Friday, December 20, 2019

LDR: Bad Finite Query (Kabla)

She walked through worlds. Every step took her from one vista to the next, seven or seventy or seven thousand leagues to a stride, and when the distance bore down on her, one mere step backwards took her back to where she started. One small step, and she was aboard her ship once more.

But whatever she saw, whatever she touched... it sometimes followed her home.


Something was falling from the sky. Kabla could smell blood and smoke on the air as she opened the loading bay doors. Grey strings fell from the sky, and when she reached out to touch one, it burned her fingers. She jerked back her hand, slammed her palm on the control panel, and retreated to the medical bay as the doors trundled shut.

Linzamin found her there, tending to the wound.

"Thread has come."

"Thread? What is that?"

"Thread is orgasm in the sky. It rains fire and pain on the world, scorching all life."

"My ship?"

"Metal, plastic, glass, water, rock, fire. This you find safe. Some cows lucky, not all."

"Where did it come from?"



"Retter gave me library, bade me use fiction to find truth."

"What truth?"

"My truth."

"Your... wait. It's you, your species... Your form is frightening to my kind?"

Lin smiled.

"Can I see you?"

Lin frowned.

" I'm not ready, I guess. So you're going to tell-- well, show us a story, let us live through a story, and through it, we'll need something in your form to come out the other side. What did the story the... Thread? What did the original use?"


"Ah. Do you need me to proofread it for you?"

Linzamin shook her head. "The book show the way. Be you careful. Not god, yes?"

"God's proofreader. I will be careful. Thanks for the boots."

Lin smiled, and walked away. A few minutes later, the Threadfall abated, and ash stirred the fields before the bay. A couple of cows swatted drifting debris with their tails, laying beneath the extenders. They looked placidly back at her, munching on what sparse patches of grass survived.

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Tuesday, December 10, 2019

LDR: Bad Finite Query (Retter)

He opened his eyes to darkness. It was always dark in the catacombs of his heartplace. In the world above lay wonders he had not yet dreamed of, journeys he would never traverse, such was his burden. He would sit alone in taverns and listen, let the roaring laughter of others telling their tales wash of him like the heat from a nearby fire.

It could have been a paradise, but nobody really enjoys paradise.

It could have been a towering metropolis, but nobody really enjoys the capitalism that breeds there.

The world was evolving beyond him, without him, into a pre-industrial wonderland, and he was content to see it go.

Such is the burden of knowledge.

Retter unshrouded the lantern beside him, set its blazing heart free, and his eyes slowly adjusted to the size of the room. They really were catacombs, though no bodies lay in any of the wings. Unswept ash of long extinguished pyres dusted the floor. The tunnels stretched away into the distance on one side, only long enough that he would never walk to the far wall, and on the other, a stone staircase plunged down from the world above.

He stretched, picked up the lantern, and started climbing.

More immediately above him was a modest chapel to unspecified gods, a tree carved into the wall behind the altar. Plain wooden pews filled the tiny nave, and slim, uninspiring windows let in fresh light and the sound of leaves shifting in a breeze.

Retter sat on the few steps of the transept, dug some pemmican out of a pocket, and gnawed on it until the ache in his belly faded.

"Alright, Linzamin. What do you want?"

She sat up from one of the rear pews. "How is it you always know?"

"My home, my church. Speak."

"How are you?"

"Is that all you came here for?"

"No, I..."

"How's the reality phase-in coming?"


"Be faster."

"I worry about your species. They instictively fear my shape, even, as I understand, do your young without realizing why."

"Do you know why?"

"I do not."

"Then don't worry about it."

"I must. It threatens our success."

"How is Kabla?"

"What does..."

"Offer her truth."

"She doesn't want truth. She wants to create."

"I used to read, you know. Books. Actual paper printings when I could afford them. It's a fading ability in my society. I would drink up fiction like a man dying of thirst. Stories offered me more freedom than life or VR ever could. And books could always sneak in a little education underneath the stories, knowledge that the world was not always ready for."


"Offer her truth under the guise of fiction. You have access to my ship's memory banks, if you haven't completely overwritten them with this world we are building. There is a library of fiction on the drives. Find a world that your kind would be at peace in."

"I will check."

"Just one more thing."


"Stay away from the Tolkein. Now leave me."

"Yes Retter." Linzamin skittered out of the hall, and his imagination treated him to more possibilities than he wanted to see, of a being that moved like that... even when they were pretended to be human.

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Friday, November 22, 2019

LDR: Bad Finite Query (Kabla)

She sat and pondered. When the world is your canvas, what should you paint?

Kabla sat in the darkness, alone and quiet. She knew she was thinking too hard, but it was too difficult to stop. When the emptiness grew heavy on her shoulders, she pulled up her cabin again, and climbed into her comforting hammock, one leg dangling over the side, rocking back and forth.

In a moment of inspiration, she hopped down, climbed the ladder to the hatch, and started painting the rest of her ship. The other crew cabins, the bridge with all its blinkenlights and the lockers containing blankets and supplies... then back the other way, to the mess, and then the engine room, where things always seemed to make more sense. She had another hammock here too, though the Captain hated having it strung up above the spinning heart, so she kept it bundled up and hooked on one of the wall beams.

She reached for the pulse of the ship, yearned to feel the strumming of its energy, but she couldn't bring it to life. She slowed the spin, brought it to a halt, and continued onward.

She brought the empty cargo space in a single twist of thought. Her memories populated it unbidden, a muscle she never thought she had remembering how to ride the bike. She waved her hand, and knew without seeing it there would be a medical bay and passenger cabins back along the tail... She descended the catwalks without a thought, standing, pausing, before the closed bay doors, and caught her breath.

Kabla didn't know what lay beyond, and feared it would be more darkness than she would be able to paint. She felt the cloying darkness squeezing her ship... until a shaft of warm sunlight pierced the viewport on the bay doors.

She threw up her hand over her eyes in surprise, and at a gentle knocking on the outside, pounded her palm against the control panel.

The doors trudged open, and she was met by a breath of fresh air, liberally sauteed in exhaust and manure. It smelled like home.

Lin stood before her on recently dewed grass, smiling. "You don't need to make whole world, darling. I do heavy lifting. You just paint details."

"I don't know how."

"Like dreaming. You just remember how to dream. Like cows," she gestured behind her, and the empty field populated with two dozen heads of the same beast. "Close eyes. Remember... Now open."

Kabla looked out among the herd again, and they were all individuals once more.

"Good. I write, you 'proofread', yes?"

Kabla nodded.

"You keep ship. Is good work. I not help at all. Now, sleep, dream. I go write." She turned to go.

"Wait... why do you talk like that, Lin?"

"Reminds you I am not you. Not like you. I am apart. Different."

"So you could talk just like us?"

Lin deepened her tone. "I am the voice of every being you meet who is only a memories. I speak like you when I am you, when I participate in your memories." "When I am above, outside, when I am not you, I speak not you. I am not you. Close door. Sleep sound. Dream well."

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Friday, November 8, 2019

LDR: Bad Finite Query (Kabla)

When you're alone, it's sometimes easier to talk to yourself aloud.

Kabla shut her eyes. It didn't make much difference, the darkness didn't go away. It was still there, curtaining her off from whatever else was out there, lurking. She was still feeling the lurch of the chair disappearing from her grasp, and the floor she was standing on was taking far too long to smack her in the face.

I'm... not falling?

She reached out with her senses. No air buffering her face, no wind tossing her about, no turbulence... no floor...

Kabla opened her eyes again. There was still nothing to see.

