The Filter of Lexicon…

First there was everything.
And it shone out everywhere unfettered.
Then there were bits of everything on random walks untethered,
All untamed,
And very untogether;
Forging their own time with differing strides,
Enabling themselves to be untimed at times
Deliberately, so all at once they’d arrive
At the outposts in the void.

Like attracted like
And unlike alike;
And gathered
Aye, matter came about what mattered.
The stuff of substance coalesced,
And clustered,
And combined,
Collided, ignited,
And spattered.
And crackled.
And splattered…

And shone again.

No great shakes.
And great shakes shook the mix,
And the contents settled,
And order rose the to the top.
And some of those rose to make that their platform,
And the wiser of those passed into sentience,
And parsed the past in sentences.
And they, them, of those who witnessed
And learned, documented their rise,
Safeguarded their future;
While the unwise of those ignored,
And invoked their demise.
And I, one being, being one of any one of those
A prisoner I find, able to visualise—
Yet bound with language’s skein.

Tied.

And with sound poetic structure as evidenced above herewith denied…

Try to tell ‘thistory’ through my ears.

And my eyes.

 

 

Andro of Frascati…

Parked the 5-seater white stallion just shy of the shade in a pay and display bay by the station. Lugged self and kindred cohorts up not a few flights of old granite stairs. Rewarded with varying levels of breathlessness. Countered at summit with view of a distant Rome baked hard in its own haze by an August sun. Cooled by a canopy of mulberry grown over the plaza on which we stood.

Exploration agreed upon albeit by bicker and committee. Focused on the hunt and capture of souvenirs.

Outvoted, I ambled behind kindred cohorts; sidelined responsibility and subverted intent to see filled and fulfilled the empty vessel one’s head held for Frascati that week. Wine that is. Lugged was now tailing, dropped a little too off the back. Admired the surrounds: aged buildings, rendered ‘acracked’ in pastels and arisen from snappy thin streets – themselves the cobbled routes/roots of historical endeavour. Stopped and started as window by shop windows’ contents were judged and dismissed; a reluctance to absorb the difference in culture. Concentrated on the wine – and by that moment maybe some water.

Spotted a clown sat down, ‘L’ shaped, back against a wall, white nylon big-buttoned jump-suit, a make-up tear headlined the eerie cosmetics and a begging bowl was her footer. Pitied but paid nothing. Witnessed another man close by, did they know each other? Appeared to be in costume too: black punk boots, black zip-embellished combat trousers, matching long-sleeve shirt with cuffs that reached the knuckles and all held on a frame that itself held the natural stance of a gunslinger. Topped with a head that held a lined Italian tan, hair shaved from the neck to lobe-line where above; what sprouted in raven and grey was tortured back into a stub of a ponytail. Avoided eye-contact but glanced and saw them; eyelids peeled back, eyeballs thinly ringed by their whites – effusing some sorta soulless insanity and them themselves outlined by the broad dark circles of a being that cannot sleep. Avoided eye-contact some more, ambled nervily on and concentrated on the water – and by that moment maybe some ice-cream too.

Voiced the want of ice-cream and infected family with the same desire. Forwent the search for souvenirs for the search of a gelatiere and after some square looping of the town’s compact alleys chanced on our goal. Trooped in and hogged the counter of cool delights. Served by stickler for Italian custom, girls first, we chose our flavours and tubs. Seated selves neath a more man-made canopy on the premise’s patio and spooned in calories. Watched the town in the midst of its routine and once more witnessed the appearance of the man in black; he cared not where he stood be it road or pavement and attempted dialogue with anyone. Seemed to annoy noone, yet still he unnerved me. Beckoned over by gelatiere owner the man brought his blackness, his manner and his eyes to within metres of our table.

Listened but didn’t look. Learned his name and it was Andro.

Assigned an errand, spied him take a note and disappear into the the ceiling-less corridors of the town. Returned with a pack of twenty and some change for the owner a little while later. Regretted my assumptions; the fearsome notion of Andro rapidly dissolved; merely a man that likes to be in character, known and liked by the locals it appears.

