Monday, 24 November 2014

Question Ex Machina

While lost in question,
 the question of who I was,
                 a dream.
                           I cannot say when it arrived
 or if it was truly even a dream,
 because it had just arrived in my memory
 one grey morning eating corn flakes
 in my kitchen’s neon light. 
That is, it just arrived without the normal tinge
 of randomness or blurry, sleepy, tiredness that dreams
  or day dreams normally have.
In this ‘dream’
 I remember the sharp lines of a walled street,
  its seemingly endless distance converged on 
    my mind-self just standing there,
     standing in the middle of its coal black road.
Strange thing was,
  the road didn’t seem to be made of tarmac.
It was just cold and black and flat, yet
 with an eerie depth and distance like space.
‘Maybe my mind has made this place’ I thought.
And my thought had to be true,
  because one just can’t simply ‘think’ in a dream,
                                          can one??
All other lines and surfaces were similar in
 that they were devoid of anything piquant.
And yet, everything but the road was completely opaque.
It was like being inside a rendered computer simulation
 or some mathematicians equation.
Plato’s street perhaps, the mind of a street that
 demanded ‘straight’ so ‘curvature’ could exist.
Everything apart from
 the road made the very air itself seem
ubiquitously oblique with a grey sort of conquer.
The sky was the same light grey colour as the walls,
a distance over-caste and dull as if
 there was no such thing
as blue or birds or anything anymore.
As if a breezeless ghost crow might squark
and call this reality; ‘exact’ and land on a power pole.
I looked left to one of the walls and somehow knew
  it was exactly 6.47 metres high.
The walls and sidewalk with
 a dividing line were at intervals every 1.61 metres.
 Black, necromancer-yawning gutter drains
were spaced every 12.94 metres.
Somehow I knew that everything in this street
 was ruled by the Euclid’s eyelid,
                           his golden ratio,
 a math that precisely
quantified where day and night make their mark.
“What is this streets purpose?” I questioned.
Suddenly I became aware that
 in some unearthly way,
 it had been here a very, very, long time.
It knew the un-equinoctial divide from its earth path
 and had made its divergence long ago,
  refuting the moons passing chaos with pride.
As I looked to the sidewalk I remembered that
 this street had Banksy’s graffiti once,
  had homeless smashed bottles of rum,
   had wooden crates where lovers met in secret,
   and skips with blood pools and dead foetal
  shapes born from the whore’s of Babylon.
But that was somehow all back ‘then’.
I somehow got the sense that this street
 was so far in our future, so far that
the people who presided over it now
might not be called ‘people’ anymore.


With nothing else to do I started walking.
And that proved really weird.
The whole world seemed to move like it was a treadmill.
Like my feet would take a step yet my torso remained still
  and the whole world moved around me.
Soon I saw three black doors move toward me.
 There was one on the left and two on the right,
  each with classic Elizabethan trimmings.
“Good, at least something here has style” I thought.
 As if listening to my thoughts
   a sudden deep wicked laughter above made me jump.
It sounded as if two large granite boulders
 were trying to win a wrestling competition.
Suddenly anxious to get out of there, I tried each door.
As I approached, I saw that the one
 on the left was labelled; Birth
in tiny silver, swirly, black-adder font.
The closest on the right was the same silver,
 yet labelled; Failure.
The furthest on the right;
Yet they were three locked doors… I was trapped.
“Well I suppose I could go in either direction”
I reasoned,
and I began to run, turning the world back the way I came.
But there in the distance
I saw something that wasn’t there before.
              It was another wall, a dead end.
Then the same in the other direction.
                                             Truly trapped!
Was there a door hidden there at the end?
I couldn’t see one.
Suddenly a creaking door opened behind me,
  and as the last echoes of it died away, I stopped, frozen.
There was a deathly pause of weight.
  “I can’t die in my mind can I?”
–this question haunted me, yet I thought;
 “I can’t let him stab me in the back,
 I will meet the devil face to face even if he rules
 my acts to the very photon millimetre of my soul!”
I was about 4 metres away from the open door,
                                                the only door on the left.


