Posts Tagged ‘satire’

Night Thoughts

Posted: June 16, 2019 in Chat
Tags: , , ,

To be able to say, ‘Here was where
I had made a wrong decision.
And at this point, see, I was right’

to admit, ‘Here I had not thought through
to the consequences of everything
that I was going to do.
It was only half done – but then,
everything I’ve done’s been half done.’

And here: ‘Something said five years ago
toppled my equilibrium, much later
when poise was essential.’

And admit at times I have maybe become
the kind of person I most hate.

 

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from my ebook Queen of the City
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Queen-City-Michael-Murray-ebook/dp

 

‘What do you mean?’ asked Carmichael. His alertness was topping the scale, but he fought to remain calm, unperturbed. He felt his fellow travellers struggling inside.

‘Come on, now. This is First-Home stuff. You must know this.’

A lot was going on inside Carmichael, and he fought for an even demeanor.

Ok,’ he said. ‘Well, just play along a moment; why don’t we… run through the story again — memory got a little scrambled in transport.’

‘Well, it’s the Seven Worlds’ Quest.’

‘Of course it is. And?’

‘First world — you know, our first home of course.’

‘Then the second is… here?’

‘Obviously.’

‘Third?’

‘Well, they’re still working on that. It should be that place, there,’ he pointed with a hand not divided into fingers, at screen in the wall, and the Earth came up. ‘I suppose that is where you were due to go. Supposed to be continents and… but they keep shifting around, they can’t get them to hold still long enough, you know. They seem to be having trouble getting the time scale to settle down, I think. Then there’s all that, ugh, water. Most of it is, really. Pretty yucky. And there are those, you know, plants, and stuff. Not very inviting.’

‘Earth.’

‘Earth, you say. Seems more…’ he shuddered again, ‘water. Well the one after that will be that red one there.’

‘Mars.’

‘That what you call it. You are making this up.’

‘No, no. Go on.’

‘Then the biggy.’

‘Jupiter.’

‘Ju… ter.’

‘Then Saturn, er, rings?’

‘Yeh, yeh. Next though… you will not guess what that is. Go on, guess.’

‘Uranus.’

‘U-a-sus — means nothing to me. No. Guess. You can’t. Because you can’t see it, that’s why. That one is it, the ultimate mystery of all life.’

‘Ok, we’ve… I’ve got all that. It’s just, well…’

‘That’s the Quest.’

‘There are more than seven.’

‘M…more than….’ It was the nearest he got to a question.

‘Well, yes, there’s Neptune and Pluto, even, maybe, it is debated, though the arguments against are…’

‘Another….  More than seven?’

‘Well, yes.’

‘Someone always gets it wrong. Don’t they. We’re brought up on this stuff. Our Noble Quest. And now you say… there’s more than seven. They spoon-feed us this great noble quest. They purposely give the wrong information. They really want us to fail, behind all the big ideals.’

‘Look…’

‘I feel ill.’ he said. His colours were all swirling, churning.

‘Give him a few minutes.’ a voice said inside Carmichael.

‘He needs a nice cup of tea.’ said the tea voice.

‘We need to know…’ a soft voice began, and 

‘… how to get home.’ another voice butted in.

‘Tell us, tell me, about world, er, three.’

‘They’re still working on it,’ he said, faintly. ‘Can’t quite get it right, yet. Sort of thing.’

‘Oh? Who is?’

‘The Mariners. Still hunting out the warm clothes, you might say. Going to be pretty cold, and, er, wet. Very wet. Ugh.’

‘Hm.’

‘They’d better hurry up though.’

‘Oh, and why is that, then?’ his sense of irony was piqued.

‘Well, you can see. Look.’ he gestured all around. The walls were briefly transparent: they looked at a featureless landscape.

How did he do that? Carmichael was intrigued.

‘We’ve ruined this place. Like we did the first one. They used this place as a dump for waste, spoil; then it turned out we had to live here because the first had become worse. It’s even worse there, now though. I went back summer hols before last. Visit the old place. Never again. All the heavyside’s gone now. Freezing and I mean freezing, on the dark side, the poles, that sort of thing.’

‘Can you just.’ the sober voice whispered, ‘ask him how he got there?’

‘Yes, ahem, how did you get there? You know, old home?’

‘Oh, the shuttle. The vacuum shuttle.”         ‘

‘And can you use it to number, what is it, three?’

‘No. Well, they’ve talked about it. And, well, no one knows what’s there. We could just plonk down into… anything. Might be big scary monsters.’

‘Hmm.’

‘I’m not supposed to say this, but, well, they did try it. Made a bit of a mess of the place.’

‘What… sort of a mess?’

‘Oh, you know… mass extinction kind. Ahem.’

‘When… when was this?’

