Previously on Blade Walker: the earth is inhabited by extraterrestrials, who are minding the planet after humans failed in their duty of care. Blade Walker (human) and Alícia (alien) are having coffee at one of the Café Économique franchises. The first episode is here.
It was all the usual at the Café:
an earthenware urn of tired umbrellas,
sprouting branches and plastic flowers,
tattered pigeons hoping for a snack;
at the other tables, Saurons sipping bluegas,
the odd Solarian, naturally luminous,
and sentient crustacea on a break
from breaking crockery.
I started with an innocuous topic,
and went on and on.
“I’ve noticed that the angel fish
have been flying low in the mid-season rains.
“… I receive a stipend from the sanctuary,
I spend it on Cheezels and yoghurt …
“… a shimmering portal appeared
between the wood ducks …
“… and that’s how I discovered that
I cannot swim …
“… books can serve as their own bookmarks,
you simply cut a strip from a previous page …”
Alícia was snoring gently, dribbling a little.
As I’d planned, she’d fallen fast asleep,
and now was the time to reveal my inner self.
“There are those who find a reason
to exist in all their senses, but I am
snow blind in my mind, it’s filled
with snowflakes falling into screens,
detuned and dechanneled.
“Through the day, I play the part of me,
although I’m not.
“I fear the night, the mascot of the future
dressed in turbid grey. I stay awake
and stare through walls, gaze upon infinity,
and when sleep is nonnegotiable,
I’m drawn to travel beyond all reason,
to the ending and beginning of the universe,
where time turns
and turns again,
where I seek the other me from long ago,
who’s lost in a cruel crystal forest,
hiding in the shadows of the inverse starlight.”
A phone rang and Alícia woke up.
“Send not to know for whom the phone rings,”
I said, “it rings for thee.”
I didn’t mention that I’d seen a crustacean
pull the phone from his pocket
and inadvertently snip it in half.
Alicia almost smiled, and it made me nervous.
“Let’s join the crowds along the banks
of Georges River. The angel fish
are coming home to breed.
“Each one seeks a partner to complement
their own particular phosphorescence.
“The river will be a rainbow.
And you can forget about sleeping,
I’ll be keeping you awake.”
- Cheezels is a trademark of Snack Brands Australia.
- When I lectured, my superpower was putting students in the class to sleep.
- John Donne, Meditation 17, 1623