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.
Inconstant light will update fortnightly from today. This has little to do with Mars. It is a consequence of irreversible thermodynamics, evolution beyond the axolotl, and causation.
With strong and weak nuclear forces,
you might try to bind every atom of your being,
to neither dissipate nor propagate. To build a bulwark
against living’s effervescence, you might try.
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.
It snowed along the night, piled up
to just beneath the window sills,
mostly printouts, black and white,
so we shaped an outdoor dining set
of ink and paper, and took our morning coffee
on the balcony.
Orchilla dearest, you fill my thoughts
with wasted words
that I will not share with you.
And yet for lunch, as a special surprise,
I shall prepare spaghetti macramé al dente.
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.
While I was washing roses by the gate
with a dash of liquid Omo on a toothbrush,
fish-heads came to mind,
and I began a metaphysical meander
with just the two of us: my neighbor’s cat and I.
Two chords for self-taught breathing,
causality’s unwound tidal oscillations,
nor birds nor raindrops nor Pangaea:
everyone is waiting for a doorway in the wind,
feather-dusting the furniture for departure.
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.
Late Friday coffee.
It’s time for me to go.
Haven’t you seen the news?
The Venusians are invading.
They’ve been studying us for years,
collecting all our confidential thoughts.
Their conquest of the earth is under way,
with their gaudy starlit tentacles,
their stellarators and imitation science.
(Voice over) Previously on Solar Disenchantment: a hamster or an acquaintance of Deija Thoris has parachuted from a bus and landed on a minigolf course, where he will attend a conference in a normal-size hotel. The unrelated first part is here.
The conference venue was virtual de luxo,
with non-removable coat hangers
and a sparkling mineral spa,
all a-bubble with sulphuretted hydrogen,
widely recommended as a curative
for common floral ailments.
Lately yesterday, lost in thoughts
of solar unattainment, I met the windwalkers,
copper blood and lightning’s megahertz whispers.
An intergalactic basket, delivered to the wrong address,
a three much like an eight,
turned out to be a hamster who used to be a synonym,
five parts fantasy, each alone and falling.
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.