‘Poly-what now?’

Filael rubbed his temples. Nothing that began with “poly-“ ever ended well. Polytheism. Polygamy. He needed a stiff ambrosia.

‘Cube, sir. Polycube. It’s the formation of multiple cubes into a joined shape, only they mean it in a different, sexy manner, sir. It sounds real bad.’

‘Oh god.’

‘Yes sir. You shouldnt profane sir.’

The humans in their short-lived wisdoms had again reinvented some forbidden deviancy. They did this every so often. Always dressed up in the fancy words of the times. Filael had to nip this in the bud. Before word reached his superiors. ‘You’re quite right, Minnael. I apologise. Now be an angel and fetch me some ambrosia, would you?’

Minnael hesitated. ‘But sir, we’re still on duty.’

‘Oh dont be such a prude. We’re going to need some liquid courage for whatever comes next. Both of us.’ Minnael jumped up and leaped out the room, turning in the air. He would be gone for some time. 

Filael sighed. The closer the end times approached, the harder his job seemed to get. As a species they were still children, but on the whole humanity had grown by leaps in the last several thousand years. Soon their souls would be ready to ascend or descend on their own merits, and the cycles would expire. 

The Lord God had bid the humans with secret tasks to mark their capabilities and maturity, and they’d achieved much of them in little time, particularly of late. All this meant Filael had fewer levers to pull whenever they inevitably backslided, however. Like with this recent poly…cube business. Fewer levers and more red tape. God, where was Minnael and that damned ambrosia?

Filael crunched some quick numbers. The department was running short on catastrophes this deep into the fiscal epoch. He couldnt afford to not be judicious with what was left. Shuffling his reports absentmindedly, one particular form slipped from his grasp. A happy accident to most of lower existence, but Filael recognised his Lord’s mark where it deigned to touch. It was a series of cursory graphs of the recent explosions in agriculture, energy and the human population.

‘What is the meaning of all this Filael?’

The booming voice of Archangel Gabriel seemed to emanate from every corner.

‘Gabriel, sir. Unto you be peace.’ Filael stumbled over his salutations. ‘How good of you to visit us sir.’

The Archangel Gabriel burst into the room, in all his magnificence and splendour. Minnael trotted not far behind, sheepishly. Trust a rat to rat.

‘I’m a busy being, Filael. My presence here means my absence elsewhere. Tell me, Filael, why young Minnael here has escalated a report on his superior, outside the chain of command?’

Filael felt his throat tightening. ‘It’s just some ambrosia sir. To grease the wings, you know?’

‘What?’ The great angel seemed puzzled. ‘What’s ambrosia to do with this poly-nonsense?’

‘Oh. That.’

Gabriel poked a radiant finger into Filael’s chest. ‘Do you have any idea how long it took to institute monogamy? Of course you dont.’

‘Truly the end times, sir.’ Minnael added, shaking his head disapprovingly. What a little ass-kisser he’d turned out to be. But even from the mouth of fools came jewels.

‘And that is exactly the problem, sir.’

‘I dont have time for silly games, Filael, so out with it. Say it straight and tell it true.’

‘The humans excel in resource extraction sir. They’ve learned to pull much of the Lord’s bounty from the earth, as intended. So much so that in sheer quantities, they’ve exceeded what we’d allotted for them.’ 

Gabriel snatched the graph Filael presented him with. ‘They’re ahead of schedule, yes.’

‘So ahead of schedule, sir, that they’re depleting the quality. So ahead of schedule sir, that they’ve exceeded maximum soul capacity.’

‘That’s not possible.’ Gabriel grabbed at the other graphs Filael held up.

‘Their ingenuity seems to have presented us with unforeseen problems. The matter of the golem-bodies. Those bodies born without souls.’

‘I’m aware of those anomalous reports. They’re not included in our figures.’

‘I know sir. I propose something similar in some ways and entirely the opposite in others.’

‘Go on.’

‘With the population boom, suppose souls were reincarnating faster than they were expiring. With more and more bodies readily available to house them, is it possible some souls might be pulled into multiple bodies?’

‘We’re talking of partial-souled humans roaming the earth.’

