Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Kiss, or Eulogy for a Feeling

The kiss was a deathblow
seen through quick, drowsy eyes;
a stolen moment, no surprise.
But it's not what got me,
it's not what gets me,
but the way I let me
and my life slip out of control.
The glimpse, though, was needed,
as my madness receded:
finally dead, a hope with no reason
defeated.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Twisted Guts of Wilbur Grey

The twisted guts of Wilbur Grey felt sick again.

It always felt that way when something horrible was approaching, and he watched behind himself as he walked to the station as if his terror was going to manifest in physical form and emerge from the shadows, hungry for his blood.

To Wilbur, it felt like a cliche story beginning with "it was a dark and stormy night...", only the night was balmy and clear, with just a bit more wind than Wilbur would have cared for.

His horrible insides were practically retching at the pleasance of the evening, and he had to exercise a great deal of self-control to avoid screaming out in agony and fear. The pressure upon him felt like it would cave in his skull, splattering chunks of its contents everywhere.

Soon, he hoped, he'd be on the Greyhound and sleeping soundly. It never went that way, of course, because he was too tall for the seats to be comfortable and the scummy people on the buses always got to him, all hair and beards and sniffles and sweat. The buses smelled, and if he'd been a germaphobe, he'd never have set foot inside one of them.

A crackle in the bushes near the sidewalk gave Wilbur pause. He listened and squinted into the darkness, but quickly moved on. He didn't want to miss his bus and arrive for family Thanksgiving too late for the feast – the food was always gone fast, and his family didn't wait around for slowpokes and late arrivals.

In fact, he was so worried about being late that he arrived well before the bus was scheduled to leave. The bus wasn't there and neither were any passengers. It was called a station, but in reality it was just a stop on the roadside.

Nervously he waited, every shadow nearly causing him to jump. Lurking things waited in the darkness, he knew. They'd come to Wilbur before, whispering to him like rustling grass in the evening wind that chilled him then. They told him terrible things and he could never block them out, had to listen when they spoke.

"Stay away," he said in an angry, frightened voice to no one in particular - or so he thought.

"Calm down, I'm just waiting for the bus," said a short, pudgy woman who had approached from behind. Wilbur had been so intent on the shadows that he'd not even noticed her noisy footfalls or the scrape of her broken-wheeled luggage as she walked to the stop.

He looked at her for a moment then frowned, unable to think of anything to say in this situation. She stopped looking back at him after a second and pretended to read the bus schedule. But Wilbur kept looking - maybe he understood why those shadow-whispers did such nasty things to people. They could be so ugly and obnoxious, and he was no exception. So far though, he'd lived through his encounters with them - the shadows, that is.

After fifteen minutes, a rumble could be heard coming from the direction of the highway, and Wilbur knew this would be the bus. Maybe even the same one he'd taken last time, he thought unhappily. Obviously, he realized, he was in a bad mood because of how his insides felt. The rumble of the bus was matched by a rumble in his gut, just as the icy air on his neck matched the icy feeling in the pit of his stomach, well below the pain.

The timing couldn't be worse, he thought.

It seemed to get darker for a moment, and he feared the shadows were coming to take him, but there wasn't a peep out of them, so it must have been a trick of his eyes. He still glanced sideways while nervously awaiting the bus, hoping that they'd leave him alone for once and maybe attack the woman beside him, instead.

It never worked that way, of course. Wilbur heard them coming, encroaching like a rustling army of conscripted roaches, just waiting for the lights to go out. Every second brought the danger closer, and adrenaline began to pump into Wilbur's bloodstream while a cold sweat poured out from his bare, razor-nicked scalp. He didn't dare wipe the fog from his glasses for fear that moving would encourage them - he had to hold his ground as long as he could.

The bus came rumbling up to the curb and the driver sleepily climbed out to check tickets and open the luggage compartment. The driver had to pull to take Wilbur's sweat-soaked ticket from his clammy hand, and he flashed Wilbur an annoyed look. Once the ticket was punched, Wilbur rudely crowded past and all but leapt into the bus, taking the steep steps two at a time.

At the top, his guts groaned like a monster and he doubled over.

"Are you okay?" asked the driver, concerned.

The driver stepped onto the bus and reached toward Wilbur to help him, but the still-hunched Wilbur staggered away, shouting, "Don't touch me!" as if he feared for his life. He couldn't stand being touched.

The driver looked taken aback, but not too surprised. "Sorry," he said, "just let me know if you need help with your luggage. Where you getting off?"

"Spokane. But I don't have any luggage," Wilbur squeaked out as he stood upright, frowning and turning to find a seat.

Timidly, he walked back in the bus, the short woman impatiently walking behind him and trying to move faster than he was going. Wilbur glared at her over his shoulder before selecting the seat furthest from everyone else - the other passengers being grungy, smelly and unwholesome enough to upset his grumbling intestines. To his great annoyance, the pudgy woman sat just two seats behind him.

Clearing his throat, Wilbur tried to pretend she wasn't there. It wasn't working, but he closed his eyes anyway and insisted to himself that he wasn't being bothered by it. He was confident. He was clear. He was cool.

"No you're not," he thought he heard a voice said just to his right. Hesitating out of fear that someone was actually so close to him, he waited a moment, eyes shut tight, then opened one - to find that nobody was there.

Now he shook his head vigorously, as if trying to say no to some disgusting request. Something was definitely coming for him, he thought, and it wanted to tear him to pieces. But only after toying with him like a shadowy, invisible cat. He imagined its blood-soaked razor-claws kneading the shredded flesh of his freshly dead corpse and shuddered.

"No," he squeaked quietly. "No, stay away."

Nobody else heard.

Guts feeling tied in knots, Wilbur tried to sleep. It didn't work - never did on the road, and unless he managed it before the bus started moving, he had no chance. The fumes and the smell and the other passengers made it impossible to relax completely, as always.

Wilbur straightened his glasses on his nose.

It felt like an eternity, but he nervously sat there trying to sleep for just a few minutes, fearing that the shadows were going to follow him. Finally, the clock hit 6:16, and the driver putout his cigarette before climbing on the bus and shutting the door. It left one long minute too late. Wilbur exhaled heavily and felt somewhat better to be on the road. They couldn't follow a bus, right?

He hoped not.

Since he couldn't get any rest, Wilbur found distraction in misery. Just as he had expected, there was a bad smell and a lot of minor damage, wear, filth, and vandalism of the parts of the bus – he examined all of it he could see, wrinkling his nose at every sordid detail. Terrible.

"Oh Wiiiilllllburrrrrr!" said a quiet, whispering voice, interrupting Wilbur's miserly meditation. Maybe he was hearing things, he told himself, and he looked behind himself to see the woman, apparently reading something. In his imagination, it was the bus schedule, and she was so boring that it actually entertained her.

Wilbur decided to ignore the voice, but it made him even more nervous, and soon he had to pee. It was dreadful and he always hated having to do it on a bus - or in a public bathroom - to the point that he often held it longer than he should have, which made him concerned for his prostate. This time, he was nervous and couldn't possibly hold it any longer, so he had to go.

As he stood and walked to the rear of the bus, he noticed with some small feeling of disappointment that the woman behind him was reading a cooking magazine. A man in a Levi jacket came out of the toilet and crowded past Wilbur to get back to his seat. Wilbur turned and looked at his back, annoyed. Once in the lavatory, though, Wilbur forgot all about the people outside.

One good thing about bus lavatories was the aseptic chemical smell - of course it was mixed into a cocktail of unpleasant excrement by now, but the chemical smell was distinct enough to almost soothe Wilbur's weary nerves. Breathing slowly a few times, he shortly felt like he had restored some modicum of sanity to himself.

That was, until the lights went out.

"Oh no!" he wailed quietly. Outside of the toilet, the woman sitting behind Wilbur looked over, thinking she heard something, then went back to reading her cooking magazine. Then the lights went out and the bus lost power.

In the pitch darkness of the chemical toilet, Wilbur felt helpless and it paralyzed him. Luckily, he thought, he finished his business, but now he wondered if he'd forgotten his fly. Had he zipped it up? Oh, god, how embarrassing it would be if he stumbled blindly out of the lavatory and someone saw!

A feeling of dread replaced his worry about his fly when he felt the bus roll gradually to a halt.

"Hey, Wilburrr," said a grinning, sadistic voice. It was whispering and Wilbur swore he felt the cold breath of some wicked demon in his ear.

"No, I'm not talking to you. Don't hurt me!"

"But heyyy...Wilbur," it said, the words slithering out of its sharply grinning mouth smooth as mucous, "Wilbur, buddyyyyy...you are talking to ussss!"

"I'm not your buddy! You're...just bad!" he said as forcefully as he could manage - an effort even a mouse could have easily put to shame.

Someone knocked at the door. "You done in there, kid?" said a gravelly, male voice. Wilbur didn't answer, but he thought it must have been the mustached man.

"This is not happening," Wilbur told himself.

"Hey, other people have to go! What's yer ETA, son!?" asked the man again, delivering another rap to the plastic door, which Wilbur realized he fortunately remembered to lock.

"Wiiiiiiilburrrrrrrr..."

"Don't hurt me, oh God, please don't hurt me!"

The man outside must have heard him, because Wilbur heard him swear about the crazies on buses and give up, apparently going back to his seat.

"Aww, Wilby, we wouldn't hurt you. We neeeeed you, yesssss we doooo." The voice was slick, flattering and sweet, but it still disgusted Wilbur. It felt slimy, like - he struggled for a comparison. Like a servant of the Dark Lord, he thought.

Wilbur would have been wetting himself if he hadn't just peed - but he nearly did, anyway.

"Feels fouler...stay away...please stay away. Jesus, keep them away, Oh Jesus..." Wilbur doubled over as his intestine exploded like a shrapnel grenade of pain that seemed to permeate every last inch of his digestive tract. This felt worse than ever.

Now there was a guttural, breathy laugh, which sounded as if the shadows were wheezing and pneumatic, and happy to see Wilbur in pain. "Jeeeeesus? He won't help you, Wiiillllburrrr. You're ours."

Finally he snapped. "No! I hate you, you monsters – just, just fuck off and leave me alone!"

Wilbur collapsed and lost his glasses down the toilet with the next bout of pain, stabbing like a dance of knives in his entire abdomen. A pathetic "Oh..." was all he could manage as he began to cry, losing control of his bowels, succumbing to fear.

That was when the fits always began, when he felt everything was too much – when they raped his mind and stole his body. Making him do things...and he realized they were things he wanted, too.

"Awww, hahaha," said the voice, almost with a note of pity. "Pooooor Wilbur," it intoned in its sickly sweet manner.

"No," sniveled the broken Wilbur repeatedly, knowing he needed help - he had to get away from the voice. He had to escape, he couldn't let it have him; he knew it meant him harm. It was hurting him, already.

Wilbur collected his wits enough to reach up and unlock the door, then he noisily collapsed against it and fell out into the bus's walkway. He crawled forward until the woman who'd sat behind him noticed him in the darkness and screamed.

"Driver, oh my God, something happened back here! There's something wrong with this guy, oh God, help him!"

She continued to scream and Wilbur kept crawling, scared for his life, reeking of shit and determined to get off the bus.

"Mmmmheheh, Wiiiiiilbur, what a messss you've maaade, chiiiild," said the evil voice, and Wilbur began to hear nothing else. The world seemed to shrink away, and in the midst of his terror, he was imperceptibly glad for the small measure of relief this gave him. But his anger welled up and he saw red, saw the people so small and distant and indignificant, as if they were his playthings.

The driver, who'd taken advantage of the power loss to have a cigarette, clambered back onto the bus and looked back into the darkness with a flashlight. "God!" he shouted when he saw Wilbur's terrified, agonized expression.

Wilbur didn't even notice the blood oozing down his face from his scalp and nose. While most of the passengers looked afraid or concerned, the mustached man just stepped over Wilbur and went to the toilet.

"Little bastard," the man muttered under his breath.

The driver put on the parking brake and jumped up, asking Wilbur, "Are you okay son?"

"Auuughgh," he answered.

"You hang in there, I've got first aid and I'll call an ambulance!" Wilbur only groaned.

Wilbur tried to feebly shake his head, and gurgled out the word, "No," in a barely-audible whisper as the driver went to call for help. It wasn't even clear to him who he was saying it to.

Anyone that knew Wilbur would have said that his voice didn't sound like it usually did. Something about it would have been wrong, would have scared them, told them something bad was about to happen - but nobody else on the bus knew Wilbur, so they didn't expect what happened next.

Wilbur turned onto his back and breathed heavily once or twice as the remaining six passengers crowded around all sides to see what was the matter. People said things to him - probably concerned things, worried things, the sort of things you say when something terrible happens to someone, and you don't know what it is or what to do about it. It was polite of them, but they were as confused as Wilbur looked.

When Wilbur reached into his pants they thought he was doing something sexual, and all recoiled from him, exchanging uncomfortable glances.

What he was really doing was pulling out a long kitchen knife, which cut the skin on his leg and cut his jeans as he pulled it from where it was taped to his pasty thigh. His leg bled into his black jeans and the people around him recoiled again, looking at each other, confused and now scared for themselves.

The pudgy woman screamed again and ran into the bus driver as she tried to escape. The driver was holding the first aid kit and tried to calm the woman. Before he had a chance to see the knife, Wilbur had sunk it far enough into his back that the stunned onlookers thought it might appear out of his chest.

Blood ran down from the wound, spurted on people, and stained the driver's shirt as he spun around and fell backward, landing next to Wilbur as the knife sunk further into his back with a crunch, now poking several inches out of his chest.

After a stunned, silently pregnant second, all hell broke loose.

The pathetic figure of Wilbur inspired fear now, and everyone tried to escape from him. Those that could ran for the front exit, while the two that couldn't went for the emergency exits. Windows were kicked, smashed, people trampled one another and tried to crowd past each other to escape the bus, slowing them down.

Wilbur recovered the now bloodied knife with a blank and vaguely disgusted expression as he got to his feet, climbing around the bus driver's corpse, and his now vacant eyes, smaller without his glasses, flicked to the front of the bus. Unhurried, he quickly flung the knife at a man near the door in a Levi jacket, without taking time to aim. The man toppled and fell, causing two others to go with him while one climbed into the driver's seat.

Wilbur strode forward and found the fire extinguisher, which he tore from its fixture and used to crush the skull of the man in the driver's seat, who was trying to open the window to escape. The man's body went limp instantly, and Wilbur smiles as he abandoned the extinguisher.

"Awwww," purred Wilbur in his new voice, "pooooor thiiiing." Then he darkly chuckled as he stepped down and over the body that had crumpled onto the stairs. The knife was in the still-bleeding wound of the man in the Levi jacket, and the two women ahead of him had fallen out past him; now they were struggling to get up and run away.

Wilbur reached into his pants for another knife, saying aloud, "Oooh, ticklesss," as he drew it across the pale skin of his other leg.

Reaching down to the other corpse, he recovered the first knife, then leapt down the rest of the steps, landing on the back of pudgy woman, whose ankle had been broken in the fall. She grunted in pain and Wilbur felt a crunch beneath his heel.

"Yessss...." whispered Wilbur as he plunged both blades into her, laughing at the fleshy, plunging sound it made, then cutting randomly into her abdomen and reveling as the blood splattered his face.

Quickly he stood and turned, throwing a single knife into a man who'd just dropped out from the bus emergency escape. It landed in his arm, and only slight disappointment showed in Wilbur's otherwise blank face.

Wilbur strode toward the man, who pulled the knife from his arm with a pained outcry and a gushing of blood, and tried to fling it at the approaching Wilbur. Wilbur reached up and plucked the clumsily-thrown knife from the air as easily as if it had been sitting on his kitchen counter.

Instead of throwing the knives, he barreled into the man, knocking him to the ground, and put a foot on the man's leg, only to dive with his full weight into a stabbing frenzy, cutting the man to ribbons as he screamed and defended himself uselessly with his mangled, bloodied arms. There was no maniacal glee in Wilbur's actions, this time. Just a cold efficiency that left a mess instead of a corpse, with as much feeling as if he'd been chopping vegetables.

Four, so far, and the driver. There were still three more passengers.

Wilbur looked both ways. "Hmmmmm..." he growled as he walked toward the front of the bus. A ways up the street, he saw movement - someone was hobbling up the shoulder to escape.

As if he had not a care in the world, Wilbur took his time walking up to his next victim. He was savoring the futile escape attempt, like a cat watching a maimed mouse, but was far more aware of the pain he was about to inflict than any cat. Instead of just using the knives, he shoved the woman to the ground, making her yell in a coarse voice. Then he bent over as she struggled to raise herself back up, let his chest rest on her back, ran a hand through her hair, which seemed to make the poor woman crack.

"Hellooooo," he said in the sweetest tone that could still be called hostile, then, "Awwwww, poooor thing!"

She had already been sobbing, but now it intensified. Wilbur recalled the two other passengers left and decided to stop fooling around, quickly and quiecutting her throat.

One had run across the road, he thought. It seemed obvious - he sniffed the air and thought he could smell his fear there. Looking both ways before crossing, he went to search the brush on the other side of the road.

"Boo!" he growled as he jump out from behind a rock. Nobody was there, and Wilbur kicked a small stone in frustration.

"Ow!" said someone from the direction he'd kicked the stone - then Wilbur grinned a giant, toothy grin and glided toward the sound of the voice. The darkness was no hindrance for him, but he saw the other man was stumbling on roots and nearly running into trees – not very sporting. The man was older and gray-haired, but athletic. His fitness was useless to him in the darkened stand of trees.

Wilbur gained on him easily and kicked him in the back of the knee, sending him sprawling down a slight embankment - Wilbur jumped down it effortlessly and landed next to a large rock, which he decided with impulsive grin to throw at the man.

"Oof," cried the main as the rock hit his ribcage with a sickening crunch. Now, panting, he spat blood and said, "I don't know who you are, but you're going straight to hell. God has a place for monsters like you."

"Ohhhh no, not hellllll," Wilbur answered mockingly. "God," he spat the word, then indignantly hissed, "how old fashioned!!"

"I have a family," said the man, starting to plea, trying desperately to find some leverage to save himself. "Two daughters, grandkids--"

"Hahaha," laughed Wilbur, "tell me where they are and you'll see them soooon enough."

"Go to hell," said the man impotently, blood gurgling out of his mouth to accompany the words and pain evident on his face. Only his eyes looked undefeated.

Wilbur didn't kill him outright. He beat him, kicking with his heavy boots until his flesh was like pulp. Then he cut along the length of his wrists and split his eyelids, careful not to damage the eyes. All the while the old man screamed, but had no more energy to thrash or struggle, which made it less amusing for Wilbur. As a final thought, he scalped the man, throwing the removed flap of skin and hair into the stream that flowed nearby.

Now he had just one more, so Wilbur climbed back up to the highway.

"Nowwww...where would a little mustache maaaan hide, heh heh," he muttered to himself, sniffing as he walked to the bus. After a second, he thought of the man in the toilet and exhaled a quiet, breathy "Aha!"

He went back to the bus, stepping over the bodies to get in and go back toward the toilet. Smiling, the anticipation grew within Wilbur as he approached the door. It rattled and didn't open when he tried it.

Undismayed, he systematically plunged the knife blades into the plastic, hearing some movement out of the man inside, who shifted to escape the reach of the blades. Before long, a knife struck the locking mechanism and forced it to unlock, letting the door swing open to reveal the mustached man. The bus was still dark, but the fear shone in the deep-set eyes of the gravelly-voiced man like a fireworks show, to Wilbur.

Baring his teeth in a grin, Wilbur said, "thissss is my ETA, I hope it's not inconveeeenient timing!"

The man only shook his head, backing up into the corner and trying to get further away, clawing at the carpeted wall for a last, desperate chance at impossible escape.

His screams could be heard far away on the highway as Wilbur pinned him to the wall and used his teeth to tear out the man's throat, but there was nobody to hear it for miles.

Wilbur stepped out of the tiny space after flushing the man down the chemical toilet, piece by piece, and wiped his blood-covered mouth on his sleeve. The chemical smell was still soothing, although the man had further stunk up the place.

As if triggered by the smell, Wilbur dropped the knives and began to wonder what was next, coming back to himself.

"Aaaaaaagh!" he screamed in his regular voice, doubling over in pain.

Covered in blood now, Wilbur squirmed on the ground, not noticing the sirens approaching. Helpless now, he was crying, sobbing, felt like a child. As if waking from a horrible dream into a horrible reality, he felt shaken to his core and was confused. Where was he and what happened? He crawled over bodies to get out of the bus into the cool night air, sickened by the carnage that seemed to coat every inch of the bus, until he reached the door and emerged into fresh air.

Not a body stirred as Wilbur half-fell, half-rolled out of the bus and lay writhing in pain on the pavement, chest heaving, legs bleeding.

Soon he saw a reddish flashing light and heard a car crunching to a halt on the gravel shoulder, doors slamming as the paramedics jumped out. Footsteps came near Wilbur and a voice said, "Come on, before he loses more blood."

