Stephen Nelson

Astral Homestead

Behind my tired eyelids, I'm in the lane
at the top of the scheme, where houses
cluster with secrets, and everyone
watches everyone else through huge,
gaping windows. The lane winds
round between low slats — black wood,
rough and splintered; you may feel trapped
and exposed here, like a celebrity baited
by shit stirring tabloids.
I'm young, a child, witheringly self-
conscious and easily intimidated by assertive
adults; in this lane I'm free
and expansive, but also afraid to be seen. I belong
to a circle of livingrooms, intimate
with strangers, yet condemned by their sons.
There is a quality of dreaming,
an archetypal resonance, a brightness
and spaciousness where my mind reverberates
like a hall full of drumming. And thrumming —
that vibration of connection with a tangential
reality. Applying a little psycho-geography,
I realise the symbolism of the setting,
the emotional significance of a childhood haunt,
as various mansions housing psychic travellers
spin around me, electric houses
opening the deepest well of my soul
to an astral theatre, where I'm thrust
onstage, like a drunken, bumbling harlequin.

I'm not very good at astral travelling.
I was introduced to it by my twin flame,
who took me on a journey to a hilltop,
where we looked down on a scheme of white
houses, in a green, green valley I'd never seen before.
She looked so sad and regretful, but I knew
that I could love her. Since then, my attempts
to leave the body on my own have been sluggish
and insincere, grounded by the need for sleep
and layers of dreaming neighbours. Perhaps
I'm more plump caterpillar, than golden butterfly.

In this vision, I negotiate brightness. The others
seem attuned. It's as if exposure brings release,
liberation in the flash of a camera, the moment of clarity
frozen still. I see silver threads unravelling from
a huge entangled ball. The winding lane
and leaping houses dissolve in darkness, while
a new reality is paved. Bear in mind I lie
and watch this cosmic diplomacy from a bed of crumpled
sheets, stiff, unnerved, unable to leave the body, but switched
to alternative frequencies in repose. I used to need
drugs for this. As I lie, a buzzing in my head sounds
like a demented hummingbird. I'm reminded
of a 20 year old dream, where a golden highway
opened through my body, and a dazzling procession
of dancing gods and sensual goddesses paraded
up the shining road. I was delivered as a child
to a temple of ecstasy. But I'll wait for that,
still gripped by this midnight encounter,
this secret rendezvous; still entranced by
the agents of deliverance and their covert psychedelic initiative.
I may fall asleep eventually. I may dream of a million
different things at once, a million psycho-geographies,
hitched to the stars like a chariot, pulling the night into battle.

Still, the exquisite occult mystery leaves me restless
and bleeding for days. The splendour is dampened
by the necessity of breakfast without distraction,
the optimistic attachment to a meditation armchair,
the slow, dragging days and meaty deadness of my flesh.
The cosmos is spinning. Someday it will call me again.
Most likely soon. I'll be drawn into negotiations,
synchronicities, communication with charmless
fields of energy manifesting as the environment
I knew as a child; the push and pull of realities
and dimensions, coalescing in the imagination of place,
the soulful longing for childhood and home.
There are endless reels of summer spinning into consciousness.
I'm not sad. Not lonely. But my twin flame brought me here,
and I love her with the empty love of God.
I live all this to know her, to heal her, to know myself,
to heal myself; all this to awaken the world to love.

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