Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Even Ender Edge of the World.

We’re still in the future…

It is the day after Christmas.

Rabbit calls Murdoc, “Hey, I’m bringing the big red, white, and blue train back home.  I’m thinking I’ll stop and grab some beers and then if the cold in the garage isn’t too much, we tip a few.  How’s that sound brother?”  Rabbit is a locomotive engineer, one of the last down on Sparrows Point.

Murdoc is sitting in the parking lot of the Food Lion (roar!), the only grocery store out here on the end of the world, were time blends into the black water and nothing and everything makes sense.

“Alrighty Rabbit.  Let me get my shit and I’ll meet you in a few.  You need anything?”  This is what they do.  If someone else is making a run, they offer to pony up and get them what they might need.  Momma Joe picks up dog treats for Rabbit.  Rabbit picks up country ham for Funeral Ken.  Some Sunday’s at the bar, the exchange outside in the parking lot would make you wonder just what the hell is going on.  You have to be there, be inside, to understand. 

Murdoc knew he was a part of the “family” when he was asked to step outside and found himself on the receiving end of a dozen fresh brown eggs and a box of Bisquix.

“Here ya go honey” Mamma Joe smiles, “We take care of our own.”

So Murdoc is sitting in the parking lot of the Food Lion (roar!).  Rabbit asks for nothing, “All good, just come on over.”

Murdoc chimes back, “10-4”.  It’s that simple.

The sky is beginning to change, dramatically.  Two weather fronts have converged over Sparrows Point and if you were a weaker soul, you would think it was the end of the world.  Gray and white, mottled blue hidden behind the blackest of fast tearing clouds on the heaviest and almost unimaginable winds.  A couple leaving the Food Lion (roar!) comments, as the look up, “Damn maybe it is the end of days?”   Two days have passed that the locals describe as “fuckin’ New England dumpin’ in our back yard.  They need to keep it to themselves.”  It’s gray, white, heavy fog, snow, sleet and cold rain.  It’s too early in the season for this kind of nonsense.  The road into the Fort, along Todd’s Farm is flooded deep.  Bauers Farm is under as well, and Millers Island is again a water park.  And the wind howls, and as the tide comes in they all hunker down and ride it out.  Sane, normal people would run to higher ground.  But these natives know and understand what they’re up against.  “Shee-at Murdoc,  It’s only time to go when you have to wade out or steal a neighbor’s boat.  And you never do that.  Someone will always give you a ride, as long as you’re family.”

So Murdoc leaves the Food Lion (roar!) after picking up what he needs to get by and heads out the Lodge Forest Road towards Rabbits.  It is less than two miles, but in the winds and rain and fog, it might as well be the South Pole.  Along his drive he has to stop and let a small group of deer amble across the road.  Lucero is playing…

It is all so purrfect, the deer, the fog, and the song.  He knows where he has been and knows damn well where he is going.  But something beautiful gave him pause asked him to stop.  And as he sat in the strange white glow of the fog, he thought of her, his love so very far away.  She would have loved this, strong delicate, dark beasts of the land emerging from clouds of white with diligent, slow purpose.  They had no need to run or dart into shadows this night.  It was us who needed to be afraid. 

In an effort of good gesture, Murdoc kills his head and fog lights, only the yellow running lights on top of the truck glow, soft.  The road has gone really dark now, but the white echo light of the fog seems to still illuminate everything.  It is as if Murdoc and the deer are trapped inside the softest of clouds,    He wanted to step outside and lie down upon the white ether, curl up with the dark creatures of the forest and be one.

But the song ended. 

And just as he found himself jaded and back, just before he hit the lights and brought machinery and man back into being…

Two small, white speckled does emerged from the scrub, danced in the fog, chased and played with one another across the road and then out into field, out into the hidden expanse of Todd’s Farm.  It is late in the season for such new things to emerge, to survive.

Murdoc sits, in the slow easy cadence of his diesel rumble, lights out, on a lonely road that leads to the end of the world.  He waits, patiently; to make sure that all the beautiful and innocent things have found their way across.

When he is certain that all is well, he turns his heavy beast, his diesel fueled soul, out across the night and heads towards Rabbits.

“What took you so long Murdoc?”

“Deer, Rabbit.”

"Everyone knows there ain’t no deer here.  Hasn’t been since the Bauers hunted them out years ago.  You’re seeing things in the fog.”  Rabbit looks at Murdoc, raises his hands like a man aiming a rifle, and winks.  “Deer, huh?”

“Yuppers.  But what the fuck do I know?”

Rabbit get’s up from his chair in the garage and get’s a couple of beers from the fridge.  As he hands Murdoc his, he also, by some well practiced trick of slight of hand, hands him a picture.  It’s old, but still within their time.  It is a picture of a buck, a big buck, twelve points, and it is standing in the clear morning light, right about where Murdoc saw his phantoms in the fog.

