paperback rider C: retrospective


Millie has defeated the Dark Solarian and the kilowasp, and there is nothing more to say. Part 1 is here.


From the rooftop, down and down
the silent page we went. I heard
the hisses of an elsewhere night;
shoreward waves derailed
from their sea tracks
to crash against graffitied cliffs;
and a lackadaisical buzzing
that occupied the plaintive gaps
between my thoughts.

coffee garden communicatrix

<a sparrow filled with helium, flying far and low,
I chased my life but didn’t catch it>

<the Café Économique has no fundamental nature,
it was sifted from the air of Sheridarp>

<don’t try to hide, Solarian fanboy, I see your staring
at her Moiré fringes, her spectral interference pattern>

<attend the sparrows, my little waifs,
they march in tight formation
from one cake to the next>

<first instincts wound us, our springs uncoil;
the wrong questions, inedible and indelible,
must still be asked>

I sighed, and lazy feathers wafted from my lips.

It was a tale of the future, of dreams and longings,
re-weavings of our personal helioscopes.

But Millie knew my secrets.

You didn’t write that, you never could.

I coughed up a little ash.

My story was the reverse of dreams:
a reinvention of our yesterdays,
how we came to be here,

a fabrication.

Buzzing silver bees were orbiting Millie
in tight ellipses, collecting or returning something.

Contextual truth is no-one’s forte,
but do they matter, the pathways
to our intersection?
We’re together now,
with time enough,

with the light of the golden penguin
shining down on us.

A sparrow carried off my cinnamon toast.


artwork anything (detail) (detail above) made from clouds with VEE, the visual evolution engine.


20 thoughts on “paperback rider C: retrospective

  1. I more than love this beautiful piece. Tugs at one’s heart.
    “Contextual truth is no-one’s forte,
    but do they matter, the pathways
    to our intersection?
    We’re together now,”

    Beautiful lines and art work, Steve. Do forgive the sparrow 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Glad you got something from it, Sobhana. I was happy with the ending although I wondered about where it was going. I guess life is just moment by moment in the last analysis. Perhaps those fleeting moments are the sparrows.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Peter. True truth is a terrible thing, it clips the wings of angels. (Note: I have that quote wrong, but apparently I don’t care.) Rephrasing, a momentary diversion from the apocalypse is sometimes acceptable. The intro was adapted from a dream or similar.


  2. i am afraid to ask about the coughed up ash. will it reveal too much or just a spoiler? i love this love story, but please bring back the books. i so love cinnamon toast, well cinnamon on almost anything that can be cinnamoned! have you read “the secret lives of bees”? there is a bit there about the ellipses and how bees make purple honey when certain flowers are in season. i thought about that reading your story.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Gina. You can ask about the ash (even the feathers); I don’t really know, it just felt right. 🙂 Perhaps sometimes the past we carry around inside us is ashes, so we rewrite it.

      I like cinnamon as well, but only in moderation. No I haven’t read that book, sounds interesting. I do like the bee’s dances.


  3. Since Café Économique has no fundamental nature, I suppose the protagonist won’t be getting a coffee from there? Or maybe I’m wrong. After all, he managed to get cinnamon toast somewhere.
    Now that the kilowasp is gone, there are buzzing silver bees. I’m starting to think Millie has some kind of symbiotic relationship with insects.

    Liked by 2 people

    • that’s a good point, Magarisa, assuming that we trust some random conversation overheard in a coffee shop. (I pretty much do that.) I have had plenty of so-called coffee without any relationship to the real thing. Admittedly it may have had a fundamental nature: coloured hot water or whatever. I guess to have no fundamental nature, it has to be basically a fiction. 🙂

      I don’t know anything I’m going to admit to about Millie, 🙂 but the common perception of bees versus wasps is interesting. In a Brazilian country town where I worked, the bees swarmed all over the iced cakes in the bakery, and this was accepted as their right. There were wasps nests everywhere as well, but they were not regarded in a friendly fashion.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Very wistful. Maybe he’ll catch his life if he stops chasing it. I’m wondering why he’s coughing up feathers and ash. He must’ve charbroiled a sparrow – then another one got even by snatching his toast. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Beautiful series, Steve…sad to see it end, or has it? I don’t pretend to understand it all, I just like going with the language, and the imagery (a bit like listening to Dylan), you are a unique talent out here in the blogosphere! JIM

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for saying that, Jim. Yep, it’s over, at least for now. The future—who knows? I don’t ever look through and see what has passed under the blog bridge. In a way, it’s not a good thing, because apparently you’re supposed to learn from the past. So they say. 🙂


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