they set out together

90 seconds

For ninety seconds after, there was complete silence. Veronica knew this because although she was too dazed to move, she improbably found herself staring as at the second hand of an expensive silver watch.

It was one of the many unlikely occurrences that day held.

For ninety seconds, she observed the dark black line slowly make its orbit, marking off the seconds as reality adjusted. She wondered whose watch this was, and how it had ended up in her yard.

A bird chirped. Veronica looked up and realized that it was over. Nothing more was going to happen now. All that was left was to get up and try to assess the world as it was.

3 minutes

The realization that it was only self pity that held her down made it hard to stay on the ground, but she managed to avoid any movement for another three cycles of the second hand.

2 days

How many people lived on her street? Within a quarter mile?

If she was the only one left, then that made her what?… 1 in a hundred… 300?

Nothing would work.

It was easy to check on people. In their last moments everyone had left their doors wide open.

She hadn’t gotten the memo, another mystery. The static on radio was deafening.

The electricity was still on, but there was no internet or cell service.

How should that figure into her odds? 1 in a thousand?

4 days

There was nobody left in her neighborhood. In a few homes she found hasty notes:, to do lists of names, but no explanations.

It’s not just that they were gone. it’s that everyone else had seemed to know something was about to happen except for her and her husband. They had missed the invitation somehow.

When they had looked out the window and saw everyone’s cars with their open trunks and hoods open they had stepped onto the porch. Their neighbors were all lined up outside, waiting.

Had they seemed scared? She thought so, but she had been scared so who knows.She missed her husband, Ian, most of all. He had been calm, inquisitive. Naive.

2 months

With nothing else to do, she processed her grief surprisingly quickly. The world around her was full of possibilities and the only immediate concern so far was the dogs.

The outside world was keeping it’s distance. But the animals that had been left behind had become a serious threat.

Even the cats moved in groups, looking slightly unhinged. When she saw them prowl the streets at night in ever larger packs,  she imagined how betrayed they must have felt. They had given up their wild selves to build a life based on a certain kind of companionship and civilization. Then, with no explanation it was gone.

Her grief was in the past. The loneliness existed in the eternal now.

6 months

Slowly she had adapted to the mystery of her current circumstances. What had taken everyone? Should she trust the tap water? Why didn’t the car start? How would she eat when the perishable food ran out? Would they be back by then? How long would the electricity last?

She knew she had changed, but just how much was confirmed when she spotted a house-sized creature and did not scream. It was mostly robotic, and mostly spider shaped but with a humanoid torso and face. She was surprised of course, and afraid for her life, but she was not overwhelmed.

She hid, but it found her anyways.

6 months 1 day

In the end, all it wanted was some cake. She scavenged some, and they had a small birthday celebration.

6 months 3 days

He had been literally living in a cave and had no idea what had happened. But he offered this:

“Sometimes you just have to accept that the impossible happens and all the rules you knew before are gone. That happens and my ability to accept it when it does is one reason I have lasted as long as I have.

But…  not yet.  Let’s go visit the local power station. And if that doesn’t work well see if we can’t track down some aliens or old gods or something and wring an explanation out of them.

If you live long enough sometimes you find that you can do something, and even if not, it’s usually more interesting to try.”

6 months 1 week

She set her house on fire and watched as the irreplaceable memories held in the objects from her old life burned.

She opened up as much cat and dog food as she could find.

And they left together.

Remo tells a story

Occasionally when Remo feels expansive he goes to the mountains and listens to the universe.

Occasionally when Remo feels hopeless he finds a tavern and poses as a bard.

He stands on the stage until he finds something to say, or is removed.

One night he told the following tale three times.

Nearby there exists a world like ours in almost every respect. It holds our towns, our lakes, and all of our joys and sorrows.

The only difference is that miles below the surface it has a cavern that our world does not.

The cavern has an underground stream and a stone cannon that were not crafted by any sentient being on that world.

At seemingly random intervals, the ground rumbles slightly, and the cannon ejects a creature.

