Monday, July 22, 2013

Without Comment

"My skin is not my own," said the God Emperor.

I know the feeling,

But not exactly.

He added skin to his skin,

Sandtrout symbiosis.

I must subtract where he added.

My skin smothers, enslaves.

His Worm was without,

My Wyrm was within.

Dragon-Who-Is-Chained, meet the Worm-Who-Is-God.

A leader, enslaved.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

I Had A Dream Today

It is not an unusual occurrence for me to dream. In fact, it happens rather frequently. Here is one that I woke from, one from barely ten minutes ago.


We had lived in the ship forever. The ship was our homes, our life, our beautiful abode. We loved the ship, and had filled the ship with our lives, transforming it from a cold steel hull, into our den.

We lived there as family, all of us, in the ship that floated in the redwood clearing. It wasn't just my family, for there were others that lived there, too. There was the cold man, with the tip of his nose missing. There were the two girls about my age, that danced as if they had fairy-made blessings.

And then there were our friends who visited us in the ship, who would come down from the hills, and from the towns, and from their cramped homes, and who would fill our ship with love, and sound, and the smell of food, and laughter.

Those were the days. Those were the days of light, and love, and laughter.

But we were not supposed to be in the ship, according to those that made the laws. We were not supposed to have found the floating vessel, whose glimmering hull we had dulled with handfuls of sand. We were not supposed to have entered the stand of redwoods, whose branches must have held the very Sun and Moon in loving embraces. We were not supposed to have danced in those shining, burbling little rivulets, nor sang with the birds that came to nest in the cannons-made-houses. We were not supposed to have found paradise.

But then came the warning, the unintentional warning. Somehow, we got the word that the men were coming, coming to take us away from paradise. They were coming, and they were coming with guns, and fire, and pain in their cold, cold hearts. And we had six hours before they arrived.

And we looked around the ship, looked at all of our treasures there, and knew there was no way to take them all with us. We had filled the ship with the things we loved, with beauty, and with memory. We could not take it all.

We called our friends, and told them what was going on. Down, down, and down they came, from their cramped lives on the hills, from their houses where the glow of the commercial lights rendered darkness an impossibility, and an inescapable reality. Our friends filled our ship, and we stood together, even as we tried to gather what few things we knew we could carry.

When we heard the footsteps on the deck, we knew it was time. All of us, friends and ourselves, gathered in our central hall, where the warmth of winter fires had left soot on the fireplace walls. All of us waited for a moment we knew would come.

And it did. With a jackbooted foot propelling it inward, the door was shattered, the wood and steel screaming in agony as it hit the floor in countless shards. The men were there, men with guns, and with fire, and with hate, and with hearts of steel. Their faces were in shadow, but we knew they were watching us, expecting us to panic.

And so, we sang. Families and friends alike, we sang! And oh! How we sang! It rang to the rafters, rang to the trees, rang into the very heart of the heavens! As we sang, we were all crying, for we knew that we would be taken, but we sang anyway. Even as they took people away from the group, and beat them against the walls until blood flowed upon the floor, we continued singing. We sang until our song was done. They hurt until all of our friends were brutalized. And then they took us away.

They forced us to stand upon the ground as they set the ship's love on fire. The men filled our home with torches, and gasoline, and burned our love. We had nothing with us, not even what we had gathered. The men had used those gathered things to kindle the fire.

The men had us back away from the ship now, even as we cried, and prayed, and spat curses through the tears. They took out their guns, and they shot the ship to the ground. Then they kept shooting, desecrating the body until all that was left was a smoking, tortured ruin that howled as only a tortured love can, until one last man walked over, and shot the remains, one last time.

They packed us into a car, and they drove away from the field of their killing, taking us away, even as we beat upon the windows with bloodied fists, turning the glass crimson. And that was when we heard the saws, the buzzing and the whining. And then the crashing. All of us turned to look, and all of us felt our heard break again, and all of us screamed in agony.

For they were cutting down the redwoods. They were cutting down those mighty, beautiful trees that had stood for a millennium, and that would have stood until the end of the world, connecting earth and sky. "How can they do this?" asked one of the family, and his voice was made husky with the tears, and his pain. "Because they have guns, which gives them the right to kill." came my reply, spat through blood, and tears, and undying agony. And then, they drove us away forever.

