Creative Writing Wednesday: “Bigger on the Inside”

Posted: May 9, 2012 in Creative Writing Wednesday
Tags: , ,

This is a poem about Doctor Who.

I wrote it in October.

I wanted to explore the often complicated and sometimes chaotic relationship between the Doctor and his Companion, and the fact that such a relationship always comes to an end– and when you’re not traveling with the Doctor, something goes out of your life. You don’t have the same sense of wonder that you once did– you’ve seen the wonders of the universe, and now nothing can compare.

I didn’t have any specific Companion in mind when I wrote this poem. In any case, here it is.

(I called the poem “Bigger on the Inside” for obvious reasons.)

~ Ian


Bigger On The Inside


There’s a man (who isn’t really a man)

who has a box (which isn’t really a box).

The box is bright blue.

It’s also bigger on the inside.

It also travels through time.


(You must accept this.

It’s honestly not the craziest thing to ever happen.)


One day, the man (who isn’t a man) shows up when you’re in trouble.

Maybe you’re being attacked by mannequins, or there’s a crack in your wall,

or maybe the hospital you work in has been transported to the moon

by rhinoceroid space-cops, leaving you with a small bubble of air

slowly running out, until you and four hundred other people suffocate.

(Maybe you’re being pursued by statues. Who knows?)

In any case, the man will show up in his box (which isn’t a box).

There will be a sound like tortured piano wire,

and there he will be, grinning madly,

his eyes wild with the fevered passion of a true lunatic.

(He may try to speak French to you. At first you will find this annoying,

but eventually it will grow on you, until the words “Allons-y!”

are like the call to adventure.)

He will perform some jiggery-pokery,

wielding his shining silver LED magic wand

which really shouldn’t work but does.

And after a lot of running around and shouting,

whatever was Wrong in your world will be gone, and everything will be fine again.

And the man (who isn’t a man) will take you back to his box (which isn’t a box),

and he will say, “You could come with me, you know.”


And because you’re alone, and so is he,

you decide to travel together for a while.

(After all, the worst that could happen is adventures, right?)


So off you go, riding along in the box with the man,

as you take off on a journey through time.

(By the way, the box also travels through space.

You have to stop trying to think in terms of Logic.

When the box arrived, all that went out the window.)

And you stop, and step out of the box,

blinking in the sunlight on a brand new world.


You could be on a space station, high above the surface of the Earth

in the year five billion, watching as the sun comes up

like a rolling wave, red and swollen,

swallowing up your homeworld like a sandcastle.

Or maybe you’re in an ancient city,

nestled at the foot of a volcano,

as smoke rises from the mountain and the earth rumbles

as if it is giving birth.

You may be in a new New York on another planet,

where everyone has British accents (for some reason),

or in a megapolis on the back of a space whale,

a generation starship light years from home.


The man has enemies.

Nobody grows as old as he is (and he is old, very old indeed)

without making a few.

Some of these enemies are alien mutants

encased in hollow shells the shape of pepper pots.

Others are stomping robots,

each one with the brain and heart of a man.

Sometimes his enemies are shadows.

Sometimes they are statues.

Sometimes his enemies are not what they seem to be.

Sometimes they are exactly as they appear.

Whatever the case, you end up fighting (some of the time)

and running (most of the time)

as you traipse across the maddening gulf

between Now and Then.


How long you stay on board the box is up to you.

But one day, you’ll leave the box,

set it aside like an out-of-fashion jacket,

returning to your world, the Real World,

the world of cars and computers and pop stars and phone bills.

And when you come back (as they always did,

the people who traveled in the box before you),

you’ll feel like something is missing.

It’ll worry you, like a gap in your mouth

after you’ve lost your first baby tooth.

The world will seem a little grayer, a little cloudier,

a bit more dull than usual.

Slowly you’ll begin to wonder if you were mad.

(After all, you saw suns die.

You saw planets being born.)

As you sit there, gazing out into traffic,

stirring your coffee idly with a spoon,

watching the rain fall down from a sky the color of nothing,

listening for a grinding, catching sound,

a sound like tortured piano wire.

Maybe you’ll hear it in your dreams,

and when you wake, it’ll fade like a sofa in the sun,

and you’ll wonder if everything was just a dream,

all the wonders you saw, all the miracles you did.


You’ll sit there

and grow old


for the man (who isn’t a man)

and the box (which isn’t a box)

hoping that your life will start again.


Good luck.

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