These beings are like adult humans in almost every respect. The only differences are that they average three feet in height and their heads are shaped like mushrooms.

Their heads are shaded. One third of the creatures are red, one third green, and one third are purple. The mushrooms all have white circles.

Most of the time, the creatures come out with enough speed that they smash their skulls against the cavern wall, dying moments after they appear.

But seeming randomness when mixed with extreme time scales can produce strange results.

So sometimes the room fills with corpses, and one of the humanoids will have its emergence cushioned by the bodies, and instead die a prolonged death, crushed by the weight of those who have come before, unable to maneuver.

For some reason, this never happens to the red headed mushrooms.

But, the room also contains a stream. So occasionally the creatures will spawn in just such a way that their is a padding in one space, but the flowing water has cleared away the debris elsewhere.

Occasionally one survives.

Even more rarely, more than one survives at the same time.

And they will begin to make sense of their surroundings together, and tell stories about the Gods.

They will perform cleansing rituals on the carcasses of their fore-bearers before eating them, and drink the fresh water provided by the stream. They will fantasize about the day that a red topped one will come and lead them to a new home.

As she lies dyeing of malnutrition, lacking the leafy greens needed to fight off disease, one named Boh will use her finger to write the story of her people in the flowing water.

She will record their fears, their triumphs, and the games they played.

The echo’s of her movements absorbed by the water.

Without making any obvious changes, the first time Remo recounted this, the moral was: Each skull is imperceptibly expanding the room as it slams into at the cavern ceiling.

The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.

The second time: Although it may seem hopeless, notice that despite all odds Boh’s story made its way to us.

By the third time he recounted the tale, it was closer to dawn than midnight and the crowd was no longer feeling indulgent.

The coda was: Sometimes the universe just wants to take a long time to say “fuck you”

Fleeting Joy

On the morning of his birthday, as the first light made its way through the dense foliage and into the cave camber, Narch stared at the empty wooden table and thought about cake.

Marline, one of his few female friends, had recently introduced him to the concept of birthday cake. He had made it a long time without, but now that he knew about the possibility he really wanted one.

But how? By temperament he was a recluse, an inclination only exacerbated by the fact he was a cottage sized cybernetic spider and so was usually attacked on sight.

Marline, a witch, had been an exception.

One of the peculiarities of living over five millennia is you accumulate a number of highly unlikely experiences.

But she has been dead for over a century now, and besides she had never been good at baking.

Narch felt the loneliness begin to build. He noticed that he was beginning to search his memories for clues about how he’d been brought into existence. The hope was they would help answer the question of why he should bother continuing.

Catching himself, he turned his mind to Carlile the wisdom dragon, who had showed him that sometimes his thoughts did not have his best interest in mind.

When Carlile disappeared, Narch had taken his revenge on the Kingdom of Farl. Geopolitics being what they were, this had led to a confrontation with the entire Southern Alliance, and their God, a nasty deal making wind spirit whose name escaped Narch.

Was it even worth the effort of leaving the cave?

Driving them from the coasts had sent the entire region spiraling into chaos. It hadn’t been that long ago… and without the autocratic monarchs propped up by a conniving false God, would there be enough infrastructure left to support a civilization?

Slowly the memories came back. The Zeglans had regarded him as a hero, and had even shown up at the Battle of Great Falls to support what they called his March of Freedom.

They were eager to try their had at a “new” system of economic self determination combined with a robust social safety net.

For Narch, the question was: Could such Utopian visions create the conditions for a worthwhile bakery? Would they have heard of cake? Or was the concept lost to time like dal’lesh.

Ever the optimist, after a time he gathered his massive frame, and left his abode in search of fleeting joy.

My Star Wars Pitch

Kylo, Poe and Han Solo stop off in a seedy bar following rumors about the whereabouts of Luke.

As the camera pans the room, the audience sees a variety of bizarre, but strangely familiar alien forms.

