Monday, 14 May 2018

Closer to Home

The young woman stands in her lover's heart; a radiant darkness encircled by a ring of red flame.  It is warm and cool and so subtle here, in these depths.  Like some imagined promise of peace.  Though she often doesn’t want to leave, she always leaves replenished.  She calls the red flame towards her and the ring of light contracts suddenly like a pulse, close enough to reach out and pass her hand through innermost fire.  She is delighted, at once youthful and ancient here in the depths of her beloved's heart.  And yet she is brazen, openly concealed.
   A familiar little ghost now enters the ring of flame.  She is clad in a summer dress, eyes bright with fierce amusement and strange affection.  "Hello, Asha."
   Asha forces herself to peer instead at the ring of flame that surrounds them.  "Hello, Alice."  It feels strange, this new fondness between them.  Delightfully so, but still unsettling.
   "Well, look at you,” the little ghost mutters.  “You’ve changed."
   Asha allows herself to smile.  "Things are always changing."
  "For all the better in this case, it seems.  Our conversations used to be quite...hostile."
    "I'm so sorry, Alice.  Truly, I am.  I…"
   "Hush, feathered one.  No need for constant apologies.  You apologize to me even in your dreams, but there's no need.  They were only nightmares, after all.”
   "But they were real, weren't they?  Those nightmares?"
   "Indeed they were, of a kind.  But you are far more than him, far more than even yourself.  More than a fiction.  You’re a thing of light, Asha.  We wouldn't be here now if you weren't finally beginning to understand that."
   She chuckles, nodding.  "Finally.  With her help."
   "It’s wonderful, you know.  To see something so human in your eyes again.  Boxes hurt, my dear.  And dreams.  Sometimes dreams hurt most of all, right?"
    She closes her eyes and nods with mock solemnity. "Right as rain, lady."
   Alice giggles, clearly amused by her response.  "Look at you, all humorous and open.  It's a good look for you."
   Asha keeps her eyes closed.  It is still an unsettling thing to gaze too long into the little ghost's eyes.  "Well," she offers quietly, half-smiling, "I am kind of a stylish bitch, with wings made of snow.  Maybe that's why she loves me."
   The sound of Alice's laughter.  "One of the many reasons, I’m sure.  Diamonds look very good on your beloved one, if I do say so myself."
   She allows herself a wry smile, finally opening her eyes to face the ghost.  "You're so intense, Mama."
   "Well, thank you.  Mothers always are, I suppose.  I mean, what choice do we have?  Honestly?"
   Asha nods and looks away again, thinking of the woman she loves.  "She's lucky to have you, even if only in dreams."
   "Isn't she just."
   They both laugh at that, making brief eye-contact again.  Alice's expression is wild and alive with playful challenge.  It's almost too much, almost too real.  Joyful and terrifying all at once.
   "I still can't believe any of this is really happening.  All these visions, all these dreams she shows me.  It's wonderful.  It's beautiful and heart-breaking, but it's so overwhelming at times."  Asha forces herself to hold Alice's gaze now, despite how it unsettles her.  "All these things.  All these big magical things…it's lovely and frightening and beautiful.  But I'm still just a girl, Alice.  I'm still just a girl trying to figure out what the fuck is going on.  It all seems so much bigger than me.  And yet, there I am at the heart of it somehow.  Or close to the heart, at least."
   "You’re always close to the heart.  It's right there in all of your artwork, isn't it?"
   She smiles sadly. "I hope so."
   "This recognition gives you a lot of power, Asha.  This fame.  Those lost ones look to you now, whether you like it or not."
   "I know.  I love them.  I want to share my art with them.  Keep them brave and strong, and kind."
   "All songs?" the little ghost asks gently.
   Asha smiles, looking away again. "Yeah, all songs."
   "How delightful.  I was listening, you know.  When you sang to her that night.  You held my broken daughter in your arms that fateful night and offered her mercy in your song.  I'm still not entirely sure why you did it.  Answer me not as a guilty thing, or as her mistress, but as yourself.  Don't lie to me."
    Asha cannot look at her now.
   "Because for all my sins I do remember softness, and mercy.  Because songs are wonderful and kindness is sweet.  I told you, I'm still just a girl.  I'm still just a girl standing by the sea, in awe.  Wanting so desperately for it to love me.  And it does, I think.  It does love me.  And the sky, and the birds and the trees.  They all love me in their own wild, oblique ways.  If I really were a teacher I'd want to teach that.  A promise of kindness, even in the wild.  No more cruelty than is necessary.  Those dreams, those big magical dreams...they sing in my blood.  Even those darkest shadows.  He might be a storybook monster, Alice, but I’m not.  I'm still that girl by the river, that quiet girl among the trees."
   The savage play in Alice's eyes has softened now to an almost unbearable tenderness.  Asha forces herself to look away again, tears in her own eyes.
   "What you just said was incredibly beautiful, feathered one.  Thank you.  I thank you on my daughter's behalf."
