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Cyril Blythe Nov 2012
I followed Delvos down the trail until we could see the mouth of the mine. The life and energy of the surrounding birches and sentential pines came to a still and then died as we left the trees shelter behind and walked closer, closer. The air was cold and dark and damp and smelled of mold and moths. Delvos stepped into the darkness anyways.
“Well, girl, you coming or aren’t you?”
I could see his yellowed tobacco teeth form into a smile as I stepped out of the sun. It was still inside. The canary chirped in its cage.
“This tunnel is just the mouth to over two hundred others exactly like it. Stay close. Last thing I need this month is National Geographic on my *** for losing one of their puppet girls.”
“Delvos, ****. I have two masters degrees.” I pulled my mousey hair up into a tight ponytail. “I’ve experienced far more fatal feats than following a canary in a cave.”
He rolled his eyes. “Spare me.” He trotted off around the corner to the left, whistling some Louis Armstrong song.
“I survived alone in the jungles of Bolivia alone for two months chasing an Azara’s Spinetail. I climbed the tallest mountain in Nepal shooting Satyr Tragopans along the cliff faces. In Peru I…” Suddenly I felt the weight of the darkness. I lost track of his lantern completely. I stopped, my heartbeat picked up, and I tried to remind myself of what I had done in Peru. The mine was quiet and cold. I wiped my clammy, calloused hands on my trail pants and took a depth breath.

In through the nose. Out through the mouth. This is nothing. I followed a Diurnal Peruvian Pygmy-Owl across the gravel tops of the Andes Mountains, no light but the Southern Cross and waning moon above. I am not scared of darkness. I am not scared of darkness.
I stopped to listen. Behind me I could hear the wind cooing at the mouth of the mine.
Taunting? No. Reminding me to go forward. Into the darkness.
I shifted my Nikon camera off my shoulder and raised the viewfinder to my eyes, sliding the lens cap into my vest pocket. This routine motion, by now, had become as fluid as walking. I stared readily through the dark black square until I saw reflections from the little red light on top that blinked, telling me the flash was charged. I snapped my finger down and white light filled the void in front of me. Then heavy dark returned. I blinked my eyes attempting to rid the memories of the flash etched, red, onto my retina. I clicked my short fingernails through buttons until the photo I took filled the camera screen. I learned early on that having short fingernails meant more precise control with the camera buttons. I zoomed in on the picture and scrolled to get my bearings of exactly what lay ahead in the narrow mine passageway. As I scrolled to the right I saw Delvos’ boot poking around the tunnel that forked to the left.
Gottcha.
I packed up the camera, licked my drying lips, and stepped confidently into the darkness.

When I first got the assignment in Vermont I couldn’t have been more frustrated. Mining canaries? Never had I ever ‘chased’ a more mundane bird. Nonetheless, when Jack Reynolds sends you on a shoot you don’t say no, so I packed up my camera bag and hoped on the next plane out of Washington.
“His name is John Delvos.” Jack had said as he handed me the manila case envelope. He smiled, “You’re leaving on Tuesday.”
“Yes sir.”
“Don’t look so smug, Lila. This may not be the most exotic bird you’ve shot but the humanity of this piece has the potential to be a cover story. Get the shots, write the story.”
I opened the envelope and read the assignment details in the comfort of my old pajamas back at my apartment later that night.
John Delvos has lived in rural Vermont his entire life. His family bred the canaries for the miners of the Sheldon Quarry since the early twenties. When “the accident” happened the whole town shut down and the mines never reopened. . There were no canaries in the mines the day the gas killed the miners. The town blamed the Delvos family and ran them into the woods. His mother died in a fire of some sort shortly before Delvos and his father retreated into the Vermont woods. His father built a cabin and once his father died, Delvos continued to breed the birds. He currently ships them to other mining towns across the country. The question of the inhumanity of breeding canaries for the sole purpose of dying in the mines so humans don’t has always been controversial. Find out Delvos’ story and opinions on the matter. Good luck, Lila.
I sighed, accepting my dull assignment and slipped into an apathetic sleep.


After stumbling through the passageway while keeping one hand on the wall to the left, I found the tunnel the picture had revealed Delvos to be luring in. Delvos reappeared behind the crack of his match in a side tunnel not twenty yards in front of me
“Do you understand the darkness now, Ms. Rivers?” He relit the oily lantern and picked back up the canary cage. “Your prestigious masters degrees don’t mean **** down here.”. He turned his back without another word. I followed deeper into the damp darkness.
“Why were there no canaries in the mine on, you know, that day?” The shadows of the lantern flickered against the iron canary cage chained on his hip and the yellow bird hopped inside.
“I was nine, Ms. Rivers. I didn’t understand much at the time.” We turned right into the next tunnel and our shoes crunched on jagged stones. All the stones were black.
“But surely you understand now?”
The canary chirped.

When I first got to Sheldon and began asking about the location of the Delvos’ cabin you would have thought I was asking where the first gate to hell was located. Mothers would smile and say, “Sorry, Miss, I can’t say,” then hurriedly flock their children in the opposite direction. After two hours of polite refusals I gave up. I spent the rest of the first day photographing the town square. It was quaint; old stone barbershops surrounded by oaks and black squirrels, a western-themed whiskey bar, and a few greasy spoon restaurants. I booked a room in the Walking Horse Motel for Wednesday night, determined to get a good night’s sleep and defeat this town’s fear of John Delvos the following day.
My room was a tiny one bed square with no TV. Surprise, surprise. At least I had my camera and computer to entertain myself. I reached into the side of my camera bag, pulled out my Turkish Golds and Macaw-beak yellow BIC, and stepped out onto the dirt in front of my motel door and lit up. The stars above stole all the oxygen surrounding me. They were dancing and smiling above me and I forgot Delvos, Jack, and all of Sheldon except its sky. Puffing away, I stepped farther and farther from my door and deeper into the darkness of Vermont night. The father into the darkness the more dizzying the star’s dancing became.
“Ma’am? Everything okay?”
Startled, I dropped my cigarette on the ground and the ember fell off. “I’m sorry, sir. I was just, um, the stars…” I snuffed out the orange glow in the dirt with my boot and extended my hand, “Lila Rivers, and you are?”
“Ian Benet. I haven’t seen you around here before, Ms. Rivers. Are you new to town?” He traced his fingers over a thick, graying mustache as he stared at me.
“I’m here for work. I’m a bird photographer and journalist for National Geographic. I’m looking for John Delvos but I’m starting to think he’s going to be harder to track than a Magpie Robin.”
Ian smiled awkwardly, shivered, then began to fumble with his thick jacket’s zipper. I looked up at the night sky and watched the stars as they tiptoed their tiny circles in the pregnant silence. Then, they dimmed in the flick of a spark as Ian lit up his wooden pipe. It was a light-colored wood, stained with rich brown tobacco and ash. He passed me his matches, smiling.
“So, Delvos, eh?” He puffed out a cloud of leather smelling smoke toward the stars. “What do you want with that old *******? Don’t tell me National Geographic is interested in the Delvos canaries.”
I lit up another stick and took a drag. “Shocking, right?”
“Actually, it’s about time their story is told.” Benet walked to the wooden bench to our left and patted the seat beside him. I walked over. “The Delvos canaries saved hundreds of Sheldonian lives over the years. But the day a crew went into the mines without one, my father came out of the ground as cold as when we put him back into it in his coffin.”
I sat in silence, unsure what to say. “Mr. Benet, I’m so sorry…”
“Please, just Ian. My father was the last Mr. Benet.”
We sat on the wooden bench, heat leaving our bodies to warm the dead wood beneath our legs. I shivered; the star’s dance suddenly colder and more violent.
“Delvos canaries are martyrs, Ms. Rivers. This whole town indebted to those tiny yellow birds, but nobody cares to remember that anymore.”
“Can you tell me where I can find Mr. Delvos and his, erm, martyrs?” The ember of my second cigarette was close to my pinching fingertips.
“Follow me.” Ian stood up and walked to the edge of the woods in front of us. We crunched the dead pine needles beneath our feet, making me aware of how silent it was. Ian stopped at a large elm and pointed. “See that yellow notch?” he asked. Sure enough, there was a notch cut and dyed yellow at his finger’s end. “If you follow true north from this tree into the woods you’ll find this notch about every fifty yards or so. Follow the yellow and it’ll spit you out onto the Delvos property.”
“Thank you, Ian. I really can’t begin to tell you how grateful I am.
“You don’t have to.” He knocked the ash out of his pipe against the tree. “Just do those birds justice in your article. Remember, martyrs. Tell old Delvos Ian Benet sends his regards.” He turned and walked back to the motel and I stood and watched in silence. It was then I realized I hadn’t heard a single bird since I got to Sheldon. The star’s dance was manic above me as I walked back to my room and shut the door.

