Never Just Noise…

It’s so hard, sometimes, 

To listen to the static. 

I’ll tune in and hear it–

Background noise… 

But for the voice of a lone trumpet, 

The rasp of a couple brushes 

On the head of a snare. 

It’s always jazz for me, 

When I hallucinate. 

I don’t know why… 

Part of being a musician, 

I guess, 

Late at night when I can’t sleep 

And have lost too many dreams.

The harmonies are dissonant,

The rhythms a little wild…

And, always, even when it’s just my ears 

Picking out the strain,

I wonder, and then I know.

It’s not so lonesome a thing.

Grief and fear,

Fury and exhultation,

Redemption and love…

They all have sound,

And it’s never just noise.

–C. Green

Static

(I haven’t had to pull an all-nighter in a few years. It’s from those experiences, however, that I found out that I have auditory hallucinations when I’m sleep deprived. It always sounds like I’m hearing the radio, tuning in between two jazz stations with much static throughout.)

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Water God…

A catfish I only caught with my camera at the National Aquarium.

The wind whispered, “rain…,” but the young girl could only hear the river’s words.

There, where the wild went to quench thirsts, she waded. Her mouth half-formed abandoned cadences–too ancient to truly speak–but they were powerful, still. They summoned. She summoned, and the water god answered…

Evoke

Carved From Within…

From my visit to the Luray Caverns a few hours drive from my home in Virginia.

Water and time…

In quantities my life can never hold,

Beneath the ground–

Grave, cavern, stone.

–C. Green

A pool under the earth…

I felt small surrounded by all this evidence of time, the massive patience encasing each stalactite and stalagmite…

Ripples of hardened stone look like shifting sands.

And in this dark, subterranean world, I also felt awe.

Carve

This Rock Has Weathered…

While walking along the coast of Maine two summers past, I had to photograph the various cracks and layers. The exposed rocks were beautiful.

Throughout…

The cold disdain of ice ages,

Relentless bombardment of the sea,

Summer’s heat and human feet,

And whatever else the hardened earth considers torments of time…

This rock has weathered.

–C. Green

This bit of rock had seen many waves, and I wanted to capture the gorgeous striations still wet from the sea.

Weathered

Conversations With a Beast, part 9

“I’m tempted to compliment you and say something like, ‘It’s brilliant by design.’ But knowing you, you’ll say it’s not, that it’s just the last in a series of failed attempts.”

He was at my back, just to the right of my shoulder. I could feel him there, watching me watch his waterfall–the one that fell in extreme slow motion. This would-be raging torrent provided the subdued dripping sound permeating the caverns.

While looking at this wall of water gracefully yielding itself, I added, “Yours is a practiced skill and a talent for meticulousness.”

“And yours is a talent for observation.  Let’s talk about the letter you composed last night.”

I never shied away from conversation with him, even at their most uncomfortable or ridiculous. Now wasn’t the time to begin.

“It was a pretty spectacular illumination, wasn’t it?”

… especially since I, apparently, willed it onto my leg without pen or ink.

“It was… making me certain there’s a bit of magik about you. You shouldn’t have been able to do that, especially here.”

Magical me… Brilliant. I could’ve used some back when I’d been writhing in agony on his office floor.

Turning to look fully at him, I questioned, “So what does that mean?”

“That I have a weakness when it comes to you.”

Oh… His statement was loaded.

My heart did its little pick-up skip, something that happened frequently around the man.

I asked, “And how does that make you feel?”

“Like I want to keep you here for a while.”

Slightly sinister sounding… 

Because I didn’t say anything, he continued, “Think of it as a second honeymoon. I will.”

I was very interested in his thoughts concerning this subject because we never actually did anything on our first honeymoon–despite what everyone assumed and contrary to our initial contract negotiations.

“A working honeymoon, I think. You’re going to require some instruction.”

“Oh…”

“I have extensive knowledge, but there are books in my library here you’d find insightful… Are you alright?”

“I’m just cold. It’s cool here by the water… ”

I was being cowardly if I didn’t also admit the other discomfort. So I took a deep breath and said, “I’m overwhelmed.”

“Come to the fire with me, then, and let us just hold hands. We can talk of magiks and worlds later.”

Brilliant

Conversations With a Beast, part 8

My… What would you have me call you?

Your mouth rarely smiles, but I watch your eyes… and they move more often. They track me like death, but I know what those daggers wish at the point of their blades. They want to find out if my heart can be piercedYou’ll have to step closer, assassin. Throwing from across this space is too much the gamble. Nothing would take a hit, except your pride.

~ Not yet yours…

I awoke as I sometimes do, composing a letter, correspondence that I never send. Unlike those typical dreams, I had been writing my message upon my thigh. I was still dreaming because the ink was there as I sat up from the lushness of the bedcovers–florid and done up in beautiful illumination. Never one to lie to myself, a clear thought flared across my mind as I gazed at my handiwork. He likes to look at these legs. Maybe he’ll actually read the message for once.

