dream interpreter – Part 1 : 75-77

75.

The city of snow leopards welcomed them,
its huge door grinning wide as they were
robbed at the gates by friendly guards
who were quick to recognize foreigners

and suggest that there might be a way
to skip ahead of the queue. Marco’s
small jewels were taken, and so their
weapons, as well as their good humour.

76.

At night, thanks to the charity of a
clear sky, they found refuge in a moon
illuminated cemetery. Setting their
fears aside, they slept on hard stone.

Twice robbed, they lost clarity at dawn,
once finding out that all that they had owned
had been taken from them while they rested.
Looking at the mountains, they stood alone.

77.

As they felt a great sadness, they were
approached by a street beggar. Her eyes
were sharp with lunacy, a mirror where
one might find measure to one’s misery.

She spoke with guttural tones, a series of
half-digested words, in a strange idiom.
Even if they could not always tell if she
was talking to them, they froze gorgonized.

dream interpreter – Part 1 : 51-59

51.

Then the summer came, and time went by,
carelessly they drifted across the steppe
riding past large assemblies of flamingos,
toward the mountains and the rising sun.

Marco found the time to soothe his pain,
his guilt was gnawing at him: he could
relate to Dream-eater, and he became her
friend. The sister kept a watchful eye.

52.

They left the horde – and for the young
horseback riders that was a rite of passage.
Dream-eater had no interest in power,
since she had killed her father – well –

for other reasons. Leaving the tribe
was the easiest thing in the world,
as the age had dared them to leap,
so the three Saka youngsters leapt.

53.

They flew off as a young sparrow
finally leaving the nest after having
been nursed by an unwilling and sour
old man, yet somehow loving of the

small bird. Off, into the summer air,
off – presumably to finding love,
and death, and casualty, leaving
dead and broken siblings behind.

54.

Animals get one chance to fly away,
just at the cusp of meaningful age,
that one opportunity often fails to
reveal itself, and the moment passes,

the small creature in the cage is never
freed, its soul dies at last on a winter
day, no longer pining for dreams that
never existed, accepting a dead life.

55.

The young warrior followed the two
sisters on their journey, and Marco
could not believe his luck, the power
dynamic having changed, and him assuming

the role of guide in this wide world away
from the horse riding tribes, and into
the unknown, where was wont to find fortune
and favour, for a demon was on his side.

56.

Or so he thought. As a child in Venice
he had met a fortune-teller, and she had
been shocked and horrified by his demeanor,
she said: “How can you be so carelessly calm

walking around with a demon on your back,
how can you be so innocent, and so sweet,
yet having a monster whispering in your
ear? One day you might fall prey to sin.”

57.

That distant memory was a long-lost bourdon
note, and Venice felt as if it never existed; now
the mountains were rising ahead, snow capped,
a large forest loomed in between, and Marco

felt an emotion he had forgotten, though
he could not place it. He badly wanted to
share his story with these his fellow
adventurers, and yet he hated himself.

58.

He could not bear to change their favourable
opinion, though clearly the witch sister
was ever watching him; he felt her magic
touching ever tendril of his soul, and the

song that defined who he was kept beating
the drum in his head, and his head hurt from
too much lyric-munching, the same words
kept spinning inside his soul, surely that

59.

was the demon’s work. On occasion he remembered
everything; he could almost touch Dream-eater’s
own pain, and the sister’s heavenly mind, or
the young warrior’s purity: he felt great shame.

As they entered the forest ahead, they went in on
foot, leading the horses into a strange darkness,
a great all-encompassing stillness. It felt like time
had inched on; a tiny, imperceptible tick forward.

dream interpreter – Part 1 : 40-44

40.

A dream never starts – just clicks on – being
in medias res. Dream-eater first saw a wall,
a mouldy grey barrier which was below ground.
A sense came upon her that all would die out soon.

Great excitement, a feeling of fear and hope.
An awareness that the world was reaching
an end, and yet infused with a sense of camaraderie,
she was not alone in the underground maze.

41.

