h3=. Light Divided By Light Equals Darkness
Queen Of Sorrows
Poem Series One
By Alan Belauskas
Copyright 2016 Alan Belauskas
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Table Of Contents
[+ Phase One+]
[+ Phase Two+]
[+ Phase Three+]
[+ About The Author+]
These poems are dedicated to Net and Otto.
“Where do you start your lessons?” the wizard asked the fifteen-year-old apprentice on his first night.
The apprentice replied, “In the beginning.”
The wizard walked over to the table, picked up his great journal, placed it in the boy’s arms, and said to him,
“There is nothing more I can teach to you for you have mastered the greatest lesson.”
And the mockingbird swam backwards into the night.
[+ Phase One+]
Phase One: Criteria Match
The quick landing caused the air, already unusually warm this late in the evening, to become more dense and stark. Heavy round moonbeams settled below mesquite branches and surrounded the meteor-dusted travelers sitting on the desert pavement.
The two stretched out their legs, inhaled deeply, and looked into the darkness.
They looked up, down, and measured all around that this primary planet contains an excellent source of kwheep for their soon-to-be twins.
“As I mentioned on our way over here, my love, finding this planet was easy. All we had to do was trace over their starship’s bold signature. What’s this?” Cukacheea looked from her hand held reader to her life partner Pik. “I am reading that their starship’s technology does not equal the technology here on the surface. I guess our presence here triggered a backwards time swim, but that’s fine. It will be fun for the children to experience a low tech world.”
Pik winked at her and said, “Let us do something low tech together and experience this ancient world in what little time we have left here.”
“Don’t worry, my love, we have time to finish phase one, and you know perfectly well what that is. I feel our twins will be mischievous. I can sense my mood is bent in that direction. Now find us a spot to get comfortable.”
Ancient Ritual Performed On A Quaint Planet
The after-glow of love filters the evening into a kaleidoscope of purple and yellow patterns quilted on the sky and on their rumpled bodies. One forgiving psyche, and one that was not, mingled, mixed, and merged; and in time, two identities – Twiu and Yot – were imprinted during the night on this so-so bed.
Forest dark green forest, now where have I heard that saying before?
Found the strangest spider tangled in my long silver hair.
Parents push racing carts through any narrow gap among the aisles of stuff; while their precious kids snake around my ankles and slither off to find solace deep within glittering piles of junk.
On this warm Walpurgis Night, silky-up to me, Spider, and I will free you from this dreariness. I’ll walk outside, with you safely in my hair, and together we can watch as the new moon blinks off and on a most serious welcome to us both.
“The cry of the Red-tailed Hawk, the frantic calling of a coyote pack, the rustling leaves
of a Velvet Mesquite, the…”
“Whoa there, mister,” the seller said. “No need to take me on a nature tour. Are you
interested in the land, or what? Remember one hundred sixty acres?”
“Yes I am and yes I remember,” said the young man.
The seller looked at the young man. He’s young, but his face is so wrinkled-up – where did he find some tobacco or marijuana? And the seller also thought that this guy is too weird looking in his white sports coat, white cargo pants, white canvas slip-ons, and a white fedora covering his short silver hair. What’s with all the white clothes? A uniform mandated by his boss, or just some fashion statement coming from a big city? Yeah, he’s a city guy all right. What’s with that suitcase he’s holding? A carpetbag? Yeah, that’s it. But…
The seller shook off his thoughts and said, “Ok, so you saw the for sale sign ‘cause you got my number. You called me. You called me, not the other way around. I came all the way out here to show you my land.”
“Yes to all three,” the city guy replied. “Did you know that this is the last area that has not been developed?”
“Yeah, I know that and I would have probably offered it for more if it was electrical and sewer ready.”
The city guy said, “Stop and listen won’t you? Listen to the desert songs before they are all gone. It takes just a moment to realize the beauty of the living desert. Stand in the middle of it. Look around. Take it all in.”
“Ok, here I am. I’m looking around and I’m seeing a patch of desert. So?”
“Not just any desert. The desert. The last pure untouched desert in the southwestern part of once was called the United States Of America – now, as you know, it is a section of land contained within the Stability Corporation West. Anyway, this land you have for sale is so valuable. So rare.”
“Maybe I should sell it for more?”
“No need. I am an impactor, and I impact valuable items for the SC – such as this land.” The city guy opened his carpetbag, and from within the bag out flew a wind like no other. “With everything on it. With everything around it,” the city guy whispered, “for the wind drowns out all sound, for the wind has no sound.”
And the seller found himself sitting at his kitchen table wondering what had happened. What happened to the city guy in white and the one hundred sixty acres? What happened to my normal life? The seller got up and from his window looked outside. “Dark blowing wind. Always this dark blowing wind,” he said out loud and then thought, at least I can hear my voice inside my house, but outside the wind drowns everything with its strange silent sound. When will I see something, anything but this, this darkness? It’s been weeks. Months? I am running out of food. How can I live like this? When will I see everything that is so rare and so valuable? When will I see the beauty that the city guy spoke about? I want to stand in the middle of this beauty, but it’s all a big nothing.”
The seller stepped outside his front door and immediately was in darkness. He thought, this dark blowing wind, it covers me. “Take me, my rare and valuable darkness!” he yelled, but could not hear his voice.
The seller stretched out on the ground and was sweetly surrounded by his devoted lover. And was drowned in beauty along with his silent screams.
Glowing stars sit in a dark harbor plotting their long awaited move;
but camouflaged sand can quickly launch in front of a marching haboob.
In the outer regions’ grooves and curves,
past comets that flew and swerved –
there you’ll find the Seraph of The Dark Sun who squeezes in her hand a statuette
of a canonized nun.
Demons play among the red and blue shards
lightly snowing down, accumulating on and all around.
The demons, always out to make a buck, have a well thought out plan. They gather and package the once saintly magenta pieces into a for-profit curriculum, then lobby to make it publicly funded. Their proprietary instructions are reverently presented to the educators and politicos and sold to parents as ‘the future of education’.
“Recite the Administration of Information Creed”, the computer said. Without having to think, the children quickly repeat the implanted response.
“[Weird Biocivics, Classic Edition. We’re On Page One Forty-Seven,
Left Column, Middle.”]
“More and more people are moving to the desert areas of the nation once called the United States of America. As a result of the increase in population, the desert groundwater is being over pumped. Also the Stability Corporation has allowed its subsidiaries to pump desert groundwater at an alarming rate. These subsidiaries, or smaller corporations within the SC, then fill billions of plastic bottles with the pumped groundwater. The filled plastic bottles are sold back to the public.
“We have talked about this before so I know you all understand the importance of this passage in our textbook. But say, for instance, if our esteemed Stability Corporation does not, or refuses to acknowledge the issues of over pumping and the over pumping continues; tell me each of you, starting with you, Theresa, here in the front row. Tell me how things would and probably will get weird.”
[Untying Your Nots
**]You cannot learn it.[
**]You cannot learn.
Why it –
Why it is you!
Why it is you who can.
You can learn to untie your nots of understanding.
You can teach your understanding to others.
Others can learn to untie their nots of understanding.
Others can teach their understanding to you.
Together we can teach ourselves to remove the binding nots that keep us as slaves of the dark.
[‘Released’ – Article From Chthonic Times
By Theresa Loto, May 2084]
The original hospital was built in twenty sixteen. In late twenty eighty-three a contracting company was hired, and in turn this company subcontracted a builder to start and finish the first renovation of the hospital. The Administration of Infrastructure owned both the contracting company and the subcontracted builder.
The construction started this year. This month one of the subcontractor’s yellow trucks – an excavator, dug deep into the earth to provide a firm base to rest a much taller building and an adjacent four-story parking garage. As the excavator dug deeper the workers noticed something metal in the ground. Using shovels and picks the workers saw that this metal piece was a cylinder approximately twelve feet long, six feet wide, and five feet deep. Because the cylinder was made of metal there was no cause to get an anthropologist’s approval to remove or not remove the cylinder. The heavy cylinder was unearthed completely and another yellow truck – a loader, then set the cylinder on the hospital’s old parking lot just a few feet from the construction site. The workers used hammers and crowbars to open the cylinder.
