The Ghosts Behind the Universe #2


The days like this shine supernatural gleam like the hush of a library amplified without the jagged artefacts. Fine machine-tool elements where we are the minute grooves of the lathe, smoothly fitted and motioned like the silent pivots the earth wheels about. Intensely real, infused with meaning.

There’s an elderly couple who have slotted themselves into the blue boiled seating on a local train. I feel their gravity-chord brush me as they pass and squeeze ahead and beside me, engaging an automatic ghost corridor between them that smells of old wooden mantles and a vase their granddaughter bought them that they never liked. The elder lady and her Sunday lunches are warm beside me and without acknowledgement her ghosts have felt me and classified me, and I am no threat to her green parka and folded eyes so they smile me in.

The walls that move about the train show signs of height and shoulder spans, described by freshly jewelled streaks of reflection and irritated spaghetti names. I’ve been to these spaces when night is pressing the distance we see into metres, caving the experience to a sodium-glare’s width where the golden innards of the universe tumble clock-work-heavy rumblings, interwoven with the whistling hum of the electrified tracks.

Can you hear it too? Moments later through ant-halls and scurried spaces where scent and smell must have unknown effects on the nostrils and the brain, we sit facing the lateral rails beneath the city a little. And beneath that still there is the rush of a brook through the rusted grating between the tracks, momentary sound of occupation and not the sound of water at all but the ticker-tape of its passing, gurgling and marking in infinitely divisible sentences its conversation from god to sky to cloud, to eye-fall transit and gust, through and between the silent spaces that enclose the stained grey monoliths of the tower block’s heights. But I stop, I’ve moved too swiftly in my thoughts and carried along the coursing water’s route, but when I blink into the now-space the sentences of others filter in again and I’m watching legs carrying torsos containing men, into the bright and tailored interiors of those iron centipedes that too transfer and continue as the water does. Does water rest when it meets rock corrals and dream it is the shape of everything it has travelled and traversed?

Rising into cool clear wind, or have the burrows descended below? Sound and light are broadened again, details in the softer distance. That burning connection with all-things is gone now, or itself ghosted lower in my perception. Too much of it will wither the flesh rapidly, sucking actuality into a wave-form maw of possibilities. It dissolves you whilst humming a tune you won’t ever forget, lulling you into an endless sleep with stars in your eyes.