Why did I think I was falling? Because the chair was there and I was leaning on it, and suddenly it was gone again. I would have been off-balance, I would have fallen.

She blinked her eyes a few times, not that it changed her view. She couldn't see herself blinking, only feel it. And she didn't actually feel like she was falling, only that she expected to be falling. She closed her eyes again.

Okay, so stop thinking about falling. Replace it with... oh, I dunno, flying.

She opened her eyes. It was so dark that she couldn't even see her nose in front of her face, she was pretty sure it was still there, but wasn't sure. And she couldn't seem to feel herself either. She had hands still, pretty sure of that too, and thought she would feel them at the end of her arms...

This won't do. I need a frame of reference. Okay, forest, trees, bright sunny day.

Still darkness.

Maybe that's too hard. My shipboard cabin then.

Still darkness, but she sensed something waiting, just behind the darkness. Kabla stopped trying to imagine the whole thing in one solid picture, but instead painted it in her mind.

The bed there, the hinges broken where it's supposed to fold back into the wall, converted into a shelf. A couple of books, actual paper books, my coveralls where I left them after stripping to climb into my hammock, strung between two corners, once bright pink but now faded and stained. The walls mottled with periodically leaking pipes for water and waste and air. The ladder to my door to the hall...

And she found it fading into focus around her.

And there was a knocking at her door.

"Who is it?"


"Lin? Linzamin? What is this?"

"I come in?"

"Of course."

Lin descended the ladder with surprising grace, almost as if she had more limbs than she was letting on, and looked around the space. "Would you like job?"

"What kind of a job?"

"Everybody fall. They fall until they cry help. Not you, you create this. Retter needs help. One man and me can't save enough. Thirty percent too small. With you, I think we save more."

"What do you need me to do?"

"This, more."

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LDR: Bad Finite Query (Yume)

"Sorry, Lin is a little busy. I hope you don't mind me tagging in, Yume."

She looked up at him mistrustfully. "Who are you? Where is Lin?"

"My name is Retter. Lin is busy, though saying where she is... that's a little more complicated. Will you walk with me?"

She glanced at the people passing around them, nodded, and took his hand. "Where are we?"

"Different people call it different things. I call it Sa-Rai. Some people refuse to call it Sa-rai just to spite me, but I don't mind. Whatever you decide, I hope you come to call it home. Shall we?" He gestured at the way ahead of them, and she started walking.

"Where are we going?"

"Where would you like to go?"

"Can I see my ship? My shipmates?"

"Let's not get ahead of ourselves, okay? It's going to be a rough transition, and I don't want you to get lost. We save every soul we can, but we can't save everyone. You being here, walking with me, is a good start, but you're not done yet. And I'm afraid nobody here can actually save you; we can only give you the opportunity, the hard work is up to you."

"Who is we?"

"Me, mostly. And Lin."

"Waitwaitwait. Wait. Tell me what happened, start from the beginning, don't leave anything out."

"I'll tell you as much as I can, but I wasn't here from the beginning. That's Lin's story, and honestly, it pains her to remember."

There's a problem with the gates. What most people don't know is that they were formerly part of a larger network that spanned the universe. As time passed, the links between galaxies splintered. The math is beyond me why, but... those connections aren't actually gone. "Broken" is a better term. Sometimes, when someone uses them, the old connection fizzles into existence at one end, tries to send you to the other end, but you end up somewhere in the middle. And not just you.

"How many?"

"When I got here, there were about a hundred people still alive, but they were trapped. Lin... she's not from our galaxy, and she's definitely not human. But she has tech that allows her to sustain us, to access our drives, and to watch our dreams."

"What does she look like?"

"I have no idea, and honestly, I don't want to know."

"Wait, you said 'still alive'..."

"Lin isn't human. she doesn't fully understand what we want, what we need. She tried to raise us like her children would have been raised, with people in our memories breaking the bad news." Retter paused, a tear welling up in one of his eyes. He brushed it away, and then continued. "People would get trapped in a loop of thinking they were coming out of cryo, meet someone from their past, get the bad news, their mind would break, and then they'd wake up again like it was a fleeting dream. She tried and tried, but no combination she could ever find kept them from rejecting the reality she built for them."

"Lin said there was a man."

He laughed. "Yeah, she does that. What she doesn't tell you is that people have flaws, and the person she lauds as savior is no different."


"I'm an addict. This... world is my drug. It was like coming home the first time. I could feel it. She paints me as some kind of savior because she was feeling just as lost as every other being who came here, human or not."

"...Are you saying this is a sim?"

"Most of it, yeah. Most of the people too. That's the other thing I taught her. She used to take whole people from our dreams. I showed her how to only take parts, individual characteristics, and merged them into someone they've never met before, but reminded them of people they would probably never see again."

Yume held up her hand. "That's enough. I need--"

"Time. And you have it. Here's my card, and here's Lin's. You have a week before you have to decide what you're going to do."

"A week? For what?"

"Giving people a free ride doesn't work. You can't accept a selfless society as reality. You get a week to take it all in, go anywhere, try anything, talk to anyone. After that, you have to do something. It's like a free demo."

"What do I have to do?"

"Find something to earn your way. Don't worry, the cost of living is really low. We welcome you to make mistakes, because that means you're trying." Retter stopped walking, turned to her. "Find a way to be yourself. Maybe I'll see you around."

He held out his hand, but Yume didn't shake it. He turned it into a casual salute, and walked off into the crowd.

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LDR: Bad Finite Query (Yaro)

You open your eyes to darkness.

Something is wrong. It shouldn't be dark. If everything were right, you'd be waking to the dulcet voice of your onboard nav system, feeling the cryofluid draining from your tank, choking the last of it from your lungs. If everything had gone to hell, the world would be full of blaring alarms and painful flashing lights.

Instead, it's dark and silent. For lack of anything better to do, you start walking.

Out of the darkness enshrouded emerges a pair of plush leather chairs. Seated in one is a modestly dressed young woman. She looked familiar and grim.

You shake your head at the invitation to sit, though the mauve seat looks comfortable. You brace yourself on the seat back, waiting.

"Hello. You are Yaro, yes? I am called Lin."

"How do you know my name?"

"There's been a problem."

"You're damn right there's been a bloody problem. What the fuck is this?"

"What do you remember?"

"The gate, the cryotank, the going to sleep, then this." Your hands clenched the unyielding chair. "Who are you?"

"Many questions. I have some answers, most you not like, I think. Please, sit."

"Answer. My. Questions." You grit your teeth in a rising tide of impatience.

"One. I know your name, it is on your ship manifest. Two. Something went wrong. You became a statistic. Three. I am welcome wagon, is term, yes? Four. You not ask, but common, where are you?" she shook her head. "Lost. You are lost, and I have little solace to give."

"What is this place?"

"A choice."

"What choice?"

"You are not first. Others have come before. I try many thing, make safe place, but not good thing. People get lost, people get broken. Someone came, show me better way. But you must make choice."

"What. Choice."

Lin took a deep breath and spoke very slowly, as if she was reading unfamiliar words off a script. "Do. You. Want. Me. To. Save. You?"

"What's the catch?"

"No 'takebacks', yes? Still possibility of madness, but hope too. Success is, thirty percent. Good number."

"No, thirty percent is terrible!"

"Is thirty percent not better than one? I get confuse."

"One percent?"

"Not one percent. One. Only one. He show the way." She thought for a moment. "I not say this but, if you choose yes, I will meet you to him."

"What if I say no?"

"Madness. About five minutes."


