The Betrayal of the Ephemeral

To have seen the golden spray of leaves,
Sun dashed gleams upon the morning grass,
The shadowed play of snowcapped mountains
Rise above the darkened growth of forest;
The natural in its ephemeral silence, absolved
Of human want or need, a world without us
Seeking nothing more than its secret abysses.
One has no right to speak before this betrayal.

©2021 S.C. Hickman

Asmodeus Dreams

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”
― W.B. Yeats

In a propitious time they came to build, not a House of Love
But a house of doom; the bidden guest left to unmake the world
That love built, if possible the stated effect of trauma made visible.
Objects worldly or other, dimensions even a ghost hunter, unhinged
Comes masked with all the devices of an electronic god, can neither
Trace nor circumvent what is not a god: a slow demon thought crossing
Night’s loft, the witching hour let’s loose all star riders fallen labors.
Slow the castle turned to wood, the occupants gray aged among its timbers,
Rotting proud with the eyes of tears not fire, bleeding the shadows substance
From fear to the tumbrels clang that undoes the sun and moon at last.
Let it pass this curse of silence, only speak the word that is not the Word.

©2021 S.C. Hickman

Dead Kings, Dead Dreams

Fiery temples squandered death’s pale smile,
And he who wandered among the bones cried out,
Less from the sun’s dark stroke, meridian bent
To kill them in the pure white light of prayer,
Than the secret complicity of waged love among thralls.
Cast the doubt beyond this troublesome earth,
A staying hand against all that falls below,
And give what comes hard in the blasted stone.
Little is to be told of such men now or then,
Gone within some barrowed dream of thought,
Flames of a broken oath blazing through the night.

©2021 S.C. Hickman

Goodbye

I could not say goodbye to you,
That is my curse.

In those moments of silence,
Eyes so full of anxious expectancy,
Knowing what was left unsaid:
Could never be said,

………………….I failed you, I failed myself.

Once, once only we mythologized – our way of coping with this emptiness.
No returns, all repetitions are lies against the sky; its blank cobalt eye
A horizon too large to encompass, so we turn
Becoming this other who would know something even if it meant nothing,
Nothing at all. What remains will be erased soon enough, we know this;
And yet we would want so much more than this…

This is not pity, not even self-judgment for all we’ve been or must,
Only a sense of honesty without the farce,
Holding on to a memory even as it so fleetingly breaks
………………….Everything we were and might be.

©2021 S.C. Hickman

Drifts

We need to unbind the spherical men,
Let them roll off into the dead lands
Where they can lose themselves
Among the white drifts merciless blanks;
The piercing blasts that hide the black sun.

Need we say what has been lost.
The cities where Ananke’s subtle limits bless;
Lays traps for those mortal liberators
(We’ve seen them come and go
Along that perilous way — )

Who cast their gaze inwardly.
(Do they see as we see?)
Else the measure of the heart
Is less than nothing,
Everything else remaining all we can know or be.

©2021 S.C. Hickman

Flight

Moon-sleeper, night-walker,
Why do you hide among the bones?

Did you really think the old man in the tower
Could invoke the ancient powers of earth?

You cannot return to a world lost among its dreams.
Why do you stand there in the flames?

Sometimes there is no answer to wind…
Why do you fly then?

©2021 S.C. Hickman

The Red Stain

Even now the saurian gaze of his stone cold eyes
Reflects neither the slate tinted sky nor my green mind;
Silent in this stark wilderness, windless rubbings 
Of a scree slide petroglyph’s alien codes forestalls
All confusion between his red threaded tongue 
And my peckish appetite, a tremor vibrating
Through us freeing our intemperate stares 
(Balance of a life hanging
       down…) toward the red stained 
             Sunset

bleeding…

©2021 S.C. Hickman

Oedipal Bastards Like Us

Oedipal bastards like us deserve our fate.
Bitter days in blind disgust. Old men’s memories
Haunting us like a woman’s spiteful curse.
Mangy as a dying dog he wanders between bed and bowl.

He used to be fit and thin, a stubborn man,
Solitaire but not alone; neither clown nor killer
He stalked my nights a ghost, a suicide.
Pain pricks us into thought whether we will or no.