Without warning, Hans face explodes. The music stops. In shock, the group is too horrified to respond when an alien walks up to the table holding a blaster. He stares at Hans slumping corpse and says “Message from Greedo, ‘How about a ‘heads up’ next time.'” Continue reading

Luke’s Cantrip

The first spell I really mastered was Luke’s cantrip. While on the road from Halrventon to Freesebon, Gera realized that Krashin was too busy being a demigod to actually teach me anything, so he took pity on me.

I was busy being a Very Competent Assassin. The kind who was able to take all of these adventures in stride, and so I didn’t realize quite how special Gera was and ignored most of his lessons.

But Luke’s cantrip caught my interest. Gera described it as : “Bringing part of the background into the foreground by focusing on it in the right way. Using your mind this way will create some tension that can function as useful first step for many of the more complex magics.”

Which is all true as far as it goes. Most use it as a sort of palette cleanser at the start of a big spell. But here’s why I love Luke’s cantrip: You touch the part of the universe that is raw and undefined and embrace that chaos. It opens the mind to the uncertainty that is always available to us.

Or, if you want to get mystical about it – the heart of existence is utterly indifferent to us. It does what it will by rules that we find unfathomable, no matter what the cost to those of us trying to scratch out an all too temporary life within it.

Mostly this strikes me as a problem. But Lukes cantrip makes it an asset in situations where you want a seemingly random number without using dice.

I most commonly use it when I need to make a decision.

This world gives us so little.

Immune to symbols 

When you are blind you do not see blackness. 

Find an object just at the outer edge of your vision, now turn your head away from it slightly.

The way in which you can no longer see it, is what Remo was contemplating.

He was at the periphery of a party wearing a jaunty purple felt hat he had chosen precisely because it did not suit him.

The music’s tempo increased. The lights seemed to pulse rhythmically. A heightened reality swirled, implying potentialities he dared not engage with.

He sat in a darkened corner with his eyes closed, trying to protect his consciousness from visions it couldn’t comprehend.

Remo had set out to slay the gods of his world, only to find that most of them were obsolete. Replaced by impersonal systems, they were highly evolved, highly adaptive. Yes they were fueled by human misery, but that was only incidental to their own survival. Now he was numb to the disappointment, with occasional pangs of fear at the degradation of his ambition.

When Jal-tok finally passed by, Remo felt the hidden dagger pulse, and prayed it would not give him away. Such aggression could not harm a god.

When Jal-tok fell to his knees, poisoned by tainted fruit and over-reaching ambition, Remo did not smile, and felt mostly sadness.

But he noted, not even gods were immune to symbols, when backed by the right dagger.

ugly things

A novelist and memoirist is famous for his deeply personal confessional novels that speak to our shared fears. The pains of our bodies, the dark thoughts we have about ourselves and how that makes us lash out at the ones we love, the terrible nightmares that we know are real but forget and pretend have gone away until we can no longer hide from them.

They also makes stock horror films on the side.

They are critical failures but popular in the way of Hostel.

His latest: ugly things

“Martin kills a lot of people in this movie, in addition to sewing others together…

The film is reprehensible, dismaying, ugly, artless and an affront to any notion, however remote, of human decency.”
Ebert

With that comfort, he leapt off the ledge into the unknown.

Once upon a time, the sound of their pursuit would have left him consumed by terror. His left leg, already injured, twisted as a rock flew out beneath him.

He kept running.

The hastily tended gash on his side pulled as he rounded the corner and came out from the tunnel into a wide expanse.

The terror had never really gone away, it had just faded into the background as he cobbled together an escape. His hope lay in principles he barely understood and defenses based mostly on intuition and luck.

As he pulled the strap tight and placed the helmet on he checked the seal one last time. He could still breathe. He stared out into the abyss.

The terror had never gone away, but it had been replaced by the certainty that if he stayed, he was doomed. With that comfort, he leapt off the ledge into the unknown.

Madman with a mask

In a tower within a tower, there sat a man who would be King. He looked like a well groomed Yeti. Most of his time was spent plotting.

Today he was struggling to compose his thoughts. For now, all his obstacles faded into a single point as he tried to find the right words. He was failing.

His room was comfortable. It was also a cage built by his ambition.

