I look up to a festooning of obsolete cartoon characters trailing their tag-lines, shimmying out of costumes while their colours are unpicked to make them suitable for all receivers. They run rings around their loveliness; striking vogues before breakaway clusters, their reasons no longer commercial. Why does this one wear her skirt so short when the light-lag is only 40 years, not the stipulated 186,000 (and that was all a misunderstanding)? She burst before the next feature: a white healed scar tissue, long and beautiful and grey as a horse jumping a bar, scattering glass like the slow explosion of surprise fennel. I am waiting for the next thing to be good.
But it goes very dark and I look down at the sound of my feet shuffling cough-marks in the carpet.
Then the lights. And looking across I see Lilly, her eyes settling rainbows for twins: expensive marbles fired impossibly and simultaneously from something double-barrelled, like the most elegant surname from an old Catholic family. Flecks impersonating minstrels tinkering with platelets throw nickels to Irony, who is inflated with pride and is thanked for fucking off.
When the show is over there is nowhere else to look and my internal piano reels jangle – cold silver-plated against hot – a feeling of removing elastoplast slowly and being free soon to visit Lilly and her planetarium again.
laws of attraction
the day you stole that harmonica
was the first day of the rest of my life
I could understand the colours you blow
that wave on the frequency of night-lilies
collating what they dredge
sweetening the philistine edges
of your dimly lit ornamental music
I expect the frogs will be at it for some time
winking like ellipses in brilliant prose
arguing an eloquent case
for misplacing adjectives knowingly sequentially
smudging the corners of our real riverside sheets