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Haberdashery hauberk harbinger harangue equilibrist, harpy harsh hast severities.
Inane inert inertia innate, juxtaposition maenad ethos affinities.
Putrid quasi queasy pathos, emanate imminent perdition acerbities.

Agnate aggregate anathema android amalgamated, predication contract.
Glutton paradoxical dichotomy greaves, gauntlets gamut catalyst abstracts.
Ambidextrous amatory prelude amaze, analeptic adrenergic analgesia analytics extract.  Annex annul.  

Clairaudience clairvoyant omnipresence presage, omnipotent omnificent omniscience.
Pantheism parapet paradigm intuition, prognosticating prosthesis prediction.
Prolific profuseness profundity prosaic, nimbus nimiety nitty gritty, intrados rubato.

Venerable divinatory deity deify veneration, delineate demagoguery ecstasy, agonist agog.
Dream gleam cream seam beam team, serene ravine green gene careen, obscene demean.
Empiricise the existentialisms in the demagoguery of godhead aspiration.
Corporeal anaclitic apex inveterate embezzlement extroversion, acuity alacrity extortion.
Extraneous extemporaneous, ominous phenomena portrayal spontaneous synchronous, aorist actuator.

Endergonic protensive integration extrapolation interpolations investiture elicits.
Scenario synopsis synthesis syncopation, harmony rhymes rhythm.
Synchronous transition transposition interlude, summerial derivation cognition.
                                                      ­­­                                                               ­ ­ ­              
Irk-ness ire aerie altruism allegorical, autonomous avarice oscillating ostracism.
Pandemonium obdurate temerity impunity, impending preponderance onus, numinous illuminism quintessential frolic.
Amorous ardent argent arduous enamor endear, plenary putschist volatile phatic.
Conveyor controvert deft mesmeric deification deist dissertation.
Drastic premise portent pervasive embellish, elusive enhance enchant, engender enthrall.
Perpetuation euphenic euthenics, exude emote concoct recalcitrance regalia, irrefragable preternatural ne plus ultra prurient.
Vernaculars opulent myriad, aesthetic stratagem venial vexatious, astral projection conjuring levity apothegms.

Incite epistemological illuminism, accoutrements umbrage ultraism incognito trajectory extant.
Scandalous scavenger squalid anomalous punitive, heuristic manumission exigency.
Ostensible proclivity prodigious querulous, rambunctious repertoire rigmarole scenic schism sooth.
Ascribe arsenal crucial critical, abhorrent abstinence blatancy berserk, alacritous celerity brogue.
Ceremonial chicanery dynamism fealty, indefatigable incontrovertible ingenuity ingratiate inimical impugn.
Innovate integrity intricate invective convolution, licentious metaphor convection obeisance.
Splurge-ness spry sporadic sprawl, spurious staunch succinct stymie tacit, irate tirade treatise vehement escapade tedium.

Probity irascibly veracious audacity mendacity gumption.
Paphian peccavi preternatural proclivity gesticulation articulation prestidigitation.
Fantastication fantasia fabulist façade, glimmer glisten translucent refulgence.
Subliminally subjunctive nostalgic allusion analogies eidetic’s mnemonics.
Metaphysical mystique’s evolutionally metamorphic futurity fatidic.
Adroit agile nimble tactile acuity prescience capacity intrigue.
Unadulteratedly fornicatious fabrications, portentous ethereal etiquette.
Nose agnate somatology morphology metamorphic, cognition epistemology pragmatics.
Ontological ontogeny causality exigence integumence equivocal.
Innocuous noumenal verity ***** affectation intentions.

Adumbrate intimate obfuscate preterite rendition intimidate.
Logistical tactician spatiotemporal terrestrial equestrian telemetries, physicality’s terrene traverse tellurian terrain.
Vaunt-ness verve’s lucidly illusive, intrepid yare’s predilection predication.
Apriori a posteriori apostrophe shards shroud, innately inert inherency interstitial endemics.                  

Irk-ness ire Zen, graffiti mantra mantis, diminutive minutia iotas inductive interpolation asperities.
Hypercritically mitigating dialectics hypotaxis.
Vituperatively vociferous eerie strident irrefragable orotund  sonorous felicities.
Diacritical diction dharma apomixis.
Chutzpah panache spontaneous generation complicity, gambit alluvium aloof succor.

Demarcate mirador bartizan panorama, stalwart bastion bulwark tableau, dexterous gargoyle disguise gimmick camouflage.
Decipher coercible coalesce corrupt costume counselor chameleon charlatan chaperone entourage.
Cryptic evocative emulation scenarios siren skeptic, cynical demonic gremlin greaves curtilage.
Zesty zingy zippy zeal zenithal azimuth elaborate elliptical empathy endeavor entity entice.

Clambering clamorous clangor strategic systematic propagate prolific, wield wile treatise expose’.
Aural auspice austerity  axiom conscribe, perplex beleaguer beggary, coax cacophony clout, concatenate chronology.
Erumpent erudition evident evil evert, extol fervor flinty florid, fructify impromptu innuendo juncture.
Kinetic supremacy temporize tractive fluent, precious precess predetermined predatory predicament, gyro gyre.
Horizon hornswoggle huckster, hokey hoot ornery honkies.

Horologist hackamore relative rationality.
Decorum dastardly dazzle deceit, demolish demur, annihilate denigrate.
Armature arcade doughty, panacea parallax serendipity servant serenade.
Personification of sartorial perfection, picturesque visage of spectral grace.
Cosmic enigma rational relativity.

Housebreak huckster squabble brash, hovel huff.
Ghastly gruesome grotesque grisly groaty gnarly grotto grouch compunction.
Caustic cavernous celibate catatonic phonics, apex crux axis matrix cortex cephalic.
Blasphemous farcical fugue-ness and estranged ensemble orchestration acoustics.
Rendition: various assorted forms of related stranger weirdness.
Conjugation coercion junction function, adjunct conjunction conjecture.
Concoct deontology ontogeny, ontological enclitic osteopathy.
Anticipate angary amentia, tiercel theocracy.
Phrenic sensorium sentiment paragon tangible.
Covert aspersion avidity, coherent avid avarice, allegory allocate amatory prelude annex annul.

Tantamount telepathy tantalize talisman talesman, prerogative presumptive judicature.
Subpoena parameter perimeter peripherals prophylaxis protocol.
Real deal seal, sail bail, bailiff rake-ness rail.
Yoni yore yare, leeward lecher leer lingam, menagerie melee hyperbolic milieu thesis, métier quintessential fulham.
Dangle wrangle mangle jangle tangle angle.
Hysterically delirious zany nertsy bonkers bluster boggle.
Gyrate, austere askance obliquely, aspire assail askew.

Cosmic origins metamorphosis implosion contractions revision, blond entropy catalyst.
Cataclysm catastrophe holocaust trauma, inefficacy ineffable expiate.
Chaos cognizant conceive dialectic dictates in extremis extremity meld nuance.
Cryptic cipher circuit citadel clairvoyant sequitur.
Cajole fictitious fiery finesse, invoke fulmination gouts clout, curtilage endeavor iterative itinerary.
Ersatz fiat fulcrum fulgurous indemnify indigenous infernal infidel iniquitous.
Electroacoustics ciphony  Electra complex lore, occipital ubiquity synch.
Psychosomatic psychokinesis cybernetics, penumbral platitude platonic proxy photic.
Assimilate stigma perspicacious, astute asunder atman pulchritudinous.
        
Decadent arrogant pompously bombastic blatant flagrant chaparral.
Diabolically maniacal dementia brusque macabre abruptness.
Swarthy beastly antithetical anathema ******* belligerent, savvy irate berserk-ness tirade.
Ulterior aghast agitator incongruous dire, perdurable peremptory primacy arbitrate zealot.
Cantankerously sorcerous insidiously sinister alchemy cauldron, pernicious visceral pathogenic, virulence truculence.
Ideational hideously horrible horrendously heinous ghastly abysmal abjection.
Perpetuity pervade rampart ransack oblation erogenous scarp lambent actuarial arbitrage.
Exserted protuberant pseudopodia actuator, odious aorist militantly mercenary.

Wingspread wiry wiseacre wherewithal rapacity, implicit important juxtaposition.
Machismo equilibrist machinations, kinesiology kleptomaniac knell physique.
Ribaldry rigmarole rhubarb, risqué rive rollick.
Demeanor kamikaze kerf, megalomania misanthropies modus operandi genocidal xenophobic.
Heredity heritage heresy legacy, pseudonym multifarious nefarious nemesis.
Sepulcher stratagem pantheism parapet paradigm, psychosis neophyte, paragon proselyte.
Pilferous wheedling finagler, plunderous pillaging usurper, longevous loquacity lottery.
Rhapsody rhetoric rote raconteur newfangled nocturnal nonchalant sycophant.
Morose morsel moribund, lurid luscious lyricism lucidity lucrative.
Creative cleaver crafty cunning furtive sneaky stealthy connive.
Aphorism euphemism hegira to xanadu carousing marauder syllogism.
Swell surge flow flux craw crux, virago monad chaos character charisma.
Heuristic cavalier humeral, meager demonstrative anarchy iconoclasm, apropos ergo ipso-facto.
Plenary plenipotentiary omniscience presage, omnipotent directive ubiquity emanations.
Nous agnate ontological ontogeny, exegesis peroration.
Abeyance, exotically ****** quixotic ecstatically emphatic fanatic.
Orchestration rendition unicorn railway mainsail, awry askew askance.

Canny cogent fecund erudite sagacious sequacious conjuring mentality introjection conjugation coercions.
Avant-garde temporal abstract, scenario synopsis eclectic synectics.
Synaptic syntax syndrome aspersion, quagmire quandary poshly plush.
Physicality ***** pictorial, picturesque glyph, debauchery deviant profane ***** vicarious assertion exorbitance.
Mystical silhouette sojourn consortium sabbat conclave liaison, soiree tryst rendezvous symposium excursion compendium.
Incarnate cephalic phantasmagoria proximity parameter phantasm epitomize transitive transcendental syntactic semantics.
Resplendent radiant ephemeral effulgence translucent incandescent luster effluence, reflectively refractive azure opulence effusion.
Contentious pretentiously extravagant eccentric intransigent pedantic antics.
Guidon guile homogenous hovering imagination immaturity, exogamy incorporeity ideologies.
Pique poignant piquant puissant quiescence, obstreperously abstruse vagary plausibility’s cause.
Vivid intangible impetus instinct intrigue, livid lurid allusion.
Autonomous preterite discrepancy amendment emendations, transcendent accession ascensional in absentia expurgation exculpation.
I know this is getting redundant but I feel this is the best I ever wrote!!
Zoomorphic zoolatry's demagoguery to élan-vital.  Ethology's entelechy to social contiguity apotheosis' ****** matrix.  Vicarious recalcitrance!!!
Haberdashery hauberk harbinger harangue equilibrist, harpy harsh hast severities.
Inane inert inertia innate, juxtaposition maenad ethos affinities.
Putrid quasi queasy pathos, emanate imminent perdition acerbities.

Agnate aggregate anathema android amalgamated, predication contract.
Glutton paradoxical dichotomy greaves, gauntlets gamut catalyst abstracts.
Ambidextrous amatory prelude amaze, analeptic adrenergic analgesia analytics extract.

Clairaudience clairvoyant omnipresence presage, omnipotent omnificent omniscience.
Pantheism parapet paradigm intuition, prognosticating prosthesis prediction.
Prolific profuseness profundity prosaic, nimbus nimiety nitty gritty, intrados rubato.

Venerable divinatory deity deify veneration, delineate demagoguery ecstasy, agonist agog.
Dream gleam cream seam beam team, serene ravine green gene careen, obscene demean.
Empiricise the existentialisms in the demagoguery of godhead aspiration.
Corporeal anaclitic apex inveterate embezzlement extroversion, acuity alacrity extortion.
Extraneous extemporaneous, ominous phenomena portrayal spontaneous synchronous, aorist actuator.

Endergonic protensive integration extrapolation interpolations investiture elicits.
Scenario synopsis synthesis syncopation, harmony rhymes rhythm.
Synchronous transition transposition interlude, summerial derivation cognition.
                                                      ­                                                                 ­             
Irk-ness ire aerie altruism allegorical, autonomous avarice oscillating ostracism.
Pandemonium obdurate temerity impunity, impending preponderance onus, numinous illuminism quintessential frolic.
Amorous ardent argent arduous enamor endear, plenary putschist volatile phatic.
Conveyor controvert deft mesmeric deification deist dissertation.
Drastic premise portent pervasive embellish, elusive enhance enchant, engender enthrall.
Perpetuation euphenic euthenics, exude emote concoct recalcitrance regalia, irrefragable preternatural ne plus ultra prurient.
Vernaculars opulent myriad, aesthetic stratagem venial vexatious, astral projection conjuring levity apothegms.

