An Experimental Opening

Mundane conversation starters, on online singles sites, are an underwhelming experience for women who are so burdened with admirers that they need a spreadsheet to keep track of them. Are they any fonder of extremely unusual openings? I decided to find out. Considering the sample size is one, further research may be required.

Hi, how are you? What’s your favourite means of expressing your creativity?
12/30/2019 7:45 PM

7:45 PM
For all I know you’re being bombarded with witty remarks from worldly and otherworldly men, so maybe I should try something different myself. I don’t have any one line lassos of love to launch your way but I do have a unique scenario to massage your imagination.

Which would you rather be, a species of hummingbird that cleans conjunctivitus from the eyelids of dragon synchronised flying troupes, or an ultra intelligent species of scorpion, that makes sculptures of its pets with a concoction of saliva and squid panda dung? Squid pandas look just like regular pandas, except for the tentacle skirt that makes them semi aquatic.
7:47 PM

Now I wait, to find out if the straightforward approach was better or not (-:

They say that madness is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, so I tried something completely different. Apparently I over did it, at about 8:30PM I noticed the young lady had hit delete. If I was catapulted face first into the twilight zone, by a bizarre conversation starter, I’d be intrigued. I certainly wouldn’t be reflexively hitting delete. Did she believe she was being mocked, that she was talking to a time wasting joker or a mentally disturbed person? Reflexively hitting delete wasn’t the reaction I was expecting from someone who describes themselves as kind and creative in their profile.

Would I have fared better if the hummingbird was plucking the dragon synchronised flying troupe’s eyelashes instead of treating their conjunctivitis? Maybe a warrior butterfly that sculpts wizards from lava, without suffering from the slightest blister, would have been more palatable than a scorpion that sculpts likenesses of its pets from a concoction of spit and squid panda shit. If so, then maybe the young lady is too girly for my liking and being rejected by her is cause for streamers and champagne, not self flegellation and tears of grief.

Do popular women tend to prefer extremely unusual conversation openers to mundane  beginnings? I still don’t know. How does one compare being completely ignored to being as savagely rejected as a traitorous astronaut is ejected into the cold emptiness of outer space?



A Different View

An Eminem clone entered the vestibule,
perusing his girlfriend’s copy of “That’s Life”
and treating a Halloween article within
more seriously than any stock market wunderkind,
ever took the Wall Street Journal.

“Says here they is getting married in a graveyard”
he commented
to his tattoo parlour advertisement partner.

“They like Gothics or something are they Ramble?”
she replied as indifferently as a robot.

if they invited me to their weddin,
I wouldn’t fuckin go.
They held the reception in a crypt,
the sick freaks!” Ramble raged.

To the contrary:
I imagined worries dimmed by headstone shadows,
guests sipping from jewel encrusted goblets,
skulls stolen from the university’s anatomy department
overflowing with snack food,
dessert disappearing faster than grave robbers at dawn;
lovers exploring lush, green, graveyard paths,
bathed in full moon light,
gazing at gold lettering on marble headstones,
as they whisper “unto death do they part.”


Singles Site Suitor

Ladies, the superbly sculpted,
burdensomely endowed,
entrepreneurial wizard
of your wildest dreams is here.
It’s true, I’m often mistaken for God.
My old boss claims I’m as useless
as a paint chart on a black and white TV.
I should’ve been running that company.

I’m seeking a voluptuous poetess,
to join me for adventures,
artistic and animalistic.

What kind of art soars off your chart?
Traditional landscapes and portraits
can be as exquisite as the finest floozy,
ever to frolic in my oceanic Jacuzzi;
but I prefer transparent unicorn serpents,
with amphibious goblins swimming in their stomachs.
That’s a bit dark isn’t it.
What has a more sunshine and rainbows appeal?
Maybe a version of Medusa,
who merely bedazzles besotted suitors,
bathing in the sun kissed billabongs of her eyes,
instead of turning them to stone.
Her pygmy dragon, belly dancing troupe
is off their leads in the background.
Now that’s art.

When I’m not gazing at butterfly sail galleons
at the gallery,
I’m searching for truly psychic psychics
and ghosts that are more than a sneaky breeze.
I know human observations aren’t always
more accurate than a sixteenth century musket,
in the hands of a Parkinson’s victim,
but sometimes arrows split atoms.

