the night falls like fish

The wind drops violins, my ducks are misaligned,
and the day that you created is winding up
and winding down.
I’ve spread the margarine of time
across the bread and crossed it out.

I need no answers, Alícia,
to questions no-one asked.
Cakely words by Sara Lee
are baking in the oven
and I don’t know who’s to blame.

I’m going to clean my teeth and shave, Alícia,
start a company with unlimited impropriety
and crumpled business cards
with churlish words for you.

I can’t calculate you at all, Alícia,
with books of natural logarithms,
or hypergeometric series,
or Turing’s mechatronics.

And when I said
I’d pass my time with you,
that was just a typo.


I received your invoice for my life,
irrefutable memories and GST inclusive,
but I’ve spent my cash on spreadable toothpaste
and realistic origami herring.

My team of attorneys has failed me, Alícia,
and now they work pro bono on your defense.

I represent myself or someone else,
Your Honor. I’m at the mercy
of extemporaneous sanity.


On the Georges River headland,
you dance, you sing,
and the morning starts its engines.

I know that you call forth the day, Alícia,
but the night still falls like fish.


  • Sara Lee, trademark of Sara Lee International Trademark Holdings LLC
  • Turing machines 

artwork the night falls like fish (part above), evolved from clouds by VEE, the visual evolution engine.

46 thoughts on “alícia

    • Yes, definitely, Frank. I think the scenario adds to it, and probably influenced me when I wrote it. Apart from that, Ima gonna ride that lonesome train to Memphis with the blue moon shinin down.

    • I read somewhere that soon enough there will be driverless cars. In a good C&W song, the car will leave, as well as the dog, the horse and the partner with all the money.

    • Thanks Margaret. So much is more business than life these days, that was where the invoice came from. The first verse (with the margarine) appeared from I don’t know where at the last minute. 🙂

  1. Incredible images here, Steve. Alícia must have been some woman, making the speaker go through all that and more. “Margarine of time” sounds amazing… and maybe the ducks will get lined up eventually. There’s always something about nights falling… but like fish, now that’s something new.

    • Thanks, Annie. Alícia must have a few talents, bringing each day into being can’t be easy.

      With margarine time you have a choice: you can spread it thin and cover more ground.

      I don’t think it’s good for nights to arrive like that; it’s the overall impression I have of fish falling anyway.

      PS: we all hope to have our ducks in a row, but it happens very rarely. 🦆🦆🦆

    • Yes, I’d she’s a keeper.

      I don’t know about spreading margarine time thin – does that mean fewer layers of meaning in life?

      I love that nights fall, but I agree, I wouldn’t have them falling like fish. (New way of falling does not mean preferred.) 🙂

      Oh, and, that’s thing about ducks. Well heck, if they don’t get lined up, maybe the stars will. 🙂

    • I’ve think time (and life) gets thin when we don’t have enough and we’re in a hurry. If we don’t rush, it’s spread more thickly.

      With nights falling, it might just be a matter of perspective. When the sun sets in the west, the darkness and the night rise in the east.

      Well, according to Shakespeare, we have to sort ourselves out, i.e. forget about the stars or the ducks. 😸

    • I learn more and more each time I read your comments. They make me go back and re-read and re-think. Time getting thin when we’re in a hurry… such imagery. Thank you for your insights, Steve. 🙏🏼😊

  2. I just read the poem and frankly, I can’t find words to express what I felt when I read the poem.
    “I received your invoice for my life…”
    This poem is “heavy” and so very beautiful, Steve. May the nights always fall like fish…

    • I’m so glad that this piece had a resonance for you, Sobhana. I find some thoughts/feelings are difficult to put into words, I mostly go with a vague instinctive sense, I’m never sure, so it’s great to have feedback like yours.

    • Thanks Nikita. I agree, I think at least if we realize we’re doing it occasionally it’s not so bad. I tend to think that fantasy and scifi writers as a group are likely to know where reality lies, ie, recognize which is which.

  3. My time is made of butter, not margarine, but to each his/her own. 😉
    The typo excuse is incredibly useful for those who are fickle (I think we all are to a certain extent).

    • I’m fond of romance, Paul, and I think it has a special place in scifi/fantasy fiction, where it never really dies but keeps going as a revenant or a zombie or a heart in a Leyden jar struck by lightning.

  4. This one sings Steve, I’m reminded of an Irish song….”the violets are scenting the trees, Nora”….there is no mention of margarine in that song and it’s worse off for it! JIM

    • In the twenty-first century, we need margarine more than ever. As if spreadable butter can compete. It is a topic that has occupied my thoughts. Thank you, Jim.

  5. I agree with everything said, I mean, on this comment thread about another extraordinary work of yours, not in the history of humanity 🙂
    And that beginning is so very perfect.
    This really moved me. And I also love Sara Lee.

    • The first verse came to me while I was spreading margarine on my violin, or watering the fish, or conducting a survey to verify that nobody doesn’t like Sara Lee. It’s hard to tell with dreams, but I’m currently awake (*ouch* yep), and very grateful for your kind words, Vanessa.

    • Hmmm so you don’t have enough time to play the violin? Or you just suddenly got a little hungry? I honestly do prefer butter, but maybe margarine suits the violin of the times better? 😵🤷
      We know someone who works for Sara Lee, as one of their food engineers. Well, that was a long time ago, I have no idea if she is still with them. But when I met her I thanked her lol.
      You are very welcome, Steve

    • In my entire life, Vanessa, I have never found the time to play the violin.

      Everyone prefers butter, but margarine has feelings like any other spread. I give it my support as a form of encouragement.

      I don’t actually know much about Sara Lee products, although I’ve probably purchased them. I usually just look at the pictures on the package. Sadly this doesn’t work for fruit and vegetables, except in Japan where a rock melon, for example, conveniently comes in a box with a picture of a rock melon on it. Unless the box is filled with margarine for some inexplicable reason. 🐒

    • Does it? I have learned another new thing from you today. We have some margarine, I will be extra careful what I say around it.

      hahaha ah rock melon. In boxes. with pictures of rock melon. Your thought processes are fascinating.

  6. You have been busy since I last visited, which, I realize, is a stupid statement because that just means I haven’t visited. Mea culpa.

    I love this. Your phrasings are ones I imagine occur when we remove our censors and let the thoughts take action. I like the margarine and Sara Lee phrases, but I particularly like the stanza of:
    And when I said
    I’d pass my time with you,
    that was just a typo.

    That is cutting.

    How many people in a relationship’s ending feel that their life has been invoiced by their spouse? Well said.

    While this has the rhythm of a country song with the Alicia references at the end, it is obviously so much better, so much smarter, and just falls into a realm all its own. Excellent work! 🙂

    • Okay I’m less than a week behind. Not really tua culpa. I don’t want to brag (or maybe I do), but I am pleased that I managed to keep up the once a week over the end of year with all the festivities. And alcohol, currently Pinot Gris. Did I write that? I hope not.

      Thank you Sascha. This was a singleton amongst the various fantasy/sci-fi series I’ve been writing, I have a feeling that some of my truths, of which we shall not speak, have appeared. I really appreciate your comment about the realm of this work — I do love country music, but I am glad to hear that what is inside of me (apart from the Pinot Gris) is a bit different.

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