The Cave

The first thing David ever felt was the cold, hard surface of stone. His first memories hosted no hint or trace of the warmth and comfort that were to fill his later years, but only the blind bluntness of naked rock against soft skin. The second thing David remembered was a voice, a delicate melody soothing and taunting him with the sound of what he would later call hope, as he groped and cried in the dark of the cave. The third, perhaps more compelling feeling David ever experienced was that of all-encompassing warmth, as he was passed along the arms of the clan and words of comfort and welcome were gently dropped into his ears by the people he would learn to call family.

            Years later, in the brutal cold of the Frozen Wastes, under the imposing weight of an unforgiving sky, David would often recall that moment of near peace, summoning the warmths he had learned to love and name through the cycles, humming the melody he had always remembered but never really learned, as the comfort of the clan filled his body and eased his mind.

            There was Janira’s warmth, calming and reassuring, an anchor to the world and himself. Although all the women in the clan that had ever given birth were his mothers, Janira was the one to pour him from the great dark into this world. From her, David learnt to find strength in compassion, to draw a circle big enough to embrace the whole clan in the arms of his mind, to feel their warmth as if it was his own. She also taught him the history of the world beneath the ice, back when the gods walked the earth and there was still earth to be walked on.

            There was also James’s warmth, silent and distant, never too obvious yet always there, like the faint glow of smouldering ember. From all his fathers David learned many great things about the world, such as the meanings of the different brightnesses of the great cloud that was the sky or the words spoken both by the mouth and the body. But James was the one to pull him from the dark into this world, and from him he had learnt about the Frozen Wastes and its lurking predators, as well as how to defeat them in combat, and for that he was grateful.

            Zenobia’s warmth was of another kind. It started like a familiar comfort not unlike the one he felt amongst his brothers and sisters, until one night, sitting together on the Chamber of Echoes as they listened to the tales of the Great Mother, David discovered a newfound warmth in Zenobia’s smile that stuck in his mind like a feverish thought. It was after one of these tales that she took him against the hard surface of the Wall of Thoughts, their warmths tearing ravenously at each other like the fabled Sun had done with the heat of the world uncountable cycles ago.

            And in all those memories, with their many corners and turns, their high ceilings and low archs, their comforting surfaces and unnerving hollows, the walls of the cave stood like a quiet witness to their unfolding lives. It was there that David had learnt to look at each of his brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, as if the warmth in their eyes and hearts was worth protecting with his own life. For they were the Oikumen, one of the last remnants of a world now buried in ice, inheritors of the ice and the earth, and that was their home.

The Ice

The day David turned ten, his father took him to hunt for the first time. The Frozen Wastes had always unsettled the child and his father knew it, as he knew that one day he wouldn’t be there to provide for him. That morning, James woke David up when the clouds were still dark and took him to the workshop. They prepared for the journey in silence, the stillness of the cave broken only by James’s occasional questions and David’s curt answers. As he checked the integrity of the thick furs that were to keep them alive in the frozen hell that were the Wastes, David had the feeling that he was being tested. It was not the first time he went through the preparations with his father, in fact he knew the process by heart now, but the way James looked at his hands go over all the familiar motions as they felt the weathered smoothness of the leather that made up most of the laminar armour, David could feel the weight of a lifetime of expectations looming in his father’s gaze.

Without a word, James handed his spear to his son with a solemn motion, and David took it between his small hands. Unlike the times he had held it while his father taught him how to move with it, how to thrust with it, how to kill with it, the spear felt real and solid, its head tipped by all the preys that had fallen before it in the hands of his father and the hands of his father before that. Contemplating the imperfections that ran along the weapon’s shaft, counting the small dents on the spear tip, David recalled each and every one of its stories as his father had told them to him, weaving the tale of the clan through years, back to a time in which the spear had been newly cast and its shaft as smooth as the cave walls. Then and there, it was difficult for David to imagine a time in which weapons were only a sporting rarity and people didn’t have to sleep huddled together to prevent the creeping cold of the Wastes from taking them. A time before the ice.

As father and son made their way out of the common chamber, David glanced back one last time trying to find Janira amongst the familiar mass of bodily heat and oblivious respirations that came from a clan still asleep. When his eyes couldn’t find her, he followed his father towards the cold light of the Wastes, where the ice waited patiently, and no comfort could ever be found.

