‘6771 Stories, oral or written, are told to be subject of dissect and investigation’, said Laurent Williams in 1928, and we found a reference to The Egyptian, the old, or as he is called ‘the sage’. There is an untitled painting in the Louvre Museum, Paris, in which back his autographed by Az’r Ibn Al Izmat (The Eagle Eyes of the Mountain, from the Ancient Azzedi Arabic.) Professor Arondelle Louis Castle of the Sorbonne University of Old Languages and Philosophy says that Ibn Al Iznar is [very possibly] the corruption, throughout time, of that Azzedi name. This ‘character’, in certain circles, is confirmed as a direct and pure descendent of Hassan I Sabbah, head of the sacred sect of the Ismailis in the eleventh century. (Aga Khan is nowadays the head of this sect.) Source: Prof. A. L. Castle and Prof. Anne Le Manquet.
Giulio Mancini in his ‘Considerations on painting’ (1619) was ‘amazed on the layers of signs and signals, only a maestro of afar with great trickery, skills, secret techniques’ of a master he called Iznar, the ancient. He saw the painting in the town of Avis, Spain. He added that ‘my eyes strayed away creating shades and forms’ his mind couldn’t understand. Mancini (who wrote about and was contemporary of Caravaggio) confessed that the composition, that he called ‘Sventolando gli segrete delle cose’ (‘Winding the secret of things’) ‘exacerbated the light and dark, recreating the shapes of the secret and invisible. Source: Biblioteca dello Vaticano.
Last, but not least, exists a record of several pages, half biography half mocking in the University of Seville of a certain alchemist and painter so-called Iban Ignaz [1256(?)-1296(?)], reputed to successfully create the aqua vite, or the philosophical stone, or the elixir of eternal youth. Even at that time, the chronic explains that his provenance and burial place is inexact. On the 14th century a writer known only as Geber was the author of chemical and alchemical theory and practice. To complicate things he took his name, Latin for Jabir, from Abu Musa Jabir ibn Hayyan, famous alchemist and physician of the 8th century. His works, translated from Latin, were influential until the 16th century because of their clarity and accuracy. Abu Musa Jabir was a known member of the Ismailis’ tradition of predecessors.
London, the 24th of February 2015:
The interior mind-adventures of any kind of artist rarely achieve status of an outward full realised object of art, much less of an object of desire, the exceptions seem to prove this aphorism, and I, as an artist (my value as one type of artist isn't in consideration here) am not the exception. To be fair and very plain I am not a post-post-modern artist, or part of any vague or movement, though some could label me of many things (as we all are able to pass judgement without thinking for a second). But, if I had the need to label myself I would describe myself as an eternal pupil of the art of being an artist. A modern type of artist. Those of keep labelling the Arts seem not to feel a lot. Apparently we live far away from the Modernist movements, and I think that is true, but i must insist that the Modern Age didn't finish yet, and that those other posterior mid twentieth century labels might be wrong, completely. Discuss.
This may seem as arrogance too, and in certain aspects it is. Not that I refuse to advance my knowledge in the contemporary achievements of Modern Art, sorry, you call it Contemporary or Post something. I am actually reasonably well informed, the thing is that I delete the majority of information that reaches me in various forms. Another reason is that an artist creates, and while creating one is in one's world, the references and influences are all there, whether you accept them or not, they are endocrinous, especially the ones you most reject and are abject to. This absence of the hated, not useful or damned ugly or dissatisfying is the most important part of the growing of oneself, much more than the ones that are explicit and gives us pleasure. My strongest memories are the ones of unhappy moments, not the happiest, and that says all about me and the creations of mine.
This small preamble to say that a while ago, something like twenty three years ago, given month or weeks, I start creating a world based on certain realities, objective facts, like all writers, for instance, do to create a fable or a romance, that in the end is a lie, but due to those real foundations and the generosity of the reader's imagination becomes a certain kind of real world, even if it is fictional. There are nothing but words printed on a page. It is the imaginations of writer and reader combine, and their own very, but very private and cultural world that makes that kind of miracle happen. Whether is a literature exercise or a pink novel. It is the mind, in the very end, that creates these worlds, true or false. When I listened to the first time to 'Mozart in Egypt' I couldn't believe my hears. The music of North Africa mixed with the well known sound fables of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, even if disparate, they fitted poetically and a before non-existent world was created. Man has this particular blessing of creating things, and in some time ago these were called artists or prophets, or shamans or artisans, philosophers or master builders.
My world, or better saying, my created new world, and mine at the same time, obviously, changed me forever and it impregnates almost everything I ever did afterwards, mainly because I am still building it. This world that started with a character called Lila and another, the shepherd Sanvean. It was the flute of the young man that originated these worlds inside my head. Histories were created around these characters until, many years after, they were but almost forgotten, buried in an unfinished novel (Watersnakes with Labyrinth). Around 2003 I decided I had so many sketches for so many characters and stories that I needed to organise this world that was becoming usurper of my space and memory. So I started what I called 'A Shankarian Dictionary', a volume large enough to encompass a bit more than 900 pages in the computer, a A to Z of all these Strombolic events that came out of my mind.
While this was happening I was writing also my first published novel, 'The Oblique & The Impossible' that was supposed to be a break from the Arishankar world. It happened that my hands couldn't escape the dictates of my limitations and deviations on the page, and it too ended up being part of that same world; and the first public appearance of characters and places and stories that were, and are, part of that gigantic dictionary. This fictional world extended from the original Southern Sudan mythical tribes of Da Shang, where the plains of Arishankar comes from, to the spaceport built by Springfellow in the Mongolian desert, going back to Ramses, The Eternal, dictator of a future Egypt (yes, things come around) to writers and painters, Jacques Lacqueur, Ibn Al Iznar, Jean-Pierre Baylin, etc, etc. Somehow they make perfect sense to me. If I invented the places, I needed to create a mythology that had started with Lila and Sanvean, all those places gone and buried, and only memories rested in cinders and old books (discovered last mid-century). Which meant that my knowledge of religions had to enlarge my library, and so it was. Though I read a lot I was not satisfied with the common invented religions, so I decided to make one my own. Thus the Gods of Arishankar and Alykiur were part of these tribes of the desert, but they were fierce funny gods that doesn't have much to do with the Christian or Muslim faiths, more animistic and 'real' to the peoples of Korea or the African islands. With this came a long list of characters, each with its own biography, and even list of works, when that was necessary. They sat alongside stories, myths, historical known facts, dates. What was missing was a language, and it came to be, the Shankarian. With the words came the ideograms, the paradoxes, the mysteries and more stories. The language and ideograms took a long time to create (and I was not aware of Tolkien, yet).
