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1)   The storm

Poet:

All that summer there had been a nagging, fretting wind

so that, even on the clearest days, visitors on the beach had huddled behind wind breaks

left early because of the fine sand

rasped and scarified bare burnt skin.

While the anxious surf sucked and sighed

In a tumbling tin shed in the corner of a field above the dunes,

Beneath the crackling humming pylons

Buried behind barbed wire and brambles

Porktraddle wrestles with a bigger problem

Driven mad by the broken ring pull on his last can of Special Brew

Driven mad by the corrugated banging in the wind

Driven into darkness by the pictures he is seeing in his head

Driven into darkness by the visions he seeing on the screen in front of him

Dreams of life and death

And everything in between

Something just out of reach

Like the Special Brew inside its can

Something is fundamentally worng

Porktraddle:

Newton EinsteinHeisenberg Heineken

Newton Heineken Heisenberg Einstein

Heineken Heisenberg Einstein Newton

Heinekin Brexit Trump and Putin

Poet:

This is the planet Kyarra where the mermaids sing to him when Porktraddle can’t sleep

From this distant place he looks down on the whole of the universe and spies the tiny glow of the third planet circling an insignificant star in the remotest galaxy.

Even from up here a foetid stink fills his nostrils making him gag and retch.

He cannot decide whether it is him or them.

Is it Jeyes fluid and pine mountain fresh lavatory cleaner

Or the warm pustulence of his crawling underarm lice pits.

Porktraddle:I smell.

He smells Fear filling the air with its rank stench.

Fear crackles and sparks with an unearthly blue glow.

Fear of failure, fear of stuff, fear of washing machines, and fridges and Breville sandwich makers.

Fear of Dyson vacuum cleaners.

He hears people crying.They fear death with no-one at their bedside.

They fear fire and thought and hope and dreams.

They fear the darkness at night and the sunlight at dawn.

They fear themselves and they fear other people.

They fear inadequacy and knowledge.

They fear the past and their trivial misdemeanours, misjudgements and debts that might catch up with them one day.

They fear knowledge.

They fear truth.

They fear reality.

They fear the blame that is accruing to them for their inadequacies.

Most of all they fear emptiness.

They are terrified of silence, of loss.

He listens to the seven odd stinky billion that inhabit the planet.

The Seven Odd Billion:

When we were at school we were all mislead

We’re a short time living and a long time dead

Poet:

“Are we living in a membrane, or dancing on the end of a piece of string?A multiverse or an omniverse or a metaverse or a xenoverse?

The seven odd billion:

When we were at school we were all mislead

We’re a short time living and a long time dead

Poet:

And where in this crazy stinking shifting expanding, contracting, living dying, FaceBook, tweeting, Googling, Flickering, Fucking Universe do we go for an answer?

Is it out there.Somewhere?Anywhere?

The seven odd billion:

When we were at school we were all mislead

We’re a short time living and a long time dead

Poet:

We were told in school

To believe in Newton

And The whole of infinite universe of time and space will be predictable

We can live our life on rails

And sigh with pleasure at the end

A job well done.

But chaos theory, string theory, membranes

Throw up walls, gates, barbed wire entanglements

We are in the control of forces entirely outside our comprehension.

The equations no longer make any sense and nobody know what we’re meant to do about it.

The seven odd billion:

When we were at school we were all mislead

We’re a short time living and a long time dead

Poet:

Truth is now an elastic membrane that stretches and reforms”

Porktraddle extends his finger and aims at the people one by one.

Porktraddle:

Not yet.Not yet.

“They cried to me in their hour of need and I did not answer them.”She took all the money and the kids. She took the house, left me on the skids.

Poet:

The world he knows is slipping away from its inhabitants.

There is one last assay to be carried out.One last test of himself and the Universe.One more sacrifice

Porktraddle:If only I could think what it is

Poet:

If only he could drown out the voices of the mermaids.

Mermaids:

Papa November, Papa November, Papa November

(Continue underneath to the end of this section)

Poet:

The age of Reason is over.

