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 Respondent’s names have been replaced by pseudonyms to preserve inmate anonymity.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.
A library employee has been explaining the theory of transmission lines to Millie, the librarian. Part 1 is here.
Every day was crumpled like a tissue,
starless rooms, vacant eyes,
until I cried out in a supermarket—
Check-out people, heed my warning:
concrete doesn’t show our true reflections,
it hides the motors that exhaust the immaterial,
the proton-powered furnaces of darkness,
and don’t trust geese.
To keep the librarian Millie happy, a library employee has agreed to do some writing. His chosen topic is transmission line theory. Part 1 is here.
Our life’s within our skin,
squeeze me to my broken bones,
I’m still outside of you,
a part of your exterior,
your shared illusion.
Beyond the gates and through the door,
over my glasses and behind my eyes,
a cozy inner planet spins.
Millie, a librarian, has been revealing aspects of her life to an employee. Soon he is going to have to earn the salary that he isn’t being paid. Part 1 is here.
Now we’ve covered everything
I care about, it’s time for you
to write your heart out on these
pillowslips and handkerchiefs.
Use this fabric pen, fill it with a dramatic color,
and let me know your chosen subject,
for shelving later on.
I needed a distraction.
Do you hear the distant screams, the sirens and the like?
Beyond the tinted windows of our bibliographic haven,
passers-by are shouting at the starblown sky,
kneeled in prayer, or searching for
a mortal remnant
that they might have dropped.
Millie, the librarian, has decided that the library’s newest eternal employee will probably have to do some writing, apart from cleaning the restrooms. Part 1 is here.
Before we ravel the tangles of your
thoughtlessness, I’ll be giving you
the benefit of my interleaved experience.
I may speak in bold occasionally.
about yours truly
I’ve adopted arrogance,
its only limit, epsilon.
I began instructing in my childhood.
My toys were most obedient,
the cat, the least.
A library visitor with unpaid casual employment shelving returns encountered a solar lifeform. Part 1 is here.
We ride the solar winds to
to the frigid outer reaches.
We’ve been coming here since
your fictional history began.
The natives are charmingly photogenic,
but they evaporate too easily.
Your eyes are very special.
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.