The paper, he decided, was an indulgence worth savoring. It was thin, but strong and smooth to the touch. A rare blank slate of pristine white, almost free of impurities, accessible only to the elite. Still, he knew the papers secrets and however far his fortunes had fallen, he still had the wherewithal to use it freely.

Finally his pen found its way to the page. The ink was dark.

“1. My allies see only masks.
2. The rulemakers deem me unsafe.

— In all things, I can find no Truth stable enough to hang my hat upon. I miss my hat.”

His dissatisfaction with how “Truth” rang out against the other words ran deep and haunted him. So he drew a picture:

unnamed
When he was done, he slowly folded the paper with the precision of someone comfortable with the passage of time.Carefully he pushed the note through the crack in the stone that sealed the window. A sliver of sunlight came in, carried on a cool breeze.

As a student of chaos, he smiled at the notion that it might find its way to an unknown comrade. He imagined them at a bridge.

Some Music


What are my deepest dreams

and is there a sense in which that matters
I’d hate for my bleak outlook to unduly influence you
I’d hate to impose my will
If we are clever
and if we are cool
and if we never
play the fool
Will that make us safe?
What words can I speak
to make the hauntings go away
If only for the night
What matters more than tonight?

***************

This is the story of the Murricane

The one society came to blame
When they had run out of other tricks
And used up all the stones and their sticks
Had to swallow that bitter magic pill
Stop, look around and be still
Let me tell you about the Murricane
The one who had all the fame
Well in the end when the chips were down
He smiled and played the clown
Straight through his smirking frown
And when they saw the horror they had wrought
And knew it was just what they had bought
There was nothing they could do
Step back and see what was true
See a life worn straight through
Something in a shade of blue
Ripped out into the night
Howling it’s plight
But this the story of the Murricane
The one who saw it was the same
And when someone had to take the fall
He was there, that’s all
It was the story of Murricane
The one society came to blame
 ***************

Yo-Ho Pedro doesn’t seem to care
Look at him, and you’ll get a dead eyed stare
He’s the last one in
and the first one out
Yo Ho Pedro draws circles around the moon
He doesn’t it’ll matter anytime soon
Ask him, and he’ll tell you straight
That he’s here at all is a miracle
Yo Ho Pedro says
And says symbols don’t matter at all
But you know he’s lying
Casting back he wonders
 where his ship has gone
Yo Ho Pedro always tries his best
Lying flat on the floor, trying to find his chest
Hard to build up the energy to move
Always trying to figure out his groove
Nobody quite knows what to make of Yo Ho Pedro
A madman who doesn’t seem to care for his fate
When the chips are down
Yo Ho Pedro doesn’t think it matters at all

*****************

I want to be honest with you
I don’t know what I’m doing
Here we are
Far off in the background, suns explode
It’s all impossible
I want to be honest with you
I don’t know what I’m doing
Leaves flutter on the wind
Apocalypse or no,
Dragons wary eyes
I want to be honest with you
I don’t know what I’m doing
The illusion of the mud people
As we bounce our myths from one another
I want to be honest with you
I don’t know what I’m doing
Spend my life thinking I’m going somwhere
But deep down I know that is a lie
….
never get out alive
No matter what I do
Things keep getting heavy
It don’t weigh much
But it ain’t light
I look around
And lose my way
I lose my way
The universe spins around
Time and time again
I want to be honest with you
I don’t know what I’m doing
Here we are
Far off in the background, suns explode
It’s all impossible
I want to be honest with you
I don’t know what I’m doing
Leaves flutter on the wind
Apocalypse or no,
Dragons wary eyes
I want to be honest with you
I don’t know what I’m doing
The illusion of the mud people
As we bounce our myths from one another
I want to be honest with you
I don’t know what I’m doing

What if we…

Nothing’s missing till you need it
The heart lies in the darkness
Truth flitters like a butterfly
When songs come dancing across the water
Nobody knows quite how to sing along
The fire’s bright
But it can’t stamp out the night
And the trees loom larger each year
A story needs a beginning and an end
But what if we

The killer slinks into the night

The killer slinks into the night
The faces he all sees barely flicker
Across his mind as he stares out into the void
The killer slinks out, onto the dance floor
His moves jerky and slow
Trying to find release
Amoung the ghosts he does not know
The killer has no solace
In the world he cannot see
Barely skimming across the surface
Too far in the hole to tell
If  up is down, or left is south
Sadly he knows that soon he’ll have to let go
And fall into the void the follows him everywhere
All he wants is a little control over the chaos
But it ain’t coming
It ain’t coming

Three Gods: A Parable?

