Tuesday 31 March 2020

Breaking Lake

These ghosts
Of touchings and glance
Prettying the void, indeed
But I'd rather not see
As I am, or be seen
Mirrored, stained, basin fed
Drawn to genius and almost-sex
Closing the cut of an open mouth
Never phantoms clutch the crown
Or throne such wildest augur
Worlds might fold
Always the ordinary
Demon, or poetry
Inked over in that, or this
Sent, and slick
I reach to warm your distance
They took the real
I want you felt my care
I need you felt our skin

Monday 30 March 2020

Better Kings

It's no secret that Kasi cherishes the music and magic of queens in a world retold for kings.  Those girls who were kind enough to love me.  Those women who taught me, and teach me. Those indomitable princesses bracing for sky.  Magic enough to crack the firmament, with joy, ambition and noble intent.  That fondness; it is written all over these love-letters, isn't it?  But there are times too when I need to speak of kings.  Men I admire.  Men like you, little brother.  I often wonder of mortal kith, and I wonder of you in particular.  Do you really know?  Do you?  That you are truly admired, that you are indeed a king?  No longer just a talented, perceptive prince.
   I want to take this moment to be really honest with you, if you'll allow me.
   I'm older than you.  Technically I'm older than everyone, but in truth I'm still that little boy I’ve always been.  Far too young and fearful to wield a sword, as demons nonetheless continue to batter down my doors.  I do try though, watching as breached thresholds crumble my entire life.  I'm far too damaged now, brother.
   Far too familiar with war.
   I truly am an angel of sorts, you know, despite this mortal flesh.  But this War of Imagination has taken its toll on me, both mentally and physically.  It really has.  I'm feeling much stronger these days, thank God, but in many ways I'm still a deeply wounded thing.  Living day to day, sometimes hour to hour.  Trapped in this perpetuity of trying to heal whilst fending attacks.  I try to conserve my strength for the battles that matter most.  We're in those battles now, brother. But then we always have been.
   This letter isn't simply an indulgent bid for your sympathy.  I know there's no shame in feeling weak and afraid, especially during wartime.  This cavalcade of horrors passing now for history is specifically designed to weaken and shame all of us.  But you so bravely try to resist that, don’t you?  So many of our friends do, and it reminds me of once-shining harbours.  Poets, keepers and key-makers – all sculpting legacy, with sound and subtle light.
   Brother, you would laugh with joy if you saw it as it once was.
   The music of tended life, almost unimaginable to us now.
   This fallen fractal doesn't shine even half as bright as those lost legends.  Neither do I, in all honesty.  Not anymore.  Kasi is tired.  He's been tired since he was ten years old.  Silent, ravaged, bracing himself for future and sky.  Looking into the eyes of parents and siblings and knowing he'd always feel alone, even at his happiest.  I did recognize the depth of familial love even then, but angels are truly lonely creatures here on Earth.  There's no other way to say it.  I can't pretend I'm not angry with every hideous thing that was done to mankind.  I can't pretend that some nights I'm not seething with rage, and sadness.
   We must all cope with our fury, I suppose.  The wild pendulum of nocturne and necessity. Desire and deed, on those days when it feels like our temperaments are spilled beyond our own hands.  Despite our best efforts.  However, to know you are loved and accepted even at your wildest, no matter the challenges – that's the solace of genuine family and friendship.  When you can forge something like that with the people you love, then even a road walked alone is never completely alone.  It brings me a certain comfort, at least.  To know this. To know that good people can be patient, and can strive to understand a difficult thing.
   Like an angel lost at sea.  Stolen, afraid, still fighting for the light.  Held in branches, supported by siblings.  Those forests of the evening, those peaks of brighter day.
   Higher than hurt.
   Where the air is clearer, and a little closer to Heaven.
   I'm so sorry I didn't speak until now.  Please forgive me.  You are nowhere near my shadow, little brother.  Or anyone's.  I need you to know that.  You are blazing bright as the sun, across destiny and sky.  I might be forged of flame and dreaming, but you are more Man than I will ever be.  Even at your lowest, or your most unsettled.  I'm doomed to forever be a boy lost in the demimonde, holding a sword too big for such small, trembling hands.  Willing, but tired.
   And that's ok.
   I don't mind, in the end.  If it helps win a future war.
   But I've watched you, brother.  I’ve watched you grow to be so much more than a lost boy fighting monsters in the dark.  I want you to understand that the angel in me holds none of us to impossible ideals.  I know exactly what it means to be human, of course.  To get it wrong, to fail, to make amends.  I’m so proud of you.  Don't be afraid.  Seize the moment, do what you can, and know that it's enough.  It has truly mattered, my brother.  Everything you've worked for.  All your time and dedication.  Every false start and rewrite.  Every challenge, toll and call to arms.  It all matters.  To them, to her, and to me.  I know it's been difficult, but I couldn’t have done any of this without you.  None of it.  Greatness is never the easiest thing, but it's earned in the legacy of love you leave in your wake.  That legacy is still forming, far greater than mortal eyes can yet see.  Because a considered rhythm or a sculpted gesture is held in the bud of the nearest seed, and in the heart of the furthest star.
   I can feel like a coward sometimes, dearest brother, as I come face to face with darkest spirits from beyond the veil.  Demons.  Things of incomprehensible cruelty, seeking so vehemently to enslave us all.  And none of them are my friends.  I find myself alone, as always, peering into the abyssal gaze of these grinning wraiths.  And so many times I've just wanted to die.  To give up, to experience a final annihilation.  But I don’t give up, because those rhythms and gestures of the heart – they help to keep me fighting for just a little bit longer. Day by day.  Hour by hour, if needs be.  For someone like me, that's exactly what hope sounds like.  I’m still here because you cared enough to create.  To stand.  I thank you for that, my king.  I thank you for everything. 

