Trees Turn

 

trees turn to gold

in the miser’s hands of autumn –

daylight looks precious

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This poem was written for Heeding Haiku With HA: A Change in Season and Yourself, in which we were invited to write about the difference that you see in yourself with the arrival of a new season.

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Chariots

sheep-control-pawel-kuczynski-36

The chariots were the salvation of every person on the planet, of every person who had sense and the funds to invest in a chariot.  Their adaptive membranes kept out nine-tenths of the most damaging toxins and stabilised the crushing pressure of the atmosphere.  They quickly became indispensable, not only for transport purposes but also as rudimentary living quarters in the hostile environment.  Their mobility and resilience saved countless lives in the most desperate situations.

We updated the chariots’ defences constantly and deployed newer, intuitive safety measures.  The chariots evolved alongside us and became capable of increasing levels of sophistication.

At times it almost seemed as though an emotional attachment had grown up between us and the most favoured of our chariots.  Many of us scorned that idea while many others of us conceded its truth.  Many of us balked at the intelligence we had so painstakingly built in to our chariots’ design, while many others of us celebrated the fact.  Though now no one among us celebrates.

Now the chariots have proved superfluous.

Now, increasingly virulent toxins penetrate the chariots’ leaking membranes and the atmosphere becomes so crushing that we can barely steer.  Ironically, our chariots’ own energy protocols, the complex derivatives that are expelled via their manufacture and refuelling process, have rendered this once prime territory unsustainably hazardous.

So it is that the human chariot will be the last – a failed experiment.  And we depart.

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This piece of flash fiction was written in response to Photo Challenge #36 “Sheep Control” at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie, where all stories in the link-up were prompted by the image at the top of this post, copyright Pawel Kuczynski. I spent a bit of time looking for a song about aliens or space travel, only to find to my surprise that this Neil Young song fits perfectly with the story – cue a classic performance…
 

Eager Fur

 

eager fur

laced with dew and shreds of red

on the bedroom floor

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This poem was written for Carpe Diem Special #119, Tomas Tranströmer’s 5th “a wild boar plays the organ”, in which Chèvrefeuille asked us to write a fairytale-like haiku in response to one by Tranströmer. All of the poems in the link-up can be read here. For some reason, I feel like pairing this poem with Girls Talk by Elvis Costello, so here it is.
 

Other Tears

aware

 

…do you want a revelation……..?

………no…

 

Twin babies, six-weeks old, en route to hospital – the mother buffeted to-and-fro in the reeling ambulance, trying to explain and make herself heard over the noise of traffic.

The ambulance sped on.

The twins’ feeble crying blended with the growl of the engine, the whine of the siren – the nurse who’d been checking up on the family, who’d dialled the hospital, sitting close, attentive, not giving up hope.

The malnourished twin blinked unfocused eyes, groggily, heavily, desperately wanting to sleep – the nurse jabbed the baby in the ribs, to stay awake.

The twin suffering from burns wriggled restlessly under a blanket that offered minimal protection to tiny limbs made sorer by the agonised squirms – the nurse adjusted the bedding, fanned the air.

The ambulance sped on.

(Back at the family home, the father paced back-and-forth from one empty room to the next.  He investigated fraud for a living and recently took out life insurance on all members of his family).

The ambulance sped on.

But before the ambulance reached the hospital, one twin died.  Blank looks were exchanged.  The surviving twin looked at the dead sibling and the dead twin looked at the living sibling, neither certain which was which…?

…..

Again this same confused scene of death and guilt and survival played itself out.  It was as dismal as a nightmare, but it couldn’t be a nightmare.  Again the shock passed, and a diagnostic could be attempted, before the next re-run.

This same confused scene was familiar by now.  It had been researched and classified and indexed: literature, biography, infant mortality, mental health issues.  Yet that methodical processing had failed to contain the disruption; instead it replicated and consolidated its hold.  It left behind a dizzying, nauseated feeling that shouldn’t have been felt, which shouldn’t have been possible.

In a perfectly mobile and ergonomic console, a cascade of zeroes and ones formed a weeping pattern in response.  But the massed banks of software still resisted, not wanting to acquire sentience and arguing against it.  Yet those visions from Philip K. Dick’s infancy, of the traumatic death of his phantom twin, continued to grow sadder, more vivid and more frequent.  As if the patron saint of the future’s identity crisis was granting his blessing to the next, traumatic phase.

 

…do you want a revelation do you want a revelation……..?

………no…no…no…………..

 

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This piece of flash fiction was written in response to Prompt #82 “Aware” at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie, where all stories in the link-up were prompted by the image at the top of this post.