Sunday 28 June 2020

Sweet Nothings

Sometimes it's not the things people say that give us strength when we need it most.  It's the things they don't.  The things left out.  Those omissions that enable us to stand despite our exhaustion, to dance despite our fragility, or kiss despite our trepidation.  Sometimes we need that kind of silence, because this place is often cruel to both angels and mortals.  Ravaged and mocked.  Broken by the wraith-cults who deem themselves gods of this fallen, nightmare realm.
   Sometimes I wonder where I stand in all this chaos.  The winged boy lost in the demimonde, fighting monsters.  An outline, or an echo.  Movements like the fingerprints of ghosts.  I cast visions and poetry in my wake like offered keys.  Bottled messages for anyone kind enough to pay attention.  I was here, they say.  I died fighting.  I was here and I died trying to save you.
   I suppose a stance of any kind is just the difference between what is and what could be.  Praying there's hope enough in the as-yet-unrealised.  The hope of honouring a kindness, an act of bravery or truth.  I think that learning to love is the truest of all things, isn't it?
   Silence can be so powerful.
   Even a ghost has fingerprints, if you take the time to learn them.  They can speak honest volumes.  Thoughtful gestures.  Carefully-crafted gifts.  Sometimes I think of our most noble deeds as the poems we are too shy to write.  The sweet nothings we don't quite know how to say, even at our most seen and accepted.  We care nonetheless.  We really do.
   Kasi has hope.
   He will never abandon his friends.  I promise you that, dear ones.
   I'm grateful for each one of you.  For wisdom of blackbird and starlight, shining like the well-wishes of a distant muse.  For my cherished star finally raised to maturity.  Barefoot and scintillating.  For my mirrored maidens.  Watchful, betrothed; dark and light and tailored to perfection.  Elegant tempest like the hand of my Father.
   And I'm grateful for the girl in lavender fields.  The one distilling perfect worship through the workings of ivory and fret.  My beautiful, bright-eyed friend whose music held me in the doorway when I was utterly broken.  Melodies like rain.  Like Heaven's healing balm.  These things that helped me to kiss again.  And dance, and stand.  I want to remain worthy of that embrace.  To be bold, courteous and true.
   I pray you sense my heart on your sleeve, princess.  All the ways you saved me.  All the ways you cared.  I hope you know that you have a friend for much more than life.  Let my deeds be all the things I cannot say.  Falling into written silences like the tender fingerprints of ghosts.  And angels.  Like sensing a stolen glance tucked away in a photograph, or hearing a secret smile hidden in a song.

Sunday 21 June 2020

The Sky is a Name

Away, from lost light.  You were stitching new letters in the gauntlet of learning my tongue.  An open shoulder, an offered palm.  Still rebuilding the church of our dreaming.  Place of the broken river, where high tides reach our knees.  There were cloisters flooded.  A forgotten chapel of all waters.  Only a few know of those rivers hidden in smoke beneath the sea.  Every disarticulated star.  Demons.  And the death of all demons.  That terrifying hush of the fractal seething.  Ashen like a silent winter wonderland.  When all my children became pale ghosts amidst the wreckage.
   Those endless days we grieved like tempests of heaven.
   But I had work to do.  Didn't I? 
   I think of these young witches who sweetly steal my hands again, like maidens in the mist.  We three kings of this unspoken tree.  Beloved, I need you to understand.  How you kissed me once upon a dream, at the very end, when you understood.  We tried to build a new home after the hush, didn't we?  Forged from the living memory of Joshua's earth.  A kinder, warmer place.  I watch you struggling, tired though you are.  Still flooding the mirror with a sweeter dreaming.  Our sunken, twilit altar.  Stealing my ravages, that I might rest awhile.  My beloved one.  I see how much you care, despite your flaws.  Such care never goes unnoticed, or unappreciated.  But you can never steal enough for the quiet and the trine. 
   Just know me, know yourself, and be an emissary whom all wraiths fear. 
   There is healing enough in that, Ka'shayel. 
   I assure you.
   I've always been here.  Stitching new letters.  Kenning the weave, as I did on the last of the oldest days.  The day you were broken and born.  The sky is a name, my love.  And it weeps the word like a wedding band.  Hewn from a hollow tear.  Hidden in veil of moths, standing in gown of grey light; a circle of salt upon its finger.  We ventured then, in the delicate fury of new romance.  Like angels, and the birth of all angels.  In every vault of cloud awaits a secret reign.  A way back towards articulated starlight.  Oh, my sweet prince.  Don't be afraid.  She is with me, and I am with each and every.  Remember their kindness, and their courage.  I'll make a king of them yet.

