Friday, January 27, 2012

2012.01.27 — He looked up from his book to read from his computer screen (A River of Stones#1-27)

He looked up from his book
to read from his computer screen
its meaningful text.
The clock had long since been forgotten,
unnoticed in the corner of the screen,
forgotten and unmoving on the wall behind him.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

2012.01.26 — A cat walked up to me (A River of Stones#1-26)

A cat walked up to me
on a quiet street on a quiet day in sun.
We happily ignored each other together.

2012.01.26 — Bar Cat — A Short Story

Here is bar cat, a short story. I don't write many stories, and my efforts at publication are disorganized and rather pathetic. Is that the mark of a real writer? Someone who organizes his/her efforts enough to get published. What is truly pathetic is that even now, with the blog world, I don't put my stories up. Not sure why, given that a blog is anything I want it to be.

Anyway, something about the nature of an engaging dream discussion
with BH brought forward my two cat stories, neither of which I've blogged — here. I've put them both up in Scribd. The other one, the long one, is called Bilgewater in Heaven. (BH is reading it — her review, if she gives one, is pending.)

bar cat is also there, but it is an old revision. This version has been significantly changed. So, here is some of my short fiction, blogged.

bar cat

"Are you talking to me?" I ask the shelf of spirits
behind the bar's working area. I figure that since that is what the cat-man seems to be talking to I will follow along. But I shift my eyes left to better see the pair without looking looking at them. His suit is a fine cut. And old. Even half seen in a bar that is evident. But the cat on his lap? Of course it is black — but with one white foot and a nearly perfect circle of white on its forehead.

Before I can turn away my eye's curiosity wrenches control of itself from me in order to fixate on the cat's very green eyes. They are so bright and so wide open that they seem to pierce my left eye and create minor baby finger explosions in my brain. After a moment I am quite sure I hear it say, just audibly through the bar noise, in a monotone baritone "What's it to you?" That seems to break the spell, and I am able to look forward again.

I take a sip from my glass of beer, sigh with pleasure at the cool bubbles in my mouth and throat after I swallow, and wonder how I heard a cat talk. With the back of my hand I wipe away the foam that I feel caught in my moustache. Philosophically, it is an interesting question, I think. I mean the cat's question: What is it to me? Or is that, What's it to me? Or, what if it's What's it to me?

The subtle variations of meaning give me pause. I don't know how to answer. Nor how to ask the cat for clarification.

I take another sip. Or, maybe it means What is it to me? Too many questions, too few beers.

I take another sip, a little longer, a little slower. Then I turn to look at the cat.

"I," and I place big stress on that 'I,' "see you."

The cat says nothing. I think I hear it begin to purr. It slowly closes and re-opens its eyes, and with a rock steady gaze intently stares into both of my eyes, and perhaps past my brain and into my soul. I do not blink. I dare not!

The man takes a sip from his martini, eats an olive then fingers the empty plastic stick with the one hand while rubbing the cat's head between its ears with the other. The cat lifts it head in obvious pleasure with each rub of the man's fingers, and when it closes its eyes I feel I have once again been released from something nameless, wordless.

There is no glass plane separating them from us, I think.

That's what you think, I hear the cat speak without moving either its lips or jaw. He never ever gives me a martini. Hell, I'd even take a foo-foo drink. But no. By the end of the night, he's feeling no pain, and I'm left feeling left out.

I nod with a rueful smile. That I understand. I turn away from the cat-man and his cat to take a slow sip from my beer. While looking at the plethora of colourfully bottled liquors, I think, Beer may well be the gods' greatest gift to man. But just man's? I wonder.

I turn slightly to take another side-look at the cat. I see with my left eye that the cat is still watching me, continues to examine my little soul and finding it, no doubt, not up to the task. The man finishes his drink and I see him, without a breath of pause, gesture for another from the keep. And again I find that I cannot turn my head. The cat licks its lips.

I become aware that my right arm has moved, without my knowing it. Is still moving with my half full glass firmly clutched in its — my! — hand. I watch in amazement, as if in slow motion and outside my time reference, while my beer is moved by me but against my will towards the cat, and then slowly tilts. As if this moment will last forever, the cat turns its head upwards, and my golden beer flows in a graceful, gentle arc into its sharp fanged maw.

"Thanks," the man says.

I don't say anything. My hand appears to have rejoined my arm and I bring it back to where it belongs.

The cat says nothing. I hear it burp with feline delicacy and watch it lick from its whiskers a small splash of beer foam that had missed its mouth. It slowly blinks its bright green eyes, and I feel it rubbing itself against the legs of my soul without moving from the man.

