Parallel Universe 1: No Cars

In my universe, we walk everywhere. Because of this, we have extraordinary calf muscles. Everything in our culture revolves around the love of calves. We love baby cows too, but moreso, the glowing lower half of the human leg.

One day, Rohu was walking to school. On the way, he trips on some thick and mysterious rope and is paralysed. He lies here for several days and no-one realises. See, school is secondary to calf-training. Rohu has always been fantastic with his calf-training, so we simply assumed that he was forgoing school for extra calf-training. He’s such a committed boy like that.

Whilst Rohu is lying, still as a bean, on the foot-friendly bitumen, he is inadvertently face-to-face with the tiny creatures that dwell in the dirt. He realises that in this dirt, there are tiny cars. Seeing the tiny creatures in their tiny cars causes Rohu’s consciousness to expand.

The key fact that I have as of yet forgotten to tell you is that before this, our society had no conception of a car. We love travel. We live to travel. But travel depends solely on the strength of one’s calf muscles.

So when Rohu’s consciousness expanded, it was because his fundamental truths of our universe shifted. I.e., the truth that calf muscles are the most superior items we could imagine.

Cinnamon salt

I sat in pulsing silence

a drip of sweat over sunscreened cheek

of just-before-1pm


The temple was red

and “mom, it smells like old indian people”

came floating through the open door


Incense went stick upon stick

from an endless donation box to Confucius

and other gods


I didn’t know

but I did remove my shoes;

flat leather plates with thinning straps


Sitting, exhausted

on a tiled step of tourist history


I could tell, after ten minutes

another bunch of americans had gathered near

“oh look shhhh! she’s praying!”


Maybe I was

maybe the ignorant tourist was praying

in an ancient temple devoted to gods and figures of eternal wisdom and power

she didn’t know or understand


Still I breathed in the perfume dust,

knowing there’s always

the beach


From kneeling to swimming

it’s a 4km pilgrimage from here

so the sign says


I’ll go now

I’ll wash away the sweat and sins

by sea

A Wave

A shell lies waiting
beaming in a ray of light
(my hand)

We lie in a hot room
smiling around the curl
of the shell

Bright blue, a day away
and a dream

In the thick of the last night
I sang to the shell
the melody ran in a wink

Trailed off into the heaving sea
there’s no more
and I’m on a plane

And suddenly what I had is gone
(a wave)