a suit case and a balding business man entered.
A large beaked nose, a black mole under his left eye,
 a ring of hair and a goatee -the grey oil paint of age.
He was looking straight at the far door to the right.
I could tell he was driven with fast-paced,
                                                 long, even strides.
His phone rang in the middle of the road.
He answered by the time he got to the sidewalk
                                                and there he stopped.
As he talked in hushed whispered tones I decided
to turn the world a little closer and creep forward. 
Immediately I noticed that his black business suit
was seething in a black machinery.
It was made of black gears and springs as if
 a wind up clock had been left open on his fabric.
I was so entranced by his suit as it spun,
 I had not noticed that he had stopped talking.
No business man had ever looked at me before,
 so I guessed I was safe.
But in a flash he had locked his fire-brown eyes on mine.
  “What the hell do you think you’re doing?” he flared.
As he said this he seemed to brush away my very sight
 from his jacket, as if my staring
     had messed with its gears somehow.
“Hey wait, I recognise you, you were at that protest,
what was it called? O yeah, ha! The Occupy Movement.
How quaint that was…”
As he remembered the time I threw a tomato at him,
 he smirked a great oily smirk.
I had missed and struck one of my own.
            Yet as he was talking and smirking,
something was itching in my jacket pocket,
I reached in, scratched it and then had an idea,
“I won’t miss this time!” I replied.
In my pocket I curled my hand into the shape of a gun
 and pressed it out, pretending to bead a weapon on him.
As I did this, he freaked and stumbled back a little.
Menacingly, like something from Clockwork Orange,
 I stalked forward.
“You… you can’t touch me here,
             the police here can read your mind,
you’ll be shot before you even touch the trigger.”
“Let them, I don’t care, you really think that’ll stop me?
 I know what you did…”
              And this last part was true.
This man was personally responsible for the big crash.
The financial crash that caused the war.
I had to have my fun.
But it was too much for the old man,
 survival instincts kicked way past fun
 and he reached into his own jacket pocket and
 pulled out a gleaming colt .45.
‘O Fuck…’ I thought as we stared at each other.
‘Ok, this is not a literal backfire much…’
But then a cool calm came over me,
 I don’t know why, because I was facing down
 the barrel of one of the deadliest
 hand weapons known to criminal kind,
 but none of it seemed to matter,
 my life or his life or any of it.
“Bang…” I said, just loud enough
 for him to hear.


He was hit!
 even though it was just a word,
 he dropped his weapon and grabbed his chest
 at the very spot I was pointing to.
He staggered back.
‘Heart attack?’ I thought.
This had to be true, and fitting that such a man
 would be killed by a sudden lack of rhythm.
Yet it was only true until I saw something odd.
Where he had dropped his gun,
  there were cracks appearing in the concrete.
Soon, as if on fast forward,
 little shoots of green were appearing through them.
As I looked up the same thing was happening
 to where he had stumbled,
 cracks in the shape of shoe prints,
 cracks with green spears shooting up.
They were growing so fast by the time
 the man had started to turn and run,
that the green shoots around his gun
had become full flourishing ferns, bushes and grasses.
As he fled in fear they began chasing him,
                                      getting closer and closer,
  he was glancing back and the man’s face was a terror,
                                                           distilled, purified.
Suddenly he clutched at his side
                      and turned to face them,
a stitch from too many steaks perhaps.
He pulled his other gun from his pocket.
He began to shoot at the flowers,
But the roses swirled in dervishes and grabbed him,
 twirling around his ankles, twisting in their thorns.
As I turned the world to go and help,
                              I realised it was too late.
His feet and shins had already disappeared,
                                                         this was his fate.
Yet instead of the gore and spilling blood that I expected,
I saw two neat black stones the shape of shoes beneath the bush.
The man was now limping away on stumps and
The avalanche of plant-beast pounced,
 crumbling any concrete in its wake.
It had totally engulfed his legs.
As I peered beneath,
I saw that his leg bones had
 become bare rooted treelings
that dug themselves into the dirt
 and pulled themselves free of his torso
                                   with a sick sort of ‘pop’.
                          Now he was merely half a man,
holding himself up with his arms.


