Dwarf in a flask.

Bright hard ball of a dwarf, smiling.

Clock with five seconds.

Clock with four seconds.

The fuzz, as of an immeasurable energy, moving too swiftly to be clearly registered. Sudden flicks and blurs, and then the dwarf smiles again, and opens one of several eyes.

An ambient rumble, freight trains wrapped inside an egg, so the spoons tremble on the wooden table. Occasionally, too much light to see, so we look away. We want to be blinded. Has he carted all the snow from the Carpathians, the white snow with no footprints? Coldest ever snow. The brilliance where the retina dies. Edge of morals.

Clock with three seconds.

Occasionally, his smile. Out of the vantablack, and the voice, curiously seductive: if a kitten could speak, and the kitten had red eyes. Then blurred to dust, a mob of particles, like tiny starlings in a flock, trapped flowing and swerving in the flask.

With two seconds, clock.

Shake the flask, the voice made of snowflakes says. Shake it I bet you can’t break it. Don’t let me out. Don’t let me out. Shake the flask, I bet you can’t break it. I break you can’t bet you can’t shake you can break you can shake.

The flask.

An odd pressure. People who die in heatwaves. Or in cold snaps. Extreme weather. A cyclone in a thimble. Teeters.

Shake the flask harder, but don’t let me out.

Dwarf in a flask.

Dark mist of a dwarf, with hard white teeth, smiling.

Clock with one second.

The temperature at which blood boils. Cities, packed in a mirror. Planets, popped in a bag. Bodies, chopped up, to fit in suitcases. Atom migrants. State shift. Edge of desire.

Shake the flask, the voice made of snowflakes. It is so cold, come in with me, the water, the bed, the lake, the flask.

Feedback. The whine of old Detroit guitars. Atoms moulded and remoulded. An engine that doesn’t lead to the heart, or to a name, or to an end, generating a power without a motive, without a use, without a home.

Pretty, pretty, dwarf in a flask.

Clock with.

Oops! Don’t drop! Careful! Oops! Don’t drop! Drop! Don’t careful don’t oops oops oops careful don’t.






from the series superstyler (open-ended, 2012–present)
(this poem, June 2015)