Glass & Gale pt IV

The sunlight through the clear stone was warm. The cub moved the stone side-to-side and watched the light change color. Red, yellow, green, blue, the cub lay on his side and pushed the stone with his paws. 

As the light turned yellow again, the cub heard something from above. Looking up into the trees around him, he spotted the falcon from the willow tree sitting on a branch high above the forest floor. The falcon watched him, unmoving. 

Their eyes locked and the cub felt something pass through his body, warmth spreading from his chest to his legs. Time seemed to stand still as the wolf and falcon gazed at each other. 

Pain shot through the wolf cub’s paw and his eyes darted quickly down. The clear stone had light shining through it, and where the light fell on some fallen pine needles, a bright red burst of heat was growing. 

Jumping back, the wolf cub watched in horror as the flame consumed the needles and started reaching up the nearby tree. The heat grew intense, billowing out from the flame and leaping up the tree trunk. 

One burning tree became two, then three. The fire seemed angry, lashing out at all of the world. 

The wolf cub ran. 

The fire chased. 

Reaching his pack’s den, the cub started howling and barking at his family. 

“Go! We must go!” 

His packmates looked at him as though he were mad and started yipping at him. 

“Why?” “What happened?” “What’s wrong?”

“What did you do?”

The last question was growled from the throat of his sire. A huge black and grey wolf, the pack leader stood a few paces away, hackles raised. 

What did you do?” 

The cub shrunk away, fearful of his sire’s anger. He had seen many times his sire challenged by other wolves, and every time the challengers had limped away bleeding, or died. 

“Fire,” the cub whined. “It comes.”

Sniffing the air, the pack leader stared the cub down. “What part of this do you own?”

“The clear stone, it let’s light through, and-”

A sharp growl cut off the rest of his words, and the pack leader leapt toward the cub. Bowling him over with a shoulder thrust, the great Wolf leaned in close and snapped his massive jaws at the young wolf. 

“Your fault. You, with your games. You have never been what you should be. This ends, now.”

Lunging toward the young wolf’s throat, jaws gaping, the big wolf was surprised by the younger wolf’s shoulder in his chest. A fierce push set the bigger wolf back on his heels, and the two started circling each other. 

“So, the pup wants to play,” the older beast spoke with derision. “Come at me, then, pup.” 

Feinting toward the young wolf’s face, then snapping at his flank, the big jaws ripped a gash along the young wolf’s side. 

Falling back, then quickly jumping toward his sire, the cub bit down hard on the big wolf’s front leg. Blood filled his mouth as he shook his head, and he heard a cracking noise as the leg broke in his jaws. 

As he let go, the bigger wolf turned and closed his jaws on the young wolf’s neck, just behind his shoulders. 

A sharp scream filled the air then, and a grey blur from the sky became the falcon, swooping down and burying her talons in the great wolf’s eyes. As she pulled away the older wolf snapped his jaws up at her, and found purchase in her leg. Stabbing with her beak, the falcon ripped the great wolf’s face open as she flew out of reach. 

Wounded grievously and blinded, the great wolf snarled and snapped his jaws aimlessly, hopping in a circle with his broken leg lifted. 

The young cub closed quickly, sinking his jaws into the soft throat of the old wolf. Clamping down and shaking, the cub tasted his sire’s life passing through his jaws. 

Motionless on the ground, the great wolf died with a small whimper, and the young wolf backed away. 

Looking around, he spotted the falcon on a branch above. Bleeding from her leg, she looked down at the blood-covered wolf. She gathered her strength and leapt into the air with a short squawk. 

The smell of smoke and the crackling of flames consuming the forest got the cub moving. With a final glance at his deceased sire, he raced after the falcon, through the forest. 

Glass & Gale pt III

You are Curiosity

Seven moons had passed since the cub found the strange tree-thing in the clearing. He had grown strong, almost as big as his sire. Learning to hunt had made him fast and agile. 

However, the cub had a tendency toward being distracted easily. His sire and packmates were often displeased by the cub’s flights of fancy. 

Your first duty is to your pack, his sire would tell him. Chasing butterflies won’t fill your belly, or your pack’s. 

