Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Gate Universe - First Days in Prison

It’s like entering an alternative universe, that we could if we were Star Trek fans (which we are, even if we’re not great fans of Klingon Opera) call the Gate Universe, entered through a wormhole just the other side of the Great Spiral Nebula. Far away from everywhere else, in a land where all windows have bars. Not, funnily enough, straight up and down bars, but patterned, white-painted bars. Everywhere, there are doors and gates, each one has either to be locked shut or locked open (they can’t just swing free – nothing is free in a prison.)

I’m being introduced to lots of people with names I instantly forget. The Governor is full of enthusiasm for the Writers in Prison project, and even decides to search me out on Amazon and order my books. Which is a bit daunting: what if he doesn’t like them?

I’m incredibly supported – I even got my keys on the first day. Which is another thing about this place. The music of keys. Music in the key of keys. Chains don’t rattle, at least not the key chains we’re given; it’s a kind of jingle-jangle sound, not like something out of Dickens or Edgar Allan Poe. Oh, and you don’t take your keys out of the prison. On pain of being kicked out of the Gate Universe and back into the real world by one of the many Acronyms that seem to rule the roost in this universe.

Acronyms, by the way, are strange small creatures with spiky ears that breed like rabbits in prisons. Everything has to have its acronym. Or EHTHIA for short. Which sounds like the name of one of the strange planets that exist in this universe.

Prison haiku

he who walks corridors
looks neither left nor right
& ignores the sky


this is not the key
clanking in the door this is
the air cracking


breathe out breathe in
the same air recycles itself
finally expelled


I never thought I
could laugh in here I do things
slowly at my age


walk the corridors
I’ll be going out soon what
will the air taste of

in the gate universe
have you locked it are you sure
the stars wait outside