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Later Magical Tourism


Later Magical Tourism
by Steve Simpson

In the later age of magic
Mandelbrot ruled the earth and sky,
all of Homemakers Paradise,
and his minions loitered in caves and melamine wardrobes,
deserted aisles and hollowed tree trunks,
with even smaller minions in their hair.

Cristina, who was made of moths, and I
decided on a journey to a less chaotic realm,
where we might enjoy a copacetic view.

In flurries and unhurried flutters,
we commuted to the west,
a compass point as fine as any other,
and called in at the wax museum,
created when an inverse candle
was forgotten at a campsite.

They say the wick's still burning on the top,
its backwards flame illuminating clouds.

When evening came, we dined by forward candlelight,
on selected insects and a sweater,
hand-me-down.

I'm an actor, Cristina said,
in intimate situations
I like to share a little back story.


She'd been invented on a lazy day, she told me,
and her constituent moths were fond of paper,
or something written on it.

I preened my feathers in disappointment.
I'd hoped to hear about
Democritus and Mandelbrot,
and whether his smallest minions were indivisible atoms.

What's your point? I asked.

It's to do with wholes and sums of parts, I think.

All Cristina's moths were indistinguishable,
but together they held a certain charm.

* * *

Steve Simpson is an Australian writer who lived in Brazil for many years. He started writing when the neighbors complained about the bagpipes, and in 2013 he won the Canadian “In Places Between” writing contest. Since then his short fiction and poetry have appeared in various magazines and anthologies.

As well as writing, he messes around in clinical neurophysiology, builds time travel machines and attempts art. He likes rain, rivers and sky fish. And wood ducks, of course. Everyone likes wood ducks. More info: inconstantlight.com @inconstantlight

Where do you get the ideas for your poems?

Surroundings matter for creativity, so I often take nature walks and wait for my muse to cohere from swirling leaves, clouds, and McDonalds wrappers. She never does, so I go to plan B: enough coffee to make my hands shake.

Dreams are useful but you have to wake up quickly to remember them. Salvador Dali’s technique works for me: a bucket of ice water over the head at 3am. My friends are more than happy to help out for some reason.

I avoid using reality—too implausible, no-one believes you, not even the police. Even when it really was time-travelling penguins.

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