In my bedroom early morning hours January 7th 2018

Gerringong, NSW

The heat almost unbearable tonight; like the years lost to phantasms; memories which mock till sucked dry; the roundness of my back a parachute; this body once carved from Greek marble; the teasing of a spirit which stays young; the soft flesh and decay of teeth; tonight this is not who I am; tonight I am a god smearing moonlight on my face; I am a poet until the sunrise; and my hair is thick and hiding a multitude of stories; Augustine of Hippo “ever-present eternity”; “[y]et the timeless in you is aware of life’s timelessness” (Khalil Gibran); “At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise” (Dan. 12:1); I hear the waves crashing onto the shore; years ago the Pacific Ocean almost claimed me; the water has been after me since the womb; vodka; voda; little water; you can drift off nicely with a huge ear; tympanic membrane; Bugs Bunny “Rabbit of Seville”; Syd Barrett busking in Paris before his conflagration; Estas Tonne’s burning fingers whirling dervishes in Madrid; the blind guitar player on Piccadilly Circus looks my way; word association associative patterns; “[w]ild, wild horses we’ll ride them some day” (The Rolling Stones); Eleni wakes up to a nightmare; J.P. Morgan; the ‘1907 Panic’; the Federal Reserve System; do understand it is a private trust; this generation has been reeling in the darkness; algorithms are without soul; ‘number crushing’ will be reversed; to the right on top my side drawer four books; The Handmaid’s Tale; Titus Andronicus; The Robots of Dawn; David Brooks' The Fern Tattoo; to the left on top my side drawer; the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece; a pair of blue crystal angels; a prayer rope; a Rubics cube; a bronze owl from Istanbul; the stories from Paphos almost done; I enjoyed drafting these on the mountain; I might send them to Westerly; I am nodding off; I will sleep for a few hours; here on this bed you were conceived; 5.47 AM; “From bed and sleep hast Thou raised me up”; dreamt of my Father sitting on a ledge in his suit; episodic memory; aromatic incense; Lily of Aegina; 2 charcoal pieces; Surrealism and the unconscious; Salvadore Dali (1904-1989);  camouflage; concealing colouration; “[y]ou can close your eyes to reality but not to memories” (Stanislaw Jerzy Lec); it is a little cooler; remnants will be left behind; my pillow wet like London rain; I am getting a new laptop; I wish I did not need one; nobody needs Facebook; great alphabets are hidden in our backyard; “[o]nly the body remembers stillness”; Elvia Garcia Ardalani; back soon must quench my thirst; chilled tomato juice; savoury crackers and cheddar cheese; a short black; Boat Harbour Rock Pool; Seven Mile Beach; Cathedral Rocks; midnight Christmas services the Julian Calendar; typewriter patented on this day (1714); total fire bans are in place; motifs return in different keys; they come back on their head; Ludwig van Beethoven; Claude Debussy; Jon Lord; we are all connected; all things touch; except the “internet of things” which has no soul; but Charles Bukowski has soul (1920-1994); Iranian oil tanker fire leaves 32 missing;  “Aussie Flu” outbreak; Donald Trump ‘absolutely’ would talk with Kim Jong-Un; Titus Andronicus; pulp fiction; “Art thou not sorry for these heinous deeds?” (Titus Andronicus); redemption; “the action of being saved”; recovery; Katina and the little ones at the beach; George gone fishing; my left leg folded under the right has gone to sleep; Tito Colliander (1904-1989); The Way of the Ascetics; searching for faith in a disbelieving world; Pythagoras’ golden thigh; speak to me great river; bite the head off the old serpent; 10:07 AM; I will take a shower; a shower like a baptism promises re-birth; healed in the waters of the Pool of Siloam and the Gihon Spring; blue sundew; purple garlic; dark orange; the dyers guild protected their secrets closely; the porcelain guild even more; my guardian angel above and beyond; Uberveillance is nearer than I thought; who will be able to resist; save your children; blood pressure 157/95; pressure in large arteries; sphygmomanometer; the explosion of colour; diffuse nebulae; interstellar matter; second breakfast: Melba toast, feta cheese, black olives, and a drop of Sangiovese; drafted a poem; revised two translations; listened to Loreena McKennitt; leafed through some old photographs; joyful-sorrow; translate to ‘double-edged sword’;;  “I made my song a coat” (W. B. Yeats); Red Mashad Persian Rug; the Blueface Angelfish will dazzle in the Indo-Pacific; diamonds rain down on the surface of Jupiter; Katina and the little ones have returned; George is still with Pops; our neighbours mowing the lawns; the shrieking of Galahs; much cooler and “partly cloudy”; stratus; cumulus; stratocumulous; a postcard from Singapore arrived two days ago; a letter from the bank; an invitation to a wedding; remember Mary Wollstonecraft; she died giving birth to her daughter; the other Mary who wrote Frankenstein; “[i]f I cannot inspire love, I will cause fear!”; back later don’t go away; 9:47 PM; “The day has passed, and I give You thanks, Lord”; another ritual washing; at least the flesh will be clean; earlier a bowl of lentil soup, onion, olives, with crusty bread; a tall cold beer; a mild cigar; a secure roof; unqualified love; blessings beyond words and so my heart be silent and do not complain; “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever” (Ps.136); belief is action and movement; belief is not dogmatic it is ongoing counsel through the darkness; “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mk. 9:24); Jeremy bouncing a ball downstairs; Eleni drawing pictures in the big room; Frida Kahlo (1907-1954); look on the underside of the image; a magical realist acquainted with grief; I am upstairs in the bedroom; “Beam me up, Scotty” (Star Trek); Google maps; ‘view or edit your timeline’; what will be the truth; to the right of me the bathroom; to the left of me the walk-in wardrobe; and to the front of me “[t]wo roads diverged in a yellow wood” (Robert Frost); Siccar Point; time split into many points; creation and evolution; blue whale; white whale; grey whale; it invariably comes down to triggers; “Stories that educate and inspire those with OCD” (Stuart Ralph); tap… tap… Tao; the Titanic burned; the iceberg came after; like the new world we are building; “dance me to the end of love” (Leonard Cohen); Salome; Isadora Duncan; Martha Graham; chasse triple step; lock step; feather step; Rabindranath Tagore; Nandalal Bose; Niranjan Bhagat; contextual modernism; orchid; lotus; bleeding heart; last week I dreamt I was wrestling with myself; I had the ‘other’ in a tight headlock; subdue that which wars within you; courage; enlightenment; collapsing stars and gamma-ray bursts; all good for now; the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali; from the shadow of death; light will dawn; it all goes too quick, the little bird lamented; let us cry together tonight.

