Scientific explanations of how each instant is split

Into infinite variations,

Possibilities, permutations,

Of the instantaneous chaos of action and reaction,

Keep me motionless.

So that I can only cover my one head with my two arms,

And tumble headlong and blockishly

From one moment to the next,

As if down a flight of stairs.


These days I follow astrology,

Wondrous signs and cycles.

Now is the time make travel plans.

This is a good year for work.

Mars is in Libra’s eighth house.

Saturn return will bring change

And realignment.

A language of women with soft voices and folded hands.

I seek contentment in the sigh of tides,

In meanings pinned to stars.


But now and again,

I still think of how a couple of rolled dice

Might have glowed like a constellation.

If I had, at just the right moment,

Taken one of my warm hands,

Squeezed one—or both—of yours,

And said something like (or perhaps exactly)

You know, I do love you…


But we’re off and away now,

Each soul-deep in a million new tangles,

The twistings of which

Cannot possibly

Be retraced.

The Fires (poetry)

Aphelion - June 2013The Fires

Published in Aphelion: Webzine of Science Fiction and Fantasy, issue 174, vol. 18, June 2013. URL link: read at Aphelion.





The Fires


At night can we see those who remain,

The last of the tribes that have eluded us.

Their campfires gleam and flare

In the forested hills far above.

Bright and beady and silent.


They give away their positions,

And we efficiently chart them.

Although in the morning we find nothing.


Sometimes the fires seem to burn the wrong colour,

A deep and queerly glimmering crimson.

Those captured and enslaved

Tell us nothing of their people’s movements or rituals.


We could mobilise when we see the fires.

Steal and hack through the undergrowth,

Creep up on their chants and murmurs.

Ring forged steel so much louder

Against their skulls.

Rape those worth raping;

Cut down their hags.

Throw their brats on the fire.


Instead we fortify the perimeter.

Whip the captured harder.

Reduce their skin to welts, bruises, striations.

Write woe on their faces.

Draw from them whimpers as primitive as those

of stray dogs starving at a city’s edge.


All under the wretched gaze

Of those wrong-coloured fires.

Each one winking death

Like a bad star.