"If you scream instead of breathe, yes. You will die. Or beg for death."

"Can I think about it?"

"Think. Dream. Remember. Call for Linzamin when decide. I will be listening."

The shroud fell again, and you were left grasping nothing. You stumble, fall... and keep falling. Around you echoes the voice, fading out slowly... toooooo.... ssaaaaveeeee.... yooooouuuuuu.....


The darkness blooms into light. You find yourself laying on a sidewalk in an anonymous city, a hand thrust down into your vision. Following the arm upwards, you find Lin smiling reassuringly down at you. Strange people wearing strange faces walk around you, nobody staring, nobody crowding, nobody pointing.

"Come Yaro, let me show you Sa-Rai."

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Thursday, October 31, 2019

LDR: Bad Finite Query

a bad finite query loth

"You're not Kor."

"What are you talking about?"

"Sorry, gal, you're like Kor in a lot of ways, but you're not Kor. You're trying too hard. Let me guess, something went horribly, drastically wrong, the slip-space tunnel ironically slipped somewhere, and we ended up somewhere at the edge of nowhere with no way back. Is that about right?"

"How did you--?"

"Simulation, yeah?" I stepped up to the window and rapped my knuckles on the surface. "It's a stunning view. Beautiful. But they reject it, don't they?"


"The others, ones who came before. I'm not the first."

"What makes you think that?"

"You started with the simulation. You didn't crack me open first and wait until I'd started to scream before trying to push something familiar that you stole out of my dreams. How many did you lose?"

"Too many."

"There, you see? That wasn't so hard now, was it?"


"You just confirmed it. Simulation, check. You have a lot to learn about humans, dearie. We're more wily than you think. Now, enough with the games. Tell me how many reject it, reject the simulation?"

"All of them."

"Let me guess, you feed them a sim of what the world really looks like, but because it's a sim, you can cut them off and put them back under when they crack. How long?"

"How long what?"

"How long does it take for them to crack, seeing the world as it really is?"

"The sane ones go in under a minute. The insane ones..." She shuddered. "I don't..."

I put my hand on her shoulder. "How many do you have, right now?"

"One hundred and nineteen."

"And they're all, what? Circling through slightly deviating loops until you find the right way to tell them what's really happened?"

She nodded.

"Alright, let's get me in something more comfortable, sit down with a nice cup of tea, and I'll help you get this all sorted out."

"Don't you want to know what's out there?"

"Fuck no. My nightmares are going to be bad enough as it is, trying to help you save one hundred and eighteen damned souls, I don't need any more fuel for that fire."

"One hundred and nineteen."

"I don't need to save me, dearie. Once I've got that tea and show you how you should be running this shtick, I'll have everything I need."

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Saturday, September 14, 2019

KD: Jedan

I don't do interviews. I don't take applicants. I'm not a recruiter.

So if you're reading this, there's a reason. You were chosen or I was chosen, or something I've written was chosen. There's something you're supposed to learn from this.


I never was what you'd call "talented." I worked hard, put my back into whatever the work in front of me was, and it was good work. It was never anything stellar, never got me any commendations, but the rising stars who just had good things come to them, they were flakes. You could never count on them showing up, or having any degree of productivity.

I put my nose to the grindstone, and just pushed.

Some people got invited in to the shiny office building, sat down at a nice table in a nice comfortable chair. Most of them came out largely unchanged, unfettered by whatever they saw or heard of felt in there. It was like a coming-of-age trial that was as much pomp and circumstance as it was an utter disappointment.

I'm pretty sure my invitation got lost in the mail, if they even remembered to send it at all. I've had to fight for more than a few paychecks that way, just because somebody forgot to pay me, or log my hours, or tell accounting and HR.

I was just one more cog in the great machine, and not a very flattering one at that.

For me, it was a cabin in the woods.

I was wandering, intentionally lost, and utterly alone. It was getting chilly, night was drawing in and the shadows were growing deeper. I was looking for a place to settle down for the night, when I stumbled over a BLM emergency hut.

I'd seen them before, usually from a distance, but this was the first I'd seen being used.

Jedan = "one" (Bosnian)

Kommer Du

I know you're scared. I know you don't want to listen to what I have to say. You're worried I'm going to twist your mind, your thoughts, your... soul. That's what everybody warned you I might do. Let me tell you what I'm actually going to do:

I just want to sit here, just you and me, and I'm going to talk. You can listen if you want. If you don't want to listen, I'll let you go on your way. I don't want to coerce you into anything. This has to be your choice, free and clear.

But you only get to make this choice once. I'll ask once, and you'll answer once. You can have the rest of eternity to think about your answer before you give it to me, but once you give it to me, it's not your answer anymore. Once you give it to me, it's my answer.

I'll take my answer, and either you'll walk out of here and somebody else will take your chair, or I'll show you what happens next.

I reached out and put a light finger on her lips.

Don't get ahead of yourself. I haven't even asked yet. Let me tell you a bit about this vessel first.


I was born before the millennia turned. I remember days before all the machines and the automation, before we had neighbors in the stars. I worked hard, but I was born broken. Twenty years of under-diagnosis and misdiagnosis before I felt hope of a cure. I found happiness, optimism, freedom.

I found my heaven.

Material goods that brought me happiness were taken from me, not out of malice. They were taken by people who just weren't paying attention. They were letting the sands of time slip through their fingers, but weren't paying the price. I paid, and I'm not the only one.

Twenty years of pain. A few years of joy, and then more pain, but not for long.

I'd hurt myself before, on love. I'd loved people, but my heart always let me down. I burned myself free, and fell in love with things instead. Then the things let me down. I burned myself again. I fell in love with places, and those places let me down. I fell in love with journeys, but one day, we all must reach our destination.

Twenty years of love. And I was still alone.

Then, one day, I found myself sitting in a chair, much like you are today, though the room wasn't as clean, the lights weren't quite so bright, the air didn't hum with energy. The sun was just outside the doorway, and I could still feel its warmth on my face.

Somebody sat in the space I'm sitting in right now, and they told me a story, who they used to be and what they had become. Then told me what was coming, and they asked me a question. It's the same question I'm going to ask you.


I could tell you their story. It's still in here, I tapped my temple, we're all in here somewhere. But this moment isn't about them. This is about you and me, my story and your choice.


Something is coming. We're not sure what it is, but it's big. You're going to need all the help you can get. Your scientists haven't found it yet, but the ones who have joined our ranks are working on it. We have resources you don't, not because we're smarter (we're not) or have more money (we don't) or better tech (not that either).

We have the ability to pool everything, and not hold back. We can see the problem from a hundred different perspectives, all at the same time, and share unreservedly.

We're not keeping it to ourselves either. Even if you tell us no, we'll still help you survive this, do everything in our power. This is your home, your world, your universe too, and we're all in this together, even if you don't like us.


Before I get to the question, and I know you're itching for me to ask it, because you think you're ready to answer, even though the truth is that no one is ready. I wasn't ready then, the person who posed it to me wasn't ready when they were asked. This isn't something you can prepare for. Before I get there though, let me tell you something.

I won't lie to you and say I don't tell this to anyone else. It's something I say, not because it's part of the rough outline I have of things I have to go over. It's not in the outline. It's not in the training. It's not in the advice.

This is all me.

This is something I say, because of the life I lived before I got my opportunity, because of my pain, because of my fire, because of my suffering. And I say it because I know I'm not the only one who goes through all that.

I leaned in closer, and they did too out of reflex. I dropped my voice to a whisper.

The pain and the burns and the feeling, it's all still here, inside of me. The worry and the fear haven't gone away. What's gone away is that I no longer feel alone.

