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Mateuš Conrad Jan 2016
the beauty of english nakedness, look at it for long enough
and you get to retract or at least crab-walk east
into the pincer plateaus of the frozen tundras and see
again, proustain afresh in the cork-lined room:
what bothered me was the acute stress on the faroese a -
english really is a blank canvas: or a complex canvas with
many unique distinctions of individual words - perhaps
the dementia crisis in english-speaking societies -
also why the accent diversity between all those who come
to learn it, and those who live in the zeitreich
of the absteigen sonne - but theories are theories.
so back to the blank canvas,  which allows so see
the dynamics, although as i said, the acute faroese a
(acute, because derived from the latin verb of needlework /
puncture) - ~etymology (approx. because not
related to words but phonetic units, i.e. letters)
thus reveals that the latin accents died, truth tooth
of the phrase latin is a dead tongue - but not as dead
as when you see remnants of the transformation,
in that certain latin activities (verbs) spawned the stressing
revisions on letters to appropriate the nordic and germanic
slavic, *** and celt into its *****: acute to puncture -
like the polish acute o (ó), meaning to puncture the o
and make a U sound, although when otherwise acute is
needed, but the geometry is less obvious it means not to stress,
but sharpen, cut-short, exfoliate into a range of onomatopoeic
comparisons: sneeze - wheezing - high pitch flute -
play the clarinet - pincer the tongue - pliers -
god knows what instrument i'm really playing: ć, ń, ś, ź -
cut the letters from cen nan sap zed into the uniqueness
of the actual first letter, go into roman do re mi fa so la
(****** musicology) rather than greek omega omicron
alpha beta. so this acute faroese a, what bothered me
was the suffix -áp... the p you see, if the accent dynamic
was to end with a german umlaut -äp or with a
māori macron -āp... i would have said the p...
rather than ending with a b.

*"heimlich" tongue-numbing d.
Mateuš Conrad Mar 2017
*******... the russians would spell ł as ьл.. i.e. oselka, oselka (tak i ta pierdolona przez nożyce / nogi in mirage)... they soften it... why i have to borrow the equivalent of an anglo-saxon w to translate it... they just soften the letter... so yes: ł becomes ьл the further east you go.

to che /
                i /         chi
л        el
                         obviously bound
to become l/e
             ь.... this **** ought to be
equivalent to a diacritical representation...
it's a soft sign preceding
                                              a letter once it's stated...
or after... depending where you catch the syllable
                  "*******" of breath toward said word.
           ever read an organic chemistry
equation? e.g. C6H12O6 + 6O2 → 6CO2 + 6H2O (+ energy)?
      breathing...
dmitri mendeleev* would have approved
the ь notation to be written lower-case in russian...
chemically... like you'd lower case 6 12 6 2 2 and 2;
becomes a bit confusing if you just insert
it like it's an actual letter...
                    it's diacritical... please...
i'm not even going to read the next letter in
what i'm spelling to tell you:
     ь ought to be as properly managed and
concise as what the acute accent on the s
                is, when it's not sh(a, i, e, o, u)... i.e. ś
but hell... who the **** is perfect?
       oh here we go... so now we know... the next
letter is н... or en... and to soften it up
you need it to be acute...
so in russian: inserting a ь prior to the next
letter is like stating a western slavic acute symbol
above the letter, in this case: n... or ń (eńya...
celtic singer, women in their 50s will know).
        now i know this is written in ukranian...
   for example: камень = kameń
                       literally... the ь or "softening"
is actually an acute symbolism to a sound that's
stressed... by double standards... you write
the cryrillic                     нь = ń
                     and that doesn't mean soft... it means
sharp / acute version of n.
                        i actually can't believe i didn't
see that before!
     what was wrong with me? or... what was
wrong with them?
            well, there will always be variations,
we latins like to make things compact...
fiat 126p... fiat cinquecento...
                   they're the ones with siberia
and ******* cadillacs... i've got a thumb up
my *** that hasn't seen any **** prior
and i'm thinking about even tighter streets of
labyrinth venice... so... huh?!

what's the actualy "story" about?
   i've managed to grow a beard that has "side-burns"
a bit like uncle albert's in only fools & horses...
and i was giving it the trim, along with the moustache
that was also like a **** garden that got in
the way of sipping a sharpshooter (excess whiskey
minimum ms. pepsi, a bit like a shandy:
beer topped with a dash of lemonade...
oh **** snakebite... i had that once...
         beer and cider topped with ribena?! ugh)
      ****... lost the proper punctuation mark to continue:
so i had basically had to sharpen the scissors
i had to cut the excess hair off...
          and i sharpened my scissors on a sharpening
stone... an osełka... точил(ь)ньιй камен(ь)
                                tochilńji (ee) kameń...
                   i'm ****** sure that's ukranian...
                                    if i were russian i'd say:
that orthography is retarted... or it's only ******* when
you put on latin spectacles and go:
              how the **** am i going to translate that
and not give a **** about the linguistic alphabet
that's even more *******?
    ю (you) я (me) think ь ought to be hidden from
the linear progression of letters... like ' in acute n (ń)?
        or like that chemical example i gave
in terms of breathing and going H lower-case 2 O?
Mateuš Conrad Jul 2016
variation in what's dyslexic in English:          roy-     (+)     -al - like Al Pacino - or? roy-       (+)        -all - a different slug for a tongue caged behind the 32; alternatively say: casino royal - two pronunciations of the same word, and no distinctive two-lane stresses added to say them intentionally with variance - basically one variation is missing an acute a (á) - alter to acute: dentistry's alphabet - say A - you end up adding an invisible hark of prolonging a sound from ~aye into ahhhh; the tetragrammaton is more than a noun, the Hebrews didn't see it coming, the two H variations are involved in how diacritical marks are asserted and used - i too thought it was something to do with déjà vu  - but it turns out it isn't that simple - how diacritical marks are asserted and used, or upon second suggestion: how they're not used, and what complications arise from omitting them.

for someone as concerned with people's ****** lives
as *richard von krafft-ebing
was,
with his mangum opous: psychopatia sexualis -
i'm surprised he didn't throw a *** party -
stage an **** - richard brautigan apparently read
this Victorian - may i say trash? -  compendium
and giggles with friends; modernity has no stamina
for the seemingly idyllic *** lives of bowler hat
gentlemen - a sample from psychopatia sexualis:
homosexual feeling as an acquired manifestation
of box sexes (the androgynous stipend to exercise
all mouth **** and ****) - however you like it,
quote: almost every self-****** individual (originally
masturbator) at last reaches a point where, frightened
on learning the the results of the vice, or on
experiencing them (νευρασθενια), or leg by example
or seduction to the opposite ***, he wishes to free himself
of the vice and re-instate his ****** life.
you could say that, unless of course you're put off
when a girl reads you a questionnaire from the cosmopolitan
magazine, and you've seen too many Jame Bond movies,
or heard stories - or how you figured: well,
totalitarian governments aided heterosexual marriages,
championed them with the standard myths,
democracy doesn't really do that... democracy likes
the odd fetish... hence with the aid of science the fetish
marriages - surrogate prostitutes aplenty -
that's not ONE HOUR AT £120 A POP... THIS IS NINE MONTHS!
someone once lived and said: Jews and homosexuals run
the show - i think it might have been a Bukowski citation -
yeah, but who's the audience and not the puppets?
the politically, what's the word? ah, uncomfortable -
there's a strategic unit in medicine that's not the MI5
or the MI6 that deals with them under the alias P.S. -
not post-scriptum, but paranoid schizophrenic -
formerly known as premature dementia -
to me creative, to others worth sedating - meaning:
why would i write about western society in defence or
in apologetic language like C. S. Lewis and his love
affair with Christianity when i'm pretty sure i'm not
writing about utopia? why? oddly enough niece is also
said likewise for Nice - or 'aw, how nice.'
staged on the promenade des anglais - is this a clue?
anyone in touch with the security forces?
could be a pattern clue - now there are two fronts to be
worried about, the achoo right - boy, what a sneeze,
and the already involved actors -
mind boggling, how, ever, could, it, have, happened?
and i swear language was intended to be flexible,
like a gymnast - flex flex flex - which is strange that
the unimaginative always attack from their rat cages
bewildered at seeing a way out of a maze and then blocking
it (e.g. Ezra Pound, mm, the prime fascist of them all) -
it's called censorship, but in the west it's hardly a Stalinist
plot (believe, it's not utopia, i don't understand this
collective delusion that it is - somehow - and indeed,
somehow it isn't - it's called a superiority complex -
the same happened in Iraq - coverage almost zero -
subterfuge requests all over the media - now i have to live
as ethnically placed in close alignment with the people
that regurgitate all this hype - i have absolutely no reason
not to fake a clownish tear and whatnot -
it just is. so yeah, why didn't rich von krafft-ebing throw
an ****? a swingers' ball to cure all the pathology noted?
even now, or *** lives are hardly concerning -
why poets **** over the book of genesis
and leave the other books to themselves - reducing
the book of exodus into only one pair leaving -
it becomes harder and harder to relate to these books
and the people that venerate them after reading Don Quixote -
it really does - it's almost like talking to an illiterate literate
person - as agonising as it is to say it, it's exactly that.
i wonder if anyone bothered including the prefix in-
to all the scientific words in the dictionary - denoted:
in-pathology, in-sanity etc. - i.e. the first person accounts -
i do it because i would hate to go back to the gym
and complications of talking over a sunday roast -
my life in a nutshell? my laptop was so ***** that i decided to
clean it today - anti-bacterial wipes and dried with kitchen towels -
i thought the mouse of the laptop was broken,
ages ago i bought a mini-mouse with a USB port -
after cleaning the laptop, to my disbelief, the laptop mouse
started working (you know, that little touch-patch of plastic
towing two clicks) - that's life, uncomplicated -
a marvel to behold such daily problems - bound by choice
we choose what is to worry us - the next
chapter in my adventure with Kant?
the critique of all theology pouring out from the
speculative principles of the mind -
so for i've passed the ontological, the cosmological
and the theologically-physical impossibilities for the
existence of an absolutely necessary being - even if atheists,
we're all chipping in - basis? presupposition of such
a being and argued counter (cf. Satanic rebellion) -
not the agnostic quasi-supposition (basically speculative
tact) - at 274 (page no.) ending at 442 (page no.) -
oh i'll finish it - transcendental methodology should
be interesting - it's just a question of how much distraction
becomes fused with blank pixel pages and my irritability
as to how or why poetry ought to be stripped from
banal / predictable technique - rhyme is definitely go,
listen to BBC Radio 1 at any time and you can just hear
rhyme ****** - well, if painting could be stripped down
further than cubism - i don't see why poetry
can't have conversational overtones to it, one of the few
unearthed secrets of modern intimacy, just sitting there,
like ducks.
RAJ NANDY Sep 2018
Dear Poet Friends, Torin Galleshaw from Charlotte NC, a Member of this Site, had requested me to compose about the Rise of Third *****. Therefore, I have commenced with the causes for its Rise in my Part One posted below. Planning to compose Part Two with ******’s Blitzkrieg campaign of Poland later. It is unfortunate that I am unable to post related Maps & Photos for better appreciation of my Readers! Such options are not available for us here! However, I have managed to post a copy with maps & photos in the E-mail ID of my friend Torin!  Kindly give comments only after reading this researched work of mine, during your spare time.  Thanking you, - Raj, New Delhi.

            STORY OF SECOND WORLD WAR – PART ONE
                            RISE OF THE THIRD *****
                                       By Raj Nandy

                                  INTRODUCTION
In this part I shall mainly deal with the causes leading to the Second World War,
Which had also created favourable conditions for the rise of Third ***** under ******.
The word ‘*****’ derives from old German word ‘rihhi’ meaning ‘realm’;  
But is also used to designate a kingdom or an empire in a broader sense.
Historically, the First ***** was the Medieval Holy Roman Empire which lasted till the end of the 19th Century.
While the Second ***** was the First German Empire from 1871 to 1918, when dynamic Otto Von Bismark had united all of Germany,
Which ended with its defeat in World War One and birth of the Weimar Republic.
The Third ***** refers to the **** German Empire under ******, Which lasted from 1933 till 1945, for twelve traumatic eventful years!
Historians opine that the ending of a war is equally important as
its beginning;
Since the causes for the start of a war is often to be found embedded in its ending!
The First World War came to an end on 28th of June 1919 as we all know.
With the signing of the Treaty at Versailles by the German Foreign Minister Hermann Muller and the ‘Big Four’.  (Britain, France, America, & Italy)
Yet it is rather ironical, that this Peace Treaty of Versailles, considered as President Woodrow Wilson’s ‘brain child’,
Had sowed the seeds of discontent resulting in the outbreak of the Second World War, and Adolf ******’s dramatic rise!

Though several causes are attributed for the outbreak of the Second World War by our Military Historians.
Let me try to summarise those causes which are considered to be more relevant.
Commencing with the harsh Treaty of Versailles, the British and French Policy of Appeasement, followed by Hyperinflation and the Great Depression of 1929, and failure of The League of Nations to maintain peace;  
Are relevant factors which collectively combined resulting in the outbreak of the devastating Second World War, scarring human memories for all time!
But not forgetting ******’s forceful and persuasive eloquence which mesmerised the Germans to rise up as a powerful Nation once again.
Since ****** promised to avenge the humiliation faced by Germany following the Treaty of Versailles,
Which was drawn up with vengeance, and dictated by the victorious Allies!

THE  ARMISTICE  AND TREATY OF VERSAILLES:    
Armistice means a truce for cessation of hostilities, which provides a breathing space for negotiating a lasting peace.
Now the Armistice ceasing the First World War was signed inside the railway carriage of the Allied Supreme Commander Marshal Foch, in the Forest of Compiegne,
On the 11th of November 1919, sixty km north of Paris, between the victorious Allies and vanquished Germany.
But in the meantime naval blockade of Germany had continued, and the German Rhineland was evacuated and partly occupied by the combined Allied troops!
Release of Allied POWs interned civilians followed subsequently; And the Reparations Clause of monetary compensation was strictly imposed on Germany!
Now, following a wide spread German Sailor’s Revolt towards the end of October 1918, Emperor Kaiser Wilhelm-II had abdicated;
And on the 9th of November Friedrich Ebert, as the new Social Democrat President of Germany, authorised his representative to sign the Compiegne Armistice.
We should remember here that this Armistice seeking cessation of hostilities did not stipulate any unconditional surrender;
And the signing of the Armistice by the German Social Democrats, was considered as ‘a stab in the back of the German army’ by majority of the Germans!
These issues get repeatedly mentioned by Adolf ****** in his eloquent speeches subsequently,
To arouse the spirit of German Nationalism, and resurgence of the ‘Master Aryan Race’ of the Germans, - in Germany!

The Versailles Treaty was signed on 28th of June 1919, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand which had sparked World War One.
Let me mention few aspects of this Treaty which was detested by the Germans!
Germany lost 13% of its land, 12% of its people, 48% of its iron resources, 15% of its agricultural production, and 10% of its coal, following its implementation!
German army was reduced to 100,000 men, its Navy reduced to 36 ships with no submarines, its Air Force banned, and its union with Austria forbidden.
Now to use a Shakespearean phrase the ‘unkindest cut of all’ came in the shape of Article 231,  the ‘War Guilt Clause’ of the Versailles Treaty,
Which provided the legal basis for the payment of war reparations by Germany.
The reparation amount of 132 billion gold marks (US $33 billion) to cover the civilian damage caused during the war, now had to be paid by Germany!
Thus the humiliation, resentment, and the virtual economic strangulation following the Versailles Treaty,
Was exploited by extremist groups such as ******’s **** Party.
And in the decades to follow, ******’s Nazis would take full control of Germany!

NOTES: Following Versailles Treaty, Alsace-Lorraine captured by Germany in 1870 was returned to France. The SAAR German coalfield region was give to France for 15 yrs. Poland became independent with a corridor to the sea dividing Germany into two. Danzing, a major port in East Prussia, became a free city under the League of Nation. Finland, Lithuania, Latvia, & Czechoslovakia became independent. Industrial area of German Rhineland, forming a buffer zone between Belgium &France,was
demilitarised.

WOODROW WILSON’S  14 - POINT PEACE INITIATIVE  & THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS:
American President Wilson was an idealist and a visionary, who in a speech to the US Congress on 8th Jan 1918,
Introduced a 14 Point Charter as a platform for building global peace, based on the principles of transparency, self-determination, and Democracy.
But for the first time in US history, the Republican-led US Senate rejected this Peace Treaty, and prevented America from joining the newly created League!
The US Senate wanted to retain its sovereignty without external entanglements;
Free from the League of Nation’s political dictates in its foreign commitments!
The Irish immigrants refused to support Wilson's Fourteen Points because Wilson was concerned about stopping WWI, rather than forcing the British to set Ireland free.
Many Jews also refused to back Wilson, since he was paying too much attention to the War, and not enough to the Balfour Declaration of 02 Nov 1917, -
Which promised an Independent Jewish State with a distinct Jewish identity.

The League of Nations had emerged from Wilson’s 14 Points on the 10th Jan 1920, with its HQs at Geneva, Switzerland, but it had no peacekeeping forces those days!
The League had failed to prevent invasion of Chinese Manchuria in 1932 by Japan;
Italy’s invasion of Ethiopia in 1935; annexation of Sudetenland and Austria by Germany!
The Axis countries Germany, Italy, and Japan, withdrew from the League subsequently.
Thus the League of Nations was disbanded in 1946 officially!
But President Wilson’s ceaseless efforts for global peace did not go unrecognised,
Since on the 10th of December 1920, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize!
While his disbanded League of Nations, as the first global humanitarian organisation,
Continued to survive in spirit with the establishment of United Nations Organisation on the 24th October, 1945.

ECONOMIC CAUSES - FOLLOWED BY THE GREAT DEPRESSION OF 1929 :
Germany emerged from the First World War with loss of 25,000 square miles of territory;
Loss of seven million inhabitants, and a staggering debt imposed by the Versailles Treaty!
The Wiemar Republic, after abdication of Emperor Kaiser Wilhelm-II  to Holland,
For the first time in German history, established a Democratic Constitution with Friedrich Ebert as its first President.
But The Republic first had to consolidate itself by squashing the Spartacist Revolt of January 1919 led by the extreme Leftists, and inspired by the Russian Bolshevik Communists!
The Freikorps, in March 1920, an Ex-Soldiers Rightist Group, tried to overthrow the Wiemar Republic with support of their Rightist allies and their own veteran troops!
This was soon followed by a Communist attempt to takeover of the Industrial Rhur;
But fortunately, all these uprisings against the Republic were effectively subdued!
But the 33 Billion Dollars of Reparations hung over the Wiemar Republic like the legendary ‘Sword of Damocles’, followed by the Great Depression of 1929;
Coupled with the ‘Policy of Appeasement’ practised by the British and the French;
Became the most important causes for ******’s expansionist ambition and his short- lived meteoric rise to fame!

GERMAN PAPER CURRENCY & HYPERINFLATION:
Gold Mark was the currency used by the German Empire from 1873 to 1914 only.
But to pay for the costs of the ongoing First World War, Germany suspended the gold standard, and decided to fund the war by Borrowings entirely,
Hoping to pay back the loans after Germany achieves Victory.
But having lost the war, and faced with a massive debt imposed by the Allies,
Exchange rate of the Mark against the US Dollar steadily devalued and declined!
Papiermark became the German currency from 04th August 1914 onward, when link between the Mark and gold reserve was abandoned,
In order to pay for the ongoing expenses of the First World War with paper marks, which was constantly being printed!
But later after the war, when the London Ultimatum of May 1921 demanded payment of war reparations in gold or in foreign currency only,
Even more paper marks got printed by the Republic to buy those foreign currency !
By December 1922 hyper-inflationary trends emerged, when the US Dollar became equivalent to 7,400 German Marks, with a 15-fold increase in the cost of living !
By the fall of 1922 when it became impossible for Germany to make further payments,
The French and Belgium armies occupied Germany’s Ruhr Valley area, its prime industrial region!
French and the Belgians hoped to extract payment in kind, but a strike by the workers of the Ruhr area their hopes belied!
The Wiemar Republic printed more paper notes to pay and support the workers of the Ruhr area,
When hyperinflation had peaked at 4,210,500,000,000 German Marks, to a US Dollar!
Paper currency having become worthless, some form of ancient barter system began to be used instead!

STABILISATION OF GERMAN ECONOMY WITH ONSET OF  THE GREAT DEPRESSION:
Following the hyperinflation Chancellor Josef Cuno’s cabinet resigned in August 1923,
When Gustav Stresemann became the new Chancellor of Germany.
Stresemann’s Government had introduced the Rentenmark as a new stable currency,
To end the hyperinflation which had plagued Wiemar Germany.  
Rentenmark was backed by real goods, agricultural land and business,
Since gold was not available in a beleaguered German economy those days!
When One Rentenmark was equivalent to One million, million, old German Mark;
While One US Dollar was equivalent to only 4.2 Rentenmarks.
Though Stresemann’s Government lasted for 100 days only, Stresemann continued to serve as the Foreign Minister in successive Coalition Governments of the Republic,
Till his death in the month of October 1929, but working for the betterment of Germany all the while!
His ‘Policy of Fulfilment’ stabilised German economy with a 200 Million Dollars loan from America under the Dawes Plan in 1924,
Which had also ensured the evacuation of France from the occupied Ruhr area, with their future reparations payments ensured.
Stresemann’s signing of the Locarno Pact in London on 1st Dec 1925 with France, Belgium, Great Britain, and Italy, was considered as his achievement and a feat!
Since it made Germany to enter the League of Nations ensuring stability and peace;
While the Noble Peace Prize was awarded to Stresemann for his efforts in 1926!
Later, the Young Plan of 1929 further reduced German reparations payment by 20%, while extending the time frame for the payments to 59 years!
But following a sudden Wall Street Stock Market Crash in late October of 1929,
The American Banks were forced to recall money from Europe and the Young Plan;.
Which created acute financial distress when unemployment soared to 33.7%  in Germany in 1931, and quickly rose to 40% during the following year!
Lausanne Conference was held in Switzerland in 1932 by Great Britain, Germany, and France, to further reduce the War Debts imposed by the Versailles Treaty.
But in Dec 1932, the US Congress had rejected this Allied War Debt Reduction Plan completely.
However, no further payments were made by Germany due to the Great Depression;
And by 1932, Germany had paid only 1/8 of the total sum required to be paid as per their pending wartime reparations!

NOTES: Rentenmark was issued on 15 October 1923 to stop the hyperinflation in Wiemeer Germany. Reichmark was the currency in Germany from 1924 to 20 June 1948 in West Germany , when it was replaced by the Deutsche Mark; but had continued in East Germany until 23 June when it was replaced by East German Mark.
During the Stresemann Years of Stability from 1924 to 1929, (prior to the onset of the Great Depression), with help of American financial aid, created more housing & production in Germany. Dada & Expressionist Art forms flourished, followed by modern architecture; also the Philosophy of Existentialism of Thomas Mann – influenced the Western culture. Paul Whiteman's Band for the first time brought in American Jazz to Germany, and Jazz signified the liberation of German youth and women folks of the younger generation generally. But the US Stock Market Crash had unfortunately ended this short lived euphoria, and as it soon became a global phenomena!                                


FAILURE OF THE WIEMAR REPUBLIC & THE GREAT DEPRESSION WHICH BENEFITED THE NAZIS:
Last Days of Wiemar Republic:
Ever since Otto Von Bismarck that ‘Man of iron and steel’, united Germany into a single Empire in the year Eighteen Hundred & Seventy One,
For the first time a Constitution for a Parliamentary Democracy was drawn up in August 1919, in the eastern German city of Wiemar.
Wiemar was the intellectual centre of Germany associated with musicians like Franz List, and writers like Goethe and Schiller.
The Wiemar Republic of Germany which had lasted from 1919 till 1933 had seen,
20 different Coalition Governments, with frequent elections and changing loyalties!
Due to a system of proportional representations, and the presence of very many political parties those days,  
No single party could obtain absolute sole majority in the Reichstag Parliament!
The longest Coalition Govt. was under Chancellor Bruning, which had lasted for only 2 years and 61 days!     (From 30 March 1930 to 30 May 1932)
Now, to understand the reasons for the failure to maintain a Democratic form of Government by the Wiemar Republic,
It becomes necessary to monitor its ‘dying gasps’ during its closing years so to speak!
Since faced with the economic depression Chancellor Bruning had worsened the unemployment situation by adopting stringent and unpopular measures!
Thereby having lost popular political support, Bruning with the approval of President Hindenburg, invoked emergency powers under Article 48, to survive his last few months and years!
During the years 1931 and 1932  it is seen, Bruning had used this Emergency Clause 44 and 66 times respectively!
Thus his so-called ‘Presidential form of Govt.’ had undermined Wiemar Democracy!
If Burning was the ‘Republic’s Undertaker’, now remains a debatable issue of History!
But Burning’s vigorous campaign made Hindenburg to get re-elected as the President;
Thereby he had removed the defeated Adolf ****** out of the Presidential race!
Therefore, later when ****** became the Chancellor on 30 Jan 1933, Bruning had very wisely fled from Germany!

Following Bruning’s resignation in May 1932 came Chancellor Papen’s ‘Cabinet of Barons’ consisting of individuals who were not members of the German Reichstag!
While in the election of July 1932 ******’s **** Party won 230 seats, making it the largest party in the Reichstag.
But ****** refused to form a coalition with Papen, because he wanted to become the Chancellor himself !
Now General von Schleicher advised President Hindenburg that the German Army,
Would not accept Papen’s use of Article 48 to remain as the Chancellor of Germany!
Therefore following Papen’s resignation, Schleicher took over on the 04th of December 1932 as the new German Chancellor.
Schleicher tried to restore a democratic form of government to get the Wiemar Republic back on its feet.
But in the ensuing political power struggle Papen wanted to take revenge on Schleicher for his removal from power and defeat.
So Papen persuaded Adolf ****** to become the Chancellor, and retain for himself the post of Vice-Chancellor.
In doing so, Papen mistakenly thought that he would be able to reign in the self-assertive Adolf ******!
Papen finally made President Hindenburg agree to his proposal, and on 30th of Jan 1933,
****** became the New Chancellor, with approval of the President!
A month later a sudden fire in the Reichstag made ****** invoke Article 48, in order to squash the suspected Left Wing Communists;
But while doing so, the Press was muzzled, and many Civil Rights of the German people were abolished, inclusive of their right of assembly and free speech!
****** acted swiftly, and by passing the Enabling Act on 23 March, 1933, armed himself  with dictatorial powers for enacting laws without the approval of the Reichstag whenever necessary!
Thereby ****** threw Democracy to History’s wasteland most unfortunately!
Following the death of Hindenburg on 29 June 1934, ****** combined the powers of the President and the Chancellor, and became known as the FUHRER!
Historians generally agree the Enabling Act of 1933, as the date for establishment of The German Third *****.

THE POLICY OF APPEASEMENT AND GERMAN AGGRESSION:
The horrors of trench warfare with the rattling of machine guns and bursting of poisonous nerve gas shells,
Even after 20 years remained fresh, in the minds of all World War One participants!
Therefore, it was natural for British and French Prime Ministers Neville Chamberlain and Edouard Daladier initially,
To grant political and material concessions to an aggressive Germany, for the sake of peace and stability.
Thus the diplomatic stance of Appeasement between 1935 and 1939 followed by the French and the British, was mainly to avoid another dangerous armed conflict!
But the trusting Mr. Chamberlain had underestimated ******, who had served in the German Army as a Corporal, winning the Iron Cross during the last Great War!
****** was not afraid of war, but wanted to avenge the Treaty of Versailles and its punitive dictated peace;
And also establish for the superior German Aryan race a lasting Third *****!
Therefore, having consolidated his power as the Fuhrer along with his trusted **** Party cronies, he withdrew from the League of Nations in October 1933.
Introduced conscription in March 1935 in Germany, and embarked on a mission to rebuild a new modernised German Army for combat on land, air, and sea!
In March 1936, in another open violation of the Versailles Treaty, ****** re-occupied the demilitarised Rhineland, followed by a Treaty of Alliance with Japan and Italy.
The much desired Anschluss (or merger) with Austria, the country of birth of ******,
Saw the German Army in March 1938, triumphantly and peacefully marching into Vienna!
Now with the Munich Conference of 19 September 1938, this Policy of Appeasement is said to have reached its climatic peak!
The Sudetenland area, consisted of 3 million Germans were made
to join Czechoslovakia when the frontiers were drawn in 1918-19,
Much against the wishes of the Germans!
When ****** wanted to annex this Sudetenland area, Britain, France, Germany and Italy, met at Munich to diffuse an explosive situation peacefully.
It was agreed at Munich that once Sudetenland joins Germany, ****** will not invade Czechoslovakia and honour the terms of peace.
But on 15th March 1939, in violation of the Munich Agreement, ******’s army invade and occupied Czechoslovakia, thereby openly flouting the Policy of Appeasement!

NOTES: ******’s desire for ‘LEBENSRAUM’ or ‘increase of living space’ for the Germans, commenced with his ‘Border Wars’, which soon turned into a Global War because of the ‘appeasement policy’ of the Allies. ****** had secured his Eastern Front with a treaty with the Stalin, since fighting on two fronts would have been very difficult for the Germans.

Now when ******’s army invaded Poland on 1st of September 1939, it became ‘the last straw on the camel’s back’ for the Western Allies!
Committed to the Anglo-Polish Defence Pact of 25 August, 1939, both Britain and France declared war on Germany,
Which I propose to narrate in Part Two of my Second World War Story.  
The Policy of Appeasement no doubt gave some time for Britain, to regain its depleted military strength,  but Adolf ****** had viewed it as a sign of weakness!
With Russia and America initially as non-participants, ****** became more confident and arrogant!
Thereby turning his border wars into a global conflagration lasting six long years.
When the use of advanced technology, resulted in greater loss and casualties;  
Which was followed by the holocaust and unprecedented human suffering!
I would like to conclude my present narration with a poem by English soldier-poet Seigfried Sassoon, who participated in the First World War on the Western Front.

DREAMERS  -  by Siegfried Sassoon
Soldiers are citizens of death's gray land,
Drawing no dividend from time's to-morrows.
In the great hour of destiny they stand,
Each with his feuds, and jealousies, and sorrows.
Soldiers are sworn to action; they must win
Some flaming, fatal ****** with their lives.
Soldiers are dreamers; when the guns begin
They think of firelit homes, clean beds, and wives.

I see them in foul dug-outs, gnawed by rats,
And in the ruined trenches, lashed with rain,
Dreaming of things they did with ***** and bats,
And mocked by hopeless longing to regain
Bank-holidays, and picture shows, and spats,
And going to the office in the train.
…………………………………………………………………………
Thanks for reading patiently, from Raj Nandy of New Delhi.
  *ALL COPYRIGHTS ARE WITH THE AUTHOR ONLY
*****


Apr 7, 2012, 6:08:21 PM by ~OmegaWolfOfWinter
Journals / Personal




"Name: Amelia Weissmuler. Date of birth: June 6th, 1920. Test subject number 314-X. Specimen: Tiger." Amy heard all of this through a haze of sedatives that had begun to lose their already poor effect. She turned in the direction of the voice and saw a fearsome **** SS General standing behind a white clad scientist with a heavy accent. The general said nothing but listened and watched as Amy was strapped down to a cold metal table, completely **** with various wires, tubes and needles protruding from her flesh. She groaned painfully, the needles were extensive, and the **** scientists had no care of decency or respect. she was hit with another sedative and before she lost consciousness she heard the scientist, who she guessed was Dr. Heismeiller, say, "Name, Mordecai Dansker, former Major of the Third *****. Date of birth: September 19th, 1919. Test subject 14-W. Specimen: Wolf. As you
can see, Heir General, these are both healthy specimens, as are the test subjects." Amy heard a
rattling of cages. Her vison slowly went dark but not before seeing the doctor's face, uncovered and psychotic.
* *
When Amy woke up again, she was being suspended from the floor, the tubes and wires accompanied by menacing electrodes. there was an unnatural blue and white crackling of electricity around her, illuminating the other suspended tables nearby, the bodies in various grotesque positions and levels of decay. she tried to scream but found a machine unceremoniously shoved in her mouth, stretching deep inside her. she looked and saw nothing but obscene machines and various glass tubes of colored bubbling liquids. she tried sluggishly to break free but to no avail. what little strength she had was useless against the torturous devices emplanted in and around her. "Doctor, begin the experiment."
"Yaboe!" She heard a solid click resound through the room and heard a male scream in another room. the screams echoed for a long while, then nothing. she heard a gasp of releif from
the doctor and, "General! Subject 14-W... he has... Survived!"
"Good. now start on the frauline." there was a large thud from outside the room. "Quickly! this facility is under seige!"
"Yes sir, heir general. Test subject 314-X prepped and ready. Begin phase 1." she cried out silently as the needles burned hot inside her and the tubes boiled her insides. the electrodes soon incapacitated her and she fell unconscious.
*
*
"Phase 1 complete, heir general, subject is ready, proceeding to Phase 2."
Amy felt an intense burning around the needles, and an electric fire through her veins. the machine had been taken from her mouth, but she doubted she could scream any more, as her throat was raw from the silent screams of Phase 1. She felt her body shake uncontrollably as more electric shocks were administered. she was left panting and slumped over. "Sequence complete, the bonding process was a success." there was another thud and sediment from the roof fell to the floor. "Get her down now! They will be through soon!" She was lowered to the ground and unstrapped from the table, picked up, and placed on a stretcher. she raised her hands on front her face and nearly fainted, her hands, or paws, resembled that of a tiger, and as she looked, her whole body was covered in a slick orange, black and white fur. She was put into the backseat of an armored car with a simple blanket draped around
her. Amy felt nauseated
as the car sped off. It hit a bump in the road and she moaned painfully, clutching her furry belly and retching. the **** next to her turned away in disgust. the car ride was long and sickening, and she lost consciousness twice, and finally she tried to lay down in the cramped space. when the armored car finally stopped, she was pulled from the back seat and carried over a soldier's shoulder and into a small bunker. Once inside, amy heard a metal door open and was laid down onto a stiff bed with a single pillow and a single cover. There was a small window in the cell, a drab, grey stream of light shining in her eyes. She propped herself up on her elbow and shielded her eyes from the blinding contrast. Once her eyes adjusted, amy noticed that things had a particular sharpness to them and she had an acute awareness of things based on scent. she stood shakily, and noticed she was almost
six inches taller now, and her new tail swished back and forth along the concrete floor. she stepped
forward and grasped the iron bars and peeked out, seeing a black leather messenger bag and a black uniform lined with white. she couldn't quite reach the uniform, but was able to get a claw around the strap of the messenger bag. she pulled it closer to her and saw that her initials were monogrammed into the leather. she pulled it through the bars and opened the bag, pulling out a small, blank, leather bound journal and a pen. still ****, she sat on the bed and practiced writing, tearing out two pages of scratch paper. She began her journal with, "I am no longer the person i once was. i am something new, something... different."
• * *
The **** captain stepped into the bunker and saw amy, half lying, half dangling on the bed, the leather journal clutched close to her chest. he stormed into the cell and backhanded her awake, snatching up the journal as she cowered in the corner, her tail wrapped around her. the captain flipped through the pages of the journal and then closed iit with a snap. he glanced at it and dropped it on the bed. "it is yours now, Frauline. you are very special to the third *****. the fuhrer himself has asked for you to be placed in the Waffen SS and trained." amy glanced at the uniform on the table outside the cell and he nodded, "specially tailored for you, frauline. he stepped outside the cell and grabbed the uniform, setting it down on the bed. "you may Change into your new uniform and join the rest of us outside." he stepped outside and she was alone. she donned the simple uNdergarments then
slipped into the soft black trousers, after which she put on her military boots. next she put on the black and white jacket signature of the SS. the jacket was sleek and menacing, though it did little to flatten her chest, but that, she supposed, was one of her feminine charms. last was her hat and armband, both adorned with the *******. she gathered the leather messenger bag and stepped outside the cell, where a mirror stood, giving her a chance to see what had been done, the black uniform was a dramatic contrast to her brightly colored fur, and her new black stripes added a fierce look to her. she grinned and flashed menacing white teeth. she turned her body, looking at herself from different points of view. she slipped the **** armband onto her right arm and turned to leave. she stopped when she encountered a high pitch noise right next to the door. for the moment she just walked past, opening the door and adjusting her vision to the outside light. the layout was grey and barren,
as it always was in wartime. the captain was waiting for her along with a small squad of SS troops. a
Few laughed and remarked at her appearance, making cat noises and wolf whistling at her. she glared at them with a bright white snarl carved into her soft face. *they will fear me...

she saluted the captain and said, "heil ******." he returned the gesture, "heil. you are now part of the Waffen SS, frauline Amelia."
"please sir, its amy."
he noted her directness and ferocity, "very well, amy. before we assign you a task, though, you must prove yourself." he addressed the squad, "they are all corporal's and sergeants. you are merely a private. you will gain a rank for each one that you ****. however, they have been told that if they do not force you to submit, they will be killed or sent to the russian front. so you best fight your hardest, private amy."
as he finished, the squad set down their Mauser 98K's and MP-40's and stepped closer to her. her eyes widened in shock, then narrowed in ferocious determination. there were twelve of them.
"Fight!"
• *
Amy took a fighting stance and faced her attackers. she attempted a punch at the nearest one but was kneed in the gut, she was thrown back a few feet. she fell to her knees and clutched her stomach with one hand, holding herself upright with the other. tears sprung to life in her eyes and threatened to roll down her cheeks. she fought the tears back and stood, feeling her claws extend. she swiped at a soldier's throat, catching him right in the throat. blood splattered the ground as he choked on his own fluids. the remaining eleven were taken aback slightly, allowing her to pounce another soldier, punching and tearing at his gut with lethal force. her fur was bloodstained and she waited a moment too late, watching the cavity she created fill with blood. she was barreled over, the wind knocked out of her by a sergeant. she lay on her back, gasping for air as the soldiers closed in,
landing a few punches and sending her reeling back. she staggered back, struggling for breath. she
Bumped up against something and realized it was a bunker wall, she was trapped. she thought quickly and decided for a new course of action, she waited for one of them to gather his bravado and throw a solid punch at her, which was useless, she grabbed his wrist and smashed his head against the wall, filling his helmet with blood and brains. in the same move, she had grabbed his Luger and had downed three more of the remaining ten. in their moment of confusion she kicked the closest one in the fork of his legs and followed up with a pistolwhip. the man went down quickly and died by the heel of her merciless boot. the remaining six charged at her, one falling by her last bullet and another caught a swift kick in the ribcage, shattering the bones to peices. the rest of the men were sergeants, and they began to retreat, running into the open field. she was about to chase after them when she
heard another Luger fire. she turned to see the captain shooting the deserters. each fell, one by
One by the captain's gun to her surprise he let a single man go. "you have done very well, frauline amy. you have killed eight out of twelve men, not bad at all."
she was panting, her uniform dirtied, "why.. did you let.. him go?"
the captain smiled, "someone has to spread you're reputation, heir captain."
she gaped at him. "i am... captain?"
"yaboe, heir frauline. you have proved yourself worthy to serve under the fuhrer."
she saluted him, "thank you, heir captain."
*
amy wrote in her journal as they were driven to one of the Stalags: "my promotion to captain has earned me my choice of weapons, ive chosen a few, two long barrel Luger's, a cavalry saber, and a sixteen foot bullwhip. i also carry an automatic Mauser in my messenger bag. other than a few knives carefully hidden on my body, that should be it. ive become the fuhrer's favorite enforcer, though i feel as if i'm forgetting something..."
amy closed the journal and placed it in her bag with a soft snap.
Amy waited for a **** private to open the car door and let her out, tapping her foot impatiently. when he finally came, she had a luger pointed at his chest. "you're late. she got out of the car and shot him, holstering the pistol as he crumpled to the ground. the colonel in charge rushed towards her, "what is the meaning of this?!"
"your man on watch was late, and now he'll never be late again. and also, colonel, as i am a captain in the SS, i am your superior officer and you WILL adjust yourself accordingly or i will replace you with someone who will."
his expression was that of shock, "y-yes, heir captain, please follow me." he escorted her quickly to the main building. amy glanced around at the peering POWs, glaring at them with distaste as they whistled at her. "who's the kitty?" "what the hell is that?"
her hands fell to her lugers and she was ready to fire when she was beckoned inside by the colonel and she followed behind him reluctantly. "you should control your prisoners.
i find an overall lack of order in this camp. you're lucky i'm in a good mood, or i'd have you strung up for incompetence. lets hope my further evaluation of this... facility... does not make me any more inclined to do so."
the colonel stuttered again and dipped his head, "y-yes heir captain."
she stepped outside unopposed by any. she snapped her fingers and a sergeant rushed to her side and saluted. she handed him a journal logbook and he opened it to the page marked with the Stalag number. she entered the closed off areas of the stalag to inspect the barracks.
*
amy's fists were clenched with rag, a prisoner mocked her from within his confines. his fellow prisoners pleaded with him to stop. "she's lethal!" "she killed eight SS sergeants and corporals singelhandedly her first day!"
the prisoner ignored them and began gesturing at her. she snapped her head up and their eyes met for an instant, she growled through a gritted snarl and was over the fence in mere moments. once over,
the prisoner that mocked her was now on the ground, his throat between her fangs. he cried out once and then gurgled blood as she tore out his throat. she spat the flesh onto the dirt and stood, brushing the dusty particles from her uniform. the men around her backed away when she approached them, and watched her cautiously as she stepped back out of the fenceline. amy picked up her cap from the ground and brushed it off. one of the prisoners called for a doctor, and when one of the guards began to look for one, she merely said, "no, he wont survive. leave him be."
the soldier saluted and went back to his post. she walked up to the colonel and said, "your prisoner annoyed me, as do you, colonel. you have three days to turn this place around or you'll end up worse off then your prisoner over there."
the colonel had turned a pale white and whispered, "understood, captain."
she returned to her quarters and listened for a moment as the colonel shouted orders. "that was fun." she remarked.

