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A blog for poetry, prose, and pop culture.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Poetry: After the Yule

Hey all,

I've pretty much been at work since Christmas Eve so I haven't had a lot of time to write or do much of anything outside of just that, work. This morning though I took some time to write a poem I have been thinking about this week. As I drove through my brother's neighborhood the day after Christmas, and through other parts of town this week, I kept seeing discarded Christmas trees. When I went into a store I would see discounted Christmas decorations and themed gifts. It all seemed very sad to me. We spend so much time, pretty much starting in October, gearing up and hyping Christmas, only to throw it all away after one day. I wrote this poem with that thought in mind. That the Spirit of Christmas should be more than just once a year, the fellowship of man should be more than that. But it's not, and that's sad. I hope you like the poem, I'd appreciate any feedback.

After the Yule

The Holiday has come to close,

And the Christmas spirit is now repose.

For the weathers turned a cold, bleary bleat,

As the warmth of the season has grown complete.

Lights once bright have turned to dim,

The halls once decked have lost their trim.

Trees so green with ornaments bright,

Now lay in the street, a decay of blight.

And the sense of charity, once so profound,

Has lapsed again, to hibernate unfound.

All the feelings of mirth and cheer,

Are fleeting away, like Santa's reindeer.

How funny it feels that after just one day,

We all return to our selfish ways.

Gifts we gave, the meals we shared,

Are forgotten again, till next years cared.

The White Christmas that we coveted so,

Is broken in muck, the melted slush of snow.

And we say goodbye with smiles and mirth,

To the one day we give them worth.

All through the year we push and we take,

How often forgetting of charity's sake.

So consumed are we with our own selfish needs,

That we don't take the time for our hearts heeds.

If only we could saved some spirit to tithe,

A remnant of this day throughout all of our life,

We'd know that feeling everyone of our days,

But after the Yule, we lose the tides of our ways.

The 26th of December sees Christmas on sale,

That thought alone is the reason we fail.

End of Line.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Flash Fiction: Under a Dead Sun: Past Sins

Chapter 35:

Ally picked her way through the trunk, looking for a matching boot. She had cleaned herself off using some tepid water from the basin in the room and now was looking to replace the ragged shreds of her clothing. She had dressed her wounds herself as best as she could, and Morgan, the man she had met on the road, had bound the worse of her injuries. She tentatively traced the bandages that he had wrapped around her feet before she laced the once missing boot up.

She wasn't sure how she felt about Morgan. He was strong and safe, but somehow seemed withdrawn. He wouldn't talk about himself or his past, just that he had fought in the war and that he was heading to town. He hadn't told her what he had found in the shed out back, but he hadn't seemed very happy about it. He had closed the door to the shed and walked back to her. Together, they had searched the house, finding it empty. Most of the house had seemed ransacked, and there were trails of blood and signs of looting, but in one of the rooms they had found the trunk of clothing.

After Abby had laced the boot she stood up and looked at herself in the mirror. The dress was a simple, durable affair of brown wool, buttoning up the side and had a divided skirt suitable for riding. The boots were simple leather with a short heel. Finally she had pulled a heavy cloak from the trunk and pulled her hair back under a scarf. She could see the bruising on her face and eyes, though her lip had scabbed over. It still hurt to breath from her bruised ribs and she limped when she walked, but even so she still felt worlds better than she had a few hours earlier.

She walked around, gingerly at first, but the more she moved her balance seemed to steady. She felt her nerves settled down for the first time in what seemed forever. She left the room and walked down the stair case, supporting herself on the railing. the wafting smells from the kitchen told her that Morgan had found some food, and she realized just how long it had been since she had eaten. Her stomach growled noisily as she walked in on Morgan, frying some bacon in a pan.

"I found a couple of unbroken eggs and some bacon in the larder. You need to eat something for your strength."

Abby murmured her thanks and dug in ravenously. In what seemed like seconds she had finished the meal and was sopping up the grease with a crust of only slightly moldy bread. They didn't talk much, but she watched Morgan eat out of the corner of her eye. He ate methodically, his eyes almost never looking at the plate. They shifted from the door to the big window, which gave him a view from out onto the front drive. He was always looking, always watchful, always so sad. She'd never felt safer with a more intimidating man.

After the meal was finished, Morgan told Abby to stand up. He led her outside towards the shed, the door still closed. Abby felt her throat grow thick and well up inside her. The feeling of safety she had felt just moments ago were fled from her and those jagged spikes of fear and adrenalin flooded her system. Morgan stopped them just before the shed and turned her to face him. He gripped her shoulders tightly and looked her in the eye.

"Abby, I can't imagine how you feel right now. With all the bad shit that's out in the world right now, this damnable black sun above our heads and worse yet, the death of your family and the torturous journey you've undertaken in the past day. What I do know is that you have to be one of the toughest women I've ever met to still be alive and still be fighting. You can't be afraid anymore. You need to know what is waiting for you out there."

Morgan pushed open the door and she saw the woman. Her face bruised and battered, his dressed rips, the ways her legs were spread....the gaping hole in her chest. Abby pulled her hands in front of her face before Morgan roughly pulled them away.

"LOOK DAMMIT! Look at what happened to her. It's not just those god damn monsters out there. Regular folk are just as bad as they are. You can't be afraid. You have to be strong. You have to be ready."

With that he pulled free a battered old Colt Revolver and a worn gunbelt. He turned her to face the tragedy in the shed as he buckled the gun belt around her waste. Abby forced herself to look at the woman, to look at the fear on her face, until she couldn't feel anything anymore. She stood there a long time, just looking, as Morgan never moved or said anything. After what felt like an eternity, she looked up at Morgan.

