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In the silence of the disused shaft, the buried cries of desperate voices call out, thrilling with intent, warm, still, vigorous and manly with bonhomie, passionate, probing, aching with commerce.

On the surface, no one hears the twitter of these doomed canaries. Life goes on. Strolls through the shopping malls, beside the lake: one kind of love for those we care for, the five thousand forms of indifference for those we don’t.

Caged, unable to escape, the electric canaries tweet and flutter. Sweatshop labour in cyber-space, aspirations to climb in a cast-off regime. The mine owners at the opera, plush boxes, the latest nightingale. Soft gloves, the applause for ecstasy, trilling to diamonds and pomade. In the end, the gas of ages drifts into their dainty lungs, yes, all, oblivion comes over them.

Genetic programmes monitor our hearts and keep them beating.

In such dry conditions, their tiny bodies may be preserved for centuries. Perhaps, one day, an explorer may stumble over these corpses, and think them offerings to gods in shrines?

Across the global darkness, precarious messages are sent out: in a stupor of loneliness, survivors receive them. Is it so different with love?

The ferry presses on, despite the bad weather. Leaning over the rail, I remember you for a moment, but then quickly find a form of indifference to fit you.

It is bad weather, but only for the damned.


From the series, Silver of the mine of gold (ongoing: 2012–present)
This poem, September 2014