…And then, the plague and the concubine entwined


The almond moon, wet, dour, and shattered before the endless waves of dank sky, gloated, burst, and burnt their skin as if it were alive. And of course, it was on their backs, as they faced the sewer outlet, reflecting storm’s conundrae, like so many boats of skin, among the universe’s sea, mouths a meter low and open, devouring the filth pouring forth from the shadows.
      Take a trail of lightening birds feeling across the night, sing in the darkness to bring light across all razor-life, turn down chaos for the second drink and toast with her in all vitallium, and let the planets grow their lungs, screaming in odour azure clouds, and laughing attention, where the pilgrims raise their glasses in dance, and there are days that roar in silence, since before our desire, there were no elements, only the obscuring remnants of ghosts, and before our breaths, there was no music, only the mild twitch of sunless planes.
      Miran, Halyenne, and Pahnyetta stood at their post facing the sewer duct. Two of them took the full brunt of the flow, a diligent triumvirate, swapping places, each time the work surpassed each of their regurgital abilities. Hours, moments, and lame sapped dead-flies buzzed around their work. The lake pouring away from the departing city moaning. Nervous leeches chit-chatting in the black river. Everywhere was bright with the radiated night’s colour of evolution inside each tree, each hum, and each fleshy woven leaf dropping from the trees in September.
      No-one really knew who was working, who was spent, and who was ready for more. Miran almost knew, as he’d been doing the job for most of his life. There were no tears in any of their eyes. They and they, had long since gone, and were closed behind phosphorescent flaps of decay. “K, come back-” Miran said, pulling the two younger workers away from the sewer duct, “That’s enough for today.” And it was, and it was, and the flow: instead of diving in their jaws, washed freely past their limbs, thrice, octival, eternate, rushing, past their forms, where Miran hauled them to the side.
      “But we’re not done yet! I know it! I know it!” Spluttering and choking, Pahnyetta tried to say, as Miran held them away from the plague river. “We are. Never mind all that in each life…!”
      The sewer men stood at the side, on a make-shift raft made of scrap wood laying in the mud. Backs leaning against the solid banks of soil where they had made their way down. Miran held his arms out to either side, pinning the younger workers against the walls, as they all breathed heavy, and tried to forget where, and what they were.
      “What happens is, they tell down lake, that no-ones changin’ the black anymore, and, afterwhiles, it should lighten off, and we’ll be able to climb back up.
      “How long will-” Halyenne tried to say, as another pour of gaseous clay and guts spat from the sewer duct. Smashing against their bodies. Beating against their bodies. Sliding by.
      “It’ll just beat itself out low for a while. Don’t bother trying to digest anymore. I’ve worked with a whole pile of you guys…” Miran said as the line of sewage began to lower- between breathes – and creep down over their bodies, “And there’s no damn point in getting lost down here, we’re damned anyways…! HAHA! Hey anyways. This is the top, we only go down from here! Haha!” He added, finding mirth from somewhere in the paralysing stench, “Screw it, lemme tell you guys a story while we wait for the pipes to die down. And this one’s true…”
      And this last comment made all of them howl like the workers they were, deadlocked against the sides of the sewer ditch, brazen and cheered, baring their teeth in high mercury.
      “You know, there’s the opposite job to ours… I saw a… A group of otherlings once. They were bathing in a lagoon. It was before I took this job up, or, another life, you know… One of those dreams, that folds back on itself, like the old birds do and don’t, back before… And… You know, I had had eyes made of bright green seas, we all did, once… I guess. And it was the same as this job I guess, a permanent tear, but with this, a permanent day… I couldn’t have been several lives old, could only have been a summer man, summer den, and all of the Autumn cellar dogs get to go home.
Didn’t know what I was doing that day, even better, had nothing to do! I was half thinking about climbing up the ladder, half thinking about laughing in the universes puke hole, but mostly, just walking, walking in the fields… I’d received a dance-leaf that day from my old heart, telling me to no longer dream, and, and so, it was a day to drink with the sun, as if the sun was here again, and was not just a myth among the crying denizens that we assault, and assault always. But I was in two minds, as all evolution is, and I rolled and laughed among the dark fields never remembering that I would have to enlist in one the following day. And I, and we, and you must too tell your story some day… When the sewer surges like this, and it’s time to climb up top.”
      And so, with the turn of Miran’s tongue to the end of his account, they watched the dark sewer skein roll down the muddy walls, and finally agree with the outlet pipes in the ground, taking it out, undiluted, and into the myriad lake rushing beyond the squalid bunker. They turned with this departure, and began to climb back up the wall, hooked claws digging into fists of soil, one, after another. They soon got to the top, after many hours, which were only winks in the horizon to them, and looked around themselves, eyes covered with dankened sewage and warped skin.
