Tuesday, December 20, 2011

See You 'Round, Kid.

There's this thing about losing something: You find a way to blame yourself. I wrestled with this sense of guilt, this need to apologize. But then, I remembered: The cheating, the frigidity, the unceremonious letting go via text message (Hell, she didn't even like my puns). So personally, I feel any fire behind my words isn't unwarranted. I was, perhaps, being brusque in my efforts to save a thing not even worth saving. I don't know what was required of me, why I was being kept around. None of my theories make me feel good about myself, either. There's a feeling there like being toyed with, kept, tamed. I know my charms: I can be sweet, I can be affectionate, I can be disarming. I'm a nice pep-talk when I want to be, and I guess that made me worth keeping- but only at arms length. On a leash, or in a pocket, though, is no where I'd like to live.
     I spent an amazing weekend being reminded what it's like when a person not only says that they value you, but acts like they do, as well. Actions speak louder than words, and I'd kept saying it lately, but not really doing anything about it, not actually holding anyone to that standard- possibly because I knew she couldn't live up to it. I'm learning, what my priorities are. Thusfar, in my relationships, I have never had to worry about feeling respected. I've been fortunate to be with women who followed (or at least tried to follow) the golden rule. So when I found myself with a girl who did not, it was a bit of a shock, I was blind sided. I had to regain my footing to realize that while I enjoyed the challenges presented, I missed relying on the fact that the person who was important to me, felt I was important, too. The way we treat things reflects how much we care about them. I will never forget that again. It took two examples for me to come to this point, one of which I am begrudgingly appreciative of, the other, I want to celebrate.
     I'm no one's crucible, I wanted to tell her. She said she had things to work out, things left to discover about herself. You always come into people's lives in mid-chapter, and no one dies fully formed, I believe. We're all, always, just along for the ride, and have to watch- or participate in- each other's processes. But We're not proving grounds, and after a point you've just become collateral, a casualty of some one else's false start. And, like any good refugee, you walk away. You finally stop trying to piece it all back together, and realize this is your new life now.
     I feel so fooled. So embarrassed. So wounded. Ashamed. How much of that should I allow, and how much of it is just a blow to my admittedly testy sense of pride? I feel taken for a ride, conned. I feel like more than a few geeks of the mid-west have been laughing at me behind my back, I feel clueless. That's a blow. But maybe, it's all me, and my baggage. Does it really reflect on what we had, what she was for me? What was she? What were we? Children at recess, and little else, I'm afraid.
     So we part ways. I always want to wipe it clean, to empty the vault. She was a great muse.  But, a part of me hopes this is the last thing I write to or for her. I want to see what we had for what it really was: a lark, a vignette.
     Yes, my heart genuinely did skip a beat. But he's back on track now, thankfully.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Sorry, Megaman, Your Princess Is In Another Castle

I wish that I could tell you,
All of the steps that I've been taking
And Zelda you could help me, too
With these pots that I keep breaking.
Down to my last heart, the beeping won't yield,
methinks I can fight it out
I took a good look in my mirror shield
The hero I saw removed all doubt.
At last I've found the dungeon map
So now I know that I won't get lost
hookshots and puns to cross the gap
But I find it doubtful the distance is the boss.
So, here's a song for you on my type-writer ocarina,
I cannot wait 'til we meet again, and you ride me like Epona.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Empty Vessels

The Coffee Mug and The Wine Glass stood next to each other, just on the edge of the counter top. The Coffee Mug had been smitten with The Wine Glass for some time, admiring her slender stem, the curve of her bowl. The lipstick stain on her rim. For her part, the Wine Glass admired the artisan pottery of the Coffee Mug, his vibrant colors and whimsical form. As the two found themselves there, staring down the height of the counter, a conversation began. They talked of many things. The Wine Glass admitted to sometimes wishing she were a teacup, and The Coffee Mug confessed he wasn't really the morning person he pretended to be. They confessed, they shared dreams. The Wine Glass dazzled The Coffee Mug with her beauty and grace, The Coffee Mug was charming and thoughtful.
     There, on the edge of that counter, as if by unspoken agreement, neither mentioned that they were both empty. An empty wine glass is such a fragile thing, she thought, knowing he'd noticed, but hoping he'd not care. What could I be to her? He asked himself, I'm just a cup. She's practically an accessory. neither knew, sadly, what they were to those around them. Neither of them knew how deeply they were occasionally needed. Neither could see how differently people acted when they were around. If they did, perhaps some of their awkwardness might be avoided.
    The two empty vessels stood there, on the edge of the counter, dancing with words. She of the long, glamorous night, he of the purposeful morning. The things they held in common were invisible to them. It's possible, that given enough time, their mutual admiration would be enough to see them through until they could discover that they were, in fact, kindred.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Appian Way

It was three thousand, seven hundred and six miles ago
Sixteen states of the union,
A thousand states of mind,
Since we split up that night,
Outside of the diner
And you'd wished me all the best.
But you found out my lies and you
Heard 'bout what I'd done
From a pay phone in Memphis
I heard all your cryin',
Waited 'til you were done shouting.
I got in my car and rolled down my windows
Let the radio take me
Far from what I'd done
The highway's a calendar
It counts down the days
From what I've been sent a way for
'Til my cross on the hill
So I'll drive on down
The longest road in Rome
It's just got one stop light
But at the end of it
you're home.

Friday, December 9, 2011

These Tired Eyes Shoot Daggers

What you call a parting gift
I call a parting shot
say it's what I get
blame it on what you got
But still
I like where I'm living
Let's be real
All of the choices we're given
Are forks in the road
We brought ourselves to
Are lines in the sand
Between me and you
So let's dance
And call it a fight
Let's make up
And then call it a night
Wake up hungover
Just to do it again
These words are bombs
Each utterance is a sin
Those same three words
Until the bitter end
But I'll hold your hand
Like this clutching could save me
We'll cling and we'll hold
Until we figure it out
I'll wait if I must
Until there is no more doubt.

All The Good Origin Stories Taken, Wolverine Should Have Been Virgin Born.

I'm a bit of a humbug, really. I've never liked Christmas, at least not as anything remotely resembling an adult, or at least with intentions of becoming one. And, truth be told, I've never resembled an adult and wanted to be one at the same time in my entire life. But that's a side note. So, I don't like Christmas. I have, though, recently begun to get kind of excited about a 'secular Christmas' and years and years from now, celebrants of Christmas will explain to the unfamiliar (Extraterrestrials? Arabs? Amnesiacs? People in Wyoming?) that Christmas is when we all get together and celebrate peace, giving, and wonder. For their own sake. I don't like the commercialization of the Holiday. Let's get rid of that, thank you.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Letter Written From Second Chance Abbey

Dear Girl: (A)

A crisis of faith is a profound thing. I should know, I'm experiencing my first. You sent me that postcard, explaining your awful laughing fit, and so I followed you here. I'm running on a hunch here, but I rather suspect that all I have to do is simply hand this off to Brother Vespasian (who seems to be the valet) with your name on it and they'll make sure it reaches your hands. Even if you're not, in fact, here. I simply can't tell- I only ever seem to see Brother V and Abbot Weaver.
    So here I am, alone, not even sure you ever passed through. And it occurs to me that while I was heartbroken when I saw you last (for the holidays), it's only now that I'm here, and perpetually confused, that I realize how many things I've been second-guessing lately.

Which isn't really like me.

You know I''d had high hopes for my future with The Vixen And that's unlike me, too. I'd always known the future was going to happen, and known I might as well spend it with some one. But until her, I figured it would just happen. With The Vixen, I wanted to make it happen. So you can imagine what a shock it was for me when I lost that chance. I've never much believed in anything, and when I finally do...
     Ah, but looking out my narrow window to to the cloudy sky has just gotten me melancholy. I can't sleep, Abbot Weaver's little interviews always set my mind racing. I've accepted his offer of wine, finally. I thought it was some kind of test but since the first night I decided to take some, there's been a bottle waiting in my room every night since. They seem to want me perpetually drunk... or hungover. My mood hasn't been it's best lately, but the Abbot seems nonplussed. he marches on, asking me with unfailing accuracy about all sorts of events in my life, gauging my reactions, discovering what I was thinking at the time, how I feel now...it's surprisingly exhausting. I'm not entirely sure what his goal is, any more. The Second Chance Abbey. So apparently, he's crafting, god-like, some kind of new life for me to inhabit when I leave. Vespasian explains to me that it'll simply be as though I'd made all the right choices. I've a sneaking suspicion that things will be exactly as I'd left them, and the cosmic joke of a lesson will be that the choice you make is always right, because it's the one you made or something equally trite. I can only hope some genuine change is realized. I can only hope it's a real second chance. I'd say that I'm praying for such results, but I wouldn't know where to direct those supplications.
     I really ought to be turning in, there will be another early start and subsequent list of grievances and convictions. Or perhaps opportunities? Looking back, now, I can't tell the difference anymore between my crimes and my narrow misses. Is it just me, or does guilt, over time, occasionally turn into victimization? I probably shouldn't let that happen. or vice-versa.
                                                                                                              Cheers & Tears,
                                                                                                                   Your Slinky Vagabond.

