One-body-dream

At the edge of the mandala
we tiptoed through dream streets
trying not to wake the lizards
trying to avoid the tigers

we lay in the bodies of birthing galaxies
and wandered blindly inward
following the calls of dead mothers and fathers
leaves on our faces, stones underfoot

sisters and brothers of kraken and lungfish
blood flowers and soft hearts
we dreamed of mouths and voices
and woke to sing the song of the centre

we laughed, we saw demon girls
and shining soldiers, crowns of petals
we became a billion centuries
we forgot to ask for anything

among hills and rivers that circle forever
we are skeletons dancing in a black bonfire
wet with rain from clouds of every colour
trapped and shining in the blue jewel of one body

The New Mummies

how you lost yourself in the wire labyrinths,
dark plastic and green tea and blue screens,
how you drowned yourself in drugs and data,
downed pills for the headaches
and found thrills for the dead days
the afternoons that pressed down from sunny skies
like an avalanche of pillows and silence
surrounding you and her - taijitu -
the supposedly light and the supposedly dark,
huddled behind the crumbling arch of the front door
and the sad thin light of the net curtains

and how this deadness of now began then
as hearts on fire with romance and creativity
calmed and dwindled to embers in safety
kissed and held and rocked each other to a sleep
hidden deep in dirty cities, drugged up and wired
and roaming abroad in the astral of the web
bodies hunched and still in front of screens,
tended occasionally, like pharonic mummies,
organs quiescent in jars, skin pale,
the deafening quiet of the stone tomb
as the souls wandered in the Western Lands -
how we linked dead hands and sent our living spirits
into a bodiless land of dreams and futures

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.

This is the place

this is our place,
river water walls, no words
nothing but the view over empty rooftops,
silent daylight, heavy glass
I know the flesh means nothing
it's withering and burning in time
every few seconds I have to begin again

this is a place
where things slowed down,
slow breeze, car engines, spiced tea,
mornings into afternoons into evenings
night-time too long and too short
ghosts started bleeding out through my skin
dreams and memories of someone like me
emptying himself to start again

this is no place
for anyone real
the stage is set for the pale players
the water spirits, revenants in the mirror
we who can never be full, we who
can never feel at peace, we
who can't stand the sight of the sky -
trees, birds, the dark mouth chewing stars -
every newborn word is crushed -
it's no use, I have to start over

this is the place

Bone Machine Operator

you aren't going to hurt us, are you? we of the rngs and gauges and endless interphysical circuitry. lurking in some vague electricity. listen to me carefully. I am looking for a virus. I think it's inside me, a cancer of my marrow. I want to know what's wrong with me, why I want to blow it all away. destroy myself, destroy everything else, I do not want to be this murderous impulse but I can no longer deny it exists in the robot core of me. we're not in the present now. all of this has already happened. the shotgun and the baby falling through the broken floorboards. the. we're animals, animals, animals, drugged and broken and translated into a million forms, and yet we have a key, we have been given one last chance, here. now. last chance. GO!

beaten senseless naked under neon and neoprene maybe we are crazy, finally and dreamily. all wars one war, all books one book, all minds one mind. time is a gap between memories of gaps between shapes and colours of photographs of frozen instants of time. in a voice bubbling and choking the bone puppeteer sings that the earth died screaming. while I lay dreaming. in the underworld chapel of rape and sulfur and snow churning out guerilla fighters for the futile snowball fight at the end of the world as the lava tsunamis lean over the horizon and blot out the sunspots. a monkey and a roast beef sandwich and a midnight run through luminous mists. sparkling stars in the gaps between trees and dogs running between split seconds of thermonuclear futures. I am insane. wouldn't that be beautiful?

