Childish Series. Look and Listen

It seemed like a joke that she was left out of, that everyone else knew and could laugh about now. She grew more anxious around the adults in her life, they were full more answers than questions. Everything and everyone was questionable to her, being the shortest kid in her third grade class made her this way. She could hear everything, people would just talk endlessly in front of her, as if she were an ignorant baby. The thoughtlessness of the people she encountered, and now spied upon, were bizarre on all accounts to the young girl.The jokes were the most insufferable,  they made no sense. While sitting on the staircase listening to the adults yap away she, began to notice the small lies that her mother would tell to her girlfriends–nothing she said rang true in Remy’s mind.

 

The Undergrowth, pt. 2

Trees of the Forest 7603 by CatDancing

Trees of the Forest 7603 by CatDancing

Fear plants me into the ground,  I can feel the cold soil stirring beneath my feet—in mounds, falling against my skin in waves. Each foot sprouts roots, and strong bark clings to my bare legs, my torso becomes a solid trunk. This steels my spine, no longer am I easily swayed. The sun touches my face and compels my long arms to reach–toward the sky, as I lift my arms, they harden dark and crack, in a frozen embrace with the sun.

I no longer cower when the rain falls—it brings me strength and new life, it cools my aches, sprouts my leaves, and sheds my excess. Renewed, I am  sated to sleep for a decade, then time slows as my scars lap up rain and sun turning over their raw edges—beginning to smooth them away.

Spring showers wake me from my depth, shedding my leaves while I slept; now my limps are bare yet sturdy. Crumbling bark falls to the forest floor, as the soil beneath me tickles my roots. Rings of my trunk begin to peel away, burning with each strip– stripped down. I can move again, the urge to reach for the sky leaves  me—my arms fall to my sides.

 

Perpetual Return

House/Sunset/Blackberries

“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.” -Nelson Mandela

The front steps were the only constant part of the house, so many parts had been torn down and rebuilt over the years, there was no keeping track and no one really ever thought to do so. The old house stood in the background of many family pictures, as if it were a member. The fields surrounding it were wild with neglect, they no longer consisted of the neat rows I remembered running through, over, and down. Every few years I was pulled back to the house, either by force or obligation, but never choice. This visit was out of obligation.

I never lived in the place, it was the former home of my father, and he left it a long time ago. The family farm it stood on had been around since the 1890s, about a hundred plus years ago my great great something or other purchased this place, and it hosted generations upon generations of my family until my grandfather’s bunch grew up and away. The place was a life force, of sorts, when I was younger it was my fantastical playground, full of creaky stairs, old toy chest, dark forest, and stoic neighbors. People grew up, things grew with them, seems like every weed filled acre reflects their overgrown lives. They left it here, all of them when they no longer needed it and it still needed them. This place feels like an attic, full of dead dreams, dusty floors, and forgotten backgrounds.

A Brave and Sta…

A Brave and Startling Truth
We, this people, on a small and lonely planet
Traveling through casual space
Past aloof stars, across the way of indifferent suns
To a destination where all signs tell us
It is possible and imperative that we learn
A brave and startling truth

And when we come to it
To the day of peacemaking
When we release our fingers
From fists of hostility
And allow the pure air to cool our palms

When we come to it
When the curtain falls on the minstrel show of hate
And faces sooted with scorn are scrubbed clean
When battlefields and coliseum
No longer rake our unique and particular sons and daughters
Up with the bruised and bloody grass
To lie in identical plots in foreign soil

When the rapacious storming of the churches
The screaming racket in the temples have ceased
When the pennants are waving gaily
When the banners of the world tremble
Stoutly in the good, clean breeze

When we come to it
When we let the rifles fall from our shoulders
And children dress their dolls in flags of truce
When land mines of death have been removed
And the aged can walk into evenings of peace
When religious ritual is not perfumed
By the incense of burning flesh
And childhood dreams are not kicked awake
By nightmares of abuse

When we come to it
Then we will confess that not the Pyramids
With their stones set in mysterious perfection
Nor the Gardens of Babylon
Hanging as eternal beauty
In our collective memory
Not the Grand Canyon
Kindled into delicious color
By Western sunsets

Nor the Danube, flowing its blue soul into Europe
Not the sacred peak of Mount Fuji
Stretching to the Rising Sun
Neither Father Amazon nor Mother Mississippi who, without favor,
Nurture all creatures in the depths and on the shores
These are not the only wonders of the world

