City Limits

I was on a confused city limit highway in a rusty old red truck I borrowed from a dusty farmer driving in circles looking for my father. The thick metal body of the vehicle rattled as I shifted gears over the cheap asphalt, but all the parts were well built and she drove stiff and strong. The truck had gotten me through the barriers and obstacles that were in my way, but as I pulled around another off ramp to an underpass rest area, I was disheartened. There were no signs on how to get back the other way where my mom was waiting at the college to help me look for dad. Part of me didn’t want to go back, the roads there lead to dead ends into rivers and were more confusing footpaths. The only difference was that the roads there had art and spectacles around it where the highway I was on was utilitarian, streamlined and uncaring.

The off ramp lead me down to a strange parking lot. Several other cars were down there. Jeeps and BMWs and a Mercedes, modern and plastic and brittle. My old truck backfired and echoed with heavy gears around the underpass giving me looks from the middle aged layabouts and a couple energetic naive youth. I shifted down, pushing the handle so worn only the silver aluminum on the handle shown. I rolled my window down to ask one of them if there was a way to get back to the highway in the opposite direction, each I asked were friendly, they told me to follow the parking lot to the other ramp. I knew they were wrong, but I trusted them anyway. I knew deep down that I’d be going the same way I’ve been going.

I didn’t know if I was looking for dad anymore, or what I was looking for. I pushed the sluggish truck on , getting new power from each gear as the highway flew by around me. The cars of a generation speeding past me to whichever city we were on the limit of. The cars were driving themselves.

I thought maybe I could turn around if I got to the city and throttled up to overdrive. 

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[BTS1] Brigdon

Grinding rails from the train up on the elevated tracks evaporated into the night’s traffic. Sparks spilled over the side of the riveted steel bridge and were lost in the pollution of neon signs, headlamps, and street vendor lanterns. As the blocks spun by, she could only think of the hours that she had spent in these twisted corridors. The days that had gone by in this alien landscape within the press of some ten million other people.

The lights in the train car flickered and she caught a glimpse of herself in the window. Getting older, the bags darkening under her eyes, tired eyes, eyes that no longer knew what to look for, no longer knew what signs would bring meaning back. Somewhere in the routines she had lost something. Something was left behind in taxes and faces and mistakes that kept coming back to haunt her in stabs and jolts. The cars buckled uneasily around the next bend.

“What am I doing?” She said to her blurred reflection in the window and then looked past to the cityscape. As the train came out over the river the lights and millions of people faded away and for a moment all that remained was the dark river of sloshing darkness under the bridge. It was a black void.

She turned away from the window and looked about the dingy train car, the green lights flickered over the graffiti stained walls and the shimmering silver bars and the plastic red seats. She was alone.

She wondered where real friends were, wondered why she felt so strange, like something was about to happen, but nothing ever changed, caught somewhere between the comfort and security of routine and just utter boredom with no good way out. Where was the adventure life was supposed to take her on? The strange anxiety of being trapped in the moment rose in her throat and she closed her eyes.

The train sped on as she slept. Carrying her away.

She woke up with a start at the lack of motion. The train wasn’t moving. In no time, her mind was racing.

“STOP, DON’T LEAVE!” she hollered at whomever was running the train. She looked around for someone who might tell her which station they were at, but there was nobody. She gathered up her bag and moved down the aisle to the doors. They opened as she approached.

Passing in a daze out from the green flickering room of graffiti. She found herself on the dark platform. She looked for someone else, but there were no people in the glow of the platform lamps. There was a light rain in the hush of thick foliage all around the station. There was no city, no people, nothing but the hum of the dingy lamp and the unused benches. Her heart sank. The train doors closed behind her. The train sped away.

She was left alone, utterly alone, clutching her bag against her chest in the patter of the light rain. She deflated, looking at the station name which read in flat black letters: “Brigdon”.  She had never heard of it.

She looked about for some kind of booth, an overhang to get out of the damp. But the platform had nothing, she pulled out her phone and saw it light up only to notify her that the battery was at a mere 4% at which point it promptly died. She was left staring at the dark drops of water on the dormant screen.

She cursed and, seeing no shelter on the platform, she made her way down the stairs at one end and took shelter under a tree with broad leaves. The rush of wind and rain made her shelter-tree shudder and drops fell on her no matter how close she pushed her back up to the bark. She looked around, for something to reveal where she should go, the only path angled from the station into the dark woods with no light whatsoever.

“Another train will be along at some point.” said a voice. “Not until morning I’m afraid”

She looked around  and then noticed, below her gaze at about waist height a small umbrella being held by a tiny person with a furry face like a fox.

