Help, I’ve fallen in a fatberg and I can’t get out.
I have spelunked the greasy caverns of Johannesburg,
I have scaled the dripping chasms under Tokyo,
I have seen the tallows glowing under Texas,
and now I’ve fallen in the frying pan.
I’ve fallen in the fry and I’m worried I will die.
Rancid carbohydrates, rank oils send me visions.
Ahab skating over a white tidal wave
of fat in search of whales of blubber bubbles
far beneath Manhattan’s streets.
Whales and whales to wash away the world,
and I am in God’s glaucous eye,
balanced on the scales.
Fat angels, chubby cherubs
flexing their pudgy biceps in these clotted catacombs.
Michelangelo’s Steak Night. Raphael’s Taco Tuesday.
Pray for me, oh buxom angels. Pray for me,
oh big boned Venus, labouring out of the narrow confines
of a shell.
The fumes batter at my brain and I am undone.
Help me, you phalanx of broad Valkyries,
lay down your deliveries of Uber Eats,
set down Wong’s Dumplings, Bob’s burgers,
for they have laid me low.
Beware, beware. A clotted cream maw has opened
and it speaks of doom.
A maelstrom clings to my hips and threatens to
liposuction me in.
There are grottos here:
toilet paper lying in streamers,
tendrilled mucous, treasure to be found,
pound for congealed pound,
eddies which can take me under until
I scream. I scream for icecream.
I scream to the Lard, but it will avail me nothing.
I have fallen in a fatberg, and I can’t get out.
There’s a mountain of plastic somewhere in the ocean.
A floating island. Tir na nOg, Avalon, Brasil.
I’ve read it’s guarded by a Moray Eel
grown monstrous on microbeads of plastic.
Grey jelly shopping bags.
Heroes which scramble to its salt-drenched summit
must face an undying knight.
But that may just be fancy.
I’ve fallen in an oleaginous stew,
and I don’t know what to do.
The wise men of Shambala, Tibet,
must ascend one more peak of decomposing vegetables,
Ploughed over surplus crops, slightly blemished designer fruit,
rough homespun produce not allowed to float the market,
offered by pilgrims from a fleet of trucks with
Walmart logos on them.
But this is someone else’s problem.
But this is someone else’s nightmare, not my struggle.
I’ve fallen in the rubble of a fatberg bubble
and I can’t get up.
I’ve cleared the pipes of Shanghai and of London.
Scraped the running porcelain of Singapore.
I’ve marvelled at the marble under Paris
and seen my face in copper in Peru.
But somewhere on that journey, things have darkened.
The world’s gut has fowled with slabs of floating fat,
and all that was beautiful in these cisterns of hollowed heaven,
of the long intestines loomed under Sydney,
all ordered and shiny and all new,
are stretch-marked with colour now, in apoplexy blue
and while the world is hurtling towards a heart attack,
I’ve dropped my hose somewhere hereabouts.
I’ve fallen in a fatberg, and I can’t get out.
- 100: BROWNFACESUBMIT NOW with W S Dunn 99: SINGAPORECOMING SOON with A Pang and J Ip 97 & 98: PROPAGANDACOMING SOON with M Breeze and S Groth 96: NO THEME IXwith M Gill and J Thayil 95: EARTHwith M Takolander 94: BAYTwith Z Hashem Beck 93: PEACHwith L Van, G Mouratidis, L Toong 92: NO THEME VIIIwith C Gaskin 91: MONSTERwith N Curnow 90: AFRICAN DIASPORAwith S Umar 89: DOMESTICwith N Harkin 88: TRANSQUEERwith S Barnes and Q Eades 87: DIFFICULTwith O Schwartz & H Isemonger 86: NO THEME VIIwith L Gorton 85: PHILIPPINESwith Mookie L and S Lua 84: SUBURBIAwith L Brown and N O'Reilly 83: MATHEMATICSwith F Hile 82: LANDwith J Stuart and J Gibian 81: NEW CARIBBEANwith V Lucien 80: NO THEME VIwith J Beveridge 57.1: EKPHRASTICwith C Atherton and P Hetherington 57: CONFESSIONwith K Glastonbury 56: EXPLODE with D Disney 55.1: DALIT / INDIGENOUSwith M Chakraborty and K MacCarter 55: FUTURE MACHINES with Bella Li 54: NO THEME V with F Wright and O Sakr 53.0: THE END with P Brown 52.0: TOIL with C Jenkins 51.1: UMAMI with L Davies and Lifted Brow 51.0: TRANSTASMAN with B Cassidy 50.0: NO THEME IV with J Tranter 49.1: A BRITISH / IRISH with M Hall and S Seita 49.0: OBSOLETE with T Ryan 48.1: CANADA with K MacCarter and S Rhodes 48.0: CONSTRAINT with C Wakeling 47.0: COLLABORATION with L Armand and H Lambert 46.1: MELBOURNE with M Farrell 46.0: NO THEME III with F Plunkett 45.0: SILENCE with J Owen 44.0: GONDWANALAND with D Motion 43.1: PUMPKIN with K MacCarter 43.0: MASQUE with A Vickery 42.0: NO THEME II with G Ryan 41.1: RATBAGGERY with D Hose 41.0: TRANSPACIFIC with J Rowe and M Nardone 40.1: INDONESIA with K MacCarter 40.0: INTERLOCUTOR with L Hart 39.1: GIBBERBIRD with S Gory 39.0: JACKPOT! with S Wagan Watson 38.0: SYDNEY with A Lorange 37.1: NEBRASKA with S Whalen 37.0: NO THEME! with A Wearne 36.0: ELECTRONICA with J Jones