Thursday, February 28, 2008

unrested

6:30 hit me like a ton of bricks
beat me like a tongue of licks
and I thought I had slept
instead I dreamt thru the day
of lying asleep in bed

pointless, plaintive, passing

we've exchanged some nice smiles
but never a word
I know nothing about you
and that's all I've heard
but what I suspect,
though it might be absurd,
is that we'd get along.
but you've got someone, I'm sure.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Pussy/Cat

I suppose I can see
why one would confuse
feline for feminine--
sleek shapes and a sometimes
subtle temperament,
the way they purr when pleased
and meow the eyes upward sent,
so haunting a sensation
that nocturnal invitation.
to pet and make purr, she might
lay on your bed while both of you nap,
or if just as lucky
she'll lay in your lap.
tho claws scrape your back,
it isn't a trap
so come and be welcome,
tenderness melts 'em
until all is wet
by a tongue in effect
bathing a body in nothing that's naughty,
making all shiny and once again clean,
pure to be seen
in this like a dream,
when it's over you rest,
calm and collected though cup runneth over,
change mind and body of both for the best

Suburban Appeal

I live in a lucky direction,
with a woodsy mountain inflection.
but they're subdividing the subdivisions
in suburban sprawling rhythms
and I cruise by, finally
seeing other than edgewise,
seeing it in terms other than its streets,
looking at trees and in to its people:
unswayed, unmoved by suburban appeal:

draws the eyes

a path winds back,
a slight bare track
into the wood--
outside I stood,
unseen by eyes
seen far thru trees

927

a moving premises,
by camera over-watched,
darting through suburbia.
let someone else drive.
I like it--not driving,
mind not constrained
by need to control,
I can think anything

dead-end tunnel a few inches deep

drawn to women is an agony
only disappointment awaits
but drawn are we still the same
through leads nowhere at all
to nothing but frustration
drink amplifies annoyance
till every last one leaves
or leaves one with zero

Saving

a girl
seeming vulnerable
invokes a reaction--
like someone falling--
like the impulse
to hold out a helping arm
and
eventually,
weak tho she may be,
strong as you might seem,
you'll tire

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Fifty Per Hour

Well that was not what I expected.

It's only been an hour since I arrived, and I'm already going back into the wet and cold and starting my car.

At least it's still warm--the car--but I hadn't even seen tonight coming. All of my concerns came out, because Jan said she wasn't so sure about seeing me anymore since it felt like it was going nowhere. Of course I told her I was just trying to figure out what was hanging me up and that I wanted it to go somewhere, and that must have triggered some major insecurities, because I could almost see her snap.

The discussion just got uglier beyond that point, me trying to explain and her feeling hurt -- she was also trying to understand my side of it, but I could see it had hit her worse than she would admit. There was just no recovering from it.

Then, of course, she told me she 'sort of had her eye on someone else'. That's exactly what I was trying not to do myself! I guess I should wait on that in the future until I actually have a reason for it.

It's frustrating, and it always feels this way. If it's not flat out rejection, it's stagnation and the eventual spurning that accompanies that, along with a final rejection. Worse because you already feel invested in the person, and instead of a simple 'no' it's a whole discussion.

Maybe Joe has got it right, but I guess I'm not out of the game yet. Whether or not I have a chance with her, I think I'm done with Jan. Start fresh. No baggage.

My only other option would be to turn around and knock on her door again, tell her I'm through with my indecision, tell her I want to be with her without any reservations, I've made up my mind.

But I still have reservations!

That strategy works in the movies, anyway, but I doubt if it's often successful in reality. It has to be pulled off right, things between people have to be a certain way. Hell, even the way you get back to the girl's door probably makes a big difference. A buzzer and a 'hey it's me please let me back in' through a half-understood noisy intercom takes a lot of the punch out of that.

I've tried it.

I'm backing out the alley leading to the apartment building's tiny lot, and I know I'm done here. Won't be back.

It would be kind of pathetic to go crawling back now, anyway, and I've been there before. Granted, refusing to leave my first girlfriend's door until she had the building manager escort me out was pretty far down the scale of the pathetic. But this situation is a little different; I would only maintain some dignity by doing something besides slinking away or sitting in the hallway of my not-quite-girlfriend's apartment.

It just bothers me that things feel so incomplete, so very confusing, when they'd been clear-cut just hours before.

I'm more upset than I like to admit, got to pay attention to driving. Don't need to run over any pedestrians out for a late night milk run for the kiddies' morning cereal.

It's nothing to do with Jan, either. At least when there is a relationship, there's some grounds for being upset at a time like this. In this case, it's my own inability to start such a relationship that's got me angry.

Maybe, in dating, I could use a bit more high risk behavior. That's what got me into trouble in the past, but maybe I've let myself become too cautious after getting a couple of burns? Which clearly I survived intact, even if it had been awhile since I tried at all, before Jan.

And that was a text message from her.

She must know I'm driving still, it kind of annoys me, getting a text on the road. You can't read the damn thing without taking your eyes off the road! One of those high-risk behaviors that kills someone and inspires a law banning texting and driving.

Which I'm all for--I can't count the number of times I've had to deal with drivers on cell phones who were obviously not paying attention to speed limit, lane position, etc. And they weren't texting.

Undoubtedly electronics cause all kinds of stupid accidents that could otherwise be avoided.
but what kind of mentality does it take to think that you can take your eyes off the road in order to write a text message? At a stoplight I can understand maybe, but any other time...you've really got to have screwed up priorities to do that.

I don't think I care what Jan has to say, thinking about it. It's probably not worth taking my eyes off the road for, although reading a text is probably safe enough if you're careful. And now I'm on better roads, so it's not as dangerous as it would have been on the way down.

