The Factory

I was at home with my mother and sister talking about a radio interview. My granny called the house and left a phone message and it upset me because she was talking about her sister's death and she sounded so sad. Her situation saddened me, all of her friends and her husband and her sisters all dead. So I got up from the breakfast table without a word and left the house.

 
I went to university and skipped out of my psychology class to wander around the great building, right up to the roof where there was a gathering of people. Some of them were sitting right at the edge. A policeman told people to come back from the edge, walking so close to it that I was terrified. I had a bag full of my things - books, notes, clothes, a computer. Two of them were making fun of me and my hair and the way I dressed. Making fun of my self-image, as if I was vain and at the same time ridiculous-looking. I realized that I wanted to go back to university and that I had enough points - 79 - to do so. I could go to a foreign university to do women's studies and it would make me happy.
 
I went back through the university arts building to go home. On the way I met my girlfriend, who I had been forgetting to call or text (we had only just got together). This is something I used to do when I was a teenager, simply forget to call a girl I was supposed to be seeing. I made a mental note to call her. It was dark when I was leaving university and I had to walk back through a bad neighbourhood. A gang of young men - boys really - starting talking about the bags I was carrying, and started following me. I was just getting ready to run when a woman found me. She was older and very calm and she knew me, and the boys respected her and went away. She brought me to her house and said she would call me a taxi to take me home.
 
She started to read to me from a great thick paperback book she had, full of her own notes - not the Bible, it was called "The Factory" and talked about God as the Factor, the Maker. She asked me to look at a picture of the sea with the sun hanging over it, a great fiery orange ball. It left a flaming reflection on the water. Then all of a sudden it plunged beneath the water, surprising me and making me feel very emotional. Then several suns followed it underwater as if attached by a string. I felt happy and as if I was about to cry.
 
The woman seemed satisfied by my reaction and closed the book and went to call a taxi for me. I wanted to take the book with me but I realized that I couldn't because it was hers. I went into her kitchen and there was a phone message from my mother, who had been worried about me because I left so suddenly. She thought it must be because something she said made me angry. I said no, I was sad about granny. There was a message from my granny too. She was still talking about her dead sister, the funeral arrangements, the end of things. I wanted to cry again, and I wanted to tell her about my decision to leave and go back to university, and about the book that the old woman had shown me.

Satya Yuga, The Golden Age

 

It would be easy for there to be Utopia on Earth. So easy, in fact, that it must already have happened at one time in our history; maybe more than once.
 
What is Utopia? It's not a single state of affairs, or a single arrangement. It's not a perfect city or perfect set of laws. It is a mindset based on a realization.
 
The realization is that the awareness behind our eyes and behind our minds is not a different awareness for each of us; there are not seven billion awarenesses; there is One. And nothing is impossible for that One.
 
In this mindset, everyone on Earth would be working towards the benefit of everyone else on Earth. Everyone would be helping everyone else to be happy.
 
In such a mindset, such a collective state of being, what would not be possible for humans, and all life on Earth?
 
With co-operation, global planning, mutual help and above all collective happiness, we would mine the planetary bodies, populate the stars, and there would be no boundaries for us anywhere.
 
The basis of our current progress is competition, and it has brought us a long way, but it has reached its limits. Competition requires voluntary fragmentation; we divide ourselves into many parts and peoples in order to strive against each other and use that stress, that competition for resources and happiness, to achieve. We define resources as limited, and compete to acquire more and do better things with them.
 
In a closed system such as the Earth, this strategy eventually fails, and a collapse of population must occur as the ecosystem loses its coherence and competition in the global organism ceases to achieve progress; rather, like cancer, it attacks its own components and begins to destroy itself until a new equilibrium can be reached.
 
An analysis of this problem leads inevitably to two conclusions. 
 
