glass bodies 371 380

in a prison of glass her body had been buried while her mind spun endlessly for years. 

in the same confined space she had lost the sense of self and it had taken over. 

the daemon on one’s shoulder is both gargoyle and shameless sinducer.

Kyniska was me. After gaining a religious faith, she died in a maelstrom of angst. Madness is a mode of being, legs no longer operational, breathing detached from glass body, brittle on the eve of sleep.

Sleep you must, and sleep is taken away from you. Day after day, sleeplessly, you talk to it, and talks to you. Sometimes it shouts, sometimes you whisper. Sometimes the messaiah is coming, and sometimes it’s just you and it. Watching the circle, as no season exists in this prison. There are no flowers, no harvest, no sunshine. Pain does not end, it revolves, profoundly.

One hour you dig deep into the sinew of your gut, one minute lasts an eternity. There is no sleep in this darkness, only a thousand voices shouting in unison. 

Then the tomb opens, and I finally look down the side of the building, emerging chrysalis, down to the abyss. It is not even that deep, or long. The much desired death is within reach, the end of suffering.

I hesitate. There is an absolute stillness to this instant, and the heat of the tower shields us from the cosmic freeze. This is Earth. This is Rex Nebular, this is Enceladus and a thousand million other places merging into one. Time takes survey of all and comes to a halt. 

In this gap, the wave extended leaves no mark on the mind. I am conscious, again. For a moment, pain is no longer an absolute necessity. 

I climb out of my grave. 

glass bodies 361 370

Angel at the gate

“The night is darkest when you do not know who you are.

I have been a slave, a private, a capitalist, a rebel, a captain, a commander. Of all my memories, none is dearer to me than that of running around in circles, dodging duty and observing birds being torn apart by cats. 

Rebels, former companions. I am glad to have had half of you blasted to smithereens, and the other half thrown in prison. There is nothing quite like cathartic betrayal.

My loyalty is not with the Eastern Empire, though I am double-aging for them now. Before being a Western slave, I was an Eastern child, bound to poverty and subdued by the higher powers of colonization. How lucky I was to be carried off world to be a slave builder of multiversal screens.

I despise everything you three represent. 

A former nun, lying about faith.

A former student, lying about knowledge.

A former soldier, lying about right action.

You have come to the gate of Enceladus castle to subvert the Truth of the Western Empire. And for that, you are welcome. I embrace your cause insomuch as it advances my cause. And my cause is with the Eastern Empire now. 

I remember as a child, before falling down into slavery, I lived in a room on the first floor of an empty building. That place was haunted by an eerie silence, and at night all I could hear was the sound of hexapods creeping in. Surrounded by disease, blighted by flying bugs, barricaded in a room with a wooden bed, a net and a table. At night a light would flash from the window and create patterns of shadow on the wall. The devil dancing on that wall was my sole companion through those dark days. And when the rain would fall, I would be untouchable. Looking down to the yard, a cemetery of statues looking up to my solitude.

As a commander I open this door to you, that you may walk through these corridors and seek your buried friend. 

I died a long time ago, a small child looking at father breathing in poisonous gas. I have carried on as dead ever since. My sole ambition is to make money. 

Go to your friend now, little rebels. Our paths may cross again.”

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.

glass bodies 331 340

The nun accepts

I dreamt I fell off the ram, and drowned from here to there, in a sea of myself. As a child, I endured abuse. Quite the motivation, to become a nun, to cancel out the will of those would-be nuns, who cancelled me out. “They are coming to get you, Barbara.” And from that ghastly crew, I learned that there was no place to hide, and those that called themselves your caretakers, were in fact ill-disguised under-takers, prison guards with sadism as their weapon of choice. The higher the suffering, the closer to God, was the implied lie. There was a small nun, a smiling one; she was the most evil of them all. She’d come into my room, and re-arrange every single object in sight, and she’d smile weakly, and call me her baby, her pride and joy. She’d touch me with her soft frail fingers, and in a moment her iron grip would hold me still, and then she would let me go, with a long, languid look of hellish candour.

