Bob Fern is a professor of translational neurobiology who lives in Plymouth England. This year he has published or had accepted for publication pieces in Between the lines press, The Fortnightly Review, Isacoustic, Blue Unicorn and the Chiron Review. Other than that, his publication record is purely academic.
Heaven help the sleepers
in pressed linins;
night horrors rumble
from the shadows that
pool. Best intentions
ease the weight,
muscles fatigue and small shifts
build ‘till breaking out;
fruiting bodies of threads
that stretch in all the soils.
We pushed too far, for
all our history knowledge
we repeat, repeat, repeat.
In the end, chewing and gnawing,
wearing its teeth,
the Ouroboros, food-sleepy,
rolled like a penny
back through the world,
to the tale that first dangled
worm-like before it.
The early years
The antelope got spooked by the disco lights,
crashed the mirror wall out to the savanna.
The hairy sloth coiled down the dance pole,
click-clicked to the latrine.
I machete-ed a face slit to expose my teeth,
she doesn't need one, she has no skin.
We confront the hippopotamus,
he sprayed into our glasses.
Braying zebra forced us closer,
there is a distinct stridulation.
Army ants crawl over his raw muscles;
I slipped tail ‘round her waist, samba-ed to the floor.
Look- she said,
emptied salt into her mouth.
I can do that, and crushed an onion into pulp on my tongue.
She took the starters melon,
released it floating to the ceiling.
I made orzo from my own finger nails,
crumbled tooth sugar over the grapefruit halves.
We looked at the wine; we looked,
then they arrived.
I coughed feathers,
curled round the nappy bin,
wrestling its fearsome jaws apart.
She took a loop round the light fitting
and two-footed the onesie draw open.
We trailed our hands luxuriously
through the cool terry cotton.
The lugubrious ape sauntered heavily in.
We whistled and looked at the ceiling.
A single bee came through the window
and on inhalation, went down the pipe.
We paddled lie-lows before the telly,
wriggling toes; the ceiling fell and concussed,
I dreamed of ape after ape after ape.
Two years more
Winter shifts nervous;
the watcher, sallow with loss,
looking askance, sidling.
Seeds crack and suck
in the first confused lightening.
He settles deeper,
grinds his buttocks,
sagging heavy with bloat;
freeze burns exposed flesh
and rot eats the heart out of hope.
I urge them on, but
dogs always linger;
they will sprint, but
not when required;
stand and sniff, or
bark at unthreatening
things. I clap them
and they saunter along,
the condescension total.
Walking briskly past and
they may follow, but finding
myself through the bend
I return. A jangled leash
gets tongue lolling irony and
decent to the forbidden stream.
Yelling is counterproductive and
crying pointless. I surge in
and scruff each like a grocery bag,
worried looks from better
owners than me. I smile cheerily.
They lick the seat leather,
hungry, as we all three shiver
in the car. I start it for heat
but where am I to take them,
with the fuel near gone.