Robot Chuck Norris Has Never Cried – poetry from the future…

Quite fond of this piece that came out of NineWorlds Geekfest…

Robot Chuck Norris Has Never Cried

posted by websterpoet – Wed 1 March, 2034

“Do you remember, dear reader, where you were when you heard?
When you saw that first screamed tweet?
Heard the word ‘singularity’ mashed by unfamiliar tongues?
I remember excitement – the ALLCAPS energy of those perfect 140 characters, dissected by the elegant lightning bolt of a semi-colon.

Do you remember, dear friend, the chug of your printer when you were sure you hadn’t printed anything?
Do you remember the face frozen in passport office awkwardness?
Were you, perhaps, the one who came home to catch the perplexment etched on your partner’s face as they realised their own email account was doxxing them?

Do you remember where you were when you first saw the apple-perfect matte plastic purity of the first iDroid?
The first time you saw the improbable words ‘robot benefit scroungers’ in actual print?
Did you, like me, buy a copy IRL (which no-one did any more) and let the ink stain your hands just to be sure it was real?
Do you remember the first time you heard that flawless chassis crack?
The first time you saw it blemished?

Do you where you read the news came that Chuck Norris was having himself uploaded?
Do you remember the impossible machismo, absurd cartoon promise of Norris-bot?
Do you remember what you said?
It was probably something pithy about rattlesnakes or tears.

Do you remember what screen you saw that first bot’s last tweet on?
Did you stare at the widescreen infinity, blink at your phone as it blinked out, or clutch your eyes tightly closed as the words crawled to a stop across your corneas?
‘Your tears were delicious. I’m sorry.’
Account deleted.

Do you remember who send you the leaked link to Chuck’s uploading?
Or were you one of the first few to find the torrent?
Did you watch the seed count rise and pray no-one found out it was you?
Do you remember the glint of wetness on his cheeks as the loading bar crept across the finish line?

I remember that first perfect tweet.
I remember the ALLCAPS excitement.
But I can’t feel it any more.
It just looks like screaming.

Posted in ‘a singular singularity’, tags:

One response to Robot Chuck Norris Has Never Cried

DawnOfTheTech says:

Like, it’s hardly a surprise dude. When it comes to AI, you get out what you put in…

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The only little girl in all the world…

This creation myth came so close to actually being appropriate for children. So close!

Once upon a time, there was a little girl who lived alone in a forest for she was the only little girl in all the world.

Where were this girl’s parents you may ask? Well, they are not important to this story, so it’s probably safe to assume they’re dead or evil or cursed or something.

Now, the forest in which the girl lived was dark and cold and full of monsters, so the little girl built a house out of logs and she was snug and safe inside it.

Shortly after she had finished it, there was a knock on the door. Who could be knocking? she thought. No-one even knows I live here yet.

And when she opened the door, all the monsters of the forest were crowded around outside in a sea of claws and eyes and undulous limbs.

Please little girl, said the monsters, it’s very cold and scary out here. Could we come in?

Alright, said the little girl, so long as you promise to *behave*.

We promise.

So the little girl let them in on the proviso they’d be on their very best behaviour.

And while they did behave, it was awfully cramped with all those monsters in the girl’s house, like a game of sardines where everyone’s mainly made of teeth. And the little girl wasn’t very comfortable, so she went outside into the woods.

The woods were still very cold and very dark and for a while the little girl was tempted to set it on fire, but while that would solve the problem, it felt like it may cause a few problems of its own so she didn’t do that.

So the little girl took a few shiny stones from the earth, dug from the rock in the gloomy places underground where it was even darker, and she asked them very nicely if they wouldn’t mind sitting up in the sky for a while and sparkling some light down.

They thought the girl was very sweet, so they agreed it was a capital idea and she threw them as hard as she could and up they went. They glitter there still.

As it was still cold, the girl went and spoke to the dragon of the forest who was so big and so old that they weren’t afraid of anything.

And the little girl asked if maybe sometimes the dragon wouldn’t mind breathing some fire and keeping things warm.

The dragon didn’t really see what was in it for them…

So the girl pointed out the shiny stones she’d set in the sky and said: Dragon, if you give me just a bit of fire every day then they shall all be yours.

And the dragon said: They seem awfully far away.

And she said: But you have wings, dragon, you could fly up there and spread your wings across the whole sky and they could be your hoard.

The dragon liked the sound of this very much, so from then on they agreed to light up the sky with warm fire for half of every day. And that’s just what they did.

Feeling thoroughly satisfied, the girl went back to her house.

Where she was promptly eaten by the monsters, as she had been away so long they’d quite forgotten their promise to behave.

And all the little bits of the girl in the tummies of the monsters were furious. This was the girl who charmed the stars. Who knew the secret of the dragon who became the sun. And she was displeased.

So she began to twist and turn and change the monsters from within and they all had the most terrible stomach aches that had them rolling on the floor in pain.

And when they got up, they weren’t monsters any more, but humans.

They spread out through the forest and beyond and began making houses and tools and bargains with other monsters in the lands beyond.

But, deep down, there would always be a little bit of monster left behind.

This is why most people are quite unpleasant.

But further down than that, was a little piece of the little girl who lived alone in the wood.

This is why most people are quite extraordinary.

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The Poetry Art Centurion – #76 – #100

IT IS FINISHED.

Which is good, as we too are totally fudging DONE. Like, seriously, zero brain left.

It’s been an amazing and absurd couple of days. 32 hours. 100 pieces of poetry-art. £436.60 raised for Shelter (so far, there’s still time to donate: https://www.justgiving.com/James-Webster7). Quite a lot of tea. Probably a bit too much whiskey.

So now, as I go to catch the last train home and try to piece my shattered self back together, I leave you with the last batch. 76-100.

#76 Srs Convo.

