Don’t Be Late

A message comes through from the kid,
says his day was tough, his mind is troubled,
there’s no fairness, there’s no light
His pain is unbridled, his fate seems treacherous.

I tell the kid, meet me he knows where,
15 minutes from now and don’t be late.
I see him under the beating sun, sweating, he’s not late.
His face troubled, his soul too troubled is Rayu.

Now oblivion washes over young Rayu,
oblivion and catered distractions, and the best of reliefs.
Now he stares into distant spaces and uncaring universes,
His troubles for now pushed out to the distant corners of perception.

Rayu comes calling again, soul hurting, mind throbbing,
from imagined and real hurting, from vicious agents of the universe seeking to deliver hurt.
Meet me you know where, I tell him, and don’t be late.
Now he is under a bright moon, sweating still, awaiting deliverance.

19 years old, young Rayu pays me to keep his devil at bay.
He meets me he knows where and is never late,
He meets me now, sweat met with water under bleeding cloud,
He pays me to keep tomorrow a day distant.

Now it’s many moons later, and Rayu is no more
He’s not of this world anymore, but the sun beats down on the rest of us.
Too bad, young Rayu never saw the light, never sought it, never felt it.
Today it rains, it pours, it suns, it hurts, just like every other day.

Someone should have told the kid, it’s the same thing day after day after day,
and there’s no day after this.
Someone comes calling, and it’s not an old Rayu, it’s a young someone else,
And I tell him, meet me you know where, and don’t be late.

Abul Mogard, Terrence Malick & The Quest for Final Meaning

First mistake a sentient searcher makes, by default: He searches.

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There is a certain kind of listener, reader, artist and creator that searches frantically and clings desperately to a certain kind of music, prose, work of art that defies definition, labels, genres and any sort of conventional description. As such, I think it’s safe to assume that both parties described above: the creator of such arts and the consumer, are a minority, and will remain a minority as long as creation exists. This is because if such a work of art should become the subject of mass consumption, than the mass consumers WILL define it, no matter how incorrectly, they will label it, characterize it, strip it down and haul it up on a podium, and stare it while taking notes and arguing with each other about what it stands for. And once this happens, the work of art has lost what it once had in all the noise; Meaning, because it was defined, redefined and corrupted. The collective intellectual bile of society is smeared on that which was previously untouched for the most part.

Nevertheless there will be a new creator, who will write a new song, a new story, a new cinema; and there’s a good chance it will not be found by those who are eager to name everything and everything that comes after.

If you were to search for Abul Mogard you will find no pictures of him, no interviews, no videos and no social media. He is a ghost, and the music he makes has to speak for itself. Supposedly a former factory worker from Serbia, Abul missed the “the clunk, clatter and rhythm” of the factory sounds and so began making music to replace it. There is a good chance that this story is a hoax, a fiction, possibly weaved by the man himself. When he plays live all you see is a silhouette, hidden behind smoke, appearing quite literally like a ghost. I suspect his name is made up too, but none of it matters.

The sounds that permeate from the speakers when you play him are landscapes, horizons that seem to rise and fall. Put on an album and after a few songs you’d be hard pressed to remember the previous track; they are not indistinct, just connected. One gets the sense of worlds collapsing, matter reacting against matter, things being born and dying, time speeding up and slowing down at the same time, pulsating. You are forced to listen, truly listen, and watch. Because you can listen to it a hundred times but you will never be able to tell what comes next because there is no “next” because the music does not go anywhere, it has no proper beginning or end and for all you know it has been playing long before you hit ‘Play’ and it will play long after the album has come to an end.

Abul Mogard Live

‘Burial’ the British electronic musician has probably influenced Abul Mogard. They both make experimental electronica that has defied genres, they are both notoriously reclusive, though Burial’s rise to fame has forced him to somewhat l;et go of his underground stakes thanks to his groundbreaking 2007 album ‘Untrue’ which critics have called “the most important electronic album of the century so far”.
15 years later Burial is more popular than ever but is still not someone the average club going crowd would be aware of. And that is just fine, with both the fans who cherish his obscurity and seem strangely protective of it, and the man himself who seems to be content with the lack of maniacal fanatics.

Burial

“There’s a beauty to them, that makes me ugly” reflects a character in Terrance Malicks’ Song to Song as he watches the woman he (maybe) is in love with and his (maybe) friend laugh together in the distance.

