sunflowers

.>. .. . .d..f. .d.. ..f.x.f.f.ds

sunflowers

22.09.50 – Day 6 of Journey – Rana

This morning told us the strangeness of yesterday was just a herald for something worse. Cora shook me awake and pointed over the horizon.

“It can’t be,” I said, voice lost beneath my mask.

But we could all see it. Thick hot air rising over the rubble, condensation shimmering in the air. It was moving towards us, past the rocks. I pulled my mask down for a moment.

“Could we have lost track of time?” I said

We all looked to Cora, who shook her head. I bit my lip.

“How long do we have before the rain starts?” Jasper asked.

“A day, at most, I’d say,” Cora signed back, “we can’t get back in time.”

“Should we dig a shelter?”

“That could take even longer,” I said, “the ground is too hard here, and we’d have to dig for mum, too.”

We turn and look at her, sleeping in the cart. Her oxygen mask covers most of her face, wispy grey hair poking over the top.

“You shouldn’t have brought her,” Jasper said, pulling her mask down too.

“It’s her expedition."

I've said that line so many times now it's twisting into a parody of itself.

“We’ll suffocate,” Cora signed, “even if we manage it, the floods will last weeks from the looks of things. Put your masks back on, for fucks sake.”

“Rain isn’t due for another week,” Jasper said, “it’s probably just a pre-storm”

“No,” Cora replied, “the mist is too thick.”

We looked up at the rolling cloud of red-tinged grey as it crept towards us. I pulled my mask back on and signed an apology at Cora, but she and Jasper were busy glaring at each other. I clapped my hands.

“What other choices do we have?” I asked, when they looked over.

Cora pointed up to the rocks. The thin peak was just visible above the clouds.

“We might be able to make it up there. It’s our best option.”

“I’m not walking through the mist,” Jasper said. But she pulled her mask back on, hauled her pack higher on her shoulder, and followed us anyway.

I glanced back at Mon Semblable, rising twice as high as the fog in the distance behind us. From here it looked like a haze of green and white against the stony rubble. In a week, maybe less, it would be engulfed in fog all the way to the top level. The whole city will be sealed tight, and inside the thick layers of glass everything would be tinted grey – the soil, the plants, the workshops. Even the vines that grow around the outside become invisible, and clouds of red and brown insects will fall hundreds of feet and form a thick layer of exoskelotons on the ground outside. Soon after that, the rain will start. Even if we make it to a cave in the rocks without suffocating, the floods will wash our supplies away.

We all knew it. But you can’t just sit down and wait to die, so we put our masks back on and kept walking.

30.09.52 – TDA

This screen was given to you for therapeutic purposes.



////…..///./……

/.////../sdgfhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh ./                  ‘’’///// //      / / / / / ‘’’

……… ……. ,hldkllllll                                                                ….….                 ……….

#                                                                                                                     >

                                                                                                                 …………

try to write down what you’re feeling

.>. .. . .d..f. .d.. ..f.x.f.f.ds

….

.

..

.

.

…..

.

.

.

.

. >>>>>>> if no one is reading this then I can type whatever I Want.

.                  >>>>>>>>

.   >>>>>>>>>

>>>>>>>>>

What’s the first thing you remember?

Everything hurt and I woke up.

…. .>> …. .>>. ….>>>> …. ---{{{{}}}}}____


                                  ? means question ! answer                              

                                  what do you type? she asks from the   corner, a

section of wall with
                                a square shape left, an imprint between scorch-marks

where did you learn to

?          

                                                                     she has Grey hair
                                                                     falling in strings
                                                                     around her dark face

                                                                  I say nothing she says                                                                     I type everything
                                                                      I want to remember


                                                                                   I have never seen someone
so old

.

.



. .

.



..

. .,omsicc nwn

……… ..>>>>>>>>>>>

>>SEEDS>                                                                                ….. ….. …… ….

                                                                                                      ….. …….. ….

                                                                                                                 |/

                                                                                       …….[sands]…/ \……..
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~…….………..Bella..……..

G n
        o so   phy
sio     log
                y



# gnosophysiology

                                                                   I will rise and walk with the sun on my head.
                                                                           Will you walk with me, will you follow the dead?

                                                          I will rise     I will r

ise

I’ve got a pocketful of emptiness for you, my dear … um …

                                                                                       She doesn’t understand you, Rana.

She might
I’ve got a heart like a loaf was baked yesteryear
I wish I had the usb … wait, I know …

She took my hand in hers. I stared down at the eerie smoothness spread over her knuckles, the pale brown beneath her glossy fingernails. Mine are cracked and yellow. They scrubbed and disinfected me until my skin was a patchwork of orange and purple, covered in red scabs. When I look at it I know that I’m not in my body anymore.

Her skin is dark and her face glows.

….====“I’ve a mind like ashes split a week ago
I’ve a hand like a rusty, cracked corkscrew


------------It’s a dim room where I lay on a flat surface surrounded by voices or the sounds of breathing for endless stretches of time. There are five people here. Four of them found me and the other one sticks me with needles and forces me to eat.

I stared back into Rana’s eyes, gentle and crinkling at the corners. I felt a pressure rising in my chest, pressing up the back of my throat. I pulled my hand away.

.. .

…. .

……S ….O ….r .>.yR” she told me, and s t e p p ed back



I rolled around and stared at the black ceiling.



