Nocturnette No.2 : An Usan Scrapbook.
By Jan Lakowski.
****A Soliloquy begun :
Anxious Nokia electronica chokes me from my pocket of sleep. I feel like a stuffed toy. Bloated with drowsy memory. No shower, bag packed, eyes replaced like spoiled fruit. I improvise sandwiches consisting mainly of condiments, and I drag my boots up inside my feet. I wear my face behind my skull and move like a searchlight.
I drive forty-nine miles with my heart crawling up my throat like a nymph to emergence.
In February a scabbard of moon ices the night with blades. Before sunrise in July her shape is merely chalked into a blue like absolution. Above ferric Mars lies scarified.
I rush rabid from the car cab, marching through verdant foliage then underneath a carriage full of breakfasting Glaswegians. I tumble down through boggier ground, stepping down unto cobbles then penetrate the slimy lukewarm afterbirth of strandline, secreted by a towering tide.
Agates are so waterworn here that they wear their umbilical dilations on their skins, appearing queerly vaginal, their interior lights and darknesses in utero.
You could consider them portals, and I will follow their inflections before I put them to the blade.
If the sun still wallows the mist might still clamour around Boddin, cloaking a Crabber while its bloody wraith-like skipper chops eel and sprat for bait. The lime kiln still stands despite long-since emptying its innards into the sea.
The lowest tides allow the sun to dapple monstrosities that the weekending rockpoolers could never guddle. The eldest Goby with his greying green beard, and his labyrinthine eyes that grip your stare. The piratical Velvet Swimming Crab that cannot be held and holds no quarter when cornered. As I invade the wild refuse of a hidden cove witness a seagull chick cheep pathetically, then feather boat across a periodically stagnant deep writhing with leeches. To escape me merely standing.
I hold no currency in this place, except perhaps fear.
Agates here are porcelain, their colours blackened and deepened by exposure to sea salt and acid grains. Sometimes a shade is entirely wrung through the pores of the stone leaving only spectral deathmasks. Distorted like melting Polaroids. Chalk skulls cracked, they'll exude salt till after I'm dead.
I've split toenails between boulders, fallen backward slipping on weeds (but you'll never fall too far if you ape the crab) I've been soaked to the skin in freezing rain, summer squalls, and once in a wall of spume twelve feet high. This specialized substance easily permeates clothing, and leaves a greasy film on your skin, even your most intimate nipple. This foul, gritty foam is full of the best the sea can divulge. The dilute sewage of the trawlers and cargo ships, the dilute chemicals and silage from the fields, seaweed rot and best of all, the piss of crabs.
Basically, I'm flailing about down there having the time of my miserable life!
Far above in the layby, our matriarch grandmother seeps cigarette smog, absorbs Nescafe' into her teetering clutch of teeth, and mutters: "careful, careful, be careful now" But we can't hear her here, you must be aware that in Usan, only the crustaceans would feel the vibrations of your screams. Their stalked eyes would rattle in their crusty helmets. As you gargle seawater and rapidly weaken in that familiar senile drowning panic that intrinsically must remind one of the calm twilight symbiosis and aqualung of the womb. As your saturated clothing weights your limbs to be slashed on the razor maws of barnacles. Blood flows well in the green. Puckered fingertips finding no purchase on the masks of kelp, or on the rasping boulders. The game is up, kid. That's fair enough.
So far though, I'm wearing winning smiles when I'm losing sleep and walking on the weeds to places I didn't dream could exist so close to dreary home. I would recommend it but I'll not believe you know it till you speak it to me through your eyes.
The confessional fool in his prime, exhibits the raptures of the waking daydreamer who finds life can actually sometimes be as vibrant as in his imagination. This puts a spring in his step and a pencil behind his ear, and draws blood to the flesh that saddles his eyes.
I have a persistent bloody mind, fundamentally, the same as that of a Seagull. Apart from the omnipresent crustaceans, gulls are the prevalent lifeforms here. People recognise themselves, even subconsciously, in creatures they regard as vermin. Thronging around unfortunate decapitations, eviscerations, or mere grazes, especially those involving members of their own species. Greedy, noisy, boisterous, ignorant, seemingly aloof and indifferent to their own abhorrence, or just too stupid to care. The generation raised on Television instead of building hides in the wood to imagine themselves king. This screened multitude, suckled on staying up late, with lightning joypad reflexes that foreshadow their deaths on the roads. Their solitude in the universe is echoed in the gull's lonesome caterwaul. You cannot belong to that which you choose neither to love, embrace or feel. Technology will teach you none of this. To be feral is the catch to being free, that self-destruction is the same in all things.
But gulls cannot choose. I fool myself that I have a meaningful relationship with this place, but it is benign. As with gulls, I just leave stains.
With what I remove, I cannot remain.
