A flightless penitent is journeying barefoot to Port Botany after a revelatory event on the motorway—a pseudorandom monk plagiarized The Rime of the Ancient Mariner while he painted the penitent’s windscreen with seagulls. The polar spirits, Azimuth and Altitude, are helping him stay on track with cattle prods. Part one is here.
In southern Alexandria, my electric shepherds
grudgingly approved a measured stimulation,
and I queued up at a mobile coffee truck.
Before me in the line, an impatient stranger
caught my eye, and I introduced myself
with a fictional appellation.
I spoke at length of my enlightenment
on the motorway, of the windscreen seagulls
and their uncanny resemblance
to the artwork on her Ray-Bans:
a colorful kingfisher on each lens.
She responded with a desultory and mildly hurtful
Although you might imagine a curious similarity—
two feathered lifeforms, carbon-based,
on an unimportant planet
in the Milky Way’s Orion Branch—
there is no deeper meaning.
I chose to disagree.
You and I, feathered or not,
share an aleatoric connectivity,
a perpendicular logicity.
Our paths have crossed for an unknowable,
yet profoundly geometric, reason,
and though I’ve strived for failure all my life,
I realize now that I’ve failed to achieve it,
and paradoxically succeeded.
The kingfishers flapped their painted wings
in desperate launch attempts,
but I continued nonetheless,
until détente diplomacy prevailed—
my vow of silence in exchange
for the stranger’s story.
My name is Alcione and I’m an undercover alchemist.
In spin-dried manuscripts from old Atlantis,
I found a formula for a negative entropic potion,
a way to conquer chaos and disorder.
But I angered Zeroth, the statistical god
of thermodynamics, who wrathfully
demanded shares in my cosmetics company,
and painted these very kingfishers on my sunnies.
The polar spirits, overhearing,
sent a jealous RF whisper arcing to my ear.
They knew naught of Zeroth,
Alcione could not be trusted,
and would I please find out
the company’s name?
But I kept my promise, brooding silently
while Alcione ordered an espresso, triple shot,
and before I reached the counter,
the capricious spirits sent me on my way.
Alcyone in Greek mythology; RF is radio frequency, emitted by electrical discharges including lightning.
Flightless enlightenment (part above). The illustrated mind: this image is a mathematical visualization of EEG data.