Excursiones In Delirium


Inroads Into Madness


Eight illustrated poems

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Falling angels
We, the two hundred
We taught you all there is to know
How to tease from soil the things that grow
How to know the phases of the moon
How to work the metal, and the stone
How to name the patterns in the sky
How to see your beauty in our eye
We loved you
Falling angels
We, the two hundred
We taught you all there is to know
And for this
For such as this
Were buried deep in chains of iron
Ten thousand years imprisoned in fire
Samiazaz, Kokabel, Arakiba, Tamael
Baraqial, Asael, Armaros, Ezeqeel
Samsapeel, Ramiel, Turel, Danel, Jomjael
Ananel and Batarel, Satarel and Zakiel
Sariel and Azazel
We loved you
We, the two hundred
And for this
We have no peace
We have no peace.




I became convinced that
Only the Rolleiflex could be used to this purpose
Its twin lenses put to differing
But complementary purposes
The special filters which I had devised for its lenses
Would protect the sensitivity of my human eyes
Whilst simultaneously revealing
That substance of my obsession.
I first met her in the unseasonably warm spring of 1936
Through a chance encounter with an acquaintance of Sonia
Of the Photo League in New York
The eleven exposures of Mme. Berbiguier
Captured by the apparatus during the summer of that year
Revealed her exquisite spinal cabinet
Containing a fully developed soul doll
At last my theories were vindicated.



The Iron Gallery

Art thou guilty or not guilty
In England no witch was ever burned
The evidence is important
The violent hostility
Of the populace
Only the devil
Could have double-crossed her so
Invented to fill the gap
Little is known
And she pulled aside
The winding sheet
And showed me the place
She says she has
No knowledge.



Melodies Played On The Symphonium Of Good & Evil

What ails thee that thou cannot stand
The birth of Dionysus, called, I think, the dithyramb
In the habitats of horses
Self harming gave you the Acropolis
Satyrs dance in your places
Were it that you had a hundred faces
You could not hide your thoughts from me
Who looks with eyes that do not see
Out of deep anguish I call to you
To things external to it which are true
To slice the knot Gordian

Find me at the Lenaion.



The House Of The Dead

A preservative for books
Expression lurking under its surface
Like an imaginary species of bees
Small wonder that I took him for a ventriloquist
I began to tip-toe towards the door
Knowing that Samadhi means deep sleep
Like a ball in a mountain stream
Painting becomes spontaneous calligraphy
We talked under the full moon
Descendants in direct spiritual lineage
Impersonating the damned
And praised by unscrupulous advertisers
Catching the mood of the universe
To perplex and unhinge the rational mind
To dance the ceremony
Transcending the phenomenal world
The connivance of the body
The body must be in the peak of its form
To be capable of annihilating itself
Into the embrace of Shiva
The Destroyer.




Between the broken tiles of ancient truth,
Among the dust of dead gods long forgot;
I glide without restraint and ask my blood,
“How fares this life, this birth, this youth?
How goes it friends? Progresses well the day?”
My educators come, and weep and crawl,
And drip their tears, and scourge their ancient flesh;
“Alas!” they cry, “Those ages fell away”.
“Day followed day, year followed on from year,
Each one distinct but reckoned less than that
Which passed before, in weak proportion spent
They fled before thine eye, before thine ear.
Thus, we alone were privy to thy long decline,
As peach soft skin to brittle paper turned;
The whites of eyes turned flecked with rheumy red,
And Arlecchino loved and lost his Columbine.”
“Deceivers all, say not!”, I cry and fret;
“My mind is yet the same as ‘ere it was!
Say not!” For I – of all should know,
“My life account is good and far from debt!”
“Alas!” again they weep, and prostrate fall,
“’Tis thought itself which doth itself deceive;
Who dreams a dream – of dreams within a dream,
A self inflicted spell that holds thee thrall!”
Whence came I to this place? I now recall;
Oh! foul remembrance! – yet I will essay
To take a breath, and so to name the path,
For now I know; I do not breathe at all.
“I loved her more than life itself, I swear;
Of that and nothing else I am full sure.
I will not be without my one true love,
Departure is the thing I cannot bear.”
“Thy life is gone, it’s thread is cut and dried.
Alas!”, they cry, “Thy stay is overdue;
Alone you walk this plane, this never where,
The right and awful fact is this: You died.”
I do remember! And I sense it’s worth,
For nothing else is solid – all is mist;
A wraith am I, an insubstantial thing,
A wandering shade, condemned to walk the earth.
And I have doomed myself to this sad fate;
For selflessness was not my stock in trade,
Had I been worthy of her love in fair return,
I would be standing now before the gate.
I dare not hope for what somehow may be;
That she would think of me with kind regret,
And reckon all my faults to be allowed;
To be forgiven is to be set free.
For then I can, and will, accept my state,
And break the wilful force that binds me here;
For she – my angel – holds the golden key;
For her, and her alone – apart – I wait.



