Autumn moon bloody revolt is unwrapping
the sky orange riot like a motherfucker and
I am swing seat fresh yearning sweet on her
slinging myself senseless into pendulum eye,
ladder, and rope. Come harvest time, I bleed
white noise pooling around two fingers, and
the moon sweltering cool around scream is a
disk in my throat. We steam-train across the
tracks, across the cracks in the rinds of cities
once ancient now dripping fust tripping up
tardy over other eyes burying us dead soaking
wet between jagged rock and fall. I am a body
of sighs beneath you, but everything is February
and pebble-skinned like the muffled moon and
the crisp of your tread is red-hot simmer and
sprawl skimming across a stomach of stone.
Paint-smell. Black aprons and
a blue sketchbook. The giant press
which we weren't allowed near.
An older boy flecking away
at a gathering of spanners,
clamps, screwdrivers and other
such tools for a lino print–there,
somewhere in the background.
All I was trying was one-point
perspective. Indicate plane, set
vanishing point, draw out some
parallel lines. I knew even then
I could never be a draughtsman–
What could I make real, or just
to look it?–and yet did better,
given time, with colouring pencil.
I remember an artfully-mad mess
of my dad's ties overtaking
a double-page, and then you'd turn
to see my owl-face, haunted
by dissolving into so many shapes.
I wasn't there, though. Loyally
I sat and practiced my perspective.
A quick fuck in the background.
He'd nicked a finger, I think.
The End of The World
We didn't exactly sail to the end of the world. Or rather, we did, but the world doesn't end the way we thought it would: it's not a sudden stop, proceded by an endless waterfall into the darkness; there's no sharp line with water on one side and void on the other. It just sort of – tails off. Like the fade-out at the end of a song, or the chain of thoughts you have just before you fall asleep. It ends vaguely. Shyly. Like it's embarrassed and it's slinking silently away into oblivion.
We started to realise we were getting close when the sky started to run out. It's hard to explain what it was like. We were looking up at the stars one evening, and it was dark and beautiful like every other night, except it wasn't like every other night at all. Because some of it was missing.
We couldn't exactly see the gaps – that was kind of the point: there was nothing to see – but we could feel them. There was just an emptiness to it. And it wasn't the normal emptiness of a pitch black sky: sometimes when the Captain had had too much to drink she'd say the sky was empty like a blank canvas stretched across the world. This was empty like that canvas had been torn and there was nothing underneath it.
We were way off the map by this point, which made sense. This place seemed fairly resistant to mapping.
“We're almost there,” the Captain said, grinning, “We're almost at the end.”
I was less sure, but the others all murmurred in agreement, so we continued.
At some point the water started to run out too. First it stopped reflecting properly, and then it started to go empty, the same way the sky did – no colour change, no visible gaps, just this indescribable lack.
“We need to go back,” I said eventually, unnerved.
“But we're almost there,” the Captain insisted again.
“We're losing steering,” I said.
That wasn't the only thing we were losing. We were losing sounds and smells and colours; and subtler things too. Things I couldn't really describe, and hadn't even realised I had before we lost them.
“I know,” she said, “just a little further and we'll be there though. I know it. We'll be there in under a day.”
At another point we were standing by the deck, staring at the water and the sky and the horizon, trying to see the bits our eyes would still show us. As if by focussing really hard we could force it to make sense. It all seemed muted now. Tired.
“This is madness,” I cried, though my voice seemed far away and fuzzy, “we need to head back.”
“One more day,” said the Captain, “and then we'll be at the end.”
“We're already here,” I said, “This is all the end there is.”
But no-one was listening.
I think I jumped overboard at that point, or maybe I was thrown. Possibly I just fell. I remember the water felt too thin beneath me – like it wasn't all there yet, like it hadn't quite remembered how to be water. And I didn't feel cold yet either. I didn't feel anything. But I kept swimming, until it started to feel real beneath my arms, until the coldness came back.
Until the world around me became whole again.
I still think about the others when I can, though I can't recall their faces. I wonder if they're still out there, sailing endlessly, asymptotically, towards a single point at the end of all things. I hope not. I remember what it was like to sail with them.
At least I think I do. It's all a bit hazy now.