If anyone would like to know the song, it's Afternoon On A Hill, written by Eric Barnum. Here's a version of the song done by University of Washington singers, and it's beautiful.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Eyes, Part Two

Many have said that eyes are the windows to the soul, for animals as well as for humans. We as humans seem to have a fascination with eyes, even going so far as to fear things that do not have eyes, or that cannot blink. We extol animals with human-like eyes (labradoodles, anyone?), yet shun things with eyes that are not humanoid in nature (octopodi spring to mind).

But this is not what I was planning to talk about. Not really.


The world grows and changes. Magma erupts from the surface, spraying to become lava as it touches the air, cooling to form solid rock. Water hisses to steam as pure fire meets the sea, sending a column of warring elements to the skies. Creation is in the air, watched by the eyes of the stars.

From the trees, eyes are watching. From the trees, down swing apes who stand upon their back legs. They test the ground, balancing and staring ahead at a horizon just out of sight. They walk into the grasses with heads held high, following a siren's call and a vision just out of reach.

There are buildings in the grass now, little huts made out of mud and sticks. The standing-apes are there now, balded and clothed in the skin of once-living denizens of the grasses about them. They have changed, but also not changed. Their bodies are bare, but their eyes... Their eyes are distant, still trying to spot the vision they followed.

Now, oh now, the buildings are speeding past faster than ever. Growing, changing, all watched by thousands of eyes. Shining, growing ever taller and faster, life speeds around, watched by thousands of eyes. Eyes of animals, eyes of upright-apes, eyes of metal and glass. Eyes are always watching.

But what is this? The eyelid falls, pauses, and rises, another blink in the life of an eye, cleaning itself. And everything is gone.

Blue Eyes and Strong Minds

First off, I am deeply sorry that this is the first post since last July. Life just started happening, fairly without warning, and I found myself swept away, a little out of control at times.


I have recently reread Frank Herbert's novel Dune, and its sequel Dune Messiah. I was enchanted immediately, and as my family will be glad to agree, I haven't shut up about the books since I finished them. Unfortunately, it seems that no-one in the school (who doesn't have a salary) has read these books, and so I am left with the deep loneliness of not being able to talk about what I have found to be truly fantastic books.

I have also been rereading Ender's Game (possibly my favorite book in the world) for my English 10 Honors class. I'm not entirely sure if I approve of the way the pace is going, but I am not teaching the class, although I do lead many of the conversations. So far, the class seems to be half-asleep, or possibly half-dead, and I'm just waiting for them to wake up a little so I can engage someone my own age in serious conversation about this book. I have my doubts that this will ever happen, though, because trying to discuss the setting of Ender's Game with the class so far has been like trying to lead around an obstinate hog without one of those hog-leading sticks. (No, I'm not making this up; to lead a pig, you must nudge it in the side of the head with a stick.)

So, with the juxtaposition of two (three, if you want to count Dune and Dune Messiah separately) of my favorite books, I began to notice very interesting similarities between the two main characters. Ender Wiggin and Paul Muad'Dib are startlingly similar to me, once I began to examine the events that surrounded them, and the events they participated in, willingly or otherwise.

One of the first things I noticed was that both of them had a deep desire to win, no matter the horrors that would have to be done. The motives might have been different, for Ender the motive being so that he wouldn't need to fight again (exhibits being his kicking to death a bully, and later killing a boy who attacked him, up to the final battle of the book), and for Paul the motive being to simply survive at first, then moving to carry out his will, but the desire was the same. Both of them show clearly a desire to win, and to win completely, with no-one left to hurt them again.

However, winning completely does not always win one friends. Both Ender and Paul were hated by many in their species, and many others wanted to see them fail, and fail completely. Ender was hated by the boys, and some teachers, he shared Battle School with, up to the point of being attacked in a Battle School bathroom (he won that battle completely, as well, and the attacker was rendered incapable of hurting anyone, ever again). Paul, on the other hand, was hated by far more than just a few boys and teachers. Paul angered the Spacing Guild, the Emperor, and the Bene Gesserit, all through his actions. When he displaced the Emperor on the throne and exercised his new power on spice, however, anger built up in stranger places, and conspiracies were formed among those Paul had always trusted.

For all that hated Ender and Paul, there were also those that followed them without much in the way of questions. Both were leaders of rarely-found charisma, and this charisma attracted people who would do anything for their leaders, even go to wars in distant places, to die on worlds years away from the place of their birth, to be killed in wars they did not start. Both Ender and Paul, as they grew into leadership, found their friends disappearing, not because of death, but because their friends became receptacles for orders and doctrine, like little machines created to dispense the orders of their superior. Ender watched this with his friends from Battle School, as they broke down when they failed him as their physical limits failed, while Paul watched worlds fall to their knees in worship of the great Muad'Dib, emperor-oracle, as his Fremen friends turned from wild desert-folk to the priests of a religion. Both had traded friends for creatures that would obey, and both felt the loneliness of power.