Truth is stretched as tight as a drum.

Drum drumming war

Drumming hate

Drumming fear.

The pylons over head crackle with blue light

The voices of the mermaids howl in the wires.

Thunder blazes.

Beneath the paper thin taut surface

He can see the pullulating mass of rottenness

That promises to burst through at any moment

Porktraddle retches and gags

And at last he finds a screwdriver to open the can and he can sleep soundly.

2)  The Beach

On this, the last dawn of summer the air is calm and still.

A chill in the air says that nothing lasts forever.

Mermaids cling to his arms with icy fingers.

Mermaids:

Come swim with us. Swim with us. Swim with us.

Poet:

He feels the warmth drain from him

He shakes them off like a couple of toddlers.

Porktraddle:

Work to do.

Poet:

Minute by minute a foggy greyness creeps up upon the land.

The sea is oystershell grey and mother of pearl smooth

and rustles slightly like the plastic bags he carries in one hand.

The bags will soon be full of

Porktraddle:

Empty ice cream tubs, cola cans, plastic glasses, condoms

Not used, thank God

Poet:

And he thinks:

Porktraddle:

Somewhere a clock is ticking.

Poet:

Porktraddle continues his work, picking up the dew sodden paper plates and sauce smeared tinfoil

of last night’s blaring beach barbecues.

Porktraddle tries to combat the chaos.

To push entropy away into the dunes

To return everything to its pristine newness for the new day.

Sometimes he comes across the personal props that the holidaymakers have dropped.

Porktraddle:

A half full bottle of sun-tan lotion, a pair of sun-glasses,

a book as fat as an airport terminal, or a toddler’s pebbledashed beach shoe.

These are the remains of human beings.

Poet:

Sometimes he finds a bottle of something left over from the party. With the cork still in.

But today he is disappointed.

Porktraddle

Disappointing.

Poet:

Today there is merely a cheese sandwich still sealed tight in its wrapper.

He kicks off one of his old worn sandals and clad only in his baggy green shorts he wades knee deep into the surf. It is champagne cold although it is many years since he has sampled well-chilled champagne. The surf does not know he is here every morning rain or shine. Hail or snow or gale and late winter have not prevented him.

The mermaids sing to him from the surf. They are singing of sadness and disappointment and a universe not complete.

Mermaids:

Six, seven, eight, nine. Six, seven, eight, nine. Six, seven, eight, nine.

Poet:

He bangs his head with his fist trying to block out their voices and folds the tin foil plate around his head.

Porktraddle:

Not yet. Not yet.

Someone will always have to clear away the dreams.

Poet:

He wanders back to where his sandal is lying.

The mermaids sink out of sight beneath the waves.

Porktraddle turns the sandwich over in his hands.


3)  The Sandwich

Poet|:

This is what Porktraddle thinks when he looks at the sandwich:

Porktraddle:

The formula for cheese is:

Ementhal E

Is made from Milk M

Expressed as curds of Casein

E = MC²

Poet:

By an extraordinary quirk of coincidence, E=MC² is also a formula worked out by one Albert Einstein to show the equivalence of Energy and Mass

gramkilowatt-hours

300 milllion toasted sandwiches At a value of £3,436,200

Or

kilotons,

(that’s thousands of tons)

TNT-equivalent energy

Roughly the size of the atomic bomb used on Nagasaki

So this cheese sandwich can be said to be equivalent to 80,000 human beings.

Porktraddle:

“Where did they all go?”

Mermaids:

Note that no net mass or energy is really created or lost. Mass/energy simply moves from one place to another. This is a merely example of the transfer of energy and mass in accordance with the principle of mass–energy conservation. No responsibility can be taken for the destruction of the world by nuclear annihilation.

Poet:

Porktraddle’s finger hovers over the button

Mermaids:

Sieben, neun, sechs, achtSieben, neun, sechs, achtSieben, neun, sechs, acht Sieben neun sechs acht

Porktraddle:

Not yet. Not yet.


