the aura

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I have seen God.

And she is a bright light that swells like burning incense at night. She is the flame that curls to the tune of a celtic melody sung by fire-kissed sirens.

She is orion’s belt caught in my vision like hair caught in a lock. Her hair is a constellation that stands on ends, setting down astrological fate lines. When I look into her skies I am watching the crystals rise from my palms for the world to see the life I have lived and will come to see.

When I whisper into my head line her hair grows lavender and she tells me to relax without speaking. When I touch my heart line she hands me an arrowhead of obsidian for protection against the demons rapping at my ear drums in the mornings when the choir is screaming my name to stop being the bum, to just go out and have fun.

When I touch my fate line, launched like a sword caught in the cleft of my life line, I don’t just touch it, I pick at it. I scratch at it. I scratch at it until it bleeds and she tells me to stop. But why should I stop when I know that if I scratch hard enough it will disappear. It will. I know it will.

Of course it will. It will.

After the storm, I am an ebbing tide retreating into veins. After the storm, her muted cries no longer call. I’ve begun to notice that the light beneath the floorboards no longer spreads through the dark to reach for me. When I am reaching back it is like I’m looking into a night absent of stars, only to be replaced by artificial constellations that breathe hollow words. Now when I’m touching my palms, they come away chapped and covered in sawdust too caustic to grow my thoughts.

God was not an entity that bloomed in the sky. God was my friend, the ally, I wasn’t prepared to see die.

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Denial

The d stands for my decentrality, running like liquor along chapped window panes.

I’ve left the paint chipped nails rusting in an ocean breeze, hoping to cure the blindness that’s leeching into my lungs

you see i’ve side stepped the right to speak in two beats, now a stutter crackles down the telephone poll dialing 1, 2, 3, speak to me.

This connection is a paper towel too dry to stem the blood flow; it’s as if the air between us has become concrete, and our shades of grey are scars in a competition of whose goes deep enough, which is the canyon and the other a ditch?

I know you say you have canyons for veins but it is your eyes that make my mountains pebbles.

Don’t you see?

You have excavated mines in my landscape, whitewashed as gums brushed too neat. When the therapist in my mind tells me, was his sucker punch to the gut deep, I ask them have you climbed into the mouth of a puppy only to taste the blood of your favourite toy in its teeth? Because the bite is not what hurts, it’s believing that what was good could never deceive. Not realising you’re the yoyo in a playground game. Fingers brushing along a cotton spun spine, up wahey, it’s cuddles, rainbows, cotton candy clouds and down.

Don’t you realise writing is a fickle game?

Of course I like you.

One minute.

You can go now.

The voices in my head tell me not to speak because you’ll only jump back into the sea, into the cave whose black walls fill my absent dreams that maybe you might care more about me.

There is sand biting my neck so hard I can’t see. I know you are struggling but when I tell you I can’t breathe. I can’t. I don’t expect you to understand but when I am crying thorns I am not okay. I need your pliers to set me free. And yet, they’re still to be seen.

Anxiety grows on me like moss in winter, when the wind is stitching fears to branches that loop like shivering intestines. Organs aren’t meant to be seen. But my heart is the crow that can’t stop watching from the wooden beam, observing the changes in the seasons the way our seasons shifted and waned under the groping of the moon rising and falling, rising, falling.

The d stands for denial, the sound of my fears breaking open like waves. The sound of reality cracking open like a mussel forced towards fate.

 

 

 

 

the body that cries out

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We are gathered here today to witness the union of Jason and the disturbingly attentive Brenda, the slug.

People said it was impossible, how could a man love a slug? It’s all slimy and wet.

Jason said, how could it be anything but love?

You see when you’re looking into the face of what lies beside the earth you are looking into the eyes of Earth and boy is she shaking. She is not cold. She is frightened. She is mindful of the language that leaves dot-to-dot bullets along her spine. Her feelers are held fast like the canon that pulled back, shooting teeth so black they are tiny black holes eating up the air, the trees, the bodies; a transmission of neurones that stop short on arrival. Pop.

Absence.

Often she is retracting her tentacles, afraid she’ll face the wreck of the kraken’s indubitably fault filled game, to see the castles fall beneath the sea. Upon the mountains, upon the beaches, upon the land where men’s blood stretch out like the glutinous fibres of an egg, poked about by metal turrets pencilling out SOS. Silence Over Speech.