If you were to string together Malick’s later movies (Tree of Life, To the Wonder, Knight of Cups, Song to Song & A Hidden Life, The New World) you just might not be able to tell one apart from another, even though they are all different stories and even set in different eras, in different countries. These stories lack a plot or a theme in the conventional sense, there are no overbearing arches, no build ups, no linearity even. The characters are searching, reflecting, in pain that persists and in joy that fades away. We jump from different points in the lives of the people we see on the screen, some are even never on screen, but are a memory that everyone else is trying to make sense of. A brother kills himself, a son dies in war, a woman hurts the man she loves, a man refuses to pledge allegiance to the Nazis, a dinosaur dies, a river dries up, a star collapses unto itself, a patriarch regrets being a father that he thought his son needed, a man walks rooftops and deserts seemingly looking for meaning, literally. They are all connected, all part of the same story, THE story.

Malick’s movies will never be a blockbuster hit, most people will never see his cinema, and yet by any reasonable person’s judgement it will become apparent that he is a true artist, if not a great one. Alan watts said that the most important thing, “God”, the one message, enlightenment, the one true meaning, cannot be expressed, or written or verbalized because expression inherently excludes everything else in order to express one singular thing. What a good guru, or zen master or a spiritual guide can do is push and prod and trick a student into the light using various methods, which one is used does not matter, as long as you arrive. Weather Malcik is aware of this or not is irrelevant, that fact that his works seem to be seeking this light is in itself a victory, because it acknowledges “it” simply by searching for it.

“It”

There is no final meaning. We must unfortunately resort to cliches at this point: It’s a process, meaning is everywhere, all is it, it is all, Everything is permitted, Up is down, down is up – Shut the fuck up and eat your veggies.


Hossana

A violent sunset, bloody red.
Red her lips, her eyes, her heart.
Blood the color of our love,
blood on the sheets.

She’s everything I’m not;
beautiful, full of grace, strong.
I cower and shake shamelessly,
while she screams at the wolves.

Raped, brutalized, violated, she loves.
Unhurt, I hide.
She has eyes that will shame a saint
“Come on babe, take a chance with us”.

She’s terrible at everything but loving,
insane and beautiful and cruel.
This is not love,
it’s just beautiful.

Arriving Somewhere, but Not Here

Liminal mind spaces
Thread bare memories of forgotten faces.
Distant smells from distant landscapes
Fading dreams, lands, continents, planets and eons.

Timeless, nothing.
Skin wrinkling, bones creaking, eyes fading.
Dust to dust, to further dust.
Memories are for the living, the dead rest without prejudice.

Someone is drawing a self portrait right now and the world will never be the same.

Quarter

25 and pretending;
To be a man, normal, doing normal things.
Smile and shake hands, cough and excuse myself.
Hug and look at faces while they speak.
25 and terrified.

Can they tell? On metros, sidewalks, in restaurants,
In the traffic as we idle next to each other,
that I’m faking? Lying, pretending….not really believing,
in anything, truly. I almost feel ashamed.

Half way out the door, barely here.
Counting down long quite afternoons alone in a room.
Sweat out of my pores, smoke out of my lips.
Waiting for a brief moment of authenticity,
to make all this worth the pain and the heartburn.

25 and trying not to fade away,
into distant memories of half lived lives.
Staring into ceilings, embers, city lights, grey clouds,
Into the eyes of a woman bound to leave,
Looking for a reason to stop pretending.

Funeral Canticle

I want it easy, and that’s not poetic.
No tribulations, no trials and no heartbreaks.
I just want to pass through, easy,
like a very watery shit.

I guess I want to go gentle into that good night.
All you tough boys and your machismo,
make me want to dig a hole and nap in it,
And wake up right before I die, to smoke a last cigarette.

I want it easy, and that is not poetic.
But it is.
It would be easy, so what?
Easy days and easier nights, easy living, easy being.
One can dream, one can dream and write.

Damn the poetry, the bravado, the romance,
the romance of dreamers and writers and degenerates.
Will to power, will to be.
More like need to will.

Men wanting power, money and other things other men want.
Ambitious men, political men, men of the world.
Do this, do that, and play games with other men,
till you’re too old to play worldly games.
I’ll pass. And take it easy, easy, easy…as long as I can.

Atrophy.

She’s screaming into your face with tears streaming down her eyes but you’re not really hearing what she says. You watch her face, red and ugly from emotion, veins popping out, mascara trails that reach her jawline. The more emotional they get, the colder you get, she’s gone too far away from any reasonable place of communication. All that’s left is frenzy.

They’re all the same, really, they are. They don’t get half as emotional with a woman as they do with a man. Is it something about us? Something about natural union that brings up things that usually aren’t there? Or is it a simple deception? I don’t care.

She’s done crying now, she won’t speak anymore. She won’t leave either, she wants you to know she’s in pain, indeed, she probably thinks it’s your fault, whats more, it probably is.

