Star Trek replicator anyone?  Now all we need is a time-travelling Delorian that runs on garbage…


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Light Emitting Dudes – LED Freerunning

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50, 264 words in 21 days*

Best prose of the month?
Written in the final 2 hours of the last writing day.

(*50, 062 according to the official NaNo robot counter)

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Transcribed from Snowflake (Blue Flower) Journal

Pompeii is Burning

Stamped tin soldiers
cigar box guitar
an empty can
  of red kidney beans
  a broken can opener
  and a Swiss Army knife
She lost the toothpick
  first year in
the nail file
  five years after that
but the knives
  are still sharp
   as the day she bought it
the knives, like the lies
  are always

Some stories
  get worn over time
   smoothed, rounded,
    polished, comfortable
She keeps hers
  lean and hungry
   (for we are all
    honourable men)

Knew you not Pompeii?
People died there
at least that’s what they say
choking in ash
  so hot it
   turned your lungs
    to cinders
  shadows still lying
   in each other’s arms;
If this is what
  they call an aftershock
I’d hate to be
  at ground zero
 (the eye of the storm
  is a myth
   like Sisyphus
   and Androcles;
  a starving lion
   will eat anything.)

He thinks:
  the pictures are too small
   for their place
    on the wall
 (discount bin beige
  masquerading as cappuccino)
A picture should expand
  until it fills the emptiness
  the artist as magician
  capable of placing
   images directly in your mind,
  indirectly deciphered,
  unhindered by education
  enhanced by hearsay,
   or possibly just
   seen in the wrong light
   the image becomes
  (that’s Art with a capital ‘A’
   for those who are only

  unlike people,
   don’t need directions
  don’t need to ask,
   "what’s my motivation?"
  The final cut is
   from the blooper reel
   in the tangible world;
    there are no second takes.
  don’t need to be told
   to seek higher ground;
   they’re already up there
    already hip
    to the secrets
    of the city dumpster
    and the food court crumbs.

      In the margins:
    what are you doing tomorrow?
     and tomorrow, and tomorrow…
     creeps in this heady pace, from day to day
    "this place is the beat of my heart"
   "if the storm doesn’t kill you, the government will"
   submerged elevators, broken wire mesh hearts,
     & quicksilver tears

Lay me down
  in a field of poppies
   cotton candy colours
     in a sea of green

Someone told him
  never to look back
  but neither the threat of salt
  nor the apocryphal tales
   of pomegranate seeds
   can hope to compete
   with that twinge
   in the pit of your stomach
    that says, clear
     as pycrete,
    I’m sure
     I left the stove on;

And Pompeii is burning,
  Delaware’s bleeding,
   and Venice is sinking
    beneath the green waves;
    who knew that death
     could smell so sweet?

Tuesday comes
  after Monday,
  at least that’s what they say;
  people died there,
   choking on laughter
   so hot it turned
   your heart to ashes
    blown away
     on the next
      stiff breeze.

In the midst
  of stagnation
   the hero transforms:
    liquid to solid
    to supersaturated
 only it’s not
   your grandfather’s
   set in the realm
    of Escher’s pen,
    where the endless stair
     becomes a hill
      that never sets,
     a winter
      that never rises,
  words that freeze solid
   and fall to the ground
    so you have to thaw them
    by the fire to hear them.

Can a song escape the singer?
  can you put a bounty
   on an idea?
  can a toy car jammed
   into an old car seat
    really save your soul?

She would see the glass
  as a weapon at hand
He would see the lens
  full of rainbows
  and long-playing prog albums
   (the round kind
   with bumps on
   for the needles to read,
   for those who are only now
    waking up);
The homeless man
  who used to play air drums
  on the George Street bench
    (he’s dead now)
   would see a portent
    of things to come
    and, drinking it,
     become the Messiah.

     In the margins:
     and heaven would ring
     with steel drum reggae bebop
     and dancing in the streets
      sepia piano tones
      and false drawers that don’t open
     plastic flowers, backgammon & tea
      Never stop digging;
       some day you’ll reach
      the other side of the world

– T.H. (May 2012)

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Today, in real life:

M: “A Clockwork Orange! There are so many things in that movie…”

T: “…that I never, ever want to see ever again.”

(took me nearly a decade before I was able to listen to “Singing in the Rain” without images of Malcolm McDowell in a bowler hat coming back to haunt me)

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“Are they still shouting at each other?”

Caitlin glanced back, and shrugged. “Well, she hasn’t thrown him overboard yet. What in god’s name is Troy doing?”

“Whatever it is, something this big, I don’t imagine there’s much damage he can do.”

“Even if it involves matches?”

