The Sentient Castrum That Once Protected the Octopoids Now Has Nothing But Time

The Nimbus came again and breathed a biting cold against my façade. The array of wintry daggers reminded me of the great yesterdays of when I was a castle. The magnificent days. The brighter and lighter days. The days when the royal Octopoids I housed ruled over a gorgeous, desolate moon. I served them with patience, with sturdiness. I served them until The Pulse took place; the bursting wave that bent all things out of shape. As a castle I was helpless. I was stripped bare and mauled by The Pulse. I was violated by a happening with no face, by a massive tear in time. My rocky frontage was gone for the most part, though I maintained a strong expression on the left-hand side, the side that allowed me to visualize. Over centuries I saw all things fall, and for years and now I rot and freeze and watch.

I watch the Lonely Time Traveler from Afar. He stands in the same spot, trapped in the atmosphere of The Nimbus. There once was a time when he moved around slowly. He was a victim of The Pulse, a humanoid displaced out of time. Before he froze he attempted humor. And now he stands unmoving next to a garish time-displaced vehicle and it looks very poignant from a distance.

The gaudy auto came moments after the Lonely Time Traveler from Afar arrived on my moon. It came covered in filth and an air of excesses. It wasn’t sentient, either. It couldn’t communicate, and this depressed me. It became a toy for the surviving Octopoid.

The Octopoid that survived was formerly an Urchin, a small one without a family. She lived inside of me for months. I did my best to keep her small and slippery form warm, and when we felt The Pulse I did all I could to protect her, meaning that I couldn’t do much at all. She was the lone survivor and I watched her as I rotted and froze, watched her grow in size but not adulthood. She never had the chance to come of age. There was no one alive to teach her, to communicate with her. I watched her play with the lurid transporter and slide close to The Lonely Time Traveler from Afar. She still knows nothing other than physical pleasures and hunger.

I watch all of this from afar and do nothing, because I have nothing but time.

Pavel and Metiri

Pavel thought of his cold concrete floor as a king-sized bed. On the night before Loatia’s bi-annual Threnody, Pavel laid rigidly in his bed next to his best friend, Metiri. Metiri was a crescent and was twice the size of Pavel. Since Metiri was limbless, Pavel draped a paisley blanket over where its brain was to keep the kind lunula warm at night.

Pavel feared Threnodies.

“Why induce death?” he thought, his face propped up by two pillows, his eyes fixed on the ceiling of his room. His breaths were shallow. Slowly, he sank into thought. Moments later, he realized he was trapped in an asymmetrical section of his mind, cornered by the old intangibles Anxiety and Dread. Pavel was frightened, so he decided to search for irony in the situation.

“How can I be cornered in a room without symmetry?”


In Loatia, the Threnody was a sacrificial ceremony where local governments throughout the country would select citizens at random to be dissolved with nitro-hydrochloric acid and poured into the Sea of Murnan, to the east. The Orthodox Lecheorian priests would then sing dirges until sundown of the following day.

The ritual was relatively new to Loatian culture; it was inherited and instated by Lecheorian bureaucrats in the throes of the Lecheor – Jord conflict roughly three centuries prior.


After a few seconds, which to him felt like an eon, Pavel broke free from the immaterial, lopsided room. He saw the ceiling again. He turned to Metiri, felt its cool white light on his callused middle fingers.

“Your feet make me feel safe. They always make me feel safe.”

The moonlight that Metiri emanated gradually placed Pavel back into a trance. He was back into the asymmetrical room. He saw Fear now. Fear stood directly in front of Dread and Anxiety, forming a triangle. It was the only symmetry he saw inside of the room. The only symmetry until he saw Metiri enter the room from the east.

Metiri’s presence was brilliant, its bright white light quickly dissolving the phalanx. The room began to shift into a gorgeous symmetry; first into a rhombus, then into a perfect square. His mind was lucid. All was as nothing.

Pavel saw the ceiling again. His hand was now pressed firmly against Metiri’s feet. He felt liberated. Kingly, even.

