The Ballad of Eiy'ra Haiz
Call him drunken Ira Hayes, he don't answer any more.
Not the whiskey drinking Indian, the marine who went to war.
A beaten up jukebox played old country songs in the corner of the bar. Outside, the mid-afternoon sun beat down on the cracked clay floor. The rocks surrounding the small mining town of Cripple Creek almost seemed to glow in the heat, and the horizon was half-hidden by haze. The township went about its business under the watchful eye of the local Dominion garrison.
But those in the Pink Moon sheltered from that world. The barman, Townes, was an old war veteran with only one arm. In place of the other was a crude robotic substitute. He served up drinks with little more than a vice, powered by a handful of servos which were connected to his arm just below the elbow. He was strangely proud of the device he'd often joke that he'd never play piano again, but his sex-life had improved tremendously.
Old Ma Haggard sat at the other side of the bar, smoking. She, like alm
When God Sleeps.I. So it comes to this: pangea tearing itself rawWhen God Sleeps.4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
from our throats to pour into squares of newly open sky
where the stars grew aches and darkened lakewater
once bloomed into bruised winters. Somewhere
beyond the thick of snow, prayers are strung
on moon-rattled winds
and birds' teeth tear apart the poetry
of our hands. They will raise something beautiful
from these ruined words.
Continents shift slowly. They are
dirt-bound titans, these beasts;
rootless giants that mold themselves
to fit the vision we hold inside our heads. Oceans sigh
and their tides crawl ever upward.
II. Our shadows become umbilical
in certain light. Unknown children cast
dark shapes of water
to nourish the gardens springing forth
from the dirt's wrist like a eulogy for lost sky.
Morning doves sing because they see what we cannot:
the years between us laid out like miles and our feet
that never mark the reddened earth and
the passion-trees birthing flowers of such cold, untamed souls.
We are walking in the wombs of
Last OrdersLast Orders4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
And I looked and behold, a pale horse
And his name that sat on him was Death
And Hell followed with him.
"Time at the bar, gentlemen!"
Gary rang the bell, signalling closing time at the Pale Horse. He loved to ring the bell it was his nightly ritual. Twice nightly, actually. Sometimes, when the regulars like Lloyd wouldn't leave, he even let himself ring the bell a third time.
That wouldn't happen tonight, though. It was Monday night. No-one ever stayed late on Monday night. One day, something interesting would happen on a Monday. Gary knew this: just as he knew that Lloyd would appear at 6 o'clock every evening to prop the bar up. One Monday, the bar would collapse on him. Or Lloyd wouldn't turn up. It hadn't happened tonight, though. Nor the Monday before. In fact, something interesting had failed to happen on every Monday in Gary's memory: which was probably why he hated Mondays. Even the word was rubbish heavy and charmless, like a sack o
Embers - Part IKate ran.Embers - Part I4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Her feet pounded on the cobblestones as she tore down the alleyway, each footfall echoing wildly around her. She risked a look back over her shoulder, stumbling as she twisted. Hazy orange streetlights filtered around the corner, but there was no sign of persuit.
Heart pounding and lungs heaving, she burst from the dark of the alley into the light of the street, stopping as her eyes adjusted to the wall of people in front of her. She almost clattered into an eldery couple, buried beneath thick coats and woolly hats, who tutted at her as they passed.
She looked left and right, wiping tears from her eyes. She stood on a narrow street lined on each side with small gothic houses, fronted by dark metal railings. A crowd shuffled down the street, seeming to glow under the orange lights.
Safety in numbers, thought Kate.
Still gasping for breath, she looked back down the alley. A shadow moved in the gloom. Her stomach tightened as for a half a second she caught a
Celebrating the Song Collectors"Doesn't anybody care about truth anymore?Celebrating the Song Collectors4 years ago in Articles & Interviews More Like This
Maybe that's what songs are for."
I've loved music for many years. As I've grown, my tastes have grown with me. And as I'm a poet at heart, I've noticed that what develops most over the years is an increased appreciation for the stories behind and around the music. The passage of time has imbued me with a respect for the importance of songs: something which has been at the front and center of my mind since last weekend, when the final piece of a lifelong puzzle fell into place.
An English folk singer by the name of Vin Garbutt told me the following story, which I'll re-tell in my own words.
When the spectre of war cast its shadow over England in 1914, the village of Fulstow, Lincolnshire, was one of many to rise to its duty. Ten young men left the village one morning to fight for their country – including one as young as sixteen, who was later found to have lied about his age. None would
Retrograde Scents from inside the suit intertwined their intentions with the sights of tangled and tessellated hair illumed by firefly LED's, spiking my circulation with memories and murmurs of dopamine.Retrograde4 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I took her by the gaze; she steered her sight away from mine. I led her through a glance that involved no scuffling of hands.
She was one of two wayward strangers passing in the cosmos; two separate glances met as objects in motion tending to motion. People aren't the same however.
Drifter was the term we were known as, people cast off of vessels and ships, mostly by accident, condemned to trudge about the universe until starvation kicked in or their oxygen-starved filters were finally incapable of operating. My unplanned departure from the mysteriously flaming
Performers of Ancient IrelandDiodorus Siculus once said of ancient Ireland, "Among them are also to be found lyric poets whom they call Bards. These men sing to the accompaniment of instruments which are like lyres, and their songs may be either of praise or of obloquy" (James 163). Modern bards are different than ancient performers. Today the idea of a bard is typically anybody who performs and leaves a lasting impression. This can include singers, songwriters, actors, playwrights, instrumental players, poets, writers, and even journalists and people in news media. Ancient poets were more interested in teaching lessons than entertaining.Performers of Ancient Ireland11 years ago in General Non-Fiction More Like This
The ancient poets and storytellers of Ireland influenced modern entertainment in many ways, including style, subject of common tales, and the way entertainers are treated in society.
Contrary to popular belief, bards weren't master-poets, nor were they held in high regard as Diodorus Siculus believed. Bards were low-class poets, uneducated in the "true path" of a poet. The filidh
Transdimensional Super TeamNotice: The full length version of this tale, which is far more palatable, is available right here.Transdimensional Super Team4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
The magical computer pool glowed. We stood around it like gods.
"Place your palms upon the unimetriscope," said the man in the top hat. "Validate your identities to Her Majesty, the Queen of the Multiverse."
It all seemed a bit hoity-toity to me, but there's a lot to be said for peer pressure when some extra-dimensional fancypants tells you your "peers" are a lady with wings, a James Bond looking guy, a giant robot, and a little girl and her psychic-bondmate, a white pony.
The guy in the top hat called himself Jeremy Flavius Beedle, and he twirled his mustache when he spoke.
He'd found me in San Francisco. I wasn't even working. I was sitting outside the ferry building munching down on a pastry from the shop there when he approached me.
Top hat and cane, fancy suit, and a giant
A Handful of MothsThe mountain is a pincushion for cactus. It looks like some irritated desert deity just threw saguaros like spears at the hillside until s/he ran out of spears.A Handful of Moths4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
It's movie night, and that means that tires crunch through the gravel at the drive-in to see the latest stars-and-explosions movie. It's robots tonight, great city-wrecking things with Hollywood voices and gears spinning behind their ear plates. That means that we pile into the cars and go, plaid rugs flung over the backs of the seats, plaid shirts over tank tops, team bumper stickers. Go Team! It's cooled down to seventy-five degrees and the condensation on my soda cup drops down to gather between my skin and the plastic.
We talk and talk and pay our dollars and park. The blanket gets tossed out like a bigtop tent and flattened in the bed of the pickup. The bed door falls down on its chains with a clunk.
The screen looms in front of the cars, cream-colored and silent. The logo of the drive-in dances around it like a screensave
Elegy Of A Lost SeasonI am the fall.Elegy Of A Lost Season4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Broken in June, buried in August -
haunting September from the boughs of hazel,
where not even the rain could reach me.
How my limbs ached to feel its soothing caress;
but my limbs felt nothing, and I felt nothing.
And the season moved on, without me.
Once, long ago, I was spring,
delicate and pure; fragile as willow seedlings,
believing themselves strong, as they stretch toward the sun -
before the wind breaks their stalks, and they fall
defeated, drained, limp upon the ground;
crushed and forgotten as tears.
But no, I was summer -
when I looked into your eyes for the first time
and forgot to curse the sun.
Tiny beads running down my neck;
hateful, so hateful - ignored, as you ensnared my senses.
You were summer, too
cradled in the branches of oak,
bright enough to burn my eyes and scorch my skin,
but never close enough to touch.
Until in your arms, I became summer,
and the sun could not outshine us.
But now I am winter -
numb and cold, faded, stripped and desolate;
Perfect ContritionIn a proper Catholic church, everything echoes. Any sound uttered within the building bounces of the floor and the walls and the high, vaulted ceilings, so much so that I imagine that they could easily reach the ears of God himself. It's a rather poetic thought, the voices of mere mortals ringing towards Heaven with the help of good acoustics, but that thought's tempered by the fact that it includes every single noise: the coughs of emphysemic old men, the rustling of an impatient young girl's dress, and the taps of even the softest rubber-soled sneakers are no exception. On rainy days like this one, those shoes tend to squeak, which probably hurts God's ears as much as it does mine. If I didn't feel like I had to be here today, the noise would be enough to drive me out the heavy double doors.Perfect Contrition4 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I didn't make it in time for Massand I honestly wasn't in a rush for it anywayso the church is mostly empty save for the few waiting in line for the confessional. This church h
LateSammy paced.Late3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
This had never happened before. And tonight, of all nights! He glanced at the clock, grimaced, and paced some more. Where was he?
