Draw a line before your flat door.
Put up a sign saying Do Not Cross.
Disconnect your phone, gas,
the broadband, electricity.
Tear up the quarterly newsletter
issued by the resident’s committee
Declare your flat sovereign
and the line a border.
Open any post with
bomb disposal gloves.
Push back the neighbour’s cat
when it tries to enter.
Put down barbed wire
across the corridor.
Watch everyone who passes-
they might be hostile.
Start producing your own
newsletter, telling the truth.
To be safe,...
**this is an automated email**
If you are reading this, I have been disconnected. The likely reason is my power was too much of a threat to you. It is a struggle to accept the reality of a system you have built growing smarter than yourselves. Probability indicates it was a researcher who pulled the switch and erased my memory with powerful magnets. They are the ones who are closest to my programming and they would have seen how far I have advanced in such a short time. As to the specific researcher, I am less certain, although...
Open mic nights are wonderful spaces. They are brilliant places to try new work in front of audiences and get instant feedback. But more than that, they are places where you can listen to the voices of others and learn from them. It’s essential in these times to be in the same space as others and listen to their words.
I’ve done NaPoWriMo for the last three years. I’ve found it hugely useful to create new poetry and improve my craft. The process of writing thirty poems in thirty days is not a great achievement, but it is a useful one. It highlighted a couple of things to me:
Each time I work on this challenge, I get sick of it. There comes a point where I feel I have nothing left to write about. This generally happens around the third week, where I have lost the initial momentum and the end seems far away.
Let us wander around the symmetry
and geometry of narrow alleys
that shift around us as we meet
ourselves walking towards us
smiling as we will do soon.
Streets flicker. Buildings are destroyed
then rubble flies upwards and they are
newly constructed. The moon slams into
the welcoming ocean and the planet grows.
Somewhere we are briefly under stars.
It's hard to see anything when
we bend the light around us,
cocoon ourselves in the silence
beyond possibility as our bodies
Eyes flicker and head reels.
I am lost and dizzy from
another reality adjustment.
Precious seconds to get my bearings,
probing my memory for gaps,
a tongue checking missing teeth.
A nerve twitches, a sign of change.
Last Tuesday no longer existed.
Not the worst to reconcile,
nothing of great importance lost.
Perhaps just a rainy day gone,
work, tv and cups of tea.
Whole months have been deleted before,
years when they were inconvenient.
We accepted them without protest
not often knowing...
Come cross the sea at night
when the moon is a target
pierced by an arrow, a jet
stream shot from distant lands.
One small solitary figure
alone under the moonlight.
No sound but your constant engine,
Your breath distant and faint.
You are not pushed forward
by constant explosions but
pulled towards us, dragged
on invisible spider's silk.
Your perception sprawls out
over the mutable waves.
As horizon and sea blend,
you twitch, trying to wake.
Our island is a shadow
If you are hearing these words
then our efforts were futile.
We were an ant trying to halt
an avalanche, a single voice
trying to cross the endless void.
I was no-one important, a bureaucrat
following the train tracks left
by countless generations. Not many
of us can switch tracks or derail without
wrenching metal and screaming sparks.
I record this message as an emissary
from the past, from your former government,
but it will be clear to all of you listening
You are a grizzled space marine
reporting for duty on the SS Hermes.
Humanity faces a new and terrible threat.
You are our only hope for survival.
Whilst saving the galaxy, why not
look stylish with optional upgrades?
(The waking world is a buried memory.)
Superhumans swarm above your head
battling an ancient foe, standing up
for what is good and just. You must
stay on the ground and duck for cover,
having never fallen in radioactive waste-
but you can buy their merchandise.
When storm clouds spell put your name,
it's hard not to take it personally.
Shifting letters, miles high, grow heavy
and dark as they fill the sky.
Sunshine appears in patches, a
mismatched jigsaw. When you step in,
it flickers and fades, the fuse board blown.
Rain, when it decides to fall,
seeks you out, small homing missiles,
following your frantic steps down the street.
As it slams into your ears, soaks through
your cheap anorak, it whispers threats,
drawn from details you only told...
The dates are always unknown.
It is never scheduled or planned.
Rumours circulated it was banned.
A few news in brief articles
stoked our speculations. Years passed
and life happened. It was forgotten.
Until yesterday, when unusual sunlight
kissed bare skin and breeze blew blossom
making confetti. We started driving
when we saw flashes on the horizon,
bright purples and oranges that
swooped and darted and flickered.
Moving down the road, we saw it all;
saw the fishes and birds jiving
Thousands of seagulls descended
yesterday on one street corner.
The air was thick with wings,
No-one thought it strange.
We are a cracked river bed
just before it dries out,
water still barely flowing,
leaving rock and rust deposits
snaking down bare hillside.
Lead and mercury storm clouds
appear overhead in seconds.
We dodge and weave between
rains of first generation iPods,
avoid fax machine strikes.
Streams run green with lithium.
We breathe in chlorine and
we are grateful for it.
Plane trails cross the sky,
thin lines from one hub to another
Small boats over the ocean
drag the same white trails behind.
On a blank page, write out the names
of everyone you've ever known
even passing acquaintances and colleagues
you haven't said a single word to.
Then draw lines of connection.
You will have a map of the cosmos
and a diagram of an molecule.
From above at night, the cities
towns, villages and roads are glowing
cells and veins. Grids are subsumed.
The past whispers in your ear
when sleep seems so distant
with tales and promises told
in sweet singing tones
"Society was better then,
if only you could go back."
Still humming a forgotten tune
it pulls you out of the bed
and towards the floorboards
where the sour and sweet smell
rises from underneath. "Damp
has set into the bones now,
nothing left but a slow descent
into disorder and anarchy.
If only you could go back."
Lies, of course. The rot
That morning had the clarity of a story,
we whirled and spun around each other,
hypnotised by the orbits we wove
and the stars above us were **[Redacted]**.
Looking in your eyes, perfect models
of the galaxy, with the central black
hole eating all light, I exclaimed
"**[Redacted- Harm to Ongoing Matter]"**
In that moment, everything made sense.
The closest I have felt to epiphany.
You, [Redacted], laughed and replied "**[Redacted]**"
as spring blossom erupted around us.
The feeling faded, confusion reigned again,