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.

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