4)  Hope for the future

Poet:

The first two visitors walk through the town. A young man and a young woman with hair as skimble-skamble as the blackberry bush they slept under. Medical students,

Gloria:

Our hope for the future. They may wear old jeans and torn jumpers and carry backpacks from which hang a mess of coloured ropes and clips and karabiners and nuts on wires. But they are accumulating days and weeks of life. Soon they will be replete.Building up. Not like some I could mention.

Poet:

They turn away from the beach and head up the hill towards the cliffs. They are going to climb down the v.diff Mama’s Big One to the sea and then back up the Double Krustyburger v.severe before having lunch near the lighthouse and spend the afternoon sunning themselves on the rabbit cropped, dropping dropped, scuffed thrift watching the far blue horizon.

Gloria:

They are all hope and longing, Soon we will draw them in. Draw them to us. We will screw them tight to us. Building the future. Their future. Our future.

Poet:

But they are completely unaware of anything outside of this moment. This here and now and the morning and the apricot sun and the pale blue sky and their expectation of danger and love.

They do not see the lone figure of the elderly gentleman in baggy green shorts and sandals holding the lives of 80,000 souls in his hand. Their vision of the future extends no further than the cliffs and the coming excitement. Porktraddle points to them, finger extended like a gun, He wants to warn them of what might come. They do not hear his rattling cry or see his pointing finger. For them, this is the moment of zen perfection.

Porktraddle takes his old ukelele from its case and begins to play.

Porktraddle:

It seems like only yesterday

We wandered in the field of fantasy.

Crushed beneath our happy feet

The meadow grass that smelled so sweet

Of happy anticipation

And all those pretty meadow flowers

That gave us all those perfect hours

When every day was filled with charm and fascination

But everything decays these days

And, falling earthwards in a daze,

We see our lives as through a haze,

Crawling with the worms of putrefaction

over there, those tattered tents

The circus of half baked intents

Containing the deranged laments

Of doubt and hesitation.

The limping lions of lunacy

Have not divined that they are free

Cowed by the withering whips of literality

Wielded by the clowns of desensitisation

Under lanes of high speed cars

On a saucer bound for mars

While Some of us stood and watched the stars

With no further expectations

The ragged army of our dreams

Is nothing like it ever seems

Passing by despite the screams

Of disappointed men and women

Now I find it hard to cope

I pinned so much on rosy hope

I’m slowly sliding down the slope

Towards that silent screaming

Poet:

As he plays he calls to the sun as it tips over the horizon and splashes its apricot light onto the torn posters of the amusement arcade that fronts the promenade. He so wants to believe in the future of these young people. He wants to cling to Newton’s truth. Porktraddle stumbles towards the promenade

Mermaids:

Come and join us in the sea. Come and join us in the sea. Come and join us in the sea.

Porktraddle:

Not yet. Not yet.


5)  Porktraddle pats the Kitty

Poet:

As he crosses the road

A marmalade cat,

Garish orange coat glinting in the sun

Bars his way.

She opens wide her pink mouth

To show her pearl sharp teeth

And miaows.

Porktraddle stoops down and scratches her head

Porktraddle:

Good pussy. Good puss. Look after yourself.

Poet:

She circles him leaning hard against his legs

In ecstasy

And then walks on, tail held aloft

Looking for another victim.

Porktraddle extends his finger towards the cat and clicks his teeth. He turns away to see the sun smearing up orange and then lemon through plum coloured streaks of cloud.

A dog walker plugged into his i-pod.

Porktraddle:

Why wouldn't you want to listen to this day? This could be your last, you know,.

Poet:

There is the sound of a car screeching to a halt.

Truth pulls tighter and stretches until it is paper thin. Truth is what we want it to be. Truth no longer is guided by reality.Rationality has no place on this new age. Truth is relative.

Porktraddle pulls his tinfoil hat closer and screams silently .He has already forgotten… something.


6)  Cafe

Gloria:

In Dee’s cafe a few of us locals have taken some of the pavement tables. We always sit here. They are our table. We frown at anyone who tries to take our tables. Mr. Jones and Mr. Brown have are sitting at a table near Patrick and Slobodan who are eyeing each other nervously and stubbing out cigarettes one after the other in the tin ashtray shaped like a rose.

