Reality Check


Halfway between magma and starlight, this place is far from simple, everything the colour of joy and envy. Hera Lindsay Bird would call me an emotionally articulate, meadow-frequenting, piece of shit dumb-ass. I watch like a stray cat in the night, tapetum lucidum flashing. My night-vision is keen but I don’t realise how much data reflects back, not even making it past the retina. I don’t see that the kids have moved out, houses squatting damp and shuttered. There’s a brisk trade in ‘vendesi’ signs. Nomads drive trucks and trailbikes. Apprentices are front-page news. Ponds are dry and cows drink from bathtubs scummed with the dead. Mowers are in vogue but prosthetics for maimed wildlife are yet to catch on. Forests are making a comeback. Cows chew grain over grass. The cheese has moved down into dairies while plants clamber up to escape the heat. Species creep. Climate crisis. And who knows what’s happening with the snow? It all looks bucolic, these roads up the mountain like glossy eco-porn. The marketing people forgot the rainbow. If I wanted to be flippant, the cliché about change being the only constant springs to mind, but flippant people shit me. As do clichés. And how much change can the planet take, anyway? Not more than 1.5oC is the consensus. Look, I don’t know my chestnut from my beech, but some things are clear. The forest gives way to the fence. Vapor trails crosshatch the blue. The world is torn. The chaffinches are singing before I open my eyes.



(Previously published in Social Alternatives Vol 39:3 2020 pg 18)

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