Red

A closed glass cylinder. Rounded ends. Long. Narrow. Perhaps ten centimetres long and one millimetre thick.

Floating. Smooth and sparkling. In a barely lit space.

Filled. A tiny volume of bright red liquid.

Part of me watches from one side.

Another aspect of my mind is an infinitely thin, invisible circular plane. Centred just inside one end of the cylinder. Extending in a five centimetre wide radius around it.

This mind has multiple views. From its outer perimeter it sees the exterior of the cylinder along its length. From its centre, inside the cylinder, a wall of red.

From all these angles we watch. This circular plane begins to advance along the length of the cylinder. Its centre moving through the liquid. Since the plane is not physical, it does not disturb the cylinder or its contents. But it somehow reads its texture, like a needle on a record.

The liquid becomes semi-translucent. Non-homogenous. Its viscosity, its clumping, its varying shades of red, are a kind of narrative. A play. A dramatic series of events and characters and language, of sorts, in the form of clouds and currents and movements within the liquid and within my own body.

Words apart

Across the wide Carlton street, from where I stand, two words lean casually against a wrought iron fence. They glance occasionally back and forth along the street, their eyes narrow, their focus distant – as if scoping to hitch a ride on some passerby’s tongue – then down at the footpath, their own fingernails, and, rarely, and without lingering, at me.

Five or six letters each, it seems, though I can’t quite say. The height of a child’s bicycle, and disproportionately narrow. Workmates, perhaps long-time collaborators, yet ready to separate should the right opportunity present; and expecting as much.

Vaguely… vaguely, they are my words. Somehow cast into a wider orbit. My head feels less heavy for their distance. My mind can make out a little more of its own contour. It watches these two characters with detached curiosity, without fascination.

Belief

The world shimmers, strange textures
called Belief.

It blooms in the untouchable depth of oceans,
disperses through the flowing rivers,
the stagnant pools of blood.

We are there now,
even as we scratch at dry earth,
even as we scream out for darkness,
we are the wild play of light.

Based on experiences in Peru, 2015.

Melt

May we melt into the Earth
Like the ebbing flames
Of a fire raging
Too long now.

“147” Variant Sudoku

The Backstory

This is my first published Sudoku, so I’m keen to hear what people make of it. I’m fairly confident everything checks out, but I do apologise in advance if I’ve overlooked something! Thanks so much for taking a look 🙂

Green and red highlights are for aesthetic purposes only, reflecting the opening layout of the balls on a snooker table. The clues provided in the grid – 4, 15, 27 and 147 – I chose based on their association with the game of snooker.

The rules

Normal Sudoku rules apply.

In addition:

  • In the 2×2 square cages labeled with 147, both rows of the cage are to be treated as 2-digit numbers which must sum to 147.
  • The numbers provided in the top left of the other cages indicate the sum of digits in those cages. The cage labeled 14 / 7 on the bottom row of the grid sums to either 14 or 7, as to be determined by the solver.
  • Digits along thermometers increase from the bulb.
  • Finally, the sum of all digits around the perimeter of the grid is 147.

(For clarity, the given 4 in the second row belongs to both the 147 and 27 cages, and the given 5 in the centre of the grid belongs to both of the 27 cages.)

Click here to load the puzzle in Penpa.

Video of my solve

I have also recorded a video of myself solving the puzzle and discussing some of the design process.

earth and leaf

Earth.
And tree above –
branch, branch, branch, branch…
smaller and smaller –
Leaf.

Leaf.
And tree above –
limb, limb, limb, limb…
larger and larger –
Earth.

A branch is a limb.
A limb is a branch.

But Earth is Earth,
And Leaf is Leaf,
Alone.

hypnagogic utterances

nature…
lay down in a bath of water…
and slowly froze.
December 2018

Put the alien into position
February 2018

Put a snookeration round the stitching of your yarmulke
April 2018