The time traveller has questions, even after orientation
Where are your forests? They have been infected with stone and glass, the branches stripped and only the thick trunks remain. We call them ‘skyscrapers.’ How do you breathe? Through respirators and filters. Our lungs protested at first but we ignored opposition, suppressed our choking until they adapted to our changed atmosphere. What are these glowing rectangles? Where we go to work, relax, scream at each other for crimes real and imaginary, glasses through which we see the world as it could be, constant companions, telepathy producers empathy dampeners, gods we barely understand. Where are we? On a lifeboat lost in the ocean with no hope of rescue, endlessly drifting. We are determined to take an axe to the hull.
Which one are you this year? Head filled with feathers and tailor scraps or frost? The one on the throne or the one who raises the flame? No matter, a complicit crowd gathers arriving decades and millennia apart to bear witness to the ceremony. So many faces blurring, eyes dark as a plague pit, smiles slicing night, waiting to ease the frantic pulses deep inside the discarded branches and piled kindling of their bodies.
You haven’t listened to the warnings of your forefathers
the passing buses hiss through their brakes but I consider my family line more matriarchal so I ignore them. The yell of car horns compels me to repent and absolve myself. I itemise my sins, and find nothing really worth the hassle, no crime I haven't already atoned for several times over. A moan of sirens urges me to start a new life but I am stuck in this one. As the rumble of articulated lorries inform me I will never amount to anything, my life is a dismal failure on every qualification that I have squandered my only time on this earth, I put my headphones in and turn the hum up loud.
David Ralph Lewis (www.davidralphlewis.co.uk) is a Forward prize nominated poet based in Bristol, UK who has been published in Marble Poetry Magazine, Nine Muses Poetry and Neon Magazine. He has two pamphlets, Our Voices in the Chaos published by Selcouth Station and Refraction. He enjoys dancing badly at gigs and attempting to grow vegetables.