Heaven is shut

The plane took off, soaring into the sky as the sun died on the horizon. All was safe, all parts working. Wheels stored safely as the streaming sound of pressure encased them. He looked out of the window and watched the ground give way. He sighed. He’d hoped for a failure. Maybe later when they were out over the ocean, no chance of rescue there. No one ever survived a plane crashing into the sea.

Closing his eyes, he saw their face. Lost and troubled as the chaos of the street bustled by. The taxi had hurried them, throwing his bags into the boot hastily before cars honked behind. They’d said their goodbyes already upstairs. Held on to each other as the tears threatened. At least he’d held on. He was unsure now how hard they had pulled into them. Deep inside his brain a voice had whispered ‘they want you to leave’.

Opening his eyes, he saw the seatbelt sign switch off, the little ‘bing’ sounding all around him but nowhere particular. The plane levelled off and he saw the land corrode into the ocean. The lights from the city behind already blurring into a distant memory. People got up, walking up the gangway as if their restrictiveness demanded a rebellion in movement.

He turned again to face the window, the little tears of condensation streaking backward like the ones in his eyes.

The flight was uneventful, and despite his longing, did not crash into a blazing wreck into the sea. He was somewhat thankful, no need for others to descend into nothingness because of his own wants and needs. The country had changed now of course, and he felt like a stranger in his own land. He felt as if he’d outgrown that little island, when in truth, it had all shrunken into ambivalence.

The next few weeks were a haze to him. He slept longer than his body needed. He ate less than what was required. The maddening howls of loneliness engulfed, playing out a wicked pageant each night. Pagan dances of despair trooped through his mind as he imagined the worst. And the weeks fell away into months. The sun rose and died each day, giving way to the moon which seemed more allusive and tauntful. Appearing and disappearing with differing brilliances.

And nothing changed.

No word came. No celestial movement of fate. He prayed of course, every day. Wishing, hoping, threatening…apologising. Words tumbled from his mouth like a waterfall, lost in the roar of tears that welcomed the rising pool of pain. He was confused and sad. These descriptions falling short of the abject horror that they encompassed.

He got up late one Wednesday. His bed had become a grave, and he pushed away the covers like soil from his skin. The weather was grey, and he saw little movement outside his window. He could hear the birds whistling their busy tunes and saw a couple of collared doves pecking away at the grassy bank at the side of his house. The birds circled, one seeming to protect the other as it scoured the grasses for something.

This was his life he thought there in that moment. The tragedy of nothingness. The on repeatness of filling hours that stretched like days.

Sitting down on his bed, he joined his hands together. They had marks on now of course, bloodied scabs that were struggling to heal. Punches to the ground and walls in frustration. His hands stung when he washed them always, bits of skin pealing off and disappearing down the drain to their own hellish adventures. Mostly he would pray in his head, but this morning the words came forth strong, if not shaky. He prayed for others, for those he loved. He asked why his circumstance refused to alter. He prayed to be sent the needs to change his situation. If god was refusing to give him what he needed, then at least give him the chance to change it for himself. He saw the light, felt the feel of god’s hands upon him and trickle into his heart.

This prayer lasted a long time. The doves had flown away by the time he had opened his eyes again, and a light rain had begun to pepper his window. The house groaned around in its ordinariness. Things were quiet. Things were the same.

He went about the day, holding onto something which he would never tell anyone. Like something stolen and now hidden in his pocket, he buried this secret in his heart which struggled to beat in a comfortable rhythm. The day came and went. The tasks and encounters rose and fell with the usual absurdity.

It wasn’t until the following night when what he had tucked away bloomed again. A flower of thought that had grown from the thick mud of despair. He had played the game of this life, by the rules he never agreed to. He was of service each day, giving and giving; yet never receiving. It never used to bother him for he had much to give. But when you lose everything, you become stricter on what you give away.

Now he felt like the coconut husks in his garden, pecked at each day by the birds of life. Strips of him torn away, revealing nothing underneath. His prayers had gone unanswered. But he stopped that thought then. No, this was not true. His prayers had been answered, when he prayed for others. When he gave and prayed and wanted the best for other people. They got what they needed. Even the rotten ones he was obliged to love. As if blood bound them in an unspoken covenant.

Prayer works. But not for him.