The canary’s wings and Delvos stopped. “This is a good place to break our fast. Sit.”
I sat obediently, squirming around until the rocks formed a more comfortable nest around my bony hips. We had left for the mines as the stars were fading in the vermillion Vermont sky that morning and had been walking for what seemed like an eternity. I was definitely ready to eat. He handed me a gallon Ziploc bag from his backpack filled with raisins, nuts, various dried fruits, and a stiff piece of bread. I attacked the food like a raven.
“I was the reason no canaries entered the mines that day, Ms. Rivers.”
Delvos broke a piece of his bread off and wrapped it around a dried piece of apricot, or maybe apple. I was suddenly aware of my every motion and swallowed, loudly. I crinkled into my Ziploc and crunched on the pecans I dug out, waiting.
“Aren’t you going to ask why?”
“I’m not a parrot, Mr. Delvos, I don’t answer expectedly on command. You’ll tell me if you want.” I stuffed a fistful of dried pears into my mouth.
Delvos chuckled and my nerves eased. “You’ve got steel in you, Ms. Rivers. I’ll give you that much.”
I nodded and continued cramming pears in my mouth.
“I was only nine. The canaries were my pets, all of them. I hated when Dad would send them into the mines to die for men I couldn’t give two ***** about. It was my birthday and I asked for an afternoon of freedom with my pets and Dad obliged. I was in the aviary with pocketfuls of sunflower-seeds. Whenever I threw a handful into the air above me, the air came to life with wings slashing yellow brushes and cawing songs of joy. It was the happiest I have ever been, wholly surrounded and protected by my friends. Around twelve thirty that afternoon the Sheriff pulled up, lights ablaze. The blue and red lights stilled my yellow sky to green again and that’s when I heard the shouting. He cuffed my Dad on the hood of the car and Mom was crying and pushing her fists into the sheriff’s chest. I didn’t understand at all. The Sheriff ended up putting Mom in the car too and they all left me in the aviary. I sat there until around four that afternoon before they sent anyone to come get me.”
Delvos took a small bite of his bread and chewed a moment. “No matter how many handfuls of seeds I threw in the air after that, the birds wouldn’t stir. They wouldn’t even sing. I think they knew what was happening.”
I was at a loss for words so and I blurted, “I didn’t see an aviary at your house…”
Delvos laughed. “Someone burnt down the house I was raised in the next week while we were sleeping. Mom died that night. The whole dark was burning with screams and my yellow canaries were orange and hot against the black sky. That’s the only night I’ve seen black canaries and the only night I’ve heard them scream.”
I swallowed some mixed nuts and they rubbed against my dry throat.
“They never caught the person. A week later Dad took the remainder of the birds and we marched into the woods. We worked for months clearing the land and rebuilding our lives. We spent most of the time in silence, except for the canary cries. When the house was finally built and the bird’s little coops were as well, Dad finally talked. The only thing he could say was “Canaries are not the same as a Phoenix, John. Not the same at all.”
We sat in silence and I found myself watching the canary flit about in its cage, still only visible by the lanterns flame. Not fully yellow, I realized, here in the mines but not fully orange either.

When I first walked onto John Delvos’ property on Thursday morning he was scattering feed into the bird coops in the front of his cabin. Everything was made of wood and still wet with the morning’s dew.
“Mr. Delvos?”
He spun around, startled, and walked up to me a little too fast. “Why are you here? Who are you?”
“My name is Lila Rivers, sir, I am a photographer and journalist for National Geographic Magazine and we are going to run an article on your canaries.”
“Not interested.”
“Please, sir, can I ask you just a few quick questions as take a couple pictures of your, erm, martyrs?”
His eyes narrowed and he walked up to me, studying my face with an intense, glowering gaze. He spit a mouthful of dip onto the ground without breaking eye contact. I shifted my camera bag’s weight to the other shoulder.
“Who told you to call them that?”
“I met Ian Benet last night, he told me how important your birds are to this community, sir. He sends his regards.”
Delvos laughed and motioned for me to follow as he turned his back. “You can take pictures but I have to approve which ones you publish. That’s my rule.”
“Sir, it’s really not up to me, you see, my boss, Jack Reynolds, is one of the editors for the magazine and he...”
“Those are my rules, Ms. Rivers.” He turned and picked back up the bucket of seed and began to walk back to the birds. “You want to interview me then we do it in the mine. Be back here at four thirty in the morning.”
“Sir…?”
“Get some sleep, Ms. Rivers. You’ll want to be rested for the mine.” He turned, walked up his wooden stairs, and closed the door to his cabin.
I was left alone in the woods and spent the next hour snapping pictures of the canaries in their cages. I took a couple pictures of his house and the surrounding trees, packed up my camera and trekked back to my motel.

“You finished yet?” Delvos stood up. The mine was dark, quiet, and stagnant. I closed the Ziploc and stuffed the bag, mainly filled with the raisins I had sifted through, into my pocket.
Delvos grunted and the canary flapped in its cage as he stood again and, swinging the lantern, rounded another corner. The path we were on began to take a noticeable ***** downward and the moisture on the walls and air multiplied.  
The lantern flickered against the moist, black stones, sleek and piled in the corners we past. The path stopped ahead at a wall of solid black and brown Earth.
The canary chirped twice.
It smelled of clay and mildew and Delvos said, “Go on, touch it.”
I reached my hand out, camera uselessly hanging like a bat over my shoulder. The rock was cold and hard. It felt dead.
The canary was fluttering its wings in the cage now, chirping every few seconds.
“This is the last tunnel they were digging when the gas under our feet broke free from hell and killed those men.”
Delvos hoisted the lantern above our heads, illuminatin
Cyril Blythe Sep 2012
I followed him down the trail until we got to the mouth of the mines. The life and energy of the surrounding maples and birches seemed to come to a still and then die as we walked closer, closer. The air was cold and dark and damp and smelt of mold and moths. Delvos stepped into the darkness anyways.
“Well, girl, you coming or aren’t you?”
I could see his yellowed tobacco teeth form into a slimy smile as I stepped out of the sun. It was still inside. The canary chirped.
“This tunnel is just the mouth to over two hundred others exactly like it. Stay close. Last thing I need this month is National Geographic on my *** for losing one of their puppet girls.”
“Delvos, ****. I have two masters degrees.” He rolled his eyes.
“Spare me.” He trotted off around the corner to the left, whistling.
“I survived alone in the jungles of Bolivia alone for two months chasing an Azara’s Spinetail. I climbed the tallest mountain in Nepal shooting Satyr Tragopans along the cliff faces. In Peru I…” Suddenly I felt the weight of the darkness. In my blinding anger I lost track of his lantern. I stopped, my heartbeat picked up, and I tried to remind myself of what I did in Peru.
I followed a Diurnal Peruvian Pygmy-Owl across the gravel tops of the Andes Mountains, no light but the Southern Cross and waning moon above. I am not scared of darkness. I am not scared of darkness.
I stopped to listen. Somewhere in front of me the canary chirped.

When I first got the job in Vermont I couldn’t have been more frustrated. Mining canaries? Never had I ever ‘chased’ a more mundane bird. Nonetheless, when Jack Reynolds sends you on a shoot you don’t say no, so I packed up my camera bag and hoped on the next plane out of Washington.
“His name is John Delvos.” Jack said. He handed me the manila case envelope. “He’s lived in rural Vermont his entire life. Apparently his family bred the canaries for the miners of the Sheldon Quarry since the early twenties. When the accident happened the whole town basically shut down. There were no canaries in the mines the day the gas killed the miners. His mother died in a fire of some sort shortly after. The town blamed the Delvos family and ran them into the woods. His father built a cabin and once his father died, Delvos continued to breed the birds. He ships them to other mining towns across the country now. We want to run a piece about the inhumanity of breeding animals to die so humans won’t.” I stood in silence in front of his deep mahogany desk, suddenly aware of the lack of make-up on my face. He smiled, “You’re leaving on Tuesday.”
“Yes sir.”
“Don’t look so smug, Lila. This may not be the most exotic bird you’ve shot but the humanity of this piece has the potential to be a cover story. Get the shots, write the story.”

