Cipher

When I was crowned by grief prince of all things past, tears of faith diminished stung my eyes. Yet the word of our Lord was in the mouths of good men, the sword of Glyn Dwr, tongue of my soul, sang with the salt of the sea in the wound.

I danced beneath a crescent moon with roustabout companions, dined with thieves and whistled for the bill. I sang with the drunks along Caterwaul Street firing volleys of verse across the bows of the soberly sleeping. And when I returned home with the dawn clouds, speckled silver, torn and low I beat myself, dressing myself in the fruits of fury’s labour over blossoms yet unfaded.

I still revel in the switchback swish of a whole supped night. I drink deep from the joyous firmament. Set down a frothing sky before me and I will down it. I will not waste the waltzing hours couched in dark corners of apprehension, rather I will bellow the rage of my delight. I will brawl with all judicious bores, box their ears and bid them end their fasting and celebrate the stay of execution of tomorrow.

The maggot of regret gobbles and shits such ripe resolve. I am burdened with the feverish twists and turns of momentary bliss.. Of lugubrious, lascivious remembrance. Recollections of a seducer’s alchemic art. Such threadbare reverie is slowly, slowly wasting me. Cut a switch to beat the blur of proud and scowling portents and scrape away the oily pigments used for blooding innocents. Swear a calligraphic oath to defend a distant hill and swear once more that neither steel nor straw shall ever break my will. I shall howl a driven Kyrie from the deepest well for there is but a fathom now between my feet and hell.

Waist deep in mists of grass where as a child he played, held by sorrow for the soil, a tear for every blade. Here an old man kneels to pray, amid the crop of decadence and decay. Come to place a wreath of yellow and blue roses for a dead child. This place shines intense black light, grey blood that forms the opaque veneer. The stench of rotting kept behind closed doors, that cannot be hidden, only ignored. And before escape into fleeting dreams, as silently as night falls, an old man screams.

I shall battle fiercely against the maddening flow, the gush and tumult of an ever raging destiny in order to deny the spawning urge. I will not lie with the other grimy corpses, spent and purged. I will not heave my last gasp only to realise that each preceding breath was merely serving as an invocation of my death.

There is a sheer sky, a sheen of magical intent with a crooked finger of stars to beckon me into the folds of night. Yet the tide has turned to ebb, and the sea’s broad back flexes as it contorts in lunatic acts of desire. Perfumed fingers to soothe the ache and arch of your seethe and surge. Breathing, breathing, breathing. Lift you to the shelter of my full breadth, with a ppets tongue, wordless eloquence, breathing, breathing, breathing. Kindle the exquisite fire, slow the frenzy with tender strokes, catch you as you hurl your body up to mine, breathing, breathing, breathing. Deep in the livid furnace of the sublime, breathe breathe breathe. writhe and clutch and wrap ourselves in limbs, breathe breathe, we are drenched and lost in the tempest, breathe, torrents break and savage cries of flesh through  flesh, clench me, breathe, haul me deeper, breathe, deeper into the the raging, plunging madness, breathe, breathe, breathe.

When my remains are tinder dry and the grieving sticks in your throat then scatter me in an evening dew, where the memories are few, for I do not wish to lie among the dead. I always swore I was unblessed ground, hell bound. Chased all the way by pulpit brimstone and pew hewn cat-calls. I always swore such oaths in blood, but now my blood turns treacherous and all the altar bric-a-brac in this world or the next melted down could not buy balms enough to soothe a soul betrayed this way. See now as this man of modest charms, shivers and trembles at the growing prospect that all his moderation and self effacing mitigation of the means at his disposal will become a calumny of ash in the twinkling of child’s play. What now attests to my dogged derision of the quelling that falls upon dulled and ragged ears ? Eyes that are ever more blunted instruments of God’s will ? And what have I to offer in return except for withered limbs ? I am a wicked man yet God will have me for He knows that throughout the eternal blessing I shall be conscious of my unworthiness. My whole bearing shall be set in sharp relief and I will gaze upon this sordid tableaux and see my own, too bold, fiery signature blazing from the corner.

Soft shades of rustic colours roll through shades of silken night as if drawn by the waxed moon, until the wane, days blessed release allows the hills once more to rise and valley spread in matriarchal majesty. And in every stitch of this tapestry are the bonds of faith, tradition and of family. The knotty tangle hides beneath. The choral voice rises each Sunday exalting   itself in this sepulcher of pastoral hues. The sound of the fallen and the falling. Each man, woman and child cowers from the brackenous barbs of eager gossip with scapegoats tethered at the door. Beside the crumbling wall that forms the mortal boundary of the church there lies a sprawling stagnant lake where Autumn’s wounded fall to die. And rotting on the unkempt road their stench dwarfs the towering spire, and swallows whole the sermons which are cast into the wilderness. Except upon the Sabbath day when congregational perfumes of incense and moth balls keep all noses in the parish free of sin.

