Thursday, 31 August 2017

Japanese tea ceremony, for Ben

This is a post-rubble animal. It lives where no one remembers a disintegration. Chasing dust motes and imagining the breaths between fall and settle and crack and shift and particle clumps tumbling off edges. It doesn’t quite breathe.  

There are loads of trails on caves and under the sand so when you make a castle on vacation it gurgles from underneath. It burrows down and invites all the things that might have been buried under asphalt elsewhere to come and play. The small insects dance along behind it, but it cannot quite break them out of the amber. Other, smaller ones, gather around and it shows them into between layers. Sheets on your bed, limescale edge on the showerhead that sprays water over the wall, layers of pudding in your parfait. 

It listens to you sleep in order to practise closing its eyes. Again and again and again and again, and it blinks the night away. Someday, we hope it learns that nobody has earned the stars. Bright and dark and sweaty backs and glimpses out the window to the trees that are only shadows. 

Whispers over your shoulders and pressing on your walls that you only dream of on the overpass.

Petrarch on the hill, for A. T.

It is a very small protozoa and it burrowed deep into the ground and it watches our pans sizzle and our beds get made and our kettles boil and our infrared calls to other places and different animals mostly like us.

It thinks that it can grow flowers above the ground or disintegrate titanium to build ghostly aircraft.

So far, it only makes us wonder if the last popcorn kernel could have been nice to eat without setting off the fire alarm.

why hugging makes us feel better when we're sad, for Kate

An animal lived next to me for a while. We just observe the animals, I know. But one did live next to me. 

It is long. It has scales that sort of separate, all of them. So it suddenly covers small gaps over your gutters and little rain comes through. It just followed pipelines all the time. Gutters or trenches or ditches or little rivulets down the pavement. It splashes in them. Or it swims or drinks them or saves them and expels large quantities so suddenly all the grass is underwater and you can see all the pill bugs and stick insects and termites very clearly. Clear colours and sharp outlines and glistening exoskeletons and you don’t really see it, it just drifts. Always nearby.

When I was asleep, it would fill the room with water through the window, and the edges would all be split, and I would just be in the water. Cold or swiftly moving towards parked cars and underpasses and needles and stone and beach fires on the other side of a high drop. Or something below all the water. Pressure and ghost droplets and still. 

It is glistening and slipped disks and sustained spreading of webbed fingers. Calls through submerged telegraph wires. Twitching hairs in our ear canals, ink veins in sinews left by deep tattoo needles. Intake of breath with you, every time. Narrowing the frequency of your neuronic bandwidth. 

It is an every-shifting vibrating of still. Do you know that these animals don’t really end? But we do not try to catch them.

serendipity and its infinite sadness and joy, for tassos

Once there is a rock. It’s a friendly rock. It sits in the starlight or under the ice or in a meadow of warm sand. It doesn’t wish anything because it’s a very small stone. But it casts shadows. And the ice starts to melt on one side and not the other. Sand grazes on it and the atoms in it slow or speed even when the starlight is not directly on it. It took us so, so very long to discover this stone; anything that can hold on to something on this planet. That can stop something. That can cast a spell longer than itself to keep several centimetres of the pond frozen enough to skate on.

We have some very small animals that like to skate in the spring.

Some of our animals listen near the stone and some lick the heads of future animals that rest on top to rid them of moss spores and microscopic spiders. Because future animals like their outer molecules to ricochet a litter faster than the rest of them. Some of our animals we never ever found and the bravest of animals and the most technologically equipped of us suspect that those animals contributed to the rock. Jagged bits exposed by softer bits sing in the wind, and we see the lungs of something very invisible and very, very far unfurling.

Monday, 31 July 2017

Are the people who design cars aware that their designs look more and more like giant training shoes, for Emma

This will probably be a brilliantly coloured animal. They drink freezies from Wendys and they like to kiss lizards and they imagines they live in the moon, man the fucking moon. Or maybe they actually lived on Saturn. They also live here. They have made loads of burritos and plastic watches and small mechanical beetles that solve intricate mazes. We believe they intend to sell them to astronauts if they ever make it as far as Saturn, but for them, this has already happened, so they are just keeping the stock updated. 

Then run laps but they cannot operate stopwatches. They spend most of their time sitting and making ice cubes, really. We don't know how they do it and the ice cubes are way too cold, like, they'll freeze your drink. But we watch them freeze bits of dirt and construct pointilist math equations and very miniature zoos and we wonder what they're missing. 

The look out to the stars a lot through a telescope. Just a toy one. It's a long way to your place, they imagine. We tell them it's a long way to anywhere. They offer us a burrito. Sour cream and refried beans in the gear holes. They tap their toes and imagine very small creatures jumping from star to star to nebula to planet to asteroid, tracing geometric sentences all across the tiny plastic lens.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

practising the piano for years but never quite getting good, for Emily

This animal is grey. They are gradual. Like eating cereal on a dreary Tuesday morning. They smile, but not so you'll see it very often. They are kind. They clean the fireplace when you are not watching, so you can sleep without worrying about chimney smoke suffocating you. They arr mostly clean. You may pretend they catch mice. But they don't. They are methodical for stretches,  or they are resting, or they are building miniature cities out of sticks in the backyard.