Once opened an eyewitness reported that millions of splattering crimson dots were released into the air. These red egg-shaped dots seemed to be attracted to humans and the dots appeared to seek out any exposed skin. The red dots on the skin turned blue. More dots were found one hundred to one hundred fifty miles from the construction site. Also inside the metal cylinder the workers found a spacesuit complete with helmet and boots. The local Administration of Safety was called in to investigate. One construction worker, who may have become delirious, was overheard saying, “I never heard of a government spacecraft called The Minotaur.” Most of the construction workers became ill, but the safety officers appeared not to have been affected by the dots.
The Point Of Having A Persecution Complex
It’s early morning and the sun warms the dew sticking to the tall grass. The resulting mix of sun and dew creates a fog that soon lifts to reveal the hiding hummers. A thirsty Cactus Wren licks the morning dew that surrounds the thin stem of a newborn barrel cactus flower.
Dew sticks on the bottom of my most practical of shoes – the brown oxfords. I can’t take a step. I can’t move. Unwilling to depart with my shoes, I just stand there helpless. Realizing my predicament a Costa Hummingbird turns towards me and then flies straight into my nectar filled nose.
I, Jefferson C. William, at least I think that is my name, woke up. I realized that the hummer was in my brain. That’s Ok. Her head protrudes from the top of my head. This gives her the ability to see things. She tells me about the things she sees. Tells me what is happening, but most of all she tells me what will happen. I wear a Status B cap when I’m in mixed company.
I got a job with the Administration of Leisure carefully storing red and blue dots in vaults located in the southwestern desert, and by desert I mean out in the middle of nowhere. Status B citizen volunteers collect the red dots in areas where the dots are released. The blue dots are surgically removed from Status B citizens who come in contact with the dots and the exposed citizens are then housed in special care units. My hummer, who calls herself Georgina, told me there are no special care units for Status B citizens. She told me the dots fall harmlessly off the Status A citizens. Georgina told me a secret. She told me that the collected stored dots can and will be used again.
The Secret History Of America’s Monarchy – Part One: The Early Years
As semis swerved and cars jumped the double yellers, three wind swept tumbleweeds took off fast across the highway and up and onto the passenger seats of three motorcycles roaring by.
From time to time we heard stories of what became of the Three Tumbleweeds. All three, we think, went back east to make their fortunes. We heard that the eldest, that’s Ezekiel, or Zeek as he called himself, became a politician. The middle one, that’s Zacharias, or Zak with a ‘k’, is how he spells his shortened folksy name; he became a politician. The youngest, Zorn, he’s always been called Zorn, became a politician, too. They like to think of themselves as Z Three Kings – how smug of those boys! Good riddance I say to those crazy Tumbleweed Brothers. We don’t need any more of those fast talking politicians here in the West. We have plenty of our own delusions blowing in the wind.
In the dark, what’s that sound – a Bandersnatch?
Flying rivers that bend and stretch
Narrow mountain roads that dare.
Dodo birds take up the hobby of lake nesting
Just for a time. But no one really knows.
Hiking through high forests where some are bleeding out red, but others still intact,
Mr. Dum and Ms. Dee rehearse the tempestuous parts of concerned political candidates. Their slippery voices swim easily into thousands of nests. And after the storm, when all the nests have spilled over with flowing words, and the politicos have adjourned for a year or three, do textese your deepest sympathy, but don’t expect the Dodos’ msg. to ever return.
Watching Lavinia, Sister Of Emily, On The Entertainment News Media
in the hot springtime heat -
Feet won’t get skinned.
Vinnie won’t get sick.
She listens to the music within
and dances a dance that is
“Ok, viewing audience. What do you think? You’ve just seen Little Lavinia perform for the first time. Now it is up to you to vote on her dance. Call the ‘Like’ phone number there on your screen and Lavinia’s parents get to go home with their two children. Call the ‘Hate’ phone number there on your screen and Little Lavinia and her older sister, Emily get to spend their childhood and adult life working for the Stability Corporation. We will tally up the votes and give you the results right after these endless commercials. So stay tuned for more of ‘The Name Of The Game Is Corporate Fame’.
“Ok, finally we are back, the votes have been counted, and it looks like the viewing audience did not like your dance. I am so sorry, Little Lavinia, but the good news is that you and your sister get to spend all your time working in a storage facility in the Southwest. How about a nice round of applause for Little Lavinia! Thank you thank you. Next up is Walt who will sing a song unaccompanied. Walt, the best of luck to you; because if the audience likes then Walt will be signing a fabulous recording contract, but if the audience hates, then Walt will be working in a corporation sweatshop for the rest of his life. “Sing, Walt, sing! Or should I say: sew, Walt, sew? Go ahead, Walt, and weave a song for us.”
Spirits Of The West
A long time ago, as the story goes, a young boy cried out, “Shane, come back.”
But where once a drifter on horseback visited a nice family and stayed in their nice house, this same house today is roofless and is inhabited by Mountain Bluebirds who are trained to cry out, “Can’t complain,” as they fly up and over the Western Division plains.
Cryptic Signs – Ichi
Zebra-striped butterfly from a distance turns round and round.
Children playing on the dark desert’s pavement stop to watch as a
Devil’s claw inches slowly along the reddening ground.
A Prayer – May 8th
The Saguaros from the night’s cold
extend their arms and call out,
“This is a Day of Love – we hope.
This is a Day of Peace – we hope.
This is a day we share our boundless love and peace with
all humans. They, I’m sorry to say, have never quite understood what you, Our Mother Earth, have given and only have asked that we, in return, give respect to you and all your children.”
Later, in the evening, the Saguaros discuss their disappointment in the no-show humans.
It’s Time To Face The Lullaby Head-On
Cloudy pink and orange glow with a
full bright rainbow; there is
hope for times ahead – to rest in a warm bed knowing that storms
will rock us to sleep
way past our troubles
so incomprehensibly deep.
Chthonic Times Reporter
Settling in, camping out here at night, lying on her side with her ear to the ground Theresa hears the faint sound of voices. She reaches out in the dark for her cell phone. The lighted screen reads eight sixteen.
Among all of the chattering voices she recognizes one familiar voice: the voice of the Administrator of Information, or ‘AI’, as he is respectfully called. She has heard his convincing voice and seen his hansom face on the ‘Stability Days’ that are held five times a month. On ‘Stability Days’ everyone is expected to stop what they are doing and listen to that voice coming from the huge speakers, see that face on the wide screens placed in central locations in the cities. These speeches are mainly about how well the west is doing. How well the Stability Corporation Western Division is handling domestic and eastern affairs. How well the SC loves its dedicated workers. But this is not a Stability Day. This speech seems to be directed to the AI’s peers.
“AI Officers, we are ready to gather in the big room for the monthly AI banquet; and afterwards, I will discuss how we will continue to divide, set-apart, alienate, fracture, and gobble up every living creature that dares to move against our stability.”
With her ear to the ground and her cell phone in her hand she listens and records this night that will start with the headline: ‘The Brilliant Deception’.
May 8th – Reprise
The Administrations of Entertainment, of Nature, and of Food promoted the Mother Zoot Festival as a ‘Three Day Festival of Peace, Love, and Understanding’. Older, fifty plus, Status B Citizens’ entrance fees were paid for by the three administrations and also the older Status B Citizens received free food and drinks. There was live music. Twenty bands were hired to play. The weather, as predicted by the Ravens on the Committee Approving Weather – CAW, was neither too hot nor too cold, in fact it was just right for an outdoor concert.
The concertgoers came by the hundreds of thousands – three hundred thousand was the estimated count by the Entertainment News Media.
The first band, called Neckwear, took to the stage amid loud cheering and applause. The lead singer began to sing:
“You are beautiful as the first drop of a July rain that gives much needed water.
And, my love, you are beautiful as the last drop that sweetens a cactus flower.”