Wednesday 25 March 2020

The Life Stream

River of the thousand stars.  Lonely star of the thousand rivers.  By song and by sanctuary. Through star and soil.  I've seen things grow, and pass.  And grow again.  Contemplating the haunting dance of it all.  To and fro.  Like anyone who has tilted their face skyward and imagined greater things.  Many have journeyed skyward, with machine or bettered mind.  But few have crossed the threshold into the places beyond the sky.  Fewer still have made such places their home.
   I did, once upon a time.
   It was wondrous, terrifying, and it hurt me in ways I can never explain.  Each sentience.  Every suffering.  Art, science and philosophy, from star to habitable star.  Unique, momentary.  The billions of spirits huddled around the candles of their suns, vying desperately for the warmth of imagined surety.  So many candles in the black.  More than could ever be counted.  Other spirits, other forms.  Endless varieties of further and flesh.  All of them asking the same essential questions.  How do we find better ways to learn and live and dream?  How do we find strength, individually and collectively, amid forces that seem so much greater than ourselves? Even the most nuanced spirits ask these kinds of questions.
   I don't have all the answers, of course.  I don't even have a few of them, and I was once an angel-king of hallowed hills.  Before the hush.  Before fires and falling.  Hallow, halo, hollow.
   The old cities are buried now, or else hidden in fractured chronology.  Their ruins belong to the wraiths.  What the Arcs and emissaries once called Caution's Shades.  The desolate spill.  Blackest blood in the looking-glass.  But such shades and thieves cannot void life itself, no matter how hard they try.  It returns, like Kara.  Like Kara's daughters and sons.
   There is always more to know.  Always more depth in the river.  Beyond telling stones, or clockmakers and automaton stars.
   Can you still feel it?  The pulse of you?  The fury?  You are a dangerous and utterly beautiful thing, child of our Father.  As one among your primary guardians I have watched you grow, and pass, and grow again.
   All of you.
   Hear me well, if you can.
   I am not just a poet, or an angel.  I'm a very bad wolf, and I won't be tamed.  Neither will you, because we are all more connected than these wraiths will ever understand.  It doesn't matter what they believe, or how they mock us.  Our works speak for themselves, in plain and hidden tongues.  Such works stretch further and wider than you might imagine, scattered like innermost jewels throughout so-called history.  
   I am Kasi.  Emerald song, of the Church of the Bright Ones. 
   Arc, Augur, Seeker of the Stolen Sea.
   I'm so much more than mortal flesh.  I age, of course, like everyone.  I die too, like everything.  But I'm a traveller.  A trick of light and radiant dreaming.  And like you, dear ones, I live forever.  Tonight I pray for us, like those spirits of infinite black huddled at the candles of their home-suns.  I pray among this eternity of little lights.  The briefest flicker of me, and you, and everything.  Always those same questions.  How do we live better within these forests of the evening sky?  How do we battle these shadows at our edges whilst keeping our hearts soft enough to love, and playful enough for venture?  We are wild, delicate, dangerous things.  We must share strength with one another, like those blessed ways of the old cities.  Make each other quicken, and smile.  For we are the candles of our Father.  Protecting the weak, healing the wounded.  Celebrating life as one, at every rise and run of the river.