it goes without saying of course I'll be doing everything in my power to be sure opportunities abound for us to cross paths again in my 'new life'. I've not forgotten how great we'll be.                                                                                                                                                                                                                   SV.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Clearing The Air

I was led up to the roof of the abbey after spending an hour or in my private room (monastic nomenclature aside, I couldn't bring myself to call it a cell) after the evening meal. There on the roof I found the Abbot, who'd introduced himself to me as Weaver, staring up at the night sky, smoking a pipe. He turned as he heard up clambering through the trap door, myself and a smaller, balding monk. I hadn't seen brother Lurch since before dinner.
    Abbot Weaver welcomed me to join him by the ledge, motioning with expansive gestures. The smaller monk leaned against the wall of the stairwell.
     "Well, well, Vagabond. What'dya think so far?" he asked, smiling. I had the sneaking suspicion he was drunk.
 "Well, dinner was lovely" I said. I joined him in an awkward silence as he smoked his pipe and we gazed at the stars.
 "So!" he said, finally. "How does a young man such as yourself happen to become, er...a young man such as yourself?" he asked, waving one hand in front of him.
 "Well, it just kind of happened, I guess. I pulled the yellow straw."
He looked at me as though I'd spoken gibberish.
 "Well, there was this man...who, come to think of it, looked a lot like you- that came to town, and offered to let us draw straws to determine...well, I don't know. what we'd be, what we'd do... Anyway, I drew the yellow one. No one else volunteered to draw. But, he said the yellow one meant I have to travel. So, here I am." He puffed silently on his cigar, looking out over the woods surrounding the Abbey. Finally, he spoke.
"And relationships?"
I coughed, choking slightly on the cigar, and he waited, not so much patient, as impassive, as I composed myself. I looked up at hi, my eyes watering and my smile weak. I gave a small laugh and a large shrug. He snorted.
"Oh, come off it, Vagabond, I explained how this works. I know your background and we'll help you write some new chapters. We can't go all the way back but maybe we'll polish up some of the exposition. But along the way you'll tell me what I want to know and please don't act surprised by what I already do. Do know, that is." he finished helpfully.
 "Yes, I followed." I said, continuing to cough a little. He muttered smartass and turned back to the view. After a while, though, the questioning began.
"So. Tell me about the first. Tell me about Coloring Book."
I winced. While I'd thought of her often, Coloring Book's name was one I hadn't heard in a while.
"She, um...she doesn't speak to me anymore." I said. He nodded, and motioned for me to continue. "I blame her new fellow, of course. But then, you know that, right?" I added, perhaps too acidly.
 "No, actually. Your motives and all that we don't know. I know enough about you and CB, and that she doesn't speak to you. But kid, common mistake. I never know what any one is thinking. Until they tell me. You sound like you miss her."
 "Of course I do!" I said, flicking ash off the balcony.
 "Don't do that." He chided. "Well, what about Girl-In-Plaid? Y'miss her?" I thought about it  moment, trying to compose my thoughts, and afraid I might upset him with my answer. He was proving a little temperamental.
 "Well, no. I mean, we had great times. And, I loved her. But, we were so young, and it was a long time ago. I know she's happy, somewhere, doing something. I think she's married, now. I'm happy for her. But no, I don't miss her." He nodded again, and shrugged. "Well, maybe you're better off than we thought. What about the Brass Girl?" I choked again, but regained my composure more quickly. I put out my cigar, and set it on the railing.
 "No. I don't miss the Brass Girl. I was young, and stupid. And possibly sick. And so was she. I don't know how much of what we felt was real. We just...needed each other. Needed something. I don't know, it was a long time ago, and I was falling apart. I don't miss any of it."
 "She has a child, now, you know."
 "YES, I do, and so did Orphansong, before she-before she died." He patted me softly on the back. "We don't have to go through all of it tonight. I'm starting to get a good feeling for where your heads at, though, and that helps. Will you be able to sleep?" He asked.
 "After this litany? not likely." I answered bitterly. He offered to have some wine sent to me, but I declined. Mainly, I thought maybe he was tricking me. But he shrugged and said, "Suit yourself." as we walked back to the stair case. As before, he left me at the threshold, but his final words were more tender this time. "You know, you could try calling Coloring Book. It's worth a shot."
 "Thanks, but no. I've tried. It's no use." He sighed , and again patted me on the back.
     I descended the stairs with the smaller, bald monk. "I'm Slinky Vagabond." I introduced myself, as I followed behind him.
 "Brother Vespacian." He muttered, keeping his neck bent, not taking his eyes off the steps. It seemed an ostentatious name for a monk, especially one so small-to say nothing of the irony.
 "Is there anyone else staying here at the Abbey?" I asked. He grunted in reply, still not turning. "I'm looking for a friend, she sent me a postcard-" At this he whirled, and thrust one finger up to my face. "Who sent you? Let me be clear. We don not- DO NOT- share our guest list. not even," And here he paused, presumably for dramatic effect, and pointed his one, bony finger to the sky. "With other guests!"
And with that, he turned and sprinted down the steps, abandoning me in the stairwell.

Monday, December 5, 2011

I Know As Little About This As You Do

God and Love sat together on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, watching the sky brighten in an overcast dawn. The city was empty, as Justice had completed her evacuation of the capitol mere hours before. God sat, his tie loosened and sleeves rolled up, nervously checking his phone.
 "She should have called by now." He said, looking out over the reflecting pool. While the clouds prevented any dazzling reflections of sunrise on those shallow waters, the red sequins of Love's dress somehow found a light to play with, and glittered beneath God's blazer, wrapped around her shoulders. Her  bony, emaciated frame shivered in the brisk morning, and she idly twirled her long pearls around one finger.
 "I don't see why she had to take all of those people, it's so boring here now. Couldn't she have just done this by herself?"
 "It is the very nature of an evacuation that it be a well populated affair." God said, smiling. "By definition, she couldn't evacuate alone." Love glared at him, then went on:
 "Well, why couldn't I go with her?"
 God narrowed his eyes, but they kept, as they perpetually do, their mirth.
 "The situation leading to evacuation did not require your inclusion." This warranted a yelp from Love, and she swatted him on the arm.
 "I do hate it when you all treat me as though I am simple."
"Oh, no." He laughed. "Not simple, never that."
 "Stupid, then." She muttered, feeling corrected. God was silent, smiling at her. He nudged her elbow with his.
 "Stupid, then." They both smiled at the old family joke. Love's sharp fangs, like her dress, still managed to shine in the sun. She sighed. "So how long must we wait?" God again checked his phone.
 "It's already been too long. I can't imagine what's taking her. She's simply got to march them to the harbor, put them on the boats, and make sure they don't kill each other in the process." Just then, the phone in his hand lit up, and began vibrating.
 "It that her? Is she done?" Love asked clapping her bony hands over her breast.
 "No, it's Entropy." God said, reading the text from his screen and grimacing. Checkmate, it had said. "Don't worry about it. Shall we walk?" He asked, rising. Love put one hand in the air and he helped her up, as she smoothed her red dress. They descended the steps, arm in arm.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Water Creature Testament

These poems were all written in the late winter or spring of 2008. I'm sharing them because re-reading my old work is usually a good way to jump start any lagging creativity. I think they have a home here, too, nestled in among my more recent work. They represent a cycle, and to me are a fairly unified work. Their ordering, while not arbitrary, does not necessarily indicate when each was written. All errors original to the 23 year old who wrote them.

Prelude: Allison Blooms

it's a halo
it's a hurricane
it's lighting-from-behind
i am
keys in water
you are
torn fabric and and birchbark

there's a long silent drive
feeling like the moment when eyes begin to close
i came home
and ran my fingers over every piece of porcelin i could find
thinking of your neck

i've got no veins in my two selfish arms, only-
old pennies and bits of string, so the legend goes
you've got me feeling like live wires and steel cable.

it's sugar and coffee, acid and base
milk and honey
loaves and wine
we'e ascending heights, digging deep

i promised you a hand to hold down every hallway
you promised me you'd never run in fear
we thought and spoke and whispered and cried
we said
imperishable things
i saw you open for the first time, you put on the real you like a display
valient, deliberate you peeled back your skin
i know what it means
the light and shadow playing behind your bones
as the tableux plays out in your eyes
you are plato's 'the cave' made flesh

you will make and fashion from me
things i could not see without you
you fear permanance
and yet also-
you fear a mercurial 'us'
memories are scary before you have them
in the event they're all you have
or maybe never given chance to form

i will promise you again:
memories. photographs. letters.
secrets. promises. magic.

