- Vol. 03
- Chapter 02
Under its crust there may be liquid oceans,
seas of forgotten things. We can't be sure
until we're in. We're tracking signs of life
pulsing on our screens like Christmas trees
glimpsed from the street, or those thin strings of gold
looped beneath planes at night. We just don't know.
There may be small boys sitting with crossed legs
on threadbare rugs, awaiting the transmission,
logging measurements with sticky fingers,
up past their bedtimes, listening to other worlds
like the one in the back of the TV,
its red-gold lodes, its smell of burning wire.
There may be unknown wars, conspiracies
clogging the lines about what really happened.
There may be stages with white-suited dancers
twirling weightlessly. There may be deserts
turning away their faces like tired women,
we dare not ask. Our histories are slow,
our maps are less exact than we would like,
the end is not in sight. There may be lizards
lounging on rocks, their bellies rainbow-coloured
like children's toys. There may be sleepy lovers
space-walking down dark halls to blazing doors,
we're just not sure. What we know is this:
Read more >
In that everything he says makes perfect sense. But it is chipping away at her sensibility. That he turns his back, moves away, then returns in an arc. There was a moment where she could hear her thoughts squashed together in one constricted, sealed portion.
He rolls past her, his mass is pulling her in.
'I'm insulted that you think I should...'
'How dare you blame me for...'
She would try to talk to someone else, try to get some perspective - but he insisted that her orbit was only around him. She can only speak now through the semaphore scratches she makes on her skin. Maybe she can release these forces bubbling from some deep cavernous source.
Again Jupiter turns his back. Europa hears the distorted, white noise hiss of a billion jumbled arguments. She is falling apart - she expands and contracts according to his mood swings. She has nothing to say. Her tears fall through space - slivers of silver, with bolts of misinformation firing inside them.
The woman at NASA will think they look like a tiny fish; space roe. But we always think we see life in space - a face on Mars, a Man on the Moon.
More silver tears fledge from Europa and drop through the void. They head for Earth, the tangled message flickering green into darkness. Jupiter turns his back again.
I hadn't seen D in over three years. Catching up over coffee wasn't going to cover it, but it was enough. Of course, after talk of work and plans for the future (5-10 minutes), I had to tell D about her. Words leaking out of me as I focus on the windswept trying to make their way down the Strand. D held her cup with both hands, warm-hearted as she was.
'You know what it was?', she said.
'An emotional affair.'
She gave a mini-eyeroll and asked if I wanted another coffee. I didn't.
'An emotional affair is when two people have the ins and outs of an actual relationship but without any of the physical stuff. It's a deep type of love – the sort you might find in the workplace with two married people, or maybe when the man or the woman is already with someone. It's not cheating because there isn't any sex, but on an emotional level both you and she are bound together, sometimes even tighter than a relationship based just on sex.'
I got up. I actually did need that cup of coffee. Standing at the counter, my back turned to D, I remembered what set me and her off in the first place. It was a line from Blaise Pascal that both of us remembered from our university days:
The eternal silence of these infinite spaces frightens me.
I don't know how it came out in conversation, but it was the start of a relationship that lasted just over a year. Pascal could have been writing about outer space or the depths below, or maybe just the heart. But what did he know? Blaise Pascal died a virgin. I went back and handed D her drink. She had a slightly smug, cloying look on her face. People in relationships always have that look.
of knowledge of all natural
things at the end, like
of you as you alight
beside me to feed
me with your lips.
I love you my darling:
your cilia, gills and
grievous darts; your
eyes unblinking until
now. If you should curl
around me as excavated
couples do, we will join up
with a school of stars.
Salt Hill slapping our faces
as sandstone shifted beneath us.
Coming from the aquarium,
you made me hold a spider crab:
turn it upside-down and it curls
eight red stalks across itself
to protect the soft underbelly,
a bamboo shield of meat and shell.
At the touching pool, I spied
a starfish with four points,
recovering after going supernova.
You told me how the lost leg
would grow into a whole new star
and not one child there believed you.
All suckers and tentacles,
jaws full of incisors,
darkened mysteries of deep seas
dredged up to the light before us,
I was grateful for the eel,
kept from sight, it’s midnight pallor
still in the ocean, left to tingle
away from our hands, uncaught,
a slick of ugliness
slipping through the streams.
So dark and blue and mysterious
Where no man have ventured
We as humans
Have even begin to reach for the stars
Yet in our front door
That blue abyss just sit there
It's secret and mysteries
And its inhabitants
They remained ignorant of us and the only thing that grace this mysterious world
Or rubbish and pollutants.
Where some of our deepest secret may still lay down there
From times of old,
Things that we should know
Things that was never meant to be forgotten.
Secrets guarded by their strange colorful exotic creatures.
before all else. Something essential
at the heart of us. Bones articulate
along the riverbed, ocean floor.
Systems built on trial & error, cause
& effect. The sudden rush of skin
along the beloved and new flesh waiting
to be known.
Her dispatch was fast and irretrievably final. Out the hatch. Cheerio.
Casting her phosphorescent glow out into the depths of the universe became tiring after a while. Ms Cane thereby decided to flash intermittently. With her steady turquoise light extinguished, back on the planet of her birth, they feared the worst. It had been expected.
Ms Cane, feeling her duty was more than amply discharged, paid those back at her past home no mind. The beauty of her turquoise flares of light was not enough to ensure any kind of loyalty it seemed. Rescue was not coming.
Now she floated, deep in space. Untethered.
At first there was only randomness.
Part sparkle fish, part android, part something new entirely, Ms Cane chimera-ed herself through the galaxy. Re-invention, re-birth, the ultimate new incarnation: she was the first.
to the beginning, where we did not see
but still we swam; no permissions from the shore
and what then was land, what then was anything?
those depths are claiming my limbs again,
the brain was hostage long ago, electric nerves
and a sure end with a souvenir lacquered spine.
but it's impossible.
A new world is calling
with a voice of syrup and honey.
I walk past the strawberries,
through a meadow to a river.
The magician evaporates in my veins.
By a bridge, algae wraps round my cold ankles.
I'm an empty shell, not what I was.
A nun is standing on a hill.
Starlings fly above her.
A swan, duck and frog see my journey.
Spirits will open doors at the bottom of the sea.
