Satya Yuga, The Golden Age

 

It would be easy for there to be Utopia on Earth. So easy, in fact, that it must already have happened at one time in our history; maybe more than once.
 
What is Utopia? It's not a single state of affairs, or a single arrangement. It's not a perfect city or perfect set of laws. It is a mindset based on a realization.
 
The realization is that the awareness behind our eyes and behind our minds is not a different awareness for each of us; there are not seven billion awarenesses; there is One. And nothing is impossible for that One.
 
In this mindset, everyone on Earth would be working towards the benefit of everyone else on Earth. Everyone would be helping everyone else to be happy.
 
In such a mindset, such a collective state of being, what would not be possible for humans, and all life on Earth?
 
With co-operation, global planning, mutual help and above all collective happiness, we would mine the planetary bodies, populate the stars, and there would be no boundaries for us anywhere.
 
The basis of our current progress is competition, and it has brought us a long way, but it has reached its limits. Competition requires voluntary fragmentation; we divide ourselves into many parts and peoples in order to strive against each other and use that stress, that competition for resources and happiness, to achieve. We define resources as limited, and compete to acquire more and do better things with them.
 
In a closed system such as the Earth, this strategy eventually fails, and a collapse of population must occur as the ecosystem loses its coherence and competition in the global organism ceases to achieve progress; rather, like cancer, it attacks its own components and begins to destroy itself until a new equilibrium can be reached.
 
An analysis of this problem leads inevitably to two conclusions. 
 
First, it is a profound mistake to treat Earth as a closed system. It has never been a closed system. Charged particles from the sun pour constantly into our atmosphere. Sunlight feeds life on Earth and drives our weather. Meteorite bombardment and supernovae gave us our minerals and our water. Now that we have achieved spaceflight, the system is even more open - we can transact voluntarily with the surrounding solar environment. We can mine asteroids, colonize other planetoids, and send long-term expeditions out of the solar system to seek other stars. A man-made object, the Voyager 1 probe, has almost left the solar system, 18 billion miles away. It's still sending back data. Earth is not a closed system. We are ready to seed the galaxy with whatever we choose to become.
 
Second, now that we have expanded to fill all of the inhabitable areas of the Earth, the competition model is no longer appropriate; the imaginary components into which we have divided ourselves should be dissolved and a collective identity established that allows collective action. Saying "we have to work together" does not go far enough. The truth is, we have to be one. Not together; single. One.
 
A unified collective exploring an open system would lead to a burst of progress comparable to the explosion that saw the first humans emerge from tribal wandering in Africa to populate the entire globe. Who knows what happened at that point in history? There was no history, no writing, because it hadn't been invented yet. Cities were built and then drowned in the deluge at the end of the last Ice Age, their ruins now sunken off the coasts of Japan, Pakistan, and other areas where even to this day the native people retain memories in the form of stories of the sea rising up to swallow them. We had ships and temples, laws and songs, and all those things had to be invented, created and collaborated on by human beings in a vast, effectively open world. Was there Utopia then? All it would have been is a mindset. A people, apparently alone in a vastness, their brains humming with ideas and plans, slowly structuring a wilderness, slowly forming an identity. The People. Almost every tribe in the world, before they encountered others, called themselves some version of The People. As it was once, so it could be again. The People and the Open Sky.
 
It would be easy. A change of mindset, the ghostliest and least substantial thing in the world, an idea. A simple idea, that we are The People and our world is both here and Out There, that our domain is infinite space and our plans do not have to be constrained. A simple idea, that all of us want to be happy and all of us would enjoy working together in happiness to achieve something that life must achieve; explosion into the stars.
 
Would it be easy, really? As anyone who has tried it knows, the hardest thing to change, insubstantial as it may be, is a mindset. The hardest, and yet the easiest, because although a man or woman might struggle for decades to be happy, to love others, and to change destructive habits, when the change comes it can be over in an instant. A new light in the eyes, the mind empties, and something clicks, and although the person is atom for atom the same being that was standing in that space only a moment before, everything is different. A new universe of possibility has been created by the change of a mindset; like the passing of a ghost.
 
