Ultan Banan

A Whore's Song, an extract

I say all this, perhaps, to explain my true nature just a little more clearly. Much has been said about me, and much of it is untrue. I was a man. A woman too, if we are to elaborate. Many times, in fact. That is merely the corporeal part of the story. Beyond the corporeal, real existence lies. Beyond the corporeal is the ethereal, the transcendental, and what is true here is true across all spheres of being. This is what is true:
I am a searcher. I am a teacher. I am a wandering mendicant and the stranger warming himself by your hearth. I philosophise. I agonise. I am a lover and a being of gentle fury. I weep for the lost lamb of the solitary shepherd, and I smile softly at the cruel torments of loss. I have watched them die, mother and sister, brothers and fathers, and loved them because they had to leave. I sing when I am alone and am silent in company. I dance on empty floors and lie on filthy couches, with no company but the spitsilver moon and the eternal sadness of its light. I die every day. I am born anew each second. I have been murdered, and I too have had murder in my heart. I have had all things in my heart, good and evil alike, for this is the way of being. I have sinned and loved the sin. I have killed the thing that I loved and been destroyed by the beauty of its demise. I know well the agonies of corporeal desire. I have submitted to them all. I loved whores, and love them still. I wept at the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, for I saw the light in them even then, the beautiful light eternal. I have eaten the flesh of animals and know that it is good. I have known the absence of humility. All these things and more, I have known and done. But I have never been bought. Never. No man has ever purchased me for silver and never will, for once having embraced the light eternal, a man’s soul can never be corrupted. Even if he may drift, the core remains. That core is ineffable.

Notes from a Cannibalist, an extract

The road is long, I tell myself. The road is long, but there’s happiness at the end of it. There’s happiness there to be found, if a man searches. Seek and ye shall find
And Christ, I’ll find her. I’ll find her and Teodora and take them to California, and we’ll build our house and have our baby boy, and maybe more, cause there’s life for a man there, waiting. This is what I’m thinking as I push east, pushing the horse to its limits, and somewhere in the early morning she gives out and I’m forced to stop and put her to water and go begging for something to feed her. I’ve stopped eating, me. Don’t have the stomach for it, and that’s alright cause the next time I eat I wanna be round the table with my family, breaking bread and drinking milk, and manioc and papaya and corn on the table, us fat and comfortable and happy. I’ll have it. I’ll fucken have it if it kills me, and so hitting noon I’m off chasing again, on the horse and roaring, through jungle and over open field, passing through Cordoba like a fiend possessed, like a devil Jesuit on horseback come to reap havoc over the land.
And as I go, strange thoughts creep in, strange gypsy thoughts flash like salmon roe through the dark pool of my psyche, thoughts unaccounted for by my own desperate desires, frightful thoughts of terrible certainty, Woe the man who makes himself a god, and Step not on hallowed ground with chancred feet, and Feed poison with poison, and other things, mad things, these and many others swim through the dark waters of my poisoned kingdom. It’s the gypsy and I know it, her vines now stretching out through my being, through the vital passages of my body and up into my mind, and soon the coiled veins of her wisdom will hold me, strangle me. I don’t have much time.
I sail on, my horse, too, infected by the gypsy’s voracious power. It’s her the horse feels when I put my hands on his neck and lean in close and whisper in his ear, and I wonder if he can’t understand the very words that drip into him roelike, for surely the gypsy speaks to animals easy as she pours poison into a man. He’s my horse and I go with him, but it’s with her wind in our sails as we gallop, for we turn from the direction of Santa Fe and ride north, and I scream and pull at the horse but he won’t listen, he just ploughs on, heedless of me. And that’s when I hear her for the first time, the gypsy, Manuelita, she rises from her deep jungle abode and speaks into me, a rare echo that invades my being like the dark rumble of thunder in the belly, and that voice is my master, my jailer.
—I have work for you, she says.
And I scream til my lungs bleed, eyes filled with tears, blind to the road and filled with rage. ‘I must see her!’ I cry, a man alone on a horse screaming at the jungle, the country, the whole continent, the ocean beyond, but she will not be overpowered.
—You will forget her, she instructs.
I keep screaming, but even as I do her sweet poisons are filling my veins, and as I struggle to hold onto her, Salome, her face and her hips and the roughness of her hands on my face, and the weight of her thighs and hardness of her calves, and the smokiness of her thick black hair and depths of her eyes, and the moistness between her legs and the scent of milk and papaya, and her cracked lips full in smile, and the laughter of Teodora and the smell of my unborn child’s head, even as I rage and cling to these things I feel them slipping from me, the gypsy’s poisons filling my veins, subverting my purpose, subsuming my being. Soon my face is wet but I know not why, for I’m a man on a horse heading north with a new purpose in his heart, one that eclipses all others, the past a mere lick of a minnow flitting downstream, a strophe in the water, the skirl of the stream – leuleup! – and gone.

