detail of illustration above by Shasta Lawton

Friday, July 22, 2011

BLOOD ECHO SYMPHONIES

by John Claude Smith




“What’s on your mind, Trace?”

Fiona asks as if it matters, as if she cannot slink through the gray matter mindfield and pluck out some bòn mót and toss it back at me like a hand grenade at any moment, her spiky flame-haired head propped up by matchstick arms, full brickwork sleeves, graffiti imprint on skin, clear midnight invocations—“Love is never, Sex is forever”—in faux spraypaint script, second-day bruise blue on infection red. She leans into me, hands coiled as snakes about to strike, yet they have no intention of striking. She feigns boredom as some kind of come-on. Blasé impulse: a bland narrative to our lives.

I turn to her and take in those bloodshot coals, simmering into sleepiness. I think how I can’t look much better, but my usual response—“Nothing’s on my mind, there’s nothing worthy to fill the space”—is diverted by the sounds that circle like vultures in need of something dead, and we are so close to filling that prescription.

The music pulses, throbs like my aching cock (no reason to flaunt false modesty), I am erect and I am hungry and the music—this music—is like a rash of electricity, of radiation—Hiroshima Mon Amour—that spreads over and through all of us in this dark place, in this dark world, the blackened current of the river Styx surging in all our decibel-scorched souls, here where lights are spattersplash wet as dripping Pollock rainbows but oh, so dim…and hope is a remnant of something extinct, like a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Or love…

It is alive—this music—as a green girl shoves past Fiona as if Fiona is not there, was never there in the first place (Fiona’s bicep thickens, her shoulders broaden), claws at me with slim fingers like twitchy insect legs—a praying mantis ritual—tearing at my skin, my mouth, and my teeth clamp down and I taste her, taste where she's been, after which my tongue slicks her palate and enamel and the writhing slug that is her tongue…and the sound and noise and cacophony assaulting me is like a rash demanding to be scratched. It cannot be silenced, this sound, this noise—this music—and the rash screams like a wound in the darkness, red and defiant.

Fiona sees in my forever-open eyes that this diversion means nothing, my head and heart and cock are elsewhere, and I do not sense the tendrils reaching into my brain; the woman is static, unable to truly comprehend. Her desperation hinders any possible fusion; it wiggles eel-like out of her grasp. The connection is transitory and then sizzles and sparks into dust, as memories that might have happened (to somebody else…) or dreams that seers might dream (if they dream anymore…), an empty-fisted grasp of sand through the haze of this brusque reality.

Sex is in the air, the smell of it, the wish for something more than kisses that lead to emptiness, and yet emptiness seems the prevalent vocation—
it is not love in this reality, it is only lust: blunt physicality, the sweat and release, that is all—
living on the edge of nothingness, yet the tip of something tactile bleeds, and the blood is tasty, tempting, and this temptation is felt in the body, in muscles that tense and bones that bend in impossible ways—
the dreams take shape, nudge into this reality—
desires mesh as two sticks mating, crisp sear, these fires born within, but it is heat that does not burn, it brings fever dreams—
these dreams destroy this reality, the execution of all you know, their sustenance—
and the need for something that one does not know how to truly express. Late night dalliances into oblivion, the soul of something unspoken and never quite defined.

Want and the need for more.

The band, Nameless—that is their name, the need to fill in the blanks with something to influence perceptions deemed unnecessary—draws me into their hideous take on the world we live in—no—it’s their honest take on the world we exist in, living is no longer an option, it is a byproduct, a happenstance: I am here and I am.

It is all machinery gasp and industrial grind: thick, droning, metallic junkyard clutter.

“What’s on your mind, lover?” Fiona says, her voice grown husky, the subtle intrusion of whiskers along her jawline, the slow swell of blood and muscle between her thighs.

I harrumph and raise a brow, thinking—maybe, maybe tonight—but even at that, a sphincter squeezed orgasm would be much more aesthetically pleasurable looking down on Fiona’s ass—the sweet Stratocaster slope of hip and prodding arch of sweat-drenched back—as opposed to some male fuck-fantasy in which, really, the only good thing about the male fuck-fantasy is to suck her cock, so really not in that mindset tonight, honey…

She knows this, telepathically jacks into my dirty mind and immediately her body reshapes itself to its original cast: the bulge deflates, the whiskers take flight as a swirling row of elliptical insects, eaten by lightbeam dust that floats within a dark funnel carved by flashbulb radiance, the shoulders shiver feminine, and her breasts fill her velvet vest to button-straining perfection, made so by the addition of nipples grown thick as nuggets of something dark and chewy and bisected via vertical steel bars, her last motion to sway me but, even at that, she knows, she reads the neural cartography across and between the hemispheres.

