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Sjr1000 Aug 2015
Denial of others
is an easy thing,
Label them
responsible for
everything,
If they are gone,
We'll all
be okay.

We hear the same tune,
Everywhere we go,
Among our friends,
Small office spaces,
Family members,
the black sheep,
Don't you know.

Corporate meetings
in board room splendor,
Fingers are pointed
at those,
Identifying those who disturb our peace,
Interrupt our greed.

Blame becomes epidemic,
Get rid of them,
We'll all be okay.

Pulpits of every denomination
scream at
those who would be so,
Just get rid of them
We'll all be okay.

Changing times
enemies become allies,
The doomsday clock
moves up a notch,
Get rid of them
then we'll all be
okay.

Well,  it's just
you and me,
As Dylan said
"I won't be the last to leave."

Get rid of them,
I'll be okay,
We both say,
I look at you,
You look at me.

Alone at last,
No one else to blame,
I'm looking in the mirror,
I'm pointing at
me,
Get rid of him,
Then we'll all
be
okay.
The final poem in this trio. When will we ever learn?
Keith J Collard Jun 2013
The Quest for the Damsel Fish  by Keith Collard

Author's  Atmosphere

On the bow of the boat, with the cold cloud of the dismal day brushing your back conjuring goose bumped flesh you hold an anchor.  For the first time, you can pick this silver anchor up with only one hand and hold it over your head. It resembles the Morning Star, a brutal medieval weapon that bludgeons and impales its victims.  Drop it into the dark world beyond the security of your boat--watch the anchor descend.
        Watch this silver anchor--this Morning Star--descend away from the boat and you, it becomes swarmed over with darkness.  It forms a ******-metallic grin at first as it sinks, then the sinking silver anchor takes its last shape at its last visible glimpse.  It is so small now as if it could be hung from a necklace.  It is a silver sword.  
Peering over the side of the boat, the depths collectively look like the mouth of a Cannibalistic Crab, throwing the shadows of its mandibles over everything that sinks down into it--black mandibles that have joints with the same angle of a Reaper's Scythe.  

I am scared looking at this sinking phantasm.  I see something from my youth down there in this dark cold Atlantic.  I see the silver Morning Star again, now in golden armor.  I remember a magnificent kingdom, in a saltwater fish tank I had once and never had again.  A tropical paradise that I see again as I stare down into the depths.  This fish tank was so beautiful with the most beautiful inhabitants who I miss.  Before I could lift the silver anchor--the Morning Star--over my head with only one hand, turning gold in that morning sun-- I was a boy who sat indian style, cross legged--peering into this brilliant spectacle of light I thought awesome.  I thought all the darkness of home and the world was kept at bay by this kingdom of light...

Chapter  1 Begins the Story

The Grey Skies of Mass is the Name of This Chapter.

                                                      ­­                        
    
 Air, in bubbles--it was a world beauty of darkness revealed in slashes of light from dashing fluorescent bulbs overhead this fish tank.
Silver swords of fluorescent energy daring to the bottom, every slash revealing every color of the zodiac--from the Gold of Scorpio to the purple of Libra combining into the jade of the Gemini. 
In the center, like a dark Stonehenge were rocks. The exterior rocks had tropical colors like that of cotton candy, but the interior shadows of the rocks that was the Stonehenge, did not possess one photon of light. The silver messengers of the florescent energy from above would tire and die at their base.  The shadows of the Stonehenge rocks would stand over them as they died.

 
          When the boy named Sake climbed the rickety wood stairs of the house, he did so in fear of making noise, as if to not wake each step.
   Until he could see the glowing aura of his fish tank then he would start down that eerie hall, With pictures of ghosts and ghosts of pictures staring down at him as he walked down that rickety hallway of this towering old colonial home.  He hurried to the glowing tank to escape the black and white gazing picture frames.
                    The faint gurgling, bubbling of the saltwater tank became stronger in his ear, and that sound guided him from the last haunt of the hallway-- the empty room that was perpendicular to  his room.   He only looked to his bright tank as soon as he entered the hallway from the creaky wooden steps.  Then he proceeded to sit in front of this great tropical fish tank in Indian style with his legs folded over one another as children so often would sit.
  The sun was setting.  The reflections from the tank were beginning to send ripples down the dark walls. Increasing  wave after wave reflecting down his dark walls.  He thought they to be seagulls flapping into the darkness until they were overcome as he was listening to the bubbling water of his tank.
                " Hello my fish, hello Angel, hello Tang, hello  Hoomah, hello Clown and hello Damsel … and hello to you Crab...even though I do not like you," he said in half jest not looking at the crab in the entrance of the rocks.  The rocks were the color of cotton candy, but the interior shadows did not possess a photon of luminescence.  All other shadows not caused by the rocks--but by bright swaying ornament--were like the glaze on a candy apple--dark but delicious.  Besides the crab's layer in the rock jumble at the center of the tank which was a Stonehenge within a Stonehenge--the tank was a world of bright inviting light.
                The crab was in its routine,  motionless in the entrance to his foyer, with his scythe-like claws in the air, in expectation of catching one of the bright fish someday.  For that reason the boy tried to remove the crab in the past, but even though the boy was fast with his hand, the optical illusion of the tank would always send his hand where the crab no longer was.  He did not know how to use two hands to rid the crab in the future by trapping and destroying the Cannibal Crab ;  his father, on a weekend visit, gave the Crab to the boy to put into the bright world of the saltwater tank, which Sake quickly regretted.  His father promised him that the Crab would not be able to catch any of the fish he said " ...***** only eat anything that has fallen to the bottom or each other..."

         A scream from the living room downstairs ran up the rickety wood and down the long hall and startled the boy.  His mother sent her shrieks out to grab the boy, allowing her to not have to waste any time nor calorie on her son; for she would tire from the stairs, but her screams would not, allowing her to stay curled up on the couch.  If she was not screaming for Sake, she was talking as loud as screams on the phone with her girlfriends.  The decibels from her laugh was torture for all in the silent house.   A haughty laugh in a gossipy conversation, that overpowered the sound of the bright tropical fish tank in Sake's room that was above and far opposite her in the living room.
               " Sake you have to get a paper-route to pay for the tank, the electricity bill is outrageous," she said while not taking her eyes off the TV and her legs curled up beside her.  He would glad fully get a paper-route even if it was for a made up reason.  He turned to go, and looked back at his mother, and a shudder ran through him with a new thought:  someday her appearance will match her voice.  

              Upon reaching his tank,  Hoomah was trying to get his attention as always.  Taking up pebbles in his big pouty pursed lips and spitting them out of his lips like a weak musket.  The Hoomah was a very silly fish, it looked like one of Sake’s aunts, with too much make up on, slightly overweight, and hovering on two little fins that looked incapable of keeping it afloat, but they did.  The fins reminded him of the legs of his aunt--skinny under not so skinny.’

               The Tang was doing his usual aquanautics , darting and sailing was his trick.  He was fast, the fastest with his bright yellow triangular sail cutting the water.  Next was the aggressive Clown fish, the boy thought she was always aggresive because she didn't have an anemone to sleep on.  The Clown was strong and sleek with an orange jaw and body that was built like a tigress.
  Sake thought something tragic about the body if the  orange Clown and the three silver traces that clawed her body as decoration -they reminded him of the incandescent orange glow of a street lamp being viewed through the rainy back windshield of a car.   The Clown fish was a distraction that craved attention.
The Clown would chase around some of the other fish and jump out of the water to catch the boy's eye. 
                 Next is the Queen Angel fish, she is the queen of the tank, she sits in back all alone, waving like a marvelous banner, iridescent purple and golden jade.  Her forehead slopes back in a French braid style that streams over her back like a kings standard waving before battle, but her standard is of a house of beauty, and that of royal purple.

                    Lastly is the Damsel Fish, the smallest and most vulnerable in the tank.  She has royal purple also, rivaling the queen. Her eyes are lashed but not lidded like the Hoomah.  Her eyes are elliptical, and perhaps the most human, or in the boy’s opinion, she is the most lady like, the Hoomah and the Queen Angel come to her defence if she is chased around by the Clown.  Her eyes penetrate the boys, to the point of him looking away.  

                      Before the tank, in its place in the corner was a painting, an oil painting of another type of Clown donning a hat with orange partial make-up on his face (only around eyes nose and mouth there was ghost white paint) and it  had two tears coming down from its right eye.  The Clown painting was given to him by his mother, it seems he could not be rid of them, but Sake at first was taken in by the brightness of the Clown, and the smooth salacious wet look of the painting. it looked dripping, or submerged, like another alternate reality.  The wet surreal glaze of the painting seemed a portal, especially the orange glow of the Clown's skin without make-up.  .  If he tried to remember of times  before the Clown painting that preceded the Clown fish, he thought of the orange saffron twilight of sunset, and watching it from the high window from his room in the towering house.  How that light changed everything that it touched, from the tree tops and the clouds, to even the dark hallway leading up to his room.  The painting and the Clown fish did not feel the same as those distant memories of sunset, especially the summer sunset when his mother would put him to bed long before the sun had set.  
Sake did not voice opposition to the Clown.
Then he was once again trapped by the Clown.  
            The boy was extremely afraid of this painting that replaced the sunsets , being confined alone with it by all those early bedtimes.
Sake once asked his mother if he could take it down, whereas she said " No."  That clown would follow him into his dreams, always he would be down the hill from the tall house on the hill, trying to walk back to the house, but to walk away or run in a dream was like walking underwater or in black space, and he would make no distance as the ground opened up and the clown came out of the ground hugging him with the pryless grip of eight arms.  He would then wake up amid screams and a tearful hatted clown staring somberly down at him from the wall where it was hung.  Night made him fear the Clown painting more;  that ghost white make-up decorating around the eyes and mouth seeming to form another painting in entirety.  He could only look at the painting after a while when the lights were on, and the wet looking painting was mostly orange from the skin, neck, and forearms of the hat wearing clown.  But the painting is gone now, and the magnificent light display of the tank is there now.  

                Sake pulled out the fish food, all the fish bestirred in anticipation of being fed.  The only time they would all come together; and that was to mumble the bits of falling flakes: a chomp from the Clown, a pucker from the Hoomah, the fast mumble of the Tang, and the dainty chew of the Damsel.  The Queen Angelfish would stay near the bottom, and kiss a flake over and over.   She would not deign herself to go into a friendly frenzy like the other fish; she stayed calm, yet alluring like a flag dancing rhythmically in the breeze, but never repeating the same move as the wind never repeats the same breeze.  She is the only fish to change colors.  When the grey skies of Mass emit through every portal in the house at the height of its bleakness, her colors would turn more fantastic, perhaps why she is queen.

                 He put his finger in the top of the watery world; the warmth was felt all the way up his arm.  After feeding, his favorite thing to do was to trace his finger on the top of the warm water and have the Damsel follow it. She loved it, it was her only time to dance, for the Clown would descend down in somewhat fear ( or annoyance) of the boys finger, and the Damsel and he would dance.  The boy, thought that extraordinary.

                     Sake bedded down that night, to his usual watery world of his room.  The reflective waves running down the walls like seagulls of light, with the rhythmic gurgling sound and it's occasional splash of the Clown, or the Hoomah swooping into the pebbly bottom to scoop up some pebbles for spitting making the sound "ccchhhhh" --cachinging  like a distant underwater register.  The tank’s nocturne sound was therapeutic to the boy.

                      Among waking up, and being greeted by his sparkling treasure tank--that was always of the faintest light in the morning due to the grey skies of Mass coming through every portal to lessen the tropical spectrum-- the boy would render his salutations " Good morning my Hoomah.....good morning Tang, my Damsel, and your majesty Queen Angel.....and so forth.  Until the scream would come to get him, and he would walk briskly past the empty room and the looming family pictures of strangers.  His mother put him to work that day, to "pay for the fish tank" but really to buy her a new cocktail dress for her nightly forays.  The boy did not care, the tank was his sun, emitting through the bleak skies of Mass, and even if the tank was reduced to a haze by the overcast of his life, it only added a log to the fire that was the tropical world at night, in turn making him welcome the dismal day.
                  On a day, when the overcast was so thick, he felt he could not picture his rectangular orb waiting for him at night. He had trouble remembering what houses to deliver the paper.  He delivered to the same house three times.  Newspapers seemed to disappear in his hands, due to their color relation to the sky.   Leaves were falling from the trees—butterfly like—he went to catch one, he missed--a first. For Sake could walk through dense thorned brambles and avoid every barb, as a knight in combat or someone’s whose heart felt the painful sting of the barb before.  He would stand under a tree in late fall, and roll around to avoid every falling leaf, and pierce them to the ground deftly with a stick fashioned as a sword.  He could slither between snow flakes, almost like a fish nimbly avoiding small flakes.  
                  After he finished his paper-route , he went to his usual spot under an oak tree to fence with falling leaves.  As the other boys walked by and poked fun he would stall his imagination, and look to the brown landscape of the dry fall.  The crisp brown leaves of the trees were sword shapes to him.  He held the battle ax shape of the oak leaf over his eye held up by the stick it was pierced through, and spied the woodline through the sinus of the oak leaf lobe.  The brown white speckled scenery, were all trying to hide behind eachother by blending in bleakfully; he pretended the leaf was Hector’s helmet from the Illiad—donned over his eyes.
“ Whatchya doing Sake?” asked a young girl named Summer.  Sake only mumbled something nervously and stood there.  And a pretty Summer passed on after Sake once again denied himself of her pretty company.  He looked to the woodline again, a mist was now concealing the tall apical trees.  It now looked like the brown woodland was not trying to retreat behind eachother in fall concealment, but trying to emerge forth out of the greyness to say "save us."

“ Damgf” he uttered, and could not even grasp a word correctly.  His head lifted to the sky repeatedly, there was no orb, and the shadows were looming larger than ever; fractioned shadows from tree branches were forming scythes all over the ground.
             He entered the large shadow that was his front door, into the house that rose high into the sky, with the simplicity of Stonehenge.  He climbed the rickety petrified stairs and went down the hall.  Grey light had spotlighted every frame on the wall.  He looked into the empty room, nothingness, then his room, the tank seemed at its faintest, and it was nearing twilight.  He walked past the tank to look out the w
YOU SEE DAD AND STAN BURNS AND STAN NIEMIC DESPITE WHAT THEY BELIEVED IN ON EARTH

FIXED A SATLLITE PLACED BY NASA, WHERE THE WA FIRES WERE PLAIN TO SEE FROM UP THERE

YOU SEE, DAD GOT HELP FROM SCIENTISTS AND PEOPLE INTERESTED IN BUILDING THE WORLD

AND I START TO FIGURE, IF WE CAN SEE THE FIRE FROM UP THERE, WHY CAN’T THE ALIEN FORCES

FORM A REALLY HEAVY RAINSTORM TO ERUPT IN WA, TO PUT THE FIRE OUT, MIND YOU

DAD, WAS HAVING A FIELD DAY, WITH THIS TELESCOPIC LENS, MAKING IT EASY FOR SCIENTISTS

TO TRACK DOWN WHEN EARTH IS IS UNDER ATTACK FROM RAGING FLOODS OR BUSHFIRES

AND, IF MORE SCIENTISTS AND ASTRONAUGHTS HAD MY BELIEF, THEY WOULD WORK WITH MY DAD

AND FORCE A BIG RAINSTORM, TO PUT OUT FIRES EVERYWHERE, YOU SEE DAD MIGHT BE DEAD

BUT HIS SPIRIT, CAN SLOWLY SAVE THE EARTH AND THE UNVERSE, EVERY BLADE OF GRASS

AND SCIENTISTS HAVE SILLY INVENTIONS SOMETIMES, BUT, MY DAD IS IMPLYING, THAT, THERE

MAYBE A WAY TO FORCE RAIN, FROMM UP ABOVE, I THINK MAYBE THAT IS WHAT THEY ARE TRYING TO DO

AND DAD AND THE TWO STAN’S DECIDED TO SEE, MMMMMM HOW ARE WE GOING TO GET RID OF THESE FIRES

YOU SEE, THERE IS WATER UP IN OUTER SPACE, WE JUST NEED TO FIND IT, DAD IS TELLING ME, TO TELL YOU

NOW, YEAH, I KNOW THERE IS WATER UP THERE, BECAUSE CLOUDS ARE FORMING LIKE A DISH IN THE SOLAR SYSTEM

AND IF WE CAN FIND OUT WHERE THIS WATER IS, IT COULD PUT THE FIRE OUT, BUT, WE NEED TO CONTROL IT

CAUSE IT COULD CAUSE FLOODS, SO JUST ENOUGH WATER TO DROWN THE FIRE, YOU SEE DADS MAN, WAS HE WAS INTERESTED IN

HELPING THE ENVIRONMENT, WE THREW HIS ASHES IN COPPINS CROSSING AND I RECYCLED HIS ASHES TIN

SO DAD CAN HELP IN THE FUTURE, AND, DAD HAS STARTED, WITH ALLOWING NASA, TO BE ABLE TO VIEW

FIRES FROM WHERE HE IS, AND I AM SURE DAD WILL BE GLAD TO HELP BRING RAIN TO THE APPROPIATE PLACES THAT NEEDS RAIN

EVEN IF IT MAKES LUCKY CRANKY, BECAUSE LUCKY BLAMED DAD FOR THE RAIN, AND NOW HE’S DEAD, DAD CAN

WORK ON CREATING RAIN ONLY IN PLACES THAT NEED IT, WHILEST LIKE EVERYONE HAS EARTH BODIES TO LOOK AFTER

NOW I AM INTRIGUED, IN HOW DAD CAN RALLY PEOPLE TOGETHER, TO BEAT THESE TERRORISTS, WHO THREATEN THE LIVES

OF PAUL BERENYI AND OTHER MEMBERS OF MY PREVIOUS LIFE, AS WELL, AS MY KIDNAPPER OF THE PAST

DAD FLEW OFF AND GOT PAUL BERENYI TO HELP HIM, FIGURE OUT A WAY TO FIND A WAY TO SEND RAIN DOWN TO

RID THE DREADED FIRES, I CAN GO UMMMMMMMM  GET RID OF THESE FIRES  UMMMMMMMM GET RID OF THEM NOW

UMMMMMMMMM SEND RAIN MR BARRY ALLAN, UMMMMMMM WHEN YA CAN, UMMMMMMMM GET RID OF THESE BLASTED FIRES, RIGHT NOW

YOU SEE DAD KNOWS IT WILL BE HARD WORK, BUT  IT CAN BE DONE

UMMMMMMMM GET RID OF THESE FIRES   UMMMMMMMMM  SEND RAIN MR BARRY ALLAN, UMMMMMMM TO RID THE FIRES FOREVER AND EVER

UMMMMMMMM I WANT DAD TO GUIDE SCIENTISTS TO FIND A WAY TO MAKE RAIN, BECAUSE MY RAIN DANCE OVER SOUTH AUSTRALIA WORKED

UMMMMMMMM   COME ON SCIENTISTS, LET DAD GUIDE YOU  WHERE THE RAIN REALLY IS

SO NOBODY LOSES THEIR PROPERTIES, UMMMMMMMMM I KNOW IT’S HARD WORK, BUT WE MUST MEND EVERY BLADE OF GRASS

UMMMMMMMMM  WE MUST MEND EVERY BLADE OF GRASS, UMMMMMMM WE MUST MEND EVERY BLADE OF GRASS

IF WE GET THE RAIN TO COME, DAD NEEDS SCIENTISTS TO HELP, UMMMMMMMM UMMMMMMMM UMMMMMMMM I AM A BUDDHIST HEALER

UMMMMMMMMMM  DAD STAN BURNS AND STAN NIEMIC AND PAUL BERENYI  ARE TRYING TO HELP SCIENTISTS BRING RAIN WHERE IT NEEDS RAIN

UMMMMMMMMM EVERY BLADE OF GRASS  UMMMMMMMMM EVERY BLADE OF GRASS  UMMMMMMMM EVERY BLADE OF GRASS
The evil witch is after the 11 year olds