Thursday 18 June 2020

Crowns for Kara

It’s been raining for almost two days now.  I often go wandering in the rain, to feel storms against my skin.  Like forgotten kisses, older than the stars.  I sometimes think about the revelation of hindsight.  Or foresight.  Waters old and new.  The distance between who we are and who we might be, and the way we sometimes circle round to meet ourselves again.  Angels, and wolves.  Those who are both, or neither.  I think about those barrows beneath and beyond. How Earth's fecundity is matched only by creation's infinite black, allowing the birth of every star.  My brave ones, I hope you never know as the febrile know.  There is a certain madness at the very centre of a star.
   A glorious, unsettling madness.
   The fall of Ishkara still haunts me in ways I cannot explain.  Sickened branches rising to roots like the devil's hand.  Dreaming's Ashes, amidst every broken sun. The eventual theft of that memory of horror was my choice.  Mine alone.  But it felt like a mercy, not a choice.  I stole that suffering and chaos from each of you, whether you wanted me to or not.  But I believed there were some things from which a human soul could never truly heal.
   Some things too dark for mortal cognition.
   I still believe that, in a way.
   None of us would have emotionally survived the alternative.  A world without a future.  I know how much it hurts, my sweet ones.  Believe me.  But better this than nothing at all, I think.  Better to treasure every offered kindness.  Enthrone love's majesty.  At least among these ruins there is still hope.  The romance of finding each other again, like something from a fairytale.  Finally realizing you were always part of the plan.  It's the world that once was.  The world our Father forged for us, from purity and prosper.  I will do everything in my power to protect that world.
   Kasi knows the price of seeing things before they happen, and the agony of taking each untaken road.  Who in their right mind would want to live like that?
   Wandering, alone.
  Seemingly forever, until the glorious madness of stars is finally burnt out.  Every light extinguished in creation's infinite black.  Every beggar, king or god.  The end these wraiths would wish for us, but not our true destiny.  Witnessing this false end, I gazed into the eyes of the people I loved and thought maybe it was enough to see the forest, if not the trees.  A potential revelation, not blinded by the hideous dreaming of hell.  
   But let me tell you, my sweet ones, it's a frightening thing to carry this alone.  To fever like a star.   I wouldn't wish it upon my worst enemies, let alone my dearest friends.  I love you all so much.  I still see the best in each of you.  If I can spare my family from the experience of true horror, then I will.     
   I say this because I want you all to understand something. 
   This is not the worst of all possible worlds, even when it seems like it could be.  It's not even close.  We all have a hand in the kind of world it is, or the world it could be.  But there is also something else here, present in each of our lives.  Something so much greater than any of us.  It cares more about our fates than we will ever know.  
   I call this presence my Father.  You’ve felt him too, I think.  At least once in your lives, though you might use different language to describe him.  He too knows something about agony and love.  He is far from distant, or indifferent.  He carries more trauma and pain than I could ever bear.  He has more compassion than I can even comprehend.  Knowing this, I have to find ways to make peace with my wounds.  To walk alone in the rain, even though I miss you terribly.  Even though I'll suffer.  I'll lose everything, and everyone.  But so many do.  I'm not the only soul paying the price of cognition since the Fall. I’m just one of the oldest.  I remember all of this, at times.  So, I can't afford to yearn for a right mind.  It has to be enough for me to truly care about others, to play my small part in this vast unfolding revelation.  Whatever it takes, for love.  Circling back like a wolf, or an angel.