The

Forest Man of
India – Nina said., In Dia.   ……. Jadav Payeng)

                               he saw
a thousand snakes dying on
the coast and it
                  broke his heart

he
                     planted a forest for them
all on his own



for
                                    30 years

it can’t have
been that easy or
we wouldn’t be here

                                It was and it wasn;t

if you were there
You’’d know.

                                                 what was April like?

I rolled over and
looked at her she was
                          watching me from her corner of
the room. She
smiled

                                 
                                    an old mining town

                                    surrounded by the ocean

why do you bother
s h e c       a      n’      t             under

stand you


                                              in April
the waters rose fast
                                              heated up at midday, and then evaporated

into this thick fog that engulfed the whole town and
turned into rain

by nightfall

                    then she worked in archiving and I can’t imagine, Rana says, having to                                                                 make those calls: between science and art
it shouldn't be like that
                                                    she saved so much knowledge only

                                                                                     she wasn’t meant to keep
the poems


There’s fabric over the windows, patterned with tiny lumps woven inside the fabric. It sucks the air in, drawing itself into the room in a curve, and then whooshes back out again. Sometimes I sit up and stretch out my hand from the bed to get a piece of that strong rush of air. It’s the only part of the room that can make you damp with sweat or shivering with cold. Everywhere else it’s just the samesamesame and my body is a relentless reminder of difference.

They come in groups of white
strange bodies
fabric skin

bringing us food
I can’t eat it burns
me I spit it out

she says shh, shh
you have to eat

and rubs my back
cutting food into tiny pieces
feeding me – you’re

like a mother bird, its
disgusting you shouldn’t
touch her

she ignores them

This is the last city
that we know of , she says

they’ll want to know where            yo  u ca               me f           ro       m

my mother brought me here on the last evac train

I grew up on this level
a city made from a
single metal giant
woven round with vines

she says they burnt the first floor when she was eight
when the vines and shrubs around the base of the building
began to die as the soil turned grey and grew
new unrecognisable unusable toxic w e e d s

she says this place is m|o
                                                n

,,, .,.,.,.,.,.,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,MonSEmbbbbbbable,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,………..

M
   I cro
           aggregate


                                                      s_can you flourish on nothing and find it good?
can you make petrification do for food?

                                                                                                                 how do you grow like this?

                                                                     I can’t tell
                                                                                what she’s thinking, but she
always seems wary

                                                                                        the old woman
                           in the corner says
                                                                                            you’ve given them

                                                                          a new kind of
hope

so you should be careful

22.09.50 – Day 6 of Journey – Rana

The tip of the rocks started to look clearer as we walked. They stood out: a red blur against the sky. There was no trace of the green we’d seen from the distance. I imagined our dead bodies congealing in the mist and then breaking apart under the force of the rain. It comes down hot and fast for days, you can’t even go near the walls without feeling its unbearable presence. Eventually it slows and the floods recede, then the water cools and we can open the doors onto the top floor pavilion and walk out, washing away our cabin fever and jumping off the side of the railings into the water to swim.

Mum says the mist comes from the ocean. The sea heats up and evaporates, then it cools down and turns into rain. Not everyone agrees with her theory. The ocean as it was is thousands of miles away.

As we walked, the mist got thicker around us. The cart got harder and harder to push. We paused a moment, Jasper covering us with the thin tent of fabric so we could take off our masks and regroup for a moment. Jasper doesn’t look at any of us.

I’ll have to tear these pages out and eat them if we ever get home, but I don't like the idea of some future expedition or outsider finding this record and thinking I was some kind of victim of circumstances, any more than I was. I chose to bring her.  I had to tell Cora as our acting medic, but it wouldn't be fair to blame her for being convinced by me. I've known her my whole life, she owes me a thousand favours, and she's just too empathetic for her own good. Anyway, it seemed so minor at the time, just some minor mood swings and a scattered memory, we thought maybe we would have years before it turned into anything.

“She’s been pushing for this expedition since I was a child,” I said, “all they need is one reason to put it off permanently. And it would be so cruel, for her to wait until the end of her life and then never get to see what’s out there.”

The decline happened so rapidly after we’d left it took Jasper less than an hour to figure it out.

“How could you be so fucking stupid?”

“It’s my fault,” Cora replied, “I should have anticipated … it was wishful thinking.”

Jasper has barely spoken to us since.

---

“We should wrap her arms, too,” Cora said as we began to pull the tent down.

“I’ll do it.”

I grabbed a roll from the bottom of the cart, trying not to disrupt mums cushioning too much.

“What is this?” she snapped, pushing my arm away.

“PCM,” I said, “remember?”

“I’ve never heard of that,” she shouted, “don’t lie to me.”

“It’s phase change material, to regulate temperature and …”

Cora tapped my elbow and signed, "you’ll just upset her more.”

"I won't wear it!" She yells, "it's my expedition!"

I stare down at my mother, distraught and running out of time just like the rest of us. Jasper steps up behind me and squeezes my shoulder. It's the first time she's touched me in months.

“You’re sick, mum," the words fall out of my mouth before I can stop them, "you don't understand."

She burst into tears and screams. I crawled into the cart and put my arms around her.

“We don’t have time,” Jasper says.

I don't want to write about my best friends holding my mothers arms down while I swaddled her like a screaming baby. After a while, she curled up on the bottom of the cart and sobbed with futile anger as we pushed her up towards the rocks.

