Tuesday, March 31, 2015

grand vistas alone

A lifetime of one foot in front of the other, it was all for this moment. An unyielding drive uphill, against gravity, his existence culminated in this. He had left behind the pleasures and vagaries of the low places for the spiritual focus of the infinite stairs. He gave up worldly ways without even tasting their nectar. This was his reward.

He’d grown hard as he hammered himself against the stone. He’d grown strong, to bear the lonely weight of his youth-chosen road. This was his reward.

The view was beautiful. He sat down and wept. What now? He found no answers in the inhuman vista alone. He laughed. What was the point? He stood up and leapt.

Monday, March 30, 2015

endings for the craven

I’d like to say we gave up those hateful gods, but I don’t believe it. So many kept praying and sacrificed so much (and so many), even as the world drowned. Countless waterfalls, silver shining, poured forth from the black void of a sky. That starless night wouldn’t end. It might’ve been beautiful, without the endless screaming and perpetual stink of the waterlogged dead. Months, a year maybe, passed without morning.

I ran at the first sight of those wet holes in the sky. I stole this boat. I bashed a temple guard’s hard skull wide open and took her sword. I struck her from behind while she mourned a comrade. The world was ending. She wasn’t ready for such. I’ve been ready forever. Craven from the womb said the whore what brought me up. Well, endings are made for the craven, you old bitch.

When it all falls down, true cowards ain’t been inside it for ages.

In the first few weeks, I used the sword near constant. Drowning folk are desperate strong.

Now though, just seems to be me n’ those rat-tailed dogmen, out here on the endless sea. I fly from their big ships and sneak up on the small ones when I can. Fellow’s got to live on more than confused fish, you know.

One of these days, I reckon that my reckoning will come. I’ll fill one of them scaly dogmen’s bellies, and that’ll be that.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

prose poem 8 | dim memories of bright days

I still remember long, sweet hot summer days. So many spikes of sense-memories pressed against lightly closed lids: diving into sun baked cars as searing naugahyde and superheated air overwhelm sense and nerve-endings; windows down, with fast highway air flowing through our wild hair; the whole world tinted amber and still too bright through sunglasses and smiles; laughter, spritely guffaws, barking above forceful speakers; wild freefalling light-weight stomachs while leaping from bridges into muddy rivers; sweet dry cigarette smoke and cold wet beer mingled within the invincibility of youth. We found new ideas, at the day’s end wrapped within softly lit nightscapes. It was free and honest, I think, despite some posturing and lingering lances of remembered repressions.

Friday, March 13, 2015

the heft of things

The glass weighed heavy in his hand. Thick, cut crystal held swirling, lurid amber.

Heft was important, a persistent percept of luxury. Luxury lay in the idle choice of the matter, the careful determination of the unnecessary. Luxury meant limitless selection. Down to the last detail, despite clean modern lines, the whole of the room implied weight and abundance.

He smiled languidly. His eyes roamed the well framed countryside far beyond the windowpane.

When the weight of the messenger’s news sank upon him, the glass slipped lightly from his grip and shattered with a distant, empty tinkling.

Thursday, March 12, 2015


Hard honest edges of crystalline indifference,
honed against, so serendipitous , this
hostile universe of emptiness and light.
Projected meanings pulse onto stars and trees,
Patches of grass above solemn corpses, and weeds
were not allowed to grow, in light
of what the mind behind the bones once did.
Projected meanings only time may rid -
with distance to see the dead | in new light.
We dance within an empty place,
With what meaning we may make.
Choose well wisely, axiomatic,
and carefully culled, autodidactic,
to guide you through the night;
You are your only light.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015


Suddenly, he wished to examine the grass with honest fascination, to hold each blade wholly in his mind.

He had spent too many years a passenger, driven by half-truths and malformed ideas and demon rum and worse. He was too long stretched through liminal spaces. Clarity evaded his search through the thick glass of empty bottles.

Though now, under the summer white sky, he faced the world anew. Each alien breath filling his hungry lungs sent nervous volts through his gut. Each awkward and frightening step forward garnered new momentum and the faintest echo of meaning.

It was a walk in the park on a sunny day. It was the first step through the threshold into a new mode of living. He was shedding his skin to find his final form.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

untitled scene

"Yah, no. Totally. You see was going to get some exercise, but then I ate a bunch of peanut butter and fell asleep on the couch."

