July 30, 2010

Okurokami - part 6

“And that was the end of the vision…” Takeko said, her voice sounding a bit hoarse.

“You’re getting tired… Would you like to get some sleep?” Teruro asked.

“Not yet, I have too much on my mind to fall asleep however much I’d like to… So what do think about my visions?” She replied.

“Hmm… they will require some thought. As it happens, I know something about Akaimaru’s death. So there is at least some truth to your vision… I’ll need think about it further.”

There was moment of quiet as this oddly matched pair waded through their thoughts, eventually Takeko asked, “So, are you going to tell me who you are and what you’re doing here? Are am I going to have to wait ‘til I stumble upon it in one of my visions”

Teruro smirked and replied, “Well, I’ll tell you why I’m here…” And so he launched into the events that brought him to Takeko’s home.

Teruro Magunojo’s tea-house (for more description see this post) was surprisingly modest for a samurai of such high standing, but that's the least of the atypical things about this famous sword fighter. In his younger days he had wandered as a ronin (samurai who has sworn no allegiance to a master, or who has been disgraced and rejected by his master) obsessively challenging and mercilessly defeating any strong fighters he could find and in so doing earning the reputation of being a formidable swordsman… Later, he was recruited by Yagyu Mitsuyoshi, and he fought semi covertly, working behind the scenes, dealing with exceptional troubles that could threaten the Tokugawa government. But those days were well behind him, and though just middle aged, he had retired from the troubles of the world to his quiet tea-house.

Teruro sat on the back porch. His emerald green tea, in an artfully carefully sculpted yet deceivingly simple earthenware cup, steamed slightly beside him. He gazed at his modest vegetable garden and beyond it at the stalks of a small patch of bamboo swaying gently in the breeze.

He toyed idly with his thoughts, “Hmm… Bamboo is strong and enduring, it keeps its color all year round; it is graceful, as its elongated and supple form shows; and yet despite these things it is humble, as its hollow nature demonstrates. Truly if men were more akin to it, wisdom would be a common virtue and then…”

His train of thought was interrupted by the arrival of a messenger; who knelt before Teruro bowing his head to the ground and waited to be addressed as protocol demanded… Teruro, repressed a sigh at the fastidiousness of protocol, pondered to himself

“Why do these messengers always remind me of horses?”
Aloud he said sternly, “Arise and state your name and business.”

“Yes, sir Magunojo. I am Matamura Umasuke. Forgive me for intruding upon your haven but Lord Yagyu sends me with a letter,” the messenger said in a somewhat nasal and rural voice.
“Give me the letter,” Teruro curtly replied.

The messenger advanced with bent knees, holding the letter to his forehead, and proffered it respectfully.
“I was told not to expect an answer milord, and thus, with your leave, may I depart?”

Teruro vaguely waved the messenger off and started reading… As he untied and unfolded the letter he immediately noticed that it was both unsealed and unsigned, it was also written in his liege’s distinctively elegant brushstrokes. Sure signs of the letter’s confidential nature. He mused that the messenger was most likely a shinobi (covert agent) in a clever disguise. He took a sip from his green tea, thinking about how easily the peace had been chased from his haven.

Teruro old friend,
The shogunate calls on us anon and anew. The onmyoji (historically they are cosmologists/mysticists but here read sorcerer) Taizan no Seimei lives still, and is plotting against the government.
Our intelligence finds that Taizan’s return is not due to a failure on your behalf to have fulfilled your previous mission but due to occult devices we don’t understand yet. Our sources have also found that he seeks to obtain a book through the Portuguese merchants in exchange for a sizable amount of gold that he stole from a government transport ship. The book is foreign and is called Nekuronomikonu.
We need you to finish what you started by bringing us his head. While you’re at it, destroy the book: I’m told it could supposedly give enormous evil power to any foolish enough to try and wield.
Go see the old wise-man in the Sagano bamboo forest, he can tell where you need to go to start your mission.
Once more we walk the blade’s edge…
Watch yourself,

Teruro sighed, thinking about having to go out onto the roads once again and noticed that he had drunk the contents his cup, “What a waste…” he thought to himself.