‘Twas a narrow maze, or a sewer, nay an aqueduct.
Not sure, but clearly under a great city. How would
she know, never having seen a city in her life!
It was very much real, with crystalline clarity.

The room she was in (or they were in: friends,
companions still unknown to her, except for
being some people she loved deeply) the room
was very small, and breathing was difficult.

42.

The narrow passages of this underground lair
were endlessly going on; then occasionally
a large room with a water tank would appear,
a passage would rise up from the ceiling

shooting up into the above ground space,
she guessed that only a very small person
would be able to climb up and down. Pain,
she felt, trapped in a deadly world below.

43.

And yet she was not alone, and as they wandered
through the underground city in the great blind
she felt more alive then than many a day on the
endless steppe, the horizon forever expanding

to the Altai mountains, forever moving further
apart, escaping her freedom. For an instant she
thought she saw her father; she noticed a mark
on the wall, a double-axe, and then the dark.

44.

A large breathing creature, an entirely oily
mass of grease was blocking the passage. She
panicked, her companions felt a needle touch,
and from the corner of her eye she could see

some ungodly liquid seeping from this large
blob of rot, a grim fat-berg growing below,
a menace to the city, some karmic remnant of
human hubris: a living thing, most horrible.

dream interpreter – Part 1 : 16-22

16.

Upon his return to the Castle, the pilgrim
became melancholic, and then addicted
to the drink, and then overwhelmed by
family duties. Clearly he found life quite

unbearable. But wait, more about him later.
Now imagine skipping over the ocean across
many miles to a far-away land, to a steppe.
But first dip in waters in front of the Castle.

17.

Right now, back then, a whole armada is
blockading the harbour. That’s the people
following Memetis, here from across the sea.
Friendly neighbours holding siege to the Castle.

That’s one of the armies assembled here
(there). The fleet belongs to the Sultan of
Beştepe, a commander and a hungry ghost.
Definitions of the latter abound, but let us

18.

settle for “a person with control issues”.
Anyway, the Castle is now surrounded,
the trenches are filthy and deep, and the
horses are unstable (no pun intended).

It has been more than twenty years.
A poet called it “Troy’s rival”, as in
equally fantastical fiction. So that’s
at least double the trouble now, surely.

19.

So leap in the ocean in front of Castle,
dodge the ships, past the sunshine,
skip the clouds, beat the storms – reach
the coast, up above perhaps, toward Ilium

(another myth dear to unravished brides,
and school-children on the West side).
So now: that’s a tale of East and West,
as you rightly have guessed,  dear reader !

20.

So then, in the steppe, a very barren
land, full of dull muds and no hope,
where no thing grows, close to a large
and shallow salt-lake, not close enough!

A traveller, a business-man has lost
his path. He was on his way to Xanadu,
or so he thought. Coming from a city
surrounded by water and lies, he knew

21.

well next to naught. He was so young,
so eager. Find worthy love, hoard riches,
please his never-pleased ma and pa,
and so he journeyed to the steppe.

He lost his way though he had followed
the stars. Suddenly, a prisoner to a great
warrior-princess in a very hot place.
Before all that, there was a lot of travel.

22.

Chiefly across endless heaps of mud,
and no grass. Nothing can be found in
the steppe of Kalmuks: not a living thing,
just miles and miles of unbroken clay.

So the prisoner captured by scouts
had time to reconsider his choices,
to beg for a little water, to ask politely
for an explanation. There came none.

dream interpreter – Part 1 : 10-15

10.

He cautiously went out in the rain.
The apple he had left as an offering
had been bitten. Surely, he assumed,
that must have been the evil spirit.

The purple light was glowing in a burn,
but the shadow, the flash in the window
had gone. He had been touched by God.
He went over what God must have meant.

11.

Surely, the light was a sign from above
meant to signal his induction in a world
of knowledge. Surely, he had come all
this way for a purpose. Surely, the spark

that brightly shone in his room was
witness to his hard journey, testimony
of his efforts, and reward for his literal
enlightenment. Surely, that was that.

12.