Roaming far away from the pack’s den, the cub had found many things that he did not understand. A half day’s walk from the den the cub found a great expanse of sparkling rocks and water that stretched forever. 

For hours the cub would walk through the rocks, listening to the murmur of the water as it caressed the stones. Each rock was different, an array of colors and shapes unlike anything to be found in the forest. Gray birds flew over the rocks and landed at the edge of the water. The cub would chase them into the air, then run away as they screeched at him and dived at his heels, swooping down where he had been. The cub thought it great fun to see the surprise in the bird’s eyes when he would stop and snap his jaws at them. The squawking and sudden changes of direction filled his heart with mischievous joy. 

At the end of the sparkling rocks a huge stone sat, with a giant willow tree growing over the top. The cub would sit under its low-hanging branches and stare through the leaves, for some reason the place filled him with peace and a small sadness. 

On this day the cub crept quietly under the canopy of willow branches and heard a soft crooning sound. Looking up, the cub saw a falcon sitting alone in the highest branches. The bird stepped side-to-side and made the soft sound with eyes closed. 

A small chuff escaped the cub’s throat, and the falcon’s eyes opened quickly. Staring down at the cub for a moment, the falcon slowly extended her wings. A small shake off her beak startled the cub back on his heels, then the falcon leapt into the air and flew away. 

The cub watched the graceful flight, feeling a deep sense of envy for the effortless way the falcon swept through the sky. 

To be so free…

The cub stayed under the willow tree until sunset, hoping the falcon would return. As the sun dropped into the water he started for home. As he reached the edge of the sparkling rocks a glint of light caught his eye. Sitting half-buried in the sand under the rocks was a stone unlike any the cub had seen. Gripping with his teeth, the cub pulled the strange stone up then dropped it on the ground. Perfectly clear except for a small mark on the center, the stone caught the light from the setting sun and made colors dance on the other side. 

The cub picked his treasure up and started running for the forest. His sire and packmates would not understand, but the cub had to see what else this light-stone could do with light. 

At the edge of the forest, the cub paused and looked back at the willow tree. He saw the falcon flying over the branches, seemingly looking towards the forest. 

I wonder if she can see me…

Glass & Gale, pt II

The cub sat silently, watching the strange thing in the field. 

It had been there for two days, not moving. The cub watched, sniffing the air for the scent of danger, as his sire had taught. Two days and no movement, yet the cub waited. 

A soft breeze ran through the field and the tall grass bent down around the strange form. The cub saw a small movement then, a limb raised slightly, then dropped. 

Creeping forward, the cub approached the strange thing, ready to run away at the first sign of danger. Drawing near, the cub saw clearly the strange thing, an animal with no fur. A green light flickered in the animal’s torso, and a dark liquid dripped from its mouth. 

The cub, about three paces from the creature, tensed as its eyes opened and fixed upon his own. Soft words escaped the bleeding mouth as its hand stretched toward the cub. 

“Come, little one.” 

An unfamiliar feeling gripped the cub’s mind, a pull toward the strange thing. His paws moved of their own volition as the outstretched hand beckoned. As his nose came close, the thing’s hand reached toward the flickering green light in its chest. Clenching around the light, the hand pulled what seemed to the cub to be a large leaf from its chest, then extended it to the cub. 

“Eat, little one,” the thing said. “You are Curiosity.”

Compelled beyond resistance, the cub leaned forward and bit into the glowing leaf. As his teeth closed on the light, it pulsed violently, and became mist. The cub inhaled sharply and the mist disappeared into his throat. 

Warmth spread through the cub’s body as he stood motionless. His skin tingled under his fur as the warmth spread to his extremities. 

A movement caught his attention and his eyes focused on the strange thing. It was changing, its flesh becoming wood-like and stiff. Its arms and legs became branches and within a few seconds, a fallen tree lay where the animal had been. 

The cub turned and ran away from the field, suddenly afraid of what had occurred. Darting through the forest toward home, he leapt over a small pond, then stopped in his tracks. 

Turning back to the water, he saw the sky reflected in the water, and something unusual. A small wolf peered out of the still water at him, blue eyes shining. The cub reached toward the wolf in the water, then recoiled as the other reached toward him at the same time. 

