First Silence

We sat in North woods
Coffees in hand
Under August pines
Lake at peace
Sunlight ebbing
Crickets itching stilled
Aspen leaves done clattering
Last thrush-trill hushed
A falling pine-cone’s tiny scuff

And my Beijing friend blurted:
‘God!  I’m terrified.           This is the first silence.                                                        ever                so    scared.’   

Scared of no car hive
Scared of no A/C hissing
Scared of no footsteps herding
Scared of no motors decibel fogging
Scared of no phone jangles pilfering time
Scared of no metronome jackhammering
Scared of no earbuds throbbing in aural drugs
Scared of no screen-babble echoes of a frantic Earth
Scared of no skyward jets roaring to anyplace-will-do       fast
Scared of no neighbours behind walls bickering over yesterday’s tomorrow
Sacred of no semi-trucks    idling on life’s off-ramp, starved caterpillars looping on a deep jar’s rim
Scared of                              awaiting
Scared of being                    unperturbed

© Roger Suffling

Stenciled on Cathedral Stairs

30.  To the stars?

29.  Try the elevator, glide

28.  So, why don’t we

27.  Ascend

26.  Blind bound clones

25.  We ribosomal pilgrims

24.  Treading worn templates

23.  Permutating mantras

22.  Thus we plod the helix faithfully

21.  Thighs whimper in the discipline

20.  As we seek the promised vista

19.  No, tread every one

18.  Don’t miss a step

17.  Don’t look down

16.  Don’t look out

15.  But we’re urged on by those above

14.  ‘How much further?’

13.  Now     we     gasp       exasperation  

12.  Tempted to   sit    here

        Yet we squeeze inward, let them pass

11.  Open to the sky but secret

10.  Above the city’s roofs

9.    We glimpse Screwtape vignettes

8.    As the out side flails, useless, unnerved

7.    Inner hand clasps the reassuring spine

6.    Arced in narrow, ancient slivers

5.    Cold stone

4.    Cleaving to mortared DNA

3.    Groping starlight

2.     You and I

1. We’re tendrils

© Roger Suffling

Amazon Epiphany


The longed-for parcel
Descends into my mailbox
From the mythical Middle Kingdom
If not on a tasseled golden cushion then
Borne, at least, by a uniformed acolyte
In a decorated van
This treasure invites immediate installation
But inside corrugated board, bubble-wrap, foam and plastic bag
My widget is so much less substantial
Than the Catalogue of Wonders implied
Even thus it begs initiation
For my pleasure


A multicultural catechism promises
To waft me to promised Nirvana
This prayer flag of instructions
Printed unreadably in faint yellow, both sides
Might have holy authority
But the graphics are from Escher
And the language a Babel-tongued
Spanglish, Deutsch, Francais, Italiano, Arabic, Polskie
And possibly Braille and Sanskrit
Ah, this becomes a test of will!


The great god, Google,
Has alternative instructions
An animated knit-one-and-pearl-two
And the cruel illusion holds promise until
The goal and reality are slowly torn asunder
Now I am Iceland in the jaws of continental drift
My high aspirations for the machine tugged far
From the logical reality
That my tiny toy
Will not turn
Or go          I sigh


My exorcism
Of the little devil
Grows strident, coarser by the hour
“The error must be yours”, yells my spouse
Three rooms away (She knows!)
With my manhood now at stake
I return to the loftier, spiritual approach
Repeating the mantra line by line
Interminably aping each picture on the phosphor screen
I’m the techno yogi floating through so much real time that
Meals are uneaten, children leave un-hugged
Scummy coffee sits cold, un-sipped
And still I cannot divine my future
From the scattered entrails
Of this tiny ugly thing
That will


The prayer line
For the despondent
Is answered with evangelical cheeriness
By a fully educated and underpaid Indian accent
“Did you switch it on, is it plugged in?”
“No, I know Sir, no it’s not your fault”
(Across the ether I feel him roll his eyes)
“Yes, I am fully aware that you are not an idiot”
 “But we have to follow the script”
The mantra
We are universally bound to the consumer mantra
Eventually he loses interest
And the line goes suddenly dead
Was it something I said?
No, surely, he was the insolent one


Yes, rage is all I have left
 Among the strewn packaging
Mid the screw drivers, the wrenches and the random parts
I’ll denounce the sorcerers of this tawdry demon
Troll Twitter and the feedback pages
Stamp on it, crush it utterly
Sue them into penury
Write a letter to the Sun
Consign it to Salvation Army
Thrift store purgatory
Burn it
You’ll see
And, anyway
I never
Needed it.

© Roger Suffling