scrabbling for leftover croissant in the bourgeois bins, fingerprints shaved into a bloody unknown, lost faces scattered underfoot. underwater. drifting down with lit candles in their mouths, teeth locked and lips stretched into endearing grins. we relied on our wit and charm all our lives hoping no one would see through us, praying we would go unnoticed, lying and acting even in the clenching jaws of the crematorium. candlelight fusion to sift us gracefully to ash. the shadow of our death writes the story of our life. the future causes the past. that's vertigo. that's hindsight. that's the triumph of the chaos lion, paw raised to tear down the screen, the maddened roar of the unwinding reel, the flickering tail of filmstrip consumed by a soft flame. the director and the scriptwriter give their lives to summon the animal army. I never knew what he meant: the sad quiet beaten morphine addict who shot his wife and only wanted to stare at his shoelaces for the rest of his life. for the eight hours it would take the blessed grains to sink into his innermost marrow and cross the barrier into the western lands of his soul. born cognizant of his own death. suicide re-enacted daily in his pages and his goodbye kisses. the smile she gave as his finger squeezed the trigger. palm touching palm in trust. her thoughts painted on the wall behind her. her thoughts that he would never tire of travelling in his opiate dreams. he's missing his teeth and his makeup is running under the spotlights and he's been high for so long that the earth is screaming for the touch of his whole body. it wants to love his bones into powder. he owes it an entire lifetime. her dark matter draws him back to its mercy. its mercy is the circle of dreams through which he will chase her. real and unreal bound together forever. or as long as he loves her.

Bone Ghost

my dad looks like a tree, wooden and pretty, alive but in a different way from me, hard to understand, maybe nothing to understand, just how trees grow and stiffen and start to rot, nothing to show for it until one day the heart is eaten all away and a strong wind snaps the trunk like old bone. if I was old, how would you see me? bitten to the quick like a nail. dried and crumpled like a fish going off in the sun. helpless like a worm on concrete. would my eyes be bright to you, would you love how I moved, would you think of it as a soul, the silent wave making me move until the last second. some of us don't like the sea, the endless dark pulse, the endless enormous life.

robot ghost dances in my bones, curves into the air and the roads leading away from every doorstep and every embrace. running knives in hand across the battlefield of every meeting and every dream. fused into the marrow with music, pulled into the future by the gravity of what i was born to be. alive on a membrane between this world and the next, the book and the reader, the dream and the dreamer. the ghost and i are both sure we're real and when i finally rip him out of my flesh and we see each other someone's universe is going to disappear and the murder of every living thing in it and the loss of every memory and every sound and the nothingness of every detail of every dance and every shining light

mother brightened me in the mornings. used to climb into her bed to read about dinosaurs and volcanoes and when she woke I'd listen to the water in the pipes above the bedroom ceiling when she washed her face in the pastel bathroom. everything was a story and i was always the hero and the light in her face when she looked at me told me it was true. nothing would ever be impossible for me, i would live forever and everyone would love me because i was the hero. sunlight through the curtains in those mornings was golden and i waited for her to wake. stories wove themselves in my mind and everything dark and fearful died in the shine of what was inside me, an answer to her call, an inner sun to her hungry moon. tell and retell the story and its lines become engraved too deep, the dance goes stale, the face becomes a mask and the sun a nova, a magnesium wick, and the hero a destroyer. now my mind sinks inwards through layers of tissue and sinew and nerve and finds no core. there is no ghost dancing in my bones. there is no person i was supposed to be. all the heroes have been kindling for a cold fire burning atoms into dreams.

Little head's 7 days of loneliness

Liadain and I were going on holiday. It had been a long time since we had been able to get away and we were looking forward to it; so much that when we arrived in Dublin city centre on our way to get a coach to somewhere in Europe, we barely noticed when Greta stumbled on getting out of the car and fell on her side in the gutter. Why was she with us in the car? Why did we not help her up, but instead continue on to our coach without thinking about her? There's no answer to these questions, this is just how it was.

The dream stretched out for a long time. I mean, we had a real week's holiday - there were plots and sub-plots, parties and strange drugs, odd friends and journeys through unfamiliar landscapes. Unfortunately all of this time became telescoped and faded into a few instants as soon as we arrived in Dublin again after a long coach journey back. We emerged in Temple Bar and immediately I saw what we had forgotten: there was Greta in the gutter.

