On reading Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”

A story for those who read, by T.S Eliot. And now by me.

A star struck soldier stands in pride, with one foot idly resting behind the other, tilted to follow the stone of the balustrade. A porcelain doll stands by his side, head tilted and mechanically smiling (behind the scenes a hundred women, mothers, cousins, aunts, are pushing at the backs of each one). The lights of gentle stars line her view of his head, making him a dark outline against the sky, wherin cold lights of blue reside. His foreshadowed form rises above her, taking the shape of a Grecian sculpture, in perfect antiposto pose. Her eyes shine, and silver lights reflect below dusky pink lips, her dress forces her into the form that society thinks is pretty, and exposes just enough to barely whet the nostrils, let alone the tongue. Her small-seeming form is coiled beneath him, perfect posture showing her as an impossibly correct miniature.
“Let us go then, you and I/ When the evening is spread out against the sky – “
The doll’s eyes twinkle up at him, waiting for the lines society will expect, a small mouth opens to murmur, “oh, Tom – “
“like a patient etherised upon a table”

She glances to either side, searching for the eyes she knows are watching, for the sake of safety, modesty and the right to gossip. She glances down and unsuccessfully searches, within her mind, their absent minds to tell her what to do. Unanswered she looks up, and squares her shoulders out of her correct posture and into one here considered to belong to the masculine, and mouths rebellious words in her prettily pink, pouted, pinched lips: “I don’t think so, Tommy dear, I know what lies inside.”
Unperturbed the ardent youth, continues against all he was taught, “let us go, through certain half-deserted streets/ the muttering retreats/ of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels.”
She begins to blush, and stifles a smile which tries in vain to pretty her scarlet, dimpled cheeks, “Tommy, no… a cheap hotel? I don’t – “
“and sawdust resturants with oystershells:/ streets that follow like a tedious argument – “
“oysters, did you say? But you know they’re a you-know-what –“
”of insidious intent – “
“intent to woo, dear sir, or an artful act of such?” It is unclear on whom this so-called act, or intent, is hung. An act is adopted in which the players are playing to separate audiences, from contradicting scripts.
“to lead you to an overwhelming question…”
“To marry, is this your honest offering?” An almost silent ghasp.
“Oh, do not ask, “what is it?”/ Let us go and make our visit.”

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Dreams Exist (in dreams)

A (version of the) Aleph:
It’s more dangerous than you thought, Borges, to put images such as these into young minds. Because I have seen the aleph which is in time and in space, and which is visual and multifaceted and multifarious and deadly. The warning you should have given, is that the search for the Aleph can result in madness, but for one realisation: it is okay. The madness in the aleph lies in trying to word it, but the aleph is the thing that is in between words, and therefore to bring it into that so-called light of definition is impossible. Maddeningly impossible. You find yourself climbing a staircase which all the while was going down, and you find that the paradox of the world that is in your head, while your head is still in the world maddeningly unsatisfying because at the point between your head, and the world, there is a word that is lost and never was, and never will be.
Yes, it is a labyrinth also, one on every level of the imagination, but only of the imagination.
Trying to word your way out of this, trying to see reason where reason has no place to be and your search for it less place than that, results in endless circles where each solution is one larger or one smaller, allowing that train of thought to morph into a new dragon and blow flame, but still come right back as a train once again, bellowing its usual polluting smoke. People go mad pondering paradoxes because they try to do so in words where the answer is not in any language that words understand.
When we speak this language everything is okay, and the transition is only hard because we try to explain what was in the English we know and fail. Everything that we say comes alive in a glorious facade and then dies a dim death.
And rises, again, from the ashes in splendour.
From ashes to ashes, but you could also begin the circle anew and quote: from flame to flame.
Things will come, and things will go, what was it that those great rockers said? Another unwordable beauty which I cannot bring to you. Herein lies my greatest tragedy, and yours. This page will never hold any of what I am trying to say, it is just another object to lie around and maybe rotate and spin or maybe just gather dust.
This would never end, if I allow the circles to go on and on, but at some point you have to say stop, choose an end point, and let it happen again only without the words to slow it down.