We haven't seen this animal with many friends. But we can't see a number of our animals anyway, so we don't really know. They like raspberry wine in a saucer. Or wood shavings in a smile pile under its pillow. We'd suggest making them a very plush silk pillow. They will live for quite a while, we imagine. And their dreams etch the entire solar system with the sounds our segment of outer space would make if it wasn't a vacuum.

Synesthesia, for Sarah

This animal is quiet. It laughs very often. When it is tired, it spasms in its sleep, like a small animal dreaming of running and eating and licking and scratching and sniffing, all at once. We have observed it spanning through windows, looping around chair legs, calling out at all the edges of your computer screen. It appears in many, many places at the same time. We cannot tell if It is all the same long animal at once, or just the same animal occupying various distinct spaces at the same time.

It will lick you gently when you are eating a meal. It opens your shoeboxes and plays imaginary evacuations when you are not in the room. It is very very cool and slimy, but only when you offer to pet It. It will sleep around your showerhead or at the edge of your sink. It enjoys rain but it's laugh can become insatiable. You can sing to It, but we don’t know quite yet how it will respond. When you wake suddenly in the night It will be everywhere and on the moon and It will smell like your childhood hiding place and you will sleep again, easy.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Noticing the Most Changes in the Weather, for Leo

It went something like this, all right? We were all gazing, just standing tiptoe on the edge of the planet, because everywhere is a horizon. We were just looking into the night sky. We were just. Hanging out, really. All the pieces became electric. Bright, screaming electric that obliterated the night, the far-off lights. And wet. All the sinews heavy, undulating in our skin in response to our blinking, bouncing around between percussive veins, slowed by other cells, just saturated differently. The speed of sound must have shifted, because we could not understand the language of noises anymore. Whispers and crickets and dancing feet all sounded different, but we no longer could identify any of them. The time signature was evacuated from our brains, and the marrow in our bones impeded their resonance and it thrummed pain-laced dissonance.

We were suspended, still on the edge of the horizon. Toes down, all the molecules in the same place, and we stay. Just for a bit. Just because we can still see the stars, now, and nothing is irreparable in the same way that everything is also broken. All the time. So, now all the gaps are just in our synapses, and the animal is doing well, we think. Will send pictures soon. In the meantime, maybe leave the shades open.

There are some paintings on the wall; what on earth can they be?, for Timothy

This animal is called Sylax. It breathes damp, cool air while it clings to things in the room. Like, the barriers separating panes of glass in a window, or the back of a stereo system. It doesn’t make the kind of noise that makes you look around to notice where it might be. But it can be very loud. It thinks in sirens, and also in large, abstract, edgeless feelings, like cloud formations. 

We don’t know if Sylax is the name of this one, or the breed.  This one has a long tail. We imagine it has gills. We imagine it dreams of small feasts, of wars or aliens or large flocks of birds on the horizons. Of smoke. Of trajectories through the air. We imagine lots of things. This animal just clings and breathes and warms up different corners of the room, so you can’t really tell whether you want to turn the heat on or not. 

Travel cases elude it, but whenever we’re sure we remember where it was, it isn’t there anymore. Don’t worry; if you leave home, you can still hear them most everywhere. Warped, like wind through old wood or lighthouse glass. But the same animal. Gripping through splayed bones and breathing, humming things that seep and soak and corrode and lubricate.

Monday, 3 April 2017

Non-threatening Knife Animal, for Chris

This animal is trying very, very hard to be a line. Sharp things are, most of the time. Something fluid and complex, a body thinning and thinning and slimming and shaving down into a moment right before it doesn’t exist anymore, where it is 2-dimensional and so all the things have to choose a side and rend. It doesn’t want to be a line. This animal just knows that trying will make it lighter, will make it gentler and smoother and it will get to tag along the edges of your shadow more easily without getting caught, without weighing you down. 

This animal doesn’t quite have a name yet. It has a sound, like, the sound of insubstantial shavings of wind whistling their way into the outer seal of double-paned airplane windows. Or the sound of an iron gate, but from far away. Sounds a silence makes when all the breathing in the room changes. Those sorts of sounds, towards a name. Anyway, you can name it, if you want.

They mostly live on pipes and shelving. Stuff they can sink their head into, that will surround them when they go to sleep, like a soft pillow. They might wake you up quite a lot. All the metal flakes and the images of airline windows at night and the brightness of the rooms with the breathing silences, that makes them very glinty. They’re just excited. I think you can housetrain them. Like, calming exercises and dreaming of dark places you enjoy instead. Might as well give it a go.

This animal wants to be an instrument. The way it doesn’t want to be a line. Not quite a tool, more specific or elusive. They like romps in the park in the sunlight and hiding under beds for years. They like stars and stacks of albums and letting the mice run around the room when it’s impossible to ever find them. They dislike slam poetry. They’re mostly good at waiting and occasionally very bad at it. Due to their insistence on the Line Attempt, we imagine they’re in a lot of pain, but we don’t ever hear them cry and they have never bitten any of us. A lot of people pet it when they come to visit, but we don’t know if the animal has ever had a home before. We don’t imagine so.

