Quartet: Last Recorded Transmission ...

written by © Peter Howard, first published in Envoi magazine 1996

Last Recorded Transmission

Terminally Registered Dispatch

(This is the poem Last Recorded Transmission after having been subjected to a thesaurus and further modification.)

Deadly Haste Indicator

(This is the poem Terminally Registered Dispatch after having been subjected to a thesaurus and further modification.)

Rash Toxic Symbolism

(This is the poem Deadly Haste Indicator after having been subjected to a thesaurus and further modification.)
Since we crash-landed on this alien planet,
we've wandered in a strange, unearthly fog
and lost each other. I've not heard from Janet
for three weeks now, according to the log.

At first, we kept in touch, but now my battery's
gone flat perhaps - my radio's erratic.
I miss the soothing sound of Janet's flatteries:
all I can hear are jarring bursts of static.

Sense deprivation causes weird features
sometimes to surface in the subject's psyche:
I'm being followed by the strangest creatures.
I wonder if they're friendly. They've big... crikey!

It's very hard to make a clear deduction:
am I being eaten, or is this seduction?
We shatter settled this exotic land;
we deviated in a phantom vapour,
perplexed those whom we didn't understand,
and tried to write it down on bits of paper.

We're primal carnivores, our ululation
gone flavourless with age, and now tepidity
has underawed the tranquil adulation:
we're shocked by frequent outbursts of rigidity.

Logic denies us supernatural highlights:
sometimes to rise above the vassal's spectre.
We're beings monitored through tinted skylights;
I marvel at this butterfly collector.

It's useless to coerce without disruption:
am I consumed, or is this rank corruption?
Annihilate at once this strangest property
of spraying dream states on a wall, peculiar
puzzlement of those who've just gained liberty,
and strained to composition, blue, unrulier

than unchecked growth of mandrake's only seedling
gone soulless with a mellow insincerity,
a cool demeanour, with persistent wheedling:
insulted by a broad band of severity.

Wisdom demands an enigmatic climax:
to multiply the score and make it tally.
We're life guarded through fragile strained glass tie-racks.
I question to which flag we should all rally.

It's vain to pressurise without upset:
am I engrossed, and is this over yet?
Require this as a hot, bizarre possession.
Disperse illusions of a grand, outlandish
jigsaw of sounds which justify obsession:
the need to own a sapphire studded standish.

The boundless swelling of a unique progeny
persists, although the heart, with seasoned plastic,
a frosty air, takes notice of ontogeny:
slight, urbane threads of serious elastic.

Knowledge entails a clandestine, cheap coronet
to heighten and arrange the fashion figure.
We sparkle, shrouded in a cool, dispassionate
Indifference to intellectual rigour.

Promiscuous, superfluous, tempestuous,
am I involved, and is this now incestuous?