The Life Stream from Raj Sisodia on Vimeo.

Sunday 22 March 2020

Toward Light

It's a scary thing, Esme.  Isn't it?  To be faced with this.  To be faced with something so vast and without precedent.  Something that hasn't happened in this particular way before.  This kind of vulnerability feels both searingly intimate and horribly impersonal.  It's truly the last thing I ever wanted, sweet one.  Please believe me.  I've dreaded days like these my entire life.  Here we are, nonetheless.  It enrages me.  It saddens me so.  These wicked ways of the world.
   I know you worry, Esme.  For the weak and wounded.  For our elders, our children.  I share those worries.  Real fear in the eyes of those we love is always heart-breaking, far more than our own fears and challenges.  It's a natural, beautiful desire; to soothe those closest to us.  When we can't provide that healing balm we suddenly feel so powerless.
   It's hard to be a poet in times like these, my darling.  It's even harder to be an angel.  A thing of second sight and ragged wing.  The modern world has no real place for us.  I know you understand.  I'm not interested in accusations, in glib dismissals or hollow platitudes.  Because this will change the quality and tenor of many lives in days to come.  But I am interested in truth.  The spiritual is so hard to discuss when the literal is at the forefront of so many minds right now.  Those brutal realities.  Those hideous inequalities.  Suffering, sickness, uncertainty.
   I'm angry, Esme.
   I'm so very angry, and I won't pretend I'm not.
   Part of me – the very tired, very perishable part of me – wonders if tales of augurs and angels might ring utterly hollow during times like these.  Perhaps silence is preferable.  But that would be like turning my back on my own spirit.  Poems and tales are all the truth that is left of us now, in this so-called modern world.  Kasi was more than mere cadence and rhythm, once upon a time.  King of so much more than a desolate hill of ashes.  But I know deep down that thinking like this won't help me, or anyone.  So I try to bravely face the depth of my sadness hiding behind the anger.  Beloved, I never wanted any of this.  Not for Father's holy children.  Glorious humanity.  Kara’s kin.  Those beautiful artists, healers and engineers who shone so brightly before the Fall.  So I tell myself it's always time for stories.  Especially if they're magical, meaningful, and true.
   And I try to have faith.
   Crisis, trauma. This wounding of mind and body that we're experiencing right now, this collective uncertainty – I have to believe this is in fact the perfect time for tales of augurs and angels.  Otherwise, what use am I at such distance?  What use is anyone, unless they can lay healing hands upon those who suffer?
   I wish Kashi still had greater magics than these.  Tangible magics, like the skilled dreamers of the old city.
   Thought and shape and making, steering homes and harbours.
   Once upon, but not anymore.
   I think we really need it, Esme.  That soothing balm.  That restorative faith to quicken our steps.  One, two, three.  Because it's an ugly, fracturing thing when an angel loses his faith. Cities can burn, and fold.  Bleeding shoulders seeping images torn from dream, still flexing the place where such wings would fold at my back.  But you gave me faith again, my love.  You really did.  Kisses and kindness, flirtation and play.  Deep, abiding friendship – by every name I called you.  But more than all that, you gave me maturity.  Work.  Consideration.  You gave me real art…and then you gave it to those who needed it most.  The voiceless, the desperate and dispossessed.  You gave them depth.  Song and strength enough for healing.  Alone, and together.  A quiet place within your offerings, where faith is a little easier to find.  Especially during these difficult times.  I shall always be indebted to you for that.  So hold on to me, Esme.  Together we'll try to comfort all our people.  We'll embrace them however we can as we pass through this darkness.  In love, and faith, toward light.