"That's the opposite of exercise."


Monday, March 9, 2015

laser landscape

It was beyond vivid. A surreal landscape of scintillating laser light spread out lushly before the grimy street leech. Velvet ropes and plush gleaming synthetic leather furnishings sullenly glowed in shifting blue-yellow hues. Pink strobes rode along on heavy bass. Finally, funhouse-mirror chrome, everything, and opalescent tabletops pushed it all into absolute and decadent dream.

Meek Mike blinked his big black eyes and pulled his hands out from his filthy jacket.  He fussed over his ragged hair and dusted his collar with greasy fingers. Eventually he navigated the convoluted bustle and made it to the bar. Mike paid too much in dark looks and hard cash for a conical glass of vodka before finding a chair.

It was overly soft. Mike felt like he was being swallowed. He shifted and twisted and crossed his legs. He tossed off his jacket, but simply could not be comfortable.

He wasn’t meant to be here, he knew. The hooch was good, but the bills in his pockets were better.

Then, she walked in through the back door. He felt like the music changed. It didn’t. Every time he relived the memory or told the story, it would, but in that moment the insistent club beat insisted on keeping tempo and tune.

Her hair was clean and stylishly short, not the frizzy, dishwater blonde mane he remembered. She still had those speckled scars on her arms and two fierce brown eyes, though. She strode purposefully towards him with a half-grin on her lips.

Mike felt right at home.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

should have been

It should have been simple. The lines were all well drawn.

It should have been quick. They’d had dozens of dry runs.

It was, it was supposed to be safe.

They’d been precise. They’d been so careful, but Lonnie was still dead.

Worse, that thing was still out there, destroying people that had nothing to do with their mistakes.

Karen lay fitfully, all but immobilized in the hospital bed. She tried to sob around the multitude of tubes in her face and stewed in relentless regret and self-loathing.

It was supposed to be safe. It should have been anything but this.


Someday far from then, when she could breathe without a machine, she might find the courage to undo what they had wrought. However, for that long sad eternity, Karen floated along on the horrors of opium and memory.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

susie strikes

A long curious touch revealed a texture like sandpaper on top of velvet folds. Susie had to hurry, the rain would come again soon. She wiped wet dirt off her freckled brow and bent over her spade once more. Each tough, soaked clay clod broke to reveal more of the creature.

Another awkward misstep scrapped her knobby knee against the rough thing while she flailed to the ground. Mud was in her tightly curled hair, in her pink sneakers, down her shirt, and underneath her well-chewed fingernails. She’d dug a wide pit, seven feet down through the thick red clay, which put the top of the hole more than half again above her head.

Just as thunder struck ominously somewhere near, Susie’s small shovel cut away to reveal a huge yellow eye. Spade in hand, she spitefully struck it and felt deep tremors beneath her bare feet. This was going to be interesting.

She managed to claw her way up and into the trim Bermuda grass of her suburban backyard. A quick inventory of her step-father’s shed produced the right tool for the job.

It was clumsy, but Susie managed. With a fierce screech, she leveled the 12 foot pruning saw and charged. It struck home with a satisfying pop of the nictitating membrane. She leapt and thrust forward.

The neighborhood quaked violently, but Susie refused to turn loose. Her saw-toothed fauchard tore deep into the quivering beast.

As she swung wildly through the air, her hand lost purchase. She careened into the old oak tree, snapping her wrist and ringing the air from her chest. So be it, she smiled through tears; the beast below would trouble them no more.

Friday, March 6, 2015

prose poem 7 | stop loss

Great green drops, grown heavy and fat, fell away from the pipette. A steady, measured loss was keyed carefully. It dwindled. Each dribble meant little, but each drop damned.

Each drop held the promise of empty. Every drop spelled the end.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

sacred bonds

So like a falling star, it strives,
Drives relentless, regardless through,
Burning phosphorescence, scarring lives.
Hot soaking strands, vitriolic fervor,
Dry choking sands, forward work undone, askew.
Ancient weights rend modern lives asunder.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

bottle of nothing

Looming and imminent, the door pressed inwards on a separate layer in the strange animation of his present. His heart pounded forward, too fast, to the rhythm rolling out of ragged speakers. Sunset had sunk, and the room was dark.

