reality

Secret Green And Glowing Things

I used to have secrets - things that lurked under bridges in my mind. My sister spoke with spirits under a willow tree near our gate and grew up to have demon dreams. Imps squatting on her chest breathing out her life, and when she woke up the daylight was already seeping out of the sky. My secrets were about pale skin and sadness. hers were about doors to other worlds - worlds or perspectives, no difference. We had a secret, doors and gardens and cold rooms on holiday. We could have gone a whole lifetime without remembering it, and that would have been a different lifetime, a different world, a different perspective. Universes that will never exist.

Carl built stone villages when he lost his mind, and slowly he found it again, and came to the centre, the vortex, the centrifuge that purified him and made him certain. He wrote later on that to him the world was like a maze of transparent walls that he looked through to see other minds and the universes they would create. He reached into those minds and spoke with them and tried to heal them. New perspectives, new universes. He was never fearless, but he walked the labyrinth to the centre anyway. Those paintings and drawings of circles and whirlpools, so many of them, too many for sanity, too many for anyone but a healer who had given up everything except purpose.

Sister, mother, father: my world. Like a knife dance in an amphitheatre made of hills and fields and broken stone seats - and we spin, we cut each other, we play out the choreography as we were taught. Glowing things in our arteries and our minds, painting trails in the night-time as we circle each other. Flickers of moss and grass and needles on the edge of vision, radiant green splinters. We dance but we don't speak - if we spoke we would spill everything out. Blood, sound, secrets. We prefer to dance. The knives flicker closer, closer, closer. Glowing cancerous and free.

Draw a circle between you and I and there is something that will always be secret - I have nothing left to offer. Everything emptied out into past and future - a past full of memories I lovingly keep alive, a future full of new life, the only thing I had to offer. And so on, and so on, moths circling a lamp, comets falling in love with the sun, you can make the rest up yourself. Electromagnetic secrets rippling emerald in a solar camera, glowing and burned-out a million miles from where you are. Where I am, where you are - bits of information smeared over a soul like iron filings lining up around magnetic field lines. I had a sister who saw secret things, I had parents who blinded themselves, and I myself wished only to be clear and empty, clear and empty, without secrets, only walking in my mind out over that radiant field, green grass stretching out in a circle to every hidden horizon.

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.

The Place Of Dead Roads

There are two cowboys in the desert. The older man is teaching the younger one to shoot, goading and slapping him, making him fire wildly into the sky, making him fire along the line of his bare arm so that the powder flash burns his skin and the bullet passes through his hand. Finally the younger man is driven past his natural deference, and turns around with a murderous, surrendered calm and levels the pistol at him.

The older man kneels and bows his head, mumbling "good boy, good boy..." He doesn't know if he's going to die or not, but he sees the iron will and the despair in the boy's eyes, the acceptance of manhood. He wasn't teaching him how to shoot, he was teaching him how to be a man, and the lesson is over.

The boy realizes what's happened, and lowers the gun. The old man asks him how he found his answer, and the boy shows his the wounded stump of his hand, where the old man had made him shoot. The boy says "This is my answer - what use is it?", brandishing his bloody hand angrily. The older man says "It's your answer, it's no use to anyone else, but it's worth everything to you."

They look up into the sky and the boy sees the madness of measurement, dividing the sky into fixed disks to be turned and manipulated, as if in the measurement of astronomical distance and stellar properties the measurers might escape the confines of the universe and its laws of mortality and fixity like Kim in The Place of Dead Roads, shooting a hole in the sky and watching it all come crashing down. The boy knows now that the bullet isn't important, just the will that would drive it and the understanding that would hold it back.

The Bucket of the World

It’s not just a clarity of vision or hearing, or any of the senses, even though it can feel like those sense are sharpened because you have more attention for them. It’s not just a clarity of the mind, even though thought can become very easy and obvious, or even stop completely. You could call it a clarity of the heart, because there’s a feeling of emotional harmony, but that’s not all it is. It’s so hard to describe because it doesn’t lend itself to description. It isn’t anything you can locate, and the words available to describe it are loaded with so many other meanings which vary from person to person that it’s impossible to know if anyone else could hear what you say about it and understand. It doesn’t need to be the end-point of any search, because it’s always directly available and totally ordinary.

It doesn’t make you divine or special, because it’s so ordinary that (probably) everyone in the world experiences it most of the time without realizing that it’s anything worth noticing or enjoying.

You can only realize you’re ‘in’ it if you know there’s nothing else to search for.

It’s here. It’s you.

Maybe we only think we’re unhappy because that’s what we’re told. We all perpetuate this strange message of incompleteness to each other when really our deepest secret is that no matter what has ever happened to us, we are happy and at peace, in the most permanent and unreasonable way.

I forget it sometimes. Instead of a bright, spacious clarity, my world narrows to a tight, anxious focus, locked into time and fascination. But even in those moments I know it’s all OK. I know I will die, or that it will all end, or even if it doesn’t, that its ending is inherent in me, in my own consciousness.

This is all crazy, bright, unknowable.

I don’t know what I know. I can’t parcel it and write a book about it because such a thing would be of no use to anyone. It isn’t a thing. It’s nothing. I’ve realized nothing. This is just life, direct reality. I don’t know if I’ve understood anything at all.

We’re looking for something extraordinary, but they can’t last. The only thing that lasts, and the only thing that satisfies us, is the ordinary. You don’t have to make any effort to be ordinary. This world is real, crazy, bright and shining and immediate. Everything is right here, and we have never changed since the moment we were born. There’s nothing left. The bucket of the world has been emptied and all promises and dooms are null and void.

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.