school

Lost We

be with me now. in voice. broken overruled. help to lift me skywards, lady. arms like music box dancer, poised like ballerina. pink and blue gauze ballgown, costume jewel tiara, lipstick smile and pale skin. music to dance to until we die. on a desk in my sister's bedroom one morning, thin summer light through single glazed window. brass window fasteners twisted to open, dusty windows never cleaned, cracked from tennis ball impacts. how we leaned out and looked over the gardens and the hedges to somewhere distant. our enclosed world. bookshelves and drawers and wardrobes crammed full of memory. accumulated possessions of 15 years emptied one day. our home, full of sunshine and voices, full of waking nightmares. we walked the carpets in the small hours trailing dreams from our fingertips. our skin and our smell we left in the corners untouched by cleaning. I am a small child lost in a red crystal. I am a man waiting for a small child to descend from the overworld. I am a boy lost in his own cold bones outside an empty dark school waiting for a man to come and bring him home. I am an old man trying to remember his father's face. lost moments strung together on a tattered string. lady, be with me now. let me live in the song you lift to the sky. your arms and eyes darken and you teach me about the sea. one day I said that I would learn how to swim. that I would swim the broken sea of my parents' dreams. let this story fall from me now. I am of the sky and the waves and the stars, if you will bless it to be so.

--

lost we reach for words. lost we. only for moments crushed. how blurred horizon breeds cloud ghosts, blurred vision like rainwater window, songs for sliding down. how in panicked sparks sunlight cuts into the mind. naming evanescences in amnesiac time, in time of perfect garden, age of gold, names given again for new beginnings. meaning emerging from chaos birthsack. love from eyes. horizon of sisters and brothers and lost toys, lost books, lost living brightness. friends poised invisible under weeping willow, unable to cross the water. lady wreathed in smoke stepping through puddles that do not touch her skin. soaked earth yielding fruit and footprints, lunar memories, a future death plummeting back through time.

--

touched by voices and listened to by light, we transmigrate. these are your windows and doors, winter-chilly and smudged with tears and hope. doors in the dark, doors in the day, doors along an endless corridor of what may be. that window you flew out of in your mind every night. rising through tortured cloud giants. purple starfield and streetlight glow. naked temples flattened and opened like unpeeled tesseracts into streets and houses and staircases. mother and father embracing underneath the black gates like forgiven titans. sister and brother hand in hand under petrified glittering forest, canopy of silk and birdflight, music of absolution. memories of other planets, washed down through new mind as over waterfall in tiny urban park. where as a child you stand and sing, lady. where you stand and sing us all to wake again.

Werewolf Poetry

I was in my old school    it was mixed    there was a different feeling to other dreams of being back at school        I wasn't stressed running from class to class    it was more like I was a visiting ex-pupil on a celebration day     then we gathered in the main hall, which was huge and round like a great lecture theatre        they started to play a piece of music    the words were from one of my poems    I was annoyed about this    my mother had sprung this surprise on me        I was uncomfortable with the attention because I didn't like the tendencies it needled in me    love of attention and need for approval

***

I was coming down a snowy and steep mountain slope, my travelling companion a girl. All around us were amazing patterns of ice and rock. I fell and slid down to the bottom in a mini-avalanche that buried me, but I was OK. It was a bad line to take down the mountain, the girl admitted. Then we found ourselves on the edge of a tall warehouse building. I was scared to approach the edge because I thought I'd slip on the icy surface.

My companion went ahead of my to a door in the side of the building, while I stared at the street below. When I followed her, she was gone, and the warehouse was dark and silent and full of closed doors and long corridors.

I chose one way and ran towards a door at the very end of a long straight corridor. I felt there was something behind me. When I reached the door I found it locked, and when I turned around I saw a small figure behind me, hunched over a light. I ran back that way, loping like a wolf, struggling with my own fear and trying to make myself appear powerful and dangerous. As I ran past I saw that it wasn't one small figure but several - children, all huddled together around the light, terrified of me. I ran on, realizing that a werewolf had been preying on these children at night, and that was who they thought I was. I wanted to explain that that wasn't me and that I wouldn't hurt them, but I didn't. I ran on and found my exit.

***

A storm was coming to my grandmother's house. The cats' things in the garden would blow away and we were anchoring them with stones. The cats themselves were confused and scared.