I was chosen to be nun, and I took my vows, and I did my best to pray and teach, teach and pray, until the day we were defeated, and I saw myself out of ordainment, and chose a life of unrepentant sin. I have embraced the science and the technology, I have two children, I have forgotten my vows. You come to me with this mission, and what you want of me I cannot give. I cannot go back to the spiritual life. I am too old, and too wrinkled for that. I have forgotten all the spells of light, and my sole concern is fighting the good fight as a medical doctor and as a scientist. My latest obsession is with vaccines, because we can never be too cautions, we need to tailor our personal genomics to our spiritual needs.

For this reason I choose to say yes to you, in spite of everything. The disease of our galactic society is microbial in nature, the White Plague that makes zombies of us all begins with the lack of spiritual vaccines. If we can save the entombed one, the one girl that has seen the other side, we might be able to develop a vaccination against this empirical malaise, which has us so haggard, and so woe-begone. The death of me as a mother is my vocation as a scientist, and the death of me as a scientist is my vocation for nunnery. I once was a superior mother, and now that my inferiority has become apparent in every way, I choose this one last mission with you former-student, to undertake what’s due before it becomes too late.

As a child, I swam the Hellespont in dreams of my own and I woke in a nightmare, and the sedge was withered from the lake, and no birds sang. I have fallen off the ram, and again and again I drown in a sea of my own.  Now, again… I have lost my name and purpose. As a child, I heard the tiger laugh at me in my sleep, and its most terrible sound, was the sound of possession and inevitable doom. The lamia sans merci… it never smiles but it kills the spirit and it owns you. It still holds power on my breath, as it inevitably sits on my right shoulder, slowing me down, hampering my every action, it will not cease to haunt, not even at my time of death. I will come with you, Student. You have my blessing, even as I am cursed.

glass bodies 321 330

The ghost of the student, mourning the present-future

I gave up the idea of ecology long ago. My graduation was both a failure and a success. Now that many years have passed, I still feel the shame of it. After receiving honours for my efforts in studying the rhyzosphere of Solaris, I went on to an adventure to the edges of this galaxy, on a spiritual quest, a young fool headed for disaster. And if that was the end, the process proved itself to be laborious, and the monster that was hatched  there and then overtook my mind, and my body. “I no longer I” became an irony and a crime scene. All that I could perceive after my adventure was that I was lost in a desperate galaxy, a knife cutting me open, everything was pain.

Now after many years, I have climbed that spiritual mountain again, and the view has changed. In fact, the view is nowhere to be seen. The higher you go, the less oxygen you fall apart with. I don’t have problems breathing right now. The edge of the galaxy has become its pivot.  There is no place for hiding anymore. As the ancient prophet Huxley observed, and his uncle before him, silence has retreated at full speed to a naked shingle.

Now I am faced with the same task I was faced with then. And alas many years have passed since Kyniska was buried alive, I have no idea of where she is, and at what fathom she lies. I have lost touch with all my former companions, and the rebellion has long been extinguished. I am determined to find them, at all costs. One after one, we all have sold out to the White Plague, to the Empire of fake reflections. And if my soul has red-shifted all the starlight in the galaxy, my blue core is more white dwarf than black hole. I will find them, and we will find her. And if she is dead, we will rescue her remains. I cannot let this pass any longer, if I were to die now that would beyond betrayal. That is my resolution from atop this mountain on Mauna Vesta, formerly on the vast edges of the galaxy, now 7.4 kilo-parsecs from Krishna’s call.

glass bodies 311 320

the baryons in the interstellar medium twinkle in a wide range of densities and temperatures. in her waking, falling dream, Kyniska burns with the ideas of the defunct. in her coffin, she wakes up and screams. Once the dead have died hard, they must take the place as they find it, for no descent can be in the same stream twice.

