“It’s been a while,” the water whispers
as I enter, inch by inch,
“but what’s a few million years between
friends? I know why
you abandoned me for land. I forgive you”
Every part of my body
is held so tenderly as I submerge my head,
the cold slowing all
anxieties. I realise I have always been a wave,
never the same from
one moment to the next, always dissolving
into surf. I watch
my worries float away, turn into foam.
I kick forward,
make the first stroke...
“I know how this goes!” I say to no-one
as light starts to intensify, obliterating
all detail. Trees will become indistinct
shapes in the mist, never coalescing
into objects. The grass will flicker
with blue fire sparks, but that will
be the least of my problems. Walls,
so dependable and solid, will become
transparent as the hungry light feeds.
“Bring it on!” I will shout towards the
rapidly dissolving sky. “So predictable!
You’re not even trying!” I will scream
as the outline of my body transforms
The sky sulks.
Fresh insults rumble,
small drops fall,
before the clouds start shouting
curses, throwing rain.
Prompt was to write a shadorma from Amy Kay Poetry, a form I wasn’t familiar with before but quite like.
I know they have secrets to spill,
given everything they’ve witnessed.
I’ve tried different approaches,
asking “How are you?” directly or
“Did you see the game last night?”
as an icebreaker. They never respond,
remain stubbornly shy. Perhaps
I have not found the right topic.
Some nights the floorboards creak
out curses as they shrink or expand.
At times, the computer sings softly
to itself, a single note to clarify
the air. I have heard these stories
too often, consider their secrets dull.
I know the walls understand...
Thick mists and darkness linger. Crows try
listlessly to call the day into being, to
dissipate the vapour and somehow praise
the unknown. One plummets, arrow in the
fog, landing crooked. A fragile wing mutilated.
It cries, summoning the dawn, the golden world.
One night last week, I thought I had a breakthrough. I was fiddling with a new set of code in the middle section of the input. I don’t work with the programme directly of course. It’s beyond us now. No-one has any idea what it’s doing. It’s meant to be running simulations to find a solution to the energy crisis but it doesn’t do anything.
It was one in the morning. Maybe two. Most of the time its just me and a screen. Sometimes the text dances, my head spins, the world becomes distant. I should probably stop when this...
Given the kindness and cruelty of time,
a majority forgot those years where
the tilt of the earth increased. Only
a degree. Or more. Scientists spoke,
we didn’t listen, lost in our own panic,
sick with adrenaline. Maybe others
were able to convince themselves
by repetition: It wasn’t that bad. We
pulled together. It wasn’t that bad.
What they omit is the months of still
night, a numbness that never left,
the dread- this situation was static,
we had buried our normality with axes
under the ice floes...
Malaka Gharib shared how to create a little 8-page zine about the whole COVID 19 situation, so I joined in last week. It came out surprisingly sincere. It really helped clarify my reaction to the whole situation.
When I landed I felt the weight
of myself rush back into my body
like water through an open dam.
I was thankful for no longer
being a raindrop. I saw the sky
as an ocean we swim through daily.
When I landed I felt the spinning
of the planet under my shaking feet,
a constant treadmill, a dizziness.
I understood it was always this way.
When I landed I felt the breeze
stroke my skin and breathed in
all the blooms of the world.
For a second I...
My former body is discarded over
a plastic chair, abandoned to
numbness. Now I am these walls,
the vending machine in the corner
humming its constant mantra,
the flicker of that strip light
spelling out a morse code psalm,
the runes of mould creeping over
each ceiling tile. Aeons vanish.
I try to affect some small change.
Three thousand years or thereabouts
pushing at the door, another hundred
attempting to disturb the leaflets
which remain stubbornly motionless.
So this is eternity, the room thinks,
Between worlds the shine of the sea,
the light that marks the dividing line
between our world and our neighbours.
We see reflections of what we could be-
our limbs rippling, our throats opening
our eyes wide and dark, our skin slick
like oil. The salt crusting over our lips,
covering bare shoulder blades which almost
poke through the skin, sodium crystals
becoming scales. Our laughter now visible,
rebounding off submerged landmasses.
How we, stranded above, long to let
the glimmer into our lungs, breathe in
the perfection of...
Your library is now scattered.
Yellowing paperbacks you found
by chance in second-hand markets,
hardbacks with messages inscribed
on the first page, the much read,
the dogeared, the pristine copies,
the underlined, all now are removed
from your shelves and returned back
to the world. Those words were always
loaned. Given the absence of you,
the catalogue that arranged the spines,
we dispersed piles to charity shops,
disintegrated each memory and each
sentimental gift. Your neurons too,
were always borrowed, now separated
Purple clouds transform and jitter
over the emerald sky. My limbs
are sprawled over silicone grass
as I observe butterflies flit in
and out of existence. Everything
is as it should be. Idly, I conduct
the morning, my arm leaving blurs
behind like a paintbrush. Memories
of another world, similar to this
one but seen through a petrol spill,
congeal at the edges of my vision.
I shake my head free. Leave me here, in this field suffused with scents of burnt cinnamon, with the...
After Sei Shonagon
Sunflowers in November.
A hospital before the backup
generator kicks in after
the breakdown of negotiations
between selfish men, far away.
Nebulae the size of our
solar system in colours
unimaginable and invisible.
at low tide. Those discarded
phones that lie in a drawer,
former luxuries, former heights
of technology that collect dust
and wait to be useful again.
The wind after a storm.
A warlord sat by themselves
on a plastic chair, in a
featurless room, waiting.
Those three am thoughts.
You will need a clear night, far
from the city’s illuminated fears,
when the dust from the milky way
almost floats down around you.
You will need patience. The lucky
ones wait their whole lives just
to hear a single deep syllable,
one that echoes through their body,
into the dark caverns of the self,
shaking the silver wings of secrets.
Understand the hills are fickle,
there is never any guarantee.
Take your thickest coat. The nights
are unforgiving. Take a thermos,
for a link to your waking life.