fênix 4: afternoon showers


When fantasy was lost from Fênix, the residents fled, but Sorry and an anxious storyteller were left behind. Sorry, formerly known as Madeleine, is possibly an extraterrestrial. She warned that an electrical dystopia was on the way, bringing polarized chaos and wild electricity. The storyteller has agreed to accompany Sorry to a possible sanctuary. Part one is here.

We travelled mostly southward, and through
rust holes in the floor of Sorry’s Subaru,
I watched the gravel bumping past beneath us.

I might have slept if not for armadillo anxiety.
I’d glimpsed a sign, Beware of Armadillos,
and now the tawdry scrub had morphed into
a thundering armor-plated herd.

The Subaru veered restlessly from roadside ditch to pothole,
and Sorry answered questions no-one asked.

The armadillos have webbed and woven harnesses.
The tiny sephine spiders are their pale riders,
their petty thinking always in control,
while the bolder thoughts are trapped in Klein bottles,
neither in nor out.

In the dusty distance, an overpass was crossing
bridges in a freeze-frame motion tangle,
and the land above was a pretentious
wind-blown canopy.

Lightning left the ground and flashed upward to the sky,
the blind storms opened, and a shower of the recently dead
descended, returning to an altitude of less fluidity,
less uncertainty.

I paid scant attention. In a vision, I was seated at a desk,
wondering if a dream could hold a dream within itself.

to continue


  • Subaru (Mitsubishi): I have no opinion about possible rusting. Rust has not caused important bits to fall off any vehicles I have driven.
  • Klein bottles are one-sided surfaces, without an inner and an outer surface, or a boundary. It is best not to use them for wine.
  • The brightly visible feature of lightning is the return stroke from ground to cloud.

artwork Cloud study (part), made by VEE, the visual evolution engine, with EMMA, an entropy min-max add on.

23 thoughts on “fênix 4: afternoon showers

  1. Quite an ending! I don’t think I’ve never dreamed that I was dreaming. What happens if you wake up in the dream you’re dreaming? By the way, I drive a Suby. (Rust-free) 🙂 “Their petty thinking always in control” strikes a bit of a chord here.

    • Thank you, BG. I don’t think I’ve ever dreamt I was dreaming either. I guess you can know you’re dreaming or not, but that’s something different.

      It does appear in science fiction/fantasy fiction fairly regularly, and I read a story with many layers of dreams within dreams. If you believe the author, then when you wake up from the inner dream you move to the outer dream. That was fiction, mind you. 😸

      My brother drives a Subaru as well, seems to be a reliable car. Violence controlled by small-minded thinking comes from what I see on the news: there are herds of armadillos everywhere.

  2. Wow, this is just brilliantly imaginative! Those paradoxical and chaotic images. I love it.
    “their petty thinking always in control,
    while the bolder thoughts are trapped in Klein bottles”…I think that your lines should be used as memes and quotes…haha so much more thought provoking than the usual self help stuff that goes around 😀🥂

    (My brother is visiting and he has a Subaru as well. I love that too.)
    I particularly like this art work. Just beautiful

    Oh dear, the armadillo thing made me laugh so hard. I can’t remember if I confessed to you I accidentally hit one with a van years ago in Oklahoma, while driving between New Orleans and Colorado…I was so heart broken about it. I feel like I have told someone about that recently and I don’t remember who…sorry if I repeat myself.

    • Thanks, Vanessa. I have been struggling to manage even once a fortnight with so much else going on, really appreciate your feedback.

      The herds of small-minded armadillos appeared because of watching the news, local and overseas, including the election farces.

      Self-help is definitely a good thing, I saw your emoji and so I did (help myself). 🍷 Mind you, it is very poor form to blame an emoji for one’s drinking habits. Actually I’m having a bit of a break now to do WordPress and that suits a glass of wine.

      One of my brothers also drives a Subaru. I have nothing against them, I just liked the sound of it in that verse. Glad you like the artwork. I’m embarrassed that I didn’t have time to do anything on a large-scale.

      No, you didn’t mention your armadillo encounter. In Brazil, I only saw warning signs with armadillo sketches, and their bodies beside the roads. Maybe I mentioned that once I hit a kangaroo late at night. It bounded off into the bush, apparently unharmed, and the exhaust pipe fell off my car. I was stuck for an hour trying to reattach it.

    • My goodness Steve, don’t be embarrassed. I hope everything else is not too overwhelming for you, but I am so very glad you still take time to blog for us 😀

      The armadillo I missed with the actual van (it was a 15 passenger), but we were pulling a trailer of luggage, and that is what hit it. Ugh!

