Within Design

Pull away the skin,
The musculature, the bones,
And nearly all the components
That stricture humanity,
And you will see the threads,
The pale ribbons forced
To ignite meaning.
The world known is borne
Of this web that now sits
Sullen without shape.
Now, you know this.
But for a while we couldn’t
Even imagine that our universe
Rolled through soft alien claws
Beneath our faces. I still
Can’t fully believe it.

It’s a bit strange how little
We knew of ourselves
And the air falling from
The leaves. Shoved blind
Onto terrain; we didn’t even know
How we were alive,
What was pain. Even today,
I don’t understand the aching
Glowing through my gut.
We didn’t decide our design,
Nor were we given the code,
Taking us thousands of years
To understand slightly. Yet,
We still debate on what
We can even eat.
Not even the strange webbing
Understands, encased
In warm shadow.


Written for Reena’s Exploration Challenge #154.

Personification

Too many think
Of the earth as a being,
A creature throbbing beneath
Sky, just as too many think of themselves
As a singularity. See the man stomping over there
As if on a mission, thinking of his own
Singleness, his single needs, his single next step
As if each moment was its own,
But he doesn’t consider the fact
He is a collection of strange things
Meshed together by millions of years
That wandered through the weather.

I wish i could pull apart myself in such away,
I wish each day was no longer
Encased in illusion, i wish my mind didn’t
Rule and form everything. I wish i could
Scatter myself and let the trillions of cells take over,
A land ruled by trillions of kings.
I would no longer think about work,
I would no longer think about family,
Or the day, or the future of days,
Or the world throbbing beneath the net
Of sky. I would not think. I would not be.
But i would still be there, just not me
As how one might think of oneself
Or myself. An overgrown colony
Piled in the armchair trying its best
To maintain order, cells clamoring
For food and cohesion. But at least it would be
Honest, unbound by that ancient manipulation
That we’re just one thing and everything more.


Written for OLWG #174.

Your Portrait

I thought there was no reality
Pinned beside the fireplace,
Angled within portraits.
This is why I couldn’t judge
You based on the amorphous
Gray framed with your name.
The blacks and blues curled
Above the pales of your scalp,
Your eyes a couple of pits
That sunlight slithered across,
Escaping to another’s glare.
What was the attempt?
If one cannot picture the real,
Then something else must
Take place. But there was
No place in the light
Moving across your brow,
Nor in the stiffened oils
Where memory had tried.
There was just recognition
Hung in a space where silence
Hunted itself.


A not-flash fiction written for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #85.

Rejected

“Look at them,” Peter said as he glared through the window. “She cares more about that damn cow more than she does me.”

“Can you blame her?” Lucas said. “That cow’s pretty cool.”

Peter chose to ignore Lucas, this time, and continued watching as Sylvia caressed and petted the cow. Peter had always had a disdain for farm animals. But Sylvia insisted that they live on her family’s ranch, much to Peter’s chagrin. However, he loved her and just wanted her to be happy. Yet, that cow…Berenice the Cow. There was just something about it that made Peter wince.

“Maybe because it’s black?” Lucas said. Peter twisted around and shot Lucas a look, but Lucas didn’t notice. He was lounging on the couch, sipping on some herbal tea.

“No! It’s not because it’s black! I just don’t get why Sylvia loves that damn…creature so much!”

“Probably cause it’s big and strong, but also listens, and loves Sylvia unconditionally.”

“You are trying to screw with me. I love Sylvia unconditionally with all my heart. Which is why I must…neutralize the beast.”

“Hm. I’m sorry what?”

Peter turned back to the window. “Then I will have the local butcher grind-up the remnants, turn him into hamburger patties. Yes. And then, once Sylvia has finished consuming her burger I will let her know the truth. Then she will realize…there can only be one.”

“…Dude.” Lucas set his tea down. “What’s gotten into you?”

“What?”

“You’re talking like some 3rd rate villain.” Lucas stared at Peter but then shrugged. “Fine. Whatever. You do you. I’ll have no part. I’m sure Sylvia will be most appreciative.” Lucas stomped away, but Peter didn’t care. He watched as Sylvia stroked the top of Berenice’s head and spoke to it. What was she talking about?

Later that night Peter awoke. He felt a presence standing over his bed. He turned on the lamp and looked. “Ah. Sylvia. How is it–what? What’s the matter?”

Her face was expressionless. Cold. “Peter,” she intoned.

“Yes my sweetie?”

“I’ve grown to dislike you.”

The room became silent. After a moment, Peter gulped. “Oh…okay. Maybe we could–”

“I only have one true love now…”

Suddenly, Peter noticed Berenice the cow at the foot of his bed, staring at him with its stupid cow-eyes.

