Saturday, November 18, 2017

Well Bottom Dry

No need to
Try to
Save me

I’ve been pinched into
This lie of a life since
Before I
Was born

We all do the minimal
Maximum we are
Capable of

Which serves to
Drag me through
My days
My nights
My pinions pulled
Lassoed and roped
My only flight
A light scratch of a line
Drawn in the dust
Not even
Sand
Anymore

An ending
Would be
Nice

Monday, November 13, 2017

Paradigm Lift

Aware
Of something
Always
Amiss
I used to perceive my
Reality as
One mind's eye
Covered in gauze
Placed there by
Forces
Un
Known
Until
My eye ate away
One
Then two
Then three
Then more
Layers of illusion
Only to reveal
Yet more layers
Difficult to hold
Difficult to own
Until I realized that
Each layer eaten by my eye
Became a thing to be digested and
Somehow controlled
My vision
My ability to
Perceive
Anything
At all
.
Layers and
Layers and
Layers hooked
Inside and out
Like a network of
Confusion
Fused with
?
Un
Known
.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Dark Draft (Unfinished)

It's been a while since...
I've been in a place like...
This.

Standing. Speaking.
Thinking and observing...
Inside.

Hopeful, then.
Not so hopeful, now.

Merely doing what I must...
Do. To. Clue. You.
In...

On the nothing in my head.

No. Really. It's empty and...
Unaware.
Completely.
Unaware.

Which
Oddly enough
Leaves a razor's edge that
Cuts

And cutting
Oddly enough
Is the subject at hand

Or should I say...
Wrist.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Position Real

The lies have been wound
So tightly, the truth just needs
The right place to blow

Friday, August 4, 2017

Truth

The gut of suffering is
Always hungry.
And lies are what draw
Food to mouth.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

OoLaLa

Fast
The nip
The tuck
The tip
Until our heart is bitten
To the quick

Leaving aftermarks of
Dis-
Comfort found only in
The resurrection
Of our
Penitently
Repetitive
Foundational 
Folly

O
O
L
A
L
A
.

.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Not Even

Not even
This
Is what
We were thinking
On account
Of that

Be
Cause
What we thought
Of that
Was that it
Wasn't
Worth
Thinking about
At
All

.

22 Stories: Falling Up

Looks like the final version of my novel 22 Stories won't be published for another month or so. Now, the deadline I am trying to beat is the 1st of September.

That's all for now. Over and out.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Chapter 12

What follows is the start of Chapter 12 from my forthcoming release 22 Stories: Falling Up. Rewriting just this small section took me more than an hour. And I still don't know if it's right. Hence the need for yet another editorial pass over the entire novel, once I finish with this one. Despite the writing delays presented by life, I think it will be no more than two months before 22 Stories: Falling Up is made available on Amazon. I meant to have it out by the end of last month (May), but I guess the end of July will have to suffice.

***

"Huh. Another landing with a door." Phillip states the obvious.
A solitary green bulb planted in the wall just above the door shines in the darkness.
"There's a security device, too. Like the one Boaz opened up." He ponders the situation. "You don't know the code, do you?"
"Of course not." Emily walks over to the door and pushes her hand through its surface. "We're virtual, remember?"
Oh, right, he thinks.
You've got the telepathy down! Emily passes through the door like a ghost.
Phillip does the same.
On the other side is a short hallway leading to the rear of a low auditorium. The auditorium is dimly lit by the green light projected from a media turret suspended in its ceiling's center and aimed at the large movie screen hung along the far wall. The turret stamps the screen with the Virtual Design logo, the inverted compass of which glows emerald neon against a more subdued sage. Grasping at this image and the pinewood podium in front of it, a great mahogany U of a table squats in the middle of the otherwise open floor of the darkened chamber.
Surreal, thinks Phillip.

***June 18 rewrite***sigh***

"Huh. Another landing with a door," declares Phillip. He takes note of the solitary green light planted in the wall just above. It shines its verdant light down into the darkness of the stairwell. He also notices a keypad to the left of the door. "There's a security device, like the one Boaz used." He ponders, "You don't know the code, do you?"
"Of course not." Emily walks over to the door and pushes her hand through its surface. "We're virtual, remember?"
Oh, right, he thinks.
At least you've got the telepathy down! Emily passes through the door like a ghost.
Phillip does the same.
On the other side, a short hallway leads to the rear of an auditorium. A media turret, stuck in the middle of the auditorium's low ceiling, projects Virtual Design's logo on the screen on the far wall. The logo's inverted compass glows neon green against a more subdued wash of blue. Within the otherwise unlit auditorium, a great U-shaped table squats on the floor's dark gray carpeting, and the arms of this mahogany table grasp at the pinewood podium just eight feet in front of the logo onscreen.
Surreal, Phillip mentally broadcasts.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Price Tag

When she came here
In this place here
No one heard anything louder than
The prices called
Across the terra cotta plaza

See the pleasure
What will you pay
To know the pleasure of
Her silken tresses before
All the world turns
Gray?