This thrill seeker also enjoys sprint cars.
I can’t say I’ve backflipped my way
from the grandstand to the pits
and raced one,
but I drove a go kart once.
Not one of those glorified dodgem cars,
that could be overtaken by a mum pushing a pram,
a real one.
Unfortunately the lining of my helmet
slipped over my eyes
and I ran over the track attendant.

I’m more likely to win a poetry prize than a Grand Prix.
Ladies, my erotic rhymes will make you swoon.
They’re as adventurous as a space shuttle orgy,
hurtling towards the wildest interstellar moon.
I authored the Kama Sutra for acrobats darlin,
this mighty love machine’s no literary buffoon.
If you’re as vivacious as I’m salacious,
my appetite for your soul is rapacious.
Yep, I swallow Thesaurus’s
and shit out classics.

You’re not ready to meet after our umpteenth epic chat
and naïve enough to imagine I’ll graciously accept that?
I want to know the love of my life before palliative strife.
Why not reveal how captivated you are by my free verse,
before it’s time to rehearse for the hearse?

Genie of the Forest

We rest our weary legs
in a Weeping Meadow Grass carpeted clearing.
Rufous Fantails dart between Clerodendrums,
beckoning us to follow.

The hum of traffic is a fading memory.
Her fingertips bathe me in compassion.
The gleam in her eyes,
the wonder of her words,
such a bewitching duet.

If an excruciating debacle
snuffs out her precious sparkle,
I want to cradle her in my arms,
resuscitate her joyful charms.

Later, I meditate on the paradise of a kiss
and imagine her face in the throes of bliss.
Genie of the forest,
you granted every wish but one.

Dog Fight

The Red Baron of love has flown into town,
to machine gun a drunk cherub archer down.

Hilda claims she adores her Bohemian bard
but all that girl really loves is his credit card.

Weekends spent in Hawaii and romantic odes
will never ever satisfy the Queen of the toads.

She wants to be Winston Yu’s child and owner.
He’s her winning Lotto ticket and sperm donor.

The week after the wedding, and harbour cruise,
Win wants a divorce, she can’t believe the news.

How much mayhem can only one man wreak?
He expects her to survive on ten grand a week.

Clearly his devotion wasn’t Grand Canyon deep.
She said she wouldn’t really kill him in his sleep.

The Red Baron of love has flown into town,
to machine gun a drunk cherub archer down.

It has been a long time since Cupid has spoken.
His wings are Swiss cheese and his arrows broken.

Aphrodite Versus Eleos

Zeus’s daughter is on Tinder.
Luscious creatures of mortal birth
cannot compete.
They train with the scientific zeal
Tesla lit up the world,
but dedication cannot elevate them
to the Zenith of Olympus.

The Goddess of desire has grown weary
of clueless nineteen year old boys.
While Earthly delights chase Adonis,
Aphrodite has chosen me,
for a few hours at least.
I’m an intriguing museum piece.
Does it still work, she wants to know.
She’s as superficial as spray on tan.
Athena thinks “I’m as hypocritical
as the no fat chicks sticker
on the ice cream man’s panel van.”
I am reaching for Aphrodite’s mind,
between gaping in awe
at her Isis humbling hips.
That’s a luxury apartment for triplets right there.

Yes, Isis, the Egyptian Goddess of fertility.
Aphrodite hasn’t stunned
any terrorist organizations into submission
with her delectable geometry lately.

Her Lusciousness finds His Quirkiness hilarious,
but won’t tax herself by responding beyond LOL.
Would she appreciate the dawn sun,
peeking above the waves,
if it was as grey as coastal soil?
Has she ceased lingerie shopping,
to wonder what that means?
Globules of glibness infect her goblet of glamour.

Maybe the Goddess of desire possesses
the acerbic wit to light Momus’s wick,
and embarrass Thoth in debate, chess and poker,
between out-pranking Gotham’s nemesis the Joker.
But all she need do to transcend the magic of genie’s,
is decorate herself with a stunning array of bikinis
and she knows it!

Tomorrow I’m Aphrodite’s fashion consultant.
The flowers on her short fluttery dress,
are sure to look more alive
than the fluffy, golden Acacia blooms
along the trail.
She’s every flavour I wish to savour,
but who’s the woman behind the myth?

Zeus’s daughter isn’t the only Goddess
in the Lotto of love.
Yesterday, Eleos entered the fray.
She transcends dessert, she’s every course,
in the juxtaposition of parallel universes.
Hot springs overlooking jungle horizons,
can’t compare to lacing hands
with the Goddess of compassion.
Everyone within her orbit is bathed in love.

