Diary dreams, dry rustles of thoughts stained with blood to pages. Sacrifices, memoirs, written and locked away. There out in the world so you don't have to dream them.
How many houses have diaries been written in?
Peyps wrote in spite of fire, the chronicle of times. What is that we find now, in a split hard-drive that dies with electronic grace, its last read/write stuck in an ever repeating spasm? Is a place that has been lived in ever empty?
Or perhaps its all about who's looking, and what you expect to see.Who would ever suspect the crisis to begin in the fold of an electronic page?
Fucking Old Man. Called me to the tree, away from the gathering of friends. Made their edges all spiky and stick in my soul, carving esoteric signs of themselves into my identity. I had to get away, away from such unconscious modification of my psyche, because goddamnit, I was the only one allowed to do that. Even the whispering of the Family Ghosts never amounted to much more than a soft whisper in the back of my skull. When I tuned in, and made my decisions - be they conscious or unconscious, it was because I wanted to, even if I didn't know it at the time.
I turned away from the fire, scrunched up my eyes and waited for the spotty monochrome of night-vision to reassert itself. The grass was damp and smelled like an old friend who filled the air with the comforting aroma of their own scent. I'd lain on it earlier, sunk into Earth's flesh, falling ever backward into her warm embrace while the blue vault of heaven took my eyes with their questing and probing and bent their gaze over backward for a delicious eternity - until I was looking at a fractal reflection mirrored inside my skull, Blue seeping through grey matter, a liquid viagra that made thought the most erotic and ecstatic thing I'd ever known. But that had been before, before the taste of ash on my tongue and hot, steaming meat and pissing joyously against a tree, hearing that yellow rain patter on broad nettle-leaves. I knew they'd take it, for plants are without disgust and morals.
They would take the ammonia and the water and break it, cut it deftly apart with scissor-enzymes like the women who can make anything out of anything else - the kind you often find cruising the charity shops - gentle-blue-rinsed sharks with paper-thin skin, lined faces and gimlet eyes that missed nothing, bring their needle-calloused fingers quickly to bear, magpies that were somehow capable of discerning some as-yet unseen inner luminosity.
Now, I wasn't there, I stepped away from Then and Now, and walked into the Future, past the recumbent bodies of my unknowing torturers, chief amongst them one who held more claims to my existence than should ever have been possible, yet even these bonds were ignored, though the sense of movement from them tightened like a noose. I saw the trees there, and felt for the moon, seeking its light as his sister had smiled upon me all day. I wanted to smile, and nod to that charioteer, to tell Mani that the fairer sex still puzzled men, even after all these years. And he grinned down, though the woman's face which is behind his own looked out also. And we laughed, the three of us.
Then my gaze was pulled, teased from that glorious thing, by the flutter of night in the unseen of my eye. Like a corpse-rag it blew in the breeze - a rich brocade that ate night, turning its guts inside out to reveal its own gluttony. Then it was gone, and I felt the attention of the subtle on my poor human form, all coarse and unrefined, like a lump of obsidian held up to the sun, hoping against hope that it holds within itself, the Art of making Rainbows.
Which is of course, completely true, but only after it has been shattered and purified and ground, pulled out of shape and given a new one by Infernal machines. So it was, to me something of a slow shock to realise that the subtle had, for a spell, decided to revel in the fact that it dances in the kingdom of the blind and partially sighted. My eye, with its long-known skill at seeing that which is hazy and twilight and simply not possible, saw the tree.
Down I went, scented earth rising up behind, leaving nothing but fragments of voices and laughter that still cut at me, glow of fire-light a small pool that burned somewhere else. And so it was that I came to stand underneath the tree, whose species I did not know, feeling the weight of a new beginning on my shoulders and a storm rumbling ominously in the bones of my body. Already, I could feel the kernel of it, unfolding, a multidimensional shoot from a seed - a shoot that was so long and thin and questing, so white as to be the colour of bloated flesh, yet at the same time, so full of divergent threads that it would seem to be impossible that it lacked the fuzzy infinity of a multitude of tiny tubes.
And in this multiplex of tunnels, I beheld the lie of the seed and saw time explode, the glorious unfolding of the creation that was spawned, immanent, transcendent, dead and alive, eternal birth and death co-extant by virtue of its awful non-existence. Just as the storm is never present, yet it appears as a lump in the chaotic system of the biosphere, so I felt the raging chaos within as my palm touched tree and I swore an obscenity so foul that I head that ancient creature's green blood curdle and fizz within it. And in that elastic moment of roiling sap, I came to understand the nature of arboreal laughter.
In the darkness of its branches, I felt its roots reach into the earth, so deep and widespread so as to be everywhere within the planet, under every fallen leaf, under every piece of tarmac, every road. I knew then that it went down too, though when it had gone miles from prying eyes, it shucked off vegetable flesh and quested down into the dark realms where things unborn and half-remembered snuffle and twist their way through the blackness that we have summoned there, the cloak of our fears we hang over the window because we are unable to comprehend such luminous night
All trees are brothers; this was whispered by the voice of its leaves - they know all things, for their roots cannot be denied. All their roots draw from the earth and from the realms beyond, a vast neural network of vegetative intellect that supports the soil and leaves tunnels for thinking and things. Root and branch extend upward and downward, once past leaves, the branches stretch up into the vault of heaven, a vast filigree of life that both supports and is the very sky itself. For just as we have draped cloth o'er the deepest reaches, so we have done so above, for we cannot bear to see such life in harmony when we are lost to it.
