the speed of dust

Through windows within windows,
made of pixels, made of glass,
made of minds and made of paper,
everyone was searching at the speed of dust,
to ease the burden at their core.

Wishes within wishes, all queued up at dusk,
some saw walls and mazes,
and some were lost inside themselves,
bound to never find another,
and never by another, to be found.

Those whose mind waves swept them out to sea,
where only lighthouse hopes remain,
were left alone and longing,
while all around, unfathomed
mysteries came and went.

Explain to me, you explainers, I am waiting.

I’d burn a hundred candle flowers,
sprinkle tinsel on my beach-bleached bones,
shred my clichéd thoughts to scatterings of confetti,
forgo the fantasias of the phonograph
as they glide beneath the sharpened thorn,

if you’d teach me to forget.

Doctor Petal admired the varnish on her nails.
Every living thing was created from an incantation.
I made a list, but I’ve misplaced it.

She removed the cushions from the sofa,
and found a single crumpled page.

Ah, the incantations for the candle plants,
and me.

I could see that Doctor Petal was gathering
her belongings, and I ruled a line beneath
my writing.

You’re leaving me, I know that,
and I deserve it. I’m a stereotype,
my meritless self-absorption.

Yes I am, and yes, you do, she replied
with little tact, The invisible is calling me,
but I’ll gift you a remembrance.

She read aloud from her page of incantations,
and a second Doctor Petal materialised,
along with several candle plants.


  • Doctor Petal, who has travelled across time, appeared here.
  • Arvo Part, Spiegel im Spiegel (1978) youtube
  • When the flowers of candle plants burn, the upward thermals scatter their parachute seeds. Fire lilies, described here, are one species.

Some still images from the video Diurnal Prelude, a collaborative work in progress with photoluminescent photographer Paul Sutton (insta). Made with VEE, the visual evolution engine.

12 thoughts on “the speed of dust

  1. Maryska doll layering of intention and doubt, within and upon, an incantation, the mere wish and truth becomes flesh and bone, I see so much of my life’s pattern here, the routine and sequencing, there must be some sense to the moderation or is it just mediocrity? I like the unique repetition in your lines, gives the story and poetry a fullness, ripe and rich.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for those kind words, Gina. I have no answer to your question about sense (apart from blind evolution). But I guess that when I see life as mediocre or worse, it usually doesn’t last too long these days.

      In the past, when I tried to be like others, and enjoy what I “should” enjoy, I wasn’t at all happy. Perhaps what I write now is a reflection of me accepting myself, as well as mirroring the way I now see “ordinary” living.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I am glad you dance to the beat of your own drum, I am tone deaf but I like how my life beats sound, cheers to all the amazing “ordinary” people such as yourself in my world!

        p/s: its ok about the answers to questions, I still vex my poor old Mum!


  2. I love the repetitive structure and imagery of the incantation. Beautiful and poignant. My favourite part is:-
    I’d burn a hundred candle flowers,
    sprinkle tinsel on my beach-bleached bones,
    shred my clichéd thoughts to scatterings of confetti,
    forgo the fantasias of the phonograph…..

    And I’m delighted there is now a second Dr Petal!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Nikita. Glad you liked the offerings. People will do all sorts of things if they believe their wish will be granted. The ones I chose are unlikely to be adequate, although abstaining from the phonograph is pretty impressive.

      I have a soft spot for the straightforward Doctor Petal (and her clone). I’m hoping she’ll put in another appearance when the time is right.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. So wonderfully unique! true poetry! Your language has a sharp strangeness, not seen anywhere. I know you said you want to avoid clichés and you absolutely succeed in this every time. Congratulations Steve!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your generous comments, Margaret; I love the idea of a “sharp strangeness.” I should mention that, unfortunately, I am going to have to cut WordPress back to once every 3 weeks. I really enjoy doing it, but I just can’t find the time.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, the longing for meaning and understanding, and the absurdity of existence with repetitions within repetitions! I suppose the second Doctor Petal feels just as “real” as the first Doctor Petal. Every clone feels like the original.


    • For me, that is life, Magarisa: one longs for meaning, for newness, and one finds naught but repetition. On the other hand, I am quite sure that the original of me is on a spaceship somewhere beyond Orion’s Belt, travelling to distant worlds and leaving clones behind. 🛸


  5. Some might scoff at the idea of “at the speed of dust”, but when you see how quickly a layer of dust begins to reappear you have to concede something is happening.


  6. There are echoes in here of “Windmills of your Mind” …..”like a circle in a spiral, a wheel within in a wheel”
    “as they glide beneath the sharpened thorn” is brilliant…this is one to read and read, there is always something hinted at in your poems, Steve, and that is what makes them so fascinating…allusions and grandeur! JIM


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