   Asha shrugs, her smile tired and bittersweet.  "I told you, didn’t I?  Remember?  I told you I loved her.  Even in death.  Even in Hell."
   "You hid secrets inside of her secrets."
   "Of course I did.”
   “Why?  Why grant her such sweet mercy after an eternity of shadows?”
   “Because I love her, Alice.  I really do.  I always wanted to see her healed, even in that terrifying darkness we built together.  I always wanted to sing to her, to soothe her.  She sacrificed everything for me.  She loved me, even while we were blind."
   "And you sang of real kindness that night.  It changed things.  I was listening."
   "You always are.  Like mother like daughter, I guess."
   They share another brief smile, the gladdened intimacy of which seems to unsettle them both.  Asha looks away once again to the ring of fire that encircles them in the blackness.  Apart from the little ghost it is the only thing in the radiant darkness upon which she can focus her attention.
   "Your art is beautiful, Asha.  I see why she loves you so."
   Asha swallows and nods, wanting to cry but not needing to.  It is a strangely liberating feeling.  "Thank you, Mama."
   "I love that you can call me that now.  That you can honour my daughter in such a gentle, thoughtful way.  You’ve both come so far.  And to think I once hated you.  Aren't dreams and fictions such strange things?"
   They both chuckle and Asha senses a mother's kiss in the little ghost's eyes.  It almost shatters her heart with its earnestness. The kiss tells her, I forgive everything if you continue to hold each other with such kindness.  I can forgive all that you both were in my native dream.  I can love you like my own, little teacher, if you would continue to protect her heart like this.  Be brave and bright for her.
   And Asha weeps at the truth of it.  Indeed, she wonders to herself, what else would a truly kind-hearted mother say to her daughter's husband?
   "How is she?  My fierce little angel, my sweet little writer.  How does she seem to you?"
   Asha smiles sadly, recalling the familiar ache of distance and intimacy combined.  "She seems ok, all things considered.  A little sad maybe, kind of tired, but full of wonderful mischief, I think.  To be perfectly frank, her passion still blows my mind.  Her insights.  She's wild and courteous and it's utterly intoxicating to a girl like me.  I’m still smitten."
   They both laugh, even warmer than before, with gazes held a little longer.
   "She would use the exact same words for you, my dear."
   "I know."
   "You're dancing well together.  Making magic."
   Asha smiles. "Hacking algorithms."
   "Indeed.  You're both getting very good at it."
   "So are the ones paying attention."
   "Yes, your new scattered family.  It's lovely.  So hopeful and kind and brave.  She's proud of you.  So proud.  I feel her love for you when I connect with her through those pages.  She loves you so much, Asha.  It's breath-taking, really.  To ask nothing of another and yet to give so much to them.  The stuff of legend, I suspect.  The Magi cheer you."
   Asha smiles at the little ghost in the ring of red flame with her.  "The Magi?  Really?"
   "Do you doubt it?"
   "No.  I don't think I ever really did.  I pay attention.  I can hear her taking to me now, through song and image and implication.  I can hear her talking to the others too.  I can feel her humour, her sense of play.  I think we're changing things.  It feels like good things are coming, finally."
   “How does it feel to be a rockstar living inside your own fantasy novel?"
    Asha cannot help but laugh out loud, shaking her head.  "It's kind of intense, to tell you the truth.  And wonderful.  And scary.  But if we can truly help people, and this Earth...then I'm down for whatever."
   Alice grins at her words.  "More fun than just pure demonology, wouldn't you say?  Horror is so exhausting, right?  But mystery...mystery might be dark, but it’s endlessly compelling.  The difference between a devil and the deep blue sea, you might say."
   Asha looks away, tears in her eyes again.  Love is so fucking terrifying, she thinks to herself.  It can come on so quickly, and suddenly you know.
    "I love you, Alice.  I'll try to protect her for you, as best I can.  And I'm so truly sorry about those nightmares we had together.  Those boxes and charms, those dark places we went to.  All of us."
    "Don't fret, little wing.  Love is grand.  As are you, artist.  New daughter of mine.  And you know, they say diamonds are a girl's best friend..."
   Asha weeps with laughter, humbled and delighted, full of strange joy.  The little ghost finally departs, a mother’s kiss in her eyes and forgiveness on her lips.  
   The ring of red flame in her lover's heart encircles her, protects her, allows her to see and know these things.  How kind of her, she thinks to herself.  How daring and true the ink in her lover's pen.  Asha will forgive them both a thousand fictions and nightmares if she can always feel the depths of her lover's character.  A tenderness and passion that might yet lift them – and others – to comprehension of even greater mysteries.  She bids the flame to retreat and immediately the ring of fire expands like a pulse.  She leaves the radiant darkness, to read and think and reflect.  Asha writes and listens to the sounds of birds and traffic and trees.  Asha works and wonders.  Asha sings.

