space & time

A Reflection on The Transient & The Ephemeral

What lies at the core of worship?

Even the most devout atheist, in some form of another worships.

There exists, a compulsion in humanity, to latch oneself, an agent of transience, to The Fantastic, The Ephemeral, The Numinous.  Whether it is to a God, or perhaps zealous adherence to secular scientific doctrine, maybe even The Artist who seeks to affix herself to eternity vis a vis her magnum opus, effectively becoming a saint of her craft.

In the simple work that we do…

In regards to the pursuits we engage in with ease, that feel as a natural extension of self expression; what springboards the individual towards mastery?  For the hobbies we love, we enjoy them not simply for the sake of the act, but rather mastery of the act itself.  I do not believe this is simply an outpouring of Western tradition, it seems worldwide people are not content to write a story, but rather write the best story they have the capacity to write.  It seems a very human thing to triumph over and above oneself.

At times I have felt when I am writing my poetry that it is not so much me that is writing but rather I am having a higher metaphysical communion with a force or agent of which I am only capturing the bare minimum due to the poor capacity of my feeble mind.  Forever relegated to snatch crumbs but never perceive the big picture.

But this isn’t true at all is it.  The human brain is as of the moment of my writing the most complicated and sophisticated structure in the known universe.  What am I really yearning for in my pursuits? As I live and draw breath and wake up with vague purpose, living through the banality of my day hazily and lazily until The Spark ignites in me during truly singular moments.   Like when looking at a beautiful woman and being moved to a state of selfless expression.  Or waiting vacantly for the maelstrom of ideation to take hold of my wanting consciousness. What moves me to strive? Above and beyond. It validates my existence in a way that is so existential I feel I could handle any great expanse of time or myriad obstacles The World would throw my way so long as I retain mere embers of The Spark.

For without my art I am lost…

A flame absent a wick on which to burn…

Even as I’m writing this something stirs within me…maybe a psychologist would have some designation for what it is I’m feeling, maybe what I’m saying is wholly insignificant, experienced by innumerable human souls before me since antiquity.  But this feeling of being tethered to something greater as I pursue the highest capacity of this instance of my work, I believe lies at the heart of worship.

It is in these singular moments of silent, nigh psychic communion, perhaps with my subconscious or the metaphysical world beyond, that I feel lies the crux of worship.  It is in these moments that I feel Death holds no sway over me and that although my flesh is bound to erode I am fundamentally impervious to destruction.

I am comforted.

I personally am not necessarily all that religious, I am also a staunch proponent for much secular science, but in moments like this I believe…In the ever twisting and stretching limbs of Space and Time, I am significant not because my work will be honored, but because I have honored my work.

We are all vehicles to the destination of immortality.

Worship faithfully.

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I Remember You

[If I had two hands with the depths of God’s…I would pull out everything I feel for you and hang it in the night sky.

I would fashion everlasting, a unity between the two of us persisting like a couplet, sung until it burned through the foundation of matter smelting space and time into a universe.

I would tie myself to you and ask for nothing more…

If I had two hands with the depths of God’s I would scarcely scratch the surface for all that I feel for you…]

(I ruminate on proximity…The closest I could ever be is a mile away. Holding to you is like holding Life itself, in all of it’s splendid and myriad virtues, as well as the tenebrous tangling profane.

You are my movement, my joy, my ease, my light, all things cosmic and gentle…fiery and intimate. I smile with half the effort without you.

Like hands in warm sand and draped in ocean mist I want to breathe you in like a kept promise, like a sudden remembrance, like a return home.

I don’t know but I feel you are my origin…)

{I would lay everything at your feet.

I would meet you at the intersection of art and romance, where power gives way to mercy, and where melanin trades with each other.

Every ounce of your skin I would adorn, no subtlety, I would greet you with thunder.

My hands, my mouth, my eyes, would be made for you…

My skin, my strength, my appetite, would devour you…

No matter how close you were, I would reach for you some more,

Thighs, chest, lips, searching for your roots.

