The Power

The power lives in you.

He heard it again, that voice. What was it, the third time? Not menacing, or threatening, more like the gentle voice of a child; a fine mist leaking out of a corner.

He’d come into the kitchen to wash his cup out, the tea long since drained, the dark dregs like the mistakes of his life had dried in the depths. His kitchen overlooked his back garden, the huge oak tree which cast a shadow over half the house blanketed the room now. Half in, half out of light.

Two o’clock in the afternoon, whispers in the air.

He hadn’t felt alarmed hearing the words, indeed they were comforting in they casuistic way. The voice itself was ethereal, calm and soothing, like milk running down his soul. He’d left the cup in the sink and looked on out the windows, the words fluttering in his mind like the leaves outside fluttering in the breeze. The season was on the change, and he could picture now the lawn covered in frost while the trees disappeared into themselves with their winter reclusiveness.

The year, where had it gone? Disappeared into nothing while he’d roamed the house like a Victorian ghost; forlorn and melancholic. But then, what did they expect, he’d just been trying to keep It together. If the good lord wanted miracles, then it was indeed one that he was still even alive. Those dark days of spring when the end seemed so apparent. On his fingertips like the edge of tomorrow. He was still finding his way on this new terrain, still stuffing the darkness back into the holes that bled it out in copious amounts.

The power lives in you.

That voice, those words. He knew what it meant of course; he’d felt that divine pull for the past few weeks. His own lungs coughing up golden dust when he woke. Hard to breathe, hard to be here in this world the way he was. It was uncomfortable, he just knew he had to change. These voices, these little nudges were to make him see, to move him along. Sometimes we are so blind to what is before our eyes. It took him some time, but slowly he began to see.

Washing his cup, leaving it on the draining board to dry, he went back into his study. He called it a study, though it was really just the spare room with all manner of things piled high. He didn’t study anything, aside the figures and words that flashed across his screen; the requirement of modern life. He’d longed to give it all up of course, but his dreams had slowly died over the years and now necessity proved too strong a spell.

He sat down at his new desk, the wood still smelling of the sick like scent of the cardboard box it arrived in and pulled toward him a notebook. Past the pages of word commitments, the left to do lists and random spirals, coming to land on a blank page towards the back. Words had never really come easy to him, the right one always on the tip of his brain, peeking out like a child playing hide and seek. But he commanded himself, spurred on by the gentle voice that now echoed in his mind. He made a list of things he needed to change, things in his life and things about himself he could no longer tolerate.

His mind flashed, like skimming through tv channels, and it came upon a documentary he’d watched once. The image was fuzzy and dated; the haze of anything from our past which we give a comforting glow. Drugs, the documentary was about drug abuse and interventions by family members. He felt their pain in a flash, registering barely but a blip as he skipped through their plight. The counsellor, the authority in the room. What was she saying?

“People will only change when they are so far gone, that the thought of staying the same disgusts them. If Richard feels revulsion when he uses, that’s when he will decide to quit. You can’t make him, you never will. All this is just dressing to his world, your pain inconsequential. Only he can change, and he only will when it is worse not to.”

He remembered it, his mind the magician remembering every word. He barely remembered conversations he’d had last week, but here it was, locked in the annuals of his mind.

We have the power.

It came in a flash, like lightning this time. Cracking his skull and finding his soul. Louder too, and different. ‘WE’, joined together. Not alone. We have the power. He noticed his hands were shaking, the pencil he was using vibrating slightly. His mind, the magician and time traveller taking him away in a second to his school days, shaking pencils quickly to watch them blur.

Back in his study, the list before him. The words in his mind.

He looked at the list and saw his work ahead. Elements of change, poisoned elements of freedom. Within the poison lies the cure. These things were not terrible, many born from laziness.  But they did disconnect him, and they kept him from manifesting anything but what he had around him now. Is this the life you wanted?

He ripped the page out of the notebook, little curls of paper scattering on the desk like hair in a barbers. Knocking his chair back as he went, he sped quickly into his front room where the photos were. Shiny lined frames containing his life, friends and family smiling back at him. He stopped and looked at those faces, of the ones he loved. Some gone, some remaining. He ached for one in particular, their smile overshone by the light that beamed from their eyes. Drawing him. He’d asked of course, he’d asked for help from them, and God. Asking for assistance and the chance of change.

You are your only saviour.

The voice came swift and curt, this time more of an admonishment. It was joined by a chorus of others, repeating it so it echoed into nothing.

He’d been here before, cursing them, cursing God for letting him down. Throwing his fists and tears up towards heaven. Heaven which never seemed to answer him.  God, who never seemed to give a damn. But now, these voices, these calls to arms in a way, pushing him onwards; empowering him.

He stood there, before the photos; the light shining off the silver frames and catching his eyes. He forgave and apologised. He took onboard all the pain and blame that he’d dispatched, the responsibility felt delicious and bitter in his mind. But he could not blame them, not anymore. His list showed him where he’d gone wrong, absolving himself over the years of the fuckups that he was the master of. His choices, his movements. His words said to them and others over the years.

It took him some time, and the voices left him to do it quietly as they swirled around protectively. They had been with him all along of course. Watched him along the road of good intentions, wincing when he fell. He’d never known the danger they kept from him, times when he could’ve been forever lost. But it took something within for them to now speak. Something had broken inside of him; something had burnt away all he had framed in his life. And in his ruins, they found the crack for the light to burst through.

Leaving his front room his eyes wet and weary, he walked back into his kitchen, passing the cup; now clean and dry. He slipped out the back door, putting on the wellington boots which lived just inside. They were tight yet reassuring, offering the freedom to clomp around any surface or pitfall. Spiriting himself down the path, over the little bridge where he’d begun his Japanese inspired retreat some time ago; he came to rest in the small pagoda. He remembered putting this up himself, it had taking him hours. It was second hand of course; the new ones were much too expensive and he could see the damage around the base now from the weathering and years of endurance.