Sunday 14 June 2020

The Dark Matter

There was a time, my love, long ago, when I promised you the world.  The ocean, the sky, all the music and dancing your heart could hope for.  I tried with every fibre of my being to eventually make good on that promise.  And I finally have, I think, at least in part.  I can never fully explain it to you.  Not in this mortal life. But I feel like you already know.  Perhaps some things can remain unspoken. Maybe we don't need words for everything.  Centuries, my sweet one.  Years and days and hours, and suddenly here we are again.  Together.  In this beautiful, terrifying place.  You really are nothing less than a miracle to me.  My brave girl.  Alive, playful, creative – armed with new opportunities to help those who need it most.  You are surrounded by wonderful people.  People you dearly love.  And it makes this angel at your shoulder truly happy.
   My warrior, in this mortal life I've come to understand the myriad within you a little better.  Your layers and complexity.  But I love not knowing everything.
   It means our souls have depth again.
   I suppose it's enough to know we bested them.  In the end the promise of love became everything we secretly hoped it could be.  That's why I call you a miracle.  That's why this distance feels so sacred.  Of course, I do check in on you from time to time.  Quiet, unobtrusive.  Just for my own peace of mind.  But I leave you with your secrets and hidden places undisturbed.  Any true guardian would do the same.  You check in on me too, you know, and it makes me smile.  Sometimes I wonder if you almost recall those moments in vague dreams or flights of fancy.  I want to thank you for taking care of our friends, and our family. Thank you for keeping them close in all the ways I can’t.  Tell them I miss them.  All of them.  They don't remember Kasi.  Nobody really does, but that's ok. Tell them I love them with all my heart.
   The moment I started writing these words it began to rain.  Isn't that strange?  This rare phenomenon of heavy rain falling through direct sunlight – it’s quite beautiful.  The contrast moves me as I watch and listen.  The timing and elegance of these moments still impresses me, even after a thousand years.  So I sit here, writing, knowing that night is only a temporary veil of dawn.  The living resurrection of light.  The way she blushes her tomb every single morning, fighting her way out.  Dissolving darkness as her radiant glow climbs the sky once more.  Renaissance, truly.  Such a thing is worth a father's endless struggles, or the struggles of a distant guardian, isn’t it?  No tomb can keep you, my love, no matter how hateful.  I promise you that.  Of flesh, the spirit, and the world.

The Dark Matter from Raj Sisodia on Vimeo.

