November 4th, 2010



The Technician

It started with the cats. The birds as well.
The specimens they brought him were no good
Too thin, too mangy, broken wings. He would
go looking for some better ones, would sell

cat bones for magic, buy a healthy one
and then treat that. First stifling with a hand
or twisting a birds neck. Dry them with sand
and use natron and spices and the sun

then wrap them carefully. He'd show the priest
of Thoth, priestess of sly Bast, the result
and bask in praise and quietly exult..
They brought an old man, and his wife, at least

eighty years old. They'd hardly need to dry.
Perhaps he'd use some slave who caught his eye.

(no subject)

The Jealous Man

There was a man who had a pretty wife
and saw her smiling at the cook. He bought
some poppy and almost without a thought
put her to sleep forever. Once her life

had guttered into death, he drowned the cook
in his own broth, then planned the funeral rites
fit for her status. Left her several nights
and days. She stayed attractive at first look

but squelched and stank. He worried though that men
the mummy-makers might be used to that.
He took her to be dealt with, and then sat
all night under a table, feared again

to catch her all unfaithful. Slept then woke
placed with her, in her coffin, left to choke.

And I seem to be contributing to the steampunk controversy

Small zeppelins were parked outside the ball
moored to the gaslights. Out of shadows crept
the monocled adventuress, who stepped
up to the door and had announced to all

by flunkeys that she meant to punish those
who stole her father's patents, would await
them at the duelling ground. Her quiet hate
made her cheeks bright. Her long and genteel nose

expressed her scorn at this appalling age
when men had lost their honour. She had brought
pistols, and swords, and lasers, and she fought
the six old men, in turn. She'd lived in rage

so long their deaths were just the bloody start
of all the wars she harboured in her heart.

HAPPINESS - Another Steampunk poem

The stokeress had washed her sooty face
And wore her best bandana round a neck
Scrubbed almost white. She took a turn on deck,
Chatted to a lieutenant. Knew her place

But flirted anyway. He took her to
The magic lantern show and kissed her hand
On parting. And she dreamed how he would stand
Outside her cabin door, and bring the shoe

She had not left behind. Awoke to spend
Her days in shovelling, and dust, and grime,
Her nights exhausted. Found her life sublime
To serve the great machine, and sometimes mend

Rips in the fabric of its bag, look down
At Delhi, Boston, Prague and London Town.