Phase 2: The Muse Of Unceasing Loneliness

aa

 

I am bored of myself. I am waiting to be subsumed by something greater. Like the great outcasts, the living shrapnel of the shoreline, I am waiting for the next movement, for the profound yet deadly adagio, to glut itself on my body. It is this host of Neptune, this ceaseless undulant body, that I come here to consecrate, and, in the process, be consecrated by in turn.

 
My childhood was a wet, timeless sea. I masturbated in the forests; fertilised my undeveloped womb with air-fed lichen. Found secret castles, ruins in the woodland, unmentioned in maps, or historical documents. On endless summer days, I had acres of solitude to fill; sharp infinities of loneliness, set to a soundtrack of visual and audible waveforms.

 
It’s is strange that I should always feel nostalgia for those periods in my life I was at my loneliest. That I feel the need to revisit them, to understand them, as though there was a sacredness to the sorrow I miss and yearn for during life’s more temperate moments.
Perhaps it is that divine compensation again. All that emptiness to be filled up by a harrowing divinity. Your soul, an empty field of activity, awaiting the scythe of harvest.
At such times, The Moon Goddess and I, regard each other from a distance. I, ensconced on a book-strewn sofa; while she, sullen, mysterious, huddles in the bay of my window, hugging her knees, her eyes wide, unsleeping, unblinking –obsessed with never missing what the rest of us shut out.

 
You cannot have a conversation with this woman. She abhors description – only soundless telepathy. If you were to recite to her the contents of your shopping list, in depraved vengeance, she would rip out your innards with long sharp nails, and decorate them with daises.

 

aa1
Her hair is black and matted. Cluttered with the brambles of the night, she wears anxious thoughts as her headband. In this respect, she has never seen reality, because she is so enamoured with a million paranoid possibilities, she has gifted her life to the exploration of them.

 
She is not here to talk. She is here, because she knows I belong to her. And, like every good mother, she must tend to her children, to ensure they make good their inheritance of delusions.

 
It is not only at night she comes. She can appear to you at any time. Today she arrived at mid-day, when the sun was just slinking off the meridian. In conjugal disharmony with her passing husband, Pluto, I suffered the spiritual equivalent of a forcible lobotomy, the stolen spear in the brainstem – the one that makes you ache to pull off your skin, and wear something a little less harrowing; the meal of curses that puts a lead weight in your body, and makes you wonder if you’ll ever again feel peace or contentment.

 
It is not an easy relationship. You have to accept a lot of unpleasant things – not only harsh realities, been even harsher unrealities. You have to admit that unimaginable pain can be the most giving of lovers, and pleasure, the most vampirically selfish.

 

aa3

 
Most of all, this phase of The Goddess despises indifference. Those who are not soaked up with the mortal unrelief of careworn agonies are her bitterest enemies. If she and Reason were ever to meet face-to-face, she would bite him with teeth, sharp and ravenous. She hates those who do not love; and even more zealously, those that deny its existence. For her, love is a crusade, a bitter battle, that pits idealists against stoic apathy. She would kill each and every last person now living, if, in their final moments, she could get them to see but a gleam of its glory.

 
I’ve known her for a long time.

 
She lovingly held my head underwater during my long years of seclusion; chained me to seaweed in the depths of the ocean. It is, through her, that I am on nodding terms with Sedna, Inuit goddess of Victims and their glories. She taught me the art of feeling sorry for myself; for digging into pain, like a well-stocked larder. She has looked deeply into my eyes during every sickness; has laughed hysterically when I thought I was cured.

 
You’ll all have met her at different times in your life. At moments of solitary inebriation and suicidal ideation. She sat and watched when you were too scared to leave the house; she put the precious liquid in the secret syringe every angel hides in its wing. She is the overdose that makes you comatose, yet does not invite death to share your pillow.

 
I saw a painting of her once. It was horrifyingly accurate in the most flawed and inaccurate way. But, it was not long before the gallery owner turned its face to the wall, and, eventually, scrapped the whole canvas, using it as wallpaper in a lunatic’s asylum.

 
I think she’s gone now. But, you never can tell.

 

aa4

Moon And Memory

a5

I have been trying to work on my relationship with The Moon.

 
For much of my life, I’ve passed oblivious of her phases. With ceilings and cuboid rooms robbing me of my divine connection with the sky, on reflection, I don’t seem to be able to conjure up a single adolescent memory of her. If the Moon existed for me as a child, it was as a cartoonesque caricature – a crooked-chinned crescent occasionally anthropomorphised on animations. It feels almost like sacrilege to admit this – that the very mother of my being should have gone unnoticed for so long.

 
Yet, she was still present in the macabre fertility of my imagination; in my childhood fear of witches; the horror of the spinning dreamcatcher outside my bedroom, which, far from being a reassuring apotropaic talisman, was more of a web in which my morbid imaginings could become entangled. If Hecate was working her magic, it was here she kept me ensorcelled.

 
In my teenage years, that is where the nightmare of The Moon really began to creep in; The Goddess host of camping parties, ruling over insomnia, madcap thoughts, of music that transcends time and space, echoing on into the night. She makes the midnight leaves rustle in summer; enlarges the secret caverns within your skull. But, even then, she still only existed as a thing on mystic peripheries; a secret director of my fate, enwrapped in seeded memories, tender, nascent.

 

One of my most potent and intimate memories of her is of an invasion. At 21, I was living in the top-floor room in a three-storey house in Leominster. The room was blessed with a slanting sky-light. It must’ve been facing South, because, whenever the Moon was full, at her zenith, she would creepingly stare directly through that window, as though it had been built for that very purpose; the walls illuminated by her opalescent light.

 

a6
Had you been naked in there with me, you would have seen your flesh rendered divine – a sparkling shadow of marble or howlite – a moonstone, secreted in skin, dribbled out into pearls, uterine, life-giving, dreamy, terrifying as it was beautiful; a thing that crawls into your bones, deliquescing sanity into delicious madness.

Not only madness, but mischief. When I moved in with a girlfriend in Newport, a student house filled with eccentric artists, budding photographers, and at least one repentant east-end gangster, I quickly realized the women had synchronized their periods to align with the full Moon, and, when I saw the great goddess waxing, I enjoyed teasing them with a knowing wink. They did not mind. I’ve always been both effeminate and androgynous. I exist very naturally within a sisterhood.

 
But, over-time, this madness turned malign. Instead of revering her, I came to fear the Moon. I noticed how crises seemed to naturally cluster around her. If she’s a midwife, then she was also Lilith, Mother of Abortions – mystic mistress of plans derailed, of all that goes awry.

 
On one occasion, I had planned to make a joy-ride on an untenanted boat. I was trying to make a film – an abstruse, psychological horror about a voyeuristic film-maker who finds himself pursued by the camera-wielding denizens of a nocturnal otherworld – and had conceived a scene in which the protagonist takes a dreamy boat-ride down The Wye.

a3
I walked along the Wye regularly, and for months had been aware of a boat tethered near a weir, that I had yet to see anyone use. Confidently assuming it was abandoned, and could easily be commandeered harmlessly for a few hours, I excitedly put together a ‘cast’ to join me, even picking up an oar en route.

 
But alas! For the first and only time, as we approached that section of the river, on the evening of a full moon, we found a fisherman untethering the boat, looking with great hostility on such an obvious band of maurauders as ourselves. We left in a state of immense disappointment, our quixotic hearts bleeding. The film was never made, left to fend for itself on whatever plane absurd ideas go to die.

 
The very next day, the debut gig of a band I was to join was cancelled, when the drummer decided to quit at the last minute several hours beforehand. The only benefit of this was that, as the dispute turned into a fistfight, I got to see my rhythm guitarist deploy his incredibly balletic martial arts moves. To this day, I still consider the swiftness and grace with which he was able to disarm his opponent a masterclass of elegance.

 
On another occasion, a year later, the full Moon coincided with a trip to London. I had developed acute asthma only the month before, and found the journey extremely nerve-wracking. My partner at the time – (a queer sort of a fish, but good-hearted in her own prickly way) – had decided to donate her eggs to an NHS fertility program, for which she was prepped for about a month with home-administered, hormone-injections.

a4
I wanted to be strong for her. But, the whole time, I was in a vulnerable state, adapting ineptly to my new condition; constantly afraid of having an asthma attack, of feeling my airwaves constrict within me, seemingly cutting me off from the rest of my body. Crowds make me panicky at the best of the times; the endemic pollution didn’t help either. I was in an extremely sensitive state, and remember being moved to tears by the sight of a homeless woman weeping outside of a fast food eatery, while its overweight frequenters walked pasted, oblivious, indifferent.

