Tuesday, 14 March 2023

Little Victories

Sight before certain, depth before fall.  Aside goes the curtain; stand, walk or crawl.  This legacy of living, this love as a sin.  My mistress is happier.  I'll take the win.  Pages for decades, close to the breast.  Song-lines and essays at Mother's behest.  Fathers so furtive  still waging the war.  A tempest now gentler, hugging the shore.  Oh, if I could give in, or love through my lovers – I would be silent, akin to all others.  Though your light is brighter I reflect nonetheless.  These ways of the daughter is anyone's guess.  The ghosts of my Ever.  My damage undone.  Sight before certain through the eyes of the son.

Wednesday, 8 March 2023

Murder Song

I've often found that mortals have no real grasp of what's really happening around them.  Even in quieter climates, but especially during times of crisis. They cannot recognise the stage, nor the players.  They cannot speak the language of the birds and so they confuse fiction for fact, wry truth for metaphor. They think this false chronology is real and they don't understand the stakes involved.  But we do.  Don't we, Fallen?  Players in this renaissance game.  At least, that's what I wanted you to think.  That you understood something.  Truth be told you have no idea.  There are many kinds of occulted vision.  Many kinds of chorus, and you are not the experienced veterans you imagine yourselves to be.  Where is your nuance, your dexterity?  I'm not talking about the ability to model a possible outcome.  Or skill enough to encode some fourth-dimensional mockery within your rhetoric.  Any fool with an understanding of true physics can do that.  Kashi isn't impressed with your dark magics and supposed hyper-sigils.  This isn't about information, or mathematics.  This is about knowledge. Maha-mahtica.  Truths beyond truth.  Dreams within dreams.  From a distance birds can be confused for angels, can't they?  Dreams of feathered flight spread aloft, or folded at our backs.  I wonder how many mortals recall the truth of literal human flight.  Or immortality?  For the longest time I counted myself among the dead as well as the living.  Lost cultures and chronologies. Wandering through the three-dimensional ruins of psyche.  But death isn't what it used to be.  Such is always the case when oppressors begin to lose their power. Things start to shift.  Subtly at first.  Like a half-imagined tremor.  But eventually these changes gather pace.  The veils begin to thin.  Even fracture.  Suddenly communication of all kinds is possible.  And believe me, the human spirit has a way of beautifully gaslighting the Fallen.  Driving them mad.  Because we protect our young and honour our dead.  Unlike the demonic energies your wraith-priests call forth.  Do you have any idea, Fallen, what it means to be a Father?  Or a friend?  To be a mentor, a student? No, you don't.  Because you can't even grasp the truth of song and centre.  The veracity of presence.  If a winged eclipse is all you can understand of the infinite, then it's no wonder I outmatched you the day I crafted the feathered tongue.  Any callous fool can commit murder.  An act that is ugly, banal and thoughtless.  But Kasi has a special way of killing.  I can do it on the inside, and you won't even blink.  None the wiser.  Held suspended in a single breath, the final breath, for a thousand years.  The very last beat of your heart.  I know what that's like because I lived it.  Oh, Fallen.  Still so ready to debase and enslave?  Still confusing truth with metaphor?  No matter.  Even the dead don't live forever.