With the backdrop of barkers
Barking shouts for money
A gaggle of children run
Amok
Playing tag you're it
Now YOU
must pay

Small hands place coins
On the salesman's shelf
How much for just a slice of
Me?
How much to realign all my
Controls?

For we are human
Commodities of a different kind
Sold and selling out
For just the right price
Tagged behind our foreheads
Third eye
Pri(z)ed wide open
So we may finally see
What IT is
We shall
Be
Come

Again

Friday, May 26, 2017

Sad

It hurts to watch
Another
Or even
Myself try
To make merry when
The necessary ingredients like
Real people 
Real understanding 
Real worth
Real love
Are completely 
Missing
So merry simply isn't 
Anything more
Than an insipid drunken grin
Floundering in the absence of comfortable calm
Outside our place of
Business 
Minding our own
Business
And no one
Else's
Business

Bliss

?

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

First Contract

Before I came here

(And I do believe I speak
For most of us
If not all)

I looked back at God
And said

"Okay.
Even though the path is
Rough
And I may not like myself
Even most
Of the time
I think I want
To know who I am
And Who You are
Enough
To wager this here bet
Of incarnation.
I will be me
And when all is said
And done
Everything will somehow be
Okay."

.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Haiku Turntable

Wish I could have done
All the things you rightfully
Wish I could have done


.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Don't We

It's like they're looking
To know who they may
Be
Come

Were you you or someone
Else you saw on
Cable, a
Music video?

Per-
Haps
.

And why do you wait for
Me to decide who I
Might
Be
?

Well,
We all know the answer
2
That 1 now,
Don't
We?

I think

I know

We
Do
.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Ideas

There're these
Ideas
That everything eventually
Works out
That good things come
To those who...

Wait

Really?

'Cause I was thinking
That if I draw
Certain lines
Then every ending is
By definition 
Happy 

No wonder I was so
Fascinated by
Tragedies when I was
Young

Truth
Is
Fascinating

Overheard, Years Ago

"He suspects, but he doesn't know."

What some people find funny
sometimes amazes me.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

22 Stories: Falling Up

Here's a bit from chapter four. Although it may have a few glitches, it's very close to its final edit. Phillip and Emily are the protagonists.

