Friday, July 17, 2020

2 Minutes. Go!

Everybody thinks their glass is half empty. Or half full. I'm like, man, why do we gotta keep our liquids in glasses? Pour mine in a trough; I'm cool with sharing. Pour it back into the river, so I can get down the with the mornfog deer, the fishes. I don't want anyone corralling any part of me.

If you don't let them put you in a box, they can't say how much you fill it up.

I went to the bookstore in my mind to look at all the self-help bullshit books I've ignored. The stores are full of them. Be a corporate warrior. Be the perfect multi-tasking Mom. Manifest your success through mid-day mantras and money will come out your ass.

Where are all the books about how to lift your community up?

The golden rule was always lame in language, but the intent was pure. If you think it doesn't matter, you best be real sure.

Put your fucking phone down and look at the clouds. Sit and talk with someone you don't know and see what happens. Try listening. It's the thing you do during a conversation when you shut your fucking mouth for a second.

It helps to make sense of things if you make them all about you; it's easy. I know. You take the stance of the world against you, and everything you decide to do becomes a stand. It's invigorating. It gives you purpose for every single selfish thing you do.

It's a scam.

Go ahead and forget about the glass, man. Forget about your water, your blood. Think about the river. The pond. The ocean. All the animals sharing that shit. Ain't no fishes saying, my part of the pond seems less empty than that poor fish's. They're huddled up under logs and hidden in grasses because they know that there is some evil shit in the water.

And that evil matters more than any one fish.


  1. Replies
    1. As usual, JD, you manage to peel back the BS and get to what really matters, in a way that can't help but move. I wish the people who most need to hear it would, and listen. But maybe if the rest of us fishies huddle, we'll still be enough to stand up to the evil shit in the water.

  2. “My work here is incomplete.”

    “I hear that a lot,” said the wizened old coyote.

    “No, really, just another few days and...”

    “Just once, you’d think I’d hear, ‘Oh, good timing! I just finished a project. Thank goodness you got here before I started another!’ But no.”

    “Hey, I can hear you.”


    “I’ve been deaf for a while.”

    “Ah, yes. That’s one of the benefits of crossing over. All wounds healed, all organs restored.”


    “All. What would heaven be like without sex?”

    The old dog was silent for a moment. “But what about him?”

    “Ah, yes, the human. Well, he will survive. He will weep. He will try to move on. Probably will carry on for some time.”

    “Some time?”

    “Humans do not live forever. One day, he too will cross over.”

    “Will I… will I see him again?”

    “What would heaven be if we were not reunited with those we love?”

    The old dog walked slowly to the bed. Put his paw on the mattress, and licked the human face.

    “He usually wakes up when I do that.”

    “Not this time, I’m afraid.” The coyote nodded to where the dog usually slept.

    The dog looked, and there was his tired old body, eyes open, tail still, one ear perked up.

    “Ah,” said the dog.

    “We’ve some distance to cover. Are you ready?”

    The dog looked back, then nodded, and the coyote and dog walked through the wall and into eternity.

    When the man awoke, later than usual, he saw the coyote prints in the snow outside his window.

    1. I love this so much. The coyote is so often cast as a trickster, but there's no trickery here - just love and hope. Which is exactly what we all need right now. Thank you.

  3. He regarded his night-time excursions as a therapy. A way to connect with himself. He spent too much of his day on his own, his face scant inches away from his screens. He often joked with himself, saying he’d a cathode-ray tube tan; the tiniest hint of colouration he did have the result of the minor heating effect and the low-level radiation he absorbed from his monitors. In truth, he looked more like one of those eyeless fish you sometimes saw in black and white photos, his skin closer to translucent than any normal fleshy tone.

    But therapy. He needed to mix with people.

    It was dark in the city, quieter too. He lived in a province where the buildings eclipsed the sun for most of the day, rarely shining through between their upper floors and then only in the summer months. In the winter he could often go without daylight for weeks, his eyes adapting to the monochrome blues and greys. There was little he couldn’t find at night; everything could be bought for a price online, if its provenance wasn’t important.