Jumping toward the other wolf, the cub opened his jaws to bite. Suddenly wet, the other wolf was gone, and the cub had a mouthful of stale water. The surface of the pond rippled as the cub pondered this event. 

“It’s me,” the cub thought. “It was me in the water. The sky and me in the water, and not in the water.”

A sharp yelp from behind the cub startled him, and he turned quickly. 

“What do you do, here?” The great black wolf growled at the cub. “Come, now.”

A small bark of compliance came from the cub as he started walking behind his sire. He thought to tell what he had experienced in the field, but something held his words close. Walking through the woods to home, the cub started laughing in his mind. 

“It was me, in the water. I wonder what else is in there?” 

Glass & Gale, pt I

The Crafter placed the last mark on the statue with his blade, and stepped back with a sigh. Looking at the row of wooden mannequins he had built, a sense of relief washed over his mind. He had finished the Green Lady’s task, with a few hours to spare. The moon was full, and would reach it’s zenith soon.
Rushing to the large cabin at the end of the sand, the Crafter took off his hat as he approached her, sitting and staring at the water.
“My Lady, the work is done. I’ve finished.” His deep voice startled the Green Lady from her contemplation, and she looked at him with a smile.
She stood, thirty feet tall, her body appearing to be made of trees and flowers. Towering over the Crafter, she shook her head slightly.
“The work has just begun.”
She walked over to the row of fifty carved figures, as her arboreal arms reached for her sides. Reaching the first, the Green Lady tore a glowing mass of living wood from her body, and began to sing. A soft, wordless melody seemed to swirl around her hands as they placed the living wood against the chest of the first statue. Light escaped from the statue’s eyes as the piece of the Green Lady melted into its heart.
Now a living man, the carved figure smiled. The Green Lady looked into his eyes and said, “You are Hope.”
The glowing man nodded, and immediately turned and ran away from the beach, heading for the forest beyond the sand dunes.
She walked down the row, tearing pieces of her body away and placing them in the statues as she sang. With each new life created, she whispered identifying words to the creatures.
“You are Strength.”
“You are Love.”
“You are Laughter,
Music,
Curiosity,
Innovation,
Observation,
Magic, Time, Wonder, Loyalty, Truth.”

With each piece taken from her body she became smaller, until she empowered the last statue with a cringe, saying, “You are Sadness.”
Now only five feet, seven inches tall, her body slim and lithe, her long green hair danced on the ocean breeze. She turned to the Crafter, and said weakly,
“Take me back to the cabin, please, dear.”
The Crafter wrapped her arm around his broad shoulders and walked her slowly back to her home.
“Well, that’s done now, My Lady.”
She smiled at him again as he helped her down to the earth in front of her cabin.
Shaking her head once more, she looked at him and whispered, “One more.”
Reaching her thin hands toward her chest, she began to sing. She pulled a throbbing light from herself, and placed it against the Crafter’s chest. As it melted into his body, her feet dug into the earth, her body grew rigid as the Green Lady became a lovely willow tree, standing alone against a rocky outcrop, alone by the ocean. Her face disappeared as she whispered to the Crafter,
“You are Poetry.”

Some Day

One of these days, I’ll look back at right now and remember how I got through. 

It’s happened before, it stands to reason that it’ll happen again. 

One day all of the sleepless nights will seem like a distant memory, a fantasy I created to pass the time. 

Close your eyes…

I didn’t mean forever!” 

(What Dreams May Come)

Some day, this period will seem like ancient history, the Greeks with bronze tools, the Romans with togas and debauchery and deception. 

Some day I will sit at her side while she dies, or she will sit at mine while I go, and whichever way it happens we will remember all of the times we have rescued each other. We will remember the troubles, a little. We will remember the triumphs, a lot. 

Some day our difficulties will make us feel stronger. 

Once upon a time I thought I would be alone and unloved forever. Today I know better, that I have lives in my hands, I have hearts in my mind. I know today what I could not, then. 

Some day I will have the answers that I lack today. The stress and trouble I feel right now will feel as unnecessary as the loneliness I used to live in. 

