Tuesday, August 03, 2010


Careful now or you might miss it...

Don't blink.

Have you ever wondered why those moments pass so fast that you don't even realize how important they were until much later? Days have passed, perhaps years even, but you can still recall with a brilliance when they occurred. Vivid, you can still pull the memories back of...

- that time you drove for hours listening to her favorite CD and you surprised her by knowing all of the lyrics

- that time you had her pressed against the kitchen counter after the afternoon rainstorm had caught you both

- that time you pulled out the sofa bed for no reason and spend the day lounging on it watching old movies and eating candy

- that time you took photos of each other playing in the snow at the park with an old disposable camera

- that time at the bar when a song came on she loved so much that you and her danced in front of all the bewildered patrons

(but things are fading)

You are beginning to forget how she tasted in the morning when she rolled over and the sun reflected off her hair. You are beginning to forget how her laughter sounded when she was half-asleep from waiting on you to get home. You are beginning to forget how she looked climbing out of the shower with a sly smile to ask you for a towel. You are beginning to forget names and dates and events you once held so dear...

Do you fear it? Do you fear that you are merely combining various experiences from your past to create a myth, to fictionalize a lifetime? Have the things I've written here truly happened, or are they merely composites; pieces from myriad moments stitched together to form something beautiful yet insubstantial?

So I draw my fingertips upon your face,
a delicate map, a delicate mission.
(to see you safe, to see you well)
Kiss my queen as I whisper the words,
"I pledge myself in your honor."
You grace me with a smile, and
ask me what it is I might desire.
And I declare, "To build a church of you.”

Is it still there, that majesty? The strength and purity you once possessed that was used to formulate those words? Such powerful imagery, but is it hollow? What truth can remain in these words now that time has passed, now that the fading has begun?

I believe it will take a wiser man than I to answer...

(Just don't blink.)

Sensations. Bombarded with images and whispers.
Memories not quite made of the strongest materials.
Fictionalized re-accounts. Dreams of the mundane in the most fantastical means.
I could slip anywhere (anywhen) and be there beside you.

Vicious, malicious and pure
Those are the words
Your taste, your laugh, your fists...
they are fading
And I'm enraged by my own betrayal. I can't conceive of losing these things, letting time swallow them whole. All I have left of you is the past; the past passing me by.

”I do believe I have either sex or murder on my mind.”

Not by this home which we shared
- so much so much so much -

A lifetime of love and regret condensed into a few years worth of glorious heartache. Did you know that you would come to make me believe in destiny? I had no choice, really. A path so altered from your presence, I see no other alternative.

But fate fucked up.

Now you're elsewhere, dancing the night away in another's arms. And I'm fine with that in many ways...
... but still haunted by the fact that all of it is dwindling.

And we’re
twilight. Escaping rays of sunshine. Bleed out to the deeper
Rays of sunshine that might make me blink

At night, the shadows can play tricks on you.
And all colors can seem the same,
always lingering.

You are the color of... *fill in the blank*
I am the color of... *fill in the blank*
-Answers to be provided at a point many years ago.-
This deeper black is everything else, but you knew that. It is not a symbol of negativity, simply the total combination X the absence of all. But you knew that...

I'll tell you a secret like I used to tell you secrets; soon you'll be forgotten.

"And we fought as hard as we loved..."
Such pretty, ultimately fragile & fallible words.

Trying to remember something, anything.
I close my eyes and it creeps in. It swirls and undulates, an equation of my thought patterns in visceral format.
Paint me a picture, monochromatic - no.
Use our colors. I see you stepping out of the shower, wet rivulets running down you. Beautiful, you...

A lie.
I have concocted this memory. It is not valid. It is a combination of events, played out thousands of times. I have no clear images left. The past has passed me by.

Your taste, your laugh, your fists... are gone. I blinked

All I'm left with is an empty box of discolored photographs that have spilled onto the floor. No pattern, no special arrangement, no mighty plan. The tip of my tongue, the slightest of hints. You are now just a clue written in the sand with a tide coming in, flooding this desert.

I have no colors left in my palette any longer.
"Sex and murder both sounded so justified!" I scream to myself as I throw the paintbrush across the room. And there is no need to remain still; Fade out (perhaps return another day)

And let this fable rest finally. But a caution for the reader...

Don’t blink.

(from the chapbook, “...And If Eternity Failed You”)

Sorely Missed

Jason Fullerton woke up in pain.

It was Saturday morning, a day home from work and he had made sure to switch off his alarm the night before. Usually he awoke shortly after 7:30 am anyhow, but those few extra moments of sleep were bliss. This morning, however, “bliss” was not the word he would have conjured to mind.

