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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DREAMS OF THE FAIR

This week I had a dream that I was trying to go to the fair. The ticket booth, which was the only was to get in, was on a dirty covered hillside, behind a row of strangely placed buildings. There was no parking near any of them—the closest parking had been up at the top of a plateau, about half a mile up from the ticket booth. There were pine trees scattered about and another half-mile past you could see the fair. I had gotten in line behind a few slow moving people. I think I had been trying to meet my little brother, my older sister, and my father there.

The fair itself looked quite a bit more spectacular than the local one we get. There were dozens of rides that rose above the walls, and off to the east there was a strange roof that appeared to be made of water, which had reflected light through it in the way that a pool does. It was so exciting—and frustrating, because the line hadn’t moved. There were only a few people there. I remember thinking, Why are people so inept? before I actually decided to look around and see what was going on.

The line had three people ahead of me, all of them were elderly and white. So white, they looked as though they had bathed in a tub of bleach. All of them were wearing strange clothing. One, a woman, wore a big yellow rain coat, and massive rain boots to match. In front of her was a man, dressed in an all-grey track suit, with a pair of running shoes that had been so worn they were beginning to fray. The last person was dressed in a light green sundress, though I couldn’t distinguish if they were male or female. But they were certainly grey haired and wrinkly.

All of them were looking down, and the young woman in the ticket booth was looking beyond confused. She had called “next” several times, though even I hadn’t heard her say it until I saw her. I skipped ahead of the line when I realized nobody else was moving. When I began to walk past each person, the elderly people slowly raised their heads in disdain, but none of them moved to stop me.

I don’t remember speaking to the girl, nor getting inside the fair, yet somehow I’d made it there. I was in the water-roofed room. The ceiling had no glass, but somehow, as if by magic, the water was all suspended in the air. It was a beautiful sight, like the spirit of vacation incarnated. And it was the last thing I remember seeing before I woke up.

 

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WAVES ON A PAGE

My return to literature was like a sailor

returning to the salt air after a decade ashore.

 

The thin clatter of books from bookshelves

were like oars clattering into a paddle boat.

The small creak of hardback covers sounded

like wooden planks curling beneath my feet.

 

It wasn’t long before I’d raised sails,

and made my way into the first waves

on a broad, shining sea of letters.

 

After a few bumpy chapters,

the waves came rocking,

building, like a crescendo,

until each page was its own torrent

of water and hellfire crashing;

battering and beating the boat

 

and I was there screaming along,

mad with the thrill of the ride.

 

Until finally the pages shut,

the seas grew quiet,

and I found myself drifting along

waiting patiently for another storm.

——

 

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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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DREAM LOOP

Today’s dream (or rather, last night’s dream) plays with something of normalcy, which is something that seems to occur regularly in my dreams, which is perhaps why I’ve struggled to remember them for so many years. Here it is:

 

I woke up, for the first time, or perhaps the millionth, gasping for breath. My room was dark, but the beam of light peaking out between my window curtains signaled to me that it was well into the morning. I took a brief look around, when suddenly the door burst in and my father was there, spewing some nonsense about getting out of bed and doing my chores. I couldn’t really make it out, but his tone of voice was clear enough. I sprung to my feet, threw a pair of shorts on, pulled a shirt over my head and walked through the door…

…then sat up gasping for breath again, again, for what felt like the first time, but may have been the millionth. At the time, I had no memory of what happened prior, just as many fail to remember their dreams moments after waking. This time there was a scratching at the door, likely from one of our cats. They would occasionally scratch, asking for food—or occasionally freedom. I opened the door, and saw Twilight, our black cat, staring up at me with great green eyes. I walked her to the door to let her out front, the pitter-patter of her feet were as light as snowflakes falling. I twisted the nob, watched her exit, then figured I’d grab myself a quick bite to break my fast. I took two quick steps to the fridge, opened the door

and again was gasping for air in my bed.

 

But this was where the dream ended. My eyes opened, and the world felt that slight twinge of real that distinguishes it from even the most vivid dreams. What does it mean? I don’t really know. I could be, very obviously, that my life is literally on repeat. Day in and day out things are too similar to really be distinguished. The repetition of gasping could very well be indicative of choking, as if I am dying by doing this. Or, it could mean nothing, and this is just some weird thing my brain decided to project, and I just happened to remember it. Who knows? Let me know what dreams you’ve had that stood out to you in the comments below!

 

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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.

LOVE POEM #60 – BLINDED

I’m told that love is blind,

but having 20/200 vision

I know that nowadays being blind

can be corrected with a good pair of glasses.

 

The dense world of fog that seeped in

through these tired, aging eyes

made it impossible to see the problems

that were just a few paces in front of me.

 

Which is why, after the break up, I took a trip

down to the nearest Ross or Sears or Target

to try a few pairs on,

and share some laughs with my reflection.

 

But as the shadows grew longer,

I realized that my own vision

wasn’t actually so bad.

The midnight trees shading the sidewalk

weren’t quite the monsters

that my youth had cowered in fear of,

and the distance sadness of the moon

no longer seemed to hide behind blurred eyes.

And suddenly I wondered

if I really needed those glasses to begin with

 

until I looked in the mirror

and realized that my blindness

wasn’t due to my impair vision,

but instead impaired by the blindness in my heart.

——

 

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THE LAST SIP

I always loved looking in the sinister whisky glasses, with two clear, fat ice cubes barely contained within the small, cylindrical walls of the cup. The satisfying pop of the stopper, pulled from an equally extravagant crystal decanter, builds the anticipation of the moment. The first splash or two of the amber-gold liquid sets the tone of the pour. If the ice is cold enough, it will crack in half with a satisfying crunch, then those shallow splashes create tiny arcs off of the ice, until they eventually settle into the base of the glass.

I always prefer the glass left half empty, especially to start the day. Any day like today is full of wonder, tranquility, and anger. Whisky will pull in a similar sense of self-hatred. Strong, powerful, and above all else, contained. The first sip always stings, which is why I swallow it along with the second and third all at once. It slinks through the throat, like magma through the canyon—burning and renewing the land in one fatal swoop.

But it’s always the last sip that always gets me. Most often, people forget the last sip. They see a fleeting ounce left in the glass, and down it quick, like an actor in an old western film. They typically follow it with a satisfied Ah, and perhaps even a quick wipe of the chin to catch any excess the slipped through their lips. It’s dignified, hearty, and full of meaning. But the last sip still clings to the sides of the glass, drifting back into the base of the glass, forgotten beneath the melting cubes inside.

The bartender will pick the glass up, throw the residue to melt away into the sink, along with all the other forgotten memories. Quite the waste of perfectly good booze. One that, after many downed glasses and agonizing headaches later, I have learned never to miss.

The last sip is watery and cold. I like to catch each ice cube in my mouth, lick it clean, then spit it back out. If they split clean apart when the glass was poured, I might even chew one down to cleanse the palate. Catch the glass in your lips, and tilt your head back. The little droplets will form together, then slide down the side as a team, like a group of fish joined to impede the approach of a predator. In excitement, you might lift the glass in the air, as if to say to the onlookers “this moment is mine.”

And the drop will dangle, afraid, or perhaps teasing you there to build anticipation, before falling for ages in those inches between the glass and your outstretched tongue. Your throat might feel dry, as though this were the last drop of water on Earth, until it coats your mouth with the strength of a thousand oceans. Then finally, your glass is empty, and you might realize you’ve become an alcoholic.

——

 

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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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