 
The next day, the operation went quickly. I remember the horror of seeing my partner wheeled back in afterwards, still knocked-out from the anaesthetic, oxygen mask on, heart-rate fluctuating wildly on her echocardiogram in post-operative distress.
Some people find the sound of heartbeats soothing. I do not. Anything that reminds me of my heartbeat makes me nervous – that ticking timebomb in my chest that will one day detonate, blasting me out of this reality.

 
We were rushed out of the hospital in undignified haste, and, due to some contractual oversight, my partner was given only a small fraction of the money we were promised – barely enough to cover our travel expenses.

 
Our journey back from King’s Cross was ill-omened from the start. Compared to the reasonably comfortable journey we’d had on the way down, the train was clogged with bodies. We were unable to find the seats reserved for us, or, indeed, any seats all. My partner became very angry and panicky, convinced she was having a post-surgical haemorrhage; for which she blamed me for my inability to assert myself in this scenario, bronchi spasming in my chest.

 
By the time we got back to Newport, we had a blazing row in the darkened station, in which I felt like I’d lost my mind. And I still remember the full Moon beating down on us, occulting serenity, her pearly embers inflaming everything with feverish unreason.

 

a1
Events like this made me superstitious. Instead of being a time of mystery, maternity, and magic, I came to see the Full Moon as a time of danger – a time of the month to write-off the calendar – in which disasters, emergencies, catastrophes, were to be anticipated as a matter of course. Very often, I would deliberately avoid travelling or making significant plans around this time. And, when it could not be helped, I would contemplate her approaching fullness with dread.

 
You can easily see how, given such apprehensions, legends have built-up of this time as being one of transformation; where god-fearing men turn into werewolves; where the bestial, mad side of us we usually keep repressed, buttoned-down, well-hidden, comes screaming out into the light of night.

 
People try and hide their secrets in the dark. But The Full Moon lets us know nothing stays secret forever.

 
The full Moon shines just as brightly as noon, but in a completely different way. Hers is not the meridian of sunshine, where even the most northerly of places can come to seem as halcyon, as tropical, as an equatorial zone. Instead, she initiates mad carnivals of the unconscious; reminds us we are not just men, but animalistic dreams of the shamanic imperative.

 
If this is the time when tides fluctuate, when uterine linings slough-off to start anew, it is also a great purge of the mind – when the dark underbelly gives birth – when our brains and hearts vomit out all the perverse, overwrought feelings and thoughts, we usually reserve for nightmares.

 
As my knowledge of astrology deepened, I realized I was to blame for the souring of my connection with The Moon – that I had not been nurturing my half of the relationship. If we have a bad connection with the Moon, it’s because we have a bad connection with ourselves; because we deny the divine right of the unconscious mind to express itself. Because we are over-civilized depressives, abjuring the embrace of our own chthonic wildness.

 
Instead of misperceiving her as a malevolent demon, I reminded myself she is the First Mother, the object of countless aeons of sacrifice and worship – in many countries she far outweighed the Sun God in both reverence and splendour – The White Goddess of whom Robert Graves speaks.

Whatever I revere in either my imagination or my dreams, I owe to her. Without her, there would be no moods, emotions, fantasies, illusions; no surrealism, silliness, no sensuality, or divine nonsense – indeed, no colour or expression. Only the aching Apollonian tedium of what is obviously apparent.

a2
I realized the times in which I had most benefited from these phases, were when, instead of resisting the Moon’s invitation to madness, I had gratefully yielded, accepted, ecstatically welcomed the temporary suspension of sanity.

When my notepads had exploded in a frenzy of prophetic nonsense; when, instead of hiding indoors to diminish her influence, I ran out, frothing and raving, into the meadows of the night, hearing the bestial roar of the wild, phantom animals lurking in every hedgerow, faery splinters emanating from grass stalks, the smell of moon-blossoms, spinning in corybantic circles until the whole world is attacked by vertigo, leaping simply for the joy of leaping, screaming simply for the joy of screaming, allowing my heartbeat to ramp up to tachycardia, then howling all the fear away.

If The Sun embodies what we can see, feel, and perceive, then The Moon is the mystery of everything we can’t. She is what we feel strongly, overwhelmingly, yet can neither fully articulate or grasp.

The Ultimate Muse, keeping us searching for a mysterious transcendent perfection we know can never master. If the sun empowers us with the majesty of egoistic accomplishments, then Selene teaches us surrender to time-cycles, cosmic forces, far greater than ourselves. She does not mature us, but turns us back into children, and that is the greatest maturity of all.

