1.8 return to stranger mall

They put me in the mall again.

Full of fleeting figures, sparse movements on unaccountable levels.

The woman, the silent partner, the manifestation of hidden desires, lurks at the back of my awareness, on a swift and quiet train, gliding into future city.

They place me, wandering in the hive mind of stores.

The video man, who was absent in prior days, return (though I do not actively see him)

He gives me the recording device.

I am given no clear instructions, so I film sporadically on the camera phone.

There is no living line, no signal to voice, no two way comms.

I just film.

From outside the labyrinth mall, the mansion of occult architecture, I stand with my back against the timeless tree.

I see the first storefront is all glass with no doors.

From wooden patio I begin filming, the walls of the store are illuminated yellow.

All yellow, the altar, like monk robes, religious skin, prayer paper for the dead, I move in, filming.

Here lies The Ritual room, i’m drawn into the core altar of papier-mâché, perception of its depth shapes changing, observational quantum flux.

Octagonal, hexagonal, square turned, cubes inside cubes, then the roots, sucked into spherical, the tree of life deformed and skewed, entering / exiting the window inside cardboard spaces, deep illusion, perspective lengthening, shortening, every angle changing its face and features.

I pass through glass, into funereal air, all bright, beaming beige and yellows, I greet directions, every turn lingering, false plastic candelabra light, left and right guarding vacant pedestal on risen table, no gods on site (no coffin where there should be.)

I watch a paper Canary attached to fishing string. The faux bird flies, hunting in circulars, wings extended, swirling above my head like a dizzy spell. I pass under it, through the unseen door.

Into corridor, before another faceless store, dark unlit, hardware house with coloured wires in rolls, in gordian knots, greens, yellows, hanging on hooks.

There is no power, no electric.

The next store is a glass cube, a room sized tank, dry hay,

Cobras. Twins. Head bloated, fanned out but its body isn’t erect or ready to strike.

Then from blindside, a large creature moves. A bulk of light brown fur, headless, heavy, stomping on serpents.

At the far right, in rows, in stacks, lie crushed snakes, just their skin shells, outer forms, hollowed out with pink insides, cut open, contents removed, sleeping dead on high hay.

Wild brown rabbits scatter. The huge creature crushes them under innocent gravitas, skulls smash

Snakes die. Pink blood muddying dead straw grass.

I film it all for camerama.

On other levels in the mall, a basement with heavenly lights, I am searching for Codex.

I know I’m collecting thin tomes with pictures, printed speech,single issues (only 2 released) of the title in need.

On a display board at the entrance, I find my black book, previously lost, pages intact, sketches of various killers, creatures, forbidden texts.

“This is mine.” The storekeeper demands I prove it. There is a number advertised, writ in blue ink. I tell him to dial it.

The camera phone rings, I show him the store number I.D.

“This book is mine.”

He agrees. I take the white plastic bag of books and leave.

1.7 we both dream

It’s getting complicated.

Is my colleague at the motel in the neighbouring country?

I am travelling along the highway, greenery, new roads into old filth of the city, 8 hours from homeland.

I sit in the yellow opiated room. On the bed where we once slept or are about to.

We are talking.

“We are both asleep…”

I am also talking to him, back at our shop of employment, 8 hours after the city.

“…we both dream of her but she chooses me.”

I think we are awake.
Or we could be inside the dream where he is asleep and I am talking to him.

I am not chosen to wake. My colleague is sitting in the store of our employer, remembering our conversation or the dream he had where we were both talking, in a bedroom, in a motel, in the city, 8 hours away.

The 8 hours seem so long ago but it is not. We are still living out the eight hours.

“…but she chooses me.”

The stores are closing down one by one. The shutters roll down with stock and furniture, cashiers, sales team, delivery persons inside and the lights go out and they disappear. Nothing left but wires and debris, yellow dirty sponge from aircon ducts, rusty bent nails, faded receipts, memories of people. The store is dreaming of its contents.

I did not wake but my colleague did and he is remembering our talk.

“Two of us dreamt of her.”

I’m telling the girl who chose me that different messages will be going out to different clusters of people. “Package the statement according to communication needs.” She reclines on a sofa. I see her handwritten memos go out in stacks, in groups, angled at different degrees, shooting forth from her chest like email.

It’s getting complicated.

The colleague can’t tell if he is remembering or dreaming or actually having a conversation with me. He’s either 8 hours out into the city or is spending 8 hours returning from it.

