Sunday, December 27, 2009

Flat Bed of Grass.

The flowers are all white
And lay in a flat bed of grass,
High in the Himalayas,
The mice make nests.

The pigeons sleep in roofs
Made of glass.
In rivers born of tears.
Emotions sharpen in quick sand.
Everything I know has been sunk.

Memories fade down me slowly.
Justice has been broken over rocks.
Pouring rain comes down.
Sleep is a broken meadow.

The flowers hide under things.
Pictures are cut out of magazines.
Women wear high heels to work,
I have worked every day.

You broke me, you broke me.
I am sheltered in broken things.
Sleep is a meadow, sleep is promise,
Sleep is dew wrapped in dew.

I have never wakened.
I have never spoken of glass.
Candle flames flicker in a white candle.
The flowers are all white and lay in a flat bed of grass.

The woman used to live here.
She has disappeared.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Houses Remain

The houses remain unscathed in the ruin
Of the drainage of rain water,
Pouring down, down, down.
The sky glares at me and speaks-“Hark!”
The song of a lark stills me wills me nothing is gone,
Dead, or buried.
A musician has been buried. An artist has been buried.
The words are transient; a nine-year-old plays
A violin, before the darkness comes,
Every day, trying to wake the aunt,
Ask her to make food.
Food. It fills the soul. It is the soul.
The field mice are the fruit of the soul, the wolves
In their dens hunt field mice, their whiskers
Slightly damp in the cool night air. Hair.
Stare at me from a dream that has not ended.
Stare at me from waterfalls, sprinkling diamonds,
I turn myself into a work of art,
Of a man sitting in a chair with a broken radio
And a dumb dial,
Cracked and worn from being hidden in the attic
For so long.
The zoos are filled. My niece asks me where
The lions, where the zebras, the horses.
The horses sleep in meadows. Sleep in shelters
In London. Old men named William have lost
Their hair,
Eyes glistening with tears.
He cries for the lost, lost, lost.
Wonders what it has cost him.

Blue Daffodils Speak, Open.

Blue daffodils open, speak to me in a language
That is devoid of light, life.

Blue skies whisper to me from beaches.
Sunny skies sultry eyes and multi-colored stained glass windows.

The pope sang at the church, he was an old man,
Ninety-seven, and spun stories from napkins.
His mind broke through the torrential waters.
His heart has mended.

Tomorrow we have been caught in a spiral
Of nothingness, a spiral of gladness that fills the heart,
The spiral of words broken, broken.
The symbol of nothingness is more barren than

The nothingness that came from me. Words are memory.
I look out of my bedroom window and stare at the sparrow

On a branch, singing a sad, lonely song.
The daffodils are broken and nothing is left.
A man comes riding on a bicycle, his gaze is fixed on

a cloud, high above him, the clouds are dark.
His mind is broken, broken. He can’t open himself up,
He wears a black hat, and speaks to the sun gods-
Don’t talk to me, don’t talk to me.

Tomorrow is another day.
The sun rises over the hills. The hills are barren.
I make sure everything is set for my mother, my father,
My sister.
I don’t understand how anything is done.

I don’t understand how a spring rain remains, hidden,
In the bush of the bough.

Depths An Old Man Reaches.

How do you remain, like daisies,
Unfurled drops of rain
that falls slowly
Down from infinite reaches,
spaces that are divided.
Slowly moving, rhythms blend
with the riches

Around you, a trial of chances,
a beam of
Darkness that lights up a mirror and speaks of voices.
Slowly, they come, melting into the dark that
Does not fade to gray,
shadows open up
A tendril daffodil and shelter(ed) things remain.

So softly, teardrops fall to the countertop;
A letter is stained with droplets of tears.
My memory sifts in sunlit rooms; a door opens
Into twilight.

I am caught in the middle
between floors.
I plead to the security
guard for breathing room,
But he shakes his head,
mumbles curses under
His breath, and scurries away to join the old
Man standing at the end
of the stairwell.

Friday, December 25, 2009

The Endless Road.

Follow me to the endless road,
Route 409.
My mother is a nurse in some hospital,
She talks to old men who
Act like they’re in high school
We never get out of school,
It seems-the darkness
Crawls out of the world,
And whispers sad songs to broken
The edge of reason is not reason enough.
I have been to Detroit, Flint, Walled Lake,
There was no wall built in
The lake,
Nothing to hold the water in.
Sea gulls fly over the sparkling water,
Dipping and diving.
We are out of school forever.
I don’t remember why we went
There in the first place-ah, yes,
I was right,
My mother made me go.
She thought it was good for me.
I didn’t know about that.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Elven's Keep Part 1.

The Woman Who Had No Face was lonely.
She had a face-ears; nose; eyes; she could breathe, in and out she breathed, standing in the line at the grocery store, clutching a bag of bread. She trembled. Her eyelids trembled. She wasn’t afraid; she was never afraid of anything and the darkness in her mind was vaster than the sea, the darkness in her heart was vast. She paid for the bag of bread and took it outside and huddled under a red tree and ate the bread and her nose was long and peaked and she snarled at anyone who tried to come in contact with her. She didn’t want to be here. She didn’t want to be anywhere.
She wanted the bread, wanted it in a way that was close to desperation more than a wantingness inside of her. She was hungry. She was on the brink of destruction.
She was one of the ones Who Could See the Dead. The Dead weren’t any more frightening than little children; the living were more frightening than the Dead. She was right about things and gave paid readings and the seer wasn’t happy. She was never happy. She couldn’t be happy because she was alone in a cruel heartless world.
The darkness surrounded her. She found comfort in the darkness. Sometimes, she dreamt about Elves. She always thought the Elves were good, kind beings and helped people in any way they could; they were mischievous and never really did any harm. The ones in her dreams were cruel and cold and heartless. They didn’t understand anything that was happening or how to change it. They didn’t understand the things going on around them.
She lived in a hut on the edge of a bubbling, brown mess of a bog. The bog smelled bad and she didn’t like the smell but it was the only place to sleep. She wandered throughout the city during the day and came home and slept on a bed of rocks. The Woman With No Face didn’t know a magic genie lived in the hut. The hut smelled like a swamp and she finished the last of the bread and sat by the bog late at night, listening to the cry of the cicadas and the swamp monster singing a sad song and the lonely song came to her and made her sad and she didn’t know how to cry.
She didn’t know anything about her past, present and future and she returned to the hut and took the dreamcatcher off the wall and went outside and tried to catch the stars in its net.
The dreamcatcher had been made by a Ianasi girl a long time ago, before she became Ignored. Being Ignored was worst than being Exiled. Maybe she had been Exiled in her thirties she didn’t know.
The bog was smelly.
It smelled worse than old shoes.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

changed the title.

I changed the title again. It is now called "Cosmonaut."

Friday, December 18, 2009

I changed the title of my novel. It is now called "Space."


Saturday nights, I am alone in my room,
Leafing through an old copy of Times magazine
From a few years ago.
I am miserable again, miserable in a way that

I cannot remember anymore than yesterday,
Or the one before; clouds form outside my window,
I see yesterday has come again. I cannot think,
Cannot dream, cannot move; my heart is a

Shadow that comes before me, my heart beats in rhythm
Like a glass drum. I am not a singer; I am not a criminal;
I am something that I cannot quite explain,
An excuse in genetic code.

Who gave me these things, that I cannot quite remember?
Who gave me these things, the potted plant in
The corner of my living room?
I bought those things with the coins from my purse,

Which I bought used at a garage sale.
Monday roles back again; time moves forward;
The heart does not beat, I cannot seem to wake myself
From the depths of my dreams.

Women and Boxes.

Men walk on lone roads scattered cans along the freeway.
Sunlight falls on broken slabs of stone, idiot makers breathe down
My back.
I walk around to the back door and open it to let sunlight stream in.
Certain words develop within boxes and boxes strewn out on
The highway. A quiet voice resonates in the room.
She likes her freedom, to walk about wishing for silent thought,
Trying to piece together echoes of the past.
Her boyfriend, Xavier, plucks melodies on an old tuba;
The highway is void of anything we can see and experience.
I swallow a cup of water. My mother walks into the room, wearing
A sunny yellow dress. She asks for a cup of sugar; I give her the whole
My mother, she has MS, and is tired all the time; my mother,
She knows things I do not remember.
I forgave her a long time ago for leaving me in the shopping mall to
Get a paperback from the library, one of those ten cent romances
At a ma and pa store.
She likes her freedom; men walk on lone roads.
The roads are paved. She paves a way to freedom.
The sin is freedom.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


*this is the beginning of a novel I've's not the very beginning, as I have to include the first scene where the billionaire suffers from heat stroke that turns out to be a case of "bird flu." The novel is going to be part science fiction, part thriller, like that of Robin Cook or James Patterson, if you want to use specifics.

Geoff is a very homely doctor. He lost his wife and children in a tragic car accident, and turns his grief into saving lives-that is, until he discovers he can't save everyone, especially when cases of the bird flu sprout all over the place, especially in India, China, and three cases in the United States. Can Geoff discover the cause of the bird flu, or will the blue heron have to throw in his towel and admit he doesn't know everything?