Corpse Creek Connection

Chase Chandler swiped the virtual cards left, right and up, during his insufferable search for female company, on The super like option had recently been added to the original like and dislike choices. Chase occasionally had the urge to swipe straight down, to super dislike. He’d mentioned that in a questionnaire. For some mysterious reason, the app designers ignored his suggestion.

It was those whose passions were limited to eating, drinking, fucking, sleeping and shopping, that Chase wished to slam with a super dislike. The way they gazed adoringly at their own butts, boobs and abs, in nightclub restroom selfies, appalled him. In his bitter eyes they were as uninspiring as toxic waste dumps in school playgrounds. “Surely bird attractant gardens, sunset painted beaches and forest valley vistas are worthier backdrops than toilet cubicles” he mused.

Minimum height specifiers made Chase’s blood simmer too. His dip from one hundred and seventy five centimetres short, to one hundred and sixty centimetres short, after someone stole his fish tank platform boots, intensified his fury.  The fish within the soles looked remarkably real. Those boots were one of a kind, Chase cherished them more than the 1974 Lamborghini Countach, he’d inherited from his grandfather. Not even stilts could have made him feel as tall as those wonders of the fashion world.

Everyone who has met Chase, via the smorgasbord of single delights known as, either considers him too intense, too sedate, too educated, too uneducated, a workaholic, too lazy, too adventurous or too boring. Chase Chandler and boring in the same sentence? That’s like the serene firebombing of hospitals, or oil painting classes for blind cave dwellers, twenty thousand leagues under the sea, it just doesn’t make sense. It’s as contradictory as the sluggishness of warp speed yoga. Nobody has persisted long enough to solve the inscrutable riddle that is Chase Chandler. Most women don’t persevere long enough to discover there’s a riddle to solve.

Stella Mckenzie, Chase’s twenty year old work mate, at Nature Restoration International, couldn’t understand why Chase so rarely meets his matches. She relied on a database to jog her memory, when potential partners invited her to everything from Fleetwood Mac concerts to Caribbean cruises. One woman swiped right on Chase’s profile per week. Stella was blessed with a match a minute and that was just during the early hours of Monday morning. Whether it was voluptuous good looks, genius, a thrill seeking spirit, stamina or awe inspiring empathy that suitors sought, they found it in Stella Mckenzie. Chase was in awe of her too, but the age gap was a whopping seventeen years. He didn’t quite have the lungs or the balance to keep up with her insatiable appetite for acrobatic love making, sightseeing and every conceivable combination of the two.

In the next eight years, Chase went on dozens of first dates, half a dozen second dates and one third date. During that time, Stella experienced six lengthy casual relationships, three short lived engagements and finally one marriage, which was showing no signs of wear and tear after eighteen months. Chase could no longer bring himself to believe there was a woman in the world who found him more attractive than bleeding eyeballs or more intriguing than watching varnish dry, while listening to elevator music. He’d had enough.

Late, one Saturday night, he jogged the short distance from his home to Corpse Creek and performed a graceful swan dive from the bridge railing, towards the concrete cycling path below. There was no time to contemplate his mistake, as he struck a deep river pool palms first. The slender rock ledges, that would have obliterated him, had finally been dislodged and sunk to the bottom, just hours earlier. Chase barely had time to think the words “I’m alive” as he desperately thrust his way to the surface.

There was someone else on the bridge, peering down at the concrete cycling track. They climbed on to the railing. Chase accelerated across the path and leapt up the steps, to the top of the gorge, four at a time. He could only hope the figure he’d seen silhouetted on top pf the railing would still be there when he arrived.

“It’s not worth jumping. Stay still while I come and get you down from there” he pleaded with the petite young woman.

“Why is it not worth jumping” she asked. Her voice was harsh and lifeless but her hesitation bred hope.

“How about we discuss why in the nearest café” Chase offered. He’d brought his wallet with him, to make identifying his broken body easier. He’d been too focussed on self annihilation to consider the affect that discovering his torn flesh, smashed skeleton and splattered brains might have had on an inexperienced police officer.

“Please, err on the side of leaning back towards me.” Chase sounded as calm as the lapping of harbour waves.

“I’ve got you” he confirmed.