“Ain’t no deer here Murdoc.”  Big smile.

Murdoc smiles back and replies, “Rightly so.”  He winks back at Rabbit.

Rabbit speaks, “And that’s why you’re family.”

Murdoc turns his head to the side and down and, stops.  “Hey Rab, you’re alright.”

Rabbit replies, “I know, you just need to know that you’re alright too.  The cold and fog has a way of messin’ with peoples minds.  You’re alright brother.”

And when all is well and good, Murdoc heads out into the heavy fog; towards his place on the even ender, edge of the world. 

“You’re alright brother,”

These are the words he remembers…
As he pushes the door open to his cold dark, lonely, home.

“You’re alright brother.”   

Friday, December 14, 2012

Navigating By Falling Stars

We are still a bit forward in time.

It is nights like these that remind him of his journey and path, the test.

He returns home onto the island, runs the dark lonely road past Bauers Farm and then the tough turn through Todd’s Farm, and he is home. 

In just a few small hours he has navigated the dull and oppressive lights of the city, his old home, and found his way across the Black Marsh to a place were the sole and lonely light sits beneath the flag pole by the Post Office, just around the corner, that opens at seven and closes at four.  It gets dark here, and he is okay with this.

His ride home back to the island is troublesome.  He smokes and spits blood out the window into the cold winter’s air.  There is no music; Just the keening of the diesel’s low rumble and an echo of a voice of love so very far away.

Tonight he went back.  He has done this once before, only once.  This time he was closer to his old home than he has ever been.  A friend, a brother, for better or worse, wanted to sit and pretend that everything was okay, alright.  And so he went back.  And it was, okay.

And nothing had changed.  It was all the same.

Some new paint, stronger bar stools and eleven televisions, but it was as if he had never left. 

The same drunks rolled in and out.  The bar keeps hadn’t changed.  And no one knew why he had disappeared.  They heard rumours and speculated, but they didn’t know.  They just assumed he had “moved on”.  They never knew he was pushed away, forced out.

And so he was embraced…again, like always. 

But it wasn’t enough to make him feel like he was home.  In his heart he knew that he was so far away that he could never find his way back to this place that was once his.  And uglier still, he never wanted to go to this place again.

“Fuck these fools, God bless them.  Their cages need to be rattled, they aren’t living.” 

Nothing had changed.

Only him.

And as the dusk fell, and the phony dark of the city night crept in, he bid them all farewell and charted the new familiar course towards his home on the edge of the world.

And as he headed out into the black, the real dark, lit only by stars; his phone began to ring.  Call after call came in.  Word had spread that he was out and tangible, real once again, and everyone wanted a piece. 

But the calls were never returned.  He had enough for one day and drew up the drawbridge that traversed the black waters between him and all those good souls that wanted or needed something from him. 

Only one thing, one soul could ease his weary head and make it all make sense. 

This is why he didn’t listen to music as he diesel rumbled his way back home; this is why the windows were down and the cold salt wind blew in through the windows of the truck…

He was trying to hear her voice.

If he kept the engine at a low gurgle and grunt, around 1500 RPM, he could almost hear her…and she was singing.  It was something unfamiliar, but he was sure it was Joan Baez.

He hates Joan Baez, but loves when she sings her to him.  It reminds him that he has his angel on.

He rumbles up to his cottage of exile on the black water. 

There are Christmas lights on neighbor’s houses, and still the lone light at the Post Office, illuminating the tattered flag that only comes down when there is almost nothing left to remind them of the wind that never ends and pulls their skin tight across their faces.

He steps out of the truck and begins to walk the few steps towards home.  There is no light on to guide his way.  Why should there be?  It is only him.

And just before stepping onto the porch, he stops.

A star, brilliant white, shoots over his head, over his exile, and out into black water beyond.

And he freezes, cannot move.  He just stands in the weird crazy dark of distant Christmas lights and waits.  What ever light there is down here, while comforting and giving of peace, means nothing when compared to the lights above that sometimes rain down upon us. 

And it all makes sense, “Fuckin’ Christ, it’s the Geminid Shower.  I am an asshole.”

So he goes inside, grabs a quick bite to eat, packs a cooler with beer, and then heads out onto the pier and waits to watch the heavens fall over the black water.

And as the stars rain down through the soft salty breeze, he is sure he hears her voice, gently singing.

It might be Joan Baez, but he wants it to be Leonard Cohen.

Either way, it doesn’t matter.

He is just comforted knowing that even though she isn’t with him, here on the pier on such a stellar night…

She is.

The black water that divides them, is nothing compared to the onyx infinite sky above, that draws them back to one another, through a sea of falling, brilliant white, stars.

