The Day the World Disappeared

Nick Kellaway

This book is from the perspective of someone still bewildered and disillusioned by the 20th Century as it draws to an end. The poetry contained within instead prefers to drift into the natural world as the poet retreats from modern life.

The Tragedy of Employee No. 57325 - 98

My building, my eyes, my desk are all square,
So are my thoughts and likewise my hair.
My pencils are sharpened, purpose lost,
"i"s are dotted, "t"s are crossed,
experience limited, life economical,
my overtime hours are quite astronomical.
The words that I speak are not my own,
they leave my lips in a corporate drone,
fleeting, like faces, which float in my dreams,
stifling the sound of this auditor’s screams.
The place where I live is a cell, not a home,
where my mind gathers moss and my mouth gathers foam.
Its walls are blank, light’s are blinding,
but my income is low and my contract is binding.
I’ve changed my name to suit the firm,
I know how they love to watch me squirm,
I am known as 57325,
washed up, burnt out, barely alive.

Anatomy of an Anthropoid - 98

The tools that punctuate my wrists,
knotted knuckles, bony fists,
these harsh, blood-matted lion’s paws
tear at what they touch,
bring tears to what they touch.
Immortal cries from yawning jaws
spill Midas tears into the salty oceans,
where frenzied sharks are running through the motions.
Ears, snapping like piranhas’ smiles,
strip flesh from words in lawless trials,
warlocks by fire, witches by water,
unstitching webs of tangled silken sounds,
racing, ravenous bloodhounds
drive sheepish thoughts to Trojan slaughter.
Overflowing buckets in a storm’s eye
can’t ensnare a fraction of the sky.
Stamped signatures of hooves upon the sand
are washed from beaches by a lunar hand.
The underbelly of the signator,
dressed with medals, worn with blisters,
uniform of soldier sisters,
counts the days of endless war.
With fuelled momentum, restless pedals
tread on sheets of fading petals.
The cobalt globes enthroned within my skull,
polar stare, hypnotic lull,
from the craters, lanterns jutting,
chart the way, deliberate,
through the tempest navigate.
dissecting, cleaving, piercing, gutting,
light the portents, crumble fallacy,
harbingers, who herald me.
The gulf, over which my words cross,
articulates my bliss, my loss,
I sink within its fathoms, slowly drowning
in symphonies of eloquence,
void of painful consequence,
drag the vital from the frowning.
The starfish, in its salty haven,
spreads its wings, a watery raven.
The engine howling in my chest,
its creaking gears disturb my rest,
binding me to corporal being.
This perfunctory sovereign sinks
its roots in my veins, from which it drinks,
unthinking, unfeeling, unresting, unseeing.
A token of mortality,
this parasite, it dwells in me.

Apathy and Inertia in Hamilton: a Curse in Three Parts - 98

(please excuse the gratuitous use of New Zealand colloquialisms)

Part One: Tertiary Education in the Gumboot Nation

In sullen strata mist descends,
splashing uniform grey on student flats,
where the empty shells of tinnies congregate
and aspiring yuppies while away weekends,
smoking green and getting tanked on JD no. 8,
yowling at the rugby like wild cats.
Jokers wearing sunnies in the morning
plod to uni in their jandals,
Monday’s apathy has them yawning.
These walking worst case scenarios
slip from pub to pub in a lethargic doze.

Part Two: Down on the Farm

The wilting Waikato sun bleeds ochre rays
into the content eyes of grazing cattle,
confined by number eight fencing wire,
bobbycalves unknowingly chew upon their final days,
then in the freezing works they shall retire,
slaughtered in a hopeless battle.
Clad in gumboots, the farmer’s hooves
print caterpillar trails upon the mud,
in mammoth farmer’s strides he moves.
The creak of his Taranaki gait
stirs the cattle onward to their fate.

Part Three: Stormtrooper Holiday

Excuse me, while I slip out of these monotone threads
and into some psychedelic pills.
I don’t believe in silent protest
so I’m off to one of those parties the headmaster dreads
like Prometheus in a Kevlar vest,
drifting where the mad wind wills.
Dancing with a rampaging porcelain doll,
rave-mad and detached from myself,
hophead vultures pick my bones clean and my eyes roll.
And Lucifer’s ratbag snorks keep smoking, vomiting, drinking,
youth’s Titanic swiftly sinking.
Newton’s bodies, rest, and motion aside,
the undertakers are all in dismay
because in Hamilton we dig our own graves all day
until the city is darkened by evening’s tide.

Apocalyptic Vision - 97

The world, it breathes a final tired sigh,
four dark horsemen ride the bloodied sky,
the harbinger of terror calls the battle cry,
tortured masses know their end is nigh.
And through the haze of war, the dead, they walk among us,
"Suffering to the conquered", they chorus.