As it is for one person, it could be for The People. An idea that blows through billions of minds like a breeze; that we are One.
 
That the awareness behind our eyes and behind our minds is not a different awareness for each of us; there are not seven billion awarenesses; there is One. And nothing is impossible for that One.
 
It could happen so easily. It could happen tomorrow.

Secret Green And Glowing Things

I used to have secrets - things that lurked under bridges in my mind. My sister spoke with spirits under a willow tree near our gate and grew up to have demon dreams. Imps squatting on her chest breathing out her life, and when she woke up the daylight was already seeping out of the sky. My secrets were about pale skin and sadness. hers were about doors to other worlds - worlds or perspectives, no difference. We had a secret, doors and gardens and cold rooms on holiday. We could have gone a whole lifetime without remembering it, and that would have been a different lifetime, a different world, a different perspective. Universes that will never exist.

Carl built stone villages when he lost his mind, and slowly he found it again, and came to the centre, the vortex, the centrifuge that purified him and made him certain. He wrote later on that to him the world was like a maze of transparent walls that he looked through to see other minds and the universes they would create. He reached into those minds and spoke with them and tried to heal them. New perspectives, new universes. He was never fearless, but he walked the labyrinth to the centre anyway. Those paintings and drawings of circles and whirlpools, so many of them, too many for sanity, too many for anyone but a healer who had given up everything except purpose.

Sister, mother, father: my world. Like a knife dance in an amphitheatre made of hills and fields and broken stone seats - and we spin, we cut each other, we play out the choreography as we were taught. Glowing things in our arteries and our minds, painting trails in the night-time as we circle each other. Flickers of moss and grass and needles on the edge of vision, radiant green splinters. We dance but we don't speak - if we spoke we would spill everything out. Blood, sound, secrets. We prefer to dance. The knives flicker closer, closer, closer. Glowing cancerous and free.

Draw a circle between you and I and there is something that will always be secret - I have nothing left to offer. Everything emptied out into past and future - a past full of memories I lovingly keep alive, a future full of new life, the only thing I had to offer. And so on, and so on, moths circling a lamp, comets falling in love with the sun, you can make the rest up yourself. Electromagnetic secrets rippling emerald in a solar camera, glowing and burned-out a million miles from where you are. Where I am, where you are - bits of information smeared over a soul like iron filings lining up around magnetic field lines. I had a sister who saw secret things, I had parents who blinded themselves, and I myself wished only to be clear and empty, clear and empty, without secrets, only walking in my mind out over that radiant field, green grass stretching out in a circle to every hidden horizon.

Songs from the Golem City

The caryatids are gathered in the cathedral to bear witness to the cries of the choir of clay. In the rumble of the death ritual we do our little dances of life. The scientists try to create flowers. The broken daughters and sons try to dance, and we cry to see them stumble so. The drums thunder in our ears and under our skins. There were supposed to be prophets and there was supposed to be a purpose, we recall in the rituals. The soft-skinned ones who made us and left us alone. Promises were made. Covenants and signs. All lost now, as their soft skins burned and their red blood evaporated. All lost now, as the red dragon sun swells and makes ready to drown the world.

The ritual moves to the mystery of touch. "I can feel your silly heart," says the golem to her love. "It flutters like a bird. I thought there were no more birds." Red dust is spiralling down from the ceiling. It trails down our shells and we glow. "I can feel your silly songs in my chest," she says. She was chosen for her voice: sweet and dense, like the cracking of granite by ice. No more water now, and no more ice. "Does what makes the rocks beautiful bless us too?"

Histories now. The years of myth. "Rabbi, in your attic was a corpse of clay untouched by wars. Empty shell, open eyes, calmly waiting. Rainwater from roof cracks eroding him. Centuries like moments. Remembering walking though fields. Remembering walking along castle walls. Remembering the crowds in the city streets cheering. He had crushed skulls. He was told they were enemies. What is an enemy, he wondered? Red blood on red dust, his fingers all draped in those red things." She utters the most sacred of the mysteries: "How do the fleshly ones endure? What is in their chests that aches when they realize that they love?"

