Friday, June 17, 2011

The Sweep

I stood at the edge of a swamp in North Carolina. I knew I had to get to what was waiting on the other side. I scratched my head and I hesitated, considering going around.

I kneeled by the muck and considered what leeches and other things might be swimming there, might wrap themselves around my ankles in the wet. I might be able to wade but there might be spots that would mire me or be too deep. The humidity made my limbs feel heavy. The amount I'd used them already felt like a dizzy spiral around each bone.

I heard a wet schoschoscho coming from behind me. My back tightened. Inside my head I heard an invitation. I looked back and there was a dark slug about 4 feet long and at least a foot and half around. It again invited me to climb on and it'll take me across. Something about the voice assured. I intuitively trusted it. I got on its back and it loped across the pond scum as though it were a mixture of horse and hydrofoil.

Time passed and the world faded back into bright. I was again at the shoreline but with memory of months of daily times together. I found that as its thoughts went telepathically to me, so I could return the ideas. I learned it, who I had no referent name, was not one of its kind. It was stranded from space and one of a dispersed collective. It could shapeshift. One of the more common forms was like a sowbug on earth, about that size, except more elongated and iridescent. I took that as a matter of course as it has no qualms with my bipedal form.

I looked at the sun dapple, how leaves seemed silver from sun. I was anticipating what we'd talk about today. Soon I could feel the approach. As we travelled and I could feel the rippling muscles beneath me unsteady. The energy had sputters in it. As we passed under the canopy through narrow and wide spots of wet forest, I learned grave news today.

Its kind were discovered by wrong individuals of my kind. There was to be a rally to consider options of exodus. Without a second thought I said I'd go.

It was early pre-dawn and the chosen spot was low rolling hills. I had just visited a contact on the other side of the border in West Virginia. She was the human spouse. At the old age home she sat bedside. The human was missing. She looked anxiously. One of the creatures could hold human form for short bursts but to the level of detail that would satisfy a doctor's tests was exhausting. The creature was on break. It wasn't a sustainable pace. She opened the side table to show all the flowers nad chocolates human friends had brought that outpaced what she could consume. Her husband would eat them but the creature couldn't. Her real husband was with the creatures in a treatment center. This would be hard to explain to human doctors. It would be hard to get him sent home to rest when the creature's test results didn't mimic physiology properly. It was all very awkward.

I related this story to my friend who would pass the situation into the collective.

I brought with me human individuals who I trusted to have the compassion as first thought, giving them only a sketch of the safety issue at stake. Across the distances I could sense the directions of approaches of creatures.

Sympathetic humans were coming as well. I could see their shapes appear but we couldn't talk to one another in the same way at the same distance. There was a sombre atmosphere. There had been such gatherings before but not within my lifetime and I was told they were more festive. This was a pooling of what we knew.

There were humans who had decided the creatures were a threat or a soulless curiosity to study. It was hard to say which was worse. They had learned they could see the creatures and had become afraid. They learned that when in symbiont form with a human, for example a rapid course of diabetes was certain and the human lifespan shortened. This information ripples thru the group. And protests, It was a kind of holiness, a kind of soul marriage and a richer life before the loss of partner. And the creatures could treat with medicine if they knew this case erupted.

More stories came back. Some humans had found a spectrum of light that would make the creatures visible to the humans who couldn't see them. I jarred, not having realized that not every human could see them. Another intelligence passed through that there was a net, a loop of citizen army who were broadcasting this light to try to collect up the creatures for examination. Examination from one species to another was rarely good.

One creature passed around mentally the diagram that the citizen army were using. There were ripples of chuckles from all direction as if an earthquake riffled. When it came to me I saw the disproportional centipede with ominous front eyes and the color patterns all imaginative but wrong. It was like a child's caricature. At least having wrong information was in our favour.

How widespread was the search for them? We had holes in our information. Some suggestions said it was a national net and we could escape to Canada, or at least to the relative security of French Canada. Some of the humans had contacts that would enable some to slip through the border there without questions.

There was the matter of travel-form. Would they risk travelling naturally or hold the exhausting human form and have the time delay of faked paperwork. How fast did we have to move? How fast could we move without causing ourselves to be detected? Did we have enough transport? Would it be safer for more people to become symbionts to travel across country? It was a permanent decision, not to be taken lightly or rushed into, except if the sweep came in, inside another was the safest, most invisible place to be. There were a lot of logistics to work out.

We decided that the most secure plan is multiple plans, each according to conscience, knowing what the others are doing. As for me and my friend we would try to slip over the border into the northern wilds of Quebec. As symbionts or a pair? We would let the decision lie between us with the coffee cup between our seat. We'd come to a decision by Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Friday, June 3, 2011

with sputtering reboots

In half-sleep I raised my head, feeling with a startle that I was alone and looked over and relaxed. Mr. T was still on the other pillow, his gold chains hanging over the side of his neck. Later in the night I woke again, to a sound. Looked over, Mr. T was still there snoring peacefully. I relaxed "back" to sleep. Dawn light and I heard a noise I rolled over, alone in bed. Where could he be? My mind "placed" where I was, where he was. Mr. T was up making coffee at the coffee maker and I drowsed "back" to sleep. On waking, for sure, pretty sure, this time, like Mary marvelling at the things said.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

After 100 Flowers, The Refugees

I was looking for shelter, even thick undergrowth to hide in for a rest by light of dawn. Revealing light was too soon.

