Friday, June 23, 2023

2 Minutes. Go!

She's not a little bird, she's a beast. She drops what she thinks are truth bombs from her bunker where she is Player one, two and three. She's got open eyes, but she just can't see. Got baggage stored under the family tree. She's got one of those 'hello, my name is..." stickers, and she wrote VICTIM on it. Slapped that shit right onto her forehead, more dread, more sadness trending madness. She's dressed for the journey, painted eyes, drama-tized. She's smelling conspiracy everywhere. She feels affronted, but like, that wasn't yours...and you wanted to take it. From someone else. Someone kind. So, fuck you. Fuck your stupid, cool attitude. Fuck your sad stories about your old man, his mom ... no one cares. You're a parasite with an agenda. You always pick yourself the winner, sit by the window. Someday, I'll be dead, but the words will follow behind me in a comet tail. They'll use yours to line birdcages. Its cool, though, "bad writer" is better than "victim" any day.


  1. JD take 2

    The sound of an airplane tears the sky over the shining waters. From up there, you are meaningless, but you aren't up there. You're here. You're miles from any form of civilization, but you're self sufficient. You can make a small fire soon, and even have coffee. There are many wonders within the blue nylon walls of the old backpacker backpack. It hangs loose on the aluminum frame like old person skin, but it will be filled again in time. There is still more than enough. Potable water. A small stove. Some coffee and tea and cigarettes. Crackers. Most of a fifth of stolen whiskey that will be subtracted from the total by morning. Which matters. Glass and whiskey are both heavy.

    The plane, more than anything, is a reminder of how fast some people travel. More than freight train fast. It doesn't even seem reasonable, but folks do it every day. But walking is better for the soul. Sitting under a shade tree with a beer buzz and an ice cream is better than worrying about paying a mortgage.

    You leave footsteps, and that's got to be enough. That's the hard part. The road leads to a lonely old age. No money. No kids or grandkids. Just the retirement born of necessity which, in turn, will bring death. Just the creeping hand of time, which also travels slow, but arrives all at once. Just one more shadow collection of stories and shared anecdotes that will rattle down the tracks of time. Which isn't much of anything, but you take what you can get.

  2. This one took longer than 2 minutes. I did a first draft and then a second, so I spent a while on this today. Probably the first stanza was 2 minutes! I'll come back with a 2-minute thing :)


    The Guide of Souls,

    he will carry you to the end of days,

    where the Earth ends and the tide turns restless,

    the deep ocean opening as a door without hinges,

    a gateway through which you will glide,

    seated in the arms of his narrowboat, listening

    to the turn of the churn of the wide, open sea.

    He hears the rhythmless still of your heartbeat

    as the loudest strike below the cry of birds,

    grey gulls a-gathering and a solitary albatross,

    wings spread, a soaring cross in a sorrowful sky,

    your loneliest wingman on the journey in.

    The ferryman of Hades, son of Erebus and Nyx,

    he leads you from the living to the tribe of the dead,

    removes the coins from your eyes so you can see,

    vanishing his fee in his skeletal hands.

    Eyes blazing, they burn in his skull, like Dante said,

    dark cloths draping him from head to toe.

    You watch his bony hands work the ferryman’s pole,

    hypnotic, endless strokes counting out the seconds.

    If he turns, you might spy a vulture’s head, a raven or

    an all-seeing owl, but you’ll never see the face within.

    If you stare too long you might burn, so the albatross

    calls you to lose yourself in the swirls of the Styx.

    Birds in their masses waited outside your hearth,

    heard the last exhalations of your Earth-bound breath,

    before raising their wings to accompany with

    across the outer realms; listen to their dulcet tones.

    The mighty Styx towers each side as the water takes you,

    a passage between the waves for one passenger.

    Outside, the albatross will head back for another,

    while the ferryman guides you to the underworld,

    where Hades waits with Cerberus, holding your shroud.

    A psychopomp (from a Greek word) means 'the guide of souls' - creatures, spirits, angels or demons.

  3. Echo

    One of many nymphs loved by Zeus,
    she bore Hera’s wrath in seeking to excuse
    and protect her king, talking him out of trouble
    and talking herself into it only deeper.

    Hera cursed her to echo the last words said,
    and so she could no longer speak,
    only repeat, like a glorious feathered bird.

