MADNESS IN SPACE

It was just past midnight, though just past midnight could have easily been three in the afternoon from my window seat. Up there, in space, there were no real indicators of time. Our on-board clock had run out of batteries, and our watches were dead or off the preset time we had agreed to, as watches are wont to do. For all we really knew, it was in fact three o’clock. But as a crew we had decided that it was midnight, so that was the time I was sticking to.

The crew had composed of myself, James, Raymond, and Tanya. James had gotten caught up back in the Mars raid, which had just left Ray, Tany, and me. It was now down to just me. All the lights had gone out, and we were free flying through the nothingness, at a few thousand miles per hour. Tany’s body was off in the freezer. She had gotten locked in, and Ray hadn’t found her before it was too late. Ray’s body was down in cargo hold. He’d been out of his suit when the room destabilized and the air was wrenched from his lungs. At least, that’s what the records would show, and that would be my story if I ever made it home.

We had run low on food and water. Our hasty escape meant we couldn’t power up to full speed before power was shut off, and the trip would like take nearly four times the length we had expected. We had enough supply for three to make the trip at normal speed, plus a little for safety, but not enough for three people to make it going this slow. Plus, greedy Ray had decided to snipe the extra food barrels on the trip out. But with the extra food I had now, I would just barely get there, though I might have to go a few days without food. Tany knew that would be the case too, but she and Ray had been too close to each other to actually make a move. So I had.

In another hour, Ray’s body would spoil though, and I wasn’t going to take any chances on running out of food early. Not with all this good meat here. But I wasn’t quite ready to move yet. The twinkling light of the stars, like ten million glaring eyes, looked too beautiful to leave unseen. I wonder if, to them, we were just a star floating along out here too. So I sat there, looking out into the stars for a while, wondering how this madness had come to pass.

——

 

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UNDERWATER (AND OTHER HAIKUS)

Underwater

Underwater light

looks like glass sheets shattering

over and over.

 

Oceans of Green

Winds of nostalgia

smell like the waves of the sea

between blades of grass.

 

Winter Freeze

Wisps of the winter

run shivers through earthen spines.

Huddle close to me.

 

Rock Quarries

Kindred quarries house

a brotherhood of boulders

awaiting freedom.

 

Treasures on Trees

Who has need for gold

when trees provide the treasures

of life in their fruits.

——

 

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ETERNAL PEACE (AND OTHER HAIKUS)

Fall Arrives

The spiraling leaves

fall like a patterned sunset

in the autumn sky.

 

Wet Panic

I hear the wind chimes

scream in a wet panic

from the storm outside.

 

Eternal Peace

A broken Buddha

lists off, half buried in dirt;

serene as ever.

 

Butterflies Abound

The butterflies weave

between the fingers of air

like playful lovers

 

Burnt Out

Melted candles wax

drips like hot blood from the wrists

of this dead marriage.

——

 

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SUNDAY AT THE PIER

Weaving between the mass of smiles

along the Santa Monica Pier

is a reminder of how wonderful life is

when it can be shared with strangers.

 

The creak of aging wood underfoot

could barely be heard over the laughter

belted by children tasting the salted air

as their parents shell out dollars for rides.

 

The hum of the street players

singing and dancing to the tune

of their heartbeat and the ocean

fills the last crevices of loneliness

nearly every afternoon.

 

But I can still remember one dark Sunday

in the rainy mid-Autumn sloughs

where the only noises to accompany me

were the distant swallows of the sea.

 

The mist was heavy then, thick

with the remorse of a broken country,

and the players’ last song had gone out

long before the cloudy sun had risen.

 

The rank sickness of mortality

seemed to creep from the slits

of darkness hiding under the planks,

and the evil kept at bay by purer hearts

slunk out, unafraid of the silence;

rotting the wood and metal alike.

 

Those towering straights of humanity

forged in the fires of dreamers

turn to blighted nightmares, spoiled

without the people who loved them

to keep it fresh and wholesome.

 

And I was filled with the same dread

of a man, not much older than you,

who had felt his world slip away

in the trenches of a peaceful life.

——

 

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Quick mentions, I found this cover photo on Dirty Lens Photography, and I don’t own it.

FLY AWAY (AND OTHER HAIKUS)

Cats at Play

Diving after strings

with the same ferocity

as a great lion.

 

Unpaired

Dazzled by the pair

of dancers in the moonlight,

I walked home alone.

 

Fly Away

The old, dead leaves fall,

but before they hit the ground

wind flies them away.