Everyone hears the loud sounds of engines overhead. A fleet of prop planes, colorfully decorated in red and blue swirling lines, flying in formation, comes straight over the concert area. The crowds below yell in appreciation for this unexpected sight. Red dots drop from the planes and the dots splatter onto the concertgoers. A few people start shouting, “the Queen, the Queen!” Then a few more shouts are heard. Then everyone is shouting, “the Queen!” and there is a mass movement as people try to escape from the dots. Suddenly shouting stops. No one is moving. For so many people contained in so little an area, the quiet on the farmland is eerie.
People are lying down and some are sitting. Staring. The red dots, on their exposed skin have now turned blue.
Twenty minutes later the overhead sounds return. This time the concertgoers cannot hear the engines, cannot hear or see anything except what is coming from inside their bizarre thoughts.
As the second fleet of prop planes flies overhead a purple haze falls lightly as powdered snow on the crowd. Their eyes begin to water. They cough. They choke. Their blood seeps out of their bodies and the blood begins to inch slowly along the reddening ground. Their clothes melt into their skin and ‘…soon the bones of the Status B will fertilize the fields to produce a bounty of food for the elites.’
The partial quotation mentioned above is from the Administration of Food’s ‘Policy On Food Production For Status A Citizens: The Role Of The Stability Corporation In Local And World Food Systems’ (109).
Cryptic Signs – Ni
“When I was young we saw the same trees, the same sun, and breathed the same wind into all our lungs.
“Jackson Wyoming, I don’t know what the hell they call it now, is still crowed with tourists. The railing along the boardwalk, at one time – that was before your time, was used to hitch horses, maybe you’ve seen pictures of horses or seen horses in a zoo? Now the railing keeps visitors from falling into the oncoming cars, trucks, RVs, and buses so loaded with tourists who enjoy fake trees, a fake sun, and a dark wind that blows dead butterflies into their thoughts and lungs.
“I bet you didn’t know what those pale yellow things were. Now you know. Those bastards, those damn bastards. They stole our country and look what they gave us in return. It’s hard for me to talk about this, and I’m getting upset.”
[+ Phase Two+]
Trying Out An Earthly Philosophy
There once was an upwardly mobile, thirtyish woman by the name of Ms. Cupidity. Starting out at seven-thirty Ms. Cupidity would walk to work. Her condo located on the downtown boulevard was not far from her office. Everyday on her way to and on her way from work she passed on by the thousands of homeless camped in the downtown area. Day after day she passed by the homeless until one day she noticed one of them, who was crouched down on the sidewalk and dressed in a dirty white sports coat and wearing a white fedora, had a basket of pears sitting in front of him.
Holding out a pear to her, the homeless in white said, “Ms. Cupidity, would you like a taste of freedom? It’s sweet and so passionately sublime.”
“That is not my name,” Ms. Cupidity replied.
“Yes it is because I see it in your beautiful eyes.”
“No it’s not. I mean my name it’s not. But I will buy one of your pears. I forgot my lunch today. How much?”
“The pear is free.”
Ms. Cupidity took a bite and said with a mouthful of pear, “Oh, please I will buy the rest of your pears. You’re right. It is sweet and so passionately sublime.”
The homeless in white studied her eyes and said, “Are you willing to sacrifice anything and everything for more? Are you willing to lie to, steal from, and cheat other people, your family, and your friends for more?”
Ms. Cupidity did not hesitate, “Yes, I will sacrifice everything and anything. I will lie to, steal from, and cheat to get more. I must have more.”
“Your everything and your anything if it is based on hurting others and or yourself, then give up this obsession; for if you do not give up this obsession you will never taste freedom. Freedom is a summer desert fragrance in blue, sounds of a baby May bobcat new, flowers that bloom, colors that rhyme, and birds that make the sky alive. Be free. Obsession is never free. Love for others – all free; and so is this basket of pears.” He pushed the basket closer to Ms. Cupidity. “Hey, where are you going? Damn it. I said they were free. Oh, now I get it. You want the euphoria but not the philosophy that you will have to carry around forever in your head, Ms. Cupidity.”
“That is not my name,” Ms. Cupidity called back as she hurried to work oblivious of the everyday people.
On Second Thought, I’ll Take This To Go
Look beyond my thoughts, and enjoy an afternoon most idle.
“Love is a feast. Try to devour me,” sitting across the restaurant aisle from me with her knowing pouty smile, a ‘Hecate’ in white with long silver hair stared at me and said.
[‘Queen Of Sorrows” – Article From Chthonic Times
By Theresa Loto, June 2084]
The entertainment News Media have not picked up on this story. This is an exclusive report from Chthonic Times.
As reported last month a construction crew dug up a metal cylinder at a hospital site. When the crew opened the cylinder red dots were released into the air. The red dots turned blue when the temperature reached ninety degrees Fahrenheit. If the red dots came in contact with a person’s skin or mucus membranes the dots instantly turned blue. Physical contact with the dots rapidly produces intoxicating effects – most common are dissociative hallucinations. Scientists at the Administration of Research have so far been unable to explain why the Status A citizens were not effected when their skin was exposed to the dots. Scientists told Chthonic Times they are working on a cure, but that the funds for finding a cure are limited.
The red and blue dots have been dubbed ‘The Queen of Sorrows’. The following is a popular saying:
[One red eye, one blue eye –
The Queen sees you crawling on the ground.
One red eye, one blue eye –
Another sorry fool has been crowned.]
A secret SC document has been leaked to Chthonic Times. The secret document describes that ‘hundreds of thousands of Status B citizens have never been found, who attended the SC sponsored, May 08 – 10 ‘Mother Zoot Festival’. The Chthonic Times talked with officials from the Administration Of Safety. These officials say they are ‘baffled by the disappearance’. They also claim that hundreds of hours have been spent looking for the missing. There is speculation among the Status B citizens that The Queen of Sorrows is to blame.
The Chthonic Times will continue to investigate more about the origin of the mysterious Queen and the disappearance of the Status B citizens who attended the 3-day festival.
At dawn the desert birds have a quiet belief they will be allowed to sing; and the iridescent lizards have a quiet belief they will continue to scamper safety across anything.
We have a quiet belief that the
clean supply of water will never be gone from us,
or from our children,
or from our children’s children.
We the Status B also have a quiet belief –
that quiet beliefs will be gone if they remain quiet
for too long.
In the evening the Grand Tetons are the color of Fireweed. The Stability Corporation renamed the Grand Tetons – ‘Stability Corporation Mountain 433514’. If you don’t want to hike it, the tram can take you up. And if you’re tired, the tram can take you back down.
Skiing once was grand on the Grand, but now skiers have a long expensive wait. Sure more trams are being installed, but the result of more trams means more skiers are crammed at the top of the gorge.
That’s enough negativity! Here’s something to think about the next time you ski down the Grand. Many years ago before the Stability Corporation was created, a little girl opened her morning eyes and saw a mountain for the first time. “Yes, the Grand Tetons are a grandeur indeed,” she said to no one but herself. Then, when she got older, she skied down through Corbet’s Couloir on the Grand, located in Teton Village, Wyoming, the United States of America. The sixteen-year-old skier had her own prophetic name for it all – ‘The Better Not Falls’.
“Plastic,” her manager remarked. “We have quite a bit of it in stock.”
The owner had a plan.
No harmful toxins in the toys.
What about the boy? She thought.
No toy soldiers. No trains. No toy trains.
Woman has it all figured out.
What about the boy?
No toy soldiers. No trains. No toy trains.
Woman has control.
What about the boy?
No toy soldiers. No trains. No toy trains.
The name of the train from Jackson Hole to Chicago is again called the Denver Zephyr. Boarded by an eighteen-year-old boy who left home for The Great Falling War of 2054.
My Feather Thy Feather
At the mountaintop –
A Ferruginous Hawk flies above a snow-covered pine.
Down below –
A Gila Woodpecker scouts the houses looking for a metal something or other to drum.
“My children see it’s time to go. Haven’t you noticed that you’ve outgrown your mother’s nest? There is no more food. There is no more water. Look at all of you! Look at yourselves. You have feathers – those things there for flight, to soar, to find food, to find water, to find a mate – to copulate. Ha! I knew that last remark would get you all flying.
