life as we know it 7


where the dream fish leap

A traveler seeking enlightenment has finally reached his destination: Port Botany. Part one is here.

Port Botany was a failure:
answers, answers, everywhere,
to questions no-one asked
and not a drop of coffee.

The voice inside my head was silent now,
my ambition was ambitionless,
and my quest would lie forgotten
in my diary if I had one.

The only way was backwards
to the factory life I knew before,
where conveyor belts were running still,
transporting woven sunlight into night.
Where once again, I’d sweep the floors
and gather up the broken threads,
wind those threads on spools,
and pack the spools in boxes,
to be recycled into shadows.

And if I met my double asleep, inside a rubbish skip
(the other me of this alternate earth),
surely he would greet me warmly,
and willingly share his life.

But firstly, I would bathe,
test the bubbling waters of the bay,
float with household cleansers
and unexpected chemicals.


When I emerged, refreshingly pine-scented,
I discovered I was not alone—
an unearthly being was sunning on the shore.

Her halcyon wings were shaded
with the evening and the dawn,
and entwined electric eels
were flashing in her hair.

She seemed familiar, a medley
of my earlier encounters,
and I ventured a casual hello.

She replied with eyes averted.

We might converse, I might confide
a secret of the universe or two,
but for the love of Zeus and Hera,
please put on your clothes.

My chance at last, I thought, as I dressed myself
in swathes of bubble wrap,
I will choose my questions wisely.

On windy days, my less important parts
are blown away. I’ve wondered
what is holding me together.
Am I knitted? Am I glued?
Or like water, hydrogen bonded?
Also, fish, my quest, and infinity.

You’re made of words inside your mind,
bound together by conjunctions.
Nearby, the dream fish leap,
your bleeding anodyne.

The absolute may not be reached by mortals.
To understand the end of living as you know it,
you must grasp your own beginning.

Her attendant eels shaped flashing
constellations in her hair,
the ever-changing symbols from my visions,
now become a mystery.

I’ll tell you more, the long dream
will be yours, but just before forever,
we’ll dance upon the shore of meaningless reality.

Her record player was powered by the eels.

… really … a coffee shop … no idea … the Ramones … what … 


riders in pale cars (part above). The illustrated mind: this image is a mathematical visualization of EEG data.

45 thoughts on “life as we know it 7

  1. I’m smiling at the demure Goddess averting her eyes at the traveler’s nakedness. tee hee. The protagonist is bumblingly endearing don’t you think? So comically serious in his quest. Love this line: To understand the end of living as you know it, you must grasp your own beginning. And then that ending…

    Liked by 3 people

    • I think it depends on where your images of Greek goddesses come from. If paintings up to the nineteenth century are accurate, they have no body hair and preserve their modesty with wispy bits of fabric. 🙂 So yes, demure.

      Maybe the protagonist got off lightly, although not through anything he did himself, and he might have something of a future. That line, more or less, was where I started seven weeks ago when I named the series. Took a while to get there. Thank you, BG.


      • Actually, anyone with electric eels in her hair doesn’t strike me as demure, maybe she preferred not to look at anything less than a Greek God’s body! The protagonist may have been lacking in muscle tone. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

        • You’re absolutely right, BG, I forgot about the eels. Although he smelled like pine, he was hungry enough to eat paper, and I’m guessing he didn’t wax either. Not up to deity standards. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

    • One does not, Sascha. Admittedly it was worse for the ancient mariner: in the verse I “borrowed,” he had no fresh water. I’m hoping they went somewhere afterwards and got coffee, although I can’t really see them getting served anywhere. Most likely they’d be told to leave.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Nikita. Glad you like the colors, A bit daring I think, but I have nothing against those shades. I’m pleased as well that it came across in a positive way, which was what I felt, but I’m never sure.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. How do you do it? Every one a gem, each one better than the last. I so much enjoyed this invigorating experience. Thank you Steve. Glad I made you laugh. I think my father would laugh to see me struggling over his dictionary which he constantly nagged me to consult when I was the child who always had her nose in a book and kept asking “What does that mean?”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you and glad you enjoyed the experience, Margaret. I don’t want to reveal all my writing secrets, but there are five important steps for me: have a coffee, start typing, more coffee, stop typing, and more coffee. Sometimes there is an additional step. With coffee.

      Reading is not a bad thing to do when you’re young. I read a lot too, even some very old books of my father’s that were beyond my age. They were set in English public schools and were all about cricket and honor. It was another world, and I kept waiting for it to happen to me but it never did.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Glad to hear that, I was trying to vaguely roll together all the previous characters: Altitude, Azimuth, Alcione and Medusa. I’m also hoping for the best with the protagonist, think he’s been punished enough. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. so much fun!
    A buffet of words and images. Starting with:
    “Her halcyon wings were shaded
    with the evening and the dawn,
    and entwined electric eels What an image wow.
    were flashing in her hair.” haahahah how did you think this up?