Three Gods,

Call one Truth, and search for justice.
Call one Deceit, and search for love.
Call one Random, to fill in the gaps.

Together they outline a figure. Call it grace.

Humbled by experience and shadows that appear malevolent; a voice rings out – fully human. Prepared to settle for mercy.

A vast indifference settles over the land.

They wander on a while longer.

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?

 

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

Threatening what little peace is available

The critical consensus is
It never existed
Not a footnote to say
It ever had anything to say
And what would that mean anyway?

Nihilism unbounds
Hearing other sounds
That rebound
Across the consciousness of the careful observer
Standing in the tower
Looking out amongst the flowers

Breathing in every molecule
And failing that
Waiting for the traveler

Hoping to take off his coat, and undo his burdens
If only for a moment
Speak from the soul
About the wild creatures that roam the garden

Threatening what little peace is available

A thought: Life is difficult.

A thought: Life is difficult. 

A thought: Our humanity opens us to deep pain and sorrow. 

A thought: These thoughts are engaging. Perhaps I could build a narrative on this. Open scene. 

A thought: Trying to be compassionate, I still cause deep harm to others. And then I feel the suffering of my awareness of that. 

A thought: Organizing life into narratives makes it seem less chaotic, random and difficult.

Thoughts: But thinking this now, is certainly sub-optimal. I am a monster? Are we all monsters?

Can we be anything else?   … it slides off into a random chaotic jumble. 

There are places geography seems to conspire against the mind,

There are places geography seems to conspire against the mind. The world appears to defy physics.  In one such place, a tower appears to narrow and focus all of its attention onto a single room.

In this room there is a man, sitting at a desk carefully, copying out three exact copies of a missive. 

This time it is a poem. It is a very good poem. He has had 30 years in this room to practice.

The room has only two exits. The first is a window that stares out into a vast nothingness. Over time, he has moved from rage to a kind of acceptance. 

But every day he takes a moment to look out the window and wonder if it offers a method of escape.

The second exit is a pneumatic tube, where he will place one copy of his missive. He sometimes imagines that in his homeland his reputation has experienced a redemptive third act. He imagines he can sense his captors approval by the food they send him.  Sometimes he imagines that he can sense his captors approval by the food the send him. 

He promises himself that he will not forget their mercy in keeping him alive. 

Just in case nobody is building an archive of his sage wisdom, he keeps a copy for himself. 

When he is done, he places the first copy in his elaborate filling system, the second copy in the tube, and he takes the third copy over to the window. 

There he attaches it to a string made from his 30 year-old blanket. He promises himself that he will not forget their kindness in providing him with quality materials. 

 In the distance, he thinks he can hear a sorrowful song being played, but that may be only in his mind. Sound travels in funny ways in places such as this. He cannot be sure if it comes from above, below, or the echoes of his mind. His love for whoever is making it is pure.

He believes in honesty and authenticity, so the people below receive the same message as the people above. He has moved beyond rage to a kind of peace. But before he reached that point his plan for revenge was so complete that it had taken on an aura of its own. It has a life of his own. 

The people above do not know about the people below, but they soon will. He promises himself that he will have mercy when the time comes. 

