kittiwake: (dreams)
[personal profile] kittiwake
But on Friday, the scarlet lipstick you produced
as you prepared to leave me
Turned black on your lips;

On Saturday, your skirt was no longer orange;

On Sunday, the moon was blue;

On Monday, we crossed a city
Where contrite hymnsinging
Shook the stadium:
We could not tell
Whether the streetlights said Go:
Till we reached the no-speedlimit sign
Tears did not cease to run
Your eye shadow was not green but ash;
Tuesday, the sky was grey, with a black sun;

And today, at noon, there is no colour anywhere
Except the purple of your suspenderbelt

from "The Spectrum"

Published in 1969, this is a collection of ten short stories and one poem that appeared in New Worlds magazine. My favourites included "The Tennyson Effect" by Graham M Hall and "The Spectrum" by D. M. Thomas, but the story I liked most of all was "The Serpent of Kundalini" by Brian W. Aldiss. I have read a few other stories in which whole populations have been sent crazy, and seem to be living in a psychedelic, hallucinogenic world. In "The Serpent of Kundalini" Europe has been devastated by psychochemical bombs, but in other stores there have been some quite different causes for the madness.

He still heard breathing, movement of clothes, the writhing of toes inside shoe-caps. But these were not his. They belonged to the Charteris in the car, the undiscarded I. He no longer breathed.
As he huddled over the arrow, gulls tumbled from the cliff and sank into the water. Over the sea, the ship came. Up the hill, motors sounded. In the head, barefoot, a new age.
There had been a war, a dislocation.


kittiwake: (Default)

June 2012

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