Archives for posts with tag: writing

It’s obvious isn’t it?
That you have as many pasts behind you
as you do potential futures ahead

More, if anything
So be calm

All that accruing life to extrapolate from as you deem fit
Play with the switchboard, flip experiences from noise to signal, and vice versa

Then perhaps your little terrors will subside –
of paths never to be taken, 
of persons that will not become,
of flattened superpositions –
with the assured knowledge
that he who stands here now
came to that point by many ways 
and a multitude of faces, an evershifting story

Inexplicable staircases
intact, in forest
untouched by walkers
wisely the animals avoid
deadened air, disturbed
only by djinni invitation
a woodland sirencall
to ascend the curiosity

Do not climb

Waypoints between worlds
always moving
scattered through neutral lands
where the thread is thinnest
and old eyes observe the old pacts 

Do not violate

Lying in ambush, gleeful
imitation of flesh
the face wearers, voice mimicks
not quite human
enough to bait fools

Do not listen

Innocents rent in two
body portions found years later
unaged, freshly departed
only broken minds return whole

Do not climb

The Man You Could’ve Been comes for us all on our deathbed.

More fearsome than the reaper and made more terrifying by the abyss or hell that often follows them both. The Man You Could’ve Been is the greatest horror our conscious minds can imagine and he is real. He is the stick by which your deeds fall short on God’s measure. He is the once attainable that slipped further and further, first from our grasp, and then, our sight. There is no overtaking him or closing the gap. Only a lifetime’s fall from grace.

When the veil lifts from our eyes and our mouths are closed to this world, The Man You Could’ve Been climbs out of the mirror whence he watched you idle and succumb. He is happier than you, even in the dying light. He is rich in material wealth and spirit. He is purer of soul. He is much greater loved and envied by his peers and angels alike. He is luckier, and blessed all the more for being so.

No man has stood unbroken before The Man He Could’ve Been, nor shall any. Not prophet or king or humble beggar. The Man You Could’ve Been is of divine heavenly spirit – what else could perfection be made of? He is the Ideal. And when you die it is he who ascends on your behalf. For as much as he stands as evidence of your failures, you stand as proof of the hurdles he has overcome.

And the Man You Are weeps at your squandered life and the eternity of hell or the void that is left to you.

I’ve always been fascinated by our human anatomies and the choices, if He exists, that God made when designing us. Two kidneys, two lungs, but one heart. Two eyes and two ears, but only one mouth and nose. I can smell the significance of these choices, but I cannot see the logic in full.

How magnificent a redundancy to have two of an important limb or organ! We sit safe in the knowledge that were one to fail in a lifetime, we could hobble along at half-speed rather than face immediate oblivion. A left-handed existence is better than no existence.

But then what to make of those solitary pieces with no such backup? Our one brain and one spinal cord. Pieces that I can only posit are too delicate to be replicated embryonically.

But then what of twins? Two brains between them, two spines and two mouths. Does that not suggest such redundancies are possible in the womb for the lone babe also?

I must admit the topic lies close to my heart. I was after all a twin, born in some ways incomplete. And with the recent passing of my brother, I am left to hobble along at half-speed. A whole body, missing a phantom other body.

The human brain splits into two hemispheres, each specialised to different roles. Presumed of equal importance, but different nonetheless. Were I and my brother the same? Perhaps we both functionally missed half a mind.

Two hemispheres, but within them only one pineal gland. God. Again, that singular organ surrounded by pairs. Did you know Descartes thought it housed the soul, due to its singular nature?

I wonder on these Godly biological concepts and cannot help but extrapolate. I cannot in good conscience assume the soul is imparted to us in tandem with our eyes, or heart or brain. And if it be later, then is one soul shared between twins in the womb? Does that explain the empty part of me?

Am I half a soul? Or if the soul be an asymmetric organ, am I less? Am I to live a left-handed existence without him?

Pocket mirror in Narcissus’ hand
the ever-gazed, most-loved love
Isn’t beauty’s fairness a virtue to consume?

Ruinous mirror whose shattered shards 
reflect a thousand monstrous eyes
Is facade or truth not worth devouring you?

Unventured hero of stillborn soul
lost beyond your surface deep
Is it worthiness that lurks beneath?

Mirror, mirror for lonesome heart
steamed by breath, still cold to touch
Is your company but an artifice?

Standing amid the stream, I am awash with time

knowing each part only the once

before life goes its way beyond me

But beached as I am, well within my mind’s eye

where waves crash over me again and again

I relive the moments lost to me in the stream

What can be said of mathematics
that heavenly theoretic, pure of human taint
a moon we look upon from afar
distant and distorted, can only touch its reflection

And below that rippling surface, another world rages under
Mammon’s poison, scarce lizard impulses

We fleshy mortals sandwiched between the Platonic and Plutonic
yearning for a taste of the divine, a kiss
must sip at muddy waters, must wrestle what lies beneath

“Saint George and the Dragon” by Gustave Moreau (1889-90) Source: http://www.nationalgalleryimages.co.uk/

Grigor was mad. He had been nervous …right up until the moment the Fleet Admiral laughed at him.

Exposed as he was, before Second Kiev’s high command. Them all pristine avatars, him sweating profusely, as much as in his real skin. An intentional asymmetry of design, meant to exaggerate rank and hierarchy. It certainly worked.

‘You, Officer Landau? Of all the billions within the fleet, why should it be you to make first contact?’

Grigor knew his face betrayed nothing, but wasn’t as sure of his voice. ‘I had no choice in the matter, Fleet Admiral Sakharov, sir.’