“He hears me not, but o’er the yawning deep
Rides heavy; his storms are unchain’d, sheathed
In ribbed steel; I dare not lift mine eyes;
For he hath rear’d his scepter o’er the world,” I chant to her, breathless and heavy. It's all I can think to say.  I think her crying slows a little. Maybe wishful thinking.

“Can you do the sunflower one instead?” Jasper asked, “this one is depressing.”

She knows ‘The Sunflower’ is my favourite.

Through the mist, a blur of green appeared. We stopped and stared. They were small and indistinct, mottled with bright colours in the distance. We moved forward, the cart handlebar digging into my chest as I pushed. Inside, our soil samples and Jasper’s scavenged tech rattled around mum’s folded legs. I heaved in deep, sticky breaths, the humidity seeping through my mask.

The mist had reached the ground, so thick we couldn’t see our own legs. The rubble seemed to be moving under us, something sharp stuck into my leg through my suit and I cried out. I checked for a tear, and my hand closed around a spiny stalk. I kneeled and ran my hands up and down it, the texture was rough even through my gloves. I could see move, shadowy and grey stretching out around us through the mist. The stalk in my hand was vibrating, moving to twist together with more until they formed thick stems. I ripped my mask down.

“They’re growing!” I screamed, “around us – look!”

We were surrounded waist high by shadowy formations, growing taller around us at every moment. Cora threw down her pack and grabbed onto the side of the cart, and together we pushed through the stems. The stems grew over us, twining together until we were crawling forward in total darkness following the cracks and moans of our forged path.

“We’ll die here,” I heard Jasper say through heavy breaths, “but I think the air is clean.”

I noticed my mask was still hanging over my chest, and burst into hysterical gasps of laughter, falling forward against the cart. Cora steadied me.

“No one’s dying,” she said, her voice eerily calm, “not just yet.”


level two
             restoration
                            project
                                        cancelled

due to soil contamination

                            they burnt it, and then they burnt
more, she

said the smell was
unbearable: chemicals
on fire

now they weed every day
and throw the bodies over
the railings

praying
the tiny twisted roots
stay below

three
four
five

is quarantine now
we are living inside it

                                                                                         everything was in a flurry saving                                                                                                            what
she said: they
lost so much                                                                      research they
                                                                          could
they
are building   more but but

new things can be
hazardous,
strange



                                                               Per di ta
                                                                  perdita
                                                                  per dit a



Perdita Perdita Perdita Perdita

Perdita
Perdita Perdita                  Perdita
Perdita Perdita
Perdita

I will rise and walk with the sun on my head
will you walk with me, will you follow the dead?

we                             grow                                  tunnels                                for                 air
I                      press                             my face                              to the glowing
      moss

my             grandmother        walks          out            sings     through        the           mist
even                                      as                                  they                   tell                           her
you’ll die that way –


                                                                                                                       as time goes on

                                                                                                                I remember ed more
                                                                                                                but with more time
                                                                                                                it’s going again

                                                                                                          because they burnt it all                                                                                                            down, they


my mother said, she can’t help it

she’s a scientist

like up at the rock

she points to the white dome in the
distance and that’s
my last memory of
her

“Rana,” the woman says, and twists her hands to make signs
she points to herself
“can you hear? can you
speak
                                                          do you know
do you know
do you know
do you

                                                           “    what’s your name?
what should we call you?”


black smog over red and white earth in all directions, scraggly trees in the distance

the                             water                               dried
from                           the                             earth                 and
gathered                                     dense and hot in the sky
and we                                      mo  ved higher and hig  her
                                        deeper                     and               deeper

they wanted to bring the world back

if                   we can                       manage to grow trees around the mountainside
                                   eventually they’ll be big enough to help deflect the heat
and stop the rising floods

it will just take

a very long time

in the mean-time
we are dying


we are burning from the ground up
                                         
                                                              we are burning from the ground up

we are burning



Rana sits near me and watches

she asks can I see so
I show her one page

she says

“You liked Amy Lowell?”
and

“What’s Perdita?

is that
your name?”

I look at her and feel
the cold grips around me
when I try to say yes

but she is looking
at me like a person so I
want to cry and then                                                         I think she likes poetry
                                                                                              her name is Perdita, she                                                                                                     nodded at me – I’m sure it was intentional communication

she’ll open up more
she’s just
in recovery

                                                    ----------------------------------------------------

Meeting of the City Council

Agenda

11:30AM 32.10.52

Meeting 20(52)

Location: Level 7 Dining Hall

Council opened at 11:53am

Procedural Matters

Election of Chair

Attendance

Apologies

Proxies

Membership

Adoption of Agenda

2. Confirmation of Previous Minutes

21. Minutes of City Council, Meeting 19(52)

3. Matters Arising from the Minutes

4. Correspondence

5. Motions without Notice

6. Level Representatives Reports – all submitted

7. Soil Contamination Response Update

7.1 Level Six Spread

7.2 Expedition 0 Quarantine

7.3 Expedition 0 Plant Samples

8. Inter-personal disputes (listed in attached documents)

9. Repairs/Maintenance

9.1 Recycling Machines

9.2 Irrigation Systems

9.3 Elevators

9.4 Windows: Levels 76, 82, 94 & 208

9.5 Energy Fabrics

10. Perdita

11. Other Business

12. Next Meeting


...............................................................................................................................................................................

