To Come Up Here First You Have To Go Down Below



Existence is elsewhere. Never right here and never just now. Always someplace before or in the distant after. Yet sometimes you feel that around the very next corner you will be so close as to actually touch.

I. The Dreamer

The Melancholy Lieutenant looking a shade paler than China White, undoubtedly haunted by heavy dreams, begins a story and flies the Black Flag before bowing politely and leaving. He had obviously passed the point and will no doubt surrender once again to his addiction for image.

II. Correspondence

As he lost control of the car and it skidded inexorably towards the concrete crash barrier he knew that this was no random accident. Deep assignations run through the veins and it was no coincidence that he was on this stretch of road at this particular point in time. In the split second before impact and the loss of consciousness he realised that everything that happens down here below corresponds to events above.

III. The Institute

Lying on her bed in the White Room the blonde haired girl studies her hands. She knows without a shadow of a doubt that events in her future have resulted in her present confinement.  The nature of her premonitions has led her to the conclusion that they are actually recollections from this life that she has lived over and over before. Yet no matter how many times she experiences this realisation she can never quite overcome the dizzying sense of vertigo. With hesitant steps she stumbles over towards the waste paper basket and discretely retches.

  IV. Idyll

In that grimy flat where the grainy light never gave an indication to the time or season there was love without bounds. I always liked to leave my mark and she bruised so easily. I nursed her into illness; fever suffusing a hint of colour into her pallid skin and distemper sweetened her breath. Her ghost grey eyes stared at some point in the middle distance where all the phantoms of delirium sported and played.

V. The Kiss

A succession of hotel rooms leading to a balcony on the 33rd floor. Outside their hands shape sigils and join in prayer, invoking the chimerical assistance of the illuminated deities. They watch as devouring mouths merge in the thickening air.

VI. The Twins

In Heaven tonight the Twins will reign in terror. Feast on rare blue meat and drink bloodied red wine. In the mirror of the other’s eyes they see an infinity of repeated reflections.

VII. Initiation

The red haired speaker in the black dress approaches the podium and addresses the audience although the words seemed specifically directed to me alone. Nearing the end of the rite she asks that I repeat after her the words of the mantra.

VIII. The Beach

Here, the accumulating mineral deposits hold congress. The silence on the beach is inherently hostile to all organic matter.  However with a show of some determination the Melancholy Lieutenant heads towards the vanishing point, never once looking down at the anguished faces of those stuck fast in the sand.

IX. Chymical Wedding

Taken together every letter comprised an alphabet of desire suggestive of a language lost when the angels decided to throw down their spears. Perhaps it was the long awaited invitation to the Chymical Wedding?

X. Cellar Door

The Very Heaven Heavenly Hotel in Paradise Nevada contains many more corridors than rooms. In fact even the numbered doors which you would automatically conclude are hotel rooms when opened reveal only hallways that mirror in minute detail every other corridor in the building. It has been reported that there is a door that actually leads to somewhere; the cellar door. However as recent searches have failed to pinpoint the exact location of the cellar door we must at this time treat such claims as merely the product of wishful thinking.

XI. The Sacrifice

The sun rises through the West Window where the recently crowned White Queen lies in state after the sacrifice. Her attendant nurses wash and bathe her wounds. The room is filled with the scent of strewn rose petals. The appointed hour approaches. Outside the crowd waits for the signal.

XII. The Castle

In the house on the hill overlooked by the gallows tree where two ravens sit perched on the bare branches we would live out the love long day away from the world with its incessant demands. Our looks would touch and our hands gaze into each other. I would find hidden meaning in every sign and symbol while you would sigh over all the stray wayward souls.

XIII. The Trip

When the night comes do not hold fast onto the people and places, you have to let go and leave it all behind otherwise you will be trapped with a tender nostalgia that turns into the very substance of terror. While floating free avoid the shimmer of the red lights. Have no fear; the necessary becoming will be revealed at the appointed time.

  XIV. Inauguration

While waiting at the station where the train never stops she bit into the beating breast of the dove and kissed the Ingénue with her blood coated mouth. After a knowing pause the Ingénue told her that they had to get a move on otherwise they would miss the Inauguration.

XV. The Rebel

Looking out onto an inferior world not of his own creation the rebel ignores the insistent pleas of his father’s ghost and walks into the sun baked piazza. He hesitates. Does he have the necessary will to awake the inhabitants from their long siesta?

XVI. Premonition

The Ingénue awakes startled from her dream. Glancing over to the alarm clock she sees that it is 3:33am. She shivers involuntarily as the night sweat dries in the cool air. Although she will be only be dimly aware of the fact the events her unconscious mind have just witnessed will occur in the following few days exactly as she dreamt them, down to the very last detail.

