21 March 2017

Why X Travels Around the Axis – Part VI

Our hands locked once again, gleaming droplets gathering on the windshield.
Moon-soaked rain curtailed the dark.
We leaned into our shared sigh.
The road dived into the horizon, hazy-white beams crossing and curving in pursuit.  
Minute, fragmented conversations with a wagging torso in front – it safeguarded our destiny, in the darkness, partly, for the time being.
Strings came to mind; suggestive movements steered by an altogether earthly fatalism.
Sounds of a captive orchestra hovered in the air like so many grieving flies, on the margins of my senses, the fading bodies littering a faraway stage.
Quiet, for a minute or two, maybe longer, since we were in the business of folding time upon itself, picking all the leaves from a book, leaving only the first and last.
Outside displaced, a warming foreign being pressed against my side, out-there dislocating in relative flight, wreathed head ever-so-gently tilted on my shoulder, the beyond foreshortened, tauntingly wetting my neck, into ostensible space crossing two alien trails of sight, now at rest, still, only inclining orbiting innards beating in synchrony, our hands touching the closest celestial body – anonymous stellar matter dithering between us and Ursa Minor, against the fractured retreating background.
She had fallen asleep.
I sought her scent, soon I would too.
The moments preceding the fall, I gleaned a host of scattered lonely lights in the distance, turned to a low glisten, like lanterns carried and dispersed by the wind, the diffused glow flickering on the brink of obsolescence, the trailing asterisms finally caught on the shadowed mountainside. For a brief moment, they seemed to abandon their isolated posts and allied to beacon a message that I intuitively grasped was solely directed to me, and I am certain that, despite the complete disappearance of its content from my memory the following day, it impressed upon me a consolation so vast it wholly blanketed my mind, and as such, there was no longer cause to linger aware.  
The pale sky flattened over the ubiquitous whiteness of the desert, meeting at the horizon in an exchange of colours that sent an effervescent haze of dust and cloud spinning into a disc of the faintest blue-yellow, which tranquilly hovered and wheeled beneath the sun like a sister-star.
On the far curve of the dividing circle the monoliths began to rise, scarlet cut with dust-red and skeletal streaks jaggedly overlapping at various angles: our boundary, our landmark, presently only minutiae blood-red bubbles, frothing over the curtain walls of hinterland.
We walked in silence.
Birds spun around leaning red pillars.
We climbed, clambered and sweated in silence.
Ponderous lizards observed us coolly from sheltering cervices.
We quenched our thirst with tepid water, in silence, shaded by two gargantuan torsos facing one another, equally muted, the topmost of each beseechingly bending forward, separated only by a fathom or so; one day, in an altogether alternate geological timeline, in which our silences have long become permanent, the giants will clumsily fall into that long-desired embrace, deafening, shattering and final.
We exchanged glances, however, and the hip-flask travelled between us.
My feet rhythmically traversed the dust. The descending blue above. Always two steps ahead, her white shirt drenched from the heat, baring the blades’ ridges. The folded map, red lines cutting sharp ravines. The unyielding dark braids. The slow exchange of animal voices, from echoing screeches to radial cricketing. Her neck.
My arms glass from sheets of sweat.
Our feet moved slowly, perhaps carried solely by our fortitude.
Night fell as we finally came upon the roots of the towering pile of boulders, their fated blush now purple in the rising dark.
We mounted the rock, confidently, our backs weighed by provisions.
Our steps at first measured, poising our bodies for balance with winged elegance, though windless, we soon found ourselves spread like tortured spiders on the sinking surface.
Slanting at the steepest angle, with a view of cave’s opening half-haloed in the distance by a thin ring of mist, my nails desperately scraping at the stone, she offered her hand. Here, take my hand, we’re almost there. I assented, and summoned the remaining reserves of strength.    
Together we clambered onto a flattened edge, a single step notched into the side of the cliff, leading directly to the opening.
Inside we lit a fire, and sat, cooked, ate, talked, in low voices, and we waited, and we extinguished the fire.
Looking for each other, in turn, looking outside, the mouth rotated a canvas of unpolluted darkness, lit only, as I had hoped, by stars.
Just a few more minutes, it’s almost here, I said, eventually.
It arrived, the brilliant band of the Milky Way.
We spun with it, with the dust, the light, the clouds, around the curtained axis, until we could bear no more.
We bickered, after a while, arguing over scraps, perhaps the size of an asteroid.
Trivial matters in face of an island universe.
She packed a fair portion of our supplies.
I paced around and made an ellipse, sighing unabashedly.
She moved toward me and placed her hand on my forearm.
I stopped. Both our heads bowed.
I thought nothing, I simply studied her hand, ruminations would arrive soon enough.
My eyes travelled her fingers, leaving the nails to last.
The thumb in particular, its singular design, dipped and cast in a mirror – which on occasion she surrendered to another thumb and index finger.
I committed it all to memory.
Her hand went into my hand
I closed my eyes and waited for the exact momet in which we could no longer discern the distance between our limbs.
As I reopened them and watched her exit the cave as a grand dawn apparition, I could have sworn that her hand was still locked in mine.
A sharp cold draft sang her voice so I raced to shut the window.
I crouched and relit the fire, and together we made breakfast.