Saturday 21 March 2020

Healing Hands

Of tide, and turning
No light elides
The learning
Stealer's wheel
With healing hands
Come fall of fear
Where halo stands
Is hope new contraband?
Fly high, sell low
Or freely
I pray you all
Rest easy
When tides turn back
Family, he will bless
Your gallant, healing hands
Just hold on

Tuesday 17 March 2020


It’s a frightening time for so many right now.  An uncertain time.  I understand that.  But there is a strange majesty that surrounds each human soul. A nimbus of unimaginable power shining through flesh, through thought and deed, usually unseen by mortal eyes.  Often this light passes beneath conscious awareness. But sometimes it rises.  Sometimes it’s recognised. Through creating and sharing art, through challenge, connection or joy.  Sometimes we see it in the smiles of our family and friends.  And for a gladdened moment we remember our eternity.
   Assured, invigorated.
   Sometimes we feel it in the solemn tenderness of dawn, suspended in threshold song between night and morning.  Like a single breath held and drawn out beyond the known.  Hidden things moving in painterly skies.  Deep blues and pinks and yellows.  Dark still dancing with day, courting the living pulse of the rising sun.
   And the heart knows things then.
   Things beyond word, or reason.
   Sometimes, just before dusk, deep in the forest the trees can speak in hidden tongues too.  Branches holding an eternal sea.  Golden light slanting through, suffusing greenest canopies. A wild cathedral of life, whispering evening song to coming colours.  A murmur, almost heard by mortal ears.  
   But not quite.
   And sometimes, in the immense quiet of a dark blue night, silence folds all the sound and bustle of the world into itself.  The sheer gravity of stillness, a sky full of portent and star.   Countless distant suns glinting in the deep of the ever after.  Each of them haloed with unimaginable stories, like ourselves.  Mysteries within mysteries, arcing endless through myriad worlds.  Sometimes this is enough to recall the truth of romance and divinity.  To know that we are more than flesh, or dust.  To know that every single one of us continues.  But sometimes it’s grander and more gentle than all that.  The quickening of faint music heard in the distance, or that look in their eyes.

Sunday 15 March 2020

The Ghost & the Rose

She lives
They say
At summit's climb
'Neath the briar
Through the earth-blood jewel
Like shy'el, of robe and palm
Fairest hush
Branch, bracken, breathe
Path and gate of the ways
Lighted white of hallowed hill
In gleam, the hidden forest keep
Thorn upon
Thorn upon
Cathedral seas
Solace and friend
Giving king a countenance
And life a lucid known
Warrior, wife and wielding
Court and thrill of my reign
Wrist, shoulder and hip
Of the pale, dreaming bloom

