Off Eaves

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Collected whispers.

08.16.17 – Vocal-ed

Finger to chin for luck; middle turned out and twirled away like there’s no thanks given. No one’s dropped a palm to remind the solemn few it was meant for goodness. There’s stares burning through cement to prick the necks of the next passenger for such a harsh slight. But there’s the nature of eavesdropping, context is crossed and we’ve only the benefit of limited experience with subject, subject and subject. Maybe it’d help to hold a dictionary and thesaurus and point to a more precise movement through the lecture. The length might grow, though the individual would lessen to leave only an ambiguous thought bereft of the flair and flourish one might give. I left my thumb up, hand still caught at that base of oration in hopes part of me might be found there. I was still a slow moving linguist gathering sand one grain at a time to make a castle not just quaint for on-lookers. The other conversationalists were debating with words and silence like those were better weapons than guns and knives. Damage wasn’t pain inflicted but instead pulling your antithetical partner over to your world of spin and din or the waving witchcraft of expression and silence. People didn’t shift violently with a yell or start, but slowly, a piecemeal phrase or tip towards emotion without full discernment that change was washing over. Fidgeting increased and the bystanders read more lips than they knew possible, unfolding and deciphering their own crisp knowledge with a newfound joy and interest. Those eyes stayed focused elsewhere, afraid that staring might tip off the speakers or alter the course of their blooming knowledge. The content was muddled, masked behind unknown names and an untold history and yet there was still a narrative compelling enough to lead a group gathered from chance, rather than collaboration, to hold fast. At its end there would be no way to sort what was collected, just the gesture of the thing or the fullness of that argument, in feeling and frustration. No winners are found, but silence would always be the close. 

-VGB-

Hats and Stashes

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Intentionally distracted attention.

08.15.17 – Levitating

I wonder what made a rabbit so willing to hide in a top hat. I’d seen too many magicians with rolled up sleeves slide their hands behind the black well and reveal a hard contrast of snowy fur without so much as a shift change in their expression. I’d swear there was confetti and glitter raining down somewhere on that stage forcing me to keep rearranging my gaze on fluttering glints and adjusting foregrounds so I wouldn’t notice the set switch. That pearly greeting stayed for a bit of compliment, his hand hard around the ears and dragging a rather resigned rabbit from a felt ring. This was a normal thing.

Card tricks were left elsewhere for pick-up. This illusion ran grand, hopping happily about our heads despite the queer nature of its subjects. There was danger in the other fabrications, the slight sleights with sword and saw or the trapping and drowning of hero and heroine alike. Those were harder to stomach as cantrips, and left us escaped from the levity of a theatrical performance. We were meant to be assistants too; the crowd could pull and presume for each other, taking the place of the man beside. It was easy to be enticed to peer over the lead’s shoulder and guess at the nature of his movements. You’d trace an important gesture and follow the flash to the wrong end, joyful for it.

I showed up wanting to re-believe in the impossible, to re-insert myself into the conversation with my imagination. I missed the hares hidden beneath the felt and fabric, eager to pounce and play with twitching tail and nudging noses. They seemed kind and alive and moved like a marvel and we were waiting along with them. The magicians didn’t manifest an animal, they substituted a bit of space for something wonderful, a show of surprise. That docile and skittish fur ball was just a replacement for our own position, a wide-eyed, suspiciously alert audience that sat still till it was pulled, inexplicably into a new frame.

-VGB-

Worst Writers

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Been blocked.

08.14.17 – Un-sharpened

Those fingers were fighting in quiet debate; whether to write the same sentence over and over again or to hold still in silence against repetition. They fidgeted in waves rounding out from pinky to forefinger and back in an antsy echo. There was a light tap upon the plastic caps of a keyboard eager to please its user, but no press ever made it in full. The muscles moved with a spasm; the notice was sent early and the action quickly suppressed so it became only a tic determined by the wrist and hand that held them so. He kept looking at those digits and imagining them working on their own to some delightful end. He presumed he gave them agency since his own facility couldn’t keep track of why work progress was jittered, stymied, and otherwise mal-aligned to a goal of completion. Those itching prints kept flossing in and out with tension and caressing the dimpled letters without any real commitment. He nodded in agreement.

