The Transportation Problem

[This is a bit darker than usual for this blog. So you may or may not want to read on … transportation was the name given to the eighteenth and nineteenth century policy of shipping British convicts out to the colonies.]

The Transportation Problem

Poor old nags. They shuffled in
on a gust of gin. Sobbed, swore,
died. Rotten blood, everywhere.
Pox-riddled clocker’s yard.

Rip out their guts. Add
shiny gears — worth a fortune,
worth eight lives —
the rubber bladder, the mercury.
Pour your tea,
sip and watch the moon call out
unbreakable bones, silver skin.

Sell ’em on. The toffs adore
riding high on silver whores.


[There’s an edginess to steampunk that attracts me, but I tend to like my fictional dramas balanced with a happy ever after. I guess poetry is the natural fit for me in exploring steampunk’s PUNK.]

6 Replies to “The Transportation Problem”

  1. I am very impressed! The language and the movement of the prose is strong and visceral. Well done! You really have a talent for poetry.

    Ref: Herriott

    Oh, my. This was one of the first books I ever read. I LOVED his series.

    1. Thanks, Maria 🙂

      James Herriott and Gerald Durrell – two of my favourite English authors … My Family and Other Animals is the best airplane read … so calming 🙂

  2. Did you write this? It is edgy–despite me not knowing what all the words/phrases meant.

    What does silver skin refer to? And what's a clocker's yard?

    It's strange that just the juxtaposition of the words can portray such dark imagery.

    1. All my work … I made up clocker's yard, thought it sounded like knacker's yard and the silver skin is the mercury changing the poor women into monsters.

      Is James Herriott well known in the States? He was a Yorkshire vet who wrote wonderful memoirs of life in the 30s and 40s. I remember him describing a visit to a knacker's yard and seeing the owners really, really healthy children crawling through it and sucking on bloody meat. Um…not sure why I decided to share that memory … the stories are generally heartwarming and were made into a TV show.