Ballad to Cosmic Space Girl – 98

My golden nymph, how could it be?
Trapped in nirvana’s tyranny,
what once was clear you now can’t see,
your mixed up mantras beckon me.
Through the haze of incense burning,
I see you crouched, keenly learning
of Buddha and his eightfold path,
which rejects greed, envy, and wrath.
You sit beside me, lotus style,
with folded arms and all the while,
discourse on Zen’s enlightenment,
your singing eyes, with beauty, glint.
Golden idols, Eastern clutter,
on your mindscape spread like butter,
intrinsic meaning, mystic thought,
escapes your lips and add to naught.
Reading Buddha’s teachings to me,
speak poisoned wisdom carefully,
you drag me to my inner light,
you brainwash me whiter than white.
Your silky hair is waved with gold,
my Venus, in your hands you hold
my soul, my mind, my everything,
as I write my thoughts are crumbling.
Your madness has eclipsed my sun,
my invisible seams are now undone.
I spill onto the marble floor,
a sea, in which your ship may moor.
You gave your love, unspoken poem,
to one, who will, in madness, roam,
through passageways of amber light,
searching for truth, find it he might.

Bayadere – 98

Reclining on my stony mattress,
last night
I planted my eyes in the ceiling
and lay in wonderment
of what fruits would be borne
by the tree, which would spread its roots
in the sky, in my mind.
As my vision traveled beyond my eyes’ reach
the heart of the heavens welled with tears,
dewdrops borrowed from the sea,
and sank within itself
to rain vague clarities down on me
in an unspoken fluid language.
The tears, which surged over my face in warm azure rivers,
borrowed from the sky, borrowed from the sea,
gathered the silt of my dreams on their banks,
flowing from the infinite into oblivion.
Heralded by peals of heavenly thunder,
thick roots panned across the ceiling,
their iridescent veins, probing fingers,
writhing and twisting into a knotted bronze trunk,
an artery, pumping the viscous sap of my thoughts.
Curious, wispy arms outreached toward me
as sinewy hands cloaked themselves in lush emeralds,
until, projecting from the depths above,
an imperial monolith hummed in a tone of fire.
The flightless penguin took to the air
to fashion a brittle nest in the grasp of inverted arms,
making the branches heavy with opal eggs.
With the dawn of a nameless season
blossoms exploded like stars,
which extinguish, not because they must die,
but because they must move on.
Leaves made their ascent like golden feathers
and spheres of amber light were born among the branches,
dripping citrus blood onto my forehead.
A perfect orb of ripe radiance
plummeted earthward into my gaping mouth,
its molten juice bubbling microcosms in my head.
My unrelenting shovel uprooted glazed eyes,
extinguishing the illusory flame
in its cool metallic clutches.
So until nature restores my elusive season
I will save my tears in bottles
and clench my eyes within their sockets.

Blind Questions and Deaf Answers – 98

It’s a most detached sensation,
wrapped in frost bitten elation,
when my mind takes its stride ahead of my feet
and my overtaxed lungs cry out in defeat.
Crashing waves on my perception
cause my thoughts to change direction,
while my anguish and my tensions
assume superstring dimensions.
When a thread in my logic becomes unfurled
I find myself sunk in an Neptune’s world,
where the seas lap and laugh over what is called reason
and their spawn dwells the deep in an eternal season.
With every short gasp for a breath of sweet air
the ocean gives birth to a rising sphere,
an orb of imprisoned, luminous words,
which race through my veins like buffalo herds.
My soul sails the heavens and plucks upon strings
of liquid gold sundew, which transcends all things,
resonating through time and through space and beyond,
as a stone causes ripples to blanket a pond.
Questions are drawn from the well in my head,
flowering answers are burnt in their beds,
and the voice, which lingers like juice of a peach,
ponders, "How much sand is considered a beach?"

Breathe – 97

Do you mind when I exhale,
release my mind,
pull back the veil?
Do you mind when I scream,
pierce the air,
shatter the dream?
Would you mind if I broke,
threw up my hands,
went down in smoke?
Will you mind if I jump,
stand on the brink,
my throat a lump?
And would you mind if I died,
smothered by
the merciless tide?

Poet Facing North Dreams of Nightmarish Entomology While Sitting Cross Legged in his Bedroom – 98

In my room, I sit and carve this poetic thought
in humid air, which penetrates my clothes, my brain,
the crickets, which with it summer brought,
scream their metallic cries through pouring rain.
The endless cacophony imprints upon my mind
a sense of drowning in myself, of slowly going blind.
The dark and dusty moths fly to their deaths,
towards the lure of brightly burning spheres,
scream silent cries, I smell their burning flesh,
transfigured into cruel insect nightmares.
Offensive to the nose, this barbecue,
shades dark, my troubled soul a blood red hue.
The air is thick with the scent of poisonous spray,
the "clicky beetles" are in tortured death throes,
burning from the inside, I cast a glance their way,
from life to death this sorry insect flows.
This infinite death, these endless screams,
add to my state of mind, my restless dreams.