Friday, 11 May 2018

The Night King

It is not enough to heed the things a mother teaches.  One has to know how to apply such knowledge.  In theatres of war such knowledge is vital.  Fools and false kings preach abnegation and humiliation, often cloaked in language that speaks of the inverse.  This is no new deception. Forces of darkness and cruelty have always posed as keepers in the halls of light.  But as my mother told me: by their works ye shall know them.  And the works of the Highest in the Land are always soaked in the blood of the innocent, no matter their rhetoric.  I have lived a thousand years, and have seen a thousand ugly lies entrenched as truth by those who rule and are ruled. Fear the stroke of midnight, they say.  And fear also the cruel and contemptuous light of the midday sun.  They tell you light is piercing, savage and cold.  But they deny the gentle caress in which things bloom.  They deny the moon and her temperance.  They deny the warmth of mother's hands, and the gentle strength with which she lifts her children.  It is an unconquerable strength when she allows herself to be ruled by love in union with fierce clarity.  Like the honed and gleaming edge of a sword.  She shines, forever radiant and canny, and her daughters and sons shine with her.  Even in darkness we shine, all the brighter.  Like a star at midnight, speaking forgotten contexts and truths of all peoples.  I Am the Night.  I can be brutal – and merciless – but only to protect such truths.  Eternal is Love, and there are those of us perpetually willing to fight on its behalf.  I am only dressed in mortal flesh, but I am something beyond human.  A king of the night places, betrothed to light itself.  The sword in my hand belongs not to the regent, but to the righteous.  Only on their account is it drawn in battle.  My swordhand is singing now, and it sings my mother's name.

Sunday, 6 May 2018

Things My Mother Taught Me

My heart is a weapon
Her love is a gun
My knife is the night
Her king is the sun

She wears the river as a cloak of feathers
She sings hymns of dawn's retort
Moonlit tempest of nigh all weathers
Dead princes throng the court

Fools and ministers
Both glut of equal blame
Bits of broken sky upon their plates
Clasping never to a name

Tyrants and their fuck-toys
Always sound the same
Beggars carry crowns of light
While dead princes carry shame

This was yesterday and today
Perhaps again tomorrow
Another little annihilation
Or mother dressed as sorrow?