Her eyes bugged when she saw the creature hold up the umbrella with a smile.

“If you want you can use my umbrella, I don’t mind getting a little wet.”

She tentatively grasped the tiny handle and held it over her head. Not taking her eyes from the small being.

“I was actually here to meet someone, but I guess she missed her train.” Said the little guy, looking downward and scrunched up his shoulders against the rain.

“W-who were you waiting for?”

“Oh, an old friend… Anyway, no sense in us both getting wet out here, my name is Lander.” he stuck out a small furry hand that emerged from the long sleeves of his coat. She shuffled the umbrella to her other hand with her bag and grasped Lander’s hand shaking it up and down, stultified by the strange little person.

“My name is…” She drew a blank. Panic arose in her. “I don’t remember my name”

“Seems like kind of an important thing to forget; you might be catching a fever.” Said Lander. “Come, if you need a place to stay, you can come stay with me, the next train isn’t until the sun comes up. It’s not safe to be out at night alone, especially in a rain storm.”

The panic that was within her came out as “If it’s all the same I think I should wait for the train on my own.”

“Suit yourself, you can keep the umbrella.”

And then without another word he turned and walked briskly away, producing a small flashlight from his coat and lighting the way down the path into the woods.

She watched him go and was soon left alone in the rain, the drops pattering off the small canvas of the small umbrella. A few moments went by before she turned and saw his little light bumbling down the path away from the small train platform. She was a city girl after all, she didn’t need help. The thought came upon her suddenly, but she soon soured to this small bit of pride and then hurried with her bag and tiny umbrella clumsily balanced after him.

As she ran, puddles splashed and the wind picked up with the rain falling harder and harder. Ahead of her down the path she could see the light bumbling on. As cold drops fell, they got in her eyes. Then there was a dump of water that fell from one of the broad leaves right before her. The splash hit the ground and rose up, covering her in water. She didn’t stop, but she failed to see the water congeal and rise up behind her.

She found herself running, and as she did, more splashes of water fell from the trees and rose up as watery blobs with shimmering tendril hands reaching out. She could see Lander when another splash fell between them. This time the puddle rose up in front of her and the watery blob appeared, eyeless reaching out towards her.

She screamed and nearly fell back, turning from this apparition only to see the five others behind her. She dropped the umbrella and soaking wet reached into her bag for her knife. She pulled it out in the darkness, flipping out the blade.

“Get away from me!” She yelled, but the blobs only continued sliding toward her. Panicking she brandished and slashed with her knife at them, but they only seemed to grow closer and bigger in the rain. She slashed at the closest one, but her hand only went through the monster and came out wet on the other side. They began to press against her and tried to drown her with their blobby bodies.

Before that could happen, a yellow light fell upon them and the watery monsters shrank away returning to simple puddles.

“Are you alright?” He called as he came up to her. “I told you this place is dangerous at night, you shouldn’t walk in the darkness.”

“You’ve got to be straight with me right now!” She said.

“What what, of course, I’m glad those pests didn’-

“No, you be clear with me RIGHT NOW…” She said, the rain and her tears mingling “Am I in a fucking fantasy story right now?”

 

 

 

Burden

There once was a man who overthought life so much, he could never think beyond it. He couldn’t get the thoughts out of his head; the demons only swirled endlessly about him. He wanted all of his stories to feel real, but the journey began as an escape. To think that the sky might be a scoop of blue ice cream or that the moon might be an underdone pancake would be impossible for him. It would only deviate from finding the truth. His solemn goal and duty to figure it all out; to think his way to the understanding of it all. A burden he laid on his own shoulders. A great and untenable task. That made him bitter with no time for nonsense.

 

For he was lost like all men, looking to find something on his own, to be able to be certain of something for himself. To validate the years of thinking. Once he sold his soul on Acid. He wanted to know how to read minds or move things with his, and it is all already possible if you look at it the right way. It’s all significant, he thought. Life’s answers must be contained within all things. Each blade of grass, the caress of the wind, in the smiles and sadness, in the spider in the shed, or the unseen death of a trampled millipede. Every detail of life holds all meaning. Each moment, each breath, a clue that would bring him closer to learning it all.

 

Why?

 

The answers would save everyone. All war, all strife, all disease, all pain, misery, and joy, laughter, love, sex, birth, and death, would have a framework rooted in the experience of the world rather than by myth, or hearsay, or someone else’s contribution. The depth of things, the detail would be all in what is touched and felt and seen. It would give each of us hope that one person could figure it out and hold it all in their hands without the need for the validation of others.

 

And yet, validation is all he craves, not from cajoling or convincing, but by the merits of his own thoughts, with the only credential that he was alive, and thought each day of his life to find something important, something significant. And so his life became a pitch to others of his breakthroughs and his intellect.  He did not realize the maddening nature of his quest or the enormity of what was thrust upon him. He stayed true to it though. He stayed true to it.

 

In a house on a hill lives a man. His name is Delweather. He lives alone.

The glass.

And each man looked into the glass and saw something different and it strove fear into their hearts and perplexed them, not because of what they saw but because each saw something that could not be explained or understood.

Degenerates

Huddled in some back alley behind the apartments along the river, a spot where you can see the factory, a chick with long earrings and a black blazer adorned with badges sits on the dumpster in divine LSD commune. A not-yet-adult leans against the wall with his foot on a pile of cinderblocks. He smokes a cigarette in the breath of nicotine fire that stains his army jacket with the day’s angry thoughts. We make a net of choices just to trap the demon inside. Another chick in a stained cut-off white tee that offers no brand but the universal “Fuck You” sits under the window and reaches up over her black mascara and silky black mohawk to grab the bottle from the kid laying in the room portal above her. It’s filled with the entry-level numbing agent the girl needs and the kid only feels. Trapped among concreate rulers and united by casual jadedness. They live by the deep hope that they might find what everyone else has been missing in that back alley looking at the factory where an industrial age suffocates in iron oxides like so many hopes and dreams of enlightenment.

Waiting for the day they give everyone hatchets and rifles. Waiting for the war that will change everything. Waiting for time to pass. Wating with their netted demons for the time they can be set loose; when the world can be theirs. Waiting for their lives to happen. Waiting for the drug to free them. Waiting for the arguments to stop. Waiting for the monster of Love. Wanting it all and dying of anger. Capable and dangerous.

Meditating on the sensation of it.

 

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.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

Stuck

With a sigh she opened the screen and the lights dazzled across her face. Entering through the pathway into another world. A place of magic or intensity, life, and drama. Not like reality. Somehow reality was less vibrant. Looking around all of the surfaces and corners of her apartment, the usual tree outside by the stoop where she would suck down a cigarette to bookend experiences. None of it penetrated her. Other people were flat unchanging beings except by location. Somehow all of her friends just felt like a far away collection of vague faces in the haze of a humming backdrop to it all.

So she spent her time watching videos, collecting more and more information from the little box who she began to think of as more of a friend. Her and her computer. “Hey that could be a show!” she’d think, nothing about a computer and a girl as romping friends could be bad. They could talk about memes together and joke about how in those fleeting moments where the girl was an artist, that her self–confidence was a wreck and she was better off just getting back on youtube or whatever.

The thought circled around and she almost got up to write it down but then she really wanted to see how the finale would end. The memory of the her and her computer friend faded until it was unreal, faded into the humming blur where all her friends lived along with the collection of a million other possible experiences. Hours between walls and watching the glowing rectangle. As sleep gnawed at her eyes and she could feel herself wasting away. Still she managed to raise a finger and tap for one more hit.

Death would dawn on her as season six was in its climax. “I only get one life.” the thought said to her. But it seemed so wrong. How could she only get one life when she had experienced so many lives. Even history in grade school covered a vast swathe of lives. Literature, movies, comics, all worlds to enter, to jump into. ONE life? that’s absurd.

But the pang of mortality would return as she watched the screen unblinking. “This is it, I’m using this time right now.” she shook her head and went back to the world, hoping, wishing that the lights could just make her forget who she was, what she was, and what she knew. she wanted to fade into this make believe world that some caffeinated room of writers had made piecemeal for some executive who cut half of it out and sent it off to a social coordinator to get “sharability” or whatever the FUCK they call it.

She was scared. And fear drove her to seek to forget as a matter of course. Why confront a fear you can do nothing about? How do you stop the time from slipping away? How do you keep from dying? You act like you want it. You become lethargic.

It was always amazing how hours could tick by. re-runs, re-watching, re blogging, re-entering the world of these people who had so much more beyond the surface level. She smiled at the jokes, wrapped herself in comfort, while the endless cavalcade of stimulus lulled her further and further away from herself.

She watched and she forgot to live until all the world felt like one great watching.

It was all one big show and everyone was always on it.

but it was real.

and

It’s over now, go click on something else.

Edge

I feel like a shark with a hook in its mouth.

Torpedo fast predator,

razor blades for teeth.

Stuck with this metal thorn,

a splinter tied with coils of cord that run deep and seamless

into the cartilage.

With no way to get it out,

I can only hope it shakes off

before it grows deeper inside

forever.

And I wonder if I would be better or worse off.