It was that kind of relationship.
The reality never matched up to our expectations. We got irritable in art galleries, our noses bumped awkwardly against each other when we kissed. I told her I loved her and she told me she loved me, but neither of us was truly able to believe it, no matter how much our voices might quaver or how deeply we looked into one another’s eyes. These were tics we had learned from watching soap operas and romantic movies. In truth we had no time for each other, no time for sunsets, beaches, expensive movies, flower gardens, secluded bowers, mountain retreats, moonlight, long walks and river banks, nor any other romantic cliché we might care to mention.
It was a long time before we realised this, so determined were we to experience love as we saw it represented in films and books and television. We looked for beauty in the wrong places and tried to force our hearts to swell before sights our souls had no affinity with.
Naturally diffident, the language of a Casanova was foreign to me, and in my mouth sounded quite absurd. We found a kindof contentment in downcast eyes and faltering speech, in board games and microwave meals, in nights in front of the television. Our blood quickened with the accidental brush of elbow against flank or an unexpected flash of flesh as a jumper rode up and we discovered room for mirth and clumsiness in love. Indeed, these things became what we valued most of all. We learned to cherish our fumblings and halting speech and not to feel ashamed of the distance between us and the ideals we had held so fervently.
I liked it when her glasses steamed up over a hot mug of tea and savoured the inelegance of her dress and the slight asymmetry of her features.’
Elephants lumber up mountain trails.Victorian photographers chase fairies in landscapes bestrewn with rocks.Cockatiels escape from drawing rooms.Children fidget at dinner parties.Visitors sneak toothpicks and silver cutlery into prisons.Teenagers steal exotic plants form botanical gardens.Small animals emerge from hibernation too early and perish in the cold.
The buffalo repopulate the cities of America.Helium filled balloons slip the hands of their owners and escape into the sky.Actors in horror movies sit patiently while make-up artists turn them into ghouls and monsters.Risqué comedians get booed off stage in provincial towns.Semi-professional golfers travel the world in search of the big-break, their lives a procession of Novotels, Holiday Inns and respectable results in minor tournaments.Teenagers read books of poetry feverishly, in search of a way out.
Secret societies split up in acrimonious circumstances.Teachers with fingers stained yellow with nicotine complain bitterly of recalcitrant pupils and school inspectors.A boy gets booted out the snooker hall for extinguishing a fag on the baize in a fit of pique.Amateur bobsleigh racers squeeze ageing bodies into lycra suits.Greek poets accompany themselves on the lyre, reciting pastiches of Cavafy interspersed with dick jokes and finish by smashing plates against the lino floor.East European Goths catch infections from self-piercings administered with safety pins.
On the moon, craters fill with rainwater.
At noon the mayor mistimes the release of a hundred doves, causing the death of 67 of them, caught in the propeller of a police helicopter.Field mice are mangled by combine harvesters.A defrocked priest manufactures a Neanderthal skull with an iron arrowhead piercing it and throws the academic community into disarray.
Boy soldiers play hopscotch in a ritual enacted to regain lost innocence.Renegade zoologists teach gorillas how to make fires and the rudiments of agriculture.Earnest jazz buffs play Charlie Parker 45s to their unborn children in the womb.Creative writing teachers recite speeches from Dead Poets Society to blank looks and sniggers from their students.Fastidious medical students order a glass of water between each pint of Carling.Abandoned lovers watch TV.A violinist serenades a woman outside her bedroom window. Later, she calls the police.Poachers hew the tusks from sedated elephants.Aircraft carriers are converted into prison ships.
Mothers are publicly shamed for the crimes of delinquent children, being forced to wear sandwich boards detailing the exploits of their offspring, or have their heads dunked in the public toilets by the town citizens, depending on the seriousness of the offences.Ken Livingstone is the victim of a smear campaign, accusing him of cruelty to his newts, and hinting at perverse practises.The Conservative leader is pictured playing steel drums at a primary school in Harlesden.Children leap from couch to armchair, as the carpet is infested with crocodiles.____________________________-----
Landscapes of volcanic rock and sulphurous lakes
Aristocrats fallen on hard times search for tin-openers in the Co-Op, snapping at the young salesgirl when she offers her assistance.