8 February 2017


They quietly gathered round the fire,
in unison that transcended their custom.
Oak trees bent over the circular clearing,
mourning branches fed to the flames,
half-pacified by an overarching consolation:
these men would never re-animate their blood
by growing boughs instead of limbs.
One passed the crackling leaves,
travelling eager hands, that is
ones not wetting fingers in the dew,
not tearing at the grass, bowing aghast,
or seeking solace in the moist earth.
Soon the Second recounted dreams,
Third chewed and spat, hissing ash,
eyes ablaze, Fourth only listened,
the Fifth wove mist out of moonlight,
Sixth wept lost love, a doomed alliance,
divining haloed fragments, pleading,  
the tearing wood and swarming sparks,
while Seventh slept for them all, on foot,
trailing the riving tongues’ glow.  

Feast your being on the flames, said First,
old boys, before you the swaying portal,
the smouldering gateway, seeing is key
and speech is the breathing tunnel,
its gullet speaks you, wears you,
eats you. Fear not, my old
transmogrifying sons,
strip your hides,
hurl the bare
bodies in. 

First left them by the embers, mouths ajar,
third-eye agape, and rushed into the dark
woods, moon falling behind his back,
consuming all that crossed his path,
from mud and gravel, to fungi and grass,
to twigs and trees, and animals fleeing: Except
he, the ravaging beast, One with the forest. 

20 January 2017

Seven Crescents

The mimeograph waxes mournful in the trembling heat haze, while vacillating counterparts quiver around the inmost cycle of solitude. The lunar phase mirrors the waning positionality of the onlooker, half illuminated, her gibbous face grimaces from the consequences of the bet. Seven counts, counting to seven, an event only becomes evident at the strike of seven. First as tragedy, then as farce, and then solely as semblance; following a number of notes sounding the impossibility of the set. The pathfinder moves through the dry landscape as a mountain, gravel rippling from each inaudible spin around the axis, like a pebble ripping open a pond in a restful rock garden, with no one present to witness the crash, bar perhaps the long-deserted assailant. Ahead lies the land of ruins, and the low-hanging blue clouds pour earthward, the tempered cylindrical phantoms fleeing into the underbelly of the cool lava, through circular mouths of the stone, speckled at regular intervals along each side of the road. Somewhere the ether must conspire with its foundation and link the contained body with the infinity of Above. Armed only with impulse, the rest swathing indeterminably in the dark, and intuition burning faintly, like earthshine glimpsed from outside the window of a candle-lit alcove, or a star imploding at an unfathomable distance; intuition’s dying twin, the bond measured with the breadth of light, which though always arrives at its end paralleled in the rhythmical decline that marks the lifespan of an individual soul, like the mirrored humming of murmuring wings suspended against the fading sky. A steadily unfolding parallax without a viewer. Crossing wagging bridges moonward, paths unfolding along forked gardens, plateaus strewn with rubble and glass from broken bottles, she arrives finally, the body swimming in palsy, at the gate named Beginning, as if finally uncovering the purpose of the last letter of an ancient alphabet, as if standing at the mouth of a cave, bowing to sunlight for the first time in seven days. Men have stood here before, entering aguishly into diatribes against the vehemently forceful rays. Now, here she stands still, momentarily, before carefully picking up a rock with both hands and, with even more care, lays it between her feet.
The very first stone that will soon rise as a cairn.