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Haven’t written much of late. Prompt was to write a poem using the verse structure of a song you’ve been listening to.

***

No empathy,

It’s pretty clear that you don’t care for me.

You think you’re doing right, but it’s no use.

Don’t really know why you can’t tell the truth.

 

Delusional,

I never thought that I would lose it all.

A little faith ain’t hurt nobody right?

So far ahead, my reach is out of sight.

 

It’s ignorance,

Another word that’s made at my expense.

But there is willingness in every doubt.

I’ve given up before I’m even out.

 

I have no dreams,

Cause I’m a pessimist, or so it seems.

A smoke at night and I be forgettin’.

Just what it’s like to hit the reset button.

reset-button

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Armistice

Some craving has been eating away.

Through my heart and stomach, it’s tearing its way.

It punctured my lungs and drew out my breath.

It hollowed my gut and made it its nest.

Entwined through my ribs; it wound its way tight,

and I don’t even have the will to fight.

It bore its way into my thoughts,

so dazed that my mind is beginning to rot.

 

It picked me clean and left the bones,

an empty shell bleached on the stones.

But hold me up onto your ear,

there is no ocean inside to hear.

And every time I open my mouth it seems,

nothing comes out that’s worth my esteem.

It’s eaten the words right out of my throat,

so full on my grief it’s beginning to bloat.

 

They tell me I need to find stillness inside,

to seek out myself in solitude and pride.

But only with you does my disquiet subside,

an armistice between my heart and my mind.

007-black-and-white1

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Leo

She wants to be fearless,
to be full of disregard,
for all of the people,
who always make her drop her guard.

She sleeps with the lions,
dreams of blood and bone and rams.
But her stomach is empty,
because she can’t slaughter lambs.

In desolate acres,
over miles of forgotten land,
she longs for the peace of mind,
others find by their own hand.

All of the illusions,
that rip and tear into her eye,
shroud her in sorrow,
lead the lions to wither and die.

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Exceedingly fun to write, though I’m sure there are a some historical inaccuracies. I did my best to keep true to historical events (ie Magellan was in fact injured at the battle of Cannanore in March of 1506, though I took liberties with the nature of the injury, and of course Columbus died on May 20, 1506). A cursory search also shows that a fair number of the words and terminology used emerged closer to the latter half of the 16th century.

I intend this to be a short graphic novel under the working title: The Myth of the Flat Earth. In the introductory pages below, I haven’t yet made any distinctions between panels, though I have added some description where I thought it was helpful or needed. The characters alternate between each line of dialogue.

Fantasy map of a flat earth

The workshop of an aged inventor and explorer, Portugal 1506. A conversation between Fernão de Magalhães (Ferdinand Magellan, age 25) and his uncle, Diogo.

Diogo: How is your leg fairing?

Magellan: As good as to be expected and no better, I fear.

Hmmm?

Magellan grimaces.

de Almeida does not seem to think I would be able to tether the rigging.

And could you?

In my sleep. I am young enough not to be bothered by an annoyance.

I would hardly call it such, but if you consider it so. Da Vinci’s work?

Diogo admires Magellan’s leg brace as his nephew observes the contents of the workshop.

His design, yes. He is quite enthralled with human anatomy. It is a bit disconcerting.

Quite ingenious. The cur!

Magellan grins.

Is there no modern mind with whom you hold no contempt?

Great minds are always set against the current beliefs and are often ridiculed because of it.

The inventor shuffles off between the shelves. Magellan follows.

I suppose that hinges on the distinction between belief and truth.

Empirical evidence, of course. Observational, first-hand accounts. There can be no doubt in that.

And yet your plans are still fixed?

Unwaveringly so.

Despite such evidence against it?

Misinterpretation.

And what of Aristotle? and of Bede?

Mistaken.

But surely the appearance of the New World…

Has proven nothing, but that Columbus is poor navigator and an even poorer mathematician. Next you will be convincing me that the sun and moon do not move across the sky!

Diogo distractedly rummages through the teetering shelves, picking out various maps and charts as he goes. For every paper he adds to his overflowing arms, another falls from them to the ground. Magellan picks them up as he follows.

Yes, but has it not shown that there are lands beyond the sea! It is every explorer’s ambition to finally discover the unknown world.  Ah, but I must see it for myself!

I am not so much concerned with the New World as I am with what lies beyond it and I shall not waste another moment on postulation!

Magellan looks at his uncle warily.

I suppose you have heard then?

Heard what? That the pompous wretch lies bedridden… I shall not let him die thinking for one moment that he has bested me!

