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So we make goo to prove

that some things behave

the way they shouldn’t


just like people, I guess,

but this is more intrinsic,

it’s oobleck.


Is it a solid or liquid?

Non-Newtonian fluid:

custard or toothpaste,


shampoo or blood.

Also called magic mud.

Matter is like that,


elusive, animate or

not. Like dead or living:

discuss what they mean


to a virus

that cannot reproduce

outside us, what does


that make us, a place?

A little world made

cunningly, unmade


so easily. Or sitting

between kingdoms,

that hit and miss, like


much of reality; when I

started this would-be

teaching business there


were two only, but by

the time she began high-

school there were five.


That caught me out,

and now I’m afraid to look,

truth shifts so quickly.


And what about good old

slime mould? From schooldays.

Moving, like goo, but can’t


be called animal – never

been comfortable with

a fellow life-form


whose nickname

is dog vomit,

who can be taught


new tricks, now thought

to remember, it may

even have cognition.


This oobleck, though,

has forgotten its manners

after the point is made


on states of matter, stuck

like sludge, flecked everywhere,

outstaying its welcome.