when we’re real


Late Friday coffee.

It’s time for me to go.

Haven’t you seen the news?
The Venusians are invading.
They’ve been studying us for years,
collecting all our confidential thoughts.
Their conquest of the earth is under way,
with their gaudy starlit tentacles,
their stellarators and imitation science.

You’d be safer here with me.

Estrelinha sighed.

Alright then, tell me more.
The Twitter version please.

Beyond their skin, they’re just like us,
cloaked in optical illusion and stroboscopic light.
But underneath, they’re galaxies in glass,
spiral arms and silver watercolors,
diamond flames from time’s beginning.

I’ve seen them gliding down the highways
in Toyota Starlets, two-tone, blue and grey,
and they’re occupying mountain tops and Starbucks,
planning global terraforms and media hallucinants—
two hundred football channels,
Huxley one, Orwell zero.

Although I’d made my point in several tweets,
Estrelinha was unimpressed.

On the streets outside, random wild behavior
is well within a Friday evening’s standard deviation.
There’s no sign of an invasion.

The astute are watching Netflix
in secure basements,
silicone sealed against Venusians.
I’ve done a bit myself.

You and I were never miscible:
balsamic vinegar and oil.

A garden salad, a blueberry muffin,
another coffee perhaps?
All the famous antelopes and ants are on TV,
but I am here.

My life is waiting beyond your gravity well.

I’ve made measurements in vacuo,
dropped a bottle and a feather:
the bottle floated through the window,
the feather weighed upon my thoughts.

Streets and streetlamps, starfish in the square,
silent letters and raucous seagulls.
Do they serve a purpose?
What’s the use of poetry and pot plants?
Of crystal beaches, Beowulf in winter socks, the blue electric?
When I’m with you, I wonder.

Every time you open your mouth,
reality books an Uber.

We’re only real when we’re
unwritten, unrecorded.

Here’s what the wood ducks have lined up for the coming issue: there won’t be a table of contents or a table or contents, a cover story or a cover or a story, and as a temporary cost-cutting measure, I’ll be accosting strangers in the street and warning them about Venusians.


Stellarators are magnetically confined fusion devices

shameless plagiarism of Shocking Blue, Venus.

Twitter, Toyota Starlet, Starbucks, Netflix, Uber are trademarks of their respective companies. Probably.

upon my thoughts (detail above) this visualization was generated from six minutes of EEG (more info with artwork)

39 thoughts on “when we’re real

    • Thank you, Frank. Absolutely, I realized when I finished and listed the brand names. I spent some time at Sydney Uni this last week, and I saw how rapidly things are changing, everyone talking to their phones or on their tablets. Me too, mind you. 😃

      Glad you liked the EEG, I hope to do some more, although my experimental subject is whingeing that he doesn’t have the time.😃

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I keep being transported to some other world each time I come by your page. It’s like your words are a passageway to another etherealm (is there such a word? I don’t think so, but hey), wonderfully weird yet true and relatable.

    That last couplet though—didn’t someone say they could see their thoughts only once they written on paper? Writing it down (or spilling it, whichever method preferred) would make something more real, visceral.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I’m good with etherealm. It should be in the dictionary, and it sounds like I should be doing some work on magic travel spells. It wouldn’t have to be far, even the local supermarket would be okay.

      Thanks, Annie. You always get me thinking. I agree, writing things down can help us to understand ourselves, and sometimes interpretation is needed because we are complex, multilayered creatures.

      The protagonist here has had his conversation made public, recorded on inconstantlight. I think that a lot of people aren’t completely real in public (I know I’m not). We project images, and we might even have a self-image which isn’t wonderfully real. But in private, there are times when we are as real with each other as it gets. 😃

      Liked by 1 person

    • I completely agree with you, Steve. I don’t think we are our real selves in public, not 100% anyway. If we are lucky, though, we will find people or someone we can be real with. Isn’t that a scary idea, though? Being so real with someone that you become vulnerable.

      You’re doing great with etherealm and your magic travel spells. Each piece always takes me someplace new and weird, in a wonderful way. (I’d love to see what you can make out of the veggies section in Woolies.)

      And you’re welcome. I always look forward to tagging along on any journey you paint.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not particularly concerned about that one, Annie. I soon as you care, you’re vulnerable in so many ways. It’s just one more, that’s life.

      Thanks, but my culinary skills range from zero to non-existent. You don’t want to know. Vegetables or anything else.😄

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hahaha, okay. I’m not an expert in the culinary department, either, though I’m sure you could write about a trip to the grocery store and make it sound like an adventure. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “We’re only real when we’re unwritten, unrecorded”… and hence relationships are so special when the unwritten and unrecorded are understood. Beautiful. Brilliant. Will there be a part 2? 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Sobhana. Yes, that’s true, so much is unsaid, yet perfectly understood.

      I’m guessing there won’t be a part 2, since whatever the two characters get up to will be unwritten and unrecorded 😃, but who knows?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. agree, top truth, dude – We’re only real when we’re unwritten, unrecorded.
    great work, stream of sub-conscious…
    don’t worry the word real is just a symbol not the thing itself, or maybe the dynamic… as Hegel inferred 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, I’m glad the protagonist came through at the end, I thought he was heading off into deep space…

      I know what you mean: “Ceci n’est pas une pipe” — “This isn’t a pipi.” I wish it was a pipi though. I like pipis. 😄


    • Thank you, Peter. Yeah, I like them too. They happened with the usual random chain of thoughts: starting with Friday coffee, and then because Friday is the day of Venus, the Venusians, and Shocking Blue. Perfectly logical, ha ha.

      I was grateful when the ending appeared in last minute fashion, glad you liked it.


  4. I agree with so many of your followers this fine day.
    The bottle and feather did stand out for me. We are sent on this trip with no seatbelts, for in your world we are encouraged to float about in the atmosphere, to become anything. Hugs to your creative mind ehehhe.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. What a clever idea to meet for coffee at a place other than Starbucks! After all, the Venusians are far too busy occupying all the Starbucks on Earth to bother with other coffee shops.
    I also wonder about the use of poetry and pot plants…

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s true, but I do worry about undercover Venusians. They can use their cloaking technology to look like anyone. We’ve probably met them and not even realized.

      Yes, I find it can be confusing. Put them in the sunlight, water them, and often all you have left is the little plastic tag with the name in Latin. And it’s much the same with pot plants.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. i enjoy how you incorporate brand names so seamlessly in your writing and make them a part of this new landscape we are living in. like drawing a new paradigm with words that conjur up instant images.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Gina. I think it happened because of the week I’d had, and yes, that and more is the new reality. I sometimes wish I could go back to before it all, but there have been so many benefits as well.


    • Will do, Jim. Reality’s always hanging around, whispering in your ear, “You have to be a me-ist, “That’s not me-istic.” Who cares?

      Shocking Blue just appeared with Venus thoughts, I’m glad they did.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Clarissa. It was time for Beowulf to make an appearance, I thought. 😃 I would never question his usefulness, like the protagonist, but I wanted the list to be broad. Sort of.


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