Once upon a time there was an evil witch,, and this witch was like no witch i n any fairy tales, no this witch was pure evil, you see she took pride in grabbing 11 year old kids avid locking themselves in the basement to eventually chop them up and put them in an oven, to give herself a feast, the first kid was young a 11 year old boy named Tommy Kinarfis and he was on his way to school and he was just minding his own business when this black car pulled up and before Tommy could run away, the witch grabbed him and shoved him in the boot of his car and being as scared as he was, Tommy really didn't want to die, and tried to bang the the walls of the boot to show that he has been kidnapped but nobody heard him and before he knew it, he found himself locked up in a cage being fattened up, so the witch can eat him up, and after about 12 hours Tommy was dead, and the witch was happy, the next kid was 11 year old daughter of president Frederick Leonardo, you see this president was so conservative and everyone was too scared to do anything bad to his kid, but one day when the presidents daughter, who was named Terri was waiting for her body guard after school when this car turned up and this man got out pretending to be her bodyguard one day, and after 2 hours of driving Terri realised that she has been kidnapped, and then the bodyguard took off his nice disguise and when Terri noticed it was the witch, she tried to escape but soon enough she was locked in her cage being fattened up, so the witch can enjoy her feast, and the presidents daughter Terri was dead and the president had a little burial for her.
The next kid was 11 year old Peter Vernin and he was a kid who loves sport, especially the AFL, because that was a boys sport, and Peter had it in his mind that because he played AFL, he will he invincible but as he was going to footy training, he had to walk because his parents had to work, a ******* car pulled up and this man pulled up and asked Peter if he would like a ride, and Peter, being only 11 said yes thinking he was being treated like a kid that everyone liked, but then he found himself chained up in the witch's basement ready to be slaughtered at any given time, you see because Tommy had muscles, that was enough to make him be nice and tender to eat and when the witch finds out that he had suffered enough, then the witch will cook Tommy up and before he knew it, Tommy was just a corpse and the witch was feeling very happy and this made her feel she can slowly get rid of each child as soon as they reached 11, and she was feeling like nobody will ever stop her from accomplishing this feat.
The FBI are having a hard time trying to find there missing kids because they just vanished without a trace, but they had every officer and forensic investigator in to try to catch the witch and make her pay, mind you the FBI were unaware that the persons responsible is a wicked evil witch.
The next kid was Raymond Terrestal, an 11 year old who was in a broken home and every day he went to the local shops to buy milk for the family but also he would occasionally steal a chocolate bar and also a few flavoured milks, and the witch said to herself that this boy needs to chopped him up and watch his shiny white legs slowly turn to very tasty meat. Even though Raymond put up a fight, saying you can't chop me up, fella, I am a sports boy and I have heaps of muscles, but the witch told him that the muscles make him even more tastier, and she wants to have Raymond to really taste nice so he can really get away from any way of being a sports boy, and as Raymond was cooking, he is yelling and yelling, saying, let me go, I am a big tough sports boy, I like playing footy, I don't wanna die, let me go and leave me alone old witch, but the witch said heh heh heh hen heh, no buddy you ain't a cool kid, all the other kids are tough, but you Raymond, no you are all mine, and Raymond was screaming, please save me from the wicked witch, And he also said why me, why me, why me, and the witch said, no mate your not like us,mate
You are still a little shy boy, and I am just doing what The Lord wants, you see Raymond, The Lord wants me to cook boys up when they turn 11, because then they are even more tender because they are mature enough so I get a good tasty bit of human flesh, and eventually Raymond died and the witch continued on her journey to rid the world of kids right till they turn 11 years of age.
The next kid was 11 years old Naomi Roberts who was a really family and friends type of girl and she very rarely strayed away., but one day she and her friends played outside the witch's house, because it was a pretty good place for kids to play in but unknown to Naomi that her friends were playing a trick on her and had planned to get her stuck in the bushes near the mail box and when the witch went outside to see what the noise was, she saw Naomi stuck in the garden trying to break free, and the witch used her powers to make her look like a nice old lady and brought Naomu inside to keep her safe, then the witch showed her true colours and told Naomi that she will never escape from her, and she also said she is hosting a dinner party and Naomi is the main course and from the moment she said that Naomi started to get scared and screamed and screamed for the witch to let her go, she also said it's not she that the witch wants, it's her friends, who stabbed Naomi in the back and the witch said, no they are young women and I don't want to **** young women, it's you, who I want, little girlie, and you are never going to ever escape from me, and Naomi said no Mrs Witch, you will be with me till my dinner party and then Naomi you will be no more. You will leave this world never to return little baby little girlie, Naomi is very scared and starts to feel like her perfect world is about to end because the wicked witch has her right where she wants her.
Naomi was trying to scream so loud that the witch's neighbour would hear and come and rescue her but nobody can hear her and Naomi starts to get very scared, so scared in fact, she tried to fight her way out of the cage but it is closed so tightly and Naomi is starting to get scared because still the FBI have no leads on the whereabouts of these kids, and despite being bullied by the parents of the missing kids, they feel tempted to give up the search till they get a lead, simply because there is no point in trying to find a needle in a haystack, but the parents wanted them to find their missing kids, even if it means they have to become vigilantes and defy the law and find those kids themselves, meanwhile the next day in the witch's house, the witch was starting to cook Naomi up so they can have their dinner party, a nice tasty little girl for dinner, heh heh heh heh heh heh heh, and when Naomi was slowly dying the witch kept of stirring and stirring to make Naomi really suffer, you see for the witch, well, she took pride in torturing kids as soon as they turn 11, and then Naomi died and the witch was happy and said that is another 11 year old under our belt, heh heh heh heh heh
The next kid was 11 year old Pat Roberts, who was a cool boy who loved to tease so much that he would take people away from their families to do so, unless they do as they do and one day he gave up playing football with the tough boys to tease a boy who he hates very much, and stop him from being a family person and also brainwashing everyone into thinking a family person is supposed to do as they are told, and one day the wicked witch who really wanted to keep taking these boys decided to go after Pat Roberts and cook him up and then she will get rid if this boy from the would once and for all, but getting rid of Pat Roberts will be a hard thing because this boy is so hard to catch, because he is ever so smart, and it will be a battle to get rid of this Pat Roberts because of that, Pat Roberts would say, no mr witch, you can't catch me fella, you can never catch me for as long as you'll alive, and you are going to die soon if you keep catching kids anyway, the next day on the witch's quest to catch Pat Roberts, she decided to use her ***** magic to try and lure him to his house but Pat Roberts is too smart for that as he kept himself inside saying no witch is going to get me, if you are going to catch me, you'll have to get past my father and I can guarantee old witch that my dad has the power to put you right in her place, you are mrs witch, you haven't got the power to overcome me, so come on wicked witch, just you try and catch me, but you won't get me, I can make you suffer of you try and get me ya wicked witch and the wicked witch straight away thought maybe one day I will catch Pat Roberts, I will try and take some other 11 year olds and the next 11 year old was Gordon Gullet and he was a boy who was a bit of a black sheep who went on a mission to **** the wicked witch but when the wicked witch captured him, but she had no plan to cook him  up, actually she planned to try to get him on side to catch Pat Roberts and when Gordon said, I won't tell you where Gordon is, I will never tell you where he is. Just let me go ya old cranky wicked witch, and because Gordon was talking too much the witch put her hand on her mouth, she eventually had to put sticky tape on it and then the wicked witch said, if you don't tell me where Pat Roberts is, you'll suffer, and I mean you'll suffer, mate, suffer forever mate.
The next day when the witch got up and saw Gordon trying up escape and the witch said, mate, you'll never escape from me, no you'll never escape, until you tell me where is your friend Pat Roberts, and Gordon said no, I won't ever tell ya, you will have to **** me first, Pat Roberts is a friend, no, I will never ever tell you, ya wicked witch, and the witch said no I ain't going to **** you, I just want you to tell you where Pat Roberts is, why won't you tell me, I will be your friend forever, and Gordon said, no, I won't tell you anything you old fucken witch, and you can do to me anything you want, I will never ever tell you, you mean nasty old witch.
The witch then said, ok, you will stay there in that cage till you tell me and when you are ready to tell me where your friend Pat Roberts is, I will make you suffer, even if I don't **** you, you will be suffering without anything to make you keep your mojo in tact, you will suffer Gordon, I will make sure of that, so unless you tell me where your mate is, you will suffer, and be kept there until you tell us of the whereabouts of Pat Roberts because I want you and him to cooked together and eaten, and if you don't tell me, I will keep you here for the rest of your life, so Gordon are you going to tell me and Gordon yells out with a loud voice, which went,  NEVER, my mate Pat Roberts wants to tease people who are trying to work to hard and push themselves into breaking point, and I want you to let me go, because I am tougher that you, cause you are a mean nasty witch, who should burn on the planet Mercury and the witch said no, mate, say hell, you see you are still a little Christian boy, and while you have your beliefs that you will die one day, you are like us, but if I find out that you are keeping the whereabouts of Pat Roberts from me, I will hold you at knife point and force you to tell you and Gordon said no, I will never tell you, never, I will prefer to do die myself, rather than tell you where he is mate.
The next day the witch went out to try and catch Pat Roberts and then Pat's dad said to Pat Roberts that he will protect him and when they heard a strange noise outside their house and it was the wicked witch, who was lurking about outside and when Pat Roberts went outside, the witch put a hand over his mouth and said I have you mate and then the FBI came and despite a desperate fight to get herself free, the FBI took off to Salem to get burnt at the stake and Pat Roberts and Gordon was safely going home with his family and the witch was reincarnated as a pig and then a tiger and after that a deer, she suffered, especially when she will be constantly bullied by hunters.
Gordi Turnbull Mar 2012
Fair Maiden is beautiful and blonde,
And of knights she is quite fond.
A Round Table groupie is she,
Seeking heroes where'er they may be.

Tall and striking with eyes so blue,
Dressed in a gown of a golden hue,
She dashes around the countryside
Hunting knights far and wide.

Searching the world for good deeds to do,
For a maiden to save or a dragon or two,
Those chivalrous men, so noble and true,
Are tired of that girl with her eyes so blue.

Fearless and daring are those armour clad men,
But they're tired of seeing her again and again.
They want her to leave, they want her to go,
That maiden who chases them to and fro.

To get her to quit, to stop her fixation,
To rid the country and the rest of the nation
Of that small, wee girl with her eyes so blue,
Those knights have a plan to bid her adieu.

They've taken a vote and decided, to a man,
To get rid of that blonde Round Table fan.
They'll tie her to a stake and offer her up
As a sacrifice to the dragon, Hiccup.

"He can have her," they rise up and shout,
"For breakfast he can munch on that gadabout.
That fire breathing dragon loves beautiful girls,
Especially ones with blue eyes and curls."

What murderous thoughts for such valiant men
To send that poor girl to the dragon's den.
But the knights have reached the end of their rope.
With Fair Maiden they can no longer cope.

They seized that maiden, that damsel so fair,
And rode with all speed to the dragon's lair.
Those tall, strong men with blades of steel
Were determined to give that monster a meal.

They tied the young woman to a sturdy stake
As she cried, "Don't go, you've made a mistake.
Come back," said she, "Don't leave me alone,"
And she uttered a cry and issued a moan.

As he heard the dragon give a terrible roar
One brave knight could stand it no more.
He raced to the lair on the back of his steed
To try and save her ere the beast could feed.

That fire breathing dragon, the one called Hiccup,
Could smell his dinner. It was time to sup.
Extending his head out of that cave,
He looked 'round and saw one lone knave.

The beast started huffing and puffing away
And blowing smoke to scare his prey.
The knight took one look and decided to run
Before he was cooked like an overdone bun.

"Sorry, Milady," he cried as he ran from the scene,
"I'm not very brave and that dragon is mean.
Chivalry is all well and good," said he,
"But not if it means the end of me!"

"Tut tut," said the maid, "Tut tut," said she,
"Chicken a la king, that's what I'll call thee!
You deserve to become that dragon's dinner,
Shame on you, you're no winner!"

Those knights of the realm, those stout hearted men,
Abandoned that lass to the beast in his den.
The lady screamed loud as the dragon drew near
And that brave knight so bold fled in fear.

"Even that lizard is better than you.
He's not a coward, I'll give him his due,"
Said that fair maid with her eyes so blue
All dressed in a gown of a golden hue.

Fair Maiden awaited with bated breath
For Hiccup to come and put her to death.
Tied to that pole she had no recourse
But to be that monster's main course.

A surprise was in store for our fair maid.
She had no reason to be so afraid,
That scaly beast was as gentle as a kitten
Because with the lass he was truly smitten.

That fire breathing dragon was very irate
To see Fair Maiden in such a cruel state.
He exploded with rage at her sorry plight
When he saw that rogue riding out of sight.

Throwing back his head and with a terrible cry,
He blew and he blew and let those flames fly.
That knight of the realm, riding so fast,
Was scorched by the awful power of that blast.

"There," said Hiccup, "take that you knave.
Shame on you.  What a way to behave.
You shouldn't abuse beautiful girls,
Especially ones with blue eyes and curls."

Turning around on the tip of his tail
And holding his breath so he wouldn't exhale,
He freed that poor maid who was tied so tight,
The one they had left for his supper that night.

"Thank you, kind sir," said the beautiful miss
As she stood on tiptoes and gave him a kiss.
"You're welcome," said Hiccup standing up tall,
And he blushed a bright red, "It was nothing at all."

"I think you're sweet, I think you're swell,"
The dragon declared to the modest young belle.
"To keep you safe from those faint hearted men,
I would like you to stay in my humble den."

"You're very gallant, Mr. Dragon," said she.
"You're chivalrous and kind and I like thee.
To give you a hand and your kindness repay
I will live in your cave for a year and a day."

"During that time I'll keep your den clean
And make it sparkle with a glistening sheen,"
Said the maid as she looked with trepidation
At the messy state of the dragon's habitation.

"Looking after me will be quite a job,"
Said the beast.  "I've become such a slob.
But I'll try to reform my slovenly ways,
The ones I learned in my bachelor days."

So the two lived together in the monster's den,
Just the fire breathing dragon and the fair maiden.
She kept his home tidy during the whole of her stay,
But soon came the end of that year and a day.

A Round Table groupie was the maiden so fair,
But now she fancies that dragon in his lair.
Instead of harassing those knights of the Round,
She's decided that dragons are nice to be around.

That monster doesn't need a groupie or a fan.
He's decided he liked his life as a bachelor 'man'.
He thought she's be sweet, but instead she's a pain,
And his love which was strong, is now on the wane.

He's tired of her nagging and her bossy attitude,
And she calls him silly names like sweetie and dude.
He's anxious to be rid of that girl with eyes so blue,
The one that's dressed in a gown of a golden hue.

The poor dragon's desperate to have her depart
Because now he's sure she's a cheap little ****.
He wants her to leave, he wants her to go,
That maiden who chases him to and fro.

Now he knows why those knights, to a man,
Took a vote to get rid of that Round Table fan.
That maiden who followed them here and there
Was more than those armour clad men could bear.

He thinks and he thinks and comes up with a plan,
Something he should have done when all this began.
"I'll just have to dine," said the dragon, Hiccup,
"To get rid of that vexing maid, I'll eat her up!"

The moral of this story is quite plain to see.
When you spot a knight, don't stop, just flee,
And be careful of dragons who offer you a deal
Because sooner or later you'll end up a meal!
Logan Robertson Aug 2018
Twas the night before
Hawaii islands on the radar
A monster opened the door
It shoulders a storied scar

Of the last time, it hit its mark
Rearing its ugly head, ahead of pace
As the eye looms '82 in the dark
Wrinkles on this  eve sit sadly in boldface

Kauai sat once in unnatured infamy
It sunny shores hit once by the beast
Clouds of villains played in that symphony
With the next generation looking to feast

As the residence brace for the worst
Of the monster stepping on its paradise
With category four winds and cloudburst
The hope is that the monster plays nice

With the Aloha Spirit preserved with leis
In place of bold headlines of strung wrath
Hawaii can pray rays of light in the coming days
Willing the monster to take a different path

Logan Robertson

8/23/2018
This honor catches me by surprise, so much that I can't wait for the next dawn, sunrise, and all the days that follow. Thank you. Thank you for all the well wishes and support. It means looking at the sunrise, a new dawn, with newfound exuberance and eagerness.

To my friends and relatives on Oahu, I pray. Update-monster played nice. Outstanding was its piano play. Storm went from a 5,4,3,2,1 ... miss. With the Aloha Spirit preserved with leis
In place of bold headlines of strung wrath. Thank you.
The evil witch is after the 11 year olds