Except it wasn't the whole of her; it was just her head, lying on its side with its eyes open and blinking.

"Oh my god, oh my god..." I ran over and picked up her head in my hands. I had to do it carefully, because she had been lying there so long, unnoticed and unmoved, that one of her eyelids was stuck to the road. Where was her body? Why had no one noticed her here on a busy street? Why was she still alive? No answers. This is just how it was.

"Oh...I'm cold..." she said. "I've been so lonely."

"I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry..."

I ran to the Garda station, which was a small shop just a few doors down. They seemed annoyed that I thought the issue of Greta's head was so important, and the guard grumbled as he looked at her blinking, forlorn expression; then he seemed to remember something. Yes - they had a body, it seemed. It had been found last week and put on ice. Her head could be reattached, although, he seemed to be saying by his manner, he hardly saw the point, as she was so old anyway.

We were taken to a facility of some kind where I laid Greta's head carefully in a vat of viscous pinkish fluid (I think they called it "bacta" in The Empire Strikes back) that would regenerate her tissues and prepare her to be reattached to her body - although, as a white-coated scientist informed me, she would "never fully be her old self as regards walking and suchlike."

She looked up at me from the liquid, wide-eyed. The horror of what had happened suddenly overwhelmed me as I imagined what it must have been like for her to lie helpless and afraid and lonely in the gutter for seven days. How had she not died? How could I have left her?

I started to cry and ran out of the room, and Liadain followed me and sat beside me while I sobbed. I was responsible for the whole thing, because of my selfishness. The feelings were awful; but when I woke up and told the dream to Liadain, we both laughed at the absurdity of the situation. Lonely severed heads. It felt very real and devastating at the time.

Harehills

Harehills, choked up with red brick
and flowing with arms and legs
neon, rubbish, laundry and takeaway food
and trees, receding up the road towards Oakwood,
Gipton, Gledhow valley, smells of fruit and spices
from the grocers' displays and the restaurants
traffic endlessly flowing through a nexus
and the hills swarming with rust coloured terraces

everything is moving, snow in a snow shaker, storms
of thought and movement like driven raindrops
the hotels are half empty and the call shops are full
as everyone tries to reach home -
distorted words at 30p a minute, stories that now seem strange
and back to the neon, red brick labyrinth,
storm-stunned, hallucinated and now precious

Homelight

when I lifted my hand
I felt blood and nerve and sinew stretch out
like ropes along a slender bridge,
the feeling of water curving in a circuit -
and there was Jupiter and its faint moons, Orion
through the gap between my arm and the side of the house,
icy blue black sparkled sky -
I wanted to walk slower and slower -
I need the planets, the stars, like food -
warm little limbs pulsing against the chill,
vision drawn into infinity
where it belongs

Swallowing Hair

woke up making a choking sound because of a dream where I had swallowed all this hair and gunk strung together like the gunk down a plughole, and I was pulling it out strand by strand from my throat

dreamed I was in a huge, enclosed city with a glass ceiling, on the run to or from something, and saw a huge amount of ice from the ceiling detach itself and tumble on to a crowded part of the main street, squashing and killing dozens of people and flattening them into a red mush - I was horrified and kept walking with my hands over my face, eyes wide.

I was on the phone to a client from a job a long time ago and he wanted to talk to David, but David was out of the office and wouldn't be back till Monday. Martin didn't want to talk to him and made me fob him off. This made the client angry and he accused us of not knowing what we were doing. I got annoyed about this and asked him if he had a problem that needed solving and he said not right now, so I asked him what was the matter then. He said that to explain he would need to show me a demo movie from his company. My computer was in pieces on the floor and by the time I had it almost put together again the movie was over and it was time for the client's lunch. He was angry that I hadn't managed to watch it. He was just angry. Is this a metaphor?