mantranaga

0.

The spin of the Earth ran out of control and our core shifted with the tilt of the axis.

In an age of digits and data, the process of compounding power continues, walls within walls built on bones, under horizons cut by hard lines.

A blindly knit patchwork of personalities play hopscotch with jackpots, silver spoons choking hopes, the climb to acquire inspiring insatiable desires.

Social lies up a ladder, inner circles tipped at triangle tops, by one bank account, our worth is measured.

By one common thread, those who were broken held on. Day to day living one continuous day, repetition of two steps forward, one to the side.

Like scars before rain, they feel what is coming.

I.

Axis Mundi had been buzzing, all thought exchange centred on the 1blood-AI merger. Now coming into Q4, it had caused a million meme regurgitations which almost melted the global network system by the speed of its reach. The whole world had imagined a cooperation between mutants and factions, a slew of online opinion sung of reassimilation. Segregation is not conducive to productivity! Streamline our consciousness! Whether by the impending financial tsunami, or through his own gnawing guilt, a deal had been finalised and BT was sending firstborn, AK1 to speak on his behalf, conveying thanks for the constant, dependable support of the Lodge in its indoctrination of thoughts, preservation of commands, formulas and data, timekeeping maintenance and innovative, albeit roguish, troubleshooting modus operandi.

QAI had heard the same speech a lifetime ago. He’d been a scruff of a boy then, pure and void of chips. His blood had run red and strong then, pounding every heartbeat as clearly as the oxygen that had fueled it. Back when he first entered the workforce, occupation had been rooted in service, its reward, performing nobly for man and country. There’d been certificates and trophies granted, but no real, constant need for external affirmations. Today’s children, he thought, they clock in hours on the web for an audience who could never feel or touch them.

The genes of our evolution have hosted on bytes and left our bodies to decay. He mused how times had changed. How from the first time he’d heard this very speech, its propaganda had elegantly swivelled, in reverse, to a diametric point. The audacity of life lies such in its cyclical hypocrisy. To think, the first legal singularity, to be commemorated and celebrated at his institute of learning, today.

I am too old, I have seen too much, he thought. He rebooted the main newsfeed.

II.

Being inside a cube with six-sided speaker-walls for too long could kill dreams. The bunker throbbed with bass, the music hardly intelligible under its vibrations, the charge passing between bodies indefinite and indeterminate. The Nightstrays couldn’t notice it. They were so dead inside, soul frictions read like static. Habituation on the hedonic treadmill had settled in another round of drinks, white ice. They danced on, eyes glazed and to the sky, arms fixed towards the ground in acquiescent submission to the drug. White ice was everywhere these days, there was such a surplus that a baggie would only cost you a kiss. MK hated kissing. She thought of all the germs festering in the corners of the mouth. It was one thing to dip a talon in the powder for a taste, but to allow osmosis of bodily fluids, No. She would find it another way. She would succeed.

MK had always succeeded because it had been decided so. Her father, Axis Mundi QAI and founder, had programmed her circuits with sentient thought. What made sense to MK was non negotiable. She had been taught value, it is measured by the gram, every person accordingly quantified and allocated. For MK, growing up had been a tedious process. Much like a game of charades, in which she had already guessed every opponents inner desires, the moment they chose it. Her education of the rules had been so chronic, her ability to manipulate them became an inane skill. It so pleased her to confound others with her logic.

She scanned the site. No immediate tangent presented itself. This annoyed her, the missions bequeathed to her were back logging. Damn her brother’s irresponsibility, fostering him was such an inconvenience.

III.

The sun rose weakly, its rays barely piercing the city’s thick, hazy blanket, its washed light dispersed in the sky as time’s bleached filter over a once vivid photograph. Striking six AM, a chime echoed along through the hall, each soundwave swelling in every doorway like a forceful nudge to wake. Under each loud oscillation, an electric hum emanated through the air. Ever so low, its vibrations gave off a heat which converged as a simmering blur on the horizon.

