teenage

Dark Lifetimes

I thought I wasn't human sometimes
like when we drank too much on the tracks
of the old railroad, and ended up
throwing garbage at each other
and I got sick on my own coat
and had to scrub it in a puddle
before I went home

Or when I was on the bus in the morning
and the tough kids were smoking in the back seats
and my elbow hurt from trying to sleep
leaning against the rubber window ledge
I saw two burnt out cars together in a field
bleeding rust into the long grass
- this year's Halloween blaze -
- will be like islands in a sea of oil -

I went crazy, I stole bicycle locks
and left the bikes behind, I talked to rivers
and made them promise to remember me,
I thought my cat was a spirit sent to guide me,
I screamed in the living room at night
when my mother was away on holiday,
only alive after dark, naked warrior for destroying
demons that existed nowhere

dark lifetimes lost for nothing
smoke from smouldering moments
I was a slow fire, lying alone
on my teenage bedcovers being a burning snake
a star in a strange structure of light
compare this
to the taste of cider in your throat
the smell of your own sweat in bed
the nothing you thought you were
and always would be

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.
 

I am a call

against a cold window
palms spread
this I surrender
 
morning star
over fiery horizon
loving wind
 
songs under the atmosphere
at a great distance
melody
 
I couldn't sleep
whole night writhing
between two lightnings
 
breathing fast
dawn in stages
like dying
 
open eyes
kitchen window
house damp with silence
 
I miss your heartbeat
June a.m.
outside they're kissing:
 
boyfriend girlfriend
supercharged
by summer sunlight
 

No Outside

I cycled home through empty roads
under dead lights haunted by the ghosts
of cars and houses with dark curtains
tyres whispering on the tarmac
everything in memory is sweet and sad

climbed the wall and stood by the water
streetlights glittering above and below
a bird fluttered over the surface
bats arcing silently over the rooftops
while I stared into empty kitchens and gardens

taste of beer and chocolate on my tongue
stars blurred through mist and space
silent like swimming underwater
holding my breath to try and stop time
standing on the wet grass like a stranger