The heirloom blade. 

When I was young, I wandered in the woods by my house. It was in a time before cell phones or the internet. The woods were where the young men and I, still in the influence of 20th century values went off with plastic guns and weapons to build forts and fortify the great causes of history across the lands in our mental depictions of great men. We were in Vietnam, we were in the civil war, we were in the medieval woods of England or in the Holy Land fighting as knights or Bandits. I can only say that in my experience, it was only the neighborhood boys who participated and, where I did not excel in football or streethocky as an uncoordinated youth, I loved playing war. It was perhaps the only opportunity to use my imagination. It was the first time I remember Imagining with others, a game where war meant comradery and ideals.  Not killing, but struggling with others as a team and playing outside. We were  among the fallen leaves and the sunshine and the tall trees, hiding and running through the small block of wood between our neighborhoods. But at least we were in the real world, if it could only be enjoyed through events we would never truly understand.

After many years of adventure passed, I wandered into those same woods where my neighborhood army had built their forts. The old tarps and support logs now ripped and deteriorating, still with our kits and relics left behind. But something new was there, newcomers and invaders. There were yellow and green stakes plotting out the new development that would make the woods a new row of houses. The destruction of all past days of war and struggle over the land would be imposed by a better equipped army of backhoes. In defiance I tore those stakes out, took them home, and using my dad’s sheet metal tape and some black electrical tape crafted swords to fight with.

Most were long blades made in the Gallic fashion. With slashing and swiping.  Coated in aluminum and duct tape, I went out to the neighbors houses. Dressed in my fighting clothes. I went to each house, laden down with the previous night’s work of arms for the army that I would lead to defend our woods from the construction companies. Many said no, but most agreed, that something had to be done.

On a hot summer day, we prepared ourselves and took our weapons. We trained and prepared for hacking and slashing the machines and the grown men who would be driving them. I don’t think any of us intended to actually hurt anyone, but we would try to at least scare them off. We re-fitted our forts and made defensive positions. We dug trenches and readied the field for our great battle.

I had made one blade especially for me. It was long and I had put extra tape around the handle as a guard. But it was broken in the training so I was forced to adapt it in the style of a roman gladius. I felt like Caesar then, and the others agreed, that that was the right type of sword for the general. It seemed I was promoted.

Then the sound of machines and breaking trees were heard. We ran into the woods and hid among our defensive forts. The trucks and bulldozers and backhoes readied on the far street, we were gripped with silence and fear. Yet I held strong. I knew that those before me had fought impossible odds. The others thought differently, they thought this was stupid, that we couldn’t stop them.

I gave a speech.

“Whoose woods are these?” I said, standing before them as the engines stirred behind me. “They want to build new houses in OUR woods, they never used it, they never built forts here. Solders are meant to fight and why are we here if not as solders and warriors?” I banged by garbage can lid shield “And if we should die this day, it will be with a shout form my heart and getting as many of these bastard’s off our land. WHO’s WITH ME!”

The others we heartened and in a frenzy we let out a great war cry and charged from the woods up the field towards the road where the contractors were eating lunch. The grown men in beards and hard hats and reflective vests looked out and saw six lads in clanging slipshod armor charging toward them. There was no greater sense of victory in our hearts than in those moments when our legs pounded up the muddy grass.

I charged ahead, my sword outstretched and the aluminum glinting off the noonday sunshine. One of the workers put up his hands and said “Woah Woah guys” and David ran ahead of me and hit him in the shin so hard the man let out a slew of curses and fell ponderously to the ground. The other workers, realizing just how serious we would defend our homeland snapped into action. One grabbed Ryan’s sword and took it off of him. I jumped to his rescue and pushed him with my shield. He did not move, but when he shifted his attention to me, Ryan grabbed his sword back and ran.

The rest became a chase and chaos as I ran for one of the backhoes. I clamored up and into the cab. The keys were in it. It was running. Unsure of how to operate it I pushed a lever forward and the caterpillar treads began to lurch forward down the grass, tearing up dirt and rocks on to the woods below.

