Skip navigation

See them throb with life – they don’t need anything but prey, water, and air to breathe, do they? See the maggots squirm in and out of each other in their thousands, and the worms tunnel through the dirt – do they worry? Do they fear isolation? The flesh of one maggot scrapes against another’s day after day, but they never speak to one another. The snail has only his shell for company, and he rests with perfect contentedness in his own slime. The mantis sits alone, week after week, and anybody who enters his presence is killed. Whether these creatures lay alone in wait or wriggle in a sea of other bodies, they have no anxiety about being alone.

So why do I fear this isolation? Why can I not learn from my children? It is because those amongst them that do work in groups, do so in perfect harmony. The leaf cutter ants, the wasps, the bees – there are no petty disputes within their ranks. But I know that when I climb to the surface, my kind will not respond to me with any likeness to these wise animals.

My favorite female mantis told me she saw streams of meat pouring from a locust cloud last night. The cloud scorched the skies and screamed so loudly that the trees below shed their leaves; and as greater amounts of meat smashed into the ground, the screams became more and more vicious. After all the rotten meat had been ejected, however, the cloud of locusts became pure, and it was free to eat harvests of men once again.

Perhaps this applies to you, child? You said:

“i overheard my father speaking with our local priest last night – an exortism is thought best, for my benefit. i am still a child and will be ready to bare fruit in the same amount of time as three life cycles of a roach.”

One day, I may take you into a meditation room. But you must come with a guardian, or your sister: the visions the insects give will be too great for you to handle without the support of a loved one. I will fill the room with moths and flies, and we will sit amongst them, all of us, and wait.

I have not left my lair for months, however. Soon I must use the rusty old elevator and climb to the surface for more supplies. If I find that experience bearable, you may join me for an exorcism some day soon. One day I will leave this place – but not before a few more visions. Receiving them is addictive, and I have not heard from the scorpions yet.

Cricket Intentions

She crawls across the floor, her antennae twitching nervously. She knows what she has to do; she knows that she has to go there. The smell of food wafts past her hole, beckoning her to brave the room where the Idiots live. Though she is aware that they hate her and her family, she thinks the mission could still be a success. After all, those humans seem more interested in watching that bizarre, glowing, box-beast than in what goes on in the world of the floor. Squeezing half her body out of the hole, she listens to the racket of the enemy, while the smell of a new kind of food grows ever more potent. Unable to resist, she scuttles out from her humble abode towards the goal. Smoke pours out from a stick the human is holding and she wonders why a creature would ever want to eat something so putrid. The human unexpectedly begins to shake, gurgling at the glowing object, and she freezes with fear. Had it noticed her presence? Could this be a display of threat? Soon, however, the bewildering behaviour ceases, and the Idiot sucks on its smoke-stick again. She can continue her adventure.

Smog swirls above her, illuminated by the groaning, buzzing, flickering square object. It sits on four pillars with snarling self-importance, barking at her, barking at the human. She notices that many more loathsome giants sometimes inhabit the object, but they seem unable to escape to the outside world. She scuttles underneath it, wondering how the Idiots could fit inside such a small square. Should she should take advantage of the situation by exploring the room? Should should keep following that strangely alluring new scent? The humans normally had an irritating tendency to gather in large numbers, but now there was only one human, distracted, alone, and the others were locked inside their flashing box. She dashes past the box-beast and its torturous outbursts, and journeys onwards.

The Idiot vibrates again, the fat on its face slopping up and down in a vaguely musical fashion as it growls at the luminous square cage. She approaches some large, wet, green glass artifacts. Her six legs struggle to carry her through the gluey alcoholic puddles dotted about her feet, but eventually she escapes from the repugnant glass monsters and proceeds towards the food. Glorious, rotten smells throb in the air, encouraging her, summoning her; she knows that a time of bliss could be approaching. The stupid giant is lying down now, saliva dribbling down its mouth, its decayed red eyes beginning to close. The square object still keeps on living, however, throwing its beams of light through the dreary smoke, hissing at her, mocking her. That doesn’t matter anymore, though. She is getting closer and closer to the end – to fresh meat unlike any she has ever consumed before. The object and its inhabitants can spit and snigger all they want.

The rat lies still, its flesh soft and mouldy, an expression of fear smeared across its face. She has found her food, her life, her ecstasy; she only has the maggots to compete with now, and they know that she is sovereign. Her mandibles accelerate towards the insides of the rat, searing into the organs that once kept it alive. Like dolphins at sea, the maggots leap in and out of the body, soaring upwards to the surface for air and then diving straight back into the murky depths of the carcass. She scrambles over the grey, harsh fur of the dead creature, eagerly searching for a new section of stale flesh to dominate. Her wings twinge with elation as she borrows deeper and deeper into her latest prize, her serrated legs scattering the maggots out of her way. This is her paradise, and here she is queen.

Entomology is the scientific study of insects. Insects account for more than two thirds of all known organisms, and have been on planet Earth for far longer than humans….

I am The Entomologist. I live alone in a secret place beneath the city of London. I rarely come to the surface; the polluted skies, the smog-ridden alleyways, the trivial conversations, the toxic characters that lurk around every corner – these are just some of the things that drive me away from the world above. Instead of wasting my breaths on interactions with humankind and the noisy, ugly industrial landscape it has crafted, I spend most of my hours in the insect kingdom, away from the cacophony of society. I speak with these creatures, and they speak with me. Some share their wildest dreams and stories for me to record, and others their darkest secrets. Some of them sacrifice their own bodies for my research, while others battle one another to their deaths just to entertain me. Those in the world above may regard me as mad, but they do not understand insects as I understand them. They have been deafened by the clanks and clunks of machinery and blinded by the venomous wisps of smoke that slither around London’s streets. They haven’t seen these miniature angels as I have, enlarged to the size of mountains through the powers of the microscope. One day soon I will return the surface, however. I need to face what I regard as repulsive. And sometimes, I feel as if I love the darkness of the outside world as much as I hate it. There is a strange beauty to what is rotten, to what is rusty and decaying. One could even say that the cut-throat world of the humans in the upper world mirrors the universe of insects I am immersed in, though it is a poor reflection…One day I will return. Perhaps I will find someone new to join the thousands that live with me here. We are all getting hungry for some fresh flesh.

The Locust’s Dream

 

 

Children banished to an island

Spit at multicoloured skies.

Small saliva pellets splat

Against clouds that vomit locusts.

 

Their thorny eyes stare sideways

Through cloudy corridors swamped with gnats,

Into the fire of the island’s nose.

 

Locust songs travel down spit lines

Straight into little mouths.

Children fly upwards on broken horses

Ready to penetrate the skies.

 

Cloud swamped in insect meat screams

Sun smiles spits sick stains into open nostrils

Rotten cloud rains fresh flesh on ground

Open mouths receive mandible-ridden saliva lines.

 

It’s raining gnats.

The children grab their crystal swats;

They hit the insect droplets back.

Gnat-balls rise rapidly, hit cloud flesh, crack.

 

The island shakes, rumbles, opens its nose

Children wailing fall into stony nostrils

Fiery hooves hack frozen  mucus,

Hoof splinters scatter, piercing skin.