You’re reckless, selfish…emotionally handicapped. No woman would want to be with a man who mistakes dopamine for love, you know this, you tell them this, they rarely take your word for it. Most of them think they can heal you, most of them are foolish and superficial. I suspect they don’t really believe me when I tell them they’ll get hurt or when I tell them I’m cold, until it’s too late. “You don’t want love, you want a love experience.” Indeed.

You have what a woman needs superficially, charm, a spontaneous heart, and a sense of humor to make up for the lack of any real empathy, making a brutal deception possible. It always ends the same way, they realize and accuse, you accept and leave. Sometimes they cry, and they look at you through their tears and you know what they’re thinking, you can see it in there: disbelief. They didn’t clock you for a world class asshole. A world class HONEST asshole, I insist.

They want to be loved, unconditionally, till they stop loving you. Sometimes they want you to love them even when they don’t anymore, the whores. They want to be loved right till the end, I would oblige if I could, but I really can’t. How long do you think it’s going to take to get to know her? A month? Six months? An year? Usually a lot less, and after that there’s nothing, no surprises, no secrets to uncover, no great feminine wisdom to behold, and yet they want to be loved. Ask them why and they’ll tell you it’s because they love you.

I don’t care, let them cry, they’re all the same, lying, skin deep, simple minded and pretentious. They’re incapable of caring for anything that’s beyond the immediate, a boon some might say, spare me, for I’d rather be consumed by the universe than be satisfied in a bubble of mental stagnancy. In their hearts, I suspect they know themselves all too well and they remain unashamed, unlike me, I have to find myself everyday and not everything I uncover sits right with me.

I don’t care about them, I don’t care about me either, goddamn us both. I’m tired of the games I’m expected to play, the tests they puts me through, all the chemicals amok. I’m done, forget it, I’ll let them be from now on, I don’t need a companion, I need some help. So much for the love of a woman.

Notes from a dying youth.

Tell me something I don’t know, she said. I looked at her and in that moment I knew I loved her. I didn’t love her as a lover would, though we were lovers by then I suppose. No, I loved her as she is, and I wouldn’t have loved her if she was even a little bit different. I loved her because she deserved my love.

Young men have no business writing about the world or even about love; they haven’t seen enough of either.But I suppose they can write about the spaces between love and the world, where anything is possible and everything is a revelation.

Young men also have no business feeling melancholy, it is unnatural. In most cases it is a simple pretension, the young long for the woes of the weathered, but every once in a while a man is born with an inherent sadness, a darkness. And they take it to their graves which come too early to these misfits. Darkness chooses wisely, and leaves too many traces behind.

Love, harshly.

They stared at each other, her on edge of the bed with eyes swollen red, him standing at the door, eyes hidden behind black shades. Cigarette smoke drifts up in fantastic shapes from around her fingers, the ash trailing long, the ashtray on the bed, full of butts, most had her lipstick at the end of them. On her other hand was a stick of plastic with two dots on it. The dots said she was pregnant, and they said it simply, just like the previous one had. The previous one was in the dust bin, with the same number of dots on it.

She asks him what he wanted to do about it. He says, get rid of it. It’s the rational thing to do. They were young, he says, she was young, they were just starting out, barely. It was the right thing to do, he says. She cringes at that. Her eyes are brown behind the film of tears, she blinks, they trickle down. She stares into his tinted sunglasses. I don’t know what I want, she tells him. He tells her it’s biology. Mothers are designed to feel protective of their offspring, even at the cost of self sacrifice, especially at the price of self sacrifice. It feels natural, like it’s the right thing to do. But it isn’t, he tells her.

He goes and sits next to her on the bed, she edges away momentarily, realizes she’s done it and moves back. He doesn’t seem to notice behind the glasses. She stares at him as he lights his own cigarette. They sit like that as the smoke rises around them in the tiny bedroom. Outside the only window of the room, the evening birds chirp and chatter, a distant child’s scream is heard, her voice giddy, and beyond that one could hear traffic. How real the world is, she thinks. She lies down on the bed, her head away from him and towards the window, and listens for more.

He turns his head to look at her, how tired she looks he thinks. But she also looked at peace, the strain around her eyes and the stress on her face disappeared. She had the look of one who was recalling memories of a distant past. He reaches out to touch her leg, she senses it and pulls it away and her face goes back to show the pain. She closes her eyes and her breathing eventually becomes a consistent rise and fall. He puts out his cigarette, goes to the window, opens it and lights one more. Golden light filters in, the kind that only shows up in summers. He suddenly thinks of the last summer of high school, some five years ago. How did things change so much in such short time he wonders. He watches the golden light slowly become orange and then red and then fade into a melancholy grey. She sleeps on behind him.