Water Creature Song
we will envelope, intertwine. we are scarves and hands and vines
you overtake and have consumed me, filling my vision, giving weight to my arms
you are my core and my stratosphere, the air and soil and the trees and the tides
inside me, around me, through me, my skin my heart my eyes and my breath

we are heavy winter coats on rooftops, you and i.
pulled tight to each other, guarding against the wind
we look down at distant streets far below our toes
hands locked, breathless in the chill air, waiting to jump

our eyes glitter when we smile, as seen through clove-scented smoke
we dance inside each other, swaying tree branches reflected in a babbling brook
our delight and our passion running deep, now swift, now slow.
we are water, we are pools, like a river, or a lake, when still.

you've made of me a thousand new creatures, strange and small and tame
they run scurrying over fallen dried leaves, or they sun them selves on rocks
or they soar between the glass and steel of buildings, or lounge between roots
i swim languorously in deep warm water, my oil-drop eyes full of wonder

i am only what i've been, i long believed, a line drawn slowly in lead on paper
but this fresh carved model me, dazzling pure in marble, copper, or cedar
all soft and quick and warm, at your side, your feet, your mercy, your church pew
will follow, loyal, when you leave the dark hall for wooded paths and trails.

Water Creature Creation Myth
they spring forth in all directions
upward, outward
like the creation of the world
these creatures
the shimmering exhalation
of some glad new Pandora's box
the jeweled case that when opened
lets the wonder in.
i do not know who you are,
did you build this, only to open it when we met?
the key in your hand unleashing such things
they explode outward and laugh, scurry to all corners
return to you, humbled, awed.
they will walk with you along river banks
and stories will be told
of the creations you set free
and brightened up the sun.

Water Creature Venus
dipping and diving
water cold, water warm
sunning after-
basking in the after glow
all things reflected, refracted.

we're pulsing and we're pushing
waves and rivers and pools
diving deep and treading at your surface
splashes, depths, fountains, depths-
swimming, surging
streams and gulfs...
we break the surface together
the great mythic swim.
the hot sun, our bodies, the cool water, your face
the rythm we know, the strokes and kicks and dives
the creature i am is the creature in you
these dark cave lakes
i am an olm in you...sinews, no eyes, glowing
we swim in each other, we are water, we are creatures
we are in love, it plays out on your beach, tides and moon...

The Prayers Of The Water Creature

i fell into you, an evening, my aches all melted away
the day and night of wretched things gave through to your bright eyes
i watch you do the work you love, i sat and sighed and yawned.
we made a bed, you held me close, and my sickness seemed to fade
you fight a fever with your smile, you wipe away the cough and cold
an alchemist, a snake oil, a healer, saint or walking miracle
you're all i need, under any cloud, in any hallway
or whatever
creature i may be
The Season For Evasion

how many forms, this creature, how many natives to this wood
born in water and woods, eyes oil-drop and some times closed
swimming still, flying, crawling or running-
running, running through tall brown grass, fleeing hunters
the water creature earthbound for one moon,
skin dry, fur matted,nestled in the hollows of trees
water creature in stages: larvae and adult, water creature evolving
out from the water, past the shore, into the bushes water creature slinks, to slumber
to hibernate, to grow and wilt and stretch
take flight, water creature, third quarter moon greets your first night in chrysalis,
as it did your beginning.
awake, water creature, not as the cycle of your slumber dictates,
but when she is bright and full,
a round eyed moon high and pale and shining.
stand, water creature, not when the moon smiles full,
but new, and dark and soft, night sky like black wine
the streak of the milky way across a sky pocked with stars, wounds in the firmament
shout, water creature, again at third quarter, as the symmetry dictates

we will fly, feet barely touching, the whispering carpet of leaves running through these woods.
i will guide you, my nocturnal eyes glittering and reflecting the stars and moon
breathless, giggling, we meet the edge of the pool, our toes touching the cool water,
this new water creature, this iteration of all that we are, diving and tumbling
sinking down amidst rocks and moss
breaking the surface, gasping, embracing,
in our secret pool, in our silent wood,
only the water creature and his blooming companion,
the vine that he grew out of,
fauna sprung from flora

The Crippling Goodbyes

I've taken a few nights off for: a cast party, bar hopping, and a cook out. Last night, though, was just fatigue and a large dose of apathy. Sushi for dinner and a terrible movie did little to make me care about things. Well, anything but the one thing. The one loud, overriding thing. One big, crappy enough thought will almost make you miss all of the old little crappy thoughts. At least the white noise of a cranky heart and brain I was getting used to.
     So, I don't like using these posts as journal entries, and I don't really want to talk about it, but I'm just going to. I guess I have to.
    It has not been a kind autumn. Stresses professional & financial, funerals, the passing of beloved family pets, and a break up have all been thrown my way since turning 27. There was a time I handled such things terribly- my body bears scars, my family can attest to the stress & worry I caused, and I was, really, just a wreck. Now, I'm holding up well.
     But, there's the numbness. The wanting of something- mainly just to sleep.
I've said goodbye to so many things, recently. All of them hurt. I bear guilt or scars, and want to make it all right, or to go away, but all you can do is move on. Live with what you're given, or you make.
   So here's hoping that having gotten this out of my system, I can soon return to our regularly scheduled musings and linguistic soft-shoe.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The God Of Nails

"The God of Nails came down that day,
And gave us men
A hammer."

"The God of Nails came down one day,
And made some men
A block of wood."

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Only Thing In An Empty House

The Ache stirred, and awoke. she stretched, flexing her claws in the mass of fabric beneath her, yawning. Small feathers were torn from the boa and floated in the air. She turned her tired eyes to take in her surroundings. The Ache's dark golden fur contrasted with the pile of clothes on which she sat: Sequins and silk, the white boa, and yards of lace. She nimbly hopped from the chair on which the clothes and been piled, and padded silently beneath the vanity, exploring the discarded heels, old make up, and fake eyelashes which had fallen there. The light came dimly  from the window of what was clearly a woman's dressing room.
     The curious Ache circled the empty room for a while, sniffing at old dresses, half-finished costumes, and torn photos showing a faded glamor. She batted an empty tube of lipstick around with her forepaws for some time before turning to head out the door, which has been left slightly ajar. As The Ache slipped into the hallway, the door swung shut behind her, causing the star which hung there to fall behind her. She turned, one last time, to sniff at the star briefly before moving on.
     At the end of the hallway, The Ache found a large, but windowless room, the walls lined with shelves, the floor cluttered with old papers, notebooks, and records. There was one large desk at it's center, but no chair. The Ache padded past photos of a young man, some smiling, some grim. She stepped on poems, and love letters, and paintings. The Ache seemed captivated by one in particular, and tore into it with her teeth, in that way domesticated things have, of biting and chewing with out eating. She was simply dismantling it.
     When the letter had been shredded to adequately small bits, each word removed from the next, The Ache jumped to the top of one of the shelves along the wall. From up there, she crept along the ledge, knocking over books, trophies, and plaques, each of which either spilled out it's pages, broke, or cracked it's glass facing. Unconcerned with the din of all her destruction, The Ache leaped quietly from the shelf to the desk. There an empty envelope sat, simply addressed: "Girl: (A)". This was all that sat on the desk's surface. So there, atop the envelope, The Ache settled in, curled into a ball, and slept.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


I've been working a lot, and last night didn't get in 'til one, and had to be up today at six. So, that made updating yesterday difficult. on top of this, certain recent events are sort of loudly drowning out what might otherwise be some creative background noise. It's hard to write much of anything good when you can only think of one thing- and it's something I refuse to write about.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Adrft, Anchor, Await.

Not tonight, I thought. I can't write tonight. But I'm going to. I don't have any thing to say. It's possible I've something to prove. Hell. It's likely.

And so it seems
the stars in my eyes
were glow in the dark stickers
they faded and peeled
and when I look up from my bed now
there's nothing to guide me home,
to navigate by as I sail away.

"Who Sent You? Let Me Be Clear..."

I'd mentioned to a good friend with impeccable taste, manners, and who is always punctual with a real sublime flare (of which I'm jealous.) that I'd been having a little stress lately. She crushed her cigar with her heel, in that elegantly feminine way she has, even when being coyly masculine. She asked if it was stress I wanted to talk about, or if she should just ask me how Thanksgiving was. I smiled wanly and told her,
"My Dranksgiving was fine, thank you." She laughed heartily and walked away, clapping. I called after her, to ask what was so funny. Her reply was nearly lost in the shreiks of her laughter, which I thought lacked the restraints of normal taste- she'd have said joy shouldn't have constraints, but that's easy to say when you were born in a coloring book. Finally, after gaining a modicum of composure, she managed,
"No wonder you're stressed!" and sort of danced away, singing to herself as she chuckled about my plight.
    A few weeks later, I received a post card, which pictured a monastery perched atop a mountain. Written across the front in a grayish blue script, read:
Greetings from 2nd Shance Abbey!
On the back, in her curious print that some almost perfectly matched the courier font, she'd written:

Oh, the Abbey is quite marvelous, I do believe you'd love it! But you see darling I know you never quite got the joke, and Oh! How you hate that so not to be dreary but I'll point it out: With that one response, SV, you'd thrown in a pun, alcoholism, and a hint of darkness hidden. It was terribly evasive and noncommittal, but you were wonderfully well mannered about it. And it was short!  My, dear: It Was Everything You Are! 

Having also tacked on an LOL I couldn't tell if she was joking or being mean, but resolved myself to find her at this damn abbey.

