Sunday, March 25, 2012


the seed opens
the seed closes
captures the tree
and folds it within
to release it
in another place
near or far
as a human's soul
jumps from body to body
so the tree's soul jumps
from seed to seed
and worlds are bridged
the seed opens
the seed closes
a universe inside...

And then there's a tree
that grew inside of me
Its seeds blew in
on the trade winds of a tragedy...

Its magic roots dug in
and its shoots just grew and grew
there's wisdom in its rustling leaves
and laughter in its fruity brew...

(This poem 'sprouted' from the fertile grounds of a dialogue between myself and Dan Pocengal on the nature of reality and all sorts of related matters)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


As one of my writer friends frequently points out, I have a reluctance for naming characters that borders on compulsive. Check back my #friday flash stories, if you don't believe me. My characters are 'the mother', 'the muse', 'the guitarist', 'his friend'. In one story I named my main character J and said to the above-mentioned friend, "Well, at least I half named that one."

But maybe there is a little more than laziness or lack of inspiration at work, because ever since I was a kid, I've had this strong feeling to be 'free' and naming of course implies ownership. We get names from our parents, nicknames from friends (and enemies). Naming is a form of colonization. In the old Cape Colony, slaves and indigenous people could only participate in society by being baptized into the Christian faith AND BEING RE-NAMED IN THE PROCESS. In fact, slaves were also named upon arrival. Native Americans were called Indians by early explorers who mistaken thoughts they had discovered the East. The Xhosa tribe were named that by their rivals, the San and it means roughly 'The Angry People'. The San, on the other hand, refer to themselves as merely 'the people', a subtle implication that the claim to humanity from anyone other than the San themselves is slightly questionable. Naming is claiming. Naming is the encroachment of domestication upon the wild. Naming is taming, or sometimes making an attempt to tame the untamable. Naming draws borders. Naming lays claim and keeping something unnamed preserves just a tiny seedling of the feral and the formless within its soul... leaving it with the potential to transcend, to transform and to find its own path... A little vagueness leaves room for the imagination... and the infinite... gives the magic of the spaces in between some room to breathe.

I completed the chalk drawing this morning. I haven't drawn in chalk for a while... In keeping with the blog post, I am not naming the subject...

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Not quite #fridayflash fiction: Angels and Monsters

The mother did not expect it to be true, but there it was, one thick green tentacle slithering across the Spiderman duvet, while a lumpy sac of pulsating torso heaved and hauled to achieve summit of her son's bed. My poor baby.

She had thought he was lying or exaggerating. Night after night the screams would interrupt the dark slumber of the entire household. He has a vivid imagination. Sure, vivid enough to make her see his monsters, crawling - At least it's not touching him yet.

She took a step forward, then hesitated. The tentacle squirmed into a new curl. Its tip lifted slightly. She stared.

It's not there. It cannot be there.

There were hairy things at the tip of the tentacle. They waved slightly, like miniature reeds.

This is your mind. Playing tricks. You're a grown woman, not a five-year-old.

It didn't help. You cannot unsee a thing like that. And she only wanted to help him. Getting to this point was difficult enough. Oh, the so-called experts who had not believed her. All children have nightmares. If she had a dollar for everytime she was told that. The first person to come up with a deal solution was an ancient Indian woman, who was a hundred if she was a day.

Add these herbs to his cereal and to yours also. Spend the night by his bed. If it is something more than the usual, then you will see it.

The herbs had the fragrant aroma of cinnamon and were surprisingly easy to digest.

Weren't all medicines supposed to taste foul.

The tentacle groped a fold of the duvet, briefly pinching Spiderman's arm. The mother took a deep breath. She was supposed to intervene, but how?

OMG. It's oozing onto the duvet. I better wash it first thing in the morning.

The boy trembled, but did not wake. The mother wished it was all a dream. As the tentacle reached for his shoulder, she jerked involutarily. The tentacle withdrew and curled slightly, like a caterpillar that had been prodded.

It heard me. It knows I'm here.

The monster repositioned itself. Of course. The mother shivered. Had she really believed she could handle this? Then she steeled herself. This was her baby. She would die for him.

"Why?" she whispered, hardly daring to speak. "Why do you terrorize my son night after night?"

The monster grinned through row upon row of serrated teeth. "Your son? Oh, the boy. what makes you think I'm after your son?"

The mother took a deep breath. Was it even possible to reason with a creature such as this? Hope surfaced. Yes. Maybe it was.

"Well," she said, all business. "What do you want?"

The monster smiled. Very simple. Only one thing draws us to little boys and girls. The prospect of dining on angelflesh. Little children are always watched over by angels. If that were not the case, we would leave them be.

"Really?" the mother asked. "If there was no angel, you would not come?"

By the very hairs on my tentacles I swear this.

The mother had much food for thought throughout the next day, but because she had slept poorly, it was not very clear thought. So the angels were to blame. Interesting.

Midway through the morning, she was back at the Indian woman's decrepid stall. She was very excited about this. "Thank you, thank you, thank you," she said to the Indian woman. "You were the only person to help and now I have a plan. I need just one more thing. Do you have a magical herb for seeing the guardian angel of my little boy. I must have a word with him. Or her."

A hungry look entered the old woman's eyes. Perhaps she thought of other forms of bartering that were less sure, but more rewarding. "Indeed I do," she replied.

Again the mother had to sprinkle some herbs over the breakfasts of both her and her son, but the ingredient for seeing angels was pungent and a little more bitter, as if the taste alone already carried a caveat.

That night a second vigil commenced and the mother did not have to wait long before a beautiful golden glow surrounded the bed of her son. He smiled in his sleep, a lovely innocent smile and the mother hesitated for a moment. Then she remembered the monster of the night before and her resolve hardened.

"Hey you," she said. She was becoming used to communication with supernatural beings.

The angel turned and smiled also. "Well, good evening," she said. "This is a surprise. I wasn't expecting company."

"I was," said the mother. "I am here to ask a favor. As a concerned parent, I have been noticing that my child seems to have more than his fair share of monsters around. I looked into the matter..."

"I am always vigi..." the angel began..

"No interruptions, please" said the mother sternly. "Like I said, I looked into the matter and it was brought to my attention that the real and true cause of the problem is YOU!"

"Me?" the angel asked, perplexed.

"Yes, you. This is why I must ask, no beg, a favor of you. Leave my boy alone. Don't come near him. He won't be needing no guardian angels in the future. without the likes of you around, there will be no... "

The mother collapsed before she had a chance to finish her sentence. She fell gently, almost as if something cushioned her descent.

"My thanks," said the boy's guardian angel. "The problem with the adults is that they no longer recognize the shape of monsters. That one had its bulk curled all the way around her reason and it was squeezing the life out of her good sense, but she couldn't even see it. I don't know what I would have done."

"It's nothing," said the mother's guardian angel, "I was here all along. I've got it sorted."

"Good luck on the job."

"And you also. Looks like you're going to need it." The mother's guardian angel kicked something invisible. "And you, old flea-bitten, blunt-scaled excuse for a nightmare? Still haven't given up after all these years? You're not pulling that one on me again." There was a sigh that could have been the bed creaking or a window frame cracking under a sudden gust of wind. No one human heard it.

(Okay, it's a bit long for a #fridayflash, but this is where the 'not quite' would apply... I'm not sure if this is a children's story or an adult story... maybe a children's story for adults ... and it is anonymously dedicated to someone's mother)