They gave me special glasses and a wheelchair and I broke both

She said, this is your medical aid and  left

me with this person I didn't

know   and

                    he pushed me to a group of children

surrounding an emotional
scent I breathe in
and think of growing
green spirals in the sky

on the table there are piles
of brown and green stems
producing thin whisps
along the edges

twisting like thin
coiled ropes  I

T his is Hanna she

can’t vocalis

e either

  he tries to turn me
to face the girl making
words with her hands

thin ropes on the table
children stripping off the skin
there's not much flesh but

Do you
know any form
of sign language?

Do you
know what She

do you

kn o w

no n    o

screaming brightness tears
right through me
and I                                                                            It’s not just the hurt it’s that my body keeps pushing back at me. like when i

tried to put food in my mouth andthen i'm spitting it out again.

“… ridiculous, there’s not going to be any nutrients left …”

“Shh, we’re barely out of …”

“They know what I think.”

“You don’t need to keep yelling about it.”

“I think I do.”

we're almost out of food but the land is stripped down and dying they say we need to give it time, the soil needs to rest but
in the meantime we are dying

“We have a shadow.”

“It’s just the village idiot.”

“Shh.”

“She doesn’t understand, see?”

Small movements, small steps. I can’t   reach for the nearest one and scratch it with my fingernails without lifting my head. She leans over and positions my hand differently, nails still caught in its skin, and then she drags my hand down and a long strip pulls away. I sit up and she moves my hand, again dragging a long strip of skin and leaves away, letting it fall to the floor.    

“The toxicity is relatively low, but we’ll need to rebuild the soil profile.”

“They want us to focus on the crops.”

“The crops are doomed. So is the town.”

“Bella …”

“They have no capacity for self-control.”

“They’re dying.”

“Good.”

“Bella!”

“What? We need fertiliser."  

                                             we need meat

   

bang.

“                                                    why did you do that?”
she is bandaging my arm

“do you
want to tell me
write it down”

she hands me a tablet I type
slowly wit h one finger
she looks at it and
breaths deep

we can't give her another chair if she acts like that i will take personal responsibility she can't just lie in the room by herself we tried getting her involved we can't have the children exposed to violent outbursts she didn't hurt anyone except her
self

Rana ties cloth around my eyes
she says you'll get used to the
sun


                      I will
be your tour guide
she picks me up and
from over her shoulder  
through the fabric

the dappled light and
pale walls are transmuted
shades and angles forming
a new home

I try to say I'm sorry
but my voice comes out
garbled and incoherent
she places me back on the ground
and sits beside me

"do you want to go out?"

I nod and she
takes my shaking hands in hers
and says

how lovely, I haven't
been out of the lab in
weeks.

...............................................................................................................................................................

mi c r o s c o p i c

they showed me
to another pavilion, on the other side
above the graveyard
bleached white bodies
laid out a long way down

Nina – the rains always
uncover them

but they never seem
to wash away

Cora – but we don’t have
to go there, we have options

Rana – I’m going to be compost
unless I change my mind

Jasper – why tell her this?
she won’t get to choose
or they would have asked her

not neccesairily yes no but
             they'd want to
experiment, she's an odity

“I’ll talk to Simran,” Rana said
with a twisted mouth.

it won’t do any good
they’ll be desperate
to dissect her

The whole pile was stripped white, my hands stained all over and the buzzing frustration in my head reduced to a low hum. Hanna was teaching me how to weave the strips together when Rana came in.

“I heard you were in here,” she said, brandishing the screen.

I smiled at her. She smiled back, dimples flashing, and settled herself down next to me.

I'm not allowed to sit outside since I tried to crawl over the railings.

today she reads

This pine tree by the rock
must have its memories too:
after a thousand years,
see how its branches
lean towards the ground

Hanna tugged on my arm and showed me how to twist the strips again. I copied her movements until I had ten strips woven tightly together. She held her strips next to mine and began attaching them with another strip. Then she twisted the whole thing together until it made a wheel. She undid it and handed the whole thing back to me.                                                                               ……………….
“Mmgfh,” I said.                                                                                              ……………………..              …………………
There was a slight pause.                                                        ……………………                                                   …..
“What did you say?” Rana asked.                      ………………
I shrugged. Hanna patted my shoulder.             …………….
;;;;;’’………………………………                          ………
……………………………………………………………
nutrients micro-biotic activity aggregates structure and particles dead things we will rebuild the horizons

“Izumi Shikibu lived so long ago
but I feel like
I understand –
although the wind
blows terribly here,
the moonlight also leaks
between the roof planks
of this ruined house

       my hands are
useless
 I remember a large dome ceiling with a tall, blackened tree and watching a tall woman wandering around a white room muttering to herself and maybe a big, grime-covered building with vines all around the outside and deep black scars running through it in the distance and hot stone like fire and one small green thing coming out of the ground, crying and crying and crying and where’s my mother why am I here I don’t like it but we can’t take care of her she doesn’t know how to

i want to say im sorry my body was inside me and it was screaming and kicking my wheelchair apart

Rana pulled me back from the edge with strong arms and soft hands that stroked my hair as she whispered shhh, shhh, you’re okay.

