A bum, a beggar, a messed up little drug hound, always sniffing at something, always emptying his pockets in a fumbling search for a filter or a match or a coin, always muttering repetitious grievances under his breath, blaming and whining and begging, yes, a bum of that sort, a hirsute hob, one of those.

And he stumbled through the park, painful to watch, one hand on his stomach the other slightly raised in defence, and it did make you want to hit him, the way his head hung and his lids drooped, his whole body practically begging for a beating, pleading for a knife to slice it out of this world.

On he stumbled, passed the barely veiled mockery, the teasing sympathy of teenage girls, the oak trees and their cavernous shadows, back into the beaming English sun, so rare and appreciated, so scorching that even in his spiraling irreality this stumbling wreck feels it, squints lamely, blunders on.

It's not clear why he's entered the park. Perhaps to mumble for coins, perhaps to eat the duck's bread, perhaps to leer at the bouncing breasts of the runners. Whatever the reason it soon finds itself lost to drunken spontaneity, to the inspired associations of an addled mind, to the geraniums.

The flowers wave invitingly, their heads not turning in disgust and their petals posing no threat. It was a flower bed after all, a place of rest. So down he tumbles, crumpling lamely in the soft mud and the bright flowers. Their rich smell doesn't reach him, his nostrils irreparably damaged by substance use, but the leaves feel soft on his skin. So he sleeps, bathed in looks of disgust and sunlight.

And he dreams there amongst the flowers.

Dreams a real deep doped up dream.

Astral's Dream

The planet is full of nothing but life. There are no dead rocks on which to safely walk, no lifeless hay on which to calmly lie. No, for the whole planet is composed of things that growl and squawk and its skies are forever filled with the raucous cries of the living. It's suns are never hidden by clouds but frequently great swarms of birds, bugs, winged beetles, bats with mice between their teeth, countless other hovering and swooping, buzzing and twisting creatures, in their great swarms, frequently these block the suns from sight.

There is no pliant sea in which to assert your vitality, just a wriggling mass that asserts itself on you. In an attempt to swim you find yourself swam in, tapeworms tunneling through your flesh, your body covered in striped eels, water snakes, tiny irredeemable jellyfish that are unnoticeable until you feel them in your throat. The whole ocean is an overpopulated harem, a million courtesans too many, all wriggling and writhing in animal embrace.

Even the planet's landscapes moan, kick and quiver. Blood spills down the mountain side as the lions eat their way up.

But horribly even the animals themselves are composed of living things. The lions mouth is not filled with the quiet bone sabers of our world, but with two rows of hungry mouths waiting to eat. And behind the slug lips of these mouths we find further rows of mouths, each filled with mouths, and so on, endlessly.

The maddened scientists of this world, writing with blood on the still pulsing hides of injured elephants can only conclude in sweaty scrawls that there is no smallest thing. It becomes painfully apparent to them that there is no dead and determined atom at the bottom of it all, that there are no foundational gears that could prove the whole thing a mechanical trick.

No! They go on dividing forever, finding themselves in every new labyrinths of life, sublime substrata ceaselessly billowing out before them. Their very eyes are revealed to be planets, to be growing eggs that hatch whole hosts of organisms, utterly confusing their research and drawing htem back to the start. Their attempts get nowhere for they are forever confronted with life in its insuperable mystery! Life as the foundation! Not life as a quirk, not life as an accident, not life as an illusion, but life as the beginning, life as water, life as insurmountable!

Then he wakes up to that lurid yellow, that beaming yellow that could be the sun, could be the promising skin of a Syrian lemon, could be the burning eyes of a Thai tree frog, but is in fact the fluorescent yellow jacket of a police officer. They pull him out the dirt, like a weed or a dead flower, and with some sympathy ask if he has a place to stay. He mumbles incoherently about the glass fish, the semen craters, the stick insect forests, and consequently he's put in the van.

He's put in a holding cell at the station, a gloomy room with loud air-conditioning. He stares at the concrete floor. It's obvious that imprisonment changes nothing for him, he remains precisely where he was in the park. You can take a horse to water but you can't make it think. Not think like you do. And this mismanaged man has had enough horse tranquilizers in his time that nothing could bring him out of his revery. Even in the artificial breeze of the cell his mind stumbles on, through the sunlight and shadows, back to the flowerbed and the dream

They used to call him 'astral' back in the day, back when he'd sit in a circle of spliffs and not behind a solitary needle. But he couldn't have dreamt that big doped up dream back then, back when everything was hazy and half done. Nah, to pull out a dream like that you had to take the big stuff, the datura, the belladonna, the misidentified magic mushrooms.

Oh astral's dream, astral's mighty dream.

Astral dreamt of a planet full of nothing but life!

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