fênix 1: the wave


The ether wave swept through and swept away
intangible imaginings: shimmers from the overworld,
refractions risen from the subterrain,
and the sephine webs connecting them.

When the wave had passed, the town of Fênix
was no longer cloaked in mystery and fantasy,
only naked objectivity remained,
a brutal realism that no-one could withstand.

The inhabitants chose directions
from their weather vanes and fled,
but I was left behind and lost.

Before that, I met Sorry, and before that,
I met the dactylographer.


There was a queue of paperwork
to ride the Way of Iron, and the refugees
from Fênix filled in Form 3A,
boarded the articulated carriages
with their tickets thoroughly stamped.

But Form 3A was not for me, I dared not challenge
the unknowable, the ambiguity of emptiness
following every question mark—the void
would never know my name.

An unentitled sparrow with an alphanumeric pencil
tried to help me, sent me off to Room 3B
where the dactylographer was waiting.
He pressed my fingertips on inky pads,
stained them, one-by-one, and after
momentary contemplation, he passed judgement.

With tiny hearts aflutter, the pigeons vacillate
on rotisseries of the night.

Some make cooing sounds, some whimper,
and some know it doesn’t matter.

One day soon we’ll all be flying, satellites that flail
about the sun, its tiny centripetal petals.

He paused and carefully shook his head.

Not you, though. I don’t like your whorls and whirls.
You must stay behind, 
and keep the pigeons company.

to continue

Fênix is a township in the State of Paraná, Brazil.

More about sephine in exits:

I seek connections to unknow my meaning,
grasp ephemeral sephine strands
that dangle listless from the trees.

destabilisation (detail above), made by VEE, the visual evolution engine, with EMMA, the min-max entropy addon.

26 thoughts on “fênix 1: the wave

  1. Wonderful writing as always! The image reminds me of the fishing shacks on stilts that used to be in the Gulf of Mexico. Hurricanes (and waves) have reclaimed them back to the earth and sea.

    • Thank you, Clarissa. Trying something new with the artwork — the very solid cranes at the Botany Container Terminal came out looking rather rickety, slightly more human perhaps.

  2. An interesting image – looks like an oil rig. I’m having a hard time deciding whether the protagonist is brave or cowardly for not fleeing with the others.

    • The image evolution software kind of softened the lines of the large cranes at the Port Botany Container Terminal. I wanted to transform them; maybe in the distant future, they will rust or disappear into the sea.

      Brave or cowardly: I don’t really know, but I have two tangential comments. I think that everyday courage is all around us, and it depends on our starting point, sometimes walking out the front door is courageous. Secondly, when the devastating tsunami struck Japan in 2011, many people stayed in their homes because they had no idea how to react to the imminent overwhelming threat.

  3. Had to look up dactylographer. There’s a famous horse by that name! I think I’d rather keep the pigeons company than flail around the sun. Those rotisseries of the night sound a bit uncomfortable though… The “Form A is not for me” stanza gave me goosebumps. I clicked to see the enlarged version of the image. Those dark waves are kinda scary. Reminds me of the BP oil spill. I like what you said in the comment above about everyday courage. I agree. The courage just to show up isn’t always easy.

    • The dactylographer more or less came from Portuguese; I was fingerprinted many times in Brazil. I have to admit I’m not fond of pigeons, in cities at least, but the sun appeals: possibly for fantasy reasons.

      I hadn’t really thought about paperwork as ominous until you mentioned it, but it’s true. Some bureaucratic forms can have life-changing importance, and I’ve come across that. It doesn’t seem right.

      With the artwork, I did have the state of the world in my mind. And not in a positive way. Thank you for your thoughtful comments, BG.

  4. I run out of superlatives about your poetry Steve except to say this is astonishing and intricately beautiful.

  5. the ambiguity of emptiness – this spoke volumes to me, emptiness can be so heavy, air fills space and can bear down, a pressure we cannot avoid. we can’t run form our DNA the same way i suppose, the fingerprint inclusion took me to a world where we could be tracked just by the prints we left behind, and each time we lose a part of ourselves. i like the way you weave stories, i am happy to get lost in them and sometimes want to stay her a little longer.

    • Thank you, Gina. What a beautiful comment, I love your extrapolations. I guess we lose parts of ourselves in a trade for memories, and I agree that empty can feel so heavy, seems to connect inside us, press us down, I suppose the reverse is the lightness of really knowing you are alive.

    • it is a wonderful experience to get lost in your words and story, thank you for writing I should say! your last line reminds me of Kundera’s quest for that lightness of being, I love how you connect the dots that swim in my head.

  6. “the pigeons vacillate
    on rotisseries of the night.”
    “centripetal petals”
    Like the art work Steve, and the language as always…..to be honest, I never look too hard for meaning in poems…I know it’s there but , for me, it’s secondary to everything else….lines like the ones above snag on my brain….my eyebrows are fully raised!

    • Thank you, Jim, sorry about your eyebrows, haha. Me too, I try not to over analyze poetry, just let it seep in as it will. With my own meanders, even when I have an introspective sense of meaning, I prefer to keep it to myself.

    • Glad you enjoyed, thank you for taking the time to comment. Your work and the work of others at the Peaceful Pub is also a pleasure to read.

  7. Your written and visual work is so strikingly unique and yet so deliciously familiar; somehow akin to a dream, to a memory, to a finger gently tracing the grooves of our gray matter. Your mathematical and scientific foundations have married beautifully with your artistic efforts!

    • Thank you so much for your kind words. Sometimes maths seems to be a dream, along with everything I think I know. It is safest to do the washing and mowed the grass, and pretend that everything is hunky-dory on Planet Earth.

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