Power of prayer.

These words rested in his mind like little clouds settling on a mountain. He closed his eyes and washed them through him. Prayer, power. His faith was not what many would consider appropriate to them, but he knew the strength of his spiritual side. It had saved his life, many times. The power of prayer was to keep a conversation with God. Talking, always talking. But he’d demanded a lot in his life. Cursing, bargaining and threating the creator. The problem with prayer is that it was always one way. A conversation with one voice.

Meditate, and hear the answers.

The voice, so close now. Like a kind hand on his shoulder.

He remained there for some time, his mind peaceful and his words coming quickly. He prayed more, asking and forgiving. Conversing with God until the words were used up. He then sat still, quiet like a bonsai tree and meditated, listening to what God now had to say in reply.

I ate the prayer

Layer after layer, through teeth and truth.
Bones that trip and slip under.
Down into the briny wonder.
I ate the prayer.
Closed the eyes, for tomorrow will never see.
Bring that illusion back.
Roll back the time.
Sucking up event horizons and riverbed pebbles.
Milky chalk to wash the medicine down.
I ate the prayer.
Laid out on copper plates and paper trays.
Flung from hell and the devil’s lips.
That kissed and took me under.

Diagnosis


DIAGNOSE

All this bubbling inside my veins.
Feels like angels spitting in my brain.
A feverish swoon overtakes me now.
The silent prayer and misplaced vow.
That swirl and flick of the finger of god.
Dilutes this blood to something odd.
More like a lick from roaming devils.
Who cough and sniff, and silently revel.
This outbreak which defies prognoses.
And nudges for spiritual diagnoses.
For though my body and mind is sick.
Inside the soul this illness licks.
And leaves me now mere bread and wine.
My soul and spirit, drenched in turpentine.

MORE VIDEO ART HERE


Taken from Everyday Nightmares – out now

EVERYDAY NIGHTMARES MIRACLES


 

Leviathan (Redux)

LEVIATHAN

You might never know it’s there.
It’s been quiet for so long.
Dormant, but strong like indecision.
Lying in its own blackness, biding its time.
It’s older than you, it came before us all.
Moving and shaping like the clouds across the sky.
It does not seek the calm waters, or the tangerine days of summer.
It comes with the storms, the hurricanes of the heart.
When your bow is breaking, and you’re taking on water.
When you are barely holding things together.
Caught on rocks and the shallows of shame.
It seizes those moments.
Gripping you in its darkened grips of despair.
Blocking out the sun with its inky nightmare.
Pulling you down fathoms gasping for air.
To float forever in the torrid turpentine seas below.

MORE VIDEO ART HERE


Taken from Leviathan (of the soul) – out now


The Death of the heart

Through hollowed tears that paint the walls.
Cries a thought, uttered more in lament than desperation.
The lights fading.
A love abating.
The prayer for a heart on the edge of nothing.
What demons and ghosts stole it away.
Which angels plucked it from the earth.
Has god really written the last passage in its tale.
Or has the other heart deserved a second chance?
These questions lick at the mind of fate.
While others close their eyes to possibilities.
They lost the beat, the rhythm of love.
Those roots that went deep, tangled and clogged with mud.
Twisted with happenstance and rode the whispered jokes of time.
All beneath the silent wings, and bells ringing out a new era.
While eucalyptus air fills the lungs.
And we cough up the oil of yesterday.
For heaven can wait, while paradise before us blooms.

Adieu

Shuffling off this mortal coil.
After years of strife and toil.
Turns my sight towards the sky.
And spit in Satan’s salty eye.
For though I’m old and known to break.
With bones of chalk that tend to ache.
I know the spin of my moral compass.
And what is true within each one of us.
For Satan wanted my soul one day.
When down on my knees I was to pray.
And promised heaven and all the earth.
If I would part with what I’d had since birth.
But I knew that slippery cunning devil.
Was not true, or on the level.
And would leave me lost, sad and doomed.
When the horsemen rode to their apocalyptic tune.
So though he lured and tried to test.
Reach within and corrupt the best.
I resisted hard and asked god to linger.
While I flipped old red the finger.
And now I fall into the unknown whole.
With my heart intact, and still with my soul.

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.

Everything (सर्वेषां स्वस्तिर्भवतु ।)

When the world wind weeps around you.
May the universe dry your eyes.
And happiness make you smile once more.
Sarvesham Svastir Bhavatu.
I cannot keep you safe from the conflict.
Or the wars within you.
But I offer you peace, from that of which I’ve known.
Sarveśām Shāntir Bhavatu.
You are taken from the mountain,.
You come in pieces.
And I too, but together we are more than less.
Sarveśām Pūrnam Bhavatu.
And if you fall, I will not catch you.
But I will watch as you rise again.
And applaud your strength, with an outstretched heart.
Sarveśām Maṇgalam Bhavatu.
We are but pieces.
Love is the is the whole.
Versions of the same form, spun from the same gold.

Break the dawn

To kiss you into the night.
Would be more than I could pray for.
Lost in a world where you are my religion.
The transmigration I envisioned.
Waiting for that flash of crimson slitting the night sky.
Instead I made you cry.
As the ripe fruit of dawn broke over our lives.
I reached for it, I reached for you.
Finding only empty space.
And spent light.

An inner choir sings

You do not find it in the brush strokes of the saintly.
Or willowing wisps of utterances in cold hallowed halls.
Do not look for god in pages of prejudice.
Or underneath the rocky souls of the holy.
Light a candle and feel me.
Peel back the bits of Christ to find me.
Swimming in the shallow cells of you.
Awash, in the DNA of God.