Once upon a time there was an evil witch,, and this witch was like no witch i n any fairy tales, no this witch was pure evil, you see she took pride in grabbing 11 year old kids avid locking themselves in the basement to eventually chop them up and put them in an oven, to give herself a feast, the first kid was young a 11 year old boy named Tommy Kinarfis and he was on his way to school and he was just minding his own business when this black car pulled up and before Tommy could run away, the witch grabbed him and shoved him in the boot of his car and being as scared as he was, Tommy really didn't want to die, and tried to bang the the walls of the boot to show that he has been kidnapped but nobody heard him and before he knew it, he found himself locked up in a cage being fattened up, so the witch can eat him up, and after about 12 hours Tommy was dead, and the witch was happy, the next kid was 11 year old daughter of president Frederick Leonardo, you see this president was so conservative and everyone was too scared to do anything bad to his kid, but one day when the presidents daughter, who was named Terri was waiting for her body guard after school when this car turned up and this man got out pretending to be her bodyguard one day, and after 2 hours of driving Terri realised that she has been kidnapped, and then the bodyguard took off his nice disguise and when Terri noticed it was the witch, she tried to escape but soon enough she was locked in her cage being fattened up, so the witch can enjoy her feast, and the presidents daughter Terri was dead and the president had a little burial for her.
The next kid was 11 year old Peter Vernin and he was a kid who loves sport, especially the AFL, because that was a boys sport, and Peter had it in his mind that because he played AFL, he will he invincible but as he was going to footy training, he had to walk because his parents had to work, a ******* car pulled up and this man pulled up and asked Peter if he would like a ride, and Peter, being only 11 said yes thinking he was being treated like a kid that everyone liked, but then he found himself chained up in the witch's basement ready to be slaughtered at any given time, you see because Tommy had muscles, that was enough to make him be nice and tender to eat and when the witch finds out that he had suffered enough, then the witch will cook Tommy up and before he knew it, Tommy was just a corpse and the witch was feeling very happy and this made her feel she can slowly get rid of each child as soon as they reached 11, and she was feeling like nobody will ever stop her from accomplishing this feat.
The FBI are having a hard time trying to find there missing kids because they just vanished without a trace, but they had every officer and forensic investigator in to try to catch the witch and make her pay, mind you the FBI were unaware that the persons responsible is a wicked evil witch.
The next kid was Raymond Terrestal, an 11 year old who was in a broken home and every day he went to the local shops to buy milk for the family but also he would occasionally steal a chocolate bar and also a few flavoured milks, and the witch said to herself that this boy needs to chopped him up and watch his shiny white legs slowly turn to very tasty meat. Even though Raymond put up a fight, saying you can't chop me up, fella, I am a sports boy and I have heaps of muscles, but the witch told him that the muscles make him even more tastier, and she wants to have Raymond to really taste nice so he can really get away from any way of being a sports boy, and as Raymond was cooking, he is yelling and yelling, saying, let me go, I am a big tough sports boy, I like playing footy, I don't wanna die, let me go and leave me alone old witch, but the witch said heh heh heh hen heh, no buddy you ain't a cool kid, all the other kids are tough, but you Raymond, no you are all mine, and Raymond was screaming, please save me from the wicked witch, And he also said why me, why me, why me, and the witch said, no mate your not like us,mate
You are still a little shy boy, and I am just doing what The Lord wants, you see Raymond, The Lord wants me to cook boys up when they turn 11, because then they are even more tender because they are mature enough so I get a good tasty bit of human flesh, and eventually Raymond died and the witch continued on her journey to rid the world of kids right till they turn 11 years of age.
The next kid was 11 years old Naomi Roberts who was a really family and friends type of girl and she very rarely strayed away., but one day she and her friends played outside the witch's house, because it was a pretty good place for kids to play in but unknown to Naomi that her friends were playing a trick on her and had planned to get her stuck in the bushes near the mail box and when the witch went outside to see what the noise was, she saw Naomi stuck in the garden trying to break free, and the witch used her powers to make her look like a nice old lady and brought Naomu inside to keep her safe, then the witch showed her true colours and told Naomi that she will never escape from her, and she also said she is hosting a dinner party and Naomi is the main course and from the moment she said that Naomi started to get scared and screamed and screamed for the witch to let her go, she also said it's not she that the witch wants, it's her friends, who stabbed Naomi in the back and the witch said, no they are young women and I don't want to **** young women, it's you, who I want, little girlie, and you are never going to ever escape from me, and Naomi said no Mrs Witch, you will be with me till my dinner party and then Naomi you will be no more. You will leave this world never to return little baby little girlie, Naomi is very scared and starts to feel like her perfect world is about to end because the wicked witch has her right where she wants her.
Naomi was trying to scream so loud that the witch's neighbour would hear and come and rescue her but nobody can hear her and Naomi starts to get very scared, so scared in fact, she tried to fight her way out of the cage but it is closed so tightly and Naomi is starting to get scared because still the FBI have no leads on the whereabouts of these kids, and despite being bullied by the parents of the missing kids, they feel tempted to give up the search till they get a lead, simply because there is no point in trying to find a needle in a haystack, but the parents wanted them to find their missing kids, even if it means they have to become vigilantes and defy the law and find those kids themselves, meanwhile the next day in the witch's house, the witch was starting to cook Naomi up so they can have their dinner party, a nice tasty little girl for dinner, heh heh heh heh heh heh heh, and when Naomi was slowly dying the witch kept of stirring and stirring to make Naomi really suffer, you see for the witch, well, she took pride in torturing kids as soon as they turn 11, and then Naomi died and the witch was happy and said that is another 11 year old under our belt, heh heh heh heh heh
The next kid was 11 year old Pat Roberts, who was a cool boy who loved to tease so much that he would take people away from their families to do so, unless they do as they do and one day he gave up playing football with the tough boys to tease a boy who he hates very much, and stop him from being a family person and also brainwashing everyone into thinking a family person is supposed to do as they are told, and one day the wicked witch who really wanted to keep taking these boys decided to go after Pat Roberts and cook him up and then she will get rid if this boy from the would once and for all, but getting rid of Pat Roberts will be a hard thing because this boy is so hard to catch, because he is ever so smart, and it will be a battle to get rid of this Pat Roberts because of that, Pat Roberts would say, no mr witch, you can't catch me fella, you can never catch me for as long as you'll alive, and you are going to die soon if you keep catching kids anyway, the next day on the witch's quest to catch Pat Roberts, she decided to use her ***** magic to try and lure him to his house but Pat Roberts is too smart for that as he kept himself inside saying no witch is going to get me, if you are going to catch me, you'll have to get past my father and I can guarantee old witch that my dad has the power to put you right in her place, you are mrs witch, you haven't got the power to overcome me, so come on wicked witch, just you try and catch me, but you won't get me, I can make you suffer of you try and get me ya wicked witch and the wicked witch straight away thought maybe one day I will catch Pat Roberts, I will try and take some other 11 year olds and the next 11 year old was Gordon Gullet and he was a boy who was a bit of a black sheep who went on a mission to **** the wicked witch but when the wicked witch captured him, but she had no plan to cook him  up, actually she planned to try to get him on side to catch Pat Roberts and when Gordon said, I won't tell you where Gordon is, I will never tell you where he is. Just let me go ya old cranky wicked witch, and because Gordon was talking too much the witch put her hand on her mouth, she eventually had to put sticky tape on it and then the wicked witch said, if you don't tell me where Pat Roberts is, you'll suffer, and I mean you'll suffer, mate, suffer forever mate.
The next day when the witch got up and saw Gordon trying up escape and the witch said, mate, you'll never escape from me, no you'll never escape, until you tell me where is your friend Pat Roberts, and Gordon said no, I won't ever tell ya, you will have to **** me first, Pat Roberts is a friend, no, I will never ever tell you, ya wicked witch, and the witch said no I ain't going to **** you, I just want you to tell you where Pat Roberts is, why won't you tell me, I will be your friend forever, and Gordon said, no, I won't tell you anything you old fucken witch, and you can do to me anything you want, I will never ever tell you, you mean nasty old witch.
The witch then said, ok, you will stay there in that cage till you tell me and when you are ready to tell me where your friend Pat Roberts is, I will make you suffer, even if I don't **** you, you will be suffering without anything to make you keep your mojo in tact, you will suffer Gordon, I will make sure of that, so unless you tell me where your mate is, you will suffer, and be kept there until you tell us of the whereabouts of Pat Roberts because I want you and him to cooked together and eaten, and if you don't tell me, I will keep you here for the rest of your life, so Gordon are you going to tell me and Gordon yells out with a loud voice, which went,  NEVER, my mate Pat Roberts wants to tease people who are trying to work to hard and push themselves into breaking point, and I want you to let me go, because I am tougher that you, cause you are a mean nasty witch, who should burn on the planet Mercury and the witch said no, mate, say hell, you see you are still a little Christian boy, and while you have your beliefs that you will die one day, you are like us, but if I find out that you are keeping the whereabouts of Pat Roberts from me, I will hold you at knife point and force you to tell you and Gordon said no, I will never tell you, never, I will prefer to do die myself, rather than tell you where he is mate.
The next day the witch went out to try and catch Pat Roberts and then Pat's dad said to Pat Roberts that he will protect him and when they heard a strange noise outside their house and it was the wicked witch, who was lurking about outside and when Pat Roberts went outside, the witch put a hand over his mouth and said I have you mate and then the FBI came and despite a desperate fight to get herself free, the FBI took off to Salem to get burnt at the stake and Pat Roberts and Gordon was safely going home with his family and the witch was reincarnated as a pig and then a tiger and after that a deer, she suffered, especially when she will be constantly bullied by hunters.
Natalie Neo Nov 2014
Rid
You said to get rid of my feelings.
I tried. But
how do I get rid of something
Invisible?

It's hiding from me, or rather
I am hiding it
from me, because it feels
Invincible.

I will
I will
I will
Try to get rid of it.

But for now,
I will just pretend.
whateva Dec 2015
anxiety is like my shadow: it's hard to get rid of, especially when it's bright outside.
but you see, just like the brightness, it always comes back.
always lingering. always ******* lingering.
lingering when i talk to people on the phone, lingering when i'm at the store, at a restaurant, at school, at, at home, in my own head.
i can't get rid of the shaking.
i can't get rid of the sobbing late at night because i think something horrendous is going to happen.
i can't get rid of the urge to get out of my own head.
i can't get rid of the constant feeling of worthlessness that has made a permanent home in my brain, in my bones, in my skin.
it's everywhere.
everywhere everywhere everywhere everywhere.
maybe i can get rid of it. maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe.
pills, they say.
therapy, they say.
mental hospital.
pills. pills. pills. pills. pills. pills. pills. therapy. therapy. therapy. therapy. mental hospital mental hospital.
just cope.
just breathe. just breathe. just breathe.
just calm down. just calm the **** down. calm down. calm down. calm the hell down.
please leave. please leave. please leave. please leave. please leave.
please.
So, you ask,
How would I explain it?
Well certainly, as something
Not fun.
It's like...
It's like carrying a leach around with you.
When I walk, I can feel it,
It is a dead weight on my chest,
******* the life from my arms,
Making my hands and face slender,
What should be full and strong
It's like...
It's like when you're sick to your stomach.
That feeling of tar in your gut,
But instead of being isolated, it's everywhere
Throughout your body,
It makes you feel sick everywhere.

This is how I explain dysphoria:
Have you ever looked in the mirror,
And wanted to just rip all your hair out?
When a bad hair day gets out of hand,
Have you ever felt the need to just start over?
Even when you tear out a clump of hair
And your scalp looks raw and a little ******,
But you keep going anyway,
Just to get rid of that stupid haircut?
...no?
Alright, how about,
When you're watching the outtakes of a 3-D animated movie,
the scenes that have "gone wrong",
When the girl's eyes are far too big and pop out of her face,
Her arms are disconnected from her chest,
Her head moves but her teeth do not,
And you just want to scream "DELETE IT!"
Because it's obvious that someone has ******* up here,
And this nightmare, this fever dream
Is not what they intended their creation to look like.

Alright, well have you ever
Done a pencil drawing?
And you've put a lot of time and effort into it,
You're so proud,
This is one of your best works,
But something about it is just off?
You might not be able to tell what it is,
This will bother you for a long time,
You will spend hours on end thinking
About what exactly separates this piece of art from everything else,
What it is that keeps it from perfection...
Until suddenly one day, you realise,
You notice exactly what's wrong,
You grab an eraser to fix your mistake
But then, oh no
Your eraser was *****,
And when you tried to rub out that single wonky line,
You leave a huge black smudge across your paper
And now there's no way to get rid of it
All your work on this piece, ruined,
And you're really upset,
You were so proud of this drawing,
It was so close to being perfect,
It could have been so beautiful,
It was almost perfect, but now...

But now, it's wrong.
It just looks wrong
It just IS wrong,
It wasn't meant to look like this
I am trying to explain as simply as I can
That this body is wrong,
That it wasn't meant to look like this,
That it wasn't meant to BE like this!
Don't you understand?
This is how I explain dysphoria:
Have you ever looked in the mirror
And wanted to just rip your chest out?
Do you ever see your body, your parts seeming broken,
Your chest, legs, hear the sound of your voice
And just scream "DELETE IT!"
Because it's obvious that someone
Has ******* up
Someone was using a ***** eraser
When they created me, erased me,
And they've left smudges, mistakes, that I
Cannot get rid of,
And however hard I try to pretend
That I don't care,
I do,
And I still feel the need to erase them.
These leaches that I carry around,
They drain me,
And I was so proud of myself
I,
This body...

It could have been so beautiful
An attempt at a spoken-word poem. I wrote this a while ago but I came back and edited it, and figured I’d finally publish it. It's very different to the style I usually write in, I think at some point while writing it it just turned into venting. I figure if this speaks to one person, I've done well.
Lunar Mar 2014
sometimes you're like homework
so confusing
and i just stare at you
absent-mindedly
hating you
yet you're important to me
it's so hard to finish you
and i lose inspiration every now and then
but when i get high as my grades
i come running back to you

i can't wait to graduate from school
get rid of this infatuation
we would be adults by then
and hopefully this mess will be sorted out
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.
Teka Lenahan Aug 2015
Rid my mind of all the time and memories shared,
Rid my soul of the vestiges of your being,
Rid me of the beautiful fingerprint you left on my heart...
*
Robin Carretti Aug 2018
Breaking up is hard to do
       let's rise take it easy
       Waking- up don't be lazy
My morning glory spiritual stretch
Soothe me like a tranquilizer
His words are my pacifier
The shooting star sprinkling shot

Stars work dot to dot
They connect get rid of all
broken heart subjects
Soothe me star even if there
is nothing to do

We need to do something
Earth wind and fire just
knock-me-out
Don't lock me and throw away
the star key is it going to Key- West
 Daylight no broken light in my
        Star stuff- sight
Light to the dark twilight

Those zillions of stars my
eyes closed I suppose
Take another look lovely rose
The same spot share the good stuff
I saw the soothing words
Star pointed toes who knows
Even
or to out-win the odds?

Not the starry night
Going through something
It's been a hard day night
One star light years to fight
Breathe in and soothe me
It was up to me not to blind me
My cool spirit meditation table

The New York soothing menu
Rendezvous all talk but delicious
She is tough walking
The hardest avenue
The *Positive me
even if its the
broken up me that's the only me
No one can take his place to soothe me

French fondue it suits her another clue
Red White moody blues the statue
Do you all agree? Another feel good
shopping spree are the stars true
I cannot even say soothing-word
Your home is your oasis love stuff
                Venus

Sooth me star stuff no one to minus

The hard stuff is to better yourself
The feel-good smooth flowing
Even if you missed your star
You're the no star he's is always late
Soothe me star may be my fate
Cafe warm running lattte late

The forever flight hit so hard
  Got_  Thrown brick harder
They say remorse is the
poison of life
And divorce could be the best
change in someone's life

OH! Lord The new? Hard cushion/night

"The winding rough road see the light"
*It may be tough but make it good deed
Athletic Girly curve walk
The pep talk she had the tough birth
The Preppy he's training the puppy stuff
You don't have to be a star it doesn't matter

Who you are
Never get in the middle of a dare
Show the whole world you care
Puff the magic dragon
Harder side of logic is the mission
Been Moonstruck light flick
Both mouths a volcano

Hard star stuff ham and swiss hero
Exploring new stuff
Please take it from pointed star
beware?
She walks like she is hot stuff
Those color forms of love stuff
Things and stuff
Stuff and things

Walking through the end of
the exit
It a hard position of the angle
Tough to be single even more
to deal with lotsa stuff to be married
Being the first online
I am getting a handle on my stuff

Indie Pop like Ice Queen Pop
Going mainstream
She's Brook long stream
He's under the influence
She doesn't nearly have
the up to par patience
Gifts of curiosity

Adjusting to reality
Hard life too much focus
On our happiness
He's coming home
breadwinner of money
Just one loaf of
bread she blossoms
Disavows humanity

The harder the words
How it challenges our sanity

Dark crayon hard stuff
Heavy_Rough__Tough
Wild Hawaii Say Hi to all our
blissfully but soothing hearts
She is like a hard sandpaper
He is so cool reading his
worldly carefree life

He is inside the newspaper
Big Ben London guard
How mindset like Hallmark card
Too much Holiday Turkey going
****** tunes when there is I tunes
So powerless word hard ingenious
Be thankful for what you have
But feeling too much
of the dry spell that rain fall
Going to that heavenly gifted secret
Like an Elephant, you are

the tough one the smart one magnet
No-one is perfect to be the
brilliant one
The star way of the fantasy
Nothing fancy doesn't make you jump
Presidential Trump Roger Rabbit
My lucky tower rabbit foot
Between a hard rock meets her sexuality

Having bad luck long shot solitude
Hallucinations all dark things hurt
My imagination world is sometimes
belly overstuffed Santa Claus
I love the hard candy bitter- sweet metal
Who gets the Metals and honors
The Terminators better leaders

PJ-Clarkes Princeton NJ
Superman Clark Kents
We need more therapy events
Princeton pancakes no remakes
And tons of maple syrup
***** Tonk women at the rodeo
Her horse lucky hoof sooth me

Stars real stuff
New York City roof ruff ruff
A hard rock and critters
And then you wake
back to the hard stuff

Soothe your pain the goodness of the rain
Hard life or its way too easy what is truly better I know my moods change in this hell of a gun weather. Let's keep our spirit high and heal our minds to get better don't you want a better life or something in the middle of the road make sure you don't kiss deeply inside of a hard binding book of the fairy tale. You are worth so much more than kissing a toad but we are talking about the hard stuff please go easy on me
E Jan 2014
But you see,
if I tried to get rid of
everything that reminded me of you
I would be left with nothing
You have wound your way
into every aspect of my life
I hear you in every song
I see you in every sunset
because I know you're watching the same one
And I wonder if you think of me
when you see brown eyes
or when you listen
to the songs we both love
And I wonder if it would be as hard
for you to get rid of me
as it would
for me to get rid of you
Remember when you told me to watch Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind? Well I did, and I constantly think about what it would take to forget you.


Too much.

I could never forget you.
YOU SEE I ONCE PREFERRED TO BE A HOOLIGAN, TO AVOID GETTING TEASED



YOU SEE YOU SHOULDN’T DO THE CRIME, IF YOU CAN’T DO THE TIME

YOU SEE I SHOULDN’T TREAT ME LIKE A KIDNAPPER OR HOOLIGAN IF YOUR NOT PREPARED TP MUCK FAMILY FOR ME

YOU SEE PLAYING COOL FOR FAMILY PEOPLE WITH A FEAR OF THEM TEASING YA

AND MY ONLY SOLACE OS TO BE A HOOLIGAN, SAYING, YOU ARE A LITTLE FAMILY KID

TEASING THE COOL HOOLIGAN IN ME, YOU DO WOOSEY FAMILY GAMES

WHILE I PLAY WITH THE BIG DUDES BY THROWING BEER BOTTLES ON SCHOOL ROOVES’

YOU SEE I LIKED THE SOLACE OF A HOOLIGAN, BECAUSE I WAS BEING PROTECTED

FROM BEING TREATED LIKE A WOOSEY FAMILY KID, BEING A WOOSEY IN EVERY STRETCH OF THE IMAGINATION

I WANTED REALLY TO BE A BIG FAMILY PERSON, BUT THEY CAN’T UNDERSTAND

THAT I DON’T WANT TO BE A LOSER, MAN, I WANT TO BE A HOOLIGAN, CAUSE, I THREW BEER CANS ON ROOVES, MAN I’M COOL

AND CRACKING BOTTLES OF BEER ON THE ROADS, MAN I’M COOL

I WAS A BIT OF A TEASER IN THE CLUB, MAN I’M COOL

YOU SEE I GO OUT TO BIG NYE RAVES, WHILE MY YOUNG MATE GROWS UP TO QUICKLY, MAN I’M COOL

I PLAY COOL FOR FAMILY KIDS PLAYING WITH THEIR FAMILIES, MAN I’M COOL

I STOLE A HAT FROM GRACE BROTHERS, MAN I’M COOL

I TEASED MY DADDY, ONLY BECAUSE NO MATTER HOW MUCH MY DAD CARED FOR ME

I NEVER UNDERSTOOD HIS PARENTING SKILLS, HE WAS A GOOD DAD, I NEVER UNDERSTOOD IT, SO I SAID TO MYSELF

YOU NEVER TEASE A SON OR DAUGHTER, UNLESS YOUR SON OR DAUGHTER CAN HANDLE IT

YOU SEE DAD WAS TEASING ME, BUT I THOUGHT SAYING I WAS A HOOLIGAN GETS RID OF THIS AWFUL TEASING

I KNOW DAD, WASN’T REALLY TEASING ME, HE THOUGHT I WAS LOVING BAD THINGS

BUT TELLING ME TO EAT NICELY OR CALLING ME A FOOL, DOESN’T DO ANYTHING

OR LAIGHING AT ME DOESN’T WORK EITHER, HE IS SUPPOSED TO BE A DAD,

BUT I LOOKED AT HIM AT BEING A AWFUL TEASER, FINE, I MIGHT NOT LOOK STRONG, BUT THIS CAN HYPE PEOPLE UP

I LIKED HOW DAD, STOPPED THESE STUPID SITUATIONS, I HATED ME AND DADS LITTLE FIGHTS

I WAS TRYING TO DEFEND MYSELF, I DON’T WANT TP LIVE IN CANBERRA IF I HAD ENOUGH MONEY

TO LIVE ANYWHERE ELSE, I DON’T WANT TO GO TO THE DENTIST, I HATE BEING TREATED LIKE A FIST FIGHTER

I AM A LIFE FIGHTER, I AM PREPARED TO RIDE AROUND ON A SCOOTER, RATHER THAN DIE, SHY

NOTHING CAN **** BRIAN ALLAN, I WILL FIGHT FOR LIFE, CAUSE I LOVE LIFE, I LIVE LIFE LIKE IT’S ONE BIG ADVENTURE

I KNOW DAD CARED, BUT, REALLY, WHETHER I CAN FIGHT OR NOT LAUGHING AT SOMEONE WHO IS POOR IS NOT CALLED FOR BAZ BOY

I DON’T LIKE FIGHTING USING FISTS, THAT IS FOR LOSERS OR PEOPLE WHO ARE HAVING PROBLENS

I WANTED TO CHANGE DAD, CAUSE HE WAS MY DAD, I UNDERSTAND MY BROTHER AND MATES

BUT I CAN’T UNDERSTAND DAD, HE WASN’T REALLY SYMPETHEDIC TO MY NEEDS AS A DRUNK

AND I HATED THE VOICE, MY BROTHER WAS LIKE DAD, AND I AM TOO WOOSEY TO BE LIKE DAD

UNLESS YOU TELL WHAT YOUR PROBLEM WAS, WELL I’LL TELL YA

MY PROBLEM WAS, I HATED HOW DAD, WANTED TO TEASE WITH THE ADULTS

YOU SEE, I PUNCHED HIM, SOMETIMES SO VERY HARD, I HATED BEING TREATED LIKE An IDIOT

OR A LITTLE WOOSEY FOR LIFE, DAD TRIED TO HELP ME, BUT BECAUSE MY BROTHER REALLY HELPED DAD GET HIS WAY A BIT

I NEVER WAS GOOD ENOUGH TO DAD, AS LONG AS I WORKED AND NEVER COMPLAINED, DAD IS HAPPY

BUT AS SOON AS I STARTED TO BREAK THE FAMILY CODE, DAD SAID YOUR STILL A LITTLE SHY BOY, BRIAN

YOU SEE I HATED BEING TREATED LIKE A LITTLE SHY BOY OR A LITTLE WOOSEY

DAD SEEMS TO LOVE TEASING PEOPLE WHO HAS PROBLEMS WITH  VOICES

AND I WAS TRYING TO TALK TO DAD AND MUM, AND THEY SPENT THE WHOLE TIME PLAYING WITH THEIR FUCKEN MOBILE PHONES

AND I SAID CAN YOU PLEASE STOP, HOW WOULD DAD FEEL IF I DID THAT TO HIM, I DID DAD HATED IT, LIKE WHEN I ACCEPTED BEING A SLOB

