Neptune’s concrete crash helmet
I rest my head for a moment on the cool concrete wall of the art gallery and in its undulations I can feel the past trying to break out of its unexpected vertical tomb.
I could rub the back of my head into one of the grooves, wear it away, erode it imperceptibly over a day’s eon until I could place my head right back into the crevasse,
a temporary sarcophagus, an extra heavy duty crash helmet. This of course might be an over-reaction to the images I’ve just seen: a world melting, gangsters wearing dresses and razor’d scars of silver stars, lakes of petrol waiting for paper boats to be sailed upon them, as if Neptune had said yes to a sponsorship deal from [insert oil company name here] but only lately realised that the proposed replacement for a rapidly-drying Aral Sea might not have been everything promised in the brochure. Caveat emptor, as we all should have said in 1764 when Hargreaves spun Jenny, but how could any of us know that coal + steam would equal not just movement but the end? I might stay in here, it keeps my head cool.
Redneck Religion: Paradise
My refrigerator holds the remedy; Lazarus foods are activated by water. Still, there’s too much cortisol in my soul. Almost-mystical pharmaceuticals decor a dream and goad me, I’m convinced. To survive, I’ve higher ideals. I choose God over the gutter, but not one church over social schisms. I think of my neighbour; he taped his mom calling him for dinner and listens to it over and over again. Her funeral had the best Elvis impersonator I’d ever seen. There’s not enough time in the day to please all his OCD’s, he once told me through the cardboard-thin wall that separates us. To scrub himself from the surface of the Earth won’t be easy. I do all I can to forget about it. I use my gun to shoot holes in the clouds, and shout so that everyone can hear me, “Be damned, O outlaw of paradise” until the night shows its stars.
Z R Ghani