So I input all this into my computer, that one day just crashed. And died.
Lost all of it. Or so I thought. Prospecting through discs and notebooks I salvaged a little amount. And what was left is the book you have in your hands.
There are more pages, but they are stories of other creations, though they could belong in another volume. In addition to this you can find the small pamphlet 'The Verses of the Ibn Al Iznar.
The music of this world is relatively new, one year and a half old. As I do not know how to repeat a melody or a chord, what is presented sound less professional and more archaic, even though all was recorded in computers, analogue mixing tables; and only one synthesiser was used.
The first 'composition' was not difficult to come to be. I always imagined the golden plains of Arishankar to be like a chant, a working song, repetitive and almost monosyllabic. This little structure of repeated rhythmic patterns was used permanently and later deleted from the final mix.
The titles came first and easy. As a non-musician I needed to decide if I wanted, needed or would have collaborators. I searched for them on the net, in social networks but no one wanted to be associated with this project, mainly, I am sure, because of my monotone and loop/noise creations that not many artists/people like, voilá! Determined to fail my inferior skills I started to have solitaire sessions with an old keyboard (analogue) that my dear Maya Edmundson gave me a few Christmas before (thank you very much!). If I couldn't play the same line again I could loop it or electronically treat it accordingly to my knowledge and needs. It is a very steep learning curve but determination took the best of me and very slowly I started to have sketches of tunes and melodies, harmonies and even counterpoint, basic and simple, of course, what else (some would say they are archaic and non-professional, really bad...)
What happened after a few weeks in the winter of 2013/2014 was that my lousy efforts sounded like sketches by Vangelis, and I was ashamed by it and them. I shouldn't, but I was. Then the idea that I could do a basic tune resembling proto/sketch Vangelis illuminated me, and I proceeded. I needed to acknowledge this thought, digested and work on it. You see, Vangelis always have been a very guilty pleasure, secret. The reason for this shame was that I've been associated with the catalogue of wonders (arts), and still am, and with sound artists out of the common ground of playlists and top selling records, basically, I associated myself with the underground and the obscure, the noisy and the very uncommon. And producing tracks that resembled slightly such a top seller music artist, composer, multi-instrumentalist et al, shouldn't be well seen by my compadres in those independent or avant-garde circles. What the hell, I thought repeatedly, what do I care. If it is a secret guilt enjoying the melodic world of Vangelis and if I will be the target of whispers and critiques from some of my supposed aggregated fellows, so be it. Because constructing these worlds I was having so much joy and immense pleasure. Let's not forget that one of Vangelis' masterpieces is 'Invisible Connections', that I adore, and from 1985, when not many artists were producing this kind of works. So I 'regressed' in my listening habits and I returned to some works by Vangelis. And what a glorious and melodic world it is: suddenly I remembered the pleasure of picking up one of those ancient vinyl albums and take the black disc out of the enormous covers and the needle crackling first and then those tunes spreading harmony and peace on my living room. Somehow I loved the oldest recordings, though I am a sucker for 'Blade Runner', L'Apocalypse Des Animaux, La Fête Sauvage and Opéra Sauvage are still odes of my adolescence, not forgetting his awesomely works with Irene Papas. So I decided I wouldn't be stupid and silly and progress my auto-didactic learning, and good or bad, Vangelis sound-like or not, I was building up my own soundscapes and poetic worlds. Still today 'China' is immersive and naively beautiful.
If you were to listen to the whole albums you may accuse me of other plagiarisms or influences or rip-offs? Certainly, and I am not sorry for that. The world we live, the contemporary world is an endless loop of copies, yes, we are 'The Robots'. One just needs to listen to the works of nowadays composers for films around the world, it doesn't matter if it is Bollywood or Hollywood, they all sound the same. There is, all soundtracks (with genius exceptions) all sound like a mix of John Williams and Philip Glass. It seems the Minimalism (whatever that is) is back with a revenge because all are doing it for the money and for acceptance. Why should I be different? Yes, I will be different. The repetitive patterns I used to guide my recordings were deleted in its majority in the final mix. yes, Arishankar may sound like Philip Glass and Steve Reich, but not really; it is distilled by my own experience and taste (and the little skills I have playing keys). It is rather an expansive experience.
Listening now, one year and a half after recording the final version, which I never re-recorded, it is a pleasure. It accommodates my love for simplicity and repetitive musiques, which I love since the beginning of the eighties with such a miraculous, inventive, ingenious and progressive as Telectu, the Portuguese duo (Jorge Lima Barreto, R.I.P). Above all their work is seminal and liminal in everything I do, and not necessarily in my soundwork. Their work is deep rooted in my life, yes, literally they changed my life and the way I see the world, and this world of Arishankar, Alikyur, etc, after I saw them play live in a very little cellar in Porto with twenty people in the public, or in Lisbon in the Festa do Avante before some hundreds of Musonauts. It was with their work OFF OFF that I started to see the world as a series of patterns and repetitions in everything and everyone. Though that recording is an artificial/electronic opus magnum, it is fervent with ideas, poetry through abstract numbers and vocoders, astral odysseys of incredible simplicity. Yes, while I was enjoying secretly the works of the commercial Vangelis I was invading those plateaux never reached by the majority of listeners (I was about to write the populace). So 'Arishankar', the tune' is a mix of many things, but above all of my petite invention, and I am very pleased with it, and that is what is most important.