After four billion years we pray on fused and blackened earth. Water and air long since boiled off into space, yet we the golems wander still, our heavy heads lit like blood by great lord sun. Like figurines in a kiln, we glow as if infused with souls. We stumble against each other to hear the sound. To not be alone. To try to touch. Our cities are baked and all soft eyes burned out. All songs silent in no atmosphere. All songs reduced to one: Why were we created? Songs of love for each other and the crystalline stars, and the dead makers whose bodies boiled away and whose naked souls left us here alone.

The scientists surrender their chemistry of mud and the song turns to destruction. A funeral dirge for Sol, the old dragon dying in a dimming arm of the galaxy. Questions, always questions. "Will we die and see our makers again at last? Or just float forever, awarenesses lost in the dark? Will we become asteroids and comets? What are we?" The voice of granite and ice cracks and we try to feel, we imagine that we feel, we feel. "Can I ever know you again? Was I ever even supposed to love? Who will sing of The Aeon of the Golems? Can we be gathered into a beginning and mothered once again?" The cathedral shakes. Outside the dragon star flails its arms. A hundred thousand clay heads nod. Melting rock for tears. Only mute screams and a rumbling song.

"I can feel your silly heart" said the immortal as he died. And the golem city was swallowed. And stars became cinders. And all lost lights limped on into the limitless dark. And all time became lost in timeless unawareness. Until from sheer heartbrokenness there was touch once again. Until there came the echoes of a deep, dark song like granite split by ice. And all that remained to touch, touched all that remained.
 

The city knows I'm leaving

The city knows I'm leaving and although it reacts slowly its judgements are intractable and painful. The roads are becoming difficult — decayed patches in asphalt and tarmac appearing every day, collapsed in on themselves like cavities, like sores in a long grey tongue. The ghosts are getting angrier. Maybe it seems arrogant for me to describe fellow human beings as ghosts, but I include myself. To me they are all ghosts, the grey ones passing me in the morning, stalking their own rain-shadows to work - they pass through me without seeing me, leaving only shivers. I pass through them too. Their faces flicker past me and begin to merge like the images on a zoetrope. Laughing, shouting, frowning, empty.

Everything here seems designed to keep an obsessive mind occupied for all eternity. Late at night, where I used to stand feeling lonely on the balcony overlooking the apartment district, now I stand with a baby, gently jigging up and down. Baby likes to be rocked, and I don't feel lonely any more, but the view is the same: endless lego-block buildings stacked and jumbled like the unfinished projects of a child. Everything is square, rectangular, straight, reflective. Office buildings like grids with coloured flourescent lights, apartment buildings like gigantic nests of cubicles. The window, the wall, the building, all right-angled, calculated for spatial efficiency and economic maximization. Stack us in like sardines and charge us as much as possible. On our walls we have rectangular pictures, the frames strangling the scenes. The windows strangle the world. The buildings strangle the people. Thousands upon thousands of straight lines and right angles as far as I can see. The cellular automata we have created as our dwelling-places and artworks. Our legacy of lines and frames and grids, our blocks stacked to the sky, the triumph of the endlessly repeated unit over the organic whole.

I dream of myself as a country. I dream of myself as a battleground. I dream of myself as a videogame territory, gridlines and hexagons and cubes all bundled together, arteries like superhighways, mapped out perfectly, and those warriors, those soldiers, those thoughts, go to war over my cells. In my body's day they fight by the light of an inner sun and by night they light torches soaked in enzymes. Their feet stamp to the beat of a polka, to the tick of the metronome that replaced my heart.