Departed with no souvenirs, the heat of the day saw to that, but took away a photo of Frascati’s vineyard on a hillside plus one of Andro and a note of my own that read “be less judgemental”. Bought (and drunk) wine bearing the town’s name in homage, from a supermarket many miles away a day later. Enjoyed it too.

 

Andro-Frascati

The Power of FIVE…

Five hundred five am faces line the neatly folded queue
Each line of fifty yards sporting as many a mien
All donning the ‘I got up too early’ look
Yawns and vacant stares aplenty in each row
Our five added to the number, passports clasped
We’ve joined, we wait, we move
But five yards in as many minutes
Still dazed by Kilter’s knock
Consciousness held only by eagerness
Our suitcases’ weights taken
Two of their five conveyed away by belt to aluminium hold
Stripped ourselves of metal, footwear and dignity
We’re scanned, searched, processed and pronounced safe to…

BOARD

At the gate; no wait, all checks at check in have eaten time.
Five in seats at six fifty five – we taxi to the runway and to Rome we…

FLY.

 

My unshakeable no-no-theistic faith in atheism took another knock today (knock 5 – 13th Nov 2014) as Lady Semi-Serendipity read a page in Bone Clocks to me: it has a character who takes a flight…5am up… 6:55am fly. Erk@! You see – too many very high odds coincidences (I’ve witnessed a fair few these last months) and I’ll have to cede the small gods are really running the show. If their magesterium in any way overlaps this one. Then – I’m a believer.

Hacked Hackles…

The coiled tungsten of old incandescence is rife with the most agitated of electrons tonight! I am aglow.

A sound is fed in, an image is envisioned, an idea enters left field and is considered, then again more diligently so. A concept that excites. To the degree it’s put before more testing conjecture: It’s bent then squashed then stretched; made hot, very hot, hotter still and likewise as many shades of cold. It’s inverted, re-coloured, bleached, dyed, laid bare to the people of the past and proffered up to those not yet here. Through all these labours it’s not, not for a moment, found wanting.

Goosebumps; a time-lapse eruption, the babies of button mushrooms fill, in unison, the shell-pink farm of the skin. An excited tingle prickles the neck, the back, the forearms and is observed by newly plugged-in child-eyes . The enormity can’t humanly be realised; a notion to wrap an enraptured world and post it 1st Class to Utopia.

But what’s this? From each goose bump sprouts a black, a grey or a white hair. As one yet as a wave they grow, to form a fierce mane that extends to consume body and limb. Every fibre held rigid by stressed dermis, every glossy filament a sentry at attention. A worry-wolf* of the greatest self-doubt materialises, turns inwards and tears the idea and itself to shreds.
* term handed to me many a full moon ago

A Man Once Said…

To family, friends, cohorts, colleagues and maybe not so much strangers. Firstly, you were warned; why are you here? <  (I’ll tread more softly; a re-read of that reads as terribly rude. So a belated strike-thru and black-lo-lighter).

Some of my stories are fiction, some true, and some muscle into the space between (with exaggero-laborations for effect).

A man who doesn’t grate once said:

…”if your work is trying to shine light in the human psyche’s deepest, darkest, illest places, then you have to go there, and be it, and that’s no casual undertaking.” — David Mitchell

The above is my mantra, and were I not stitched, double-stitched into this fabric that my family and I have woven. And I add that (aside from the contention within the self) I’m content to be so. Where was I? …were I not stitched etc; then I’d enact that which I chant with little hesitation. If you’re reading this blog either casually or right through after my departure and you touch on any ostensibly plausible tales of immorality; please note they are merely that, tales and tales are fiction are they not?

The holy grail of the more gritty aspect of my love’s labour is to have that which I write (at some point) invade those few who succeed in reading it and wring out every last drop of emotion. So while it would seem the ideal to physically get to those deep dark places and to the headiest heights for that matter – I don’t – I use a substitute for what’s considered warped/askew in our society’s model of reality. I close my eyes and imagine I am there; and I am there. And I write about it while I’m there. There’s no consequence as of yet to thought crime; at least I think so.

So take a double take with all that’s suspect and rife with ambiguity; throw in a pinch of salt too and…

…Remember my heels are made from the stones of pedestals.