This musical work, (Music for the Rite of) Ophis is simple, but one guesses and divines its multilayered atmospheres and repetitions. In a diverse realm, and I just thought about it right now, this project is well indebted to Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois, and much more to Harold Budd. Though the track are lengthy it is made of miniatures, one of my predilections music-wise, and the way that the themes appears and goes away, only to return inn another track, is nothing less of a little coincidental joy. The universes created by Eno, Lanois and Budd, their 'ambient' work is still very present in my day to day life. Those albums are still companions of writing and living, 'The Pearl', undoubtedly my favourite. It is rare to me to go back to my teenager years and listening habits of those times, but surely 'The Pearl' is an exception. It is filigree to my ears, its piano miniatures and atmospherics rich in texture, space, odd reverb and landscapes of immense sobriety, accomplished, secure - it is a safe haven. But did I try to copy them? Surely not. Reverberations come in form of memories.
 Mozart in Egypt, based on an idea by Hughes de Courson & Ahmed al Maghreby, 1997 Virgin Classics VC5453112, pm518. produced by Hughes de Courson, co-produced by TEG in Bulgaria and Nasredine Dalil in Egypt, Bulgarian Symphony Orchestra and the Children's Choir of Radio Sofia conducted by Jean-Marc Pinaud.with Egyptian musicians: Mostafa adb el Aziz (arghul), Mohamed Mostafa (rabab), Ibrahim Shahin (kwal), Nabil Diab (tabla), Ragab Sadek (daff, sagat), May (singer), Abdou Dagher (violin), Mostafa Abdel Naby (violin), Mamdouh el Gebaly (oud), Maged Sourour (qanoun), Mohammed Fouda (ney), Sarwat Sourour (tabla), Rabah Dlil (darabukka), Ashraf Essam (riqq), Samira Donya (voice), Nusredine Dalil (voice), Reda Shiha (voice), Sheich Mohammed El Helbany (voice).
My deepest gratitude goes to Maya Edmundson, Kevin Grogan and Steven Lee Rees.
This project is dedicated to Ricardo V. Pereira which is always present, like Ophis and Samuqan.
(music for the rite of) ophis
by benjamin silva-pereira
percussion, keyboards, samples and words by benjamin silva-pereira © 2015
photographs by guglielmo pluschow and benjamin silva-pereira
1. arishankar 05:57
2. (some chimneys watering the sky) 03:37
3. takshaka's paradox 11:44
4. (barefoot virgins go by, little maids) 01:08
5. ophis & ophis dance 19:10
6. (impenitent byzantine) 01:04
7. samuqan & music for the rite of ophis I 22:52
8. (pure love) 01:17
9. thoth 06:10
10. (is being built a temple up in the mount) 01:20
11. maat 07:41
12. (i flew inside of my body) 00:27
13 light 21:07
14. (your ashes i will be) 00:15
15. samuqan (reprise) 15:10
16. (little windows) 00:18
17. the plains 16:12
text/poems, voice, music composed, recorded, mixed, performed & produced by benjamin silva-pereira, recorded @ the naked lizard lounge, february to june 2014 and february 2015.
AAD - analogue recording | analogue mix | digital media
graphic design by wassily blossfeldt for w.b. industries, london
362.56.3 - The movies we make to survive... The signs we send to be recognised. The tears we camouflage to be understood. The loneliness I ordeal upon myself to be sure I’ll survive. Games and more games non-stop, never ending stories from the past that suddenly I recover from the dustbin of sorrows. An echo glistening and flickering from a higher tower, as if to advise and warn me. But then I couldn’t forget who he was, back to me, his head the one of a king, the first to be commemorated and hated all over history, the magi that have the powers of a god, sun, semi god of one, there he was, so long past, so many lives surrendered to the vicious spiral of time.
There he was, his back to me, a papyrus of wondrous stories, the myth, the miracles, the tales, the clay tablets buried under the sand, the hieroglyphs in stones, the oral fables. The king, more than Solomon of the temple of Jews, the Babylon of suspended gardens, the prince more valiant than Buddha and Christ altogether, the emperor capable of bend Alexander and Julius Caesar…
Gilgamesh* of Uruk in Da Shang, the city of the desert. What the purpose of his wondering here? Inri, what the hell is he doing with him? I want an answer to my riddle, where am I coming from? What is happening to my brothers and sisters? What a grand story it would be if told properly. The greatest of the great dressed like a cowboy in the twentieth-first century on a space age city in the middle of a desert. Gilgamesh* of Uruk.
The life that you seek you will never find:
when the gods created mankind
death they dispensed to mankind,
life they kept to themselves..
the old master turns the page of the old manuals, fingers of unnoticed force upon the papyrus, the old Egyptian master impregnating his fingers in tiny leaves and dust of gold, the same old used on the illuminaturas and miniatures of wonder of his apocryphal writings. he sighs and remembers that when he wrote the versicles under the name of Ibn Al Iznar*, he was very old on a tower, a cylinder in an ancient town of various ghosts; he was old but, when he desired he transmuted himself into his own characters, the ones that he created, invented out of his seed or the ones he choose from the funereal draws of his memories.
