Saturday, May 15, 2010

After The Apocalypse

From the same source I have not taken my sorrow;
I could not awaken my heart to joy at the same tone;
And all I loved, I loved alone...

- Poe, from his poem 'Alone'

I appeal to you, twin icons and avatars, now, of Solipsism and Silence, everything I know of the ideals, everything that they mean when they use the term to your entry into the world. I appeal to you in order to gain strength from the reiteration of your name, the pressing of the concepts, again and again, into the fertile tissues (still wet, awaiting seed, after all these dry, dusty years) of my memory, my capabilities, everything I was and everything I was expected to be, and everything I expected myself to become. When did the dreams die? In the name of all those desires, all those edge of the night fantasies as I lay dreaming on the window sill, staring out into the dark, feeling the humid air fill the room behind me, as if I was in a lighthouse, alone at the end of the world, overlooking the roar of the black seas beneath me...a Melmoth with lantern shaded? A Medea left behind? The father of Theseus, intent on a black sail? Basil Elton, awaiting the call of the White Ship, the towers of lost cities? Where are the results of all those hopes? All those symbols, passed down to me, watching the tides of the past and the stillborn future run into each other, all these shadows from the past, all these instances of others experiencing the same emotions, all these words cried out through history...and where was I?

Where were you? The idea, the thought, the feeling, the object, the person, the group, the movement, the music, the philosophy, the product - where were you? Where were you - the succor, the healing balm, the cool hand on my forehead, the whispered words in a fevered ear, the rustle of pressed skirts, perfumed hair against my cheek, the touch of silk on my skin, the words that would drown the sadness? The tones that would soothe - whether from Siren throats or not? And that call of the Siren, when it did come...oh, in what form? Where are the men who resisted the lure all their lives, intent on their own intelligence, their own sense of caution, their pride, their purity - only to meet Her on the threshold of death? Where are the men who fall in love the day they die? Who, in his heart of hearts, can love the world that spurns his advances? Never let it be said that a man can see his destiny unfolding before him...

Mistress of my ideals, I still dream of you...under your face, in the particular, there are the bones of an ancient race, and they can be wedded to any flesh, any race, any form. In your eyes I see the truth, I see my truth - the portion of the world's truth that has been set aside for me. How many nights will pass, in my life, when you leave me all alone? Where are you? How many nights will come and go without a word from you? Or better yet - oh, your silence, which is all I need to fill my mouth with everything I desire so strongly to speak. How many nights do you come to me, without leaving me my only solace, the fading memories afterwards? It is in the silence between these dreams, in between the memories of these dreams, that I truly can say I live, that is: I die, filled with a sickening regret, a sweet bitterness, but so slowly, slow enough so that I can convince myself I still live...'I still live, I am still alive,' I say in the daylight hours, breathing deeply, but at night there is a voice beneath my eyelids, and it whispers, on the edge of sleep: 'No, you died a long time ago...'

"When on the forgotten wood dark winter passes
you mourn, O lonely captive of the sill,
that this double tomb to be our pride is ill
laden, alas, with the lack of heavy posies.

"Unheard by you Midnight's vain tale is cast,
a vigil exalts you not to close a lid
til sunken in the old armchair the last
ember has illuminated my Shade.

"Who would have the Visit often should not weight
with too many flowers the stone my finger heaves
with the weariness of a defunctive force.

"Soul trembling to seat myself by the so bright grate,
that I may live again the borrowed breaths suffice
from your lips murmuring my name all the evening."

- Stéphane Mallarmé

For blood is the life, the life that we give for our Lord, Agnus Dei, the Sun of Reason, the solace of faith, and as I cut myself and wait for the blood to appear, called out by the magnetism of my gaze, slashing again and again, I fear this time the prophecy of my death in the color of the bleeding...oh, will it be black this time, saviour? Will my heart be stopped once again, hardened by your outreaching hand? Will my eyes roll back to show the white of Purity? The voices speak, in a dead language, from the wounds in my wrists: 'Our mistake was to consider death as a curse, as a Divine punishment, when it is our greatest blessing, our final reward. In my dreams I live out the ages as an immortal, and my suffering only increases as the weaving of the clocks spin out their web...time, then, is our enemy. The knife is our only friend.' But the blood lies, my belief says...the Lord lies, the world lies, the Sun itself is only a lie. Spiritus sanctus, spiritus ex infernus. To keep breathing, like Sisyphus. And the aching in my heart is the withered root of wings that must take flight...

Animus, Anima ex somnium

There, alive in the dark, my eyes searching the horizon, waiting for a light that never comes, even though faint glimmers appear on the edge of my awareness - spots of light that call themselves alive, yet walk the path of their ancestors, the path of thorns and scorpions - how will they drink in the deserts that their lives leave behind? Within their frail, faint light I see a darkness growing...a liquid Sin that their own eyes shed, to fill the air around me...the nihilist, spiritual cousin to my own tribe, would breathe deeply (spiritus lenis) this brackish effluvium, in the hope of poisoning his traitorous body, to kill mankind by taking his own life, to harm the eternal by stabbing like a child at the pink edges of his own mortal coil. But truly, all I see is here is the potential of my own suffocation, and the nihilist's empty frame will be tossed on my own shoulders, as all the rest are...the world must be burned away in a funeral fire. To the nihilist, I would say: 'Stay and suffer, prove your worth, in my theater if not in yours.' And the prospect of imminent Death blanches these puppets of Suicide - the end of all Ciphers turns their zeros back into ones, and thus they can not assuage my pain.

Last night she came to me in a dream of the daylight, and her eyes told me of wormwood truths I could not bear to ignore any longer. Thus I evolved, outside of time. 'Action,' she mouthed silently, 'action is the key to these doors.' I can still feel the echoes. And as I paused to watch the metamorphosis of insects - the kings of creation - on the bed beside me, her hands sped to my temples to feel the pulse of Faith within. Life, it seemed to me at that point, was a series of ascending steps, a ladder whose top disappears in the dim heights above, and this agonizing journey, prolonged only by waiting, by a refusal to join in its storied brocade, the weaving of time's tapestry...but because I saw instantly, with the sight that only comes in dreams, that eternity does not lend pleasure to progress or pursuit or digression (as all are the same without the ticking of time), and that I would be just as well off decaying under the yoke of indolence instead of bending my steps upwards towards a gilded throne that even the Seraphim had started to doubt (Where was God? Our cries are only met with Silence) the existence of, I drew in breath (spiritus asper - the road less travelled) to mock all that I had been shown. 'It's seems a pale simulacrum, never blessed by the presence of the Divine, and unworthy of our attention, unworthy of our shared agony...where are the spirits who would laugh at the torments of Hell?' Her eyes, once again, met mine, and I instantly regretted my words. 'Action,' she mouthed silently, 'action is the key to these doors.'

If you hear me, Siren, answer me in my dreams...

U. Amtey
9 February 2001