An hour before dawn… Teruro had already eaten his breakfast of raw egg, diced daïkon (pickled radish) and natto (fermented beans) mixed into a bowl of fresh white rice, accompanied with a broiled river trout, and a bowl of miso mushroom-soup. He donned his unpretentious brown haori (jacket) over his black hakama (pants) and reddish brown kimono; his clothes reflected his being, unpretentious yet made from good thick hardwearing cotton… Well-made- made to last. He fastened his straw tabi (sandals), checked his swords snuggly sitting in his obi, and finished by putting up the heavy wooden shutters over the doors. He knew that the open road and bloodshed lay ahead. And so he began his journey.

Teruro was about to go on but smiled softly as he noticed that Takeko had fallen asleep. There would be time for more the next day. He tucked into his blanket and let the crackle of the campfire lull him to sleep.

July 28, 2010

Okurokami - part 5

Takeko looked up at the sky and said, as if to herself, “Until now, my visions have always been relatively short and unconnected, but the next part of this vision was the continuation of the previous… as seen through the eyes of Akaimaru’s canine companion.”
I have howled the traditional lament for the departed that will guide Akaimaru’s spirit safely to the great beyond, and facilitate his journey as I did whilst he lived. I've watched his spirit uproot itself and depart. There is nothing left for me here so I should leave as well, but it is difficult. The memories of our love flash before me and the pain wells within; I howl a farewell forever and obey the imperious and instinctive need to run through the night, away from the pain, away from the place of his death, away...

The earth rushes beneath me and the landscape flashes by, far I have run and the sun is tinting the edges of dark night sky with blue, promising a soon forthcoming dawn. My tongue hangs and my sides heave as I suck in the brisk morning air. Regret, remorse and vengeance are not in my nature, I feel exhilarated and free once again. Free as I was before meeting Akaimaru, not that I was ever bound to Akaimaru by anything other than love. He was at least smart enough never to try to bend me to his will. As I sit upon a hill waiting for the sun to rise on the horizon, I recall our first meeting...

At the time, I ran with my father's pack. My father was different from his pack brothers: he was bigger, stronger, faster and smarter than most of the others, his fur was rust-colored and his fangs were white. I inherited most of his intellectual attributes but physically I took mostly from my mother. My black and white fur and larger than average but lithe frame came from my mother; but the fangs that I too have snow white come from my father.

We had separated an old reindeer from its herd and had frightened it into the forest of pine trees to hinder its escape. I remember how I was the closest to the prey that day, I was leading the pack for the first time, and I was only two springs old too. I had never been a match for my father when it came to a contest of raw speed and strength, for though I was bigger and faster than most of our pack I was still much smaller than he, but when it came to dodging in and out of trees he just wasn't built for it. I, on the other hand, had seemingly been born for feats of agility and stealth. So I was the closest behind the prey, all my senses reported that I would soon be making the killing bite. I saw the prey and it was within leaping distance, I knew it could neither have seen nor have heard me and yet it seemed to have sensed me. It drained the last of its reserves in a wild leap forward; I leaped after knowing that I would catch it by the throat in mid leap and take it down.

My fangs indeed sank into its jugular and then quite abruptly the earth vanished beneath us. The prey and I were falling. We had both leapt of a cliff, and as we fell the prey died, but I swear there was a wryly satisfied glint in its eye as it did. The fall seemed long, though in retrospect I suppose it wasn't, the white snow-covered earth was rushing up to meet me and when it did, I knew that I would die. I struck it with a terrific impact that jarred me from nose to tail. There was a dreadfully loud cracking sound that could only have been the sound of my bones shattering. Then white unconsciousness engulfed me.

I awoke some time later. I couldn't tell exactly how long since my internal clock seemed to have been frozen out of order, but I had other concerns. Such as, why was I half dry and chilled to the bone, why was I tightly tied up in a thick warm blanket and placed next to an ironpipe stove, why was I still alive? Still alive! I gave a garbled yelp of surprise and joy through chattering teeth. I then realized that I was in cabin and I wasn't by myself as a voice said: "I'm happy to see you're going to make it. I had a cold hard time pulling you out of that lake you know. I had to dive in myself, glad it wasn't for nothing!" I squirmed until I could the see the voice's owner. It was a spiky red-haired fresh-faced young man wrapped in a red blanket.

