Crossroads on the valley floor, a sign,
a part-time river colored laundry blue,
and by the water in a town, the air is scented
with hot absence, molecules in chaos
ignoring windward motion.

The parkland’s plaque is dull, I make it shine,
reflect the woken world with Brasso,
and polish out its words:

You wonder why you’re still asleep.
Your other wonders why he’s still awake.

My presence in this place is unrequited,
and yet I may not leave.
No one seen or known, neither heard nor touched,
but I sense other sleepers,
trapped inside the same and silent questions.
You me. I do will. Never, ever.

I seek connections to unknow my meaning,
grasp ephemeral sephine strands
that dangle listless from the trees.


From the pebbles on the shore, flashes in my eyes
skim the tainted blue, mementoes of the dreams
that I once lived.

Must I cross the river,
its insubstantial demarcation,
to leave this tedious town?
And must those silver echoes
darting in its flows
cross a bridge of sand?


In the café of the ambiguous sun,
I help myself to signage on the wall.

free to read
soy milk extra fifty cents
double shot extra fifty cents

dreaming has two exits:
—awake from sleep
—fall deeper into dreamlessness

living has two exits:
—sephine whispers in the inverse world
—the fire of the dawn


Brasso is a trademark of Reckitt Benckiser LLC.

More shameless recycling of Milton Nascimento’s Vendedor de Sonhos/Dream Sellerversion by Simone. Vendedor has woven through much of my writing, for example, a short story of the same name, and poetry the air chirped by sparrows.

Most likely only dreams prior to waking will be remembered, ie, not dreams prior to non-REM (deeper) sleep. More about dreams and fish here.

Sephine—quoting an earlier and optimistic version of myself, from the scifi story “The Meeting of the Waters”:

In the early 21st century, so-called cold entropy horizons were produced in the laboratory without the need for the high temperatures of nuclear fission. The most successful techniques used selenium organophosphine complexes, the sephines.


three tomatoes (part above). I tried to grow three tomato plants, organically with no pesticides or fertilizer. Not as successful as I’d hoped, but there might be a couple of grapes on the central plant, which also has one of the original seed tomatoes superimposed.

Made by VEE, the visual evolution engine, with EMMA, an entropy min-max add-on.

36 thoughts on “exits

    • I think that’s a good choice, Frank. I had this piece written except for that final option. I tried thinking logically, nothing was right. Luckily, when I was making a sandwich, my lazy subconscious did some work and told me what it was.

    • Thank you, Sascha. Where I live on the coast, we’re going through a hot summer. The scene is part dream and part memory (dreams are made of memories anyway) of inland towns, the ambience of those towns, where it’s even hotter.

    • I didn’t know that. My niece (who has come here from Chile) noticed a snake curled along the curtain rail while she was in the shower. She handled it quite well actually: modest screaming.

  1. i was floating in the air of make believe, the vapours of discontent polished by Brasso revealing that this was only temporary, your words leave an impact Steve, looking beyond the ordinary and seeing how far we can stretch ourselves.

    • I’m glad that you could float in that place, Gina. Thank you for your insightful comment, and yes, it is always what I wonder: how far can we go? In thoughts, in words, in visions. So much may be found by benign accident that I’m happy to wander, to stumble around.

  2. You can’t see it, but I put a tick mark against each of the options for dreaming and living on the café wall. Soy milk does cost extra, everywhere – but it’s easier on my stomach. I love this piece.

    • Why shouldn’t you have it all, Annie? I say go for it.

      I used to have soy milk all the time: with a work colleague at the local coffee shop, we were the soy boys. But I’ve kind of gone off it at present. As with everything else, I’ll no doubt come back to it.

    • “Soy boys” – it has a nice ring to it. Well, maybe I will tick them all off, Steve! Thank you for the encouragement 🙂

  3. “I seek connections to unknow my meaning”…Such a rich tapestry of feelings, emotions, dreams and so much more. This poem is deep, very deep and I love it, Steve.

    • Thank you for your kind words, Sobhana. A tapestry—like a mosaic, that was more or less how I was feeling when I wrote this piece. Sometimes I find that reality seems strange, and what is imaginary seems too real. I don’t know what that means.

  4. oh my gosh, I so love the tomato on your artwork. That made my day.
    So I finally got around to listening to the song and reading some kind of translation…now I understand your comment on my post.
    So my tomato chuckling aside, this post was very moving Steve. I agree with the above comment, once again, such a rich tapestry!

    • Perhaps I should have superimposed all three of the original tomatoes. So incongruous, but the entire artwork evolved from the tomatoes, and I may try different kinds of fruit next. Why am I doing this? I have no idea. As with everything else, it’s a mistério.