"And before the cops get here," said the other.

Wilbur tried to tell them, tried to confess - something. What was he going to say? What had he done? He saw the sliver of a moon and became transfixed by it as they loaded him onto a gurney.

The last thing he remembered hearing was a voice saying, "Wiiilbur, suuure got yourself into a mess thiiis time!"

Struggling, he opened his eyes and looked at the EMT. "No," Wilbur tried to say to the voice, knowing it was the shadows.

Now the paramedic spoke, and Wilbur listened to his words in confused terror.

"Awwww, poor guy...next time willll be better. Don't want to be laaaate. Let'sss get you hooome for supper..."

They roughly tossed Wilbur into the back of the ambulance, locking the door, then got back into the cab and drove away, continuing on in the same direction. A feast awaited them.

Monday, December 8, 2008

O, Sky

O sky,
in your bleak might
I watch you aloft as a bird,
big as a planet,
soft as a feather,
colder than a mountaintop.

In my tiny woes I struggle
while you move on unhindered,
unfettered by desire,
unmoved by sorrow.

But won't you rain
something else on me,
drop from your great height
manna from heaven,
some manner of sustenance;

anything to cheer me
and lift from my being
this burden of desire
for one unattainable,
the strain of my fixation.

Or please, if there be mercy,
part just a moment's time
and kindly warm me,
letting cold sun shine.

On Socks / Socks On

what's in a match
that makes it so?
what you see
or what you know?

which trait to pick
to make a pair:
this one here
or that one there?

and who's to say
which one is right?
should it be left
to day and night?

what one wants
is what one sees,
and so unfair
makes pairs of these.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Problem of Evil

It makes me wanna kill,
wanna cry:
every injustice done
to those I've adored.
Can't feel I'm a victim
when my mere lack
is from another's pain,
but tears fall nonetheless,
lamenting might-have beens,
nursing never-weres,
asking why I pick so wrong,
but wondering:
whence the abuse?
beauties bruised, broken;
who has such violent heart?
to offend, injure, invade,
attack, inflict them?
Surely such are damaged, too,
so I can't retribute
and vengeance is empty
in the chain of events,
but I still think to me:
if only I could pay it back,
every offense on every innocent;
decimate doers of all evil.
If I had power,
would do it for highest reasons
then become one of them myself,
tyrannical and terrible.
If every injustice was
repaid just one-fold,
there'd be no one left.

Dead-end thoughts

Wond'ring about someone unusual,
anyone,
I wonder:
am I as outside as I think?
Sitting here, unable,
I think what an adventure each face would be;
you could walk for miles here
around and around the lake.
I consider calling someone,
but fail to muster the interest.
Seems as though waiting
would give me some return,
but I know there's nothing
here in public,
and turn my back
on sparkling setting sun;
but there's less a difference
than I like to think
between me and everyone.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Lowered Expectations

Don't expect much to happen here during November. I'm participating in NaNoWriMo. And it will be glorious.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Plotless Violence

who's the author in my life?
seemed he'd been there all along:
pen cutting careful as a knife
to outline and define
the goodness and the strife,
the borders and bound'ry lines,
the direction I drive,
each lesson learned right or wrong.

seeing no plot develop,
no mind there behind the scenes,
I realize my frustration:
taking the pen, turn it knife
blade like on my desperation
and murder it bloody,
finally hitting the mark
of my war upon it.

thought there was a plot,
thought a climax would come,
but nothing happened
to satisfy the story;
now I dance among the entrails
of my dead desires,
taunting dignity with
my macabre mockery.


(from September)

Arctic Sea

at surface level
little's to be seen
peaking thru the waves,
but going deeper more is found;
time and attention's reward
firmer knowledge of what waits beneath,
surface tension and bright reflections
are transposed, replaced with respect
and something darker, murky as the depths,
never seen but glimpsed, known, navigated
gingerly around, the mass at play more
than mere white specks of the whole
scattered in a sea often cold,
where passing encounters
could become disasters
for what's not known:
or just be passed,
not noticed

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Consoling Me

It's okay to feel this way for now:
it feels like pain, it falls like rain,
but makes it right somehow.

Sometimes maybe life might hurt like hell;
the melancholy swallows you,
though in the end it's well.

Don't let the emptiness get to you:
everyone feels it now and then,
and every time it ends.

I fight the loneliness here tonight,
it pervades me without a cause;
but later I'll feel right.

The cold might permeate my soul,
today I'll thaw my body out;
someday I'll fill the hole.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

the fact of our love
exists without thinking it's so

the fact we're together,
though it's no romance, will show

the fact that it's so
is shared only by virtue of pain

though we say no,
it's in spite of a yes we abstain

Friday, October 10, 2008

in peace a piece

in peace

in this moment
in the window

I am free
completely
paused from thought

for now no work
gazing down
from sixth floor
window view

watching walking
workers wander
rummage food
in modern numbers
modern style

flocking inward
by color race creed
national origin
style of dress
by thought unmolested
now unbiased

other times
might displease my
own tastes
now unjudging
see gaily ungainly
gaits and paces

all shapes and colors
and all sizes
my eyes discern
no imagined evil
moving in anything

from my perch
sixth window
sensing seeing all
this moment perfect

ephemeral enlightened
entirely
until I'm freed

from this window
from this moment

a piece

gone on, gathered, engorged

goose gone on
to warmer shores
from misty mountain pond

like a squirrel
gathered store of nuts

like a bird
knows where each one lies

like a goose
that laid a golden nest egg

like a bear
thick, fattened,
engorged for winter sleep

fact of her

the fact of her body
leaves me wondering under her clothes;

the fact of her mind
makes the rest of mine unopposed

to the fact of her lips,
open to mine and drawing so close;

the fact of her heart
leaves me heavy inside, but so light;

the fact she'll depart
makes me mourn just a little each night.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

dog day lake (from Oct 4)

no dog to walk
around this lake:
my legs won't make
it all that way.
can't run to warm
wind-chilled bones
or to escape
out of doors
without a car;

tho' it's not far,
wind and sun to take,
drove a car,
left poison wake,
and in this place
more traffic passes:


noise pervades,
no peace is had
from engines, breaks.
the water laps
manmade edges,
now disarrayed
in reeds like hedges;

a green lake
of green shores,
surrounded
on all sides
by streets, cars,
fancy houses
and throngs of
moving bodies.


it's good enough for the trees
so it's good enough for me
but when they chose it was it better?
if they could, would they up and leave?

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Life, the Universe and Perfection (this is if only)

This is life:
you meet someone amazing,
and they're all used up.
you're too late;
their pain's always in the past.
it's all perfect,
but for one fatal flaw.

Loving you makes me want to cry.
though I don't, know I could,
if only/only if...

this is the universe:
the timing's just off,
you just miss the train.
progress is hindered,
our history repeats itself.
life is left forlorn,
huddling in unknown corners.

Knowing makes me want to vomit,
but I can't, must be strong,
only if/if only...

This is perfection:
a dream you have once,
only to be cut short, abrupt.
high aspirations
your fingers can't quite grasp
just an idea in the mind,
never allowed to realize.

Wanting makes me think it's useless,
when it's lost, brings sorrow.
If only/only if...

This is sorrow:
If only...
Only if...

Desperation Sense

desperation sense,
barely visible like distant
foggy headlights,
clinging dearly as dying
ivy on a highway sound wall;

as if a weed, crops up elsewhere
if stamped out,
can't be killed if the root still lives.
Desperate taproot, deep,
anchors into my existence,

creature of need
creature of hate
creature of want
creature of ration

in life I'm seeking
a balanced, steady path;
but raging still through
thick forest brush,
cut another swath

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Too Early Morning

Awoken far too early to wake and live,
pull that blanket across the sky back over me.
Bury my head in its fluffy white stuffing,
shut the world and its cold air back out;
lights may wax or wane and pain me not at all,
invisible to me in my sleepy bedsheet domain.
The sky and earth dimmed gloomy for my own sake,
bring back gray and cast me over with its mercy,
and an uninviting drizzle to make bed better.
Sweeten the deal with blustery winds outside.
Too uncomfortable to brave them, I'll stay in here,
soft and warm and drowsy, sheltered from harsh sun
and the burdens of daylight, hibernating soundly
until some day when all weather and bustle subsides.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

the huntress

ahead of the curve,
ahead of the rest
(predatorily speaking),
best of the best.
is she overtaking
or taking over?
when she comes, fast
run for cover:
preys on spaces
between the cars,
on Sunday drivers
terrible mergers
and late signalers.
one more car ahead,
burning rubber
rounding curves;
if she was my girl
I'd be glad for that,
but I don't have a girl,
nor is there one,
or she's not it,
anyway.

bludgeon balance broken

containers carried, carefully crafted, counterweighted, controlled
until some
bludgeoning businessmanwoman bumbles

balance

off
into
careening crashing castaway containers, commotion
bustling, busting; budding beacon
noisy and heard:
climbing clockwise can
stand up again.
better badly bruised
than

?broken

medley

trees undressing for bed, long sleep ahead
clouds hug the city skyline good night
one last warm embrace before the light leaves.
subsidizing bad karma,
we're driving a train with no end
no connections, no stops and no lulls,
round-the-clock service.

I'm a child and a man and neither and climbing
past a steeply sloped lake on its way down
I'm a time-wrenching dog, burying things before having them,
crimes committed in the premeditation of demise.
defenseless against your want,
you were defenseless against my response
I fell in and straight back out:

in your upstanding obliviousness,
so impairingly obvious,
you were erect as an engorged cock,
sticking out like an erection and
unashamed like its throbbing head.
if I could conquer my libido, I'd be king of all,
but the grass is always greener,
even with no fence;
with no border
the other side is hard to find,
boundaries hard to define:
is it the song or the day I'm waiting to pass?

Yesterday Now

I marvel at myself-yesterday:
what mystery the things he knew, so strange!
Today comprehending only now, not the past,
my former thoughts are unknown to my current me,
make me a stranger to myself,
separated only by a day.

His genius is clear, but today I seem wiser,
new decisions replacing old, and he often appears a fool.
But being a stranger to me, I can't know
whether what went through his mind
was wisdom for fortune or folly,
nor if myself-today improves upon it.

Each day making opposite decision,
do I renege, reverse myself and progress nowhere?
Daily making the same turns will I find I've gone in circles,
round and round - jamais vu to view my motion,
will I sense a deja vu and break a cycle,
or remain trapped forever oblivious?

Steeply Sloped Sliding

As if steeply sloped, I'm slipping down to you.
It's too steep to track back up or reverse;
if you let me I'll slide right down and in,
can't help myself from this helplessness,
no footholds handholds heartholds headholds;
thought holds down heart.

tell me to forget about it, that you already have.
tell me the truth, but tell me there's nothing to this,
nothing to think but thought itself (too much of you),
nothing to want but want itself (disappointment, too).
Drawn to this attraction should I erase it,
debase, replace and ignore every trace of it?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

the rising

The big blue sky was so broad, expansive, and its vast emptiness attracted me. So great it inverted, so intense it refocused itself on me, and drew me in, beginning with the eyes; the pressure of that great hemisphere of air turned the other way and sucked me up into it. With no trees to anchor me down, my feet left the ground, but I left my toes touching till it fell out of reach.

Then I kept going higher, the ground dropping away like a fish-eyed thing and the sky expanding weirdly to fill my field of view, which soon encompassed the world. My existence became that deep, endless sky blue, which is a color but not a shape, a clear mass of invisibility blocking the cosmos from sight in the day. A thing you can't see past but doesn't seem to be there at all.

The speck of where my body had stood moments before was the entire planet I had left, yet the blue still continued, no inky blackness encroached upon me, nor stars. Uncertain but excited, nervous but exhilarated, I realized I was not rising in the normal sense: I was going deeper into the sky, a separate entity from the earth or its atmosphere, distinct from space.

Deeper into the sky, it was deeper blue, like an ocean but lighter and the depths did not crush; rather, they made my heart feel like helium, rising higher and higher. The color was unearthly, the blue so impossibly near black as might be glimpsed for a second at dusk in some obscure corner of the night sky. It was like a luminous ocean of deep blue, dark but seemingly lit from within with a subtle saturation of intense color.

It was the most delicious blue that could be seen by any eyes.

Looking around myself, I could see only blue, graded shades fading back toward the more familiar sky blue back where I'd come from. I couldn't identify any mechanism doing this, but there I was in a sea of sky. It wasn't defying gravity so much as evading it, for it was clear that I was not moving against it.

As I began to think about the improbability of my situation, the situation set about resolving the seeming paradox. I felt it first only subtly, and I could tell only because colors began to shift into lighter shades that I was moving back out of this strange sea of air.

Disappointment flooded in and I already mourned the loss of that place while still in it, despair accelerating my descent. I knew then that I would never have such a chance again, that my memories, vivid and unbelievable as they might be, would pale in comparison to what I was seeing, a mere black and white rendition of something that almost consisted of pure color.

Sorrow took me, and by the time the green earth came back into view, I was lamenting the loss of pure sky. The ground, green grass growing, soon took me back and shackled me its prisoner. Perhaps I'd never left it, I thought. Perhaps it was just a daydream, a waking hallucination, something thought and not seen. My journey of color was at an end, I thought.

Looking back at the grassy earth as it took me back to its bosom, I realized that perhaps it wasn't all over: I could still perchance take another trip, sailing to see a sea of green.

Noticing the many other colors around me as I planted my feet back down and my sight became once more terrestrial, I became hopeful that I might be lucky enough to journey into any one of those hues.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Distance Oppress

oppressive concrete distance,
you look at me so bleak,
with such disregard.

I shelter from the sunlight
so brightly blinding me,
and likewise she hides.

sailing a corner, landship
mighty careens about,
leaves me feel floating.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Never Left the Ground

That hollow resonant fleshy sound
of the razor climbing my adam's apple.

Meanwhile an aeroplane buzzes in my head.
The plane is a thought of relationships:
trying to take off with great noise,
flight's aborted if ill-built, unready,
if breaks down before leaving the strip.

Far worse is when all seems fine,
flight ill-advised but still at ease when
it's a rickety-experiment-contraption,
which, when reaching a ledge,
plummets to its instant wreck.

The blood on my neck, tiny stopping trickles,
shows me how smooth the razor's ascent.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Augustus Autumnus

autumn smells
on whorls of autumn air.
sniffing, the season seems to err,
but faculty deceives
as sense confirms:
two discolored prongs of poplar leaf


Amoebozoa

my mind, like an amoeba
begins to shift itself,
wrap itself around an idea,
a concept,
a problem,
a person;

probing pseudopodia
into its crevices,
trying to penetrate it,
surround it,
digest it,
absorb it.

sometimes too large to take in,
it has to snake its reach,
grope blind to find a back door,
a way through,
a way round,
a way in.

seeking for a way in vain,
it hesitates awhile,
is first given pause, then it
makes a start,
moves along,
leaves behind.

Monday, August 25, 2008

rejection syndrome

initial signs misread,
you were too good to be true.
Quickly it was clear:
too early transplanted,
no proper controls,
no tests made--
my body is rejecting you.
As your presence fills
with cells fighting you off
like foreign material,
I wish it could have worked,
but really should have checked,
not fumbled both our charts.
An incompatible type,
we'll have to pull you out;
maybe you'll be replaced
with another person's part,
or maybe I'll live on
with some scars and empty space
somewhere near my heart

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Jetwake

We're at crushing depth at the shallow end.
I'm ankle deep getting knee-deeper slow-quick,
time's passing around us sloppy, two speed,
like the sloshing wave ripples at our feet:
trough and crest, like to see you moving so

cresting like an airliner over the horizon
at cruising altitude, hit pockets of turbulence:
takeoff's shaky, but don't jump out 'chuteless.
Destination's as unclear as the blue sky isn't,
but the flight's the fun for now, the view

to clouds and sees and lands like so many waves;
ripples; we're waves crashing and jets cruising,
crest and trough interfering, colliding smooth,
swinging back round, going down, from lows so low
to highs so high, always lifting till we break.

Repeat (played to death)

it dies each listen,
repetition,
repeat enabled, genocide,
digging a mass grave
with my mind
for the same song time and again,
each play a hollow shell of its essence
killed, gutted by a thought or lack thereof,
the lack of newness due to lack of imagination
through this arrogance-induced
omniscience—megalomania.
seeing an emptied husk,
fooling true experience with my mind,
I waste what cannot be wasted,
I bury what's still alive,
but am the sole victim of the crime.

Rearview

looking behind you—it's shorter.
Distances compress,
lose depth in two dimensions,
distort fisheyelike—
to match the glass surface:
nicks & scratches, dents and dings,
if the glass won't break, will change
so looking's altered
much with time and behind,
the world and its color are made different;
some mostly faded, others supersaturated.

And most changed of all,
seen from so near,
is the reflection of self,
looking with biased eyes
back out the mirror.

Neck cricked from headchecks,
eyes strained from single stare;
peering at one's own finger-smudged face,
it's only seen partly, unclear,
discolored, chromatically false image
in the light of scattered high beams,
distracting from the drive ahead:
looking inward and behind
may land you in a ditch instead.

suckin' death's dick

suckin' on death's dick,
poison's what comes out.
You turn to him in times of stress
you claim he calms you down.
In reality blood pressure's up,
you know your heartrate's too;
really you just get your fix
despite your each excuse.
You say that you ain't hurting others;
are you so unattached?
you say that you enjoy it
while it's turning you to ash

Monday, August 18, 2008

Put all your apples in one basket

it's a lonely stalk, a single branch pruned to nudity, obscene
it's a winter's night spent all alone, kept warm by hopes of what spring shall bring
it's a solitary bee, so busy
it's a rocky-ledge tree clinging
it's a one man carpool, an empty bus,
it's a we in thought or word when there's no us
it's all one's hope placed on one mere chance, though many prior went so bad
it's a single solitary tree left standing of a forest
it's a tiny cloud abandoned in the middle of a wide blue sky
it's one plane, contrailing so high in the stratosphere
it's this place in here where none can come
it's cold inside though warmed by a hearth, sheltered
it's a vacation with no one there
it's a dream disappointed to find that it was one on waking
it's what we're left when all else is taken away
it's a will to resist, to fight
it's the fear of an empty night
it's a thing so vital, one so deadly
it's an oasis of plenty in a desert of lack
it's a bastion of life in a vast empty universe, a small blue planet, a speck in the black
it's knowing a change when the old won't be back
it's a feeling that's left, but sure to return
it's a melancholy feeling sweet music distills
it's a flockless shepherd who wanders his hills
it's the refuge of love and the center of will
it's the reason we live and the reason we burn

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

sqWorm

desp'rate grabbing, clinging,
remove it, cast away;
no refuge here,
discarded:

I feel nothing for it.


stronger, I stand watching
worm wither, whimper,
wasting away
'fore my eyes:

and I do nothing.


I wait for it to die,
drying up the while
as it cries woe
up to me:

but I do nothing.


it squirms, struggles weakly
with its destined end,
futile its fight
against fate:

so I do nothing.


forlorn of its sole hope,
only home haven,
finds no harbor
in my sight:

for I do nothing.


gripped in the throes of death,
panic pathetic,
prostrate in pain;
soon is still:

and still I do nothing.


Finally motionless,
no stir in its form,
now starved and bled,
lies there, dead:

I watch it do nothing.


Of its insidious need,
its selfishness, greed
parasitic,
I am rid:

To do anything, now free.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

struck


attraction
crept up on me,
unready
unawares

struck a blow
heavy, fatal,
unreasonable
irrational

pierced right through
armor, caution,
defenseless
unchallenged

sent point deep,
searing hot flesh,
unresisted
irresistible

wound won't mend
but by your care,
intensive
unpent

Friday, August 8, 2008

So Simple

a chemical ton of bricks,
a sky of cotton batting,
a purely imagined kiss.

a layer of tiny flies hovers,
a blow to drive them off,
a moment ripe, not rotten.

a soft but dampened grass,
a couple bodies sprawled,
a gaze to lock all eyes.

a hug awkwardly parts;
a passed-up chance;
a week of regret starts.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

one quarter (twenty-five)

a shiny quarter left,

making up more than half

of change I was short.


you short-changed second,

I returned for unreturned ten:

just five given when fifteen due;

can't blame you at the end of the day.


the third time back,

gave change I'd found

to make up my lack:

set atop the cashbox.

Discrete, Disgust; Disgrace?

Help me destroy what I need to not be,
smash these false constructions with a hammer for me
like poor sculpture: litter the floor of my studio-soul
with their remains, undeserving of form and space;
a waste to take it up and better dismembered.

Their fragmented eyes will look up,
shattered hands, fingers reaching out;
piecewise mouths scream, disapproving,
but objections ineffectual, they die,
last bald breath taken false as the rest.


Socially constructed, carefully designed,
the artists long since passed on, architects absent,
none present to see sordid fruits of their labors:
story-book blueprint sketch long ago laid forth
for price unknown, commissioned anonymously.