YEAH I AM NOW FEELING HAPPY ABOUT BEING A SLOB, AFTER DAD, DECIDED TO PLAY WITH HIS MOBILE PHONE

LIKE THE RICH ARROGANT DUDE HE WAS, HE NEVER SEEMED TO UNDERSTAND ME. I DIDN’T AS FOR FUCKEN SCHITZOPHRENIA, ****

AND DAD IMPLIED HE ONLY PREFERS THE PEOPLE WHO ARE COOL, IF THE PERSON, HAD MOJO ISSUES, DAD LOOKED DOWN ON THEM

MAKING THEM FEEL LIKE A LOSER, I TOLD DAD, YOUR A LOSER, YOU ONLY LIKE CHRIS, YOU TOLERATE ME CAUSE I AM YOUR SON

I MIGHT HAVE FUCKEN SCHITZOPHRENIA, AND I WILL NEVER BE EVER AS COOL AS YOUR PRECIOUS CHRIS

I KNOW, YOU CARED FOR US, IN THE SMALL PICTURE, BUT WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME MOVING TO ADELAIDE ONE DAY

I WANTED TO GET AWAY FROM MY PARENTS, CAUSE I AM NOT LIKE THE ****, WHO SUPPORT PARENTAL RIGHTS

MAYBE THAT IS WHY I AM NOT A PARENT MYSELF, DAD, NEVER LOOKED AT ME AS BEING A COOL PERSON

I HAD TO FUCKEN BEHAVE, I DON’T DO BEHAVING, I DO PARTYING

MUM AND DAD HATED ME TELLING THEM MY NAME AT THAT NYE CONCERT IN MERIMBULA

BUT I DID THAT, ON THE OFF CHANCE, I CAN BE FAMOUS, THE MESSIAH SAID, ALL PARENTS ARE LIKE THAT

WORRYING AND WORRYING, LIKE A PACK OF MOTHER HEN’S

I CAN’T HELP IT, IF I LIKED HOW THEY ACTED, AROUND THE TIMES WE FIGHTED, THEY WERE COOL THEN

PLEASE *******, I DON’T WANT TO FIGHT MY MUM NOW, SHE DOESN’T WANT TO BE LITTLE COOL

LIKE SITTING ON THE COUCH, THAT IS WHY I NEED TO BE REFORMED

UMMMMMMM REFORM BRIAN ALLAN   UMMMMMMMMMM BRIAN ALLAN IS NOW REFORMED

WELL, NOT YET, BUT, I WANT TO RID STUPID VOICES, OF EVERYONE TREATING ME LIKE A BABY

TO FUCKEN LEAVE MY HEAD, I DON’T WANT TO BE A BABY, I AM A GROWN UP, WHO IS CREATIVE

UMMMMMMMMM    I AM A CREATIVE ADULT  UMMMMMMMM I DON’T WANT TO BE TOUGHENED UP

UMMMMMMMMM I AM A ARTIST AND A WRITER AND A YOUTUBE ****** AND ENTERTAINER

UMMMMMMMMMM I AM A CREATIVE ADULT, TO GROW UP TO BE COOL, MAN

I HATED DAD TREATING ME LIKE A LITTLE YEAH MATE YEAH KID, AND I HATED PAT DOING THAT TOO

BUT UMMMMMMMMM THE ONLY ADULT I AM IS A CREATIVE ADULT, DUDES, I AM A CREATIVE MAN UMMMMMMMMMM

AND 1 2 3 4 DO THE SCHITZOPHRENIC, JUST BECAUSE YOU WORK DOESN’T MEAN YOUR NICE

YOU SEE WITH MEDICATION I CAN BE NICE, OH YEAH MATE YEAH, I AM SCHITZOPHRENIC

1 2 3 4 DO THE SCHITZOPHRENIC, I WANNA PARTY, LET ME HANG OUT

THE MEDICATION I TAKE, CAN REALLY REFORM ME, OH YEAH MATE YEAH I AM SCHITZOPHRENIC AND PROUD OF IT

YOU SEE, I HATE BEING TREATED LIKE A CRAZY COWARD, CAUSE I AM NOT A COWARD, I AM A FAMILY PERSON

WHO LOVES LIFE, AND LIVES LIFE TO THE FULL

I LIVE LIFE LIKE IT’S ONE BIG ADVENTURE, AND I HELP PEOPLE ONE BY ONE, THE BUDDHIST WAY, EVERY BLADE OF GRASS

I AM THE COOLEST DUDE IN CANBERRA, WHO HAS SCHITZOPHRENIA

ONLY RICH ARROGANT WITH NO REGARD FOR POOR MAN WELFARE WOULD TEASE ME

CAUSE I HELP POOR PEOPLE, DUDE, I AM POOR, BUT I AM PLANNING A TRIP TO ADELAIDE FOR NEXT YEARS NEW YEARS

I CAN’T CHANGE PEOPLE BUT I CAN CHANGE THEIR OPINIONS OF ME, I AM COOL, NOT SHY, OK ****

WITH THESE PROBS, YOU UNDERSTAND WHY I WANTED TO BE A HOODLUM, OK
Realeboga M Mar 2016
"Insecurities are the worst demons to live with", she stands at the podium.
"Can anyone tell me what insecurities are?", she stares in front, looking at the ten students who were presumed to be messed up by the school board.

A boy with a blue hoodie raises his hand.
"Insecurities are our fears of our fears coming true, it's the absence of feeling safe or secure. Which leads to an emotional turmoil of trying to fix them. To ignore them but ultimately they end up taking us", he speaks confidently as his head is bowed.

"Have you had your fair share of insecurities? ", the girl walks up to him and crouches. She notices the exhaustion in his demeanour, the pain, hidden secrets. And death in his green eyes.
He stares at her brown eyes, filled with sincerity and concern along with a dose of hope. She finally found them.

"Haven't we all?", a girl with grey blonde hair speaks up.
Heads turn and look into her direction.
She plays with the hem of her shirt,
"We started off carefree. Young and willing to explore, we meet people who change our lives who make worthwhile but then others. I don't know about them but they take parts of us and play with them, they toy around with them and then drop us. Like old unwanted toys. We begin to wonder, question our hearts, search our minds trying to figure out where we went wrong and that hurts. We then build unnecessary yet necessary theories as they begin to make sense.  That's when they lurk in. That's how we get them", her voice shakes

The boy with the hoodie sighs, "And to think that's only the first part of them", he looks at the lady and croaks his head, "Studies show that we can get rid of these insecurities but I don't know. I've tried all these measures all the ways of getting rid of them but they don't ever leave. They stay, they don't even lurk in. Shucks depression is nicer than being insecure. Depression leaves for a while. But this", he shakes his head and massages his temples.

The lady walks up to the podium and sighs, "Being insecure is a painful thing to experience because with insecurities comes more demons willing to take advantages of you, willing to destroy you trust me I know"

A girl with glasses begins to laugh, "Everyone here knows that Miss, we're all insecure, this could be in terms of our grades, our love lives, our family, our lifestyle, our sexuality, we are all insecure. But the question here is how do we get rid of them? How do we feel normal? How do we get rid of this insane feeling, the hostility we feel from our own selves. How!?" She pushes her glasses.

The lady sighs once again, staring at the girl. She closes her eyes, "I don't know. I believe there's no way out with insecurities. They manifest inside us, they evolve and they become stronger. All I do is face them head first. I stopped thinking and accepted them. I am insecure and I am learning to accept that I am not perfect"

"Do you think that's the answer Miss", the boy with a red bandana scratched his head.
"Acceptance?" His voice heavy with a British accent.

"You said you learned to accept your imperfections and here you are now. Talking to us about our issues. Does this mean you're no longer insecure?" He furrowed his eyebrows.
"Does this mean there's hope for us?" He smiled exposing his pearly whites.

The lady sighed, pondering on how to answer that.
" I don't think that's what she meant", the boy with the hoodie speaks up.
"What she means is that once we learn to accept them like she did. We can learn to move on. To live with them. And truth is they won't hurt us as much as they do now. I mean we know we're not perfect and its okay. It's about acceptance and appreciation of our scars"
JSK Mar 2015
Rid
I didn't mean it like that
I didn't mean to make it sound like a personal attack
I didn't mean to fill your head with thoughts that shouldn't exist
I didn't mean for you to think like me
I didn't mean for you to be afraid
I didn't mean to hurt you
I didn't mean to cause doubts
Because doubts eat at your insides
They gnaw your vital organs
And to live,
You have to get rid of the doubts
And that would mean
Getting rid of me
And I certainly did not mean that.
I.

One night at the Troubadour I spotted this extraordinary girl.

So I asked who she was.

‘A professional,’

That was my introduction that on a scale of one to ten

there were women who were fifteens—beautiful, bright, witty, and

oh, by the way, they worked.

Once I became aware,

I saw these women everywhere.

And I came to learn that most of them were connected to Alex



II.

She had a printer engrave a calling card

that featured a bird of paradise

borrowed from a Tiffany silver pattern

and,
under it,

Alex’s Aviary,

Beautiful and Exotic birds.



A few were women you’d see lunching at Le Dôme:

pampered arm pieces with expensive tastes

and a hint of a delicious but remote sexuality.

Many more were fresh-faced, athletic, tanned, freckled

the quintessential California girl

That you’d take for sorority queens or future BMW owners.





III.

The mechanism of Alex’s sudden notoriety is byzantine,

as these things always are.

One of her girls took up with a rotter,

the couple had a fight,

he went to the police,

the police had an undercover detective visit

(who just happened to be an attractive woman)

and ask to work for her,

she all but embraced her

—and by April of 1988 the district attorney had enough evidence

to charge her with two counts of pandering

and one of pimping.

For Alex, who is fifty-six

and has a heart condition and diabetes,

the stakes may be high.

A conviction carries the guarantee of incarceration.

For the forces of law and order,

the stakes may be higher.

Alex has let it be known that she will subpoena

every cop she’s ever met to testify at her trial.

And the revelations this might produce

—perhaps that Alex compromised policemen

by making girls available to them,

—perhaps that Alex had a deal with the police to provide information

in exchange for their blind eye to her activities

—could be hugely embarrassing to the police and the district attorney.

For Alex’s socially correct clients and friends,

for the socially correct wives of her clients and friends

and for a handful of movie and television executives

who have no idea they are dating or

married to former Alex girls,

the stakes are highest of all.



IV.

Alex’s black book is said to be a catalogue of
Le Tout Los Angeles.

In her head are the ****** secrets

of many of the city’s most important men,

to say nothing of visiting businessmen and Arab princes.

If she decides to warble,

either at her trial or in a book,

her song will shatter more than glass.





V.

A decade ago, I went to lunch at Ma Maison,

There were supposed to have been ten people there,

but only four came.

One of them was a short woman

who called me a few days later and invited me to lunch.

When I arrived, the table was set for two.

I didn’t know who Alex was or what she did,

but she knew the important facts of my situation:

I was getting divorced from a very wealthy man

and doing the legal work myself

to avail lawyers who wanted to get a big settlement for me.


Occasionally, she said, I get a call for a tall, dark-haired,

slender, flat-chested woman

—and I don’t have any.

It wouldn’t be a frequent thing.

There’d be weekends away, sometimes in Palm Springs,

sometimes in Europe.

The men will be elegant,

you’ll have your own room

—there would be no outward signs of impropriety.

And you’d get $10,000 to $20,000 for a weekend.





VI.

The tall, slender, flat-chested brunette

didn’t think it was right for her.

Alex handed her a business card

and suggested that she think about it.

To her surprise, she did

—for an entire week.

This was 1978, and $20,000 then

was like $40,000 now,

I knew it was hooking,

but Alex had never mentioned ***.



Our whole conversation seemed to be about something else.



VII.

I was born in Manila

to a Spanish-Filipina mother and German father,

and when I was twelve

a Japanese soldier came into our house

with his bayonet pointed at us,

ready to do us in.

He locked us in and set the house on fire.

I haven’t been scared by much since that.



My mother always struck me as goofy,

so I jumped on a bus and ran away,

I got off in Oakland,

saw a help-wanted sign on a parish house,

and went in.

I got $200 a month for taking care of four priests.

I spent all the money on pastries for the parish house.

But I didn’t care.

It felt safe.

And the priests sparked my interest in the domestic arts

—in linen, in crystal.



A new priest arrived.

He was unpleasant,

so on a vacation in Los Angeles I took a pedestrian job,

still a teenager,

married a scientist.

We separated eight years later,

he took our two sons to another state

threatened to keep them if I didn’t agree to a divorce.

Keep them I said and hung up.

It’s not that I don’t have a maternal instinct

—though I don’t,

I just hate to be manipulated.



My second husband,

an alcoholic,

had Frank Sinatra blue eyes, and possibly

—I never knew for sure—

had a big career in the underworld

as a contract killer.

Years before we got serious,

he was going out with a famous L.A. ******,

She and her friends were so elegant

that I started spending time with them in beauty salons.

They were so fancy,

so smart

—and they knew incredible people,

like the millionaire who sat in his suite all day

just writing $5,000 checks to girls.



VIII.

I was a florist.

We got to talking.

She was a madam from England

who wanted to sell her book and go home.

I bought it for $5,000.

My husband thought it was cute.

Now you’re getting your feet wet.

Three months later,

he died.

After eleven years of marriage,

just like that.

And of the names in the book

it turned out

that half of the men were also dead.

When I began the men were old and the women were ugly.



IX.

It was like a lunch party you or I would give,

Great food Alex had cooked herself.

Major giggles with old pals.

And then,

instead of chocolate After Eight,

she served three women After Three



This man has seen a bit of life

beyond Los Angeles,

so I asked him how Alex’s stable

compared with that of Madam Claude,

the legendary Parisian procuress.

Oh, these aren’t at all like Claude’s girls,

A Claude girl was perfectly dressed and multilingual

—you could take her to the opera

and she’d understand it.





He told me that when she was 40

she looked at herself in the mirror

and said

Disgusting.

People over 40

should not have ***.

But She Was Clear That She Never Liked It

even when she was young.

Besides, she saw all the street business

go to the tall,

beautiful girls.

She thought that she never had a chance

competing against them.

Instead,

she would take their money by managing them.





X.

Going to a ****** was not looked down upon then.

It was before the pill;

Girls weren’t giving it away.

Claude specialized in

failed models and actresses,

ones who just missed the cut.

But just because they failed

in those impossible professions

didn’t mean they weren’t beautiful,

fabulous.



Like Avis

in those days,

those girls tried harder.

Her place was off the Champs,

just above a branch of the Rothschild bank, where I had an account.

Once I met her,

I was constantly making withdrawals and heading upstairs.





XI.

We took the lift

and Claude greeted us at the door.

My impression was that of the director

of an haute couture house,

very subdued,

beige and gray, very little makeup.

She took us into a lounge and made us drinks,

Whiskey,

Cognac.

There was no maid.

We made small talk for 15 minutes.

How was the weekend?

What’s the weather like in Deauville?

Then she made the segue. ‘I understand you’d like to see some jeunes filles?’

She always used ‘jeunes filles.’

This was Claude’s polite way of saying 18 to 25.

She left and soon returned

with two very tall

jeunes filles,

One was blonde.

This is Eva from Austria.

She’s here studying painting.

And a brunette,

very different,

but also very fine.

This is Claudia from Germany.

She’s a dancer.

She took the girls back into the apartment and returned by herself.

I gave my English guest first choice.

He picked the blonde.

And wasn’t disappointed.

Each bedroom had its own bidet.

There was some nice

polite conversation, and then



It was slightly formal,

but it was high-quality.

He paid Claude

200 francs,

not to the girls

In 1965, 200 francs was about $40.

Pretty girls on Rue Saint-Denis

could be had for 40 francs

so you can see the premium.

Still, it wasn’t out of reach for mere mortals.

You didn’t have to be J. Paul Getty.





XII.

A lot of them

were models at

Christian Dior

or other couture houses.

She liked Scandinavians.

That was the look then

—cold, tall, perfect.

It was cheap for the quality.

They all used her.

The best people wanted

the best women.

Elementary supply and demand.



XIII.

She had a camp number tattooed on her wrist. I saw it.

She showed it to me and Rubi.

She was proud she had survived.

We talked about the camp for hours.

It was even more fascinating than the girls.



She was Jewish

I’m certain of that.

She was horrified at the Jewish collaborators

at the camp who herded

their fellow Jews

into the gas chambers.

That was the greatest betrayal in her life.



XIV.

She was this sad,

lonely little woman.

Later, Patrick told me who she was.

I was bowled over.

It was like meeting Al Capone.

I met two of the girls

who worked for her.

One was what you would expect

Tall

Blonde

Model.

But the other looked like a Rat

Then one night

she came out

all dressed up,

I didn’t even recognize her.

She was even better than the first girl.

Claude liked to transform women like that.

That was her art.

It was very odd,

my cousin told me.

There was not much furniture

and an awful lot of telephones.

“Allô oui,”



XV.

I had so many lunches

with Claude at Ma Maison

She was vicious.

One day,

Margaux Hemingway,

at the height of her beauty, walked by.

Une bonne

—the French for maid

was how Claude cut her dead.

She reduced

the entire world

to rich men wanting *** and

poor women wanting money.

She’d love to page through Vogue and see someone

and say,

When I met her

she was called

Marlene

and she had a hideous nose

and now she’s a princess.

Or she’d see someone and say

Let’s see if she kisses me or not.

It was like

I made her,

and I can destroy her.

She was obsessed

with “fixing” people

—with Saint Laurent clothes,

with Cartier watches,

with Winston jewels,

with Vuitton luggage,

with plastic surgeons.



XVI.

Her prison number was

888

which was good luck in China

but not in California.

‘Ocho ocho ocho,’ she liked to repeat

Even in jail, she was always working,

always recruiting stunning women.

She had a beautiful Mexican cellmate

and gave her Robert Evans’s number

as the first person she should call

when she was released.



XVII.

Never have *** on the first date.



XVIII.

There will always be prostitution,

The prostitution of misery.

And the prostitution of bourgeois luxury.

They will both go on forever.



“Allô oui,”



It was so exciting to hear a millionaire

or a head of state ask,

in a little boy’s voice,

for the one thing

that only you could provide

It's not how beautiful you are, it's how you relate

--it's mostly dialogue.



She was tiny, blond, perfectly coiffed and Chanel-clad.

The French Woman: The Arab Prince, the Japanese Diplomat, the Greek Tycoon, the C.I.A. Bureau Chief — She Possessed Them All!



XIX.

She was like a slave driver in the American South

Once she took a *******,

the makeover put the girl in debt,

because Claude paid all the bills to

Dior,

Vuitton,

to the hairdressers,

to the doctors,

and the girls had to work to pay them off.

It was ****** indentured servitude.



My Swans.



It reached the point

where if you walked into a room

in London

or Rome

as much as Paris

because the girls were transportable,

and saw a girl who was

better-dressed,

better-looking,

and more distinguished than the others

you presumed

it was a girl from Claude.

It was, without doubt,

the finest *** operation ever run in the history of mankind.



**.

The girl had to be

exactly what was needed

so I had to teach her everything she didn’t know.

I played a little the role of Pygmalion.

There were basic things that absolutely had to be done.

It consisted

at the start

of the physical aspect

“surgical intervention”

to give this way of being

that was different from other girls.

Often they had to be transformed

into dream creatures

because at the start

they were not at all



Often I had to teach them how to dress.

Often they needed help

to repair

what nature had given them

which was not so beautiful.

At first they had to be tall,

with pretty gestures,

good manners.

I had lots of noses done,

chins,

teeth,

*******.

There was a lot to do.



Eight times out of ten

I had to teach them how to behave in society.

There were official dinners, suppers, weekends,

and they needed to have conversation.

I insisted they learn to speak English,

read

certain books.

I interrogated them on what they read.

It wasn’t easy.

Each time something wasn’t working,

I was obliged to say so.



You were very demanding?

I was ferocious.



It’s difficult

to teach a girl how to walk into Maxim’s

without looking

ill at ease

when they’ve never been there,

to go into an airport,

to go to the Ritz,

or the Crillon

or the Dorchester.

To find yourself

in front of a king,

three princes,

four ministers,

and five ambassadors at an official dinner.

There were the wives of those people!