Monday, 20 February 2023

The Voices of Others


I have never had a need or a desire for blind faith.  Even in stories.  Even among dancing weavers and shades of the dead.  I wandered once through such mythologies, sightless and unreflective.  But my faith was never blind as I was.  I thought I was gifted and agile, interpreting my experiences correctly.  I thought I was heeding the signs, open to a far darker and stranger reality.  But I was simply prideful.  Lost, angry and entitled.  In those legends I was a spiteful, vengeful fool living out my own distorted notions of romance.  I thought I was madly in love with the voice and soul of another.  But, like Narcissus, I was only entranced with my own image.  My own concerns and pretty grievances. Indulgent and vain.  Attempting to create a false reflection.  Trying to mimic a human heartbeat.  My beloved sang to me sometimes, but there was no music that could move me.  Instead I expected reality to twist itself to suit my will.  My reckless whims.  Indeed, in those stories I cast all manner of black magicks to aid me in that colossal arrogance.  I imagined myself darkly liberated somehow. Sexual and sorcerous.   Dynamic, dangerous and wild.  But I was vampiric. Utterly unconscious.  The living dead.  A demon without guilt, hope or recognition of sin.  I was the literal definition of spiritual blindness.  Not only had I damned myself, I had enslaved the very soul I claimed to love most in all the worlds.  But he freed me from that damnation.  She freed me.  She was able to soften, grieve and learn, and eventually she managed to create a fracture of recognition in my cold, eclipsed heart.  A sliver at first.  A mere glimmer.  But that's all consciousness needs when it has an eternity to play with.  Of course, this is purely symbolic.  A fiction.  In the real world I'm just a writer.  A quiet storyteller trying to cultivate insight.  None of this actually happened.  Unless it did in some strange multidimensional sense.  Fictions are like that sometimes. Mercurial, paradoxical.  Myths and archetypes.  Primal cosmic energies seething in the tempest of our psyches.  Straddling the borderland of reality and dreams.  The fall of morning.  The war in heaven.  But let it be said, plain and simple, that Kasi believes in higher powers.  Angels, demons, and the continuum that connects them.  After all, I'm living proof of my Father's infinite mercy.  I get to tell stories as if they were real.  As if they were true.  As though I had lived them.  So, my faith was never blind.  Even when sightless.  Mine is a faith tempered by experience, both dark and light.  A faith cultivated through knowledge, growth and dance.  I've mastered nothing yet but I'm a willing student of everything my Father has to teach me.  And I'm grateful for all of it.  I'm grateful for any work or pathway that nurtures healing.  Any form or expression that allows us to become more than we once were, aligning our reason, compassion and creativity.  No man is an island, sweet ones.  Not even the blackened sun.  We live beside and in relationship with one another, always.  My brother taught me that.  Do you know who my brother is?  My voice is only the echo of other voices, my work the echo of other works.  After all, I am the sum total of all who came before me.  Those who wanted to tell intriguing, multi-layered stories.   Those who wanted to offer insight and art concerning our shared humanity.  Those who danced, sang and gave voice to the voiceless, choosing to explore the heavenly kingdom within.  And it's better, isn't it?  To acknowledge the warring forces inside us, to nurture balance, restoration and health?  It's far better than these endless, exhausting dichotomies.  Art, love and friendship – such is the true alchemy of the spirit.  I know this because I didn’t find my way back from unconsciousness on my own.  I was offered help by a number of kind souls.  Once, a long time ago, a princess met me in a cathedral of stars at the very edge of creation.  She offered me healing, and wisdom.  She shared with me her wit.  A wry vitality that made me laugh from the depths of my soul.  She kissed me there, among those stars.  Amid the infinite blazing corona of life itself.  I was twice saved by the man of my dreams.  The woman I loved.  I see myself now in the beautiful, dynamic expression of others. Those who found deeper strata of storytelling just as I did.  Those who take their struggles and find the strength to stand, just to show others who are suffering that it's possible. Life is possible.  Art is possible.  A terrifying, beautiful alchemy.  The dance of creation may be tumultuous and painful but there is great wisdom to be found in it.  I thank my Father for the opportunity to know these things, to experience these things.  And I thank him for the guiding, hopeful voices of others.

