Before Fermin

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Make-shift outfit.

7.8.18 – Gory

We donned our gallant whites and strung that crimson about us as a vibrant accent. It wasn’t a scarlet letter but it still let on-lookers know of our willingness to play the fool and steady ourselves in the face of fear. Already we were bubbling with adrenaline, over-excited and nervous for what was soon to be at our heels. The crowd was swaying together, red scarves billowing about as we turned to laugh and rally with other faces that had taken on the same shade. Some had found golden courage while others let their hearts be lifted by the swelling of the crowd and sound of a gun starting us off.

The sharp ends appeared in red smoke, charging with swerving gait and heaving every which way till wall and man drove them back into a straight path. We were the danger dodgers, seeking to flirt within reach of its strike but never to truly taste the sting. All were corralled in the streets, herded through the narrow corridors and winding rivulets looking for an out if sharpness stamped too close for comfort. There were those that took less risk and clung to signs barely above the height of tossing horns and others still the waved and rallied us from the safety of windows and balconies well overheard.

By the thick of it none of the gambling crowd could tell who was leading and who was chasing. Shouts and cheers came from all around and mixed with the rattle of those bulls’ frames as we struck courageously at their hides to drive them back into the flow. Rolled papers, tied tightly, were swung with an increasing desperation as horns veered closer to our trajectory. A mad laughter was coming from some source and it only made us run on to the course’s end. Celebration would wait there for the survivors, a cool pool of water to bring down the fire of flight and let our nerves settle back to before we stepped in that lengthy ring.

-VGB-

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Nonsense and Chimes

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Cluttered tubes.

7.7.18 – Ohm-itting

All this movement started to read as nonsense poetry. That verse was no better than the promises I made to myself, evaporating almost as immediately as they were expelled. There were no virtues in the inner monologues that found their birth before roosters crowed. Wind chimes were working on scattering their notes in the early morning, the grey fog of dawn having not yet risen in the day; we were dough expecting heat to bring us back to a clear stature, but it hadn’t shown so far and we were still folded off for it. The lengthy preamble made time to keep at the practice of speech for no purpose other than its own since the world was quiet and I had nothing of importance to deliver.

The metal ringing would continue without rhythm and set off some sensitive alarm that made the night work seem so close and clearly unresolved. Rest wasn’t finding effect either, adding to the frenetic sentencing and misuse in complementary sounds. Flow was the only state possible when half of you was still lying horizontal and the other was out seeking a run. Only phrases would find the latter, carrying on with a certain kind of infamy like a conspirator who’s confessing more than he was plumbed for. I’m lapping up those notes like any good detective but still very uncertain as to where they’re to be appropriately used.

The return should have felt more like an echo coming back to me but instead it was just a plotted follow of the first foot out the door, more mess to fuss with. I could have spent the remainder of this daylight rearranging all these cues and still wouldn’t find a complete thought in them. The shuffle seemed valid given the parallel system my soles were taking. This was at the odd end of an errand, a wander between dim houses and dampened parks before the dust was stirred by a better breeze; at this hour all it could conjure was a nice chill and a faint clinking of absent-minded instruments.

-VGB-

Drawing in Drought

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Making heads or tails.

7.6.18 – Sun-shy

I wonder if tossing a coin is the same as sealing the wish. I’ve sat on benches that were supposed to be blessed by the fate-makers but maybe we prayed to the wrong gods for our secrets. Parents prodded us to achieve our desires through effort but often it seemed easier to shout out towards a falling fire and wait for the results to ripple in. I’d been looking to spot more of those opportunities where oral legends and local stories passed around enchantment enough to alter the paths of planets. Maybe this small disk of copper could be enough gravity for that new certainty.

It was cast into the dark, shining in its last moments before the well’s unclosing maw engulfed it in shadow and a soft-sounding plunk. Desperation was dawning at the same depth and rising back to meet me in somber echo. That wish seemed further off than before I threw the coin in and now it was drifting deeper into the belly of the world to act as a soaking stone until irritation expelled the exchange of words into wants. Patience would have been a better practice to put hope on, starting there with the first offering and blossoming out to these others that might take more than a few full moons to complete.

What did it take to walk away and leave that token rusting with its brethren? There was fear that it would corrode beyond recognition or be swallowed by a greater golem than the elements we cast it into. The earth had reclaimed enough to spread its veins far with only water as its source and ever-turning engine. I was eager to tell myself that camping at the rock’s edge would be a worthwhile life and looking down was tantamount to staring at the same inky above and waiting for a glimmering sign to hang my luck on. Leaving it be seemed like giving up, but staying was no different than casting myself down the well and waiting to meet that same copper end.

-VGB-

Charity and Royalty

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The weight of a diadem.

7.5.18 – Fire-worked

I worried about your crown, tarnished and bent from being spent to keep the kingdom afloat. I only saw the sacrifice in that act after the fact. You hadn’t sought to abdicate but instead gave away your own living to steady the hearts of others. That was where noble once came from, some position when people acted with charity to carry the foundations up with them. You were looking over your shoulder just as much as you tried to stretch that spyglass beyond the horizon’s arch. I half expected you to point to your hands as a decent map for what might befall you next. They too swam unsteadily, shaking from burdens unseen but clearly carried, and calloused from a lifetime of it. It must have been like a stone in the chest, swallowed from an awful end and thought to pass only once your breath had eroded it to dust. That cure was a fool’s errand and a long way off; you weren’t aching to let it be known that sickness took away your balance.

