Archive for the 'Sunday Scribblings' Category

22
Sep
13

Floaters Anonymous

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IMAGE CREDIT: “Floating,” painted by Lucy Campbell, is 14”x14” acrylic on canvas and is still available to buy! Visit Lucy’s site to find out more about her work and to see more of her stunning paintings.

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I am a floater. I feel the thick numbness sitting heavy inside my head and with it, the unwillingness to think, and I float on that laze like a stoner zones out.

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In the mornings, I lean against the living room window jamb sipping coffee and watching for people of purpose on the busy street below.

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The face of purpose, it looks so appealing, set with enlightened determination as it is: brows as buttresses for knowledge; eyes housing pilot lights of wisdom; cheekbones sharp with instinct; and jaws leveraged with sophistication and push.

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I watch the people at my place of work, divide them like wheat and chaff. The chaff floats on the wind and I am there on an eddying breeze, watching the wheat—the purposeful people—feed the world with knowledge and the knowing of self. Watch and learn…

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Or, if you’re weak like me, keep on floating, flirting with pesky ideas of becoming, wondering from whence impetus, skills, and brilliance come, wishing and waiting for them to drop down from above, and when they don’t, wondering if Truth represents their witness or if Deception does.

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Meanwhile, those who know just who they are and where they’re going are well on their way there and, barring any deterrents, it gives them a peace, like water flowing so rapidly over stream-bed rock that no periphyton can form, no slippage can happen, only traction and progress.

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They are at ease with their missions but impatient with all else.
The ‘all else’ will be for someone else,
Not for the people of purpose,
But for people like me—
The floaters.

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Fin

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Click here for more on prompt “#388 – Purpose” from other Sunday Scribblings participants.

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15
Sep
13

magic wandless

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IMAGE CREDIT: Bureaucracy illustration – author Franz Kafka and sociologist and founder of bureacuracy research Max Weber from Harald Groven’s Flickr photostream

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After over an hour flipping through paperwork in his cramped office, the drone discovered an impasse and broke the bad news in a matter-of-fact fashion. He’d been wanting to get us out of his “closet” even before we got there, even before his previous appointments got there, even before he left home that morning for his drudge job; and yet, each finished appointment meant another hour closer to the time he could leave for the day and fill his enormous belly with brimming pints of ale and mounds of chips and pork pies.

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He was a massive, joyless shell of a man, the daily grievous conflict of bad-for-good having gouged a hole in his spirit big enough for his soul to escape through. The gravity of processing human cattle all the days of his adult life was pulling at his brows and drawing his jowls earthward. He seemed not even to enjoy the immense power he held over us, two members of the tempest-tossed. He had been too long a servant of the Father of Exiles who had understandably grown more paranoid and defensive with every ambush, shelling, and suicide bombing.

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The drone would have discovered the impasse in the first few minutes of our appointment if he’d read the cover letter that I’d pushed across his desk along with the other paperwork, but he was so absent of mind that he just went along with his ruler and markers and pens and the ticking off of steps on his checklist. It was so mesmerizing, his methodical movements, that we were cast adrift along with him. My thoughts floated toward the surreal and I saw human lives as tragedies and comedies played out on the stage of capitalism.

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The curtain opened on an empty stage.  The backdrop was a gargantuan rendering of Earth nearly entirely covered with cracked, grey asphalt, and in a tiny, far-off land there was lush greenery and warm, turquoise waters.  A few round-shouldered people dressed in grey uniforms trudged across the stage, and as more and more entered, a backdrop of a great grey block of a building dropped down from the flies.

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The building sat on two thirds of the asphalt and its many doors were gaping shark jaws through which the round-shouldered peoples of the world disappeared to sit behind grey desks under buzzing fluorescent lights and count the hours of the days, of the weeks, until such time as they could count the currency rewarded them for doing jobs not well liked or done. Their only respite was a half-hour lunch and two, fifteen minute breathers per day in break-rooms with tiny portholes with views of the far-off land.

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I caught myself desperately squinting to see what went on in the lush lands, blinking and squinting and leaning forward as far as I dared, and I thought I could make out what looked like sunny islands and beautiful people with glowing tans bathing in fountains of youth and sunning on the decks of sailing yachts and toasting each other on castle balconies with Dom Perignon White Gold Jeroboam—

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The drone uttered an emotionless apology laced with impatience and I went home to fill out another form, a different form, to stay up until four in the morning so that I could get it postmarked in time, so that I could stay in the bone-chilling drizzle another two years. Oh but it’s a lovely, bittersweet chilling in the knowing that there is no magic wand, but magic can be made if we care enough to make it.

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Fin

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Click here for more on prompt “#387 – Currency” from other Sunday Scribblings participants.

25
Aug
13

just another day

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Photo from Dream Meanings
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I returned to the base of Wind Mountain on a hike with friends, some old, some new. It was such a high, we decided to continue it. We chose an urban adventure this time, and around 4 o’clock the next morning we set out walking with our dogs, down the sidewalk along a neighborhood road, no particular destination in mind.
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It was beautiful for awhile, what with the light of the morning creeping up, eerie at first, then floating, a thin glow barely on the horizon like hope showing itself from out of despair. People stepped unsteadily out of their houses, squinting in the mist in robes and curlers with coffee, cigarettes. And eventually kids began to be let out with basketballs and skateboards and some with nothing but trouble to cause.
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We walked past one kid getting an old penny-farthing out from a garage. About the time he sped past us on it, I got a call on an old cell phone I no longer have. Yet there it was, the sturdy, silver Samsung flip-phone ringing in my hand. We all stopped and looked at the thing like it was a space pod. A kid screamed bloody murder, jarred us out of our trance. I shrugged and answered the phone.
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An androgynous voice droned in my ear the news of my father’s death. I said, “What? My father died years ago!” and yet I cried and cried, tears which were a long time coming, ones I hadn’t cried the first time he died. And when I was done, I closed the old phone and buried in under a rock. There was no other way to take this but as a sign to return home, and thus was a destination made clear to us.
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We cut across the salt flats and too many cities, mountains, and fields to count, until we saw the old dirt road up ahead. We hung a left onto it, and there, at the very end of the road, was the old homestead, like it was before it was renovated. The old carport was there off the cinder block base. And the huge rectangle of mostly glass that sat atop it and jutted out from it, had the old ramp slanting down from the sliding doors to the great eastern lawn, like freedom, like a dock to all of the Atlantic ocean.
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My dog, Nova, and I went upstairs to find my mother, searched all the rooms for hours as the sky grew darker and darker, and by the time I gave up looking for her, I could see dangerous clouds coming down from Canada, each full to bursting with killing intent. I started toward the spiral stairs and caught a glimpse out the eastern windows. Rain was starting to come down like spears with blunt ends on a lawn strewn with smoldering briquettes and half-eaten hamburgers.
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I ran down the stairs and out the door to the carport and found marijuana everywhere, some of it burned, some still fresh, strewn like a ripped-apart bale of hay amidst a wasteland of bitten-into burgers and hotdogs and buns. Rain spears were turning into streams from the sky and I looked outward from it all just in time to see my friends down the dirt road, leaving, high as kites and fat with food, and the one on the tail end of them was my oldest, dearest friend, and he must have felt the heat of my eyes on his back because he turned and grinned and waved a big, happy goodbye.
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I whirled around and ran back through the door and into the house and I started back up the spiral stairs. I could see poor Nova stranded there at the top of them treading and circling all nervous and beside himself. He was on my heels as I ran down the hall and into the expanse of living room like a Nebraska prairie, and I could see it then, that the western half of the ceiling was soggy with moisture and the eastern half was beginning to sag and drip great handfuls of water and sodden drywall.
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I looked out the eastern windows and could barely make out the silhouette of my mother at the clothesline trying to hang clothes up through walls of rain. I crossed the soppy carpet to the sliding doors to tell her the house was coming down. Nova wouldn’t come. I had to go back and pick him up in one hand and manage the sliding door with the other. We scarcely made it out and down the ramp to the grass before the doors fell outward onto the ramp.
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I hollered to my mother, “We’ve got to go Up On The Hill!” and then I ran around and down under the carport and into the house that way to my room to gather up clothes to take. Nova jumped up onto the bed and curled up like it was just another day, then my mother wandered in, dry as a bone.
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Neither of them saw the wall of water coming down my closet, drenching half of my clothes, making it impossible to choose outfits that made any sense. Neither sensed the urgency of the situation or the severity of my distress, and in the screaming madness of that, I was forced awake, solitary but sound, to just another day.
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Fin
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Click here for more on prompt #384 – Solitary from other Sunday Scribblings participants.