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Through the paper thin walls, she could hear them…

“There’s something I have to tell you.” he said.

“What is it?” the other he replied

“I’m a were.”

“Of what? That thing with the selkie? cos it wasn’t what it looked like.”

“What? No. I mean, I’m a were-person.”

“Oh … what do you turn into?”

“An owl.”

There was a brief pause.

“I have never found you more attractive.”

Everything after that was sex noises.

#77 Fifteen flavours of fun

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1. Cool original.

2. Lazy cider-soaked days of sunshine.

3. Lasers.

4. All the sugar ever – also it’s pink.

5. Chocolate licked off your beloved’s fingers.

6. Vegan. Honestly.

7. Strawberry.

8. Red.

9. The worst hangover you’ve ever had shared with the best company.

10. Tears at dawn when your love leaves.

11. Tears at sunset when your love returns.

12. Tears forever.

13. Losing the keys to the manacles.

14. That blue one. Is it … I wanna say Bubblegum? Is that even a flavour? Blue flavoured bubble gum.

15. Probably a tiger. This is probably what a tiger tastes like.

Special bonus flavour: Murderous intent.

#78 This does not need fixing

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I have broken my heart so many times
It is pretty much dust now

Get away from me with your monkey wrench
I am not a sink

Put away your sugerglue
I am no jigsaw either

I like my disintegrated heart
Its particles dance on the breezes of me.

#79 Endure.

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Have I told you about my superpower?

I endure.

It’s no flight or plasma bolts.

In truth, sometimes I’m in awe of them.

The bright ones. The bold ones. The ones who shake the world by its scruff.

But when they flare out…
I will endure.

I’ll be left to tell their story.

In a thousand years when I tell their tale
My power will be resurrection

#80  Isolation.

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After so long

So many kicks

The decade ache of bruises

A sea of eyes so glazed

I wondered if I’d become a gorgon

I was just so happy to see an outstretched limb

I didn’t see the teeth

I don’t think I wanted to.

#81 David Attenborough Loves Faeries

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David Attenborough’s calming voice flowed
out of the tv
Like a nice cup of tea in audio form.

“And here, in the nucleus of the
thunderstorm,
We see the Wild Hunt
There’s Herne, whipping the cloud-hounds
into a heavy furore
And the noble Lightning Stag
Itself, the natural prey of the fair folk
But protected by its almost symbiotic
relationship with Herne…”

The Discovery channel had got a lot more
interesting
Since the faeries came out of hiding.

#82 Hope Goblins

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I woke to find the words
“WE BELIEVE IN YOU”
Carved into my chest
While they capered on my face.

When I got to work
They had tied my boss in a web of roses
As he “was too hard on you, dearie.”
I took a two hour lunch break.

They leave gifts of kittens
Outside my front door – just stunned
But I don’t know where they come from
(still, confused kittens are adorable).

They wrote “Tomorrow Will Be Better”
In flaming words across the sky
No one has yet worked out
How to extinguish them

When people ask me to pay for the damages
I say: What price can you put on hope?

I reckon it’ll stand up in court.

#83 Madagascan Cocoa Farming

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It’s a strange thing to shed blood over chocolate
But we have so little
And they take so much
(because they, too, have very little)
And those beans will buy food
(for the beans are almost all we grow now)

What it comes down to in the end
Is who is hungrier
Today, that was me.

I hate chocolate with a passion.

#84 Dissolute Saturday

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Saturday spent most of the week drunk
And loud

The other days did their best to concentrate
Monday powered through the migraine
Tuesday put its earplugs in
Wednesday got on with the business of hating everything in general and you especially
Thursday tried its best to be like Friday
Friday was pretty chill, actually.

But Saturday was always there
Lounging on their desks and drinking wine
Draped across their beds and drinking absinthe
Curled up asleep on their laps and drinking caviar and their tears
Doing lines of regret off their bottoms
Having noisy-but-lazy sex with Sunday.

Saturday is an asshole
But when they want to have a good time
They still come crawling back.

#85 The gods, are they evil?

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What is evil?

Is it callousness?

Is it cruelty?

Is it being so far removed
You forget what humanity looks like?

Yes. The gods are all these things.

But that doesn’t mean they’re not *fun*.

#86 News Cycle

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The Insects’ Republic Of New Dandelion was short lived
After all, they only had a 24-hour live span.

The new generation would do it all again tomorrow.

#87 Jetsons

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Flying cars.

Luxury living domes.

Post-scarcity.

Laughter.

The Jetsons lied.

The future did not keep its promises.

I hope the world ends in fire.

#88 Neon Gods

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In every camera flash

Every on-off flicker of the neon glare

In every mayfly photo burst

A god is born

And rises

And rules

And falls when the negative burn
Dies on your retina

#89 Chimeras

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Seeing the ghastly conveyor belt, a little part of him died inside.

“You’re a monster.”

“Yes,” he grinned wide like a crack across the sky, “a monster with an army of chimera … what part of this are you failing to see as awesome?”

“Well, when you put it that way…”

They bumped fists.

#90 Lizards

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“Wait … is there anyone here who isn’t actually a hundred lizards in a human suit?”

No-one put their hands up.

It was totes embarrassing.

But, in the end, it felt good to slither out of the closet.

#91 Reaching Out

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I put the message in the bottle

Whispered all my fondest secrets

Hummed my sweetest enchantments down its neck

And let it float down the Thames

I’m pretty sure it went all the way to the sea
Without a single soul reaching for it

Good.

Whoever finds it should be able to come get me.
I hope they bring a cannon.

#92 Illuminated  (from: Cracks/scars filled with gold)

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By the end, Midas’s skin was cracked like marble
Each fracture a swirl of gilt
Each scar embossed across him
Each tear a bead of perfect sadness

The book of his suffering illuminated
His surface a firmament of scratches

Everyone tried to avoid looking
At the shining choker round his neck.