India was the place to do the surgery. Geoff Fernandez aka “the Blue Heron” rode the elevator up to the third floor of Juarez Fields Medical Hospital and hesitated outside Room 309. He didn’t want to be here. He wanted to be on an island some place far away, tanning himself alongside a beautiful blonde and drinking from a coconut. That sounded about right. He loved coconut drinks. He hadn’t had one in about three years, since he and the other doctors on the medical team took a trip to New Mexico to remove a lung from an ailing billionaire. Now, they had another rich man on the brink of death-Mario Hernandez Martines Shae. The man was the owner of a famous stock company, Iliade & Burgens, and helped people make the decisions on their stock. Mario was famous in that regards, he was almost right about his predictions and he made just enough money to buy a black Porsche it sat in the driveway of his small condo in Miami, Florida. He didn’t know why he chose to live in Miami. It was warm all year round and everyone was skinny and hardly ever needed medical attention, which was good, which was nice, blue as ice and all that. Geoff never did learn how to rhyme.
His eyes settled on the flatscreen tv the hospital installed last month. It was always on CNN. They were talking about the inflation of the stock exchange. When Mario woke from his coma, he wasn’t going to be happy about it. Not one bit. His wife was going to be the one to break it to him.
“Miami,” he muttered, and shook his head. He went into the patient’s room and picked up a clipboard and pretended everything was going to be all right.
Mario’s face was pale, ashen gray. It looked like it was losing color and his eyes were bloodshot. He dove inside and out of a feverish sleep. Geoff wondered if he was coherent. Maybe he wasn’t. He wasn’t coherent half the time. The other half of the time, he was peeing on his own leg. The smell of urine was strong, a putrid smell wafted from the bed sheets.
They were going to have to get him out of there and on a plane. And fast.
He turned to Nurse Susie. She was watching the scene with a wary expression on her face. She was a beautiful blonde woman and her blue eyes were watching the entire scene with an expression on her face that was part worry and part bemusement. She had seen all of this before-the same discoloration of the face; the same pinched face and the hollowed eyes. Susie was certain he was on the edge of death. Her thirteen year title as a nurse told him he didn’t think the man had a chance. Maybe he didn’t. They were going to find out.
“Susan,” he said between clenched teeth.
Her eyes focused on his. She looked pale. She swallowed. “Yes?” she whispered.
“Will the hospital let us use the helicopter to transfer him to the airport?”
“What about the tickets?”
“The hospital will cover it,” he replied reassuringly. “
“But last month, Mr. Martin told me we couldn’t afford-”
“Just do it!” he ordered. He didn’t like to yell. He hated yelling. He was tired. He wanted to go home and sleep. He glanced at Mario. He wasn’t going to get much sleep tonight.

Random Objects.

The vase sits in a room made out of glass.
Frost whispers on windows. Winter, and the sun
Drifts through the trees and falls on the very
Windows in the room. The sun is cold as ice. It burns like

Three deer wander into my yard. I put the deer pellets
In the bird feed last week, their tongues roll out of their
Mouths, nostrils move up and down. Fog reaches three
Feet in front of me.

She said you shouldn’t leave your scrapbook on
The gray porch. She said aliens are sometimes real.
I say what kind. She says nothing. I am alone. Poe
Warned me about it in third grade. He said I wouldn’t
Live past age 50, I have light years to go, but you make
Me want to sleep. Sailors in ancient ships flock graveyards,
Robert, Melanie, Deran, Patrick. They all told me to get lost. I said
I never was in the first place.

Party on Tuesday. You put your hair up nice,
And move the clock to the windowsill. The window hums.
The wind slams the front door shut.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Sky Speaks. Speaks.

I read the works of sauerkraut, mundane, penchance.
Dusk enters the darkening doorway and the flowers bloom in some man’s
Garden, and she wears the funny brown hat and sings songs about the Cold War.
I ain’t never been in no war.
I recite the works of Shakespeare, meadow, cowdung, the smell clings
To my skin and the snow melts in the Himalayas and otherwhen,
The cattle drone out the sound of the rain. Distance swallows me. I live in Kentucky.
My English teacher, the yellow rose from seventh grade, sits on his porch step,
Drinking whiskey, beer, red wine, anger fills his entire being. He wants to paint,
Write, sing in a Broadway musical. He is stuck on the porch, spinning stories in
His mind, unable to get up, up, up. His wife is in a Book Club, they are reading The Iliad.
His students aren’t mature enough to read it yet, it’s ninth grade material,
The tenth grade meter on the metronome shakes, shivers, whispers.
I can’t bear to let you go.
The pain lances through my heart like an arrow. I am moved by your very being
It flocks the pages of time, the pages of time have been worn, faded, are old and misused.
You told me you were neglected and a tear drops from my eye, we make brown bread
And sing sad Christmas carols. You are not Jewish, Christian, Catholic. The sadness
In your eyes moves mountains.
In and out, you breathe, the metallic breathing of you fills deep inside of me, I have no
Recollection of the soul and what it means, what it feels, how it is to me. I told you
I couldn’t tell time. I got a concussion from a baseball bat that fell upon my head,
Egg yolk spewing onto the grass.
Summer and I am on the john, reading a newspaper. You are gone. You are at work.
I call you on my cell phone and you praise Hitler, Johnson, Stalin, Poe. I ask why you’re
Talking about Poe at work and you say you are bored. You are climbing mountains.
They are also called flowers.
Darkness protrudes from the sky. It is God’s mathematical equation, this sky, this darkness,
This old hand that keeps me awake and dreaming, drawing the hand of the three.
A tree bends low over my bedroom window. The night is not sound. I wake up from a dream and read the works of sauerkraut, mundane, penchance.
You tell me nothing will ever change. The sorrow is in your words. I keep my feelings out of it.
I haven’t a chance to speak. You are blue-collared, working from nine to five,
You tell me you’ll do anything for me and you speak to the blue-eyed gravel instead,
Speak of egg shells and peonies in gardens.
Sadness is enchanting. The color of rose, pissed off, heartworm, flits through my mind.
The sky is broken! Broken.
We are walking on egg shells tonight.
You told me I broke things. I said I hadn’t never.
The sky.

The Man Who Liked Being Homeless.

He never cried, not even when his mother died. He wished he could cry. It didn’t do any good but at least he remembered he was human. The tears didn’t fall. What happened to the good ole days when an old man could have a secure job? It didn’t happen anymore, no sir, it didn’t. Times were changing. Faces changed, too. One day you had a best friend and the next day he was your worst enemy. It happened to Tom McCaw, too. He was a nice fellow but sometimes things didn’t work out for him. It was a lesson he had to learn on his own. A woman tapped him on the shoulder. “Sir,” she said. “Are you all right?” Surprised to see her standing behind him, h e shrunk inside himself and didn’t answer. Tom was homeless and as the months and years went past, he grew more and more introverted and he didn’t want to talk to anyone. But, she talked to him first and homeless people were polite, especially the men. He studied her. She was pretty. Her blonde hair was pretty. He expected to be alone. It was dark outside, but it wasn’t late out. It was the time between sunset and just after dark. A calm wind blew. It was cold. It was October. October was always cold. He discovered this after moving to New York from somewhere else. He would rather not discuss his life before New York and what it meant to him. Which was nothing. He didn’t want to talk about his problems with a stranger. Especially not a pretty stranger. It wasn’t a good idea to talk about your life with strangers. Maybe he was losing it. Maybe that was all right. Losing it should be a new law. He thought about the White House and all the strange going-ons in politics and he realized he didn’t want to work in politics ever again. He worked in politics once, for the Mayor of Shuttesburg. The Mayor of Shuttesburg asked if he wanted to be President of the United States. He responded with a resounding, “No way!”
He quit the next week and got another job at Morgan & Stanley. Morgan & Stanley was a stock broker company and also helped smaller companies thrive on the side. It was a long way from getting a degree in law school and his father was surprised by his change in careers and didn’t comment. His father never said anything about anything he did. Tom learned to welcome it. He was glad he didn’t have children. He didn’t have to explain to anyone the idiocy of the world and why he couldn’t change the government.
“I’m fine,” he answered hastily. “Just…a little lost.” He smiled encouragingly at her, praying she would move along or that she wouldn’t see the fear burning behind his eyes, or maybe the fear was passion. Maybe he was an artist and he wanted to draw the building or maybe he used to own it. Angela heard the Mayor had to sell the building to New Jersey in order to pay off a loan. That would be like him. Mayor Yettle McKenzie was a cheapskate. Most politicians were. They couldn’t help it. Angela found it was best to ignore it and move on with her life. She wasn’t even in real estate.
“Do you need any help?” she asked. “Are you homeless?” A little alarm bell went off in her brain. She shouldn’t be talking to him. She should be running in the opposite direction. She shouldn’t have walked home from work. She should have gotten in the taxi. She only had ten dollars on her, enough for a hot dog and a small Pepsi. New York was getting more expensive every year. He was a strange man staring up at a building and she had to get home and fix meatloaf for dinner. She was hungry. She continued to stare at the man looking up at the building. She wanted to look away but couldn’t. It was like staring at the sun. Something big and shiny.
“I don’t need any help,” he answered, shaking his head. “I’m lost in thought. Thinking.” He smiled. He was pleased. It was a good response. She muttered something about “crazy pedestrians,” and moved along. He didn’t want to talk to anyone. He was bitter about his lack of communication skills. He was bitter about a lot of things, especially his wife who left him three months before and he hadn’t gotten over it and didn’t have anyone to talk to about it. His uncle advised him to get over it with a lawyer but Tom loved her still and didn’t want to put her through all of it. He signed the divorce papers without any fuss or muss and they didn’t have children, just a house with a meadow and a beat-up Chevy and she said he could keep the Chevy. He kept the Chevy. “Something’s going to happen,” he muttered. “Something not good.” The feel of it was all wrong. The feel of everything. The feel of both night and day and the wind crept up behind him and sang and tugged at his ear and the sound of voices on the edge of his vision, the vision of someone following him, speaking to him about God and Heaven and the angels and Da Vinci and Mozart. It was just like his dream. The dream of waking plagued him. He, too, moved along. He used to live in a house with a large backyard. His mother begged him to get a pet and he replied he didn’t have enough money to take care of it, he’d probably end up naming it Margaret or Joe or after some stupid piece of fruit and wouldn’t take care of it very good. He showed her. He showed everyone he could take care of a pet and the guinea pig lived to be very old. Now he was dead and Tom was lonely and alone and he wanted to live in a house and thought he couldn’t afford it. The market was different. He lived in the 70s and everything was so cheap it was practically free. Tom went into the grocery store and bought a loaf of bread and bologna. He went to Central Park and huddled under a large oak tree and ate three sandwiches, one right after the other. His father wouldn’t be happy to see him like this. His father wouldn’t be happy to see he was homeless and not poor. He bought a newspaper and pulled out the classified ads and spread them on the grass, looking at the apartments. He had almost one thousand dollars saved. That would be enough to pay the deposit and the first month’s rent. He had six hundred dollars on him and he could be a coke distributor, if worst came to worst. Everyone was looking for coke. The business was booming. Coke was a huge seller. Tom sighed and put the paper away. He called one of the ads on an apartment and she said she could meet him tomorrow at 4pm. That was almost a whole day away. He was going to have to think about what to do until then. Maybe he could see a movie.
A movie would take his mind off a lot of things. Like finding a good apartment. He had to wait for his meeting with the apartment manager.
The movie was okay. Actually, it sucked. The plot was muddled. He didn’t understand the plot. It was about falling in and out of love. Tom didn’t understand love. He fixed cars and bought businesses that made millions and he got one percent of the share. Being a sell-out was easy. It's what he did best.
New York City was cold. The cold burned his cheeks. He wound up standing outside the apartment complex office fifteen minutes before the manager arrived. She was tall and blonde. Tom liked. He showed her his bank statements. He told her he’d never been evicted. She asked where he was living now. He said he had a P.O. Box. It was good enough. Tom moved in the next day. Business at his job was booming and the week after that he went to a furniture store and bought a table, a desk, and a bed. It was an air mattress and fit the bedroom perfectly. Tom couldn’t sleep. He missed being homeless. He missed Tom.

