Tatakai

The Lady says
“His soul drifts somewhere within the waters of stillness
Fetal curled amid clouds of billowing white
he falls through a summer sky.”

Donzela sees into his soul
it almost kills her

The Lady says
“Fear not
he is still numbered among the living
He is only sleeping.”

Donzela applies her hand
to the seared flesh across his heart
Winces as she takes the injury into her own hand
The Lady places her hand on Donzela’s
sending the injury away

They mend the burns and gashes
They straighten the right leg and mend the bones
The right shoulder is restored

Potions for fever and building blood in him are forced
Some time near noon the next day
both women fall of exhaustion

The savant lies peacefully
His breath ebbing and flowing
Yet his face is troubled. . .

In Donzela’s dream the Lady says
“He is quiet
but given the suffering of his Living Hell
one might wonder at the intent of those who would call such continuance a blessing.
Given the nature of his nightmares
perhaps it were better he snap erect
and scream till all wind leaves his lungs.”

Donzela says
“How can there be sense in this kind of anguish?

The Lady says
“Pain
For all its discussion
Tells the body to avoid something
Hit your hand
Hurt your hand
Don’t hit your hand again . . .
Simple

But there is pain
Pain that makes no sense
Unrelenting
Horrible
Gut wrenching
Everlasting PAIN

And you have to ask
Where is the wisdom in this?”

Chen Lei

Chen Lei shuffles across the doorstep into his house. He surprises his daughter, Chen Xi .
“How is your mother?”
“Sir, she is still quite ill.”
“I have come home to care for her . . .”
“Sir . . . a man of your standing must not do such . . .”
“Gentle one, any man who would fault me for caring for my wife when she is ill is not worthy of consideration.”
Chen Xi embraces her father and they exchange chi for a long time. “Sir, you are wise.”
“None of it. When was the last batch of medicine brewed?’
“Moments ago, it is still fresh and charged with content. I was preparing to feed her when you arrived.”
“You have spent too much time in this house, as you are a worthy daughter. Go to the market and get the ingredients for dinner. Avoid Gen Gaou, he always charges too much for vegetables.”
“Sir, I would stay here . . .”
“No more of this. I am here to care for your mother, as she has cared for me. Obey he in this. Go to the market, but change into some spring trappings.”
“Sir?”
“On the way here I saw that young man . . what is his name?”
“Sir. I am embarrassed . . .”
“Young one, the present is always a gift and the future is only a promise. We must always prepare for the promise of the future. You are the future little one. Now go.”
Chen Xi shuffled out of the room. Chen Lei straighten his clothing, gathered the medicine into a tureen and stepped into the bed room.
“Hello, is my wife Ping here?”
“Husband, you are home early . . . I must fix you something to eat.”
“Yes, about that, I require that you eat . . .”
“Oh no, where is Xi?”
“She obeys her father in all things and is at the market gathering the ingredients for dinner.”
“She should . . .”
“About this eating thing you mentioned, please eat some of this.”
“Husband . . .”
“I am a man of some honor, am I not?”
“Yes, you are a good and noble man.”
“I am a good provider for this family, am I not?”
“I am honored above others . . .”
“And are my wishes to be ignored?”
“No sir.”
“Then please, Ping, please eat your medicine and care for yourself. You can not serve me and not serve yourself.”
“Husband . . .”
“Woman, you make me absent from court and the others will be talking. Let me help to heal you so that I may get back to my difficult job of service to the king and to the empire. I can not focus on the matters of state when I am silly with worry about you.”
She lifts her hand and brushes his hair the way she did when they were young. She sits up and takes the tureen. Knocks away his hand when he tries to feed her and starts to feed herself. “You are a stubborn old fool.”
“Madam. you might be correct. In matters concerning you my logic is often flawed.”

Dreamer

Rosa Lee opened the door only a crack until she saw me. She

unhooked the chain and pulled the door back full open.

“I guess you’ve come to see Mat’s place?”, she asked.

“Yes, do you have the keys?”

“Just a minute, I’ll get them,” I heard her moving back

in the house.

We walked across the field and up the driveway to Mat’s

house in silence. The salt air had that familiar bite and I

could hear the gulls crying off in the distance. I watched

her back as she moved. She was a lean woman, taut as a

guitar string. Her rusty hair whipped about her shoulder in

the afternoon sea breeze.

Mat’s house had not changed in the four years I had been

studying biophysics at Upstate. The clapboards, the bay

window facing east, the garret, the fence around the garden

on the western side of the house – all looked in good repair.

“Your uncle Mat was quite a collector,” Rose said as she

lead me across the porch of the house. Her green, catlike

eyes caught the sun as she held the door for me.

“It was one of the things that I loved most about him,”

she continued once we were inside out of the wind.

Once inside a tidal wave of familiarity crested over my

head and crashed down on my heart. Rosa must have noticed my

distress.

