Archives for the month of: June, 2015

From a seed of stone
mountains sprouted.
No one knew.
We were busy, and, anyway,
there was the sky.

Time passed, as it has
the habit of doing.
We passed away, others came.
Under their feet, very slowly,
the landscape was changing.
They didn’t notice:
they moved more quickly,
their moments were flushed
with vivid colours,
and these colours
caught their attention:
the rest
they demoted to background,
especially the grey
of rocks, even
the chrysalis hidden by dazzle
in the first winter snow.

We kicked pebbles, or put them
in glass vases, as ballast,
and to set off
the flowers we cut and placed in our rooms
for beauty, or perhaps,
more obscurely,
to remind us we were mortal.

As we changed, the sky changed,
we didn’t notice.
We had love, and grief, and our bodies
bleating in the dark
asking for milk or for a tender hand
to reach out, and be for us,
to soothe, to slip us
from our clothes,
to offset our pain.

And then, one day,
somehow there were mountains.
What could we do with them?
We lived with them, but
they weren’t very useful.
Did they remind us of flowers?
Of fathers we had lost,
of the dying of years,
of lovers?
Or of towns, out on the plains,
we had left, long ago,
places we’d only ever
meant to pass through?

Perhaps. Still, we couldn’t
rearrange the slopes, the peaks
and the divides,
wash them, keep them clean,
ask them to explain,
or take them with us:
but they altered the earth’s
relation to the sky,
and they lingered
changing the way
clouds behaved,
and in our rooms
in the warm, still
moonlight of summer
the dust motes
trembled, turned
to face the summits,
and, vibrating as we slept,
already far along
into their journey

to be mountains.


The Lord undergoes a medical scan, using ancient Metallic equipment

…The Lord now sat up on the bed, then rolled off it, stepping down gingerly onto the black metal floor. It seemed strange to Zy that the Shion should not be almost hypnotised by the fabulous show of lights and colours, and the beautiful Metallic devices at work. The boy wondered whether there was an element of defiance, a snub, given by the Lord to the whole world of Doctor Gosa? It was also true, though, that the specialised information being displayed could mean little to Akzasosan – perhaps he had merely become saturated by the images.

The Lord regathered his towel around him. Even here, even now, Zy sensed something of the Shion’s inexorable restlessness – the desire to move on, to discharge his responsibility, deliver the letter, and go home.

Zy, though, continued to gaze, fascinated and delighted by what he was seeing. He intuited that there was some sort of systematic flow of information across and between the three separate scans: although it was too quick for him to follow in detail, he could see how, at times at least, an area of the Shion’s anatomy was being selected on the left-hand image, and Gonfi would appear in their circles, seemingly written upon the breast or solar plexus of the pale flesh; then the same site would become the focus of the central scan, where the flesh had been made translucent, and the bones glowed; finally, the scanner would pursue the problem down, further, through enlarged displays on the third screen, at magnifications that seemed to dissolve corporeality entirely, and produce pictures of geometric abstraction, of life beneath life, within life, of structures underlying vision – the very building-blocks of bodies themselves.

Zy watched.

Was this really what lay under his own skin?

He saw a new world. As represented across the fluid scans, the interior of the human body was a thing of pulses and routes, of pumps and junctions, of gases and cavities, valves and lubricants. It was more than a machine: it was a continent, a galaxy. He saw liquids being forced at high pressure along highways. When he had first intuited that the scans were showing him the internal organs of the body, he had looked for a bright red, soft, arrowhead of the human heart, as it was always drawn by children. But there was no such thing: instead, there was a pulsating, muscular creature, something he imagined lived on the seabed.

Teeth grinned at him, lipless, fleshless. The bones of the head had a dummy-like simplicity. Encircled, magnified images showed the boy installations of phenomenal fineness and intricacy. The Lord’s flat belly was revealed to contain a bewildering worm of coiling intestines. At unknown levels of magnification, Zy saw things coursing along through constricted thoroughfares, dashing by, irradiated by deep-hued, electrical light. The Lord’s bones seemed impossibly slender. The basket of the rib cage appeared fatally delicate, dangerously open, as if things should slip out of it easily.

The more he looked, the more Zy found it hard to relate what was appearing there on the wall-screens with his own physiology. There was something slightly monstrous about this splayed and avid thing. Some of the Shion’s disdain for it seeped into the edges of Zy’s feelings. The body was too complicated. There was too much of it. It was not – human. Laid out there, it seemed other. It seemed – unreasonable. Zy could sense why the Lord had sometimes appeared, as he struggled with his infirmity, to regard his own body as an opponent, and an enemy.