‘Is it any crazier than the automaton golem-bodies? It’s the next sign of the end times, I’m sure of it.’

Minnael the rodent seemed to come alive. ‘The partial souls are attracting. Just like soulmates do.’ So proud of reaching four with two and two presented to him.

‘Exactly. Thus the polycube phenomenon. It’s literally a sign of the end times sir. There’s nothing to be done about it.’

The great Archangel Gabriel considered all before turning away. ‘Come. Both of you. Ambrosia’s on me.’

How convenient of me
to brush aside explicit duties
handwaving away laborious letter
in favour of spirit

When every act and breath is worship and love
then prayers seem vulgar, fucking

But God is only ever found in the down-dirty details, the blue-collar slog
and not in the seductions of sloth, nor flights of fancy, the comfortable shirking of duties

“Evening prayers in the desert” by Otto Pilny

We are the sleep-singers
secreted away in our worship
scattered to four winds and buried underground like seeds
coming up for air and rare sun like cicadas

Since society’s dawn we have sacrificed our nights
that The Great Dreamer may slumber in peace

Insignificant as we are, perhaps He does not hear
our unending Song
but what else is there to do?

Art: “Dreamtime Sisters” by Colleen Wallace Nungari

“Dernière Torture” / “Last Torture”, an oil painting by Belgian artist Tony Louis Cypher Rocmans

In the span of a hundred years we eradicated all known diseases and achieved effective immortality. We’d fought long and hard amongst ourselves to gain access to the means and methods, to scale production globally. It felt worth it back then.

Wars broke out more readily over limited food and resources. 

In the span of another hundred years, we made impossible all forms of suicide and murder. The prospect of a true death was stolen from us – was made as impossible as tax evasion. All newborns were fated to eternal yokedom. 

Our hungers transfigured into an unquenchable thirst for death. The institutions of the predecessors eventually crumbled to dirt, but it was too late for our species. Civilisation had died the day we no longer could.

Within another hundred years we had concocted a thousand new sadistic tortures of the mind and body to inflict upon one another, but we could not find an antidote to life. Such respite we had evolved beyond and could no longer return to.

You do not know true suffering – cannot know true suffering – until you have spent millennia alone on a barren world scurrying, broken and bereft. That is how our race live now, scattered amidst the stars. We hide from one another in fear, knowing what one would do to the other. Captivity and a moment’s joy in companionship at last. And then, always the unfolding of horrors unimagined, unique to the damaged psyche of that specific captor. Both roles blur into one. We bore of our play-things, of the perpetual mind-rape and bodily destructions, and toss them aside, and in turn are ourselves caught and tortured by fellow men.

Such is our existence. Vast epochs of lonely wandering, given meaning only by the briefest opportunity to inflict pain upon our kindred kind.

Predecessor. You who have found my scrawling, whenever you are. You do not know what lays ahead for mankind. You do not know true suffering and despair. You can never know the delights of unmaking a mind as you please. And you will never know what it means to feel time.

Artwork: “Dernière Torture” / “Last Torture”, an oil painting by Belgian artist Tony Louis Cypher Rocmans
(click the image for more)

Animated cavorters of debauchery
emerge from the peripheries, cartwheeling
manifest excesses of the great demonic five –
envy, greed, lust, wrath, pride –
enabled as ever by the little serpents

But the forecast of violent orgies goes awry,
for nurtured evils pale beside man’s base nature lain dormant
by necessity until these end days
though Moloch and Baal may rile spirits in true bodily possessions,
they cannot compare to what lurks deeper in the bones

Heretofore latent indolence
latent as only indolence could be
gelatinous sloth and gluttonous fear
congealing, amorphous
a safe spineless sludge state
licensed by our self-made tools

Perhaps a fiery demons’ hell is preferable to such a return
into man’s own primordial Chthonic underworld

Does anybody believe Stockport is a real place? Spoiler warning to outsiders: it’s not.

It’s an inside joke between true northerners, little more than a winking jibe at our past. As pretend as the mad hatter. 

It’s the haunted tale of a place hidden in smog, inhabited by wheezing ghouls and the restless spirits of the never-were.

