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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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)
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
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
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
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
“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
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
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
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
And the wings and barbs on people’s words
Not recommended for extended use.
#64 More holes than blanket
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
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
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
The moths only eat wool
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
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
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
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.”
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.
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
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
The design team knew the most beautiful things were the most dangerous.
That was the secret of their success.
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)
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.