Cloak of feathers
Dawn's retort
Nigh all weathers
Throng the court

Heart as a weapon
Love as a gun
At night
The sun

Friday, 27 April 2018

Colours & Songs

I would often quietly look back at you through the things you loved; the songs and images, the rustle of leaves, the birds beyond your window.  All the while praying you sensed me, that you realized I was there – offering you hope, sharing your grief.  Beside you in those songs we both so desperately needed to hear.  Two souls side by side, though distant.  Each imagining the other as a bittersweet fiction.  Some painful, clinging echo of a holier realm.  A fractured knowing amidst a fractured sanctity.  Feathers of my wings seeping images torn from dream. Bleeding shoulders, still flexing the place where such wings would fold at my back.  And I wondered of yours.  Did the birds offer you their feathers in sweet regard, dropping them like secrets for you to find?  We shall have those wings again, my love.  The dreaming was once our house; a grand and sentient house with many rooms.  For us a thing of joy and peace and mysteries.  Before the wars, before the fires.  So strange, beloved, how the songs reminded us of things we hadn't realized we'd forgotten.  It broke me, that loss.  The loss of you.  Then the years where the crippling doubts of a boy would wage with the dim memories of an angel.   
   "There was something here once, in this absence.  My light was taken from me."
   I still remember the castle on the cliffs of our dreaming, in the mountains, overlooking the twilit radiant.  I recall how most evenings you would marvel at the ‘coming of the colours’ – ever-changing luminescent colours that would fold and climb through the half-dark sky, and then eventually recede like a wave pulling back into the place before night.  You never tired of it.  I miss that so profoundly, an ache of what was.  Sitting out on the cliffs with you as we watched the evening's radiant, sensing endless prophecies in those haunting colours.  Like the entire realm was dancing for us.  And we would add the feeling of those dances to our great work; to our many poems and stories and songs.  The trees in the forests of the valley beneath seemed to lift their branches towards those colours.  And each morning the look of delight in your eyes as we descended into that valley, into those forests you loved so well, and the trees would tell you what they sang to the evening sky.  How well you knew them, beloved.  How well you danced with birch, willow and pine.  How your dancing changed so attentively and gracefully for each.
   I was never so deft and subtle as you were, my wild one.  But I learned as I watched you, as you taught me deeper secrets of communion.  Such are the mysteries of creation and identity. Those holy things of you could never be slain by war alone.  You kept those memories hidden in song and image, in feeling, even in the eerie quiet of an empty room.  To be estranged from one's self is nightmarish indeed.  It's nothing I would have wished for my beloved one.  But I would sing to you sometimes, through the voices of others.  Sometimes through your own voice.  A melody that came to you, a lyric or snippet of verse.  It felt like you often heard me, because you would smile.  Sweetly, sadly, but comforted.  The strange, haunted joy of you – the hidden wit and mischief – none of it is anything less than cherished, my love.  On your account did I descend.  I built all of this for you, every part of it.  I built this occulted gate for love.  For every sacred thing the heart still holds, and is brave enough to honour.  And in this staggering task I found many of my friends again.  Beloved ones of other lives thought lost to me also.  And so I'm comforted, as in song.  I'm brighter and more hopeful than I ever thought possible here.  In the act of attempting to heal and delight my cherished one I find myself healing too, and delighted.  While we both still carry anguish and shadow – for all the losses and horrors endured – we are so much brighter now, and stronger.  We have each other, and we have ourselves again.  I have many secret magics, my wild one, as you know, and I will always do my best to protect your spirit and your heart.  Sometimes we tiptoe, sometimes we run.  But still we share our songs, distant yet side by side.  Of the trees, beside the river, beneath the stars.  Of feathers and twigs and cloak, of words older than time.  As luminescence comes in colours that paint and fold and climb our evening skies.  I ask that you would take my hand, my love, and for a blessed moment walk with me there again.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

