I turn on my electronic reader like an science fiction heroine plugging her neuroport into an immersive feelie. But my imagination fuels the scene, aided by technology nothing grander than pixels-of-prose. In the 19th century they wrung their hands over women reading to escape. We still do.
The planet swells in asteroid-dulled viewports finally home
I’m making notes on cloud formation and the water cycle – trying to remember science.
mass into grey
fray into snow
I hate the clouding of my vision in my right eye, the inability to read properly, the constant feeling of eye-strain, the inability to judge height and depth which leads to me tripping over kerbs.
Strangely though as the date for my cataract operation draws nearer, I find myself savouring some of the cataract induced special effects.
round the candle flame –
Maria stands on the hill top, counting stars.
Maria fumbles with her wedding ring.
pushes back a curl.
and, Maria goes back to the hill top counting stars.
mother mourns over
Here he is, on time. Every morning, I meet him to buy the newspaper. He waits for me; waves his hand. I’d like to pretend I don’t see him, but just seems pointless. He stares at me. He has a hello for me, then it’s always the same old story: earthquakes, threats of nuclear war, decadence, mortality, injuries, ailments, his religious and patriarchal childhood. Words and rhythm never change. I feel a tightness in my chest. I am elusive. I try to shut him up him. I keep hoping he will change interlocutor. He looks at me. Clearly, he doesn’t know discretion. I tell myself that Socrates also accepted the cup of poison hemlock and drank every last drop.
a raven circles dark
I watched her working in her laboratory. My friend Sheila, the chemist.
She lifted a conical flask containing a colourless solvent and added a reddish brown amorphous substance to it. She placed the flask on the retort stand and lit the Bunsen burner underneath adjusting the flame just so. After a few minutes she dipped a thermometer into the solution to gauge its temperature. Satisfied, she measured a white crystalline compound on the balance and carefully added it to the flask. With a glass rod she stirred the solution till the colour was uniform. Finally she poured two test tubes of another white solvent into the bubbling solution on the burner. Having attained the desired consistency she poured the decanted solution from the conical flask into two beakers and turned to me.
“Care for a cup of Darjeeling tea?” she asked as she handed me a beaker.
the sugar baron complains
Every Day …
… I’m a different person. Every day, I wake up in the body of a terrestrial. I’m myself, but at the same time I’m not. I pass from a man to a woman. At first, it was hard, but now I make myself more agreeable. Has been like this since analogue television was experiencing its maximum moment of activity. The radio signal was spreading freely in space at the speed of light and wasn’t absorbed by cosmic dust or clouds. It could be intercepted. My prime objective was studying Earth and collecting data to transmit to my home world. From the body I’ve access to a mind: most of the information I need are there waiting for me. I’ve made mistakes in the past, but now I’m being careful:
I can more easily mask my surprise and ask fewer questions;
I complain about the boredom of daily routine;
I laugh at bad jokes too, only because I’ll never be able to understand Earth’s sense of humor;
I pay attention at allergies;
I don’t dance in syncopation movement any more;
I certainly eat a lot more cereal now;
I’ve learned the plot of Romeo and Juliet.
But above all, I’m done looking for the truth about God, but I realized that if God spared Keith Richards it’s because he’s probably also a fan of Rolling Stones.
every year Miss Universe
an Earth woman