A bridge at the end of the world

There are places where the solid ground we depend on gives way to something less stable. The world we know, air we breathe, the creatures we face, the physics we depend on… all drop away.

In times of plenty, thrill-seekers come to such places, pulled in by the promise of testing their unknown boundaries.

But these were times of disorder, and harsh reality stole the thrill from those who adventure just for pleasure. And so, the bridge at the end of the world was largely abandoned.

Isa had lived on the mysterious stone bridge for a long time. Her home was thatched to the last and greatest of the pillars. A stone monument that rose into the sky, a scale model of an infinite tower. From town, on a clear day, it was just barely visible from St Josias. In times of plenty, the pillar alone would be worth a journey to the end of the world.

For Isa, the dark stone column was an anchor against the storms that raged all around. A piece of solid footing in a place of wind and uncertainty. Some days she resented it.

On a clear day, Isa could see for miles along the bridge. On this day she saw a black speck moving steadily towards her. She sighed deeply and set the water to boil.

**********

[This interaction plays with the idea of fate. The mysterious stranger is afraid, driven by their sense that their mission is to travel the world and accomplish seemingly minor tasks (shooing a butterfly off it’s course, picking up a marble from a busy road – and thus prevent it’s pre-ordained outcome ala chaos theory).

Further, according to the stranger, only those extremely rare events that actually have determinist outcomes are revealed to them. Everything else is powered by free will and random chance. The strangers tasks are a function of that law of indeterminism that otherwise deterministic events create the conditions for an agent of free will (the mysterious stranger) to potentially intercede. The stranger does not know what outcome they are preventing, good to bad, their only mission is to hold back the forces of determinism.

The stranger may not be the best judge of their own true motivations.]

– This is all backstory, not story, I don’t have the story here worked out or how much of that I want to shoehorn into it.

– They travel down the bridge and accomplish something trivial (perhaps after great effort)?

**********

The woman in black smirked when politely asked about her day. In response to Isa’s question she replied “A more interesting question, is why do you live here and invite the wayward strangers who appear into your home for tea?”

“As far as I know, I am the last bit of refuge on the bridge. Nobody makes it this far without reason. Some of them are worth hearing, and some only need to tell their story to be persuaded they truly want to turn around.”

“Are you going to try and stop me?”

“I don’t try and stop anybody. The suicides I try to comfort, and sometimes that reminds them that they don’t want to go. But you can see this place for what it is, and so I know you’re driven by a wider perceptive. I’ve yet to have much impact on those like you.”

Some more small talk. And then:

“What can you tell me about the bridge beyond here?” the woman in black asked.

“I have made it about three days in. The winds get louder and bridge narrows but the stone never gives way. The voices get quieter and more intense. They strike fear into me, and I’ve always turned around. I’ve yet to hear of anyone who has gone further and come back.”

“The voices?”

“The bridge is a mystery, and may manifest itself differently to you. For me, my fear takes the form of voices that haunt me at and tug at the lonely parts of my soul

Not everyone has that experience. But I the ones who have no reaction at all have always scared me the most.”

….

I am hopeful that my quarry is only a days travel in. I was afraid I may not … well I was afraid.

Is your quarry a secret?

 

Ratdog – Dear Prudence

Dear Prudence by Bob Weir & Ratdog on Grooveshark

(with Chuck Garvey)

Dear Prudence, won’t you come out to play
Dear Prudence, greet the brand new day
The sky is blue, the birds will sing
That you are part of everything
Dear Prudence, won’t you come out to play

Dear Prudence, open up your eyes
Dear Prudence, greet the sunny skies
The sun is up, the sky is blue
It’s beautiful, and so are you
Dear Prudence, won’t you open up your eyes

Chorus
Look around, round, round
Look around, round, round
Look around, round, round
Look around, round, round

Dear Prudence, let me see you smile
Dear Prudence, like a little child
The clouds will be a daisy chain
So let me see you smile again
Dear Prudence, won’t you let me see you smile

[chorus]

Dear Prudence, let me see you smile
Dear Prudence, like a little child
The clouds will be a daisy chain
So let me see you smile again
Dear Prudence, won’t you let me see you smile

[chorus]

Inspiring Reviews

I do not create anything suitable to be reviewed.

But if I did, I would hope to inspire reviews like Leonard Cohen:

Come to think of it, it’s the kind of story you might hear in a Leonard Cohen song: the aging entertainer forced into the spotlight one last time just to make they money he’s already earned, a cog in the same machine that once made him a star.

 

Like all of Cohen’s albums, Popular Problems sounds slick but slightly off-kilter, like someone trying to imitate music they’ve read about but never actually heard. Where an artist like Bob Dylan seemed to use music primarily as an excuse for words and Van Morrison seemed distinctly to be the leader of a band, Cohen occupies a stranger space… The reminder here is that no matter how close Cohen seems to the truth, what he does is just another cheap show to keep the crowd entertained.

Full review here

… I don’t even agree with most of this assessment. But that’s not the point.