“Do you understand the darkness now, Ms. Rivers? Your prestigious masters degrees don’t mean **** down here.” Delvos reappeared behind the crack of his match in a side tunnel not twenty yards in front of me. He relit the oily lantern and turned his back without another word. I reluctantly followed deeper into the damp darkness.
“Why were there no canaries in the mine on, you know, that day?” The shadows of the lantern flickered against the iron canary cage chained on his hip and the yellow bird hopped inside.
“I was nine, Ms. Rivers. I didn’t understand much at the time.” We turned right into the next tunnel and our shoes crunched on jagged stones. All the stones were black.
“But surely you understand now?”
The canary chirped.

When I first got to Sheldon and began asking about the location of the Delvos’ cabin you would have thought I was asking where the first gate to hell was located. Mothers would smile and say, “Sorry, Miss, I can’t say,” and hurriedly flock their children in the opposite direction. After two hours of polite refusals I gave up. I spent the rest of the first day photographing the town square. It was quaint; old stone barbershops surrounded by oaks and black squirrels, a western themed whiskey bar, and a few greasy spoon restaurants interspersed in-between. I booked a room in the Walking Horse Motel for Wednesday night, determined to get a good nights sleep and defeat this towns fear of John Delvos tomorrow.
My room was a tiny one bed square with no TV. Surprise, surprise. At least I had my camera and computer to entertain myself. I reached into the side of my camera bag and pulled out my Turkish Golds and Macaw-beak yellow BIC. I stepped out onto the dirt in front of my door and lit up. I looked up and the stars stole all the oxygen surrounding me. They were dancing and smiling above me and I forgot Delvos, Jack, and all of Sheldon except it’s sky. Puffing away, I stepped farther and farther from my door and deeper into the darkness of night. The father into the darkness the more dizzying the stars dancing became.
“Ma’am? Everything okay?”
Startled, I dropped my cigarette on the ground and the ember fell off.
“I’m sorry, sir. I was just, um, the stars…” I snuffed out the orange glow in the dirt with my boot and extended my hand, “Lila Waters, and you are?”
“Ian Benet. I haven’t seen you around here before, Ms. Waters, are you new to town?”
“I’m here for work. I’m a bird photographer and journalist for National Geographic. I’m looking for John Delvos but I’m starting to think he’s going to be harder to track than a Magpie Robin.”
The stars tiptoed in their tiny circles above in the silence. Then, they disappeared with a spark as Ian lit up his wooden pipe. It was a light colored wood, stained with rich brown tobacco and ash. He passed me his matches, smiling.
“What do you want with that old *******? Don’t tell me National Geographic is interested in the Delvos canaries.”
I lit up another stick and took a drag. “Shocking, right?”
“Actually, it’s about time their story is told.” Benet walked to the wooden bench to our left and patted the seat beside him. I walked over. “The Delvos canaries saved hundreds of Sheldonian lives over the years. But the day a crew went into the mines without one, my father came out of the ground as cold as when we put him back into it in his coffin.”
I sat in silence, unsure what to say. “Mr. Benet, I’m so sorry…”
“Please, just Ian. My father was the last Mr. Benet.”
We sat on the wooden bench, heat leaving our bodies to warm the dead wood beneath our legs. I shivered; the stars dance suddenly colder and more violent.
“Delvos canaries are martyrs, Ms. Waters. This whole town indebted to those tiny yellow birds, but nobody cares to remember that anymore.”
“Can you tell me where I can find Mr. Delvos and his, erm, martyrs?” The ember of my second cigarette was close to my pinching fingertips.
“Follow me.” Ian stood up and walked to the edge of the woods in front of us. We crunched the cold dust beneath our feet, making me aware of how silent it was. Ian stopped at a large elm and pointed, “See that yellow notch?” Sure enough, there was a notch cut and dyed yellow at his finger’s end. “If you follow true north from this tree into the woods you’ll find this notch about every fifty yards or so. Follow the yellow and it’ll spit you out onto the Delvos property.”
“Thank you, Ian. I really can’t begin to tell you how thankful I am to find out where to find this elusive Mr. Delvos and his canaries.”
“You don’t have to,” he knocked the ash out of his pipe against the tree, “Just do those birds justice in your article. Remember, martyrs. Tell old Delvos Ian Benet sends his regards.” He turned and walked back to the motel and I stood and watched in silence. It was then I realized I hadn’t heard a single bird since I got to Sheldon. The stars dance was manic above me as I walked back to my room and shut the door.

The canary chirped and Delvos stopped.
“This is a good place to break out fast. Sit.”
I sat obediently, squirming around until the rocks formed a more comfortable nest around my bony hips. We left for the mines as the stars were fading in the vermillion Vermont sky this morning and had been walking for what seemed like an eternity. I was definitely ready to eat. He handed me a gallon Ziploc bag from his backpack filled with raisins, nuts, various dried fruits, and a stiff piece of bread. I attacked the food like a raven.
“I was the reason no canaries entered the mines that day, Ms. Waters.” Delvos broke a piece of his bread off and wrapped it around a dried piece of apricot, or maybe apple. I was suddenly aware of my every motion and swallowed, loudly. I crinkled into my Ziploc and crunched on the pecans I dug out, waiting.
“Aren’t you going to ask why?”
“I’m not a parrot, Mr. Delvos, I don’t answer expectedly on command. You’ll tell me if you want.” I hurriedly stuffed a fistful of dried pears into my mouth.
Delvos chuckled and my nerves eased, “You’ve got steel in you, Ms. Rivers, I’ll give you that much.”
I nodded and continued cramming pears in my mouth.
“I was only nine. The canaries were my pets, all of them. I hated when Dad would send them into the mines to die for men I couldn’t give two ***** about. It was my birthday and I asked for an afternoon of freedom with my pets and Dad obliged. I was in the aviary with pocketfuls of sunflower-seeds. Whenever I threw a handful into the air above me, the air came to life with flickering yellow brushes and songs of joy. It was the happiest I have ever been, wholly surrounded and protected by my friends. Around twelve thirty that afternoon the Sheriff pulled up, lights ablaze. The blue and red lights stilled my yellow sky to green again and that’s when I heard the shouting. He cuffed my Dad on the hood of the car and Mom was crying and pushing her fists into the sheriff’s chest. I didn’t understand at all. The Sheriff ended up putting Mom in the car too and they all left me in the aviary. I sat there until around four that afternoon before they sent anyone to come get me.”
Delvos took a small bite of his bread and chewed a moment. “No matter how many handfuls of seeds I threw in the air after that, the birds wouldn’t stir. They wouldn’t even sing. I think they knew what was happening.”
I was at a loss for words so of course I blurted, “I didn’t see an aviary at your house…”
Delvos laughed. “Someone burnt down the house I was raised in the next week while we were sleeping. Mom died that night. The whole dark was burning with screams and my yellow canaries were orange and hot against the black sky. That’s the only night I’ve seen black canaries and the only night I’ve heard them scream.”
I swallowed some mixed nuts and they rubbed against my dry throat.
“They never caught the person. A week later Dad took the remainder of the birds and we marched into the woods. We worked for months clearing the land and rebuilding our lives. We spent most of the time in silence, except for the canary cries. When the house was finally built and the birds little coops were as well, Dad finally talked. The only thing he could say was ‘Canaries are not the same as a Phoenix, John. Not the same at all.”
The canary chirped, still only visible by the lanterns flame. Not fully yellow, I realized, here in the mines, but not fully orange either.