    He’d paid for his company at first, choosing them at random. He’d bought time with the widest cross-section of people, seeking out differences instead of familiarity, not caring how old they were or favouring any particular gender. Men and women were all the same, he’d decided, driven by avarice and greed, their materialism bringing them all down to a place where nobility was negotiable. And yet it was him that felt used, his own morality brought into question.

    How low could he go? And did he even care?

    Other than that, people were an enigma to him. He could frequent the more commonly used places at night, wearing his mask. During the day, it was still unusual to be seen with your face covered, those few who chose to wear a mask either derided or distrusted by the others. Those select few were like a cadre unto themselves, drawing together for protection, each one knowing the others, or so it seemed. There was a danger in such closeness, the affinities they’d already established a barrier raised against him.

    He would have to move slowly and be careful.

    1. I love the talent you have for shady, shadowy, and suspenseful. You always nail it, and you always leave me wanting to know more.

  4. Once, there were three courts instead of two. I see the way your brow furrows. You're thinking, "Why three? There are four seasons." But we weren't always Summer and Winter - those lines were drawn when our factions were forced to align. Before, there were three courts, and we strove for harmony instead of struggling for power.

    Then the unthinkable happened. The future prince disappeared. To this day, no one is certain whether he was abducted or killed. His father had died in a skirmish against some from outside our Realm. His mother was beside herself with grief, so much so that she gave herself completely over to her emotions and began to first snap and snarl and then hurl magic and then eventually declare outright war on those with whom she disagreed.

    And so the ruler of the third court perished in a war of her own making, leaving behind no heir. The remaining courts absorbed hers, claiming it their right for winning the war, and then they turned on one another - cautiously. And over time, we became what you know now - the Summer and Winter faerie courts, Seelie and Unseelie.

  5. Crosby raised his hand, lifting a finger. “Another,” he said. “One more and I’ll settle.”

    The barista was quick to respond. The shop was empty at this time of the night and he’d nothing else he needed to do. He’d been cleaning the counter half-heartedly for most of the time since Crosby’s last drink, and he was probably glad of an excuse to come out again.

    “You’ve been stood up?” He slid the coffee onto the table beside the last one, picked up the spent cup and then placed it onto the tray he’d brought.

    Crosby shook his head. He’d come here to think, seeking company of a sort, but he’d had nothing in mind. He’d given up on the endless cycle of TV shows, the canned laughter and the even faker behaviour of the actors annoying him. At least here the players were more spontaneous, their behaviour something he could interact with if he chose. Even this barista; hadn’t he already prompted a reaction just by raising his hand? You couldn’t do that if you remained at home and put on an episode of Cheers. The other man had become surly and inappropriate, but it was probably because he was tired. If Crosby hadn’t been here, he’d be in a backroom, zoned out and watching the monitor feeds from the shop.

    “No,” Crosby said. “I’m just passing time. People watching is something I often do when I can’t sleep. I figure I might as well have some company if I have insomnia. A way to alleviate the boredom.”

    The barista – his name was Hooper, according to his name tag – eased himself onto the corner of the table. He was wearing a pair of Frankenstein boots, as Crosby like to call them, probably reinforced at the toes.

    “The coffee wouldn’t help though. With the insomnia,” he offered. “You’ll never get to sleep, if you main-line caffeine, the way you’re doing.”

    Crosby nodded. “But it keeps you in business,” he said. “You’d be all alone, just you and that monster of a boiler at the back. Maybe it might explode if there’s no-one here, giving you a reason to vent the pressure. I’d come here in the morning and there’d be nothing here, just a crater in the ground and a scattering of lightly charred biscotti. Maybe the authorities would never find out what had happened. Without a nametag helping them identify any remains they found you might be able to disappear, take yourself off and run away to Albania, or Greece, or even Mesopotamia. You could establish a new life for yourself, selling Turkish tea in Istanbul or the Philippines. Something new; a whole new line of business.”

    The barista, named Hooper, dropped back onto his feet, the movement no doubt assisted by the weight of his boots. “The Demon has a safety-valve fitted,” he said, drily, pushing his hair back away from his eye. “And we also serve tea here, if you look at the menu board.”