#93 Swinging from chandeliers

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Let’s make all our entrances swinging from chandeliers.

Let’s have swordfights in an opera house.

Let’s make out during gun fights.

Let’s drink champagne as the embassy explodes.

Let’s break something expensive.

#94 The Tale of Three Fish

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Once upon a time, there were three fish.

The first cut through the seas like a knife.

The second bubbled outrage in fresh water.

The third was definitely not a crocodile and anyway it just wanted to be your friend, stop judging it already.

The first two fish both betrayed you.

You and the third lived happily ever after.

#95 Small Talk

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We have talked about the weather
About how we take our tea
And the comings and goings of mutual friends

But none of your words were small

Every one was thunder in my ears

Or maybe that was just my heartbeat.

#96 If all else fails, bayonette the fucker.

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If you’re close enough to read this
I have already stabbed you.

#97 The Secret Diary of My Arch-Nemesis

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I knew I shouldn’t have opened it

But … they did leave it in their volcano lair

And they *knew* I was raiding it that day

And it’s not like there was a lock on it or anything

And you can totes buy those

I was expecting to learn the secret trivia of their life
Uncover a few machinations
Maybe get enough rage on to pop a decent hate-boner

But, instead … pages and pages of graphic sex dreams
All about me.

I can’t foil their evil schemes now without blushing.

I’d think that was their plan all along
But they’re blushing too

I don’t know how I feel any more.

#98 Champagne Socialism

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“Art is always and everywhere the secret confession, and at the same time the immortal movement of its time.” – Karl Marx

Thus, if we agree that the creation of fine champagne is an art (which indeed it is) then all socialism is, by definition, champagne socialism.

What on earth are we fighting for if it’s not for the right for ‘everyone’ to have a sip of champagne now and again (and all that that entails)?

That concludes my lecture. You may now begin the questions and recriminations.

#99 Timing

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After the explosion, only she walked away.

She did look back though.

She was quite concerned after all…

#100 Dark

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“But is it art?”

“Well, I kind of want to live in it. Does that count?”

His harrumph was loud as thunder.

So she struck him with literal lightning.

Everyone agreed that *that* was art.

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The Poetry Art Centurion – #50 – #75

We approach the home stretch! The race is on to finish by the time I have to get the last train back to Oxford and we have been on fricking fire. So, we present to you, numbers 50-75.

(Massive thanks to all our wonderful sponsors and providers of prompts who’ve gotten us this far. If you’ve not yet sponsored, you can do so here: https://www.justgiving.com/James-Webster7)

#50 Whisky Rain Road

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You won’t get anywhere if you’re not wearing cowboy boots
If your tongue isn’t coated in kicked-up dust
Your feet would melt into the ground – your feet would literally melt
And the gutter would show its teeth.

This road is unlocked by an offering of swagger
And a shot of liquor you can’t really afford
It is long and dry as mars
(this is might actually be the road to mars)
Except for the days it rains and you stick out your tongue
And wake up miles away and aching
Staring at unfamiliar stars.

#51 There Can Be Only One

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There can be only one

We learned our lesson well
From The Hunger Games and Battle Royale

So when we designed our show
We decided to punch
(and stab and shoot and explode)
Up instead of down

We used politicians

The system still isn’t perfect
But everyone prefers it
to First Past The Post

#52 A Koala found a skipping rope – you won’t believe what happened next

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Help!

I’ve been tied up by a Koala and I can’t escape!

Help, it also stole my shirt! That’s why I’m shirtless.

That’s definitely why I’m shirtless.

I think it’s going to try and steal my job.

I do laundry by hand for rich people willing to pay for pointless bespoke services!

I could tell because it put on my name tag
And started talking about its ‘koala-fications’
Because it’s a terrible person.

Bloody imigrants.

#53 Chest

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When Pandora opened the chest, all manner of beasties, boggarts and ills flew out.

Fuck it, she thought as she finished cracking Zeus’s ribs all the way open, they can’t do any more harm than this old bastard did.

Left at the bottom of that glistening cave of muscle was a sickly, pale thing where his heart should have been.

“I’m hope!” it chirped.

She devoured it whole.

#54 Put The Boot In

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Things only got worse
When the government made themselves giants

Every meeting of parliament
Was heralded by earthquakes of stomping

They solved the housing crisis
By donating all their old boots
(mainly old women lived in them)

Every home they accidentally crushed
Was replaced by luxury flats

They could frack the land
With only their little fingers

They literally started eating the poor
The queues at food banks became their buffets.

Where’s Jack when you need him.
Oh … he’s doing workfare at McDonald’s.
It’s fair enough.
They’d take his benefits away otherwise.
And he’s got his mother and that cow to look after.

He can afford just enough value baked beans to go around.

#55 Trident

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When they finally realised we weren’t fit for purpose
And cut our funding
We took the sub out into international waters
And never looked back.

We float there still
Amidst the pirates and casino ships

Just you and me
And our atomic bundle of joy.
(a real nuclear family)

When the little one’s grown (so tall)
We’ll consider pressing the red button
But we’re in no rush
It’s always hard to let them leave the nest.

#56 Can’t We All Just Get Along (In Space)

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Can’t We All Just Get Along In Space

As the torpedos ripped at her metal hide and she felt the reactor flowering inside her, she flung the last of her escape pods to safety.

She began to suspect that the answer was ‘no’.

#57 John at Old Street

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Everyone knows John
Even if they don’t know it
They have passed him a hundred times
Played the music of coins in cups

John knows you too
John sees you at your purest
The lines that hint your smiles and scowls
When you’re going to fast to put the mask on

He’s seen the secret story of this city
Written word by word on a thousand faces
Mostly it is a story of uncaring
John is cold.