And although as no Daemonai enjoys admitting, where admittance is but an abstract term among kin, they had to hold hands to see, and to guide their silhouettes back to their quarters together, their eyes long sewn together. And in the heightened moon, which Gods had shaped within the last worlds, they walked together, groggy, and unsurpassed by the moods of time: down again swaying and tripping, avoiding fire-cracks in the tectonic sighs of the planet’s limbo talk, talks under paw and melted hardened heel-fur, just one sway too many making you taste, just how hot the limbo is.
      Halyenne, one of the ones who believes nothing, eats everything, and sings in waterfalls made of shadow gusto, piped up.
      “Hey Miran, you were saying, before you went off about all that other stuff… About the job that is opposite to ours? Or was that all just to get is out of the pit? Old Daemonai?! Haha!”
      “No no, all true, sovereign sister, I thought… I thought that perhaps… Ha! Alright. Well, it is true. Truer than our limbs clung together, truer than all this burning rock below our many feet, and, above all… When I’m swallowing all that damn sewage, it’s what keeps me going. Ha! Hell… Hell has nothing on this! Heaven sends a tramp to collect the stars and present them as flowers for this, damn… Hey, ok… Well I guess we go way back, back further before the mortal skins could see us, and, when there were things like Spring…” Miran said looking up for a moment silently into a rupturing orange novae cloud, “And you were, down at some lake?” Pahnyetta pitched in, “Aye! Sure I was at some grobletah-forgetten-lake! And the sky was not just made of sun, back when the sun was here, the sky was sick with the sun, heavy with the sun, my thick and two minded skin bled with sweat, I was human, I was here, I was on time in eternity, I was neither Daemonai, Spritalia, Canine, Felidae, Heron, or any other form of spirit.
I was just a man, walking in the moors, by dusk.
      And you must forgive the flesh being burnt from your skin now, since, just over that warmth, that we feel through the sewage, crisping on our bodies, we will soon be at rest, as the moon is blinder than us, our work has formed us into monsters, angels, and the final penumbra of chaos, yet, this tale has the rhythm of life, defying life. Aye, and in that time, young, roaded not by the quarrels of vocation or prayer among changing seasons, I used to bed down, peek, and watch those damn otherlings. It became my routine. A routine which I did not know, would lead me here, with you…”
“And this is bad?” Pahnyetta said, looking down, suddenly hurt by Miran’s conversation. Which is where they stopped in the bewildering heat and slow mist of the road back to their bunkers in the distance, and Miran said nothing for a moment. Before pulling Pahnyetta’s blind head towards his own blind head.
      “Hell. And in the fictitious levels of hell. Heaven. And in the groundless swarm of heaven. Upon my many hearts, upon my lungs that flame with smoke. No.
      Not bad.
      Give me a knife and I assail myself.
      Not bad, for, I am happy to be walking with you, my kindred desireless. We walk. And, I am blessed in the name of your life.
      Not bad.
      And glory upon my luck to be walking with you, my sister Pahnyetta, my brother Halyenne. Our furs are lined with limbs, our eyes are lined with stench, but, whilst we walk together, we are blessed! And! You honour me with your breath, your stride, your compay, which holds my frame straight, do you understand? Let us FLYYY FORWARDS! Among the moors and effortless grace of time! Let us shatter! Let us grow new bones! Let us move!”
      “Aye sir.” Pahnyetta replied, void of woe, ready to walk on.
      “Aye and aye, we walk on.” Halyenne said too.
      The bright hum of our eternities is not mortal within this day, since, we have at least the christening of our bodies walking. We are the blackening waltz.       We are the glimpse of imploding sun beyond night, that excels and swears among the clamouring birds. Strive! HACK!
      And like this, the tired crew began to walk again. Not within the fear of their endless days, but within the sound of a new music, unknown instrument, lebratto mist, and transcendent hymn that carried all of their voices into song, obscure, awkward, unchimed, bayoneting, and silencing the morbid rain alighting upon their shoulders, sunken heads, and striving limbs…
      “Well… I guess we were at the Otherlings, and the days before this. I used to go down there. Everyday. I didn’t have a mate, at that time, no, she, I, well… Much like the pretendancies of hope, there are only crows which spasm in bliss where the Buffaloes run heavy, ha! And, I used to settle down within the bushes, like a bird without wings, but gorging eyes… I believed everything that my spirit order told me, that, I must never look at them, since after that, I would be unable to see any else. And, greatly, this was true, but, always the arsehole, I decided that this season was named Miran! And that all seasons were possible! I knew very well that I was gazing at something that wasn’t meant for me, and, I’d already began the early training to become a plague swallower, but I retained something that made me want to introduce something else, like a shark fin in a bath, Or… Or… Just a damn different colour among all the sadness. That’s when I did it. I waited at the bottom of the stream, years, days, and seconds after the Spritalia had finished bathing, fucking, pissing, and swimming in the waters up-stream, and, among the jumping cat-fish, trying to leap up to the next bunker, I did it…”
      “Did what?” Halyenne said, shaking the old sewer back awake as they walked.