When I first walked onto John Delvos’ property on Thursday morning he was scattering feed into the bird coops in the front of his cabin. Everything was made of wood and still wet with the morning’s dew.
“Mr. Delvos?” He spun around, startled, and walked up to me a little too fast.
“Why are you here? Who are you?”
“My name is Lila Waters, sir, I am a photographer and journalist for National Geographic Magazine and we are going to run an article on your canaries.”
“Not interested”
“Please, sir, can I ask you just a few quick questions as take a couple pictures of your, erm, martyrs?”
His eyes narrowed and he walked up to me, studying my face with an intense, glowering gaze. He spit a mouthful of dip onto the ground without breaking eye contact. I shifted my camera bag’s weight to the other shoulder.
“Who told you to call them that?”
“I met Ian Benet last night, he told me how important your birds are to this community, sir. He sends his regards.”
Delvos laughed and motioned for me to follow as he turned his back. “You can take pictures but I have to approve which ones you publish. That’s my rule.”
“Sir, it’s really not up to me, you see, my boss, Jack Reynolds, is one of the CEO’s for the magazine and he...”
“Those are my rules, Ms. Waters.” He turned and picked back up the bucket of seed and began to walk back to the birds. “You want to interview me then we do it in the mine. Be back here at four thirty in the morning.”
“Sir…?”
“Get some sleep, Ms. Waters. You’ll want to be rested for the mine.” He turned, walked up his wooden stairs, and closed the door to his cabin.
I was left alone in the woods and spent the next hour snapping pictures of the little, yellow canaries in their cages. I took a couple pictures of his house and the surrounding trees, packed up my camera and trekked back to my motel.

“You finished yet?” Delvos stood up and the memory of his green and brown wooded homestead fled from my memory as the mine again consumed my consciousness. Dark, quiet, and stagnant. I closed the Ziploc and stuffed the bag, mainly filled with the raisins I sifted through, into my pocket.
Delvos grunted and the canary flapped in its cage as he stood again and, swinging the lantern, rounded another corner. The path we were on began to take a noticeable ***** downward and the moisture on the walls and air multiplied.
The canary chirped.
The lantern flickered against the moist, black stones, sleek and piled in the corners we past. The path stopped ahead at a wall of solid black and brown Earth.
The canary chirped twice.
It smelt of clay and mildew and Delvos said, “Go on, touch it.”
I reached my hand out, camera uselessly hanging like a bat over my shoulder. The rock was cold and hard. It felt dead.
The Canary was flitting its wings in the cage now, chirping every few seconds.
“This is the last tunnel they were digging when the gas under our feet broke free from hell and killed those men.”
Delvos hoisted the lantern above our heads, illuminating the surrounding gloom. All was completely still and even my own vapor seemed to fall out of my mouth and simply die. The canary was dancing a frantic jig, now, similar to the mating dance of the Great Frigate Bird I shot in the Amazon jungle. As I watched the canary and listened to its small wings beat against the cold metal cage I begin to feel dizzy. The bird’s cries had transformed into a scream colder than fire and somehow more fierce.
The ability to fly is what always made me jealous of birds as a child, but as my temple throbbed and the canary danced I realized I was amiss. Screaming, yellow feathers whipped and the entire inside of the cage was instantaneously filled. It was beautiful until the very end. Dizzying, really.
Defeated, the canary sank to the floor, one beaten wing hanging out of the iron bars at a most unnatural angle. Its claws were opening and closing, grasping the tainted cave air, or, perhaps, trying to push it away. Delvos unclipped the cage and sat it on the floor in the space between us, lantern still held swaying above his head. The bird was aflame now, the silent red blood absorbing into the apologetic, yellow feathers. Orange, a living fire. I pulled out my camera as I sat on the ground beside the cage. I took a few shots, the camera’s clicks louder than the feeble chirps sounding out of the canary’s tattered, yellow beak. My head was spinning. Its coal-black eyes reflected the lantern’s flame above. I could see its tiny, red tongue in the bottom of its mouth.
Opening.
Closing.
Opening, wider, too wide, then,
Silence.


I felt dizzy. I remember feeling the darkness surround me; it felt warm.

“I vaguely remember Delvos helping me to my feet, but leaving the mine was a complete haze.” I told the panel back in D.C., “It wasn’t until we had crossed the stream on the way back to the cabin that I began to feel myself again. Even then, I felt like I was living a dream. When we got back to the cabin the sight of the lively yellow canaries in their coops made me cry. Delvos brought me a bottle of water and told me I needed to hit the trail because the sun set early in the winter, so I le
Kenny H Apr 2012
There is an old story that my father
Told me and my brother when we were children.
It is of the windbag
Who now haunts the ancient diamond mines.
It goes like this:

"Boys, have I ever told you of the old windbag?
How about the diamond mines that poisoned it?
Well, this windbag was a miner
Who wore his diving suit and large pickaxe with pride.
Indeed his suit was pride,
But the golden diamond mines were lust
Lust that the old miner paid no mind.
For every strike with his large pickaxe
Was every moment his mind left sanity.
He wanted more wanted more wanted more
Always always always dreaming of glittering diamonds
That shrank his soul to stone.
He left this world no longer a miner
But a windbag lingering the mines possessed by diamonds
With its diving suit and large pickaxe.
One dark morning the windbag was mining,
It was mining mining mining,
Yet it could not hear the diamond mines shatter, crumble.
Its coworkers heard, but it only heard diamonds.
The windbag stayed in the old diamond mines,
Trapped in its diving suit
Trapped in its large pickaxe
Trapped in its diamond mines.
It continues to clink and clank
As it lurks amongst the silent diamonds,
Making only physical contact."

This story my father told me and my brother,
Haunts me more than the clink and clank
I hear while walking by
The ancient diamond mines
That swallowed the windbag.
William A Poppen Jan 2013
At sunrise the dew melts into nothing
and the field loses its silver glow
while retaining a tranquility
unbecoming of most minefields.

Brushing his face against
heavy denim material
the curious son hears his father's words,
Soon you will walk across
this field. I will educate you
to step here and step there,
to avoid the hidden dangers
beneath the grassy slopes
and native flowers.


Trust flows from innocent eyes,
uncreased by worry
or the wear of fear,
as the son requests,
Why are there mines among
the lavender and milkweed?

Because the fox must be hunted,
and the deer harvested
as food for our hungry ambitions.
These mines are triggered
by those who justify their sport
as signs of bravery and courage.

At times crazed men ignite the mines
as a show of their rage.  They ****
others among us, even children.

What if there were no mines?
We must keep our freedom,
freedom to walk anywhere,
to say anything
and to plant mines in the field
despite their dangers.

The eye of the eagle
will guide you each
step amid the lavender
and coneflowers until
you are safely to the other side.


Glancing upward, gazing ahead
the boy shares his wonder,
Will I continue to plant mines in the fields
for my children to walk?

A heavy masculine voice
cracks the north wind

If I train you well, . . .
If I train you well.