Maybe reading it at home will be too late. Not that I'm going back to her place for a romantic comedy resolution or anything.

I really wish--

Whoa there, just a second and someone tries to cut me off. This is dangerous business. Great. She wishes something, and I dropped the damn phone.

Now I'm curious and just picking the thing up will be dangerous! Maybe if I can...got it.

Keep your eyes on the road, eyes on the road...

The display needs to be turned back on...press a button...okay. Road clear, nobody doing anything crazy in the mirrors.

I really wish you hadn't left--

Dammit! Three more words and some idiot in a rice-burning crackerbox zooms past. Almost dropped the phone again because this guy cut it so close.


I really wish you hadn't left your jacket here.

Crap.

Here I was, only a few miles away, as close as I was likely to be for awhile, and I stormed out and left my jacket. So much for dignity. Although I had to wonder if it wasn't a good thing. That stupid romance movie scene appeals. How does a culture inject that into you? I rarely watch or think about such things...I guess it just appeals to the right emotions.

So, the debate: to go back, or not to go back? Either I go now, or come back some other time.

Granted, the jacket isn't all that important. I have others. But I might feel even less like coming back some other time. Or maybe time will make it a bit easier. It won't feel like I'm crawling back.

I just hope it doesn't seem like an excuse, but I'm sure it's obvious that I forgot it by mistake.

Time to pull over and think about it, I'm getting nowhere like this. Driving is like an excuse to not make a decision. Like I'm running away.

My thoughts are so muddled now, I don't even think I'm making any sense. I hate this feeling, it's like being a broken machine. A skipping turntable. Shouldn't a decision like this be obvious? I haven't gone very far and I don't know when I'll be down his way again.

Given what I've done in this sort of situation before, I guess I shouldn't be surprised. If I keep doing what I've always done I won't get anywhere, but it's not only that. It's sometimes as if life is trying to keep you down. It takes you and it breaks you, if you don't know what you're doing.

And who really does?

Sometimes it's a source of anger, the way people get brought down. Not just me, but seeing it happen to others. I think that bothers me even more than when it gets me. Seeing someone whose life experience has got them in a jam.

Sometimes it's less serious than others, but whether you're facing hard times in life or recovering from them, it's still nasty. Kind of tragic that people wind up doing double duty when life gets rough.

I've had a decent time of it, but there were a few years where I was so disinterested in women that it was getting unhealthy. And the thing is, I wasn't really in a healthy emotional state, so if I had tried it probably would have only made matters worse.

That's it, isn't it? The solution is to stop running and get back into living.

This jacket could just be responsible for turning things around.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Gray Expectorations

Why do the good ones get taken?
or else-wise remain out of reach?
It could be bad luck and timing;
there seems to be no good connect.

And if discouraged so often
as many attempts seem to be,
why should I bother with hoping
for one of these beauties for me?

Really the question I'm asking
is why am I still here alone?
Can't seem to wait for the answer;
time seems to have none of its own.

On Surliness

don't drink with bad ideas,
it just drags you down.
hard in head they get,
harder yet to toss back out.

a mad mood may emerge,
made of much malaise:
moderation missed,
one too many makes its mark.

twin paradox

my bed's called a twin,
but like me it is single;
like my life, seems it only fits one.

what I want's a queen
for loving and for sharing,
but I don't think I've got room for none.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Running Down the Universe

“Fucking hell.”

“What is it?” asked my brother.

“We ran over a fucking frog!”

“Oh crap dude, oh well.”


“What the fuck was it doing there!?”


We'd run over the back half inch of a frog, and I was pissed. I’d seen the damn thing there on the ground, but hadn’t had time to say anything to avoid it. Or had I assumed we would pass it by without harming it? Anyway the back end of the creature was squished flat and it couldn’t move. Obviously it wouldn’t survive.


“I dunno, dude.”


“Dammit! Why the hell wasn’t it somewhere else? Like an inch to the left!” Or why weren’t we an inch to the right? I wondered. “What was it doing in a goddamn parking garage anyway? Stupid frogs.”


“Chill man, it was an accident. We didn’t see it.”


“That doesn’t change anything. Why the fuck did we have to barely kill a frog? And why the hell wasn’t it either two inches to the left so it could survive, or two inches to the right so it’d be a quick death!?”


“Who are you even asking? I don’t know, man.”


“I’m asking the stupid universe. What kind of stupid place kills frogs by half an inch? It’s like it couldn’t make up its mind to totally kill it, or to spare it, so it compromised by inflicting a slow and agonizing death.”


“I'm not gonna lie man, it sucks.”


“And it’s completely pointless. I mean, all of existence is pointless, but shit like this. It doesn’t even mean anything, it just pisses me off.”


“Yeah bro, I can tell.”


“Seriously though. If there has to be some random little coincidence, why can’t it just be casual and harmless? I guess it wouldn’t be random anymore. But it’d be better. Okay I’m full of shit, if it always happened nicely things wouldn’t even be what they are, not even remotely. Which would probably end up being a bad thing.”


My brother just looked at me.


“I know man, so I was at this girls house last night and her cat totally jumped on my face. Like, why the fuck couldn’t the cat jump on something else?”


“I…” I thought I was used to his non-sequitur responses. And at least this one made some sense. “That’s a cat though. It’s an animal, I’m talking about coincidental happenings in the universe.”


“We ran over a frog.”


“Yeah, that was an accident. It wasn’t about what any one crazy animal decided to do, it was about one animal—you—happening to cross the path of another.”


Nobody said anything for a second, but my brother looked like he was thinking. He might have understood, but the look on his face didn’t say so.