Incite epistemological illuminism, accoutrements umbrage ultraism incognito trajectory extant.
Scandalous scavenger squalid anomalous punitive, heuristic manumission exigency.
Ostensible proclivity prodigious querulous, rambunctious repertoire rigmarole scenic schism sooth.
Ascribe arsenal crucial critical, abhorrent abstinence blatancy berserk, alacritous celerity brogue.
Ceremonial chicanery dynamism fealty, indefatigable incontrovertible ingenuity ingratiate inimical impugn.
Innovate integrity intricate invective convolution, licentious metaphor convection obeisance.
Splurge-ness spry sporadic sprawl, spurious staunch succinct stymie tacit, irate tirade treatise vehement escapade tedium.

Probity irascibly veracious audacity mendacity gumption.
Paphian peccavi preternatural proclivity gesticulation articulation prestidigitation.
Fantastication fantasia fabulist façade, glimmer glisten translucent refulgence.
Subliminally subjunctive nostalgic allusion analogies eidetic’s mnemonics.
Metaphysical mystique’s evolutionally metamorphic futurity fatidic.
Adroit agile nimble tactile acuity prescience capacity intrigue.
Unadulteratedly fornicatious fabrications, portentous ethereal etiquette.
Nose agnate somatology morphology metamorphic, cognition epistemology pragmatics.
Ontological ontogeny causality exigence integumence equivocal.
Innocuous noumenal verity ***** affectation intentions.

Adumbrate intimate obfuscate preterite rendition intimidate.
Logistical tactician spatiotemporal terrestrial equestrian telemetries, physicality’s terrene traverse tellurian terrain.
Vaunt-ness verve’s lucidly illusive, intrepid yare’s predilection predication.
Apriori a posteriori apostrophe shards shroud, innately inert inherency interstitial endemics.                  

Irk-ness ire Zen, graffiti mantra mantis, diminutive minutia iotas inductive interpolation asperities.
Hypercritically mitigating dialectics hypotaxis.
Vituperatively vociferous eerie strident irrefragable orotund  sonorous felicities.
Diacritical diction dharma apomixis.
Chutzpah panache spontaneous generation complicity, gambit alluvium aloof succor.

Demarcate mirador bartizan panorama, stalwart bastion bulwark tableau, dexterous gargoyle disguise gimmick camouflage.
Decipher coercible coalesce corrupt costume counselor chameleon charlatan chaperone entourage.
Cryptic evocative emulation scenarios siren skeptic, cynical demonic gremlin greaves curtilage.
Zesty zingy zippy zeal zenithal azimuth elaborate elliptical empathy endeavor entity entice.

Clambering clamorous clangor strategic systematic propagate prolific, wield wile treatise expose’.
Aural auspice austerity  axiom conscribe, perplex beleaguer beggary, coax cacophony clout, concatenate chronology.
Erumpent erudition evident evil evert, extol fervor flinty florid, fructify impromptu innuendo juncture.
Kinetic supremacy temporize tractive fluent, precious precess predetermined predatory predicament, gyro gyre.
Horizon hornswoggle huckster, hokey hoot ornery honkies.

Horologist hackamore relative rationality.
Decorum dastardly dazzle deceit, demolish demur, annihilate denigrate.
Armature arcade doughty, panacea parallax serendipity servant serenade.
Personification of sartorial perfection, picturesque visage of spectral grace.
Cosmic enigma rational relativity.

Housebreak huckster squabble brash, hovel huff.
Ghastly gruesome grotesque grisly groaty gnarly grotto grouch compunction.
Caustic cavernous celibate catatonic phonics, apex crux axis matrix cortex cephalic.
Blasphemous farcical fugue-ness and estranged ensemble orchestration acoustics.
Rendition: various assorted forms of related stranger weirdness.
Conjugation coercion junction function, adjunct conjunction conjecture.
Concoct deontology ontogeny, ontological enclitic osteopathy.
Anticipate angary amentia, tiercel theocracy.
Phrenic sensorium sentiment paragon tangible.
Covert aspersion avidity, coherent avid avarice, allegory allocate amatory prelude annex annul.

Tantamount telepathy tantalize talisman talesman, prerogative presumptive judicature.
Subpoena parameter perimeter peripherals prophylaxis protocol.
Real deal seal, sail bail, bailiff rake-ness rail.
Yoni yore yare, leeward lecher leer lingam, menagerie melee hyperbolic milieu thesis, métier quintessential fulham.
Dangle wrangle mangle jangle tangle angle.
Hysterically delirious zany nertsy bonkers bluster boggle.
Gyrate, austere askance obliquely, aspire assail askew.

Cosmic origins metamorphosis implosion contractions revision, blond entropy catalyst.
Cataclysm catastrophe holocaust trauma, inefficacy ineffable expiate.
Chaos cognizant conceive dialectic dictates in extremis extremity meld nuance.
Cryptic cipher circuit citadel clairvoyant sequitur.
Cajole fictitious fiery finesse, invoke fulmination gouts clout, curtilage endeavor iterative itinerary.
Ersatz fiat fulcrum fulgurous indemnify indigenous infernal infidel iniquitous.
Electroacoustic ciphony  Electra complex lore, occipital ubiquity synch.
Psychosomatic psychokinesis cybernetics, penumbral platitude platonic proxy photic.
Assimilate stigma perspicacious, astute asunder atman pulchritudinous.
        
Decadent arrogant pompously bombastic blatant flagrant chaparral.
Diabolically maniacal dementia brusque macabre abruptness.
Swarthy beastly antithetical anathema ******* belligerent, savvy irate berserk-ness tirade.
Ulterior aghast agitator incongruous dire, perdurable peremptory primacy arbitrate zealot.
Cantankerously sorcerous insidiously sinister alchemy cauldron, pernicious visceral pathogenic, virulence truculence.
Ideational hideously horrible horrendously heinous ghastly abysmal abjection.
Perpetuity pervade rampart ransack oblation erogenous scarp lambent actuarial arbitrage.
Exserted protuberant pseudopodia actuator, odious aorist militantly mercenary.

Wingspread wiry wiseacre wherewithal rapacity, implicit important juxtaposition.
Machismo equilibrist machinations, kinesiology kleptomaniac knell physique.
Ribaldry rigmarole rhubarb, risqué rive rollick.
Demeanor kamikaze kerf, megalomania misanthropies modus operandi genocidal xenophobic.
Heredity heritage heresy legacy, pseudonym multifarious nefarious nemesis.
Sepulcher stratagem pantheism parapet paradigm, psychosis neophyte, paragon proselyte.
Pilferous wheedling finagler, plunderous pillaging usurper, longevous loquacity lottery.
Rhapsody rhetoric rote raconteur newfangled nocturnal nonchalant sycophant.
Morose morsel moribund, lurid luscious lyricism lucidity lucrative.
Creative cleaver crafty cunning furtive sneaky stealthy connive.
Aphorism euphemism hegira to xanadu carousing marauder syllogism.
Swell surge flow flux craw crux, virago monad chaos character charisma.
Heuristic cavalier humeral, meager demonstrative anarchy iconoclasm, apropos ergo ipso-facto.
Plenary plenipotentiary omniscience presage, omnipotent directive ubiquity emanations.
Nous agnate ontological ontogeny, exegesis peroration.
Abeyance, exotically ****** quixotic ecstatically emphatic fanatic.
Orchestration rendition unicorn railway mainsail, awry askew askance.

Canny cogent fecund erudite sagacious sequacious conjuring mentality introjection conjugation coercions.
Avant-garde temporal abstract, scenario synopsis eclectic synectics.
Synaptic syntax syndrome aspersion, quagmire quandary poshly plush.
Physicality ***** pictorial, picturesque glyph, debauchery deviant profane ***** vicarious assertion exorbitance.
Mystical silhouette sojourn consortium sabbat conclave liaison, soiree tryst rendezvous symposium excursion compendium.
Incarnate cephalic phantasmagoria proximity parameter phantasm epitomize transitive transcendental syntactic semantics.
Resplendent radiant ephemeral effulgence translucent incandescent luster effluence, reflectively refractive azure opulence effusion.
Contentious pretentiously extravagant eccentric intransigent pedantic antics.
Guidon guile homogenous hovering imagination immaturity, exogamy incorporeity ideologies.
Pique poignant piquant puissant quiescence, obstreperously abstruse vagary plausibility’s cause.
Vivid intangible impetus instinct intrigue, livid lurid allusion.
Autonomous preterite discrepancy amendment emendations, transcendent accession ascensional in absentia expurgation exculpation.
I'm so lonely. Nobody loves me unless I over simplify. I think I'll take my martial arts trainee (Jaded seal ordinand) down to the corner and see if I can find a likely suspect to flash my badge at.
Raj Arumugam Oct 2014
so I brought my writer wife
(prominently pregnant)
to the hospital
and on her bed, she screamed:
"weren't" "hasn't" "couldn't" "shan't"
"aint" "hadn't" "you're" "isn't"
"aren't" "didn't" "wasn't"
"who's?" "what's?" "he's" "she's"


The doctors were confounded
and they turned to me and they said:
"What the hell is she doing?"

And I replied with double speed
and a violent sense of urgency:
*"Don't you know?
She's having contractions -
she's a writer"
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.
Phoebe Seraphine Jan 2015
On Saturday,
I bloom with the moon.

Flowing through foreign flowers,
rose petals stain my *******.
My garden grows for three
or five days during its monthly mignonette.

The first day, a thorny presence
cuts my guts. Raspberries rupture
the ache in my bloated belly.
I eat bushels.
Sighing on my side,
I wait for the pain to cease.
Grateful these aren’t actual contractions.

The second day, it subsides.
My **** are ripe and I remember how heavy  
these *******
hang.

The third day, at work
I’m asked for a ******. Cheeks flush.
I say I’ve quit using. She wants answers.

My Moon Cup collects my blood with ease.
A furtive funnel, just for me.
This silicone gymnast is flexible,
naturally balancing between veiled crevices.

One size absorbs all.
No super or ultra variety,
no matter how often my hose leaks.
It contains no bleach.
No money is paid to male C.E.O.’s
who make money from what the female body can’t control.
These negatives are positive, I say.
Yet, she calls me absurd for touching myself so deeply.
Horrified by my own
intimacy.

Women’s woes muddle our brilliance.

They say it’s a curse by Creation,
using the sin from Adam’s rib as a hiding place.
It’s true
of its inconvenience and forty-year pit of pain,
but I’m done.
Exasperated too long!
Embarrassed or ******* too often!
Ill-prepared too too too many times!

I’m kinder to my body. I praise each month of normalcy.
No Midol involved. No bulky cotton wads
that make me feel like I’m a toddler.
No dismal thoughts. I accept my fate.
My cramps ease, days decrease.
I go with the flow, instead of crawling inside.

The fourth day, I’m done.
My bags are packed until next time.
And there’s always a next time.

Until there isn’t.
Shin Aug 2014
Contractions are fearful of the
ominous bliss; mighty T Rex.
Now we've reached that time, so classic.
For our lips meet and our hearts ski
under the dim fluorescent light
she smiles, and so too do I.
Ends are beginnings in our sin.
Dancing into the night, we sing.
Patrick Diaz Mar 2014
air feels like
warm bath,
like thick pump of bass,
heavy inhales
frozen ground
with a sweet sound
busy people,
blurred faces


there she is


wearing a lovely red dress,
more like a princess
strawberry lips,
can't wait to kiss
you smile,
my innermost die
sparkling eyes,
tell no lies
and the way you look,
tells more than the truth

concentrate, focus, breathe
you make my heart skip a beat
the title "you give me premature ventricular contractions"
was taken from the movie 'No Strings Attached'
which means "you make my heart skip a beat"
(credits)
Joel M Frye Feb 2011
Conjunctions creak, the adverbs ache,
nouns bear more than they can take.
Verbs are screaming for Ben-Gay
while pronouns atrophy away.

Adjectives have lost their bite,
possessives just give up the fight.
The subject's upset, naught agrees,
which weakens metaphoric knees.

Contractions all together moan;
the objects better left alone.
Ah, life is at a frightful stage
when poets and their poems age.
"The Minister of Silly Poems will see you now." :P
2-9-2011 JMF
Cyborg;
n.
A cybernetic organism,
Cyb[ernetic]-org[anism].

Cybran;
n.
A cybernetic human,
Cyb[e]r[netic]-[hum]an.

Nation;
n.
A large body of people united by common descent, history,
Culture, or language, inhabiting a particular state.

Aeon;
n.
Originally meaning life, being, age and/or time,
Now relating to nous, noesis, noema, noumena, noumenon;
The noumenal world-in-itself, eternity and immanence.

The Way;
The philosophy that all should embrace peace.