The pen in the bucket drained slowly, ink drowning the nib in a pool barely covering its home. It’d settle, still and infinite in visible depth, but easy to steal. The air would reclaim the potential and turn it back to the dust gathered by imps and sprinkled on those who forget. There’d be a sneeze that held all the sonnets the world could ever need, releasing them in a single and exasperated breath. Here was its source withering with disuse. That awful author might spy it on a slow day, tugging at the metal wand but unaccustomed to making wishes with its power. He expected it to be easy, to spill all that waiting wonder and have it swarm into the proper and perfect configuration without much prodding. He was still approaching the manifest with loops and whorls like they were more important than the actual print; the hand would sort out those details and he’d obsess over the couture of each envy. Maybe that’s why he ended often with only a blank stare and a page just as confused.

-VGB-

Checkered Boards

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Overboard reactions.

08.13.17 – Lended 

I thought castling was common, that the free men sought to swap with kings for country and color. I’d hoisted enough flags to remember which way the wind blew each morning, but those days were it stood quiet and the starched cloth hung like a deadman, curled and with too many folds in its form, I’d shiver in the stillness. Someone was crying for arms and fled to set upon the bell and hammer with no rhythm just din to suffice the need and make a message all could understand. We ran for defense and to heave heel for better ground and truer gain. It was a soldier’s choice to take stance, to lean upon the lance and face the fire and lead without flinching. They came not with requirement but with pride to hold this square from the next check.

We were blind to corners, not knowing if there was movement in the periphery that might find the weak rib to sneak blade or bullet through. It made us slow, slow to advance, slow to retreat. The drums beat behind to make marching a class act but it lacked a lullaby to keep our calm close to saber. The next stable strode out with confidence that their north was the right arrowhead to follow. They were drawing hard angles around opposition and touching a field far beyond the home we rumbled on from. I think they thought flight was an easy option, not so much backtracking as side-stepping between the tar and feathering eager at their napes. We were to stare upon that dance and wait to steel them in as they crossed our line; defending in place of advancing.

We didn’t sneer at the nobles but we didn’t tip our hats either. Custom wasn’t the same at the chalkboard as when we stood in trenches likely meant to bury the ones left behind. We’d be the guard, grateful to make a statue of this ground and carry it with pike upon the heart of a trespasser ill in intent. That earth had already stolen our soles, seeping mud to make pawns of the weaker and to trip the strong. We’d feed the farms again in time, turning out only fragments of our company in a century’s time. They’d have a poet, listening to the tin rap, writing a hymn for the land abandoned by angels but kept by the men who were born on her breast and fought to their last breath. Something to read when our time passed.

-VGB-

Outlier

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Wet metal.

08.12.17 – ‘squitered

We walked along the marshland paths looking for a secret or two out of sight from the sun’s overly enthusiastic charms. The bridges to and from those islands, bucked and swayed, standing just on the top of the lake and hanging desperately onto thin shores at either end. The swamps rose without rain. They were pitched so near the rough waterway that any wake drifting off the passing crafts would spill across the ground and turn that soil back to mud. We expected a fashioned path, reliable and ready for traffic, not this loose earth gripping at heels with a dangerous taste for shoes.

Even the trees came off as sinister loiterers, hanging about the shallow water with tendrils sent off to do the dirty work. Those roots ran in their jagged ways, taking the path a drunk might after a long night in service to a vice. They were black and glistening like the water clung to them with a sickening effort, advancing with sharp ends at every possible compass point. They looked hostile and plotting; though the water at their crooks sat still you’d swear they were inching through it surreptitiously to reach a set of ankles and pull the unsuspecting beneath the flat surface.