if he wished he was Takshaka, the wise serpent that fostered the son of Enkidu and the prostitute Una, the very same himself, the very old Ibn Al Iznar*. if he so wanted he could be young Ophis snake that ran on the meadows and prairies chasing naked young men that loved each other in between the reeds and oiled their bodies with ointments and their bodies with clay, algae and sand of rivers tasting like opium, where by the banks of the rivers he could listen to the melodies of the moon in sitars and drums Ophis, the breathless youth that vanishes like fog when the sperm fell into earth from the feathery and fine penis, Ophis the elegant man, elegant as a Japanese fan, Ophis the half-cast that mutated into a panther when he wanted to run the fields and the mountains chasing the meat he devoured underneath his claws on a blood bath. he could feel the life, the sap, the unguent of his blood reborn on the beatific beats of sweaty ankles he squeezed under his hands –- the rhythm of his pleasure wet with the liquids of screwed penises, embolus penetrating some boy, water snake. Ophis’ mouth would open wide in long moans of pleasure and the skin would fall into another gold. This was and is Ophis, Ourobouros, Ibn Al Iznar*, Takshaka, or child balancing his arm on the quiet and mirrored waters of the muddy silvery river - the wet hand provoking the collapse of quietness: his fingers are moving turbines creating little sea waves, - be careful the barca will turn upside down, my captain, my captain, such big and portentous waves the sea gifts us, help us gods of ancient times and the ones we invent right now, where will we end with all tremendous and ferocious tempest... The water drops crumble with freshness his folded naked legs of a soft mulato tan and the water hides on the buried feet in the mud, ‘-what will we do, my captain? We must roll the clothes, bring back the mainsail... Surely yes, my boy, we must forecast the wind, mind that mast quickly, sailor, it will break in hell on our heads. Of course, my captain, what are the men doing, it should be folded already, captain, for the love of Ophis, what do they do these men in my boat? Levante winds... We’ll bloody dive into hell like pebbles drowned deep, lost forever or to be eaten by the monsters, delicacies for the sea serpents that swam and swim our nightmares... What a hell we must endure... Captain, my captain, help us that we’ll die on these rocks... The child smiles and his two hands dip in the water of tempest and shipwrecks, undulates furiously the waves, the barca up flying in the sky. The cup of his hands are a chalice of glimmering water dripping in stripes of green liquid – Lord, there it goes the great serpent of the deepness, do you see it, so big and fat, such a cape of torments would be our luck, oh, gods, she is turning the caravel... no my dear little sailor, says the child to himself, can’t you see the water serpent only is protecting its baby serpents that were born yesterday. O stupid men, we have to escape through those brown and bladed rocks into the high sea, just like that.
The child smiles.”
Someone behind him smiles as well, loud and clear, a sharp thunderous laughter, what huge storm you would have in your hands, those big brown rocks in the sea I’ve seen them myself. They call them the breasts of Aphrodite and I must tell you they are in the ass of the world.
The child, a boy of dirty brown hair laughs and asks the laughing man who is he to know the breasts of Aphrodite, and the man says,
Who else but I, Ibn Al Iznar*, the old. There he goes the old laughing man that, looking back to the child playing with the water, waves him a tiny goodbye, but the beard of his face had vanished and his skin transformed from dry and old into smooth and shiny. The little boy stands up and waves goodbye back,
Give a kiss to Ophis, if you meet him, said the boy smiling, I am very sure you know him as well. The boy kneels into the water and starts another storm the size of a maritime war, - when are ending these torments, my captain. But look, sir, the sea, now that we sailed the rocks, is calm just there, salvation. Captain, look, they look like maiden’s breasts. The breasts of Aphrodite.
after sleepless night general ideas possibly reborn, as the return of a dream, recurrent, as on days when windows open without anyone open them.
TAR means the FOX.
The birth of Mars (fragment of a little dream I had last night): a screaming prostitute yelling and shouting in pain is lay on a street of imperial Rome, streams of urine and shit running, a yellowish wall crumbling down. The woman lifts her tunic and from her enormous dilated vagina the head of a baby is coming out involved in mucus, pus and blood. Venus is watching the scene, disguised as a boy playing a reed flute. There is a bowl of water besides the screaming woman. Nothing else on this fragment.
To enter the labyrinth*. First of all one must know of its existence, and just a few know of it, and fewer know and perceive it in truthfulness. In dreams one picks an old vessel (barca
I was told) and one penetrates the dark lake to sail it, also called Tamen Mbai Samuqan that means –- to penetrate the friends anus. You
have to vogue without rowing the time the sirens so do wish, thus they will come to guide you. They will seduce you to the deepness of the lake, that some call Iyfut that means the fat vagina, and one will stay there imprisoned until they are satisfied on feeding from your body.don’t worry as you will be able to breathe, the submarine spiders will weaver a cocoon wherethey’d bring oxygen in big bubbles in between their thin arms, from the surface. If one is wise one will recognise these places on one’s voyage back from the labyrinth*, it will be useful as you can recoil and rest your body and lungs, these coccons are huge and the water spiders are very good in hospitality. But beware of falling asleep due to their purr, you will be dinner to their bellies. Human flesh is very sweet.and soft. That’s what you need to do to enter the labyrinth*, see, easy as one two three? It is very easy to enter the maze, the difficult is to exit. You have to be a pythonise and guess the best time to fall asleep by the opium, but about that one will talk later. A trick you may use is to throw on the floor resplandent beautiful and colourful little stones smelling of sulphur and the order of those pebbles will tell you the appropriate hour to fall into the arms of Orpheus. Recognise and respond.
The labyrinth* will confuse you more in thought that its own configuration, that it is not very complicated, indeed, but its humours change constantly and that way you will get lost much more easily, and if you don’t keep awake and lucid, what is an ordeal, the surprises you will find...
The first labyrinth*? To live.
Labyrinth*: Kebili*,the double axe from Minos?
00:45:38 AM - Reality is made of this. Pieces, bits, bobs, fragments, incomprehensible figments of sounds and images, a bit of this, a smile of someone’s face, an indescribable silence in a statue, an obelisk that suddenly transforms itself in a building, and so on and on. Reality is made of nothing it seems, sometimes. Reality and existence is about what? Nothing but leaving traces. Traces of you in the shape of dreams and forms made of words and mysteries. Or maybe not. Maybe we are nothing but shadows in the desert without proof of human existence. No culture, no idea. Maybe we are nothing but an immense desert without humans. Therefore we are nothing. ‘Not only he created great disturbances in various ways, but sometimes he would pass illusions on entire cities and profane entire generations polluting their youth souls with unimaginable sins and ordeals to fool them with pleasures and dreams. That’s the way the enemy works, illusions of happiness are stronger than reality. He would lock people’s minds in obscurity and obscenities making them forgetting even their parents.’
But all this is rubbish. I don’t exist if the others don’t see me. If I don’t leave my mark on them. In the opposite case I am the snow melting in the forest. Vanishing, perishing without even existing. On the other side we are made of non-existent things, abstract thoughts and ideas, it seems. Love, passion, guilt, dreams, fantasies and fears, they are thoughts, therefore they don’t exist. And we all are made of thoughts, only. ‘And if a boy watches his brother in arms during his education and cannot take his eyes off of him, if they touch each other in the arms, the eyes frozen in peace, they cannot be married to someone else. Nor would anyone agree to marry a boy who had already thus associated with another boy. That’s the way of the desert and of the old man of the mountain.’