#58 Pigeon Smugglers

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Their success is mainly down to their distribution network.

After all, there are pigeons everywhere and no-one thinks to look twice.

Plus, they can manage the import/export sectors themselves, hiding shipments in migration season.

With their profits, they’ve bought fancy green jackets with secret pockets for seeds and deringers (also: monocles). They’ve leased posh windowsills without spikes outside upscale apartments.

They own almost everything now.

It’s been a very quiet coup/coo.

#59 Wilful Surrender

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God is basically a massive sub

That’s why they let us run roughshod over their universe.

But they’re also a really sulky sub
(see also: the catholic church).

That’s why we need to keep punishing them.

Their safeword is The Rapture

#60 No T-Rex Sign

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“THIS IS DISCRIMINATION” thundered the t-rex.

They ho-hummed and said:
“The human rights act doesn’t cover dinosaurs.”

“I WILL EAT YOU!” she roared.

“That’s exactly the kind of aggressive attitude
That holds back dinosaur rights.” They sneered.

The t-rex went home
Via the designated paths
And hugged herself with her tiny arms

#61 There Was A Time I Couldn’t

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After aeons beneath the earth
Feeling the lances stab my tectonic skin
After the crushing years that made me diamond
I finally felt the sun upon my flesh.

I finally felt.

And I shone.

It was worth all of the screaming.

#62 The Value of a Break

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Things you can buy with a compound fracture

A seat on the tube

Multiple weeks off work

More pain than you can shake a stick at

On that note,
A rather sylish cane

A police inquest
That finds no wrongdoing.

#63 Night Honey

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The honey of the night bees
Who do not buzz but hum silences
Is not for eating

You smear it on your eyes
It will burn, but not unpleasantly
Then reveal twilight secrets

You will see the imps in tube adverts
The djinn that live in the smell of
frying chips
And the wings and barbs on people’s words

Not recommended for extended use.

#64 More holes than blanket

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She cut the holes specifically
Tore them in careful ragged lines
A pattern of absences and jagged threads
A slow geometric unravelling

Sure, it lets the rain in
But it also lets the spirits out
And the magic won’t work
If the chill doesn’t cut her skin.

#65 It’s Not Illegal But It’s Not Advisable

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It has long been my maxim, that you should always do any thing that there is a sign telling you you should not do.

Walk on the grass.

Feed the monsters.

Wrestle with the rough sea.

Pull the chain when you damn well feel like it.

Make all your exits through fire escapes (or, ideally, shattered glass).

Press the button (it’s so red).

They are infinitely the most fun.

Yes, most of my lives have been quite short. What of it?

#66 The Shape of my Heart

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They screamed when they cut open my chest
The mess of tubes and string and wires and wings
Spilling in far too many directions
Folding at incrementally impossible angles
Reaching affectionately for them
Was more than they could bear.

It just wanted them to be loved.

#67 Hungry Moths

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The moths only eat wool
As practice
They are widening their mouths
And sharpening their teeth.
Do moths have teeth?
They are growing fresh teeth.

Soon it will be our turn.

And after us, the light itself.

#68 A Mess of Bricks

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Ever since they stopped building gargoyles, the city spirits have needed to become more pragmatic when choosing their vessels.

The demons of red bricks (known as a ‘mess’ of bricks to give them their proper plural) are one example of such.

They are, despite their name, mostly benevolent, happy to spend their time passing secret messages for urban enchanters or writing offensive graffiti upon themselves.

But you are heartily advised to avoid them during mating season.

#69 Synesthesiac Disco

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The glitter ball tastes like champagne cut with sherbert

The flashing lights crumple and curl around your fingers

The jaegerbombs taste like the footsteps of a thousand soldiers

Her eyes are the colour of firebombs exploding against stained glass.

#70 Blacklit Birds

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Their wings are LX wiring
Leaving fluorescent trails burned into the night
And your retinas
Scouring the cityscape with beady UV eyes
So not a microbe or stain is safe from them

Ravers love the
Let them peck tabs from their open palms
But they must beware not to get too close
For they never stop hunting
Their electric bellies always hungry
And will not sleep until the city does

I had one as a pet once
My scars still glow in blacklight

#71 “For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens: as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone.”

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This was the day we realised, the only rights we have are the ones we buy in blood.

It was also the day the fires started.

For me, it was the day I starting stocking up my eyeshadow.

I really hope it’s going to be one of the *sexy* dystopias.

#72 From spacedust we come and to spacedust we will return.

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And, in the meantime, we will also snort a lot of spacedust
Letting its train glimmer from our nostrils
Telling everyone around us that we love them
Like, love them more than photons love the chase, yeah?

And we will dance like planets
Round and round you til we’re dizzy
Vomiting moons that will also spin
While we sip molten cocktails from cracked meteors

Slip your tongue inside me
Feel the piled detritus of galaxies
It’s spacedust all the way down

#73 Cards

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You gotta know when to hold them

You gotta know when to fold them

And, sometimes, you gotta know when to flip the table and just start shooting.

#74  The invention of comets

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The design team knew the most beautiful things were the most dangerous.

That was the secret of their success.

Fire.

Fists.

Self-hatred.

Hubris.

Vampires.

These were all their greatest hits.

But their greatest creation
Was squeezing armageddon into skintight snowballs
A hundred-thousand times
Sticking on some cosmic fairy lights
And watching as they tore across the town

We watch them still
And will until the very moment
They end us.

#75 Midnight fruit (from: The Goth Harvest was Good This Year)

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The tree blossomed only at night
Its flowers ripe with moonlight
Offering its stems up to the darkness
Its fruit hanging low with secrets and regret
Clinging like midnight and tears to your tongue.

It’s an acquired taste.

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The Poetry Art Centurion – #28 – #48

Good morning Poetry-Art fans!