Behind the curtain, he heard the chatter of the crowd, the beat of the music.
Marv the Magnificent, the "compere extraordinaire", strode up to Sammy and gave him a questioning look. Sammy answered with a shrug. Marv looked at his watch, wiped his brow, sipped from a tin hip-flask.
"It's now or never, Sam. Do or die. I believe you can do this on your own - but he'll be here yet."
Seeing the fear in his star attraction's eyes, Marv put a hand on Sammy's shoulder. "He'll be here yet", he repeated.
Marv swept out onto the stage. The lights - those oh-so-important lights - flared and blazed. The audience roared. Marv did his thing. Sammy listened nervously, jealously. Marv could perform alone; but he couldn't.
Sammy glanced around once more. He walked in front of a spotlight. Nothing. He swept his majestic cape. Nothing. M
CharlieI had a stalker.Charlie3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
I didn't know his name but I'm sure he knew mine.
I called him Charlie.
He always had a camera hanging from his twig thick neck and he cradled it in his hands; a wispy finger stroking the shutter release. His dark brown hair was a curly mess and his shirts wrinkly and thin. He had the most perfect eyebrows, sweeping and gentle. He must have the most captivating eyes, I thought every time he'd glance my way. We'd never made eye contact. Charlie preferred it that way.
He came into the bookstore once a week, not to watch me leaf through the used books or reach high to shelve the approved ones, but to actually browse them. He read the unknowns; the virgins with their unbroken spines. I imagine he liked the smell of them aromas preserved for him alone. Charlie appreciated the books wearing dusty coats and factory perfume a decade old.
The rest of the time he spent on the outside looking in. My co-workers were tickled pink. "What a geek." "Poor guy doesn't realize you
Wild Hunt :: LongmaLike any good story, this one does not begin where it began. It does, however, begin where it endsat a funeral.Wild Hunt :: Longma4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
The village was not particularly big. Rather, it was frightfully small, and just as frightfully remote. That said, it was little surprise that every denizen turned out for something so important as the funeral of a good man.
and it truly was each and every one: every man, woman, and child; every son, brother, and father; every maiden, mother, and crone. It was said even the dogs followed at the heels of their masters, even the songbirds gathered in the trees, and the livestock unable to free themselves from their pens bowed their heads in respect. But the story that is still told to this day was how the most notable guest at the funeral of Bai Huan was his finest (and only) stallion.
* * * * *
A long way from the village (but not nearly far enough) a
Autumn LeavesThe concrete bench was cold under the grey sky and the leaves that had almost all fallen from the trees crunched underfoot. Against the sky the trees were nearly bare and their branches were still in the evening calm. The surface of the lake was flat. A woman walked along the path holding an old man by the elbow. He walked slowly and with a slight limp, and leaned on her arm and on his cane and scuffed his shoes in the dust every step.Autumn Leaves5 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
"My knees are bothering me," the old man said.
"Do you want to sit down?"
"It is the shrapnel again, certainly."
"There is a bench right over there."
"And this cold. They always pain me when it gets cold out."
"Maybe we should sit down. Have you seen a doctor lately?"
"I don't like the hospital."
"The doctor could help, you know. You could walk again."
"It always feels so" he stopped with a pained grimace.
"We should sit down."
"I am fine with my cane. I don't need the doctor. I can stand on my own. Back in the war, you know"
"Sit," said the
Across the Sea and Around the KotatsuSpringAcross the Sea and Around the Kotatsu3 years ago in Stories & Vignettes More Like This
Mom starts with rice. Japanese rice, one, two, three Japanese cup-fulls of rice grains into the cooker, because Sis eats a lot of this stuff. It's one of her favorite dishes, taco rice, and Mom's always happy to make it for her because it's the only way Sis will eat her tomatoes. But back to the rice. "You want to rinse at least three or four times, until the water's kind of clear," Mom says as she cups her hand under the cooker pot, letting the cloudy water wash over her hand.
Rice cooking's easy though – just fill enough water to the point the rice's covered, punch in a time (or set it to "Quick Cook," which with our creaking rice cooker still takes about an hour) and let the cooker do its thing.
Ground meat goes into a well-greased and heated frying pan. Break up the block so that it crumbles into fine little pieces, and do this with wild abandon, because this is taco meat. Mom uses any taco seasoning that happens to be cheap; most seasonings rack up t
conclusionsi wake up to the sound of january 3rd and youconclusions4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
remind me of how litchi juice tastes like an
open wound in my mouth. i remember how
we were blackcurrant on each others' tongues
but only sound like static now
like tuning the radio out
after your favourite song has
[violins. singing bowls.]
december ended and i started to meditate
again. i tuned out of gigahertz and
for your reflection to find my eyes again
and now i am at the lakeside, the jetty,
the quay. i am meditating and the water's
edge is waiting for you to exist again
[touching his fingertips
to his lips]
somehow in september, i became the
edge of a cliff you were always too
scared to look over
you only loved me in february]
and of february i will dream.