When he wanted…no, needed something. It never came to him. It was as if the gates of heaven had closed to him in a display of much unfairness. Why was he so beyond getting what he needed to make it through the day?

This thought stuck in his head, like food stuck in a throat. Uncomfortable and unpleasant. He was angry at God. But who wasn’t at times? But he felt more than anger, a betrayal almost. He fell asleep that night, not pooled in his own tears like always, but shaking into a fevered dream of reckoning.

He woke early, the rhythm of his heart thundering him awake. His phone was silent, barren. Nothing in the night had sprung forth despite the difference in hours. What were they, seven hours behind? They lived their day while he slept dreaming of them. They dreamt of something else while he navigated through the day thinking of nothing but them.

Rolling out of bed he went to the bathroom to wash his hands. Purifying his body, washing away the dreams and nightmares. He looked in the mirror…..

A:

What stared back at him made him weep. A man stood there, but a wasted vision of a human. Sunken eyes, gaunt expression. As if the sadness had spoiled from the inside, wasting away the flesh. He noticed one of his eyes was a milky colour, his once hazel views into his soul fading away into a grey of nothingness.

What to do now, he thought to himself. Brush his teeth, fix his hair. Get changed and through another day for what purpose? The same as yesterday, the same as tomorrow would be. A parade of nothing and inconsequence.

He knew he had fallen into a depression. He had hoped to shake it off or fall out of it again. Why was it so easy to get pulled in, and not the other way around? But something extra covered him today, that final magic element of hope seemed to have disappeared as he slept. A rousing song, or prayer usually helped. Taking stock and being appreciative. But no, something was different today. The same grey clouds outside, but something was different there in his bathroom. He could not even hear the birds that usually chattered and warbled beyond the walls.

He took a razor and made two clean cuts, long and deep. It was the kindest thing he could give himself, and the biggest apology.

B:

What reflected was a surprise to him. A little light glistened in his eyes and more haloed above him. He turned suddenly, hoping to catch a trail of it around his skull. But it seemed to follow him, quick as a flash. He felt it then, a sudden strength lift within his bones like they were being pumped with magical force. He made to pray but remembered suddenly and abstractly that God should not be called upon in a bathroom. Negative spaces.

Running from the room he collapsed onto the landing, the banister casting a ray of light over him like prison bars. He watched as they seem to lift upwards, the sun disappearing behind a cloud. The bars faded, and he closed his eyes.

He pictured the world above in his mind, the ascent of this man who had become so troubled and desperate. Hands guided him; little voices pushed him further until he was at the gates of heaven. With one push, the gates parted. He opened his eyes there and bowed to give thanks. He let the words tumble out, washing appreciation over his life.

How long he remained, he’d not known. The bars of light did not return, but when he stood, he noticed the sun was hovering off in the distance now beyond his window. He wiped the tears away and stood in his new world, just as his phone in the other room began to ring.

Drenched in departure

Through wanderings of a hallowed heart.
Untie the science while the rain comes.
Let the silence smother you.
Or little taps of life, crash on your skin.
Blanketing this world in a quiet monsoon.
Layering and prevailing over all before.
Let it seep into those muddy bones.
Washing everything.
Purify and personifying a state of being.
Fresh like holy water.
Stinging the sins like acid.
Drown and choke underneath those silent waters.
A vast tide that you wash over me.
Those days that were always numbered.
The borrowed time and delicious decay.
How sour those words met my mouth.
When I asked you to leave.
Tying my tongue into confused states.
Separate systems and traumatic time zones.
A flight into a new world.
Where the clouds coughed around me.
And the skylarks sung our demise.
God raining down sad tears.
That had been building for some time.

Sweetness follows

Jasmine lips and honey eyes.
Dance on my flesh like miniature dragonflies.
Growing roses in my heart.
The ivy of my mind to twist into.
Licking your skin and tasting the ocean.
Chasing your wave and finding sand in my shoe.
You.
Blue and free like the sky that pulls over my eyelids.
Whispering into my skull, the tantric movement of tomorrow.
Taking me off to another land.
Where your skeleton slips into my skin each day.
And crystal tears carve a path right through me.
Amber shivers and slumbered eyes, welcoming these dreams.
Tip-toeing through the water lilies of your world.
Hovering like the hummingbird of your heart.
Beat and hum.

