A childhood reconfigured, a child who could never be,
with cardboard carts of stones and stamps,
bundled with a string, with wooden wired
contrivances hidden from the world,
and yet the others whispered in his ears.

They told him of a place where wild basalt seas
crashed down upon the shattered mirror beaches,
and sleepless carriages fled the stations of existence.

In that land of co-located days and nights,
there was neither elevation nor revelation.
Beneath the inverse sky, everything
that might have been was broken.


I was in the shed, cordless drill in hand,
with drilling bit, a number nine.
I’d mounted shelves at a certain angles,
while my companion,
a stray chameleon canary,
made comment on my craftmanship,
the lack thereof.

She was currently a pastiche of sparrows
with a hazy cigarette, and I saw fit to warn her:

I suggest you don’t fly near the cesium,
or the other combustibles.

She exhaled a soulful middle C with a ring of smoke,
and pondered her existence.

If I merely follow truth, I will lose
my essence, my canaryness.

At that instant, I drilled into a power cable,
and, startled by a mild electrocution,
I descended with the sparking ladder
to the cesium, and the other combustibles.

Goodness gracious, I exclaimed to Her Canaryness,
who was fluttering near the ceiling,
I would never have imagined that.

Amidst explosions, electric arcs, and flames,
a doorway had appeared, leading to the other place,
and my younger self was standing there.

He did not speak, his eyes were sockets
filled with shattered tinted glass
(an expensive extra when you buy a car),
and all around a greyscale mist
morphed and curdled where it touched him.

The canary landed on my head.

Oh, you’re such a maudlin monotreme.
What are you waiting for?
Invite him in for tea and biscuits.

personal background

Occasional electrocutions; mistakes on ladders; slightly fiery experience with cesium, which ignites on contact with air and may not be transported on passenger aircraft. I’ve never drilled into a power cable. That would be silly.

amidst (part above) from VEE, the visual evolution engine.

22 thoughts on “reconciliation

    • My pleasure, I’m always glad that others can get something from my writing, and there is something in it for me too, especially pieces like this reflecting on childhood.

  1. i have been electrocuted a few times, mostly my silly mistakes, and once saw a yellow light. your second stanza is a mix of steampunk and a siren’s dreams, i so really love that one stanza, its a stand alone poem to me and no matter how many times i read it, the meaning shape shifts, in a good way, it holds goodness and malice up to the sun, which one will dry up first?

    • Yes, I’ve made a few mistakes as well being careless. With high voltage you don’t get a second chance, and I only came close once: I was about to attach a copper sheet to a large high-energy capacitor. I let it fall when it was just above and there was a massive arc because the capacitor was charged. I did learn from that. Apparently 😸.

      I was pleased with that stanza, thank you for singling it out, Gina. Yes, the light and dark, and the balance somewhere. In fact I wrote the first section (the three verses) and might have stopped, but I realised I wanted to move forward to adulthood and possible reconciliation.

    • Thank you, BG. Yes, kindness and hospitality are always a good starting point. I have a mixed relationship with cesium, but I did have some at home for quite a while (although I shouldn’t have), and that’s why it appeared here: a dash of reality. I try not to put too much reality in, otherwise my writing would not be believable. 😸

  2. I can see the shattered mirror beaches and the stray chameleon canary so clearly, but can’t find the mounted shelves you mention. 😉 I can hear the soulful middle C, which is soon drowned out by the power drill (glad you’ve never actually drilled into a power cable). Seeing a younger version of yourself with eye sockets filled with shattered tinted glass sounds like something straight out of a horror movie… yikes!

    • Glad to hear it, Magarisa. For myself, I don’t need poetry to visualise badly mounted shelves, I only have to look around me.

      I mentioned not drilling into power cables because it’s something I’m proud of, compared to the … er… the slightly less advisable things I might have done.

      With the younger self image, I suppose it’s about how one might see one’s childhood self. I’ll leave that a bit mysterious. Possibly.😸

  3. I disagree that the younger you is like something from a horror movie. There is a piercing beauty to the image of the eye sockets filled with shattered tinted glass. Interesting too because tinted glass is meant to alleviate impediments to vision. One can imagine a thousand images reflected.

    • Thank you, Margaret. Very true, and very possibly I was thinking along those kaleidoscopic lines. 😸 When there is ambiguity in real life, such as my own childhood, I want to reflect that. In any case, I think it’s always about what the reader imagines, that’s how it should be.

  4. “The canary landed on my head”…are you anticipating a problematic reconciliation? Such a great poem, I love it, especially “If I merely follow truth, I will losemy essence, my canaryness”.

    • Perhaps the canary has more of a clue than the protagonist. I suspect that reconciliation with our past selves might not be that easy for some people. Or maybe I’m just basing that on myself.

      With truth, I think that ultimately it is hard and cold and logical, and it has its limitations in determining our actions, for birds and people.

    • Thank you so much, Jim. Childhood itself is sometimes not beautiful. I was going to use Ramset, but I’m not really into being too concrete. 😸

  5. I’ve only read one post and I’m already in love with your poetic soul and your stream of consciousness writing. So beautiful. Thank you for putting your authentic self out there for us to celebrate.

    • I’m glad you enjoyed, and I appreciate the feedback. I think that every writer makes a decision about how far they will go with their personal story.

      I have to confess that I may have misplaced my authentic self somewhere. I’ve been looking for it, I’m sure it will turn up. I did find a half a Mars Bar behind a cushion on the sofa though. 😸

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