Alms weren’t the same as handouts and you were offering a knee to bend towards the people more than you were keen to give gold to be passed between fingers. Avarice wasn’t a vice you took to your breast, but its brothers padded about at the fringes of any ask like a seeded worry that might sprout to something gnarled and thieving of the light. You were asked to be above it all, not just in kind gesture but to remove the thoughts from a mind that drifted. Compassion was what threatened you most of all, stealing the strings to your shoes so that you might trip and fall flat upon your face. There was worry that it might end in a tongue biting moment, and so you always moved with caution, even when pressed. And it was me that should have held concern for my own cause instead of caring so strongly for fading titles.

-VGB-

The Focused

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Soft to the calloused.

7.4.18 – Ill-ish

We sat to be better listeners, cross-legged and eyes up and forwards, with no movement but air exchange. It was a position that held some subconscious power like placing one’s hand over your heart in empathy or twisting your fingers up and inhaling sharply while chance was casting a line. Probably it wasn’t necessary to roll out such a method, a man meditating might not find it useful to always be lighting incense and setting chimes particularly if he’s not looking for a long trance, but I think we chose the position out of reverence for the work we were committing ourselves to, as if we wanted it to be stated that our dedication was whole.

I was trying to open another branch of memory, one that might bear the weight of this incoming canopy of work. There was much to gather and contemplate and it was all going to settle down on top of us in the next few minutes. Maybe that’s why we presumed the base was so important, we didn’t want any boughs breaking from an unsteady preparation. An indiscriminate pruning could leave potentially blinding gaps in the requests that followed, and we’d spent enough of our short lives gasping about for more precise aim. It was offered here at only a whisper so we had to quiet ourselves to hear it, hearts and all.

The charges came without clear grammar, rules running amok, and caught in our imaginative heads to sort out the wild from the veracity buried within it all. I’d seen these choruses line up before and drop similar exposition between a man and his silver reflection but we were here because we’d neglected exactly that in some other timeline and it was bumping its way along back to an irritation into this one. The agitated would already be off their behinds, up with a start like a pin was protruding from their seat, and eager to forget again; pose wasted, they’d drag off ready to resume another alignment when opportunity arose to atone again.

I didn’t flinch, but that didn’t mean I’d heard acutely, since often the former wasn’t a guarantee for the latter; I could still be hopeful that I might stay focused long enough to learn once more.

-VGB-

Summer Schemes

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Astride heights.

7.3.18 – Cumulatives

The weeds were folded over, too windblown to find the strength to stand up. Those tan strands were being bleached on one side, afraid to flip back over, and cooking, dangerously, to a blinding white by a sun striving to its nearest heights in the middle of another steady year. I might have thought you matted down that rat’s nest when you tumbled through the unkempt field looking for a fine hill to claim as your own. You were eager to spill your limbs upon the soft beds and find a fine pillow to catch a bit of the sky’s fire as your own. I followed that bent path with the same fervor.

Crowding was coming from the bustle of noise thrown by a busy bit of suburbia just past the shade. I might have thought we were laid out far enough from the highways that the traffic of living wouldn’t be another bug about our heads. No matter how still we stood we could never become as passive as the trees, our faces were tickled by the traces of the day and we wore smiles in their place. We forgot the names of the clouds and resorted to evolving descriptions that found revision as we closed our eyes and saw them again with shapes rearranged. Dreaming was just behind our actions.

You counted your fingers between the sun’s arc, making a watch with your own steady hands and charted us back towards a delaying dusk. I was hoping we might find all the floral palettes of a day closing just below our feet. Already the stalks were stealing the colors of that bright pearl and here I thought we might find pastels more vibrant than even the sea could produce. You were staying collected in my gaze trying to remind me that summer’s schemes were already here and that we’d put such change upon the retreating snow so that only charm remained. The beams about me were all the evidence I needed to stay at ease.

-VGB-

The Kind of Killing

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Spirals of flight.

7.2.18 – Rifled

We took it out back and shot it; away from prying eyes, crying eyes, and yet they still sat with salt in them when we returned. Shot still caught in the echo from a yawning valley, uncaring for the unfaithful put down in the shade behind the shed. Burial would come later after bending to tender hearts and extinguishing the sparks startled beneath kindling from close killing. It was better to still the trembling, quiet the riots before they broke against an act unconscionable and indiscernible from a cold necessity. Age would bring wisdom that wouldn’t falter against flawed decisions, famous in their errors and lack of admission.

I was the child on the side at some point, waiting for a triumphant return of prodigal sons to prod me into elegant action. I’d grow to gain my own grip on the pistol, load the lead myself and set about to perform similar solutions to problems I couldn’t decide how to solve. Others took to their feet, tried to seek arrangement by running for cover under brush and hoping fire wouldn’t come from above. Absolving took place in the same space as the eulogy but the words weren’t working and always we’d find our fleeing was circular. Gravity pulled those bullets back to tight groupings.

