Simon J Charlton

T H E     D I S T A N C E     O F     D R E A M S

each sensation becomes another memory sepia tints of clocks perched at the shoulders of men long dead hands of time grooved into stillness they shall be tender regrets that in the slow hours when the dawn cracks the sky into the saddest smile will become the shadows of suffocation ghost partners in a weary dance they shall be the burden of sorrows still held in the half glint of an eye momentarily noticed turned soon to that other wholly foreign horizon the distance of dreams where the weave of memory is a sustaining melancholy a helpless construct above a sterile ground of rocks and ashes dust and the faded tracings of tears a terrible rain for it is to the rain that I inevitably return the drift of grey veils across a late summer sea when the shadows glide from the walls and collapse their trembling weight in the silence that frames this heart’s disquiet for the stars this night appear as tawdry neon baubles illuminating with a shock of cold intensity the dread spectre of failure to collapse once again into the grey sand where all is forgotten never known into fading moments of time it is a tainted phrase worn smooth by the centuries a phrase that begets widow’s weeds grief shrouded in lost corners where imagination cradles a self created doubt that gnaws into the silence of the dead hours carving new paths into a wilderness where your eyes of 1am sorrow remain my perpetual witness

the weave of memory where at this moment in time I create you is a self perpetuating sanctuary a shelter against the distortions of the day’s cold birthing the only refuge against the bitterness that these hours insist as truth to know the ideal is to feel our memories in a single weave a pulse of creation all the more beautiful for its fragility perched above the wilderness where to be forgotten is to die where to be forgotten is the distance of dreams this is the enchantment that I embrace a trembling flame in the cupped sorrow of my hands this is the enchantment of dreams a confession of surrender to the liquid ineffable the gurgling charm that that warms the frigid tongue but each dream carries the awful weight of its shadow the grotesque inversion where the gurgling charm is revealed as the crawling of horrors across sweat cold skin the false construct of our duality becomes the hallucinatory shifting of the horizon by the sterile light of the mirror’s unforgiving gaze a shiver of dread anticipation as our single weave of memory is torn flesh ripped from flesh leaving only the wound of inevitable separation the enchantment turns is a skull’s grimace a feast of banished saints howling from the pained shadows cast by spectral light the silence that frames this heart’s disquiet swells stark unforgiving and brutal the fingering of secret wounds in the lost hours when your face of 1am sorrow melts into the merciless storm fevered moments of lost time gather malevolence to stain the moon’s light silver mystery become scarlet raw and weeping this is the moment of the weave’s collapse when illumination fades to a dust drawn smile of terminal regret it is the moment when the heart folds in upon itself and is lost the shedding of hope accompanied by the silent scream the hour of rocks and ashes dust and the faded tracings of tears a terrible rain

consumptive dreaming shedding skin the ragged imperfection of this heart’s disquiet folding into a confusion of smiles that drift eventually into absence into the trembling aftermath where the shattered crystal of the sky diffuses the light into shards of memory the weave fractured each holds a trace of your shadow as it fell across my eyes tumbling that never known precipice into sleep’s sacred valley into that moment of fear when all lights are extinguished it is an underworld fractured where your flesh is a composite of desires never tasted where saints reel drunken paths of eternal disillusionment and angels scowl from within flickering shadows dreams freshborn and gasping are consumed within the fire’s corrupted heart leaving the angels to weep over scorched stumps intimations of immortality lost within the stench of burnt feathers plunging through the mirror’s liquid silver depths as the walls sweat a detested vision of withdrawal the insane crawling of the skin that forces the throat to gasp a desperate attempt to articulate the body’s hideous contortion the eyes pour a distortion of grief as the insects excavate scalding pits of secret horror shredding the illusion of the night to reveal the septic core of being hands clutch a dream empty and hollow death rattle laughter in shimmering hallways hallucination of self rising through sweat damp clouds to lick the surface of the beneficent moon drawing stars down from their isolation to slice your flesh on their dreaming points waiting upon the sedative rain to claim you to drown at least for the hour in its beautiful depths of suffocation out of this gallery of freakshow grotesques I am cast into a realm equally detested where emotions are the raw wounds probed daily where the heart is a shuffling stranger speaking of the distance of dreams collapsing into a final muffled and incoherent discordance better to dress such wounds with silence to rise from the abyss and breathe their air of constant illusion to partake in the shadowdance rituals where the fact that you are born again with each rhythmic pulse of my heart’s undying declaration means less than the casting of spit to the wind I may conjure your flesh into being the altar where my tongue as aching supplicant would caress the folds of your secret kingdom in sensual observance I may shape your perfection within the aching cradle of my skull where we are then consumed aspirants to a divine duality born again to the casting of a single shadow I may stare at the night’s bleak horizon until you shimmer across its unforgiving distance claiming me once again to the saddest crease of your smile your eyes of 1am sorrow your knowledge of illimitable regret these are the possibilities the heartcrafted moments of imagination when truth’s brute insistence is momentarily stilled but as the music is silenced so such possibilities first tremble a shiver born at the soul’s depths then collapse from within the weave of memory splits cannot bear the weight of reason the sun beneath which these fabled connections shrivel and wither finally to fall away to come once again into consciousness midst rocks and ashes dust and the faded tracings of tears to bear witness to the terrible rain to know again the touch of skin upon my bones to understand the ragged imperfection of this heart’s disquiet