of differentiation, at which point did our species
become human, a new branch on the family
tree, no longer a monkey. And I think of fish
deep beneath the surface of the ocean, dwelling
under pressures I cannot imagine, sending their
messages in stripes and flashes, green and blue
fluorescent light, and I know that even if I could
share their depths, it would not be a guarantee
that I could learn to speak their language. So,
at what point did we become something no more
a monkey? I have seen documentaries of monkeys
who offer each other comfort and sympathy after
a fight is lost, who groom each others hair, who
carefully nurse their children, who stand guard
over their families. Their young play together,
race and climb, dare and risk, roll and tumble in
enthusiastic games, ones their elders have grown
too adult to enjoy. There are those among them
who use tools, large oval rocks to smash over
the tops of coconuts to hard to crack; the elders
show the young ones all the tricks, how to place
the shell into an indentation of the rock so it does
not roll away when smashed, the anvil-trick. And
I cannot quarrel with sending a magnificent aquamarine luminosity into some microgravity suspension, especially if is projectiled into the only safe place a Medaka might find if the nukes start falling around casbahs and souks where exotic behaviours and strange fish are as normal as a scimitar or a mirage
I have noted that my Medaka were filmed for abnormal behaviors under microgravity. The movies showed that the fish grew quite accustomed to life under microgravity, perhaps more congenial than spending a day in 3D watching great whites - people or sharks - carving up an ocean of see-through fish
The Medakas - how I love their sheer blue-greeness - have displayed unique behaviours such as upside-down, vertical, and tight-circle swimming
I made a diary notation that the mating behavior at day 33 under microgravity was not different from that on the earth, indicating that the magnificent Medaka have adapted to their new sensorium
I know that spaceflight puts chronic stress on animals, much as it can decrease bone mass density in the human astronaut. This is part of what the Medaka can help us explain
As Stephen Hawking has mutely advised us: now is a good time to consider following the Medaka into space, the sooner the better
words swallowed quicker than queen conchs scuttling from shells
at dusk to graze — to mate — lotus spined silhouettes left behind
the medulla oblongata supplies impulses to kill
caterpillars, supplies complaints of no butterflies,
this is what happens when we forget
honeycombed words, ocean jasper moss muse:
teach me how to bear the weights of non-events
not mandatory, but compulsory
play around with the articles
until only the curves of forgotten things rust
louder in memory than the way her fingers suspend
when lighting matches, a chionophile shawled
in woodsmoke iodine, energy
changes form but is never lost
play around with urgency — teach me how to carve
anatomical figures into daily things: the shapes of bones
into coat hangers, cartilages for utensils
if the value of the cup is the emptiest space inside of it
there is no forward movement in growth without urgency
teach me how to wrestle with simultaneous attractions
knowing and not knowing, tangential velocity
her touch ignites — electrified minnows
engulfs us, absorbs us
we initially attempt to hide
within a familiar midnight,
not aux fait with our own
existence, dark forces
Amidst rising social revolution
our centurions march for a
much needed resolution,
Their hazy electric blue exterior
hiding their complex interior,
sparking a familiar notion
popularised by the Neon Nation.
They light up their literary torches
igniting, sparking influencing
the starved marked masses
chewing on force-fed choking
toxic rhetorical molasses.
Rise Neon Nation rise !
Your passion to mesmerise
a dormant parched army,
A necessary orchestration
unlocking the arsenal of
the Neon Nation.
Rise Neon Nation rise !
your fingers (all
fell through the broken fragments
of my spine
sunk deep into
and broken promises.
There’s a point in the ocean
the deepest one there is
it’s in the Mariana’s Trench
it’s called the
and it reaches farther
(into your soul)
than all of the
starving children and
cancer diagnoses and
wartime trauma and
dead fish in
They lie to me. They lie to me and I believe it.
They tell me this is the shirt for me so I buy it. They tell me that this year my shirt should have a button-down collar so this year all my shirts have button-down collars and I believe them. They tell me this pair of jeans is the pair of jeans to own so I buy them. I buy multiple pairs of the jeans they tell me I should own just in case I’m caught out without a clean pair of the jeans I should own. They tell me that these are the shoes for me. They tell me that everything I could ever want will be mine if I just wear a pair of these shoes. And I believe them. They tell me that to find my truest wish I should have my hair cut like this, so I have my hair cut like this and I make sure my hair is cut regularly like this so I can always be ready for my truest wish. And I believe them. They tell me that I should always wear this aftershave so the woman of my dreams will find me. So I make sure I am always clean-shaven and wearing this aftershave so the woman of my dreams can find me. They tell me these lies. They tell me these lies and I believe them.
They tell me to be this person and everything I could ever want will come to me. I walk out into the night looking and feeling and smelling like they tell me. Read more >
It was a direct hit that only seemed to agitate the thing.
So, I grabbed another rock and flung it as hard as possible. Whap!! The fish like creature went belly up. I was able to wade into the water and grab it bare handed.
Once I had it lieing on shore I inspected this peculiar, fluorescent thing.
I could not figure out what breed of fish this was. Or if it was even a fish.
As I turned it over, examining every detail, that's when I realised what it was and where I'd seen it before.
We had an old horse that had lived on the farm for as long as I could remember. His name was, Hung-Far-Low. He was a prize stud.
On the day he died -to honor his years of service to our family- we cut his cock and balls off and sent them floating down the river. Its an old tribal tradition.
Well, apparently this severed horse cock got hung up on some rocks and the radiation from the plant up stream had given it life again.
As I was realizing all this, the radioactive horse dick regained consciousness, spit in my eye, and tried to bite me. I knew the spirits had put me here to cleans the world of this ungodly creature.
So, I said a prayer, grabbed another rock, and smashed that evil shlong into pieces, hoping to the gods that I had not been tainted by the remnants that covered my face.
took the kids for the weekend
while she and Jack motored north
to fish for trout in Montana
at Miriam's request.
Unsteady in her hip-waders
but casting with abandon,
Miriam lobbed a snide remark
and the hook snagged Jack's ear.
Jack told her not to worry,
just a tiny bit of blood.
He'd put a band-aid on it
back at the cabin
before he fried
the rainbow trout still
wriggling in her creel.
Decades later Jack is back
at the cabin with his Phyllis,
a quiet woman who
has never cast for trout.
He thinks she’ll do well.
Jack’s lost track of Miriam,
who sold the house long ago.
The kids are on their own.
He still scratches the ear
where an itch recalls
You could hardly call it an apartment, though we did because we were in France and everything was an apartment, even if it was just two rooms (or one room, really, with a partition).
For the four of us to be crammed in it was a joke, but somehow the times we went downstairs to the laundry or the bins – the only times one of us would ever be alone – were the loneliest ever. We would return to hugs and notch up the bravado as if we were returning from battle. It was what, seven minutes? Silly, really. But it made total sense at the time.
A lot made sense. That a cold, cold beach in the winter should be the best place to talk, and far preferable to that beach in spring or summer. That an hour watching rabbits could be the difference between life and death. That the act of buying a bottle of water could make you feel so much better, as though a cloud had lifted.
We were strange kids.
And then there was you. You made sense, though you shouldn't have. You wouldn't have made sense to Céline's boss, or her mother or the landlady. Your purpose in life was to lie low, swim silently in a sea of peace, deep inside one of the most benevolent beings in the universe. You couldn't go far wrong, in Céline.
We would stagger along the seafront, laughing and drinking Cacolac from the can. We weren't in denial about you. Read more >
rotating rhythms these angles
contain body of sketched, breathing blue: paradigms of
tonal collaboration with hands and/of
friction’s benevolence toward
window’s openness to consume
watchers and their ability to
with neon fingertips
splayed comfort: this being hasn’t
care among the background’s oracle
of telling truth as achromatic philosophy
reaching foreground as the palm of
confirms beauty is the mirror most
elongated upon gather and elation:
embed the self, the cycle never over rotates
within the music of solo piano, blues-first
cross the walking dynamic of personal
metaphor, the system of regard
hosts within pageantry’s meaning
and analytical infatuation
of translucent fire
beneath the boiling
gene swarm soup
with liquid molten intentions
toward evolutionary revelations
Single celled respiration
fluxes of chaos
until stuffed gills
swell to the brink
with a snap, crackle, pop
seething to surface
from out the sea
by answering the siren’s song
to test the footing
of the high life
upon solid ground
where oxygen flows freely
into gasping lungs
adamant about embracing adaptation
Fiona reflected on his statement. One. It's not a crime to see people's failings and comment on them. Two. She didn't need hundreds of friends and if they were friends then they would accept her as she is. Three. Do you have to talk about personal things on the tube?
Scotty smiled at her, knowing she'd take it to a deep place, a place that's filled with doubt ridden prophets.
"Look, I'm not saying you're wrong, I'm just saying that there's a way of telling people. You don't have to be so direct, it can be said with a disarming smile; for example..." the train made an abrupt wobble making everyone groan. Fiona looked into his beautiful, half Indian eyes hating how they made her feel.