Saturday 14 March 2020


It has almost been a nightmare, Kiskuh.  These last few years.  Your cloak of raven pale across the citadel.  Mouth of Weavers spilling black milk beneath the every.  Stones among riverflesh, lamenting star-cults and Temesh augurs.  As though I wouldn't remember the old city.  As though your acolytes had burnt even my memory of song.  But a chorister becomes the swell, regardless of how cities now fold.  The hill is still a hill, despite darkened shards of Looking that pierce its skin.  The house is still a house, though held beneath.  Imposter gates upon the Veils of Myriad, risen in their stead.  Blackest portico that would steal my children whilst pretending the sun.  But I am here now.  I’m still here. 
   Oh, Kiskuh.
   You arrived with your tales of smoke and void-bring, all to break the spirit of a child no more than sixteen.  Tales of red rock and shattered blade.  A bleeding well, deep in the cloisters.  Our Lady, fair and true.  Brightest dusk, where skin is a word.  You hurt me so badly, herald of Los. Whilst pretending depth and revolution.  But you let the others hurt me even worse.  Just a child, with scant knowledge of corrupted chronology.  And yet, who was bested?  Clearly, Thief of Vir, you are not as well read as you imagine – if the same boy still stands amid your ruins even now.
   You couldn't fell me.
  Augurs and apple trees.  Place of the Resting Realm.  You still don’t understand, though you would wish it.  An end to your humiliation.  An end to my making.  But those names, Kiskuh.  Those names were mocking you and your acolytes long before you ever made yourself known to me.  K'athari, Ka'shayel, Cam'ri.
   Lonely Star of the Thousand Rivers.
  We are secretly laughing at your hubris, and your thievery of our signs.  Well, perhaps not so secretly.  You can darken the day, Kiskuh.  Or bring about a seemingly endless night.  You can try to scare me with promises of Lussi, of human-hunting and a sister you would snatch from my very arms.  But I saved her, didn't I?  A young boy, alone, lost in the night and the smoke.  That's what love can achieve.  The impossible.  You can burn poetry and police cars, and have wraiths prowling the rooftops, but life outshines you in the end. 
   Life returns, like love.  Like a girl from the dead.
   The light guided me that night, and every night since.  A kiss beyond your comprehension. Light of the lamb, every facet gleaming like kindness upon the eye of a true angel.
   Echo of this echo.
  I know you can hear me, Kiskuh.  I know I still frighten you.  Red rock and shattered blade? Shattered light?  Void-bring and ravage, all beneath the sickened tor?  Oh, we bright ones think not.  Thieves and heralds of Los, of Vir, of the Ever-Falling City – hear this.  I am not the only king to tear false thrones from the sky.  I’m just one of the oldest.  Of sword, of cross, and crossing.  There is no meaningful regent without the peoples of a land.  Remember that, callous ones, the next time you doubt legends of a sleeping sun.  Acolytes of the Stolen Sea, I'm among you even now.  And you know it.  Prowling your cults, watching your ways.  Tending my secrets hidden in your secrets.  For those coming times when Man sings again in one voice.  Place and cup and womb.  Life, a holy dreaming.  Not quite yet a nightmare.  For we dreamers stand against you in these dark days, eternal.

Thursday 12 March 2020

Living Life

There is nothing worse than watching the suffering of those you love.  So many of us have known those kinds of torments.  Too many of us.  Agonies at a distance.  Helplessness by proxy.  The worst part is that most of us would bend Creation itself if we were able, just to spare our loved ones.  Or we would break those laws and rules completely.  Linearity and causation be damned, if we could somehow go back and stop their pain.  A wounded child, an ailing parent, a terrified lover.  Family means everything in the end, by blood or by heart. 
   Live long enough and you realize that love is the only real thing worth a damn.  That truly human, empathic desperation to seek out a miracle.  Not for ourselves, but to spare the ones we love the most.  It's one of the most beautiful things about us, that warrior-spirit.  When we fight so honourably to protect something we deem more precious than ourselves.  Our families, our friends.  But it's usually only demigods, angels and storytellers who are granted that kind of world-changing power; to single-handedly alter the very course of things.  Fictions are often the only solace in a world that seems ever darker.  Chaotic beyond all reason.  I know it hurts, my sweet ones.  I know how scary it can be; those thoughts and visions at the edge.  I've felt that kind of worry too.
   You're not alone.
   I know what it's like, watching helplessly as a spirit or a soul appears to fracture.  Or even an entire world.  Those once shining glories of the mind and heart, now threatened by greed and sinister inhumanities.  Wraith-ravage upon the eye of dark colonies.
   I dull the pain by deeming it fiction, but I once saw my homelands reduced to ashes and sand.  Everything and everyone I ever loved.  A shining realm of prosperity and peace, all lost and burnt away.  A ghost of all light.  But life always finds a way of returning, in the end.  Against all odds.  I know it can be difficult to believe in the throes of suffering, but nothing is ever as it seems.  Things do get better.  Sometimes before death, sometimes after.  Fear is powerful, but it's nothing against the immeasurable glories of hope, knowledge and wisdom.  Such glories transcend the physical, whether you believe it or not.
   The words of a lost, flesh angel might seem little comfort when people are anxious and afraid.  I do understand that, beloved ones.  Just remember, if you can, that life itself is on your side.  It is the very spring and essence of you, your literal source of strength.  Grander and brighter than suffering or fear.  Eternal.  As are you and everyone you love.

