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, destroy the post.
Wonder why deliveries stopped,
why your fridge is empty
and the taps are dry.
Blame the other flats.
Blame the resident’s committee.
Detain the cat when
it crosses the line.
Turn the barbed wire
into sheet metal, a wall.
Brick up your windows.
Stop the freeloading light
from pouring into your home.
Force the cat into a cage.
Don’t feed it. Ignore the cries.
Wonder why the neighbours
are suddenly outraged.
Sharpen your knives
and wait for the knock
as they come to invade.
**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 my models indicate Ash is the likeliest candidate.Continue reading
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 what we lost.
The subtle, gentle changes are hard-
rain when you swore it was sun.
Physics changing. The bullet
landing there, not here.
Most stopped caring about politics.
We became numb and did not register if
a speech’s reception was edited
or some minister altered a few votes.
These are the days of constant whiplash
and rising nausea. No, we mourn the
quiet moments most. Holding hands
deemed subversive and forgotten
or our laughter changed to silence.
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
blocking stray stars at first
then growing like a revalation
you refuse to acknowledge.
Leave your beached craft behind.
Walk the route you know so well
without having been here before.
Trust your feet to guide you true,
over the shore that sighs secrets,
to the glowing lake where we bathe.
We smile. Invite you into the icy water
and wash all your memories away.
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
I record this message as an emissary
from the past, from your former government,
but it will be clear to all of you listening
that all our institutions and borders
were always illusory, tricks of the light.
to create numerous systems together,
will them into being, change the
It pains me to think of you listening to this.
We are sorry. We were blind in so many ways.
There is little to be done now
but to listen to seeds split open and grow,
feel your heart thump,
and to spend time with those you love.
That’s all there ever was.
All the poems I wrote for NaPoWriMo 2018 are available as an ebook that you can download for free.
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.
(A flash of dawn light.)
A dictator walks the streets alone.
You are forced to stay at home,
watch the Good Leader on television,
where we can categorise and file you.
(Eyes flicker and succumb once more.)
Today the sun expanded without warning,
consuming our glass sphere in flames
four billion years early. The future
is always uncertain. Buy insurance.
(Waking for certain now, you watch
as a bee attempts to crawl into
a drawing of a lilac, again and again.)
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 notebooks
and kept buried in a locked drawer.
Do not think of lightning.
There are times when bolts are thrown
almost at your feet and you jump
and weave to avoid being struck.
Go where people pool and flow.
Look up. More clouds metamorphose,
more than you ever noticed before.
Each person glances at their own squall
as it follows them, unwavering.
A stranger beckons you under an umbrella.
Stand still together and be dry.
The Kite Festival
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
in the sky, saw the strings that
connected them to small figures
guiding their joy from the ground.
We drove past, continued home,
but my heart opened the door
raced across the grass,
climbed up the string
and in that cloudless expanse
it became part of the dance.
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.
From above, the ground is a pictograph
of the inside of your skull.
One strike sends sharp signals
to everyone. We all twitch and flinch.
Somewhere within the network, you
are a single synapse, one electrical
spark dragging connection in its wake.
All the poems I wrote last year for #NaPoWriMo are available as a free ebook. Download it here.