Lying on his stomach, face down into his pillow, Jason hurt. Groaning loudly, he turned his head to seek his clock and almost screamed out. His head felt heavy, his neck muscles tight and unnatural. Something was obscuring his full view of the digital numbers, his sight blurring. Trying to reach up and brush away whatever offending item lie by his face, he felt the same painful and peculiar sensation throughout his left side.

His hand touched his face and Jason screamed.

Something was wrong. His hand felt like it had a glove on it, his face like it was covered in a heavy latex mask. Jason moved to get out of bed and pain erupted throughout his body. Areas of it were dull, a hollow pulsing sensation, while other parts of him felt like needles were being applied directly into his flesh. Holding back a shriek, he stumbled to his feet, a mildly wet feeling tingling up his legs.

He looked down at his body in horror to discover he was covered in blistered and large bulbous growths. Most of them were various shades of white, from pale green to pink. Some as small as pimples and others as large as a fist, they covered him everywhere. He poked at a few, testing them, only to find myriad reactions. Some hurt terribly when he pressed on them, some he felt not at all. Some gave as surely as a water balloon while others were more solid. One of the larger ones burst open upon his inspection and emitted a putrid discharge. It looked like a mixture of peas mashed up with ketchup and Jason almost retched from the foul odor that wavered up from the now festering wound.

He shambled over to his dresser to get his cell phone. Each step was agony, but he was determined to call 911 and get a hold of help. As he took the last pace towards his goal, a blister on his toe split open and the pus that squirted out caused him to slide forward. Without thinking, he put his hands out to stop his fall, gripping the edge of the dresser hard. Jason screamed as all the growths exploded on his palms and fingers.

Falling to one knee elicited another gush of substance from his leg, but he managed to stay steady. Sobbing, he tried to think what could have caused this. What could he have done to even deserve this onslaught? Then, to make things worse, he looked down at his injured hands.

As the pus leaked across them, new blisters grew, bigger and more filled.

His terror growing, he shifted his arm to where he had first popped a sore. There, previously unnoticed, a large mound of fleshy bulbs grew. His knee was already twice its normal size as the diseased fluid rapidly infected his skin.

With as much caution as he could gather, Jason rose to his feet. He fumbled for the cell phone, but his fingers had grown so thick and uncontrollable that it was useless. The infection that was carried in the fleshy bags spread almost instantly, its intensity doubling on new contact.

Hobbling towards the bathroom, Jason formulated a plan. If only he could get the water running.

Purposely avoiding the mirror, he headed straight to the shower. It took some time and care, but he got the hot water streaming down and the curtain in place. He wanted all the sickness, what ever it was, going right down the drain. Grinding his teeth, he stepped under the shower.

Immediately the pain came as the water struck against the fragile blisters. Jason took a deep breath, then started beating himself all about his torso. Bloody pus sprayed and leaked all throughout the stall, but it was quickly washed away. Jason crushed and clawed at all of his flesh, the pain almost causing him to pass out. Thick, vomit-like sludge swirled around the other end of the stall and Jason began to realize that it was working.

Then, empowered by what seemed like success, he attacked his head.

The pain was worse, more intimate than any thing he had previously felt. Without thinking, Jason screamed. As he screamed, with his mouth wide open, the pus ran in rivulets right in across his tongue and down his throat. Choking, he thought of how gritty it was, how bitter it tasted. And yet, there was something else, something he could quite put his finger on and it...

* * *

“Have we figured out what the hell happened here yet?” the detective asked the Deputy Coroner.

The Coroner glanced over at the Forensic Photographer who was talking to the M.E. right outside the bathroom and sighed. “We’re still not sure. Looks like some kind of acid may have been used. Whoever it is, they’re a fucking mess. Never seen anything like it.”

“All right,” said the detective sidestepping a CSI and accidentally brushing his coat sleeve against the front of the infected, gore-splattered dresser, “I’ll be talking to some of the neighbors.”

(from the collection, “Fragments Of Ruin”)

With The Abolition Of Days

Billions of siege engines lit up the blackest of skies like a celestial heaven, their glittering golden illuminations seen by all. One could have looked up and been mistaken in viewing great beauty in that sight, not realizing the devastating power that each one of those crafts held. The Cherubim had done their work well and singing could be heard throughout all of the remaining Infinite.

He stood in between the spaces of the letters of a liquid alphabet that had not yet been breathed into creation and sighed.

“Do you fear obliteration?” asked the burning entity who floated beside him.

“I fear pointlessness,” the other replied.

