A day called Friday, January 11, 2008, for no reason that I can ascertain...
An overcast & rainy mid-morning in the unforgiving city whose name can change
Raindrops hang suspended in a vaporous light.
The days stretch across another meaningless page of the Journal named Thirty-Four
in a day-dream of Old Ditmas Park.
Spheres of Vast Discontent and watery disillusion cast their orbital shadows across a rancorous & repentant Calendar
The day slowly retreats across the page and it’s psychic imprint is pressed neatly between pale and parallel blue lines.
Now the rains come in earnest...
And I know that it must also be raining on the Fulton rooftop—up there where I gazed out at impossibly retreating afternoons in a lost daydream, retrievable now only through obscure incantations and watery prayer.
An obscure gloom & loneliness troubles me on the second floor overlooking Dorchester Road as the cars and trucks and buses push through the rain and on into oblivion...
Perched on the Third Dot of the Ellipsis:
The Great Cenotaph of Fulton Street, washed by the downpour, sighing & moaning softly in the dirge of the storm.
Raindrops hit pools of water as blurred reflections dance to the water-born rythms.
Ghostly Latitudes and Spidery Longitudes...
As a few pale lights are visible in the muted houses across the street.
And the waters must also run down the hill of Fulton Street as I record their progress from afar—in exile in a suburb of re-routed and strangely echoing thoughts and ruminations on memory.
The rains have bent my mind out of shape, or possibly into shape—who knows which?
And thusly in despair & desperation would I coax Neptune down out of it’s mighty orbit and onto the more easily-managed confines of my kitchen table and perform a decoction of that vast & terrifying planet, boiling it down for days on end and then siphoning-off it’s essence into a thimble-full of the rarest poison ever known to man and then hold the unspeakable liquid up to the light and swallow it with a hearty toast, and then dream like no man has ever dreamed before!
Unknown cities revolve around me in a vortex of fear & horror.
I throw back the shot into my gullet and toast the Heavens as it burns through my entrails:
The winds pick up immediately as the tree across the road bends almost to the ground as it is lashed by unimaginably ferocious gales! The windows give way and are sucked out into the maelstrom, then the walls are torn away and I am bourn into the Ammoniacal Skies! My first breath fills my lungs with the absurdly toxic atmosphere and my flesh dissolves and is torn to pieces by winds that no man will ever feel! My spirit is blown along into the vortex of Neptune’s storms, aloft on blue vapor, crackling with immense electrical currents and an as-yet-unidentified chromophore which gives the clouds their rich blue tint. Hydrogen and Helium are my companions in this mad ride around the vast planet:
Fire of Suns and Spray of Comets!
And Baleful Light from a Sickly Moon!
From Neptune’s great Cyclonic Storms
And Ammoniacal Oceans:
Dreams too Foul & Frightening to Recall!
Are Bourne on an Orpimental Hue:
Sinopia & Saturnine Red
and now Egyptian Blue...
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Powell's Cove in the 1950's, as flood-waters rose and the tide came way in and almost up to our house...
I turn to the open window ...
... and it’s the view that I used to have from my old bedroom on the North side of the Old House, facing Powell’s Cove. The tide had risen up during the night, silently, calmly, without a ripple, till it had reached the side of our house, and then higher still—right up to the window’s ledge—impossible!— Gray, mirror-like, alluring, and leading out into a cove of preternatural stillness. It shimmered and beckoned with an aching seduction, as if all memories were held by this supernatural tide that sometimes crept up to my window unannounced, during the night. I look further out into the now-flooded Cove and can see the tips of the rotting and skeletal frames of the boats that had run aground ages ago, dark gray and black below the waterline and the tips bleached white where the oily waters could not reach: Markers and contemplative points of reference in this Cove of Lost Memory.
