Lovely miniature neighbourhood of night,
just assembled from some titan’s toybox,
lamplit and shrouded in clouds,
tucked snugly in gloom.
Parked cars on sleepy streets,
trees still as stones, driveways tightlipped.
Nodding houses, interior lights winking.
‘Good night, Night!’ she says
from her upstairs open window.
She falls asleep curled into it all,
a ball of love and burning dreams.
Into the gloom, Into the gloom, Make room for me In the purpling blue-black Gloom.
Goblin haunt and ghost swath, The moon’s house full Of hoary hosts With silver beards dangling Over us like stellar moss, Angling in all that Purpling blue-black gloom To catch and weave us Into their starry loom.
Into the gloom, Into the gloom, Make room for me, Old night’s got no bite worse Than curse of glaring sun.
Indeed, night’s many-eyed arachnid visage Is a goose-fleshing benediction After the cyclopean passage of Sol’s Gigantic red-eyed malediction. (So say we people of the hot sun-lands With apologies to you of the steep and stark, Cold and dark highlands.)
Into the gloom, Into the gloom, Make room for me In the purpling black-winged Gloom.
Fold me into its shaded shapes, Limitless and lost until dawn, Peopled with whatever it is peopled, The night brood, My true breed.
This is a self-contained piece of ‘microfiction’ or ‘flash fiction’ that I attempted a while back. I’ve now incorporated it into a larger story. I’d love to hear from people as to whether it does or doesn’t work (on its own) and how or how not. (The story’s title, ‘As If Shades Knew Not’, is from a 17th century poem by George Herbert called ‘Evensong’.)
Angie says this city’s a living thing and I say I already knew it ever since mom took me out the door to the places she always had to go every night after night and I felt its yellow breath in my collar and its lamp-lights fixed their dots onto my eyes and never went away even during the day and the hard pavements hit my feet hard and became my bones all cracked and crudded for everybody to walk on every day and night under the lamp-lights on my eyes and the cries down those blind alleyways from cat-people and people-cats, torments and loves and torments and loves and all the things I thought I would never ever in a million city-years know but I know now because the city’s a living thing Angie said and I already told her I always knew it from the time I spilled onto the concrete with my mother into the night after night of walking on the pavement-bones past the skeleton-tenements full of skull-prominent tenants ranting about rents in the pavement because my bones are cracked and crudded the doctor said because he’s a mouth of the city and the city wants me to know it knows I know it lives just like Angie says this city’s a living thing and I already know it the way I know about heavy kisses in the dark and how the city takes us back into its bonework and veins like it’s taking mom the way she’s half in and half out but only heading in, her skin grey cement now and she says I did it but I didn’t because my bones are cracked and crudded for everybody to walk on, the city did it and it knows I know and never lets me go.