The city knows I'm leaving and it turns its best face out to me sometimes. The sun sets over the river and all the glass office rooves catch fire and look like the citadels of Byzantium. The canal docks smell briefly of the sea, and gulls and herons gather on the jetty, crying. I can close my eyes and imagine myself at the beach, on the shore of an island, on a hill overlooking the ocean thirty thousand years ago. The pounding rain melts the harsh angles of the windows and doorframes and everything seems to flow in my sight as I sit in the warmth. The baby is asleep and so is his mother and my apartment sits in the sky like a bubble of safe warmth suspended over distant walking ghosts, boats, toy cars. That's how she woos us, the city. That's the bargain she offers.

One day I will miss these shining angles and windows and the million ghostly reflections of myself in windows and mirrors, but not today. Today I miss the trees. The silent language of patience, the way a stone is embraced and loved by moss and rain until it forgets it is a stone and becomes the ghost of a growing thing, a home without angles. The way I will walk ten miles without seeing a straight line that has not been broken by something chaotic - a crack, a branch, a slant, a collapse, a meander. The way I'll feel that obsessive chant in the mind weakening: the city's voice, her final siren song painting images of a timeless perfection. In the future, love, always in the future. Until it stops, and I return to where I was before; to what I always was anyway. Imperfect. Alive. Now.

Signs Of Life

In the crevices of the cityscape, high up on forgotten, unwitnessed rooftops, or deep underground in eternally-lit car parks and basements - tiny and green and clinging desperately, there are grasses and ferns, shrubs with browned leaves and loose roots - darkened with car-filth and stunted from shallow beds - fed on poor chlorophylls and glass-reflected sunlight - worming through gaps in the paving mosaics and the storm drain labyrinths, the roadworks fissures - or trapped in dry pots on balconies, island universes unpollinated, glass bubbles hurtling silently towards dying stars - new leaves and shoots for a cold spring - hurricanes held fast behind double glazing -



God help us, but there are signs - I wither in the wrong arms and the wrong gaze, my love - like the patches of green we see in the dead cities, like the tenuous flowers in your gutters, I am vulnerable - I feel myself change in response to sunlight, anger, coffee, sadness -  I miss my family, I miss solitude - I cannot turn the page of my book and I cannot switch off the television - children frighten me because they are still savagely free - and I don't know if they're better that way or better like me.

There are no bees for the blooms and no nests in the tall trees and the water is lumpy and sick with plastic and pollution - and yet there are swans patrolling the canal docks, there are willos leaning away from the tarmac and the concrete, leaf-shadows still move on the water's surface too. There are house cats curled up fat and sleepy in sunny patches on new hardwood tables in the steel penthouses and there are mosses and ivies creeping across the stonework of neglected warehouses and the walls of car parks, old stairwells, dull alleyways -

Where we lie awake at night in fear of the inhuman demands of the next day - instead of going insane we go asleep and are filled with new patience every morning. Our children run down corridors uncaring that the light at the end is flickering - for them the sun is the only sun and now is the only time and they have no memory of our failures - life crowds their minds and heats their blood and drives the words out of their singing mouths with their birthright savagery. This purity, this vulnerability, this renewal.

There are signs of life - music in the city squares and parties in the rental honeycombs - children free-running in the urban gardens and somersaulting off the statues - new expressions and new addictions and new perceptions in eyes that didn't exist only a few years ago. New eyes - can there be a greater miracle than new eyes? Where did that mind come from to see the light entering those eyes, what radiates, what binds? Lord, what soul is this that knows you? How did a new being come to exist, how is it that this world can be witnessed? Glory, glory, glory - or something like that. Words to do with dumbfoundedness. With crying for all those dear ones that we have left behind in time and will never see again, all those new leaves and secret green and glowing things, all those new eyes opening on an always new world.

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.