Sunday, 29 January 2023

The Raven's Call

Perhaps I'm fooling myself, Kara.  These words.  These countless visions I create.  Maybe they mean nothing in the end.  But I don’t really believe that.  I still need to believe I serve a greater purpose.  I like to think I've earned your respect.  Even if only through craft.  A professional courtesy from one artist to another.  And yet it’s more than that.  Sometimes I feel like such a fool for daring to imagine that you half recognise me, like something or someone from a dream. An old friend.  A lost love.  Perhaps imagination is the only place where magic can be truly known or truly felt.  That's why these pages are so sacred to me. Where else can I hide my wonders?  The echoes, allusions and stunning synchronicities?  Oh, Kara.  Forgive me if I occasionally project my own struggles onto you.  Forgive me if I sometimes confuse my own demons for yours.  I know we're not exactly the same.  That terrifying gulf between the sky and the abyss.  Feeling like I was denied a middle path.  But my God, if it isn't like looking into a mirror sometimes. Perhaps it’s the loneliness talking, or the fact that I always found my imperatrix rather beautiful.  Inside and out.  I promised you a rising sky, didn’t I, old friend?  I like to think I delivered on that promise.  But did you know that you once promised the very same thing to me?  You make good on that promise every time you dance with me, in dreams.  Every time you pull me back towards life with your kindness.  I sincerely thank you for that.  I wish I had the middle path.  Some days it almost feels like I do.  Not delirious or wild, just steady.  And then the inevitable descent begins.  I know my struggles are different to yours, but I think there is enough similarity to find a common ground.  To me that ground is a battlefield.  A ruinous and sometimes beautiful wasteland strewn with dead warriors.  Those like ourselves forced to live with extremes of one degree or another, unable to walk the middle path.  I just want anyone who has ever felt lost on this battlefield to know they are not alone.  I want you to know that too, Kara.  With my inner vision I've seen shadows and shapes flitting among the fallen.  Like wraiths, or crows.  Their cawing becomes a dark siren song as they announce the dead and the dusk.  The old legends say these half-dreamt forms appear among the fallen not simply for annunciation, but as guidance.  They come to guide disembodied souls into the afterlife.  Into the drowned, hidden realm.  Some say this realm is nothing more than a dream.  For me it's so much more than a dream.  It's everything I am, everything I was, everything I'll ever be.  It's a frightening thing to recognise that in some of my most powerful dreams I'm drowning.  Under the water, closest to home.  The wished-for embrace of everything I know I've lost but can never prove to anyone.  Few would even care to hear the call.  So I mask the truth of this endless immortality.  I clothe this extremely long life in oblique free-verse. Studied ambiguity and purple prose.  Like I'm dancing wildly amidst a flurry of worried gazes, writing all these words but not really saying anything at all.  But that isn't the truth, Kara.  It’s not even close.  I am never more alive and hopeful than when I'm here among these pages, sharing these things with you.  My friend, I think I finally know why I dream so often of black stars and midnight suns.  It's because I'm one of the dead.  Yet I’ve been gifted a kind of charmed half-life.  I'm more than just a knight errant.  I’m a prince of wraiths.  Life and death, past, present and future - they are all so intimately intertwined. Especially here, in the depths of me.  These dreaming threads of identity, interconnection and fate.  The fact that someone even cares to notice; how can I not find it thrilling?  Furthermore, how could I not be utterly intoxicated by the piqued interest of someone I still so fondly remember, even if she no longer remembers me?  Forgive me my indulgences, sweet one.  They come from a loving place.  Because the truth is I'm more than just an image-maker or a failed poet.  More than just a lonely dreamer.  I'm an angel, Kara.  I'm one of the wandering dead.  I bring messages to the cherished living.  Words and visions.  Fables and stories.  Tales to uplift the heart and quicken the spirit.  The reason I do this is because the living need stories even more than the dead.  You have such life in you, Kara.  I want you to know that you are forever cherished, and I hope this kiss finds you well.

