Sunday, November 30, 2014

TFSWF (The Freshly Squeezed Words Factory)

I’m at the end of the hallway waiting to cross 144th.
The guy looks at me. “How many points?”
“Umm.. 161,” I guess. 
“That's not bad. Are you prepping? Investing? What’s your KrophKheth? 17? 18?" And seeing me holding back - "20?!” And changing his voice - “Are you a Xarmia girl?” he says in a suddenly most familiar tone, popping yet another FreSq(W).
Me, guessing again - "Neither?!" Learning.
Him - ”You seem like a decent person. Don't you think it as your responsibility to own a Xerk account?” A Xerk? I can see his disgust as he jumps away.

Another one - “LeroL? ZeroZ? I like your stick-arm.”
My fault. That stick-arm should have been long gone. Should have never existed. “Thank you,” I guess..
“What for?”
Yet another biter. But I can't see him any longer.
“Wow! Your English is so good!” his friend says.
I look at him, neither of us waiting for an answer. The first guy is back, most probably a random guy, and next he leaves screaming an ode to yet another new idea "Dzong! Dzong-dzong!".
“Where were you born?” His thick accent simulates curiosity, of a helpful-in-a-condescending-way mixture.
I tell him.
“Oh,” he says. And proudly - “Isn’t that one of the new republics?” 
Yes, it was long time before I was born, but there’s no point going that route. He’ll know that too in an instant.
“So you’re here now. How do you like it?”
“It’s ok.”
“It’s ok, yeah -”
I can’t hold it anymore. I don't want to ruin the day. “Breathtaking at times,” I give a big smile, to a pretend feed.
“Oh,” he really likes these words. Circles of confusion, mother used to say, blurring out our reality. “So, how’s back there?” he keeps pressing, feign-grooming his fingers, while smiling and face-gesturing at several of his feeds. I'm still scared by these faces, their grimaces and smirks.
“I left when I was two.”
“Oh,” and this one makes it clear he’ll be gone in another second. Less.

I’m finally reaching the line. Q7, so it’s not too bad. They finished fixing E71 only a few days ago, so in 10-15 minutes I should reach Center 5. It is raining today, it says on the Daily Trivia feed. Don't ask me why, but somewhere in the Great Outside it's raining, with no sound.
The waiting ends, as the elevator's doors open. Bzzzz. Recharging. I get into the first one. There’s a cute guy, getting closer to exit. “Do you ever feel lucky?” He's talking as if to no one but his eyes are now checking me sideways.  Lucky? What does luck have to do with anything? You know what that is? All this hope thing? Being scared. That’s what it is. I do it in a scary voice. Gives me goose bumps. “Not really,” and I smile. He's gone too, pushed by the flow.

There’s a day ahead. No one sees no one. Or hears. Chatting. Racing on the information million lanes highway with second long victories. You didn’t hear that ?

"He'll be with you in a moment," the woman tells me in thick, just-had-my-fake-root-canal New West Coast accent.

I close my eyes. The memory of a summer morning spoils me. It’s a beautiful sunny room with open windows and two vases with fresh flowers. Tinny blue and sprinkles. Yellow too. And it smells like summer. The scent of stones impregnated with sun from another day I should have spent outside. Two years. A thousand points. You can do it. But it feels forever.

"Hello-wh!," the smile looks at me, cold, busy, somewhere else.
I don't mind. Can't fight the madness with logic. I'm an actress. None of it is real. It's my decision but the words are hers - When you realize that those things are not real, that life is a game, what’s left but to play the game?

"Ara, right?" Sure, I'll be Ara for you, and without waiting "Let's start!"

"So, intuitively we're looking into optioning the versatility of increasingly -"
I probably nod, I can see the perspective changing at a slight pace.
"Do you see the form entertaining -" That's me speaking. I trained myself well. It's a reflex now. And like any good machine I deliver precisely what's expected.
"We're happy to have you here."
I'm sold.

"And.. cut! Good. Lets give it another try." Two's never too many.

"He'll be with you in a moment." And she delivers it precisely in the same way. We're all professionals. The best, smartest machines.

For an easy 20 points we'll help you dream. Since one day you'll have many hundreds, it's an easy choice. And the time is never wasted. Because you're special. People will see it one day. I'm obviously not good at coming with these scripts. That's why I'm making 40 credits for acting them and not 200 like Mr. S here.

Done. I drop in class - we're having a critical blocker. Have to come up with a team name. InconspicuousDonut, ImprobableCouch have been taken already. I throw in my "ghijklmn hints I just know LISIBILITY means nothing" and see them, their eyes averting me like a ghost. "This is serious," the tall girl says, forcing the instant leader in her to take charge against her abilities. No one thinks I'm funny. Not even me. And even for irony you need a context. So, as they teach us, I push myself into the position. I deliver the speech and kick the can. We'll make a decision tomorrow. Everyone's happy.

Friday, January 31, 2014

206, Summer. Some stories are told for later

I can still imagine, see - in my mind, the days when I was young, growing up in the old house with Dedha’ar and Oma. I remember them well, vividly, and sometimes wonder what happened to things long forgotten by everyone. The games we used to play in summer, from morning to dark, throwing the lipkai - the short, pointy stick, or hurling the stones in a circle, or against the log, games no one plays anymore. I remember the smell of the food Oma used to cook, the black tree’s white flower pies she made with dark honey, and the sweet cheese pies - they were so delicious and at times, for a moment, I can almost feel their taste on the tip of my tongue. Also the pumpkin pies - I did not like but kept eating them regardless, to the endless amusement of both Oma and Dedha’ar.
And the house - I lived in many places and houses but that one I deeply felt as it was part of me, of my being like no other object I encountered, and I will carry it with me always. If I close my eyes, I can still see it, up on the hill and the huge shed behind it, all painted in green, the trees blooming in the spring with the most beautiful colors, the soft white, the strong yellows, even stronger after the rain, and the faded pink all reaching to the eye as if to keep it all to themselves; but also the vine shade, the turtles passing our house going up to the stream, Dedha’ar catching the foxes stealing our food. I remember the long days of loud wind, brought by the never ending springs, arresting me inside with its terrifying howl, the thunders splitting the earth, my ears, my silly heart. The shadows coming to life after dark, taking the shapes of fear. And the stories I've heard that filled my heart with fear, joy, shock and trills, desires and dreams.
And I remember Oma and Dedha’ar, the way they loved me.
Where are those times now? What's left of them when the memories decay, other than the story I'm telling myself here, with the hope of finding, bringing back some of those moments, to help me find in my heart that obscure, elusive, unstable pleasure that lasts a heartbeat, at most?
I was born in the winter in a place north, far from home. I still have some faint memories of the harsh winds, the cold air, and the big mountains, the snowflakes suspended in the air for a moment, before the wind blew them away. But I don’t remember anyone. The first thing I remember well is the day I saw the fox with Dedha’ar. This happened seven moons after father brought me home. I was six years old at the time.
After that - things started to change, and I remember more and more from those days. It was early spring and this was the sowing season, so most of the men and women were busy preparing, away, down to the valley to their fields, for long days.
In our house Oma was preparing Dedha’ar’s and father’s food and clothes for their many spring trips. They were sometimes away two or three times in a moon and I always overwhelmed them with questions when they came back. When they were away Oma, and sometimes Guara – my great grandmother, who lived in the house next to us - told me stories about the great Gra’ard, Guara's father and other stories filled with people from the past.
Looking back, it's hard not to see how my imagination took its cues from them, and set my reality to their tune, fighting - not to survive but - to thrive, eager to find, to devour the exquisite prey it found hidden in the most unexpected places. And in time, when I grew up, my mind's fantasies and adventures, and a part of myself became just that: the consequence of almost random stories told by others, from which my own story then came to life.
But there were some things I did not understand then. Why?
I asked him once. And Dhedha'ar smiled: “Some stories are told for later.” And coming back to telling, there's a point where this story and reality diverge, before coming back to be one. And It will take us a few more stories to get there, but I believe we will.
One step at a time.

208, Spring. The sweet cheese pies

Some people say..” 
Ana always used to say that. “Some people say..” But today was not any day. No, Oma was not in the mood. “What do some people say?” she asked, playfully, but obviously ridiculing any possible answer. She knew that Ana, unlike others, did not usually use that to give her own thoughts more weight, but rather from being afraid to be wrong, to be judged. But still, for some reason she did not wanted to deal with that now.
These were the days when I still used to sit for long times watching Oma. I watched her hands, busy, working the dough, other times breaking nuts, cleaning the fresh killed fish, smelling the flowers she just cut from the garden, or making me a new sweater, almost always working, going outside, feeding the chicken, parading her dirty hands.. but also her short breaks, letting a happy breath out, stretching, checking on me with a quick glance, always followed by her smile, back to work.
I did not know that then but I loved her. She would sometimes sit and tell me stories, resting my head on her hip, her fingers remembering at times to slide through my hair, and sometimes in my mind I would tickle and laugh with a clear, loud laugh, and she would resist, but then, her heart would give through and her laugh was unsure, held back as if she did not want to somehow use her everyday laugh with me. And then she would giggle and I would make faces. Silly boy!
A lot of women came to visit Oma, almost every day and mostly the reason for these visits was Oma’s gift for preparing food that lots of people enjoyed. Now, I know well that food like many other things that bring pleasure to our senses cannot be judged on its inner value because there isn’t any and everyone simply has their likes and dislikes. That we share our preferences and as people we tend to like certain things, that is true. But we do that for the same reason for which we learn the same language, wear the same clothes, and use the same colors and designs when we paint our houses and pots. Dedha’ar once told us the story of a trip to a far distant land where people left the milk go bad and that was their most sought drink. They invited, even prompted their guests to drink it. Dedha’ar tried it once as per the customs he could not refuse it and felt sick from it and he swore not to set foot on that land again.
But still, Oma’s gift for food making, if we are to judge by how many people enjoyed it in Gnosior was out of the ordinary.

Gnosior: King Ia'ar the Great

King Ia'ar the Great

Lo! the glory of his land through dazzling feats,
The maker of heroes of former praise we have heard of,
Honors and tribute from all, when allowed,
To see his greatness and confess of his rule.
Famed is him, far spread his glory!
The greatest son ever born in the Antiom lands.
The source of all wealth we had, have and forever will abide to,
Lavishing gifts on his heirs, unabridged.
The one who is known by His Name to us all.
Please welcome my friends,
The gentle, most humble, your honest, brave, king Ia'ar.

In those years of my young days the world lay at my feet. And my nature, that chidingly – in a good measure then - wanted me to please others in return, induced my mind to feel good, proud of it, for all those around me kept telling with many words how great they would all feel to be there in my place, if only for a moment. Though at all times that I have tried, to reward them, to find that new me - I failed. I could not.
Instead, rather a feeling of awkwardness grew inside me with time, of wanting out of my skin – of this apostate outer shell carving to ever growing improper demands, to escape from the embrace of that awful creature made out of people who devoured me slowly. And while my hopes to freedom among them became with time a withdrawal, a hiding from their smiles and happiness which turned sour to my eye, their mother creature turned its angry-hateful-but-smiling-at-the-surface-mask towards me, to confront my attitude.
For I saw them for who they were. Once good people turned now little monsters without a heart. Parading one without shame. Who wanted to steal mine as well. I could not let them have it so I had to hide.
I see him as if under a spell.. As if he's not here. No. He is not here, he cannot be. But I see an image of him and he feels more real than other things.
Ia'an .. I look at you and I see me then. How life can change us.. Take away all of our hopes, even being able to hope again one day. And what do we get instead? A fervor of the worst kind, masquerading in the emptiness left behind. Not worth it..
The words persist in the air for a while, as if unable to take flight. He talks of other things now. What I did.. and he stops. Meaning he cannot tell me that himself. But words are not always needed. You will find out one day – was not in my power to do. But what I did was making the choice. And after that a flow carried me through the acts. Could not stop. There were those, more than a few .. many who said I did it for my own benefit. Not true. I only played a part and by then I stood no chance. And he's back into the story.
There was something wrong with the world the grownups have made, with the fake beliefs they imposed on us. A child could see through it, before being taught to ignore its awkwardness. And ignore it -  everyone did. Try.
In that year, just before the battle, my father confronted me saying it was not for the good of our people, what was happening. The way I talked to the young, the stories I told them about about the great tribe of Rham, of which our people were part. But people are rallied by things of greatness, of enigmatic beauty, and the past has a way to emphasize that; even more when the flowing past is of your own making and one in your command.
Did I want to build an army to fight our own? No. But I wanted to change them, and they resisted. Until it got to the point of no return. For both. Out of control. By then it was us and them. And losing - I refused to imagine it. Would have rather chosen death. The old generation, the world that they built was now striking, with their full force against the sons and grandsons they betrayed, cheated, and impose upon and now feared.
But that war was won before they started it, a statement of how well my army of story tellers had done their job. The others marched into their deaths. I knew that. My father knew it. But they did it nonetheless, out of despair. For not knowing how to fight this impossible battle – with their sons and daughters, a battle of words more than anything else, words that filled the air their ears breathed.
When the people of the North lost in the end, those that were left - I scattered them away. The balance was restored. My queen came from our midst, from the most powerful people of Antiom, of those who sided with me. And the fortunes payed me back. Five girls. No other heir. But my heart opened to her for hers was pure, and she gave herself to me with it all.
And those were the golden years of my reign. For more than a generation the people were happy, and their lives were safe from the evils of the past. Until, slowly, it wasn't anymore. I could see the cracks appearing all over, and I knew it was the time for a new change. To bring in the new blood, to renew. And so I drove that change. With fortitude, and patience.
When my queen died, I mourned her for three years, yearning for her presence that time took from me, for in my heart buried deep beneath the layers of brave lies I felt left alone again. As when my mother left.
Then, they say I was smitten. But she had all the things I never knew I wanted. That energy, those throbs the young age make one feel they are indeed destined to be great, heroes fighting to escape the realm of their imagination. I thought she was very beautiful and wise.
And I set myself, filled with this new young energy to change the time again. The past, the present, the future. A leap like no other others have dreamed before.
But something greater than me awaited us all in the last year before.. before the last battle. It so happened that the past came back. Time to pay. By dismantling everything, for there was a new plan. This party I have made a truce with in the past - whom they called themselves Neratlos, in the times following their first generation - their might, and work, and designs now cross the time. And while it was I who recognized their different kind, and their ability and promise, and gathered them and made them stand proud among their own - in form and presence - and in their own minds not less, this was before the war. After that, their ways went unchecked, submerged, unknown to none besides themselves, and their minds devised the most bold plan ever made, one that cannot be set to words, for there are no words for such things never imagined before.
Ia'an, you are the last one in my line here. I need you as much as you will need me one day. There's a chain by which we are all bound that goes back to times forgotten. You will have to break that Ia'an. You're the one that can do it. I know you can.
I feel a light hand touching me and I open my eyes to find Aiska sitting next to me. I've been sick for two days, raving through my sleep, she says. But The Great Healer has sent help through his apprentice. I see Delayron whom I know I've met before, guarding the door.
“You should take time to rest Ia'an. I can see that for a long time you are not yourself. Why do you exhaust yourself like this?”
Delayron comes with a large cup carrying the signs of the Great Healer and sets it on the tray. I see a light twinkling in his eyes before he turns away. Perhaps Delayron can stay with me to help me come right? “Sure.” And Aiska leaves with her smile.
“Do not drink that!” Delayron is next to me, whispering to the air. “Here, try this instead.” I know, no - I remember - that I trust him. He calls it the Nectar of Truth. It's weird, it's almost as if the drink appeared out of nowhere and I cannot even see it anywhere, but I know of it, and realized I have already drank it before? It makes no sense. My head feels light, unbalanced. It's as if I'm dreaming of it, a dark drink that sputters you belly. “Remember?” Delayron keeps checking the door. Don't drink the other one.
Everything is so clear. I keep poking the air, and it resists me. We both laugh and Delayron says something, no idea what, but I cannot stop agreeing. We sit there for a while, and I see them mushrooms floating in the air, I bump him and I'm so happy.. “Ia'ar's paws!” I scream, “Ia'ar's paws..” when master Moito came through:
“Who are you conversing about? Ia'ar? Oh, the great king of all, the son of the leap? for indeed no one would say that he hasn't, right? He, who himself unasserted his life's start to come a good many years after the day of his most treasured, clarioned to the world - victory? Really .. Ia'ar?”
“I'm willing today to account you on this,” said Delayron. “So, there, you say he changed the time line, years, he added a few. A silly game, I agree, this, of making time pass faster. One day they will tell us the world is many times older, how times had passed and it grew, our world. And how they represent that, which was there to witness when it all started, whether it was something or nothing. And it will serve them, empower them further in the game they play. What if the world is no older that one of us? But regardless, Ia'ar, his legacy well it is known, for the evil of the old he defeated, burned to the ground. Won't you say?”
“Play the evil, oh.. yes, of which he might have had thrown away some, as you hope to assert, but the evil remained, for he was replaced and added anew. One that still follows us - in today's day..”
“No way this rhyme can continue!” I thought, surprising myself, but the others as well.
“Hell, what rhyme?” they both stuttered in sync.
Then I caught myself starting to think that the mushrooms' brew, and the drink, they must have all plotted.. me away. And I chuckled.. how sweet is this moment that comes with no worries, just hardly a few light matters, young, barely troubles that can be sent away by a wink of a thought.

Gnosior: Forever young (old song @ summer festival)

Again, it was the day of the summer festival Saweljagosi. This time we, the kids, all got excited for many days waiting for this, for the great fire. The moment finally came, the sun set, and the older boys and the men started to feed it.
Little flames, eager to grow. All men were working hard for many days now to bring the wood, as it had to last for most of the night. And in short time it grew high up, and seemed to reach for the sky. People were eating and drinking around on the big logs placed around. Us, kids were running between the five big fires in Gnosior. There were four fires on shore and one in the center.
It was well into the night when one by one we got tired, and most of the kids went to the fire near their home. I went to look for Dedha’ar and found him at the fire in the center. There were many kids there as well. We listened to songs and sang together.
What is life but a grain of sand,
a drop in the great sea.
And what are the earth and the oceans but
words in the sea of time.
And time, what is it? but this one thing
I keep loosing, forgetting about.
In a mind that knows all,
and nothing as well.
But I am here now.
Let us forget
the sorrow this night.
Lets drink and dance, lets sing,
let all bring joy, give wings
to the tired feet,
feed the keen desires.

Gnosior: Gone, baby.. Gone.

What do I want?
A strong, enduring mind?
A simpler soul be sheltered in my deserted heart?
]Chorus: Noooo..
A war on self, not even that
- a fierce, strong non-sense I cling to,
for all the reasons wrong.
Chorus: No, noooo..
A silent, slow genocide of the better times,
better mes,
hidden in memory graves.
Rotten, dried out ideas – forced forgotten.
Chorus: Stop!
My departed voice shouts,
behind the muted glass.
Chorus: Don't!
Brian & the Chorus together: Life,
Brian & the Chorus together: can be more.
I close my eyes so I can hear the breeze.
The sounds of the sea come in waves,
breaking into the shores of my ears.
A poem without words.

As I listen to the words of The Worbers, and keeping away the realization of their slight nonsensical quality I keep whispering, This is music! Which is weird because I hate this kind of music – something I cannot easily describe. There's trumpets and a jazzy feeling to it, and some grudgy drums, but other than the voice, lingering unexpected, the song is almost baroque in its rhythm. Whatever. Playing it again for the hundreth time today. [...]

Gnosior / Late XXI century poetry: Antoniox Delaveki. “On Numbers”

Could all this well-being and apparent happiness
that is thrown upon us,
the war we wage on our great enemy,
the unspeakable darkness,
could it all be just the ill-considered restraint
of an anguished soul?
All this search for clarity, for order, what does it mean?
Where did it come from?
Is it just a refuge, this sea of little truths,
away from the one lasting, great,
unavoidable answer?
You see the irony?
We set ourselves to dissect the Truth, to truly understand it.
And the poor thing - it died, long ago,
but we're still busily working,
happily filling our minds with notions about it,
pretending not to see it,
smell it.

The simple path of many steps - sprinkled,
thoughtfully paced through life's course,
is not straight.
It only seems that way to a mind unprepared to dismantle
the hidden obstacles, since it is easier to go around,
to follow the leading rule that does.
That seems to know better.
Teaching us that the world is beyond doubt cowardly insane
to follow random coincidences, whose beauty we made up.
But it is not the world. It 's us. Madly pursuing the madness.
For what is sensed can be thought of in many ways.
Picking one or the other?
Pick them all. Pick none.
The simple path of many steps starts with one. It starts with none.
It is all ever was.
And we are equally further away from the last step we took,
from the one yet to take.
From some - from moons ago, and a few others ahead
by years to come.
But not from any others.

And this - is true for every step accounted for.
those unaccounted just came through.
All, to find their peers,
uncertain neighbors in a space we fail to see.
For we only see straight.
Where is it? The true stone, whose glitter is lost to the eye
remains adrift,
in the sea of dust of time.
This – these words - make no sense.
[...  short dialog between two brothers reading this, but nothing too meaningful  ...]

But then they do.
For first and last do not exist.
When the time fails: then we 're free.
For a moment that never stops.
Yes, we're made of things that pass. Transform. A word for death.
Same as is born.
We're made of strength that lasts only as much as we can foster
A strength misplaced.
Thinking its aim is just to burn. And burn we do.
In a great, great bonfire.