Sketches from the heart of this wasteland

Oh where have

You been?

April your lips I have found

Your whispering voice

Echoes through the emptying streets

Of this town

Your shifting feet

Echoes through these trees

——-

And I saw

I saw it all fall

The world that we built

All that we had invested

Burned right in front of us

Is it enough

To keep us warm

When the winter comes?

How many ?

How many ?

——

The Joker dances in the streets

The street worker moves to the internet

The trees let go of all that they are holding

The grass grows

And it doesn’t consider us

The ocean crashes in

Whether or not I’m there to perceive it

——

And I wonder

Whether

They build their guns

They build their ships

They scheme their games

Building us up

Just to cut us down

——

Will our blood flood the empty streets

Whether we hold our breath

And pray for the rain ….

Will you even remember my name

——-

Hurl your banners

Your worst fear

April

You’re here

Now tell me my worth

Tell me my name

I’ve tasted your lips

Now show me the cards

Tell me your name….

Tell me the prophecy

Tell me

Who sketches the heart of this wasteland

——-

And in the valley

In kitchen

In the mountains

In hospital bed

In the living room

The rich

And the fallen

The guilty

The innocent

April turns her face

And we all hide our tears from this place ….

Storms

Feel this rain

Here in

The in-between

Shed these clothes

All of these

Designs

These expectations

Taste your skin

Your lips again

Legs over my shoulders

Memorize your body

I can still taste your lips

—-

Her eyes

Burn right through me

Her lips

Pull me

Back to her bed

I went down

To her alter

She’s the only God I’ll ever need

Burn right through these expectations

We have all night

Here in these storms

This lightning

This rain

This sweat

Our flame

I’ll stay here

memorize your body

Until you come apart

Until you come

The Mill

The Bar.

“What’s up stoopid.”

Tara sat down across from me, her brown hair blocking the clock on the church across the street. Fortunately , part of the sun as well.

“What is that brain working on now? Who brings a book to a bar anyway?”

I stared. what do you want Tara?

I had to admit, it felt weird coming back home…the mills closed. Empty buildings, like coffins, waiting for their dead or a hotel with empty floors…just shadows of memory.

Tara smiled, lit a cigarette,

You know, you have to be 21 now.

Hey, we‘re all older.

She laughed.

I closed my book.

Asking myself why I came back home…but I really, already knew.

Maybe that was what bothered me.

Tara hadn’t changed that much. She had a way of moving through the weights and the hard moments. Seemingly unscathed.

I was not so lucky.

I took a breath. Feeling flashes of my childhood walking past me in the street.

Yellow Room (haunted October)

It was raining sideways

The night I died

I remember

The basement

Built above ground

The concrete floors

The open walls

The cold

The 45 acres of woods

Black bears

And deer

Eating

The curly horned monster

Wandered the woods

Only when the fog came out

They said he gathered up children

And brought them back to his house in the woods …

His raven flew ahead and spotted his catch …

The night I died

The waters rose in the creek

A tornado climbed the mountain

The curly horned monster

Stood in the pasture

A wide eyed owl

Sat outside my window

All night

Staring at me

Beside the yellow room…

I heard the witch

Walking in the hall

Her laughter

As she smiled

In the corner of the room…

Aces

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origin

What are you
afraid of And
why do you shake?
Is it demons
from the past Or the shadows
in our wake?
He folded the paper
Put it in his pocket

He watched
The bodies turning in the moonlight
Hanging at the cross roads
Hung for everyone to see

There in front of the church.

blood running down the roots of the tree

He’s older now, but he remembers

As everyone gathers at the alter…

The dust still sticking to his shoes…

I met him when he was older. His hands shaking, as he told me…

What he did at the docks…

Shooting a man for seven hundred dollar bills because he only had five.

He said you never forget the light leaving their eyes…

The things you do just to fit in.

Keeps you up at night….

We like to think we changed

But it wasn’t that long ago.

It was only yesterday.

Photographs

Just as time will fade the paint on the corners of the front steps, chip the glass on the coffee cup, Slowly dry the ink in the pen, slowly age the man.

It will slowly chip away at love.

Tough words or tired bodies when we were young, we used to say everyone else just settles….

Now we barely talk anymore

Somehow we don’t even look at each other and it’s just okay.

For days on end we pass each other without anything other than a silent resentment.

When do you know you’re reading from a script that’s killed you off?

Occupying a movie set that’s packed and left…

Does her mind know, or is it her heart?