Your plan is reckless. Columbus’ crew did not bear well and he has made four trips in his life.

I will do in one what he could not do in a hundred voyages!

In his eagerness, Diogo topples over the worn bust of a Viking warrior as well as the pile of papers precariously balanced on its head. The inventor takes no notice and simply steps over the mess, depositing the contents of his arms on his desk. Behind the desk is pinned a rough circular sketch of the known countries of the world; the sea stretches endlessly to the circumference of the Earth. Magellan sighs and begins to clean up.

It would do me a grievance to see anything happen to you Tio. I suppose my only solace is that you should not find a captain, let alone a crew, willing to indulge such foolish ideas.

I have already found such a captain and crew, and a good ship. I leave within a fortnight.

Magellan drops everything and stands abruptly.

What mad fool have you contrived into helping you?! Tio, only an unbalanced mind would agree to such absurd terms and I would not have you in their society for a moment!

Unbalanced! Absurd! Such slights am I used to, but never from my own blood!

Be reasonable Tio! You are an accomplished scholar, but in this you are wrong. Every evidence and rational thought of the last six centuries is against you. If you commit to this folly, then you will be infamous for it! Abandon this campaign and set this quarrel to rest!

You err in thinking that I am swayed only by the passion of a quarrel; though I would like to shred his smug face against a grindstone! Diogo sighs, turning to his nephew. The world is both spherical and flat, it is both self-contained and ever flowing. Until we can see for ourselves, it is both of these things and it is neither.

Diogo pauses for his words to take some effect.

So?

So the evidence that stands against me is equally contended by the words and accounts of human history!

Magellan laughs.

In myths you mean, don’t you?

In the old stories lie countless truths.

And countless fallacies. Would you set out to prove the existence of dragons?

Could you say, with empirical proof, that there are none in all of the world; a world that you just so justly put, has yet to be fully discovered?

It is not for me to prove, Tio, for you could say that of anything a man can imagine.

Exactly so! We have an opportunity, nephew, to find out for ourselves the true nature of this world!

You harbor under the delusion that I should help you in this madness.

I have taken the liberty of putting you on the ship’s manifest. I trust you have no objections.

I have every objection imaginable!

You are unable to perform your duty in the regiment fleets and no other ship will bring you on in the interim with such an injury. The inventor grasps Magellan’s shoulders firmly. Fernão, you belong to the sea and she to you. We could chart the unknown ocean; we could be the first men to go to the edge of the world! No greater feat will you accomplish in life!

Magellan considers his uncle’s words, studying the maps and stellar charts pinned on the walls.

To the edge of the world and back, I hope. But I suppose at the very least I will be able to begin my exploration of the New World. Who could say they were offered such an opportunity at this stage in their career?

Precisely, though I will hear no more of this “New World”. It has nothing to do with us.

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So there I was, uncomfortably cramped in the seat of an overcrowded Greyhound when a coffee, spilled in the compartment above, trickled down through the light fixture and onto my head as the bus pulled out for the five hour drive. A few days later, the retainer wire behind my teeth snapped off in the middle of the Hobbit, maliciously stabbing my tongue each time I endeavored to eat the overpriced popcorn I refused to let go to waste. And, to top it off, the back of my dress ripped up the butt seam on my way to work as I dodged the slushy wake of a passing car, so that I had to sit gingerly at my desk for the rest of the day trying to avoid pinpricks from the safety pins holding the whole mess together. All of these things had an ill foreboding; writers can always sense dreadfully ill-plotted foreshadowing, even in their own lives.

I’m surprised I even got up in the morning considering how convinced I was that some disembodied voice might tell me my wristwatch had it in for me. I just know I’ll get my skirt caught on some protruding sharp corner on my way to my orthodontist and I’ll knock the cup of coffee from someone’s hands as I try to steady myself in a hectic twirl, the threads of my skirt unraveling around me while I hop on one foot to avoid the wave of people stepping on and off the bus, only to finally find my feet as it begins to pull away and, stepping forward to get the driver’s attention, slip on the spilt coffee and hit my head on the curb, my watch ticking on with smug contempt. And on top of it all: my teeth are so crookedly misshapen that my family can’t bear to have anything but a closed-casket service. Hey, it could happen.

Stranger Than Fiction

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Playing around in different styles. Here’s one I rather enjoyed writing.

***

“So it was you who suggested that mayhem in -shire, was it not? It proved to be a sound investment.”