I said, “Maybe it’s not even about the universe, just about modern humanity. Driving cars over everything so we can go faster and who gives a shit about the little guy.”


“Yeah dude, but I like driving fast. Except when I got that ticket, I was so pissed. So no more fast driving for me, I’m all about goin' the speed limit.”


“No offense, but you’re part of the problem. Of course, I do have a car too, so so am I. I ran over a bird once. And how stupid is running over a bird? Way dumber than running over something on the ground. But even if I could use buses to get around, that would only help a little. Humans are just so busy with all this bullshit.”


“Oh I know man, it’s like we’re the only ones and fuck you, whatever else there is. Global warming and shit.”


“Yeah, it’s really not just cars. Cell phone towers, too. Same thing, they kill all kinds of birds. So do power lines I think. And then hydroelectric dams and all kinds of other shit just does the same thing. Paves over whatever's there, bulldozes it out of the way.”


I gave a bitter laugh.


“Road construction, too.”


“Well what else are we gonna do?”


“Well, we could always eliminate ourselves. I like that idea. Good point though. Nothing else really pays attention to what it does. Stampeding cows? Lemmings?”


“Oh yeah, those things are crazy as fuck, they just run over cliffs when there’s too many and stuff like that.”


“That actually doesn’t happen much, it was a Disney film that showed that from like the sixties, I think they caught something really rare going on and misinterpreted it. Or everyone else does.”


“Oh, well it’s still crazy as hell.”


“Yeah, but you know, this is exactly what societies do, genes do it too. They start doing a certain thing, and if it doesn’t work for you then you’re fuck. Like genes get randomly mutated or maybe they have a good purpose, but they don’t have any mercy and don’t care about what’s actually best for you.”


“I’m not gonna lie, I'm really hungry.”


“Thinkin' Denny's? They've got like two vegan things but I'm not very hungry.”

“Cool. What were you saying about genes? I took genetics in high school, that was an awesome class.”

“Oh, nevermind. You're about to miss your exit.”


[based on a dream, wherein I was extremely angry about running over a frog. mostly written on Groundhog day]

Monday, February 18, 2008

residual imagery

sapphire blue needlescars
on blood-ruby backdrop;
many many number they,
glowing against shuttered eyes,
falling up and down on retina
upon the gaze every way:
boundless presence, blazing
brands, each marked by light

Toiletry

sharing a bathroom brings with it a certain kind of intimacy.

It's the sort of thing you get to glimpse when you're a guest in someone else's house, but if you share a bathroom with someone you don't well on a permanent basis, it becomes a different experience.

Think about it: you see most of the personal care products people use - though there are obviously some that people try to avoid showing.

This room's very existence is built around basic bodily functions: excretion and cleaning, which, if you think about it (yes, again) are really the same issue. Most of what you wash off came from inside of you.

It's very easy, in most cases, to determine if a woman uses a bathroom on a regular basis. You just have to ask two things: how many hair care products are there? Which colors are in this bathroom?

That's not infallible, but probably often works: and maybe there are better ways still. Bobby pins, hair straighteners, blow driers; these are probably things used by women. Or very vain men.

And to nip in the bud any assumption that I'm sexist or the like: if you - male or female - have any of these products (as well as things like gel, hairspray, etc), you probably spend more time on your appearance than a lot of people: for example, me. When I have more hair, I definitely spend less than five minutes on it(currently I have less than an inch). That said, I've tried growing my hair a bit longer and I understand the reasons for fussing with it, except in cases where it can be pony-tailed.

Also, it happens that in this society, women are (unfortunately) encouraged and allowed to be more concerned with appearance, and to have longer hair. I say unfortunately because I reject the idea that kids should be encouraged to be different by social pressures. The actual, biological differences between men and women don't need any help, and if you think it's "better" to encourage girls to act one special way (for non-practical reasons) because it's "more attractive" for women to act a certain way or "just proper", then congratulations: you are steeped in your own culture and perspective.

Incidentally, lots of the same differences between men and women hold for some other cultures, but see the standard nature-nurture argument. I'm the guy who argues from behavioral plasticity and evolutionary advantage simultaneously, and that can get tricky.

So leaving that meta-cultural tangent aside:
Living with several women when you share the same bathroom, even when there are multiple toilets and individual washbasins in each room (I'm describing a student dorm here), I can practically tell you who's having her period when and how heavy it is. If I wanted, I could piece together whose blood was in or on the toilet, but that's just going too far, and actually takes some effort.

For the record: no, I don't run around thinking about this, I just happen to notice telltale traces of things. Sometimes I'd rather not have seen, but the basic pieces fit together like a puzzle a toddler could solve. That more or less means it's solvable by throwing the two pieces in opposite directions, the sort of thing some toddlers do to develop their motor skills.

I don't think most young toddlers really care that it's a puzzle, but they might stack the pieces.

Anyway, we're talking building blocks here, and I was always inclined toward Lego, so figuring out what tiny marks of blood mean, or what those funny shaped papers leftover from the feminine hygeine section are all about. (What I don't notice is exact frequency and duration...I'm trained in physics, but thank Hades I don't apply that everywhere. Also I'm bad with times, on a day-to-day basis)

It's hard not to think about this stuff when you're not easily disgusted by anything. And honestly, I don't see why a tampon should be more bothersome than a toilet: both are apparatuses for dealing with basic hygienic needs that aren't terribly pleasant in their details.

Everyone does it (except men don't menstruate, but essentially all pubescent/pre-menopausal women do that).

On reflection, I suppose that this 'intimacy' - by which I really just mean nearness - is less
pronounced if you're sharing a bathroom only with other men.

