Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Snakes of Misconsin

The long, thick strand of sawgrass poked its head above the surface of the shallow but swift Namakogen river; at least 30 yards ahead but centered and so, clearly visible. It struggled a moment, opposing currents moving it left and right, as Linda and I paddled past a drifting canoe captained by a father and his young son.

As we zipped to the right of its position, the swirl of my J-stroke caught the blade full on, gripping it within a yard wide whirlpool and drawing it from the murky deep into the full light of day. A foot or more rose toward the sky before its own waterlogged weight bent the shaft to half mast, the grass now appearing more like a bird of paradise flower, its beak bobbing in the light waves.

"Snake! DADDY SNAKE!!!" The young boy was beside himself in terror, slapping his paddle in the water in a vain attempt to pull his bow to the shoreline and avoid the monster now turning to meet his gaze.

His father could do little but laugh, an odd reassurance that all was not lost. But the boy persisted; his warnings becoming full-fledged screams of fright as his canoe drew closer and closer to the jaws of doom.

Smiling, I called out over my shoulder to soothe the young adventurer. "Don't worry son", I said, "there are no water snakes in Minnesota, and certainly none that are poisonous."

He snapped his face to meet his father’s, looking for the qualified nod of agreement that came immediately. "He's right Jimmy" dad said, doing his best to not chortle in his brave warrior's time of doubt.

Jimmy appeared calmed, for just a moment. But then a horrified look crossed his face as he again shrieked in fear. "But..but..This isn't Minnesota....IT'S MISCONSIN!!!"

"I stand corrected" I thought as I laughed aloud. "You've gotta point there!" I answered just as the monstrous denizen lowered its head and dipped its flashing tongue into the rippled surface before it, and then quickly sank to once again prowl for other little boys to terrorize.

"Men are so mean" Linda jibed, her grin in contrast to eyes filled with sympathy for Jimmy and his little nightmare. "WHAT!?" I cried, as any man worth his salt would say in answer to nearly any disparaging comment by the opposite sex.

But I had to agree. Poor kid. Damn snakes. Hehe

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Master Talon's Discovery

One August night I’d tarried much too long with friendly confidants
a guest at Master Callow’s home, awash in drink and vulgar prose.
Attentions turned to dour events, the recent loss of debutants;
two sisters vanished overnight, a search recovered only clothes.

I soon became exhausted by the horror of the unsolved crime,
the thought there may be monsters here among the Princeton gentlemen.
I made oblique apologies for slipping loose before my time
and stepped into the twilight to set windward course for home again.

The roads were all but empty save a dog or two who’d broken free
the fog had settled lightly and the earth was damp with drifting dew
Yet through this haze I spied an unknown figure trudging carelessly
And buoyed by curiosity, I paced to closely rendezvous.

He looked a fright, this partial man of sunken features, hunched and wan;
he seemed a rodent scurrying along the curbs of cobbled streets.
Were I not bound as village scribe I’d best avoid those woebegone
but as it is my duty, I fell in behind, whilst well discreet.

His focus was astounding; he was riveted but straight ahead
as not one twist would wrinkle this odd midnight creeper’s sturdy neck.
his gait was short and powerful, I felt a moment’s chilling dread
that I could be in danger by the last of this night’s forlorn trek.

We entered into Sorrow’s Wood, at most a hundred feet between;
my quarry mostly thrashed his way, as I more dodged and softly snuck.
In dark I lost his ragged form and yet his sounds were loudly seen
I’d stumbled on a pompous cur, his sole defense, imagined luck.

Within the hour we’d reached a stream, its narrows flanked by sandy stone
my target leapt across the foam by sodden log and sunken rock
At last upon the eastern shore he stood before a cross of bone
then stepped into the wall itself, I drew deep breath and bore my shock

For as a boy I’d ventured here, a woodsman sure, a hunter strong
yet never had I seen a cave; the wall had seemed most featureless.
I crept to peer inside the hole and heard a distant, whistled song
I shivered at my choices; I preferred my darkness creatureless.

I’d come this far, it seemed a shame to turn and run as answers loomed
so step by anxious step I moved into the gaping earthen maw.
My hands became my proxy eyes, my fingers searching through the gloom
when finally I reached candle light, and there I stared in frightful awe.

