At Root’s End

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Wings to touch.

08.06.17 – Old-growth

A boy lay amongst the scattered golden curls listening to the wonders zoom over head. He could hear the whine of metal and flame firing in the sky, a show of angels and man flashing and fighting amidst the smoke and azure. He couldn’t catch them beneath the shade, just bright glints folding open and closing as the leaves did a dance of veils. He started at them with the same interest as a man might for such temptation, but never was a sight given, just the impression of movement and the overwhelming cacophony of sound that fell through the boughs. He seemed content enough to collapse into a dream and catch those flitting fireflies in that foggy and whimsical field.

The old oak cradled him, and its branches broke off in all directions to keep the revolving fire from rounding down to his sensitive skin. What children the tree still held, not stolen by heat or season, fluttered but stayed straight with their duty. They wanted a dreamer amongst their roots, someone unafraid to carve his hopes in the bark but leave the core untapped. The boy couldn’t see stars even if our own hadn’t been there to blind him, but he could imagine a wish for every leaf and count them between here and the night with hope. The trunk softened and sloped to hold him closer like it might know more of his secrets if it took him in. He seemed willing without an ask; protected and trusting of this motherly grove.

Maybe he rang the knots or tugged at the gnarls and asked that aging tree what questions he had. Maybe he spoke to it, sung gently beneath the limbs and carried a tune to its top. He sat in a small forest cut in a great city but always he chose that tree to lie under and let stories roll forward. He made fort, a home, and a bed in the tamed wilds and felt far from all the grey steam of industry. And though he could hear the crash and din of a world at work around him, it only came as a churning noise, repetitive and unimportant, easy to forget and easy to send him off to other lands that hadn’t yet been discovered. He stared up through the leaves and caught the gleams and the blues briefly, smiling all the while.

-VGB-

Yard Work

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Rusted implements.

08.05.17 – Ditched

I watched closely, the tumbled ambers and gold just on the cusp of switching over to a constant tone. I thought the crisp layers would keep them steady through thick and wind but the world turned them over and spilled their veins upon the reaching ground. The sepia brethren broke in the fall and the rest sat intact, scattered under bough. They’d be set upon with iron comb and resolute fists tracking them from the random plot to a quiet gathering in the corner of the lot. I always hoped the neighbors might send their young energy to stomp and stow beneath that pile, but it was captured and disappeared before even a day passed on its arrival.

The interloping petals played on in oaken shade not its own and spent their hours clinging to the earth like any moment might find it vanished. You could see a man on a search for all those crawling vines that leeched and drew from the green seed. I thought he was praying for a better way to make the mighty Eden grow again, but his hands weren’t clasped without weight. They were in fists, plucking angrily at the plants that made their way with the wild. Those roots struck deep and he grew redder to take them from a wanted home. He pruned without hymn or discretion.

There were shears brought out to make tidy this nature’s mane. I couldn’t see the far heart that swung metal back against the soft and yielding flora that grew here, but I could hear the tools scream and the earth fight for those that could not claim consent. I’d see the footprints of someone molding these ancient trees and fixing fast the flowers to their foundation. Someone chose change and bore down on the land to make it firm again. I sorely missed the slow reveal of treetops; their scaled veils fell like tears to a carved yard below.

-VGB-

On a Hot Day

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Sweltered crafts.

08.04.17 – Cross-breezed

I heard the dance of rime, the sweet clinking and tingling of frost spreading through glass. I watched the fog swirl up on that surface, curved and calling against an invisible wind. Breath blew it back, that white spread shrinking in the heat, stolen like only summer knew how. The moments of ice melted like they were standing in the sun’s path, too quick to turn a boil back. I kept trying to steal it with a kiss, or to take it in touch. We’d be refreshed for an instant before the cackle and groan of the oven turned over again. What structures we had, joined the drink quickly.

Even the ground’s envy was receding. The mad gold was spreading like Midas had tread barefoot across the lawn. Those soft touches were turning dry and brittle and now it was the dead that tried to tickle our feet with their bony fingers. There was a crunch that whispered under-sole and a bit of a wince that escaped along with it. The earth sounded like it had a rattling cough, throat cracking in that dry air and the dust keeping a hard stir in his lungs. The temperature must have kept that weight bearing down, the clouds didn’t move and were burned away before each breakfast.