***

I was in a second-hand shop with Paul, wandering around. It was run by a Japanese lady and therefore had a lot of Oriental things and a lot of kitsch Western stuff. Weirdly, there were also a lot of things I remembered owning, such as mugs and comics and silly ornaments. I was browsing these old things of mine wondering if I should buy them because they gave me a nostalgic feeling. Then I thought "I gave all these things away, so why would I want them back?" They all belonged to Liadain and I, and we gave them away one time when we moved house. I found it very funny that this little shop contained so much of my and Liadain's life together and were redistributing it to strangers.

I sat down in the shop where a group of people were performing an odd birthday ceremony for one of their number. They were lighting candles and blowing them out with an exhalation of cigarette smoke. At one point they decided to start over because something in the ritual hadn't been quite right. For some reason I thought that the ritual had involved taking pills at the start, because I said "You can't chemically reconstitute these, you know. You can't turn back the clock and begin again - the drugs are already having their effect." The guy who had decided to begin the ritual again turned to me and his attitude said that I really didn't understand something. He told me a few things, most of which I've forgotten, but the most important thing was "Don't ignore things that exist." I asked "Like what?" and he answered "Well, like love." I didn't know what he was referring to or what I was missing, but I woke up feeling like I've been allowing something to slip by me, or that I've been ignoring something real in order to live my own life or to choose what direction I should go in. I've been wondering if I turned my back on love, or on my family again, by isolating myself. There are so many demands for love and companionship. I'm not just an empty means for the needs of other people to be fulfilled. I am a being unto myself. But what am I and what guides me? What am I missing?

Choirboy

I was a choirboy where the light
crept through windows stained sacred
in a cold chapel, and I sang from my throat
raw from crying over homework, forgotten toys,
a memory of death floating back through time,
I sang from my blood and no other world
had ever been so holy.

It was so cold out there on the school steps -
I pulled up my hood and sank deep into myself
travelling through my tissues, I dreamed
forwards and backwards in time,
and it could have been half an hour or three hours
or three years
as a rock in the shape of a boy
before a priest came to rescue me,
his cold blue eyes confused when he recognized me -
he'd always thought I was cocky, aristocratic,
not a helpless thing too stupid to call his father,
wandering in imaginary worlds that might never be,
how I sang in my veins to be free.

Every leaf and breath and star and voice was perfect,
lost in time like me, and I sang for the sun
into dusk, the sun tearing wounds in the sky, savage
and desperate to send me to bed. My mother's voice.
Bed the universe, body the living god, pulsing in darkness.

I am not human, have never been human,
something singing and laughing in the skin
and the blood and the bone and the dream.

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.

Recombinant DNA

My friends and I had made a discovery which had stunned the scientific world: we had proved that there was a huge reservoir of water near the Earth's core, by analyzing its rotational irregularities and variations in temperature. I was giving a lecture to 2000 people on our results, and my lecture was focusing on two things: first of all, much of our knowledge about planets and the geology of our own Earth was simply wrong, and secondly, I was proposing uses for this enormous water supply.

About halfway through the lecture I took a break, and left the stage to go and change my clothes for some unknown reason. I sat down with a friend of mine from school called Cathal, and started to get undressed. Cathal pointed and said "Is that Shane?" I turned and looked to see a very old friend of mine standing in the doorway of the lecture hall. He saw us and approached the table without smiling, and stuck out his hand for Cathal to shake. Cathal didn't move, staring at Shane, and I remembered that when we were in school Shane had been pretty nasty to Cathal, in a subtle, underhanded way.

Eventually Shane withdrew his hand and I stuck mine out, expecting him to shake it, but he totally ignored me and walked away. I was really puzzled. I saw Liadain sitting at another table close by, so I walked over to her and crouched down. She didn't ask me why I was naked, and I didn't think it was worth explaining. While I was talking to her, another woman who had obviously really liked my lecture kept sticking her head in between us, trying to get my attention with an inane grin, and I had to keep looking around her.

"I just saw Shane, and he totally ignored me."
"I know, I saw. It's because our families are related."
"Yours and mine?"
"Yeah - we have the same grandmother. It's something to do with recombinant DNA. People are a bit scandalized because when a DNAunt and a DNUncle get together, there's a chance that their children will have birth defects. It's like one in several hundred thousand."
I'm very puzzled at this point.
"So you're telling me that the reason Shane won't talk to me is because you and I are getting married even though we're related?"
"It's the talk of the town. A lot of people are very angry with us."
"That's very weird."

I get up and walk back to my table to finish getting dressed, trying to get my mind away from strange friends and recombinant DNA and back to the Earth's core, but at some point during the process I wake up.