Can the lizard crawling out from the wall, refuged in coolness be a transformation of the stone, from which it emerges? Is it possible my heart surges with the voltage to ignite a storm, but not the velocity required to light up a city? With enough electricity it could black out the entirety of our world. Lightning crash of black over vision of future. Apocalypse of heart under glare of sun flare. Or is it merely stillness through a crack, where the perception of feeling jolts us back to the presence of this power, thunderclaps through scorched synapses, fusing where the heart clenches, heavy like the fist of Poseidon? Take the heart out of the equation and there is only the still and cool observation of things that emerge and return, seeking asylum from the vagaries of these moods, the inhale and exhale of cyclic energy repressed in the psyche. What does it mean to miss me? What transformation occurs between head and heart when I hear the succour of your voice in child-like tones, asking if I miss you? What does it mean to miss someone who has curled in the alcove of your most ardent organ? What of the restless reptilian that molted through the heart’s eruption and shapeshifted into the skin of a cold blooded amphibian crawling out from the wall on the balcony, overlooking Eden? Would you know to avoid the temptation, else would all the world turn black again? Would the obsidian shores of Santorini crystalize under the sun, whose bright rays lay buried beneath the blistered basalt of a solidified flow? We might never know more than what draws tide to shore, what causes spark to ignite, what kills the light of our universe, yet the mystery of that most vital organ, remains as arcane as the flint of our gaze through a crack in the wall of eternity.
Category Archives: introspective
Stranger: I think you feel things.
Self: you think wrong.
Stranger: you have a sensitivity.
Self: like having a burn.
Stranger: but it’s beautiful, it makes you real.
Self: it makes me nothing.
Self: *stares at arm, winces at transparent scars*
Stranger: you love with courage.
Self: what is love?
Stranger: what you feel.
Self: I feel nothing.
Stranger: you lie.
Self: it’s easier.
Stranger: easier than what?
Self: easier than burning.
Stranger: but the sun is beautiful.
Self: I prefer the moon.
Self: *stares out the window at the dark sky*
Self: it doesn’t hurt us.
Stranger: but what about the floods?
Self: it’s better to drown.
Stranger: * takes a sip of wine, pours more.*
Stranger: what about your father?
Self: he’s dead, suicide.
Stranger: lies, don’t glorify it.
Self: father is sun, mother is earth.
Stranger: and the moon?
Self: my mistress.
Stranger: bullshit. He was a junkie, she was a lost cause. He’s not a God just because he’s dead.
Self: we’re all dead, existentially.
Stranger: and what about what he did to the others?
Self: spiritual dissociation, sick, dark sick, dissociation.
Stranger: and the heroin?
Self: his salvation.
Self: a broken arm, a syringe stuck in, the sun, the moon, the earth, all of it.
Stranger: and then what?
Self: we bleed.
Stranger: but of course what else could we be?
Stranger: animals are more gentle.
Self: only because you think you can tame them. You can’t. We’re all wild inside.
Power is illusion.
Stranger: and hope is futile they say; life and death choose us equally whether wanted or not, choice is also illusion.
Self: it’s both ugly & beautiful. “We can make a hell out of heaven or a heaven out of hell.”
Stranger: where are you going?
Self: to the forest, the mountains, the sea.
Stranger: but why?
Self: I am in it, it is in me.
Stranger: you are real.
Self: cancer is real.
Stranger: you are nothing.
I want to be nothing too.
Self: you are.
Stranger: I feel it.
Self: feel what?
What becomes of a warrior’s heart after burial, if it lies there dying on an old battlefield, can the sad murmur of ancient love still be heard….?
Or is it dried to the point of cracking like the way we are fracking this land?
Our future is a naked dry earth with no heart. No one dies for the truth anymore.
The battlefield has given way to the oil field and oil spills, slick birds with flightless wings.
Listen to the warrior song in the places you go to seek a way forward, it is calling you back to what you are.
I burn up the fuel of my body…
is inside of me.
I have a cracked soul that no amount of gold can fill.
Swell of childhood,
wave, water, reflection.
Propensity pouring into probable personality traits;
narcissism, histrionics, scars stricken against sulphuric self, flare in sea of black, no return from darkness.
Ears ring out like cathedral bells at the gavel fall of postured people, straight upstanding citizen I’m not.
Chaos’ child curtailing comets.
Mulch of weeds where flowers chance to bloom outward from mossy memories, in places the sun neglected. Damaged seed, uprooted,
convoluted scream shooting agony into pillow of down.