But what an implacable enemy…

Extract from River Direction | Volume 13 of Dustless

They will come in ones and twos, drawn to the new phenomenon.

In coffee houses and bars, they will meet and discuss the new phenomenon, attempting to understand.

The new phenomenon subsists, then evolves, and deepens, offering more of itself.

The old phenomenon endures, encamped within its huge mass, secure in its inertia: it can bear the crumbling at its edges, even at its centre, for it is where we all live, and with invisible limitations, limits us.

The new phenomenon persists, revealing itself occasionally, for moments, like the flash of an opening window seen from miles away across the city, or the rippled shadow of a carp on the floor of a cloud-haunted pool, or like a truth slipped down in the lining of one of your longest dreams.

Many who encounter the new phenomenon will not care for it: for them, the old phenomenon is sufficient.

For others, the new phenomenon is too arduous: it is not worth their while pursuing such a meandering course, its laws are too rigorous, they cannot entertain its poverty and its longueurs.

Some, though, remain faithful to the new phenomenon: for these, the new phenomenon spreads and opens further, offering fresh vistas, revealing unseen footage, richer veins.

No one can grasp the new phenomenon, for it is still growing, they only know that it is new, and this excites and troubles them.

The old phenomenon is so old it doesn’t even know it is old, but the new phenomenon arrives to expose the ages of what has passed, and what is passing.

The new phenomenon expands, it hasn’t yet reached its own perimeters: more and more people assemble to watch it mature, alerted by rumours and hearsay, by recommendation or by chance encounters in airports or at parties, at dusty bus-stops among fields of sunflowers, in university canteens, on crowded trains, beside graves.

How can the new phenomenon be denied?

Many cling to the old phenomenon, hoping either that it will somehow outlive the new phenomenon, or that they will die before the old phenomenon crumbles away entirely and vanishes.

The numbers of followers of the old phenomenon begin to diminish, followers of the new phenomenon increase, and the power of the new phenomenon cannot be restrained, for it is in everything new, it is a spring at the heart of us, at the centre of all things.

Groups are formed, where people query and debate the new phenomenon. Cults develop. Advocates struggle over ownership of the new phenomenon, pleading their cases, arguing for their especial interpretation. There are rifts and cliques, clubs, societies: fanatics haunt the early hours, there is no sleep.

The old phenomenon, meanwhile, dwindles. It is still immense, an environment, but is no longer unrivalled: challenged, it has entered the state of contention, and can never be as it was. Heavy and beautiful as ever, worthy of admiration and respect, yet peace has left. Supporters fear for the fate of the old phenomenon, fret over its flaws: some love it even more, but others begin to turn away, doubt rotting their spirits, unsettled by humiliation and envy, considered stale and passé by champions of the new phenomenon.

Battle is sustained.

In family-run cafés, over chessboards, sticks propped against their tables and chairs, nattering, or falling silent, gazing wistfully at April blossoms, the old sense the era of the new phenomenon has arrived.

Complacent at the centre of the old phenomenon, the wealthy and the blinkered everywhere ignore the evidence of the shoots of the new phenomenon, or fail even to be aware of the new presence among them. All their conversation, all their thoughts, all their world is framed and driven by the old phenomenon, hence they are doomed. In the busy markets, the dazzling lounges, in streams of apparently endless gossip, they are oblivious of the end of their world: in truth, they are surrounded by fading.

Once the citadel of the old phenomenon is overthrown, they will talk no more about stocks and shares.

Once the citadel of the old phenomenon is overthrown, their love will no longer be a sinecure, and their words will grow meaningful again.

Once the citadel of the old phenomenon is overthrown, morning will enter each thing, and the heart will be a dawn.

We will work on new flags.

The pride of the old phenomenon will be broken. The future will show disdain for the old temples, the old ideas, the old ways. A great battleship, lying in warm, quiet waters, coral covering the rusting parts. A moving spectacle. Its direction is now the past. Mourning enters the atoms, loss is awe, for the death of the old phenomenon is death for all of its pieces, children and daisies included.

All of this is well documented in the movement of storms.

It is the destiny of the new phenomenon to bring age.

Choose the new phenomenon.


Re-post | Originally posted February 2014