contretemps ensemble


Imagine meeting you here, it’s been forever,
and never in this reality.
Do you still have that sinusoidal staircase,
with beds beneath the maxima?

Let’s dispense with arbitrary greetings,
the usual meteorology and meander.
I’m marketing linoleum, perhaps you might
be interested in purchasing a tessellation?

And yet you’re glowing, sunlit gold,
photoshopped and pasted by the seaside

for our chance encounter.

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the safety of the birds


I sleep beneath the tire marks
on roads of eggshell bones,
carried by the bubble birds
in their serrated beaks from caves
where rainy pebbles fall,
clattering on my roof, taking fluid forms.


I was painting my house with Dulux
when a whirlpool wind came calling.
It was fleeing from the west,
from particulate mirages and miracles of water.

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omégaville 5: the forgotten butterfly


Isabela, leader of the infernal army from Omégaville and winner of the Succubus of the Year Award, has been interviewed by a panel of celebrities, and now she’s having a little ‘me’ time. Part one is here.

Another bar, on a rooftop
far beneath the overworld,
another tissue paper town,
another rooster tail or two.

Isabela was staring down the unrepentant butterfly,
while I was writing up her interview.

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omégaville 4 by 4


Led by Isabela, the underworld army from Omégaville has marched across the land. Isabela has won the coveted Succubus of the Year Award and is about to be interviewed on the Tonight Tonight Show. Part 1 is here.

Four wise media personalities filed onto the set,
wearing numbered T-shirts.

Number one took a sip of water,
cleared her throat, and began.

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omégaville 3: fantasy world


Through the magic of fiction, all lifeforms in Omégaville have been transformed into creatures of the underworld. They are miffed because the military’s missiles incinerated their township. Part 1 is here.

I’d never really liked my neighbor, Maria Isabela,
endlessly complaining about my midnight bagpipes,
until she became a succubus with eyes
like sinful turn signals, flashing left and right,
and hazardous.

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omégaville 2: autumnal anomaly


In Omégaville, humans and other lifeforms are misbehaving. Instead of chasing each other or watching tv, they’re climbing upward as best they can and occasionally howling at the moon. The local government representative advised that action (unspecified) would be taken. The first part is here.

A committee in the hollow halls of government
met in secret and agreed in unanimity
that every living creature in Omégaville
was unnatural, illegal,*
and with surprising prescience,
most likely dangerous.

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omégaville 1: delocation


The normal dimensions vanished long ago,
and except for secrets covered in a skin
of words, we were left with only three.


Under every door in Marimbondo,
a letter of demand appeared, stamped
and indisputable.

By hydraulic decree, the Itaipu
catchment will expand.
Marimbondo will be submerged
and you must leave.
You’ll be rehoused in tents at Alta Vista.

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antimony’s due


unimportant safety information

On my journeys through forgotten nights
I collect my dreams,
trade them for indulgences and bitcoins
with the goddess of the godless:
the deity of pillows,
of changing sheets, of hiding,
commander and distracter,
of games and roles,
played and yet to be.

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the detective 7: reality and cyclicity


The detective has left the building and the world. With a coterie of penguins and axolotls, his client has gone on without him, heading to a post-apocalyptic crystal city. The story began here.

We journey onward to the west, finding
country corners and strangers
who make believe their ordinary lives
have not been lost:
motels with sewing kits and swimming pools for guests,
where the penguins jump and splash,
dance their stately dances,
raise their beaks to the stars
with enthusiastic cries of ‘encore’
from the axolotls.*

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the detective 1: horizontal departure


I wake up slowly in the soft infinity,
to discover I’m a dried out coffee stain
on the office floor.

By eight o’clock, I’ve morphed into a forgettable insect;
in half an hour, give or take, I’m a currawong
with a broken wing that fluttered through a window;
and when a customer knocks at nine,
I’m vaguely human, vaguely a detective,
polite, denatured, and unnatural.

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seekers of yesterday


on an evening in the soft infinity.

The sheeting rain outside
is a comfort and a warning
while I solder in a copper tangle:
connections from the future to the past,
with an insulating bypass round the present.