You Can't Right Tell.

He ain't got what it takes. It ain't the snow that kept him from seeing me, it was that half-wit of an ex wife I know it as well as I know my own name.
She knows about me, the git.
She knows I worked at Walmart, and I have a crooked front tooth.
She knows I don't have kids.
She don't know much anymore. John says she's got cancer now. She wants his help and he says no. Good.
We'll keep it that way.
I don't want my man taking care of some stupid dame. Probably has some screws loose in her old noggin. I wouldn't doubt it.
I worked today. I got out of my new black Jeep and peered up at the store. I was working at Walmart's. It wasn't the best gig, but it pays the bills. I hope to be a superstar one day. Like that'll ever happen.
Mary Ann was working today.
Mary Ann was my coworker. She had blonde hair and big bangs and big, red lips. She looked thirty. I didn't ask 'cause it ain't polite for my generation to ask about things. Nothin' around here is polite nowadays.
Take Jack Bean. He's been askin' me for sex 'till the cows come home. I always say no. I say I'm attached.
He wants to know if John was gay. I said no. He wants to know if I'll cheat. I said no a hundred times. He don't get it.
He's sexy, handsome, and has money, but he ain't the brightest cat in the bag, if you know what I mean.
My John ain't the brightest cat in the bag. At least he treats his woman right.
He picked me. It was a match made in Heaven.
People look at us and go, "I guess they'll last." We have for six months. It's almost Christmas. I got done shopping that afternoon.
I didn't buy my John anything. It's hard to pick out a gift for him, for any occasion. He told me he wants sex and lots of it. It's what he likes most, he said.
I gave him plenty of that.
My man is as selfless as they come. He gave thirty dollars to an orphanage last year for Christmas.
Walter was another coworker.
He was fifty-nine and wore plugs in his ears. His nose was pointy and he had three grandchildren.
They all lived in Mississippi. He missed them.
I wouldn't blame him. Today he worked alongside me and we sang Christmas carols. I can't remember all the words to the songs. I got that right ole good feelin' in the bottom of my chest, it chases away all the blues and shit in my life that ain't goin' right. I don't like it when shit don't go right.
It was three weeks before Christmas.
We didn't get any snow.
It don't snow much in Georgia, hardly ever. My second cousin was majoring in economics at the University of Georgia and spent Thanksgiving at my house.
We had a nice turkey and lots of stuffing. It was three-thirty.
It was after quittin' time and I was waiting outside for John. He was fixing his truck again. The thing broke down a million times already. We didn't have any money to fix it up. Wish we did. He fixed it himself and usually did a pretty good job.
I don't like work much nowadays. I got a problem with my back and a problem with my hearing, too. I didn't do anything to deserve this. Don't own a Bible, it's my own fault.
Some teenagers came up to me and asked for directions to some diner downtown and I had to repeat myself, twice, fo'sho. "Go two blocks west," I said. They said, "What?" I said, "Two blocks west." They got it right afore that. Nothin' much else to git. Use a map. I got one myself.
John drove up in his truck and I hopped into it and we drove home.
We had our late evening sex in the den and I made dinner.
John went outside to mow the lawn.
The next day was the same.
Saturday we had a wedding for my friend, Barbara, and I wore my pretty purple dress and put my hair up in a bun and I remembered to get a bottle of wine at the grocery store.
It was two weeks before Christmas. I couldn't wait. I finally knew what to get John, a photo album for all of our wedding photos, and one of those flavored popcorn tins he liked so much.
Popcorn was his favorite.
I preferred mashed potatoes as my favorite dish. I was starting to do more cooking. Not too much more, just a little.
I didn't know how to cook very well.
I tried my darnest but it didn't help.
My mother was the cook of the family.
She could make anything and it would turn out good.
Me, I can't cook a tv dinner right.
Christmas Eve, the snow was falling outside. My hubby built a fire and we cuddled and talked.
John said work was goin' good, he wanted to get a new job that made more dough. I didn't blame him.
I hated working at the store, the boss made me feel small and stupid. He was too uptight.
John thought so. I wondered how Jen knew I worked at Walmart and John said she probably just saw me that's how she knew.
Everyone goes to Walmart.
I admitted that made sense.
Most didn't nowadays, what with all the war and the economic depression. I didn't understand war.
It made me feel small and stupid, too many unanswered questions and I didn't have the guts to ask.
Too many unanswered questions about all the wars that happened before the current war, the one in Afghanistan and Iraq.
My cousin's son, Thomas, was in Iraq.
We were waiting to hear word about how that boy was doing.
I figured he would make it.
God usually looked out for the good folk.
I thought I was one of the good folk every now and again. If no one knew all the good things I done, maybe some child, in some far off place, will recognize it and do some more good things. I didn't know. I hoped it was true.
I had a garden in the backyard. It was the beginning of a garden. I bought some seeds-pumpkin, onions, and strawberries-and a rake and a couple other supplies and started the garden last spring. I picked the onions and was too discouraged to buy more; the pumpkins withered and died; the flowers were still blooming, maybe I liked those the best anyway, I can't right tell.
This afternoon I got ready for church. I've been startin' to go to church more regular, like, I don't know why, but I got a feelin' in my bones that somethin' might happen, maybe the troops are going to be sent home. Them troops in Iraq, I hope my cousin is all right. His name was Thomas. Remember that name, he's going to win a medal I just know it he'll make us all proud. I hope I made my Daddy proud. I did my best in school. My grades weren't the best but I liked to write stories and they were in the attic, gathering dust. I hoped to look through them one of these days and find the best ones and submit them somewhere. I don't write anymore. It's too darned hard. I don't have much of a life and I can't think of anything to write about. I wish I could.
John was humming in the shower. I had half a mind to sneak into the shower with him. He had to go to work. He was a cashier at a furniture store and did a pretty good job, too, and made money on the side fixin' cars. I was proud of him. Proud as any wife should be. Ought ain't a word I wanted to use. Our parents don't got money for college.
The ex-wife was on my mind again. Darn, I wish she would just get out of there. I didn't want to have anything to do with her. They didn't have kids but he said she still had the big couch and the tv John wanted. She said she would give it to him if he came over to talk to her and work out their problems-their differences and she wanted someone to take her to get her medication regular. Yeah, I bet that's what she wanted to talk about, the no-good psycho cunt. She could call a cab. John said she was married to some man named Michael and he was on disability and couldn't drive. What a dumb name. Cool it, cowgirl, no need to be mean. My Momma taught me to be nice to everyone, even if they weren't nice back. She grew me up right even though we didn't have any money.
We lived in a small community. My next door neighbor was named Marellina Henchback. She was thirty-seven and had a boyfriend named Phil. She'd gone through some rough times and she was always right with me when I was going through mine. She and I were friends the first day we met. Friends the first day, that's a pretty good deal, I thought.
Tonight was Spaghetti Night. John was making dinner for me. He makes dinner once a week and tries to cook the rest of the week. It's hard for men to learn to cook. John couldn't sit still very long. He was always running around. He should join the track team. Maybe he could join a track team at the local college and then join the Special Olympics; he was on disability for being not too bright and having something called bipolar. I don't got that, heart disease runs in my family now, it right sure does. Don't think doctors know everything. My grandpa never went to the doctor a day in his life, past being born. I don't believe it's true.
Life ain't about the ups and downs. It's about what we do with it that counts. You can sit here and blame yourself for every bald spot on your head, or you can git with it and work it out, work through it. Sometimes it feels like things are going too slow for me, don't seem to stand a chance with nothin' no how. I ain't that bright, like I said.
Tomorrow was another day. It snowed again. The weatherman said it was goin' to snow every night this week. I didn't believe it was going to snow every night, maybe three out of the seven nights and that's it. I don't know if that's true or not. Don't think nothin' bout the weather, know how. We drive in it when we got to, we take care of it when we're in it. Don't know nothin' bout anything else.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The History of Histograms.

The information is a body of stalwart images.
Old crones beat on banjos and false stories flit in
The news.

Tigers crowd in jungle alleys, weaving
Their tails, darkness flocks the moon. My eyes are
Full of pollen. My lips are rosy red and lock in struggle

Between manbear and bargirl. My mother tells me
Histograms are the finest art; she is polite to the man in
The green truck. He wanders by, fresh as daisies.

His mood changes from sea to sky. The Indians melt in
The snow. Tales of lost laundry and broken dreams
In the sky.

A blue-tailed crane is in flight.

Float the moon.

The wind whispers sad, lonely things.
The crying of ghosts meets the whisper of words
And images fade in my memories.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Crying For Eternity.

I'm looking out the window at the street below.
Rain glistens on the sidewalk of eternity,
clouds cover the sky there are tears in your eyes,
please, baby, what are you crying for?
We bought our house and we bought our car,
your eyes shine like teardrops and you are far,
far, far away from me-this is eternity, is this eternity?

I'm looking out the window at the street below.
My eyes are following your eyes but I can't read them,
you've got them shadows locked up tight tonight,
you've got them shadows locked up in your heart tonight.

The rain patters down, the rain patters down,
no one will come near me, it's a quiet little town
on the edge of a big city, I thought livin' here would be pretty,
it just brings me down. It just brings me down.

Please, baby, what are you crying for?
I cup the tears in the palm of my hand,
the chill of midnight comes from a far-off shore,
it's like being in some strange and distant land,
what are you crying for, what are you crying for?

You've got me in the...palm of your hand.
You don't know me, you don't know me, say goodbye,
you got those tears in your eyes,
it's a little drop of eternity.