‘Ages ago. About six. So far.’

‘And after the first two or three… mass extinctions. They kept on trying it?’

‘Well, you know, little loss, really. Boiling seas, acid seas, frozen seas, no seas. It’s only water. Ugh. What’s water anyway.’

‘Yes, er, quite.’

Sorry Mister

Posted: August 12, 2018 in Chat
Tags: , , ,

We broke the door of the weather
Sorry mister, we were just playin wiv our toys
loved the stink of the engines, the endless noise
then everyone wanted one, girls as well as boys
sorry mister

We lost the instructions on caring for each other
Sorry mister. The dog ate it; laptop crashed; it was there
then wasn’t. We rounded up what we knew, made a square
couldn’t remember if that’s what was meant, or where.
Sorry mister.

 

INCIDENT 10

Posted: May 28, 2017 in Chat
Tags: , , ,

In the raised brimming glass of the moon,
in the empty beaker of the day

in the sad, bedraggled evening
hot and bothered at the end of play

two bats met above the town’s rooftops
colliding on the air’s highway:

a long-eared bat in a cassock of black
and a short-eared bat with its collar turned back

collided above the rooftops
of the chic new shops in the centre of town.

And I ask you members of the jury, now,
which one of them had right of way?

Reprise

 Beyond the busy gabbling of the air waves,
the shot-off arse of time’s clearway

 in the last relinquished evening
of the not-very-bothered last day

 two bats met above the conflagration
jostling in heaven’s doorway:

 a free-tailed bat turbaned with black
and a pipistrelle with cassock on its back

 elbowed and jostled above the conflagration
in a time out of time on the edge of time.

 And I ask the jury: In this instance,
to which, if any, would you give admittance?

WHY IS THERE NOTHING RATHER THAN SOMETHING?

If there ever was something
then it was in this place, here

– We left it in the hall, we said
we didn’t know if it’d be use to you

If there ever was a place
it was just here, the space left

– We got smashed, stoned, then fell asleep
when we came down
it’s as though it never was

No, they said, you don’t understand
this is where everything was
Why is there nothing now

Why have you taken it all away
Where have you the locked the world up

Denial, pain, anger, blame,
indifference, disgust –

the bran-tub of passed-down characteristics
and not the prizes

They said
This is what is left behind

the memory-smell on hands of money, coin
wall-shapes of lost furniture
rumours of four walls and roof, bought, owned

no sense of  difference, of space,
or certainty in the mind

 

FAMILY VALUES

Posted: December 28, 2013 in Chat
Tags: , ,

My father’s ghost each night I saw

reflected on the tv screen, passing back

of actors with a meaningful look,

like a soap star.

 

‘It was Society, your uncle,

killed me.’ he said. ‘It was not!’, I said.

‘Would you make presumptions on my age,

even in death?’ he said.

It’s true, I did.

 

‘If it was that black sheep of the family

cousin Economics,

I’d expect it, or grandfather Politics,

well, without question. But Society…

he’s too scatty. He never could tell

one day from another.’ ‘Precisely!

My ordered life, plotted against!

I worked hard for that little state

of order and calm.’

 

‘We disinherited the Medical Profession

on your behalf!’ I said, ‘The doctor

was negligent.’ ‘You were wrong.’ he said,

‘Society killed me!’

 

What a family,

I thought, I would not trust one

with a teaspoon never mind

the keys of the kingdom!

And then when Conventional Romance

looked my way, well, it was

Wayward Romance, her sister

that I was after. ‘You must do your duty!’

my father said, and then he died.

So I did.

She was their audacity, they balloted her

actor-manager of The Rose Theatre;

her voice the decider, the dea ex machine

with which she straddled the trap-door of argument.

Few could escape her bawling-out or charisma;

who else could change theme mid-scene

or change character though it raged against her?

 

‘We’ll give her twelve years!’ said the backers,

carte-blanching theatre, sub-clausing actors: ‘There’s

money in tragedy, bowdlerised naturally;

a rhetoric there to over-ride opponents.

Fill your programme with bluster, let none go Scot-free

and none will renege.’ Their values cashed with hers.

 

The City grew wealthy with players, new fads arose,

rented street populations for crowd scenes,

bit-parts, creating the notion of a nation

(a licensed interpretation). Her entrance mid-scene

as rousing climacteric steered timing’s on-rush

from one climax to another. Each play she chose

manipulated lives, a wielded created

of stage-emotion, subservient to a hidden plot.

 

Twelve years ticking through the turn-stiles, takings

poll-plotting her management acumen, and the faking

of adrenalin pulsing through history,

to smother sub-plotters’ murmurings.

A poised and clinching pathos of reasoning; or was it, rather,

the sheer amplitude of her persona, proving

the inconsequence of plot, theme… theatre?