The half man stared at me with a vile horror,
                       his only level of understanding;
 “you murderer! You’ve done this!”
And with this he pointed his
  colt .45 death-metal conclusion
                     squarely at my forehead.
This time I was ready, I had seen a miracle
and if my life was the price to pay so be it.
I closed my eyes and waited.
Yet something replaced my martyred glory.
  It was merely a sound, a feint click.
I opened my eyes and saw
 that a rose vine had twirled round his arm and had
 twisted into the gun barrel through the chamber.
It had bloomed in place of the death bullet.
As I was entranced by this
there was the sound of thunder crack
                            and water splashing,
 and immediately I saw his torso had turned
 itself to a deluge of water and dropped,
        falling to form a smallish pond.
Needless to say his arms,
shoulders and head levered back,
                               falling to the ground.
I then watched in wonder as
  his shoulders turned into wombats,
shaking pinkish skin into thick brown fur.
His biceps?
-Standing and stretching into little baby koalas.
His forearms?
-Platypus that turned, wiggled and headed to the pond
 as his fingers turned into finches and willy wag tails.
Finally with another huge crack of thunder,
 his skull cracked in two and up shot
 an enormous gum tree, spiralling
and stretching out limbs as if a hundred years
                               had passed in a minute.


As I watched this father tree
                       grow to completion,
I noticed that the pool of water
          was glowing a light bluish colour.
As I stepped over the bushes
and narrowly avoided a pair of Bilbies,
I peered in the pool and saw
     that the pool looked like a sky,
a real blue summer’s sky with a few stray clouds. 
Yet where a sun might be,
there was what looked like a vertebrae.
        Shining great rays of light it was.
 I felt something tugging at my shirt sleeve.
                    I looked down and saw that
one of the Bilbys was looking at me,
  pointing into the water and then
curling its little black hand with a grabbing motion.
So I concurred, and reached into the strange pool.
The glowing vertebrae was warm and yet very, very, heavy.
I pulled hard, and as if held by powerful magnets,
 it got heavier the closer it got to the surface.
Finally, as if pulling a plug from a massive dam,
  up it popped and the sky in the pool disappeared.
However, soon enough
 the pool started whirling and swirling,
                                             draining away.
                            As I looked in I could see
that the pools depths had broken through
the ‘glass’ that was the black road and all that
 remained beneath was a massive sucking void.
Pulling back so as not to fall in, I saw that
cloud from the over-caste sky was funnelling down
into the swirling hole to nowhere.
‘Ok now I’m really doomed’ was all I could think.
Above me the sky had darkened
 and flashes of lightning could be seen.
Then, lightning struck the hole, once, twice
                                      and then countless times,
I had to get away but I was being sucked towards it too.
I pushed my legs hard into the dirt and wheeled back grabbing
  a door handle and holding on for dear life.
Then the wind rushed and reached tornado strength,
 I was horizontal to the ground as the entire street
 broke off into huge chunks and disappeared.
I closed my eyes.
I’m not a religious man,
 but I prayed for my life at that moment,  
I wasn’t going to wake from this dream,
                                                I was going to die.
Yet the intense roar of the wind and
 the near constant death-metal music of the thunder
 gradually ambled to a shout and then finally a whisper
 and then I was standing on my feet in a new world.
As I let go of the door handle and brushed myself free
 of the remaining concrete dust,
 I could see rolling hills in the distance,
 a clear sky, a forest, even a farm with cows
 and a tractor working away.
The sun was going down,
 the moon was rising with a noticeable grin.
As looked over to the pool,
 now just an ordinary pool,
 I saw a glint of metal near a rose bush.
It was the gun that might have killed me.
On a whim I decided to pick the rose that
 was blooming out its nozzle.
When I did picked it up and whiffed its beautiful scent,
 I noticed that within its petals was a key, a tiny golden key.
 I grabbed this key and turned to the door.
With one last grin to the moon,
                                          I unlocked the door.
However, before I stepped back into
the neon light that I saw to be my kitchen,
I noticed that the silver words had disappeared.
In their place were the words;
“This is who you are…”

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