She asks to be embraced the way the sea embraced the flying lions, swathed in green, bursting into peals of laughter as they descended open arms. Now washed away to be cradled beneath the earth like mines.

Earth is a slug, too vulnerable to hide. In every home she is an immigrant to man-kind. She is witness to the crimes in our eyes, trying to dodge the curses heaped into land masses like fossils, layered war upon war. Salt pellets fall like nuclear bombs, rotting at the atmosphere of her mind.

Jason fancied his mind a slate, clean and unworn. But his mind is a border obstructed by walls, cut down before bunkers filled with grenades and machete floors.

When I look at Jason lying beside the earth I am looking into the eyes of Earth and he is shaking.

 

 

 

 

Derealisation

I’ve spent hours,

days,

weeks,

months,

falling without the fear i’ll break my back.

Is it right to touch the brake, feel the whitewash when you’re looking through disdain-specked glasses that whisper: dreams are immaterial, you are immaterial, this is immateriality.

Now as we sidestep into life i’ve begun to notice. Is it too late to touch the bridle, feel the reigns only to know they’ve already snapped?

Rhetoric is easy when you’ve taken the hypodermic punch; slow goes it through your ego, now rammed against the glass in a Glasgow smile that says ‘ohh well isn’t this dandy?’

Fuck the haters, we’re all judges with antonyms for speeches, crystal balls hanging below our breeches; just looking for a prickle of sensation because we’ve lost our capacity to breathe in one space.

Steady goes the river flow but not so steady is the mind that shakes like a tambourine, vibrating me to sleep morning, night, morning, night, mourning until my eyes show a film of translucent memory, decorated only by the bright gleam of light telling me this is real.

and yet

petals are rusting and the metal is curling. I’m barricaded in a Dali dystopia, uncertain and blinding, day cut open by the chime of a wooden machete that strikes 1 at morning and 3 at night.

 

the lisp of affinity

‘When you have seen that of which you are capable, when you have stood in blood long enough, what is there left but to wade to a desolate shore, away from all others?’ -The Creature, Penny Dreadful

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What is there but poetry to guide the ignorant towards enlightenment? For without that invocation of literary want we are surely fated to damnation.

It is my belief that popular culture’s appropriation of the monster figure into the media has the effect of demeaning the integrity of gothic villains and the writers’ intents for them.  In this respect, i draw focus to what has and always will be my favourite character, Frankenstein’s creature. Since James Whales’ Frankenstein (1931) the vision of Shelley’s monster has become distorted, and he remains so today as the creature who mumbles, but does not speak, who is mindless and above all, blank eyed with bolts in his neck. All in all, this is a representation that functions as the antithesis of who the creature is, and it doesn’t half grind my bolts to see him altered through this arguably perverse characterisation.

The quote above is taken from the creature’s dialogue in the Showtime TV series, Penny Dreadful. Here, John Logan positions the creature directly alongside Shelley’s vision of the monster and for this i commend him greatly. The language alone is enough to convey the fragility of the Creature’s condition that is so often overlooked. It is eloquent, learned and above all literate. This is a creature who has been educated through stories from the romantics and poetry enlivened through soft tongues. His sense of humanity is founded on the easy self-expression of emotion through fire-light words that radiate and breathe. So when this is pierced by livid tongues that dispel the essence of beauty, he becomes rotten to the world, because even he is too monstrous for a society he has merely tasted but can never be apart of.

It comes as no surprise that the Creature is often infantilised and thus traumatised as his will is bent by the violent actions which form his first experiences. In ignorance he replicates what he learns externally, but is caught out in confusion when his violence oversteps a line he is unaware exists. As time goes on, he believes he has formed relationships only to be deceived and his negative perception of the world, proved.

