I’ve had this dream before.
Where I am lost in a labyrinth of stairways and corridors,
deep in the heart of very old buildings.
I pause on cast iron balconies
and gaze over the lines of dim-lit stacks,
incomprehensible text to a chamber of shadows
and the recurring restlessness that pervades this place.
Whether I am searching for something or being pursued,
it is clear that not all is as it appears.
So I keep moving,
going deeper into more claustrophobic spaces.
Ducking under a shelf, there are rows behind rows of books,
an ancient elevator and further stairways to corridors
each more decrepit than the last.
The walls peeling, unpainted for decades,
with large holes in the floors
to lower oneself through to other levels.
There, in the fear that it may all collapse,
is the tenuous grasp of any concept of time or place.
In the depths of these recesses
I usually encounter a maintenance man
sweeping up the darkness. He is disfigured,
terrible to look at, with a face full of sores,
appearing like a spot on the floors
that never see the light of day,
only the artificial glare
destined to flicker and stare
here for eternity.
This specter in the shadows,
blackened as a lung full of dust,
with a voice like a guttural growl,
There is always the knowledge
that he is at the bottom of or behind
this restless feeling,
tending to the furnace
or fitting pipes in a vast boiler room.
He’s in there, like a manifestation of fear,
a cancer in these cells, in the bowels of every building.
What else did you expect to find?
What do industrial noises accompany
like strange soundtracks to the illogical
landscapes of the mind?
You cannot measure the sky
or the spaces in-between
but note the temporal shifts,
like shades of the past,
bound here like ghosts.
Each is a subtle impression
or a tiny transmission
that is nothing if not familiar.
The man in the corner,
tosses another cigarette
to the floor
and in the impact,
the flicker of fire
into the flapping of a white bird
now flying towards
a shaft and up to the rooftop.
it is no longer trapped
but leaving a trail of smoke in its wake,
it moves through objects.
I’ll follow its trajectory
towards the edge of this wasted city.
Listless as it travels
to the periphery,
where lifting from memory,
the dormant imagery
that nourishes its flow from captivity.
This is how it usually ends.
Free from these stairways and endless corridors,
no longer bound to these cells or these selves,
no longer merely a shell
but akin to water
flowing from a source somewhere
in emerald mountains
and immeasurable distances
under brilliant skies.