A liminal town, cosy in its eternal withered state – somehow just as near its demise now as when the old mills first shut.

It’s the wistful return to policemen walking their beat and knowing your name. Of horse-drawn carriages and polite manners.

A paradox to be teased out if you would compile the urban myths. Somehow a love letter to both small talk gossip with strangers and the quaint knowing of everyone of everyone else. 

Stockport is the dream of cityfolk reeling from their busy lives, a fantasy concocted by the sick collective.

If we must hold court in secret, so be it
If the price of progress is hidden toil
we gladly pay it

Those savages who would jeer us in the street
and prostrate before stones they carved,
or worse, the same animals they would feast upon for supper
If we left the great shaping to those mindless brutes, there would be no morning to wake to

We, the number counters,
builders of tomorrow,
who bow to no god but the highest number
that maximal parameter of the known universe
the ultimate concept

We who forsake sleep to count every night
that we may expand upon the boundaries of knowledge, that we may creep closer to God, that final number

Cover art for the classic sophomore album It Was Written, by rap legend Nas

Was it written in blood and stone?
I ponder

In my youth I met a man
whose spoken word could shape reality

A man incapable of introspection or gratitude
but nonetheless blessed with this arcane ability or inherent knowledge

The nature of such things is unimportant
And though it’s possible that he was but one of many,
he remained an anomaly to me

Even lacking evidence I stand convinced
that power like this cannot originate from the devil’s magic,
but can only be bestowed by our God Almighty
for the man would breathe a sentence into the universe and it would Be:
Kun fa yakoon
Does that not speak to Divine source?

But as I mentioned, the man was thankless and thoughtless,
too wilful, too ill-equipped to ponder on that which had been conferred upon him
He could not speak himself happy
He would not speak himself fortune

In all my long years, I’ve known of no man before or since
whose pen held as much of destiny’s ink, yet he shouldn’t write of himself with it

Why? I ponder to this day

Perhaps another of his kind had imprisoned him first
with her own words as a preventive measure
Or had they muzzled each other in invisible stalemate,
a mutually bound perverse prison?

Or is it much simply
that the language of fate is written in a deeper script than reality,
etched into our very blood and heaven’s stone

King’s Disease 3 by Nas, out November 11th 2022

A posted for the upcoming Nas album KD3, releasing 11th November 2022, and follow-up to last year's collaboration projects with producer Hit-Boy "King's Disease", "King's Disease II" and "Magic"

When the high density beings first made contact, we thought them angels and demons

Their stilted communication was credited to translations into our unfamiliar tongue

How curious a species in their irregular shape and size,
one as unlike to another as an ape to a cockroach

Our religions and empires fell and grew around their emergence,
but we ultimately adapted to their presence and learned from their technologies

Imagine how we shattered then, to discover after hundreds more years
that these mighty beings of near-unimaginable power were little more than automaton husks,
long unburdened of consciousness
– that evolutionary dead end –
devoid of it, but still able to parrot its effect with brute force mimicry

It wasnt just to realise we were alone
once again, as we been before
but more over, to see that our future too was truly empty,
and our cognisance of the stars merely a rounding error

Picasso, Pablo (1881-1973): Girl Before a Mirror (Boisgeloup, March 1932). New York, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)*** Permission for usage must be provided in writing from Scala.

Have the spiritual and physical ever been as connected as today?
Mind and body now as one, the masculine and feminine roam out of
bounds, each bleeding into the other
Every yin-yang a gradient of greys, inadvertently or no

Drowning in push-pull nuance and subtlety
The old dichotomies end up
as little more than fractal creases in a larger plane

What lurks beyond the conscious and subconscious integrated?
Zooming out, out, out – searching
for the most fundamental of all nature, for opposing forces
for clear contrast and structure, for the one line in the sand

But perhaps such a schism had never existed before
in the physical universe, with its unified form and unified laws
So I turned my gaze to the un-natural
and there it was, clear as day
In technology and metal, in the little mirror in my pocket
The crack that would divide, my line in the sand

That virtual rift between our analogue and digital halves,
between alluring social presentations, increasingly filtered
and the decaying lonesome reality they reflect
A difference ever widening, growing deeper by the day

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