darklight 5: avenues


Previously on Darklight: on the way to the moon with a bird, a human fell asleep. Through the magic of the mind, he travelled to a rainy reality. After meeting an obsessive future version of himself, he climbed through a broken television set into another dimension. Or wherever. Episode one is here.

Floral avenues bloom in different seasons—
in spring, in winter, on lost days.

Beyond the TV portal, the reception of reality was poor:
analogue strata of land and sea and sky
drifted by beneath me and above me.
As I watched, they sheared and shredded,
tore apart.

Time and space were stretched too taut,
thinning out like cling wrap,
until the rhythm of the Ibid Bird,
a staccato pecking at my head,
awoke me.


We’ve arrived, the Bird declared,
At Lunar Central Station, Platform Number Five.

I disembarked and looked around,
hoping for a little moon-grown magic.

Sparkling rows of holiday lights were strung between
the spheres of enormous Van de Graaff generators;
discrete horn speakers blared a Muzak mambo;
and grey-on-grey confetti fell like cinders
from ducts beneath the rooftop arch,
dry, and curiously comforting.


A friendly turnstile guard gave me a wave.
Her uniform was military, with an insignia on her cap
—an enigmatic snowflake—and a futuristic weapon
was holstered on her hip.

She pulled it out, and aimed it at my head.

We’re not fond of earthlings here.
Your species is perilously erratic.
You’ll listen to anyone who’ll tell you
how to play the game of living.
Their solemn promises trump correctness,
even though the deck of cards is infinite.

Instead of boring paperwork,
talk to me about yourself.
My decision whether to vaporize you or not
will depend on a whimsical set of metrics.

Her weapon charged with a high-pitched whine,
and my words tumbled out in a babble.

I call myself Terry. My mother named me
Terrestrial Smith, and I thought to never be
who I became. A life may be wasted,
I learned through introspection,
in introspection.

She looked me up and down. Surely you can do better.

With paper beneath my pen, I renounced all action,
chose to write of an author, who wrote
of floral avenues,
of Selena and the moon,
but his first and only
sentence confounded him,
and so it was
with the writer of whom he wrote,
and me.

She yawned, and turned a dial on her weapon.
I wondered if it had a “delicates” setting.

to continue


  • Transplantation of a favourite character from The Plague (Albert Camus, 1947, Gallimard),
  • Muzak, a trademark of MUZAK LLC, and Mambo No. 5 (Lou Bega).

Still from a video work in progress, Avenues, which is flight testing with ALISA, adaptive layered image synthesis and automation.

21 thoughts on “darklight 5: avenues

  1. Thanks Steve, another instalment of this wondrous tale, where next I wonder? (BTW. I’m sure you’ve noticed Camus’ epigraph to The Plague – from Robinson Crusoe: “It is as reasonable to represent one kind of imprisonment by another, as it is to represent anything that really exists by that which exists not!” )

    Liked by 1 person

    • My pleasure, Peter. I wonder where Darklight is going too, and the planet. For the latter, I expect mostly grey, dark stains, and occasional bright flashes.

      With the epigraph, I did flick through the work again to make sure my memory of the “writer” was intact. Curiously, the quote caught my eye, especially the second part. I think that, mostly, what we perceive is an interpretation of reality based on models in our brain at every level. Sometimes they work. 😸

      Liked by 2 people

  2. A tense work reminiscent I would imagine of many such encounters on many borders on our planet. The rather magical description of the surroundings at the outset works well in contrast to the tension of the ending.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you. It’s so good to know people get something from my work. It can be a struggle to write, even though I’m not doing it very often, and feedback like yours is what keeps me going.


    • Thanks, Nikita. I was a torn between some technicolor fantasy and a grim lunar reality, hence the confetti. Like pretty much everything, it relates to my past: a prank played with a group of university friends, where a lecturer’s office was filled with a snowstorm of styrofoam packing material when he opened the door.

      I would love to come up with something really original, but how? Maybe I should give my computers a go with words. Or perhaps some bit of computer art will provide inspiration. Speaking of, thanks again, still slogging away at that.


      • Well I would hate to be the one cleaning up a mountain of polystyrene chips! Awful stuff! I’m sure you were popular with your lecturer 😂.
        That reminds me of a birthday years ago when I lived in a small town and my friends came around in the middle of the night to adorn the trees and shrubs in my garden with miles of pink toilet paper and balloons. It looked like a fantasy land. For the next couple of weeks cars would drive by just to take a look but what a mess when it rained!

        Do you ever use random word or sentence generators? I find them fun and useful sometimes.
        Keep on keeping on Steve. 🌈

        Liked by 1 person

        • I’m trying, and you too, Nikita. Word prompts I’m not too good at–we used those in my writer’s group and I struggled. Sentences might be worth a go. TBH, mostly I read something from a favorite poet. Then I’m either inspired or I copy it. 😸

          Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, and you also, Paul. I was just commenting how everything comes from my experiences (including reading etc).

      Perhaps it can’t be any other way. But if it can, I suspect it will have to come from my computers somehow, like the Mandelbrot figures, which weren’t really imagined until computers generated them.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Love it! When I read the following lines, I could help but laugh out loud!
    She yawned, and turned a dial on her weapon.
    I wondered if it had a “delicates” setting.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wonderful stuff, Steve, shot through with your trademark humour, Shades of Lovely Rita looking a little like a military man and the turnstile from Lucy in the Sky.
    “Your species is perilously erratic.
    You’ll listen to anyone who’ll tell you
    how to play the game of living.”
    Couldn’t be a better description of the times, like the “trump’ reference too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Inese. My writing helps me in a lot of ways, even though it’s hard to find the time. A bit of fantasy never goes astray, although there are limits. I hope to avoid crossing those boundaries in real life with my writing. 😸


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