This is the untold tale of Proteus,
the legendary beta man,
the greatest and only scientist of the Jurassic,
friend to the tasteless simpsonodon
and the slightly feathered archaeopteryx,
as bearded as da Vinci,
and in whose hair,
a flickering of iridescent wings,
mostly still attached to dragonflies,
glittered in the sunlight.
Proteus, who discovered fire and put it out,
who invented a somewhat sinuous dance
he liked to call the mambo,
who assembled wheels and axles
to create a rudimentary encyclopedia
that he pedaled across Gondwanaland
determined with a sundial
to be whenever he saw fit.
When silent luminosity muted calls
of unseen creatures in the synesthetic night
and sleep played hide-and-seek,
Proteus scratched his prescient ears
and speculated on his future.
He saw that he would rest in layered shale,
interleaved and carboniferous,
until he floated above an ancient tar pit,
a misty morning evanescence
in the era of the plasticine Anthropocene.
He was all alone, all and only of himself,
and though he might have carved a sigil
here and there, in the trunk of a giant fern,
or in the southern regions of a dozing diplodocus,
and he took a certain pride in his recipe
for simpsonodon à la mode,
he knew he was no Ozymandias,
and soon enough, he’d be forgotten.
And yet, thanks to dandelion puff-balls,
and their lack of any connection
with multi-syllable paleoanthropological hoaxes,
the highlights of the life of Proteus
have been unexpectedly recovered from my rubbish bin,
where they lay hidden beneath assorted empty bottles.
- The simpsonodon was small Jurassic mammal named after the noted paleontologist G G Simpson. No, really.
- the plasticine anthropocene
- Percy Bysshe Shelley ozymandias (1818)
- the piltdown man hoax
plasticine anthropocene (detail above) evolved from a discarded shopping cart lying on a river bank by VEE, the visual evolution engine.