Taking notes inside a Bucharest MacDonalds

15 August 2011

Bucharest, Romania


I cut myself shaving this morning when I saw you in the mirror looking back at me; “you yourself are indeed another small world with the sun, moon and stars within you” (Origen); I thought he was a one-winged angel but he was carrying the shopping bag from the inside of his large coat; a deaf Beethoven composing the Appasionata; next to me a big woman has ordered her fourth burger and looks happily content like the Buddha in Bangkok; a young girl is sweeping the floors of broken dreams and timeworn drafts; a bearded old man with a broken ladder has skipped in to tell some stories; the suspicious manager with the gold teeth is keeping an eye on me; the fine-looking woman from across the road has walked off with a fallen angel who missed his train; people should reply to letters within a fortnight at most; George Orwell always replied to his letters even when he was dying; Leo Tolstoi was not an admirer of Shakespeare; a young fellow with a bald patch and a large nose is scratching his armpit in search of answers; I should have ordered the large Coke instead of this cheap beer; my feet hurt from all the running and the taking off; I love Valerie’s photo of Les sprouting up through the trunk of a great tree; a simple stone can fire the imagination with the same force as The Kneeling Nun of New Mexico; despite the heat the forecast for tomorrow is heavy rain followed by possible shipwrecks; more heavy sweeping of the floors and great loss of forensic evidence; Sylvia Plath’s cry for help; outside a little boy in a yellow shirt wishes he was a helicopter; Thomas Merton where are you on Saint Lucy’s Day; “sing us a song you’re the piano man, sing us a song tonight” (Billy Joel); notes inégales; what did Lazarus and the daughter of Jairus see; the woman with the one leg has pulled out a large map of the city from her silver purse; remember to ask how to get to Brasov; two old men pleased with the “special deal” are slapping each other on the shoulder and pointing to a place neither wants to go; I am now fifty years and a couple of days old; August 15th the Dormition of the Holy Mother; thank you my dearest Katina; a group of Gypsies are dancing on the street pointing to Ursa Major; we are made of the stuff of stars; one line can save a life more than a great book of a thousand pages; I wonder how many times Mircea Eliade walked up and down this street going about his eternal return; “Jesus Christ Son of God have mercy upon me the sinner”; at what point do we lose our capacity to know God; not random behaviour but yes a “fine tuning” of the universe; Francisco Goya the same as Caravaggio directly onto the canvas; CCTV is everywhere like a second skin which it will soon become; intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance; government denial; laser designators, multi-position mechanisms, skybox satellites; masters of spin, rumour mongers, buyers and sellers of corpses; “Dial F for Frankenstein” (Arthur C. Clarke); Google has actually re-invented the Trojan Horse; there is more to Samsung than you think; Lycett’s Dylan Thomas is another very good read; I cannot get this tune out of my head I think it’s from the Electric Light Orchestra; OCD is one nightmare after another; Nicholas Tesla is so terribly underrated; a couple of weather wizards have dropped in; really glad to have read Tchaikovsky’s letters; nutcrackers and wooden dolls; you are punishing me, please reply to me; hot white glass slowly stretched; taxis on Bulevardul Banu Manta line the streets like a hive of bees; it all comes down to salvation; Okanokumo, clouds on the hill; maybe I will get some ice cream with caramel sauce; the dogs of Bucharest are in search of their long dead masters; “when you are old and grey and full of sleep and nodding by the fire” (W.B.Yeats); deep down we are all scared that we will be found out; how did Primo Levi really die; progress nowadays has to do with economics and I am sitting in one of its citadels; Augustine’s birds are too sharp this afternoon; I should probably delete this page; Art is no longer the point of beauty; the great gift of comprehension; algorithms will one day choose who amongst us will live or die; I wish that little girl