THIS IS WAR

My aim? To provide photographic evidence of my killers. Don’t believe the hype, THESE are the real killers. These are dark days, friends, very dark days.

dum

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No, these aren’t the killers, they just harbour the doll’s restless souls during the daytime.

The brother-and-sister act:
They just pretend to be siblings, but I know they’re lovers. Maybe also siblings.
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Dramatic shadows for effect.

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She’s like, ‘this girl is shooting photos of us, Danny, what should we do?!’

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His reply: ‘wait until she finds out what I’m holding behind my back.’
I really don’t want to know what he’s hiding. Really really.
But these are just the entry-level creepers… there are more:

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‘special’ child-killer (as in killer who is a child, not a killer who exclusively kills children). She is crazy (as in ‘special’, should be wearing a straight jacket in a padded room crazy) and will kill ANYBODY with whatever it is she is hiding underneath her cardigan.

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The lookout. Has medusa-like powers. Somewhat seductive.

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Pretty baby (please, please don’t kill me). Probably some sort of prophet (indicated by the blind eye, possibly a descendant of Tieresias).

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The mastermind.

I am going to die tonight.

UNLESS…

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Solution:

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Yes, handy multi-coloured cable ties, just what I need.

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BIND those motherf*ckers. (My nights have been haunted for too long by your grimacing faces).

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Draw swords.
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Thank-you, for wearing your heart outside of your chest. But I’m going to run this cold iron blade right through you anyway.

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Victory trophy, to remind everybody that I AM GOD.

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Lock the door like nothing happened.
Bed time, at least for those who wont be sleeping forever… yet.

A Mad Evening – for anybody who missed hearing about my dysfunctional menagerie

I’ve been away for barely a week, not even, in fact, and as I edge my way up the rutted gravel road I can see small dots on the hill, each one a peaceful animal – four peaceful horse-dots, grazing, one grey, one chestnut, one black and one brown; two sleepy dog-dots, laying down nearby, with heads in paws. The cat-dot I cannot see from this distance, but I know that he is inside, probably snoozing on a table or chair. I lose sight of them for a minute, and in the interim they hear my car. By the time I am in their midst, all hell has broken loose. They have gone to the crows. I step out of the car tentatively, shielding in my arms my poor unwell cat, and, body-guard style I barrel through the chaos with her cradled against my chest, head down. The tornado moves with me, animals behaving like erratic planets on fast forward, orbiting me, their fleeting ‘sun’. I reach the door of the house, and the tornado continues to rage around the house – I can hear the hoof beats and whinnies (that must be Perry). Inside, two dogs and two cats vie, spitting and growling, for my attention. I stuff them with food to keep them quiet while I venture out, again, to where my once peaceful horses are careering around the place in such an insane manner. They have paused their mad dance for a minute, I find, but when they see me it begins again. I greet them with courtesy, and am greeted with enquiring muzzles on all sides – until Kis has enough, and nips at Miss Perry, who lunges at Howie, who runs into Cirrus… and the circling madness begins again. I struggle back to my car, and gather my things, and Howie tries to follow me inside. But the dogs have escaped, and they’re chasing the horses, and the cats are in the tree (even the terribly sick Gollum), and everybody is snorting, or neighing, or yapping or growling or mewling.

How can this be? I know for a fact that they don’t behave in this absurd manner all the time – they simply couldn’t keep it up. I can understand this behaviour from the two-year-old Cirrus and three-year-old Howie, and from Juno, who is barely a juvenile cat, and even from Mel, who after all is a retard. Kis, however, and Perry and Gollum, are sensible and staid and should really know better. I tell them so sternly, and am greeted with brief contrite looks before manes are tossed and claws sharpened (in Gollum’s case) and the females in question skip or trot away, with a provocative look over the shoulder to remind me of my own hypocrisy as though to say “we learned all we know from you.”