Muted madness on the surface, appearing calm, floating along like an unruptured swan.
Dusk descends like a ceramic sun on the verge of shattering.
It was easy in the beginning when you were open,
further on I needed
a secret password and permission to enter,
near the end I found myself in a limitless labyrinth with a thousand locked doors, where you sent me to find the key.
The further I searched, the more lost you became to me,
at last I saw a sign that read; freedom station straight ahead,
I opened the door on
an empty room,
a spiral of smoke and mirrors, the enigma of what we become when love locks us out and throws the key down into the darkest place,
where we’d never think to look,
A voice never to be heard. (things absurd.) The giving up of moments into memories, the sacrifice of self into nothingness, like the self was nothing to begin with, and it wasn’t, it is and it is not dependent on mood. But a mood can create & destroy. What was that they told us? First the thought, then the mood, then the action. But what if I was without thought or feeling? What if I was all id, seething along on impulse, impervious to the outcome, recklessly burning the night alive like a dying star? What if that’s all we are? These cellular beams of nothing, creating self from thought & illusion. The play of existence is transitory, so we can opt to live or die, or merge into another self at random, according to our own will, that gets governed by the heart and guided by the soul, which is immortal. Then this body is a choice and so is yours but are we really free or is that also illusory? We carry our prisons like luggage or occupations, from one destination to the next, deep in our inner cores, where we fear to tread. Freedom is a state of mind they say, so I can be locked away and still fly, or I can roam forever and never feel alive. It doesn’t matter either way. I dreamt we had a long conversation. I dreamt I heard your voice. I dreamt you meant to tell me something. We had met for the first time in the flesh, and there was nothing to be said that couldn’t be expressed by our bodies, so you said hello with a long and fatal kiss and in that same breath I said goodbye to life and death, I was born in you, anew. Because real love makes us lose our vision and real love makes us see things as they are, in a way we were blind to before. All that pollutes us from the past transmutes into a white light of undying purity in which we create each other, rhythmically like planets, aligned to a divine order, that appears to us as chaos.
I’m reminded of the opacity of the river at night, under moonlight.
The silver glow of the undertow and the mystery of what lies below.
I would skate out far, under the brightest stars and never reach beyond the depth and darkness.
Skating in circles, with sudden leaps into the air, then falling effortlessly down on solid water. “We skate around the truth of who we are,” out here in the dark, but more will be revealed they tell us.
I hadn’t yet known you, couldn’t conceive of things a world away, blinded by the glare of those serrated tips, carving dreams out of ice, sculpting our future one gliding moment at a time, cutting through layer upon layer of falsity to the divine mystery of who you are.
Visions of self reflected on the sparkling surface, emerging complete, defined, loved into the translucency of truth and beauty.
Your army green eyes camouflage our inner war, never to lose each other in love’s battle. I am your gypsy child forgiving the gaps and the distance, forging our world anew each day.
You are my grand spy master, averting me from disaster, reshaping my love for you always.
You must be a chameleon, the one that so fascinated me in science books as a child, able to blend into the scene at will, emerging with hand outstretched, ready to take in my true colours.
Can you catch death from an owl, or freedom from a butterfly?
Wisdom & transcendence.
I have walked along the palace walls and witnessed the loneliness of the queen; the things she has seen and been above, and the absence of true love in all the stars we wish upon. Saw princes turn into demons and princesses hide away in dark places, praying to false saviours in the sky.
I have rode trains near ancient remains and felt the sorrow of the broken stone goddesses, who are a testament to the war we wage against all that is different.
I sat with you one winter night and you held my arm tight, trying to catch my pulse. It froze like a piece of glass and lodged into my heart.
Midnight arrives and I skate down the river, to the edge of the city. I stare up at the lights in the sky and wonder if it matters that there’s life on other planets if it’s all the same as this.
When I was twenty I drank a bottle of vodka and disappeared. The truth appeared to be nothing but a blur on the horizon. When I woke up I was sober and nearing forty. I found I had missed nothing. Being awake or asleep, life still carries on in the same way with or without us. We have gravity to blame.
I decided to become an astronaut and float above the world, alone. Out here in the dark no one sees me. I hear the desperate pleas of the lost ones back on earth, crying for something, anything to take it all away. Some pray for little things; like jobs, children, and marriage. Some pray for bigger things; like freedom, truth and love. Not one of them sees how futile their efforts are. Not one of them cares for the things beyond.