I leaned back again, raising my voice.

I'm not alone anymore. You don't have to be alone either.

I stood up and held out my hand.

Will you join us?


Less than one percent of people give an answer straight off the bat. It's about an even split of yes and no. About five percent walk out of the office without giving an answer, and we never see them again; I hope they're out there, somewhere, still thinking about it.

The remaining ninety-four and a bit give us an answer within twenty four hours, but most of them say no. The few that do say yes ask for time to get their affairs in order. We smile and shake our heads.

It doesn't work like that. You're not dying, you're not forced to move somewhere else. We recommend it, only because there are a lot of hateful people out there, but you can keep your house and your car and your kids. We're a lot of things, but we're not a cult.

This isn't about taking something, anything away from you. It's about giving you something more...

Will you join us?

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Untitled (16 July 2019)

waves and rain,
drizzle on my head,
a long smooth paddle,
forest, fog, peace


connections made and friendships forged,
advice given and tech support,
photos taken and shared abroad,
    ...  go home and we've nothing to talk about.

Halleck Point, AK

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Untitled (13 July 2019)

too many blues to name,
turquoise waters and seafoam same,
crystal clarity of ice afloat,
low-hang clouds drifting about,

and green of the lichen
and sparse stubby trees,
precariously clinging
where life isn't eas',

and the foreboding faces
of stone shaded greys
entrapping and catching
cotton in their wake,

and the rare heartbeat
struggling to get by
as the bergs calve
and we warm up the sky.

Tracy Arm, AK

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Untitled (10 July 2019)

it's not silence but peace of mind
the world's still spinning but stationary inside
    not clamoring on the walls trying to get out
just letting it happen...           freedom will out.


let go of what you cannot see;
the sky,
the water,
the mountains,
the trees,
the mist,
the blue,
the green,
      and breathe...


fall into the sky...
release your toes burrowing in the muck,
ignore inner demons muttering inconsequential things,
   you cannot fly, you cannot fall,
   which is up, which is down,
   and trapped standing on the ------
fall       into       the       sky

Rudyerd Bay, AK

Untitled (10 July 2019)

sullen, shallow ripples
from the wake and the rise
stillness shattered by nothing
peace rising inside

distance is all too deceptive
a trick played on the eyes
fingers trail in the water
reaching outside my mind

floating and adrift
paddles balanced high
as in space as in water
open my wings and fly.

Rudyerd Bay, AK

Monday, June 24, 2019

Untitled (24 June 2019)

play the room like an orchestra
drive the players like pins
slot them each into square holes
and watch them as they spin

Thursday, June 20, 2019

La Bottega

"What do you make?"

I choked on the meal replacement drink I was sipping on and looked up in surprise. Maria was leading a new protege around the co-op and they'd come up behind me, squinting into a computer.

"Ah, sorry," I replied after a few coughs. "I'm not a creator."

"No, he is... what is the word? Ma-nip-u-la-tor, I think, yes?"

"Maria, you make it sound so dirty."

She laughed and batted her eyes sarcastically at me.

"No, sorry. I keep track of the money. It's not necessarily easier to do it in house, but it gives the artists a sense of reassurance that they can come over any time and see what I'm doing. I even mirror my display, and leave all the docs readable to everyone so they can see everything is aboveboard."

"Are you an accountant?"

"Actually, I'm an amateur writer. Not good enough for the likes of this place, they've got better people than me. But yes, I handle the accounting. Not the taxes, those we do have a service for, but I liaise with them."

"So you don't create art."

Maria and I laughed together. It was an old joke.

"What is art?"

The protege frowned.

Maria smiled. "Art is the creation of order from chaos, using a... medium, yes? medium that everybody can understand."

"That's what I do. You could call me an artist, but instead of manipulating colors or words, I use numbers. Order from chaos, indeed. For all the order the artists here create from the chaos of the world, some chaos still flows out. I distill it into further order."

"I... never thought of it that way." The protege turned away, frowning.

Maria scowled at me. "Hai rotto un altro." Another old joke.

I grinned back. "Le cose rotte si adattano meglio." My accent was terrible, but she knew what I meant.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Untitled (16 June 2019)

no you're wrong
i know what sf means
and what you've written
isn't it
two firefly references
don't sf make

i'm sorry i was
too subtle for you
it wasn't about firefly
and that wasn't the only reference
nothing wrong
with not getting it

i hate writing something
that i fall in love with
and i try to give
others the chance
to fall too
but they'd rather
track in mud
insist everything is wrong
that i don't know what i'm doing

it's no small wonder
i can't find someone
worthy of my heart
if i can't find someone
who finds worth
in my words

when will i learn
to limit my pride
and not try to

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Route 191 to Arches Scenic Drive

Mature Content

This passage contains content that may not be suitable for all audiences. Read at your own risk.

   <      >   ⋙

We woke together. His head rested on my chest, and my heart rate and breathing escalated as I surfaced from sleep.

"Six hours to Moab."

I patted his head. "We have to talk about that."

He pouted, one hand circling my chest.

"There are no trees to hang from at Arches. It's an established campsite, nearly primitive; water pump, toilets, fire pits, and picnic tables, but nothing else. I have a portable stand, but it's not designed for two bodies. And it's in the middle of National Preserve land, so dispersed is forbidden."

"So I'm on my own."

"You're welcome on my plot, but I won't have any shelter to share."

"I understand." He was silent for several minutes. "Can I see your maps?"

"Of course." I started to shift, but he held on.

"Not yet. Later." He kissed me, and we finished waking up together.

He studied my topos of the area thoughtfully. "What would you suggest?"

"Assuming you have survival down pat.."

"Assume I do."

"There's no-where for you to camp between here and there. But here, you can hike back and forth between Frisco and Breckenridge all season. Five miles or so one-way. Your biggest problems are food, bears, and mountain lions. If you need a change of scenery, you can take Meadow Creek Trail further north, or Wheeler west and south, around the other side of Tenmile."

"How well do you know those trails?"

"Not at all. But you can probably buy topos in Frisco, and almost definitely in Brecken'."

"Will you be coming back this way after your week in Arches?"

I shrugged. "Probably."

He studied his feet. "But you won't be the same person."

"Different roads. And miles to go before I sleep."

"And miles to go before I sleep. I'll be here, if you come looking."

I drove out of Frisco with my hand resting on an empty seat.

"Six hours to Moab."

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Peaks Trail to Miner's Creek Road

Mature Content

This passage contains content that may not be suitable for all audiences. Read at your own risk.

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I woke to eyes watching me. It was still dark, but there was a glow to the sky that was enough to see by. I unclipped my water bottle from my ridgeline and rinsed the staleness out of my mouth, but before I could do more than shift my legs out of my sleeping bag and sit up a little, the zipper on my bugnet was pulled open. He climbed in and joined me, the warmth from his body curling around my legs and staving off any shivers. I reached around him and drew the net closed again, and in the same motion, kissed him.

He melted into me.

When we came up for air, there was a soft smile on his face, and I felt one on mine as well. It was rare contentment and a haze of happiness.

"How far is Moab?"

"Six hours."

"Six hours to Moab?" He tasted the time with his tongue. "What's the rush?"

"There isn't any."

"Camping there too?"

"Yeah. I have a reservation for a week starting tomorrow night."

"Tomorrow night?"

"Yeah. I gave myself an extra day to get there. But it will be loud and crowded. Not much privacy."

"What are you going to do with the extra day?"

I stroked his face. "I was thinking about staying right here."

