Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Is There A Word For It?

—Anonymous Photos
—Poems by Neil Fulwood, Nottingham, UK


At the end of the known universe
are three portals. The first
opens to a spiral staircase
that corkscrews upwards,
starting as stone and striating
through wood and cartilage
and substances unspeculated on.
Its top step is eternity and the view
is to lose one’s sanity for.

The second leads through a series
of gradually weirder rooms,
of which the one containing
the old man and the Louis XIV furniture
and a model from a Stanley Kubrick film
is easily the most derivative.
The final room is an Amazardoz
fulfilment centre, its racking
clustered with the complete works
of Philip K Dick and holo-downloads
of every episode of Rick and Morty
including all the unmade ones.

Through the third, a bleeding tentacle
thrusts into your hand a report
on how dangerous the simulation is
when poetry is part of the equation.

There are no polarities to be reversed.
There are no flux capacitors to be had.

This is poetry. There is no science to it
and precious little fiction.


It takes a taxi to the airport
and the driver seriously considers
shunting himself and his next fare
into the radiator grille of an oncoming lorry.

It drinks alcohol at nine in the morning
at the airport bar and the bartender
thinks about the sharp implement
used for chipping ice and how else it could be used.

It dozes during the flight and the stewardess
who looks a little like Emilia Clarke and has
three-and-a-half thousand Facebook friends
is spared a moment of crushing loneliness.

It is distracted during the descent
by cloud formations and the patterns of light
on water as the plane skims the bay
and lines up with the runway. Pilot and co-pilot

will wake from nightmares in the next week
or two and keep from each other
the occasional urge to give the fire crews
something to respond to. The driver

of the airport transfer will fail to pin down
the exact moment he stopped thinking of it
as a mini-bus and fancied himself a member
of the Baader-Meinhof Gang, panel van slowing

alongside a Mercedes, machine gun at the ready.


At the bench, he wore a smock.
The bench: vice clamped
at one end, the wall above it
lined with tools and attachments,
arranged according to purpose,
shape and size. The smock:
a stubby pencil in one pocket,
rag in the other. A nail

on the back of the door
for when he shucked it off,
the smock, and hung it up.
Pulled on overalls instead,
slid onto a crawl-board,
swung an inspection lamp
against the shadowy crevasse
of subframe and engine block.


They came up from the depths. From underground. They had abandoned the calendar and in doing so had no measure for how long ago they had been sequestered. Without the delineations of light and dark, time was useless. They came up from the bunkers, from the shelters, from places buried deep. They were losing language: little remained worth naming. They came up through the mine-shafts, the tunnels, finally emerging via a system of ramps. The sky as they had known it was gone. The only building that remained was a church, judging by the shape. A shroud covered it. They stood and looked, maintaining a distance, hesitant to draw closer. The scene had the immobility of a painting. 


Is there a word for it, this sense
of being a long way out, beyond lost,

perhaps as far removed from
anything you could hang a description on

as to have fetched up in some new
landscape or time zone?

Is there a word for it, this feeling
of being a ghost in a town that's unreal,

one of those places put up in the ‘70s
as a practice space for nuclear war.


Today’s LittleNip:

No phone. No pool. No pets. No cigarettes. Ultimate freedom... No longer to be poisoned by civilization, he flees, and walks alone upon the land to become Lost in the Wild.

—Christopher McCandless


Many thanks to British SnakePal Neil Fulwood for his poetry today, black dogs and all. Sorrow is a black dog, they say. And poets around the globe know all about that, of course…..

I hope you didn’t take my bad advice and go down to The Urban Hive in Sacramento yesterday for the CLA copyright workshop. It’s actually tonight at 6:30pm! My apologies for listing the wrong day. Scroll down to the blue column (under the green column at the right) for info about this and other upcoming poetry events in our area—and note that more may be added at the last minute.

And Carl Schwartz (Caschwa) took yesterday’s dare about using “interloping human malingerers" in a poem. Here is his result:

—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

We were driving along the interlope
admiring all the colors and humans
working so hard to malinger

a giant billboard features pure soap
high atop golden poppies bloomin’,
the aroma of 5% vinegar

hardly a secret that we’re selling dope
conspiring to plant some on the lawman
breaking news with a middle finger 


Thanks, Carl!


Celebrate our poets across the seas!

Photos in this column can be enlarged by
clicking on them once, then clicking on the x
in the top right corner to come back to Medusa.