They camped for the night on the porous edge of Real,
upstream as far as possible from Sad.
They watched the lights go out, watched space congeal.
‘Can it really do that?’ asked someone who had
taken science courses. They watched goblins steal
both Joy and Meaning, leaving only Bad
in their picnic hampers where they’d thought they’d kept
enough sustenance. They suffered, then they slept.
I wanted the last sentence to be ‘They suffered. No one slept’ denoting vigilance and resistance, but their eventually forgetting and giving up seemed sadly more likely.
The gurnards engage me in quiet conversation.
My surprise that I am breathing under water
gives way to wonder, first, that fish can talk
and, secondly, to their accent: Brummie bubbles.
A phantom Bull Ring! Fancy, at these fathoms.
I’ve been down so long that ‘up’ is an abstraction.
A basking shark, from Bristol by its vowels,
backs off when I recite the Nicene Creed.
I did not know I knew it, and I don’t.
The words flow from a channel that is other
to the one I’ve so far thought of as my mind.
This area of asphalt that the gurnards
patrol, they tell me, is a carriage way
laid down when Britain rose above the waves.
A bit of pre nostalgia for after Greenland’s ice slips into the seas.
When WeenGon, a god of lost socks and found chances, is in free mode, he varies in size according to the number of people who at that moment believe in him. One inch tall for every million believers. On holy days and during natural disasters he is often five metres tall (200 inches). He can also switch to lock mode maintaining any height in the range of believers so far.
Weengon, a god of lost socks and found chances,
took part in after-dinner conversation
with squirrels – two grey, one white – and a senile possum
who grinned at everything to appear wise
They played a round of futures-reminiscing,
it’s a fun game if some players are divine,
until WeenGon raised his hand and took a call.
‘I’m needed,’ WeenGon said. He waved and left.
The marsupial and the rodents saw blue space
where WeenGon had been. They forgot him and they slept.
WeenGon hurried, which meant he travelled on at godspeed
arriving before he’d left the dinner party.
He brushed his hair and watched the cavalcade.
‘Which limousine?’ He asked. His caller answered.
WeenGon transformed into a blip of errant lightning.
He burned through the panzered side of the big car.
He sat on the seat beside the Serious Person.
‘Hi,’ he said. ‘I’m WeenGon. We have to talk.’
He had a scents-of-porpoise air about him,
not fishy, really, more at like detention
halls at schools that did not have a gym.
His walk was awkward, as if he was wrenching
his way through water known for salt retention.
A Dead Sea dolphin that had been seconded
to shore duty to dry out? The last enthroned id
from Freudian literature? That would be strange.
Stranger far is why we’d left the throne lid
up, and let him loose to stride our home range.
Once upon a time, back when I thought ‘muscat’ was what lived in the river behind the fields behind the house, there was a future that beckoned as only futures can. This particular future was mine, and I looked forward to it. Analysis would come later, with growing up and marrying and a vengeance. Now there was just the future.
The present, I got that for my birthday, didn’t fit anymore. Someone close had died and I thought it was my fault though it happened far away. I didn’t, really. Think about it. But I knew.
The sun shone anyway and right way through the forest edge where we kept losing the ball. The larger dog always found the ball and brought it back, sometimes days later, always wet. The sun burned the dew from the weeds and in April and September, sometimes October, we would tie our sweaters around our waists and go looking for nuts and birds and animals. We found muscat tracks in the mud, and travels and futures in all the house’s books, futures written so they flew past every time we looked in: Defoe, Carroll, Dickens; Dumas, Voltaire, Anna Sewell (lady authors had first names). Forests and books full of black bears seldom seen.
I met China, a missionary lady from there who came to visit one of my aunts, and didn’t think to ask her which part. ‘China’ was enough to know. Still is, although I’m conditioned now to think I should think it shouldn’t be.
I thought that I learned early that real life wouldn’t teach me much. That’s what I thought it taught me until real life intruded. Burst in. The beauty I found and find every day comes from nature itself and also as distilled into books and paintings and music. We are the distillers, we think.
We are the distillers, we think. We wonder why it is not ‘sometimes’ but ‘every time’ and think that’s thought. Like others, I turn my ‘thoughts’ to provenance and teleology, and, like them, achieve nothing that affects berries, birds, animals, or China; achieve only long tortuous sentences. Maybe China is affected, but where in China?
The stillness of Jeanne d’Arc as she lies in Rouen. That’s a future. They burned her. I know that. Usually I don’t think to ask who burned her. ‘They’ is enough to know. They used up their futures. A cloud of meaty smoke.
When the wind comes down from Normandy and the leaves turn tail and it’s impossible even for the larger dog to find the wet ball, we jump into our sweaters and think of futures in which we migrate to places we would sweat in our jumpers. Endless sand beaches occupy us but not really, considering how triste the tourists look doing the Sanibel shuffle in perfect weather all the daze of their unoccupied lives. They don’t think about it, but they know.
We turn our faces to the autumn wind. We sing of futures, and wonder why mayonnaise here, unlike back when, leaves an aftertaste that muscatel only dissipates, not kills.