These are the people of the town. They have the town wound up nice and tight.

Poet:

Copies of the Daily Mail are wafted vigorously as Porktraddle passes.

As the pages are turned

The coffee drinkers are busy hating :

Gloria:

Immigrants

Gays

The unemployed

The disabled

The weather

Scientists

And all foreigners

Aliens

And those of mental weakness

And Zombies

Poet:

How is it, thinks Porktraddle, that the very thing that has made the human species rise up and achieve the possibility of a rich and fulfilled life for all, has been subverted through advertising and propaganda and downright lies into a strangulation of the soul to bring riches beyond comprehension to a very few and misery to so many?

All the coffee drinkers hear is something like:

Porktraddle:

Beg pardon. Woops. Better out than in.

Poet:

And he lets a fart ripple through the morning air

Copies of the Daily Mail rustle.

Gloria:

Sometimes we are alive and sometimes we are dead. And some of us leave nothing to be said.

Mermaids:

Why not now? End it all now? You don’t need this.

Porktraddle:

But not yet. Not yet.

Poet:

A woman passes by pushing a baby buggy with a bundle wrapped in a blanket. As she gets nearer Porktraddle sees that the bundle contains a large euphonium.

Truth pulls so thin it starts to tear.

And then it is that spare hour between coffee time and lunch. What do you do in a place like this?

Gloria:

I shall spend an hour or two at my hairdressers. I want every wisp in place. Every wave cemented to perfection. This afternoon is the town council planning meeting. We are in charge and we will plan the hell out of this town. With my beautiful coiffeur and eyes pulled tight.

Poet:

The mermaids are whispering sweet nothings in Porktraddle’s ears.

Mermaids:

Zero.Zero.Zero.Zero, Zero.Zero.

Porktraddle:

Not yet.

Poet:

He catches hold of a Patrick’s arm. He wants him to understand. Somehow the words do not say what he means. This is what he wants the words to say:

Porktraddle:

My life tilts up and slides me down into the green undersea

There are no straight lines any more

Ideas buckle, bend, twist and shake

Rumba, salsa gyrate.

They skid off sideways to a roadside verge

Somewhere north of Chipping Camden.

Walking towards each other

Our paths describe a parabola

Orbiting one another

Our paths crossing in deep space

The gravity of big things bends us

To its will

We spiral inwards towards what we want to say

But never reach a point

At which all sense is spoken

All meaning meant

Before the gravitational force of interest

Spins us off on another twisting path.

I should have said I love you.

Poet:

What Patrick hears is:

Porktraddle:

Why are we sometimes alive but mostly dead?

Poet:

Porktraddle Becomes animated and brushes Patrick’s glass off the table onto the pavement where It smashes into a thousand glittering diamond fragments. Porktraddle gazes hypnotised by the beauty of the jewel heap he has created.


7)  Helicopter

Gloria:

Enthroned in the big leather chair. My big leather chair. My lunch-time throne. My eyes closed. My fingers unconsciously tapping out the numbers that will set the plans in action. That mean that all the controls are in place. Stand by… three, two…

Poet:

And then the big red and white helicopter flies low overhead. The shadow seeps across the small town like a virus. Without knowing how the whole population knows what has happened. The whole town stands rigid, faces upturned to the sky. On the cliffs, the two early climbers have left their rucksacks at the top and one of them has found an easier route down that they could ever have imagined. He is currently swinging on the end of a purple rope. Washing backwards and forwards in the surf across the dragon’s teeth rocks that have just dashed his brains out. His companion stands with her mobile phone frozen to her cheek watching the rope see sawing backwards and forwards across the rocks.

Inhabitants of the town:

Tick tock tick tock.

Poet:

Truth bursts.

For a moment, time stops. Hope and entropy are dripping away in the silence

Porktraddle crouches on the pavement

Hands over his ears.

Porktraddle:

Not my fault. I didn’t mean it.