But how did these brilliant leaders come to be? Was it freak accident that produced Ender Wiggin, or Paul Muad'Dib? No. Both were bred for a purpose, although there was a slight element of unexpected chance surrounding Paul's rise. Ender Wiggin, a hated Third child, was born on commission, his parents receiving the request to produce a Third from the government on the hope that their child would save the world by wiping away the bugger threat. Paul was the result of ninety generations of Bene Gesserit breeding, although the element of surprise struck when he was born, as he was supposed to be born as a female for reasons the first book elaborates on beautifully. Both Ender and Paul were bred to play a role in a greater plan, of a greater plot within plots, and they were supposed to be used for that purpose. They were bred to be used as pawns in greater schemes.

These greater schemes, well, had very different outcomes in the two books. Ender was bred to save the world, and he did just that. He tried to rebel against the puppeteer adults in his final battle, and he played directly into their hands. He fulfilled his purpose for being born then, as he wiped out almost completely an entire species without knowing what he was doing. Paul, though, was not meant to be male. As a male, he had twisted his purpose by the virtue of his gender, and he rebelled against the new purpose he found himself 'offered' by the Bene Gesserit. His rebellion brought him to the Fremen, and eventually to the throne of Emperor as a Kwisatz Haderach, a different future than the one that had been set for him. Paul's rebellion was successful, in some respects, although one's definition of success is really one of the key factors in deciding this point.

It goes without saying that Paul and Ender were very different from their surrounding 'peers'. Both were brilliant in an uncommon way, along with being charismatic, and somewhat cut from the mold of rebellious wise-ass at times. Both displayed points of view that were rather more mature than most would have expected from younger people, as well. (Ender's knowledge of the unspoken laws of chivalry, and his rejection of them is an example of this. Paul's intuitive way of understanding diplomacy on Dune is, again, an example of this.) However, brilliance sometimes walks hand-in-hand with a touch of sociopathy, and both Ender and Paul display some of those earmarks. One of the most obvious is how they observe society's rules, then make their own, or disobey those rules of society in ways that make those around them cringe a little (see above examples).

Ender Wiggin and Paul Muad'Dib. Two boy-men, called gods by those who surround them in their respective stories. Both respected, and feared, embodying new powers emerging with the old powers unsure of what to do.


The above is what I have been thinking about for about a week now. For me, this realization that two of my favorite characters are of almost the same mold is somewhat of a shock while also being the most logical thing in the world. I feel rather lonely, though, with these thoughts because so few people around me have read both books, and are willing to talk. If you, dear readers, have read both books and want to talk, please comment.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Trying Times

It's been a while since I posted here, that I know. It's not that I haven't had anything to say (anyone who's seen me knows that for a fact); it's more that I haven't wanted to say it, because I didn't want to believe it.

Over the past three months, I have had my heart first turned inside out, then prodded cruelly, then torn asunder. As I was picking up the pieces about a month and a half ago, I was hit upside the head again, and had to start from square one all over again.

The amazing part? This was all done by one person. And it wasn't my mother. It was, in fact, one of my best friends.


Those who know me know that I am, despite outward appearances, fairly patient with most people (or I try to be, at least; it doesn't always work). I mean, I put up with my mother for twelve remembered years before finally blowing up at her, and getting fed up. But, in that scenario, I had every other week where I could escape her and relax, and I could feel safe. I have recently found that my patience, even though it has grown over the year I have been away from her, doesn't last nearly as long when the annoyance can reach me wherever I am.

I said earlier that everything started three months ago, but that wasn't really the whole truth; things only came to a head three months ago. In actuality, I have been aware of the problem that lead to the past three months since January of this year.

The problem is also one I am not used to dealing with, just to make matters worse. I, by nature, do not share my emotions with the whole world. I face the world with logic, and prefer to out-think my problems, rather than feeling them, and my reasoning is, at least to me, simple; it hurts too much for me to feel in the way I want to. I had my emotions trashed by my mother as a child, and I learned early on that feeling would only get myself hurt, so I made a conscious decision to not show my emotions publicly. But the problem I ran into was one of pure emotion, and I soon found myself drowning in an unfamiliar sea.

