On the roof of the Dreamwalk Library, a Dark Solarian is draining Librarian Millie’s life force, and a fearsome kilowasp cloud (to the nearest power of ten) is descending. The library employee plans to offer his own life force, if he has any, to save Millie, and no-one cares what the penguins are doing.
In my penultimate moments,
I decided I’d reveal my inner life.
You make me nervous, Millie,
you’re not as librarian as you appear.
You’ve taken me so far from science,
my mind is burning in a consequential fire,
and I’d like a coffee.
Millie, the librarian, has been listening to an employee’s story about waiting to catch a train to Sheridarp, and has given him a book on the unknowable. It’s late on a Saturday night, early on the day following, and the characters have inexplicably diverged from their raisons d’être, or would have if they existed. Part 1 is here.
I riffled through “The Unknowable,”
pausing here and there to admire Rorschach
snack and coffee stains.
After several repetitions, I observed that
every page was blank, apart from butterflies
and their suggestions.
Someone in a Chrysler Valiant driving along the Botany Bay shoreline has picked up a couple of skeletal hitchhikers who have come from the sea. The first part is here.
We are Sam and Sammy,
please drive us to the West,
to invoices and wheat fields,
where desiccants and accountancy abound,
and everything is warm and flocculant.
unimportant safety information
On my journeys through forgotten nights
I collect my dreams,
trade them for indulgences and bitcoins
with the goddess of the godless:
the deity of pillows,
of changing sheets, of hiding,
commander and distracter,
of games and roles,
played and yet to be.
The detective has left the building and the world. With a coterie of penguins and axolotls, his client has gone on without him, heading to a post-apocalyptic crystal city. The story began here.
We journey onward to the west, finding
country corners and strangers
who make believe their ordinary lives
have not been lost:
motels with sewing kits and swimming pools for guests,
where the penguins jump and splash,
dance their stately dances,
raise their beaks to the stars
with enthusiastic cries of ‘encore’
from the axolotls.*
in São Paulo
My night thoughts spider scuttle
to the web of thoughts,
to be forgotten in the halogenic daylight.
Pigeon heralds coo chromatic arches of the dawn,
and by the afternoon’s descent,
a gentle samba on a headland far away
calls in the rain.
Lightning flashes in the belly of the city sky,
deus irae in smoky yellow,
and castle clouds are falling
in plastotechnic raindrops
that merge and rise to build again
as solid as the world.
At night when everything was hissing,
pressurized and leaking air,
colors came around, reefs of golden green,
and in the distance,
pages tore like thunder.
A rider on an insipid horse galloped
by my bedroom,
and my dream woke up
while I still slept.
There’s something unfortunate about seven a.m.,
when the dreams of worlds that might have been
ascend into the vanishment.
As I traveled the Redfern Rail one night,
through tunnels that smelled of soot and ghosts of steam,
I chatted with a stranger. Her auburn hair was wound
with a golden asp, and she told me this:
Your mind’s your own, to do with as you will.
I saved mine for special occasions,
believed in pixels and maquillage,
bowed and chanted to great Osiris,
but I know better now.
They’re digging at Sandringham, open cut,
the hunt for the lost Six Ten
that diverted from its accustomed route
and burrowed in the sand.
This morning from my cottage
on the edge of the Sandringham pit
I saw pantographs protruding,
spines of a fossilized dinosaur,
and now the spools on cranes are
grinding sure and slow, steel cables taut,
extracting the commuter carriages
with unexpected tenderness,
not to rend their couplings.
For thirteen years it’s traveled far below,
but today the sunlight’s harsh reality
will illuminate the Sandringham Six Ten.
By night I long for vacuum,
yet gravity ties my bones and blood,
wires me to the world, an unbreakable nexus.
I’d prefer a lighter planet, uncored by an iron seed.
We think alike, adversaries and friends,
harmonies of disdain and love,
characters in chiaroscuro,
quotidian actors reading quadrophonic lines.
Last night I dreamt we went together to the sea
and joined the others gathered on the beach,
figures made of sand who dreamed within a dream
of alluvial forgiveness.
From the kitchen doorway
a flock of shadows flies out on the ridge,
and in the gullies yellowed smog
is bleeding from the ground.
The earth is sick, reclaiming its own,
and the far horizon is a never ending fuse,
unquenchable linear fire.
The perennial machinery must be serviced once a year,
today’s the day, and the job is mine.
I have a manual with clear instructions,
watery words on transparent paper,
and I study them closely with the tip of my nose—
when you’re done, don’t forget the disco ball,
although that might be written on the wall behind.
It’s time to consult my idea head,
neurons and neutrons orbiting on the shelf,
a capricious blend of memory and melancholy.
The furthest sky at night is
the ceiling of our dreams,
the enticing soft geometry
of desire, and we know
its brightness, sight unseen.
The frozen stars, the years of light,
of interstellar vacuum, once swirled
with all my childish magic,
but now those future ghosts are gone,
their tinsel’s faded to a glimmer.
Thoughts about dreams—fictional, speculative, factual, speculative fictional.
fish dreams come at sunrise
blowing in on westerlies
they’re caught by fisher folk
with hooks on their kites
strung together and laid out
on the beaches of yesterday
to dry and harden in the sun
The world is so full of a number of things, I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.
—Robert Louis Stevenson
Kids, you tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try.
There are stacks of useful tips on the web about writing and creativity in general, but I find coming up with original ideas is still a struggle. This is a technique that sometimes works for me. Continue reading