      Vendedor — great. The translations are terrible, but it’s good for me because no-one can tell how much I’ve actually copied. 😸 Thank you, Vanessa.

    • haha I ask myself that every time I go to write something … why am I doing this? I really have no idea. But it’s fun. Mostly. Therapeutic I guess. Maybe it’s more accurate that I ask myself, what the heck was that? 🙂

      Your posts are so enjoyable I hope you never change whatever it is that you don’t know you are doing.

      And you are very welcome.

    • I agree, Vanessa, all those things, and with the therapeutic, it can help you to understand yourself, if you can decipher it. I had a particular case of that a long time ago when I was writing short fiction and not sending much to publishers. I had written something in several stories, and with a little counselling help, it was like a light bulb coming on.

      I am hoping that one day I will actually know what I’m doing. I was going to say how much I enjoy your comments, but I’d better not, because it might create some sort of a feedback loop,

    • That is really interesting, Steve, about what the counselling in your past helped you figure out.

      I wonder about that. If I actually knew what I was doing, would I enjoy it as much? I do get concerned about my communication skills though, sometimes I can be so truly ditzy, I only see how i have completely misunderstood someone well after the fact.

      And thank you for the compliment that you didn’t say. And I won’t say, likewise.

    • I think your communication skills are absolutely fine, Vanessa. As soon as you talk about anything complex and/or poetic, there are so many possible interpretations.

      And it’s so easy to misunderstand people, especially with different language backgrounds. So many times that has happened to me, both ways, and I appreciate that I can be hard to understand. 😜 Now I try to take my time, clarify meaning somehow.

      Admittedly, I don’t know how you are writing instructions for a bit of equipment, I’ve done it and I’m terrible, boooring.

      Working backwards in your comment, the thing is that once I knew consciously what was going on, that particular event receded in my writing all by itself. So I never have known what I was doing as I wrote stuff.

      Admittedly, I have inklings, some understanding, and sometimes I realize more later, even from comments. Weird, isn’t it? Maybe you do as well.

    • Thank you Steve! I have been having some issues lately, so I have been really analysing it.
      And just moving to the States, I figured out how differently our cultures communicate.

      It has been a very long time since I have written instructions for a bit of equipment…I am thinking it was when I was working in a preschool in Colorado lol in which case, it wasn’t written.

      And yes, I relate so much to that last part. I find that is true in my every day life…and I am forgetting what I am in the middle of doing as well…
      yes, I find that other comments can be immensely helpful. Perhaps there are just too many synapses firing at once Steve 😁

    • I suppose being easily distracted, even by your own thoughts, is not such a bad thing. Your subconscious does a lot of the work anyway, more than we give it credit for. (Mine just wrote that, it’s so needy.)

    • Thanks, Randy, glad you enjoyed. In the other sense of temperature, it kind of came about because it’s been so hot here: one consequence is not sleeping well and dreaming, which in a way is a positive because it helps with writing. If you’re not too tired to write, haha.

  5. Intriguing as always. I’m still pondering this: “I seek connections to unknow my meaning.” Once you know something, is it possible to unknow it? Does death wipe our slates clean?

    • A very good question, Magarisa. I see “unknowing” as neither forgetting nor coming to disbelieve. We attach opinions to our memories, we are no longer innocent and we “know” about people. In the end, I don’t think we can completely retrieve the innocence, but perhaps with new experiences, with new connections, we can come to unknow some of what we think we know about others and ourselves. That’s what I hope anyway.

      As for the second question, I will have to get back to you after I die. 😸

  6. It’s closing in on a dreamless 4am here in my part of the world, with a light rain outside my window. An excellent time to read this piece. The words are very poignant. I love the tomato on the horizon. That bright red slice of life against the dark turquoise miasma says a lot.

    • Thanks, BG, I can see the connection. We’ve had some really hot nights, hard to sleep even with a fan, and that was when I wrote a lot of this piece. Strange things happen at night.

      Glad you liked the tomato. It’s good to keep a hold on reality I think. I’m someone who needs to do that, so I’ve been told, and the art and poetry actually help.

  7. Love this Steve, there is a longing in it, I was going to say existential longing but I am never quite sure what that means, there is nothing like baking a poem with ingredients available in your local supermarket…Brasso, something to make laundry blue, soy milk….as always your language, imagery and humour astound me…in particular those molecules in chaos and the cafe of the ambiguous sun!

    • Thank you for the kind words, Jim.

      Me either, although I randomly blame quite a bit on existential angst.

      I suspect the longing comes from the memory of places I visited when the children were young, when we were on holidays and travelling in the bush. That’s in there.

      I suppose it’s a bit incongruous with all the every day stuff, but that’s my life and that’s just how it comes out. I’m not too good with, “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day.”

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