My father had begun his life in a family household, and had lived with many other humans after that. In the evenings of plentiful summers, when all had eaten their fill, he would tell me the tales of his tribulations among men. He taught me to read their mannerisms, body language, smells and to neither fear them nor trust them blindly. The others in the pack refused to acknowledge the wisdom in these tales, they obstinately stuck to the tradition of blind fear and disgust for all things human. True enough my father had encountered some despicable humans, but also some few that he had loved. The last of which was a miner who tore him away from an abusive slave driver, my father joined the pack shortly after the death of that miner.

I was confronted with my first human; it kept making placating noises. I had learned through my father that humans place great stock in oral communication, observing this specimen I understood what my father meant when he had told me that their oral language was completely redundant. Although I didn't know the man's language, his movements and smells spoke eloquently. The man seemed decent enough, he had after all saved my life but I didn't appreciate being tied and I wanted to know a bit more about the man's character. I shrugged out of the blanket and the coils of rope that bound me by performing an undulating movement that fully made use of my exceptional suppleness and strength. The man gawked at me, his mouth hanging open, and his eyes open wide.

I dashed at him, he only had time to stand up, which conveniently exposed his midsection as I rammed into it. I heard his breath leave his lungs in a whooshing sound as he was propelled backwards against the door that slammed open to let him fall on the snow that lay behind it. He staggered to his feet fighting to regain his breath. His body language expressed pain and surprise, but unexpectedly it also expressed amusement, admiration, playfulness and a strong fighting spirit. None of my father's stories had ever described men as fighters, he had narrated their skill at killing and hunting but never had he described men as possessing the fighting spirit and yet the man before me was like a wolf in his fighting spirit. He assumed a fighting stance, feet spread, one hand outstretched before him and the other at his shoulder... He was waiting for me.

I sprinted straight at him, a few feet away from him I swiftly sidestepped and leaped at him aiming to take him down and settle this. He didn't move, at first I thought I had caught him unawares as my teeth sank into the bandana he wore around his neck, I had begun pulling him down when I realized that something unexpected had happened. I was indeed holding the scarf between my teeth but it was tied around a log. The man had vanished. I was astonished, "What happened?" I wondered. Instinct or some primal sense warned me and I looked up. He was high above and fast falling towards me. With a flick of my neck I tossed the log upwards at him so as to distract him and leaped away, I had decided to attack just after he landed, expecting him to be vulnerable. He then demonstrated why he kept a hand at his shoulder when it flashed forth and back revealing a short sword that sliced the log in twain and was resheathed in one impossibly swift movement. I leaped forward, he landed, my paws connected flat against his upper chest and he fell backwards. Time stopped and we were both still, like statues planted in the snow. I was standing over him with my teeth at his neck yet not biting, his blade’s edge was against my throat, not cutting...

There was a hush and the world seemed to stop in dramatic anticipation when the two halves of the log were reclaimed by gravity and descended, landing precisely and squarely on our heads. The man was silent for a while longer and broke into a grin, which quickly turned into laughter of pure unbound merriment. He slowly took his blade away from my neck and sheathed it. It was then that I decided that I would love this man, that I would protect him, and follow him faithfully. I licked his face looking in his eyes and there was a moment of rare and complete understanding between two strangers of different species. His laughter subsided and he smiled softly. His eyes reflected my emotions and thoughts, his smile was one of grateful awe and love. Thus began our friendship.

Shortly after it was time for us to depart, I had given a thought to my father who would either think me dead in the lake or find the place where I battled Akaimaru. In the latter case he would read the signs and the smells and would understand that I followed in his pawprints and went to live amongst men. I wonder now if he did find that place, it seems I followed his path to its end: I have loved one man like a mate and now that he is dead, I return to the wilds.

I feel the longing upon the primal fabric of my soul, an undeniable pull that leads me back to the land of my birth. The distances completely escape my comprehension, but I know that it is far from this strange land to my native hunting grounds. My instincts guide me north, besides I have one last duty to fulfil there in Akaimaru's memory. After several weeks of uneventful travels, and a stolen boat ride, I find myself in Hokkaido following familiar paths that I had often trod with Akaimaru. I near the village where sleeps my rival, the woman Akaimaru loved. The first snows of December have just begun to cover the earth, like my winter fur that has just begun to grow and is already showing signs of growing unusually thick and lush. The signs announce the premises of a winter that I know will be exceptionally harsh. I think to myself that food is going to be hard come by. The thin crescent moon lights my way along the mountain paths and beckons me.