Ice silence

Patrick:

Sit quite still in your room and dirty plates accumulate in the sink, the floor becomes littered with takeaway pizza boxes. Wine bottles roll under the sofa. Energy moves from here where it is packaged tight to here where it is free and spreads out like a bar of Cadburys dairy milk left on a radiator. There goes Slobodan stubbing another ciggy out. The law of the Universe is entropy.

Porktraddle:

Yes.Yes.Yes yes.

Poet:

Patrick reaches into his wallet and pushes a five pound note into Porktraddle’s hand.

Porktraddle looks at the five pound note

Patrick :

You’re on your own Mate.

Poet:

Porktraddle is not afraid. Not yet. He is sure that will come later when the Special Brew runs out. Porktraddle asks himself would he be afraid of?  For now he is disappointed. It is the waste.I t is not being able to make a difference. It is being forgotten. It is returning to the nothingness that surrounds him and from which the whole Universe is made. Sitting on the pavement outside Boots He clips another can and he begins to sense the edge of that bliss that is his passport to the planet Kyarra.

The little of knot of humanity that has been tied together at the cafe tables unknits and disperses along with all their fears and woes and hopes and expectations. They are all heading for the town hall.It is meeting day for the council.Big things to decide.The future is in their hands.


8)  The Launderette.

Poet:

Porktraddle finds himself in the launderette.A group of lads are doing something unspeakable to the detergent dispenser.

A young mother with a pushchair says

“No you can’t have any more fucking sweeties.

They’re my fucking sweeties.”

Sometimes he writes poetry here. Carving tiny words into the paint on the wall behind one of the tumble driers.

This is what he wrote last time:

Porktraddle:

Poetry is a form of madness.

It makes us say things we didn’t know we wanted to say about things we didn’t know we cared about. Why in the vastness of eternity are we sometimes alive and most of the time not alive?

Chaos mathematics says that even by running the simplest of formulae there is no way of predicting an outcome. Results branch and spiral round and round. There are no straight paths from here to here.

And entropy decrees that there is no way if retracing the steps that were made to get here.

We’re here and we’re stuck here like a dirty vest in a tumble dryer with the dial turned to the eternity setting.

And if we don’t understand, if we cannot find some sort of explanation, are we right to be angry?

Can we afford NOT to be angry at a Universe that seems so indifferent to us?

No - more than that; That keeps changing the rules?

A Universe that treats us with utter contempt

and leaves us feeling… something

From certainty to uncertainty

Newton Einstein Heisenberg Heineken

Poet:

He scratches at the wall underlining the words angry, angry, angry until the plaster chips off and the word itself is obliterated.

He doesn’t notice that the lads and the young mother are looking at him.

Porktraddle glances at the clock on the launderette wall.

Porktraddle:

Late. It is getting late.


9)  Health Centre

Poet:

Opposite the station and the bus stop is the Health Centre. An incongruous red-brick modern building amid all the grey stone. It is not so much a sore thumb as a great heaving crimson sun burnt back amid the dunes. But it is a popular meeting place for the lonely and elderly and no-one minds its architectural inadequacies passed by a nod and wink by the planning committee against the day when privatisation makes its grab.

In the doctors’ waiting room there is a fish tank and vacant chairs. No-one wants to be ill when the sun is shining. Later, it will fill with holiday makers with bitten fingers, with wasp stings or those who have forgotten their medication. But for now, there is a sprinkling of summer colds, repeat prescriptions and a fat, white faced girl of about sixteen. She is huddled in a large puffy coat and her mother sits at her side, not too close and with a distracted look. We all know why they are here. Porktraddle stares at the fish tank.  The fish circle, ignoring him malevolently.

As he waits the mermaids begin to sing to him over the tannoy

Mermaids:

Entropy. Entropy. Entropy. Not long now.

Poet:

Truth finally bursts its pale, thin skin

Spewing out guts and worms and a foul stench

That writhes and crawls over the patients sitting in ice stillness.