First, it is a profound mistake to treat Earth as a closed system. It has never been a closed system. Charged particles from the sun pour constantly into our atmosphere. Sunlight feeds life on Earth and drives our weather. Meteorite bombardment and supernovae gave us our minerals and our water. Now that we have achieved spaceflight, the system is even more open - we can transact voluntarily with the surrounding solar environment. We can mine asteroids, colonize other planetoids, and send long-term expeditions out of the solar system to seek other stars. A man-made object, the Voyager 1 probe, has almost left the solar system, 18 billion miles away. It's still sending back data. Earth is not a closed system. We are ready to seed the galaxy with whatever we choose to become.
 
Second, now that we have expanded to fill all of the inhabitable areas of the Earth, the competition model is no longer appropriate; the imaginary components into which we have divided ourselves should be dissolved and a collective identity established that allows collective action. Saying "we have to work together" does not go far enough. The truth is, we have to be one. Not together; single. One.
 
A unified collective exploring an open system would lead to a burst of progress comparable to the explosion that saw the first humans emerge from tribal wandering in Africa to populate the entire globe. Who knows what happened at that point in history? There was no history, no writing, because it hadn't been invented yet. Cities were built and then drowned in the deluge at the end of the last Ice Age, their ruins now sunken off the coasts of Japan, Pakistan, and other areas where even to this day the native people retain memories in the form of stories of the sea rising up to swallow them. We had ships and temples, laws and songs, and all those things had to be invented, created and collaborated on by human beings in a vast, effectively open world. Was there Utopia then? All it would have been is a mindset. A people, apparently alone in a vastness, their brains humming with ideas and plans, slowly structuring a wilderness, slowly forming an identity. The People. Almost every tribe in the world, before they encountered others, called themselves some version of The People. As it was once, so it could be again. The People and the Open Sky.
 
It would be easy. A change of mindset, the ghostliest and least substantial thing in the world, an idea. A simple idea, that we are The People and our world is both here and Out There, that our domain is infinite space and our plans do not have to be constrained. A simple idea, that all of us want to be happy and all of us would enjoy working together in happiness to achieve something that life must achieve; explosion into the stars.
 
Would it be easy, really? As anyone who has tried it knows, the hardest thing to change, insubstantial as it may be, is a mindset. The hardest, and yet the easiest, because although a man or woman might struggle for decades to be happy, to love others, and to change destructive habits, when the change comes it can be over in an instant. A new light in the eyes, the mind empties, and something clicks, and although the person is atom for atom the same being that was standing in that space only a moment before, everything is different. A new universe of possibility has been created by the change of a mindset; like the passing of a ghost.
 
As it is for one person, it could be for The People. An idea that blows through billions of minds like a breeze; that we are One.
 
That the awareness behind our eyes and behind our minds is not a different awareness for each of us; there are not seven billion awarenesses; there is One. And nothing is impossible for that One.
 
It could happen so easily. It could happen tomorrow.

Rain Thoughts

feather raindrop river

A day of persistent rain, soft and smothery, comfort-cool,
music-box bells and windchimes, a stopped clock,
second hand paused eternally, twitching,
unable to cross over into the future or even to leave the past.

On the way to buy dinner we see rivers twitching down the gutters
leaves carried, leaves clogging, left alone leaves rotting
down and dark into red green depths and drunk into death
and we're talking so softly about joy as the light leaks out
and twilight sets in and street lights glow dull and all that rain
shifts out of focus and turns invisible and spiritual
and almost wholly immaterial, and what's left to discuss is the unreal,
the ethereal, what is promised to us, what we have to trust in -
the return of the fallen leaves on the other side of the cold -
the return of the water from the depths of the world -
even our own return from the end of the road -
because sometimes the journey never ends, some time soon there will be no return
from a sudden darkness.

Sahasrara

At 5am the attic door becomes a waterfall
of cloud-pallor and silver-grey and electricity
flooding me - impossible to think - air full of bells -
and ripples and vacuum and hysteria -

The children wander their unknown dreamworlds
their hands birdlike, warm and light and urgent
as all that brightening pushes its way in
and my skin tautens - I am a kiln - I am a cathedral -

I pray in myself, rats hunt in my cellar,
light presses into me from on high -
with closed eyes I am an infinite space
of many bodies, a mind of mirrors and glass.