Musings on days not too well spent (but well enough)

I was going to do this the other way around, but in this, my second draft (and you’ll never see the first – mwahaha – which was written in lurid orange ink on scraps of lined paper and is proving impossible to read in this scant light) I shall, more logically, place the day’s events prior to the completely unrelated musings to which they gave birth.
Today was the strangest day, strange in the same way that other days are strange, but at the same time strange in a special kind of way. Special because of what I am now doing, only significant because it will now be immortalised (even if it is never read) in black and white and posted on the hide of that eternal monster – The Internet. I was roused from sleep repeatedly this morning, and none of the said wakings were thanks to my conscientiously set alarm clock, but due to the wild brain-scrambling dreams which I continued to have regardless of how many times I was jerked semi-awake. It was as though my mind needed to vomit up a whole lot of the poison with which it has recently been infected (I apologise for that truly charming image). So, after these repeated awakenings from disturbingly combined images of needles, doctors, murdered (but beautiful) fish, red corsets, carnivals, falling tents, psuedo-magicians, latex bandages, scalpels (to name just a few of the stubbornly unconnected elements of the world which were spewed into my imagination); after this, my day proceeded with its usual inanity. I allowed it to proceed, watching with half closed eyes as it passed me by until the strangest thing happened. This unhinged my mind, perhaps forever. A perfect stranger, an absolutely anonymous man I would never have otherwise seen through my screened eyes, behaved toward me with the perfect cordiality one expects to be able to call ‘normal’, except that one can’t because it is too far from common. My reaction was a rather profound shock, so profound a state of shock as to need first aid if it had occurred outside of the inside of my head.
Less strange, but still a little weird, was the conversation which intruded upon my quiet moment of recovery after this event. Possibly the strangest conversation I have ever heard – so strange that I am sure that I must have made some terrible mistake in interpretation. More likely, though, my interpretation was merely a reflection of my state of mind at the time, which was prepared (evidently) to behold all and any human behaviour as absolutely bang-out-there weird and imbibe even normal behaviour with an almost supernatural weirdness. That’s the thing about perception; we see what we see only because of a strange combination of expectations, beliefs and anti-expectations. This conversation, anyway, was highly strange only because of its context – it would have been normal in another room, at another time, in front of another me and between two different strangers. As it was, it was a conversation in the Classics department of Rhodes University, at lunch time, in front of a me in a state of some incredulation, between two monks. MONKS, yes. One of whom was, in fact, FEMALE. They were talking about, amongst other things, their study of ANCIENT GREEK, as well as various monkly things like evensong, chapels, ‘fathers’ and visits to Fort England (I presume to speak to the inmates about God, and not to be treated). They were discussing difficulties with the language just like normal students, sort of, except that they were monks, and they were having a private lecture over lunch time…
The question I must ask myself, over and over again is this: was I hallucinating??
I don’t know. I will never know.
Perhaps I shall investigate, or employ logic and reason like any good detective and so come to some implausible conclusion which is only true because I have forgotten that it is false. 

Be that as it may, I had a startling and exciting revelation today about how to become famous. I don’t particularly want to be famous, actually, but I realised today one of the ways in which, at least, intellectual, scholarly fame can be constructed. It occurs through the utterance (or typing) of one simple phrase of three or four words. This sensational phrase will thereafter follow your name around like a herald or a shiny gem, drawing attention to you like a magical spotlight which transforms the lit into a unicorn.
Nietzche said: God is dead.
Barthes said: The Author is dead.
These phrases have followed their names like magical-gem-spotlight-unicorn-heralds ever since.
Obviously, this small sentence has a massive impact on whatever it is that bestows (or causes there to be bestowed) thoeristic fame upon humans.
My theory: Anybody who wants to be a famous theorist of any time need only utter the words, ‘(insert name here) is dead.’
I tried it: J.K Rowling is dead.
Just as obviously, the deceased being or concept has to be more emotive than this, or any other I have uttered. I have failed to concoct a suitably emotive concept to feed to death. The statement ‘J.K. Rowling is dead’ doesn’t work, I suspect, because she is more than an abstract theory and thus, she could be. Dead, that is.
Concepts like God, however, and The Author, as non-existent as their objects might be, will never truly be dead. This is, contradictorily, why stating their death gives the stator instant fame.
There are those who will always believe in the concept of God, giving Nietzche’s statement permanent contradictory relevance.
There are those who will always respect the artifice of The Author, giving me permanent basis on which to base some hope for my future income. 

My first draft is now curling to black nothingness in the heart of the fire – punishment for the strain it put on my eyes, being written in luminescent orange.