Day after day

one had to explain,

explain again,

start again.

It took about two years.

There would always be a man

who would then say of her,

‘But she’s absolutely exceptional. What is that girl doing here?’ ”





XXI.

A New York publisher who visited

the Palace Hotel

in Saint Moritz

in the early seventies told me,

I met a whole bunch of them there.

They were lovely.

The johns wanted everyone to know who they were.

I remember it being said

Giovanni’s Madame Claude girl is going to be there.

You asked them where they came from and they all said

Neuilly.

Claude liked girls from good families.

More to the point she had invented their backgrounds.



I have known,

because of what I did,

some exceptional and fascinating men.

I’ve known some exceptional women too,

but that was less interesting

because I made them myself.



Ah, this question of the handbag.

You would be amazed by how much dust accumulates.

Or how often women’s shoe heels are scuffed.





XXII.

She would examine their teeth and finally she would make them undress.



That was a difficult moment

When they arrived they were very shy,

a bit frightened.

At the beginning when I take a look,

it’s a question of seeing if the silhouette

and the gestures are pretty.

Then there was a disagreeable moment.

I said,

I’m sorry about this unpleasantness,

but I have to ask you to get undressed,

because I can’t talk about you unless I see you.

Believe me, I was embarrassed,

just as they were,

but it had to be done,

not out of voyeurism, not at all

—I don’t like les dames horizontales.



It was very funny

because there were always two reactions.

A young girl,

very sure of herself,

very beautiful,

très bien,

would say

Yes,

Get up, and get undressed.

There was nothing to hide, everything was perfect.



There were those who

would start timidly

to take off their dress

and I would say

I knew already.

The rest is not sadism, but nearly.

I knew what I was going to find.

I would say,

Maybe you should take off your bra,

and I knew it wasn’t going to be

beautiful.

Because otherwise she would have taken it off easily.

No problem.

There were damages that could be mended.

There were some ******* that could be redone,

some not

Sometimes it can be deceptive,

you know,

you see a pretty girl,

a pretty face,

all elegant and slim,

well dressed,

and when you see her naked

it is a catastrophe.



I could judge their physical qualities,

I could judge if she was pretty, intelligent, and cultivated,

but I didn’t know how she was in bed.

So I had some boys,

good friends,

who told me exactly.

I would ring them up and say,

There’s a new one.

And afterwards they’d ring back and say,

Not bad,

Could be better, or

Nulle.



Or,

on the contrary,

She’s perfect.

And I would sometimes have to tell the girls

what they didn’t know.

A pleasant assignment?

No.

They paid.



XXIII.

Often at the beginning

they had an ami de coeur

in other words,

oh,

a journalist, a photographer, a type like that,

someone in the cinema,

an actor, not very well known.

As time went by

It became difficult

because they didn’t have a lot of time for him.

The fact of physically changing,

becoming prettier,

changing mentally to live with millionaires,

produced a certain imbalance

between them

and the little boyfriend

who had not evolved

and had stayed in his milieu.

At the end of a certain time

she would say,

I’m so much better than him. Why am I with this boy?

And they would break up by themselves.



Remember,

this was instant elevation.

For most of them it was a dream existence,

provided they liked the ***,

and those that didn’t never lasted long.

A lot of the clients were young,

and didn’t treat them like tarts but like someone from their own class.

They would buy you presents,

take you on trips.



XXIV.

For me, *** was something very accessoire

I think after a certain age

there are certain spectacles one should not give to others

Now I have a penchant for solitude.

Love, it’s a complete destroyer,

It’s impossible,

a horror,

l’angoisse.

It’s the only time in my life I was jealous.

I’m not a jealous person, but I was épouvantable.

He was jealous too.

We broke plates over each other’s heads;

we became jealous about each other’s pasts.

I said one day

It’s finished.

Sometimes I look at myself in the mirror and say:

Break my legs,

give me scarlet fever,

an attack of TB, but never that.

Not that.



XXV.

I called her into my office

Let us not exaggerate,

I sent her away.

She came back looking for employment,

but was fired again, this time for drugs.

She made menacing phone calls.

Then she arrived at the Rue de Boulainvilliers with a gun.

She shot three bullets

I was dressed in the fashion of Courrèges at this moment

He did very padded things.

I had a padded dress with a little jacket on top.

The bullet

—merci, Monsieur Courrèges

—stuck in the padding.

I was thrown forward onto the telephone.

I had one thought which went through my head:

I will die like Kennedy.

I turned round and put my hand up in a reflex.

The second bullet went through my hand.

I have two dead fingers.

It’s most useful for removing bottle tops.

In the corridor I was saved from the third bullet

because she was very tall

and I am quite petite, so it passed over my head.



XXVI.

There were men

who could decapitate,

****, and bomb their rivals

who would be frightened of me.

I would ask them how was the girl,

and they’d say

Not bad

and then

But I’m not complaining.

I was a little sadistic to them sometimes.

Some women have known powerful men because they’re their lover.

But I’ve known them all.

I had them all

here.



She will take many state secrets with her.



XXVI.

I don’t like ugly people

probably because when I was young

I wasn’t beautiful at all.

I was ugly and I suffered for it,

although not to the point of obsession.

Now that I’m an old woman,

I’m not so bad.

And that’s why

I’ve always been surrounded by people

Who

were

beautiful.

And the best way to have beautiful people around me

was to make them.

I made them very pretty.





XXVII.

I wouldn’t call what Alex gives you

‘advice,’

She spares you Nothing.

She makes a list of what she wants done,

and she really gets into it

I mean, she wants you to get your arms waxed.

She gives you names of people who do good facials.

She tells you what to buy at Neiman Marcus.

She’s put off by anything flashy,

and if you don’t dress conservatively, she’s got no problem telling you,

in front of an audience,

You look like a cheap *****!

I used to wear what I wanted when I went out

then change in the car into a frumpy sweater

when I went to give her the money she’d always go,

Oh, you look beautiful!



Marry your boyfriend,

It’s better than going to prison.

When you go out with her,

she’ll buy you a present; she’s incredibly generous that way.

And she’ll always tell you to save money and get out.

It’s frustrating to her when girls call at the end of the month

and say they need rent money.

She wants to see you do well.





We had a schedule, with cards that indicated a client’s name,

what he liked,

the names of the girls he’d seen,

and how long he’d been with them.

And I only hired girls who had another career

—if my clients had a choice between drop-dead-gorgeous

and beautiful-and-interesting,

they’d tend to take beautiful-and-interesting.

These men wanted to talk.

If they spent two hours with a girl,

they usually spent only five or ten minutes in bed.



I get the feeling that in Los Angeles, men are more concerned with looks.



XXVIII.

That was my big idea

Not to expand the book by aggressive marketing

but to make sure that nobody

mistook my girls for run-of-the-mill hookers.

And I kept my roster fresh.

This was not a business where you peddle your ***,

get exploited,

and then are cast off.

I screen clients. I’ve never sent girls to weirdos.

I let the men know:

no violence,

no costumes,

no fudge-packing.

And I talked to my girls. I’d tell them:

Two and a half years and you’re burned out.

Save your money.

This is like a hangar

—you come in, refuel, and take off.

It’s not a vacation, it’s not a goof.

This buys the singing lessons,

the dancing lessons,

the glossies.

This is to help you pay for what your parents couldn’t provide.

It’s an honorable way station—a lot of stars did this.



XXIX.

To say someone was a Claude girl is an honour, not a slur.



Une femme terrible.

She despised men and women alike.

Men were wallets. Women were holes.



By the 80s,

if you were a brunette,

the sky was the limit.

The Saudis

They’d call for half a dozen of Alex’s finest,

ignore them all evening while they

chatted,

ate,

and played cards,

and then, around midnight,

take the women inside for a fast few minutes of ***.



They’d order women up like pizza.



Since my second husband died,

I only met one man who was right for me,

He was a sheikh.

I visited him in Europe

twenty-eight times

in the five years I knew him

and I never slept with him.

He’d say

I think you fly all the way here just to tease me,

but he introduced me

by phone

to all his powerful friends.

When I was in Los Angeles, he called me twice a day.

That’s why I never went out

he would have been disappointed.



***.

Listen to me

This is a woman’s business.

When a woman does it, it’s fun

there’s a giggle in it

when a man’s involved,

he’s ******,

he’s a ****.

He may know how to keep girls in line,

and he may make money,

but he doesn’t know what I do.

I tell guys: You’re getting a nice girl.

She’s young,

She’s pleasant,

She can do things

she can certainly make love.

She’s not a rocket scientist, but she’s everything else.



The world’s richest and most powerful men, the announcer teased.

An income “in the millions,” said the arresting officer.

Pina Colapinto

A petite call girl,

who once slid between the sheets of royalty,

a green-eyed blonde helped the police get the indictment.

They really dolled her up

She looks great.

Never!

What I told her was: ‘Wash that ******.’





XXXI.

Madam Alex died at 7 p.m.

Saturday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center,

where she had been in intensive care after recent open heart surgery

We all held her hand when they took her off the life support

This was the passing of a legend.

Because she was the mother superior of prostitution.

She was one of the richest women on earth.

The world came to her.

She never had to leave the house.

She was like Hugh Hefner in that way.


It's like losing a friend

In all the years we played cat and mouse,

she never once tried to corrupt me.

We had a lot of fun.


To those who knew her

she was as constant

as she was colorful

always ready with a good tidbit of gossip

and a gourmet lunch for two.

She entertained, even after her conviction on pandering charges,

from the comfy depths of her blue four-poster bed at her home near Doheny Drive,

surrounded by knickknacks and meowing cats,

which she fed fresh shrimp from blue china plates.



XXXII.

She stole my business,

my books,

my girls,

my guys.

I had a good run.

My creatures.

Make Mommy happy

Oh! He is the most enchanting cat that I have ever known.



She was, how can I say it,

classy.

When she first hired me

she thought I was too young to take her case.

I was 43.

I'm going to give you some gray hairs by the time this is over.

She was right.





XXXIII.

I was fond of Heidi

But she has a streak that is so vindictive.



If there is pure evil, it is Madame Alex.





XXXIV.

I was born and raised in L.A.

My dad was a famous pediatrician.

When he died, they donated a bench to him at the Griffith Park Observatory.



I think that Heidi wanted to try her wings

pretty early,

and I think that she met some people

who sort of took all her potential

and gave it a sharp turn



She knew nothing.

She was like a little parrot who repeated what she was supposed to say.



Alex and I had a very intense relationship;

I was kind of like the daughter she loved and hated,

so she was abusive and loving at the same time.



Look, I know Madam Alex was great at what she did

but it's like this:

What took her years to build,

I built in one.

The high end is the high end,

and no one has a higher end than me.

In this business, no one steals clients.

There's just better service.



XXXV.

You were not allowed to have long hair

You were not allowed to be too pretty

You were not allowed to wear too much makeup or be too glamorous

Because someone would fall in love with you and take you away.

And then she loses the business



XXXVI.

I was pursued because

come on

in our lifetime,

we will never see another girl of my age

who lived the way I did,

who did what I did so quickly,

I made so many enemies.

Some people had been in this line of business

for their whole lives, 30 or 40 years,

and I came in and cornered the market.

Men don't like that.

Women don't like that.

No one liked it.



I had this spiritual awakening watching an Oprah Winfrey video.

I was doing this 500-hour drug class

and one day the teacher showed us this video,

called something like Make It Happen.

Usually in class I would bring a notebook

and write a letter to my brother or my journal,

but all of a sudden this grabbed my attention

and I understood everything she said.

It hit me and it changed me a lot.

It made me feel,

Accept yourself for who you are.

I saw a deeper meaning in it

but who knows, I might have just been getting my period that day!



XXXVII.

Hello, Gina!

You movie star!

Yes you are!

Gina G!

Hello my friend,

Hello my friend,

Hello my movie star,

Ruby! Ruby Boobie!

Braaawk!

Except so many women say,

Come on, Heidi

you gotta do the brothel for us; don't let us down.

It would be kind of fun opening up an exclusive resort,

and I'll make it really nice,

like the Beverly Hills Hotel

It'll feel private; you'll have your own bungalow.

The only problem out here is the climate—it's so brutal.

Charles Manson was captured a half hour from Pahrump.



I said, Joe! What are you doing?

You gotta get, like,

a garter belt and encase it in something

and write,

This belonged to Suzette Whatever,

who entertained the Flying Tigers during World War II.

Get, like, some weird tools and write,

These were the first abortion tools in the brothel,

you know what I mean?

Just make some **** up!

So I came out here to do some research

And then I realized,

What am I doing?

I'm Heidi Fleiss. I don't need anyone.

I can do this.

When I was doing my research, in three months

I saw land go from 30 thousand an acre

to 50 thousand an acre,

and then it was going for 70K!

It's urban sprawl

—we're only one hour from Las Vegas.

Out here the casinos are only going to get bigger,

prostitution is legal, it's only getting better.





XXXVIII.

The truth is

deep down inside,

I just can't do business with him

He's the type of guy who buys Cup o' Noodles soup for three cents

and makes his hookers buy it back from him for $5.

It's not my style at all.

Who wants to be 75 and facing federal charges?

It was different at my age when I

at least...come on, I lived really well.

I was 22,

25 at the time?

It was fun then, but now I wouldn't want

to deal with all that *******

—the girls and blah blah blah.

But the money was really good.



I would've told someone they were out of their ******* mind

if they'd said in five years I'd be living with all these animals like this.

It's hard-core; how I live;

It's totally a nonfunctional atmosphere for me

It's hard to get anything done because

It’s so time-consuming.

I feel like they're good luck though....

I do feel that if I ever get rid of them,

I will be jinxed and cursed the rest of my life

and nothing I do will ever work again.



Guys kind of are a hindrance to me

Certainly I have no problem getting laid or anything.

But a man is not a priority in my life.

I mean, it's crazy, but I really have fun with my parrots.



XXXIX.

I started a babysitting circle when I wasn't much older than 9

And soon all the parents in the neighborhood

wanted me to watch over their children.

Even then I had an innate business sense.

I started farming out my friends

to meet the demand.

My mother showered me with love and my father,

a pediatrician,

would ask me at the dinner table,

What did you learn today?

I ran my neighborhood.

I just pick up a hustle really easily,

I was a waitress and I met an older guy who looked like Santa Claus.



Alex was a 5' 3" bald-headed Filipina

in a transparent muu muu.

We hit it off.

I didn't know at the time that I was there to pay off the guy's gambling debt.

It's in and out,

over and out.

Do you think some big-time producer

or actor is going to go to the clubs and hustle?



Columbia Pictures executive says:

I haven’t done anything that should cause any concern.

Jeez, it's like the Nixon enemies list.

I hope I'm on it.

If I'm not, it means I must not be big enough

for people to gossip about me.



That's right ladies and gentlemen.

I am an alleged madam and that is a $25 *****!

If you live out here,

you've got to hate people.

You've got to be pretty antisocial

How you gonna come out here with only 86 people?

That's Fred.

He's digging to China.

You look good.

Yeah, you too.

It's coming along here.

Yeah, it is.

I wanted to buy that lot there, but I guess it's gone?

That's mine, man! That's all me.

Really?

I thought there was a lot between us.

No. We're neighbors.



He's a cute guy

He's entertaining.

See, I kind of did do something shady to him.

I thought my property went all the way back

and butted up against his.

But there was one lot between us right there.

He said he was buying it,

but I saw the 'For Sale' sign still up there,

So I went and called the broker and said,

I'm an all-cash buyer.

So I really bought it out from under him.

But he's got plenty of room, and I need the space for my parrots.

Pahrump will always be Pahrump, but Crystal is going to be nice

All you need are four or five fancy houses and it'll flush everyone out

and it'll be a nice area.

They're all kind of weird here, but these people will go.

Like this guy here,

someone needs to **** him.

I was just saying to my dad that these parrots are born to a really ******-up world

He goes, Heidi, no, no; the world is a beautiful garden.

It's just, people are destroying it.

I’m looking into green building options

I don't want anything polluting,

I want a huge auditorium,

but it'll be like a jungle where my birds can really fly!

Where they can really do what they're supposed to do.

There were over 300 birds in there!

That lady,

She ran the exotic-birds department for the Tropicana Hotel,

which is a huge job.

She called me once at 3:30 in the morning

Come over here and help me feed this baby!

Some baby parrot.

And I ran over there in my pajamas

—I knew there was something else wrong

and she was like

Get me my oxygen!

Get me this, get me that.

I called my dad; he was like,

I don't know, honey, you better call the paramedics.

They ended up getting a helicopter.

And they were taking her away

in the wind with her IV and blood and everything

and she goes, Heidi, you take care of my birds.

And she dies the next day.

She was just a super-duper person.



XL.

I relate to the lifestyle she had before,

Now, I'm just a citizen.

I'm clean,

I'm sober,

I'm married,

I work at Wal-Mart.

I'm proud to say I know her. I look into her eyes

and we relate.





I got out in 2000,

so I've been sending her money for seven years

She was…whatever.

Girlfriend?

Yeah, maybe.

But ***, I tried like two times,

and I'm just not gay.

She gets out in about eight or nine months

and I told her I would get her a house.

But nowhere near me.

I didn't touch her,

but I'd be, like...

a funny story:

I told her,

Don't you ever ******* think

about contacting me in the real world.

I'm not a lesbian.

Then about two years ago, I got an e-mail from her,

or she called me and said, 'Google my name.'

So I Googled her name,

and she has this huge company.

Huge!

She won, like, Woman of the Year awards.

So I called her and I go,

Not bad.

She goes, 'Well, I did all that because you called me a loser.'

I go, '****, I should've called you more names

you probably would've found the cure for cancer by now.



XLI.

No person shall be employed by the licensee

who has ever been convicted of

a felony involving moral turpitude

But I qualify,

I mean, big deal, so I'm a convicted felon.

Being in the *** industry, you can't be so squeaky-clean.

You've got to be hustling.

Nighttime is really enchanting here

It's like a whole 'nother world out here, it really is

I’m so far removed from my social life and old surroundings.

Who was it, Oscar Wilde, I think, who said

people can adjust to anything.

I was perfectly adjusted in the penitentiary,

and I was perfectly adjusted to living in a château in France.



We had done those drug addiction shows together

Dr. Drew.

Afterward we were friendly

and he'd call me every now and then.

He'd act like he had his stuff together.

But it was all a lie.

Everything is a lie.

I brought him to a Humane Society event at Paramount Studios last year.

He was just such a mess.

So out of it.

He stole money from my purse.

He's such a drug addict because he's so afraid of being fat.

He liked horse ****, though. He did like horse ****.

This one woman that would have *** with a horse on the internet,

He told me that’s his favorite actress.

Better than Meryl Streep.



XLII.

The cops could see

why these women were taking over trade.

Girls with these looks charged upwards of $500 an hour.

The Russians had undercut them with a bargain rate of $150 an hour.

One thing they are not is lazy.

In the USSR

they grew up with no religion, no morality.

Prostitution is not considered a bad thing.

In fact, it’s considered a great way to make money.

That’s why it’s exploding here.

What we saw was just a tip of the iceberg.

These girls didn’t come over here expecting to be nannies.

They knew exactly what they wanted and what they were getting into.

The madam who organized this raid

was making $4 million a year,

laundered through Russian-owned banks in New York City

These are brutal people.

They are all backstabbers.

They’re entrepreneurs.

They’re looking at $10,000 a month for turning tricks.

For them, that’s the American dream.



XLIII.

If you’re not into something,

don’t be into it

But,

if you want to take some whipped cream,

put it between your toes,

have your dog licking it up and,

at the same time,

have your girlfriend poke you in the eye,

then that’s fine.

That’s a little weird but we shouldn’t judge.



She was my best friend then

and I consider her one of my best friends now,

because when I was going through Riker’s

and everyone abandoned me,

including my boyfriend,

I was hysterical,

crying,

and she was the one that was there.

And, when somebody needed to step up to the plate,

that’s who did, and I have an immense amount of

loyalty, respect, and love for her.

And if she’s going to prison for eight years

—that’s what she’s sentenced for

—I’ll go there,

and I’ll go there every week,

for eight years.

That’s the type of person I am.
ryn Oct 2014
Red
Strange malaise,
One I can't place.
Struggling of late.
Discomforting state.

Persistent lethargy.
Sloth-like and heavy.
Burning internals.
Frequent intervals.

No temperature.
No warning lever.
Don't know what's wrong.
Been rather long.

Medicine trough
Can't rid me this cough.
Expulsion so violent,
Incessantly recurrent.