"I'm ready to go."

End of Line.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Flash Fiction: The Rain

You can smell the rain before it comes in the desert. The air gets thick and heavy, the wetness palpable in the normally dry air. I had felt the rain for nearly a day now, but still it waited. I hiked my hat back on my head and looked upwards, the sun shrunken behind a mask of dark grey clouds. Soon, it would have to fall soon.

I spurred my horse gently into a trot and kept riding. I felt hot and sticky, the humidity clinging to me. I was still wearing my battered duster and it was starting to feel like a second skin. Dirt had mixed with sweat and grime and I hadn't seen a bath in what felt like a month of Saturdays. I couldn't wait to get out of New Mexico and into Texas, maybe get that bath... and a drink. In the meantime, I'd just settle for some damn rain.

It was well past mid-day when I came across it. Smoke, thin and trickling, a dark grey plume against the dark clouds of the sky. Maybe three hours in front of me. It wasn't unusual to see other travelers on this trail, though fires at this time of day certainly wasn't normal. Besides there was to much smoke, to much smoke for just a trail fire. Somewhere up ahead, a lot of people were probably dead. I jiggled the empty water skin at my side and cursed. I stared up at the cloudy sky and wondered where that rain was.

I made good time towards the fire, it was generally along the way on the trail, but I kept my Colt loose on my hip and my Winchester primed across my saddle horn. I doubted what ever tribe that had attacked those people had stuck around, not on this public of a trail, but hell, it never paid to play the fool. I gave my horse Brian a reassuring pat, knowing him to be just as thirsty as me, as we crested the last bluff.

It was then that I caught it, the wind pushing the smell of burnt death up the hill. It wasn't the first time I had smelled this scent, but Brian reigned up, eyes wide with fright. I calmed down the horse and climbed down off the saddle, throwing the reigns around a small tree as I walked towards the dying fire. I kept the Winchester close as I looked at the carnage. There had to be at least twenty bodies here, scalped, burnt, tortured...raped.

The fire still flared in spots around the four wagons, and the whole affair still smoked with the flush of embers. I walked through the massacre, taking stock of the dead, noting it for the sheriff in town, or better yet one of the Cavalry troopers that frequently patrolled the area. I scanned the horizon, pulling my hat off, and let out a deep breath. My throat, already thick and parched, felt like sand as I tried to work up enough spit to wet it down. God damn rain.

I had counted eighteen bodies before I saw her. She couldn't have been more than five or six, a small tow-haired girl, clutching a corncob doll. I'm not even sure when I dropped the Winchester, or when I felt the feel of earth from my knees. The poor girl had been burnt and beaten, like the rest of the victims. She'd been scalped, like some of the others and you could see the blood mix with the dirt on her face. I touched her cold cheek, my fingers trailing the lines of smudged tears on her face.

I don't know why it was her that caught me so. Maybe it was the fact that she still clutched that doll, or the way her tiny fingers gripped it. I could still see the whiteness in her knuckles. I had seen dead bodies before, hundreds, maybe thousands, in the war and afterwards. I'd seen grown men cry, severed limbs, even the brutal slaughter of homesteads in the wake of other marauders. But here, in this moment, I only saw my own daughter. Like it was her laying there instead of this other poor girl. Like it was my own daughter that had been killed. I closed my eyes and felt my cheeks turn wet. Soft at first, then harder, till the cold wetness seeped through to my very bones.

The sounds of thunder and flashes of lightning lit the sky, but I only looked at her. I stayed there for a long time, long after the last embers had been extinguished. The rain had finally come.

End of Line.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Poetry: The Tides of Christmas

Hey all,

My laptop has been down for a while so I haven't updated as much as I would have liked. (well at all to be true) and while I still have no word processing program I can write directly in the blogger format. So I am going to get back to posting, at least one piece of short fiction this week. In the meantime here is a bit of a Christmas poem I started writing after I was struck by an image of the sky breaking over the mountaintops on my way to Flagstaff. It was a very beautiful and serene moment. I have been working on lines in bits and pieces for the last week or so but today i just sat down to type it out. I really like this poem, I thought it was a very different stanza structure with some nice word variations. I'd love some feedback.

The Tides of Christmas

Reddest sky bursts through stones,

The jagged spires of Earthen bones.

Azure rays stream from the dusk,

As the day rips free last ragged tusk.

And as the day gives way to night,

I feel the world in years twilight.

The wind, so shear, reaps its throne.

Cold and sharp, it cuts alone.

I stopped the car and gazed out West,

The tinge of winter in my breast.

I hugged myself against the cold,

As snowflakes fell, gently then bold

The hills dipped in bends and bows,

Fields of pines rest in rows.

And from above I looked below,

As the tides of Christmas began to flow.

The flecks of snow gave to flurries,

As the red lit sky begot blue tint furies.

Where the twinkled stars began to shine,

I saw the moony rays, a stream of line.

And the once green pines donned a white coat,

While the thistles whispered a windy note.

The Holiday was finally here,

As wintered sounded its snowy cheer.

I saw my breath in a puffy cloud,

As the chill wind chimed out so very loud.

So I jammed my hands in pockets deep,

And watched the snow build in piles steep.

I huddled in tight and looked to the sky,

To that one glimmering star upon so high.

And I thought to myself as I turned away,

Merry Christmas to me on this wintery day.

End of Line.