The morbid tides, on a sullen & sacrificial day, pull back, and reveal the carcasses of ships, the broken structures and spines — then back in again — full-tide swelling and filling up the Cove and covering these markers up almost to the bleached tips of the ancient masts & poles, rotting and disintegrating, year by year, ever so slowly, as time and weather and the relentless tides wear them down. Impossible, rickety structures of ancient walkways jut out onto the waters to shephard passengers into long-gone & forgotten vessels — bending crazily in one direction after another—now dangerous and forbidden. Death lurks all around these rotting skeletons — luring foolish schoolboys out onto their narrow and crooked paths, perched just above the mysterious waters that swirl & swell around them. Stories of unfortunate children who had crept out, further & further, hovering precariously just a few feet above the enticing water ... and tragedies alluded to amid averted glances & far-away looks and terrible warnings intoned by stern-faced aunts & uncles.
As I look out amid currents of lost connections and missed chances on that long-disappeared ocean known as Iapetus ...
...The memory of a young girl’s face arises from out of the vapors of that shimmering flood — with a watery look of faint recognition, and rippling echo of a lost song that is sung in her name. We share a moment of tender longing before her image evaporates in that strange Lithosphere of Exultation & Grief that hangs over this Lost Cove and she is born away forever on that ghostly tide. I know her! I remember... lost to me for so long—back there in that glimpse of ancient oceans! Too late now! Waters of Longing, and Second and Third Chances—all too late! They all live back there now—where I can only go in rare instances, and then only fleetingly—back there—on the Rheic Ocean that sometimes rises up to the very edge of the Old North window of my bedroom and beckons me out to Powell’s Cove on very early mornings of great fortune and unearthly promise!
This Cove has appeared to me in many forms:
Once, hideously drained of water and revealing the slick, oil and filth-covered walls with a terrifying black sheen covering everything: crumbled shells, fish skeletons, oil drums, tires, and nameless things ... and the horror of being in a place that no one should ever have to see: All the water sucked out of the harbor by
an unknown & unnatural phenomenon!
I stand on a bank of sand covered with patches of black grease and old tires and a million cracked and bleached shells all covered by the unspeakable black filth and oil. I am astonished at the sight of the harbor: all the water has been blown out of the cove — blasted or drained — who knew which? You could now walk out to the very center of the river bed — where ships used to pass — amid oil drums, fish skeletons and rotten planks. The unnatural scene fills me with fear and horror and I turn and stare at the greasy-black, slick sides of the Cove, rising up 20 feet on all sides— terrifying! Strange fish lie all around— precious, rare, and beautiful— flapping in death-throes—giant, flat, and circular-shaped deep-sea fish lie on their sides in shallow pools of silver, staring at the uncaring sky with their single, upturned eye. I grab the most beautiful fish and try to drag it to the safety of one of the deeper pools of water. It lies, half submerged in the shallow little pond—it’s marble eye rotating and wobbling in it’s socket. It stares at the sky and I can see glinting particles of golden light suspended in the great iris. It tries to speak to me but is too weak. It dissolves in front of my eyes, becoming flat and two-dimensional—merely a translucent decal wavering and undulating on the surface of the pool like some irridescent & ghostly flag. I cry as I stand over my lost friend and a terrible sadness comes over me as the white disk dissappears into the silver hues of the oily water. Lost to me!
And all the while: the great and mournful awareness of dreaming and a nameless grief born on ancient floodwaters ...
There is no way out of the harbor it seems. Dead & dying Horseshoe crabs litter the beach, stranded and upturned on their backs, their rows of small, black claws wriggling and flexing spasmodically. An ancient species, unchanged since the time when unnamed seas rocked and foamed upon unthinkable shores. Anger is in the air, and it’s somehow directed at me as I realize that I have transgressed and caused great harm.
I turn back amid patches of white sand, surrounded by filth & grease—black, oil-coated grass delineating forgotten pathways of childhood. Running among tall marsh-grass now—a foot above my head—their bleached & dried-out tassles undulating slowly in the disturbed air, as a sullen & unrepentant sky glares overhead. I am led down strange and unknowable paths, hither & thither, first this way, then that way ... pulled through ancient routes trampled crazily by long-departed and truant schoolboys through the impenetrable marsh ...
A large & imposing pool suddenly blocks my way through the trail: Protean, dark-green & brown, viscous and thick with algae, as sickly bubbles emerge from the depths and expire in the humid air. Black tadpoles dart in incomprehensible patterns amid hideous larvae as strange & terrible insects hatch, break through the surface with a hiss, and then fly into the poisonous air seeking receptive and unwary flesh. I see someone’s image reflected on the surface, but they are unknown to me. I leap over this Devonian hatchery and the translucent walls of yellow/tan marsh-grass propel me deeper into the labyrinth — the giant wavering tassles ceremoniously heralding my mad flight and then ...