Over a fortnight
This ailment I fight.
Still hasn't eased.
Can't be appeased.

Development is seen.
Now spitting green.
Not just all
That joined this brawl.

It's just the coughing.
No injury I'm suffering,
I haven't bled...

But I see red...
:(
pk tunuri Jun 2018
I left my home in the name of education
I left my hometown in the name of higher education
I left my state in the name of graduation
I left my family in the name of aspiration

At times, I miss my childhood
Although, the fun & friends weren't the same in my adulthood
In order to get rid of their falsehood
I left them too, for my own good

I have traveled so far away from home
Now, When I let my thoughts to roam
All they bring back is sadness and pain
And then, I left my tears to drain

I lost myself in this whole journey of life
There were times when I often looked for a knife
Not just to **** me but to end the pain
I left everything and I'm waiting for a magical rain
Melody Feb 2011
If February is the month of love.
Well ***** it.
I've been so messed up all month I've started thinking crazy and
frightful thoughts.
I'm so ******* up I feel the knot in my stomach getting tighter and tighter
every possible second,
the milliseconds, trilliseconds, billiseconds.
I want help,
Help from someone who understands and knows how to rid this strong wrath from my body.
Someone who has felt it before.
If February is the month of love,
Then how come there's people dying?
The cursed love we pump through our veins,
Is that it?
It's like this every February!
RID ME OF MY POURING TEARS!!
IT'S SO PAINFUL..
AND I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHY!!!
FIND ME AGAIN!!
FIND ME AGAIN AND RID ME OF MY WORRIES...!!!
PLEASE!!!
NEVER THOUGHT I'D HAVE TO ASK!!
BUT I CAN'T HELP MYSELF RIGHT NOW!!
IT'S FEBRUARY AGAIN!!!
AND
I'M FIGHTING A FURY!
AN UNBEATABLE ANGER!
I WANT IT GONE!
IT'S WINNING THE BATTLE!
THE MENTAL AND HEART KILLING WAR WITHIN ME!!
RID ME OF THIS FEBRUARY!!!!


I'm fighting a battle,
And it's winning.
It's February....
The month of cursed love....
..........................................................No note needed...
Jay M Wong Feb 2013
1:1
Stop. Who’s there? Tis clock strikes twelve,
brings thy Horatio to seek tis specter from hell,
In Denmark, something is rotting in thy state,
In Norway, unimprovèd mettle hot and full awaits,
Tis specter arrives to arouse confusion and fear,
but to treat it violence and majestic threat,
thy specter departs as the ****’s crow drew near,  
leaving the blows of malicious mockery to regret.
And for Hamlet may speak to the wandering soul,
Tis morning to Hamlet must the three a’go.

1:2
Claudius, thy Uncle, is crowned King a’last,
Gertrude, thy Mother, hastily marries a’fast.
With duties done, Laertes to France adieu,
Hamlet griefs thy Father’s death and thy Mother’s dine,
for once a Hyperion to now a satyr is Uncle to Father a’new,
is but now a little more than kin and less than kind.
Horatio brings poor Hamlet the fatherly news,
that King Hamlet’s specter is now a’loose.
The joyous Hamlet is but joyous to see,
the two month father, dead and decease,
but for he calls that foul deeds will foully arise.
He hurries to the heavenly site prior sunrise.

1:3
Laertes to Ophelia, a brother to sister, he warns,
that Hamlet is but a fiery lover and to love he sworn,
but to love now is but not the future,
for Hamlet’s fire may, thy mind unpure,
for his lovely vows are not to believe,
he is but a man of deception to conceive.
For when Laertes departs, Polonius rants,
that Hamlet’s love, Ophelia must recant
for his affections and fashions are but false wows,
for when blood burns, lends the tongue false vows.

1:4
Shrewdly the air bites, nipping and eager,
at Horatio and Hamlet thy specter nears.
To speak alone, it beckons so,
But Horatio to Hamlet speaks no,
for may it draw thy madness and strip thy reason,
but to thee specter does Hamlet go,
for thy life is but a’lacking living reason.
Aback do they hold him most,
but Hamlet, his sword he wields
Fate has brought him here, he feels
To hold him back is but to turn a’ghost

1:5
Revenge, does his heavenly father speak,
of tis horrid ****** of unnatural feat.
For the orchard’s snake, wears thy father’s crown
and ****** thy gracious Queen, whose now evil abound.
With dignity and devotion she loved me so,
but tis sinful ******, Hamlet, you must’a know!
Through my ears, a venomous potion he drew,
thy fair Uncle, Claudius that potion he brew.
Abed, my life he ended this night,
And to my crown and Queen took he a’flight.
For thy dearest father, revenge must thy draw
upon thy villainous head, Claudius must fall
And to thy sword thou dearest friends must swear,
to tell not the occasions of this night we bear,
And to madness Hamlet must falsely seek,
to discover the truth of horrid deed beneath.

2:1
Reynaldo to Laertes, Claudius a’spies,
to Paris, Reynaldo goes with a’plan devised,
to seek the situation of Laertes in foreign hoods,
with bait of falsehood takes this carp of truth.
Ophelia then enters, with her father she shares,
"Oh, father, father, I’ve just had such a scare!"
In her sewing room, it is Hamlet she sees,
with no hat, nor buttons, nor stable knees
For he stared and stared to let out a final sigh,
Love mad he may be, a’to King we must a’by.

2:2
With Rosencrantz and Guildenstern,
Directly or indirectly will Claudius learn,
of Hamlet’s matters they are to return.
Polonius, with news of Hamlet, he waits,
for thee Ambassador, to inform that Denmark Gates,
Are to be opened for young Fortinbra’s ****** defeat,
Polonius to Claudius, reveals thy madness roots,
For Hamlet is but love crazy for the fairest fruits,
of dearest Ophelia, who a letter he wrote,
Proclaims the fairness of her upon tis note.
And to test the truth, their confrontation, must’e spy,
Behind the arras to view thy love-mad side.
Is but our hastily marriage and his father’s death,
thy Mother, aware, are but the means of his mad breath.
Polonius then to Hamlet, speaks of witty words,
A fishmonger he calls, but one of two is misheard,
For when Polonius humbly takes a’leave,
He is but to take anything, but his life, shall he not receive.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, enter to Hamlet, they chat,
but Hamlet to quickly find the two are but a King’s ****,
Only sent to spy on a dearest friend,
And to human’s name do they offend,
Only to betray a dearest friend in honor of the King.
And so Players arrived at Denmark grounds,
for they, the best in the world, Polonius sounds.
And then for Jephthah, witty Hamlet chants,
the song of a foolish man who accidently grants,
the sacrifice of his beloved daughter.
Pyrrhus, do they perform for dearest Hamlet,
His sword is a’air, but a’air it sets,
for he hesitates to swing thy sword,
And with this, Hamlet hopes to store,
the strength to **** the horrid Lord.
Though he is but ashamed, for upon false emotions can Players act,
And in himself upon truths, strength can he not extract.
So a play for the King’s conscience does Hamlet devise,
for the heavenly ghost may be false in his advice.

3:1
To be or not to be; that is the question,
For Hamlet to be nobler or to a’take action,
Shall he withdraw with ****** self slaughter,
But shall’st never may see thy fairest daughter,
To die, but to sleep for a mere dream,
But in sleep shall fair or foul be unseen?
Now Polonius and Claudius awaits,
for Hamlet’s arranged meet with a’bait.
Hamlet to Ophelia, his love recants,
For honesty and beauty are but Someone’s grants,
Once did he love her, but now a’figured,
that women are but corrupt and impured,
For one’s honestly and beauty can and shall be taint,
For if God given thou one face, dear not another by paint.
For honestly and beauty has God falsely bred,
All but one, shall women *****.
All but one, shall women be nun.
Hence this marriage is over, and to a nunnery at once,

3:2
Let this mousetrap be named and this play a’set,
Shall capture thy horrid mouse or thy Uncle of Hamlet.
Polonius to Hamlet, the theater he knows,
For a Caesar death died he at thee Capitol.
Upon the lap of fair Ophelia, does Hamlet, lie,
Only to think of country matters and nothing (he implies).
And the play begins, with a prologue so brief,
Like a woman’s love, was Hamlet’s belief.
The King and Queen, a loving bond they share,
But the King by a mystic potion envenomed beware.
Thee action to ****, a murderous scene it was,
Leaving Claudius to regret the murderous act abuzz,
He arises to say: Let there be light! Let there be light!
And to the joy of Hamlet to see tis joyous sight,
For the words of thy heavenly father was but right.
Now shall the minute parts of truth ignite.
And to his Mother he shall speak daggers wield none,
for shall his tongue speak of the cruelties undone.

3:3
With Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, to England a’go,
Should insane Hamlet know not a hawk from a crow,
And behind the arras, Polonius will again spy,
the taxation of Hamlet and his Mother’s cry.
Polonius departs to spy upon the Mother and the Insane,
Only to leave Claudius to regret thy hideous Mark of Cain,
Shall he pray the Heavens to forgive him his actions,
For thy stripped thy Brother of life, throne, and attractions.
As Claudius is never to withdraw his stripped token,
Divine forgiveness shall never then be unspoken.
Hamlet can **** not his murderous Uncle in praying stance,
For a hideous monster shall not a’go Heaven by chance.

3:4
So behind the arras dearest Polonius stays,
to view the idle and wicked tongue arrays,
Thou’st the Queen, Thy Husband’s Brother’s wife!
But to hear a rat, shall Hamlet for a ducat its life.
Oh, but death ‘neath the arras, may it the King?
A horrid act? To **** and wear thy brother’s ring?
Oh, King it be not, but be a wretched, rash fool,
And now shall Hamlet tell thy Myth a’Ghoul.
For thy murderer has slain thy Heavenly mate,
And only now by natural law does he abate.
Upon these portraits shall ring a’clear,
That from thy Heavenly father is he nowhere near,
A murderer, a villain, a horrid fiend,
He is but a devilish murderer yield unclean,
No way can one drop from THIS to THAT,
And shall by this scene, the specterous soul attract,
Dear not be untenderly to thy Mother it speaks,
And shall this revenge soon awake its peak,
Hamlet appears a’mad to thy watching Mother,
but to his mother he warns, abed not another,
For two mouths should speak of none,
of this revenge that will soon be done.
And again, abed let not him ****** you so,
For now, apart to English must’e a’go.

4:1
Gertrude to Claudius, she continues to reveal,
Of Polonius’s ****** and his arras squeal,
"A rat! A rat!" A’mad Hamlet is,
Brandished, to rapier the life of his.
And now where’s thou Hamlet still?
To draw apart the body he hath killed.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern is but yet called again,
With discord and dismay, are they to seek that thou slain.

4:2
The two seek to Hamlet, for the body’s lair,
Compounded with dust now does it wear,
And a sponge, does Hamlet call them so,
for the King to squeeze them dry and thorough,
"A knavish speech sleeps in a foolish ear."
The body a’by a’King, but a’King, the body unnear.
And so, Hamlet to the King premiere.

4:3
And to Claudius does Hamlet call,
That Polonius now rests at a dining hall,
‘til a conference of worms devours him all
He shall eat not, but they eat so,
‘tis our fate despite status quo.
And upon the lobby stairs a corpse may lay,
One of dearest Polonius, slain to heaven or hell
Now to English death must Hamlet pay,
To one mother does he give two farewells.

4:4
With a Captain does Hamlet now proceed,
Who tells of young Fortinbras of Norway accede,
The Norway prince through Denmark he leads,
to seize a’minute ****** patch must’e receive.
A worthless land, must many die for one,
But true greatness acts not from fair reason,
But for the sake of the mind when honor is won.
And has Someone granted the reasoning mind,
For man to hesitate so cowardly inside,
For thy deed to act, must we rid the mind bind,
And act on instinct and be not wise.
And from the reasoning state must Hamlet now leave,
for honor he shall act, and his emotions he’ll believe.

4:5
False sanity is but false no more,
For fair Ophelia’s reason be not restore.
A’now sings of thy premature stone a’foot thy father’s grave,
and the departure of Hamlet for thy wed depraved.
Claudius is but to blame for thee rotting state,
For Polonius, a proper ceremony he not awaits,
For poor Ophelia, stripped from her reasonous state,
For Laertes aback from France, by thy father’s death, irate.
And Laertes enters, with thy support for king,
For the murderer, vengeful death shall he bring,
So Claudius to Laertes, says he is not to blame,
but thy father’s murderer is but another name.
And enters Ophelia, with figurative flowers to give,
But those of Faithfulness have ceased to live.
Alive are but for Thoughts, for Remembrance,
for Adultery, for Repentance, and for False Romance.
For his sister’s sanity is but another to blame,
Laertes, a vengeance mind, is but now aflame.

4:6
Horatio, a letter from Hamlet he receives,
that upon a Pirate ship has Hamlet board,
And that shall with speed would’st fly a’breathe.
Meet to hear the story Hamlet has a’stored.

4:7
Claudius to Laertes, he speak of innocence,
for by public appearance, the truth may bent,
For the public count loves Hamlet so,
And to thy fair Mother, Claudius a’beau.
Thy noble father lost and sister insane,
The murderous filth of Hamlet is to blame.
At this, a loyal messenger approaches,
to deliver the news that but Hamlet reproached,
An English death did Hamlet face not,
For now his destined death are they to plot,
Naked and alone, will he return to Denmark a’learn,
Of the honorable fence-match, he shall earn,
Against Laertes, whose fatherly love nor illusion,
Shall the death of Hamlet draw conclusion.
Even a’church will Hamlet, Laertes slay,
Death by no bounds, must Hamlet pay.
Envenomed rapier and wine shall prepare,
the faithful death of murderous Hamlet a’near.
Gertrude then enters with Ophelia’s news a’share,
For sorrows comes not in singles but in greater pairs,
Upon muddy death has Ophelia drowned,
for now another death has but profound,

5:1
Two Gravediggers upon one grave they create,
for to the death of thy Graveowner do they relate,
To die by self slaughter or to die by not,
the attention of passing Hamlet have they caught.
With Hamlet does one of thee two chat,
for once a woman, shall this grave be buried at,
A quick digger for Hamlet to his surprise,
Revealed that to England is mad Hamlet to advise.
For a corpse to live for eight or nine,
Thy dearest Yorick’s skull is to find,
Thy a corpse to date three and twenty,
Leaves Hamlet to recall thy memories a’plenty,
And to think Alexander, o’buried alike.
Here comes the King, Laertes and the Queen,
And upon the burial grounds is Ophelia seen,
His dearest sister does Laertes mourn,
But to Hamlet, her death, his heart a’torn.
Laertes to Hamlet, must’e not compare,
the death of one is a little more foul than fair,
For forty thousand brothers can sum not his love,
For the death of the fairest maiden beloved.
Claudius to Laertes, must Hamlet pay thy debt,
the plot of night prior shall’st not forget.

5:2
Hamlet to Horatio, does his truths trust,
Of thy wretched King and his unjust,
Of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern English death they meet,
With sacrifice and thy seal was thou to spare self defeat.
Now’st Osric enters to Hamlet a’chat,
For’st not hot, nor cold, nor sultry at.
And a’wish to court, with thy Laertes of excellence,
For Hamlet’s head does thee King expense.
With six French rapiers and poniards assign,
For by fate’s determination, shall this court incline,
For a special providence in the fall of a sparrow,
Can we do not, but abide by fate a’follow.
Trumpets and drums, now’st the fence begins,
For Hamlet and Laertes hand and hand therein.
Pardon he begs, Hamlet to thy brother,
For in him is but foil Hamlet yet another,
And so they fence for honor and fence for life,
Two of two leads Hamlet the strife.
The King, to Hamlet he drinks,
Tis pearl shall he the cup he sinks,
And unwounded for two, Hamlet prevails,
But Queen, the dearest Mother, so faithfully frail,
For she drinks thy cup of heavenly pearl,
For heavenly it be not, as thy malicious plot unfurl,
The cup! The cup! A poisonous potion,
Cause yet another by venomous commotion.
A distracting cause, for Hamlet to bear,
For Laertes envenomed blade must’e beware,
Now envenomed blood shall Hamlet shed,
Shall he hold thy rapier of Laertes instead,
to shed thy venomous blood of thy venomous mind,
For now thy murderous plot shall unwind,
At the honorable death of brother Laertes,
Shall the death of Claudius be a’seized.
The King’s to blame for the death of all,
And tis day shall he see his destined fall.
With thy venomous blade held a’hand,
Let the doors be locked and the evils banned,
For Hamlet wounds thy treacherous soul,
And shall horrid Claudius pay his destined toll,
For Hamlet forces to drink thy murderous potion,
And shall he too die of venomous commotion.
The death of four and tis ****** scene,
Shall Horatio tell to those unseen.
Shall he speak of murderous truths embark,
for Fortinbras shall now throne Denmark,
For in Fortinbras does his admiration lay,
For does Hamlet trust thou’st fiery ambitious way,
And tis now concludes thy Hamlet’s life,
For death and death thou’st all alike...
A dedication and summary of Shakespeare's "Hamlet" the tragedy of the witty prince of Denmark written in 2011 for a class journal assignment.
Morgan Bethaney Oct 2014
maybe I'll get famous from writing a play
maybe I'll get famous from all the things I have to say
maybe I'll get famous for having a lot of money
maybe I'll get famous by marrying someone who doesn't love me
maybe I'll get famous by living like the stars
maybe I'll get famous by living like people who've forgotten who they are
what will I do then?
maybe I'll stay famous by buying nice clothes
maybe I'll stay famous with the white powder on my nose
maybe I'll stay famous by what they say in the magazines
maybe I'll stay famous by forgetting what life means
maybe I'll get rid of fame like the ones before me
maybe I'll get rid of fame because no one really loves me
maybe I'll get rid of fame with a gun
maybe I'll get rid of fame because it stopped being fun
but hey, who knows
maybe I won't let fame own me
maybe I won't let fame take away who I used to be
first step

when he looks at a woman he searches for qualities that attract him because he wants to desire her yet this tendency creates an imbalance or disadvantage he is rendered weak to a woman’s beauty or whatever traits he idealizes self-realizing this propensity he looks away from women years of disappointment neglect change him he becomes afraid of women gynophobic

2

when she looks at a man she searches for qualities she is critical of because she wants to be impervious to his power she is suspicious of all men their upper body strength penchant to be in control misperception of women as property misogyny emotional immaturity neediness to be mommyed selfishness insensitivity or over-sensitivity depending she wants to be treated with equal respect a loving nurturing relationship she is suspicious of all people their alternate realities passive aggressive behavior co-dependence craziness

3

he sees her then looks away she suspiciously notices nothing happens they go back to their separate homes alone always home alone grown calm in resignation yet disbelieving of this destiny saddened by this fate both worry about future she looks at her face naked body in mirror her stomach churns feels sad sickening remembers time when she was more carefree he puts one foot in front of other then walks tries to remember who taught him to walk how many times did he fall who taught him to laugh where did his sense of humor go

4

he sees her thinks she is lovely resists the urge to turn away he smiles says hello she notices nervously smiles her shaky voice articulates louder than a whisper hi

Tucson 2-step

they are standing in line at a café on 4th avenue he is directly behind her she is lanky wearing white background faded colors patterned summer dress thin straps over bare shoulders long brown hair few gray strands small unfinished tattoo on left calf leather slip-ons 1 inch heals he is at a complete loss for words thinks to make remark about the weather decides not to overhead fan stirs hot humid July air barista girl asks what she would like her eyes scan blackboard menu behind counter she hesitates remarks help him i need an extra moment to decide he steps up to counter money in hand orders small to go Arnold Palmer half black current lays $3 on counter mentions change goes in tip jar thank you barista girl moves fast he lifts cup from counter glances at woman still deciding then at barista girl says have a wonderful day turns walks out door dawns on him woman grows hair under her arms his 2nd most compelling female physique adornment fetish oh god he thinks to himself should i wait for her to make up her mind then approach try to craft conversation at least find out her name no i’m too weak in this moment she is so lovely let her go

2

she orders double Americana in small cup to go room for soy milk thinks to herself he did greet her perhaps their paths will cross on street why did he run off so fast she glances toward front of café notices window seat changes her mind instructs barista ******* 2nd thought make it for here digs through purse realizes she left wallet in truck explains to barista girl she needs to run out to her vehicle to retrieve wallet forgotten under front seat the air on the street is heavy dense she smells her own perspiration looks north then south does not see him walks to truck feels exhausted appetiteless almost nauseous wishes she did not order a drink thinks to get behind wheel drive home go to sleep