I’m afraid of americans

I’m afraid of americans (mericans)
I’m afraid of myself 
I’m afraid of americans (mericans)
I’m afraid of myself 

I’m on this stage
To act the sage 
And find out if I am well

I’m on this stage 
To act the sage
And try and cast a spell

I’m afraid of americans (mericans)
I’m afraid of myself 
I’m afraid of americans (mericans)
I’m afraid of myself 

A hypnotizing illusion 
That rids our confusion

Lets us be together
Truly stand with one another 

Join together with the music
Be the one and lose it

I’m afraid of americans (mericans)
I’m afraid of myself 
I’m afraid of americans (mericans)
I’m afraid of myself 

I’m on this stage
To act the sage
Full of rage

Afraid of what I’ll do
If I can’t get through to you

All we have is each other
All we have is each other
All we have is each other 

I’m afraid of americans (mericans)
I’m afraid of myself 
I’m afraid of americans (mericans)
I’m afraid of myself 

I want the courage to stand by your side
And let you inside

I do not fear what you’ll do
But I don’t know what you’ll find

That’s the thrill
That’s the fear 

I’ll just be me
You just be you 
See what we see
Feel what we feel 

What your gaze will tell me…

*If I do it again, I’ll experiment with a bit more rage. Or perhaps a folk take, just a few chords and talking.

 

Some things you should know about Lambert

Some things you should know about Lambert:

  • He owns and operates a free lending library in the city. 
  • When threatened, he wields a broken sword. When it was whole, it was feared by major players of all types. 
  • Nobody has been able to repair the blade. He grips the top half of the broken blade along the sharp edge, and it declines to harm him. 
  • This should be perfect for you, he loves music. 
  • His native culture presupposes reincarnation, uses advanced magic to heal wounds and illness, and is caviler about life. 
  • He is intensely loyal.
  • In the past, he was a successful assassin. For the last year he has refused all contracts. This stance has left his reputation hanging by a thread and threatens the viability of the library.
  • He’s cute.
  • Most of his friends are outside the world of crime, many of them are wealthy, but he is reluctant to ask for help.
  • His sense of humor is kind but dry. 

“Why in the world would I let you set me up with him? He sounds like a disaster.” 

“Why not? He seems like your type. He’s the only person I know who talks about music as much as you do.”

“I barely even play anymore, you know that. I know I’ve had a rough couple of years, but just when did my type become broken? Half the things you told me indicate a man in recovery from trauma and existential crisis”

“He’s not broken…Besides, it’ll be a double-date. We’ll be there.”

“Fine… I give up. But only as a favor to you.” 

“Great! One more thing…”

“Yes?”

“So, whatever happened a year ago that broke his sword and imbued him with his newfound unhelpful respect for life. He does NOT talk about it. So, whatever you do, please don’t ask him about it.”

Perhaps, I should focus on making my empire less lonely

All the lonely little empires 
Drifting into sand
All the lonley little empires 
How long can they stand?

And I think, I think the answers gotta be
Not long enough, not long enough for me
And I think, I think the answers gotta be
Not long, not nearly long enough for me

Everything in the world 
Changing with the wind
Everything in the world
Just trying to win
Everything in the world 
Spinning spinning spin

And I’m not quite sure, I’m not quite sure
Just how to be
And I’m not quite sure, no I’m not so sure
Just what is me

Water slowly wears away 
at it all
Suns explode 
and lighten the load

Of our history books
And all those funny looks

But I
I tend to wonder
I tend to ponder 
Just what exactly does it mean

Unfinished Lyric

I sit in the dark
My mind collides with itself
Thoughts so stark
Unwilling to see itself

Vulnerability wants flow
Words want to know
If they mean something
If they should sing

I am you
You are me
I am you
You are me

These slivers of sanity
Keeping us together
Holding us apart

I sit in the dark
Everything passing along
Trying to make a mark
Trying to write a song

My name, written by clouds in the sky
The wind blows peacefully by
Letting go always makes me cry
I do not wonder why

But what else could it be?

Just a note to say that I have added some content to the In Progress section. Including this bit, which I am quite taken with:

Ain’t no salvation
Snow freezes on a still night
Feeling restless
Unable to sleep
Snow freezes

I know the way forward
And it’s a platitude
But what else could it be?
Some artistry mingling with emotion
Truly heard?
That would be something