The locals weren’t much better. We swatted pint-sized pinchers and six-legged suckers every time we stopped for a breath. Stowaways were common, crawling on cloth just long enough to find a way through layers and add some protection against an open hand. But you were bothered most by the listing occurring on land, the sight of the lilies churning beneath a tide driven by a bevy of boats. The wild was sinking in and we were treading water while standing on the shore. It seemed like a long way off from the city just beyond its shade.

-VGB-

Italic Commutes

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Re-welds to frame.

08.11.17 – Dipped

I’m streaking to work, not nude, but feeling a bit chilled from the wind’s tickling fingers. They’re crawling through the cracks in this spacesuit and offering a cold scarf to wrap around the softer joints. My knees might refresh to think of it snaking down to their aches, a relief for the bent position of a poor horseman. I’ve got my head into the breach, screened but feeling the push and rush offset from standing traffic. I imagine it’d be like knives to these eyes if I only lifted the glass for an instant; I can hear the grit scrape and grate as I drive past the wash from sputtering trucks.

If these toes left lines, how straight am I making it to my end? I know the old birds don’t have to twist and jive between curb and corner to make it home, but I’m doing my best to sink deeply into a design that keeps me steady. I’ve watched them waver with the vertical, be tossed by the currents at a slight indent to the east. I’m dealing with the same, no curves of costume to keep that slapping breath coursing around and not just against my form. I’ve hit an angle to help and all it’s doing is cutting through the cloth and introducing strain to a back log of broken bends.

The clear air helps at a stop, something for the senses to fill in when there’s no curls in the margins. That blue is taking a shift to white, ink running dry by the mid-morning commute in. It makes the glossing easier; daydreams for clouds we can no longer see, camouflaged by a creeping sun and receding sky. I’d leave my notes for later and I didn’t have a signature that was sensible for this kind of work, just a scrawl of whirls and loops like I wasn’t sure where I was headed. The morning was always this way, rushed and lazy.

-VGB-

Lunch Money Crooks

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Wrong budget.

08.10.17 – Suspended

I was counting off fingers, stingy leaders in service of curvature constraining space’s other, tougher brother. I didn’t bother with those miffed mothers, tight-fisted and pinching purses with perilous purpose. My own green and grain drained away by hammed habits and damned attempts at sure services. We were the worst at it; saving and playing like riches weren’t far away wishes. We just didn’t know which mess to debate.

You should have been a scammer, skimming the class at the chalkboard without a pass from the teacher. She couldn’t reach ya; unsettling the front row, peak performers, as an informant for the militant instrument of cliques. Fully that bully’s boy; you’d profess and preach, impeach the present rule and reinstate a new cruel fate. We hated the history lesson but you were suggesting something worse than misery to impress us.

What mattered was milk money, honey flowing like the hive was unguarded and that sweetness was the hard harvest youth wanted part of. We weren’t the worker bees, making those low “C’s” and taking these hungry geeks for a tweak and thrill. We sold old world order, shocks to WASPs and those bumbling, lettered jackets. There was smoke in service to a silencing purpose; where fists made nervous a perp’s position we’d posit intention with stinging precision.

We bled the bleachers for each members’ metal; gathered the quarters quietly right beneath their dangling feet. We were free to pocket what we picked and could discreetly walk away with. There were cheers for the court played and jeers for the sport made from those watchers. The blind fathers shouting at the deaf refs created the right unrest for light hands to help themselves to dark deeds. Afterall we had needs. The silver’d be singing, slung from wallets and sunk all in on our profits. We’d manage it with the same damage spent on heist’s heights before. It was always a rush to an empty score.

-VGB-

Once or Twice Around the Sun

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Still smoke.

08.09.17 – Speared

You were a cool girl, too smooth for moves to sway that smile. You had a simple way of saying no to anything, a twist of the hips and quick slip of the tongue to keep interest in this. Those golden locks glowed in the sun, flowed when you flipped for fun, twirled between thumb and finger to have my eyes linger a little longer. You couldn’t do coy shyly; just a lie we toyed with to tease the tension into sweeter passion. A pastime we had no mind make habits of but we were bad at it; being broken and woken up by the shudders of others.