The Illuminate;
Those who subscribe to The Way.
Aeon Hybridity/Cybran Enlightened
Styles May 2014
I am just sitting here, waiting for you. While you are over there, with my words, touching you. I envy them. I envy their ability to ****** you in ways I could only imagine, and pleasure you in ways, that only I could dream. If I know you two, as well as I do, you are both probably together, somewhere dark and quiet and everyone else in the house is sleeping. They are probably having their way with you, right now. Running around in that mind of yours, putting bad thoughts in your mind, thoughts that you never knew you wanted there, but will never forget. Persuading you to try things, feeling things that you’ve never felt. Levels of pleasure and pain, while exploring regions of your body, that you, never knew existed- finding your weaknesses, make them my strengths, then seducing you with them. To make you wet, they simply pour themselves over your body, dripping down your stomach, seeping into your sweatpants, open your legs and start sliding their fingers up and down the sides of your wet *****. My words guide you thoughts, and your body responds with pleasure. I wish I could hear you moan or just watch you; eyes closed, legs spread-eagle, squirming around under the sheets, grinding yourself against your hand, until you ****** so hard- the contractions squeeze your fingers. But, instead I am just sitting here, waiting for you. While you are over there, with my words, touching you.
Nat Lipstadt Jul 2013
Mashup

Part I

I mashup me, myself, and perhaps thee too.


Excerpts from my poems about poets, poetry and the process of compositions. In chronological order, earliest to latest.
---------------------------------------------------------­------------------

With words we paint,
With syllables we embrace,
Tasked and ennobled,
We are forever fully employed,
Missionaries to all,
You too, are one as well,
Your fate can't be renounced,

when the rusted unborn poem notion is almost done,
but remains unpublished,
for no beginning, no title, can be found,

Then I recall the cornucopia days,
when poems spilled forth like
there would never be a when they wouldn't,

I revisit my old friends, couplets, twins and triplets,
seeded inside every tear, happy or sad,
sweetly and freely,

my old friends, reread,
words rearranged in new combinations,
old poems, plants bearing new fruits,
re-titled all of them, one name,
a collection entitled,
My Solace.


My eyes, my eyes, see only the
Totality of this moment.
When mastery of multi-tasking
Is the single best poem this man ever
Penned with his entirety,
Of which not word survived
For its unspoken silence was its glory.

My compact with you is to
remind us all, through
music, dance, words (poetry) and love,
This is the only compact
with the power of human law.


Color me flesh ****,
Color me blue bottled,
Red ripped asunder,
The sweetness ascribed to my love poetry,
A subtraction of the bitterness of a failed life.
Colorist of my seams, my woven words,
I am white now, my canvas completed,
Waiting for another poet to write over it,
And chaining new words to what was prior writ.

Al,  what you did not ask was this:
With each passing poem,
I am lessened within, expurgated,
In a sense part of me, expunged,
Part of me, passing too,
Every poems birth diminishes me.


You ask me how I find the time,
(To write)
But time is not the issue,
For they, are all prepared, needing only recognition,
For they, are all in readiness, needing only composition.

For who's who in poetry
is all of us!
saviors and failures,
recorders and decoders,
night writers of the oohs and aahs
of dreams and nightmares.

When this poet cannot,
no longer, anymore,
tastes his poems upon your lips,
keep your poems within his heart,
then he breathes no more,
and becomes one who was, yet is,
because of you, in poetry.

Awful poetry, some good, you will write.
But write and write till your heart be calmed,
For even ancient kings felt the anguish  of the soul,
And we profit even today by King David's psalms.


This wizened fool has his hands full,
Mouths to feed, bread to earn and bake,
As midnight is almost nigh,
He rests prone and adds a verse to this old poem
He long ago scribbled down, grimace-smiles now,
Realizing there is little difference tween him and the
Sad Eyed Teenagers of the Lowland.

For poetry salves his wounds still, even now,
Unashamedly, he thinks, hallelujah!

The poem is the afterbirth,
A conflicts resolution, an outcome,
Battlefield debris, the residue of
An exacting vision, a sentiment surging,
And your army of words, inadequate to the task,
Fighting to capture that insight flashed,
Each word a soldier, disheveled,
Crying, let me live, let me be saved,
Let me make a poem,
Let it be inscribed upon my victorious flag.

The poem is the sweat left upon the brow,
Having exercised the five senses,
The salt of struggle and debate,
It's completion, each word,
Both a victory and a defeat.

To write but a single line,
That uplifts the heart,
Eases pain, gives delight to strangers,
And makes you laugh out loud
With shivery pleasure,
That usurps a whole day and night,
That is a poet's true measure.

Mastery of the poetic,
Measured not in quantity,
But in tears of satisfaction
When others love the taste
Of newly born stanzas
Upon their lips,
couplets born and transcribed
In the wee hours of the morn.


You can have my love, my soul,
But leave to me the labor of poetry.
Loving you with words is my domain,
The speciality of my terrain,
So no more hasta la pasta if you please,
And by the bye, I would love some
Tonight, say around eight,
At a restaurant where the moon is
The only light illuminating our faces.

Until you have bent your ear to Shakespeare's sonnets,
Till you have laughed with Ogden Nash,
Wept with Frost, visited Byron's ghost,
Read the songs of King Solomon,
And once you
Despair of being their equal,
Shed your winter coat of worry,
***** your courage to the sticking point,
Begin to write then with reckless courage,
Unfettered abandon, make a fool of yourself!

Scout the competition.
Weep, for you and I will never surpass
The giants who preceeded us, and yet,
Laugh, cause they thought the same thing as well...


All I can say is
En Garde!
I will be coming back soon enough.
because you are my best poem,
and the there will always be another stanza needed...

I am no Houdini, it's quite simple,
After 5 years, I read her like a book,
A book of my poems that she has inspired,
Entitled the Mysteries of True Love.


Each letter, a morsel in your mouth,
Each phrase, a fork full of pleasure,
Each stanza, a full fledged member in a tasting menu,
Perfect only in conjunction with the preceding flavor,
and the one that follows,  and the one that follows.

Taste each poem upon thy tongue and then pass it on,
you know how....

Each word, whether chewed thoroughly,
or lightly placed upon a bud for flavor,
needs the careful consideration of your mouth.

When I hear Shakespeare
My own voice is stilled, it's poverty exposed,
I am ashamed of every word I ever wrote.
Hush me not, for t'is true,
Yet I write on for an audience of one, on but one subject,
A subject, a life, mine,
yet, still unmastered, even after decades of trying.

My poverty exposed, unmasked
for what it is worth, or not.


Lest you think this is paean to men
Another grand male boast,
Be advised this ditty be writty
By a man who, while no longer gritty,
Just put jelly on his scrambled eggs
And ketchup on his toast!

Mmmmmmm there might be a poem
Lurking in that too...

So baby,
shut it down,
turn me on,
make me warm for real,
glide your now practiced fingertips on my grizzled cheek,
whisper a phony "ugh,"
cause I know, you will read
this iPad love poem
and cherish us for evermore.


Soul of brevity, poetically,
I'll never be, this insightful critique,
("Your poems are too long")
I've received in multiplicity, from sources internationally,
perhaps, lucky me, you've read this far?

Surely still a chance that an angel will touch my lips,
my internal parts sign a final treaty, inside an armistice,
night sweats sighs a thing fully forgot,
poetry writing can now be dispatched,
maybe that will be my Act III,
if I can stay awake for it.

Walk a Single Word.
To write a poem, a single word select,
embrace it with a fullness that lovers, family and friends
and the *** who cut you off in the middle lane
do daily provide

Grasp said word, walk it onto a yellow, blue lined, legal pad,
touch said word with the whisper of a single tear, a single curse,
like a pebble in a pond,
said word will miracle expand
hugging you with concentric circles of lines of poetry,
visionary words and stanzas that almost complete themselves
and you

The rhymes you will require, the meter you will select,
no need to struggle, hug your child and as Abraham told Isaac,
God and Google will provide

The simple trickster, a wordsmiths, even your average poet laureate,
got nothing on you that you don't already possess, to offer them
Plenty stiff competition.


Therefore,
My life is mine to take,
Should I wish to choose the
Place, date, the time
To let the poetry cease,
I will announce it mostly gladly
with a blessing of
Shehecheyanu* and a
Smiling "by your leave."

Sometimes the pen, unnecessary.
The poem, fully formed, in his mouth, born.

Silent back labor, unbeknownst the existence
Of such a thing, yet knowing now
His contractions, coming fast and furious,
Eyes many centimeters dilated,
The sac's fluid breaks upon the poet's tongue,
He pronounces in a single breath his
Immaculate Completion

When his hand to mouth, goes,
Like Moses, when he touched the burning coals,
The words are signaled, freedom!
The words announce:
We are now created, conceived and
This new oxgenated atmosphere is now our
final resting place.

This child, the poem, this exhalation,
Once freed, is lost to him,
It's been renamed, retitled,
by hundreds of newly adopted parents as
Ours.


Words needed to create another love poem for my beloved,
Nose and toes, ******* and eyes all regularly poetically,
Cherished,
Now I have knuckled under
And competed a full poetic body scan
And have paid tribute to each n'every part of you,
Even your knuckles...which I am busy kissing
While writing this poem in my distracted mind.

The next time it be for the morning meal,
I will eat it in bed,
far from their kitchen hiding places,
And celebrate my heroics with original
Frosted Flakes and milk,
And extra sugar just for spite!
The bedroom fairies, living under the pillow,
Emerge to beg in iambic pentameter,
Won't get nary a bite,
Until they they return the poems they stole
From my midnight dreams.


I am exhausted. So many gems to decorate
My body, my soul. I must stop here,
So many of you have reached out, none of you overlooked.

Overwhelmed, let us sit together now
And celebrate the silence that comes after the
Gasp, the sigh, that the words have taken from
Our selves, from within.


On and on thru the night,
Riffing, rapping, rambling, and spitting,
Ditties and darts, couplets and barbs,
Single words and elegies,
Free verse and a lot of fking curse words,
It was a moment, a time
that deserved
to be preserved,
and so this poem got writ

You may think this story apocryphal
Which is another way of saying untrue,
But I got his boarding pass and it is signed,
To this crazy poetry dude, long may you rasp,
And it is signed by Mr. P. Simon, a big fan,
And it has never since that day,
Left my grasp


Some poems never end,
Nor meant too.
Alliterative phrases, invitations,
Add a verse, a word, even a sound,
An exclamation of delight,
A stanza in its own right.

Unfinished work, forever additive, collaborative.
Modify mine, pass it on.

Read somewhere some poems never end,
Now I understand that better,
Cause there are no bandages, stitches that can close,
Cause there are no pills, switches that can shut off,
The ripping sound, the cutting noise, the raging inside
Heard blocks away, almost reaching a house where you live,
And dying in the same **** place that
Poems come from after midnight.


And even if I am stranger now,
I'll prove useful to have around,
Giving you poetry precisely couture designed by command,
So I fully expect to be hugging you happy
Soon enough.
You'll see.

No matter combo or organized, a good nights sleep
Elusive
So poetry is my default rest position,
My screen savior.

**So when I warn,
All my poems are copywrighted,
My meaning simple, words crystal,
They belong to us, but mostly to you
Who are reading these words
Mashup Part II  Is now posted.

It appears that I write a lot on this topic.   Anyway all theses are indeed snippets from poems  I wrote  and have posted here.  Started with the oldest poems May 18 and working my way thru 'em
Vennie Kocsis Dec 2013
There are times
I miss holding babies,
touching the fleeting moments
of purity
and milk mouths.

There are times
I long for the womb,
to go back swimming
so I can be reborn
once more.

I am feeling ancient,
thousands of millenniums old
a speck of dust
carrying triple its weight
in my belly.

There are times,
my soul contracts,
breaking water almost,
becoming ready
for an arrival.

Tell me, how long
is the gestation of heartache?
How many embroys
must die before the soul wakes,
spitting an infant?

There are times
I miss tiny dimpled hands
a wink of a moment's reminder
of what was aborted
without my consent.

The cradle rocks
ever so gently in the corner
as my hands weave pink sweaters.
In the mist of the silky rain
I wait to give birth again.

v.k
Dexter Portalis May 2015
It started with our late nights and early morning conversations
The random occasions that turned into night caps of psychological ******* is what intrigued me
I only want to know her on a platonic level
I want us to feel something different
Something real
Because truth is when you speak
I get a little weak
The vibrating waves of your voice sends my adrenaline into a rush of multiple frequences
It causes me to have premature ventricular contractions
Meaning you make my heart skip beats
In other words I want us to have soul ***
Our bodies to touch but with clothes on because you haven't been fully naked until you've allowed your fears to be exposed
Understand this isn’t a ****** prose
I want this poem to reroute the superficial ****** game that men played with you
Tonight my only intentions are for us to get high
But not with herbs
I want us to be faded with nouns and verbs that speak life as I ignite this erratic twelve play because the foreplay is just for play
Eargasms that constrict our minds let our spirits bind from the moments when I forgot to pull out by not realizing I was coming on too hard
No need for protection when we experience the cerebral stimulating erections from the raw ******* of sedated discussions
Imagine the eruptions you’ll experience when you vibe off me
Can you feel it yet? No?
Maybe a little deeper is what you need
I need for you to feed me your thought process so I can taste your emotions
If this poem had a body you would be the brain
So let me investigate your introspection by interviewing every inch of you
Reaching the climactic **** of this conversation by deep stroking into your deepest seas so I can see exactly what lies inside a divine mind
You will make the seven wonders wonder where they went wrong
A love we share that's so vividly deep even the four oceans will be jealous of its depth
I want us to be in depth with each other
I want my thoughts to wrestle with your feelings and your questions play hide and go seek with my answers
Suffocate me with your beauty
Ravish me with every word so I feel the sensations from two sapiosexuals making love
I want us to stargaze under Jupiter’s moon as we stare into the solar system trying to combine our souls with God’s system
Let’s touch each star as we track down a meteor shower and shower each other with laughs for hours until you’ve fallen asleep on my chest
And the best part of it all is watching you sleep
Because as you lay here
I have dreams about your dreams
Then realize how jealous I am because your dreams can see parts of you that I’m still dying to meet
So if I am someday privileged to make this come true, you must allow me to fall in love with you
Luna Dec 2012
The way her chest falls and rises again
to come back and meet with her clothes,
I find it comforting - not sure why,
but I do.