I have reached the bluffs that dominate the village that I observe a short ways off. Below, I see the clustered wooden cabins, the stables, the sacred tree with it's paper twists next to the clear stream that runs still but will be completely frozen over and snowed under in a couple of weeks. The moon's light flowing over this place is like a lover's careful caress wary not to awaken the sleeper. Just months ago I was down there amongst the people... amongst friends. I have changed, it is time for me to deliver my message, I tilt my head back and howl at the moon. The horses stir in the stable, the dogs bark, and I sense that many of the people below have awakened, they are unaccustomed to wolves and know of us only through legends which depict us as wise and dangerous. I feel a vague sadness not to hear a reply to my call, I only sense the tame animals' fears and the peoples' wonder.

A lone figure is silhouetted against the snow in the middle clearing formed by the cabins, she sees me and recognizes me. I smell no fear in her, nor superstitious wonder, I sense a deep sadness. She was always clever when it came to understanding the ways of the wild. She is akin to these mountains: beautiful, cold and strong. No tears from her, just the deep and tranquil sadness of one that knows death and accepts its existence with wisdom. I leave on my journey home, I leave behind that which was once my life with Akaimaru. The coming winter will freeze the waters before me; I will pass beyond and away, home.
Takeko and Teruro both sat in silence listening to the crackle of fire… Both lost in their thoughts.
After a while Teruro asked “What happened next?”.

July 26, 2010

Okurokami - part 4

The fire crackled as Takeko began, “You have to understand that what I see is the truth… When people look into my cloth, they see the truth about themselves… The visions of events I see are the truth of events as seen by someone experiencing the event.”

Teruro quietly nodded poking at the fire with a stick.

“So you asked about my last vision, I had it the morning of the day you appeared… It went like this…” and Takeko’s voice changed slightly as she reenacted her vision, and Teruro wondered if she was re-experiencing it as she spoke but refrained from asking any of the questions on his mind, choosing to save them for afterwards rather than to risk interrupting her.
“...You're mad!” He tells me, I wonder why they all keep telling me this? Don't they realize that it is they who are insane? Can they really believe that their actions or values bear any sanity? Teehihi, I hear her cry at their folly.

“In the name of justice I, Akaimaru, must defeat you. Prepare to die, you foul unnatural creature!”

Justice? I tilt my head to one side quizzically before my laughter breaks out in waves that rack my body and brings me to my knees.

“You dare laugh at me? SILVER SPARROWS!” He shouts as he hurls half a dozen shuriken (throwing blades) at me and his big dog rushes in after them. Crouching I find myself chuckling, my forehead against the ground, my laughter mounts and my backs arches as I shriek my hilarity at the night sky, visible through the tops of the surrounding pine forest. Somewhere, smothered behind the mirth, the thought that I ought do something about the projectiles rushing at me. They thunk into my chest, sending shivers throughout my limbs that echo the exquisite pain that powers me. Teehihi, the pain I need that tests the chains of our love... I use it to shape the darkness that carries us since your death into shapes that they fear. Black immaterial bats scatter from where I stood an instant before, and six silvery shuriken fall to the earth with a muffled thud. From the within the darkness I see the wolf-dog yelp in surprise and return to his master's heel. Hii hii heh heh... The darkness flows as ever and I let it carry me within a few feet from him. He turns to and fro desperately seeking me out as he stinks of barely mastered fear.

"Where are you fiend? Are you dead or have you so little courage that you fly before me?"
Courage? Another vain word... I hold my laughter in check and my bone blade in hand. It carries her spirit and once was a part of her. He doesn't exist... I am beneath him now and from the shadows I surge, she rips through him and within the streaking flash of the blade her beautiful face in anguish... Her pain, my pain, the past... the present... The moon lights the blood as it sprays a beautiful dark crimson against the dark night air. The dog knows better than to attack me, it probably tried to turn its master from his madness. Folly for all that attacks me will taste the sweetness that I give. It howls beside the halves of its master's remains. I snap the blood away from her vessel, glimpse her shadow exiting the clearing and chase after her. Tonight is not the night and the splendid nightmare continues... ”
Her voice resumed in its normal tone as she continued “From there on the vision dissolved into laughter… but…”
Takeko looked up from the fire to find Teruro looking at her intently.
He raised an eyebrow and asked: “But it didn’t end there did it?”