Birthday Animal, for Rose

This animal is a kind of a space animal. They live on earth, but also at a very particular point in outer space, very close to us. Kind of like the two particles that scientists make where they separate them across a room, and when you tickle one of them, both of them laugh. Like that. This animal is called Speck. There are lots and lots and lots of this sort of animal. But this one is very particular, and it looks up to you. Just you. This animal is very quiet in outer space. Except for one moment, every so often, where it collides with all of earth. All of it! And Speck turns into the most amazing fireworks and meteorites and little projections of all the constellations that already exist somewhere, but we won’t see until millions of years after we’re all dead. 

And then, when that day is over and Earth has passed through them or around them, Speck watches Earth Speck. Earth Speck likes to splash around in the pan when you make dinner and listen to your laptop snore and try to predict which book you’re going to take off the shelf next so they can go for a ride through the air. 

78 days ago (from when this is being typed), Speck was on Earth, all together, and made everything you’d ever done shimmer and electrify. And that’s what Speck sees all the time - from your pocket, from your refrigerator, from your bookshelf. Lines through close-ups of your palms and your irises, and all the nearby stars, and Earth from a small distance, all of it, with all the bits luminescent, all vibrating louder because of you.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

7+ year cough, for Amos

I like to imagine mice in the corners of my house. Creaks or the minute thrumming of electrical chords secrete feet and tiny nails and a damp pink nose. Tails accidentally paint whole invisible sagas in traces across the walls. Baseboard tapestries. They listen to my CD's while I'm asleep. The CD's are the easiest for them to carry, with a small nose hole and the fact they can balance nicely across their backs. But they team up to put on my records, or sometimes one will wrestle a cassette out of its box and hang from the top of the stereo to kick the tape deck shut. They build things while the music plays. They build tiny cities and they organize DVD cases by favourite colour and they tower into living sculptures to reach a box on a shelf or a curled-up spire warming itself on the lava lamp. They cook. Snacks and cakes like you wouldn't believe and a scale brewery where the hops come only from a cruelty-free farm in the left wall of the living room. (You'd be surprised what goes on in most hops cultivation sites.) They hide a morsel in the curtains or under the sofa for when a sunbeam moves slightly in the afternoon to cloak its rescue.

As I sleep, the orchestra of the sounds that might be, now definitely are, crackling and waltzing and playing in every familiar or tiny or useless or un-thought-of space in the house, lulls me. Words spring from silences that leak between them from another universe, from a planet or a galaxy without any transparency of mice. Poems grow and spread into waking breaths.

Take a few.

Take dozens.

They may haunt and prosper. They will appear in new dents in the toaster or wear marks on the door or a static in loose wire, when you forget. They will massage your diaphragm to lure it into deep, even breaths. You needn't remember them. But, if you do, when you do, they will proliferate unseen, distant constellations into your dreams.

Monday, 2 January 2017

List wrangling, for [emoticon]

This is a big animal, yo. It is hairy and furry and it makes long, lowing sounds, especially in the afternoon. It likes to tap dance. Here, listen:.         _/-) ---=--) --:"
))) _))) _))):"""":)) _==)=_)" ,)\\\<\\\]]\)))//]]]>>>¤

And meanwhile, the earth begins to turn so audibly. Whirring and shifting and shouting and compressing and silent. It comes over and serves you tea. Herbal, lemon, green, earl grey, Irish breakfast, all laid out for you. Good afternoon. And this time of year, the sun is nearly at the trees and this time Igansis does a different dance. Similar, but it tremulates its jaw to tune to each so I nd of sunfall. The bird flapping to skatter upawards, against the light; the sticks and logs bending into the land. Igansis does all of this and then, well after you've fixed dinner, it hums and whispers. It bolsters imagery and colour and scent. It speaks from the TV or radio or just from the pipes and it sends sparks through your molars as you dream.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

System Twinging; Milo, for Nathan

This one is skinny, but it has sharp teeth. Loads of sharp teeth. It rolls over under stones in the garden or spikes gently over cracks in windows. It didn't ask for your name, and we are not sure if it can talk. In our deep sleep, it transmits gifts for you. We are broke and we don't know how accurate this list is anyway, but we thought you should know. It likes vertebrae. It will push a tongue, out of phase, through your spine until you feel a weight or a sticking point or a sludge dripping in vague trails. It's name is Milo. Milo arches, lifting up your feet like you imagine a fish that swims only in moonlight, without atmospheres, might do. It challenged the bridge of your nose to a dance contest, it waits for you to hum yourself to sleep. Milo likes to make toast and find movies to rent. Static and static and static and static and static and static and a faint melody wiring itself into identification as melodic waveform. And Milo, unsteady and curious, watches the flashpoint writ(h)ing of synapses from millions of miles away.