The willow did weep

‘Our breath steams up the glass, in which we write love notes to nature.’

A pregnant silence held the night, and the machine clutched the people within its many cogs and wheels.

Headlamps lit up his features, a ruddy complexion, with dirt marking the lines on his face. His teeth shone with the yellowing white of too many cigarettes and cokes.
With a brown roll-up gritted between his teeth, he spun the cogs and wheels, occasionally looking at the men and women around him who spun and spun the cogs that turned, making the big machine lumber through the plantation.
He wanted to return to his little room, just up the corridor and around the bend.
He stopped churning the wheel momentarily and held still then, he exhaled a cloud of smoke before him and swiped at the beads of sweat on his forehead.

There was a buzz and then the sound of feet stampeding from their wheels as people rushed out from the mechanical room, swiping their cards in the slot to sign off from their shift.
Atwood followed the crowd, signing off with a great resignation in his soul that this was his life.

‘Good shift t’day, eh? Atwood?’ A woman with long silky black hair asked him; her teeth were white as white can be.
‘Is there such a thing?’ Atwood replied.
Sally smirked, ‘Eh, it weren’t anythin’ we can’t ‘andle t’day. No rough terrain.’ She said, her eyes shifting from Atwood to the men and women signing in for their shift.
‘Reet, true enough, ah suppose.’ Atwood replied.
Sally tilted her head, ‘Do me a favour, At,’ She jutted her chin towards him, eyes narrowed, ‘Quit ya smokin’ will ya! I worry ’bout ya, ya know.’
‘You be worrin’ on ya own life, Sal. Never be mindin’ me, like!’
‘Well, I am mindin’ ya so, I guess ya better listen up, eh?’
Atwood smiled, ‘Reet, so ah will listen. Don’t promise I ‘eard ya though’
Atwood turned to leave, walking up the corridor.
‘I’ll confiscate ya fags,’ Sally shouted after him, humour in her voice, ‘I’ll throw ’em off’t balcony!’
Atwood turned to look over his shoulder as he walked away, ‘Sure, sure, Sal.’

Atwood went to the mechanic’s balcony and looked out in the vast darkness of the night.
Sickness pulled at his stomach, and a heavy sadness afflicted his face.
Leaning over the barrier of the balcony, he looked at the shadows of all the tall conifers that surrounded him.
A tear rolled down his cheek.
He looked up toward the highest balcony on the beast they lived in. Up at the top, the balcony glimmered with a golden glow; the people that headed the government were at the head of the monster they lived in. There they sat in cosy chairs, the brains of the giant robot they inhabited.
A lone owl hooted in the distance with no reply.
Atwood sobbed.
The owl hooted a few more times in desperate need; silence held her loneliness.

The sky held no hope, for the stars could not be seen.
He made his way back inside the machine and lumbered to his room.

Diary of Atwood Harrison:

2nd March 2099

I am restless in mind and heart, besieged by the horrors of humanity. I mourn for things I cannot know in the flesh, and I hold it in my heart that I wish I had never opened up those godforsaken books.
They talk of birds like Starlings that sparkled and shimmered, that flew in their thousands, millions and made patterns in the sky.
They talk of wolves that howled their essence in the wind even longer ago.
Black-tailed godwits, The Curlew, Barn owls, pine martens, otters… The list seems…endless. Yet even they were only a small list of the whole through centuries gone by.
Oak trees stood majestic, windswept. Weeping Willows bent over riverbeds.

3rd March 2099

Oscar came around to my room tonight, and we fucked away our blues, it was at once amazing, and then it was…Shame.

I stared at myself in the mirror for a long while afterwards, my fathers ghost sat behind me – metaphorically for I don’t believe in such things – and I saw his disgust along with my mothers.
Disgust drew itself on my face, and I couldn’t bear it.

I was not the man I had envisioned. The mirror now lays in broken shards, and my hand is bloody.

When down at the cogs later on people gave me funny looks, ‘What happened to your hand?’ Sal had asked me; I told her it was nothing for her to worry about.

7th March 2099

I wept on the balcony, but I couldn’t say what for, but for everything. Everything that I have yearned for and pictured was a significant loss, even though I had never held onto any of it.

The world is a depleted canvas, and I am a hollow man built from masks and false hope.

I told Oscar to leave me alone. He left and then I wanted to beg for him to come back. If only for a night in my bed.

8th March 2099

I keep hearing a lone owl; she cries loneliness. In her hollow sounds, I am reflected.

15th March 2099

I stormed my way to Oscar’s room.

He was angry. Told me ‘fuck off.’

He was right to tell me to go.

I was ashamed of my shame.

19th March 2099

Tonight I stay in my room, where I may safely feel alone.

