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.
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.
While forests of rain
are tumbling from the clouds,
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.
in São Paulo
My night thoughts spider scuttle
to the web of thoughts,
to be forgotten in the halogenic daylight.
Pigeon heralds coo chromatic arches of the dawn,
and by the afternoon’s descent,
a gentle samba on a headland far away
calls in the rain.
Lightning flashes in the belly of the city sky,
deus irae in smoky yellow,
and castle clouds are falling
in plastotechnic raindrops
that merge and rise to build again
as solid as the world.
My phone politely starts my Sunday:
Good morning human,
your mission is to find out
whether purpose matters.
Where subdivided paths marked
I saw enough to know
the truth of almost nothing.
Where falling cartoon clocks shattered
into bells and spiral springs,
I waited for a gentle sound.
Where graduated tick marks
switched the traffic lights,
I stopped to contemplate my lies.
At night when everything was hissing,
pressurized and leaking air,
colors came around, reefs of golden green,
and in the distance,
pages tore like thunder.
A rider on an insipid horse galloped
by my bedroom,
and my dream woke up
while I still slept.
After parts three, two, one, a flashback to the home of the crayfish on their reformed moon.
We live in a concrete paradise,
we must show the galaxy,
attract discerning tourists
and credit cards.
This is the third part. Tenuously connected first and second parts are stored as data on a server.
A pointless unnamed human
was locked in stasis by Célia,
an interstellar traveler
who has a name.
A week and forty years pass by
in a single line of text.
The stasis ends, and one apartment block
still stands on planet earth.
A mostly irrelevant first instalment exists.
An aerial steam train winds across
the Kangaroo Valley skyline
with interstellar Célia and
a nameless human on board.
On the ground, a stray sheep comments:
looks like a little smoky weather on the way,
and high above,
like a Canterbury pilgrim conglomerate,
Célia tells her tales.
The seasons sometimes dawdle, hesitate at the door,
run and stumble
when they’re late to catch
the Keplerian train.
Winter’s ice cracks in glasses,
spring’s choirs sing,
summer’s orchestras tune their instruments.
I do not listen.
She said I was a baboon
dangling without a vine,
but I’m a crayfish stranded on the land.
I will punish myself today
for my regrets and future errors,
the accumulated consequence
of antithoughts and indecisions.
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.
I’m not quite comfortable with that fireplace, amor,
or the smoke from all the books you’re burning.
I was working through the Dewey Decimals,
I’d kept a little eight two one.
You told me everything defined is lost
a soul’s reflection in a mirror.
I thought it best to undefine myself.
We need a chimenea.
I’ll remodel with the chainsaw.
The chainsaw roars, she says a little more
I cannot hear.
An arid future in a waterless world,
where all our understanding wavers
on a bridge to whiteness.
We are replicants in the land
of nothing new, and the westerlies,
hot and dry, are blowing away the children.
As they fall, we fall.
Do spaces matter without context?
Atoms to cells to Wilma to planets
and beyond more empty spaces.
All might be forgiven today,
prescriptive facts unfaced,
turned to continuous movement
in a land of distant windmills.
In a daydream I attended
an exponential function
hosted by his eminence,
the summit of his self creation;
close acquaintances only, commonality
reassured in glyphic communication.
His hacienda was mostly atria,
potted green, and rain washed
marble chessboards where gardeners
wearing chefs’ hats offered fertilizer
in the pavlova recipe
Sorry, I have to take this,
the pavlova says. The microwave
is ringing and they speak together in whispers.
Down by the seas of roads and rails—tarmacs lined
with dashes on the runways to the shallows—
the metropolitan trains approach a nexus
where all begins and ends.
Once my life was stippled on those waters
and broken on those shores.
A thunderstorm’s approaching underground.
Along the shore, waves of sand
competing with the ocean,
from ancient graveyards ghosts will float
into the world, freed from roiling earth,
to the weather forecast
and I prepare our breakfast:
spinach, pastry, thoughts of eggs,
peel a purple onion, layer after layer,
until just the memory of an onion’s left.
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—
leaving lamps and bulbs,
domesticities and peripherals,
drawn out between the curtains
to the shadow sun.
We’re squeezed like toothpaste into wires,
an atmospheric phantom network
bouncing off the sea bed and the sky,
and if we don’t pay the bills:
discontinuities in reality.
They’re deep, best not to fall in.
I remember burning forests in the wind
when the air was thick as a roast chicken smoothie,
when nature, lightning and amino acids
made single cells in starter packs,
ever changing, revisable.
But now each heart is pizza sliced in four quaternions,
one alone, the other three—
an irresolvable triangle of love.
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.
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.
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?
I remember when we lived
with our language suited
to the fatuous and fantastic.
When we never wondered
what our slide rules might not measure,
we saw our ambit through camerae obscurae,
pinpoints of the truth inverted.
I wrote a kookaburra
perching on a paling fence
motionless in the rain,
sharp eyed waiting for a worm,
but the words left worm impressions
as shallow as my florid thoughts,
washed away by the garden sprinkler.
It was once a loud industrial location,
but now it’s slightly damp: Venusian squid
with brollies promenade in the quiet streets
while humans pass their time
overpainting all their windows.