time and air


The air is curdled and afraid, stinging in my throat.
I fall asleep, return to fantasy that once was truth,
tumble to the world where Moorcock’s misplaced
timeships rest.

Their flickering uncertainty illuminates the overgrowing vines,
and they bleed their forlorn magic to the earth,
creating lesser mammals that frolic for a moment
in a second dawn.

Deija Thoris and the new Martian empire

She hears small curves, tight radii of curvature,
waiting in the morning darkness, seeking middling light.
She thinks it must be minor Martian birds
or starlings—their sharp songs have sliced the windy sky.

The recently Contessa is thoroughly dismayed.
Who has scuffed the air? It took so long to polish it.

(The atmosphere is frayed and torn, finely broken,
I have to say, without belief or concomitant forgiveness,
it’s been quite an exoskeletal day.

I’ll read about an ancient solar myth, and with the dawn’s
first chirps, we’ll leave this red and wretched planet,
invade another sorry place, swoop down
on them with crimson wings.

the faster sun

The faster sun once rose and fell, it drifted
over towns and fields, and through apartment towers,
where residents opened windows for its passage.

Some hung washing out to dry beside its path,
others forgot their time and place, bemused
before their windowpanes were melted:

Today’s slow Sunday will be yesterday,
and a faster Sunday,


Two Sundays (some detail above). Made by VEE, the visual evolution engine.


40 thoughts on “time and air

    • It wasn’t me, I promise. When I walk on air, I always take my shoes off. Not that it happens very often. And only in dreams. Fortunately dream shoes are always slip-ons. I was pleased with that versette. Thank you, Vanessa.

      Liked by 1 person

    • That’s not surprising, Vanessa. (No, not hobbit feet, recalling your shoes.) I don’t think you have the ability to look wherever you like in dreams because they are memory bits and pieces assembled into a story as you are waking up.

      On the other hand, I could be wrong. I haven’t looked at my shoes, but when I realise that I’m dreaming I seem to have some control over what I do next in the dream. That seems odd if it’s predetermined bits and pieces. Anyway, next time it happens I’m definitely going to check my feet. PS: thank you again.

      Liked by 1 person

    • So you are referring to lucid dreaming? I do that too, although not as much recently, come to think of it.
      I read a few years ago that that is something we do more in childhood, as our brains develop problem solving skills etc, but that it should lessen in adulthood… adults who do it often are likely to be stressed, apparently…
      Please keep me posted on the feet thing! 😁

      Liked by 1 person

    • Not sure if it’s lucid dreaming. I think the trick is remembering what you dream, because as you wake up you pass through stages of consciousness for which you don’t have memories. Often I try to bring dreams to mind immediately on waking up, consciously recall what happened, and in that case I can remember them later, write them down and pretend they are poetry. (Joke. Maybe.)

      I guess stress means lack of non-REM dreamless sleep and more dreaming REM sleep, but I have to admit I find the reverse, i.e., I have to be mindful to be able to recall my dreams.

      I will let you know about dream footwear if it happens.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I love this poem. It is one of your best. Scuffed the air? This is brilliant
    Crimson wings. A faster Sunday than yesterday and a faster Sunday tomorrow. How do you do it? How scintillating your poems are Steve. Are any of them published in a book that one can obtain?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad you like it, Margaret. I was pleased with the parts you mentioned: they just appeared, I don’t really know how. I kind of wait for it to happen (only posting once a fortnight helps) and I do have a notebook to jot things down.

      Although there is spontaneity, to be honest, there are thoughts running through. Two examples: the air quality here has been particularly bad on some days, and I suffer with allergies, as well as being very aware of global warming. And when I was young, Moorcock’s fantasy was a wonderful escape for me.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. i fell in love with your first line, air is as tangible as buttered toast on some days and then its impossibly light like candy floss on others so I totally get the curdled sourness you describe. like the air is retreating into itself. I taste your words Steve and these are fine and sculpted cubes and like mice we greedily nibble on its goodness.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Gina, and as always, such wonderfully worded and poetic commentary. With the air, yes. From my very early days with severe asthma, I have never taken breathing for granted: it is a curious and variable mixture of us and the world. Sometimes when I meditate I imagine the world around me breathing. The world exhales and the pressure of the atmosphere pushes air into my lungs; the world inhales and draws it back. Just thoughts …

      Liked by 2 people

    • that is an amazing and I am sure deeply comforting feeling to achieve when in meditation. I cannot sit still for that long but I feel the vibrations that are carried along the particles or waves in the air. scents, moisture and sometimes the briefest caress, yet it has the capability to crush us at different altitudes. no never take it for granted, i totally understand your past experience with asthma. thank you for sharing those thoughts, I learn to appreciate something old even better after our conversations.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Paul. I think we lose so much when we leave childhood, where fantasy is truth. Even if our memories are partly imagination, we can find bits of it again, albeit briefly, if we’re lucky.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. There are so many beautiful images in this, Steve. “…and they bleed their forlorn magic to the earth” is one of my favorites. The opening stanza and The Faster Sun are especially poignant. “…return to fantasy that once was truth” is exquisitely lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad you enjoyed, BG. I have to admit that sometimes I feel like a wind-up mechanical writer. I keep coming back over and over to the subjects that fascinate me. Still, I try to disguise them a bit, and the writing is a pleasure.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Magarisa. You could be right, I wouldn’t put anything past those Martian birds. I picture them as more like giant pterodactyls than the usual varieties here, and I suspect that Deija has regiments of them in preparation for her invasion of the earth. They probably don’t even take their boots off when they fly.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I always learn so much from your writings aside from the sheer enjoyment of your placement and selection of words. I’m familiar with Moorcock through the Horror genre but had no idea he wrote a few songs for one of my favorite bands, Blue Oyster Cult. Thanks for all you contribute, Steve!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I enjoyed the somnolent atmosphere in this piece. Lots of great lines, one of my favourites is:-
    “I have to say, without belief or concomitant forgiveness,
    it’s been quite an exoskeletal day.”
    The final stanza, the Faster Sun reminds me of a Leonard Cohen poem.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Nikita. Many belief systems feature some kind of forgiveness. I think that, with ordinary human forgiveness, self and others, we can emerge from our shells and make our days a little less exoskeletal.

      I used to be a Leonard Cohen fan (that was quite a while ago) although I admit I haven’t read much of his poetry. I’ll put it on my list.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Steve, yes I agree but forgiveness is difficult to master. Revenge and bitterness are easier paths but lead nowhere ultimately. Leonard Cohen was one of my main influences as a teenager. The poem I’m thinking of begins “In almond trees, lemon trees/wind and sun do as they please./ Butterflies and laundry flutter/ my love has hair as blonde as butter…”

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I have some dreams so vivid I will remember each detail as I wake up. So, like you, on the good ones, I keep a pad by my bed and upon waking, write it all down because as the day progresses, I tend to let details fall from my memory. Thank you. That was a strong one!

    Liked by 1 person

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