It's this black morning, a miniature cosmos, that I wake to hours after I rise. I peel the debris of wounds that fill each palm, the culmination of days at the barnacled recesses. The flesh is poultice to the blood and fluid that man mostly is. I have assimilated the moon's ghoul into each eye's darkest place. It summers in the green iris, in a fractured orbit like a crushed rabbit struggling to reach the median.
In dreams agates are all porcelain, with black hearts shining and liquid. Luscious white fortifications fine as cobwebs full of claw marked striations. They're all so deep in the water I am forced to lean until my face is submerged. Here I am aware that we are at the very edge of the abyss. The pebbled seabed is broken in wafer layers.
The gemstones are too snug in my palm, as if they are fixing themselves with countless mouths and drawing the marrows from my bones.
I have always known that my death would be by drowning. I was not baptized, and so will be grateful to become part of that animal. Some filigree filament within a pulsing cell of that heart. The heart of the earth.
Big sister shush you, you grant the storm from your sore grey heart passage to the thrumming space behind the eyes that fill your head. Big sister shush you, but you did not bite her long white arm as you wanted, like a murderous carnival monkey. Big sister shush you, mother put you to bed, but you would not sleep, you left the light on and the window open in the bathroom in a magnificent August and every moth for miles around came to dance upon its own feet in the shaving mirror. You read about witches, and demons, and phantoms, and ancient Egypt. You burrowed into the duvet coverlet and almost smothered. You demanded apple jelly sandwiches at almost midnight. Big sister shush you, mother put you to bed, father tell you to think of nothing but blackness, and that would help you drift to dreams. But blackness was the scratchy clawing dark of the thickest forest, that irritated your eyes so you could not close them and the forest hid every creature in your nightmares. You could not stop your mind rolling the horror film in this camera until you were sweat bright and fearful. Big sister shush you, father slept in bed, mother came to hold you, and then you laid your head on the cool side of the pillow, as she shook out your duvet and turned it till it lay cool all around you and you were too weary to fear the unpredictability of dreams. This time.
Mother sweeps up a litter of Lepidoptera from the linoleum, closes the window against the fuzzy wall of heat, sighs, and settles down in bed next to a snoring husband whose feet do not fit the bedclothes.
Who had ever seen a moth that big before, from the mere narrowed threading vein of that once great forest that mothered all of us here? A remnant perhaps. The last of its kind. The caterpillar masticating its fluorescent arse through a whole Laburnum without even the wispiest chance at copulation after its bite was compromised by the inconvenience of metamorphosis.
This was how I would begin.
Natures variety, in the claws of grubs, the calls of birds, insect's decorated wings and in the faces of volcanic stone.
Listen, mother moon awakes a stark, naked crucifixion, burning in peat dark ethanol, her wailing hysterics at fullest intensity, as if she were outside the Kremlin mourning her three handsome sons frozen into black masses like deep water concretions in Baikal. The full August moon is heavy, waxen and wants picking. This is hers. Leave the poetry just write as the blood flows through your thrashing eyelet mind and into the wet kiss nib. Write with the grain of the pine, the delicacy of the flesh, the voice of the wind, a connoisseur of that artful blood. Page burning in napalm and iodine, careering through the entire atmosphere of Jupiter in an instant or 1066 years. It's the same thing. I cannot believe in a planet with no solid core, like a being without a soul, however a womb-less woman is still a woman, a neuter of either sex is not sexless. I am satisfied for you never to decide. Is Jupiter a sentient world? I find that ferric boil with its roiling spherical storm of 500 years talks to me, whispers, through sexual panting and excitations, even more intimately than Mars. Yet it is still that moon crackling in a geyser of hissing oil, that cries hardest, caws carrion with the earliest rooks, sups with me in midnight when the world appears hallucinogenic through tears. I square up to old time religion, break bread and skin with the Khlysty, and smoulder like a cigarette's ember through that navy flypaper that dresses this world. I will un-knit the Caucasus , untangle the streams of Shkhara , and disinter the cold clay heart of St Petersburg, warm it in my hands and left armpit, to find you my love. It's totally unclear that I'm just beginning to get through.
I press on crabbing carefully down the bluff, to catch the pebbles in their drifts before the tide swallows them like pharmaceutical tabs.
Today, I motor past the liche of a decapitated badger, its pink pulpy flesh reminding me of fruit. The roads here are new ley lines, laid on occasion following the old ways. Death was always our most visceral marker, a territorial protest, as in this is my corpse and as I putrefy please remember that we straddle the borders between worlds, and as I have done, then so must you be bound to do.
I make the coast at twilight, at midnight, to bear witness to morning glory, or scrutinize my slumber. Stones roll between my toes as gulls wake.
These haunts cut through the mantle of time like sickly pink convolvulus inches through Grandma's crazy paving. Foxes and Buzzards make their kills, ants align their castles to the sun. It is rare to dare crossing the headless river rather we should meet it where it can face us to exclaim. You may consider yourself lost in a blank landscape with nothing showing of humankind. I swear you walk a line tramped a thousand years. The blood grinning archaeology of your ancestral mind denotes you make trail. You cannot avoid the footsteps of yore.