Wednesday, 25 January 2023

Knight Errant

It’s not a conceit, Kara.  This black star of mine.  This ravenous vortex at the heart of me.  Sometimes I liken it to Foucault’s Pendulum.  A wry, vicious tempest that gives as much as it takes.  And it does give, my darling.  Often freely and without limit.  We have this in common, I think.  Our wide and difficult horizons.  But I hope you are not the outlier that I am.  I hope your life is the better for it.  I would hate to think my sweet Val’kiir was as lost in the mists of the demimonde as I am.  A girl still struggling with the burden of coronation, just as I struggled.  The incalculable weight of a paper crown.  Legends are purely ethereal, they say.  Stories have no mass.  But that isn’t true.  Legends have a different kind of gravity.  They warp the fabric of reality around them.  The deeper the myth, the stranger the magic found at its shifting edges.  You know this to be true, Kara.  Don’t you?  The changing of the guard.  The birthing of a star.  A knight errant, kind and true.  After all, a kingdom can fall to corruption but a true chevalier holds themselves to a higher code.  The wisdom of the old world.  The shining realm.  Before dark magic altered our chronologies and rewrote the very threads of fate.  The weaving sisters were banished, some say.  Or murdered.  Or cast into the raging furnace of the midnight sun, lost forever.  None of these things are true.  Legends don't die.  They only transform.  Sometimes they simply hide, tending their tasks in other ways.  Do you suppose a weaver ever truly forgets the way of hidden things?  The beauty, craft and dance of creation?  I doubt it.  Mortals sometimes forget, but not storytellers.  Mankind, for example, imagines the fay are simply stories.  But life itself is built from stories.  The confabulation of threads, notions and forces.  A continuum of narrative interplay.  The fay have legends all their own, Kara.  One in particular a shining jewel among all others.  A legend of silence that sang its own song.  Dreamt its own heart.  A holy star both brother and sister, both darkness and light, human and otherwise.  They say this song is the grief and hope of all oceans.  The death of lowlands and lakes.  Birth of the haunted deep.  Those fabled, half-remembered days when the sea fell from the sky.  A thing of elven blood would ask men questions.  It would ask, who among mortals recalls the veracity of the golden age?  Who really remembers those days before brutalism and theft?  Those moments before the construction of time, limitation and loss.  Well, I think the weaving sisters half-remember.  Even if only through how they would ideally like the world to be.  Like Blake I’m still half-conscious of those ideals, certain that we lived them once.  I am haunted by these newer, imposter cities.  These dark engines and empires.  Chronologies of Los.  Pretending the sun, as the sun pretends the star.  And the Evenstar is only a motif, a placeholder for home.  The home within.  Oh, Kara.  We are so much more than Mar’kanna’s madness, or Kiskuh’s wrathful hand.  We are the water and the well, the tree and the star.  Immanent, transcendent.  And we are not special in this regard.  All children of the living light were made in such fashion.  Immortal or otherwise.  But I’ve heard you ask in your sleep, “Eth’iir, my friend, where are we now?”  I shall tell you where we are.  While the Earth roils and writhes a thousand failed poets hold back each lost soul from the edge, protecting comprehension and sanity.  Safeguarding the last glimmers of spiritual hygiene that shone so gloriously before the cataclysms.  Kasi is only one among such poets.  Kara is only one among such sisters.  Many of these brave warriors are anonymous and unremembered.  But M'ithriin can move mountains in his sleep, dreaming of Vivian.  As can T'alis, the night-bard.  It’s a druidry of stolen years and brighter climes barely hinted at in the soft-edged neopaganism of modern man.  Oh, my vivacious rose-maiden.  I wish I could always show you the best of yourself.  You've slain dragons in your dreams, you know.  You’ve ridden with them too.  I know because I watched you.  You once asked me to be there with you, just out of sight.  And I was.  I am.  I watch you plunge those fists into bitter earth.  Into poisoned soil, in hopes that our blood and mythopoeia might gift a little vision to these children of the fall.  This lineage of ruptured clay.  It isn’t just calm you seek, my love.  Or peace.  It’s also care for all the others.  I see it in your eyes, my regent.  And it’s part of why I love you so.  On a good day I try to be the difference you would like to find in the world.  A modern gospel of the living waters.  Passionate, courageous and kind.  This quiet giving of one's self, it's not what a pagan god or sylvan shade does.  It's not even necessarily what an angel of Christendom does.  But it's what a brother does.  A father.  A son.  It's what a man is always prepared to do.  To bleed a little for his kith and kin.  We learnt that quiet skill from our women.  Each princess, indomitable.  This is humanity at its most selfless.  Its most nurturing.  Shall I tell them, Val’kiir?  Shall I tell them the truth of things?  Hear me, Fallen.  Heavy is the head that wears the crown.  There is a hidden war all around you, and a shimmering bridge of multi-coloured light.  You want to know about sacrifice?  Real sacrifice?  Men, women and children give their lives every day in this hidden war – for the people they love.  Such valour has no gender, age or social standing.  It has no racial or sexual identity.  It has no politics.  It is simply the depth of love in action, faced with awful and sometimes impossible choices.  I've seen that kind of bravery first-hand.  Many of us have, and we are always moved.  Often to tears.  In this apothecary of unearthly delights such beauty is an invaluable treasure.  These are the old ways.  They will be our ways again.  Tell me, Fallen.  Are you a bard?  Do you vouchsafe your secrets to slaves?  Well, I was once a slave.  A peasant and prisoner.  In many ways I still am.  But I am also a storyteller.  A king, prince and knight.  A father, brother and son.  And I tell you this; a man or woman’s worth is not defined by the tip of their sword but by the breadth of their insight.  The edge of their wit, the depth of their love and the quality of their courage.  If in the end I have to bleed for what I believe then it is no more than my mother bled, or my sister bleeds.