In space you are weightless and mute. You can’t hear the sound of bombs going off in the name of love, because bombs don’t even matter and love is only a word. Nothing can touch you when you are free, not even gravity.
You told me you love me to the moon and then the moon shattered in three crescent pieces on my floor. (The crimson moon necklace made of clay, you bought me on the island that day.) Where will you love me to now that our moon is broken?
Ovid said that although all things are temporary, nothing perishes. Everything is flowing. It’s sink or swim.
I doubt this was an accident.
I meant to replace the picture I had hung in my kitchen that reads:” those who love passionately teach us how to live.” I was going to hang the calendar you sent me for this new year, the one about unlikely friendships in the animal kingdom, and then smash, down from the nail, like a fallen Christ.
Is there really a Hades? Can we take a boat there? What will Persephone say when she hears the news?
We may never see another spring.
What a tragedy.
And I walked about my small coffin of an apartment repeating “I broke our moon, I broke our moon.” Bury my heart at the Acropolis.
Tracing circles in a backward motion, creating spirals between the darkness and light. Erasing the lines that connect our hearts, those same lines that separate our bodies. I should have known in the first breath so that I would not need to stifle the last. Your plane is always bound for foreign places, tickets and stopovers, none of which include me in their destination. I was a slave to the clock and I would have worked until my heart stopped beating as long as it brought me to your door. I lay here with an open window on the night, wind blows into an empty room allowing enough air so that I can breathe a breath that belongs to me and me alone. I grieve a million stars. I swallow an entire continent and digest it slow, it comes up in my throat and lingers there, provoking earthquakes, body tremors. I think I’ll lay here swallowing clouds and oceans, I think my veins are the Great lakes that twist into the Atlantic far on the other side and my arms are the great divide between here and there, between this and nothing, I am bleeding currents, I am flooding cities, this is Venice, or the lost Atlantis we will never recover, this is the death of a lover. The meals we won’t share on the terrace overlooking the Acropolis, the amazing sun setting over the island that has forgotten our silhouettes under the tall palms. The ancient pulse of stone and the emergence of night blossoms will never welcome us together anymore. What I am remains on the tracks where the train carried us home, it never finds its way again, it never inhabits the same perfume of our two souls. One is a breeze passing through a station where the other does not exist to feel it. We are light posts on separate streets in different worlds. Sometimes the same girl wanders in our shadow as if she remembers something and then she keeps walking until she forgets to care whether it is dark or light or if the moon even shines anymore, because none of it matters, none of it ever mattered. I once dreamt I bought a ticket and boarded a plane and when I arrived the sign hanging over the city read “Vacant but for our dreams. Empty but for our memories. ” This is life, this is the welcome we all receive at the beginning and end of our journey and this is also what we carry inside us, everywhere we go and with everyone we meet. The same sad urgency of our departure and the unexpected joy of our arrival.
When I first set foot on the landscape of Greece, something became more apparent to me than anything I had experienced prior to that time, that something was a profound inner awareness of myself in relation to time, in relation to the past, in particular, that ancient, elusive past of our ancestors. I felt this connection to a spirit of the past, in such a way that was akin to an out of body experience, but instead of being out of my body, in a metaphysical sense, I felt that I had entered my body for the first time. It is difficult to describe, except to say that my sense of awareness became lucid and more keen than I had ever experienced before.I was immediately whisked away to an ethereal world beyond the capaciousness of my mind’s view. I could not have anticipated this level of awareness, which was exceptionally expansive and all-encompassing to me. I had travelled for twenty hours across the world, lost in another realm of consciousness, more commonly known as jet-lag, when I arrived at the home of my Greek friend, immediately she embraced me, and I felt a warmth and loving magnitude, which flowed into me as a limitless stream of love and inspiration. She closed the bedroom door, to leave me in solitude, and I drifted off to sleep, then hours later, as night was descending on the city of Athens, she woke me and invited me to take a walk in the neighborhood of Galatsi. It was nearing the end of April, the air was fresh with the vigour and vitality of spring and a cool breeze blew over us as we walked down the narrow, cobble-stone sidewalk. The scent of jasmine flowers, whose petals open to the vibrations of the moon, and permeate the air with an ambience of melliferous and soft beauty, lay among our path. The lights of the city could be seen below us, a long, steep stretch of wonder, lit up the mountain side, and people were everywhere, promenading on the streets. “Everything here is covered by an imaginary aura, it has its own temperature, it lives in an endless dream, it is flooded by an imperceptible music…”I felt a sudden sense of infatuation, my pupils dilated, the pace of my heart quickened, all of my senses were deeply attuned to my surroundings. There were marble structures and a rustic, earthiness seemed to be etched into the landscape, covering everything with a dark veil of romanticism, but at certain points as the moon shone over us, the veil was lifted, and I saw the world in a way that was mystical, as though an arcane whisper from the past echoed through my soul.