    "And maybe I'm the man that's wading out into the night, singing don't fall thru the stars."

Friday, December 7, 2012

We leave the story for a brief interlude and share the latest interview with Murdoc.  It’s a bad phone connection that cuts in and out, as the wind has its way with the signal as it reaches out to him in his exile across the winters emerald water.  Again, some silly fool has taken interest in his work and he suffers the intrusion with the usual aplomb.  The fool trying to get something from him is named Mike.  He is an upstart writer and is proud for hunting Murdoc down and cornering him for some time and words. 

After a number of disconnects, dropped signals, they finally connect with a clarity that is muddy at best, but purrfect for the exchange that will occur.

What follows is an edited transcript.

Mike:  So can you hear me now?

Murdoc:  Yuppers.

Mike:  What?  Was that a yes?

Murdoc:  Yuppers.  (pause)  Yes, I can hear you.  Now what?

Mike:   Sorry, you keep breaking up and falling out.  I…

Murdoc:  That’s pretty much the routine for me.  But then the Fort might have something to do with this as well.  One road in and one cell phone tower, and damned by God.  We take turns making calls out.  The old guy up the street had a stroke two days ago and his wife had to wait to call the volunteer fire department until her neighbor had finished talking to her sister in Cleveland.  Living here teaches us patience and what’s really important.

Mike:  So you live on an island?

Murdoc:  It will be one day; and probably soon the way things are going.  So, when are you going to get to the prepared questions?

Mike:  Okay. (pause) But can I ask a couple of more questions off the list? 

Murdoc:  Sure, you get two.

Mike:  (pause, Mike thinks hard and wants to make the best of this candid opening)  So what’s your newest toy?

Murdoc.  No toys right now.  Not in the cards.

Mike:  From your work we have heard and read about the Triumph, is it done?

Murdoc:  That’s your second question, and no, it’s still sitting in the living room, sulking like a spurned child.  But Christmas is coming and I’ll wrap some lights around her and make her feel loved again.

Mike:  Can I ask one more off the script?

Murdoc:  Yuppers, but make it good.  And that’s three.

Mike:  So why haven’t you written anything in the last two months?

There is no pause before he answers and the signal gets stronger and suddenly clear.

Murdoc:  I fell in love, and then went fishing.

Mike:  As a reader of the HME Papers, this is clear, but could you explain? 

Murdoc:  Sure, but I thought this interview was supposed to be about the Papers and the change in the narrative and redirection of the experiment.  Is it back-story that you want?

Mike:  I was hoping for a glimpse into the writers mind and how it is that you can just jump in and out of the work?  I don’t think I am alone on this.

Murdoc:  That’s six unwelcomed questions now Mikey, and it should be noted that I am no writer.

Mike:  Sorry, but why the black out?  Why the pause?  It was just getting good.

Murdoc:  The big Rockfish came in season.  They run when the waters blend.  The trophy’s gather up and school and wait for the cold to draw them out of the Bay.  It’s simple migration, “Hey Renata, its getting cold let’s run south.”  So fools like me chase them.  You’d be a fool not to slowly glide the surface of the upside down black universe, knowing that something great and beautiful is down deeper than you, waiting to rise and fight you and then change you forever.

Mike:  Are we talking about fishing now or love? 

Murdoc:  Fishing fool.  You never kill love.  But I have to say that fishing is love and what you take from the water, if you are a good man, becomes a part of you.  Fishes?  Loaves?  It’s all killing.  But appreciate the gift and understand where it is coming from.

Mike:  So can I ask about love?  It seems that you have found love, a profound love. 

Murdoc:  Great love.  The only love.  A love I have chased and waited for, for as long as I have ever been.

Mike: So the new character in the HME Papers is real?

Murdoc:   Yuppers, and she has a great ass.

Mike:  So again, you are writing fiction and non-fiction at the same time?

Murdoc:  Are you saying her ass isn’t great?  Them’s fighting words.  But seriously, It’s always been real.  It just seems like I made the whole thing up.  I mean, I’ll be honest, if I read this shit, I would have a hard time believing this crap was real.  But it is.  And the few times I go back and read this, I still find it all unbelievable. 

Mike:  So she’s a writer?

Murdoc:  Best writer I know.  The woman can write soft white circles around the moon, that make you smell snow, and light your way home on a cold winter’s night.

Mike:  So is it strange to both be writers?

Murdoc:  Nope, ‘cause I’m not a writer.  I can only speak for me, but I think she feels this as well…We inspire each other.  She is trained and I am a rough animal.  I learn something new from her ever day and I know my writing gets better.  The best part will be when she is done with her studies and finally has the time to edit all my shit and make me look all edjumacated and smartzie. 

Mike:  Will she change you stylistically?