And I wonder, Who of me here can hear the cat purring? and order another beer. What else is there to do?

The End

Sunday, January 22, 2012

2012.01.22 — Did I Dream It? A Fushigi*

Today I was doing a more thorough clean-up of my office library space than I usually do, and in the process came across an oldish sticky with some of my scribbles hidden away under the keyboard.
Of course, now that I've found them I remember very well that dreamy *fushigi that began on Friday, November 25th, 2011.

It began as these things always do, without fanfare. Although there was something slightly odd about that Friday. My work day began with an unexpected 3rd party e.mail that had been delivered the previous evening. Its contents
required that I do a site visit relating to an unsafe situation. That kind of urgency rarely happens in my job, although it is definitely a part of it.

However, when I began to arrange to leave the office I learned that all of the pool vehicles had already been booked or were gone. That is extremely rare. But now I needed to see if any of the bookings had been cancelled or if any of the other techs would be willing to defer their field work.

My first query was with BH, who said that she had to go out. But because I know the area of the city she covers, which is adjacent to that which I cover, I asked if I could join her. She said she didn't mind and so we went out together. This brought back fond memories of when I was training her in the job as a design tech. And since I always enjoyed her company the site visit all of a sudden became far more than just routine.

All that is unusual, even rare, but not particularly interesting. But the day became interesting when, for the first time despite all our shared field trips and office exchanges in eight years, we wound up talking about dreams. What she did not know, of course, is that I have read and studied dreams quite extensively. It turns out that BH is a prolific dreamer with dreams that have powerful and suggestive imagery. She was shocked when I told her that most people do not even remember their
dreams. She had assumed, without ever asking, that everyone dreamt like her. 'No,' I told her, 'they do not.' The discussion was diverse and the trip became fun and quietly meaningful. Her sudden and sincere interest in her dreams prompted me to tell her I'd be happy to lend her one of my dream books. On the following Monday I happily shared with her Gayle Delaney's oddly titled Living Your Dreams:Using Sleep to Solve Problems and Enrich You Life.

Fushigi #1:
Later that night I listened to CBC Radio2's The Signal's podcast of
Thursday night's show (#71 Nov 24). The last song, @49:51, is Heavy Sleep, by Tasseomancy. Unfortunately I wasn't able to find the lyrics on the web. They are very interesting and the video is excellent — except for how it ends.

Fushigi #2:
A few days later, 2011.12.01 did something I rarely do, which is listen to The Signal live via the web. And to clarify, 'rarely' means less than 6 times in the year. And very early on in the show, I heard:

You Only Dream To Test Me by Matthew Maaskant.
Here are the lyrics.
long long time ago, when before there was
you were my reason, you were my because
you only dream to test me
to see how far I go
well your memories haven't left me
if that's what you want to know
I only puzzle the pieces
when I want you to take me home
It's time that I tried to meet you
It's time you were left alone
long long time ago
when before there was
you were my reason
you were my because
bodies attempting people
fall in love with a different face
they learn that there are no equals
when you're floating in outer space

A fun fushigi.

Note: the lovely photograph of the dream catcher woman belongs to SheeshJackie. Please visit her blog DeviantArt.

2012.01.22 — The bounty of books (A River of Stones#1-22)

The bounty of books
and their pre-packaged knowledge
flail at being wise.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Thursday, January 12, 2012

2012.01.12 — Heavy eyelids and a deadline late (A River of Stones#1-12)

Heavy eyelids and a deadline late.
The clock doesn't know I exist despite the earth's spin.
I tip the long empty cup up to my lips in a gesture of misplaced faith.

2012.01.12 — Fushigi Catch-All: Gay Nixon, Chomsky, Covert Gia, Dreamy Apples and More.

Tonight I am making the time to catch up on the latest string of the tiniest of fushigi things. They range from allegations of Richard Nixon being in the closet, to apples, from poetry and dreams to gossip rags and academic texts.

2012.01.07 — I was in my local supermarket doing my weekly shopping. I noticed, with some bemusement, that a gossip rag had some kind of Richard Nixon is Gay headline, which is also on the web @ for example, BuzzFeed. I barely noticed it beyond a small shake of my head and a bemused smile. Thus starts a typical fushigi, with a nonce event.

That evening I went into my poetry social networking group on Goodreads, as I usually do. But for a change I visited the 'I Want Critique' section and was pleasantly surprised to see that Jefferson Carter, a published poet and sharp and honest critic, had included a poem of his for our critical review. The poem he wrote needs to be prefaced with the caution that it may be perceived as being offensive, which is why he wanted our opinion on it. Neither I or the other critics found it offensive, although JC assured us that he had been told in no undertain terms that it was. Hence his query about it being 'gayphobic.' I found it to be very funny and more gay-naîve than phobic. Here's what he wrote:

A little thang I whipped up after being unfriended [on Facebook] again!