Clockwork Messiah – 98

I was once unexpectedly honoured by a wonderfully random meeting
with the mechanical king of the Empyrean, to whom I extended my greeting.
his clothes were cut from woven light, his eyes were ruby red,
his long hair trailed behind him, about his haloed head.
I offered him my insane musings on why we came to be,
he shrugged and muttered, "Close enough" then bestowed his Satori.
We discoursed on existentialism and the end of the world in a cataclysm,
then both drank Mingh tea through curly straws as he told me about the holy wars.
I asked him about his best selling novel and how much was inexact,
he told me he used his poetic license, but tried to stick to the facts.
The great automaton explained that his publishers demanded blood,
public executions, and even the occasional flood.
"But the rest, that’s all the truth?" I asked in my incredulity,
"But for those days in the desert. I was really in Tahiti."
He taught me that I don’t own the thoughts that float inside my head,
they are waves pulled in from the infinite, that I borrow them instead.
He stood to make his exit at this last lesson’s conclusion,
he told me more enlightenment could only cause confusion.
And on this note he waved farewell and soon disintegrated,
I stood frozen in awe of him, his sense of all things automated.

The Cult of the Cathode – 97

The modern mind is dimly lit
by the dull fluorescent glow
of a television set in its deep recesses,
churning out show after show.
We are to busy staring
to find time to be amazed
and the message is completely lost
in our blank and mindless gaze.
We are too busy hearing
the plethora of sound
to find time to listen to the words
great men through time expound.

If TV and computers
are the path to civilisation
take me to the Dark Ages,
where they had imagination.

Cydonia – 97

On the red planet long ago
lived a fine and cultured race
and in Cydonia they built
a likeness of their face.
Their well trained minds designed canals
to conquer their harsh land,
built fortresses with battlements,
a prosperous life they planned.
But things did not go their way,
their homelands swept with drought,
living in a withering world,
the Martians were forced out.
And on their way through time and space
to find a new abode
they often visit Earth, I know,
to help us on our road.
For them, huge pyramids constructed
by those who sadly weren’t "abducted",
to be more like them we have striven
by their wisdom we are driven.

Dance – 97

Cloudless sky over a silent town,
dancing to a silent rhythm,
shrouded in the black of night,
nothing can be seen around.
Drifting voices, muffled murmurs,
a lonely street lamp lights the ground,
silhouettes performing pirhouettes in its hazy yellow light.
Mingled laughing voices drifting down the street,
accompanied by the pitter patter of flamenco dancing feet.
The feet continued on their journey
along untrafficked streets,
changing their rhythm and their style,
like liquid, flowing through the beats.
From twist to tango to foxtrot to mambo,
relentlessly hammering the ground,
for hours on end their owners continued
with rhythm they’d never before found.
Minutes passing in a second,
hours passing in a moment,
the world beyond ceased altogether,
painless and without lament.
Dawn drew near
as the tempo slowed,
even tireless feet must surrender to time,
as everybody knows.

Dawn – 97

Unfold the morning haze and mist,
dewdrops by the sunrise kissed.
Cast aside night’s dark shroud
to marvel at the silken cloud.
Hear the avian morning song,
to nature does your soul belong.
Stripped of your pride, join the chorus,
remembering they were here before us.
Forget your complex, trivial matters,
take heed before the daylight scatters
Or in the evening gloom you’ll be
corroded by mortality.

Demoniac – 98

The demons of my cerebellum spit
feigned wisdom, acid lullabies,
their tongues are forked and venom tipped,
they haunt me with their glaring eyes.
My mind soars into entropy,
I stand on the brink of the brink,
in my confusion words elude me,
I find I can no longer think.
Insomnia relieves me
from my tribulation,
an incubus scratches at my window,
bent double in frustration.

Disowned – 97

Clothed in a paper bag, cheap wine,
in "Nam" he trod upon a mine.
The vet,
with putrid breath he cries,
curses the state,
its blood-stained lies.
His chair,
a metal frame on wheel,
in alleyways he scavenges for meals.
Him, his nation wishes to forget,
his presence haunts it,
fills it with regret.
Lifted in the air, he should be,
his state should praise him
for his bravery.
His country wants
to leave its folly behind
and of it, he makes them remind.
And so he wallows in the gutters,
with insane cries and weary mutters.