Amy was asleep in one of the larger rooms in the main  building, her uniform folded neatly on the table near the bed. she kep one luger on her bedside table and the mauser under her pilllow. her other luger, her sword and her whip were next to her clothes. she was clad only in her fur, as she'd found that the most comfortable way to sleep.
she was woken up by a knock at the door. she blinked her eyes a few times. clutching the mauser handle with one hand and holding the blanket to her chest with the other, she said, "what is it?"
"the colonel wishes to speak to you, heir frauline."
she growled, "grrr... fine. tell him to make it quick." she clutched the blanket closer as he opened the door. she held the mauser aimed at him and said, "turn." he did so without hesitation. she slipped cautiously out of the bed and began to dress. "what is it you wished to speak with me about, colonel?" amy put on her undergarments and then pulled her trousers up to her waist, fastening the belt comfortably.
"there is an important telegram for you, heir captain." she pulled on the jacket over her simple shirt, tugging out any wrinkles. "oh? from who?" next came the holster belts, each hanging slightly lower than her first belt. her sword was another belt, and there was a custom clip there for her whip as well.
"Himler, he has special orders for you." her messenger bag was next to last, slung over her shoulder before she slipped into her boots. ""You can turn now. hand them here." she stepped closer to him and took the envelope with her name scrawled on the front. the colonel excused himself so she could read the orders, "captain amelia weissmuler, once you have completed your assignment at Stalag 14, please make haste to stalingrad as there has been a number of our own turning against the *****. see to it that they cause no more problems. -heinrich himler"
she read it through three more times before folding it and placing it in her bag. she hurried outside, grabbing her hat
From the dresser.
* *
amy went about her inspection, seeing nothing wrong today. "the condition of stalag 16 has improved, heir colonel. well done. now send my car around." the colonel grinned and motioned for the car.
the black car adorned with swastikas roared to life, coming up beside her. the d
Nigel Morgan Nov 2012
As a woman, and in the service of my Lord the Emperor Wu, my life is governed by his command. At twenty I was summoned to this life at court and have made of it what I can, within the limitations of the courtesan I am supposed to be, and the poet I have now become. Unlike my male counterparts, some of whom have lately found seclusion in the wilderness of rivers and mountains, I have only my personal court of three rooms and its tiny garden and ornamental pond. But I live close to the surrounding walls of the Zu-lin Gardens with its astronomical observatories and bold attempts at recreating illusions of celebrated locations in the Tai mountains. There, walking with my cat Xi-Lu in the afternoons, I imagine a solitary life, a life suffused with the emptiness I crave.
 
In the hot, dry summer days my maid Mei-Lim and I have sought a temporary retreat in the pine forests above Lingzhi. Carried in a litter up the mountain paths we are left in a commodious hut, its open walls making those simple pleasures of drinking, eating and sleeping more acute, intense. For a few precious days I rest and meditate, breathe the mountain air and the resinous scents of the trees. I escape the daily commerce of the court and belong to a world that for the rest of the year I have to imagine, the world of the recluse. To gain the status of the recluse, open to my male counterparts, is forbidden to women of the court. I am woman first, a poet and calligrapher second. My brother, should he so wish, could present a petition to revoke his position as a man of letters, an official commentator on the affairs of state. But he is not so inclined. He has already achieved notoriety and influence through his writing on the social conditions of town and city. He revels in a world of chatter, gossip and intrigue; he appears to fear the wilderness life.  
 
I must be thankful that my own life is maintained on the periphery. I am physically distant from the hub of daily ceremonial. I only participate at my Lord’s express command. I regularly feign illness and fatigue to avoid petty conflict and difficulty. Yet I receive commissions I cannot waver: to honour a departed official; to celebrate a son’s birth to the Second Wife; to fulfil in verse my Lord’s curious need to know about the intimate sorrows of his young concubines, their loneliness and heartache.
 
Occasionally a Rhapsody is requested for an important visitor. The Emperor Wu is proud to present as welcome gifts such poetic creations executed in fine calligraphy, and from a woman of his court. Surely a sign of enlightment and progress he boasts! Yet in these creations my observations are parochial: early morning frost on the cabbage leaves in my garden; the sound of geese on their late afternoon flight to Star Lake; the disposition of the heavens on an Autumn night. I live by the Tao of Lao-Tzu, perceiving the whole world from my doorstep.
 
But I long for the reclusive life, to leave this court for my family’s estate in the valley my peasant mother lived as a child. At fourteen she was chosen to sustain the Emperor’s annual wish for young girls to be groomed for concubinage. Like her daughter she is tall, though not as plain as I; she put her past behind her and conceded her adolescence to the training required by the court. At twenty she was recommended to my father, the court archivist, as second wife. When she first met this quiet, dedicated man on the day before her marriage she closed her eyes in blessing. My father taught her the arts of the library and schooled her well. From her I have received keen eyes of jade green and a prestigious memory, a memory developed she said from my father’s joy of reading to her in their private hours, and before she could read herself. Each morning he would examine her to discover what she had remembered of the text read the night before. When I was a little child she would quote to me the Confucian texts on which she had been ****** schooled, and she then would tell me of her childhood home. She primed my imagination and my poetic world with descriptions of a domestic rural life.
 
Sometimes in the arms of my Lord I have freely rhapsodized in chusi metre these delicate word paintings of my mother’s home. She would say ‘We will walk now to the ruined tower beside the lake. Listen to the carolling birds. As the sparse clouds move across the sky the warm sun strokes the winter grass. Across the deep lake the forests are empty. Now we are climbing the narrow steps to the platform from which you and I will look towards the sun setting in the west. See the shadows are lengthening and the air becomes colder. The blackbird’s solitary song heralds the evening.  Look, an owl glides silently beneath us.’
 
My Lord will then quote from Hsieh Ling-yun,.
 
‘I meet sky, unable to soar among clouds,
face a lake, call those depths beyond me.’
 
And I will match this quotation, as he will expect.
 
‘Too simple-minded to perfect Integrity,
and too feeble to plough fields in seclusion.’
 
He will then gaze into my eyes in wonder that this obscure poem rests in my memory and that I will decode the minimal grammar of these early characters with such poetry. His characters: Sky – Bird – Cloud – Lake – Depth. My characters: Fool – Truth – Child – Winter field – Isolation.
 
Our combined invention seems to take him out of his Emperor-self. He is for a while the poet-scholar-sage he imagines he would like to be, and I his foot-sore companion following his wilderness journey. And then we turn our attention to our bodies, and I surprise him with my admonitions to gentleness, to patience, to arousing my pleasure. After such poetry he is all pleasure, sensitive to the slightest touch, and I have my pleasure in knowing I can control this powerful man with words and the stroke of my fingertips rather than by delicate youthful beauty or the guile and perverse ingenuity of an ****** act. He is still learning to recognise the nature and particularness of my desires. I am not as his other women: who confuse pleasure with pain.
 
Thoughts of my mother. Without my dear father, dead ten years, she is a boat without a rudder sailing on a distant lake. She greets each day as a gift she must honour with good humour despite the pain of her limbs, the difficulty of walking, of sitting, of eating, even talking. Such is the hurt that governs her ageing. She has always understood that my position has forbidden marriage and children, though the latter might be a possibility I have not wished it and made it known to my Lord that it must not be. My mother remains in limbo, neither son or daughter seeking to further her lineage, she has returned to her sister’s home in the distant village of her birth, a thatched house of twenty rooms,
 
‘Elms and willows shading the eaves at the back,
and, in front,  peach and plum spread wide.
 
Villages lost across mist-haze distances,
Kitchen smoke drifting wide-open country,
 
Dogs bark deep among the back roads out here
And cockerels crow from mulberry treetops.
 
My esteemed colleague T’ao Ch’ien made this poetry. After a distinguished career in government service he returned to the life of a recluse-farmer on his family farm. Living alone in a three-roomed hut he lives out his life as a recluse and has endured considerable poverty. One poem I know tells of him begging for food. His world is fields-and-gardens in contrast to Hsieh Ling-yin who is rivers-and-mountains. Ch’ien’s commitment to the recluse life has brought forth words that confront death and the reality of human experience without delusion.
 
‘At home here in what lasts, I wait out life.’
 
Thus my mother waits out her life, frail, crumbling more with each turning year.
 
To live beyond the need to organise daily commitments due to others, to step out into my garden and only consider the dew glistening on the loropetalum. My mind is forever full of what is to be done, what must be completed, what has to be said to this visitor who will today come to my court at the Wu hour. Only at my desk does this incessant chattering in the mind cease, as I move my brush to shape a character, or as the needle enters the cloth, all is stilled, the world retreats; there is the inner silence I crave.
 
I long to see with my own eyes those scenes my mother painted for me with her words. I only know them in my mind’s eye having travelled so little these past fifteen years. I look out from this still dark room onto my small garden to see the morning gathering its light above the rooftops. My camellia bush is in flower though a thin frost covers the garden stones.
 
And so I must imagine how it might be, how I might live the recluse life. How much can I jettison? These fine clothes, this silken nightgown beneath the furs I wrap myself in against the early morning air. My maid is sleeping. Who will make my tea? Minister to me when I take to my bed? What would become of my cat, my books, the choice-haired brushes? Like T’ao Ch’ien could I leave the court wearing a single robe and with one bag over my shoulders? Could I walk for ten days into the mountains? I would disguise myself as a man perhaps. I am tall for a woman, and though my body flows in broad curves there are ways this might be assuaged, enough perhaps to survive unmolested on the road.
 
Such dreams! My Lord would see me returned within hours and send a servant to remain at my gate thereafter. I will compose a rhapsody about a concubine of standing, who has even occupied the purple chamber, but now seeks to relinquish her privileged life, who coverts the uncertainty of nature, who would endure pain and privation in a hut on some distant mountain, who will sleep on a mat on its earth floor. Perhaps this will excite my Lord, light a fire in his imagination. As though in preparation for this task I remove my furs, I loose the knot of my silk gown. Naked, I reach for an old under shift letting it fall around my still-slender body and imagine myself tying the lacings myself in the open air, imagine making my toilet alone as the sun appears from behind a distant mountain on a new day. My mind occupies itself with the tiny detail of living thus: bare feet on cold earth, a walk to nearby stream, the gathering of berries and mountain herbs, the making of fire, the washing of my few clothes, imagining. Imagining. To live alone will see every moment filled with the tasks of keeping alive. I will become in tune with my surroundings. I will take only what I need and rely on no one. Dreaming will end and reality will be the slug on my mat, the bone-chilling incessant mists of winter, the thorn in the foot, the wild winds of autumn. My hands will become stained and rough, my long limbs tanned and scratched, my delicate complexion freckled and wind-pocked, my hair tied roughly back. I will become an animal foraging on a dank hillside. Such thoughts fill me with deep longing and a ****** desire to be tzu-jan  - with what surrounds me, ablaze with ****** self.
 
It is not thought the custom of a woman to hold such desires. We are creatures of order and comfort. We do not live on the edge of things, but crave security and well-being. We learn to endure the privations of being at the behest of others. Husbands, children, lovers, our relatives take our bodies to them as places of comfort, rest and desire. We work at maintaining an ordered flow of existence. Whatever our station, mistress or servant we compliment, we keep things in order, whether that is the common hearth or the accounts of our husband’s court. Now my rhapsody begins:
 
A Rhapsody on a woman wishing to live as a recluse
 
As a lady of my Emperor’s court I am bound in service.
My court is not my own, I have the barest of means.
My rooms are full of gifts I am forced barter for bread.
Though the artefacts of my hands and mind
Are valued and widely renown,
Their commissioning is an expectation of my station,
With no direct reward attached.
To dress appropriately for my Lord’s convocations and assemblies
I am forced to negotiate with chamberlains and treasurers.
A bolt of silk, gold thread, the services of a needlewoman
Require formal entreaties and may lie dormant for weeks
Before acknowledgement and release.
 
I was chosen for my literary skills, my prestigious memory,
Not for my ****** beauty, though I have been called
‘Lady of the most gracious movement’ and
My speaking voice has clarity and is capable of many colours.
I sing, but plainly and without passion
Lest I interfere with the truth of music’s message.
 
Since I was a child in my father’s library
I have sought out the works of those whose words
Paint visions of a world that as a woman
I may never see, the world of the wilderness,
Of rivers and mountains,
Of fields and gardens.
Yet I am denied by my *** and my station
To experience passing amongst these wonders
Except as contrived imitations in the palace gardens.
 
Each day I struggle to tease from the small corner
Of my enclosed eye-space some enrichment
Some elemental thing to colour meaning:
To extend the bounds of my home
Across the walls of this palace
Into the world beyond.
 
I have let it be known that I welcome interviews
With officials from distant courts to hear of their journeying,
To gather word images if only at second-hand.
Only yesterday an emissary recounted
His travels to Stone Lake in the far South-West,
Beyond the gorges of the Yang-tze.
With his eyes I have seen the mountains of Suchan:
With his ears I have heard the oars crackling
Like shattering jade in the freezing water.
Images and sounds from a thousand miles
Of travel are extract from this man’s memory.
 
Such a sharing of experience leaves me
Excited but dismayed: that I shall never
Visit this vast expanse of water and hear
Its wild cranes sing from their floating nests
In the summer moonlight.
 
I seek to disappear into a distant landscape
Where the self and its constructions of the world may
Dissolve away until nothing remains but the no-mind.
My thoughts are full of the practicalities of journeying
Of an imagined location, that lonely place
Where I may be at one with myself.
Where I may delight in the everyday Way,
Myself among mist and vine, rock and cave.
Not this lady of many parts and purposes whose poems must
Speak of lives, sorrow and joy, pleasure and pain
Set amongst personal conflict and intrigue
That in containing these things, bring order to disorder;
Salve the conscience, bathe hurt, soothe sleight.
Mateuš Conrad Nov 2016
.i. if Kant could have his von Kleist... well... who else to juggle juggernauts if not me? as a task of redeeming that poor soul who succumbed to the terminator of all poetic ambitions, with his systematisation off-the-page, as eccentric and punctual as a sunset on a sundial at 16:11... and in case either the spring of sunrise, or the autumn of sunset... but so many hours after exacting a sunset... that gluttony of the eyes to stare at it... 16:11 is the zenith of a sunset in november the 15th... much prolonged when warmer... supersized sun when setting in summer, and all that whiskey-copper wiring for the eyes to stare at it: oh for goodness sake, who really cares for Ikea likened assembling of words... we're not putting together a coffee table, we're looking for Darwinistic entrapment, we're scared of the aeons and yawns... we're trying to create a Darwinistic entrapment saying what segregates us from apes! that's how anti-Darwinism works - if they can easily call you a poet and a technophobe... then that hardly makes you a merchant with a Quran... to encapsulate the language of our modernity we're doing everything against writing the onomatopoeia of our beginning... monkey ooo! monkey ooo ah ah! or a gorilla grunting and then snorkeling... we're encapsulating our language more and more... because beginning with ape and then looking at history, and then looking at the consensus of the contemporary: Darwinism's greatest enemy is not theology... it's history... Darwinism and history are not compatible... oddly enough Darwinism and theology are compatible, simply because they are dynamically equal for the case of furthering both arguments in debate... but Darwinism is an odd starting point to argue, given that physicists argue from the perspective of prior to dinosaurs, prior to all things formed.

how can i begin this? it will leave me having to
write it for two days,
the anti-narrative sketch first, then filling in
the gaps sober... just to get second opinions...
i might have to cook a quasi-Hungarian borscht
and fry up a few potato flattenings to a crispy
yum... first the narrator comes in to describe what's
in store, a bit like a translator comes in and says
of Joyce: that's Irish... well, yeah.
               hence the italic preface...
as some would say, the person who wrote these
sketches worked quicker that an algorithm in asking
and also quicker to copy & paste the required
atomic encoding... e.g. ч and ch
                   э and euro and epsilon...
      once upon a time there was nothing prior
to Copernicus, then the somersaults came,
    h ч y        what coordinates where?
    well of course perfecting the encoding of something,
if things weren't stated awry there would be
no optometrists either...
                  it's not hard to read, it's hard to
remember how to read, given that being literate reached
the omnipresent velocity, the new powers had to
include some new power struggle...
mingling Latin and Runes, Greek and Cyrillic...
     and the proto-Latin of additional diacritical marks...
they exposed the entirety of humanity to literacy
within the framework of post-industrial society,
after hitchhiking a ride on the 19th century donkeys
they suddenly had to reveal their power-secret of
being literate, and by the account of women:
corset bound and bored in salons...
      but something else appeared that didn't really fascinate
them: that over-complication of Latin with
punctuation marks above letters: or diacritical
distinction, crowns over letters, subatomic particularisation
of once favoured: universal applicability...
as a narrator? i have to make a complicated
introduction, the sketch lends itself to do so,
it suggests that not all writing can be as simple as
a nursery rhyme, not all writing can actually
    **** memory, not all writing desires being remembered,
not all writing can be remembered,
                in the mediation of the two chiral opposites
there's fiction, which is suspended in an armchair of
pleasurability... but on the opposite side of a nursery rhyme
or a well versed poem? writing akin to arithmetic...
  something truly painful for those competent with
lettering, but not really competent with ten digits...
      as a narrator who has already read the sketch,
i'm trying to not write a "filling in the gaps" to the sketch
like an art-critic might do to a painting deviating from:
brushstrokes were employed. well... d'uh!
variation of italics as in transcending the pause that
implies a condescending variation of taking a pause,
also excluded are: dot, comma, hyphen, semicolon
and colon.                         dot-dot-dot is not joining up
the dots: it implies a variation of how to anticipate
a punchline: drummed: tu-dum wet snare!
     i am actually a narrator who is trying to find
that other part of me that might digest this sketch properly,
     and return fully competent to pick up another
sketch... if ever there was a narrator in this sketch,
it has to be me, after the sketch has been scripted,
and i am left to suggest a need for a dot-dot-dot connectivity
of the strokes of the pen...
i warned myself: do not overdo the introduction in italics,
you know how picky people are...
whether pickled pineapple of cucumber...
i swear Turks invented pickling chillies...
         oh look! an inflatable gazebo filled with helium!
no one's laughing: only because i didn't mention vegina.
narrative puritanism? you get distracted a lot...
but this sketch is really a thesis for narration,
all i have to do is find the antithesis of narration in it:
an actual narrative!          it stretches for ~30 pages...
   well that's me turned archaeologist with a Grecian urn
with a snap of the finger... because that's how this
sketch looks like: ancient -
                         but understandably modern.
              so .  ,  - and ;
        were racing... out came the world record
             9.58(0)         the full-stop is the bracket-bound
0... i.e. it actually happened: hence the pinpoint...
or in Formula 1 a timed nonsense of ave. m/ph
     noted to three decimal points: 130.703...
                                    or chicane cha chicane cha cha!
as said, this is an actual representation of a narrator
encountering this sketch: so before you lose your head...
i've lost mine!
  look at the correlation though!
we've gone way past atoms with the atomic bomb
and encountered subatomic particles...
    we're not going to get beyond subatomic particles
because we're going to encounter the already apparent
reality of obatomic particle: namely our bodies,
   the perceived ******* (ob- is the antonym
                                                  prefixation of sub-):
             that's were the microscope adventure ends,
    and this is parallel to cutting up a second with
three decimal points, as the safetynet suggests:
                                                              π / 3.14;
yep, the obstructive - hence we can't spontaneously
combust... but then again Goethe's Werther did:
  out of love... down the spiral: you sweet little *******.

~ii. i'm actually too lazy to write the sketch and fill
in the blanks... so i'm going to fill in the blanks as i go along,
  or that's what's called the rebellious stance of narrator: mmm,
work in progress, could you see that coming?


ii. a beer in between glugs of whiskey - runes
combined in the ******* / sigma, variant of agliz or
the rune-zeta extended toward a dark shadow of the rebirth
of Ishrael: zoological enclosure; sigma *******
sigma ******* sigma *******, sigma *******...
rune-zeta... we cannot say there are ******
mathematicians and poets akin,
not then one optic encoding states
     a b c d e
         another states f u þ a r
yet another а б (ρ) в г
  α β γ δ:
for worth of gamma into a trill only because of
   a wave, that's ~ approx. on the side of the letter
   e.g. г & r.
   or rho upside down? what the ****?
did Voltaire write this? reading Candide,
i hope he ****** did!
you the problem is pixelated paper? if you know
how you enter a deciphering mode...
                    but you require a personal library to boot,
all that dos formatting,
                       well there's formatting in the humanity
outstretch of this white medium too...
after it isn't all ******* white when all the psychiatric
pills are white too... i have really found something better
than the Bermuda Δ...
       Greek, Latin, Cyrillic and Runes...
i could say neo or proto otherwise,
but i still haven't unearthed the sketch, that
is probably puzzling the Danes, with Cnut on the forefront...
                    but the arrangement of numbers is universal,
but it's not universal, given the particularity of
how language is encoded and why some people are
richer than others...
            but it's still a beer between glugs of whiskey that
makes more sense...
i said, retype the sketch and go to bed...
and i figured: that's probably the wisest of all possible
events stemming from this...
    that's ~27 pages of notes to retype... and i'm already
in a disclosure mode as to expect what's to be jargoned...


p. 1        cкεтч       /      σкεтχ
   necessity of                        (acute
a-       -the           (ism)
is that of language structure,
          only from the use of one's language does
a deity present itself: from within the noumenon
ground work, not the reverse, as in from
(pp. 2, 3)
                 a phenomenological exercise in
the use of language: Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, (etc.)...
       e.g. Islam is a phenomenon,
  it's not a noumenon: or a thing-in-itself...
  for the Islamic god to emerge from Islam's-in-itself
Islam will have to prevent itself from being-outside-itself...
or overpowering other in-itself contentions
but still: to no apparent success narrative of true intention
as satisfactory appropriation and hence lending itself
to a widespread nod of approval.
  challenging space: word compounding, or the space
between conjunctional deficiencies: nod-of-approval (e.g.).

p. 2    concussion (great film, Alec and Will, 2015, NFL)
concussion... Blitzkrieg Alzheimer's....
brain is fat.... dementia = attacking proteins...
  steroids... the noumenological use of language:
e.g. that ****** is an enigma,
therefore his views will not go viral,
and he'll not become fashion trendy...
it's not individualistic idealism, it's reality.
as will die sonne satan - orbis reach more than 5K
views... so... clap clap... clap, clap.
           what i meant about the a-     and -the
and the ism is following a sentence that sort of
does away with conjunctional fluidity,
apart from the big words, i treat all minor words as
categorically conunctional... and, the, a, is, to, too...
given the sentence: brain fatty *****,
brian organic giraffe wall... ******* hieroglyphic...
           stood above the rest, rest assured.
  dementia: invading protein cells
   (bulging prune of the opportune: purely
digestion?) no thought to eat or eat itself like,
cannibalistically. the brain is fatty...
not fat in muscle for mmm, schmile and flex
for the selfie. how about a protein inhibitor?
(by now, rewriting the sketch, i've lost the page count,
it's actually p. 5 of note paged toward 27).
how about the explanation that we're living in
times of post-industrialisation and thanksgiving
feminism? to me post-industrialisation has created
a class of meaningless white-collar workers
and no blues... it's what the Chinese blues call
the Amazonian nomads: ******* happy...
no amount of crosswords or sudoku will exert
your body to do things for others...
   no amount of mind games will actually tell your
brain to be equipped with: a bunch of hyenas... run!
dementia is a result of creating too many
white-collar jobs (thanks to feminism)
and exporting the blues to China (thanks to feminism
and: oh i broke a nail, can i get a Ching plumber to
fix my heating while i get a ****** to **** me up my
****?!) - maybe i'm just dreaming...
it's great to censor dreaming, i mean: you stop dreaming,
you get to see reality, and you don't even need to
read Proust on a ricochet.
  - so we have brain as fat, and invader cells as protein...
protein digests fat... and creates cucumbers out
of people... where do the carbohydrates come into play?
it can't be at the point of a.d.h.d., can it?
     i'm blaming post-industrialisation, the complete
disappearance of the blues (formerly known as the reds,
in the east) for the whites...
or that old chestnut of: my god you're goon'ah luv it!
   to till for worth from the sweat of yer brow -
funny funny funny... to earn your loaf of bread
you will toil...
                   and toil until you are physically assured
that not ghostly / mental life can enter your world /
books... that went well... didn't it?
   i should be tilling a potato plateau rather than
be bound to be writing this epic (by modern standards)
poem...
             but that's the curse of exporting all the blue
collar jobs to China, then importing mindless
white collar jobs to the west, what the hell do you think
would happen, not the pandemic of dementia?
if you do not exert the body, and then you do not
exert / exhaust the mind... do you think
you can secure a narrative with a post-industrial
westerner on the premise of that person simply being
able to solve a crossword? well... i believe in santa
claus too... but i don't believe in him giving out
presents... because to me, in my oh-so-called maturity
that's called an anagram of satan's clause: which is a legal
term for: i can turn civilisation into shrapnel
of what's said and what's to be said: and what's not to be
said. people can't expect to turn honest labour
for the recreational run on the treadmill in a gym...
and they can't expect photocopying in an office space
to replace Newton's curiosity, and then compensate
all this distraction with mind-games...
          can they? well... they did!

poets are gagged by writers of prose,
no wonder they write so sparingly,
      they are gagged in the sense that they write
as if asphyxiated: they need breathing room.


well sure, if he can revive the Polish steel industry
and i can go back to steel plates and pillars,
then the rust belt will get a polishing also.

or what's called: shrapnel before the waterfall of
narration: darting eyes, and poncy **** all the way through...

     muse... muse...

        well, how about we take the fluidity out of language?
declassify certain words into one grammatical broth,
say words like i and they
                              a  and the    are all conjunctions?
how about that? let's strip it bare, after all: what categories
of words exist for us to primarily speak (let alone think)?
     nouns, verbs, adjectives... adverbs?
       but all those words in between are so jungly classified
into a tangle that i'm about to sprout a handshake
          of a Japanese vine grip: and never let go...

an actual extract from the sketch:

      https that doesn't recognise UCS
                   and insists on IPA cannot be deemed
       encyclopaedic


              i need runes for this! i need runes for this idea!
i don't need transliteration right now...
                but hey! that's an idea, etymological transliteration...
bugly term, sure, but the previous night i was thinking
  of transcendental etymology, as you do, likened to
carbohydrates... so it was transliteration after all...
but a dead end when it comes to geometry and Pythagoras...
      
    three words... and they are computerised (i guess you
have to buy a decent book to decode this), a bit like
buying paint in a d.i.y. shop...
       16DE (dagaz / d) 16DC (ingwaz / ŋ / grapheme of n & j)
                  16DF (ōþala / Valhalla / o / ō = oo),
in total d'njoo / d'nyoo - even i concede the fact that this
is a ******* mind-******... it's a ****** congregation of
four optic encodings of phonos... i moved away from
the ancient greek fetish for the logos... i'm looking at
the phonos... not the logos with Heraclitus et al.
               φº θ þ фª f

ªgreek
  ºcyrillic                ever see a prettier pentagram?
                      i haven't.

(false original title:
škic / cкэтч / φº θ þ фª f: thespian pandemic - pending)

looking at the phonos is painful, actually painful,
it's like reading a book with a myopic pair of glasses:
a ******* aquarium blurry right there, befor...

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

'e'? were you: was i, looking for an 'e'?

i can say this much...
what do you get when you mix a shot
of whiskey with a shot of bourbon:
i'm moving between bottles...
it's nearing christmas eve and i'm a ripe
taoist... i.e. i better this world:
by not having the world mind me...
on the odd occasion: oh... you're still here?!

yeah... i'm still here... i have glued-to-fascination
with my shadow... i'm just waiting
for the atom bomb to relieve me of a body
but ensuring my shadow is kept intact...
as if it were a Monet signature on a wall...

but i lament... the momentum has vanished...
i don't even know why i'm so idiotic as
to presume that: from the hour 22:00GMT
to the hours 00:00 circa 00:30GMT...
something will land into my lap,
my lisp... my cranium the oyster shell
my tongue the oyster...

it will not... i can't simply **** anything into
an existence that doesn't want to exist...
perhaps lurking in a canvas of:
"lost luggage" in an airport...
perhaps "there"...
i could be excused my... lethargy...

when was this written? back in 2018?
so i was thinking about teasing cyrillic even then?
wasn't i?
sketch cкэтч or?

what do you get when you mix a shot of whiskey
with some bourbon?
a Burguandian whisker...
i am not going to sound witty...
Ron's key...

that's still a cyrillic "or"... isn't it?
шкиц: škic...

i'm... deflated... nothing "new" has come my way...
i would have thought that...
reading some Knausgård would have /
could have... invigorated me:
reading him was supposed to be my:
dialysis my transfusion!
my zombie-go-to-literature...
it has proven an exhaustive enterprise
to begin writing again:
i became too comfortable
in reading - i almost forgot
the agony of writing...

alas... a contemporary of mine...
and someone well adjusted to prose...

notably: who would have thought
that death in june - the calling (MK II)
was something to be recorded in 1985...
for one: i wouldn't...

but i did begin: back in november 2016...
begin what? to tickle the cyrillic alphabet...
which is way before i discovered my reply
to the runes... to the ancient greek...
and this... "ancient", ahem... still in use...
latin script...

that script that went into the molloch couldron
of being invested in to code...
pristine as the hebrews cited:
how many holes in it?
to write onto a canvas of 0?
q Q R O o p P A a D d g b B...
which leaves...
W E T Y U I S F H J K L
Z X C V N and M "out of the equation"...

škic / cкэтч / φº θ þ фª f: thespian pandemic (pending):
i better rename it as... circa 2016...
that's way before i even acknowledged
the cyrillic text applying diacritical markers...
i thought them too crude at the time...

beside borrowing outright from greek...
the already at hand oddities of glagolitic,
notably: Ⱎ...Ⱋ...

it's only a single word i'm using...
i have abandoned all notions of metaphysics
in favor for orthography...
i'm not going to burden myself
with: what's after the physics...
i'm after: what's now...
in the respective tongues...
2 tongue deviations from
the original latin and greek...

what came with the runes and what
came with the glagolitic scripts...
what was ****** and had to succumb
to inter-breeding...

come 2020... i will have one clarification
to base my existence on...
pronouncing the growth of my ****** hair...
i will hope to aim at a length of beard
that will forever hide the neck...
i will aim at... somewhere to the level
of my heart... when i will then manage
to turn my beard into an orchestra's
nieche of violins when i procrastinate with it...

since 2016...
i have identified russian in ******...
i've seen it... finally!
зъaрт... i.e. żart
and the "hard sign" becoming a "soft sign"
in źrenica: зьрeницa...

i still think the russian orthography
is... as... primitive as the western slavic...

after all... зъ = ż...
зь = ź...
the balkan slavs have a caron...
which is neither a hard or a soft sign / acute...

their caron is... ч (č) or cz...
CHeaper in english...
and their caron is ш (š) or sz...
SHeep...
or the two together...
and always шч (šč): szczekam...
i'm barking...

pu-shch-air... a rare example in english
of the puщair...
but then lookie lookie 'ere:

CZACHA... skull...
ЧAХA...

perhaps this is my "revenge ****" on russia?
hey! boris the kremlin mascoot...
come and 'ave a look...
with how i disect your orthography
on the / with the language that asks
too many metaphysical questions and no
orthographic curiosities!

i'll meet you in Warsaw... given that you're
probably moving from Novosibirsk...
and i'm either in Stockholm...
Edinburgh or the outskirts of London:
Warsaw will be halfway for both of us...
you don't have to like Warsaw...
i only like it when the Ukrainian smugglers
and the Mongols appear
in the West Warsaw coach station...

smart as who? i am discovering this for
the first time myself...
i was only teasing it back in 2016...
way before i found the right sort of accents
in mother russian...

i do know that that crescent oddity:
above the ja: йa... is what it is...
if you only cut off the head in english... ȷ...
again: it's я given that most russians
are pulled toward an anglophile world-view...
they all see the window to europe...
the baltic and st. petersburg is somehow...
London... and the atlantic...
like hell it is...

i guess i feel it was a waste of time to
have re(a)d Kant, simply because:
i'm not here for the schematics...
i want to know how my thought my labyrinth
building architecture is coming along...
but with no one to talk to about it?

i found the categorical imperative most
dissatisfying... i didn't want to abide by universal laws...
poetry is already shoved out of waiting room
of the republic...
if my "poetry" is not a categorical imperative...
and it's not quiet a a hypothetical imperative...
it needs to be sharpened on a thesaurus
and some grammar...

categorical (adjective)... imperative (adjective)...
well two adjectives never imply much
if there's no noun involved...
and i'm pretty sure that... if i sharpen
the next word i'll compound with categorical-
in that hyphen construct that's only
allowed in oxford dictionary english:
since it's not: propergermannonhyphenfaustian:
i.e. carboxylic (carbo-xylic) acidity...

poetry doesn't belong in either
the categorical imperative focus...
nor the hypothetical imperative focus...

i.e. i must write a poem... to feel better...
i must write a poem... to organise my thoughts...
no! a poem is not a maxim is not a categorical
imperative! a language of poetry is not
a language of morality: it's a language
of experience - or a lack / a lackey's "sentiment"...

i need a... categorical: impetus!
it's not enough to have read kant's critique of pure
reason... it must also involved
having re(a)d the: groundwork of
the metaphysics of morals...
but i'm a democratic reader...
i need to hear the other voices...
i can't be a kantian scholar...
a snippet 'ere, a snippet v'ere (funny how
THETA disappears when making the posit:
THERE - ver!)

who needs metaphysical absolutes...
when orthography (or a lack of it)
in english... spreads open its legs...
and the tongue remembers its tongue-brain-phallus
stage of co-existence in the oyster?!

i'm pretty sure that a categorical imperative
is by no means a categorical impetus...
this had to be written,
but it had to be written in order to disregard
anything a priori... prior to it...
a poem is a shady concern for action or inaction...
it's a deviation from the cartesian crux:
res cogitans (thinking thing)...
into the cartesian levy (res extensa)...
it's an action of inactivity...
as much as it's an inactive activity...
"the rest"...

impetus is not an imperative...
an impetus sources its meaning in a per se
investement... of itself - in itself - for itself...
an imperative?
in pronouns... impetus: i want... i will...
imperative? you want... you will...

an impetus is self-dictative...
an imperative is: indicative...
someone would rightly claim...
those that mourn indicatively...
will don the right garments for the process
of mourning...
which is indicative and devoid of
the per se manifestation of mourning...
it is an imperative when compared to
the impetus to mourn -
which is self-dictative...
which does now shallow itself in
grief by making a socially agreed to fiasco
of a very specific choice of wardrobe...

basically: however you like it...
an IMPERATIVE ≠ IMPETUS...
the year is almost over and i want to break-off
the dust from the thoughts that fudge-packed themselves
as worthy of occupying the minor instance
of having to count a depth of:
not dead within the year of being written.
Mateuš Conrad Sep 2016
an atypical journalistic interview sessions only lasts a few minutes: you know, you know, you knows... mostly arranged by eager liars and boxing-ring butchers of the chop & jabbed jobless... or as i like to call it to their faces when they recuperate at rock concerts with their slaughterhouse day-jobs: head-banging meat-heads; you know, one of the lads, yeah man, you know - can i start speaking sing-language from now on? i swear they're speaking sign-language already, i understand them in the boxing ring... outside of the boxing ring... huh?!

the same with modern music, it just loves
Bach or Chopin accents / diacritics / samples...
Salmonella Dub's song *problems
,
i don't know why it acquires the said critique,
moby's porcelain...
these are accents of once world know narratives,
the narratives are gone, but the
accents remain... once we had Chopin's piano,
now we have transition pieces
akin to Thomas Newman's 18 from the American
Beauty soundtrack... now the Emperors say:
too few notes... cos it's a real tear-jerking masterpiece...
finally people of all professional categorisation learned
punctuation and the assembling of data,
the point of shelving things... of
not keeping thought for the purpose of simplified
narration, but as a way to escape into idea identifying
post-narrative ensured dynamos...
what remains of classical music, is but
a sense of diacritical marks not applied to language,
what is left as a wasteland...
the modern version of classical music is but an accent
of what classical music used to be: the alphabet,
the narrative, the narrative arrangement...
we're left with accents... the piano is an accent...
something Mozart used to touch...
when Mozart wrote the a b c,
                   Thomas Newman just wrote the acute
                           above the c...
    because classical music is so scarce, so rare
that it requires an elephant and a poacher,
but hardly the egg...
                                       so when Mozart wrote
a b c... modern licks of the piano
                   wrote a jingle... licks...
              modern resurrection of the classical
narrative, when Mozart wrote his bit,
Charlie Harper wrote the acute sign above something
resembling a character named C to make him into
chimney, thus the scalpel ', yes, that's the linguistic
scalpel         '                      , which isn't a comma,
to dissect words...             play me a ******* Irish medley
you ****!                        
                           sophism says: all punctuation marks
              revolve around securing emphasis.
tell that to a twelve year old, and in telling them that:
how to create an ontology to differentiate them from
politicians and establishing them as
                                          eager hands that became
                 the roots of modern China, and the principle:
         family, root, family, root,
                             or your granny with far more to worried
about than you standing over her grave, meaning
she ******* herself in a care home and you were like:
     but my life!
                                  i moved my great-grandmother into
my grandmother's house... they sarcastically called me
a beneficiary at her funeral, you know how family is...
they're always ******* cannibal, they want you to have
three arms so they can chew one of them off
and instigate the lazy option: Satellite Plato TV in
their homes... to lazy to even have a decent thought:
forget thought leading to morality,
let's just keep it French enlightenment: thought
precipitating into existence... which is hardly any sort
of triangular or rhombus square definition of
behavioural patterns of macaques.
for ****'s sake: when Chopin wrote c, modern
music sampled the same piano as the acute sign above
c, i.e. ć, dissection: Moby's Porcelain is Chopin i.e. c,
the two together are ć... which is read
by dissecting the words itch cheese chi chee and
putting them back together like some sort of Frankenstein
in order to just get the acute sense of stressed c...
CTRL... C and P... then it's either just African drumming
as in excess rhythmic when it was once woodwind
sections... so Chopin without Moby's Porcelain would
just be c... with Porcelain we get ć... it's not a representation
of an itch, or a twitch... it's just ticklish, mind you,
the two are inseparable: and the rest i just like
to call ambience, or anything you could never claim to
make an onomatopoeia out of - if only it was
that simple: i'd call the practice of onomatopoeia the
craft of carpentry or stone-masonry -
knock on wood: get a whale's mating call in the deep blue...
******* magic in the desert of pampered journalism...
pampered journalism... i like that, i like it like
the idea of defending Saddam Hussein... pampered
journalism... here's a fake... oh, and another...
here's another fake... mascara drool here... and another
one here... **** me, a miniature golf course of ideas...
hard not to be pruning the delusional idea of
"this is Utopia" by western media's *******
into a handkerchief that's designed into fishnets of *****
than that of tearful sympathies with:
well the animal stories always sum things up, don't they?
queue
The pains of reality justify the
Deep seated sorrow of man.