When we come to it
We, this people, on this minuscule and kithless globe
Who reach daily for the bomb, the blade and the dagger
Yet who petition in the dark for tokens of peace
We, this people on this mote of matter
In whose mouths abide cankerous words
Which challenge our very existence
Yet out of those same mouths
Come songs of such exquisite sweetness
That the heart falters in its labor
And the body is quieted into awe

We, this people, on this small and drifting planet
Whose hands can strike with such abandon
That in a twinkling, life is sapped from the living
Yet those same hands can touch with such healing, irresistible tenderness
That the haughty neck is happy to bow
And the proud back is glad to bend
Out of such chaos, of such contradiction
We learn that we are neither devils nor divines

When we come to it
We, this people, on this wayward, floating body
Created on this earth, of this earth
Have the power to fashion for this earth
A climate where every man and every woman
Can live freely without sanctimonious piety
Without crippling fear

When we come to it
We must confess that we are the possible
We are the miraculous, the true wonder of this world
That is when, and only when
We come to it.

– Maya Angelou

Ghostly.

Foggy Forest, by k-girl

 

 

Eternity is a really long time. I’ve felt how encompassing and tormenting it can be. I walk among the living without being alive—it’s a separation I can’t explain.  I return to my final resting place every morning in the same clothes that I died in, and start again. After I passed I was hopeful about moving on, regardless of what that meant. Time became my obsession after a while, I haunted the ticks of clocks, like a self-appointed duty.

Having all the time in the world made me nervous unlike when I was alive, when all I wanted was free time. “Am I in purgatory?” I had so many questions in the beginning, and many have gone unanswered—I’m not alone here there are others. We all wait for our answers; meanwhile most of us haunt our loved ones or pack ourselves away in darkness.  It’s been sixty years and I’m still waiting. How do I get out? Move on?

My Favorite: Quotes Series

“I can believe things that are true and things that aren’t true and I can believe things where nobody knows if they’re true or not.

I can believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny and the Beatles and Marilyn Monroe and Elvis and Mister Ed. Listen – I believe that people are perfectable, that knowledge is infinite, that the world is run by secret banking cartels and is visited by aliens on a regular basis, nice ones that look like wrinkled lemurs and bad ones who mutilate cattle and want our water and our women.

I believe that the future sucks and I believe that the future rocks and I believe that one day White Buffalo Woman is going to come back and kick everyone’s ass. I believe that all men are just overgrown boys with deep problems communicating and that the decline in good sex in America is coincident with the decline in drive-in movie theaters from state to state.

I believe that all politicians are unprincipled crooks and I still believe that they are better than the alternative. I believe that California is going to sink into the sea when the big one comes, while Florida is going to dissolve into madness and alligators and toxic waste.

I believe that antibacterial soap is destroying our resistance to dirt and disease so that one day we’ll all be wiped out by the common cold like martians in War of the Worlds.

I believe that the greatest poets of the last century were Edith Sitwell and Don Marquis, that jade is dried dragon sperm, and that thousands of years ago in a former life I was a one-armed Siberian shaman.

I believe that mankind’s destiny lies in the stars. I believe that candy really did taste better when I was a kid, that it’s aerodynamically impossible for a bumble bee to fly, that light is a wave and a particle, that there’s a cat in a box somewhere who’s alive and dead at the same time (although if they don’t ever open the box to feed it it’ll eventually just be two different kinds of dead), and that there are stars in the universe billions of years older than the universe itself.

I believe in a personal god who cares about me and worries and oversees everything I do. I believe in an impersonal god who set the universe in motion and went off to hang with her girlfriends and doesn’t even know that I’m alive. I believe in an empty and godless universe of causal chaos, background noise, and sheer blind luck.

I believe that anyone who says sex is overrated just hasn’t done it properly. I believe that anyone who claims to know what’s going on will lie about the little things too.

I believe in absolute honesty and sensible social lies. I believe in a woman’s right to choose, a baby’s right to live, that while all human life is sacred there’s nothing wrong with the death penalty if you can trust the legal system implicitly, and that no one but a moron would ever trust the legal system.

I believe that life is a game, that life is a cruel joke, and that life is what happens when you’re alive and that you might as well lie back and enjoy it.”

― Neil Gaiman, American Gods

New Piece: ‘Against the Wind’ Chapter One (Part One)

Scenic View by Koocheekoo

Against the Wind

Chapter One

I put the package behind a copy of A Tale of Two Cities on the top shelf, in the third isle from the door. Where the woman at the check-out counter wouldn’t notice, and  I left without buying anything, which probably annoyed her, because of the lengthy time I spent puttering about the shop. It was a small hole in the wall-esque type place, and it smelled of the sardines she kept popping in her mouth.  She ate two of the little buggers when I had my back to the window, her patchy pale skin glowed in its reflection–I could see her mouth open and close on each one. Naturally, this place wasn’t a local draw, so I knew it would be safe and untouched.