For one though, you can see who has a hard time aiming, or at least who cleans up their pee when they miss. This can actually be more pronounced if you have a urinal on the premises, surprisingly enough.

Then you'll usually only find out things like which shaving products other men use. Or telltale signs of stubble: someone shaved this morning. Or in my current case, that means I shaved within the last several days.

Then there's also more body hair left in the shower. If you look before running water, you can generally tell who was in there last, even among a good 14 people and ignoring the smells of shampoo. Most of the women leave long hair, impossible to miss, while men leave body hair, and we won't get into where it came from, specifically. (Arms. Just arms, maybe chests. Nothing else, promise.) Then has this hair color, so-and-so has hair this long, so-and-so has curly hair. Etc.

That's only if the person before you was impolite though (or possibly hurried: that's my excuse), and fails to wash it out. Let me explain though: that can be very difficult and more time-consuming than it should be, if you have a fixed shower head.

In the bathroom, you also get to see someone's true colors. How long does it take them to break? Some people do easily and end up cleaning everything themselves. Sometimes it's like a test of wills: who can bear it the longest before doing something about it? I've never engaged in this because I value cleanliness. Eventually.

I guess some people's mothers didn't shove their noses into the messes they made. Mine had four boys: she at least tried to make us do something about our messes, because we could probably make them faster than she could clean them.

So no test of wills for me - I'm also not impervious to odors, so eventually even my nose
has to put its foot down. Considering how my nose is from my feet, it's a real statement when that happens.

Some people may not notice, but everyone's in the shitter together, so to speak. It's a society whose slogan should be: "everybody poops: don't forget to flush."*

I guess what it all boils down to is that your bathroom is only as gross as you let it get. And I hereby swear to my (bath)room mate that I will do something about the mess I've made while she was gone.


*I swear I had a much better one in mind, but it escaped.

web support request

the window fills with your misery
textbox tells of your frustrations
still they scream to get out of you
and the corporate body trembles

Ram Dass meets Hemingway

a mind impaired
like a body asleep
can be pleasing to watch
a thing unaware of itself
perfect in its existence
unconcerned it exists
it merely is here-now

bright of morning

waking to a foreign sight,
sunshines
through the window & the shade,
brightly.
next door neighbor house, aglow,
reflects
planted silhouettes, made by
sunrays,
painting in negative the
shadows.
above, the clear sky's pure blue,
grayless,
filled with a clear energy--
feels good,
and this mood can't be taken
from me

wann's kommt (wenn's kommt)

wie bin ich verliebt?
noch nicht bin ich; bald total.
in wen bin ich verliebt?
ihr gesicht ist mir bekannt
wann verlieb' ich mich?
wenn die zeit richtig sei
und warum will ich sie?
da besser geht es nie

tempus non fugit

Thinking of her,
I wish time were faster:
certainty makes
me impatient to see
if it is true
or imaginary.

Moments between
us, cruel, intercede.


[written in hell]

Accidental?

accidental enchantress
bewitched me unbeknownst
to her self - and to mine -
in a way hard to define

it's a want I can't pin down
a like of just the thought
of having her around,
a thing I've often sought

can't say why it's so appealing
so unfamiliar, this feeling,
though also quite well known
I'd like to see it grown

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Fifty Per Hour

I was driving to see someone, only 162 streets and 82 avenues to go. She was a bit far, but not unbearably so.

Death, on the other hand, was amazingly close, frightfully so: mere inches away, it awaited me on the other side of this two-lane highway...it always strikes me at strange moments, how near death is. Just waiting for us. Death or at least ruin.

And it never goes away. As long as you live, it's just stalking you. Sometimes it's like a tangible thing, I see some optical illusion at high speeds and it seems like there's this streamer on the side of the road. It's almost like a neon snake, but of course I interpret it more ominously than that.

It's not a hallucination, just a strange sight in the corner of my eye that I notice now and again. It's not a thing, it's just the way lights flicker on bumpy highways and through the poles on concrete center dividers.

I'm making this confusing - there are the two things, the sense of death, and this...traffic serpent. Whatever you want to call it - it doesn't really deserve a name, it's just some flickering on concrete dividers.

The sense of death isn't a foreboding or anything, either. It's more...well, an awareness of the nearness of potential death.

At 50 miles per hour, oncoming traffic is coming at you at twice that: 100 m.p.h. That means an impact could very easily mean death, dismemberment, or at least a nasty bruise.

If there's not a center divider, it might be as much as a foot of space between lanes, maybe more. But that's not much. You could cause a head-on collision with the flick of a wrist.

And the difference of impact between a 50 mile-an-hour impact and a 100-mile-an-hour impact is more than you'd think. You've got something like 4 times as much energy at 100 than you do at 50. That means 4 times as much of whatever energy it takes to destroy you and your car, and a lot more time where the car is moving and out of control.

Crunch. You can't stop a couple cars without crushing a few sections of fender.

Snap. Breaking bones costs energy. I hope you're at least wearing your seatbelt, because you don't want to be thrown through your windshield, even if your collarbone breaks because you're buckled in.

All the energy you put into your car via the gas pedal has to come out: as things bending, things heating up, things squeaking, things shattering, sparks flying, loud noises. You get the picture; it's not a pretty one.

People mostly aren't thinking about these things, especially not the most dangerous of people - teenagers and middle-aged people in midlife crises. Or anyone else prone to irrational decision-making.

Then there's the other side of it: people who are too afraid to do anything daring, like drive over 50 mph. That's a bad thing if their fear's distracting, but at least they don't tend to speed.

I became aware of all this at my first post-college job: insurance. I was the guy who got to say "no" to people's claims. I used to chat with one of the adjusters who hit me with that factoid about energy. I guess in physics, the energy is velocity squared or something.