Maybe, It's because when I see her breathing in,
Slowly, relaxed, on time,
She can do it, so then I know,
So can I.

The waves come in and hug the sand,
Just like her chest does in breathing.
I come in to hold her hand,
but she's forever leaving.
How can I reach the unreachable..
teach the unteachable who's  comprehension is unbelieveable
But the fact  is unbelief is more than lack of knowledge..
Cause the truth is even Satan knows who God is..
Is it blindness...
truth on deaf ears..
the embracing of silence..
should there be surpises ..
when behind your eyelids enter a random act of violence..
A vision of darkness ..there's no light that why the pupils dilate the use of the iris..
But when use to darkness and the lights hits one close their eyelids..
I.e. Christ the truth the way the light..
Being unsaved is like living in the womb..
Darkness equivalent to that of a tomb..
Flashes of light is like labor contractions..
The unknown conviction hinting..
Considered a distraction..
Pushed out now watch the eyes reaction..
To the light cause from darkness there's a detachment..
If given a chance a adjustment happens..
An embracement of the light..
A rebirth Christ in action.
How can i reach the unreachable..teach the unteachable ..
With a script the director unknown Its more than the shout of action..
Living life like a movie unaware that the villains not acting..
Now could u imagine..
A movie set full of madness..
All the cast dead like really dead from a stabbing..
No equalizer the villain the only one left standing..
You may say excuse me..
Life is not a movie.
Truly
But a witness not performing there duty..is bystander..
No innocence exist...
No bliss in ignorance...
.Cause we all birth into sin.
So many questions with wrong answers given like the truth don't exist....
How can I reach the unreachable
teach the unteachable
who I tell to this body of Christ they should enlist
But  when a pass is given and the shot is missed..
It negates the assist..
A reason for the lost of the game..
The thought of a lost soul has me ******..
I'm the point guard I help the scorer sustain..
Chris Paul with rock which is the gospel..
Passing the truth like Paul the apostle ..
Too many people out for a win like Christ didn't settle the score...
Adam severed the relationship but Christ rebuilt the rapport...
I am trying to reach and teach but there's no trust any more...
Pointing u in the direction of accepting the Lord..,
Embrace the word of God that double edge sword..
Them cuts is conviction..
The sword swinging is What it means to be a witness..
Led by the spirit A Christian
Yes we are made in Gods image..
Trying to reach every soul because the wins and losses count..
Life is not a scrimmage..
How can one soul have a  blemish..
Only dirt that can touch the soul is the ***** hands of sinning..
How can I reach the unreachable teach the unteachable..Who mistakes knowledge for ignorance...
And reject truth because arrogance..
+27736613276 The Abortion Pill: Medical Abortion with Mifepristone and Misoprostol What is the Medical Abortion?

Medical abortion is a procedure that uses various medications to end a pregnancy. A medical abortion is started either in a doctors office or at home with visits to your health care provider.

Medical abortion doesn't require anaesthesia or surgery, but it should be done early in pregnancy. Unlike a surgical procedure, a medical abortion usually is done without entering the ******.

During the procedure Medical abortion can be done using the following medications:

Oral mifepristone and oral misoprostol. This is the most common type of medical abortion, likely due to the ease of oral rather than vaginal dosing. These medications must be taken within seven weeks of the first day of your last period. Mifepristone (mif-uh-PRIS-tone) — also known as RU-486 — blocks the action of the hormone progesterone, causing the lining of the ****** to thin and preventing the embryo from staying implanted and growing.

Misoprostol (my-so-PROS-tol) causes the ****** to contract and expel the embryo through the ******. If you choose this type of medical abortion, you must visit your health care provider twice to take the medications and then afterward to make sure the abortion is complete.

Methotrexate injection and vaginal misoprostol. This type of medical abortion must be done within seven weeks of the first day of your last period. Methotrexate is given as a shot by your health care provider and the misoprostol is later used at home. You must visit your health care provider within a week of getting a methotrexate shot for an ultrasound to confirm if the abortion is complete. If the pregnancy continues, another dose of misoprostol will be given.

Vaginal misoprostol alone. This method may be used over a broader range of gestational ages, but requires scheduling multiple doses of the medication. Vaginal misoprostol alone can be effective in promoting the completion of a miscarriage — a spontaneous abortion where the embryo has died.

The medications used in a medical abortion cause vaginal bleeding and abdominal cramping. They may also cause: Nausea, Vomiting, Fever, Chills, Diarrhea, Headache.

You may be given medications to manage pain during and after the medical abortion. You may also be given antibiotics. Your health care provider will explain how much pain and bleeding to expect, depending on the number of weeks of your pregnancy. You might not be able to go about your normal daily routine during this time, but it's unlikely you'll need bed rest. Make sure you have plenty of absorbent sanitary pads.

If you have a medical abortion in a health care provider's office or clinic, you'll have a pelvic exam before you're given additional doses of misoprostol to see if the foetus has been expelled. The frequency and strength of your uterine contractions also will be monitored. While the most discomfort may last one to two hours, spotting before and bleeding after could last two weeks.

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Akemi Jan 2019
The Ache is leaving. Three years languished by dead end jobs, drugs and friends. Last week above a bagel store, the sun morphs mute amidst travelling clouds, indifferent fluctuations of light on an otherwise featureless day.

You arrive a tight knot of anxieties over a moment in time that could only have arrived after its departure. The Ache welcomes you into their sparse interior. You trace last month’s 21st across the black mould complex; navigate piles of stacked boxes, unsure if anything is inside of them.

“I always make the best friends in departure,” the Ache says, flipping a plushy up and down by the waist.

“Maybe you can only love that which is already lost,” you reply, with an insight a friend will give you a week later.

The acid tastes bitter under your tongue. Small marks your body bursting, a glowing radiance of interconnections you’d always had but only now begun to feel. The Ache follows suit and you sit on the couch together to watch .hack//Legend of the Twilight. The come up entangles you in the spectacle; the screaming boy protagonist, the chipped tooth gag, the moe sister in need of saving from the liminal space of dead code. You take part in it; you revel in it. Bodies morph on the surface of the screen in hyperflat obscenity, their parts interchangeable to the affect of the drama. Faces invert, break and disfigure, before reformation into the self-same identity form.

A month earlier, you’d hosted a house show at your flat. Too anxious to perform you’d dropped a tab as you’ve done now. An overbearing sensation of too-much-ness — of sickening reality — washed through the nexus of your being. You writhed on the ground screaming into a microphone as a cacophony of sounds roiled through you. Everyone cheered.

The floor rose later that night. A damp, disgusting intensity that triggered contractions in your throat and chest. Pulled to the ground, you fought off your bandmate’s advances, too shocked to express your revulsion and horror, to react accordingly, to reconstitute a border of consensual sociality. You broke free and slurred “I’m no one’s! I’m no one’s!” before running out of the room. Hours later, you tried to comfort them. Weeks later, you realised how ******* ******* that had been. Months later, you learnt their friend had committed suicide days before the show.

Back in the lounge, a prince rides onto the screen on a pig. You turn to the Ache and say “This is ******* awful.”

The Ache responds “I know right?”

Outside the world burns blue with lustre. The Ache trails you and falls onto their stomach. “Oh my god,” the Ache blurts, “this is why I love acid. Everything just feels right.” They gaze wistfully at the grasses and flowers before them; catch a whiff of asphalt and nectar, intermingled. “Like, gender isn’t even a thing, you know? Just properties condensed into a legible sign to be disciplined by heteronormative governmentality.”

“Properties! Properties!” You chant, stomping around the Ache with your arms stretched out. You wave them in the air like windmills. You bare your teeth. “Properties! Properties!”

“You know what I mean, right?” The Ache asks, pointedly. “You know what I mean?”

You continue chanting “Properties!” for another minute or two, before spotting a slug on a blade of grass beneath your feet. You fall to your knees and gasp “It’s a slug!”

You and the Ache stare at the tiny referent for an indefinite period of time, absorbed in its glistening moistures. Eventually, the Ache says “I think it’s actually a snail.”

You used to read postmodern novels on acid. You loved their exploration of hyperreality; their dissection of culture as a system of meaning that arises out of our collective, desperate attempts to overcome the indifference of facticity. Read symptomatically, culture does not reveal unseen depths in the world, but rather, constitutes shallow networks of sprawling complexity — truth effects — illusions of mastery over an, otherwise, undifferentiated and senseless becoming.

Then one day, the world overwhelmed you. Down the hall, your flatmates sounded an eternal return. As they spoke in joyous abandon you traced the lines from their mouths — found their origin in idiot artefacts of Hollywood Babylon. The joy of abstraction you once relished in your books took on an all too direct horror. You recoiled. You bound your lips in hysteria, for fear of becoming another repeating machine of an all too present culture industry. Better dumb than banal — better to say nothing at all, than everything that already was and would ever be. You cried and cried until everyone left — until you were alone with your silence and your tears and your nonexistent originality.

Dusk falls in violet streaks. You reach your room on the second floor of the building, open the bedside window and stick your legs out into a cool breeze. The Ache joins you. Danny Burton, the local MP, arrives in his van, his smiling bald face plastered on its side like an uncanny double enclosing its original.

“Hey look, it’s Danny Burton, the local MP.” Danny Burton turns his head. He glares at your dangling feet for a few seconds before entering his house. “You know, this is the first time in three years he’s looked at me and it’s at the peak of my degeneracy.” You turn to the Ache. “One of my favourite past times is watching him wander around the house at night, ******* and unsure of himself. He always goes to check on his BBQ.” You bounce on the bed in mania.

“See this is what people do, right?” the Ache says, mirroring your excitement. “Like, look at that lady walking her dog.” The Ache motions, with a cruel glint in their eyes, to the passerby on the fast dimming street. “What do you think she gets out of that? Doing that every night?” Without waiting for you to respond, the Ache answers, in a low, sarcastic tone “I guess she gets enjoyment. Doing her thing. Like everyone else.” The lady and the dog disappear beyond the curve of the road. Another pair soon arrives, taking the same path as the one before.

A few months back, you’d met an old friend at an exhibition on intersectional feminism. After the perfunctory art, wine and grapes, she drove you home, back to your run down flat in an otherwise bourgeois neighbourhood. She sat silent as the sun set before the dashboard, then asked how anyone could live like this; how anyone could stand driving out of their perfect suburban home, at the same time every morning, to work the same shift every day, for the rest of their stupid life. The dull ache of routine; the slow, boring death. You said nothing. You said nothing because you agreed with her.

“Life began as self-replicating information molecules,” you reply, obliquely. “Catalysis on superheated clay pockets. Repetition out of an attempt to bind the excess of radiant light.”

It is dark now; a formless hollow, pitted with harsh yellow lamps of varying, distant sizes. The Ache flips onto their stomach and scoffs “What’s that? We’re all in this pointless repetition together?”

You respond, cautiously “I just don’t think that being smart is any better than being stupid; that our disavowed repetitions are any worthier than anyone else’s.”

The Ache returns your gaze with an intensity you’ve never seen before. “Did I say being smart was any better? Did I say that? Being smart is part of the issue. There is no trajectory that doesn’t become a habitual refrain. When you can do anything, everything becomes rote, effortless and pointless.

“But don’t act as if there’s no difference between us and these ******* idiots,” the Ache spits, motioning into the blackness beyond your frame. “I knew this one guy, this complete and utter ****. We went to a café, and he wouldn’t stop talking about the waitress, about how hot she was, how he wanted to **** her, while she was in earshot, because, I don’t know, he thought that would get him laid.

“Then we went for a drive and he failed a ******* u-turn. He just drove back and forth, over and again. A dead, automatic weight. A car came from the other lane, towards us, and waited for him to finish, but he stopped in the middle of the street and started yelling, saying **** like, ‘what does this ******* want?’ He got out of his car, out of his idiot u-turn, and tried to start a fight with the other driver — you know, the one who’d waited silently for him to finish.”

You don’t attempt a rebuttal; you don’t want to negate the Ache’s experience. Instead, you ask “Why were you hanging out with this guy in the first place?”

The Ache responds “Because I was alone, and I was lonely, and I had no one else.”

It is 2AM. Moths dance chaotic across the invisible precipice of your bedside window, between the inner and outer spaces of linguistic designation. There is a layering of history here — of affects and functions that have blurred beyond recognition — discoloured, muted, absented.