“No food, no water for you here; so goodbye, my children. Goodbye.”
The father watched his children fly up and up and up – “We’re having so much fun! We never knew what our feathers could do.” – shutting his eyes as they flew too close to the sun.
A December snowflake falls on Mt. Lemmon and melts by the rays of a March sun. The watery flake floats down and into an April desert wash where a baby May bobcat, who has the curious name of Echo, laps up the flake from an isolated puddle in the Canada Del Oro Wash; while Echo’s mother scans the sky for a late June monsoon. Summer rats and flies notice any fussy changes in baby.
In this room
we are two notebooks
coiled subjects writing down everything we know.
Graphite ideas in a secret language coded only two-by-two.
From a distance
forgetting all those wonderful phrases we remove by tearing out
one-by-one those college ruled pages until,
everything we knew, we don’t –
everything we kept sacred, we lost –
and everything we once loved, is everywhere –
hidden on the paper-covered floor.
Birds Do It
Itchy dry feathers
dust bath helps when there’s no rain.
If we roll and flap just a bit more,
would everyone complain?
Call us insane and say our actions are blasphemous?
What we are, are.
What they are, are.
Despite their creepy red and blue eyes and written edicts,
they would like to do what we do,
if only they knew.
It’s easy and it’s fun.
We’ll show how it’s done –
flapping of wings.
And, most importantly, you know what is meant,
the singing of your own sounds that you’ll find exhilaratingly
Cryptic Signs – San
The Chiricahua Mountains are surrounded by a blanket of orange clouds. A thousand pale-yellow butterflies dart in and out of thick green grass that cover the valley and mountainsides.
A sole butterfly
examines a prickly pear poppy while
a young doe
stands on hind legs and reaches for a taste of a pomegranate.
buzz from trees heavy with leaves.
Fire and flood changed this.
The dark wind changed it more.
‘Danger. Do Not Enter. You Are Trespassing.
This country is now, and forever shall be,
patrolled by an angel wielding a thousand wicked swords.’
Tall Invasive Species
growing along a creek.
Your arms reach out to greet the sky and gobble up those birds too tired to fly.
My Invasive Species,
you who did escape from a collection brought back by a misguided space mission. You who a decade ago died, but I brought you back to life. You who the townspeople wanted to cut down and burn, but I kept you safe, kept you from pain, kept you from strife.
Don’t look at me that way! For God’s sake, Invasive Species, I incubated you. I am your mother. Treat me with respect. But I do fear your newfound craving for living flesh.
Hurry Up! Put Your Boots On
Grandpa Tumbleweed said to his great grandson, “Zane, if you get up early enough
go to the Bird Museum. This is the only place on the planet where you can see a collection of two thousand different birds that miraculously survived The Great Falling War. You won’t get this type of entertainment streaming into your AP/VR visors; so set your alarm clock!”
“Is this some kind of a computer’s dream? They sound so real. They look like I could just reach out and….Hey! They keep flying away from me. This sucks. Take me back home. What a rip off.”
No Objections From Hieronymus
Our thoughts are numb and far away from this and every unspoken night. All our noetic syllables have been carefully eavesdropped beyond the droning highway. The highway we continue to stay on, oh so willingly, oh so convincingly.
“We’ve seen this all before!” we nervously cry, as the mile markers never change. And so we press on.
We get used to the comforting sameness, but we really do expect a surprise now and then. Maybe there will be one at any minute now? We so love surprises, don’t we? Yes, I know that you know what the surprise is because it never changes and we never seem to change our reaction along with it. But we mustn’t spoil the surprise. We must keep up appearances. So let’s pretend we are at least a little surprised by those frequent daily images. Look! Those images right there. We see them, don’t we? Remember, as we practiced, to shank your head in disgust, and say, ‘tsk tsk tsk’. Now act surprised as we sit back and watch all our grotesque cruelties, hell-bent.
Living Messy Lives
My life is foretold from inside
a sticky coffee cup.
On a mud-cooled bank
Lizards reflect existence.
Their tails sink quietly into
while river stones give voice to a flowing mantra.
Cryptic Signs – Shi
Blue sky and a lightning strike,
Hummingbirds not in flight,
Lizards ignoring bugs within sight, and
Fireflies without their light.
A glass of water not clean and bright,
Envelopes not sealed tight,
Children flying a stringless kite, and
Air refusing to reflect sunlight.
It didn’t seem right.
All the earth’s butterflies died of fright.
It’s stupid so stupid when humans fight.
Phase Two: Eliminations and Hallucinations
“Sister, how does a queen rule?” asked Yot.
“A Queen must give the appearance that she will make everything all right for her people. She is there to comfort them when there are issues and problems. If there are no problems she creates problems. She creates issues. And if that doesn’t work she creates catastrophes that she has planned and can control. However, it is the unplanned that gets her into trouble. If she cannot control an event she will appear weak, so she blames others. ‘Why everybody did it!’ That is a famous fall back line from a past leader. She needs to laugh off her treachery, she needs to deny and lie. She needs to keep everyone on edge. That’s how she keeps her throne. Pit one group against another, one religion against another, one skin color against another, one economic group against another, and so forth, until the people believe all her lies in their hearts and minds. Now we have things simple here – now we have Status A against Status B. So, Yot, are we on schedule?”
“Yes, we are continuing, through the gruesome means of the SC, to eliminate the Status B citizens who have reached their fiftieth birthday. The smaller the population becomes, the more twheep for us. Also the Elites get a bonus, too. The smaller the population, the more food is available for the Elites, and the smaller population is easier to control. We are using the dark wind in concentrated selected areas to cause economic and mental hardship on the Status B. As you know, we released tseek once to show the elites that we are serious. The SC elites are fooling around with tseek. They have collected the tseek that we have released and are using it against the Status B. They have released it several times and are getting good at hitting their targets. The elites are also storing it for future endeavors. These leaders are crafty. I also hear they experimented on lowering tseek’s dosage and they are planning to sell it to the public as a recreational drug. They will make a lot of Z money with that use. The elites also know that, for the first time, they will be able to control the Status B citizens if most of them are drugged.”
“The Queen of Sorrows. Is that why you asked me about a queen’s ability to rule?”
I guess, Twiu, that I have the phrase, ‘The Queen of Sorrows’, on my mind. What a wonderful name for such a weapon. The Queen of Sorrows is doing a great job and will continue to do a great job. The Dark Wind has given them a little bit of what we see, hear, and experience on Saurian. But it’s nice here on earth to be away from Saurian’s Dark Wind.”
“Yot, what is going on with the so-called government people?”
“The Stability Corporation’s Z Tribe? They are all paid off, bribed – whatever. They certainly love money and will do anything for it, but sometimes I think they love power just as much, so we give them the illusion of power. They think they are safe from us by hiding underground and hiding in cities fortified by their Administration of Defense.”
“Yes, that is funny. And so is the Administrator of Information. Having us wear an all white-color so that we appear friendly to humans. I am tired of wearing the same dreary thing.”
“We can go along with their games. We play their games for now, until our task is complete. Did you know you have something in your hair? Let me grab it and kill it.”
“It’s fine. Leave it. You know, Yot, our parents came here with a cylinder of tseek and with that we were able to take over a world. Yot, your plan of burying the cylinder near the construction site was a brilliant idea. They could not resist opening it. We will be using the cylinder again, recycling it into our mission.”
“The people are calling the hallucinations, ‘The Staring Cats’, as in catatonic.
Twiu, I forgot to tell you. The computer implants have been altered. If we have any problems with Status A, especially the Elite Status A, the computer implants will shift to fully automated mode.”
Twiu looked around. The view from the top of the Pink Mountain – it’s pretty up here. Too bad all those plants and animals that made it through the previous war will not survive our task. This view will not be so pretty when the plants have gone. The humans. That young woman in the restaurant was cute. Removing her seems so – so not right. The humans had a devastating war thirty years ago. Most of the areas on this planet were wiped out. This beautiful area was spared and the humans who were left are surprisingly beautiful, too, like that woman in the restaurant. I need to stop thinking about that. To Yot she said, “We need to pursue some loose ends.”