Lonnie and her saviour’s cafe conversation continued until long after dawn. Chase was surprised to learn she was twenty nine. The discovery that her interest in him extended beyond gratitude surprised him more than news reports of the Lochness Monster being shipped to Sea World would have.

It wasn’t until Chase and Lonnie were living together, that he discovered the fish tank platform boots, in her wardrobe, along with her Sasquatch slippers.

All Surface

Cobblestone paths encircle putting greens.
Inside granite goblets,
horses are riverboats for wrens.
Wimbledon standard courts
feature tennis royalty.

A cottage they’d said,
in contrast to the palace of Versailles maybe.
It’s tapestries are older than Hadrian’s wall.
The carpets make Persia’s finest
look like threadbare disasters.
Cinema size televisions
dominate palatial loungerooms.
But the people are as heartwarming as algorithms.

The ramshackle servants quarters,
are discretely hidden in a bird attractant garden.
Smoke wafts from an ancient chimney.
A homemade chess set
waits patiently for its creators.

Lucy Sarah Diamond

I’ve been having recurring dreams for as long as I can remember. They begin with me being stalked by a crocodile. When I’m on the verge of being caught, dragged into deeper water, drowned and devoured, I escape up a giant mangrove. There’s usually a harpoon like drone in the branches. Upon command, it skewers my stalker. Nervously, I drag the hefty meal to shore. My newly acquired spear drone hovers beside me, poised to impale any other crocs that dare to venture too close.

By the time I reach the river beach, my eyelids are drooping from exhaustion. I nod off the moment my back touches the soft, cool, sand. Eventually I’m shaken awake by hulking, orange skinned, giants. They’re built like powerlifters. Not surprisingly they struggle to deal with Earth’s gravity. Occasional levitation soothes their burdened joints.

The gigantic, orange skinned, beings fashion basketball hoops from seaweed. They cement them into shape with the saliva of yodelling walruses. The coconuts and pineapples they use for balls bounce off a low lying forcefield thousands of times before finally hitting the ground and cracking open.

As a reward for keeping score of their lumbering basketball matches, they share roast crocodile with me and fashion the beast’s skin into dust jackets for my travel diaries. Although I’m always acting in self-defence, I feel bad. My guilt makes less sense than the dream. I guess the orange skinned giants hail from another planet in the land of nod, but who knows. Whenever I ask them about their past, they say “who do you think you are, our psychotherapist?”

My mind awoke abruptly from the latest instalment of the crocodile hunt and orange giant dream but my body was slow to follow. It wasn’t until I’d showered and dressed that hibernating for a month or two no longer felt necessary. I wandered the streets with no destination in mind and stumbled across some captivating street art. My favourite was the piranha men, ballroom dancing on the back of a confused whale. A busker set up next to it. Her name was emblazoned on the interior of her guitar case.

“I see a red door and I want to paint it black, no colours anymore, I want them to turn black”, Lucy Sarah Diamond sang with a soft dystopian fury. Her hopes and dreams were very much alive, but right now her vocals were redolent of a coffin prison, closer to the mantle than the sun drenched fields above.

“Give me fuel, give me fire, give me that which I desire” a metalhead across the road roared. In decibels he was mighty, talent wise he was a mite. Lucy’s vocals stunned him into silence. He stood watching her with the same silent awe as I.

“I see a line of cars and they’re all painted black, with flowers and my love never to come back” Lucy sang in perfect pitch. I got the feeling she was mourning the loss of more than a lover. While she sipped from the lid of her flask, I dropped gold coins into her guitar case.

“What’s your name handsome? How about you come over here and help me finish my breakfast.” she crooned.

“I’m Asamu” I replied, barely able to believe that such a talented and gorgeous creature was flirting with me so brazenly.

“Do you have a last name Asamu?”

I found some confidence “You are inquisitive aren’t you. I suppose it can’t hurt to tell you, as long as you’re not looking for my birthdate and my pin number too. I’m Asamu Ali”

“Asamu, help me out here, I can’t eat all of this. Isn’t it the most fascinating mix of funguses you’ve ever seen? I promise you, they’re all edible. With leafy greens like this we’ll live long and prosper baby. Don’t be afraid, come closer. Wow, what powerful legs you have.” Lucy exclaimed as she squeezed my sprint honed thighs. Running fast was how I got my adrenaline fix.

“What would you like me to sing next Asamu?”