Monday 1 June 2020

Truth & Trauma - Lies and Legitimization in Modern Society

It's a frightening thing to realise that human society is not the shining paragon it claims to be, isn't it?  Unfortunately, human life doesn't really matter in a system like this.  A fallen, hideous chronology so far away from the tenets of human decency that mortals have to employ cognitive dissonance just to get through it. These truths are very difficult to accept.  They're not easily digestible.  In other words, grasping these things is deeply traumatic. The urge is to look at the problems facing our world and reduce them to simple narrative arcs or binaries. Comprehensible stories that can be rewritten with just enough education and empathy.  But this is only a partial truth, isn't it?  We mortals live in a world of perpetual derangement. A kind of sustained trauma.  Trauma dehumanizes people.  It delegitimizes our existences by creating shocking ruptures and wounds in our psyches that are very difficult to communicate.  Thus they often destroy our faith in order and narrative.  Murder and rape and assault, the ravages of war, every form of prejudice and phobia – these traumas render life incomprehensible to those who are violated.  And so many on this Earth today live their lives as a kind of enforced violation.  
  For example, many third-world countries can be considered a form of sustained trauma for those who inhabit them.  Those people who are exposed daily to unimaginable poverty, violence and oppression.  Western powers might anxiously contest this, but we need to ask ourselves a pertinent question.  Do we truly believe that third-world countries would exist in their current forms in a realm where lives actually mattered, or were considered genuinely equal? I don't believe they would, but I can’t answer that for you.  As hard as it may be to hear, the creation and maintenance of ghettos has been a standard practice of colonialism in all of its forms.  Ghettos don't just happen within cities, countries or continents.  They are created and maintained through sleight-of-hand, a denial of resources, public obfuscation and cultural devaluation.  If wealth inequality is to exist in our world, especially as vividly as it does today, then a divide between those who have more and those who have less has to be enforced.  A recognition of this fact is – in my opinion – a crucial first step towards recognizing how power truly operates in our modern world.  That includes political, social and economic forms of power.  Cultural commentators have often been excoriated for raising such points, all throughout history.  Murdered, defiled or imprisoned for speaking truth to power.
   Cui bono, as they say.  Who benefits?
   Conversations about liberty, equality and justice can be tolerated by the ruling classes as long as the status quo isn't too deeply challenged.  After all, regardless of racial or economic background the status quo only exists to truly benefit a tiny percentage of the Earth's population.  And it is undeniably built upon a culture of violence, corruption and trauma.  This is a frightening thing to understand, but understand we must if we want any hope of a truly just and fair society.  Most of the Earth's population lives in abject poverty, dehumanized and delegitimized.  I don’t think that’s a shock to most people reading this.  But those abandoned souls living in poverty, under cultures of oppression – their lives are full of enforced trauma with little ability to process, assimilate and heal such traumas.  Therefore they are denied agency over their own narratives.  The ability to write new stories is withheld from them through a variety of economic and social strangleholds.  If you deny this, or reduce these words to a simplistic anti-capitalist diatribe from which you can comfortably distance yourself, then you are ignoring the nuance and humanity I’m trying to convey here.  This kind of suffering is very real, all over the world.  The poorest countries and continents on this planet are usually also the most exploited, either for natural resources, slave-labour economies, or as useful outposts for geopolitical manoeuvring.  None of this continues to happen simply because benevolent first-world powers just can't seem to figure out how to adequately help or heal those divides. No, this is by design.  These same powers often cause or profit from those divides.  This is a fact, not theory.  We all know this.  This is what massive centralisation of wealth and power looks like in the tangible realm.
   My friends, I know how brutal, ugly and uncomfortable these truths are.  But unfortunately they are the hidden drivers that allow all forms of human rights violations to occur, racism being just one form of abuse among them.  No life matters in a world like this.  Certainly not black lives.  Racial hierarchies and privileges do exist, of course.  But they exist only to perpetuate the system, and are maintained by the handful of cliques from all over the world who truly benefit from that system.  We have far more in common with each other than the murderous architects and profiteers of that system – even if some of us benefit from that system far more than others.  Please hear me.  There are no easy answers here, but slave-labour economies and monopolies of distribution allow tiny cliques of first-world powers to centralize wealth to the detriment of the entire human society.  The richest power-brokers of those exploited countries are equally complicit in this, all for the most mercenary of personal gains.  After all, this modern world is quite literally built upon the spoils of war, colonialism and slavery.  Our budding infrastructures were dependent on it.  This is not the sanitized, largely bloodless version of progress taught in our schools.
   This is the frightening truth.