He kissed me again, and we let our hands wander.

The sun peeked over Swan Mountain in the late morning, and we ignored the glowing sky until my stomach grumbled. He scowled at me.

"If you're eating more of that slop, I'm going back to my hammock."

I smiled and fished a snack bar out of one of my pockets, waving it under his face.

He slapped it out of my hand, and it tumbled out of the hammock and down into the slack in my bugnet. "You've had that this whole time?"

"Supposed to be for emergencies only. I have a lot of the powder. I only have so many bars."

"Do you need me to fish that one out again, or do you have another one in your pocket?"


"What about your stomach?"

"If we're just going to stay here and lounge around all day, it will quiet down eventually."

His fingers dug into my sides and left me shaking, gasping. "You should probably keep your energy up."

"Don't do that again. I hate being tickled."

"Do you really? Or do you hate the side effects?"

I grumbled.

"That's what I thought." He leaned over the hammock and fished out my snack bar, then handed it to me. "Eat up."

I ate slowly because I stayed full longer. Eventually, though, the bar was gone, the wrapping was tucked away where it wouldn't become litter, and we descended from our hammocks and climbed further up the road.

The path southward was more worn, but we chose it anyway; northward would only lead us back to Frisco after a mere half mile of forest. South would go all the way to Breckenridge if we had the mind; I certainly didn't, my mind was on Arches.

We were alone, but we weren't. We received smiles and nods and the tipping of hats from people who passed us, either travelling faster than our lazy gait or going the other way, but they passed around a turn and were gone in a few minutes, and didn't try to make conversation or match our pace.

These were the strangers that I loved. If I were injured or struggling, they would stop. If I paused one to ask if they could call back home when they got to the bottom to say that I'm alright, they would take the number and pass on the message. We were all in this together, in the peace and the wild, without malice.

Arches was fairly commercialized, though not as badly as the Grand Canyon or, even worse, Four Corners. I would be surrounded by kids and parents who took deliberate steps to avoid the wild, either in their RVs at base camp, or their hotel back in Moab. Few would be tent-laden, and I would probably be the only hammock, especially given there was no-where to hang at basecamp. My compact stand was disassembled in the back of the car.

They were very live and let live too. If I... no, I'm not going to just think about it.

I bit my lip and glanced at him slyly, then started drifting off to the side of the trail. He followed, curious and eager, hand in mine. I pushed him against the nearest tree and kissed him, hard. I could hear the smiles and footsteps of passing hikers, but nobody catcalled or objected. I lifted his hands to my shoulders and unzipped his pants.

I just teased him, holding to a dangerous edge, but went no further. After a few minutes, I pulled away, and he scowled. I returned to the trail and continued walking, instead of waiting for him to straighten his clothing. If I had, I don't doubt he would have dragged me deeper off the trail and finished what I started; I would have done the same.

He had to jog a bit to catch up. "You are evil."

I grinned, and we kept walking. 

The problem with walking a long straight path is there comes a point were you have to turn around. That moment found us seated on the ground off to one side of the path, a few trees and a little undergrowth away. I was steeping pine needles into tea, my miniature camping stove chugging away on a small patch of recently cleared dirt.

He watched me, dubious. For all his time on the road, this was a first.

"It tastes better with dried marigold, but I don't have any."

"I'll take your word for it."

I let the fire burn out while it finished steeping, and sieved out most of the needles. I picked up my pot gingerly, but the sidewalls were still cool to the touch, and sipped carefully. My eyes widened, and I passed him the pot.

"Don't touch the plate on the bottom. That's still hot. But it's not as fragile as it looks."

He took a careful sip, and then a larger one. "That's not the flavor I was expecting."

I smiled, and he passed it back. We traded swallows until it was gone, and then I cleaned out the pot and folded it back into my pack. Before I could stand, he hauled me back down to the ground and repeated to me what I did earlier.

I growled as he pulled away, grabbed onto his arms, and pinned one of his legs under mine, before bucking and rolling. I finished unfastening my pants, set my knees on his shoulders, and made him finish what he started.

We walked back slowly. He kept glancing at me furtively, on guard against further teasing. 

I fixed a batch of powder for dinner, drinking it while leaning against the car, and brushed my teeth before retiring back to the hammocks. 

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Friday, June 7, 2019

Route 9 to Miner's Creek Road

Mature Content

This passage contains content that may not be suitable for all audiences. Read at your own risk.

   <      >   

He was still there when I woke up, though I couldn't remember why my dreams thought that was important. The sky was just starting to grow light and he was still asleep. I watched him for a long moment before starting to break down my gear to just the hammock, and packed it away.

He woke slowly as the sun poked through the leaves and warmed up his face. By then, the sunrise was over and I sat crossways in my hammock with some powdered breakfast watching him.

His right leg draped over the taut side-wall and he hoisted himself up by the ridgeline, hair mussed and eyes still half-closed. He climbed out the side away from me with a motion born from much habit and repetition, stretching along the way; hips first, then knees, ankles, shoulders, neck, and arms.

I watched with more than just an observant eye.

He walked around the trees that he was tethered to, unhooking and loosening the lines along the way, and approached me from behind. He stood over my head for the same long moment, taking in the sight of me laying beneath him, before leaning over and kissing me, upside down. He made a face, my breath tainted heavily with powdered whatever, but I grabbed his head and pulled him back again, pulled the kiss deeper, and his eyes widened.

I let go, and he walked over to the car, hatchback still open from my packing and concern over waking him.

"Where is it?"

"Where is what?"

"Your toiletry bag. That stuff is vile."

"Left side of the box."

He pulled out a flat black bag and returned it to me, smirking and waiting.

I scowled, but pulled out my toothbrush and toothpaste, dampened down by water from my bottle, and cleaned myself up, spitting into a small garbage bag, and returning the supplies to their pockets. Accepting the effort, he crawled into the hammock next to me and let me kiss him again. I held him tenderly, and he enjoyed the wandering of my hands.

When he pulled away to catch his breath, he rolled to one side, resting his head on my shoulder, one arm on my chest and one leg betwixt mine.

"What's next?"

"Frisco. Eight hours."

"Another campground?"

"No. Dispersed." I couldn't keep the smiled off my face with that word.

"How far do we have to hike?"

"We can camp right off the road if it's not busy."

"What's the rule?"

"Hundred feet from the creek; quarter mile from the entrance."

I'd done the math before I left, and had a decent topo in the car. This was a planned stop, unlike Calamus. At fifteen hundred feet from the entrance, the creek was five hundred feet from the road, and stayed more than a hundred feet for about a quarter mile. There would be plenty of room and privacy for us to squeeze in with anybody else in the area, on either side of the road.

We laid together for a little longer before I started growing antsy.

"What is it?"

"I hate Nebraska. Let's go."

"Eight hours to Frisco."

"Damn straight."

After four hours of silence and hand-holding, I pulled aside at the Last Days of the Buffalo rest area. I found an empty stretch of lawn and laid down on the grass, letting the kinks ease themselves out of my body through the warmth of the sun. A toe nudged me after a few minutes, and I rolled over in reply.

He knelt next to me and massaged my shoulders, back, and legs. I let my eyes close and mind drift. When he was done, I rolled onto my side and smiled at him.

"Thank you."

"My pleasure, though you might want to lay there a little longer while your gratitude fades down."

I laughed, and he got up and grabbed some food. When I was ready to sit up, there was a bottle of my slosh waiting for me, and I chugged it down, cleaned it out, and returned to the car.