He stepped out in the open, fool that
he was, and felt the rain avoiding
his body. In the midst of a terrible
storm, he stood with arms outstretched

and claimed that not a single drop had
touched him. More proof, he thought, that
he had been chosen, that he had beaten
the test, and defeated the mocking shadow.

13.

The vision went on through the night,
and after the rain a great stillness
came over the monastery. The pilgrim
was standing motionless where the rain

had left his skin dry, yet looking over
the courtyard with great equanimity.
The moon was shining potently while all
the statues beneath seemed to breathe.

14.

Persistently he kept his addled mind
in a semi-medititative state, while
booming crickets raised several tones
in the air, and the puddle before him

gave reflections of the moon. The statues
were seemingly pointing at the puddle,
and the moon was knowingly bouncing off
stolen light. He felt robbed at heart.

15.

In the hallowed morning, upon rising
the pilgrim distinctly heard kind voices
of angels like children singing praise
in a foreign language. His next choice

had been set in stone. He would return
to the Castle, and work without rest
toward the purpose he had finally found.
He would now follow the inner instincts.

dream interpreter – Part 1 : 4-9

4.

In trying to understand the dream-symbols
of another person, we fill in the gaps with our
own interpretation, assuming our perceptions
to be comparable. Visions and ill-dreams are

gap-fillers in themselves. What is a dream, a vision?
A message from God, as the ancient Greeks intended?
A message from the unconscious? An electrical
phenomenon to be decoded by a quantum computer?

5.

Slowly, the pilgrim rose from the bed of wood,
he moved toward the door. From the other side
of the room, through the window overlooking
the swamp, there came a strong flash of light.

The light was blinding, and he felt confused.
Suddenly all the room lit up; a strange whirring
sound began to drone, like a machine had started.
A heavy undecipherable scent came and stayed.

6.

What the shadow on the wall wrote is subject
of much debate in his frayed mind. It so appeared
then to him, that the devil or a spirit took form
on the wall opposite to the window’s shining light.

The shadow was mocking him with an incredible
jig in a frenzy. As he looked on in amazement, he
saw the monster’s face distort in disgust. Then it
turned from running to a comedy of his artistry.

7.

At home in the Castle, the pilgrim was reknowned
for being a failed artist, and his folly had brought
him far abroad in mysterious lands to seek the light.
Now the spirit was mocking his efforts and talents.

It was all so very personal, as if in this cursed
night all the threads in his life had come together
in a knot, and the knot was being unravelled
before his eyes. His painting was exhausting.

8.

And the shadow on the wall was proving to
him the utter meaninglessness of his efforts,
and the purple light in the middle of the room
was shining all the brighter, and the sound

of mechanical humming was drilling in his ears,
and the scent of spice and moist dread was
filling his senses to the brim. Somewhere outside,
the damp skies hidden from view saw a lightning.

9.

Then a thunder broke the silence, a hard bell toll.
It was a wake-up call for the little foolish pilgrim
looking at the shadows in his monastery cell.
He believed he was being summoned by God.

He was being tested, or so he thought. All of his
life streamed in front of him, and he followed
the mocking dance of the black shadow on the
stained wall until a sharp rain burst his bubble.

Fiddling while Rome burns #3

The forth day
of the new year: what better day
to journey East, flower-bound?

The Piraeus Lion radiant as Baldr,
believing itself to be invulnerable.

Time is teaching it drawn-out lessons,
soon to take one last bow before the
crowd caught in Loke’s fishing net.

Venetians, washed-up con-artists
botching the art of murder and
rehearsing forgetfulness, way
overboard if seeking validation.

The forth wall prays and weeps:
the perils of ‘true’ friendship,
of golden hypocrisy, of sweet hubris.

Everything is only for a day,
‘member?