If we go back to the quote, the metaphor for having ‘stood in blood’ is inherently literal, but more importantly, it is an allegory for the creature’s need of religious acceptance. The image of the creature standing in blood and wading to the shore causes water and blood to be directly linked, which is also mirrored within the Bible, concerning Jesus. During the Last Supper Jesus turns the water to wine, telling his disciples to think of the wine as representing his blood. It therefore stands as a reminder of his self-sacrifice. In the epistles of John 1:7, it is said that ‘the blood of Jesus purifies us from every sin.’ In this moment, the creature unconsciously reveals his deepest desires: to be christened in the eyes of God and accepted by Jesus. In addition, Jesus is famously described as being able to walk on water. The creature must adversely ‘wade’ through the water, reminding us as an audience that he is merely mortal. This is supposed to humanise the creature, to highlight that he is not the animal or monster society within Frankenstein would have us believe. On the other hand, he is also connecting himself with the other characters to highlight the degeneracy of humanity in its ability to condemn and punish man against man, rather than uniting the religious image of a wholesome brotherhood. Just as the creature is a character who has sinned, so is every other human, imbued with original sin (and so the argument is expanded further through countless academic papers).

Regardless of the many other connotations that can be made here, what i hope to have demonstrated is that Shelley’s Frankenstein is a heavy contextualised piece of literature that holds a necessarily intrusive and yet sensitive exploration into societal changes and fears whilst raising philosophically demanding questions about the human condition.

I cannot deny that there are criticisms against the novel; however it is worth remembeing that Frankenstein’s creature is not a character to be mocked or twisted but to be learned from, even 200 years on when aspects of his growth still challenge our identity.

Sometimes, when i’m alone, i will cry. I will cry because i am reading how he struggles for self-expression. I will cry because he lives in a world with sight, but where everyone else is blind.

I will cry and not feel ashamed.

 

 

numb

I’ve forgotten how it felt to have my lungs hump against my ribcage.

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There was a time when my tears ran rapids along duvet formations, but now they’ve crystallised, become as blank as the scripts i’m failing to start. I’ve become an on/off switch that triggers like seasons, finding myself saying, this is supposed to hurt. But it doesn’t. The next time i open my mouth to laugh i am reminding myself it’s not real, that this isn’t hitting the nail on the head of my heart, not like it used to. So when i sit down, looking at the ocean or facing down my food, i am forcing myself to think creatively, to look beyond ordinary perception; i’ve become blind to that sensation. All that is, simply is. It seems that secondary value of literary license has failed to make it past the the passing of the polling card.

Just a pawn in a political stratagem.

I am no longer the God to my will, simply puppet to the drill of stoicism repeated in blows. Replicate. what. you. know.

What i know?

That weakness is my sin; stand straight, stand proud, stand abject to the crowd. This is your mantra. Don’t let the bastards get you down, because if you do you’re going to drown.

Screaming.

From within.

I am conflicted. Irrational thoughts are like hair clogged drains strangling my membrane. There’s a giant finger pressing against my spine, and now i’m a spot ready to burst, waiting until i poole into the cement to be swept away by treads of rubber taking me away until i’ve been stretched from point to point, a murder track connected by pale nerve endings.

Most of all i am a voodoo doll with invisible pain receptors. Cut me and i’ll bleed stuffing. Stab me, i’ll say nothing. And yet still i’ll smile because i am a doll and dolls do not feel.

 

Shelley’s Literary Monster

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I am writing a letter because my silence has been grated and i am tiring of the absence. I am a page left curling against the heat of pigeon-winged coal, guided only by typographic strings that bar the way to speaking out. And these pages are no longer strong but weak, like tissue that’s been held for too long in a sweaty palm. I am nervous. Anxious. Brains have become clouds, translucent and vague but ever so easy to cut through with the metal of a jumbo jet blade. Emotionally traumatised, physically unhinged. Where was i? A crumpled ball of paper hurled at yellow talons.

A new, ivory slice presents itself before me. The ink is wet. It wants to touch, to taste, to stain the page. Am i the one to imbue life through these lines? Will i give birth through the scoring of black arteries, hoping to see the words thrum and the punctuation to rise and fall; literate lungs, syntactically stitched. When i colour you in with phonetic prostrations will you murmur and wail like a child, grappling with speech? Will my emotive language punch a heart into the fabric of your being?

But despite all these things i will leave you blind, save for the knowledge of my relations, frustrations. You will learn from the whispered entries of my publicly dialled down thoughts and know only the misfortune of the private appearance, hidden and scarred. Scarred and ignorant. You are the side effect i created by chance.