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.
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.
Proteus, the Jurassic prototype person, created Proteus II, a luminous version of himself, by reciting his own name. Following the advice of Archie, the archaeopteryx, flesh-and-blood Evita was created when Proteus II recited her name. After an interlude in which questions of Jurassic fashion were resolved, Proteus II claimed that he’d created Proteus in the same way, that he came first, à la chicken and egg, and the Proteus brothers took to arguing. Part one is here
Evita found a sapling
and whipped them both
around their heads.
Now there are two version of Proteus, the Jurassic prototype human. Proteus, the original, made of liquids, solids, and a not insignificant amount of gas, and the ionized and luminous Proteus II, created by Proteus when he said his own name. Proteus speaks with glowing lights, and conversely, the plasmoid Proteus II speaks with sounds that condense solids. Archie, the talking archaeopteryx pointed this out, but neither version of Proteus grasped its significance. Part one is here.
Don’t you see, you prehistoric buffoons?
If Proteus II recites the name “Evita,”
she’ll coalesce in flesh and fluid form.
Proteus, the Jurassic prototype human, speaks with luminous shapes, not sounds. The shapes melded to form two plasma creatures, Evita and Adamstown, who ran away together. His companion Archie, an ancient bird who now has the power of speech, knows how Proteus can be reunited with his beloved Evita. Part one is here.
There’s a way for you to join Evita,
who’s shockingly electric,
and would stop your heart
at the slightest touch.
The radiative Evita ran off with Adamstown, and Proteus plans to knit himself a striped woolen outfit to win her back. Proteus speaks with lights (which coalesced to form both Evita and Adamstown) and, starting at the beginning of the manufacturing process, he said the word “sheep” over and over before falling asleep. Of limited relevance, when he said “lightbulb,” his companion Archie swallowed the resultant glowing shape.
Proteus was awoken by nocturnal rustles, roars, and yawns,
but not a single bleat.
We must return to the ironsand beach,
he advised his mute and mildly feathered companion,
that is where the creatures shape themselves.*
Proteus, the prototype human, speaks with glowing shapes, not sounds. His words created the charming and luminous plasmoid Evita, and unexpectedly, her companion, Adamstown. Now they’ve eloped, and only Proteus and his silent companion, Archie, are left. Archie is an archaeopteryx who enables soliloquies. The scene is the usual Jurassic jungle.
By my words alone, I will generate
the necessities of modern life.
Behold, when I say “lightbulb,”
a lightbulb appears.