No sound but escape

The last gasp of a city, stifled through individual disdain.
Strapped to that engine of pain.
The eternal clock that moves everyone forward.
The teacup, that cannot un-shatter.
God’s will, the devil’s plan.
Darkness leaking up out of the drains.
Black balloons to cloud our uneventful skies.
Thoughts like a bruise.
Blooming and fostering more on a delicate mind.
They wait around for the heart to break.
The lies to normalise.
The violence to wrap itself around.
Like fingers of priests, going where they shouldn’t.
You want to leave this place.
Crumble the buildings that warren your life.
Cough out the diseases and the dirt and take a train.
Over tracks on water, the straight edges leading away.
To what, you don’t know.
New spaces to inhabit, to sink a soul into.
Uncertainty, the first sign of freedom.
Lighting fireworks in the mind.
Soon the metropolis an old family member.
Seen only on special occasions.
Lonely in your memory, and very nearly forgotten.

Distance and time

Lost, feeling the way out.
Travelling through the veins of god.
Hearing that global heartbeat.
Washing away in the flow.
I want to swallow the moon tonight.
To feel the tidal shift in my stomach.
To spit out the bones of the past.
And the well-travelled memories.
I touch this earth and it feels like home.
Yet when my eyes blink open.
I am crushed by the weight of this world.
I belong here, but a million miles behind in time.
Waiting for the palm leaves and ferns to sprout in my veins.
I wish to return, and also remain.
Eating forbidden fruit.
Running with the beasts.
Perhaps the change will come from inside.
Washing over me like conscience.
Seeing the divine in all that my eyes lay upon.
This is our home.
It is our only one.
Ninety-two million miles from the sun.

As the city sleeps

Still waiting for the big revelation.
Be prepared for anything, but do you still believe?
Dreaming of big distractions and carbon copied lives.
Left with diamond headaches and pills to make you sleep.
Don’t sleep, dream. Let it in.
Kick start that desire that you are just as good as God.
Good as gold even. Counting zeros on a monthly slide.
A king or queen of comedy.
Hanging on the end of the line.
Hanging onto anything.
Smear the sugar on your lips and catch the bees.
Be prepared for the sting, decompress and sing.
Close your eyes as your tongue lolls over.
Cityscapes and supernovas.
Mercury swinging in to shift the traffic.
Allowing you to arrive more easily.
Computered to your destination.
Yet missing your arrival.
Sleep another day away.
Swimming in medicated decay.
Remember to set that alarm to wake the city.
Not even giving the dead a rest.

Heaven is shut/open

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: shut

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: open

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.

Comes back to then

The red country hung before us.
Our life now a great adventure.
Your love was all I needed.
Your smile I planned to treasure.
Days crumbled, eyes tightened.
We were no longer tender.
The gulf began to widen.
I couldn’t stay.

Ten years in, I hoped you believed.
All of my love and my heart on this sleeve.
I cannot cry, I cannot lie. All I can do is die inside;
On the day that I had to go.

You told me to meet you.
Down by the Yarra river.
I wanted to keep us.
In my heart that had begun to quiver.
Life shifted, dreams folded.
My instincts ignored for worse or better.
We cried and imploded.
And then I left.

In all of my time, I barely ever touched what really was mine.
Life briefly showed me, everything that never really ever could be.
A cruel revealing, a maddening feeling of seeing all that would never last.
The joke from above, putting such beautiful future quickly in the past.

Tangerine

With your tangerine smile, which flavours the city.
Casting a sunburst across my eyes.
I’ll find you, where I know you’ll be.
Down by the water’s edge.
Inside my soul.
Scooping up petals and bits of memories that others left behind.
You tape them to your chest.
Quilt them to the inside of your skin.
That citrus disposition.
Sharpe and bright, welcoming me in.
You peel away the days, opening up to happiness.
Finding me at home, with your tangerine touch.
And smelling like summer.



Read by Shaunna Marie Latchman
More video art at markryanhavoc.com

Teraton

Feeling eternity’s pull.
Like a fishhook in the eye.
Sweaty palms and idle thumbs.
Such monsters we welcome into our lives.
What Gods we despise.
This island calls to me, in the middle of the cityscape.
Alone and volcanous, my temperament now becomes.
Changes of thought like the harrowing weather.
Laying blame like the setting sun.
You do not wait for the dark to appear.
The titan out of the depths of fear.
Into my life you shatter.
Breaking all I’ve ever known.
Asking me to reside in your temple, lighting torches;
keeping the bats and the beasts at bay.
My tabernacle heart cries out.
Waking its own monster from the core.
I bow and shudder, marking the scales that begin to appear.
And we fall and fight forever.
Grappling in the leviathan love we invoked.
Red in tooth and claw.
Knowing it will be the death of us.