He finds himself in the store where we work. He is alone.

I am not with him.

1.6 we are close to understanding the boy

Let the boy in white scream in the convention hall
Let the high lights of halogen illuminate his hemp shirt and baggy trousers, to mimic contact with something foreign in the sky
Let the wire in his ear, the mic near his lips, be checked for loose connections
Electromagnetic waves from his cells might disrupt communication links

Let him create a significant wall of sound from his body

All the technicians, accounts execs, stage managers—
with radio headsets, blue tooth, cardio monitoring machines
wires, antennae — are moving around him, trying to manage the meltdown.

Keep him calm, ground his strange vibrations

Let the boys’ blood pump where it may

We will monitor, follow him wherever he wants to go

We know he won’t listen to us

He listens to white noise moving through his body, through the ear piece tuned to a channel only he can hear, through the undiagnosed cracks in his skull

We try to find the source code:

Track, map, pin—point on sonar, predict pulses with fractal technology, give it names or codes or graphs

Try to understand it.

In hotel rooms we discuss him, shuffling through reports, projections, theories, hypothesis

We are here, waiting for the right hours, the right mix of people in one room adjacent or opposite another room with another set of people. Numbers matter, different dimensions, configurations, chatter level, ages, hours spent exposed to pictures of the boy.

We are here waiting for the alignment to happen

– Radio-in on his whereabouts.
– Keep a safe distance.
– Report his movements consistently.

Hall, loading docks, conference rooms, rest rooms, sick bays
CCTV continuity is a must, watch the boy and the entourage assigned to him.

Check the staff for fevers, hallucinations, diseases. Stand by biohazard suits, counsellors, evac protocols.

Try to measure and understand the importance of his signal bouncing between nodal points within the superstructure of the convention center
Calculate, ask questions.

Who is his ombudsman?
What is the current temperature of the halls? Is it spiking? Dropping? Has anyone felt an usual surge or loss of appetite? Sleep? Fatigue?

Which of the women was he born to? 

We must understand his codified form of expression before we can speak the correct statement or phrase about him.

This is important.

We cannot make a statement if we are unsure of his status.

But we are close.

Very close

in the middle of this late night, in this hotel room, plugged into the convention center.

TV is switching channels, montage of adverts and documentaries, stock reports, unusual glitches, weather forecasts, scattering of unidentified broadcasts, images of the new found planet.

I think that’s the problem, beaming those photographs back. No one else agrees with me.

They are only interested in the boy.

There is beige light seizing the room, neon signs from a block away spilling its electric mass onto our walls, onto our beds and sofas.

We are close to manifesting full knowledge of the boy, to focus him into the room using the patterns of his prior articulations.

No more screaming but a clear statement. We do not know what to expect. We do not know the nature of his message.

We are very close.

Everyone is anxious.

1.5 the incident

It’s minutes to show time (in a world untouched by the sun.)
We are underground – air conditioned, top level liqueur in crystalline bottles line glass shelves pierced into mirrors-
We see our faces,

painted, powdered, hand drawn with black pencils (we swirl nameless beverages in the chalice)

A spoken word troupe will take the dark stage first-
Reading, acting, gesturing to tuxedos and perfumed necks of families from old money.

-I am to go up next but:
-I forget the words, once written by my hand
-I forget the entire story,
-beginning, middle, end, completely erased.

I tell the girl this, near the bar, near the other three or four performers she works with

I do not drink the whiskey circulating in crystal cups
Searching for the name of this basement bar, I come up blank. I do not recall being brought here, nor was I led.

I am here, written into context, in-situ, in spectacle.

We are going to perform in a few minutes, telling our stories. Clearly, I have forgotten mine.

She tries to help me recall. The lighting here, dim orange, dark wooden panels on the walls, no paintings, no smoking room, everyone well dressed, speaking in dignified voices, unhurried, softly.

We are going to perform our tales, in our dinner jackets, evening dresses, polished shoes.

The girl, she’s in blue, like all the other girls I meet from different times and places. She is the archetype. The girl in the blue dress. Always near me but never saying anything.

She tries to help me remember but nothing appears in my mind. She gives me a three-fold flyer for a spectacle i had appeared in previously. I believe i have re-found my work but when i open the document, I find my section blank.

No bio, no name of work, no conceptual synopsis, no transcript or excerpt.