    She adored Narcissus, but could not utter
    her feelings, only able to repeat his words,
    and so he thought she was a joke,
    an echo through the caves of his world.

    When he rejected her, she could only weep
    as he fell in love with his own reflection
    and cursed himself to eternal sleep.

  4. A raven squawks and it’s time, ruffles its feathers, sticks out a leg. The time-face ticks endlessly, lines broken. Grey smoke. It lists. He saunters at an angle since the last stroke. Nothing rhymes here. It’s all out, stoked. Something clangs, but it’s too pitch to see. An angular outline. A scratch drags across the floor. He forgot to lock up. A stream of ale courses down a tabletop, splashes, forms a question mark, but it’s the smell of smoke that grabs him. Like an old-fashioned call. Footsteps that never belonged here. So out of time. But he knows. He knew it when the clock stuck one. Time was too far gone to rewind. Missing numbers, a broken sign, the butt of a cigar in an ashtray he already cleaned. He glanced at the open doorway and knew the man had come for him.

  5. Minutes

    He collects minutes, counts them out like coins, uses them to buy and sell, creating more seconds for some, deleting hours for others. It’s like a smoking gun what he brings to the table. Folks get up and hide when he enters a room, unable to look him in the eye, but he doesn’t care. He walks through life alone, gathering. If he stayed too long in one place, he’d only gather dust, and you can’t trade dust. He bet on a unicorn once, but unicorns won’t play to his tune. So he collects minutes. The world can’t exist without them. But they come and go. Humans treasure them, but where he hails from no-one cares. Time is just a commodity to be bought and sold. You might not have long, but you’ll never know. He smokes time out of a pipe, leaves it sinking in the sand as he walks on, palms pointed up to the watching sky, cap tilted in the breeze.

  6. Eileen looked left and right more than once before she dared to cross the street. Books were not banned, and TV didn't...entirely hold the world enthralled, but the government had given up on enforcing traffic laws. She had a theory about this, but it was complex, and people did not seem to appreciate or accept complex theories. Still, Eileen told hers to anyone who would listen, if the topic came up.

    First, there was the bus accident last year. One vampire got killed by a bus, and suddenly the whole world thought that cars could rekill the undead. If this were true, that might be one thing, but much like the myth about vaccines causing Autism, this had been proven untrue about fifty or sixty times, and no one in or out of the government had admitted shit. The rumors persisted.

    Then there were the vampires themselves, and all of the possible boogeymen that could be lurking out there in the dark, stormy night. If vampires existed, did shapeshifters? Did the Loch Ness Monster? Did Bert and Ernie? What about that flying dog/dragon/thing from the Never Ending Story? More practically, if vampires existed, and they did exist, the police needed to have a force to deal with them. Why they thought traffic cops were the best choice, no one would ever know. The boneheaded decision resulted in thirty to forty new vampires who had been cops in the last six months. Yet, the policy and their dismal training had not changed. Further, drunk driving accidents were the number one, two, three, and five cause of death in the U.S. No one asked about how those statistics were calculated, either. Well, no one except Eileen and the dozen or so idiots like her.

    Eileen was a reporter. Because journalism was all but dead, she was a reporter for SMASH!!!! magazine, a Rock/Pop/Sensationalist Zine that covered real stories only when Eileen or a few of her co-workers bribed the editor to sneak the actual important stories in. Still, they got reported and she had a job...sort of. She was selling blood, turning tricks, whoring herself out as an administrative assistant, and -- worst of all -- a roadie for a pop band, but her rent got paid and she ate close to two meals a day.

    Once she got safely across the street, Eileen stopped and caught her breath, wiped the sweat off her face, and squared her shoulders. She was psyching herself up to go into one of the many vampire-run corporations in LA, and truth be told, she was fucking terrified. Then again, what did she have to lose? Her life? Big whoop. Her job? Not likely. If they turned her into one of them, it wouldn't change much for her. She would keep on reporting, and spend money on blood instead of food. Blood was cheaper, anyways.

    "This will be a cake-walk," she said to herself. With one more deep breath, Eileen forced her feet to move, and strutted across the parking lot that no one parked in, up the stairs, and through the revolving door. This was just one more story. She'd written hundreds, and she would write hundreds more. The only thing that mattered to her was that she tell the truth and inform the public with each one. That was her most important job.


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