the trees are stripped and the wind knows only winter’s desolation the liquid question mark of the river reflects the bellying clouds a sluggish movement that joins river to sky and sky to river a seamless co-joining of elements that whisper of the grey undone the distance of dreams it is here that the eyes bleed stain the frostblack grass with crimson tears it is here that the weave of memory becomes a distortion of the senses desire evolved into the unbearable weight of obsession to follow this blister of light once again to taste your depths at the back of my throat and so convulse through the wretched emptiness I can conjure your name within the silence that frames this heart’s disquiet form its charm and wonder on my cold cracked lips spit the beauty of its simplicity into the river’s struggling gurgle you spread in silent winter ripples to settle a final lapping at my feet it is now the magic hour of dusk when the horrors retreat and the shadows shift their ethereal weight from pearl grey to mourning black that I am ale to plunge my hand into the river’s secret depths and so reclaim you from the lost ripples of your unbecoming you slide your opalescent trace across my fingers that I thrust into the eager shelter of my mouth back beyond the teeth following my tongue down to the moist warmth of its beginning to pause here would be to allow the world to invade my senses to be forgotten to die instead my fingers trace a deeper path until the liquid essence of you fills my stomach and as you fill me so I burn the tender walls peel away allowing you full access to my nerve’s screaming ends it is here that you become more than real you are the pain that floods through the fibres of my being tendons stretch and muscles involuntarily witch as I am consumed from within in this moment you become my sex and I ache beyond hunger beyond the horizon of flesh meeting flesh instead we are dissolved we are a duality of penetration a willing sacrifice upon the thorns of our own creation you are my eyes the shining hour of mercy the tender realisation of the weave’s reconstruction to the limits of my desire but desire no matter the intensity of its birthing cannot survive when the distortion of the senses becomes the agent of a transformation back to brute reality that other world of empirical awareness and insistent limitations within such limitations you are desolation scarred by rocks and veiled by ashes you are the dust indivisible from the faded tracings of tears you are the terrible rain the river and the sky remain a question never answered never asked the moment falls away into a language that can only describe never feel a series of signs upon the page a place where the dream’s departure is denied a place of terminal absence

to taste secret fear and know to the burning blue depths that this must end finally in silence as I raise my head into the light the horizon registers only as terminal to embrace in sleep’s shifting pattern the ghost of chance and yet return knowing only the taste of ashes the distance of dreams the hallways glow their sinister neon hum as white light spills a contagion of memories across the blank screen of my mind in one corner of the room moths are the shadowsoft witness to my fevered construction the weave of memory held between my fingers the last tracing of hope in a dying man’s hands two further corners in the room shed only the dust dry scales of time limitless heaps rustling like snakes in autumn fallen leaves in the room’s final corner I raise my eyes above the trembling surface of the sink’s reluctant mirror placing the palm of my hand against the feverish sweat of the wall I sense your movements through distant space sense the bloodshot dawns of your eyes their 1am sorrow not yet recovered to unfold the horrors of the day to come if I weave my memory to a pattern of deceit and illusion I shall find you the hope suggested by your breathing a trace of brilliance that will carve the darkness and let the light burn through if I weave my memory to a pattern of truth then you are lost and I am forgotten all those moments of time crumble fall away into the wilderness of absence of rocks and ashes dust and the faded tracings of tears to be fed only by the sinister hiss of a terrible rain the hallways are a distant muttering voices retreating into soft echoes I hear the hush and groan of faraway doors reluctantly closing the soft-shoe whispering that follows the metallic groan of key in lock it is an underocean light that now flickers into being the malleable imagination conjuring lost depths of a tidal swell the distortion of faces washed by currents of fear I cradle your name against the threat of silence gently rock your liquid form in the scarred sanctuary of my arms the light is a shifting pattern flecks of innocence in the uncorrupted charcoal drawn opals of your eyes bleary sunsets washed by gallons of sour red wine I clutch the moment with a child’s night time fierceness of possession my knuckles tightened to a cold whiteness of flesh over stark protruding bone here in the shipwreck lost hours I drift between illusion and truth straining my eyes through the mystery of the light’s green blue trembling veils I seek to draw again the weave of memory to know again that moment of our mutual disintegration when we raised ourselves above the tawdry limits of the flesh and became the essence of communion somewhere laughter is a ricochet of sleep created horrors a shattering of the silence that wounds with its reminder of days lived beneath a different sun it is a curdling of the vision that allows me to hang suspended above this pit of snarls and time-frozen scowls these are not my eyes and I struggle to see through their world of sense darkening illusions struggle to identify your name in my arms’ swaying harbour it is a struggle made unequal by the insistence of a sleep created from behind white masks a sleep formulated in the mirthless smile of profit and loss a sleep against nature a sleep that coldly insists the distance of dreams the hallways are now the silent arteries of our suffering bathed in a silence made deeper by illusion of vision the corners of the room tremble into absence as I fold myself into what remains of my former desires twist myself about your name uttered in the safe depths of my throat waiting only upon that moment of temporary relief when the night collapses into the razor drawn smile of dawn when I hold fragile dominion over my withered reflection when the weave of memory holds for a moment’s tenderness the glimpse of a world beyond this shoulder sloped shuffling a world beyond the silence that frames this heart’s disquiet