The train continued on its journey, rushing the underground passages like an amphetamine worm, tugging pulling and wrenching abnormally. Many people's eyes reflected questions: Should a train be behaving in such a dreadful manner? Pulling us so roughly? Is something wrong? Yes, something was terribly wrong. In two minutes the train would hit a bad weld and blackness, six of its carriages toppling and turning end over end, each pulling the other in a deadly tug -of-war; and when it's all over, Fiona; one of the only people to survive will lean over to Scotty and say to him with a disarming smile:
"Scotty, I think you might be dead." He will agree, the truth reflected in his sightless eyes; she could see it in his bones.
to lose your legs
and be thrown from the skies,
to swim in these black waters
the one dragon breath
the feet of snakes
flight smoother than the eagle’s
eyes wilder than a lion’s
when fixed on the meat it prepares
your powers of travelling
the distance between earth and sky
in disappearing, ephemeral momentum
what soul did you drop
from the whiskers of your benevolence
and let loose the winds on her
for the rains to enter
into her veins, for the clouds to
rage out of her eyes
what love did you let slip
into the ocean of your insatiability
what love has you drowned,
half sized, blue-bloodied
a grandmother’s lost pin a dragonfly no
look closer a cut stone or a dragon hatchling
thin as a heron’s leg part eel part newt part prawn
his legs furled under like that boy that fell in the park as if
from a great height we dug him up out of a marshy bank
the lake was a blown pupil here is a fish that is also a jewel
his neon glowstick blood lapidary body small as a breath
nestled where the lake bared yellow reeds like teeth
feet not yet talons fins not yet wings
now the cold-mouthed kiss of icy rain at the back of our necks
and the girls that found him waded out finding
depth and balance blood singing electric hallowed
only their pale bodies swimming against the tide
cold phosphorescent alive in the dark.
From core to thoughts to deed
Breath crushed, and lungs
Full fathom deep and think
You can keep your black dog
During better times I’ve gravel cast my roe
Tidal banked and cared for
I need to catch
My iridescent fish
And follow his light home
Some days, her body is simple - her mind is complex. Some days, her body is complex - her mind is simple. This is her journey. Every day she swims, sometimes with the tide, sometimes against the tide. This is her life. Her practice has become her gauge.
Lauren does not like the dark. She cannot see in the dark as the big-eyed fish in the deepest oceans do. Sometimes Lauren is in the dark. She does not like the dark. Lauren can put her leg behind her head. It helps her escape the dark. Her Guru says life is simple, said, life is simple. Lauren had, has her doubts. Guru laughs, freely, like a child. Life was never simple, life is never simple, but she heads towards the light, and on some days she too laughs, though not as freely as her Guru.
Lauren can hold her breath, her breath in, and her breath out. Holding her breath in, or her breath out, brings stillness into her mind, calming the waves. It brings stillness to every single cell of her body. Life can be simple, sometimes beautiful.
Lauren has been learning Greek. Her favourite verb is ‘εἰμαι.’ It means ‘I am.’ Her favourite Sanskrit mantra is ‘Soham.’ It can be said to mean ‘I am that.’ She breathes in with the sound of ‘soooo’ in her mind, and breathes out with the sound ‘hummm,’ also in her mind. It is also said to mean, ‘I am in you, and you are in me.’ This is a helpful mantra for Lauren.
Propelled through space
A fish out of water
A voyager suspended
From our laws
Banished beyond sight
Without trial or care
It follows nothing but
Responding to the stimulus
Of the void,
Nursing revenge in a darkness
With a mission
… and destroy
‘But, Dad, my fin is aching,’ Son said.
Dad had started to swim away but came back now, the concern evident on his face.
‘I know you’re tired, but if we don’t get moving, then we’ll be found.’
‘Dad, can’t we just hide?’ Son let himself sink for a few moments, floating serenely.
But Dad was growing impatient, he refused to be angry with Son though, he was only young, young enough not to understand the perils of the deep ocean.
‘Son, you have to come with me, plea-’
Dad paused, his gills rhythmically bursting out and sucking back in, eyes almost vacant as they stared ahead, mouth open as though ready to swallow a krill.
‘They’re coming,’ was all he said.
He could feel them in the water, sending waves towards Dad. Every flick of their tail would send silent sound waves to Dad whose acute sense of understanding discrepancies in the motion of the sea told him they were gaining ground.
There was no way they going to be able to outrun them, they were huge beasts, able to cover tremendous lengths of the ocean with just one flick of that dangerous tail.
Dad nudged Son with his head, not caring if he were being forceful, not caring if Son wanted to rest. He knew what the consequences were for staying still.
‘But, Dad, can’t we just hide,’ Son said again.
Read more >
you make me question everything. You are
perfect, skilful, calm. You cause me
I see you everywhere. In the reflection
of a window, under my sofa cushions. I smell you.
You linger. The scent is purple anger,
You are the thing inside me. You’ve wound
yourself around the bloody fist.
You’ve snaked into the beats of my blood.
You know its music.
I crack my chest like a lobster, like a shell.
I dig my hands in-between my own hot
wet lungs and veins. I root around for you.
Between my fingers is only the stain
of your electric blue, once living.
An hour passed and Richard began to doze off, the summer heat beating down his nape. A buzzing fly near his ear jolted him from his relaxation. He swatted it away and grunted. He pulled a can of Budweiser from his cooler and gulped it. He was about to call it a day when something began to tug on his fishing pole. The force swayed the boat and Richard nearly toppled into the water.
“What the hell!” Richard kept pulling, his arms aching.
Richard gave it one last pull, fell back and the fish landed on his lap. It wasn’t any ordinary fish. It had a long tail, its color blue and its face shaped like a lizard. Its mouth had razor sharp teeth. He’d never seen anything like it. When it reached for Richard’s hand, he screamed and jumped up. The lizard fish flopped around the boat uncontrollably. Richard took his sandal off and used it to toss the ugly blue fish lizard back into the lake. He used such force the fish was midair before splashing down into the water. Richard breathed a sigh of relief and rowed himself back to shore. He convinced himself it was all a dream.
a fragile goatsbeard drifter,
held together in a ball by
waits patiently to float with the wind
grey clouds clears and a breeze appears
undulating like a sleepy tide
our fragile drifter lets her guard down
her plumose crown of hairs led astray
in every direction
the wind decides to sway
from above, she could see
her past neighbours settling in the open meadows
she ignores their cries of worry
and sails further into the unknown
her brief moment
flying toward the sun
to last forever
I needed a drink.
I found a bar. It served real ale in flagons. Whatever happened to tradition, I wondered. I ordered a Dog’s Bollocks and a packet of crisps. The ale tasted of salt and earth. The crisps were stale. There were voices. Loud and angry. Some sad. The words were bitter on the ears. I drank my salt and earth and tried to find the bottom of the flagon. It was there somewhere; the meaning. If I could remember what he said.
What did he say?
My skin tingled. I scratched at it. Red blotches appeared. Was it the crisps? The ale? Too much salt and not enough substance. I stared through the honey brown bubbles and spied the identifying mark. I needed another. It tasted of salt and earth.
I drank alone. I cracked jokes and laughed. He had laughed. I thought it was something important. I remember he looked serious. He never looked serious. I tried to remember why I had gone there in the first place.
Read more >
And movement morphs into sound
Where insides move out
And straight becomes curved
Where light charges from within
And darkness from without
Where death and life do not exist.
What the darkness permits
What the light submits
What the eye is allowed to see.
Down here in the deep.
I stack flat stones and pull together a scratchy stack of dry seaweed, fish eggs and bits of blue and orange twine. The flame will tear through this when I light it.