The deceased wouldn’t decay while thoughts held steady on their exodus. That part of me that couldn’t kneel and accept the bread would stay shaking in calm light and hope the world’s quaking would match mine so I didn’t feel the ill effects of vision misaligned with a harsh horizon. Once we’d have been lied to, shied away from and asked that this hard work be undone by new virtue. But we’ve grown grey, creases cutting away at our faces so that we might forget the cold gaze from eyes too dry to spill any more love or lies.

-VGB-

Re-Romance

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Eros Errors.

7.1.18 – Jogged

I was worried to see what happened when you passed again, no more resurrection to keep our affection going strong. We’d lived this life too long already, in strife, arguments petty and pressing our hearts to start seizing any opportunity to release the tension suspended in the chest. I was never at rest, breath unsteady, too heavy to hold in lungs leaden and dead to a world with the thick air of ire. It was that fire, that care, that let the burning be not concerning to even a flammable me, but that man was still a handful, sinful, ungrateful and set to be baleful.

The pale place was marble, the shape of my face left like an imprint for a tombstone, money well spent on a permanent home. What ashes were hashed from that last pyre wouldn’t revive a viable soul, couldn’t replace what stars we stole, and shouldn’t have been sold for a space in the garden far from our Eden. You called it par for the course, cackled while you asked for my remorse, and said we’d be rivals in future cycles, likely to repeat the dry heaves when we were choking on our own schemes. I wouldn’t have dreamed of anything different.

I was hellbent on leaving while spent, sleep coming in league with envy and fatigue for the men in the deep. I hadn’t rested since we’d been accosted, love tested and failing at the weakened seams, links just not made to cling to. I spoke lines you could see through, rhymes I thought we could sing to, simply to make it through the wavy waters that lately had been lapping over the levies. You were cool to the touch, ready to leave rather than freeze out that love and save what moved you to match pace with a villain. I was still in it, pronounced dead and gone, but never truly, not for long.

-VGB-

When King No More

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Rules for rulers.

6.30.18 – Decrees

The talk of titles was meaningless, an honorific proposed to supposed egoists, but it didn’t quite stick. He was still reeling from being unseated, royalty to humility with gemmed crown traded for brass bells and a shortened staff. There’d be only silk beneath his heels instead of about his shoulders and already the world felt heavier for it. That unkind seat only seemed more hostile toppled on its side and left like a cup upturned, chills spilling out and no culprit insight to claim account. He’d be heaving on his own, not lifting the lead of that beast but that in his feet which trapped him fast and left him unable to be anything other than a fading name.

There was legacy draining from the hall like a pale sickness was ailing it. What didn’t fall from the walls was left to kindle new relationships with web and dust. Wind’s whispers wouldn’t make it through the long veins without sounding like an ancient curse creeping from the catacombs. He could see it all unfolding despite the flurry still finding favor in these last moments of exchange, presence pacing about the room like it was considering trying to rebuild from after setting it ablaze. That look was universal, the moment when time has caught up to a person trying to outrun their actions and they’re asking if they might somehow take them back.

There wasn’t urgency in the exodus, he’d have a haven settled somewhere that he could be no problem for the problem-makers. They were busy crafting complications while he was ceding what might be left of his own. Popularity was shriveling like an ice cube in a sauna, dispersing back into the air with no way to follow its trail to a new home, it only gathered back into the greater consciousness. He hadn’t noticed he’d wanted it until he was making his way out, common once more and lacking the confidence afforded one with a stately label.

-VGB-

Workhorse

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Back curled.

6.29.18 – Callousness

There’s no humble for it; cleaning the Augean knowing you’d be no hero, little better than the ferrier and still downtrodden by night’s end. No steel underfoot to make a bit of luck, just had to keep that head held up, gold to be struck at some other picky end. We were panning for the perfect panorama by getting down to knees and raking through silt left at the stream’s worst bend. You’d remember it was a river at other times, ready to deliver a drowning without dawn creeping up, sneaking in while you remained affixed in that unhealthy bend. There was no humor left either, all our polish was simply a rumor we couldn’t in good faith, find reason to spend.

The stable’s apples had poison we’d seen, debilitating and draining, but leading those mangled men to a standing still. Woozy to wobble, it was easy to write a fable about our failings even without us struggling to steal another sip of that auric swill. Horror had it hidden, the job still robbing us of time, sleep being that hard line we kept hopping over thinking the mind wouldn’t pay that lengthy bill. The dreams were the unseemly result of working metal over meddle and wondering which one might rust first and find itself with trust no higher than nil.

No hymns came to us to praise him, but we still sang till the work was done. Some shook off the dust and ran home but we were known to stumble, forget our foundations and find ourselves on winding waterways traveling against our oars rotation and ruminating on that rumbling course. Tomorrow was a sorrowful celebration, more shit to shovel and reasons to grovel at gods playing poorly with moral company. Blood brought in was wrung from rocks and left for us to sop up with prostrate concentration and probable cause.

-VGB-