They Are Here (2014)

AC Evans


A synthesis of gunpowder and lipstick
worn as a mask to the ball. It went
with a bang, although the band
didn’t show and the hatcheck boy
was unavailable for comment.

There was a different actor
for every gesture, for each addiction
a different cure. The mirror distorted
the corridors and the ceilings
were too high to see or imagine.

The walls appeared as faded as I,
and the courtyard gates were ajar.
There was no trace of the Colonel,
his troops or domestic staff;
everything was out of focus

even when approached from
a different angle. I had not known
the event was fancy dress
but fortunately I had on hand
the limbs I needed to dance.

Phantom radio for the Secret Elevator Party.
We dream and wish, ride up and down all night.
Between floors we are spangular and infinite,
dancing like dervishes, losing our shadows and nerve.

Magic words command the winding ladders
that connect imaginary floors of meaning
and the trails of tears we leave
when they clear us out in the morning.

We are unstoppable, will reconvene
when less deflated. Heretical glyphs
decorate the buttons that power us
up and down this shadowed shaft;

Lady Melodrama and the Magpie twins
are on the decks, DJ-ing and running
the bar. On the top floor there is
a view to die for, and the Colonel has

(died I mean), along with other crack
troops, crackheads, and cracked mutants
from the depths of our imagination.
Music is emotionally produced,

apparently you can smell it, tell it,
from a distance, from afar. It is the old
myth about honesty and emotion
underpinning the language, the sound,

as if listeners or readers care or give
a damn. Give a damn, I urge you!
Give us a night to love, to dance.
Give up the ghost and ascend!

The next Secret Elevator Party
is being held in secret in an elevator
somewhere. Admission is five pounds.
Advanced psychosurgery will take place

with surprise live music played
by special guests. Many suspect
Three Headed Doom will appear,
others that Doctor Ratchet will perform

a ritual hand dance upon the left flank
of Colonel Gibbet. Either way, abandon
your panic disorder and personal tasks
and join our impromptu afterburn squad.

The Underachievers were signed to
the biggest record company ever
and catapulted into the charts
with their first ever release.

The Naked Missionaries
spread the musical word
and were unstoppable.
The Deadcuts never made it,

were out of time and out of
sync, then out of time again.
Groove Taboo were the ones
to watch, except you couldn’t:

they broke up long ago,
having recorded only a demo,
“Mickey Mouse Kimono”.
The tape is in my cupboard,

the memories in a pickled brain
on my desk here. Now, we make
ceremonies out of the air, know
that magic words can command.

Ballet boys? Bowie boys, batcave boys
or obituary boys? The necrologist with a cob pipe
says obituary boys was a hoax, a taunt. That’s Willie’s
stance. Rumor has it that Willie did sound design
for Doom Headed Three. It wouldn’t be Willie
without the epitaphios logos. Straight talk
gives him a hernia. So goes laudation
with its twelve noble sons.

He’d take The House of Hades
were it on the market, but a schmuck
named Hector won’t sell. Give Willie liberty
or give him the seven pyres of corpses with hoodies.

Life in the Afterlife Bar is bliss with its Baroque
lighting. Locals rave about their public sepulchers.
How about that wash basin and burial site?
No one has ever died here, not even polis
demons who work for The Demon
of Annihilation. Not true. Willie
died here, at the Afterlife Bar.
He suffocated on cocktail
weenies. Smoked ones.

Will there be a preamble
to this epilogue? Can the great
orator be summoned to wake the dead?
Not a chance. Citizens aspire to Willie’s ideation
and buckle under. How often is reflex misdiagnosed?
At this point, we count fifty-five, well fifty-six
counting this one. Is anyone available
for cryonics? Why even ask? Only
Willie Faithhaven is the logical
choice. Freeze the ass!

No one here is legally
dead, though everyone is cryopreserved
in this liquid nitrogen archive. No singularity
ever prevails. No cult of personality ever lives out
its octogenarian nostalgia. Cryoprotectants are used
but no one gives a shit. Some of the last holdouts hide
in denatured proteins, but are ultimately detected. Willie
says hiding is a farce, but hides anyway from all the cells
that have died. How much will you pay
to keep us in liquid nitrogen?

Doom-Headed Three were made to fail,
were only ever an excuse for The Colonel
and his associates to make money
from selling architectural memorabilia:

a group of transparent geometric solids
can be rearranged into futuristic estates
for living in, woven together with wire.
Deluxe sets include a small car

to park outside your personalised home,
ready to take you to work each morning,
back again each night. On a mystical level,
a repository of quantum metaphysics,

an introduction to pataphysics and
personal development, fragments of
knowledge from all creation myths.
Doomsters preferred to buy t-shirts,

as the band quickly shot to fame,
steeped in collusion and crime.
Privy to divine knowledge, despite
their bad taste in music, Doomsters

hoarded blank photographs, small stones,
transcripts of historical radio plays
exploring musical barbarism and
the way that noise consumed them,

spat them out several days later,
ears humming, noses bleeding,
stomach muscles damaged by
prolonged exposure to bass.

In popular culture’s labyrinth
the Panoptical Priestess saw all,
watched trade embargoes collapse,
Doom-Headed Three take all.


© Daniel Y Harris & Rupert M Loydell

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