Distopia – 98

Staring at the wraiths, which float beyond my vision,
my polar eyes melt into their sockets.
I sit dormant, gathering dust,
in hope that I might form my own desert
and in fear that to disrupt the inertia
would propel me, reeling, into the unknown.
The majestic sofa, jewel of my apathy,
beckons me to behold the television’s horde
of all things generic and aberrant,
canned laughter and bottled nausea.
My dwindled soul compels me now
to lay to rest the smoking pistol of my lethargy,
which claimed the lives of so many hours of the day,
casting hourglass sand into the tide.
Wiping the scum off my window,
I glance toward the bloodied heavens
to find that the flight of so many paper numbers
has torn the sky back to its ethereal skeleton.
The streets below are faintly lit
by the half-extinguished spirits of fortune’s casualties.
Precious metals running through their fingers
sustain the hardy mettles growing through their souls.
Dispossessed, the lady of the lake resides
in a shallow, stagnant pool beneath a bridge,
clutching corroded Excalibur in her wispy arms,
an ancient relic of yesterday’s utopia
(from before the round table was squared off
and enshrouded by the pedestrian, monotone undead).
The overwhelming futility
of restoring unhinged Aracadia
laps over me, devouring my strength,
like the indiscriminant, pulsing tide.
And so I dissolve into the shadows,
a plaid chameleon, clinging to the couch,
tuning my mind back to the cathode void,
while the television glares at me from its throne.

Dusk – 97

On the horizon of the day
the harsh sun casts a final ray
and sinks into the blue-green sea,
blending into obscurity.
The earth, it bathes in lunar light,
my eyes enchanted by the sight,
blasted by an evening gust,
into illusion I am thrust.
From outer space a burning sphere
shines woven light like strands of hair.
Darkness reveals the galaxy,
yet it blinds us…such irony.
Although the half-light helps me ponder,
I find my thoughts, to daytime, wander.

Earth, Fire, Water, Wind – 97

Lightning tears the crimson sky,
the clouds give in to their load.
The plains are flooded,
rivers swell, devouring valleys in their road.
Over the years the mighty torrents
carve the weak and mortal mountains,
the land bowing to their strength
to fashion natural fountains.
The wind assaults the fragile trees,
struck by lightning’s golden path,
their boughs are shattered by the force
and lie amongst the aftermath.
Elemental devastation
is part of nature’s scheme,
the earth awaits its violent fate,
if only we could hear its scream.

Ellipsis - 98

Sun, sun signifies time,
time’s a dimension
woven with intangible reason,
reasons for counting the hours
and for naming the seasons,
seasons, which rattle my brain,
with skeletal leaves, with invincible rain,
rain kisses me silver,
silver of moonlight, transient coma,
soft lunar whisper,
whispers of morning,
crest of the sun, sun…

The Elliptical Path – 98

At the heart of this crossworld,
where the shadow meets the substance,
an armchair philosopher is seated in his smoky den,
embraced in the arms of a fossilised green throne,
worn to the bones by endless musings.
He is tired and wishes to sleep
the heavy hibernation of mountains,
but he will not rest because he believes
that lethargy is a crime against the universe.
Instead he gnaws at time with blunted teeth,
wondering, "If we think in fragments
Do we die in fragments too?"
and worrying, "How will I ever
repay all this borrowed time,
which amplifies as the days progress?"
He is a desert, gathering hourglass sands,
weighing possibilities with gnarled hands,
waiting to see his prophecies echoed by reality.
Tattooed with lines, riddled with runes,
his brow is a tablet of intrinsic meaning,
onto which he has carved his own set of commandments,
above all, "Thou shalt not leave a stone unturned".
Why has yesterday followed him everywhere,
haunting him with the echoes of its plaintive whimpers?
After he is gone his unspoken questions will remain unheard.
He craves to set foot into the inaccessible
parallel realms of what might have been,
neighbouring kingdoms, glistening empires of the potential,
but concludes that time is a standing lake, eternally present,
carried on the tone of an Empyrean bell.
With a weary sigh he accepts that the transient nature of life
is a worthy sacrifice to make for its microcosmic beauty,
that life is a near death experience.
We are all time travelers, nomads in a perpetual solar journey,
and when our brief existence has come full circle
we rejoin the earth, in which we dwell as fossils,
worn to the bones by endless musings.

Enter the Vortex - 97

Howling, crying, thrashing, flailing,
disembodied voices wailing,
from my monstrous mind they came,
through the cesspit call my name,
with gaping mouths and tongues of flame,
never will I be the same.
Dwelling in their own abyss,
they spit and curse and fight and hiss,
struggle to destroy my mind,
I hope that one day they will find
I will not cede, will not give in
the bounty that it hides within.

Geckos – 98

I’m in a love affair with geckos
and the style their green skin echoes.
Their slippery, streamlined forms engage me,
hypnotic, bulging eyes enslave me.
They are immortal creatures, they can’t be annihilated,
tails severed from them are soon regenerated.
With skinks and salamanders there is no competition,
the gecko is the lizard for me,
it gives me great fruition.

Immortal Me - 98

Cold pavement kisses claw at my face,
seize my lips, soothe my bruised brain,
dress me in leather, dress me in lace,
with Renaissance strokes they paint me insane.
Outnumbered, my senses fall from me,
as age burnt leaves from logic’s tree.
Sparks ignite in my kindling eyes
and imps peek out from their dusty box,
with magazine faces, wicked and wise,
and scissors, which ache for Samson’s locks.
Elysian poppies thrive at my feet
in blooming explosions of Hadean heat.
The nymphs and the naiads are stirred in my head,
they rob me of my complications,
cut to the quick, my mind fades to red,
to the hovering empire of butterfly nations.
From skeletal arms blue hummingbirds flee,
embalmed in memories, immortal me.

