The Unswung Bat

Thursday, October 20, 2005
Telling Stories

There is fiction in the space between
the lines on your page of memories

There's a convection, hot and cold, forgetting and knowing: it carries little true and false things up and under again. A surface, pocked with doubts and diving questions, watery surface of a story. Why does it always come back to water? He remembered stories of cloning and stolen nuclear material, told in a lab, and him as an eight year-old paranoid of someone suctioning off his DNA and injecting the stolen chromosomes through the membranes of some foreign egg, him being uncompressed and reconstituted as a frog or some other misformed hellishness. Not that he was to be put off from science: conversation turned comfortingly soon to hyperdrive, artificial intelligence, the measurements and prospects of bones.

Lost in a churn of slides - Can Animals Think? Pannonian Shoreline: 12 MA, arrows weaving to and from Africa - and clay models, scaly questions, a boy floating somehow towards a distant want, islanded just off-path of a mean current that plucks and tows and tosses out to sea. Where is he?

Soaked cardboard boxes with inscrutable labels in black marker, letters two inches high drift by like brown kelp. A flock of tickets, practically a book's worth, to nowhere he's heard of slide by on the warm wavering surface of the water. Brown wrinkled lillies bob by like toy boats. He wonders about long and deepmawed fish or sea snakes. Where he is is insensible, dark and oceanic beneath his neckline, only the theoretical land of those tickets to remind him - where did they go?

Some years later and only after learning to live off the odd flotsam and when to trust and distrust the whims of waves and flows, he washes up on a bed of sand, sleeps on top of where the sun has laid down on the silica grains, gets up with them sticking to his back.

A yelping dog is waiting for him, it runs back and forth from him to some indiscrete whiteness laid on the sand. The body of a fish, same as he worried about in the drift earlier, gapes blind through milky eyes. The dog has not touched it and wags its tail as it watches the boy watch it. He reaches out to feel the dried fish, breathless afraid that it might snap at his hand, and finds its deceptively dull skin still damp and slick, and its gills twitch and flutter. Terrifies the dog, which bolts and then runs back, wagging, and bolts again. The boy follows, finds himself at the edge of a water hole, black and thick as the sea and with creepers draped into it and swirling into its depths.

Falls asleep there, the dog in his arms, warmer than the night air, and awakes wet and gasping, canine nowhere in sight, island inconceivably absent, just a dream?

There is fiction in the space between
You and me

Potential Difference

Grainy shades of wanting, quantified
sloping pain tracked by a needle
knowing the empty pull of
copper veins, stretched staring
for bare electric motes in chorale
straining over the break
in parallel - blind buzzed and piled
one on the other - and air strengthless
between, carrying nothing, stretch
over the needle, there, how much?

Empty potential, stored cold battery
high and untouched tight wire humming
nothing, but over the break, invisibly
the reach of far-blind dizzy flakes
scatters in my blood, (the needle
shows it), finds the graded span
between that flush far-afield
snowdrift-lonely huddle,
and the surge

It's been so very long since I wrote a poem about physics. This one explains the idea of voltage in clear words we can all relate to. Ah, electrical potential difference, you make my heart beat and always will, what with the sinoatrial node and such. Been a long time since I've written any kind of poem, though. That's the downside of knowing of, and in some lucky cases just plain knowing, so many better poets, it can quiet you down a lot. I can always shrug it off on account of stories being more my thing. I finished a new one. It's probably too big to put up here, I'm workshopping it and then probably trimming it down. I'll cut it from 12 pages to a paragraph and then post the key sentence stand-alone, like an verbal extreme closeup.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005
A Practical Application of Google(tm).

Long Time No Tree!
Hugh at one point a while ago said that, due to the actions of some freakily-named fake cult, a google search of his full name produced lots of pictures of firebreathing gargoyles and temples in the jungle. Sadly this awesome misrepresentation of Hugh is no more. He advised after this tale against google-searching your friends' names, 'cuz it all comes back with porn, no matter what. Probably you could type in "Dalai Lama" and get some kind of action. But I wondered what I'd get if I turned SafeSearch on. Once you filter out the porno-graphy, the internet's a fairly dry mild-mannered place, no?

So anyway, I typed in a bunch of youse guys' names and saw these things in the #1 result spot:

Hugh Alter - A picture of Hugh Alter. Well that's freaking boring.

Meredith White - The gravestone of Mary White from the cemetary in Meredith, Texas.

Dave Clark - Shockingly, the Dave Clark 5

Byron Wolfman - Hardcore pornography. No actually, just this picture: ...But this was #2.

Leora Courtney - THIS child's drawing, which I demand you see now. And when you're done with that one, then (and only then) THIS one! Wow. What bizarrely apt crazyshit. Anyway, the fourth pic was of her playing keys at the Reverb in a clopsified red shirt, and the 2nd and 3rd were bandmates at the same show, so fairly good representing.

Caedmon Ricker-Wilson - Nothin'

Laura DeHaan - The Women's Studies program at North Dakota State University.

Gigi Omar - A dancing Thai chef in purple clothes backed by a Phillipino guitarist in blue civvies serenading on an acoustic jeetar. By which I mean guitar.

Weija Chiang - Nuffin'

Jenny Wang - A different Jenny Wang, either from California - or the Dimension Of DOOM. But #4 was the "real" Jenny: Voilà.

Kaspar Bentonwood - Nothing, apparently he is the product of my imagination.

Kara McIntosh - A very creepy photo from a child beauty pageant. Ewww. Ironic also because Kara's possibly the oldest of all my friends, and therefore least likely to win a child beauty pageant on those grounds alone.

Ephraim Ellis - I'm not even gonna bother, I assume it'll be a headshot or promotional pic, either from Degrassi or Falcon Beach, or possibly that YTV Sci-Fi show. Okay, I tried anyway: his came up with a dreamy off-center black-and-white portrait from the waist up, with hands folded in front of him that said "stay back . . ." but a glittering rogueish grin that said "unless you're ready for this!" It was on, and it was about Degrassi.

Mordenkainen - Badass, baby.

Max Hazen - Seriously, about 50 pictures, ALL of them of heavily tattoed men, except for one of a normal-looking middle-aged woman.

Matt Schwemlein - Nuttin

Neil Lamont - A 1940s hockey team from the T.S. Vindicatrix Assn. in the UK. (a.k.a. the "vindi boys.")

Me - No picture

Andra - A really cute picture of her, from her blog.

Victor Ragusila - An old photo of him at the Calgary SciTech Fair.

Rachelle McGill - A hairy centaur baboon. (I'm very, very sorry. Here. Here it is.)

I'm tired now, no more!

In good news I am actually writing a story that'll go up here, along with some respec'able, god-fearing blogging of the sort you've come to associate with my name. And possibly some news on this "Italy" trip I apparently took this summer, if I can call those foggy, distant details back to memory.

original site + text contents ©2004 twenty oh four by me called it

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