the apposite planet

silvinhas garden

“I cannot find a single word
I favor,
not a one, and my heart,
it pulses
like a stroboscope,
in flashes.

“Still, I started life as a half a packet
of Tim Tams, so I have no reason
to complain.”

They were strolling by the ocean,
beneath the never-ending raindrops,
crunching crockery and broken bones
beneath their boots, way on down south
in Melbourne town.

Silvinha looked into his bloodshot eyes,
and offered a little unrequited advice.

“All you need to sort yourself
is someone who believes in you.
Someone gullible. Naïve, even.”

She shook a cigarette out
of a packet of Charm Slims.

“They’re old, dried out, better than nothing.
Why didn’t you portal to the new earth?”

— apocalyptic intermission —

The earth was pretty much abandoned
after the Sylvan Apocalypse,
which began at a hair salon in Sylvania.

Too many hair stylists
started too many hair dryers,
and the Swirl appeared,
so-called because it did.

The Swirl recolored the world
in shades of melancholy dreariness,
as if the earth were orbiting
in the solar system’s basement,
all on its lonesome.


“The sun above the new earth
is brightly luminous, a refractive
complication when snowflakes fall
inside my eyes. As luck would have it,
we’re always in the shade here.”

Beneath the clouds, one edge of
the monochrome sea lapped
on the fragmented remnants of Melbourne.
The other edge was hidden in the mist.

He sighed in slow motion.
“With the constant weather,
neither one thing nor another,
my memories have faded.

“In the days before the Swirl,
the rain would come and go.
It triggered reminiscences
of sudden storms in childhood meadows,
and when the sun appeared,
of ectoplasmic gardens blossoming
in blue.

“I think the Swirl has taken something
from me. Something that everybody
has, so obvious that no-one speaks of it.”

“I must admit, I felt the same
before the Swirl began.”

Silvinha nodded thoughtfully.

“I may be able to help you.
A certain self-awareness
is all you lack—the knowledge
that you’re still a half a packet
of Tim Tams.”


  • Tim Tams, trademark of Arnott’s Biscuits Holdings
  • Charm Slims, trademark of Souza Cruz

Silvinha’s Garden, made with the visual evolution engine; still from a video work-in-progress. Or in regress, possibly.

15 thoughts on “the apposite planet

    • Glad you liked. I’m having lots of tech problems with the video version. Not surprising, I’m trying to make it do something unusual.

      My brain has a mind of its own, and mostly it’s deciding what mistake to make next. It amuses itself at my expense.

      The Swirl: me too. I think humanity can do better, otherwise, we deserve the Swirl.

    • Oh Steve, your struggle is sounding awfully familiar. 😅 I believe my brain works overtime thinking of ways to create panic within me. Just moments ago I was panicked over forgetting my office key which lay inside my purse beside my leg as I drive down the road. Silly me. Cheers to a wonderful new moment for you today, as well.

  1. Another enjoyable and clever poem Steve, with its eco undertones and black humour. I love the idea of the apocalypse starting in hair salons. Not too far fetched considering the amount of toxic chemicals consumed by the hair and beauty industry. I particularly like the line, ‘crunching crockery and broken bones beneath their boots’. Such a strong image.

    • Thanks, Nikita. It seemed like the right place for the Swirl to start, although I’m hoping it doesn’t actually appear.

      I’ve never really understood fashion, which is key to the hair, beauty, and lots of other industries, not that I haven’t participated. I mostly try to blend in, and often fail.

      Glad you liked the remnants, anyway it’s only Melbourne. 😸

  2. I like that “Sultans of Swing” reference, Steve! Ironic that the end should come out of a hair salon, an enterprise dedicated to turning back time. Your hero is obviously a packet half empty kind of guy….funny stuff Steve, fascinating art work! JIM

    • Hahaha, I should have known you wouldn’t miss Dire Straits. Thanks, Jim, sadly I can very much relate to the protagonist. Oh well, there’s still Tim Tams, and possibly cigarettes at some point in the future. I gave up long ago but I still miss them like hell. The video might be progressing, hope to get something out of it.

  3. I must admit that I had to look up the word “apposite”; I always like learning new words. 😊 The idea of too many hair dryers going at once reminds me of a house I used to live (as a tenant). There was a space heater in the bathroom, and if it was on when I tried to use the hair dryer, the circuit breaker would trip. Fortunately, there was no Swirl.

    • I apologise that I’m running so far behind with replies. It’s probably unfair to Sylvania, although, no doubt, there are plenty of hair dryers there. Yes, I’ve also become very familiar with tripping circuit breakers and blown fuses over the years, apart from actually teaching the subject. There’s nothing like going to an outside fuse box in the middle of winter when you’ve put too many heaters on and tried to make a cup of tea.

    • Hi Margaret I was checking that comments were working on my site and I noticed that I’d missed this one. Thank you for your generous feedback,

  4. It’s hard to know what to comment sometimes. What do I like? What don’t I like? Should I have another cup of tea, with a Tim or a Tam?

    • I, too, have difficulties making decisions. When I leave the house, what should I wear? Which season is it? Which hemisphere is my house in, and what if it’s on the equator? Or on another planet entirely?

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