Love come rescue

Arrived, 4am. Too tired to see the world for what it was.
Slipping into the cracks and shadows that fill my eyes.
Too numb to notice that I couldn’t notice you.
Standing with arms outstretched like wings.
The wren that always had strength to fly.
That slipped into the open wounds and found our hearts.
It patches us up now, flitting inside our skin.
Pulling feathers over broken bones.
It does not notice the cartilage cage it builds up around itself.
A prison to its good intentions.
It too now needs help, to lift up and soar again.
Love, please come rescue us.
Make us fit to fly and leave this place.
With only fallen feathers to show we were here at all.

Come home

A sky threatening to swallow us whole.
Disappear into blue.
Lost in me and you, and the pulls of the earth.
You wandered too far into the outback.
Too far from my feathered touch.
Now the oceans recede.
And the heavens close.
The stardust of hope may sprinkle these sheets.
Matched by tears of absence.
Yet inside a birdlike song sings.
Come home.
Come home.

Beauty lost at the Heron house

The world collapsed in thirty seconds there.
A beauty aged in a moment while the rose petals died.
Who faded into the future, without the knowledge of the past?
We all did.
We came once to that spot, to watch the herons dance.
To see how they cast their wing’s against a backdrop of stars.
Through tears we watched them fly, soaring along our fingertips.
But we did not know, or care to wonder;
if they’d ever return.
And the days folded into years while the crows walked across our faces.
Milking our eyes to the blurred canvas before us.
Sight dancing into all but silhouettes.
What was destroyed there, at the Heron house?
Was it love? Was it power to hold in the wells of your hand?
Surely love never dies. Love always saves the day.
But beauty was lost forever there.
When it was valued more than gold, in hearts that feared to fly.


click to watch
heron in the snow


More video art at markryan

Freedom found you

Illuminated, the folds of heaven.
Bitten torn feathers.
With plucked thorns from our skulls.
That you and me.
Bittersweet.
Red, like the veins of a tree in autumn.
Washed in golden light.
Drunk with sacred hymns that sing in your bones.
I see the lotus bloom in your eyes.
I want to hear your temple sing.
These snow covered aspects, higher.
Above the shelf we cannot reach.
Tickled by the zephyr underneath.
No longer the caged bird that sings.
But the sparrow that stole the sky.

Subside & soar

Falling down the waterfall, shaken out of grace.
Sliding, spiraling and collapsing. Leaving nothing but a trace.
Tumbling down speedily, in disgust from your eyes.
Crawling out of this bitter, purgening demise.
Escaping into nothingness, fleeing into dreams.
Tasting the fruit of freedom. Splitting from the seams.
Moving now a certain way, to expand these wings.
Unfurling fraying feathers, precious aerodynamic things.
Falling once again, from ledges beyond time.
Saying goodbye to shadows, and the ghosts that haunt this mind.
Realisation of collapse, braking bark from the knowledge tree.
Not a sad solitary boat of sand, on your egotistical sea.
I fully bow out, take my leave now and resign.
Plunging into tomorrow knowing, I must fall to begin the climb.

F(l)inch

The air is alive, black on blue.
A multitude of ravens, seizing the world.
Magpie eyes on anything that shimmers.
You unfurl and follow. Placing the ties that bind.
Half asleep, half blind to predicament.
But something murmurs. Something calls.
An unfinished business that followed from before.
Each step, eyes down.
Stepping out from a dream, feeling the floor.
A product of now, naked and true.
Let the feathers unfold, and roll into a climb.
Un-flinch. SkyWest. Un-crooked.
Drop the grey.
The waiting in line.
And sing, distant and near.
A song so many wish to know sincere.
Eyes closed, breathing in the new air.
And let your colours paint the sky.
Wiping across a new dawn.
And darkening their sheltered lives.

The fall will kill us both

Walking on this wire, I see the sea below us.
Cool and deep like the thoughts of mother earth.
Take my hand, there is nothing to catch us if we tumble.
Down into the shark filled ponds of loneliness.
Where our bones will turn to coral.
And you will dig down into the sand.
Foot follows foot as we walk.
Inching along the eggshell laden rope.
Banana skin memories drop like raining frogs.
I profit from my certainty, that these plagues are temporary.
Hold me if I slip, and I will catch you if you stumble.
Walking on this wire. We must be careful.
Because the fall will kill us both.