Land of Golems - 98

I dwell in the wind swept land of golems,
nations of clay men, moulded from the earth,
their crude faces sans feature, spread with crooked smiles,
staring from hollow sockets, unseeing.
Don’t mention terra cotta.
Fingerless hands claw at their own shadows,
leaving no prints or even the smallest distinctive trace.
Spherical heads bow at the neck
under the weight of an unseen force.
Their earthy habitat is littered
with amber Autumn suicides,
a cemetery without ceremony
or even burial.
The men of clay do not know their own purpose,
nor do they know a sadness of their own.
Borrowing the melancholy of the universe, of empty space,
they meander, speechless, through eroded valleys
In in precise zigs and zags,
not wondering, merely wandering.
What perverted sorcery could have put these
haunted tumbleweeds in motion?
Mystified, I watch them slip, one by one,
back into the earth, from which they came.

Life: -98

is an endless tunnel, in which I stand,
subject to tremendous gusts of air.
The world rushes by me
and as I gasp for breath
I experience incredible serendipity,
the knowledge of the wind.
This cosmic vessel, time-ravaged world,
in which I am a transient passenger,
is claustrophobic and infinite at once,
terrible in its beauty,
beautiful in its dark nature.
I am alone, but comforted
by those I share my solitude with.
Standing still at a supersonic velocity,
I draw my life, like water from a well,
from the throbbing, psychedelic entanglement.
We are all vampires by nature,
life thriving on death thriving on life.
The hours of the day continually battle
in a stalemate against those of darkness.
Life is the curious child of existence,
which bore everything that ever was
and yet equates to nothingness.
To understand is to be understood,
to know the reciprocal essence of love.

Lightning Elegy - 98

The watery grimace of steely blue sky
tornado twists, spills diamond tears
for wilting men in mortal years,
metallic roars for we who die.
Appended to the thunderclap, a lightning bolt,
a random stroke of wrath,
a bitter cry for what is lost,
tears through the vast avian vault.
Silver whispers creep across the clouds,
melancholy soldiers raise their teardrop swords,
the storm wears a crown of aerial lords,
green blades are dressed in dewdrop shrouds.
With blinding grief and staggered fury,
the tempest in full motion shrieks
through caverns and the tallest peaks,
a frantic trial without jury.
This testament to nature’s madness
is written on the prophet’s face,
worn with time in lines of grace,
leaves torn from nature’s book of sadness.

Where did Sammy Davis Jr. Go? - 98

Lethargic lounge lizards,
creeping out of the cathode abyss into my thoughts,
tell jokes about slipping out of wet clothes
and into dry martinis,
dragging me backward in time
as the rest of the world rushes forward,
which Dean Martin tells me would make a good song.
Saxophonists tap their feet on shag carpet
to the rhythm of their own frantic, metallic shrieks,
the sounds of burnt orange and lime green are a violent storm,
in which the tiny vessel of my objectivity
is rocked about on gargantuan waves.
The rhythm of their tide I cannot separate in my mind
from the pulse, which beats in my wrist.
Slow-burning cigarettes obscure my view in plumes of grey,
valium lulls me, sinking into the waves of a Hammond ocean.
Heralding the return of an antique age, trumpets sway
in a motion, which would render a master charmer of snakes catatonic.
And then, in a single brass cacophony,
a loose thread in reality’s fabric is tugged
by the hand of some vindictive advocate of the modern age
and my shag carpet unravels beneath me,
releasing me from my borrowed nostalgic odyssey
like the stone from David’s vigilant sling.

Mental Pabulum - 98

I must cut short this sweet illusion
to give my life a little fusion.
Time carves a path for no one,
it merely tells our stories
of the trivial burdens in our lives
and insignificant glories.
Gone is the age of beauty,
now beauty only ages.
Now bureaucrats and film stars stand,
where once stood the great sages.
It’s too easy to be disenchanted
and live life in a sullen haze.
I must bear the heat of the antique sun
in order to escape this maze.

Misconception - 97

Man is a fool to even think
that he controls the city and the town
and the lakes, from which we drink,
he does not reign, he does not own.
The vast and urban sea of concrete,
Its right to life he can’t deny,
struggles to grow ever higher,
that it might some day rule the sky.
The great and salty sea he plunders,
it tolerates this gruesome sin,
but in the past it has been known
to swallow nations in its grin.
The colossal, rugged mountain,
he climbs this gentle giant,
perched on the summit surveys the vista
and wrongly feels triumphant.
Man cannot tame, cannot restrain
the smallest he can comprehend,
the atom’s power astounds him,
his foolishness will be his end.