The vulture encircles me
Events surrounded by mystery
Enveloped in insanity
The human race is
Captivated by mystery
Doomed to repeat history

Collusion to bestow unmitigated
Sorrow upon my being

Simply put, I am
Damaged goods

Speak softly now
And choose your next thoughts
Carefully,
For the devil has called
My soul to dance

Reckless, unmitigated
Abandonment
Of mind, body, and soul
Fruitless searches
Forever numb
Longing to feel whole

Deep beneath the rolling waves
Lies serenity
Amongst sunken slaves
Deep inside my brain
The labyrinth of my mind
Memories that
I've left behind
Gone with the breeze
Above arid land
Somewhere lost in the desert
Where only shamans understand
Somewhere locked in the innocence
Of childhood frailty
Misplaced in the universe
Perpetuating reality
Walking alongside
All the gods of the ages
Bounding across time
In history's pages
Vacated with the morals
Of man
Lost in the seams of
Our lives
In the absence of the infinite
Shared hallucinogenic cries
Gone with the limbs of
The serpent
Ignored individuality dies
The reflection of man tainted,
For it is where the devil hides
Looming in the shadows
Of irresistible allure
No acquittal of our sins
A race ****** to remain
Impure
Violence surrounding our
Unequivocal, dastardly instincts
Perched in the forefront of our
Perceived selves
Selfish, devilish
Acts of kindness
The misfortune of the fortunate
Given all the amenities
Of a king's meal
Without the sensation of
Taste
Washed away with our
Dreams of betterment
Laying upon the chests
Of mythological beasts
Souls left rotting
Souring with ferment

Supreme consciousness
Arouses the senses
Invent my future with the
Myths of the past

You're stuck in a state of
Imaginary grace
Dream myself into
New bounds of transparency

Cryptic writings
Things left unsaid
Unsure of the real
Or the surreal
Life's slipping away
Once again
Paper in hand
Palms begin to sweat
Indulging into reality
Memories
I long to forget

It seems forever
Since I've been home
Trying to balance
This chemical imbalance
But always, I'm left here
Alone
Believing my dreams real
Realizing my world's surreal
Living with uncertainty
Imagining reality

Where do I go
To hide the pain?
Dual existence?
Acute psychosis?
Trapped inside my own
Brain
There's a place in my mind
I like to hide
Where all of my secrets
I do confide
There's a place I go
To bury the pain
A papered existence
Conducive synopsis,
Abstained

I begin to sweat
My heart screaming
From my chest
Let the feeling pass
Delve into the kingdom
Inability to
Repress
Take me away
To that far off place
Abscond into surreality
Amongst things I dare not
Confess

Drinking in divinity
Affixed on mortality
Will I die in this place?
Unable to resurface
Back in reality

Stuck running in circles
On a surface-less plane
Can't escape the shadows
Can't remove the pain
Simple design
Made up of
Over thought complexity
A universe separated
Removed from the modern mind
Inexorably

Amputation of
The mutation
That is the
Human race
Segregation of this
Charred realm
From other wordly
Space
We live
We die
And death begins it
Reinvent our minds
Ignite our passions

Drowning in a gene pool
Of degenerates
Souls thrashing
Wildly, forlorn
Plunged into unmitigated
Evil
Of a race that destroys
The unborn

Lachrymose gaze
Upon the living dead
A thin film of separation
Through which lies
Are fed
Understanding the weakness
Into which we are
******
For shed blood
Forces cries
Ripping from mother's eyes
Witnessing her own demise
As a piece of her
Slowly dies
For father's impenitent
Fantasies once dreamed
Torn away from aching
Fingers
Left ravaged,
Impotent

Gazing at you
Under the cloak of
Intrigue
Watching you struggle
In the tangled lies
You weave

Commanding the head
Of the serpent
Lilith forcing man's
Non-repent
Imposed upon our being
Righteous punishments
Such ramifications
Deemed astringent

Incomprehensible
Allure
Masochists of
Everything pure

Watch the world die
From afar
Irrevocable despair
Promising allegiance
To a life I cannot
Bear

Killing myself with
Indecision
On the perimeter
Of sanity
In the psychotropic prison
And psychotic affliction

Here it comes again
The voices, getting louder
It doesn't feel good anymore
How do I escape
Escaping?
Where do I go when my sanctum
Has been compromised?
Unable to quiet
The insurgents afoot
Incurable, incalculable
Indecision
Lost, finding my way home
Left in between existence
Alongside myself
Alone

The cold, inhuman ability
To sacrifice one's own mind
Hanging onto the coat tails
Of free thought
Journey we now,
Into the nightmare
Ignoring loss of
Comprehension
Vacated laws of
Apprehension
Arming latent illness
Plotting revenge
Beneath the surface

Here it comes again
I hear it getting louder
It doesn't feel good anymore
Who will save the lifeguard
When he's about to drown?

Can you see me?
Can you hear my cry out?
He looks to find
There's no one around

Searching indefinitely
For myself
Lost in another
Under the guise of
Someone else
Why does it matter?
Seemingly insignificant
In a moment of clarity
Just breathe for a moment
Shoved back in reality
"Am I dreaming," he asked
His reflection replied
The answer profound
Unknowingly died

I sold my soul to get here
On the periphery of realization
Stuck on the perimeter of reality
Reentry revoked
Forced to sit idly
As my life passes
Before my eyes

This is my letter
Unable to deliver
This is my life
Unable to decipher
This is my nightmare
That I've never dreamed before

Trapped in the prison
I've constructed on my own
Locked myself in four walls
Of uncertainty
Built in the center of being
Unnoticed by the proprietor
Frailty prevalent
Implosion of the mind
Leading to the ******* of
The insanity
I've come to find

Death looms at the end
Of the candlestick
Walk hand in hand
With me
Fellow traveler of
Uncharted paths
My fellow affliction
With the unknown
Unable to save myself
From the pain I know
Awaits me

Here it comes again
Inescapable, maniacal laughter
It doesn't feel good anymore
And all I ever wanted
Was your guiding hand
Complacent in lies
Forcing deafening cries,
For there will be
No reprise
As my soul flutters
And dies

Death for sale
Ten will take you away
Consumed by the thought of it
No more worry
No more being suppressed
This other kingdom
Unknowingly repressed
Delve deeper into the nightmare
We lie together
Naked
Unashamed
Open to the probing
Fingertips
Of the world
Unable to speak
Sleep paralysis,
Yet this is no dream
Wide eyed
Searching
Unable to scream

Incommunicable desires
No longer latent
Unsuppressed is the disease
Of your discontent
Insufferable, forcible pain
Towards the ones loved most
Catatonic, embryonic
Feeble mind
Please save me from myself

Forgive me, father
For I know not what I do
Forgive me, mother
For I do not blame you

Plastic state of being
Suspended in the viscous
Coagulant of stolen thought
And free will
Drowning in my
Own enjoyment
Of self suffering

How will you remember me?
A trembling voice
To read my eulogy?

Forget the things I should have said
This demoness I've brought to bed
Speaking in riddles
Bewilderment of the senses
Deeper appreciation
For the subjugation of man

War criminals in suits
Pretentious, cowardly vestiges of man
Surrounded by an air of
Undeserved arrogance
Getting fat on young girls
Sending their children to war
Safeguarded by a desk
And the allure of change
Obscene, disgusting animals
Consuming their weight daily
In the profit of drugs and
Devised disease
Profiteers of death
Politicians work the corners

And I fall,
Too weak to carry on
Can't escape my own
Lonely, cold, loveless
Gaze
Black holes in my head
Leading into the depths of
My soul
Emptiness pervading
Madness running rampant
Destroying who I once was
Tearing to pieces
My uniqueness
Stripped of self
Thrown back to march
Within the masses
Towards impending demise

Staring into the eyes
Of the serpent
Turned to stone
Numb to emotion
Numb to pain
I cry out for substance
I miss the person
I used to be
The person you loved
Before you met me

Relieve me now of sin
Unto re-birthing, begin
Relieve me now of this burden
Knowledge and shame
Relieve me now of myself
And self inflicted pain

There it goes again
Making me feel dour
It doesn't feel good anymore
Purge me of this dependency
Ancient, carnal need
Necessity of loathing the infinitesimal

I've met the devil in my dreams
She looked a lot like you
Dreaming in wakefulness
Awakened desire in dreams
What is my intention?

Do I provide a function
Or functionally provide?
Are you living in a nightmare?
Have you gone to sleep and died?

Synesthesia upon awakening
My sensory perceptions
The permutation of the
Infinite

Children of the wilderness
Remove us from the
Impurities of societal disorder
Relieve us of the blandishment
Of media driven fallacies
As the masses are hoarded,
Spoon fed their own flesh,
And directed onward
By the pusillanimous grave robbers
Awarded with the title of
Government official
Given diplomatic immunity
And free reign over
The direction of our lives

There lies a serenity
Beneath the quiet surface
Of the ocean
The ocean floor is vast,
Uninhabited promise

I have developed an acute prescience
For what will come

Man unknowingly conspires
Against himself,
For the good of man
Cannot overcome
The evils of mankind
Conquering in the name of
Worthless ideals
And fruitless endeavors

Conforming to nonconformity
You're only fooling yourself

Wandering about in a dreamy state
With unexplained expectations
For some sort of happy outcome
Welcome to my nightmare
My inescapable kismet
Defend me from myself
I have become
My own worst enemy
Just a hyena looking for
A lions share
More animalistic than
A starving predator

Morally ambivalent
Acting upon
Inconclusive notions
There is no stability
In this loose earth
Sinking ever deeper
Into life unbeknownst
To me
Quicksand enveloping
Sanity and conscience
Leaving behind
Only memories of
What we ought to have
Become

Been suppressing emotion
For so long
Seems like forever
Since I've gone
Numb to the heartache
Blind to the happiness
Rediscovered childhood
At the end of my life

The words become a
Flowing river
My pen cannot dance
Quickly enough
To capture my
Escaping tongue

Discovering escape
Through self sufficiency

Sanity is nomadic
Traveling from
Person to person
Mind to mind
At any given moment
We are all insane
Began as a stream of consciousness and developed into a monster.
Shofi Ahmed Oct 2018
It’s on everyone's eyeline
where the flying clouds
look down time and again
on this perfectly placed mural.

King Solomon keeps an ear on the ground
the Queen of Sheba tiptoes on this way.
Only to find seas of silent blooms already
musing dipping in sun-kissed dews
on gently tilted roses that won’t drip down
not from this a picture perfect navel-high!

Velvety rose up from the ground
forever green earth is hanging low
in the dew on the rose that won’t fall.
Blossoming, eying on an acute high
evermore hopeful to scale high aspiring
to the faraway awaiting houris’ pool.
They will move neither to the north
nor south nor they go up or down until
Queen Fathima the Queen of Heaven
shows up there on the ‘as above so below’ *****.

There too the newly resurrected earth be primed
to loop into the Golden section at the same height.
Laying the stepping stone on before her
mosaiced to measure on the phi adhered navel-high!
Houri: The Beautiful native woman of paradise.
The Math Behind the Beauty argues that "Leonardo da Vinci's drawings of the human body emphasised its proportion. The ratio of the following distances is the Golden Ratio: (foot to navel) : (navel to head)".
Mateuš Conrad Nov 2016
some say it's called dart-eyes, a kaleidoscopic venture
that might leave you myopic, oddly enough i know
that people say a lot of far fetched things,
   and the excuses are usually metaphors,
there's the literal cardinal,
the literal spanish inquisition,
  and metaphors of demons in the bible -
          i still want to experience a fully
theocratic world: where man's words come
forth from man, and god's words come from
the mouth of god... again: poetry without
a god is like biology without chlorophyll,
   no one even suggested a kneeling process and
ardent prayer to be invoked,
     all it took was a spare thought away from
the daily commute and the daily invigoration
from some sort of ethic, oddly enough it always
ends up being an ethic of work...
   i guess that's why in the west everyone is
nearing an addiction thoroughly apparent that's
named workaholism... once the relationships
fail, the only saving string of hope is work,
an absurd work ethic, because wouldn't you
take a syringe filled with ink and do shifts in an
office beyond the norm, thus entering the world
of night shifts and anything else antisocial?
   people can't really be friends, we're fired up
toward formal relationships and what's guiding us
to these relationships is hierarchy...
              oddly enough the Aztec or Mayan
pyramids don't have that sort of feel to them,
they don't prescribe interpretations of hierarchy,
quite the opposite,
     ask someone who doesn't have a conquistador
heritage to explain that they are:
  the gallows... guillotines... the tyrant is not
buried within, these aren't caves to entombing a
tyrant with all his riches...
      there are no chambers in these structures...
they were intended as architectural symbols of
common law... those presumptions European
*******... human sacrifice? a myth...
these were sights of capital punishment,
you stepped out of line: you'd get your heart
carved out and your body would drop from
the execution altar down the steps for
           the scavenger mob to tear you apart
even further: had you transgressed communal
consent... justice has to become overpowering
but that does not mean we carve a mount
Rushmore akin to the statues of the valley of
the kings of enthroned pharaohs...
  much of ancient Egypt lingers in what we
call "modernity"... esp. in America...
             and the world is currently establishing
itself into cold war ii (i said that once,
can't remember when)... and until this is firmly
established, that it's clearly accepted that we're
dealing in a cold / intellectual war, then
we'll pass all that intelligence and engage in a hot war /
and emotional war, as characteristic overflowing
of populism, which at present times: has
all the coordinates, but no proper vector to
allow a congregational march toward impeding
dangers... but better a second cold war than
a third world war... so much of ancient Egypt
in America... the washington memorial for one...
what's the other name for it? ah... obelisk;
or what the pagans built to counter the fear of
impotence: well... we've established a bountiful
supply of humans... can we do a floral pattern
now? oddly enough we embraced tomb-pyramid
builders from the north-eastern side of
Africa's brain-dead region, and trusted
conquistadors wiping out a people that used
pyramids to stress the importance of law:
i can't see no reason to think that those pyramids
were intended for human sacrifice...
capital punishment? well, d'uh... because wasn't
Golgotha so unspectacular as to be less
than what it was? had they crucified him in private,
in some back-alleyway crucified to a door,
would history open its doors to the advent of
Christianity? don't think so.
what i'd really love to see is people with
necklaces of silver, and the thing dangling on them
would be a different torture mechanism...
an iron maiden... it's like prescribing pain is
necessary... it's a dogmatic ruling on a once upon
a time
(even the briefest) chance of happiness...
but even then certain philosophers say:
why be happy, when you can be interesting?
how interesting do you have to be so many times over
to not even wish for a stillness of neither want
nor drive to go beyond what you already have?
i don't know if this is an adequate comparison,
but in terms of interesting...
   a movie (side effects, 2013) utilises only two songs
in its official title:
   the focal point of a ******
       is staged to a "sleepwalking" woman preparing
a dinner for three (only two people are in the apartment),
the song? thievery corporation's the forgotten people...
i knew the band prior, and i've seen the film
before... but i never bothered to watch the credits...
i remember the odd couple who'd sit in cinemas and
engage in watching the end-credits, always the one
odd bunch: as if saying thank you to all the people
involve... a quick stroll through a graveyard is probably
comparably akin....
   and the other song? Bach's
   orchestral suite no. 2 in B minor, bwv 1067 -
     but i can't remember whether it's actually featured
in the film, simply because there's no focal moment
in the film where it can be heard as prominently as
the first song... and then there's thomas newman in
between (no surprise);
but a film like that is a meditation...
             if only two songs are used, chances are
the dialogue will have many strengths, because there
will be a multiplicity of consistent reinterpretation,
a bit like talking into a Tate Modern and seeing
Rodin's the kiss statue (inspired by Dante's divine
comedy), sketching it from the northern perspective,
the southern, western and eastern perspectives...
    i've seen few films that accredit a very minimalistic
soundtrack... on that note, how songs could literally
be translated into film titles: side effects - the forgotten people,
  dead poets' society - carpe diem, american beauty -
any other name, are there others? there probably are.

but that's nothing compared to last night's antics...
   some people climb the Everest... clap clap clap...
some people design super-suction vacuum cleaners...
clap clap clap...
                    from time to time i solve sudoku drunk
(no clapping)... but there's a narrative involved,
the narrative goes when you try to map out solving
one of these 81 "rubic" squares... applause for
speed with these babies like applause for premature
*******... aren't they compatible?
   we all have limitations, mine came yesterday,
when i allocated superscript numbers to the journey,
quiet literally an optical tangle, i should have used
       things like ª ' “ ‘ ¨ † above the plotted line...
but it only takes one mistake to ground you
   and then you have to go back and make minute corrections,
as the notes themselves suggest (crazy eyed darting):

exhibit a.

0    0    0    0    0    2    7    0    0
0    0    0    0  ­  4    0    0    2    0
2    0    5    1    0    7    0    0    8
0    9    0    0    0 ­   0    2    0    1
7    0    0    8    0    0    0    6    0
0  ­  0    6    0    7    0    5    0    0
4    0    8    7    0    0­    1    0    0
0    1    0    0    0    5    0    0    0
0    0 ­   9    0    1    0    3    0    0

   exhibit b. html that doesn't allow subscript
            or superscript notation, hence the brackets
   denoting movement (pending)


9 (24)    0          3 (23)    0    8 (5)    2    7    1 (2)    0
1 (12)    8 (8)    7 (9)      0    4          0    0    2          0
2            0         5            1    0          7    0    3 (13)   8
8 (7)       9        4 (18)     0 5 (33) 0    2    7 (1)      1
7            5 (16) 1 (14)     8   2 (20)   0    0    6           3 (21)
3 (19)    2 (17)  6            0   7           1 (15)  5           8 (6)    0
4            3 (27)  8           7   0            0         1            5 (28)    2 (26)
6 (30)    1          2 (22)   4 (31)    3 (32)    5    8 (3)    0    7 (11)
5 (29)    7 (10)    9    2 (25)    1    8 (4)    3    0    0

      it is no surprise that the notation played a key part
in having failed to map out the route taken,
       when you're using numbers in a puzzle
  it's almost an inevitable path to failure,
since you're making superscript "bookmarks" at
high concentration, and without any distinction to
what the puzzle demands, hence you go "cross-eyed"
  in solving the puzzle, and superscripting your progress
using the same symbols that are required to solve it,
but given that the puzzle involves 81 slots
  with 9 x 9 identical components (only so rearranged
  to be not contradict the rule of the puzzle
i.e. 9 symbols in each square of the nine in total,
   with a 9 x 9 variation on all linear arrangements not
involving two similar symbols, i.e.
   1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9, rather than 1 2 2 3 4 5 6 7 8) -
what became a hope to correct the mistake, but given
the intricacies of the progress, all the more harder to
recount steps and subsequently move forward with
   the spotted error...
hence a refresh, and the need for schematic,
given that there are 81 slots in total, with
     27 already in place, and given that there are 26
units of alphabet... how handy to actually persist in
using these characters, but adding diacritical variations
to make up 54 necessary, without invoking
      a 10 or a sz...

exhibit c.

0    0    0    0    0    2    7    1ą    0
0    0    0    0 ­   4    0    0    2    0
2    0    5    1    0    7    0    0    8
0    9    0    0    0 ­   0    2    7α    1
7    0    0    8    0    0    0    6    0
0 ­   0    6    0    7    0    5    0    0
4    0    8    7    0    ­0    1    0    0
0    1    0    0    0    5    0    0    0
0    0­    9    0    1    0    3    0    0

exhibit d.

nb. α = 1, ą (ogonek) = 2, á (acute) = 3, à (grave) = 4,
â (circumflex) = 5, ä (umlaut) = 6, cedilla missing,
   ã (tilde) = 7, b = 8, c = 9, ć = 10, č (caron) = 11,
ĉ (circumflex) = 12, ā (macron) = 13, ç (cedilla) = 14,
d = 15, e = 16, é = 17, è = 18, ê = 19, ě = 20, ë = 21,
f = 22, g = 23, ǧ = 24, ḡ = 25, ĝ = 26
         (now i figure, could have used Greek... d'uh!
ahh, i'll use it for the finishing touches),
        h = 27, i = 28, ı = 29, í = 30, î = 31, ï = 32, μ = 33
j = 34, δ = 35, k = 36, λ = 37, ł = 38, τ = 39, n = 40,
ń = 41, ñ = 42, o = 43, ō = 44, ø = 45, p = 46,
q = 47, r = 48, s = 49, γ = 50, φ = 51, χ = 52, ψ = 53, ω = 54.

before i begin the puzzle... there's a reason why a caron
g (ǧ) might exist, and why a grave z might not...
   and why there's a piquant difference between
an acute z (ź) and ż - depending on the aesthetician,
who decides to move away from the national linguistico-aesthetic
dogma... for example the name George,
orthodoxy states you must learn the aesthetic version
of Grze'gosz... but you would also be able to write
the alternative: Ǧegoš - given that rz is equivalent to ż,
    and given that there is no grave accenting of z,
but there is the acute (ź), perhaps you could consider
the dot a convergence point that could assimilate
sound, immediately over the caron g... of course none
of these remarks are intended for application: because
they would never reach a consideration in a learning
curriculum of any nation, a whimsical idea derived from
the remnants of the esperanto experiment...
  from what i can see, ǧ would equal grz, and
the reason that rz exists at all, and it equivalent to ż
is because a grave version of z is missing, and that
the acute z (ź) exists, and there is no point of balance
that otherwise is the foundation of the caron...
  i wouldn't have thought focusing on such "trivial"
signs above letters provided so much pecking-orders.

exhibit e. focal points in greek notation

9ǧ    4ñ    3g    6o    8â    2    7    1ą    5τ
1ĉ   ­ 8b    7c    5p    4    3q    6ń    2    9ł
2     6γ     5      1      9r    7    4n    3ā    8
8ã    9    4è    3s      5ψ   6ω    2    7α    1
7    5e    1ç    8      2ě    4ø    9ō    6    3ë
3ê    2é    6    9λ    7    1d      5    8ä    4k
4    3h     8    7     6χ    9φ    1    5i    2ĝ
6í    1    2f    4î     3ï      5     8á   9μ    7č
5ı    7ć    9    2ḡ    1     8à     3     4j     6δ

thus completed: there's a reason why the majority
of the narrative is done utilising diacritical marks,
i could have used many more distinct symbols,
but the point is: there are very few focal points
that can be ascribed distinct markings,
most of the puzzle is done on the basis of "crazy eyes",
i.e. darting eyes - focal points do emerge after
much darting about the squares, notably when
a linear sequence is completed, or whenever one of
the 9 squares is completed, or when all nine squares
contain nine 7s or 8s...
      or that's one way to go about not having any whiskey,
the rain pouring outside, and the night stretching
into a near eternity -
            
exhibit f. narrative of correction, actual excerpt

it began at h, i.e. labyrinth corner no. 27,
******* trainspotting! this is going to be like reading
the time for the next train to arrive at Waterloo!
  5(28), 5(33)?, 5(28),
  6(30), 4(31), 3(22), 5(33), 33? 9(38), 4(34),
  6(35), 4(36)...
6(41) < 4(40) < 5(39) < 9(38) < 9(37)....
       4(42) < 6(43) < 9(44) < 4(45) < 5(46) < 3(47) < 9(48) < 3(49) <...>
   6(58) > 9(51) < 6(52)...
        longest period spent on 3(13) / ā -
   and the notation that gave way to this spiral?
5(33), which actually ended up being 5(53) / ψ.
Mateuš Conrad Dec 2015
i hate technology, its automated typo system, i write one thing and then it starts playing hide & seek with me... i rarely make mistakes, but this a.i. automated typo system makes me look stupid, or neurotic in the least, i hate this automatic typo signification as if i am teaching someone!*

i love that drinking wins over writing sometimes,
like this strange neo-left asking me to top it all off
with my communist grandfather living under stalin
completely in agreement with them girlies weeping
when he stank the dog off the grave in terms of bio-tech
completion; he wouldn't be dear to the left epitaph,
he'd be like voltaire & the priest: given the devil
in the sickbed there was not time to choose enemies...
he'd be branded a ****... worded... the worst kind...
a pseudo pacifist of some sort... couple economy
and atheism and you get a darwinian exclusion
where the ants aren't oblivious to lions but exclude them
for their species so well organised, god can take
the hangover route and make the "self" less sellable;...
(economy of a species and darwinism
demands communism - exclusive economisation;
not inclusive economisation...
that's some sort of theological branch
of personification where man minds spider above
another man, etc.)...
there's no self included, esp. a (")self(") worth selling...
which means exactly that (the opposite of now)...
NO TOURISM INTO THE REALM
OF CELEBRITY LITERATURE...
WHICH IS ONLY BIOGRAPHIES....
GET YER **** OUT GIRLS!
YOU'LL WRITE A BOOK SOMETIME!
god this culture is barren, and to think i dressed up
in uniform for school listening to jethro tull once...
this ain't the same country...
it sold out to the arabs... charles iii
is a ******* traitor!
traitor!
charless the iii is john ii... character assasination
you like you did with diana...
diana's revenge... yeah i believe you
were wearing silk straps of safety and the
driver survived and the parapazzi blinded the driver:
one thing about jealousy... it has dwarf legs.
they pass into the political realm they do....
easier come easier to take on in politics...
economic migrants (we'll see about that,
your philanthrophy just took to faking flight
via an invisible magic carpet flapping its trims)...
i told you once that democracy is like inverse voyeurism...
mark the x on paper, ***** an ****** into jugs for
pale ale... excess carbonation... it turns all fizzy...
the geese marched into winter...
the swans marched right into a royal edict...
the neo carta was never crafted...
but i got the hang of the diacritic marks...
i was walking drinking a belgian cider...
C DER.... in belgian french there's an accent,
stress the c, makes the vowel missing...
cídre - not really acute i, but an acute c...
c         dr. dre, i.e. dre, c dre...
it's the acute stressor of c that makes the vowel
disappear... not that a vowel can actually
become acute... vowels like women wear
mascarra to look pretty, the consonants are
serviced for a complexity... via hebrew original...
c                        dre
not
               si                        ahem...               dre.
in passes on the pompom for expected pomp -
i can't believe it took a bottle of belgian cider
to get that across.
oh sure they can hang me... by the snout...
for i won't be able to march into a field of truffles...
but hey... big snout worthy... never mind
trying to wear leather shoes given the hannibal
treatment for tacky snakeshoe leather.
most say that difficult literature is literature unread...
there's no other difficulty in literature...
difficult literature is simply unread, that's why
it's difficult... simple literature trickles down as easy as water...
and that's why it's easily managed by what
the chinese done already, having no hollywood and
damning india's bollywood... their phoneticism
is lodged in ideograms... pictograms...
european phoneticism is lodged in a skin to number,
B akin to 8, e.g., we get rich owning ovens
televisisions and satellites... but we also own
watiers and cooks who are mechanised...
and have no richness of thought...
who cares if beijing is clouded in smog?
we have 15 more years of carbon emission to wait for
before our idealism is profitable!
ah but the arab girls will migrate to london every year
between may and august... i should be so lucky lucky
australian girl pop lucky with them shopping
in only one hot spot, a grieving egyptian's legoland
of tacky known as harrods!
Jayesh Jun 2018
It wasn’t supposed to be like this
Never had I imagined this
After I first saw you
Sitting in the corner of the coffee shop
Sipping tea with a hint of hazel
Matching the light in your eyes

I used to love that coffee shop
One we went back to many times
At least at first
You would order the same tea
With the same hint of hazel
And I would adore your acute audacity
Ordering tea in a coffee shop

I had friends who told me many things
They hadn’t been afraid to see the truth
Telling me we were moving too fast
Not really understanding where we were
But instead taking the present to define everything
Perhaps I should’ve listened

I had thought you were what they describe as ‘The One’
But your brilliance in my life
Blinded me of many things I should’ve paid heed to
Placing me on the edge of your storm
Instead of reaching the eye of it
As I should’ve

Maybe this is why the movies are fictional
They only exist in our lives until the end credits
Whereas I lived past them
And witnessed the reality
Beyond the list of directors, producers, and actors
Living in a cycle of after-credits

We went to that coffee shop one last time
And I looked
Looked for that same spark which I had latched on to
All those years back
But this time I truly saw you, past the light
This time you ordered coffee
Black, with no hint of hazel
Mateuš Conrad Feb 2017
it the new year, and only into February have i finally returned to my modus operandi... which was? well... it was the pre-Christmas period in the supermarket, and 1 litre bottles of whiskey were on offer, marked down from £19 to £15^, so it was usually that, a bottle of coke, and a bottle of beer and walking home straight away... perching myself on the windowsill, watching youtube channels of uninspired people talking about being inspired... it was never going to work... i was bound to experience a writer's block... but as of today... it's back to my original "strategy"... (a) drinking expensive alcohol can be depressing, well, it actually is depressing... i don't mean drinking cocktails in some urban hot-spot... by expensive i mean something akin to Jim or Jack... that's expensive... in comparison to high commissioner, it is expensive... so having said that: it's the effect of alcohol in relation to the effect of alcohol in other people: that has to become expensive... a van gogh moment... say: writing a poem or "poem" (depending on the levels of your pedantry). (b) the modus operandi... going to a Sri Lankan offlice... buying three canned beers, a 70cl bottle of whiskey... and going for a walk with the beers... head clearing... and yes: rain or shine, winter or summer... out there... looking into suburban houses, with some people asleep, others still watching television... men at their roadworks posts... taxi drivers returning home... in general the motorway insomnia... it's good to return to my seemingly lost and forgotten ways.

^the most annoying thing about buying a computer in Poland for a mere £100 is that the keyboard isn't what it "should" be... i have no £ within shift+3... and the ditto marks are not at shift+2, but at ****+@... so yes, i have to copy+paste it from the public space of... the internet - and this is where computers become equivalent to a piano... sure, there's the black and white keys... by black i mean shift+.

it can begin with as little as,
well... it will quiete a lot to begin with...
bilingualism
       is more complex than stating
your polymath ability to learn
    7 languages... evidenly one is superior
to the other, in that bilingualism
can be regarded as something akin
to digging trenches...
     what i mean is that
psychiatric terms can be poetic,
   for example schizoid (split) phren (mind)
         is brimming with metaphors...
Brautigan, Burroughs, Bukowski...
      all of them were labelled as such...
i can't quiet understand it as anything
other than a metaphor,
     but in cases of genuine ordeal
with the symptoms, it's anything but that.
the American linguistic notation:
      [oz-moh-sis, os-]....
the British linguistic tradition:
                                 /ɒzˈməʊsɪs; ɒs-/ -
and this is my linguistic notation:
     \ o(h)-ßmo(h)-sis / -
    by the way... most denote the (h)
                        as '... i.e. o'-
   frankly... i like to laugh and sigh...
because?
                   well, it's what happens when
you originate with a language that has
diacritical marks, and inherit a language
where diacritical marks are completely absent...
   i and j do not really count...
   even though it's evident that i begins as ι...
   so it's there: foreced almost... with a diacritical
marking...
   oh yeah: i forgot to mention the word...
osmosis* -
                       hardly anyone says that word
with the first s being soft...
       hence what english did to the world
and globalised it, so unto english the world must
give an answer, and given that english
is a language written without clear,
educational distinctions, a blank canvas
in terms of diacritical markings...
   i guess we can start to see how we can write
english, once again, with a "world view"
incorporating as many deviant examples as possible...
   a bit like bird-watching, or what darwinism
is in reverse, as ****-centric and beyond this:
nothing... so that's a german example having
a say in this example...
            and it really begun simple...
   and this is how the slavs differ...
    žiž      (well, given the ι already has a mark)
        that ι already has a mark,
southern slavs differ from northen slavs
in that they couldn't mingle the too together...
  so-half a caron on the zzzz / snooze (ź)...
      or how lazily we call it sleep, or snoring...
imagine all that effort into the onomatopoeia
of a woof! or a meow! and indeed:
probably the wise choice to call it zzzzz and sleep...
and leave the snoring to the harp
   (snoring in Polish? hrapanie...
the verb? hrapać)...
              the southern slavs will not spot this,
and if that's the case that žiž could be written
by a Yugol... it wouldn't be written by a Pole...
             and given that ž = ź
it just shows you that the southern Slavs's excess
is a complete disrespect / automaton stance
            concerning i...
  the Russians are Greco-Slavs... don't know...
  if they were introduced to the Latin alphabet first
they wouldn't be a competing super-power
  with their pseudo-Grecian alphabet (Cyrillic) -
   and thank god... no good, no evil...
     it would be a bit too much...
        like th
     at question is usually asked:
why do bad things happen to good people?
well... why do good things happen to bad people?
back to ž = ź
   and there's Hegel... castrated with his i = i / i am i...
well, i can see that...
          plain and simple... no wonder Marxism came
from Hegel... dumber than a hammer...
  and the subsequent nailing in of nails into coffins...

no. 1
(evil bladder, evil bladder! hence the interludes...
but hey! it's a collage)

... and this promenade in the night and rain,
really has a kabbalistic beginning,
well... kabbalistic meaning: you've really become
ridiculous with your numerology -
numerology is the lazy way to upkeep mysticism...
  i can't see it as anything more than indolence...
i begun this meditation
with two letters...              z           &             ι
and that later gave me the variations
                         the Libra is heavier on the z side
i know, but that's for now...
i.e.
                                               ι
                                                     (i)
                              &

               z
(ž    
            ß     ź)

that's how it looks right now, it's good that
i didn't mention ż so far....
so unto the examples...
      a southern slav will write ži... (ž= ź)
but a northern slav will not...
    e.g. ziemia (earth)
         ziemniak (potato)
   ziarno (grain)
    zima (winter)...
             and only in this particular combination...
(this has to be more interesting than numerology,
i.e. not substituting letters for numbers
   i.e. 1 = a, j, s, / 2 = b, k, t / 3 = c, l, u
ergo 3,848 = hello using something called
a decimal base 10 arithmetic... i don't know)...
     as other diacritical acute insertions
    also prove to be the case, respecting
the enforced diacritical mark above the ι,
esp. when there's a squeeze...
    ściema (faking it)
                 nagość (nakedness)...
  this is language slowed down from its
supposed everyday quick usage...
               i'm looking for a word when
the squeezed snooze (ź) appears as it does...
       http://tinyurl.com/zvur8qb
well.. może = maybe (Goran)
   write morze = maybe, and you get
the orthographic nazis onto you...
                 it's an aesthetic that has transcended
aesthetic in that it has become as rigid
as a rubric, or a "universal" appreciation of
                  Michelangelo rather than a Damien Hirst
shark in a plastic aquarium...
     and given it's a diacritical mark on
the last possible alphabetical letter: how
hard if not now to find a suitable word?
       it's really hard to find a ź example
once you realise that z+i are so coupled...
   you only realise at first the alpha-
                  / beginning of conjuring an example
that doesn't really arrive...
       such is the ź example given that z+i are
so entwined...
                   i could easily write the caron z
   and the roman enforced diacritical marking over
iota easily... ži...
                           but i can't... the Pandora is
hovering above my head, and i can't think of
a word with ź in it... given that i'm only thinking
of an alpha- / beginning the word with a zi
                       that's equivalent to ź
should no i be present within such close proximity...
       zakon (monestary)
                 zagoń (round-up,
                           the pronoun is self-evident...
        contained within the word, and it's gender-neutral,
   and if the pronoun is not the bothersome bit...
then it's the latter instructions of: those sheep...
    aport! / fetch... you can say that word (zagoń)
in your sleep, and you wouldn't need to be in a place
where there are sheep, or sheep that need to be rounded-up).

interlude no. 2 - no comment.

      well...
  it's no mere accident that when i go on
this little walks with beer that i find the odd thing
lying on the pavement...
  today? a rain-soaked joanna cannon
book, the trouble with goats and sheep...
and yes, i finally found a Polish word that provides
an example of ź...
      before the enforced diacritical ι
                              the acute above the z disappears...
given zielony (green)...
              but after the enfroced diacritical mark
over i... acute symbol has a tendency to appear
like a necessitated after-tea mint...
     e.g. kraszewski's god's wrath, page 158
(ludowa swpółdzielnia widawniczna edition, 1973 a.d.)...
znaleźli - they found...
      zło - evil...
                  źli- evil ones...
                          and it is such a rarity to find!
  a bit like a narcissus flower in a field of wheat!
     or a jasmine concentrated to a perfume...
             whiffing about its airs against the tennis with
the wind...

i wish they might call this:
    against the cantos' fascination with the chinese
ideogram...
or... thanks for using emoticons...
   language had to retaliate against the :) and :(
                    hieroglymphs of the digital pyramid...

interlude no. 3 - still no comment

also known as the Libra and the pivot

                                               ι
                                                     (i)
                              Δ

               z
(ž    
            ß     ź)
  
   and yes _____________ the sea-saw...
humanism can really compete with the science,
if it get its act together...

    and since the Greeks already adopted
adding diacritical marks to their beautiful alphabet...
i wonder how θ will fare
   when i write the word thought (θought),
and subsequently write the word:
   weather....       oh **** on me! it's an acute θ!
that magically turns into a V!
   weaver...
                 and saying that: only one consonant
made it to a vowel status of a grapheme æ / œ...
first to come was ß... the grapheme of s and z...
   a bit of chemistry goes a long way... chiral
as a pair of siamese twins, those two are
(you can put on a cockney accent saying that
sentence, yes, you can, i say so)....
  well... it's complicated because you're not german
and german to you is like quasi-Zulu...
ß looks like β (beta)... but it's a grapheme...
an sz that never actually meet... or entwine
like a and e might in æ...
   which makes it very difficult to follow...
just like the grapheme i wish to invent for
       TH  
                         namely that it's akin to  PH...
φilosoφy.... θou(gh)t....
                        g(h)ost...
                 ­                                look how pretty
it looks though: the ****'s F doing here?
     this an **** or a a ******* or a happily
married couple, or what?
    Φ and Θ.... almost looks like a keyhole
with a key lodged in it, and then turned...
horizontal in... reaction of unlocking the lock
mediatory with Θ and then back out into Φ...
             i.e. Φ + I = Θ = Φ + I + ...an open door...

interlude no. 4: this Russian chic at uni really
loved the doors... we watched a movie together
about them... with val kilmer playing
the dead man key role...
  is that door enough for you honey?
                       you got the шock and ßakes?

and if i mention hekhalot rabatai?
or the talmud, or the sefer yetzirah,
                              the bahir and the zohar?
twelth century and thirteenth century rabbis...
      will i also hear of the two Adams
of Eden, the (alpeh) fffא and the (ayin) fff
                    alpeh is a tame ******, feminine,
the mystery is not in the siamese H
   of the tetragrammaton, but in the aleph and the ayin...
    clearly i can't write ayin down without
semite d'uh on the digital canvas...
           writin left to right doesn't do much
justice... unless i write ye י‎,                                                            
f­ff.
ffff   fff        ע                  י‎
...pfי‎                         ­                  י...
there... you should really look at
the behaviour of ayin in the digital form,
the ****** wont't budge! you have to tell him
of the yodh to get off his *** and
make way for a pregnant lady...
        and since this is the 21st century...
i'd like to say: i'd like to write
a pentagrammaton.... yep...
a pentragrammaton... the ayin is gay,
and alpeh is a heterosexual...
     but the pentragrammaton now concentrates
on vav - or a vw beetle... v = w = ł...
       that's the moment you realise
that western linguistic mentioned o' not as
o(h) but as ' = yod...
         bad move... it's no silent (y)...
obviously this can exist in a non-pentragrammatorn
relation...
                            עואי­
jane taylor May 2016
running
deliquescing into nature
i am engulfed in stillness

i encounter a deer as i round a corner
its chestnut eyes intensely sense
something wild within me
transfixed
we meld palpably
whispering our essence

myopic views warp into acute focus
golden flowers stretch and arch
and yawning into the sun
swell with bursts of luster
whilst violets polka dot the path
with lilac luminescence

dead tree trunks
mutating into masterpieces
yearn for new life
drawing in the squirrels

yellow-bellied birds
hover
sensing my motions
whilst woodland winds undulate
pine scented waves of sea salt oceans

my ears enchantingly enhanced
by bristling leaves caressing trees
as scintillating amber butterflies
dance in synch
with the clock tower’s
ancient chiming

a gust of wind
catches a patch of sand
and sends it quivering
fusing high in summer air
then falling soft as feathers

hidden fairies prance about
answering unheard questions
problems dissolve in emerald meadows
without a hint of striving

essays write themselves
upon my mind
poetry flows through me
wings of meadowlarks
trace my face with nuances
interlaced with connotations

rushing home
i write it down
then bowing i take credit
for what was etched upon my soul
by a sunbeam in the forest

©2016janetaylor
Ron Sanders Feb 15
(Glade, World, Master, Boy, Hero)

                                                 GLADE

There is a glacier.
Its blue tongue’s tip just tastes a frozen gorge.
There is a gorge, its walls shattered by cold; a once-green thing that, in dying, birthed a thousand aching fissures. It works its jagged way downhill, round ragged rifts and drifts until it comes upon a little frosted wood.
There is a wood, an island locked in ice.
Within this wood the gorge descends. It wanders and it wends; it brakes and all but ends outside a clearing wet with sun. And there, forking, its bent and broken arms embrace a strange, enchanted glade.

