homo sapiens, beta release


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
on weekends,
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.

to continue


plasticine anthropocene (detail above) evolved from a discarded shopping cart lying on a river bank by VEE, the visual evolution engine.

39 thoughts on “homo sapiens, beta release

  1. WOW Steve! whew , ok whaaa. its a bit over my head but I can’t stop reading it with a right click on my mousepad to retrieve definitions. Just this part could be transformed into a movie!
    Man do you ever have an incredibly creative and vast interesting mind!! Wow what do you eat for breakfast.
    I have to go back and read it again. Brilliant my friend pure brilliance!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, glad you enjoyed. My mind is vast and empty, like deep space or a soap bubble. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day; it should be balanced and nutritious. I have three coffees. But not all at once. Thanks again.

      Liked by 1 person

        • Interesting, I didn’t know who it was, and I wouldn’t have guessed it was you because you’re usually logged on to WordPress.🙂

          Thanks, Tamaya. Honestly, if my head isn’t empty, it’s certainly not where it should be a lot of the time through these busy days.


        • While I am not glad that your head is in the wrong places these days Steve, I am glad for many of us way over here in Canada are also feeling these effects. We are attributing it to the “quick, run and hide! for winters coming” but you are approaching spring are you not?
          I have been quilting can you imagine? quilting! I have not had a poetic line run through my mind in ages heheheh

          Liked by 1 person

        • To be honest, for some reason it seems to be a bit crazy here as well. It is true that in Australia we have to hide from summer as well, but I don’t think that’s it.

          I’m not at all familiar with quilting because it’s not particularly common in Australia as far as I know, but I don’t see any reason not to quilt it up. Honestly, with some of the things (let’s say mad ideas) that seem to occupy my thoughts, I’m certainly not going to judge anyone.


  2. I love this as I do all your work. ‘A flickering of iridescent wings mostly attached to dragonflies glittered in the sunlight’. Who can better such a beautiful phrase? Give up the day job and concentrate on poetry, this is where your true talent lies.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Your characters have very interesting hair! I like the dragonfly doo! I’m going to read this again while listening to my ancient tape from Jurassic Park. Since I’m not of a scientific bent, there’s much that whizzes over my head, but I always learn something new, like “sigil.” I empathize with Proteus’ speculations when sleep plays hide ‘n seek. We’ll all be resting in layered shale eventually. And yet, the puff balls rescue his highlights from the rubbish heap, so all is not lost!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You won’t get it at a hairdresser, and I’m assuming dragonflies flew into the tangle by mistake and were trapped. 😸 For me, hair is close to vanity, so it often gets a mention.

      I just looked it up and the movie Jurassic Park came out 25 years ago. I can’t believe it.

      Well I suppose it’s one way to be remembered. It’s a big question, what we leave behind; what, if anything, matters. Sometimes I think it’s right to ignore it and do what I can in the present moment; other times I think I have my head in the sand. I definitely have to mow the dandelions and put the rubbish out. 🙂 Thanks, BG.


  4. I like Proteus’ modesty; he recognizes that he’s no god, despite being named after one. Knowing that he’ll be forgotten sooner or later, he doesn’t ask for books (or poems) to be written about him or statues to be made in his image. How ironic that dandelion puffballs end up preserving the highlights of his life! A fascinating piece, Steve.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I chose the name because of the deity and also because he’s a prototype (thanks for noticing). Perhaps he’s a realist in some ways, that remains to be seen. Yes, dandelion puffballs, the essence of the ephemeral. Curious. 😸 Thanks, Magarisa.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Already hooked (though I wonder how frequently your local council does rubbish collection – if this tale has been stuck there all this time :-). I wonder why Proteus on those sleepless nights considered only his future and not his past. He obviously sprang fully-formed onto the Jurassic Gondwanaland. On to chapter two…

    Liked by 1 person

    • You know how it is — the machines leave the lids open, it rains and stuff gets stuck in the bottom of the bins. Admittedly that would only get you back to the Paleolithic…

      Absolutely, Proteus must have been created by gods, aliens, or alien gods. He does need a bit of back story though. perhaps starting with “Lightning storms ravaged earth’s early atmosphere, and tried to form amino acids, but failed.”


  6. finally revealed…the inventor of the mambo…I’ve often wondered about the encyclopedia as a mode of transport, I imagine the Britannica is a bit slow and ponderous…..there is so much in this that I will return to it again and again, Steve..of course no talk of Simpson’s would be complete without a mention of Homer…your poem are a weekly marvel!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I imagine the mambo inventor is as good as many other historical facts. Speaking of, I read that encyclopedias were quite popular modes of transport before the internet; they travelled door-to-door, and some had instalment carriages.

      Homer, absolutely, timeless wisdom, like Athena’s advice to Odysseus: “You tried and you failed. The lesson is ‘Don’t try’.” 😸

      Thanks Jim, I really appreciate your kind words.


  7. “Proteus, who discovered fire and put it out,”
    I didn’t have time to comment when I read this the first time, but I loved this!
    (I also love how Ozymandias seems like a phonetic parody just for ‘Aussie man’, which also makes me laugh)

    Liked by 1 person

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