Monday, June 28, 2004

one, the other, and a third

one paces the deck
watching flies, birds, squirrels,
stalking her prey--ajoke,
she's fat, but not oveweight.
the other, still and silent
watching, waiting,
as a black sphinx
sees her worshipers.

one, striped, has stolen
the tail of raccoon.
the other, underweight,
an achilles black, held by
two front knees still white.

a third pants heavily,
confused at the small creatures,
curious but cautious.
one and the other
ignore the third:
"why are you here
you do not belong."

one: the once wild,
never to be feral, cat.
the other: always tame,
never anything but, cat.
a third: her breed claims brilliance,
but she is anything but--
border collie: dog.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Goodbye, Big Brother

I clambered down from the upper deck and looked around. It was solitude, sweet and simple. Silent solitude. I smiled, then worked my way to the electronics board, an entire wall that was a mess of displays, hardware, and equipment. Kicking some haphazard power cables aside, I eased myself over to the keyboard and sunk restlessly into the chair. On a nudge of a key, one of the terminals lit up, a blank word processor with the cursor blinking. On. Off. On. Off. I stared at it for a few moments, then bent over the board and began to type.

Minutes, hours, or days later, I leaned back, flexing my fingers, arching my back, shrugging my shoulders. With a casual, remembered, habitual motion, a hand reached forward and entered a simple keystroke, setting complex commands in motion. The text erased itself, already saved and buried in a hidden memory cube, and the monitor darkened while another sprang to life. Only two hours. Only two hours ago did I begin to compose. Only two hours ago did I wake up; but now, my work here was nearly done.

Another practiced motion turned off the time clock, turned off the monitor, turned off the wall of electronics. Standing, I slid around the power cods, replacing them, and re-approached the ladder, but continued downward.

This new room was not a room at all, but rater a balcony. Approaching the railing, feeling a slightly increased gravity pull at my feet, I gazed through the airtight bubble, watching the stars drift beneath my feet. Deep within my ship, a vibration shook me, pushing me gently to the side. I smile once more, watching a blue and green orb slowly dwindle in size.

"I may miss your presence, big brother, but I won't miss your gravity well, or your pollution, or your oppression. Goodbye, Earth."

It decreased visibly as I pulled out of its plain of rotation. Somewhat faster, my observation room spun me out of sight. With a soft jerk, the light sail deployed itself and the jets cut off. At an angle slightly over seventeen degrees, the sun's rays pushed my ship slowly toward the Kuiper Belt. Turning from the view, I climbed carefully back to the upper deck.

Friday, June 18, 2004

Time Mountain

the rocky slope hampers my climbing,
scrambling between boulders,
jumping over empty gaps,
knocking pebbles, sending them cracking, picking up speed,
resting beneath boulders, slight overhangs, then quickly
continuing, eager to reach the top of

Time Mountain.

reaching the end of the rocky slope,
i gaze upward at an endess maze of
crevices: handholds and foot holds,
up the cliff face of

Time Mountain.

taking my time, i plan out a path
(i plan out my future) carefully,
crefully choosing my way,
up the last barrier of

Time Mountain.

testing each position, each hold,
making certain they hold my weight,
i ease up the cliff, cautiously,
trying not to overexert myself;
at a narrow inset, i rest,
for the first time noticing pats climbers,
lying broken at the base of the cliff of

Time Mountain.

turning away from their failures,
i climb on,
climb higher,
and higher,
and higher still,
my body aching, groaning for release,
but instead i continue to push
until at last i can see the sun
peeking over the top of

Time Mountain.

but the cliff face grows sheer,
flat and formidable;
anchoring my body, i toss my pack high...
it misses and starts to fall downward, picking up speed, until it dangles below me, my lifeline holding me to it, biting at my shoulders and waist;
carefully, anchoring myself tighter to the rock,
pendulumning the pack, side-to-side, higher still higher,
until it falls back into my hande, then toss it again up the cliff of

Time Mountain.

i watch it fly, slowing, until i can see it no more:
there is still slack in my lifeline, and the pack does not come crashing down;
slowly, i ease myself upward,
using and trusting friction and my pack, my last lifeline
from tumbling down the cliff of

Time Mountain.

finally, the cliff ends and i find
my pack in the hands
of a tree, a small tree;
looking around, i find i have not at all climbed a mountain, but rather out of a pit, dark and deep;
to meet me
is the tree
and a sign

CONGRATULATIONS.
YOU HAVE JUST LEFT
THE WELL OF HOPE,
AT THE BASE OF WHICH IS
THE PIT OF FALSE PROMISES.
WELCOME TO THE SUCCESS PLATEAU.