*****

“I guess we’ve time to kill.”
The emotional tenor of his face darkens.
Emily feels an empathetic shudder. She asks without thinking, “Why don’t you tell me about your dreams?"
"Okay." Phillip widens his stance, centering himself.
Emily finds his transition a little strange, but asks no more questions.
He grabs the strap from which his backpack hangs over his right shoulder. “Ever since we spoke with William, something’s been eating away at me. He said there was a pharmaceutical consultant on the project, and when he said that I couldn’t remember ever having swallowed any pills. But then, when I saw B&J pass through here to get down to you, I had a flashback."
"So this isn’t a dream. It’s a memory?"
"Maybe. But I think you know what I mean when I say it’s hard to tell the difference, at least from the time of the project. I remember swallowing little black pills that looked like licorice but tasted like…" he pauses, searching for the right words, "an overcast sky."
"Like a what?"
"See, that’s what I’m saying. It doesn’t make sense, but that’s how I’d describe the taste of the pills. You usually don’t taste a pill when you swallow it, but that’s what happened."
Emily reads Phillip’s face carefully. Even though his eyes are somewhat distorted by the vv erasure of his visor, she picks up on something. "There’s more to this, isn’t there?"
Phillip takes a deep breath and holds it in a few seconds. "Yeah. Here’s what happens after I swallow the pill. You’re with me, under this overcast sky. You’re curled up in a ball, holding a doll against your stomach, crying and making noises, because you’re really scared of something, but I don’t know what. I ask what you’re afraid of, and you keep saying, ‘My baby is changing!’"
Emily blinks, inhales sharply, and blinks again. She only realizes what she’s done after the fact.
"Then I see the clouds in the sky change color, and every time they do, the doll you’re clutching changes color the same way. In my dream, this had you absolutely terrified."
Emily does a double-take. Her left hand is pressed against her belly. With a conscious effort, she pulls her hand away. She wonders what this means. She doesn’t like it.
"I try to help, by changing the sky back to normal, which is something I know can do. But, for some reason, I can’t. I’ve no control." Phillip grits his teeth, remembering what he shares next. "Then I lose control over my whole body."
"What do you mean? What happens?"
"My legs go spastic, and I fall. When I hit the ground, I’m as terrified as you are. I try to stand, or just roll over, but I can’t. And all the while I hear you crying out about your changing baby." Clearly agitated, he stops talking.
Emily takes a few steady breaths and imagines the sound of Katherine’s voice counting down for each breath, from five to one. “I don’t remember that particular dream, but most of my dreams have definitely been fear based. Don’t know what happened during the project, but something must have scared the living shit out of me." Emily’s right hand involuntarily tenses and crushes her empty water cup, which she then tosses to the floor.
Phillip lays a gentle hand on her shoulder. "Listen. Whatever it is we have to face tonight, I wouldn’t want to face it with anyone but you. I know we have issues to work out between us, but… I trust you. That flower you’re wearing may be just a symbol, but it stands for something real."
Emily looks down at the rose tucked in her belt. Still unblemished, its white petals are beginning to open. She gazes into Phillip’s eyes. "Yes. And I want you with me. We’ve a lot of history, and it goes much deeper than Condit’s project." She directs her attention to the surrounding crowd of people, conversing under the green glow bathing them from above.
She opens her mouth to say more, when the background music goes silent. Conversations die down, and everyone turns to the obvious center of attention. A beautiful, curvaceous woman, wearing what looks like nothing more than thin lengths of ivy caressing her ivory skin, walks down the stairs and through the crowd of partygoers. They part for her as if instructed to do so. Her long, flowing hair is white like her skin, and the woman carries with both hands a nine-inch tall egg in front of her voluptuous breasts. The egg emits its own pleasant, verdant glow, and her bare feet glide over the carpeted floor as she comes to the center of the room.
Emily leans over and nervously whispers, "Is that Daleth?"
"No." Phillip gives a low chuckle. "I’m sure this’s all vv. Look at the way she’s walking. You can take off your visor, if you need to check."
"Oh."
When this stunning virtual entity stops in the middle of the room, she raises the egg above her head. It then rises from her hands up into the air, ascending until it touches the ceiling. When it does, the egg splits and branches. Glowing, leafy vines of light expand from the egg’s center, slowly spreading out in a horizontal plane. The only sounds are the occasional exclamations of delight from the watchful crowd. The virtual vines stretch out until they turn the ceiling’s smooth expanse into a sky veined with virtual life. Her work done, the beautiful AI sinks down into the floor, out of sight. The music returns, and so do the conversations.
Phillip turns to Emily. He caresses her with his eyes.
She blushes, her heart beating the rhythm of her desire. She’s not sure what to think. He is her lover. He is her best friend. He is also the source of many of her fears. Can they lay those fears to rest? Will they love again? Remembering how things used to be, she reluctantly lets just a little hope into her heart.

Friday, March 31, 2017

22 Stories: POV

This one's not finished yet. Not even the rough draft. But it's going to be the companion collection to 22 Stories: Falling Up. What it is is a series of short stories, each one presenting the events of Falling Up (and more) from the perspective of each chapter's key side/secondary character. So, presented below, is the first short story of 22 Stories: POV, which would be the one about Aleph. It's a rough draft still, but I'm not planning on publication for at least another year anyway, so... enjoy...



With faith as my guide,
I step into the unknown;
No fear of falling.