the whiteout electrical confusion subsides the pulse settles and the eyes focus again at that point beyond the corrupted horizon the dislocation of colours bleeding a different vision it is true that beauty lies and will lead the craving heart into darkness void of mercy it is true that these fingers seeking the weave of memory know only the shifting greys of absence and regret there are no new designs that will help reclaim the shattered dreams from their saddest ruin there are no new designs that will conjure a future out of this bed of ashes there are no new designs to settle the insistent murmur of this heart’s disquiet there is only the unforgiving now where need and want battle ceaselessly the now of your incredible smile nailed to the battered portals of my heart the now of your eye’s all consuming charm I chase this picture into a wasteground of battered winter grasses only to see it fade midst industrial dereliction I stoop to reclaim its aching possibility like retrieving a memory from a broken mind it escapes me now as it escaped me then and I finally understand the stranger with his back turned understand the crude hieroglyphs of rock and ash understand the shifting patterns of dust and the faded tracings of tears understand the brutal simplicity of the terrible rain the stranger sits and fishes in the ruined canal his eyes frame a past that sends a defining pain to that secret other self of my being I collapse without even the thought of resistance as he opens the dead chamber of his mouth the light pours out in crystal waves that engulf the shattered traces of my shadow the storm that rested so easily in the palms of my hands becomes once again the tempest through which the sun casts its bitter rays illuminating shadows of belief best forgotten shadows that insist with numbing brutality the corrupted horizon the distance of dreams

awake to grinding repetition the stale taste of the hours congealed on my tongue awake to the insistent memory of rocks and ashes of dust and the faded tracings of tears of a terrible rain awake to the sky rupturing dawn the initial cold shock of light settling to a damp smudge upon the walls awake to an unspoken animosity the welcome now stretched and fraying worn almost beyond the limits of its endurance awake to crouch in hidden corners the awkward mass of this body refusing the mind’s desire to fade into silence awake to senseless introspection the wounding reflection where ghosts whisper unbidden their songs of ancient sorrows awake to the distance of dreams the knot of fears the unutterable manifest the screams of desire become a permanent wound awake to a sense of betrayal the certain knowledge of this heart’s disquiet awake to absence

despair and joy hatchlings twinned and writhing mirrored visions of mutual deception I follow the drifting breath of the ocean’s exhaustion trace stick figures in black sand and watch a puzzled moon in uneven struggle with liquid beads of orange neon the moon crawls across my eyes a last desperate attempt to retrieve its own sacred being from memory its trembling fingers of silver probing the rubble of the years sifting through hours of rock and ashes dust and the faded tracings of tears the terrible rain it is my shadow that turns melts across the bird-scarred sand and is lost to the ocean’s tidal hush and groan it is my shadow that leads me to taste again the distance of dreams the stars are white blisters that anoint my flesh a tracing of doubts to follow me into sleep where the weave of memory can no longer hold within the creased fragility of my skull’s embrace I spell your name letters linking to form a chain of fire a roar of grief that carries me to the threshold of acceptance in one hand I hold despair in the other joy twin hatchlings of the heart’s disquiet my eyes reel from one to the other until they merge into the essence of a deception that opens to horrific depths my secret wounds it is a moment frozen in time a moment of dislocation a moment of unbecoming

