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for Gary Numan

This immense
loneliness of the boy
who can't
look you in the face
who nonetheless
a trap
trapping the lovers
he doesn't love
in a cold house
a house without doors
or windows
or a fireplace
and all the while dreaming
of machines -
of living in
machines that fly
free of the pressure
of a human eye
free as a leaf
blown free of its branch
and doomed to go down
'boys scream down'
sex is slow poison
'every day I die.'

And then there is this pressure
for the boy who couldn't face you, facing
10,000 faces -
was this what I wanted?
was this my choice?
The other - that other
pressing in on me?
But there is still the sky,
me and my machine,
but now
the sky too
is full of a face
bearing down on me
as big as a sun.
I have never believed
in that immense
Omnipresence and yet
I have always known
that I was wrecked
but I thought I could escape
going faster and louder until
(with Machine and Soul)
it snapped
and now there is nowhere
no-one is looking and
before that looking, I
and the world entire
turn to dust -
'I am dust'
'My name is Ruin.'

Once there was only me.
Now there is only That.

           Next poem - Karen Armstrong's Case for God