darklight 3: in the rational rain

Previously on Darklight: a traveller on his way to the moon to find Selena had a bit of a scare. Fortunately, the ibid bird arrived and explained away all his problems. Now he’s back on track. The first episode is here.

In a notional breeze of sleepy air and light bulbs,
the sailing carriage rocked and swayed.
The ibid bird was cooing, roosting in my hair,
and lulled by trickling traces of minds
that once were mine, I awoke
or fell asleep.


I found myself on another world
where endless rain was falling,
where all around me, outlandish forms
of cruel accreted concrete parodied
the urban warmth of humanity.

Wet and seeking shelter, I wandered
along avenues and byways, crossed
empty parking lots reserved
for non-human management,
until I found an entrance
to an uninviting cinder-block nest.

In the foyer, a heavy condensate had collected
on the ceiling. It fell in torpid drops,
and though I wouldn’t have called it rain,
it was, for all intents and purposes.

It pattered on the puddles in mildewed corridors,
in deserted alien offices and soggy auditoria,
where I heard the echoed splashes of my footsteps.

Not another soul passed by me in that dankness,
but I came upon the remnants of a rat-like creature
that once had died: a rhetorical device,
an encouragement to speak my mind,
although I chose to respect its personal space.

Who cares about Selena,
her moon-strung melancholia
and her analytic functions?
The lunar meditation bell is still,
there’ll be no more beads or chanting,
or secret paper wishes.

I’ll ignore the days that come in threes,
their dull laminate of the inanimate,
manifesting nothing.
Not a hint of distant worlds,
I’m all tailless rationality now.

I thought I still might find some shelter
from the rain inside an extra-terrestrial
cupboard, or even come across an otherwordly

I didn’t know that what I sought was a signal,
a code that I could not decipher, an intimation
of otherness beyond the realms of fantasy.

to continue


  • Based on places I’ve worked at, mostly realistic, brought to mind by the current measures to control the c-virus pandemic.
  • The moon in Buddhism

Third version of inner space, short youtube video testing ALISA, adaptive layered image synthesis and automation.

22 thoughts on “darklight 3: in the rational rain

    • Thanks, Peter. The architecture is very real. I worked for years on the top floor of a building where water leaked into the offices and labs. There were buckets everywhere, it rotted the carpets, rusted switchboards and stalactites grew from the ceilings.

      This was in Sydney. Working in Latin America, I saw really strange stuff, and I have learned writing short stories to never go with reality: editors find it unbelievable.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. An interesting commentary in which climate emergency is so victorious it’s raining indoors. This writing also conveys something of the present pandemic. Imagination works best when it doesn’t lose sight of the mundane details of a human, terrestrial life. You have succeeded in this important respect.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. I find the same thing with living: it is best to remember you left the stove on. In this strange CV world, I find even a small amount amount of nature (as opposed to concrete) helps me maintain a touch of sanity.


  2. not sure if its the mention of rain (which I love) or the structure of your poem but I felt like I was wading through currents pulling me away and apart, your words feel very heavy, not unsettling, but heavy calming, directional, intentional.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Perceptive as always, Gina. I find my mood oscillates these days, perhaps it has something to do with the mandated isolation here in Aus. When I began writing this instalment I had no idea the protagonist would be swept into that place, which comes from memories of a time when I was determined, working hard in research, and looking back, some sort of hamster on a wheel. Fortunately, a blessing of writing is that we can step outside ourselves and let things go.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Macabre atmosphere saturated with latent horror. A stunning piece Steve. My favourite part is
    “I’ll ignore the days that come in threes,
    their dull laminate of the inanimate,
    manifesting nothing.”
    The artwork reminds me of a misty English landscape.


    • Thank you, Nikita. To be honest, some days the whole sorry world feels that way, and I think it broke through in my writing. Fortunately the mood comes and goes, and I get back to my personal illogical search for mysteries and signs. I have to apologise about the English landscape: I’m working to develop something new and I swapped it out for a newer, somewhat darker, experiment.


  4. This is fascinating Steve . In this poem, the loneliness of the traveller among urban buildings open to constant rainfall conjures up an atmosphere that is stark and immediate in its impact. One can almost taste it. Your poems are worth waiting for , each one more brilliant than the last!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Margaret. I’m pleased that this piece resonated. Perhaps its basis in fact, in my experiences, made it more real. At times, it wasn’t great to live it, but I survived and moved on to other things, including the writing.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I got the feeling of a coronavirus town even before you mentioned it at the end. I’ve been reading stories about wild animals coming back into towns deserted by people sheltering indoors. I wonder if they feel like your narrator about the strange deserted concrete formations around them?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Interesting about the wild animals, it’s reminiscent of the archetypical apocalypse tale. Yes, I imagine creatures that weren’t adapted would find it very uncomfortable.

      I think the c-virus is affecting us all in one way or another, and we have to adapt as well. I find being indoors a lot more means my link to the natural world, and to reality, starts to fray. This definitely came into play with this piece.


    • Glad you enjoyed, Sobhana. There is an old song by Lamb with a fragment of lyrics, “there’s some magic out there.” Even if there isn’t, searching for it is not a bad way to spend c-virus isolation time.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. “their dull laminate of the inanimate”….very clever, Steve…a damp, humid poem…we are all looking for “an intimation
    of otherness beyond the realms of fantasy.”….fascinating as always…JIM

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Jim. I feel very much like an inanimate laminate myself, to be honest. But, you know, not every day.

      I agree, we want to know there is something else, something beyond. I guess some people are certain of it. But I am not one.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I especially love the ending too. The paragraph, and following, about the only (dead) creature around, is brilliant. I did chuckle…who cares about Selena… but as always, I just love the mix of such beautiful poetry, surreal-ness, poignancy…
    The artwork is beautiful!


    • Thanks, Vanessa. This was me thinking back to some pretty miserable times, and didn’t advance the narrative as I’d intended, I could blame isolation but I suspect I wasn’t drinking enough. 😸

      Glad you liked the vid. I’m trying to do something new and struggling a bit to get it working, ie, computer coding. Anyway, hopefully eventually….


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