In an unsatisfactory narrative sequence, the forgettable protagonist, who is alone even in his dreams, realized he could hear the motor that turns the universe through timelines. A while later, an apocalypse came along, and the humanoid Delfina told him it would be best if she buried him alive in sephine.
We’d escaped the alien mechanisms,
their aleatoric annihilation of all life,
and reached a stretch of cratered
parkland at the Menai.
Delfina had been right enough about the sephine.
I was certainly less dead than I might have been,
but I wasn’t the human that I once was,
and I shared a little, told her
about the engine at the edge
of the universe, how it shifted
our reality across the timelines.
“Yes, yes,” she spoke as if it were sucking eggs,
“My trans-reality cruiser works the same way.”
We found it easily enough,
but the Plymouth Satellite
wasn’t as I’d imagined.
The rusting coupé had no wheels,
its axles rested on bricks,
and it was overgrown with pumpkin vines,
flowering in penta-petalled tumeric.
I took the passenger seat, ignoring the springs
escaping from its tattered beige upholstery.
Our frantic flight from the mechatronic invaders
had paused, and I wanted to inspect my new body.
I undid the remnant buttons on my shirt.
Delfina was modestly transparent,
and after my sephine interment,
I was too.
I’m no biologist, but I recognized
my ribcage, and the pulsations
of a somewhat heart, pumping
a pale fluid through tangled conduits.
My sense of self was suddenly anxious,
and the pulsing accelerated.
I buttoned my shirt to hide my heart,
turned to Delfina, and tried
for calm and casual.
“Delfina, I’ve been wondering,
what sort of creature have I become?
Am I alive or just mechanical?”
“Pathetic terrestrials, By naming something,
you think you understand it.
“I’m just an ordinary humanoid,
who’s travelled beyond time,
to where there is no when,
“to where the toroids of the multiverse
are tied in Gordian knots,
“and where your simplistic dreams
of eternity are desiccated leaves,
fallen from the tree of what-may-be
in the autumn of all metaphors.
“But I can help you out.”
Her tone was caustic, pH 14, but I bit
my tongue, “Thank you.”
“You’re still biological, but not the terrestrial kind.
Your cells, your DNA, have been remade
by the sephine. It dissolved and recreated you.
“The boundary between the living
and the mechanical is indistinct.
Humans become robots when their anima dies,
although they might pass the Turing Test.
“And the living who see themselves
as androids, cold inside, might suddenly find
their heart is burning.
“The songs of your heart are yet to be sung.”
- The Meeting of the Waters, to appear in The Purpose of Reality in 2022, describes sephine.
- The Turing Test
- Aquarela do Brasil, with its strange and beautiful lyrics, youtube, version by Caetano Veloso, João Gilberto, and Gilberto Gil.
The Autumn of Metaphors was generated by the Visual Evolution Engine from a view of George’s River at Lansvale. The figures, evolved separately, were created with ALISA, adaptive layered image automation, and the wood ducks help out sometimes as well.