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.
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.
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 Respondent’s names have been replaced by pseudonyms to preserve inmate anonymity.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.
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, was speaking with the radiant Evita when Archie, the archaeopteryx, traced out a semaphoric flight path as a warning. Lulled by the night-lit lumens of his own voice, Proteus ignored the ancient bird and continued with his exposition of the integers.
When solar rays were manifest,
Proteus had an inkling that his feeble wisdom
did not limit the world, and recognized
the twin subversions of his dreams,
ignorance and arrogance,
but the revelation came too late.
Proteus, the prototype human, lived in Gondwanaland with selected Jurassic creatures. Instead of audible words, glowing shapes emanated from his mouth whenever he tried to talk. Part one is here.
If I could only speak,
engage in conversation
with anyone at all,
I’d be sage and silent.
Archie, the archaeopteryx
that Proteus addressed,
ignored the paper lantern lights
floating from his mouth.
Proteus is a prototype human (beta release) living in Gondwanaland in the Jurassic era. Part one is here.
As it happened, Proteus could not speak with sounds:
when he opened his mouth and set his throat to vibrate,
glowing bubbles, leafy baubles, necklaced seeds,
a myriad of elemental protozoan shapes,
floated from his lips, sparking, drifting through the trees.
This is the untold tale of Proteus,
the legendary beta man,
the greatest and only scientist of the Jurassic,
friend to the tasteless simpsonodon
and the slightly feathered archaeopteryx,
as bearded as da Vinci,
and in whose hair,
a flickering of iridescent wings,
mostly still attached to dragonflies,
glittered in the sunlight.
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.
The intrepid binary pair, Librarian Millie and the employee who is searching for mythical Sheridarp, have reached the roof of the Dreamwalk Library. Rather than the urban environment they’d expected, their surroundings are desolate, and an unfriendly cloud of wasps is approaching. Part 1 is here.
Imperturbable Millie ignored the fearsome kilowasp.
I’m thinking that your so-called Sheridarp
is just a symbol, merely naming
what your soggy heart is seeking.
It stands for what you’ve never found.
An unpaid library employee is describing his journey to Sheridarp to Millie, the librarian. He traveled on a moving railway station, passing stationary carriages resembling everyday buildings. Part 1 is here.
The station stopped at various constructs,
and after an elastic interval to night,
I deboarded, wandering in the dark
until a flight of ancient currawongs
dressed in bells
led me to a hazardous occupation
in this very library.
Millie glanced towards a monitor
where windowed morning light
was streaming on the internet.