Oblivious of the horror that is curling round their feet

Oblivious of what is to befall them and

the clock that is there to remind them to be afraid

and he suddenly thinks

Porktraddle:

You’re on your own, Mate

Who do I want to be today?

I want to be milk

Blue in the jug.

I want to be the smile

On your mug

The electric serotonin

Stoppin’ you moanin’

Coursing through a brain.

The brain of the chipmunk

Or is it the friar

Frying chips

Moving his lips

Reciting boundless prairies

Of the encyclopaedia Britannica

(Now published in America)

Giving reasons for fairies

And the birthplace of eels

And definitive reasons for

The diminution of wagon wheels.

I want to be the tablecloth

At the picnic

At Stalin’s dacha

Where the Georgian Cossacks

Danced the night away

With Margaret Thatcher

I want to be dark matter

I want to be the echo of the waves

In the Tilly Whim Caves

Balanced on the edge of

Dancing Ledge.

The waves so hard and flashy

I want to be an interchange of expletives

At the junction between

Crasher and crashee.

Fragments of glass twinkling in the first rays of the frosty sun

Amid the bloated corpses of dead badgers

And hares whose course is run

Like the clappers

And sandwich wrappers.

I want to be Jean Paul Sartre and to be Nietzsche

And Flossie the Jersey cow Yellow and peachy

And the hero Dan Dare

And the Mekon’s cold glare

And the knocking down rubble

And the building up trouble

And the autumn fields stubble

And at the finish

I want to eat spinach

and parsnips

And pie crust

And space dust

And, if I must,

If the asteroid strikes

To be space dust.

Out here among the stars

The dying fires

The distant light

The very emptiness conspires

With darkness

And This cloud of night

That bends the very space

Deflects the solar wind

I am the coffee grounds of loneliness

Made into thunder cloud

A vacuum in a vacant place

A stillness where I’m pinned

By constant distant unintelligible radio chatter

I am 70% of the universe

I am Dark Matter

I am black coffee

Poet:

The tannoy calls his name.

Mermaids:

“Mr Porktraddle. Mr Porktraddle.”

Poet:

But Porktraddle’s seat is now empty and he is already lurching down the street. Ears ringing, guts heaving. A gale of bad farts accompany his progress.

And, as if in sympathy, Somewhere out there, in the vastness of the ocean, there is a movement, a ripple of energy from the eternal wind that has gathered itself into a wave almost as though it is waking into consciousness. Awareness is beginning to fan out across the deep.


10)  Spike

Poet:

Spike Milligan says everyone has to be somewhere

Where Porktraddle is now is standing on the stone horse trough donated to the town by Mrs Emilia Grunt one hundred and forty eight years ago.The horse trough now contains a fine display of wilting pansies.The horse tough is placed outside the Town Hall and Porktraddle is using it to stand on and peer through the grimy glass of the Council Chamber window.He sees the brown envelopes being passed round from member to member.These are the proceeds from last nights planning meeting. The future is coming a few pounds closer. Round and round the envelopes go. From hand to hand. One to another. One to another. Porktraddle follows the progress of the envelopes one by one with his extended finger.

Porktraddle:

It’s in there.Somewhere.

Poet:

Porktraddle screws himself tight. As tight as truth.

Awareness begins to heap itself up like a wave and in the passing of the envelopes Porktraddle recognises The truth.

In his excitement Porktraddle lets rip a mighty siren call like a brontosaurus calling to its mateacross the vastness of time. The fart and re-echoes through the Council Chamber, out across the town and onward into the starry wastes of the Universe. Gloria pouring a glass of water with a self-satisfied grin surfaces from their starry eyed greed.She drops the glass and shouts

Gloria:

Alien.

Poet:

the sudden movement alerts all the others. Porktraddle points his finger and clicks his teeth

Porktraddle:

Click-click click-click.

Gloria:

Stop him.

Poet:

She pulls herself up to her full height and, seems to go on,getting bigger and bigger her concrete hair exploding from its set hard fastness,now blue, now green like tendrils of seaweed covering her head.Her eyes begin to flash and rotate.

Gloria:

Alien.