Liars & Zealots

It's very hard to know the difference between saying what you believe and believing what you say.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Slinky Vagabond And The Monks Of Second Chance Abbey

In which a premise is introduced, but not resolved.

I knocked on the large, wooden door and waited. Eventually, it creaked inward and there stood a tall, gaunt figure in a faded blue robe.
"Yes?" He intoned, and I of course thought of Lurch. I was pretty sure I had a reservation, or at least an appointment, so I told the door man I'd come to see the Abbot. He nodded (gravely, of course) and turned with out indication for me to follow, but I naturally did anyway. He led me through a narrow corridor to a flight of stairs leading down to the basement. He opened a door at the foot of the stairs and shoved me in the room, slamming the door as he left. I found myself in a cramped room with a low ceiling, cluttered with books and a few pieces of furniture. all in all, it looked surprisingly like the office of any college professor. In front of me, seated behind a cluttered desk, was an enormously fat man, also robed in faded and tattered gray. He beamed at me, though,and gestured for me to sit on the couch along the wall. I did so, and he clapped his hands and leaned forward on his elbows.
 "Well! What d'ya need?" He asked me, grinning like a child and taking out a pen that had clearly been lifted from a hotel. He clicked it a few times, the tip hovering over the legal pad in front of him.
 "Well, I simply wanted to have a room for a few nights, I was told I could sort of vacation here." I said, rummaging through my bag for the postcard. It seemed as though I'd lost it."
 "Sure sure," he said,  brushing a stray hair out of his face. "But after that, when you go?" He asked, again clicking his pen and grinning at me. He seemed oddly eager for this interview, and I just wanted to a rest. It was a long, long walk up the mountain.
"I'm not sure I follow. I guess after relaxing for a bit, I guess I'll just go home." I stared him uncomprehendingly, hoping to get this over with. He threw the pen over his shoulder, slapped his palms on his desk, and shook his head. I was becoming alarmed.
"Another skeptic!" he bellowed. He grabbed an object from the shelf behind him and tossed it to me. It was a snow globe depicting the Abbey, just as I'd seen it on my climb up the mountain. Labeled across its base was, oddly, "Second Shance Abbey". The Abbot scowled when he saw me reading it.
 "Screw up with the manufacturer in Hong Kong. Can't sell 'em, so they just sit around. Ironic we didn't just have a second batch made, though. Believe you me, the joke's not lost, on, erm....me." He said, awkwardly finishing his sentence as he got up and rounded his desk, leaning against the front of it.
 "y'see, kid, this place is called the Second Chance Abbey for a reason. You stay here, you rest, you write us up a plan. After we're done, you get out of here and dive head first into your brand new life. The life you design by looking back and telling us which choices you should have made. We make it so you did."
I was trying not to just gape at him, but was completely baffled.
"How exactly does this work?" I asked, trying to sound calm, but convinced the man was probably dangerously insane. He brushed my question off with a simple doesn't matter. He then grabbed my arm and gently, but unceremoniously, yanked me to my feet. He clapped me on the shoulder and laughed again.
"I know what you're thinking, and you just oughten't worry about it. One of the brothers will show to your room. The bell will sound for supper, and after that, we'll get you started with an outline for what happens when you leave here. Then maybe we'll have a cigar on the roof, me an' you, Hm?" He had by the this time led me to and opened the door leading to the stairs back up. Brother Lurch, the big guy, was standing there, of course, like a sentry, or valet.  "I managed to stammer,
 "But I don't know that I need any kind of do-over!" before the abbot shoved me out of his little room.
 "Sure you do," he said laughing, "At the very least god knows you want one. Now hush. Go upstairs, get settled, and be ready to talk after we eat. Yours'll be a lot of fun, I imagine!" and with that, he slammed the door in my face.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

THIS(chk) IS(chk) WRITER'S BLOCK(chkchkonechk)

...And then that sumbitch kicked me down a well or some shit. I landed in some puddle or something, and as soon as I looked up saw a bunch of weirdos running away in all various different directions. the closest was a fish, some kind of red thing or whatever, and he was just flopping away all scared like. so I picked the thing up, and immediately he started screaming, this fish was totally just talking to me:
 "No, no! Don't hurt me!" And I didn't know what to do, with this talking fish or whatever.  So I was like,
 "What the hell are you?!" And almost dropped the fish out of my hand. And then he was all like, OH I'm a Red Herring or whatever And acted like I was supposed to know what that means, Like he's all big and shit. So I told him,
 "Hey I'm Randall Parsons" and it was weird 'cause like, what, I'm friends with a fish or some shit? And the fish said it was nice to meet me, but that he'd never heard of me. So I was about to say something but then this voice from behind me chimed in, "Hey Irony, you ever heard of a Randall Parsons?" Then this guy kind of in the shadows in front of me says, all sarcastic like,
 "No, I've never heard of him." But he looked kind of familiar so I wasn't sure if I knew him or not, or if he was serious. Then I asked the fish,
 "Who was that other guy?" and the Red Herring told me the first guy's name was Frame Story (Which I thought made him sound like an old movie gangster or whatever) and that he was always interrupting, and sometimes jumped ahead.  I didn't need these guys' life stories and all, though, so I was just like,
 "Dude, fish I just wanna go home, man." And then some little skinny guy came running over and was all like, Hey don't you wanna know how you got here or you know what happened or how this place came to be and shit but then that Red Herring was all,
 "No, not now Exposition, I gotta get him out of here!" which was cool he was on my side and everything. But then I didn't know, 'cause he led me down this tunnel that had a sign that said "Dead End", and It just feels like I'll never get out of here. I don't know what's going on, which sucks, cause if I don't write this essay for English class I'm totally screwed.


i wish i could
run away with you
so that we could
run away from you
away from you
and your mistakes
away from here
from this awful place
but i'm left on a lonesome road
and you'll leave me to do it alone
but i'll gladly let you catch up
should you choose to leave
should you choose to get up
and to come along with me
we could find a road
that'll never run out
where nobody knows
and they'll never find out
That we aren't what we seem,
that we're smaller than that
that our records ain't clean
that we ain't worth
what we're valued at
but as long
as it's you and me
we don't need them to see
that the stars in our eyes
and the fuel in our tanks
is enough to get by
yeah it's all it'll take.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Fables & Myths & Lies & Promises.

It's a bio. Hell, It's an autobio, in that I'm writing it myself. This is the part where I tell you where I came from and how I work, huh? It says a lot that I'm writing this some three years after becoming a Tortuga. Am I lazy? no. And, I'm punctual to a fault, too, so what's the news? Well, I like to keep a tight grip on what I share. I'll tell you what I'm thinking, or feeling, as long as I get to control that flow of information. A full on Bio weirds me out. SO, I sit here, in Florida, with a six-pack and a determination to get this done. It's November, and a balmy night seems the perfect setting for whatever it is I'm about to tell you.

I began in DC. My early years were in Atlanta, there was breif interval in Raliegh, before settling outside of Charlotte, NC. Private school was followed by public school, which was breifly chased by college, and that was a fresh new hell the details of which I'll selectively omit depending on who you are. Were you to accompany me to a different party every night for a week, and let's say I was asked the same set of questions at each, you'd probably be dazzled by the variety of answers. I'm not a liar, I'm a performer.

I left the university of my choosing defaulting and floated, aimless, in Charlotte NC for a few years. I joined the Red Cross relief efforts in New Orleans following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. There's a lot to say about that, none of which I'll relate here and now (maybe). I returned to NC and continued a lot of nothing. A dear member of my family was taken, after a long, painful battle. We mourned her passing and celebrated the end of her struggle. This, along with my aimlessness, resulted in a tailspin which led me to attempt to join the Navy. I was denied the priveledge of service, and I sometimes still regret this, but ultimatly, realize it was a blessing which would eventually leave me available for my real calling.

All of this wandering and wasted time led to a wonderful gig working some professional theatre before my daily rounds of audition-board checking brought me to the Twins. So, there you are. In brief, my history. Brevity is the soul of something, right?

My deepest wish, in my heart of hearts (which I keep locked away someplace I'll never tell) is to greet the end of the world standing on broken glass, grinning and drunk, or maybe (even better?), hung over.

I'm going to tell you about my tattoo now.
In the tenth century, Coptic Christians from Ethiopia would often get one of a series of woodblock tattoos upon completing their pilgramage to Jerusalem. Mine is one from that series. It depicts the Angel of the Apocolypse, standing astride the planet, a sword in one hand, a scale in the other. To me, it has two meanings. On the one hand, the personal: A family name of some importance to me, and many of my relatives, is the surname Angel, the clan from which most of my personality traits derive. On the other, let's say moral front, I believe not so much in any dogma, but that there are principles, there are truths. I lik my rigidity, I like judgement. What is judgement if not the ultimate social realization of order? I've often said God is the best literary device ever invented (But let's face it, I said the same about love. What kind of picture do those two facts paint?). And to me, what's more dazzling than a God who would send his most beautiful creation to herald in your ultimate destruction? “Here, now, look you for the first time upon ultimate beauty...now END!” it's a gorgeous, mind-blowing scenario.