XVII. The City

Whole sectors of the city were without power since the commencement of the Winter Campaign. For many the distant explosions and the subsequent fires where the only source of illumination. In the NW Quadrant we crowded together on the old sofa still wearing our heavy grey overcoats which had become uniform everywhere recently. She asked if there was any chance of escape from the city and its devastation. I assured her that a way out could be found. I didn’t mention the persistent rumours of the encroaching ice.

XVIII. Chance Encounter

A chance encounter in the Cafe Rouge Et Noir. Don’t you recognize me the Melancholy Lieutenant asks the Ingénue. She smiles an uncertain smile and says yes of course I do. You haven’t changed a bit. Strange that I should run into you today of all days. Running his hand through his black hair he answers that it is probably a sign. Everything is always a sign with you the Ingénue replies.

XIX. The Dispensary

The queue was longer than usual for the dispensary. Once inside I was struck by the grubbiness of the place. Every surface was filthy to the touch. Approaching the counter I was greeted by a blonde woman whom I’d never seen before. Her stern expression softened when I handed over the script.  We’ve been waiting she said and smiled. This one’s just for you; makes you real. Real? I repeated, confused. Take it and see. Be sure to follow the instructions down to the letter though.

    XX. Invocation

Clothed in a red chinoiserie dressing gown the raven haired apparition begins to coalesce in the centre of the circle. Turning her back towards me she slowly lowers the dressing gown until the full design of the tattoo is revealed. From the shoulder blades to the small of her back is a black inverted triangle. At the corners of each angle two serpents intertwine. From over her left shoulder she gazes at me steadily and although I am full of misgivings I cannot look away.

XXI. The Sea

Underneath a yellow sky I float listlessly on a still blue sea. The intersecting crosses of the black sun seem to signify an imminent event. I look to the left. On the opposing shore a blonde haired woman waves. By the time I reach the shore she has disappeared, hinting at further mysteries.

XXII. The Void

Have you heard? There’s a hell of a universe next door. Well, what on earth are we waiting for? Let’s go.Straight down the rabbit hole and right thru the Looking Glass, take a left to enter the void.Between the ivory thighs of Babalon lies the possibility of an ending. After that we may begin again.

XXIII. The Dancer

Entranced with the ecstasy of pure being the dancer for a brief instant is possessed by the sublime essence. Slowly coming to when the music stops she looks around bewildered by her surroundings. Seeing in the mirror a beautiful stranger she reaches out and touches the glass.






95 thoughts on “To Come Up Here First You Have To Go Down Below

  1. Nice… especially love the City and the Dispensary. I think you need to set out a short story collection, could be dystopian stories or ghost stories, perhaps? I bought a Philip K Dick book that was on the edge between fiction and sci fi, now need to read it. But although above is beautiful, with some of these at least we want them longer. Maybe develop from the best ones some longer stories?

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  2. Good point…perhaps I took brevity too far? This was the closest i came to automatic writing, it really do come to me in a feverish kind of way, but it does make kind of sense I hope. Now how to develop me further….hmmmm


  3. I enjoy abstract writing. I haven’t met many writers who indulge as wonderfully as you have. I had one very abstract story scheduled and shelved it because it was so dense with imagery. I don’t think anyone asking about the meaning would have the time to read through the explanation. (I had to explain the GIFs in my last post, for instance). That thing was a triple layer commentary on writers and men’s throwaway attitudes towards women in relationships. In other words, I understand that there may be a lot going on here, and the aesthetic is brilliant.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I didn’t publish the abstract publicly. I made it private as it was too abstract. Sorry for the confusion. I will post it on a separate page and send you the link. I reworked some paragraphs into a completely new story that will be published later (it’s about Josephine x Napoleon).

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    1. I actually thought of a framing device for this that involved a commentary by psychiatrists who had encouraged the author(who is institutionalised ) in art therapy but abandoned it because I then had a commentaty on the commentary and if you have to explain it that much…it’s a mixture of automatic writing, dream, numerology, occult doctrines, tarot and surrealism and oh heavy colour symbolism…the title is a sexual innuendo doubling as apun on the doctrine as above, so below. Saying this is making even my eyes glaze over

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      1. Your sense of humour is amazing. I don’t like when artists to explain their work in lengthy commentary (sorry artists who do). I just kind of want to see it and absorb it. Some things have their own aesthetic. No matter how much you explain, someone will misunderstand. So, it’s really for readers who pay attention and appreciate that it’s abstract.

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      1. It was good to revisit this. I think the difference is that I am more relaxed. Will you write in this style again? It might be good to break it into three parts. That would give you a lot of time to play with us.