The Nicotine Stained Woman – 98

Like a grim gargoyle, she sits,
crouched in the midst of gloomy haberdashery.
A rattle in her lungs forces a faint breath past her arid lips,
hands clasped tightly over her lap,
a muffled cry echoes in her eyes.
The stagnant scent of times gone by
hangs inert in the air,
mixing with the putrid stench of tobacco.
She can no longer afford a nicotine smile for relatives,
who peer from the walls out of wooden frames.
She waits an infinity for her end,
checking the paper for her own obituary.

The Novocaine Manifesto

Custodians of the Earth,
we have witnessed the birth
of a twisted, instant decade,
repulsive side-show freak parade.,
Now witness its death,
the cession of breath,
tales of this half-score
added to our folklore:
religion in boxes, philosophy in ditches,
final strains of dissonant cries from melting Western witches,
Novocaine thoughts, food through straws,
brand confusion, media wars,
sobering death of the superhero,
sovereignty of the digit zero,
slimming, sleeping, weeping pills,
contracts, by-laws, written wills,
hoarded frequent flyer miles,
controversial TV trials,
exposé biographies,
glamourised lobotomies,
serial killer trading cards,
blood of saints, tears of bards,
modicum of satisfaction,
endless talk and little action,
sanctity of television,
market research, consumer decision,
faces lifted, tummies tucked,
hair bleached blonde and lipos sucked,
economy of time, economies of scale,
buy in bulk or wait until the final clearance sale,
whispered prayers to a stone deaf god,
sealed fates, law of Sod,
lives measured in Coca-Colas,
bursting buttons of high rollers,
children’s programming, children programmed,
join the legion of the damned,
Christian dogma, superstition,
fallacy of composition,
bastardised sincerity
captured for posterity,
ethnic cleansing, urban decay,
drive-thru burgers, "Have a nice day."

The Place of War Crossed Swords – 98

In the desolate place of war crossed swords
spirits are crushed and cast into the flames.
Strangers to sunlight are its grey-clad hordes,
Branded with numbers, cold digital names.
A spirit crushing, lifeless uniform
saps who they are, compels them to conform.
Fascist pedagogues reign darkened kingdom,
elements have ceded to stark concrete.
A saintly few protect their stifled wisdom,
misguided others pray at their God’s feet.
The mortals, in their maddened, mindless throngs,
are force-fed thoughts through numbing Christian songs.
I live in fear that I’ll forget
who I am, from whence I came,
with drowning thoughts I am beset,
I grip the leash, which holds my name.
The legions of automatons all worship sport,
their undead eyes, like deep-set coals, reveal naught.
And from the words that my pen wrote
II forged a blade, with which I smote
the monotone conformity,
this frigid mass lobotomy.

Plastic Harbingers – 98

The desks of many a cubic office
are people with plastic telephones,
incessantly warbling for attention,
muttering business-like, spiritless drones.
The monotone voice of the speaker phone
crackles, "Mr. Black is one the line",
static hangs in the stagnant air
to punctuate the voice’s whine.
The spiraling cords can be traced to the walls,
where lie the merciless telephone jacks.
The mind longs to tear the beast up from its roots,
but the mind cannot fill what a battered soul lacks.
Breaking the chain that links you to the beast
will do you no good, it gathers message lakes,
with twice your strength, retaliating,
its ring hissing like an ocean of snakes.
As I stare at the many voiced demon,
you may call me insane, you may call me depraved,
but of this "wonder" of technology,
I remain unaware if I’m master or slave.

Popocatepetl – 98

The mouth of sleeping Popocatepetl sprays
not a single molten word in ancient slumber.
Its fiery belly rages in blood-red haze,
longing to tear the fragile globe asunder.
The primitive beast, in hibernation, dreams
of sweet perdition and Armageddon screams.
The hellish chasm’s mouth yawns wide
for a heavenly human sacrifice,
the mountain’s rocky veins pulse like the tide,
near draws apocalyptic paradise.
On time’s darkened horizon Shiva looms
to drive us to our sunless, concrete tombs.

Refusing to be Nicholas – 98

It seems that lately I’ve been spending all my time
chasing white rabbits from one date to the next,
my senses and speech are shackled in rhyme,
my shaman says that I’ve been hexed.
Sitting, arms folded, laces tied together,
simply refusing to be Nicholas,
drenched by rain and denying the weather.
I’m told that I’m a little on the eccentric side,
a rotten peach, which houses a worm,
which makes my Cheshire grin spread wide,
because my grip on my mind is no longer so firm.
There will be no epitaph upon my tomb.
"This is what comes from refusing to be Nicholas"
I tell the armadillos roving through my living room.
I often converse with the inflatable dead,
like acid mariachis singing,
they hold out the hearts from which they bled,
bells of their sympathy clanging and ringing.
Muttering in the quagmire of my sleep,
"No, no! I will not wear my name!"
I sink in fathoms, as murky as they’re deep.