At this, I heard the laughter again, loud and long, creaking and fizzing and as green and fresh as an acorn, and I knew then that even my imaginings, my clothes that I draped across these unspoken messages to be able to see the shapes of these unspoken things, were being gently humoured, as a parent indulges an excitable child who tugs at their clothes.
I stood beneath that tree in that darkness, that tiny polyp of the vast intelligence that supported my world, and a dead language woke from its cultural slumber and sputtered with dusty breath:
"Nine nights I hung, wounded by my own spear. Sacrificed myself to my Self." The Old Man's lips touched my ear like a phantom kiss. I snarled a laugh, feeling like a wolf as the storm rumbled in me.
"Jesus shit." the words were on my lips, a cultural, uninventive and blasphemous truth that drew an unseen grin from the shadow figure that was not even there. I hammered my fist into the tree and the skin of the knuckles cracked and the nights dew took me like the smoke of hashish. Head spinning, I heard the breath, the laughter in the sap.
"Die on me." the tree seemed to say, "Dash out your brains, smear them on my trunk, flay off your own skin and let the revealed meat dance, pissing blood and salt tears. I'll drink it up. You'll be part of it again, not alone." The tone was mocking, but gentle, like a teacher pointing out an error to a particularly beloved but precocious pupil.
"Fuck you," I croaked, yet unable to take my hands from its girth. "Both of you."
The pressure built inside my chest, a shriek that I would not, could not release for it would bring those architects of this scenario, those unwitting slaves of the subtle into this future, filling my eyes with grit which should cause me to weep tears of blood and further feed this awful, terrible and majestic thing.
It wanted me dead, wanted me alive. I could not comprehend its hunger, its slow and urgent drinking eternity of all things which were its fruits. Yggdrasil. The name rang through my head like a clarion call, known and intellectually understood as a pretty and useful construct that marked my way in my soul-journeyings. But this, this terrible thing that wished to devour me and use my very existence to make fruit to extend its own life, this Reality shook me to the very marrow.
I would not, could not be consumed, and the shriek rose and I cried out, biting it back so hard that I felt the splinters of a fragmented branch shatter within my heart. I fell to my knees, a man-made edifice that had been invaded by the smallest shoot of that giant. I wracked my brains for a way from this invasion.
This was no dryad, no faery thing, no alf or landvaettir or landspirit, no new-age fluffiness. They had colluded, all the wights of this place and time to bring me here to this one child, this thing of cellulose and sap, this protuberance of something huge into the world of matter and flesh and television and politics and war which I had one foot in. This was the Other made flesh, the core of strangeness, the singularity of the Impossible which made me cry out and try and prevent myself from releasing the storm that was moving in my flesh.
But nothing came, though I later dived to mythology and scrabbled desperately for a thing, some clue that the World-Tree would die, that this thing could be killed, that it could be finished, that I could maintain my integrity. I thought I had it for a while, thought maybe Surt the Fire-Giant might come maybe in my dreams, or in actuality, and maybe, as the world ended, and all was ash and black, maybe I could be free for a minute. But then I looked more, and saw that Ragnarok isn't the end, that even though the Tree is burned, a new world is born.
That was when I knew I was really, totally fucked.
Because I couldn't keep being a man - not one you would have recognised as such in those days anyway . They say that men evolved from apes and monkeys, that we came down from the trees and formed societies and built things and fucked and had wars and so on. The trees were our parents, in a way. The problem is, anybody with any grasp of human psychology will tell you we never get free of our parents, not completely - we're just more complex iterations - their combined genes joined together and expressed in a new way, their actions and behaviours imprinted on our psyches.
We may have left the trees, but the trees never left us, not really.
Fucking Old Man. Ygg-drasil. Ygg's horse. Ygg, the Terrible One. The Terrible Old Man. It's all his fault, that wily old shaman who built the world. Maybe you're not religious, but I'll tell you this. When a bunch of gods start fucking around with your life, well, it's going to get a little...interesting.
When I started this, in the side-ways time of the small hours of a thousand and one nights, I wasn't one to believe in conspiracy theories. But now, as I'm spinning it out to you in an effort to stave off the execution brought about by your old-style reality, now I'm pretty damn convinced that this was all a set up from the End.
But of course, right now, you don't know what I'm talking about. I keep forgetting I'm dealing with a causative frame of reference, and these little introspections by me may serve to confuse you - though of course they may do more, but you'll never know. After all, how could I affect your mind?
So, you think the evolution schtick is bad, wait til you hear the mythology one - humans are descendants of trees. The Old Man and two of his other Selves found two trees on the beach after they'd slaughtered the primal giant Ymir and through a supreme act of inspired technique, managed to create the world.
So the three brothers raised up Aske and Embla and lo, soon there were children. So yes folks, science and mythology both agree, we come from trees.'