A traveler is dawdling on the way to Port Botany. He’s been guided by the polar spirits, crossed paths with the alchemist Alcione, and passed through a portal into an alternate, but equally dull, reality where he had a therapy session with the Medusa, who recommended he wear a tomato. Part one is here.
I missed the world I’d left behind,
and through a day and night,
I sought another path between realities.
I opened doors and gates,
climbed over fences, in and out
of windows, all to no avail.
nothing is true and so much left undone
After a motorway visitation, a penitent is journeying to Port Botany, seeking wisdom and a burger meal. He’s been helped along by the Polar Spirits, and he met Alcione, an alchemist. Now he’s in an angled reality discussing life with a therapist who has a serpentine hairdo. Part 1 is here.
She pried my shameful secrets
with a chisel, stole all my best delusions,
and while I waited for her stellate plan,
she whispered to her woven serpents.
in the bilight
A pilgrim is journeying to Port Botany in search of coffee or a revelation, and the Spherical Polar Spirits, Altitude and Ascension, are helping him along with a little tough electric love. Part 1 is here.
Swerving water, a long slow
crash of breakers on the land,
as I journeyed in the minutes
of the bilight, when the sun
was yielding to the rise and stutter
of the streetlamps,
their denatured spectral substitution.
A flightless penitent is journeying barefoot to Port Botany after a revelatory event on the motorway—a pseudorandom monk plagiarized The Rime of the Ancient Mariner while he painted the penitent’s windscreen with seagulls. The polar spirits, Azimuth and Altitude, are helping him stay on track with cattle prods. Part one is here.
In southern Alexandria, my electric shepherds
grudgingly approved a measured stimulation,
and I queued up at a mobile coffee truck.
Before me in the line, an impatient stranger
caught my eye, and I introduced myself
with a fictional appellation.
After meeting with an apparent monk who painted the windscreen of his Vauxhall with seagulls, a motorist has morphed into a pedestrian on a pilgrimage. Part 1 is here.
For me, no peak modernity, no dream of
orbital ecliptics, no F-sharp metal on my tongue,
I’d been summoned to Port Botany,
where flightless cranes raise riveted beaks,
bow and curtsy in their dainty dances,
where cirrus kerosene streaks the flammable sky,
and I might find a natural ellipsis,
a powdered hesitation by the sea.
The kraken goes shopping
I was on my way from leaving to arriving,
idling in a less-than-patient traffic queue,
when an unexpected monk
came tapping at my window.
He offered to paint my windscreen
for an altruistic price, and while he worked,
he shared the tragic story of his life.
In the west, two rivers merge,
the flows of past and future mingle
with the guests, a meet and greet.
From the shore, in a certain quality of light,
you may glimpse a flight in grey,
a moving blueprint, a system of soft levers.
Late Friday coffee.
It’s time for me to go.
Haven’t you seen the news?
The Venusians are invading.
They’ve been studying us for years,
collecting all our confidential thoughts.
Their conquest of the earth is under way,
with their gaudy starlit tentacles,
their stellarators and imitation science.
(Voice over) Previously on Solar Disenchantment: a hamster or an acquaintance of Deija Thoris has parachuted from a bus and landed on a minigolf course, where he will attend a conference in a normal-size hotel. The unrelated first part is here.
The conference venue was virtual de luxo,
with non-removable coat hangers
and a sparkling mineral spa,
all a-bubble with sulphuretted hydrogen,
widely recommended as a curative
for common floral ailments.
Lately yesterday, lost in thoughts
of solar unattainment, I met the windwalkers,
copper blood and lightning’s megahertz whispers.
An intergalactic basket, delivered to the wrong address,
a three much like an eight,
turned out to be a hamster who used to be a synonym,
five parts fantasy, each alone and falling.
Amelia and an unnamed person, who is probably called William, are picnicking. They’ve decided that they’ll leave the conventional plane of existence by drawing near to each other. The minimum safe separation is half a meter or so. Part one is here.
I was silent.
Sorry, what was that?
I didn’t say anything.
Night and day were mid-grey corridors
and everyone was bees and ants,
exchanges without and never within,
until people started vanishing in pairs,
a magician’s trick without a trapdoor.
Nominal leaders declared there was no need to worry:
statistically, you might be fine;
and hermits were in the headlines,
flashlit in their sorry caves.
Three café explorations.
“Reality serves at memory’s pleasure,”
something I read somewhere.
I have a tattoo with the very same words.
Quite the coincidence.
On days when stormy ink is in the air
and the atmosphere is virtual,
precautions must be taken.
If the downpour seeks the sea
by way of dimpled rivers,
an umbrella or a rowboat will be fine.
Friday night at the Ghostery on Relentable Drive,
and a whirl of leaves blew in,
took my vaguely personal shape.
like to do their ghosting,
whispering and wispy pale,
but I don’t play that game,
I’m as solid as a memory
of a memory.
Microscopic particles of time
rain upon our lives.
Paper promises grow brittle,
mapped forgiveness folds, unfolds,
frays and tears along the creases.
Our memories refract through prisms
until the brightest day is lost
in anesthetic runes.
I heard a motor revving in the carport,
and from my gate,
I watched my Kia Starfish drive away,
with the spindly legged carport
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.
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.
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.
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,
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.
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
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.
At the Café Économique,
they serve one class of patron,
one strength of resteamed coffee grounds,
a minor bird is hopping on a plastic olive branch
and a mangy city cat is watching.
I’m seated at a likeness of a table
reading faded scrawls on a communal
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?