The moon shines along a thin a strip of sea. A pathway, that’s what she’d say, my Mum. “Look! Where do you think it will take us?” Anywhere that’s a far fuck away from here, I’d say.
The roll of the tide, pushing and pulling the stones doesn’t drown out the rumble coming from behind the mountains. Our boat’s waiting, beached up by the cove, out of sight for now but ready to float when the tide reaches it’s highest point tomorrow. No false starts this time.
I don’t know why I’m holding the knife behind my back. I can hear the thing swishing, pushing, turning. I think it senses me coming because it moves so much that the tin bucket scrapes and shudders against the stones.
Harry Priest caught it for me earlier today using one of his old nets. He hadn’t told me that it was actually shining. It does look beautiful just like Dad said it was but when I see its black skin and thick neck I think I’m going to puke.
Dad said it was Mum’s soul lighting up the water when we sailed out the first time. He said that it was Mum telling us to stay, letting us know we’d be safe. He said he couldn’t leave if it meant leaving her.
He was sobbing as he rowed us back. Crying and almost collapsing each time he pulled on the oars. I didn’t know what to say, given that he’d seen Mum’s dead body and there was no light it in as far as I could see. He hadn’t let me look under the cover but if there was something shining in that dark and silent basement I would have noticed.
Read more >
Is the depth of black punctured
with electric greens and blues
to shock? to awaken to life?
to horrify -- or entice?
Or, like a pagan Christ,
will you lead us out of our
slumbering Greek cave,
only to double back,
to retrace the ascent
through which you so skillfully led
the groping shadow-lovers,
and to find yourself again
the magnificent light
in the dark?
Or perhaps, cruel temptress,
you will lead us only farther
into the endless deep,
you our false hope
of surface, air, light,
the shades of scales
weigh heavy on the
skeleton of hues.
with intrigue so vast,
drawing us in to it's world of why.
A backbone of electric green, strikingly vibrant with piercing eyes
but a dream to have a world led by greens.
They thought suggestions of a dainty nose or long fingers amongst the random swirls of moony white were good for beer-laughs, the kind of crap that signalled the onset of middle age.
So the shape in the darkness meant little to them for whole seconds, minutes maybe, as the jellied plastic was pressed over and over her pliant stomach while they held damp hands. But the head, when it was found, was a shining, all-jaw structure that made the technician narrow her eyes to cracks and press some kind of alarm.
A doctor came from nowhere, and then another, too stark in their clean coats for the little sweat-smelling room, for the roving presence on the screen.
She thought of Sunday pursuits with her father, the endless dangle of the rod, the paint can that squirmed with life as forbidden as her parent’s bedroom. One hour the bored surface was shattered by a single great mouth, a prehistoric gape, all skull and no brain, a slithering victory.
He thought of other dark waters, unfathomable pressures, wildlife documentaries that reveal an alien world beneath us, under the place where we swim and kick, nearly naked, trying for fun when all that reality is lurking.
They let go of each other’s hands at the same moment. The full creature was all there, the stubborn pursed mouth flowing into scale after scale, the cold blood visible in webs as unfamiliar as leaves, the body a split strip, a waving torso yet to grow legs.
means 'High Eyes' but to me
it sounds more like an early hit
of Frank Sinatra's, wrapped up in
greasy newspaper and played down
some ultra-violet alleyway.
But Mr. Mendel knew you were coming,
switched on the neon lights.
Now genetically modified, you no longer
need to wear the obligatory tee shirt or
your ragged jeans with the designer label 'Foxl3'
which guarantees your own exotic
and independent choice of fertilisation.
Apparently now we have sixty percent
of equivalent genes, which will allow us
to switch the mechanism and produce
a race of sweet smelling, pole dancing
Levis, here we come!
'Electric...blue,' I say.
'Bioluminescent, to be exact,' you reply. 'Deep sea fish use chemicals to produce light. Blue light travels best through water.'
You're one of those men who sponges up scientific facts then drips them out to inform. I don't mind. I've told my friends about your brains and how you're a Clooney clone who doesn't know it.
'Its spine is so delicate,' I say marvelling at the tiny bones lit up in green. What if my own spine lit up like that to show what the chemicals are doing to my body? I don't think you realise you're stroking one finger under the neck of my tee-shirt. Can't you feel me trembling? You look abstracted.
'I've Neon Tetras at home,' you say. 'They're not that hard to sex, but I've never had any success breeding them.' You turn towards me, eyes shining. 'They're so beautiful. Fresh water fish – characids. Come from Mexico. Red with one blue stripe from their eyes to their tails. You run your hand down my back as if to demonstrate. I shiver. You clear your throat. 'Some women aren't that impressed with my hobby.'
You could keep tarantulas for all I care. Apparently they're very rewarding.
'I used to have a goldfish when I was a kid,' I say. 'Jiggles'
'Jiggles – that's a nice name.' You sound quite serious. There's a pause. You clear your throat again.
Read more >
A deep breath for the wide breadth
Of glowing neurons
That pulse like run-way seams
Dreams that pull on the fabric of space-time,
Lighting up a skeleton key
To a whole form of lucidity;
The ability to travel anywhere throughout the galaxy,
They called it the Spark.
For the first time, she sees herself
From the complications of the world
That danced and whirled around her field of vision,
The superposition of regrets
Of paths not taken
Merge and become one
A deforestation of speculation.
New Years Day is everyday now,
Whatever this used to mean.
The Image, then;
Read more >
“I don’t know how to ...” he trailed off.
I tried to get under his gaze, to force eye contact, but he was looking too far down.
I thought about pressing him.
But he looked up, he said, “It’s your X-rays. We don’t know how to ... don’t know what they mean.”
“What does that mean?” I asked.
“That’s just it,” he said. He started scratching his head again. “We can’t figure them out. Here. Take a look.”
He turned the folder around and held it out to me so that I could see. There were several X-Rays inside. But I don’t know how to read X-rays, so I looked at them half trying to figure out what I should have been looking for, and half wondering if I would have been able to tell what made good X-rays good, if I had been looking at good X-rays. But even though I couldn’t read X-rays, I could read the doctor’s face enough to guess that I wasn’t looking at good X-rays.
“No?” he said to me after half a minute.
&n“I don’t ...”
“Those are fish X-rays,” he said.
Now I opened my mouth to say something, but I didn’t know what to say, and so I closed it.
“Your bones,” the doctor said after a pause, “they’re fish bones. Here, you can see it clearly along the ribs.” He flipped through the stack of eight-and-a-half-by-elevens and picked out a black-and-white close-up of my torso. “You see, right there,” he ran his index finger along the biggest rib bone on the left rendered in white against the background.
Read more >
from here to there
each piece a precisely cut puzzle
is half a promise – that the sea
would speak if I could trust
the tongues of lives the water lost.
maybe the weight of the tide
could lead you here, to blotting dark:
airless, hopeless, senseless
where splinters pierce
a jelly skin, and yet the ghosts
still try to dance.
But an eye without a lid
can’t deny the stinging swarm
of salt and false fire and broken ice
that pricks the holes of open mouths
from the water’s ceaseless song
that sailors first learn to keep
heart-close, tucked within, like a bottled ship
with strings since cut
named for a forgotten girl
and they know always that words or not,
the loss and loss and loss
solitary sapphire micro-beast
simply motoring through deep unknowns.
Marked phosphor in the nervous system
radiative cognisant alien submariner organism
motivated by territorial reproductive potential.
Intruder-guardian of Darwinian postulation,
blanketed by hidden hostility.
Flight, fight; freeze...
Fruits of the abyss eluding its tactics...
floating inert like a cobalt, demersal curiosity.
