By Brian George
There was not the non-existent or its shadow the existent then. There was no space—and less beyond. Desire came at the beginning.
Are you sure that you live—or did the ancients mean something else by death?
Big bird had not unfolded his umbrella above the sky. No hand held it. There was not a body to contain the atom’s force. Was the mouth pregnant? Gods did not have complex clothes to put on or take off. Heaven flapped on a hanger.
Parapalegics blew instruments. Their skeletons were hung from wells. Species screamed at the non-existent waves.
Did the void breathe? The harmonic spheres were not yet hard. Ships were inhabited hallucinations. The Earth had no security force. Cargo was heaped on the docks. Fish flew into hungry mouths. Transparent wealth was free for the taking. Most signs were not difficult to understand. Myths demanded bodies.
Was no news good news? Nada. Sound’s messengers were not (quite) sound. Tornadoes were just embryos. They did not know how to act. They inadvertently swept gold cities off the ocean. Bad poets developed the most prodigious memories. Chaos plowed the tundra.
Rulers could not separate the spirits from their spears. Pyres grew monstrous. The dead had not yet discovered the hygienic use of flame. Grass sprouted from the bones of decomposing giants. It lengthened like an ascetic's hair. Perfume swept the battlefield where an epochal war was fought. A holocaust echoed.
Bat men like a bow had not bent Asia. Though few its inhabitants the land looked young.
Things were great all over. Masters were generous. Slaves did not keep secrets. Magic was natural. Objects could be taken back from dreams. Paranoia did not sacrifice untouchables to the gods on the cold steps of Mohenju Daru. There was no image not present to the tongue.
Is space large? The lines between stars were mapped by the teachers of a race before our own. To the listener: breathe in and out. Aside from that there was not anything beyond.
That which coming into being was covered by the void- that 1 stood on water through the violence of austerities. What did it contain? Past worlds. Sages found the bond of the existent in the non-existent. Poets danced on the ocean.
Magicians joined hands to impregnate the Earth’s history with their speech. They levitated the inhabited sun from where it slept beneath the ocean. Birth created death. Mists arose to obscure the source of conjuration.
Did the egg dream of a conscious uroboros? Whose voice was it that echoed from above? The gods came after.
The Gayatri meter was the yoke-mate of Agni. Usni was the meter that Savitr contributed. The Viraj meter was the privilege of Mitra and Varuna. Soma was the intoxicant to which the Anu meter corresponded. All partook of the elixir that generated knowledge. They made melodies into shuttles for the weaving of the paradox. Repetitions harmonized the rebellious paths of planets. Nature’s laws are habits.
Is the myth revealed at the beginning of the end—or at the end of the beginning?
Dark the beginning that circumscribed the dark. What did it contain? Under whose protection?
Ecstasy is the god from which the material form of Soma is distilled. Ego annihilation is the press. Acts of memory are the offering.
The emptiness prior to the constellations is spread out like one body. Memories wheel. Space itself is my only mode of transport. Before me appears the trace- of what I in a different place once spoke. Against the night the cities of the Andhakas float like sparks.
(Illustration: Victor Brauner, Prelude to a Civilization)