I’m awake. Candle light paints stark images in shadow form across the angled Walls which press in on me in act and deed; squeezing my chest and
Causing me to catch my breathe involuntarily. The slowly rhythmic inhalation
And exhalation returns, causing the flame to flutter momentarily, but it remains; Burning with customary fervour; like some grand torch used not to mark success
But to honour the countless living dead.
Staring into the dark and faintly-purplish centre of the too-small flame
I see me; feeble, incoherent, transparent, ineffectual, stumbling, decayed.
When I withdraw my concentration I come across the bright yellow outer flame
Which dances seductively and I see you; strong, vibrant, alive, empowered.
And I need this other being; need it to make me whole, to light my passage,
Bring me closer to dawn by warding the night away.
“Believe in me,” I hear part of me say unconvincingly, “and all’s right in
The world.” But it’s not; salty tears bear harsh testament to that. Tears which
Trickle down my wan cheeks as I snuff the candle’s flickering flame.
Not because I want to, but because weariness wracks my tortured frame
And sleep cries out in the cold and cloudy night to my disordered mind –
“Be at peace, rest a while, slumber in contentment.”
But sleep does not come and I lie in bed in my cold darkened room
Listening to the sound of the carefree wind, hearing your voice
On the breeze that’s barely tempered by the pine trees, proudly erect,
Running in an ordered fashion beyond the boundaries of my vision.
A vision stirred, a vision blurred, by wondrous images of you and I
Atop vast hills, at pier’s end, always, always hand in hand.
Dank, cold darkness stretches ahead indefinitely; and also behind
In the shadowed recesses of my troubled (read artistic) mind.
Long periods of foreboding syrup-thick isolation are countered
By the imperceptible pin-pricks of light you’ve come to represent;
A light pure and unencumbered by the hideous excesses of nothingness
And its partner, salvation through stagnation.
I toss and turn in a whirling maelstrom of ineffective movements which
Achieve naught, but crumple the clean sheets which are cold and
Uninhabited; save for remembrance of you. My memory stirs in the
Blackness and churns in time to my body’s movements, like my heart and head
Are performing some macabre dance in honour of our shared and intimate past.
But there’s no rhythm, only all-conquering chaos.
Repetition and regression mix in my torrid mind with previous transgressions,
Revealing the tenuous hold I have on my own humanity; a hold marked mainly
By the visions I see before me in the blackness of my loft. Pictures smeared and
Smudged by failings; inadequacy and longing – Cubism minus the colour.
Time glows eerily, scarily, in the blackened corner but can’t be made out because Of this same lack of anything like clear vision.
Lying in bed with these chaotic thoughts ricocheting around my battle scarred
Mind sleep becomes my foe; the boogie-man who lives not under the bed,
But within my foolish, foolish head. And foolish thoughts abound but the Washer’s broken so there’s no way to stop the flow of disconnected thinking;
Self pity entraps thee, much like a closed coffin lid. Rapid breathing begins
Again so I escape the sheets, scurrying to the window; rodent like.
Outside my room, in the darkness, lie the graves of fallen comrades; friends one
And all. Gone, not in a blaze of glory, but sucked into the morass of time. Timeless qualities unpossessed by me see these allies dancing in youthful states
In my mind’s eye; sepia tones prevail then the pictures fade to black as reality Presses in. I’m an adult, can drive, and am impelled to vote, yet I’m staring into The darkness of a winter’s night because I’m afraid…afraid of me.
I know not who I am nor what I can be, so I seek celestial guidance in the stars,
But am denied by low grey clouds that seem to menace and mock like I’m adrift
On some great eddied ocean that hangs absurdly upside down. I trace the rapidly
Moving shades of grey against the stable roof line of the house next door until They become obscured by the rivulets of rain that dribble down the window pane
Like my tears which have not stopped; and I can watch no more.
Back to bed I go; defeated by the cold and the harrowing realisation of what
Lies out there in the darkness; beyond my realm of experience – or is that within It? I pull the covers tightly up above my shoulders and stare into what is known;
The blackness of my own room that no longer offers sanctity, save for protection From the ever present drizzle that hugs the house, much like the crushing weight
That presses ominously upon my very being.
Time passes by, snail-like; and in each separate tick and distinct tock
Of the clock that runs forever on time can be heard nothing. Nothingness
Triggers my brain and disconnected thoughts frolic before me but one remains;
A question, – innocuous enough, “Where art though sleep?” And in the pre-dawn Naught can be heard in reply save for the low moan of the howling wind and the Pitter – patter of unfriendly rain upon the tiled roof above me.
Dawn has broke, peeking through the blinds, revealing a winter’s day; grey,
Cold and lifeless, like so many others of late. The filtered light will have to
Suffice, as I know you’ll return to re-ignite the candle’s flame which marks our
Connexion. I know we’ll be together because I write these words by lamp-light With a clear sense of deja vu which tells me we were meant to be, and I’m Thrilled by this thought, though it keeps me awake all night.
– Aug 1996