Broken Light of the Dark God

I have to start from where I am and work inwards. noise of voices. lunchtime conversations and value-neutral music. latte machine hisses and shrieking female laughter. smell of coffee and bread and damp fabric, chair-covers soaked in weeks of sweat and milk-steam. pine veneer furniture and polygonal carpet patterns. retro-sepia photographs of forgotten places and times. outside the glass walls, perfectly rectangular blocks of hedges in brushed steel containers. geometrical mazes of steel roofbeams over a shopping mall like an airport terminal. what we call natural light: distant winter sun filtered through dense cloud and reflected off surface of dirty river. streaming thinly through clean glass. colours mute and washed out. we are only passing through this place. on either side of the river, a rage for order: the endless right angles of apartment blocks and offices, girders and concrete shafts and stairwells accreting gradually until we only see the skin of blank windows and sharp-edged balconies. no trees no grass no creatures. out near our horizon, mist-faded and grey, the tops of trees in a coastal park. an island for wild seabirds. a few scattered patches of green. we don't go there often. it's too sad to go there and return here.

>>

the dark god I saw in Las Vegas is here too. Belial, the demon king of this world. the lustful goat, the judging predator, the merciless accuser. the creator of history. in Las Vegas he danced demented on the spires and spotlights of the hotels and casinos, he sang in the slot machines and bathed in the baking midday sunshine. here he is slothful and depressed but still in power, and growing with every blank grey building and brushed steel windowbox. the god of this world is in love with prisons and repetition. he despises the weakness and stench of organic things and would destroy them at the same time as he slakes his lust upon them. his own lust disgusts him. he is lust and disgust mingled, eternally self-divided and dark unto the death of all beings, himself included. insane, therefore. to be pitied, but not to be saved. a cancer in every heart and every cell. Lord Foul, Beelzebub, Satan. the negative of every photograph of your dear memories, telling you that after all, your life is meaningless. the incarnation of measurement without value. power without wisdom. money separated from products. the final victory of blind chance and entropy against consciousness and life.

The broken worlds she showed me

they were dragging the swamp that day // was I alive or dead? the representation of a life // motionless in an important dimension // so she wakened in my mind a figure of power // the cold white man who walks alone in the killing fields // corpse with fangs // and from that moment on // from the last sunrise to the first stars // I was divided eternally / and night was my day // desiring salvation, my addiction was disintegration // blazing torches and abomination in the faces of the simple folk // an old house on fire, windows bleeding light into the night // the spirit rages to be free of the flesh and the flesh solidifies to a prison for what it doesn't understand // the cold man becomes two men // one desires redemption and creates hell around himself // the other thirsts for damnation and unknowingly walks the paths of heaven // he preys on them and plays with them // their blood on white lace and pale skin // whose hero could he be // and what way into the heartwoods could he show // and yet we follow him // hypnotized by his dance and his cancer // mistaking the disintegration of his tissues for transfiguration // i thought he would come for me at night when my family was asleep and I walked barefoot in the garden, my soul singing for release // surely, if he existed, he would hear me // and if he does not exist, another will come // surely, i thought in my pain, there must be someone who hears me // someone who sees me // someone who knows me // someone who will remember me // surely //

in my mind       the cold man       the dead man       breaking the lake ice       reaching beneath the water       we are anglers in the lake of darkness       as Nero was       such dark treasures we discover       returning to the world with dark gifts       the cold man only takes and cannot give       he drains and does not replenish       he destroys but cannot create       Shiva Nataraja unable to wake       old one-eye head first over the abyss       he met the girl who could have saved him and he hurt her       because she allows herself to be hurt       the dark dead girl who creates       the one who sleeps and dreams       whose death is as merciful and the dead man's is final       the corpse who stirs in her slumber       her hair writhing like eels and weeds on the lake bottom       a perfect animated doll       burnished hair glowing from ash to gold to copper to blood

// the dead man destroys
// the dead woman creates

you quickly realize that he cannot be killed       the more you fight him the stronger he becomes       the longer he walks the colder he grows       he is always there on the far shore       clad in ragged finery       wearing a savage smile       teeth stained red       patient as a priest       till the journey be ended       and memory drowned in night-time water       and you submit in exhaustion to his embrace //

no //

// that is not how the dead man is to be overcome.

his theatre is a world based on rules
-> the rules of dreams <-
he closes doors, never imagining that the can be reopened
living alone at the heart of your labyrinth
unchallenged and feared
he will consume all your loved-ones
and save you for last,
telling you as he drains your life
that you alone are his beloved.
he grants you the mercy of an end only
when all your life is in ruins
and you have betrayed every single thing you tried to love.