“How about Under the Bridge, by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers”
Lucy’s rendition of the first Chilli Peppers song to catch my attention, during my teenage years, was a heady blend of melancholy and hope that did the lyrics justice. By the time she reached the chorus, tears were seeping from my eyes.

“I don’t ever want to feel
like I did that day,
take me to the place I love,
take me all the way.
I don’t ever want to feel
like I did that day,
take me to the place I love
take me all the way….”

I happily gave her another ten dollars, and watched her slip the note into her floral silk brassiere. It was an exquisite sight, that was enhanced by six months of roaming bushland and beaches, on the far south coast of New South Wales. During that trip it wasn’t unusual for me to go a week without seeing another human being, let alone a delicious, charismatic musician like Lucy.

Lucy looked at me with amused curiosity as I gathered the courage, or the stupidity, to ask if I could slide a larger denomination down her top myself. She glanced up and down the deserted street before saying “go for it”. I didn’t feel like the generous one, as I slipped a fifty dollar note over a towering dark nipple. After furtively glancing up and down the street again, she invited me to delight in her womanly softness. I traced my fingertips over liquid satin, before stretching my hand over the cup and squeezing ever so gently. By the time I’d finished, the footpath was swarming with frantic commuters, shoppers and schoolchildren.

“He’s my boyfriend” Lucy told Darius Fabian, the ruddy old real estate agent, who had witnessed proceedings from his office window. He insisted I’d set a precedent that couldn’t be ignored.

“If you want to transfer one hundred thousand dollars to Youth off the Streets, while I watch, then I’ll think about making your dreams come true” Lucy challenged him. She kissed me passionately, possibly just to maintain the illusion that I was her boyfriend.

“I’ll give you three hundred”, the real estate agent sneered.

“Three hundred will get you a few song requests, C.D’s and the happiness that comes from knowing you’ve given me somewhere safe to sleep tonight”

“If you come to my Double Bay penthouse for the weekend, I’ll give you three thousand and whatever make up and pretty new clothes you want. We’ll eat at gourmet restaurants, with the most delicious dessert you’ve ever tasted”

“This sugar babe is fussy, only the finest Belgian chocolate will do” Lucy quipped.
“If you stick with me you can have all the Beligan chocolate you want darlin, a little padding on those curves wouldn’t hurt a bit” Darius chuckled.

“The coincidence that I grew up in Belgium, with Nigerian parents, was not lost on me. Most people thought I was French, I was surprised Lucy had picked my accent. Absurdly, Darius Fabian seemed to believe I was a member of the local indigenous tribe, because at one point he asked if I’d left my didgeridoo at home. Eventually Darius stormed off, muttering something about seeing to it that Lucy’s busking license was revoked. He came back to hurl more abuse and she responded with a parody of The Angels hit, “Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again.” Australian audiences are renowned for replying to those lyrics with “no way, get fucked, fuck off” naturally, under the circumstances, Lucy performed that part too.

Lucy’s goodbye kiss was more intimate than the one intended to dupe Darius Fabian into believing we were a couple. She tasted like passionfruit. Presumably she was living the precarious life of a couch surfer, opposed to roughing it on the street, because she smelled as nice as her freshly laundered clothes.

“I’m an art lover, do you have any reccomendations for where I should go first” were my parting words. Lucy directed me towards a former hotel in Alexandria, now known as Quirk Gallery. Just before I turned to walk away, she handed me a poem she’d written, while we ate breakfast together, with her phone number on the back.

You’ve transformed my universe,
from cruel bleakness to euphoric abundance.
Darkness is complemented by heavenly colour,
as gentle as a lovers touch.
Trees move as sensuously as belly dancers.
The gallery’s sandstone curves
pulsate in the star light.
Even the stray bottles seem sentient.
They absorb mourning and celebration,
as fervently as teens guzzle drink.
You’ve transformed my universe
from cruel bleakness to euphoric abundance.

Whether Lucy’s poem was the product of instant infatuation, a more down to Earth appreciation of wonderful moments with a stranger, or not about me at all, I wasn’t game to ask. It was a good approximation of the way I’d begun to see the world around me. I wondered if the edible fungus I’d shared with Lucy was responsible for my heightened senses. Colours were more vivid and numerous. The cacophony of urban noise was a bountiful ore. My ears were extracting the gold.

Quirk Gallery was an eight storey art deco masterpiece, filled with some of the most enchanting impressionist and surrealist paintings outside of Europe. On that Monday morning it was empty enough for the zany marble statues to outnumber the patrons. My first stop, after the cocktail lounge, was a sculpture labelled The Prince of Darkness. The tailor made suit clad devil was busy pouring petrol on Middle Eastern, Tamil and Somali refugees.

