On my walk home from work, after a long overnight and in a strange, sanguine state of mind, I paused at the top of a hill near where I live and watched a variegated sky shifting between coppers, ambers and metallic hues, rain threatening but not yet violent. I watched and basked in the silence of a world waiting, not sure of it would ever be reborn or if slow decline would stop its heart.
I waited until the rain broke, the golds and ambers subsided, leaving behind only the ugly patina of bruises and tumors, a sick sky for a sick Earth, the cold eating through my clothing, my flesh, biting into marrow, leaving me a lost and feverish child, trembling for want of some small comfort.
A moment, only. Sensation and impression coming in cascades, self-mythologising, making poetry out of nothing. Then, breaking as suddenly as the storm, as a fever, leaving me to scrabble home in the aftermath, weary and undone, as though post-coital, in the shuddering residue of righteous fury.
I shut the heavy iron gates and locked them, sealing out the world. I closed the curtains when I stepped inside, grateful for the darkness.
But I didn't sleep. Whatever the storm, the sick sky, had set in me wouldn't allow it. I wandered there, too. In my own mind, as afraid, as uncertain and distracted. And the storms followed me, into those dreaming spaces, the immense wastes and alien plains, the kaleidoscope-conditions where physics was a fairy tale.
The storms followed me, sickening me with their rain, reducing me to that same fevered, scrabbling child whereever I fled.
It will always be the same. They'll always find me, drown whatever gardens I conjure for myself, reduce them to muck and mire. Because that is the world I was born to; diseased, polluted, at war with itself. Jealous, unwilling to make even dreaming exceptions for a taste of transgressive paradise.
Maybe why the cliff and razor edge have held such fascination, in the past. Maybe why bottled oblivion has always been a Siren song.
But also why the stoppers in the ears, the wax to blot out the suicidal hymn. That storm, more inside than out, more of me than the world. Fascinating, obsessive in its fomentations, its roiling, cosmic processes.
I won't let it take me yet. Not yet. I still need to see the heart of it, the infernal puzzle whose quadrants are slicked with red rain, that pulp the ghosts of yesterday with every motion, every reconfiguration. I have to see it, and know what shape it might finally take.
Then, maybe, I'll unstopper my ears, let the storm sing to me, accept the razor's kiss and dance across the cliffs. Take flight, dissolve in its rain, wash away into the gutters and sewers, barely sentient filth.
But not today. Or tomorrow. Or for days and days to come. There's something beautiful in being lost, being mad and desperate. I want it; to cradle that fractal jewel and have its venomous spines pierce my palms, my heart. I want the lightning to fill me, rewrite me, making me the living puzzle, the blue-fire and black-rain heart of my own horrors and deep, deep dreads.
Maybe, in some distant tomorrow. Maybe, when there's nothing left to fascinate. Maybe, when even the dust loses lustre, and there's nothing to love except the promise of silence.
Maybe then, oblivion. Open veins and crashing oceans, skull-shattering flights and chemical dreaming. But not today. Never today.
George Lea is an entity that seems to simultaneously exist and not exist at various points and states in time and reality, mostly where there are vast quantities of cake to be had. He has a lot of books. And a cat named Rufus. What she makes of all this is anyone's guess.