28
Jul
13

Less monster

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Photo credit:  “Dreamscape” © Luca Pisanu made for the CGSociety Event “Dreamscape”

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I was amidst a small party of faceless acquaintances, and we were navigating steps amidst columns, turning corners, taking in the sights like wares before us, a renaissance festival amongst the woods perhaps. We were in a collective state of quiet, discovery, adventure, appraisal, the respectful togetherness of a unit.
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There was no sign of distress until we were walking back to wherever it was we had come from. As we walked down a steep dirt slope thick with rocks and the roots of trees, it became increasingly clear that a man among us was falling more and more deeply into darkness. I felt him intend to lose his footing and tumble away from us, down and down toward a shallow ravine of slow-moving muddy water.
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He came to rest on his back where the ravine widened into a brackish pool. He rolled himself into it and allowed himself to sink to the bottom, but it was only deep enough so that the water barely covered his face, an awful face like Severus Snape, with dead eyes staring straight up. He breathed in the brown water and I thought that would be the end of it, but blood and another fluid of a different color began to rise from the area above his throat, and I could barely make out his hand there. He must have torn into his throat with it, to end it sooner.
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………………………………………………………………………………# # #
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I popped up from a dip in the ocean and cleared my eyes. Edith emerged a moment later slicking her hair back, her ancient face made smooth with the water pouring down it like olive oil streaming down marble. And her eyelashes, my eyes were drawn to them, and they became all there was. They were remarkably long with tiny sparkles of water resting in the bends of them.
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When Edith was alive in Pocasset, we would walk from her weather-beaten house to the sea wall and down the steps, Edith in her apron style swim suit, white bathing cap and Pinwheel sneakers and me in my black bikini. I’d help her to the steps down to the water and she’d descend them slowly, gripping the rails with her blue-veined hands, and ease into the water, breaststroke-kicking serenely with legs as white as her Pinwheels.
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………………………………………………………………………………# # #
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I woke excited to call my mother, to tell her I’d seen great aunt Edith in a dream, and ask if her lashes were really that long, because I certainly hadn’t noticed…and then the memory of the strange Snape sequence crept in, and I felt in general like I could do with less monster and more magic…
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Fin
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Click here for more on prompt “#379 – Less” from other Sunday Scribblings participants.

21
Jul
13

I wander

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Photo Credit: “Hard Shopping” by Ekinox

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It’s a funny thing, the business of balancing

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the time to day dream, to exist in a pure state of possibility, and to set about creating from the mind’s eye, to feel the joy of inspiration

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the time to work, to make money to live on mankind’s version of Earth

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the time to notice the strings of undone things about the house—don’t touch them, not even one, for they are not separate as they appear!

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the time to be tricked, to touch a string and to follow it like an endless rope that strangles the day

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It’s like wandering through supermarket aisles in a night dream – I see my list, it’s in my hand, and my intent feels strong and sure, but the floor becomes distant and the aisles are towering strange and resistant to aim and effort – I watch myself wander and gather extraneous things, deaf to my own instruction

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I find myself at the county fair on a ride with dead controls – I turn the wheel in my hands, it spins, loose, and I slam into task after task, each with a lock to get to the next level, each with a promise that it’s the last one – I watch my lips say And then you can day dream

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But when will I wake from the night dream? If I don’t, or worse, if I do, and still effect no strength of purpose, I will continue to wander the aisles carrying the list

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not feeling the quickening of my footsteps pounding or the blood pulsing at my temple

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just carrying the list

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to the grave

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Fin

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Click here for more on prompt “#378 – Wander” from other Sunday Scribblings participants.