This abomination bore an uncanny resemblance to the Minister for Immigration at the time. Sunglasses would’ve been a more effective disguise than the horns and fangs. The illusion of frozen motion was too convincing to be explained by brilliant stone work alone. Whatever was in that salad Lucy gave me, the effects were longer lasting than magic mushrooms.

One room was full of what appeared to be taxidermied extraterrestrials, ranging from what I can only describe as a blue skinned manatee man shepherding amphibious tigers, to slug like quadrupeds, using their tongues to play strip poker. I could envisage them performing surgery with those deathly pale protuberances. According to the other patrons, we were seeing the same thing but they didn’t have the feeling the statues were living creatures pretending to be art.

“Whatever you’re taking, I want some” a girl with a tattoo of Marilyn Monroe and Lady Gaga making love, half joked.

“No, I can’t say I’ve noticed the floor moving. Maybe there is something wrong with your middle ear” an elderly lady responded to one of my questions.

On the eighth floor, I gazed at a uniformly black canvas in bewilderment. If there had been any suggestion a mystery painting was hidden underneath, or the artist had created sophisticated patterns invisible to the naked eye, I would’ve been instantly enchanted. What was the point? Apparently I was supposed to glean something from the one word title, EPIPHANY. A house painter would’ve been sacked on the spot for replicating such an uneven job. That dastardly darkness was as clumsily applied as shit from a toppled fertiliser truck.

Maybe the art lies in the way the paint was spilt. “It’s all in the wrist” the critics might’ve quipped, if there had been a video of the methods employed. Sadly there was nothing to analyse but a canvas draped in black, it’s runny topography as dull and annoying as an eternally dripping tap. The last thing I noticed, before slipping further into a psychedelic state, was the curtains beneath the painting. I briefly wondered if they were hiding some sort of puppet show. What the hell was in that salad Lucy gave me?

For reasons unknown, I found myself repeating the word topography over and over again, like it was some sort of shamanic mantra. This chant transported me to the tropical darkness within the painting. It was barely possible to discern the forest from the sky. The jungle was a more enchanting mystery than anything in the gallery.

I reached Imagination River and quenched my artistic thirst there. Strangely, the deeper I dived, the less I feared drowning amidst its schools of haiku tattoo sporting Demon Fish. Eventually I realized they were hallucinatory, by about the fourth bite. A hallucination within a hallucination, interesting, I mused as visions spawned by the Demon Fish’s flesh shapeshifted from starfish submarines to cyborg mermaids. Their silver tears froze into the sweetest silk. Intersecting rainbows escaped from their cavernous wombs and multiplied. No colour I’d ever seen bore any resemblance to them. Eating two more of those hallucinatory Demon Fish wasn’t enough to spur the rest into evasive action. What kind of drugs were they taking?

Imagination River transformed itself into a winding fruity cocktail, as confounding as time travel. It seemed I had travelled in time and space. Suddenly I was back in the cocktail lounge, with no memory of how I’d gotten there, any idea how long I’d been there, how many drinks I’d had, or what was in them. Eight hours had elapsed since I’d almost collapsed from boredom, in front of that sloppy eight by ten foot patch of darkness.

I went exploring, to prove to myself I’d ventured beyond the cocktail lounge before. The refugee burning devil and the taxidermied extra-terrestrials were all there. The blue skinned manatee man, shepherding amphibious tigers and the slug like quadripeds using their tongues to play strip poker, did they have sly grins on their faces earlier? Had I left the cocktail lounge bodily or astrally? It certainly seemed like I’d been walking around on both occasions. Soon I was delighting in the creations of the most innovative drink mixers in the country once more.

My favourite waitress’s name was Tiffany. Her entrancing green eyes and feline grace rendered everything else in the universe invisible for a time. She was so fluid in her movements, that she made swiping my credit card and wiping the bar look like world class choreography. Nagging her for a final drink brought out her dark side though.
“For the last time, no I can’t sell you any more of those cucumber, strawberry, watermelon, raspberry and blackberry cocktails, infused with subtle hints of lemon grass, elderflower, aloevera and crushed ice, #### off we’re closed” Tiffany yelled. Why was somone who was waiting so impatiently for me to leave, listing the ingredients in their most complex cocktail?