 

glass bodies 351 360

Being together through long periods of deep-space silence made us intolerant of each other’s convictions. Thinking back on the Engineer’s new ways, the vanishing flatness of disgust. As a man of knowledge, he has achieved recognition from the Academy of Laputa, one certificate at a time. The radiant fabric of Steve’s suit is a stark reminder of our extinguished paths. When we last saw him, he had an ascetic aspect, and the only thing he said to us was that he was going to clean out the universe, one rubbish bin at a time. His back was hunched in an imperceptible fall, and his eyes were ray-less and stricken. Father back, at the end of them, was a mournful gloom tempered with the bitterness of living. As we sail on the mission to rescue Kyniska, we are diminished, we are so few. The spaceship plows on, swinging from side to side, an ambling gait picked up at the harbour, its self-awareness, a game of dominoes.

The Taoist, alone in the immensity of unstained light was ready to go out suddenly. A good south wind came from behind his meditation. The albatross of the mind did follow. His grief was centered, his anger in decay, and the noises in his head were many. They cracked and growled, his loneliness was vertical like hollow moon-shine. He was concentrating on shame, on the consequences of betrayal. An infection plagues us, and every cross-bow in every mind shoots endless arrows into the bloody sun. The light in his cell is all-powerful, because his eyes are closed. His copper eyelids are shut, and his legs are crossed; his back is hunched. He slumps forward, a hollow hiss follows forward into the silent dampness. A breeze does not blow, the furrow in his furnace-face deepens, white foam flows from his mouth. The poison in his mind is echoed by the dimmest gut gurgles. Through fog and mists he sees the farthest shore, a place where he knows he can find rest. The clock on the prison-wall keeps on ticking.

They made me watch.

glass bodies 341 350

the soldier debates

As a conscript, I have been a cruising yawl, snaking my way up the river in search of mythical prophets. What a failure I have been. What a scarcity of real teachers there really is. One of them is rotting in gaol, a false teacher in a false age.

At gun school, I’ve learnt how to shoot crack and feel my head bloat till my testicles exploded. They don’t teach you that in nursery school, but death is the best anesthetic. Scale a fortress, or a nunnery, or a book. I’ve learnt it all. Then I was sent to Enceladus, and I have been freezing my mind in God’s shame in the wonders of isolation ever since. Never mind my spell in the rebellion. I have always been a yes man, and now I don’t take yes for an answer. The tide has turned. The middle class railings next door make me mad. My neighbours want more. My window overlooks the well-built city. I don’t hear the sounds of the Albatross, but the faint flash of bomb-lightning reminds me that we are at war with the Eastern Empire. The Penmynydd Empire is in crisis. I’m bound down the river, along with the bodies. I could sit here, and debate the pros and cons of war, and I will, but I know you are pressed for time, and you need an answer. I will help you rescue the half wit, beg pardon, the half dead. But first you need to listen to my lecture.

The Empire insists on the mistakes in words. The lack of history is methodically researched. Cultural hegemony is imposed by the promise of the forever young, by the immediacy of communication, by the invasion, occupation and annexation of our minds. As a soldier, I have fought for the Empire in the West, for the way things are – for the way the things were. In the absence of limits, the public and the private merge in universal stream of consciousness, where the narrative is dictated by the absence of content, by structural enforcement of the fake. The fake is everything. East or West, the fake rules our constituents, and the soldiers are the theoretical application of cultural domination. The other side, is the complete and perennial uprooting of ideas by a tsunami of emoticons, an electric shock of enforced perception of want. Warfare is waged on the twittosphere, and the unconsciousness is forged one child at a time. I used to be a soldier, now I am an intellectual on the brink of extinction. My social order is brought about by fast riding Amazons in brown packages. The Tudors are down, seven times, the commotion caused is not more than a whimper. The Eastern Empire is looking for recruits. When Perseus learned of the conspiracy, the turned himself into stone on the spot.

Follow the winged horse till the tallest tower on Enceladus. There in the castle without a view, you shall find Kyniska sleeping in the power of light, scaly serpents overlooking her tomb. When the Eastern Empire comes, you rebels will have your heads cut off, snakes that we are.

“And through the drifts the snowy clifts

Did send a dismal sheen:

Nor shapes of men nor beasts we ken


The ice was all between.”

 

Get thee to Enceladus,

fellow-student.