into ash and slag and poison -
laughing, crying, no identity, he had nothing left to do but float,
his own little light shaking in a paper cup
down to the delta and out to the forgiving sea

finally he became a pilgrim: 22 hours by plane, 5 hours by boat,
to eat sand and press flowers and build temples -
the moth only touches the flame for a brief moment -
burned, it has to rest -
spiders stringing webs between palm trees, toads littering the pathways -
full moon - handfuls of wet rice - pits full of fire -
sawdust and plastic in the lungs -
chairs and walls and spires and late nights working like ants
streaming over a mound of earth -
singing all day, and still the god does not return -
crying at night, and the god does not return -
the god's chair and house are empty, the god's children are cruel,
the god likes sushi and Versace quilts and Armani sunglasses,
the god is alive as every star in the whole sky -
he has to be, because that is the god the boy worships, arms of fire raging into the patient dark
until every embrace is broken and every voice lost into memory,
every watch stopped with every heart,
every river emptied over the edge of every shattered planet,
and every blaze quenched and frozen - past and future consumed -
the universe stretching into the era of proton decay
like a black, bottomless photograph
held in a boy's hand, then discarded
as he runs into the garden -
sunlight dancing through sprayed water
as the end of all things
is recycled into every moment
 

The Empty Chair

Today from the rainy garden
we brought nasturtiums and sunflowers
and laid them in garlands
before the empty chair.

Together we knelt and prayed
and sang from full throats
in the dark and quiet room
as the light fell around the chair.

The eyes in the face in the picture
resting on cushions on the chair
were bright and loving and noble
gazing into the darkness of the singing room.

Leaving the room and entering the morning
we knew the daylight would carry us
through the weeping trees and streets
back in the evening to the feet of the chair.

We began and ended before the empty chair
laying flowers the master's feet
would never touch;
nor his hand brush the hair back from our faces.

In the morning we ate the fruit
we laid there the day before,
in the quiet winter kitchen
filling with quiet white light.

Feel us swaying, singing, crying
to the beat of the drum
and the chime of shaken bells -
feel us shaking in the light of the dark air.

See us holding each other close,
hungry for love at the foot of the chair
leaving gifts with the emptiness there
bowed to the ground in the arms of the air.

In bed below the skylight of stars
we would have sent our love
across the real, deep and terrible ocean
to the one who would sit in the empty chair.

Late Evening

Late evening, Sunday, stars and oranges raining through the open windows of my bedroom. I made it upstairs, so stoned I can hardly move, staggering through a roaring silence like under the ocean. Posters on my walls of roses and aliens looking like they move when I close my eyes. Girl across the road taking her top off, candlelight lilac, slowly closing the curtains. That was yesterday I think. She was nice. Cats screaming in the gardens at night. Saw a shooting star just now. Music and voices downstairs, spiralling in my head making me roll on the floor and pray for sleep. Sleep sleep, sleep.

The ocean is just the ocean.

The bedroom window brought in the morning, a teenage rain kissing my eyelids. A kind of desire rises, to make love to the sky. I open my eyes and the sunlight is so beautiful, even through clouds. I can’t move much, I feel so heavy, a ghost who fell into a corpse. The feeling of being me is falling in a vast and gentle well of dark light. The sky is like a girl who forgot to go home. She’s laughing at me because I think I’m home. The silence brings music into my mind from a great distance, years of being me singing forever in my heart. The girl in the sky is making me laugh now. I know she doesn’t exist, but she doesn’t know. We both think we have a secret.

My lungs feel like bags of cement. Somehow I make it into bed, some clothes off, pull the covers up to my neck, breathe out slowly, it feels like fifteen years ago, mother tucking me into bed, telling me I’m the best baby boy in the whole wide world. Years, lifetimes of sitting in the shade of a white porch in the summer in India, chanting from the arati going through my mind while I rest my feet and watch the river move, slowly, from heaven. This country is so cold. I’m sure there was a time when I knew what I was supposed to be doing here. Things seemed so simple when I was young.

I woke up when my girlfriend found me, she laughed and told me I was in the wrong bedroom, no wonder it all seemed so strange. “I smoked my tits off last night you know,” she just laughs more and puts her hand on my forehead. I still don’t feel like moving, but I like the brightness and the safety of the afternoon and her hands. “I love you babe.” She takes her clothes off and gets under the covers with me. If this was someone else’s life, would I know?

All the days, raging, tears and iron, monsters from the houses. The rain becomes old and haggard, giant trees, horrific amphibians gripping the mud and the ferns, sharks as big as ships rippling through a boiling ocean. Sand of the sea-bottom shifting with crabs and flatfish, millions of colours of coral, seaweeds dancing in the warm currents. A volcanic sky stained with ash like the forehead of a priest. The sky has to remember. Winds and burning rain for a thousand years, the sky has to remember.

I was born thirteen thousand years ago in a room full of sun and heat. I was painting a picture of three spirals on a sheet of blue silk when I died. The ground writhed like a stricken man and the fire and the ice came. Thousands of years of living buried and burned. The sky has to remember.

