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.
Fantasy has been lost from Fênix, swept away by a wave in the ether. Most of the residents have fled, but Sorry and a wanderer were left behind.
The blind storms drifted overhead,
and in a sudden burst of bottled lightning,
Sorry flickered and disappeared.
The two of us had been no more than strangers.
I knew she wasn’t Brazilian, from her stripes,
her rows of sharply pointed teeth,
but I realized that I missed her.
A wave of cold reality has swept through the township of Fênix and almost everyone has fled. One unlucky person was made to stay behind because their fingerprints were unsatisfactory.
I tell no-one that my thoughts are rain and glass,
frivolous on a foggy day, but I will sit and wait
for isentropic meaning to appear, from within
or from without, and after sleeping,
recollect a question from my dreams.
The ether wave swept through and swept away
intangible imaginings: shimmers from the overworld,
refractions risen from the subterrain,
and the sephine webs connecting them.
When the wave had passed, the town of Fênix
was no longer cloaked in mystery and fantasy,
only naked objectivity remained,
a brutal realism that no-one could withstand.
The Fontana di Trevi is waiting for
the shower of your desires,
and if you really mean it,
your dreams will coalesce.
But do you know your mind? Once I did,
and now the rain is ever falling, threading
through my hollow bones, searching for its sea.
A childhood reconfigured, a child who could never be,
with cardboard carts of stones and stamps,
bundled with a string, with wooden wired
contrivances hidden from the world,
and yet the others whispered in his ears.
They told him of a place where wild basalt seas
crashed down upon the shattered mirror beaches,
and sleepless carriages fled the stations of existence.
Crossroads on the valley floor, a sign,
a part-time river colored laundry blue,
and by the water in a town, the air is scented
with hot absence, molecules in chaos
ignoring windward motion.
The parkland’s plaque is dull, I make it shine,
reflect the woken world with Brasso,
and polish out its words:
You wonder why you’re still asleep.
Your other wonders why he’s still awake.
If none of (a) to (f) apply, please explain your reasons in writing in the space labelled “Other.” Inmates are not permitted additional pages.
[A selection of “Other” responses follows. Respondent’s names have been replaced by pseudonyms to preserve inmate anonymity. Comments scratched into the wall and/or with rows of indecipherable symbols were excluded.]
“Anonímia de Tal”
I measured my expectancies—
mantras, books, and pills in quantized repetition,
overtime and undertime spent flickering from pillow to post,
leaping with the pendulous clock,
though in a temporary lapse,
I once considered skin mites, so fearsome microscopically,
and the sparrows pecking hair lying fallen at my feet.
The wind drops violins, my ducks are misaligned,
and the day that you created is winding up
and winding down.
I’ve spread the margarine of time
across the bread and crossed it out.
I need no answers, Alícia,
to questions no-one asked.
Cakely words by Sara Lee
are baking in the oven
and I don’t know who’s to blame.
From perilous dreams, the horse king
rose, so sure he’d be remembered
in the daylight.
He declared that everything was
indeterminate, unnecessary or incomplete,
and with batteries, many A’s,
he asserted iron-clad existence.
The once and never horse, ambivalence
on a bike, mentioned in a margin
for his bravery, and in a footnote,
impartially decapitated by a jury
of his peers.
Classrooms buried underground,
a breath, a cough, a teacher,
where every window was a riddle
and we were mute behind the glass,
where the chord of chords still sounded
from each bell to the last.
I was frail paper with pencilled veins,
a helpless diorama, a divide by zero,
an overflow and underflow,
a distillation of reticence and fear,
listening for the silent voice.
Three café explorations.
“Reality serves at memory’s pleasure,”
something I read somewhere.
I have a tattoo with the very same words.
Quite the coincidence.
On days when stormy ink is in the air
and the atmosphere is virtual,
precautions must be taken.
If the downpour seeks the sea
by way of dimpled rivers,
an umbrella or a rowboat will be fine.
Friday night at the Ghostery on Relentable Drive,
and a whirl of leaves blew in,
took my vaguely personal shape.
like to do their ghosting,
whispering and wispy pale,
but I don’t play that game,
I’m as solid as a memory
of a memory.
Microscopic particles of time
rain upon our lives.
Paper promises grow brittle,
mapped forgiveness folds, unfolds,
frays and tears along the creases.
Our memories refract through prisms
until the brightest day is lost
in anesthetic runes.
I heard a motor revving in the carport,
and from my gate,
I watched my Kia Starfish drive away,
with the spindly legged carport
Someone in a Chrysler Valiant driving along the Botany Bay shoreline has picked up a couple of skeletal hitchhikers who have come from the sea. The first part is here.
We are Sam and Sammy,
please drive us to the West,
to invoices and wheat fields,
where desiccants and accountancy abound,
and everything is warm and flocculant.