What is happening at the moment? Drinking and watching a small crowd dancing and socialising. Or simply watching the doomed reality that it is an open hunting season. Boys and girls impressing each other, choreograph of desires and lust. They smile and talk and apparently they are happy. The music is too loud for communication, but still they shout and bravely gesticulate the words and phantoms, hunting as a surviving skill. The Plop Café is a wave of lust and enchantment. We all here see what surround us in a peculiar own way, the desolation I am feeling it is not indeed the premises of that other there talking with an Oriental girl in a mini plastic skirt at all. They seem to me happy and absolutely free.
Like in all metropolis of the world, Da Shang is a refuge to all the outcasts. And while time flies into nothing, what others call infinity or the future, beautiful things are happening. Butterflies coming out of the cocoon and flying free into the sun, being burned like tiny small Icarus without conscience. It is the very same thing in Da Shang. Plop Café, my cocoon or our cocoon where we transform ourselves from a larva into desirable beautiful butterflies for a few hours. Alcohol, drugs and dance being our courage to be others than ourselves as well. But then afterwards everything will return to normality, the pieces of a mechanism and nothing more at all. Here we are noise and laughter, and that’s pretty good. ‘Anyone who attentively hears the narration’s of the blind man of the desert, the one without age or sense of time or lives amongst the boys of the desert, will certainly find it very easy to traverse the path of his teachings and be hypnotised by his methods and words of liberation and feel the poison of the Imperial snake sweet as honey and milk. And being this way one will be under his spell and will be engaged in his completely devotional service without conscience or thought.’
On the stage a woman in feathers and glimmering long suit sings an opera air. Possibly from Madama Butterfly. She cries in the end of it and applause swallows the room. She vanishes to nowhere, exactly from where she came from, perhaps, because the alcohol doesn’t allow me to follow anyone’s movements. The colours seemed blurred, like an abstract pastel of those modern artists. The sounds are drums and pulses within my brain. On the side of the dance floor there is a whirling shaped stair. A big fellow dressed in leather comes down followed by a tall, thin and very tanned young man. They would be perfect to my film. They don’t belong in this scenery; they belong to another civilisation or planet. I know the brown man is telepathic because he has got an aura. He belongs to the race of the desert boys. I can’t see their hands, but they have death in them. Blood pure blood in between the fingers. The woman behind me is looking at my neck. I feel the heat of her eyes on my neck. I know it and I can’t explain. They devour me but hopefully she will sense the cold coming from my heart. The two men that descended the stairs prepare to leave the Plop Café. They killed someone. Or better saying, they killed two people. Yes, I can remember: the blood in their hands belongs to the albino brothers. They went upstairs together. The tall brown fellow looks to the bar. There is a naked bartender who looks at him. They are talking to each other but they are not moving lips. They can read each other mind’s.
The bartender looks at me instantly, like a flash before the thunder. That means he knows what I am thinking and perceives that I know too much. But my brain is dizzy and I don’t move from where am staying. The woman behind me puts her strong hand on my shoulder. I turn and she smiles lips of a glimmering violet and I have a last glimpse of the two men leaving the Plop Café. And I guess she is not a woman but a transvestite. She is a very young man with very beautiful eyes. He is my height but very young and I guess that behind all that make up he can be astonishingly handsome. She smiles and says that I am in the need of a cigarette. That’s the sign I am in trouble. He is one of mine. I follow her into the toilets where she opens a hidden door and I slip the Plop Café into the darkness of the night.
She told me that she would look for me. There are things to discuss and orders to follow. Her eyes are shinning blue, but she can be using lenses or any other artefact. Learn how never trust appearances. ‘As everyone knows and was said, the old man of the mountain has no specific duty or purpose in this world, but he acts like every other man would act. He lives simply and ideal life, like everybody else surrounding him. He does not demand sacrifices or worship because he doesn’t need them. As well the warriors of the desert don’t worship icons or pictures.’
White. A pure white of unseen snow, alva neve as they say near the village on the Sarikimpor planes. He felt an unusual freshness on his face that relaxed him. Suddenly he was not afraid of the darkness or of the past or of the night of the voices. He was in and on the white, plain if melancholy canvas of pure white. He felt moving through that space in front. He rose his hand to touch it. The fingertips reached it and he felt the texture of that Alva snow, a figment rough of tiny fibres fastened one to the other, endlessly forming a sheet of endless white that the fingers recognised. He turned his body a little inside it.
He witness the tones of paleness fading into grey, a darker line and a slit in the flesh afterwards he guessed what was to happen next. A hand caressed his hairless belly, a finger introducing in his bellybutton, a hand caressing him his neck on the back, the little microscopic hairs erecting. A soft hand, but cold, huge, silky. He was staring at the evening skies with the wide open eyes streamed of blood, the full moon right on his irises and the shine spreading around his eyebrows, his arms opening like iron columns to the skies up above. He was cold, very cold, cold sweat a serpentine down his forehead and chest. The hands sliding on his back make him tremble of sweetness. A flute melody repeating on his ears, the same melody repeating itself until the infinite floating on his empty skull, moving airy and monotonous, the flute, it was the flute, the chorus of a song that he heard one day… Another flute of feathery melodious enchantment intertwined with the first one, accompanying it, as two serpents, completing each other, lamenting to each other. He floated effortless in a sweet torpor. He didn’t feel his weight, the melodies of the two flutes embracing him, the simple earthy song forming a huge plexus spiralling, coming and going, easy, crystalline. Inside there was a gentle stream of cold waters sliding on the round stones, softening the green moss. The shinning silver moon of singing waters… Someone was whispering on his ear, a soft voice, light, as is body. The words were strange and sang at the key and rhythm of the flutes. Only the music, repetitive, minimal inside of his whiteness, himself and the melody childish, old. White, a pure white. White.