Don't quote me on that.

It's good to be aware of these things, but thinking about them on the road can be a bad idea. I try not to be too distracted while driving; I don't have a death wish. In fact, I feel I've got a lot to live for. I know which behaviors are high risk, I know how much pain an accident can cause and how much money it can cost, and I know when the insurance company will tell you it's your fault and your premium's going up.

Judging by the responses I'd get when I turned people down (and explained to them why they are considered at fault), it hurts almost as badly as a broken limb. Maybe worse.

That's why I didn't stay in that job for too long.

Where was I before I got sidetracked by death?

I guess I was driving. On wet roads at 45 m.p.h., in view of a lake. Lake Washington, one of several bodies of water that gives the city of Seattle its elongated, cramped shape. The other main one is the Puget Sound, which is a fjord.

And there are more besides, including a ship canal, but that's not important.

What's important is where I was going: Capitol Hill.

I never liked the area that much, not enough to live in, but it's in the city and Jan, this girl, had a nice apartment that she could also afford. I had grown up in the suburbs so it appealed to me less, but I liked the view of the skyline, and I sometimes envied that Jan had found a nice place with a halfway decent landlord.

That was better luck than I'd had.

So now I was going to see a woman I wasn't sure if I was really seeing. I was confused as hell, really, both as to what I wanted and as to what she was interested in.

I've never been good at knowing what I want, because even when, like with Jan, I was very interested in someone, I just didn't seem to get fully behind it very easily. Maybe I just needed to bite the bullet, but maybe those kinds of reservations are telling me something.

I could go on like this for hours. Actually I have already gone on for a month now, in my head.

It's disheartening. I'm starting to think I need to make cleaner breaks. Jump in for exactly whatever I want. Then stay if I like it and leave, if not. Like one friend of mine always said: fuck 'em then forget 'em.

I cringe at the thought, though. Even if a lot of sex without attachment sounds fun, it's just not what I'd call fulfilling. And I can't help but wonder if Joe's got any STD's, even though he is big on condom use. The things aren't perfect and eventually you'll run your number up if you're not careful. It's statistical, just like car insurance: high risk behavior.

But I suppose that if it's so hard to decide whether or not I want to date someone, I should probably just go elsewhere. Move on. Either that, or figure out what's hanging you up, and get over it.

Maybe I'll get over indecision someday, but maybe I just haven't met the right person yet. Of course, that goes down all sorts of other avenues: right one what? It can't be hard to find someone to have a short-lived but enjoyable relationship, can it?

Apparently, for me it is. And that's not for lack of trying. Seems I just go for the wrong type.

Or have in the past. I'm hoping to change it. Like I said.

Shit.

That was close, I didn't see the dog until it was six inches away from my fender. On the other side of me, anyway, just cleared it. He was heading down toward the water, and lucky for him there was no traffic from the other direction.

I guess that's enough thought for one drive, I'd better pay attention to the road.

[mostly written Feb. 4]

Friday, February 15, 2008

Something I ate?

A new goal hovered before me, and its aim was no less than to change the world. My excitement and energy for it were boundless, my capacity without limit.

The time for revolution is now, and it starts here. Exist for yourself no more. Exist for things greater than yourself. Become part of the solution to everything. How much time do you spend entertaining yourself, doing things for yourself, just for your enjoyment? How much time, I asked myself, do you spend simply living selfishly and contributing to the decay that's inherent in the world, the decay of humanity?

We may be doomed, but now it is time to fight against fate.

Suddenly I needed to find every opportunity to help my fellow creatures, help all things that can suffer, all people human and otherwise who are in need. They are billions and they are calling.

To be born again you must first die, and my death has been a miserable one. Was it food poisoning? Disease? Supernatural experience? I can't say, but my guts heaved with every possible sensation of misery and even still ache dully with the residue of the agony.

Visions of an angel filled part of my delirious night; she is not imaginary, but she seemed not ordinary. Blooming in with eros and full of agape, she seemed the only desire worth pursuing, and she was held before my mind as if supernatural, the only thought that combated the emerging pain.

But the worst of the suffering was still to come after once again awakening. Only iron will kept me from retching, pure fortitude kept food and heart medication down until, finally, there was relief, and I could sleep again.

The timing felt as if something was trying to stop me from going forward with new ideas, or . The cause was almost certainly either a spicy meal or too much chocolate, but the timing was, perhaps, symbolic - I would have worse than physical suffering in my path ahead.

Becoming a force of good in the world is never easy.

The day was full of misery, but not unbearable - so long as I remained in bed. This is the worst I've felt in a long time, and all other imagined emotional suffering melts away: as it had been when I resolved to make my life one with purpose, I saw my selfish pains and wants as if they had never been possessed of any substance.

There are exceptions, but often the things we deal with are trivialities. We aren't always the ones on our deathbeds, not the ones struggling hard just to live - whether getting by or combating mortality.

The question to ask, though, is this: what can I do for the suffering?

And I do not write about suffering animals, suffering people: I write of all of them, everything capable of experiencing misery.

Do whatever you can to fight it. The struggle is an internal and an external one.

The worst is not over. Worse is yet to come.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

golgotha

is slaughter your own way?
Is death your source of life?
I speak of lives shortened, sacrificed,
begotten, suffered, for you died.
millions of times a day,
millions of tons a year,
all served upon your plate:
a culinary crucifixion
making martyrs for your taste.
you can say it's right,
say it's necessary,
justify yourself to me;
but who's it needs convincing?
have I a mote in my eye,
or have you in yours a beam?