In the hollow of your bed, the Ache laughs. You don’t dare close the distance. Sometimes you find the edges of their impact and trace your own death. All your worries manifest without content. All form and waver and empty expanse where you drink deeply without a head. Because you have lost so much time already. And nothing keeps.

Months later, after the Ache has left, you will go to the beach. You will see the roiling waves beneath crash into the rocky shore of the esplanade, a violence that merges formlessly into a still, motionless horizon, for they are two and the same. You will be unable to put into words how it feels to know that such a line of calm exists out of the pull and push of endless change, that it has existed long before your birth and will exist long after your death.

The last lingering traces of acid flee your skin. Doused in tomorrow’s stupor, you close your eyes. You catch no sleep.
“Self-destruction is simply a more honest form of living. To know the totality of your artifice and frailty in the face of suffering. And then to have it broken.”
pat pakla Jun 2012
Fatima Latima**

I had wished I had no gift of sight
That the worst I could endure is hear you speak
And not snapshot the footfall of your gradation

You may not be a thief
Nor ****, daughter of the dayspring
But definitely my heart you stole

I speak of the daughter of Arabia  
Aesthetically, she rocks
The queen of the pilgrim sands
And aeonian desert stones

Beyond the hijab
Artistically knead with consummate craft
Like the relics of Mecca
Blest by the prophet’s bones
The blessed

I see torches
Beaming with intelligence
Within those mascaras
Exquisitely trimmed and vibrant
A lulu class botany

She fixes a searching gaze
As she saunters close
And the stride and tread
Beats a drum entrancing
Soothed in her solacing spell
I give in, to her lullaby

She halts her perambulation
Stands magniloquent and stupefy
Like some pop diva magazine pose
Or Victorian secret shot
A tactical derangement of her gluteals
As she rests her palm in its cleft
I feel contractions, my dartos muscles

The blew of summertime
Gently beats her exceptional form
Her belt submerge her thigh crevice
Cleft by the sundered rift of fleshy fat
Built by the dainties and delicacies
Seasoned by the finest Arabian chef
As her silken dress slithers and gowns
Under the breeze bulging and blooming
Like a rose blossom or sunflower fore

As she bends down
To assuage the burlesque
The sun specula lilts her sensational
Her smile apologetic bids me stillness
I am caught staring
Guzzling down her scent and
Feasting on empty imaginations
Of What If that accentuate the mind and
Speed a hormone
And I pray I sin no more
Next time we meet and I see her again

For I am but a writer
Learning to use my pen and paper
And hope you but forgive
My linguistic impotence
When I make my confession
Employing too plain a language
When I say thus;

Her smile is classical
Her walk magical
Her beauty celestial
Her stride sensational
Her religion ethical
Her character spotless
And that leaves me breathless

And forgive if I step on broken toe
And try speak of the unspoken
Her ****** is sacred
Her being a type that dresses up
In the milliards of brutes dressing down
And shamelessly style it fashion

I must see a priest
One confession I ought to utter
And even vociferate abroad
For once I had fallen in love
With an Arabian Beautie
A ****** of Mecca.
Travis Green Aug 2018
Above my home where the dark clouds
curl into the sky clinging for a home to
rest their sleepy depiction, shadowed
trees hum sweet lullabies, lonely leaves
breathe in the sad song of fallen dimensions,
letting its lifeless view roll upon their frame,
the chilled breeze sailing in the skyline,
as I scramble my way out of a filthy dumpster,
a mountain of disintegrating mess covering
my broken body, hovering flies surrounding
sticky strips of spaghetti, moldy mashed potatoes,
and moldy chicken *** pies, while my mind sunk
into traveled thoughts, bruised hands pressed against
the creases in my forehead, allowing my existence
to feel the stranded scars streaming in various mazes,
dull eyes flushed with a burning disorder, aching cheeks
and chests nestled in darkening chamber corners, buried
hips and thighs uprooting in somber blades of grass,
thorned, torn, and destroyed in different worlds.  As I stood
on the slippery pavement staring at the ruffled scenery
in my sight, spinning streetlights thickening into slouched
positions, screaming sidewalks spilling sadness and madness
in the drenched air, razor-edged buildings inching into crushed
centimeters, jumbled meters, ****** yards.  I replayed the sober
images in my head, the way my young brown-skinned mom said
I would never amount to anything, how I could hear the raged
noun ****** sift into the distance, its flaming mechanics
accelerating into screeching sounds, the way she hurled
her fists at my smashed face, every vibrant language
breaking apart, slamming shut into closed infinites,
snagged contractions and gerunds diverging into
shuddering double spaced negatives, the way she threw
my lingering body inside the trash dumpster, her sharp
scarlet words, You are no son of mine, ricocheting off
savage surfaces, sparking my soul in a calamity
of choking diction.
R Guildenstern Nov 2012
crimson and magic
to splash without panic
in waves of compliance
for drugs made from science
and sorceress who summon the simple solutions
illusions! illusions!
of grander worth loosing
confusing the process will aid not for coptic
nor catholic
or elsewhere semantics
act frantic in panic
to sob without reason
treason! say treason!
the exit of reason
to wander in wander a fate beyond yonder
set ponder a path set by mind on the map
of solutions and systems
domestic conditions
yet wild apparitions
appear as conditioned - concerns
to a mindset as stern and subtracted
by fractions of actions repulsed by distraction
disgruntled reactions
supposing contractions
created the action
conceived from distractions
The reasons
let change be for seasons
while i stay the rock in the pond
either frozen  not gone
as the watcher
still watching
content upon watching
exhaling the notion
that motions for movement
atonement! atonement!
with further consolement
atlas like the breeze of the gavel
let both parties ravel and tug
whether free or debugged
only mind over matter
unscrambles the lather
too see that is free
is like blind sight at sea
with the waves of conforming
to drown is informing
if not then be peace !
for all parties deceased
by a water so deep you could drown in your sleep
Mane Omsy Sep 2016
So small but it's beautiful
Like a pearl from a seashell
So warm hands wrapped under
Tiny fingers holding tight

Wonderful gift of nature
Wonder why it's amazing?
Can't express the impression
The feeling in mere words or lines

The death pain in contractions
She had suffered more to gain
Now see the smile in her tears
That love will never fade away
Never hate your mother, but love her more than your life, wife or another person
An Uncommon Poet Sep 2014
Every course should be marked on content.
In todays schooling we ask students to write final essays or regular essays to discuss their knowledge in a specific topic. However, marks are deducted for minor sentence errors, grammatical errors and style errors. But does that mean they don’t have sufficient knowledge about the topic or that the content of the essay does mean standards? No. Students lose marks for unrelated reasons. Grammar is not content. Grammar is grammar. Content could be excellent while the grammar is horrible. Philosophers potentially had the worst grammar ever, however we have glorified their thoughts for centuries.
This is where schooling has changed. And this is how schooling needs to change. Writing an essay is irrelevant to knowledge about a topic. Writing skills and understanding of content do not intertwine. If I wanted someone to apply knowledge they learned from a topic an essay is perhaps a very irrelevant way of doing so. Why judge someone on something that is, in today’s society exposed to interferences? Interferences such as grammatical errors.
If I wanted to know someones knowledge about a certain topic and wanted them to apply logic and theories they learned from courses, why not talk to them rather than using paper as a pigeon to share ideas? If it was spoken I can’t say “you lost marks because you didn’t put a period here and a comma there.” If it is spoken, you will still be able to notice if the student understands the topic. This way there is not interferences. It is strictly about content of knowledge and the students ability to apply what they have learned into specific views about a question I would have for them.
If I asked a teacher to have a class discussion where everyone had input, how would the teacher grade them? On quality of their answer, and clarity. Clarity being their ability to get to the point. However, if it is not clear, can the student make it clear for the rest of the class? Because what sometimes isn’t clear for one person, could be unclear because they are not as intelligent to be able to understand. The other student might not be so stupid because he said it in a way that is unclear. Maybe the listener is stupid because they didn’t understand? However, if the student can make it clear then their quality of the answer enhances and they will receive a higher grade.
For instance, if this was a formal essay that attempted to answer “What is wrong with schooling?” I would lose marks because I asked questions. Asking questions for some reason is not allowed? Is it informal? No. But society tells us we shouldn’t ask questions we should instead assume something and make a statement because that imposes confidence in a thought. But, if I was questioning certain aspects of something would that prove that I have sufficient knowledge towards one topic? Wouldn’t that impose that I have enough knowledge to understand details and question them? But hey, don’t formulate that statement in a question. It’s stupid. Question everything because you will never know all the answers regardless of all the resources.
By discussing a topic, the answers are direct. Content may vary depending on how much the student learned (providing the teacher is good at teaching and the proper course are in place). If the student struggles to understand a topic it will be evident in the quality of their answer. We can still see if the student is trying too hard (which is never a bad thing to set the standard high, shoot for the stars), or if the answer they have is someone else’s because they aren’t necessarily answers that they would have or words that they would use. But that is an assumption. Never assume, instead question. We can still notice if the student paid attention the course lectures and successfully answered the topic question with detail, reference, questions, relations, and application of knowledge that was taught to the student.
Just because a student can’t write a thought out on paper, does not mean they didn’t understand it. **** I used contractions, I would lose more marks there as well. See what I mean, a highschool teacher would tell me that I can’t say “Can’t” I was supposed to say “Can not” because that is formal. What is formal? Who said that is formal? Jim Joe Bob down the road? Who cares, does the student understand the topic or not? Stop docking marks for things unrelated to the subject.
If this was a writing course it would be understood why a student would lose marks for grammar and word choice and sentence structure or clarity. But students lose marks in History essays for word choice, and in political science for forgetting a period and in gender studies for saying “you” in a final essay. These are unneeded reasons for losing marks. At the end of the day does the student understand the historical importance of the topic? Or does the student understand the importance of the judiciary amongst the political system? Or does the student understand that sexism will only negatively impact society? If no, then he or she gets a bad mark, if yes, they get a good mark. Stop making up reasons for bad marks.
However, one will say; “Well what if the quality of the essay is so ****** I can’t even understand their knowledge?” This proves the instability of essays. Don’t ask for an essay. Ask to talk to the student about the topic. You’ll know if he or she understands. Just like when you go to a retail store and ask for advice about a product. We know if the associate knows what they are talking about, if they have no idea or if they are just telling us what they learned from training (which isn’t bad). Teachers potentially train students in a certain area. Why not ask a question which enforces them to apply the knowledge which they gained from the training to their answer? The teacher will know if the student knows what they are talking about (because they paid attention in training/class) or if they have no idea (because they did not understand or pay attention). Even if they retell you everything that was taught to them. Don’t they know something about the answer? Yes, it’s not the most enriched content because it was your own words but the student learned something right? Isn’t that why they go to school? To learn?
Another will say; “But we can’t escape writing. We have to do it everyday. A person must know how to write.” Fair. But why not teach writing in a writing course? One where the student will be marked on their ability to be clear in writing, or their ability to be grammatically correct, or their word selectiveness, or the sentence and paragraph structure. This seems like an appropriate course to deduct marks for incorrect application of knowledge. However, another person will ask; “then how do you teach structure and grammar?” Through exercises. Ask them to write a paper. Go through assignments as a class, encourage class participation and discussion. If the student doesn’t talk, the teacher will know what they understand therefore, how are they to give them anything but a bad mark? It’s at the student’s discretion but the proper systems need to be in place.
An example; how many people have gotten a paper back, looked at their grade and put the paper away? Did not even look at the corrections or suggestions for reasons why the mark was so poor or decent? Every one. Why not give a student a second chance? Why not scare them to do their best? Try this: Ask students to answer a question, any question. Have them hand it in 10 days from the assigned date. Students who want a good mark will use their time wisely to proof read, get the proper references and apply the correct knowledge. Students who want to get by will start two nights before. Once the papers are handed in, edit them. Once finished, return them without a mark. Wait for the students reaction. They will come up to you asking “what’d I get?”, “why isn’t there a mark?”. Tell them that, they aren’t getting a mark, they need to read the corrections and implement them. Have the paper due in three days. Once the papers are submitted, grade them. There will be less grammatical errors. At least for the students who took the time to read the corrections and implement them. The students who did not, will not receive a high grade a potentially face the threat of a failing grade. Hand the papers back with grades. Once this is done, ask for them to write another essay on a different topic. A topic such as “Should capital punishment be reinforced in Canada?” This topic is ok because you can write about any topic, its still writing. Writing is not confined to topics such as grammar, story writing or essay writing. Writing has infinite topic possibilities. But once the essay topic is given out, tell them they have 10 days to hand it in. Once handed in, give them a grade. Don’t give the chance for editing this time, and see if there is less errors for each student, ask to sit down with them and compare the errors that were made. In this way the student will learn and most importantly remember why and why not to write in certain structures while adding certain grammatical content.
With this exercise the student will learn how to clearly write, but it will take a while. It should be mandatory that students take a writing course throughout elementary and secondary school because the statement is true “we cannot escape writing”. Everyone must know how to write. But in society we struggle to remember that, just because someone can’t write something doesn’t mean they do not understand the topic. If I was to ask Einstein to write a topic on the differences of between time and space in APA format, His content would very well achieve high academic standards but his grammar and format would be god awful. It would be horrendous. He did not know how to write in specific manners, he would use his resources to learn but that was because from what we know he wanted to achieve in the highest manner possible. But he understood the content, and isn’t that what is most important? O the other hand, if I asked him to tell me about the topic, would it be more credible? Would it blow someone’s mind because they couldn’t take away marks. He would receive 100% on everything because he understood the content. That’s all that matters. For those who want to write, take writing courses. Or in today’s society, every context course is a writing course, as students are not be graded on their quality, rather, they are being graded on writing abilities. So to conclude, are we teaching history, science, politics, law, child and youth studies or are we just teaching students how to write without expanding their knowledge of the topic. We can’t base content off of what is written down,  interferences are infinite. ****, I used “can’t”. Sorry.
How can I reach the unreachable..
teach the unteachable who's  comprehension is unbelievable
But the fact  is unbelief is more than lack of knowledge..
Cause the truth is even Satan knows who God is..
Is it blindness...
truth on deaf ears..
the embracing of silence..
should there be surprises ..
when behind your eyelids enter a random act of violence..
A vision of darkness ..there's no light that why the pupils dilate the use of the iris..
But when use to darkness and the lights hits one close their eyelids..
I.e. Christ the truth the way the light..
Being unsaved is like living in the womb..
Darkness equivalent to that of a tomb..
Flashes of light is like labor contractions..
The unknown conviction hinting..
Considered a distraction..
Pushed out now watch the eyes reaction..
To the light cause from darkness there's a detachment..
If given a chance a adjustment happens..
An embracement of the light..
A rebirth Christ in action.
How can i reach the unreachable..teach the unteachable ..
With a script the director unknown Its more than the shout of action..
Living life like a movie unaware that the villains not acting..
Now could u imagine..
A movie set full of madness..
All the cast dead like really dead from a stabbing..
No equalizer the villain the only one left standing..
You may say excuse me..
Life is not a movie.
Truly
But a witness not performing there duty..is bystander..
No innocence exist...
No bliss in ignorance...
.Cause we all birth into sin.
So many questions with wrong answers given like the truth don't exist....
How can I reach the unreachable
teach the unteachable
who I tell to this body of Christ they should enlist
But  when a pass is given and the shot is missed..
It negates the assist..
A reason for the lost of the game..
The thought of a lost soul has me ******..
I'm the point guard I help the scorer sustain..
Chris Paul with rock which is the gospel..
Passing the truth like Paul the apostle ..
Too many people out for a win like Christ didn't settle the score...
Adam severed the relationship but Christ rebuilt the rapport...
I am trying to reach and teach but there's no trust any more...
Pointing u in the direction of excepting the Lord..,
Embrace the word of God that double edge sword..
Them cuts is conviction..
The sword swinging is What it means to be a witness..
Led by the spirit A Christian
Yes we are made in Gods image..
Trying to reach every soul because the wins and losses count..
Life is not a scrimmage..
How can one soul have a  blemish..
Only dirt that can touch the soul is the ***** hands of sinning..
How can I reach the unreachable teach the unteachable..Who mistakes knowledge for ignorance...
And reject truth because arrogance..
You know what a ferret is
What a parrot is
Animals are the next up for engagements
After the Supreme court embrace same *** marriage's
Lost Adults raising lost babies empty minds in  carriages
I listen to the Holy Spirit I'm not a heretic
But are we aware of what a heretic is
Its like a Dare teacher addicted to ******
How are you using, what you're teaching people  to be against
How can I teach a nation afraid get off the fence
Hey Christians stop with the lukewarmness,
To take flight is not when we fly out of Gods mouth as spit
How can I reach the unreachable..
Teach the unteachable
Who are led by drug abusers and systematic fads
One day you on ecstasy ..
the next day your a family man..
A tiny king  a little K a foolish dad
It seems  that this generation is curse
Its witchcraft in children's movies Brave
Deep conviction I say what I have to say
The truth hurts can't force me to behave
Gun in my face my skull may but my soul will not cave.
How can I reach the unreachable..
Teach the unteachable
Not by my power but by Gods might and grace
Daily I reach for Gods face...
Haberdashery hauberk harbinger harangue equilibrist, harpy harsh hast severities.
Inane inert inertia innate, juxtaposition maenad ethos affinities.
Putrid quasi queasy pathos, emanate imminent perdition acerbities.