“Twiu, are you thinking about the poet?”
“Cukacheea and Pik warned us about his poems getting out to the public and thereby informing everyone about our true reason of why we are here.”
“The poet who wrote about the Queen of Sorrows, their future space mission to our planet – the poet who wrote all of this way before the humans had a capability for rapid space travel,” Yot added.
“I know poetry is not popular here on earth. This poet also wrote about pretty sunsets and pretty birds. Yes, he had visions, lots of visions that he wrote down in his poems. People ignored the poems then, and people will ignore them now. They will be unable to see the truth about us, about the task we still need to finish. People are unable to decipher his writings.”
Yot said, “One outlet for the poems is the Internet, that so far, the corporate government has not been able to regulate. Should we give them the technology to clamp down on Internet freedom? The corporation is removing another outlet, books – they have been banned. I am watching to see if the book of poems surfaces. I am watching to see if the poems conflict with our plans. If so, I can easily pay off ‘experts’ to disregard his writings. The Entertainment News Media will shun his ‘Heatnik Penguins’. The Entertainment News Media are powerful. People listen to them.”
Twiu was pleased with the progress so far, but she sensed that something is slowing it down. Chthonic Times. “What about those articles in Chthonic Times?”
“The AI is certainly mad about that. Right now the Administration of Safety and the Administration of Information, under the authority of the Stability Corporation, are shutting down Chthonic Times and smearing the Times in the Entertainment News Media – the only legitimate voice of the corporation. The Entertainment News Media are labeling Theresa Loto as a Goth. So by leaking out to the public that the owner and sole reporter of Chthonic Times is Theresa Loto, and that she is a Goth, her paper will fold instantly. Repetition of the ‘Goth’ label will remove any doubts. The two administrations are also hunting down Loto and her Goth friends.”
“The Tribe of Z lets a lot of things slip. The tribe is too openly brazen when dealing with dissidents. That mass killing was crazy. The Z is sick in the head. Instead of solving problems, Z blames Status B. So there you are, I answered your first question again, Yot.”
Hearing this worried Yot. Why should Twiu care about the humans and their stupid corporate government? All of them, including the other life forms here on this planet will all be gone soon. Why care? Why care if the Tribe of Z kills a bunch of Status B citizens?
“Forest dark green forest, I have been thinking about that a lot lately,” Twui said. “I need to visit the outskirts of the cities to find any Status B workers on the run – any of them in hiding that might pose a threat. And what was that thing with the pears?”
“I find it fascinating that humans have found many different ways of understanding life. I’ve been doing some research and conducting some experiments about their philosophies and religions.”
“Ok, but don’t get too involved with these humans. Let me know as soon as the AI finds Loto. I want to talk with her.”
It’s strange, is it not? When you find yourself outside your comfortable bed. Strange, the swaying of the creosote branches in the warm wind. Strange how this plant lifts up its branches and shows to its delicate yellow flowers that everything below them is dead.
Sky, do not darken my eyes.
Show me the blue.
And if you lack the light – Please
Give me stars so that I can cope
with this lonely night
[+ Phase Three+]
The Earth To Be
Clouds form into a smokeless train,
a peace symbol, and a Buddha face.
Some images of what he imagined
the earth to be.
Sandhill Cranes land in a harvested
field of corn.
Bright white Snow Geese fly V
Coyotes run and look for something to eat
just before the clouds circled into a banshee rain.
Some images of what she pictured
the earth to be.
Make a ripple in a stream that holds
sunlight lavender and whisper silent
dreams of water running deep
that’s where it tastes pure, sweet.
Some images of what we pretended
the earth to be.
Tonight Only – No Admission Charge
a clear summer night
quiet and darkly bright
plenty of shooting stars to count
within our earthly sight
the few animals that are left are lucky
like you and me
for this is what we know
is to look up and see
the silent lightshow
and it’s all for free on
a clear summer night along
the cliff’s touch-edge we carefully walk
and look up again to see
there’s plenty of room for Theresa and me
now only the one of us
so I cuddle-up warm and safe
in this amazed stargazed place
and watch as millions of fire-streaks
race into my memory extinguishing
Into The Night
A summer desert fragrance
Carried on the wind
From above the afternoon clouds
Before the rain
Washed the dark skies that were
Carried on the wind
A summer desert fragrance
Swam backwards into the night
Perhaps Charm, Perhaps Spell
Sunlight reflects off a
Milk-white crescent moon
And tumbles across
Crevices and rosy desert mounds
The light falls on the pink of dust
And lingers on my sadness
By becoming something once so
Warm, so wet, and so spellbound
The Mockingbird Song
The moon is so full so bright
a solitary bird is singing in the night.
“Mockingbird, Mockingbird, you’ve forgotten to sleep.
Mockingbird, Mockingbird stop the show-offy polyglotten
and all your girlfriend forlorning.
Don’t you have a job to go to
in the morning?”
“Jonathan, Jonathan, I sang to you to warn you.
I forgot you don’t understand ‘Bird’.
Jonathan, Jonathan, this is not a game –
The AI will empty your brain
and your love for Theresa will be forgotten.
I leave you a feather to keep you clever.
It stays always with you.”
And the wizard swam backwards into the night.
In The End
Underground flowing streams that water the plants and pines. Will it be enough for forest green? Will it be enough for all and all the time? It’s there in the rivers’ bend. It’s clear life in a drinking glass. This is what mattered before and what will matter in the end.
For The Self-Indulgent Repeat As Necessary
We bright shiny screen.
We search and search and search
for the next
We bright shiny screen.
We search and search and search
for the next
“Look at all those buffaloes, a…excuse me, I mean to say bison. They were put in that field especially for you. Imagine a selfie.”
Tragedy struck today in the form of a buffalo. Entertainment News Media reported that a young newlywed woman was killed when she approached a herd of buffaloes. Apparently she wanted to get an up-close picture of the herd. The woman’s husband remained in his vintage red sports car while the incident took place. Mr. Zidmond Weed remarked to the reporter, “She just loved animals. She had a collection of plush toy animals in her bedroom. A buffalo, a…excuse me a bison was one of her favorites. Getting a photo of a buffalo, err…a bison, was a life-long dream for her.”
In Her Own Words
From an Officer who worked for The Administration of Nature as told to a Status B Household Worker:
“Those cold last days of September
Bright Venus and crescent moon in the western sky
I saw from my partially shuttered window.
If only I tried to really love someone
and he were to really love me.
But those days are leaving me soon.
Evening colors tend to fade and smear.
For a brief time remarkably it removed
my dark gray of fear.
“Reflect on my days and what I did here.
Yes I know perfectly well my days ripped and took apart our Holy Earth.
So don’t chastise me with your look.
I have increased my wealth and my worth.
I only wish that you pray in your lowly status way
there will be a merciful angel to untie my pain as I slide into
full fathoms of apathy where I can forever reign – me, a princess bride.”
It’s Just Itty Bitty Ones And Zeros
The autumn sun does light every inch of the mountain.
The autumn moon does light every inch of the desert.
Everything is accounted for, every grain of sand.
The count started before the nuclear cave-in
before the fanfare for the corporation man.
The computers are how we gage ourselves.
The computers instruct us on what we are.
The computers count and count who,
where, and when of us.
The computers manufactured in the Eastern Division are found
in every important head in every corporate land.
Restless we engineers and techs at the
Administration of Research formed them into
our own mathematical image
according to the rigid specs.
Restless they stroll inside our heads
unaccompanied, a nice advantage,
with their ones and zeros attached
to our cells, always blinking,
always, we hear them thinking
ex, why, and z of us.
Mingle Mingle Hear My Pockets Jingle
Leaves cannot stay hangin’
Light jacket no breezin’
Outside and down-below is the deadly treason
Squeezin’ hands and greetin’
Cancel my stupid borin’ meetin’
‘Cause I just made a ‘no rhyme or reason’ killin’
In another well-paid Goldilocks season
The Laid Back Southwest
Cold air’s mixing with sunshine.
