(Hour 23) 20.30pm-21.30pm. TEXT PROMPT: title of a book(s)

42 Bookers 2015-21

it might only be
a little life
but it is my life
& i am unwilling
to exit west
to lose everything
under the overstory.
i am a satin island
in a sea of fishermen
born in the year
of the runaways
next to a spool
of blue thread.
sucked hot milk from
the autumn milkman
am all that man is.
am girl, woman, other.
do not say we have
nothing. for we are
his bloody project
a history of wolves.
and i would rather
spend 10 minutes
38 seconds in this
strange world
in this mournable body
in the new wilderness
of a real life
than be burnt sugar
for the shadow king
& that is the promise.
for no one is talking
about this bewilderment
and the fortune men
lose in the sellout
to a passage north
to the great circle
of ducks, newburyport.
the long take
of the testaments
reminds us 4321
of lincoln in the bardo
& a brief history
of seven killings:
eileen, elmet, shuggie bain,
washington black, quichotte
as well as an orchestra of
minorities in the mars room.

(Hour 22) 19.30pm-20.30pm. TEXT PROMPT: tenderness


Stella and Ryan keep bickering
About petrol, spark plugs, tires
And anything else they feel like.
Constant since they “re-found” me
Not that I was ever lost. I always knew.
Sometimes wish I was still underwater.
Better than air pods deep pools.
We’re crawling through some long
Deserted back streets, dodgy houses
Cars on blocks and yards full of junk
When suddenly I see them. Two kids.
Girl and boy. Younger than me. Hiding.
Or trying too. Perhaps hoping to be seen.
Or saved. Stop! I scream. And to all
Our surprises we do. I’ve got the door
Half open when Ryan grabs my arm.
Whatcha doing buddy? I saw two kids.
They need our help. You sure? It could be/
But he doesn’t finish his sentence.
It’s not. How do you know, Stella joins in.
I just do. Trust me. I know without knowing
How I gotta approach them like they’re
Skittish colts. Cos they really are.
They want to be friends. They just don’t
Know how right now. I don’t speak.
Neither do they. I smile. The girl sort of.
The boy hides behind her. I don’t think
They’re related. They’re just clinging.
To whoever. I hold out a hand. Wait.

Eventually.                       She takes it.

(Hour 20) 17.30pm-18.30pm. VISUAL PROMPT: a mattress bed in a flower bed

mattress bed in a flower bed

catching what i can : sleeping when & where & as i can : the odd dreams continue : this midday : confined to : a double mattress : made up as a bed : white sheets : in the middle of a garden : flowers already dying : wilting palms : providing : ineffective tigerstripe shade : in the distance : soft grey water : reflecting a tiny portion : of our heliorious : sun’s rays 

in my dream : i dream : of trying to sleep : lying on this : oddly placed : day lounge : but i can’t : knowing as i do : that 7 & 1/2 : earth minutes ago : the sun somehow : blinked entirely : out of existence : as if an enormous : intergalactic child : picked it up : like a marble : & popped it in : her pocket : before jumping on Einstein’s : beam of light : & riding away : stopping all the clocks : behind her

all except the one : which will : in a little less than 30 seconds : remove all light : & all gravity : from where i lie : on a white-sheeted mattress : in what was once : our solar system

(Hour 19) 16.30pm-17.30pm. TEXT PROMPT: poem for a city, real or imagined

just do it

i never came down to the city often
it’s only a 90 minute drive
but there never seemed a reason
never felt at home surrounded
by so much concrete & so many people

so even though that one particular
peccadillo has been resolved
slowdriving through is still
ten times stranger than usual
cars have crashed everywhere into everything
the road’s blocked in large stretches
then surprisingly clear for others

Ryan avoids main roads where possible
using suburban streets as much as he can
gently nudging now forever
ownerless vehicles out the way
i’ve said it before & i’ll say it again
thank goodness for bullbars

without gps on my phone
i have no idea how to get anywhere
i’m not sure Ryan does either
though i know he did appropriate
an old-fashioned street directory
from one of the farmhouses we’d looted
on the way down

but the city is a ghost in more ways
than crashed cars & peopleless streets
at some point the power had either died
or deliberately been disconnected
where there should be street lights
& lights in windows of homes & shops
now just pale reflections
of the nearly full moon

most disturbing
are the piles of clothing
jeans & shirts & dresses
blown into doorways
handbags & backpacks
dumped on footpaths

& everywhere dozens & dozens
of empty lifeless shoes

(Hour 18) 15.30pm-16.30pm. TEXT PROMPT: moment of joy

glad day

don’t ask me how it’s happened : because i don’t understand : & confess i remain : skeptical : but apparently : a message : has arrived : via the survivors’ underground network : a hodgepodge of crystal radios : gossip & tall tales : paper notes : whisper down the lane : & pigeon post : for all i know : that


Stella & Rueben’s grandparents : are both alive : & in North-West Tasmania : & if not well : at least : looking forward to : their grandchildren’s arrival : at their earliest convenience

sure : two teenagers : will simply traipse : unharmed : over the best part : of three states : for a tearjerking : reunion : in the midst : of the world’s most comprehensive : disaster : ever

Rueben : i’m pleased to observe : remains lacklustre : he seeks more reliable : data : not just the say so : of a bedraggled bunch of lucky-to-be-alives : spiderwebbing : across the continent 

still : watching Stella : arms to the sun : dancing : is a breath stopping : sight : that bubbles : laughter : in even my : grumpy breast

(Hour 17) 14.30pm-15.30pm. PROMPT: mythical monster & silhouetted image 3 figures against blue slit 

dam & blast

ahead : a narrow strait : dripping water : darkness : pale blue light : beyond : as if under neath : an endless ocean : forcing down : desiring only : to drown : anyone near : the wall whispers : of : all that water behind

in stark silhouette : a pair of Dusters : backlit black : like Odysseus facing himself : between Charybdis & Scylla : i must somehow pass : without sacrificing : myself : to either monster’s maws : this reccy : to see if : blowing the reservoir wall : was feasible : or even wise : has turned dark & dangerous : & i don’t know : how to flee : as i’m sure : they’ve detected me

though : from what i can tell : they’ve yet to move : or sound an alarm : but how would i know : they might communicate : telepathically : or via built-in transmitters : inside their oversized : helmets 

Stella is only a couple of ks away : scouting supplies : at the farm : where i stole : the petrol & the fertiliser : & a mere 20 minute drive : from the quarry : where we pinched : the dynamite

surely the base is too thick : if it’s not timed right : it won’t even make a dent : perhaps atop the wall : will use a gash : big enough for the force of megatons of rushing water : to rip more down : & so become a self-fulfilling prophecy 

the pirate radio : suggest they were : surprised by salt : it seems their home world : is freshwater only : if that’s even : chemically possible :

(Hour 15) 12.30pm-13.30pm. BOTH PROMPTS: lust + delicate leaves


after another wonderful
very physical session

we lie back staring up
so much star-staring

he’s talking of course
telling me his crazy dreams 

& i feel as see-through
& light

as the skeletal filaments
of a leaf left too long on the tree

only criss-crossing membranes
remain in remembrance of what

once was


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