What money changed whose hands unseen?
Jingled coins silenced by sackcloth,
hands unclasped clandestine under table
passed the papers, drew the plans,
to erect romantic forms concretely.


Objectify me, fetishize me to excess,
so long as it breaks me out of marble inflexibility;
forsaking all lofty ideals, do what pleases best,
take these rigid mores in me to task
till they fail under strain of sweet sin.

After we lay atop their broken mess,
once we've done away with the remains,
scatter them as dust to the four winds;
ground to a powder we will reform them
in the image of freedom, our own.
easy to be glamorous fireworks, a sunset, aurora,
but more unseen are subtleties:

ripples of light in a water glass,

the change in the waves as they pass,

a glimmer of sun on a gloomy day,

a tree's gentle sway in a breeze,

a single cloud resembling
a hungry hungry hippo;

good photography locations
versus
good photography

a good view
versus
an interesting perspective

what happens
versus
what you do

waiting for life to happen
versus
living it to the full

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What is it?

not knowing it you wonder,
not having it you seek,
not feeling it you ponder,
afraid of it you're meek.

without, you think it big;
having, you see it's not.
small change comes within,
no change is seen without.

mere come without change,
this knowledge so strange
to one inexperienced;
so visceral enduring it.


[originally from 6/1/2008]

burning conception

I am pregnant with revenge,
anger the seed implanted.
First of fire conceived,
flame-tempered like steel;
birth breathed as by bellows,

it emerges already deadly.
Cooled and diamond hard,
white as ice in its tightness,
the plan is forged and solid,
now ready to see action.



[originally from 5/27/2008]

Drought

Your spine was the mountains',
your blankets their snow,
your hair their glaciers,
jagged tufts malformed.
It's melting all away,
like they all are.
Soon its beauty will stop
trickling to the lowlands,
parching those below.



[original date unknown. early-mid 2008]

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Living Gray

Living gray-
season undecided, a slumbering sun
tries pushing back the covers, futile,
cold feet sitting out in it, can't wake.
All grays around, tinge of cold,
but season undecided.

Hues of gold:
don't know what's next, sun or gloom?
and which is now is not so sure.
Gloom the norm I feel, it seems;
tried to push back gray clouds so long,
weather uncertain,

blues unfold.
only hoped for taste of sun
on paling skin, not sickly but deprived,
to emerge from hiding here alone
and find myself with someone
sure and sunny.

Gray remains,
hoped-for days far-off, unreal, unseen.
Unexpected, gray means life like rain,
flows free of bounds, both joy and pain,
the shades mean free, undefined:
in between it's gray.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

how it's grown

[I'm seriously considering recording this or finding some venue to recite it.]



creeping and sneaking,
unknown unforeseen,
how it's grown:
down median, up curb,
harshness man-made,
daily news blurb:
acid rain, acid sea,
smog not fog,
landfill wildlife habitat,
see how we're green!
reusing our poisons,
recycling our toxins,
addictive, contagious,
growth mimics man,
invasive species
undesirables, weeds,
roundup ready GMO,
weed and feed:
poison your yard
to stop centipedes,
fight the chemical war
on pests, escalating annually,
fight the war on crop yield
with known carcinogens
and runoff trickling
from livestock, each crop,
into drinking water;
feed the beasts antibiotics,
escalate a needless war
on confined-animal diseases,
crucible for pandemic dissemination,
super-bugs rise with technology;
feed crops to machines,
the eco-friendly greenhouse nightmare:
sustain yourself
while choking, boiling, drowning,
alternative to poly-x-ene,
neon jogging suit,
spandex exercise,
eat more, do more, busy,
stay active-fit-healthy, lean,
mean corporate earning machine,
meat eating fine feeding,
overfish understock,
machine born for eating:
live for those rib-eyes,
enjoy kidney disease,
colon cancer, cholesterol, coronary:
life fast dies hard,
leaves a wake of corpses,
dine on victims--
okay when nameless,
call them dinner, lunch,
breakfast, brunch,
bacon beefburger,
soft skin flayed off
for comforting touch;
durability: leather
pigskin sheepskin
cashmere sweater,
wear chinchilla,
save gorilla;
elephant in a box,
concrete like a tomb,
at the park in the zoo:
woodland critters
urban living,
elevated to captive
ambassadors to the wild,
privileged to live with
neurotic rocking,
walking back and forth
for miles in place,
chain the dangerous,
dominate problem animals,
correctional facilities
constructing near you:
expanded romper rooms,
multi-level parking garage,
high-rising condos
for tenants and cars:
residents soar like condors,
vultures circling the block,
dollar-hungry hyenas, lyin's,
weeding sick like euthanasia
hunting picking bones,
predator/scavenger as appropriate
claws retract to walk,
lower carbon footprint
by light stepping, big talk--
sweep up footprints as you go,
no one needs to know:
green or not, green means go,
but green they say when green? is no,
swept underrug and overtown,
forests to houses, burn em down,
sprawling suburbs let unbound,
two cars each garage,
or many more,
two kids each house,
or just don't stop:
go forth and overpopulate!
multiply thy fruits,
receive thy just desserts,
four kids, six kids, ten kids:
one would be lonely,
none would leave only,
a lineless termination of kind,
no descendants an end
with no means,
natural tendency's to bring calamity,
destructive environment,
habitat of a destructive breed,
democracy of indecision
leaves tyranny for the majority,
by the minority,
for the minority;
terrorism for the foreign,
we're tough on terror!
slashed your rights in half
to make you safe,
but you're still free,
to choose between
equivalent evils, antagonized:
lessers of evils and betters of bank,
investors, profiteers,
those of privilege and rank,
can't help what they are,
genetic moral low score;
nor can the poor,
or is it social engineering,
sympathy without compassion,
derision and division
of unusual fashion?
won't help the sick bleeding,
instead deeply drinking
the nature of the beast,
to grow and release,
ascending up higher
expands till it breaks;
what's left in its wake
and what was its make?
pick nature or nurture,
or neither.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A good chance

Vibrant

refreshing like a bright color,
energizing in the sun,
dazzling me intricately
as a difficult dance,
but so easy to maneuver, natural.
no effort to keep pace.

Learing

at times beneath a storm, up,
we see black clouds, winds rage,
attempt oppressing without successing:
thunder shakes no fear.
I, the fool, lie lower,
gazing up at her exubrance,
defiance of a storm.

Come a fall

we'll both cling to, unsteady,
or lose all balance
and both go tumbling
down hill we've climbed.
I, Jack, hopeful my crown
will not break in twain
on way down from where aspired,
but we're not made of eggshells,

so we have a good chance.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Steeping me

steeped in it
—in you, in anything—
does it dissolve me?
Dilute me?
I absorb it,
take it in
and it changes me,
takes of me;
I disperse out.
Dunked repeatedly
too many times,
or left too long,
what is left of me?
What is gone out
when the tonic is drunk?
Though bitter at times,
regarded as junk,
with you I find
we make a tea so fine.

hanging garden babylon

the curtain of infinity,
green-needled,
aspires endlessly
to the clear blue,
hanging down
toward the bottom—
how far?

Some branches defy
the skyward fall,
reaching up to the ground.
They try so hard from high,
but cannot reach up,
for their piny chandelier
hangs aloft.

Others point down
off the world,
infinitely away,
taller than house
and lower than me,
curtain hung from the earth,
of greenery.

Distractions

Give me a distraction
from all this hot action
that always walks past me,
severely attracts me,
and moves on without traction.

Need a preoccupation
to end this frustration
that assails me daily
and tortures me gaily
like an intoxication.

Get me out of this rut,
this nothin out my gut,
before the poison takes hold
or I do something bold
to remove it.

bus cross walk

bus block crosswalk
go red now stop
right turn
sunburn
spin round
hit white
cross stop light
no street fight
no-shirt bike
walk wait no strike

bus drive light change
bike walked cross main

reconsideration

Is it a cracked outer shell
or a broken heart inside?
It seems something internal—
heart bleeding out dry,
hanging on by hardened arterial thread.
something makes afraid,
whether for something real
or imagined instead.
afraid of a touch,
afraid of a word,
afraid of a feeling
so seldom heard,
afraid to evade,
or to pursue.
in some way so frightened
something might enter here.
Welcoming change,
but afraid of it, too;
seeking all the same
—I'm the only I'll blame,
hold it in silent shame—
don't quite know what to do.
In the past it was damaged,
broken black box or cracked
armor the image—
has it been renewed, replaced,
or poorly repaired,
hastily patched?
Somehow it's changed,
fits different now, for better or worse.
Is it a mask now, behind which I hide?
A shell or façade, still worn eventide?
A shade worn all times,
to hide nervous eyes?
Seems like a sham,
plying for pity,
expecting another to do all the work—
tho I can't see where I shirk—
so that in hard times
it drives me berserk
that drooped disappointment
always follows hope's perk.
No mere glass can show me where to look,
nor can I find in interior nooks,
the fault which eludes me
or a trail of blood
or a DNA trace
to figure the mystry
and solve it for good.

Friday, July 18, 2008

A skin glimpse flinch

your walking, rocking
hip & torso moving, more so
makes gap pale
as jacket-pantswaist separate.
this skin glimpse,
shape of you,
makes me flinch,
pine for this nothing
which you don't even do.
admiring eyes follow;
it is no glimpse at cosmic truth,
but does not feel so hollow
as what mere bodies would betray.

would this notion bust
if more were revealed—
from naked strip
to stripped naked—
do you have, bare, appeal?
is my vision unreal?
looking closer showing flaws—
yet unexposed are innards,
mind's mattering nothing
when your mettle, can't perceive
thoughts invisible track,
within, soul secret me
without a word to intercede,
holy thing worming
out your mind from form,
reveals shape of interior:
if broken like me
or just pure ugly,
attraction deceases,
this interest releases,
so illusory.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

spiraling up

spiraling up
as if upon invisible
emancipated
parking garage of air
the seagle rises
glider wings move slight
unaided upwelling
winding on current of wind

Monday, July 14, 2008

easy on the eyes

some bodies nice
—eyes cold as ice
protruding bosoms
—remote the wisdom
excite the sense
—thought sense absent
with sunny smile
—like crocodile
and hint of sex
—hormones that vex
which promise fun
—shan't last, not one
my heart, it jumps
—to pump blood to pants

Bus Force Winds

bus-like forces
move you towards us
and with delight I saw this flight.
gradual your path to me,
and for sure, I'd thought, it be,
your stopping place back here;

I see

now same force, it pushed you back
and beyond, not here exact.
It kept on pushing till you were gone
--out of sight--
and, myself, I must confess,
'twas arrogant the fates to test.
my weakness, over-confidence
in things that change like gusty winds.