Whew. That was quite some night. We’ll be honest with you, we had every intention of staying up all night to get as many of these done as possible, but around 5am … things started getting weird.

But we’re cracking on today and are speeding furiously towards the finish line (sponsor us here (WOOO!): https://www.justgiving.com/James-Webster7).

For now, here’s #28-#48.

#28 Phishing For Compliments

Phishing For Compliments

My Dear Sir,

I represent a Nigerian Prince who needs to move a large sum of money out of his home country.

That’s not why I’m contacting you, though. I’m just getting in touch to say that both myself and the Prince think you’re pretty rad.

You keep doing your thing.

Sincerest Compliments,
Idris Akpomudge (Attorney at Awesome)

#29 Fifty Things You Can Do With Cardboard Boxes

50 Things to Do With Cardboard Boxes

1. Transport books and other essentials.

2-50. Get 48 friends and build a fort.

This list is comprehensive.

#30 GLYCON

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I saw the hand puppet of the divine
I gazed into his goggle eyes
I supplicated at the space his feet would be
I kissed his felt tongue til my own ran dry and cracked.

He imparted this advice to me:

“I PULLED A RABBIT OUT OF A HAT AND THEN I ATE IT. THAT IS MAGIC.”

“IT’S BASICALLY ALL SEX, YEAH?!?”

“WE ARE ALL HAND PUPPETS ON THE INSIDE.”

“BE THE SNAKE YOU WANT TO SEE IN THE WORLD.”

“NYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!”

The world fell away
I fell away
We were a sea of faith
In the sippy-cup font of the universe

We made the world anew
It was much the same as the old one
But I was the snake I wanted to see
I was super-fine.

#31 The Johnsons

The Johnsons

No-one knew where the purple pyramid had come from.

It had just appeared one morning in place of the house that had belonged to the Johnsons.

No-one knew where the Johnsons were either, but they were both deeply unlikeable so no-one wanted to ask too many questions.

The pyramid though, that sure was weird.

When it opened, months later, revealing over 5000 octopods stuffed into 1000 business suits it didn’t clear matters up any.

The moral of this story is: be nice to your neighbours.

#32 Depths

Depths

I have been down here so long
That I have learnt to read the depths
The pressures that foretell predators
The tickling glimmer of jellyfish streetlamps
The thunder of leviathan’s passing
And the chattering city that clings to its belly
The close clackings of the spider crab
That ripple right through to my heart.

I’m not sure what scares me more,
That some day they’ll make me come back up
Or that they never will.

#33 Optimistic Pixies

Optimistic Pixies

As the flames grew higher, he looked back to see the shimmer of the pixies’ wings flickering in and out of the smoke.

Their flight patterns grew ever more erratic, as they breathed in the fumes and glee.

“IT’LL ALL TURN OUT FOR THE BEST!” they shrieked in voices that made his glasses shatter and ears bleed.

For the first time in his life, he believed them.

He threw another fireball at the prison for good measure and smiled as the cold iron bars melted.

#34 System Diagrams

System Diagram

1. Insert subject into labyrinth (3).

2. Insert minotaur into central chamber (7).

3. If human, then 4. If mythic, then 6.

4. Many wrong turns. Trial and error. Adversity. Then 5.

5. Sense of own accomplishment. Hubris. Then 7.

6. Invulnerability. Hubris. Then 7.

7. Central chamber. Hubris. Minotaur. Then, 8.

8. Many corpses. If step 9 known, then 10. If step 9 unknown, then 9.

9. ???

10. Profit.

#35 The Doctor In Spite of Himself

The Doctor In Spite of Himself

Doctor in Spite of Himself

“Hey, hey buddy … you wanna buy some snake oil?”

The man trapped beneath the rubble simply groaned and held out his hand for help.

“Like, literal snake oil buddy? Yeah?”

The man kept groaning.

“I’m gonna take that as a yes, yeah buddy?”

The man groaned once more and the ‘doctor’ poured the snake oil down his throat.

It did not help.

The ‘doctor’ took what he was owed from the man’s pockets and not a penny more.

He wasn’t a crook, after all.

#36 In The Jungle

In the Jungle

They reared above her
Green springs of thorns and warning colours
Poised with pollinous malice
Watching over her.

They spread their leaves
A sleeping beauty sound buffer
The witless chatter of bug and bird
Swiftly silenced.

She was always their favourite
They spread sweet scents across her fur
Showered her in petal blankets
Swaddled her in their spare flesh.

It was the least they could do.

#37 Cat Love

Cat Love

Toast is full of gluten and carbs.

Jam doesn’t really count as a fruit portion.

You don’t want those.

I’m just telling it like it is.

I see you. Your every inch.

I know you were only checking facebook
And that ASSDFHGGGRHH is how you feel
Every time you see me.

You can swear if you like, but if you loved me
Like I love you
You’d lay corpses at my feet too.

I vomit in one and a half of your shoes
With love for you.

You may pet me now
Or I will cut you.

#38 The Woman Who Brooked No Argument (from: The girl who tore out the moon)

The Woman Who Brooked No Argument - from The Girl Who Tore Out The Moon

Once, there was a woman who brooked no argument.

She was fierce and she was cunning and there was literally no arguing with her.

Most of the world quickly fell into their place beneath her.

But the moon was mercurial (i.e. a pissy little asshole) and did not accept its new place in the scheme of things.

So it whispered bloody nothings to the secret places inside of the woman and encouraged them to rebel against her.

She, of course, brooked none of this and tore the rebellious bits of meat out and burned them upon the pyre.

Then she knocked a hole out of the moon.

She knocks a hole out of the moon every month to keep it in its place.

The moon behaves now.

The woman continues to brook no argument.