"Good afternoon, Stan-My-Man. Good afternoon." I greet the security guard with all the irreverent flare I can muster.
The guard's eyes widen at my bright yellow top hat, borrowed from a theatrical stage somewhere in Manhattan, which does not agree with my red tank top and knee-length khaki shorts. But the real kicker's my purple slippers.
"Nice footwear, there.”
"Why, thank you, Stan. Fuzzy and straight out of hell's bedroom, right? Only the best for Virtual Design, my friend. Only the best." I dance a little jig through the metal detector. "Which is why I'm here, no doubt." I smile at the expression on Stan's face, a study in begrudging respect. But I can afford to rattle people like Stan, as I am the director of Professional Recess, the number one corporate party consulting firm on the east coast, if not the world. A specialized business niche, yes, but also a very lucrative one. And tonight is going to be more lucrative than most, as the tech company being served (Virtual Design) seems quite happy to spend like there's no tomorrow.
"Getting paid overtime tonight, Stan?" I know the answer but ask the question just the same.
"Press your thumb, please." Stan can be seriously professional when he wants to be.
"Sure." I allow the pedestal reader to confirm my identity. "'Now I'm just a number.'"
Ignoring my lyrical reference, Stan waves me along. "All your stuff is in the next room."
"Good to hear, Stan. Now, tell me, are you going to be having fun at this little shindig tonight, or are you just going to frown as everyone passes you by?"
"I have my duties."
"Yes, you do, Stan. Yes, you do.”
No reason to continue to torture the security guard – he's not as much fun as my girlfriend Cherise - so I open the door in the back of the room and exit the windowed foyer of Virtual Design's Executive Building as swiftly as I arrived.
On the other side, I find everything set up just as I planned it. There's a computerized podium in the middle of the first floor antechamber, and a table standing next to it with dozens of white gift boxes on top. The boxes are all tied with blue ribbons, and I shake my head. Damn, that's a lot of money.
Money. Now there's something to think about. What fool would decide to throw the most expensive party in Virtual Design's history right after their stock prices have dropped – across all sectors – for the fourth quarter in a row? What fool, indeed. And the answer to that question would be none other than Condit, of course. The top dog. Or naked prince, depending on how you want to look at it.
Naked in his love for projects that are nothing more than resource absorbing black holes. Throws money and influence around willy-nilly. Or that's what I've been told. I've even heard his latest "secret" project psychologically damaged its participants. Phillip H. and Emily F. - the twin stars of Project Immersion - apparently suffered so much that now they're speaking with lawyers looking to sue. Crazy.
Of course, rumor's not always right. And I'm pretty damn sure that the director of Virtual Design still has an ace or two up his sleeve. After all, Condit did tell me a few things. And, oh yeah, I almost forgot. "Stan," I advise through my earbud PDA, already hooked into the building's system, "Give Phillip H. carte blanche through security. No such thing as contraband in his case. Good. Thanks, Stan. Kisses." Sorry, I can't help it. He's just asking to be fucked with.
And, speaking of fucking, I wonder if Cherise will be here tonight. After all, I do have "free" access to floor number seven, and it'd be a shame to let that go to waste. Virtual Design's own little replica of a Japanese love hotel. What more could I ask for?
A lot, actually. Like reassurance. See, Condit wants me to spy on the party's attendees. And to be sure I don't shirk my detective duties, he's decided to hold Cherise hostage. How? By threatening to station her in France, of all places, in some kind of lockdown facility. And he can, because her job is the one thing Cherise values in this world more than me. Damn. But, oh well, this is what I signed on for. And the pay is nice. Just need to be careful with Condit.
What he wants seems easy enough to do. At least, that's what I tell myself. I just need to keep an eye out for anything unusual. Particularly anything relating to Phillip and Emily, who might not even show up tonight. And why would they? I know I wouldn't want to attend a party held by the company that'd damaged my mind, not unless I had a pretty good game plan. But what game could they possibly play that Condit wouldn't find out about?
God, I'm getting nervous.

Boaz and Jakin are the first arrivals to really spark my interest. Since they were in charge of the failure called Project Immersion, I need to dig a little. Jakin's face is sunburned. I heard they were on vacation, yet, here they are. Together. Which is doubly curious because I also heard they hate each other.
Like a vampire in sunlight, Boaz squints under the bright yellow fluorescents shining down and searing the room free of shadows. "Festive," is his one-word commentary on both the room and my attire. "Are these they?" He motions towards the gift boxes.
"Yes, in-deed-y. Now, let's see here. Boaz." I mark the podium with my finger. "And Jakin." 101 and 201. Locating the proper boxes, I hand them over.
Boaz and Jakin, never really acknowledging one another's presence, silently engage themselves in unwrapping their party favors. Afterwards, they both don the visors they find inside, which are like the black visual sealants normally used for online entertainment, only with a twist.
"Clear glass, huh?" Jakin surveys the room through his visor.
"Yep. Each visor is individually attuned to the mind of the wearer and will overlay the real world as seen through the glass with virtual images projected on the glass. Plus, there're earbuds for sound." Having explained this a few times already, it rolls right off my tongue.
"So, the virtual meets the real, eh?" Jakin shakes his head, appreciating the technology.
"Nice sunburn. Why aren't you still out at the lake, or wherever you were?"
Jakin straightens. "Heard this party would be too good to miss, Aleph. That is your name, right?"
"Right." So, I'm not the only one who's been asking questions. I wonder what these two are up to. "Decided to come to this shindig together, did you?”
Jakin smiles and then coughs. Boaz is the one who answers. "We've got a little business to attend to. Nothing major. Just something unfinished.”
I wait for him to elaborate, but he doesn't. So, I decide to make a little joke as they head towards the stairs: "Do please be sure to immerse yourselves completely in the festivities!"
Neither Boaz nor Jakin give any visible reaction, but I'm sure they're wondering just how much I might know about Project Immersion and maybe even about their agenda for tonight, whatever it might be.
I leave a voicemail for Condit, hoping that I'm doing a good enough job to keep Cherise working here in New York, rather than that Paris lockdown. Not sure, though, as I didn't really learn too much. I'm not the world's most effective interrogator.
Others arrive. Quite a large number of others, as a matter of fact. And, amazingly, everyone is given a visor, although not all of them are personalized. Most are, though. And the most personal of all the visors are the two I am about to hand to my most important and surprising guests: Phillip and Emily. Now I really must pay attention, so I can make myself useful to Condit.
As Phillip holds the door open for her, Emily steps through, only to stop and gaze distrustfully about the brightly lit room. She visibly heaves an inaudible sigh. Phillip nudges her forward from behind. He has a small black backpack slung over his shoulder. Backpack? Odd. As for Emily, she has a fresh white rose tucked in the yellow belt cinched around her waist. Attractive couple, really, although their body language speaks of distance. When they finally approach, I give a little bow. "And you would be?"
Saying her name, Emily runs her eyes down my impeccably dressed self from top hat to slippers, blinking a bit at my show-stopping footwear. Yes, these babies are the best things I have ever worn.
Phillip and Emily, like Boaz and Jakin, must have some agenda for being here, an agenda that Condit probably wouldn't like one little bit. After all, what makes you want to party with a company you're planning on suing?
Phillip looks towards the stairs and asks about the "JUMP HERE" sign. I turn around and announce, "That's the way up, or down, depending on your perspective. Forward is the general direction understood by people in your situation."
"Situation?" Phillip sounds off balance.
"With impetus." Cryptic, I know, but hey, that's just me.
Phillip crosses his arms. "So, do you give riddles to all the guests, or are we special?"
My answer is nothing more than an enigmatic smile, and this has the desired effect. Phillip breaks eye contact, and Emily shifts her weight from one foot to the other.
I hand over their visor gift boxes, playing a little game by first giving Phillip Emily's visor, which of course doesn't work on Phillip. When he notices this, I pretend to have made an honest mistake, which I immediately correct.
But I do more than just mess with these two lovebirds' minds. I also remind them that the visors are all connected to a computer network that monitors everything. The visors effectively see what their wearers see, both in the real world and in the virtual.
"Kinda creepy." Phillip swallows, and I think he may be having second thoughts about whatever it is he and Emily have planned.
I then watch in amusement as they discover what happens to be, in my humble opinion, the visors' most amazing feature: visual erasure. When you don a visor and look at someone else who is wearing one, you can't see the visor that the other person is wearing. You just see their face. There's the slightest bit of distortion, but it's really quite negligible.
"Wow," says Phillip.Emily seems not so impressed. "Let's get things started."
Chastened, Phillip asks me if there are any more needed preparations.
I see this as my golden opportunity to give my prepared script, the one Condit gave me a few days ago, just in case: "No, no more preparations. Of course, some things you can't really prepare for. Takes all the fun out of it. Just don't be afraid to jump. You've got twenty-one more floors to fall up through, and you will find, when you reach the top, that you were really ready for everything all along. That, or your climb will end prematurely. Best of luck to you both."
"Is this the same script you give all the guests?" When I don't answer, Phillip turns to Emily. "Well, let's go before I change my mind. I've got calls to make, people to see. Hell, we might even run into Boaz and Jakin, don't you think?"
Emily answers something or other, but my mind begins to race. Phillip and Emily and Boaz and Jakin? Could they be here for the same reason? Something having to do with Project Immersion? I need to call Condit.
As Phillip and Emily head up the stairs, I leave another voicemail and then wait for more guests to arrive. After a fairly uneventful hour, Cherise comes walking in. Yes! And she is wearing, below the hem of her bright yellow dress, her own pair of purple slippers that complement mine just perfectly.
"They picked someone else for France. I have to stay here."
"Oh, baby, when did they tell you?"
"Just now."
"Really, on a Friday night?"
She just shrugs and looks into my eyes. "How much longer do you have to man this podium, babe?"
"Why? You want to get me out of these slippers?"
She smiles. "Oh yeah."
Thank you, Condit!