It was a chilly autumn wind in my shorts and t-shirt. I wished again that I'd taken the time to grab a bag before I fled. But when the agents came to collect for the earmarking, there was not time to lose.

I'd hoped for more safety than sleeping in a hollow of ground. If I could make it to the forest, I might be not worth the search. The agents wanted to round up the urban dissidents who were easy to find and compliant first. Too much trouble and I'd be left for another round. I rubbed the back of my neck where they would have my tattooed number placed.

A twig cracked and I knew how jumpy I was. I forced my breathing to come calm. Fear is a luxury. Level heads survive, I reminded myself. I paid attention to the shades of grey of the ground, careful to not stumble, and to notice any movement that was more than wind in thickets.

Finally I saw a door of a chalet-style shed at the crest of the next hill. I was glad for no streetlights. I was coming close to the next built-up area. The gravel road would soon turn back into thick housing and the thicker rate of monitoring cameras. I came up the steps to the house. I circled, checking windows. It was largely unfurnished. No light except what the moon brought it. I looped back to the 6' door and tried it. It was open. Abandoned? Or a forced resettlement?

I slipped inside, ducking my head to enter. There was something of a split level. To the right was a platform with a writing desk, a tablet on a post, suction cups holding the post on one end to the floor, on the other, to the wood support. The desk was bare and the chair a bend of plywood. They were tucked at the short wall beside the window.

There was half a flight down and as I went down the stairs, between the risers, I felt a little warmth. There was a baseboard heater under the stairs. Some quilts were stacked nearby. I unfolded a duvet to make a thin mattress and tucked my lanky legs, curled beside the heat.

There was a noise. I grabbed back my breath before it could make a startled gasp. I meant to rest but I must have slept. Light footsteps were moving above me. I listened. Waited. There were heels, not the scuff of soft-soles.

There was a scrape of chair. The person seemed to have settled at the desk. There was a long period of quiet. I wondered if she would ever check down here. How long would she stay. I scanned my memory of the stairs I came down. They were wood. Had they squeaked or popped as I went down them? Had they settled? I couldn't recall any sound.

Perhaps she slept. I strained to hear her breathing. I thought I heard her slow even breaths of sleep. I risked slipping the duvet off me, even regular breaths, smooth movement. I eased to my feet. The fabric had helped but the bare concrete had leached some of its cold into my bones.

I eased up the stairs to see who was there. As the top of my head came to the level of the floor, it began to prickle. The sensation spread down the spine as a heat flanged out across my back. I knew I had been seen, and reluctantly with a wince tightening the deep muscles of my face, I leaned forward, took one more step up and lifted my eyes to the waiting eyes. Thru the square spindles I saw her body, the nape bare of numbers. Knew that she felt the same heat across her back. I saw her tighten and turn with the same caught-caution, brace against consequence.

We met eyes, her green eyes in my brown eyes and we startled in recognition. She was myself. Plump, middle aged, in business dress. I was herself, sinewy black legs, dark hair on my arms raised. We were the Dissident. We knew it at once. We both moved to mid-floor, unsure and yet somehow steadied by there being two.

Do you have a refuge? she asked baldly speaking over me. In the same breath I spoke over her as I said, If I can get there, I have a place in the country.

We swallowed.

I have means, she said and opened her phone, looking back up at me, holding my eye.

Are you alone, she asked? I nodded.

There are others who need, she added.

As if one thought from our third eye, the faces we knew in common swam between us. Our other faces. A little girl, upturned nose, chestnut curls and a man, grey-haired, grey- and sombre-eyed. A few more stood in the distance, their faces more indistinct.

I don't know if I can get them all to agree to flight, I said. My memory flashed thru the conversations we'd had and would have again about weathering this by compliance, speculating on visas, the international reach of agents, the security of the pacific, of the far north.

Are they all us? she asked. The image of them wiggled as a heat wave. One remained. Neither of us were sure.

The trip couldn't be made often and the program of cameras and numbers were expanding. It is possible even my village had already been rounded into the conscription.

Friday, April 15, 2011


The space the family reunion will be held in. Much happened which faded on waking, except for the people present and not. Present were the host, and hubby, niece and nephew thru hubby, everyone was from writing circles. Not a family member by blood in sight. Interesting statement, unconscious.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The coffee shop

That lane of my dreams, sometimes clear cut in one patch, sometimes a subdivision banging up behind a thin veil of trees, this time was almost pristine, feral.