In reflection, Dr Frankenstein

Keep me contained
between these beats
A contortionist
building a face
to hide the beast

Slither and writhe
under the sheets
our teeth, they grind
tongue twisted and tied

Bursting through button spines
a bloody ritual to feast the eyes
monsters created to mortify
preachers spitting to mobilise
they ‘hate’ it but, it’s time to crucify

In reflection, Dr Frankenstein
A slippery slope
phallic dream
another monster to contain
why have chains without a mob to entertain?

Oaken solidity

He is a short, twisted masterpiece with a sumptuous carpet of moss to run my branches through.
Unlike some of my brothers and sisters, I am an even shorter, twisted, spindly thing. I am bent and windswept from southwesterly winds, bending up in the search for light.
I have grown unusually close to Druid, and he is windswept.
‘Dru!’ I called after him, ‘A wood pigeon just shat on me.’
Druid groaned, ‘Just another day in the life of a tree, Rowan.’
A Jay landed on Druid, ‘Oh, my mighty Jay!’ I cried.
But Druid stood cloaked in his greenery, which shimmered with morning dew with all his oaken solidity, rooted in stoic repose.
Though I knew the Druid felt the presence of that mighty bird and that he worshipped her so.
And the Jay screeched the echoes of aeons through the sky.

Of flesh and earth, we were torn – 500 word story.

On the space station, there is another me in the flesh.
I am down here to explore the recovery of the earth or the lack thereof.
I have seen that the land is parched, and no life is in sight.
Any trees still standing are in the long drawn, out process of death and decay, leaning precariously.
I trailed a camera into the holes of such trees, and there was nothing.
Like staring into an abyss.
There was no life in that death.
This is not what death is supposed to be.
My big metal feet journey through vast expanses of land.
Death used to mean something, life. It meant life of some kind or other.
Now it means…nothing.
Which in turn makes life mean nothing.

And so up there myself in the flesh amongst others in their flesh, they are cocooned from the truth.
This is where I depart from myself, my soul, in the space station.
Where I become someone new.
We travelled different terrains, and new paths were forged inside ourselves.
He is of the flesh; I am of wheels, oil, plastics and metals.

‘Fox,’ Came the voice in my ear.
‘Max?’ I replied.
‘meet me at the mother tree.’

The mother tree is a huge colossus of a tree; it is dead. Its enormous girth leaning now to one side.
A massive hole within where even we humanoids can fit.

‘An earthquake or something is approaching,’ Max told me.

Earthquakes were common.

There were no birds, and my flesh self loves watching the birds in documentaries. My flesh self has never seen a real bird, nor have I.
He thinks one day he will be able to come back down to earth – in the flesh – and see the birds.
I don’t know what to tell you, Fox.
There are no birds, and none of our namesake either. I’m sorry.
I wish to tell you better news.

Max and I stood in the hole of the mother tree, and she groaned from inside like a tormented soul. It was painful to listen to.

In my head, I imagine contorted faces made of wood, a mouth open with screams unhearable to the human ear.
‘It’s time we tell them, above,’ I told Max.
Max nodded.

We signed off our lousy news with, ‘The only thing left of the earth is you.’

The truth is, fellow humans, you didn’t see yourself as the earth enough, so you used it like a commodity, not as a relationship between reciprocal beings.
The world was your oyster; the sky was the limit.
But you didn’t even stay to that supposed limit either, did you?

We all have and had an aversion to death which was only natural, but now I have seen there is no worse fate than the death of death.

Will the world ever recover? Maybe. But not in our lifetime. It’s too late for us.

And in my metal body, there are no tears I can cry.


The roots that run through us
digging my knees into the ground
trying to find symbiosis
that doesn’t find us as grubs of a parasite
surely I am the larva born from mutualism
and not this humanity
in dagger and cloak
Yet what good has a human done
but tread roughly where one should tread lightly?

If I return to the soil
the ground will surely find me
and tether me to this life
where I and the earth become like one
yet individual in how we translate atoms

A stream of consciousness 2

The sounds drew ripples around us
containing us
wrinkled and transformed
waves of consciousness anchored
bearing witness to this gathering
of all matter created in our image
a conglomeration of everything and nothing
a hoard of haves and have nots
a buildup to ‘just fucking stop!’
Too much, too much one
too much none
a climatic climb
an anticlimactic drop
rust falling from antiquated props
traditions burning candles
with prayers answered, not
swindled of thought
trajectories yet untold
falling below this ocean
of accumulations sold.

Stream of consciousness

The music matched the swirl of the leaves
or it was the other way around
and down another layer
that one prolonged note underpinning it
wrote my feelings in the air space
a sadness I felt remote from
yet there it was, a dark spot that harnessed my breath
harassed by the accumulation of matter
closed in by the shadows i must accept
my conscience drifting in the utterance
of leaves falling with indifference
the world seemingly born from negligence
an apathy I can’t stomach
butterflies reaching my nervous disposition
trying too hard to abide