Tag Archives: existential fantasy

I, Camera

There is in the photograph you’re holding

someone taking a snapshot

of someone else posing

for someone else’s camera –

who’s being photographed by somebody

taking a picture to post online,

and in turn is getting snapped

by others taking shots

who without knowing it

are clicked for posterity

forever pointing lenses at

others in others’ images

that reduce to a single dot on the horizon,

which upon magnification

turns out to be you,

holding a photograph

of someone taking a snapshot..

Entranced

                 Entranced

Looking back into that mirror
where our childhood lingers,
with its faraway faded images
waving to us
in the here and now;
Only it is us
in the here and now
waving forlornly back to ourselves

as we stood and stared and stood
like unanimated cartoons
in that mirror;
where the action moved on
storyline progressed
leaving us in the here and now
wary of missing the finale,
that denouement
better left unwritten.

Existential Exasperation

Do I remember the Past

as a portrait on the wall

or a book on a shelf?

the smoke that once rose

from a barbecue fire

or the splashes someone made

in the paddling pool?


Do I remember trains

that were never caught

and appointments missed

or voices raised in anger

and reconciliation dismissed?


Of futile questions

one stands out amongst them,

does anything really matter

at all?

A Quiet Night

                  A QUIET NIGHT


They certainly had a sense of humour.Christening their product with an acronym which also meant ” Die ” in German.

And here he was,stood next to the STERB ( Self-Termination Booth )the only one still in working order in his neighbourhood,at 4 in the morning.


Good thing was he’d remembered to renew his annual registration only the other day.You don’t access a STERB without all  the bureaucratic necessities taken care of.

And despite all the official media denials,there was an uptick recently in the informal practice,which of course was not only frowned upon by society but also crucially denied revenue to VIVAT,the makers and operators of STERB.

For avowed libertarians they sure didn’t mind regulation by the quasi-state when it suited their pockets.

Anyhow, 4 in the morning on the Sunshine Estate and the STERB resplendent in all its diffident,opaque utilitarian glory inviting him to partake of the ultimate eucharist.

Earth,pardon me we’re supposed to spell it Erth to promote the sacred tenet of Inclusion, anyhow this cosmic dirtball we’re all stood on is way past its Happy Hour.

Not that a solid century- and- a half of Degenderisation hadn’t put the brakes on in a way that Malthus wouldn’t have approved of.But 19 Billion? Really?and the off – world colonies were taking fewer every day.

But even just the idea of genomic reconfiguration & physio-reconstruction was simply too big a leap for too many even for those with low socio-economic ratings such as him.


Seriously who’ d want an extended “life”- presence on an alien world as a diamond miner- 5 feet tall weighing 350 pounds in order to adapt and cope to an alien gravity?But hell,apart from that, the job prospects were always good.


The DNA interface clicked and the booth opened its maw.


Soft lighting,ambient music- JS Bach he guessed- welcomed him as he sat on the facsimile classic barbers chair. In that regard,VIVAT the makers and operators of STERB didn’t spare any of the proverbial expense.
The handy data lonzenge swiped over the screen array; a flow of easy-to-comprehend numeric indices glared back at him.
A synth-voice cooing in all 9 official languages, asked whether he wanted to proceed.


He was momentarily distracted from his induced reverie by a violent banging coming from the outside of the booth.
A muffled, distant voice exclaiming ,”Hey you in there,you gonna be much longer,some of us ain’t got all day you know!”

That wasn’t supposed to be part of the advertised “Termination Experience” , but what can you expect with this being the only STERB in working order on the whole damn estate?
He could of course change his mind even now and go back to his apartment on subterranean level Minus372 and prep for Communal productive activity later this morning.But it wouldn’t count diddly squat toward his ratings and that really was the thing.The thing that mattered.


The dormant booth AI voiced a prompt ,could he please choose an option and initiate the connecting nano-probes?
And then there it was.The giant red numerals commencing at Six – Zero.


It was that attention to detail and responsiveness to user demand and preference that led VIVAT marketing to go with the now iconic 60 seconds visual countdown thereby enhancing the Termination Experience.