No taste of experiment. The hour proven new.
Traipsing eternal in the central, inner space
Frozen; stasis suspended, animate.
Unanchored, with pilot tools...circulating.
and my eyes have company
in the flashlights of passing cars
tearing through the unlit room
undresses my dreams. I lay
bare-boned, silent, aglow
with no choice but to surrender
For in my mind
I swim alone, away from
your arms; from our son's
In the privacy of my exhaustion
I am a hybrid of hope
channeling battles that will
round me up
Like a solemn moon
with craters cleared of Karma,
hovering over The Present
- its pulsating ribbons
ready to be undone
with the imminent rise
of the morning Sun.
Each movement is traced like neon at night. It cannot spot what is in its vicinity just through what they see. It cannot choose not to reflect its insignificant presence into the vast, spacious world. It hopes the best, as it projects its existence on ink, waiting for something to recognize its tincture.
A similar, much smaller life totters by, shining its own light in the ocean, consumed with a quick snag. Why is it, that nature leaves a trait both suicidal, yet essential, to the creature's survival?
Why is it, that George Orwell, Yevgeny Zamyatin, Aldous Huxley broke the ink against such a frightening prospect? Why is it, that Arthur Miller illuminate the state of a broken dream? Why do many writers, reaching the darkest state of mind, the deepest recluse inside their minds' blocks, shine?
Cross-sectioned – dissected
illuminated from a light source
that shines in the dark
unlike our conflicted souls.
I hunger for your luminous
colours of blue and green,
which didn’t you know
would never be seen
in the gloom of our souls,
which slide to the dark side.
I want to be X-rayed too
with my true colours on display.
Showing a tremulous backbone
when push comes to shove.
And my soul struggles to
keep my body alive – just.
You morph above it all,
our pre-occupations and angst.
Your missile body finds its target
with grace and consummate ease
harming no one on contact.
And into the starry
Skies of night
Exists a world so
What we can imagine."
I sneak a peek at his eyes
And, as I do this, he
Is trying to understand
What I am saying, yet
Is ignoring me at the same
"We are here, you and I.
We exist, yes? But, beyond
What we can ever fathom,
Is a world waiting to
Be Explored. One of
Snakey bugs, Oversized lizards,
Humongous flowers, and
Infinite time zones.
We are here and it is there."
I do not know if he understands
What I am saying,
Yet my son, *nods in agreement*
Only for acknowledgement of
The visitor continued to hover clumsily some ten feet away, There was a disturbance in the electric field we would have identified as a whirring.
“Say, it’s a big ocean … and what with pressures at this depth making travel a bit of a chore… I mean… Look I’m shy, and disinclined towards all this group spawning stuff the others are into… I mean … if you have nothing else scheduled … what would you say to a bit of–?”
There was an intense flash which all but blinded the Symbolophorus barnardi but which would bypassed our senses in all but a brief searing headache.
“What the bloody– Are you psycho or something? I was only suggesting we go halfers in a thousand or so zooplankton.”
“Stoppit, you nutjob. Right … enough of the niceties. You approached me, so– Ow! Now that’s what I call scales. Playing hard to get, eh? Well I know what you like; I’ll just mosey along your flank… Yep, I’ll just skim along… Say, how big are you– Ah, there’s the tail fin. Odd construction.”
The Lantern Fish rested for a while against the visitor’s rigid dorsal.
“Bear with me … suck-suck … my gills are killing me. Right, my lovely…”
As the Lantern Fish sought to get into position, the Deep Sea Submersible Drone rotated on its axis with a little forward movement. The buzz was muffled.
Thor glared at Björn. The viewscreen showed a blur of flesh and entrails joining the general detritus on its journey to the sea bed.
“What? He moved out of shot.”
They flicked the autopilot to return and debated the pros and cons of design and illumination wavelength as the drone retraced its course.
I swim on.
Not knowing if it is night or
am I blind?
Have I swam into depths that
no light can penetrate?
Yet I swim on.
I can not know for sure
what lies ahead.
As I swim into the gloom as
black as pitch .
What life is there here,
if any ?
Yet I swim on.
It is all I know.
So I swim on until
I am no more.
ugliness in a world of beauty.
My light goes unseen
except by those
who go out of their way
I am solitude in the coldness;
always under pressure to conform:
to spawn with the rest.
I believe in love.
I am a joke
to my friends.
I see myself reflected
in the bulbousness
of the Lantern’s eye.
around before time began,
a nomad of nothings in search
of permanent spaces for an eternity
of expanding universes.
The maths has almost proved it,
so there has to be something in it.
I prefer to call it God –
deciding to put down roots,
to work out a phenomenal
creativity in voids that were lonely,
There was no competition,
therefore no need for haste;
the only requirement was a singular
capacity for invention, and the
stretching of an infinite mind
that allowed nothing to turn
into something. Fireworks:
the first ‘son et lumiere’ ever –
ultra violet and neon green: the hint
of skeletons in an elemental ghost train.
Then: evaluation: gauging
the difference that a degree
of unpredictability might make;
Read more >
the colour that of a mermaid
she glows in the deep sea
like the brightest star at night
She’s a goddess
born not of this world
but of her own world
she’s the original Mammi Wata
She’s specially drawn
into a life of spiritual theft:
human flesh her singular
She entices with her colour beauty
soft but tough
Every first Saturday of the month
when the Mayor calls for communal labour
along the beaches of the sea
we run into a sad news: of several human carcasses.
What I don’t say is that my insides feel like they are outside; nerves, tendons, organs exposed and electric. I am a horror to my fellows, an alien walking among them. They sense it, I know they do.
What I do say, is “OK”.
We have been here before. The weeks have passed and I wonder why he won’t just tell me what he sees, he must see it. Then he can tell me how to fix it, someone must know how to fix this. Pull yourself together, of course. But I need to get my insides back inside me and that isn’t just a pulling together; it is an inversion.
I won’t look at him directly; if I look up at all, I look to the side of his ear. I fear his eyes will be too loud and torture my uncovered self.
He says, nodding, “Is it the same OK as last week, or any different?”.
What I don’t tell him is that this week, like every week, has been so difficult because every part of me feels conscious and from these sentient elements my mind creates a huge self, so distorted that I can barely breathe when I contemplate its enormity and ugliness.
What I do, is shrug.
“You shrugged. Tell me little about what that means” he says this, and I hear a slight squeak as he shifts position in the chair, transferring his weight minutely forward.
“This week has been a bit...”
went to the sea
and he sat close,
I felt his quivering calf
the melting bone
of my knee
I dug my fingers
into the dirty sand
black white and cream
strewn with everything
from a week ago
washed to my
where he, I and members
of our ‘gang’
who did who
in the way I spoke
two years ago.
“No,” I said, “we don’t dream at all.”
I watch his face relax. He nods.
“I just wondered, I didn’t mean to cause any offence.”
“None taken Mr Applebea. We are programmed only to serve. We may look like you, but we are not the same.”
He nods again.
“What time is my next meeting?”
I touch the screen and see the blue tail of the screensaver swimming away.
“Half an hour, Mr Applebee.”
“Oh my, I’d better get going. See you later, Daise.”
“See you later, Mr Applebea.”
Daise is not my name. I don’t have one. Why would an android ever need one? We have no need of anything. Well, only a good technician on those rare occasions when our exquisite circuits whirr one beat slower, but even a technician can become surplus to requirements.