John, you OK?”

“Rosa, I’m confused. Mat was my friend as well as my

uncle, and I don’t understand what happened to him. I can’t

get mom, or anybody to talk about what happened. You were

his neighbor, did he die or something?”

“No. I don’t think anyone knows . . .,” her eyes drifted

to the window.

“Don’t give me that. A man just doesn’t disappear with

out a trace? Is he in some kind of witness protection

program? Why can’t I get anyone to tell me?”

There was a pained silence, broken only by Rosa’s shoes

as she paced the hardwood floor.

“With Mat gone this place is spooky, I don’t like to

stay in here too long. Do you want to see the garden?”, she

asked.

I turned away without speaking and sat in the empty bay

window. Unlike my Dad, Mat had been a source of intriguing

mystery all my life. There was kindness in his voice when he

spoke to me. He always had some gadget or rare

archaeological find to share when I visited him in the

summer. I had always tried not to pester him too much.

Mat encouraged me to go to school and achieve degree in

biophysics. He had become a part of my life and his absence

was like a new found cavity that I could not help but probe

with my tongue.

“John?”, Rosa whispered. I turned further from her.

“John I’ve seen you a couple of times but I barely know

you. What are you going to do? Are you going to by this

place when it goes on auction? Do you want the house, John?”

“Rosa, I can’t afford this house. I’m trying to

graduate from college, for God’s sake. I had to come back.

I had to come back and see what happened to Mat. Can you

tell me Rosa?”

“Does it hurt, John?”

“Yes.”

“Mat put together a rock garden about three and a half

years ago. I guess that would have been shortly after you

went off to college. Let me show you.”

I allowed myself to be lead through the empty kitchen

out a side door. Rose led me to the garden wall and fumbled

with the keys on the ring. After a bit she managed to open

the garden gate.

In the center of the walled garden, in a leveled and

graveled space, there was the most extraordinary collection

of . . . things.

“He used to wander along the shore and up in the hills.

Sometimes Mat would go far away and buy things. He even

contracted people to find things for him. He would get bits

of sea shell, little terra cotta figures, rounded stones,

crystals and place them here.

I could never see the pattern, but he did. He would

place a bit of bone say right there, and suddenly I would see

that it was perfect. What do you think all this is for,” she

said moving in a clockwise orbit around the edge of the

stones that divided the lawn from the garden.

Mount Rainier was barely visible in the distance and

I could smell and hear the sea crashing on the other side of

the far garden wall. The sun caressed the swirl of things

placed on the rippled gravel. Some things were bright and

shiny others soft edged and worn to a smooth mat surface.

At the western end of the garden lay a plate sized,

razor edged shard of midnight obsidian. I stooped down and

picked up the jet black rock. The edge was clearly sharp and

caught the sun’s light in a sliver of laser sharp rainbow.

I felt a chill run my spine whenever I looked at the

rock in my hand. It reminded me of a time, as a boy, I

had picked up one of dad’s ejected razor blades. I watched

in horror as the blade slid smoothly through my skin. I

screamed when the crimson blood poured out of my hand.

The cut had been more dramatic than dangerous, and I had

not needed stitches. It occurred to me now that the most

insidious part was that the initial cut had not hurt at all,

the real pain came later.

Rose stood silently at the eastern end of the garden.

She had lifted a globe shaped stone that was milky, white,

and iridescent in the early afternoon light.

“I always called this the moon stone,” she said.

“And what did Mat call this one?”, I asked holding the

dark stone for her to see.

“He called that the Shiva Stone.”

I returned the stone to its place. Between the two

stones lay an entire galaxy of things.

“Rosa, who has been keeping the garden?”

“No one, why?”

“Everything is still in perfect order. The sand and

gravel is undisturbed and no grass has sprouted between the

stones. Surely it has rained since he left.” I could feel an

edge creeping into my voice.

Rosa turned to run back into the house but I caught her

arm. I saw fear in her eyes as I pulled her around.

“I don’t know who fixes the garden, I don’t know who

cleans the house. I don’t know what happened to Mat and it

scares the hell out of me. I’m frightened John. It’s like

Mat is still here somehow, but I can feel that he is gone. I

don’t know how I know, I just know.”

I released her and she ran from the garden. Instead of

following her, I hunkered down and studied the garden until

my legs went to sleep. Giving up I limped into the house and

sat on the hardwood floor facing the bay window. At this

angle I could see something under the lip of the window seat.

It was a slip of yellow paper. I opened the seat and found

a yellow legal note pad.

Later that evening as I sat in the darkening house, I

read and reread the words on the paper.

John

When the student is ready

the teacher will be seen

The wind, a branch, even a stone

can be your teacher.

Are you ready John?

The note lacked a date and it was signed by Mat. I

folded it carefully and put it in my jacket pocket. I pulled

the jacket around me as I wandered through the house.

