Driving Test

Weather: check.
grey ambient striated with echo-shine, a sheening mist
waving in on the wheeled capsule that contains me,
a dull ache in the car’s bones, prankster wind tapping
the car’s shoulder and hiding, shoving from behind,
then slamming with both fists the car’s face; sunshine is
the bigger prankster, like a dull child waiting it out for
hours or days just to jump out and shout surprise;
drivers beware the startling childish light!

Pedestrians: check.
uncle Bunk is cracking brains with the junk he sells
there by the petrol station looming up and flying by;
gaggle-girls are gagging on fake-tan fumes and spotty
choppy boys ogle the bleach and dye and overfilled fabric;
that one’s mind is a tree sprouting from his brain, so
obvious to everyone but him; this one’s heart explodes
in a scattershot of men’s eyes as she cries it out; dogs
are leading owners and little children circle in on their
victims; the timeworn old ease on at a pace unseeable.

Other drivers: check.
loud sleek muscle revving up alongside, booming the
system’s capacity for beats-per-minute, all that energy
and style useless and pointless in this little no-place;
crisp all-business success-mobiles proliferate, sharp new
family movers too, oozing class entrenchment, rusting
the rest of us; beefy beasts chug away in dogged bulk,
the rumble of modernity-maintenance felt through
every rolling tire in proximity, a comforting nuisance.

Awareness is the key. Stay alert!
things are all that they seem and so much more in
every pore and pock; in very contour a chasm lies
unplumbed, all portals are wide open and universes
are bleeding into every single object, the road is not
mere concrete, nor mere metaphor, but an unspooling
ribbon of existence that begins and ends in poly-ontic
swamplands of ecstasy and terror from which emerge
all beings that you encounter on your automotive
journey; open the apertures of your mind and of the car’s
skin or you will die in a rainbow of undiscovered blood,
a storm of gleaming bones you could not have guessed;
you have been warned.

Awareness is the key and its hardest part
is that you must,
with the same piercing sight as you give,
be seen by other drivers.

‘Where you can’t be seen, such as at a hump bridge,
you may need to use your horn.’
Proof that we are coiled
goring beasts
at the very least.

(photo by Flannery O’Kafka)


Palaeontologist Jones

I saw God’s bones.

We dug into the ontic ground
and found them there.

Whilst out shepherding Being,
we tripped over the tip
of the long submerged
jagged rack
of vast ragged ribs,
knowing not just what
that jutting upthrust hid.
And when we subsequently
did, post-dig,
we were thunderstruck
at their size and cried,
‘Thunder God!’

Dinosaur deity we deemed
him from the great beams
of his bones,
every man jack of us,
every Ali, Hsu, Zilliac,
Okafor, and Jones.

And all were awed
at the Shape
the bonework took.

with fear and trembling
from the globally scattered fragments,
some shattered, some close-grouped, some whole,
divine femur, tooth, ball joint, and skull,
every segment was pieced into place,
and our mysterium tremendum
only increased, for we faced
the unmistakable
poly-faunal skeleton
of Pan-Therion.

Rapt, we observed
that the lordly horns
and claws and fangs
were apt
for both predation
and protection.
Mega-organs and hide,
we surmised,
had been hot
with pumping life
and unturnable purpose.

The wingspan
wreaked us mute.

But no one could agree
the colour or contour,
the ‘look’
we felt
such meta-ocular engines of sight
would convey.
Would they blast you away
or ravish your heart,
tear you apart
or burn you crystalline—
what would it mean
to be seen
by such a Gaze?

We museumed, for fun and terror,
a full-scale model of the mighty Theo-Saurus,
whose head touched the sky
(open-domed the museum was).
It looked a lot like the stories, the texts,
the faith handed down,
the claimed experiences
(though competing sets of eyes
were displayed in alternation).

And some are now claiming
that from time to time
(the actual bones: the vacuum-vaulted
and camera-watched skeleton, not the replica)
and for an instant
they say
the deity rears up
in livid meat and mass.

And some claim a Voice
thunders from
the sudden-fleshed revenant
words of awful love
(heard crackling through
the monitor speakers).

in protective suits
have gone in—
some confirming the reports,
others denying.
They’ve set up tests
and some say these detect
and others say they do not.

You can visit the simulations
at the Museum of Natural Theology.

Some knuckle-draggers, of course,
have been cave-art worshiping
the primate-ive deity all along,
behind our backs
and in the cracks,
openly, and yet
we had shut them out,
embarrassed for them,
though tolerant.

Ah! Forgive me.
Though I speak in present
tense with the immediacy
of the memory, this was all
long ago and I know
you Young New Worlders laugh.
Don’t worry,
I do too.