Traveled to Abingdon

Traveled to Abingdon
Dusty, dirty,
Tired to the bone

Seeking remnants of an old foe
Narrowly defeated; presumed gone forever

Rumors were all it took
To threaten all that I value
It was enough to risk my life
and more

I did not sleep that night
My mind consumed

I wanted out of this business
It brought no glory
Only stains on my soul

Another dreadful secret
Waiting to be laid bare

All my narrow victories
Unexplainable even to myself

A chance wind of fate
May lay me bare at any moment

Two nights in Abigdon
Brought my search to a close

The lost one found
Hiding with the same face as always

All that was left to us was conversation in daylight
Threading undertones of habit came

But beneathe that, revelations of our true nature
Laid to waste my misson
But did not redeem him

And so, three days in Abingdon
Is what it took to end my implacable foe
His exoskeleton no match for thorny shrubs

But what had I faced in that night
No longer immortal
My own wisdom shattered
And my retraced steps now haunted me
Even more than they burdened my soul

I stand here now
Trapped by my own patterns
Lies laid bare
Knowing more
Seeking a way out

A mystic aphorism shines brightest of all

Using odd language and powerful symbols
I arm myself against the ravages of a world slowly sinking
Beneath the weight of a crimson sky
And a flood foretold
By all who wear the flowing white robes
Of wisdom

What monstrous creatures can I summon
To take me down a detour, the demon haunted trail
What embattled hero can I mimic
To display just the right courage at just the right moment

What old trope can I reconfigure
With just enough honesty to ring true

The glint against the shield
The wail that cannot be restrained
or unheard

In the forest groove, the dire wolf stalks
Those who dance in a sacred circle
Staving off the morning
And the night

A mystic aphorism shines brightest of all
A story with a glint of truth
To hide within it the greatest of lies
I speak my part

At the center of all the worlds
That ever will be
And ever have been
Of consequence

But only to me.

So which of my thoughts to share?

Selecting to create effect
Seeking redemption in your eyes

Who would otherwise shun me
Or worse yet, forget entirely

Which truth can redeem me
And in so doing, save us all
If only for a moment

A truth about a fallen knight
Trying to destroy himself
Honor stricken from the world
But not the core of his soul

Which bleeds for others in there time of need
And love that has a power
Not even grace can fully match

An enemy implacable
But not impossible
A setting built on our fears and predictions

For a future that has less than today
Where we all become the hapless other
Driven to hardship by an unfeeling world

Do these ring true?
They should
They are the smoke rings we see
When we close our eyes and breathe

uncomprehended

Open to the sounds around me
The doomed beauty of trying

The wary travel sidesteps into the inn
Trying to generate some interest in him

In the final assessment, the critics failed to even take notice
The muse has an exhibit
Of the extinct trials, and the sympathy they showed
For those they left behind

And time expands beyond all understanding
Into thousands of stories
Lost first to the speaker, unable to see themselves
and then too to the audience
unable to hear as there lives swarm around them
To their own influence, their power fades as others pick up the cry

Lost next to the space, the circumstance, the fallible memory
The cumbersome nature of words and fingers

To the wind, to the ravages of time

To the empires falling, and stars imploding

The wary traveler knows none this, as he sips his drink
Scared at every moment that he could be taken unaware
Caught without his glasses, shown to be the fool

The molecules of his glass
Formed of explosions uncomprehended

And in the final assessment
After the millennia have passed

None will notice as all comes black
And the stories forgotten too fade away

Cooling soothing…. gone

And more luck than our neighbors

The centers of power
With their swirling tentacles
Shame and infect us all
Is this a world we can believe in?

The best among us
Pulled down by boredom
Sleepy jobs in mediocre lives
Spiced up only by zombies
That reflect our loved ones

Our only defense
A shaky truth
And more luck than our neighbors

For awhile

Trapped in a zero sum game we never signed up for

Is this a world we can trust as real
Unashamed
Unchanged
The ground beneath us that we can set our tale in
And recognize in the mirror

Some grim humor
And transient beauty
Stuck on repeat cycle

No hollow victories in the trenches
They all feel all too real
One meal away from starvation
And shame

The rhythm and rhythm keep us alive
And make it all worthwhile

But it’s not the same as sleep

On this journey towards
Which side are you on

And do you even know why

The messenger arrived By the dark of the night

The messenger arrived
By the dark of the night

Demanded to speak
To the calm of the storm

His voice was clear
It was quiet
It shattered the peace

After the riot
The spokesman was laid down

A blow to the head
Not dead

But the calm

Cast their gaze down
Unable to speak

The messenger’s feet
Burned through the night
Bearing the news
Not all was right

And many threw stones
And cast their aspersions

And the message moved on
With or without
Purpose

Slowly the dawn
Lit up the night
Darkness unfolded
And shadows receded

But not as much as they had
Not as far as they could

In honor of those
Who were still wounded

Who were still bleeding
Who were still feeling
Who were still there