Young Meets Old

when young meets old,
the action's bold;
a gap is bridged
of age untold.

when old meets young,
a victry's won,
against the gulf
that seprates some.

when old beats young
it's damage done,
to bruisèd ego
of youth handsome

when young beats old,
a thing's retold;
that wear of age
the fate doth fold.

see you squinted

too bright for me,
too much at once,
I need a shade
or squint the eyes.
hand held up
to block out glare,
tho you're so far
(in truth still near).
and so to see,
internalize,
imagine you
in simpler guise.
this try to see
brings misery,
doomed to fail,
so blind leaves me.


but I won't let
you fall apart;
in my mind
you are contained
and control
I must maintain.
I screw em up,
see what I like,
whether day
or, better, night.
tight in here,
no thing can reach,
safe at last
where none shall breach,
here with me,
it is complete.

blinded vision
gives the gift
of you as mine:
tho I see clearly,
thoughts incline,
you can't see
you've been confined

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Morning word

interesting diction on waking,
unusually expanded,
unfettered by consciousness
and grown to unusual size,
altering pathways and flows;
mustn't be wasted.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Sink or Swim

when it's sink or swim
there are two choices:
paddle, hope for foreign voices
to pick you up again
or sink:
a weak swimmer,
with no shore or savior,
it comes to this in the end.
but as you drown,
given up,
choking on the briny fluids deep,
it's near serene
the time to pass
and alone in drowning sleep.
drifting lifeless with tide and time,
the cold lets your corpse keep,
suspended for motionless ages,
only nibbled by peckish visitors
who nag, perhaps torment,
then leave again.
you find yourself there:
nothing else.
No one comes, none can see,
but soon you rise,
numbness gives way to feeling,
cold like ice gives strength,
soon to thaw.
Soon there's nothing left
but numb and rendered pieces,
flotsam, jetsam, jettisoned.
washed ashore, the broken bits
baked in sun
make brilliant sand
strewn upon a beach so great
none can own it,
merely on it stand.

[not actually standard, this is a response]

Friday, June 27, 2008

Cheap Tricks (9)

[still need to edit but posting now for sleep]

His pounding feet were the flattest beat ever and it seemed as if his thundering footfalls would splinter his shins asunder. Of course he was no longer a physical being and this was the last thing on his mind.

It was desperation that had taken him and had he been in a calmer state of mind, Cheap may have realized it was this girl's resemblance to Jel that had him following her.

Damn damn damn damn shit they had nearly cut him off. No sign now looking back, but what happened? were they still stalking or were they done with this? It seemed like they'd been really intent upon this quarry, made sure nothing would be noticed till the last minute.

They'd been so focussed the usually-observant harpy-bitches had failed to notice the inconspicuous ex-still-junkie on the street corner.

Who paid attention to human refuse better than they?

Salvagers of the lingering ever-presence that seemed to be the afterlife, their ways of valuing people were different from those of most of the living--and dead. To these creatures, you were a piece of meat. You were juicy and delicious food or you were dried up and unappetizing. Cheap must have been the latter.

Accosting the unwitting net-carriers who were also the victims of the succubi, he'd nearly gotten himself ensnared. One was either living or a goner, the others had responded to him in unexpected ways.

The lady had attacked rather than flee; the man had come to help, and the two in concert had chased him off, hurling curses. Despite the many things he'd seen during and after his life, Cheap felt it all to be too surreal. Like something out of an unusual and even poorly done movie.

It was of these two and their aggressive pursuit that had nearly been curtains for him--surprising from a slightly older woman and a business-looking-man. They had allowed the narc-succubus to track and head off Cheap, and it was only her counterpart's distraction with the girl that had allowed him to escape with his soul.

The touch of that creature had been cold and black, but Cheap had hit back without trying. He imagined the feelings that his touch conveyed must have been desperate and longing, entirely unappetizing and even harmful to a leach-like being. He was far too poisoned by addiction for even a twisted nightmare to feed off of, but Cheap was happier to be free and not overly concerned with analyzing the state of his apparently immortal soul..

The woman, if she could be called that, had become so nightmarish in her rage that it was not
possible for him to forget the image of her snarling, predatory face and eyes practically glowing with rage. They burned themselves into his vision.

But Cheap's mind was saying things like: just run, forget the girl, they probly already got her, the other one's out there. Reluctantly his feet changed direction of their own volition, ignoring his thoughts entirely and overriding his natural flight response for reasons he couldn't have given.

The part of his thoughts he didn't hear was: oh god, it's just like Jel and I won't let that happen again. This thought was lurking somewhere in his psyche; it had been waiting for a moment to act, and a girl with a superficial resemblance to his longtime girlfriend triggered it. She looked like Jel from behind, but he didn't realize this is why he was so concerned.

Cheap, you're getting too gold-hearted for your own good, he told himself.

Next block...she was headed for the school. If he could catch up, lure her away...

And suddenly;y, before he could formulate a plan or thing anything through rationally, he could feel her confusion, plain as day. He was halfway to the campus and she was ahead still, in sight, the succubus seeming to lag behind, but something she was doping was even affecting cheap.

Perimeter: stay away circle around yell for her.

As that vicious thing neared her, he screamed "No!" and this got the attention of both. It wasn't enough: he charged it. This was the last thing it'd expected: like a cougar, an thing acting nothing like prey could confuse and even frighten it simply by doing something stupid.

It was stupid, as she eventually brought her claws to bear. They weren't things you could see, they were things you could feel: hear them emerging from their sheaths, slicing the air.

Being poisoned wasn't going to help him with the huntress.

New plan: charge the girl! The huntress was again taken aback by this changed of tactic, almost amused by its new quarry's quirks.

It looked dismayed, however, when the man chased the girl away, and it followed, screeching loudly.

"RUN!" he yelled at the dazed and suddenly startled girl.

Cheap didn't look back until he saw the campus police headquarters far ahead--the police being a sight that he never welcome. Instinctively, he began acting more casually and trying not to look like a criminal.

She was screaming for help as she passed the living, but they didn't or wouldn't hear. Cheap hoped the girl would keep running, but she fell.

Not good. They couldn't have run far enough yet, and there was nothing else they could do.

"Let me help you up" as he approached.

"Someone is after me!"

"I know." Then, "Relax, aight?"

"Let me go."

"Keep moving, we can talk about what just happened."

"You mean the part where you chased me like a psycho?!"

"That ain't it. I'm saving your ass. You don't got a reason to, you gotta trust me."

"Why don't I just go to the police?"

"Hey, maybe you didn't notice that nobody else is helping you. You think it's any different with the police?"

"Well--" and Cheap knew he'd won the argument.

"Look, we're both in deep shit if we don't run now."

That horrific screech sounded again.

"What the hell is that?" the girl asked.

"Something bad that wants to eat us, so run!"

They ran like hell.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

For Many

As time passes surely
some will pass dearly
passing their knowledge
out of this world.

And time passes on
while newer/younger/others do survive
the passed won't be forgotten:
what they were in life lives on.

Left behind's what's built with hands,
to hearts and minds can't be undone.

a no nym, us

I know
I can't know you,
can't tell,
can't say.

Have we met?
Have I seen you before?
You have my name,
I've not yours.

Maybe you rode
the same bus
the same day,
after it drove
the other way
and changed numbers.

Or shared the same space
same time or later,
public place we both know:
a link left untripped,
yet to be thrown.

Unknown to me,
your name could be
an ex-lover's,
an ex-teacher's,
ex-co-worker's,

or someone's I know,
under this alias
merely an X to me.
If I tried to find you,
wouldn't know if I had.

Nameless on the net,
anything could end
this exchange in a blink,
harsh thought to think,
but I won't pretend.

Net sum zero:
you are quite unknown,
each separate, alone,
in uncharted reaches,
in this mer de noms

Monday, June 23, 2008

Look Out Below

Life is like falling,
so forgive me if I fall straight past.
with no way of stalling,
I'm grasping desperate ever fast.

See, I have to let go
to keep from pulling others with as I fall past.
So my grip, feeble as it often is,
so often just don't last.

Maybe someday I'll find
a snag to hold to, or catch a real ledge.
I figure out falling more all the time,
and now that I've stopped screamin' and flailin',

I can't tell if I'm further from the edge
or closer to the ground.
So by the time I've hit the bottom,
I hope I'll've all worthwhile found

Saturday, June 21, 2008

e-spawn

electronic swimming forth
tween nets and relaying bend to bend,
rivulets' turbulence drives,
but course steadied in stream, on line.
fish-like to spawn, new home to find,
in data packets not too private.
fleet sent forth with out formation,
repletely random, few successes;
many numbers sail out,
few to be returned

Friday, June 20, 2008

sun to tears
burning down
squinting

wind to soothe
blowing through
cooling

chimes to please
sounding thanks
singing

clouds do shade
growing cool
quickly

Friday, June 13, 2008

She will come

when she will come
a bell will tinkle
I will know it is her
I will smile my love
when she will come.

when she will come
all will be well
I will be well
I will be with her
when she will come.

when she will come
she will take my hand
we will be as one
we will be each other's
when she will come.

when she will come
knowledge will be sure
all will be clear
all will endear
when she will come.

when she will come
I will leave here
but not alone
but not alone
when she will come.

when she will come
I will draw curtains
it will be bright
it will be right
when she will come.

when she will come
I will not be lonely
she will then show me
she will love me only
when she will come.

when she will come
my hope will fullfil
my wait will be done
my wait will be worth it
when she will come.

when she will come
I will die happy
she will still care
she will not bare
when she will come

when she will come
life will be over
it will be so sweet
it will be complete
when she will come

Monday, June 9, 2008

haiku

bringing better joy
but opposite of snowflakes:
seeds of cottonwood

Crossroads (8)

Alyssa must have taken a wrong turn.

Was she on the street she thought she was on? Where had the graffiti gone? And something she couldn't place...it was dark already?

Everything she noticed was somehow confusing and wrong, and it happened suddenly. The only thing she could think to do was to...stop?

Should she run? It all seemed overbearing, the pressures that assailed her and pushed her from all directions. Had that woman done something? But no, she hadn't even touched Alyssa...

Woozy, that was it, all of it, shaken up. Like a time when she'd had too much soda and gone on the ride anyway it was all unpleasant but not even suffering--too ambiguous to be any one such thing.

Shit, watch where you're walking.

Hey, hey! Hang on, you've got that. It's mine! Who said that?

