Archive for memories

The Imposter Remembers

Posted in Prose with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 4, 2018 by beautifulimposter

The wind makes the tails of my coat snap, pennants whipping behind me. It moans, softly, but steady, a constant, drawn out exhalation, weary, grieved, the sound after the first sharpness of loss, when it’s become dull, familiar. The only other sound at all in the vast, flat emptiness is the hiss of dust, fine particles rubbing one over the other, small, but when multiplied by a billion billion times it becomes a delicate roaring, the terrible monotone of absolute desolation. The dust is red, fine as sand yet gritty and it stings my cheeks.

In every direction there is nothing, maybe the faintest trace of geography, the hint of a hill worn down, pressed into submission by Time’s heavy thumb, or the suggestion of a valley, but for the most part the land is a table beneath the perfect bowl of the sky. It is a nothingness made so much deeper when added to the knowledge of abscence, the ache of a festering within flesh that appears whole, the rememberence of a wound scabbed over, healed, but still present. There was something here once and it lingers in the hole it has left.

I know, right where I stand was a plaza, the architecture of it a wonder, stone and steel and living plants woven together, hung with lights, glistening with fountains that would lift up columns of air and water that caught the beams of lanterns and threw up jeweled fire into the night air. Beside me, a bench still holds the lover’s that sat, hands entwined in knotwork of love and flesh and bone, content to be each with each, watching the passers by but only with concern for one another. Children swirl around, have me spinning on my heels as they run, a school of bright fish flicking this way and that, laughing, mischievous, full of wonder and dreams and promise. I can look into a shopfront, see the makers at their trades, here haggling, there bent to their craft, one taking their meal with a spouse that brought it, another passing along the secrets held within a lifetime of callouses, failures, and successes. It was all here, and now it is gone. I see it still though, I must, there is not a thing I do not remember, not one since my eyes opened. Every single moment exists perfect and complete within my mind, drawing the was over the is, making a palimpsest, a double exposure that defines the emptiness and drags it across my memory like a razor.

I had no choice. If I had not acted, the one who came from Outside would have riven the entire universe, shaped it into what its vision thought it should be and all would have been undone, every life across billions of planets snuffed out. I tried to reason with it, tried words to steer it from its course but these failed. It was far too sure in its reason, built an impregnable fortress of certainty and righteousness. So I, being the guardian of The Real, sought to fight it. That, that was foolish. The power of it was vast and deep, so deep the well of it could crush you down just by the pressure of it being. Those inside do not change anything, not really. Magic, power, it can be used to make things happen, bound in patterns and spells, but reality itself remains the same as both hammer and nail remain fundamentally the same when applied one to the other. Their nature never changes. Those Outside though, with the power in them make things different, can simply make what is in their mind be and not only be but always have been, reweaving the threads of reality. It was a power I could not withstand.

We fought across the stars, across worlds, plunging through clouded nebulae, where it passed The Real screamed, tortured into new shapes, rent apart in ragged wounds I did my best to suture shut even as I fought back, striking with every charm or spell I could remember or devise, attempting to surround it with The Border as a body might do with a cyst, condoning off its infection, but it changed and shifted and slipped free. I know not how long we fought, time flowed in torrents, a gale of it whipping me, lashing and battering as I contended with The Outsider until at the last I was weary, wounded, a blackened rag flapping at its heels while it was undiminished, a titan that would pale Chronos, towering, invincible. It turned to me and in that moment, in its eyes I could see my undoing, but not just that, my cessation, the complete unwriting of me and everything that had ever been. I could see only one avenue, one small, desperate gleaming thread, so delicate that it might snap even by clinging to it. I knew what it would mean as it and I stood upon the curvature of the planet’s atmosphere, I knew the cost down to the penny, down to the last bright life just as I knew that if I did not act the price would rise too great to account for. In that last moment, as it turned to gloat in its triumph, I broke The Border.

The Unreal poured into The Real. The space around us boiled as nothing became something and then nothing again, endlessly, warping everything it touched, dissolving the rules, eating away at the is with the isn’t as a wave might eat a castle of sand upon the shore. It crashed into The Outsider and where it was became something else, twisting so rapidly even it could not hold onto itself and was undone. Alas, it did not stop there. The planet beneath us was tortured, racked by storms of madness, stone and seas and flesh melted, ran like wax, became something else but all of it, all of it dead. By the time I’d grasped the ragged seams of reality and knotted it back together all that remained was a planet shaped grave.

