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."