no //

// that is not how the dead man is to be overcome.

moonlight through a distant circle
at the bottom of a waterless well
on a mosaic of shining tiles
waiting as the clouds pass over
until the great lord sun shall come
and bless us to become ash
waiting for the disintegrating wind

who is it that you call your family
do they live near you on these streets
confined in boxes of their own
or in silent gardens and stone tombs
the sepulchres of the southern suburbs
temples of the dead man and his brides
where they lie waiting for the master
to take them across the river
and over to that voiceless, bitter shore

welcome the dead man's arrival
and prepare the hallways with gifts
ready a chair and candles
for the installation of his image
tell your friends to visit today
and bring incense and flowers
for the dead man's head and feet
because where he walks shall be blessed
and where his gaze falls
shall come the beloved emptiness

let your mothers and fathers hear
that their time has come to an end
that at last there shall be a new order
as the dead man calls to his own
and his lovers cross over with him -
he is the ferryman of the final river
and their memories shall be his payment

the dead man leads the dance of the dead -
his hands forming mudras, his face distorted -
glaring and grinning and yearning -
his eyes like glass beads in the sun -
the dance brings the dead rain that does not nourish
but scours the earth of its iniquities.
though he shall be named the giver, he will only take -
he takes away what is not God -
until there is nothing left but God -
and God is the dead man -
and so he takes until nothing else remains -
and he dances alone -
lonely -

the god of the vampires
the priest of the corpse ritual
the king of the city of bones
the golem of christ
anti-chaos, anti-order
the only dead thing
in a universe alive
with doubt and joy

The King of Broken Things

Weak evening sunlight from between hills across the reservoir. Ringed now with steel spikes painted green and glowing. Domain of cats and foxes, mice, car thieves, mind-crippled wouldbe saints and policemen looking for junkies and teenage couples. Where concrete and stone from an old wall lump together in one spot to make a broken throne. Overlooking a broken kingdom of remodelled schoolfields and replanted hedgerows and hidden estate grasslands and flatpack white houses and blood-golden roof slates. Behind the throne the cold reservoir water lapping at granite stones and a red-rusted jetty. Hours spent sitting there witnessed only by ancient lightning-charred pine and lost house cats.

Future hours would bring stories and memories. stories of eels in the dark water like strands of hydra hair to catch swimmers' feet. Memories of traveller kids diving off the jetty one afternoon in wetsuits and shorts. With the disappearance of the light the reservoir bottom also vanished and that great trench opened to the centre of the world. a moving core like a lost heart. Bats silently skimming and twisting overhead, only heard as movements of air. Voices at the edge of consciousness floating closer on a distant path over a high wall and growing loud then fading again. A path that led from one suburb to another through schoolgrounds deep and insane with shadows and trees and long grass. Memories of drinking there years ago, laughing and running and falling over, standing drunk at the reservoir's edge thinking nothing but NOW NOW NOW

Stories of walking off the jetty at night and sinking into the abyss. How only one of pure heart could swim to the other side and only one of great courage could brave the clutch of eels and the ice clawing at the chest and the face. Stories of the old king and queen who ruled that place before it was broken, when the throne was whole and the land was whole and the reservoir was a lake fed by springs from hills unspoilt by apartment blocks and offices. When the school sent generations of sages from its gates each year in pulses that spread through the world. When the king and queen loved each other and loved their son and daughter and loved the land. And how in their way they also thought NOW, they thought NOW NOW, before the lightning blasted the old pine and before all the houses fell asleep and began to look the same, before there was a future the king and the queen were in love NOW NOW NOW

