Ada, Deirdre, John P, Paulo, and I were crossing the Nullarbor plain when the internet’s voracious cables rose from the underworld and embroiled us in serpentine data. Episode one is here.
I cleared my throat.
I’m okay, Paulo said.
Deirdre swatted at a social media invite.
This gloomy internet knows that it’s alive,
but it doesn’t understand the counterweight
of living: the partial sum of life, its passing.
Classrooms buried underground,
a breath, a cough, a teacher,
where every window was a riddle
and we were mute behind the glass,
where the chord of chords still sounded
from each bell to the last.
I was frail paper with pencilled veins,
a helpless diorama, a divide by zero,
an overflow and underflow,
a distillation of reticence and fear,
listening for the silent voice.
Friday night at the Ghostery on Relentable Drive,
and a whirl of leaves blew in,
took my vaguely personal shape.
like to do their ghosting,
whispering and wispy pale,
but I don’t play that game,
I’m as solid as a memory
of a memory.
I didn’t pay the bills electric,
now no lights electric,
just a fluid glimmer—
the ghosts from yesterday
illuminate my ectoplasmic reading.
Outside a spinning wind is rising,
furrowing the earth and sky,
and on the far horizon, mechanical invaders
with razored paddle wheels
scalpel air to vortices,
curling slinkies that cannot be
A thunderstorm’s approaching underground.
Along the shore, waves of sand
competing with the ocean,
from ancient graveyards ghosts will float
into the world, freed from roiling earth,
to the weather forecast
and I prepare our breakfast:
spinach, pastry, thoughts of eggs,
peel a purple onion, layer after layer,
until just the memory of an onion’s left.
in the age of hollow copies.
On nights when mirrored waves of air
are breaking in the clouds, the woolen ghosts
seep out of cast-off clothes, and squeeze
beneath the laundry door to loiter
in the garden.
They dance and laugh and play
strange games non-woolen people
cannot understand, and just
last week they rearranged the magnet
letters on my tumble dryer—
I live in a house on Inconstant
Street, with weeds for a garden
and shutters that always stay shut.
I know for a fact that the world is
my oyster—it’s glued to a rock
and I can’t prise it open.
Penny Lope left a note in everyone’s mail,
an invite to a party to be held
in the street. But I didn’t get one,
so I asked her the reason.