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 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’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.
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.
A small symbolic light above the planar world,
the curveless planetary horizon
and yapping dogs on the wind,
run I walk I queue I
grow tired, eyes close and flicker,
yet every photon tells a tale
of a restless luminous voyage.
After midnight I wander under
sodium doublet illumination
to the very end of the street.
on an unremarkable planet
Contessa Isabela fluttered a manicured hand.
Divers divas and devices,
glorified in dullness.
I crave novelty.
We’ll send someone to Planet Sauria
whence no-one has returned.
We might get lucky this time.
plagiarism on a beach in france
I’ve imaginated death:
dark rivers, darker seas,
the luminiferous earth,
growing to that darkness
in headlong blind embrace.
I share my thoughts with Joana.
Oh how you’ve changed, amor.
The city is to blame,
its exhumations and exhalations,
obsidian and glass.
I want you to live without me,
the time has come for you to spread your petals,
to hop and flutter.
I knew I couldn’t fly
but still I left her, not without regrets
or longing, but knowing I was
so much more than the helianthus
I once was.
I was ready to seek another light.
It starts with fire and ends with rain,
zero is infinity
and my home
is filled with strangers,
yet their strangeness is not reciprocal.
worth the special introductory
price of free.
The scientist Irene in white
peered over her half-moons.
Let’s apply a little logic: if everything
is worthless, so is that idea.
Come with me to Improbable Park.
… meet the zeroth law of motion.
We’re dropping out of hyper now
into normal space,
the words of Azulinha, the fluidic pilot,
flashed inside my head,
and don’t touch that,
it’s not a percolator.
Soon there’d be no more
chromatic thought transference—
empathic rivers of the gaseous mind.
It would all be stuttering and stumbling
with optics and acoustics
on the surface of the planet.
There’s something unfortunate about seven a.m.,
when the dreams of worlds that might have been
ascend into the vanishment.
As I traveled the Redfern Rail one night,
through tunnels that smelled of soot and ghosts of steam,
I chatted with a stranger. Her auburn hair was wound
with a golden asp, and she told me this:
Your mind’s your own, to do with as you will.
I saved mine for special occasions,
believed in pixels and maquillage,
bowed and chanted to great Osiris,
but I know better now.
There is a place where all imagination ends.
There is a frontier beyond which
nothing is comprehensible.
Who will tell me what lies in between?
Diurnal hours on planet earth
It’s as if I’m alive, I’m almost sure.
Strangers know me at the supermarket,
even family knock and peer through windows,
ask me why I wasn’t where I should have been
by rote and custom.
Yet I know when I awaken every day,
I’m here for the very first time.
Chalcedony, a distant and unfriendly planet,
orbits an old-fashioned chartreuse sun
in an unsociable spiral galaxy.
It’s a centimeter or two away from earth
on a standard map of the universe,
In a café on the planet’s surface,
it’s Monday morning, neither late nor early,
and Manique, of humanoid appearance,
is sipping a humanoid coffee.
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?