The crossroads always signified a terrible destiny.
The shotgun spent, his skull unpacked,
The world went dark, and silent. Even now
His eyes are blank, the hollows black and lonely.

All his life he’d sought paradise, failing that
He’d plunged his mind beyond all telling, fallen
Now beyond redemption, a shadow walker.
Suffering has no sense, just silence, lost in darkness.

©2021 S.C. Hickman

She Sang Me Into Light

I’ve been searching for her all my life.
Under the deathly lights of this black night,
Even as the mists turn white before the sea’s cold foam,
I feel her presence somewhere ahead. She said she’d stop
And wait for me between the darkening sands and the moon born sea.  

I hear her mocking voice who would lead astray. Whispers… wastrels!
Her fierce cry breaks across blank skies where nothing is.
I peer into the wet mesh, faceless as the morning sun I can barely see.
Her voice held me in its power, my mind locked to the sea’s enfolding savagery.
I could not move and yet I moved as she sang me into light.

©2021 S.C. Hickman

Blind

i am a blind man which way shall i go
crossing

is this the valley where the bones stitch themselves whole
falling forward

touching her flesh brings nothing back but nothing
rushing

funnel me down step by step until i’m wet with the last wave
collapsing

staring into that warmth burning in my sockets i know
emergence

sluiced it rises to meet what is at last
birthing


S.C. Hickman ©2021

the lingering

death is always lingering in the air
the hoofprints of another always vanishing

and we like wounded deer follow the scent
knowing we will be edged into judgment

no one can speak to those moments
the solitary agon of desperate thoughts failing

in that darkness where even ghosts lose themselves
we find her laying there in a pool of blood

we would like to meld our mind to hers
know what she knows as the last thought leaves


S.C. Hickman ©2021

Bones of the Earth

the bones of the earth have lost their luster
no one left to acknowledge their light

even the rust colludes with the chemical death of giants
somber eyes sinking into black holes lifeless fold into this darkness

it is expected that the weather will change
even now the dead oceans churn to a slow forgetfulness

what will rise out of this ash to sing
when the day is long and nothing remains but these blanched sheaves


S.C. Hickman ©2021

before the plague

we touched flesh      long ago
                       once                           among so many last things
.   
        heart’s entwined among the tubular cells

  .                 networks sounding

  .                                  a cross between thought and flesh

                      non-dual appendages
……………………               fragments of intelligence

.                  grafting’s lower down the matrices
.                          where sonic pleasures
      .                                still vibrate

causal chains releasing fingers

.                                               children still walking in the garden

.                        lost among the foliage


©2021 S.C. Hickman

The Listening Horror

The Listening Horror

We hear so much about the outer world of sonics, what of the inner mutations that open us onto the unknown; the elaboration of soundscapes, portals to the inevitable horrors of existence; temptations to the alien absence: the incongruities of monstrous objects in the music of unseen worlds surrounding us; throbbing gristle vibrating in the dark interstellar corridors between galactic nights, and the voids that empty onto that black silence that is forever sounding us from the Abyss.

— Songs of Silent Voids


– S.C. Hickman ©2019

Mark Strand: Darkening to Darkening

When The Vacation Is Over For Good

It will be strange
Knowing at last it couldn’t go on forever,
The certain voice telling us over and over
That nothing would change,

And remembering too,
Because by then it will all be done with, the way
Things were, and how we had wasted time as though
There was nothing to do,

When, in a flash
The weather turned, and the lofty air became
Unbearably heavy, the wind strikingly dumb
And our cities like ash,

And knowing also,
What we never suspected, that it was something like summer
At its most august except that the nights were warmer
And the clouds seemed to glow,

And even then,
Because we will not have changed much, wondering what
Will become of things, and who will be left to do it
All over again,

And somehow trying,
But still unable, to know just what it was
That went so completely wrong, or why it is
We are dying.