All of this I can see, as I stand on the planet’s surface, on what once had been stone, in the middle of what once had been a plaza in what once had been a living city, that had once been a part of a civilization that exists only in my memory of it. I come here every year to stand upon the red, red sands and remember them. They kept their history in one long song, each new thing, every discovery, every new event another verse. I learned it long, long ago and it still exists perfectly in my mind. So every year that has passed since then, millions of years before life would even be a contemplation for its nearest neighbor, I come, and I stand in the emptiness and let the wind bite at my coat and let the dried blood sting my cheeks and I sing. I sing the decades, the centuries, the rising and falling mingling with the dull ache of the moaning wind, I sing the life of a people that were beautiful and terrible as all other people save these where stalks mowed too soon leaving their field fallow and barren. Alone, I sing and remember, always, my purpose and my failure.


Dead and Dreaming

Posted in Poetry with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 8, 2018 by beautifulimposter

There are dreams under the earth,
The dead sleep soundly, covers pulled up
Roots tangled around fingers
Cat’s cradling intricacies, woven beneath stilled tongue,
Telegraph wires mumbling from deep dark upwards
Speaking now in blades of grass, punctuated
By worms, just imagine what tales might unravel
If you dipped ant’s feet in ink,
What poems would march across the parchment?

Tales are never finished simply because you write “The End”
The stories unfold as lungs unraveling nerve endings
Twitch magnetic erratic to magnetic pulse
Things forgotten remembered, retold, dot dash dotting
Clay becomes pot, seed becomes root and branch
Woven up in fistfuls of sky and cloud
The turning of restless bodies, of waking dreams
Fitful dreamers fidget kick the dirt
Reading brand new Braille scripts in whorls,
Fingerprints that remember to forget to remember again.

All beneath as above, revolving
The worm turns, digging through earth but
Dreaming of clouds, circling iris, tail biting
Round and round ellipsis tumbling cartwheels
Merry go round about again the dreamers dream the living
Dream the dead to life rising, upwards branching
Towards the light from the dark to light again and again,
Beneath the earth, so as above.

The Imposter Listening

Posted in Prose with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 16, 2018 by beautifulimposter

The Borderlands don’t always reflect the lands they touch. A bitter wind swirls around me, grey and chill, damping the sunlight of The Real into fragile eggshell white. I’m standing in what was a field, the wan blades of grass superimposed over concrete and asphalt, the remembered dreams of a deep green. Here though, in this place, the most solid are the bodies, so very many, stretching out past all sight, in every direction. It’s a curious thing, in a place where one can observe the everyday people wandering through the walls of a castle that’s no longer there in the place they are, their feet instinctively avoid the corpses, unconsciously reorganized footsteps adjusting their path so as not to disturb the twisted limbs.
Of all the places where memory gathers, this is the one I visit only reluctantly, when duty can no longer be shirked. I call it the Untimely Vale, because the geography dips slightly towards the middle and that things need names and here I am the sole namer. Here lay all of the dead cut down, the victims of Fate’s shears too eager, clipping threads in frenzy. I’m gazing down into the lidless eye of a young girl, a well of ugly red and clotted black shattering the left side of her face, splits in the flesh creeping in spiderweb fractures. They’re all so delicate, broken so easily and carelessly. I kneel down, long fingers brushing the hair back from her brow, trying to turn my gaze more to the rich brown of her other eye as she begins to speak. Dry, ashen lips move slowly, haltingly, as she tells me her tale, and I listen with reverence, every word, each pause, all of her inscribed somewhere permanent and unforgetful. I won’t share what she says, that is not for anyone. I just remember, forever, and that’s the point. Long, long after mortal minds let go of their shame and anger or indignant righteousness, I will remember this person wholelly and completely, from beginning to end. At least one perfect record will exist of this woman for the rest of time. One among many, oh so very many.
She finishes speaking, returns to rest, and I move on. I try to listen to as many as I can, as many as I can force myself to before the weight of them, this place would trap my exhausted limbs to the earth and all I could do was lay down with the rest. Not far away, a new form begins to shape itself, quivering into being like heat over tarmac. I cannot see it fully, but it is small, oh so tiny. My eyes wander over the landscape, taking in the vastness of it. I’ve written down so many of their stories, carved the letters of them into my soul, but there are so many more, new ones ticking off the seconds. I worry sometimes I will not be able to speak to them all and those moments are the closest to despair that I care to wander. That precipice is dangerous and crumbles easily. It must be done and I am the only one to do it. So today I will spend with the discarded, my footsteps resounding in the thunderous silence of billions.

