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.
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 Respondent’s names have been replaced by pseudonyms to preserve inmate anonymity.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
Imagine meeting you here, it’s been forever,
and never in this reality.
Do you still have that sinusoidal staircase,
with beds beneath the maxima?
Let’s dispense with arbitrary greetings,
the usual meteorology and meander.
I’m marketing linoleum, perhaps you might
be interested in purchasing a tessellation?
And yet you’re glowing, sunlit gold,
photoshopped and pasted by the seaside
for our chance encounter.
I sleep beneath the tire marks
on roads of eggshell bones,
carried by the bubble birds
in their serrated beaks from caves
where rainy pebbles fall,
clattering on my roof, taking fluid forms.
I was painting my house with Dulux
when a whirlpool wind came calling.
It was fleeing from the west,
from particulate mirages and miracles of water.
My phone politely starts my Sunday:
Good morning human,
your mission is to find out
whether purpose matters.
Where subdivided paths marked
I saw enough to know
the truth of almost nothing.
Where falling cartoon clocks shattered
into bells and spiral springs,
I waited for a gentle sound.
Where graduated tick marks
switched the traffic lights,
I stopped to contemplate my lies.
After parts three, two, one, a flashback to the home of the crayfish on their reformed moon.
We live in a concrete paradise,
we must show the galaxy,
attract discerning tourists
and credit cards.
This is the third part. Tenuously connected first and second parts are stored as data on a server.
A pointless unnamed human
was locked in stasis by Célia,
an interstellar traveler
who has a name.
A week and forty years pass by
in a single line of text.
The stasis ends, and one apartment block
still stands on planet earth.
A mostly irrelevant first instalment exists.
An aerial steam train winds across
the Kangaroo Valley skyline
with interstellar Célia and
a nameless human on board.
On the ground, a stray sheep comments:
looks like a little smoky weather on the way,
and high above,
like a Canterbury pilgrim conglomerate,
Célia tells her tales.