Standing on the Edge… (beginnings)

Standing on the edge of the abyss, predisposed to failure, I step confidently forward. I had warned me…

We communicate in a given language. We have loosely agreed on gestures and symbols, Through Television, Literature, Film, Life, (and other over-directed productions) we have built the skeletal framework of mutual expression. We have not, however, achieved mutual understanding. <this is crudely overstated, I know> We have adopted a stylized system of grunts, rumbling and feeble flailing that vaguely share our needs and wants with others. These words and actions have been distilled over time and instilled in us.

The way we each personally view the world, our own internal musings, and the way we make sense of those things is highly stylized. It is not the same for any two of us. Our values are different. Certainly, our experiences have been different. The nuances of our personalities are Wholly Peculiar. It is naive to put too much faith in the casual understanding we feel through mere coexistence. Communication is not a function of logistics, proximity does not breed unity. Some things are just too important to be taken for granted. Just because someone reacts on cue – does not mean that they have truly received us.

Our interpreted existences do not mesh as neatly as you think. We are going to have to work at this people. But if we do… just perhaps we will touch.

Kitten’s Lap

The fire chattered warmly as I curled up, nearly napped

With my back towards the fireplace, my head in Kitten’s lap

My mind was filled with jousts and kings

And lore of days gone by

And I did not hear the tear, appear in Kitten’s eye

 

That salt-warm tear ran down her cheek unnoticed

Landing acrid on my forearm

Where it burnt me with surprise

I was a ‘nestled child’ now burst aware to trembling silence

As her moist piercing glare – reflects my empty eyes

Walkin’

I’ve seen the mist rising on a dry river bed – I knew the water lay there undetected

I’ve seen the clouds rising up behind your eyes – when you felt yourself unprotected

I’ve walked the shallow fields of your fallow mind – divining rod twitching in my hand

Searching for the soul that I never did find – yet I’m contended just to be your man

And when I don’t know what to do, I start walkin’ back to you

 

I had my feet in the blocks when the starter’s gun fired

And I know I’m s’posed to run – but I’m just too damn tired, and so I’m walkin’

My folks they sent me off to college to get ‘starched and pressed’

They hoped I’d come out lookin’ just like all of the rest – I started walkin’

I closed my books and started walkin’

‘Cuz when I don’t know what to do, I start walking back to you

 

When I look at my friends – I don’t like what I see

All them ugly bastards – they look just like me – I started walkin’

I pitched my tent in the sand – thought I’d sleep by the shore

Thought I’d be saved by the waves, but I don’t think so no more

‘Cuz I saw that the sea’s a wet desolate plain

And all the screams in my dreams are causing way too much pain

I started walkin’, just walkin’

‘Cuz when I don’t know what to do, I start walkin’ back to you

 

The scent of your dreams is like a sulfurous cloud – you find your isolation in the heart of a crowd

I don’t know dust from ashes – can’t tell ashes from dust

But all I can do – is to do what I must

And when I don’t know what to do, I start walkin’ back to you

Slip

As always, the buzzing troubled his sleep. The whirr of it mutated his dreams and sent him into a cold sweat. The image that infiltrated his slumber, again, was of a hoard of flying insects. They flew in perfect ranks, descending out of the sun, intent on his destruction. Time to wake up! Upon waking, it was clear, that his cubicle door was open, again. His TeleVisor terminal was on, again. And his face was not screwed on tight, yet again.

First, he screwed on his face! How foolish he had been. Who knew what his expression could have displayed to the casual passer-by. Of course, the ‘good’ citizens would never have looked. For to be a good ‘Mortem’ was to mind your place, to be respectful, to never peak around the edges, and to always keep your face screwed on tight. Yet, it is was just the kind of Mortem, the one who might have looked, that troubled Slip. That was the fellow that would misuse what they had seen, unchecked revelations on Slip’s unfettered face. Slip was not a good Mortem.