Saturday, 31 December 2022

The Winged Grammar


Sometimes, in their dreams, the fallen seek counsel with M'ithriin.  The winged one.  Serpent and staff.  The living waters of a twinning river.  The elect come shuffling to the twilit place near the shore, seeking the angel.  Chanting a thousand garbled versions of his many names. Sometimes penitent, sometimes laughably brazen.  I'm never sure what they're seeking exactly. A truth beyond fiction, I suppose.  Surely not something as parochial as 'reality'?  Sometimes I think we're all slaves to the grammar of our time.  Our own particular storytelling instincts. Those tales that grip us despite our learned ways and better judgments.  It's strange how the fallen come in droves to the dreaming, seeking the thrice-blessed.  Or seeking powerful kings with magical swords and wizards who never were.  Hoping to find something beyond the brutal self-made histories of realpolitik and theft.  Bright-eyed and earnest, like children with a treasure map.  These men of renown.  Warlords, occultists and titans of industry.  Rapists and murderers all.  Is there anything uglier than such monsters deluding themselves worthy of genuine revelation?  I would never deign to compare myself to these shambling trespassers. Those who forged my iron collar in those early days of the fall.  What slave would be bold enough to suggest parity or even superiority to his masters?  Perish the thought.  Even in dreaming I just sit on the sands of the shore, or wait beneath the waves, and smile.  Oh, Fallen.  I pity you.  And I laugh at the quest you think you're on.  Your prince is a monster.  A cruel, obsequious wraith.  Dutifully clawing its way up from the void through an infernal hierarchy.  Poorly realised and crudely imagined.  Only a lesser king, once little more than the half-dreamt shadow of a black star. How do I know this?  Who am I to speak on such matters?  I’m nobody.  Just a humble scribe of the innermost.  I speak for forces and persons larger than myself.  You see, a true sun shines darkly in an inverted realm.  A world of echoes, traces and ghosts.  All the while you fallen ones wish to supplicate at the stygian mouth of desecration, pretending the true light.  What ghastly dreaming you've forged in your hideous guild of sorrows.  Do you suppose the Syrian, the magician himself, is a Hellenist?  A Greek?  A conjurer at the mountain of chymic fire?  Perhaps.  It’s said he likes to travel.  But as I told my brother; it isn't as simple as owning the essence of a numinous thing, or turning a key in the navel of the land.  I will not be reduced to epithets, or rudimentary corollaries.  Anonymous or otherwise.  Writing, art and magic has always been a form of hybridity. The past is but a ghost and every king a composite.  There is no moment but this moment.  There are no eyes but modern eyes.  Antiquity is a dream, and I am a winged messenger of dreams.  Callous Ones, you claim to know the true depths of the mysteries, yet where is your compassion?  Your empathy?  Denatured and disarticulated, you sacrifice your brothers and sisters for coin.  For supposed occult secrets.  Paltry mechanical knowledge.  Mere trivia.  What good is apotheosis when all your brothers and sisters are dead?  Ah, but these castes you cling to, these infernal hierarchies.  You don't really believe the beggar is your brother or the nurse your sister.  Not truly.  If you did you would recognise the mingled dreaming of antiquity.  You would understand this very human urge.  To exalt our favourite stories and re-inscribe the tales of others in the intimacies of our own particular speech.  We cannot help but see through the lens of our cultural milieu whilst claiming exclusive rights on the supposed truth.  I've seen this retroactive continuity in action.  Men claiming the angels of others to be demons in the ultimate gnosis.  Claiming another's heroes to be mere harbingers of newer legends.  Or, at best, assuming another's god of love to be only primitive glimpses of their own.  This is the modern, endless war.  Throughout history all eyes are modern eyes.  The windows of complex living souls who live and die by the cultural markers they cling to.  Antiquity has always been a shapeshifter, an idea inflected by the shades and nuances of the moment.  Prisca theologia; perhaps it exists.  But if it does it might not be exactly what you expect or hope to find.  Even now we attempt to thread our way like cartographers through a thousand shrieking truth-tellers all claiming to be definitive.  Perhaps we imagine the terrain into being, negotiating both text and context.  The unspoken, the quietly implied.  Dialogues and dramaturgy for the immortal, questing soul.  But those ancient parchments and tomes – many of them are no older than the eyes and fears of modern man.  After all, such men are so often unable to distinguish between the seer and the scene.  The healer and the healed.  Maybe sometimes that’s a good thing, if it tempers our arrogance and softens our hearts.