Peter’s face changed. “Damn! I knew it! That cow has been trying to steal you from me!”

“What? Oh Peter, don’t be silly. I mean, Berenice is great and all, but we’re just friends.”

Berenice, upon hearing this, snorted and cast its gaze downward.

“No, the one I love is tall, strong, handsome, and actually listens to me and loves me…unconditionally.”

“But-but. I’m tall…”

“Goodbye Peter.”

“No! Please don’t kill me! Don’t!”

“What? I wasn’t going to kill you. I just want you gone by morning.”

“Oh…I knew that. So…who is–”

“Lucas. It’s Lucas.”

“Oh. Oh okay. I mean, I honestly didn’t see that coming. But I guess that makes sense. Kinda dull, isn’t he?”

“Peter, pack your things. I don’t want to see you ever again. Come on Berenice.”

Sylvia and Berenice left the room, leaving Peter all alone. His head fell back onto the pillow and he stared up at the ceiling. His mind oscillated with a plethora of feelings, from anger to confusion to regret to heartache. A tear gripped the corner of his eye, but would not let go. He wanted to go back to the city, sure, but everything has soured, empty. Unlike the cow feces that were emanating in his room whose odor was strong, pronounced, fearless.

It was around noon when Sylvia spotted Peter still in bed. She shook her head. “Can’t believe…Lucas!” Lucas entered the room wearing nothing but a bathrobe and holding a cup of tea.

“Yeah?”

Sylvia sternly pointed at Peter.

“…Yeah?”

“Get him out of here!”

“Oh, right…why?”

“Because I no longer love him!”

“Oh.” Lucas sipped on his tea. “But you love me right?”

Sylvia smiled. “Of course I do. You’re my big, strong, handsome man.”

“Okay. But if you no longer loved me, this is how you would treat me?”

Sylvia was taken aback. “What? Well, no. No! Of course not! I will never not love you!”

“Right. Right.” Lucas took another sip of his tea. “I’m just sayin’ it’s, you know, a little disrespectful to wake someone up. And you know me, I need to sleep in from time-to-time.”

Sylvia and Lucas stared at each other for the longest time until Lucas just left and went back to the couch. Sylvia turned back to Peter. She called his name a couple of times, gave-up, and continued her work on the ranch. A few hours later she came back and still found Peter in bed, in the exact same position. “You’ve got to be…”

They buried Peter in a shallow grave by the cow pen. They figured he died in his sleep, or from the overbearing stench of cow excrement that had been wafting in his room. Either way, he was done with.

But that evening, Berenice approached the tiny stick they used as Peter’s headstone, sniffed it, and stared. Then she turned away and headed towards one of the windows, watched Sylvia with the other and snorted wistfully.


Written for The Sunday Muse. I’m so sorry.

Presence

We’ve softened control
just for a bit, but you can
still glide through the hands
of each blue day, become
a whisper that brightens
every window into sight.

Maybe you will congeal
a face, become more than
a presence of air, but that will be
a different day. Right now, you are
dreaming beyond freedom.
Even freedom turns into a fixture.
Today, you curve through fingers,
soft and dismembered from touch.

FTWT – Are They Even Considered People?

Max standing alone in a room, waiting for something to happen. Finally, Henry walks in holding a drink.

HENRY: Hey Max!

MAX: Oh, hey Henry! Long time no see!

HENRY: What? I was here yesterday.

MAX: Oh yeah.

HENRY: …Anyway, I thought I decided to bring my girlfriend over. 

MAX: Oh nice. Nice. 

HENRY: Yeah, she should be here any minute. The wind you know sometimes gets to her. 

MAX: Oh yeah…

The two men stand there in the room for a while.

MAX: So…

HENRY: Let me just text her.

MAX: Okay.

HENRY: Alright…

MAX: So, you’ve been going out for a while?

HENRY: Yeah, since November. I told you, remember?

MAX: That’s cool, that’s cool.

Henry rolls his eyes. The two wait even longer. 

MAX: So…how’s work?

HENRY: I’m unemployed. 

MAX: Oh. So how’s that been working out?

LINDA: Hey guys!

A voice calls out. 

HENRY: Oh hey honey!

Max looks around for the source, but can’t locate it. All he sees is a leaf tumbling through the air. Then it dawns on him.

HENRY: Linda, this is Max. Max, meet my girlfriend, Linda. 

LINDA: Helloooo! Sorry for the delay! I’m a leaf!

MAX: Oh. Um, is that possible?

HENRY: …What?

MAX: Well, she’s a leaf. Leaves normally aren’t alive or considered people.

HENRY: Dude!

LINDA: It’s alright…

HENRY: How can you say that? We’ve been going out for 3 weeks. She means everything to me!