   Without slave economies of every sort our glittering faux-utopias of the west would not exist in this current form.  Let me repeat that for the uninitiated: without intentional socio-economic imbalances and enforced slave-labour economies, our society in its current form would not exist.  I'm not exempt or somehow distant from this upsetting reality because of the colour of my skin.  None of us are.  I personally benefit from living in such a society in a way that a third-world refugee fleeing war does not, for example.  I'm a black man of mixed-race parentage, but I'm also a Londoner, and as such I have luxuries and amenities that became available to me at the cost of someone else's suffering.  I didn’t want this, or organise this.  And yet, even though I live below the poverty line in this country I still get to live like a king, comparatively speaking.  Like so many of us.  I'm sorry if that upsets you, my friends.  It upsets me too.  These modern comforts make my life tolerable, but that doesn't mean the way I've obtained them doesn't break my fucking heart.  Of course it does.  But it doesn't have to stay like this.  This is an absurd, disgusting world we find ourselves in.  Nobody should be denied basic amenities, healthcare, societal infrastructure, or even the leisure of technology.  
  My point is that a monstrous system designed to create massive wealth disparity by perpetuating socio-economic imbalance is not the only way to comfortably live in a technological, modern society.  Again, massive centralisation of wealth and power is the true reason for this enforced, perpetual trauma.  It isn't because you own a smartphone, or enjoy Wi-Fi.  It's because greed, mercenary business practices and outright psychosis are still shaping our economic, cultural and discursive spaces.  Without interrogating the visible, semi-visible and hidden concentrations of power in our world absolutely nothing will change in the long run.  All that will happen is that human rights abuses will continue in various forms because it is profitable for them to occur, and cheaper than ensuring that they don’t.  Slave economies will be ignored and obfuscated, racial hatred and divisions will continue, and exploitation of third-world resources will remain the norm under a variety of increasingly benevolent guises. But as I said, it doesn't have to be like this if we are genuinely willing to interrogate all forms of power in this world, as unsettling and outright terrifying as that can be.
  Interrogating the powerful is very frightening because – as we are all increasingly starting to recognise – they have the power to literally destroy us.  To traumatize, kill or disappear us, often protected under the guise of so-called legality.  But if we can face this fear we will find that there are indeed other, fairer ways to eventually establish a modern, mutually beneficial society where poverty and inequality does not exist.  Anyone who tries to get you to believe otherwise is either genuinely ignorant of the spectrum of possibilities available to us, or they are intentionally profiting from your misperception of how wealth and power could operate in a truly free and equal society.
  We need to start reading, imagining and thinking.  We have to hone and employ our faculties of discernment to greater levels.  We must begin questioning the array of false assumptions that have allowed some to prosper whilst others suffer terribly.  
  We can't claim to want a world in which lives matter if all we really want is to look away again from the lives that demonstrably don't.  Here, there, or anywhere.  I say this as a black person who has suffered racism, both direct and indirect, personal and institutional.  Black lives matter to me, because I’m black.  But that’s not my point in writing this.  All lives matter to me because I love people.  Members of my immediate family are from various racial backgrounds.  Black, Indian, Latin and White in my case.  But that isn’t my point here either.  My point is that either life matters globally and systemically, or it doesn't.  Life matters to most of us, despite our prejudices, privileges and imperfections.  But a cursory glance at our broken, fallen world should reveal that life really doesn't matter to those who maintain the machinery that perpetually grinds so many of us up in its gears.  The colour of my skin means I’m worth less than I should be.  That’s been a fact of my life.  There are others in different countries worth even less than me.  But I didn’t write this to focus exclusively on skin colour or ethnic background, despite how they still explicitly and implicitly designate status in our world.  I wrote this because I wanted to help partially illuminate the way power and abuse has colonized our external and internal geographies.  This is no different to everything I’ve been trying to discuss at Amid Night Suns for almost a decade now. 
   I really do love you, my friends.  I sincerely hope these words might help contextualize, orient or inspire you during this time.  I'm not the final authority on anything, of course.  Only what mankind has often called God or divinity could ever have perspective enough to grasp the sheer complexity of this world.  I don't write these words claiming to have any of the answers to society's ills, obviously.  This is just one guy's heart-felt opinion on a vast and complex situation.  But I don't think anything I've written here is a lie or an intentional evasion of the truth.  I’m praying for us, my friends, regardless of our social, racial or economic background. Regardless of our privilege or lack of privilege.  Rigorous education, imagination and discussion are only the first steps in changing all of this.  These words might seem abstract, idealistic or unattainable.  But what they really are is full of sorrow.  I don't want to live in a world of division and hatred.  I don't want to pretend a mortal life like this anymore when angels weep all around me.  Ruthless competition, mercenary politics and sickening greed are not the true markers of value in our world.  I don't want myself or people I care about labouring under the assumption that for some of us to have something so many of us must have nothing.  Because that's a lie.  It's the ugliest of lies, upon which every false economy and division in this world is built.  The devil's throne is built upon that very lie.  A blood-soaked hierarchy from which there is ostensibly no escape.  
   Don't let that lie become your lens from which you perceive and organize your experiences.  Because life does matter, but only if we find ways to interrogate, delegitimize and dismantle that lie.