with the green shoes would stop picking at her nose; freedom begins with forgiveness; the Divine Liturgy lifted my spirits today; The Brothers Karamazov dealt atheistic idealism a heavy blow; we are all condemned because one child has died of hunger; hours are sometimes even more precious than love; compassion is the most wonderful of all words; racism is the root of all evil; maybe I should have changed rooms last week; ice particles shape-shift under the sunlight to cause an avalanche; like the hair of an angel which falls to earth; I want to die a good man; Oh, Lord! So many letters I never should have written; Michael Faraday one of humankind's best; beautiful flowers splashed in white; without coal our world would be plunged into darkness; who are the ringmasters; Nero and every other tyrant obsessed with popularity aka “Likes”; the Apocalypse has hurt my mind yet it has not robbed me of hope; “666” I have seen it and it is a merciless thing; Nostradamus relishes playing hind n’ seek with big children; Big Brother is growing enormously fat; be warned Kafka understood ICT; the ghosts in the machine will not need to rest and they will convince us they are not there; please God, please merciful Father, keep the black dog away; sturm und drang; “I shall be telling this with a sigh somewhere ages and ages hence” (Robert Frost); let me be absent from the next to last holocaust; the bones of monks; the fragrant oils of the ossuary; often the real drama is at the back of the pack; the shadow belongs to the thing from which it drops; like prophetic dreams which are not conditional to knowledge; no, I am sorry Ghenadie, I cannot do that; the rhinophores and gills of the nembrotha cristata; the Moab desert in Utah was once home to fish; on Naxos midget elephants have been trapped in stone; and then like John Steinbeck “gradually I write one page and then another”; I will go now and make sure to look for a short-cut; an impossibility like a little book on Chinese motifs.   

The huge dragon and the little boy

Gerringong, NSW

It had become a second skin and went deep into the blood. This spectral dream from my early childhood refused to go away. Sometimes I would think of it in terms of Leibniz’s speculation of an “unconscious psychic activity” or as Freud might have supposed a result of some “repressed childhood memory”. But what it did was to indelibly mark the start of my pilgrimage and to cast its shadow on almost everything connected to my life. I prayed it might empty of itself and let me alone. Decades later when I was to become keenly interested in Jung, I would also understand it as the beginning of my “individuation”. It has re-visited me in varying manifestations since that Christmas Eve of 1969. I was eight-years old.[1] From this night onwards I would be drawn into another reality of the light’s interminable vibration.

We were now living in the outer suburbs of middle-class Kingsgrove where my parents had bought our new home with its own backyard. To a little boy used to the inner city sprawl it seemed an impossible thousand miles away. I can still remember an ancient looking Mrs Moorefields with her big twist of white hair and thick rimmed magnifying glasses. She lived directly opposite with her motley crew of cats in a large cottage blanketed by beautiful native flowers. Here was a character who could have stepped right out of a Brothers Grimm fairy-tale. The road was named for her family and she would make sure to let you know. One day the feisty old lady was quick to rap me over the knuckles for ‘decapitating’ one of her wild Correas.


In the background I could hear my parents’ voices. They were on the telephone speaking to Uncles and Aunts in Greece exchanging the customary seasonal greetings. In those days speaking to somebody overseas was a special event and could take hours, if not days of preparation. The prototype of the first handheld mobile produced by Motorola (who beat Bell Labs to the race) was still four years into the future and the first-generation (1G) of wireless telephone technology more than a decade away. There was something mysterious and sacramental to the voice back then, there was preparation and ritual to most of our communications. The telegram, too, held its own unique fascination.