There is a glade.
And in this glade the black bears sleep, though salmon leap fat between falls. Here the field mouse draws no shadow, the eagle seeks no prey; they spend their while caressed by rays, and halcyon days are they. Here rabbit and fawn may linger, no longer need they flee. For in this timeless, taintless space, the Wild has ceased to be. (Outside the glade are shadow and prey, are ice and naked death. There blood may run freely. There the eagle, that thief, is a righteous savage, a noble fiend. But once in the glade he is dove, and has no taste for blood, running freely or otherwise).
And in this glade there nests a pool:  a dazzling, blue-and-silver jewel; profoundly deep, pristinely clear. All who sip find solace here, for this is the Eye of Being. They lap in peace, assuming blear, not knowing it is seeing. And ever thus this pool shall peer:  a silent seer, reflecting on—all that Is, and all Beyond.
(Outside the glade there lies a world where rivers ever run, where ghastly calves in random file revile a bitter sun. East, the day is born in mist. West she dies:  her rest, the deep. And North…North the Earth lies mute. Wind gnaws her hide, wind wracks her dreams. Wind screams like a flute in her white, white sleep).
But in the glade are tall, stately grasses, sunning raptly, spinning lore. Roots render the rhythms, blades bend without breeze, as signals ascend from the glade’s tender floor. (In this wise the glade weaves its word, airs its views. All the glade’s flora are bearers of news). They do not wither with fall, for in the glade there is no fall. They do not bind or wilt or brown—they gesture, spreading the mood, the mind; conveying, indeed, the very soul of the glade. As ever they have, as they shall evermore.
Bees do not hum here; they sing. They fatten the dream. Mellow and round are the timbres they sound, sweet is the music they bring. Birds do not sing here—they play. They carry the theme. Dulcet and warm are the strains they perform. Gifted musicians are they. (All in the glade are virtuosi. They were born to create. Melody, harmony, meter…are innate). Now the performance is lively and bright, now full, now almost still. For, though all in the glade may lean to the light, they must bend to the maestro’s feel.
And yet…there was a day, long ago in a dream, when this ongoing opus was torn. And on that day (so the lullaby goes) the wind brought a scream, and Dissonance was born.
There was a noise.
Moose tensed, their coffee eyes narrowed, their patient brows creased. Bees mauled the tempo, birds lost their place. The grass stood *****, all blades pointing east. There was a crash, and a shriek, and a naked, bleeding beast burst stinking through the fern, fell stumbling on its face.
Moose scattered:  unheard of. Sheep brawled, geese burst out of rhyme. The symphony, forever endeavored to soar sublime, fluttered, plunged, and, for all of a measure, ceased.
The pool was appalled…what manner brute—what kind of monster was this? Furless flank to forelimb, hide obscured by blood. As for its face…it had no face; only a look:  of shock frozen in time, of horror in amber. A deep welling rift ran temple to chin, halving the mask, caving it in. Such a grievous wound…the pool watched it stagger, on two legs and four, thrashing about till it came to a rise. There it labored for air, wiped the blood from its eyes, lashed at illusion, looked wildly round. Beholding the pool, the beast tumbled down.
And there this wretch plunged his thirst, drank his fill, fell back on his haunches.
The pool became still.
The two traded stares.
The glass read his features:  that durable eye pondered the wreckage and probed the debris. Revolted, the pool sought the succor of sky. But that thing remained—that face…in all creation…surely there could be…no other creature so ugly as he.
And he gazed in the glass.
Beneath the surface were…images…swimming in currents of shadow and light. He saw half-shapes and fragments…hideous men, exotic beasts…saw blue worlds of water, saw white worlds of ice…it was all so vague and unreal—yet somehow strangely familiar. Deeper he peered, but, as his mangled face neared, the sun smote the pool and the shapes disappeared. The brute pawed the ground and, dreaming he’d drowned, shook his head sharply and slowly looked round:
There were starlings at arm’s-length, transfixed with suspense, their tail feathers trembling, their dark eyes intense. Fantails and timber wolves, stepping in sync, paused for a sniff, stooped for a drink. Bees, pirouetting, threw light in his eyes. Seizing the moment, the pool pressed its hold.
And the glade revolved.
The freak watched it spin—saw the ferns’ greedy fingers reach round and close in, saw the tall grass rise high in an emerald sheen, swaying to rhythms from somewhere obscene. This place was madness; he struggled to stand, but, weak as he was, keeled over cold.
And the glade heaved a sigh, and the tall grass reclined, in curious patterns once rendered in whim. Far off in thunder the hard world replied, as iced pines exploded and screamed on the breeze. Down bore the sun, a chill just behind. The pool, grown blood-red, fended frost from its rim. Details dissolved in the oncoming tide. The pool dimmed to black. Night seeped through the trees.
Now flora found slumber while, pulsing below, the pool was infused with a soft ruby glow.
Soon birds bearing beech leaves, and needles of pine, laid down a spread and returned to the limb. But breath from the North blew their blanket aside. The wind grew in earnest, the air seemed to freeze.
And the wolf and the she-bear, of contrary mind, abhorring their task approached, looking grim. They sniffed him for measure, then, loathing his hide, growled their displeasure and dropped to their knees.
All night these glum attendants flanked his naked quaking form. The rising moon drew dreams in gray.
In time the man grew warm.

Morning swept through the glade in one broad stroke of the master’s brush, dappling the foliage with amber and rose. The pool was roused by the sweet pass of light. He opened his eye and the glade came alive:  into the whirlpool of life a thousand colors swam, chasing the scattering eddies of night. The magic of morning began.
Bluebird and goldfinch descended in rings, primaries clashing with robin and jay. Dollops of sun, repelled by their wings, spattered anew on the palette of day. Banking as one, the hues struck away.
There was a crowd.
And in this crowd that oddity sat, its chin on its chest, its rear pointing west. Its forepaws lay leaning, upturned and at rest. ***** and blood messed its muzzle and breast. Passed overnight. Or perhaps only dozed…tendril by tendril, claw by claw, the crowd decompressed:  the ring slowly closed.
And the stranger cried out and shifted his seat. His eyes sought his feet—rounding the arches, and topping the toes, the tall grass was questing. The little brute froze.
And the fauna took pause, and the flora went slack. Leaves followed talons, stems followed claws. Hooves tromped on paws as the crowd drifted back.
Not a breath taken. Not a move made. Stillness, like fog, enveloped the glade.
Now the grass tugged his feet, now the sea of jade splayed—left hand and right, the slender shafts reared. Gaining momentum, blade followed blade. The green field was torn till a deep swath appeared. The swath hurtled west, reflecting the sun. A hundred yards distant it died. Once more the grass stood, its tips spreading wide. The swath, born again, repeated its run.
Plain was the message, and clearly conveyed. The newcomer gawked. Confusion ensued.
The tall blades were swayed by the pulse of the glade.
But the swath was not renewed.
Something tiny bounced by. He ventured a peek, barely rolling an eye.
A chocolate sparrow, with pinfeathers black, popped past an ankle and paused to look back. The bird cocked its head, rocked in place, hopped ahead. It fluttered. It freaked. It glared and stopped dead. Vexed to its limit, it burst into flight.
The sitting thing watched till it passed out of sight.
Now a breeze bent his back, picked him half off his stern. The wind, done its best, grew flustered at last. It trailed to the west, thrilling lilies it passed. It wound round the willows and didn’t return.
So the fauna repaired to the live oak’s shade.
A strange kind of stupor fell over the glade.
From deep in the wood came a shape through the trees—a pronghorn, perhaps, or an elk swift and sure. But up limped a moose, a flyport with fur, low in the belly and wide at the knees. Wizened he was, scarcely able to see. Neither vision, nor vigor, nor velvet had he. He hobbled abreast, then groveled or died, his nose facing west, his tail flung aside.
The brute merely glazed.
But the glade was unfazed.
Those long shafts reshuffled. A tense moment passed.
The ominous shadows of badgers were cast. Three left their holes, as if to attack. They pedaled like moles and the stranger jumped back. He stumbled, fell flailing, and, kicking his guide, threw out his arms and tumbled astride. First he stepped on his tail, then he stepped on his pride. The moose bellowed twice and shook side to side while the little pest clung to his high, homely hide.
And the old moose unbent to his knees by degrees. He reeled like a drunk down the path of the breeze. Together they lurched through a break in the trees. And all morning long, and on through the day, both beggar and bearer would buckle and sway. The moose lost his temper, but never his way.
And the wind blew the sun to its deep ruby rest; the scrub, in obeisance, inclined to the west. Their slow taffy shadow in slinking would seem to slip round the rocks like a snake in a dream.
And the sun became a beacon, and the underbrush a stream. The wide Earth took their weight in stride, and the wind named him Hero.

                                               WORLD

When the sun was low the old moose began to stumble, at last limping to a halt beside a swift river lined with stunted pines. He’d half-expected a somewhat graceful dismount, but Hero, dug in like a tick, wasn’t about to let go. The moose knelt until his joints objected, shimmied, bucked, and with a sudden whirl sent the little bother flying.
Hero scraped himself out of the dirt and looked up forlornly. The ancient moose, his good eye gone bad, glared a long minute before hobbling away, his bony **** rocking with dignity, his scraggly tail fighting off imaginary flies.
Hero managed a few steps and dropped, staring in disbelief as the moose disappeared between half-frozen pines. He remained on his knees for the longest time, his jaw hanging, waiting for the moose—waiting for anything to show. At last a ruckus to his left snapped him out of it. His head ratcheted around.
Fifteen feet off the bank, three screaming gulls were dancing on an immense stone outcropping, fighting over a rapids-tossed sockeye. Hero was instantly famished. He wobbled to his feet and stumbled twice wading out, only regaining his balance by leaning against the current while rapidly wheeling his arms. The shrieking gulls reluctantly backed off as he stepped in slow-motion through the rushing water. Hero lunged at the slapping fish, cracked an ankle on the rock, and hopped around howling with both hands holding his shin. One foot was as good as none in the surging water. He went right under. Before he knew it he was being swept downriver.
This was glacial meltwater, so cold he quickly lost all sensation. Hero swallowed a mouthful and surfaced fighting for life; too disoriented to combat the current, too numb to realize his waving arm was striking something solid. That solid something turned out to be a swirling clump of rotted birches tangled up in scrub. He embraced one of these trunks as the mass slammed against isolated rocks, kicked his feet wildly, and somehow hauled himself aboard. The raft ricocheted rock to rock until repeated impacts sent it spinning. Giddy from the whirling and soaking, he clung freezing to the trees, retching continuously while the river roared in his ears. Through spray and tears he made out only cartwheeling fragments of the world.
But then the river was widening, its fury dissipating. The raft was approaching the sea. Hero gasped as the seemingly boundless Pacific swallowed the broad red belly of the sun. And as he spun he was treated to a panoramic, breathtaking spectacle:  the great indigo ocean with its slow traffic of driftwood and ice—voiced-over by the dismal calls of foraging gulls, and broken rhythmically by intermittent glimpses of the river’s rocky banks growing farther and farther apart. Whirling as it went, the dying man’s soul was taken by the sea.

At the 59th Parallel in winter, the Pacific coast plays host to numberless floes and minor bergs orphaned from Alaskan coastal glaciers. Hero cruised into a watery gridlock on a boat of ice-glazed birches, one bit of flotsam among the rest.
The cold wouldn’t let him move, wouldn’t let him breathe, wouldn’t let him think. He lay supine, feet crossed and hands clasped, terrified that to budge was to roll. An ice patina grew over the tangled trees like a white fungus—this growth soon webbed his fingers and toes, speckled his chest and thighs, glazed his hair and face, danced and disintegrated with his breath’s tapering plumes.
Floes and frozen-over debris tended to group with passing collisions; Hero’s married birches bit by bit accrued a mostly-submerged tangle of trunks and branches, all becoming fast in a creeping ice cement. Night came on just as resolutely, until land was only a flat black memory. The raft moved silently over the deep, still accepting the occasional gentle impact. And the floes became thicker and wider in a freezing doldrums; soon the proximate sea was all a broken field of packed ice, bobbing infinitesimally with the planet’s pulse.
Long ghostly strands of fog came striding over the torn ice field. They leaned this way and that, their mourners’ skirts tearing and patching and leaning anew. The ghosts were there to seal it:  their locked fingers and gray diaphanous wings were quickly becoming a wholly opaque descending shroud, its boundaries lost in the soughing wind.
Collisions came less and less. Darkness and silence, breaching some previously impenetrable barrier, began to take up residence in Hero’s chilling marrow. From his very center broke a weak little cry of refusal, of denial, as mind mustered frame in one desperate bid for freedom. His skin, frozen to the raft, peeled right off, and at that his inner brave succumbed. Hero’s smashed head arched back. His face contorted frightfully while the little lamp fluttered and paled within.
A raucous chorus slowly worked its way through the mist. It emerged a few hundred yards off—a tiny, terrified barking, growing in clarity as it grew in volume and urgency. It was a sound beacon. Hero strained eagerly, and when for one excruciating minute the beacon was cut off by a large passing body, was certain death had claimed him. Then it was back, and his heartbeat was quickening. He caught a heaving sound…something was moving his way down a wide tributary between floes. Hero could hear a gasping and snorting, accompanied by a hard slapping and splashing. The sounds vanished. In a moment the raft was rocked from below.
A sputtering muzzle blew salt in his eyes. A cold slimy flipper flapped across his chest and slapped about his face. The fur seal barked directly in his ear. Whiskers raked his dead cheek. The seal barked again.
Back below the surface it slipped. Hero listened anxiously as the splashing sound retreated whence it came.
The seal swam off perhaps a hundred feet and began barking hysterically.
From much farther off came a profusion of answering barks.
The seal swam back to Hero’s raft, circling and calling, circling and calling, while the responders approached en masse.
Now a sallow beam could be seen cutting through the fog. Several more showed vaguely along a plane yawing with some huge, barely discernible object.
A herd of northern fur seals burst into sight, barking madly, beating through the ice. They converged on Hero’s raft, really bellowing now.
Those odd yellow beams came in pursuit, and soon were close enough to eerily illuminate a gigantic wooden vessel parting the ice. The seals barked ferociously. Whenever the vessel leaned away, those nearest Hero’s raft would absolutely howl.
The fog deepened, condensed, crystallized, and then the collective light of a dozen lanterns was playing over a low, listing nightmare. Hero could hear the shouts of many aggressive men, but the waterborne seals, rather than scatter, boarded the ice and redoubled their din, fighting their way onto his quickly mobbed raft.
The sealers hurled serrated spears even as they clambered down rope ladders. When these men reached the ice the seals snapped and gnashed madly, refusing to be dislodged. The sealers lost all composure with the thrill of the hunt:  wielding clubs, spears, and hatchets—sometimes using iron bludgeons or any old utensil handed down—they crushed skulls, dragged carcasses, hooked animals still spurting and bleating. Clinging though he was, Hero was flabbergasted by the way the slipping and scampering men went about their butchery, hacking and smashing more with passion than with precision. But not a single seal attempted to flee—throughout the carnage they barked all the louder, egging on their slayers, carcass by carcass drawing the impassioned sealers to Hero’s ice-locked raft.
It was all so hazy and macabre. Hero’s eyes rolled back, and the next thing he knew he was sitting hunched on the vessel’s sopping deck. Two men were rubbing his limbs while another poured warm water down his back. He looked around in shock. The very notion of a boat containing more than one or two individuals—a sort of floating tribe—was way beyond his ken; so to see it, to have it come looming out of nothingness, was an experience almost supernatural.
He remembered some of those fur-covered men force-feeding him mouthfuls of halibut and seal fat, and he recalled a small group standing around him, shouting words that made no sense at all. After that he had a very vivid memory of their angry little chief repeatedly punching him while hollering one angry little word over and over and over. Hero couldn’t make out his inquisitor’s face, for the large feather-lined hood quite engulfed the man’s head, yet he could see those quick eyes flash as they caught the oil lamps’ light. Finally this man stopped boxing Hero’s ear. He stared hard. In these remaining decades of the tenth century it was fully within his power to administer as he saw fit—he could have ordered Hero’s immediate execution and not a man of his crew would have objected. He hesitated only because there wasn’t a hint of resistance in his prisoner’s pinched and frightened eyes. He leaned forward, studying the wound that all but split Hero’s face in two before grunting, raising his right arm, and yanking down its seal hide sleeve. Attached to the stump of his forearm was a primitive prosthesis consisting of a thick oak cap strapped to the arm with lengths of gut, and, hammered squarely into the center of that cap, a broad, cruelly hooked blade chiseled from a narwhal’s tusk. He held this obscenity in front of Hero’s eyes, traced the face’s deep diagonal rift, and once more demanded his captive’s identity. Hero then vaguely remembered being dragged along a tilting deck and thrown into the ship’s tiny hold. He retained a strong mental image of landing in a place of musty odors and dank projections.
There came a soft scuffling in the darkness, and presently a blind and exceedingly old woman felt her way to his side, mumbling as she approached. Her speech was comprised not of words; it was rather a running gibberish of cooing vowels and clucking consonants. The old woman was as mad as her circumstances; sick with sea and solitude, bedeviled by age and confinement. She sat cross-legged, patting her withered palms up his arm until she came to his face. Her strange mumbling soliloquy rose and fell as her bony fingers daintily explored the newly opened wound. Hero let his head fall back in her lap. A pair of hands like emaciated tarantulas scurried through the filth and tiny bodies until they came upon an old otter’s pelt bag that held her secrets. The woman loosened the bag’s cord and extracted an assortment of herbs, sniffing each in succession. She then scooped a handful of blubber from a bowl made of a previous occupant’s skull, kneaded the selected herbs into the blubber, and commenced gently massaging the wound, clucking and cooing while the black rats watched and waited.
For nine interminable days Hero remained in that cold, stinking compartment, rocking back and forth between life and death. The old woman never gave up on him. She clung to him during his seizures, rubbed his limbs vigorously when his blood pressure fell. She gathered various accumulated skins and, using woven strands of her own long hair, sewed him a multilayered, body-length wraparound with arm sleeves and very deep pockets, working by touch with a needle formed of a cod’s rib. By this same method she was able to fashion a pair of heavily lined snug-fitting moccasins. The old woman made him eat; she masticated the cod and halibut their keepers pitched into the hold, then shoved the results down his throat with a long gnarly forefinger. She called into his screaming nightmares, talking him out of sleep and back into their foul little reality. Together they lowed in the dark, while the keel groaned along and the waves beat time.
At the end of those dark nine days his strength was restored, but not his mind. Once again he was taken on deck.
The vessel had reached a chain of remote wind-swept islands, rocky and treeless, naked except for patchy carpets of hardy grass. These islands stretched far to the west, shrouded in mist. The ship was making for the smallest; just a chip on the sea. When they reached depth for anchorage Hero was hustled into a rowboat and lowered over the side. He looked up, saw two men climbing down by rope. These men positioned themselves at the oars and slowly rowed toward the islet. Seated between them, Hero felt like a man being led to his execution. He snuck a peek. The rowers’ heads were lowered, their features completely obscured by the heavy feathered hoods; they had all the somberness of pallbearers. Not a word passed between them as they rigidly worked their oars:  the only sound was the dip-and-purl of wood in water. Hero looked away. Against his will, he found his eyes drawn to that rocky islet waiting in the fog.
Not a bird, not a sea lion, not a shrub. It was lonesome beyond imagination.
Upon landfall one of the men used a spear’s point to **** Hero ashore. While his companion steadied the boat, he removed a skin sack full of half-frozen halibut, followed by a few armloads of precious tinder. These articles he tossed at Hero’s feet. He resumed his place at the oars and, without looking back, used the blunt end of his spear to shove off.
Hero watched the boat moving away, watched the men climbing their ropes, watched the boat being hauled aboard. As the mysterious vessel receded he saw a number of those silent men standing at the stern, stolidly returning his stare. Their hooded forms grew smaller and smaller, finally becoming indistinct. The vessel was swallowed up in fog.
Hero looked around, at a desolate world of rock and drifting ice. In the sunless pools at his feet a few purplish, flaccid sea anemones were waving in a sickly phosphorescence; along the rocks ran a tattered quilt of wild grass and lichen. It was the end of the world. He began to pace in his anxiety, only to crumple bit by bit inside his furs. At last he just sat with his face in his arms and wept. When he could weep no more he raised his head and opened his red, swollen eyes.
There were gulls all around him, staring like statuary in a madman’s garden. Standing in their midst were auks and puffins and murres, absolutely spellbound, unable to lean away. The silence was broken only by a wild, fitfully pursing wind—a wind that seemed, eerily, on the verge of producing syllables. And on that wind a flock of terns was rising slowly, their beady eyes fixed on the lone sitting man. The terns watched as he trembled, and banked as he swooned.
Then, beating as one, they threw back their wings and blew into the sun.

There was a blaze.
Behind that blaze a pair of black, bug-like eyes met his and immediately withdrew. A man wrapped in caribou hides stood abruptly, drawing angry swarms of sparks.
The Aleut peered queerly into the icy Pacific, his craggy profile merging seamlessly with a jumble of rocks showing just beyond his shoulder. The man was very tall, closer to seven feet than to six, and thin almost to emaciation.
He was also a mute. Soon enough he would display a talent for communication through gutturals, but now his body language spoke louder than words. It told the shivering stranger that he was not only disliked—he was feared.
The islander removed the hides he’d piled on the sleeping man. He produced a bone awl and strategically pierced a caribou hide, draped the hide over the old woman’s handiwork, and ran a cord of tightly woven tendons crosswise through his made holes, knotting it at the bottom to create a kind of cloak. He then killed the fire, heaped wood, fish, and remaining hides into Hero’s arms, and led him to a tiny cove where his long skin canoe lay in the grass. This was not the one-man kayak used by his people for centuries, but an actual canoe modeled on the graceful vessels he’d observed under the control of northern coastal tribesmen. After dragging it into the water he perched Hero in the fore, placed the cargo in the middle, and stepped into the rear like a gaunt furry spider. The Aleut dug out a paddle and began pulling with smooth strokes of surprising muscularity, his black eyes trained on his quiet companion’s back.
So began their long island-hopping journey. They stepped the chain one stone at a time, living off the sea. But much as the islander disliked Hero’s vapid company, it was not in his nature to proceed expeditiously; his people, remote as they were, had learned to count not in days but in generations. Given this, the Aleut took his time. He showed Hero how to build shelters of skin and gut; during bad weather the two would sit on an island in utter silence while rain hammered on their stretched seal-intestine window. And one very clear night he pointed out constellations while attempting to demonstrate, using broad gestures, just how the brighter heavenly bodies were in perfect alignment with the Aleutians. Hero followed his guide’s gestures as a pet follows its master’s movements and, like a pet, soon became bored. The Aleut did not grow flustered. He grew ever more wary:  behind that granite, weather-beaten exterior squirmed a very primitive imagination. Superstitious as he was, the Aleut was almost certain Hero could read his mind. So one time, and one time only, he threw a searing look at the back of Hero’s bowed and listing head. After a long minute of vigorous thought-projection he shifted his gaze aside. The brute appeared to feel this shift, and gently turned his head. And both saw the ocean break rhythm, and watched as otters and sea lions surfaced, noted their progress, and slipped without tremor beneath the waves.
In spring the fogs lifted. The grimness gave way to serenity, a generous sun buttered the dappled sea. On the islands grass grew lushly. Wildflowers leapt on the color-starved eye.
And one day the islander’s nape itched. He turned to see a flock of arctic terns casually tracking them under a gorgeous, white-plumed sky. As the day progressed the terns came drifting high overhead, slowly but surely taking the lead.
The Aleut squinted against the sun. He’d never known these birds to pursue a westerly migratory pattern—the terns were distributing themselves into a rough wedge shape, much like geese on the wing.
For a while he let the flock be his guide. Then, to test his stars, he cunningly steered his canoe north. At once the wedge disintegrated. Not until he’d lowered his eyes and pulled purposefully to the west did the disrupted pattern reassert itself. He peered up timidly. The wedge was now in the shape of a perfect arrowhead.
Just so were the fates of mariners and aviators inextricably entwined. At night, once the Aleut had landed his canoe on the nearest pearl, the terns would light in a quiet circle and remain until sunrise. As the Aleut and Hero took to sea, the flock would quickly form that same authoritative pattern.
In time the Aleut paddled his companion clear to the westernmost islands of the Aleutian chain. His people had dwelt, even here, a thousand years and more, but no contemporary islander knew for certain what lay beyond. Legend told of an enormous land mass forever gripped by cold, where a cruel people waylaid innocent seafarers for barbaric sacrificial rites.
So here the islander paused. But even as he vacillated he noticed the terns were veering south.
If the Aleut had been able to curse aloud he would have been vociferous. He was being compelled to follow an even less desirable course—that of the unknown open ocean. Now he looked upon his passenger’s hunched back not with fear but with loathing. He took a deep breath, rolled his shoulders, and defiantly continued west. The wedge broke up immediately. The terns dive-bombed the canoe, whirled around the windmilling Aleut, tore skyward and hovered determinedly. Something huge broke surface behind them, but the Aleut was way too frayed to turn. He dropped his head, a beaten man, and began paddling south. Little by little the birds returned to formation.
The tiny canoe had no business going up against the mighty Pacific. It would soon have been swallowed and smashed, had not the terns veered in close formation whenever the distant sea appeared too rough. Once he’d lost his bearings the Aleut religiously followed their serpentine course.
The days began to warm.
Now the sea’s bounty all but leapt in the canoe.
It seemed the Aleut was forever catching the finest currents, practically sliding down a corridor entirely free of peril. In this manner he was able to safely navigate waters no such craft had mastered before.
They were proceeding south by southwest, awed children of a plenteous, generous sea. The going became easier by the day, the ocean heavier with cod.
Nights the Aleut drifted comfortably, but a lifetime of wariness made him wake off and on. He’d slowly rise to find Hero sitting quietly under the stars, and soon he’d see, pallid in moonlight, a large body neatly pleating the ocean’s surface. The shape would precede them a while, only to vanish without a ripple.
All this strangeness kept the Aleut’s heart in a whirl, though he took pains to maintain his poise.
To allay his fear he kept a flat black stone planted squarely between them. It was his oldest treasure; an oddity he’d taken off the body of a mauled Tlingit woman when he was a child. Who she was, and how she’d come by the stone, were mysteries far beyond him, for no such piece had ever been known to Aleut or Inuk.
The stone was smooth and had been worked perfectly round. Bright yellow specks were scattered about its dull black face.
Long ago someone had etched a quaint and clumsy rune on that flat black surface—it was the crude, universal symbol for sun:  a broad circle surrounded by several rays. When the stone was rubbed against a pelt it possessed the curious property of growing quite warm and bright in the rune’s grooves, while the surface remained cool and dull.
This stone, both friend and overlord, had always “spoken to him”. It caused him to become restless when it was time to move on, and allowed him to relax when a destination had been reached. In this way he’d come to the familiar islet and discovered the unconscious little man. Just so:  the stone, he was sure, was responsible for making him “feel bad” as he watched the stranger shiver, and “feel better” once he’d built him a life-saving fire from the small pile of tinder he’d found nearby.
By now, however, the Aleut was wholly disenchanted with his stone, and deeply regretted having done its mysterious bidding. Never before had he been so long from sight of land, and never before had he felt so very, very small. The unimagined immensity of the Pacific was really starting to get to him when, after all their while at sea, a gray, seductive haze broke the horizon. They had reached another chain of islands, an Asian chain, the dark and smoky Kurils. Here a cold current kept the climate cool and foggy, and the chill, along with the prevalence of otter and seal, made him feel almost at home.
But this place gave him the creeps; he was a stranger, a trespasser somewhere sacred. There was a looming quality to the island mountains that made him extraordinarily aware of his transience, his pettiness, his puniness. He grew more and more cautious, sure their progress was being monitored—he could have sworn he saw wraiths in the trees, and wolves padding warily in the brush. The big islands looked on breathlessly. All along the rocky cliffs, thousands of auks and puffins followed the canoe in dead silence, their heads turning simultaneously, their countless tiny eyes peering redly through the fog. As the weeks passed, the Aleut’s anxiety was manifested in tics and sighs, and he’d cringe each time the crimson sun sank behind those black volcanic summits. In his imagination the mountains would rise right out of the sea, as though to pluck him. But the islands, in all their dignity, would always refuse to acknowledge so meek a stranger, and return their eyes to sea. The Aleut would hang his head, and timidly paddle by.
Then for days and days he pulled his weary canoe west—through a strait parting two mighty islands not part of the chain, and thence across a sea that was a warm, enticing bath. Spring had come to the East Asian coastal waters, and the Ainu, alone and in groups, were venturing deeper in search of increasing bounty. The Aleut, absorbed in his thoughts of sweet climate and bitter fate, was unaware they’d been spotted.
This first meeting between strangers of different worlds was a brief and awkward one. A lone Ainu fisherman, seeing the Aleut come paddling out of the unknown, dropped his net and turned to stone. The Aleut, for his part, instinctively froze with his body turned half-away to make the leanest target possible. Their stares locked. Never had the Aleut seen a face so heavily bearded, and never hair so fair. The Ainu began banging on his bronze catch pail. Other fishers soon appeared from the north and south, effectively cutting off the canoe. The Aleut caressed his stone and looked to the sky. The wedge had vanished. He put down his head and paddled for all he was worth.
With the word out, uncountable fishing craft appeared out of the blue and broke into hot pursuit, their pilots determined to force the canoe ashore.
Suddenly they were in sight of land, and the sea was absolutely riddled with watercraft. A train of small boats cast off from the mainland, even as a posse of two-man coracle-like tubs began to surround the battered skin canoe, their inhabitants calling back and forth in astonishment at the sight of these dark, savage newcomers. But the pursuing little coastal men, banging excitedly on the sides of their boats, were not Ainu. They had very straight black hair, prominent cheekbones, and strangely slanted eyes. And their speech, oddly marvelous as it was, was a rapid series of coos, chirps, and barks. Their boats formed a tight semi-circle around the canoe, forcing the Aleut to approach the mainland. The little men banged their boats maniacally, with more joining in as the canoe neared shore.
A bit farther south was a natural harbor swarming with fishing vessels of every description. As the canoe was forced into this harbor, people along the rocky coast began banging whatever they could get their hands on, until the air was filled with their lunatic percussion.
Tiny brown men came running along a soft yellow cliff overlooking the harbor, gesturing wildly. The canoe was squeezed between a chain of tubs and the shore, and, as it slowed, the tempo and ferocity of the banging decreased accordingly. When the canoe came to a halt the banging and shouting stopped. Hero creaked to his feet. The first North American to set foot on Asian soil stepped out shakily.
There followed the profoundest silence imaginable.
A second later it was as if a dam had burst.
Hundreds of hysterical, yammering voices erupted from hundreds of hysterical, clinging men and women. Hero was spun around, jostled about, handed along. He stared into their astounded, pinched little faces, and the sun, pulsing between their heads as he was turned, repeatedly stabbed his eyes. There came an excited outburst and frantic splashing which could only have been the Aleut’s violent demise, and then Hero was somehow limping alongside a primitive fishing village, blindly following a narrow dirt path that hugged the yellow cliff’s base. The warm spring sun caught the dust as he shambled. He rounded a bend and stopped.
Half a dozen children stood in his way, too fascinated to run. A chatter and scuffle rose behind him. He looked back to see that he was now in the midst of a small crowd of these children, and that more were running up with cries of amazement.
A stone struck his shoulder. As Hero turned another glanced off his chest.
A moment later he was being pelted from all sides, and the giggles and gasps had become something wildly unreal. He dropped to his knees in a hail of hurled rocks, covered his head with his arms, and slithered up the path on his belly.
A new voice broke in; an older, authoritative voice.
The children scampered off squealing.
Hero, shaken to his feet, found himself face to face with a diminutive, shouting, incomprehensible old man. The old man threw his arm around Hero’s waist and, jabbering all the while, led him to a secondary path cut into the cliff’s face. This path sloped gently upward over the waves. Together they picked their way to a place maybe halfway up, where the cliff’s face was honeycombed with natural alcoves and dug-out caves. Most of these spaces were used as one-man shelters; a few, cut deeper in the earth, as family hives. Strange gabbing people slid out of these holes like worms, reaching, but the little old man, who was evidently a little old man of some stature, embraced his find possessively and shouted them back inside.
The path narrowed as they climbed.
At its summit spread the upscale end of the neighborhood. Hero was led to a hovel nestled amid dozens of similar hovels, all scattered around a dainty stream wending between patches of stunted vegetation.
The old man’s place was basically a one-room hut fashioned of earth and salvaged boat hulls, with a slender side-yard surrounded by dry, dusty hedges. But inside it was clean and tidy, with rice paper partitioning and, built into the far earthen wall, a miniature stone fireplace. The old man sat his guest in the exact center of the room. There he fed him scraps from his bowl, using long sticks to pluck out bits of fish and clumps of tiny, starchy white pellets.
He studied the brute closely, watched him chew, walked round and round him. He poked here. He pinched there.
And that night he lit a fire on his crushed-shell hearth.
Hero curled up on a mat where the gossip of flames could reach him. Nearby, at his delicate wicker table, the old man sat in semi-darkness, illuminated only from the waist down.
But his eyes were alive. They spat and darted as they reflected the fire’s light, and, when at last they’d begun to sputter, his scratchy little voice came pattering out of the dark, muttering something vile and oddly modulated, sometimes in a whisper, sometimes in a gathering snarl.
Hero feigned slumber, unable to ignore those paired ominous flashes. Still, the room was cozy, and the fire warm, and the play of light and shadow kicked sleep in his eyes.

In the morning he woke in the old man’s side-yard, his head pounding, a rusty iron clamp securely fastened around his neck. This clamp was attached to the outermost link of a crude three-foot chain, and the link at the other end to a long stake driven into eight inches of solid rock. The chain and stake, like the clamp, were hammered of local iron. The clamp was too tight for comfortable swallowing, the chain too short to make standing possible. Hero could, however, spread out on his chest and stretch an arm to a low row of hedges. By parting the tangled undergrowth he had a limited view of the fishing village below, and of the harbor beyond. As the days passed he was able to tweak himself a view-space discernible only from his peculiar vantage. He accomplished this by gently breaking small branches strategically, then guiding their interrupted growth with the utmost tenderness. It was his secret garden.
He had no memory—none whatsoever—of being staked here. Obviously the old man hadn’t set this up overnight. Hero’s mind prodded timidly…how many others had been chained to this spot, and why?
But over the subsequent weeks and months he went beyond caring. Each day was the same:  just after dawn the old man would storm into the tiny side-yard swinging his reed whip wildly. The lashings were savage and unremitting. The old man, except for his eyes, would be mute. Only his whip need speak. And the snap of his reed had but one message:  when you see this whip you go down, and you go down immediately.
The naked savage, scarred head to foot, learned to go prostrate on the moment. Even so, the old man couldn’t resist the temptation to indulge in the occasional good old, all-out thrashing. And after each session he would toss the prisoner a vile mess of dead fish and rotting leftovers.
Hero lived like this for many months, lost in a confused world of pain and anticipation. Perversely, he came to look forward to the bite of that whip, for, whether he flogged him in passion or just for sport, the old man was always sure to make it personal. It seemed their relationship might go on forever.
But one day there was a great commotion in the sleepy little fishing village. Hero parted the leaves and beheld a small train of oblong coaches at rest near the harbor. Large oxen yoked in pairs lolled between the carriages, immune to the clamor around them. There were dark shaggy horses and colorfully dressed Bactrian camels. The horses and camels were tethered in the rear, but were occasionally paraded around the carriages by little men wielding long painted bamboo poles. The whole affair was exotic and mesmerizing, eccentric and profane. Hero watched all day in amazement, infected by the hubbub, though he was totally mystified by the crowd’s fascination on the carriages’ far side.
And late that afternoon he saw the old man come walking out of that crowd, talking heatedly with another man. The stranger was shorter and broader than the old man, with long stringy hair and long stringy mustaches. He saw them climbing the path, saw them crawl inside a hole lashing furiously. They were lost from view for a minute, then popped up big as life. Hero glowed and curled up eagerly as they approached.
The old man and stranger came into the narrow side-yard still arguing. The old man grabbed Hero by the hair and twisted until he was facing the newcomer.
The stranger had oily, porous skin, and a round but grave countenance. His highly slanted eyes were bright and restless. He studied Hero’s mutilated face with keen interest before borrowing the old man’s reed. When Hero scraped at his feet he grunted and returned the reed.
The stranger pulled out something shiny and hefted it in his hand. He then raised his other hand while considering Hero, as though weighing him too. The old man’s eyes glinted, and for an instant his expression became grotesquely servile. The stranger and old man, facing, nodded curtly in unison. The stranger dropped the shiny thing onto the old man’s itching palm. The old man whipped Hero frantically before taking a small ax to the chain. A few hard blows split a link, the broken link was bent back by the tool’s shaft, and the prisoner was at last released.
The old man handed the stranger a short hempen rope. The stranger bowed deeply. He then tied an end of the rope through one of the remaining links and began dragging Hero along. Hero’s hands sought the old man, who kicked and cursed him all the way to the path. The three stumbled single-file to the bottom. The old man waved his arms and shouted hysterically, trotting behind until he ran out of breath. But he got in a final kick and, before he came to a gasping halt, managed to lash Hero once for old time’s sake, and to spit on him twice for luck.