The rain is falling, the rain is falling,
the rain is falling, the rain is falling, the rain is falling,
In this strange and distant town,
this strange and distant town.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

What They Wrote About In Mexico.

In Mexico, the steel glass glow from the cars
Sits in driveways, overtakes the minuscule
Lines of poverty, overtakes the greatness of it.
No one taught me how to climb a mountain, she said.
My hand is flat.
My palm is flat.
In Mexico, the Mexicans talk about the shaping of
Profound visions of red clay, strewn over
Barren land.
Shape me in gardens. Shape mountains
From the dust of no return.
I am poor. I go from door to door,

Begging someone to talk to me,
Asking them not to judge me, asking them for peace
Of mind. You are cruel and heartless,
A dictator of decisions.

My hand is flat. My palm is flat.
I love take-out food and gardens,
I feel bad about everything. My mother told
Me not to cross streets, not to talk to bad boys
With long hair, not to rhyme crime with time.

In Mexico, a boy makes tacos for Taco Night,
And dreams of playing baseball in high school.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Crawl Into Bed.

Some days I just want to crawl into bed and not
wake up. My mind is a sieve. I am steady.

I work as a missionary, going from country to country,
asking for forgiveness for something that was not
my fault, it was my mother's fault, the fault of

my grandfather, his great-uncle, his friend, Maurice,
he owned a coffee shop on the west side of Brooklyn,
remember in school, the students liked West better
than East, and white bread better than yeast.

I never know what I'm putting in my mouth. If it's full
of starch, macaroni and butter, dripping on the stove.
My drawers are full. My name is Melanie. I don't remember

anything about school. My brother asked to be in my wedding,
I told him maybe, if we had enough money to add a third person.
The sun came out on the morning of
December 1st,
it awakens the world, and the deer came out, looking for
peanuts and not finding what they wanted, they headed north,
hoping to find something better.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

About Trees.

The trees are bare and brown. The snow falls in Manhattan. My mother, Lucy, is put in a nursing home and her brother dies swiftly, in his sleep. He used to be an architect and built houses out of popsicle sticks. The popsicle sticks dry in the sun. Happiness is barren. Happiness is faded, worn, like a pair of blue jeans that needs to be washed. The sun is dried out like a raisin. The ocean is full of water, full of fish. The fish are dry. The fish aren’t dead. My father used to fish in the Atlantic Ocean in a canoe and caught five salmon on the first day. He hated Ernest Hemingway. His face turned red whenever he thought about him. The man broke his spirit. His spirit was broken. The trees are bare and brown. It is autumn. Autumn has come. The snow is falling. The white snowflakes fall to the ground and blanket the world and the world is dark and the moon is light. My mother said she found a field mouse in her closet. I said I didn’t believe her.

Monday, November 30, 2009

in the shadow of stone.

in the shadow of stone/the darkness follows me home/the light will light my way/on the break of every day/my heart falls forward in my throat/my life shifts backwards like a boat/I never move without a piece of grace/lighting the shadow of my face/in the night I know I will be all right/I have you by my side/you're here with me tonight/you taught me how to drive a car/and love when we are far/I look in your eyes/nothing is ever gone/in the coming of the dawn/I open the door and you aren't there/the shadows are dark and you aren't near/in the shadow of stone/the darkness follows me home/the light will light my way/on the break of every day.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


My mother says not to let taxes overcome my conscious efforts
At self-realization, or reading Poe, Rumi, by the firelight in Kentucky.
Drinking coke and vodka. Watching the news. We are harbors of our own

Guilt. I am trapped in memories of bitter folding chairs. Trapped in winter. The darkness
Folds. I’m not. Without. Within. Ancient things that speak to me: o ghost,
Hamlet, you cry to me in the dead of night. Hawks circle overhead.

My strawberry farm is getting ripe. I own a strawberry farm. Did I ever tell you
That? Hunger gnaws at my stomach. I eat cracked corn, I eat bread from
Big bags.

My father comes over to fix the dishwasher. His hands are old. Like a faded
Tree branch. His feelings are raw. He is barren. Hatred seeps through the core of his being, hatred of everything.

The light hangs from a bulb in my closet. I pull down a box of old letters, and sift through them. Memories wash through me like the ocean. The ocean is vast. My heart is vast. I put the strawberries on the table.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Dragonslain. Beginning.

The ship suffered a lot of damage. The side of the ship had a large hole in it and it rested crookedly in the water, bouncing up and down on the waves. A cannon entered through the wood. The pieces of wood from the ship, now soggy, floated in the waves and the sea gulls screamed overhead and the sea tasted like salt. The wind whistled and moaned. Commander Tereindyl Lightweaver looked at the floating pieces of wood and frowned. The crewmembers were killed by pirates. They died at sea. It was not a good day. It was cold. Some of his men were getting scurvy and they rowed their ship to shore and several of them went into town to get provisions and to see a doctor or healer. No, he thought. It definitely was not a good day. He was in a small rowing boat. First-in-Command was Dexter Durby, a forty-seven year old man. He had no family and no home and his men said he had been a prisoner once for stealing chickens. It was no matter. Tereindyl was glad to have him aboard. Sailing was rough. The water had been choppy. A hurricane was some miles off the coast of Maecus, a small fishing city. One of his men disappeared out at sea earlier that year. He had not officially recovered. It made him more nervous. A commander was not supposed to be nervous. It was not good for his crew. He swallowed hard. His eyes smarted. He took his pipe and put tobacco in it and lit it with a match. He threw the match into the water and walked down the beach. He sighed. He needed a drink. He wanted a drink. Tereindyl walked down a path that took him to town. It was nice out and he didn’t need a jacket. The bar was called the Overlook Purple Lizard. An inn rested on the hill at the end of the city and he looked down and no one walked there. His mind contemplating eating at the inn but the bar would have less people to bother him about money. He pushed the doors open to the bar and went inside and squinted his eyes. The bar was not busy. Hardly anyone was in the room. He sat on a stool at the bar and a waitress came over and asked him what he wanted to eat. “I’ll have fried potatoes, salad, and a steak,” he answered.
She smiled, snapping her gum. “That’s a big order for you,” she told him, chuckling. She tossed her hair over her shoulders. She was old. Very old.
He nodded. “I’m hungry,” he told her. He grinned. His eyes flashed. The door behind the bar opened and shut. He shook his head. Women didn’t take kindly to people like him. He was a pirate. Even Pirates of the King were hated, he thought. Well, at least he was able to eat and pay for shelter. That was the most important thing. He couldn’t forget about his boat.
He heard her calling him from the shores…the water lapped at the ship…men called to him from a distance…his mind snapped back to the here and now.
Soon, he thought. Soon, I’ll be on you again. He closed his eyes dreamily.
“Here you are, sir,” she said cheerfully. She put a frosty cup of beer on the table and came back with a plate full of steaming food. He paid his money and dug into the steak and ripped it apart with his teeth and a fork. The food went well down his throat. It was so good. He savored each taste. He took a sip of beer and licked his tongue. It was lemon beer. His favorite.
“You hear about war?” she asked him. “You look like a sailor.” She cocked her head to study him. To look at him. She was not an ugly woman. She was no means beautiful. Her career made her beauty shine. The sun was out today.
He raised an eyebrow at her. “War is everywhere,” he told her. She didn’t have to bring it up. He didn’t talk about it to strangers.
“Men come in here,” she told him. “Strange men. They wear red tattoos that shone of fire. These men harbor grudges against the songs of the past. Their footsteps rise clear for all to hear. In the stillness. In the darkness. In the light.”
“What you said doesn’t make sense,” he told her.
She chuckled. “I am an inn keeper,” she told him. “It doesn’t have to make sense.”
“Why don’t things ever make sense in life? Why do we have all this suffering?”
“Suffering comes from hardship,” she replied. “Hardship comes from within. Within us, there is turmoil. Out there…” she shook her head. “It is more difficult to explain. The darkness is everywhere. It is nowhere. Sometimes, things are broken.”

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Volume of Poetry.

Today I am a volume of poetry.
Tomorrow I am a piece of felt on the ground.
The wind moans in my ear.
No light I have found.
Some say I am going hungry.

They can see it in my eyes.
The darkness is round the moon;
It glimmers like a monsoon.
The distance I surmise.

Today I am a volume of poetry.
Tomorrow I am a map.
My cat comes to sit in my lap.
We throw papers on the floor.

Your mother comes to take the garbage out the door.
Whispered secrets, down on my luck,
My toe has been stuck in the mud and the muck.

Today I am a volume of poetry.
Tomorrow, I am your daughter.
I carry with me, the sound of a laughing otter.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Couch.

The couch is on stilts. I am not comfortable with it.
It sits in the middle of the living room,
Glares at me. A large eye. My mother sits on the couch.
She knits her afghan. The blanket on my bed smells
Like moth balls.

My mother is here. She pokes random objects. She dreams
Of nothings that blink on and off. Christmas music
Spews from a loud speaker in the bedroom. Snow falls
From the sky. We’re nothing, you and I.

My father said he got the couch from a garage sale three years
He said he didn’t like it at first. He said it made him think of
His banged-up knee he got in high school on the varsity football
The blanket has not been washed.

It is not Sunday. My father did his washing on Sunday.
I call him every Friday afternoon, and ask if he remembers to do
The washing.

The third time I called him, he hung up on me and didn’t invite me
To his wedding.

A year passed by. We sold the couch to a couple in Chicago,
Who were giving their daughter a new puppy for her birthday.
This is the story of a couch. The couch is on stilts.
I am not comfortable with it.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

River Pierre.