I pace the length of this bar. An elite establishment. Gentlemanly, wealthy, jazzy, untouched by sunlight. This seems to be important. Other life grows in such a faux-lit place.

Spectres, moving images, wisps, a brief articulation of air, unseen breathing, an eco-system of ghosts, ectoplasmic thought..

I pace the length of the basement, drawn to other lights from other entrances

Entrancements.

A dual presence, then quadrupling.

There is a room. Lavatory, bathroom, white tiles polished shine, brand new. Is this is an extension of the establishment or an invasion?

There is a room. in its center, a circular pool of steaming water. There is a panic in the room. A rush of events.

I am at the mouth of this room but I am also running to this room from the length outside.(we are minutes away from performing, i see the girl in  the blue dress, the indian man in his editor jacket, other muses and young intellectuals)

 

I am running to the pool room. I must stop something from manifesting. Three quarters of it already happening, Seconds are depleting. I am at the mouth of the kill room, looking in.

There, one of three young adults is dying, body half submerged in the bubbling pool, his head mostly skinless, his skull, a creature I do not recognise from earth zoology. It is struggling, gruelling, pulling its convulsing body out of the broiling pool. I see oval eye sockets but no eyes. The water around the skull is steaming, like something solid dissolving into liquid state.

There is a second figure in the pool but I cannot understand its facade. A jumble of clothes or drapery, hanging on a humanoid formation. I cannot understand its face.

There is a third figure. The core reactor.

He poses outside the circular pool. Flexing muscular arms, ribs, angling his sinewy, steroidal legs. I see through his darkly browned chest. I sense the nuclear reaction inside me and know it’s mimicking the fission inside him.

I am yelling, yelling,“Shut down your energy! Shut down your energy!”

This is happening:

  • An otherworldly psychic manifestation is going awry.
  • Feeble human species toying with power drawn from unfamiliar planetary centrifuges.
  • Hadean, underworld voltage is hijacking and climbing the DNA structure

I am shielding my solar plexus with an invisible hand. I am blocking access to my body map. I am preventing fusion of my core with the rampant diasporic forces.

“Shut down your energy center!” I am deaf to him. His core star chakra is compromised.

I understand the egoism of the third man, the showing off, the daring pose, the excessive self worship

I remember the formula of my story. Not so much the narration or poetry, but the images. The film. The Influence. 

There is a stairwell.

Mass evacuation from a 25 storey apartment block, the firetrucks and disaster response teams, the neighbours streaming down anxiously as I ascend against the tide, against the noxious, nameless smell,.

The missing girl and the warning she had given.

The adversity of the painting hanging in the room…

 

1.4 from the fringe of Carni Mortis 

I remember chains on my feet, crouching in the dark of a cell hewn from rock, under the earth, far from the sun.
My hair and beard is a wild thing, untamed as I pray in my own filth.

A heap of hay is set on fire, so I know my captors want my strength again, to hammer steel into blades,shields, knives, arrowheads and other instruments of death.

I have become a slave to them, serving the ungodly king who lives above in gold and royal sunlight.

I am a prisoner but have no pain in my heart, no true loss of freedoms.

Sleeping in the dark, I disperse to other realms where I awake in the bodies of poets and shamans and gods from other times and places.

Only to be pulled back when the fire starts again and my hands are needed for wars.

—armour, axes, swords —

For years I live like this, but I do not die in this cavern.

It is on a full moon like tonight when I retreat into the dank darkness where my body and spirit disappears, displacing to live among dark matter that is dimly pierced by the farthest stars.

It is on a full moon like tonight when I come back, pulled from my house in oblivion after centuries, decades, days,seconds.

It is not the fire that pulls me back.

I am counting in seconds, eyes attuning to the blackest of basements. I somehow possess knowledge about an ancient prisoner.

How many years, since the war ended ? Am I a prisoner here as well? Was I complicit? I look and see no chains on my feet.

He is kept here to die,beneath the earth, in the cave that seem familiar.

I know I must go to him.

Was I to see to his body?

To take him into the darkness that claims me? To house him in the void that knows my name?

I sense no other people, air cold and abandoned, an unending cavern lit by distant fires.

I make my way, barefoot through the yawning space, sidestepping empty bullet shells and drying blood. No smell of gunpowder, echoes of those final gun shots long ago gone into wet walls.