why won’t you just stand up stop crying say something it’s just so so so so much I can’t do it there’s this gnawing great big black monster in the back of my neck and she’s ripping me up with her big sharp teeth stop pulling out your hair bodies bodies bodies can’t you just
You’re okay. Shh. You’re okay.
I break the

                                                       red sores

gnawing on my arms
lying in the dark

with a handful of seeds

thinking now things will

get better
someone will find me
.. .    …../
…………./

weeding
bent over smudged
brown skin with
nimble fingers
she tries to
show me
what
to
do

my hands are
useless

I leaned my elbows again my knees and placed my head in my hands so I couldn’t see the passing torsos, their attached heads greeting Cora as she huffed passed them with me bouncing a little in front of her like a big sack of paper. She wheeled me out onto the pavilion. All along the rails they’ve put long sheets of fabric, flapping around with large clapping sounds that overlay all conversations. She pointed to them, then tugged on my sleeves.

“All the fabric here is weaved with energy cells,” she said, “they’re like these … little tech things that absorb energy.”

She held out an arm so that her long, grey sleeve buffeted in the wind.

“I’m harvesting energy,” she said, and turned back to me, “so are you. Even when you’re lying still, your body produces heat.”

I stared at my hands, the tiny red marks left from healing.

“not that you have to be useful,” Cora faltered, “I just thought …”
I                                                          just

I try to smile , try to , thank you I,

Next she took me to the top floor
to see where they grow food

Rana and Hanna sat talking back and forth
with deliberate hand movements
and crinkly-eyed smiles

the sun is harsh but
they need light – she tells me
in a deliberate motions

Light? I try to sign
with resisting hands

she gestures up
and shades her eyes
“Light” Rana says
from the sun

warm
beautiful light
seeps into the plants
photosynthesis

“how much sign language
do you know?”

“Just what I taught her” Rana says

I smile

They look at each other
and back at me, Rana like she's
never felt so much
with wet eyes and a grin
she tugs at a strand of her own hair

It’s nice to see you
outside again

                          why did you
                give her that
       she barely
moves

you’d get more energy
tying it over the railings
way more

I                     just                    thought

the greenhouses take up the whole roof, they are covered with shaded cloth that billow in the rough wind. It’s all for energy: absorbing energy, storing energy, running it all back down to the cells that power the city. Into irrigation systems that clean the water and water the soil and that way the vines grow all around the building and the insects eat the vines and we eat the insects and the fruit and the vegetables and all I’ve ever had before was

Mushrooms, Rana said, spilling a blanket of brown, earthy food over my lap I stared at it and she said

“I thought – her eyes won’t
adjust to light

and she can’t eat the food
without throwing up,
so. Maybe mushrooms?”

I poke one it’s
unfamiliar but
less strange than
the rest


Plant life is all over the building, inside and out. Looking up or down from the pavilion, I see endless stretches of textured greens, purples, browns, and reds. On this level, I see the shrubbery planted everywhere, the vines growing around the sides of the railings, and the long, zagging soil patches built into the concrete floors to grow food.

“We don’t know what they are,” Rana says, pulling out a thin yellow stem and shaking the dirt from its roots, “but they grow like crazy and die just as quickly. After  killing everything else."

She sighs.

"That’s why we had to destroy the lower five levels. Poured chemicals everywhere and set them on fire. Level one has non-toxic air now, so we use it as quarantine.”

she squats in front of me
through my new glasses
she is dusky
as always

I want to take them off and
see her colours

if not for the pain

she says “I don’t want to push you
there’s just so much I don’t understand”

the writing above you … do you remember?
it’s okay. I’m sorry, I’m just
so confused, I

I’m scared

can you explain it?”
I strain to
open my mouth

I can’t
speak sign write think
it’s not just
stress I can’t
can’t
try to : I
rememberrememberrememberrememberrememberremember

its our
last chance
but we can’t just leave
you know this is                       All they want to do is retreat we’ll never
work again
no place to raise a kid
what if the baby grows up different
like her,                                                                  

you want our child
                      always last to eat?

                                                                                we’ll take care of her

I will you’ll just                                                        

                                                                           do you think
                                                                                          that I wouldn’t do
                                                                                           anything for you both

prove it
prove it
prove it

Gnosophysiology : plant
memory:

when I am dropped
I panic
dropped
panic
dropped
panic

learn
and remember

evolution is
                    survival: trauma passed down


Leek

Rana brings me a purple white
cloud, on a green stem

she says, we let some go
to seed so

we can grow more

but this is just
for you

Hanna said
it was okay



‘’   ~>~>~>~>~

‘’’’’“”’  ~>~> ‘’  
“‘’’’’’’’””  ‘’’
‘’’’|’’’’
   |     ‘’’
   |


“There,” Cora said, pointing down to the long black strip below us, “that’s the deadzone. It surrounds the city, goes out for about fifteen meters. They doused it in chemicals and set it on fire to stop soil contamination from spreading inside. You can’t take your mask off for a second down there, and it’s nearly impossible to navigate. After that you have about twenty meters of grey rubble, but there are scavenging spots around if you know where to find them. There are also old dead zones, you need to know how to avoid them.”

She pointed out further, looking at me to check I was watching. I turned my gaze to the distance.

“That’s the rocks where we found you. Sometimes, people say they can see green covering the whole mountain, like there’s stuff growing out there.”

I feel their eyes like a syringe going into the back of my neck.

