Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Cogtastic shenanigans

It's possible I've been listening to too much Professor Elemental (should that be possible)... here's something recently performed at the ever-lovely Art House - enjoy the warm steampunk goodness!

World Exposition Cog Jamboree

Crinolines and bustles, toppers and tweed
snake across the lawns of Turnham Green,
Olympic-standard queueing, an English scene
to see mechanical contrivances driven by steam,
captured lightning, electrical streams
streak between terminals as whistles scream,
tea pavilions, scones, jam and cream –
it’s the World Exposition Cog Jamboree.

A great glass hall, wrought-iron beams,
cathedral to inventiveness, mind’s-eye gleams,
keen teens weaned on cunning schemes
by artisan teams weaving clockwork dreams,
difference engines sew numerical seams
in between dimensions past the usual three
where esoteric airships soar high above trees
borne aloft by formulae with strange phonemes

sung by thaumic mathematicians on bended knees
while crowds cheer to see the springs and keys
of modern technomancy, vast brass machines
from automaton insects to submarines
and odd extremes like talking monotremes,
platypus enhanced by neurochemical means
deemed unseemly, what next, walking anchovies
or chickens laying eggs full of French centimes?

So let’s relax at Old Hakim’s
Coffee House, styled like a hareem,
with rugs, hot beverages and fine ice creams,
praline, tangerine and mangosteen
served on voluminous cushions of velveteen
by metallic waitrons Tesla 1.3
instead of odalisques in diaphanous sheen,
then a tot of green fairy keeps your palate clean

before a zoetrope film of the Sistine ceiling,
3D screen backlit with fluorine
lamps through lenses of tourmaline,
a show heart-stopping as atropine
watching seraphim dancing on trampolines
sipping poteen from gold tureens,
afterwards a visit to the Black Museum,
secrets gleaned from reams of long unseen

tomes illustrated with obscene themes,
unredeemed, lean in, hear tales of esteemed
adventurers visiting warrior-queens,
selling London Bridge for magic beans
pursuing idols thought lost for sixteen
centuries in deep Polynesian seas
presented to delight in huge marquees
at the World Exposition Cog Jamboree.

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