Now, now, now the tolling school bell calls woolly lambs to chalk pastures. Children are not raised here, they are fattened up for slaughter. Porridged little boys cling to mum, red legged girls with teeth and tongues a chatter wait to lose their chins to take away and motherhood. To be a stagger girl slumped in doorways mewling into mobile phones for cabs, with handbags full of lipstick nubs and broken wishbones, whose bed is a grave dug fresh each night. A child with the dawdle of curiosity kneels to pick at moss between the paving stones and is snatched up and scolded and threatened with disease amid the litter thrown up by the wheels of the wind.

I am splenetic, bilious and I am old. It terrifies a man to face the length and breadth of his existence wit more than embarrassment and sorrow. To attempt to anthropomorphise the lion of his youth or accept the dulled and mottled plumage of experience. We are mottled and lousy Gryphons for the most part, except for a few who are born to a different fate. The bastard son of a satyr in a God’s boots. I am one such. I am trapped within a framework of such immaculate perception. I coagulate my whole and half truths, codify my silences and catalog my words. I fear only disordered thought, the barb tipped arrows of my imagining which pierce my very self. That will not come loose despite my fierce and fevered wrenching. I swathe the wounds with bandages of flattery, while my feet are bathed with damp, dead leaves.

The future bares it’s teeth as it yawns, and age tears strips of carrion from lust now less Promethean. I have spat upon the relics of the subterranean rite, have heard the nimble blasphemies and smelled the vile aromas which mask the scent of reticence. I have been gored by a cuckolds horns, I have seen both love’s faces and set his concubines free, snored loudly through the liturgy, seen perfect erotic beauty in the flotsam of dumb show ritual. I wish that I could disappear, leave without a trace with the insolence of a frightened bird, who flies with untamed grace, beyond the breathy static whispers to where the infant wonder stood. Before we raped and maimed it, and smeared its beauty with its blood.

 

Some Poetry (Lionel is out bin diving)

Think Only Of Me

When the harvest is in

Talk to me then

Take these coins

If the children are ill

Buy an hour from the doctor

Ten minutes at a time

If their clothes wear thin

Buy patches from the tinkers

If their shoes are getting tight

Get the butcher to trim their feet

If you miss me

Take a lover

But think only of me

Until the harvest is in

 

Your Dreams

They sweat and suffer

They spurn the remedies

They shake and nod their heads

Doctors come and go

Bring leeches

Take baths

Refrain from bathing

Take the air

Take the waters

Keep warm

Avoid contact

Use a poltice

Trust time

Don’t delay

Sing hymns

And dance

 

Almost Desire

When all else cannot be doubted

Her love will linger

Like a motion in the periphery

Never quite the raison d’etre

A minor passion

The wishful sulking drags from day to day

And all through the curtains when waking

A threat in the air

To make cats uneasy

 

Shrine

He remembers coldly the postcard sent

From the holiday of someone else

Wish you were here she had written

Once he had known where to place the stress

 

He pulls the card from its resting place

This creased and splitting viper

Hideous and enhanced lilac sea

Strangely green memorial gardens

A floral clock as lush and vivid

As the altar at a Hindu temple

 

He turns to read smudged ink in better light

Slyly written covertly sent secretly received

Lines composed while someone slept

She hangs her head and there he said

He saw her hearing her lover

Looking out of the window on a telephone

Some days (Lionel is posing for selfies)

He’s not. He’s trying to clean a spot on his fore-shoulder, but looks as if he;s striking a pose.

Some days, I sit down to write, and nothing comes. No spark. And sometimes I look into the sky, through my window, and think, and I type and look at it and can’t bear it. And some days, like today, I’m just not sure, so I’m posting this because it came fully formed and I don;t know what to make of it.

Today was the first day I saw the sky. An immense, luminous canopy showering light upon me, stood humbled within it’s compass. An infinite array of stars yet unseen twinkling behind the arc of the sun. The fantastical and magical anchored by it’s beauty. And I breathed in the sense of belonging and exhaled love. I felt the spin and twist of the earth struggling beneath my feet, I heard the sounds of time slowing to a peaceful stillness and I felt the ache of yearning, to be in this one moment, silent and speeding through space, caught in the caress of radiant truth. Today was the day I looked up, and into your eyes.