Schizophrenic Prisoner Abandoned in Washroom of Old Coal Mine

The floor was cold. Cold and grimy. And soft. Yes... it was soft now. I ran my fingers between the cracks. It was soft now. I could feel it in my fingers. It didn't look soft, but it was soft. It was very soft. Like a sugar glaze. Yes, like a sugar glaze. I could feel it in my fingers.

I ran my fingers between the cracks.

"WOULD YOU LIKE TO KNOW WHERE I AM?!" I yelled toward the entrance. The Light had come back around, greeting me again.

"Yes, of COURSE I'll write it out for you!"

I began to write out my location for The Light. Of course I'll write out my location for you, Light. Of course I will, my friend. Of course I will. Of course I will.

I stuck my fingers into the sugary soft muck of the floor. Or, I tried to. It looked like a cold glaze... it did, truly! It looked soft, but it made my fingers bleed. After a few hours a few of the bones in my fingers began to jam and swell. The middle finger on my right hand turned into a purple sausage.

Where did the pain come from? The floor is soft, sticky with muck and sugar. Where did the pain come from, Light?

I ran out the door, towards The Light.

"LIGHT! Answer me!"

"OK, I'm calm. I'm calm."

I walked back inside. When my feet rubbed against the floor it sounded like the inside of a gymnasium. Why? The floor is soft! Why does it make the noises?

"WHY DOES IT SOUND THIS WAY?!" I threw a tantrum, shaking the chains that hung from the ceiling.

I took a deep breath, deep down from the bottom of my diaphragm. I tasted soot. Ash. I remembered.

The coal mine's washroom, abandoned for... how long?

I knelt down slowly, inching back toward the floor. The floor was cold. Cold and grimy. And soft...

Feral Wether

 Feral Wether , a "narrative soundscape" about a hybrid human-ram who tells his story of exile to a rotten banana called Musa. By Justin M. Knipper.


What is this?

  • ‘Feral Wether’ – a narrative soundscape for voice and electronics. It is made up of layers of natural and synthesized voice and various other forms of keyboard synthesis.
  • This narrative soundscape follows the story of a hybrid humanoid – half boy, half-ram or goat – that is exiled to a prison landfill on a war-tattered planet called Jord. He “sings” his story to his only friend, a banana named Musa.
    • A wether is a term commonly used for a castrated ram.
    • Musa is the genus for bananas and plantains.
    • This follows a very strict narrative structure. It is formally divided into chapters, not unlike those found in short stories or novellas. It is, quite literally, a sound poem.
    • Voice as a focalizer – a device meant to allow the conscious mind to “see” the narrative. This is why I opted for a spoken word performance instead of melodic singing; the monotone text is now a focalization device, not a melodic device.


  • The Work:

List of Chapters in Feral Wether:

1)    Prologue:

i.     An omniscient narrator depicts a hot and wet prison planet, Jord. We are alone in swampy, refuse-filled area. Dense, oozing droplets of thick rain smack against marble or linoleum. “This is where our story begins” is quite literal in this sense

2)    A Wether Lives in a Landfill Prison and Sings to a Rotten Banana

i.     We are 24 years in the future from the rest of the story. Our main character, Wether, “sings” the same story to his only friend, a now-rotting banana called Musa.

3)    Foreshadowing a ‘Death March’

i.     A short transition section that foreshadows Wether’s ‘death march’ from Norbottenia, his original home, to Jord.

4)    A Wether’s Family History

i.     We travel back 24 years in time as Wether describes how he’s arrived on Jord. We find that he is the child of a forbidden bestial love. His local community (the komunerna) locks him in the local jail (the lada) as he awaits the “nice men from JASA (Jordian Aeronautics and Space Administration)” take him to his new home.

5)    Lock-Up and Lift-Off

i.     We aurally witness Wether being put to sleep with Laser Barbiturates as he’s thrown into a Titanium Tube and sent to Jord.