...A huge commotion erupts only inches from my feet—a terrible, choked scream and frantic beating of wings as a pheasant is disturbed in it’s nest by my intrusion as the creature erupts from the yellow and tan thicket of grass and flies off, unsteadily, and improbably, into the air. Startled and shocked, I run through the interminable twists and turns of the path—watching for up-turned nails protruding from planks on the ground—too late!—
I feel the rusty nail pierce the bottom of my sneaker and into my foot. A sickening pain runs up through my foot and leg as I make my way out of the maze, and take the familiar left turn that should lead me home—but the path seems to go the wrong way. I am routed off into confusing and unknown streets and neighborhoods. I was never here before, but I remember hearing about the place from a classmate—ages ago—a section of town that was only a rumor, a word that cropped up once or twice during some forgotten conversation lost in the fading light of childhood ...I finally am able to make my way down a sloping and winding path that leads to the field at the edge of the Cove: The familiar cinder and gravel of that half-mile-long stretch of forgotteness that figured so prominently in my youth. Games were played here—symbols were inscribed laboriously into the ground—rules were established and obscure games commenced, known only to children ...
I hobble up the street to my Aunt & Uncle’s house at the top of the hill. Guilt floods up through my abdomen and mixes with the fear that is generated in the kidneys amid that strange alchemy that creates a steam that rises up through the center of the body along with potent vapors that flood into my head and erupt in hot tears ...
...A basin of boiling water is prepared and Epsom Salts are measured and stirred in. A kettle bubbles and whistles on the stove as I lower my foot into this strange body of water. “It has to be as hot as you can stand it!”, my Uncle announces. Pain jolts through my foot and up into my head, as all thoughts are obliterated by this scourging & scalding basin, leaving just a white light of shock & pain. I can feel the rust & poison being pulled out of my blood and marrow, sucked down through my wound and into this magnetic pool, and then through the wood floors of the old house that my grandfather built, and into the earth amid roots of great trees and strata of fossil-memory. I feel a dizziness and nausea as I stare drunkenly at the rocking and steaming waters as the vapors swirl around my head and blur the outlines of the family gathered around this somber & penitential ritual bath. Through the steam I can make out vague & unknown figures moving around on the other side of the room ...
Terrible stories of Lock-Jaw are recited around the steaming basin as the kettle continues it’s song and is periodically employed to keep the water at a near-boiling temperature. The fear of Lock-Jaw overcomes me as I imagine being unable to move my jaws or ever speak again!
The kettle pours again as the stories turn to myth and legend—of schoolboys left paralyzed and struck mute forever ...
Posted by Brian Spaeth at 9:17 PM
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Dreams Bourne on Antique Pigments and Discontinued Colours ...
Ink and More Ink on These Sad & Suffering Pages
Journal #X by an underground american
As Jerking Fractals Sputter & Fulminate
Latitudes of Tortured Ink
And Dreams in a Poisonous and Orpimental Hue
Ink-Stain Blue Memories as I Travel Away From the Oasis of the Centerfold ...
2:52—Staggering Under the Weight of Inhospitable Atmospheres and Toxic Vapors
Nightmares Captured & Condensed in a Potent Liquid Suitable for Use as Printer’s Ink
Splashed Upon an Incomprehensible Page: an underground poem!
A Mournful & Melancholy Dew, Collected on a Floating Plain of Regret
I gaze intently at Ink-Stain images, imploring, cajoling, and coaxing them to spring to life back there in that Sphere of Reduced Expectations
Vials Filled with Potent & Unspeakable Liquids Condensed From Nightmares Too Foul & Frightening to Recollect: Poems dark and dreadful
Essence of Nightmare and Decoction of Regret
Dreams Filtered Through Litmus and Turning Egyptian Blue, Saturnine Red, and Antinomy Orange as They Reveal their Essence.
The Great Toxicon: Book of Poison Arrows ...
Posted by Brian Spaeth at 9:21 PM