“I see a red door and I want to paint it black, no colours anymore, I want them to turn black” drifted from the Jukebox like an acrid cloud of melancholy, infected with crippling nostalgia. Suddenly it dawned on me what I needed to do.

“Sir, the gallery is closed” the security personnel barked. My psychedelic state was yet to leave me. The guards had apparently turned into wheezing rottweiler/sequoia hybrids, a surprising alchemy of sorcery and natural selection. They panted heavily, as I ascending the stairs in fours. To my surprise, they sped up like flames bursting from an accelerant. I went to a gear that had them wishing they’d quit smoking.

“I see a red door and I want it painted black, no colours anymore, I want them to turn black” echoed softly off the Victorian ceiling. At last, the solely black painting came into view. It was supposed to have transformed. Disappointment struck, like a slow monotonous hammer. Tap, tap, tap, tap, went the hammer in my tired, tortured ears. The sound of that painting was still as dull and depressing as an eternally dripping tap.
Aren’t paintings supposed to be gushing with inspiration? I desperately needed to hear inspiring paintings and see divine music again, to dive into the cool, rippling, spiralling swirls of stereophonic heaven. I walked up to the one word explanation, beside that swathe of darkness, hoping to find something between the lines. For the first time I noticed the copper coin printed beneath the towering BLOCK LETTERS, that spelled EPIPHANY. I looked closer and spotted the drawing of a tiny lever nestled between parted curtains.

“Hurry up”, the woman from the cafeteria yelled in exasperation. The apparent departure of the shapeshifting security personnel was as welcome as an oasis among aeons of dunes. Had they gone, or never been there in the first place, I wondered as several sculptures in the distance appeared to blink in and out of existence.
I parted the curtains beneath the painting and nudged the lever. The eight by ten foot swathe of darkness rotated one hundred and eighty degrees, to reveal a red door, on a television screen. An explorer who bore an uncanny resemblance to me approached the door, picked the lock and wandered inside.

“Climb in to us”, whispered the optical illusions on the walls.

“What Dreams May Come”, mumbled the star breathing wizard in one.

“First, let this dream within a dream gleam” uttered platinum armoured unicorns.

“Solve me” whispered the towering, draped canvas in the centre of the room.

“Forget him” the platinum armoured unicorns chanted in unison. Their choreography was a form of musical notation, that first manifested as gentle explosions of light, before the orchestra humbling instrumentals arrived. The equivalent in this realm would be a storm dance. The platinum armoured unicorns a capellas, ranged from Elysian dog whistles to angelic baritones. They were as soothing as lying spreadeagled on a tropical shoreline, as the nearest crises dissolve light millennia beyond the sunset.

“I see a red door and I want it painted black, no colours anymore I want them to turn black.” those intense, morbid vocals were as powerful as a supernova dispersing cyclone. I wasn’t sure if they emanated from a speaker nearby or if they were a manifestation of my memory.

“Solve me, solve me, solve me” whispered the towering, draped canvas in the centre of the room.

“Hurry up, hurry up, hurry up, for fucksake, I’ve got a wedding to go to” my favourite cocktail waitress screeched, shattering my reverie. She was even sexier when she was in a rage.

With baited breath, my doppelganger removed the veil from the towering canvas behind the red door. He pulled a copper coin the size of a frisbee from his coat pocket and scratched at the darkness, revealing the red door underneath. On the other side of the canvas the red door was ajar.

Inside was a grey skinned, interdimensional traveller, with almond shaped eyes. Glowing purple blood, seeped from its self inflicted wounds. It painted the dripping phrases. “It’s an epiphany Tiffany. Distractions are the most evil infractions. Creativity goes to die in a flood lit room. From the sheerest darkness emerge the brightest lights.”

Night fell on the red door my doppelganger had wandered through. Briefly I saw his silhouette emerge from inside. Then the night was as opaque as mountain of coal. Had my double gone to bite chunks from the hallucinatory Demon Fish I’d sampled? Would he see the starfish submarines and the cyborg mermaids, in Imagination River, too?

As soon as I left the building I tried texting Lucy. I was in such an emotionally charged state that it wasn’t until the sixth attempt I realized I wasn’t making any typos, the phone number was a digit short. Over the next few days I searched for her in every popular busking spot in Sydney, to no avail. I tried every variation of her name on every social media site. By the end of the week I was asking random pedestrians if they’d seen a busker who called herself Lucy Sarah Diamond.