I love excess and respect moderation.

I'll tell you my darkest, deepest fear: That one day, I'll find myself in a crowded room, and be the only one there who isn't in on the joke.

I've my own mythology: I'm said to be be old pennies and bits of string, on the inside. Somedays, this is truer than others. I once said all I ever wanted was to be sexy and awful. Still trying.

The only things which have ever kept me from a good night's sleep have been physical in nature. Mentally, I always enjoy the sleep of the just. This will likely never change, and just as likely to indicate something horrible about my character.

I keep secrets. I dream of escape and searches. All of my wishes involve not simple improvement, but change. I will complain about something, I will vocalize dread, only to enjoy it, and never tell you so.

My second biggest fear is that I might be figured out by someone without having known or allowed it.

I've left out my lovers; it could only be highlights and selections, therefore feelings would be bound to get hurt.

I write best when writing litanies.

All of this, yet still I am constantly about to go nova with my wonder quotient.

Hi. I'm many names: JD, John, Lucio, Jon, and Pocket. Who did you meet?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Let's play find the missing italics.

A Haiku

I said that I'd write
Each day I was in this state
I've kept my promise.

these aren't the droids you're looking for.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Sound And The Fury And You

I was terribly, terribly, young
When the rains first came.
And the sound and the sound and the sound
Was crashing all around, it was all over all around.
I found some refuge in the hollow hopes I'd held
That a life for me was waiting, just waiting,
At the end of a long, long, long road.

The tempest was raging but the shutters drawn tight
When you'd come to town, when you started hanging around
The sky it hung low and the humidity could have crushed me
But you brought a breeze brought a breeze brought a cool breeze.
So you held me tight while the house was rocked and the power out
I shivered and shook and you held my hand, I rattled and buzzed but you held me down
You told me your secrets in the loudest part of the quietest night

When my rages were boundless and my emptiness viscous
You still couldn't run or walk or crawl away
When the thunder was closest and hail stones like bullets
You wanted only to hide me in the basement
But I flung open the windows and stuck out my arms
The rain it would lash me but the lightning never took me
I threw all your possessions like they were my weapons,
Like missiles and cannonballs, rocks and arrows for battle

The one thing I feared was finally what happened
With all of this weather a fog naturally forms
It rolled in on a Sunday obscuring the staircase
And the rain on the roof was the sound of your fall
I heard the echoes of your tumble, your curses and shouts
I couldn't remember, god couldn't remember, I still can't remember
If you fell or if maybe I'd pushed.

I awoke to your leaving, or maybe you'd gone
And the shadow whose back I saw was only a ghost
But I sat in the house and when it finally stopped raining
The silence was creepy so I filled it with song
And this is the first thing I wrote on that morning:

"If I could build a boat of my longing I'd set your body upon it and burn you both in the bay,
You'd sail home to Valhalla borne by a ship of all that I'd lost on that terrible day"

Well the rain still comes in some days
I guess I don't mind.
The hail's all but stopped now and the wind doesn't howl
I have all my ups and I still have my downs,
But I don't know anymore which is better, which worse
I talk about you in the past tense these days...
Where you've gone there's no storming,
Where you'll go there's just summer.
So I'll stand by my shore line watching the clouds as they roll in
I'll remember the days of the sound, and the fury, and you.
The sound, the fury, and you.
Me, and me, and you.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Past Was Sweet But The Present Is Louder

Nostalgia for me is like a bratty young sibling,
There's rivalry plenty but affection there, too.
But I've never been sure what to do with the feelings
It brings when I look back, and see there's no you.
So of all that I've lost and of all those left turns,
I'm glad, at least, of where they've brought me ashore,
Whether it's the ink on my back, or cigarette burns,
The road map I've followed lain out for you to adore.
I craned my neck backwards for a glimpse of lost love
And it made me smile, as I began to compare and contrast.
Stood together in line, one name (or several) rises above-
In all I could name, all I could want, you've got them surpassed.
With your wit and your beauty and talent and charm,
Even the bad news- hell, you do my brand of harm.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Breaking The Windows Of Aphrodite's House

The boy stood on the shore, and it was getting dark. In his hand he held a deep red, polished but uncut ruby, about the size of a fist. He cocked his arm back, and threw it into the breakers. He waited, but not as long as you might think, and finally, the surf brought it back. He repeated the throw, and muttered a curse as again the stone splashed into the ocean. As he waited for the inevitable return, he said the a single word, as if trying out a new language:
 "Gloaming." He smiled, and then reached down to pluck the ruby from the foaming tide at his feet. He tossed it gently between his hands, feeling the salt and water brush off in his palms.
 "Twilight." he tried again, trying to find the right name for the moment. He'd decided early on that simply dusk wouldn't do.
 "What is it exactly you're doing?" His sister asked from behind him. He turned quickly, startled by her voice, so close. The sand had muffled and surf drowned out her steps as he approached.
    He turned back to the ocean and silent threw the stone again, though perhaps half heartedly. She stood beside him as the stone, yet again, floated back to them.
 "Rocks don't float." She said, frowning as he knelt to retrieve the blood red stone.
 "Pumice does." he said simply, throwing again.
 "That's not pumice, though, now is it?" Se asked with a hint of exasperation.
 "Nope." he said. She grabbed his wrist as he readied his arm for another toss, and inspected the ruby. She looked at it a moment, then released his arm, laughing.
 "I thought so." she said simply, as he threw the stone again out to sea. "So what's the angle?" She asked her brother.
Another silence followed, and he of course didn't interrupt his task. Finally, as the stone was again floating back, he sighed.
"There is a place between the sea and the sky. I'm trying to hit that spot, I'm aiming. Eventually, it'll land there. If I can just get it into that space, If it can just land there...I'll know when there's no splashing, and it doesn't come back to me covered in salt water." He tossed again, and just as it left his hand: "Tears are made of that, you know." He finished peevishly, only half joking.
 "Sky," she said, as the red stone arced up into the air. "Sea." she noted as it splashed into the waves. They stood silently as it continued it's mysterious return.
 "You know, typically, I'm not sure hearts float, either." She observed as she stooped to pick it up, quicker than he could. She held it, but did not give it to him. "I hope you appreciate all of these second chances." She held out her hand, offering to return the ruby to the boy, who took it and gave a weak smile. He turned back toward the sea, but paused before moving further.
 "What would you do, anyway, if you managed to succeed?"
 "Get a good night's sleep." he said, dropping his stone heart into the waves at his feet. The tide carried it out to sea, and it did not return. They waited a long while, and eventually, she left without a word. The twilight, or gloaming, or perhaps, simply, dusk, never faded, and after a long, long moment alone, he turned and left the beach.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Silas Marner's No Hero, Slinky Vagabond, And There Are No Attics In Hotels.

In my head the staircase is creaking, and it's a long climb but I know there's a window in that attic and a mattress on the floor. There I shall lie and sleep, and I will wake, gaze out the window, and nod when I know the world is good, and I can sleep again. I'll throw myself back on that mattress, and wake every so often to repeat the process until this world is done and we can all go home again to wherever we belong: Heaven or Nothingness, Hell or Valhalla. I know it has to be just one of these things, and can't be any combination, because that's too much like life itself.
If we all have our own private destroying angels (and why shouldn't we?) mine will be ripped from my back to loom over me in judgment, and I imagine we'll meet in that attic, by the window. I can only assume the view outside will be blocked by my apocalyptic harbinger. Will we talk? Does he use the scale, or is it just a good prop?
     But all that's just a dizzy little vision for those naps in the attic- which I guess is all any of this amounts to, anyway. It's night terrors or idyllic poesy. But again, you wake, you see the sun just beginning to set, and you go back to bed. And in those dreams, well, then what? God only knows.
     And of course somewhere in that attic there's a cat, prowling and exploring. The cat's me, too. I think it's probable that if you're with me thus far that's no shock. The cat's a little less trustworthy than others I've known, perhaps he's a bit more feral, certainly less affectionate. He mainly comes along to watch me with silent, deep eyes, and stretch as a means of saying "I told you so". I can't help but look at him at such times and know the only reason we have trouble forgiving anyone who says "I told you so" is because they're right.
     So there it is. Sometimes you just find yourself laying in that bed on the floor, by the window in the attic. You're watching the cat prowling for the rats in the walls. You can not sleep, nor can you bring yourself to get up and look out the damn window. You know you left your record player on downstairs, but can't hear up here.
     Tomorrow, though, tomorrow will be different. Just, please, God, don't let tomorrow be a freeway day. The days when you wake up behind the wheel of a car that can't slow down...they're worse.

Tantrum in D minor


Monday, November 14, 2011

A Pocket story, part one.

I'm attempting to write a story about Pocket in his older years. it'll be slow going, but stay with me- mostly it's going to be an exercise not so much in telling a story, but seeing how I feel about what kind of world I'm making for him. As always, I welcome (hell, beg for) feedback, but understand I'm showing a very rough draft/outline. It will continue tomorrow.