In the lonely dark, amongst the warmth of her sleeping family, a mother wept silently for the fate of her child like many others had done before her, as she wondered how such small shoulders, which had only ever known the comfort of the cave, could ever hold the weight of their entire world.

Mil Espejos

Mil espejos revelan una verdad

bajo la mirada de un ojo incierto.

¿Son tus pestañas las que crecen en las grietas?

¿O son los pelos de tu lengua que murmuran en chasquidos?

Los sapos y las culebras son ya huesos resecos

en cuya médula vacía yacen enterrados

los recuerdos de tu felicidad.

(fueron a encontrarse con la mía)

.

.

.

Una vez te pensé infinita.

Hoy, aprendo a convivir con la variable irresoluble de tu recuerdo.

Registry of Contrarian Occurrences, Final Entry

Type of entity: manuscript. Probably drug induced or acquired through other equally contrarian means. Possibilities might include: undue consorting with chaos entities, unauthorized communion with the absent dead or perhaps self inflicted temporal transposition. Note: how a lowly entity such as this might have acquired the means or the knowledge to access such complex processes remains unknown. This must be further investigated.

Censorship status: Absolute. The goal of this Inquisitor will be the location and utter destruction of any extant copies of this document, including those found in memories, dreams and reflections. In order to achieve this, the complete observation of the 9th Decree is advised: those in contact with the contrarian text must be hunted down and executed on sight without hesitation. Doubt is the seed of change. Change is the bed of chaos. Note: to ensure the preservation of the sacred enunciations, this Inquisitor shall enforces the decree to its absolute expression. Entities suspected of at least Third-degree contact with the heretic, including indirect contiguity and unaware coexistence, shall be terminated and their souls expunged from the cycle. This Inquisitor shall expunge itself from the cycle once the task is completed and the contrarian threat has been completely suffocated.

Contrarian categorization: Irredeemeably Contrarian. The mere existence of this entity in any of its manifestations presents a direct threat to the cycle. The integrity of the Faith might already be compromised.

Reccomended Course of Action: no expense or consideration must stand in the way of anything less than the total extintion of the contrarian entity. If possible, a reality revision should be carried out to prevent the entity, and thereby any products or outcomes derived from its existence, from ever taking place. Although this may cause a false loop paradox, the possibility should at least still be regarded as plaussible. Should the contrarian infection become too widespread to contain, or should its occurrence happen to posses an immovable ontological status, a complete eschaton of the current iteration is reccommended. The Faith shall prevail.

Final considerations: Although the soul of this Inquisitor is of no value or consequence, the Principle of Irreduction dictates that the expunged soul of this Inquisitor should still be considered elligible for resuscitation or at the very least recorporeation to better serve the interests of the Faith.

Textual representation of the contrarian occcurrence:

“I am.”

Reflection I

Becoming suddenly aware of the futility behind every human effort can have curious if somewhat contradictory effects on the mind of a person and, by extension, on the way a life is lived. I often find myself thinking about the relative worth of my actions and my words, especially when it comes to writing. The notion of “worth”, as everything and anything else for which a human language has a word or symbol, is generated by the connections that give it birth. Although there might be some consensus about what something be, meaning, and therefore our perceived reality (the human one), is found at the crossroads of language and intent. A stone is a stone, hunger is hunger, and the wind is, well, the wind, but any action or interaction, any response or reaction prompted by these words, these meanings, are set in motion by the human intent. Throwing a stone at someone to hurt them is no different than trying to make that same stone, or any other stone, bounce along the uninterrupted surface of a lake. The cause and the result might look different, and they will definitely feel so to the ones having their skulls cracked by the impact, but even though these actions may seem totally unrelated to, say, a mother protecting her child from her own father or a kid begging for food, a single, undeniable and irreducible fact remains: all of them suffer from the human intent.

            All of our meanings are inner meanings. So is worth. So am I. So is everything else. Why, then, do I keep weighing my actions against themselves? Why, then, do I allow my words to be shaped by imagined inner meanings the nature of which will always remain out of reach?

            As of late, I have begun to comprehend one thing. It is not the relative worth that ladens my actions. It is not the fear that my intent may be judged undeserving of attention or praise or any other manufactured human meaning. It is certainty that has pinned me down. It is clear, unadultered understanding that blurs my vision and shackles my thoughts. Distilled knowledge, paradoxically free of purpose and intention.

