11 March 2018

Dawn Creeps In

Soft footpads glide over the forgiving bed of the forest floor. Musky scent of deer and other feed on the hoof floods the flared nostrils, quickens the pulse, and commands the attention. Gold-green eyes stare along the path that glows softly in the light of a waning crescent moon, filtered through the leaves. The jaguar opens its muzzle. Its tongue curls, canines gleam. There is another scent on the wind. One the beast does not quite know what to make of it. Familiar, perhaps, but not sensed in what felt like centuries. The jaguar pauses. It feels something. It moves forward into the silvery black.

Waves hit the shore. Insistent pounding on the sand drums into the cottage. I awake with a start, my legs and arms twitching in the damp cool of the cottage. I had fallen asleep in the rocking chair adjacent to the hearth. The fire was nearly gone. The low smolder of embers glowed dully under a coating of ash. Salty woodsmoke tang hung in the gravid air. My heart beat in a ragged arrangement of jittery blood music as I shook my head clear of the phantom jaguar of which I dreamt. The air held musk, too.

Or perhaps the jaguar dreamt it was me. My jaw ached, hands and feet throbbing with a slow ache. There were scrapes on all of them. Scrapes that had not been there when I had lowered my exhausted body into the chair to watch the sundown shadows creeps down the walls of the cottage. I studied my hands in the nascent glow of the dawn light creeping over the horizon over the sea. The horizon was an indigo terminator cutting off the sky. It fluttered and rolled.

I sat up in the chair. Through casements hazed with salt I watched the muttering sea harangue the shoreline. The breakers carried with them an expectation, a prediction, that today I would have a visitor. The thought unsettled and delighted me. Had it been years since the headland bore witness to the presence of another? My heart felt it so. Rare it was to have strange footprints on the sand around the cottage.

The sky grew brighter. Standing up to stretch I felt my skin tighten where exposed by the falling blanket. Something or someone was on the way. I don’t know how I knew what I knew. I shuffled over to the kettle, setting it up to make tea. A cup or two to push back the chill, as me and the jaguar settled in to await the dawn creeping on on soft, expectant feet.

04 March 2018

Saltwater Spring

Alive, by the sea
His appetite awoken
Green waves' aroma

25 February 2018

Old Man in the Rear View Mirror

Field notes, 25 Feb 18: a torn page found in a corner. The lantern had burned out. We think he was sleeping when it happened.

It used to be we did not understand edges in this country, you hear me? Always moving, always shifting, restless and unceasing. You thought you could know what it meant to be a man, but, hell, it’s easy to make that shit up when you are always on the fly. No one stood still long enough to give the idea proper thought. Yell something. Scream something. Pound the chest then move on before you got called out.

Reinvention was the drink of choice. No boundaries, open roads, go west, young man, any man (any person, mind you), just fucking get on the horse, climb onto the train, take the damn plane. Soon we could all be somewhere new and be someone new. But no more.

Edges. I, we, us. Up against the edges. Hitting the transparent walls that knocked the stuffing out of me. It’s the water’s edge, steep drop off into blue-black the sound of which hitting the shore sure as shit lets me know there is nowhere left to run. The world morphs into digital strictures, bandwidths become bindings that draw tight around the head and the heart. The pressure is non-stop. The claws squeeze so hard I don’t know what it means to be a man anymore. Or human, you hear me?

It gets cold out on the edge. Lonely, more so than being on the road. That’s because edges bring you up short. Yank on the leash, as it were.

That’s what I feel, you see. The leash. And empty confusion.


Getting hungry sitting in the chair in front of the hearth. My belly cleaving to ropa vieja and my mind rolling with Son House. Jesus H. Christ, slide guitar and shredded beef ‘bout set any man to rights. It made sense, perfect sense. If I could play and if I could cook, I reckon I could do some good in this world.

My name says Irish. My appetites say all mixed up and curious.

What’s that? What are you asking, am I speaking in metaphors? Analogies? Of course I am, goddamn it. How in hell you think I survived in my head this long? Weren’t for metaphor I’da been dead years ago. Walking, sure, but dead all the same.

18 February 2018

Window By The Sea (Chasing Vapor)

Field notes: 3:53 PM in the pewter light of Saturday. Fat snowflakes wafting down. Writing about writing, in the drift, wondering where to go from here.

Sunrise over the shimmering jade resplendent before the headland. Tea gone cold in the bottom of the chipped porcelain mug hovering outside the arc of my elbow. Small whitecaps spied through the glass find their mirror in the scattering of crumpled paper that obscures the desktop. I had been writing since Orion began his descent from the dome of heaven. Snow, nothing but dirty snow in the form of wasted paper.

Tired eyes can see many things, some of which may be true. Seals out past the sandbars melt into selkies. Or maybe it was the other way around. My weariness deadened the certainty of my senses. With shaking fingers, I laid the pen to rest in the crook of my journal. Today was not the day for truth or fiction, that was certain.

The selkies continued their languid swim, as did my vision. I leaned forward to open the casement. Keening cries of seagulls rolled into the cottage along with the salt and iron of the sea. There were no words, but sleep. My head nestled amongst the papers, my eyes closed. Wakefulness would come later, here at the edge of life.