Parting you from senseless senses, heaving you to the coterminous.

I would carry you to the far side of rhapsody…}

Because I remember you…

The Numinous Waters of Aquarius

Within still waters.
Let my skin breathe.
Against vaulted walls painted like skies.
Stretch my mind to tether infinite.
Bellow old ruined thrones and scattered crevices.
Tread my veins.
Pour overflowing.
Word over word.
Ringing, extolling, parables.
Etch yourself within, beyond.
I as anchor, you as beacon.
Call forth tides.
Heave in silence.
Whisper from the deepest cracks.

Fire & Water in The Mouth of Ophiuchus

Beauty resplendent in glory like sunlight,
Won’t you hold me close to your burning skin?
Won’t you draw me in with those eyes like flames?
Boil away the shallow doubts interceding in my veins like frigid rivers of rumination reminiscent of indecision hesitant longings and parting ways.
Won’t you ignite my Summer days?
Ring around my skin like thick coils,
Tongue fluttering like fantasy, black sand restless tides finding comfort in my shadow. The place you reside when you illuminate my desire.
A tight clutch while you drink me in, Sun soaked, star drenched, delight drugged, desperately drunk, existential expression.
Expectantly awaiting touch…
Hot and Wet makes steam.
Fire and Water makes dreams.

The Lost Faith (VI)

As soon as Abigail’s hands found themselves upon the handle of the door, the distant bell above the cathedral tolled as if to spurn the heavens into motion. Looking up the vision she saw unfolding above her nearly brought her to her knees. The previously unremarkable sky had completely transformed, golden light poured from every corner of the sky as if the entire sky had been repainted with the rays of the sun.

Gently falling from the golden sky like snow feathers bright as stars plummeted softly to the ground. Joyous laughter welled up from Abigail’s heart as a feather floated down into one of her outstretched hands. The profound and beautiful silence of the moment moved her to tears.

The giant doors to the cathedral were lighter than air to her touch and swung open eagerly before Abigail’s fingers. She stepped into the cathedral and was shocked at how small and comfy it was on the inside. Aside from a few rows of pews and an altar on the other end of the room the cathedral seemed to contain little else inside.

Abigail walked towards the altar trying to make out the strange glyphs inscribed upon the far wall. She stopped shortly and try as she might the more she studied the symbols the more bizarre they seemed. She turned her sweeping gaze across the other features of the room; there were no symbols in the room defining any particular religion.

The benches that made up the pews were crafted from simple cherry oak. She inspected the back of them hoping to find a Bible or Quran perhaps, nothing. The carpet stretching from the entryway to the altar was a simple red with white borders along the edges.

Some candles set inside of candelabra in the corner of the room on either end of the altar gave no insight. Upon the altar itself, white cloth and a jeweled golden chalice. “Communion maybe?” Abby thought to herself. She leaned over and looked into the chalice, nothing. Frustrated and slightly crestfallen at the lack of answers Abigail turned to leave.

“What have you come in search of?” The question most certainly ringed in her ears but was it coming from someone else in the room or her own mind Abigail wasn’t sure.   “I don’t know,” replied Abigail aloud. Her eyes darted around the room for the possible source of the voice.

“What have you lost?” This time Abby was clear, it wasn’t coming from her own head, the voice seemed to be coming from the room itself, with no distinct center. “Faith,” Abigail said addressing the chalice on the altar. “No,” the voice responded.

The voice almost reminded Abigail of Nana but somehow distant, softer but somehow stronger. “What do you mean no?” asked Abigail defiantly. “Not it,” the voice replied simply. “You’re wrong, that’s why I’m here,” Abigail replied desperately. Her voice was quivering, full of doubt and fear, if this wasn’t why she was here then why would she be? “I’m not close, but I’m not lost,” the voice whispered.