There were five carriages; a long one in the center hitched to four oxen, and two smaller coaches in the front and rear with a pair of oxen on each. The carriages were old and battered, built of splitting wood slats and rusted iron braces. Various hides, spare wheels, and a hundred odds and ends were tied to the sides and roofs. Hero’s new master, using him as a ram, shoved him through the crowd to the long carriage. He hauled him up the single wood step and watched the crowd’s reaction. Children hid behind mothers, mothers hissed and jeered, men spat in that smashed, disgusting face.
Satisfied, Hero’s master twisted the rope tighter and dragged him through the hide flap that served as the carriage’s rear wall.
A strange ruckus began at their entrance.
Inside the carriage were bulky shapes and quirky movements, yet the immediate and overwhelming impression was one of unbelievable stench. Hero, instantly covered with flies, was kicked and shoved down a foot-wide aisle. The carriage’s walls were riddled with black flecks of old dried blood, the floor coated with standing *****, a variety of small carcasses, and some clinging, indefinable slime. But the living contents of this hell were so horrifying, and so unexpected, that Hero at once dropped to his knees. Observing this, master grabbed a whip off the wall and lashed him along the floor.
A number of bamboo cages lined either side of the carriage, each four feet high, four feet wide, and three feet deep. In the first cage to their left, a quadruple amputee dangled in a leather harness in a cloud of flies, jealously gnawing a chicken carcass balanced on his belly. The second cage held a man who had been burned over ninety per cent of his body, and the third a middle-aged woman with no eyes or tongue, her head shaved. The next cage housed a fully grown black leopard, its bright eyes fixed on the horrified newcomer. Then an empty cage, and finally a cage containing a demented man whose long yellow nails were busily raking a face deeply scarred and bleeding.
The first cage against the opposite wall held two girls rolling in their own excrement. Siamese twins unable to part, they had developed a unique method of locomotion, and now executed a three-quarters cartwheel in Hero’s direction, their mangled, severely bitten hands attempting to reach him through the bars. In the cage next to theirs a naked dwarf glowered menacingly, his eyes following coldly as Hero’s master shoved him down the narrow aisle, occasionally pausing to lash a cage. The hissing and howling increased as each prisoner beheld the new neighbor.
The third cage held an intensely sick adult Bornean sun bear, so confined it was entirely unable to move. Its hide was a patchwork of scraggly fur and grayish skin, glistening with odd eruptions. It rolled its sunken eyes in Hero’s direction, its muzzle twitching feebly.
The next cage contained a man who was frightfully diseased. Broad fungal patches covered his face and limbs, terminating in waxy folds that dangled like a rooster’s wattles. Welling sores spotted his chest and back. His eyes were bugged and sallow; his lower lip drooped below his chin. He barked wetly at Hero’s passing legs.
The second-to-last cage housed a rare, completely hairless Chinese albino, and the last cage a very tall, skeletal woman. The albino snapped at Hero while repeatedly banging his head against the cage. The woman hissed and coiled like a snake, her spine arching amazingly.
Master hauled Hero to the empty cage on his left, swung its door open with his foot, and forced him to his knees by pushing down with all his weight. He kicked and punched until Hero had been squeezed inside, then shut and secured the wide bamboo door.
Master inched his way back down the carriage, hammering the **** of his whip on each cage as he passed. There was a glimpse of daylight as he lifted the flap.
Once he’d departed, the carriage grew eerily silent.
Hero cautiously turned his head. Less than a foot away, the black leopard was frozen in place, one paw waving hypnotically in his face. The beast’s fangs were bared, its ears straight back, its eyes glistening. Hero turned ever so slowly, until he was looking into the eyes of the demented man in the final cage. The man cocked his head quizzically. A second later he was screaming his lungs out in a bizarre downward spiral.
At once the carriage erupted. The freaks shrieked and scrabbled, the leopard spun in place. Directly across the aisle, the albino hurled himself against the bars of his cage. He batted his face with his fists, threw back his head, and just howled and howled and howled. The snake woman curled even tighter, her long scrawny legs entwined behind her head.
Hero sat with breath held, absolutely silent, absolutely motionless. He very, very slowly closed his eyes.

Later that night the flap was flung high. The menagerie came alive as master, weirdly illuminated by moonlight, slowly made his way down the aisle carrying a skin sack oozing blood. He stopped at each cage to toss in a dying chicken and a handful of smelt.
When he reached Hero’s cage he looked down thoughtfully.
He extracted a quivering chicken and held it above the cage so that blood dripped on the brute’s deeply pleated forehead. Hero lowered his eyes. Master’s face darkened. He smashed the bird against the cage, over and over, a vein throbbing in his temple. Finally he hissed and displayed the limp chicken high over the albino’s head. The albino yelped and kicked, thrusting his hand up between the bars and jerking it back to lick away the blood rolling down his forearm.
Master eyed Hero coldly before pointedly dropping the chicken into the albino’s searching hands.
Master hissed again. He slowly made his way out.
Soon there was a commotion outside. The carriage rocked a bit before settling. Hero, turning in his cage to peek through a rift in the wood, saw horses being urged forward. He could hear men shouting. The carriage rocked again. He looked up and saw the gibbous moon suspended in mist. For just a second something wedge-shaped cut across its soft white face.
But then the oxen were grunting, the wheels had been freed, and the horses drawn abreast. Master’s lash spat left and right, and the show proceeded…west.

                                              MA­STER

She was very round and very small, with very short, very shaggy black hair. Her arms bore the scars of numerous bites from beast and man, and around her neck ran long wheals from a particularly savage owner. Hero, having spent the better part of the morning watching master storm in and out of a strange screaming house, now watched him drag the little round woman through the dirt. For a while he listened to the song of his master’s lash, waiting for the woman to break. But there was never a whimper.
It had been a difficult transaction for master, and an altogether difficult morning. For hours he’d paced up and down the main carriage, alternately murmuring affectionately into, and lashing at, each cage he visited. The sun bear, long dead and stuffed, had been taken outside for barter. It had soon been returned.
Master had lingered over Hero’s cage for a good while, staring critically. He’d begun shouting, and three of his men had burst in through the flap, unlatched the demented man’s cage, and dragged him out by the feet for trade, master personally stomping on his torn and groping hands.
And now master was kicking and shoving the little woman down the aisle as his men restrained her by the hair and throat. Upon master’s command these men stripped her naked and commenced pinching and slapping while making threatening faces and mocking noises. The freaks sat right up in their cages.
The woman looked as though she’d fainted:  her arms were lax, her eyes rolled up. Her whole face seemed to purse, and her body, head to toe, began to run blue. Her fingers quivered, arched, and clawed—the woman was self-asphyxiating. Master fairly leaped with delight while the cages rocked around him. He had the men slap her awake. Once she was fully conscious they stuffed her into the demented man’s old cage next to Hero’s.
Master then looked in eagerly, one to the other, his hands balled into fists. The woman buried her odd round face in her forearms as she squeezed herself into her cage’s deepest corner. Hero gazed indifferently and went back to his peephole.
Master exploded. He smacked and kicked the cages over and over, swore up and down, ran the shaft of his whip back and forth against the heavy bamboo bars. Eventually he calmed somewhat. He stared coldly at Hero, made a ***** smile, and spat right in his eyes. A tense minute passed. Master slowly made his way outside.
Hero automatically relaxed. Across the aisle the albino ****** his face between his cage’s bars to sniff the newcomer. The leopard, bobbing rhythmically, emitted a high-pitched squeal that gradually descended to a steadily throbbing growl.
Hero looked the stranger over. Once she’d lowered her hands he saw that her eyes were crossed, her jaw slack, her face as round as the full moon. He looked closer. There were scars all over her throat and arms:  plainly, the small round woman had been treated very badly. Hero instinctively slid a foot between the bars; the woman cried out and scrunched even deeper. Across the aisle the albino quickly extended an arm. Without knowing why, Hero turned on him. The albino flinched, his eyes tearing into Hero’s. A second later he was stamping his feet and grinning wildly. Hero went back to his peephole.
Next morning master and two of his men dismantled the bamboo walls separating Hero’s and the woman’s cages. They bound the frames with broad leather bands, making a single cage of the two.
A common door was fashioned and secured. Master used his broad blade to shear away Hero’s rags. The men hunched around the long cage expectantly.
The naked couple backed away. Master was instantly exasperated—he shouted, lashed furiously, stamped and screamed, jabbed a broken shaft between the bars with malevolent intent, whirled and hurled the shaft at nothing. The carriage’s inmates went out of their minds. At master’s bellowed command a man scurried outside, returning with a long rope of woven leather strands. Master opened the cage and, applying all his weight, pinned Hero and his new mate in an awkward embrace while his men tied them together.
Again master and his men bent over the long cage to watch.
When Hero realized his predicament he made a desperate attempt to reach his peephole.
The men, misreading his struggles, babbled and cheered, but master threw up his hands. He then, through gesture, ordered his men to drape a number of hides over the long cage. Once these hides were in place he very quietly bent to one knee and placed an ear against the cage. After a while he cursed and rose to his feet. He shook the cage and stormed out, whipping and kicking the howling inmates.
In the semi-darkness the man and woman quit fighting their bonds.
A muffled patter began on the hide-covered roof.
Rain, as always, had a calming effect on the carriage’s occupants, causing the freaks and beasts to slip, one by one, into lethargy or slumber. Under such a spell, the attainment of master’s goal was inevitable.
It was a coupling both innocent and vile, without passion or celebration. Occasionally the freaks would surface, register their excitement by shrieking, shaking their cages, or otherwise clamoring…but very quickly the air would stifle them, weighing their heads and confusing their impulses. The atmosphere grew heavier by the minute. And, when night rolled over the carriages, the rain came down in sheets.

Leaning ******* the woman’s cage, master slipped his gnarly hand between the bars and slowly rubbed her belly in a counter-clockwise motion, his sinister features soft in the candle’s light. And he told, in nonsensical cooing whispers, of a lovingly secure and impossibly prosperous future.
How large and promising that belly had become! And how wise was he, the cunning and aggressive master, in his far-reaching business decisions. He turned his affection to the motionless gaping brute; stroked the battlefield of its face, tossed in another lizard. Master rubbed his palms together. From now on it was extra lizards daily, for both the woman and her mate. He remarked, with only passing interest, his star player’s continuing indifference. They didn’t know each other, didn’t need each other.
There’d been months of shows on the road now, broken only recently by this sensible rejoining of the mates at conception.
Hero’s horrible disfigurement was unquestionably top draw; he was a guaranteed crowd pleaser at every stop. So now master looked him straight in the eyes and smiled. He held the reeking candle high. The carriage was absolutely silent. Master smiled again, rose to his feet, tiptoed away.
Hero watched him retreat until the flap had fallen. He returned to his peephole, saw master round the rear of the carriage and slowly crunch by. For a time he could see nothing but the half-shapes of junipers bathed in starlight. There was a tentative movement to his right and a large shape came to obstruct his view.
The horse stood for a minute in profile. It slowly brought its head to rest against the carriage, applying its eye to the peephole. Hero froze. The two remained fixed, eyeball to eyeball, while a breeze played odd tunes on the outer wall’s hanging paraphernalia. The horse’s big dark eye rolled nervously. A long moment passed. Slowly the horse backed off. It stood uncertainly for a while, staring at the peephole. Then it quietly moved away.

Master kicked the cages one by one, left hand and right, as he slowly made his way down the aisle. Into each cage he delivered a personalized warning in passing—a growl, a hiss, a bark—but he was quickly losing control. Animal electricity hopscotched the carriage, cage to cage, ceiling to floor, front to rear and back again. Master froze. Much more of this excitement, he feared, could seriously agitate the woman—with grave consequences for master.
She was splayed on her back, in labor’s throes, her ankles and wrists bound to the long cage. Hero had been removed to give her room, and now sat hunched atop the snake woman’s cage, two men holding him by the throat and legs.
Master gnashed and snarled, listening to the woman scream, watching her stupid round head bounce up and down and back and forth. He knew it! He’d been suckered, hoodwinked, scammed—ripped off like a common rube. The woman was too ******* to handle even something as natural as childbirth. Still…it was too late to second-guess himself—all these months he’d been patient—he’d been supportive and vigilant and now he would not be denied. He flogged one of the men to alleviate his tension.
The blue lady was very slowly, very dramatically arching her spine. Master wiped the sweat from his eyes. When the bars were pleating her big round belly, her shoulders began drumming on the straw-strewn floor.
Master screamed one very colorful expletive.
A razor silence came over the carriage. Not a body moved or breathed.
At last two men tiptoed around their purpling master and leaned into the cage. One obediently ****** a foot between the bars. He pushed ******* her right knee while using a hand to grip the left knee, spreading her legs wide. The other man drew a broad leather strap between her teeth. After lifting the woman’s head he pulled the strap behind her neck, knotted it to make a gag, and yanked a skin sack over her face. He looked up anxiously. Master licked his lips and nodded. The man made a fist and frantically punched the woman’s face until her muffled screams ceased. She moaned gently throughout her contractions.
Master genuflected, brought a spitting candle in tight, and took a deep breath. As he raised his hand the candle’s light bounced off his knife’s chipped and scored eleven-inch blade. Master swore and reached down carefully. He flicked his wrist twice and the menagerie went mad.

The child was a tremendous disappointment.
Master had eagerly anticipated an infant ******* and deformed; something embracing the best qualities of its parents. He had even designed a special cage that could be expanded by degrees as the spawn developed. There also remained the tantalizing option of a family display, though such an undertaking would require the eventual construction of a structure even larger than the cage its parents now shared. Master anguished over the logistics, knowing it would break his heart to have to cut one of his jewels’ throats just to make room for a growing child. Nights he would slowly pace the carriage with all the possessiveness of a jealous suitor, one hand maneuvering a sputtering candle, the other tenderly rapping his whip’s **** against each visited cage.
But the boy was a flawless specimen; a beautiful, undemanding baby. From the moment master angrily tossed the placenta he felt cheated, even betrayed. He grimaced as it peaceably took to its mother’s breast, despite the surrounding horrors. Master hated it, immediately and entirely. The ****** thing was so docile it was almost charming. He drew his knife and was just reaching down, when an overwhelming sense of dread shook him like a rat in the jaws of a mastiff. Sweat poured down his squat, pig-tailed nape. He knew he would live to regret it, but decided to not cut the child’s throat right away. It was the oddest feeling. His knife hand had trembled for the first time in his life, and he had found himself momentarily contemplating right and wrong at the outset of a perfectly simple and commonplace procedure. That was it, then. His business instincts were letting him know there was a good, albeit unknowable, reason to let the sweet baby live. Master left the carriage anxiously, muttering in his ambivalence.
The boy grew to embody his worst expectations. Not only was it a poorly oriented child, clinging to its father rather than its master almost from the moment of weaning, but it soon proved a lousy draw with the patrons. Those who paid to view the child dangling in its special cage inevitably departed unsatisfied, some vocalizing, strangely, an acute sense of shame. So once again master entered the carriage with his knife hand steady, and once again he exited trembling, his heart in his throat and his soul in a whirl. He whipped the dwarf savagely before leaving. What place conscience in the mind of a businessman?
Soon as the boy could walk, master put him to work fetching and feeding. But the brat was slothful in his chores, preferring to hang around his family’s cage while staring wistfully at his father. For their part, the parents were wholly disinterested. Master would fume while Hero gazed for hours out his peephole—even as the mother lolled, perpetually ill. Sometimes that accursed woman’s condition riled poor master to no end. She could teeter at death’s door for months at a time, her body changing hues to the fascination of customers, only to bounce back with a hardiness that was of interest to no one. But at the peak of her performances the blue lady could really hold a crowd. Master produced an entire outdoors extravaganza around her:  within concentric rings of raging torches his men would slowly strip her naked before wild audiences, then allow the dwarf and albino to take her while the leopard strained against a gaily festooned chain. Master circulated his crew through the crowds to encourage his patrons’ cult-like behavior of breath-holding and fainting. No getting around it:  the customers were crazy about her—village to village, master’s Bactrian vanguard’s colorful robes shouted her approaching fame. And Hero’s popularity continued to soar. Many were the nights when master, pacing the perimeter, wondered just what devilry could have produced the lovely boy.
Overall, Hero remained his master’s favorite conceit and hottest property. Part of the little brute’s appeal was, of course, his exoticness. And certainly the ugliness arising from his deformity was compelling…but there was a detachedness about him that fascinated every soul with a fistful of copper cash coins. Whether they ****** him, cudgeled him, or spat in his face, he remained unflappable, staring only at the aching sky. Though many would leave uneasy, master noted with deep satisfaction that they almost invariably returned.
The boy soon evinced an amazing affinity for animals. No matter how agitated an ox or horse became, the child could pacify it with one hand on a lowered brow. This was a source of endless fascination for the crew. Wagers were made. The boy was pitted against oxen whipped to a frenzy. But they would not harm him; they would rather go prostrate and take the lash. Master tried to work this knack into a viable act, but his patrons just weren’t buying. They wanted freaks.
When the lad was a mere five years old, master had him trained in the peripheral art of the pickpocket. The boy worked well alone, and had all the makings of a fine little flimflam artist. Master sighed, his chronic nightmares a thing of the past. As ever, his business instincts were guiding him well.
Then late one afternoon he found the boy squatting outside his parents’ cage. The boy had done the unthinkable:  he had deposited his day’s pickings at the feet of his father instead of bringing the ***** to master. Master flew into a rage and raised his whip to give the little traitor the lashing he deserved. But before he could deliver a single stroke his other hand shot to his chest and he staggered back against the albino’s cage. He blinked down at the boy, who regarded him steadily while scooping the plunder into a little pile.
From that day on the boy placed whatever he could get his hands on at his father’s feet. As time passed he became ever more adroit at thievery, growing into a youngster both admired and despised by master and his crew; admired because theft was a cinch for him, despised because they were all that much lighter in their possessions.
Now, for eleven long years the strange little train had bounced along, sometimes camping outside villages for months, occasionally pausing on connecting roads. The show traversed the heart of Manchuria, skirted the Gobi in the north, and so eventually crossed almost the entire width of Mongolia before proceeding north to the confluence of the rivers Yenisey and Ob’. Much silver and copper had come to master’s coffer, much fame to his name, but he now sat looking over a vast, unmapped Siberian wilderness. The mostly nomadic characters they’d been encountering spoke in tongues unfamiliar even to his personal valet-translator-accountant, and the tone of these nomads had been unmistakably hostile.
Master huddled surlily under a canopy of sopping hides. Night was falling hard during a merciless rain, the wind was picking up, and his supplies coach was bogged in a growing sea of mud. At that moment he accepted the whole end-of-the-line concept, and knew he wasn’t going anywhere but back. And when he got back he was going to shine! He jumped from the coach.
The earth took his weight for a heartbeat—and he was up to his chin in muck, splashing about on his hands and knees, sliding forward on his palms and toes. He did a belly flop into a rain-filled depression and churned to his feet with the devil in his eyes. Wallowing in mud and bile, master stomped to the supplies coach and kicked wildly at the stuck rear wheels.
Somewhere between kicks he lost it completely.
Master broke for his whip. One minute he was blindly lashing his men, the next he’d succumbed to a mindless ferocity. He thrashed about like a berserker; whipping the beasts, the coach, the very night. His men were scarcely able to move in all that mud, but their dread of his savagery kept them hopping. They gathered as one and shoved the coach recklessly; slipping, splashing, shouting. A minute later, three lay splayed underfoot, but the mired wheel had been freed.
Throughout all this the oxen had swayed nervously, while the horses softly tramped their hooves in place. Master had his men turn the oxen about until the rickety train was pointing dead east. He checked the hitches and personally applied the lash. The oxen didn’t budge. Master swore and wiped the rain from his eyes. He had the horses hitched ahead of the oxen, but they were even less obliging. Master flew into a spectacular rage. His men, fearing for their lives, ran liberally with the lash.
The swaying of oxen picked up until the entire train of carriages was rocking. Yet the oxen could not, would not be compelled, under any amount of prodding, to take an eastward step. Master looked around in exasperation.
The night had gone insane.
Horses were fighting hitches, oxen walking on fire.
Master cursed the rain and mud and lashed all the harder. His men, seeking to please, whipped maniacally until the horses and both lead oxen broke their hitches and bolted west. The men immediately embraced the rear oxen, but the hitches shattered and the beasts stormed off. The remaining horses blew it, kicking at everything and nothing.
Inside the long carriage all was chaos. The albino was neighing and screaming, the aged leopard spinning in its cage. Hero stared out his peephole, amazed at the blur of figures stumbling by in the rain.
A pair of clopping blows rattled the opposite wall. Three slats cracked. A tremendous impact, and a huge section collapsed. A thrashing, hysterical mare burst through the breach in a veil of rain.
The horse went mad, killing the albino and snake woman in a flurry of hooves. She fell ******* the near wall, crushing the cages. The leopard shot into the air like a rocket, slashed at the mare’s throat and vanished in the rain. The horse reared above the family cage. She was just coming down in a wheeling storm of hooves when something made her freeze. Her stare locked with Hero’s, and a second later her eyes were rolling in their sockets. The mare kicked crazily and came down ******* her left flank, smashing the long cage’s side. She whirled upright and leaped outside.
For a tense minute the family sat in the rubble, rain bombarding their eyes. Nothing in their years of captivity had prepared them for such a situation. But by the end of that minute the son had taken full command. He rolled onto his back, braced himself, and kicked his parents across the aisle, through the remnants of the opposing cage, and out of the carriage. They all fell about in the mud and rain. To the west, the mare stared back strangely as she splashed into the night. The boy wedged himself between his parents, threw his arms around them, and pushed with all his might. Their bodies found a common center of gravity. Fumbling drunkenly, the family staggered through the rain in the wake of the mare.

The boy was the natural leader.
Master’s innocent-looking little ex-student could quickly assess and exploit almost any situation. He did the foraging and the figuring, slept with one eye open and one fist ready. He got what he wanted by charm or by stealth, slipping off at nightfall, returning at daybreak with small slaughtered animals and chunks of dark peasant bread. He also pilfered any bauble or oddity he could get his paws on, to be placed reverently at his father’s mangled feet. Breadwinner and watchdog, he faithfully held the family together; a nuclear son. He sewed hardy feather-lined cloaks of reindeer hide, and turned a cache of marmot pelts into a kind of side-slung backpack. He was doting nurse during his mother’s episodes, and unbending apportioner of calories in lean times. Dauntless when it meant crossing mighty rivers, relentless when it came to finding mountain passes. But the endless marching, the unreliable diet, and the countless predators made the three wanderers lean, haggard moving targets. There were times when the little lamp of family was all but extinguished, and long stands in places that seemed absolutely impassable. Still, the boy would work things out. He would stoop to any level to feed Hero, and for a stranger to threaten his father was to summon a psychotic, unyielding monster. He was both spear and shield.
The toughest job of all was maintaining a tight unit, meaning he was forced to become a hard-nosed ******* whenever his father was ready to wander off, which always seemed to be whenever the mother was hurting most. She’d become a tremendous impediment to Hero’s compulsion, and therefore her son’s chief nemesis. It wasn’t a big-picture concern anyway; the writing was on the wall. The blue lady’s attacks were increasing spectacularly on the steppe; her world had always been an enclosure of some kind, and the great horizon was proving just too much. Perhaps these intense affairs served as links to Hero’s suppressed memories, for at the onset of each attack he’d turn and hike, and then only exhaustion could curb him. The boy would press his mother on, dragging, shoving, and smacking—he could be mean when necessary, and though circumstances had made him the nucleus, their worlds unquestionably revolved around Hero. Where he sat, they sat. When he rose, they did the same. In this manner they marched for years across the vast steppes, single-file—father, mother, and son, respectively—unmolested, lacking possessions, always following the sun. Long before they could be measured they had drifted into obscurity.
The woman’s end came quickly and dramatically, in a rocky little depression on a half-frozen field. One moment she was responsive to her son’s prompts, the next she was flat on her back, her eyelids fluttering. That night she leapt from fever to chill, from alertness to stupor. The boy, squatting beside their campfire, watched her face and hands run cadaver-blue to fish belly-pale and back again. While he was staring her eyes popped open and her hands came scrabbling. He sweated through the clawing embrace until he could bear it no longer. He oozed out and ran down to fetch his father.
When they got back Hero watched incuriously for a while. His mate’s face was scrunched up and her skin the color of sapphires. She wasn’t breathing.
His gaze became glassy, his eyes returned to the night. As he rose the boy immediately grabbed an arm. Neither moved for minutes. When the boy at last relinquished, his father casually stumbled off.
Strange things were going on in Hero’s world. Some days he would notice how animals regarded him oddly, in a manner that seemed almost personal. He found, for instance, that particular creatures were recognizable even over great distances. A number of times he would sit with one in a stare-down, waiting patiently, until the animal’s natural disposition caused it to bolt. Though the meaning of these encounters was way over his head, he would watch, and he would listen.
In time he noticed an increasing skittishness in some of these familiar creatures. Something had them spooked. He then observed a number of lean gray wolves moving in and out of the picture with an air of complete indifference:  these wolves weren’t hunting; they were loitering—lounging in the grass, lackadaisically padding to the rear, filing by slowly in the distance. Once in a while a lounger would raise its head, yawn cavernously, and drop back out of sight. So unobtrusive was their behavior that even Hero’s ever-vigilant son began to take them for granted. They paused where the family paused, and halted whenever the woman broke down. Perfectly camouflaged by the gray boulders and dire sky, they were completely forgotten in the drama of her passing.
There were other, far subtler events existing for Hero’s senses alone. He could perceive patterns in everything around him; in the manner vegetation gave way wherever his heart was leading, in the way so many animals appeared to be not merely mirroring, but making his course. And wind, rain, running water:  these phenomena had voices. Yet not for everybody. No one—not his mate, not his son, not another soul on the planet could hear this call, for they were all of a sort. They were static, they were temporal. Hero couldn’t have cared less about the lives of his family, or about the mundane goings-on in the encampments and small tribes they skirted. Such beings lived in a world that was defined by the moment. They shouted, they banged, they clamored.
But west—west was music.
For his boy, once again watching Hero shamble off, the moment of truth had arrived. He looked back down, at his mother’s death mask being remade by the dying light of their campfire. As the flames dwindled he could have sworn he saw shadows creep into the wells of her eyes, while others, crawling up around her jawline, drew her bluing lips like purse strings. He hopped to his feet and ran for another handful of tinder. When their little fire provided enough light he dropped to his knees and looked again.
She was sinking right before his eyes, every aspect of her expression in collapse. The boy watched clinically, fascinated. As the flames began to sputter he thought he could see large purple bruises spreading across her cheeks like the seeping limbs of overflowing pools. He bent closer.
From deep in the night came the longest, the leanest, the saddest wail he’d ever heard. He turned to see the starlit ghost of his father, facing away, staring at a low barren hill. Uncountable stars embroidered the spot. The boy made out a low shape moving along the hilltop, cutting off patches of stars as it passed.
The wolf howled again; a mournful, spiraling cry to nowhere and nothing. Hero’s head notched upward. He began to hike.
Halfway to his feet the boy stopped dead.
It took a minute to sense why he’d frozen in place, and a good while longer for his heart to quit pounding. He was aware of a nervous padding, and, once his vision had adjusted, of a lazy stream of eyes gleaming in the dying campfire’s light. The eyes bobbed around him, glared momentarily, returned to the ground.
A massive gasp, and his mother was tearing at his wrist. He watched her hyperventilating, saw her bulbous yellow eyes sinking in a wide violet pool. With a sizzle and pop the last tongue of flame was taken by the night.
Then her clammy hands were all over him, pulling and demanding, caressing and beseeching. He had to pry them off like leeches, had to place them clasped on her shuddering arched belly.
A silky snarl rose almost in his ear.
With a little squeal he sprang to his feet, even as something nearby jumped back in response.
The boy stood absolutely still while the panting thing padded nearer. They stood very close, smelling each other. He instinctively extended a hand, palm forward. But it was no good; his arm was shaking out of control. The snarl rose again, not so tentatively this time. His mother’s nails tore at his ankle.
The boy gently stepped away, only to find himself surrounded by the shifting silhouettes of half a dozen gray wolves. They approached in a calculated manner:  two from the left, one from the right, another from behind. He was being goaded away from his mother; he could hear her fists beating the ground, and a few seconds later the sounds of a nauseating assault and ravaging.
He shakily raised his other hand. Now both arms were extended, and their message was clearly one of defense rather than control. Two snapping wolves stepped aside, leaving him a gateway into the night. A cold wet nose bumped his wrist.
Screaming like a woman, he took off after his father just as fast as his feet would carry him.

                                                  BOY

Alon­g the great Kazakh Steppe a man could wander a lifetime and never meet another of his kind—especially if his kind happened to be Alaskan Inuk, and if he happened to be the teenaged patriarch of a two-man family going nowhere.
Here history is mostly mute.
Upon this continent-spanning steppe, unnamed communities were scattered and rebuilt, lives blown about by the wind. The only centers of humanity a traveler might encounter, far removed from the Silk Road at the very crack of the new millennium, were temporary encampments of civilization at its rudest—shifting holes of cutthroat commerce existing solely for the barter of silk and spices and hapless souls. Life here was revered far less than merchandise, and the longest-lived men were those who kept their distance.
Hero and his boy hiked over permafrost and tundra for years; their meandering course a drunken mapmaker’s scrawl. Chronological entries along this imaginary line would reveal that they’d stopped, sometimes for months at a time, when the father had grown too weak and disoriented to continue. Hero’s internal compass was long-sprung, and his weight had fallen considerably. He’d sit on his lonesome, scarecrow-scrawny, wistfully scrolling a 360-horizon while his boy scouted and scavenged. Then, for no apparent reason, he’d just up-and hike—sometimes northwest, sometimes along a tangential plane that always threatened to spiral. It was brutal:  winters were frigid, summers, by odd contrast, running steamy to baking. Season by season these marches lost their tenaciousness, and eventually their heart. Hero’s obsession was becoming his demise.
Now, to a hypothetical observer, the ratty pair of woolly camels materializing out of the rising August heat might have been mirages.
These beasts were novelties here, and pioneers, for they were way beyond their normal stomping grounds. They’d tramped for months with a mind-numbing monotonousness, a thousand miles and more; round the Urals to the south, and through the hard territory braced by the Volga and Voronezh, avoiding anything that even smelled of men. They’d been wild camels; ugly, ill-tempered, and unpredictable, until the boy tamed them by touch…but this new pattern was a literal change of pace…for weeks the frail little man and his dark teenaged son rose and fell with the animals’ rhythm, lulled by it, sick of it, dreaming of lands far removed from hoarfrost and peat moss. In this manner they were borne clear to present-day Belarus, whereupon the camels’ stupefying march began to quicken. Mile by mile they put on steam, until one day they reached a broad area distinguishable from its bracing terrain only by its many deep surface cracks. Here the camels’ behavior became erratic; they crouched at an angle while tramping, their long necks oscillating, their noses bobbing along the ground. Eventually they came upon a dingy pool nestled in a pebbly depression. The local brush surrounding this pool was situated like iron filings about a lodestone. The boy hauled back his camel’s neck and laid a hand on its brow. The brute slowed to a halt. The other camel imitated its partner, move for move. Simultaneously the animals dropped to their knees.
The boy jumped off, catching Hero as he fell. The camels stood watching stupidly as son maneuvered father, but after a while grew nervous and began tramping their hooves in time. They slowly stepped to the pool’s rim and knelt woozily, their noses poised just above the surface. Their whiskers danced on the pool’s face, their lids became heavy, their hindquarters quivered as they drank. Their nostrils, having fluttered in unison, remained agape. They appeared to be asleep.
The boy began filling skins.
The water was quite warm; he slurped a palmful and almost immediately felt intoxicated.
He flicked it off his fingers; the water was bad.
Three heads were now mirrored in the pool; the camels’ at ten o’clock and two o’clock, the boy’s at six. He watched their reflections continue to ripple, long after the pool had become still. His face, melting and firming, rapidly fluctuated between extremes of age, and between his own recognizable features and those of some…monstrosity. The effect was hypnotic. He felt his joints stiffen; his eyes became weak, his thoughts muddled…his face was irresistibly drawn to the pool’s surface, and for a moment he was in real peril of drowning. He ****** his head aside and creaked to his feet.
Where the camels had knelt were only the prints of their bellies and knees. In the distance they could be seen galloping all-out for the horizon, right back the way they’d come. The boy watched until they were swallowed by their dust, and when he turned around his father was long gone.
Now he knew it was all just a matter of time.
And sure enough, after eleven more days of feebly staggering along, Hero completely ran out of gas. The boy bundled him up in a shawl, like an old woman.
Sitting there, cradling an unresponsive man weighing less than eighty pounds, he couldn’t help but let his morbid fantasies run wild. He was now old enough to realize his father had at some time suffered severe head trauma, and honest enough to accept that the man was rapidly approaching a vegetative state. This understanding accompanied him like a shadow, and that night he questioned, for the very first time, his own convoluted rationale.
He was just beginning to sense that his will was not his own.
He built a semi-permanent camp west of the Desna and foraged in a tight spiral, always returning in a straight line. Some days he came back feeling uneasy, sensing another presence. Then it was every other day. It bugged him to no end. At last, when it became every day, he hauled his father to his feet and began a resolute march to the west.
Again he became anxious, and after only a dozen yards.
He turned slowly while hunching, certain something bulky had just dropped out of sight. Nothing looked suspicious, everything looked suspicious. He walked Hero some more, occasionally peering back over his shoulder. There was…something.
He whirled:  only masses of rock and high brush. Yet, when he really strained his eyes, he was sure, pretty sure, that he could make out a large crouching body continuous with the rocks. Heart in his throat, he began a slow steady creep, only to pause, positive the bulge, whatever it was, had shifted in response. The boy very gradually raised his arm until it was level with his eyes, faced the palm outward, and extended the arm parallel with the ground. He could almost feel some kind of current passing between his itching palm and…nothing. He walked over to Hero, stopped again. There’d been the subtlest sense of traction. The boy propped up his father in a cloud of flies and waited.
In a minute the bulge drew *****.
Out of the brush strolled a furry gray wild ***, her back inclined from countless weary miles; stretching her neck, pausing to nibble, taking her sweet time. Grungy as she was, she fit right in.
At the boy’s first casual step she immediately hit the dirt and remained flat on her belly, one big dark eye staring between her hooves. Another step, and her **** bunched up. The closer he got, the higher her rear end rose. When he was almost at arm’s length she sprang back and danced away, seeming to bound with delight. But not to the east, as she’d come.
To the northwest.
She backpedaled while the boy came on whistling and cooing, matching him step for step. But the moment he threw up his arms in resignation she spun round as though cued, dropped on her belly, and peered over her shoulder.
The boy was first to blink. This time he approached fractionally, keeping movements to a minimum. She rose just as carefully, sauntering northwest in reverse, and at the first sign of hesitation turned, dropped, and cautiously gazed back. The boy glared at that huge mocking **** and broke into a sprint. She easily danced out of reach, plopped down, and continued to stare.
He began hurling stones, with venom and with accuracy, until she’d scurried into the brush.
But on the way back to his father he could feel her tagging along.
Twenty feet behind she halted, looking bemused.
The boy nodded ironically. He walked Hero over, murmuring baby talk all the way, and firmly placed a palm on the animal’s muzzle once her breath grazed his fingers. She stroked his hand up and down with her whiskers, gave a kind of curtsy, and waited on her knees while he helped his father mount.
At Hero’s touch a shudder ran down her body. She stood up straight. Her eyes became set, her back absolutely stiff. She put down her head and began the long trek northwest, never once breaking stride.
It was an amazing march, an impossible feat. For a little over three days and almost four hundred miles she progressed like an automaton, driving herself without rest, without food or water.
After trotting alongside for an hour the boy climbed on and force-fed his father berries and smoked meat, his dark eyes constantly searching the countryside. Occasionally he’d see a run of red foxes to their left, watching intently, padding cautiously. Sooner or later they’d vanish, only to be replaced by a train of feline or equine pursuers. Packs approached and receded while, high overhead, flocks formed triangular patterns that continually broke up and reformed. There was a peculiar rhythmic quality to this ebb and flow that lulled his senses further. The boy shook his head to clear it, but his exhaustion was deeper than he’d supposed—even the brush appeared to be leaning northwest.
That first day he grew numb with the pace, and that night the relentless pounding of her hooves drew him into a miserable slumber. He wrapped his arms around his sleeping father and lay half atop. When he couldn’t keep his eyes open any longer he tore strips from his skins, then looped his tied wrists round her neck, his ankles round her belly.
On the second day she was breathing hard, but her back was still high and she showed no signs of faltering. Her eyes remained focused on the ground dead ahead. She always sensed the best routes; finding mountain passes, fording wetlands.
But by the third day they could feel her ribs quaking against their legs. Her breath exploded as she marched, blood frothed and caked about her nostrils. Still she pushed herself on, her pace so steady it was almost metronomic.
On the fourth day her legs were gone. She veered and stumbled, shuddering every few paces. The boy hopped off for the umpteenth time and tried to bring her to graze, but she wouldn’t be turned. He ran behind her as she staggered along, unwilling, or unable, to rest.
At last a foreleg gave and she went down hard. Sobbing and snorting, she plowed her muzzle back and forth in the soil, the useless leg repeatedly pounding the ground. After a minute she raised her head and brayed at the sky, her neck muscles taut, her head slowly swinging side to side. Her cry went on and on.
With a tremendous effort she pushed herself upright and butted the boy aside. Every part of her body was shaking. From her depths a low moan grew to a steady bray, and finally to a wild, pulsing howl. She came to a rise, but was too weak to climb without sliding. Stamping in frustration, she managed a few feet, reared feebly, slid some more. The boy got behind her and applied his back; it took all he had to assist her almost to the top. With a desperate lunge she crashed on her belly.
Amazingly, she dragged herself on, her howl now a scream, her head whipping left and right. When she could pull herself no farther she ****** forth her neck to its very limit and, with a shudder that ran from the tip of her nose to the tuft on her tail, shoved her muzzle straight into the dirt and died.
The boy hauled off his father and fell back. The animal’s eyes were fixed upwards, seeming, even in death, to be straining for a glimpse of what lay just beyond the rise. The boy half-dragged Hero the last few yards. They collapsed at the top, and together looked over the cold Baltic Sea.

