Monday 29 January 2024

The Hellenist


Artists dream all the time.  Don't we, Kara?  Images and sounds, words and letters.  Threads that connect and ties that bind.  We dream of brighter worlds.  I believe that with a little vision we can transform the very fabric of our experience, crafting beauty from the ordinary.  My seamstress, I hope now you understand that we are forever linked.  I'm not separate from you, nor you from me.  And yet we are distinct.  We have our own paths and our own journeys.  Still, I walk beside you always.  Do you remember Ephesus, Kara?  Or Antioch?  I do, or almost do.  I am a dreamer after all.  A wounded fantasist.  Forgive my protean tongue but I've paid a very high price for storytelling.  I nearly lost both my mind and my life for daring to inspire the broken-hearted towards hope.  A simple scribe, a lowly diarist.  As I've said elsewhere in these epistles, “Each feather of Antioch is a word, in every tongue of Man.  Languages both living and dead.”  Because we speak now of the heart, Kara, don't we?  We speak in earnest poetry.  Transformative fictions and images of truth, if not the truth itself.  You see, many souls today are utterly exhausted, driven half mad by this darkness.  A number of them have lost their lanterns, concerned now only with mere surfaces. Distractions dark or fair.  Pigment and provenance.  Petty tribalism and the supposed taboos of miscegenation.  But the world now is just as the world then.  First-century foment.  Tarsus, and Tyana.  I still recall those shadows.  A psychopathy that was so apparent, and growing.  All across the earth.  Travesties of State.  Division and fear.  Treasury-wraiths at odds with the spiritual lives of common folk.  All too often I've seen it.  Another lie on another gilded tongue.  "Believe this or that at great cost to your soul.  Ours is the only way and all else is heresy."  Well, I still speak as a so-called heretic.  A dangerous reformer.  We both do, Kara.  Little has changed in these temples and churches.  We are still unwelcome even in our own houses.  It's one of life's bitter ironies that to even be heard here in this cacophonous abyss one must be well-versed in polemic and politics.  To raise oneself above the din of a thousand heartless strategists.  All clamouring for the wealth of the educated or the blind faith of the illiterate.  Attention is currency after all.  Capture someone's attention, or better, their imagination, and you are a few small steps from capturing their very soul.  A truly dark soul can rally all manner of cultists to commit the most hideous acts in the name of God.  After all, mercenaries need only the slightest pretence.  A banner to march under.  As long as they are paid, either in coin or false absolution of their sins.  There are such men of every culture, every religion.  Sadly, this is human history.  But these are never the ways of noble men and women.  Souls of true character.  We both know that, Kara.  I hate to speak of other dreams, other lives.  Because you have to take it on sheer faith.  And I'm only a distant poet.  A stranger.  Nobody special.  But like so many others we too fell prey to the ignobility of our supposed leaders.  They wanted to silence our voices and extinguish our dissent.  Because we cared about all those who adhered to a different faith.  Our brothers and sisters everywhere who exalted different stories in their attempts to interpret and navigate the world.  This is the true war, isn't it?  The War of Imagination.  Such contextual agility, such brotherhood and sensitivity of thought; it's the bane of any genocidal warlord.  I still remember those terrifying seasons on the sand.  How they unleashed their brutal campaigns of centralisation.  Unimaginable violence and deceit.  As Rome swallowed the temples and our tongues, rewriting our histories and changing our names.  Mixing fact with forgery. Perverting everything we stood for and calling it Christendom.  Such campaigns are still nothing but the vicious strategies of hollow men.  Spiritual wickedness in high places.  Hear me, Fallen.  You deceive so boldly and distort so blithe.  Serpents in a shattered garden.  Your blood is cold.  You chose to weaponise each guideline, parable and article of faith.  Masking yourself with every creed, making a gleeful mockery of everything beautiful.  The sons and daughters of Abram are still at war, arguing over grammar and syntax.  Shedding blood and spreading hate because someone somewhere believes a slightly different version of the same story.  And you still have the gall to call me a heretic?  A pagan sorcerer?  How dare you?  But nothing you do surprises me anymore.  The Children of Ra'Ishka were never a chosen few.  Do you think the true avatars of the Holy Spirit would forsake the young of any tribe?  Even those of your enemies?  Do you think a true angel of divine grace would slaughter innocent children?  Are you fucking insane?  Yes, I utter profanity sometimes.  When it's warranted.  Hear me.  No messenger of the true Creator would trade or harm a little one.  My Father would never sanction such a thing.  You have been fooled, deceived, manipulated.  These evil angels are not angels at all.  They are but wilderness wraiths.  Mere phantoms.  Hungry ghosts.  Feeding upon the blood of our brethren.  Re-writing the words of greater minds.  Shaping and reshaping our texts – our imaginations – to fit their dark agendas.  Look me in the eye and tell me it isn't so.  These wraiths stalked Rome, Byzantium, Isfahan and many others.  They still do.  But so do I.  And so does my brother.  Tell me, Fallen; do you know who my brother is?  Do you even know who you are?  Children of disobedience indeed, but children nonetheless.  So degenerate, so gleefully obsessed with your own nightmare-making.  Not artists yet.  Not really.  Still unfamiliar with dreaming's finer points.  The subtleties and subtext.  It hurts me too, Kara.  All this chaos and sickness.  This lack of courage, or kindness.  This is not the world any true scribe would wish to record.  We are not supposed to hate each other like this.  But I stand here now in the omnipresent gaze of my Father, trying to listen.  Willing to humble myself if necessary.  All we can do is speak our truth with full elucidation and express our hearts as deeply as possible, even if we are called heretics by those with darker, deceitful souls.  The faithful and the kind will know us by our works, God willing.  There is so much more I could say, my seamstress.  So many stories I could write.  Epistles and epiphanies.  But I want to keep things succinct.  However, before I finish I want you to know that I've not lost my humour in all this.  Nor my √©lan.  Neither should you.  Don't be afraid to laugh.  Protect your mirth, your sense of play.  Think of it as treasure.  An artist needs her joy after all.  Especially someone in the full bloom of creation.  Thank you for noticing me, Kara.  And thank you for caring.  About all of us.  I really do love you, my darling.  And as always I wish you well.