In the distance I see the death slab he is chained to. I am expecting to find him dead, having died in sleep, body shrivelled from disuse, skin and bones and clumps of hair fallen unto timeless stone.

But when I reach his side, I find him struggling to breathe, coughing, a raw skeleton loosely covered by fragile paper thin skin, wrinkled and crushed by the weight of time.

I then understand the man from the west is also here. A bearded gunman with long blond hair, unchaining the dying prisoner of war.

I ask without saying, ‘who is he?’ then scrawl the answer on paper, in blue ink, the name Axiiom. The double ‘I’ is specific to me. Somehow, this is important.

I understand without knowing he is fighting for Axiiom, that I am following through, the second wave, and that the allies had lost the war.

The iron mask the prisoner had on is removed.

Loose, dirty plastic tape clings to his shrunken cheeks.

Weakly, he points to a window in the far wall, tattered, dark blue curtains bloating in slow motion, a stale wind circulating like thick blood.

“Open…” he says, the sound like a dying creature. I go the window and find it already open. Outside is eternal night, black and starless.

He will not die in a place like this, like how I do not die in that cave.

His voice is becoming more alive.

“I dreamt of walking the grounds of my castle,”

I share in the vision of his dreaming, seeing the walls of his high court, the fireless dearth, massive oblong blocks, stacked and structured.

He says, “In my Fathers house, there are a thousand doors….”

He is visibly becoming younger, fat and meat filling out around his bones, flesh, losing translucence, color returning, wrinkles vanishing, voice growing louder with youth.

“I dream of walking the grounds of my castle.”

I know he is both far yet close.

A fire burns in the dearth of his castle.

His castle revives him.

He reaches the prime of adulthood, sits up and gets off his death slab. I dress him, in a ripped dark green robe made from scales of a dead dragon, surface shimmering, despite the Aging of time.

No more is he dying.

His castle remakes him.

We leave his tomb together.

We walk through thin air, the cavern better lit by the invention of electric light. There is an arch like opening in the wall. It is near here where I lose sight of him.

Approaching the gaping maw, I look in and find two Viking like warrior women rising from sleep. Their breasts are robust and European. It is the female room of sleep and I am considered an intruder.
Turning away, I find the others.

Transvestites, seven feet tall, dressed in tight straps of gothic leather, red hair high like totems on their chiselled heads. Black tattoos of cults and horrors stand out against porcelain white skin. Their fingers and nails, elongated, foreign and painted. Their bodies, taut and stretched, alien and anorexic, bent and posed and painted for me.

“I know a friend who will love your work,” I say, to the tallest and the oldest of the suicide ones. She just smiles at me, not saying a thing.

I then see the cameraman.

The tall dark stranger, the one who was not caught, approaching me. He shows me a pair of tickets to a 4 pm film called WANTED. The profile shot of the man from the west is on the poster. Blonde, long hair, unkept beard, face well burnt by the face of the sun (the type of fire and not of halogen.)
I calculate the timing, and find we can catch the carnival as it begins at 7a.m
The carnival has taken over the cavern.
The allies have lost.
Old prisoners are set free.

I am just passing through once more (for this cavern will always know my name.)
I don’t  know where the ancient (now, young) prisoner has gone, but I believe I will not see him again.

1.3 the hospital

I don’t know how many girls made it out.

The nurse at the counter tells me to fill in the ‘crash report.’

Everything is white, bleeding into each other —the nurses station, uniforms, swinging doors, walls and ceiling and memory, even the car ramming into large cubical objects, the remains of engine parts,oil and glass— everything is a singular white blur, like a sun of halogen instead of fire.

Had the doctors checked me? My head?
No.
I doubt I was involved in anything. (I doubt I am complicit.) I couldn’t even say if the girls were in the car.

I’m outside the I.C.U.
Isn’t that severe enough? How many of them are in there?

Hospital staff won’t let me in.
(A line cannot be crossed.)
I watch the door swing open and I steal a glance. There’s only a white wall with a white painting of a girl on a bed. I watch the door swing shut.

“I’m their father,” I lied.

“I’m sorry sir, your I.D cannot be verified,” they know.

I feel the cctv studying me so I stare back at it. He must be watching the feed. I want him to know that I know, that I’m expecting videos with names, height, weight, age, condition.

The doctors won’t tell me a thing.

I leave before other authorities arrive.

How many girls made it out of camerama?