04
Dec
12

between you and me and everyone at the bar & grill

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Photo from Favim.com, a fantastic place!

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They looked like a happy couple when they arrived, could have been new, like the blossoms and Kelly green of spring.

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Over bread and butter, their conversation and smiles were easy as summer coming in through a screen door.

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A bottle of red arrived as he took the BlackBerry® from his pocket and answered an email. The oranges and yellows of the candle flame consumed her mask. His thumbs flew over the keys like crows over a cut cornfield, harbingers of winter. And she sat haunted and waiting in the autumn chill, years and years of hurt falling softly round her feet.

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As winter comes in fits and starts, the evening was punctuated with emails. In the sun of his attention, she forced excitement in telling some story of her day or life, exaggerated gestures in expressing her ideas or discoveries. Otherwise she waited in the rain of ticking keys, ill at ease in the snow-showers of disregard.

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Even in the fierceness of winter’s bite, she never said an adverse word, as if taught not to at the stern hand of experience. Instead she sat stripped, like Hans Christian Andersens’ emperor, her confidence so long gone to tatters that it was of no use to her anymore.

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Outside, the snow fell slowly, lay fat and lazy and full of diamonds on the ground of this quaint ski town. Lamps atop garland-wrapped posts cast out warm, glowing circles that outshone the snapshot of sadness inside.

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Stores, now closed for the day, sparkled like little wonderlands, the starry lights round their windows promising hope for the tomorrows of our capitalistic land. Couples and families laughed their way to cars and hotels, and the locals walked with well-pleased intent.

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All of the town and its goings-on, all of it twinkled and pulsed in the dark of a vast, incomprehensible night, as a nano-blip on an infinite radar screen:

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One mixed message encoded into a feeble optical signal from a townful of transient bodies amidst transmuting tapestries of limitless perceptions of realities.

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One infinitesimal emission from this world and its little and large sadnesses and happinesses, its construction and destruction, its opposites existing together and happening at once or alternating with tides and seasons.

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Fin

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Click here for more on prompt “#348 – Between You and Me” from other Sunday Scribblings participants.

26
Nov
12

Peanut

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Photo from the IFAW website

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For Nova
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What did you think under that hellish sky
Midst the insane wind flying at your door,
Beating fistfuls of debris against it?
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What did you make of the depressive air,
The vicelike feel of angry greyness,
Of barren lifelessness pressing in?
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Did you sense danger in the disruption:
No key turning in the lock, no voice, no walk,
No food or water, just cold and dark
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What did you think when the water rose,
Leaving its darksome mark on the walls,
Leaving you to wait in its toxic ooze
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I know what you thought when the strangers came,
When they saw your muddy prints on the fridge,
And found you standing on top of a bed
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I know what you thought
I saw it in your eyes
Curious, wary, hopeful
I saw it on the news
You knew
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You let them slip the loop on
And lead you off the bed
I saw you understand
That they were saving you
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Where are you now, little dog, and what do you think?
Has your former way of life been somewhat restored?
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Or have you had to become
A dog of the universe
Like one I used to know?
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Fin
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Notes:

Hurricane Sandy hit the eastern seaboard October 29 and wrought a brand of havoc never before experienced there. It’s destructive power was greater than Katrina or Andrew.

On November 3, the IFAW—one of the many animal rescue organizations working the Sandy aftermath—rescued a little Shih Tzu they called “Peanut.”

Here are a few links documenting the rescue:

The first story of Peanut – 11/3/12

Link to a video that includes Peanut’s rescue – 11/6/12

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Click here for more on prompt #347 – Flood from other Sunday Scribblings participants.