MAX: How? Why?

HENRY: Dude, I just–wow! 

MAX: Sorry, I’m just confused. Like, I just don’t–

HENRY: Stop! Just stop!

LINDA: Henry, it’s okay…

HENRY: No Linda, it’s not! It’s not okay! 

MAX: Do leaves even drive and pay taxes? Like, how can you even relate to them? 

HENRY: Come on Linda. I didn’t realize Max was such a racist.

MAX: Are they even a race? Or are leaves considered disabled?

HENRY: Jesus Christ…. Let’s go!

LINDA: Coming!

As Henry exits Linda instead just falls to the ground. 

LINDA: Oh, um…do you have A/C in here or a fan? I just need…

MAX: Like, are the leaves that I step on when I get to work people? Do I commit genocide every time I go for a stroll around the park? Do all the leaves have little leaf families? 

LINDA: Um…help?

MAX: I just don’t get it. I don’t think I’m a bad person. But this is all new knowledge to me. 

LINDA: Well…I guess I can be down here forever…the floor is nice. Is it ceramic?

MAX: Oh, I don’t know.

LINDA: Okay. 

And that’s it; that’s the end. 


Written for Twiglet #195.

Beyond the Hawks

gutted from the eyes
an image of a hawk
no longer hawk, twisted
Into meaning

there is a new poem there,
gliding in the smooth air,
a shape silhouetting
against the strictures
of grey

something moments
the mind, sight delegates
shape. yet, i still can’t
find a voice within
the years collected along
roads or in wings erupting
from trees

it remains within
suspension, held to the clouds,
swimming within the hawks

Autumn Leaves, Salads, and Driving the Wrong Way Down a One-Way Street

It’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these, but I figure it’s time to Share My World.

Have you ever driven the wrong way on a one-way street? How did this come about?

Not yet, but considering how awful a driver I am this will surely happen soon. Everyone watch-out, I need to go to Trader Joe’s and have no idea what I’m doing.

As a kid, did you ever decide to run away? Did you have a plan? Take a pet? Sandwiches?

Yes, but I didn’t get very far. Just the night before my planned escape, I went downstairs to see what supplies I can muster. But once I opened the cabinets I immediately got lazy and decided to wake-up early in the morning to gather everything. I ended-up sleeping-in and that was that.

You suddenly found you have a hidden talent for playing a musical instrument. What musical instrument do you hope that accompanies your talent? Any particular song?

Probably something people aren’t really known for playing. There’s a million guitar players out there so it’s pretty hard to stand-out, so instead I would become the “Jimi Hendrix of marimba.” No one plays marimba so I can help revolutionize marimba-playing and foster interest in the instrument that’s like a xylophone but not really. My face would be on “Marimba Weekly” every month and I would have a ponytail.

Do you accessorize with jewelry? There was an opal necklace (cursed) and Slytherin’s locket (also cursed) in the Potter story. Have you had any heirloom jewelry passed down through the generations? Is it more ‘keepsake’ or do you wear it on occasion? (Hopefully, yours was not cursed?)

No. I’m pretty bare-bones when it comes to my appearance. Not literally. I still wear a shirt and jeans, but anything beyond that is too much. And fortunately, I’ve never had jewelry passed-down to me. Because that shiz would be lost long ago.

What ingredients go into YOUR favorite salad?

Everything. Chicken. Corn. Tortilla strips. Tomatoes. Cheese. Black beans. Cilantro. And, if possible, avocado. Drench it all with dressing and you don’t even have a salad anymore. You have a delicious artery-killer. There is a killer on the loose. His name is Flavortown. Taking my stomach to the taste-gulag.

If you care to, share something that really irritates you.

Probably when people or institutions have the means to better the world, but not the will. We have the money and resources to combat global warming and homelessness, yet we still manage to drop the ball, and a lot of that has to do with government simply unwilling or uncaring to do anything substantial. Also, I hate it when you’re on the phone and then some other calls starts ringing in your ear. Not great.

What are your favorite ‘lounging around the house’ items of clothing?  Now that a lot of people ‘lounge around the house’ waiting for the all clear in respect to Covid being shown the door, have those lounging items changed?

Sweatpants. Socks. Sadness. T-shirt with holes in it that says “Double-Rainbow” like the meme from a thousand years ago. 

Please feel free to share something about Autumn (or Spring if you’re gearing up for that) that you especially enjoy!

I guess the weather? Pretty boring answer I guess, but I’m a pasty white boy. My ancestors come from snow, but where I live is pretty sunny and warm most of the time. Winter’s alright, but I’m not a big “holiday person.” Putting-up lights. Cooking. Shopping. Just too much. But with autumn there’s less obligation. You can walk around, watch some leaves drift into air.