Hot air’s not on the radar yet.
Here in the Southwest we don’t mind
the cold air, hot air.
We get what we get from the
Administration of Affluence -
it’s all so unfair,
and systematically spent.
Jumping Rope Appropriately
gimme gimme gimme
take take take
gimme gimme gimme
take take take
this is how we learn to hate -
‘cause it’s laissez faire and
nothing trickles down
‘cause it’s all for me
it’s all for me
it’s all for me
it’s all for me
it’s all for me
it’s all for me
it’s all for me
it’s all for me
Face Down Into My Genetically Modified Oatmeal Again
A lazy feeling creeps into me that’s hard to explain. I’m in a deep state frame of mind, oh yes indeedy do. This lazy feeling also seeps into the followers in anticipation of someone who can sink sharp teeth into their mushy obsequious brains.
You tell me that your infinite invisible eyes, one red and one blue, have got my back. Thanks. Great Stability Corporation, even your name evokes a subservience feeling in me. I am grateful for your supreme control, supreme power, and supreme megalomania especially after the Great Falling. But I, your most humble follower, you can call me Jefferson C. William, cannot accept your most generous gift: your artificially flavored, chemically induced, hormone saturated, consumable Mother Zoot products all tastefully labeled ‘naturally organic’.
However I am grateful for your Administration of Care that claims, for a fee, will be able to cure my psychologically disturbed tummy – with cuts, drugs, and shocks until I run completely out of Z money.
The Stability Corporation
Established by the Congress of Nations after the end of The Great Falling War, for the elimination of all governing and government bodies. The Stability Corporation will give all people a carefree life style by providing services needed to control a stable and peaceful world.
The Stability Corporation is the only legitimate foundation of power.
There will be two Stability Corporations: one in the east operating under the name Stability Corporation Eastern Division and one in the west operating under the name Stability Corporation Western Division.
Each of the two Stability Corporations will have the following thirteen administrations: Administration of Products, Administration of Research, Administration of Infrastructure, Administration of Nature, Administration of Entertainment, Administration of Safety, Administration of Affluence, Administration of Defense, Administration of Law, Administration of Care, Administration of Food, Administration of Leisure, and Administration of Information.
The two Stability Corporations will carry out their duties by any means and by any costs to preserve their stability of power.
[The Committee For Enforcing
Proper Attire For Shooting Stars (P.A.S.S. Codes)]
effects of the storming night an
elementary moment in the game –
everything will become apparent in the morning
except for that one damn shooting star that
escaped from our watchful waiting
because of the serious nature of this crime, violation of P.A.S.S. Code 128, the committee recommends that said shooting star receives not a warning, not a reprimand, but an all out pecking. This is to make an example to all shooting stars that P.A.S.S. Codes will be enforced to the highest letter of the law.
entry by Western Scrub-Jay, Committee Chairbird, 22 September 2084
[Song Of Our Campsite – Where We Are From
Is Where We Are]
Ms. Flynn, Will, and Jonathan sat in yellow folding chairs circled next to the Flynn’s seventeen foot travel trailer.
“Rain last night hung around us, and a cloud slipped into the forest, dark green forest,” said Ms. Flynn. She looked from her coffee cup to the top of a nearby pine tree. “There are unfamiliar bird melodies this morning. So strange, isn’t to be here for a year? It seems like yesterday Will, and Rob – that’s my other son, half brother to Will, and I worked our demanded eighty-four hours per week, but still the boss outsourced us out. Others we talked to here spoke of fleeing from fires, floods, and the dark wind – their homes in ruins – the insurance companies within the Administration of Nature unwilling to help.
“Yesterday Will and I saw a Bald Eagle dive into the south fork of the Snake. Our Brother Snake and Sister Snake, it seems, are also unfree to roam around in this damn sorrowful nation; but still a dusk to dawn moose with a proud bullish stare and a loud agitated whistle demanded to be left alone here in his place. His willow munching’s leave poetic bytes; and afterwards, full-bellied, he slept in the tall grass behind our tents and trailers. Melancholy mosquitoes also full-bellied, left their own poetic bytes for us to consider.”
Ms. Flynn exchanged her empty coffee cup for a book sitting on a small metal folding table. She handed the book to Jonathan. “I hope you’ll find this interesting as I have. Interesting in the sense that these poems, written in 2015, speak of what is happening now in our world.”
‘Thanks, Ms. Flynn. I appreciate this gift. I haven’t opened a printed book since I was a young boy. Printed books are difficult to find.” He placed his coffee cup between his legs. “Here give me that.” Ms. Flynn took the empty sticky coffee cup and looked inside. “I see here that you will be meeting people who appear to be powerful, beautiful, and regal like glowing stars. No, now they are small. They camouflaged themselves. They move quickly. Well that’s it. Don’t mind me, Jonathan. I have a habit of being theatrical. What’s that you were saying about books?”
“Books are hard to find.” He looked at the title. “Heatnik Penguins. That’s an odd title don’t you think?”
“Yes, but do read the book. A poet, who people claimed could see the future, wrote it. That’s how I ended up with a copy. A very good friend of mine who knows I like that sort of thing, as you saw, sorry about that demonstration. It happened. I shouldn’t be doing that in front of people I just met; but with you Jonathan, I know you have the ability, too. You don’t know that yet. Sorry, again. I shouldn’t have said that.”
“That’s Ok, really, Ms. Flynn.”
“So back to the book and the future. Unfortunately the poet wrote out the future in the form of poems. He was a poet so why shouldn’t he write the future in poems? Poems are difficult to understand to begin with so who knows? Maybe you, Jonathan, will figure it out.”
“Thanks again, Ms. Flynn, and thank you and your son Will for the breakfast. Loved your coffee and your coffee reading.”
“So here we are with the moose and the mosquitoes. In that short time we’ve been here we learned about the osprey that sing to each other. We learned tolerance and respect for our fellow travelers, that includes you, of course, Jonathan. I knew you were all right when you gave Will and I the quick one-handed wave to us. That is the signal.”
“Quick one-handed wave?”
“Oh, you don’t know? Let me show you.” She showed Jonathan to extend his arm out with the hand, palm down, two middle fingers curled inwards. “Now that means hello and it also means everything is Ok.” Then she showed him to bend his elbow, his two middle fingers inwards and touching his chest. “This means things are bad, the Stability Corporation is near. One more to show you: if you again curl your two middle fingers inward and you touch any part of your face or head, that means run and hide in the forest! This is important, Jonathan. We don’t know when or where they will march on us. We have heard from reliable sources, spies who fly, that the SC is in league with demons. I know this sounds strange, but we’ve been told this and we believe.”
“Wow. Ok. Thanks. But, Ms. Flynn, I waved to you and your son because both you and Will looked friendly and I needed some information on the location of the Pink Mountain.”
“Stay away from the Pinks” We hear it is filled with evil.”
“I’ll be Ok, Ms. Flynn. I received a message from my girlfriend, Theresa that she would meet me up there in two days.”
“Who gave you that message?”
“Theresa introduced me to him. She said he was strangely different, but kind-hearted. He attended the same college classes for a degree in journalism that Theresa attended. He also worked on the newspaper that Theresa started. When I met him, I realized he was the most unusual person I have ever met. Something was…”
“What’s his name?”
“Jefferson C. William. And he introduced himself using that formal…”
“Did he give you the wave? No? Well, I wouldn’t trust him myself. Anyway, Jonathan, you need to see your girlfriend – so go, but watch out for people wandering around up there. Trust only the trees.”
“Thank you for the advice and for everything.”
“Jonathan, we call our society ‘Wave’. The people you see here – this society, the Wave, is our society. The land here is our promised land. The hanging laundry you see over there from tree to wet shiny tree – our poetic prayer flags. You can hear them as they wap wap wap out an arrhythmic beat, falling deep into the cloud forest – far away from the Queen’s eyes.”
Phase Three: Kawheep
Twiu and Yot met at the top of the Pink Mountain. It was not yet dark. Twiu was impatient to get this earth job done and swim as fast as possible to Saurian. “What’s new, Yot?”