This is what Daise stands for. Not for the girl prompted by her lover to give him ‘an answer do,’ Daisy Bell, the song you hum over and over again, when you are stuck on one of your equations. Or for Daisy Buchanan, the obsession of the dashing Jay Gatsby, in the book you keep on the shelf by your bed. Read more >
I live in the darkness, but I can still be seen – they hadn’t understood that my colour choices were luminous. I am the colour of sky and grass: in the dark pools I look at my reflection, colour my world and imagine the places I am no longer permitted to be.
blacker than light seal
stars have burnt their way
through the night
leaving an ink so thick
skeined vessels shrink to blink
lids lie dormant
unable to stretch limbs
singularly pliant; snaking
a psychedelic path to pain
spinal yellow bleeds into blue
amnesia is truly a blessing
in this eternity
my horizontal ability
as bubbled lungs
squirming for air
as one last gasp
but it reminds you of the scan,
of the baby that never was.
This fish is straight and true.
Your little swimmer was folded round itself
like a comma.
This purple and turquoise beauty
is out of this world,
mating and reproducing in space.
Your tiny punctuation mark
floated in its sac of fluid
but failed to flourish.
Oryzias latipes has made its mark
Your unnamed unknown has left a scar
in your heart.
You caged your inner self and held your personality a prisoner while you tried to be someone you were not. Eventually after losing yourself, you finally get accepted by the cool fishes. The poor little blue-green shrimp thought the road ahead was a happy easier journey but all it brought was misery.
Finally, after days of adjusting to her fake appearance she could not take it anymore, the true her resurfaced. Little blue-green shrimp embraced her inner self. The popular fish did not like her rebellious way so they swam in a different direction.
Blue-green shrimp swam through the cold empty waters, she could hear an anchor fall from miles away. She was alone, in darkness. Nobody around to talk to or be talked to and she loved it.
She was herself, embracing every inch of who she was meant to be. Others will always be able to notice her in a crowd because of who she is.
The road ahead is going to be lonely and hard but all that matters is the happy songs that her heart sang because she was true to herself.
She was the one who got away.
I see you from below. I do not mock or taunt you. Although that would be entirely plausible. You could well be my target in the eye of the storm-pools that your repetition creates. I choose to allow you to feel free in the planned chaos of your predictability. I base this decision on instinct, having no free will to speak of. I cannot speak. For this you are thankful as it is the silence that you relish. I too am grateful for this as I would hate to break the spell cast by you on your surroundings. Would wonder if it would plunge you into my darkness that you are not equipped to deal with. You do not realise in your unthinking that it is me who is mindful. I radiate with your need to expunge the world but I do not possess the means to think about it. I wonder if you ever contemplate that.
on the weathered back fence.
The leaves of the mango tree
my grandma planted before she died
trembled as an invisible serpent
stalked my weakness.
Razor blades of grass try to pierce
my skin, but it’s futile
—I’m already in the middle of decay.
Autonomous realities cross paths,
collide and overlay.
The objective had become lost
in my madness.
Inch by inch, my consciousness
disappears in the wind stream.
My atoms begin to disperse,
breaking bonds, causing my
physical self to become transparent,
walking (or waking) into another world.
Electrifying the surrounding blackness
By its vividness and natural colours.
Flowing in the slow-flowing streams
Surviving brackishness in waters different.
Being a pet in the Japanese homes or
Swimming in tranquil aquariums
Watched by the screaming kids/bemused adults,
Medaka is something for everybody:
A fish or a being strange.
A subject for scientific study for vertebrate development
A species taken in the outer space mission in 1992
A regular muse for the visual artists of the world
Across time and space!
A delightful tiny creature telling humans great lessons
About the value of the adaptability and hypnotic
Power of translucence.
A distant female voice echoes across space and time, the first anchor of recognition. Faint. There, little one. But I am not little, am I. Not for a long time. I blink, can do that. Do it again. But still a sea of emptiness. The voice comes in ripples, Be strong.
Don’t be afraid.
Fires are raging inside. A bead of sweat breaks free from the necklace fresh made on my forehead. It rolls over the bridge of my nose, then slides down my cheek, melting ice on ice, and heads for the corner of my mouth. I issue the command. ‘Tongue catch.’ But like every other part of me, my tongue has gone on strike; chest rising and falling to an automated concertina rhythm, the accompaniment to a nearly played out epic. I don’t know why my overreached breathing doesn’t hurt. Below the neck, I feel nothing. No sounds, not even a beating heart. Only your voice, now, again, this time with cutting clarity, my long – gone mother. HOLD ON, you say. BE STRONG. I close my eyes against the encroaching night. And there, on the screen of empty, suddenly, something. The light spot from a pin hole camera. I squeeze my eyes tighter, giving my full attention, more attention than I’ve given to anything, ever. And, I watch it magnify, a searing afterglow, like I have stared directly into the sun with no protection. Flashes at first, just one frame every few seconds, then another, and another, until the image becomes a constant, with shape. I can’t make out what. Read more >
Full of light,
Navigating the uncharted external night,
Full of hope,
Seeking for the source of life,
Through a world of asteroids,
Gliding effortlessly over black holes,
Searching through the rough sea,
Of cosmic debris,
Cheerful in its quest,
A true explorer of the universe,
Full of inquisitiveness,
An incandescent delight,
To inspire and bring good cheer in times of darkness and fear.
painted glowing fluorescence,
captured the essence
of beauty in your all-seeing eye?
Is it simple illusion
or splash of fusion?
The long journey you travelled
may be unravelled
from a magical place in the sky.
How do you swim with such grace
to go without trace
to lands of fire, ice and snow?
Those things we don't know.
Unfinished questions, as you pass by.
of my afterspace of you.
Letting and going and breathing
step by step, underneath a water dyed with the aftermath of silk and nights that wrinkle me in the bathtub.
Where no amount of gin and love songs frees open the clogged up ear drums and soapy pipes trying to gulp down my hair.
I am glowing slightly, under the efervescent lightbulb banging against my head. I am glowing slightly, under what I remember to be the colour of your eyes.
There are stories of the renaissance children spending their days soaked in colour, dyeing cloth for the rich. I want to be rich. I want to be a child. I want history to be slightly skewed and correct. There is nothing here that is correct. There is nothing in me; this empty bath of music and hope.
Somewhere through the bolted door, within my window, there is a trumpet coughing up blood and lips.
I want this night to be mine.
Wearing ruffles, pretty in blue, fluorescent blue. Best-dressed. Graceful. Gliding through the black.
Alien, yet familiar. Seeking. What?
Or just being. Living. Getting through the day. One fin at a time. Slowly, but surely, creeping forward to a new day, a new time.
Well that’s exactly what I’d say about you lot!
Hell, I should be on Chesil beach in the primordial crystalline pools of my ancestors.
But here I am suspended in black and getting grief.
So you want to know - really know - what life is?
Your proposed tests will get you nowhere.
The microscope lies.
I am life. It prickles through me.
I am the start of the universe,
and you want to dissect me.
I am translucent,
upstream from form.
Solid enough, but nothing sticks.
Especially your concepts.
I am the newest, the only-just-here. The most beautiful.
Relaxed. Poised. Ready.
I’m you before you had a face.
Stop this weighty analysis
You might see the show.
My nerves prickle with pleasure.
I light up.
But you’re not looking.
We unhook tongues and I head to the bar, three more drinks I reckon then back to mine. What do you think about the Japanese Rice Fish, I say as I try now with larger bait and she laughs and I think the beer has made me misjudge things and ruin all my hard work, or is she finding it endearing? Do you have strong opinions on the Japanese Rice Fish? she says. I read a thing about them being, you know, up there, I say and I point my index finger upwards. I'm hoping subconsciously she notices the length of my finger and the assured drive of it, more interested am I in the workings of the mind. Last week I read Freud and Jung quotes for a girl who's up at the college studying Psychology. That one saw through me after five minutes which I should've anticipated but didn't. Up there? she says. On the roof? Read more >
Wow, are those a million small bones or electricity
passing through you.