At water’s edge a haggard fisherman sat on his boat’s ravaged deck, blindly staring out to sea. His was a queer vessel; a family structure built more like an aft-cabined barge than like seacraft typical of that period. The fisherman’s boat, like his mind, had been abused beyond repair.
He’d lost much in his life. Time had taken his dreams, pox his face, hardship his back and shoulders. And, more recently, a brawling band of drunken Baltic pirates had ***** his wife and daughter before butchering them along with his two fine sons, while he sat helplessly bound to the mast. Finally, to further their delight, they’d set the boat aflame and sent it crackling against the sun; knowing he could hear their hoots and howls, knowing he would drift undead, accompanied only by this last unspeakable memory.
But a squall, without prelude, had doused the flames and blown his home ashore.
There he’d remained for a full long day, staring at nothing, his shattered life caught on the rocks. On the second day he’d worked himself free and commenced staggering about in his memories, gathering shards. It was a pathetic claim. He made a pile of all the old bedding and linen and usable cords, and set about sewing a sort of mementos sail. All that third day he had sewn, and on the fourth he had hoisted this sail and been moved to see it billowing in a northwest-blowing breeze. Again he just sat and gaped. And later that day he’d become aware of a commotion taking place on the long grade leading down to the water, where a writhing mass of seagulls was proceeding like a tremendous slow-motion snowball. He’d never seen anything like it. It wasn’t uncommon to find gulls in a group of many dozens or more, but there must have been two, maybe three thousand of the birds now swarming toward his boat. They were making an incredible racket. In the midst of this cloud could be seen a couple of slowly walking figures; as they neared he made out a small man accompanying a boy in his late teens, both dressed in odd skins. When they reached the rocks his eyes were drawn to the small man’s face. It was a foreign face, brutish and dark, with a deep cleft running from above the right temple to the jaw’s left side. Whatever instrument had felled this man had been devastating—everything in its path was smashed, and with permanence. The forehead was caved in. There was no bridge to the nose, the left cheek was completely collapsed, one side of the mouth was a mangled mess. The jaw itself had set improperly, so that it jutted to the side. The general impression, especially from a distance, was of some unforgettable circus freak’s countenance puckering at an angle. It was a face right out of a nightmare. But there was nothing frightening about the eyes. They were the eyes of a child.
Maybe half the gulls hopped screaming on the rocks. The rest circled overhead.
The boy considered the fisherman curiously before placing a foot on the charred deck. His gaze went around the boat, lingered on the makeshift sail, returned to the slumped figure. He passed a hand before the eyes. No response. He then leaned in close and placed his fingers on the man’s forehead. Immediately that bleak expression became fluid, brimming over with horror and heartbreak. Tears rolled down the fisherman’s cheeks as he gasped, shuddered, and backed up the scorched mast to his feet. Thus propped, he squinted at his visitors and was overcome by a wave of homesickness so strong he had to turn away. The feeling bewildered him, for this vessel, and this sea, were all the home he’d ever known. He clung to the mast while the boy helped his father board. Once he’d collected himself, the fisherman tore a heavy crossbeam from the toasted cabin. He and the boy used this as a lever, and together they shoved the boat off the rocks. The wind picked up nicely, and the little craft was swept across the water.
Exploding off the rocks, the gulls shot after the boat as if it were brimming with fish, the loudest and orneriest vying for favored positions directly overhead. The melee attracted additional gulls—they came shrieking in their hundreds from all sides, banking and calling in the oddest manner, until the mass grew so thick as to cast a permanent shadow on the boat. All day long the clamor continued, and all that night. The fisherman rolled with the rudder, listlessly, allowing the sea to control him. Eventually he let go, that the wind might bear them where it would. His sail ballooned but held firm, and the boat fairly zipped across a sea somehow smooth as glass, broken only by the vacillating ripples of bottleneck dolphins and migrating humpback whales. The three tiny sailors sat hunched together, motionless, all throughout the next day, until the black coast of Sweden loomed in the twilight.
As the boat neared land the cloud of gulls broke up, shot to shore, and landed in groups of a thousand and more; a dizzying, wildly uproarious reception committee.
The dung-covered boat slammed into the rocks, shattering the fisherman’s trance. He intuitively walked his **** up the mast and, swaying there, watched the boy draw his father over the side and lead him to a clearing at wood’s edge. There in the dusk he made out what appeared to be a hefty spotted runaway heifer hitched to a rickety wood wagon. He saw the cow gallop up to meet them, saw the boy look around warily, saw him help the little man into the wagon and climb in beside him. The animal immediately began picking through the woods, the large brass bell round her neck clanging forlornly.
The clarity of that bell made him realize just how quiet it had become. He craned his neck:  there wasn’t a gull in sight. He fell back against the shot mast and slid onto his tailbone with a clacking of teeth. His eyes were misting up. In the gathering dark a few sail fragments flew past and were ****** into the woods. The boat rocked and relaxed. After that there was only the sound of the receding bell’s sad, monotonous song being batted about by the wind.

The little cow strode through moonlit woods until she came to a path formed by the rutting of wheels over many years. She followed this broken, serpentine track throughout the night, and by morning was passing farms and, occasionally, crossing broader paths that might realistically be defined as roads. All day long she bore down that ragged track, until she came in late afternoon to a clearing near a village. Here many such tracks converged. And here the boy slipped away while she grazed.
Sometime after dark he returned with a load of straw, a couple of pilfered blankets, and a fat iron kettle. Crammed in this kettle were salt, tubers, cheese, a few loaves of rye, legumes, and a plump foot of lamb sausage. Most of this ***** he’d brought in tied to the bowed back of a huge, puffing, highly amenable black pig which, thus laden, now followed the boy’s every step like a fresh convert tracing the heels of the messiah. The boy built a fire under the stars, filled the kettle with creek water, and commenced simmering their dinner. While waiting, he couldn’t help but note an odd feature of the local flora:  plants, especially trees, all seemed inclined to a northwesterly disposition, though no amount of wind could account for it. He shooed the pig. But rather than run along, it backpedaled in a nervous circle, round and round in reverse, until it lost its balance and fell on its ****. There it remained, a yard behind the wagon. The boy fed his father and lined the wagon with straw. They settled in for the night. The boy must have nodded, might have dreamt, but while he was drifting he became aware of a stirring in the woods. He sat up, saw the pig’s eyes gleaming inches from his nose. And there were a number of animals, some wild, some strayed from farmsteads, arranged in a broad circle around the wagon, their eyes glinting with moonlight. Not a rustle, not a peep, was lifted from the woods.
In the morning he woke to find the pig still staring. The fidgeting heifer, impatient to roll, began her long day’s march while Hero and his boy were yet stretching and scratching, and the ******* pig, galloping heavily, fell in close behind. Each new day this routine was repeated. They banged past farms and small communities until the ruts intersected a broad rocky road wending halfway across the kingdom. The cow addressed this road with vigor. They picked up followers—a goat here, a couple of sheep there—which hurried after the wagon as best they could. The cow stomped on with resolve, mile after mile, day after day, her bell keeping steady time. That bell’s peal attracted foals, lambs, and kids into the wagon’s narrowing wake. Hares hopped between hooves and wheels, boars and blue foxes fell in and withdrew. White falcons, normally solo fliers, whirled into wedge shapes high overhead.
At night the entire train would camp on the road while the boy raided proximate farmsteads, always returning fully laden. And as soon as the fire died the colony grew, creature by creature, and the moment the sun broke the horizon the heifer came to life and moved on, but each day a bit more resolutely, as though straining to meet a deadline. The march took on a sense of real urgency. The cow pressed on with attitude, the clang of her bell more strident with each passing mile. Soon her followers numbered in the hundreds, as animals deserted their farms or crept out of the woods to tag along. Tillers and traders stood dumbfounded, amazed by the bizarre flow.
Once they’d crossed into Norway the frothing cow veered hard to the west. The pace really picked up; no longer were Hero and his boy afforded the luxury of a night’s sleep in one spot. Days blurred into a single variegated flow as the bashed and lopsided wagon continued building its entourage; the riders were surrounded dawn to dusk by a confused and confusing scurry. Word of the flow’s weirdness preceded it clear to the Norwegian coast, so that now plowmen and merchants, wearily gathering their goggling families, found themselves lined in anticipation along the king’s highway. Horsemen went pounding to and fro with news of the procession’s progress and particulars, children ran through the streets banging pots in imitation of the cow’s approaching bell. Livestock wheeled and stamped, fowl leaped and crashed.
The slobbering cow broke into a run.
Bystanders trotted behind, calling back and forth excitedly, while the wagon’s permanent following squealed and squawked between their heels. The cow made a hard turn onto a widening swath in the brush. This swath, seeming to strain against the soil, ran straight down to the crest of a low hill overlooking the Atlantic. On either side a crowd had been studying the phenomenon for some time, but now all eyes swung to the dark and disfigured man and his son, clinging to the disintegrating wagon behind the careening spotted cow.
The trailing people traded views as they ran. Most—at the very outset of the new millennium, with Christianity burgeoning throughout Europe—leaned to the miraculous. Others, just as superstitious but prone to a darker point of view, threw looks of horror at the deformed little man. Yet they ran no less eagerly.
The galloping crowd made for the seaside, where only one local event of any moment was brewing:  on the coast a Greenlander Viking was preparing his longship for the rough voyage home. Impetuous son of the great island’s first permanent European settler, he’d just been baptized in Olaf’s court, and was now eager to sail—but not as a warrior—as a missionary. While his spirit remained in a tug-o’-war between his father Erik’s will and that of gods old and new, his duty was clearly to his king. And Olaf had charged him with the Christianization of pagan Greenland.
Something on the wind now made this destined man turn his head. From behind the gentle hill to his rear came a kind of thunder. Heads popped up, followed by a confused explosion of voices, and seconds later a frantic bug-eyed heifer burst into view, dragging the wheel-less skeleton of a shattered wooden wagon. On the wagon’s splayed frame a man and teenaged boy clung for their lives as the spewing animal made a beeline for his ship.
The new missionary, still egocentric enough to assume his Maker might actually toss him a personal, surreptitiously rolled up his eyes. The sky yawned at his arrogance. At his side a smallish cowled man rose irritably, but the missionary sat him right back down. He then snorted, squared his shoulders, and signaled his men to halt their preparations.
Knowing it was expected, he gathered his hard Nordic pride and coolly made his way into the crowd.

The priest clung to port, gagging above the waves.
After a completely uneventful minute he leaned back and stared through tearing eyes at the distant backdrop of gathering mists. Weeks now…a man of his constitution had no business at sea.
Along, too, were a quirky little man and his fiercely devoted son.
Through his pantomime, the boy had been so persistent in begging their passage that refusal, under the circumstances, would have been unbecoming not only a man of God but a man of the world.
So there it was:  a priest who couldn’t hold his lunch, a witless eyesore who couldn’t sit still, and a surly teenaged protector who snarled at the first hard look. This crossing just had to be some kind of divine test—of mortal patience as well as moral values. Norsemen weren’t made for babysitting.
The mists condensed.
And the shifting shape became a hard familiar coast.
And the longship was mooring, and the crew were jostling and clambering, and the big missionary had booted off the haunted little freak and his hypersensitive son, and was condescendingly half-escorting, half-carrying, the green priest ashore.
And they were home.

Priest in tow, Leif quickly took up the Christianization of Greenland’s Western Settlement, as per Olaf’s command. The mangled little man and his son followed him around like dogs, slept outside his door and annoyed his visitors, ultimately proving far easier to adopt than to shake. Barely tolerable shadows…still, the lad was simply amazing with livestock…and though the youth’s useless father seemed time and again to be just begging for a whooping, his son’s presence bore some ineffable quality that always curbed the missionary’s hand. Several times he’d witnessed the father approached by settlers bent on abuse. Each time the boy had stepped in, and each time the troublemakers were mysteriously repelled. The missionary of course didn’t attribute any kind of celestial intervention to these episodes, and certainly the popular notion of devilry was a natural reaction to the pair’s outrageous exoticness, but…in the son’s company, and even under the sharp eyes of his fellow Norsemen, Leif more than once found himself oddly moved to protect the father. And so the deformed man and his boy day by day blent in—as village idiot and mystic guide. And when in time a ****** brought tales of an unvisited land to the west, it was only natural for the restless Greenlander to buy that ******’s boat and, before stalwart comrades, weary family, and whimsical God Almighty, reluctantly accept the eccentric father and son as sort of seagoing mascots.
Hero was from then on irrepressible. During preparations he would pipe and stammer in his half-mute way, brimming with a confounding anxiety that kept him underfoot and at odds with all. On frigid nights he perched on the westernmost rocks, moaning to the horizon in the strangest fashion while his son stood guard. He positively spooked the locals; they’d gossip, nervously and with bile, of an answering wind that came wailing off the sea like a banshee in labor. The whole island wanted rid of him. And when his champing beneficiary, still clinging to the notion of Christian charity, bundled him aboard with his son and a crew of thirty-five, not a single settler was sorry to see him go.
Almost from the moment they cast off everything went wrong, as all attempts to control the longship were met with some kind of unknowable countermanding force. Vikings were not renowned for passive resistance—they fought, squaresail and steering oar, leaning oarsman to oarsman, until the ship rocked on the waves like a bucking bronco. An erratic weather system pursued them, worsening dramatically at each minute variation in heading. The Norsemen doubled down, and when the clouds finally burst wide, the cowling sea went mad. Dervishes whirled about the hull, crisscrossing winds bedeviled the sail. Patches of kelp belonging to much warmer waters came heaving alongside, fouling the work of the oars, while far to the west a humongous fog bank formed, eradicating the navigable field. The lightning-streaked horizon was a throbbing gray slit.
The longship became locked in a slow westerly current.
Fatigued crewmen complained of headaches and hallucinations, and of a nasty, slightly metallic tang to the air. There were numerous walrus sightings; bobbing flippers and snouts amid drifting ice chunks that came prowling the North Sea like a circling pack of famished white wolves.
Worst of all was the boy’s father—instantly agitated by everything and nothing, prey to some primitive impulse that caused him to periodically incline his head, shudder to his feet, and loop his arms as though embracing the sky. Leif would watch him scrabbling at the prow like a cat at a tree, furs snapping in the wind. He’d watch the boy re-seat him for the hundredth time, and for the hundredth time be filled with an immense contempt. By now he’d acknowledged that it takes a special kind of strength to shoulder charity and tolerance. That brown little freak struck him as an enormous malformed barnacle, slowly working its way back up the prow. Trying so hard to go unnoticed, looking and listening so intently, though there was nothing to see other than the growing shelves of fog, and nothing to hear save the rising, almost hysterical voice of the wind.
Leif sniffed the air, his ******’s instincts nagging him. This was a foul current, and a fool's errand; he took a deep breath and tentatively ordered the longship brought about.
The ship kicked twice, as though an enormous submarine hand had seized and released the hull.
A whirl formed in the water, causing the keeling ship to sweep around like a clock’s second hand. All about them, those drift-ice ghosts cruised dangerously near.
But they’d been liberated from that accursed current. Leif fiercely urged on his rowers, and at last the ship broke free. They made a bead due north.
Night came and the temperature plummeted.
Small sheets of ice converged, drifting between the hunks. The Norsemen, instinctively huddling amidships, passed out one by one in a massive pile of fur and flesh. In the freezing silence the floes bumped and recoiled, bumped and gathered, bumped and bonded. The tiny ship, swallowed whole, was dragged along in a labyrinth of black sea and interlocking slabs of ice.

The Norsemen came to in a surly, foul-smelling heap, lost at sea. While they were still groggy a voice cried out that a darker patch was developing in the fog. The men all fell to port. Under the confusion of their voices could be heard a distant rumble.
At this Hero hauled himself up the high curved prow. A half-light began to penetrate the fog, barely illuminating the irregular faces of drifting ice. The missionary stormed forward and indicated by gestures that if the boy didn’t restrain his father he would have the man tied down.
The longship stopped dead in the water.
The men found themselves regarding a perpetually frozen coastline swathed in bluish veils of mist. Directly before them loomed an immense ice cliff hundreds of feet high. Rising beyond this cliff were endless snow fields, where lean violet shadows seemed to drag about of their own volition. And upon those bleak fields a thin howling wind prowled, kicking up brief white dervishes, leaving a strange zigzagging signature.
Even as they stared, a darker shadow high on the ice cliff’s glistening face began to widen, accompanied by a cracking sound that could be felt before it was heard. With the illusion of slow-motion, a stupendous chunk broke out of the cliff and came screaming toward the sea. It hit the water like a bomb. The thunder of its separation and the explosion of its impact took a moment to reach them. Then, out of a spewing crater of crests and spume, the new calf came lunging, tromping the sea so hard the longship, fully a mile to sea, was swept out and ****** back in like a cork. The floundering mountain of ice bobbed and lilted, generating huge waves which continued to rock the ship long after the monster had settled. In a while the roaring in their ears subsided and there remained only the swirling, nerve-wracking howl of the wind.
The missionary’s eyes swept left and right. Whatever this place was, it sure wasn’t the fair shoreline he’d been promised. Hero again scrambled up the prow, and Leif again yanked him down. This time he made good his threat; he had the little nuisance bound, though he was half-tempted to let him take his chances overboard.
From somewhere deep in the haze grew a soulful, otherworldly call. It went on and on, electrifying the air, bottoming out once the ship had merged with that previously fought westerly flow.
By now Leif’s nerves were shot. He ordered the oars raised.
The longship began to drift. Ship and ice were pulled due west.
The clouds fell far behind as the ship embarked upon an amazingly calm sea—so calm its entire visible surface was featureless except for the faint wakes provided by the ship and its hulking ice companions. To the east a huge fog bank appeared on the horizon, and a while later a smaller bank to the north. Then a very dense one to the south. In time these banks converged, imperceptibly becoming a single mass that closed about the ship, bit by bit creating a slowly heaving dome. Tiny beads of water appeared on beards and eyebrows; in a minute everything was soaked. The only sound was that of the dragging steering oar. The men were now sopping ghosts, speaking only with their eyes.
Directly ahead the fog began to dimple. The dimple became a hollow, the hollow a cave, and then ship and ice were being towed through a low, ever-extending tunnel in fog. The current increased its pull. Ship and drifting ice accelerated through the tunnel.
After a while the missionary quietly stepped forward. He stood with one hand on the prow’s neck, listening to the mist, so motionless he might have been a carved extension of the longship’s aggressive design. Not a man breathed. The tunnel’s dilating and contracting bore was producing an all but seamless series of oscillating, near-phonetic sounds. Leif almost tiptoed back. No god, pagan or Christian, could account for the strangeness of this situation.
They were borne on a course that grew more southerly, and the following day beheld an inhospitable shoreline glazed by dazzling white beaches. Their course held. Two days later they came upon a far pleasanter, thickly wooded coast. Here the current released its hold, and here the missionary untied Hero and personally placed him and his son in a tiny oak faering. He was just as sick of them as he was excited by this promising new land. Once the rowboat had been heaved over the side, he and another man stepped aboard and took up the oars. They began rowing with easy, powerful strokes.
When the boat kissed sand the missionary stood unsteadily.
The first European to set foot on North American soil now placed one hand on his crucifix, the other on his sword’s hilt, and awkwardly plunged his leg into the thigh-deep, ice-cold surf. Before he could take another step the boat lurched as Hero leapt headfirst into the water, followed an instant later by his son. The Greenlanders watched sourly as the two splashed their way into a mad dash for the waiting pines. Leif wished them both good riddance and turned to grin wryly at his fellow Norseman. He must have blacked out for a second, must have been blinded by a shaft of sun, for he found he was staring stupidly at a point midway between his companion and the longship. It felt like he’d been kicked between the eyes.
Everything was dissolving.
He studied the beach and pines closely, but saw nothing of the man or his boy. He turned back, disoriented. With what seemed a superhuman effort he took up his oars. He rowed out sluggishly, in a dream, and the fog rolled in to meet him.

The boy broke into the trees and embraced a trunk, fighting for breath. What happened next happened so fast and so unexpectedly he didn’t have a chance to react.
Three savages stepped from behind the pines and beat him to his knees. They twisted his arms behind his back and hauled him to his feet. He’d barely processed the impression of a wild painted face when something sharp struck him ******* the temple and tore down his cheek to the jaw. Two of the assailants manhandled him into an upright position and held him in place while the third brought his weapon down again and again and again.
All but dead, he watched a nightmare countenance shouting through a shot veil of blood, and behind that image a reeling crimson sun. He lay there gushing while the savages went through his rags. They propped him against a pine and shrieked with triumph, tore the hair and gory scalp from his skull, threw back their heads and screamed at the screaming sky. Tooth and nail, they ripped apart his face and throat and, certain he would die, split what bits of fur were left and let his carcass lie.

                                                HERO

The weeks stretched into months while he fought his way back into the light.
He progressed in stages; only half-conscious, stumbling along in a blood-red stupor punctuated by a slow strobe of frequent blackouts. Days loomed and decayed, nights pounced and were gone; the backlit, swirling gray cosmos collapsed and expanded on every missed beat of his pulse. A thousand times he broke down to die, and a thousand times he clawed to his feet, driven to pursue a tiny, ghost-like figure fluttering in his memory.
Everything conspired to check him.
A bay like an immense landlocked sea was skirted over months or years—it was all the same. Cold locked him in, Hunger drove him afield, that rude ***** Wind lashed him blind, wore him like a shoe, screamed for his skin while he worked his way west.
Somehow he ate, somehow he avoided being eaten; the instincts that had served him halfway around the planet were still vital beneath the abused exterior. His simple burrows became sturdy temporary shelters. He relearned the art of fire, and began to cook what he killed. He manufactured crude snares and weapons and, when his recuperation was complete, paid closer attention to the on-again, off-again trail he’d been following…forever.
Sometimes this trail would call to him like a lover. Other times he stood peering uncertainly, trying to recapture meanings and aims. Then the ground would turn spongy and the sky revolve, and once again he’d be lying all but dead in the woods, while from the face of the sun emerged a vile winged horror, its ugly pale head lashing side to side, its cruelly hooked beak dangling something that glistened in the wild pulsing light…then the fat moon, rising like gas against the icy black night…the feel of the wind:  the slashing of her nails, the chafing of her hem…the sound of things crunching and pausing and sniffing…then the sun, blazing anew. And again that thing, descending, its wide black wings beating slowly, metronomically—but none of that mattered any more. For his mind had quit him, had flown howling into ice and pine to roost with things surreal. In the day his madness might muddle and run, or spend the light stalking, cat-like, watching and waiting. But at night it came creeping from all sides. Sometimes it came in waves. It could gnaw like the devil, or wrap around him like a warm second skin. But none of that mattered either.
The only thing that mattered was the trail—whether it was lost for good, or for only a while. He’d been following it through his episodes, always north, wondering just who and where in the world he was, and trying to shake a ridiculous notion of being led on a wild goose chase.
The cold was unbelievable.
The deeper north he delved, the more confused he became. He grew starved for colors and scents, finding nonexistent patterns in the stark contrast of shadow and snow. He thought he could detect a kind of otherworldly design in the overwhelming number of dead ends he encountered, and, too, in the diabolically frustrating locations of natural obstacles. He seemed to be forever fighting the wind—a hulking, despondent snowman, he hiked face down and focused, while another aspect of his attention floated just behind, disembodied, watching his silent pursuers…leaving no tracks, blending perfectly with the environment in their clever winter coats…not predators, but creatures that normally should have been hightailing it away from him. By the time he could turn, they’d become nothing more menacing than snowdrifts. But they pursued him nevertheless.
And so his paranoia increased…had there ever really been a trail…and when did this miserably cold, miserably anemic crusade begin…his long-term memory was falling apart a chunk at a time. It just got colder and colder and colder until at last, one snippet of a day during one blur of a year, he found himself utterly lost, and clueless as to his history or objective. His mind was a blank, as colorless and featureless as the endless world of ice around him. He’d come this far solely to learn that the only trail he’d been following was his own—and now even that trail was succumbing to ice. On all sides there was nothing to see but an infinite field of glaring whiteness, and nothing to hear but the ululating wail of the tubular polar wind. It was the loneliest, the unholiest, the creepiest sound imaginable. But it wasn’t insanity that made him wheel. It was his self-preservation instinct.
And then he was somehow on his knees in the woods, facing a furious setting sun.
Whole seasons had passed from his memory like chalk from a board. His only recollections were those of a broken, haunted animal:  of being perilously sick, of fearing the unseen, of blindly struggling across a solid-white wilderness. That he’d survived such an ordeal meant nothing to him. And that he had in some indecipherable manner stumbled across the cold-as-stone trail did not fill him with amazement or with thankfulness—there simply wasn’t anything visual or emotional left to draw on. A significant part of his life had been whited out.
But now he could focus entirely on the trail. And before he knew it, the fuzzy area between fantasy and reality found a seam. He began to analyze and plan. He paid attention to hygiene, and kept a kind of running mental journal. Things were sorting out. Yet there were nights when the old sickness would resurface, reestablish its hold, and leave him sweating and uncertain under the stars. Then, paradoxically, his perception would become razor-keen. And so he would see, on a distant hilltop, a pair of scrawny silhouettes, one on four legs and one on two, slowly crossing the faintly pocked face of the setting moon. He would become strangely excited, and thereafter retain crystal-clear images of himself, as if seen from above, hurrying with adroitness through the silent, graveyard-like setting of black and blue night and white-frosted trees. Then the fuzzy area would broaden, and it would be the next morning, and he would be staring at the prints of man and elk in snow. And he would see how the elk’s prints doubled back, and how the man’s prints terminated where he had obviously mounted his guide. An unfathomable glow would bring tears to his eyes. But, even as he gathered himself, a fresh snowfall would wipe out the prints. And once again the world would plummet into white. And the wind would howl as the snow hammered his eyes. And he would ***** on.

A haggard animal sat shivering in a small grove of frozen pines, watching his campfire die. His eyes were fixed. Like the fire, he was running out of warmth, running out of fuel. There wasn’t a whole lot of tinder round his bones, and not much feeling left in his limbs. The slowly heaping downfall was burying him alive, but he was too numb to care.
It had taken him six long years to cross an entire continent, and during that time he’d known only cold and excruciating pain. The pain was leaving him now. The cold was making it right. His eyes glazed over.
Along a narrow plain to the west a herd of caribou filed dreamily through the snow, cutting across a panoramic backdrop of dazzling white mountains. The slow-motion parade was hypnotic. After a while it occurred to the drifting man, in a roundabout way, that he was dying, that he was nonchalantly freezing to death. Concurrent with this notion there rose in his chest a wonderful liquid warmth. His eyes slowly closed and, once shut, began to set fast.
He was jolted from within. It was as if he’d been kicked in the heart.
He ****** to his feet, pounded his fists on his thighs, felt nothing. The breath spurted from his mouth in small white clouds as he stumbled downhill after the slow caribou train. He swam through the snow, hallucinating, imagining that certain individuals in the herd were mocking him by slowing and accelerating, while others glanced back with expressions of contempt.
As he burst into their midst the animals stepped aside indifferently. A few galloped ahead to keep up the herd, but most simply sidestepped while he danced there, stamping his feet and smacking his hands. The herd grew thinner, until only the old and infirm were filing by. The man desperately embraced a hobbling female for warmth, but she cried out and kicked, triggering a panic reaction in the herd. Clinging for his life, the man was dragged along beside her as the herd stormed into a maze of flying ice and snow. His weight caused her to stagger sideways until they slammed against the flank of a sick male. The man instinctively threw an arm over the male and, thus draped between them, was borne across the drifted plain for upwards of a mile, his freezing feet alternately dangling above and dragging through the snow. The herd broke into a hard run, forcing him to assume a broken trot. Soon his legs were stinging. Sensation rushed through his body.
Now the herd, still picking up speed, began to contract, jamming him between his bearers. There was a quick jolt to his right and he was lifted clean off his feet, nearly straddling the bucking female. It had become an all-out stampede. Through hard-flung snow he saw the cause:  just ahead, the caribou had run head-on into a solid wall of galloping wood bison, and both frantic herds had blindly veered to the east; were in fact running side by side down a deep, ragged canyon—were pouring over the canyon’s lip like a cataract. He was approaching, at breakneck pace, that very place where the converged herds so abruptly swerved. The hanging man snarled as he was borne inevitably to the point of deflection.
There came a concussion at his left shoulder, followed by a blast of snow. In an instant the ailing male was tumbling head over heels to the east, ****** into the stampede’s plummeting mass by the fury of its descent. The man and female, rebounding from this impact, were shot to the west in a crazy jumble of flailing legs. The caribou lost her footing, flew nose-first into a snowbank, and came up running. Kicking off, the man used the last of his strength to heave himself astride. At first she fought to shake him, but the spell of the run was too strong. She and half a dozen others went pounding in the opposite direction of the stampede, quickly joined by a number of bison that had likewise splintered from their herd. The riding man could make out their huge hulking shapes thundering by in a blizzard of flying ice, could hear their heavy gasps and explosive grunts. One passed so close he felt its massive flank brush his leg. He peered to his right and saw a black, pig-like eye regarding him excitedly, moving up and down like a piston as the beast ran alongside.
The eye shifted, focusing on the gasping, completely obsessed female. The bull dropped its head and slammed into the caribou’s side, sending her and the man careening down a ***** to the west. The caribou brayed hysterically and her backside went down, but she managed, despite the weight of her rider, to return to all fours and frantically continue along the *****. Again the bull charged, crashing into her shoulder. The man and caribou were launched sideways into the white searing air.
He sat up carefully. The huffing bison was straddling him like a bully laying down the ground rules. Its big wiry beard came right up to brush his chin. The stench of its breath was stupefying.
The bull stamped and snorted, thrusting its stubby horns left and right as the man used his elbows and heels to back away. The bull followed, move for move. When the man collapsed under his own impetus the bull shoved him along with its snout, bellowing furiously. Clear down the ***** they lunged, shoving and lurching, until the man lay sprawled on his back; up to his chin in snow, completely helpless. The ton of a bull butted and kicked, but only glancingly:  those hooves could **** with a blow. At last the man, in one clean sequence, spun on his rear, dropped to his side, and went rolling down the ***** using his elbows for ******.
At the bottom ran a narrow fence of frosted saplings marking an ice cliff’s precipice. He lay face down in the snow, too done in to do anything but **** at an air pocket.
And there came a high-pitched crackling, a sound like the protracted gasp of embers in a dead fire. He turned just as those saplings began leaning to the west, their frozen skins cracking with the strain.
The bison bellowed menacingly.
The sprawled man looked back and saw it still standing with legs spread wide, silhouetted against the sky. In a moment it began huffing downhill, lurching side to side, surfing the snow between lunges.
It chased him through the genuflecting saplings straight into a frozen gully where, protected by a few feet of insurmountable verticality, he was able to slide on the ice between its stomping hooves, downhill out of reach, then downhill out of control—spinning just in time to glimpse a breathtaking vista:
Partly framed by the gully-straddling saplings was a vast crescent of jagged white mountains seemingly huddled round a small stretch of snow-draped pines. The little wood these mountains surrounded was isolated in a broad lake of solid ice. Hundreds of fissures radiated crazily throughout this packed ice field, appearing to issue from somewhere near the frozen wood’s center, which was completely obscured by a ring of rising mist. Above this thumbnail panorama the sun showered gold.
Then the gully dipped radically, and he was skidding headfirst, slamming back and forth against its slick white walls. This uncontrollable plunge had the positive effect of getting his blood flowing. Yet it tore him up. Had the gully concluded in a cul-de-sac, or had further progress required a single calorie of uphill effort, his struggle would certainly have ended here. He would have been too weak to move, and death would have been swift.
But there was a glacier—a great river of ice pouring slowly out of the clouds. The gully, terminating in a little scoop formation near the glacier’s base, spat him flailing onto its gnarly glass hide. He went head over heels, bits of skin and fur flying like chips from a band saw. Somehow he gained his footing, and then he was running against his will, tumbling and recovering and tumbling again.
He didn’t catch much of that crazy run. He half-glimpsed whirling walls of ice, felt a fickle surface underfoot, and broke through an assaultive mist that clung to his ankles and arms. He remembered having the ragged hides torn right off his body, and then being skinned alive. And he remembered reaching the glacier’s base and crawling like an animal; round its sweeping drifts, past its peaked moraines, all the way to a twisting frozen gorge.
And he followed this gorge down; ricocheting wall to wall, delirious, small plumes of thrashed snow marking his descent.
Through a freezing wood he fumbled. In a veil of mist he tumbled down a steep and verdant grade. As cold consumed his closing breath, he fell upon, near-blind, near death, a strange, enchanted glade.

There is a pool.
And in this pool a man lay purged, his broken body half-submerged.
The stumbling man stopped. He knelt to weep, but lost his thread. One hand took a bicep, the other, the head. With a twist and pull the corpse emerged.
That visage…that face—misshapen mask, contorted, bleached; of life’s deposits fully leached. Essence dispatched—a void, sodden wretch.
He let it fall and the glass was breached. All a freak, all a stretch:  upon this act his grip detached.
And the bridge collapsed…one vagabond grasp…what were these feelings; recaptured and trashed…a span elapsed…who was this puckered mass…he hauled it by the waist and thighs…slid it in, watched the pool react:  purse and recover, expand, contract. The glass reformed, now silver-backed…a sudden mirror…the man leaned nearer…saw his reflection, just smashed, remade intact.
The pool grew still.
Within its depth a shadow stirred—visions gathered, some distinct, some obscure. What they meant, and who they were, was much too much to fathom. The glass became blurred.
He closed his eyes, let his heavy head fall, fell back on his haunches, felt the sweat seep and crawl. The air was a pall—as he struggled to rise, a nib crossed his wrist.
He opened his eyes.
Between his fingers the blades poked and crept. Round his knuckles they ventured, up his forearm they stepped:  they seemed to be triggered by prompts from the ground. He shook his head slowly and dully looked round.
There were jays grouped about him, their black eyes aglow. Red hens came running, their fat chicks in tow. Gophers engaged in a weird hide-and-seek. Bluebells and buttercups craned for a peek. Sparrows hopped past and, paying no heed, burst into flight. He watched them recede.
Westward they flew.
Bewildered, he slumped.
Bumped from behind, he jumped to his feet, flabbergasted to find an ancient gray moose near-eclipsing the sky, with grit in his snarl and fire in his eye.
The old moose took aim.
The man turned to flee and stumbled, then tumbled and fell on a palm and a knee.

But there lies a world (so the lullaby goes) where rivers ever run.
Poked from behind, pushed out of his mind, he staggered into sun.







Copyright 2020 by Ron Sanders.

Contact:  ronsandersartofprose(at)yahoo(dot)com
Sorry about the ghastly copy. This system makes graceful formatting impossible.
Wen Ao Long Nov 2014
Hello snorer, I hope you didn't sleep any poorer
when I stayed up all night typing this not-poem
I meant you no harm, but I had to stay up
Because I couldn't make music out of your obnoxiously loud cacophony of windpipe crap, er "music".  Time to not-pretend to absolutely hate your snoring under the guise of being perfectly okay with it for the sake of setting the tone a bit nicer to all who must hear it, so they can BEAR to, for otherwise it would be absurd.  Not as absurd as anyone hating to have aural drills applied to all their chakras all night, but still absurd enough to get a chuckle out of me (I hope it didn't wake your fine specimen here). It was never my intent, though it was always my ethical concern (if only everyone could be as reciprocal as you and I).   Oh, my not-pretend hatred is very thinly veiled.  I wasn't totally defeated by your snore-sound armies so that I couldn't type words, but I may have lost some of my desired effect due to the sometimes wincing distraction they caused to my piece of mind at this or that time when I needed it the most (even though I was awake, which is no crime if snoring at night and keeping me that way isn't).

Well, I did ask you if you'd mind if I typed,
I did tell you that you could tell me if its quiet purr of clicks would bother your precious sleep
But I never felt a need to be concerned, because whenever I
was typing, I heard you snore, and whenever I was in the heights of
some new discovery or epiphany, your sharp sudden thunderstroke of near death
corrugated metal vibrating in the torrent of some sudden gale force gust of wind.

These were signs to me of your restful sleep.  So I simply didn't worry about your sleep.  I was certain that my electronic beeps were every now and then music to your ears, just as they were to mine.  This is because in the midst of these I heard you snore, and when you snored, I took you to be asleep.

Ah but then again, then again, these are fanciful constructions which simply say that what is wonderful for me should be just fine and dandy with you, at a bare minimum, and on those grounds of very unsymmetrical attitude about right and wrong I would have to begin my music tirade of words as well.  But I don't view justice and propriety along such selfish lines as these.

What I see is that duplicity is your thesis.  I have anecdotal accounts which are marvelous to behold first hand, but the details of the absurdities cannot be done justice in the language of men, for the intensity of such insanity can only be borne lightly by the frailest frayed ends of my sanity for having lived through your acoustically maddening inanity.

You didn't ever admit to me that my noises were not music to YOUR ears.  Indeed  you claimed never to be bothered by them because you never voiced up against them.  I suppose you might as well voice up against them in the street as well if it turns out not all of you snorers-go-a-viking types like to hear my mouse clicking away like a tapping noises on a metal plate in your skull.  Sorry if it is another non-snorer-who-must-stay-up-late-and-so-be-occupied person whose nocturnal joys were misinterpreted as direct assaults on the dignity, spirit, or just basic mental viability of your wounded snoremonster troop of anti-late-stayer-uppers, because in fact, we used to be sleep-at-night-entities like you, but that was before you showed up, thoracic marching band in tow.  Marching bands are musical also, to some people.  And for some all hours of the night are perfect for a marching band.  Who am I to tell them otherwise.  

Well let me know the next time a marching band is given special permit to come through your neighborhood at night, and I'll be glad to point out to you the first Snorer'sville, because only they should be expected, in all justice to live with the macroscopic manifestation of their personal narcissistic paradises.

Let you all go to your own place and form your own nation, and see if you can consistently demand everyone else find music in your ****** and accursed racket!  But until then I expect some of you will have to take the damage returned by the growing number of people who are very much tired of living under the horrors of your infliction upon us, your demonic and evil tyranny of mind-crushing hate that is your ****** noise.  We will do yoga and breathe, and stretch, and some light calesthenics to relax and seek some focus and composure, whenever our spirits require, and this will be unchallenged by you so long as you are asleep, and it will be unchallenged by you so long as you are awake too.  For in the latter case you are already awake (and so still are we, usually) while in the former case it is far quieter than your snoring, both in its valleys and peaks.  And moreover it has not kept you up, but in fact I have noted that you wake yourself up with your own music when it reaches a certain crescendo.  

Unless you want to say that those crescendos are some sort of involuntary complaint about MY crescendos of spirit, when I start typing about 20% faster than normal, with perfect focus and accuracy while reaching an aesthetic pleasure approaching ****** as I realize that it is almost unerringly in the midst of such an experience that I hear your crescendo resound. And since it was no more intended to be a distraction for me, then surely my music must have also gone undetected by your ears, as well as your spirit. Or is it fairer to say it was the very cause of your crescendo, or at least its inspiration?

