Although they didn’t play any instruments, a band of post-apocalyptic travellers was crossing the Nullarbor plain. On a lunch break, one of them, the humorless John Person, addressed my alternate. The first episode is here.
You’re a quiet one.
I nodded, and while Ada told her story,
I thought about epoxy resin,
Araldite in two parts, one of which
was always empty first.
I was conjured by an underworld magician
from numerous innumerate ingredients.
In mythical confusion, he sent me forth
with cell phone seedlings in my pockets,
to invite Persephone’s networked spring,
although it’s never coming.
All that’s left is the splutter of a song
out of water, a futuristic question
I nodded subtly, almost in reverse,
but ghostly Paulo, from the land of
semi-permanence, chose to interrupt.
I’m a simple spectre who learned humility
by dying, and I would like to ask a question.
This underworld of which you speak is not the afterlife
from whence I came. We have no wizards
nor any touch of enchantment there.
Would you please elaborate?
Ada paused for several clock cycles.
My home is far away and close beneath us.
It lies within the shadow of the subverse,
where carborundum cats are all unworshipped,
where every thought is cavitation in the ether,
where the mighty lie in state with their forgotten servants:
toothless keyboards, and phosphorescent
cathode ray displays wound in tar-soaked linen.
A graveyard, you might say (no-one did),
but the copper is alive, its electrons never die.
It dreams of lonely cell towers waiting for a call,
of Persephone’s promised planting.
With limited dramatic effect, fiber optic serpents
burst upward from the sand and spiraled
around our torsos: animate broadband cables
seeking freedom from the torment of infinity.
- Araldite is a trademark of Huntsman Advanced Materials.
- The fictional internet described in this piece arose from a conversation with Paul Sutton (thanks Paul). It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the author, although it possibly does.
- An Australian joke: the National Broadband Network (NBN).
fallen memory is an initial concept for a collaborative project with perspicacious photographer Paul Sutton (insta), and is based on his reflective St. Mark’s Square. The video may ask you, What do you remember? or How do your memories change with time? If it does, in my experience, it is best not to answer.