Tucson 3-step tango

she feels disappointment by her recent writings as if she is reaching a more sophisticated audience and setting a higher standard for her work yet she is not living up to her ambitions her recent writings smell of her past writings too emotional the damaged woman wounded child she wants to write more introspectively with detached humor that only comes from keener intelligence she slams her laptop shut decides to go to Club Congress for a ****** mary or margarita but Club Congress is haunted with small town cretins losers wannabes she considers Maynard’s decides Maynard’s is too safe suburban yuppyish finally gives in to thought of glass of pinot noir at Plush next comes what to wear jeans in mid-July desert heat is unacceptable perhaps loose fitting thin cotton white summer dress thin leather belt ankle high indian moccasins hair in ponytail no pigtail braids no ponytail no makeup maybe little ylang ylang oil no she thinks about her recent writings

2

i am one breath away from crying in every moment one breath away from flying m.i.a. in every moment one breath away from destroying everything there is beauty in ugliness beauty in decrepitude disease beauty in harm hurt suffering beauty in greed injustice betrayal beauty in corruption contamination pollution beauty in hate cruelty ignorance beauty in death we spend our whole lives searching for a good death we spend our whole lives searching for eternal love this modern world is too much for me over my head the horrors of this place are beyond words unspeakable voice inside maybe mom yells quit your whining or dad hollers stop complaining i am trying to smile through tears one breath away from giving in one breath away from becoming stranger to myself winter spring winter spring there is beauty in nothingness we spend our whole lives searching for ourselves learning who we are not finding grasping secrets from dark paths light trails winter spring winter spring i am one breath away

3

she sits alone at bar at Plush glass of pinot noir glass of ice water in front of her 2 bearded older men eye her from other end of bar she ignores them glances at her wristwatch tries to look like she is waiting for someone music from speakers antiquated rock standard it is early friday hours from dusk moderate middle aged crowd mingle wait for local jazz trio to begin she thinks about her recent writings wonders is it too late for love considers lesbian affair from 5 different perspectives 5 woman’s voices each describing same lesbian affair in 5 opposing accounts hmmm she sips dark red wine from glass chases it with ice water she considers a story about a gang of female bikers who ride south to Mexico

4

the Americans came through here last night crossing border illegally climbing over our fences digging tunnels beneath our barrier walls littering along their trail they travel in packs of every skin color carry guns knives explosives wear leather boots some are shirtless tattoos dyed hair mischievously smiling conceitedly stealing when in question murdering they rob our homes slaughter our chickens ransack gardens loot our harvest you can still smell the stink of their fast food breaths

5

she swallows the last dark red wine from glass chases it with ice water local jazz trio begins to play as bar fills with more people she decides to walk home one foot in front of other wonders who taught her how to walk how many times did she fall she laughs to herself

Tucson square dance

TPD 10-18 unconfirmed data report

7 post-University of Arizona female graduates go to Cactus Moon for several drinks and dancing then drive to Bashful Bandit for more drinks and dancing 2 women get into scuffle victim Brittany Garner female 23 years of age race #5 (Native American, Eskimo, Middle -Eastern, Other) 5’ 2” long black hair cut-off blue jean shorts clingy light blue top falls hits head on side of bar dies of fatal blow to skull forensics report crushed occipital lobe assailant Stacy Won female 31 years of age race #4 (Asian) 5’6” black jeans black leather jacket red helmet Honda motorcycle still at large

witness accounts

Jess Delaney female 33 years of age race #2 (White) 6’ tight black pencil skirt white sleeveless undershirt no bra 3” heels blond ponytail “that squirting little **** deserves everything she got she lied told Stacy i’m a ***** i never cheated on Brittany i don’t understand we were all having a good time getting buzzed and dancing we should never have left Cactus Moon **** Kerrie thought some biker dude might be hanging around the Bandit hell maybe the Bandit was a biker bar once but now it’s just a college sink hole full of drunken frat boys when Monique flashed a little *** they went crazy cheering and buying us shots it just got out of hand never should have happened the way it happened Stacy didn’t mean to **** Brittany it’s ****** up i want to go home please let me go home”

Sabrina Starn female 29 years of age race #2 (White) 5’8” trendy corporate gray suit black pumps red shoulder length hair “i have to be at work at 8 AM Stacy was drunk out of control she gets crazy when she drinks Brittany was trash talking pushing all Stacy’s buttons then Stacy accused Brittany of sleeping with Monique and all hell broke loose i didn’t see what happened i was in the powder room it’s a terrible tragedy unfortunate accident can i please be released i need to sleep this is madness”

Kerrie Angeles female 27 years of age race #1 (Hispanic) 5’ 6” black pants white shirt black hair cut stylishly short silver crucifix around neck red fingernails “when we got to the Bashful Bandit i was ***** soaking between my legs thinking about a cowgirl at Cactus Moon ready to **** anyone i saw fantasized pulling a train with those frat boys Monique had been kind of quiet at Cactus Moon but when we got to the Bashful Bandit she lit up dancing wild unbuttoning her top jacket Sabrina went to the ladies room to snort coke with biker dude Kerrie wanted but he wasn’t into her then Brittany started saying crazy stuff accusing Stacy of stealing Monique from Jess Jessie goes through women heartlessly she doesn’t give a **** about Monique Jessie knows if she wants Monique back she can simply fiddle a finger my guess is Stacy is half way to Argentina she never meant to **** Brittany i’m going to miss her real bad she was a good kid”

Ann Skyler female 28 years of age race  #2 (White) 4’ 11’’ green white red Mexican peasant skirt black t-shirt black high-tops hair in messy bun “i’m confused i saw them dancing laughing grinding up against each other Rage Against the Machine came on then Nine Inch Nails the room felt quaking dizzy claustrophobic then they were pushing each other shoving yelling frat boys cheering the next thing i knew Brittany was supine on the floor blood pouring out maybe she just slipped hit her head i don’t know what to think i feel real sad confused sick to my stomach scared”

Monique Smithson female 24 years of age race # 3 (Black) 5’ 9” blue jeans jean jacket cowboy boots nose ring braided pigtails “Stacy had it in for Brittany from the start i saw it in her eyes at Cactus Moon she made several clever toxic remarks they snapped at each other i never thought it would escalate to ****** poor sweet Brittany was always so susceptible i was looking down adjusting my jeans over my boots when it happened i heard felt a big thump glanced up Brittany was lying there lifeless blood spilling everywhere Stacy ran out fast i heard her bike engine take off in a hurry”

Rodeo Drive Tucson

matt’s hats tom’s tools & tobacco lou’s liquors fred’s beds frank’s planks bill’s drills jane’s drains & panes chuck’s check cashing cheryl’s barrels hank’s tanks tina’s trucks & tractors walt’s asphalt sean’s pawn rick’s rifles mom’s guns terry’s tires charlie’s harleys rhonda’s hondas jim’s rims art’s parts gus’s gasoline mike’s bikes frank’s feed gwen’s pens ann’s cans nancy’s nursery joes‘s clothes jess’s dresses bert’s skirts steve’s sleeves paul’s shawls michelle’s shells & bells al’s pails & snails sam’s hams & jams patty’s pancakes phil’s chili don’s donuts betty’s spaghetti bob’s burgers alycia’s quiches jean’s beans jerry’s berries anna’s bananas andy’s candies cathy’s taffies tony’s ponies roy’s toys kim’s whims marty’s parties jill’s pills rick’s tricks alice’s palace debbie’s disposal dave’s graves

Quinta Waltz de Tucson

she is definitely displeased profoundly disappointed in her latest literary efforts she dreams aches to create deeper discourse higher insight more thoughtful philosophical inquiries about life’s challenges beauty a better world overpowering love inspiration instead she writes paperback television trash stupid inadequate answers to solemn questions she wonders if she is too scratched dented to find love her ******* are definitely changing she is deeply disturbed not ready for menopause too young for menopause she wants to remain a fertile woman with smooth skin wet ******

2

her neighbor Leslie awoke to horrible morning Leslie’s 6 chickens were assaulted overnight precious Mabel dragged off feathers everywhere trail down the street other hens cowering slumped together with wilted necks 3 of them with puncture wounds Leslie carried them one by one inside washed their wounds hugged them cried who did this terrible act a neglected abusive neighborhood cat or some desert predator why didn’t Leslie wake to sounds of savage marauding now this creature knows hen’s whereabouts when will it return for more massacre what modifications need to be enforced to ensure their coup before nightfall

3

she wants to remain a hen keep producing eggs does not want is not ready to enter the next **** stage of this **** existence it was fun being pretty for men inspiring them to say do whacky things she wants to remain a hen she is definitely displeased profoundly disappointed in her latest literary attempts “Tucson square dance” (self-referential) ****** bit about Americans came through here last night in “Tucson 3-step” ****** "Rodeo Drive" tepid perhaps the pinot noir lowered her standards everything is becoming nothing she cannot sleep tosses turns thrashes sheets in humid heat of her lonesome bed is she is too scratched dented to find love she worries for Leslie

4

tomorrow is another day they say the rain will come last year’s monsoon never came the baking sun smothered her garden died one by one sleepless she will miss tomorrow’s pilates class the infrequent delightful chatty breakfast afterwards she dreams aches of deeper discourse higher insight with detached humor that only comes from keener intelligence more thoughtful philosophical inquiries about life’s challenges beauty a better world overpowering love inspiration she crossed the line tonight her ******* are definitely changing

Tucson 666

he decides to shave eighth to quarter inch length salt and pepper beard a.k.a. unshaven look he has worn for years and grow full mustache the whiskers on his upper lip are darker with sparse gray at first no one notices after weeks the mustache gradually fills evoking many contrasting remarks several women loath it several men admire it girl at grocery store suggests he grow Fu Manchu so she can tug on it shopgirl says he looks like Charlie Chaplin downstairs neighbor from Turkey explains most Turkish men traditionally wear mustaches he read mustaches masculinize and empower men especially men in authoritative positions he thinks back to the 1960’s when many hippie males grew mustaches then in the 70’s gay men fashioned mustaches then in the 80’s cops adopted mustaches he wonders why a swatch of hair beneath nose is so provoking examines his visage in mirror discerns the mustache confers a Pepé le Pew quality or European accent to his appearance he remembers when he was young hippie with many amorous episodes how his mustache preserved the scent of a woman but there are no women in his life for many years do post-menopausal women possess scent? he feels indecisive whether to retain it or be rid of it

2

she observes her figure in mirror thinks to herself maybe her ******* are not changing perhaps it’s all in her head she inspects the little lines forming near her eyelids studies her features for signs of aging hardly any silver strands in long brown hair she examines neck ******* arms elbows fingers tummy hips pelvic region thighs knees shins calves ankles feet detects subtle changes thinks to herself my ******* are possibly slightly changing turned 40 in March married briefly in late teens no children a 15 year old dog beginning to suffer veterinarian promises to warn her when the time comes she wonders why it is so difficult finding fitting mate men sleep with her several times then move on maybe she is not such a great lover perhaps she would be better if one of them stuck around perhaps she is a lesbian the whole ide
YOU SEE LAST NIGHT I WENT UP TO SPACE

TO THROW METHANE ALL OVER DAD

TO GET RID OF HIS IKD FOGIE, MAN

AND I SAW MY OLD SCHOOL MATES

WHO DECIDED TO THROW METHANE ALL OVER ME

TO GET RID OF MY JITTERING OLD FOGIE

MY MATES SAID, IF YA LIKE YOUTUBE BRIAN

GO ON YOUTUBE, NO SKIN OFF MY MY NOSE

JUST DON’T FIGHT YA HEAD, DUDE

I KNOW IT;S FUN TO TOSS METHANE ALL OVER DAD TO IMPROVE HIS NEXT LIFE

BUT WE NEED TO GET RID OF YOUR SHY YOUNG DUDE, BRIAN

ESPECIALLY IS YA LOVE YOUTUBE, AND YOU WANNA HAVE SOME FUN

YA NEED TO GET RID OF THAT ALIEN THAT IS CAPTURING YOUR FEET

YOU SEE MY MATES ARE SITTING IN THEIR CHAIRS

THINKING THEYVHAVE THE PERFECT JOB

THEY WANT TO AVOID BEING LIKE DAD, THEIR WEIRD

I HATE THESE MATES, THEY ARE ****** HOOLIGANS

I LIKE THEIR FANILY PERSON, BUT MY COOL KID DOESN’T LIKE THEIR SHY YOUNG DUDE

THERE ARE VOICES SAYING YOUR FATHER ISN’T AROUND ANYMORE ANYMORE, BRIAN

OR YOUR BROTHER ISN’T AROUND ANYMORE BRIAN

I SAY TO THEM, DUDES, I AM STILL AROUND, I AM COOL MAN

YA SEE, SOMETIMES I AM FIGHTING MY DEMONS

LIKE BY SAYING, I  WANT TO BEAT THIS YOUR STILL A YOUNG DUDE VOICE

BUT I CAN’T STAND GETTING HASSLED, I SAY TO MY OLD MATES WHEN THEY SAY

I DON’T WANT TO BE COOL, I SAY, WELL, DON’T BE COOL, SIT THERE BEING MY DADDY

CAUSE THAT IS MY LITTLE GAME, TO TAKE YOUR HOOLIGAN AWAY

AND PUT YOUR LITTLE COOL KID TO A TEASE BACK INTO YA

AND WHEN I SAY ANYTHING TO YA, YOU WILL SAY, I LIKE GOING TO BED WITH YA

YOU ARE A **** CHICK BRIAN, THIS OLD GUY SAYS

IM TELL HIM, THAT HE IS STUPID, BUT HE REFUSES TO LISTEN

CAUSE HE WANTS TO HASSLE OR TEASE ME, I CAN’T HANDLE THIS

I AM DOING MY TAPESTRY, WHILE YOU ARE SITTING THERE SMILING AT ME, LIKE A LITTLE TEASING KID DOES

YOU ARE TELLING ME, I WAS TOO SHY TO BE LIKE US, BUDDY

CAUSE, I WANT YOU TO TRY AND BE LIKE ME NOW, BRIANY

YOUR NOW, MY LITTLE BRIANY, YOUR DADS DEAD, YOUR NOT YA FAMILY’S LITTLE BRIANY NO MORE, YOUR MINE, ALL MINE

YOU SEE HE WANTS TO TREAT ME LIKE A HOOLIGAN, LIKE THE LITTLE TINY COOL KID, THAT HE IS

I AM A PERSON, WHO ENJOYS LIFE, I WANT YOU TO DO A LITTLE DANCE FOR US, PATTY

CAUSE, YOU PAT, ARE A HOOLIGAN, I AM A FANILY PERSON, WHO WANTS TO P A R T Y DUDES

YA SEE EVERY TIME  I ACT COOL, LIKE ACTING COOL, SLEEPING ON THE COUCH

MY MATE JUMPS INTO BED WITH ME, LIKE HE WAS GAY OR SOMETHING

CAUSE HE IS A GAY *******, I CAN’T STAND GAY MOTHER *******

TREATING ME LIKE A CHICK, I WAS BORN A GUY, THIS MATE, IS A HORRIBLE OLD FOGIE’S KID

AND HE IS AN OLD FOGIE’S KID AS WELL AS A DADDY’S BOY, BUT I LIKED HIM FOR THAT

HE SHOULDN’T WORRY ABOUT THAT, I KNOW I WAS A LITTLE COOL KID TO ALL THE FAMILIES WHEN I WAS YOUNG

AND I REALLY THOUGHT I WAS A LITTLE COOL KID TO ALL THE FAMILIES

I AM A COOL KID WHE I FALL ASLEEP ON THE COUCH

BUT PATS TIPS 24 KEGS OF METHANE ON ME, SAYI NG WE;RE TRYING TO RID YOUR OLD FOGIE

CAUSE HE AIN’T A DADDY’S BOY

BUT I CAN UNDERSTAND WHY HE DOESN’T WANT TO BE A DADDY’S BOY, CAUSE HIS DAD WAS LAZY

MY DAD ON ON THE OTHER HAND, WAS A WALKER, AND A SWIMMER, AND A VERY SOCIAL PERSON

I WALK FOR THE SAME REASON DAD DID, TO KEEP MYSELF REGULAR AND FIT

I CAN UNDERSTAND MY MATE DOESN’T WANNA BE LIKE HIS DAD, HE IS LAZY

MY DAD WOULD HELP A LOT OF KIDS, AND ALSO DIGS THE WEEDS UP BETWEEN THE CRACKS

AND I KNOW, I AM NOT AS MOTIVATED AS HIM, BUT I DON’T WANT TO BE LAZY

I LIKE DOING THINGS CREATIVE, CAUSE MY MATE, IS A JEALOUS OLD ****

YA SEE, I KNOW HOW TO GET THE VOICES OUT OF MY HEAD

BY MAKING THIS VOICE JITTER, I HATE THIS MATE

CAUSE I THOUGHT, THAT CANBERRA UNDERSTOOD I LIKE EXERCISING MY CREATIVE DUTY OF THIS EARTH

AND THAT IS WHAT I AM ABOUT
Vani May 2018
He doesn't burn photographs
He doesn't join therapy sessions
He doesn't smoke too many cigarettes
Nor he drown himself into alcohol
He scratches his wounds daily
And never let them heal
He doesn't try to get rid of the pain
Instead he let it grow on him
He waters the seed of sorrow with his tears
He feeds it with the manure of old memories
He takes it to sleep with him
And nurtures it in himself
Till the moment when every single drop of his blood gets replaced by this pain
Until his fragile heart can bear no more
And his soul starts overflowing with emotions
That's when he dip his pen into this pain
And empty his heart on a piece of paper
He bares his soul for us to feel
He creates poetry that the world would cherish for centuries to come
That's how true poetry comes into existence
ju Apr 2015
Mum had been gone a couple of months, six I think… (An ordinary day. Feeling hollow but doing OK) …when I realized I could get rid of the sofa.

I thought it was ugly. She thought it was a bargain. A sofa’s not a keepsake and it was certainly no heirloom. I’d not inflict it on my kids. I got rid.

If I could’ve had her back then? I would’ve done. Even if it meant keeping the sofa.

Redecorated. Bought a new telly. Spent frivolous amounts of cash on scatter cushions. She disliked scatter cushions. I thought they were cosy.

My little boy drew on one of the cushions. On purpose. I was about to smack the back of his legs… (Mum would have. She smacked me when I was little) … but I stopped.

I never wanted to. I had known all along, somehow forgotten.

If I could’ve had her back then? I would’ve done. But she would not smack my children.

Mum had been gone a year… (Planting bulbs. Feeling conspicuous carrying a shovel ‘round the churchyard) …and I missed her .

It was as hot as the day she died. There was no breeze up on that hill. No cloud. Beautiful views stretched right out to the sea.

My little boy had grown. He helped carry water and dig holes. My baby was learning to walk. She wobbled on uneven turf between the headstones. I wanted Mum to see.

If I could’ve had her back then? I would’ve done. No question.


Mum had been gone three years… (Bulbs were doing OK. There was nothing left to plant that rabbits wouldn't nibble) …and I realized it was time to move on.

I kept the ghosts quiet while agents showed people round. The house sold. We moved away. A warm, terraced place in a small town by the sea. Dad died.

Mum has been gone eight years and I miss her.

Looking out from the Downs across cliff-top and sea, the churchyard seems nothing more than a soft-grey fleck on the green edge of town.

If I could bring her back now? Everything’s changed.