“Do you know why that could be?” Jasper asked.

I kept staring at nothing. Just a hazy tower in the distance.


I cant  stop smiling around her

No w that ive started
she

S o

M e t imes

sticks her hand

out the windo w and

tangles her fingers in the vines


crawl back to

lie
down          thinking
       no light
           
                   darling

            what happened
in April?

“I had a dream last night,” she told me, her hands out the window. A buzzing red thing with shimmering wings landed on her fingertips.

“I was walking through a cave,” she said, “and everything was green, but a strange green … like it was absorbing the dark. I saw your name scratched on the wall. There were bones everywhere.”

She turned from the window and pulled her hands back in.

“I saw sunflowers,” she said, “growing out of ribcages and skulls. What do you think that means?”

I pointed to an insect, caught in her hair. She lifted one hand to feel it.

“Oh,” she said, and carefully pulled strands away until it was free. She closed the window.

“We can’t have it open too long,” she said, gesturing to the window blowing in hot air and dust, “but it’s so nice, isn’t it?”

Yes.


22.09.50 – Day 16 of Journey – Rana

We made it to the top of the rocks, stumbling through the white blur thundering all around us. We could barely see, and the heat was unbearable. Cora stopped suddenly.

“It’s less loud here,” she said.

We looked at each other.

“I don’t think so,” I said cautiously, moving closer to her.

She held a finger to her lips and stared ahead with a blank look of concentration. She moved diagonally, pushing her way through a shrubbery.

“Cora!” Jasper called after her.

“Come here!” her voice came through the trees.

We pushed our way after her, ducking from the rain, half carrying mum between us. Suddenly, the trees cleared, and we stumbled out onto a path.

“It’s not raining,” I said, staring up in a daze.

Above us it was all patterns of green and brown, the rain a muffled and distant rush.

“Cora,” I said, and hugged her.

We lay mum down against a tree. I checked her oxygen tank.

“Do you think the air is okay here?” I asked.

“It feels safe,” Jasper said, “it feels clean.”

Cora nodded, and I took off the mask.

Mum leaned her head back against the tree and breathed in deep.

“Beautiful,” she said, closing her eyes.

The inside of the tunnel was dirty concrete walls full of broken glass and scraps of old furniture. Writing scratched on the walls.

porosity too high … mix with clay samples …’

‘… follow her … love’

… fire’

We walked further into darkness.

“Maybe we should stop here,” Cora said nervously, “just wait near the entrance.”

No one replied. We were drunk on motion, the darkness leading us to the unknown. She followed behind us without another protest.

The concrete under my feet gave way to something soft and damp. I cried out, and Jasper grabbed my arm.

“Rana?” She said.

I stepped forward into the swallowing black. My hands brushed against something wooden.

“I found something,” I said, “I don’t know what it is.”

I pushed and the wood gave way, swinging back and making me stumble forward. Into a room full of stars. They glowed and danced around me, moving away when I tried to touch them, swarming around like clouds of dust.



evo;lve

She touches my cheek and says
I’d like to hold your hand

how does a simple brushing hand
take so much space?

all that’s outside
are clouds of red insects

………………………………….. ..
: R A N A ___________   ;          ……………………………………
                                          .      

watching through filtered cloth

later she will take it down

so she
can stick her head outside
again, and watch

the sea of grey rubble
move into a distant horizon

and say – I can’t look for too long
but it’s nice, isn’t it

to stick your head outside?


Council Meeting 21 – Relevant Exert

Chair: We are now moving to a closed meeting, anyone who is not a council member or Representative will now have to leave.

Non-members exit.

Chair: Alright, now onto the topic of Perdita. George, you had a concern you wanted to raise?

George: Yes, she’s very withdrawn and seems disinterested in cultivating relationships, but she writes about Rana Ahmad a lot. I’m worried they’re becoming too close, and

Simran: Excuse me, how is this our business?

Chair: George has the floor.

Simran: These are my constituents, and I find this conversation needlessly invasive.

George: We have under a thousand citizens, inbreeding will become a problem eventually. Sooner than you think, probably. Perdita is young and fertile. I think –

Simran: Fucking hell

Chair: I’ve put you first on the speaking list. Hold it til then.

George:  I’m not saying force her into a breeding program, just … gently encourage her to branch out. She’s familiar with Cora and doesn’t seem to have a problem with her, at least. I think we should make Cora her city tour guide, ask her to demonstrate her job and stuff like that.

Chair: Okay. Simran?

Simran: Firstly I would like to point out that Cora is not a puppet, you can’t just point her at someone and say go fuck that

Chair: Tone it down, please.

Simran: We can’t push people to be interested in each other, and not that it’s any of our business but we don’t know if impregnating someone would affect Cora’s dysphoria, or if Perdita wants to get pregnant, or if they’d be sexually interested in each other, or if Cora is even capable of having kids. What are you going to do, keep throwing people at her in the hope that someone sticks? How long until you decide that actually, you think maybe we should start a breeding program?

George: Look –

Chair: There are three more people on the speaking list, do you want me to put you on?

George: Yes.

Chair: Okay, Ida?

Ida: Adding to what Simran said, I think it’s worth considering the trauma Perdita has gone through and the intergenerational impacts, not to mention her disabilities.

Simran: That’s not what –

Chair: Speaking list.

Simran: Put me back on.