Murdoc:  She already has.  I don’t wear tapered jeans anymore.

Mike:  I meant as far as writing?

Murdoc:  Of course she has.  She has raised the bar.  I fell in love with her words and the way she gathered them together and set them to flight.  She has a natural gift, and yet has worked so very hard to hone this craft that she has taken as her own.  Anyone can sharpen a stick into a crude spear, only a few know how to heat steel, temper it, sharpen it, and create a potential, threatening beautiful weapon.  That’s what great writing is.  My gal has a gift. 

Mike:  I’ll be honest, I figured out who she was and read her work.  It’s stunning.

Murdoc:  Good for you.  It’s not hard to find her, us, we’re out here, and I pass along a thank you from her for appreciating her work.  We try to hide and protect our intellectual and creative children, but we are proud of them and take great pride when they come home with good marks.  Her baby is in the “gifted and talented program,” mine is still licking bus windows and laughing at farts.

Mike:  (laughing)  So what’s next?

Murdoc:  We get married, I settle into “soft alcohol middle age” and she punches fools in the face with important ideas and words.

Mike:  So no more writing for you?

Murdoc:  Hey Diptard, I have to keep writing.  I have to.  When I stop, the story ends; but sometimes the call of the black water, and its lull of tide, take’s precedence over words and ideas.  Sometimes, it’s nice to just rise and fall upon the universe’s pull, and let the black waters run deep and through you....(pause, cell phone signal starts to break up)  Until you’re ready, and then you dig in and start wrestling with words once again.  (pause, last sentence almost imperceptible)  That makes no fucking sense, but what the fuck is writing anyway?

Mike:  I’m losing you.

The signal fades and breaks upon the heavy wind that has rolled over the Fort.

Mike:  Can you hear me?

Murdoc:  Yuppers, sorta.  This is purrfect.

Mike:  (heavy static)  One last question…

Murduc:  Go ahead.

Mike:  Who is she?

The radio signal glows strong and the lights over the Fort surge bright for a brief moment.  The street light next to the post office will vibrate under the push of soft amber to blinding white heat and light, and then burst.

Murdoc:  She is….   

Friday, October 5, 2012

Real, they must be...

The work, all the work, has taken its toll.  The late nights, the ether, the radiation, the math, the cold coffee in hand warmed cups.  It all added up.  Empirical success was measured in personal, physical failure.  Kafka grew sick.  All parties involved understood the implications of their meddling in and with the universe.  But they moved forward anyway.  Love of science, and science for love.  Any one of them could have fallen ill and succumbed to the madness and rigors of their work.  But it was Kafka that took the full hit.  She doubled in size and took to staring at herself in the cheap plastic mirror that once gave her amusement and allowed her a break from the work that drove her.  Linaeus just watched, supported and loved.  This is how scientists and lovers, trapped in a cage, exist. 

Lineaus quietly pleads to Kafka from a lower perch, “Shut the machine down.  We know it works.  We have done the impossible.  We have bent space and time, and allowed stars from opposite sides of the universe to meet and burn into one.  We have proven that love and math and insanity can undo all the rules that were laid before us.  We have rippled in the black.  Isn’t this enough?”

And Kafka opens her wings and imagines flying.  “It’s okay my love.  We have done the impossible.  Now it is up to them.  (she looks out to the window beyond her and speaks with sadness and love)  Shut it down.  Only under great duress and need will we ever light this candle again.  And honestly, it is only a matter of time before we are caught in our little manipulation of the heavens.  How many light storms above such remote and insignificant spots can occur before some fool takes notice?  Come here my strong little lover.  Sit with me and let’s gaze into the mirror, the universe, and imagine.  What is next my love?  Shall we nudge a planet this time?  Or maybe we just perch and watch the moon, with no purpose at all, just watch it rise and fall again, out our window?”

And together, Kafka and Linaeus, two simple parakeets, sit on the top perch inside their presentable cage (not gilded, that would be too garish and unfitting).  They lean deep into one another and dream.  They dream about flying and the souls they have brought together, and wonder what will happen next.

The next morning she, Eridanus, the traveler of this earth, the willing subject of their experiments, the body evaporated by light and radiation, for love, and brought back together, for love, buys a plane ticket for Baltimore.  All parties involved marvel at the simplicity of her gesture.

A plane ticket.  They could have met the first time so easily.  But instead they chose to dance across the universe and materialize and dematerialize and float and wonder and experiment, and imagine real touch and connection.  The great break thru, the real result of their experiments, was the understanding that love requires time and work.  It seems so simple, but it required great effort to get to this moment.  Why not ripple through the black?  Why not dance upon the ether?  Why not become real in only moonlight, and leave with the morning sun?  Why not?  Time; take time.  Take all the time of the universe.  They all knew,

Kafka, the risk taker…

Linaeus, the understanding…

Eridanus, the lover and loved…

Murdoc, the loved and lover.

