Friday, June 10, 2016

The Mountains of Penzance

The Mountains of Penzance fell to the sea all in a tumble.
From deep within them you could hear an ominous rumble!
The major stream cascaded over the edges in a fit and a fumble.
Crashing far below into the rocks at water's rough-carved edge,
she had beaten out over millennia a depression shaped like a wedge
and smoothed out every pointed outcrop and protruding ledge.

Further back from the edge on the Mountain's tops and backcountry,
deep into primeval forests, sudden deep canyons, many an old-growth tree
and rushing, glacier fed rivers, there lay ancient lands as far as you could see.
Utter Penzance.  As old as the Rise of Man.  Immutable.  Inscrutable.  Fearless.
A permanent haze and smoke rose from the lands as if they would confess
their many sins and deeds of daring, plunder and conflict.  War.  Wilderness.

Here dwelled human beings still with their massive dogs and beasts of burden.
Dark and gnarled from many years of hard labors grabbing life from the Mountain,
they'd learned the magic of the hills and their willpower and resolve would only harden.
And over them all an ethereal being, a beautiful and powerful Queen of light ruled
with gentle but unyielding hands backed up still by her huge sword that had drilled
many a miscreant and evil-doer.  And her name was Enigma.  And she was much feared.

Unbeknownst to them all, a volcano that had slept since the dawn of Earth's making
was preparing to awaken with all the pent-up violence of the molten core forsaking
all to a Doom only talked about in whispers around campfires since the land's taking.
Feeling the trembles and shakes well before the others, Enigma took up her sword.
Mystery it was called.  She gathered her personal guard and rode off to face the Lord
of Fire.  She never doubted her ability to deal with Nature Unleashed, could not be floored.

Riding up after a perilous journey through falling rocks from the sky to the crater's very edge,
she raised her brilliant, shining Mystery up high and shouted at the Lord to come off his ledge
and to face her in fair battle like the giants of old.  But the smug being would not budge.
With a shattering cry, she leapt her horse off into the depths to land far below in his domain.
There, they fought for days and nights on end, until at last her great heart burst into a rain
of bright red blood.  The Lord of Fire erupted then and Utter Penzance was never seen again.
-----------------------------------------------------
mindbringer, 10 June 2016

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Chapter 4 of my novel in progress, Balite.

He looked out with his big 7 X 50 Navy binoculars toward the far horizon from his perch on the Starboard Bridge Wing. The gray rolling seas gently rocked the ship from side to side as well as from fore to aft. It was a pleasant feeling. The sea breeze caressed his skin like a massage. At times like this, it was hard to concentrate on his duties. His duties as the Officer of the Deck (OOD). Having to keep an eye on everything, literally EVERYTHING, on the ship kept him moving from place to place too frequently to relax or enjoy another day at sea.

They had been at sea now for four months and were only a few hours from pulling into their home port at Subic Bay Naval Station in the Republic of the Philippines. During those four months, they had visited Hong Kong; Inchon, Chinghai and Seoul, Korea; and Yokosuka and Sasebo, both in Japan. But, this was the place he truly liked the best. Subic Bay. Olongapo. The PI. This would be his last time approaching Subic from the sea. The last time he would be the OOD. The last time he would be out to sea period. He was leaving the Navy! His home for the last 10 years. Too much family separation had finally caused him to voluntarily leave and to return to civilian life. He would be getting out as a full Lieutenant (O-3E) and going into the Active Reserves. He would be going to a new home somewhere in Colorado, hopefully in Boulder.

