The Calling

The possibility that thought was matter and that this equivalence may be divided by a number, made every belief housed in my skull obsolete. Meaning was a promise made on the fact of my existence, so I thought. I knew then I had to seek solitude. Why and what solitude meant was just as an unknown as my new predicament. In this moment recognition crept along my spine. At first it was a tingle, a feather gently stroking my skin. From the small of my back up along the trough following my spine the sensation flowed. A place of warmth emanated from the middle, between my shoulder blades.

My body seemed at ease and receptive to some message. I didn’t know what was recognised, only that a call had registered through my nervous system. Who or what was calling?

It was strange how this new ignorance appeared. The recognition was sensed complete with a set of meanings ascribed to without consent of my mind. Could this new ignorance be old knowledge long forgotten? Deep down, beneathe  layers of thought matter was the hidden destiny. This is what I felt. It didn’t matter whether it was a long forgotten bone buried by some equally long forgotten god, or just an abstraction to humour a sense of self. This hidden destiny pointed in a direction away from thought.

I lit another cigarette and walked over to the window. The sky was clear, the thunder clouds were swept away by the afternoon breeze. What was this call that began to sound in my secret emptiness? “Surely bones don’t shape one’s destiny!” I said aloud. Perhaps destiny was too big a word. My skin felt warmer all over, I closed my eyes and concentrated on an image of a candle flame. This was something I did when I was a kid before falling asleep. I felt the in and out of warm and cool air, breathed through my nostrils. Deep inside my chest, the flame burnt steadily, wax the pulse, relativity the breeze. Gentle candle smoke rose and insinuated itself along fissures and walls of my skull. My feet and hands became an extension of an invisible stranger that uses flesh and bone as a gardener uses a spade.

A snake slithered through sounds in the air. Its presence a mere hiss of silence, a soft scrape against a wall. As I looked down onto my hand resting on the window sill I recognised the snake curled up in gold around my Holy Ghost finger, a ring, a gift from a long lost friend.

“Babylon is burning at the end of your cigarette,” she said. She appeared before me with a pitcher of water in one hand and the other holding a glass. The air around me crackled – static on a phone. She whispered, “Tell me, what is a man? Wind blown dust swirling into a cone of events, swinging to and fro, like a pendulum across the face of his quarter acre block?” By now she had me in her gaze, though I could not see her eyes.

With the effort of a Houdini I replied, “I take refuge in my beliefs…..” I repeat this over and over in my mind, a merry-go -round mantra. The guns of doubt click and explode in Russian roulette timing: silent movies, iceberg expectations, half life relics, pantomime gestures. Bang! Frame by frame, every movement a question mark in human animation, every frame subtitled, ” I think, therefore I am.”. The soundtrack ever repeating “I take refuge in my beliefs”.

She placed the pitcher on the table and took a sip from the half empty glass. “You think that the real, natural heart’s,”  she pointed with her long finger , “that thing pumping in your chest. You are seriously mistaken.” She flicked some hair away from her eyes as she spread the feathers of one of her wings. Each feather had inscriptions that looked alternatively Cyrillic then Chinese with Arabic curves, Hebrew endings and Greek beginnings. All this however was just guess work for in truth I had no idea what was written. For all I knew each feather could have been a letter in this alphabet of feathers and the whole word wing a verb with an unknown subject . Perhaps the split between subject and object wasn’t even in this grammar – I was illiterate in the language of angels. I found myself  mesmerized by the area of her wing immediately to the left of her elbow. The letters or patterns were themselves hieroglyphs, or so I thought. I felt here was a mystery – how could something be itself and yet point to something else for its identity?

“This is not the time to labour the point. The whole three dimensional world presented to your senses five is a total illusion. If you could slow this holographic movie down to nearly zero you would find flesh and blood is one step removed from your real body. This real body which you fail to recognise is imperishable. It’s the same with your mind. You think that you think, that you set the perceptual and then the conceptual parameters, that the images and ideas in that psychological space are yours. They are just as synthetic as your heart.”

She stopped talking and stroked the rim of the glass with her index finger. The low hum coming from the glass punctuated the silence. She began talking again in a slightly louder whisper, “In fact your thinking is the thinking of someone else that has passed through your mind. You are property. Thoughts that cruise and fly by in your mind are visitors and have nothing to do with your volition. They enter, stay and leave, sometimes become squatters on their own accord. The cube of mind, a stage and a corridor, a cage and a peeping Tom show through cracks of vision, sound, smell, taste and sensation .”

Her countenace slowly began to fracture, crumble like a clod of dry clay and become translucent – from a Greetings Card angel to a stained glass living sculpture. Gradually her form shattered into many more countless pieces. She became a mosaic of color merging with the window. Like salt in water she dissolved through the glass and became orange streaked twilight dusk.

A snail slithers across the dome skull of history. Echoes, of prophets wailing, a curling shell. Cochlea. Earth. I heard the calling, (my) intent unknown.

6 Responses to The Calling

  1. Oli. Kai says:

    Hi Stavro,

    Don’t want to comment much, its not my thing; other than, i like it. Its you… What struck me most (between the words) is that its poetic and very visual prose.

    That is, theres grist in there – that gets swamped by other words, in some places?

    for e.g.. (to keep it v.brief)… as twitter is teaching us:)
    the last paragraph could be honed down to:

    “A snail slithers across the dome skull of history. Echoe, of prophets wailing, a curling shell. Cochlea. Earth. I heard the calling, (my) intent unknown.

    something like that?… what i mean is we get swamped in words when trying to express ourselves in writing, as if the words are running ahead of our thoughts sometimes… Should be other way around. Leonard Cohen made great simple comments on this years ago. I will send if you want. Is very matter of fact stuff he learned as a young writer thats seen him through to now at 80+ years, where he admits he’s still learning.

    Cheers, and thanks for sharing.

    Oli. x

    • stavr0s says:

      Hi ya Oli

      Thanks for taking the time to read it and to comment. I like what you say about keeping it simple. I have difficulty with that but as you say Twitter teaches us to keep it simple.

      Yeah, send the Cohen stuff – here’s my email


    • stavr0s says:

      Hi Oli

      In Twitter I had to learn to get rid of “the”, “that” and lots of adverbs and adjectives because of the 140 character limitation. I’ve just edited out some of these from “the Calling” taking heed of your wise words. I even included your edited last paragraph.

      I think this works better.

      Maybe this is the palce to talk of edits and polish but hell, who cares. Thanks for your input an reminding me of Twitter lessons in minimalism 🙂

  2. Oli. Kai says:

    Your welcome friend. I have lots of Leonard stuff on my camera stores. I kid you NOT when i said i was a total luddite:) in some of the live vids from concerts, i am singing along… its all for another time to unleash. siga siga.

    But here is the old Lenny vid i spoke of. It applies to all writing forms from the heart, not just poetry.

    Leonard Cohen – How To Speak Poetry
    (i think he’s quite young when he wrote this, maybe 70’s?)

  3. stavr0s says:

    Thanks – I’ll check it out later. I want to give it respectful attention 🙂 It’s great that there’s heaps of other Leonard videos there in that youtube space.

  4. stavr0s says:

    Hey Oli – you’ve just encouraged me to post some of my poems. I’ve been hiding them away for so long. Some I’ve made into songs – I even had a friend write the music to them. There’s actually enough material for an LP when I think about it. But I’m not gonna put my singing online – no way 🙂

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