                                                            There is nothing outside.

                                                            There is nothing inside.

                                                            Only in between can we find meaning

                                                            And there is nothing in between.

On Writing and Fabrication

All of this is shit.

I impose structures on myself, and even my words, but words are absolute, good for nothing pieces of crap.

I pride myself on being “good” with words, yet I despise them more than anything else.

They are acts of deception, silence wrapped (warped) by a scaffolding of tortured sound, forced into submission by our egotistic need for “communication”.

What the fuck.

I mean, if at the very least we were good at it but come on. We keep choosing to dwell in fabricated meanings stuck in a self-referential loop that is unable to go anywhere but the surface. Our entire lives are built upon metaphors of shared meaning the content of which we didn’t even get to choose.

But even that is beside the point.

Me saying “surface” implies that there is a “below” the surface and an “above” the surface. It implies that there is something deeper, something hidden, about which poets moan, wonder, lament and cum over, all at the same time.

WE create the illusion, the mystery of the Te, the virtue and principle of every single thing. We assign them meaning and them we turn it around and then we kick it in the face

(Oh please would you get the fuck out from down my window? THANK YOU!)

and say “behave! where is your essence?” as if we knew what the fuck we were talking about.

YET

Well aware that words are lies that we like to believe in, I have never been able to finish one single story. (I lie)

why why why why

I keep asking myself. Because it may not (will not) be good enough, perfect enough, “itself” enough.

And thus you have the poor duskwalker forever trapped in that Safe, cowering in a corner, thinking about Markus and where he might be and waiting for the night to come and the Expanse to calm down and stop trying to eat him.

And Manfred, always the infant and the Witness, all at the same time, condemned to the embrace of his father’s arms as they forget Ada, doomed to be the Harbinger of the Black Sun, forever locked into that last step that would bring him to the other side of the Angel’s gate.

And the nameless woman, frozen in a multifoliate number of endless, ever-increasing, ever-recurring iterations, unable to put a bullet between the eyes of the man that was once a man and her lover, who are now the same, ready to bring about extinction.

And what about the Domes of Fate, and the ever dawning sun of Lucerna? As god bleeds away into something else, the Hierarchs make their last standstill in the Ashen Range, trying to prevent the Still Ones, soulless abominations with a consciousness, from reaching the Domes. Fanatic pricks. The enemy is always within.

Even the Gayatra river has stopped, like petrified blood in a rusted leaf.

All of them are trapped, alone and isolated, stuck and powerless, multiplying endlessly in impotent trajectories to nowhere.

Because I have deemed them not enough “themselves”.

Because I don’t imagine, I reenact.

Because I don’t create, I recreate.

Because I am bullshit and afraid that the only thing I have ever taken an interest into, the only thing I am afraid to find out I am a failure at (or even worse, MEDIOCRE AT!), is the only thing I cannot bring myself to do.

Some years ago, a guy in my town wrote a book. It was horrible. From beginning to end. It was absolute fucking trash. It was so poorly written that if, by some chance or curse that thing had come to life you would still hear it scream “PLEASE BURN ME AND RELEASE ME FROM MY MYSERY”.

(Ok, I might be exaggerating, it was mostly deadly boring with some (many) glaring grammar mistakes, but I need to raise the stakes here to make a point later)

Yet the guy presented it.

He brought it to stores and put up a webpage and promoted it and all that kind of stuff.

He loved it. He cared about it.

He was PROUD of it, goddamit.

Of fucking course, why shouldn’t he? It was his brain child!

Because it really doesn’t matter what I think, or what I say.

Because, to this day, only one truth remains incontestable:

he dared create something

and I have yet to stop fearing.

 

Thanks for reading.

