a World Creation Table

Karl logs them into the Mox-Nix lab, a very sparse space with a World Creation Table in the middle of the room. A Kyber comes to life and greets them. Jexi walks to one of the work benches and toys with the cytometers (she’s kinda distracted), Karl and the Kyber are talking in a highly animated fashion beside portal. The Kyber relents and moves to the panel that engages the Table. The Ergon field emitters energize and the generator sounds very much like a swarm of locusts in a blender.
Karl rummages through the frig, looking for anything that might have magically appeared over the course of the last few days (it is his frige after all). He nudges her and offers the remnants of a wabe sandwich. She refuses.
He turns back to the Table. It is fully energized now, waiting. She comes up behind him.
He says, “Don’t touch me there, unless you’re serious.”
“You are everso tawdry. . .”
“I’m serious Jex, mean it or leave it alone.”
She steps away from him and closer to the Table. She says, “How can I forge a new world without destroying the old one?”
“Not sure I understand the question.”
“Is there some way to forge a new world without destroying the old one? I have no wish to destroy the world; I’m just a bit bored with its current state.”
“You are the most dangerous when you’re bored.” She shows very little appreciation for his attempt at humor. He shrugs.
The Kyber brings control-gauntlets for both of them and helps her don her pair. Ripples appear in the field as she flexes her fingers. Karl says, “Focus on the details and the under currents will take care of themselves. It is in the details that the best worlds are made.”
“If I create them and destroy them is that murder?”
“That depends.”
“I hate crap answers like that.”
He selects a world seed from the codex. Rotates it two hand widths above the table. It swells to the size of a Slag-ball while fractal subroutines add appropriate waters and land masses.
Karl says, “My studies have taken me to far an exotic places and in every one of them there is this thing called Life.”
The view zooms in so that a single oak tree fills the display field.
“Yet, no-one really knows what this ‘Life’ thing is . . . That whole particle and wave argument . . .”
The tree sprouts acorns.
“But I know one thing,” he whispers, “Life is an emergent property of the timely intermixes of matter and energy . . .and so is Death.”
The tree ages and shrivels. Barren rocks and volcanoes crop up through the vegetation. She weeps for the tree.
“You weep for the tree?”
“It was a beautiful oak . . .”
“How do you know it was an oak?”
“Acorns. Oaks all have acorns.”
“So by its fruit you know a tree?”
“Yeah.”
“OK, your turn.” He clears the table.
She lifts her hands. She says, “Are you going to get into trouble for letting me use this machine?”
“Depends on who you tell.”
“Your rivals of course.” She selects another seed from the codex. Her smile is radiant.
The seed evolves into a barren world. She discards it and tries another. This one develops a scummy layer that bathes the world in poison.
She says, “I’m doing it wrong. What is the problem?”
“You’re trying to do it with your mind and not with your heart. You have to let your hands feel as well as grasp.”
She selects another seed, pulls it into the air slowly, gently. Plasmids twine into self-replicating worms. Primitive plants rise from the land masses. She laughs.
She says, “I got this.”
“You might want to turn the tempo down a bit.”
“No, this is good. I am going to make this world perfect; no pain, no suffering. . . everything perfect.”
And everything is perfect for about a microsecond, then everything dies (horribly).
“Put it back . . . please.”
He does something interesting with his gloves and the world convolutes, twisting back and consuming itself like a virus. It turns turbid and then everything dies, again.
“You’re doing this. It not nice . . .”
“I turned it over to you.”
“Not fair, this is your machine.”
“Anyone can use this machine, but most people give up.”
“This time I’ll be more clever.”
“As you wish.”
She does something a little different and everything dies very quickly.
She says, “Shut it off, this entertains me no longer.”
“This is Art, it’s not for your entertainment, and it’s for your edification. You want to create worlds where there is no suffering but you also want worlds where there is Life. You want a top without a bottom, a Yin without a Yang. You want a wave that is a crest with no trough, a day without a night . . .”
She throws her gauntlets on the floor and storms out.
He removes his gauntlets and signals the Kyber to shut the system down.
To no-one in particular he says, “The problem when I started was I didn’t understand that the only real difference between a god and a man, is that a man knows when to quit.”

In the Dark of the Moon

She is shaking
But not from the cold
For she has known cold far colder than the ice moons of MacTalb

She is silent
But her eyes scream volumes
For she is her own heart

Under a sky where the moon is lost
The Grey One asks “What is it that troubles you little one?
What is it that you want to say?”

An eternal silence passes
And passes again
The Sage builds a fire and somehow produces food
A soft spongy cake not unlike a rice cake

He tries to hand it to her
But she refuses
He throws it at her
And she catches it
Reluctantly she takes a bite

As she eats she shapes the fire
Molding it into unicorns and demons
And lastly
The face of a troubled young man

Somewhere just beyond the spine in the night
She says
“I am now a ‘special occasion’ girl
I never wanted this
I always hated the very idea
But here I am
A ‘special occasion’ girl
Stuck
In a ‘special occasion’ world. . .”

He says
“You are my muse. . .”

She sighs
You can hear the sound of entire oceans being lifted and moved
In her sigh

He shapes the fire to a likeness of the young man
But the face is off
and the eyes are all wrong

She scatters the image
She says
“Have you ever heard of Anteros?”