For all of my remembered life, my primary focus for the times when I was with Mom was keeping myself alive and unhurt. That left little time for me to develop little kid crushes when I was young, and, as a consequence, I have actually only found myself having a crush on one actual person in my life, and that was a long time ago. (Fictional characters, on the other hand, I fall for all the time.)
So, when I found myself confronted by one of my best friends (who will now be referred to as M., for simplicity's sake) about who I liked, I found myself at a bit of a loss. I listed off the characters I was currently obsessing over, and I think she may have thought I was mocking her, for she got really defensive, and started pushing for information about real people I liked. I told her the honest truth; I do not have a crush on anyone. This did not sit well with her, and she started insinuating that I had a crush on one of my senpais in karate, to which my response was, simply put, never in a million years. She didn't like this, either, and took the opportunity of my staying for afterschool to badger me more about this for over an hour. She also brought the question of my sexuality into things, to which my answer was, and is, I don't know, I don't particularly care, and that I'll find out when I find out. She was, once again, not pleased with my answers, and with the fact that I was remaining outwardly calm, even if I was greatly wanting to scream at her to shut up and leave me alone.

That was the beginning of a passive-aggressive fight between M. and I that has lasted to this day of July 31st, 2012. (Other highlights of this horrible monstrosity of a 'fight' include her botched kissing of me the night of our final concert, and my quick retaliation peck on the cheek about three days later, for which I profusely apologized the next day. (That last ended in her threatening physical violence against me if I tried that again, to which my reply was that I wasn't planning on it anyway, and that it hadn't worked.) Another is the night where I completely broke down, and ended up sobbing in the dark of night on a different friend's lawn with my head in M's hands (I'm still honestly not sure why; I think it had something to do with the fact that I was unsure of what to do).) But today is the day that my patience has finally run out.

I have been trying my very hardest to fix this now since it started. I have called her now more times than I care to remember, and have emailed her probably double that number. I have told her what I want from this, and what I think is wrong (my answer was that I couldn't figure out why she was still mad at me, as I wasn't mad at her, and hadn't been for many moons). I have asked her what she thought, and tried to be calm through this whole thing. I have even tried to show her my emotions as much as I can. And what have I gotten in return? I have gotten only three calls back from her. I have waited weeks on end for emails. I have been yelled at for not talking, and then yelled at for not asking questions at the right time. I've been yelled at for not caring about her (if I didn't care, I would have broken all ties with her when this started).

And I'm done trying to help. My patience has run out now; if I keep trying to fix this, I will lose my mind. I haven't slept well for three months now from the stress. My relations with my parents have been stretched to their limits (they will vouch for this). But, even though I've given up trying to fix things, doesn't mean that I'm done being friends with her. In fact, this is my last-ditch effort to save this; by severing my ties with M. until the school year begins, I am trying to give her time to fix whatever is wrong in her life.

And the sad part? She will probably, even if this works, still lay the entire blame for this at my feet. Am I prepared for that? Maybe. Is this going to be worth this in the long run? I don't know. All I know is that I am giving up this battle in an attempt to keep this alive. I hope all of this pain is worth it, for both of us.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Empty Spaces

This past month (or perhaps longer; I can't remember anymore) has been miserable. I don't know if it's something in the air, or perhaps just an effect of the heat, but all happiness seems to have been sapped away from everywhere I've gone. It's like I walk into a room, and all the happiness vanishes, both at school and at home, and I don't know what I'm doing wrong anymore.

The emptiness started at school with a fight between a close friend and I. I don't think the wounds ever really healed from that fight; everything's seemed so distant since then, so tense. Even if there is a day where there is happiness, it is followed by a day of pain and anger, and it doesn't help that we're in every single class together. I want to make things work, I really do, but something's wrong in my head, and I don't know what it is anymore; I can't put a name to it.

I haven't been able to sleep well in weeks; I fall asleep easily enough, but the sleep doesn't rest me, and I wake up just as tired as I was when I went to sleep. All the dreams I've had over this month have either been nightmares of death and slaughter, or shapeless things of pure color and sound. Which isn't to say that my imagination's been asleep, oh no. All the vividness of imagination is expressing itself in the day now, calling to my attention horrible images in my mind of death and disappearing, of cracked masks and empty husks. The one that's still dancing in the back of the mind runs as follows.