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      2. That is a good idea…I could break it down into 24 parts but that might be too much. I don’t know if I will write in this style again, it is quite abstract and it very hard to know when it works or it becomes too rarefied

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      3. Often, the form is the substance. As you know, I like things most people don’t understand on the surface. I didn’t find this style unattainable. But more to the point, don’t hide your artistic light under a “will they get it?” bushel. If it’s in there, and if feels right, then let it out. This particular story would work as a short film, shot entirely in monochrome, with a male narrator. Chanel or Kiki de Monteparnasse should get their hands on this for one of their commercials. xo

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      4. I am surrounded by people in broadcast media but none of us has time to work on our dream fantasy pet film projects. It’s distracting to have that whirring at the back of one’s mind. But I am sure you can give it a go. xo

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  4. I really needed to take my time with this. What a tremendous piece(s) of work. I think each vignette stands on its own, but as a collection – especially as you subtly return to previous themes/characters – it really pulls you in. This is such a stream of consciousness thing. As if you woke from a dream and just poured it all out. Do you remember what you were thinking at the time? Music, book, art? It must be, methinks. This fits so well with your love of surrealism. And I think it would be amazing in spoken word.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was as close to automatic writing as I have ever come, though I did edit it to some extent. Dreams do play a part, also the Tarot, it is in some part inspired by the major arcana. Also some religious ideas regarding the afterlife are explored. I know this isn’t helping clarify and maybe these theories came later, I wrote it very quickly. Certain lines are borrowed, existence is elsewhere is the surrealist manifesto, Alice is referenced, the image of the twins are from a dream. Hopefully it holds together and deserves a like. Thank you for taking the time to comment

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      1. It absolutely deserves a like. Was the redhead in the black dress the counterpoint to the brunette in the red dressing gown with the tatoos? Or no connection? I found little connections everywhere beyond the obvious ones.

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  5. Thank you for liking my page…..and the resulting introduction to your writing….it will take some time to read all of your posts…but I am determined to do so as I started here and immediately felt…ah…..I’m at a loss for words (I work in the visual)….let’s call it captivated!

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Sabiscuit recommended your work art and thought I might like it which I did very much. I love your paintings as they are witty and pointed. I look forward to viewing more in time. I look forward to your insights on my site as well. Thanks

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  6. Oh, Cake…I had this huge eloquent reply, and just as I told it submit, the cafe’s wifi died and it was lost forever. Sigh. But, I’m determined you know that I’ve been relishing this slowly, I am up through XVI and I will come back for more. It is wonderful, dreamlike, creative, curious, playful, surreal, captivating, and I want to read stories about them all. No pressure. 😉 I’m particularly fond of The Cellar Door, and others. Your writing is excellent, unique, and I’m so glad you pointed me this direction. ❤

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  7. I’m completely captivated by this, as I’m sure you know. To write a more detailed analysis would be unnecessary as you are quite aware of the meaning held within the lines. Fascinating how information and intuition travels on unseen frequencies. More, you ask for more…*wink*… there’s always more where that came from. ~ Mia

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  8. I see lots of things you pulled out of this for other things you wrote. The Very Heaven Heavenly hotel! Each one of these would be an interesting painting. I particularly like the imagery of the infinite reflections in the eyes of the Twins.

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  9. This is a great piece of writing. Turn it into verse by re-creating the lines and you already have a chapbook of poems. It is delightful. Some very powerful pieces and so much interlinked at a conscious / sub-conscious level to some of your other writings. Great work.

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      1. On the evidence of what you have written here, I don’t think you will ever forget how to write. The question is: how do we then organize and revise? The raw material (ur-text) is quite impressive. The secret is not to over organize and not to over-revise, but to keep the freshness of that deep down well of creativity. It is, I think, the hardest lesson of all to learn. Juan Ramón Jiménez: “No la toques más: así es la rosa.” ‘Don’t redo it any more: roses are just like that.’

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      2. Thank you Roger… this is the closest I came to pure automatism, only the titles were added later. I wrote it in a spurt, after the events of one of the stories. I re discovered my early love of surrealism after this and delved deeper. I have been using it as a source ever since.

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      3. It’s most certainly what I do. Several of my best pieces are breathless, tumble down, word rushes. I do revise, though, as did Paz and Lorca. I never trust the raw material, unless it is exceptional. Sometimes it can be … I was taken with these though. Your own chap-book!

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  10. Wild stuff man!! I, of course, am in the rabbit hole 🙂 I wonder about numerology in this… 22 and 23 are both considered ‘mystical’ numbers. 22 is a doorway (multiple of 11, the first doorway) and 23 are the beginning of the Fibonacci sequence. Just a thought… I like this a lot.

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    1. Thank you… you are spot on about the numerology here. The major arcana of the Tarot is 22 cards, there is the famous 23 enigma first spotted by William Burroughs and there is 24 chapters or episodes, the Alice books had 12 chapters each leading to 24. Flip around 24 and you get 42, which Carroll was obsessed with, a long time before Douglas Adams said it was the answer to everything.

