The Pulp Death of Humanity 1976!
They came with torches, tight-lipped, still glowing, struggling
to burst into flame. He had stayed awake all night. The room
was lit weakly by the dawn; normal, drab, grey-black, only
deeper and dirtier. Immortality, in other words. Black beams
criss-crossed the ceiling, pouring more wine into the tall glass
of ghost minds who lived inside: not the acid tang of sulphur dioxide,
but burnt plastic and wires. I knew his inmost thought.
The roadworks were deserted. Mock despair, water or petrol,
trickling in the silence, lay down to await sleep. Urgent notes
wound sensuously around the perimeter of flashing panels
forged out of the wreckage of stilled cars and other vehicles.
The dark tide fell away into the darkness. For fear of losing,
a strangled shout came from bank upon bank of consoles.
Time was running out to be allowed to die.
The north wind blew constantly. Their fingers, cut away, echoed back
as though from a deep well. How much do you know about this world?
No-one wants the planet torn apart, but our weapons will be
powerless, chairs and blooming gardens as the unusual heatwave
continues. You can do what you want with them in the clear, blue,
afternoon sky, well clear of the rotting trees. He shook his head.
After nightfall it would be better still. The door closed again.
Over and out.
(Sourced through a numerical sequence based on 1976 from Michael Moorcock and Michael Butterworth, Time of the Hawklords (1976))
Oz Hardwick is a York-based writer, photographer and musician, who has been published extensively worldwide, and has read everywhere from Glastonbury Festival to New York, via countless back rooms of pubs. His fifth poetry collection, The Ringmaster’s Apprentice, was published this year by Valley Press. A keen collaborator with other artists, Oz has had work performed by classical musicians in UK concert halls, by flamenco musicians in Italian villas, and with experimental sound and film artists in an Australian cinema. By day he is Professor of English and Programme Leader for English and Writing at Leeds Trinity University. In his spare time, Oz is a respected music journalist. ‘The poetry is as good as it gets’ – HQ