This love, the love shared between Eridanus and Murdoc, never began and has never ended.  Kafka and Linaeus were just another part of story; that began a long time ago, and ends a long time away. 

But hold onto this, lovers and dreamers… There is a machine somewhere that ignites when blue skies of night are filled with electricity.  It fires on cool breeze and soft gray clouds gently blending as one.  All you have to do, to know this is real, is to look to the heavens.  You’ve seen the lightning, when it really shouldn’t be there.

Haven’t you?

Eridanus alights in Baltimore,
And Murdoc is home.

They are real.

Real, they must be.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

It's The Little Things.

And the Universe takes what it wants and is unforgiving and beautiful.

            Kafka has taken her spot on the higher perch.  She rises as high as she can go within the cage, and it is just enough.  There is no longer a need to fly; the view from the swinging dowel suspended by taut, hard wires is enough.  From up here, with its limited and easy view, she can rest easy and know that all her hard work and calculations are justified…glorified.

            And from one perch below, Linaeus, sits quietly and admires her strength and understanding of a universe gone mad.

            Together, they have toiled.  Together, they have unraveled the secrets of dark matter and particle acceleration.  They have bickered and squabbled, plucked feathers from each others backs.  In the quiet, just before the rise of the sun of the new day after  mathematical work and welding, they have leaned deep into one another and cooed and keened when all hope seemed lost.  Their work, as important as it may have seemed, would always take a backseat to their silly love for one another.  They could have never broken thru the barriers of time and space alone, without the other.  Kafka, the unbending idealist intellect and reasoning, emotional leader, needed Lineaus, the scientist, the empiricist, and data collector and unbreakable lover, of her and their work.

            Truth be told, Linaeus didn’t give a shit about time travel and intersecting planes; and here being now, and then being when.  It all seemed such nonsense.  But he went along with the math and build because this is what true lovers do.  It was all fun and games, “Love of science, science for love.”  It all made her happy and smile and satisfied, and isn’t that enough?  Shouldn’t that be enough? 

            The bad news came on Thursday.  After blood tests and x-rays, it was determined that she was terminal.  She took the diagnosis well, squawked a bit, and settled in to her new, discovered fate.  What other recourse did she have?  Kafka knew all along that work on such a grand scale would take its toll.  You can’t nudge stars without repercussions.  She isn’t ready to go, but her work has reassured her that this isn’t the end.

            Linaeus takes the news of Kafka’s fate quite hard.  They spend their first night apart and he sets about rearranging the trinkets and papers of their cage, not so much to suit his needs or desires, but more to throw everything into upheaval and chaos.  A simple day apart is enough to drive him to madness and self destruction.  After the petulant melee has passed, he sits and waits for her return.  Each time a door opens outside their cage, he perks up and waits for her to be gently handed back to him through the soft bars that keep them safe.  But she doesn’t return for one whole day. 

            And when she does return, everything is different and nothing will ever be the same.  Together, Kafka and Linaeus have broken through and mastered time, and now time is their enemy.  Together, they worked to cross through it, at will; and now they only want to turn it back. 

Linaeus  - “Volim te.”

Kafka  -  “I know my love, and I love you.”

Linaeus  -  “Was it the experiments?  Was it the late nights, chemicals and electricity?  Was it our reckless pursuit of higher learning?  Was it just dumb fucking luck?  Because I’ll be damned, I want fucking answers.”

            Linaeus is now sitting next to Kafka on the higher perch.  Gently, they rub their useless wings against one another and dream of flying.

Kafka  - “I will love you forever, and if that doesn’t last, than nothing will.”

Linaeus  - “How much time do we have?”

Kafka  - “All the time in the universe, my love.  We already figured it out.  Keep our beautiful machine running.  And I will find you again.  We have so much more to figure out.”

            Linaeus leans deep into Kafka, buries his tiny, heavy head, in the comfort of the silky soft feathers of her shoulder.  And Kafka, with the strength of newly formed star, holds him strong and within her gravity and universe pull.  And as she holds strong and steady, she catches a glimpse of herself, and him, in the cheap plastic and foil mirror that was placed there in their cage, for their amusement when the calculations and heavy work seemed to much and all for naught.  Kafka muses, “How easily we can be distracted?    Look my love, that’s us, refracted by light and time.  Silly us.  Love me.” 

Friday, June 29, 2012

This World Leaves Me In Stitches.

            He is standing naked in front of the full length mirror of his tiny bathroom.  All the lights are off.  He glows from within.