She is dressed in an Afghan and black clothing.
I told her I was over the whole black outfit thing,
she could wear anything she wanted. She came from South Africa.
She spoke in broken English.
I told her the wind is like a language...that it is a language.
It speaks to tree branches and rocks.
She told me I was different. I didn't know where I belonged.
I took an essay writing class when I was six.
We ate lunch on the River Pierre, in France,
and looked over her notes on Gibraltar.
They told me I do everything wrong. I'm not the way I should be.
Everyone makes me feel uncomfortable. No one understands.
The lake is filled with fish. Every day, I take bread crumbs out to
the lake, and only see three things-a toad, a lily pad, and
a tortoise. The tortoise has a brown-speckled shell. He looks
at me and wanders away. Everyone says I am selfish. I agree
with them. I haven't had a job in seven years.
The word, Gibraltar rings in my ears. It is an interesting word,
and I wonder what it means. Gibraltar.
We're not in France anymore. We're back at home, leafing through cake
magazines and talking about the football game on tv.
It's almost Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


No nighttime is upon me. October is just a month.
It is cold and darkness is waking.
Not within me. In the clouds.
I am alone. My heart beats. I feel the earth move. She moves.
The earth is moving, she is sobbing, singing, doing
something I don't know what it is she is doing. I don't know
the heart within. She finds me moving within movement.
You moved to Ohio without me. Without a way to go.
You said you loved her. Your shoelaces were untied. I didn't
believe you.
I don't like anything I've ever written. I don't like anything
I've ever read, aloud, or in my head.
The moon shines down. No nighttime upon me.
My chin hurts painfully, every Sunday. The sun shines down.
The clouds are overhead. No stories are written. I am a story
within a story. I am tired. I want to rest. There isn't any rest,
so much work, so much work! My mother told me not to swear.
She told me not to do a lot of things. The flowers are opening
and it is not even spring. The flowers are opening in bloom.
Opening like the surgeon who opened my chest when I was one years old.
Opening like a door that was closed. You said you would never forgive me.
I don't want your pity. My heart is tired. I am tired. Why can't you
understand? The darkness is within my beating heart. He said he didn't
like the noise.


The dog walks down the street, its tail wagging.
He barks at nothing. It is the bark of a tree. I am angry on the inside.
Nothing can make me stop moving. I am a mover. I move every three years,
sometimes I wonder if my parents are FBI agents, insurgents of Canada
and the far north.
It is cold. The winter winds chill me to the bone. I am alone in my bed,
wondering if anyone notices I am alive. Most of the time,
they do not care, or want to understand.
I believe in things. I don't believe in everything. The dog barks down
the street again. The wind is moving.

Friday, November 20, 2009

I finished reading.

"Eyes of Elisha" by Brandilyn Collins. I enjoyed the novel. I haven't read mysteries in awhile, I have been focusing more on science fiction, but this book was written in a simplistic manner. Here's what I thought: I was sometimes annoyed by Chelsea because she seemed to have a big mouth and didn't think things through.

I believe everything is made up of matter, and, to explain the vision Chelsea had and why she was right about the murder, in one scenario, Chelsea randomly picked out a logical event and placed it in the proper order. Usually, when people claim to be psychic and are accurate, simple science can explain their accuracy-scientists have said the human brain is like a computer, and can compute information pretty fast. We have so many people in the world, it's hard not to be accurate about something we're not supposed to know. I like the paranormal, though, and I read fiction all the time.

Some parts of the story don't tie in together very well, and it seems as if Chelsea's visions are mere coincedence, or that she could have committed the crimes herself and blamed someone else for them. Bad things happen every day. It's not illogical for someone to guess right about some of them.

The theme of the story worked for the series. I would buy more books if I had the money.

What They Talk About.

I am not talking about tomorrow. I am not talking about the eggs being boiled
on the stove. I am not talking about the way the banana bread is being baked in
the oven, or the white-haired lion on the evening news, spouting songs about God, Israel, Iran. The country is in turmoil. When has it stopped being in turmoil? My president seeks resolution, holds up his hand in silence, holds up his hand and places it on a book, The Art of War, of resolution. I keep myself to myself. The news blares on. You told me you wouldn't leave for Jefferson City, that you wouldn't leave me behind, that my sister didn't lose her leg in the bar fight and couldn't find the leg and had to get it replaced. I am not talking about tomorrow. I am not talking about your mother, who owes me money she said she'll never have. The house has been put up for sale. Anger is written all over my face, it's really not, it's really not, I just don't like drinking, don't like dancing, don't like much anything about anything. My classmates usually provoked it. They're not here. You are. You talk to me. I hear you.

I Told You Once.

I told you once I told you before,
I'm not something I don't know about.
I am nothing I know nothing about,
words creep slowly up the wall like a cat.
I couldn't take the worried crease of your mother's brow,
the insistent drilling of your father's favorite sports into my head,
the french onion soup that never came out right during
our winter holiday up north to your mother's.
She told me she used to work as a car salesman,
that she used to dream of the day when she could get fired,
and actually work where she wanted to work-as a hostess
at a four star gourmet restaurant, a window cleaner,
a volunteer at the fire department.
She wanted all those things, she said, and more, writing them
all down in her notebook, making promises with herself to
try to fulfill her dreams. She didn't know which way she was going.
Or why she wanted to go there. She didn't know what she wanted,
what she could be, and summer came swiftly.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Quiet Mind.

I am the quiet mind.

I am the heart that can't breathe.
I am the broken. The dark destiny.
The friend without a friend.

In the last light of the full moon,
my mind bears the burden of you.
Bears the burden of what I am.

A human. A ghost. A liar.
Excuses drift across the ocean like flowers.
I surround myself with petty pennies.
A shadow that settles on a rock.

I keep myself steady, my hand on my belly,
mother calls to me from the other room and asks

if I need something to eat. I haven't eaten
well in weeks.
The quiet mind within a well. I don't have-anything-
trees, twigs, tears.

My eyes smart. I see visions of ghosts.
My loneliness breaks me. I am bent over rocks.
My hunger is not a problem. I am not a problem.

Darkness will not break me.
Never the quiet mind within the quiet heart.
Never the quiet.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


We are not miners. We are 49ers. My friend mentions the 49ers every time conversation
is awkward, every time a truck goes by on the freeway. I am tired. My mind is quiet, is steady. The beat of my heart is stilled, willed. The flower is wilted. My love for you blooms eternally in gardens; my love for you is in a book, the symbol written in words. I haven't slept in weeks. The night falls. The waves break on the ocean. You tell me nothing. You tell me, "I see things bigger than myself!" I tell you know this. I try to get another job, but I can't speak past your eyes. Your eyes like stars. The woman with the red shirt works at the gas station. She sleeps at night without a pillow, thinking of her mother, her father, her sister, her brother. If they will be able to eat the next day. The television tells me no one is hungry, not in words, but in images. I can't afford cable. A pigeon poops in the garden. In the winter, my landlord drains the pool. It looks half-naked.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Fanfiction Story.

I have never written fanfiction before, it makes me feel weird, but I've been having trouble writing anything as of late and decided to write something, anything. The fanfiction is based on Stephen King's "Dark Tower" series, which he got the idea from a famous poem. I started reading his books when I was twelve and I remember when I first read "The Gunslinger." I am picking on Stephen King because he'd probably like my writing. I don't plan on sending it anywhere, unless I send it to Stephen King's agent and ask him to finish it, for free, of course. I'm trying to finish my UFO story.

I have trouble writing shorter fiction, too. My patience is horrible.

As always, the characters belong to Stephen King.