Splitting Wood

Posted in Poetry with tags , , , , , , , on August 6, 2015 by beautifulimposter

This one’s for you dad

The air has teeth,
Little sharp needles
Stinging bare forearms
As I step out of the mud room
Breath a think cloud
Early autumn up here
Still bears the earmarks of winter.

Grab the axe from the shed
High up near the small
Wedge shaped head
“never by the bottom
Never let it swing while you walk”

Walk up to the pile of fresh logs
Several cords, the smell of turpentine
Sharp and acid.

It’s simple really
Rest the axe on your shoulder
One hand manhandle a log
Up onto the old stump
Legs braced shoulder length apart
Swing the haft up, let your hands come together
On the downswing
“let the head do the work”
Chock, what was one becomes two.

The rhythm is the thing
Your breath comes in slow and even
Don’t even feel it after a while
There’s just the play of muscle
You could be steam powered
Vapor rising from arms and back
Arms pistons, the tin woodsman
Before the rust settled in.

One becomes two,
Two becomes four, into the barrow
Then one again
The splitting echoing rifle shot
Through the silence
Simple, no questions
Just purpose, and good, clean sweat.

One could say it was
Almost a meditation
Yet it’s more pure than that
Even when you’re all done,
There’s no more clutter
Just row on row of neatly stacked wood.
Everything right and in its place
And all will be warm now.

The One Who Was Seen

Posted in Prose with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 19, 2015 by beautifulimposter

Here is the next little bit of the story that I began this morning and that I hope will grow into something much longer and stranger and wonderful. It is a tale that I think has been brewing in me for years, ever since I first started writing, with characters I have long known. You have already been introduced to Abby, and now it is time for Nevermore. I have tried to write in two distinctly different styles as a device which I hope works, a more realistic, prosaic one for Abby and what she sees and thinks and feels and a more arcane, poetic, fantastical style for Nevermore. I think these pair well, but as always, I would love to here what any of you think. Happy reading, and cheers all.

Her eyes chased him from the cafe, dogging his boot heels as he spun out into the twilight streets, long, black coat tails billowing scraps of deeper night behind him. He was pinned by them, two spikes of deep blue twisting in his mind, he was crushed by the weight of them as if the whole sky of all the late summer afternoons was bearing down upon his shoulders. She had seen! She had seen him! Impossible, ludacris, inconceivable, there was no way, there just wasn’t. He stalked down the sidewalk, the early evening crowds absentmindedly swirling out of his way, closing behind him without a thought, he was a salmon cleaving the waters and leaving no mark or sign of passage.

Still his mind reeled back from that one single thought. She had seen! No one had ever touched him with their eyes, not from the first to the last, not once in four billion years had any eyes caught his reflection within them. He turned up his high collar, hunching his shoulders against them, still they fluttered about him, malicious blue jays swooping and diving as he quickened his pace, not a run, but a swift clicking stride, long legs unable to outrun the eyes, the memory of them. He jammed his fists into his deep, deep coat pockets, brushing against his new treasure. This calmed him a bit, breath leaving his lips in a long sigh. At least he had managed to snatch up what he had come for before those eyes had so savagely stabbed at him. His fingers uncurled and brushed lightly over the delicate, trembling souvenir, stroking, caressing…he knew it would make such a lovely addition to the tapestry and that thought brought a smile to his thin, austere lips.