Therefore I needn't worry that it is I that is keeping you up, even if for only brief stints at a time, especially by comparison to my all-night vigils.  Not so, but it is you who are so enraptured by my occasional laughs or giggles as I edify my weary, sleep-deprived mind on some bit of morale boosting entertainment.  With headphones on of course.  It's also courteously plugged into the computer to prevent my favorite bit of Judas Priest from hurting your ear drums, or else overstimulating your music appreciation centers, which are verily attached to your ear-drums by a nerve bundle (and what nerve you all have there).  This means I've spared you too much distraction from any already-abundant music of the spheres effect you may be savoring which might have emanated from my bumbling around in the dark (to keep the lights out of course, after all people are sleeping).

Yes but that is a minority of you perhaps, who would lie about that and in fact who ought to say that our nocturnal emissions are not what you'd call restfully mind-relaxing crickets in the dead of night with an occasional hoot in the distance...  But they are a minority, the rest of you are so definitely in good faith.

But then why do I always run into those of your tribe who have strange and unethical habits, such as destroying others' lives by ruining their one perhaps most preciously personal and inalienable need second only to air and water, and that is sleep.  It is, in terms of acute necessity, in many ways more needed than food, though in the long term food catches up.  But food catches up only because not eating food is a  lot like not getting sleep, but just a lot more intense on the body when it drops to some critical point because we know from experience it is on raw nerves that we can go for a while in search of food, but if the food can't be found (perhaps because of our lack of sleep ruining our cognition in some way), then we will not eat, nor sleep, because we'll be dead.  

But either way, we'll be dead, for lack of sleep kills, both directly and indirectly, if suffered over a short time and/or in a diluted form over a long time.  That would be poetically commensurate to the sadistic similitude of the types of snoring sounds with the types of ways to die from being deprived of sleep according to two modes (acute and chronic), over many keys of incident, accident, lost opportunity and ill-stared fate, all of which can be mapped in some way back to that auditory persecution of our very souls of which your kind are in some swelling numbers quite proud.  Just think of all the car accidents, work accidents, altercations, fits of rage, inability to concentrate well or sometimes at all, and other life-damaging conditions of the mind, and also of the body, which accrue from lack of proper and healthy sleep at night!

Good thing for most of you though, right?  Because surely our music is also sweet, and I really hope I've inspired many to face this need for equality, and be on their guard against any unjust whining or groaning from those who seem in point of fact to value their sleep just a good deal more than they value anyone else's.  Not only because they really really love to get those zzz's but because they think that in the natural order of things, before people suddenly went mad and evil, people went to bed and slept well even partly BECAUSE of this brachio-esophageal orchestral lullaby.

But we'll be on our guard against those complaints, because we know you have plotted to take to the streets against us to defend your noisiness-all-night-every-night rights.  So we'll be on guard to defend ours, TO THE LAST FIBER OF OUR BEING.

Because you insufferable ******* are cruel, and cruelty no one should abide.  No one in my world, in my society of people, will be allowed to inflict cruelty on another person, nor be callously prejudicial in their own favor when injuries do occur because of their actions merely on the grounds that the damage it causes coincides with the fulfillment of a need on their own part, even while that fulfillment is of a need which is obstructed from satisfaction in the other part, and by THAT VERY SAME REASON, so that your sleep depends on keeping others awake.  UNLESS you can somehow con or coerce them into developing some form of Stockholm Syndrome and confuse the torment you inflict upon them with a sign of your love and wonderfulness to be around.

Yes, I know you hear me typing now, through your well-behaved proxy.  I feel it. If not he per se, then in a parallel universe not too far off, there's a version of him who does.  Perhaps not the one I know now, on day one of having moved into this room, but perhaps one represented in this universe by someone who has found himself in some sort of circumstances found later on during his stay, this mixed with the fact that familiarity breeds contempt... He'll start making some righteous demands of some kind, and I might not be in a such a good mood about that due to lack of proper sleep, and this will coincide with said contumacy against my own rights (such as to breathe, type, surf the net, or do other nocturnal things other than snoring which might keep others up).

As to that last point in parentheses, snoring is an activity which you perform in conjunction with your getting sleep, and it therefore means not well for your notion of fairness to say things as they are, and simply say the truth, which is that your getting sleep deprives others of theirs, but it can be logically deduced.

It can also be logically deduced that the don't give flying **** if you don't like the fact that we don't like your ear-**** night after night, which is a good name as any, but should perhaps at times be amended to body-demolishing soul-****** of a mortally sinful nature, and with an ethical incongruity to good character of a person to maintain it, all the more to sings its praises to us and call it "good poetry".
My tirade is intended to be expressive of a sincerely felt Truth, manifested in this which is only one of many forms, where things are never neutral, but divided neatly and perfectly into either Good or evil, so that no thought, word, or deed can be trivialized as mundane, neither in its innate import nor in its exported impact for others.  This is of the essence of ethics and has many metaphysical groundings which can be rationally demonstrated, but only to rational people.
Mateuš Conrad Mar 2017
the point is: i don't want to write in the style of j. joyce's finnegans wake; but i am, and i feel terrible for doing it... so... m'eh?

you listen to these talks, like you might watch
a football match...
   the art of rhetoric - ars rhetoric(æ):
that isolation of the grapheme stresses the point
that homosexuals are better at talking
than men who consecrate themselves
on the bias that will probably lead to a widow.
they're better at it, and there's no argument
for it: it's a bit like passing the olympic torch
from ****-to-****-to-mouth-to-tongue-to-head-to-ego;
i'll come to the modern notation of that unit
in a minute...
  but oh so rare, walking from the supermarket
and finding a book propped on a... thing?
it's situated in essex, england, and in these parts
you can have this "garden" in-front of
your house, and there's this "hadrian's" wall
isolating this patch of green:
   that's why i said thing: because it's not a fence
in the traditional sense...
    so you're walking back from the supermarket
with a bottle of becks beer and a litre of *****
and mixer in your rucksack (5pence duty stamp
on using plastic bags, remember that)
  and you see a book propped on "hadrian's" wall
(because it is just that: a joke),
well not in this instance, this is a case of a semi-detached
outer-suburban household... and there's
  this book propped on a "fence"... and it's dark...
am i going to nick it / "steal" it?
last time i checked, i didn't believe in *hegel
,
last time i checked: if i'm in a public place, i.e. a road,
i'm going to use the advantage of someone's mistake
(or intention?) and take possession of the thing;
a bit like... you find a 20quid banknote in a puddle...
are you going to wave it about and shout:
who does it belong to?     would you?
         well... hegel can go **** himself and his
philosophy of right... i can't believe that mere lecture
notes inspired communism, i simply can't believe it,
i mean: it's astouding that it ever occured,
but still... it's so rare to find books on the streets...
i've heard plenty about disowned dogs and that dog
shelter in Battersea... i ought to know, i was bound
to paving slabs on one of their roof extensions...
my grandfather told me this story about how he was
walking through a forest with my uncle (his son)
and found a hanged dog... someone thought it real
funny to tie the noose so the dog was tiptoeing
toward death while suffocating on the noose...
i've had worse trauma... like when walking my doberman
and he bit into **** and what was revealed was
a nest of parasites, at best described: wriggling...
clearly you can build-up a natural aversion to this world,
which is by no surprise the original source of
the concept of god... you start from there, and work
your way down.
    now i'm seriously digressing, ars rhetoric(æ)...
like ha ha crow's ca ca? or is that ka ka ka?
ku klux clan... mortal kombat... whatever.
                just about as much sense when listening
to classic.fm and hearing an "oohbow" concerto
in some minor or major key (i don't remember which
one it was)... but like a blind-man fiddling
with an elephant (the modern day version of
the male grææ... as seen in homer, as seen in macbeth...
but those were 3... i'm talking 5)...
  i also thought about fiddling with the "orthography"
(that term usually denotes the aesthetic practice
of adding diacritical marks, which english doesn't:
otherwise known as the **** of ιota)...
   i could see a clarinet perfectly, clear distinctions (i mean);
but an oh-bow?                    oboe?
    how can these two variations not yield the same
pronunciation if not via the tetragrammaton?
            clarinet in jazz     horns in ska-punk,
ladies to the left, gents to the right...
                     clearly my idea of **** schizoi creates
more competent understandings of a human,
who is insapiens...
                   ****, talk about libido, but to this extent?
hmm... so the ιota was ***** by a diacritical mark
that's practically disjoined from an umlaut...
   see the arithmetic ι i ï? otherwise known as the ee
in: i need to take a ****... or the boo-boo word of ***.
   the same thought approached me when
i contemplated the acute version of N (en) - ń,
variations include: close approximates of knee,
then vary through to: me me me expressed in a nagging
way...
                   oh right... words that have this acute:
     day... dzień...
then they'll call it cultural appropriation, and i'll
call it: cultural integration.
                  but ń did something, it revealed the **** of
ιota...  it's this enforced diacritical mark on the greek
letter (and j) that doesn't exist on other letters
as it sometimes should...
       but it all depends on the following rule

                            ae  i  ou
                     ­             x

x is treated as a consonant for it's own sake, i could have
inserted some other consonant, but the stress
is how and when you apply diacritical marks,
given the stated example of the diacritical mark hovering
over n.
               and really? the **** of ιota is involved, which
probably invoked the complexity of the anglo sprechen
to such an extent that it spread for far and wide...
    why would i even put a diacritical dot over s?
what would that represent, for ****'s sake?
                                                           ­               i!
in polish you'd say that as         e! oddly or not so
oddly enough.
           but there is a collision happening
   given the predestination concept of i (what culture
would appropriate that, if not the most hostile /
successive one?) -
                 the acute diacritical mark on the n
disappears depending where the (enforced half umlaut of)
i is placed...
     for example in the word        no....     nie...
that dot above the iota just ate the acute over the n...
    then back to the word for day           dzień....
it's at the back, so the aesthetic twists into an σς scenario...
(sigma sigma)...
                  nudzi (he bores people)...
        nagi (he's naked)...
                            i could really do with a macron on that a,
who knows, maybe language encoding really is
worth symphony complexity: or is that why i'm
jealous of music composers?
               i'm just trying to look for a word
that encompasses my concept of ń....
     a real kinder sprechen example as simple as 1 + 1 = 2,
evidently i will not find it and only come up with
something as "simple" as 1 + 1 = 3.
on one side the sensual beast,
on the other a reasoning ***** -
as you age the less you sense, but at the same time
the more you reason; in my case it happened exponentially
thanks to Chernobyll (it did begin with one of
the scandinavian countries being able to record
radiation... in poland you had a park, in a small town...
and half the trees were in summer and half
were in autumn):
   because if you **** things up on an atomic scale
you're not going to exactly see a tornado, in a specified
location for adrenaline junkies to go and film it!
then there was this idea that i had
               about certain layers of language,
   braille, sign-language, covert talk and open talk,
basically boiling down to honesty, and the latter to
dishonesty...
    so this book i found yesterday... about as rare as finding
a 20quid banknote...
             now i seriously believe this book is a pillar
to language... right up there with the dictionary and
the thesaurus...
            published by c collins (obviously)...
and its sole author: nigel rees (couldn't be bothered with
italics, so i used the colon)...
          ah **** it, it's only descriptions of the cover,
the book is paperback so it doesn't matter...
although what does is...
   the entry (to be) in the same boat (page 347)...
that's why i was sniffing the book up yesterday
(bibliophiles' prime fetish, after ******* the books)...
    the entry originated from cicero
in 53bc... in the original latin     in eadem es navi,
later used in 1941ad after pearl harbor
(funny u, look: harbour)    - of consequences
                                     roosevelt said, churchill quote(d).
I thought it right to assess some antidepressants, which philosophers are more inclined to call mood enhancers.
(This was during my foray into human enhancement, substances intended to enhance physicality, cognition or mood. Nootropic compounds concern the latter two categories.)

The most commonly prescribed mood enhancers are serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SRIs), but it takes over a week for these compounds reach their peak effect. I therefore approached them with the notion that a limited dosage might point to their character which would further manifest in the long-term. (In addition, side-effect were less likely to manifest.) These considerations in mind, I set about acquiring a few miscellaneous anti-D's.

Fluoxetine was the first successful selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), better known by its original brand-name Prozac. Fluoxetine has an acute biological half-life of between 1-3 days. Presence of a trifluoromethyl group on the compound deserves note, I wonder what the presence of electronegative fluorine atoms add to the psychoactive flavour of a compound (subjective effects).
I administered a single dose by mouth, there was some indication of subjective character. Light serotonergic sensations and seemingly benign mood-dampening, there is a ****** towards the positive. Waking headspace relatively uninteresting. Observed hints of oneirogenesis, did not manifest in enough character to be detailed - a sort of vivid, 'pulsive wandering, more pronounced in contrast to its waking character.
Good experiment, intresting results.
Ligand     Ki (nM)   Ki (nM)
Target      Flx            Nflx
SERT        1               19
NET         660           2700
DAT         4180         420
5-HT2A   200           300
5-HT2B    5000         5100
5-HT2C    72.6          91.2
α1             3000         3900
M1            870           1200
M2            2700         4600
M3            1000         760
M4            2900         2600
M5            2700         2200
H1            3250         10000

Escitalopram is an SSRI commonly prescribed for major depression and generalised anxiety. It is the (S)-stereoisomer of citalopram. The biological half-life is of escitalopram is between 27-32 hours.
I administered a dose and thought the phenomenal serotonergicity less apparent than fluoxetine but then gastro-intestinal disturbance was noted, I correctly surmised it has a high affinity for 5-HT2C but was also surprised to find it is is quite adrenergic.
Any oneiric qualities were not readily apparent after a single dose, relatively little visual imagery which is understandable given its lack of affinity for 5-HT2A. I found this to be philosophically intresting. Mood elevation observed in bursts of conversation and as odd sensations, possible mental discomfort.
Ligand,
Recptr     Ki (nM)
SERT       2.5
NET        6,514
5-HT2C   2,531
α1            3,870
M1           1,242
H1           1,973

Venlafaxine is a selective serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI). Venlafaxine and its metabolites are active for about 11 hours.
Initial subjective effects similar to a very light empathogenic stimulant. Perception of altered attention-span/increased reflexive response; energising yet paradoxically much yawning.
Ligand,  Vnfx      Dvnfx
Recptr    Ki(nM)  Ki(nM)
SERT  ­    82           40.2
NET       2480        558.4

Tianeptine is a tricyclic antidepressant (TCA) with an unusual mechanism of action. It is an atypical agonist of the μ-opioid receptor and has been described as a (selective) serotonin reuptake enhancer (SRE). It has a short duration as sodium salts [prescribed form] of between 2-4 hours but as sulfate this can be notably extended, some of its metabolites are active for longer than tianeptine itself.
Definitely anxiolytic, quite artificial; possible aphrodisiac. I find its opioid activity dissuading, requires utmost caution.

Moclobemide is a reversible inhibitor of monoamine oxidase A (RIMA), its monoamine oxidase inhibition lasts about 8–10 hours and wears off completely by 24 hours. Inhibiting the decomposition of monoamines (e.g. serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine) increases their accumulation at an extracellular level. It tends to suppress REM sleep and so it lacks oneirogenic properties.
Feeling of well-being, less constrained by the usual anxieties; openness. Relatively unnoticeable side-effects when diet is carefully managed. Made the mistake of eating a cheese and turkey sandwich (i.e. foodstuff rich in tryptophan), indications of a mild serotonin syndrome later became apparent. Symptoms included feelings of overheating and flushing, slight sweating, racing thoughts and anxious discomfort. A stark reminder of Shulgin's old adage: "there is no casual experiment".
Combination with a select few tryptamines (not 5-MeO-xxT) should be safe, and synergistic (perfect for pharmahuasca); reputed to potentiate GHB. However, generally it is extremely dangerous to combine with serotonergic drugs.
Amanda Stoddard Apr 2015
You-
you have a lot on your plate
and me-
I am just pushed in next to the others
that weigh you down while you're trying to carry
a thanksgiving meal of responsibility
and at the same time not be crushed by it-
You don't like it when your food touches.
So there I am waiting at the edge of all the chaos
trying not to step over boundaries or cross the line
I am just another thing thrown onto your plate
of responsibilities.
I am a shadow.
A walking disaster.
And I try to avoid all the things
that are so ferociously trying to bring you back down-
but all I do is end up making it worse
making all your **** end up touching
so it becomes a mountain upon your shoulders
that eventually turns into a chip upon it-
you have gone concave-
you became acute when you were once so obtuse
so full of life
so 180 degrees out of everyone else's ******* box
and I closed you in.
Made you realize what you needed to make yourself small
so you could eventually fit the plate just right on your shoulders.
I try to take the weight-
try to pick it all up myself and do something to help you get through
but I just end up touching everything-
You don't like it when your food touches.
You-
you are concave in my convex world
always looking inside yourself-
always hiding away inside of the parts of yourself
I will never see because I'm too busy looking outward
to find something I can do for you.
We are trigonometry-
which is the only type of math I was ever good at in school
but I can't seem to find the right angle anymore
you are too scalene and not enough isosceles
there's no symmetry in the way you look at me-
there's too many different sides to you.
I'd like to think I've seen them all
I'd like to think I've solved what degree
every angle you feed me turns out to be-
but it seems that the angles aren't what I should be finding.
You're just a circle-
I can find your radius
but I don't have enough of you anymore
to find your circumference.
We will always be abstract.
this is odd, but I like some of it so I decided to post it. blah.
Donall Dempsey Aug 2016
AN ACUTE ABSENCE OF WEATHER

( for my little brother Brian )

tomorrow arrived too late
to save you

you had become
the past tense

no longer present at your own life

time had abandoned you

the world turning its back
on the sun

staring into the night

a darkness
without stars

the far away barking of dogs

a somewhere
that's nowhere

where even the weathervane
doesn't know which way to turn

the acute absence
of weather
Because of his stature in the world and his skill at making his way through its faults and falls...he had become the BIG BROTHER simply because of who he was. Only now in death does he once more become my little brother.
Brielle Bishop Aug 2018
8.10.18//
A triangle is a polygon
Three edges
Three vertices
A, B, C denoted
Scalene, Obtuse, Acute
No matter the internal angle,
The degrees,
You’ve never found that
Of an Equilateral appealing
Unable to relate,
Obtuse seems far more fitting
Difficult to understand
Two sides annoyingly sensitive, impossible
High hopes of overshadowing the smaller
Base of the shape
What the opposing angles
Fail to realize is nothing would be possible
Without the foundation
While the top portion remains
Sharp and ominous
The root exists patiently and quietly
For the value to be found
If I could, I would have
Used a fine tipped pencil
Versus a pen to sketch
If I could, I would erase both angles
To form a linear arrangement
Instead I dispose of the scratch sheet
Some equations are left unsolved
For temporary periods of time,
Regaining composure
The values of A and B discovered
So we start from the beginning
The base
Progressing from one stage to another
Sequential
A singular line
Possesses more meaning than you may think
For instance
Roads that extend for miles
Through the flatlands of Kansas
The Midwest and back
To the heart of the desert
Outstretched limbs
Welcoming and warm
Beaten dirt paths
That eventually led me to you
Raymond Johnson Apr 2013
The brain is a pretty rad little doodad. Sitting atop your neck, buzzing with blood and budding thoughts like an apple tree in spring.
I think it's fascinating that we're still quire clueless as to how it really works.
There's one particular part that still fascinates me, namely, memory.

Memories are the cranial equivalent of keeping a diary or writing in a journal. a collection of feelings and happenings of days gone by and words once said.
There are a few journal entries, if you will, that stand out to me. Ones I made with a girl... let's call her B.

If B were here right now, I'd look her in her big brown eyes and ask her:

Do you remember?

Do you remember the divine way the curves of your body fit into mine was we lay in an amorous embrace amongst the blankets and downy pillows?

Do you remember the way I told you a million times that I loved your hair. Your angelic, graceful hair, even though you thought it was too long and too messy?

How we walked through the forest for hours, talking about nothing and nonsense, and how we sat on a log for what seemed like eternity until I manufactured enough courage to finally kiss you?

They say that elephants never forget, and every time you cross my mind I feel my nose getting a little longer and my skin turning a little greyer.

Do you remember? Because I sure as hell do.

Do you remember how adorable you looked in those pajama pants of mine that were about a foot too long for you because you forgot to bring your own?

Do you remember how we sat on a bench and watched the birds flit from feeder to feeder as the sun waved us a crimson farewell?

Do you remember the feeling of your lips upon my lips, and the simple fact that it is impossible to properly describe that in any banal combination of 26 tired characters?

Do you remember the bittersweet intermingling of the smells of my eighty dollar cologne and your forty dollar shampoo?

Do you remember the way we looked into each other’s eyes? The vast universes of possibilities leaping from neuron to neuron behind those irises?

Wonderful memories. Pleasant memories. You couldn’t ask for anything better than these kind of memories. But there’s more. And there’s a reason why they’re just memories.

I remember the way the blood drained from my face like your used bath water circled the drain in my bathtub, and how my heart went on strike and stopped beating when you told me we couldn’t be together.

I remember how similar the crunch of the leaves and twigs under our booted feet sounded to the cracking and shattering of my sanity as you drove away on that sombre day.

I remember all of the dreams my brain pumped out of its pitiful pineal gland in a futile attempt to travel back in time.

I remember the empty spot in my bed and the gaping and gushing hole in my heart that still exists
To
This
Day.

But for all of these melancholy memories, these rotten ruminations, the beast of anger has yet to rear its matted mane.

In fact,

I thank you.

I thank you for this sadness, this regret, this longing, and this acute absence of rage,

For it is proof that I am alive.

I thank you for this sorrow, for this awful ammunition, for inspiration to machine masterpieces from the melancholy.

For what is light without darkness?

What is life without death, and love without loss?

So thank you.

I look back on our shared seconds not with eyes full of misplaced malice and fury,

But with gratitude.

Because even through tragedy

The heart survives.
https://soundcloud.com/blaxstronaut/memories
Martin Narrod Apr 2014
angry men who do not know I do not have a dollar or a cig to spare. Ugly irrefutable contagion-handed howlers. Angry mischievous heathens that pantomime on 6:00a.m. sidewalk, Wicker Park gallow stop-sign, choreographed gutter-punk drunk walk. And of all he wants and could ever want splits down his gooey membrane brain in the outline of a noun shaped fragment of a clause, "Couldja spare 80¢ for the train," but of course I don't spare on the ellipsis or the period. Semi-colons I won't! My rubber-bottomed leather boots lash out, heavy scraping sounds trail this mirrored shadow half an angle behind me.

*****!! Blonde framed sunglasses from American Apparel, a gift from my sister in a folded Ray-Ban case is scattered on last nights bedroom floor, my girlfriend has certainly not noticed, the gloom-coated morning sun spray has not noticed; but I have unzipped a fissure in the ocular lens. My heart skips a beat. Her bedroom might as well have swallowed them whole. Now the house can halt and have the shade, swaying in Spring air in 10:22a.m. shadows. The aviator himself Howard Hughes would strike me with his 488 aircraft. Edwin Starr in his invincible sinister calypso of War would turn me round. I was sturdy as a rock until I began to forget my forgottens. These unknown unknowns I knew I needed. I'm over a quarter-century on to noon going nowhere- and quite blindly.

But then, still she could stand upright and find me. Her neck crooked, looking onward through the East, the gristly roots of rhubarb buried in her searching fingernails. She's threaded worse, and of course if I could just tell her- this is the kind of nursing which requires acute temperament and flexibility. I am thus on a journey to strike nonsense and fear from the idiotic vocabulary that put this nonsense in my head. Split through me like a butter knife into my apotropaic. Perhaps tar water could cure my ails. If not, certainly a sliver of vanilla would set me straight. Or if could just rain rain rain all day, then I'd make do without, but she is at school. My pistons are racked and nervous, and I'm not going anywhere but my rucksack stoop. I am camped in midwestern Spring soup. Fog, rain, and shade. The nightmare of day.
Inspired by William Butler Yeats 'Beautiful Lofty Things'
Mateuš Conrad Dec 2016
it's scary what people want to hear,
i feel, nothing at all, to be honest,
whenever i think of fame
i feel all famous people speaking the words:
don't become even by our standards moderates...
szlafrok: bathrobe -
              szuja: lizard-like-homeless person -
then again chattering ratty too -
does that mean: if i write i'll
get a penny for a structure where a brick is
worth just as much to the letter, the word
           or the line or the paragraph?
                  cukier: sugar...
   for every brick i'll get a penny's worth?
      writing discourages you from dreaming...
only the most adapted
                   who get encouraged by
   advertisement and who fake writing will ever get
the technicolour coat of Joseph...
         writing erodes your perspective of dreams,
it actually censors your ability to do so...
    i hear them, make novels from their body-language...
        and get an itch... nothing finicky... just
barring without baritone...
      poet's alphabet st. - barring without baritone...
antinomy of anecdote... false impression memorisation,
nothing rubric bound nothing alphabetical,
         nothing Pythagorean...
      antinomy... and there was me thinking of
antimony...                  there's no cascade of the sound
encoding of b or of a...
    there's the alphabet... and then there's
the dictionary... na na mmm, ma ma nun..
                    so cool with it, fit-bit....
      or should i claim you a toyo-bot?
           a ******* Hamleys' jack-in-the-box
     chuckles?
            either way... it's all a strategic **** -
or a macaque - or mà-cá-qé!
         herald the surgeon!
             grave a in the first syllable?
a delay... let's term yhwh as surd invocations -
           mà! (and yes, exclamation marks
are part of the necessary progress -
   unless you'd prefer anti-German anti-compound
allocation of a word to be turned into syllable mince...)
         mà! alternatively that's non-ambiguous -
what's ambiguous is the second syllable...
   mà!... cà!     màcà!        it's almost like holding-off
*******...          màcà!
      and then there's the qé!        or for optical reasons
as well as for reasons for the priestly monopoly
written as macaque - my-khaki-haka...
  (haka is a dance in rugby by the new zealanders,
   and khaki is diarrhea brown, diluted brown) -
   it's almost Spanish in a sense, huh?!
   well, because it's not exactly queue -
  or: que(h)? i.e. qweh?
well yes, it's a monkey, a tiny little bonsai
of a gorilla... cute... funny... loves tea-bags
and sugar... great company on a hot Kenyan night,
gets pestered with slingshots by the courtesan
   "bodyguards" of a tourist hanky-panky free whiskey...
  the time those kenyan entertainer girls
came up to me i sorta wished to play the
white-guy-****-history-joke...
stood my ground, went to sleep on one of the lounge
chairs one night... could have been stolen by pirates...
and i kinda wished it, but it didn't happen...
   still, the application of diacritical marks to
define syllables... the grave mark above vowels is
a bit like "holding back"...
         for some reason i first wrote mà-cá-qé...
but i realised... the avalanche only comes with
the acute marking above eh!....
        grave markings means restriction, a holding back...
and by this i mean that when the acute stress is
added, no number of optically adequate spellings
can erase it...
     in this case qé for what's encoded as -que -
   and still the four surds appear whether invited or
uninvited - softened laugh, eh? as in the asphyxiating
form of breathing, and then relaxed: ha ha ha ha!
       then again, i'm wrong,
they call them macaque: ma-ca-qac....
         so as a good revisionist does:
                grave and acute without a macron:
      má-cà-qàc - ma-cac-cac - not ma... ca-que!
   macaque!          Fawlty Towers and Mánuèl...
i know... nothing - hairspray romance,
and a horse called dragonfly...
   macaqué! olé!              
                          mácáquè -
    for the love of u - or parabola...
                 truth be told? i'll never know!
why? because no one taught us the rules of how
or when to apply such demands!
   let alone semicolons or commas...
                   macaque - barbarism sentenced to:
ma       ca              qak
                or simply my kayak...
**** me... it's still a monkey whether you like it or
not taking a **** and calling that chocy part of
its inverted intestines' toad-stool.
  let's just call it a mácàq monkey... because
the -ue suffix is just getting unbearable, like
an umbrella unfolded in one's **** -
   and applying diacritics to a suffix of pure-vowels
is beyond missing an ******, and making
rationale (the part where you miss stating an olé -
the part where rational is elongated into rationál
or the non-diacritical addition of -e)....
and then they worried why people never punctuated
correctly... maybe because people never applied
diacritical marks that they went beyond,
and didn't punctuate correctly?
                       humpty-dumpty hmm hmm:
                   eggs St. Benedict's, and a falafel Sunday!
me? trying to invoke a vocab that transcends
the ******* cool, however condescending i can be,
without trying or eating rye bread to boot,
    and then wear a balaclava calling it a Gucci neckwear,
drinking rather than throwing Molotovs.
Brycical Jul 2011
Goddess of virility suckles me
to ******—

Her legs stiffen…
to acute angles.
Toes, ballerina firm
make her
body—
                         levitate from the bed.


A smile reveals…fangs
the tips of which
          are barely…touching
                   my ear.
The lizard tongue hisses in ecstasy
revealing ancient—spiritual…bliss
mystics could only
           speculate of.


Her anaconda legs
wrap—
        around my back
as her fingernails
           embed into
         my            spine.
   When I yank
Her hair
                    Her             eyes
Scream                   inside                out.

Our bodies—
Swimming             in
An ocean      of         ravenous
                  Liquids pulsating from       our pores.
Sopping hair clings
          to our        foreheads        
we suddenly realize—
                 A new shape is            invented.      
We make a sound         so         primal
inside each other’s mouth
as her jaws snap down
to my neck—
both bodies rigor-mortis stiffen
       as the mountains collapse around us
and        the   sky is ripped open      as a tsunami
billows down into a wave of exhaustion.
The wind cradles us,
Back to the earth
    We split,
Admiring a new continent
We created.
      Our limp bodies—
numb from the velocity and suggestions
resign to the crater
we call a bed.
We smile, simultaneously,
looking past
our brains,
realizing…
in         this        moment
we, are one.
Nigel Morgan Nov 2012
for Jennie in gratitude*

For days afterwards he was preoccupied by what he’d collected into himself from the gallery viewing. He could say it was just painting, but there was a variety of media present in the many surrounding images and artefacts. Certainly there were all kinds of objects: found and gathered, captured and brought into a frame, some filling transparent boxes on a window ledge or simply hung frameless on the wall; sand, fixed foam, paper sea-water stained, a beaten sheet of aluminium; a significant stone standing on a mantelpiece, strange warped pieces of metal with no clue to what they were or had been, a sketchbook with brooding pencilled drawings made fast and thick, filling the page, colour like an echo, and yes, paintings.
 
Three paintings had surprised him; they did not seem to fit until (and this was sometime later) their form and content, their working, had very gradually begun to make a sort of sense.  Possible interpretations – though tenuous – surreptitiously intervened. There were words scrawled across each canvas summoning the viewer into emotional space, a space where suggestions of marks and colour floated on a white surface. These scrawled words were like writing in seaside sand with a finger: the following bird and hiraeth. He couldn’t remember the third exactly. He had a feeling about it – a date or description. But he had forgotten. And this following bird? One of Coleridge’s birds of the Ancient Mariner perhaps? Hiraeth he knew was a difficult Welsh word similar to saudade. It meant variously longing, sometimes passionate (was longing ever not passionate?), a home-sickness, the physical pain of nostalgia. It was said that a well-loved location in conjunction with a point in time could cause such feelings. This small exhibition seemed full of longing, full of something beyond the place and the time and the variousness of colour and texture, of elements captured, collected and represented. And as the distance in time and memory from his experience of the show in a small provincial gallery increased, so did his own thoughts of and about the nature of longing become more acute.
 
He knew he was fortunate to have had the special experience of being alone with ‘the work’ just prior to the gallery opening. His partner was also showing and he had accompanied her as a friendly presence, someone to talk to when the throng of viewers might deplete. But he knew he was surplus to requirements as she’d also brought along a girlfriend making a short film on this emerging, soon to be successful artist. So he’d wandered into the adjoining spaces and without expectation had come upon this very different show: just the title Four Tides to guide him in and around the small white space in which the art work had been distributed. Even the striking miniature catalogue, solely photographs, no text, did little to betray the hand and eye that had brought together what was being shown. Beyond the artist’s name there were only faint traces – a phone number and an email address, no voluminous self-congratulatory CV, no list of previous exhibitions, awards or academic provenance. A light blue bicycle figured in some of her catalogue photographs and on her contact card. One photo in particular had caught the artist very distant, cycling along the curve of a beach. It was this photo that helped him to identify the location – because for twenty years he had passed across this meeting of land and water on a railway journey. This place she had chosen for the coming and going of four tides he had viewed from a train window. The aspect down the estuary guarded by mountains had been a highpoint of a six-hour journey he had once taken several times a year, occasionally and gratefully with his children for whom crossing the long, low wooden bridge across the estuary remained into their teens an adventure, always something telling.
 
He found himself wishing this work into a studio setting, the artist’s studio. It seemed too stark placed on white walls, above the stripped pine floor and the punctuation of reflective glass of two windows facing onto a wet street. Yes, a studio would be good because the pictures, the paintings, the assemblages might relate to what daily surrounded the artist and thus describe her. He had thought at first he was looking at the work of a young woman, perhaps mid-thirties at most. The self-curation was not wholly assured: it held a temporary nature. It was as if she hadn’t finished with the subject and or done with its experience. It was either on-going and promised more, or represented a stage she would put aside (but with love and affection) on her journey as an artist. She wouldn’t milk it for more than it was. And it was full of longing.
 
There was a heaviness, a weight, an inconclusiveness, an echo of reverence about what had been brought together ‘to show’. Had he thought about these aspects more closely, he would not have been so surprised to discovered the artist was closer to his own age, in her fifties. She in turn had been surprised by his attention, by his carefully written comment in her guest book. She seemed pleased to talk intimately and openly, to tell her story of the work. She didn’t need to do this because it was there in the room to be read. It was apparent; it was not oblique or difficult, but caught the viewer in a questioning loop. Was this estuary location somehow at the core of her longing-centred self?  She had admitted that, working in her home or studio, she would find herself facing westward and into the distance both in place and time?
 
On the following day he made time to write, to look through this artist’s window on a creative engagement with a place he was familiar. The experience of viewing her work had affected him. He was not sure yet whether it was the representation of the place or the artist’s engagement with it. In writing about it he might find out. It seemed so deeply personal. It was perhaps better not to know but to imagine. So he imagined her making the journey, possibly by train, finding a place to stay the night – a cheerful B & B - and cycling early in the morning across the long bridge to her previously chosen spot on the estuary: to catch the first of the tides. He already understood from his own experience how an artist can enter trance-like into an environment, absorb its particularness, respond to the uncertainty of its weather, feel surrounded by its elements and textures, and most of all be governed by the continuous and ever-complex play of light.
 
He knew all about longing for a place. For nearly twenty years a similar longing had grown and all but consumed him: his cottage on a mountain overlooking the sea. It had become a place where he had regularly faced up to his created and invented thoughts, his soon-to-be-music and more recently possible poetry and prose. He had done so in silence and solitude.
 
But now he was experiencing a different longing, a longing born from an intensity of love for a young woman, an intensity that circled him about. Her physical self had become a rich landscape to explore and celebrate in gaze, and stroke and caress. It seemed extraordinary that a single person could hold to herself such a habitat of wonder, a rich geography of desire to know and understand. For so many years his longing was bound to the memory of walking cliff paths and empty beaches, the hypnotic viewing of seascaped horizons and the persistent chaos of the sea and wild weather. But gradually this longing for a coming together of land, sea and sky had migrated to settle on a woman who graced his daily, hourly thoughts; who was able to touch and caress him as rain and wind and sun can act upon the body in ever-changing ways. So when he was apart from her it was with such a longing that he found himself weighed down, filled brimfull.
 
In writing, in attempting to consider longing as a something the creative spirit might address, he felt profoundly grateful to the artist on the light blue bicycle whose her observations and invention had kept open a door he felt was closing on him. She had faced her own longing by bringing it into form, and through form into colour and texture, and then into a very particular play: an arrangement of objects and images for the mind to engage with – or not. He dared to feel an affinity with this artist because, like his own work, it did not seem wholly confident. It contained flaws of a most subtle kind, flaws that lent it a conviction and strength that he warmed to. It had not been massaged into correctness. The images and the textures, the directness of it, flowed through him back and forward just like the tides she had come far to observe on just a single day. He remembered then, when looking closely at the unprotected pieces on the walls, how his hand had moved to just touch its surfaces in exactly the way he would bring his fingers close to the body of the woman he loved so much, adored beyond any poetry, and longed for with all his heart and mind.
how long to live through the next thought
to have a brief encounter with time
an impossible time of intolerable anguish
where embarking upon a sentence
is a violent wrench from perceived notions
of reality, one that causes nerves
to flay upon my body with weal's of words
where vatic poetry is wrought in trembling rages
spilling, dripping upon the traumatised
parchment that is my pages
in de-congealing interrelated drops of image
that crack the pavements
in a visual vibrancy of taut creative tension
where these words keep their own company
and speak in interrogative tongues
causing a fragmentation of earthquake fissures
to radiate across my mind in a cataclysm
of universal poison that quiets and dissolves stability
and asks, no demands of me, what can you see?
Mateuš Conrad Aug 2018
.ludo savis... play nice... ludo savis... play nice:

i knew the relationship was over when i encountered her ex-boyfriend sitting in her st. petersburg flat drinking ***** with me, no, wait, it was when she started questionning me using cosmopolitan magazine quiz about perfect girlfriends on our way from st. petersburg to moscow to see metallica, while all i wanted was to listen to bob dylan and appreciate whatever rural russia had to offer... beside that? it took me quiet a time to fiddle through and find the glagolitic alphabet, the slavic alphabet before the learned greek came across "my" people, given the romans never venture that far... good luck finding an african phonetic encoding system, beside the hieroglyphs... i won't bother looking right now... not to insult, though: so much for a large phallus megalomania contra envy... Ⰶ: życie (life) is not the half of the caron ž in the form of: the acute... (ź): ździra (don't ask, seriously, the word implies worse than ***** / szmata)... źródło (source)... eh... the one-armed caron (ž)... ź... i can't explain it any further: you need to speak the lingo to keep the "nuance" alive... southern slavs treat the caron akin to ž = ż... how beautiful... given the english language has no diacritical marker application: can't exactly claim diacritical markers using only the automated hovering decapitated heads above ι & ȷ... i'm not english i'm tired of looking up h'america's *******! i don't need not fancy pants to debrief the people i'm concerned with to mind, not giving a **** about them... thanks for your jeans: subtitle made in canada... beside the whole mao shitshow of: made in china.... back in the 1990s! *******... even in terms of music h'america isn't really relevant.. it just is... and "whatever" this "is" is to be, will remain... but only as an r.e.m. ref. pointer, that requires the physical translation of the lyrics: the one i love... a simple prop: to occupy my mind.... fire! the silesian vampire... because... said so... learning about monsters is what i could only fathom, which included me... but, sorry... the glagolithic script... ⰄⰀⰏ: dam... i.e. i will give... fun fact: r.e.m. didn't sell their: it's the end of the world as we know it (and i feel fine) to microsoft for a commercial break.. glagolitic script... where are the africans? oh, right, nowhere when phonetic encoding is turning heads... **** me... even the blind are onto the affair...  i went as far back as the glagolithic script: pre cyrillic, about the same time that the latins incorporated the northern "savages" with applying the chisel to the ᚱ / R... ᚠ / F... copernican "up-side down": why do all tree (beside the pines) resemble a Y shape, a gamma? why did god compensate his existence with opiates?! refresh my memory, though, why am i drawing blanks at african phonetic encoding? **** me, the blind drew something, the deaf too... if you played the guitar, forget about reading braille... you need tender, french, fingertips.... you can't play the guitasr and read braille... mind you... encoding morse overshadows braille... but even the european blindman overcomes the fully ****-naked butter-cup sprinting *** of a black man every day of the week: i'm not here to compensate for a leprechaun's sized *****: mind you... in the hands of a porcelain ***- beauty? everything looks like a hiroshima... i just started to entertain an asian fetish... 4th knuckle mizzing... missing... the most ****** aspect of a female aesthetic? her hand... when *** & the city cited trimming ***** hair (no circumsion, really?), so no asian porcelain hands, no 4th knuckle missing?! i hate what the anglo-speaking world has become, it's this, this, this quasi-Islam.... at least i respect the Quran... but 1984, by the secular prophet of the western world? why do people still calling it: silicon vallyey... it's a ******* curtain, smart-you not seeing the replacement mechanisms of the silicon curtain: now wow... ******, where you're getting-to-go get from? any ideas?! a tehran baza?! ******. 1960s homosexuals fiddling their way past the tunis police, happy? loitering sucker-****** pansie? again... entertain me... where is the african phonetic encoding system... this is my "i.q." avenue masterpiece... i don't care about i.q. but a ******* blind man beat the african at phonetic encoding... personally?


one just simply falls, tired of the right-wing momentum regarding beauty, it's such a bothersome crtique of its generic foundation if beauty..... i hate it, this objective classicism: back to the future take no, 4; *******...

             again, where were the africans sorting
out their invetement in the slave trade...
ONLY WHITE PEOPLE
WERE BAD, CONCERNING BLACK PEOPLE...
Idi Amin... Idi Amin Idi Amin Idi Amin Idi Amin
Idi Amin... Idi Amin Idi Amin Idi Amin Idi Amin ....
******! please!
ever see an african-h'american in africa?
   ******! please!
ever see an african-h'american in africa?
i said: ******! please!
ever see an african-h'american in africa?
i'd love to see an african-h'american
in africa... mouthin-off their stature...

                   african phonetic encoding....

debussy                                       chopin




satie                                              schumannn...

