My skull peels back like a hairy banana. A hairy banana dusted with a coconut of dandruff, which confettis the floor. Inside I find the familiar lumps: the lobes raised into a fairy ring of concentric bumps. Those brain tits, as Jean calls them.

Pouting against bone
modestly encased in skull
my brain jiggles thought

My fingers locate the zips that hold the sims in place, and slowly — mirror work is always slow — I unzip the first bump nestled like an egg on the top of the brain. I am losing my ability to speak French, you see, and this sim is my language supplement. Rain and tears, dogs and hatred, have been running into each other like a water-colour; or as in the subtle distinctions between air and smoke and sea and ship that we see in Turner’s works.

French bleeding meaning
parapluie of sense
springing unwell holes

Easy then, to replace the chip, rezip, and close. Tomorrow the chemist. Dandruff clouds.


P.S. Cottier


This weird little thing was written at Au Contraire, the New Zealand Science Fiction convention,in the poetry workshop facilitated by Tim Jones and Harvey Molloy. The exercise was to write a poem describing a piece of future technology, and building it or taking it apart for the reader. Loads of fun! As my title implies, we had just ten minutes.

Two points: I don’t have dandruff. And I do wish I spoke French properly. I used a haibun form, which is not really French. But neither is it English. That is, in fact, three points.

My own work has dried up, slightly, as anthologising takes over my life, so it was nice to snatch ten minutes from the unrelenting maw of Other People’s Poems…

Click this feather. It will take you to New Zealand, which has been experiencing more earthquakes. At the time of writing this, though (and based on the news in Australia), there has been no loss of life or even serious injury in Wellington. Best wishes to everyone there at what must be a difficult time.

Tuesday Poem