Life in Four Acts

(A short account)

I. Irruption/Interruption

          a stone breaks the surface

          a spear frees the content

          the figure on the threshold confirms

          a mirrored world

II. Memories of Breathing

cavities expand through time

in chained echoes

propelling

the history of air

III. The Separation Principle

deaf to each other

an accumulation of voices

converse

in deceptively convincing patterns

IV. A Process of Longing Unfulfilled

the air aches

to touch the air

but nothing moves

in the country without wind

 

(meanwhile                           

  )

The Fiction of Distance

Dear sister,

I am writing to you with the hopes that this letter will reach you before Spring is over. The weather here is harsher than in the stories father used to tell us. The cold is cruel and sharp, and it has a malicious intent bordering on human nature. It somehow seems to me that, if I gave it the chance, it would tear the words from this letter and spirit them somewhere far away to keep it company. No wonder, though. When I first set foot in this town it was like stepping into one of those paintings at the Blue Gallery, where everyone seemed to have fled to the furthermost corners of the frame and the town was trying to inhabit itself by keeping a semblance of life.

The snow on the street is riddled with trails of wandering footsteps leading to all kinds of thresholds on the opposite site of which warmth and custom keep life barely awake, like small pockets of familiarity connected by lines of motion and absence. The whole town seems to be enveloped by a mantle of silence, broken only by the occasional treading of a solitary figure walking back home or the muffled toll of the church bell.

            Looking through the window of my temporary quarters, I can’t help but think about our time in the summer house with Philipp. The fixity of this place reminds me somewhat of those long days that seemed to stretch into a benign and placid eternity, when all that mattered was playing hide and seek in the moors and our greatest worry in the world was getting home on time, lest mother became upset. It is curious how, as I grow older, the silliest memories keep springing in my mind like a stubborn yet welcome bed of elderflower, while the darker, less enjoyable moments recede with increasing success to a relegated corner of my mind. With the passing of time, however, the flowers wither and die, and only those dark thoughts remain to keep me company.  Like that time when mother reprimanded you for stripping the skirt of your dress because it kept getting stuck on the bushes. As soon as her hand left her mark on your face, I could see the regret mounting on the corner of her eyes, on her other hand reaching for a daughter that she had already lost. As I ran after you ignoring mother’s pleas, I swore to myself that I would never let anyone hurt you like that again. I would protect my big sister just like she had done with me since the day I came to this world.

            Little did I know that I would be the one to break your heart again. Father was waiting for you when you got back to the house. Looking from behind the curtains, I was afraid that he would hit you, and I was even more afraid that it would be my fault. But the sight of your vanishing smile hurt one thousand times more than the blow that never came. Somehow, in ways that I would only later discover, the look in his eyes told me that he had known all along. The next day, someone came and took Philipp to the city. There were no good byes, no hugs or shared tears, just the raw and exposed finality of a pair of hands that would never hold each other again. I never told you, but I think you always knew. When I saw you and Philipp kissing among the tall grass, the unbearable thought of losing you took a hold of my mind, as I imagined you running away with Philipp, leaving me behind and alone. I guess none of it mattered after all. You left for the city anyway the next winter and we never went back to the summer house.

            I wonder if the trees miss our laughter sometimes, just as much as I miss running along the stream, holding hands with you and Philipp, and the peace of our secret spot near the bent of the river. Do you think the rocks miss the touch of our skin drying in the afternoon sun? Sometimes I wake up with the distinct sensation that it all happened yesterday, but then I feel the weight of the years bending my back and my voice ever so slightly, and I realize that that peace will never return. If only I could have made those days last a little longer…

            I hope you are well, Sabella, and that you remember me with the same fondness my heart feels for you. I don not expect to redeem myself by going out in this hopeless expedition of sorts, but to bring a semblance of peace to you and maybe even myself. I do not know what answers await on the other side of the vale, if any, but I have the feeling that there was always more to the stories that father used to tell us, and that’s what I have set off to discover.

If my calculations are any close to being right, I will be coming back home in one year. Although the vale in itself is not great in dimension, the winding path that goes through the mountain pass turns into something resembling a frost labyrinth during the winter. I must tread carefully if I want to make it back and bring to you whatever I find on the other side, even if it is only my empty hands and a heart full of remorse.

Ever your affectionate brother,

William Barker

Viento

Hace mucho tiempo, cuando los dioses caminaban por la tierra y los hombres se arrastraban entre ellos, existió un ser cuya belleza era envidiada y codiciada por todos. Los hombres lloraban al verlo atravesar el cielo con vuelo presto y silencioso, las mujeres admiraban perplejas la complejidad de una incomprensible maravilla y los niños, sabios e inocentes, se limitaban a saludar y sonreír, como si toda la belleza del mundo habitara en sus ojos y aquel pájaro de plumas brillantes no fuera más que otra faceta de un universo todavía por descubrir.