Some day I will have the hugs and smiles that wait for me, across oceans and continents I have a family of real emotion, spread across the world. They know who they are and I know that they dream of that someday, the same as I do, 

Some day my life will end on this plane and I will be remembered as things I almost was. 

Some day I will think more about what I have done than what I will yet do. 

Spiral

January 11, 2001.

A funny thing happened on my way to commit suicide. 

I had been depressed, desperate, defeated, for as long as I had thoughts I remembered. I had finally given up on changing and made the decision that would bring peace to my life- by ending it. 

I told everyone I was going home, that a change of scenery was what I needed. 

There were no cries for help. I didn’t want anyone to stop me, as had happened before. I didn’t want to be convinced, again, that I could be more, better, that I could live and smile and be happy. 

I complicated the process, of course. 

I took my sister with me, caught in her own spinning wheels, I gave her a respite from dealing with her problems. 

The truth is, I was hoping she would catch on, without a cry for help. 

I hoped that she would see past my facade and we could say goodbye. I didn’t want to be saved, but I wanted to let her know that she mattered to me. 

She didn’t. 

Her vision was blurred by her own desperation. She had a marriage to ruin, an addiction to commit to, she had a life to destroy, and my self-destruction was too cleverly disguised. 

I was happy to take a trip with her, just the two of us. We sang and laughed and forgot that our regular lives were in shambles. 

A stop in Phoenix to see our sister turned into one more thing I screwed up… Young and emotionally overcharged man mixes like napalm and dynamite with repressed married women (word to the wise- don’t get involved in other people’s escapes.)

On that night when we entered the apartment in Seaside, California I was all-go to say goodbye and swim away, maybe become a selkie off the Monterey coast, maybe become a lonely, wandering ghost in the fog of Lovers Point. 

The funny thing that happened was ironically perfect, the universe reaching out to me through a set of fog-colored eyes, familiar yet strange, brand-new and long-lost-home in one glance. 

I remember it quite clearly, these sixteen years later. 

I was pissed. 

Fuck me, I thought. Why now? After all these lonely years, there she is, sitting there changing all of my plans with a single look. 

Our story is a good one. Romantic, sweet and seemingly pre-destined. 

I’m working on telling our story in my next book (tentatively titled Hurricanes and Promises, coming later this year) and that will be there… A story for another day, as they say. 

The thing about depression that I usually don’t hear, see or read-

It doesn’t go away. It’s not a metaphor. It’s not a literary device. It’s more treatment-resistant than cancer, and it’s more insidious than a decently-made ghost movie. 

The trouble is, depression is not an invader. It’s not a foreign body doing damage. 

It’s me. I am the perpetrator of the crime, and I commit the same crime, all day long, every day. I hurt myself and I hate myself and I damage myself. 

And knowing that it’s me doesn’t help. 

I can say, it’s me doing it, so I can stop. 

I can actually stop. 

For a week or a month or a year I can be kind to myself. I can love myself and praise myself and do what makes me happy and at the end of every day, 

I’m still there. The ‘me’ that made me miserable. The ‘me’ that hurt me so much. The ‘me’ that is my enemy. 

I’m not separating myself into two entities… I am the person that loved me. I am the person that hated me. I am both up and down, and no amount of talking or analysis or love will ever change the truth. 

I didn’t want a reason, on that January night, to learn how to live with my depression. 

I wanted an end. 

I’m not bitching about finding love- I’m happier than I could have believed possible with my wife. She has made me a good man, she has lifted me. 

But when the wind blows from the wrong direction, I still taste the metal in my mouth, the cyanide in my veins runs cold, 

The end is always hanging around my neck. 

It’s a little too easy to listen. 

It’s a little too easy to believe. 

Which leads me here…

To you, kind reader. If you feel what I feel, if you recognize the way my mind fucks me and you know what it’s like…

Choose to believe in the more difficult idea. 

Decide to believe that you can get through. 

Make a conscious effort to quiet that voice, that insidious and familiar old enemy that whispers your secret fears. 

Climb back up that spiral, and enjoy the struggle. Realize that your strength is much more than you knew. 

You can do this. 

