self

The Factory

I was at home with my mother and sister talking about a radio interview. My granny called the house and left a phone message and it upset me because she was talking about her sister's death and she sounded so sad. Her situation saddened me, all of her friends and her husband and her sisters all dead. So I got up from the breakfast table without a word and left the house.

 
I went to university and skipped out of my psychology class to wander around the great building, right up to the roof where there was a gathering of people. Some of them were sitting right at the edge. A policeman told people to come back from the edge, walking so close to it that I was terrified. I had a bag full of my things - books, notes, clothes, a computer. Two of them were making fun of me and my hair and the way I dressed. Making fun of my self-image, as if I was vain and at the same time ridiculous-looking. I realized that I wanted to go back to university and that I had enough points - 79 - to do so. I could go to a foreign university to do women's studies and it would make me happy.
 
I went back through the university arts building to go home. On the way I met my girlfriend, who I had been forgetting to call or text (we had only just got together). This is something I used to do when I was a teenager, simply forget to call a girl I was supposed to be seeing. I made a mental note to call her. It was dark when I was leaving university and I had to walk back through a bad neighbourhood. A gang of young men - boys really - starting talking about the bags I was carrying, and started following me. I was just getting ready to run when a woman found me. She was older and very calm and she knew me, and the boys respected her and went away. She brought me to her house and said she would call me a taxi to take me home.
 
She started to read to me from a great thick paperback book she had, full of her own notes - not the Bible, it was called "The Factory" and talked about God as the Factor, the Maker. She asked me to look at a picture of the sea with the sun hanging over it, a great fiery orange ball. It left a flaming reflection on the water. Then all of a sudden it plunged beneath the water, surprising me and making me feel very emotional. Then several suns followed it underwater as if attached by a string. I felt happy and as if I was about to cry.
 
The woman seemed satisfied by my reaction and closed the book and went to call a taxi for me. I wanted to take the book with me but I realized that I couldn't because it was hers. I went into her kitchen and there was a phone message from my mother, who had been worried about me because I left so suddenly. She thought it must be because something she said made me angry. I said no, I was sad about granny. There was a message from my granny too. She was still talking about her dead sister, the funeral arrangements, the end of things. I wanted to cry again, and I wanted to tell her about my decision to leave and go back to university, and about the book that the old woman had shown me.

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

Vertigone

that half self that dust devil that
storm chaser, that dark drunken nothing
neither brother nor son nor husband nor father
that devil that cannot that will not
am not, never am, drowned in darkness

that devil chuckle that angel whisper
come alive come alive come alive
and that dark rhythm, that one last drum
that heart that fakes that fist that fails

all gods all laws all promises driven down
deep and dark and memories of dust
that dust that brings that sickness that desire
for the centre, the centre, please god, any god,
that place of rest at last

that one sick moment of, that deafening spiral
into the self, that self I am not,
that am not me that moves as we
that cannot see that cannot be that free

that voice that lost itself in the garden
that garden of neverending bodies
that bloody grass, that dark green horizon,
that silent immortal pantheon of loss
in you and me and all of we who see

Child King

The person at your heart is a child king
head held high, flying, singing
nonsense words to the tune of your memories

you are a person, you have a story
he sings over the rain and wind
(he's running, it's stormy, he loves it)

you are a person, you exist
in a desire-fulfilling world
a world where storms have a meaning

and that meaning, somehow,
through some kind of universal design,
has something to do with you.

The child king sings because he is not you
he is not anyone, in fact
he doesn't even know that he exists

he will never have babies or a job
his language is a song of fragments
his bare feet indifferent to grass or broken glass

every time you try to focus on his face
it has changed, he has gone, replaced
by a blue wind, a sheen of sun on oil,

strange things of that kind, themselves
gone in an instant.
His song disappears too -

there is nothing but a whispered word
that brings you into a forgotten room
memory upon memory, wasted afternoons

shuddering in a silence without him.
He is your heart and he is running away.
You hate him and you wish he would stay.

Tat Tvam Asi

I chant between protons: prayers
spinning on subatomic wheels
elegies of the One Electron
sparkling across emptiness unreal

It's sitting across from itself
in endless grey cafés sipping coffee,
grinding the coffee, moulding the mug,
giving birth to the bean in agony;

It's arguing with itself over nothing,
just for the fun of it: who was wrong,
whose note resonates clearer, whose pain
lingers longest where it doesn't belong;

and the neutron wheels are buttercups
sunlit innocent uncertain and mortal
I am a structure of delicious isolation
unravel me to find an unexpected portal

It's a storm of blood through flesh
glittering and heaving organs wracked
by chemical lightning, shaking bone branches
crackling, wind-dancing, mind-connected

shivering down to the galaxies between quarks
it weeps and mumbles prayers in void alone
wandering through nanosecond universes
it finally finds a way to follow me home

Dark Sugar

Younger than three, and my memory
darkens into ash, the remains of thoughts,
the nothingness from before birth:
soft darkness outside time.

I go back there every night
to watch it fill up with colour and shape -
sparks and streaks of people and stories
like spice ripples in dark sugar.

I build myself around a seed
of loneliness and sadness, the feeling
of the soft darkness, the stone wall
and the endless, softly darkening sky.
I'm stupid, but not that stupid; I know
you can't run from the end of your own story.

If I'm lost, it's been for a long time
and I've betrayed myself over and over
and I'm just waiting to crumble -
like dark sugar in a spoon, slowly
stirred into the seething silence.

Unzip

If you think you know me today, please,
unzip my skin with your knife;
see if you can stand to see me
unravel before you;
see if you can bear the little sounds
of organs plopping wetly to the ground.

Without my face, who am I
that you love me?
No insides, no outsides, and no shape.
What is the feeling, the thing I call my heart,
when you can see this bloody lump of meat
pumping gently at your feet?

Love, no need to heal, to kiss -
there's no need to be afraid of death.
I know I'll come back stronger,
held together by something even stranger
than this invisible brightness - and then -
we'll cry, and tomorrow, softly, start again -