6)    Welcome to the Rest of Your Life (In a Prison Landfill on an Alien Planet)

i.     Wether arrives on Jord. He enters the prison and meets his “welcoming” new family of prisoners. The prisoners scream at him, describing him as “fresh fish”. They’re rather excited, for some reason.

7)    A Short Walk Across the Prison Yard & The First Meal

i.     Wether takes his first walk across the prison yard, taking in the atmosphere. He is served a plate of hot flowers from the electric soil that causes him to hallucinate and “transform” into something new.

8)    Hallucination and Enlightenment of a Wether, or, A Revelation

i.     Wether’s voice metastasizes, implying a complete transformation of character. He begins speaking in an abstract, aphasic tongue, communicating a chain of unrelated ideas, images, and, emotions, memories and revelations.

  1. This is a pyramid poem I wrote asemically, without conscious recognition of language or logic. It is, in the words of Andre Breton, “pure psychic automatism.”

ii.     Wether claims he is now Pan, the Greek half-man half-goat god of god of the wild (among other things). Before this, though, he speaks the phrase “Time-maggots in two-dimensions”, expressing his belief that time is two-dimensional and linear. It implies that everything is happening simultaneously, which in turn implies that the piece is occurring as a whole simultaneously – the piece is a 2D simulacrum of an event, a linear vortex we can visualize in our conscious minds.

The text:

Feral Wether                   Justin M. Knipper

I. Prologue

Jord was a prison planet. Its climate: sweltering hot, rainy, unchanging. The rain was viscous and tepid. It defined the planet.

This is where our story begins.

II. A Wether Lives in a Landfill Prison and Sings to a Rotten Banana

Loggia. Here I stand in The Loggia. (Or what I've been calling The Loggia - Most call it a landfill but I call it the Loggia).

All I can do, Is sing for you, Musa.


24 years ago, today, I was exiled into Cygnus.

Destination: Jord. (Or Kepler-22b, Whichever you prefer, Musa) Jord, near the star Deneb.

I was sent to The Loggia in a Titanium Tube. The Loggia. My new home; sublime.

I'm surrounded by treasures: Detritus, ammonia, Excreta and methane.

Citizens come to stare; They speak to me, but I don't understand the language.

You are the only understands, Musa. This is why I call to you, Musa.

III. Foreshadowing a Death March

IV. A Wether’s Family History

I was conceived on the terra nullius of Norbottenia, In the sty of a pig farm.

My father had a long white beard – As did my mother.

This was the problem.

Mamma was a kvinna get, Pappa was a starke man.

And I was the product, Of their pure, unwieldy love.

This revolted the village locals; Norbottenia despised us.

They protested to the kommunerna  And had me sent away.

They jailed Mamma and Pappa For tidelag.

V. Lock-Up & Lift-Off

The locals locked me in the lada Until the nice men came from JASA To take me away, To send me to my new "home".

They told me it's a better place Filled with finer things and similar people.

They put me to sleep With laser barbiturates;

I awoke approximately 46 hours later, My eyes wide inside the Titanium Tube.

VI.  Welcome to the Rest of Your Life (In a Prison Landfill on an Alien Planet)

I woke up and looked around; I looked at the void up above. I sensed I was very far away



They said I was in a prison, Next to a landfill. But the inmates sounded friendly; Their voices – they welcomed me.

VII. A Short Walk Across the Prison Yard & The First Meal

I walked across the front yard; A beach of bones with precious stones.

My first meal was a plate of hot flowers That grew from the electric soil.

VIII. Hallucination and Enlightenment of a Wether, or, Enlightenment

Machine. Fruits, gnosis. Propel discus scissorman. Fortunate processes after growth. Hypertext, close-up, changing, monologue, hologram. Stone hidden, it breaks all hearts. Folic acid liquid girl; Alpha Centauri after-party. Sumerian, happening, Olympus, Book of Dada; more machines. Sand, layover, clouded, nostalgia, formless mass floats over it. There is no reason to end things: Eye, accept paradox.

Time-maggots in two-dimensions: I am Pan.