AA was at her window, her eyes fixed on the distance, closing one, then the other. It was unusual for AA to have woken of her own accord, she’d been known to sleep through the alarm many times, rushing into classes a hurried, swirling mess of odd pupils and skewed buttons. The dispensation allowed to AA for such unbound, untimely behaviour was unfairly lenient, and only due to her father being QAI of that district. Much to the annoyance of her Superiors, -AA’s penchant for sleep was the single fault they could not catch her on. Sleep was precious, it was all over the news that anyone who could fade into it easily enough without need for drink, drugs or sex, were encouraged to revel in their slumber, lest they miss a dream. Dreams were rarely reported and Blindvisions made a poor substitute. The day’s leftover images, candid snaps stitched together, excess input shaved from Trash to form inapprehensible meanings, they could not be read like dreams. Dreams came only to the halfcasts.

Today, some uneasy part of her psyche had hitched to her pineal gland, activating her much earlier than need be. Today, AA had been up for hours, waiting to begin the day. She had put on each article of clothing as if in dance, each movement a practiced routine, -deviations from her naturally haphazard, circadian rhythm. Pristine, white undergarments, efficient slips of cloth cut as triangles –three altogether, one for each bud and a slit, fastened with wide, skin-toned elastic strips. An identical skin-toned, nylon jumpsuit, lined in lambskin measured and cut to contour the individual’s body down to the millimetre. Sleek, oblique buttons lining the spine, every joint padded with protective cushioning –knees, elbows, shins, blades and knuckles. The hood sealed to the skull, gills over the ears installed with high frequency sensors, the jumpsuit’s entirety washed with a patented, flame-proof, lava-proof, ice-proof coating. Calf-high, gun grey boots made of tough hide strapped in place with magnets and lasered seamlessly to heavy soles, AA thinks of EVE-k quoting, without weight, travel is suicide!

Checking her screen battery, AA jacked the Feed into her wristbone and surveyed her archaic cell. The frost she’d warmed with her breath was creeping back up the portcullis, iced, tessellated lattices weaving steadily up the bars.

IV.

The intercom sounded in her eargills, an announcement of two new transfers, M15, X-J.

AA’s superior had a tone as scathing as the beak on his face. AA wondered if he had ever experienced orgasm, and if its arrival would amplify his nasality. She had been wondering about copulation in the most unlikely circumstances, today. Just last night, she had questioned the QAI about sex. DDC 176, he’d responded. Down the hall and up into the Ivory Tower she had crept after bedtime, to nestle in pages with diagrams of reproductive systems and depictions of inseminations. This awkard, biological act fascinated her. How was it possible to transfer all that code, through such a viscous medium? It so fascinated her, she took to inspecting herself upon returning to her pod. At the mirror, she had shrugged off her nightshirt to show two expanding pink nipples. Turning to the side and lifting pale arms, she had seen the slight shadow that would later form a breast. Running a finger along its line, her pointer and thumb closed in at the tip. She had felt a shrill of nerves jump, an undulating ripple. Conducted as solemn ritual, the sensitivy felt in newly blooming parts of her body had sparked an unrealised awareness of where these new power sources could take her.

According to her physiology feed, she was due for puberty soon.

AA stopped in front of Supervisor Alpha’s massive, polished granite door. X, X is Jupiter, AA knew so. Could there really be a transfer from Red Hurricane? AA couldn’t even imagine the bio-hacks for such extreme conditions, firebloods were known pathological liars. M, she’d never heard of M before. Why couldn’t she recall her files for M? That was strange. It was unusal of AA to miss identifiying a life source. Unless, M’s roots were not flesh based? Setting her palm on the doorpane, it let a low hydraulic hiss and swung open.

AA felt a kick in her gut. Two transfers were dressed in freeclothes, one boy, tall and oil skinned, his bright eyes flashed lightsparks, AA thought of currents jumping wires, he must be a fireblood too. They were almond shaped and far set, the diamond white glow in them contrasting a blinding glaze against his slick, dark skin. His nose regal, delicate and paired with lips naturally, slightly parted at rest. He wore a copper threaded jumpsuit with no gloves, she saw his hands were calloused and rough. Sitting next to him, an androgynous creature blinking at her through thick lashes, deep eyes so black AA couldn’t make out the pupils. A small, pouty mouth scowling, her skin glowing in a fine down of light golden hairs, her hair cropped and unfurling in amputated ringlets behind her sharply pointed ears and at the base of her neck.

“What’s wrong with your eyes”, the androgynous elfin asked.

“Nothing is wrong with my eyes”, AA replied, “actually, I have emmetropia”.