And, still, the buzzing droned on. The irony of the ‘insect dream’ dawned on Slip – just as morning dawned on Mortem. Insects: a prehistoric form of pollination. Relegated to obscurity (or to the exhibits at the ‘museums-on-line’). It was absurd that any random pollination was ever tolerated. It reminded Slip of the “F” word. An activity banned, at the insistence of women, as an unwanted form of pollination. Yet, cherished by men, as a means of recreation. Another purpose driven interaction reduced to recreation – and regulated by the “Committee of the Correct”.

The buzzing continued. The cubicle door remained open. His face relaxed. The message light blinked (and buzzed). The all-important “Message Reminder” strobed at him with its’ dream inducing buzzing drone. A note he had left for himself was demanding his attention. He knew what it was, and yet, he turned to retrieve it. The message: “Use up your C-Cards – for you will be married by tomorrow morn”. As if he was likely to forget THAT. “Now, that is an uppity attitude to take” Slip said aloud – an expression creeping onto his face. How would he ever forget that? And yet, there was certainly another ‘unforgettable’ reminder currently waiting its’ preset appointment – its’ time to buzz and blink – and for the life of him Slip could not remember what that message could be. Nor had he the faintest inkling as to content of the last message he had left himself. Yesterday. In life, so very much was a mystery! He screwed on his face.

What was not a mystery was the C-Cards. They were obvious and tangible and precious. The last two remaining Companion Cards. They were pinned to the wall, beside the still open door. Despite the lack of last night’s sleep, He would not forget them. For it was just a few short hours ago that Slip had finally given up trying to craft his “marriage face”. On this, the day of his wedding, Slip had still not chosen the artificial expression he would affix to his features at the climax of the wedding ceremony. That expression, his gift to his new bride, was the private exchange between couples that only they should share.

For countless hours Slip had toiled before the screen. He contorted first one aspect and then another – and again another. He moved a crease, erased a wrinkle or slid some feature or line – yet no expression pleased him. Nothing even came close. Dedicated, determined and deathly still he had sat in front of the screen – making faces at himself. It was another desperate night of squints and smirks, wry smiles and subtle changes. In weary frustration he had fallen into slumber, only to be awakened by the insect buzzing, nightmare dream he knew so well.

What Slip needed, he thought, was inspiration. He tried to imagine what contortion his father may have presented to his mother on their wedding day. His father was a highly respected Mortem, a member of the council. He never had on an expression. He even slept with his face screwed on tight. What an awesome and distant figure a boy’s father can be. Slips father had risen, without expression, to head the council. Slips father held the rank of Post Mortem. Slip was overwhelmed by his father.

How the door came to be open did not trouble Slip. He was not a good Mortem. He was ‘loose lipped’, ‘screw loose’ and did not keep his head ‘screwed on tight’. All the common and cruelly intended insults applied to him. He found his TV on and his door open often in the mornings when he awoke. Why would it be different on his wedding day?

The room was not his friend. It was filled with corners and always seemed to ‘gleam’ at him, just a bit. Never quite in the direction he was looking, but rather just astride his field of vision. He could sense that it ‘gleamed’ a bit, just where he wasn’t quite looking. But never in the corners. The corners always seemed shadowed and far away. So many corners. Stark white walls dotted conspicuously with notes, and tickets, and other reminders. There were always reminders. Some odd chit on the wall. At first, they were an effective nuisance, now he hardly noticed them at all. The room itself was a model of ultra-compact efficiency. Every necessity, and many eccentricities, fused into so compact an area that it left and oppressive void that just barely gleamed – but was not his friend.

Perhaps it was time to pace and think!

His room did, at the moment, seem ideal for pacing, Slip thought, as he spun deftly and retraced his path. His legs taut and muscular were used to pacing. On his 83rd circuit it occurred to him that he ought to close the door. Without breaking stride, a flick of his toe not only shut the door but robbed him of his train of thought. He decided to count the corners again.