Ghosts exist. They sit in empty chairs and speak kettle-whistle. Wishing us well.
Beautiful Shame Jul 2014
You rid yourself of the pain...
*************
• By drowning your sorrows in alcohol.
• By burning your misery in a blunt.
• By cutting yourself.
————————————————————
But guess what?
At the end of the day you still feel empty            & lonly inside, because the temporary
relief is well temporary. So you just can't quite get rid of the feelings of pain but you can learn to live with it
               & keep on walking down your road of life where you will one day heal with time.
(*-*) (:.:) ('.') (+.+)
I tend to get stares... Looks... The occasional "are you gay?" With a quizzical look of disgust.
Well, to answer your question, no, I am not gay.
In a society built around judgment and stilted above common sense,
Being gay would mean that I'd have to find women utterly disgusting, flick my wrists, speak with funny and awkward inflections, right?
Do you think I speak with funny and awkward inflections?
Good! Because I'm so not gay.
Being gay would mean that I love to shop, well I hate it!
My fashion sense does not exceed that of a box of colorful crayola crayons melting away in the blistering Las Vegas sun because you see, I don't live in San Francisco, or New York,
or anywhere "gay" people live.
I am not gay.
Being gay would mean that I am immoral but I can assure you, moralistically speaking, that morals are what keep me routinely from listening to Lady Gaga, who I've heard, despite her catholic upbringing, is a devout devil worshiper and I sure as hell don't worship Satan!
Oh no, I am not gay.
My father once told me, in his manliest tone that if I ever became sweet
or my tank profusely filled with sugar
that he'd disown me and rid me of his home.
However last time I checked,
I don't have a tank
and one lick of my tanned brown skin would reveal that I am in fact quite salty!
Salty, as defined by Urban Dictionary, means to be ******.
Bitter. Angry.
Well father, there aint nothing sweet about my wrath.
I'm infuriated.
I'm angry not because I'm not able to fulfill the holistic criterion society has built in order to be gay,
No, I am more upset that there is actually a set of rules dictating whether or not someone is gay.
Now listen to me when I tell you,
I am not gay
I am not gay because I have yet to inject myself of substances with an unsterile needle for all purposes of getting high.
No, I have yet to discover my last ****** partner was diagnosed with *** and that I may very well have the virus.
No, I have yet to interiorly decorate my bedroom with the warm crimson fluid that is my blood because some punk at school thought it was cute to label me a queer.
I have yet to be gay because being gay in today's society means I am reckless. I am promiscuous. I am a *******.
Well, guess what society,
I am not gay.
I am, in fact, a man, who is not your personal show dog for your fashion approval that you can tote around in some cute Gucci bag.
I am a man, who can still appreciate the beautiful magnificence that is a curve when he sees one no matter the person's gender.
I am a man who, despite what you may be expecting,
is a man who, no matter how hard you try to box me in a confined image,
is a man who, will fight to freely be in love with who he wants to be in love with,
who is a man who is not gay
but a man who loves men.
I am not gay.
..
Totally gay.
you see it was hard for me when my school mates were just in my voices in my head
and my dad and mum gave me carers, for me to do things with, and i can relate to maggie here, cause i wanted everything, i wanted to go everywhere, but it was the
cost of the ****** petrol, i look at this episode, and i view it from the eyes of maggie
because, i wanted to be cool, and i still wanna be cool, but having carers were good
and some carers were religious freaks, some carers, shown me the dangers about the man i used to like to be, and some carers wanted to show me a good time, or how to be an organised adult and some carers wanted to be on the community together, i like most of the carers i like, but there are a few rich arrogant *******, and also i had to pay money for my carers, ya know petrol, one carer, tristan, who reminded me of my brother
and patrick, took me on a holiday to merimbula, i paid for the petrol and my share
but we had a wonderful time, actually i learnt from tristan, about meditation, which i later
found out it was buddhist meditation and i believe in that, and he was a musician, and
i went to see his band at the *** belly, and i enjoyed that, he told me to eat vegetables
raw, he was a bit of a health freak, but i liked him, because, he inspired me, to love life
and he inspired to help my mate the messiah, in the same way, but, inspiration is a funny thing, i shouldn't try and be like other people, you should be yourself, but tristan was giving me stuff i have never done, a holiday with someone other than mum or dad
and later i took the messiah to merimbula, and i watched the pigs perform, not real
pigs, the music band the pigs, yeah, i felt like tristan in a way, but i really should be myself, as hannah montana, don't let anyone tell you that your not strong enough
just be yourself, and nothing bad will happen, you see one carer, who i will not mention
his name, tried to joke with me, by leaving me at revolve, but he didn't, and i had 2 crazy christians, a Y leader, and many more, this made dad and mum relax a bit, but mum and dad, were worried my past, is coming back to me, but what is wrong with looking young
or trying to look young, now, i have the same people clean my house, for me, i help, by making it easier for them, no i am a lazy person, when it comes to housework, but
i am a great community worker, this episode shows when arthur paid maggie to look after her, and i accepted carers after a few years of arguing with them, and keeping
pats voice in my head, until i behaved, i liked patrician and he was no carer, but he was as
nice as a carer, but tristan was a great carer, and he reminded me of pat's nice natiure
and he reminded me of my brother, in his music tastes, and occasionally his manners
with the adults, there is nothing with having carers, no matter what is your problem

but the messiah gave me a mate, behind the scenes, cause, he was nice to me
i need carers, only for housework help, and occasional shopping, and the NDIS might
help me with future goals, like helping the homeless at common ground
maggie beare is like me i am afraid to say, but not really, i am creative enough
to rid the stupidness out of my body
ryyan May 2011
Once upon a time.
In a land far far away.
Their existed a rhyme,
About the greatest game ever played.
This is the said rhyme 
preserved from the acclaim the game has gained.
Passed on to generations about the game at it’s prime. 

A game that should be reclaimed from the fame its gained at the present time.
This game came from the brain of a person
who aimed to have the time of his life. 

Town ball was for all. In any season: spring, summer, winter, or fall.
Town ball was a ball for all: no despair, grief,  or strife, could spawn.
The rules were simple
Hit ball: bases touch all. 

Teams were never full. 
And the field could sprawl.
Everything was in play just like everyone could play.
No obstacle was in the way, no direction out of play.
Yet, according to the natural law of capitalistic America,
An evolution began to make money.
**** you Jean-Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet!!
You may have nothing to do with baseball, 

But you spawned the evilest idea of them all. 

That evolution is caused by natural law, 

and the evolution of baseball is the downfall of all that is America.
Baseball was at one time a game of fun; 

good times shared with one another under the sun. 

Eventually they agreed to decree the official rules, 

And it was not Abner Doubleday who would have the last say in history,
for that story is a myth that we should flee from like fools.
Instead it was Alexander Cartwright who penned the knickerbocker rules.
These rules spread to the rest of the clubs,
and eventually it was coined the New York game. 

No longer could anyone play but only the ones who could slug.
If you wanted to win, it would be a sin,
to put in the has been who brought the game shame.
This game spread during the civil war. 

In down time to escape they played for fun instead of being bored.
The game spread like never before,
and soon the game covered the entire eastern shore.
The N.A.A.B.B.P was formed and by 1867 four hundred teams were born,
and in 1870 the Chicago Cubs actually won!
They actually were good before 1908,
heck some people might even say they were great. 

I don’t mean to taint their slate or bait your hate.
I just wish to point out that its been some time since that date,
and you Cub fans still must await.
Meanwhile these gentleman clubs would compete in the heat,
for they wanted to prove they were the ones to beat. 

Yet promoters wanted money so they charged the food you eat.
Then they fenced in the meet.
No longer could you watch the teams compete from the street.
If you wanted to know who would defeat you must enter with a receipt
to show that you payed for your seat.
There you would meet, eat, and greet,
and keep track of the game on your score sheet
Eventually the wood frames turned to concrete

in order to hold more people inside their games.
And the players started to earn fame.
And eventually everyone knew their name.
No longer was the game a game for games sake,
instead it was meant to entertain the fame-craved.
All that matter was the money made at the gate,
and since then the game has never been the same.
Before players would score more and their would be less of a bore.
Fielders caught with their fingers the stingers thrown,
but for catchers that was absurd.

Before, fans would abhor to the idea of a fielder with a glove adorned,
but eventually the planted seed, grew steadily, and the fielders glove was born.
At first their was no web extended between the finger and thumb.
Because that would make it so easy to catch it would be just dumb. 

Yet, somehow the web spread and eventually it won. 

Now any *** could catch between finger and thumb
and the hand would not become numb.
This lead the dead ball era dread at the start of nineteen hundred.
And ego went to Owen Wilson’s head as he lead the league with triples.
Thirty six triples the record was set
and will never be broken it has been said.
But instead its embed into the unread
record book for others to go ahead and try to break with dread.
There were several reasons that lead to the dead ball.
First of all, the same ball was used until it started to unravel.
Second, was that you would draw a strike for every foul ball,
And lastly was the spit ball which would dance to any squall.
All these reasons made the pitchers un-hittable. 

And batters seeing their batting average fall
would take a bar crawl and bawl.
But then a savior came to us all. 

This man hit the ball so far that it would fall somewhere past Senegal.
The claims were esteemed that this man was best of them all. 

Yet, he was traded for money to fund a curtain call. 

This man’s name was George “the Babe” Herman Ruth. 

A pitcher turned outfielder because he was a great hitter is the truth.
The great bambino or Sultan of Swat,
nothing could stop him when he was hot. 

And he hit the dead ball era out of the park and it was forever lost. 

He had more home run’s as an individual, than any team,

Except for the Phillies who were good it seems.

Babe was the hit man

Pitcher he was no longer

The same change came

With this emphasis:
Babe Ruth symbolized what was

the rest of the game. 


They said pitch no more.
Sluggers are what fans adore
outfields became small. 


Power was the talk

Every team must have a guy
who hits with power. 


George “babe” Herman Ruth
and Lou Gehrig, the Yankee’s
became the very best.

Then the depression came and rained on the parade of the baseball game.
Yet, families with radio’s would listen to the games as a sort of hope. 

To escape from the world that they known. 

To escape to a game that reminded them of better days.
Then WWII came and stole away the players. 

Baseball’s talent level was now in multiple layers. 

and because of lack of talent Ted Williams batted over .400 percent
and Joe Dimaggio hit the ball again and again. 

for 56 consecutive games he hit the ball back to where it was sent.
Yet, eventually the players would return and baseball would mend. 

But not before the ladies got their own league. 

and men it did intrigue.
Is this for real?
Or a joke?
They would laugh.

Then they would choke. 

When they saw that this wasn’t just an act.
The girls continued,
“Everyone used to be able to play the good old town ball game!
“This is no longer town ball,” the men said, “the present game is not the same,
Instead its now played for money and fame.”

Oh how the good old days always change.

“Give us money” the women exclaimed,
“We’ll take your fortune we’ll take your fame!”

Some men said, “you complain! Its not the same,
you have to be good to play this game,
you can have your separate league if you need,
But this game of fame is only for white men of age!”

Oh how problems never change
Instead they always stay the same.
Yet, it wouldn’t be long
Before the trumpet would sing its song. 

That segregation would possibly end. 

Not for women but for African Americans. 

Segregation had always gone on. 

***** leagues rose up, but finally segregation’s time was gone 

due to a man named Jackie Robinson. 

And in 1947 he broke through with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Because his team was convinced they’d make more money by Lou Durocher
Yet it came with its troubles because Not everyone on the team was happy 
And some fans were just down right ******.
Some teams such as our beloved St.Louis Cardinals even threatened to strike. 

They were not going to play if Jackie played because they had that much dislike. 

But Jackie and the Dodgers pushed through all the hate that spewed. 

Other players, managers, and fans  were rude, crude and would start feuds. 
Then they would brood every time Jackie’s name the roster would include.
But after awhile people would conclude that he was actually very good.
And after review others would start to include rather than seclude,

But this integration was long over due.
30 years till segregation could be totally subdued.
The lessons we learn are hard ones that is true. 

And it takes awhile for an entire nations perspective to take a different mood.
Now with baseball integrated the game be televised. 

This allows the money in the game to rise. 

The league now expands west; 

New markets they must test.
But hey! the players want some of this. 

They want to start a free agency. 

But this is the last thing the owners need! 

But the players want to be able to move between teams.

The players want money. Oh how things never change.
But the players got what want. 

They now can negotiate and the owners this does haunt. 

The game now is wrapped inside this twisted shame of money. 

Thats all any body wants so they find ways to scheme. 

Thus steroids came to the scene. 

Players now could be payed more if they played well. 

This meant that to hit the ball far, big muscles they would have to build.
In order to get that edge over everyone else. 

These players used steroids to get their help. 

Yet that was not cool with the public 
Because steroids put you at risk. 

They are dangerous at best,
and the league didn’t want to run the risk. 

Plus what about records that have stood the time test?
Are they going be broken now and no longer exist?

All because someone drugs themselves to have a bigger biceps and chest?
Someone please lay this all to rest! 

Baseball today is such a shame. 

Its boring with all of the commercial and pitcher change breaks. 

Something needs to change. 

Because its been turned into a sideshow. 

Thats the only reason why kids even go. 

To see the park, get hot dogs,
and baseballs that when put in the dark they glow. 

Then when you get home. 

you ask them what they remember about the game 

and they say, “I don’t know”. 

This game used to be interesting. 

But now I find my channels flipping. 

Even Golf is more fun to watch. 

at least they hit that ball a lot!
Baseball should but I doubt ever will, 

Get rid of all the pitchers it has to refill. 

No more pitching changes; That would increase the thrill!

Maybe players could hit the ball if wasn’t coming 100 mph every throw. 

and instead of pure talent pitchers had to use strategy,
of when to and not to throw 

That 100mph hour fastball.
Get rid of the sideshow. 

Then maybe kids would go. 

Maybe then we’d go back to being enthralled. 

Back when Baseball was actually Baseball. 

But I doubt it will because money is what matters now.
Sideshows make money so its always going to be allowed.
But I’d like to disavow
I’d like to dropout. 

I never really watched it much in the first place. 

but now I know of a better game.
Oh and one final thing to say. 

We should just go back to town ball. 

That game sounds so much cooler than baseball. 

You could really make some unique obstacles

Put in a fountain or maybe even a wall.
It just sounds like a lot of fun. 

I plan to play it this summer some. 

Everyone will be welcome. 

And we’ll have fun under the sun. 

And it won’t really matter who will win. 

Because its about having fun, building character,
and growing relationships
The end.
You… you’ve got a lot going for you
You’re famous, you’re smart, and you’re powerful
but you are ugly.
You think we can’t see the evil under that gaudy, outdated sweater
but we can.
You think that fancy perfume you wear hides the scent of terror
but it doesn’t.
You think the makeup you put on daily covers the pure pain written on your face
but you are dead wrong
bipolar, you are hideous.
Sometimes, though, that’s easy to forget
when it feels like I can do anything
the world is my oyster. When I feel that ungodly fake happiness
that masquerades as wellness, when I’m with you
and I don’t want to leave.
That’s when you have me. Then you take the opportunity
to torment me.
The façade is gone, and it all comes rolling through the gates.
You scream a thousand voices into my head
you bind my body and I can feel your merciless crushing grasp
you convince me that everything is good, it’s not bad,
it’s bad, it’s not good,
this is good, that is bad, I need to say it over and over and over again
you take over, and I don’t stand a chance.
My peace of mind is gone, and my humanity is soon to follow
How did I let this happen to me? I’ll never know
but I’ve learned this:
You do take no for an answer
and I have a lot more control than I thought.
If I ask you to stay away, you’ll ask me why, and I’ll tell you
because I want to be better
and as long as I let you anywhere near me, I will always
be stuck here
on this nightmare of a rollercoaster.
So you accept that, thank God
thank you, bipolar, for setting me free,
at least once in a while.
I feel less alone without you because
I can love more fully, for longer, forever.
I can accept my imperfections rather
than suffer in the desire to be rid of them. to be rid of you.
I can be still and know
that it is ok.
I’m ok, you’re ok. and I intermittently have my **** together.
I’m sorry things are not working out between you and me,
bipolar disorder.
but I’m not sorry that without you,
my life is ******* beautiful.
love,
indrani
He Pa'amon Aug 2018
"And in a funny way, the shaving of my, uh, head has been a liberation from, uh, a lot of, uh, stupid vanities really. Uh, it has simplified everything for me, it has opened a lot of doors maybe." - Stephen Malkmus, Jo Jo's Jacket

the first layer of skin i shed
was the bra

rid of the foreign metal sculptor producing a deep rift between skin
my third eye, swallowing gazes

rid of my **** , my ***** , my rack
replaced with sacks of fat and nerve and milk ducts
hanging, existing, for no one else
not even myself

the second layer of skin was the painting of the face
the concealing and erasing of imperfections, the lines of laughter of sorrow of life
redirecting attention and importance to the bow and symmetry of the lip

no longer did i have to put myself on in the morning
i woke up as i was, as i needed to be,
bare and uninhibited

my skin now breathed, and for no one else
not even myself

and then i grew another layer of skin,
made of dank tangles to protect my age,
i stopped shaving the years i'd walked this earth, shedding my womanhood

the skin grew to my armpits, little tufts of sweaty, odorous mother nature dozing in a fleshy convex nest

and to my legs, were the tangles wrapped around my ankles
preventing the spreading of the legs for every life
for not every life wanted what was not tame
and what was not tame no longer wanted to be.

my body did not conform,
for it was not brought into this world to be consumed for the pleasure of others

it exists for no one else,
not even myself

and as i was engulfed in this hairy wonder of my own body
i shed the last layer,
the shaving of the head

my brain, my being breathed
porous and exposed
vulnerable to weather and whispers

but i was all at once naked and calm,
having finally peeled away the layers of ***** over-sexualization and constrained femininity that had molded this meat sack that serves me,
a bundle of circuitry and solution balancing and bobbing on the neck

for i exist for no one else,
only myself
inspired by the song Jo Jo's Jacket by Stephen Malkmus
Ignite Mar 2019
Some of my friends and family do not understand anxiety
“It can’t be that bad”
“You don’t have anything to be afraid of”
“Just calm down”

“It can be that bad” I tell them
Anxiety strings barbed wire across doorways and coats people in broken glass
You can’t go anywhere
Anxiety is like a room in an adventure movie where water is steadily pumping onto the floor until it’s up to your chest
Except there’s no magic lever or button for anxiety
It just keeps going until you’ve drowned
Anxiety is a boulder strapped to your back
It keeps pressing and pressing
Even when you’re tired and you just want to sleep, it keeps pressing
Even when you fall, it keeps pressing
Even when you stop struggling to move, to survive, it keeps pressing

“There’s plenty to be afraid of” I say
Anxiety is a monster with giant bulging eyes and thousands of teeth and claws
And the worst part is that no one else can see it following you down the hallways at school
Stalking you in the bathrooms at concerts
Hiding under your own bed
Anxiety is like an uninvited party guest
You never know when Anxiety is going to join the party
It just shows up
And you never have enough snacks or blankets for Anxiety
It always wants more
And it doesn’t leave until 4am when you’re shaking from exhaustion
Anxiety doesn’t even say Thank you
For taking up everything you had in you
It just leaves
And you know Anxiety will be back
Eventually
What’s scary about Anxiety is that it keeps you from doing something you really wanna do
Like spending the night at your friends
You really wanna go but you just don’t
Because you don’t want to have to explain why your body has begun to unravel itself, time traveling back to when anxiety kept humans alive and why apparently your body thinks your friend’s sweet little French bulldog is the equivalent of a modern day saber tooth tiger  
Another scary thing about anxiety is the fact it’s something your brain makes up and your body BELIEVES it of all things
“I’m dying” your brain says
And so your body believes it
Because why would a piece of your body lie to itself?
Why would you lie to yourself?

“I can’t just calm down” I say to them
The whole thing with Anxiety is not just the fact that the guy next to you could be a suicide bomber or that the girl across the isle could have a knife in her pocket or  the fact you’ve got a test to pass or that your shoelaces aren’t symmetrical
It’s that anxiety gives you anxiety
What a beautiful self-destructive cycle
And if I could calm down don’t you think I would?
Do you think I would scratch myself raw trying to force the anxiety out of my skin?
Do you think I would spend my friend’s birthday party having a panic attack in the bathroom?
God why is it always bathrooms?
Do you think I would spend my every waking hour anxiously figuring out how I can avoid all the things that give me anxiety?
The thing about anxiety is that nothing can “get rid of it”
There is no cure
A million billion poems and hugs and dark closets and angry songs and therapists could not get rid of anxiety
Anxiety has embedded itself into me and I don’t have enough strength to dig the scalpel into my own skin and carve it out
I don’t think anyone has that kind of strength

“Anxiety is a part of me” I tell them
And the thing I ask now even gives me anxiety
Isn’t that ironic?
But I still ask it
I always ask it
“Will you still accept me?
Hi guys! I have no clue what I’m doing here, but hi!
Lizzy Jul 2014
This pink mass of mist
it glows when we touch
my waking has surrendered
it belongs to you
but the boulder
this crippling weight still sits

misty fog can't fly
can't float
never could
that rocky weight
it finally caught a cloud
and pinned it down

i didn't mean to show you
i never wanted you to see this
this amazingly heavy burden I carry
please don't let it catch your cloud

maybe I too often feel like a burden
only because I have lived as one
and this fear of being what I am
it adds ounces every day

maybe that's what I've been trying to get rid of
not my earthly weight
but the one that caught my cloud
Is that the one I've been trying to starve out?
This probably makes no sense unless you live in my brain

— The End —