When the mountains are devoured
by the soft, white tongue
of the sky, the world ceases to exist
for a moment. Everything is erased—
and I am isolated, a tiny lake
surrounded by land.
Only magic could do this, but I know
that magic doesn’t exist.
But tell that to the mountains,
swimming in the belly of the sky
and waiting to be broken
“No one asked you.” Brandon Jacobus sat up and stared at the smoldering tobacco pipe in his hand.
“I don’t think you understood…”
Brandon cutoff the pipe. “No, I understood you just fine. I said no one asked you.” Brandon tapped the pipe into an ashtray and started packing it with fresh tobacco. “I don’t care what you think you saw in Nigeria. Zombies don’t exist. Never have.”
“Whether you call it a zombie or not, it was eating that man’s brain.” The pipe let out a puff indignant smoke as Brandon touched a match to the tobacco.
Brandon sighed, sliding his legs off the edge of the bed. “Just because it was eating someone’s brain doesn’t make it a zombie.”
“Sure.” The pipe seemed to sigh, embers glowing as Brandon inhaled. “Fine, not a zombie. Still, eating brains…”
“All manner of creatures eat brains.” The spellbook had remained silent until now. “Real creatures,” it said, before the pipe could say anything else.
“Right.” Brandon puffed on the pipe, smoke swirling through his long beard. “This is something very real. The police just don’t know what they stumbled on. We’ll need to get moving before this creature claims one of them as its next meal.” Brandon tapped the pipe in the ashtray, perhaps a little harder than necessary. “Don’t even say it. Again, not a zombie!”
Fin woke to a feeling like being submerged in an ice bath. It crept across his wound, starting in his leg, creeping across his chest, and then chilling his arm, causing him to gasp for air. He opened his eyes, and was greeted by silver eyes fading back to violet.
“I told you to get out of here, you jackass.”
Fin smiled weakly. “I missed you too, Grace.”
“You’re just lucky we got here when we did. Accelerating your body like while wounded? You almost bled out.”
Fin pushed himself onto his elbows resisting Grace’s attempts to push him back down. “It was either that or let the Thief kill me. I took my chances.”
“If you had left when you were ordered to, you wouldn’t be in this mess.”
Fin ignored Grace. “When did you guys get here?”
“Right after you chopped that Thief in half with some crazy ash sword and passed out,” a gruff voice responded.
“That’s just like you, Xander. Always showing up late to the party.”
Xander guffawed, slapping Fin’s back causing pain to shoot across his wounds.
“How’d you think of the ash sword, anyway? Did ya know it would work?”
Continue reading “The Fall of New Brooklyn, Day One, 9:07am”
When cars are used as weapons,
do you see your naked reflection in the rear view
mirror, or are you astonished—
deflecting off the fender.
Are you the people on the sidewalk,
standing with signs or bricks?
Their hands divide like houses—
listen to what they shout,
but read their eyes and their lips.
They whisper something different.
You are the white sheets
that hang over windows and eyes.
So you can pretend to be blind.
You are the screams of a child
lost in the crowd on a street that has become
a civil war.
You are the noose—
tight around your neck with fingers
clutching useless at your
side. A sign that mutters something.
It doesn’t matter anymore.
When you stop—
will you ever—
are you on your knees? Begging?
Or are you on your feet.
This week will be a busy one. I have new chapter of The Fall of New Brooklyn scheduled every morning through Friday. I also have a poem scheduled every morning through Friday. A first preview of The One Hundred Fears of Brandon Jacobus is scheduled for Monday evening (it will likely be some time before more of this is posted). The first chapter of Rise, Rise has been scheduled to post on Tuesday evening.
After this week, things will settle into a rhythm. I plan to post from each project on a specific day (which day has yet to be determined, but I will keep you informed). I will also have certain days for posting poetry.
For this first week, it’s my intention to get “caught back up,” so to speak. I have a fair amount of The Fall of New Brooklyn written, which is why so much is getting posted this week. However, I will begin to slow down (one chapter a week) as I get closer to what I haven’t finished writing yet. Rise, Rise will likely be posted on a more accelerated schedule, as the first draft is complete.
Thanks for checking out my website and reading my work! I enjoy writing, and it’s far more enjoyable when I can share it. As I get a posting schedule more firm, I’ll be sure to post an update outlining what it ends up being.
Fin stood in the middle of the street, watching the ash fall. Cars were covered, like a fine powder from a first snow, and muffled sounds made their way to Fin’s ears. The ringing kept the screams and sirens far away. Moments ago, an explosion had torn through the quiet city block, shattering the morning routine. Spilled coffee cups littered the sidewalk, kicked aside by scuffles in the ash from people running. The concussive force had startled cars; the alarms and flashing lights dancing amongst the muted white. Fin brushed ash from his coat, smearing it grey instead of black, and he started walking toward the people running. Reaching down to his hip, he grasped the hilt of his sword, silver eyes scanning the street for signs of the explosion. He walked silently past the screaming and running people; police and military would be here soon enough to offer them aid. Right now, he needed to find where the explosion originated, and determine if it was a magical or mundane event.