Remembrance – 97

Light a candle on the day
and raise a banner in my name,
in killing fields I passed away,
I can’t be there to share my fame.
Carve our names into the stone
and on the day will you entone,
"For their nation lost their lives,
Left behind children and wives"
and lay upon his grave a wreath
in memory of who lies beneath.
But more important than remembrance,
steer clear of bitter hate and vengeance
and stay at peace, make this your task,
this, from the grave, I ask.

Rhodon - 98

Diving in my depths, I saw an apparition
of serenity forged in radiance.
Seated in the whirlpool’s eye, this vision
subdued my tempest with a single glance.
My diamond Galatea
could split darkness in twain,
untie the knots in my pained face,
and then tie them again.
In my delirious ecstasy
I clutched the cold, black, steel Ankh,
that tamed the storms of entropy,
that calmed the sea, in which I sank.
The fiery demon of psychosis,
which reared its parasitic head in mine,
was swiftly cast into the infinite,
cursing the touch of Providence divine.
Wilted by time was my wild rose,
the distance in her gaze unending,
petals fell, shattered on my repose,
opened the wounds they once were mending.
Pygmalion joined in my despair,
the withered rose died in mid-speech,
her eyes hardened to precious stones,
her soul drifted beyond my reach.
Heavenward I cry for the flame,
which fused our souls in rapture,
that I might somehow feel the same,
that passion might I soon recapture.
Considering my destiny,
I stare into the statue’s eyes
in hope that they may reawaken
the embers of my flame’s reprise.

Self Cannibalism - 98

Among the consumed, I lie paralytic,
my flesh stripped back to the soul.
a corpse floating face down in the blood of martyrs,
I rot in harmony with fallen leaves.
A death certificate written in red ink (or was it blood?),
a faltered, ambiguous eulogy shackles my memory.
Did I consume too much or was I too much consumed?
My elliptical shadow will fade to light
long before my footprints on the moon corrode.
White roses rise from Hades through my funeral pyre,
clasped in their gentle thorns, I too am swallowed by the mire.

Tectonics of a Mechanical Man – 97

I am a mechanical man,
I move in locomotion,
I have not a name or a face of my own,
I have no free thought or emotion.
My heart ticks in time with my gyroscope mind,
my eyes are infra-red,
My legs are of the titanium kind,
I’m not sure if I’m living or dead.

Un Voyage Dans La Lune (and Beyond) - 98

While conversing with my cat last night
(her name is Smudge on account of her face)
I stared out of my room’s portal
past the window boxes, seeping violets,
to the sequestered stars, lost in the infinite
like small children, pouches of malignant laughter.
Smudge joined in my gazing,
suggesting that we hack at the intergalactic loneliness
in a flurry of friendly machetes.
Together we fashioned a makeshift rocket
from old shoelaces, used tyres, and bubblegum
and jettisoned ourselves into space
by staring at the ground with all our might.
Through stratosphere and troposphere,
towards the hollow lunar sphere,
we sailed through the silence filled with noise,
past space junkyards, with their menacing cosmic Rottweilers,
and onto the intergalactic super-highway,
the shortest distance from one point to the next.
Rocketing towards the moon, as rockets often do,
our crude vessel was sucked into the jaws
of a white whale of a craft, ominous and minimal.
Smartly suited astronauts, stern secret police
commanded us to slow our road,
for we were dangerously close to light’s sovereign pace,
a prospect, which alarmed Il Duce, the reigning ray.
There would not be another warning.
Continuing with our spacial journey,
we came across a time-bedraggled vagrant,
more homeless than most,
his tattered coat stained with frowns,
riddled with wormholes.
Smudge spared him a dime
and I offered him a crescent moon of a smile.
Cycloptic, we turned our eyes back to the cratered orb,
a shimmering ocean of pale rock,
its shore drawing nearer to us.
Embedded in the satellite’s floor,
our star-hopper ejected us in a blink.
Nursing bruised paws, we dispersed bemused glances
towards the hulking figures of grazing cows,
munching on blades of non-existent grass, rich in vacuum.
Mounting the back of one of these content behemoths,
we spurred it across lunar plains,
our new companion in this muddled quest.
We named it Bovinus Major,
our mountainous cow of the cosmos.
Over the facial landscape we roamed
until the endless view was interrupted
by a towering stenciled sign, which read:
"Langston C. Millenium, Custodian of the Moon".
At our weary feet lay a misplaced manhole cover,
down which we ventured towards a distant flicker.
At the source of the light sat the custodian himself,
lantern-lit, robed in a flowing kimono,
poring over ancient texts.
Without even raising his worn totem of a face,
Langston C. muttered at us to return home
and to sweep up our "blasted footprints" on the way out,
"They don’t disappear in a hurry here on the moon, y’know."
After once again scaling our colossal friend
we took off at a gallop, swimming out into the Milky Way,
home of our bovine comrade’s space borne family.
Floating in the celestial domain of the horned ones,
I marveled at the vast array of cosmic dairy products,
in love with the infinity of possibility, the possibility of infinity.
I understood, at once, the beauty of isolation,
dissolving from beginning to end,
into the beginning, into the end,
astron nemos…star arranging,

Untitled/Unfinished – 98

I sold my soul and my mind flew north with it,
I throw my arms up in a psychedelic fit.
Will you aim straight for the heart?
I want to die before I fall apart.