As he walked the quaint, trendy downtown streets twisted beneath his feet, for a moment he was walking over grime crusted cobbles, then wood planks, then grass, then smooth brushed chrome, his boots changing their tune rapidly as he wound his way deeper and deeper into The Border. The buildings too became a strange mix, modern sleek white cubes beside Georgian brownstones, mingled with Tudor thatched roofs, Grecian arches rubbed elbows with antique pagodas, halogen street lamps shared their duties with gaslights or rushlights or strange floating globes of eerie luminescence yet he spared these not one thought. Fragments of every place and time all seemed stitched together haphazard, leaning over drunkenly beneath strange, wheeling stars in a sky of perpetual gloaming. All passed by without so much as a glance, in fact for him, the familiarity of the strangeness wrapped him in comfort like a thick blanket as he wound his way through this jumble of broken worlds, mind bent on nothing but the thought of getting safely home, where maybe he would stop seeing her eyes.

Ahead, towering over all rose a twisting spire of pitted and blackened iron and smoked glass, twined about with arches, buttresses, parapets and walkways that crawled like ivy, a soaring impossibility that stabbed up into the sky, the needle from which the disc of night spun widdershins. He paused at its great feet, spread out like the paws of an old, faithful hound, slim fingers reaching out to trail over the massive iron doors that were there, then weren’t then were again as he crossed the threshold. Inside the first great hall appeared like a flea market, heaps and piles of junk as far as the eye could see. Through this he passed, lean scarecrow shadow flicking behind him until he reached the stair, steps nautilus shell spiralling upwards, mother of pearl thin, crisp echoing to his boot heel tattoo as he ascended, still feeling.

Landing after landing flittered by until at least he alighted from the stairs, passing along the landing through an arch that could have easily been at home in Notre Dame into a room that had in fact clearly once been a cathedral. Behind the pulpit, hanging from old blackened beams, drifting dusty in the light of ten thousand fat candles was one of his artworks. Another smile stole across his lips as it fluttered softly, thousands upon thousands of powdery wings creating a sucerous like that of a single drawn out sigh, a tender lament that washed over him, calming, soothing.

From his right pocket he carefully drew his latest prize, fingers dripping the dust of a fresh, bright pair of moth’s wings, panels of iridescent green and blue and purple shimmering between thing leaded canes. In their depths, shifting constantly in the same way scenery is broken up as you walk past a mullioned window, was a face, a body, flashes of copper flame hair, fair skin, freckles, bowed full lips…and blue eyes. Even here they stared back up at him as he held the shy latte drinking poet’s longing in his cupped palm. His fist nearly spasmed, almost crushed them out as they laughed at him from within the fluttering, but he checked himself. No, he had watched for far too long and this ache was far too sweet not to be a part of his tapestry.

“Clotho, Lachesis, Atropos, come my ladies, please spin for me” His voice was low and soft, the sound made by ancient wooden boxes richly carved as they sit in spiced perfume silence holding the bones of dead saints. In answer, from the ceiling descended three graceful spiders, legs long and shapely. The first, new shoot sap green, alighted on his shoulder and scampered primly down his arm, taking up the still fluttering wings as her sisters swung on their own shimmering chords to a bare spot amongst the other pinned and woven longings. The second, a fat, nut brown, began to weave a lattice of fine thread upon which to stick the new addition, forelegs knitting and spinning as her sister finally ascended with the prize, helping to fix it in place. The third and last, ancient, bone white circled around, cutting, tying off, finishing the weaving with swift, sure knots. He loved to watch the sisters work and he stood back, able still even with all of the confusion around it able to pick out each individual ache, each subtle and wonderful desire unfulfilled. It was his monument to melancholie and among his various works was one which brought him the most comfort and quiet joy. It reminded him of the deapths of the heart, and that was always good.

Save now, where he could still see sapphires winking at him, needling him, SEEING him. With nearly a sob he spun away, his great black coat swirling around him. He fled his cathedral of snatched desires and bounded up the staircase once more, actually running now until he reached the top, panting even though he needed no breath, icy beads of sweat trailing lines of cold fire down his weathered copper skin. His chambers were open to the sky, the walls simply a series of great arches looking out into the plum purple ever twilight of his realm, holding up the vast dome of the ceiling that he had stolen from Constantinople before it could be finished, bright Byzantine tiles creating a maze that would have given Escher nightmares. From all around there was a welcoming flurry, soft, redolent of feathers as inky eyes trained upon him from all corners. They could see him, but that was fine, that was how it always had been. Slowly, then in growing chorus, from all corners they welcomed him home as they always had done, magpies, crows, ravens croaking slowly “Nevermore, Nevermore”. When he had first awoke so many and many dawns before they had been there and this was all that they had said then, so he took it to be his name.