I was startled out of my reverie by the blast of a car

horn outside.

Rosa sat in her Ford and waved for me to come down to

the car. She looked embarrassed and a bit flustered.

“John, this whole thing gives me the jitters, would you

go back up and lock the house for me?”

“Sure.”

Later as we drove down the road, it occurred to me that

I didn’t really want to go back to my aunt’s right away.

“Let’s go down to Jackson’s for a burger and a beer.

I’ll call mom at Aunt Jaina’s to keep her from worrying,” I

said.

“No problem,” was all she would say. It was clear that

her mind was occupied.

We found a booth and gave our order to a waitress. Rosa

noticed one of Mat’s friends standing about the middle of the

bar. I told Rosa to go ahead and eat if the food came before

I returned. I walked up beside the man and ordered a beer.

“What you in town for, son?”, he asked.

“Doing research on a friend of mine.” I offered.

“Your friend got a name?”

“Mat, Mat Christopher, know him?”

The man turned away and walked out of the bar. Stunned

I followed and tried to catch up with him in the parking lot.

I called after him, “Look you don’t know me, but Mat was

my uncle and if you know anything about what happened . . .”

He stopped halfway into a car. His face puzzled and

pained.

“What’s your name?”, he asked.

“John Davidson.”

“So you’re John . . .” He looked hurt. He slowly eased

himself back out of the car and headed back into the bar. I

followed him in and directed him to my booth.

“Hello Rosa,” he said.

“Barry,” she returned coolly.

“You know each other?”, I asked. Rosa did not seem

very pleased to have this man at her table. He didn’t seem

to notice.

“Mat introduced us once.”

“Let’s get something to eat kids and then we’ll go up to

Mat’s house. I have some things to tell you,” Barry said

with a tone of deep resignation.

Later that night Barry bought a six pack and we headed

back to Mat’s house. We used Rosa’s key to let ourselves

into the house. Rosa was right, the place seemed very

peculiar somehow, especially with the sounds of the sea wind

made as it caressed the house.

After a time Barry pulled the first can of beer off the

six pack and began to speak.

“John, Mat mentioned you often, that’s why I recognized

your name. I must tell you the story,” His face grew

animated as he spoke.

“About three years ago I met your uncle Mat in Portland.

I have some friends that deal in exotic objects, and I had

heard that Mat was in the market. He wasn’t interested in

any of the things that I had, but there was this one stone,

he sketched it and described for me. I didn’t know anything

about it at the time, but I took the sketch back and showed

it around to some of my buddies at the wharf,” Barry acted

like a man trying to make a confession.

“One of my buddies mentioned that a similar stone had

been recently recovered from what appeared to be a Chinese

wreck off the coast of New Guinea. Well, money talks and

before the year was out Mat had his stone. He yelped when he

first saw it and ran out the matrix, that’s what he called

his garden. I followed him to see what he was so excited

about. ‘This is the key Barry, this makes the matrix

resonant!’, he told me.”

“Dusty and sweaty, after a few hours work, Mat looked

up at me from the matrix. He said ‘We have finished the

ritual at just the right time. Notice the Sun Father,

arrayed in his blood crimson robes, is just touching the sea

on the west horizon. The full and pregnant blue Moon Mother

is just clearing the lip of the horizon.'”

“Without looking at me Mat said, ‘Never again will such

a conjunction happen,’ his voice had taken on a strange sound

or something.”

“Never is a long time,” I said, “maybe in ten thousand

years we will get together and watch it again.”

“Mat said ‘I’ll make a note of it in my calendar. For

now we are witness to the sky and it is enough,’ and he was

silent.” Barry went paused for a moment.

“John, I’m sure you know that Mat was a very wise man.

He wasn’t just smart, he was wise, like the great

philosophers, the great religious leaders . . . Sometimes he

was spooky . . .,” Barry seemed on the verge of tears.

“Go on Barry.”

“Mat opened a door, that’s how he described it to me, he

opened a portal or passage or something. Hell, don’t ask me,

I’m just a stupid dock rat.”

“Excuse me?”

“Mat opened this passage in the matrix that went into

another place.”

“What did you see Barry?”, Rosa asked.

“In the garden, the matrix, all those things started to

glow in the twilight and I was real frightened. It was like

slow, violet heat lightning. This hole sort of opened up a

few feet over the matrix. There was this deep violet light

coming through and I couldn’t see him against the light. It

hurt my eyes to watch. There was a noise, or a sound or

something. I couldn’t make it out.”

“How long did this go on? How long was the hole open?”,

I asked.

“One moment the light was there, the next it was gone

and Mat was laughing hysterically. I asked him what was so

damned funny and he said that he was being tested. I would

have thought him nuts if I hadn’t seen the whole things

myself. When I asked him to explain, he said it was like he

had three wishes.” Barry looked drained.