Within a pick hewn cavern room were furnishings thrice cast away
their covers torn beyond repair and soiled by spatterings of blood;
and on the walls were canvases laced into frames on bold display,
the skins of twenty humans stretched and dabbled on with ash and mud.

I tried to shout, then quickly flee, yet I was paralyzed with fright
I simply dropped onto my knees and vomited what bile would rise
But I’d forgotten why I’d come, and now my prey laughed at the sight
“I thank you for delivering my next fine art to brutalize!”

And with a lunge he drove a knife into my back ‘till caught in bone;
the pain was indescribable, I screamed aloud, my soul released.
From somewhere deep I conjured fire, a rage that changed my flesh to stone
I turned and clutched his face to rip the sight and tongue from Satan’s beast.

For all too long we struggled on the organ covered, slippery floor
our strengths were matched, our skills, entwined; it seemed a never ending duel.
And then I spied a skeleton, its rib bones splayed and rife with gore
I drove the demon backward and impaled him on his self made ghoul.
I passed into the darkness, for how long I cannot really tell
though weakened by my loss of blood it matters little at this hour
I thought I’d killed the wretched man, yet he’s now vanished, save his smell,
and I can only write this tale and wonder, will I fight, or cower?

I lie here now immobile, and within my view are severed heads
Two dozen lined like loaves of bread upon a bakers cooling rack
and in their eyes I see their fear, their sadness at dreams too soon dead
I swear I must revenge them all, should Satan’s spawn come stumbling back.

And yet I wonder; should he die while wandering quite far from here,
and I am found upon this floor alive yet near the river Styx,
what odds that I should look the filth that harvested these souvenirs;
what chance that I’m found guilty by a jury swayed by legal tricks?

No time! I hear his footsteps, the loud cursing of an angry man!
I search the floor for weapons and I find not one to that might suffice.
But in my back a knife resides, though buried deep; I move my hand
to yank it from my marrow while my heart is stilled and cold as ice. 

I only have one chance I know, I’ve not the strength to dance and jab.
So there I lay in flick’ring light as evil came to seal my fate
My gooseflesh set the signal, on my instinct I thrust out to stab
and pray I have the reach and power to strike and deeply penetrate.

The blade slid through an artery, the manthing buckled, then he fell;
his body fluids spewed aloft, and filled the air with misty red
I choked upon his fetid blood, yet reveled in his trip to hell
My task was done, revenge was had, the murderer was truly dead

I tried to make my way outside, but I have lost the will to move
instead I write this grisly tale on stone in my own thick’ning blood
I only hope the truth is found before my traces disappear
as surely this dark cavern will succumb to next spring’s cleansing flood.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A "Song for Sickies", a Halloween Love Poem

A Song for Sickies

How irksome life must be for those that practice necrophilia
How empty is the heart of someone pining for the dead
It seems their object of desire is soulless memorabilia;
a rigor mortised body and formaldehyded head!

I’ve found that sex is far more far more fun when conversation freely flows,
and I have tried but failed to share a corpse joined repartee.
Then, I have had my share of partners more adept at porn tinged prose
than common touchy feely; so perhaps death sets one free?

I still cannot imagine; there are times that I would like to lie
and let my partner do their thing upon my goose bumped flesh!
So how would a cadaver reach across my rather ample thigh?
Erector sets with moving cranes and digit cradling mesh?

Just leave the dead alone boys, just leave the corpses be
there’s plenty of the live ones for the likes of you and me!
Just take your chances with the girls that breathe and still have hair
but-- if you insist on coffins, once you’re finished, please stay there!

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Eighteenth Avenue Martyr

Everyone needs to be good at something in their youth. Not necessarily something positive like role model or teacher's pet. Just anything that will inflate your self worth enough to make you buoyant, able to at least tread water when it rains failure for 40 days and nights, and if you're normal it most certainly will within your lifetime.   

While there were many traits I could point to as almost somethings, sort of boastworthys, nearly my callings...what I was really good at was martyrdom.