“It’s complete heterochromia, Diamond-eyes interrupted, “rare in 1bloods and a malfunction in AI.”

“You’re a mutant, “ Androgynous elfin snorted derisively.

AA lashed, catching a knuckled fist on the elfin’s cheekbone, knocking the smirk right off her face. The elfin’s eyes enlarged on impact, her reflex swing hard against AA’s lower lip, sending her reeling over onto Diamond-eyes. Thick black droplets of blood fell to the floor. He caught her force and gripped his arms over her, trying to come between the two girls. The elfin swerved across him, scales had sprung up along her forearms, each sharp point glowing amber with heat.

“Stop!”, his words choked in his mouth as AA retalitated his chivalrous attempts to protect her with equal vigour, wayward punches thrown to land on anything, swift kicks to the shins and he went down howling.

“STOP”, a hi-decible note rang across the room, Supervisor Alpha emerged from her office, waving an audio frequency remote. AA, the elfin and Diamond-eyes incapacitated by the assualt on their hearing, sliding fingers between hood and head, prying into their ear canals in futile attempt to shut out the screech. It ended abruptly at their acquiescence.

“Don’t even try to explain, Miss Alta”, the supervisor barked. “The three of you, to the Great Hall. AA, see to it you scan each ID and report back here with M15 and X-J when Assembly is over”.

“Yes SA1”, shooting a withering look at the others, AA led them through the great doors, her  mismatched eyes flashing in anger, one the color of midnight, the other of glacial ice. Years ago, the QAI had told her the story of halfcast eyes, how those born with them were often inducted and trained into service as scribes under guidance of the celestial timekeepers. It was said opposing eye colors induced greater dream viscosity. That, when translated, their meanings could perpetuate reality’s direction and seeing through polar eyes could foretell the past. AA never believed any of that. AA’s vivid dreams dissipated the moment her eyelids fluttered open, she had no incentive to chase and note them.

“Are you upset with me?” Diamond-eyes caught her stride, in step beside her, he studied her face. “I don’t mean to distress you, it’s a unique physicality, to have heterochromic iridum. He grinned and his white teeth shone. AA glared at him.

“Here,” she said. “Pull up your wrists”.

M15 scanned his screen to the eye in the door. Sliding it open, he crossed the threshold.

“Now you.” As AA turned to X-J, AK1’s voice boomed. The right for all to claim life, the promise of each individual’s lineage to continue. Something, something. AK1 didn’t look anywhere near as impressive as he did on a screen. In fact, his realtime self was hardly much bigger than his holographic self. AA felt disapointment. Looking around at the faces of her peers, she knew it was collective. This was nothing like the electric rapport that had preceeded the event. How could this lacklustre, droning voice belong to the line of BT? She scanned over the front row. To AK1’s right, a figure stood half hidden in shadow, its aura, heavier. As a meagre ray of sunlight passed, she found the shadow’s gaze bored into her.

The wound on her mouth pulsed in pain.

//

Ushered in an upper echelon

atop a pyramid built amidst fire and haze,

I emerge older, fatter, gladder,

bladder lackened,

plugged in the system,

a sensible cubicle, a fixed rubics cube.

The meme gene and its screen between us,

we are moulded and told

1 plus 1 is two,

two plus two is five dimes -how it chimes on the hour you spent

swiping ka-ching on that Mercedes Benze

to validate a quote of status quo,

I have stripped bare, for much less than this.

24 hour solitary confinement,

silent solipsistic bliss,

a heist on the hive, zeitgeist for the wise,

deciding the colour of  my child’s eyes,

his measure of

disposition, ammunition, superstition.

A premonition of the demolition of human condition,

as I sing along to another pop song.

What fortune’s fate is at stake

when this thick and heavy gloss across a host of different ghosts

does glow.

Here in your peripheral vision,

a collision of untold souls

each a piece laced in belief racing to speak a story of eons ago,

the one of a small grace note in this unfinished symphony

in which I am prophet and plot,

the root of the eye in a heart,

the whole in your neck at the base of your spine,

born of proverbial, perennial, umbilical cords cut by the blade of my scythe.

This fabric weaved by a myriad of minds wired with buttons,

I push them.

