fênix 4: afternoon showers

cloud_study

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.

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fênix 3: perspective

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.

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fênix 2: weepless willows

destabilisation_s2

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.

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fênix 1: the wave

destabilisation_s1

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.

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reconciliation

amidst_s

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.

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other reasons

cloud_control_s

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.

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school days

always_sorry_s

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.

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contretemps ensemble

contretemps_ensemble_s

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.

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seekers of yesterday

water_panes_s

on an evening in the soft infinity.

The sheeting rain outside
is a comfort and a warning
while I solder in a copper tangle:
connections from the future to the past,
with an insulating bypass round the present.

In the stormy world outdoors,
bright cascades of lightning challenge
my pretense, until a sudden surge and roar
redacts the copper to smoke and honey,
and a circuit breaker trips.

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the tide

the_tide_s

I wrote a kookaburra
perching on a paling fence
motionless in the rain,
sharp eyed waiting for a worm,
but the words left worm impressions
as shallow as my florid thoughts,
washed away by the garden sprinkler.

urban environs

It was once a loud industrial location,
but now it’s slightly damp: Venusian squid
with brollies promenade in the quiet streets
while humans pass their time
overpainting all their windows.

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the river and the wind

sound_waves_s

… meet the zeroth law of motion.

We’re dropping out of hyper now
into normal space,
the words of Azulinha, the fluidic pilot,
flashed inside my head,
and don’t touch that,
it’s not a percolator.

Soon there’d be no more
chromatic thought transference—
empathic rivers of the gaseous mind.
It would all be stuttering and stumbling
with optics and acoustics
on the surface of the planet.

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chalcedony

the_evolution_of_fossils_s

Chalcedony, a distant and unfriendly planet,
orbits an old-fashioned chartreuse sun
in an unsociable spiral galaxy.
It’s a centimeter or two away from earth
on a standard map of the universe,
Mercator Projection.

In a café on the planet’s surface,
it’s Monday morning, neither late nor early,
and Manique, of humanoid appearance,
is sipping a humanoid coffee.

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