the light pours through and I am pinned to the moment the awful concussion of the senses as they are dragged from sleep’s depthless well the sanctuary where wounds are healed and time ceases in the smudged instant of transformation I am painfully aware of your shadow’s departing your sad whispering decline into absence the distance of dreams the weighted charm of sleep still drags on my limbs and I curse the glare of white that pinpricks my pupils forces the proportions of the day into trembling and detested shape my breathing shapes the memory of a ghost on the frigid air as the willing surrender of the night is consumed by the violence that runs in red waves across my limited horizon sorrow pouring forth from the desolate chambers of this heart’s disquiet somehow I must divorce myself from this moment’s forbidding dimensions and so reach with a child’s midnight under bed nervousness into that secret world where strange flowers loom gigantic casting liquid shadows of luminous relief the weave of memory somehow I must reclaim myself from the insistent snarl of the day’s brutal insistence and plunge that ocean where the dreams of the drowned are the emeralds shimmering in the lost depths of your eyes held always in their beautiful grief of am sorrow their names come tumbling forth unbidden stars from secret galaxies each is a separate history held to a distinct orbit by the gravity of the mind’s eye each is desire attainment and loss I partake hungrily of this feast gorging myself on the liquid tenderness of their sweet tasting regret waves of mercy an eternal becoming that sings through each fibre of my muscles divines a mystery beyond imagination at each nerve’s burning end at shifting points of intersection I know again those intimacies that enclosed us within moments of ecstasy that promised the world I know again the beads of sweat trapped in the moist down of your stomach that in refracting the light of our personal sun showed me the undefiled beauty of your internal horizons I know again my eyes reflected shimmering in yours as we were consumed in the core of a flame that fused our bones and so made us one these are moments of resistance when I know that the weave still holds above the wilderness of rocks and ashes dust and the faded tracings of tears the eternal corruption of a terrible rain it is though a fragile resistance a construction dependent upon mutuality that in moments of doubt I fear to be unforthcoming I close my fingers at the points of intersection but as they tighten so the colours drain and the moment falls away gasping from scorched and straining lungs I am forced once again to surface to feel again the tainted light across my skin the pounding of a concussion that shatters the hallucinatory arch where dreams and the weave of memory dwell

to reconstruct the dream the shaping of white light the ghost of chance reclaimed these are hours of a strange weariness bones like milk and eyes cast down by the weight of the silence that breeds in the undisturbed shadows where illumination collapses exhausted to follow the thoughts that rise unbidden throat sore utterances that claim the hours the crystal shatters and their voices carry on the twisted ether all is disconnection the tumbledown landscape where I claim your heart the interior gouging of secret wounds the lost garden where shadows fear to fall the unutterable confirmation of the distance of dreams as the carcass night mutters of stained horizons so the bleached hostility of the moon becomes the only witness sovereign in judgement callously insisting the distance of dreams best intention is a collapsing scaffold a veil ripped in anger from the vision that trembles so sweetly of death my heart permanent scar your face of 1am sorrow my fingers probe the driftwood remains of your silhouette sense the abandoned passions and then fall away in resignation these are presumptions built without foundation trembling upon a surface of rocks and ashes of dust and the faded tracings of tears perpetually undermined by a terrible rain mirrors constructed in slow hours to know only the shimmering liquid grace of your reflection but the mirrors fail become signposts to a future denied although I crave the fire and the rose these are days when such desires stall at the moment of their pained birthing are the lifeless shreds of an optimism that refuses the stale draught of my breath in this moment of stark and shocking awareness the wave of memory crumbles and all connections are stillborn all that remains is a shadow’s fading trace and the silence that frames this heart’s disquiet

blistered neon the mind scorched by the dreaming weave me a promise from feathers and grace conjure me a wilderness from the blinding fire of your eye’s liquid distortion conjure me a kingdom of birds of rocks and ashes dust and the faded tracings of tears a kingdom of terrible rain conjure me a silence to frame again this heart’s disquiet speak to me of a love born in moon hungry obsession a love now more real than bones or flesh a love now garlanded with the aching desperation of a heart-searing desire in the lost oceans of night let your hands cradle the drifting shell of my body let your fingers probe with lullaby delicacy the scarlet depths of my wounds the moment shall be without words their indelicate naming shall find no purchase as in a cool sweat dawn we become a mutual intimacy a divining of sacred depths with the salt of ecstasy upon our tongues in the bloodshot trembling awareness we shall reach beyond the moment and on our lips we shall understand the final secret the distance of dreams the light of splintered diamonds shall be our gilded witness as we fade into beauty an intensity of surrender to the unutterable silence of the stars

