Hazy air lingers above a cloud of dust in a barren desert
little fragments billowing in the wind.
Cover your mouth from the dirt and grit
dry fingers cracking in the southern heat.
The cloud passes exposing oracles of glass, floating weightless in the air.
The composition of something alien lingers here.
Every element needed is contained in an unnatural sphere
invisible strings linking them all together in a web of translucent connections, slung across the ground
cold to the touch despite the midday sun.
Pulsing an unknown sound that travels through the air,
creating another sense..no man-made logic could ever be found here.
Abstract movements ripple the surface of every sphere,
observed by a pair of white eyes, azurid opal in the empty landscape.
When people think of space they think of beautiful ethereal gases swirling around, of stars that wink in the night, of the continuous black abyss. Space is accepted by every human being consciously but few return to look up and wonder what secrets it may hold, what we have already discovered and continue to explore. Cosmic inflation is part of the theory of relativity made by Albert Einstein in 1917. I’d like to say that recently new light was shed upon the concept – but since super rapid expansion is faster than the speed of light.. I won’t. It wasn’t until over 80 years later that physicist Alan Guth continued to study cosmic inflation making theories of his own, theories that are now correct. The theory of ‘inflation’ you’ll be glad to hear is very simple, it involves an exponential growth spurt in its first trillionth, of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second. That’s a massive growth in an embarrassingly small amount of time. What I like to call the Benjamin Button effect, because he’s a weird little baby, growing backwards though time, and it hasn’t stopped expanding since (since being 14 billion years).
This inflation is associated with waves of gravitational energy that leave ripples in the very fabric of space. So much so that it has left a mark on the oldest kind of light in space, the Cosmic Microwave Background. Fancy. The CMB as they call it was created at the time of the Big Bang and the gravitational waves are a type of energy that was created during the party, spreading out across the universe when it all kicked off. It is thought that this light created the seeds that grew into all the stars and galaxies that now exist.
This new discovery can now tie three of the four fundamental forces of nature together, like completing the outside barrier of a massive puzzle, and we all know how that feels. This means that scientists alike have made a massive step towards making a theory of everything. Take a moment to imagine that: today’s lesson is ‘the theory of everything’. It is these discoveries that can make only dreams of the imagination possible, often scientific benchmarks are not recognized for years or sometimes even decades.
Therefore it is so crucial that they are not lost in the media and are spread across the news so that children can grow wide eyed at the prospect of infinity, of traveling into the unknown one day, of building technology the world has not seen yet, and creating their own ideas of how these discoveries can be used to better mankind. Einstein inspired one man eight generations later to make a theory that will now change the course of science forever. The power of this inspiration is now written in the stars.
What am I doing here?
Lying under all these symbols
looking up at the great winding staircase.
The stars shining above
A contorted face.
But I can’t stay here
not for long
I begin to struggle
to reach for the stairs
Black and white, like
The weight of these letters
Crawling through them,
their thick expectations
They move on me
heavy and heartless.
I’m so close now,
hand outstretched, I reach for the
bottom lip, only
I never touch it.
Frozen in time my fingers
stretch out for the stars
when around me
A thousand years pass.
And all along there was a
soft glow behind,
warm and welcoming
to every creature,
to every heart.
April 20th 1995. New Zealand.
Light split through the canopy of trees shining down rays onto the forest floor, parrots squawked flying in blurs of colour while the clicks of unknown insects formed a layer of sound that could never be pin pointed. It was warm and the stream was cool to the touch, mud squelching pleasantly through bare little toes the moss on the bark moist to the touch. A hundred ferns sprung up covering the forest floor and not a man-made sound could be heard for miles except for the little excited breath that ran through the undergrowth.
February 7th 2014. London.
Sanctuary, that memory that is a little blurred, a secret like an old moleskin journal forgotten as much as the first kiss, still painful like the last, the one that is remembered on trains or in coffee shops. Idle traffic lights and lazy birds. London, a city of shuffling feet and one stop bus journeys that only serve to take us to the next currency exchange. Days at desks and nights in the gym and perhaps a dream somewhere in the middle that elicits some relief.
April 1st 2009. Thailand.
Music pumped out of subbed speakers while the smell of sweat and alcohol lingered under the strobe lights. The beats became deafening and I opted out of the next round of buckets for the hotel room. Blood still coursing with its ball room partner, like a dance my mind whirled around. As I walked across the little island market towards sleep the waltz guided my legs instead to the beach. Still sweaty from the club I stripped off making for the water. The long expanse of sand deserted, swimming out further and further until the shore felt too far to return to, a distant memory floated by. Lying on the surface facing the stars, the universe opened up, an unknown abyss stretched out before me and I swam into it willingly.
September 15th 2008. London.
Bright lights, fashion galore and so many new people to meet. Discovering places at the simple top-up of an oyster, everything at your fingertips. So different from the countryside, no hour wait for a bus here. Excitement that quickly withdrew when it was established that consumerism and killer instincts built a career, names were important especially how many you knew. Fast learning was required to establish a settlement and like the new world it was all done on the pretence of someone believing they were more superior. The forest, my dog and my country life seemed very far away.
August 4th 2013. Covent Garden.
