minimum safe distance 2


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.

You’re thinking runner-up thoughts,
but it’s time to say goodbye
to your peanut butter and cucumber sandwich,
to the woman with the umbrella and the tiny dog.

I didn’t know that we were in a race.
What if we just dream about another world,
or make it up?

Come close, she said, it’s time to go.

Are the rainbow lorries chirping oddly,
a pentatonic scale?

I don’t think so, nothing’s happened.

What about the wine? I thought it was cab sav.

It was always pinot noir.
Let’s try once more, closer still.

A chance of sunset weather, a shower in the park,
monotremes and probabilistic raindrops
that searched for refuge before they turned to puddles.
Under an umbrella, a tiny dog was yapping,
pretending to be solid.

On the lake, the fire lilies sent their parachute seeds aloft,
swept upward in convected heat
from the ardor of their own combustion,
and above the trees, selected moons were rising,
emitting waves of matter.

At antinodal crossings, the buds of nascent universes blossomed,
but outlined dark against the Olber stars,
the N-whales were waiting.

Their mighty maws extinguished every fiery possibility,
a reminder that I had to put the rubbish out,
that everything’s forever finite,
forever as it had been.


I dreamed last night at Byron Bay, sifting bones on Shelley Beach.
I met a monster made of mirrors
who quantified my life, its meaning in the mist.
But I don’t recall a single word.
I should have taken notes, a precis in the sand
beyond the high-tide mark.

Célia stifled a yawn. A fascinating story.

Although I’m not called William, and I never was,
I’ve noticed that we’re speaking English.
Quite surprising, for preternatural beings.

Some similarity with our earlier life’s essential,
or else the link is purely the proximity of words,
of which we aren’t aware.

Yet the commonality might be mere coincidence,
in a multiverse of peanut butter and cucumber,
an infinity of meta-sandwiches.

The last few drops of wine
trickled from the bottle,
heading for Célia’s lips.

Let’s travel to another universe,
I’d like a different name.


  • I have never tried a peanut butter and cucumber sandwich and have no opinion on the taste, or whether they exist.
  • Olbers’ paradox— N-whales are one possible, albeit unlikely, resolution.
  • A little Hofstadter feedback.

artwork forever finite (detail above)

36 thoughts on “minimum safe distance 2

  1. Tremendous images here, Steve, particularly the fire lilies and their parachutes, and “selected moons” rising. I wonder which lucky ones got to ascend. I’m crazy about the moon, and images of many rising at once give me goosebumps. Also—that sounds like an excellent idea: a trip to another universe.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Jim. I do love alternate universes, where the rules are whatever you’d like them to be and you don’t have to pay your speeding fines. Perhaps it’s because I’m not overly fond of this one 😃.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: minimum safe distance 2 — inconstant light | Fantasy Gift Sources: Book Reviews, Article Resources, News

    • Someone is writing our stories, Frank, and we’re unaware of what they’re writing. I think it’s better that way.

      Maybe you already do. I think I was Steve yesterday but all I really know is that I am right now. Maybe I’ll be someone else tomorrow, so it doesn’t matter how much wine I drink, someone else will have a hangover. Pity the bottle’s empty. 😄

      Liked by 2 people

    • Worse than Frankenstein’s, and possibly a bit of personal reality there. Fortunately there are plenty of people in the world who are not only perfect, but happy to tell you about it. 😄 Thanks, Caroline.


  3. ahahah So many images and yet my mind seems stuck on cucumber and peanut butter! Perhaps it’s because I have not had breakfast yet. Steve, you make it easy to drift into fantasy and play in the mind. Thanks for taking us on your trips ahahah. What fun!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Probabalistic? I happen to have a cuke. Think I’ll try a PB & C sandwich for lunch. Is there really such a thing as fire lilies? I love “the buds of nascent universes blossoming.” Nothing like reading one of your fantasies at 1am in the morning, Steve. I hope I dream of fire lilies when I get to sleep. No yapping dogs thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Weather always seems to be statistical these days: 30% chance of an afternoon shower or whatever, so yes, probabilistic raindrops. 😃 Good luck with that sandwich; I wasn’t brave enough to experiment.

      There are seeds that only germinate in fires, and there are some that float a bit like parachutes, but unfortunately I’ve only seen fire lilies in my mind. You will probably have to visit another universe to find them. Thank you, BG, hope you had sweet dreams and no barking dogs. 😃

      Liked by 1 person

    • Well that can’t be a bad thing, Paul. Actually, that came from a discussion at a mindfulness meditation group I was attending. One person, a lawyer actually, said that putting the rubbish out just kind of irked him. I get it, but one can ask what lies behind that, and is it the delusion of pride? In any case, it’s something to think about while you’re putting the damn rubbish out. 😄

      Liked by 1 person

    • And that’s why this isn’t a recipe site, Magarisa.😃 Although in fact, I do have a couple of special recipes I invented when there was almost nothing to eat in the house. One is yoghurt and potato crisps. Admittedly it isn’t for everyone. 😄 With the English, I think it’s best to be logical, even when it makes no sense at all.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Gina. Measures of “distance” are vital for us, I think our minds are made to assume a connection when events are “close” in any sense, even in the representational worlds: fiction and media. I guess it makes sense, mostly there is a connection; even when a thought has seemingly appeared out of nowhere, there is usually a reason.

      About our names, I don’t really know, but I imagine there would be complications because our names are so important to us early on, I think well before we could make a reasoned choice.

      Liked by 1 person

      • our subconscious is so powerful, those connections are repressed feelings I believe and something sparks at the right time to reignite the thoughts. We are connected more than we realise, at some point in time we were all swimming in the same thought pool.

        our names are then what our parents want us to be, or whoever named us. but are we really those souls?

        Liked by 1 person

        • I agree, so much hidden and waiting for a spark.

          I think our names are just one part of the indelible influence of our parents: nature and nurture, a complicated question. For people who don’t match their name, I guess they have the option to make a change.


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