Muchos eran los que hablaban del color de su reflejo, del tacto de sus plumas, del sabor de su canto. Las madres explicaban a sus hijos historias de como aquel pájaro del color del cielo iba a visitarles cada noche para velar por ellos, para protegerles de la oscuridad y los monstruos que habitan la razón. Los padres hablaban de como los dioses habían renegado de aquel ser a causa de su incomprensible belleza y de como ahora vagaba libre por el cielo, dejando una estela de brillo y color a su paso. Los niños, llenos de excitación y júbilo, señalaban al cielo cada vez que el viento traía consigo una melodía desconocida, preguntándose entre susurros si aquella misteriosa canción pertenecía o no a ese pájaro que todos conocían pero en realidad nadie había visto jamás.

Lo cierto era que nadie sabía nada. Todo eran historias, matices torcidos de un mito atrapado en una botella, fragmentos de un cuento sin principio ni final que, con el tiempo, la gente y las generaciones habían aprendido a creer. Oh no, no es que el pájaro no existiera o su belleza fuera menor a la que las leyendas narraban. Nada de eso. El pájaro existía, sí, y su belleza era tal que cada vez que sus plumas del color del sol cortaban el cielo hasta los propios dioses callaban. Lo cierto es que el pájaro existió.

Pero no eran pedazos de luz lo que dejaba a su paso, ni era protección lo que había venido a traer. En realidad, el pájaro no llevaba consigo más que una profunda e insondable tristeza. Los ríos de brillo que teñían el cielo tras su estela no eran sino la marca de sus lágrimas al pasar sobre un mundo que no comprendía y que no podía entenderle.

Porque el pájaro estaba solo. Al principio, había intentado refugiarse en el canto de sus semejantes, encontrar cobijo bajo unas alas que no eran las suyas. Pero toda aceptación duraba hasta que la magnitud de su inalcanzable belleza acababa por distanciarle y separarle de aquellos a quienes, por el más efímero de los instantes, había llegado a considerar su hogar.

De modo que el pájaro vagaba sin rumbo por el atardecer, buscando aquello que no había logrado encontrar en la mañana, para luego zambullirse de lleno en las llamas de un crepúsculo prematuro cuyos colores no ofrecían más que preguntas a respuestas que jamás habían sido formuladas.

 

Un día, el pájaro se cansó de estar solo y decidió buscar consuelo en la sabiduría de los dioses. Harto de buscar, de vagar, de no encontrar, el pájaro se acercó a los dioses y preguntó:

“¿Por qué estoy solo? ¿Es que acaso no existe nadie como yo?”

Y los dioses respondieron:

“Tu existencia es para también para nosotros un misterio. No sabemos qué eres. No sabemos de dónde procedes. No sabemos nada.”

El pájaro meditó esa respuesta durante varias épocas, hasta que dio de nuevo con la pregunta adecuada y se la presentó de nuevo a los dioses:

“¿Podéis crear un compañero para mí?”

Ante esta pregunta inesperada, los dioses se retiraron a deliberar y, tras varias épocas más, dieron con una respuesta:

“Podemos crear un compañero para ti. Podemos proporcionarte un acompañante. Podemos acabar con tu soledad. Pero no lo haremos. Tu belleza es un bien demasiado preciado y único como para ser recreado. Darte un compañero sería destruir aquello que te hace único, que te hace bello. De modo que no lo haremos.”

El pájaro, cansado y perplejo ante la cruel respuesta de unos dioses ahora ajenos, se echó a llorar.

“Si no me dais lo que busco, esconderé mi canto bajo las piedras, ocultaré mis plumas bajo las estrellas y guardaré mi estela entre las olas del mar, de modo que nadie podrá volver a verme jamás y será como mi belleza jamás hubiera existido.”

Los dioses, temiendo que el pájaro cumpliera con su amenaza y desapareciera del mundo para siempre accedieron a su petición. Usando tres de sus lágrimas, crearon tres copias, puras y prístinas de un color más blanco que la propia luz, y los dejaron para vagar libres.