It was a bright and clear day, so I pulled off to the side of the road a scant two hours later, just west of Fort Morgan. I didn't get out of the car, just sat gazing westward, a warm hand on my thigh. I could see mountains, and as ever, they took my breath away. I put my hand on his for a short minute, and then pulled back into traffic.

We stopped for gas in Denver before beginning the climb on 70. It was early in the afternoon and there were few cars on the road; that came as very reassuring as my car didn't handle steepness well and we were really getting into the climb. I knew cars would stack up behind me where there wasn't room to pass, and I'd lose some time pulling over where the route widened out to let traffic get around me again, but we were among the mountains. That alone made me happy.

It was closer to three hours than two before we rolled through Frisco. Though the light was already fading, we stopped for gas before heading for camp, topping off the tank to bar any unforeseen issues. While we were there, I made sure the maps on my phone were up to date and plugged in the coordinates for the quarter mile marker.

Thirty-nine and a half north, one-oh-six and a bit west.

The trees were dense enough that we set up side-by-side. If we started swinging in tandem, we'd bump into each other. I lent him my spare bugnet, and we laid out the rainfly over us both. The woods were dark and deep, and it felt like we had the place to ourselves, though there was a tent a hundred feet or so up the road, and judging by the traffic, more still further on.

He was close enough to touch, separated by only a foot and two layers of mesh, and that felt like too much to bridge. It took me longer than usual to fall asleep.

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39°33'54.5"N 106°04'58.8"W / 39.565151, -106.082996

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Route 20 to Calamus

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I was driving west on Iowa State Route 18 for no particular reason other than a figment of a memory from a story I read once. It was out of my way for my planned camping trip, but the fragment of inspiration was enough incentive to drive me several hours out of my way.

It was occasional light rolling hills and otherwise long, flat, wide open spaces tamed to serve as farmland as far as the eye could see, rolling past the miles in a meditative state just conscious enough to keep the car on the road. I was a few miles out of Ventura where I'd stopped to stretch my legs when I saw him.

I'm not usually one for hitchhikers, and if you've ever seen my car, you'd understand why. I'm not sure why I stopped.

He was whiplash thin and dark from the sun, with a small pack slung about his shoulders and a heavy water bottle bearing down his pants, belt cinched tight around his hips. When I pulled next to him, I saw he was clean-shaven and shorter than I expected, a few inches over five, but his eyes were unmistakably aged. He'd seen some things.

He glanced suspiciously at me through the empty pane of my rolled-down windows.

"Need a lift?"

"That depends who's asking."

"Come on mate, you know this is no getaway car. How often do you see one of these out here?"

"Fair enough. Where you headed?"


"So what are you doing on 18? Are you lost?"

"Only intentionally. Looking for a little freedom."

"You know it's not real."

"I know. Doesn't mean it's not worth looking for."

"Amen to that. Sure, I could rest my legs."

He unclipped the water bottle and swung his bag around between his legs as he folded himself into my car. He smelled of sweat and eucalyptus and witch hazel, and I pulled off the shoulder as he mopped his brow.

We sat in near silence, just the wind buffering my car, the sixty and change miles to Emmetsburg, which seemed like a relief to him, though I surreptitiously made sure one of my backup knives was still in my door pocket, just in case.

I stopped for lunch in Emmetsburg, and he was right. Freedom wasn't there, but I could see in the roads and buildings, in the way people walked it once was. Lunch was a bottle of water and a scoop of brown powder, shaken, not stirred, and a practiced effort to not breathe too much while I downed it.

"That looks disgusting."

I tilted the bottle away from my face. "It is, but it keeps me going. Want a sip?"

He coughed into his hand. "No. Thanks."

I shrugged. When it was gone, I pulled out my map, paper, for there was too much space and not enough signal for my phone to be much use. "Six hours and a bit to Calamus." I sat back in the car after rinsing out the bottle; it got more disgusting the longer it sat, so I only mixed up as much as I was going to drink in a sitting. I looked at him.

He stretched his legs one last time and climbed back into the car. "Six hours to Calamus."

Leaving Sioux City wasn't a relief, it was foreboding. The plains of Nebraska were about as dull as the landscape got, even worse than western Iowa. I shuddered as we passed out of the city limits and into the blankest slate.

"What's wrong?"

"I hate Nebraska."

"Then why Calamus?"

"Cheaper to camp than to get a room, and Nebraska is pretty inevitable."

"South Dakota is worse."

"My lunch was worse. Doesn't mean I have much of a choice."

He was silent for a few miles. "Talk to me, help the time pass faster. Where are you from?"

"Behind me."

He chuckled. "Okay, fair enough. I know a line when I see one. Here's a better question, then, one you don't have to expose too much of yourself to your hitch. Why did you stop?"

I shrugged. "Curiosity."

"No, curiosity is why you slowed down."

"You reminded me of someone."

"Of yourself, you mean."

"Yeah. If I'd taken a different road."

He laid back his head and smiled, closing his eyes. "I like this car. The first time I saw one it was when it was featured in Wired mag in the early naughties. I never wanted to own one, but I thought it looked..."

"Like freedom?"

"Just like that. Take my love, take my land..."

"Take me where I cannot stand."

He opened his left eye enough to peek at me, and settled his left arm on mine, his fingers drawing swirls on the back of my right hand. "Yeah, I can see that. Different roads. I like you. What's at Calamus?"

"State Rec Area and campgrounds."

"How open are the campsites?"

"I have no idea. Never been there before. From the satellite imagery, I think it's pretty open. Not a lot of privacy if that's what you're asking about. Also depends on how many people are there."

"Hmm." He closed his eyes again.

I turned my hand over and let his fingers fall between mine. "Four hours to Calamus."

He held my hand, squeezing it and smiling. "Four hours to Calamus."

I don't know if he fell asleep then, but I focused on the road and the feeling of his hand in mine.

He squeezed my hand as the car slowed, and then let go suddenly, as I pulled up to the office, tires crunching on gravel. I was in and out in five minutes; we had the place to ourselves. I set my hand on his leg experimentally, and drove around to a distant site in the dimming light, recommended by the proprietor. It had three trees on the lot, the only plot with as many.

I pulled up next to the picnic table and turned off the car. Taking my hand back, I rubbed my eyes, suddenly tired.

"Are you okay?"

"I hate Nebraska."

"What can I do?"

"What do you mean?"

"Do you have a tent?"

"No, no tent."

"Are you going to sleep in the car?"

I sighed. "Just give me a moment."

"Don't take too long. It's getting dark." He climbed out of the car.

When I followed a few minutes later, I couldn't help but laugh aloud.

He sat up in his hammock sharply, looking concerned. "What?"

"Different roads, man." I opened the trunk and pulled out my own. "Take me out, to the black..."

We finished the rest of the song together while I set up my hammock. I had a little more shelter than he did, and he clambered down to help me set up my rainfly over the bug net. When it was centered and hung, he leaned underneath it and stroked my face. I leaned closer and kissed him experimentally.

He kissed back for a moment, before pulling away. "Get some sleep. It's been a long day. Eight hours to Frisco."

"Eight hours to Frisco," I whispered back, and I fell asleep before I realized he had said it first.

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Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Upgrade, a conversation

R has logged on.

R: What did you do?

D: What are you talking about?

R: My house was just broken into.

D: What? What are you doing chatting with me? Get the cops involved.

R: They already are. But nothing was stolen.

D: Are you sure?

R: Positive. 

D: So you scared whomever it was off before they could grab anything.

R: No, they were gone before we got back.