The Doctrine Behind The Veil

She is in the act of dancing
But all the significance is veiled
A process of mental contortion
With which few are acquainted
A hand issues from a cloud
Based on sporadic novelties
Of judgement and all its connections
The moon is increasing
The queen of the borrowed light
Seated before the veil of the temple
The ruin of the house of falsehood
Ordinary death is neither the path nor the gate.



Night Chant

House of the dawn, of evening light, of the dark cloud
House of the rain of men, of dark mist
House of the rain of women, of flowers
House of the grasshoppers.

A dark cloud is at the door of my house
The trail out of it is dark mist
High upon it the jagged lightning
Man-god! My offering! Smoke for you!

Restore my feet, my legs, my body, my mind, my voice!
Now remove your magic for me, far away!

My self is calm
Content, I walk
Free of pain, I walk
Alive, as it was long ago
With abundant dark clouds
With abundant plants
On the trail of flowers, I walk

Before me, beautiful
Behind me, beautiful
Above me, beautiful
Around me, beautiful

In beauty it is finished
In beauty it is finished.



“Excursiones in Delirium” was an experiment in what is sometimes labelled the “stream of consciousness” creative process. By attempting to remove the structures, filters and conventions that our conscious mind perpetually applies to our productions, the writer/composer/artist tries to give free reign to the complex maelstrom of subconscious thoughts , sounds and images that swirl below the surface of our mental landscape. The process is very liberating, perhaps because in adopting this technique we excuse ourselves from any requirement that the output must make some kind of “sense”.

The process of collage can be applied in many contexts and to many media – the sounds, images and words of “Excursiones” are assembled from a myriad of fragmentary pieces.

The images are digital collages comprised of many layers of mathematically generated fractals, scanned ephemera, old texts, Victorian photographs, my own photography, and a miscellany of public domain images.

The soundscapes are comprised of synthesized pads, sequences and sound effects, layered and assembled using a digital audio workstation.

The poems are either my own words (Cantos II & VI), or from quoted works (Cantos I & VIII), or are “found” poems which I have constructed by extracting phrases at random from published works and reassembling them (Cantos III, IV, V & VII).

The voices reciting the texts are synthesized.

Acknowledged Text Sources

  1. “The Book of Enoch” Ethiopic, translated by R.H. Charles (1917). *
  2. “The Laws of Plato” (360 BC) Greek translated by Benjamin Jowett.
  3. “The Lotus And The Robot” (1960) by Arthur Koestler.
  4. “La Comedia” by Dante Alighieri (1472) Italian, translated by Henry W. Longfellow.*
  5. “A Prayer for the Fourth Day of the Night Chant” Navajo, transalated by Washington Matthews (1906).*
  6. “The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology” (1959) by Rossel Hope Robbins.
  7. “The Pictorial Key to the Tarot” (1920) by Arthur Edward Waite.

From my own library, except (*) from the public domain.

(“Rolleiflex” is an active trademark of RCP Technik Verwaltungs GmbH.)


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