 

Al principio todo fue bien. El pájaro, contento de tener alguien con quien compartir su mundo, voló alto y les mostró a sus hijos el color de la aurora, el sonido del viento peinando una tierra descuidada, los reflejos de un sol amarillo en un millar de sombras sin dueño. Durante un tiempo, todo fue bien. Los hijos compartían la alegría de su padre y todos se alimentaban del amor del otro. Pero un día, mientras el pájaro observaba a sus hijos cantar, descubrió en sus ojos un brillo apagado e inerte, el reflejo de una luz que no les pertenecía y que jamás había sido suya.

Fue en ese momento cuando el pájaro entendió. Los dioses le habían engañado. No le habían proporcionado compañeros. No le habían dado hijos. Todo lo que los dioses habían hecho había sido crear reflejos sin matices, copias planas y vacías de sí mismo.

Triste y cansado, el pájaro decidió descansar y buscó refugio en el abismo más profundo que pudo encontrar, allí donde ni siquiera la luz del sol podía alcanzar y el sonido se ahogaba en su propia desesperación. Durante varias épocas permaneció alejado del mundo, arropado por el frío calor de unas plumas cuya perfección cada vez le costaba más soportar.

Alejado de todo y de todos, el pájaro tomó una decisión. En la oscuridad, allí donde sólo sus plumas iluminaban el rostro blanco y puro de sus crías vacías y perfectas, el pájaro supo que debía morir. Sabía que los dioses jamás le permitirían marcharse de este mundo, pues eran demasiado egoístas para permitir que su belleza se extinguiera, de modo que el pájaro esperó y esperó hasta que los dioses estuvieron de nuevo enfrascados en uno de sus absurdos conflictos y entonces actuó.

Cuando el pájaro estuvo seguro de que nadie le molestaría, miró a sus tres crías a los ojos y, una por una, les ordenó que devoraran su cuerpo, que consumieran su mente, que extinguieran la llama que brillaba en cada una de sus plumas. Las crías, obedientes y confusas, accedieron a sus deseos, pues el pájaro era su madre, su padre, y todo lo bueno que habían conocido.

Con cada bocado, soles enteros se extinguían, realidades completas desaparecían y una nueva lágrima se vertía. Pero el pájaro no lloraba de dolor, ni de rabia, ni de tristeza. Lloraba de felicidad. Porque sabía que, una vez su cuerpo hubiera desaparecido y sus recuerdos se hubieran extinguido, una vez su mente se hubiera disipado, sus crías serían libres de vivir una vida que a él le había sido negada. Una vida en compañía.

Cuando todo acabó, las tres crías se miraron a los ojos y encontraron en ellos un reflejo extraño y ajeno, brillante y templado. El reflejo de la vida. Descubrieron que sus plumas habían cambiado, que su canto era ahora libre y que la luz de su estela era ahora real. Pues ahora eran hermanos, y como hermanos se querían y se tenían los unos a los otros.

Los pájaros, nacidos de nuevo, lloraron durante días y noches, lamentando el vacío que su madre, su padre y todo lo bueno que habían conocido había dejado en su pecho. Pero aquel vacío no estaba vacío del todo, pues retumbaba con un eco extraño que ninguno de los tres supo reconocer hasta que los sollozos cesaron y los vacíos de su pecho se unieron para dar forma a un canto lejano y distante, el canto de una madre, de un padre y de todo lo bueno que habían conocido.

Perplejos, asustados, los pájaros llegaron a la conclusión de que no habían sido abandonados, de que todavía quedaba esperanza, que sólo tenían que salir a buscarla para encontrarla. De modo que, en un pacto de solemnidad, los pájaros acordaron salir en busca de su madre, su padre y todo lo bueno que habían conocido y decidieron que cada uno de ellos buscaría en el rincón más lejano.

Y así fue como uno de ellos decidió adentrarse en el alba, fundiendo sus plumas del color del sol con la mañana, buscando una madre. Como otro surcó las olas de la tarde, rozando con sus plumas rosadas el mar del atardecer, buscando un padre. Como el tercero decidió perderse en el crepúsculo, donde cada día era devorado y vuelto a expulsar, buscando todo lo bueno que habían conocido.

Cuenta la leyenda que, cuando llega la noche, los pájaros se reúnen una vez más y se ocultan tras la oscuridad del cielo para llorar juntos, y que cada estrella en el firmamento es una lágrima caída por cada día que pasa en el que los pájaros no encuentran una madre, un padre, y todo lo bueno que una vez conocieron.