—Mark Strand, Collected Poems


Reading this poem again by Mark Strand I’m reminded of our darkening world as it begins to decay into ruinous waste at the hands of its most destructive child, humanity. If ever there were a time that needed change it is ours, and yet I, too, as Strand above seek it and yet do not find it. Instead the change is not of human making other than the destruction we’ve invented and perpetrated upon the earth, source and resource of all we are have been. Humans are a stain upon the face of earth, and like other non-human creatures that have come and gone we too inevitably will enter that abyss from which there is no return. As John David Ebert in The Age of Catastrophe: Disaster and Humanity in Modern Times reminds us,

The present conquest of the earth by these cosmotechnologies facilitated and realized by governments and multinational corporations is the inevitable outcome of those first principles that were constitutive parts of a World Picture in which the earth becomes the plaything of human beings using the spark of God to help them conquer it.

That we have become mere spectators in a spectacle of chaos and ruin is apparent to many, and yet the rich and their minions across the planet seek only to aggravate this accelerating process through reliance of advanced hypertechnological systems that are becoming more and more autonomous and beyond human control. As climate change and catastrophe become all to apparent within a few decades we will see a world slowly dying before our eyes, see mass migrations from the heat belts where thermal inertia and heat death rule. As Paul Virilio has written:

The twenty-first century will be the century of mass migrations. A billion people  will move. The whole world situation will be disrupted. Disrupted by the crisis in localization. The old societies were connected to a territory, a native land. Today they’re adrift due to the delocalization of jobs and never-ending conflicts. There is also, clearly, the major issue of climate: the disappearance of archipelagoes, submersion of coastlines. This means all of history is on the move again. All of history is taking to the road. A billion people moving over half a century -that’s never been seen before… It’s almost as though the sky, and the clouds in it, and the pollution of it, were making their entry into history.

—Native Land – Stop Eject

As the oceans seep in from the dark, as the cities drift below the sullen green waves, as humans seek out the last vetiges of dry land and the mountainous caverns of sky and stars the final decolonization of the earth will begin.

A dark and private weather settles down on everything. It is colder and the dreams wither away.

—Mark Strand, The Man In The Mirror

Maybe the earth like a young mother will mourn the passing of her children, wander among the stars silent and alone, given over to the simplicity of tears where the travails of light break across the dark like whispers of a forgotten thought.

We have done what we wanted. We have discarded dreams, preferring the heavy industry of each other, and we have welcomed grief and called ruin the impossible habit to break.

—Mark Strand, Coming To This

Like automatons assuming our endless tasks we have accrued the last remnants of profit from the dead in their dead worlds. The void will not give up its dead for they have no need of us nor of the nothingness we are. Children of habit we do not know, we do not see, we do not hear the tolling bell of time ringing upon the last dawn’s horizon. Mindless we have allowed our bodies to enter the servitude of dead men, sleepers of time who will vanish without return.

…there is the sleep that demands I lie down and be fitted to the dark that comes upon me like another skin in which I shall never be found, out of which I shall never appear.

—Mark Strand, The Sleep

In the end nothing will remain. The mirrored world of thought dispersed. The erosion of all we’ve been and could broken. Silence alone will remain. Who will inherit the earth? Bones.

Everything dims. The future is not what it used to be. The graves are ready. The dead shall inherit the dead.

—Mark Strand, The Way It Is

Did you really think it would be different? All this bleakness and ruin and chaos and darkness other than it is and will be on a planet growing long and cold and indifferent.

 

 

The World Without Us

What would it be to subtract the human from the world?
Elide the thought of beings such as us?
Consciousness thrown among the stones?
Would the world miss us in the silence after?
Or would the memory of our kind dissolve among the ruins,
flow back into the void from whence it came;

sound some distant reverie of pain,
a quickened chant of all we’ve been.
Or would the void explain, the stain
upon the world a sickness out of mind?
Would we rise again from the blasted dust 
into the secret life of plants,
or fade into that night
where even stars go blank:
one by one… without light

The Scattered Sparks That Fly

All I need do is gaze
upon the artifacts of time:
dust, desert, and sky;
the weavings and unweavings
that fall

…………….before the light

shines and vanishes;
to know that desperate look,
neither smile nor frown –
a hesitation in-between –
to hear

in the crackle
breaking over all things,
a sense of the murmur
in which life’s ruins
connect;

…………….reverberating,

…………………….communicating:

a flame within the flame


—S.C. Hickman ©2019

If we leave the light behind…

Shocked witless by your own catastrophe, unable to think or to act, caught in cold and heavy darkness, solitary as in moments of profound regret, you have reached the negative limit of life, its absolute temperature, where the last illusions about life freeze.