Walls and floors tilted and tremored, terrible. Why?

The bottle his gun and the pills self-immolation, he burned through himself. Impotent rage and showers of sanguine sorrow poured out of him. He slammed the big red button, “self-destruct”, again and again and again.

He said silly things like, “There is nothing in this world; there should be, but they don’t allow it. I’ll not suffer through their horrorshow. I’ll sit here with nothing. There is power in nothing.”

He flopped on the floor against the couch, unable to rise. Nothingness flowed through his veins, a bottle of self-abnegation was held tight in his palsied fists.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

sometimes it starts with whiskey

It started in a bar. Almost nothing good ever starts at places like this. Stale smoke and cheap perfume and old beer, pretty much defined the place. He lit a cigarette and stared ahead at the neat line of dusty, untouched top-shelf hooch.

Wild Turkey tasted like fire and sugar and cheap. Terry kept smashing the used butts far harder than necessary into the cracked glass ashtray. He drank and smoked with his right hand and held his chin with his left. His dark eyebrows were knit nearly as tight as his shoulders.

He tried hard not feel anything and found nothing but quiet rage. The whiskey usually helped, and the nicotine was just necessary at this point. He drew little joy from either.

He knew better now, but he didn’t feel any better. When you’re told everything you feel is evil by people you love, it’s tough to shake it. He still felt evil when he searched google images and guilty when he finished up.

Terry kept himself secluded from everyone and said little to anyone beyond, “Wild Turkey, neat.” and “Number 4, cheese.” He worked in silence, drank in silence, and did little else.

Suddenly, some dumb drunk crashed into his back and spilt some sticky cocktail down his collar. Terry slammed down his drink and spun about, ready to erupt. A shocked looking, college pretty boy stood before him, mouth agape.

“Oh my goodness,” the green-eyed youth spat out breathlessly as he touched Terry’s arm. “I am so sorry.”

Terry hadn’t been touched by another soul in months. The young man’s simple gesture shot through Terry like an electric shock.

Terry smiled nervously and said, “It’s. It’s alright.”

“At least let me buy you a drink,” offered the young man.

“Uh, sure. I’m Terry.”

“John,” he replied with a grin.

Terry found himself beaming for the first time in years. John’s hand was still on his arm.

Monday, March 2, 2015

lyca's loss

Long, blurred lines of yellow light broke through the branches and dappled the ground in shadows. The sweet, green smells of spring filled young Lyca’s nose. She frowned wanly at the blooming paradise all around her.

Moss and root and soft loamy earth scarcely felt her feet’s fast passage. Small animals melted away before her scent, so mingled it was with the Lion’s. She and hers had been his for so long, she scarcely noticed the quietude.

As the shadows deepened, the scents slowly shifted to the heavy, sharp smells of death. Lithe Lyca leaned forward to stare hard at her mother’s corpse.

Her mother still lay where she fell, barely shifted by maggot nor fox. Lyca looked close, as she had for seven spring days. A parade of ants carried away pieces of overripe flesh. The bone-white maggots continued to bloom and bustle. A particularly brave raven made off with a toe.

Lyca walked slow and sadly back to her den at sunset. Each day she returned to stare death hard in the face until at last she could smile at the pink-orange blush of the setting sun against the black and starry void.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

cormorous time unbounded

“The cold hand outside my door… waiting waiting  waiting. Reptillian.

“What does it know?

“It’s black, black behind my eyes. Can’t see behind. Moving forward, aft, and yaw. I can’t remember the future as well, but there I will sit. Sat. There I sat, tomorrow. I won’t remember then, because I fell back now, first. Next year, I’ll know again.


“Outside my window, the rain will be here again, tomorrow. Cold and wet and unceasing, it will fall pit, pat, splat.

“Why am I slipping? Why do I fall back? It is so confusing. Why does it follow me?

“No. NO. NO! Slipping…

“Shifting away. When is it, now? When will it be?

“Will that thing be there? It is all legs and teeth.

“Sometimes it hurts, especially when I fall ahead. It’s clearer up there, but my mistakes all pounce at once. It’s hard to do well when you don’t know when any more.

“Moving TOO far ahead! THE YELLOW EYE!

“The yellow eye is nearly upon us…”

-- Patient Transcript, 3/17/98