rewound world 3: ada in the overworld

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
never asked.

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.

to continue


  • Araldite is a trademark of Huntsman Advanced Materials.
  • Ada
  • 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.

29 thoughts on “rewound world 3: ada in the overworld

  1. This is an extraordinary creation, Steve..”I’m a simple spectre who learned humility by dying”, love this line. The video does ask me many question and I will take your advice and not answer 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Sobhana. In broad terms, it’s probably better to learn humility some time before the end. Life has given me numerous free lessons, but perhaps it isn’t the same with everyone.

      With the questions, it’s not unlike asking oneself something. Again, I’ve found it’s best not to answer out loud, especially in public places. 😸

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Incredible! Wonderful words but found myself day dreaming from: “I was conjured by an underworld magician; from numerous innumerate ingredients In mythical confusion…” Must reread later but oh, mythical confusion is my constant state.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Clarissa. I must say that I do enjoy the way you mix and match. Unfortunately my general confusion is less than mythical.

      Sometimes being “absent-minded,” or easily sidetracked, is a good thing: the mind wandering wherever it may. Well and good, unless you need to be focused…


  3. How do you think of it all Steve? A futuristic question never asked. The land of semi permanence. Where the mighty lie in state with their forgotten servants and the torment of infinity, All of this is fantastic poetry. Brilliant work as ever. The art work too splendid!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Margaret. I apologise that I’m so late in replying, I’ve managed to get a long way behind with comments. My writing is just what comes to mind, I’m not sure I think at all, but I’m very glad that you enjoy it. PS: I hope your site is working now, I will find out after I fix the comment backlog.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. If a futuristic question is never asked, how can it ever be identified as a question? How does one learn humility by dying? What happened to make the carborundum cats unworshipped? So many clever and mind-bending phrases, Steve.
    I don’t blame the fiber optic serpents for seeking freedom from the torment of infinity. Without no beginnings and endings, they never know whether they’re coming or going!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Now you’ve got me wondering. I am also wondering how I managed to get so far behind with comments. (I do have an explanation that involves laziness.)

      With the futuristic questions, I guess they are in someone’s head, questions perhaps that should be asked and never are. Internet cats are cute, but surely there is a limit. 😸 I agree about infinity, how boring that would become. Thank you, Magarisa.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Was looking at my Araldite dispenser just the other day – and you’re right (of course): one tube contained adhesive potential; the other was a desiccated nub. Lovely piece but like others I found myself transfixed half way. ‘My home is far away and close beneath us.’ – a sticky evocative line hard to pass. Video is terrific – this thing we call reality…pah!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Peter. I’m not going to get metaphorical about Araldite. With the internet, I started off thinking about rats: the old story about a rat being only two metres away. Looked it up and it turns out it’s not true. Still, it probably applies to the internet (in several ways).

      I couldn’t agree more about the real world. Early on I realised that reality was a poor substitute for fantasy, and I haven’t changed my mind.


    • Thank you, BG. Yes, I expect that death would be humbling, although no-one has actually told me that’s the case. 😸 And I agree about life: the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune are useful lessons in humility for slow learners like me.

      Liked by 1 person

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