Eventually I returned to The Quirk Gallery. I couldn’t tell you what was in my first cocktail because the list of ingredients was longer than this story. It’s quicker to say that it reminded me of a tropical island paradise, as bizarre as enchanting, the kind of place where interstellar space can be seen on a painstakingly polished turtles shell, if you focus your eyes just right. My second cocktail was more thought provoking than that.

On my fifteenth visit to the Quirk Gallery that month, I followed the eerie, acrobatic sound of an electric guitar. It’s feverish tendrils stretched from the roof to the ground floor. Hooded figures circled the masked six string virtuoso, feigning attacks and retreating. Her cloak was tight fitting enough to reveal her womanly figure. There was a healthy plumpness that was absent the first time we met. After her astonishing instrumental performance Lucy removed her mask. There was something different about her that didn’t make any sense. Eventually I realized it was her hair, it had grown two feet since our first encounter.

We sat down in a dimly lit corner of the cafeteria “I’m not Lucy. She told me that I might see you here. She was so sure you were going to ring her that she wondered if you were dead, like her. I am the demon that grew within her until she was trapped in a cramped isolation cell, in the depths of her soul. I laughed hysterically while she begged desperately for continuing access to her brain. I can’t sing quite like Lucy but she could never play the guitar quite like me. Whenever I need a more intense vocal performance, I revive her for a little while, torture her a little more and kill her again. I get wet just thinking about it”

I almost lost control of my bowels, from listening to the thing that had consumed Lucy gloat. My goosebumps were about to escape my skin and strike the walls like tiny arrows by the time I remembered it was April Fools Day. Lucy was still Lucy. She was just reciting a few lines from an indie horror film she’d co-written.

She continued “I don’t know how my hair grew so fast but I think it’s something to do with the eighth floor of the gallery, a lot of weird things happen there. Then again, I could be wearing hair extensions.”

“What was in that salad you shared with me?”

“Portobello, Button, Gypsy and Shitaki and Morel Mushrooms, with some lettuce, baby spinach leaves and one or two other ingredients I can’t remember right now. I’ve got it written down in my apartment. Why do you ask, have you developed a passion for edible fungus too?”

“I think one of them was a powerful hallucinogen”

“Nope, definitely nothing mystical about the mushrooms we shared. Everyone has the ability to experience alternative states of consciousness, some just don’t know it. It’s not unusual for people to have their first glimpses of other dimensions intruding upon this one, when they meet me. Why do I keep seeing visions of orange skinned giants, holding crocodile skin bound books above your head?”

“It sounds like you’re seeing images connected to a recurring dream that I’ve been having for years. They usually begin with a crocodile stalking me in the shallows of a coastal estuary. I climb a mangrove to escape and find a harpoon drone in the branches. It responds to my voice like a loyal guard dog and spears the crocodile. I drag it to the beach. The orange giants skin it, cook it and make book covers from it. I don’t know why, but I always feel guilty about the whole thing”

“You know what I think Asamu?”

“No, I can’t say I do.”

“I think that in a previous lifetime you speared someone who was hunting you and a tribe of sportsmen convinced you to try cannibalism and sold you the dust jackets they made from the victim’s skin. When you dream about it, it’s a crocodile you speared and ate and the tribe of basketballers are space aliens or something, because you find that way more acceptable than what actually happened”

“That’s an interesting theory Doctor Diamond”

“If you go and see a hypnotherapist who does past life regressions, I think you’ll discover that it’s more than mere speculation”

“Is that so”

“Yep, lets bet on it.”


Trees shields the river from civilization.
Stress vanishes
in the sun caressed shallows
of a Jurassic lake.
Urban chaos
feels as distant as the Oort Cloud.

A lone hut looms
on a desolate, windswept horizon.
Within its mud brick walls,
blazing fires
suck the swamp from our boots.
The midnight gale
howls like a dingo.
Tibetan singing bowls
complement distant thunder.

My eyelids are as heavy
as oars
in the vastest ocean
and my dreams as psychedelic
as the sixties.

Miles deeper than sunlight can penetrate,
luminescent seaweed jungles innovate.
Their symphonic hues spread as they vibrate.
These orchestral visions we cannot recreate.

It’s the purest paradise Earthlings have seen,

viewed from the boudoir of your submarine.
Only the euphoric expression on your face,
outshines mysteries enshrined in this place.