No matter how much
she hates me, our cat can’t help
purring when I rub that spot
between her ears. Biology is
destiny. Isn’t it? One of my 800
Facebook friends complains
Hollywood won’t portray gay sex.
I feel like Nixon, nothing wrong
with homosexuality until an aide
whispered in his ear & he blurted
“They do what?” That’s how
I feel. So shoot me. My friend
posts back one word, "Bang!"
When I read this oddity I didn't feel it was strong enough to fushigi blog, even though two completely disparate references to Nixon in one day with a gay
element is very odd. However, the straw that broke the fushigi back was when I read on 2012.01.10 the following from an academic text by Justin Leiber on Noam Chomsky's linguistic philosophy:

In other words, it may be that the best sort of picture one will ever be able to give a native speaker of English, for example, the thought, Charlie thinks Nixon is a national disaster, is the 'functional diagram' provided by the following thirty-seven symbols: Charlie thinks Nixon is a national disaster. And the purpose of an adequate grammar of English would be able to give a more precise — more formal, explicit, and general — explanation of who to read this functional diagram (Leiber p156).

2012.01.08 — I finished writing a challenging poem for a photograph in the Houseboat blog. I wrote 'Quiet Histrionics at the Wall.' (I later read it with music and uploaded it to SoundCloud.)

Quiet Histrionics at The Wall by egajd

Hello wall.
Today I have decided to call you, name you, 'Hello Wall.'
Or maybe just 'Wall', or 'Brick Wall.'
I have no truth on which I can stand, and so I am hoping to be able to stand by you.
Today, anyway.
I had one, once,
but I now understand that choice to have been a misapprehension of compassion.
I can see that you have been here a while, and that provides me some comfort
because I have become a nameless.

When you were first created, Wall,
was there in the plans this confused, if not ambivalent, state of being?
By nature I would have expected from you a flat character,
but you have exposed those prosaic expectations as false,
and given me another false-truth to stand under without a parasol.
Now, don't mis-understand me — I am not saying you are beautiful because you not.
It is just that now that you have been photographed
you have achieved some things — not notoriety, perhaps,
but a published obscurity on an optimistic blog in a very big universe.
And I wonder: if I had been there when your picture was taken,
would I have been exposed, too?
I see that there have been times when masks were feverishly applied
but have now been allowed, with time, like mine,
to be stripped or fallen away so that I now recognize when we have been,
see who we are, Wall.
Hello Wall. Unseen I stand in front of your painted patchwork of bricks.
I won't move because I don't have anywhere else I would rather be.

Later that night I wandered to my book shelf to pick at random a book I hadn't looked at before. I didn't feel like resuming the four other books I am currently reading, and settled on Marion Woodman's book Addiction to Perfection: The Still Unravished Bride>. I flipped the pages, read the intro, flipped a few more pages than began to laugh.
I wanted to stop this,
this life flattened against the wall,
mute and devoid of colour,
built of pure light,
this life of vision only, split
and remote, a lucid impasse.
I confess: this is not a mirror,
it is a door
I am trapped behind (115).
Margaret Atwood, 'Tricks with Mirrors'.
2012.01.08 — Now, this next one is truly truly trivial, but just warrants inclusion in a catch-all kind of post. On Sunday I was watching a silly TV show, called Covert Affairs. In a product promotional ad scene the protagonist, Annie the beautiful CIA spy, takes from a fridge a can of some soft drink, and proceeds to break the opener-tab. During the commercial a few minutes later,
I flipped through the stations as I am prone to do during ads which I find myself unable to watch, and paused briefly when I saw a young Angelina Jolie in the movie Gia. It is a movie I watched a few years ago and thought was very good. But what made this viewing memorable was that in the minute or so I paused
on the film I watched Gia's make-up artist break the opener-tab on a soft-drink can and Gia open it with a knife.

2012.01.12 — And the final one, which almost escaped me. Sometime in mid-morning I left my desk at work and moved past RT's desk in the next partition. RT greeted me with 'Oh, EG, if I'd known you were at your desk I'd have offered you a bite of this apple,' which was about 4/5ths gone. 'It is a honeycrisp. They're really good. Have you had one?' 'Yes,' I answered, 'they are are very good' as RT continue to chomp with obvious pleasure.
I appreciated RT thinking of me and thought, what an unusual request.

