Sunday, February 16, 2014

Poetry: Nightrunning by Tiffany Atkinson


Tiffany Atkinson
So much cold
even the moon can't swallow it
or the harbour in its fishy dark. You
balance your breath like a bowl of dry
ice. It's all a mistake, this body,
this job, this love. Somewhere inside
where the heart spins hard on its string
is an animal watching. It scratches
at night, perhaps a beak or a tusk,
is neither kind nor unkind, just restless.
So much rain
even the deepest hill can't filter it
or the river with its open gills. You
carry your heart like a full dish of blood.
It's all such a blessing, this body,
this job, this love. Somewhere inside
where the lungs stretch their intricate wings
is an animal watching. It wriggles
at night and shows its belly or its tender scales,
is neither kind nor unkind, just restless.

From "So Many Moving Parts" 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Science fiction: Slaughterhouse-Five, or the Children's Crusade by kurt Vonnegut

Using his own experiences as a prisoner of war in Germany, Vonnegut's deeply satirical 1969 novel explores the human condition through the medium of science fiction. The protagonist, Billy Piper, is 'unstuck in time', and never knows which part of his life is going to experience next. In 1967, he is kidnapped by aliens, the Tralfamadorians, and exhibited in a zoo. During his stay on their planet, he learns that they have a completely different concept of time: for them, every moment, whether in the past, present or future, has always existed, always will, and will occur over and over again.

They are able to revisit any part of their lives at will, and so to them an individual's death does not matter as they are still alive in the past. One of the most important events in Piper's life was witnessing the Allied carpet-and-fire bombing of Dresden (which killed 130,000 civilians and flattened 90 per cent of the city) and the descriptions of that horror bring home in gripping fashion Vonnegut's eloquent anti-war message.
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