Ada, Deirdre, John P, Paulo, and I were crossing the Nullarbor plain when the internet’s voracious cables rose from the underworld and embroiled us in serpentine data. Episode one is here.
I cleared my throat.
I’m okay, Paulo said.
Deirdre swatted at a social media invite.
This gloomy internet knows that it’s alive,
but it doesn’t understand the counterweight
of living: the partial sum of life, its passing.
The first episode was set two weeks ago in the future Nullarbor Plain. Cassette players, deceased goannas, and kookaburras were not mentioned. Written in the past, it dealt with present-day reminiscences in the apocalyptic future. The wind was blowing, water was scarce, and nothing happened. Episode 2 is similar.
Words arise from other words, a twisting,
an entanglement that never completes itself.
Thoughts I’ve disinterred I recite with fake solemnity.
The kookas on the clothesline emit embarrassed laughs
and find the sky.
reductio ad absurdum
Oh Deija, if you ever were, if you ever were right now,
would my words mean anything? I cannot speak
your mother tongue:
the language of the undimensioned realms,
your modality of erasure,
from a time when words were silent.
The air is curdled and afraid, stinging in my throat.
I fall asleep, return to fantasy that once was truth,
tumble to the world where Moorcock’s misplaced
Their flickering uncertainty illuminates the overgrowing vines,
and they bleed their forlorn magic to the earth,
creating lesser mammals that frolic for a moment
in a second dawn.
When fantasy disappeared from Fênix and everyone left, Sorry, who fell out of the sky with her Subaru, and a possibly undead storyteller, were left behind. She warned him of an imminent electrified dystopia, and they sought sanctuary in Guarapuava. On the way, they saw herds of armadillos ridden by sephine spiders. Part One is here.
Luck was with us when we arrived in Guarapuava:
the world had not yet ended, and by the teary shores of
the Lagoa das Lágrimas, we came across
the Pensive Teahouse, open after midnight.
The Selfie Exhibition will run at the tenfortyseven creative space in Sydney from May 11 to May 26 (details below). I am interluding from the fênix serial with some selfie portraiture, old and new.
sky blue air
I seek a sunlit place where I might breathe again.
It lies beyond the end of my imagination,
and before the incomprehensible begins.
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.
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.