“I-I need your strength…” Abigail pleaded, the words almost failing her. The voice did not respond. “Please, don’t leave me, I don’t know why I always feel so lost,” Abigail had uttered the words with utter humility; she was moved to speak to the voice by a force she did not know. Her pride and knees failed her as she cried out to the voice from the cosmos.

In the silence of the cathedral, as Abigail cried on all fours, she felt a warmth flooding her crouched form. “I’m never far,” the voice said breaking through Abby’s cries, this time distinctly above her. She looked up and instantly felt at peace.

The figure stretching above her filled the room with golden light. With wings as pure as ivory and eyes glowing with sunlight Abigail struggled to comprehend, the entity’s form. The Angel’s garb was a purely embroidered dress.   She sported ornate golden jewelry all across her body. Her hair flowed as slowly through time as if woven with magic. The angel reminded Abby so much of her dear Nana, but also looked profoundly different. Maybe this was Nana when she was younger? But no her face was different, one Abigail couldn’t quite make out.

In the presence of the Angel Abigail could feel an immense power welling up from deep within her. As she looked down at herself, she could see golden light pouring from herself as well in the presence of the Angel. In the Angel’s hands, Abby noticed the chalice stretched towards her expectantly.

Understanding dawned in Abigail’s mind as she reached into her pocket and withdrew the feathers that she had fallen earlier. Lowering them into the empty chalice, the feathers turned into a glowing liquid. Abigail pressed the chalice to her lips and drank the contents full.

Instantly she could feel the effects, the liquid making her body feel as light as a feather.   Deep inside, Abby felt an old wound close. The Angel smiled and wrapped itself in its wings vanishing in a radiant glow of light. “Wait!” Abigail cried out. “Never far,” the voice echoed, this time inside her mind. The light from Abigail muted substantially in the empty cathedral, but a portion remained all the same.

Even now, Abigail could sense herself stirring, waking from the dream. She tested her lightness, and surely enough, as soon as she willed herself to, she found she could fly. Facing the empty chalice and altar, the glyphs on the wall illuminated as if lit by an eternal fire. The walls around her were beginning to fade as she began to wake, a single word churned into being like fire in the darkness, Gratia.

The Lost Faith (V)

Running, shadows, noise. The breath in her chest was strained and sharp, the pursuit was relentless, the dark arms tore at her desperate for any speck of flesh, any strand of hair. The howling behind her was awful, deep and dreadful like a piercing cry from the heart of hell. Abigail’s feet pummeled the Earth hard, faster, towards the light, the scenery aside an indiscernible blur. Light. Hope. Silence.

***

Abigail awoke with a start. This was the aspect of lucid dreaming she hated the most, nightmares, so vivid, so real. Even the dreams that weren’t lucid were powerful and rapturous. Often times they were the worst because she couldn’t simply will herself to wake up like she could with an actual lucid dream. “Breathe,” she said to herself. “Breathe, it’s just a dream. That’s it easy.” Abigail extracted her dream diary from her bag and recorded the experience. Several minutes later, she eased herself back to sleep.

***

The world before her eyes was not at all what she expected it to be when she opened them. She stood in the ruined center of a once great city. The concrete and asphalt cracked and frayed. Great buildings stretched along towards the sky, some unfinished in construction, others broken by a terrible unknown force.

As she walked along the streets she observed crowds of people suspended in drama as if time had stopped, along other streets people walked along unfazed as if nothing peculiar were occurring. Cars drove along the streets and into the sky and vanished. All manner of objects floated about unfettered and phased through Abigail’s hand as she tried to touch them.

No one seemed to notice Abigail, just walking along deftly avoiding her or perhaps walking through her.   She tried to call out to them but much to her horror her voice was gone. “Reality check,” she thought to herself pressing her right fist firmly into her palm, with little resistance it passed cleanly through. “So I’m dreaming,” she muttered to herself. “But I need to find my voice.”

