Dark Matter

The talking heads whip from one crisis to the next – no pause for reflection allowed; the soundtrack crackles with small arms fire, confused shouting, smouldering ruins in this backwater, that shanty town. The emaciated populate my screen, unable to smile for the camera, framed by the ruins of their lives strewn behind them.


The sorry tale of third world woe switches to the twisted corpse of a promising young bank executive, crumpled on the mezzanine floor of an upscale restaurant, federal snipers surrounding a ranch, black-clad SWAT teams at a G20 summit. My hands grasp my face, pulling at scraps of beard as reality sinks in. They did … what, in my country? Scanning through the alphabet soup of news channels produces further confirmation: a mysterious aircraft disappearance, missing trillions of government funds, missing children, missing weapons of mass destruction, missing gold bullion.


Missing reality. Behind it all, the dark matter of international affairs, the shadow matrix shapes the seen world. Only the smallest particles of truth escape from the enveloping mass of hidden dimensions, harbingers of revelation, outriders of the waiting disclosure. The Dark Net is disguised by the world wide web, the pervasive unreality of reality dogs the very strokes of my keyboard, the slight lag being the only clue of the shadow world that defeats the feeble attempts of words to give it form. Still, at least one layer of truth must emerge from the periphery, like the shades that lurk just outside my field of vision, those teasing, mocking wraiths waving their choppy fingers under our noses. This is, after all what it means to be finite: peering at the shapes hiding under rock and in crevices, we roil the waters with our halting exploration, obscuring the depths. Few do not yield to frustration and turn away, fewer still sacrifice so-called sanity for the thrill of discovery. It is no coincidence that epiphany is experienced in solitude. No coincidence that seers are often regarded as insane.


Dissidents can be medicated, truth-seekers imprisoned but the riddle of dark matter lurks in the unending search for meaning that resists all of the orthodox explanations, or pseudo explanations. Only the hungry, the desperate continue to scratch at the membrane, foolishly, obsessively craving the destruction of their safe world. Image

The Last Tango in Sevastopol

In a dimly lit bar close to the dachas of the energy millionaires, a passionate dance was reaching its bittersweet climax. The air, redolent of dark tobacco and a slight saltiness, disguised the animal scent of the entwined figure on the floor. Indeed what seemed at first a figure soon resolved itself into two conjoined bodies, pulsing to the strident rhythm of the hidden musicians.

Something about the suave self-confidence of the one, the braggadocio of gait and the laconic slurring of barely-heard dialogue suggested an American overseas on a grand tour, while the forceful, predatory movements of the other hinted at a Slavic sensibility. The strings began to rasp from some unseen corner, as the movements took on an air of desperation, the dancers – now more like swimmers in the deepening gloom – teetered on the edge of equilibrium. With a sudden staccato jab the unseen violinist evoked a violent response from the American, who hurled a rose into the audience. The other figure, now a little more detached, lunged towards his partner and wheeled her away towards the centre of the floor. He grasped the hand wielding a flaming torch and gently prised the fingers open, deftly slipping the torch to his own left hand.

Three elderly men who bore a striking resemblance to Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt looked on impassively; the former remarking that the torch had been passed on with token resistance. The one resembling the heavily moustachioed dictator smiled an unaccustomed smile as if to suggest that freedom is in the eye of the beholder.

The mournful sound of a cello brought the attention of the locals back to the pitiful scene playing out on the dance floor; the American lady had lost all her dignity in the struggle to regain the torch. Her movements and those of her partner were increasingly convulsive, until the torch was flung over the heads of the onlookers. Now the dancers began to argue over a stone tablet as the torch smouldered in a forgotten corner. Lady Liberty in a fit of petulance hurled the tablet away from her partner’s grasp, shattering it into 1776 pieces.

A group of canny fisherman not mesmerized by the unfolding farce left the building as a curtain leapt up a wall in a blaze of light. Spontaneously, the wooden roof beams became incandescent and within minutes, to a sickening crash, the roof fell in, leaving a bewildered crowd of onlookers. Still the faceless musicians played on with renewed brio, punctuating each thrust of their instruments with eerie laughter.

Lady Liberty, without her crown and now sans Grecian apparel stood grasping an unfamiliar weapon – a trident. She seemed more Egyptian now and a pair of unfurled wings fluttered ominously in a curious combination of gold and blue. Goaded by the furious crowd of patrons, a large bear circled in for the kill.