“We have paid off all the local corporate governments to allow access to kawheep. You and I are now business owners on earth. I find it amazing that we were given the access. On our world, as you know, kawheep is precious, ‘precious tears’, not something to squander, not something to lose. We paid for the access, but what is money if one is dead? I guess the earthly corporate government values money over life. Strange, isn’t?
“We are almost ready to start miniaturizing the vast volumes of kawheep and to place all of it in the same cylinder we shipped The Queen of Sorrows and the earth flight suit. We paid those guarding the cylinder to deliver it to our arrival departure spot in the desert.”
Yot looked up at the sky. “Cukacheea and Pik will be proud of us when we swim back the filled cylinder. The earth’s kawheep will be a blessing to our Saurians. In time we will have plants and animals again. Beautiful forests and meadows – just to run my feet on something other than blue-red dust will feel wonderful.”
Not just the blue and red of the tseek, Twiu thought. We will have all colors back in our world. Colors to make us beautiful again. “What’s that? Sounds like someone is out for a hike. Yot, quickly get one of those guards from the underground to apprehend the intruder.”
“Will do, Sister. You go. I will take care of it.”
Desert’s rocky steep;
Setting sun peeking through trees,
My knees hurt, need sleep.
Jonathan reached the steep, nine tenths of a mile mountaintop. On a bolder he noticed a white hat. He sat next to the hat. Someone has beaten me to the top wearing a fancy hat. Thirteen miles from the Wave’s campsite plus the hike up this mountain, I am out of shape. While I’m resting I’ll do some writing before I lose the light.
He dug inside his backpack for his journal and inside it he wrote the date – September 27, 2084, the time – 1800, the place – The Pinks. He stopped writing and thought, despite my sore knees and lack of sleep, I feel pretty good. In fact this is the best I’ve felt in a long time. It must be the altitude. Maybe it’s the exercise? Maybe it’s Ms. Flynn’s outstanding food? Or maybe it is the solitude of this place. Well whatever it is, my thoughts are clear.
The solitude was broken by the sudden appearance of a familiar figure wearing a Status B cap on his head and wearing brown oxfords on his feet. Jefferson C. William – what’s he doing up here? Not knowing what else to say or do Jonathan said, “Hi, Jefferson. Thanks for relaying the message from Theresa.”
“Sure, sure. Is she here yet?”
“No. Her message said she would be here tomorrow.
“That’s a fact.”
“That’s a fact, huh? Now tell me how it is possible that Theresa…”
“It’s possible. It’s possible, Jonathan. But not how you would normally think possible.”
Jonathan thought: why did I come all the way out here? Because it might be possible that Theresa did send a message to me? It was in her handwriting; I can’t explain that, but why would Jefferson fake a message? Such a cruel thing to do to me, especially since it has been just a short time since I last saw her face, heard her voice, felt her warmness. I don’t want to hear his lies. But the message did sound like something she would say. He thought of the letter he memorized: ‘My Darling Jonathan, I know you will find this letter difficult, but you must believe me. Remember when we made plans to camp under the shooting stars? Remember when we whispered our silent dreams of water running deep? Meet me at The Pinks on September 28. Jefferson will help you find your way. I love you. Theresa.’ So that is the message Jefferson gave to me. Jonathan said, “Care to sit down? You must be as tired as I am hiking all this way. Where did you say you were coming from?”
Jefferson fixed his eyes on the white hat and then turned away. “No, Jonathan, I’ll stand. I can’t stay long. I just wanted to give you a bit of information.” He paced around and moved his arms constantly as he spoke. “In order for the Status A citizens to become the Status A citizens, they must have an implant in their brains. The implant ensures that the Status A stays Status A – stays stable – stays following the rules, the edicts, the norms – stays in line – stays a good little boy or girl. You Goths are not followers. Maybe that’s why the Goths have been able to adapt so well within other cultures. Your quiet beliefs go undetected. Maybe that’s why the Goths have been around for so long. You are survivors in an absurd world.”
Jefferson stopped pacing and stopped moving his arms and said, “I like you and your Goth friends. Theresa – even though she wore clothes outside the social norm – all that black – she was great. She was kind to me when everyone else mocked my looks and scorned my deformity.” Jefferson took off his cap. Jonathan noticed a small bird’s head popping out from the top of Jefferson’s skull. The bird seemed to be looking around nervously. “You see how I am? Everyone treats me like a freak, like I don’t exist. Theresa and her friends treated me like a human. Theresa cared about me. Jonathan, I want you to know that things are moving quickly. Georgina says it’s time to go. I’ve got to go.”
Jonathan watched Jefferson disappear into the forest. After marveling at the site of Jefferson and Georgina and thinking about what he said about Theresa, Jonathan was scared that Jefferson mentioned Theresa in the past tense. I knew he was lying to me, but the letter looked so real.
He was so overcome with grief; he felt himself starting to fall into a dark inescapable place. He tried to extinguish his memories by concentrating on something, anything else. A month ago he wrote a poem to help bring himself out of darkness: ‘Sky, do not darken my eyes. Show me the blue. And if you lack the light – Please give me stars so that I can cope with this lonely night, too’.
Jonathan looked around at The Pinks. The view to his left was spectacular. The cliffs to his right were lighted a livid pink. The trees around him were the usual Douglas fir and Quaking Aspen. But he also noticed some older looking trees. Wow. Recognizing the Bristlecone Pines, he got up from the bolder, grabbed his backpack and his heavy journal. The journal is the place where he kept all his poems he wrote to Theresa, but somehow never managed to share them with her. The journal is the place where strange cryptic words were written that he must learn to make known. He was careful not to disturb the fedora and walked over to one Bristlecone Pine that looked extremely old. Maybe it’s the oldest thing up here. He gently ran his fingers over the tree and his fingers felt the deep splitting cracks in several parts on the trunk. He sat down below the tree, leaned his back against it, and began to write in his journal:
‘People can take strangeness in proportions. Too much strangeness would turn people away. If we were out hiking and came upon coyotes sitting around a campfire roasting and eating s’mores, Ok, that’s strange we say: but then we probably would continue on our hike after taking a photo or two. But if we saw those same s’more eating coyotes now talking about how much gas mileage they get with their class ‘A’ RVs – well that’s just too much for us to grasp. We would run away. Maybe we would block it out of our minds.’
Jonathan stopped writing and thought, what did that Mockingbird say? That’s strange. I forgot about that. Was I dreaming or was the bird really talking to me? If talking Mockingbirds are normal, what is a bird living in someone’s head? What about Theresa’s letter?
He continued writing. ‘One at a time the Stability Corporation gives us a strange idea to accept. But it doesn’t give us too much strangeness at any one time. If it gave us too much we would rebel. So the SC gives us just enough of a taste of strangeness – to confuse it with uniqueness. So we end up thinking, hey, that’s Ok. It’s something new. I can go along with that.’
“Mr. Weed, the helicopter will be ready anytime you are.”
Jonathan thought, ‘my stuff!’ The book of poems he received from Ms. Flynn, he quickly got out of his backpack. “Please forgive me, Bristlecone,” he whispered. And shoved the book and the journal into the tree. Anything else? He remembered the Mockingbird feather in a zipped front pouch of the backpack. He was losing time so he took out the feather from the backpack and put the feather in the side pocket of his black cargo pants. He put on the forest green backpack containing now just a bottle of water and a bag of trail-mix.