Does he know? Or is he so far removed that he believes everything is fine

At status quo

What’s the point of signaling a flare

You’re like two ghosts haunting the same house in different centuries

There’s nothing here anymore

It’s all cold

It’s all empty

And no one knows why..

Any cold drafts are blamed on the weather…

Cold County #1

Somewhere over Lick Skillet

Nine pm

It’s hotter than the drive thru at McDonald’s on Sunday. The Screen door slammed as he was leaving, Everyone saying their second goodbye for the evening.

The older man walking him to his car. Extending the conversation to the front yard.

He smiled again, and said goodbye, backing out of the driveway. Checked his speed as he made his way down the mountain. The road twisting ahead of his vision.

He was thinking of how peaceful it really is, up in the mountains. Just to drive, the trees, the way they change color in the fall. He rolled down his windows, letting his hand ride the night air like he did when he was younger. Reaching for the stars.

His radio went to static, strange, must be the satellites. He glanced again at the sky, this far up you were away from the city and could see just about any constellation if, you know what to look for. Or thought you knew what to look for. Most people just made things up to keep a girl looking at the sky while they were focused on other things.

Odd thing out…

The stars were gone…

A perfect patch cut out

He pulled off the road onto the bluff.

Lights flashed passed his car from off the side of the mountain.

He checked his phone…the signal was gone

It seemed as though this repeated itself three times.

Driving endlessly, yet still under the dark spot. He stopped his car again. Getting out, he held his phone out, hoping for a signal.

That was when he felt it…

First he saw the clock on his phone flash

Nine pm

He had been driving for hours it felt like,

He had even used half a tank of gas….

It happened so fast

It was like a nightmare in his head…

The strings of a piano being plucked

He could feel them closing in all around him…

Coming from out there

From everywhere

He couldn’t see them

But they were there

Moving

Like shadows

Between the trees

And he could feel their long hands

Reaching for him

Grabbing him

Pulling him down…..

Into the blackness….

The patch in the sky.

Cold #4

“Most people never die suddenly. Your body spends years sending you warnings. A man of 55 dies and it’s a tragedy, yes. But not a sudden one. Habits, They can be read like a timeline. We ignore Doctors and keep on with our lifestyles. One day the body just … runs out of road. You want to live healthy? Start talking to your  Doctor when you’re 28, before you start falling apart.” 

Janice was examining a body on the table. All of the lights were off in the room. None of the computers were running in the background.  It was quiet. It had been swept clean from budget cuts. Making it easier to hear her through the phone call. 

” So when I tell you, this body. These bodies. They shouldn’t be here. I mean it. These cells. Agent, They’re billions of years old.” 

She stood up straight. 

“Infected with Virus. They’re reproducing through bacteria from the site. I’ve never seen anything like this.”

– what do you mean from the site? He could feel the pressure in his gut. He was suddenly aware of the limited space of his Bronco. Driving back to the site where they found the hunters and the Coyote. 

“I mean,” Janice was saying…

“- I don’t know how, maybe it was dormant deep in the earth. Somehow, through rising tempatures. These cells, they’re awake. Infecting the water. All of the wildlife in areas red and yellow? Infected. Our hunter had a good hunting day. And was infected as well. Passing it to others. And then you have the water and the town.”

– so this is a virus? 

“Unlike we’ve ever known. This is older than anything we’ve ever seen.” 

He pulled to a stop. Hanging up the phone. The area was on fire. As men were putting up road blocks. 

“What’s going on here? We need to close this area and quarantine these people…”

“Baldwin, I can’t just quarantine an entire area like this. The paper work alone- listen, It’s State Property. Slotted for fracking next year. It’s already in the budget. And you know just like anybody else… that money is already spent. No refunds.  We’ll torch it. And restrict the area. That’s the most we can do.” 

“People have died. And will cont-”

“Hey, we’ve already sent in the report to the Feds. It was imported food and big pharma.” Nothing else. You did a good job. Let it go. 

He couldn’t believe it…

And thought again of Janice’s words…

No one just dies suddenly. It builds up slowly overtime. We just ignore the warnings. 

Cold 

The River was still. Bugs swarmed the area. Agent Baldwin slowed his Bronco to a stop. Looking the area over. The dead coyote laying still beside the bank. 

– What’ve we got? 

– Another animal gone rogue. Jumps a local while he’s fishing, in broad daylight. Crashed into his driver’s side window. Lucky it was up. First thing he noticed was all the bugs. 

He shrugged his shoulders and swatted the flies away. Looking over the dead coyote. 

– Strange behaviour. Especially for this time of year. 

He sighed. Checked his phone. Another call. Another local. 