The voices? Why were there so many voices and where were their faces? So hazy, what is happening to me? Alyssa...yes that's me, what do you want? The name, I don't need the name, it is all useless and meaningless, this is not you, your name.

Help!

Should she cry out? Running. She had to, but so hard, arms hanging, legs dragging emptily like inert, weightless but couldn't move--because no traction? Goddess, the dark! It was...where was she, the street had gone. What the hell?

Suddenly a face: jumping out at her it smiled and her blurred vision cleared for a minute, this face was welcoming, inviting, a solid ground in a shifting sea of startling visions and her voice calmed and soothed. Nothing could be more inviting.

Yes, this is the way to safety child.

No! A voice somewhere called out, even the woman's serene face was a moment startled. Where was it? Distant and distorted, it was trying to ripple the placid calm of this tiny pond in the frightening garden that the world had become.

Alyssa, wake yourself up! Some shred of will clawed for her attention. Look away!

She took notice--both of she, the woman and Alyssa. And something of the woman's features changed, as if a mask...the mask had failed and now frustration cracked it up into pieces. Anger showed beneath but the will was not enough to fight the hunger, the desire.

Hesitance on Alyssa's part destroyed the control and the face mutedly shrieked: YOU BELONG TO ME. It was mere fact, not hostile, but asserting a right.

The right of a predator: Alyssa had already wandered far and wonder now turning away fluttered behind her the owl to her mouse; phantom, specter emerging from darkness ghostly, pale face gave way to talons showing, reaching, soon tearing.

RUN!

Obeying, she ran, she did the impossible. Surely the woman could not follow? Wasn't this the footpath of her college? Yes! Keep your mind on it, watch your feet, keep moving! And somewhere, rage sounded like an alarm into the dark sky.

Soon shouting, a male scream, a scream and then running, footfalls hitting and shaking a ground like jello, were they the man who screamed's or were they mine, Alyssa, you've got to keep focussed on running!

The path branched. She never knew what to do here, just go!

Inside she screamed at herself, but the screaming was emerging and the rage was rising, nausea subsided and the sky relighted. A rhyme in her mind and then things improved.

A smile found her face to replace the default scowl; vision clearer, the sky was never dark; it was morning and hope rose from the east. Dim in the fog, Alyssa saw where she was, saw a man running from behind her--run!

He must want a chase, had he followed from the bad part of town? Odd how that was so near the school. But no time for distractions!

Campus police. Best place to go; he wouldn't know what hit him if the cops saw her being chased by this maniac.

Feet and flight took over despite Alyssa's out-of-shape-ness. It wasn't far, she knew, and she could afford a sprint. Even if she doubled over puked and died from the effort.

Rounding a building corner running through two joggers, "wait!" cried the maniac. Wait! For her assailant!

"Help!" Alyssa screamed at the hapless idiots who weren't helping her--not even noticing! Good Samaritan laws would be a good idea for these bastards.

And pass just a few more buildings, just a bit more screaming for help, and some cop would be her hero--she'd never hoped to run into a cop as she now did.

It was not to be: rough patch of asphalt broken by roots and one caught her foot--as she fell to skinning knees, she thought the tree had done it on purpose.

Smack. Shit. It was over.

"Let me help you up."

Must have been young, a student--a hand lifted her, hers dusted herself off.

"Someone is after me!"

"I know" said the maniac.

Fuck. It was over. Struggle! Escape! She squirmed but he firmed, kept her from going. Knee to the crotch and he jumped, must have dodged.

"Relax, aight?"

Not trusting him, she stopped and relaxed, not seeing why until she saw the sorrow in his eyes--and no malice.

"Let me go."

"Don't run. We gotta talk about what just happened."

"You mean the part where you chased me like a psycho for goddess-knows-why?!"

"No, that ain't it. I just saved your ass."

Sunday, June 8, 2008

11:00 apologies

I make them to the face
that the time I've missed
(lost were it a race
or an object, placed amiss)
can be forgiven with embrace.
closely snugged with pillow, sheets,
hours can't be made up anyplace:
pushed back to AM sleep in,
I dare not see the face

Saturday, June 7, 2008

love like a drug

swap bag for cash,
replenish my stash.

for you a done deal;
for me more appeal.

are you the dealer
or are you the drug?

is it you I come back for
or what you supply?

when you're around
I'm such an addict,

but I can't really tell
what gets me so high.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Down Against

lays me prone
ubiquitous force
rock and hard
my place is down

bruising grasping
everywhere
holds me pulls me
shows no care

its total grasp
irresistible
takes me down
each time for more

it permeates
entire body
within without
with no mercy

Monday, June 2, 2008

Cottonwood 'Chutes

millions drift: up, down, left, there, back, fore, to, fro

a few glimpsed longer swirl by, pause whorl moment's rift

gift seeing longer, take overwhelmed look at vista of billions

floating seeds in air on mission to make more: making more makes more

miracle birth so many can live suspended high up awaiting a fall never comes

littered the sunken cluster tighter in a carpet layer unmended

while parents, up-ended, roots stick them immobile in place

seeding or spewing or shooing young into airspace or ruin

lost but glorious far but farther to go they fly and don't know

under no power own fly from their homes aiming for the horizon



(written after having half a beer, which somehow made me drunk for a short time. Nothing has been edited but spelling)

Friday, May 30, 2008

Cloak and Stagger (7)

"Hit by a drunk driver."
"Pathetic, isn't it?"
"Yeah. Glad you survived though."
"Well, I'd be better off with two working legs."
"Poor Thom though."
"Thom? Who?"
"Driver."
"The dr--poor Thom!? My leg's broken here--
"He wasn't so lucky."
"Oh--got what was coming to him, I'd say."
"I'd reconsider your opinion."
"You know this chap? He volunteer at the RSPCA Sundays? give his salary to starving orphans?"
"Just an old friend's son. Decent enough sort. Turns out, he wasn't just drinking; he'd been drugged."
"Thought it was just blokes did that - or was it one? And you know, there are these party drugs now...pass me that will you?" Indicating a newspaper open on the table.
"It's not in there yet, I just spoke with his father, who's been speaking with the police."
"Look, Jerry, how is it you seem to know everybody? Someone hits your photographer, you know the bloke. That just ain't normal, boss."
"It's just connections, having been around. Simply a coincidence."
"So why'd someone drug his drink? Must've thought it belonged to a lady?"
"They don't have the answer to that, but I do. Our dear late Thom was seen in the company of a woman."
"Indian bird? Dark hair and all that, bit on the glamorous side?"
Laughter. "So you did see her. While being run down?"
"I didn't have much else to look at. And, well."
"Well?"
"Well, she was a bit distracting."
"Of course, of course."
"Don't give me that look!"
"If you don't think you'll be too distracted to pay attention, I've got an assignment for you."
"An assignment? You know it's hard to be inconspicuous on crutches."
"You can handle it."
The shuffle and light flapping sound of paper.
"Interesting."
"Very."
"Strange."
"Yes."
"Expensive."
"Very."
"So when do I leave for America?"
Two tickets outthrust: British Airways, first class.
"Jerry, you're mad. But I can't refuse a good challenge. Or good money. Help with my luggage, will you?"
The sounds of leaving. A door shuts, leaving only silence behind.

Cheap Goods (6)

Cheap wandered down the road far behind the girl, waiting till she'd almost disappeared from view. He didn't think she'd noticed him tailing her, but he was good at this. Maybe he'd been a pro in a past life.

Almost thinking of himself as a guardian angel - an optimistic appraisal of himself, he knew - he said to himself that he'd just follow the girl at least till she was out of this hood.

Hood? He'd been hanging around here too long, talking to too many thugs.

They amused him though. No matter what happened to them, however you explained it - they were still caught up on the same things. Turf and toughness. Never mind that even this particular skinny-ass junkie wasn't threatened by them; they didn't know when to quit. Not even when they got themselves killed.

Sigh.

Cheap really wished addiction wouldn't linger the way it did. Psychological addiction - shouldn't it be easier to get rid of than chemical addiction? The only relief was that now, he couldn't actually commit violence anymore to fuel his need; nothing could get him a fix. And though he could still harm others and himself in less tangible ways, he was learning not to.

He was becoming a better person. Hopefully that would save him from this miserable, loitering existence. There was no good reason to think it would, but he had to shoot for something.

Whatever else it might have been, it was rehab - and it was far from over. Cheap's emotional development had been stunted by his habits, and now there was something else wrong with him. Despite the odds, he struggled on. It was getting better all the time.

Or so it seemed.

He only relapsed when - well, he tried not to think about that. Almost losing himself from the world, as often happened, he looked at the phantoms of scars on his wrists. Not across the veins: he'd been more serious than that. They reminded him of what his desperation could lead to, streaking up and down the flesh in tangible memory.

Flesh? Is that what he should still be calling it? At this point it was insubstantial, must be imaginary. A wonder he wasn't fading away.

God, he missed Jel. Where'd she gone off to? So much for guarding the one he loved. She burned like embers somewhere under his soul, making him want to cry out, to run, to curl up and hide in a hole and never come out.

Like he'd always done with smack.

Wasn't it supposed to be the whore with the heart of gold? The junkie was just junk. Trash. No redeeming values, just a gaping vein destroying his life for a fix. And Cheap had done exactly that.

The girl was almost out of sight again, he had to pick up his pace a moment to make sure he didn't lose her.

Don't look too interested...

Now he remembered - he'd tired of seeing Jel with other guys. It hurt so much, he'd had to stop following her -

Stop.

There was a narc ahead. She had some message she was whispering, Cheap could see it clinging to the people as they passed her.

What was she up to? A quick glance along the trail of marked people, standing out like neon graffiti on the dull-gray street (as it seemed to Cheap), revealed nothing obvious to him. There was no apparent trend.

Pausing and trying to look casual, he watched her from the corner of his eye. It was almost mesmerizing, the skillful way in which she distributed her message, highlighting people for some unknown purpose - though it was probably sinister. It was like watching a spider, the way her delicate and weightless brushing and bumping and touching of people with her message made such a complex web.

This was a gift Cheap had always had, discerning irregularities in people no matter how convincing their performance might be. It had been different before - he'd mostly been on the lookout for cops, bad dealers, pissed off g's. Sometimes he could see it as if it glowed on them, some little wrongness about them that made them stand out. Like seeing some kind of aura, but it was more a feeling he got telling him how to act, which people to beware.

Instinct.