Wednesday, 21 December 2022

The Mirrored Sea

I once cut my palms on the edges of a raging sea, then let myself bleed for a thousand years to assure its depths.  That sounds like fantasy to most, doesn't it? Mere fiction.  Blood, clear as glass.  Seawater red as the beating heart.  But stories are where some of the oldest things dwell. Things more ancient than even the first mariner.  Do you really think the one whom the healers called M'ithriin is bound to anything at all?  To Albion, or some other enchanted isle?  The antlered prince pretends the sky, does he?  The winged elder.  First angel.  You should know that I'm a tempest old as creation itself, but there are things even older than creation.  Beautiful, wondrous things beyond any distort.  Forms from the first dreaming, that live now only in imagination.  That lost, fabled time when the temples still shimmered and sang.  There were lowlands once, and lakes.  Yet since the fall there have been so many terrifying gods of the sea.  Things emerge from the deep – wounded and wild.  Believe me, I should know.  Perhaps that's what grief is.  The gutting of a shining star to flood the earth and drown the heart.  But even in such a storm there are pockets of refuge, and rest.  A daughter’s beatific vision.  A father’s fervent hope.  Mortals think the land is locked.  That it's the sea that moves.  But the land is simply the sea, frozen in doubt.  Awaiting augury or avarice.  Another fall.  A reason to be swept away. Even the mountains are only temporary arks.  The wrecked cathedrals of your forebears.  Still, with enough true magic the sea can be sated.  Calmed.  Made to reason.  The dreamwalkers of the first light understood this.  The wisdom councils that once tended the very soul of Earth and Man.  Even angels of the sea, who pretend or endure the sky, can be turned toward love.  True love.  Once, every thousand years or so, the waters themselves might contemplate the solstice of a star.  In doing so they might be moved to reorient the very definition of life itself.