Agnate aggregate anathema android amalgamated, predication contract.
Glutton paradoxical dichotomy greaves, gauntlets gamut catalyst abstracts.
Ambidextrous amatory prelude amaze, analeptic adrenergic analgesia analytics extract.  Annex annul.  

Clairaudience clairvoyant omnipresence presage, omnipotent omnificent omniscience.
Pantheism parapet paradigm intuition, prognosticating prosthesis prediction.
Prolific profuseness profundity prosaic, nimbus nimiety nitty gritty, intrados rubato.

Venerable divinatory deity deify veneration, delineate demagoguery ecstasy, agonist agog.
Dream gleam cream seam beam team, serene ravine green gene careen, obscene demean.
Empiricise the existentialisms in the demagoguery of godhead aspiration.
Corporeal anaclitic apex inveterate embezzlement extroversion, acuity alacrity extortion.
Extraneous extemporaneous, ominous phenomena portrayal spontaneous synchronous, aorist actuator.

Endergonic protensive integration extrapolation interpolations investiture elicits.
Scenario synopsis synthesis syncopation, harmony rhymes rhythm.
Synchronous transition transposition interlude, summerial derivation cognition.
                                                      ­­                                                                ­ ­              
Irk-ness ire aerie altruism allegorical, autonomous avarice oscillating ostracism.
Pandemonium obdurate temerity impunity, impending preponderance onus, numinous illuminism quintessential frolic.
Amorous ardent argent arduous enamor endear, plenary putschist volatile phatic.
Conveyor controvert deft mesmeric deification deist dissertation.
Drastic premise portent pervasive embellish, elusive enhance enchant, engender enthrall.
Perpetuation euphenic euthenics, exude emote concoct recalcitrance regalia, irrefragable preternatural ne plus ultra prurient.
Vernaculars opulent myriad, aesthetic stratagem venial vexatious, astral projection conjuring levity apothegms.

Incite epistemological illuminism, accoutrements umbrage ultraism incognito trajectory extant.
Scandalous scavenger squalid anomalous punitive, heuristic manumission exigency.
Ostensible proclivity prodigious querulous, rambunctious repertoire rigmarole scenic schism sooth.
Ascribe arsenal crucial critical, abhorrent abstinence blatancy berserk, alacritous celerity brogue.
Ceremonial chicanery dynamism fealty, indefatigable incontrovertible ingenuity ingratiate inimical impugn.
Innovate integrity intricate invective convolution, licentious metaphor convection obeisance.
Splurge-ness spry sporadic sprawl, spurious staunch succinct stymie tacit, irate tirade treatise vehement escapade tedium.

Probity irascibly veracious audacity mendacity gumption.
Paphian peccavi preternatural proclivity gesticulation articulation prestidigitation.
Fantastication fantasia fabulist façade, glimmer glisten translucent refulgence.
Subliminally subjunctive nostalgic allusion analogies eidetic’s mnemonics.
Metaphysical mystique’s evolutionally metamorphic futurity fatidic.
Adroit agile nimble tactile acuity prescience capacity intrigue.
Unadulteratedly fornicatious fabrications, portentous ethereal etiquette.
Nose agnate somatology morphology metamorphic, cognition epistemology pragmatics.
Ontological ontogeny causality exigence integumence equivocal.
Innocuous noumenal verity ***** affectation intentions.

Adumbrate intimate obfuscate preterite rendition intimidate.
Logistical tactician spatiotemporal terrestrial equestrian telemetries, physicality’s terrene traverse tellurian terrain.
Vaunt-ness verve’s lucidly illusive, intrepid yare’s predilection predication.
Apriori a posteriori apostrophe shards shroud, innately inert inherency interstitial endemics.                  

Irk-ness ire Zen, graffiti mantra mantis, diminutive minutia iotas inductive interpolation asperities.
Hypercritically mitigating dialectics hypotaxis.
Vituperatively vociferous eerie strident irrefragable orotund  sonorous felicities.
Diacritical diction dharma apomixis.
Chutzpah panache spontaneous generation complicity, gambit alluvium aloof succor.

Demarcate mirador bartizan panorama, stalwart bastion bulwark tableau, dexterous gargoyle disguise gimmick camouflage.
Decipher coercible coalesce corrupt costume counselor chameleon charlatan chaperone entourage.
Cryptic evocative emulation scenarios siren skeptic, cynical demonic gremlin greaves curtilage.
Zesty zingy zippy zeal zenithal azimuth elaborate elliptical empathy endeavor entity entice.

Clambering clamorous clangor strategic systematic propagate prolific, wield wile treatise expose’.
Aural auspice austerity  axiom conscribe, perplex beleaguer beggary, coax cacophony clout, concatenate chronology.
Erumpent erudition evident evil evert, extol fervor flinty florid, fructify impromptu innuendo juncture.
Kinetic supremacy temporize tractive fluent, precious precess predetermined predatory predicament, gyro gyre.
Horizon hornswoggle huckster, hokey hoot ornery honkies.

Horologist hackamore relative rationality.
Decorum dastardly dazzle deceit, demolish demur, annihilate denigrate.
Armature arcade doughty, panacea parallax serendipity servant serenade.
Personification of sartorial perfection, picturesque visage of spectral grace.
Cosmic enigma rational relativity.

Housebreak huckster squabble brash, hovel huff.
Ghastly gruesome grotesque grisly groaty gnarly grotto grouch compunction.
Caustic cavernous celibate catatonic phonics, apex crux axis matrix cortex cephalic.
Blasphemous farcical fugue-ness and estranged ensemble orchestration acoustics.
Rendition: various assorted forms of related stranger weirdness.
Conjugation coercion junction function, adjunct conjunction conjecture.
Concoct deontology ontogeny, ontological enclitic osteopathy.
Anticipate angary amentia, tiercel theocracy.
Phrenic sensorium sentiment paragon tangible.
Covert aspersion avidity, coherent avid avarice, allegory allocate amatory prelude annex annul.

Tantamount telepathy tantalize talisman talesman, prerogative presumptive judicature.
Subpoena parameter perimeter peripherals prophylaxis protocol.
Real deal seal, sail bail, bailiff rake-ness rail.
Yoni yore yare, leeward lecher leer lingam, menagerie melee hyperbolic milieu thesis, métier quintessential fulham.
Dangle wrangle mangle jangle tangle angle.
Hysterically delirious zany nertsy bonkers bluster boggle.
Gyrate, austere askance obliquely, aspire assail askew.

Cosmic origins metamorphosis implosion contractions revision, blond entropy catalyst.
Cataclysm catastrophe holocaust trauma, inefficacy ineffable expiate.
Chaos cognizant conceive dialectic dictates in extremis extremity meld nuance.
Cryptic cipher circuit citadel clairvoyant sequitur.
Cajole fictitious fiery finesse, invoke fulmination gouts clout, curtilage endeavor iterative itinerary.
Ersatz fiat fulcrum fulgurous indemnify indigenous infernal infidel iniquitous.
Electroacoustic ciphony  Electra complex lore, occipital ubiquity synch.
Psychosomatic psychokinesis cybernetics, penumbral platitude platonic proxy photic.
Assimilate stigma perspicacious, astute asunder atman pulchritudinous.
        
Decadent arrogant pompously bombastic blatant flagrant chaparral.
Diabolically maniacal dementia brusque macabre abruptness.
Swarthy beastly antithetical anathema ******* belligerent, savvy irate berserk-ness tirade.
Ulterior aghast agitator incongruous dire, perdurable peremptory primacy arbitrate zealot.
Cantankerously sorcerous insidiously sinister alchemy cauldron, pernicious visceral pathogenic, virulence truculence.
Ideational hideously horrible horrendously heinous ghastly abysmal abjection.
Perpetuity pervade rampart ransack oblation erogenous scarp lambent actuarial arbitrage.
Exserted protuberant pseudopodia actuator, odious aorist militantly mercenary.

Wingspread wiry wiseacre wherewithal rapacity, implicit important juxtaposition.
Machismo equilibrist machinations, kinesiology kleptomaniac knell physique.
Ribaldry rigmarole rhubarb, risqué rive rollick.
Demeanor kamikaze kerf, megalomania misanthropies modus operandi genocidal xenophobic.
Heredity heritage heresy legacy, pseudonym multifarious nefarious nemesis.
Sepulcher stratagem pantheism parapet paradigm, psychosis neophyte, paragon proselyte.
Pilferous wheedling finagler, plunderous pillaging usurper, longevous loquacity lottery.
Rhapsody rhetoric rote raconteur newfangled nocturnal nonchalant sycophant.
Morose morsel moribund, lurid luscious lyricism lucidity lucrative.
Creative cleaver crafty cunning furtive sneaky stealthy connive.
Aphorism euphemism hegira to xanadu carousing marauder syllogism.
Swell surge flow flux craw crux, virago monad chaos character charisma.
Heuristic cavalier humeral, meager demonstrative anarchy iconoclasm, apropos ergo ipso-facto.
Plenary plenipotentiary omniscience presage, omnipotent directive ubiquity emanations.
Nous agnate ontological ontogeny, exegesis peroration.
Abeyance, exotically ****** quixotic ecstatically emphatic fanatic.
Orchestration rendition unicorn railway mainsail, awry askew askance.

