Orange Biscuits


Orange Biscuits
(A Nautical History of the Las Vegas Club)
by Mark Fisher

Queen of hearts on the foredeck

Five fathoms from the horses neck


Jules Verne consider the possibilities:

Sliced citrus or sea biscuits


Suppose ladybug scents unveiled

The secrets of curved space


A horse hair telegram

Floats through the portal

Giant worms in the sewers of Tahiti (stop)

Come at once (end)


He runs the follicle

Through his fingers

Carefully encrypting

The print of his thoughts


No word from Webster (stop)

The New Haven is sinking (stop)

Leave worms be (stop)

No sleep in Sumatra (stop)

The generals are angry (end)


The Thomas Edison Illuminating Company

Is looking for cartographers.


The first baseball

Rolls against his boot.


Damn squids


Jules reaches for the voice tube

He inhales deeply


I need a watercolorist from the Royal Academy

These depths are as black as ink.

During the Dog Watch, at two bells,

He hears a rustle of petticoats.


Ghost and shadows!

Where is my stellar scope.


A herd of white camels

Waits in the corner.

Bedouin traders bargain with cool water.


Fifteen years to perfect

Stained glass for a submarine

And he sleeps through a school of phosphorescent plankton.


A guide to the butterflies of Paraguay

Rest in his garden.

An original manuscript sheet from the files

Of Ludwig Von Beethoven

Marks the dream of a chrysalis.


His velvet robe has gold spun collars.

The novels of Jules Verne are

Uninformed dialectics of the imagination.


An Alaskan cigar burns on the scales of justice.


Prisoner 417529 smells seals in solitary.

His sentence moves like a glacier

Through the backlots of a silent movie.


An ocelot leaps from the African Baedecker to his lap.

Jules scratches each ear

Until the great cat purrs herself to sleep.


At eight bells on the night watch

A midnight snack appears on a silver tray.


His children leabor below deck

Picking fish bones from the airshafts


A meticulous job


Jules Verne cracks each ostrich egg with a spoon

His chef is Burmese,

Four generations before electricity


Breakfast is perfect


Resistance holds the key to underwater kingdoms


Jules Verne, your future looks like

A shipwreck on the Gobi desert


Your eyes are marble buttons sewn

In the head of a stuffed iguana


A two-ton tale lies in your hands


Relevance is a philosophical  enigma.


His room empties like a firedrill.

Cabin pressure at twenty thousand leagues

Is no match for the miners of Titan


Rubber grommets sunk the ship

The cat kneads his shoulder


A blue rose washes on the beach at Pitcairn island

Two years before the mutiny


His last memory, the tast of salt

On the tongue of a dead mariner


The Victorian guard opens the cell

A river of mercury

Illuminates the shadow  of his coat


Exploration is the incarceration of flight

How else explain the evaporation

Of hallucinatory hunting in the rain forests of Babylon?


Pragmatic people will never grasp

The significance of


An empty armchair,

The silence of a typewriter,

Or the sounding of a nautilus shell

Landlocked in the fireplace of a Siberian kitchen


The wedding band of Jules Verne

Falls through the waters of time


We,  his surrogate eyes,  blink in recognition

At the realization of his darkest days.


A menagerie of mechnical beasts

Grazing in the fluorescent lights of a lost world

Looks up

And returns our gaze.




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