    Or ” am in knitted or am I glued” 🙂 ” and your fascination with swathes o bubble wrap.

    I can’t leave without saying,

    ” for the love of Zues and Hera please put your clothes on.

    Does this just flow out of you or do you have to work at it Steve?
    You have entertained us again. Bravo 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Tamaya. I love your words of appreciation.

      With this final meeting, I decided to put someone together as a pastiche of the previous known mythical characters that appeared in the series. It seemed to make sense. To me, at least. 🙂

      The way the words appear is either it flows or it doesn’t, and there is nothing in between. I wait for that to happen through the week at some time, night or day. I need some space and equanimity, but I can’t make the flow happen. One curiosity is that there seems to be a rule of opposites. If my life is a little dark, then my writing will be light, and conversely. I would really like to get ahead by a week or two, and have some leeway, but I haven’t managed it yet. Thank you again, Tamaya.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Your poetry is a joy for me to read Steve. It’s not simple, I always, well almost always have to read it two to three times. There are often layers or subtext even at least it feels to me anyway :). I know what you mean about the flow. That is very interesting, what you say about the rule of opposites. I wish mine would work that way ahahh.
        I have been binge watching an Austrailian series on netflix called Offspring, I think I see quite a bit of myself in the main character. So i am drawing more than writing these days, also its still hot and my writing seems to flow better when it rains. Why is that I wonder?
        Personally, I like the thought that what you write comes fairly close to where your head is at.
        Reading your poems are like taking mini mental holidays Steve ehehhe Thank you.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thanks again, Tamaya. I think our minds, (everyone) work differently. Especially the subconscious. I’m happy to let my subconscious do the writing, as long as it’s not instructions for a nuclear reactor or similar 🙂. Haven’t seen that series, in fact I pretty much don’t watch any Australian shows for various reasons.

          I guess it’s not only that the weather has a big effect on us, but there is a baseline for each season and then a change from that has another effect. Still waiting for rain here, and winter has turned into spring a month early.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Poor Botany Bay – it’s not really full of unexpected chemicals (is it?). Had to laugh at emerging from a dip ‘refreshingly pine-scented’. Thanks also for halcyon days, – and the Ramones image – right at the end – choice.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t really know about Botany Bay, but I am pessimistic. Maybe okay if the sediment is not disturbed. The upper reaches of Georges River are definitely a nightmare. I have the odd photograph of dying fish swimming upside down. Glad you enjoyed, Peter. We all love the Ramones.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Ha ha, thanks Clarissa. I’m currently enjoying a coffee overdose as I play catch up. The Ramones made every cover their own, we all love them and we all have our faves. They seemed to fit with coffee right at the end.


  5. a little sad the journey came to an end, maybe another one begins in a different dimension. A sense of reasoning and enlightenment permeates your lines Steve. I felt a sigh pass through travel weary lips.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Silent applause!
    That was wonderful, for all of the aforesaid reasons!
    (Just for the record, no pun intended, my thoughts went straight to ‘I wanna be sedated’).

    Today I saw a poster in a bakery/cafe that was a Turkish proverb: (I paraphrase and apologise because of it,) but I think it said something like:
    Coffee must be as black as hell, as strong as death, and as sweet as love.

    Thank you, for your enchantingly mind bending posts!! And your beautiful/intriguing visual art!

    Liked by 1 person

    • A silent bow, Vanessa. Now someone is throwing silent fruit and someone else is silently dragging me off the stage.

      It’s interesting, everyone has a different favorite. Actually, it’s to be expected I guess. I like Rockaway Beach. Now I want another coffee, but it’s too late for caffeine. Or is it? A mystery.

      My pleasure times two. I fear I may have bent my own mind a little too much, but as long as I have a vague idea about reality, I’m happy. Right, wood ducks?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Honestly, I am not sure what my favourite is. This was just the one that popped up after reading the piece 🙂

        Hmmm so it’s not the ducks throwing the fruit?
        I have so many questions now about reality and mind bending and vagueness and is it the chicken and the egg deal etc? 😁

        (Oh that is a good question about coffee…)

        Liked by 1 person

        • I have another question: why do I continue to miss comments? The wood ducks have a simple explanation which I will not repeat. Taking your questions in random order, Vanessa, the answers are (a) The square of the hypotenuse, (b) For medicinal purposes only, (c) Because the sky is blue, (d) So that’s what the big red button was for, (e) Genetic mutation means that, long ago, a creature that was not a chicken laid an egg that hatched a chicken, but that chicken was very lonely. I feel sorry for that poor chicken.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Wow, now there’s something I haven’t thought of in ages…what Gilbert and Sullivan musical was that…Pirates of Penzance? Thank you for filling my head with the modern major general’s song. 😀
          Oh, I would try to feel sorry for the chicken but I was just saying a little while ago to someone else, how I am not a particular fan of chickens. Unless I am eating one.

          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.