It’s safe to say that I panicked.

Then the door to the cab opened and a man grabbed me. I hit him with my sword and he threw it out behind him. Pulled me out and shut down the machine.

We were all lined up as prisoners. We were told to tell our home phone numbers. We  had lost.

Such trouble that I will never forget.

Still i managed to go back that night and find my sword. My blade resting along the outskirts of the woods.

This blade survived a long time, but it passed into secret vaults and was placed in hidden places among the world through the course of ages. I grew up. Got a job. Did my own thing. Eventually I adjusted. And now I’m in a time when nothing like my childhood could be replicated. Not so much trying to liberate my woods from a construction company, but a sense of self, of individualism, of imagination. I see kids now with tablets and phones, swiping their life. Knowing facts but not understanding experiences.

I had a daughter born to my family. She would be the only child I would ever have with my wife. I loved her with all my heart and treated her as I thought befitting of a daughter. I shielded her from discomfort and promised to protect her always. But each time I affirmed such a promise, I knew that one day I would not be able to keep it. I knew that one day she would need to take charge of her own life, and that I would phase into the past as all those before me had done. However, I did not know if I had the strength within myself to shed this truth to her. My little girl was too precious for me to spoil with the ways of the world.

For six years she grew and I could see flits of myself within her. I could feel the adventure and the longing for the wide spaces and perils of the proving life gives us. She was smart and had no short wealth in what I admired about her mother. The friendship and joining of our personalities were instilled within this being that ran and laughed before me. What those had said about avoiding childbirth and making new people was out the window when I saw her eyes and hair and vibrant living existence in front of me.

Yet still, beyond it all, I knew that there would be the inevitable and unspeakable sadness at the end of this road, if not for me in the end, most certainly for her… It horrified me.

One day, I found myself unable to sleep with the thought of her, alone in the world. I knew it made no real sense, but I could only see her as she was, a small child standing at a bus stop at 3 in the morning on some deserted city street with the vultures of the world about her.

I eased out of my bed and made my way through the house and wandered into the attic. The mess of old things and knick nacks brought me to photo albums of my own family and their familiar, yet mysterious faces that smiled back at me; captured moments of life that were frozen and dead on shiny plastic paper.

I was met with an overwhelming longing for the past, the shreds of history, of my own origins and identity and meaning. Boxes untouched for decades flew open and pages and photos and tchotchkeys and heirlooms were examined and spread across the hot and dismally dark space. All of life seemed to mean nothing, how could I live up to all those gods and goddesses, these elderly and past and wise people who formulated my own tribe and love?

And that’s when I overturned another box. Contained within were such things as a “pin-up-girl” flask, a tile painted with a coyote howling at the moon, books on herbalism and wars of Irish Kings. Sitting within the center of the pile was an old construction stake covered in metal tape and aluminum. It was the sword of my childhood adventures…The Gladius that lead the charge for the woods.

The wood broke through in several places, the aluminum was wrinkled and the red tape on the grip was peeling, but it gave all the impression of an ancient relic.

I felt a clarity and took it from the musty tomb where it had been sealed.

Some days later, in secret, I took my daughter aside.

“I have a surprise for you.”

“What is it?”

“It’s something very special.”

With an illustrious pose and a flourish I pulled the small sword from behind my back and while kneeling down to her, presented the fabled blade in outstretched hands.

“This is a very ancient and mystical sword.” I said, realizing as I spoke what it had meant to me. “It has slain many monsters and evil wizards. It has seen many battles and defied rulers and armies both horrid and foul.”

“Really?”

“Oh yea. A young warrior once held this blade and journeyed alone for many years. He had a long and hard road to get to where he is now, but whatever this world threw at him, he was able to best it. Through betrayals and sacrifices, and hardships, this sword helped defy those who wished him harm.”

She looked at the relic in awe.