I don’t have to say anything to reject her, signs along the synaptic barbwire roadways indicate as much without the cruel defeatist finality of an actual failed pick-up…or deteriorating relationship. She understands that my desires, what I need, what I want…or at least what I think I want, do not include her tonight. She would pout—sexily at that—but it would be a waste, so she sits and sips something bright orange and bubbling tiny jack-o’-lanterns and smiles though her eyes are black and soulless, just like this world and my intentions.

She is perfect, perfection, whatever I want, whenever I want it, and yet…I need something different tonight.

Different. I laugh inside.

Fiona punches my arm lightly. “Prick.” Still smiling. Still soulless.

She understands.

I ignore her, taken by the sounds. It feels like an excuse to hurl this body full-on into the walls; and screaming, the sweet surrender to pain, and so much screaming…

Is this music…are these sounds—this band—the key to a new religion, the mantra of the long night, neon scribble stenciled on corneas and inside of anxious ears, eardrums assimilating the rhythms that bound off concrete and slick flesh…but no percussion, is it arterial, this rhythm? Is this the sound of the enigmatic Almighty (designated "NoGod" those many years ago when shadows grew long and ate the Sun) releasing the souls of all who hear it, to roam freely beyond the dim catatonic existence that has overtaken the world? Repetition de rigueur via computer-rigid jobs, ergonomic chairs for optimum comfort, the mandatory morning two vanilla mochas/lattes/frappes, waking up in cubicles the size of Porta-Pottys and feeling like shit (so you are where you belong), blah by brain-numbing blah, et cetera, bon appétit

It all devolves into mono-driven slop scooped into the minds of people like me and Fiona and the hundreds (thousands, millions) of other beings playing a game of perseverance without reward.

I ramble silently, a mentally masticated monologue as personal philosophy—mindsplat masturbation—and wonder more so, what if this is the sound that makes it all worthwhile?

I need to know, so I need to get to know the band. I hone my attention to a laser pinpoint, focused exclusively on the female vocalist and her dark, charismatic, melancholic tones, a voice tough and uncompromising—real presence, this voice—a liquid leather seduction, laced with something deceptive, something tantalizing, something destructive: the perfect compliment to the music.

She does not sing, not exactly; it is not lyrics, yet lyrical. As with the now defunct band Sigur Ros, the vocals are utilized as a tool, a part of the aural vocabulary and not as most bands use a vocalist—to express clichéd sentiments or misplaced anger.

Something vital is captured within her vocalizations, vast nuances signifying the totality of our lives: the all-encompassing persistence of pain; the stilted and yet anxious dreamwish that is wonder; the molten crush of primal urges so profound they often push everything else to the rear, or completely out of the picture; the malaise that permeates it all.

That is just her voice. Her physical presence mesmerizes, yet clarity ripples, distinction eludes my internal need to catalogue. Eyes: jade slivers like jaguar shadows…and then just jungle shadows, roiling, shifting. Mouth: dew-stained roses, red rimmed and blackest heart…and within, shadows again…shifting; skin olive washed, soaked, marinated…and, again, shadows pull at the seams, unraveling…her body writhes and grows marble-still, Rodin yearnings made flesh…hair a leaky pen, white-ink Mohawk slash, a sliver of the supernova.

What I actually see is a visceral smear, something smudged, something blurred, because I cannot truly comprehend her totality: presence, being, self.

I need different eyes.

NoGod, I know the changeling whole of her is what I need tonight, that "something different" that so rattles me to the core, that place within that so desperately wants something more than existence, even though the situation precludes true fulfillment.

But I do not care. This woman, distorted distortion-driven diva, and her robed comrades—I see nothing within their hoods, no colors beyond the black and the occasional white-hot sparkle as of constellations singing—create an aural vortex that signifies a truth that I want to know tonight, as it digs unseen claws into my groin, as the sincerity of the audio mutilation feels like arousal, like hunger and the need to feed, to fuck and leave it all, every ounce of meat and sweat, semen and passion, in that hot place, vacuum-squeezed muscle and so damned necessary, the only necessity within this somnambulant existence.

Her vagina or the vortex, it does not matter.

I shuffle from my seat at the bar, Fiona left to fend for herself tonight, onto the crowded floor—zombie rave; sleepwalker’s sway—flowing toward the stage, arms loose, cobra-dancing like all the others, we are one, snakepit, snakebit sycophants, surging…

The female vocalist slinks from one edge of the stage to the other, pauses, swooshes, crumbles, resurrects and realigns her mass, each transformation something I can taste in the back of my throat, on the tip of the tongue that swabs the brain as one would ice cream, down to the primordial essence, the scaly limbic soul, the obliterated void: that which was not, annihilated by that which demanded existence before existence was defined.