The Quartermaster of the Watch came over and told him they were nearing the time for their last turn before entering the harbor. A long leg headed straight West towards Grande Island. A jewel of an island set at the entrance of the harbor. The Quartermaster signaled him that the time had come for the turn. “Helmsman, right standard rudder, steer course two seven zero!”, he ordered. Normally, the Junior Office of the Deck (JOOD) would have given the helm order but he had gone to the head. It was okay for him to be gone this far out at sea still. The helmsman barked back his order exactly to ensure it was understood. There was a slight tilt as the ship turned. As they reached a heading of 270 degrees, he ordered all engines ahead full in keeping with the Night Orders from the Captain. They had some time to make up due to the large storm, the outskirts of a typhoon, which they had weathered north of the island of Luzon. As the ship picked up speed, he realized that they had turned into the seas. They were nearly exactly perpendicular to their direction. This was the part of sailing he most enjoyed! Even after a night like last night, the one that was just two or three hours in the past. The side to side rocking motion was gone and was replaced by the ship plunging through the swells, cutting its way through the seas like a cross-cut saw. He enjoyed seeing the white water spray up from the bow. Last night, those waves had been towering and had washed over the entire forward part of the ship crashing upon the bridge structure itself and into the closed heavy sea doors on either side.

What a night it had been! His watch was now nearing its end as it was 0730 Hours and he was looking forward to some free time on deck before the work day started. He had been on watch for nearly eight hours, far more than the normal four. He had to stand the mid-watch due to the typhoon. Most of the other officers and men were seasick from the tremendous waves and swells it generated. He was relatively unaffected by heavy seas although he was susceptible to the rocking motion on very small vessels. So, the Captain had ordered him to stand back-to-back watches. They were in fact headed into, by necessity, an area of the ocean that was exactly in the middle of TWO typhoons! They had been heading east from Hong Kong across the South China Sea and had to pass north of Luzon. These were relatively restricted waters due to the various islands around and Formosa (Taiwan) to the north. So, they had no choice but to head east and try to pick the best route through outskirts of the two typhoons. They would survive but it cost them their Captain’s Gig. It broke its moorings in the heavy seas sometime during the night and was washed over the side.

He and the Navigator were the only two Officers on the Bridge. The Captain was trying to catch some shut-eye in his Sea Cabin just off the Bridge. For a few hours they had been enduring tremendous waves crashing over the ship. They had a bucket for puke - just in case – hanging from one of the sound-powered phone stations. When the Captain would come out every once in a while to check on things, he would light up a cigar! That was his idea of fun. But, he would just move off to the side some to avoid the sickening smoke. The Captain really enjoyed watching them squirm. It was pitch black and raining in thick torrents. Visibility was zero. The radars and LN-66 were virtually useless due to the echoes from all the huge whitecaps. They were depending mainly on the dead-reckoning unit and the electronic navigation system. These calculated their position based on last known good fix and the subsequent headings and speeds. But, if there was to be any other ship crossing their course, they would be in risk of collision because they simply could not see or detect it. They were sailing blindly.

The ship shook and groaned on every plunge into the thirty-five foot or taller swells. She would shake mightily and sound as if it were breaking apart. They had put out the heavy seas lines all over the deck in case some poor sailor had to go out on deck. But, luckily, that had not been required. The loss of the Gig had happened unknowingly and too quickly at any rate to have prevented it. The night lived up to that old saying, “Being an Officer of the Deck is long hours of boredom broken up by seconds of sheer terror”. They were actually experiencing just the opposite. He had not been bored at all for hours! They had the windshield wipers going full blast but he could still not see a thing other than whitecaps due to the incessant rains and the frequent splash of the waves upon the bridge windows. The port and starboard bridge wing watches were actually standing watch just inside the bridge doors for safety. The ship had been relatively locked down by setting Condition Zebra throughout the ship. This meant that most of the doors and hatches inside and outside the ship were closed. They were marked with large “Z” s to designate them as Condition Zebra. If you went through one of these doors you had to close it and tighten it down behind you. This Condition ensured that the sea would not easily enter the ship. Normally, this Condition is only set during General Quarters or the Collision alarm.