E.T.A cue song 7 backing track—sound’r music.

Teraflops, cosy, whisking, smitten
Trite, fettle, sullen, smitten
Caper, appendage, tidal, forcing
Slew, behaviourist, being

Creamery, dullard, phoney, dapple, citadel
Double, cymbals, blitzkrieg, oodles
Wildebeest, abruptly, muon, swing
Amnesia, fuchsia, twins

Gatling, hydrangeas, withdrew, pattern, flashes
Sweepstake, frustration, nanosecond, whiplashes
Silhouette, wonderment, inspiring
Sluice, impoverished, limbs

Strict Machine…

The day’s been long, the night longer. What time is this? Through the haze of alcohol I release my gaze, which has, for the last hour been captivated by the blue spot in one of the DJ’s proud-standing light-boxes. In alliance with its colourful neighbours, its filament throbs to the notes which pick at the needles on the records on the decks of the sound system. For an apt few minutes ‘Daydream in Blue’ resonates through wire, amp, more wire and speaker, converting my captivation to mesmerism. I attempt to draw meaning from this, but fail; only to replace it with the puzzle of why I’m at my most philosophical when drunk.

So, gaze dropped to my faithful Casio: a blurry 1:04am, and back up to the blue. What life is this? I find myself the last man standing. Or sitting if my description is to be sharper. And further, for accuracy’s sake; only the last man remaining from the group with which I set upon this drinking session. Recent acquaintances, I don’t mourn their loss. They were happy to have me along though, so some gratitude for that I will in the directions they’ve travelled home. Thankful they accommodated me over the bed and breakfast that usually holds the privilege; steeping me with its austere aura. Back there the paper-thin walls, lumpy mattress and shared toilet, I’m convinced, all conspire to devalue my worth. Back here, the revelry this eventide has faded—some rugby win or other at national level—echoes of the last winning conversion’s fan roar, long since replaced by the all-drowning music choices of the DJ, who I’m sure is coked up.

I slump, dogleg arms dumped on the table before me, sleeves soaking up the spilt dregs of beer and slammed out salty tequila. I rest my chin on the face of my Casio, and wish I could stay here till a few hours after sunrise, all content in my anaesthesia. But lights more artificial will come on soon, and needles’ arms will be clipped to turntables’ cradles. Licensing laws will see the landlord call time and evict us into the night.

Us is me and the other stragglers—strangers that populate this space, some twenty I’d surmise if I could conjure the ability to count. One such stranger’s outline cuts across the blue. Female in form, she stops, turns and surveys the room. Prey I wonder? Me her’s, or she mine?

From my sit-point the yellow spotlight radiates its glow from behind her head; from the blue, my blue; the swell of her bosom, and the green—her hips. Some psychedelic angel of dark she is. And focused on me, I think. She’s saying something and smiling. I cannot however detail her features, nor hear her voice through the shadows and the sound. Her movement in time portrays her unheard words; she’s dancing now, flexing elegantly beyond the range of mortals. Her limbs and torso the boughs and trunk of elastic trees, in a gathering windstorm on a tremulous land. A flaunt of femininity which I’m sure she’s practised many times alone, to perfect her allure. And it works. The tune that graces the decks, the amp, those speakers and this environ is ‘Strict Machine’—it chimes the bells of that which is primal. She twists, she shimmies, she sways: a mime to the lyrics who steals and surpasses all previous transfixion.

The haze too clears, a fast lifted fog, my blood’s infused with excitement flavoured adrenalin. I unstick my chin from my Casio and sit upright; chest puffed up and arms drawn back to frame it. I am a King I feel, being entertained before a feast. My appearance though, would belie such arrogance and such assumption. I’m puzzled by the attention, I lack the complexion and the symmetry to win an instant lover. At least one to match the preferable side of my double standards. Impressive finery at 4pm I’ll confess, but these garments now evince the night’s indulgences. This face and this hair are as creased and crumpled as the clothes that lead to them. I don’t doubt my ability to charm, but any success with seduction for me, is achieved largely by avenue of wiles and wordy witchcraft. As awake as I’ve just become, lust sullies my wits, so I befriend delusion, steadfast in the fascination of this lady’s form. To be pricked only lightly from the outside by the wonder of being chosen–I have no qualms about enjoying her gyrations and blindly accept the good fortune.