      “What we do each and every internium at work. It hurt. It hurt bad that first time. We didn’t used to have the academies and all that turmoil back in those floating days. My bloodline, made for this, helped, but, I was doing something way beyond what I should have been. I still remember the diving cat-fish quaking around my legs, as if they felt what I felt, which was nervousness and fire. A few of their teeth dug into my flesh, as if warning me, but, as I told you, the day was warm, the day was hot, the day was boiling, I had sight! I had all of the solitude of all the lands in my guts, and, as always… There is nothing you can do to deter a vitallic man from his ideas about life… Ha. It wasn’t like work, it wasn’t like what we do now… My jaw… Our tool… I unlocked it, let it sink down, easy, but had no idea what I was doing… All of the fish started coming in, riding around my tongue, so, and man it hurt like hell without all the training… But then I remember looking up, glugging everything down, go heavy or go home, me lass and I used to dance like maniacs to the bashing tunes of old melodies inside the catacombs of grace, the sun rose as I watched her surge made of blue shadowless light, and May was something I understood, my jaw, my mouth, my oesophagus, and my guts were happy devouring the light that was within the waters of the Spritalia.
      A boast. A triumph in the wind. A tale that takes less moxie than a hand smacking an arse cheek, although, what was to make the walk home easier across the black moors. Easier because the Daemonai were fed, paid, and only offered stimulation by what they digested at work. There was nothing else. No rebels, no glamour, no liquor. They walked home as a stripe of lightening does, among a traffic of wilderness, over the severed tiles of ground that were once linked, among undergrowth and strange wretched branches. Before the universe began again, their walk became harder, and they felt happy since they walked up a long crooked path, which eventually brought them to the entrance of the sewer swallower’s dormitory. They still wanted to know why they were mutilated, why the cosmos belched, and what the hell they had to look forward to if eternity was like this.
      Shall we all think better of the waterfalls that broke us down to humans? Shall we all permeate the lining into a caveat, that sinks into our bedsheets, and promotes dream fashioned into reality, there is no stoppage, only the rusting thighs of itching shadows… Carpets in the bunk-womb above you watching. Here down, the stitching is no better, fear is remedy to morning, and all workers in a locked room mean that soon there will be screams. Shall I join or be welcomed into the family? Are there calm parts of my job that I should dream while I decide?
      Then down comes the dance of fear and sleep. It mates with day and sees what we dismiss. And in all of the sewer men’s dreams, they saw truth. And it was silent, all apart from their toes.
      And life let go of them, just let them go, under the high hands of burnt trees over-top, creeping down, where below: many of the workers were also walking back home. The stone building mated black against the night. Rising tall and medium along the flat-lines of the null radiated darkness, light sickly red, and stagnant chaos green, the worker’s dormitory was perfectly ungothic, main doors in the middle of drifting fire-fly ghosts, yellow wood, swung open. Drove and drove crept in, like a puzzle of endless bodies all slumped and contorted from their different duties in the land.
      There were the Hive-Judgers, their title being a joke, the androgynous beings so insane, but receptive to the small changes in the atmosphere where they were placed on mile high pole-seats, way… way out in the death-light swamps. “Complain like a Hive-Judge” was a saying, and it meant: say nothing. As, this is exactly what they did. They just came back from the weeks they had been stuck out there, dilapidated and enlightened, where-by they would feed-back to a Harvest-Warden. The later had been bred to be able to understand the former. A Harvest-Warden was similar to a Hive-Judge, they are both of medium height, around, one and a half trees tall, and both have concave ears. The only really difference between them is that the Harvest-Wardens are allowed a low level of sentience, where, the Hive-Judges are allowed nil, since for their work they must be completely receptive to even a modicum of change in the atmosphere. The list of workers was infinite, as if specialised jobs were created for the purpose of genetic displacement, casual liaisons with eugenics, and some sprouts from the spring were just useless and insane, as if the people in charge were just stoned taxidermists, and art, was something too abstract to exist by their own hands.