Works

Meat, an extract

So she lifts the pipe, jams in a lump of thick oily tar, and drops in a coal from the brazier and puffs on it til it sparks. She takes a hit then passes it to me, and I take the jade-silver pipe and toke on the thing, her hand on my chest and fire in my lungs, and I set sail, my veins the river and my breath the breeze, the golden breeze, and I sail on it downriver, nothin to see or hear but the golden breeze and the warm whisper of the water, that’s it… I sail on down the river carried by the breeze and the warm kisses of Nubian princesses, princesses who were servant girls but became royalty with a power to make men weep oceans, oceans that carried their funerary pyres on their final night, the pyres lit by the spark of a pipe or the collapse of stars, fierce lucent stars blinded by beauty; those girls that became princesses that became whores, who dictated how men die and leave this earth, and who administered the last rites as bodies burned on golden oceans… whores who sat by Christ and whispered in his ear and found his everlasting love because they bore him, too, that same Christ who married a whore and fathered a whore and who loved them more than all other women, even his own mother.
I saw all this as I was carried out on the golden ocean, even as I heard her whisper in my ear, golden whispers too, for I felt them drip into my ear and into my veins, whispers like honey that took sail through my veins, blown by their own crystal music, she whispered song-like,
Follow me and I’ll show you what became of Helen, and Hephaestus and Apollo, and Manjushri and Avalokitesvara, and Alexander, for he saw it too, Alexander, when he went East and died at thirty-three, but only after he saw Meru and the glass ocean of Mansarovar, and that’s why he had to die…
She whispered this as my boat sailed out onto the crass ocean filled with the tears of men who were not worthy and who burned on those waters, but I sailed right over it, golden whispers carried me over, and I hadn’t the fear of drowning men for I saw my time was not near.
Somewhere out on the ocean I chanced up on an island, an island like an eye where there existed only lepers who lived on a diet of salt water and unripe dates, so I got off the boat and, filled with whispers of golden honey, kissed each of them one after the other, and those missing limbs I healed; those without arms I licked their stumps and their arms grew back, and those without ears or lips I kissed the holes where their appendages had been and soon they were whole again, and like this I cured all those wretches so that they became men and women again. The women gave themselves to me and the men became my acolytes, so that I was revered here and they named the island after me, and it was called Isa. Isa was my home for a century, until even the last died and I was the only one, so I buried my last wife and acolyte and dug out my boat, buried in the sands for a hundred years now, and after a decade’s prayer I put it back on the water.
I left Isa and sailed to the hyperboreal north on the breath of whispers, and this time she said,
This is where you come after it all, this is what’s beyond the glass ocean, dive in and you come up here where all things are remembered and not remembered, and all things are recast in the diamond wind; this is what poured through me in the golden-honeyed breeze of her whispers.
She held me, and I knew she would always hold me, for I was her sacred son, even if I caressed her brown nipples and lapped at the anointed rivers of her cunt, and buried my cock between the earth of her thighs and the oceans of her womb, I was her son and she would hold me for eternity and more. And I knew it and was blessed.
A last whisper blew through me like a soft wind, Come back to me, she said, and so I climbed off the ice and back into my boat, and sailed years back across the ocean of tears, until I felt it, I felt the coffee caress of her body, I felt a hard brown nipple in my mouth, sucking on it like the pipe of the dying I was, and I felt those lips on my neck once more, destroyin me with gentle devastation, and I felt the lips of her cunt ride me slowly, each thrust drawing my boat closer to the shore, pulling me home, and she sucked on my ear and licked at my neck and buried me deep inside her, until the boat hit the shore in a frantic thrust, the waters breaking on the hard land, my boat capsized, me flung onto the earth with a scream… broken, consumed, annihilated.
My prick slipped from the shores of her cunt and I fell into the golden sleep of the immortals.

Ultan Banan started writing as a way of getting his head straight, discovering in the process that staying busy is the only way to stop oneself going insane. He devotes what time he can to writing, doing his best to avoid gainful employment by ever more creative means. He lives on the move but dreams of a small cottage on a foul and inhospitable coast somewhere. Currently in Italy.

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