July 23, 2010

Okurokami - part 3

Teruro had barely taken ten paces from the hut when an arrow streaked from within the hut straight towards the back of his head. Immediately followed by Takeko charging forward with a spear. Teruro spun and laughed with an expression of unbound glee on his face as he sliced the arrow in mid air with his sword.

He roared “Good! Now come at me!”

Before the two pieces of the split arrow had hit the ground Takeko’s spear was flashing towards Teruro’s heart only to be bashed away by a flick of his katana.

In an instant they had regained their distances and were facing each other in their ready stances. They gauged each other’s skills and tried to read what move the other would next make… The intensity of their gazes was as extraordinary as the visible contrast in their characters. Even in his ready stance, he projected the fluidity and looseness of a dancing flame, something inherently natural, neither good nor evil but intransigently dangerous; she, on the other hand, seemed still like the surface of a frozen pond, in absolute control of herself, as if mastering her body and emotions through the power of unshakeable reason and certainty.

The rustling fronds of bamboo swayed in the breeze that carried a stray leaf on its meandering way between them.

He sheathed his sword in one liquid motion and chuckled softly.
“You are not afraid. You attacked without warning using a bow, and charged. You understand.” There no reproach in his voice, only surprise and respect.

She rested the butt of her spear on the ground and nodded, “Of course.”

“Go get what you need, we have a ways to go before nightfall.”

She walked back into the house and returned a few minutes later carrying her sheathed spear and a small pack on her back to which her unstrung bow, a small bundle of arrows, and the small box containing the square of black cloth were affixed. Teruro got up from the rock he was sitting on and started walking. Takeko followed, leaving behind her the only home she had ever known.

“You don’t seem too distraught about leaving this place.”
“I’m not. The time for me to be here has passed and so I am leaving…” Showing the first sign of any kind of emotion since he first met her she added, “I enjoyed my time here and I will miss my master’s friendship, but there is a time to lay roots as there is a time to cut them.”

Teruro nodded and walked on.

Several hours later, dusk was settling into darkness. The two had eaten their meagre meal and were facing each other from either side of a small campfire.

“I noticed you took the box with you. Why bother?” he asked.

She regarded him with puzzlement, “You really didn’t see anything special when you looked into the cloth, did you… Are you sure that you’re really a human being and not a fox or a raccoon in disguise?”

He grinned crookedly and replied “I’ve been told often enough that I’m inhuman… But I can tell you this, I was born from a human mother and that my father was quite human as well. What was I supposed to see in the cloth?” 
“Other people witness the truths they hide from themselves in the cloth…” she said quietly.
“Hmm… And what do you see there?”
“I see the truth as well, but of things that have happened or that are likely to happen.”
He rubbed his unshaven chin thoughtfully, “Is that so… So you have visions?”
She silently nodded.
“What did you last see?”

 Picture from an Alaskan fishing tour company.

July 21, 2010

Okurokami - part 2

The child lived with the blind old man for fifteen years. They shared a small hut deep in a remote and isolate bamboo forest. When she was old enough she took over tending the small vegetable patch that provided them with food, which was complemented by the presents pilgrims brought the old man. Yes, pilgrims came to visit him, not because he was once the head Sohei monk of the famous Enryakuji temple on mount Hiei, but because of his reputation of wisdom and his legendary ability of helping people advance on the path of holiness.

It was one of the hottest days of the year. The air was suffused with the primal smell of freshly turned soil and the brittle song of cicadas when the man entered the small clearing in the dense bamboo forest that sheltered the hut. She stood in the entrance and watched him enter the clearing. They wordlessly measured each other up as he approached…

She figured him to be in his thirties and seemed to be carrying nothing but a small bundle tied in a piece of cloth slung over his shoulder, the swords at his belt, and his worn travel clothes.
He saw her to be a child on the cusp of womanhood dressed in cheap work-clothes. Her shorn head marked her as an apprentice.

“Hello. I’ve come to see the old man.”

“You’re too late. My name is Takeko. I am his apprentice.” He only nodded once in response.

