What thing is this?
It is an honour–
And yet I wonder…
From this place to another roam,
And still I try to understand:
What is this?
Why do we even bother?
Because there always is another,
To replace us,
And they will also,
Writhe and fight,
And have those moments of delight,
And then like fire burning low,
For life is but a fading glow,
Perhaps we’ll die,
Before the answer dare reply,
Let demons try,
To turn my eye.
A pointless question.
To live apart from “why” is the lesson,
The world will turn again I’m sure,
And chances are you’ll still be here,
In spite of all those churning fears,
And up against it all you’ll rise,
Like flames rekindled,
Even the most devout follower of that new religion we shall call scientific method is sure to admit that the chances, perhaps, of the universe coming into creation in the first place, let alone the conditions being met to form life on a rock careening wildly around a blazing nuclear explosion, are infinitesimal.
That is not, of course, to infer the existence in any way of a Creator, but rather to say that the terms of probability are useful exactly up until that point that they are not—and that uncertainty is implicit in the inverse ratio of even the most probable of events.
Which brings me to my point, being: unlikely events do happen and, indeed, in a universe are large and complex as ours they actually happen quite a lot and furthermore at unlikely times—which is to say not when we expect. Very often those events were set in motion long ago by that great unknowable random-number-generator, which I tend to call the Universe, but you may call God, if you prefer.
In a Universe that’s infinite—or even large enough to seem so—unlikely events are, in fact, guaranteed to occur, sometime and somewhere and somehow (as I have mentioned, the existence of the very selves serves as living testament to this fact) and I would have you know that extremely unlikely events are actually occurring right now upon our oceans.
There is a place amongst the waves where the detritus of human civilisation has amalgamated into one enormous mass: an island comprised of plastic straws and cups and plates and bags. And beneath the surface, a hideous tentacled tangle, a voracious net-like maw gorges itself on more and more of our waste, our plastics and pollutants: our poisons.
As unlikely as it may seem—as impossible—the plastic is beginning to reassemble itself in such a way that none would have guessed: the multitudinous membranes of plastic expand and collapse, like lungs.
The toxins we leeched into our oceans dissolve and reconfigure the very atomic structures of that which we have discarded and those constituent pieces, unforming and reforming, over and over again, began to grow. And then: began to know.
Out there in the vast, unchecked ocean, that grotesque, chaotic mass—created by us but soon forgotten—continues to resolve itself into an ever-increasing complexity of shapes and structures until it, at last, it becomes…
The music takes its time to reach me. The band are playing in a little pavilion near the beach; jumping up and down, beating on drums and strumming guitars. There’s no words in the song, but every now and then someone cries out and the music increases in intensity.
“Why would you choose to meet here, at the end of the Earth?” my visitor asks.
“I like it here,” I say.
I see so much incredible art (in all mediums) that, at times, it makes me hesitant to share my own. I am certain that, similarly stricken with that peculiar malady that marks us all imposters, many others share this curse.
It is time to break it.
Art is an expression of a truth that lives inside the artist—a connection to the person who created it. And by experiencing art we may yet glimpse some reflection of our own selves, some connection shining back at us from the facets of another mind.
This is why—when you’re at a concert listening to your favourite band—you get chills down your spine. It is also why it happens when you’re listening to a busker in the mall.
Art is an expression of truth: not the truth, but a truth. Sometimes the truth is confusing. Sometimes it’s clumsy. Sometimes it’s incomplete.
But only by seeking to break that curse that makes us afraid may we bring these truths to light. And one by one, piece by piece, we can begin to gather together enough of those sparkling, splintered fragments to build something greater.
Perhaps: a castle.
I’ve removed all images from the website that were not created by me.
In not-entirely-unrelated news: 100% of the words and images on this website are now (and shall henceforth be) created by me.
He stays indoors during the day; hiding from the sunbeams that peek through the blinds. The light stings like insect bites where it touches him and it hurts his eyes. It makes him snarl, but it is the sickly snarl of a dog that’s lost its bite.
Each day he descends into the basement, securing several locks and treading down the stairs three at a time. It’s better down here, amongst the cool bricks. He has fashioned a nest where he gathers blankets about himself like a child, burrowing into the farthest corner of the basement, hiding from the sun and the reality beyond the front door.
He sleeps. He wakes. He stares at the walls and listens to the minutiae of sounds issuing from the house above. It is an old house, barely holding together. He hears the creaking of its joints and the sound of the wind between the cracks in its walls.
Sunset greets him bloodily as he emerges from the basement. He checks for mail at the doorstep and searches for any signs of any intrusion.
For a while he stands in the kitchen and stares at the teapot, although he couldn’t possibly conceive of making a cup of tea. There’s no milk. And besides; he doesn’t drink tea.
He senses the daylight slipping away and he starts to feel stronger. He treads into the study and past his bookshelves. Most of the books are about vampires. But there are also books about bats, mammalian biology, psychology, self-help, phobias. There are medical encyclopaedias and a desk covered in papers, fountain pens and envelopes stuffed with unsent letters.
On the back porch, he stretches. Once the sunlight has faded completely he steps down onto the grass. There is moisture about, he is vaguely aware of the sense of dampness on his pants below the knee.
The moon stands out in the sky, a mighty face gazing down on him like a father; or an old friend. Beneath it, he makes his way towards the trees that rise out of the darkness to meet him like the shapes of a child’s pop-up book. He walks between them like some unlikely Red Riding Hood.
The journey is automatic. He does it every night. He feels his hunger in the heartbeat of rabbits that dash ahead of him and he lets it run away with them.
He can hear the babble of the creek and it sounds a lot like laughter. And he can see it now, through the trees wherever the moonlight burnishes the peaks of the water in silver. There is a log beside the creek that he dragged there himself, and a centipede making its way across it.
He flicks the centipede away and watches it scuttle between the leaves. The trees he feels some kinship with. He touches the bark and senses the moisture stored away behind its rough folds. He can feel the age of the trees. He thinks of their roots—puncturing the earth like fangs—drawing their sustenance from the soil around them.
He sits on the log and looks down at his feet, which appear alabaster in the moonlight. He rests his soles on the dirt, ignoring the heartbeats of the night creatures that drum at the periphery of his senses.
He sits and he thinks about crossing the creek and stepping into the forest on the other side. It is no more than two or three steps through shallow water. His muscles quiver, his lips twitch. He snarls again, a tiny sound, the sound of defeat.
“Do it,” he whispers to himself. His is the only voice that he has heard in some time and the sudden, jarring sound of it in the forest startles him. He stands up and takes a few steps towards the water.
Instinctively, his toes curl up. He feels as though the centipede he flicked away has returned and is now scuttling down his spine. “Do it,” he repeats to himself.
There is a tightness in his chest. A tightness in the skin on his face. If somebody was to chance upon him now, in this state of half-transformation, there would be no doubt as to his monstrous nature. But he is all alone here in the forest. Alone except for the trees and the moon and the tiny heartbeats of nature on all sides of him, the rhythm of insignificant lives.
He takes a step and the water encircles his ankle like a shackle.
Feed, Fuel, Forge, Fire;
Shape a sword from your desire.
Whet the blade and make it sharp;
Enough to pierce a demon’s heart.