The music stops, she stops and looks away as if seeking out a friend in this room of fitting misfits. Was I merely the subject of flirtation? I’m a second away from falling from such a heady and wonderful place, to the slum of a slump from which I’ve just risen. I was content there only minutes ago – to be one again with the blue filament won’t be so bad. No, NO, my heart beats too fast, my mind’s too alive. My wits: I demand they come to me. I stand and play a gambit; If I’m to lose, I’ll leave here right now and wish my proposal be scratched from the record of whatever being records my deeds.

Body language—a sweeping arc of my arm grabs her attention. She looks over and follows the movement through to see me point to the chair opposite. I slide it away from the table to make space, and beckon her over. That’s the gambit, the pivot on which the rest of this overstretched night rests. She turns her face away, then her back, walks a single pace and continues to search the room. Failure was always an option. I’m out of my chair, I do the same but with extra paces, the exit to which I turn is directly behind me. There’s an illuminated ‘Fire Escape’ sign over the door that holds the backlit symbol of a running man. ‘You and me both’, I mutter as I pass under him.

The night is dry and cold—colder for my lack of foresight, lack of coat, and the addition of wet sleeves. Stars fill the gaps between the glowing of the sodium streetlights, and mix with my bellyful of drink to form a tonic for my melancholy.

“Oi, wait for me!” invades the stillness.
…………

Genesis 2.0…

He looked down on the broken world, scratched the silver fur that stretched out from his chin to eternity, and committed to fix it—the world that is, not his beard.

And all in seven days.

What best destiny for this place? He mused. A pairing algorithm, that ought to draw a new order; applied to mankind in kind in a cruel to be kind, kind of way. Every calling, be it vocation or aspiration realised, every lover in a less than perfect relationship reassigned; every match twixt man and woman, and woman and woman, and man and man—made. Every best destiny fulfilled, all those uprooted and shifted, prescribed and force-fed soma till their symptoms subside. All bets settled, all invoices paid, all aberrations fettled, and aggrievements assuaged. Every mucky car washed and waxed, every moon waned, every pothole filled, every murderer killed, every lock picked, every conman tricked, every lawn mown, every short-arse grown, all ditherers swayed, every fear allayed. To all dark some light, to all insomniacs…no night. To every tide a turn, no advances spurned, every wire connected, no child ever neglected.

And best of all…no page unturned.

It was Sunday afternoon.

He rested.

 

tiny moment of infinite beauty

Ich heiße Superfantastisch…

Saul, soul, sow, sew…so. I was listening to iTunes; the instruction being ‘play all songs shuffled’.
Listening, working, listening more thoughtfully and using the lyrics of the random songs to nudge me into adventurous digression.
Franz Ferdinand were upon my ears beating out ‘their love of words of love, of leisure – those poison darts of pleasure’. The nudge came, I thought about another song; one replete with well thought through words. Not of love nor leisure but certainly a pleasure to absorb – admiration drawn from their construct and quite simply the way they were sung too. Those words were:

In pillbox red I paint my door
A symbol and a signal of the coming war
Invisibly it sweeps the streets, naked in the night
A banshee’s kiss I stitch the wrists and head back to the fight

The bailout bursts my IV drip
Yeah anyone can see we are a sinking ship
The film reel rolls, I can’t go back
I bought my ticket I know it’s a one way track

Time and money, money and time
You love unconditional, that is your crime
Time and money, money and time
You love unconditional, you hold the line

There’s people losing their halos
There’s people forging them too
I keep my head down, I stay low
You tolerate me, I tolerate you too

Time and money, money and time
You love unconditional, that is your crime
Time and money, money and time
You love unconditional, you hold the line

This is a song by the Turin Brakes called Time and Money; one to be listened to and admired I promise.