The RIP of Truth

Where are you, Fidelity?
Are you real, Reality?
What are the facts?
All we seem to have are short extracts:
– Don’t –
– Do –
– Never –
– Always –
Instructions sharp, but hazy,
Pointless, blunt, gone the formality.
Truth, we like to imagine you once writ
All in either black or white.
Now the existence of one or both is in doubt,
Lost in between the black of the ink found in cheap printers,
And the dirty white of recycled papers.
Even grey, that last refuge, has left
The realm, nonexistent, of any surety
To make things all the more misty.

Cause and effect are confused,
Lost in translation, many-hued.
So many links gone amiss,
We are left with, barely a language; a mess.
Idealistic words
Refer to imperfect worlds;
We represent angels,
but our drawing materials
Cannot shine, as they must,
All is casual, custom is lost in dust.
We speak of that which we should revere
In informal words perfect beings cannot hear
And cannot comprehend
In the mix of text messages we inadvertently send.

Words are those angels, once good,
Language that realm, or world,
Now so dreadfully abused and terribly misunderstood.
About which we are no longer told.

The Scavengers are Wheeling in, Get Under Cover

This seems to be an unexpected era of poetry, probably because the most interesting thing that happens in my life at the moment is having a free morning in which to do my laundry (yay for clean clothes) or, on the other end of the scale, things far too terrifyingly disastrous (though interesting enough) to be spoken about. Also, I simply don’t have time to write any prose that isn’t an essay, but at least there is poetry – which is as essential as breath, and often more pleasant.

Vultures circle the sky,
Beyond judgement, they are evil.
Hope dies in every eye
That pierces the veil
To see their blood-stained claws,
Their mouths encrusted, flesh that will rot, and remain,
Eternally open, gaping maws.
Opportunists, they will snatch at any given man.

We are all fair game,
We are all defenceless.
To them, any human is the same,
And each of us deserves no less.
No less than rending,
Slow, agonising, torturous;
Every bone and sinew bending
Breaking, stretching, screaming “help us!”
But out to whom do we call?
Who could possibly be listening?
No one, no one at all.
Soundless, our desperate pleading.

Above, in the ether,
Swim all the pleas that went unheard
All the pleas that were made, ever.
Swimming around, still asking, still ignored.
It’s absolute chaos up there;
What with the desperate, clamouring and climbing dreams
All thinking that they can make it somewhere
Believing that they will be the ones
The ones who find the gap
And win an audience
– but wait, it’s a trap! –
With The Man, The King, The Sense
Behind the vultures, and
Behind the scenes
An ultimately benevolent Lord
Who will grant, even the insignificant, dreams.

We would so gladly follow
Anybody willing to lead,
We’d run after any fellow,
Who pretended to have signs he could read.
We could, ourselves, read that which is signed;
But that would bring reality to near,
We prefer to hear it once-removed
And far from true, and from a voice kind to the ear.
Their words revolve around us,
And all the words that try to be great
Revolve too, with the same pomp and fuss.
And so often the truth is late.

Too late, Truth,
We have already believed the lie
Told by the saying-sooth,
And to his mocking word we now have a tie.
It’s too late,
We’re already in love,
Don’t waste your breath, don’t berate,
Don’t hope; there will be no way to revive
Your followers are dead.
They are gone,
So strew their graves with flowers
And appreciate the three, or two, or one
Who see, and appreciate, your beauteous doings,
And, though they believe beauty the lie,
Thank He Non-existent for small things.
Better to be known as an act, than not at all.
Better to enjoy the pride, even after the fall.

The Academy of How To Devour Hearts

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A ‘sonnet’ to make Shakespeare and Wordsworth turn in their graves.

He broke her into bits and pieces,
He fucked her; and then fucked around.
On her knees, she uttered ‘please’s’,
Though her voice, then, had barely any sound.
He pushed her roughly, ‘get away!’
While his other hand held tightly her heart
And as she fell, the organ broke astray.
‘But now how will I breathe?” She gasp’t;
Strength, however, can come from injury –
Now, fiercely she stalks and devours,
The scars on her chest to all privy.
Her victims: anyone, and at all hours –
With a deft twist she pushes, holds
As once she was taught she teaches with practiced hands.