Shetland Islanders struggle with the ticket machines at Kings Cross station.
Catapults fling plague-corpses over the city walls.
A teenage girl picks the lettuce and tomato from her hamburger and tosses them disdainfully over her shoulder. A year later she contracts scurvy, old wounds reopening like flowers in springtime, sores gathering around the lips like blue-tits around a bird-table.
‘what you gotta understand is, to them, you’re just a number, they’ll suck your brains out and leave you in the gutter, that’s how they work, they don’t give a shit about us, they don’t give a shit about me and you.’
Homemade bombs planted in the changing rooms of TopShop exploded in a shower of nails and ball-bearings. Luckily no one was hurt, but a spangly boob tube and a pair of hipster jeans were complete write-offs. As to the perpetrator’s motive, we can only speculate.
Britain’s diplomat to Japan is sacked after too many glasses of sake at a state banquet lead him to stick his front teeth over his bottom lip, pull his eyes into a slant with his fingers, and answer‘Ah-so’ to every question addressed to him.When questioned by the press about his behaviour he declaims‘Those Orientals just can’t take a joke’
In the forthcoming series ofI’m an ex-Prime Minister Get me out of hereJohn Major has a nail hammered through his foreskin and unfortunately contracts tetanus while Margaret Thatcher is injected with morphine and mauled by feral cats.Audiences describe the look on her face as ‘priceless.’In the future the programme makers hope to use Tony Blair’s arse as a dartboard in a pub tournament._______________________----
Ebony and ivy league.Guillemots and kittiwakes, billabongs and guinea pigs, foragers and pimpernelsCardinals and counterfeits, Razorbills and billygoats, wagtails and scarlet feversImpenetrable citadels, dens of iniquity, black forests and yellow fevers…
Men with the heads and hooves of goats walk through the tree-lined temple courtyardSwinging thuribles and chanting in voices deep and sombre.Exterminators in homburgs, cashmere overcoats and double breasted suits, frown, brandish clipboards, survey the palace kitchens with magnifying glass’ and looks of great concentration.‘Ha!’ one hoists a captured cockroach aloft, a triumphant gleam in his eye. The cockroach is placed in a specimen box and passed over to a colleague to be dissected, examined, classified…The home secretary confirms his reputation as a populist by bringing back public hangings. Prince Charles is cautiously enthusiastic, saying “although the move panders to mankind’s baser instincts it has inarguably served to return the town square and village green to its rightful place as shared communal space, where friendships are forged, gossip is exchanged, games are played and entertainment is shared by all.”Renegade animal activists capture vivisectionists, lock them in cages which permit very little room for movement and spend mornings squirting shampoo in their eyes, and feeding toilet cleaner directly into the bloodstream via a drip inserted into a vein in the forearm, just above the wrist,feed zoo keepers to lions and tigers, train dog show enthusiasts to sit and beg on command, shake hands and roll over, fatten farmers up with growth hormones and force feeding and slaughter them, after stunning them with an electric shock.In an interview, animal rights philosopher Peter Singer decries their tactics as ‘excessive.’In a radical new move all Muslims are to be fitted with an electronic tracking device, a near-microscopic chip inserted in the earlobe. The minister for defence claims “this is an important step in the fight against terrorism. Some will say this is indicative of a blanket prejudice against all Muslims, in fact, nothing could be further from the truth. These measures will help protect innocent Muslims from unjust suspicion. Only terrorists and terrorist sympathisers have anything to fear from these devices, it is simply a case of identifying the wolves in the fold.”“Immigrats right, I don’t have a problem with them, so long as they’ve got something to offer, in the field of cooking. Indians, fine, Chinese, great and the more Thais the better, but these east European turnip munchers, waste of bloody space if you ask me.”