      The two lads and lass walked under the sour looking hanging trees, and herds of people rushed them by. And it would have taken a lot to say anything, because their work had smashed them for the past two or three catacombs, without, any repose. And each pack thought they were harder done-by than the rest. Miran slapped a sloppy headed hive-member across the cheek, because they were sitting on his bench in the foyer. His hand went straight the mush of the Death-Singer’s face, the beings who were tasked with singing at the edge of cemeteries. Part death, part soil, part clay, part harp. The Death-Singer just recapitulated around Miran’s hand, ran along and inside his smock of unskin and leather battered shirt, and spat out down his trouser leg, singing all the way.
      “We sit. Let’s just sit.” Miran said, “No need to rush for supper, at least eh?”
      Waterfalls and waterfalls of beings pushed by them as they sat down. And what Miran said was true. The Plague-Men were augmented to digest the land’s refuge, their tormented bodies, as if always rolling their shoulders and nameless limbs dreaming about contortion, but, finding their life-fuel in this: no longer having to worship the bastardising furore of meal-time before rest. And this, this focus, at least gave them the offer of peace among an imploding crowd. We are given the attempt of planes beyond planes to ingest, reform, and pass out from one null to another, the ghost said.
      “Hey hey.” Miran said lifting his head, sensing the approach of the Nermutian.
      It was all such a damn rush. The rush of the sewer, the rush of the job, the rush of having become this, the rush of now, the rush of the past, the punishment of love, the growth of hate, the longing of dance, the fall of cooperation, the hive screaming with axes made of small knives in your mind, the drift, the drift… the here, the here…
They would blink, if their eyes had not been covered by many years, and crusts. So, they twirl inside when Miran says things like this. Must mean the Nermies are coming. Well every hive worker must have his doe, each doe must have her buck, each star her lining, each movement their life of grace. Unfair as always, and fairer than leaving each worker to their own mind. The Nermutian are a mist, that which flows over the fury of the crowd, and perhaps, the only reason that the burnt buggered hybrids of this place do not implode, or at least, implode more gently, within swarms of gathered fire-cells.
      “Shit. Here comes yours.” Pahnyetta said aloud, to her comrades, to herself.
      The Nermutian. The reason that many find the reason to work the next day, live even, die even, laugh even. They’re not real, in the old sense. They come to each worker, to supplement, to join, to drift, to appease, to lighten. And in gaseous expire from small pipe outlets in the corners of the walls, the sirens come, pouring out like woeing holographic mist concubine and gigolo.       For some, we are sat, like the sewer men, where this tail is held, and the Nermutian drift towards them like soft spectres in a tormented underbliss. For the others they’ll drift along later, as, it is at the foyer, that we meet them.
      Halyenne’s looked typical and took his hand, leading him away from his mind, among the swarming gathered. Her breasts bounced the same way his dreams giddied. Her arse grinded the same way his horror did. Pahnyetta just wanted a friend. The mist shot down towards her twisted toes, her gone spirit, and still burning flesh. And just like a dove still undecided about which way the wind will go, it built before her, into a man, a male face twisted into the grotesqueness of beauty, like a renaissance dream, asking her body, with a hand open forwards, will you take mine?
      They left, with their Nermutians. And. Miran knew, that he felt happy, somewhere.
      Miran was a doven battered hulk. And the Nermutian coming was war, not song, not parlay, not worth, not levity. And so she departed. Exclaiming in an unseeable mist before him. He scratched his head. Then started repairing his own sores and open wounds, sat there on that bench, calling out foul names every now and then, to spectres and life.
      Down down. Look up into the cement-soil, no-one takes a man dismissing his Nermutian. Miran sways from side to side in his seat as his comrades are gone, and he is left there… Still dribbling, from most parts. And the Nermutian Queen-King will never have any of it. She slides, transforms, and vibrates, low, low, low, in the womb she has below the city. Her role- as cruel as it is: to birth Nermutians. So in what might look like a punch-bowl, surrounded by spines… An avalanche, a different song, spikes within the spirit that Miran sees before him, trying to transform into the lust of his life, or at very least, his moment.
      Miran just potters on the seat. Doesn’t send out the normal signal for mating and elapse that most do. Maybe old fly Daemonai is at the end of his skin, maybe his next skin is made from robbing light from the other: all this streaming down invisible tubes and into the Nermutian Mother’s mind, so that she can better create his partner for the coming night. But then we get a lebratto, we get many. Because each monied pollen, each hidden shadow flux in economy knows the song, but, sometimes you get a battered warden. Too battered from human fruit before, and too knife holding in spirit too become appeasing. Only the old rage which departs stars.