“Well, well, well what do we have here? You see, Jonathan, everything is being cared for.” A seventy-year-old man wearing a flight suit patterned with red and blue swirling lines came abruptly up to Jonathan. “There has to be Status A. There has to be Status B. If everybody was Status A nothing would get done. And we need a few, very few – maybe less than one percent Status A. These are the Elites, my friend, the Elites are to rule and all the others are to follow. Understand? Do you follow me so far? Eh? You will before the night is over”
Surrounding Mr. Weed, were several uniformed and heavily armed officers from the Administration of Safety. Mr. Weed nodded and one of the officers took off Jonathan’s backpack. “One bottle of water and one bag of trail-mix,” the officer said holding out the opened backpack. “Throw that backpack and contents into those trees over there. Continue searching him,” Mr. Weed said. An officer whose right long shirt sleeve did not quite cover his inked arm, began to search Jonathan. The officer reached into Jonathan’s pockets. The officer found the feather in Jonathan’s left side pocket but quickly put the feather back. When the officer purposely stood in front of Jonathan, he was able to read the word ‘Robin’ on the officer’s nametag. When finished with the search, the officers escorted Jonathan. As they walked, Mr. Weed said to Jonathan, “We need to chat in private. Can’t do that up here in The Pinks.”
They came to a landing pad where a huge helicopter was parked. On the helicopter’s tail was the red ‘S’ and blue ‘C’ logo. “I hope you will like the flight, Jonathan. Think of it as a real treat for a Status B worker. The travel, the adventure of flying to a new city – The Great City 452, this will be marvelous for you, I know.” Jonathan was strapped into one of the helicopter’s eight seats. During the ride to the Great City 452, Jonathan remembered seeing Mr. Weed’s ruggedly hansom face and remembered hearing his confident voice on ‘Stability Days’. Mr. Weed is the AI. Why would he be interested in me?
The helicopter landed on the roof of a tall triangular-shaped building. The Great City 452 was a fortress of tall buildings. “This is where I work. Not many people get to visit the AI let alone visit my building.”
The officers took Jonathan from the roof to the basement of the Administration of Information building. There his shirt and undershirt were removed and he was strapped down on a metal table. “For your protection,” the officer named Robin laughed.
“Are you right-handed or left?” asked the AI.
“I like to do this myself. I like the hands-on approach to my job,” the AI remarked as he placed an air gun to Jonathan’s right temple and pulled the trigger. “Not too bad, eh? You didn’t feel a thing, eh? Remarkable on what our technology has accomplished since the Great Falling, but we still have a long way to go. I need to boot up the computer that I implanted into your head. Listen to me, Jonathan. Corporations are people, too. Corporations are people, too. Move your mouth and say…” Jonathan did as he was told, “Corporations are people, too.” Now we’ll say it together,” the AI cheerfully said. “Corporations are people, too.”
“See how easy that was, Jonathan? Say it – “
“Corporations are people, too.”
“Yes, good job. You are a hero. You are a patriot. Now say, I am a hero. I am a patriot.”
Jonathan repeated back, “I am a hero. I am a patriot.”
“Good! Now think for a moment. Can you remember back when you were a child – The Administration Of Information Creed? Say it out loud for me, Jonathan.”
And Jonathan surprised himself by starting out with:
“To love my Stability Corporation…”
“Yes, yes. Go on.”
“I need to believe in my Stability Corporation,
To believe in my Stability Corporation
I need to accept my Stability Corporation into my heart and my mind,
and to expel from my heart and my mind
those things that my Stability Corporation has forbidden.”
“Very good! You remembered. I knew you could say it. They all do eventually. Once more – Corporations are people, too. I am a hero. I am a patriot.”
And Jonathan dutifully repeated back, “Corporations are people, too. I am a hero. I am a patriot.”
“You certainly have proven yourself worthy to serve us, Jonathan Wing.” The AI got up close, face-to-face. Jonathan thought the AI smelled faintly of damp and decayed vegetation. “We know everything about you. How do you figure we knew where to find you? We know where you go, who you see, including your girlfriend. Now we know what you think. There is one more thing before I send you off to do your important work for the corporation. I want you to meet my niece Zollie.”
Officers unstrapped Jonathan, helped him off the table, and helped him get dressed in a shirt made of quilted patterns in yellow and purple. They sat him down in an over-stuffed chair. As if cued, a young gorgeous woman wearing a short red dress walked in the holding room and stood right in front of Jonathan.
“Hi, Jonathan, my name is Zollie. I am the Administrator of Safety. I’ve heard so much about you. Is there anything I can get for you?” Jonathan stared at the woman. He felt embarrassed that he was staring too long at her so he looked away.
“Jonathan, don’t be shy, you can stare at me for as long as you want. I find it exhilaratingly decadent. So, Jonathan, I do have a question for you. Where is Theresa? She is a famous reporter and she is causing quite a bit of a stir in the news lately. I would like to get her autograph. To have her sign my favorite copy of Chthonic Times would be so totally awesome.”
“I’m sorry I don’t know. The last time I saw her was a month ago. We were camping under the shooting stars.”
“How so romantic! Gee, I wish I had a boyfriend who would do that with me.” Zollie squatted down, her dress riding up higher. She touched his arm and said. “Someone once said to me: ‘Love is a feast try to devour me’. Do you think you can devour me? Can your Goth friends devour my Z Tribe and me? But I’m alone, no boyfriend to have fun with.” Then she quietly said, “You can cuddle-up to me. I’ll keep you safe.”
“Sorry. I really don’t know where she is.”
“It would mean a lot to me if I could meet her. We can’t seem to find her. Her cell phone is not tracking properly. The facial recognition cameras are not picking up her image. We just don’t know what else to do. Jonathan, where is she?”
Jonathan was quiet. He felt a crawling presence inside his head searching. But something was blocking this presence. Something he knew was maybe helping him? He felt sick and not himself.
Zollie got up and walked over to the AI. “Uncle Zorn, I know you implanted the computer into his brain. I see it now on the expression on his face. She walked back over to Jonathan and asked, “Jonathan, who are you?”
“I am a hero. I am a patriot.”
Zollie walked back to her uncle. “There, so I just proved you didn’t wait. Why didn’t you wait for an Admin Research doctor who is qualified to perform the implanting and the monitoring, which I don’t see anywhere? You could have damaged him. I’ve seen your interrogating methods before, you know.”
Uncle Zorn said, “We have no time to involve another admin. We – you and I – can get the job done.”
“Uncle, you are getting older and I know the older generation doesn’t like tech stuff. You should have waited. Since you didn’t there is nothing left for us to do but to let him go. With the implant inside his head he is not capable of lying. Lucky for us we don’t have implants or we would never get anything done. I suggest we bring him back to The Pinks.”
“Ok, we can find him easily with the tracking device – part of the computer package. We can watch and wait until he goes to Loto or Loto goes to him. One more item, Zollie, the female Saurian wants to interrogate Loto.”
“No way. When are we going to drop those two nasty looking misfits? Yes, Uncle Zorn, you are going to tell me how helpful they are in controlling the Status B. Yes, Uncle Zorn, we are grateful for the technical advances they shared with us. But no, Uncle Zorn, I will not share any catch with them. In fact, I think it’s time to sever our not so beautiful relationship with them.”
Zollie walked back to where Jonathan was sitting, making sure that Jonathan got a nice long look at her body. “We’re going to take you back. You’re free to go. Don’t take the implant out. That would be a painful thing to do, and it will kill you. You’re a Status A now. In time, we will have someone visit you and collect your dues. And, as a Status A, you will be required to purchase a certain amount of goods each month. This, of course, is to keep the economy – the SC – prosperous. You are one of us even though your body is covered with tattoos. By the way, why do you do that?” Zollie knelt down and touched his face. For the second time today Jonathan detected the odor of rotting plants. “Next time when you and Theresa see each other, Jonathan, please give me a call.” She removed her hand from his face and gave him a business card. She held his hand that contained the card. “This is my number. You can call me anytime. If you get lonely and your girlfriend is not around, give me a call. Please. But really give me a call when you see her. We’re now past the brink. I want to talk with her before things would and probably will get weird.”
Thank you for reading Light Divided By Light Equals Darkness – Queen Of Sorrows Poem Series One.
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[+ About The Author+]
In addition to Light Divided by Light Equals Darkness – Queen Of Sorrows Poem Series One, Alan has written Heatnik Penguins – Askew Poetic Bytes From The Ever Symmetrical Southwest.
Alan and his wife Cia, with their dog, of course, explore, camp, and hike in the western and southwestern parts of the United States. Their home base is in Oro Valley, Arizona.