Slip loved his mother and she loved him, either in spite of, or perhaps because of his flaws. She managed to affirm him with just the slightest hint of an expression. It was all he needed. She gave him the scent of a smile, one that only he could see. She offered him the vague sense of ‘whimsy’ missing from the rest of normal life. She was devoted to his father, unfailing in her grace, and she gave Slip’s life just the tiniest breath of air – she alone.

If his mother gave him breath – it was the Companions who gave him ‘life’.

Ah, the Companions, lithe a graceful. Their faces a festival of animation. They danced with the exuberance that was theirs alone to show. Their giddy chirping voices were ripe with the sounds of child-full self-indulgence. Waves of pleasure washed over their clear bright faces. For the Companions lived outside the norms. They not only offered themselves – but displayed openly their delight. But only if you had a C-Card. How amused they seemed when Slip’s, poorly regulated, features countered in shuddering syncopation the delighted expressions of their own.

The final two Comparison Cards, two thirty-minute installations, the end of his ration. He had saved them for his wedding day. The Companion Cards stuck to the wall as glaring icons to the loss of his youth. Potent sentinels foreshadowing a transition into whatever the consequences of marriage might be. This too was the day he would meet his mate, in ceremony. He would hold his face in check and commit himself with the vows the Prefect fed him. He would tread into marriage, a spoon-fed line at a time. Having completed the litany, there before the assembled, he would lift the vail and gaze upon the bland expressionless face of his bride. She would lead him behind the screen and show him the face she made for him – the marriage face. A synthesized expression with not a bit of feeling behind the eyes. Not a bit like the robust unbridled emotions that danced across the loving faces of the Companions.

With the Companion Cards clenched tightly in his fist, he went to them.

He had gone to their temple, been escorted through their gates, and now waited eagerly in the designated room. They came gleefully to him, at last, the moment had finally arrived. The Companions, the healers, effervescent in white linen gowns. The Companions, aberrations in the social order. Moral misfits, at the lowest rung of the social ladder. They who provided a service so dear that their time was scheduled and regulated by an entire branch of civil authority. A bureaucracy solely devoted to overseeing the proper dispensation of their favors. And Slip, for this hour, the penultimate hour of his youth, allowed himself to be immersed into the lightness and delight that they alone could shine upon him. An experience that would be etched, as if by feathers, into his often-failing memory.

When the time of the ceremony arrived, Slip arrived as well. He held his face tightly in check. He ran the gauntlet of the processional. He stared back blankly at the sea of human blandness, the collective of the invited. Civil, flat and dull they watched, barely blinking and pathetically content. Disengaged, and completely uncertain as to what expression he would offer his communally chosen bride, Slip traveled the aisle with a hint of melancholy. Slip arrived at his destination. He stopped beside his bride. He did justice to his part in the ceremony – his mind adrift, the whimsy of the Companions still offering him a much-needed crutch.

The drone of the Prefect matched the drone of the insects from Slips dream. Slip marched to its’ beat. He stood where told to stand. He knelt, recited, and allowed himself to be led through the ritual. He found himself, at last, behind the screen. He was aware that he had lifted the vail of what now was his wife. She and the moment had his attention, at last. At that moment, her face transformed, from benign indifference, into something that reminded him of his mother.

Slip smiled.

Anglo-Cristo (a poem with teeth)

Such a White Man

Blue eyed, trimmed beard, robes on

A small lamb in his arms

He’s knocking at a door

 

His face benign, omniscient understanding

The look both Mormon boys showed hours before

When their staunch white shirts

Left shadows at my door

 

Though I clench my teeth still tighter

Yet, that picture image lasts

As a pox on the existence

Of this Iconoclast

 

For I’ve seen your personal version of God

In the shoebox you keep on your shelf

He’s a two-dimensional black-and-white fraud

And he looks a whole lot like yourself

 

Step back from your homogenizations

Don’t distill your God down to you

Don’t revel in weak illustrations

Untie Him and let Him come through

 

Language Troubles (dissecting of speech)

I am having a little trouble with language.

