Monday, March 24, 2014



Blackworldgreyworldblueworldwhite world
and then

The base chakra fills with blood
and engorged, disgorges
into the blood besotted soil
down Dwarf deep
and penetrates the fiery crystal
that is the Dragon's eye.

Fafnir the Dragon,
being thus engaged,
turns to Pelle and speaks to him
in one blast beat, one
cthonic boom,
and says this:

My dearest son
(for you always were my son) -
yours was a sacrifice without redemption.
When the Sun returns
it will be as a fallen angel,
and when the crops rise
they will be stained with ergot and madness.


i figure if a poem requires the amount of explanation i am going to give about the one above, it is either completely brilliant or wilfully obscurantist rubbish. So, i stray from my own guidelines about this one, because i think it does require some understanding if it's worth posting at all.

This is my second poem about Per Yngwe 'Dead' Ohlin, vocalist for the Black Metal band Mayhem. Mayhem have a long and bloody history, but they remain the gold standard for Black Metal both musically and in terms of artistic integrity. Google them. i guarantee a lot more than the usual rock schlock.

In this poem i contend that the founding gesture of Black Metal is not the murder of Euronymous, Mayhem's guitarist and major figure in the Norwegian scene, bu Varg Vikernes, the bassist, but the suicide of Dead, two years earlier. By taking this view i am influenced in part by Hunter Hunt-Hendrix's article 'Transcendental Black Metal', and Scott Wilson's article 'BASileus philisoPHOrum METalicorum', both from the Hideous Gnosis symposium lectures, and my own experience of the genre.

The first line simply gives Dead's own account of what he thought would happen when he died. As a child he had a 'near death experience' after his spleen was ruptured during a beating by his peers. An unusual, not neurotypical young man, he became obsessed with death and possibly genuinely thought he was dead, or inhuman. i then pervert or 'blacken' some new age earth healing principles. i identify Dead with Sigurd, the golden Germanic/Scandinavian hero who was the first dragon slayer. In the myth, the dragon imparts wisdom to Sigurd before he dies. In the adversarial/Luciferan current, the dragon is considered to be the great symbol or expression of chaos. Sigurd/Dead and the dragon become one. i also reference the very old universal  'king must die' stories  But, this being Black Metal, i deny humanity a happy ending.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Cthonic squeeze - a post earthquake photo essay

This is a photo essay about Christchurch's earthquake damaged 'red zone' properties. Some are within an easy walk of where I live. One night recently I visited three older, larger houses and took photos with my phone. Two properties were behind barriers and one was clearly alarmed. I found it reasonably easy to get through the barriers without damaging anything. I had no desire to damage anything. The first two houses were formerly grand old places that had been converted into run down bedsits. The last was a beautifully kept home. I am no proper photographer, but I especially enjoyed the process of photographing dark spaces with a flash. It's all so sudden - a black room through a window, then a flash, a glimpse, a result that could be ordinary or out of this world. There was also, of course, the frisson of doing something mildly illegal and possibly dangerous, as I weaved through overgrowth and climbed damaged stairs. One of the photos is a selfie - of my shadow, barely visible, looking definitely eldritch in the dodgy lambency of distant street lights.

This was a 'dark walk', an act of brief subversion. After the earthquakes I found night walking had its poetry. All the things that should have been inside came outside - the insides of buildings were exposed, the things that ought to have been under the ground were on the surface. I liked having my senses messed with a little. This recent walk was a continuation of this, three years after the big EQ, the city still has the power to startle me a little. And it is still in between, still inside upside broke up broke down left behind in bits and fits and starts.

If I were clever I would make a slide show with music. There is a sound track in my mind. For the first two houses it would be 'Illuminate Eliminate' from Mayhem's Ordo ad Chao album. For the last, it would be 'I Will Lay Down My Bones Among the Roots And Rocks' from Wolves in the Throne Room's album Two Hunters. I consider these mighty Black Metal works to be expressions of a singular problem - that of being stuck in the limen. Imagine an initiation rite where a young man is brought into manhood by a terrifying but socially sanctioned and ultimately affirming ordeal, such as a vision quest. Imagine if he enters, crosses the threshold (the limen), but never comes out. Stuck in between childhood and manhood, stuck in horror, in the narrow chthonic squeeze of the rite, where he is totally alone.