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TALES OF THE DEEP ARK

THE ZONE

You have many maps, but what use are they? Their folds contain no meaning. No laughter in the coppice. No evening light, laying softly on restful slopes. No wide eyes, gleaming in the green glossed night.

This is terrain that can be surveyed only through walking, delineated by the cartography of perception; muscle and organs repurposed to augur, clinometer and theodolite.

A place where memory, topography and ritual entwine, where the mind dissolves without a sound, bubbling in sensate effervescence.

This is every place and no place.

BEACONS

Fuel taken from the forest, a stick for each soul, fed to the cairn’s fire.

Then, an answering glow from the south’s sugared peaks. A glimmer to the north in the mourning night.

Red light on water, radiating from this crown, tracing the subtle body of your isle.

Just imagine it.

THE ENCOUNTER

It is in a place of graceful shapes you meet. 

He manifests in moonlight, slipping through arched branches, compound eyes and insectile head materialising from the canopy. Chitinous flesh spun solid from beam and vapour. 

His baritone issues from air formed mandibles and you fall to your knees, craning your neck towards the voice of this stop-motion prophet. Full of warning and reassurance, foretellings of a contented apocalypse, tales of the plasma that carries all things. Glorious secrets that leave you weeping in the leaf litter. 

Did you think this was some spectre? Some moonstruck fancy? No… you met a forest god.

Voyage of the Deep Ark

It’s beyond you, the workings of it, beyond reason itself. That you could just walk out here, past the limits of material circumstance.

To walk through this darkness, striding towards the bruised horizon, your shipmates ahead, pillaring a golden slash of roiling sky, silhouetted in sentry at the wind’s gate.

To sail this rippling green sea, bobbing in pacific eddy, askew on infinite canted planes. Tacking across the long feathered fetch of land with perfect trim.

To catch the swell. To be pitched to the crest of the ninth wave, to climb the mast and stand level with the mountaintops, alight with blue fire.

Freed by the gnosis of coincidence, free to rise, to feel the pulse, the depths rise within you. The valley buckling upwards, bearing you aloft. 

Free to vanish whole, to decohere, to be swallowed by the glitchscape, digested by pixel and artefact in hysterical compression.

All those tiny motions in space that brought you here to this. A cumulative, massless momentum, defiant of all accounting. Erratic arcs of incidence, warped by happenstance to perverse configurations.

Ripples on ripples. An interference pattern. An ecphoric repetition of singular ritual; engrams, skewer stacked, smudged with soot and tallow and white ash.

This conjurer’s trick, this kindling of old embers. The spark and sudden whoosh of flame. A spectacular efflorescence of sensation.

An impossible grace line of smoke and chiaroscuro sky, etched with ragged stylus, wrought anew by glucose, love and madness. Sealed in moonlit mezzotint by flare and fuse and rocket’s salute.

The Cloud Of Unknowing

It’s easy to get lost here. Lost in the fog. Lost in thought. 

That’s why we go, truth be told. It’s the only way to find yourself.

(Just don’t forget your headphones.)

Anaphorest

Everything here is an invitation. The tender and tremulous green of leaves, the pines, jeweled with a million flaming points. Jets of young trees budding through a splendid mantle of fallen blooms, golden rocks and quivering ferns.

Staffs of slim silver birch, hollow nestled blossoms, music; oozing into you like liquid crystal, permeating your spirit with gentle warmth.

You dip your hands in the long grass and smile to the cliffs, high and silent. Heir to a pulsing knowledge, a joy without measure, without cost, guilt or penalty. Everything as it should be in this bubble of light, this perfect lobe of eternal spacetime.

THE GUIDE

Your fine, resolute, red-peaked guide, his colours a vibrant streak in your confluence. A rock so firmly fixed it seemed eternal.

That foundation’s fractured now. The vessel cracked beyond repair. 

A bronzed kintsugi, leaking water. 

The Bomb

One fateful conversation and the charge is set. When the blast comes you fly, scattering across the slopes in spangled murmuration.

One fateful conversation and the charge is set. When the blast comes you fly, scattering across the slopes in spangled murmuration.

You become men of the mountain then. Wild rovers, strewn arseways in ebullition, whirling blindly around a primal axis, a lunatic sinkhole gyred by silver clouds like great sweeping rips in the sky.

You become men of the mountain then. Wild rovers, strewn arseways in ebullition, whirling blindly around a primal axis, a lunatic sinkhole gyred by silver clouds like great sweeping rips in the sky.

There is no balm or respite in this danse grotesque, this ecstatic orbit of jump cuts, stuttered encounters, flickers and phantoms. Just the ruin of all self lit by tower’s livid flame.

You quail, seek refuge in the warm earth, only to flee your foxhole when the hill itself growls, rumbling beneath your quaking hands.

There is no balm or respite in this danse grotesque, this ecstatic orbit of jump cuts, stuttered encounters, flickers and phantoms. Just the ruin of all self lit by tower’s livid flame.

You quail, seek refuge in the warm earth, only to flee your foxhole when the hill itself growls, rumbling beneath your quaking hands.

You’re sick for a week after. Shamed.

And you’d probably do it again.