Now, if you’re still around, get this: As worthy as these, those lyrics above are for one’s  lyric bank—the impetus for pasting them in this blog stemmed from a goose-bump inducing coincidence. Picture me like I mentioned, in headphones listening to Franz Ferdinand and during that episode pondering the Turin Brakes song. I scribbled a mental note to unearth the latter offering from my music library of some 1200+ songs sometime soon and give it some due appreciation. Well; I didn’t have to—plucked absolutely randomly by whatever electronics fizz their merry electrons about my music device was: Time and Money by the Turin Brakes. Did some great power listen to me and shake some musical karma about? Does my device know me better than me and anticipate what I’d fancy next? Did I by thought process alone control my device? No, no and no of course. But pure coincidences when the odds are as long as the one just witnessed—well they’re pure enjoyment too.

Barbershop Quartet…

Pretentious, assuming (as always), using cryptic as a cover for lazy – I write.

I write about my…

Two failed (meaningless to most) missions that had me trying to salvage some sense of achievement from a morning—an up till then wasted morning. A point in that time displayed to me: a barber shop of all things, one I suspected was placed deliberately at the desolate end of that very moment to invite me in. An impromptu remedy for my unkempt appearance and whimsical enough to be at a right angle to my original intentions. And what the heck, I now had the time spare to accept its call.

So accept I did and in I went; the Village in Trafford Park. Two barbers snikking and snipping and chatting and bantering amongst themselves and their customers. Barber one: fifty to sixty, Mancunian in manner and accent. Barber two: twenty five to thirty five and more Northern Irish than the Manc was Manc. Humorous were their sallies and heartily I listened as I queued. Not a line of course, the invisible queue where you clock who was there before you and place yourself on a chair amongst them whilst clocking who comes in after. Yes, heartily I listened because word-play was their game, I was hoping they’d strike a pun or gag that had not passed my ears before and I could revel in the novelty. One or two did, I smirked and I now know how to tie a Thai should I ever need to. I warmed to them as I waited, even enjoyed the delivery of the ones I’d heard before, till it came to my turn.

The Northern Irish guy threw a towel over my shoulders and tucked it into my neckband. ‘Eight at the back and sides,’ I say ‘and and inch off the remaining threads at the top’. He abandons me with the excuse of a loo break but returns a moment later effusing the odour of a crafty fag. He begins; the eight turns my unkempt to kempt as I feel the lumps of overgrown locks fall to and darken the towel on my shoulders. Standard conversation ensues, the sort no barber nor hairdresser remembers thirty minutes hence. Auto-pilot it is with words and scissors. So I fill spaces with well considered remarks, thought invokers and wordplay of an order I can’t usually manage on the fly but am encouraged by knowing their affinity for it. Northern Irish guy takes an interest, Mancunian I see breaks from conversing with his own client and listens in. I blurt (nay divulge by request) elements of my life story, my eleven schools, my peripatetic childhood, my year living in the Park… Trafford Park that is, in a terraced with an outside toilet. ‘I remember this place when it was all houses,’ I spieled and laced that spiel with comedy. Moving on they hear of my triumphs and travails abroad – I have momentum now but I have to stop – to save what little hair I have left!

All the while I never looked in the mirror, I don’t do mirrors in such a circumstance, I’m loathed to look at myself in public (issues). A mirror in the hand of my barber though forces me to observe the back of my head two reflections away and approve the short back and sides administered. A nod, a brush to the back of the neck, a whipped away towel, seven and a half quid doled out and I’m good to go.

‘You’ll never be short of friends.’ The Mancunian informs me; it comes from nowhere and I take it out of the shop with me, noticing several customers (that make the unspoken chair-based queue) all eying me with smiles as I leave.

Although warmed by the interaction, I felt a little caught out – I’m not partial to having an audience – at least one where I’m present. And for the friends bit: well I’m presently in a – some would say ‘self-destructive’ – phase of abstaining from previous friendships and not initiating new ones. An ascetic with a cause.

And that cause…

Well let’s let this pretentious one be cryptic eh.

To Trespass, Yes to Trespass…

She lies there dormant, with one eye open, but asleep still. Such a window to her soul, with its guardian gone, tempts more than my penchant for voyeurism. In there somewhere, she’s there—though asleep within that sleep—I hope.