Two thoughts came to him: The whispers were loudest in the dark. And then: The magician is dead. A man stood where none had stood before, looking down in the crevice of the black tomb of the magician who twice tried to kill him and had once brought him back to life. The man’s name was Roland Deschain and he listened to the whispers while he mourned, hearing the ghosts of the past, hissing their accusations in his ear. “Vinny!” one ghost screamed. “Vinny!” “Shake my hand? Shake my hand?” repeated another in a singsong voice. “Porter…porter,” sighed another, as if he, too, was in mourning of someone Roland didn’t know the name of, maybe someone named Porter, or maybe porter was his job or it was a word in a different language and Roland wouldn’t be able to translate it. Roland was the last gunslinger. He used to be one of the last. Eddie, Susannah Dean, and even Oy had become gunslingers along their journey. Now, his friends were dead. He was mourning their life. Last year, he put his gun away for a new one, a .44 black caliber the size of his hand. Not only was he mourning Susannah, Eddie, and Oy, he was mourning the death of all those who lost their lives on other worlds, unknown soldiers whose tombstones bore no distinct name, gunslingers from far away lands like Ottawa, Topeka, Jefferson City, Missouri, population: 33,000. Roland gave all the soldiers the name of Jane Doe. Roland was uncomfortable in a black suit. He was older. He had gray hair and his eyes were like icicles, cold and hard as steel, his mind quick like playing cards in the dark. He remembered the old inn where he played poker with a dead man, the man who lost one eye in a bar fight and had been turned into a half-mutant. Last he had heard, the man was still looking for his eye. Roland was fighting for his life. He had cancer. He started smoking at twenty-three years old and hadn’t stopped a day since and the old woman at the hospital in New Manhattan said the cancer had wormed its way into his lungs. She was right. His lungs were blacker than the space above them, blacker than tar and a summer thunderstorm.
He mourned the loss of his love. Her name was Natasha Spiendel. He met her at a bar back in Nicker, and had made love to her on that first night he met her. He knew he was going to leave her. It was written in the stars. That was a terrible thing to think. She thought he was going to stay forever. She said so while they were making love. A gypsy read his palm when he was nineteen and said his real lover was a demon, locked away in the chasms of his heart that can’t be broken open. His mind was dull, dim, dead. He didn’t remember how he had gotten here.
The only thing that kept him awake was the pills he ate and licked dry and the pinpoints of sun that bore through the spider webs that made up his mind. Birds whispered and sang to him in his head. He was in a different place. His heart reeled. He was alone.
Alone in a haunted tomb of a dead magician he had never wanted to meet in the first place, whose death constantly haunted him in ways that were both unbearable and unimaginable. Roland felt a hysteria that was bordering on dementia. He grinned in the darkness at nothing, his mouth slacked open. He thought about the visions he had in the North, about the dragon who had green jewels for eyes and sent him a vision of the end of the world. Of all worlds.
Darkness rose up over the tomb like a giant monster and swallowed him. He stood in front of the magician’s tomb and whispered a prayer in Old Speech, a prayer he hadn’t used in a long time. He panicked. Bile rose up in his throat. He kept himself firm. His body remained. He did not move. He moved. The ghosts moved with him, calling around him frantically, asking for forgiveness, for alcohol, anything they could claim. He had none to give them. He was on his last life. The last gunslinger. He couldn’t fix himself. He was broken. He was in mourning.
He left the tomb and went into the hallway, and built himself a fire. He ate the last of the beef jerky in his fanny pack he stole from a dead horse whose spirit surely haunted this tomb along with the dead magician. He missed his horse. He couldn’t remember how many horses he had. But he missed them. He even missed the Crimson King. His eyes bore itself in his skull.
No, he thought quickly, shaking his head. He didn’t miss the Crimson King. He didn’t miss any of them. Only Susannah. She was the only one who didn’t betray him. Even Eddie betrayed him for a chance at the Elixir of life. He had no more doors left. The key was gone. He had found the key in the Crimson King’s mouth, protruding from it after he was shot and killed in the turf war between the gunslingers and the vampires. Eddie lost his life. Eddie and the vampires. The vampires hated him. They would find him. They would want him dead. Most of the time he wanted to be dead. He didn’t know how to swim with the fish. But he wanted to.
His mouth filled with vomit.
He leaned over and retched into a bucket that wasn’t there and then it was. In this part of the Old Kingdom, all bets were off. The magician’s magic resided in the key. He needed to steal back the key.
The Crimson King was dead. He hoped his ghost was not haunting this tomb. He hoped for a lot of things.
Roland licked his lips. “What do I do now?” he whispered. His lips were cracked and dry. It had been days since he had had a drink. Days since he had eaten, until just a few minutes ago when he ate the beef jerky. The jerky was salty and went down hard and his mind was hard from thinking only one thought at a time. His brain was slow, like molasses. He felt fine. He was so happy he could literally lift himself off the ground.
You, his thoughts whispered playfully, gropingly. Are. The. Last. Right. Like that was anything new. He was alone like he was before the magician followed him in the second world. His first world was Earth. He remembered. He saw. The vision was crystal clear.
Someone shuffled behind him in the dark. He bolted, and, realizing he didn’t have anywhere to turn, slumped against a wall. Ghosts groped for him in the dark.
“Eat,” an old woman cackled. “Live, breathe, be.” She hovered behind him like a mother caring for her child, except Roland was not a child and definitely not hers. Roland screamed and put his hands over his face and she did nothing but stood there and watched him with a stupid expression on her face, one of amusement and contempt. “Be,” she repeated. Her eyes rolled in their sockets.
“Are you another gypsy?” he asked. He smiled warily. “Or a soothsayer?” He chuckled. She didn’t get the joke. No one ever understood his jokes.
She shook her head. “Matilda,” she said, smiling, showing cragged teeth.
He laughed. “Hello, dear,” he said, grasping her hand. It was cold as ice. It felt like dead seaweed brushing against his fingers. He swallowed hard. So many nightmares filled his soul that he didn’t know the difference between nightmares and waking life anymore. “What are you doing here?” he asked her, wiping his hand on his jeans. He didn’t want to feel that hand in his ever again. Never. Again. He snorted. He’d write that down if he had a post-it note and a pen.
She laughed. “Live here,” she said, cackling gleefully. “Can’t find food anywhere. The magic man brings me food and he’s dead.” She threw her head back and jittered another one of those crazy laughs. Roland didn’t think it was at all funny. Neither would the magician if he was here. Roland smiled dimly. Great. He was trying to be a comedian now. As if the universe didn’t have enough problems to deal with. He glanced at the old woman.
“Alive?” he prodded. Persistence. That was key. Especially to crazy coots like the woman standing before him. Especially in a tomb like this.
“No. Deceased.” A chill ran down his spine. Of course, his mind whispered. He would be dead. That was the only way to get away from Roland. “How do I get out of this place?” he asked her timidly. She rolled her eyes heavenward, then glanced back down. She slammed her first into his jaw. He was sent reeling. His mind whirled. He sank in blackness. Darkness. The ghosts whirled away from him in a blur of noise, voices, images.
In the darkness, in the deepest pit of despair, on the edge of another world that flickered between unconsciousness and consciousness, Roland woke.
He opened one eye.
The Crimson King was not there.
He was dead.
Roland was not.
That was good, that was fine, that was great, that was wonderful. Roland rolled over on his side and looked up at the sky that glared down at him like an eye. He was in the desert again, he was sure it was the same desert the magician had followed him to at the beginning of his journey. He was happy he was here. The magician could not find him. The magician was dead. He repeated the words over and over in his mind. He repeated them. He was in the desert. It wasn't anywhere near Cairo.
Roland fell into a dead sleep. He didn't even get up from where he lay. He slept looking up at the stars.
The next morning, a cart and buggy started making its way across the desert toward him. Roland watched dumbly. What were they doing here? Was it a ghost carriage? Was he seeing things? The desert was full of mirages. He waited. The buggy pulled up to him. "Hello, mate," he said. "Good of you to kill my cousin for me."
Roland looked startled. "Who?" he said, blinking at him in the sunlight.
"My cousin. The magician."
Roland glanced at the horse again. The horse was nothing but a skeleton. Its eyes were pools of blackness. The universe swirled above him. Roland looked back at the old man. He looked exactly like the magician, except his nose was shaped differently. It was much more crooked. "You are?" he said.
"Shawn," the magician's cousin answered. "Shawn Johnson. Pleased to meet you." He chuckled, as if what he had just said was funny. It wasn't.
Roland smiled anyway.
Of course.

Book Update.

I'm on Chapter 12 of Eyes of Elisha.

The Ghost Whisperer.


A speck on the horizon.
It wasn’t the UFO he was expecting. It wasn’t the UFO he was hoping for. It was just the moon, taking its first breath on a cool autumn night full of broken thunderclouds.
Lieutenant Barney Trent gazed up at it from his Porsche, wondering when he was going to see the UFO. He had been out here for hours, waiting for the right moment for it to arrive, waiting for something fantastic to occur. He didn’t have much longer to wait. He glanced at his commander. His name was Matthew Plunkett, and he was forty-seven years old, had a baby girl and a wife. They were struggling, he heard. It was sad. He was glad the man was here. It was a good idea to have someone else with you to witness a UFO sighting. One person wasn’t enough.
“Do you think they’ll come?” he grunted, glancing at the man and raising an eyebrow at him.
Matthew shrugged. “They’re aliens. Aliens are supposed to be unpredictable.” He snorted. “I’d say yes or no.” He chuckled. He was having a ball. He didn’t believe in aliens one way or the other. He thought they were imaginary. His mother told him so. He still thought they were imaginary. Nothing was going to change his mind. “Let’s wait.”
They waited. Waited. Their commanding officer, Wolf Morrison, said he didn’t know when the UFO would come. Or even if it would. Matthew didn’t want to pass up the chance of seeing something he would never get to see again. The sun went up. It went down again, down, down over the horizon, until it was just a speck. That wasn’t a UFO. He told it to himself, silently, quietly. The sun and moon were not UFOs. He wished they were. Finally, silently, near the dawn that was coming up out of the darkness, he saw it. A green speck of light on the horizon. A green speck. It came closer and closer until it was nearly standing on top of them. Barney’s breath caught in his throat. He didn’t know what to say. It was the most wonderful sight he had ever seen in his entire life. He didn’t need a video camera. He was going to remember it forever. “Is it real?” he whispered to Matthew.
He shrugged. “Don’t know, don’t care,” he answered, shaking his head. “Let’s just watch.”
They watched for what seemed like forever. The UFO turned on its side and dipped out of sight. They never saw it disappear. One minute it was there. The next minute it was gone. Just like that.
Barney shook his head and chuckled. It was better than Christmas.