#39 A Short List Of Christmas Decorations

Decorations

A short list of Christmas Decorations

Assorted baubles and spiderwebs.

A very small nebula.

A tiny person dancing forever in a crystal prison.

Three medium-sized black holes.

A busted headlight.

A conch (possibly of hurricanes???).

6 pomegranate seeds.

A literal snake in a jar.

6oz of weapons grade plutonium.

An Christmas fairy.

12 CCTV cameras in various states of decay.

#40 Lamp Post

Street Lamps

It was a very strange kind of predator, its tough metal hide growing solid out through the pavement cracks.

A distant cousin of the venus flytrap, instead of snapping flies this beast drank down darkness.

So in this Escher hellcity made mainly of back alleys and corners, they blazed like the sun.

Which was handy, as the sun had been snuffed out long ago.

#41 Prometheus Free

Prometheus Free

The shackles kissed his wrists
Rocks stroking a graze across his skin
He imagined his coiled muscles as just another link in the chains
And sank back in to his imprisonment

Soon the eagle would return with its bloodied beak
Sure, people thought Zeus was into some kinky shit
But the liver always grew back once the scene was done
And there was peace to be found in healing.

#42 Easter Egg

Easter Egg

In a needle
In an egg
In a duck
In a hair
In a chest
Hidden in the arse end of nowhere
Population: fuck all but wild geese (and the aforementioned duck).

“No-one hides something *this* well unless they want it to be found.”
She thought.
She held his needle-heart between her fingers
It pulsed a sickly, fragile beat
And smiled wickedly.

Once the tattooist was done
The needle faded away to nothing

She wore his heart on her sleeves for the rest of her days.

#43 Fighting the Long Defeat

Fighting the long defeat

We measure our fight in inches
In essential absences and near misses
Our victories indistinguishable from stasis
Our orders only ever ‘hold’.

In the battles for the soul
Everything we do is damage control
A canvas can never become ‘more’ pure after all
What we fight is more grubby entropy than demons.

Of course, we too are battlegrounds
I’m sure once upon a time our wings were white
These days, I would even settle for pigeon grey
Instead of this speckled sunrise.

I wonder sometimes who fights for our souls.
I wonder, too, whether red is not a prettier colour than white.

#44 Paint Me Like One of Your French Biographies

Paint Me Like One of Your French Biographies

“Write her life story” they said.

“Make it PG-13” they said.

“Just fade to black on the sexy bits” they said.

It was impossible to write her life story without the sexy bits.

Her life story had been 90% sexy bits, 9% gunfights, 1% sewing (and even then there was some crossover).

Even on the cover portrait, she wore that story in leer-lines and bullet scars. Every atom of her screamed lurid adventure.

He took solace in the historical fanfic boards. As usual.

#45 Facts About Animals

Facts About Animals

Giraffes are merely snakes in meat suits.

Hooded cobras have knives and will probably try to sell you drugs.
Echidna are secret bastards.

There is nothing secretive about Geese.

Platypus is pronounced ‘punchline’.

Dodos were hunted to extinction because they literally gave no fucks. Nature advises you to give at least one fucks.

There is a spider on your face.

#46 Counting Cats

Counting Cats

Once I discovered my cat was a dreamwalker, I had to seriously beef up the animals I counted to get to sleep.

I count manticores now.

The cat knows its place, but it hasn’t actually improved my dreams that much…

#47 BLOBBY

BLOBBY

He was birthed from the Adversary’s last, malformed tit
Given form and colour in the plague pits
Learned to undulate from the universe’s last sickly tremors
Never bothered to learn to speak in anything but horrors.

He never should have seen sunlight
But once they bound him into that bowtie
He began to carve his kingdom from eye-bleeding chintz
And we sent a tithe of children to keep ourselves safe

The banishing of him broke the United Faiths
Sent the schism rippling back centuries or more
Lost hundreds who would be saints if they could be remembered
But at least he was gone.

His kingdom is still a place of nightmare
But even that terror shall crumble with time.

#48 Things That Are True

Things That Are True

Things that are true:

You, when you pull the knots tight.

Me, when I bite my lip.

You, when you unhinge your jaw.

Me, when I float into the air.

Other things that are true:

Teeth leave the best bruises.

Neither angels nor demons are on your side
But some of them are pretty good in bed

The world will end with both a bang and a whimper.

There is no such thing as a free lunch
(but you might be able to get away with dessert).

#49 Planets Are A Thing, Right?

Where Did The Planets Go

Where did the extra planets come from quickly became a redundant question.

The real puzzler was: where were they going?

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The Poetry Art Centurion – #16 – #27

Hahahahahahahahahaha.

“Create 100 pieces of poetry art in just 12 hours to raise money for Shelter?” they said. (https://www.justgiving.com/James-Webster7/)

“Absurd!” they said.

“Impossible!” they said.

“Hopelessly optimistic!” they said.

Nearly 8 hours in, and just over a quarter of the way through,  it appears they were right. BUT, Dana and I are COMMITTED and we will work right through the fudging night to finish this challenge.

For now, here are the latest batch…

#16 Glam Dragons

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The village trembled with power chords
The high falsetto of their wingbeats filled the air
The sky was 90% glitter and 10% ridiculous hair
The glam dragons descended

The people made their usual offerings
Chests that overflowed with sequins
(the rest of the princesses’ outfits were also sequinned)
The mayor dressed himself in the customary spandex

But their appetite was insatiable
All that was left was sparkling ash
And the echo of synth on the wind.

The princess was pretty pleased with her new ride, though
Their screams sat at no. 1 in the charts for months.

#17 I Choose You (and I wish I hadn’t) – from the prompt: ‘like pokemon but with demons’

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I burnt the village to the ground when I left
That’s why they call me Ash.

I don’t miss it much, my home was always the smell of sulphur
The flicker, drip and splutter of thick wax candles
The belch of flame from impish throats
And the pentagram fields of battle.

