I am the man of gloom
The Prince of Aquitaine, his tower in ruins
My sole star is dead
My constellated lute bears the Black Sun of Melancholia
- from Nerval's "The Disinherited One"
To those of us that are attracted to the macabre for reasons that elude us, and spend untold nights in indefinable insomniac searches for a link to another world, another salvation, a different realm underneath our own, the most insignificant threads of the otherworldly [as they manifest themselves in our lives, appearing out of and disappearing into the darkness] become wretched calls not to be ignored. Many fellow wanderers I have known have descended, time after time, into shadowy reveries over the slightest gossamer of supernatural witnessing...and in this state of mind [what dreams may come!], where the undying urge for the taste and tinge of the mysterious has exceeded even its own obsessions and become the avatar of its own manic, mad philosophy, the mind tirelessly sifts the minutiae of experience for any slight breath of transcendence...a mote, a whisper that may have fallen from a star...
This madness is all-consuming, this search through the texts and dust of centuries, this search for life in death...
"Something wrong with the City house, I think it was, and so these people, almost neighbors [who were they really?] - a "coalition" of feared strangers and future neighbors, people in the neighborhood - came to tear it down, and Father fought them, hand to hand, viciously, they tore off an entire section of the front porch..."
"Ah, the hostile outside world, your father defending you...how primal! Very...pure?"
In the brotherhood of the dark, there have been fragile prophets whom the remainder gaze jealously upon [always jealousy, always envy!] and nervously jot down their vaguest ramblings or most psychotic fantasies of trauma-induced, self-indulgent, soul-searching [?] mutterings...for, under the overwhelming conviction of our own worthlessness in the face of the transmundane, and in the mindset that I described before - one where the tiniest shred of seemingly obscure detail [or the falsely obscure, but beware that] assumes the mantle of a clarion to the land of the poetic - the very movements of those more gifted by the Dark Gods take on the concrete importance of technical instruction. Prophecy...divination?
Are there any answers at all?
"And then searching desperately for something to buy Her, I think, for her birthday, or for our anniversary, seeking, running feverishly [as if running out of time], through the streets, into a gigantic shopping mall, a maze, where I was constantly climbing, going up the stairs, looking for objects that caught my eye, or that would catch my eye, if I was still alive...on my side in a second-hand shop, on the top level, scanning my eyes over the watch selection, seeing Volvo watches and Ski watches and things related to Her life, and then jogging out again, through a bookstore, all around the place frantically, then out on the roof...admiring the construction of the entire place, its air and crystalline atmosphere, the ambiance, a turn-of-the-century revolving mill of remembrances."
"You feel as if you can not give her what she really wants, or that her wants exceed your ability to interpret and satisfy them. A terrible dilemma."
It is hardly necessary to call attention to the danger of this thorn-filled path. The brotherhood has little or no respect for life in their consuming obsession...and to satisfy their lust for knowledge they have been known to perpetrate, alone or leagued together, immensely terrifying acts both of desecration and homicidal mania. How will those scribes [the ones left to you, the ones who still know you by your voice] speak of your torment, your desolation and dreaded woe, when those around you - those before on a path with you - have taken it upon themselves to decide that the next clue to further absolution and sanguine salvation lays nestled [like a hatchling] within the viscera of your heart, or in the bodies of those you love? Scriveners and alchemists all, still committed to those ancient black arts, the multiform variation of your arterial veins could hold signs or secrets to which the most elite of the savage priests aspire. You will not survive their love.
"I met Her, she was also running towards another mall across a schoolyard, and there I was speeding towards Her, twisting, turning, leaping, sliding down embankments, moving fluidly, then dragging her along, trying to motivate Her, exhorting Her to hurry, gesturing, pointing to my watch, running out of time! Finally we get to another collection of shops and climb up a series of wooden steps or stairs [always stairs!], where I place a thin branch of wood - I wish I could remember what type of tree it came from - between two landings where there was an empty space, and an aged Chinese man descends from the ceiling and congratulates me on the effort. In the air-conditioned splendor of the store I find a book, a Greek "classic", illustrated with scenes from earlier parts of my dream, and I buy it - it seems so fitting."
"Which classic was it?"
"Daphnis et Chloe? I can't remember now."
And no more shall you seek the Hokmah Nistarah...
He said on the phone, his voice echoing across untouched miles of darkness:
"Another dream of snakes...but let me tell you of what's left in my memory: there I was perched on top of the roof of an apartment complex like a great bird, an avenging angel, and I was looking around across all the roofs on both sides of me...seeing a beam, this is just what I wrote down, a beam or cross support that for some reason I assumed to be both concerned with Judaism and a place where sacrificing was allowed...on the roof? Looking down I see a little courtyard in the middle of the complex, where there is set up a sandbox or play area about 20 feet by 20 feet...it's deserted except for Her [at least that's what I thought] and some little kids...I go down to talk to Her, only she's dressed like that girl, you know...the itinerant singer, like a gypsy, with a scarf over her head...nearby there are signs, around the play area, which warn of snakes...and as I step into the hot sand I feel it give away sickeningly beneath me, like rotten fruit, or decayed flesh...just a little resistance, as of skin or rubber, and then the squishy softness of purulence. Underneath the sand there are clustered groups of hissing black snakes, and they twine around my ankles..."
"Faster, faster...how long can I live faceless?"
"Other images that I wrote down, or which I can remember: of running from something or somebody [I am so tired of running away from things in my dreams!] while trying to climb a stairwell, falling down and using my hands to climb the steps along with my feet, eventually loping and galloping upwards, like an animal..."
"You must have felt free."
"And then again in the living room of the City house, which now has become a constant source of nightmares...it is dark, the only light coming from upstairs, or rather down the stairs...and snakes are everywhere, climbing up the banister in sinuous ropes of black ink, shiny and wet, over and over, intertwined, spitting and threatening...they are all over the floor as well, and as I try to jump from one piece of furniture to another, staying off the floor, I get to a brick level above the ground, before the fireplace, on the foot-high ledge there..."
"I know it."
"And there a horse appears, jumping and screaming...it opens its mouth and screams like a woman being tortured, and when it leaps onto the ledge with me, I hold its head in my arms and try to soothe it, but its eyes are running white, back in its head, it's shaking, quivering, trembling, shivering, and I start to shiver as well...its obviously terrified and it reminds me in my dream of my little dog, you know, George..."
"The one your father killed in front of you?"
"Yes, the only pet I had when I was a kid, the only animal I ever loved, really."
I am so tired of tragedy.
Another dream of possession, or of the inevitable decay of age...if so, in that category, then, a novel, new aspect...I don't know if I have had that many dreams centering around the inevitable encroachment of age, the topic and concern or concentration of mortality.
And even now, the dream is fading, as a decrepit, tearstained Father's memory, in that last August twilight...U. Amtey
15 October 2003