My dream self thought she was clever–clever and still very sleepy as a yawn erupted wide. So I settled back down under the covers and closed my eyes, again. Dream sleep was delicious, because there was a large fire crackling inside an archaic firplace. Its heat radiated from across the foot of the bed. And somewhere against the far wall to my right, there was the cavernous sound of water trickling lazily.

So when the bed dipped and I awoke to a lack of change, I startled completely awake–fully taking in the man seated at my side.

A Red Magus…

His eyes were no longer pearlescent, but the irisis were still rimmed in red. I remembered the transformation and his wrath, but he looked calmer now.

“What happened?”

My hand went to my stomach. Suddenly, the memory was there, rampant and sharp.

“Am I alright?” But what I really wanted to know was, “Am I safe now? What is this place” So I asked those too.

“It’s my domain, and no one will take you from it.”

“I think I’m hallucinating.”

Looking more fully, the room looked too clearly like a lushly appointed cave. The weighted coolness beyond the blaze at my feet whispered of being deep underground.

This is real. I assure you. That other… was the dream.” At my confusion, he added, “It does not make all that has transpired any less real.”

“I enjoy warping worlds, and this is my domain. No one may trespass as I am its creator and its keeper. Please, don’t be horrified. It’s a bad habit, no more.” 

With that, his eyes wandered to where I had kicked off my covers. My face flushed as he took in the entire message.

“I enjoy reading your words. Please, don’t stop writing on my account.”

Forlorn

Conversations With a Beast, part 7

Bremeerson knew about it, because his accountants did their jobs well. The legal team was alerted in quick succession. His assistant was privy to all of it, and because of my close proximity to everything, I was too.

Selwin couldn’t keep much of anything from me, anyway. I’ve made myself indispensable

That’s just me being funny. Everyone is replaceable in business.

Someone had gone to a great deal of trouble to make me look worse than I already did. Bonus insult: the thief funneled just enough of the company’s earnings into–what the gossip writers liked to call–my “wishing well” to be noticed, but not nearly enough to do any real good.

The wishing well was actually the investments Bremeerson made into the companies he acquired through our personal merger. Honestly, I liked the pet name, if not the people who coined it. I didn’t own any of them prior, but that wasn’t how the clans necessarily worked. 

Without drawing the episode out longer than needed, let me just say that I was made to look like an idiot, stealing from the company I worked for to finance ventures that were already being funded. It made me look like an impatient, disrespectful, idiot.

All for what? To sew discord, lessen credibility, lower my wishing well’s reputation… And get me into trouble with the beast.

“No, my little thief, don’t go in there yet.”

Selwin thought he was being funny as I got up from my desk. Bremeerson had told me to meet him in his office at noon.

“You, of all people, shouldn’t harass me like that!”

Annoyingly, I was hurt.

“Sorry, but you should wait. I just put a call through from one of the lawyers, and he’s still on the line. Sit, you’re trembling.”

So I sat down, as casually as I could–faking unruffled feathers–trying to maintain my professional regard for  Bremeerson’s assistant. I liked Selwin, just not then.

Everyone knew about the theft by that point. I hadn’t won everyone over yet, obviously, and personnel still liked to discuss my demise. There was a strange loyalty towards the Beast of Bremeer, one that I was beginning to understand and emulate. It’s why I felt… fearful and anxious. I didn’t want to lose the fledgling regard he’d developed towards me. So when Selwin broke my reverie to say the boss was ready to see me, I almost lost my nerve.

As soon as the door closed behind me, I kept my voice admirably steady, though, and told him before he could get a word in edgewise, “I earn my wages. I do not steal them. I bound myself through contract…”

My knees wanted to give out, and my skin became clammy. So I sat in the chair by his desk and continued, “You’ve been patient and… kind.”

Although, kindness wasn’t exactly the motivation, I think… more a sense of moral decorum, really high standards, and a necessary detachment.

“I know I haven’t yet fulfilled all the stipulations of our binding contract… Please.”

Believe that I’m not that stupid or that greedy.

I didn’t get to finish, though.

His voice quietly cut through my speech, saying, “Stop.”

I eyed him warily when he proceeded to come near me.

“All you wanted was to read my library… a surprisingly illuminating request. Then you asked for a job interview.” He took a slow and assessing pause. “You are no thief.”

The breath I’d been holding huffed out disjointedly. 

“You’re shaking. Why are you shaking?”

He asked all sorts of questions after that, but I’m not quite sure which ones. What I truly remember is that it was the first time I saw him lose his temper. My blood pressure had plummeted, and the unmistakable taint of curse magiks filtered through my pores.

“No!”

He launched himself at me, when I slid off the  chair and began writhing.

“They are not taking you!”

Selwin heard the shouting and came racing through the office door.

“Get OUT!”

Then Bremeerson became the beast everyone feared. His eyes went pearlescent, the irisis rimmed in red. Meanwhile, my guts began twisting upon themselves, turning me into another kind of monster. The sounds coming from my mouth… Had I fangs, I would have torn at my wrists to get to the veins. I’m very glad there was only one beast in the room, though. I didn’t account for my husband being a Red Magus.

Our enemies hadn’t either… 

It proved a very, very unfortunate enterprise–framing him for my murder.

Funnel