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Swans - To Be Kind

Posted on Tuesday, 13 May 2014 | No Comments


- and yes, at last, the morning had come, and wasn't the dawn all the sweeter for it this morning, now that the light was damned with us all? The landscape was already bleached dry, ready for the moonfall. Here he could have quiet, and drink. A few beers had risen him from the bed: another couple had helped him drive off the packed motorways heading to nowhere - such futile fools, do they still think these toys will save them, they deserve this - and now he was crashed out in the desert he could rely on the final mescal to see him through. He brought it to his lips again, steadied for crucifixtion.

The churches would be full for this of course. This was always what their business was leading up towards, but didn't they feel the anti-climax bearing down on them as that judgement moved in, didn't they feel so betrayed and stupid that they'd got it all wrong? It was meant to be fire and brimstone, the salvation of the calcified chosen, not this blunt hammer of the stars. He had to stop, bear heavy on the ground just to have these thoughts. He was ahead of schedule, already seeing that rapturous sky breathe in and out and twist itself around his heavy head in comic reproach. Slow down, slow down, there is still so much sliver yet to be seen. Another glug of mescal, and crawl again. The incline was not steep, but every climb seemed to bring a new atmosphere to struggle through.

He was glad to do this alone. There had been dependants, lovers, others previously, but they were not needed now. May they find their own peace in armageddon: this journey was to be taken alone. He would let the mescal ooze through his system, seep into every pore, let that devil take the reigns again and guide him up through the dunes and hills of this terrain that he had chosen to wage his last battle in. Through this solitude he could make his peace with all life, locate within himself the ghosts of all those that had tried to cure him or otherwise tormented and forge a final grudging forgiveness. How much peaceful it all is when pain is inevitable, that terrible anticipation finally over. At hand - the end, the last, greatest truth.

The prickling heat of the desert was less than he expected, but he still felt irritated, his skin lashed by invisible demons. The red, burned flesh still stood out against the light's last dimming. Drink, drink again, soon you shall not even feel that - there was still less ruin and decay here than the smashed up cities, burned out by hedonism and nihilism already, now just gracelessly crashed as the clocks strike for midnight. A few may still be trying to eat at the restaurant by the blood stains and broken glass, a last waltz as the buildings already crumble, a few will probably look for the last dregs left behind to steal. Most will have boarded themselves up, taken refuge in suicide or in dreams of making it through the other side with their miniscule shelters. Sweat was colluding with the gushing wind to make his last stand a surrender - but no, this is not the time to give up, here at the moment of triumph.

He now felt the infinities of time as a physical fact, not as a theory, he felt love so nauseous it burned at the back of the throat - no, this wasn't just the worm this time, this was more righteous and pristine than even that. Every physical degradation of his exhausted, beaten-up, drowned body was a treasure, a signpost arched towards the arms of glory. Just to have existed, just to have exhaled, is to have been part of forever and to be eternal, a final mescal revelation now set down. Soon we will all be held by the fire, but I am the one who really faced it, drunk and disillusioned as I have been I have found my calvary and I have made my final fight a testament to the power of that cracked human spirit!

Briefly he would weave in and out of consciousness: at the very back of his mind he knew the worm was taking over, slowing his body down for the shutting. The skies were dark lighting, the opaque density of the hurtling moon hanging over in gothic beauty. He raised the bottle to his mouth again, found it empty. He toasted to the taste of the emptiness, then discarded the vessel. It had got him this far, but maybe this was the next skin to be peeled off, another layer of deceit to be set aside.

It was speeding up now, taking over the sky, blotting out the clouds. The whole world would soon be black, ready for the bright light pouring out of the mouth of oblivion. The howl of the crushed atmosphere over-ran his failing senses, the scene falling in and out of focus as the cinematographer sets up for the final scene. There can only be one route now, one possible solution: to embrace and praise the coming calamity.

In the middle of the desert, it felt as if all life that ever could be or would have been was here, folded into one moment and once space. He could see everyone he had known and the millions he had not - the mescal or maybe something granted him this one last transcendent moment of contact. Even here, he was not alone, never could be alone. Not here, not now, as all rushed towards its exit, a choir singing in unison at last. Shaven of corporeal form, they looked so kindly as to shine with benevolence.

Gravity's great symphony was bearing down. He started to scream, but the upcoming void sucked it up, warped it, send back out a desperate and manic laugh, the punchline of the cosmic joke. His cry became an applause, became praise, became a hallelujah, bouncing out from one corner of the universe to another, becoming louder and louder as the descent reached for a climax, and wasn't it just holy, being here for this drunken doom, this holy invocation, his voice more powerful than anything else as it filled his head and his world at last, and just for one ever-lasting microsecond as everything stopped before the fires began, he could see it all, see them all: millions and millions of stars, the true majesty of existence revealed, and don't you have to laugh at the timing, the world's flourish unveiled just as our fate is sealed, the final tender caress?

But to be here, to see the stars as they will never be seen again, this was finer than any heaven that could be, that final blink before the fire. Millions and millions of stars, stars never seen again.

Inspiration taken from Malcolm Lowry's 'Under the Volcano' and Lars von Trier's 'Melancholia'.

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