To trespass, yes to trespass, to sate a great curiosity.

A hand–spring over the cheekbone-ledge and I’m in. Leaving the window as it is, I swing across and open its companion: some illumination, and welcome ventilation for this forbidden playground.

Despite the light, this space would unnerve an elder and scare a child. Snakes, alive, and of all sizes tether the terrain; they struggle to slither, staying in–situ, managing only, with rhythmic shudders, to pulse weak lights along their length. Their synaptic-anchors complaining, but holding firm. Ladders aplenty here with differing rung-counts are erratically dispersed; they offer access to every nook and recess, high and low. Many a crawl-space at their end too, and each of those labelled—for the guidance of me the visitor? Or for her the native? For me for sure, I assume, for she should know the way about her own abode. Yes?

The labels I see read so: Languages (2), Motor, Visual, Library, Apothecary, Cinema, War Room, Rhythm, and Qualia. A multitude more I guess, set beyond my line of sight. There’s so much to discover, yet I sense with only a short stay here, I need to be selective. I’m sure she’ll be waking soon, one could easily get lost; so eagerness and wariness have me opt for the list’s first in this fistulous labyrinth.

A seven-runged rise to the ledge that holds ‘Languages (2)’—Ahhh, the two denotes she’s bi–lingual—I’m there now, and I’m in there now, after a long scrabble and a wriggle through a too small, wet, dank tube. Well, I’d not have known, no ink in my inkling—she’s half Greek. Not an ‘all Canadian woman’ at all. My assumptions, as ever, have misinformed me. Her other language in symbols, fresh from civilisation’s cradle, is scattered and stamped in to these irregular walls. I limit my desire to soak up its entirety; instead I look at just the familiar, and learn, nay confirm, a couple of the loanwords better known by us English: ad hoc and hoi polloi make the cut. In a shorter spell than a moment, I study the rest; foods and place names press their just-recognisable selves out of the beautiful, yet regrettably indiscernible lexicon: moussaka I shall eat soon, and Thessaloniki I shall visit too—one day.

The windows’ light has faded by degrees, and left altogether now as I navigate more deeply the tunnels of this flexuously complex complex. I’m taken instead to employ the radiance of those scaly-skin borne pulses whenever they pass. Their unpredictable glows traversing every conception of an axis. They have their mission, I have mine. To progress, I’m to play multi–D snakes and ladders by strobe-light—and I’m fine with that.

I’m birthed next into the War Room. A place—my mind stammers—a place of which I think she’s aware, but doesn’t visit. A place I think—I’ll think hard how to put this: A place I think that the ‘she’ that hides from her conscious self stows its mélange of all that is vengeful. And in this enclave; a stockpile, weapons of no choice, but of every nature. All held here for self-preservation—both hers and hers. Cooped armies primed with a prior wisdom to fight every ailment she’s ever had and bettered. Antibodies in many a guise to my untrained eye. Moves too, pre-scripted moves, all coiled tight and full of energy. Their tension wrung in by bad experience. I read around the body of one; spiralled words instructing instinct how to react to a left hook. There’s a score more stored; quite an arsenal, she can fight when called upon. More viciously in Greek I gather.

My interest in the Apothecary threads me through this serpentine warren of flesh, and delivers me more easily a third time to a capacious laboratory. Long heavy white–topped desks, overhung with cool fluorescence, grid out the floor space, and support a strict sequence of beakers, coiled glass tubes, burners, flasks, bungs, pipettes, burettes, mortars, pestles, spatulas and scoopulas. Books, old and older, lie flat but ordered equally obsessively, to the left of each array of utensils. Their titles betray their contents quite clearly. Notably: The Quackery of Grimoire, Alchemy for All, and The Chemistry of Intent. All bases (plus acids, plus compounds) covered by the references inside these covers. And what of what’s manufactured here when the apothecary is present? Well the potions, the powders, the poisons—whatever they are—are bottled behind unfathomable esoteric labels, that themselves line shelves behind glass doors. Each ready for call off and categorised by function; their proposed purpose more clearly understandable: Happiness, Sadness, and some shades more. Yes—their purpose is the sway of emotion. Complicated cultures to support the simplest ends. I imagine her conscious, experiencing some outside stimulus, the apothecary in her (yes, in her) working hard to locate the right mix to mould her mood, then frantically ensuring the correct dose be promptly dispensed.

