Invading this mind
Miring in vermillion skies
For Mirjana, as promised.
There are tales of ghosts and monsters, horrors and hell, rural abominations who seek out souls and urban nightmares that eat them, but none so fearsome as the frog under my wheelie bin. He terrified me, sat and waited, never moved, always thinking. But what was he thinking? What were his plans?
At first, he didn’t bother me much. Every other week when it was time to put my bin out, he was there underneath squatting. He didn’t move. He barely breathed. He was thinking things through.
Whenever I wheeled the bin back, he was gone, vanished. Every week, the same. Every week, more mysterious.
I knew he was thinking with the same certainty that I was myself. He always sat with his back to me glistening in slimy relief waiting for his chance, his one opportunity. But I was onto him. I’d rumbled his game and he knew it. Just as he was a frog on a mission, I was a man on one. And so our relationship played out.
I expected him to leave when the summer came around, to hop off and breed and never come back. But he didn’t. He wouldn’t. Instead, he sat there in resentment of my perpetually moving his roof. He was never going to move. I would have to move him.
It was a cold, bright late-summer morning and I’d made up my mind, the fearsome frog was going to frustrate me no more. As soon as I moved the bin, I was going to extricate that bundle of amphibian harassment from my life. And that’s just what I did. I moved my bin as usual, a towel in hand and ready to toss, when much to my astonishment, he’d gone. My initial reaction was relief, soon followed by puzzlement, and then resentment. I, like he, had waited months to make my move and the little runt had spoiled my moment of glory. Damn him!
I put the bin back in place, went inside — was that a croak — no, I was being paranoid, and got on with my life.
The rest of the day went as normal: I ran, wrote, ate, and sought to dispel the stupid croaking noises as lunacy that echoed around my head. By the time I retired to bed, I was quite exhausted with it all. I turned off the bedside light and climbed under the covers.
It was during the night that I woke from a dream full of strange noises, big, wide eyes and slug-like tongues. At least, I thought I woke, as something wet and slimy wriggled across my toes and croaked.
I saw her in my every bead of sweat: eyes of sapphire blue hidden for lifetimes behind long, lustrous lashes; hair the colour of midnight blotting out the day; skin smoother than ice reflecting our once love. I saw all this and more as I mopped my brow. Yes, I saw it all, whilst shovelling those last bits of soil into her makeshift grave. After that, I only saw her in my nightmares, and even then not for long.
Only tea! This coffee drinker’s nightmare.
Lick the grass,
Taste the dew,
And slurp the dawn.
The scene surreal,
A floating memory
Of a long lost dusk,
They billow and sway.
Such is the morning.
Such is Fall.
Ethereal, it lasts only minutes,
But what minutes,
As I relive the nightmares
Of the night.
The fogs roll on.
Within my mind I see such things
Some so beautiful as to melt the heart
There is no break from the daytime dreams
Nor nighttime terrors
And to absorb them would overwhelm
So I write
And I bleed
And pour out my soul
Will these oceans of thought ever run dry
And where will I be
If they do
I cascade across a landscape of my own making crashing upon waves of memories lost and found. And all the time my flight of fantasy unravels, the crows caw. I know not why?
I tread upon the cloud with care for roots filter through the gloom seeking to trip and disturb. The spongelike consistency of my dream dares me to venture deeper. I cannot resist the pull of forever.
Infinity calls like an unlit lighthouse, a distant saviour as lost as I. Two lost souls trudge these obsidian paths. A flock of crows fly by in languid, undulating flight, more fish than birds, they seek to unsettle me. I am already unsettled, so they waste both their own and my precious time.
I see silhouettes, they grasp and claw at the fabric of my imagination and I recoil before them. Long fingers stretch forth in gnarled formation but pass straight through me as though I am not there. Am I there? I no longer know. The crows settle back upon the two giant hands and start to peck at their gnarled flesh. I will not turn back. I cannot turn back.
The hands shake in a wind I do not feel, they change; I blink away another vision. My avian adversaries appear uneasy, their eyes set upon me from their angular, dead-tree roosts. They wait for me to make the next move, so I do.
Bored of being played, frustrated by the gloom of a dark interior I wish to lose, I fly. It feels good to soar. But I do not soar, it is the clouds that have fallen away and instead I plummet towards a sea of aubergine tears. The ocean is a bruise that wishes to bruise back. It will hurt. I am ready.
I cannot breathe. I cannot think. The crows sit upon my skull and peck at my eyes. They seek to weigh me down and they can, and they do. I am drowning in a liquid mist. How can this be? I strive to wake, but I cannot. Is this my dream? I flail and wail, shatter and splatter at the borders of me. And only when I can resist no more and the nightmare takes me do I realise, I am mad. And I love it.
I hear the subdued screams,
the muffled interpretation of nightmares made real.
They are here,
The child feels what the man will not,
and I convulse,
the pillows bearing the brunt of the torment.
There are so many yet so few:
the hands, clutching;
the eyes, glaring;
the memories, unstable,
all the components of another wasted night.
I rise from my sleep,
or in it,
I am unsure, uncertain of the truth,
and walk to the window lace curtains flapping in a chill breeze.
The cemetery stares back across a midnight echo,
it is always there,
I shall never be rid of it.
It’s raining, or I’m weeping,
but something wets my face
and I brace myself against that which comes next.
White fingers on each shoulder;
she is here whispering cobwebs in my ear.
When the push comes, I am ready,
I am always ready,
but it never lessens the pain as I hit the ground.
I wake again to a ringing in my ears and a wedge in my heart.
Dawn breaks over the cemetery,
Dusk over my soul.
From golden mists
I take my cue
To breathe the world
As though anew
To feel the spirits
Kiss my skin
To take a sip
Despite the sin
For though the veil
Be not of Earth
An unseen place
It still has worth
For in my land
Of golden seams
For just a while
I’m free of dreams
There are days when you wish you’d never opened your eyes,
You spin in a vortex of uncontrolled nightmares,
Focus torn screaming from your mind and laid out for all to see.
I call these days somedays, as they aren’t everyday, or even yesterday.
But one someday is too many for a person seeking to be free of them:
Today is a someday, but tomorrow hopefully won’t be.