I am strapped on my back to a stone table in the woods by bands of what I think are sheer willpower, for there are no visible bonds, and I can't even think about escaping. And I'm slowly disappearing. My flesh is vanishing in little inch-wide rings, but there is no blood or pain; it is just like I never existed. Once the disappearance has reached mid-calf, my bones follow the flesh's example, disappearing in the same way. And once all traces of my body have vanished, all that is left is my mind, my psyche, my soul, if you will. But that is not the end, oh no. A figure appears now, a blurred, shapeless shade of shifting gray, holding a fabric cloth usually used to wipe off a chalkboard, and slowly takes the eraser to my mind, wiping me all away as if I was just some mess on the counter. And, as I finally disappear, I can't shake the feeling that I deserve it.

See what I mean? And that's not all, no. There are many more, some involving death, some involving a cracked human mask falling away to reveal nothingness within. Richard Thompson summed it up best in his song "Uninhabited Man" with the following: "There is no me within the skin." I feel empty, devoid of anything that would define me as human.

And the feeling doesn't stop at school, either. The emptiness follows me home, too, like some monstrous dog clinging onto my heels. I feel pressured, and I feel like all I am doing is just failing on every single count, in every single aspect. I try to talk about it, but I never can get past the thinking phase of communication; I just chicken out right before I'm about to say anything. And, as a result, I can't get these thoughts out of my head, can't really express what I'm thinking about, and everything else in life is suffering because of it. I'm shorter of temper, and I space out more now, and I hate that feeling of not being at my best. It makes me feel sick inside, this feeling of being inadequate and unable to complete the tasks set for me. The pressures of summer and summer jobs isn't helping, either, especially when my subconscious is trying its hardest to convince me that I'm a failure in the deepest sense of the word.

So, yes, if anyone's been wondering why I've been a bit off lately, this is why. I'm off to listen to "Where is My Mind?" by The Pixies; I think it fits for the occasion.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Erasing, or The Last Hurrah

Think of anger. Think of the most angry moment in your life, the moment you thought you would explode from pent-up rage and pure, biting anger. Got it in your mind?

Now imagine being erased from somewhere you had lived for half your life. And I'm not talking about just your stuff being gone. I'm talking your pictures taken down from the walls and hidden in backs of closets, your room rearranged to the point where you can't find any of your stuff without actively searching, books you loved in baskets marked "To Book Sale", some of your stuff in bags for the garbagemen. I'm talking about the complete destruction of everything you knew, like you were some dispensable piece of plastic that was just callously thrown away, or a toy used until the novelty wore off, then thrown to the bottom of the toy chest.

Today, I went back to a building I haven't set foot in for half a year, and I never want to be there again. Ever. I never want to walk up that driveway again, never want to feel the crunch of the half-gravel beneath my feet. I never want to smell that dank, empty smell of that house, feel that chill against my skin. I don't want to walk those floors, or see the lurid colors of the walls. Today, I went to my mother's house for the last time, to get the few things I still wanted before I said goodbye forever.

In that accursed building, I felt all of that, and more. I felt sick, like I had contracted some deadly disease. Despite the fact that I had walked those floors for close to half of my life, I felt like a stranger, like an alien on some new and hostile planet. I went to go get my books, and found most of them missing. I never did find the comics I had left there; I think she might have used them as fire kindling, but I don't know. She never did like them. I went to get my fossils, and found them in the back of the closet, hidden away behind the linens. I found a picture of me back there, too. Me, maybe two years ago, smiling at the camera, along with a picture of she and Dad on their wedding day. It was all I could do not to tear the place apart, or to run screaming.

I walked around that house once, just to see if I was dreaming, or in a nightmare. It was like I was in a stupor. I couldn't see, I couldn't hear. All I could see were memories, all I could hear was the sound of her screaming in my ears. It was so terrible, so terrifying. I'm glad I didn't get through the whole house; I probably would have been violently ill. As it is now, I feel desperately unclean, and like I have just emerged from the lair of some deadly serpent.

But still present is that biting, terrible anger. Through all the pain, and the fear is still the burning brand of rage, rage at being replaced by portable air conditioners, a new TV, and five chickens. Rage at being erased. Rage at having to do something that no-one should ever have to. Rage at being forced to hate someone I should have loved.

So I bid them adieu, and farewell. There is no power on this planet that could force me back into that building, into that life. That book is closed, that door has been locked. And now it's raining, washing away that sickness. I can't say as how I'm going to miss any bit of it.