He remembered the mountain and the snow as a mirror, the teacher, the lake of cold water, his brother inside the womb…
A portrait of him eleven hundred years old, his mother crying and holding him on her arms, his father with the blade ready to cut the gland of his penis, the canticles of the moon at the monastery – he could remember the languages he learned, a man’s face with tears of love for him, the full moon of that night, a garden – a big place full of machinery and people clapping their hands for him, the figures on the paper – so many worlds, more than he thought existed, refracted and zooming towards him… a place of loud music, the underground of a mysterious city in the desert. A pair of a feline underwater on a garden in the sky. He remembered the blind shaman talking to him sweetly and laughing on a cave in the desert, surrounded by naked youths. His name is Asura, Asura Alix, the one once called Akhuna Alix, but firstly he was Graiutwi. Akhuna Alix, the boy of the sun. He remembers those eyes in the water…
Tari smiled at Ibis. They were seated with the shaman in the cave in complete silent. The nights in this desert were mysterious and formidable, the fat and greasy moon bigger than Tari has seen before.
- There is someone we need, to proceed with our mission, the shaman said slowly almost not moving the lips. Ibis was playing with the cinders of the extinct fire ordering them in a circle with a kind of bird in the middle. The shaman went silent but inside their heads they saw something for the first time. Green water and inside of it a shadow moving very slowly. The vision came clearer and Ibis and Tari recognized the shape of a body floating under water. The skin was blue, maybe because of the colour of the water, but the vision became more vibrant and the body suspended was dead. It was a boy, big genitals and hands waving in the blurred water, the shaved skull. In the mouth there was a kind of tube and for a second Ibis and Tari thought the young man was breathing.
Tari’s heart raced immediately, he recognized himself, it was he, dead in the water, or was the other boy he saw on the river? His name is Brian. Brian Lam Springfellow, son of the founder of the city of Da Shang, and he is dead. He drowned trying to escape Ibn Al Iznar, an alchemist of seventy lives and mysteries. He was kidnapped and brought to Egypt. We found him on the river. Or better saying, Tari found him. The words were coming from the shaman’s mind. The cave disappeared and only water and the dead body were there. Yes, we need someone to help us resuscitate the body, and that someone is in Da Shang. He was a member of the tribes. He possesses secrets he doesn’t suspect. And you, dear Tari, you that you are a twin of this man; you may help us as well. Chance and fortune are on our hands. If we discover the secrets that we must, all our troubles will end and this desert will be peaceful again, without vessels and cities. We must start proceedings. We have friends in Da Shang already willing to help, and some others that do not suspect that they are working for us.
The voices went away. Time is mechanic, men transformed in machines – man machine. He smells the saffron and he knew he would go, Asura wouldn’t stay on this city. The face of that boy in the water, greening slowly. The shaman was smiling, he woke up, we are saved, Asura saw the blind shaman smile and he thought the same as the old man, he woke up, we are saved! The shaman waved into the darkness of the cave. Asura was outside the cave, on its entrance looking back at the glass observing the dead young man. The shaman waved at him. He had to return to the city. He smells the saffron and he knew he would go to that city. He knew the way; he knew the path now. He walked through the desert sands and whistled a little melody the monks taught him.
After days of walking he needed to rest. Fatigue obliged him to stop in the oasis of little pebbles and bonsai trees, bamboo and moss where the round stones seemed to shine under the full moon. He crossed the bridge and sat on the deck in the middle of the pond. Two women were seated drinking tea. Welcome master Asura, they said. He sat and drank of their tea. It was a peaceful place, no sound but for the crackling of the little fire. Lotus in the midst of the pond and two frogs jumping from a leaf to the other. Someone outside the pond was playing a flute. Perfection and serenity, he thought. Another flute came to their ears from behind the bamboo fence. The moon in the mirror of the pond, circular, round and silver. At the end of such voyage this was the paradise promised. The stars in heavens, high up above, he sang. The ladies giggled, you got vely nice voice, mistel Asula, vely nice. The other lady gave him a peach for him to eat. You are very tired but in an hour you will be fine, Asura, I promise. They prepared him a bed in the deck in very light gestures, they were dancers, artists, they would do anything for him repose properly. Yes, the lady in satin said, eat the peach, it’s juicy and good for you, eat. I’ll sing you a song about peaches, listen, it’s very old and the poet was a simple white magician from the mountains of Douro, far away from here…
THE RECIPIENT OF POWER TRANSFORMS DIRTY WATER AND CONFUSION INTO AN UNION OF INFORMATION AND DIFFERENT QUESTIONS AND LIES. He listened carefully to those words, unaware of where they were coming from or who… Whispers in the night, calmly, THE LIGHT IMPLODES FROM NOTHING. THE WATER OF PARADISE IS PROTECTED TO DISCOVERY ON THE DARK LIBRARY. He his the rider instructing the young horse, his favourite, he incites him to run and load him more and more and he starts again the rhythms of voluptia and malice. Asura rides him faster and faster with closed eyes, all the sex inside of him until… The chests in arches breathing the air with male aromas and scents, the sweat, the sperm, hate and passion, the uncontrolled copulation of animals in profound lust. They are dizzy like the gods can be. … the flesh in a kind of corruption and heat as the sap crawling the flower from the root, Asura is completely possessed and the thick scalding sex fills all in him… THE LIGHT IMPLODES FROM NOTHING, he ejaculates… I am a third generation teraflop computer, basically. I do have a bio-quantum interface not based on the binary codes one or zero but both at the same time in clusters, or if you wish, in little bags, microscopic bags that deal with information, coherently, using wave functions; meaning I am a qualitative being instead of an algorithm quantity entity. Therefore I can imagine different solutions to the same problem incredibly fast. My biological synapses qualify me to engender in different levels of analysis and responses, or a kind of quantum parallelism. Let him sleep. There’s nothing we can do now. He is in shock, or something. But he will be all right. Strong fellow. Not physically, though. Mentally. Little shock. A madman that thinks it's a King; it's a lunatic. A king that thinks it's a king is too a madman. And a lunatic who thinks is a Lunatic, what is he? A fool? A sane person? A king?
The finality of happiness is to die gently. The Great (Anu and Takshaka) determinates that one should obey the paradox of the sage. Ignorance matches the trivial.