I was about to fall asleep looking forward to the next morning, the celebration of Christmas and to the red scooter with the silver bell. Santa Claus delivered that year! I must have fallen into a deep slumber for when I awoke, frightened in the middle of the night, it seemed to me that I had been sleeping for many hours. Yet the ‘vision’ remained clear in my mind, as if replayed on the light blue wall in front of me. It never seemed like a “normal” dream to me, even back then. Later I would read of lucid dreaming.[2] The discovery proved to be vital and would help me to not only better comprehend this particular dream but also a number of the others. Lucid dreaming relies on the cooperation between the conscious waking mind and the different levels of consciousness during sleep. Dream experts consider it a “very advanced type of dreaming” in which the dreamer is conscious of their dreaming consciousness. Theologians might speak of these experiences in terms of visions. And the eastern orthodox would warn with the concept of prelest (“a false spiritual state”). The question is then, to what extent is a young child capable of these advanced types of dreaming? That is, to spot the difference between the ‘canvas’ and the ‘window’.

I have no recollection of discussing this experience with mum and dad the next morning. It might have been the shock or an awareness that this needed to be kept secret. I am not sure. Though there was an acute sense of something going on in the inside of me, which I had not felt before. I could not know at that young age what this permeating mood was to prefigure and how it would touch my life. Not long after my initial encounter with OCD a year earlier, I am convinced that this was now the onset of the melancholia which I would continue to struggle with to the present day. Over the course of the next three or four years this dream would revisit. Still I would remain silent. This is near enough to what I saw that night on Christmas Eve in 1969. It was the year Max Yasgur’s farm near Bethel, New York, played host to Woodstock and Neil Armstrong stepped on the Moon:

A little boy is standing some distance from the seashore, before him spreads a vast body of dark water. It is still. On the other side of this water, he can see a huge dragon. It is smacking its enormous tail on the land and then heaving it up into the night-sky as if trying to bring down the stars. On its head a big shimmering crown. The beast catches sight of the child. It opens its monstrous mouth and a great stream of fire spews in the direction of the terrified little boy. In the background there is sound like a humming, or an echo. Sometimes it sounds like a choir of voices. And other times like the ‘buzzing’ of a large swarm of flies.

In the times which followed only small bits of the dream would change. The more recognisable being the distance between the “little boy” and the “huge dragon” which appeared to be retreating. The “humming” also became increasingly audible resulting in equal amounts of joy and dread. When the dream stopped for no evident reason after my twelfth birthday, it would return some twelve years later. By now I had become familiar with the Book of Revelation (and had started to reflect on Rev 12-13) so I was in possession of vital clues as to what it could mean. The sense of relief would soon give way to long periods of trepidation. I prayed for enlightenment but my prayer was impure. A spiritual director of the kind I would later read about and seek out during my pilgrimages would have been very helpful. Of course, the archetypes and numerical symbolisms are striking.[3] One way or another, whether sacred or profane, they cannot be entirely coincidental.


Did I catch a glimpse of the “little boy’s” face? No, I did not. Only once do I remember seeing the face. And even on that rare occasion it was from a ‘distance’ when it seemed to me that I had carelessly startled him. This would be much later in a place far away from home and on the other side of the world (where I would meet the second of the three elders or “the three wise men” as I would sometimes refer to them). I needed desperately to distinguish and to discern between the “real” dream (Matt. 1:18-25) and the deceptive (Jer. 23:25-27). The Scriptures plainly speak of both.[4]

Above and beyond this dream was meant for me. It is a significant part of my story. That is all, and nothing else. In the meantime a soft drum inside my head, similarly to the heart, keeps to a regular beat.

Keep moving, Michael, do not stop… 12… 1234… 12… 1234… 12… Tap… Tap… Tap… Tap… Tap…


[1] When my son George was eight years old he stunned me when on the whiteboard of the children’s playroom he sketched a rough drawing of a large dragon with a huge crown on its head. The beast was being lassoed by a little boy.

[2] This is a good introduction to a difficult subject often misunderstood and exploited:  Laberge, S. and Rheingold, H., Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming, (United States: Ballantine Books, 1990); the knowledge of such dream states is not new, Aristotle had noted much earlier on “...often when one is asleep, there is something in consciousness which declares that what then presents itself is but a dream.” Andreas Mavromatis references the Greek philosopher in a detailed work on the subject:  Hypnogogia: The Unique State of Consciousness between Wakefulness and Sleep (United Kingdom: Thyrsos Press, 2010).

[3] For the “language of dreams” see: Jung, C.G. Dreams, (London: Routledge, 2002), Trans., R. F. C. Hull.

[4] A very brief overview but on the dot for the purposes of this small post.