The WriterA golden eclipse was emblazoned upon the back of his eyelids. The crisp, morning light, an event horizon on the surface of his vision. He found it so peaceful to lie here; watching the fire dance on the skin of his eyes, to see the distortion such a simple veneer could have on life. Everything was different depending on perspective. A certain paradigm is an important thing; it discerns life or death, true or false, love or hate. A simple problem can be interpreted, and solved, in several different ways. Untying the Gordian Knot is either a complex puzzle or a simple chopping manoeuvre.The Writer5 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
John Tullock admired and cherished this, as it meant in someone else's view; he was an innocent man, even if he didn't believe it himself. Regardless of his own beliefs, twenty of his peers had agreed to this, and according to the Sixth Amendment, he had enjoyed the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district. The trial had been speedy, certainly. His sentence howev
The Unemployed Assassin“Why don’t you tell me why you’re here, Jim?”The Unemployed Assassin1 year ago in Short Stories More Like This
I crossed my legs in an attempt to get comfortable, but it only made my sitting position worse. The fancy couches in Dr. Valencia’s office had less support than a deadbeat dad and she probably only chose them because it made the room seem like a still from a movie. It might have worked if I was a pretty young lady lounging about, but it only made me more uncomfortable.
“Well, I’m going to go to jail if I’m not here every week,” I replied. “That was the bargain.”
“That’s not really what I was asking about.” She knew the truth, but just wanted to get some sick satisfaction out of hearing me say it.
I kept my mouth shut and let her look like she was anticipating something for five minutes. If I could use up the whole hour doing that, I was set.
She tapped her fingers on her ledger. “You know, Jim, we’re having the
Fold Overi.Fold Over4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
across the vaults estimated by every milky tone
the curious whirl in old friends gather a surface
wholly between each divide of behavioral light
cones bend to placate our amass combustion
until her legs uncrossed absolving my repetitive
nature to forget what conditions a truth has also
to submerge and share in upholding closely
the uniqueness of love we each must extinguish
estimated by every
cones bend to
our amass combustion
my repetitive nature to forget what
conditions a truth
has also to
against the uniqueness
we each must
extinguish our self
Thirst of a Poetthe bards have bumblebees in their mouths,Thirst of a Poet4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
for language is babbling,
a brook in a bowl, joy brimming;
billowing, rippling, surging
and spilling; sashaying down,
with a swaying sound (oh-so wistful, oh).
language is burbling,
an impish kiss of mouth from mouth;
bewildering, baffling, bemusing
and tricking; tumbling round,
to touch a fellow Fool and his nought (so wistful, oh),
and disturbs a Poet, who slips
into a dream of a vagabond
"where are you calling from?" he murmurs,
in his sleep, and the newspaper flutters
with a snore; then rests on his chin (just so, oh),
and language sidles past him up to me,
and places a river upon my lips,
Paradise by the Toilet LightOf all the places she anticipates finding it, it's not on the toilet. Technically she muses, it isn't on the toilet though. She is. It's in the roof. It makes sense, she supposes, that you'd hide it somewhere that people wouldn't look for it. But still, it's a little unexpected.Paradise by the Toilet Light5 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
She's just noticed that Heaven is in the skylight in her bathroom.
She's not sure how long it's been there, but she counts herself lucky that she decided not to hose it out recently. Typical, though, that she let Steven borrow her ladder. She flicks the light switch on and off, checking to see if it's a trick of the light, but it makes no difference. She waves timidly up at the foot-square hole. Sorry.
She closes the toilet lid and sits heavily, looking up. It's kind of pearly, she thinks. It sure had the white light, and the swirling mist. It seeps out of the far left corner and fades to nothing in front of her nose. Maybe she's having a Xanadu flashback. That would explain the fluff on the toilet seat, and th
Night Chaser02:37am 22nd July - depart from London by commercial jet, business class.Night Chaser3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
00:53am 22nd July - arrive in New York an acceptable 7 minutes behind schedule.
Slaying an archangel is hard work. It takes a great deal of study, picking your mark, separating fact from legend, learning your target's tells and vulnerabilities. Even if you succeed, and when I tore Gabriel's crystal heart from his open chest I became one of the precious few who have, there is still the matter of retribution. Angels never forget the death of one of their own, and a legion of these creatures now wait to descend and deliver their vengeance. My only sanctuary is the night. Angels can only exist in light of the sun and as such I owe my continued existence to the wonders of modern technology, which is capable of sending man half way around the globe faster than the approach of the morning sunrise.
I chase the night. Or at least I chase the processed luminance of airports and rail terminals.
I've got an hour and