Crystalline Heart




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Ludwig van Beethoven “Moonlight Sonata (Mvt. 1)”



True. Real. Clear. Sincere. Four words you should be more than familiar with if you’ve been a frequent visitor to these Rivers of Grue for some time now. When I first inked the Crimson Quill back in 2013, the above was my designated sign-off. It appeared most fitting, given the intimate manner in which I scribed. Every word was true. Every feeling was real. Every intention was clear. And every last verse was sincere. Having spoke enough lies for a number of lives, it was time for my fraudulent eyes to acclimatize. With capsize imminent, it was cat’s eyes that guided. And I was barely prepared for what they confided.


Lay yourself bare. If it’s felt then declare. For there’s hope to be gleaned from each cry of despair


I was no more here than I was there so severed any conceivable losses and proceeded to share. In what felt like no time whatsoever, word began to spread. Who was this mad dog Englishman? Does he like his toast done on one side? Is he an alien? I was right about primed for an illegal search at that point, but curiously, my authentication was never once called into question. Could this be the acceptance that eluded me in my day-to-day life? If I knuckled down and grafted, could I be somebody? More to the point, hadn’t I already assumed an identity while parading under the pseudonym Keeper? People started to see me, a number of them most clearly, and to this day I love every last one sincerely. For the Rivers were now bleeding with purpose.

So about those gushers. Well, they appear to flow reddest once pain comes to play. For every twinge of dissatisfaction comes a one-way transaction. Wounds open wide, blood runs freely, wounds seal shut, scars form – all in the time it takes to come over light-headed. This is dapper in theory, but there’s no perfect practice. No rules to follow. Each pool of sorrow congealed with intent just to heal. Dare I reveal? How much blood dare I spill? Is it set to refill? I’m reasonably assured these are the customary reasons to head scratch. But the cold steel was already entrenched in my tendons before any one of them came to mind. After all, what good is a leap if not blind? My heart may have been in a severe state of ravage, but this ruby-red cufflink was savage. Beast-like.

I’ve long since lost count of the number of personal details I’ve divulged through my prose and anyone who has taken the time to read will concede that my book is of the open variety. I’ve spoken of my ongoing battle with sobriety, of both my pleasures and pains, revealed every frustration and indignation, all the while remaining 100% true to myself. That said, while I’ve laid myself bare for my readership, I’ve practiced considerable restraint with regards to certain aspects of my personal life. After all, I am the Keeper and have needed to hold some things back for myself, primarily for protection you understand. The very second you pronounce yourself happy, certain parties take exception. We creatives are supposed to suffer for our art and, in some narrower minds, have no right whatsoever to bust out the cheek dimples. Talk about a cross to bear.

But this is where there has been a sudden shift in my output and I wish to elaborate on this further. I’d been imprisoned by guilt for a number of years and forced to endure all manner of slow torture techniques. It’s hard to fly free when your wings have been clipped by culpability and this has prevented me from achieving the all-important wingspan. I’m not suggesting that I’ve been anything less than true, real, clear and sincere during this period; but I couldn’t achieve crystalline status until my most stubborn of inner demons had been vanquished. As I hurtled towards my disagreeable date with destiny, the final terror of not figuring in my son’s life any longer, I required those dear to see me and appreciate the personal journey I was undertaking.

Just to be transparent, I don’t play the blame game and neither do I shirk my own role in any breakdowns of communication that have occurred during my early winter swan dive. But those I have gravitated towards know only too well of the tangled web of mental health, of the fickleness of mortality, of the sorrowful quicksand that smothers. And they’re also aware just how critical it is that we remain seen when shackled in more tenebrous confines. Shatterday was looming large and I hadn’t the vaguest clue how this was going to affect my psychological well-being. But suddenly it wasn’t looking anywhere near as ominous. Let’s not tarnish the least homely of truths here, this bleak midwinter appeared pretty much a re-run of the one I’d barely endured back in 2013. But I was well on my way to finally achieving blessed crystalline.

2017 may have been a fairly wretched year by all accounts, but I have made a number of dear friendships that I already know will last beyond a lifetime. There is no judgment, no unreasonable expectation, no thinly veiled digging, no split allegiances, no walking away when times get tough. Indeed, it is when shit is at its most real that we can all rely on one another most. The majority of our interactions actually play out away from social networks, not out of ignorance, but because it is here where we truly heal together. These glorious souls and I have become bona fide family over just a matter of months and the ties that bind us couldn’t be less inhibitory.