He said it in such a casual, offhand manor, so against his purposeful nature, that I knew it to be a trap. But there was no way to avoid such a direct question, so I ventured a guess, placing confidence and a bit of incredulity in my voice.

“No, it was not my suggestion. I believe it was Marces idea initially, though surely you remember!”

A knowing grin shadowed the corner of his lips and for a moment I feared I might have misjudged him. That forced nonchalance may not have been unconsciously done, but Marces piped up indignantly.

“Really Charles, if I’d known you’d have forgotten my part in it all I might as well not have come!”

His eyes moved to her with a flash of annoyance, as though just remembering she was there. Inside, I heaved a sigh of relief, blessing the knowledge Mr.Coroner had given me.

“Do forgive Charles, Marces,” said I reverently. “We all know, including he, how much work you put into the project.”

“Well I’m glad at least that you did not take my credit, as many others would have,” she assented with a sniff. “Charles seems so taken with you, he would believe anything you say!”

“Surely not,” I laughed. “I don’t think that Charles truly believes anything anyone says, until he has seen it for himself.”

“As should anyone.” He put in, no longer lounging. “Even the closest of confidences is inherently unreliable.”

“How can you say such a thing? Have I not your trust!” Marces appealed fervently.

“Not in the slightest.”

“Charles!”

“What is trust hmm? But a sure way to invite trouble! There are those whose opinions I value of course, whose suggestions and council I would seek above all others, but even they are not exempt from scrutiny. To trust any is mere folly. Everyone has their own agenda.”

“I would be surprised if Charles trusted even himself,” I said with a coy smile, and Merces peeled with laughter. His calculating gaze turned to me.

“We deceive everyone, dear lady, even ourselves.”

I forced myself to keep a steady tone. “Perhaps such deceit exists, but to live without trust is a lonely life indeed.”

“All life is lonely, there is no part of it that we do not tread by ourselves. Surrounding oneself with the dealings of others only gives the illusion of alliances.”

“Is there no one that you hope to give yourself to? Do you not cringe and wither away without friends to lift the burden of your anxieties?”

“It would only serve to deceive me further about the very nature of this world and from it would spawn only more sorrow. After all, in the end, there is no one who can share in our final repose.”

I had nothing to say to this, so I remained quiet, and inside I felt my heart sink into my stomach. There seemed no way to gain his confidence, no way to find out the secrets he held and, all it once, I truly felt that our lives were lost.

“Oh this is becoming so morbid!” exclaimed Marces. “Let us speak of other things!”

But Charles was not paying her any mind; he was staring at me quite solemnly. I hoped he thought my interest was of an amorous nature, as the truth would only strengthen his case.

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III. Pretentiousness (PRIDE)

calvin-and-hobbes-the-purpose-of-writing

Ambiguity in writing; seems counterintuitive doesn’t it? Writing so much to say so little, hiding meaning in vagueness and sneering at those who can’t see it… if it’s even there. How much more impressive I find it when so much is said in few words!

So, what’s the point of this post, to which you’re about to commit five minutes of reading between all sorts of lines and not-so-witty remarks in order to decipher it. And after I’ve put so much effort in turning my words into obscure references to their meaning! How very inconsiderate of you. You’d like to pick my words apart and discover that there is little more rational thought than a house fly, that my reasoning is no more than needless sophistry (as you can tell I have a very broad vocabulary, unlike most writers I presume).

Well, you’re going to be disappointed, I’m afraid to say, for I am about to expound a most complex and thought-provoking observation on the art of writing.

There is no cunning or subtlety of mind in writing that is derived from ambiguous intentions; there is only the mundane  — Me

Confused? Good. I can only assume by your obvious lack of understanding, and of any cognitive function for that matter, that you were unable to keep up with my thought process. Don’t feel ashamed, I am assured by my colleagues that this afflicts most readers (not that I needed to be told!) I mean, how can anyone expect to understand what is written except for the author… that just wouldn’t make proper sense now would it?

What I meant to say is that you shouldn’t rely on subtlety to help gloss over what you can’t put into words, nor to make yourself appear talented or intelligent. If anything, it makes you boring, stale, and, unfortunately, just like the rest of us (and by “us” I mean you lot of course, didn’t want to single any one out!) Being long-winded is tedious; being long-winded with nothing to say is infuriating.

What? Why didn’t I just say so to begin with? Why, then we wouldn’t have had this inspiring conversation! Because I’m sure you’re inspired to read the rest of my blog now that you know exactly what to expect: a candid observation of my human condition.

7 Sins of Writing (Part II)

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