His lips honey, a sword in the belly, that is Johnny. Sweet talk, the body in an arch, white orgasm, candour in the eyes: a very sweet trap to conquer desire. But Asura knows he didn’t need the lure, he was captive of Johnny, a fool. He lusts for him, elegant, handsome, and beautiful in a feminine way almost when he moves his hands. Asura’s problem with Johnny and all the others, including Annie Seward, is not of the beauty or of the desire. The problem with Johnny was that he wasn’t good within, in the inside of him, he got something of a cannibal or killer on him. I suppose that I should protect myself fast into this. One of the most advisable instructions I must reflect is that everything is a tremendous very rough draft. Why, and it is a simple question? Things will be seen through my very own and old eyes. O, yes! And that’s the main reason why I feel extremely uncomfortable to have a role in this. The second thought is that I have a reasonable plain idea of my Master’s intentions.
Young man’s name: Asura. He is seeing the demons and gods flying in front of him like little flying pixies, their golden cloths around the waist, and the dark brown paintings in their faces. He can imagine names for all them. These little gods change their names in every second because they are made of what you can imagine, they are deities of other worlds they create themselves and no one ever could imagine their powers. They live on human blood. Suddenly they fall into Asura’s arm and he can feel their tongues licking the hot blood. Asura knows he is the only one to see these divinities. That is his skill; he can see what others can’t. That’s why the shaman walks backwards when Asura starts to hum a very slow melody. His eyes are frozen, his hair fair as golden wheat, his eyes jet-black olives. ■
Amusement, naked and pure amusement, the math of life.
Gods came from all over the Universe to converge in a tiny little blue planet. Non-linear systems and the sum of several parts of time and illusions appeared in the shape of Gods. Some had to create new systems to travel; so far away was the tiny little blue planet. Suddenly there was a landscape of possibilities. No weight space, no linear time, and functions altered reality to the assembly of the Gods. Errors proclaimed just raised and created new frontiers, miracles and astonishing creatures, machines and rhythms.
- They threatened to beat me and lock me up...
People were frightened; but enchantment took place suddenly. Magic is a simple equation, a solution, a simulation, blue clouds and nice music.
Things can get complicated when someone says that 1 + 1 = 3, even if it is possible to built pyramids and believe in eternity. Magic was a kingdom where all human beings lived, not thinking, and just believing.
- I saw the boy's body…
But the Gods came from distant lands and disguised, as usual.
Someone saw a dead body and said that. But that body was supposed not to be seen. So someone threatened to beat and imprison who saw it. The scared boy ran away crying and never told a living soul he saw the naked dead body by the river.
- I saw his expression, the pale face...
The young man vomited in the sand near the palm tree, out crying in pain and confusion.
He was sick and feverish. His hands trembling, cold sweat in the shape of tears in his eyes, impossibility and a chance: miracles do happen all the time. He remembered the boy’s body smelled like sex.
Tari was not dreaming at all.
He was by the river picking little shrimps trapped in the dirty sand. The water was warm and the sun setting. He had to return home, he thought. His brother was soon to return from the fields. But he left the linen bag and the loincloth on the sand and washed in the river. He could listen to the echoes of a caravan on the other side of the river. Someone important, he was sure. Hundreds of servants in line and horses and camels loaded with trunks and luggage. A cloud of dust behind them, gold particles flying: waves of sand, a twirling sea.
The sound of a flute came to caress his ears while he was dressing the gown. When he placed the dirty bag on his shoulder he saw a hand coming out of the water, a blue hand. And the flute player was behind him watching, with awful eyes: WINDS GRAZING THE SOUL.
Ibis flying in the orange sky. Thoth* directing the moon, the dark hand that used to grace the flute, the flickering of a candle under the tallow moons.
All moments are one.
And Thoth*, the Lord of Heaven, records all the moments. The ones we feel and the ones we forget. He is the truth and the fakeness, the illusion and the trick, the stone balancing dreams and reality. He can disguise himself as baboon or ibis, man or woman, boy or girl. He can be a tree, a stone, the water and the sun; all is the sum of his name.
The ibis eyes staring at Tari are Aah-Tehuti: the New Moon, the eye of Amon-Ra, the other name of Thoth*, but he is all the names. And Tari felt shivers down his spine. An old hand touching his shoulder. The dead body drowned in the water. The water where he bathed a moment ago, the lightness gone...
The soldiers were there in a moment shouting and pulling Tari out of there, threatening him, terrorising… the day he was to die…
The only God that can count the stars is Thoth* because he is the one with the books. Better, he is the Master, the deity of literature, and the one who knows and transcribes the numbers, the letters, the stories, the hieroglyphs and the magic behind and beyond them. He hides in the fat and extremely pregnant moon. He is omnipresent, he is in everything: all the measures are his, the mighty scribe. He is the understanding. That’s why he is the ibis in those orange skies when Tari lift the head and sees the blind man playing the flute. He stopped playing and smiled with rotten black teeth. When Tari looked at the river again, trembling, he saw the ibis landing on the reeds a little distance from him. He was staring: the fright that freezes Tari veins, the sudden cold of death down his spine.
The knowledge of pleasure; tricks that smells like sex, a cold night on a minuscule room. The boy washed his tanned body in the back of the house. No one was at home. Mother and father went a long way to visit parents and his older brother should be on the fields harvesting the wheat with the servants.
Tari, that’s the name of the young man, sat on the mat; naked and shivering with fear; but he couldn’t dress. An invisible hand was caressing him. He couldn’t forget the dead body in the riverbanks. The closed eyes, the skin painted in blue or at least it seemed. And then the shouts of the strange soldiers he never saw in his life, the shinning armour, and the looks in the gigantic eyes.
He was sweating cold, sweating like never before. But the invisible hands were caressing him and he couldn’t resist. His brown sex erect, the invisible hands masturbating him. He came on the mat and suddenly the night was inside of him and he fell asleep.
Time, if that matters, can be an account of figures or an index of names.