I wrapped the bulk of my scarf around my mouth and nose when I exited Cross Roads and Books. Even though it was springtime in Memphis, there was a bite in the air, especially when the wind was blowing.  There wasn’t much to look at, when I took a moment to scan the strip mall parking lot, there weren’t many cars and even fewer people. I sucked in a breath, after seeing the glare of an oversized travel trailer, it definitely stood out. I walked in its direction.

Now that I was closer, I noticed that the trailer had a brushed copper look to it, and the side windows had peeling paint over them, and they were covered with symbols that… I had seen before, but I couldn’t give name to. I knocked on the door several times, and got no answer. I couldn’t sense any movement inside, but I needed to know, I had to be certain, that this trailer was the one I remembered.  I only pick locks at night, it’s not something I do often, but when I have to, I don’t take risk—being seen breaking into this trailer is not an option, now especially. I took out the pocket knife I keep in my left boot, and walked around the trailer slicing the top of all four tires, fast.

I took the scenic route back to my hotel, to calm my nerves, there’s nothing like driving down an open road to take the edge off. Eventually, I pulled into to the hotels parking garage, whipped around the corners, from level to level until I had to hit my breaks—there was a man in the way, I waited for him to move, but he didn’t.

I couldn’t back up, so that option was out, and there was nowhere to run even if I thought I could out run him, which I doubted. As I was making up my mind, he was quickly approaching my car, one lanky leg in front of the other. He moved like an animal, keeping his eyes on me, silent footsteps on concrete—I felt like an antelope looking into the eyes of a lion.

I made my choice.  Breathe, and don’t open the door for anything. He rounded the front of the car and tapped on the passenger side window, but maintained eye contact.

“What do you want?” I spat, trying not to let the fear in my belly reach my eyes, and emote.

He started to say something, then thought better of it, and said something else “To talk to you.”

“That’s high risk, for the both of us.” I said. His face was eye level with mine, and I could see the scars…they were so pronounced, like the strings of a violin were raked across his face.

He laughed. “I’ve searched for what feels like a millennia, and now she won’t even open the door!” he said, proclaiming to the sky. “Honestly, do you not remember?” He turned his head and pointed to a scar on his neck.

“Brother!” I shouted, unlocking the passenger side door. He got into the car and I hugged him for as long as he would let me, until he eventually pulled away.

“Alright, that’s enough sappy sniveling Lone.” He said patting me on the back.

***

            Twenty years thousand years ago we were powerful, prideful, and at peace. Today we are scattered across world, completely disjointed and at war. We are not human. We are the natural force, we are nature, and we are the Rheven, those were the word by which I live my life. From a young age I was taught and trained to be a great force upon this world, and every fiber of me believed my brethren and I were the one true powerful race. Until I saw it happen, little by little, the destruction –humanity growing, and forcing natures will.

My brother was imprisoned for trying to save a human, from being imprisoned for atrocities against nature—this was before the war. The chaos between the great families of Dorvale and Whitvale started it; they fought and still fight for natural control. Dorvale wishes to continue the “punishment” of humanity and Whitvale is fighting to stop it. All Rhevens had to choose sides or face persecution ourselves.

My brother was imprisoned for disobeying the rule of law in Dorvale, and because he saved the human before beginning of the war, he was kept there long after he was due to be released. He would always be a traitor in their eyes, and he had the bad luck of getting caught on the side of Dorvale–so Whitvale believed him to be a deserter of the cause.

I was a member of the sixth battalion that fought between the nations, I was to fight for Dorvale. They had trained us, given us our orders and lined us up to be slaughtered—long before the day came for us to go into battle I had planned a way out. We were supposed to leave noble Dorvale and seek shelter elsewhere, travel to a neighboring land, not involved in the war were we could be unburden by this battle—but when the day came, I was the only one crossing the great divide. I thought the guards would be waiting for me, I thought they surely exposed my plan, but no one was waiting and so I left.

***

“How long have you been here? When did they let you go? Did you break out?” I asked. I don’t think I could stand to know the details of his imprisonment, the scars on his face told me that it had been as painful as I imagined.

“Don’t worry about it; I didn’t come here to talk about myself.” He said, with a small smile. “I found you, soon enough to warn you about your storm. It’s a gatherin’ my dear.”

“Um. What storm? What are you babbling about?” I asked.

“You’ve left quite a mess for yourself back home, Lone.  They began looking for you only hours after you deserted, and they haven’t stopped. When I made it past the stone wall of Dorvale, our old friend Bren told me about your escape, and that there was an impending trial for all of the soldiers they suspected helped you.” He seethed, keeping his voice down.

