Choice: Part 3

Image: Winter Garden by Mark A. Harrison

III

Like most of her kind, she could not remember being born.  Her first memory was of floating, suspended on the wind, surrounded by winking sparks.  Their rising action guided, not by physics, but by something else – something that had dipped its fingers in the sunspots and swirled them as one might swirl milk in coffee, something that had watched molten magma cool and solidify, had seen the first rain fall on barren land, buffeted by waves tall as mountains.  Were she anyone else, they would have called it foolish bravado, this attempt to resist what they all knew to be an irresistible force. But she was innocent, and so when she sang herself down again, they smiled and shook their heads and said, young people these days.  She won’t last long down there, they said, all alone in an unforgiving world.  She’ll come back eventually, it’s only a phase.  She could not mark the precise moment when they forgot about her, but she felt it happen.  It was some time after the first moment she set bare feet on stone.

< Part Two / Part Four >

Choice: Part 2

Image: A Slight of Day by Mark A Harrison

II

Winter came, a shock of snow on the trees, white against unseasonable green.  Darkness had become habitual, and so the light blinded him at first.  There was a hint of sweet decay in the air, blankets of leaves settling after the rain.  There had been fingernail scratches in the stone, shining blue-white against the black. 

He’d been given a watch as a child, its letters bright green in the unlit bedroom.  For a long time, he believed anything that glowed was radioactive, and had the potential to bestow superpowers.  He also knew these things could only happen by accident.  And so he willed himself to forget what he knew.  It was, after all, the only reason he was standing here now, blinking and shading his eyes against the glare.  To return to the living world, one need only forget that one is dead. 

< Part One / Part Three >

Snow

Seemed an appropriate theme for one of the coldest, snowiest Decembers we’ve had in a long time. Five original images by M, from the archives, in slideshow form. You can right-click to open a full-rez version in a new tab, where you can see all the insane detail that goes into one of these.

Here’s to the New Year picking itself up, dusting itself off, and putting on those well-worn, many-times-mended gloves for another round. We can do this, folks. It will get better!

 

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Bittersweet & Light

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House vine in silhouette by T. Haney

Two for today, to make up for not posting a poem last week. As suggested above, it ends on a lighter note than it starts.

1.

lemon honey, and other
bittersweet things

We welcome arrivals
with trumpets, strewn flowers,
a red carpet kicking up dust
as it unfurls down the long steps
cake so sweet it makes your teeth ache

but we seldom celebrate leavings
except clandestinely
deep in the shadowed places
of our hearts, the sharp, hard
corners, where we secretly relish
the wounds of our enemies
their petty losses, their private
moments of agony;

it is a fragile triumph, a filigree
of burnt sugar and clouded glass,
shattering at the merest touch
so we hold it close
to our chest, tenderly
licking our lips at the bittersweet taste
until the moment sours, dissolving
to dust and ashes in our mouths

we turn with a blossoming smile
towards the next new arrival,
the next accomplishment of strangers
while quietly wishing for the next
delicious ache, the next precious emptiness
left behind by what we once craved.

– T.H.

II.

Our chain-link fence
has become a glorious jungle
a knot-work of vines
tying the greens together
so it’s impossible to say
where the grapes and silver lace begin
where the euonymous and Virginia creeper end
crickets hide in tall grasses
a beautiful cacophony
fills the night air
people strolling by
do a double-take
as a bolt of chickadees
explodes in an ecstasy of scattered sound
neighbourhood cats prowl
imagining a wild forest
fish swim hidden
amidst rush and lily
I sit under the ancient lilacs
in the periwinkle shade
my toes in the fallen leaves
and imagine the whole world
is just as fine as this.

– T.H. (written back when we still had koi in the backyard pond)

 

Flying with crows

Oil&Light_byMarkAHarrison2017_med

Oil & Light by Mark A. Harrison

flying with crows

I sometimes imagine
I’m flying with crows
over autumn fields
and deep river valleys
telephone wires catching
the last of the evening sun
shining white mercurial fire
against the slate dark sky
hills lying like a giant’s body
elbows crooked, cradling a head of stone
how long does it take
for forests to grow up and cover
this still sleeping form?

I don’t believe in miracles
or divine intervention
the universe is what it is
but if I could find the market
where they sell time
I’d find the merchant with the cold, dead eyes
the one who never smiles
and while his back was turned, I’d steal
as much as I could carry;

I hold onto each year like it’s a ledge that’s crumbling
I want to reach out and strangle time
want to steal more than I’m allowed
I have so much more I want to do
but someone cut the brake lines
and here I am, reaching out for anything
to grab onto, to stop this insane headlong rush
I’d write myself a thousand lifetimes, if I could.

– T.H.

(a shortened, edited version of a poem I wrote when I was eight years younger than I am now)