Wednesday, 19 September 2012


The Internet has set a fire beneath my bookcase. The higher reaches of my room are stormclouding with smoke. Soon I will be forced into a crouch. And then into a prone position, pressed low against the carpet weave.

I could leave the room, of course, but I won’t.

I will stay here and keep writing.

I watch as each still-living book breathes in the smell of the unfortunates, the ones already afflicted with the flames. Breathes in the smell, the charry, soot-saturated ghosts of them. Catches the disease of their burning. Covers wrinkling, fuses timing down to the explosion. The pages all consumed at once, in no particular order; the list of their contents un-consulted by the blaze.

I have saved one.

Grabbed it just before the spark leapt free and hunted out the well-stacked memories of my dreams and my learning.

It is by Ray Bradbury.

I read it as the storm clouds darken, as the fire goes white and then whiter still with the heat. I am not rushing, but already I am halfway through.

I have read it before, but do not recall the feel of it being quite this way. It shocked before, certainly, but seemed somehow far-fetched. I think perhaps I did not want to face it. Now, it has a desperate urgent honesty about it. Not science fiction, but history almost.

This has already come to pass, I say out loud, and inhale smoke.

My words barely form a status update, barely constitute a tweet.

They are so insubstantial that I repeat them, repeat them, repeat them, all the while inhaling inhaling inhaling and coughing and coughing and coughing and It has already come to pass I call out with rusty undervalued vocal cords, and tears turn black upon my cheeks. I know because I raise my fingers to them, examine, through the haze, the tips.


Weeping ink and breathing fire. I am become, already, a brace of mythic, fantastic things. Dragons and books. I am scared to reach up to my forehead lest I find a horn, scared to look down at my legs lest I discover them fused and sequined all across with scales and remnant sheen of ocean. Seaweed wrapped around me, crackling and jumping just like popcorn in the heat.

I read, I read.

I write.

I think.

I mourn.

I think.

I feel.

I feel










forgetting everything

forgotten in and of myself

and now the clouds have sunk so low that I must crouch, even as I sense my hair catch aflame the same as paper. Even as it hurts, I find a balm, a panacea in that. To be like paper. To be capable of holding thoughts, of showing them, of yellowing and weakening with age and yet still retaining most of what I know or knew. Of coming from a seedling, and then being malleable enough to return at final page’s closing to compostable matter, fed back, with dignity, into the soil, to form a bed from which other seedlings might arise and other paper thereby be acquired, and acted on, and added to, and written on and read and read and read.

And on all fours now, I struggle to maintain focus, and my ink drops down and runs and swims around on top of that already printed, and I rapid-breathe the enormous hulk, the awesome mass of shadow that the books expel once they’re done burning. They fill my lungs and crowd and jostle in my blood, and they are, undoubtedly, a part of me, and becoming moreso by the moment.  

I read.

I lay down prone, the clothes upon my back incinerating.

I read.

I sweat ink as well as weeping it, and all of it is steam as soon as it hits surface, rising to meet the weighty pall halfway.

If this is how it has to be

I say out loud


If this

I say


I read

the punctuation catching fire first and then the keener more ambitious more inventive words and then the capitals the proper nouns the names for things the names that are important were important but become within this burning just one more place or one more person amongst a host and

none of them

are golden daffodils

the first poem

i can remember







hank bukowski





m ondaatje



frank ohara




beat poets











denial just

a little

of the possibility

that any of it

means anything at



just words

and madeupstories

and those stories are

not the real world

and they are not

the digital world

the better




and so they dont

matter and can be

spared and let

them disappear

and scatter their ashes

far out at sea

where nobody

will bother to

visit and weep

for them mourn

for them

write and read aloud

or in their precious

head a eulogy

a little prayer

though not one particular

to any faith

only a clutch a

sacred fragile

gathering of words

to ask with

desperate urgent honesty

for somehow

grass to rise

above their resting

place and


for even one

just one more

seedling to discover

the bliss of

the daylight

and grow 

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