—E. M. Cioran, On the Heights of Despair

If we leave the light behind, will we ever find it again? At the edge of things, out beyond the last star, the void like an unfathomable abyss awaits us. In the midst of all that darkness is there intelligence? Is there something alive in the burning abyss of endless night? And, once we begin our journey into that darkness all sense of direction shall be lost. And if a voice arose in the dark place of emptiness, what then? If the namelessness called you out, would you answer? Darkness in darkness: Why so much light only to be engulfed in an eternity of darkness? What accident of time gave birth to the light? Isn’t it the temporary, the transient; this light in the void of worlds, stars, and galaxies? This endless turning and turning around the darkness? Are not the black holes that power the galaxies the very embodiment of that terror we all are? Are we mere fragments of the darkness, broken pieces of its eternal majesty? And isn’t this absence, this lack in the hollow of our mind — the truth of the darkness? Nothing and everything unbound in the infinity of darkness, the squandering of light the last refuge of pain? Are we — lovers of shadows, the secret keepers of darkness, creatures of nightmare and chaos: agents of the unknown and unknowable? Isn’t the secret gift of our kind, that we who are most aware are the least at home in the realms of light? Are we not the darkness in the light, members of that ancient realm, our powers from the deepest abysses revealed? Are we not the ones who have always and everywhere destroyed the light? Why did we who belong to the darkness seek the light? What dark inheritor gave us this need, this poverty of imagination and intellect that we were born into a world that is not our home; a world for which we are ill-fitted, and seek in our unbidden dreams an escape into immortal realms that never were nor could be? And, if we return to the abyss from whence we came, will it receive us? Are we not condemned to the light, condemned to this round, an eternal return of the Same? Is this not our fate — we who are lovers of darkness, condemned to the realms of light everlasting? Is this realm of pain and light not the punishment of those who could not accept their own impossibility? We who sought knowledge outside themselves rather than in that dark place? Are we not the very ones to be condemned to ignorance, to this eternal striving, this struggle, this war for the light, the mind, the intellect? Driven from the kingdoms of darkness we wander these halls of light like forlorn members of a suicide cult, unable to escape the magic realms of light we spend our days in distraction and delusion, deliriously we enter into our own illusive dreamscapes of the Unreal. Caught between need and ennui we oscillate like moths around the deadly flame of consciousness; neither alive nor dead, we are bound to this endless striving chaos of action. Maybe that is our legacy, to be remembered as the harbingers of eternal night who were condemned never to attain it…

We’ll we ever find the darkness again in all this light?  Maybe what we seek is the solace of darkness at the edge of light, the cold and impersonal solitude of the Void within the Void? Or, if the truth be told, what we seek most of all is an end to the light in darkness, an end to the eye that sees too much — to knowledge and thought, to this striving, never-resting, annihilating light we are. This bitter feud among the humans is like a difficult passage or birth — there are those among us who love the darkness more than the light, who seek out its ways among the dark cracks and crevices of the world. It is our destiny to manifest that impossible absence at the heart of darkness, to awaken it from its cold and lonely sleep in the Abyss. In every age there have been those few who kept the evil thought alive, brought it forth into the light, nurtured it, watched it grow, allowed it to take root in the minds of the gifted ones. Very few among us will admit to our estate in the darkness, seeking rather to hide our darkness in the light, cloth it with the light’s own glorious delusions. We who walk in the night, breath the frozen air of solitude, know the secret ways of this kingdom. Saints of the Impossible we exist in that region in-between — neither human nor nonhuman, but rather Chimeras of hybridity, monstrous beings who appear beautiful, desirous. Flame-eaters, dragons of energy, the hooded blade of our spirit strives with the light for the darkness. I am the death of light and the fiery abyss of darkness. Like those dark minions of the Qlipothic Tree, outriders of the hated ones, dreamers of apocalypse and madness —darkness glows in me.

 


©2016 S.C. HickmanUnauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited.