To Be No Longer Alone

I’m always uncomfortable
when first meeting women of Aspect
Afraid of what they’ll see when they look deep into my soul

I am to understand that I am very spooky
Most women of Aspect become uncomfortable in my presence
Removing themselves from the room before they even get past my eyes
Some brave souls who ventured in
but chickened out before they got too deep
And who can blame them?
After all. . .

Somehow I know
without knowing how I know
that this one is strange, beautiful
and totally protected by her naivete

Perhaps the thing that has broken the others
is the lack of innocence they bring with them
I’ve been told my mind is a circus fun house of distorting mirrors

She stands as I enter the reading nook off the main concavity of the Library
Someone has talked with her so she doesn’t offer her hand

I step back a pace
straighten my posture
lift my gaze
We eye-lock and all the hair on my neck stands
This one is not running away
She is totally present but holding herself in reserve

This has not happened before

I hear my mouth say, “What is your name?”
Her faces becomes a Hindu Mandala
A kaleidoscope of Sacred Art
An undulating universe of Sacred Geometries in collision

I can see hundreds of fractal energy collectors reaching out into the nook
curling into the surrounding quantum flux
but all staying a respectful distance from me

This has never happened before

I feel without knowing that I am becoming
a rendering of a Native American Sand painting
Something along the lines of a vortex of fire

Two complex
ever convoluting works of art confront one another
A thing I once knew as my voice says
“Why have you come here?”

Across oceans of time and wind
something like her voice says
“What is the proper way to address you?”

I say
“Speak in any fashion that pleases you.
I am fascinated with your command of Aspect.
How have you come by this level of control?”

She giggles
And that strikes me as hilarious
I laugh for the first time in a century or more
I know that our mirth is fracturing parts of the nook where we stand
and those around us can’t react fast enough to protect themselves

I weave a shielding around us before any more damage occurs
I say

She says
“I have traveled far to find you. . .”
And the entirety of her different forms and the places they’ve been
plays throughout her image.

For reasons I can’t fathom
I convolute my image to show some of the places I’ve been
Some of the things I’ve created
Some of the battles. . .

She is reeling
She is frightened
She will not allow me near her

I pull back to a respectful distance

We will crash if I fail to act
I change the space we occupy
We are floating above a world that reminds me of Jupiter
But we are very far from home

I remain quiescent while she recovers

To the best of my understanding
this has never ever happened before

Her human face congeals in the center of her form
I follow suit

She says
“What are you?”

I say
“I have no idea.
And before you ask,
I have no idea what you are either.”

She says
“I always knew I’d find you
but I never knew it would be like this.”

In silence we watch the complex cloud formations
roiling across the face of the planet below
She turns to regard the stars

She says
“May I touch you?”

I say
“You may try
I have no idea if it will work or not.”

A tentative tentacle originates where her hands should be
I watch in utter fascination as it moves toward me
carried like a whisp of smoke on the currents of the Universe

It brushes my cheek
Soft as a shadow

I slip into fast time out of reflex
I see juxtaposed harmonics building within my form
and in the nick of time I change my structure to dampen
the chords building through out me

I am certain that my form has become very complex

She says
“Oh my God
Are you OK?”
and I laugh for the second time

She says
“I can tell that they are very worried.
Perhaps we should go back.”

I say
“Or we could explore the Universe together.”

She laughs and takes us back to the nook

Things look a bit singed
but no real structural damage
No one is in attendance

We return to human form
and it feels strangely comforting

I reach to touch her cheek
and she blushes

I blurt out
“I have been so alone. . .”

She places her hand over my heart
and whispers
“You need never to be alone again”

The First Snow

The first snow
A chaotic
hungry wind snakes its tendrils into my sweater

A greedy wind
that would eat every calorie of my tropical body
And having consumed every BTU i have to offer
it’d continue on
just a hungry as ever

In its windy voice
telling me a Fahrenheit tale
An intemperant little free verse whisper
Wherein i have utterly failed to slake its thirst
That my puny offering hasn’t made a degree of difference

It hurls wet leaves at my feet and pants legs
Rusty insults that can’t sick to wool

I pull my sweater closer
Fuck you old man
Not today

Grandmother Spider and the Chasm


It was sunset and
I had just noticed that the trees were swaying
but I couldn’t feel any wind through the car
Suddenly the road just wasn’t there
I fought to lock the antilock brakes
Coming to rest inches from the Abyss
I mean inches

I got out of the car
There was no bridge
no sign that there had ever been one
It looked like miles to the bottom
The pavement just ended
and I turned from the ledge
because the wind was roaring in the trees

When I turned back
the front of the car was over the edge
I grabbed the back bumper
Like I could have done anything
Inch by inch
the Beamer crept over the brink
Taking me with it

“Let it go.”
There was this little voice in my ear
just loud enough in the howling
“You must let it go.”
“I need it.”
“You don’t need to die.”
And suddenly it was gone
It fell forever
in slow motion
Exploded on impact
just like in the movies

Something grabbed at my coat
A gnarled tree limb had somehow snagged my sleeve
Another had the back
The thrashing trees had been no where near the road
when I stopped
They ripped off my coat
And then they stopped
just like that

Figure this
Here I am on top of a mountain
no car
On a road into the biggest freakin chasm
since the quake
Yet somehow it didn’t really matter

“Be patient
the moon will be up soon.”
I looked down and there was this spider
Now I have never been one of those guys
who hates spiders
In fact I kinda like em
But this one had just spoken to me
“What’s the moon got to do with it?”
“Be patient.”

And so we waited
It was like the sky was full of stars
and there were millions of tiny
whisper sounds
The dew gathered on the grass
but I was not chilled
“Am I dead?” I asked
“Oh, hardly that.
You are alive, perhaps for the first time.”
And I noticed in the gathering moon light
A web
gossamer threads spanning the abyss
Glimmering in the pale light

“Can I cross now?”
“I think so.”
I started to grab my coat
and the trees went wild again
“Let it go.” came the whisper
I shrugged

I put my bare foot on the cable
It wasn’t the least bit sticky
“You’re not gonna eat me are you?”
The spider made this hiss clicking sound
that could have been laughter
“You’re not my type.”
“I’m afraid.”
“Don’t be. Let it go.”

Now I’ve never been one for balancing acts
But on that night
I was magnificent

In the Rain

He smiles
sky tears running the wrinkles in his warm
smiling face
he waits for me to speak
“Old man
why are you out here in the rain?”
He says
“My thoughts were a bit dry
Needed a little watering.”
“Aren’t you guys supposed to wear a pointed hat?”
He says
“I doubt it would do much in this deluge.”
A time passes
He says
“You are walking in a darkness
and though you can’t see it now
You are not alone.”
“Old man
why are you out here in the rain?”
He says
“A dear friend is standing in the rain
and she looks so lost and alone.”
“Maybe your friend is cursed
Has no right to happiness
Has no need for society.”
And he laughs
(might be a cough)
“Not this one, she lives on the edge
She is spirited and gifted
She is a swan raised by ducks. . .
Indignant, resourceless ducks with really bad attitudes
but she is not cursed.”
“Old man
get in out of the rain.”
He says
“I’m am far too old to do as I’m told
Never done it before
Not gonna start now
Gentle one, your soul, your heart are not dead.
Love never dies
Even if you resign
it will not leave you.”
And just like that the old fool starts dancing
Dancing in the rain

No Longer Afraid


Having spent a very long and stormy night
losing the ‘what if?’ game
For no reason at all
I decide to play the ‘mindfulness’ game

in the trailing days of a lingering summer swelter
I become – unstuck
Somehow this moment falls away
swirling like that leaf

I reflect on the refractions of Autumn
Autumns past
Autumns to come

Yellow poplar
Scarlet maple
Rust red oak

And look
Pathways in the dancing leaf shadows
Pathways beyond number. . .

Nedd Decides to go to Iceland

Nedd says, “A regular cup of coffee?”
The barista says, “Americano?”
Nedd nods the affirmative, says, “Where’s Jeremy?
“He called in sick.”

The barista says, “American soldiers WWII couldn’t handle espresso.
Raised on that drip-coffee boiled in aluminum pots. . .
Italian espresso was just too strong.
They did the thing they do with everything.
They watered the espresso down.”

Nedd says, “Americano, ‘dirty water’, please.”

The barista says nothing

Why did the entrance to the House of 12 Doors
have to be in Iceland?
Karl said something about it’s the opposite side of the world
from the Aboriginals

Nedd pulls a rumpled piece of parchment from his pack
Places it on a table and tries to flatten it

In spattered ink and cracks in scribbles
A map of a room
a room that is a dodecahedron

Notations on the map:
Alegria Paixão ~ Ivory Door of Joys and Passions
Ansiar ~ The Green Door of the Great Yearning
Calabria ~ The Teakwood Door of The World of Flowers
Casati ~ The Bronze Door of the Dancing Shadows
Cor ~ The Blue Steel Door ~ the Soul of the Machine
D’l Kyrug ~ The Oaken door the Mages
Devlin Ra ~ The Silver & Black Door of the Night Wanderer
Exu Hector ~ The Azure Door of Science
Höðr ~ The Bone and Ivory Door
La Profondità ~ The Turquoise Door of Pressure in the Depths
Paixão ~ The Crimson Door of the Heart-Song
Te Ao Koraha ~ The Ebon door of the Angels and Demons

And in the lower right corner
a mahogany table, an ancient chair
a silver bowl
and a window, the sun slanting in from the left

His coffee is ready
He wishes Karl was here
and Jeremy made a better cup of coffee

Karl Tries to Tell a Dragon Story

Karl Tries to Tell a Dragon Story

Karl appears to be very sensitive to caffeine
but Nedd wonders whether or not Karl is addicted
because his attendance at the coffee shop is intermittent

Karl says, “Nedd, you know the best part about being retired?”
Nedd sips his Vanilla Flavored Monkey Spit Yerba Mate
in his custom made gourd
Karl takes a deep, satisfying swig of something cultivated in a dark jungle
“I got paid to get up this morning.
I’m getting paid to be alive.”

