life as we know it 6


Port Botany

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.

In the end, I traveled on, tomatoless,
waiting at the Don’t Walk signs,
while all around me, molecules collided,
each one evincing miniscule importance
and discussing pasta sauce.

In this strange realm, where hours passed
in hourly succession,
I feared that my beloved Port Botany
might never have come to be.

But as the gods of impatient narrative
would have it, I turned a corner
and there I was, sleepless by the Bay.


I had no expectations, so nothing was as I expected.

A plasticized Sargasso, poly this and poly that,
was floating on the waves, more wrapping
than commodities, and on the shore,
a treasure trove, a high-tide supermart
with no-one at the checkouts.

I drank my fill of fizzy drinks,
and gathered spindrift bubble wrap
to shape a modest sofa bed.

While I wondered whether I might find
a television, the gentle ebb and flow of flotsam,
with punctuation from the popping of the bubbles,
lulled and soothed me;
I sent my blessings to the Kraken,
and fell asleep at last.


I awoke to a geometric dawn,
with sunlight slanting from a cubic sky,
flashing on the bubble wrap to send
three flickering visions.

Esperanto symbols, assemblages
debating Babel’s high rise,
permuting all our hopes.

Leonardo, his equations in a dusty
shaving mirror—we look towards the sky
and only see ourselves.

Polished rice grains whirling,
a stain upon the earth, rice becoming
organisms, a multicellular plague.

The meaning was quite subtle,
but I grasped it in an instant.
I would meet a foreigner named Leo,
bearded long and gray,
and he would offer me a bowl of rice.

I don’t think so.

to continue


prepackaged, part above.

43 thoughts on “life as we know it 6

  1. I really like this poem. I haven’t read part one yet, but this one grabbed my attention and did not let go. If you don’t mind, I would like to reblog this on my poetry corner. I hope my followers will come back and read more good works such as this.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on kgbethlehem and commented:
    Good evening everyone and welcome to another Friday Night Poetry Corner. This week, the week of all weeks, this joint by Steve Simpson called “Port Botany-life as we know it” is a beautiful, word mastery poem. Please when you guys and gals have time, please visit this blog (inconstant light) and read more good works.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. i love the image of a geometric dawn from a cubic sky, i imagine the colours taking turns to come through the slats, 7 rainbow colours out of even numbered facets. your vision of Leo takes me to a world of reincarnation and claiming the bodies we can continue our good works left unfinished. an afternoon well spent reading this under the equatorial sun.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad you enjoyed, Gina. That’s a striking image, like a magical ever-changing stained-glass sky. For me, it really is fantasy right now, in the middle of a cold winter. Reincarnation is a fascinating topic, so many possibilities.

      Liked by 1 person

      • stained glass sky is super cool! that was a little like what i imagined except i had visions of reflective mirrors enhancing the colours. you really fuel the imagination with your words Steve, I do like visiting them.

        I had this notion that I was in another life a Viking Shield maiden, my mum chided me, “girls imagine being princesses but not you!”

        i like the thought that souls can come back and complete what they haven’t finished, but there must be a way to remember the past life, maybe there’s a dormant DNA protein we can activate to do that, a hidden one yet to be discovered? yes it is a fascinating subject.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thank you, Viking Gina. In Buddhism, that is always a tricky point, when they talk about karma carried from one life to another. If we did have memories of other lives, I think it would be best not to remember too much, maybe as some Buddhists believe, just in dreams. Starting life with a blank slate, with infinite possibilities, is a wonderful thing.

          Liked by 1 person

        • I am not sure about that concept and doctrine about dreams and a clean slate, i respect Buddhism but prefer a more scientific approach, just my need for qualifying data I suppose. there’s a lot of my past i don’t like but also parts I treasure and don’t ever want to forget. Karma is tricky I agree, I don’t believe we should be defined by our actions, we should be allowed mistakes, like life is an experiment, it’s who we fundamentally are that’s more defining. Oh well, it’s too early on a Sunday for me and I need coffee and a run, looking for a zen moment among the hills. have a lovely Sunday Steve! i enjoy sharing these comments, you give me lots of food for thought!

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: life as we know it 6 — inconstant light | Fantasy Gift Sources: Book Reviews, Article Resources, News

  5. Steve, I feel such pathos for this traveler fashioning himself a modest bed of bubble wrap and finally falling asleep. I esp like, “I had no expectations so nothing was as I expected.” It’s like a koan, or riddle. I try to figure it out, like the traveler– think I get it–but then comes the “I don’t think so,” and I finally surrender to just absorbing it. Lovely.

    Liked by 2 people

    • There’s a movie about the development of home computers called “The Commodore Story” where one (real-life) character actually slept in bubble wrap at work. I was impressed and borrowed that idea.