– Bag it up and bring him in. I’ll have Janice look him over. Thanks for calling me, Darryl. 

– Don’t mention it. 

Darryl shook hands and climbed back into his car. 

Baldwin looked over the area one more time before starting his old Bronco and heading to town. 

Gold City 

The debate for literature is universal and exponential. The debate for libraries. That’s another matter altogether. If a stranger comes to town, no one gathers at the library to gossip about him. 

And so it was, during the age of science, understanding and exploration, there was also superstition and mysticism. When a stranger came to our country. 

No one particularly noticed him though. 

The Headlines were championing another tale. God wanted a tower.  A golden tower to assure  his legacy. It would stand in the middle of the largest city and it would be the tallest structure in the world. 

The news was, God needed an architect. 

Three weeks to the day, The stranger approached God and his Court. 

– I can build your tower. I can build it so it’s reflective surface lights half your country. And it eclipses the sun by day and your moon by night, it will give you light from the oldest stars in the universe. Everyone will know your name. 

God thought for a moment. 

-Name your price, he said, rubbing the rings on his fingers. Everyone has a price. What gold, what firm, what women, do you want?

– The Library  of Archives. That is my price. I want it. I want it moved to the great halls on the coast of your country. And I want the land it sits on there. 

God stared for a moment. 

– Surely this architect is joking. You can have anything in the kingdom and you want the oldest books in the world? And a bunch of land? For what? Books? Fine. You must be poorer than I thought. Let’s hope you build better than you bargain. You have insulted my name and my court. I am God. No one was before me and there is no one to match me and my glory. You have six months. 

The architect left. Feeling accomplished. He really thought it would be more difficult. He couldn’t believe his fortune. 

The months passed. While he and his crew raised the golden tower. On the fourth month they cut the ribbon. There was no other structure like it past or present. 

God, true to his contract, paid with the Library of Archives. It was moved from the Capitol to the Coast inside two great halls. Beside the shore. 

No one thought about it again. 

No one missed it. It was the age of fast information, and fast pleasure. Space, fortune,  no one read for pleasure or for anything more than a certificate of career. 

I remember meeting the Architect for the first time. His eyes were steel blue and he asked me who I was. 

– I’m the librarian. I come with the books. I said. And continued sorting the shelves. You must be the Architect. Congratulations are in order. I have champagne and donuts and coffee for you and yours in the reading room. 

He walked through the rows staring like a child when they first notice the stars at night. 

– I don’t understand. Why would anyone give this up. 

– Well, I am thankful, you would be the first to read one of these books, other than myself of course. In sometime, we’ll just say that. No one reads anymore. They have it all. They are ignorant and they live forever to prove it. 

– My name is Owen. 

– I’m Montague. You can call me Monte. 

In all of my time with The Archives. I’ve never seen anyone so hungry for information as Owen. If he wanted to know something, I would take him to the book. There was a lot he wanted to know, and there was a lot of books. 

– How long have you been here, Monte? 

– Oh, as long as the books. We’ve always been together. It’s in the contract. 

– I never mentioned you Monte.

– The Founders contract. I’ve been here since the first page was ever written and bound. I had to be. Someone has to put it on the shelf. 

The years passed and Owen, opened the library to the people of the low lands. His countrymen, he resurfaced, a new stranger, with a new suit, repairing not only structures and homes, but finance, healthcare and agriculture. 

With the knowledge he gleaned from the library he started building a community, a place where people were free to read and create. More and more the poor moved to the coast and built close to the library. Some studied medicine, and some studied engineering, more and more retired there as well. His community grew into a kingdom. He studied the art of war and law. The books held all there was to know from history. 

So there was a reform. And a declaration  was made. An election and a government was in place. Reforming old opinions. And religions. If you came here you could study and learn from the library. You could join the community. Your religion was welcome but you had to reform it to the values of the community. Everyone was equal. Everyone had the same opportunity. But this was secular not spiritual. There was no place for religion in government. There would be no gold towers reaching the sun. Only men reaching the moon and exploring the far corners of space. And potential. 

God, you can imagine. Was shocked to discover that a new kingdom had erected over night. 

– Who is this Prime Minister? I am God. The strongest in the world. The greatest. 

– It’s the architect. The library of archives are open to the people and they’ve built a new nation, sir. He lives in a house beside the library sir. Both are protected by Ushers. And a Declaration of Independence. 

And so it was. 

That a stranger came to the country and built The Gold Tower. And a new Country was formed. 

Because of Books. 

The content of the archive was recirculated with libraries in every community. 

You can still visit the Archives but you will always- like any good thing- have to seek it out.