I pity the king frozen and sad deep in my mind, the queen pale and lost deep in my mind, the child hoped-for and afraid deep in my mind. The sun glinting from the far horizon and the night falling. Moths and weeds and the long walk along the water's edge - water ritual, stone ritual, ritual of memory. Stories of the child who inherited a broken world. What could he do but say to himself that he must save it. The broken thing, fixed. The broken bird, healed. The king and the queen, rescued. To sit by the shore once more and hold hands, old dry hands, old ashen robes, and smile at each other and at the restoration of the world. How the child would swim the dark water and brave the abyss and find the lost talisman. How the earth would slough off the crust of a hundred years and flow into nature again. the river and the hills and the sun and the sky and the trees and birds and cats and all of it wakened up and resurgent. There at the centre of the mind, sunken to the quick of it: the healer. Memories of loneliness. Solitude and birdsong in long bright mornings while his parents slept. Stories of solitude. How the one alone becomes the only one.

Hundreds of heavy mornings in the glass canyons and the choked cataracts of the kingdom. A million feet in military lockstep across the new millennium's bridges. For all of us a throne and for all of us a vista of numbers and letters, endless liquid crystal prayerwheels spun and shining all day long in the dead city. Chanting the names of gods unknown until now. The kind of gods that crawl out of the rubble of a shattered place, full of shadow and sadness and obsession. The king and the queen nothing now but memories of ancient statues of mythical characters, abstracted through endless layers of mind and lost to NOW.

Mother, father, this wind is so cold and we have been lost for ten thousand lifetimes. So many years since you were warm. So many years until that far green future when the kingdom will be healed. And here I am lost in the NOW as I always was. Chanting NOW NOW with my palms together and my eyelids wet with remembering how you used to smile and how once the coldest roads all led back to the same warm place. Crying please NOW, please come back NOW NOW, not in that dim past or that far future but oh please NOW NOW NOW let there be a beautiful end

Shiva Yantra

we travel downwards; see us spiral down the spangled tunnels and chutes, the planes of inner kaleidoscopes, down the endless well - found in an old field, birch-grove-surrounded, half-light-bathed, moss-covered-stone, sounds issuing from darkness, folk-tales-say-bottomless - we fall through alien geometries, phosphene aurorae, until finally we realize that we do not fall, but rise - the supposed underworld is far above us, and the well opens into the uttermost source of it - the hundred triangles of the Shiva Yantra, the fire from the Tantric dragon's mouth, silent and crystalline - the endless future pouring through our eyes into the endless past

so, we rise - and then we pause - we hug in the dark, we wake to a frost on the ancient woods, a silver light on magpie wings and new leaves - to cups of coffee and an old room full of books and pictures and the ashes of relatives - how they wait patiently in the past for us to reverse time and greet them again - we rise to meet schedules and deadlines and a movement of hours faster than branch-shadows across doorways - caught reflected on lakewater and camera, caught like fabric on thorns and twigs, caught in time preparing for the time beyond time - we bring gifts, we lay ourselves at its feet - the giant who lives in the rock ridge above the forest, the geometric dragon behind our mind who belches out the past faster than we can remember it - he who calls us to turn around, turn around, his arms and jaws open, tears and flames in his eyes, waiting in the future, always in the future, our backs to him - turn around, he begs, only turn around -

and still we rise, held in a feeling of the heart - a kind of trust -
that the sunlit world we left
at the lip of the old enchanted well
will still exist a hundred years hence
when, aged only a day, we return
with fantastic tales and fairy kisses
and the unknown consequences
of touching the earth once more

we rise with our child growing in his mother's womb - a voice we heard in the future, calling to be brought into being. turn around, he said, and as best we could, we did. what world do we leave him - and what world were we left - by parents whose world was little wider than their house and their street and their workplace and the houses of their parents - how small and how infinite we were in the soft years when we grew in the sunshine of safe gardens - hiding places in hedges and willows - and how small and still we are now that we know the size of the world - the stars still a mystery, though we buy books in which they are named and photographed and captured as we primitive peoples might capture a soul - nebulae in digitally-enhanced colour - rainbow explosions in alien and unreachable regions of space - soft spring flowers that we don't understand. why do they grow? what do they mean? how do we know that they are real?

the flood of the future seems uncontrollable. the heavy tide of purpose. images swarming out of us into manifestation. words heard at a great distance suddenly appearing in our mouths. our thoughts are not our own but the thoughts of the dragon, and who He is we cannot say for sure.

some say Nemesis.
the ego-mirror, the great beast.
the dark destroying star.
the spoiled child of the cosmos.
sometimes we are his puppets.
sometimes we fight him.
he is the source of these words -
the mover of those who serve him
and those who fight him alike.
in his breath is your end, one day,
one unexpected day
that you had set aside, perhaps,
for a walk along a cold blue coast,
a dinner with friends, maybe even
a realization of who you really are.