­and?
              there's too much of loon'don....
                   had enough of it, ****'s....
too much ***-kissing,
too much of the h'american swindle...
carelesss buggers; these brits...
******* ****** jolly-tribe
               ****-ups....
  
i drink and relax solving a sudoku -
i'm not doing it to compete -
   just having a conversation with
my neighbor about the difference
between Alzheimer's
and dementia brought back memories
of what i negated for some time...

it's only when someone else tells
you of their elder relative's dementia
you muster the courage to
spot the same symptoms in
your relative...

         my grandfather has dementia...
my early teenage years,
every summer visiting him,
traveling to Krakow,
     going fishing,
riding our bicycles in the afternoon...
he feeding my what books
i should read...
      i still visit,
  spend about a month,
say, keep him company,
   fix up the kitchen...

  but it's such an exhausting disease...
not so much for the sufferer -
this mild form of Alzheimer -
no killer proteins eating away at
the brain cells -
   dementia?
the ontological nadir of old age...
then again, perhaps the zenith...

a closure...
   the long term memory opens,
while the short term memory
closes -
   he still can solve a crossword
puzzle like a mad genius...
but he lapses into what is
the cinema of mortality...
                 he remembers things
like the two SS-men
   posted in my home town,
running up to them
and saying -
herr bitte bon-bon!...
  the raven black of the uniform
and the glaring *******...

    i blocked the fact that it was
dementia, when my grandmother
thought it was wise to scare all
of us, uncle, mother and father
into thinking it could degenerate
into Alzheimer's...
        he still recognizes me!
Alzheimer's sufferers can't
even muster that!

   at best... dementia couples itself up
with melancholia,
  the natural melancholia
akin to the sadness expressed by
Nietzsche: only when the house
has been completed,
but never during the construction...

dementia is just an endless memory
loop...
   when man is allowed to finally
put down the hammer, the sickle...
and retire?
  he's standing on the precipices of mortality...
on a dam about to crack open,
and release a surge of the sea
of memory...
   why wouldn't he take the time
to remember?
  to remember himself?
        
the tedium comes when the same
persons implores others to listen to them...
when memories become less
of the old man's cinema and more
affairs of an oral culture -
our culture has lost the point
of oral transmission -
  hence dementia sufferers have
to evolve -
                  into not talking so much...
not as a mean spirited conviction -
why? i do the same -
   i have about 10 focal memories
that constant revive me -
               and i'm only 32...
          but i don't talk about them...
hell, i won't write them...
   it's my own, private cinema -
but my grandfather comes from
a time before the optical explosion
of television...

         i don't need to hear what he saw -
all i need is to tattoo his mannerisms
and face onto my psyche...

   but dementia, thank god,
is a listening tedium...
                     point being...
a life opens up,
   but any immediacy of life disappears...
hence his persistent ability
to solve crossword puzzles,
enjoy reading the newspaper -
but the significance of remembering
yesterday is missing...
    
he's an old man...
   he has no obligations in terms of
duty in a professional arena of
the metalwork factory...
why wouldn't he attempt to push death
aside and not linger on
the memory of his, magnum opus -
his life sigma oeuvre?

     me?
  some would call this music neo-**** skinhead
****...
   wumpscut, two songs...
   thorns & wreath of barbs,
     bunkertor sieben (reprise)...
but it relaxes me when sitting on a sudoku,
drinking Bacardi cola and lime...
      enjoying the cool August air
after just enough rain
that manages to exfoliates the flowers
with refreshed sensuality...

  sudoku no. 10101...
    after enough numbers pop up,
the tactic is to hone in on one number
in each of the 9 squares and 9 vertical
and 9 linear line...
for sudoku no. 10101 in the Friday's
edition of the times?

   it went something akin to this

[8, 5] - [3] - [1] - [9] - [7] - [2, 6] - [4]

that's the closest schematic
i'll have for you,
   with regards to how the grid is filled.

i drink and relax solving a sudoku -
i'm not doing it to compete -
   just having a conversation with
my neighbor about the difference
between Alzheimer's
and dementia brought back memories
of what i negated for some time...

it's only when someone else tells
you of their elder relative's dementia
you muster the courage to
spot the same symptoms in
your relative...

         my grandfather has dementia...
my early teenage years,
every summer visiting him,
traveling to Krakow,
     going fishing,
riding our bicycles in the afternoon...
he feeding my what books
i should read...
      i still visit,
  spend about a month,
say, keep him company,
   fix up the kitchen...

  but it's such an exhausting disease...
not so much for the sufferer -
this mild form of Alzheimer -
no killer proteins eating away at
the brain cells -
   dementia?
the ontological nadir of old age...
then again, perhaps the zenith...

a closure...
   the long term memory opens,
while the short term memory
closes -
   he still can solve a crossword
puzzle like a mad genius...
but he lapses into what is
the cinema of mortality...
                 he remembers things
like the two SS-men
   posted in my home town,
running up to them
and saying -
herr bitte bon-bon!...
  the raven black of the uniform
and the glaring *******...

    i blocked the fact that it was
dementia, when my grandmother
thought it was wise to scare all
of us, uncle, mother and father
into thinking it could degenerate
into Alzheimer's...
        he still recognizes me!
Alzheimer's sufferers can't
even muster that!

   at best... dementia couples itself up
with melancholia,
  the natural melancholia
akin to the sadness expressed by
Nietzsche: only when the house
has been completed,
but never during the construction...

dementia is just an endless memory
loop...
   when man is allowed to finally
put down the hammer, the sickle...
and retire?
  he's standing on the precipices of mortality...
on a dam about to crack open,
and release a surge of the sea
of memory...
   why wouldn't he take the time
to remember?
  to remember himself?
        
the tedium comes when the same
persons implores others to listen to them...
when memories become less
of the old man's cinema and more
affairs of an oral culture -
our culture has lost the point
of oral transmission -
  hence dementia sufferers have
to evolve -
                  into not talking so much...
not as a mean spirited conviction -
why? i do the same -
   i have about 10 focal memories
that constant revive me -
               and i'm only 32...
          but i don't talk about them...
hell, i won't write them...
   it's my own, private cinema -
but my grandfather comes from
a time before the optical explosion
of television...

         i don't need to hear what he saw -
all i need is to tattoo his mannerisms
and face onto my psyche...

   but dementia, thank god,
is a listening tedium...
                     point being...
a life opens up,
   but any immediacy of life disappears...
hence his persistent ability
to solve crossword puzzles,
enjoy reading the newspaper -
but the significance of remembering
yesterday is missing...
    
he's an old man...
   he has no obligations in terms of
duty in a professional arena of
the metalwork factory...
why wouldn't he attempt to push death
aside and not linger on
the memory of his, magnum opus -
his life sigma oeuvre?

     me?
  some would call this music neo-**** skinhead
****...
   wumpscut, two songs...
   thorns & wreath of barbs,
     bunkertor sieben (reprise)...
but it relaxes me when sitting on a sudoku,
drinking Bacardi cola and lime...
      enjoying the cool August air
after just enough rain
that manages to exfoliates the flowers
with refreshed sensuality...

  sudoku no. 10101...
    after enough numbers pop up,
the tactic is to hone in on one number
in each of the 9 squares and 9 vertical
and 9 linear line...
for sudoku no. 10101 in the Friday's
edition of the times?

   it went something akin to this

[8, 5] - [3] - [1] - [9] - [7] - [2, 6] - [4]

that's the closest schematic
i'll have for you,
   with regards to how the grid is filled.

oh sure sure, the uncircumcised man,
crucified when all the orthodox were
drunk,
                   פור day,
       drunk cruxion?!
                 lovey purin "misgivings";
what's next?

   oh sure sure, the jews would hav e crucified
me on the hill of: tel megiddo
****-heads throwing up their kippahs
into the air in some skewed form
of celebration...
       like bacchus entering
Valhalla asking: where's the mead?
    i've had too much wine...
where'y the whiskey?

   i'll keep repeating...
              talk about jews among the polonaiase?
hush hush: ****, dont want to bring
bad luck... jews in poland are very much akin
to roma gypsies: lucky charms...
but... do you see any ******* leprechauns
around? look at me: i see none...
  let's tell the joke in verse,
not the stadard: a priest a rabbi and an imam
walk into a bar...
****... is that even a joke?! muslims don't drink!
what's the imam having; cranberry juice?!

and englishman a scot and an irish walk
into a bar... the three of them walk
out on stag-duty with inflanted sheep and
speaking cymcru... terrible joke...
as all my jokes were to begin with...

         i am currently navigating,
my uncle's ex girlfriend is sleeping downstairs
on the couch,
blah blah Tuscany... blah blah prosecco...
i'm becoming suspect: she's a gemini,
isn't she? all the geminis i ever met where
extroverted self-absorbed louis XIV types...
they need to, they need to self-absorb themselves
in order to extract the sort of energy
associate with rhetoric,
   and how they constantly digress,
there's always a sub-plot to the plot... nay,
there are always sub-plots...
          great company, i mean...
when a person speaks all the time there are
no awkward moments of silence,
until the said person tells the "eager" listener...
play some music...
she's a warsaw girl, so she's a pretty learned
in the ways of the world,
i'm just an ostrowiec commoner...

    oy vey! oy vey: she'***** 40 and lamenting...
i too complain about my uncle...
she had an abortion with him...
i once talked with my uncle about music
while he surfaced at mrs. roshandler's back garabe...
we ate sri lankan fried chicken wings and
chips and listened to californication
for the very first time...

   abundance of hope in Tuscany...
"apparently"... but if you have ever watched
a woman, borderline on asylum incarceration?
i was looking at one just example...
  it's not a pretty sight...
even when she asked: how's *** and business?
i'm a monk...
          or at least i tend to...
even if she came from a stock of
failed relationships: fine fine...
            now?

i served up decent food,
a malvani and a tikka masala curry...
          naan bread,
     turmeric infused rice,
vanilla cheese cake with strawberries...
she enjoyed it,
i like to please people...
    mind you: ever see a slim chef?
i wouldn't trust a slim chef,
i never have, i never will,
you need some chubby chub chub rounding-offs...
mind you: i much prefer cooking
food than eating it,
but i would never trust a chef associated
with a c.o.d. associated with counting calories...
never have, never will...
two noteworthy proverbs:
1. too many cooks in one kitchen =
no decent meal is being made...
  one cook, one couldron, that's your best bet...
2. never trust a slim, athletic cook...
those ******* can shove their kale
       smoothies....
they can slurp up those smoothies
turning their ***** in straw ******* vortexes!
i'll cook on lard trimmings,

em....
  [9] - [2] - [6] - [3] - [8] - [1] - [4] - [5, 7]?
that's when the sudoku puzzle was filled...
all the nines... all the twos... etc. became filled
in the 9 grids...

well...
     "apart" from: my uncle's girlfriend:
i've been living in englamd
for nearly 30 yeasrs...
i've dated a french girl,
an australian, a russian....
but u've never dated an english
girl: i guess they much prefer
aged pakistani grooming gang
members....
            i guess:
**** gasoline on them,
they're all readied and geared up!

braille contra morse?
if you want to play the guitar?
forget the braille....
you need tender fingertips
to read braille...
morse? nit so much...
here's a comparison...
i see!

    a.:   ⠓⠑   ⠺⠓⠕
                       ⠎⠑⠑⠎
    ⠊⠎       ⠁⠃⠇⠑
                   ⠞⠕
                                     ­   ⠗⠑⠁⠙

b. play the guitar and learn to....
read finger tip braille, ******....

· · · ·  ·         
· − −  · · · ·  − − − 
· · ·  ·  ·  · · · :
                  · ·  · · · 
▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄ ▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄ · − · ·  ·  (a / b)
      −  − − − 
                   · − ·  · ▄▄▄▄▄▄▄ − · ·  (a)

(he who sees: is able to read)...

           i can attest...
             i would find myself readily reading
morse in braille,
than braille by itself...
                far more easier.

finger-tips... i'd sooner read your morse
as braille, than braille as morse..
Katelyn Arnold Dec 2014
yin
you are a acute demonstration of smoke and
mirrors, and every time i happen to miss you,
i remind myself that even the trees with the
most amount of leaves could turn out to be
a dead tree in the middle of winter, butterflies
decorating the bare arms of the tree. even if
you are dead, you still cover yourself in gold
tinfoil & refuse to admit it's anything but gold.

you are an acute demonstration of the planet
enduring mass extinctions in these cruel ways to
die, and you manage to still look healthy on the
exterior, even when we have collided in ways
where you are the drunk driver and i was the
victim. i know you don't remember that long ago.

you are an acute demonstration of reminders
that somewhere a family is falling apart, a
child is ending up an orphan, a white lie that
turns itself into a lie. you are a reminder that
bad things happen to good people, but that
even good things happen to bad people.

you are an acute demonstration that i am
flawed, i am going through major bug fixes
constantly, and never do i find the time to
fix them. clocks are ignorant of me and cut
me off exactly the way you did it.

- kra
Terry O'Leary Jan 2014
I’m on my way, I’ve got to go
(the reasons why you’ll never know),
whisked away in winter’s winds, your sleeping sighs remind me.
And I’ll ramble where I please,
sometimes slipping to my knees,
phantom memories a’ chasing close behind me.

Well, I’ve often made my way
within the dark before the day,
but it’s never that I’ve ever felt this lonely.
So I leave this parting note,
the first farewell I ever wrote,
though these lines embody more than farewell only.

I’m on my way, I’ve got to go,
’n what I’ll find you’ll never know,
concealed in clouds of untamed clover, tussled hair reminds me.
And I’ll ramble where I please,
sometimes slipping to my knees,
phantom memories a’ chasing close behind me.

Alas, my love has grown too strong
for I’ve lain with you so long
with your every need perceived, though never spoken.
’n as I try to disengage,
I’m like a tiger in a cage,
hesitating ’fore a padlock hanging broken.

I’m on my way, I’ve got to go
(across a bridge you’ll never know),
to quench abandoned burning hills, your yearning lips remind me.
And I’ll ramble where I please,
sometimes slipping to my knees,
phantom memories a’ chasing close behind me.

Should you wake and shed a tear
finding me no longer here,
save your weeping for another, not so ghostly.
’n if you scan the spangled sky,
as you ache when asking why,
realize ’twas really you I wanted mostly.

I’m on my way, I’ve got to go
(reshuffling cards you’ll never know),
defying fate beneath the stars, your diamond eyes remind me.
And I’ll ramble where I please,
sometimes slipping to my knees,
phantom memories a’ chasing close behind me.

Shun the shadows in the late
disappearing through your gate,
aghast and groping through their early morning sorrows,
like the echoes of my thought,
flitting, fleeting, overwrought,
as reflected in the realms of vague tomorrows.

I’m on my way, I’ve got to go
(’n what I’ll see you’ll never know),
pursuing pebbles on a beach, your freckled nose reminds me.
And I’ll ramble where I please,
sometimes slipping to my knees,
phantom memories a’ chasing close behind me.

Should you glimpse a troubled form
within a restless ruby storm,
turn your collar 'gainst the wind and never follow.
For by then it’s much too late
(yes the distance far too great)
and you’d only find the feathers of a swallow.

I’m on my way, I’ve got to go
(along a road you’ll never know),
adrift on half-forbidden paths, your slender back reminds me.
And I’ll ramble where I please,
sometimes slipping to my knees,
phantom memories a’ chasing close behind me.

Should you yearn once more to tease,
unleash your breath upon a breeze
’n let the whispered winds of yesterday caress me,
and perchance recall the time
(when our love was in its prime),
I relied upon your laughter to possess me.

I’m on my way, I’ve got to go
(’n it’s so hard you’ll never know),
entwined in twirls of fortune’s wheel, embracing arms remind me.
And I’ll ramble where I please,
sometimes slipping to my knees,
phantom memories a’ chasing close behind me.

Once I was yours and you were mine
sipping pearls of purple wine –
except these haunting hints, there’ll be no spectres chasing.
’n if the flashbacks grow acute,
I’ll strum the strings upon my lute
subduing bygone ancient ghosts, still standing, facing.

I’m on my way, I’ve got to go,
’n what I’ll hear you’ll never know,
though echoed in a thousand drums, your throbbing ******* remind me.
And I’ll ramble where I please,
sometimes slipping to my knees,
phantom memories a’ chasing close behind me.

Well, the candle by my side
has now melted down and died,
though its fire blazes on within the mirror.
And the clock behind the door
is throbbing, pounding with a roar,
as my moment to depart approaches nearer.

I’m on my way, I’ve got to go
(along a shore you’ll never know),
engulfed in deep and distant tides, your restless thighs remind me.
And I’ll ramble where I please,
sometimes slipping to my knees,
phantom memories a’ chasing close behind me.

But I’ll take along the ring,
the one you carved for me in spring,
though it journeyed as an orphan on my finger.
And I’ll hang it from my neck
while I ***** a lonesome trek,
as a keepsake of your ardor, while it lingers.

I’m on my way, I’ve got to go
(’n what I’ll see you’ll never know),
immersed in fields of flowers wild, your amber eyes remind me.
And I’ll ramble where I please,
sometimes slipping to my knees,
phantom memories a’ chasing close behind me.

Now I’ll kiss your sleeping eyes
ere I mount the blushing skies
as I bid farewell, adieu, in morning’s splendour.
Then I’ll fade within the haze,
immured in miles of my own maze
as I wander, breaking chains of love’s surrender.

I’m on my way, I’ve got to go,
’n when I rue you’ll never know
the pulsing passions of the past and shadows that remind me.
And I’ll ramble where I please,
sometimes slipping to my knees,
till the phantoms start a’ fading far behind me.
shaqila Jul 2013
They all stood around her, bowed quietly, watching and reflecting and remembering how this day was anticipated. Each engrossed in his/her memory of her and how they saw her eventual end.

Tom thought, ‘Perhaps if I had talked to her more often, this would not have happened’.
Hilary thought, ‘I should have prayed harder, maybe if I was better, then God would have heard my prayer’.
Annie thought, ‘I told her a million times, don’t do that, it will **** you. I guess it finally did’.
Ralph thought, ‘Why didn’t she just call me like she always did?’
Sam thought, ‘Wow, she finally did it, just like she always said she would!’
Andrew thought, rather methodically, of the steps that she would have taken to reach the final destination.
Gene knew exactly how she did it! Hell, if she revealed further, some would say, she even instigated the whole thing.
Pam was undoubtedly gloating, ‘Now she could have it all – the man, the cash, the jewellery ...’

No one knew though that she was watching all of them from just above, hovered in a corner. She was surprised that she could hear them think even though it was in whispers. She was sad, and happy and in fact after a while she smiled, ‘on to plan B now!’ She was looking forward to all the frightful nightmares she could give each one of them. Heaven can wait or possibly hell but if it’s going to be eternity, she has certainly got a lot time in her hands.
Just then, she felt a vacuum **** her in and she jolted back into her body. She could see them, in fact, her eyes were open but she couldn’t move, she couldn’t speak, she couldn’t even blink!!


The Doctor arrives and lets the family and friends know, “I’m sorry, she’s comatose and right now I am unable to tell you much, we have to keep her here to run further tests! It would be best if just one or two of you stay with her.”
They look at each other and without saying much leave the room one by one.
She’s watching and actually screaming and shouting but no one reacts; to them she’s motionless. She curses and finally stops and just stares at the ceiling.

**That was five years ago; she’s in a beautiful room now but she’s still just staring at the ceiling...
Note: The above story and characters are purely fictional and if there’s any resemblance to someone you know, it’s purely coincidental, really!
Anthony Williams Aug 2014
Today I had a bout of acute-you shyness
one where I try to pretend I don't notice
but have you noticed how difficult it is
when outside idles but inside there's a race

to views like you leaning side to side
on the motorcycle ride slot machine
driving my eyes to sly around your slides
taking them wide as when I was eighteen
I'd look for curves at Southend pier's end
give out stares and start to take in scenes
of free amusement at the Fun Bump arcade

around and around the circuit you rode
I was lapping up your every move
sneaking a view through the coin drop
peeping behind the pinball of Dr Who
prying open the photo booth curtain gap
faux testing the mallet with your strength
playing air hockey with my thoughts
were your short chic bangs a wig?

they sit so still I long for the straights
then swing to one side with a leg
tight vibrant jeans in hairpin bends
ironing out where the centre line is damp
polishing the dashing leather saddle
vibrating with wrist twist contempt
loveliness revving up to red line

exploding in my face with daring
this bike crash heart of mine
please forgive not stopping staring
a race course habit never outgrown

I go too fast and of course I fall
in love as bad as deeply madly
but the fact that it's with you.. well
I have to forgive myself this malady

I'm a side-road heading for a spin
on ways to tell you you're beautiful
dangerously close I risk self harm
imagining that colour of pink and pale
the flush u-turn will be a charm

If I can get you climbing off
hot and flustered
I’ll have done my pit stop job
at once a chance encounter
and a fateful winning score
to let you know you've entered
into being my prize draw

I'll walk away but don't be sore
it's up to you to take it further
but just know one thing more
that if you call me to confirm
and tell me that I’m worth it
I would turn around so fast
the world would gearshift
and wait
but not in neutral
for us
by Anthony Williams
LDuler Dec 2012
You tell me that I am young
That life has merely licked me, not stung
That I do not understand, that I have not yet lived
Enough to grasp the substance

I have known disease
Slow tears, muted pleas
Pain that nothing could appease
I have known the smell of hospitals for summers
The beeping and slurping of machine in massive numbers

I have spoken to voiceless loved ones,
Loved ones with teethless mouths and twisted tongues
Distorted jaws and wheezing lungs.
We have spoken with little green charts
And broken hearts
From the inability to connect the mouth to the thoughts in the head
And I left without understanding,
What they had said
Because I eventually had to let it go
(I still don't know)

I have spent countless summer nights
In nature’s garb, floating silently in a river
So warm that my limbs, skimming the surface, didn't shiver
Under a clear sky, the stars like paradisiac lights
Without anyone ever finding out
About these wild and primal escapades

I've drank, I've smoked
I have burned my throat
With coarse lemon gin
Until I could no longer feel my skin.

I have been frightened
Yes I have felt fear, like a noose around my throat being tightened
Like a gruesome black crow, perched on my shoulder
I have often awoken affright at night,
Longing, praying, for the morning light
I have felt fear, wild, fierce and turbulent fear
More than anyone will everyone will ever know
By men, by life, by myself
Desolate under the sheets, like a forsaken toy
All by myself

I have seen Paris in the rain
Traveled the French countryside by train
I've woken up to New York window views
And seen New Orleans afternoons, filled with heat and blues.
I've swam the Mexican Baja waters, turquoise and clear
With snakes as sharp as spears

I have known humiliation
Causing my cheeks to turn carnation
A spoon, emptying my insides out
Like a gourd

I have loved
I have known the aching pain of a swelled heart
And the way it can tear you apart
I have gushed torrents upon my pillows and sleeves
Tears running down my chin like guilty thieves
From a lit-up house

I have known death, and grief
The meaning of "never"
Whimpering in the school bathroom
And cold, lonely nights

I have seen the works of Van Gogh, Mondrian, and Miro,
Modigliani, Cezanne, and Frida Kahlo
Of Monet, Gauguin, Matisse, Magritte, and Picasso
I have wandered through hallways of masterpieces
Holding tight to my grandmother's hand
And I have wept shamelessly for joy
Before Degas's La classe de danse

I have been diagnosed
I have undergone computer programs designed to shift my brain, to better it
To get me to be normal, to submit
I have had brain-altering medicine shoved down my throat,
Like stuffing a goose,
To make my brain run a little less loose
And I have submitted and gotten use to my brain being altered.

I have had kisses that were mere trifles
Frivolous, yet fierce and acute like shots from a rifle
Lips of mere flesh, not sweet godly nectar
And gazes that meant everything
That seemed to connect with an invisible yet indestructible string
Iris like distant galaxies and pupils twinkling like black jewels
Eyes that seemed enkindled by some ethereal fuel
Speaking of emotions far too secluded, cryptic and cluttered
To be worded and uttered

I know the way in which violence resides
Not in commotion, brusqueness, nor physical harm
But in silence
In the time that covers pain and secrets
In the slow impossibility of trust
In the way that some secrets become inconceivable to tell, time has so covered them in rust
In that dull, dismal ache
In all that is doomed to remain forever opaque.

I have read, for pleasure,
The works of Balzac, Fitzgerald, Steinbeck, and Voltaire
Of Bobin, Gaude, and Baudelaire
Of Flaubert, Hemingway
and good old Bradbury, Ray
Émile Zola,  Primo Levi
Moliere, Rousseau, and Bukowski
I have read, and loved, and understood

I have known insomnia
The way a beach knows the tides
Sleepless nights of convulsive, feverish panic, of clutching my sides,
Of silent hysteria and salty terror.
I know what happens at night, when sweet slumber seems so far away
The worries and woes seem to multiply and swell in hopeless disarray
My lips grow pale, my eye grow sunken
As a time ticks by, tomorrow darkens




I have witnessed horror
In the form of a blue body bag
Being rolled out with a squeaking drag
By two yellow-vested men
With apologetic eyes
That seemed to say "Oh god
We're so sorry you had to see that
Please, please
Go home
And try to forget
"

But you are right
I am still just a child
Naive, innocent, and pure
I have known nothing dark or obscure
I have not yet lived.
Elouise Roux Sep 2011
Each day she grows stronger.

All physical functions
require acute concentration
unwavering vigilance.

Her invisible shackle's bind me.

Tornadoes my conscience
weakens muscles, bruises skin
Splinters the soul.

Her outstanding weapon?
Relentless emotional chaos!
'stiltskin Nov 2014
Compliments to the baker
and so too my Barista
Smoothest crema on the tongue
juxtapose to lemon vapour.

Intense acute sensations
insist I close my eyes
Submit in rare humility
in awe of nature's true franchise.

Clarion note of citron zest
resounds on mellow creamy seas
Mediterranean sun distilled
now is witnessed here in me.

Tempered, rounded bitter hues
from Amazonian dark recess
waited aeons to infuse
and bring about this wanton bliss.
Hal Loyd Denton Mar 2013
What a perfect setting to tell this love story just like the land her heart was barren and Georgia O Keefe
Speaks of it perfectly “Such a beautiful untouched lonely feeling place such a far part of what I call the
Faraway” how many times had she dreamed of being able to lay her head beside another on the pillow
But still the years increased and no prince rode into view against the backdrop of what others saw
Just as weary empty barbarous land the artist O Keefe with fine acute sense ability blended contrasted
Harshness to bring forth exquisite beauty from bovine grazing herds to one individual that left only its
Whitened scull stared with empty eye sockets on the cruel reality of an unforgiving land but even this
Spoke an unequivocal announcement of beauty rugged startling severe the sun sky and earth told the
Story of quiet irreversible glory magnificence magnified multiplied would capture and enthrall even
Greater than when this creature lived and breathed as well her life would whisper the sweetest accord it
Was like a life time had forgot then with richest hues the flames leapt to daring and fulfilling life truly
She was driest tender what moisture there was derived from tears of regret and longing just a tender
Touch With feeling and passion it came to full expression when she stood at the end of this great field
The sun Dried weeds started to stir from the rising breeze she stood there beside a lone tree and as this
Picture Took full hold of her soul in the distant horizon her answer of a lifetime of longing arrived on the
Wind he dropped his biplane gently upon the face of the field a golden rush overtook her feelings like
A Flower without water she was in a state of drawn feebleness and want now her skies were filled with
The wonder clouds of rain they came in a fury after the long draught she didn’t know this clearly but she
Sensed it with womanly intuition two kindred spirits now would come to know fulfillment because at
The Center of everything love is predominate and it’s not just a feeling it’s a person he goes to the very
Core and center of existence he sees and truly knows when the sparrow falls he all so knows when we
Fall in love first because he arraigned it took it from the fragile frail wisp of thought gave it a birth place
In the heart and as it grows it ends up ruling a life of love and devotion but for misses Beal it was just a
Another day for Jon tungsten it was just a time to do a little barnstorming in Santa Fe the fall had been
Full and promising now it became even more gratifying and promising this land at first considered a
Tortuous place gleamed and was unalterably a dreamscape how tenderly wonder touched and wound it
Self around your emotional well being but for the moment our heroine returned to her job a quick
Telling of the hotel La Fonda where she worked “La Fonda is a Santa Fe landmark, just steps
Away from history and art museums, a variety of galleries and shops, historic churches and, of
Course, the Plaza. The historic inn’s Pueblo-style architecture features thick wood beams, latilla
Ceilings and carved corbels. Special touches such as hand-crafted chandeliers, tin and copper
Lighting fixtures and colorful tiles add character and charm. Beautiful hand-carved and hand-
Painted furniture and displays by local artists create a rich ambience. La Fonda has always been
A Local gathering spot and a hub of activity. World War II journalist Ernie Pyle wrote, “You
Could Go there any time of day and see a few artists in the bar…a goateed gentleman from
Austria or a Maharajah from India or a New York broker… You never met anyone anywhere
Except at La Fonda.” So as chance would have it the pilot adventurer and hotel manageress
Would also cross paths under favorable circumstances due to him having a slight mishap with his
Plane and without it this story wouldn’t have unfolded he was only slightly bruised the only
Evidence was a sling that held his right arm but it meant a delay and a stay so busy was her life
In doing for others little did she know the tables were about to be turned who could count the
times that she had watched the couples holding hands holding deep long glances going out on the
Floor to dance and longed for the same to be her life there is some who believe there is a
universal
Attunement and alignment at work in our lives it seems so here she the great tree that bare no
Fruit his life lived fully but at the center there was emptiness all it took was a cordial meeting out
On the patio dining section among trellises hanging flowers a full golden harvest moon and a
Sweet autumn breeze only a greeting was made but in the depths that only the soul knows a
Connection had occurred somewhere there was the smallest muffled sound a foundation had
Moved unseen but powerfully moving a new building stared to be built the next time a little
Longer conversation then a dinner was arraigned one was wowed with tales of the barnstormer
Life while at the same time a root had fastened itself to a wild ones heart the steady stability that
Showed out of her life was for some reason the most attractive thing he could imagine her life
Made his life take form and made a base where truth was undeniably lived grandly a love so
Great could only be told in the ski with barrel roles loops and dives clouds white and puffy and
Blue that is almost incomprehensible the days washed in to their lives like the land that told its
Secrets through beauty conjured against stark backdrops elegance pristine acute almost painful
Was the soft divergent quality revealed but before they could fly off into the western sunset fate
Would raise its heavy hand and an accident would claim her love as it did so many others of that
period so she donned the black widows apparel but rich beyond words was the man who had the
brightest blue eyes he was her guardian her keeper no longer did she long for love it had stepped
beyond the azure blue and every time a plane passed over head she was thrilled and amazed with
The life she had known when a heroic flyer took her far from her down to earth life spelled out
Heaven in such glorious terms like the gentle sound of a Spanish guitar drifting out on the plaza
Her life is filled with a haunting music that is the knowledge of all who love and have been loved
Mohammad Skati Mar 2015
Everyone has eyes ,but                                                                                                A poet has a cute eye                                                                                                   Simply because he looks                                                                                            Around differently ...                                                                                                   A poet looks at things from                                                                                           A different perspective that                                                                                         Makes his feelings and his                                                                                           Emotions go elevated anytime ...
Mateuš Conrad Oct 2016
or that worth of gimp, the hotted sauced out
cradle of predatory amusement              banked on,
                        i have the notes,
mind you, you're clearly laden
with khaki material,
to mind the blackshirts of the SS,
a Vandal epiphany -
                 less khaki juice
and more blackcurrants -
                  or so the motto stands,
asserting brief and all that thought
of tomorrow.
                   all i'll add with this
vague blunt alcohol ridden self?
the vampirism of the abandoned trill
of the R...
                   that's the Vlad-blatant
abandonment of the trilling of the R -
and the competent disregard for
linguistic laws...
                 until tomorrow,
until i find my sobering-up manicure
and in rewrite the notes i've made
when inspired...
                      and i have made them...
it's all about me being nicknamed
a Viking for my tolerance to drink
you under the table, and dabble with nods,
or the blatant hiding of the tetragrammaton
with ghee (said gee) and otherwise,
                  (Indian butter) -
or dhal - or quiet simply daal / dāl:
against the aesthetics, ouch.
     again in French: je t'aime: ř - adding zero
hour to the said: sharpening the shrapnel -
                       jaded temp. / jay temp. /
                  j-j ****** or the rue flu.
oh it's there, in the notes,
as i benign the thought: unfit today,
payday tomorrow.
wait... i might have a sober moment tonight...
         encapsulate that with a question
about Iran, and a quasi-stop in conversation...
        or counting the strokes in a handwritten
variation:
              Yen ( ¥‎) = 4
                      pound (£) = 2
    matchsticks...
                             elsewhere also matchsticks:
º (red)
                = R E D (3, 4, 2) matchsticks,
                 º (
writing is termed another variant of arithmetic,
the total is 7, for one ideogram) -
             the sigma for red
   is 9, but divided by three means
        the European model falls 4 short
of optical indigestion.
     ř (caron) - caron of the missing z -
         not the variant of caron s and c with z:
czekam (i'm waiting), or szukam (i'm looking),
English has this pronoun priority
                   to be included in every phrase,
or what provides the British Empire fabric:
            how a-  (indefinite)
     and the-    (definite) articulation secures
pronouns with excess modifications
  as already apparent conjunction modifications
worthy of exegesis into the exotic / excess.
there are 7 pages worth of notes,
   but i have three quarters worth of whiskey to
drink... give me an Andy Warhol moment
suggesting: in the future, people
will have only 15 minutes worth of rechargeable
         infrastructure; hence the pending /
ongoing / will return to in a minute.
reintroducing the trilled R vogue:
    is a bit like incubating a vampiric
in English,
                    rzekomo (apparently so)
       řekomo -
                         variant of: as already stratified.
               still, the trilling of the R
is so out of fashion in English it's necessarily
a vampirism qualm -
                   never nearer the French hark
when the R summarises a rolling effect -
      by imperial standards charred.
howe then to resemble a trill?
           r̭ ?
                   or wave akin to wavering
                       (ñ) that's necessary above an r?
i need the trill represented!
    for thrill a better word -
                  or 0 and the minded gambit.
as said caron the missing H...
       twins in
                 Y or three-dimensional space,
and W
              of trigonometric absorption...
waves hunny, waves...
                          and three dimensional space
and rabbis... honey cluedo pooh bear...
i still need to find the trilled r!
**** me, the trilled r! virgulilla:
or thus said, a patent otherwise.
        yet again a ******* Yeti,
    counting matchsticks in Japan
   rather than in Iowa...
             cos it really ******* mattered
given the knots -
       and other reminders...
         yen, or Jenny,
      v. p o u n d
            (2 1 2 2 2);
          ś (acute) half-missing caron
      inc. grave v. š (caron)
             or the Sean Connery effect -
e.g. środa (wednesday) or škodaª
             (insert a H or a Z)
           for pronunciation
                        of the Czech car manufacturer,
already the Tetragrammaton descends:
   ªwhat a shame, it's such a shame.
       Mishter Bondè:
                                tequila sunrise?
ney - ney shaken nor shackled to a shtir (
šush it, and wise up, mš. moneypenny).
    just say Sharon and write Šaron:
dimples!
                         or how to paint a Kabbalistic
anatomy of the mouth to slow variation
between ś (acute) / no consonants will ever
acquire a gràve - necessary: the e isn't said
accenting / syllable scalpelling cutting up...
but still the coran s (š - to mention
ch in cheap, and šiš kebabs too).
variation of cutting up the caron into
acute and grave?
      ś: the tongue is primarily squeezed by the psyche /
breath and the mouth rekindles eating a lemon
tightening it's juiced up and juices the tongue
to sting with missing saliva -
š? primarily a serpent's hush -
  the mouth hollows out -
         the breath enters a so does a pufferfish:
antics of hollowed out mouth follow suite,
the diamond or double L

       bone                                    soul
               L muscle                            L teeth
  tendon                               tongue

synonyms and Γ apart -
                                 of the LL, or ΓL
                    or LΓ or ΓΓ.
                      the diamond diadem -
assertion of bone: whether caprais or
   cousin in the mandible family...
    is a tongue a muscle?
            still the Kabbalistic anatomy dynamic...
  the kinned appearance of H or the
variant of bone...
     or?
              a-
                     (+)
                              -theism,
it doesn't mean that God doesn't exist,
it just means that God has no logical attachment
to man's sprechen,
            the omni- can be rightfully disregarded
in that rubric consolidated within
categorisation of: lazy...
      a- (i.e. without)  
                            theology,
              ­       or our abhorrent freedoms of will,
nurtured by a universal lack:
       atheism contemplates talk of god
without a contradictory circumstance of the
human endeavour to find itself a *******
     lacklustre of comparative Raphaelite
                 illustration...
                           always the favourite,
aren't they, the crucified ones, rather than
those enthroned? aren't they? so why are the
Japanese asking about their ****** culture?
over-sexualised west?
let's ask Yokote,
   let's ask Takeshi,
let's ask Masahiro,
             sure... you can ask me:
  i prefered prostitutes because i actually
knew i was using my phallus rather than representing
a ******* identity of some egocentrism
regarding the skyscraper -
                     and the last girlfriend i had?
i wouldn't wish her to be a companion of
any kind of a Mongolian invader as part
of a horde... i had an argument with her
and was so unhappy i actually wished i was dead...
          jerking off never seemed so holy
as when encountering this woman who
stood by the motto: life is ****...
           but i guess money does that to you.
**** me! i never expected to be so Japanese in
my outlook;
tragic, i know, but what can you do,
    you unlock the floodgates of feminism
and you think that lions will start to provide for
the household? then you aren't lionesses; obviously;
or reluctantly so:
           i find the 21st century is withstanding
  any kind of revision, given the 20th century's
revisions aren't working
        for any worthy necessitation of reciprocated
stipend.

— The End —