“Does it have fire breath?”

“Heck yeah!”

“Cooool”

I began to hand her the sword. She reached out her hands, but I pulled back.

“But the most most important thing that you must remember is this…”

“What?”

“The power of this sword does not come from anywhere, but yourself. You give this sword the power it needs to fight any obstacle.”

She furrowed her brow at it. “Okay.”

“Then, by the power given to me, I dub thee, the rightful owner of this magic blade and in your own right, use as you see fit to fight those who would do evil upon yourself and the world.”

I tapped the sword on her shoulders and then flipped the pommel around to her. Her small hands gingerly reached out to grab the electrical tape. Then, grasping it in her fingers, she lifted it up in the lantern light and I bowed before her power.

 

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Tesla City

They were walking together through the the lights. Glowing orbs caught in the droplets of fog and steam showing brilliance of electricity over the bridges and levels of roadways that spanned up towards the openings toward the metal enshrouded sky. The crackle and sparks that thundered from point to point through the air broke the serine atmosphere with harnessed thundering spears of Zeus. The power ducts glowed with energy never quite cooling between bursts, but to anyone accustomed to the city, this was one of the commonplace noises and sights along with the rattling of tramways, the horns of cabbies, the jets of steam release valves and a sky filled with the whir of a airplanes and zeppelins.

Windows

The three of them sat in the study, surrounded by all the books and tomes of the past centuries of humanity, all the great works of science and philosophy and literature, and they all knew that within all of this collective knowledge was contained the truth to it all  like breadcrumbs throughout all their pages and words.

“…I mean IT ALL is just as it sounds.”

“So it’s nothing?”

“NO, its literally all the stuff and things.”

“But anything you say that refers to IT ALL as the subject is not saying anything.”

“Not at all, for example if I say Its ALL a mystery, that we can’t know for sure of anything, it means what it says.”

“Look I’m not getting into THIS debate again with you.”

“Okay, but we can both agree that there is a phenomena occurring in which we (at the very least) perceive our own existence.”

“Sure.”

“Well in this context, the only thing that matters is perception of things. Our perception of things creates meaning.”

“yeah.”

“But then we have to wonder, from where do we perceive things happening? We cannot stop thoughts that arise from within us, and we can’t control what goes on outside of us, so there must be this place from which we see both sides.”

“Momma Catz didn’t say weather the windows would be in your head or in the wall.”

“So are you gonna look out or within?”

“That’s the trouble with it. You cant ever stand still long enough to get a good look one way or another. It’s not that I think Momma Catz isn’t full of it, I just think you can’t make it happen unless the windows are clean, and both windows just pile up with mud from all kinds of places.”

“I hear ya.”

“I mean, I get out there with the cleaner and the paper towel, if you get what I mean, but it never seems like the rain stops long enough, or the cars don’t stop going by for long enough to do it. The maintenance of it is just too painful, too fruitless to try.”

“But I mean, you’ve got to.”

Then Leon spoke up. “Who is this Momma Catz anyway?”

“You’d know her if you saw her.”

“yeah, hard to miss, she was at Bobby’s wedding last tuesday.”

“Oh. I think I know who you mean…” He didn’t.

“Anyway, why do windows need to be the thing to worry about. If you’re looking out or in, you gotta be in a room to begin with. Why not just keep that space tidy enough, then what goes on outside won’t matter so much.”

“Idk, then I feel like I’m missing out on stuff. I get anxious if I never see what the world is doing.”

“Some people are like that.”

“Yeah, but I don’t know who or what I am. I can’t find the words that make me feel comfortable with myself. Like I need a label, but they all don’t fit. If I just knew who I was supposed to be I’d get down to business and be who I was meant to be.”

Leon spoke up again. “But aren’t you already who you are?”

“No Leon, that’s not at all what I mean.”

“Yeah Leon, like are you looking out of the window or into the window, do you want a tidy room or a tidy yard, or are you just a mess all over?”