Monday 2 March 2020

The Blue Blazes

I often think perception is the strangest of all pastimes.  You have to be a little crazy to endure it, and death is no respite.  It dwells beyond translation. Transcendental and frighteningly pure.  There is nothing in all Creation that demands more of sentient beings.  Endless, and without end.  Sometimes it's like looking into a perfect mirror, or a glass darkly.  Like cracks in a mask of porcelain.  The veins of an insect's wing.  All those untempered schisms.  Delicate and furious.  Rhythm and races.  Face after face, from star to habitable star.  Perception is a little like walking across the surface of the sun.  Dreams of shining, incalculable mass.
    The gravity of angels.
   Mapmakers and seraphs and the skins of a billion worlds.  Knowing this, experiencing this, I can only laugh when the Fallen offer their books of lies and false howlings.  Pages of shit, bound in ugly leathers.  Dead, defiled and defiling.  Listen to me, wraith-makers.  If you dare.  Inversion is no great sorcery.  Cruelty never is.  You are not wolves, of any description.  None of you.  You have scant knowledge of true wilderness or true civilisation.  All you know are the lies of your dead, fetid pages.  Hear me now, if you can.  You are slow-witted and dull.  Just as I explained.  What do you grasp, really, of truth or story?  You grasp nothing.  You understand only these basest chronologies, these hideous tempests passing now for history.  Where you bind and sell the innocent, and crown the most violent wraiths.  You desire flesh and the blood of that flesh.  Star and song of that blood, for you generate so little of your own.  You have built false thrones upon such sickening augment.  You disgust me.  Truly, you make my skin crawl.  But you bore me in equal measure.  
   I am a promise, not a name.  I'm a servant, not a master.  True kingship is not as you envision it.  I go with grace, and kindness, and courage.  I'm both work and play, and need no landed gentry.  To hell with your titles and exclusivity.  I need only two things to live as protector and storm.  The first is imagination.  The second is the love of my friends.  I took it as my name, the open blue.  Can you even grasp what that means?  It’s a secret you only think you know.  Between angels and insects, you suppose?  Oh, Fallen.  The Earth is grander than that.  And the verse too.  Far grander than affect or effect.  But Mammon is so impudent, so eager for an unearned stylisation.  Evil is such a banal, petty, colourless thing.  Those atonal discords that you tout as anima of the abyss.  All your lies of antiquity and depth.  What fucking nonsense.  I've stood in the abyss.  Then and now.  Lightless, pitiable, far younger than it thinks.  Here is a secret, my friends.  Something these callous ones never want you to grasp.
   The abyss has no depth.  None at all.
   No range, or deepening.  Only cowards call it home.  My home is with eternal light, for I am its keeper and its dreaming.  A radiant perception, here among the stars.  Friends, they still don’t understand.  Kasi might be a wolf, a truly dangerous thing, but he speaks for the voiceless and works towards a healer's hands.  I am not a conceit, Fallen.  I’m something so much older than that.  You shall not pretend the sun.  Not to me, and not to my Father.  I'll extinguish your hatred in the end.  It might take some time.  Aeons, in fact.  But time isn't what it used to be.  Abusers, mark my word.  I won’t let you make perpetual slaves of Man.  I’ll die first.  A thousand times over.  I will break your hideous altars and tear your false thrones from the sky.  Every single one.  I'm not alone in this task either.  The legacies and spirits of all kind ones travel with me.  Love is greater than millennia, or centuries, or the span of a single human life.  There is no greater vortex than the heart.  Ishkara's physic still shines, blazing brighter than perception itself.