Millie, the librarian, has been listening to an employee’s story about waiting to catch a train to Sheridarp, and has given him a book on the unknowable. It’s late on a Saturday night, early on the day following, and the characters have inexplicably diverged from their raisons d’être, or would have if they existed. Part 1 is here.
I riffled through “The Unknowable,”
pausing here and there to admire Rorschach
snack and coffee stains.
After several repetitions, I observed that
every page was blank, apart from butterflies
and their suggestions.
A library employee has been explaining the theory of transmission lines to Millie, the librarian. Part 1 is here.
Every day was crumpled like a tissue,
starless rooms, vacant eyes,
until I cried out in a supermarket—
Check-out people, heed my warning:
concrete doesn’t show our true reflections,
it hides the motors that exhaust the immaterial,
the proton-powered furnaces of darkness,
and don’t trust geese.
To keep the librarian Millie happy, a library employee has agreed to do some writing. His chosen topic is transmission line theory. Part 1 is here.
Our life’s within our skin,
squeeze me to my broken bones,
I’m still outside of you,
a part of your exterior,
your shared illusion.
Beyond the gates and through the door,
over my glasses and behind my eyes,
a cozy inner planet spins.
Millie, a librarian, has been revealing aspects of her life to an employee. Soon he is going to have to earn the salary that he isn’t being paid. Part 1 is here.
Now we’ve covered everything
I care about, it’s time for you
to write your heart out on these
pillowslips and handkerchiefs.
Use this fabric pen, fill it with a dramatic color,
and let me know your chosen subject,
for shelving later on.
I needed a distraction.
Do you hear the distant screams, the sirens and the like?
Beyond the tinted windows of our bibliographic haven,
passers-by are shouting at the starblown sky,
kneeled in prayer, or searching for
a mortal remnant
that they might have dropped.
Millie, the librarian, has decided that the library’s newest eternal employee will probably have to do some writing, apart from cleaning the restrooms. Part 1 is here.
Before we ravel the tangles of your
thoughtlessness, I’ll be giving you
the benefit of my interleaved experience.
I may speak in bold occasionally.
about yours truly
I’ve adopted arrogance,
its only limit, epsilon.
I began instructing in my childhood.
My toys were most obedient,
the cat, the least.
A library visitor with unpaid casual employment shelving returns encountered a solar lifeform. Part 1 is here.
We ride the solar winds to
to the frigid outer reaches.
We’ve been coming here since
your fictional history began.
The natives are charmingly photogenic,
but they evaporate too easily.
Your eyes are very special.
Before the new days, ancient currawongs
hammering bells awoke me.
The new birds want my moto perpetuo,
my clockwork drive to nonexistence,
to eternal giving up before beginning.
I was seated at a table in bibliographic
co-ordinates, aligning ping-pong balls
in rows, to start and finish with the first.
From perilous dreams, the horse king
rose, so sure he’d be remembered
in the daylight.
He declared that everything was
indeterminate, unnecessary or incomplete,
and with batteries, many A’s,
he asserted iron-clad existence.
The once and never horse, ambivalence
on a bike, mentioned in a margin
for his bravery, and in a footnote,
impartially decapitated by a jury
of his peers.
Classrooms buried underground,
a breath, a cough, a teacher,
where every window was a riddle
and we were mute behind the glass,
where the chord of chords still sounded
from each bell to the last.
I was frail paper with pencilled veins,
a helpless diorama, a divide by zero,
an overflow and underflow,
a distillation of reticence and fear,
listening for the silent voice.
where the dream fish leap
A traveler seeking enlightenment has finally reached his destination: Port Botany. Part one is here.
Port Botany was a failure:
answers, answers, everywhere,
to questions no-one asked
and not a drop of coffee.
The voice inside my head was silent now,
my ambition was ambitionless,
and my quest would lie forgotten
in my diary if I had one.
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.
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.
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.
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?