Sharing My World: Week 21

ED NOTE: Oopsies! I meant Cee Neuner’s Share Your World challenge, Week 21, but her wife Chris’ post is awesome, too!

If you could make a 15-second speech to the entire world, what would you say?

As much as possible, be kind to animals, including the human kind, and the planet. Keep your mind and body moving. Laugh & smile liberally. And finally, love unveils strength, not weakness. Embrace it.

Photograph of Machu Picchu, in Peru, by Martin St-Amant - Wikipedia - CC-BY-SA-3.0

Photograph of Machu Picchu, in Peru, by Martin St-Amant – Wikipedia – CC-BY-SA-3.0.

If you could take a photograph, paint a picture or write a story of any place in the world, what and where would it be?

Although I am a writer at heart and, as such, I love plotting and planning, daydreaming and nightdreaming, I immediately discarded writing and painting for photography (painting is fun; no umbrage meant!). I felt that photographing a place would be a more visceral, significant experience of the place with the literal equipment that I have as well as the mental and emotional machinery. Ah, but so many places vied for attention. First, Heaven/Paradise/Valhalla/the Afterlife. If I could photograph that, presuming it really exists, and yet come back to Earth afterward for at least a few more years . . . eureka! That would be cool. Failing that and if I weren’t chicken, how ’bout these: Jupiter, Middle Earth, Narnia, Xanth, China, India (okay, all of Asia), Machu Picchu, Alaska, Scotland, and Yellowstone.

If you had to spend one weekend alone in a single store but could remove nothing, which store would you pick?

Reading my fellow introverts’ much-better answers here makes me feel either really unpragmatic or terribly survivalist, because I didn’t plan anything for food the entire weekend. D’Oh! Here are my thoughts. If I were looking at the “busy/active factor,” I would go for a running, camping, biking, art/crafting, antiques, or toy store. If I were more introspective, I would gravitate to the local bookstore (which is in an older two-level home) or any other bookstore or library, an art museum or gallery, or a store in a museum or zoo.

If you were given a boat or yacht today, what would you name it?  (You can always sell the yacht later)

I would call it (the) Raymond Luxury-Yacht, but it would have to be pronounced Throatwobbler Mangrove. 🙂

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

  1. Ah, so many things to be grateful for. My family’s love and patience buttresses it all. Specifics? I’m glad we’ve had a cold/allergies because it’s a signal we’re alive and kicking; it could have been much worse; and I think it makes us more aware and appreciative of good-health moments.
  2. Looking forward to: Smiling and laughing, Kid #1’s graduation/carnival; not having a cold anymore; gardening and, I hope, seeing some new life sprouting; running; reading and writing; and spending time with the family.
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A Memory of Mountains

Photograph courtesy of and copyrighted by Erin Leary. She writes, too. Go visit her!

Photograph courtesy of and copyrighted by Erin Leary. She writes, too. Go visit her!

His field filling up with fog that clung like a kind of cloudy cobwebbing to the tines of the mountain maple, hemlock, and white pine.

“Bah, those times are long-gone!” William Wallace MacIntyre, whose granddaddy Robert had a hand in naming him after a rumored relative, shoved the old photo back into a bulging envelope marked Family Memories 1951-1975.

Misty-Lyn’s baby will never grow up to see fingers of light tracing a ridge of sprawling, awing yellow and auburn. Never fish or take a dip in a sky-clean stream. The only mountain lights that child will ever see will come from them damn machines!

He winced as he worked the stick he’d cut earlier that month, pearl-handled pocketknife sliding and shearing as nimbly as ever, only pausing to sandpaper with the final touches later in the day.

Hillbilly older than Methusaleh’s housecat poses with Imperium Coal CEO Glenn Reed at site of proposed mountaintop removal. He imagined the goateed young photographer’s snarky caption.

“Well, we’ll see who has the last laugh this time.”

A grim chuckle escaped thin lips choked by wrinkles, as if ivied.

“Let’s go thu the big spot agin’, Gran-daddy!” Misty-Lyn’s cute gap-toothed smile swam up gradually from memory as he finished the walking stick by hand-winding a leather grip at the top and putting on the cap-piece: a phoenix . . . with a little extra spice, he thought. That through-mountain “spot” tunnel, too, would be taken out by Reed’s project as it thundered down the hollers he loved.

He thought of Misty-Lyn and her baby again as he struggled to his feet with his own newborn creation. The press and the CEO’s entourage would be there soon, and he didn’t want to be late to meet Mr. Reed.

***

Tuning out the old man’s yarn, Glenn Reed instead zoned in on the cursive “do unto others” painstakingly burned into the masterful walking stick and the birdy motif on the top near the grip, evidently leather, fantasizing if there might be some way to monetize the old coot’s obvious woodworking skills.

Maybe a series of on-demand subscriber videos, with different levels for different dollar-values, he mused.

When he saw Mr. MacIntyre’s cane rising, rising, through a molasses of air, to tap him in the dead-center of the chest, the last thing he expected was for his world to go ear-splittingly dark.


Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ weekly Friday Fictioneers challenge. This is way, way overlong (by almost 4 times, clocking in around 398 words). If you are curious about either mountaintop mining or the legend of Cole Mountain Light (as a North Carolinian, I had as my original inspiration the Brown Mountain Lights, but the Old North State didn’t work as a setting here), check out these links.

 

 

 

 

Last(ing) Lines: A Poem

ART-architectureIf poetry seems easy,

it is because of this:

Even blanks bear meaning—

furrow, prowl, populate

as lodestars unexploded—

signify scars subsumed

threshed out on

(un)willing, willful

flesh

freshness skimming epithelial soil

(facades, not deep-down drown).

I would touch where the pain used to be,

but it is everywhere.

***

Spectral text.

Each letter lets loose

a shriek to

beat back

bleak silence,

say: I island here. I accrete from

now until

forever.

Sing a cartography of you-ness

into existence.

Contend with neighbors

to crowd or cram

the yearning

maw of the open

page:

ManBlueGuitar

The Old Guitarist, an oil painting by Pablo Picasso currently on display at the Art Institute of Chicago (IL, USA).

Dump a heap of

meaning picked clean

accordion of whistle-bone

cracked

to reveal

aortal gristle.

Each sound senses

whether you are “I” enough

to bang it bigly into existence.

 

Suckle the needle-teethed

fear,

uncarapace expectations.

Let’s stop shoulding ourselves:

This thing you should not write,

is just what must

be written.

***

I wish I knew the you

cottoned in the margins,

off the rails of lines

on that grid where mouth

meets a marble of warmth,

turning it over and over,

a coagulation of memories,

rolling ’round

sallow self

in the shallows of human Time.

Put your life’s book upon the shelf, tidal, tidy,

hope it doesn’t capitulate,

capsizing esteem

as words are wont to do.

Uncouple your grief, hitch it to a rag-shop doll,

decapitate the malaise

you only begin to notice

when the salt

strafes

sensory beds

and your lips

come away

bruised.

You’ve plowed over

your own marrow.

Yes, poetry is the cinch

fringing your neck.

As beats go numb,

sclera fixed in scorn,

each phalanx a sentience:

rife ordnance

for conscience’s echo.

It is not exactly

tabula rasa

where we end,

but it must be done.

And perhaps

only then

do we begin

to meet meaning:

in the going out, never

realizing

until then

many bruises were the

bouquets—bone-songs of the soul—

we sought but never

saw

through an

aether

of grief.

Flash Fiction: Touching Up the Gray

Genre: Dystopian sci-fi, flash fiction

As you step into the room that’s purposefully drained of color, your skin shifts, tries to hide its roots from me.

I don’t believe it. It’s World Leader Sangre! Here? In my research lab! What could she possibly want? It’s certainly not the publicity.

“Lady Sangre, it’s a distinct honor to have you here. May I ask why you are paying me a visit on this of all days? Surely you know the daily forecast is dodgy at best.”

Brushing aside my faux empathy, she blundered on. “Skin-perfecting,” she tentatively pokes at the air to bring up the advertisement bubble’s catchphrase. Magazines had dozens of decades since liquidified into denizens of the air, summoned forth like Athena from Zeus’ headache at the stab of a finger, epithelium-covered, mech, or otherwise.

“Can you do the opposite or at least make me think you can?” She gestured at the Damarcadian model in the latest issue of Womens Underground Today slathering synthetic eagle-tail oil on her time-disfigured face. Her voice is pitched just below a whispered beg, but her eyes worry the air where the model’s transformation hangs its now mercurially beaming face.

Presumably seeing my hesitation (did my face slide back its screen?), she continues. “I just want to feel the . . . creature comforts of my own old cells again. Please.”

Flesh-bound idiot!

I must have wrinkled my otherwise perfectly structured nose (if I do say so myself), because she reached across the charged space for my synth-enclosed hands. Like most all of us these days, she was nano-small but her bristles drilled crude indents into me so effectively, I could almost call up a dim memory of what pain was.

“Surely you can reverse the process that you yourself pioneered! I can offer you anything you want in payment. Potable water. Access to drought-resistant agriculture. The latest and best unsullied air. The newest tunneling technology for your dominion. (Yawn. I’d rather have unfettered access to the seed and gene catalogs.)”

Still, I dithered. Could there be more riches she’s not mentioning, like safe transport—?”

“Any. Thing!” she interrupted with outstretched hands, palms tremulous, but up.

“It’s a deal,” I said at last, pulling the skull saw and forceps from the case as I eased into my sales spiel. “Here at YouGenics lab, the focus is on you and the traveler inside your head. But don’t worry, the brain re-wrinkling process is non-irritating, doesn’t abrade the nostrils too much, and is absolutely completely 100% reversible.  . . .”

THE END

A scene from a fantastic movie, Terry Gilliam's "Brazil."

This microfiction was partly inspired by a scene from a fantastic movie, Terry Gilliam’s “Brazil.” See it, if you haven’t already.