Two From Which A Story May Spin

there's a tale in every shadow:
a tale to be told.
a tale i cannot tell here,
lest my audience grow old.

beneath a golden arch,
a virgin tree doth grow.
beneath an arch of greenery
does the wind gently blow.

Monday, June 7, 2004

Point System

At the public library, at a table that has been pushed into a corner:

"A point system, eh? What, you do something for me, and you rate it, and then I owe you for it?"

"Yeah, something like that. If the points you owe me get high enough to afford it, I can tell you what to do. Demands cost more than requests."

"That makes sense. So, how much will this tutoring cost me?"

"Three points per fifteen minutes, and if it doesn't come out even, minutes are a point each."

"That seems rather high, even though I don't know how much a point buys."

"One point doesn't buy much, but they add up quick."

"I'm sure they do. Well then, let's get started."

"Certainly."

Two hours and fourteen minutes later:

"Oh, come on! One more minute, please?"

"Sorry, but no. Rules are rules; I may make them, but I won't break them. You don't need anymore help, so the timer stops. Your total is twenty-two points."

"How much does that buy?"

"What do you want? My prices fluctuate based on personal judgement."

"That's not fair."

"That's how I do business. It's a profit; be happy I don't charge interest. What is it that you want?"

"Something that costs twenty-two points."

"I'll have to add a surcharge for making me come up with something."

"How much?"

"Ten percent is the going rate. But I don't round."

"Aim for 24.2 then."

"Sure." Chris sits and thinks for a moment. "I'm not coming up with anything." He pulls out a pocket-sized notebook and turn to a fresh page, writing her name on top. "No charge because I didn't get anything. Twenty-two is your total for today unless there's something else you want or need?..."

"A question, before you go."

"One point to just ask, two more for me to decide whether to answer, but the answer itself may be rather expensive depending on the question."

"What if I demand for you to answer?"

"Three, plus the demand at fifty percent is... 4.5. Shot."

"Are you making this up, or are you really serious about this? And I'll accept any cost for the answer."

"You shouldn't say that: I could milk you for a million points. To teach you a lesson, I'll double today's final total. To answer your question: I'm totally serious. You might be surprised at who owes me points. Your total now rests at 57.4. Is there anything else?"

"No, nothing."

"Goodbye then, Becky."

"Goodbye, Chris."

~

Later that day:

"Tom, could I talk to you far a moment?"

"Sure, Bec. What's up?"

"Well, I just came from a tutoring session with Chris and he--"

"Charged you in points? I'm not surprised. If I were you, keep track of them yourself."

"Why? Would he cheat me?"

He laughs. "No, that kid is honest, but when he says the points add up quick, he's not kidding."

"Why? What happened?"

"I'm frightened. I'm actually frightened of him." Becky shudders. "I owe him a lot, and he won't drop any. I'm afraid of what he might ask me to do. Or what he might demand."

"What about that Demand surcharge?"

Tom laughs again, then frowns. "It doesn't matter. I owe him too much. There are rumors around, about this system of his; warnings about kids who owed too much, and he made do terrible things."

"Can't you just so no?"

"Say no? Listen to me: he doesn't let just anybody into this system, only those who have a conscience. Only those who can't bear to let favors go unpaid. You know it yourself: could you do that?"

Quietly: "No, I couldn't." She shudders again, and Tom puts his arm around her shoulders.

"Precisely. Where are you at?"

"Somewhere in the fifties."

"Well, find out exactly, and keep track. A word of warning: there's a charge to find out, a percentage charge. That's why I can't ask. Remember: Chris won't cheat you, but he won't tell you everything either. He has something in mind, introducing you to the system, but I don't know what; be wary."

"Where is your value?"

"Above ten thousand. And he can vouch for every last one."

She shivers. "Thanks for the warning."

"Certainly. If there's anything..."

"I'll let you know."

"Free of charge." They smile at a hidden joke.

"The same to you. Bye."

~

Later that evening:

The phone rings. "Hello?"

"I just want to warn you: stay away from Rebecca. I--"

"Oh, it's you." Bored, "what do you want?"

"Leave her alone. I told her about the bind you put me in, and she's agreed to watch herself. Don't plan on taking advantage of her."

"Stay out of my business. If she wants to share, good for her, but I won't let you destroy what I've worked so hard for. Don't call again, Tom, unless it's to pay back your debt." Chris hangs up before another word is said, then sighs as he releases the phone. To himself: "He's too much work, but he owes me so much. If I let one go, then I'll lose them all."