Leon had to think for a bit about that and ultimately would come to no conclusions. The other two continued their conversation.

“It really seems like Momma Catz knows it all though, like windows and maintenance and all that, where are we looking and who are we, these are the questions we need to always ask ourselves so that we can KNOW with all certainty what we should be doing with it all.”

“I mean you ask yourself who you are to spite those others who put you in a box.”

“I guess. You could do that.”

Then Leon spoke again. “I’m not really sure what game we are playing.”

“It’s the secret dude! It’s these questions of philosophy and science that will explain everything you need to know, to transcend what everyone else THINKS is important. You will become closer to a GOD if you know all this stuff.”

“Windows and Momma Catz and spite and where we are?” Said Leon.

“Exactly.”

“You just don’t get it Leon.”

“I guess not.”

Leon stood up and walked out of the room. He was not a god. He was not looking through any windows. He stepped out of the musty house and walked into the light rain that fell from the dark sky. He felt the cold, and it did not bother him, for cold and warm are only things that countless generations of humanity endured without perishing. In the water there were no words, and his mind was still for every cell and environment of his being wholly existed as Leon in the rain without needing to know any more than where he was and who he was. The great questions continuing in the room, the school and philosophy of whomever momma catz was continued spiraling into disillusion and malaize and ‘ennui.

The cold rain was conquered by Leon for the time-being and his clothes became wet, but they were only clothes. They would become dry and he had no important place to be.

In Leon’s mind there was only whether one would rather spend their life trying to grasp the ineffable, or feel the goodness of existing beyond petty discomfort.

One who never knew the sensation of giving in to the greater and being a part of it, would never know the truth of it all. It is a truth with many names and words and writings that span the centuries of human existence. But only those with the luxury to wonder will wonder and those who can be content with not knowing, or simply knowing enough, would come to find it.

Thoughts do not exist, only actions exist, only sensations exist, only reality exists, and it is as definable as the great being of things, of that which exists simply IS and what does not exist IS not.

Every gap is filled with a being, anything that can find a place will find it and go to it, for the great interlocking and meshing of cells and forms and plants and animals, can only work on what IS there. The chemicals and gasses and electrons of all matter contained form and build where it is possible. If it did not they would not be.

So Leon, not realizing this in so many words, simply didn’t worry about it, because he stood on solid ground, the ground under his feet. He felt the air contained within the world that he was made for. And he was glad that he could be happy just knowing what he knew without explaining it.

 

 

 

Endless Rain

I hope it rains forever,

So the same places don’t feel the same,

So I don’t need to feel too alive,

So the same people won’t speak,

So it’s as if the world’s already died.

I Hope it Rains forever,

and clouds block away the sun,

and droplets form on the ceiling,

and make the weak ones run.

I Hope it rains forever,

and starts drowning all the cars

with lightning and sparks,

I Hope it rains forever,

That one could rest their mind,

and thoughts patter on the asphalt

and run off through the gutters and storm drains and pipes,

far far away,

staining the oceans blood red and orange

trailing off into time.

Forever.

 

Lovers in Space.

The farther you pull back,

The less it all seems to mean,

But looking in on a moment,

Bears all the significance.

 

The lights of a moving carousel,

the smell of pine and fried dough,

Smiles that wont go away,

Standing on the grassy dew covered hill and looking up at the fabric above,’

and wondering.

And not having to wonder alone.

 

Sky rocketing through the clouds and weaving among comets towards the vast uncertainty of the big ocean of reality,

Peering out from the cramped cockpit at a flinging tendril of star energy,

Not minding the close spaces or the empty floating candy wrappers in the cabin,

Or the crumbs, or the love.

There are filters after all.

 

Walking across alien landscapes and marveling together at odd temples covered with blue lichen,

Reaching for each other under a green sky,

and being human in a strange, futuristic land,

on another planet,

in the emptiness of all space,

two specks in the multitudes,

Knowing that when you pull away it all seems like nothing,

But here and now,

Is all that is.

all that is needed.