Abigail mouthed all manner of words and strained her voice but all to no avail. Gazing about furiously for help her eyes settled upon a small child eyeing her furtively. As Abigail’s eyes settled onto the small girl she felt a slight unease. The girl perhaps sensing it too cocked her head to the side and smiled. “She knows something,” Abigail thought. But before Abigail could reach the child, the girl ran off to the end of the street and rushed around a corner.

Instinct exploded into Abby as she shirked the corner every step driving into the concrete with increased power and resolution. The girl she pursued was fast too, always a couple steps ahead. Abby drove herself forward recklessly, “faster,” she thought, “faster.” The word echoed into her mind until her will wove itself into action. She distantly knew that at the speed she was currently moving was not humanly possible, and yet she did not feel fatigue, but rather invigoration.

Ahead the girl was still blazing ahead of Abigail, no closer despite the superhuman speed that Abby was now steadily stretching beyond. And the girl did seem to be a lot like fire Abby noticed as the child laughed and pressed beyond. The previously pale brown skin was now glowing, increasingly red like hot iron. The red hair waving and billowing like smoke, and when the child looked back it was with eyes full of flame.

“You’re not faster than me little imp,” Abby thought to herself. The words no sooner filled her mind than suddenly a joyous power crackled through her body like a streak of lightning. The imp’s eyes grew wide as she tried to comprehend the bolt of Abby bearing down upon her. Somewhere from the depths of the spark a hand formed and reached out to the imp. Triumphantly Abigail grasped the fiery sprite only for the imp to vanish in a puff of red smoke.

Abigail pressed her heels deeply into the ground; “STOP!” she yelled, and much to her surprise the voice tore through her lips into the world beyond. The sudden resultant stop was nigh instantaneous and not a moment too soon. She found herself in a distant part of the city where there was no other sign of life. The very atmosphere of this part of the city was different.

Before her stood a massive cathedral stretching into the heavens as if from a world beyond. She stood in awe of the construction it’s gothic architecture profoundly out of place in the ruined city she had witnessed. And yet it stood completed and resilient, like a last bastion of hope and faith in the shattered world.

“I don’t belong here,” thought Abby aloud, she hadn’t been to church since Nana forced her to go since she was a little girl. “I’ve lost faith.” It was strange to Abby that her dream world decided to take her here. She had no intentions of setting foot into church especially not into an illusory one. Yet she still couldn’t help but to be taken in by it’s profound beauty.

The more she stared at the grayish-white stone with which the cathedral was hewn from, the more radiant it seemed to glow, a soft silvery white almost like moonlight. The cathedral sported a profound sense of symmetry in its construction sloping towards its center where a bell remained suspended at its highest point. Along the various towers figures stood atop some clutching arcane objects locked in contemplative grief, others raptured in joyous expressions of jubilation.

Abigail could feel something deep within her compelling her inside the cathedral. Even as she debated the sensation in her mind she felt a remarkable ease and lightness creep up from the pit of her stomach. Before she could protest, the compulsion became a step towards the door.

The Lost Faith (IV)

The kitchen had become a concert of metallic chimes and delightful laughter in a mere matter of minutes. Before Abigail knew it she was scurrying about reveling in her almost lost passion for baking along with her cousin and grandmother. Young Kevin scurried back and forth between the kitchen and the cartoons in the living room stealing snatches of the unfinished desserts during any of the adult’s lapses in attention.

As the time elapsed Abigail told her grandmother and cousin of the numerous adventures that occurred over the course of the semester much to their amusement. By the time both the dinner and dessert had finished cooking they had all exhausted their cache of missed events of the recent past and were discussing plans for the future.