(with Eddie Eagle)
http://eddieeagle.nra.org/
(information about the Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program of the National Rifle Association,  
Eddie Eagle is a registered trademark of the NRA
Hal Loyd Denton Jan 2012
By This Sword 911 Is Avenged
This was written right after 911 now I’m rewriting it from the time that has passed a cooling a distancing has occurred in us not in our
Enemies I will write the first paragraph basically as it was written then go from there. They have cells; we have wells and mines, Wells
Of emotion for God, flag and country the mines are far flung and close at hand. From these mines, the blacksmith is hammering out a New sword of liberty the material comes from all of our battle fields in our national history. These make up the strong wide back
part Of the sword the sharp keen edge that is terrifying to behold this material from the Pentagon, Trade Towers, and from our four
American commercial airliners filled with Americans. The dross of the terrorists have been skimmed off and purified by our national prayers
And solemn vows for justice now stands one giant the sum of us all. The sword has just been placed in his hand. Let’s talk about the
Sword it cuts both ways-coming and going. The giant holds it flat, moves it back and forth in front of him underneath the land is
Pictured perfectly back up on the blade it hums like a dynamo let’s start it from the place the atrocity and carnage occurred I wrote
More about Miss Liberty in Imposter you ought to read it one of our greatest minds for freedom and liberty Lincoln said these should
Be taught to every child and from every pulpit and school house and every public arena should resound with the truth about this
Great enterprise and experiment in human government. I also wrote Freedoms Citadel and Fertile ground about Jefferson and the
Constitution the reading of them was tepid they mean little in today’s conscious mind but in these very matters freedom live or dies
The blade appears out of the black smoke that stunted and muted Miss Liberty and her awesome record and history here is where
Hell left its signature. I will after all add a part of what I wrote in Imposter America proud land of liberty; too long it’s been just a
Veneer, freedom you espouse, to have this you must clean prejudice from your house. True greatness finally you will know, when it
Shines through all colors, to do this you must rediscover the bedrock of your heritage. Truly believe the words that say "We the
People words that shook the elements, only being surpassed at creations stage. To long our apathy has been collaborating with our
Enemy’s no more, this challenge is given to restore. Opportunity’s open door let us our energy out pour. That freedoms passion soars,
As in the past ******* it tore. Land of light continue, Miss Liberty your lamp burning bright. Oh great nation receive your benediction
And knighthood from her continuous burning flame now advance our freedom and liberty through the bright rays of truth that founded
This nation the blade shines and burns away all deceit it tells truth and shows our mistakes and so when it passes the white house one
Who comes from the fount and central place where Lincoln’s Shadow is so pronounced if Lincoln could rise he would make short order
Of the junior senator from Illinois he would Exposé his political views as not true American but a hybrid who speaks a world view not
A Central American one his history makes him Espouse thoughts and ideas that are not held by most Americans they are contraire to
What the founders envisioned but with Personality and ability to speak well he has made inroads especially in a liberal setting the voters
Will realign this error the blade passes on inland it moves across the coal mines of Pennsylvania it stops and hums with a drowning
Sound at the site where brave Americans Fought in the sky and died saving many others here is a great place to show the difference in
The two different swords battling for Rule in our world today yes they have a sword it is one that beheads their own people or at
Times the lives of the innocents must perish to it savagery forged in hell it gleams but with every conceivable power of evil the more
They use it the more they destroy they burry themselves in the tangled web that no man can escape from a recent telling of Liberia’s
Civil war will cast true light on the sword they wield with such relish one of the Generals in this conflict and let me add here the same is
Going to happen in to the drug lords in Mexico in one form or another salvation or destruction from Him who is really in charge so this
So called General in Liberia was doing what he did best slaughtering the innocent and helpless two of the nuns ***** and killed with
Their three companions had just attended our worship service two days before their deaths. But into this evil spectacle He who is all
power and holy spoke general you are nothing more than someone who is being used by the devil and the devil had one other to ****
Three hundred people a day add that up to three hundred and sixty five days he did it to keep empowered by the devil but our general
Couldn’t get away from those simple but true words he came to the united Pentecostal mission church went to the altar first he lay
Down the defiled sword went to a church that preached baptism in the titles instead of Jesus name the bible says if you desire truth on
The inward parts you will be led to all truth he argued for six months saying he saw no difference but he called from Nigeria all excited
There was a difference God gave him the revelation the bible says Christ is the beginner and finisher of our faith he starts and finishes
What he starts this former butcher went to the altar in the mission mentioned repented was rebaptized in Jesus name filled with the
Holy Ghost spoke in tongues as the bible said this is the only way to remove the sword from a deceived and dying race born to blood
And cruelty because the master liar entered the world as a false religion in the desert an unexplained terrifying light is gleaming
As a mirror but this one is shaped as an eagle with its talons inches from the back of a unholy fiend his life is an insult to all eastern people
That love their country as we love ours pray that we honor our dead by not making widows and orphans of the innocent. Bin Laden
Stand if you can we did not desire blood but you cut open our veins made us replace our loved ones with marble stone we hear a new
Sound in the desert, groans of death, and your fixed lot by our God who is true and holy.

The lion mentioned is not the man but the
hate and the source of all hate is Satan “Bread corn is bruised” Isa 28:28 Ignatius
Martyred in Rome after being taken from Antioch, who is better to speak to our recently martyred people He said God has made me
Bread for his elect, and if it be needful that the bread must be ground in the teeth of the lion to feed his children, blessed is the name
of The lord a new Christian foundation is being laid and within the walls of this our national home. There is a sacred field with deep
Furrows the victims and future military dead the precious seed. Our tears and their sacrifice will water this future harvest, from this
Rich grain the baskets of spiritual bread will overflow, we presume not to feed ourselves but our enemies also the Arab world cries
from Hunger and evil agents of Satan feed them poison. However we know the great physician who will heal us from this blight.
The blade has passed to the end of our land and back prayer alone can keep it pure and sharp and it will devour the enemy of us all the sword
Satan wields an ineffective beaten sword if we but pray for truth and light for all.
A Gouedard Jun 2014
The Miner, Absolom
(a haibun)


green hill where sheep graze
white bones and coal, buried, held
seasons all the same
  
My grandfather worked in the mines from age thirteen to seventy. His life was closed in by mountains, the green one at the back, the dark looming one at the front and the pit head along the valley., winding the men in and out of the shaft, day after day, dawn until dusk when they came home singing  

boots ring on the road
deep valley voices echo
backyard starlit smoke

.
They worked on their bellies or crouched, often in water for days, water that undermines rock. Shaft collapses where frequent. Life was cheap. He came home covered in coal dust to his wife and two sons, sons he was determined to keep out of the mines. Yet he loved that coal - coal that he always polished with care before lighting a fire, brushing dust off black diamond surfaces.

water breaks through rock
with wood and straining shoulders
man becomes the beam

He saved twenty lives that day, men he had known from boyhood. When his lungs were affected they laid him off, no pay, no pension, no life. He bought an insurance book with the money he had and every day he trudged over the mountains and valleys gathering pennies that would help to secure some livelihood to the widows who lost their men in the mines. He never told his wife that when a family couldn't pay he put the pennies in for them rather than leave them unprotected.

winter, summer, fall
the mountain hangs over all
tired to the backbone

When the mines were nationalised my grandfather went straight back to the coal face despite his age. He wasn't going to miss those days of glory. Safety was suddenly the watchword and changes were made very fast. Hot showers were installed at the pit head and the miners came home clean at last.

men stripped to the skin
hot water, steam, baptised
brothers singing hymns
We had wanted to leave our homes before six in the morning
but left late and lazy at ten or ten-thirty with hurried smirks
and heads turned to the road, West
driving out against the noonward horizon
and visions before us of the great up-and-over

and tired we were already of stiff-armed driving neurotics in Montreal
and monstrous foreheaded yellow bus drivers
ugly children with long middle fingers
and tired we were of breaking and being yelled at by beardless bums
but thought about the beards at home we loved
and gave a smile and a wave nonetheless

Who were sick and tired of driving by nine
but then had four more hours still
with half a tank
then a third of a tank
then a quarter of a tank
then no tank at all
except for the great artillery halt and discovery
of our tyre having only three quarters of its bolts

Saved by the local sobriety
and the mystic conscious kindness of the wise and the elderly
and the strangers: Autoshop Gale with her discount familiar kindness;
Hilda making ready supper and Ray like I’ve known you for years
that offered me tools whose functions I’ve never known
and a handshake goodbye

     and "yes we will say hello to your son in Alberta"
     and "yes we will continue safely"
     and "no you won’t see us in tomorrow’s paper"
     and tired I was of hearing about us in tomorrow’s paper

Who ended up on a road laughing deliverance
in Ralphton, a small town hunting lodge
full of flapjacks and a choir of chainsaws
with cheap tomato juice and eggs
but the four of us ended up paying for eight anyway

and these wooden alley cats were nothing but hounds
and the backwoods is where you’d find a cheap child's banjo
and cheap leather shoes and bear traps and rat traps
and the kinds of things you’d fall into face first

Who sauntered into a cafe in Massey
that just opened up two weeks previous
where the food was warm and made from home
and the owner who swore to high heaven
and piled her Sci-Fi collection to the ceiling
in forms of books and VHS

but Massey herself was drowned in a small town
where there was little history and heavy mist
and the museum was closed for renovations
and the stores were run by diplomats
or sleezebag no-cats
and there was one man who wouldn’t show us a room
because his baby sitter hadn’t come yet
but the babysitter showed up through the backdoor within seconds
though I hadn't seen another face

        and the room was a landfill
        and smelled of stale cat **** anyhow
        and the lobby stacked to the ceiling with empty beer box cans bottles
        and the taps ran cold yellow and hot black through spigots

but we would be staying down the street
at the inn of an East-Indian couple

who’s eyes were not dilated 
and the room smelled
lemon-scented

and kept on driving lovingly without a care in the world
but only one of us had his arms around a girl
and how lonely I felt driving with Jacob
in the fog of the Agawa pass;

following twin red eyes down a steep void mass
where the birch trees have no heads
and the marshes pool under the jagged foothills
that climb from the water above their necks

that form great behemoths
with great voices bellowing and faces chiselled hard looking down
and my own face turned upward toward the rain

