The Animal

To see and be the ugly things of life.

To know there is terror in the sublime.

To be
a biological organism,
a bipedal mammal
with opposable thumbs;
 
witness the animals as they come together
to gather round the fire
& make their greatest mistake as
they take the communication system
moulded from noises and turn it
into language:
                a feed-back loop into which members of the group
                will descend when
                they discover how
                to talk to themselves
                & not others;

necessary lie of grammar, to anchor
our respective first-person perspective  
it gave rise to the lie that is the “I”,
                the insistence
that there is something different inside of us.

Sudden light:
close your eyes,

wait in wonder & terror
for the after-image to recede.

When the darkness returns,
press fingers against your eyelids
&
try to believe the phosphenes are unique
when
you open your eyes again to let them
                                    linger
over familiar scenes. Does
it seem
as if everything
or nothing
has changed?

Are all things still
                    the same,
or subtly,
briefly
            different?

Can you appreciate sensation: the feeling
of vibration;
the harmony of eternal energy
composing & flowing through us?

Is there hope to be discovered
                            of escape
from the day to day
after day after day
of feeling dull & repetitive
& dull &
the same?

Solidarity

The grass is no greener on the other side,
no matter what they say
& stomachs like ours can’t digest it anyway.

Whether we’re more poster-children
for just another trend
we’re still just children.

I guess that’s why its so easy to hate
& why black and white look better than grey.

But easy doesn’t leave a trace,
can’t keep that fear at bay…

the fear we’ll all either feel at the end
or can’t keep away every day:

not one of us is exempt.

Whatever consequence
you want to call god or
karma or claim as the fault of others,

only we can face the danger of freedom;
only we can fight the terror of existence,

but I cannot do it alone.

So

will you join me?

Zabbaleen

& like any god
-forsaken thing, I want nothing more
than my breaths
– Ocean Vuong

Signals traverse spines & veins.

Eyes dilate.

Tracing ancient patterns,
the sinuous ribbons of memory
renewed through constant sacrifice

                rise:

another performance

of terror & necessity.

Some animals survive & others die,

while through it all

the light plays games across the spectacle,
watched over by gods
who know nothing of mercy.
 
~~~

Here though, there are no gods;
here the wind touches glass & concrete trees
fells greasy cardboard leaves,
plastic carrier bags,
cigarette ends,
empty cans &
people.

~~~

The Gazelle has broken limbs,
has lost it's noble frame
& the grace of such delicate movements

between jaws, claws, teeth &
brutal muscle;
adrenaline, instinct & chance.
 
The Gazelle searches for a place to hide

somewhere to die in peace before
scavengers arrive to tear away meat
from the warmth of life.

Such an ugly fate for a gentle beast:

watch the blood draining from a dead-eyed dream.

~~~

The Zabbaleen
have been forced to become human garbage.

There are many others like them.

It need not be this way.

Here there are no gods but
mercy could exist. This

makes me ashamed to be human.

What about you?

The River

Everything moves in the river,
even the stones erode slowly &
disappear.

We are no exception.

If you try becoming a prisoner
in love with their guard, then maybe
existence wont be so hard
but

when you search for the spirit in the bone
be prepared for disappointment:

the sickness is indiscriminate &
it never goes away.

Everything moves through the river,
everything decays.

You are no exception.

Enough

You have a favourite tree in this city,
& the one he hung himself from
is in the same public garden.

You took me there once:
                        2 am.,
we were drunk.

You climbed the trunk & sat on the branch
where he swung
for hours, years ago, until
the grounds-keeper found him in the morning.
& quit their job soon after.

He is always somewhere in your mind,
the memories you want desperately to survive
come flooding back to you sometimes
& the pain in your eyes is unbearable.

So much trauma.

Every year
you plant flowers at the base of the tree.
Every year
you despair as age reminds you again
just how young he was.

So much trauma.

I asked permission
& you let me sit on the branch with you.

Looking down on the ground,
every suicidal thought returned &
I realised I wasn't ready;

                        I wanted
to lay beneath a cherry tree
& bleed, buried beneath fallen blossoms:

no,
I wasn't ready then…

was your friend?

You asked me & the only answer
that I could find
was that some of us need more

than life can provide,
but we search
                    until the searching

becomes too much.