“You don’t look like a holy pilgrim.” she said.

“Appearances have their uses, but they should not be confused for truths.” His reply seems to amuse her grimly, partially for what it didn’t say, but also partially because of her special relationship with truth.

There was a moment of silence as they stared at each other waiting for the other say something. Something about the man’s intense gaze caused her speak first.

“My master died yesterday, I gave him the last rites and buried him this morning.”

The man’s expression did not change when he said, “I see… You have my condolences. Goodbye then.” And turned on his heel to leave.

“Wait! If you take me with you I’ll give you what my master could have given you.”

He stopped and turned around and looked at her coolly, “Are you qualified to succeed you master?”

“Yes I am. Come inside.”

He followed her within after removing his straw traveling sandals in the entrance.
She was seated on a zabuton (floor cushion) in front of a small laquer box.

“My master was a wise man, and as such he knew when to use this tool. I am not as wise as he, but this is all I can do. This is my master’s tool for aiding people on the path of holiness… Mostly, by his careful selection of candidates, he helped those on who he used this item. But sometimes it would create great anger within them and they would become violent. In which case it was my job to “see them out”. So I’m going to leave this box here and you are going to wait five minutes for me to get ready outside before opening it.”

“If you insist upon this, then go now.”

So Takeko exited the house leaving the strange man with the lacquer box. She had barely gotten to the edge of the clearing and notched an arrow in the string of her long bamboo bow when the sound of roaring laughter came from inside the house. None of the other pilgrims had ever reacted that way… But judging from the laughter she deemed it safe and ran back to the house. By the time reached the house the laughter had trickled to an amused chuckled. Within she found the man seated in front of the open box with the square of mirror-like black cloth on his knees.

The man composed himself and looked at her, “I wasn’t expecting a zen joke.”

“What do you mean? Did you look at the cloth? Didn’t you see anything within?”

“I saw my reflection of course. I suppose the message is: to find true holiness you must know yourself? Or something of that nature? Well, a true martial artist cannot afford to have any illusions. Asides from the laugh, this was not worth my time. I’m leaving.”

Takeko looked pensive as she quickly replaced the cloth in the box, “Alright, just give me a moment to pack some things.”

“Pack if you like, but you are not leaving with me.”

“I see… you never did say you would take me with you. How about this: you said you were a martial artist, if I defeat you in combat will you take me with you.”

The man paused, thought about it briefly, nodded agreement, and said: “You understand that I will not hold back and that you may die.”

She smiled grimly “I have no illusions. How about you, are you prepared to die?”

He smiled at her for the first time, “My name is Magunojo, Teruro Magunojo. I’ll be waiting for you outside in front of the house, come at me when you are ready. Do not make me wait too long.”

Picture found on pixdaus. 

July 19, 2010

Okurokami - part 1

This story like many stories begins with a birth and with blood.

Long ago, in an impoverished yet noble family, a little girl was born with long hair as dark as clouded nights and so glossy it would reflect every star above when the clouds parted.

At first her parents were delighted: being born with hair was considered an excellent omen. They laughed and imagined she would grow into a beautiful young woman who would marry favourably. But as the weeks turned into months, people began to notice that their personalities had changed. Where once they had been relatively pleasant and open people they had become secretive and short tempered, they turned visitors away be they friends or family, and no one could see their baby daughter.

It was the nursemaid who was the first to realise that they had gone completely mad when they ordered her to put the child to the blade. The nursemaid bought some time by claiming that such a deed must be accomplished at the darkest hour, and promised she would execute their order that very night. As soon as she had a chance she swathed the child and escaped, but her departure was quickly discovered… The nursemaid used the last seconds before the raving parents caught up with her to hide the child in the tall grasses in the ditch next to the footpath.

Just in time to save the child from the raving parents who promptly slew the nursemaid. The mad couple argued over the slain woman’s corpse and returned to their home. The next morning, a villager who had come to deliver vegetables found them dead, they had killed themselves. The local priest was called in who claimed that a curse was at work and that the home should be burnt to protect the villagers from it.

And so, dutifully the villagers set the house afire and put the whole affair behind them. Little thought was given to the child and those who did dismissed it as probably having been the first victim to her parents’ insanity.
No one knew that a blind vagabond had found the infant child crying in the ditch and had taken her away.