I must be mindful of the time, so to cede to an impulse to investigate what’s designated the ‘Pit of Despair’ can only be a wrong decision. Nevertheless, an unexpectedly easy birth into here affords me that moment’s indulgence. The worn passageway en route indicates she visits, to my dismay (and to her’s), far too often. For most the Pit of Despair would be compartmentalised, held inside—yet aside. And why? For the protection of the self; lessons learnt of the gravest magnitude that most in our lifetimes must endure; loves lost, bereavements, great batterings of the body. Each orbit-shifting shock to one’s being and emotional stability stowed away to be remembered only by index—the details too raw, too emotive, too much to confront. Though here—my Hellen—she evinces a penchant for the melancholy—gratified she is, I see, by pressing her own bruises. Where I’ve influenced my mindscape to found the mother of all bunkers, titanium shelled with reinforced walls a metre thick, and in it, seal the unfaceable—she pushes her consciousness right in, and force feeds it every flavour of angst. A masochist’s picnic, where she sits alone upon a black blanket, ‘neath a blanket of black clouds. All around; a no mans’ land, pock-marked with apocalyptic pits—open graves brimming with blood as dark as tar, and pus that grins a luminescent green from thriving within its own festering. Entering here, I’m right, was a wrong decision.

My mission I realise I’ve not clearly confessed. The curiosity I wish to sate, is to find the source…of the soul. Yet so many more revelations distract me from that aim—uncovering so much of her so swiftly appeases my glutton.

A brief encounter with the Cinema and my flimsy will rules I should poke my head in to see what’s on. A screening of her dream is the answer; this is where she’s presently engaged. I watch from the shadows knowing the glaring projector will obscure me further. And there she is; awake and on show in that sleep within sleep, within sleep. I’m observing the third tier to her psyche. She’s up there in black and white reacting to actors, and morphing environs in a narrative concocted by all this machinery that holds her here—that holds me here too I realise. Perversely I mock the surreality of the set, but straighten my opinion with a single glance around the auditorium. I’m immersed to my neck in the surreal of course. Those weak lights that ride the sheathed serpents, I note, have changed their motion. Till now they’ve idled autonomously and predictably by; yet presently they circle where I stand. They’ve spotted me! Not mere messengers, but scouts too—I’ve come to their attention…they flit on, BUT wayward from their original course. On the screen they converge to tell her the tale of my incursion. Tattlers! Her dream sequence changes scene; it’s Brief Encounter now; a train with her, herself, she and me.

Oh my, my stay here is almost over.

I’m being followed, thankfully, so far, by things mostly massless. They’re coming ever closer though, too close; those infernal lights, they buzz me like birds about an intruder in a ransacked colony. Onward to Qualia I must venture, with greater urgency. I want to suffuse into every sense of mine the essence of her that is the core itself of her each and every experience. See what she’s crystallised and sculpted from all that’s been filtered through her, through here and—if it’s tangible—I’ll hold it in my hands too. As difficult as such a feat is to conceive; it’s proving harder to achieve.

The label Qualia is wise to me, it hops like those lights from chamber to chamber—buying time so some semblance of sentience, I suspect, can gather itself to defend against my inquiry. The labels then were never for me I conclude, for her only, for the native’s navigation. Too small a puzzle to ponder and a distraction from my aim; I know the chamber that holds her soul, the most unnasuming of these immediate many—skulking right before me. I head to its entrance, a mesh of serpents strung across that become alert and pissed at my presence. What eyes they can, they fix on me—tongues out and spitting venom through their forks and their sibilance. And above that hiss, the trudge of boots from behind…far behind yet nearing. Not massless anymore. Her white army, that which I clocked in the War Room, has mobilised and wants me out—or dead. I look to my own feet, back up at the snakes, bite my bottom lip, drop my head again, and charge at them.