* * *
Benjamin Hades didn’t realize what he was signing up for when he joined
the United States military. He was twenty-three, going on twenty-four, and had just graduated from Princeton University with a degree in sociology. He had a whole wide world to explore. That was when he got the call. They needed him at Area 51. It was such a simple request, they said. A simple request that could potentially persuade his entire career. He thought about it for two weeks before agreeing to leave his crummy, part-time job at McDonald’s, and delve into the career of a soldier. He hated war. Hated the possibilities. He needed the money. They said they’d pay for his schooling. He signed up immediately. He flew a plane to Roswell International Airport, got off, and three security guards lead him to another bus with blacked out seat windows. He got on and was driven three miles to the Area 51 site, near Groom Lake, a dry riverbed that was going to be turned into a dam by the end of the year. His boss’s name was Matthew Plunkett. He knew he wasn’t going to like him. He was tall, hard, and cold, his eyes like brown saucers in his head, his mind sharp and quick, like lightning. He ushered the man into his tight little office, an office that was a span of about twenty feet wide and long. A diploma adorned the wall opposite his desk, from MIT. He rubbed his hands together gleefully. “You’re working at Area 51,” he said. He paused, studying him. Benjamin didn’t like being profiled like that. It made him nervous.
Benjamin nodded, confused as to why the man was being so secretive. It wasn’t a big deal. He’d had plenty of jobs before this, five, as matter of fact. This was the most interesting job he’s ever had. More interesting than working at a grocery store. “What do you want me to do?” he asked quickly. He hoped he hadn’t offended the man in some way. That was the last thing he wanted to do. Offend the government. Yeah, that was rich. He scowled.
“Your job is to monitor Bunkers one through seven,” he replied. “We have everything already set up for you in the security room. All you have to do is watch.” He rose to his feet like a giant monster rising from the ground. Watching Bunker One through Six was like watching golf. Nothing happened. Several men came in and out of the building. He had a toll booth. They signed when they came in, and when they came out, usually around dawn. Barney was up with the sun, and went to sleep when it went down. The days became tedious, dull, real. There was nothing special about Area 51.
The next morning, he went to downtown Roswell, and bought a cup of coffee from McDonald’s. McDonald’s was the fast-food chain of choice for these parts, either that, or Denny’s, and Denny’s wasn’t open yet. They didn’t open until 11am.
“What am I doing here?” he demanded of his steering wheel.
He drove all morning and went back to his apartment and fell into a deep sleep. Night came, and his shift, second shift, just began. He hurried into his clothes and drove down I-55, and stopped in front of a large building marked with the words “Employee” on the sign. The garage door opened, and he inched the car into the garage. He stepped out.
A man wearing a black suit and tie wandered over to him, carrying a clipboard. “Hades, Benjamin?” he asked in a cheerful voice. It was hard, being happy in a place like this. Harder than a person could imagine.
Benjamin thought the building was haunted.
Benjamin nodded, wondering what he had gotten himself into.
It wasn’t like he couldn’t find work. It wasn’t like he didn’t have enough money to eat and rent an apartment and put gas in his car. He could find work. He could do all those things. It was the feeling of excitement, of doing something he wasn’t supposed to, that he liked. It was like, I don’t know, finding God again, as corny as that sounded. It was like being friends with your inner demons. Officer Cooper Smithson kept Benjamin company, spouting stories of World War II and Vietnam. Tall, lanky, with brown hair and eyes, he had been stationed in Vietnam, he said. Had shot and killed a man, a German soldier who was working with the Chinese. “Have you ever heard of such a thing?” he said laughingly, slapping Benjamin on the back. Benjamin thought shooting a man must have made him go mad. His behavior was sporadic, chaotic. Benjamin smiled encouragingly. He wished the man would just shut up. He wanted to eat his soup. It grew cold. He took a sip. That was better. Soup was good on a night like this.
“You ever seen a UFO here?” he asked Cooper curiously.
Cooper’s face suddenly turned serious. His eyes lost focus. “Once,” he said stiffly. His shoulders drooped. His face went white.
Benjamin looked at him. “And?” he prodded. He looked at his hands. They were large hands, large ones that had seen much labor. He remembered the little ones that fit into his father’s hand. He remembered other things, too. He kept it to himself.
“Once is enough.”
“Was it on the ground?” he asked quietly.
“Yes.” He nodded. “It was on the ground.” He paused. “I was just a solider back then, had just started working at Area 51, thinking of all the possibilities it had to offer.” He shook his head. “That was so stupid of me! Really stupid. Anyway,” he continued, “I found out what Area 51 was really working on. A futuristic version of the Stealth-fighter pilot, it was a small, sleek-looking model, gray, about seventeen feet wide and across.” He stopped. A single tear squeezed down his eyelids. He didn’t bother to wipe it away. Benjamin studied him curiously, wondering what the fuss was about. It was just a UFO.
“I’ll never forget the experience,” he began. “It was stupid. I don’t know why I was there in the first place. I guess I had a weird feeling in the back of my mind…maybe I picked up on it? Sometimes I do that. Like, I can tell what’s going to happen next, or I can guess what’s in a room without actually going in it. It’s stupid, I know.” He sniffed.
“What happened to the fighter pilot?”
He shrugged. “We sold it to the Japanese,” he replied. “They like fighter pilots, especially ones like that.” He paused. “I don’t think anyone actually gets these ideas from real aliens, just geniuses with nothing better to do with their time.” Cooper wrung his hands nervously. “You must think I’m really stupid.”
“No,” Benjamin told him. “I don’t. I want to see a UFO.”
“Maybe you will, sonny,” he replied, patting Benjamin on the back. “Maybe you will.”
All Benjamin could do was scowl.
The next morning was dreary and cold. It was spring. The weatherman said a big storm was coming, part of a hurricane that had come from Mexico. The hurricane was called Hurricane Fran. Benjamin wondered who named them. He slept until noon. He staggered to the shower, got dressed, washed his face, and brushed his teeth. He didn’t have anything to do until six-oh-clock, when he signed in for work. He glanced up and saw Cooper watching him, with a glazed expression in his eyes. Idiot. He’d been here for years. The man said so himself. Benjamin hoped he wouldn’t turn into Cooper. He was just a little too weird for him to handle. He shook his head and went to the security office, put his card in the door, and it swung open with a creak. The sound was deafening in such a quiet little room. He didn’t like it. It made him nervous. He checked the sign in sheet on the desk. Everyone who was here had already signed in. No one unexpected was supposed to come in today. It was second shift. They usually didn’t have any extra people come in on the second shift. He wandered into the hall. A light bulb swung from the ceiling overhead and cast a pale, orange glow on the walls. It was eerily quiet. No noise anywhere, except the wind moaning outside. Hurricane Fran was headed this way. He went to the vending machine and bought a cup of coffee and went outside to look at the stars. His break began in five minutes anyway. He had time to look. They had a small black and white TV in the break room. Light bent in the dark.
Footsteps whispered on the floor. His mind reeled. His mind thought about different things. What he was doing, where he was going. He never expected to work here, of all places. He’d heard about Area 51 before this, from colleagues at Princeton who were writing papers about the strange things that happened here. His grandfather was in the army. He’d fought in World War II. That was when he saw it. A black Sedan pulled into the driveway and three men hopped out. His eyes squinted in the dark. They weren’t supposed to be here. There weren’t any other names on the sign-in sheet. Everything was supposed to be on schedule. Those were the rules. He swallowed hard. He didn’t have time to radio the FBI or the police. He was going to have to follow them. Benjamin took his flashlight out of his pocket and followed them. He was the shadow stalking them. The first man had white hair and a white beard. The second man was younger, and had black hair and brown eyes. His mouth was drawn downward. He looked pissed. “What are you saying, it’s not running right?” he demanded into his walkie-talkie. “I checked it this morning. It should be working.” He scowled. His scowl deepened. “Jenkins, check on the sub, now.”
Benjamin frowned in puzzlement. The sub? Were they talking about lunch? Benjamin followed them into the side door marked “PRIVATE.” The door slammed shut behind them. Darkness swallowed them whole.
“Which way?” Jenkins whispered in a tinny voice. “Which way, Harry?”
Harry pointed. “That way. You know which way it is,” he said. “Don’t act like you haven’t been here before.”
“I keep thinking I’m with Wolf. Sorry.”
Harry snorted. “You know he’s a Shadow, an insurgent.”
“For who?”
A chill rolled down Benjamin’s spine. He didn’t like the emphasis Jenkins put on the word, “them.”
Harry scowled. “Don’t say it like that. It gives me the creeps.”
“Okay.” Jenkins snickered. “They.”
Harry glared at him. “Shut up, Patrick.”
“Hey, what about the new guy? You think they’re gonna tell him?” Jenkins asked.
“Of course not. He’s a Level One Access. They don’t tell rookies anything. It’s the law.” He snorted. “Dumbass. Should have known that already.”
“Oh.” He nodded. “Right.”
They rounded a corner and entered a large room.
The room was round and white. In the middle of it rested a large pool filled with water. In the water, was the strangest submarine Benjamin had ever seen. It was sleek and white and looked like a large whale with windows. The windows were new and looked like they had just been washed. Benjamin stared at it. That’s what they were hiding! He was so excited he almost bumped into a wall.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Rain and Rivers.

The rain breaks through the storm clouds.
Zealous reasons, like reasons unknown,
my heart creeps across broken stone;
light is a yellow cloak, a shroud.

The rain breaks through, I tiptoe
and dance,
rain breaks through reasons of glow;
we are sheltered in this loveless romance,
God is a system we can't overthrow.

Moving in reason, moving without season,
the rain glimmers on the stone.
God moves to places unknown,
sometimes, in England, thrones are overthrown.

Pieces of rock, sheltered in shock,
glowering in distance, the geese will flock.
Open doors are closed again,
I knew my sad old friend, way back when.

God is a reason, reasons unknown,
sometimes, in England, thrones are overthrown.
Sometimes, friends, they come and they go,
moving like shadows and the waters that flow.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I am on Chapter Ten on "Eyes of Elisha." Chelsea is in shell-shock.

The Day After Veteran's Day, 1999.

It was the day after Veteran's Day
that you applied for the new job at Home Depot,

that you declared you would stop smoking cigarettes
to help me breathe better. My mother works as a secretary

at a doctor's office, shelling out files at forty knots
per second. She is the kind who wants to listen to the radio
while she's at work but can't,
afraid of offending the boss
who will not give her a raise.

I never mourned the passing of the dead, my grandfather, his grandfather,
and vice versa, people I have never met,
who did not help me with my taxes, my words, my unseeing

I do not speak much. I put my head in my hands and think about
nothing, we are almost equal to apes, grapes, lima beans,
Lima, Peru. I remember once I read a story about an Indian boy
who found sandals in Ancient Peru,
who admired the long-long dead. The dead don't come back, said my uncle,
I only speak to him on the television set, now, the Discovery Channel,
The History Channel, the Food Network, too.

Today we go to Farmer's Market. Today we speak to old men named Bill.
Today we run up and down sidewalks, yelling in Spanish, in English,
in French and German and Greek. Today we go. Today we mourn
another day.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

These Rivers, I See.

Like rivers folding,
Like rivers crossing,
My mother told me I could not have anymore
That was the day I mourned the loss of books,
Every kind of books,
Big ones and little ones,
All of them inbetween.

I didn’t think about him,
The old friend who betrayed me,
The one who became homeless and ate out of
Trash cans instead of learning how to speak,
The one who ate sunflowers and
Prayed silently to God to smite him, the one whose newer
Friends made fun of my suffering,
Called me a cow, a liar, a fiend, a cheater on tests
Of all kinds.

I didn’t think about him,
The man who taught me nothing,
The man who taught me how selfish he is at funerals
And at home,
The man who would only let me use his toilet if I was standing
Up, because he didn’t believe in the scar on my forehead.

The anger seeps inside of me, I can’t even feel the anger
Because I have to pay my taxes, because I have to dig wells
For people I never meet, because my friend thinks he is right
When he isn’t never. Who is right anymore? Surely not the Republicans,
The old men who drown in sorrows in coffee shops,
In doughnut shops,
Dreaming of places they will never see.
He didn’t give me an apology like he said.
Wouldn’t tell me his own name.

Change of the Season.

I mark the change of the
seasons by punching a hole in the wall, by
bringing fresh tomatoes from the garden.
I mark the change of the seasons,
As every day comes as the one before,
As the darkness that wans, the sliver of moon that bends.
The winter months fall because of bitter realizations,
I am forgotten, like a ghost, forgotten for the time
I spent doing good deeds.
I am not a soldier. I wish to be dead, to be stillborn,
To be underground with the others,
The ones who are silent when I walk,
The ones who never say anything bad about me.

Flowers in gardens. Big and little flowers,
Flowers of all kinds.
I trip over my feet as I went up the stairs,
You said you were trying to teach me a lesson,
I know you’re lying.
The bells ring in the distance.
I know what it’s like to be forgotten,
I hear the tolling of bells.
The wind moans, darkness comes,
Steadily, tramping up doors and banging on them.

I mark the change of seasons. Seasons pass, come and go,
Fill up the water hole with pits and shadows.
You scream for baked bread and peaches.
You yell at your pillow. The day has not grown old.
I hear bells ringing.

Update On Book.

I am currently on Chapter Four of Eyes of Elisha. Chelsea is at her friend Gladys's house. I don't think about God either way, but I like to read.