it is like stumbling half-blind through darkened alleyways slick with rain it is like collapsing into a ragged heap of exhaustion upon the pavements of those same alleyways haunted now by the smeared yellow light of the moon it is like staring with terminal disbelief into the heart of desire and remembering days lost to sensation the giddying need to claim another climax of experience it is like crawling into the shelter of rain heavy shadows feeling flesh crawl a separate life form embracing bones with the prickling cold sweat memories of withdrawal these are easy frames of reference moments in time plucked piecemeal from the weave of memory fragments reclaimed from the secret depths of this heart’s disquiet incidents and emotional reactions dovetailed each a wound that when opened will insist as to the distance of dreams but there is something too easy in my claiming of these pasts seeing them conjoin with a buttery smoothness that dulls the edges and does not allow for the grinding ache of the skull’s slow motion tempest where the heart ruptures to reveal its defining corruption of bile and sludge even the wounds offer themselves up too readily seemingly eager to be claimed as the crystallization of a history seamless and absent of those fault lines that mark with deep rooted sorrow the stained path of progression the questioning eye opens and the weave of memory shivers trembling into revelation alleyways vanish and rain ceases as the illusion falls away the idle mind’s distortion is a bleaching of colours into absence it is screams transformed into a silence that spirals into a landscape of rocks and ashes dust and the faded tracings of tears lost to a terrible rain as the silence settles ever deepening the wilderness of dead skin and scorched feathers so the true weave of memory stained now with the trace elements of illusion’s ghost is revealed in the monumental agony it is a shuddering into awareness a stitching of lips into a fool’s smile a stricken realization that the final secret’s horizon will remain always beyond reach only the distance remains

only the distance remains it is an ending I suppose or at the very least a sigh a shrug of disconsolate shoulders a dispassionate surrender to reflections born and nurtured in weariness a signing off into silence and other worlds but there is something that remains something unutterable unnameable something finally unknown I may catch a scurrying glimpse in the corner of a sleep-smeared eye a blue shifting murmur like smoke from forgotten fires a burst of refracted light through a single tear that crawls the ruin of a time-charred face but even the ricochet quickness of my neck’s turning cannot bring this trembling space into pin-sharp focus in the silence of this heart’s disquiet I can feed the ragged flames and trace a thousand names in the heat-disturbed air trace with urgent fingers the sorrow of your 1am smile trace the arch of your back rising to greet the secret dawn of our intimacy a secret rite of blood-smeared passage that promised in the sweat-seared moment new kingdoms and greater glories but fell away into ruin and disgrace for ours was a corruption that could end only in absence and here I know again the hour of our tragic unbecoming the terrible sadness clouding the ecstatic yet fearful depths of your eyes the desperate hunger of your lips that in seeking purchase upon the shape of my name found only silence I can sense like the drifting of the moon across a cloudless sky the tenderness of your presence upon my skin although it is the world turned and the reflection in my eyes changed the hush of intimacy remains the moment held still-frame forever but these are mere tricks of the light the glimmer of horizons never truly known distant stars fading the vanishing moment of seawashed footprints on strange shores they are a conjuring of cheap sentiments stale words capturing the moments drawn through time and placed shivering on the silver screen here my regrets are a bittersweet repetition a numbing affirmation as to the weave of memory’s shifting beyond the reach of my helpless desire a severing of connections endlessly looped in the brutality of naked light replaying without end vivid scenes from this heart’s disquiet it is now the hour of exhaustion and surrender when awareness fades into absence I can talk ceaselessly of rocks and ashes dust and the faded tracings of tears of the terrible rain but these mean little more than ghost fragments drifting the crumbling of shadows when the merciless dawn creeps through unprotected glass the echoing of distant voices of broken phones the pinning of the last scream of the last butterfly to the last turning of the last wheel songs sung for a dead time again to acknowledge that all is disconnection the frayed edges of vision the stranger still scurrying in the corner of a sleep-smeared eye the blue murmur and refracted light again to acknowledge that each sensation becomes another memory but this is not enough no matter the depths we plunge in attempting to recover the hollow heart of lost time no matter the stars we cradle in the fragile sanctuary of our hands no matter the names we scratch into tainted flesh or the dreams we breathe from corrupted lungs for no memory can ever become sensation again to acknowledge that only the distance remains the distance of dreams