Shadows were scarce, hunted like a dwindling resource. It was an escape from the amber tint, in those shapes that shifted and crawled away the more you tried to plant yourself in them. It was a temporary respite with a weak relief but we billed for it all the same. We’d lie and try not to stir, wriggling in the dust and dirt to stay behind the blinds. It felt like you were flaking apart too; your skin turned to ash and flittered away one gentle wisp at a time. Summer had come and we were ablating just to stay standing. The sound of cold would arrive slowly at night, until finally we’d do our own secret dance, happy we were unmelted for one more day.

-VGB-

Swimming Lessons

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Hard hooks.

08.03.17 – Baited

Sometimes the fish forgot not to breathe when he leapt up in the air. There’d be a bit of choking once he’d flopped back down beneath the water, a couple moments to recover and a tense period of seeing if he’d get that swim back. After, the jokes would only just begin. I imagine there were plenty of bullies in the school and this would make a guppy an easy target. One slip of the gill and all the rest of that meandering trip between shore and current was up for comedic grabs. Sound traveled better there too, the laughs must have been echoes bounding through a great chorus hall. Maybe even a fish could blush.

I suppose some didn’t remember the play for long. I’ve heard the golden ones can only keep an eight in their head for as many seconds. It’s not great but there’s worse on land, and drowning comes just as fast and flashy as for those flying amnesiacs. Direction is kept elsewhere, a tug and tingle against a scale or maybe an undercurrent felt from a solitary source that can be used like a compass. The stars may twinkle off the surface and curls, but my poor fishy friends can’t catch the light so far under the blue. They’re finding other ways to wish and forgetting them often.

There were some constants, moving being the most prominent. I trapped my dreamer in glass to keep him from a long wander, and around and around he swam looking for a corner un-prodded. There’s an assumption made that he’s got enough space to not be reminded of its true size, like it might feel as an ocean as long as he doesn’t swim directly from end to end. As foolish as he’s been, tossing himself to carpet at times, he still hasn’t made the connection. Though I’m certain he sees me, a life out of place, but what world he invents for that I’m never to know; I just hope it’s happier than the old tides.

-VGB-

Castaways

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Alone in together.

08.02.17 – Tanning

I’d thrown her in the sea, sent the key into a different drink, and thought to sink myself in sand just to seal away this whole affair. I wanted the grain to take me away in a slow tide, turn these bones into the same bleached seeds and scatter them too far for wind to grate the whole. We were floating on currents before events could be present to expend us. Anxiety was already filling out my dance card, twirling and cavorting to ply me nearby to empty arms. We’d wind up ashore together, toes tangled and souls outstretched in collapse of conflicts. Speech might follow when footprints were faded and we were alone in the world.

I had tried to take the summer from her hair by the fistful. When that failed I thought to steal it with my breath, to capture that scent and hold it within my lungs until it was a sharp memory in my chest. We hadn’t forgotten how shadows fell on farewells or how fingers lingered against palms until time started to walk backwards. There’d be no quote as blunt as truth but we’d pause for too long in parting for there to be anything but honesty in action. This island was too small for us to circle without running into the other’s trace. We’d split in greens, greys, and reds, wondering which faction dreams might adhere to.

Dew wouldn’t come, just a different crystal promise of shimmering webs and delicate dust from a tight space used up. I’d counted the steps between the two rolling blues hoping time was the only transition between our meetings. Nothing ever seemed to change the look of that landscape. We could keep taking it off the wall and remarking at the beauty, but there were rough edges and an eroding frame, even the sun taking layers away at a patient pace. I missed the texture of you, but still I could feel the sand seeping in to make your form as glass to me; features forgotten, and fragile.

-VGB-

To Be Magnetic

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Head in my hands.