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The vultures watched the people. Surveillance technologies. The vultures were first seen perched on the gas holders.
Icebergs sailed into the ports like trading ships. The cold came as suddenly as a break in the cloud.Dogs and carrion crows tried to reach the internal organs of bodies frozen solid. Beaks and jaws tore at flesh as hard and as smooth as bullet-proof glass.
Monuments to neglected gods spoke again, in commandments. Stones spoke. Statues spoke. We were assailed by voices, by contradictory commandments and threats. We ripped each other apart at the bidding of stones and statues which spoke in the voices of gods.
Voices from the soil and voices from the sky. Voices from the sea and voices in the wind. Lights in the sky and fissures in the earth.
Lands of black ice and silence. A cold only the dead should know. The cold of ghosts trapped between realms. Bodiless cold, an icy vacuum. Ghost ships caught in frozen seas.
What are the new taboos? What are the new tattoos? Scar tissue and 3rd degree burns.
The temples have been rebuilt. The energies reactivated. Star satellites.
Cobalt skies. Fierce indoctrination.
Do you know what the leaders of the world have sold in exchange for their power?
Power does not come cheap. There is a body of secret wisdom, but those that teach it require total obedience.
You may meet the hierophant. You may be initiated. You may learn the hidden corpus of knowledge but you are not free to do with it what you will. You have become one of them. You have become one with them. What is power if it cannot be exercised for your own gain?
Music which stirs the heart to war. Play them the war music, for war is afoot. Play the music which will cause the blood to boil. Light the fires and have them dance. War is afoot and death is abroad. Have them dance.
Cantilever. Expose them to the indoctrination rays. Light the incense. Let the light filter through stained glass. Play the organs and have the choirboys sing. The church must go back to its roots as brainwash machine if it is to regain its corporeal power. We have lost far too much ground, but the war is not yet lost. Have the priests speak in incantatory tones. We have men of the utmost gravitas. Yes, gravitas is the priests most potent weapon. Let him move slowly, with grace and deliberation. Let his voice be deep and dark, rich and authoritative, let his cadences be like incantations. Let his commands bypass the conscious brain and lodge themselves like glass splinters in the unconscious. Let his commands become like the commands of the DNA, unfolding themselves at the pre-programmed time, like a boys voice breaks or a girls breasts start to bud.
The vultures became a common sight, perching on lampposts and traffic-lights. Waiting for an autumn of corpses.
Effervescent bruises. Lurid contusions. A body decorated with wounds. Scars like jewellery.
Swift intake of breath. Shock. Sweating and shaking. Electric haloes around the heads of world leaders. My halo is the proof of my probity. Follow me, for the halo is around my head and I carry the sign of your people.Dust blows. Dust storms in cities turned to desert. Dust storms of bodies turned to dust. Deserts made of bodies turned to dust in an instant. Multitudes become deserts in a single atomic second. One blinding second and all is desert.
The desert lands and the ice lands and cold vacuum of space. Territories of the lost, the defeated and dammed.
The pleasure gardens, the vales of intoxication. And through these lands move the stealers of souls, the succubae and incubi, the young girls who turn to crones at the moment of orgasm. The beautiful young men who swallow your face. The bliss which proves a pretext for the removal of your soul.
The sirens who lure you onto the rocks with voices too beautiful to bear. Pleasure is the way to trap humans. Give them bliss. Give them the bliss of the succubus and they will enslave themselves without complaint. Be a slave to pleasure. We will suck penises to extract the soul from the japs eye.. This is our highest art.There are many lands. The most dangerous are the most pleasurable. Bliss is the first sign of invasion. While you linger in rapture in the Valley of the Lotus we are bleeding you dry. We are the Kings of the Lotus and we will bleed you dry.