Canny cogent fecund erudite sagacious sequacious conjuring mentality introjection conjugation coercions.
Avant-garde temporal abstract, scenario synopsis eclectic synectics.
Synaptic syntax syndrome aspersion, quagmire quandary poshly plush.
Physicality ***** pictorial, picturesque glyph, debauchery deviant profane ***** vicarious assertion exorbitance.
Mystical silhouette sojourn consortium sabbat conclave liaison, soiree tryst rendezvous symposium excursion compendium.
Incarnate cephalic phantasmagoria proximity parameter phantasm epitomize transitive transcendental syntactic semantics.
Resplendent radiant ephemeral effulgence translucent incandescent luster effluence, reflectively refractive azure opulence effusion.
Contentious pretentiously extravagant eccentric intransigent pedantic antics.
Guidon guile homogenous hovering imagination immaturity, exogamy incorporeity ideologies.
Pique poignant piquant puissant quiescence, obstreperously abstruse vagary plausibility’s cause.
Vivid intangible impetus instinct intrigue, livid lurid allusion.
Autonomous preterite discrepancy amendment emendations, transcendent accession ascensional in absentia expurgation exculpation.
I'm so lonely. Nobody loves me unless I over simplify. I think I'll take my martial arts trainee (Jaded seal ordinand) down to the corner and see if I can find a likely suspect to flash my badge at.
Simon Oct 2019
A fulcrum to a virus, is stabilizing the charge of negativity in the bodies natural system. The heart feels it’s blood rippling with contractions. Main internal organs feeling the depth at which disturbance is relative to the norm. The norm being (activity) in the face of hustling environmental situations. Outside your system, or inside isn’t contrary by any means. It’s the same as if it were simple inputs reacting in a form able to move on its own accord. Syncing with the outputting world. Activity starting to measure itself for the greater good. A judgment calls in the face of closing a deal. The deal is finally running into something meant for challenges to address the norm from growing stale too early to experiment. Experiments meant to mold something that’s already in preparation. Waiting for the call to the fulcrum making ends meet with the negativity taking effect. Stronger as the virus who is used to surroundings of this caliber. An arsenal made to manufacturer imprints onto your biological code of conduct. Operating a system’s (will) against its own preparations. A set up of different fulcrums into the breath of negativities process. A virus! Virus includes its force of adjustment in the form of flaying innocent diagrams. Innocent diagrams pinpointing the exact locations which the virus could have a better hold of a body’s systems to executing its process of negativity. Spreading this unusual influence will boost the construct’s own fulcrum. So now it’s virus’s fulcrum versus body’s fulcrum? Can’t predict what hasn’t started processing the experiment. Knowing that much, will scare your interpretations from ever taking true shape. Never appreciating another awareness again. Only as long as it’s needed to accomplish it’s objective. Virus or systems encased in a body formation. There more alike then you think. Giving credit away from what is truly obvious. Virus…bad. No virus…good. The virus might as well shove its fulcrum right down your throat! Forcing you to understand just how premature you sound. Experiments issued by the systems controls, enacting a system wide preparation. Conceding balance controls. Its preparations already tested itself enough in its own environment. Its own tools and mechanisms ready for performance. Components never shy away from a challenge. Unless you’re a conscious base simplifier? Wanting nothing more then to not issue such orders. Getting in the way for a conscious system never understanding its own velocities bouncing one second to the next. It’s sometimes a burden in the light. Focusing on too much, is sometimes a headache waiting to run you dry! Virus prompting the systems desire to accept its fulcrums challenge. Respecting the process of negativity to run it’s course. Tempting the virus to not drown its components too easily. Virus tempted to act. Systems body waiting for virus to take the obvious bait. Which is too good to be true? If only the rules of different fulcrums were to make a biological check under the hood. Everything wouldn’t be so confusing, repetitive, or complicated. The list doesn’t go on and on. It lapses with the same circulation of promises to act on certain flaws that are made out to be one-sided believe and claim. When it’s actually the one-sided always tipping the scale in the end. Concluding the advantages of two opposites never winning the same side as itself. One-sided meant for only one giant slice of balance can be met. Never completely diminishing the result thorough to its points of interest. Interest is already exasperating its body language! Process of negativity is openly resonating from deep inside. Cells becoming soggy. Filled with disbelieve in itself. Trying to interlock messages out toward other neighbouring cells of similar placements. A cell being no more different then someone’s own home. Space reacting to your design. You’re believe system. Instincts holding sturdy promises to the experiment. Which meets every expectation available? A heated discussion between the spaces of cells. Something is radiating those spaces between ties uncut by regular motives. Fulcrums don’t imagine well. It’s a circumstance of visuals, and feeling. Nothing more to hold your own full of reflective potential in remaining stable between your relations. Don’t let yourself become uncomposed in the face of negativities actions. The virus is cunning. Yet ill tempered. Never hesitating to take the whole neighbouring block out with itself. Annihilating itself over the control of its fulcrums (want’s and needs). Diverse a charge to big for complications to arise out from the self replication that is voting the fulcrums negativity to higher platforms. Frequencies ricocheting back and force. Like kids bouncing from phase to phase, in order to find themselves. A dust settled in wrong claims of itself. The experiment was a sham. Virus has been tricked! Tricked by its own flawless nature. The system rejoices the claim of servitude. You were never really supposed to willingly action our will to newer adaptions. It’s tolerable to think two sides of the same coin, could ever amount peace. A peaceful remedy too powerful for the likes of a mere prisoner. The virus gasps in suppression. Never dislocating influence back into the stream of fulcrums not yet devised to join it’s cause. A cause made up. No servitude. Except for one ego rising better than the other. Becoming its own worse enemy. A self reflecting charge full of gimmicks too in denial and childish to RIP succession apart! The virus speaks one last time. I-I…thought we had a deal?! Now how does a deal go unaddressed, when we didn’t notify each other of such claims? The prisoner is escaping! Hold it for ransom?! The fulcrum of systems body, sinisterly grins delight. Let’s test the strength of similar brethren. In the attempt to draw more to our immaculate system of faithful desires!
A deceiver in the light, thinking it’s the deceiver in the dark. Mixed communications through tightened visuals of appealing the issue. Judges something not what it seems to be at first.
Nat Lipstadt Apr 2014
Silent Labor

both my children came via "silent labor." The woman experiences no visible contractions, until she is almost ready to give birth...we made it to the hospital in time, where the nurses handled the delivery.