after the fighting, the soldier wakes up back on Enceladus, in the service of the empire. he walks toward the castle through endless corridors of ice. but the day grows darker and darker, and he knows he will never reach the front gate.

in her bed burning, Kyniska feels everything and nothing at once. she hears the pain of the outcast, who are not and never will be citizens. Yet Xin was once an outcast; she fought for her right to exist, for her identity, and now she is the commander of the anti-rebel army.

in her waking horror, Kyniska sees Arion as the antagonist, hiding far away, far forward in time, flashing back and forward with his photoionized lies, his mouth open with dense gas coming out of it, lies coloured by ultraviolet photons. in her paralyzing illness, Kyniska has chosen the path of spirituality, and the religion of fighting the white whale has led her to a faith in God which is intermingled with her hatred for Arion.

Trapped in a box, she is being fed fantasies through a multiversal screen of the kind once built by Xin. Her love lost fast fuels supernova explosions in her mind, and while she waits until she sees the sun… she remembers how it was to fall in love… to see the break of day of an emptiness so vast, so fast, and the feeling of taking off, soaring, catching shock-heated temperature drops, while connected to stellar coronal gas on time scales far greater than millions of years. and she once vowed that he’d be on his mind forever, that she’d cross the endless oceans of suffering, she’d for an instant exist without acting, that her bewildered mind should stop wandering, and arrive at the highest good.

At the time of love, the earth was rotating, and the interstellar medium was forming the stars, and the dominant source of energy was the yoga of action. the visible appearance of galaxies around her kept urging her to accept words there seemingly inconsistent, such as “I”, “love” and “you”. And as gas evolves to stars, some part of their love was ejected from the galaxy in the form of galactic winds. Upon a dream, she saw a preying mantis, she felt the hurt of loving, and in her illness now she hears a song in the background. What is it?

Young Simon, later the Taoist, while rotting in prison, meditates on his earlier incarnation as a life-luster. When confronted with his mother’s dementia he felt dead in the gut: to feel so much, and to be able to communicate so little.

Kyniska discharges fantasies of love while entombed, in the tight embrace of religion, she explores the myths and lies of her mind with open mind, like a soaring phoenix on her last flight. The regrets of lost love bundled together in the Icarus desert, the all-accepting character of the non-existent knight’s squire, the resentment toward Arion, the sinking feeling of abandonment.

The Nun and her only student left are eating in a diner somewhere in a quiet corner of the multiverse, eye to eye in a manner like some stars compressed into a very narrow space, white clouds dimming their spectroscopic minds. Or is it the soup that burns?

Xin-Angel has the makings of the antagonist. Looking over the burnt out shell of the rebel ship, she remembers the building of multiversal screens, she remembers the plagues that devastated the slave camp where she lived, she remember the narcissus flowers echoing over a dark pool, mirroring her life choices. She, too, has regrets of long lost love.

In the cosmic microwave background, the elecromagnetic radiation pervades the story, and spread-out characters are far flung onto stellar photospheres, gamma rays emitted in nuclear transitions touch the decaying souls of those non-existent people, and dark matter particles provide no well defined boundary to this story, to the fantasy, and the optical wavelength of its narrator.

now with his eyes closed the Taoist sees trimmed starry lamps, glowing in the dark. the inevitable doom that the rebels expected has fallen true.

the student in the philosopher’s garden ponders how one should know, how does one let the right one in. Doctor Firn calls him to dinner, and the large wings upon his shoulders are mine, and the dizzy sky is witness.

after the rebels’ defeat, the multiverse has grown smaller, the emperor expects that the unforeseen does not exist. this very evening, freedom in an unattainable prospect. and while Xin explores her identities in the forests of Solaris, an overnight truce has been called to cremate the dead.

The enemy must lie, it will betray you. It is in its nature. Fighting the just fight is a choice, but first drive your chariot in the middle of the field. From confusion, there is weakness of memory. Tell us, reader, where does your weakness in memory lie? What are the secrets you have buried deep down in the Solaris jungle? What have you restored to the jungle?