Wheels turning on a black asphalt river running uphill around great Superior
that is the ocean that isn’t the ocean but is as big as the sea
and the cloud banks dig deep and terrible walls

and the sky ends five times before night truly falls
and the sun sets slower here than anywhere
but the sky was only two miles high and ten long anyway

The empty train tracks that seldom run
and some rails have been lifted out
with a handful of spikes that now lay dormant

and the hill sides start to resemble *******
or faces or the slow curving back of some great whale

-and those, who were finally stranded at four pumps
with none but the professional Jacob reading great biblical instructions at the nozzle
nowhere at midnight in a town surrounded

by moose roads
                             moose lanes
                                                     moose rivers
and everything mooses

ending up sleeping in the maw of a great white wolf inn
run by Julf or Wolf or John but was German nonetheless

and woke up with radios armed
and arms full
and coffee up to the teeth
with teeth chattering
and I swear to God I saw snowy peaks
but those came to me in waking dream:

"Mountains dressed in white canvas
gowns and me who placed
my hands upon their *******
that filled the sky"

Passing through a buffet of inns and motels
and spending our time unpacking and repacking
and talking about drinking and cheap sandwiches
but me not having a drink in eight days

and in one professional inn we received a professional scamming
and no we would not be staying here again
and what would a trip across the country be like
if there wasn’t one final royal scamming to be had

and dreams start to return to me from years of dreamless sleep:

and I dream of hers back home
and ribbons in a raven black lattice of hair
and Cassadaic exploits with soft but honest words

and being on time with the trains across the plains  
and the moon with a shower of prairie blonde
and one of my father with kind words
and my mother on a bicycle reassuring my every decision

Passing eventually through great plains of vast nothingness
but was disappointed in seeing that I could see
and that the rumours were false
and that nothingness really had a population
and that the great flat land has bumps and curves and etchings and textures too

beautiful bright golden yellow like sprawling fingers
white knuckled ablaze reaching up toward the sun
that in this world had only one sky that lasted a thousand years

and prairie driving lasts no more than a mountain peak
and points of ember that softly sigh with the one breath
of our cars windows that rushes by with gratitude for your smile

And who was caught up with the madness in the air
with big foaming cigarettes in mouths
who dragged and stuffed down those rolling fumes endlessly
while St. Jacob sang at the way stations and billboards and the radio
which was turned off

and me myself and I running our mouth like the coughing engine
chasing a highway babe known as the Lady Valkyrie out from Winnipeg
all the way to Saskatoon driving all day without ever slowing down
and eating up all our gas like pez and finally catching her;

      Valkyrie who taught me to drive fast
      and hovering 175 in slipstreams
      and flowing behind her like a great ghost Cassady ******* in dreamland Nebraska
      only 10 highway crossings counted from home.

Lady Valkyrie who took me West.
Lady Valkyrie who burst my wings into flame as I drew a close with the sun.
Lady Valkyrie who had me howl at slender moon;

     who formed as a snowflake
     in the light on the street
     and was gone by morning
     before I asked her name

and how are we?
and how many?

Even with old Tom devil singing stereo
and riding shotgun the entire trip from day one
singing about his pony, and his own personal flophouse circus,
and what was he building in there?

There is a fair amount of us here in these cars.
Finally at light’s end finding acquiescence in all things
and meeting with her eye one last time; flashed her a wink and there I was, gone.
Down the final highway crossing blowing wind and fancy and mouth puttering off
roaring laughter into the distance like some tremendous Phoenix.

Goodnight Lady Valkyrie.

The evening descends and turns into a sandwich hysteria
as we find ourselves riding between cities of transports
and that one mad man that passed us speeding crazy
and almost hit head-on with Him flowing East

and passed more and more until he was head of the line
but me driving mad lunacy followed his tail to the bumper
passing fifteen trucks total to find our other car
and felt the great turbine pull of acceleration that was not mine

mad-stacked behind two great beasts
and everyone thought us moon-crazy; Biblical Jake
and Mad Hair Me driving a thousand
eschewing great gusts of wind speed flying

Smashing into the great ephedrine sunset haze of Saskatoon
and hungry for food stuffed with the thoughts of bedsheets
off the highway immediately into the rotting liver of dark downtown
but was greeted by an open Hertz garage
with a five-piece fanfare brass barrage
William Tell and a Debussy Reverie
and found our way to bedsheets most comfortably

Driving out of Saskatoon feeling distance behind me.
Finding nothing but the dead and hollow corpses of roadside ventures;

more carcasses than cars
and one as big as a moose
and one as big as a bear
and no hairier

and driving out of sunshine plain reading comic book strip billboards
and trees start to build up momentum
and remembering our secret fungi in the glove compartment
that we drove three thousand kilometres without remembering

and we had a "Jesus Jacob, put it away brother"
and went screaming blinded by smoke and paranoia
and three swerves got us right
and we hugged the holy white line until twilight

And driving until the night again takes me foremast
and knows my secret fear in her *****
as the road turns into a lucid *** black and makes me dizzy
and every shadow is a moose and a wildcat and a billy goat
and some other car

and I find myself driving faster up this great slanderous waterfall until I meet eye
with another at a thousand feet horizontal

then two eyes

then a thousand wide-eyed peaks stretching faces upturned to the celestial black
with clouds laid flat as if some angel were sleeping ******* on a smokestack
and the mountains make themselves clear to me after waiting a lifetime for a glimpse
then they shy away behind some old lamppost and I don’t see them until tomorrow

and even tomorrow brings a greater distance with the sunlight dividing stone like 'The Ancient of Days'
and moving forward puts all into perspective

while false cabins give way
and the gas stations give way
and the last lamppost gives way
and its only distance now that will make you true
and make your peaks come alive

Like a bullrush, great grey slopes leap forth as if branded by fire
then the first peaks take me by surprise
and I’m told that these are nothing but children to their parents
and the roads curve into a gentle valley
and we’re in the feeding zone

behind the gates of some great geological zoo
watching these lumbering beasts
finishing up some great tribal *******
because tomorrow they will be shrunk
and tomorrow ever-after smaller

Nonetheless, breathless in turn I became
it began snowing and the pines took on a different shape
and the mountains became covered white
and great glaciers could be seen creeping
and tourists seen gawking at waterfalls and waterfowls
and fowl play between two stones a thousand miles high

climbing these Jasper slopes flying against wind and stone
and every creak lets out its gentle tone and soft moans
as these tyres rub flat against your back
your ancient skin your rock-hard bones

and this peak is that peak and it’s this one too
and that’s Temple, and that’s Whistler
and that’s Glasgow and that’s Whistler again
and those are the Three Sisters with ******* ablaze

and soft glowing haze your sun sets again among your peaks
and we wonder how all these caves formed
and marvelled at what the flood brought to your feet
as roads lay wasted by the roadside

in the epiphany of 3:00am realizing
that great Alta's straights and highway crossings
are formed in torturous mess from mines of 'Mt. Bleed'
and broken ribs and liver of crushed mountain passes
and the grey stones taxidermied and peeled off
and laid flat painted black and yellow;
the highways built from the insides
of the mountain shells

Who gave a “What now. New-Brunswick?”