In the stormy world outdoors,
bright cascades of lightning challenge
my pretense, until a sudden surge and roar
redacts the copper to smoke and honey,
and a circuit breaker trips.

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transit authority


While forests of rain
are tumbling from the clouds,
she sleeps.

From each exhaled breath,
swarms of insects, transparent to opaque,
spiral fluttering, butterflies to birds
to armadillo exhalations.
And soon there will be humans
in the aisles of nature’s

In a flurry of her own creations,
the goddess wakes.

I will not take that path again.

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clothes hangers


To find employment and the truth
I read the classifieds in tea leaves—

symbol seeking an equation
clothesline seeking washing
objectified stranger seeking life

I’ll try again tomorrow,
investigate the websites in the clouds,
where my skill
at staring into light and dark
might be less superfluous.

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the shadow sun

the tower

Through the window, washes
on a watercolor planet,
rainy autumn shades in spring, and
in the early evening, scattered photon showers
are forecast, a luminous return of light
from the shadow sun.

Indoors there are smaller mysteries,
trailing motes in negative space—
old-fashioned sunlight
leaving lamps and bulbs,
domesticities and peripherals,
drawn out between the curtains
to the shadow sun.

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the air chirped by sparrows

chirped air

I’ve breathed the air chirped by sparrows,
critically appraised everything
I didn’t understand,
searched for magica potenta
in urban mysteries, shaded quantum clouds,
on bedroom ceilings, and found echidna quills,
kookaburra beaks, sobriety, all the words
I didn’t want to write.

Three knocks at the door-to-door,
I said I don’t want any, thank you,
not knowing what I didn’t desire.

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You humans are all alike, no time no time,
no time is beautiful, before birth and after life.

My pancakes are shallow thoughts
stacked in the kitchen,
she adds a little honey.

I’m late for work at the hardware store,
mostly robots looking for spare parts.
They’re not like her.

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should poetry and prose make sense?


Here are 5 reasons to make your writing incomprehensible—

  • impenetrable words allow the reader to focus on the prosody
  • mystification creates enigmas, unresolved mystery
  • if the meaning is obscured the reader can invent their own
  • writing that doesn’t make sense is more likely to be original, less likely to feel familiar
  • life makes very little sense—to me at least—so why should writing?

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the detective 6: the reliability of expectations


The detective and his client continue their post-apocalyptic search for what lies beyond the obvious sea. For implausible reasons, the detective wrote a fantasy of his own death in his diary which he passed to his client, who is now keeping a record of their journey. The Detective started off here.

It was no-one’s fault, not his nor mine;
even the bivalves weren’t to blame.
They have capabilities beyond
our human constructs
yet they’re living creatures,
borne below and risen
from deep within the earth.

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the detective 5: unauthorized biography


A detective and his client are seeking what lies beyond the obvious sea. The detective is in a supermarket, the usual refuge in case of an apocalypse, and his client has wisely left the building. (The detective sequence starts here.)

The ceiling and the roof have vanished,
breakfast for a bivalve, and a curling snake
of sulphurous vapor scorches my eyes,
runs bitter in my nose, my throat,
like the small red chillies
one should never purchase.

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the detective 4: safeways


A detective and his client journey through the post-apocalypse, seeking what lies beyond the obvious sea. Here is part 1.

We walk for hours towards a hidden horizon
where the distant bivalves are silvery phantoms,
photoluminescent contradictions
in the darkness.

My client has her axolotl armaments,
and I might be brave, but I’m myself—
a frightened woodland creature
seeking refuge from the restless night.

She makes a stop sign with her hand,
although it’s not hexagonal.

Over there a building stands.
We’ll rest until the daylight.

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the detective 3: household waste


In a post-apocalyptic world, a detective and his client seek to discover what lies beyond the obvious sea. Part 1 and part 2 already happened.

I follow her, wander through
the ravaged landscape
searching for her dream, a fantasy
from long ago.

At dusk, we reach a silent square
of broken swings and slippery dips,
of roundabouts and culs-de-sac,
where all the fallen houses
are numbered zero.

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