Loopleaf looked up and his face took a quizzical turn. The young Faerie before him gazed down at the old Mariner. "Well, 'ello, Prince." He said quietly to the youth, his voice falling flat in the morning fog.  The Prince of the Fae kingdom of Pathia, Pocket Prospero Charming; Son of King Fernelius Charming, Son of Eldo Charming- who was the original 'Prince Charming' of so many Human legends- looked down at Loopleaf standing in his skiff. "Hello, ferryfaerie." He said with a weak smile. Loopleaf held back a sigh and shook his head, taking a long sip of his coffee, looking out at the bay. He knew the boy meant no harm, but Loopleaf had heard 'Ferryfaerie' on the lips of Humans only with a mocking tone. Amongst the Fae, he was simply 'THE Boatman', Chief of Pathia's Mariners, responsible for escorting Fae and Human alike to and from the Enchanted Isle of Pathia, which could only be accessed by those with the knack for finding it. No craft could enter the harbor, or approach the island at all, unless it was piloted by Loopleaf or any one in the long line of Pathia's proud Mariners.
     A silence followed, and finally Loopleaf looked up to the Prince, who seemed confused. "Pocket," he said mildly, "Mariner will do, or why not just call me by name, hm? We've known each other long enough.", which was true. Many years ago, Loopleaf had guided the young prince to the Human port of Wellestead, and there, both had been involved in a minor political affair of the Humans', which was precipitated in part by Pocket's rebellious uncle Thistle. After that trip, Pocket spent much of his youth at the docks, before being confined to the Palace (as Loopleaf had heard it) due to an unfortunate sickness. There had been a few instances when the Royal family had enlisted Loopleaf for duties or holidays off the island, and while the boy seemed healthy enough, it was not for Loopleaf to question the private life of royals.
     "Sorry. Loopleaf. How are you today?" The boy asked quietly. Loopleaf smiled. "Quite well, thank you. Now. What can I do for you, my prince?" He asked, bowing slightly. Prince Pocket did not answer immediately, but took a deep breath, held it a moment, and let it out explosively, saying: "Loopleaf, I need you to take me away from the island. I need you to take me West." Loopleaf furrowed his brow in thought. He arched his back and beat his wings slowly, giving them the first exercise of the morning. West of Pathia was nothing but open water; to the south and east was the continent of Ada, to the North, the Human's island kingdom of Wessult. Aside from the geographic mystery of the prince's request, Loopleaf was certain Pocket had sidestepped his father the king in coming to the docks that morning. The Mariner took another reflective draw from his mug as he considered what to do next. The Prince stared down with a blank expression. Loopleaf cleared his throat. "Now, prince, why is it, exactly, you'll be needin' to go West? I've been to and from this island a thousand thousand times, and I am not certain what you'd be seeking. There's, simply put, nothing there." The prince stared off into the waters of the bay, for a moment, then, seeming to find resolution, hopped down into Loopleaf's skiff. "Loopleaf. You need to take me West. I can order you!" Pocket said, attempting, but failing, to sound imperious. Loopleaf was certain the prince held no real power in this. The Mariner was fairly sure, in fact, that to comply with the prince's wish would put him in grave danger of punishment from The King. As Loopleaf was about to explain to the boy that he would not be taking him off the island, Pocket placed his hand on the Mariner's shoulder. "Loopleaf. You have to. I had a dream. Please." The prince's tone was startling, and it brought to mind rumors Loopleaf had heard regarding the reasons Pocket never left the palace: that he was dim, insane, or depressed; all of which were unheard of among The Fae; ailments for Dwarves and Men. Pocket's eyes were pleading, and they bored into Loopleaf with great intensity. The old Mariner sighed, and nodded.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Flayed Man

A flayed figure of a man on his horse. Piece prepared by Honore Fragonard, who was the first professor of Anatomy at the National Veterinary School of Alfort. He was dismissed in 1771 after six years of teaching as a "Madman"

MAN: Holy god, Zack Snyder is AMAZING.
HORSE: This isn't Zack Snyder, Chad. It's some other guy.
MAN: No no I took intro to film I know what to look for, did you see 300? this is SO him.
HORSE: I didn't take intro to film, but I know what to look for in the opening credits, Chad, and this guy's name is Singh.
MAN: Whatever, dude. That movie was rad.
HORSE: Do you even understand how plot and dialogue are supposed to work? We should have seen 'Anonymous'.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Just Before The Fever Broke.

you held a used up lead shot lodged within your heart, like a grim souvenir of the civil war a century before. I was cold like a gravel lot in autumn, full of craters filled with rain, and all the extra steps around them only took you such small distances.You'd bloomed, and withered.
I tried to take you with me on a road which wasn't yours, you led me, howling, down a hallway I'd promised to hold your hand in, as I'd promised to do down any hallway. Neither of us would be walking away from this with out scarring: blood, burns, & bills. Cuts, crimes, & crashes. Friends left us, we pushed them.
You never stopped screaming, I never stopped grinding my teeth. We found the lifeless body of The Water Creature, we buried him by the river and a single, small, pale narcissus flower grew up. The prophecies, hallucinations, fireworks and tornadoes we knew were coming for us never surfaced. Had we stood up to the bizarre fate we saw, and won? Or had the delusions of the fever finally ceased? We crawled from bed, two rickety, creaking frames: a marionette holding her own strings, & a skeleton made of cigarettes and Christmas lights. We shuffled to the window to find the rain coming down, and giddy, I leaped out the front door and you cowered in the closet. You watched me from within the house as I strode down the block.
     I would return to that house, after the sun was out, to find it crumbling. Our home, our temple, our archive, our barracks, and our bath still stood. You sat on the lawn with a brass lamp in your lap, and beamed up at me. "It had all come from this." you said, quietly, wonderingly. "The promises, the guesses, the lies, the hurt, the sickness, the dreams, the aches, and the allegories. And yes," You said, reading my mind, guessing the joke, "Also, the long lists." You held the lamp up to me, and as it passed from hand to hand, the lack of shock or current or any other feeling was as telling as any roll of thunder. The thing was empty, a shell, but all the same- A lesson. You'd passed me a relic. You'd told me a fable we'd lived through. "A djinn." I said. "No wishes." you answered. I tossed it aside, and reached down to help you up. You sprang to your feet without taking my hand, and our eyes met for the first time in our entire lives. I nodded. You shrugged. We walked inside to find two doors, side by side. "Have those always been there?" I asked. You laughed and admitted that between the two of us, you'd be the least likely to remember. "You don't remember them either, then?" You asked. I conceded that between the two of us, I'd be the least likely to tell the truth about the architecture of our home. We each of us opened a door and with a comic unison, jumped back with a fright. Two hallways stretched before us, dimly lit, walls crowded with doors. We faced each other. You gnawed your lip. I ran my hand through my hair. A grin slid slowly across your face, as I felt my own smile form. "Race?" I asked. "Set Sail!" you bellowed, and we took off, running.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Sleeping With Boots On

I planned to write this before I took a nasty spill off a ladder earlier today, so if it turns into a lot of unfinished thoughts, blame the Vicodin. I want it posted before I pass out.