Ramesses, the heir of the Rhampsinitus, the Procreator reigns. And the Gods came to see him. But no one will see the Gods. Ramesses himself was believed to be a God, the GOD. But certainties are so uncertain as the next second is. You can be dead. Or just smiling seeing a bee collecting pollen.
But even Pharaoh’s dreams.
Like the boy with sperm in his legs dreaming on the floor of a country house. The stars came and the brother returned home. He took Tari and laid him on the sheets by the fire. Tari was talking in his sleep, but the brother couldn’t understand the words. Strange words and murmurs, whispers and cries.
And Tari saw the boy's face, as a blue statue in the Temple. Tari was moving in a fever the brother was afraid of. The brother was thinking Tari was possessed; evil spirits were within the house and inside his brother. He prayed to the moon and placed bowls with water and milk on the corners of the house, salt and myrrh.
On the door a butterfly was flapping its wings, and it was beautiful. Tari’s brother smiled and was sure it was a good omen. He came nearby his brother and prayed until the day broke and the most amazing sun showed its splendour.
Ramesses’ caravan was travelling in direction of Nahairana in the river’s mouth. All the kings and princes will vow before him and offer slaves, wives, gold and silver, precious stones and tiaras and boats carved in ivory, statues… And the pharaoh troupe will eat and vomit and drink and vomit and an orgy will last weeks and sacrifices to the Gods will be made. That was the caravan Tari saw on the other side of the river. But the soldiers that terrorised him were not the overlord’s servants. They used silver clothes and for eyes crystals that shone…
The poor reproduction of imagined reality, difficult and demanding, walking with you and odd shadows: Tari was walking besides a boy dressed in plain white. He knew the boy for long time ago, even if he just jointed the caravan a moment ago. Or did he now him from a distant time in the future? The boy was his age, same stature and build. But his eyes were lined with black coal and the colour was amazingly green, like a precious gem. When the boy looked for the first time at him he smiled very gently. He didn’t speak: words travelling the distance down the hills and across the plains, drained and aching. Moving lips wordlessly, talking nothing and everything.
All moments are one only.
Maybe one moment’s worth all…
The lights are being seized.
And there he was, handsome and glamorous, stripped like a spell; he guessed that in the strange boy’s eyes. For a curious reason he knew it was everything a lie: an absence. Like siting there, besides the strange boy. The caravan stopped and they walked into the river edge. Tari understood and didn’t say a word. Just undressed, his body opened like a shady memory: waiting a visitor in desert sands, apologising for all the moments he didn’t live, hands tense between legs, trembling as a baby.
- Could I help that boy?
He knew the hurting was showing in his face.
- What do you want from me?
Moving forward carelessly, the spirit completely wrong, words in echoes through the desert, a hand in his thigh caressing endlessly, horses riding in the dusk, whisper of poison and spark.
Pallid and brave, it was the time to hide in the bushes, the wind rousing from the sea, listening to a stream of wild roses, lilies in between whispers and sighs, senses burning out of reason, stranger within himself. There are always long silences in pitiless eyes, dull eyes of the common, frightening cold eyes. The ancestral graves, the face of ancient masks feeling things stirring within.
When Tari woke up he saw the ibis flying in the sky. His body was relaxed and his mind in peace, happy. A happy sound came from the back garden. His brother was playing the flute. After all everything was a dream, he thought. He got out of the mat on the floor and washed his face in cold water. Covering himself he prayed to the sun, and to the God in the shape of an ibis, sometimes of a baboon. And he smiled. He thought of the dead young man with a strange skin by the riverside. A dream, just a dream, nothing but a dream!
The door opening while the sun burns his face.
Unbearably haunted, trying to guess its undiscovered interior nightmares, he saw the birds passing through the blue skies. He scraped the inside of the dreams, from time to time and suddenly he heard the most intensely beautiful music, ancient. His brother was playing quietly a lullaby.
Mirrors and intense incense smell.
- Time accelerated, smelling old.
The silence after the storm masters your life and art, he thought without purpose.
Broken jar and the air of thick white incense.
Plight, a purveyor of sadness, an atmosphere of risk.
Tari sometimes also remembers a dead brother, but he didn't understand it. His eyes narrowed like an idea possessing him staring into another dimension of reality. Weeping for some forgotten love, or because he forgot how to love. Or maybe he never loved before.
The poison in the blood is too strong.
There was another little silence, a rotten silence like the carcasses of dead animals, he thought. And the arm of the dead young man coming out of the stagnated waters came stronger than in the dream.
Trying not to think all the irritating efforts, all the anger, and an unexpected confusion.
Desperation fills his brain. Lacerated heart, nothing unusual. The sands stretched like a mirage in front of him.
He could be dreaming, listening on the door, staring at the desert. His eyes shone, his heart beating a little bit faster. Sure everything was irrevocably lost, but he couldn’t guess what and why.
Wonderful, absolutely wonderful, beautification, but the night couldn't alleviate the shame of all days.
- I'm waiting angrily for... Nothing has happened.
The face with an expression of detachment and amusement with shadows of poignant blue, even if he was in pain. Anyway, he danced with his shadow on the wall wrapping his arms around himself.
- We all want something, everybody else is holding that dream, but
not me, and I can't be in love.
Carried away with dreams and lust in his loins. He felt lucky that way. Even feeling lonely. The air is so sweet, the sun so beautiful, the lightness mellowing with unbearable anticipation.
He laughs soundly afterwards, laughter of despair in the dunes of a strange desert. Then he knew dreams are like illuminations: his body spinning. The dead body in the river had his face, his nose, his open eyes, and his lips. He saw himself dead in the river. That body was his body, he could be dead in that moment, and how could it be? He was the blue dead boy…
O moon of gods,
Eternal great god and lord of heavens;
Ruler of the floods and tides,
You that know all the names of the moon,
Describes the meaning of things in the stars
- You that provides the grain with the harvest
Of all planets and suns,
You that are the black eye of Horus,
Protect me in my mission,
Defend me from the temptation of the vulgar,
Teach the riddles and the ordeals.
Blessed his your thunder that protected me
And honoured by the rains that moister me.
Sacred baboon, flying ibis to the sun
Teach me the right words.
(C) (P) 2015 catalogue of wonders (arts), london