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  11. This is exceptional and warrants further investigation. Your mind is a lovely thing my friend. That you have been to many places is of no doubt to me. You describe people, places, things that, while they may resemble the Major Arcana, are also deeply reminiscent of the otherness we briefly spoke about. Absolutely fine work my friend. Please, can you email a link to this so I can read it again and not lose it in my comments? Many thanks

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    1. Thank you very much, this piece (I never really know what to call it) is kind of my Ur-Text, I will frequently return to it and re-fashion parts to make a different poem or story. It is the closest I go to a pure automatic writing, it just came out very quickly, though I did impose some order on it with the headings and numbering. The characters of the Melancholy Lieutenant and the Ingenue have made other appearances in some of my more spacier poems, they are kind of like metaphysical adventurers. Glad you enjoyed.

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    2. Sammy Slabbinck
      I seek the high places
      Where the atmosphere scarifies the lungs
      Nothing moves here except the play of
      Vision inducing light …
      The High Places
      sacrifice,the high places,forgetting,gnosticism,being and becoming,mountains,nietzsche,collage,eternal recurrence,sammy slabbinck,unbearable lightness of being
      Sorry to bombard you with links, but you might like these poems with thematic connections.


    3. Sammy Slabbinck
      Now that you are on this trip
      I know that you want a taste
      But please try to remember,
      Though I am sure you will forget
      That to come…
      The Road Is The Same
      poetry,taste,hermetic,mutability,free verse,everything is fire,as above so below,the road is the same,tibetan book of the dead,heraclitus,driving,sammy slabbinck,trip
      This is the last one I promise, though they are more. Once I looked into it seemed like everything is just a rift on the same theme. I need to get out more often.


    1. Now who is being too kind. This was pretty much automatic writing. I had only written very infrequently before this (though I had an interest) but I started writing more frequently after. This is me at my most abstract and mystical.

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      1. Thank you, I have toyed with the idea, probably a collection of poems and shorter prose pieces. I would like a short story collection but I dont have enough yet and of course ‘the novel’. then the essays on art and stuff. But it is all very daunting and seems like hard work.

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      2. I’ve not tried to pull together a chapbook, because frankly, my poetry level doesn’t warrant publication. A Wadsworth, I am not. But the novel, yes, it is hard work. Since childhood, my dream has been to be a published author. Now I am. It feels fucking awesome. So worth the work.

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      3. I submitted to agents. And small publishers. The agents all had nice things to say, but ultimately passed. I had a small publisher interested–they requested my full manuscript. But the trouble with small presses…they aren’t always guaranteed. The publisher interested in Magpie in August ended up closing their doors, thankfully before I signed with them. I decided to publish with Amazon. Paperback and Kindle. This decision, I am so happy with. I have total control over content and cover design. No editor can tell me to cut out things important to me, or tell me they hate the title I’ve chosen, or the cover art.

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  12. Hi,
    I’ve read this attentively. It is very good indeed, and at first –and very soon- I have had the feeling of déjà lu, so I thought it was from J. G. Ballard (chapters V, VIII, XVII and XXI undoubtedly recall him), but chapter X was “as if” written by Borges (but I know he did not, since I have read virtually all his fictional work; and most of his prologues, articles and translations), and Chapter XX, near the end of the cycle, has some strong reminiscence of W. Blake. So, most probably, it was not Ballard, and however I am quite sure I have read some fragments here in Ballard’s works.
    I have, of course, avidly gone through the comments below and understood this is your own original work, even if you acknowledge some loans (surely from Ballard).
    I congratulate you for this piece; its form and structure and its exquisite style. It does not seem to me automatic writing, however… It looks coherent and makes sense to me beneath its superficial irrationality (or surreality).
    I feel quite personally touched because I did use some images, and even direct quotes, from Ballard in my first tales, years ago. Borges (in the original Spanish) has been also decisive to me in several ways.
    To end this very long comment, I wish to state I like much the header painting by Ives Tanguy (so I believe), which I had never seen before; truly beautiful. I’ve taken the liberty to download it to my own virtual collection. 
    Thanks for the link and my best wishes as usual. Kisses too.
    (Do not ever worry about my kisses :), they are my accustomed way to express kindness and affection; I am very kissy!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am not ashamed to say that I borrowed liberally in this piece: Ballard, The Surrealist Manifesto, Alice in Wonderland, and other random bits and pieces. It is written at speed and in a trance. The surrealist technique of collage is used in painting and photomontage, sampling is used extensively in music and Burroughs did his cut-ups. Hopefully I have transformed the borrowings and have created my own vision… this is my ur-text, after decades of barely writing this unleashed the floodgates and a lot of my poetry is based on the themes in this piece. Thanks for the lengthy comment and I am glad you enjoyed.

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