Now, most martyrs have a tough time admitting their fondness for being heaped upon, taken advantage of and pushed off to the side; they would argue that they've no part in creating the misery, that they certainly didn't invite anyone to shit on them. I could also take that road but I figure, why bother denying my most obvious skill set. 

Besides, as often as I lie to myself, in the end I only get caught and forced to self-punish for both the original crime and the lie to boot. There's hardly a point. I just can't slip one by me no matter how hard I try.

When I was much younger I had 5 female friends, all living with the same dilemma; they'd all become pregnant by the same fellow. They were all teens but one, all party girls if not outright runaways and all of them had found this boy/man to their liking enough to ignore the fact that he was not fond of condoms, nor commitments, nor relationships, nor conversation, nor children, nor anything that didn't directly affect his personal, physical pleasure in a <:0 kinda way.

So Dianne, Denise and Becky grew larger one fine summer and Sue and Maddi put on the bowling ball over the fall and winter of the same year. They all knew each other remotely, and with one abstention, they all hated each other for the rivals they were. But one thing they did have in common was, they all knew yours truly and crowned him friend and part time confidante.

Though I've never fostered a child of my own and have never worked in medicine, I've seen the inside of both a maternity waiting room and birthing room more times than I would ever desire if given the chance to say no.

Each woman in turn called on me to care for them, some with only pleading eyes, some with expressions of complete helplessness and one who (bless her heart) sent me an invitation to sit in as surrogate father for a day so she'd have company while she screamed.

But for Dianne, a woman who was at 27 already bitter enough to have shut out the mass of the world, these were kids whose friendships were on average as deep as a wading pool, as permanent as ice in the noonday sun. They were tough kids, rejected, angry, lost, afraid, who had made their beds in spite of my counsel to avoid what would surely turn out to be no good. They "needed" me, how could I say no.... Ok, they "needed" someone, and I was all there was..... Ok, I thought they needed someone, and I was martyr enough to take my rightful place.

Longer story shorter, I drove them and sat with them and cooked for them and walked them and took days off work to help them in every way I could. In turn they used my shoulder, my car, my apartment and my pocketbook to stay afloat until AFDC would take my place. And they used my arms and hands and even love handles in one case, to relieve them of labor pain. Clip your damn nails ladies...nuff said.

It was likely a year of my life all in all; not every second by any means, not even every day. And the telling of this is in no way meant to engender happy thoughts toward me. As is the case with other personal stories, it's what my brain was doing under duress that fascinates me and make the tale worth remembering.

There always came a time when each of these girls would re-invite the father of their collective citizenry back into their lives. Not because he'd be a father, not because he'd pay even a token portion of the children's freight or hold them or feed them or so much as gurgle in their direction. But because they'd become orgasm challenged and wanted another fix.

And suddenly I got to thinkin', after all that time I'd spent as daddy dearest..."how can I be such an idiot?" I finally got angry and wondered aloud as to why I was never seen as an object of affection...why I was the dupe buying diapers at the corner drug store and not dipping my wick with a smile and a wham bam. Why was I the friend and not the lover, why was I not worth their L-O-V-E.

Imagine hearing someone else say these things to you, and you know how I heard them. This may be hard to get but when I'd completed my tantrum, I saw every goodness in what I'd struggled to accomplish to be tainted. Not only was I not worth these women's affections, but I was not even worth my own, incapable of being altruistic, of being true to even my own ideals. I'd spent a year catering to friends who did care for me in their own teenage meaningful way and I knew it, and I'd let it all explode by boiling it all down to a moments anger, replacing love with lust like any selfish, shallow, immature imperfectionist would do.

I was 20, well old enough to know everything as the vast majority of 20 year olds do. I didn't know shit. Well, I did know how to be a martyr I guess. And that's somethin.

Friday, October 25, 2013

A Man Came to Morley

Most often a writing prompt is no more complicated than a single word or few word phrase; "write 100 words using 'cadaver", or "pen a short story on "melted wax" for instance. But now and then a prompt contains many words which writers can pick and choose from. I tend to overachieve when writing to prompts; mostly as a personal challenge, to see if my belief in my ability is simply braggadocio or truth.