and a “What now, Quebec, and Ontario, and Manitoba, and Saskatchewan";
**** fools clumsily dancing in the valleys; then the rolling hills; then the sea that was a lake
then the prairies and not yet the mountains;

running naked in formation with me at the lead
and running naked giving the finger to the moon
and the contrails, and every passing blur on the highway
dodging rocks, and sandbars
and the watchful eye of Mr. and Mrs. Law
and holes dug-up by prairie dogs
and watching with no music
as the family caravans drove on by

but drove off laughing every time until two got anxious for bed and slowed behind
while the rambling Jacob and I had to wait in the half-moon spectacle
of a black-tongue asphalt side-road hacking darts and watching for grizzlies
for the other two to finish up with their birthday *** exploits
though it was nobodies birthday

and then a timezone was between us
 and they were in the distant future
and nobodies birthday was in an hour from now

then everything was good
and everyone was satiated
then everything was a different time again
and I was running on no sleep or a lot of it
leaping backward in time every so often
like gaining a new day but losing space on the surface of your eye

but I stared up through curtains of starlight to mother moon
and wondered if you also stared
and was dumbfounded by the majesty of it all

and only one Caribou was seen the entire trip
and only one live animal, and some forsaken deer
and only a snake or a lonesome caterpillar could be seen crossing such highway straights
but the water more refreshing and brighter than steel
and glittered as if it were hiding some celestial gem
and great ravines and valleys flowed between everything
and I saw in my own eye prehistoric beasts roaming catastrophe upon these plains
but the peaks grew ever higher and I left the ground behind
Austin Barlow Apr 2015
Science is a wonderful thing, it is
Science is here, there, and surrounding all.
From the mines below to the rocketships above
Technology surrounds us, one and all
We have mixed substances to make concrete
And use concrete to create our buildings.  
Science is such a magnificent thing
And for a couple reasons you see.  
Today, lasers that can destroy aircrafts
‘Morrow even colonizing planets
But one thing is true and one thing is real,
Science is really our true compassion.  
As we search for extraterrestrials
As we look towards spatial expansion.
First sonnet written ever
To live in Wales is to be conscious
At dusk of the spilled blood
That went into the making of the wild sky,
Dyeing the immaculate rivers
In all their courses.
It is to be aware,
Above the noisy tractor
And hum of the machine
Of strife in the strung woods,
Vibrant with sped arrows.
You cannot live in the present,
At least not in Wales.
There is the language for instance,
The soft consonants
Strange to the ear.
There are cries in the dark at night
As owls answer the moon,
And thick ambush of shadows,
Hushed at the fields' corners.
There is no present in Wales,
And no future;
There is only the past,
Brittle with relics,
Wind-bitten towers and castles
With sham ghosts;
Mouldering quarries and mines;
And an impotent people,
Sick with inbreeding,
Worrying the carcase of an old song. To live in Wales is to be conscious
At dusk of the spilled blood
That went into the making of the wild sky,
Dyeing the immaculate rivers
In all their courses.
It is to be aware,
Above the noisy tractor
And hum of the machine
Of strife in the strung woods,
Vibrant with sped arrows.
You cannot live in the present,
At least not in Wales.
There is the language for instance,
The soft consonants
Strange to the ear.
There are cries in the dark at night
As owls answer the moon,
And thick ambush of shadows,
Hushed at the fields' corners.
There is no present in Wales,
And no future;
There is only the past,
Brittle with relics,
Wind-bitten towers and castles
With sham ghosts;
Mouldering quarries and mines;
And an impotent people,
Sick with inbreeding,
Worrying the carcase of an old song.
nanda  Dec 2017
danger mines ;
nanda Dec 2017
i look into your
light blue eyes
and travel in deep
to this unknown universe
carved by your soul

i wander down
the lanes of your sorrow
down the roads of regret
and i take it all in
learn your mines by heart
tattoo the blueprints to my heart

i pick out
the tiny precious stones
that lay hidden on your mines
hold them in my hand
carry them in my heart

i travel down
all the way to the bottom
of your dangerous mine
any second now
and the earth will come
falling down on me
crashing me and my dreams

but i can’t help
wandering down
your danger mines
simply saw the words in my head and copied them to my heart
Mateuš Conrad Aug 2018
. 'as for those poets, only the perverse follow them. do you not see that they go too far in every direction and say things, which they cannot do?' (ash-shu'ara / the poets 26:224-226).

call them what you like,
the Huguenots,
for all i care...

   you always side with
the "heretics"...
  
   given that, "said" heretics
retain some cultural value
relativism of other cultures,
namely in the form of
depiction -

    since why would, "the word"
be deemed holy,
    ****-naked,
                rather than donning
a bikini of "iconoclasm"...
         when words... are at
the meat-market of copyright -
what with © coca cola?

                 sunni islam would have
never allowed sufism...
  but Farsi does...
  and will continue...
since no Iranian will bow
before an Arab within the schematics
of history...

          Sunni Islam, it's Wahhabi sentimentality...
so why persist in signing
the Adhan?
   why not speak in a honing like
drone sentiment of plain speech?
i thought all music was banned?
the current Adhan is a form
of music... isn't it? BAN IT!

    you never side with these Sunni
muslims, exploiting Bangladeshi labor,
you side with the heretics of Iran...
these *******, i can at least respect...
  
      no fast cars, convenient ongoing
cultural insurrections -
   Sufism...
       Afghan women's poetry,
and all that much closer to Hindu mysticism...
    
yeah... "islamophobia":
but only against Sunni Islam...
   but Shia Islam?
   no problem...
   i could stomach these peoples
like i could stomach the in-between
of the Turkish variant -
no ideology - simply, pure, power throttle...

i could make a great Janissary -
with a Turkish barber...
         for a great trim of hair and beard...
i'd cast a shadow on some
obscure chocolatier of Brussels
who thinks himself a politician...

     but there are certain aspect of Islam
i am willing to tolerate...
   what happened to the son in law
of Muhammad, namely, Ali...
was raw ******* kicking...

               promises, promises...
no promises...
           Shia Islam, as an European,
i can tolerate, Turkish Islam, i can tolerate...
Turkey is incrementally shy
of being treated at the 2nd variant of Iran...
at least with Iran, we share a history
via the insurrection into the ancient
texts through Greece...

  come to think of it...
whenever i listen to
matta's song echo babylon...
i start feeding myself goosebumps,
reminding myself
of Cyrus... Nebuchadnezzar...
and the dim-wit that was
   Belshazzar...

always siding with the heretics...
if not on economic groundwork,
then at least motivating,
rather than monetizing an idea...

and the Shia muslims are...
    one way or another...
   unlike the gluttons of Dubai...
the barbie dolls of postage stamp
"proof" of progress,
in size, and worth...

   Sunni Islam would have
never allowed poetics to remain
a viable form of expression -
the Persian tradition that is,
far beyond the western concern
for a comment section...

         Shia Islam allows patronage
of the arts, notably poetry,
without concern for monetary
funding, it, at least, doesn't prohibit it...
given the pride of the Persians...
Sunnis and their continual quest
for finding water...
    sure... poetry is pointless within
such restrictions of
existential concerns...
    but... given the current, civilized
establishment?
   sky-scrapers in *******
sand dunes?

         the qu'ran should have
forbidden the architectural ambitions
equivalent to the tower of babel
being erected, in environments,
that could never sustain said projects...

    and who originally spewed the term
islamophobia?
Sunni Islam...
        i never liked this strand of belief...
i hate the Sunnis like
a Shia partisan...

p.s. it's called patriotism is America...
but nationalism in Europe...
    you sure that's not a synonym?
Europeans can't be patriotic,
and Americans are never nationalistic?

...

   well: how could i ever convert to islam,
i do enjoy the adhan from time to time,
"sorry", but i do...
  i can't help it:
if i'm a sucker for pop songs,
i'm also a sucker for the adhan...
   crusader songs, templar songs become
stuffy after a while...
and last time i checked:
     there were the northern crusades
against the baltic people:
notably prussians, lithuanians...
with that cushion of: mediating the
escalation of war by the polacks...
coming from the east:
  last time i checked the mongols
didn't reach leipzig...
               buffer zone people...
and what of the ottoman onsalught
of vienna 1529: the ****** winged hussars
won the charge...

so, coming back to heidegger... aphorism 26
ponderings IX... how am i to not be
the historical animal?
         perhaps in german, in germany
i might become a non-historical animal,
to begin: anew, but with a terrible
past to hide, to negate...
   i could do that: if i were a german,
speaking german, in germany...
but i'm in england:
            i might have some roots in
Silesia, but it's "hard" to not be a historical
animal, an "animal" with a sense of time,
i.e. a future a past a present...
esp. under the english conditions
of: the biological animal momentum narrative,
like a tsunami, like an earthquake...
ripples throughout...
              i can't move forward with
the english championing darwinism every
single ******* step of the way...
why can't they hide darwin like the polacks
hid copernicus...
given the motto: copernicus -
who moved the earth, and stopped the sun...
why wouldn't i escape into history
if the current biological reality is:
(a) a yawn... the cruel nature of per se?
   the courting of pigeons on a t.v. antenna...
pigeons get rejected all the time,
lesson learned, he bows and bows,
coos... expands his tail feathers upon
the bow then folds them... she flies away...
repeat...
    (b) i can't escape being a historical
animal in the way that what the current
facts are being repeated have encountered
a whiff of Chernobyll...
              history is inclided to answer reality...
biology? not so much... not from what i've
seen and heard...
             truly a schizophrenics disney dream:
to walk among the newly insane feeling
like the only sane among them...
beau-ti-ful!
                   well... given the current criteria
of being bilingual as being synonymous
with being a schizophrenic...
           magic!
                    