“I know what you’re thinking John, but I swear it’s the

truth.”

There was a long sustained silence as we tried to sort

things out in our minds. The wind from the dark ocean hissed

at the windows.

“What happened after that?”, I asked at length.

“Well he didn’t say anything much just then, he did say

he wanted to sleep on it. He told me I could sleep on the

couch that was over there. I hounded him the rest of the

night with things I thought he should wish for. I am

embarrassed to admit that everything I suggested was selfish.

Mat was not that kind of man.”

“I slept late and it was around noon before I got up.

He wasn’t to be found. I waited and when I got tired of that

I went into town to uncover if anyone had seen him. I came

back here around twilight and found him sitting on the garden

wall that overlooked the sea. He seemed glad to see me.”

“He said, ‘Barry come here, I need a witness,’ and he

opened the passage again. The violet light was even more

intense this time. I had to hide my eyes.”

In a voice big as the sea he said, ‘I have come with my

first request,’ and there was a thunderclap.”

“I strained to hear. I figured gold was the best bet.”

“Mat said, ‘I ask man wise enough to advise me on the

next two requests!’

“Silver strings came up out of the ground and blue dots

came down from the sky. The bits and pieces looked first

like a wire model of a man, but it was soon fleshed out as

this little, shriveled oriental looking guy. Both Mat and

the stranger had started to glow themselves and the light was

so bright, I could hardly stand to look at them.”

“There was a rushing of wind, but I think Matt said

something about leaving you a note . . .” Barry looked pale

and frightened. I could see that the telling of this story

had been an ordeal for him.

“Why didn’t you tell anyone about this Barry?”, Rosa

asked with an edge creeping into her voice.

“Who would have believed me?”, he asked finishing the

last beer from the pack.

“Maybe there is no evidence, but a lot of people think

you killed Mat,” she accused.

Barry blanched. He held up his hand as if to fend off a

blow. “I swear, I didn’t . . .”, was all he said.

“Rosa?”

“Yes John.”

“Do you think Mat’s dead?”, I asked.

She was silent and so was Barry. Again there was the

sound of the wind outside.

“No, John. In fact I think Mat is still very much

alive.”

“I believe that he is out there somewhere, but I can’t

figure it out. Barry why didn’t you tell anyone about

this?”, I could see that Barry was exhausted.

“I was ashamed,” he said sinking down the wall.

“Ashamed of what Barry?”

“Ashamed that all I could only think of myself. Your

uncle Mat was a wise man John, a rare man nowadays. I’m glad

it was him. I would have really screwed things up.”

“I believe you Barry, why don’t you get some sleep?”

Barry curled into a fetal position on the floor. I

covered him with my jacket and walked with Rosa out into the

garden. The moon was setting in the west and the first light

of dawn starting to break in the east.

I couldn’t tell if she believed Barry or not.

I reached for her hand and her cool fingers clasp mine.

We leaned silently against the garden wall with our backs to

the ocean.

After a while I began to see a soft violet glow hovering

over the matrix garden in the remaining moon light.

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. . .

Day 21 ~ Sara ~ Darkness in Light

‘Hold my hand’
Its such a simple thing to say
And I loved to hear her say it

And now in this silent place
The Sky is all I see
And the hiss whisper of sand dancing
All I hear

‘Hold my hand’
Its such a simple thing to say
And I loved to hear her say it

I loved the way she had this sexy hiss whisper
When she said
Kisssssssss me
And kissssssssssssssing . . .
Honestly when she said September . . .
It was a prayer

‘Hold my hand’
Its such a simple thing to say
And I loved to hear her say it

The Sun of this place has a bronze tang
Not unlike the shades of her arms . . . her legs
Tanned by summer
And she didn’t like to let me see her eyes
Cobalt blue . . . with twin points of light

‘Hold my hand’
Its such a simple thing to say
And I loved to hear her say it
And I want to die here
So I will no longer hear her say it in my mind

Day 17 – Personal Mythologies ~ Darkness in Light

i am slowly becoming my own Parthenon
angels and demons join in my aspect

then let us dance
while there is air in the sky

speak volumes to me
with your eyes
that i might know sustenance when you pass

let us blend our shadows
and our songs
as we forget civilization
and stroll this desert place

let us bend the sky
with the peals of our laughter
let us lift the oceans
to reveal all the treasure that is ours
let us become the eternal Now
and speak no further of grey tomorrows

Day 11 – Poetry ~ Darkness in Light

If you could have asked
Is it raining
in some future place?
Or will I suffer
the slings and arrows . . .?
And got your answer

If you could lift your hands
Against the Sea
Turning back the tide
turning back time. . .?

If you could
Spin the sky backward
rearranging the clouds
Without a second thought. . .?

If you knew a guy
Who could remove this tattoo
Wipe away this memory
Would you?