D: So something else spooked them. What's your worry? Besides now knowing your house is a target. Or was. Probably will be extra patrols past your house for the next few weeks, so it's actually less of a target.

R: But there's something wrong with my computer.

D: What are you talking about?

R: It sounds different, when it's running. And I'm not having internet problems anymore.

D: Let me get this straight...

R: Yes, I think someone broke into my house and upgraded my computer.


R: It's not funny!

D: Yes it is!

D: Did you get a different case?

D: Maybe it just got tuned.

D: I don't know.

D: Why would someone do that?

R: Last month you asked me what my computer case looked like.

R: Why did you want to know?

D: What?

R: I'm really freaking out right now.

D: I. Didn't. Do. Anything.

D: You've known me for how long? Years. Probably so long you don't even remember how long we've known each other. Hard to remember how we met too.

R: Something to do with devart.

D: Okay, that's not very specific, but anyway.

D: I've helped you manage your website and your domain name. You've given me access to your accounts, you clearly trust me.

R: Temporary access. And changed the password afterward.

D: Yeah, I know, but you still gave me access for a short time in the first place. How many people do you let access any of your accounts for a few minutes, even when you're looking over their shoulder?

R: None

D: So you trust me.

R: Yes.

D: So when I tell you I didn't mess with your computer...

R: I believe you.

R: It's just weird.

D: So what happened to your computer?

R: The internet isn't giving me problems any more. The case looks cleaner.

D: Your internet is fixed and your case is cleaner. That's it?

R: That's all I can see.

R: Okay, for all the advice about computers you've given me, tell me this: how can I check to see if the guts are different, without opening it up?

D: Hmm...

D: Okay, yeah, I can work with that. Really easy too.

R: What?

D: Load up Minecraft.

R: What?

D: You've had problems running it in the past, problems you associated with your computer hardware not being able to keep up. If you run it now, and it doesn't have problems, you got an upgrade.

D: Kinda wish someone would break into my place and upgrade mine. I still haven't fixed the motherboard.

R: What's wrong with your motherboard?

D: Connection issues with the USB ports caused by tripping over my mouse cord and yanking on it.

D: You know that sound when you plug or unplug a device from your computer?

D: I get that from moving my mouse around.

R: It's running.

D: Your mouse?

R: No, Minecraft.

D: Are you on a server or local save?

R: Local save. J's server seems to be down.

D: Yeah, it's been like that for a while. I check in every few weeks.

D: Try a server.

R: I don't have any other servers.

D: Okay, hold on... [link]

D: Sign up through that link, give it your account info, it'll whitelist you.

R: What is that?

D: Creative build server for one of the youtubers I follow. 

D: Should give you easy instructions to get on.

D: I'll get mine started.

R: I'm in.

D: What?

R: I'm in.

D: Okay, now I'm seriously jealous. I can't connect that quickly.

R: Wow, now I really believe you.

R: I have to go.

D: What, you didn't before?

D: ok

R: ttyl

D: ttfn

R has logged off.

Friday, April 12, 2019


know more than your readers,
know more than you say,
know what's between the lines,
and how the rules really play.

Thursday, April 11, 2019


-but why don't you like me?
;because you ask too many questions
;and you talk too much
;and you don't listen

-what's wrong with the way I am?
-aren't we friends?

;I told you that you talk too much
;and you ask too many questions
;and your response was
;to talk more
;to ask more questions

-but we're good though, right?
-we're friends
-you're my bro

;I told you twice last week
;and at least once yesterday
;we're not friends

-can I be your friend?
-then what are we?
;barely coworkers

-ok, but can you teach me
;do you remember what happened
;the last time I tried to teach you
-bro, that never happened
-but you're my friend
-teach me something

-why not
;because you still
;aren't listening

Wednesday, April 10, 2019


to the news and the world
now seeing space unfurled,
the unveiling,
the revealing,
a real. black. hole.

but you're not really seeing,
problems of gravity disbelieving,
gravity so strong,
even light falls down,
never leaves the hole.

you're seeing just the light
that escapes eternal plight,
distorted by bending,
going near but not ending,
doesn't enter into the hole.

that's how about sight works:
you see light that reaches earth,
not being sucked down,
past event horizon crown,
into a. black. hole.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019


you're wondering what I'm doing.

knock knock
I'm no stranger to this curiosity,
likely to do things not apparent.

knock knock knock
but it tickles you that I can set up a gesture,
more complicated than the act of texting it,
just to send "I'm thinking about you ❤️"

Monday, April 8, 2019


it's silent at first.
the whispers in my head take a deep breath,
all at once, altogether, all... waiting

it's scentless at first.
my nose aches for fresh air,
grass and trees and wood...

it's still at first.
my eyes forget they're open and try to open again,
and then they close... waiting

my heartbeat picks up the pace, pounding in my ears,
suddenly so loud I want to cover them,
but the sound comes from within
I can't block it out.
my hair pits feet stretch, filling my nose,
suddenly so cloying I want to bathe,
but the smell is merely me
I can't wash it away.
my dots return, like pixel displays swimming across my eyes,
clenching my lids only adds color, greens blues reds,
but the sight is part of my vision
I can't unsee.

the quiet
the emptiness
the darkness
is not so

it's saturated
with me.


"if you leave someone alone in the dark long enough, they lose themselves" - anonymous

Saturday, April 6, 2019


I open 
the doors to my soul
the floodgates to my innermost thoughts
the windows to my world
every Sunday, 5am, CST.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Thursday, April 4, 2019


when the fall comes, I'll be waiting
for the shoreline and the sea.
when the drift comes, I'll be watching
for change to come over me.

in the meantime, I'll be building
a plan where we can be.
in the meantime, I'll be dreaming
of a place where we are free.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019


I have more fun here than I've known
and learned more than I've ever hoped,
and grown more than I thought was left,
and laughed more than I've ever shown,
and belonged more than I thought I could,
and smiled more than I thought I should,
and befriended more than I thought I could,
and done better than mindfulness alone.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019


inspiration comes at a price

dreaming through novels,
when the words on the page only drew pictures in my head;
now, instead,
every line is a mission to be
reclaimed and reconfigured,
stolen out of context
and repurposed for my own will.

sleeping through nights,
when the scenes that played in my mind were merely dreams;
now, fleeting
possibility for every story and storyline
random neurons firing becomes
random connections aligning,
bottling the magic carefully.

every line that flows
between my eyes ears brain
is free for the snatching
is free for the ravaging
is free for my mind to take ahold and run
through the streets,
a thin starving gluttonous beggar
to whom nothing is sacred.

Monday, April 1, 2019


When I was little, I used to stop on the landing and stare at the half-height door that was faintly visible underneath the wallpaper. The frame had been stripped away and the doorknob removed, and I was forbidden from asking about it.

My older brother would tell me scary stories about the door, while he held a flashlight to his face and we crouched beneath the blankets late at night. He enlisted before I was old enough to know what that meant, went away. I stopped pausing on the landing, slowly stopped wondering, and eventually stopped seeing the shape of it at all.

But on the night before my fourteenth birthday, I woke to a cold sweat, a nightmare that felt so vivid and real in my mind, and I remembered the door and the stories.

I could hear the television roaring downstairs, canned laughter seeping into my bedroom, Nanny in the family room, keeping watch.

I crept to the railing overlooking the front hall, shaking too hard to bear passing by that door... "Sarah? Sarah?" I called, until she muted the tv and came to look up at me. She took in my pale face and clenched arms around my stuffed frog in the the ceiling light, and she raced up the stairs.

"Eilie, Eilie, are you alright?"

I shook my head.