Then, as the month of advent commenced its jingles, the single most extraordinary thing happened in my life. No signposts, warnings, or complications – just the simplest case of boy meets girl with the most multiplex of meaning. I call her The Girl In My Dream as that is how she first appeared and I have never slumbered so peacefully as I did that chilly night in early December. In the very split of a second, I saw her. In Crystalline no less. This will no doubt be hard for any cynical minds to fathom but I knew every last thing about this Elusive White Rabbit in a bloody heartbeat, long before any life-story attachments were traded.

Sometimes in life we meet the right people but with the free world’s suckiest timing. One of the numerous things that made this opening waltz so otherworldly was the sheer exquisiteness of the timing. Both of us were hemorrhaging, both of us wary of the wolves that circled us, and both were all about set to toss in the bloodiest of towels. But critically, both of us achieved utter crystalline in the self-same moment. After nary a “how do you do?”, I tossed this White Rabbit a hole that led directly to the very catacombs of my creative conception. Naturally I was mindful of the timid nature of the beast, and didn’t expect my dangled carrot to result in a bite. More the fool me. And I’ve never been more downright grateful to play harlequin.

I posed the question – “what is your opinion on leaps of faith?”, to which the response was as monumental as it was instantaneous. “They never fail ever”. Within a fraction of the time it takes a ferret to frown, two hearts became one. Of crystalline diameters I might add. That really was all it took to sign, seal and deliver the treaty. For someone to see me in a way I’d never even seen myself. And to view that through the big brown eyes of the beholder herself taught me things about myself I’d never dreamed to decipher. This mirror reflection revealed every last dazzling diamond I’d been hoarding and vice versa. Better yet, our chosen art forms happen to complement one another like the daintiest of hands in an ashen velvet glove. Hence the Dark Fusions.

Needless to say, certain subscribers to my affectionate and playful drivel haven’t known quite how to take these artistic merges and we’ve both devoted our waking days and sleepless nights to nurturing this seed to its bleed. Granted, it may appear that I’ve been careering into darkness but, in truth, I’ve never been farther from stolen. I’m right here in the flesh and blood, the very same lovable rascal you’ve come to tolerate and find a soft spot for. The difference now is that I’ve pinpointed the true artist inside me, with precision and not a singular gram of division. Furthermore, together we’ve managed to extract the most delicious darkened fantasy from the very plainest of realities, one that exists unwaveringly in the light.

My Little White Rabbit couldn’t be more kind, generous and unassuming if she tried. Anyone who approaches her dark corner of Instagram will be greeted by a warm, gentle soul who adores those who appreciate the fine art she pours her deepest self into. This isn’t to deny there’s a Grey-Chapel Path within leading directly to the most ferocious of bloody-hearted rippers but, just like her Keeper, only ignorance rattles her cage. Together we have achieved purest crystalline and this has enabled both of us to dance late into the blackest night with our merged muses; minus the imminent threat of being snatched away callously by unwelcome visitors. The Rivers of Grue have become our sacred Citadel and, as four-year Keeper of this palace, it’s only right that I refurbish accordingly.

Given that I consider myself a gentleman, my number one priority has been to allow my fair lady the most exalted of thrones in our chapel. My decision. No power struggles, no bloated egos, no “this needs to change and you may wish to take a look at this also”. My Lion-Hearted White Rabbit trusts me implicitly, has kissed the tears from my cheeks, knows how much these Rivers have meant to me since their very first flow. Our connection is actually unspoken and this level of understanding wouldn’t have been anything more than whimsy, had it not been for the crystalline heart that beats within both of us in perfect symmetry. We don’t deal in knee-jerks, our currency is rabbit holes. And there are sprawling networks to tumble into, once we hold hands and take each subsequent leap.

Honesty has always been my policy. However, I appreciate that my book has seldom ever been truly open. It is now. Nothing left to lose translates to an ocean of gain right? Fuck it, I’m living out loud and with clarity. The tongue in my head is still my own but it’s now entangled in the most magnificent ivy. Mumbo jumbo? Each to their own but every last merge provides joint address to those who love us enough to just be happy for us and for the love we share which is so very much more than a love. With her blessing, I would like to close with a mere snippet of prose that Grey gifted me just the other night in the moment. To me, this epitomizes crystalline.


“This girl that I know… she has skinned knees. They bleed often. They heal, but never completely. She has this inherent tendency to find fresh razor wire, and she cannot help her sadistic need to crawl slowly across it. Hence, the scars. Held closely within her core.

But, that is what I call… Devout.”



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