The moment came for me while I was standing in front of the building where I worked, having a cigarette and afternoon coffee. It had been all over the news, of course, we all remember that- but in hearing two women yell to each other across the parking lot about it, I knew what I had to do.
     I remember next to nothing about the process. I remember standing in the gravel parking lot of my apartment, talking to my landlord. He wasn't much older than me, and eventually, we were just making small talk. It was the only time. I remember my boss telling me she wished she could go, and I told her that as I was not a business owner, home owner, or parent, my position was more uniquely suited than hers. And in all honesty, there's not much else short of standing in front of the airport, waiting for the shuttle to the main headquarters which was in Metairie.  I sat on my bag and smoked with a man who was a courtroom security guard from Iowa- many of the other volunteers, I would later discover, were from the Midwest. We were told this was because there had been fewer relocations away from the south and East coast, and that no fringes of the storm had reached that area. Like many things I heard then, I doubt it now. The process of signing in was a long one. Lines, forms, pictures for ID's, classes, and a lot of waiting. It was night by the time I made it to La Place, where I'd been assigned. I have no idea what determined who went where, but I lost my friend the courtroom guard. I, and a few others, were introduced to the Red Cross staff for our shelter, one of whom, in my memory, is essentially Kathy Bates, and her younger assistant, an over weight Native American boy whom I never saw without his ARC vest on. The kitchen of the church was fully stocked with snacks at all times. The cots were along the walls and between the pews of the church. There was one bathroom for each sex with a few shower stalls in it.
     I had a walkman and three tapes: Sinead O'connor's 'I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got', Husker Du's 'Warehouse', and The Replacement's 'Don't Tell A Soul'. One of these would not make it back. I had a number of books: 'Titus Groan', by Mervyn Peake, and some Salinger and Ghibran. And of course, a spiral notebook. It was never filled with anything of note.
     I don't talk about this experience too often, but under any kind of microscope, it quickly reveals itself to have been the single most formative time in my life thus far. I learned enough about people then to take Balzac to school, I think. The Human Comedy, indeed.
     I went seeking redemption. I went seeking the catapult's cradle that would hurl me into everything I'd prayed, begged, coerced, lied, and worked for myself to be. I thought I'd be the only one. I thought I'd be a stranger on the Mayflower, hunkered down with the Pilgrims. I found the boat has as many rats as saints, and I was at least among the humans. Even now, six years later, I am writing this on the verge of tears for many reasons, not the least of which is that loud, echoing, exasperated ache: "These people". A man in my shelter was at a bar, one evening, and met a woman. She was flirty, and handsy, and he told her he liked where it was going. She told him that for sixty dollars she could do a lot more. He gives her the money, goes to buy them more drinks, and as he returns, finds her similarly engaged with some other guy. Having essentially solicited hr for prostitution, he had little to say. This too, I would doubt, but I met the guy. There were stories of the rental cars the Red Cross provided disappearing, one even supposedly turning up in Vegas. True? I don't know, but certainly some were stolen. The worst of it, to me, was a day off we all had. That morning, a group of 6 or so older volunteers were asking around if anyone would like to ride into the city to see the levies. The alternative being sitting round the church, I took the once chance to get out. I regretted it almost immediately. We were tourists, here, in this disaster. My stomach sank when I realized what I'd done, what I was doing, and the disposable camera in my hand seemed like a child's toy, like I was too old to carry it around. Needless to say, I took no photos. We saw the levies, and on those roads we were not granted access to by the armed soldiers at the check points, our driver would make a lot of noise about us being the Red Cross, and had a right. I was mortified. I saw the one, single, most terrifying and bizarre sight of my life. On a median, in the street, three National Guardsmen sat by a trashcan fire. One of the young servicemen saw a dog across a parking lot. He took his rifle, aimed, and pantomiming recoil, popped it's barrel up as though he'd shot the dog. We left the city for the south eastern toe of the state, where the damage was greatest. We poured out of the van to speak to a man who was shoveling debris and rubble in to the back of his pickup, and as we chatted, one member of his group began picking up random object, examining them, replacing them. These were this man's belongings, and here, a Red Cross volunteer was treating them like items on a flea market table. Amongst that great body of volunteers there were fights, slurs, insults, and theft. All not only in a church that was so graciously housing us, but by people who were volunteer a great deal of their time to help those in need. Perhaps it was a late lesson for me, but that some could be dedicating themselves to doing such good, and still behave like that.
     They rang so false to me, then. I thought they were empty. I was empty, but in a different way. My void demanded a different volume. It's a very hard lesson, to learn so viscerally, the difference between good people and those simply doing good. Harder still is wondering which of the two you are. Simplicity is a thing that once gone, can never be returned. I couldn't tell then if many of them were there by mistake; I wasn't sure if the smell of rot and sulfur had been brought down with them puked up by the gulf, or was simply my own bitterness simmering and rising up. The immense, multiple fronts of pure shock made this kind of inner monologue hard to take, I sought comfort in the bizarre gothic world of Peake's 'Titus Groan' and Crown Royal. I paint all of them as vain, petty, and loud, but they are good people, they are not characters in some play I'm writing. Was anyone down there prepared to need to forgive? There was my lesson.  I can't hear the word 'Crucible' without thinking of that time. There's much left to say, and I didn't want this to simply be a rant. But this time formed me in many ways, not the least of which was my understanding of people. There were good people, too, of course. Beautiful, wonderful people. How sad that I've let them be shouted down by the ugliness I was next to, but looking back on it, I'm just filled with such sadness, it's hard to help.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


What's the fuel in our tanks, what wind fills up our sails?
What drummer drum drumming, what bread crumbs on our trails?
And who filled this chalice, the one we knocked over?
How'd I get so lucky, setting matches to clover?

We're sitting on tables, and we're standing on chairs,
I make all the wrong jokes, and you just flip your hair.
All your glitter and sex, all my words and my charm,
Can't fill up a life time, but sure can't do no harm...

We'll take every exit, we'll crash every party,
You're Marilyn Monroe, I'm Dean Moriarty.
Take my hand! (and, What else?), I'll take the same from you.
All these plans that we've made, Who cares that it's new?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

My Dark Love Awaits Me Each Morning

There's a cloud hovers over my love,
The soft vapor 'tis born of her heat,
From her countenance, rising above,
A rain cloud never could seem so sweet.
A shudder does run all down my spine,
As my lips, they are met with her warmth.
Though her cups be not large, still, quite fine,
And I care not the way they are form't.
Her bitterness, each morn I do seek
With days great toils ahead to combat
By her strength might I be rid of sleep,
And with great zeal I do thank her for that.
A Balm in Gilead e'er 'tis found,
When my love is brewed from coffee grounds.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Letter


I dreamed of you last night. I dream so rarely, these days. It was that spring in the village where we'd met. I've forgotten the message father had sent me to deliver to the Human Queen, and you & your brother had been sent on some sort of penance for your misadventures. I was so young, then, and was lost in everything that season. The people were like fireworks, I thought. My father's realm has always been a bit more stoic, and I realize, now, he'd likely sent me to get me off his hands for awhile, knowing a Human settlement in the full bloom of one of their festivals would keep me occupied for a good while. My memories are loud and cluttered with all that they'd arranged for themselves, those exuberant Humans. It was like nothing I'd ever seen.
    My memories are all of sensations, and sounds, snippets and bursts. Father of course sneers at me: "You have a man's memory, it's all tides and shifts, and as unreliable as they are". I can't, of course, begin to guess why this one trait of my people escapes me. Mother calls me her broken prince, and I know that everyone in the realm pities or mocks me.  I've a tutor, Tulipenny, and she tells me I'm not working hard enough. I don't know. I don't feel broken, I don't feel wrong. I can't imagine what it must be like, to remember everything.  I once told Tulipenny that I didn't mind not remembering, and she looked at me with the saddest eyes. They looked like human eyes, then, more full, with more things in them. She stroked my wings and after a moment cancelled the day's lesson. Since then, I've only been allowed to leave my tower to wander in the gardens. I haven't left the palace in a very long time.
     When I returned from the Human realm, Father set me to work, traveling around his kingdom, learning our history, our literature. He made me learn to fight, and I held this silly long needle and sort of danced. I enjoyed it, a little, but couldn't imagine poking some one with it. Eventually I'd had five trainers, all of whom gave up on me, exasperated. Father said my lack of concentration was embarrassing. Now, it's just Tulipenny, and she teaches me about plants & animals. We tend the garden, she and I, and that is something I seem to be good at. We have a menagerie, too, and it's hard for me to remember what medicines are best when my friends there are sick, so mainly I just keep them company.
     The one clear memory I have about that spring is the last thing you said to me. Father had called me back, and the festival there was over, anyway, and The Human Queen was returning to her castle and leaving the village. All of the people were streaming out of the gates of the town, and it was like another parade, but slower, and less organized (and I wasn't playing my drum). Because I was being called back, I was wearing my court clothes (which were itchy.) and a small Human boy I'd met asked me why I looked different. I explained to him that it was time for me to go, that I had to learn to be important. I told him that I couldn't play anymore, and I used father's favorite word- Responsibility. The child was sad to see me go, and so I told him we could still be friends, and still laugh, and maybe sometimes, If I ever came back to the village, we could run & yell & throw things. His family left with him still crying. I didn't know you'd been watching, but you came over and kissed my forehead. "You will be a good prince.", you said. Your brother laughed at us then, in that way he has of being mean but not threatening or hurtful, and asked, "Are you being nice?" and you punched his arm while you both walked away.
     I know everyone here thinks I'm useless, and you think I am silly, but one day, my father will be gone, and I will lead my people. I am a good prince, even if I'm broken. When my friends in the menagerie are hurt or sick, I call for Tulipenny and she helps them. Sometimes, If father is away on a long trip, I make several guards stand at the entrance to the garden, and let my friends out of their cages to run free for a while. I always make sure they have food, and water, and milk. I keep them warm in winter- mother yells at me for giving them all my blankets.
   I'm told all of the time that I am fully grown now, and should act like it, but no one can tell me what that means, and when they do try, it sounds terrible. I take good care of my friends, and when I am King, I will take good care of Father's people- I mean my people. I am a good prince. They'll see. You were right, Yrrw. So, thank you.


