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You are dying.  Doesn’t matter how.  Feels so far away now— doesn’t it?  That’s it. Take it easy. Let that last breath slip away, like the warmth that comes in a killing cold. Gentle into a silent night. No more looking up at those crowding, concerned faces; a herd of pale, pained moons.  - - - - - ___________ A dark tunnel. Familiar, but not. You’re welcome all the same. Hands groping, grasping against glassy coolness, stumbling—  Light.  The most perfect, pure sunlight. Every idealized summer, every perfect candlelight and warming fire, all that condescend sun-sure dances across a lifetime of days. It’s mere existence is the most pristine invitation. In illumination alone it says come closer . If you had a heartbeat it would be racing.  Up. Up. Forward. Scuffing, almost tripping. Surging forward, hands outstretched.  You’re here.  The Light. The Light   It’s so— wrong . It’s purity vanished, replaced with an organic and oily sheen. Like firefly glows made rotten, morphed in the shape
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Dark Forest

You are in a dark forest. Trees entangle themselves in every direction, and the canopy is a furious mass of branches and leaves. You dwell in the gloom.  The forest is vast, and deep; and wears its ages on every knotted trunk, across its treacherous roots. All that you know is it’s dimness, sheathed in fog and in doubt. You wander.  There are paths. Unseen others have passed this way through the grass, left marks where their passage widened undergrowth or sheered branches. Some of it is only the tool of measly hands, already fading into obscurity when you happen upon it. But others have been industrious: cutting and sheering, great trees older than you can imagine felled like the corpses of giants. Unfamiliar sunshine peers through those malevolent gaps, as if you must gaze upon those mighty works and despair.  Sometimes in the night there are voices, snatches of words you do not understand. Whispers in the undergrowth agonizingly near punctuated by unseen tread. Sometimes there are sh

The Return

A lone traveler is intercepted in the long night.  Frail, yellowed and thin, every angle of silent erosion is a testament to an epic exodus— and a lonely one. It is a fragile thing, too, all girders and nodules tucked close to a sheltered core. It’s voice is quiet, growing quieter.  But— what’s this?  Something there, something glinting and curious; something meant to be investigated by able, excitable minds. This surface is pitted just like everywhere else and yet it’s golden inscriptions miraculously remain, defiant in the face of impossible emptiness.  A map. A composition. Intricate line work evoking intelligence, tantalizing in their purpose. Two faces that before this sojourn must’ve once looked back upon their familiar makers.  In the silence of the infinite and frigid darkness, the plaque is removed with an almost appalling care, warmth. For the first since it’s encoding, the secrets within spill out under the watchful and enraptured senses of eager observers.   A choice is mad

Good Old Boys

“But— how does it know  what to do?”  I’ve seen this face a million times, by now. Distraught, confused. There’s an ache in there, and suddenly every tidbit in history class about one era becoming another has a bit more weight to it. This particular face is pale, doughy; almost a cartoonishly exaggerated caricature of old wealth.  He’s looking at the Box— staring, really— like it’s just marched in on its own, found a spot to be planted, and declared to him that it’s here for everything, even his trophy wife hidden somewhere in a far-too-big house in the hills. Sympathetic as I can be at times, right now is not one of them. I have to actually try hard to not crack a cynical smile. It *is* a little funny. Men who celebrated their whole lives over essentially imaginary numbers, whole ecosystems of potentiality and calculated risks, thrown into a world where the tiniest unseen particles can decide the fates of more currency than has ever been generated in human history. Like daydreamers su

Who Lies Sleeping?

Who lies sleeping?  Dreaming stratum dreams, stone thoughts that age by long, long, long ticks.  Who lies sleeping?  Down and hidden in the pages of the mightiest book, where each word is a mountain and every sentence a millennia; across composed works beyond human hands.  Who lies sleeping?  Memories undone by the winds, achievements erased by the lashing sea, defeats forgotten by the hungry flames. The earth swallows, the earth destroys: the earth forgets. Empires vanquished by the enemies that forged them.  Who lies sleeping?  Eggs. Envoys of a nameless past. Embryos fresh and angelic and half-formed, like so much possibility sliding unbothered in their amber stasis. The old-world, the banished world, whispers it’s memories and forgets it’s sins in those fresh minds. Machines of rock and gravity tick, counting every stroke in particle decay. Waiting to raise.  Who lies sleeping?  No one.  Not anymore.

Topeka Radio Still Plays

I live in Topeka, Kansas.  The sea has come back to reclaim its seabed. My house is at the bottom and outside my window is a neighborhood, encrusted day by day with more coral. A riot of colors, swaying fronds big as cars waving their slow greetings.  Fish in so many varieties, like silvery and ocher waves. Some are big as SVUs that once plied up and down the street, ugly bulldog faces scrunching needle teeth as they prowl.  There are other shapes, too, huge and black and hanging just above my view, illuminated from above by the sun. I shiver at their tremendous passage, catching glimpses: synchronized paddling flippers, massive torpedo bodies, enormous jaws yawning open in silent bellows. Others are mostly neck with small, graceful bodies at the end, twisting and weaving in primordial ballet.  The radio still plays. So I sit, blinds open and watery light splaying across the living room, listening to whatever comes on.

Tall Grass Kingdoms

We stay up late. Walk through the tall grass, let it’s fingertips anoint us in quiet summer rites. The disembodied orchestra rings out from everywhere, crickets creaking and frogs tolling and bats chittering; the voices of coronation, our adoring audience.  Sweep hands outward to our sides, catching waves of iridescence. Fireflies everywhere, indomitable omnipresent, and between them and the star-crowded sky above it’s like we float out in a mystical cosmos. All alight. All ablaze.  Home is somewhere far away, beyond us. Lost and forgotten like schedules, like good habits. We’re runaways, self exiles hungry for adventure. We share words, drawn so close by that impossible summertime magnetism.  But at the end of the night, standing up in the tall grass, home is just over there, over the hill and the fireflies are a dim trickle. Inviting stars turned cold, unblinking. We share fragile smiles— the last we’ll exchange.