[backdated to approximate time of writing]

Monday, February 11, 2008

drunken stumblings

to hit it off
to see and smile
she waves, wave back
close, just met,
feels quite nice -
looks so, too -
arm around,
hand in hand,
touch in touch
and hold her up -
feels all right
but seems so odd
are we both us,
or just us drunk?

Friday, February 8, 2008

ears down tail down

ears down, tail down,
crawl back into your den.
Lick your wounds and
curl up, whimpering.
The returning sun
will return your will,
another night
crawl out to howl:
mad for the moon
call for longing,
long for calling,
cry to the sky
what you desire.
But rest tonight,
preserve your strength
and make the next
the one you fight.

Business Trashy

Business trashy
or barfly formal?
I see how a day in the office
resembles a night on the town
- diffuse lighting, booths to sit in -
but the mood's all wrong
for knee-high boots

The Damned

The moon that night was full and brilliant, and Cyprus would never forget it. There were only a couple of wisps of cloud, which may have been contrails at some point.

The scent of grass and maybe of evening flowers was mild and pleasant on the warm, dry summer night time breeze. It was perfectly comfortable to wear short sleeves, but not too warm.

It was a perfect night to be out of doors, and it was the perfect night to have Anjea there with him.

The two walked silently up the gentle hills of the farm, toward a spot with a wide view of the surrounding badlands. There was also a nice tree up there, they had both played on it when they were children. Thanks to it, both had nursed a sprained or broken limb or two over the course of growing up.

And she certainly has grown up, he thought, lagging intentionally behind for a better view of her. Nineteen years old, gorgeous, sweet, and all his.

Cyprus was so fixated on the way her hips moved when she walked, he barely noticed the log in his path. He caught himself before his face hit the ground, finding himself face to face with an unmoving cricket. The cricket froze for a moment, shifted itself, then invisibly hopped elsewhere.

He stood and quickly caught up to his wife of one year as she sat leaned against the oak tree.

The view they had up here was perfect for romantic evenings, even though the only thing to see was more rolling hills, for endless miles. The nearest of them that could be seen were covered in wheat, but beyond several miles or so there was nothing to see except very dark, scorched-looking earth. In other directions it was the same, only the crops differed.

"We never talk on the way up from the house," she drawled neutrally, as if noticing for the first time.

"Nope." said Cyprus, sitting. "Sher don't."

"It makes it more special," said Anjea, leaning against her young husband.

They enjoyed the moment for a few moments.

"I wonder when we're gonna have a baby," she said. They'd been trying ever since they were married, without any sign of success.

"We just gotta keep tryin."

"Let's try right now," she said, suddenly eager.

They tried, with gusto, on the patch of soft green grass.

"I love you," he said.

She smiled and kissed him instead of answering. Then she paused and said, "I wonder what we're missin out there. In the world, I mean."

"There ain't nothin out there so intrestin."

"How do you know?"

"I just know."

"But how? You've never been out there.

"Honey, listen, there ain't no 'out there', there's just here. It's been that way years now. evrythin's gone."

"I know. That's what everyone else tells us."

"You know my pa tried findin out, almost died tryin'."

"I know."

"You bothered about bein here?"

"Ask me two minutes ago," she told him, grinning.

They made love again, this time slower, with more savor.

"Nope, guess yer happy," Cyprus beamed and exhaled heavily.

"You?" asked a contented Anjea, still catching her breath.

"You know there ain't nothin else I need. World's gone, I say let it be. Long as I got you..."

They regarded each other, then she leaned her head on him again and they sat against the tree, enjoying the view of the moonlit landscape.

"It's like a different place, nights," said Anjea softly.

"It's like a moonshine garden of Eden," said Cyprus.

"Sometimes you say pretty things," she said, appreciative. "Ever think the fires were the rapture and we got left behind?"

"I figger God wouldn't have saved us from dyin if we wasn't worth somethin."

"Yes but what if that's our punishment--"

"Babe, it ain't like we ever done nothin wrong. All been in wedlock an evrythin. And we're still here, I think that's a good thing."

"Well," she hesitated. "I suppose so." Cyprus couldn't read her expression, but he'd never felt like he was that good at feelings.

He smiled reassuringly and held Anjea tight. She let out a gentle sigh.

"You been thinkin again."

"Yeah."

Cyprus rarely showed it, but he'd been having his share of thoughts.

"You know, wasn't till Adam an Eve got tossed out the garden they had kids."

She looked up at him, curious.

"I think there's a plan for us. Maybe no tree of good an evil, but whatever it is we gotta keep faith. God always watches over us. He spared us from the war, now he'll get us through this, I know it."

"Oh honey," began Anjea sympathetically, "I know it, too. Soon as we met I knew I would have all I need, and I know the Lord had a hand in it, bringin me here to a place safe from the fighting." His faith was reassuring to her.

"Aw, babe, you know that you were always the only girl for me."

They kissed and mutually sighed, content.

After a few minutes, Cyprus spoke again. "I always felt like I'd spend my life here and that ain't changed none, I'll do just what my daddy did, and my grandpa. Far back as I know we been farmin this land."

"And now there ain't nowhere else to go." said Anjea.

"Nope."

Cyprus smiled at his wife. "But that means more time for lovin," he said.

"Again already!?" she was surprised, but not unhappy. In fact she was smiling and already pulling her husband nearer, eager to make love and hopeful that she would soon bear children for her man, children to replenish God's earth.

But even she dwelt on such things very little. They were young, together, in love under the moon, and evenings like these felt like all they needed.

They both felt that they could live the same way forever, spending night after night sitting on that hill together, raising children and growing old. Indeed, it seemed that they would, and there was no other path in life for them.

Anything else was unimaginable.