This particular prompt was written as such;
musemuggers Prompt #64-option 3 Use as many words as you can. "accelerate" "interpret" "accomplish" "delegate" "unify" "initiate" "select" "solve" "instead of laughing" "during winter" "in the beginning" "in the sky" "since last week" "before the storm" "impolite" "blunt" "spooky" "innocent" "ornate" "before it began" "while the music played" "a trumpet" "a train station" "a hiker" "a flute" "a basement" "a magician" "a drill" "a jungle" "a bachelor" "a garden" "a genius"

Of course, I had to use them all as that's my goofy way. In the end, I had an ode to Halloween and to one of my favorite books, Something Wicked This Way Comes.

A Man Came To Morley

A man came to Morley one autumnal solstice, his hand wet with poultice, his wound freshly patched.
He looked as if dogs had attacked his right digits. (unless he sleep fidgets and cats came and scratched)
The clouds in the sky bubbled up like fried bacon, the north wind was wakin’, it looked like a pour;
The man pointed skyward before the storm started, and damn! but it parted! Or so says his lore.

He left the train station well dressed but ill mannered, his attitude bannered on airs of contempt.
He rented the home of the widow, B. Neville; a building disheveled, its garden unkempt.
While in the beginning we’d paid him no heed, thought him just a bad seed, mildly crass, impolite;
During winter he changed, now less kooky than spooky, and prone (I’d interpret) to relish the night.

We thought him a bachelor too long in the jungle, his brain slightly fungal, his screws all but loose.
He called himself “Herbert”, but we could use “Harry”; he said at the dairy when self introduced.
Instead of our laughing we took him as solemn, a bit of a Gollum, obsessive and dark.
We gossiped among us, “he could be a junky, or hiding a monkey, or just on a lark.”

But then we encountered some disappeared neighbors, the Smith’s and the Grayber’s; no clue where they’d gone!
And something seemed wrong; their ornate homes were tidy, as if they were flighty and simply moved on.
The coppers were mystified, lost and befuddled, their evidence muddled, their theories quite bleak.
The only connection between them was jogging. (and internet blogging, but not since last week)

Well, not to be blunt but I knew from the offing; those doubters now scoffing will pay with thier lives.
As I had a notion there’s evil around us,  a blackness surrounds us since Harry’s arrived.
I’d unify townsfolk if I were respected, not too ill connected to gather a crowd
Yet then could I say it? “Our friend is a vampire! At night keep a campfire and pray there aloud!”

A genius perhaps might have found a solution, a God’s retribution, a stake for its chest;
but I’m just an acolyte, Friar Initiate; no power to wish it within my behest.
So I took it to him, my earnest conclusion, about his collusion with devils and fangs.
He laughed at my off’ring, “A petulant nonsense, yet charmed by your reference; A lovely harangue!”

He told me he’d recently lost his real work as a lowly night clerk and musician by day.
To prove it he pulled out a trumpet and flute; said he’d whistle and toot if his songs would hold sway.
I nodded, and thought while the music played on, how could I be so wrong; was his story the truth?
My instinct is solid, this man was suspicious, perhaps more malicious than long in the tooth.

When done with his playing he led me to stairs, he seemed covered in hairs; I was too tired to think.
We went to his cellar were he’d show me magic, “Amazing yet tragic, watch closely! Don’t blink!”
And there he convulsed into something more canine, a wolf in the moonshine that poured through the glass
I stared, never blinked; I was driven quite mad, just the thought was so sad that my life was to pass.

He said he’d accomplished select dark illusion: magician’s confusion, a puzzle unsolved.
He’d feasted on innocent hikers at first, then our bikers were cursed once his taste had evolved.
He’d claim he had sent to another dimension the people I mentioned, the runners and such;
Yet surely he’d eaten them there in his basement, that wall near the casement where daylight can’t touch.

My life will accelerate, so he proclaimed; (as he clawed, chewed and maimed like a robotic drill)
“And now sir I delegate you as my henchman, my wolven back benchman, my comrade in kill!”
Well,  Before it began I was angry and quiet, a man on a diet with no taste for blood
but now that I’ve hunted I’ve learned that it’s tasty; that human is pasty.... but great with a Bud.