            He awoke from another one of his dreams, at the usual time.  He has become accustomed to these nightly interruptions.  The full moon intensifies his ether travels and leaves him stumbling into awakening.  Tonight he was down in a diamond mine, a city of false refracted light underground, governed by fear and illumination as currency.  Wars raged over prisms gift, and countless suffered.  And he knew the way to a better light.  He gathered who he could and led them out through the dark maze.  And just as the last rescued souls emerged through the rock into redemption, our hero turned back and walked quietly into the dark.  There were more to bring out.  And he can always find his way thru the dark.

            He studies his body.  In the blue-black of the early dark morn, there would be nothing to see.  But tonight, his body is aglow.  Every scar, every healed cleave, sutured puncture, is alight from within, like some derma muted glorious glowing aurora borealis. He is patchwork of radiant illumination. 

            He studies this glow and makes notes.  Each one is different, and has an accompanying variance of associated pain and release, memory and connection.

            He notices his left calf first.  It shines bright and purrfect rays of straight white light emanate from all twenty dots along the wide scribed scar line that separates them with an eighth inch wide by three inch mottled and muted glow from underneath.

            Next he notices his right shin.  Thirteen stitches on Friday the thirteenth.  This one sheds muted light, and hurts a bit less, glows like quiet embers.

            His left arm burns.  The light that sears off this scar is without defined shape; no stitch marks here to pull flesh and viscera together, give it a pleasant, familiar shape.  This wound, this light, is reflection of deep tear and pull of flesh off of metal.

            Below his lower lip, a straw of hollow swirling light shines forth;  A small vortex like the tiniest of black holes in space, surrounded by a helix of ROYGBIV light.  He passes a finger through it, through its beam reflected off the mirror.  He lifts and tilts his head and uses the beam to write words upon the ceiling, the wall, “I love you”, and “Can you hear me?”  He especially likes the motion required to make a question mark. This familiar, one dimensional character has now become a gesture, a three dimensional expression.  Question mark is now defined, like a shrug or a smile.

            There is a myriad of light from within that shines and glows from countless scars.  Some are profound.  Others are barely perceptible.  But they all glow and shine in their own specific way.  Each one its own universe of love and pain.  Each one, a reminder of where he has been.  Each one, a calling to home.

            From his left side, high upon his chest, but close to his heart, the brightest light bursts forth.  It is not so much light, as a tightly packed rod of ions and atoms.  He tries to pass his hand through this beam, but it is impenetrable.  It is steel light from within.  And it hurts and burns like all hell.  Around the white beam, an array of amber threads of light, wave about like the thick hairs of a lover on the aqua-marine surface of a subtle Adriatic Sea.  It is a star being born, captured by a telescope a million miles, a million years away.  Smart scientists and star gazers, far away from here, will not try to break this event into particles and purpose; they will simple define it as “Love”.

            He stands and studies his glowing scars, the marks of his travels; the map of him.  And as the full moon says goodnight and the new day is about to awake, the light from within and the pain, skips away, like a child called home after a good day of play. 

            He turns from the mirror, and walks back through the dark (he can always find his way), towards his bed, to sleep. 

            He lies quietly, remembers where he has been, and knows where he will be going. 

            He sets himself, rightly, to sleep, and dreams of her.  All of this, these scars and journeys have always been for her.  She is the healing hand of home.  And each day she grows closer.      

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Science of Being There...Here.

          He wakes at ten minutes until three in the dark again.  He always wakes at this very moment in the late night, early morn.  He has done this for centuries, waiting, watching.  The windows are open and a cold damp breeze crisps the blue-black air and shadows that fill his room.  He sits for a second on the edge of his bed, warm feet on the cool wood floor, and breathes in deep.  Wheeze and rasp, cough, clears his throat.  Hands run through his hair, knees creak as he rises naked into the black.  No lights are turned on; he can find his way through the dark just fine.  He walks through the house to the small kitchen, and stands before the windows that frame the Grand Oak out back and the nights purple reflection off the water.  It’s a quiet night.  The waves are small and lap quietly against the bulkhead that keeps their sudden fury at bay.  Far off lights from the factories across the sound, shimmer like stars on the polygonic blending ripples.  He leans into the window like a child, pushes his nose against the screen, closes his eyes and breathes in deep the soft salty purity of the breeze off the water.  Far off across the water he can see the muted flashes of a storm that is coming.  He holds his breath and hears the tiny rumble of the thunder far away.  A wry smile overcomes his dark nights rising visage.  He knows the lightning far away and its probable cause this early morn.  Electric is about to fill his night, renew his soul