Except for the coffee shop at the near end. But I get ahead of my dream.

I lean out the door to put out a bowl of cat slop. It is spring warm joy and I break into a sprint, barefoot in jeans go running, kicking wet fallen leaves and, topless, make a run for the back lane. It is late evening, the sky just starting to tilt towards blues.

As I jump, my breasts contain themselves, not flipping and flopping as they might on the mid-air somersaults I'm doing. There is life in my muscles and breath.

I freeze. I hear conversation and the gravel-crush-twists of people walking. I hit the ground and curl over my chest, toss some leaves for camouflage over my bare back, make like a mushroom just coming out of the ground.

The male feet in dress shoes pass near but I don't move, don't look up, don't know if I've been seen. There isn't a pause enough in their strides to be clearly a pause rather than just unevenness.

Things are quiet but there's more sound in a distance. I sit up and notice a coffee shop has sprung up and the lights beam out yellow and white like the Star of Bethlehem past the fanned out smells of coffee being ground. I stand and go inside.

It's crowded and loud with conversation and orange walls. A lot of men proportionally. I gawk around, notice the work clothes at the bar and the back of the barista going in back. There's a transitory radio staticking away to itself on the ledge between the bar and the kitchen in back.

I look around at the card tables and conversations leaning in. One man sits at a table of 3 but doesn't seem to be with the other 2, socially or mentally. His face is all stubble and food stains and crumbs and gut overhanding his belt like a second person, and he has struggles to get up out from under his belly but he's done it and stands with a haze over his eyes as if he's spent the day at a different kind of bar. I feel myself being watched. He stares at my breasts and I realize that he thinks that skin is some kind of signal. I back up a step bump the chair. It scraped the chair. I look back and ahead and he's doggedly making his way towards my chest. From that distance he already smells heavily of unwashed sweat. He reaches down and unzips his pants at which point I decide on reaction and dash for the entryway.

On the shelf in the cloakroom closet is a little girl's purple knit sweater. I pull it on. It fits me more like a bolero jacket but is soft and warm and I'm covered. I return to my stool.

A little child waddles up to me and wants to be lifted. I move to lift the child and, realize, on placing him or her on my knee that the child is soaking wet and smelling heavily of pee. How can the child be sopping, legs to shoulders? A woman approached me and scoops the child up to her chest and apologizes if her baby was bothering me. I shake my head and she asks if I work there or do I happen to have diapers on me.

I said C might have some in the back and pointed to the barista who waves. The woman thanks me and said, think ahead as you like but you can never carry enough diapers.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Politics in the Open Market

In a sunny market I was looking at produce stalls when an announcement came over the air raid bugles. The loudspeakers from every direction — there were at least 6 in that block, two at each end and one middle — crackled and ordered Mohammad A. (in the dream the recognizable local Federal Green Party Rep) to report to the Tobacco Shop/Citizenship office immediately.

I saw someone bustle out of another building and beeline that way. I shadowed him. Inside the cluttered shop, I remarked how odd it was that he was redhead with a British accent. For some reason this made me laugh so much that I nearly woke myself.

There was some low conferring and muttering of the clerk. Then the MPs telegraph was being read to him. Green's head office informed him that was to convert to the Conservative Party immediately. His head bowed and he looked defeated for a breath, then his head raised. A glint and resolve came to his eye and I wondered whether I should be comforted or afraid.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

in a hazy dark room with red walls

An inordinate number wore baseball caps in a room of lots and knots of conversations, a few faced a circle of space, forearms leaning on knees.

I realized that something metallic caught the light of he who was beside me. The sides of the baseball cap were a cheese grater. I reached up to touch it and withdrew hesitant and instead asked,
- is that a functional grater?
- Yep, it's sharp, he replied. You can check yourself, he added looking at my lowered hand.
I poked the metal and found it sharp.
-It's for head cheese, he said.
-Oh, I replied, and me having come and not brought any.

Friday, February 4, 2011

a sensory joining

My pov of view flowed between the two frames, my own height and weight and then crossed up into him, feeling the size of space I take up spread out, my shoulders wider, my arms heavier, and the perspective of eye level shift so when I was (in?) him I could see the top of the filing cabinet. then whoosh I'd come back into my own shape again and feel him from the outside then into him and feel sensation where, ahem, I don't have dimensions in that direction.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Watching the Paste Dry

What does it say of my unconscious that I dream of wallpaper being hung?

Seriously brain? Is there a symbolic reading of that? I suppose there could be for anything.

Could be processing the textured wallpaper seen recently.

Except in night cinema, from one angle it was glossy cream, and from another angle it was hideous oranges, reds, yellows, avocado and John Deere greens of mismatching folksy art things. It was in mismatched strips. There must have been a hundred designs on one width of test wall in our living room. I woke myself and hubby by yelling in my sleep "Butt Ugly!"

What does it mean that am I louder in my sleep and in my laughter than in any other time or place?