all, prose & poetry

Nothing at all

We were in a boat, sailing in the North Pacific. That’s when the bombing started. We had to turn off course and hide behind a cliff of a small rocky island. Frantically scanning the radio waves, we finally caught a part of an English-speaking broadcast. Someone was saying “…we were so focused on Iraq, and now North Korea will destroy us all…”

So there we were, just a few kilometers off the coast of a post-apocalyptic nuclear battle station. Watching as the missiles were taking off in all directions one after another. We sat in our boat and watched. There was nothing else to do. Someone would get up once in a while to make sandwiches, or bring another bottle of whiskey. They tasted amazing, those sandwiches. Crusty bread and cold cheese. 

The missiles were leaving beautiful trails of smoke, curling and glowing as the sun had started to set. The closer the sun got to the horizon, the deeper the smoke’s color became. By then, we could hear the sound of explosions from where the missiles hit. It took just less then a minute between the fireball taking off and the sound of shattered everything.

That’s when the sun stopped setting, hanging just barely an inch over the horizon. The ocean itself began exploding, and water seemed to be draining out from under us. The boat was dragged along with the retreating water, and then just sank into the drying sea-bed. From here, we had a better view of the nuclear station. It had also lowered into the sand, with its metal upon metal and steam and endless rails and ladders. The missiles kept taking off, but there weren’t any people in sight. We watched as gravity itself seemed to shift, and the sun was suddenly in the wrong place. The ocean floor was breaking up and gallons of sand were slipping off somewhere deep into the newly formed cracks. Someone passed me an almost empty bottle, and I let it slip out of my hands, off the boat, into one of the cracks. It disappeared, and someone else laughed, and then…

I woke up and the TV was talking. A bald guy in a worn suit was saying something about inevitability. Someone must’ve left it on. Nothing wrong with the world. Nothing at all.

all, prose & poetry

The Fall

It’s been one of those months that build up inside you, day by day, each hour a composite of lead-weight minutes, and the seconds all ticking from within your rib cage, tick-tock atop a tickety-tock, all at once, like a flurry of water drops on cement, loud, pointed, neverending, each a tiny kick, cracking the surface until wild underground weeds push their way through and take over. Eyes blink slower, hair rustles, whispering amongst itself, and the heartbeat becomes an overflowing river of white noise. Something will implode, alone in the proverbial forest, with not a soul to hear nor make a sound.

You write the same thing over and over. Start with a doodle and the inevitable comes out. Sketches of blank-faced women, thin arms ending in long, alien fingers, falling, floating in space. Sentences that drag on, imagery of decay, destruction from within, people morphing into something inanimate, entrapment, something impending to both awe and indifference.

You try to hold onto your old gods and their prophets: a sea of pink elephants swimming in the rising sun; impending apocalypse; a dozen photos of the sunset spread out on a bed; an old envelope filled with a moment, a breath, a key; the sounds of enormous flying whales, their wings flapping-flapping-flapping, moving higher and higher and taking you up up up, beyond air, beyond sound and life, to somewhere that never existed but matters more than anything that ever has.

You stagger, pull up, fall. The sky above is actually cracked white plaster, pipes forming a crude geometric design alongside its breadth. Wind is gushing in the largest of the tubes, clouds escaping among steely weldings, precipitation forming in small shuddering droplets.

Mesmerized, you are unable to recall the oldest of all things – how to breathe, move, struggle. Your thoughts form into hollowed out caverns, framed by impenetrable rock and darkness. You forget what came before, what brought you here, what lies beyond the present and eternity. Sounds descend through a burrow of interweaving nerves. Vision calibrates among lost concepts of dimension and time.

You focus on the last remnants of what was memory and language. You put words to what are floating, unsteady instances in the quandary of being. This here is a stone, a brick, one upon another. Between them, a solid membrane and another above, and here, yes, another brick, hundreds of them, in tall, proud columns, gargantuan rows. That’s around and below. A body of you stacked in still, umber pieces.

Abandoning your dreams of the sky, you try to sink into the earth, reach for the groundwater, sprout roots and harden with bark. In a last breath of reason, you absorb this solid new self until the reality of it is irreversibly set and wrong. Despite your best efforts, you have not become a tree, but an empty, abandoned building.

all, prose & poetry

Time walks beside us

A man walks beside us as the landscape alternates between morning and twilight burgundy. It’s been shifting all week – a change every ten minutes at first, now every five. We haven’t seen the sun in two days; it’s only fair – we gave up on it long before.

It’s getting cold. It’ll get colder and colder until it all ends and it won’t matter.

“Time,” she says. We’re the last people that talk in the world. We nearly gave up like the others, until we realized we were the last ones. That changes things. Our words are significant because they’ll be all the world hears before it ceases to be.

“Time,” she points again. The clocks have now stopped, too. The big one on the tower to the east is creaking in the wind. The long minute hand already flown off. The dial is crumbling on the side of 6 o’clock.

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all, prose & poetry

There was no light

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There was no light nor any star patterns in the sky. The darkness has been complete at nights, and there was still over a month left of winter.

The ship rocked slightly in the wind but no gust was strong enough to make it move even a hair’s width between the ice plates. The single mast creaked tiredly amidst the howling air.

The vessel’s only inhabitant leaned back against the deck and adjusted his body to blend in with the frozen wood.

“This isn’t the end,” he thought.  Once the ice plates began to melt, it wouldn’t take long to find land. He only had to last until then.

“Not yet.”

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