“Sir! Stop right there! I need you to slowly turn around and identify yourself!”
Fin stopped. He held his hands away from his body and slowly turned around. A young police officer had a gun leveled at him. “My name is Greyson Fin. I’m a Conduit.”
The gun dropped, but was leveled again almost immediately. “Do you have your credentials?”
Fin smiled. “Of course. Just put the gun down. I’m sure people need our help, after the explosion. I still need to try and determine the source.”
The officer shook his head. “I can’t do that, sir. I need to see your credentials. If you are a Conduit, why did you respond so quickly? This section is under a Damp Field. There’s no way you could have gotten here so quickly.”
Continue reading “The Fall of New Brooklyn, Day One, 8:47am”
I’m a garbage beautifier. It’s not near as glamorous as it sounds. I wander around the garbage strewn streets of our dirty city with the TF-3000. The Trash Flowerifier. It’s a ray gun that zaps trash into flowers. With as much garbage as my fellows and I zap, you’d think there would be much less garbage and much more flowers in the city. Not so. I’ve never been able to figure out why, but the flowers just seem to vanish and there’s always another empty case of Coors Light and Taco Bell bags and wrappers. Originally, I thought the effects of the TF-3000 were temporary, but I did some private testing.
The flower garden in my backyard is doing just fine, so unless people are making secret gardens, the flowers just can’t survive in all the garbage of the city. Maybe the flowers just can’t take root. Or the piles of garbage bags overflowing with condoms, sticky porno magazines, beer cans, broken radios, leftover salmon, and whatever else people throw out suffocate the flowers. All the trash is stifling. I’ve even worked overtime to try and make more of an impact. My wife hates it when I work overtime. She says I never make a difference, and I don’t get paid overtime, so why bother? If I got paid for overtime, I’m sure she’d never let me come home. I feel like I have to at least try, though. I can never understand how this city can make so much garbage. On my computer at home, I have thousands of pictures of what the world used to look like. It was so green, and light. Now, there’s garbage and haze. The sun hardly peeks through the polluted sky. So, I work long hours, make minimum wage, and the garbage still overwhelms the population of the city. Nothing ever looks any different. Something my wife makes sure to tell me every single chance she can. Her favorite time to rub that in, is when we’re eating a wonderful dinner she paid for.
Continue reading “TF-3000 – A story.”
It’s like falling—
the sudden jump of nothing
catches in my throat
and drops far below
what I thought.
I bury myself
in the ambient sounds of the world
and hold on,
hold on so hard my fingers ache.
Afraid that if I open
my eyes and open my hands
that you will drift away—
lost in the eddy of light
that bathes me in pale warmth.
Orange isn’t a comfort
when it’s not only the sun that sets.
Dark brings the rain
and the ocean to swallow me whole.
I crave the light to return,
to set the world ablaze.
In the morning, though,
it doesn’t bring you back.
It’s like falling.
It doesn’t matter if you believe in god
when the vivid pinks of dawn bloom.
I don’t wonder who painted roses
in the sky. I just love them.
I don’t pretend the world is bright.
When the rain comes,
everything is opaque and the world becomes
a ghost shifting uncomfortably.
The mountain trees blend into each other
over and over, until the green becomes blurred.
To see those layers, and discern
the subtle hues between them—
that is the true gift of living.
The world is transparent, and everyone
lives on top of each other,
like the near invisible layers
of watercolor paint.
The strings that make the puppet two-step
in front of laughing kids. Their eyes gleam.
And when the puppet falls, no one cries.
Because it’s part of the comedy.
Like the dead from the grave, the tiny
painted wooden body returns to dance,
caught in strings that everyone chooses
to let their eyes slip past, like skirting
the murder of a mother of two on the 5 o’clock news.
Because it’s part of the tragedy.
The tears that cling and refuse to fall
scream we are only human.
The child, cutting into
the stuffed teddy bear, curious of the softness.
In the aftermath of clouded stuffing,
like a nest prepared by a bird’s dreaming,
the child sits, cross-legged, in the middle,
clutching the hollow husk of Mr. Pemberbottom,
asking why won’t the clouds go back?
The gasp I feel that pounds against
my calcium cage. A stick rattles against
old oaken slats, in time with the steps that crush
and stain the sidewalk with the carnage of
blueberries, shed and forgotten by the tree’s broken hand.
My shoes stick, so I leave them.
Because it’s part of the drama.
And barefoot I wade through the tiny bodies,
feeling their squish between my toes.
The flat of a hand spread wide against the wall,
veins trying to peek through vellum skin against
the yearning to slip through the eggshell white, the drywall,
the cedar beams. Like the gilded bird, the blue of sky
held in two tiny orbs, looking through the bars, but unable
to escape them. Because even birds want to fly,
and knife into the clouds like the butcher
slices the choicest cuts. And when the day
is over, and the knife clean, the blood clings tightly
in my hands.