Ida: We can cater for people’s disabilities for now, but a larger population of wheelchair users and cognitively impaired people down the line could cause problems. We don’t know which, if not all, of her conditions are hereditary.

Sid: I was going to say the same thing.

Hanna: Surprisingly, I’m not a big eugenics fan myself. I don’t think we should even be discussing this, but honestly how many kids do you even think she’ll be having.

Sid: Well if she has ten kids and then they all have ten kids

Simran: Oh for fucks sake.

Chair: No more swearing, I mean it.

Simran: I am so deeply sorry. Obviously, I’m the one being inappropriate.

Hanna: If a larger population of people with specific disabilities is on the table, we should be focusing on how to accommodate for them in the future.

Ida: Is this an eventuality we want?

Simran: There it is.

Ida: I’m just being realistic.

Chair: If we could please stick to the speaking list? That would be great. Aled?

Aled: Cora has a boyfriend.

Ida: Really, who? Is it Neel?

Simran: That’s not–

Chair: Next is George.

Aled: Yeah, they went on a date yesterday.

Ida: But he’s such an asshole.

Chair: Next is George. Guys, please …

George: I agree with Hanna and Simran.

Hanna: *mimes vomiting*. I want that on record.

George: Eventual inbreeding should be our biggest concern. Also, proximity is a huge factor in romantic and sexual relationships.

Simran: Maybe for you.

George: I’m not saying push her into a relationship with Cora, I think the more people she, uh, explores with –

Hanna: Oh my god, that’s worse. That’s actually worse.

Chair: Ha –

Hanna: Put me on.

Chair: You’re behind ten people.

Simran: Put me on too.

Chair: I’m going to make a motion to limit speaking time to under a minute.

George: Can I finish what I’m saying first?

Chair: Yes.

George: I think if we encourage her to be social with people who can get her pregnant, she may form the kinds of relationships that would be beneficial to the whole of our society. All we’d have to do is discourage the use of protection, which she might not even know exists

Simran: [redacted string of profanities]

Hanna: Seconded.

Chair: Last warning, Sim. George?

George: I’m done.

Chair: Okay, I’m going to move to – yes?

Jasper: I was going to move that we delay this conversation until next council, when people will have had more time to calm down and form their arguments. We have a lot to get through and I don’t think this is a productive conversation so far.

Chair: Okay, motion to discuss this at the next meeting and move on?

Carried.

Chair: I would like to remind everyone present that the discussion we just had is confidential. You will all be monitored closely. Motion to reopen the meeting now to outsiders.

Carried.


you've given them

             hopehope
     hope     o         hope
hope        h    p          hope
      hope    e        hope
            hopehope

.??//////////

I met a traveller from an antique land,

Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone

Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,

Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,

And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,

Tell that its sculptor well those passions read

Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,

The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;

And on the pedestal, these words appear:

My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;

Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay

Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare

The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

…,,,,,,,,,,,,,|SB|,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,         aaaaxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

……..                        / // //////  ………..~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

…….                       /// //                        ………~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

…….                   ////////////////////////////…………..~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

…….                                             //////////////////…………….~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

……….                                                                                               ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~                      my people humble people who expect
nothing

cart walls bounce around me as bella pushes she talks

look at the walls

she said – it’s probably edible
probably? That’s not – look nothing is certain
I have done as much
testing as I can

I can tell you this is
very, very likely safe
to eat and

what exactly are the
alternatives?

we want you to fix the soil
                                                 I am I promise this is how it

has to

be

look at the walls

darkness all darkness like the deepest corners
of the tunnels
                            old subway tunnel
or                     evac route

she calls it
                          growing luminescent slime and
water welling from the ground up
                                     she says this will all
grow, this will
all grow

They think she might have
leaked confidential

you can go to quarantine for
two years  
                        she’d never

“I know, I know

I know

I focus on my hands, tapping two fingers against my thumb in quick repetition.


bella bella bella bella

years of walking underground
years of walking underground she said
years and
years and now
we can’t cross this
huge fucking wasteland
                                  now she’s disappearing every day

now she’s tearing up the walls screaming
now she’s lying on the ground
staring at the ceiling

sunflower woke me up in a daze and I waited until I stopped crying into her shoulder to breathe out slowly and the sunflower said it was just a dream and I wanted to say we got stuck I got stuck everyone is

burning
             from the ground up.

there were two soft hands on my face
and a woman saying hush it’s alright

she can’t talk yet
maybe she
never will

snap snap fingers
in my face

see?

Nina, I said, Nina
yes?

why did you
keep the poems?

                                                                E V O L U T I O N


I should have gone with them bella sobs she sobs she sobs digging her nails into the walls and ripping glowing moss apart slamming her head against the wall she says I should have just gone

the rubble goes on and on
with no relief and
no way to cross

I should
have just

Nina, I say, Nin
a

Rnarna

weareburningweareburningweareburning

we’ll protect her

you only care about your
stupid projects well

you’ll never work on a project again
if you go there they’ll just have you compiling shit

all they want to do is

“Look,” Bella said, pulling me up out of the tunnel and setting me down on the hatch. A knee-height stretched all the way down to the bottom of the rocks, “they’re growing so quickly – it’s incredible. When the moon is brighter it should be more visible. They’re already adapting so fast. In successive generations I'll use grafting toencourage more edible plants. If we can get them growing wild, we can help them spread. In a few years you’ll see it from the city.”