 

 

She wakes up to a dark room and the pain comes back with her, clutching at her chest like vines. The window is lit with yellow street light that does not penetrate it, the man is no where to be seen. She sits up and stares at the window before putting her feet on the cold floor and walking to it. Outside there is nothing but the street light spewing yellow, and the darkness surrounding it. A tear trickles out of her eye, down her pale cheeks, her jaw, before falling down on the window sill, reflecting back the faint light.
They sit next to each other on the bus, her head resting against the window, eyes staring out into the fields that are zipping by without actually looking at them, him next to her, eyes shaded, jaw clenched and shoulders that won’t relax. She looks at his reflection in the glass window, the man she loved. Loves? He’d asked her if she wanted anything before boarding the bus, water? Food? Candy? She said no. He got a bottle of water and bar of chocolate and slipped them into his bag. She felt repulsion and overwhelming love at the same time. She wanted to turn, grab his arm and put it around her neck and rest on his shoulders. He’d turn his head and smell her hair. They’d entwine their fingers and he would start tracing the tiny scar on her index finger, over and over again, the scar from her childhood when she accidentally shut the door over her hand. She tried to hold the tears back, she was tired of them.

He felt her eyes staring at him from the reflection on the window. He always knew when she was looking at him, he fancied he even knew when she was thinking about him. He was all to aware of the gap between them, of her leaning away from him, trying to get away. He wanted to touch her, but he knew she wouldn’t let him, he wanted to touch her anyway. Grab her and not let her go, even if she’s kicking and screaming, hold her head against his chest as she cries. He wanted to make love to her, make love to her and keep the pain away. He wanted to heal her.
He caught a whiff of her hair and breathed in deeply and held it.

It was a 3 hour ride to the city, to the clinic, neither of them spoke a single word to each other the entire way.

The city roared with sounds, smells and sights. They made their way to the clinic, dodging traffic and walkers alike. When they had to cross a busy road he’d switch sides and put himself towards the on coming traffic, then he’d switch sides again on the divider, always keeping her on the far end of the approaching traffic. She wanted to hold him then, hold him and tell him she loved him like she used to before this whole thing. She’d hold him and tackle him down on the bed, hold his head and feel his breath on her breasts as he fell asleep. Then she thought about the little piece of life in her belly, his and her life, combined and made into one and headed to the slaughter house and the hatred came back. Hatred that threatened to consume everything in it’s path. She imagined him going under the wheels of an oncoming truck. Blood, brains and bone on the black tar road under the burning heat of the march sun.

She realizes with horror what she just witnessed in her head and starts shaking. Fear replaces hatred replaces self loathing. She’s shaking now, he sees and puts his hand around her, she jerks away, he turns and resumes walking, eyes shaded, and shoulders straight.

He waits for her in the lounge of the clinic as she walks in with an attendant. Behind his sunglasses he studies those around him. Young men, old men young women, old women, all the same, here to resolve a declared problem, declared by whom? doesn’t matter, he thinks. The walls are covered with posters and images of contraceptives and condoms, and information on how to use them. Some were about family planning, most seemed to prefer prevention rather than responsibility. He closes his eyes.

She wakes him up with a nudge. The first thing he sees are her bloodshot eyes, she’d cried a lot. Then he registered the blank look on her face, the painkiller, he presumed. They made their way back through the congested roads and the traffic to the bus depot, and from there the receding city, the growing fields and occasionally the ocean on their left. He’d asked her if she was hurting, she’d said no. he asked her if she wanted to eat something, she’d said no. She stared straight ahead or out of the window, but never at him.

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The bus pulled in to their stop and they get out and start walking to her apartment in silence. When they reach it she turns to him and looks into his tinted sunglasses and tells him she doesn’t want to see him anymore. She tells him not to call her or even talk to her if they should run into each other. She does this simply, with no hatred or sadness or any other emotion. She also says bye. He nods his head once, the sunglasses slip a little and he pushes them back. Then she turns and walks away, leaving him alone on the street. He watches her shut the door behind her before turning and walking away.

He reaches his own apartment and walks up the stairs, his back straight, shoulders stiff, head held up high. He walks up the 5 stories to his flat, and takes his shoes off before stepping inside and closing the door behind him.

Inside he’s sitting on a chair, his sunglasses resting on the floor, his hands over his eyes and head, shoulders slumped and shaking gently, the yellow evening light from a window falling over his head, like some ironical halo.

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