If I was an Editor, I would probably publish this book, too. No book has ever been the best thing I've ever read, but most of the ones I've read are publishable, and will sell enough copies to pay royalty checks.

When I reach THE END, I will post a small summary of what I think about the book.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Eye of Elisha.

I received the "Eye of Elisha" by Brandilyn Collins in the mail today. I am currently on the second chapter.

I will update more later.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

The Plum.

The plum awaits to be eaten.
I wonder what the plum thinks about that.

I wonder if the plum thinks about anything,
my last boyfriend, whose name was Wilfred,
whose name was foreign to this land.

The plum came from a grocery store in Waterford,

My sister-in-law's mother lived
in a house across the street from the grocery
store where I bought the plum,
old memories flicker against the mind.

The plum is covered in fuzz,
I sit at the kitchen table, pick off the fuzz,
and let it fall into the trash can.

The plum is not entirely eaten.
I open my mouth and take another bite.

Another hour passes. The sun is covered by shadows;
no storm in the distance. No one comes to check
on me. The clock stops ticking.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

We Don't Communicate.

I talk to you in front of a mirror
That did not show my face.
I bought the mirror from an antique shop
In Warrington, Mississippi,
Where my grandfather fought in the war in the 40s,
Where he lived and died and lived again.

It is November, my feet are heavy with dread,
I told you sorry once,
I told you a thousand times.
You can’t see in front of you.
You can’t see behind you.

The green grass is growing beneath our feet,
Everywhere around the world,
We are walking,
Walking like there’s no tomorrow,
Walking like we’ll never walk again.

I talk to you in my mind,
Trying to make you understand,
The feelings inside me,
That brush like paintings on rinds of stone.
That brush like a wind brushing my hair.
You are here. You are not.
You say you love me,
That you won’t refuse to think about me.
I don’t know what anything means anymore.

You borrow my brown jacket because the cold
Is too hard to take.
I don’t know what I’m doing anymore.
Your friends steal my words.

Poetic Reason.

I wish I was daring as a hat, the hat that is placed on
My head; the heart that beats like a sad remembrance of
Things wanted, things that are ashamed. I cannot know
What it is I have reflected, a genius of sorts, a prodigy
Of the mind. Sometimes,
I cry out in the lonely night, wishing for a spark of genius
To strike me; most of the time, there is nothing but memories,
Flitting like a butterfly in my mind. I try to wipe it away,
Try to hold it back, but there is nothing more than a sparrow
Pushing me forward, holding onto the rhythm of something
That is not as likely as it seems.
What happened to the beat of my heart? What happened to
The gentle understanding that comes with sharp rain?
I am not whole again, my heart does not beat steady.
In the night, I often see spirits that haunt me, like bitter reveries
In a night storm, my mother always in my mind.
Words are like poetry; they move me to enter the door,
Swinging in an arc.
Why do I like poetry? There is no rhyme or reason,
A simple day that gathers rain.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Didn't write for nanowrimo, but a short.


The dragon hissed at the fluter, its tongue lolling out like a snake. It had been sleeping, sunning itself on a rock, when the fluter came, playing a tune.
The wyrmlord had not been in to see them today; it was away on business, selling cloth at a carpet trade in Hagawirn, a city close to the Lery peninsula.
It was a long trip and winter was coming.
The dragon hoped it would do well, even if it was not fond of the fluter.
The fluter brought one of its wooden flutes. It had three flutes: a wooden one, a silver one, and a flute made of gold. The flute made of gold was used only for festivals and contests, of which there were not many nowadays.
A flu ravaged the world for the last three years and only a handful of men and women survived. Slowly and surely, they were building up their world again.
Mostly everything had been ravaged by pirates-mutants from the Undertow, cities that had been built underground when the flu first began.
The flu was deadly.
Scientists were not able to find a cure.
The wyrmlord, a young man by the name of Bearl Harow, had not been affected. He said he was immune because of his genetics.
It would not be the first time he said something silly.
Bearl was always saying silly things. His best friend, Thery Ferlong, said he should be a comedian.
Bearl thought about it and decided against it. He was better at the flute. He learned it in fifth grade and it stuck with him since.
The fluter didn’t think the dragonlings liked his song.
They were hissing and scratching and shaking their heads back and forth like a yo-yo. He met the wyrmlord at the door of the cave. “Tough crowd today,” he said to the wyrmlord. He wore a long white robe. The robe was always dirty.
The wyrmlord snorted. “That’s because the biggest dragon is sick,” he said. “His name is Seryis.”
“Seryis, eh? Strange name for a dragon.” He snorted. “Strange name, indeed.” He grinned.
“What’s your name?” the wyrmlord asked curiously.
“That’s stranger than Seryis,” he murmured, shaking his head and grinning.
The wyrmlord knelt next to Seryis and touched its flank. “Hello, dragon,” he said, smiling thinly. “How are you feeling today?”
“Terrible,” the dragon answered, wincing. “My throat is raw. That idiot Bearl tried to sing.” The dragon bared its teeth. “I don’t like it when he sings.”
Lanor chuckled, amused by the dragon’s obvious distress over the fluter’s presence. He had heard the fluter sing, and he wasn’t that bad. “In one ear and out the other. That’s the best way to listen to his music,” he said cheerfully.
“Why does he come every day anyway?” Seryis asked him.
Lanor shook his head and shrugged. “Because he’s bored, I’d wager.”
The dragon sniffed. “If humans want peace between dragons, don’t send the fluter.” He almost growled the last words. Lanor couldn’t help but chuckle. Seryis was a funny creature. He hoped he would get better soon. The next morning, the fluter did not come.
Lanor said he had been called away on duty. Not only was he a divine fluter, he was also a soldier. A war was going on in the north, between the Willingtons and the Theryndians, two families who were fighting over a suitor for their daughters.
Neither daughter was friends with the other and it created a clash between the two families. They were at war. It wasn’t a pretty sight. The more Seryis heard about fighting humans, the less he wanted to see of humans.
He stayed in his cave most of the time, listening to the rain patter on the roof of the cave.
The coldness crept under his skin. Settled like a bug.
“Why do you always stay in your cave?” Lanor asked one day.
Seryis’s mate, Ulenda, had gone out to do the hunting. She was not back yet. The trip would take a day or two, according to the dragon. Lanor wanted to accompany her, but Seryis said she liked to go hunting alone.
“How many babies does she have?” Lanor asked.
“Thirteen,” Seryis answered. “All of them are in a nest, thirty miles west of here. I’m not allowed to see them until their first year.”
“How long is their first year?” he asked curiously.
“Eight hundred days,” it answered.
Lanor shook his head and patted his neck. “That’s tough,” he said sympathetically.
Seryis hissed at him. “Don’t touch me!” he growled.
Lanor backed away. “No wonder the fluter is always nervous coming here. You creatures don’t know anything about friendship,” he said in irritation.
Lanor didn’t come see the dragons after that.
Seryis grew lonely. It had the cave all to itself. The other dragons moved to the caves that were closer to the river, to get away from the smell. Seryis had been throwing up on itself and was not doing well, physically or emotionally. The fluter had sent for a doctor. He was a young man, twenty-three, and was part-Elven. One of the few left in Frevien. “What is the problem?” he asked.
“My stomach,” the dragon pouted.
“My name is Eerwin,” he said, smiling. “Let’s see if we can get that bug out. What were you eating before you got sick?”
“Wolf meat,” the dragon answered. “It was left in the sun for a day, but I don’t think that would have made me sick.”
Eerwin frowned and pulled a handful of pills out of his pouch. “Take one a day, with food. It should clean the bug out in a jiffy.”
“How long should I take it for?” Seryis demanded.
“Until the bug is gone.”
Seryis scowled. The dragon didn’t like being the center of attention, even if it was for its benefit. “Tell the fluter I said not to come anymore. I don’t want him to see me.”
The doctor went away. Seryis puttered about the cave, looking for something to do. The fluter had not come for three days. The dragon closed its eyes, imagining the music in its mind.
Seryis could not hear the sweet notes. It made him more bitter than he was before. The dragon didn’t like the sound. He told Bearl so.
“Why not?” Bearl asked. “I always liked my flute playing.” He held up the wooden flute and turned it around in his hand. “I thought the song was nice.” Bearl smiled dreamily. “I play the flute in the marketplace sometimes,” he said. “The crowd likes it.”
Seryis snorted. “It sounds like a cat getting its tongue cut out,” it told him. The dragon wondered why it liked the fluter when he was gone, but not when he was here. The mood puzzled him. “I’m a dragon, after all,” it said. “I’m not human.”
Bearl thought this over and nodded. “You’re right,” he said. “Maybe dragons like different music. Like the cello. I could bring that to you.”
Seryis shook its head. “No, no, no!” it protested. “Don’t do that. Please don’t.” The dragon prayed he would not bring another musical instrument.
The doctor came again to check on him. “How are we feeling?” Eerwin asked. “Any better?”
“I feel better,” it answered. “I was wondering something.” The dragon stopped.
“Yes?” Eerwin prodded.
“How come humans like Bearl’s music and I don’t?”
“I don’t know this man, Bearl,” he admitted. “Is he a friend of yours?”
“Maybe it’s because you like Bearl as a person, instead of Bearl, as a musician.” He checked the dragon’s scales, running his hand along its spine. “Your scales are not falling off anymore,” he said. “Your pupils look better.” He smiled. “I don’t think you need the pills anymore.” He chuckled. The dragon rolled its eyes. It never understood medical humor.
“Me either,” the dragon said. “Am I well enough to go to the marketplace?”
Eerwin nodded. “You are if you think you are,” he said, chuckling.
“I would like to see an old friend,” the dragon said. “His name is Bearl.”
Eerwin smiled. “He would like that. Goodbye.”
“Goodbye, doctor.”
The dragon struggled to its feet and hobbled to the door of the cave. The creature flew away. The marketplace was bustling with activity. Seryis was surprised to find dragonlings roaming about. The dragon chatted was chatting with a woman with dark eyes when he heard it. A man singing. It wandered over to the center of the marketplace, where a large crowd formed. The man’s voice was sweet, like a lark. Bearl saw him. “Bearl!” he said, laughing. “I came!”
“I see,” Bearl replied, with a wink.
All through the conversation, he never stopped singing.
Seryis thought it was okay.