undine

Anima Redux

i found her underwater and woke her
and black eyes opened and she smiled

we entered the nexus of all our lifetimes
and walked away from that shore together

the shore of unreal waters pouring
over the edge of our minds

years together in dark rooms
just to find the strength to walk away

years of desperate embrace and tears
and fighting off a surprising madness

the changing world and the mind immortal
the dying world and the mind immortal

in the end she is just a girl
who writes beautifully about disorder

who thinks beautifully about imperfection
who never wanted to be an archetype

and I'm just a boy who knows nothing
driven by a billion-year-old memory

if we flare up and burn out in this darkness
if we become lost among star cinders

if we forget who we once were
if I lose my awareness in the sparkles

let us not be remembered or misunderstood
let all of this be lost in time

let nobody think they knew me
let nobody try to preserve anything

let our story never be told -
the girl and the boy walking from the shore

and into dreams and into labyrinths
and into love and into loss

I found her underwater because I was swimming
I was looking for a black-eyed goddess

and I only understand now, and only barely,
what really drives me through this life

and I still don't know, maybe never will,
what else there is to do.

Undine

Granny turned a golden astrolabe slowly in front of her face, her eyes calm and curious. I wasn't sure what she was looking for, but her eyes seemed fixated on a point deep beneath the metal. I was reminded of a fortune teller, and the astrolabe became a small crystal sphere, full of light and tiny, tiny stars, which could be used to examine the heavens and predict the weather. Aunty G came into the room with her arms full, and sat down in front of Granny, letting everything spill out on the floor between them. The light from the curtains was brighter now. It was the middle of the afternoon, a time when their house was always full of the deepest peace - a peace which came from years of order and quiet, with no unexpected noise, no dust in the crevices. They were looking at a map of the heavens that was criscrossed with lunar and stellar transits and arcane astrological symbols. Aunty G and grandmother started to place small blue buttons on the map, looking closely at them first, and chatting softly. Occasionally they would turn to me and say something about the past or the future, which I was having increasing difficulty in following. I wondered where my girlfriend was. The light in the room seemed to be growing, reflected and contained in the deep glass of the astrolabe. It grew brighter and brighter until there was nothing to be seen anywhere but light, almost making a sound, like planets drowning.

>-<

The prince is screaming. He looks like Jude Law, that high-cheekboned, blonde-haired, perfect-skinned arrogance that seem otherwordly, unquestionable. Maybe this is why royal families were sometimes thought to derive their authority and their bloodline directly from God - he seems so perfectly evil and destructive, but immune to ordinary criticism, as if the normal accountability of human beings to their fellows just does not apply to him. He's the prince. He's screaming at his wife, his mother, a witch with flaming orange hair and gaudy, heavy makeup, dressed all in black and dark veils. Their relationship is rich and ambiguous, the result of dozens of lifetimes spent in various configurations - mother-son, father-daughter, lovers, friends, enemies, killers of each other through time and space. The woman with the orange hair is grinning like a pantomime witch, her eyebrows nothing but charcoal smudges on her forehead. Her spirit has been killed and her brain is full of demons. I think of Tom Ripley, how he slammed the edge of the oar into his friend's head. How the wound was a thin line at first, like a slice in a steak, and then filled with blood, while the realization hits him - there's no going back now - and nothing left to do but let the demons rage until it's over. The body drifting slowly into the clear darkness hundreds of metres from the mediterranean coast. The usurping prince left alone, lost in his labyrinth, running from the minotaur of his own shadow.

>-<

Lying on my stomach on the diving board, I can see to the bottom of the deep blue chamber. I've been swimming through the catacombs of a drowned city for hours, maybe even days, but I'm not sure why. I think I'm just trying to get out. The water is iron-cold and dark because we are at the bottom of the ocean, and the city is lit by vast underwater floodlights which fade away slowly into the endless black. At the bottom of the chamber is a drowned woman's naked body. I am filled with horror and shock, and I feel myself fall towards her, through the cold water.



She's dancing, suspended in the ocean depths like a light on a wire, glowing, on fire under her pale skin. She is moving like a fighter in a video game, precise and unwavering, but slow, pirouetting at half-speed, her foot reaching out to touch the lintel of an invisible doorway. She knows how to open doors in the dark. There's no way back to the surface, no way to the bottom of the sea, and there's nothing all around her but the unknown cold, but she can open doors. Her skin shines like a beacon. She's opening a door. She doesn't even know how she knows how. Without her, there would be no other worlds than this one. I saw her once years ago, when I was asleep in a strange country. I was walking along the shore of a gentle blue sea, where there were many strange and exotic colours in the sand that made the frilly waves warp like rainbows. She was asleep under the water, floating just below the surface. She was asleep but awake - aware of me, but not fully conscious, a being of function and symbol, a determiner of meaning. Not like me. A different form of life, unaccountable, like the prince screaming, the girl who opens doors. She stands up in the shallows, water pouring from her white robes. Her eyes are black. She holds up an unrecognizable symbol written in charcoal on a piece of paper, and says "I don't think you quite realize who I am." Behind her a door opens in the sky and empty space begins to pour through in great waves. I feel a growing lucidity, a weird awareness of what is happening. I realize that she is a part of me, always present in my psyche. I don't know what it means that we've met, but I know it's important. I wake up.