Do not attempt to adjust the mechanism

He had cards laid out,
a twisted thread of umbilical solder
hanging from his navel.

Heavy metal shelves on each wall,
red warnings on sealed packets.
Protective clothing required.
Do not attempt to adjust this mechanism

Snakes had been let loose across his life
and cleared the surrounding area.

What was far had never been so close.
What was close proved unsafe for trespass.

It was done.
Things fell apart when he touched them.
People seemed to melt away like soap.

Logbook entry:
Tomorrow we sail on The Bitter Sweet.

On this day, Shelley orders his boat.
A fire is laid, letters sent.

Let us pray events find their level,
honed to the point of a needle
sunk in the spiral of a sentimental song
that packs big things into smaller ones,
releasing them through the musculature.

No one was blocking moves for a sequel.
Everyone knew that doors would soon
be opened by force, clearing every room
all the way down to Jericho.
Blow trumpets blow.
The hunt is riding by,

the long road back a tangle of wire
on racks of signalling equipment
from the last war.

Rolling news and screen crawlers
lay eggs in minds strung out like lightbulbs,
each one hatching creatures bright and cryptozoic.

You think you know what they’re like.
Do you roll over in your sleep?
How much of this have you not seen before?




Tim Cumming


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