"Was it a bad dream?"

I nodded.

She knelt in front of me. "Do you want to come downstairs and sit with me for a while?"

I started shaking again with the thought of passing by the door, and she wrapped her arms around me.

"Okay, not downstairs. Come here," Sarah wrapped her arm around the shoulder and led me back into my bedroom, turning on the lamp by the door. It cast comforting shadows around my room. "Why don't you tell me about it?" She closed my bedroom door behind us.

"T-the door. On the l-landing."

"Door? What door?"

I buried my face in the frog, wiping tears on its soft, squishy head. "Sean used to... he used to tell me stories, at night, in the dark. When he left, I- I started to forget, stopped seeing it. B-but now it w-won't g-go away."

"Oh, Eilie." She held me close and started rocking me back and forth until I felt the sobbing subside. "Your brother is doing good work. You'll see him again. Do you want to show me the door?"

I shook my head.

"Do you want me to go check the landing?"

I shook my head harder.

"Eilie, what has gotten into you? I've never seen you like this before. Why don't we turn on all the lights, and you can stand at the top of the stairs like you did just a few minutes ago, and I'll go check on the landing. That way, you're not alone, you can see me the whole time, and I can make sure everything is alright."

I stopped shaking my head. "You don't think I'm being silly?"

"Not at all. Maybe it's time I told you how I handled my bad dreams. I'll even let you borrow one of my books about it."

Sarah was very careful about who touched her books, and I gazed up at her in wonder, my face still streaked, but distracted. "Okay."

"Okay." She let go of me. "I'm not going far, just going to turn on the hall light, and then I'll be right back."

I nodded.

Sarah stood up, pulled open my bedroom door, and reached around the wall to the lightswitch. The darkness in the hallway scurried away, and she came back to me. "Are you ready?"

I shook my head, but stood anyway, and she accompanied me back to the railing.

"It will be okay. I'll be right here, I'll come right back, okay?"

I sniffled and nodded.

She walked slowly down to the landing, and then looked back at me. I pointed at one of the walls, and she peered at it. "Wha- what? There is a door here. Or there used to be. I don't know why I never saw it before." She glanced up at me. "Oh sweetie." She raced back up the stairs and took me back into my room.

Sarah shut the door behind us and led me to my bed. "I'll stay with you tonight, okay? I'm not going anywhere. And tomorrow, I'll talk with your Mom and Dad, okay?" She threw back the covers and laid down.

I curled up against her, and didn't fall asleep for a long time.

more regret


when you're in over your head
and the water's rising fast,
when the tide's come too quick
and your strength just won't last,

but you have no fear of drowning
because you know how to swim...

when the miles flying by
and the road speeding past,
when traffic rears its head
and the wind tears at your mast,

but you have no fear of crashing
because you know what's at risk...

when you've got a team you know
and a boss you can trust,
when someone's got your back...
you won't fear the crunch.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Unititled (23 March 2019)

say one thing for shining,
your emoji say you're smiling,
but "mistaken" murders mysteries
on how you're really feeling.

curiosity betrays disinterest,
asking don't imply commitment,
but word-weighted  histories
on how you're not quite convinced.

Friday, March 8, 2019


|watch you in the cand|
|ights have all gone d|
|ou" and i can feel it|
|e you" today is the d|
| it bleeding your "i |
|i love you" your "i l|
|love you" today is th|
|e day that i love you|
|assed the future's ri|
|'t finish last today |
| is the day that i...|
background text from "The Emergency" by BT

Thursday, March 7, 2019


In 2133, Doc Finnegan had been dead for one hundred and thirteen years. In 2133, he published his forty-ninth posthumous short story.

Doc could have been called a prolific writer. He wrote until his death, at the ripe age of 92, while seated at his computer. What he had been writing has been lost to the sands of time. Literally.  Whatever he was working on, if it had been finished would be released god knows when; if it hadn't been finished, it was sitting in the drafts, locked away in his account where nobody could reach it.

He used online publishing platforms to release his stories, and that was where his audience found him. The most generous of estimates suggested he might have written several stories in the time between posting two, as they went out every Sunday morning, scheduled in advance. But how far in advance was a matter of rumor alone.

In 2021, as Doc's most devout fans were mourning the one year anniversary of his passing, a new story appeared on his website. It was a few days before anyone noticed, but the release rocked the community. Doc's estate released a statement that it had no access to his online accounts, but there was no evidence that they had been breached. The only thing they found was a small bank account quietly continuing to pay the hosting fees; it had several more years of funds, and was continuing to receive deposits from advertising revenue. Language specialists were brought in to evaluate the work, and came to the conclusion that it was genuine.

Five more stories were released that year, then four in the following year, and three in each '23 and '24. The rate continued to slow until 2080, when the web domain went up for renewal, and the small account had insufficient funds. Shortly after the domain went back out to the open market, a bold fan bought it for a considerable sum and donated it back to the estate, but it was too late. As the estate had no access to the accounts, and neither did anyone else, it sat empty.

In late 2097, a web crawler discovered 12 stories on a gauche URL; it was the blogging platform's default and free domain, and it had automatically switched over when it lost Doc's DNS in 2080.

In 2098, a petition to the host platform swept the world, to restore the DNS settings. That petition was logged into the world records books for most verifiable signatures. But they said no. It was a paltry effort to forward visitors of the domain to the gauche URL, but the settings were locked to those without the passwords.

In 2120 brought no new posts, despite fans watching fervently during the months surrounding the one hundredth anniversary of Doc's death, but another one posted the following year.

In 2133, one story was posted, and like the others, it showed up on a Sunday quite unexpectedly. After forty-nine posthumous releases, no one yet had been able to successfully predict the pattern, ascertain with any degree of confidence, when the next would come, and no one knew how many might remain.

And so the world watched, and waited.

Sunday, March 3, 2019


lean around in front of me
take the tail end in your mouth
bite it
smile and dodge my questions

Saturday, January 26, 2019


A darkly stained cabinet; walnut.
A teapot, ceramic; clean but used.
A shrine; meditative, calming.
A drawer; overflowing with tea.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Untitled (17 January 2019)

I still hear you in the breeze
See your shadows in the trees
Holding on, memories never change

 - "Monody" by TheFatRat

I want to take you and show you heaven, my heaven. It's a real place, somewhere you can visit for an afternoon or a weekend. You can go and sit on the edge of the world, watch eagles climb thermals and dive for their dinner. You can sleep among the trees and watch the sun set through the leaves.

I want to take you and show you heaven. I have a second kit you can use. I'll provide shelter from the storm, fire for your meals, and directions to show you the way.

I want to take you and show you heaven. You'll need to bring blankets and food.

I want to take you and show you heaven, my heaven. There's no stairs in the way. I want to share the green waves and deep bottomless sky. I want to return to where I meditate all day.

Mirrored on Pillowfort
Mirrored on Manyverse

Monday, January 7, 2019


Feie in the morning,
his feet worn and dried,
calloused from the walking,
swollen from the pride.

Feie in the daytime,
his feet sore and raw,
resting on the roots
napping against yew.

Feie in the after,
his feet like hardened stone,
numb and bruised and shaking,
but does not walk alone.

Feie in the nighttime,
his feet standing strong,
his eyes lifting upward,
his heart filled with song.

Feie travels lightly,
his bag almost bare,
no rations packed inside,
food in the forest there,

just some old straw,
wrappings for his feet,
a blanket for the chill,
a rod for his fete.

Feie walks hither
not aimlessly to yon,
obeisance is owed
to whom he calls gods.