I nodded, but she wasn’t looking at me. She was looking across the rubble, to a distant tower.

Tomorrow I will roll myself to the elevators and go to the level eight pavilion and try to weed again.

Tomorrow I will see if I can brush my hair myself.

Tomorrow I will stop slapping and biting my skin until
the red marks fade and I can ask her

why did you
keep the poems?

And she’ll look at me with
blank distress

tomorrow I will ask my sunflower
how she can exist

Soil Horizons: Gnosophysiology
evolution

Rememberembmermrememberememberemem

errememmber remremeber remember remember

the poems make me grieve
what I’ve never had and
cherish things I’ve
never seen.

She reads them to me every day

‘Wild Geese – meanwhile the
wild geese , I imagine them flying because
they had wings like the insects, but
they were huge, and white
I picture translucent pale wings
shimmering in the sun

and
in our empty room I
shook and

died inside her
and we died
again

In the family of things
announcing your place
species. genus. differentia.

my grandmother said
we all share one spirit
                                  Bella on her knees: in the

dirt pulling worms from a cylinder
and feeding them into the cracked ground, said
when we die
we grow when we grow
we die

I tugged on Hanna’s sleeve
and pointed to a cloud
can I take
                   that one,
please?

did you
hear something?
did you – I don’t like
what’s brewing

be careful of their hope it can
run wild, unchecked

she runs her hand through my hair
and smiles like I’m some
wonderful secret

I know
I don’t get to choose
where my body goes

but now I know
the afterlife is
a peaceful, sleepy
kiss

22.09.50 – Day 16 of Journey – Rana

“I’ve never seen insects like that,” I said, turning to mum, “have you?”

She shook her head.

There were things coming out of the ground, long and soft and sharp, shadows I could barely make out. We stumbled around in the dim light, until we were distracted by a large crack. We turned to Jasper, who was looking down at her feet.

“I stepped on something,” she said shakily.

I edged over to her, leaving mum crouched down poking at the strange plants.

I looked down to where Jasper was pointing.

“It’s a skull,” I said. There was a whole skeleton, stretched out across the earth. I chocked back a hysterical laugh.

Long green sprouts were curving their way around the bones. I bent closer to look without thinking. Why? I wondered, as Jasper backed away from the remains shaking her head. What’s wrong with me?

“Rana,” Cora said.

I turned to see her, crouched over something in the corner.

We walked towards her. There was something curled up, wrinkled and yellowish in the corner.

“Is that …” Jasper choked.

I edged closer.

The thing on the ground is definitely a person, or at least humanoid. I stare at it, pictures of mummified bodies swirling across my brain. I knelt down and felt for a pulse.

“Give me the hydration packs,” I said.

“Are you crazy?” Jasper said, but she brought them to me with shaking hands.

I tore open one of the gels and rubbed it over the persons’ face. I heard a soft whimper under the consistent hum of insects.

“You’re okay,” I murmured, ripping open another packet and rubbing as much as I could over her skin.

“Those are for emergencies,” Jasper said.

I ignored her and tore open a liquid pack, rolling the person over and gingerly pulling their mouth open, trickling the water down as steadily as I could manage. Their throat convulsed and another whimper sounded through the dark room.

“Rana,” Cora said again, her voice strange and distant.

I looked up. She wasn’t looking down to the person in my arms. She was pointing to the wall.

I followed her gaze. Illuminated by the darting glow of insects was a single word, scratched on the wall:

R A N A


                                                                   thunder.

You can’t just kill a little girl we’re all dying she’s a drain we have precious little food and water what’s the fucking difference if she dies today or tomorrow we can’t keep giving her resources we could just let her die slowly if that’s more palatable to you or we could be human about it that’s your daughter how could you how shut up she’s just like an animal why be sentimental you think this doesn’t hurt me of course it does

now she’s watching every night

now she’s tearing up the walls screaming
now too weak to lift the hatch she’s
staring at the ceiling

now she’s lying on her back
grey hair pooling over her chest

she whispers something
I can’t hear

what happened in April?

nina left she took the baby
i thought if I saved you i could
prove

what happened?


the sunflower
glows inside out

she’s the whisper
brushing my skin saying

darling it wasn’t your fault











gnosophysiology

the four of them
hold each other so tight

I can’t watch so I
look away and listen

pinching weeds by their roots
and tugging them free of the
soil
shake the dirt

Ah! Sun-flower! weary of time,
who countest the steps of the Sun:
like hands tangled in hair
Sun-kissed in the
gentle dark

Seeking after that sweet golden clime
where the travellers journey is done.
 

sunflower sits with
  thunder in her lap

where the Youth pined away with desire,
and the pale Virgin shrouded in snow:
reading from a screen: she says
this is beautiful

I love how you see me
I love how you rise

from their graves and aspire,
where my Sun-flower wishes to go – the
thunder tangles their
fingers together
kisses the corner of her mouth
and says

I dare the world to take you from me
I have no words
but I am loud

Sweetheart

you’re so bright
and lovely, I’ll keep telling you
until you believe me

let me brush your hair

I
        I

don’t
know how to describe it but
I feel so much


                                                                I know what she means
                                                                because
                                                                somebody found me
                                                                                                                           

clutching out of stony rubbish
building flowers burning
it’s nature

                                                     survival : evolution is love
                                                                passed down