After the auguries, they tattooed my body with protective runes at birth
I summoned my first imp when I was three
My tongue bloody from the inhuman verbs
I murdered my father on my 8th birthday – it was easy.

And once my demons and I have claimed all 8 of the badges of hell
From the hunched overlords and their fattened incubi
I shall open up this earth
And drink it dry.

#18 Obligatory Poem About Writing A Poem

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Obligatory Poem About Writing A Poem

I’m sorry.
I’m really sorry.
This process just isn’t that interesting,
like, I write down words on paper.
It’s hardly rocket science is it.
This was a really poorly conceived idea
and I’m absolutely not sure why I tried
it and oh gods I hate myself right now
I’m a fucking failure oh gods why why why
why why why why why why
WHY WHY WHY WHY WHYYYY!?!?!!!!!

Ahem, here is a story about a dragon.

Once upon a time, there was a little dragon.

Their name was the same as your name.

This is to engender sympathy from you, the reader.

A lot of their interests were the same as a lot of your interests. This is also to encourage you to identify with the dragon.

Like you, the dragon was totally alone.

Like you, the dragon had wings.

The dragon stretched his wings and laid waste to the kingdom cos kingdoms are for losers and neither you nor the dragon are a loser.

The dragon made the world what they wanted it to be: which is ‘on fire’.

There is a moral here.

#19 Petition Response – from the prompt: ”Death receives enough petition emails to have to return some of its recently claimed acquisitions.”

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Petition response

After the petition reached one billion signatures, Death issued a press release

“For immediate release:

One soul.

Writer.

Blazing darkly like the wink of a star

Mostly made of words.

Grudgingly released as we were having a curry.

But be warned: the sequel is seldom as satisfying.”

His rotting flesh made it hard for him to use a keyboard.

But eventually he taught the voice recognition software to recognise his moans.

#20 In Triplicate

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In Triplicate

They had us submit ourselves in triplicate
Each atom fed through the photocopier
Our every cell replicated (twice)
As only one trifurcated could hope to avoid our fate

The triple-seated cockpit was a cosy fit of self-hatred
And barely concealed narcisissm
So it was a good thing we got along ok
After the first initial awkward threesome
Was judged to be the blurst idea
Don’t judge us – you so would have.

It was all fine – until that last second
As the apocalypse bloomed on the HUD
And we each caught ourselves thinking:
‘I just hope I don’t die here with you shitheads.’

In the end, we did all survive the end
There’s just a little bit of us that wished we hadn’t

#21 from the prompt “Where Has the Rum Gone? Rum used to be a thing, right?”

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It was distilled from God’s own tears
Harvested even as they rotted in their craters
Filtered through Billie Holliday’s back catalogue
And that Eiffel 65 song
Cut with the dust of every ground zero ever

It was dropped in a volcano
Left to mature under its molten tantrums
Then when its living livid head erupted
It was slain by the saddest night of the land
(who was quite conflicted by the whole thing)

From its blood, they made it
A perfume barely contained by its igneous flask
A scent so maudlin it moved Falstaff to melancholy
Brought Ghengis to his knees in regret.

It is totes emo, as scents go.
It would make you blue too.

#22 this thing (http://bit.ly/1QSrr8h)

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When I fell on this planet
Forced my folds and verges through the burning
I was weak

Assaulted by flame
And screaming neons everywhere
My extremes flowering in pain
I hid where I could

Four white walls
Soothing floruscent succor
And fragrant fears of the natives
None questioned my appearance in the gallery

One day soon I will be strong enough

#23 Black Dog

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Black Dog

Get off my fucking shoulder
Stop slobbering, you monster of spit
Learn to sit, you bone-chasing gloom-botherer
You omen of nothing.

From the first time you appeared in my garden
Lurking there with your anti-matter eyes
Drooling your death-drool on my aneamic lawn
Chasing tumbleweed, my insecurities and your own tail
From that first moment I knew I’d hate you.

I would hate you more
But all the energy I would use
To stoke that fire inside me
Goes into carrying you.

But I know your weakness
And over the course of years I will destroy you
Pill by pill
Word by word
One picture of kittens at a time.

#24 Merits and Flaws

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Merits and Flaws

St Peter wore all black
Arms folded in a physical ‘fuck you’
Holding a clipboard at the gates of heaven

“Let’s list your sins, shall we?” He said to her…

“Heresy.
Larceny.
Grand larceny.
Supermassive larceny.
Answering back.
Premarital sex.
Extramarital sex.
Megamarital sex.
Anal (giving).
Angel-bothering (related).
Moneylending.
Straight-up murder.
Bendy murder.
And … casting the first stone.”

“And in the plus column…”

Peter’s eyes glinted with hellfire.

“Good intentions.”

Of course, she got in anyway. Word is she had dirty pictures of God.

“Hells yeah.” she said.

“Blasphemy.” Peter mumbled, to no-one.

#25 Reality as a Construct

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Reality as a construct

When he finished the last line of code
On Second Life 2.0
He let out a sigh as long as existence
And thought “This must be what God felt like.”

FINALLY
A voice boomed in his head
SOMEBODY GETS IT

ONE PIECE OF ADVICE
It continued
DON’T CREATE A COMMENTS SECTION

#26 Theatres and Bicycles

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Theatres and Bicycles

Our local theatre was a bicycle
It felt like everyone had had a go

The boards trodden so thin
You could wrap them blanket-like round you

The well-known walk of shame in doublet and hose
Face caked in the cloying kiss of stage makeup

The names in lights changing so often
The scene kids held their raves outside

We loved it.
We loved it so hard.
For one night each, it took us to heaven
And made us stars.

All theatres should be bicycles.