08.01.17 – Found

I’ve been asked to watch the silver spin, flung with thumbed thoughts, and still singing with a quiet, high whine from its launch. I’m staring at one edge and tracing the spiral line as it tips end over end to a questionable fate, thinking that maybe I can call it before the catch and reveal. There’s a bet going that this fifty-fifty toss is weighted to favor an unseen house; I’d have thought the flip ended the questions there but we’re all eagerly watching like there’s prescient cues to perceive in the toss and flop. The peak is the break of breath and shout to set a course, a snatch to follow and a slap for and before the show.

I’m trying to see the swim and turn of a speck of shining mercury shot far field to a half-captured, and unmoving, silhouette. Those loud fast snaps are enough to make a man jumpy even in expectation of their surprise. I’ve been given glass and guard to keep the pan-flash from blinding my senses. There’s a gate between me and the competition, me and the target, me and the weapon; one that I’m supposed to ignore and find greater aim upon. It’s a requested focus against the loud but invisible force and my job is to forget to move and not let breath be a beast shouting and stealing my course.

I’m wondering about that kiss, augur and strong with a twist left to pucker and stick. There was poison in its finish, another light death, lost breath and lack of vision. I never found you with the proper protection, a world between and an ocean to take our strength and salt. We seemed close enough now to whisper a kill in the other’s ear and yet I don’t think you would’ve turned for a shout. We followed the lines running from vow to vein and acted in all the interest of a distracted and unfocused self. It was a coin’s call whether we’d aim true or turn that lead into a mahogany weight. This land was washed in the night’s grey gaze, the last glinting arc to grace your eyes as the curtain for the grand, new show rose.

-VGB-

Aging Like Fine

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Seed tax.

07.31.17 – Red-collared

By sun up they were digging and drowning trying to get at that pit. Already that dark skin was pierced and the army was marching through the erupting juice, breath held, to seize the weight inside. I hated watching the waste of that sour-sell, your great burgundy blood pulling down the vines that captured and hung your patient brothers. These beasts found your soft spots and clawed their way on and in until even the hard clasp of your heart was hauled out. I didn’t want to watch it get carted hand over head back to the maze of a nest; nausea followed the eerie crowd-surfing spell that had the core of you wobbling end over end until you were tipped and plugged into a hidden chaos.

Pests always had a penchant for the sweet varietals and perhaps you bore the fine fruits of a rain this land long forgot. I recall nights with the grey kiss lingering just at your stoop and massaging the backs of your shade, whilst holding inches back from others. There was an over-protective earth here that we’d both been crawling through to find a fine sun and open our arms to weather’s wise words. Maybe this new journey was the same, the mantle we tore up to find a kind life and the wastefulness our skyward watcher dumped carelessly about, but rarely on, us. They were spilling a chance at our feet that drained down and wormed its way back to the roots we left severed. You would have shrugged your shoulders at the sound of the rain near enough to hear but not touch thinking waiting was the best of games.

Someone was seeding you back into that old, tight home. Gritty and tough for sure, but maybe it was a bit of bliss, a returning parade to your hometown and all the joy of recognition that came at each corner that remained unchanged. I’d been clinging to this hope that time was only changing for the frame we watched, that the other paintings never started to peel and pull down with gravity. You started the clock by traveling back underground to start that youth again in a place just yards from here but it would mean another strong struggle back to the floor and beyond. I’d have been plucked and puckered before you even had a wish to watch burnout in the sky.

-VGB-

Wonder Worker

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Wobbly conveyance.

07.30.17 – Cropped

We weren’t lounging about in the fertile arc, no reeds to whistle and wax when the weather drew high to warn us of impending tragedy. The rising tides came at a whim and drowned the wretches on banks where leathery jaws could sweep and snap them up without much bother. We’d heard stories of Death’s lazy keepers capturing souls with a wink, whisker, and swipe, and assumed they were just another fearful tale told to keep the stones tumbling up the tombs. We had enough monuments to the dead, but most weren’t written to endorse the architects.

They told us we’d make enough for the scales to weigh our way through the afterlife. That jackal could have been just as much a liar as the rest of the rulers, but we were accustomed to empty promises filling our hearts anyhow. Hope didn’t taste good but it could be enough to drive one forward until the plagues abated and the famines fled to torment the faithless elsewhere. Piety was a word spared for the rich who threw their charity down, we only had broken hearts and worn bones to shake like a sack full of coins for the discernment of the dead’s proctor.