Concrete Jungle

Capitol Hill,
urban rainforest.
people darting out from
between parked cars
like frightened deer unstopping,
vanish once they cross
into the dark cityscape
on invisible night-errands
of eager evening entertainment

Pace

nice car
too fast
unseen
car crash

too late
to swerve
a chance
is past

one chance
to choose
may be
the last

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Warseed

war is planted.
its seed sprouted,
we felt it emerge;
now it germinates.
soon it will be seen,
poking up sickly green
through the soil that covers it.
it will be nourished by each of us,
fertilized by our waste,
fed by our need,
pruned by our restraint and
held up by our numbers;
tended carefully in its growth.
when we regard it as no threat,
then shall it bear fruit,
strange and bulbous,
scarlet and deadly; poison
as has never been known.
it will ripen to a bitter pulp
and crust over, seemingly dead:
but it's casing shall crack
and out shall spill its bitter,
woeful contents upon the earth
and upon us, its savour,
saulting the world to infertility

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Note

The Journal of Sterling Blackfoot was meant to be posted already, in fact I'd have sworn that it had been. In any case, it's up now.

On a similar note, there are a ton of other Vignettes in progress, I just require myself to really feel the purpose of each while I'm writing, and to feel very much that each is finished before I post it. I'm not actually sure that The Journal of sterling Blackfoot belongs in the series, but we'll see.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Metaphor

a dog
in a driveway
lapping up
sweet antifreeze

don't care
where it came from
don't know, care,
that it's poison

Redundancy Check

Jameson Bjork could swear to himself he'd been driving in that tunnel for a long time, though he knew he'd just entered it. It was curved enough that he couldn't see the end and it was long enough that only the artificial lights inside illuminated it.

It was funny, he thought, how your memory could be so easily fooled. Like déjà vu. It was so clearly a trick of the mind.

For just few moments, the tunnel had seemed endless.

Imagine that, Jameson told himself: driving in a circle for god knows how long.

Of course it raised all kinds of inconsistencies: if he was in a circle, how had he gotten there? It couldn't have been a large one. And if it was closed, someone else must have put him there.

It could start to sound paranoid very quickly.

But Jameson was not the paranoid type. He was easy-going, everyone always said.

So he changed the radio station to find something better. Reception had gotten ugly. It stayed that way because, he realized with a slight groan, that he was in a tunnel. Well, these tunnels were never long, he'd have to stop the radio from seeking after he got out.

Were his headlights on? Yes, they were. He checked the knob just to make sure - it was hard to tell in the dim overhead lighting of this tunnel. It was beginning to seem kind of long.

It had only been a few seconds, right?

He looked at the radio. It was stopped on some static non-station. He didn't recognize the numbers, so he hit the seek button again.

Where were the other cars? It must have been later than he realized. Stifling a yawn, he decided to turn the radio off. Instead, he hummed to himself the theme song for Bonanza, though he couldn't be sure why it had come to mind.

Eventually the humming became whistling, until his mouth was too dry. Why had the radio been off, again? It wasn't as if this tunnel would last forever. The static had annoyed him, he realized, and he had shut it off. It was always a nuisance, the way this stereo would automatically start looking for a signal.

When the signal came back, it was inevitably on some random numbers and not playing music. Not even commercials, just static.

One of these days, he'd have to get a better one. Maybe one that could play mp3's, then he could avoid this nonsense altogether.

After a moment, Jameson got bothered by the silence and turned the radio back on.

"Damn tunnels," he said to no one. He was actually not that bothered by it, but he imagined he could be anywhere at all, it could be anytime of day, and you'd never know it in this tunnel. It was always infused with that sodium lamp glow and you couldn't see out either end, forward or backward.

The radio stopped seeking for a second, and it had sounded like a voice! A female voice. that might be more relaxing than static, he thought.

finally, something to listen too. He'd only caught the word "host", but the woman speaking had an interesting voice, he wasn't sure why.

Manually, he set the station to the lady's voice and listened.

"We hope you're enjoying your commute today. We've just got back from the adverts and now it's back to our program."

She was British, he realized. Had he ever heard of any British radio hosts in the states? He wasn't sure. Before he finished his thought, she answered the question almost as well as if he had asked.

"You know," she told a caller, "I find that Americans really are suckers for my accent, and I haven't even lived in New Zealand for several years."

The caller's voice was too faint to understand.

The hostess answered now, "But fucking Americans who think you're from a completely different country gets boring every night. And I really wish I could find some men somewhere in the world who are less tit-happy, a bit of variety in a shag would be nice."

She paused and the garbled caller said something. What the hell? Jameson was wondering how they got away with not censoring the station. They must have to pay lots of fees to the FCC if they talk like this a lot. He was mildly offended, but more surprised.

"Maybe, maybe" said the hostess, "but men in this country can be so infantile. Sometimes I feel like I'm shagging baby. A bit like men back in New Zealand, but I suppose a bit less chauvinist on average. Feminists have them that scared, at least."

Jameson said aloud, "beck in New Zealand we doun't sheg bebies," poorly mocking her accent. He was easygoing until he was bothered, and now his sensibilities had been offended.

"Maybe you are cultured but why aren't you more interested in cunt?"

"Jesus!" shouted Jameson, who wasn't used to hearing peopel talk that way. how the hell did they get away with this on the radio?

It wasn't that Jameson never used foul language, but he felt there was a time an a place, and for some words, he'd have to be damn angry to use.

"Well then, maybe you - " said the hostess, somewhat seductively, but Jameson had tired of the filth and shut it off.

"Blah, blah. blah." He said to himself. He'd have to avoid 95.3 in the future. "Wonder if all women from down under are so potty mouthed."

Nobody had any comment on his words.