 

Leaves in the Pool

Debris from the trees

float, tentative as a fly

waiting to be struck.

 

Outdoor Mornings

Waking to a kiss

of sunlight and waterfalls;

lost in the stillness.

——

 

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WORDS AND IRONWORKS

I wasn’t born to be a poet.

With a name like “Smith,” one is only fit

to work over a hot fire with iron and steel,

and yet somehow the words chiseled their way

into the forge of my life.

 

The sound of my pen spattering paper

rung out like an imagined hammer,

shaping the letters of Apollo

into a work more spectacular

than those creations I’d made for Vulcan.

 

For though the glint of the ironworks

could be heard throughout the village,

it was the letters sung between drinks

that filled it with happiness

and when the time came for another pair of sons

to be whisked away on bloodied spikes

the solace of words meant more to the mothers

than the stained return of mail

to be buried with the bodies.

——

 

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BARN FIRE DREAMS

For the past while I have been recording my dreams, either in a mental log or on actual paper, and you may have notice I’ve been talking about dreams a lot over the past few weeks. That’s because I wanted to change up my Tuesday slot, because I’m struggling more and more not to be redundant with my concepts. I mean, you can skin a cat multiple ways…but at the end of it, all you’ve done is a bunch of skin cats. And it really isn’t in my interest to have people saying something like “Yeah I get it” when I talk about my ideas. So, instead, let me describe a short dream to you that I had the other day:

 

The world began with the light from a rotting wooden roof. Sunbeams looked down on me from the rectangular holes of missing roof tiles, and the interior of the barn had grown over with moss and various other plants. But the hay was still comfortable—at least, as I realized my arm was trapped beneath a woman, it had been for the half the night we had slept. I didn’t know her name, but she look familiar, like the friend of a friend. As I rubbed my eyes and rose, stumbling, I saw that the place really was run down. The walls looked like they might give out any time, and the color of the wood was so grey with rot that it scarcely looked a color at all.

And then I was outside, almost more suddenly than my mind could keep pace with. The air was fresh like the morning after a heavy rain, though the ground gave no hint that there had been so much as a drop recently. There were a great many trees around us, though there were other small cabins mixed in as well. It looked like a world stuck out of time to my mind’s eye, yet my body felt perfectly at home.

Until, of course, a young woman rounded the corner and ran up to me. Her hair was a vibrant red, and when she approached me it was clear she had been running for a great long while.

“Fire,” She gasped, pointing back the way she came, “help.” Without a moment’s hesitation, we were off running again. I can’t say how long we ran for, nor how I got my hands on a massive hose, but there we were, spraying down the side of another barn. Everything was going according to plan, until the faint cries of “help” rose up through the barn window, and we realized someone was inside. I handed the youth the hose, and ran toward the half open door. The heat inside singed my face, but I continued inward. It was as though the world itself had been immersed in flame. The Earth, the walls, and the roof all burned heavily. Even the faint view of the light seen from the shattered window in the loft looked redder than it had outside.

I looked around, and saw a pair of children standing at the center of the room, paralyzed with fear. It looked like they had found the only place without fire, though the circle around them was growing ever smaller. There was no way to get to them, save through the flames. Somehow, I found an area where the fire was less fierce, and took a few quick steps across the flames to them. I scooped them up in my arms, then looked for the door. In all the movement I had lost my bearings. It seemed so much farther than before.

Wood crashed around us as the roof began to shatter, shooting sparks through the air. The flames fed on the fallen wood like wolves on their prey, and grew all the fiercer. There would be no making it back to the door the way I had came. I looked around for another way to cross, but there was none. The flames crept closer, so close the children had to huddle against me tight. My mind raced, until it came to me that I’d have to toss them. They might break an arm in the landing, but it was better than being burned alive.

I did it one at a time. The boy went through first. His body soared over the tips of the flames, which in that moment looked more like the finger of Hell. He crashed through the door, rolling a few times before struggling to his feet. The girl was next. She was heavier than he was, and the tips of her skirt caught fire as she passed over the wall before us, but in landing she rolled and they were put out. The wall of fire screamed before me, enraged I had taken it’s prey from it. There was a huge crack, and I saw the ceiling finally give way. Then everything went dark.