Usually, there were mid-rats (Midnight rations) every night down in the Wardroom as well as in the Crew’s Mess. These were simple meals or leftovers that were prepared for those standing night watches. However, this night was so bad that nothing was prepared except coffee. Coffee was always good anyway. Navy coffee was drunk strong and, most of the time, black. In later years, he would still always like his coffee strong. This particular night, the coffee went down good. It was comforting to have something hot on this cold, windy, rainy, plunging watch. The winds were pretty much hurricane strength, blowing up the waves to their towering heights. The Ensign up on the main mast was probably getting ripped to shreds. Not a junior officer but the Flag of the United States of America! They would have to replace it tomorrow, especially before entering port. Right now the winds were following for the most part but later they would be turning south and headed mainly into the wind. They would surely burn lots of fuel when that happened. They would have to crank up the engine speed as a result of the headwinds in order to keep on way. All the worst circumstances and situations seemed to be piling on this night, short of war of course.

He looked around at the Bridge watch. Many of the faces he saw, just kids really, were green from being almost seasick. But, they were standing their watch. Proudly it seemed. Most of them, like himself, were from the Midwest or other states not bordering on the ocean. Well, they were all certainly getting their fill of ocean tonight! Nothing like this in Kansas or Illinois. But, despite that, they all continued to function as they were expected. The Boatswain’s Mate of the Watch (BMOW) was in charge of the five other enlisted men on the Bridge and the good ones kept everyone sharp, awake and responsive to commands. The Quartermaster of the Watch, although enlisted, was in his own little world and did not work for the BMOW directly. The Messenger of the Watch was the one who, amongst other things, had to navigate the bouncing stairwells down to the Wardroom or Mess to fetch coffee. You had to have it just to stay awake during these late hours, even with the irrepressible excitement of the storm. Just about every Officer and sailor drank coffee. Some of the Chief Petty Officers were known to mix it with stronger brews even though it was against Navy Regulations. Like with many things, certain habits and behaviors were overlooked if you were a good sailor otherwise. It wouldn’t be “the Navy” if that wasn’t the case! Work hard then play hard, that was the unofficial Navy motto. Well, tomorrow they would be playing hard indeed.

Finally, they had exited the typhoon’s area of influence and arrived in calmer seas and winds. Not calm, just calmer. And that made all the difference. The ship came alive as the swells died down and the howling winds subsided. Sailors rolled out of their racks and hit the mess decks searching for coffee and breakfast. The cooks had already got up the minute they were able and began prepping for the morning onslaught of hungry, weather-beaten sailors. But, they were sailors who were coming home! So close, they could literally smell it on the seaward breezes. And there was nothing more exciting that a ship arriving home after a long time at sea. The families were probably already gathering on the pier, his as well as all the others. The BMOW piped the Call to Quarters and his relief showed up early. After a long, harrowing night, the eight hours of watch were finally coming to an end. The sun had come out in all of its post-storm glory. He gave the order to reduce speed as they approached land. As he watched his relief walking around checking everything out first, he felt the usual sense of nostalgia as they approached the Philippines. The tops of the hills could be seen even now off in the distance. Finally, his relief came over and stated “Officer of the Deck, I am ready to relieve you!”.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Barn

The dilapidated old barn was a sight for a sore eye.
Painted red some day long ago, it now stood gray
and slightly crooked as if to look curious and ask why?
It still contained some mildewed and musty wet hay
and the horse and cow corals attached were a bad lie.
It stood there nonetheless and seemed to have a lot to say.
So, I sit and leaned my back up against her and by and by

I heard what she had been holding back all these years,
I saw from her warped and dried out planks the rush of tears.
She let it all out what she'd seen all this time, her hopes and fears
for us, her builders, where we had been, our fars and our nears.

The run down and wooden-nailed remnant from the past
seemed to breathe in and out as she let go all her memories
coming to life this one last time, knowing it would be her last.
Now her rafters were fully webbed and full of bumble bees
from a nest up in the loft where honey dripped as bees cast
round for more nectar from the local fields of colorful daisies.
But the barn was now just an old signpost that was fading fast...

