Dreams of Passion: a symphonic poem

Kada Williams

In the cave.
Waves throw foam into it, but there's a crisp silence, the rumbling dulled by the walls. If he felt like a dolphin, he'd dive off the cliff at the edge (and receive the plunge, so sweet on his skin). But now he sits by the fire and warms his hands. He can't hear the flames crackle. Time passes -- same as it ever was.


Shaken! If every human chest had a rectangular hole in it with an aluminum rod down the middle, passion occurs when that rod is grabbed and shaken. And then we are restless, we are wildfire, nothing can put us out.


What is passion?

For he feared passion. Passion breaks down walls which might be present for a very good reason: to prevent pain, to exert pressure, to achieve a constructive purpose. Live he must: so once in fear, pressurized by constant anxiety or rather restriction, next in rage and anguish (in cycles of plotting and quietly ashamed crying), finally exploding into normalcy.

(On a chair next to him sits the know-all figure of good judgment, whose advice is long-winded and exhausting, like a Henry James novel must be, but whose advice is also easy. It says to slice off excess and take things easy, to ask for less but make more of it, to follow through with "Ich möchte __, aber __." sentences. He always likes talking to the figure, but often feels embarrassed to listen. The sting of accepting how meaningless his suffering is: he should take it or leave it.)

What is passion? Are we struggling for our comfortable place in the world, or for money, for black rage and ambition, or for an obsessive need for safety, or for life and joy? Or do we lose ourselves in the rise and fall of empathy? Is passion inseparable from vulnerability, from pain, from weakness? From creationism to infinite renewal to Darwin to dukkha in Christian Europe, from the love of malady in art nouveau to the omnipresent energy of nature in Debussy, to indie bands in Sheffield cellars or to plaid jackets, and Infinite Jest, or whatever you want, it's all intricately unique and all the same.

(Though, I mean, I haven't really seen such a big pile of stuff as, say, Ginsberg's Howl has, so don't ask me. And no I haven't been to Sheffield, though I have heard nice things about the place.)


Wailing in the fields of hell. A pale skeleton sweeps through the field of sadness, a chewed-up purple sheen heaving in its ribcage. Again and again; the Ukrainian winter compresses the skeletons into a solidified lifescape of rotten straw, like butterflies on the yellowed page of an austere collection. Again and again, within every teardrop that leaves their eyes. Let them wail, let them cry.


Slicing the excess. "I'm heaving and sweating, garbles of fat excreting themselves through my skin which drip sizzling down to the ground like molten tears. I want to care for you, I want to give you all my milk, but you smirk, and holding a pocket knife ask question after question, slicing the excess off pouch by pouch." He is to be left a thin monster, a bird without feathers, like a rotating gyros bulk one sees in Turkish restaurants all along the Körút in Budapest.


Interlude. Emory snipped the top off a spring onion. He was sitting with his friends on the Backs: a red-and-white checkered picnic. Camembert, knives from the servery, baguettes, and a bite of the sandwich looking onto the river. He was a blade of grass in sunlight, nonchalant but glad inside. The air was like a thin white cloth skirt, and it breathed on the skin laden with gentle strokes.

Frank lay in the pool, strokes of the vibrating air affirming his plump belly. It's a good life (his head is back, his eyes are closed). Water flecks off him as he steps out of the shower. It drips down as he plops down into his swivel-chair in his towel. He sits back: this is the life. The computer whirrs on. There to finance.


A vision of utopia. A light green comes into view, first dull, then intensifying, as her gaze is pulled upwards by the twin beech trees. She proceeds through the light and finds herself on a lawn at noon with people scattered upon it, their tools and baskets thrown down, all dancing lightly and carelessly. For some reason, she doesn't wish to talk to them nor hug them. After a while, her curiosity brings her to tilt their chins so that she could take in their faces. The lady, probably in her thirties, gives her a smile as if a superb occurrence were taking part, which she could join in to understand if she well wished to try.


Triumph of a degenerate.

On February 29, 2019, at 19:59:33, the following transmission was received; source located near Proxima Centauri. The eerie resemblance with Latin allowed our classicists to quickly decrypt it -- the result was unsettling.

"I was the first one to go insane. I read some books, really wonderful books full of ambrosia and nectar where every figment had a meaning of its own -- a heaving, living, breathing thing. Later I made some friends and realized that others are even more insane. I would lie in bed with a dry nose and throat and thoughts buzzing incessantly -- I then realized how far you can travel on your own. Not that you'd want to: it's absolutely uncontrollable, it's terrifying! Well I didn't hear it then, but the drums started beating. I would think back to the days when I had a job, when there was normalcy. Now, the cord is totally severed and I'm drifting off into space, singing the whole while la la la. God help me..."

"And, and now I have JOY. Permafrost has thawed, the latent seeds have taken root and budded green, lush... lush, yes lush has happened, it explodes in brilliant green array! I'm on a starhorse gliding through the nebula and what's next is coming yes I will not screw everything up I will not screw everything up for me nor anyone but it's rickety; you tell me whether I want to leave our colony and see the constellations up close, you tell me whether I want to forsake everything me and my ancestors have set up, the whole hard-earned system, oh all the sacrifice and effort going into that system, who am I to elect to snap open and dissolve from it?! I shed my old skin and gracefully step out of it, then push all others forward. But who am I to proclaim renewal for this restraining choking fighting fleeing spirited fast and equal mass: HUMANITY!?"

Don't worry: everyone's insane. It's happening already.

We can help, though!


Coda. The air silently swirls, it's a cool day as I walk out and drip. drop. it plinkles on delight how there is dripdrop. dripdrop. bellflowers by the road plunkle... He's down at the riverside, the vast wet roundencompassing the source; he's drenched and no arms can spread wide enough. Then he's at the huts -- his friends took black canvas chairs to view the spectacle; he preferred discipline, he sat inside to prepare our stores for years to go. He's not interested in the apotheosis of existence, he never really was. He just marvels at it as he shakes the rugs out on the porch. He then returns to draw jars for the winter store, putting them snugly on the wooden shelf. All lined up neatly.

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