My eyes sting, I have to sleep -
but it's worth it to be renewed
at the altar of early morning
and the funeral of the long night.

The Wrong Girl

Bare knees and need on dark wet grass,
our pasts are killing the wrong girl and me -
desperate drunken kisses in our Eden,
we are the bodies in the bed of the garden.

Tongues and voices and unvoiced promises
and need and lust and just a little fondness
and lonely and chanting and prone and wrecked
and terrified, exalted and momentarily perfect -

I strained to hear that hidden choir,
dead-language words about mind and time,
dead futures passed over and left unseen -
the wrong girl and the lost dream, and me.

Little Wooden Bull

I found a wooden bull in my granny's house during a party in which we were all there, at least all of my mother's side of the family. I brought it into the front room and it suddenly turned into a large and powerful real bull. I was afraid it was going to run wild and destroy the house, so I grabbed it by the horns and wrestled it to the ground, but I knew that the bull wouldn't stay passive for long and that we'd all be in danger when it rose up again, so I started asking my family what should be done with it, and who was going to take responsibility for it, since they had been keeping it in their house. No one was interested and no one wanted to do anything about the bull, so I decided I had no choice but to take charge of it myself. It had changed back to wood in the meantime, so accompanied by my mother I carried it up the road to St. Enda's Park, where we released it.

Straight away it came to life and started rampaging around the park, smashing through trees and fences. Other animals began to pour from its flanks and come to life themselves: a wolf, a tiger, a kangaroo, a dog, a rabbit, and more. We were glad that the bull was contained in the park now, but I was worried about unsuspecting people who might go into the park and be in danger. There was nothing we could do about that; people would just have to be careful.

As we turned to leave, the bull came back into view, charged into a thicket of oaks and reared up on it's hind legs. It was thirteen feet tall and its head was huge and horned like that of a bison. It looked straight at me, calmly and with immense power and authority, and I thought it looked like a god.

Whirlpool

we're in this house,
and the rain and the car sounds
and every day hollowed out by

snowdrops, finally, I thought
sad when the woods grow dark
I thought they would never

and in this house we drift
and there's bath time and silent
my son watches the spiralling water

and he smiles and his eyes are
so bright and I forget to disconnect
and I forget that I hate endings

and we're together in time,
just in time for the last spiral
and we watch the water disappear

every day hollowed out by
what we do and do not see, by
what is both there and not there

by that 
spiralling 
moment of love

The Silver City and the Silent Sea

In a bright house high above the sea
my family in the clouds and me -
blessed mothers, ragged sundresses,
the forgotten sister, scared of caresses,

older ones with electroshocked eyes
and shocked white hair, weeping eyelids
and blackened skin, rumbling voices
and stories of two world wars

and we ran over evening-wet grass
throwing frisbees and dodging water pistols
and bumblebees, hornets, kisses,
catered quiche and mixed salads,

table tennis and babies and and and -
that long gravel path, that short fall
from the highest of those pretty clouds
down to the dark cobalt sea.

I remember, once, parties with children
in older decades, with younger elders,
and now those children are grown and making
babies and mistakes, doing drugs and doing well,

seeing other continents, styling their hair,
every new face collapsing into new lines
and all our eyes glinting with mischief
and sadness / glory / defeat / peace -

and oh Lord, how we sang in our agony
when once we knew that we must die -
and how we tore at our clothes, our hair,
how we searched for you everywhere and nowhere -

how we lost you in those cold churches,
those marble halls and motionless hands
those secret symbols and foreign words
and how we discovered other worlds

and slowly we let each other go,
so fathers and sons apart do grow,
and mothers and daughters sweetly fight
for their image of love on lonely nights -

and Lord, in your wisdom you let us slip away
our blood thins and our skin wrinkles
like fruit discarded after the party
and like clockwork mice we run down -

our circles grow smaller and our voices weaken
until we only eat peas, and read the same books
over and over - we accept everything -
we stagger through time until it takes us -

and watch our new forms dance on evening-wet grass -
children and grandchildren, world without end, amen -
without even a promise, or a dream of a promise
of finding ourselves in those perfect white clouds,

or that silver city, that perfect house
on a hill overlooking a perfect bay,
long gravel paths coolly beckoning
down to that dark cobalt sea.
 