Had it arisen from a life of paranoia? Who could say. People had stolen from him and cheated him his entire life and in less clear moments, this was all he could think about: always the victim. There were few times he'd actually benefited from his odd little talent. Most times, he hadn't had the clarity or presence of mind to be helped by it - nor had he always acted for his own self-preservation. That motivation problem had been fixed - it had ended along with his pathetic life.

Even still, he was almost embarrassed to remember the way he'd whined about his pathetic life, sometimes; how useless it had felt to try and fix things. He'd even cried to the cops while being arrested, once ("I'm not on any drugs, I just have a shitty life, you don't even know!"). Good thing the bad trips that got him so wound up had blurred memory as much as they'd blurred reality.

But then some of them had only scarred him more deeply than a sober mind could have been scarred, cutting into an undefended mind.

He shuddered against the spell of desperation that wanted to wash over him as he was hit by a sudden memory, a sudden craving. Jel, he thought, his mind should know by now that it can't rely on drugs. They didn't phase him and he didn't think they were any more real than he was, these days.

Still...if he could just get a fix -

Stop.

There it was. And shit, he'd lost the girl now. Had she gone left? right? She hadn't been narced on, the narc had hesitated and avoided touching her. Why? But now he saw what he'd wanted to see. Like an owl her wings rose ghostlike as she homed in on the marked ones.

Oh come on, they don't have wings, Cheap told himself. That's just fear. It's a shawl. Like a gypsy grandma wears. Those gypsy grandmas are dangerous, he reminded himself.

Now she was harvesting. Her narc was following the line of tagged souls, showing where the trail ended. How did they always know which ones would move in the same direction? They must have had lifetimes to develop whatever it was they actually did, conning people and looking for marks for their clever thefts and scams - and now this was its perfection.

No longer living, they carried on in much the same way. What they stole was - did Cheap know what they stole? Life force? Whatever that meant. It was like watching junkies without knowing a thing about drugs. It was clear they were getting something they valued, but what was it?

He'd almost found out a couple of times, but junkies mustn't have had much of what they wanted. They would always ignore him once they came close enough to see how drained his soul was.

Resolve finally clamped down and he put his mind to the task at hand. Maybe he'd been on the right track to follow the girl, he thought while watching the...succubuses at work. A succubus, that was some kind of soul sucking thing. The name fit.

Succubuses? That sounded funny.

Whatever.

Messing with people had always been fun. A grin found its way onto Cheap's face as he made his purposefully insignificant way to the nearby alley.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Urban

Urban sprawls from sea to hills.
Urban's clogged arteries.
Urban's slovenly,
pourin shit straight to sea.
rivers wither hopelessly,
winding through the industry
of Urban's commerce misery.

smokin's chokin urban down,
out his pipes it's blowin round;
no fresh air when he's in town.
Urban's got no urgin
to slow his habit down.

Urban's growin, keep him fed.
fuel is burning, sky is red,
he scrapes it up there overhead.
not high enough for Urban taste,
must grow higher, time don't waste.

hustle-bustle through the night,
shining Urban burning bright,
his grid is constant,
streets alight;
I want to plunge him dark tonight.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Owl Screech (Columba livia) (5)

The girl with the owls was a sign of death. Karin turned flimsy with fear in her presence.

She was being hunted.

Snowy white-faced hoots served only to chill to the bone, omens of death in the dark black: ghosts among the branches, lurking in the trees, glimpsed through high windows and perched atop high boughs.

Like a mouse, Karin could only scurry before her now-predatory friend Alyssa, the one with the owls; also predators. The owls were as real as they were unreal and manifested only at the right times - for this harsh apparition of Alyssa the right times, but for Karin, the wrong.

Ever wronged.

Alyssa lingered in her mind so long after each encounter, yet the last real encounter had been so long ago, and since then the symbol was always the same when she closed her eyes: her pale owl-face was death.

But the question remained: whose death? Is that where Alyssa had gone? Not missing but dead? But how could it happen without being known to anyone else? Alyssa couldn't be dead.

Karin feared it, either way.

She was trying to wake up. Not just from the previous night's dream-disturbed slumber, but from the haze that seemed to pervade every portion of her mind. It was a dark branchy fog, where forest sounds ominously foretold death. Or were they retelling death?

There was another thing that Karin did not understand: why owls?

She had heard someone say some Indians believed they foretold death. Maybe that was it. Was it the Navajo? Maybe it was Apache; she wasn't sure. But she was no Indian. Owls were cute! There's nothing to fear, unless you're a mouse. In the dark. Scurrying.

So Alyssa's passing out of Karin's world - for whatever reason - gave her a dream that hardly resembled their friendship. She'd heard nothing from her friend in awhile. Karin was almost embarrassed that she felt so fond of her when they barely even saw each other outside of class anymore.

Owls, though? Being hunted?

Maybe it was her hairline - the way her hair seemed to peak, but her hairline wasn't peak-shaped. It was something about the shape as it rose stiffly off her head in dark, chestnut-toned perfection. And her nose, small nose curving only slightly from her face, maybe it was a little like an owl's beak. And her eyes, large and hazel, but somehow darker than that color should allow for. Sometimes black.

Was she jealous of Alyssa's looks? Maybe Karin had driven Alyssa off for being so much prettier. She'd felt so threatened in the dream - maybe she felt she wasn't pretty enough. But Alyssa would have called that nonsense, that's the kind of person she was: not stuck on herself. And her penchant for biting wit and not-too-cynical cynicism perhaps gave her talons, but she had never used them maliciously.

Has something changed? Is she okay? Still no message or call back. Chk went the cell phone shut.

Maybe it wasn't about death at all: it was just Karin being a worrier. She knew that's what she was - it was just too easy to care about people and get attached, and it was so hard to keep her imagination from spiraling into all the terrible possibilities in this world. Besides, it would be wrong not to be concerned about others. Hopefully it was needless; it usually was.

Karin had been stirring coffee in her kitchen so long that it had become cool enough to drink. These thoughts still percolated and dripped through the poor filter of her mind, unsweetened and occupying her full attention while she idly whirled the delicate spoon.

She drank, needing the caffeine. If anything would make sense of her thoughts, it would be stimulants. Maybe a cigarette - but she'd quit a month ago. It was only mornings like this or finals when she had the urge. No cigarettes around, luckily, or she might have gone back to the habit.

It was Alyssa that got her started, and got her to quit. It wasn't that Alyssa pressured her or anything, Karin just always thought it was cool, wanted an excuse to hang out more. Like so many smokers, she'd just started by bumming one off a smoker friend. And here she'd told herself she was over that sort of mimicry after high school.

Hopefully she was only being excessively worried. The way she felt about Alyssa had snuck up on her - it wasn't like she was a lesbian, but she had to admit that she had some kind of girl-crush going on.

Funny how that goes with me, she thought with a short-lived smile.

Now she drank the cooling coffee faster, being caught by surprise first by the time on the clock, then by the fine grounds in the bottom of the empty mug.

Yuck. So gritty. How was it she always managed to have that problem? Wasn't it impossible?

Coffee downed, it would still be awhile before she was awake - Karin used to be a morning person, but since starting college, she'd had a hard time waking. Too much caffeine maybe, too much stress; a laundry list of things she was doing wrong. Instead of gaining her freshman fifteen, she'd lost fifteen. All she'd put on were eye-circles.

Was it all just dreams? Some underlying fear, maybe? The way she was treated by her subconscious was inhumane. This newest dream though, it had been something like a nightmare, like she hadn't had since childhood. Was the girl in the dream supposed to be Alyssa? She seemed so different. Wrong somehow. So...what's the word? There's a perfect word for what she is compared to the real Alyssa. So detached, so aloof...

So dead.

And this made her shiver despite the weather, which was already feeling warm at 7 am. What a ridiculous time to be up for a class. Karin often complained about it and had even tried to get the schedule changed - who can learn anything at 7:30? Why couldn't they meet in the evening when there were only a handful of them enrolled in the class?

It was only a dream, right? It seemed impossible to convince herself of this. It was that darn fog again, made it so hard to make sense of anything, and her brain wouldn't listen to what she wanted it to do. Even trying to hurry out the door for the brief walk to campus, her arms seemed so sluggish in responding to her orders to pick up purse, key, backpack, like they hadn't slept enough. Or as if her mind hadn't rested enough - which it hadn't.

Leaded feet dragged her as she hurried to class. Leaded lids drowsed her eyes. The sun seemed too high, visible in the slight morning haze as a much-enlarged version of itself, expanded like an owl's face.

The weather mirrored her interior world, but in the opposite color.

Walking still half-awake, Karin found herself walking behind a girl who seemed familiar. It only slowly dawned on her that she was hoping it would be Alyssa, then that it wasn't her. She was the right height and build, but she carried herself differently. The hair was mussed - not the straight short dark of Karin's friend. And the dress - definitely not Alyssa. Not something anyone would wear on campus.

That dream and lack of sleep were still messing with her, she decided. Get my mind of Alyssa and get on with this day…

It was still difficult not to keep pace with the girl, just to satisfy curiosity.

After a few minutes, the other girl's path diverged from hers along a curved walkway. Alyssa wouldn't be around here this time of morning anyway, right?

Seconds later, Karin looked across the dewy lawn to see the other girl standing, shrouded in fog, staring back at her. It was like looking into a mirror and finding the wrong face, or recognizing a friend from behind only to be greeted by an unhappy stranger.

Karin was imagining things. She must have been. In this girl's face she saw a pale owl's, mercilessly bearing down upon her. She imagined-remembered wings fluttering and claws reaching toward her with a shudder, not realizing that her pace was quickening automatically, feet moving her away from this strange and unreal threat.

If asked then, she would have sworn it was Alyssa, that it was still a dream - it could have been someone who simply looked a lot like Alyssa. If it was Alyssa in the flesh, she had been somehow changed. In fact, she was uncannily like Alyssa as she had been in the dream, as though this girl was the same dream-born phantasm and had refused to be driven away by the sunrise; a nightmare that continued even after sleep ended.

This intrusion into Karin's waking life was too much. It was impossible. There was no way things were as they seemed, her mind was playing tricks on her. She was cracking up. A rush of adrenaline let her push back the dark curtains in her mind, letting the unwavering sun spill in and vanquish what could only have been her own errant, vampiric imaginings.

What was on the syllabus for today? She hadn't finished all the reading, had she? Hopefully she could make it sound as if she had, that always scored points...if it didn't fall on its face. The last chapter was about…phylogenies?

Despite this flood of routine thought, Karin’s footsteps were still rapid, and she looked only straight ahead as she hurried to class. When she heard the fluttering sound of wings, she did not look back. She ignored the owl-like call that sounded from behind her.

It's just pigeons, she told herself. Columba livia.