   now the crescendo...aphorism 24
ponderings X:

              the word designates, the word signifies,
the word says, the word is (heidegger)...

i found that you can only write
"philosophy" with a neat, fixed vocab. regime,
clarity of boundaries...
    quadratic events in vocab.:

i.e. the reflexive: yourself, himself, itself etc.
and the reflective: your, self....
                       his, self...
                                  it, and the self...
                    ergo? atheistic scissors,
  the two articles, indefinite and definite
                                 a / the "self"...

i'm not playing "identity politics",
when i say that only two peoples ever managed
to sack Moscau... the mongols and the polacks
with the help of lithuanians,
"identity politics" only happens in
post-colonial society, akin to the english,
i'll speak the english,
but i will not be a cucked indian of
the former raj: i will eat the fish & chips,
i will eat the sunday roast,
   i will eat the english breakfast with great
delight...
            but i will not do what these former
colonial masters expect of me:
integrate at the expense of making my
mutterzunge into hubris!
stubborness contra pride...
                hard to tell the difference...

and why do i like heidegger so much?
i'm not into the ad homine arguments...
my grandfather, was, a communist party member...
so?
       i like heidegger... because he appreciates
poetics, i like that poets can share the same
values as philosophers,
thanks to heidegger: we have been requested
back into the republic...
if plato and islam didn't like us, hanging around,
some offshoot german thinker / promenade
enthusiast like used enough to,
i suppose: ban the theatre puppeteers...

i am not playing identity politics...
biological reality is not enough...
but archeological reality?
       can you really advance to counter?
i was born near:
Krzemionki Opatowskie, a Neolithic and
early Bronze Age complex of flint mines
for the extraction of Upper Jurassic (Oxfordian)
banded flints...
  personally? i don't believe in
the African genesis conundrum...
i believe "my" people originated from
the Indian sub-continent,
as, associated with the complex:
Indo-European categorization of language;
i'm still to see an African phonetic
encoding system, beside the hieroglyphics...

i, was, born, there! i'm not a displaced
post-colonial debacle between former master
and former slave...
i have: roots... i'm not ******* up to the fish & chips
brigade with a friday night's worth of curry...
i cook my own curry,
and by god: it is the food of the gods...
i'll give the blue indians that counter...
but sure as **** not the worth of mead
or whiskey...

if they only tolerated themselves,
sure, learn the english language,
but know this much:
           english is the modern lingua franca...
it's the language of economics,
forget the natives, too ignorant to learn
either deutsche or française:
island-folk...
                what else, what other attitude?
even the russians are like:
that land of the weirdos? the idiosyncratics?
yes, we know that land...
the only "thing" that shelters the english
are the h'americans, the south africans,
the australians etc.,
  sure as **** the scots aren't sheltering them...
and, mind you?
   if the i.r.a. really wanted to plant
a bomb?
   a real bomb? they'd revert from speaking
any english to begin with... resorting
to revising their usage of gàidhlig:
ga-id-hlig... gaelic...
   like the welsh, stubborn people, proud people,
retaining their Çymraeg...
celt: said kelt...
the glaswegian football team?
       Çeltic... not: keltic...
  borrowed from the greek: sigma (ς: cedilla to ****)...
   wow! all the particulars in the english tongue!
guess it would take an ausländer to spot them!

U-21 european championships,
england versus romania:
                           a magnificent match...
the youngsters playing better football
than the oldies in their mid to late / early 30s...

i'm trying to tolerate Islam,
               it's not in my nature...
            hell... i enjoyed visiting a turkish barber
shop, i still have an unflinching opinion that,
the turks are the best barbers in the world...
but...

              this quote, is going to **** you:
same aphorism / pondering (24 / X) -


*** fight videos - count dankula...
you know what i'd love to do to these little
snarky *****?
the french revolution isn't enough...
n'ah, them hanging, is not enough....
ever heard of the butchers' hook?
                 it's also callled close-up fishing...
imitation hang-man...
   you insert a fishing hook...
and you let the sweeney todd ****** dangle...
on a hook, rather than a noose...
lords of salem come your way?
i'd rather the snarky teen hanging off
a fisherman's hook than dangle
like some lynched ******...
beside the suffocation,
i'd like them with a fisherman's hook entombed
in their hard palette...
         i don't want them hanging...
what am i? a sadist?
  i want them on the fisherman's hook!
when suffocating without a broken spine absorbed
by the neck isn't enough!
  fisherman's hook gallows is a
masterpiece... of suffering...
  most certain...
  when cheap comedy is being towed...
making fun of bums, or homeless people...
the current society is so welcome
to bypass all the "adventures" of Loki...
but akin to the lords of Salem...
burn!? such a limitated imagination!

ah... right... digressing...
        the reflexive / reflective quadratic...
language - only if speech  has acquired
the highest univocity of the word does it
become strong (enough) for the hidden
              play of its essential multivocity
(as withdrawn from all "logic"),
             of which poets and thinkers alone
are capable, in their own respective modes
and their own directions of sovreignty.

we do live in a time of a lost sense
of dialectic, since we do not live in a time
of etertaining dialogue,
perfectly sensible opinions,
that's all we have...

                       if one of these snarky *******
came up to me...
they'd get a chance to experience a rubric
of 4, knuckles...
what's 189 centimeters in empirical?
6ft2...      oh!
                   see where imagination takes you?
and here i was: thinking i was without it!
butcher's hangman...
oh, not so easy...
                  
                fame by no association to fame...
just the tears of parents who raised their children
to be nothing more than rugrats...
annoying gnat like bothersomes;
and nothing quiet special to be associated
with weimar berlin...
     just, these,
   h'american mall onlookers
with pwetty-guy-for-a-white-fly-mentality,
as borrowed from californian
1990s punk;

re-used ****** losers.

mad-hatter's fraction: 10/6....
      0.666...
      well: to the given extent:
1.666666(7)....
     1, 0, /6,
no number is divisible by 0,
every number, divisible by 1:
is the same number...
    mad hatter's 10/6...

   re-used ****** losers...
i like that phrase...
        7 for every 6, 7 for every 6...
until the 0. fraction comes
a 1.: exponential serf of 0...
0 being the multiplier...
          
         i really am growing a beard to less
don it, but rather to experience
a relief from patience...
war robots?
the first non n.p.c. game...
i like that, very much...
      and when i did:

you know my first experience of
love at first sight?
the younger sister of my then girlfriend...
****** up ****...

love at first sight is a terrible phenomenon...
i was nearing 18, she was barely 13...
i was dating her older sister...
but it was love at first sight,
the trouble with: love at first sight:
it doesn't lie...
it tries to lie...
          but it can't lie...

   paedophilia? a bit... untouched bodies
though... bodies of people who were
never supposed to touch...
i once said to a fwend:
well wouldn't it be ****** up if i touched
her?
   she's a muse, which doesn't translate
into vacating her as a busy body
worth of a touch, does it?
     if only my old friend samuel said
otherwise:
sylvester "contra" tweety:
my first girlfriend...
but her sister?
         i was nearing 18, she was about 13...
love at first sight...
untouched, cradled, unscathed...
and so she remained...
   until she did what every girl would
have done...thank god she remained
a figment of my imagination...
   rammstein: rosernrot...
    
           i have seen love at first...
such a load of ******* that it had to be
the younger sister of a girl i was dating...
and the **** that i had to be 18 and see
was just beginning her teenage transition...
the world unfair i grant
the most justifications... as being
the (just - unnecessary adjective) arbiter...

love at first sight becomes a forbidden love...
love at first sight was always a forbidden
love...
           and the sort of "love" that achieves
a perspctive of change that doesn't
translate into old age...
love at first sight is soon translated
into a love of affairs closely associated
with middle-age disenfranchised
state of affairs...
i.e. to love again...
            how else to feel relief from
having lost both one's inhibitions
               as well as one's ambitions?!
in the conundrum of the mortal
"question" of the continuum being
preserved?
ryn  Feb 2019
Mines
ryn Feb 2019
Grudges are
emotional mines.

Set to go off
at the slightest...
..........
.........
........
.......
......
.....
.­...
...
..
.
                    BOOM!!!

— The End —