contretemps 2: sam’s tale

the_witching_seasons_s

Someone in a Chrysler Valiant driving along the Botany Bay shoreline has picked up a couple of skeletal hitchhikers who have come from the sea. The first part is here.

We are Sam and Sammy,
please drive us to the West,
to invoices and wheat fields,
where desiccants and accountancy abound,
and everything is warm and flocculant.

My preference was a Saturday by the Bay,
with silvered cathode glows, the comatose
and disrespectful dressed in colored vapors,
some wearing kangaroo ears
and hopping on the beach.

The passengers took note of my reluctance,
as I coasted up to every petulant traffic light,
hoping I might linger in its blush.

They entertained me with forgettable stories,
and made a promise they would stop
if I would only shift the Valiant
out of second gear.


sam’s tale

A dream come almost true,
a stranger who spoke in silence—
the universal tongue.

We stood together in silhouette,
making stark impressions on the wind,
shadows of dead trees
cast upon the dance floor.

On a night of incense,
après-candlelight in echoes,
and moths with feathery antennas,
she wove a mesh of hemp and air,
and spoke with sounds for the very first time.

I’ve prepared a plan, a new design
for a world in blue. Could you build it for me?

I studied her schematics from various positions,
back-to-front, upside-down, and lotus,
without a glimmer of understanding.

Why not? I said.

~/~

For days, I struggled with her skyward plan,
ex machina pipework planes
and winding underflows through clouds,
all driven by a solar ratchet
from the sun on her ecliptic.

I finished late one afternoon,
turned a handle, threw a switch,
but the mechanism jammed
with a shudder and a thunderous roar.

The sunset paused in anxious hesitation,
caught up with itself in a headlong rush,
and the dusk came crashing down around me.

~/~

I awoke to find that I was mildly alive,
and my part-time dream was dabbing me
with iodine.

I brought you back with an incantation
and a double shot espresso.
But contravening nature always has a price.
Over at the coffee shop,
they’re waiting to be paid.

She told me that the afternoon had fallen
on the morning, and pressed it through the night,
that the witching seasons would begin,
that one should never trust a dream,
and left me.


Was Sam’s short tale based on real events?
And what about Pythagoras, humanity, and the world?

I can only add that somewhere
in between a stranger and the universal,
I’d set the Valiant to autopilot,
and fallen fast asleep.


background
The sun might be turned around the world by a machine.
As far as I know, the Chrysler Valiant has no autopilot.

artwork
four witching seasons (autumn above)

19 thoughts on “contretemps 2: sam’s tale

  1. i looked flocculant up in the dictionary, still none the wiser, i found a demonstration on Youtube, & i still don’t really understand it, which means i must not be a nerd.

    i’d say, as well as silence, the yawn is pretty universal, if only for its contagiousness.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’ll have to check that demonstration out. Having been a nerd from an early age, I’d have to say it’s not a good thing. Admittedly, in movies when they want to portray someone as socially inept and dysfunctional, they will generally have them spout some technobabble and I often understand. I would hardly call that an advantage though. 🤓

      I agree about yawning, many animals as well. I wonder if when your cat yawns, you are likely to yawn as well. No doubt the internet knows.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. ‘I brought you back with an incantation
    and a double shot espresso.’

    You know all the ways, Steve. BTW the sun is powered by a machine – clockwork. I know, because I wrote it LOL.

    Noce work Steve. You’re in good air.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. dessicant, accountancy, flocculant…..keep that music going….this poem has everything – images music, humour and a Chrysler Valiant. I once owned a ’73 Plymouth Valiant, it was, I have to say, perhaps the ugliest car I have ever owned. It did not have an autopilot, although I quite often drove it on autopilot.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Said. I’m pleased you noticed the accentuation, hahaha. I agree about the Valiant, and also the earlier winged versions, they weren’t efficient or actually aerodynamic or pleasing to look at. That was part of their charm.

      Unfortunately, I also did a lot of autopilot driving in several countries before random breath testing came into fashion. 😃

      Like

    • Thank you, Jim. I’m pleased you noticed the accentuation, hahaha. I agree about the Valiant, and also the earlier winged versions, they weren’t efficient or actually aerodynamic or pleasing to look at. That was part of their charm.

      Unfortunately, I also did a lot of autopilot driving in several countries before random breath testing came into fashion. 😃

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Love “the sunset paused in anxious hesitation, caught up with itself in a headlong rush… ” What a beautiful, original way to describe it. And “afternoon had fallen on the morning, and pressed it through the night…” So tender – her dabbing him with iodine. Magnifico.

    Liked by 1 person

    • A mechanical world, what we nerds hope for but don’t have. 😉 Possibly she’s kindhearted, although she might have been concerned about a worker’s compensation claim. I would have been more impressed if she’d paid for the coffee. 😃 Thanks, BG.

      Like

  5. Who in their right mind would request to be driven TOWARDS invoices? Madness.
    Silence is indeed the universal tongue.
    I wonder how much the coffee shop charges for contravening nature. If it’s a Starbucks, only the top 1% will be able to afford it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I like the way you extrapolate, Magarisa, 😃 and I realize the world building here is lacking somewhat. I can’t put myself in the mind of a skeleton (partly because they don’t have one) but I expect that since they left the sea, they wish to move somewhere as dry as possible. Perhaps the invoices would not be theirs, more the reality for Australian farmers. I can picture them as itinerant farmhands, sampling the fruit and wondering why it just falls out their ribs. 😄

      Ha ha, I’d have to say that coffee shops in general must be very profitable, they’re everywhere Sydney now. I’m expecting one to open in my backyard shortly.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. A bit harsh on the west I’m thinking (depending of course on ‘when’ this was set); ‘she wove a mesh of hemp and air,’ is a great line (and great out loud). And what could be sweeter than being rescued with an incantation and a double espresso. Delish.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Peter. I suppose it depends on which way round you see it. I was thinking of stuff like the Murray-Darling Basin plan, balancing the books, and bank loans. Probably best I don’t start on pesticides though. Coffee rescues me every morning. It is the only thing that makes life worth living. 😄 PS: Thanks for mentioning that line, it really did just appear out of nowhere, and it had to stay.

      Liked by 1 person

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