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mindbringer, 29 May 2016

Chi

The sonorous, languorous sounds wafted over my ears
like the endless, repetitious waves upon a dark wine sea.
Bringing out into the ether despite all of my long, wise years
my essence, my reality, my consciousness, all that I could be.

There suspended above my empty, soulless shell of a body,
my being hovered not quite sure of what to do or where to go.
It headed for the white sandy shores of that now darker sea
and there spread out for miles to gather in the morning show.

As the Sun rose above the horizon of the sea, it slowly lightened
and the height of the waves lessened as the crescent moon set.
Temperatures rose and so did the vibration of my being, it brightened
and felt the pull of my body, of gravity pulling it towards me and yet

the sea sought to grasp it onto herself and absorb my being as
she had that of all the dead sailors past from the dead hulks of ships.
Struggling, my very soul stretched out towards me longingly as has
all other separated creations before.  Passing through my open lips,

it regained its hold in me and we became as one again, shell and soul.
Together we stepped from the ebbing tidal waters and walked the silken sands
of time back towards where we came from, back home where we were whole.
And there we thought of and wrote of that which had slipped from our hands.

The nearby mirror showed a mere reflection of me, my soul nowhere to be found.
I stood up though and continued to practice the meditative, slow steps of my Tai Chi
and soon warm energy was flowing round and round and through me and to the ground.
The sounds that started it all last night were still in the air and I became all that I can be...

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mindbringer, 29 May 2016

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Sonata

Rainbows follow the Sun's rays through the lessening gray downpour
while butterflies reflect the light with fluttering wings to harken their coming.
The mist of recent rain smells like Spring flowers and fresh gold-enfused air!
I observe, not merely see, all of this through my wee humble cottage's door
to the tune of Beethoven's Sonata upon whose cello my loved one strumming
bends over her instrument lost in the moments between notes she loves to share.

The clover-sweet morning progresses and the Sun follows his arc through now azure skies
causing all the multi-colored roses and tulips to turn their petaled faces upwards in kind
and the wet grass to yield it's moisture to the air in complex and elusive evaporative processes.
Soon, the air heats up and the day reaches its zenith at noon as the new morning dies
and bright sunshine reveals every nook and cranny to the participants below so they find
the small crabs and mussels and sea shells and bubbling seas in all the beach's recesses.

Do the cello's vibrating strings drive all of this, Nature's orchestra, or does She pluck at the instrument?
It does not seem to really matter either way, just as Schrodinger's Cat cared not if he be particle or wave.
Suffice it to say that Cello's heavenly music tugs at the heart of all who hear it as Gaia's pervasive soul does.
They are one in the same, these two, the ecological systems of Nature's environment known to us in increment,
and the lilting, harmonious, melodious, notes of the Sonata wafting through air which our lungs then save.
All this made possible by my darling, the Cellist, who personifies all of Nature and plays for me whom she loves.

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mindbringer, 28 May 2016

Friday, May 27, 2016

Birth Of The Universe

Narcissism was no fault of hers,
except in her special selfies.
Surreptitiousness also not.
Surrounded by her many furs,
content as bats in belfries.
She would just sit and rot.

If he would but let her do so.
He always stopped her just in time
and saved her from destruction.
He would then return to his Rousseau
or other chosen tomb, seeking rhyme
or reason, not just base instruction.

So, the two of them had mutual orbits
and spun around each other like stars
from the Variable Star Observer's Society.
Their courses touching in little bits
and defined beyond nears and fars.
They were past maintaining propriety.

So he would sometimes stop his studies
and she would shed her many furs.
Staring, they would fall into each other.
Creating an event horizon that muddies
expectations of what imagination stirs.
Caring, they made mad love to one another.