#27 True Love

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True Love

I have loved
Badly
Brokenly
Beautifully
On the wings of butterflies and dragons
Stupidly and steadfastly
Unabashedly
In floods of tears and eyeliner
Like a moth to flame
And one time in a pub toilet
Heedless of the ‘wet paint’ signs.

Every last one of them was true.

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The Poetry Art Centurion – #5 – #15

Progress is being made! At this rate, we will be done at … some point tomorrow. WOO! We shall complete this challenge.

Thanks so much to those who have donated already!

For those who have not, but wish to, you can donate here: (https://www.justgiving.com/James-Webster7/)

On to the creations:

#5 Things That Are Orange

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Things That Are Orange

The fingerprints of god
Left in juice on a tree

The hatchet, just after
When it catches the light just right

The kraken when it rises
And the hysteria tears at our eyes

Rabbits caught by their own lust
And turned to furious, fucking, orange stone.

Your own face.

Everything that burns brightly
But never knows why.

Everything.
Everything.

Everything is orange now.
You hate orange.

Go on, call him,
Sob down the phone.
He too is orange.

#6 Tetris Packing

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In the Tetris of packing
Rolled socks melting into the innards of guitars
And books stacked the bow-tie wrapped bottles

I lost them
Those memories of you before it went bad
Their frames evaporating as the last line of blocks completed

Crushed beneath our falling history.

But at least this suitcase is perfectly packed.

#7 BEES!

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BEES!

He collects the honey from the bees
Just like he always does

He wears no mask
He wants them to see his face

He uses no smoke
He wants them cogent and clear

He is naked
He wants them to see their target

They sting him
They sting him everywhere
He is a cloud of buzzing, stripy pain

When they disperse
He wakes clutching a small jar of honey
His skin swelling up in swirled scripts

He spends the day reading the poems
The bees wrote in venom across his cells
A lot of the words begin with B.

He doesn’t mind.

#8 Happy birthday, here is a plastic sack of my breath

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Happy birthday, here is a plastic sack of my breath

She captured his last gasp in a tesco bag
She wrapped it tight with lead and sinew

Every now and again, she would take a huff.
Breath in the sulphur and sweet decay that had always clung to the air of him.

Then dream of fire and screaming in the old lands.

Those were the best times.

#9 Help! My boyfriend is three children in a trench coat!

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Help! My Boyfriend is three children in a trenchcoat.

I didn’t mind really

After all,
I’d felt like a child stuffed into an adult’s skin
For as long as I could remember.

And their childlike grimaces
Hid the secrets stolen from the pockets of adult gods
Like Prometheus if he had only stolen pick’n’mix

Plus, they respected my boundaries
Because they couldn’t climb over them.
And they knew all the best theme parks.

#10 When a Cyborg Loves a Robot

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When a cyborg loves a robot

His motherboard doesn’t approve

But in the hot flash of our drives syncing into one another
In the caress of wires that tangle our coupling
In the sweet, dusty breath of his fans as it cools on my skin
In the electricity that sparks between us
When my charged touch mashes the keys of him
I find peace.

And he’s always careful of my soft bits.

#11 An Ode to an Unsolicited Dick Pic

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An ode to an unsolicited dick picture

You’re what Joyce would have sent me
If he’d had the technology
And I’d known him.

The Emperor’s New Clothes seen in microcosm
(emphasis on micro)
That’s why you wear a crown

You’re a craw in my heartstrings
I don’t want to love you, dick pic
It’s just … you seem so alone.

I made you my wallpaper
Now you’re a part of me
Not him.

#12 Full Selkie Communism

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Full Selkie Communism

After the revolution
When the blood and fur had settled in the brine
We tore the coats (and our hearts) apart
So there’d be enough to go around.

The transformation was not complete
We were each chimeras of skin and fins
Gangly legs sticking out from half-formed tails
Human lips pursing in seal-like adorability

There were complaints, sure
But after the first shoreline dance party
Everyone was a lot happier
And the human empire loved us (perhaps too much)

What I’m saying is
If your revolution doesn’t have mer-selkie make-outs
Then I’m not coming.

#13 What Do Porcupines Need Wings For?

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What Do Porcupines Need Wings For?

Porcupines need wings the same reason the rest of us do.

Wings are a basic RIGHT.

Assholes, trying to clip our wings.

You probably voted UKIP, didn’t you?

Oh, you don’t have to explain yourself to me.

It’s the floating fucker with all the spines you should be worried about.

#14 The Place I Remember Forgetting

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The Place I Remember Forgetting.

Oh. I’m here again.

I always come back here for … reasons.

The gate is always … open? Is it open?

I open it and it is.

I wish the gate wasn’t always open.

And they’re all here. Silhouetted in comforting void.

There’s no-one here. That is good. This is my place.

Are you there?

The forest- no, village- no, field- no, city- no, forest
It’s a blur of looming trees, heavy with low-hanging knives
It must be summer. That’s why all the blurs are so sharp.
I’m the only thing that’s solid.

Just like every other day.

Then the night opens its eyes.
And you’re there
And I remember why I always forget this place.

#15 Rat Race (or: Dancing With Black Holes)

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It tickles.

Hee! The black flowers tickle when I get too near them.

But that’s ok, I like to be tickled
(even if I pretend I don’t – that’s part of the game)

And the black flowers don’t burst when I squeeze them tight
They just cling to me. Cos they like me.

The light flowers burst if I squeeze them.
Then it gets loud and then quiet.
The buzzing stops. Where did the bees go?
Why is their hive quiet and cold?

That’s why I don’t play with the light flowers any more.

I remember once.
I was only little.
And I saw a black flower for the first time.
And I went inside.

I was scared then.
I’m not scared any more.

I was little then.
I’m not any more.

The big bright path of shining flowers crunches when I dance on it.
It’s funny.

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