A little later after dealing with some paperwork in BH's area, I stopped by to see what kind of dream she had last night. She elaborated on her interesting and unusual dream. I commented that her description of a room with people sitting on one side of a long table reminded me of Christ's last supper. 'OMG,' BH said, 'I hadn't
thought of that. And there was food — I'd forgotten until you said that. What was there? Pineapple and coconut. And one more thing. Apple? Yes, that's it. Cut apple.' But BH continued to describe the food, and did not eat any of the apple, even though she was hungry.

Life is strange.
2012.01.15 Addendum.
And now continues stranger. Sunday night's edition of Once Upon a Time, episode True North brought another near fushigi The Evil Queen kidnaps two lost children, Hansel and Gretel, in order to send them into the magical gingerbread and candy house of the Blind Witch, a powerful and magical weapon. It turns out to be an apple.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Monday, January 9, 2012

2012.01.09 — Early morning moon, high above the high-rise (A River of Stones#1-09)

Early morning moon, high above the high-rise
and cloud breaks. I sip hot coffee in my moving car,
look out into the dark for sleepy commuters jaywalking.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

2012.01.08 — The window keeps me dry from the wind blown rain. (A River of Stones#1-08)

The window keeps my clothes from getting wet from the wind blown rain.
I touched it — the window.
It feels cool and the heat of my fingers leaves ghosts
the wash of rain does not touch.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

2012.01.05 — Who is it that can call that creativity? (A River of Stones#1-05)

Who is it that can call that creativity?
Cried the drunk
as she canted against expressionism.
And besides that, she raged,
I bet no one has done this before,
while struggling to pee on the hanging Kandinsky.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2012.01.04 — The old black bag, now faded and worn (A River of Stones#1-04)

The old black bag, now faded and worn,
struggles to hide senescence, decrepitude, decay.
The moon, awash behind heavy cloud and dark rain,
smiles brightly in the sea of black and ancient light pricks.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2012.01.03 — To Micturate or Not to Micturate: That is the fushigi*

To not an inconsiderable relief to both reader and me, this fushigi is going to be no bigger than the contents of a full bladder or two. And it begins with a quasi-metaphysical discussion on the role of concentration in the … blah, blah blah blah blahhhhh.

Restart. In the morning, after our Christmas and New Year's breaks from work, RT and were chatting. At some point I mentioned that strange things happen around my wife, especially as regards to things that people do. 'For example,' I said, 'one day, when she returned to her car in underground parking after grocery shopping, she saw a man
urinating against the wall right beside it. I think that this is an unusual experience, because while people do piss in underground parking lots, it is a bit odd that this was in the late morning, with a few feet of a large supermarket in a mall.

Then RT quietly confirms that the universe is full of the unusual by commenting that she saw that one time too. 'Someone pissing beside your car?' I asked. 'No,' she said, 'I was in a car when I saw it. But what was really disconcerting is that it was a woman. There she was, squatting down right there in a parking lot, in full view from the street. I guess, when you gotta go you gotta go.'

Curious. I haven't seen this kind of thing.

Well, you haven't seen anything yet. Much later in the day, near the end of the work day, BH dropped in for a post-holiday visit. BH has recently become fascinated with dreams and the possibility of them being meaningful. And so our conversation turned that way and she described a recent dream that she found particularly puzzling. In the dream she was with her (physically) dead mother and another woman she didn't know. At some point in the dream, the other woman squatted down and peed.

When was the last time in one day did two disparate people tell you about seeing women micturating in public?

2012.01.05 Addendum
Well, maybe peeing women is in the
air, because when I told RT l had in fact created this blog, she laughed and then asked "Did you hear about the woman peeing on a painting, an expensive one in gallery?'

'No. Are you serious?'

Later that day I went and found the story Woman Pees On, About, or Around Clyfford Still Painting.

The painting, 1957-J-No.2 has an estimated value of $30M.

2012.01.14: Addendum
Today, after getting back from shopping with a late take out lunch, my wife and I watched the last 2/3rd of the movie Wild Target. It is a very funny British comedy. Within about 10 minutes of where we came into the film, the Emily Blunt character, after nearly being assassinated in a car park feels the need to pee and proceeds to do so between two cars.

Oh! And what now makes this even more amusing, the plot begins with an art fraud con perpetrated by Blunt's character.

2012.01.03 — The fresh coffee melts the milk chocolate (A River of Stones#1-03)

The fresh coffee melts the milk chocolate,
my tongue eases the viscous goo.
Bitter darkness brings this animation to a close.

Monday, January 2, 2012