 

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HELP I NEED A NAP

So while I was fumbling around my mind today, watching Casually Explained videos, I decided I should talk about sleep deprivation, mostly because I’m functioning on a cool three hours sleep, and had to get up to wait for the gas company guy to get her (spoilers, I’m probably going back to sleep after writing this). Sleep deprivation, according to a quick Google search, can cause fatigue, daytime sleepiness, clumsiness, weight loss, and weight gain. To which I’m thinking…duh? Daytime sleepiness? What the h*ck kind of symptom is that (like my use of censorship on “heck” there)? Of course you’re going to be tired if you’re tired. That’s WHY YOU’RE TIRED.

So let’s just skip the symptoms, because I don’t feel like talking about them, and focus on why I stayed up in the first place. Yeah, I was binge watching T.V., and no, it was likely not a good idea, but hey we all make bad decisions and just because I can come clean about them doesn’t make me a bad person, right? RIGHT?

Wow, my brain feels like a mess today. Anyways, sleep deprivation makes you feel like you’re brain was baked on high in an oven for a minute, quickly doused with a soapy water mixture, then finally tossed in a blender for a quick go, before carefully being poured back into your head. It is not a fun time. It can make you feel sick without actually being sick. So with that, I’m going to cut it a bit short today to get this all set up, and take a (hopefully) short nap.

Oh, and let me know what your sleep patterns are like! Do you get all loopy and weird like me when you’re tired? Or are you one of those high functioning people that can just power through it?

 

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MEMORIES TAKEN ROOT

I lived my last few days, rotting away on the inside, with a red “X” across my chest, like an aged target waiting to be struck down. When the saws finally bit into me, like wolves sinking their teeth into a rabbit, I realized that nobody would really hear me fall, despite the number of onlookers who surrounded us. They were all too busy seeing the decent of this massive tree, that they forgot to see me for what I was: me.

I wish I could have been angry; that I could have been mad at them, but they barely knew me. Most of the aged adults were fresh out of their mothers’ wombs when the rot first set in, and the younger one were but a far away twinkle, like a star in the night sky. I suppose I was more mad at their fathers’, and their fathers’ fathers’, and all the generations before them, back to when they had first set foot in my kingdom, bearing fire and chains from across the sea. Then I was but a small, thin sapling, budding with the first full-grown leaves spring had brought me.

I was one of the lucky ones then. My small size meant I was unfit for their housing requirements, and so when they cut down my brothers and sisters, they left me for the future. By the time that future came, enough houses had been built around me that I had become a meeting ground for town festivals. They strung banners across me, and the innocent children ran about at play.

With the space they had given me, my roots were able to grow far and deep, and I grew bigger than any of the other trees in the area. I was so large, it took two dozen children to make a connected circle around me. With time, the pain of my executed family faded, and I found love for the children around me. I was saddened when they grew older, and acted with the same malice as their parents.

When the buildings first started going up, the first talks of cutting me down started, to “clear the skyline for future horizons” as one man had put it. I was lucky then, that the last generation of children to line up around me were still alive. They came again as adults, without the glistening smiles, but with the same love in their hearts, to protect me.

But as more decades passed by, the air became filled with gases. The roar of trains, and cars, and buses made the children cough, and stay inside their homes. The poison in the air sunk into my bones, and the rot set in. Nearly one hundred years went by before it began to show, but the day came when one of my massive arms couldn’t take the weight anymore. It shattered, and the massive limb—a tree in its own right by many accounts—came crashing down. It killed thirty people, which to me seemed like a fair trade for all the lives they had taken from me.

From the hole it had left crept a black ooze, and as it rained down from the hundreds of feet above, the people turned their heads skyward with disdain. A day later, the “X” had appeared. This massive, bloody tattoo across my body, and within a few days the machines arrived. They sputtered for hours, tearing into me, dying, being repaired, and tearing in once again, until finally I felt the whole world sway, and came crashing down.

——

 

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LOVE POEM #54 – FEAR OF DEATH

I’m finally afraid of death,

not because I’m afraid of dying,

but dying before my children are ready

for me to leave them on their own.

 

Children who I haven’t even met yet;

children whose cries haven’t broken

through their tiny, shaking lungs yet;

children who haven’t even taken root

in the safety of their mother’s womb yet.

 

A mother, who to me is still unknown.

One perfectly sculpted woman,

who I have yet to fall in love with.

Who I have yet to share dreams with;

yet to kiss over candle-lit dinners

and travel to cliché capital cities with.

 

One who could show me that love isn’t found

in the superfluous places we buy flights to,

but in the people we board the planes with.

 

But now, after seeing my father off at the airport,

I pause at the door handle of my car,

worried that the plane will crash,

and those excited, to-be children

won’t get to meet father.

——

 

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