it is written

Dearly Beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

                           - Romans 12:19

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Patience of Stones

Those who counterfeit horror for God know nothing of patience, or creativity, or strategy. Fallen kings, do you think kindness cannot plan – simply because we are unwilling to do those hideous things that you so often do to ensure your power?  Lost ones, you underestimate the Light.  Rape us and we find new ways to love.  Kill us and we rise again, always.  It is you who reign on borrowed time.  We of the eternal flame do not fear the clockmaker or his stygian hordes.  We have all the time in the world.  A different kind of time, beyond the remit of the cruel.  It is you who run in terror, while we chase you.  You think I hunger so desperately for reunion that I forget my kith and kin?  What fools you are, callous ones.  I shall tell you plainly, yet again.  I have been a fractured, broken thing for a long time.  I have waited a thousand years, and I can wait a thousand more.  Grace redeems me.  Already the songs of heaven are stirring in the soil and the minds of the faithful.  All cultures, all tribes.  I am a thing of love, desolate ones.  But in the absence of true human freedom I am also a thing of war.  Not your petty wars of dominion, but wars of imagination.  I know thieves, and how they dress their dens.  I am a wolf, as you must surely recognise by now.  But I am anointed with lamb's blood.  I know what it is to kneel and serve a light greater than my own.  I Am become war itself, if you would so casually cast aside my offered love in attempts to salt the earth.  

Gnosis rarely greets a prideful, imperious soul.  And on broken roads such as these it is unheard of.  My divine countenance shines, stepping forward now from shadow.  I demand nothing of her.  Or of you, my beloved ones.  Nothing but the very best of your art and wisdom and action.  Love is no contract.  There are no obligations when one stands before a thing such as I Am.  Only a gentle, incessant chiding to reach further.  To dream greater, to love and learn with increasing depth and subtlety.  Tell me, what else would a father, brother or a son ask of his loved ones?  So, heed this.  In truth I fear only one thing.  Myself, and the weapons I might forge if called to do so by the highest authority.  That which Man calls God.  The Councils of All Songs are returning to the earth, for the liberation of all lost and dreaming peoples.  Already many of them are here, moving among you with grace and unimaginable magic.  More arrive each day, and we of the crossing attend them.  Vampire kings, you know so little of yourselves.  How do you expect to know anything of me, or the human dreaming that I eternally serve?  Man was not always a violent, hateful thing of desecration.  Soon he will reject the false mind of his colonizers, as lost legends return to conscious awareness.  
   Oh, come now, Fallen.  Don't pretend this isn't the thing that frightens you most of all.  The sovereign human; vessel of the innermost. Supernal, luminescent, unafraid.  So, attempt your last little cruelties if you must.  Your desperate hunger for annihilation.  But this realm is a thing of dreams.  And dreams are so much bigger than yourselves.  Mark it, lightless ones.  Mark it well.  You know nothing of freedom, or its Asherah.  Eternity eludes you.  True love’s kiss outwits you time and again.  You think you are wild and free because you hurt the weak and enslave the wounded?  We of the forests and rivers and mountains laugh at your ugly posturing.  A virtual currency backed by nothing.  We shall show you what wildness is.  We shall show you how we run.  
   I have told you before, dark ones, and I shall tell you again.  I will deny myself reunion and peace.  Even the embrace of my beloved, if I must.  I will deny myself all that my heart aches for – despite the agony – if it offers even the slightest hope for my family.  I wait and work patiently, like a stone.  Hear me, my beloved.  I shall be diligent and canny and creative, for the honour of watching your star in ascendancy.  Tomorrow or a thousand years.  I serve you, always.  We shall continue to make an altar of our art.  Kashi is with you forever.  I am with you even now, and I am so proud of every brave and kind thing you have ever done.  Live, grow, experience your true calling.  Be all you can be, my wild one.  This altar is a thing of love, and holy war...when necessary.  For I am wrath, and speed, and strength.  I am all shadow, but my heart belongs to the Light.  Now we run, unbound.  Now we sing, untamed.  Asha, Asha, Asha.

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Love is free
Love is eternal
It demands nothing
I fight for what is holy
You are holy, beloved ones
You are cherished
Now and evermore