Zoology - 98

The other day in the not so distant future
my reflection’s reflection took me to the zoo.
We went by foot and the zoo met us halfway.
An eloquent man standing, trench coat clad, outside
scalped tickets to us for the beggar’s ransom
of 3½ hamsters and a mouthful of air.
He kindly promised us free access to the moon,
slipping us the phone number of El Presidente.
Curiously, he became shy when I asked,
"Are those alligators on your feet simulated?"
so we intrepidly carried on, waving our greetings.
Stripy cages revealed familiar looking aliens,
which posed questions in screeches, gnashing teeth.,
Was I watching or being watched?
Was I really on the inside of the cage?
I hurled these questions back
at a pacing polar bear, mad as the wind,
"Everything’s relative", he replied with a wink,
and continued blowing bubbles with his left hand
and strumming a guitar with his right.
Overcome by a sadistic urge, I dragged myself
to the house of my ravenous reptilian friends,
where I held the throbbing vein of my wrist to the glass.
In a cruel twist of lemon I found them sinking diamond teeth into me,
leaving enough vital juice for me to pay the bills
and a ten per cent tip for my prompt and courteous service.
Like a slave without a master, I wandered dumbfounded outside
to find myself the center of the cackling sun’s amusement.
It had no cause for laughter, a styrofoam monument,
foaming with apathy in hues of withered orange.
Following the spiral footpath, I found at my feet
a baby seal, anxious to return to its aquatic home,
where the ocean echoes into itself,
and out of habit I clubbed it senseless,
peeling its shell and discarding the carcass.
I then meditated upon the possible use of a seal skin,
arriving at the conclusion that it would make
an excellent carrying case for my cumbersome seal club.
Proceeding, I paid a visit to a spider monkey friend of mine,
thrown behind bars because a jury had found beyond reasonable doubt
that he was in fact a primate.
We chatted about the deeply rooted existentialist dogma
found in Curious George books
and he was even in good enough spirits to lend me his prehensile tail.
doing the laundry is made so much easier with one.
Half lost in an absent minded haze,
I found myself in a hostel for pink flamingos,
to which the birds flocked,
firstly, from when Alice’s croquet days were over,
and secondly, after the fifties, when they made a swift exodus
from tacky front lawns,
accompanied by mallard ducks, which once resided on walls.
I whispered to myself that true beauty could never sink
into such an oblivion of obsolescence.
Finding that I had become the subject of many a pink glare,
I made a brisk exit, stumbling away from the neon atrocities.
I ambled towards the lair of my favourite creature,
to the wombat’s log, littered with the poems of T.S Eliot.
Never making an appearance to please sticky-fingered, zoo-going brats,
the blunt nosed quadruped remains in his den,
immersed in arcane studies, the master of his own destiny.
After a brief moment in his company the void in my mind
became pregnant with a myriad of thoughts, blooming from each other.
He warned me that when I recklessly wield my pen
I must not lose the substance in grasping at the shadow
and on that note I departed, my head already reeling in entropy.
The sun took its leave to prostitute itself to darker continents,
leaving me to follow the thread out of this living maze.
I was delivered by the words of my wombat mentor, who quoth,
"Truth is a fixed star", wisdom which led me out of the zoo.
My next adventure, I plan to take with my astronaut friend,
my shadow’s shadow, who has promised me
that over the course of a year we will journey around the sun.
The Nether Spirit
Shadows in twilight shifting,
silhouettes through wasteland creeping,
cold, bedraggled memories drifting,
through the arid surface seeping.
The weak pulse of the land, in exhaustion, falters,
a thousand dusty violins play the symphony of the damned,
heads are laid on sacrificial altars.
The sky is full of stones,
it tears the page, it blunts the rhyme,
it rots the flesh, it dries the bones,
endures coils of endless time.
ashes spill and mix with tears,
the silence falls upon deaf ears.
My shredded hands, which fumble deftly,
caress the blades and broken glass,
stalk the prey softly, deathly,
drag the journey from the past.
I trek the boundless barren, anchor an empty star,
follow the gothic-feathered raven,
lord of darkness, bird of tar.
From their sockets, my eyes are dripping,
collecting in muddy pools,
through the sun scorched terra slipping,
sunless planets, useless tools.
I walk the world alone, the world of dust,
not because I can, simply because I must.

wordsmith: nick k.

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