One cannot know the unconscious without knowing fear.

And fear is the beauty of The Moon.

Poem: The Secret Commonwealth

secret

When our world wanes,
Theirs waxes

While we are in the depths of winter,
Fern-curled, involute,
A dying ember in the throat of December

That’s when sparks collide,
Green men thawing in solstitial madness,
Each one alert to seedbursts –
The collected secrets of an invisible nation

Under the oaks,
When The Commonwealth is in session,
The senators pour forth from acorn cups
The nectar of their wisdom

With the elemental refrain
Of ancients, worn and weary,
Dancing in the rain, souls unchained
From decay’s fertile misery

Their faces carved on misericords,
Infecting the pews of churches,
Grotesque mouths, spewing leaves,
Yew berries and hemlocks weaves,
Will see them all deserted

When the primal temple,
The faery faith,
From the soil is resurrected,
Tired monotheists, clutching straws,
To paganism defected

Poem: Moth Messenger

moth

 

Moth majestic, battering my window,
Wings insistent, the arms of nocturne,
Reaching for a silent thought,
Symbolic revenant in a world of loss

In the lap of Hecate, dark lunar energy,
Patterns caressed by darkened hands,
A barrier of invisible magic
Barricades you from hinterlands

Introvert, internal, innerworldly,
A world of light in caverns wrought
Of land-locked gravity’s downward motion
Far away from Moths’ silver thoughts

Yet trapping starlight, far-off glaciers,
By which you tacitly navigate,
Never divulging the secret language
Teaching humans of their fate

Like Raukatauri, Maori goddess,
Divinity strained – legends dilute –
Hiding away moth majestic,
In the hollows of a sacred flute

Poem: Areop-Enap

Areop-Enap

Ancient Spider, your web before you,
Desolate, uninhabited,
A beach of infinite necessity,
Strewn with shells,
Horn-shorn spirals,
From which your cosmos will be created

Into one you scuttle,
Cramped, back-breaking,
The tight jaws of Life
Yet to be prised open
By your exoskeletal defiance

How can you do it?
With all your legs arrayed
In sand crystal alignments:
The Stars, The Moon, The Black Goddess of Death,
Laying crouched in clam-crushed corners,

The covert – the occult –
This is the womb of all Life –
The hidden web of untallied numbers,
Abstracting potentials in the darkness

Poem: Graveside Vigil

vigil

People never really die

Perishing in the vapour of thought,
A tracery of phenomena,
Resonance of words, actions,
Attributing to the infinite
The loitering of incense, trailing
Never-ending transience

From that cold church in Pembroke,
Where, bloody-robed, the curse of Cromwell,
Wet his blade
In the font of my throat,
Witnessed by rood screens and statuary

Now everywhere I see The Virgin,
Clutching her wheat sheaf star,
From the cliffs of thrift,
Along the coast,
Reflecting wave-worn Icelandic spar

The body of the butchered giant,
Is the oak without arms or legs,
Offering hope to all the fallen
Who must now starve or beg

Poem: Feathered Lands

lay

Feathered lands settling on sunset skies,
Blackbirds whispering codes
Well-versed in melodic intrigue,
Prickled all over
By broom-blossom belle-dames,
A net of nerve-endings
Emanating from a nervous system
Incapable of forgetting

From chords strung on moon-bent harp,
The host of Venus on ecliptic string,
Puppetry of stars, jarred by serenity,
Dial tones of birds on the wing

Poem: Putting Out Branches

branches

I see you in everyone,
And everyone in you,

Tracing back along goddess roots,
The mycelial strands of love
Tapped into the forest floor,
Of hair curled, unstraightened,
Twisted into a wealth of loamy
Soil for my hands to cradle
The soft fertility of dreams

With each magnetic pulse,
Each flick of an electric book’s pages,
I’m taken back to The Dreamtime,
To the frozen geometric history,
Where colour therapy, coffee cells,
Thaw on The Event Horizon

Black Holes eat Space
As well as Time.
Those hungry maws
At the centre of the Universe –
Who knows what other dimensions
They consume to feed
The Saturnian Godhead?

Along dusty rings
And other corridors of space,
There are always more thoughts to furrow,
Dreams to till in the emptiness,
The free-flowing fields of magnetism,
The Doppler Effect of chasing sirens,
And V-Formations overhead

Everyday, I put out new branches,
Rooted in eternity’s bed.