The mind will find its furrow with a sexual certainty. With a addict's urgency. You put up your hands to the absent moon but none can guide you through the titan clods of black earth. You're withering with the miles to the last shell-shocked stand of snow-blasted pines. That black field in its incline goes on penetrating the afterlife.
Throw your Playstation into the county's last functioning log fire and dismember Television before she bakes us in her too long seen.
The moon falters at so much witchery. A ziggurat of nimbus extinguishes her zeal. Cobbles rumble as I meet the white horses on the shore.
Once I took home an undersized, famished hedgehog. I gave her a name, and a place and sustenance. I had no idea that her rapid deterioration of life was due to her tiny body's inability to keep itself warm. Her spines were not soft, her eyes had stars, she was greedy enough. I gave her up, and this time the repetition of that misery did not give me cause to weep.
This is a ridiculous state of affairs.
I want to talk to the animals. We should converse as we share this air.
My hands are bandaged in sea cabbage, my knee's blood trail is convoluted by sea salt. I am a lamb at self-sacrifice, but I can slip between worlds at a whim. I evade this stalking marine saurian, slamming a limousine size head onto shore to break me. I have stones that fill my pack to lead me home. I'm magnetized by a virtuosity of passion.
I should say, as I believe it to be imperative, that if we are to be friends, we should share in our dreams. This necessity is so often forgotten. Mine is in perpetual twilight, I revel in that ethereal fade, like Aboriginal Dreamtime it is transformative, transporting, of transition and pure emotion. Of loss, of love, of the home in everywhere (the head drops anchor in the heart) of pain.
I watch the sun settle in a rose nest of cumulus. Nettle stings on my forehead and ears. Stones in my right back pocket, stones in my left. Prickles of beading sweat and the itch of the wild grasses. Breathing hard.
I generally materialize in that place as I drive (I meditate) I write (I meditate) I play (I meditate) and as I prepare for sleep (meditation meditation meditation) All completely unschooled. Once we are no longer umbilical we are orphaned.
Sleepwalking, sleep driving, from cove to bay, to beach and back again. A ton of grit and sand wearing me to a skeletal rider with opposable nubbins.
I am writing when I should be working. Yet I cannot leave this tract to dissolve in the caustic sauce in my hog-like head. It must be passed down so I can walk on it in my shoes, remember it is there to climb on to, it's my breadcrumb trail and my lighted path.
Awake to stones covering every place. In both hands a stone that could break a head.
Sunlight carries the darkness of light years, in the vast arc of aeons, and emphasizes the shadows. Extemporizes them. Makes them voids in a vision. Cut-outs. Essential to a shape.
I wander in silhouette, against the shroud of shore. The shards of the landmass I crawl home. I break way through spume like a mountainous head of Guinness. I split crab carcasses like a cheery nutcracker. I am at sea.
Brunhilda awakes (the visceral frau of the Lauterbrunnen) with lightning neon in her breastbone, in orgasm it ricochets through her skeleton, threads a billion bright forks through her midriff and exits through her inflamed cervix, while she exudes a resinous sap that smells of hyacinths and ozone. The bolt is suddenly a mile wide, strikes Hans at the summit of the Jungfrau, volleys him into the Eiger's Mordwand with a massive erection so profound he can feel the pulse of his carotid directly aligned to the beating in its head. Yet before he can begin he slams into the verglass at 80 miles an hour and fractures the bones within his bones. His lymphatic nodes lodge and burst in the rasping gaps, and his veins are severed in the booby trap. By the time his pieces approach the Alpiglen there is nothing left of kind, and glacial Hans, to mourn.
We can learn from mindless destruction. Chaos. Find order, make time. We must perpetually rebuild this psyche', while vaporizing, firebombing, slashing away the old flesh that cannot assist us in future tests.
An Usan sunset, red buoy light bobbing. A silent apocalypse in gold mere decoration in the thrall of violent moonlight already risen. Cobbles turn luminous. Seaweed plastic Halloween cobwebs strewn over boulders with a wily gull atop keeping watch. Watchmen all around. Poets must be wary of old mannish Watchmen, making sure the hearth and firelight of soul is genuine. That you dealt the real blood of you in that one. Who'd be a poet here? Let the gulls vomit and defecate on you! Let the hermit crabs dismember you in countless titbits! Let some fool take your bones for a ewe's and toss you in a weedy summer pool! Let geological time agatize your skull creating a glorious scarlet rind around your pulp,that rang with the changes bestowed upon you by an unkind time. Bell thus rung now to sleep. And dreams like voluminous drifts of swan's wings hung like garlands to me dead.
(Shimmer with the vibration of that bell that sings, in ringing round your laughter, the smile of your girl, the lysergic heat hazes of the ancient campfire, and the ghouls of dead stories lost to dreary ages. Ring yours bright, the changes, your nightly metamorphosis in dreams! Ring true!)