“And lively you are.
Tell me a story, Karl.”

Karl’s pupil size and apparent amplitude of accommodation
seem to indicate that he is ready for such a task

Karl says, “In the year 2011 there was a psychic war.
The Russians started it
but it quickly escalated to American and Chinese engagement.
You don’t remember, do you?”

“No Karl, I don’t remember any such thing.”

Karl says, “That’s cause they mind wiped everyone.”

Nedd says, “Convenient.”

“Anyway it was over in seconds.”
Karl looks out that big window that faces the river

Nedd says, “Who won?”

“Don’t be stupid, Nedd.
Nobody can win something like that.”

Nedd says, “So, this psychic war,
how did it end?”

Karl says, “The Aboriginals of Australia and the Africans shut all the humans down
Pushed the Nasties back to their perspective Membranes
and sealed the riffs.
Course, they couldn’t seal them perfectly. . .
There is still some leakage.”

Nedd says, “?”

“Look at the papers, son.
Things went sideways back in 2011
and have been really wonkers ever since.”

“Is this the story?”
Nedd is trying to finish his monkey spit drink without wincing

Karl says, “No.
Anyway there are worlds where there is more magic and less science
and others with more science.
I want to tell you a story about Casati,
the world of the Bronze Door. . .”

“Bronze? Door?”

Karl says, “Hush a minute.
Casati is the Land of the Song.
The skies there ring when the sun enters the sky.
A world where dragons and wizards compete and bond.”

Nedd says, “Bronze Door?”

Karl says, “Look, the transition points between worlds. . .
Some people see them as doors.
For the purposes of this discussion let’s say
that there is a door made of bronze that leads to a world
where humans and dragon or drakes
are bonded into teams that solve problems.”

“What kind of problems do they have?”

“That’s what the stories tell us.
This story is from the time when the humans and drakes
were just getting to know each other.
You gonna let me tell this?”

Nedd gets up and goes to the ‘order’ bar for a handful of rum and whiskey biscotti
He drops his monkey spit cup in the recycle bin

Karl whips out his journal and makes a few notes
Looks something up and appears dissatisfied
He finds what he is looking for as Nedd retakes his seat

Karl says, “In the First Age of Xephyr
K’Ree ~ Firedrake Guardian of the Eastern Seagate stretches,
rakes titanium claws across granite and schist
gouging scratches inches deep in the floor.
He blinks wearily in the light of this pewter hued day.

Today is mid-winter
and the human’s will be throwing virgins at him again.
Every year,
same thing.

Not that he is particularly fond of human virgins.
In fact he doesn’t care much for humans, virgin or otherwise.
They taste a little too much like pork and not enough like mutton.
And the noise. . . get one of them excited
and they keen in the most piercing harmonics.
It goes on forever, totally disrupting his digestion.

K’Ree shudders,
unfurls and stretches his copper wings.
Checks the left tip to see how it is healing.

about thirty seasons ago humans started hurling maidens
and he struggled to catch them lest they be injured by the fall.

Best he could ascertain from human actions
young women humans started out cute and amusing as cubs
but became bothersome and irritating as they grew older.

It seemed the elder humans would select the most annoying cub
and cast her into his den to be rid of her.
Maybe they used the event as an object lesson

for the other nettlesome woman cubs
but one thing was for certain, no-one had asked him how he felt about it.

Unfortunately, the cubs were never grateful

when he saved them from a painful death.
In fact they usually tried to harm him or return to the very humans that had cast them out.
One year they threw the same cub back three times.

K’Ree transported the ones he managed to catch

to the islands of Calabria Beyond the Sea
where the cubs seemed to be accepted by the humans there as deities.
He never hung around to see what these humans did with the virgins
but there was no bones or spore on the ramparts of Calabria
so he assumed the best.

K’Ree has considered moving to other climes
but the mutton that the humans grew in those other places were really toothsome
and his current abode waterfall/cave/den fits him perfectly.
Not to mention the occasional workout with aspiring armor-plated man cub
is often great exercise as well as satisfying.”

Karl leans back
pushes the journal to the middle of the table
and looks very smug

Nedd says, “And?”

“And what?”

“K’Ree the dragon?”

Karl says, “What about him?”

“What happens to him?
What does he do?
Does he stay or does he go?”

“What I told you
that’s the story.”
Karl appears disappointed with Nedd’s reaction

“That’s the story? That’s not a story.
There’s no dramatic question.
There’s no Joseph Campbell arc.
For the love of all that’s holy, Karl,
there’s no plot.”

Some one across the room gets up and leaves the coffee shop
Nedd stares are Karl

Karl says, “Maybe it’s a poem.
Poems don’t have a lot of plot.”