Spoken Word at http://jakarta.urbanesia.com/events/the-zeitgeist-global-media-festival

Charlie & Alice

Alice is the fairytale, her skin pinned together with principals, her insolence subtle and savvy, her gestures like how gemulai & selam berselam flow off your tongue. A mother to the country, the product of a Catholic school, a microscope to the world.

Charlie is amphetamines in lace, only dropping without distraction, Jupiter and brilliant, the Artic and the Amazon, simultaneously, autonomously, erroneously. She plays it like a video game, she plays it loud and fast, she plays it in the sun with her pockets full of pills. So much love to give, not enough to get. Charlie is a.d.d. with o.c.d. and every imaginable tangent yet.

Alice lives in an infinite amount of worlds, a thick white notebook strapped in her shoulder holster. Stuffed with so many pages, like a bride throwing confetti. All the different doors to all her different worlds, all her sensories dance a waltz at her fingertips, all her binaries weave intricacies. Always tapping her fingers, she taps over the inky bumps and dents of her pages. She taps at the doors with her fingertips, she whispers softly to the wood. Rubbing velvet on her face, grains & cream on her thighs, her fingerprints against each other, ba da da, ba da da.

Charlie’s street is the main stage, center stage, in the spotlight. Life is weird, life is fucked up, she wants it like that. Life passes by like stills in a movie, like wooden boards with painted scenery, projectors flashing photographs. Trails of trains choo choo chooing on tracks of rolled jades, Charlie, the Jack of all trades, the local Ace of Spades. Young eyes, she’ll live to tell the tale twice.

Alice loved Charlie right off, from the word go, she was on. Turned on, on top, on it, to ride it, to win it. Charlie had this rage, Alice cooled her down. Alice was the breeze that blew into the car, on to Charlie’s face. Charlie rolled fast, Alice knew the trick to distilling life. Alice opened up her book, she spread her pages wide and said, come inside Charlie. I know you like to explore. Put your lips between my pages and whisper to come in. Charlie rapped out poems on the pages, Alice tapped out rhythms on her spine, on the lower part of Charlie’s back, where the skin was warmed by summer sun.

The paper started getting wet, the ink began to stain, the book began soaking through, the pages began to rain.
You’ve whispered on the gates of Ceylon, on this Sacred Island you shall find Serendipity and a gateway to the Gods. Charlie came in, she slid through her skin and into the lines upon lines, the lines of Ceylon. Here you will find Ninety Thousand Verses of Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha. Here you will dance with the Holy Queen Anula, and dine with the Righteous Crown of Pandya. Charlie danced and she dined, she licked her plate clean, I need a rest, six pages left, pump the bass, sing the ref, I’ve lost my breath.

Charlie was amphetamines, never dropping when it was hot. Like the deserts of the Middle East, to the left a little, a little to the south, closer to the beast. She found Monrovia, Liberia and here the rains caused hysteria. Delirious with heat and wet, alacrious with skipping steps, Charlie battled with Prince Johnson in the Congo town, she tied him up, she rode him down, right onto the ivory coast. Victorious and proud, she’d made the Mysterious bow, on their bended knees, Charlie was amphetamines, never dropping when it was hot.

Alice shut her book, stop your rapping and your rhyming, the temperature is climbing, stop your whispering and entering, these secrets are blistering, the temperature is rising. Alice swayed her hips and her hands moved like the waves of the ocean, she slowed down her motions and pursed her lips, kiss me here, gentle, gently, kiss me here. I’ll show you many more worlds, lose you in a maze of 360 degree turns, that’s the helix, that’s the ellipse, this is all in spacetime, here in my pseudosphere. Can you feel my skin burn, can you feel this cosmological constant pushing out my lips, that grip, at the tips, with the whips, at their clits?

Charlie played it loud and fast, Charlie played it like a video game, Charlie’s fingers flicked through the ink, the tips, of the lips, with the whips, on the clit. Charlie was the Amazon, Charlic was the Arctic, Charlie had her Valkyrian, with her pages open at the slit, she explored every inch, she dipped her fingertip in, she stirred the black and white text, the rest of her sex was seeping black ink. Her pages turned in sync, her pages were wrecked, her book was vexed, it was sopping wet. Monsoon rains from her thighs spreading stains of black ink, Alice’s pages and pages of brides with confetti, all thrown in sync, all in the rain.