This poem is about none of that, but from whence the title was taken.
~~~~~


my water just broke

the contractions just started and they are coming every three minutes

too late, they won't give me drugs

***, that is the ugliest
poem I just gave birth too.


guess I'll have to do better tomorrow,
now, that I'm done in,
now that, they'll they give me some drugs
vircapio gale Mar 2014
1.

dear feminism,
do i think of women
when i write to you?

why do i personify?

angry at an unjust world,
angry at injustice in ourselves,
have i been taught to fear you?
ignore inequity of fears?

or hide  
in the shadows of your salty curves
speaking soft with sycophantic tilt?

was this what mother meant,
portending talk of therapy
two decades in advance?

a bouy on three waves,
i crash against protuberances too:
limp didactics on avoidance for the victims,
waking in continuums of shrugging crime.

sameness differs in utopias --
every latent gut avers the right to spill.
despite the lissome quell forgetfulness contains,
my proper sphere will leave me
deafened in a wrack-dry
tidal echo--
'Fairness' stains clear beauty dark
as my imagined egos drown at last
from down our oceanic well of shame.

sacrifices fade,
i cannot write...
i write, and fail,
defined by sediment cliche,
reading women authors out of obligation ..odd desire,
and so in dim medieval-fashion
miss
the trail of monoliths erected
for a craven ease

2.

dear civil rights,
why were you taught
through prisms of boredom?
my voiceless reading left you to your rage,
while i communed with glossy nature,
private leaves.

how dare i clap your back
"congratulations"
at your tidy givens  granted
scars were open past my seeing,
and bleed still

while right here, empathy dies, now

dreams are bombed,
grafted to infected faculties
to wallow tended in a garden of injustice
erudite and dead,
i **** a bit i tell myself then stuff my face with food,
cover breath with smoke
and sleep in sour ignorance
no courage left to care.
blind grins bouquet the status quo
of rotted stems, discarded roots

i bury you with homeland fear
the killing silence filled with just intentions
for tomorrow

3.

dear feminism,
you speak for me, too--
my genderless ear attunes

cathartic sweep of ills
scaled beyond your other selves,
sexing into common chosen songs

no fearful tremble
at a mainstream backdrop reprimand--
to be a good gender,
--this gender not that gender--
gestate bigotry of symbol wombs,
cut ripe to cater to unquestioned whim;
no violent selfhood requisitioning
to closet inner innocence in pain

contractions shock in further waves
i midwife simple hope i hope
true fairness you have nursed in seeing death


4.

dear punk **** feminism,
marginal i ask as i perform
unstructured sutras on my heart
exemplar of a meta-freedom
burning in the core of threaded ages strung--
how then life without your voice,
vast silence unobserved,
the hidden anti-*** persisting
in our gender-theory--theorizing sterile norms--
sweet pulsing concupiscence
in our every waking breath
a pollinating zephyr tease toward
celebrating every feotal bathtub bliss --
unbridled ideologies unleashed
unmade into opining din

5.

dear temperance,
i vote you cherished
whirlwind
singing endless through the ageist ridicule
apparent failure in the civil warrior's eye
dogma blinks
denial of the rights you suffered for
but underneath compassion all along
i rally in your family's younger gaze
staring down,
questioning the steady rhythm of a whiskied fist

6.

dear feminism,
have i been taught to celebrate you?
have i been taught to fear for you?
have i been taught to treat you as a woman?
why do i personify you?
like some Sophia cybered up atop the forums of our age

blind and failing
i would be dust as well
like any rightful fading into dust
be swept along with all coercive screenings,
fear-born silences
immune to reason and the reasons of the heart--
rather than to live forgetting
letting go the questions giving rise to equals in a discourse
revising what it means to ask the meaning of


#
dear feminism,

when you are gone..
i for one will sing you
hope

to protest bigotry
a raging tranquil step
of care-filled voicing

dare an upward sloping arc
a dream becoming shared
to overcome
attain
inspired by once unfamiliar names

i will still be here,
the angry feminist
burning in my flagging underwear

brightest outrage at injustice
your deeper loves, fairness
selfhood honored
as if written in the stars
or ancient shorelines
-- you will not be gone
"She says, he wrote it--he says, she wrote it." -Lucretia Mott, speaking to the collaborative efforts of J S Mill and Harriet Taylor
Marshal Gebbie Aug 2010
Rush around in circles like a headless chicken running
Diminishing to spirals in a blue encircled churn
Giddying to balance in unsteady equilibrium,
Whilst canting to the left on a gyroscopic turn.

Vaulting to the heavens in gymnastical maneuvering,
Launching into ether in fanatical escape,
****** features grimacing through muscular contortion
With abdominal contractions in a pantomime of ****.

Yowling to the darkness in a feline form of vocalness
Hissing through the teeth in a serpentine display,
Bellowing the bellicose of bovine innuendo
And bleeding feet in gumboots on a ****** raining day.

Rush around in circles like a headless chicken running
With ****** features grimaced on a ****** raining day,
Yowling to the darkness with abdominal contraction
In a bovine innuendo of a serpentine display.

Bellowing the bellicose of bleeding feet in gumboots,
Vaulting to the heavens in fanatical escape,
Giddying to spirals in contracting equilibrium
Just a ****** innuendo of a gyroscopic shake.


Marshalg
Victoria Park Tunnel
On a ****** raining day.
7 August 2010
Anna Richards Mar 2015
Mom
Stretch marks, swollen ankles, itchy skin , aching back
Bigger feet, bigger bust, bigger belly as the day goes by
tiny flutters, little kicks, tiny fingers in my ribs
I've never felt like such a mess, or more beautiful

Unreal pain, Iv's, medication, the clock isn't moving
The room is spinning, a heart beat on the moniter next to me
Timing contractions, breathing, water, trying to ***
I never knew I had such detirmination , such strength

two days later, finally i look in the mirror at myself
Stretched out skin, saggy, swollen, bloated
Swollen feet, swollen legs, lots of extra skin
my hairs a mess, everything hurts and I have a scar

six months later, scar has faded, legs are back to normal
Feet are the right size again.. my bust, that's a different story
Then there's the weight that just won't leave
My body is totally different now.. and I still have a scar

I don't know how to relate to myself anymore , my body is different
I look at myself in the mirror and its not who i remember
I don't know what to wear or how to wear it
Things that I thought were comfortable are not anymore

I struggle each time i have to go somewhere to find something
Something I can nurse in, something that's comfortable
I feel fat, But I have strange moments of confidence
after all my body is freaking amazing, I made a human

All I ask is as I wade through these days of new motherhood
As I choke back tears everytime I have to find an outfit
As I have to second guess my outfits because I choose to breast feed
As I struggle with a bust so big its difficult to hide

All I ask from those in my life is a love and understanding
Understand this is a new world for me, being a mom
Understand that my body has changed permenatly
Understand I'm just getting to know the new me again

And please be patient as I figure all this out
As I nurse my baby and do whats right for my love
As I struggle through new outfits and my new body
As I learn to love the new me and feel beautiful again

Thank you <3
You've said you'd wait
You're patient as all hell,
Am I the one that's burning?

This choice is given
And it's no joke

Your life it came to mine
Regardless.

I'm ******* because you came to me
And turned my world around.
I never realized how much you could mean to me,

Until today.
You flew away.

I can not apologize for being sorry,
You're the only one who ever knew.

Did I ever know this man between the sheets?
Or is my heart the biggest fool?

it was never you're fault,
Nor could you ever be blamed,
For I'm the one inside this mess
And you?
You're gracefully moving.
Mouth Piece Dec 2013
I see you fetus on radar struggle and heart beat sensors yet I don’t know your thoughts about your home! I see you form but you don’t see me. But what do you strive for? What do you believe you are? Do you have goals? If I had to guess they’d most likely be comical attempts at taming wind. As for me I know your destiny 9 months from conception. Your world is a world within a world called earth dependent on an inception that unknowingly feeds you maturated to the inevitable extinction of your entire world. This is called death and I know it’s scary. Why would you ever imagine leaving your tight spot comfortable? I feel that way about earth more often then I’d like to admit. Let me stop for now because I’m jumping the gun, I’ll discuss this new world after contractions. Have faith your birth is coming and with this death new life will emerge. I know it’s hard to grasp and even if knowing this was possible u’d still leave kicking and screaming but just wait and you’ll know what I mean in due time. So enough about you for a moment for I am in a paradox that I can’t explain! It started with my death from the womb (birth) which brought life on the sweetness of earth but upon that emergence started a countdown to a new death! Which leaves me to this moment. I am preparing like you but in different ways. I know you can’t give me answers but at least we are one in the same dilemma of subjectivity to our respective womb. I wish we could compare notes and come to a consensus that understands the futility of our worlds permanence. For I am a lot like you! I am a fetus in this world called man and my womb is mother earth. I want to learn from your mistakes! This world is dying like your womb and it’s just as hard for me to come to grips that this is not my home. Fetus thank you for allowing me to view your delusion so I can understand mine. Jesus gives me the truth because he sees me like I see you. Not to be hypocritical I must strive not to leave kicking and screaming. I know this is not my home but a place of active preparation for eternity! As for you fetus one birth at a time.
Daniello Mar 2012
What is hoped trickling between
splintered crags of hard matter
as between slabs of sliced I
like water through the desert crust

the beginning-end fusioned whole?
it resplendent through the cracks?

What might be enough
for its time being
might be the first loosening
a knot’s dissolution  
beginning

unwrapping light and breath
deep underground  
after prying like suffocation
the thing loose, never budged,
still you yanked, pulled,
screamed, spumed, more than

frustration through your fingertips.
For the brain, don’t be fooled,
s’more the psychedelic fruit
than just saying apple computer

the pulpous embryo of imagination
feeding

what seed, sprouting tendrils,
protracts without desire
(but causing desire)
ever outward, growing, clasping,
(hinging on unhinging) meshing
an electric net
and collapsing a shock they say

until the taste of its taste
is so succulently pungent
that after hours of dull mumbling
its projection upon the mirrors

it bursts in puffs of screams
short tense contractions
[image fizzing, over-heating].

Like a cracked computer reading
an animal program: Alpha Beast
of the Ill-Illusioned
. Or: Runt Wolf
of Gaia, the Undarwinian Survivor
.
Software ones and zeros digitizing

the command:
Must do the act cannot be done.

Till it breaks. Unimagined.
Timothy Brown Jul 2013
Spitting up the mucus lining
the back of my throat
binding my gag reflex
to every breath.

I hope I don't choke.

Stomach lining
forcing it's way up
and out my throat.
Sliding it's way back down
into my lungs.
Coughing and burning
my air ways. The pain is profound.

It looked like cold bbq sauce at first
but as the forced
contractions became less dispersed
Every thing became more clear.
Whiskey had put me here...

*It didn't hold you down and make you drink it.
I can no longer drink Gin, *****, ***, Tequila or Whiskey. This is a dumb plan but it is working quite well.
© July 11th, 2013 by Timothy Brown. All rights reserved
beth winters Oct 2010
summers bleeding and wilted sunflowers pour from wounds
we cant see the cake for the trees
but darling well make it if the angels rip hair from our heads
can you feel mist whipping through your sinal cavities
and wrapping your fingers in layers of burnt cotton
i could press contractions against your cheek
and stare your heartbeats into submission
but i wont darling can you see the ocean now
were awfully close so shut the door
i dont want to see family heirlooms in the bark
of trees too old to die

i wrote you paragraphs and notebooks
you could never read them because i
i cant burn christmas trees without shuddering
the metro is starting to grate on me get
out of here this is no place for you
we dont have a plot because we are
not characters and there is no conflict except in here
this is an exercise from somewhere; to write without punctuation.
aj Jun 2014
funhouse of self-reflection,
i indulge in your distraction,
make the best of every one of my heart's contractions,
to scintillate, to shine, to epitomize a refraction
that is all mine.

a start's best contender
to finish, always inclined.
for the heart's say is that gold is always underlined.

glitter of shimmer, of glistening hues.
what creator could produce formations as iridescent as you?
but coruscation of shadows, perpetually anew:
why do you always crack my mirror and skew?

mirror, mirror.
mirror of my mind:
tell me where it is that all my secrets hide?
What will it take ?
Tom McCone Jan 2014
starlight,
i won't forgive you,
for you haven't done a single thing wrong.

and you don't have to say
anything, i can hear
your heartbeat through the sheaves
of grass that grow back in
small increments:
i know you're there,
no matter how invisible you may
find yourself feeling, late at
nights you can't sleep to
be more like my consistencies, you never knew.

so show me a freckle on your arm,
or the breadth of the world,
or nothing at all. you've
already collected my insides.

love, life is meaningless, but perhaps
with some time and another place,
we could still find purpose. my hopes
are wearing thin, but i'm hardly dead
yet.

so, don't cry. it's okay to hurt,
like i understand you do. i'm
hurt too, but i can lick clean
all your wounds. i could be
yours
if you wanted
me to.

in dreams, i
hear the sea on your
mind, once again, and build
catamarans we'll sail out of this
disjoint union of townships and countrysides
on; and i'll gouge my heart out and pour it into the
ocean, so with each swell and retreat of the waves you can
hear how many of its contractions are dedicated to the lights in your eyes.
"Cold Pizza recconnection electric arrest
old friends left over home alone red rover
flip book puff paint able zippy signing
lightning priced highly sprite-ling shy

leaves leap a leaf leavening leaves levers
lionize me syllables and cymbals symptoms and asymptotes
Saigon cinnamon whats gone the difference between Ke$ha cassia
lizard fish ports porter stout with the south border patrol
those tater tots eves since lighting daily lessening fatigue

green bar measure in response to the begging caboose
dim light lemon wedges squint islands honeycomb wide
perfect metaphors touch poem remedy powder doughnuts
a flask a mile width cantina cactus dessert dish lips road slick
female professional tag team tobacco handler interest yields

hey baleful pinky spam vy the guar and the sandwich song is humming a tune
to the sun and the moon and the wayside is wont for supper
a Loom spun round noon grooms an unbridled silver spoon
four ye old won't stop being contractions

contrast only reaps the aura mood in the the conical darkness
event is a horizon a jungle fools chained wrist to ankle
banks full listless investment feel drench razed
shake the way, late too ate tea teal a lit in did go
non-sense sin is a million aeons idle pining growth ignored

**** growth from the root why dragging the gravel lightly
emerging ravenous pushing the sun with the scalp singed minded
ogre bleeding decked and gripped dreams idealized eyes delete
sounds sold summoners atones in limitless feeding frenzy

cells flinched echo dissonance opening i um ma ni pad may hummmmm?
why do I mumble sometimes humbly others sacred offerings yet
qualify the quality of cells fishing to be men in community
ruthlessly scrutiny is mutiny suppose to be loud to leave
pew pew ill losing hung lung fungus molding heaving epi not pen but the helium
the healing them believing can propane proverbs pains aim profane fans
breathing wind fillet of sky blue as the ocean beyond the waves
lines thickening tears of god embolden as rainbows streaks marking

pens pencils stencils window sills rest acquitted gloves stylize
notebook dropping concrete break dancing drunk down stairs stars stare
clean the shadow rise to the top rise out of the base meant to trace the blueprint
croon dining a line red as rare as charred dark as an assassin man dares to draw"
Amir Apr 2010
A feverish scurrying startles the saplings
And upsets the patchwork of dirt stone and sand
Expanding contractions of truths’ interactions
To passing set actions
But none have been planned

Sought self solidarity through solitude
Monasticism through poeticism
© Amir 2009
Ayeshah Jan 2014
Soapy suds tracing all over my
succulent breast, chest, *******,
down down my
abdomen,
outer & inner thighs,
hands, feet, and my genitals.

Suds dancing deliciously
on my skin
bubbling all around me

You whisper in my ear
as you come up
from behind me
a gentle touch felt.

Pressing waters
dripping over us
steams spray- misting down
from the shower head
fogging up
my frost pattern
shower glass doors.

Soap suds wash away,
your massive hand
cups my breast
sliding up to my neck
strong fingers encase
my throat
my heads pushed down
as you bend me over
you sigh in pleasure
as you enter me.

One finger then another,
while you stroke your
big scrumptious ****.

Exquisitely you slowly
slide down
my form,
part my legs,
palm of your hands
firmly on my thigh
lifting my leg over
one of your shoulders
you flick your tongue
across my ****,
savor my honeydew
wetness.

Your tongues exploring
inside my silken walls
while you tease my ****
all the while you
continuously *******
me.

My hairs soaked & wet
hanging heart-shaped
round my face
down to my shoulders.

You lift me up, my hands
instinctively grip your neck
your hips rise forcibly to meet me
as you outline the moist contours of my
sweet ***** lips.

The tip of your head
enters me, your holding my *** so tightly
moving swift & deep inside of me.

This is so crazy,
the way your
joined with me
deep in me pumping
hard long stokes...

Our body’s move with
wild abandonment
in search of that
euphoric height
we cling tightly
as the waves
of pleasure
crash together,
wave after
delirious wave
your
expanding our
******* utopia
I dig my
nails deeper
in your back
until you’re
thrusting
hips slow a bit.

I bite my lip cause your so deep,
I have this starvational need
a longing and each
stroke out
makes me want you
back in deeper.
your body
fervently
consumes
me as you
invade my tight
silky walls.
This build up is so
energetic
causing sensations
causing my body
inner and outward
contractions,
with burst of
pleasure
so uncontrollable
all over my body
the waters cold
guess we can carry on in the bedroom
so how about we take a break
& get out of the*

SHOWER?!?*


Always Me Ayeshah ®
Copyright 1977 - Present ©
K.A.C.L.N ©
All right reserved ®
Ottis Blades Apr 2012
August 22, 2003

Contractions
retractions
regrets
every twenty seconds apart
now counting ten
write them down
lets retrace these steps again
he is bustin' to get out
and needs more room to stretch
I know you are in pain
just take a deep breath
we already made it this far
we need to finish this race
because you are a cradle of life
and a vessel that holds my own
it was only nine months ago
that we decided to conceive
flesh and blood
that binds you and me
and ties us like a rope
in a sweet afternoon
on a nest without a tree
we ceased to be two
and went on to be three.
Now that we finally made it here
just breathe easy my dear
the worst is almost done
and the best is yet to come
I'll watch you like an angel
while God delivers our son
while my princess tries to sleep
and my little devil is to be born.
"is he crowning yet?"
She would ask
time and time again
I try not to be terrified
at the sight of what's taking place
liquids steps
careful measures
not enough space
push until you brake
as you turn into a grape
still beautiful as the day we met
when I came to your table
and waited for something you would say
so I could conjugate your name
in adjectives and verbs
words of love
sonnets of grace
when our puzzle fell into place
and it spelled:
I
will
forever
love
you
miss
Rivera.
From the end to beginning
from the algae to the fishes
like your kisses
like the long waits
like the eternal months
whether it rained or snowed
like our futile fights
like our happy cries
I heard you through the grapevine
I always heard you both
you have made me proud
and I hope the same I have done
my queen without a crown
here's your present
here's your child
welcome to the world
our baby boy Josh.

— The End —