Poet:

The councillors see Porktraddle’s quizzical face and pointing finger and they pour out of the chamber like a wave of effluent and into the street where they pursue him in full cry. Gloria like the Empress of some distant star cluster her seaweed hair writhing and curling like a snake haired medusa.

Gloria:

Launch him. Out of sight. To the stars.

Poet:

Everyone has to be somewhere and that somewhere is the result of everything that has happened in the Universe up to now. That somewhere for Porktraddle is the High Street leading down to the sea.

And Every little thing you do – every sandwich you eat, every kiss you give, every little kindness and meanness every fart and belch effects the great multidimensional puzzle of the Universe in the future.

Porktraddle gasps as he runs:

Porktraddle:

I (Fart) AM (Belch) THE FUCKING FUTURE

Poet:

The glass smashes. It cannot be put back together. We cannot retrace our steps. And we cannot foresee the future because the future is not made yet. It is to be constructed out of the here and now and, in part, what we do now. But chaos theory means we can never predict the outcome. Entropy means that order naturally moves to disorder.

The law of the mermaids is entropy.

Mermaids

Eight, seven, six, five. Eight seven six, five. Eight seven, six, five.

Poet:

But Entropy is also letting go, it is passing things on from here where there is much to here where there is not so much.It is the very flatulence of being. Better out than in.

Porktraddle:

Woops. Pardon me. Better out than in.

Poet:

The energy of the Universe passes through us and on outwards to the stars.Generously.

Porktraddle:

Not my fault.Nothing to do with me.

Poet:

THERE IS NO FAULT THERE IS NO BLAME

Because there is no past and no future to set it right.

We are only aware of time because of entropy.

It is the cosmic clock whose hands point to our end.

But for that brief flash of time – our time - How should we make use of that little packet of energy that we have been given?

Porktraddle:

Breathing is good.I like breathing. Dreaming is good. Breathing and dreaming. And being drunk.

Poet:

As he runs he dreams he hears the sound of the town band practising in the bandstand

In the field of Fantasy above the promenade where the band is practising the grass borrows energy from the sun,

Here a Jersey cow chewing slowly and listening to the laborious notes of the raggedy band cannot make sense of all that din and sad eyed returns to her cud. The methane she produces has raised the temperature of the world by one ten millionth of a degree.

Porktraddle:

I have borrowed a little of this energy from Flossy’s milk when it is passed on to the cheese in my toasted sandwich. My legs need that energy now. Keep running legs. The Empress of Quazzzkugh is on your heels.

And when the Universe has done with me, entropy means my energy spreads out, changing from me to heat as my body burns, cooling as it passes my energy out to the air, to the sky to the rest of the world.

And the vision of the Sainted Paul Dirac show how the universe popped into being, out of the void, out of the nothingness. A quantum fluctuation in the vacuum that grew and coagulated like curds out of the milk of the universe.

And the nothingness was cancelled by the something.

As it always will be

And the something became a cheese sandwich

Poet:

Which became, in turn: Porktraddle and the Mermaids and shards of glass and the planet Kyarra and the rest of the Universe including the knot of late holiday makers gathered around the bandstand and the instrumentalists.

And Porktraddle explains to the startled wind players:

Porktraddle:

I’ve got it. I’ve got it.

Band members:

We’d rather you kept it. You foul smelling piece of rancid air

Porktraddle:

I was not alive and then my mother borrowed a little energy from the expanding Universe to pass on to me in her milk and then I was alive and I made use of it for a little and now I will pay it back and my aliveness will be alive in the Universe.

Poet:

A growing swell of sound surges towards them. The baying of an indignant angry crowd. Out at sea, the wind blown wave travels onward. The water moves up and down as the wave passes through it but then is still again.

Porktraddle is trying to explain. He gabbles, he has so little time. He seizes the arms of an elderly couple who have armed themselves with cardboard cups from Dee’s.

Mermaids:

Now.Say it now.