Foraging for Experience (Lionel speaks)

Of course, he’s a cat. So he spoke as cats do. With scent and blinks and posture. But his meaning was clear. If you read things on here and have an opinion, he and I would like to hear from you. Very much so. Leave a comment, criticism is taken very much on board, though willful abuse will make you a future subject hehehehe. (I really do laugh like that as well. Think Richard Burton doing Muttley)

 

My mug tree and pepper plant. I grew them both from cuttings.

My mug tree and pepper plant. I grew them both from cuttings.

It’s not you, it really is me (Lionel Nods )

Did he nod, or did I just imagine it. I imagine all sorts of things. Sometimes I imagine what I might have become if my life had been slightly different. If, for example, I had been placed for adoption when I should have been. Maybe if I had had an upbringing where I could convince myself my parents had thought I could have a better start elsewhere. And not being sat down, aged 6 and told “Well, we’ve made mistakes with you, but don;t worry, we’ll be much better with your sister.” And that was the last time my parents addressed my future or potential.

I grew up with an absent father (through work) and a mother with a highly pressured job, serious mental health problems, and alcoholism. A young mother, isolated, unhappy and unwell. Frustrated. I can almost understand how that could create a situation in which a scapegoat would bear the brunt. Almost but not entirely. It is a very difficult thing for most people to understand, but my mother does not like me. My mother has never liked me. She associates me with bad things, and the word love is not one I heard from her lips and certainly never felt. No hugs or cuddles when I was little. Just criticism and fists. So I have been raised knowing that I was not good enough even for my own mother. Society insists that in some way that bond is universal, so I learned at school, on television, and at home, that I was wrong. Just plain wrong.

Now at some point, I broke. I don’t mean broke down, but stopped caring about being sad and lonely. Stopped caring that a good day was a day not being hit. Now, where that might turn into a lack of empathy, I became nothing but empathy in the search for friends. Now, and this is really sad, I used to literally go out looking. On my bike. Never found any, but the lack of success didn’t stop me looking and I learned to talk to people. People my age, older, younger. Anyone. And listen.

Of course, this combination of factors has given me an unquenchable thirst for people. For no reason other than the pleasure and reassurance that I might not be so wrong after all. Oh, I have given up on being ‘right’ for anyone. But if I can offer something, anything which allows someone to be able to feel better about life or themselves, then I will do it. I have no fear of rejection, or disappointment. I celebrate the bit that came before, and take my comfort in having been as positive an influence as I can be. That way, I feel less wrong. So it was with that same sense of wanting to offer to connect that when I stumbled across a dating site on the internet, I  thought I might be able to at least be of some compassionate use. How wrong I was. The only thing I have truly learned from the experience, is that my damage is nothing compared to the wild and howling sadness on that site. Every woman is seeking “caring, sensitive, intelligent fun guy” but actually is looking for a replacement for the guy that they have not got over. What they want in truth is a guy slightly less intelligent than them to emotionally bully. (There are exceptions and they know who they are) I have only hung in there in order to satisfy my curiosity and enquiring mind that nationally there appears to be  a crisis in the female population that is clinging to a sexist myth of masculinity. I would far rather be lonely than be subject to that great vortex of bitterness and sexual self loathing.

I think perhaps this is why I mourn the absence of someone who might have met me halfway. Might have said “You’ll do” and not rage at 3 in the morning full of Bacardi about my failings, never mind sit at my bedside in ICU after my heart attack and fail to offer any comfort or affection despite 18 years together. But I don’t worry about that. I don’t need or want anything from another person. Except what they choose to offer. Because the fact that they choose to offer it is what matters. When you can take nothing for granted, the things which often get overlooked take on their real importance.

Now at this point, I should be clear that I am not in the least bit depressed, this is not brain chemistry. This is me simply writing about me with no art for once. A first. I am sad. I am lonely. But I have always been those things. It is no excuse to be rude or afraid of trying. No excuse not to offer my unique experience when I think it might help. It always amuses me and tells me so much about people when they patiently try to explain how the world works. As if living my life hasn’t allowed me to understand. As if my very survival weren’t testimony to the fact that I know exactly how life works, how emotions work. How feelings are immediate and the courage to articulate them takes time. I had a heart attack and died. I know what a last breath feels like on the lips. I know what truly matters. It is something I would like to explain to someone. And not with words. Words are easy. It is living that takes courage.And I am braver than anyone will ever know.