Specifically, the term “Bi-weekly”. You see it means BOTH twice a week and every two weeks. So, when my hot new girlfriend says that we should make love bi-weekly – I’m flummoxed. Now granted, we are just getting to know more and more about each other (and things are flowering nicely, thank you) but if she wants sex with me twice a week… I’m very excited about that. If she meant every other week… I’m thinking that maybe she’s a prude.

Again, there is still much about this woman I don’t know. Is she a clever shopper – or does she ‘Buy Weakly’? Maybe she shops, only, every Saturday which means that she Buys Weekly.

What if her sexual orientation is not what I assume, and she is ‘Bi’ Weekly – or every other week in which case she would be ‘Bi’ bi-weekly. More confusing yet, would be, if she’s not very good at being ‘Bi’ but intended to keep working at it. So, for the present time she is ‘Bi’ bi-weekly weakly.

Does she even know any bisexual people? It is hardly a common ‘getting to know you’ question. I really never thought to ask. She certainly never asked me. If you don’t know anybody in your social network who is bisexual can you solicit that sort of behavior? Perhaps rent the experience? Is she the kind of woman who would buy ‘Bi’ bi-weekly’? And if her purchasing skills are inept… again she would buy ‘Bi’ bi-weekly weakly.

Fact: Dating is tough.

Just a few short paragraphs ago I was getting laid twice a week by a dynamic and eager new love. Now I’m thinking that every other week I’m getting set aside in a uni-gendered tryst of ambiguous proportions. One week I’m happy as a clam. The next it’s: “bye bye, I’m off to buy ‘Bi’ bi-weekly weakly. Love you!”

I could revise my previous ‘Fact’ statement into: “love is hard to come by” – but the homonyms I could twist out of that one could warp my suddenly fragile ego.

Bye!

The Ogre (a poem)

So, it’s over, and you’re leaving – I can handle that

I think you’re gonna be surprised how strong ‘not knowing’ has helped me be

Because it’s hard to have doubts when you love someone

But harder still when fear, becomes reality.

 

I don’t so much mind the mess my life’s become

It seems a mess is more-or-less what it’s always been

But I noticed at the moment that my world fell in

I heard a most penetrating scream

And I kinda think that scream came from me

 

So, it’s over, you don’t love me, and you’re leaving

I’ll just cuddle up tonight beside my insecurities

I’ll mend the tattered fabric of what was my dreams

Then watch the darkness rush in through the seems

As I wake up sweating from my only dream

Awakened by a penetrating scream

 

Every person has a demon they hold on to

Me, I’ve got an Ogre, he lives beside me

If I turn my head, quite quickly, I can spot him

He’s not as hard to deal with, as he used to be

But every now and then that Ogre Screams

And the people turn their heads and look at me

I tell them life quite often’s not the way it seems

And it isn’t turning out how I thought it would be

 

It’s been over for a year now and I’ve dealt with it

I’ve been tossing placid pebbles – across a caustic sea

And if I catch your eye, won’t you say “hello”

As I mumble to myself, shuffling barefoot down your street

When you left it brought a change in me

Brought on by a penetrating scream

Now things aren’t quite the way I thought they’d be

But I’m pretty sure they’re not the way they seem

 

And every now and then that Ogre screams

 

Quintessence (a love poem)

 

With Zeal I sought the Camelot

Quixote like it seems

My heart unfurled, as senses whirled

A world alit with dreams

 

Her kiss inspired, my senses fired

The dream became a form

The shape of she, it is for me

Quintessence soft and warm

 

I thought I’d found a love profound

A soulmate to adore

But boundaries formed – and I forlorn

Pressed in, and pressed some more

 

I did not want a nonchalant

I dreamed in ‘future tense’

The zealots find, heart swept and blind

Is: I’m a fool, with little sense.

 

I love her face, her wit and grace

Though ‘flawless’, she is not

Sometimes ‘embrace’ needs be more space

But hear her – I did not