Funny, how you could almost forget that you were alone in a car, then realize at some point that nobody's there. Funny sensation. The sort of thing that made Jameson scratch his mustache

And when had he entered a tunnel? Must have been before he shut of the radio, when he was still distracted, but the station hadn't sounded like he was in a tunnel.

then again, it could just be a lucky signal. bouncing at the right angles into the tunel...it wasn't AM or anything, so it was possible. Jameson was a ham radio operator, and had been very much into it as a youth.

But now he could swear that the tunnel was longer than he remembered. He'd been in it, what, a minute now? Wasn't it much shorter than that? Probably he was confusing tunnels.

It's like déjà vu, he mused. Trick of the mind.

He could only imagine what it would be like to drive in circles in a tunnel...you'd have to have some kind of memory problem not to realize it. And of course, it also begged the question of how he got there. Someone must have out him there, and the paranoia spiraled to schizophrenic heights from there.

He caught himself for misusing the phrase "begging the question". He'd meant "raising the question"; that wasn't what begging the question actually meant, he recalled. It's supposed to be the name of a logical fallacy. Circular logic.

It was funny how people had started using a specific phrase to mean something else, when it already had a specific definition in logic. Showed what the masses knew about logic.

Strange, thought Jameson, how this tunnel seems so long tonight. He had the notion that he was driving in a circle, but that only made him laugh.

Then he had a flash of insight.

Isn't that what life is like, he realized? And history, too. Masses of people driving without being able to see far, going round and round, making the same mistakes over and over. And sometimes it seems so obvious in retrospect that you should have done things differently, but still we go on.

Well, maybe things might finally change for real, soon, he thought. Just like this tunnel was about to end. How optimistic, he told himself: humanity is about to break the cycle.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Stung

Like a dart, it hit me in the neck and stuck.

I couldn’t see what it was, but my hand immediately reacted to its landing on my skin, where it clung and I could feel it squirming, grasping me dearly and not letting go. It buzzed slightly.

It terrified me in a xenophobic way; the unknown had me and wasn’t letting go.

I expected to be stung because I’d only had such sudden encounters with bees before, but that’s not what happened.

My neck tensed and I was almost afraid to resist with any more strength. What scared me the most was perhaps that I didn’t know what it was doing. It wasn’t leaving, not biting, I couldn’t feel anything but the slow electric hum of its busy, invisible activity and the fierce grasp of its legs.

It didn’t feel like something alive, it was cold—or ambient temperature, just surprisingly without warmth of its own. That must have been normal for insects, but it was another part of the bothersome encounter for me.

I finally steeled myself to try and pull it off. What was it about something surprising or suddenly painful that could make people so reluctant to resist it? Even when the best action might be an immediate removal of the infliction.

I pulled on it. It hurt.

Like an electric sting, like a bee with the impact of a meteor, launched into my neck.

I staggered and had to steady myself against a tree.

Now, I hazedly thought, I can tell it’s doing something to me, something I can’t feel. It’s like inspiration, I mused in my odd emerging state of mind. You don’t see it coming, you can’t see how it works, but it gets you just the same. Gets you and changes you, makes you do something you didn’t want to do before. Maybe you wouldn’t have been against it, but now it compels you, it consumes you.

Consuming, that’s what it was doing. It was eating me away for its own purpose, it was a merciless thing. Merciless muses, but they were the fates and they were the furies, and none could truly be free from their clutches.

Nor would most choose to be free of them, like choosing lobotomy over thought.

This thing I my neck, though, I would never have chosen.

My attempt at meddling must have aroused it to anesthetize me, because now it was feeling foggier, my sensations of both, the thing and of the tree I had leaned against.

And my thoughts were becoming more distant, less attached to what was going on. I was in danger, I realized; something terrible was happening to me and I couldn’t prevent it. Could I?

I touched the thing again, in fact my hand hadn’t left it though my mind had. It was as much leg as it was body, not too long…a generic insect shape. The sort of shape you might make from a vague description of a wasp or a beetle.

It reacted to my touch by hunkering down slightly, securing its position.

Yet it seemed to become farther away, my attention to it waning with my ability to stand.

I collapsed to my knees and barely felt it, barely kept from falling over completely.

The tree’s bark was smooth, I realized, the grass beside the path was green, a swimming vision of new colors, blurred by an endorphic haze and shaking like an artificial horizon, swaying back and forth with each movement of the plane.

I felt like I was flying, like my feet had left the ground and now I could levitate elsewhere, into a higher plane of existence maybe.

That’s where I was going, I must have achieved enlightenment somehow, accidentally stumbled upon a door to another world. Goodbye, world, I thought.

Something bit me, I realized.

Now I could remember, it was that insect. The bug of ascension, it would take me to a better place. It already had, and I could feel its busy little surprise work continuing.

I saw a vision of a clear blue sea, populated by great mounds of white, must have been ice, floating in a Caribbean color. I noticed, too, that I was lying on my back now, it must have been the sky I was seeing, it was above me.

And as I swam in that drug-like state f mind, I thought I remembered that my life was in danger. But that had been my past life, that had been a different me.

Now I could relax; I could let go. There would no longer be any trouble for me, no cares to weigh me down.

I took solace in that thought; I had been saved from all of that by a little bug, a creature of inspiration had seized me and helped me—but what was it doing now? I loved this strange creature perched upon my neck, and now I realized with a certain sadness that it was gone, it was no longer there, just a warm stickiness, a small wound…

My attention wandered again, I looked up at the great blue ocean overhead and my eyes were suddenly heavy, the weight of the sky, the size of the ocean pressing upon them.

They slowly blinked shut for longer periods of time, until they did not open again.

Bliss came to me then as my thoughtless mind went to sleep.