      And. Reflects the dimmest parts of the cosmos back.
Saw a wood pigeon in the trees the other day, turning its wings inside out. Then. When my sadness was easily cocooned. I said ok. So my ghost is yours. And.
      No graceful thing would have dwelled here so long.
Miran opened his long soggy arms, the arms dripping on the floor. The heat soaked work of several weeks becoming eyes. And then there was a time for he and the Nermutian. For the pumper of this dream was far away, and the taker was spent, battling the localising affects of the pheromones taking him back to gentleness. And then the spirit came, in the nightingale, among the silence, within his fury, and floated down from the ceiling, some of Nermutian-Queen’s best work…
      And all that was left was to dispel the difference between Miran, Halyenne, and Pahnyetta, Miran, Halyenne, and Pahnyetta. And we all said that if you catch me talking to a life parallel to fantasy that maybe we’re partners in a more civilised world. And I had this whole thing planned with a dream. My reality. And still crawlin’ on top of the world hill of calm, I have walked all day to see one hare. Have my shadows, have my days, have my days, become here? I watch over a long landscaped pitch of time. And down within the job begging moment of my walk I laugh. Tomorrow Pluto. Before a gun made of soft black.
      There’s a long day made in the wind. And. We’ve never been relaxed in three years, but at least, lets just go: from a man with a name, and then. Make-love. Fuck. Fight. And now, I await the moon to become full. It is already full. The safety of thought is null without dusk. I dismiss. I grow between two pines, and then there I believe in our union. The magistrate has a fever made from antediluvian strides, the old bands torture, the new bands christen, and all upon a park made in the western parts of a city. And so so, my sweet Nermutian. If this is our dance, it is as follows. And. We walk away together. No steps. No talk. The crowd is not here. We walk up the stairs. We walk away into a room.
      She takes my hand. We end. I am so tired. I name her a spirit.
      “Hey don’t call me that name, call me my name…”
      We rupture our souls
      we rupture our worth
      and then the skin we smile becomes morning
and I wish again
      that we could stay here
      in this perfect delirium
      the bastions have woven back
      the night where we are knives have birthed its body
      perhaps we are all these poems and noons
      of thieves that wish to steal the lightening back.
      My eyes are here in my hands. Mostly, I wake and then dance. I dance bladed among the moors, since, you are not with me, and then, with me when I see… I drink and make a local pub of our flesh, this flesh, this scent, this dear time that falls away now…
      I wish that we were both human, and that our castaways were blue.
      Then dance
      Then dance
      Then dance
      Can we be here? Aye, we go.
      I down me last pint, and, write a short story, the above. Love is a tornado made from a waltz. And, I start making movements through the music, just snaking, just sabotaging, just listening to your heels, their invisible sound, our eyes made from one stare, our bodies able to swim, our nights able to be morning, your city able to be my home, our laughter able to devour all time, as this corner of space becomes running bears, and where, even though, your family sees me as scum, we have beauty.
      We dance where we never did.
      We only danced once. I’m pissed. I slop my pint. I feel your shadow. I twist. And sometimes, when I’ve had too many whiskies, we dance. The dance menagerie. I weep because the country looses the universes cup, and finally, the footy roars as I flick the station over to watch the boxing at the bar. Although my cloak is made of booze, and my mind is wasted, I go for a cigarette out back.
      Then I look up to the wasted stars, then I look up to the twisted stars.
      And I try to keep calm, but with all these ideas near me the only thing I can think is madness. Which I am not. I jog back towards North London, especially Kings Cross, my love, a lass called life. And still, this is where the dream goes. All the way blunt, and all the way real.
      So we’ve gotta few things going, the first story, and the transition of story.
      The night was the same as I see it from my window, fucked up, quiet, and full blooded.
      I’ll depart from you letting you know what I did inbetween.
      But the path between perfect fantasy and scent is fine, and, change a man between city and country, never. And then, be in love always, as hybrid as the law will allow. Be in love with the body, be in love with her hair. Then life. Is love that which is not felt, by fealty and horizon, all voices calm, all poems calm, a dagger man is dancing within the fields.
      Slice down sighs
      Slice down ships
      No poems. Lips. Go. Taps on the devil, tears on the street
      stories that belong no where
      police vans scream outside my village
      as we wink at the cosmos
      dancing our way


is Raoul Moat in a boat. His first words were ‘Newky Brown’. As well as being our most prolific writer, René also creates graphic art, paintings and screenplays.

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