“..so it is the Country of the moon; I mean, lit by a dead sun.”wrote Virginia Woolf of Greece.
The Greeks haunted Woolf. Her essay “On Not Knowing Greek” stresses both their aloofness and unfamiliarity and our ignorance of how their minds worked, of how and why their literature was written: as a woman, she found them more primitive, puzzling, and alluring than their legitimate male heirs in Cambridge and Bloomsbury could imagine. Woolf’s essay also conveys a profound sense of intimacy and recognition. Greek worked its way into her imagination, elusive but persistent: “how Greek sticks, darts, eels in & out!” A solid “grounding” gave way to shifting and unbidden moments of insight: “A strange thing-when you come to think of it-this love of Greek, flourishing in such obscurity, distorted, discouraged, yet leaping out, all of a sudden.”
“Times change, years pass
the river of the world clouds over
but I go out on the balcony of a dream..”
The Greek concept of time and space is unique.
material value is not afforded to time as much as it is here, it has it’s own essence.
“I can only note that the past is beautiful because one never realizes an emotion at the time. It expands later, and thus we don’t have complete emotions about the present, only about the past.”
This statement by Virginia, on how our minds perceive time, how we process time, space, thought and emotion, is such an accurate depiction. I believe it is particularly true of those who have been through trauma; there is a contrast between one’s experience and one’s interpretation of the experience, a way in which our memory processes the information we receive from our environment and from the events which leap out before us. Take for example, a play; consider the varying aspects from which those involved in the play, conceive it. The director, the actors and the audience are each bound to have similar yet varying concepts of it. The director takes the plot and interprets her own understanding of it, which she conveys to the actors, imprinting her ideas on them. The actors then fit into the roles and embody the characters, while appealing to the audience’s own inference and reaction. There are multiple methods of portrayal and a skilled director knows how to draw on this, with the use of space, time, metaphor, props, stage design, etc. The director and the actors aspire to perfect their technique and talent, in order to capture and convey the pathos of the play in such a way that it becomes a catharsis, this varies depending on the style of direction. The playwright Sarah Kane once wrote that she was attracted to the stage because “theatre has no memory, which makes it the most existential of the arts…I keep coming back in the hope that someone in a darkened room somewhere will show me an image that burns itself into my mind.” The style likened to Kane was known as “in-yer-face” theatre, a method of shocking the audience into reacting, a way of “invading one’s personal space,” thereby delivering a visceral kick to the stomach. Victims of trauma and those with depression experience a numbing of emotions. They become disassociated and desensitized, and it is not unusual for them to seek what can be deemed as “peak” experiences in order to confirm their existence, because in essence life is about feeling and when one ceases feeling, it is as though a terrible shadow covers everything, a fragmented consciousness, a sort of “perpetual equinox,” where time stands still, days, weeks, months, even seasons, no longer retain their significance. Life becomes a series of flashes, a seeking after something which will “burn into our minds,” “theatre has no memory,” and this is a reprieve to one seeking an escape from their memories. When we view life with the sense that all is fleeting and ephemeral, and that our feelings are frozen in time, “the environing subsoil of our embodiment, the bedrock of our being-in-the-world,” gives way to a feeling of displacement (…)
I am no more yours than the moon,
something which you gaze upon at a distance,
through the darkness,
and expect to always shine for you.
Sometimes it’s all too much, to love but not to touch,
sometimes the equator forces the tectonic shift of a continent,
8 feet in the direction of another continent,
many lives are lost, but the earth moves with a magnetic pull, attempting to bring us closer.
In a hundred thousand years
our worlds will collide
and all the love we hold inside
will create a supernova,
which will burn through the sky
and light up the universe.
