“There are only seven kinds of people.”
That’s the type of thing you will hear
if you listen to the oscillographic media.
Maria, whom I rarely listened to, continued.
In truth, people are entropy:
disorder and information. The closer
you look, the more you see.
The planet is cocooned in a hydrolithic sheath,
formed from the vaporized detritus
of ancient modern living.
Its mysterious condensates and fractionated hydrocarbons
hide the Martian battle fleet, hovering above
in orbital geostasis.
My neighbors came to me on a quiet Sunday morning.
An intervention, they informed me,
because I’d been infected by Deija Thoris.
Previously on Darklight: a traveller, the railway guard Anélia, and the Ibid Bird, have come to the Inverse Realms, where time runs backwards. They found Selena there, and she has revealed that the meeting is her first encounter with the traveller. For her, their time together hasn’t happened yet, it is in her future. Episode one is here.
I was moderately despondent. My odyssey
had finished in a self-referential loop,
my time spent with Selena had caused itself.
Previously on Darklight: a traveller, the railway guard Anélia, and the Ibid Bird, came to the Inverse Realms, where time runs backwards. They have taken the electro-trolley to Sonandinho, where Selena lives. The first episode is here.
We disembarked, I complained about
the less-than-clement weather: rain flakes
and snowlets that rose and fell around us,
the cycle of water in an inconvenient microcosm,
and there we were.
Previously on Darklight: a traveller accompanied by the Ibid Bird, and Anélia, a railway guard from the moon, is on his way to meet Selena. They have reached the border of the Inverse Realms, where time flows backwards. The first episode is here.
I would have liked to tell you of the Turnaround,
where time’s pendulum pauses before it reverses,
but every memory of it had vanished from my mind,
if not my body. My shirt had been shredded,
bloodied from the cuts of sharpened claws.
The Goddess Bastet roams that place,
the Ibid Bird informed me, while Anélia
studied her fingernails.
Previously on Darklight: a traveller, the Ibid Bird, and a railway guard, set out for the Inverse Realms, where time ostensibly runs backwards. The traveller would like to find Selena, but on the way, there may be triffids. The first episode is here.
The journey to the Realms meandered
through pointless snippets of conversation,
without a cup of coffee or a saving grace.
Previously on Darklight: a traveller accompanied by the Ibid Bird is searching for Selena. At Lunar Central Station, he discussed his life with a guard at the gate and found out that she had returned to the Inverse Realms. The first episode is here.
The Inverse Realms. Of course.
The Bird saw through my deception,
and somewhat explained.
Previously on Darklight: a traveller accompanied by a pseudo-bird finally reached Lunar Central Station on the moon. The guard at the gate asked him to talk about himself, and he spoke about his writing, a story he’d written about Selena. The guard was unimpressed, and targeted him with a multifunctional weapon. Episode one is here.
No-one ever wanted me to talk about myself.
What did she expect?
I was always Sunday’s dreary ghost,
wandering the rain-washed streets,
with the ashes of my fantasies
falling in my mind.
Still, I had to try.
Previously on Darklight: on the way to the moon with a bird, a human fell asleep. Through the magic of the mind, he travelled to a rainy reality. After meeting an obsessive future version of himself, he climbed through a broken television set into another dimension. Or wherever. Episode one is here.
Floral avenues bloom in different seasons—
in spring, in winter, on lost days.
Beyond the TV portal, the reception of reality was poor:
analogue strata of land and sea and sky
drifted by beneath me and above me.
As I watched, they sheared and shredded,
Previously on Darklight: a human and a bird were on their way to the moon when the human fell asleep. He found himself in a damp and dreamless reality, where everything was exactly as it seemed. Because of a dead rat, he chose to worship logic. Episode one is here.
I had no destination, but on I went,
along shallow walkway creeks,
up cascading staircase waterfalls,
and at the building’s very top,
I came upon a cavernous laboratory.
Previously on Darklight: a traveller on his way to the moon to find Selena had a bit of a scare. Fortunately, the ibid bird arrived and explained away all his problems. Now he’s back on track. The first episode is here.
In a notional breeze of sleepy air and light bulbs,
the sailing carriage rocked and swayed.
The ibid bird was cooing, roosting in my hair,
and lulled by trickling traces of minds
that once were mine, I awoke
or fell asleep.
Previously on Darklight: a careless traveller has boarded a sailing carriage on the Darklight Rail. He dreams of finding long lost Selena at one of the lunar stations. Part one is here.
The tracks arched upward, the horizon, far below,
was lost in cloud, my socks were striped
in shades of peach and avocado green,
and the moon shone like a flashlight
that could do with a change of batteries.
Hidden behind history and fantasy, eventualities
bide their time; the rest is unremarkable preamble.
Ideas at mental central station
came and went, sailing carriages
on rails, propelled by fickle winds.
I might go here or there, I thought,
and didn’t wonder whose ideas they were,
or whether I should borrow them.
Through windows within windows,
made of pixels, made of glass,
made of minds and made of paper,
everyone was searching at the speed of dust,
to ease the burden at their core.
Wishes within wishes, all queued up at dusk,
some saw walls and mazes,
and some were lost inside themselves,
bound to never find another,
and never by another, to be found.
When the morning’s rays are slanting through the kitchen windows, it’s time for mathematics.
Once upon a cereal box, I read of the analytical
and inestimable Doctor Petal, who was confounded
by the nature of free will, and chose to coalesce
the time stream to make the future
as irrevocable as the past.
When the rain fell sizzling down, damp with lightning,
she observed the protozoa in each drop,
waiting to reach the underworld
to complete the polygon of life.
One packed toothpaste and a sewing kit
for essential sutures.
“Space-time, its nature is undeniable,”
(in lieu of a goodbye) and that one headed off
towards tomorrow’s sunrise.
The one indoors was waving from a window.
“Everything may be cleaved in two,
so it is with digital computation.”
Previously on the rewound world: at a café in the Nullarbor Plain, four post-apocalyptic travelers were transmuted into two, Autónomo and Primaverity, by the insignificantly bearded waiter. The first episode is here.
We bid the waiter farewell, thanked him
out of misguided courtesy, and he returned
our diary, responsibly accepted
Previously on the rewound world: four post-apocalyptic travelers at a café in the Nullarbor Plain have had their inconvenient truths revealed by the moderately bearded waiter. Episode one is here.
No-one disagreed. With murmurings and sighs,
they accepted that which, in another world,
might have been denied with vigor, with examples
tailor-made to create a false impression.
The waiter was encouraged.
Previously on the Rewound World: four travelers searching for a luminous future beyond the apocalypse were dawdling in a café with very little to offer when the bearded waiter announced that he knew all their secrets. The first episode is here.
The waiter tore off his imitation beard
with flair, uncovering a more modest
Much more will be revealed, he declared.
reductio ad absurdum
Oh Deija, if you ever were, if you ever were right now,
would my words mean anything? I cannot speak
your mother tongue:
the language of the undimensioned realms,
your modality of erasure,
from a time when words were silent.
Violeta’s sweeping up the windy sand the sea
has left behind. She sees the dried and frail feathers
of what once had flown on seagull wings,
and now at rest, is thinking:
In my pseudo stasis, I have no purpose,
my birdful thoughts are beakless now,
but a splash of SA30 motor oil and I’d be
scrabbling on the beach.
The ether wave swept through and swept away
intangible imaginings: shimmers from the overworld,
refractions risen from the subterrain,
and the sephine webs connecting them.
When the wave had passed, the town of Fênix
was no longer cloaked in mystery and fantasy,
only naked objectivity remained,
a brutal realism that no-one could withstand.
Inconstant light will update fortnightly from today. This has little to do with Mars. It is a consequence of irreversible thermodynamics, evolution beyond the axolotl, and causation.
With strong and weak nuclear forces,
you might try to bind every atom of your being,
to neither dissipate nor propagate. To build a bulwark
against living’s effervescence, you might try.
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.
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.
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?