“Babe, you talked in your sleep.”
“What was I saying?”
“I didn’t understand it. I don’t think I heard properly.”
“Mmm.”
“It was weird, I thought someone else was in the bed. You didn’t sound like you.”
“Really?”
“It scared me a bit.”
“Don’t be scared.”

Still stoned, hugging her is like hugging the sky. I am a shapeless thought. Her body is like a feeling in a dream, moving in its own rhythm. I went so far this time, so far out into the nothingness, the falling-feeling. I never went so far before. I hope it’s okay. I hope this will be okay.

I woke again when the sky was still fading into dark blue, after sunset. It felt so strange. The last time I remembered sleeping through a whole day was when I was very ill with glandular fever. The whole night was taken up by terrible struggles with dreamed creatures, travels through landscapes of delerium, and I slept with the curtains closed as the day passed, bathed in sweat.

I swam down to the sea bed and felt the edges of the coral with my fingertips. Tiny angel fish darted through the crevices. The water was cloudy.

We climbed down into the caves, holding on to rusted railings, dodging starlings and bats that fluttered in a panic out of their roosts. The clay was red and moist, and stained everyone’s clothes. The air began to feel stiller and stiller, until the passageway opened out into caverns full of totally still, clear water. We shone our torches in to the pools, and sometimes you could see the rock at the bottom, forty or fifty feet down, and it looked as clear and bright as five feet deep. In other places the torch beam disappeared into unfathomable blackness. We took our shoes and tops off and swam through the caves, stopping to hang on to stalagmites, ducking our heads through narrow openings of sharp rock, tapping stalactites to see if they would sing. In one of the main caverns, one of the walls looked like a gigantic church organ, the limestone shaped into tubes that plunged from the ceiling into the deep water. We clung to the tubes with our hands while we waited to gaze into the deepest underwater caves. When we got out of the water we turned all the torches off, and stayed quiet for a few seconds in absolute darkness. There was no light for the eyes to adjust to, just nothingness hanging in space. In the silence it was like having no bodies. Our ears rang with emptiness.

I was sitting out on the wharf in a half-lotus when it started to rain. First the sky darkened and the sun was hidden, and then, as a boat appeared in the distance from its trip around the island, the first cool raindrops fell. I was sitting on a towel dressed only in shorts. As the boat came closer I could see the people sitting in it, my friends, young devotees of Avatar Adi Da Samraj, their faces indescribable. How do you describe the expression of someone who is visiting the home of the Incarnation of God? The rain grew heavier. The sea lost its green tinge and became grey, and the surface started rippling in tiny circles. The boat ground itself against the sand and they started getting out, heading up the beach towards the retreat centre, while the rain increased, until the sea was starting to hiss. I was still sitting down on the wharf, my hair dripping, my towel already soaked. The Fijian men waved and the boat pulled away again. Two girls from the boat stayed to swim in the sea. The rain kept deepening, hardening, pounding the palm leaves and the shore, creating a fine mist just above the surface of the water. I stood up and stretched, and lowered myself into the sea. The water was warmer than the rain. The vision, as from a thousand years ago, of the two girls with their faces turned up to the sky, rain pouring down their cheeks, hands holding back their hair; and then sinking back below the surface like mermaids. I took a deep breath and floated, with my arms stretched out behind me, and for the first time ever, I totally relaxed in the water. I gave my body up to the waves in a bliss of surrender. The rain pattered on my face and the hissing all around me became soothing. I closed my eyes and the darkness extended around and through me in all directions, so that I no longer had a clear feeling of where I was in relation to th shore, or what direction I was moving. Maybe I had drifted out into the deep ocean. Maybe there was no island. I truly didn’t care what happened to me in those few moments. The only disturbance was the unstoppable observer, the consciousness that noted all the phenomena of my senses; I still felt like ‘me’. That was all that was wrong, but it was enough.
    When I opened my eyes, I saw that one of the girls had left the sea and was running back to the dorms through the rain, carrying her towel over her arm. Just then, the sun appeared through a break in the clouds near the horizon. The rain continued, ferociously, but the trees and the sand took on this electrifying reality, as if the sun had traced their edges and filled in their colours with the luminous yellow all-colour of its own light.

ama amma

am am am

As we watched a rainbow formed on the beach, touching down perfectly on the dark sand, colouring the palms, bringing with it a silence so unearthly that it drowned the rain and sank my heart into the True Water. No moment like this has ever existed.

“My life is over now.”

The rain ends, the shell remains. The work is done.
 

Mama Kali From Before

My Holy Guardian Angel
Is the Jesus of the Spheres
The am beheld and cradled
Imperceptible appears

In skin She wraps the Radiant
Of Gold the ether sings
Her arrows arch the firmament
In glory of its wings

I worship at Her Fountainhead
Undrinking I inhale
Her passionate and bountifed
Impressionless impaled

The murderer between us She
Possesses undefiled
Deliverance unslivers me
Unshudder with Her Smile

Repent and only sinnerless
I infinitely True
My outcry for Her Tenderness
Destroyer I Love You