      Thanks for mentioning that line. Language is strange, and I think in this case, it means close to the reverse of what logic would dictate. For example, I wake up in the morning with no expectations for the day, meaning it will be dull and ordinary, even slightly unpleasant. Thank you again, BG.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve been a bit absent lately, busy with work.
    Still banging out some odd gems, which I am glad to see.
    Funny you mention therapy with Medusa, Jordan Peterson mentions the myth in his Personality lectures, that she stands for the actions we take when we come across a threat, to freeze in our tracks like stone. I like that logic of mythos type stuff. I can’t conceive of her doing a great job though, I suppose she’d have to provide either sunglasses, or some sort of headgear at the reception before going in to see her, otherwise…*poof*, stone.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Daniel. All good, I’m getting a bit random with WP and struggling to keep up myself. Interesting interpretation of Ms Medusa. I suppose it’s all in the eye of the beholder. I’ve always imagined it as a kind of mesmerism because of the snakes, and because of Medusa being drop-dead (or turn-to-stone) gorgeous according to an alternate version of the myth.


  7. If I were the pilgrim, I would be thanking ‘the gods of impatient narrative’ for bringing me to the Bay at long last. 🙂 I do find popping bubble wrap to be rather therapeutic, but I’ve yet to be lulled to sleep by it. Hopefully, Leo will offer him espresso and spaghetti instead of a bowl of rice.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. “I had no expectations so nothing was as I expected.” Need to practice the art of having no expectations. Life as we know it has taught us that what begins, often ends….hope there is a 7 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think it’s a Buddhist thing, like impermanence, everything that begins, ends. Without being unduly pessimistic, I imagine there will be a 7 before the sun turns to a red giant star and consumes the earth in its fires.


  9. Sargasso Sea so magical to me. But now I picture plastic trash entangled in the seaweed and although you probably did not mean it that way, an urge for eco-terrorism arose but I calmed myself down 😀 On a brighter note, I do love popping bubbles and surprisingly, my Rottweiler does also. He practically rips the Amazon packages out of my hand in order to get his fix. Anyway, as always, love your words and art!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Clarissa. If you want to be an eco-terrorist, I won’t argue. 😄 Interesting that it’s not just people with bubble wrap … but I hope your goods don’t wind up with tooth marks. I have to admit I’m curious– I want to bite some myself now to see what it’s like.


  10. Oh My,
    “A plasticized Sargasso, poly this and poly that,
    was floating on the waves, more wrapping
    than commodities, and on the shore,
    a treasure trove, a high-tide supermart
    with no-one at the checkouts.”

    this made me feel so sad. I have seen so many images of the waste that ends up in the ocean.
    On a happier note: your popping plactic wrap bubbles oh my is that not the best meditation ever!. Ithink they should have a roll for doctors offices, mind you its not as much fun to listen to as popping hehehe.
    I have to compliment you on this Steve:

    Sunlight slanting from a cubic sky. I think this is one of the best lines I have read anywhere this year. I love it. It shoots so many images into my head. If only I could paint that well.

    Carry on my friend! you are exceeding yourself

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, and I wonder how much stuff gets dumped, either deliberately or accidentally and we never hear about it. This piece started because of an accident with shipping containers that happened near the coast here, so we knew about it.

      The popping is definitely addictive, although I really don’t know why. Thank you, Tamaya, glad you liked that line. Our eyes and our brain are fantastic processes of images; we can even detect the polarization of skylight in the right circumstances, and sometimes see unusual things (I do anyway). Also, you can paint that well and better. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • And thank you again, Sascha. I do think a grounding in intermediate quantum mechanics is useful. I’m not sure what for though. 🐒 Apart from that, I’m a bit baffled. If you’re planning to make highly literary allusions I can guarantee I won’t understand. I’m trying to be human (mostly failing), I think that’s what poetry is about. PS: the other page has vanished in the ether …

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Pingback: The Daily Jolt Names the Day (plus a haiku about law enforcement) | Stopdraggingthepanda

  12. I need to comeback, it’s too late right now, but geez you make me laugh. I should probably ponder some of your philosophical points more, but I really do appreciate the belly laughs you so generously provide 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Definitely. I recommend serious philosophical study. If you find anything that makes sense, please let me know, and I’ll correct it. 😸 And I must definitely stop laughing at my own silly comments. Thanks, Vanessa.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Nuts, started writing a comment and lost it…one day I will stumble across a rather huge cyber pile of things I have “lost”…
        But I was saying that I was pretty much chuckling from the intro on, and hten when I hit, “In this strange realm, where hours passed in hourly succession”, I kind of lost it. I seem to be good at losing things. But that was in a good way!

        As for the philosophy, I will do my best lol. But I count on not finding things that make sense, Steve, I just assumed that was me not being smart enough to get it. Thanks for humouring me haha

        Liked by 1 person

        • Pretty sure I lost myself somewhere on the internet. Glad you noticed that, it is the kind of brilliant philosophical insight I’m proud of. 🐒 I think somewhere or other I talked about not making sense, and the key argument was that life makes no sense, so why should writing? Any time, Vanessa. 😜

          Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.