He didn’t mind one way or the other.


Was that nongender specific citzen outside the booth still exclaiming about having to wait so long to use the booth still there?


He didn’t mind.


Beats being reshaped as a five foot human gorilla to go exist on an alien world even with a guaranteed additional longevity and enhanced ratings.


He..he didn’t..mind..


And as he exuded his last gasp of air he heard the AI synth-voice pronounce the sacramental blessing: 


VIVAT thanks you for choosing STERB for your Termination Experience.

A Sailor’s Lament

They departed the harbour of Reason,

set sail across the Sea of Madness

with no prospect of making landfall any time soon;

” Come with us to the edge of the World “,

” Voyage with us into the Unknown “;

And the Sailor looked at the King’s

shilling which he held in the palm of his

hand,had exchanged his liberty for it

and after mature consideration

tossed it into the waves.

Locomotive Breath

The rumble of passing trains,

going where they’ve always gone

at times we knew

and could set our watches by,

their metronomic clatter,

their iron rail rhythm

remorselessly bending nature

to their will;

Pressing on through the seasons

the rumble of passing trains;

Unfolding the countryside at

which passengers are staring,

watching and waiting

for their destinations to arrive,

as if by magic,

outside of their carriage windows,

Oblivious to the locomotive’s

kinetic brutality beating down

the miles as houses roll past

like a tracking shot in a film,

where the footage repeats in loops

and in time-less labyrinths

of their own purpose and making

and unmaking and remaking,

till the metal leviathan

heaves its last breath

and sighs contentedly,

at ease,

on time,

at the platform,

where no-one disembarks.

Dummy

In the darkened gloom

of a wooden tomb,

you kept me smothered

in a dank ,musty cloth,

my burial shroud wrapped around me,

like nightmares wrap themselves

around my dreams

were I be allowed to dream,

to suffocate on my own dust

passing time watching iron nails rust,

distant noises muffled

my own screams caught in a throat

that cannot issue its own currency of speech,

my counterfeit visage

its motionless mouth,

my fugue turns a darker shade of night;

until,

until,

until you release me

on parole again;

and as I sit obediently on your knee,

the applause reaches its crescendo

and you bow your head

as Charles did upon the chopping block

to which my thoughts stray

and before you put me back

into the wooden tomb,

I know now,

what I must do…

The Stranger’s Absence

I recall him saying,

” of all the possible possibilities isn’t it possible

that there being no possibilities is amongst them? “

To which I countered,

” We cling obsessively to those pieces of a jigsaw

we’ve somehow come to accumulate by chance,

accident or ulterior design, only for those pieces

never to fall into place or even bear any resemblance

to a discernible outline or pattern or a promise of coherence. “

I contemplate the solitary glass of absinthe

that sits forever stationary on a marble top table,

un-paid for and un-drunk until The Stranger returns,

and quaffs it savouring the liquid’s unique indifference

as it surges down his gullet;

We are only led to imagine such things

because we imagine that the Stranger,

long since absconded into the obscurity of the world-at-large

might somehow re-appear unannounced as if by chance,

fate or ulterior design,

And then we might recommence the desultory dialogue,

the Stranger and me

that dialogue which he chose peremptorily to abandon

with his trademark flaneur disquieting insouciance;

and so I sit and toy with the pieces of jigsaw

left me as a memento or perhaps not,

some pieces are clearly missing and

the glass of absinthe requires that I pay for it.

……………………………………………………………………..

Author’s footnote:

My previous poems featuring “The Stranger” are

The Stranger,One Last time ( 23/4/2019 )

A Stranger Returns (23/4/2018 )

Encounter with a Stranger ( 3/10/2017 )

Interstellar

Standing in our stockinged feet

on the surface of an alien world ,

wondering whether we can ever go back

go back go back again to that

place where we started from ?

So very far away so very

long ago that somehow we left

somehow find ourselves in our

stockinged feet standing and staring

staring across an unfamiliar horizon

wrought of jewels burnished with gold ,

dazzling and shining and when

all is done and all is told

we simply stand with one question

remaining on our lips ,

How do we get back home ?