Summer in the Garden again, my favourite time and place in the city. Here it is alive, well known enough to be sophisticated with boutique coffee shops and brogue filled jazz bars but with a flow of tourists in the centre that could easily be avoided if you knew the way through the maze of side streets. Basement bars made of walls of cocktails and subtle lights creating a soft mood to suit any palate. Here I find my way, my own way through streets familiar to my regular places. The atmosphere in summer is so light, like a romantic song, umbrellas in the sun. The same light as sanctuary and so some feeling of it too, the cobbled streets and easy laughter fills the air with trees greening them like an old Forties movie.
June 4th 2013. Thailand.
Lying down rocking slowly the motion both pleasant and soothing as a breeze lightens the bright hot sun. Waves slosh against the boat ploughing through the endless sea. An old feeling re-kindled, a fire that fills every muscle with a misplaced freedom. Every day on the boat, into the sea again or across the island on a small moped searching for another hidden beach where bare arms would reach for the sea again and quick legs would scour the rocks to great heights, scaling boulders with no eyes on your back just the heat of the sun and the sounds of the island for company.
November 16th 1997. New Zealand.
Pulse racing as the gate creaks under a clumsy movement before I’m up and over to perch on the top, leaning out for a mane that lingers just out of reach. He moves closer so I can touch him, brushing his soft nose on my face. An unconditional love, escaping the world of rules and regulations, I slip onto his back and cling on with firm determination. He swings around suddenly into a canter and into the direction of the mountains, his soft gait feels like the speed of sound no stirrups support my bare feet, no saddle to hold onto just the trust I have in my friend and the feeling of flying again. The others move to join us running along beside him and the feeling of belonging to something more overwhelms the senses leaving open hands to welcome the sky.
July 16th 2013. Austria.
Some hair escapes into the wind and streams behind as we go faster on the bike, deeper into the mountains. Snow-capped peaks and ever green forests remind me of my sanctuary, the memories I so desperately avoid. It comes back again, the feeling of being free, my arms tight around his waist as we speed past waterfalls tumbling down rocks. We stop in a valley where more waterfalls feed into a lake, iridescent blue under the watchful gaze of the mountains surrounding it. This was meant to be a romantic, a good day. But it only served as a reminder that the rest of my time plays futile games to divert away from the memory that always pulls at the heart.
February 9th 2014.
Painting a perfect portrait of a future everyone else sees, the memory like a 40p postcard in comparison to the responsibility of success in this vast prison of glass windows. An unconscious thought that lingers in the open like a wild animal that has strayed out of its habitat into unknown territory. Conforming to the same paths, well-trodden trails where you bump into the line of people ahead of you and everything comes to a standstill. Curiosity tempts all creatures away from the path but few have the courage to leave it and make their own. Wherever you are the sparks of a fire will light up those memories, a passion that runs deep within, some people feel it calling and some people don’t. I feel that in a way it would be a kindness not to, as living a life torn is both incredibly painful and wonderful at the same time.
‘Short & Snappy’
The Left Hand of God by Paul Hoffman follows the story of Thomas Cale, an acolyte of the vicious and mysterious ‘Redeemers’ and begins with the simple premise of a boy trained solider who wants to escape. Set in an alternate medieval world full of lies and deceit Cale fights the regime he was brought up in that is both controlling and religiously orientated. Breaking the stereotype of teen protagonists with super abilities, Hoffman’s novel is often said to be a story of strange contrasts. On one hand Cale & Co. experience common themes of teenage coming-of-age, love and light-hearted humour but are also dealt gritty adult cards such as war, anti-Catholicism, rape and murder leaving the story with dark tones that intensify the plot when you least expect it.
What may be an arguable point on this novel is that Cale’s character often vacillates between super hero and mid-teenage crisis creating a few uneven plot conventions but at the same time making it accessible to both teens and adults. Hoffman presents a vast array of colourful secondary characters that interweave enthralling sub-plots and despite the common themes of the novel make the plot difficult to predict.
Hoffman’s work can be compared to that of Jack Vance and Joe Abercrombie, with a spell binding sense of mystery my fingers eagerly turned the pages from start to finish. The alternate world of the Materazzi sets the scene for an epic fantasy, with quirky names like Chacellor Vipond and Idris Pukke Hoffman creates a unique tale skillfully crafted in its ability to keep the ending ambiguous the whole way through. Readers will be left Sherlocking after answers while searching for the two follow-up novels to find out what happens next.
Lonely wanderers go home,
Lonely but not alone
Clouded eyes and stiff feet
Ask your father how do ya’ fall
Like a leaf sitting on the ground
Good for nothing except kicking around
Maybe you’d be satisfied to never know why
Sometimes, someone just wants to die
An empty hand stretched out
A hungry mouth
And a mind full of doubt
Some rivers will never run dry
Other mountains move
The silver linings of every sky
Those cuts on your hand
Simple love so easy
There’s always someone carelessly fast
There’s always questions nobody asks.
Faced with something extraordinary
Do you quiver
In the face of defeat
Let it conquer
A sea of black abyss
Tearing the seams of reality
Killing every composure
Stale air getting closer
Contorts in the shadows
Dark and unnatural
Hesitate in front of an ‘other’
Not from this world
But free as any other creature
Approaching curiosity blurred
A fluttering of breath,
Is all to be heard.
And your faced not with a foe
But in light of the courage
You had not yet known.
Fiction writer and poet, Dreamer. Muser. Favourite quote of all time: 'faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens'.
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