Shooting up with the oceanic

POETRY

How to get to nomad land…

INK IN THE SKIN

Gas Station Horror PoemGas Station Horror

If you can’t write your dreams, remember to live them. Then maybe someone can write them for you.

The cat thinks it wants to go out

POETRY

Where you’re from doesn’t have to be where you were born. Your heart can come to life many years after you’d merely breathed to find belonging. Where you’re from is where your heart beats, and for me that resides in an ode to London SE13, and especially SE6. It’s a world where nature prevails, word on the street is the jungle book, and cats wear murder mittens. Sometimes I wish I was back where I belong, in the black heart of Catford…

catford se6 cat poem

Several moments in theatre

MICRO FICTION

The music of least interest tells you what’s happening on stage or screen. The melody needs to be different, so that it’s another voice.

Seated at a naked desk, without a single sheet of paper to write on, the typewriter becomes a mirror on the stage. A sheet of paper has two sides but reflections have more, as a cracked actor writes a trilogy in monochrome…

DresserCalifornia Typewriter

THE DRESSER

I hate my face. Why does it have to do so much? Why do I have to work so much on it? Why do I have to make so much up? I hate my fucking face.

I make it smile, laugh when I’m crying and lie when I talk. Sometimes I don’t want to go out. I don’t want to show this face.

But I go out. And on the face of it, I’m happy. I talk, I smile, I laugh, then I wipe my face in the mirror.

I smash my face into the mirror, so no-one can see me.

© Steve Laker, 2020

A walk-on part in roboticism

MICRO FICTION

Loosely defined as 100 words or fewer, micro-fiction is a group of places I find myself in while I have more to say than available words. More restrictive than fiction in a flash of 250-500 words, the micro format is the formation of volcanic islands in the oceans of many planets. They’re stories written on an antique typewriter, compressed into a microchip inside a laptop computer, a place of personal data trust. At 99 words, this is one short…

RobotRed-Face-Typewriter2Walyou

MIRROR PLAY

The man in the rainbow coat comes around every night about now, so that we can dream in colour as he illuminates our path.

Imagined in iridescent armour, I need him more than any white sword. Walking is placing trust with his hand in mine.

If I look, I’m blinded by the light the rainbow man makes for me. So I keep my eyes shut, and I dream in colour.

Tonight he forgot his torch, so we walked while he narrated a monochrome past. I couldn’t see him, but I trusted him when he said he’d brought some friends.

© Steve Laker, 2020

Call TOLL-FREE: 1-800-0-000-000

FLASH FICTION

A short story (222 words) about passwords and personal data. Precious commodities entrusted to digital custody…

Cat-working-at-laptop

EIGHT BILLION QUESTIONS

Please enter user name

Human, A

How may I help you today?

How do I prevent the impending destruction of planet Earth?

Hmmm. Tricky. I may have to think about that for a while. Please enjoy this sponsored message while you wait…

Thank you for using Deep Thought 3.0, the knowledge database built on human answers, personal data from our parent companies (Google, Facebook et al). Whatever humankind’s questions, about life, the universe and everything, Deep Thought 3.0 can answer them. We would be grateful if you could complete a customer satisfaction survey at the end of this enquiry

Hello, My name is Dave. How may I help you today?

How can I stop the world from ending?

Do you have an account with us?

I’m logged on to my Google. I’m already in my account, Dave

Please enter your password

**************

Please enter a valid password

Eh? Dave?

Password not recognised. Please try again

**************

You last changed your password three months ago

** *** **** ****

Passwords may not contain spaces. Would you like us to send you a password reminder?

Yes please. Where’s Dave gone?

Please enter your password

** **** ** *** ****

Password not recognised. Please enter your email address

Shakespeare.monkeys@infinite.com

Thank you. Instructions on resetting your password will be sent to the email address you provided

© Steve Laker, 2019

Human arses2Not a monkey, but a great ape who wasn’t asked if he’d like to pose for this photo

In an age of evolving technology, we have the Babel Fish within our grasp (and universal translation in our ears). Douglas Adams broke borders with The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I used the fish as a quantum computer program translating animal language in my tribute to Douglas, Cyrus Song. Both speak in tongues of the Rosetta Stone and the Tower of Babel, the freedom of language and the forbidding of knowledge.

In my book, I pose the question of interpretive translation: No matter the means or technology, there’s a blurred line in neurobiology, where the messenger has no control of the recipient’s interpretation of a communication. Like the internet, which is free, because we signed over our personal lives long ago. We rarely use the counterpoint, which is the gift of writing for a world audience.

Whomever A. Human is, they might ask what can we do to save the world?

Helvetica sans serif and Georgia

FLASH FICTION

At Helvetica Haus, we’re only allowed one sheet of paper per day…

TSEE1  TSEE2TSEE3  TSEE4

MANNEQUIN MIRROR

With all that was churning in my head last night, I was reminded of my broken washing machine. If only I could launder myself, so that I was fresh again, back with everyone my illness had alienated. Or just burn my clothes, maybe with me in them. Anything to flood the deepest valleys in an ocean of depression, just for one day. To go swimming in a font of typesetting.

On the other side of my drawn curtains, I heard the sound of laughter and heels. If I could break through the window behind the drapes, I’d be out there.

Instead, I sat all evening, staring variously at dark curtains and the paper in my typewriter, respectively wondering and writing about the world outside. All the while, a gin and tonic by my side, like all writer stereotypes.

I hated myself, as anyone will when they stare at a wall which separates them from another world they can’t reach. I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror. I wouldn’t blame anyone for punching that face.

Eventually I ran out of paper.

The joy I’d heard earlier outside the window returned, but it was dark now. Heels were clicking, the owners tripping.

My glass tipped, I needed more. I had to go out, despite myself. No matter how much I loathed the author of this night, I had to face him. I had to check I looked okay before I went outside.

I smashed my head into the first face I saw, then I carried on.

I was in the world of stilted lives outside, where grazed knees are all which many have to remember of the night, before they look in the mirror.

© Steve Laker, 2020

Feast on the forbidden inside. Wash your mask in the font. Wipe it clean with cotton paper. Spread the dark curtains and remove your make-up.

The art of drinking lemon bleach

POETRY

Whenever I don’t consider my life mundane enough to share it in a meandering blog post, nor so profane that it warrants anyone with time on their hands reading a short story, I search for fewer words to say more. Then a part of me reminds me I’m supposed to be a poet. How I became one is a matter of speculation. Perhaps because I find it hard to talk.


MATCHBOX

Monkey Black heart bleach2

Whether a match to a joint, or a candle to my own arse, the art of poetry is a way of swallowing a whole moment in life.