My best gal.

“The wine is quite good.”

“pardon me?”

“I say- I say the wine is quite good.”

“Oh you think so?”

“Indeed I do.”

“Well it’s always good to hear that a man’s wine is appreciated after all the time and effort taken to pick the dandelions off the side of the highway.”

“Excuse me?”

“Oh yeah, it’s dandelion wine.”

“Really? i didn’t know you could make wine from dandelions.”

“Oh absolutely, Ive been making it since I was 10.”

“that is something.”

“Yep- And I haven’t been sober since.”

The man let out a horse laugh and the scent of fermenting liver and pipe weed emerged forth and entered sharply into the taster’s nose.

“I say, the aroma of your dying innards pares well with the wine.”

“Oh thank you sir, I really do try to maintain my demise as vigorously as my wines.”

“So do you only make dandelion wine?”

“Huh?”

“I say do you only make dandelion wine?”

“As far as I can tell.”

“Well…alright that should do for the sacrament anyway.”

“Always a pleasure to aid the clergy”

The year was 1930 and vaudeville was all the rage, the Sachemo kid and Kimmy Rats Bottoms toured the world-round performing their famous dandelion-wine-clergy skit. Tragically they died in an accident when 150 bullets riddled their car from the precision rifles of the G-men on the trail of Bonny and Clyde. Our fearless G-Men got them in the end though and just goes to show that there is no cost too great for our feds to stop the outlaw and the spread of communism.

 

 

Memories

From my childhood, I recall a few images that remain vividly imprinted in my mind. Despite the years and experiences gone by and the desire to become a self-sufficient human person being grown up thing, these moments remain forever embedded in my memory.

Snoopy and Charlie Brown were talking on the TV upstairs. I ran at full speed. Snoopy and Charlie Brown were also talking on the TV downstairs.

I was driven by exploratory desire. The trunk door of my Mom’s Saab ’93 was heavier than I expected. Trunks are dark.

I yelled Bam! each time I threw a toy into my basket, all except for the last time, when I yelled DAMN! I turned to my mother who was nearby and apologized, but she only looked up and said “What for?” I mumbled “Nothing” and silently continued, contemplating if only I was aware of my own experiences in life.

 

 

Prompt Source:

Prompt 872

Simple or Brilliant?

As he turned, unsure of weather he had leave to go, he blurted out to the only one who could hear him.

“I am the undevoted man of the unseen, half a being, dipped in Chrome and part of the machine. Wisdom leaves a tarnish, but I like the way it mutes the sun. I’m the man of light and chief of all undone. You cannot stop my march as I bumble past your life. I am not solid enough to hold, but I can still cut you like a knife. I am master of the inbetweeness and I shout “balance” in my mirror, come away or stay with me, I cant tell if I want you nearer.”

He said and then left.

The wise woman would say about men like him:

“Tread carful when you see this creature mired in his swamp. He is a storm of high mind and base desire moving towards impossible dreams and unheard of wants. Truths and lies boil in the same bubbles and so rapid do they rise, not even he knows which are his troubles. Tread carful.”

Spark

A shock wave runs through the system.

Time is fast approaching,

bring us to the event horizon

of all things great and terrible.

I was sleeping in my bed

I was covered and warm

I was pushing away my life

and now I am alive.

Should not have

hit

snooze

Unbridled

Where does the wind go?

Where does the time go?

When will the sun stay,

always in the sky?

I feel that there’s a rhythm,

and the song will never end,

but I know that there’s an ending

I just don’t know when.

I hope that one day then,

when it all comes crashing down,

I can see the lands where all that time had gone to,

and where the winds are all around,

where the sun shines every morning,

and a song.

If there should be a higher dimension to go to,

and more dimensions below,

am I still in the beginning,

or am I near their height?

I must be somewhere in the middle.

Living out this strange life.