I can't tell what you are in the dark,
your luminescence is dazzling.
Wh at a guide you must be for the lost,
the searchers within our worlds.
What a tasty morsel for some blind flounderer in the dark.
Stay safe blue-green surfer of the deep.
eight hours at a stretch,
our lips nibble like little fish,
we slip by
and circle each other
together at last,
we swim through the arch.
They say there are oceans on Enceladus, seas under the ice of Europa. I wonder if it's warm under the insulated sky. Are there volcanoes where lava meets the sea? Strange creatures might live there, blooming flowers that make their own light, flashing in a language of colors on their electric and alien skin. What would our eyes see, if we could register that spectrum? What would their eyes see?
there is an end blue and behind
every shining grey to seaweed on chalk-rock green
no other life that shows
sun takes tricks in time defeats the negative
picks-out sticks-to this wavering spine paper skull pinned
suspended no net hook or rescuing rip
off the page i close grit-eyes reel onto my inner eye-lids
today's showing of Beings all
i'm too scared to check on
do i need to be anchored to Earth tonight?
that sails the star-filled firmament,
there is a fish;
a blue-green, slinky,
almost neon fish;
a ship that flies
above the blue-green earth.
Does he look
with wistful eyes
upon the deep,
so very far below,
or does he exult
in knowing he’s
one of the few
to have escaped
this fragile goldfish bowl.
bulbous blue eyes, fluttery
fins & gulping gills
do not entrance. In a rice paddy,
you’re nothing special. Hardy,
yes. Reproductively prolific.
But your pedestrian exterior
is just a cover for your secret,
for the ET fish that hides
within indigo flesh, threaded
with fluorescent green tendrils.
Nervous system aglow.
All systems go.
What you call me is not important
What you call me is everything
Muscle on cartilage
Scale on water
with every flick of my tail
Your mouth, so treacherous
Opens and shuts on words
That seek to ensnare me
Your words a web
cutting through my electric blue flesh
I bleed diamond shapes
before choosing another definition
My blood glows
even without you
What you call me is not important
a darkness--seemingly--more blue than black.
Where hope swims electric,
shooting off wave after wave
of dazzling neon dreams, most are blind.
They feel pressure, sure, we all do,
and they feel motion, but they can’t see.
Some have eyes, useless as they are,
grotesque things, monstrous things,
things you could use to scare the kids
into behaving. Teeth like ancient jagged
vessels; gnashing, tearing, binding;
carrying sleep, sweet forever-dreams.
A quickness dizzying
in its splendor and suddenness,
anchoring you to where you’ve sunk.
Light in veins, lightning stains
slashing out from the biding stillness.
Do they have a switch? Is it reactionary?
Or is it the last thing you’re supposed
to see before eternal tenebrific obscuration?
One last flash before your eyes become
abstract ideas of what was, what’s happened, what is
no more: another set of sunken, unseeing
monster peepers waiting to scare the children.
The deep is a dream that visits me
every single night.
"Come here often?" a small crab asked him from the depths.
"I don't know what here is," the fish said, whipping tail in a mad circle swim, hoping for some kind of escape.
"That's what they all say," the crab responded, clicking his claws - a kind of slow-clap. "Probably you were swimming with your shoal, bang a net caught you, bang you went hither and dither in plastic bags, bang you dropped in here. That's how it usually goes."
He looked at the crab. The crab's eyes were out on stalks. At least he had some company.
"What do I do now?"
"What do you do now?" The small crab scratched its smooth armour-plated head with a claw. "I should say you swim around in a circle, shitting where you like, eating that crap flaky dandruff they pour in, and hoping for the love of the aquarium that they change the water once in a while."
The crab released bubbles from its slat mouth. The fish swam with the bubbles to the top of the tank, where the water rippled and rose gently in its usual way. This isn't so bad, thought the fish. I can get used to this. He scooped up a flake or two and swallowed. He shot shit pellets out into the dark. As he looked up, he thought he could make out two huge, watery eyes staring down at him.
What did that crab say again? he thought to himself.
through black water, with big empty eyes
and a promise lost.
Sinking into the shadows,
wafted through weedless catacombs,
tunnels finding tunnels.
Hands linking, all in one place,
sanctuary for seekers of safety.
To see your spine electrified, your nerve endings sparkling.
The way you move in the abyss, with only your inner luminescence lighting the way.
You're your own lighthouse, the only guide you'll ever need. When everyone else basks in the rays of the sun, you float content in the black ocean floor.
How did you become so terrifying?
So much more worthy of the love you shun?
The way you crawl beneath the known in favor of the undiscovered,
the ones ready to wrench your glowing heart out of your chest.
You know this, but carry on, and that is why you are feared. And so so loved.
Even when you have your choice of admirers, you choose to be by yourself.
Even when you immerse yourself in cold ebony ink,
over the warmth of starlight,
and within your darkest depths,
you remain beautiful.
I am the reason you sometimes glance over your shoulder in an empty room.
There is no-one there you think with a shudder,
This is not true. I am here. I am always here.
I am the thought at the back of your mind.
I lodged in you some years ago now, as my kind is wont to do,
as you were about to enter your seventh year,
I have been here ever since.
I am the thought at the back of your mind.
I am your guilty conscience and the sudden sense of shame and uselessness which takes you over on a dark winter's night.
I am the nagging doubt you will ever be good enough,
The one who will trip you into the arms of betrayal.
I am the one relishes both your pleasure and your pain, your guilt and disgust.
The one who makes you drink the extra glass of wine and scoff the last cake.
I am fed by your happiness, but I am nourished by your failure.
You are a feast and I am what you would call a glutton or a slob.
I am the thought at the back of your mind.
I have always been here. We have always been here.
Please don’t feel picked upon.
We are numerous and we are in all of you.
We are eternal.
Gliding through deep murky terrains
A fish, an idea, a hope, a miracle
emanates aimless kaleidoscopic rays
The rays illuminate an endless space
The breathless fish
The droning idea
The angry hope
The mundane miracle
All mired in a deep dark dangerous hollow
The rays extinguish
The hungry darkness
Devours a fish
A drowsy cow in a barren meadow
Dreams of delicious lush green grass
The sky constricting in the eyes
An evanescent blue patch with gleaming greenery
A tiny fish of hope silently circling
Slowly gliding in the dousing eyes
The fish will die
I smile, thinking I'm safe now, because we're not at his place.
We're in a tiny brown-bricked side alley just off Mare Street, Hackney, and I can hear the crowd from The London Fields pub leave after last call.
I let him shout at me without really listening: I need to tell myself I'm safe. He wouldn't do anything out in the open, would he?
He's more a behind closed doors kind of guy.
Then all of a sudden I'm not there anymore.
I'm in Barcelona.
I'm five years old and I'm with my parents, walking through the tunnels of the first aquarium I've ever seen in my life.
I am happy.
They are happy.
We are all fucking happy.
My dad is trying to catch my attention, to show me sharks, dolphins or whatever it is that he's shouting about.
I'm not having it.
I'm looking at the evolution of small fish.
"Don't you want to see the dolphins, honey?" says my mother.
"What are you looking at?"
I point at the old scans, bathed in neon lights.
I don't explain why because I don't know the words: I'm five, for fuck's sake.
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as we dug shallow ditches,
thick claw-like calloused tips
scooping pockets off the foreshore,
to return that which started this frantic rite:
washed up scores of fish bones
caught in throaty jars, illuminated,
laced with uranium and violet.