      Oh dear, we have hit a roo before. It was at night as well, coming home from Adelaide which is almost a three hour drive. i had been sleeping and my husband was driving…I was just thinking, “i should check to see if he is tired”, and he was just thinking, “i should pull over, i am tired”…then it appeared…it was huge. I looked right into his eyes, it was awful, the look on his face, he was so bewildered. I burst into tears. He completely smashed the front of our car in. We were very fortunate it wasn’t worse.

      So no one was able to stop to help you? The amazing thing was that as I got out of the car, in shock, with my phone, muttering out loud about what to do, asking louder than I thought if we should call emergency, a car pulled over… the man got out and said, “yes, call emergency…I am a cop and i just got off my shift in the call centre. If you had called a couple of hours ago you might have got me on the phone!”
      He went to look for the roo, but he couldn’t find it. Yikes, this is getting long, sorry.

    • No need to apologize, Vanessa, I enjoy your slices of life. I am going to have to stop apologizing about my own growing timewarp. I don’t know where it’s headed, but it isn’t good.

      Quite an experience, and you were lucky. With me, there was no one around, but in any case, back then, I did all the repairs myself, and I had patched up the rusting exhaust pipe with silastic from the laboratory. On two occasions, the brakes failed completely: once my poor work and once lack of inspection. Nothing bad happened, I just kept going when I should have stopped. Were they the “good old days”? Who knows?

    • Steve, you are kind, thank you.

      Three cheers for the lab! And that really is a good question, about it being the “good old days”. I think I tend to agree with Scripture on that one, that there kind of is no such thing really, each time has its pros and cons, and we so distort things in sentimentality, don’t we? I did love that as children we could roam rather freely around the car while travelling long distances…
      but I do have a cousin who was injured very badly by a drunk driver back when the penalties were hardly anything. He fortunately made a full recovery. Very interesting topic 🙂
      Needless to say, I am super glad nothing bad happened when your brakes failed! How awful! You just kept going, hey? haha that happened to my SIL in Iowa years ago. Fortunately she kept going right into a soft snow bank. Terrifying though!?

  3. So the storyteller decided to go with Sorry after all. 😊
    The “Beware of Armadillos” sign is comparable to telling someone not to think of a polar bear. Now, I can’t stop thinking about armadillos and polar bears! 😁
    In my experience, a dream can hold multiple dreams within itself. It gets so darn confusing.

    • I guess I’m lucky then, because I’m always thinking about armadillos and polar bears anyway. And my teeth as well. I saw a sign at a dentist in Japan (written in English): “Think of every tooth every day.”

      Interesting, about your dreams. I can understand how it might be confusing, maybe good material for a story?

    • Thanks, Randy. In practice, rust holes can be a bit unnerving, but I haven’t seen that for long time. I guess they make cars better now. The world seems to be full of armadillos and alligators.

  4. The loss of fantasy from anyone’s life is the cruelest punishment. Your opening line sets the tone (at least for me, a fantasy-less creature) and I got lost in that. Must re-read at another time but as always, enjoy all your works of words and art.

    • Thank you, Clarissa. I’m pretty sure you’re only fantasy-less if you live in Fênix. I agree, life would be challenging without fantasy, but I guess there’s the other extreme as well: too much fantasy. I’ll have to ask the wood ducks about that. I’m expecting the aliens who abducted them to bring them back shortly. 😸

  5. Catching up with your poems, Steve. This one is beautiful like the art. Love the line – I was seated at a desk,
    wondering if a dream could hold a dream within itself.

    • Thank you, Sobhana. I like layers within layers, as well as writing that refers to itself. You do get nesting of realities in various ways in fantasy and sci-fi. I have never had a dream within a dream myself, although Magarisa, in her comment, mentioned that she has.

  6. a thundering armor-plated herd of armadillos with spider riders…what an image Steve…plus a shower of the recently dead..you have done it again…love this series….only two questions: is it a Subaru Forester? That’s what I drive….and how long does it take you to write these poems… they are so well crafted and original….a lot of what appears on the internet seems rushed but not these…JIM

    • Thank you Jim, I’m flattered. I won’t comment on how rushed my posts actually are 😸, but I do jot down bits and pieces over the fortnight when they come to mind. Most often when I last-minute the post, I have too much material and it gets postponed for a later instalment or another work. I think I mentioned that I find it very difficult to work to writing prompts, although prompts written in Klingon would be okay.

      My brother who lives out of the city drives a Forester, great car. I was thinking of the old Leone, you still see them around Sydney, often not in very good shape. Thanks again.

    • Awe that is so sad and I am really sensitive to seeing any bodies on the side of the road. I have such a strong connection to animals, it breaks my heart to see them hurt.
      Here is to us and the future and to seeing one alive and well.

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