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mindbringer, 27 May 2016

Exaggerated Diminutives

He reached out toward her face; elusive
He touched her warm hands; effusive
He kissed her mysterious lips; delusive
He tried to live without her; reclusive
Found he could not leave; exclusive
She was his breath and life; inclusive

------------------------------------
mindbringer, 27 May 2016

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

From Your Eyes, Everything

Roses fall from your big bright eye like diamonds from the sky.
This celestial anomaly lends itself to one asking endlessly why.
There is no why my friend, only the sky and the big bright eye.
The smell of roses permeates the air and my mind making me sigh
and lets the feeling of ecstasy it brings reach down to my thigh.

My very being extends upward into yours bringing you intense pleasure.
There, at the brink of dawn, when all was magical and true, your treasure
became mine and we were one and free to make love at our leisure.
I came deep inside you, my mind emptying into your mind, without measure
our hearts forever entwined, our love forever enshrined, there in blue azure.

Yes, the deep blue sky and the ever blue sea encompassed us both in their liquid embrace.
The deep sands of the wind-blown shore said to us that we were just entering upon this race.
The race for truest love of all time, the truest love in the universe, the highest in the human race.
We looked at each other with hungry eyes and your roses entered my mind thru my upturned face.
Roses, cum and ecstasy.  The things all loved ones are made of.  There, I have made my case...

--------------------------------------
mindbringer, 24 May 2016

Monday, May 16, 2016

Continuity

Remember the wurm Oruborus?
He who ate his own tail forever?
Signifying in myth for all of us
connectedness as a great river.

You can pick any spot in it.
It seems to be true in essence.
But the current has seen fit
to move that spot's contents.

Forever flowing downstream,
yet still between its bank,
the river of life, it would seem,
acts on whatever has sank.

Something else is now free
to sink or swim the spot that was.
And flow behind it quickly
as the river always does.

Each spot unique and
each spot ever changing.
Flowing past the bottom sand
and downstream ever ranging.

Like the wurm the river goes ever on
and like the wurm it's an entity of one.
A river of change yet continuous.
Continuity its eternal calculus.

Eventually the river empties into seas,
and evaporates under Nature's breeze.
There it will finally drop back into the river
and once more continue the journey forever.

The tail has been eaten as it always will,
and the endless cycle of life never be still.
Continuously it rotates and gathers all
that enters it into its unforgiving maul.

----------------------------------
mindbringer, 4 May 2016

Outer Rims Of Existence

(an ode to confusion)

Paradise found lying there on the ground,
infinity was its boundary, it almost round.
But since there was no edge
there was no "other side".
So that age-old question could not be asked.
Anyone that tried forumulae would hedge.
And throw to the classroom dummies wide
the theory of nothingness as being tasked
to change grams of gold into a beaten pound.
And feed the remains to yon ethereal hound.

The hound by Ursa Majoris did light send.
He who half-god Heracles fought to the end.
Now a collection of stars.
That showed us ends of time.
Seconds into minutes before ever reaching us.
There in the sky there were no flag's bars,
rap confederacy breaking into endless rhyme.
We here left to be naught but bozos on a bus.
The light like all light would by gravity bend
and refracted colors to our eyes would lend.

Yellow-gray and orange-gold, violent blue
would spill over the event horizon's shoe.
And being sucked inside
they merged into pure black.
Darkness was their epitaph, light their past.
It was a quick and harrowing fast ride.
Pair of dice lay there to get put in a sack.
And the gods would play while they last.
The end of all things had a strange hue.
It was blue for all the things it had due.

So, purgatory on the end of a gravity spike.
Hell riding around the farthest rim as on a bike.
But, as there was no edge,
he could go where he was wont.
And Pardise was all particles and waves.
Finding the missing cat sitting on a ledge.
Then the whole thing took the role of donut.
And intertwined with each other in raves
of sound-blasted pulsars that we all like.
Then pushed their thumbs into cosmos' dike.

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mindbringer, 16 May 2016