I close my eyes and allow the shadows to envelop me, even as bodies press against me, midnight in the realm of lost causes scrabbling for something that imagines Hope as it once might have been, many years ago.

My thoughts clear and I whisper amidst the sonic deluge and the blackened thoroughfares of my mind, “Take me.”

And she does…

The muffled refraction of noise signals the hierarchy of hammers battering the walls of the small room, small postage-stamp cramped place, but I do not mind, because I am with her, the shimmering phantom. (Is it a room?) The night moves as a thief, a disciple of darkness so profound it laps up the hidden margins, nibbles nooks and crannies, and gorges on that which lurks behind.

I wanted another’s body to call my own, to use and abuse and leave fouled by my coarse physical discourse. An ephemeral conversation between flesh and flesh, with the mind of the other—woman; telepath—shaping our coupling to fit my needs, as it has been for many years since commencement of The Uncovering.

I wanted it to be different, so different I could not recognize it as anything I had experienced before, yet it would fulfill my wanton desires to overflowing. But this thing…this thing was so different I felt the howl rise from the saltwater seas boiling within, but only as a reflection of the creature I once was, fins to feet, gills to lungs…to confusion: is my self-fulfillment the average and expected outcome to this equation?

I sense mandibles clacking and carapace-yearnings, the clatter of gears and squeal of pistons, slimy dreams flood wiry antediluvian ducts, vascular progression…space sickness…

She makes a sound in the small room—cranial dungeon—a prescient vocalization that leaves me aghast, flushed of impetus, inspiration, and the insidious influx of ego and id.

My eyes open…to revelations.

I see me, whirling amidst the throng, faster now, the night within me pouring out—waves; tsunamis—spasmodic reconstruction, metamorphosis, transmutation…evolution…

“I said open your eyes, Trace.”

(How long have I been here? How does she know my name? Seconds pass in the exhaust of infinity…)

(My eyes are open!)

“Fear not that which your heart truly desires, Trace…and open your eyes.”

Oil-slick pronouncements that eclipse quasars; the whole of the cosmos in retrograde, Drakkar crashing against the turbulent chaos that is the heavens; my soul, or the voracious thing that roosted there, yanked into the cold waste, being laid to waste…laid to waste…

(My eyes are open!)

“I don’t want this,” I yell, uncertain, afraid. It is only another sound (dissonance defined) added to the noise washing over me, through me: blood echo symphonies, the dispersion of me: presence, being, self.

I remember a girl, once, eons ago—hair like snow, eyes like oceans—and loving her, loving her, and nothing else mattered.

(“I love you. I will love you forever.”)

(“Forever is a long time. Love me for now, we’ll worry about forever some other day.”)

(“Forever…”)

I remember lifetimes, hundreds and more. Lifetimes linked, daisy-chain histories, finding you and bringing you that which was always meant for you and you alone —
— and the madness that followed, scouring that which had driven me, the core of me gone vapid, deflated, blown full of self-love and narcissism, shaped by the world’s weary whim…

(The Uncovering…shhh…)

“Fear not that which your heart has desired…forever…”

Catapult into awareness, capillary rampage, Milky Way ruminations, and something more, something prodded into view again: my soul, the soul of ages, singing as it has not sung in this lifetime, this miserable existence, joining the Nameless noise—noise with purpose.

I open my eyes for the first time in this life and see her clearly now, with every iota of my being: my soul, the soul of ages, her soul, the soul of ages, our souls, forever entwined…out there, in the cold waste where the corruptions and conspiracies of this dead planet cannot touch us.

I find joy in this knowledge.

Eternity stretches before me, within us. The cold waste beyond comprehension. Your warmth soothes my fear; your belief is my tether in the omniscient ether: it knows all that has ever or will ever be; it knows me, intimately.

But.

This intimacy comes at a price.

Reading my dreams, the dreams (memories, madness) that have followed me through each reawakening, serves no purpose to me, it only feeds your seduction.

I feed your seduction.

We are one: Ouroboros instinct; black widow aspirations…

I am aware of a truth that disallows the truth: your lies. You cling to me, many metallic pincers and igneous needles and decrepit desires prying my mind for every iota of information, dreams (memories, madness)…nightmares…

I drop to my knees in silent supplication to you:

God…

NoGod.

But you are everywhere and everything (alien; insect; machine; lover…), and I am merely sustenance…

No matter.

Devour me, please…this final memory my epitaph, a cherished recollection of what it once meant to be human, and to love.







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