day job


In the photocopied forest,
where origami birds shed origami feathers,
where duplicates with papered eyes
riffle through the files of our dreaming,
where carbon copied life is rampant,
Rosalyn shows me a quick start guide
for human prototypes,
their care and feeding, how to keep them far
from wheels and fire,
and recirculant mechanics.

Our bonsai minds are caged and shaped,
replicas in miniature of something greater:
trains, the sky, and lightning.


For lunch at twelve, we gather on the roof,
the lowest floor of invisibility rising
where soon enough the sea will break
against the parapets.

A stranger wearing scuba gear
is selling tickets to the freeway
to watch time’s flow for thirty minutes.
He insists that he invented it
and shakes his head at seagulls calling
in Atlantean.

All questions may be answered by illogic.

Down below, the coraled streets are underwater,
no traffic on the roads,
and schools of fish are waiting by the glimmer
of Don’t Walk signs, balanced on their tail fins
till the ambience augers well.

Across the woven skies, sentient lightning sends
a message flashing cloud to cloud:
worship us, we will not negotiate,
though nobody pays attention.

A train flying low to Western Central
is struck by their vengeful voltage.
The engineer maneuvers, a controlled descent
to land on an ancient shopping mall.
I applaud until I realize
no-one’s going to join me.

Rosalyn, who talks too much,
makes idle conversation, too idle to repeat.

The Isvénia Sea is tidal, it reached the
thirteenth floor today,
yet the world is neither ending nor
beginning, saltwater damps its oscillations.

Railsea, China Miéville (2012); many fish see colors that we can’t; global climate change— the oceans will act as carbon dioxide sinks for a while, until they turn to fizzy water.

the old world (woven pastoral, spring)

24 thoughts on “day job

  1. I particularly liked,
    “Our bonsai minds are caged and shaped,
    replicas in miniature of something greater:
    trains, the sky, and lightning.”
    But it is always hard to pick my favourite part, I always enjoy it all.

  2. Shaped minds and idle conversations are pretty much the reality. I love how you mix up all very different aspects, and it eventually brings out the idea. Interesting way of interpreting your perception and moods.
    I don’t think languages reside in different parts of the brain. I speak, write, read and professionally translate 4 of them, and there is no confusion between these languages. It is probably the level of automatically applied forms, language structures and phrases and the amount of verbal units we keep in the memory. Every language is very different, I happen to be a native Latvian, and this language has abnormally difficult grammar. If you have ever studied Latin, so that would describe the level of complexity. However, Latvians have pronouns, but they are included in the verb ending in Latin, still differences.
    The part that is true is: the more languages one masters, the easier it is to add more. I mean, there are still some similarities which allow a person who knows Latin to somewhat understand Spanish and Italian. I think Portuguese is a mix of languages (at least it sounds so) and it must be fairly difficult to learn it. Just like Dutch: so ancient and so different from the languages it stems from.

    • Thank Inese, and I agree about real life. With the idle conversation, I started off with Rosalyn saying stuff—

      I’ve walked the path of pebbles
      riverside, heard tales of other worlds,
      their beguiling mysteries,
      loved and unloved, cared
      and uncared …

      But when I finished the poem, it was too long and the verses were off topic, so I scrapped them. So maybe idle conversation was a bit unfair to fictional Rosalyn 🙂 .

      I agree with your take on languages and I can’t even remember who told me about the different parts of the brain, but to be fair to her, I should probably explain it a bit more clearly. You’re super adept at languages (I’m pretty much convinced we can’t all do that—I know I can’t at least 🙂 ) and what she said was that for people like you, the language structures are arranged logically and nearby in the brain (this facilitates understanding of connections and translation, not confusion). But I learned more like a child (mostly) and in that case Portuguese is a separate region interconnected with itself, and I have difficulty translating. I guess it’s not black and white but they’re the extremes. I don’t know if it’s true but anyway that was the idea 😉 .

  3. I needed that one today. Took me out of the pinching constraints of rational thinking. Since I don’t drink, your poems are the next best. I hope you take that as a compliment. Cheers.

    • *thinks*
      1 if my poetry was addictive I could make some real $$$
      2 I have a box of chocs in the fridge
      3 also an unopened bottle of Pinot

      Thanks for brightening my day BG 😀

    • Your blog is definitely right out there too 🙂 . I sometimes wonder where the creative arts are going and whether in the end only stuff that has real human input (can’t all be done by computer) will be important. In that case poetry will shine :star: . I hope.

  4. I was getting some real Atlantis-vibes from that one. Now imagining Atlantis during climate change…
    Great poem once again! I love reading them out aloud. 🙂

    • That’s particularly pleasing. Thing is the list on the right labelled ‘sky fishing manual’ is generated by wordpress based on likes and it’s all older stuff. I’ve been worried I’m going downhill. So … maybe not 😀

  5. Lots to like here. I am fond of this:

    Our bonsai minds are caged and shaped,
    replicas in miniature of something greater:
    trains, the sky, and lightning.

    Thought provoking as always. 🙂

    • Thank you Sascha. I was just browsing some Socrates out of curiosity because of another comment and I came across this:

      “…it was not wisdom that enabled poets to write their poetry … who deliver all their sublime messages without knowing in the least what they mean.”

      I agree with first and last bits 😀 .

    • Aye, but tis you being coy.
      I believe it’s only people who have the knowledge who are capable of passing along subliminal meanings…but if it’s coming from your mind how can one determine if it’s subliminal. Time for an aspirin.

    • Too early here for my kind of self-medication (and I have to mow the lawn). I would say that for me a lot of it is what feels right (instinct?) whatever that means.

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