            The last report he received was good news.  The machine was almost done and would be operational within days, possibly hours, there was just a few more tests before the all clear would be given.  Linaeus and Kafka had been working hard at their task on the other side of the world.  Their ruse was purrfect.  They disguised themselves as two plump, happy kept parakeets.  They pecked at cuttle bones and the shiny mirror that was placed inside their gilded laboratory. They bickered and kvetched over complex calculations and equations, directly under the loving watch of their keepers.  The pretty language of parakeets, their code, has yet to be broken.  So they toiled at their task, and no one was ever the wiser.   The message was sent across the ocean via migrating stork to migrating osprey, “All systems go.  Watch the sky and be ready.”
            Kafka held the higher perch and had a flair for the dramatic.  She and Linaeus argued about what should be sent on the first test.  Linaeus and his steady proclivities quietly urged for a coffee cup.  Kafka threw caution to the wind and pushed the idea of a freshly washed lock of her hair.  Of course Kafka won.  Why not make the first test of the machine be one of romantic implications?  Wasn’t this what their work was all about anyway?  After the first transfer and all is well, Linaeus commented from his lower perch, “You were right.  It was the purrfect gesture.  But don’t let that little bird brain of yours get too swollen, you have poop stuck to your ass.”  Kafka smiled down from above and chirped, “Sound science comes with a price my friend.  It is a small price to pay for unlocking the secrets of time and travel.”  The light comes on in the kitchen across the ocean where they are kept, where they work, and both quickly pretend to sleep.  Linaeus snores a birdy snore for effect, and Kafka ruffles feathers in reproach.

            He is still standing naked at the windows, but the light and electric has moved over and in upon him.  There is no fury to the storm that dances in over the water.  Its disguise is purrfect.  His neighbors sleep easy; just another soft summer’s storm off the water.  There is one thick crack of light that fills his prison with bright white illumination; a low guttural rumble shakes and rattles the old timbers and worn joists.  Everything seems to shift on it’s axis to left as if being pulled out across the water just a smidge.  The small hairs on his tanned forearms lift and glow amber at the ends.  His muscles flex taut and strain at their connections to his bones.  His eyes adjust back from the white flash, to the dark that surrounds him, and he can see a soft blue glow flicker from inside the doorway of his bedroom.  It flutters and dances like a muted azure candle.  He turns his back to the water and walks towards the quiet, electric call to bed.
            He enters the room and static is heavy in the air.  The blades of the spinning ceiling fan emit thin stretched out veins of blue, white, and yellow, that fall around his bed like delicate, intricate, random lace. 
            “All systems go.” 
            He turns his back to the bed and sits softly on its edge.  He knows not to ever turn his back to a door before climbing into bed.  He was taught this long ago by an old weaver woman of tales and linen.  Patiently, he sits and lets the quiet electric fill the room; muted cracks and sizzle, hiss and white noise, and then a pause in the din.
            He doesn’t turn around.  He just speaks, “Hello Beautiful.  How was your trip?”  And as he speaks these words, he slowly leans back into the electric of her that has filled his bed.  As his back touches the soft of her belly and her arms wrap around him, his body becomes blue electric, absorbing and melting into the heavens traveled essence of her. 
            She whispers, weary from travel, but excited by their touch made finally real, “Hello to you my love.”  She grasps his hand tightly and blue light dances from their entwined fingers like flames.  There is heat, but it is nothing that they can’t bare and nothing they didn’t anticipate.
            The warmth electric shared between them, cuts the chill of the cool breeze off the water out back that drifts though his prison like a ghost.  Before they fade off to sleep, they send a shared message out into the last stars of the morning, which is picked up by the earliest hunting ospreys and passed on to the storks, and carried across the ocean.

            Linaeus will receive the message and pass it onto Kafka who is taking a much needed bath by the window.  It will simply read, “Mission accomplished.”  Later in the day, Kafka will allow Linaeus to sit as partner on the higher perch, and they will both puff out their feathers and take pride in their work.  Kafka will chirp, “Love of science, science for love.  This world would be a much better place."   

Friday, May 4, 2012

            A writer of romance novels told me to stop writing in the first person.  “Why do you do this?”  She was puzzled by my narrative.  “This style isn’t very commercial,” she said through a crackling telephone line that sparked and fused with my anger at her intended helpful comments.  And I thought to myself, “Perhaps he should write romance novels?”

            But what did he know?  His last taste of romance left a fine sheen of burnt gunpowder and cordite on his lips and tongue; hands, heart and soul blackened and maimed by the blast.  Waiting in line at the grocery check-out, the old housewife behind him found him presentable, but smelling of war.  She would comment to her sister later that evening, “He was handsome Myrtle, but something wasn’t right.  You could tell he was alone, he bought just enough for one, and he smelt like burnt wires.  His smile was more of a wince.  I tell ya, for a second I thought he would just poof, turn into ashes and dust if the wind blew through the line.”  Her sister would respond back, “Sounds like a man in need of a hug.”  And Myrtle said back in a hushed and knowing tone, “That poor boy needed more than a hug, he needed love.  I found myself afraid for him.”