Why Life Hurts

I have a sister I’ve not met. We know each other through words on a screen and the occasional photo. We are close to the same age but have lived wildly different lives. 

She is the person behind 

Our Lady Of Lust And Grace

www.ourladyoflustandgrace.com
On Facebook, and her blog is the first I ever followed. She has a way, she has a style that hits my brain like sugar cookies, she says things that feel like  home and she calls me Brother Matt, because I told her she is my sister. 

This was written in response to one of her blog posts, if you don’t read her you should. 

“I love this. I love you. It’s not up for debate and does not require any action on your part… It’s what I am. 

I have been debated and disagreed with on this point, but, my definition of love seems to me to be accurate. After seeing what is said and done, for four decades and in hundreds of varied relationships, I have narrowed it down to a one-word topic:

Love is service. 

A mother loves her child, and there is no use in arguing, because when she loves her child it can be seen (and if she doesn’t, it can be seen)

Spouses love each other when they put in effort to show love to each other

Siblings love each other when they make sure to exhibit love for one another

Strangers display their love for other strangers, for the needy, for the lonely, for the random asshole that needs a bit more concern… When one person feels love in their person for another, they act. It’s used as a catch-all go-to default setting type of thing, but so often it’s being used to imply some type of obligation… (Of course I love you, now do what I want)

But…

If I love you, it means I will help you, I will work for you, I will go out of my way to give you a part of me and whether or not there is any tangible return from you, my love is being shown. 

Love is service. Love is given. Love is acted. Love is Eve and her children are the gifts of nature. Love is an apple tree heavy with fruit. Love is a flowing, ice-cold stream of clear water, waiting for you to drink. Love is gifts left on a doorstep with no ‘from’ address. Love is the unnamed stranger changing a tire and leaving without a word. 

Love is not a weapon… Love is a choice, a decision, an action, a thought that brings a smile. 

Love is, it just is, love is. 

Love must be. “

Transmission


The time has been decided. 

What hurtles toward this collision hides yet from clarity, which reality will be left after the meeting is impossible to predict from where/why I am,

This will not be an end. 

Endings are one-sided, from a place of limited perspective. For the dying the world seems to be ending, for the Walker, when the path runs out a new one must be written. 

When we get there, you’ll know why we came, and so will we. 

If a message is received from unknown sources, how then is the veracity of the message to be measured? Where enemies and allies have not been determined, how then will a treaty be transcribed, negotiated, collaborated? 

 When the well runs dry, how long do thirsty people wait before seeking an alternative source? 

The arrival of new information does not always change the verdict of a trial, yet it must be allowed consideration. Fault lines are not cracks where the earth splits, rather they are laugh-lines, wrinkles left from expression, what fear cannot damage is the coming of dawn, when stars shine closely we name them and record in our ledgers how far, what size, colour and shape, yet when they are too distant we claim they have died. What is not understood is rejected. 

When we get there,

 we will know why we come.

You will know, also. 

Dreams are not safe places. The dead beckon from across veils and accompanying them means leaving this world, he died in his sleep, and now nobody will hear the tale of the love and the loss, the romance and the comedy of a life seen from a balcony, a life lived with minimal involvement and maximum emotional investment. 

Dreams are not safe, to achieve something great a great price must be paid, balance finds itself no matter how the mountainside falls, no matter how the deck tilts as the waves toss toy ships around a child’s bath, balance will be, 

It must balance. 

 The ending is not what it seems, there will be no post-climactic wind-down. No neatly wrapped loose ends, it will be sudden and fierce, there will be nothing left and no survivors. 

The beginning will not be what is believed, there will be no deafening bang, no creator speaking of light in the darkness, 

There will be nothing, 

And then there will be everything. 

It approaches, pretty up your face

It approaches, tidy up your room

It’s coming, from the depths of outer space

It’s the bride, walkin’ to the groom


Crashing Waves

I feel my soul in those rocks, 

Standing against the onslaught.

Eventually everything is eroded, 

But for now, I stand, 

Eventually everything is washed away and worn down to grains of sand

Rage, I yell to the ocean, 

Give me all you’ve got

Give me all I can take

I will stand, as it crashes on me, 

I will wear away one tiny piece at a time