They give way yet barely flex from my attempt; I’m through—though with great exception. I am rendered asunder; the pain, more intense than any torture, on which I could write a chapter, thankfully leaves with the other half of me. The absence of hands, arms and feet plays havoc with my bearings and coordination. Nevertheless I’m aloft, at what I imagine is head height, supported purely by my will. I glance behind—even to turn feels markedly strange, no tightening and loosening of neck muscles, more the sweeping view through the graceful pan of a cinema camera is the sensation. My mortal coil. There it is, stripped from me and snagged up; a stranded slinkie tangled in those stretched out snakes. That wrapper, my former hide, is met by the soldiers of her white army who have at last caught up. They waste no time in beginning their consumption, growing fatter as my carcass shrinks. I sweep my view back and focus on the centre of this chamber. On a single stone bed she lies, naked, and as cold in appearance as a corpse. I know though she doesn’t—a mere projection; a ruse to fix my attention. A distraction, yes, while she determines a way to evict me, without any need to appear from the shadows.

We are now on equal terms, I mourn the lost opportunity of holding whatever was to be her essence in my hands. For, as you know, I now have none; I am but the extraction of my perception—that is all. Left, right, up, down whether there be physical obstacles or a clear path, it doesn’t matter. I look to somewhere in the chamber, foresee myself there and I am there.

On a whim I am where that effigy lies, projected to me in its pure form—the lure she offers is she as she sees herself. No external ravages have worn, nor work–hardened the face, and the body could well be alabaster. You may look how you deserve at forty, but inside the template’s chaste I note. Unashamedly I admire the form as the timer that’s counted my time away draws the most reluctant grains through its waist. It has—I suspect from the very instant this sortie started—been wise to my breach. Now me, as I adore her immaculate shell, knowing its bait, I wait, having bitten—and care not for doing so. To know too our proximity, that we two could have been one, could be one, CAN AGAIN BE ONE. I snatch my en–spirited self and pan my view to the darkest shadow in the chamber, one more whim and I am there.

The ‘there’ isn’t next to her, I don’t move next to her, no, I move into her; When our galaxies collide the gulf between our stars is halved but its still massive. Interpenetration; the nothing in the space between is doubled and yet—less lonely. So little flashes flare up in the void, those rare accidents, where the things that matter for one smack into those (on another course) of the other—but so what; so small in such a scheme.

I lay merged with her, for a time unmeasured, without permission, with the shame and contentment of a newly-climaxed nun. She silently accommodated me till…It was like she woke, she spoke. We spoke. Only we didn’t speak, it was two intrinsic natures for the first time witnessing a union, the melding of minds, of spirits, and of nothing. In a language that transcends telepathy…

But that was it. Intuitively I knew she was rejecting me. Passively she’d permitted my intrusion, perversely enjoyed it; a test press of one of her bruises. Now though, the first of her white coats are here…and they’ve come to take me away.

Held in her dream she was, whilst I tiptoed, crawled and trod about her psyche. This time—the she of she has me. I’m plucked by some unfathomable force from my ethereal loftiness, and held for the main arrival. Those that get to me first set about re-skinning me with some ghastly secretion, then parcel me, paralysed, into a viscous glob. Countless more overwhelm the gateway’s webbing of this chamber—gushing through with me their focus, and a collective determination to convey me from her refuge.

And that they do. I’m slid down snake after snake. Tubules, fistulas, filaments, and skewed grooves whir by. Towards the light I go, pushed too by reptilian scales with their recursive attempts to slither on this conveyor—the anchored snakes I’m sure are in envy they can’t mobilise themselves, consoling their frustration by nudging me what little they can for the wider cause—collaborating with the white army to expel me.

Passing entrances unseen on entry, labelled: Sexuality (2), Motor-Learning, Balance, Clock Shop, Posture…too many, too fleeting a look to commit them to mind. I rue my banishment; the light’s returning, there’s so much more to discover. But I rue too my personal rejection, and if I were to be freed from this straight-jacket of a lens, if I were to be honest with myself- – —I—I’d have my thin shreds of decency walk me from here, albeit with head bowed, voluntarily.

A final glimpse through the window to the soul as I leave the orbit of her closing eye, and roll away.

A teardrop channelled by an old laughter line.