Porktraddle:

This hot cup of tea is heavier that your cold cup of tea. The mass that is created by the interaction of the quarks and gluons in a gluon field. The quarks electric charge, mass, color charge, and spin. Quarks can be green, blue and red or magenta, yellow and cyan. They are a thousand glittering, diamond fragments.

Poet:

Porktraddle gazes hypnotised by the beauty of the jewel heap he has created. Is creating.

The quarks spin backwards and forwards, they go up or down, they can be charming, strange, bottom or top. A future of beauty.

The band is playing louder and louder trying to drown out the kefuffle

Poet:

Porktraddle gabbles.

Porktraddle:

Sea quarks form when a gluon of the hadron's color field splits; this process also works in reverse in that the annihilation of two sea quarks produces a gluon. The result is a constant flux of gluon splits and creations colloquially known as "the sea

Poet:

Porktraddle seizes one of the band

Porktraddle:

The quarks and the bosons, They are you. they are me

They are coffee they are tea

They are waves they are the sea.

Poet:

Something is fundamentally grown

Down the High Street like a tide in full flood the councillors run. Gloria at their head like a green seaweed haired empress.  Others run with them. The surge grows and becomes a tsunami wave bearing down on Porktraddle. The shouts of the advancing councillors joins with the sound of the band into a great roar that breaks on the sea front.

Porktraddle is finally ready for his great experiment. He wades into the melee. He flails his arms and makes contact with human flesh. Joining hands to hands in the melee he creates a great interweaving chain of humanity.

Mermaids:

One two three four. One two three four.  One two three four


11)  Band Stand

Poet:

The bandstand throbs and pulses like an alien ship readying itself for departure.

Porktraddle:

Let us launch the ship of the future together. I am ready. I have the key. If I take your hand I can pass a tiny amount of warmth on to you and you can pass that on to someone else. The energy runs between us like a wave.We are part of a wave. We are a particle and a wave together. Uncertainty unlocks us from definition and conformity.

Poet:

Porktraddle sets the mass dancing. The band plays One two three four The dancers spin backwards and forwards, they bob up and down, they have charm, it is strange, We cannot tell bottom from top.

Mermaids:

Four three two one Four three two one Four three two one.

Poet:

Time, the time of the dance passes. One two three four. Time passes. Life, however short is not a defeat by time, it is an affirmation. It is the thing itself to have been alive for however short a time is to have contributed to the onward dip and rise of the universe.

Mermaids:

Five four three two one.


12)  The Shore

Poet:

There is silence

The only sound is the sea breaking gently on the beach.

Mermaids

11 hours 20 minutes 40 seconds. 11 hours 20 minutes 40 seconds

Now Porktraddle is ready. The journey is over. He has finally travelled all nineteen paths to being human. The nine greater and the ten minor.The singing of the mermaids is loud in his ears And out at sea, the wind-wave travels onward.

Porktraddle:

I feel in tremendous shape.  I’ve never felt so…

Poet:

Porktraddle kicks off his old worn sandals and clad only in his baggy green shorts he wades knee deep into the surf. It is champagne cold although it is many years since he has sampled well-chilled champagne. The surf does not know he is here every morning rain or shine. Hail or snow or gale and late winter have not prevented him. He climbs hand over hand up towards where the great starship is waiting.

Later, at the tide’s edge, the wave that has come so far up channel at the behest of the wind travels inland a few centimetres and, with a sigh, the energy it has accumulated passes on into the fine, rasping sand of the beach, The mermaids luxuriate in the foam and then dive down fathoms deep out of sight and out of sound.

Porktraddle

11 hours 20 minutes 40 seconds There is no reason for harmful…

Poet:

The sea continues its work. When it comes to the sandals the hadron sea of baryons and mesons swirl round them. It does not know they are here every morning rain or shine. Hail or snow or gale and late winter have not prevented them. The water laps over them covering them in a fine sand. One two more wavelets and they are buried completely. During the winter they will be buried deeper and deeper until the sand itself is turned into stone by the weight of the passing ages above. But all that is left today is the imprint of a single foot pointing out towards the sea.

Some of the ideas that echo and re-echo round Porktraddle's head.