Friday, August 14, 2009

The Saharan Siren Song (redux) -23/07/2009

(Co-written with Alex Scott)

There was nothing out there to see,
And I could see that.

Eyes couldn't contain it,
Legs couldn't resist it,
That feeling you have,
Every time you're on a ledge looking down,
Hearing that voice, saying (Step off).

Stepped out of the Berber tent and into the furnace.

(Step off)

Ahead – the black stubble stretch,
And in my hand a bottle of water.

...and it was that falling-off-feeling,
Stretched out flat forever,
And calling to me,
From desert mountain mirages,
Where a Bunsen-burner blue flame sky,

Ripples and swirls,

At first I headed to the north, mistaking a cairn for your slumbering form
– but collected only blood red rocks and bad omens for my trouble.

Those dunes,
Those dunes taunted me.
Like friends in high-school,
Who egg you on into a fight.

Before I left,

I said – I always get my man –

Nothing left behind to pull me back.
Those feet, once mine,
Pushing forward into nothing,
Like my turn in the queue has come.

– that I was going to hunt you in the wilderness –

And I walked and I knew and I just realised I knew...

- as I reflected that the night before I had introduced myself as your own conscience-

...I just realised I knew,

I could die,

Out here.

It was as your conscience I set out to chase you.
A mad man’s mission: find a man in a grey gelaba in the black desert.
As mad as it was,

I knew I would succeed.

I could die out here.
Not a realisation of the harshness of the Sahara,

I would succeed.

That we knew already.
But I could die out here

... in peace.

Looking from the cairn,
The silence of the place pounding like a thousand hidden drums,


Like all my machinery got switched off,

The silence of the place

And I’m not thinking,

Asking, talking, looking, waiting,

Or hoping,

The silence of the place,

The silence of the place,

The silence of the place,

The silence of the place,
Not seeing,

(A thousand hidden drums)…

I could walk out here and never come back,
Drown beneath those - black - rocks,
Like there was nothing else to do,
I wanted to,

I still want to.

I made first for the tree, and then out,
Keeping the dunes to my right and the mountains to my left.
Scanning the limits of the reliable –
Where the trees became goats,
Became men,
Became finally nothing at all,
Shapes twisted by heat horizon.

Infinity at boiling point,

Everything was flecked with uncertainty

Black marble,

Suddenly smashed by God...

A man in a grey gelaba,
In the black desert who does not want to be found,
Will not be found.

...As he threw up his hands and said…

I knew there was a road, but I also knew your hunger for nothing

…"Ah fuckit!"

And so struck out perpendicular.

Leaving empty scattered everywhere.

A gamble in the desert.

A mess not cleaned up,

But it was together


We walked back

Turned around yes,

- And you said you would not go out again

But I didn't come back,

…you said you would not go out again
-and you did,
And I sit here at camp.

Nothing else to do,
So much nothing,

Your conscience rests

Can’t contain it,

And you are gone.

Not empty enough

Not empty enough

Not empty enough,



I can't say emphatically enough what a great experience it was working on this with Alex Scott. The process, the story behind it, and how we ended up constructing (or in my case re-constructing) this poem, is a story in itself . But any in-depth discussion of that here could overwhelm/distract from what we've got, so I'll just say it was a pleasure and leave it at that.



No comments: