digging a shallow grave

out in the field of locust trees
i wondered if maybe the instinct
to bury the dead had an evolutionary purpose
beyond just preventing the fly-spreading of disease
like maybe

it was a way of ensuring the earth was ploughed
occasionally troubled by sharp things
humans trying to get beneath the clay
to plant bones in that mystery

the corpse was strung up with
some kind of bungee-rope through
the achilles tendons, and
i was cursing trying
to get it undone
eventually using the
bloody knife

dragged it through the winter grass
brown and brittle
sticking to the red meat

no one eats coyote
the hunter had said
when i asked if the animal had
been gutted

it would only smell

of course
it is a predator
vegetarians like me
make better prey

dragged him like a villain before troy
but couldn’t find the grave i’d dug before

so choosing the lesser form of disrespect
an even shallower hole
leaving one paw nearly
sticking out
saying i’m sorry

trying to bend him
back into the earth

hoping he would get at least
one night’s rest
under that blanket
before some bird or rodent
despite what was said
would pull him up by that same foot

that i had dragged him by when
finally that man-made rope
had ripped through nature’s tendon



I want to tear the world apart

to peek behind the corners


and gather up old shreds of selves

like fruit rind colors in the mutters of streets

to tremble out

all of the death dust grey


you smile as if that’s all

and terrify the angles of the room


on the terrible mountain that murders light

fish-wing windmills spiral red

a slow coiled swim through sky blood burning


Songs of Uncorrupted Spae, Part 4

The following is an excerpt from a short comic space opera of cosmic disillusionment, Songs of Uncorrupted Space.

The plot: the multi-verse is being torn apart by too many hyper-spatial jumps, while few of the trillion sentient inhabitants are willing to give up the convenience of faster-than-light travel merely on the remote chance that reality will collapse.

The latest, most complete version can be online for free here. [Edit: fixed link…]

4: Loneliness

Molti was surprised, in the interview with Captain Wirwid, how little she actually knew about xeno-ethno-musicology, especially since the job description had specifically mentioned proficiency in human art forms.

Looking back, that should have been a clue that not everything about the job was on the up-and-up.

The first time he had met Wirwid, the Captain had been a female, and fully human, not just humanoid (mostly cyborg–that beard wasn’t just for show, hosting a colony of mechabacteria that enabled him to broadcast and receive low-level telepathic commands with the Remote, Multi-Hued Parabola), and her behavior had definitely seemed to imply that, should he take the job, there would be sex involved.

Then, when they had met in the dry dock, Wirwid had been male. Not that sex necessarily needed to take place between reproductive gender pairings, but there was a kind of code of etiquette among metempsychotic organisms that when two sentients adopted the same bioform but with opposing genders, this was shorthand for erotic interest. Wirwid’s sudden switch prior to departure–he claimed it was to grow the nanite-infested beard–struck Molton as a not-so-subtle rebuff, and a reneging on the implicit deal for sexual gratification they seemed to have struck.

So in all the time they had been in ship, nothing had happened. Well, it had, but only in the desultory way of mutually bored and slightly curious shipmates, but Wirwid was far more preoccupied and distant than the spiritual bedfellow the ethno-bard had imagined when accepting the post.

In the extended hypno-sessions they would fuck each other in all possible permutations at some point in the diffuse scenarios epic oneiric algorithms could devise, but that was just a necessary, once-every-few-months chore of psychic maintenance, required for their health but not notably significant, rather like sharing meals.

It didn’t take long, despite these entertainments, for the voyage to descend into the usual existential horrors of too much time in too little space. Dynamics soured, rhythms got thrown off by snored proximities and carelessly unfixed  problems of passive aggression.

The problem was on an inter-spacer without real cold sleep, just the hypnogogic tricks our creepy bio-computer could plug them into, all relationships or connections took on cosmological import. On a voyage that long, you became archetypes to each other.


uneven time

it is clear to me that my life
is not a constant progression:
my awareness is not dispensed in even doses
over days and hours

being alive is like
tearing at a dark sheet
that is sailing
with the sun behind it

sometimes rents rip open
and perception quickens
or small holes puncture and produce
gleamings of clarity

usually though

I sleep
in the shadow of the weave

who I love will be who keeps me
most awake
the things I do
will be what makes perceiving deeper

-Romania, 2000