Once he had fought a righteous battle, but nothing he had seen on the field of war raged like what trembled inside his heart. It not only had been necessary, but commanded of him and he was loyal. He had never questioned the Shinning Above, never looked away from the Silver Place where The One had taken the throne. The Realms must be protected at all cost, the Cradle preserved.

Over the Nulgari Sea of Infinity, he watched as the ageless beings many had called “Angels” drove their war chariots deeper into the purged dimensions. Giant machines of chaos, known as the Logross, were being powered up by caged infant universes. This was the edge of existence, the place where the Genesis Equation folded back onto itself.

This was where gods and monsters had come to make a final stand against The Absolute.

The End Of All Things had come early, and those in positions of power had no intention of letting go. The Genocide of the Material would not go lightly. All the ancient ones had been roused from their slumbers, the youth quickly taught the ways of warriors. No, the apocalypse would not be a simple matter.

“Yes, I can see how you would have such a concern about being irrelevant,” commented the ancient thing caught up in green flames.

“Did you have a name once?” the other asked, truly interested.

“I was the caretaker of all wisdom throughout the Realms. A being of knowledge, a librarian of sorts. Now, I must take arms and become a warrior for all of that,” he mused. “My name is an mathematical algorithm inconceivable by most of the lower divine.”

“We are all kin now against the End Of Times,” the other said. “I believe in us and what we do here.”

“I do not have faith, only fact to rely on.”

“And what does that logic tell you?” the other asked.

“That the literal End is upon us,” spoke the fiery one as he glided away.

Moving perpendicular through the Space-Time Continuum, it rolled. This was something beyond such feeble words as “Evil” or even “Chaos.” It was more than a “Void,” more than an “Abyss.” Even the Antithetical Ones cowered before this. It was The Absolute, the Everending.

It drew up swiftly, cascading through the dimensional barrier with a force never before seen. All the attempts that had been made to by-pass, to reason, to strong arm or use trickery... all had failed. The Absolute was given warning, if you break into reality, you will face the greatest Armada of the Divine ever assembled since the Moment of Creation.

But they came, the Army of the Everending. He watched as the Seraphim took flight, their wings crackling with golden flame. Colors never before seen in the existence of these realities came bursting to life as the Logross fired. From the eyes of prophets gathered from a hundred million different faiths, their truths spilled like lightening. Great beasts that had been locked away after failed experiments on far off worlds crashed into the enemy. Gods that heard prayer once to incalculable times fought back to back, allies in this time of the greatest need.

And still the Everending came.

Soldiers of Darkness stood firm beside Warriors of Light, angels reaching out to their fallen brethren and vice versa. And yet, neither could stop The Absolute. It waded through them, conquering and calling no quarter. The Cherubim driven Siege engine were piloted straight into their foe, its advance unceasing. The Logross, the most terrifying weapons in all of creation, crushed beneath waves of the enemy.

The other glided higher up and looked at the war that encompassed all of everything that was and he knew it was time. He among all of them, knew how to defeat this. He among all of them, knew the subtle secret hidden in reality.

The others among the Pantheon had laughed and mocked him for his time among the mortals. They said he had too much invested in them, believed in them too greatly. All of the great deities and denizens of the Realms who were being slain and Erased From The Book before him, they had called him a fool. But he knew...

Raising his arms out he called upon the might of them, the passion of them, the lunacy of them. He called upon their descendants and their ancestors. He called upon the spirit of humanity itself.

“Come to me, my Children. My Brothers and Sisters, Mothers and Fathers. Come to me, my Global Village, it is your time,” the other whispered as tears spilled down his glowing face.

And they came in force. Every single human soul to have ever walked or would walk the Earth appeared solidified upon the Nulgari Sea of Infinity. These small creatures pushed past the gods, past the monsters and took on the Everending as one. Eternal and omniscient beings watched in shock as these feeble, weak things dove into the Final Enemy, taking to it a battle unlike anything it had prepared for.

For their gods, they fought. For their existence and for their world. They fought because it was their right. Earth was The Cradle, as he had always known, and these little fleshlings were to usher in a new breed of Divinity.

It was not sheer numbers, it was not a mass of flesh, hair, blood and bone. It was the heroic and the horrific. It was the honor-bound and the gruesome. It was the full capacity that humanity has to offer in all its glories and its abominations. That man has within it such a vast range of possibilities, such extreme qualities of being, this The Absolute could not grasp.

The other slowly fell back down from his point high above, weaken and near collapse. As he drifted he saw his children destroy enough of The Everending that it called itself into retreat. As things grew dim, he saw the gods and monster, angels and demons all weep and cheer as the humans of time completed their attack, defeating their foe.

