Saturday, October 6, 2012

A week of Horrible Things

Happy October! For this month, in addition to continuing with the Modern Poetry course at Coursera, I'm playing with a daily writing-prompt exercise on the Google+ social network called "Nightmare Fuel". Google Plussers can find the Nightmare Fuel page here. Every day the lovely and talented Bliss Morgan (aka Andrea Trask) posts an image, and every day all those interested write .. something. Anything. A story. A flash piece. A poem. Then we share them.

Because this is daily and time is at a premium, I've been taking the influence of the Modern Poetry class to write poems for most of these. Others have taken different directions. I'm especially taken with the "prosems" Kary Gaul is writing and the horrific little flash pieces from... well, I'm not sure what the man's real name is, but this guy here. sometimes known as Kewangi and sometimes as Johannes It doesn't matter. His stuff is consistently creepy and punchy.

Check out theirs, and look below for my attempts:
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Day 1 - The Curator

Standing stone -
your letters and numbers
edges sharp, grooves deep and even -

Standing stone
slick and smooth. Reflecting 

What engine carved
lines and squares
- an alien script - 
for what engines to read?

and earth

Standing stone -
will your faded lines remain
will you remember
when the engines have fallen
Creative commons 
Day 2 - Sparkly Shoes

An early fall morning, a crisp fall morning. A drycool bite in the dry cool air. Summer is over. I'm walking with the girl and her new backpack full of marble composition books and crayons and number two pencils and erasers and tissues and even - for reasons unknown to me - plastic baggies. A bag as big as she is. The girl in her new dress and new windbreaker and new shiny purple maryjanes. Companionable silence down the street, past the swimming pool, long since drained for the winter. Companionable silence across the street, now a half-block from the already-formed clusters of chattering girls and hyperactive boys and gossipping moms at the dropoff. 

Companionable silence broken by the girl's voice. 

"Lynsey has sparkly shoes. And Maddy. And Jessie."

Indeed, they do. Brightpink glitterclad things adornded and embellished with flowers, with hearts, with peace-signs. Flashy things with thick pink laces and little blinking lights winking at the world with each shuffling step of little girls' feet. Sparkly shoes indeed.

I'm calm, noncommital. "So they do." I'm not crazy. I hear the edge in her voice, I hear the pleading. I also know that the shoes on her feet - her rapidly growing feet - cost forty dollars, and the sneakers under her bed (white with fun pink stripes. Not spartly) another thirty. The shoe money is spent. 

The girl starts to say something in a hushed whisper. Pat her on the head as I turn, bridge the gap to a mom-cluster at the periphery of the dropoff, an empty unspecial square of sidewalk. The girl edges into a cluster of other girls, her eyes on her own feet As Lynsey and Maddie and Jessie hold court over the sidewalk, their eyes up, oblivious to the winking, sparkling, blinking beacons adorning their own feet.

Day 3 - The Machines

The machines like a dream, like a wish.

Everywhere - the machines -Clean and proud in the bank

Encased in logo-bearing glass - the machines -Beside the battered ice machine


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loitering in a supermarket - the machinesin a dark alleyway

ill-fitting here today gone the nexta magic shop out of a fairy tale

full of wishes open for wishesa battered plastic well gleaming

in the city night.

the machines reflect eyes the machines have eyes the machines are eyesI see them seeing me seeing them


Like in a fairy talewishing machines like in a fairy tale full of wishes

I wave my card with a big swish swish and then I wish to wish a wishfor a dish of fish to be rich i wish 

I wish

I wish.

Nobody knows my wishes
Nobody save the machines.
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Day 4 - Surviving Excerpts From the log of the FNC Emma Goldman

Tuesday, May 1
Not on ship yet, but it's motherfuckin Mayday and we have a motherfuckin ship. The Emma Goldman, a state of the art sailing vessel. Or at least she would have been two or three centuries ago. Today? She's ours. She's seaworthy. She even has a manifesto - to be the best damn anarchist-collective freespirited, freeloving, freesailing freelance cargo ship these oceans have ever seen. To the seas!

July 3rd
Finally got a cargo, on the high seas at last. Struck the flag we're registered under (I won't even write it here) raised our true flag - the black flag. Beholden to no nation, lyal to none but ourselves.

Glad to be at sea. The business part is the part I hate, but until someone gets around to overthrowing capitalism, this is our world. We need money for spare parts, money for foodstuffs, money for rum. We're tall-ship sailors. There has has to be rum.

Anyway, the cargo part is what I hate. Creepy client was creepy, mysterious boxen are mysterious. Battered leather trunks, smelling of mildew and mothballs and... something else.

July 8th
Rum gone. Too many fucking disasters. Damage. Rats. Matty drank the damn rum. And he had the nerve to 

August 2nd
still not working but we have the sextant. Anctient tech FTW. Matty said he hears sounds from the cargo. Voices. He must have a secret stash of

August 9th

.............walk the plank if we were pirates. We should still throw the bastard overboard after it. We still have the stars. We'll find our way.

must have jumped overboard. Just wasn't there one day but he's right there are voices they're talking whispering some strange language I wish I could understand I wish I

No sun for days. Sea is grey, sky grey, sails grey. The black flag is grey. I am grey. The others are looking funny at me, I know. They might know

A cheer from above. Land? I need to see first. Need to see what's in this cargo. I can almost make out the words. 

I think it's callng me. From above a scream, "what is that". I'm down here I'm openingit now

Source Unknown

Day 5 - backroads

Back roads, way off the interstate

the smell of fake pine

Late afternoon, small town
through dry dust and dry air an old
sign reds and blues faded into woodgrain


tired and I need to stop eyes need to start
eyes need to wake step in

No freaks.
No living freaks.

Curio cabinets full of two-headed taxidermy dogs
inexpertly stiched together
improbably dry spiders
wax sculptures of the freaks
the mystics the hysterics the madmen the drifters on 
the backroads.

stiff posed manikins no art no artifice no motion but
disapproving scowls
and a lingering scent
of fake pine 
and a scream

Day 6 - Patriot Day

Source Unknown
The specter of those hands against the glass
shut tight against the smoke and acrid gas
A hand but not a face
haunting, follows 

in each mirror
each window
each mirror or window or glass door or glass wall or showerglass or plateglass window or display glass each glass each window

each glass door
no matter how far from the city, is that glass door. 
Even in the woods, even in the cabin, it is that window
hands pressed hard against behind faceless faces
A window I dare not open.

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