II.
I’ve been a slow-mover, yes,
But these branches are just beginning
To find their purpose,
Their desire-driven osmosis,
Disordered, disfigured by time,
Diluting things in a homeopathic
Deluge

Some people have internal orbits,
Moving quickly as moons,
Mercury’s 88 days,

But, I, a Kuiper-Belt Object,
Erratic, far-flung,
Eccentric, elliptic,
Not moving over years, but lifetimes,
Offering injections of impetus
To scattered generations,
Yet so dilute, unfocused, in my own –
A scattered disk,
A nebular pulse,
An asteroid belt of fractured intentions,
Hanging loose around a solar waist,

Somewhere, I reside in an intergalactic monastery,
Meditating in the interstitial fluid of the cosmos,
A vista of infinite horizons, milking the follicles
Of the blue-skinned, unbending,
The Aether-God and his pregnant hollow,
His amniotic wombs of sky,

Yet, here, I loiter in coffee shops,
Rain-soaked valleys,
Clinging to rocks
Like lichen on the faces
Of megaliths, grounded and hoary,

Frenetic, yet as limping,
As slow-moving Kronos,
Who carves out limitations,
The birth scars of The Finite,
The exit and entrance points
Of equinoctial abrasions,
Where the crushed cells,
Haemorrhage into purpose,

III.
Then the rush of blood,
The Uzi-burst of aggressive adrenals,
The restlessness in the night,
The sudden awareness of extravagant grandeur;
Of all the ambitions to be compressed
Into lunations and bone-crushing cycles

Eventually, the private must become public,
The abstract must be fished with the scales
Of practical, earthly, lead, even if silvered
With the mineral veins of panspermic
Meteorites, venturing to add lives
To barren rocks; the trees that form
The Jungles

IV.
The minimal albedo of rain-mirrored cobbles,
Reminds me this all began with musings
On your pillow-stormed hair –
The post-coital look you detest so much –
But which filters like coffee grinds
In my cafetiere idleness,
Keats would’ve lauded
As Romantic Indolence;
A state to be venerated
As sacred petals,
Hawthorn blossoms, over-eager,
In March’s love-lust and excitable anger

There’s no resolution to something as searching
As a mistle thrush’s melismata

 

po

Poem: Vulcan’s Furnace

 

Heff

All words give birth to time,
Carving timelessness out of river-moulded
Landscapes, each frisson of syntax, sifting
The soils, harvesting memories, beleaguered,
Unburdened

What fruit will come out of this
Terrible furnace?
This word-mess of torches,
Emptying pity into mouths of sickness,
Clawing through caverns of unbearable thickness

Each second explodes in a radial pattern,
Symptomatic of a cosmos
Forged in a furnace,
Pounded on an anvil
Of microbial brilliance,
The stardust and starlight
Of a nebular uterus

Kicking Kronos in the teeth,
I chew on his dentures,
And crumble the shards
Into compendia of learning,
A thousand libraries,
All built from the incisors
Of a devourer too old to consume

Time ravels and unravels again,
While Penelope sits at her loom

Poem: Father of Hallucinations

homer

 

Homer, Father of Hallucinations,
Standing before the masses,
His words punching holes in reality,
Each one, a spasm of fractals,
A quaff from The Sea’s wine darkness

His sightless eyes, blind as Tiresias,
Or the injured Polyphemus,
Are infected with the meat
Of Olympian cloudscapes –
The offal and fodder
Of sea-swept kings,
Rent from a homeland
That never existed

His age-stained robe barely covers
His quaking flesh, feverish with the pulse
Of Memory’s maggots; every scene he’s witnessed,
A scar upon his nervous systems,
He can open and extend
Into infinite pictures

He remembers not just his own life,
But everything from now,
Until Year Zero
Unless he recalls it,
It never happened
His recollection is the backbone
Around which reality pieces
Sinew and flesh-scripts

II.

Now, The Bards are all silent,
No cerebellums tumbling from the mouths
Of ancestors – cobwebs linger,
Bereft aught of meaning, but the meat
And mildew of song-maddened spiders

He has attendants to feed him wine,
Laertes-like, to soften the relation
Between current experience and recollection,
Each cup bought to his parched lips,
A thigh-bone sacrifice to a galaxy of poetry

He could lose every slave, every spear,
Every garment – but poverty,
The only poverty,
Is the loss of his speech’s continuity,
And he would sooner bake in The Aegean Sun
Than hear silence descend on his verse

Memory is a psychedelic opiate
When Life is an inelegant nurse