I wish you well on your own journey.
I escaped the city as a thief
Armed with wit and guile
Only to steal no peace of mind
As barefoot I ran
Holograms paint sex in vivid light. Atop skyscrapers, heartthrobs, either silky smooth or rugged, sell watches, aftershave and cosmetic implants. Pouting supermodels jut from buildings like gargoyles, and aerial drones project hunky gods and curvaceous goddesses into the sky. Sex empowers women, we pretend, while making men drooling dogs. And men are dogs, salivating for bitches in heat. Wherever they look breasts protrude and parted lips offer a silent promise. No wonder they merge with Psychnet porn: their wives cannot live up to the dream we force-feed them.
Mandy stares at the toxic sky. Nearby, a boy picks his way through robot, android and cyborg junk. As she lies naked and half-buried in the undulating ocean of alloys and plastic and human bones, where cheap but expensive to recycle machines and people are sent, she remains silent, motionless, expressionless. Perhaps the child will find something else of value before reaching her, and scavenge it instead?
Doubt dominates belief
Self against self
Shadow obscuring positive intention
And all paths become blocked
by the one who says ‘Can’t’
while the other fights, ‘Can!’
But the fight, soon lost, leaves only inaction
a decision feared, never made, absconded
Can I? No.
Should I? No.
You cannot win, see, you’re nobody, no one;
who do you think you are?
No one . . .
But we engage in conversation
I let doubt seep in
Friendly, I offer kindness
And doubt dissipates
“Dear wife, I’m taking the fish for a walk,” the gnome shouted. “Put the kettle on and when I get back we’ll have a nice cup of turnip tea.”
“Deepbarrow, you be careful,” the gnome’s wife called back. “You remember what happened last time you took Rainbow for a walk?”
“I’ll remember, dear, only if you remember the turnip tea.” With that said, Deepbarrow closed the door to his underground home behind him.
Silent, unmoving, Thym awaited the Frost Queen’s wisdom. The monarch’s rigid gown splayed out before her, its frosted-feather weave conjuring a dying phoenix in the she-wolf’s mind. Evoking despair, the mental image wounded the hope Thym sought in the elemental goddess. ‘Help us beasts survive,’ she wanted to shout. ‘My forest burns—those I swore to protect engulfed by flame and smoke.’ Yet the nature guardian restrained herself until the queen’s trance ended, and hoar frost edged her midnight-blue mane white.
Feeling stressed, Marilyn texts a friend for help. The friend does not respond, and their failure to respond triggers feelings of abandonment. Once again, Marilyn knows deep in her heart that no one can be trusted. For two days the emotions rage and she attempts to ease the storm by slashing her shins, which she hides from the public eye by wearing trousers. And even after her friend texts to say they had their purse stolen, with phone, credit cards and car keys, Marilyn cannot return to baseline. Paranoia sets in. Her friend is obviously lying.