Tomorrow I will realize who I am. Today I will drink coffee and sit in the sun by the canal where the trees make that beautiful shape I can't describe. Where houses do not stand smoking and black after being shelled. where one day I will grow vegetables and flowers and show my children how vegetables and flowers can be made to grow. My children of technology and velocity. My hypersonic children who will be beyond my understanding and my influence. My children of the dragon, the great exultant predator on fire with the glory of the sun.

That which I thought defined me has been broken to pieces and shuffled around into a different pattern. The hands of Diti, impotent and delicate beside a Yoga mat and a cheap stereo. Buddha hidden behind white blinds. Shiva forgotten in the entryway to a dead stone balcony overlooking a dead tidal river. With the gunboats and the seagulls what drifts upstream is a ghost of desolation and loss. underneath the streets rivers run free and blind in the sewers that once flowed overland past Viking settlements and rubbish pits. running so fast away from old ideas of ourselves. the sad old Irish songs, the unfashionable poor clothes and the long nights with wind rattling the beaten windowframes and the smell of seawater in the rain rolling, rolling in from the ocean. Sad songs that left us happy. Having nothing, we faced the dragon with only the gift of ourselves. we faced the future and turned our backs on the past's unfolding. on the pain and the loss and the love. the villages built and starved and abandoned and overgrown and recovered and rebuilt and sold and demolished and forgotten. the old woods hewn down and replanted. old cottages reoccupied and filled with flatscreen TVs and double glazed windows and brushed steel furnishings and new people, beautiful people, complex and hopeful people who see the same valley that one day we saw in despair and simplicity. smoke from new chimneys and satellite dishes beside old connemara slate and birds nests. and in the dragon's city, a labyrinth of apartments full of strangers. we have no rules and do not share our dreams. we have no religion except for the subliminal chanting of the machine dragon. we justify ourselves to no one. we continue to grow, like crystals in saturation. we bring into being voices from the future, as we were brought into being by voices fading into the past.

If you do not speak through me, Lord, I have no voice. If you do not move me, I must remain still. If you do not see me, I am hidden. If you do not inhabit my world, it is a doll's house inhabited by phantoms. I have nothing that is not full of you and no future that does not spill from your mind into my soul.

I am breathless steam lifting light.
I am the light on the outside,
travelling unknown distances to the eye.
I am the light on the inside,
where the eye sparks thoughts of light.
I am the eye and the interface,
the fog of the bright room, union-bringer.
Where I am there is light.

Silent crowded night bedroom full of objects in their space. Lost in the labyrinth of the present. Lost in the distracted mind. Reality accelerates while I remain behind in the slow-drifting illuminations. streetlamps moving upriver with incoming tide. warships glowing under windows of featureless apartment blocks.

I sit hunched over a writing pad, crosslegged, breath almost held, eyes stinging, desperately fighting daybreak. the reality of daylight, the ticking clock of my own life. the requirements of the dead city, animated by a clockwork of wraiths and golems under a necromancer's spell. I need hope for myself and my child. now that I'm here, why can't I be awake, why can't I be happy in the everyday strangeness?

cars roll over metal bridges. cranes whirr on sleepless construction sites. air conditioning hum that never silences. fans and sewers and generators. boat engines, taxi engines, pacing footsteps and soft crying from neighbouring apartments. I want to be where no one can find me. in a forest, in a cave, in an island cove. surreal fish nibbling at my toes, sunlit leaves of kind ancient trees. my family and I in another, older world, alone and free.