“I’m actually thinking about going back to school for another degree,” said Gloria, stroking her chin thoughtfully. “Probably just go to a community college though, major in business.” “But it sounds like you’re doing quite well for yourself over at the gym, why go back to school again?” said Abigail eyeing Nana’s freshly baked black cake covetously. “Well it is but I don’t really see myself staying there much longer, I’ve always wanted to open up my own business and I have a fairly good idea of what I want to do anyway.” “So there’s no chance of you going back into law then,” Nana cut in sharply. “No I don’t think so Nana, it took me forever to get a job as a paralegal despite me already having a law degree,” said Gloria shaking her head. “If I hadn’t started working at the gym I don’t know where I’d be now.”

“How about you Abby? Still pursuing finance or whatever?” asked Gloria, now expectantly eyeing the black cake as well. There was more than a considerable amount of heft behind the seemingly innocuous question. “Yeah, I mean its what’s best right?” Abby asked staring into her plate. “It’s what’s best…” “Who are you trying to convince Abster?” said Gloria half laughing. “The last time I saw you perform at that open mic in midtown. You did some serious damage.” Abigail smiled slyly; she remembered well the performance that Gloria was alluding to. It was a spoken word piece she had been working on for the better part of four months. Her work was a love letter to womanhood, perseverance, and the contemporary African American experience.

“I mean, sure I love writing, it’s an important part of my life but that doesn’t mean I have to rely on it as a profession,” said Abigail. “And I have job security to worry about too after all. In this day and age you can’t really afford to simply do what you want, particularly in the liber arts fields. I have a good feeling about finance, it’s a safe bet.”

Abigail had spun the words smoothly from her lips almost as if from memory. There was no doubting the finality in her tone as she spoke, and yet when Gloria spoke it was past the finely tuned logic, and straight down to the heart of the matter. “Yeah Abster, that’s the safe bet. But its not who you are.”

***

By ten o’ clock Kevin was too tuckered out to keep up with the adults and resolved himself to clamber into one into of the beds in the guest room. Nana also took Kevin’s fatigue as her cue to rest and followed shortly after. Gloria and Abigail continued to talk about the various men who had drifted in and out of Gloria’s life at the gym. Eventually the conversation turned to Abby and the men, or lack thereof in her life.

“So you mean to tell me with all the dudes on your campus, there’s not a single one you want to talk to?” asked Gloria skeptically. “Not even one you think is fine?” “Yeah, I mean there are some I like but I don’t know, I don’t think they would be interested. As a matter of fact I’m not even interested, I’m not looking right now.” Abigail’s response was far too unnatural and swift; Gloria could sense the tension in the air but ploughed through regardless. “Come on now Abby, you’ve been using that excuse for as long as I remember, what about your friend Michael? You’ve never thought of it?”

Of course Abby had thought of Michael albeit briefly, and besides he never seemed to express that kind of interest so she never dwelled on it. “No, I-I haven’t,” she said her face now thoroughly flushed. Aside from Michael there was another guy she had always fancied, but he was far beyond her reach, and part of her wanted it that way.

“Well hopefully you meet somebody at that party your going to, shit I might need one of them Greeks to change my life,” said Gloria patting her hair. “Are you going to bring your sister?” Abigail hadn’t thought about it since earlier that day. “I don’t know,” she said finally. “Have you even talked to her about what we’ve discussed?” Gloria asked the question almost as severely as she eyed Abby. “I haven’t found the time,” Abby squeaked. “Well whatever you do, you need to speak to her, don’t go back to school before you have that conversation.” Gloria was right, Abigail knew the words to be true and yet it did nothing to ease the difficulty of the task.

The pair continued to chat idly as the conversation eventually drifted towards their differing preferences on old school music. The channel on the television clicked from movies to cartoons, then finally an old stand up comedy special. Eventually Gloria hugged Abigail and wound her way up to her room, she had a long ride back home with a very precocious young boy tomorrow.

Abigail turned off the TV and brewed a cup of tea, steeped from valerian, her favorite. She sat in silence as the day’s events turned over in her mind. The tea seeped down deeply into Abby’s core, then spread through her legs like roots and her arms like branches. Her body compelled itself towards her bed, and before she knew it, the world was gone.