the beast within

                                           I woke from a dream of trees and blood
                                                 and a voice deep as Earth saying                                                 

"Go Down Into Africa".

                                        I crucibled myself into a silver pellet
                                    and swallowed hard -
                       Diving deep into the jungles of my psyche…

                                            Descending with the sun in humid dankness
                              rank with insidious life, gross and dark.

              The brutal is the acceptable thing.

                      The war within the soul
                           is pointless - all
                                                is one
                      Cry 'Chaos!' and let loose the ties that bind
                             to the reasonable
                            the respectable
                               the nice
                    And howl and hunt with wild dogs beneath their moons.

             Let pitiless eyes
              gleam under leaves
                     leap high above waves
                     skim clouds
                                   A vast intelligence seeking life
                                         where there is abundance
                      and suffering.

                      Attuned to lightning spear and monsoon howl
                  at Ocean's heart the wordless cry is heard,

       Pulsing in the blood as thunder shatters hearing
          into the whiplash scream of rain
              driven from heaven by hell in the heart
                     of the storm.

          Go down into Africa
            and drown yourself in mysteries.
Stars sing in the darkness
                            and my blood sings with them
                                paeans of violence and hymns of destruction
                                   Rending limb from torso and feature from face

                                                                          in death I sink into the victim,
                                               Become a pulse, a dying heartbeat,
                                                      a pale eye,
                                                             a spyhole into the beyond.

                                 Taken further in, at one time tropic,
                                        burning in the belly,
                                               and arctic ice,
                                               Greeted by snarls, tearing jaws bared
                                        in a foaming leer of challenge or welcome -
                                                                                      I cannot tell which.

                     No grief in the kill -
                            No sorrow at taking of life -
              When all things are one
                     there can be no dissolution
                                                            or exegesis.
                            Your crime is not mine,
                                   Nor can it ever be.

                                                           Bleeding is a quiet way to die
                                                                  until the vultures scent you.

              Strange constellations stud the sky,
                     a blue-black vault pierced
                                   with savage worship
                                   and a passion deeper than dreams.
              There is seduction in the midnight air,
                     the musky prowl of hunting cat and
                            scream of dying prey and the taste of blood on the wind.

                                                                                       Sunscorched plainswind fuels the veins
                                                                                                         with fire.
                                        Head thrown back, roaring defiance in the throat
                                                      of existence.
                                        The compulsion to live -
                                               the obsession to live -
                                                      the passion to pass on life
                                        and become immortal -
                                 savage mating of soul with soul
                                        and a rending of being,
                                               violent communion -
                                                                  an opening -
                                                      consummation -


                                                          We live
                                                          on the edge of eternity.

                                                                Revelling in the slow violence of living
                                                                         stone deep
                                                                         bone deep
                                 Gold flows in the veins of the earth
                                                                  in caves far distant
                                                                         deeper than imagination
                                                                               crystal synapses glower
                                                                  and crack and grate with immovable force.

                                                            Earth takes breath once a century.

                                 Yet are there rare moments of peace, when
                                        at joining of forest with plain
                                               where the antelope stands sentry, scenting
                                                      the winds from the mountain -
                                        Life holds its breath a heartbeat, an infinite stillness
                                 echoing the eternity above,
                                               a fleeting space when it is safe to sprawl
                                 belly up beneath the watchful moon,
                                        when a wary sussuration releases tension
                                               to wing its way to sunrise
                                                                          with the kite.

                                                Time is no more.

              The weak die young here,
                     crushed in the hyena's jaws,
                            or mine,
                                   bleeding underclaw.

                                 Do you dare go down into Africa
                                        and meet us in the jungles?
                                               prowl and slide and tear and lust
                                        in the red and green and black,
                                               the mind's miasma and the psyche's shame -
                                                                          and saviour?

           There is no mercy.
              The beasts within the swamp lope on four legs -
                     and walk on two,
                            and crouching in the slime I tear
                               flesh from bone with teeth filed for shearing.
                                        Do not speak to me
                                        and do not speak of me.
                                               I am beyond your understanding
                                                                          unless you join with me
                                                                                      in Africa.

                          There is safety here.
                                 No subtle constricting lie,
                                        No smiling deceit -
                                               Hypocrisy torn screaming from its source
                                                      lies bleeding in the midnight dust:

                                                is dead by dawn, sung in by scintillant

                                                            There is purity in the sunrise,

                     and in the face of madness
                            there is a stillness
                                                            at the centre.

                                 Africa peers over my shoulder,
                                        smiles, feather-kisses my cheek,
                                                                                      "I saw you from afar...."
                                 Whirls round and darts into deeper green
                                               where wildness meets water and both become life -
                                                      Diving endlessly into the source.

       Cat-eyed I crouch in stillness over the falls
                                                and watch her fall forever…

                                 My heart dives with her into a deeper inception
                                        and all that I am dissolves into rebirth…
                                Do not look for me -
                                        I am not here.

                                                               my eyes.

© 1999 Joules Taylor

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