The next part will be up Wednesday.

July 12, 2010

Defiant dulcimer

Give me shatterproof light for I am picking up pieces of the rainbows from the spent dreams in which the instruments have fallen silent. Talent was of no avail and skill brought about no succour from these woes. The coldest hour has come ignoring the sweltering summer day. Yet still the dulcimer plays and carries me safely away.

Music by Dizzi. If you are at all interested in hammered dulcimers check out her website: she is awesome!

July 5, 2010

Cut loses

Tending my self's edge, dangerously sharp
Savant weapon silenced the heart
Better than to feel pain of spinning wheel
Or remnants of warmth as away they steal
The sorting of emotions as I rip apart
Returning to the blade that I was at start
I am not she/he, without become mere thing
Twilight to nothing, his/her passing.

Image from Derknives.com
There's a poll up on the top left:
do y'all want a Questing for Food mix tape?

July 1, 2010


The sun broke free from the clouds and cast its rays on a classroom of thirty high-schoolers frantically scribbling down the words of an educator. The students had become writing machines, all save for the new kid who observes them quietly.

He was a quiet child who arrived in the middle of the year, seldom spoke, and almost never smiled. Most of time he was off to one side, in shade that he almost invariably managed to find regardless of where he was or the time of day; and so, with his dark clothes he was easy to overlook unless you were looking for him.

His clear green eyes scanned the room through his unruly long hair. A quiet observer of a scene unfolding: a professor who is quite visibly completely uninterested in imparting his knowledge to students whose sole reason for being present is social convention; each group existing solely in their own distinctly separate dimensions. The young man observed all of these things and burst into laughter.

The sudden laughter interrupted the teacher who tried to thunder the impertinent student with a glare, but it was as effective as glaring at a shadow. The students eagerly pounced upon the opportunity for distraction, turned from their sheets and snickered at the new kid who paid them no heed and carried on filling the room with his hearty laughter.

Abruptly he vanished, taking with him any sign of his having ever been.

Thirty seconds passed…
A minute.

The teacher resumed his logorrhea where he had left off, the students once again took up their writing implements and their unthinking pantomime. And all was as it had been before, as if the young man had never existed. But one of the students remembered him and thought to herself: “I wonder what he was laughing about…”
She dropped her pencil and starting looking…
BTW, there's a poll up on the top left side of my blog.

Le soleil, caché jusqu’alors dans les nuages, éclaira de ses rayons les élèves qui scribaient avec frénésie les propos d’un représentant de l’éducation. Les élèves, transformés en machines à écrire, étaient observés par l’exception : le nouveau.

Il était arrivé en cours de semestre et ne parlait quasiment pas, et souriait encore moins. Il se maintenait a l’écart, le plus souvent dans l’ombre qu’il ne manquait jamais de trouver quel que fut le lieu ou le moment du jour, ainsi avec ses vêtements sombres on le remarquait à peine, à moins de le chercher. Il observait donc la classe à travers le rideau de ses longs cheveux, ses yeux clairs observaient avec intérêt la scène. Le professeur qui apparemment n’avait aucune envie de partager son savoir et les élèves qui, de toute évidence n’avaient aucune envie d’apprendre ne semblait être présents que par convention pure. Chaque groupe existait dans sa dimension propre et leur mondes ne se touchaient presque jamais. Le jeune homme regardait autour de lui et rit.

La soudaine explosion du rire qui se prolongea interrompit l’enseignant qui essaya de foudroyer l’impertinent du regard, mais celui-ci était aussi indifférent que l’ombre dont il était vêtu. Les élèves trop heureux de la distraction, délaissaient leur feuilles en se tournant vers lui pour ricaner. Cela ne le dérangea en rien et son rire se poursuivit de plus belle.

Brusquement il disparut, emportant avec lui toute trace de son passage. Trente secondes passèrent, puis une minute. L’enseignant reprit sa logorrhée là où il l’avait laissée, les élèves leurs outils d’écriture et leur stupide pantomime. Ainsi tout fut comme avant, comme si le jeune homme n’eut jamais existé. Mais une des étudiantes se souvenait de lui et se demandait : « Pourquoi riait-t-il donc ? ». Elle posât son stylo et se mit à regarder, à observer…