Monday, November 7, 2011

We Set Our Old Things Away

The man had flown for days. His face was taut and his eyes burned from wind, from sun, and dried tears. It was night, and exhaustion was beating back the exaltation of flight, his arms aching and lungs cracking, he knew he must land soon, but couldn't be sure he'd left the realms of king Minos. He couldn't be sure of anything, even the boy...was that real? Had there been a boy, a second set of wings? and the boy...drowned? No, no. Thought Deadelus. That was too long ago. No childish things. No children. Just The king, the monster, and the maze. His maze. His greatest achievement. But there, again, was a memory of a boy, an echo of laughter, and another set of wings...and anguish, and a simple image of a splash against an otherwise calm sea. But Deadelus kept flying.
     He saw far beneath him a fire, a large, bright pillar, perhaps as tall as a man, but slender like a torch. A signal fire, surely. Minos warning of his escape? The mad king could never be figured out, not even by clever Deadelus, He told himself, circling lower. The watchfire seemed deserted, and the night was chilly. Forgetting himself, he flew too close, and the heat of it melted the wax of Deadelus' glorious, ingenious wings, and ruined, they deserted him, falling away as he tumbled to the sand on the beach. Raising himself, he glanced at the beacon, and jumped back with a start: There, before him, a woman stood, utterly engulfed in a bright, blazing fire, a fire almost golden like the sun. A radiance. She seemed startled, and not the least it, amused to see him, cocking an eyebrow as Deadelus brushed sand off of himself and coughed nervously. "Normally I'm terribly clever, you know. Silly mistake, that, melting my wings. I should have known better." He joked lamely, but at the sound of his voice she seemed to be stricken: he face, first wryly amused, changed to show shock and urgency. "Beacon!" she shouted, rushing towards him. Deadelus, clever man that he was, shied away from this burning woman and stumbled back, falling. She collapsed on top of him and soon, both were engulfed in light and warmth, but there was no pain, and neither seemed to be consumed by the flames. The woman pulled him to his feet and stood, simply holding his wrists. She was staring at him pleadingly. There was a silence which Deadelus, true to habit, broke first. "Deadelus. I make tricks and clever things. Mazes, mostly, for people to get lost in. Or for hiding things. Not that I have secrets of my own, mind you. No I just...well, I'm good at them. Ahem" He ahem'd, and she smiled faintly, saying nothing. He looked pointedly over her shoulder to a discarded bow and several arrows near where she'd previously stood. "A huntress?" He asked. "Call me Diana" she murmured, smiling. "Well, that's an odd name, just where in hell did I land?" He asked, pulling away to inspect her things. As he did so, the farther he got from her, the dimmer the light and cooler the fire. As he crouched by her relics, he noticed he was no longer bathed in flame as she was- as they'd been- and was growing quite cold. As an exceptionally clever and smart individual, Deadelus was quick to deduce there may be some connection between the comforts and peace of mind he sought, and this mysterious woman. He grabbed one of her arrows and made his way back to her. "Do you have to bring that along?" she asked plaintively. "Well, didn't you, might I point out?" he asked, tapping his thumb on the arrow's head. As a brilliant and knowing man, he wanted to make sure she got his joke. She rolled her eyes and extended her arms. "Let's forget about those old things. I don't need those, anymore, I don't think." She said, smiling broadly. Deadelus crept just close enough that the radiance began to touch him again, and he could better make out her real features, no longer distracted by her glare. "Don't need to hurt anything else, hm?" He asked. "I'm a fairly bright person-no pun intended of course-" At this she again rolled her eyes, and stomped her foot petulantly, arms still extended. "And couldn't help but notice you are terrifically well armed." She crossed her arms over her chest and laughed. "Well, yes but I don't need to be, anymore, now do I? Beside. I am an incredibly wise woman, And I couldn't help but notice you're clearly very good at running away. But your wings are all broken, aren't they?" She smirked at him, and he negligently tossed her arrow over his shoulder. "Touche." He replied, stepping closer. As a wonderfully smart man, he couldn't help but use words that hadn't been invented yet, By people who did not yet exist. But his companion was suitably amused, and he felt a measure of success. He didn't know it at the time (nobodies perfect) but he'd been doing quite well since he crashed there, and that success wasn't his first. The two embraced, and as she rested her head on his shoulder, and both lit up the night, she whispered: "I've changed my mind. You can call me Artemis. Thats why I call myself, anyway." He grinned and said, "Now that's more like it, old girl."

Sunday, November 6, 2011


“Those Boots mock me.”
“They're not mocking you. Go to sleep.”
“They mock me.”
“Will you PLEASE go to sleep?”
“I don't know why you're worried. I'm the one who has to get up at six. And put on those ass hole boots.”
“There's man all over, for you. Blaming on his boots the faults of-”
“Oh, don't quote Beckett at me me now, Jesus.” The young man said, hitting his girlfriend with a pillow. She deflected easily and lightly punched his shoulder. “I thought it'd cheer you up, damn it. Now go to sleep, Ross. You DO have to be up early, and that's why I'M worried.”
“I can't do it. I can't go in. Do you know what they're going to make me DO in there?”
“Probably Warehouse-y things? I don't know. And of course you're going in. Barry is doing you a favor and your acting like it's a death sentence. GO. TO. SLEEP.”
Ross was silent for a moment. “I really can't do this, Meg.” He said quietly. She leaned over in the bed, resting her head on his shoulder. “I know it's hard, honey, and I know you're..uncomfortable, and still reeling. But just think about why we're here, and why you're doing this. You know it's the right thing to do. You know, more importantly, you CAN do this. I know you can. It'll be fine, sweetie, you'll be fine.” she murmured, grabbing his hand. He held her fingers loosely, like coins jingled before a vending machine. “Meggy, I just...I can't go into that warehouse and work, like that, I'm not saying I'm too good, it's not that of course, I just...It's the opposite, really! I'm an idiot, with things like this, you know that, I'm clumsy, I have one useless skill and-” She cut him off, reaching a hand up to his cheek. “Stop it. Just stop, sweetie. You'll be fine.”
“They're gonna want to know about me.”
“And you'll tell them you just moved here, to take care of your mom.”
“Some of them probably knew my dad.”
“Then you won't have to explain, and they'll probably just offer condolences and give you space.”
“Meggy, I...I just can't. I'm a singer, I have soft hands and nice clothes and these are real men and I haven't had a real job in three years and even then I was a fucking waiter, I-”
“Ross. Baby. Stop it.” She grabbed his head and turned him to face her, next to him in the bed. “You're going to do this. You know you are. And I know you can do this. Because you, my love, are amazing. And when you set your mind to something, you do it. I've seen you.”
“I haven't set my mind to this, though, is the thing.” he said quietly.
“Why are we here?” she asked patiently.
“To...to look after mom. 'Cause if I went back to New York, she'd drink herself stupid or throw the cats at the wall or something and lose this stupid house.”
“OK. Now, tomorrow, You're not going in to be an inventory clerk at your dad's warehouse. You're going in to earn some money to help your mom. Barry will make it an easy first couple of days, he knows what you've been through since the accident. Hell, every one in this town knows. Practically all of them worked for your dad. They'll be on your side, ok?” She rested her head on his shoulder again.
“Meggy, I'm just...I'm sorry. You didn't have to come down here with me, I shouldn't have brought you here.”
“Well, thanks, boss, but it wasn't up to you. I didn't really give you a choice.” she said wryly, punching him again. “I'm not staying in Brooklyn without you. And I can find a job at a coffee shop or something, god knows I worked at Starbucks long enough. You know what we'll do? We'll talk to the Community Theatre people, see when they're having auditions or something.”
“So you can make fun of them? Meggy, you DO NOT want to do some small potatoes production of 'Our Town' I know you, you'd hate it.”
“You underestimate my ability to adapt, good sir. Now Ross, please, let's sleep, honey. Turn of the light.”
He kissed her forehead, and as he pulled away, she pulled him down and their mouths met. After, he turned off the lamp, and eventually, they slept.

The Square's nightmare.

"Honey, I had the strangest dream last night. It was about us, but...not? I mean, I was me, but I went by my first name. I was John, not David. No, I know that's not a big deal, but listen, other stuff was different, too. It was kind of like 'It's a wonderful life', except instead of not being born, my life was just different. Yes, sweetie, you were there, don't be weird. You were different, too. Look, ok, you know how I told you I did a lot of theatre in high school? Well, I had this dream that I, well...made it a job. I was such a weirdo! I had this ridiculous haircut, I was broke, drove a crappy car, and just...I dunno, I was just kind of a different person. You? Oh, god you're gonna laugh. You too. You hadn't gone to school- No, I'm not being condescending, in the dream, I'd dropped out neither of us was very smart, I guess- You hadn't gone to school, and you were a singer. I KNOW you can't play any instruments, but in the dream you played guitar and a what'retheycalled, the tiny one- Ukulele, the thing from Hawaii. One of those. and your hair was all crazy. It was hillarious. NO, I'm not laughing at you, I'm not. We just toured around and lived in a van and were crazy all the time. What do you mean, smiling like what? I'm not smiling. No, sweetie, I love our life. I love my job. We have this amazing house, two nice cars...Love, we're going on a cruise next month, how could I wish I had that life? Don't be silly. I couldn't afford the Volvo, You couldn't have your book club in a van, what kind of people would we be? Lot's of stuff we'd have to do without if we lived like...like gypsies, or faeries, or whatever. That's another thing- we had some god awful obsession with faeries and pirates and weird stuff like that, can you imagine? OF COURSE I don't wish you were like 'her'; 'her' is you anway, you big weirdbeard! What, weirdbeard? Huh, I don't know where that came from. I know it does sound stupid, doesn't it? Ugh. Actually, it was kind of a nightmare. You wanna get up and go get some brunch? Let's get out of the house, we'll have an 'us' day. Let's go to the mall."