Nevermore walked from the landing towards his favorite arch, pausing here and there to stroke purple black feathers, feeling the comforting weight of Skergaal settle upon his right shoulder, wings rustling in stately fashion, a courtier preening and proper. Nevermore however did not ask for his news and knowing his master’s moods well, Skergaal remained silent. The lonely, tall figure stood at last on the precipice, toes of his boots brushing the circumference of the tower top, a sharp border between something and nothing, almost a metaphor yet his mind could not appreciate it, could not as it usually did find solace in the view of The Borderlands sweeping below in dizzying crazy quilt tumbled confusion. No, he was disturbed, deep within something was wrong, something undefined was out of joint and the breeze that whispered past his lofty erie had upon it the distinct, cloying funerary scent of myrrh. His face was turned outward, yet before him he could only see her eyes. She had seen him, and that was wrong, she had held him within the prisms of her irises, caged him, defined him in the world of The Real. It had taken all of his might to shake off her clinging gaze, pulling the voices of nothing to whisper her mind back asleep. Yet still, for all his might in nothingness, she had seen, the girl who saw.

Voices of October, Lust, Heaven, and Disrepute

Posted in Poetry, Spoken Word with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 2, 2014 by beautifulimposter

Not My First Kiss

Posted in Journal, Prose with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 25, 2014 by beautifulimposter

I can’t remember my first kiss, not really. Like the actual first kiss ever, that moment in time when my lips first touched a girl’s. I kind of remember the general scenario, but for some reason that kiss has kind if faded from my memory. However, I do remember a very specific kiss from later that same day with astonishing clarity.
I had walked my girlfriend home after spending all afternoon and evening in my room after we had come to the mutual decision that we were in fact boyfriend and girlfriend now. It was the slowest walk in history as we both kind of wanted to just stay in this wonderful, new, exciting place we had found, holding hands, feet taking these baby steps, because the road was icy, she was much shorter than I was and because we didn’t want to get to the end where we knew the goodbye would have to be, even though we would be seeing each other first thing in the morning at school.
When we did at last reach her house we stopped under the street lamp just in front, in this perfect cone of yellow light. It was snowing lightly and outside of this pool of light it was pitch black all around and it kind of looked like we were all alone in this circle of pavement with white flakes gently swirling through it. I remember putting my arms around her waist, the sound my wool overcoat made against the soft, shiny fabric of her black coat that came down just to her knees. Her arms went around me, starting at my waist but then moving up around my neck, clasped lightly. I was looking down at her and she was looking up at me and we moved together at the same time and her lips were the best things I had ever tasted and I could feel the cold tip of her nose pressed against my cheek and everything was warm and there was no more time at all, it just ceased to exist so that I’m pretty sure there are still two kids kissing forever right there in their own private universe. Then there was a gentle wrenching and we moved apart, then kissed again, then apart, then another kiss, mumbling goodnights until we just couldn’t put it off any longer and she started up her driveway, turning back every few steps and I just watched her all the way up until she disappeared behind her doorway and I swear in that entire journey our eyes never left each others faces.
I know it’s really cliche but I can’t remember the walk home, not the time or distance travelled but rather just this blur of joy and new love and longing and yearning and slight wistful melancholy all at once plus about a million other madly rioting emotions I couldn’t untangle even if I wanted to. I kept pressing my finger tips lightly to my lips, like I was trying to keep that kiss on them and I swear I could still feel her, this tiny phantom girl with her arms around my neck walking in front of me the whole way home. It was the middle of winter but I didn’t feel it at all, I could have been walking bare ass naked through the snow and not given one damn. I got home and just climbed in bed, the smell of her all over my clothes, falling asleep almost as completely spent as if I’d just actually made love.
I’m sure that nostalgia and time have burnished this memory with their peculiar patina and that it may not have truly been that magical, but that is how this moment will always exist in my mind. To this day I can close my eyes at any given moment and I am there, under that street lamp in the snow as if I never moved even one inch. I guess that may be why I can’t actually remember that real very first kiss. This one holds all the others in its shadow.