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By Wendy Lewis February 19, 2024

Aerial Mazes


Time, Planes, and Uncertain Spaces

In the last hurrah for
we sputter along runways of enigmatic light.11
We mutter incoherently about our fear of lying,
Fearing dying.
Fearing flying.
We long to run away.
we find sympathetic delight in the hubris1 of the ignorant.
                   Forced to navigate lofty predictions
                   with multiple aspect views.
Change is constant.
We bid adieu to the present.
         Fading familiarity jettisons into murky skies.
         Faith, hope, and love,14 our counterbalance.
         Panoramic plexiglass portals2 now crazed by instability.
               Squint! You’ll see tiny holes3 in stability’s windows.
As severe weather warnings explode
           we have no choice but to handle the pressure.

           Do you see what I mean?
           I listen for earth’s erratic heartbeat.

                    Ears to the ground can you hear what I hear?12
                    Iambic bi-o-in-sec-ur-i-ty,
                    odes to disruptive new technology.
                    Denial shifts apocalyptic fear.
                    Ears to our souls – do you hear what I hear?
                    Aggression strikes people literally:
                    hate speech and text to screen virtually.
                    We clutch shields of faith when doubts reappear.
                    Self-express with originality:
                    write and speak, reason, react or be mute.
                    Pentameters’ parameters expand
                    as gaming voltas feign reality.
                    Real war groans, bleeds, then dies without reboot.
                    Soldiers fly home, battle-scarred, without hands.

Our best perceptions lie
where our best perceptions lie to our innocence.
Intrigued and ignorant, 
         we attempt to secure our sensibilities.
Proud and perplexed,
         we are plagued by uncertain aspirations, our pompous propellors.
                    Out of sync.

High-flying acrobats of fibre-optics maximize lift for
         a generation entertained by treacherous “I’gram” stunts,
                    lost in multicursal labyrinths without heroes.
        a generation awaiting authentication,
        a generation immersed in unreal intelligence.
                   lost in realms beyond our cognitive capacity,
                   lost in aural labyrinths,4
                   flossed13 by stylised violence.
        a generation lost in oral labyrinths of narrative valence.5
                   or worst of all, apathetic.
      Of chat and forms of nick nock,
      Of fads and forums
                   that follow the foolish in sage masquerade –
                   liking experts who pontificate
                   casting aspersions on…

We watch earth’s doomsday clock6 wind down.
Its gears and cogs, whose massive logs are
          lodged within the eyes7 of the wise.
          Endless blogs breed senseless fogs in our minds.
This chronograph winds through labyrinths of logo rhythms,
          while silicon mazes of algorithms spread invasive viral seed.
                    It is “A time of unprecedented danger:
                    It is 90 seconds to midnight…
                    the closest to global catastrophe it has ever been”8

In resolute insecurity.
Perusing unsecured networks,
pursuing questionable relationships,
editing the cart until you submit to the click and
                    Entangled… or worse.
Childlike expectations
        precede opening the well-presented package…
        only to unwrap a broken toy.
                  Deceived by filtered photos and generated dialogue
                  A.I. conversations fall flat at the siren’s well9.
                  “Live” and unveiled, the cyber-sage possesses sparse knowledge
                          when poodling10 is not an option.
High-flying digital turntables spin
         with unsubstantiated infomercials.
Loop-de-loop sketches
         drain your devices and bank accounts.

global dichotomies scream…
streaming what others want you to hear,
when all you really want is relief.



1        Hubris [of the ignorant]: “Hubris is arrogance or excessive pride, often leading to a person’s downfall. Hubris is a noun, the adjective form is hubristic.”https://grammarist.com/usage/hubris/
2        Plexiglas portals
Generally aircraft windows are made of what we colloquially call "plexiglass" of some kind … This material is light, relatively strong (not shatter-proof, but it'll take a moderate beating) and has decent optical properties. Its major drawback is "crazing" -- hairline cracks on the surface of the material that form over time from dirt, stress, temperature, UV exposure, and the like.
3        Tiny holes:
… The little hole [in the window glass serves a couple of purposes, but the biggie is pressure relief/equalization”.
4        Aural labyrinths are “complex structure[s] in the inner ear
which contain the organs of hearing and balance… bony cavities (the bony labyrinth) filled with fluid and lined with sensitive membranes (the membranous labyrinth).”
5        Valence: positive and negative emotionality and perception.
“Two Sides of Emotion: Exploring Positivity and Negativity in Six Basic Emotions across Cultures”
Sieun AnLi-Jun JiMichael Marks,4 and Zhiyong Zhang
6        Doomsday Clock is a theoretical representation of terrestrial apocalypse.
7        Logs in the eyes. Biblical reference, Luke 6:42.
How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.”
8        2023 Doomsday Clock Announcement
9        Siren’s well is a coffee shop with a mermaid logo.  
10      Poodling, a reference to internet search.
11      Reference to airport runway lighting. https://www.pilotmall.com/blogs/news/airport-runway-lights-spacing-and-colors-all-the-details
12      Reference to vocabulary and meter in a literary sonnet. This section of “Aerial Mazes” follows the sonnet form, ABBA, ABBA, CDE, CDE.
13      Flossed: “to behave in a way that is intended to attract attention or admiration.” https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/flossed
14      1 Corinthians 3:13 NASB. “But now faith, hope, and love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

Original illustration by author.

About the author

Wendy Lewis; visual artist, poet and Canadian woman of colour. Born into the Montreal experience a la Vico Magistretti, “look(ing) at usual things with unusual eyes”. Wendy Lewis in her last semester of the Arts and Culture program.

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