An alien truth of us, our beginnings.
To appease the deep we made offerings:
of broken dolls, defunct diaries,
lapsed timepieces, unsung bells,
bundles of return to sender letters
returned more than once.
Our reluctant parents watched
from the landing window,
fingers splayed against cold glass,
two incidental siblings, resolved
chagrined eyes tracing our wonky rows,
our watery graves, our scattered debris
of a life lived less ordinary.
As the silence plunged all around us
we endured moonlight falling
on our raised veins, wispy threaded
lifelines marked and bruised and trembling.
‘So what’s your favourite worst film?’
I was going to say Carry On Camping, but didn’t want her to think I had a thing for innuendo, so said I didn’t know.
Her eyebrows raised ever so slightly. ‘So what’s your favourite best film?’
‘That’s easy. The Godfather Part II. Genius. What about you?’
‘I know! And the sequels. Genius.’
‘And the spin-offs. Sharktopus, Sharkzilla, Sharknado, Sharknado 2: The Second One, Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!, Shark Night, Shark in Venice, Dinoshark, Ghost Shark, Swamp Shark, Super Shark, Jurassic Shark, Sand Sharks, 2-Headed Shark Attack, Jersey Shore Shark Attack, Mega Shark in Malibu, Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus, Mega Shark vs Crocosaurus …’
While she was talking, I could see, stuck between her teeth, bits of bluefish and cabbage. Pudding wasn’t going to happen.
Hung between each of the three projecting gantries, each pinned at one end to the space station they radiated from to retain the precise position the great printing head needed to do its work. Its main printing head, seeming to be angrily carved in metal and carbon to mimic the mouth of a wolf that had been badly described by machine code hung over its last design. Its chiseled maw hung open and empty.
Around the space centre several of the collection ships hung, their journeys for recovering space debris, dust and material from small asteroids to feed the printer had long finished. The docking bays for the return shuttles from the station to the planet all vacant scars on the sleek body of the station. On the printing head itself the last piece of material that had been super-heated through the printers solar powered mixing stomach had been left hanging like an annoying piece of food from the printing head, endlessly lodged between two of hugest silicon glass teeth used to guide the printing jets. Beneath the dangling piece of printing food the nearly finished carcass of the ship it was destined to feed hung, the umbilical tethers to the printing frame still restraining its birth. The long elliptical hull, a beautifully flat reflective surface ending in a half formed mess of deck, hull and strengthening structures that would have formed around the huge engines being built a quarter orbit spin-wise. No reflection surface was left unpolished to throw off the suns outbursts, the panels etched into its form one of the ways the ship powered itself.
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But what are you doing here? Don’t you know there’s a lot of weird stuff around here! And have you ever heard of Humans, ever? Shh.. Don’t say that loud.. they might hear you and if they will hear you, they might find you, and then they will kill you! They never spare anyone. They never have! They will either capture you and keep you in prison, give you some food to eat.
You must be thinking that that isn’t too bad, but that is what their trap is all about! They will torment you. Every single day. And will work on you, and do their experiments, drop so many harsh liquids, they will keep you in so many lights and see how you respond to it, till what level is your body able to cope up with the pain they will infuse in you. And if by any chance, they’re not able to do any good of you, they will keep you in a box and decorate their house with the light of your skin, flaunt you to the world, as if they own you and have every right to treat you the way they want!
of water, miles past
where any light
might still penetrate,
in the dark
in the cold
your cool blue glows
a word in the language
A bright warning,
or a welcome.
or simply a name
moving through the black
where life finds new ways
to become more
As Christmas approaches it's blood turns brighter and it's skin fades darker. The flesh to what holds it together and which lacks no real beauty, becomes a tomb to the frustration it has within. It pitters around in the depths of the ocean with never having been in any bright light and certainly no sense of identity. However, don't pity this organism, for it shouldn't miss for what it has never had. Yet, because it glances above at the sun-warmed waters, it feels as if it misses out and thus pumps itself with blood, only green because of envy.
As Christmas approaches and those others around you become self-induced and materialistic, remember one thing. We are all swimmers in the same ocean. If others are given more light than yourself, that is not to say that you must glow with jealousy. Green is colour that should only be for grass and nature. Wanting more only makes the darkness darker.
The danger comes from all directions. Little balls of lights like stars entice anything with eyes sensitive enough to perceive them. But the odds of running into something with eyes down here is miniscule. They simply aren't necessary. With teeth too big for its own mouth, the danger waits in ambush. It preys on what it feels.
Size matters; the smaller you are, the better. You don't want to stand out. There's always something lurking quietly in the distance, waiting for you to mess up, conserving as much energy as possible. Instead of cowering in fear, you embrace it. You know you're invisible. No one will bother you down here, unless you ask for it.
There was a stranger lurking within me,
A creature, a thing,
A nameless wanderer...
With rainbow colours,
Sprouting under its flaky skin.
There was a stranger within me,
That plunged into the darkest waters,
Of the inhospitable sea,
In an adventurous journey,
Towards a luminous reality.
Soft limbs, moisty eyes,
Flickering tail, weightless torso,
Sliding through 'the Unknown'.
It carried the need to survive,
And the instinct to search for 'the Unfound'.
This boneless creature,
Came out of the most shadowy corners,
Of the deep ocean.
It gently forced its way,
Gliding towards the unexplored depths,
of the mysterious Blue.
Beyond the shady underworld,
The faintest light appeared,
And the murky darkness,
Of the unfolded void,
No longer frightened this lonely thing.
the latest production from Neptune’s Projects.
I am anaphoric semaphore – come quickly!
I am putting on a show in the trenches, the result
of consuming impossibly rampant frangipani;
I am happy to be accused of ruining the magic.
I am an exclamation mark that’s taking a break,
having a bath, telling everyone to chill a little,
as that’s the best rebellion you can do down here.
Feeling flat? Style it out – don’t fight it, light it!
We are all everyone’s CT scans – pleasure centres
alive when we swim into each others’ arms.
I am the world’s first underwater ticker tape,
desiring that you celebrate living with me.
‘spirit tek' = an instinctive liking for someone you don’t even know
A shimmering place. And terrifying because of what lay beyond. The water like a membrane, a barrier. You thought – this is what keeps me safe.
But it is not only light which pricks the surface. Things penetrate, they swoop. The water shattering into tiny pieces, like frosted glass, and so you go deeper, down into the darkness and away from the light. And it’s true you fear that indigo blackness. You can’t deny it. But safety is not always a bright, dazzling thing. It can also be black.
And how many years is it now?
Time measured in fathoms, in tiny pinpricks of ever fading light; white, yellow, green, blue, black. Years marked by the slow descent and the diffusion.
Until you feel it. A weightless translucence. A freeing up of something. A lightness and buoyancy which flickers through you, and sends little flashes of something into the void.
Electric blue. A spark. A light. It is you.
You float. Safe. Deep. Alone.
- I was just wondering if you have any new types of fish in this week that are a bit different to the ones you had when I popped in on Friday last week?
What about one of these? Handsome looking fish and... they glow!
- Hmm, yes, I can see that!
We sell loads of them!
- You do?
Yes, they really are VERY popular!
- I see
- Yes, I do
So you'll take a couple?
- Uh, no I think I'll give those a miss this time.
This time, eh? So you're tempted?
I've only got the two left.
- That one looks a bit... you know... dim?
Oh, yeah, but he's been on the go all day! I mean, all that bioluminescence takes it out of you!
- I can imagine! It just looks a bit, you know... er... limp!
No, he's right as rain!
- He is?
Yes, he's just relaxing, preserving his energy, like.
- I'm still not convinced...
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