The grey shadow waits quietly

She says
“As a child I heard the call of the wolf
And my heart would not run the riverbed of Reason
I looked like the other children
But somehow I never was a child

I paled as the silver rain called loneliness
Bled all color from my eyes

And then one day under an azure sky untroubled by clouds
Aphrodite gave me a playmate
One who walked in beauty steadfast and constant

But as the years passed and I found that love must be answered
If it is to prosper
And I did not love him
So I picked up his heart and threw it like a stone

And now
Anteros the god who punishes those who would scorn love
Those who do not return love of others
Eats my eyes once so full of color

Why not?
I deserve it”

The Binder and the Dark-spawn

Jenelle is sleeping on the couch. I sit in the chair, right beside her head.
Her demon is running back and forth across the back of the couch. It does that a lot when it’s bored.
It is a slither of smoke with oversized paws that conceal nasty little claws. I have seen it for as long as I have known her. It is my small talent/curse.
It’s time I spoke to it directly. The myst that makes me demon-proof is kinda thick and it take a bit of concentration to thin it enough to speak Hesirith. That, and it makes the shielding kinda itchy and cantankerous.
“You. . . on the couch.” It ignores me.
“Shac-akawak-naw wa-tokata. . .” That gets its attention.
My hand is on her arm before it can get back into her. “Sorry, old sport, but no.”
If it dissipates, then problem solved, one less of its kind.
It decides to try attacking me. Bad choice. The shielding holds. They hate it when I laugh at them.
By its actions it has created a relationship with me. I reach through the connection and grab it by the underside. They really hate that.
An hour of really pointless struggle ensues and the dark-spawn starts to run down. It can’t feed on either of us and I’m not letting it out, so its starving.
It whines for a while; threatens for a while more and at length goes silent.
“Now, little pup, I am sure you have heard of Binders. Yeah, it’s like that. I am gonna make a deal. Either you dissipate and leave this plane for all eternity or I bind you to something inanimate and throw it into the ocean.”
It tries to bite my face. I sigh.
“Son this is pointless,” and I find the part of me that does the binding.
The creatures speaks, “Hold thy hand. Lest you in haste bring a misfortune to all concerned.”
“You mean Jenelle?”
“She summoned me and in exchange for the gifts she gives me I provide her with. . . entertainments.”
“About that, I don’t care, leave now or be bound and learn to entertain fish.”
“You insolent human, if you knew of my master. . .”
“I am the Keewah of Sultac, Binder of Nethers and Dark-spawn. I am the Fear-god of your fathers and your master fears me. Stop the rhetoric and decide your fate.”
“She needs me. . .”
“No, she doesn’t.”
And it is gone, choosing dissipation above binding. Eh’.
Jenelle awakes and is dulled by the experience.

Within an hour she has thrown me out of the apartment. The last thing she said to me before throwing her cell phone out the window was, “How can I write now! I needed that inspiration if I’m ever do anything worth a crap. You did this to me, and I hate you! Never come back!”

So, I guess its true, you must be careful when you throw out a demon, that you don’t throw away the best part. . .

The Muse E’ Vivatae Dóna el Riu and Her Dragon Poet ~ The Pendleton Street Studio Series

I found my muse
the Lady V
beneath an autumn-kissed
scarlet maple leaf
in the Garden of Muses and Mythical Beasts
under a pregnant moon in conjunction with Jupiter

Lithe of limb
creamy of skin
with lips impossibly beautiful
and hair. . .
how am I to describe her hair. . .
Hair the color of poetry
smelling of every young man’s fantasy

Both our reflections danced across the dark waters
as we walked by the River
She laughed and pointed
and told me all the secrets behind the secrets

She taunted me
Enticing me to dance
Her eyes fiery and bright
and feral
And terrifyingly beautiful

In a twilight
that Vincent would have painted
Under gently swaying trees
filled with that Spanish moss
I asked her
“Will you abandon me
when I’m too old to sing?”
“What a silly question.
You have always been too old.”
“Then why do you bother with me?”
“Look around, where are you?”
“In the Garden . . .”
“As well you should be.
Do you think this is some kind of accident?
You are a part of this place.
Quickly now
put your nonsense away
and write down what you see.
Nothing here is eternal
especially not me.”

Maxwell the Meta-modern Metaphysician also known as the Ticket Taker at the Door of the Studio

To the studio on the second floor the Everon come
Indistinct and all but invisible they come
Multitudes

Some carried in phantom coach and some on foot
Walking across the winds above the World
Traversing the Salient Salty Seas
All coming
Coming to this place
This Museum of Light and Dark

Some stand outside the door holding their tickets
Debating merits and means
Leaving without entering

Others charge in
Treading everything

Then there are the gentle others
Lingering a moment
A day
A week
Finally with timid steps
Holding hands for comfort
Touching each other for strength and support
They pass through this Threshold

Some into the places they want to go
Others into the places they need

the studio

art
sheets of paper
floating in a dark place
(dark to help you focus on the art
not the walls)

art
floating midair
two dimensional plane
sharp edged
black ink in off-white surfaces
symphonies of light and darkness
landscapes of element and contour
presented for you consideration
all of the world falling away
so that nothing is left to see

but the art

the studio series

‘But what is it? What is Culture?’
“Oh Brother Toad who am I to tell you?”
‘So, you fail at defining this culture thing?’
“Nope
Look, you have asked a question in words
But the answer can’t be spoken in words.
Culture is beyond all words,
Beyond all Worlds.”
‘Then how can you answer if you can’t use words?’

And I smile
(Yes, my best know-it-all smile
the one that shows all my teeth
the smile I practice in the mirror most mornings)
Open my arms to indicate all the art hanging in this studio
And answer
everso elegantly
without saying a word. . .