We all live in our own private ‘Iron Age’

(This first paragraph is quite academic and possibly not that interesting, so you might want to skip it)
Centuries and centuries ago, on the eve of the ‘Dark Ages’ and in the dawn of the Archaic Age, a Greek poet named Hesiod included in his long poetic diatribe on life his nostalgic take on the ‘Five Ages of Man’. These five ages corresponded with four metals and the age of heroes, which was really a part of the Bronze age, only supposedly less awful. The Five Ages of Man went like this, with each gradually getting worse than the one before it:
The Golden Age: An Eden-like ideal mythical state where man lived in harmony with a bounteous earth, and animals lived in harmony with one another and man; and men and gods, too, lived harmoniously and interacted freely. Men appeared youthful all of their long lives until their peaceful deaths, after which their spirits roamed the earth protecting and benefitting the living. Men were wise, passionate good and noble and the earth yielded to them all they needed without any toil on their part.
The Silver Age: Men refused to worship the gods, and Zeus destroyed them for this impiety. These men each lived for one hundred years, going to the underworld after their death, but spent the majority of this time as children and all of this time living with their mothers. Their entire (though short) adult life was spent in strife with others.
The Bronze Age: (This age actually coincides with a historical era, unlike the previous two) Men in this age were concerned solely with war, and were said to forge not only their tools and (all-important) armour of bronze, but even their homes. This might be slightly exaggerated. These men lived for violence and died violently, and their spirits dwell in Hades.
The Heroic Age: This age stands out as one that does not correspond with a metal or a historical period; also, it provides a brief moment of relief from the downward spiral of the ages. This is the age of Heracles, Achilles, Perseus and all of the other heroes whose souls live on in Elysium or on Olympus with the eternal gods.
The Iron Age: (Also related to the historical period where the use of iron became popular and allowed the poor to first take up arms against the rich and cause all manner of chaos) This is the epitome of awfulness, and the age in which every human seems to find himself, regardless of the materials from which his tools are made. Humans living in the iron age have no honour, integrity or respect, but an attitude of ‘might is right’ instead. Men who appear good are using lies to do so; and they no longer feel any shame for their wrong. It is an existence of toil and misery; and toil for little or no gain. The gods, such as they are, have forsaken humanity and there is “no help against evil.”
Ovid’s four ages (omitting the Heroic Age, which is really a part of the Bronze Age anyway) are similar if slightly more optimistic.
They both go on to say that the golden age will come again, and that we must be pious and prepared (prepare ye the way of the lord-type thing).

It would seem that humanity has lived in an eternal iron age, however, to hear them (us?) tell it. We all sigh and constantly moan ‘it was better in the old days,’ whenever that might have been – a mythical age of gold where people were good and sincere and caring, and where things really mattered and words like ‘integrity,’ ‘loyalty’ and ‘nobility’ were realities rather than myths and empty titles. It seems to be essential to our wellbeing for us to hope for something better that will come again. Utopia, Heaven, Arcadia, Elysium – hopes against hopelessness, dreams the product of sleeplessness. They tell us that if we’re not dreaming we’re dying, “lose your dreams and you/ could lose your mind” (The Rolling Stones), dreams are stories we tell ourselves which are the opposite of fiction, but still devoid of fact. To write fiction, I’m told, one must first create a character and then torture them and see how they react. To write dreams, one builds onto their own character all of the things they want to be, and then builds onto that the perfect situation in which they can have the perfect life, the best opportunities, the most effortless existence; a Golden Age of ease and indulgence.
We create our own Golden Age, and it might be one thousand years ago, or it might be ten years ago. It might be the age of Rock and Roll, or it might be during the legendary campaigns of Napoleon, the Classical Age of Greece or the Medieval years. We might combine elements and create some sort of Heaven towards which we like to believe that we strive.
I’m not sure if this is comforting or depressing – but in every age, at any time, humans were only dreaming, only hoping, for some prior ‘Golden Age’ to return again. They were saying, back in those ‘old days’ precisely what we are saying now: ‘it was better in the old days.’
We are all, I suspect, impossibly nostalgic over something nobody has ever known.