That sick feeling came back to my stomach, “why are you telling me this, Griff?”

“Lone, someday you’re going to have to face the choices you made. Or someone’s gonna make you.”

“I’m not trusting Bren–we haven’t been friends for a long time…and I can’t believe you’re trying to guilt me into going back with you!” I said. “How do I know this is not a trap?” I asked

“Here, look at this.” He said, shoving a paper in my face “There’s your bloody proof!”

In late June the Lone Banison desertion trial will resume starting with the persecution of Amiee Val (one of Banisons co-horts), who is accused of helping the deserter flee Dorvale, more than eight years ago. For more on the trial…

The paper looked like it had been through hell and back, much like my brother. I had to do something–my friends were dying and more were going to die in my name. Their blood would be on my hands. “Griffin, what are you planning?” I spat.

“Nothing, baby sister, nothing at all.” He said, reaching for the door.

“Wait! Will I see you again?” I almost pleaded.

“I’ll find you, don’t worry about me. Keep your head low, and your eyes open—you have too

many enemies to be reckless.” He whispered, while giving me a hug goodbye.

With a small smile and a flick of his wrist he was gone. “Griff, brought magic with him, damn.” So much time had gone by since I thought about home, and I had all but given up on ever fixing that transporter–and with my brother back, I have a steady reminder that my past is catching up with me. Thought, for right now the past would have to wait. I need to focus on completing my missions, and getting into that trailer in front of Crossroads and Books.

Sitting in my room waiting for the sun to go down, I sharpened my knife and began digging out some black clothing from my trunk. As cliché as all black clothing is for a break in, I have always found it to be effective.  Now that I was fully adorned in black and strapped with weapons, it was time to go.

Pulling up to a strip mall at night in this town wouldn’t look that conspicuous, but lurking around a seemingly broken down trailer would be. So I pulled up to the rear of the trailer, as silently as my rented Chevy Malibu would let me be, behind a thick wall of shrubs next to a dumpster. The lights weren’t on in the trailer and again I couldn’t sense anything or anyone for that matter, so I crept up to the door and began jimmying the lock. It made a distinct pop and click sound, so I pushed open the door—I must have been excited about the lock opening, because I pushed the door so hard one of the hinges fell off, and hit the asphalt. Ting. Bing. Bing. It sounded like a gun going off to my nerves—I must have been rattled from earlier in the day.

The trailer felt smaller on the inside, and the symbols on the windows glowed in the moon light. I started with the typical hiding places, under the bed, in the storage shelf above the bed, and in the glove compartment. No pictures, paperwork with a name on it, not so much as a library card could be found. Then my heart stopped, just for a second. I heard someone putting a key in the door, then finding out it was unlocked. It happened in an instant, they swung the door open and hit me in the back of the head.

“For crying out loud!” I said rubbing the back of my head. I was propped up on some scratchy knit pillow on the sofa bed. “What happened?”

“Well, let’s see. You broke into my house, after slashing my tires. I’m assuming that was you. Aaa…then when I came inside to find out who you were, and your head connected with the door, and lights out for ya.” She mused.

“Oh. Sorry, I was…just trying to see if this was the trailer of a friend of mine.” I replied.

“Really, do you break into your friends homes often to loot around in their stuff?” she said curtly squinting her eyes at me. Her face was barely visible from my view, but her eyes contrasted the darkness.

“Ha. Well no, my friend, the one I was looking for, she is really private and doesn’t like to stay in one place for long. So I cut the tires so I wouldn’t miss her, you see?” I said.

“Umm-hmm. What’s this friend’s name?” she asked.

Since I couldn’t see her face in the dark I suspected she couldn’t see mine, or the knife that I reached for now that I had my arm pressed against the wall. “Her name? Her names Dovie.”

As she spun around to look at me closer I brought the knife up, and caught her in the shoulder. She yelped, and tumbled to the ground from the pain. I crawled the short distance to get a better look at her face…”Dovie!?! Is that you?” I screeched.

Her Series: Steps.

There is power in the steps she takes, they are stronger than the fear that trained her, stronger than the hands that slapped and snapped her skin. The muscle and bone they can tame, yet she still wanders– running down mountainsides, swimming the great lakes, letting the sun warm her oiled fur. She will live more in a single second, with each step she takes and with each brave hope, then they could ever dream.  Though her pain is exposed, for every prying eye that looks down…upon her tamed frame, and they think the fight is over, that the bells been rung and the gates are closed–but she still wanders.