Others in the high command murmured. Admiral Lu coughed flippantly. They all thought Grigor was wasting their time and resources. An opportunity for a nobody to make introductions before humanity’s most powerful. But he didn’t want to be here, presented before them in this fashion. How could they not see that? What sort of idiot would intentionally make enemies of mankind’s leaders?

‘Come now. Grigor, is it? Let us dispose of formalities. I have pressing matters to tend to so let’s be brief.’

‘Sir, aliens are real.’

‘Well yes, nobody disputes aliens. The creatures on-‘

Grigor cut him off. ‘Sentient aliens, sir. Conscious civilised aliens. Carbon-based quadripeds. More akin to us than to apes. I’ve seen them with my own eyes and documented them.’

Admiral Lu slammed the table. ‘Cease your frivolous claims at once. Thousands of years of outward expansion and barely more than a scurrying rat ever found. We are all alone in this universe, Landau. To date, the sentience filter has only been cleared by life on earth and there is no evidence to suggest otherwise.’

‘I have the evidence. Send people to my location to corroborate.’

Senate-Represent Hu scoffed. ‘Must we waste resources on this madness?’

Grigor ignored the ancient man. ‘I’m sending the Cartesians.’

‘Excellent, a map! With “Here be dragons”, scribbled in the empty black parts.’

Officer Grigor Landau had had enough. ‘Come or don’t come. I die here either way. Your stupid authority means nothing to me.’

The Fleet Admiral threatened a frail finger. ‘Careful boy.’

‘These aliens are advancing rapidly. Who knows how well armed they may be when they cross our people proper? You fools dont believe me, fine. But think of your stupid reputations if you’re wrong. This is your one chance to exterminate these dragons root and stem, before they take flight.’

Second Kiev high command mulled in silence before Admiral Hu pulled up Grigor’s Cartesians. ‘We could have a Gunner-ship there within the decade. Call it a military exercise when there’s nothing reported.’

Fleet Admiral Sakharov stared at Grigor. Grigor stared back.

‘Do it.’


Oh god. We thought we were at war. We thought we knew who we were and who we were fighting against. What we stood for, and what they didnt.

It felt good to feel good again. To feel just and right. When the old ways had fallen to the way side one by one, we humans were reduced to feeling zero.

Perhaps they had only been false things – religion and politics – or irrelevant identitarian tribalisms – nation, wealth, race, creed, sexuality. But once the scores had been settled and the winners decided, all sides remaining stood empty. Invariably we were left with fewer and fewer groups to be right against.

Whether by war or sanction, public outcry or personal shaming – or simply the decay of older generations, the world folded neatly into itself. Over and over. Healing a little each time. Until we were left with the one final fold.

So it was when I was born. The world preparing to win or lose. To adapt or die. A war to end all wars. The Last World War.

It was almost funny how little it took for the old fault lines to reveal themselves. Had all the preceding wars been the same? We on this side, and they on theirs? Olds slurs ripped anew, hate hidden in the blood and given fresh form?

It was simply a matter of direction. We wanted freedom above all. Autonomy. Bravehearts as we were. And they wanted efficiency. Fairness beyond reproach.

In truth it was a fight as old as time. But the technology gave it a new flavour. A fresh lick of paint. We, predominantly western world wordcels, indulging ourselves with verbiose rhetoric and philosophical minutiae. And they on the eastern front simply intuiting their black boxes.

The real reason communism had never worked beyond a pencil and paper was the human beast. His greedy self-interest left unharnessed, Her slovenly reach left unchecked. Their black boxes could fix all that. What humans could not, algorithms simply Did. Ruthlessly. Efficiently. Blindly. Fairly.

Trust the Chinese to throw away their freedoms for a shred of stability. There we go with old slurs.

Were we really any better? Scattered, disunited states, fragmented former-federal friends. Together only in our will to be apart. Perhaps beliefs on both sides run deeper than we can admit.

So we fought. Their black box leviathan replicated. Its tendrils and heads seeped into every pocket around the globe. It was a hydra, it was a kraken. And we did what we did best. We fractured. Decentralised to dust, too scattered to be worth chasing. One man cells if resistance. Sometimes less. Much was possible in the new world.

How horrible an epiphany then, to realise one day that the war was already lost. It had been lost before we had even begun. That we ourselves had been another head of the hydra, another tendril of the kraken.

The wargame theory of the black boxes exploited our propensity to divide from the outset. Any strength we ever had had been in our numbers. And in not standing together, we had walked right into the leviathan’s mouth.

All of us isolated, alone. Single cell humans, rendered inert. Swallowed whole by the enemy. Each one slowly realising our folly. We thought we knew who we were fighting against. Oh god.

this (unedited) one was based on a couple of vague dichotomies that have been swirling around lately

wordcels vs shape rotators
formalism vs intuition
decentralisation vs AI
west vs east

‘To new beginnings’, mutters the wormlord as he burrows backwards
Janus, more generously the God of gateways,
squeezes his rear against the walls of the tunnel
Excreted slime eases the laboured movements

He carves new grooves into the tunnel face
Makes new tunnels that cut fresh paths into time
Reaches back to forge new histories for himself

‘In this one I’ll not be a worm’
Janus endures his sufferances twice for every failure
once forward and then back
before he carves again new grooves

Write, re-write, re-write, write
Even Janus, the God of gateways,
cannot change his fate as a worm.

Artwork of Leto II, the God Emperor from Frank Herbert's scifi novel series Dune. Art created by Berkan Ozkan.
Art by BerkanOzkan
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