I wasn’t sending out signals, but there were still ghosts wavering up to ask questions. I was a hard host, saving up my frustrations to mask an ill-fitting outfit. You’d be thick witted, pretending haunting was daunting, cleaving or leaving us put out. It didn’t take a slap or shout, just a bat of lashes put past the last laconic quip. There’d be a gasp, a faint, a tawdry slip of respectable dialogue traveling along the course of the crowd. Now we’d be taken aback by the spirits peering at this play and shaking their sheer fists at our folly and foolhardy attempts at unstable and fabled romance.

But it wasn’t chance or trial that kept spiraling us back into a flaring dance. We were nearing a burning orbit, running a bit too fast to last in the night sky. We might truly wish to lie in the unruly velvet den but our constellation would flicker and fall apart before mariners could chart it. Our paths were countering revolutions relishing a crash and all the bombast that came with. We could watch that nova over and over again, eyes to heaven and hearts reliving that first meeting, that first parting, and all the stars falling besides.

-VGB-

Second Twang

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Whiskered wisdom.

08.08.17 – Steamed

We let the captain run his lectures at a staggered pace. He tossed the ship’s wheel back and forth between plies at his mustache like he was teasing out the next phrase. You could see him hunting down words and working the revisions with the little jitters in his soft eyes and the slow chewing of his wrinkled chin. He drew the rudder with the apathy of a man who could sail this route blinded and tied to a mast; all the effort on his face was left for a lesson. He’d start again with a long draw of air like he had real far to go before he might get the chance to breathe once more, and yet when he spoke it was never more than ten words without a pause.

He bore us down the mud river, slogging through a thick, brown tar with the paddles of our ship plopping loudly as it plunged through the turbid goo. Looking upon its surface gave the impression that you might be able to just stride blithely across. The current ran slightly under the top layer of silt and stew and one touch would prove how little held it together. You could watch the birds dive deep through and come gasping out like they’d had to dig up to find air again. They always emerged dirty, confused, and with a confidence that there wouldn’t be a second attempt to feed beneath the surface.

We jogged downstream, clops and pops marking our rhythmic process to a cleaner stream. Stories were still coming to us at gasped intervals. The cities by the shores would roll up every now and again; electric lights twinkling like fire to let us know the doors were open, the food was warm, and the beds were soft. All harbors seemed safe and cozy and yet we kept right on swimming, powering through the softest channel that lay right in the middle of the river. Our captain hinted at the hardship of running upon the banks, his speeches turning deftly to match our interested gaze. He stayed steady between two hearths knowing comfort was close but that there was more road to go before we pulled up oar and elbow.

-VGB-

Table of Contents

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The candlestick.

08.07.17 – Daisy-made

The palettes were supposed to be paired. We sat for a set, waited on by experts eager to please, and still there was something missing from our dinner. I didn’t like the candlelight, it ran in front of my view and wiggled and danced with no end to the distraction. The coaching Casanova was whispering paperback romance in my ear that came out stumbling and half-hearted. I was caught darting through the monologue as I tried to keep pace with the shifting afterimages left by an open flame between us. She seemed off-put as well.

She was busy poisoning herself, smile too wide to be sincere but I could never tell the difference. We were handed plates of china and silverware somehow too posh to touch against those dishes. I thought it was pure enough that it might bend in my fingers just from holding it. I stayed suspicious of taste. We were served in courses counting higher than any person could truly eat and maybe that’s when I thought to start taking less and trying more. We made a slow move to clear the crowd.

There was a mention of allergies, an alarmed response, and a laugh at the panic in the face of nothing blooming. I was too busy scanning for mistakes and picking apart all the deconstructed culinary attempts to find the humor in it. I was a courting critic already unhappy with the setting and was now trying to make sure it could be led with a match. She didn’t opine, just swallowed and drowned until the silver stopped whirling back to our side. The waiters would clear the table, leaving it blank with only our thoughts to place between us, and all we found was silence and a dwindling fire.

-VGB