Maybe it all looked gold through Ra’s eye. That bumped brow and cold circle drained away the rest of the rosy notes and left us with that rough metallic luster. I imagined a cell stretched across the bell lights here, their flickers a trick of an electric wick and missing wind, and casting the wrong kinds of shadows that stole the tint and tone from the world. We’d know a time when we didn’t have men to map the world, just divine-right rulers to pass whispers down in a whimsical, and absolute, game of telephone. Glory would be given in someone else’s sacrifice, and for it, maybe someone would be handed absolution without the need to bring wealth.

-VGB-

Cautious Coda

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Spent shells and rosin.

07.29.17 – Cleated

We carried them by the neck thinking it was best; behaving like beasts or chamber players, bows unbroken, jowls tense but not clenched without restraint. We wanted draws that ran together from end and back again without slip. It’d make us better hunters, a quartet with sharp, shaft, and feather arranging a kind coda to return to; one that bore out in silence despite what envy and enemy lay about our sides. We were possessed in those outdoors, a spell, a song, pointed and conducted to strict count and weight. The rangers might rule us unkind to carry a challenge from this den or offer instead for us to take tax and dishonor and steal from our hands what had been hard won. We kept that sheet like a badge, protecting us through identification and glowing greatly enough to ward off wonderers before they fell fiercely, and in ignorance, upon us. There’d be tracks to our circle, a swift geometry of time’s own loop, history heading past the now and to when we retraced in practice and patience. There was always more empty space to watch and fill with a bold rest.

We saw souls fleeing from spent breath and breasts broken open to find what wet pearls might remain inside. There were the sickening cracks made when fine instruments were bent and tune was taken away in a cross note. Its fragmentation like a hard wood or bone driven to catastrophic failure so that only shards remained; they lacked a structure that might one day be re-bonded. They were as bodies on the floor, features already being eaten from the living seething over the immobile and taking back the borrowed resource. It had its own appalling quality that we too sought to avoid, in its creation and in its inevitable adoption. It meted out to aversion over fear, fingers and eyes still trained to sight read past the emotion and mistakes. The dreams might come later to remind us of the missing reaction, but we’d be long past the danger of an act. It’s what drove us out here, the tugging at the nape, hairs on end like maybe there was a noose or a set of fangs bearing down just below one’s skull.

-VGB-

Sidewalk Shakespeares

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Provoked play.

07.28.17 – Oldye

There was a period piece projected and played in that public space. The people strode through a temporary set without catching on that they were crossing an open stage. It had propped itself up on a city sidewalk, with a backdrop made from graffiti kings and gritty buildings placed long after the folio’s first print. You could pick out the actors by the anachronism, the stuttered but rhythmic dialogue, lines liquored and served nice. It was hot and they were roasting, resting without a backstage to cower and change in. They’d move to shade when blocked, backed by an ancient script and an absent director.

That was the easiest thing to notice, the actors shuffling about like puppets with tangled strings, out-of-pace with the pedestrians cutting across the boards. Neither seemed to give the other notice like both were in some premiere performance that required a concentrated overlooking of anything that might be a bit out of place. But the true performers were yielding way, and those hiccups were causing skips in the script and misaligned movement when characters were set to meet. These little inconsistencies were spreading as time went on and people continued to sidle their way through; gaps were growing and the play was quickly leaning towards a triumphant failure.

When the show split from Shakespeare’s script and went, wildly, into an iambic improv the bystanders started to take notice. There were a patient few purists that kept trying to run the prompts till their final end but the chorus was already breaking away with it. People stopped to watch this new rendition blindly make its way through the complexities of a centuries old story dragged on by a solitary, but consistent narrator. There weren’t calls for him to give up his job yet, if anything he was adding in a foundation for the new arrivals to stand upon. Romeo was ad-libbing but more in love than ever, and while the scenes started to lose the acceleration and tension of a thoughtful bard, they became current and collected, accessible to an audience unaccustomed to such a scene on a common street.

-VGB-