The phone rings again: "Hello? Oh sure, one moment." Chris pulls out his notebook and turns to Becky's page. "The fee is fifty percent. You will? Good. Your new total is... 86.1 Is that all I can do for you?"

"I want you to tell me: is this scheme of yours corrupt? And I'll accept the 4.5 question and demand fee."

"I will make the answer a mere 4.4 points to get it back on even footing--easier to keep track of that way. No, I'm just doing business as I always do. This is merely my way of making a profit and you're no exception."

"Thanks."

"No problem. If that's all..."

"It is. Goodbye, Chris."

"Until next time, whenever that may be."

~

The following morning, at the same table:

"Chris, I don't think I need this extra tutoring session. I hope you don't mind."

"Is this about my fee?"

"No, I just think that I'm ready for the test tomorrow."

"No problem. Is there anything else I can do for you while we're here?"

"What's Tom's balance?"

"Sorry, no-can-do. I can't answer questions about somebody else's account. Security reasons. I hope you understand."

"Is there no way I could find out?"

"No. Now if there isn't anything more, I'd like to thank you and go: there are other things I need to do for lunch."

"Thank me for what?"

"For reminding me to calculate Tom's interest and his current balance."

"I thought you didn't charge interest?"

"His is a special case. I'm doing an unusual favor for him, and that calls for unusual circumstances. If you wish to know more, you must ask him yourself. Until then..."

Wednesday, June 2, 2004

Can You See

can you see
at the end of the rainbow
a little pot of gold?
chase the colors
endlessly
round and 'round the world.

can you see
at the end of today
the light of tomorrow's sun?
follow the colors
horizontally,
until the day is done.

can you see
in the heart of hearts
honesty and truth?
embrace the colors
scarce but bright
celebrate you own proof.

The Water Has Risen

the will isn't there anymore
struggling, holding myself up.
the water has risen
and i drift. and i don't tread.

struggling to hold myself
above the water, i don't do anymore;
as i drift.
the end... will come.

above the water, i don't breathe anymore.
the water has risen,
and i drift, but
the will isn't there anymore.

Who Are You

who are you
to accost me with all your might?
who are you
with all i will fight
who are you
to tear me from this room
who are you you
i will leave this soon

i cannot sleep, when darkness does fall.
the hatred in my mind burns behind walls.

i do not see you, for life is in the way.
i will not see you: nothing is going my way.

my ticker tape is far from blank,
though its contents i cannot show.
death is not too far from this
pitiless existance i have now.

Summer Is Coming

summer is coming
break is nearly here.
i'm leaving all this madness
after one more year.

a mind like mine
to waste a terrible thing
i'll rejoice when, next year,
the end will finally bring.

finals are here,
finals will go.
study i won't:
don't need to though.

goodbye today,
goodbye to all;
i won't miss your face
until next fall.

Tuesday, June 1, 2004

The Color of the Masses

i see faces
faces of blue and black
and red
and yellow
and gold
and brown
and white
and pink and
green. green
is a majestic color. green
is growth and
determination. green
is without judgment. green

is the color of the masses
when they hear my
insults; the color of the masses
when they hear my
condemnations; the color of the masses
when they hear my
complaints; my
demands; my
screaming, shouting, yelling,

whispering,

frightening them all into
oblivion. why mu they be so

discriminatory?

Purity in its Darkest Form


In the darkest of nights, there is always a speck of light; in the darkest of times, there is always a speck of hope.

~

Vampires stroll the street, trolls wander the sewers; the night is not the time to be uncautious, and even werewolves watch out for who they might cross.

The only king of the darkness is the cat, blacker than the shadows of the moon. He slinks across the world, doing as he wishes where he wishes, and all but one bend to his command.

~

"My master is looking for one of your kind."

"Does he now?" The vampire is clearly shaken. "Any in particular?"

"Yes. From the Art line."

"Really?"

"Yes. He who goes by the name The Son. My master wants to meet with him.

"Ah, The Son. Does your master realize that I, nor any in my line are associated with Him in anyway?"

Puure arches his back, snarling. "There is no other 'Him' than my master and His closest disciples. Do you understand?"

"I--I do. Please accept my forgiveness in this matter. If there's anything--"

"Yes. Bring The Son to us." Then he disappears with a flick of his tail. Strovesque lets out the breath he was holding, and slowly calms himself; with a much less graceful exit (to protect himself from Puure's wrath) he vanishes as well.

--
Note on Pronunciation:
"Strovesque" strov (short o, strongest accent) es (short e, soft s, secondary accent) cue (pronounced identically to the letter Q)
"Puure" (pronunced same as pure)