  6. The line

    It’s a straight line.
    You can walk it.
    One step, then another,
    This repeated repetition.
    Just don’t stop.
    You can walk it.

    It’s a curved line.
    You can cycle it.
    One peddle, then another,
    This circular circle.
    Just don’t stop.
    You can cycle it.

    It’s a never line.
    You can’t walk it.
    Stay still, still forever,
    This invisible nothing.
    Just ignore it.
    You can’t walk it.

  7. The subject of this poem is Alzheimer’s disease and memory.

    Misted minds

    I conjure up this supple mist in stages.
    We write, we draw, we freefall down
    To collect the things we want to own.

    I offer you a glass and you take it,
    The comfort in the giving of the thing.
    But you reside with ghosts of this passing,
    This unreflected penchance for tears.

    I follow you down corridors pitch black
    Where your mind hatches creatures of the night,
    But you don’t recognise one thing you see.

    Just know you’re being observed by me.
    I think you feel I will keep you safe somehow,
    The ‘somehow’ in this sentence lost in mime.

    Silk white feathers draw out a carpet for us,
    So light it rises to float in this air we breathe.
    This forgetting game, can we survive it all?
    This unreflected penchance for tears.

    I see you lose yourself here alone at times,
    Your restless thoughts build more corridors,
    More than your labyrinthine mind can allow.

    We will explore them all before we return.
    I know you won’t be the same, but there’s hope
    In the fact you won’t remember anything bad at all.

  8. Catastrophe was averted, society continued, and the Sisterhood tightened their grip. It was yet another day in Kentish Town and life was sweet, unless you happened to be a mule. But that was the way of it; mules were designed to serve and that was never negotiable. But they always had their uses, a fact James was more than aware of.

    “You, Mule; come here.”

    James raised his head and nodded, servile and meek. He was a master at this now, his lightly muscled physique making it easy for him to pass as a submissive.

    “Yes, Ma’am,” he said, hurrying to comply.

    The hovercar danced above the road, balancing on the cloud of dust its fans swept up. There was a mule sitting at the controls, his face impassive, seemingly caring nothing for the new blood about to be absorbed into the herd.

    “What’s a mule like you doing running free? Don’t you have a herd you need to return to?” The woman in the rear of the car pointed forward, indicating the open door beside the driver. He had helpfully opened it already, anticipating her request.

    “I’m sorry, Ma’am, but I can’t. I’m already spoken for.” James pulled up his shirt to reveal his brands, the script alongside it indicating he’d already been assigned.

    “But that still doesn’t explain why you’re out here. You should be safely tucked away in your corral.”

    The rear door opened, and she stepped out, skirts swirling in the propwash. The driver set the car down, silencing the fans, and she stepped across to James, looking at him as though he might still yet become hers.

    James raised his shirt again, revealing his brands on his torso, turning away so she could see the tattoos and the other scarrings he had collected. To a casual inspection he was marked as a Windsor herd asset, his pedigree uncertain, but his provenance of the highest mark.

    The woman turned him around again, so he was facing her. She stooped so they were nearly matched in height, her heels giving her extra inches it would be difficult to offset.

    “Now tell me why you’re here,” she demanded. “I can hardly let you loose, whether you’re assigned or not.”

    The woman had tattoos too, but they were cosmetic, designed to accentuate her cheekbones and her jawline. They wouldn’t have been applied under duress like James’. The shades of the inks suggested a Hanover lineage and the Gryphon motif would have made her a duchess. She had every right to feel self-confident, so it was fortunate for him that the Windsor mark trumped all other social castes.

  9. Circling like satellites,
    mutually aware;
    a choreography
    arranged for two.
    An affinity of attraction,
    resisted for a while,
    dangerous but still
    deliciously apart.
    We could lay together,
    enraptured and enmeshed,
    succumbing to
    gravity and its wiles.
    But let’s dance a little longer,
    luxuriate in play;
    haste can have a turn
    another day.


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