“Ow!” Feid put his hand to his cheek, and the world came back into focus. He was sitting on the wooden deck, legs splayed, Caitlin half-kneeling in front of him.

“Sorry.” She eased back, and sat down next to him, cross-legged. “It always works in the movies, and you looked like you were about to go critical.”

“The Prof was telling the truth, ” Caitlin said. “Seems he’s only mad north by north-west. When the wind is southerly, he knows a rebel from a bounty hunter.”

“Think a horse crossed with a whale, and a temperamental one at that, ” the Professor piped up, at his elbow.

Feid looked down, and saw that the small man was grinning from ear to ear, eyes squinted almost shut, nose into the still air.

“Fine day, fine day. Too bad it wants to kill us.”

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“You’re one of them, aren’t you? From… up there. What are you doing here? Walking the dirt amongst the likes of us?”

The stranger frowned, and brought his arms around again to hug his chest, as if trying to stay warm, though the day was warm enough already. “Why do you say that?”

“Your eyes, ” the woodcutter said. “Like two bits of sky. Not like we have now, neither. The part of the sky that’s well beyond the clouds – where the dark creeps in, and the stars reach out.”

The stranger smiled, a weak, pale smile, but there seemed to be real amusement in it. “And they said there were no poets down here.”

The woodcutter grunted. “There ain’t. I won’t ask your name – and I won’t give you mine – but I’ll leave my axe by the wall there, so long as you don’t go blazing up again. I got work to do, and falling asleep ain’t on my agenda just now.”

The stranger nodded. “Fair enough.”

“Right then.” The woodcutter brushed his hands together, to loose the last of the sawdust from his palms. “Feel up to a cuppa tea?”

(10:40 p.m., 16, 748 words / Words written today: 3, 430)

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“Do excuse the rude people, ” the Professor crooned to the fish, holding it close enough that his beard whiskers brushed against its scales. “They are but cogs and pawns and the whistling wind, and know not what they do.” He kissed the fish’s snout – drawing a hiss of disgust from Jil and an exclamation of “Dude! That is just nasty!” from Troy – and purred, “There my lovely, wake and sing for us, there’s a good girl.”

Caitlin’s sight was temporarily obscured as both Feid and Troy threw themselves in front of her, arms held wide, feet planted as firmly as they could manage, given that the wooden planks were still vibrating, as if announcing an oncoming train. In the heat of the moment, Caitlin couldn’t decide whether to be amused, or profoundly annoyed.

“What if it comes from behind us?” she yelled, as another thunder-roll shook the walls.

What remained of the ceiling lay in pieces around them, slabs of drywall jutting at odd angles amidst clouds of settling white dust and broken roof timbers. The Professor sat in the middle of a pile of rubble with a stunned look on his face, still holding one delicate, intact teacup. It steamed faintly.

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Before she could fly down the steps, a vice closed on her arm, tight as a blood pressure cuff, but hot, and hard, and sharp, like metal pulled from the fire while it was still dreaming of becoming a knife.

“Oh, shut up, it’ll heal. In approximately…” Jil held up her own arm, which was completely devoid of a watch, “…now.”

“If we’re not really standing on a mountain in the snow, why are my feet cold?”

“You should know, you’re the psychology expert.”

“I’m only third year. We haven’t covered trans-dimensional astral travel yet.”

“Hunter, ” the Professor said, pointing to Jil, “…gatherer.” Pointing to each of them in turn. “She collects people. For a fee. Someone wants you. Oh, yes.” He grinned suddenly, a surprisingly bright, white, even smile. Odd – Caitlin would not have thought a badger would have such perfect teeth.

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An old one for today, but it seemed appropriate.

where to find poetry

written on posts, on rails and stairs
written in chalk, on walls and sidewalks
in old bricked up alleyways
on boarded up windows
written on napkins, on old cardboard boxes
in the margins of fliers
on hat brims and T-shirts
drawn on sneakers, casts and mirrors
written in lipstick and magic marker
in crayon and finger-paint
written in wet sand, in mud and fresh clay
written with sticks, fingers and toes
written with pen knives, etched with keys
and dried out pen nibs
written on skin, in henna and ink
written on fabric, with wax on silk
carved into stone, wood and bone
written with beet juice, vegetable dye,
spilled coffee, melted chocolate
written on fogged up windows
on dusty furniture, and dirty car doors
written with pebbles, twigs and leaves
written in whipped cream and mashed potatoes
stamped into freshly fallen snow
written with sparklers, words on the air
written on fingernails, with nail polish and Sharpies,
white-out and paint
written anywhere, everywhere,
with everything & anything
words covering the world

permanent or ephemeral,
rain washed, tide erased
or measuring out centuries
this is how we say,
“we were here”

– T.H. (Blue book, Aug. ’09)

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