Colder On The Inside

++

I was sitting alone and the house was cold
and it began to rain,
darkening to twilight in minutes,
freezing brushstrokes on the glass.
An office full of papers no longer readable
and a broken amethyst windchime
drained of colour years ago.

+=

The rain turned into sleet and snow
and there were phonecalls in the dark
— Will you make it home all right?
— Do you need anything?
In silence again, tiny blue figures seen
descending from the valley treeline,
all raincoats and walking sticks and boots,
caught out by the storm.

+=

On the clear days, fighter jets scream overhead.
In the spring, rich ancient woods fill up with bluebells.
Now that everything's dead, we who are left behind
must deal with noonday eclipses,
freezing slushy mounds of rotting leaves,
and stark stunning starfields
glimpsed at night between streetlight auras.

+=

I have a son who screams at night,
for no reason but the horrors of empty space —
ice-clouds engulfing the car on the way home,
as strapped into his car seat he watches the road
and the river recede through the rear window.
No reason but cold bedrooms and a sore stomach,
the clinging silence of clothes and books,
the terror of being in such a body.

+=

I'm waiting at the window
for some kind of reason or warning —
something in the rain, before it ends,
to let me know at last
where all of this is going.

==

Secret Green And Glowing Things

I used to have secrets - things that lurked under bridges in my mind. My sister spoke with spirits under a willow tree near our gate and grew up to have demon dreams. Imps squatting on her chest breathing out her life, and when she woke up the daylight was already seeping out of the sky. My secrets were about pale skin and sadness. hers were about doors to other worlds - worlds or perspectives, no difference. We had a secret, doors and gardens and cold rooms on holiday. We could have gone a whole lifetime without remembering it, and that would have been a different lifetime, a different world, a different perspective. Universes that will never exist.

Carl built stone villages when he lost his mind, and slowly he found it again, and came to the centre, the vortex, the centrifuge that purified him and made him certain. He wrote later on that to him the world was like a maze of transparent walls that he looked through to see other minds and the universes they would create. He reached into those minds and spoke with them and tried to heal them. New perspectives, new universes. He was never fearless, but he walked the labyrinth to the centre anyway. Those paintings and drawings of circles and whirlpools, so many of them, too many for sanity, too many for anyone but a healer who had given up everything except purpose.

Sister, mother, father: my world. Like a knife dance in an amphitheatre made of hills and fields and broken stone seats - and we spin, we cut each other, we play out the choreography as we were taught. Glowing things in our arteries and our minds, painting trails in the night-time as we circle each other. Flickers of moss and grass and needles on the edge of vision, radiant green splinters. We dance but we don't speak - if we spoke we would spill everything out. Blood, sound, secrets. We prefer to dance. The knives flicker closer, closer, closer. Glowing cancerous and free.

Draw a circle between you and I and there is something that will always be secret - I have nothing left to offer. Everything emptied out into past and future - a past full of memories I lovingly keep alive, a future full of new life, the only thing I had to offer. And so on, and so on, moths circling a lamp, comets falling in love with the sun, you can make the rest up yourself. Electromagnetic secrets rippling emerald in a solar camera, glowing and burned-out a million miles from where you are. Where I am, where you are - bits of information smeared over a soul like iron filings lining up around magnetic field lines. I had a sister who saw secret things, I had parents who blinded themselves, and I myself wished only to be clear and empty, clear and empty, without secrets, only walking in my mind out over that radiant field, green grass stretching out in a circle to every hidden horizon.