Twitter is a mindfield. You can be as careful as you want; stepping through images and videos of sunrises poured from vessels of gold and smokey greens, and then you go and stumble onto a naked man being stoned and beaten to death on the edge of the world. Bit like memories..? Those which salve, and those which sting.
Scrolling up and down our mindlines. Finding something which agrees with our temperament. Finding something which stokes our anger – or fans the sparks of a new fury. They’re all there, electronic and chemical. The Dragon Dance of our brains. Fetching pleasurable images and voices from magical times. We hit our mental likes, maybe even retweet by telling someone close. But what about that flash of image – the one with the fallen wall? Rubble lying across the road, a concrete-pale shatter of bricks. Makes you hesitate. Draws you in. You pretend to resist, but you want to see what that is in the rubble: the thing that looks like an evil flower. Your mind recognises your interest. Slowly going to a close up. There it is. You see it now. Not a flower, someone’s arm upright. Naked. Slightly bent at the elbow. Streaked red. How does it stand? That stalk of arm. Finger-petaled. Splayed, as if trying to snatch a final fistful of air.
No woven ocean of green canopies here. Well, maybe? There’s an elm tree in the background. Stretching above a hedge. Trying to climb above this wasteland, throw its branches above the reek and ruin. Your eye might try to climb there, too, but the flower beckons. Fingers glistening with nectar. A sanguine of sugars perfuming the air. Coaxing your eye. Coating your mind with its image. Periphery vision narrows through a vase’s neck. Just the flower in view. To hell with the white-marbled blue above. The breeze’s soft murmur against your skin. The flower obscures all, now.
Here, your mindline stills. Maximising. Careful to make sure the image is captured in its lens. Your moving towards it, and the rest of the world collapses into darkness. What’s the flower growing out of? Not tarmac, surely? You’re closer now. Silver briefly catches the light. Silver dulls around one of the petals. Light entwined with metal. A life orbited by metal?
Something shifts under your sole. Just a piece of concrete. Pieces scattered around the base of the flower. Quilted by cloth. Ragged cloth. Blackened and frayed. The flower reaches up from a soil of mottled flesh. An eye regards you from the soil. Unmoving. Mirroring your eye: mirrors within mirrors. Floating in time. Total screen time approaches precariousness. The fatal gaze. Internal. This flower will grow in you. Grow into you. Change you.
If you let it.
If you keep scrolling. Allowing more images to blossom within the bruises of your mind. Up and down that mindline of yours. Minimize. Let the surroundings unfold around the image. See, the flower will begin to shrink. To accelerate away from you. Redshift. Bury the flower amongst the widening lens of light, forms and colour. Only when the flower is given the sustenance of your closeness do you give it power. Oh, those flowers will still lurk in your mindlines, and you will sometimes find yourself hesitate when you see them emerge from the breath of bombs, or bullet-songs. But, you must try and climb like that elm tree; rise above the reek and ruin. Ascend above the decay – the rot of trauma. There is more to savour in the sky than among the thorns that seek only to tighten around your neck, or drive their barbs through your body. You must try. Try to widen your gaze. Smother the flower with its surroundings. Only when you let yourself stand close to the flower will its thorns cut you.
“I sometimes think that never blows so red
The Rose as where some buried Caesar bled;
That every Hyacinth the Garden wears
Dropt in its Lap from some once lovely Head.”
Omar Khayyám, Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám
or something akin?
gives the air skin
rising in coils
a stem upthrust
shaping light tight
-ly clenched flower
watch its petals open
one two three
eyes slit open wider
on rubble-red souls
who raise their flowers
from roots of gore
you choked back acid sour
and now these flowers
have thorned their scars
within your mind
bouquets of bright brilliance
some other’s life
faces caressed by hands
of a chemical sun.