He had succeeded. It was a New Time, the Eighth Age. Mankind would be the next race of The Divine.

The burning one caught him, a halo of flaming jade tears circling his head. “Your faith has overcome, my friend. Fear not, your irrelevance.”

The other smiled and closed his eyes.

(from the collection, “Fragments Of Ruin”)

Tonight Is Not Enough


If you can’t find your way,
Make a home here in my arms.
I know you’ve been fighting for a long time,
And that it tastes like war on your tongue, but
It’s sweet to me…
Just close those eyes and let go.
There’s space for you to sleep here again.
I’ve got a blanket made from miracles, and
A pillow filled with wishes whispered.
So watch your head, lay it down
Promises can wait another day.

For tonight is not enough
So shine on in that manner so delicate,
Shine on and gather the memories about your skirt.

Wave goodbye to all those monstrous days,
Those times filled with the most hollow of words.
I want to see you last longer than anything alive,
Forgotten by no one but me.
And I won’t fight the shadows or the cold.
So don’t yield
Or let the earth consume.
We have only minutes left now,
And we’re only a few kisses away.
Tonight was never meant to fill us,
It was only meant to fail…

(from the chapbook, “Our Sketches & Echoes”)

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Banned Books

Written A While Back...

The American Library Association’s infamous Banned Book Week has just ended. Running this year from September 27th to October 3rd, it celebrated the First Amendment and the Freedom Of Speech. Just as many school and public libraries around the country struggled against oppression, there were just as many who proudly displayed some of the most objectionable books on their own shelf. My own younger brother, who possesses both a BA in English Education and a graduate degree in Library And Information Sciences, wrote a series of articles last week; one a day during the BBW, each one concerning a different issue on banned books. While I’m nowhere as knowledgeable on the subject as him, I though I would compose a simple essay about the topic.

Why are certain books banned from school and public libraries? Most often, an individual or particular group find its content offensive in some manner. While personal issues can not necessarily be pinned down, organizations and affiliations frequently have certain ideals that these books somehow speak against or ill of. And these groups can be as different and distinct as Fundamentalist Christians and the United States CIA.

But obviously these books are the deranged ramblings of dangerous predators, right? Would not a book be banned unless it was so vile, so diabolical, that it threatened the very fabric of America? Our neighbors would not rise up against literature lest its contents be so harmful, its message so wicked, that it would forever scar our fragile children for all time? Right?

Here are just a few titles you might recognize…

“Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” - by Mark Twain
“As I Lay Dying” - by William Faulkner
“Catch 22” - by Joseph Heller
“Catcher in the Rye” - by J. D. Salinger
“Fahrenheit 451” - by Ray Bradbury
“Flowers in the Attic” - by V.C. Andrews
“Forever” - by Judy Blume
“From Here to Eternity” - by James Jones
“The Glass Teat” - by Harlan Ellison
“Grapes of Wrath” - by John Steinbeck
“Howl” - by Allen Ginsberg
“Lolita” - by Vladimir Nabokov
“Lord of the Flies” - by William Golding
“Satanic Verses” - by Salman Rushdie
“Worlds In Collison” - by Immanuel Velikovsky
“Women on Top” - by Nancy Friday

Hmmm… well, I remember reading a number of those titles in my school years over a decade ago. I’m pretty sure neither I or my classmates are tragically damaged now due to their contents. If anything, I just remember ”Catcher In The Rye” being a boring disappointment.

This is my NO means a comprehensive list; merely titles are frequently challenged. Oh, there are books that get banned by authors like… Maya Angelou, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Lewis Carrol, Naom Chomsky, Robert Cormier, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Anne Frank, Benjamin Franklin, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ernest Hemingway, Aldous Huxley, James Joyce, Stephan King, Timothy Leary, Arthur Miller, Henry Miller, George Orwell, Thomas Paine, Sylvia Plath, Ezra Pound, Anne Rice, Jean-Paul Sartre, William Shakespeare, George Bernard Shaw, Upton Sinclair, Jonathan Swift, JRR Tolkien, Lev Tolstoy, Gore Vidal, Kurt Vonnegut and Walt Whitman.

Yep, pretty much every great author is offensive to somebody.

So read. Read everything. Some try to claim that ”Words are weapons,” but I find that to be histrionic propaganda from those who see us ignorant. Bradbury’s novel "Fahrenheit 451", which is a tale about censorship was actually banned ' for fear of creating too much individualism and independent thought.' Exactly.

Me? Sticks and stones will break your bones, but…