Plaster on the wall- where someone botched their attempt at perfection, that was all I could see, some crooked agency trying to cut corners, but in truth, the further I contemplated it, the more it began to make sense. The lady who was the caretaker of this building was Greek, a woman from Greece, whose family came here in search of a better life when she was just a girl, long before she lost her spirit. In ancient times her ancestors were masters of such creation, their strong but graceful Hellenic hands, carved many a masterpiece from simple white stone, into works of marvellous beauty, but somewhere along the way, hope gets drowned. It took a day like today for me to be able to have seen through her eyes, and to realize the mistake was not a mistake at all. In her frenzy to repair the spot on the wall, and to ready the apartment for new tenants, she had not consciously known what she was creating, for how could she? I have recently returned from my first trip to Greece. I spent two months in her homeland, and she would have loved to have heard all about it. She would have loved to try the many treats I brought back, and to have seen the souvenirs- a rare rock shaped like a tiny temple, found on an island, off the Aegean sea, and honey coloured like amber, with golden remnants of the sun sinking in it; but nature swallowed her under, because somewhere along the way, we all drown, and lately I have been contemplating such a fate. These days had passed with me trying to resurface. I had eaten only the most simple remnants of what could be found in this empty place, and I had not had a cigarette in days, and when I am without a cigarette, my nerves are like wires that get singed from lack of power, lack of fire, lack of vitality. I stared at the spot on the wall in a state of despondency and weakness. It’s interesting how our own suffering can put us in touch with that of the world. I can’t imagine what it must be like for people who never lack anything, but especially those who always have somewhere peaceful to sleep, and something to fill the void inside of them. I have always known lack, but it had been some time since we were acquainted. As I stared at this blotchy mess of plaster, this spot on the wall; an image stood out, an image of a frail woman, holding out her hands, the woman has her head down and her hands out, in a humble gesture, perhaps she is walking in alignment with the spirit, as opposed to the multitude of others here on earth, who are so deeply disconnected. What strikes me most is that she reminds me of a woman I love, a woman I traveled so many miles across the world to be with, and who I am now so distant from, she is frail like her, and her profile is strikingly similar, and isn’t it strange that such beauty can arise out of such a mess, as a careless spot on the wall, and that most people would view it as a mistake, and never see the real beauty in it? It takes suffering to elicit empathy and a keen vision of the world, but it also takes suffering to wake us up to the true depths of beauty, which we are all drowning in.
Bring me to where my blood moves Limpid treacherous swimmer This is the fluid in which we meet each other In visions of the dark night In my dream, drilling into the marrow of my entire bone In the wave-strike over unquiet stones Have patience, O my sorrow, and be still. Wanda Coleman Stéphane Mallarmé Sylvia Plath Edgar Allen Poe Anne Sexton Pablo Neruda Charles Baudelaire
This is my first attempt at a poetic collage, and I’m moved by how these words convey the emotions that were swelling in me when I pieced them together. I like the interplay between movement and stillness. The word limpid in the context of this poem is best defined as; “completely calm; without distress or worry: a limpid, emotionless existence.” At times one’s emotions may reach a peak of ecstasy or joy, only to be followed by a crash, akin to the “wave-strike,” on an otherwise calm shore, then one’s thoughts can be compared to the “unquiet stones,” that get disrupted by the flood of sorrow, these profoundly fragmented breaks in our hearts, likened to chasms. It is during these moments; when the blood rushes deep and overwhelms us, that we most long for stillness. I am also reminded of the writing of Virginia Woolf, when she speaks of these “chasms in the continuity of our ways.” It’s as though we are going through the mundane motion of our prosaic days when something tears us from our perennial roots, (like a reed on the bed of the sea, that can no longer grasp the earth,) and flings us skyward, leaving us to die or adapt. We are like emotional shape-shifters, who travel from the depths to the heights, from the calm to the storm, and all that empty space in between is the limpidity in the grey interim of our existence. It’s like a parasite that gets in our minds and gnaws away at our complacent attachment to life, until part of us detaches from that particular mode of consciousness, and is abruptly awakened to another, unexpected one. Not being able to make this adaptation is tragic. We can be so inculcated by these static roles of existence, that we are like stubborn reeds that refuse to let go; the harder we cling, the more volatile is the force against us. Softness and acceptance, a fluidity, and a willingness to surrender to the shifting seasons, are what give us the most potential to grow. Emotions are like waves, and waves are an accumulation of transitory energy that flows through our thriving souls. “This is the fluid in which we meet eachother,” in the currents of life, that uproot us, this is where we are born anew, in the intermingling of two souls on a journey of the heart, fresh with feeling and hope.
*”Bring me to where my blood moves,” or take me to the heart of my emotions.