            He is burnt wires and spent gunpowder.  He is rubble and wreckage.  He is.  And that is at least something, isn’t it?

            He has endured a nuclear winter of love a gone bad.  He has suffered and when that wasn’t enough, he has taken, created, more suffering just so he could feel something.  He is no martyr for love, he is loves great champion.  He understands that to feel good, one must feel as bad as possible at times, most times, according to his ethos.  “It makes the good that much better,” he will tell a friend that is hurting in a similar fashion.  As he says this, he smirks and lifts an eyebrow, in a way that brings a smile and joy to even the darkest of moments in this human condition.  He is.  But he is also love.  He is the hope of love and all that it can and should be.  This is why old women at the grocery check-out want to hug him.  “I tell ya Mrytle, I just wanted to take him home and, scrub him nicely, make him a good dinner, and take him to bed.  I haven’t felt like that in years.”  Mrytle’s sister will just sigh heavily and make a point of going to the grocery store more often.

            And he will be there.  He has and always will be.  He is love.

            And he knows love.  It is just far away, a bit out of his reach.  
            And this is why he burns.  It is a new fire.

            No one knows that the seething and smoldering that he exudes is a want, a love so deep that ignites his nerves and melts diamonds.  He keeps this love private.  It is his touchstone and talisman.  It is his and his alone.  He gives of himself feely to others, but reserves a place inside himself that only one other soul can share and see.  He is in love.  This is why he burns with the heat of a blast furnace on Sparrows Point.  What is mistaken by some as loneliness is just a want for a touch from the soul he has given his heart to.  It is her soft hand that will temper his fire, control it, and put its heat to good purpose. 

            He and his love are separated by an ocean, which may as well be a simple pane of glass as far as the universe and its time are concerned.  Miles and time mean nothing in the calculations of love.  Silly mankind studies the heavens and waits patiently for two stars to collide after a century.  What takes forever down here is just a blink in the ether.

            So our hero is in love.  His star has collided with another of brighter and greater magnitude, and their collision will be witnessed and noted.

            An old man sits on the warm hood of a pick-up truck at the end of dirt road.  He drives out to where the dirt and gravel ends by a fecund pond that is alight with fireflies and the sounds of night birds in the thick green trees.  He climbs atop the warm hood and just sits, listens and waits.  He has been coming here for centuries it seems.  He is drawn to this spot by some strange pull from across the universe.  Something tells him that if he is patient, he will be rewarded. 

            And he is.  On a cool springs night our old star-gazer is witness to the power of the infinite and its exquisite beauty.  He watches as the day fades into night and the stars rise over the green that envelopes him.  And just when he has had enough of all this beauty, he sees something extraordinary…Two stars, brighter than all the rest, race across the night’s sky leaving purrfect trails of light and heat behind them.  Their paths are predetermined by a math that hasn’t yet been unlocked and deciphered.  Far away in dimly lit observatories, astronomers await the impact, but have no idea why the courses of these two stars should meet.  And an old man on the warm hood of a tired old pick-up truck doesn’t think of this or care.  He just waits, and remembers what it was like to be young again and filled with wonder.

            And these two stars find each other in the deep blue and purple of the night made new again.  Amongst an infinite array of stars, light trails behind them betray their path; but their initial impact is for them and them alone.  There is a pause.  And then a quick small flash from very far away.  Another pause.  And then a small purrfect circle of light where the impact of these stars had been.  Another pause.  And then another larger purrfect circle.  Pause again, and then a third and even larger purrfect circle marks for a moment this spot in the heavens where paths collide and life begins. 

            An old man on the warm hood of a pick-up truck, at the end of a dirt road, next to a fecund pond surrounded by the green of a cool spring and fire-flies, lifts one hand to his heart and the other to his lips.  He breathes in deep and remembers what love felt like once.  He will stay like this for a few moments, a blink in the ether; and wish for the long slow passing of time by the universe’s clock. 

            Our hero tonight, lies on the floor sleeping.  His love from afar, across the universe, watches over him from the tiny eye of human creation that glows with soft blue electric light.  As he sleeps, an uneasy sleep, he dreams of stars in the heavens that are destined to meet.  He dreams of purrfect white light circles in the ether.  He dreams of touch and contact.  He dreams of love made real.

            And when he has had enough of dreaming, he opens his eyes and there she is.  She is hope.  She is light.  She is love.  And only an ocean, a thin pane of the universes glass lies between them.  Our hero will rub his eyes like a child, to make sure she is real, and then whisper through the ether, “Hello Sunshine.”

            Make no doubt, our hero burns and seethes and smolders.  But it is a new and better fire that burns inside him.  It’s just easily misunderstood by old women in the grocery store check-out line that have forgotten the heat and smell of love.

            It doesn’t always have to hurt.