mckenzee: (typo)
Every evening, after a hard day at work, the Butcher would slowly climb the stairs at the back of the shop, carefully untying and taking off his apron. Handing the apron to his wife, he would make his way to the little room off the kitchen, where a steaming bath would be waiting.

Meanwhile, the Butcher's wife set to work. Spreading the apron across the kitchen table, she would take a large knife and carefully scrape the apron clean. The Butcher's wife pulled the knife on a long, slow stroke, revealing the rough texture of the fabric. Then she wiped the knife off into a copper bowl and scraped again.

And again.

Meanwhile, the Butcher would begin to sing in the tub, as the soapy water was stained pink.

Once the entire apron was scraped bare, the Butcher's wife tossed the apron into a pot of water already boiling on the stove. She then poured a bit of oatmeal, or breadcrumbs, or cornmeal into the copper pot and began to work it into the blood and gristle and fat from the Butcher's apron. If available, she would add salt, pepper, or herbs pinched from the little flowerpots on the windowsill.

The Butcher's song was interrupted as he ducked under the water, scrubbing the blood and gore from his hair.

The Butcher's wife squeezed the blood-meal and meat into a casing, twisted tight the ends, and lowered it into the boiling pot, then fished out the apron and hung it from the window to dry.

When the Butcher emerged, glowing and pink, wrapped in a warm white robe, the Butcher's wife served up half the sausage on a bed of pickled cabbage, with sharp cheese and strong mustard. The Butcher would gnaw the other half cold as he headed down the stairs in the morning, hours before sunrise, the loose strings of his apron dangling behind.
mckenzee: (typo)
We had been walking for a few hours when we came upon... the smell.

I know we shouldn't have been walking there. Mother had always warned us. But once you've crossed the train trestle and made your way through the big dark woods by leaping from rail tie to rail tie, you don't turn back at the field of flowers.

Even if the snow is steaming.

It's mid-summer, it's hot, of course the snow is steaming.

Though it does smell odd, for snow. For a field of flowers covered in snow. For a, oh no, what is that?

Steaming. Stinking. All white, everywhere.

And it's getting hotter. Maybe not snow.

Maybe... no... but... what was it? What did Mother say?



There are crows everywhere, but I can't hear them.

Looking up, the sky is the color of a dead monitor, the color of all the little rectangular screens on standby in the morning, a metallic brownish grey.

It smells like a sea of milk, sour-sweet and salty.

mckenzee: (Default)
a poem is a finger, pointing
there, you see, there
into the mirror and
demanding an explanation.
mckenzee: (typo)
As dawn broke over the Western Hills, Iku grabbed her pack and slipped out of the airlock. She had been watching the florets starting to slip from the highest Dandiepine within sight and she wanted to get to the stalk before anyone could stop her.

Over the two generations that the colony had been on Daedalus, everyone had avoided the dandiepines when their florets began to release. Ten feet long, with a pointed seedpod on one end and feathery leaves on the other, the florets sailed in the higher winds, then plummeted to the ground, burying themselves and taking root.

The Old Man on the hill was well over 100 feet high, a single stalk covered with scaly bark which culminated in a large "cone". The dandiepines were actually a type of palm, or as close as anything on Daedalus was to anything from Earth, but anyone seeing it in bloom, with its giant white "clock" of florets whispering in the wind, could only think of a dandelion as tall as a loblolly.

And Iku was going to climb one.

Tossing a rope around the stalk, she knotted it behind her waist, leaned back against the loop, and started to walk upward. Every couple of feet she rocked forward and swung the rope higher. Fortunately, the bark of the tree was rough enough to find easy toeholds.

Iku could see people starting to stir around the colony as she ascended. Soon her father would be looking for her, wanting her to clear another row in the garden.

Once she reached the cone, Iku pushed against the nearest florets, trying to rock them from their sockets. She selected the loosest and tied herself to it, a few feet about the pod.

Taking a sandwich from her pack, she waited. As the sun rose, the heat on the plain caused the winds to increase. The dandiepine swayed gently.

Iku saw her friend Sati exit the colony gate and start waving her arms. She couldn't hear anything, but knew Sati has spotted her red jacket against the green and white of the cone. A crowd started gathering around Sati.

The winds grew. The dandiepine rocked. Other florets broke loose and blew away.

Iku finished her breakfast and let the paper wrapping fly. It swiftly vanished from sight to the west. The crowd was rushing from the gates, heading towards the Old Man.

But they were too late. The sun was high and the winds gusted. The Old Man bucked and tossed off several florets, and Ikurasu flew!
mckenzee: (typo)
I may have accidentally created a new poetry form today, based on the concept of chiasmus inversus, or the inversion of parallel phrase elements. It was also inspired by a guy I saw sneaking around his neighbor's house.

The basic idea is that you repeat the line, but flip the halves, so that you have two different end rhymes in a 4 line stanza (forgive me, it has been a decade since I knew the proper poetic terminology). Here is my quick and dirty example.

I pee in your pool when you are not home.
Everyone around here is a fool,
and as they say, "When in Rome..."
When you are not home, I pee in your pool.

Not a great work, but I am excited about using chiasmus inversus for repeating lines.
mckenzee: (ha!)
"There must be some way to clean a cell phone..."
"When mine gets groddy, I just trade it in for a new one."
"That's not very environmentally conscious, now is it?"
"Oh, I don't believe in that stuff."

"What... stuff?"
"You know, all that environment stuff."

"What, exactly, do you mean when you say environment?"
"You know, like, trees and stuff. I just don't believe it."

"You don't believe in trees?"

"No... wait... you're just confusing me now!"

EDIT: OK, sorry, but this is fiction. Convincing?
mckenzee: (typo)
Years ago, when you were young and I was younger, you took my photo.

That photo made the cover of magazines, defining war for the world.

My face, dirty, smeared with the blood of my family, became a poster, advertising war.

The war destroyed years of my life, but you defined me forever. You reduced my childhood to war. You reduced me.

Everyone knows your name now.

No one knows mine.
mckenzee: (webcomic)

I can't seem to get away from my ideas, so I have decided to just give in. The crazier I fear they may be, the more exciting they are. So, here are the next few projects (don't worry, A Child's Guide to Teasing Bees is progressing):

Ἴκαρος, a webcomic in twelve parts, without text, composed of animated gifs of handmade clocks, telling the story of Icarus. It will be appearing once a month on Sinister Bedfellows, starting in August, on the 3rd anniversary of SinBed. Imagine if Joseph Cornell made clocks, instead of scrapbooking ;) The clocks will probably be available for purchase when it is all done.
Grimsjulmar A single illustration paired with a poetic recreation of the sacrifice of Odin on the World Tree. I'm revising my poem now and I believe [ profile] uminthecoil will illustrate it for me.
Hrothgar, a retelling of Beowulf from the king's POV.

There are several longer projects waiting until the day my schedule opens up, including two novels: Q, the story of the Mexican conquest of Spain, I, Hugo, the biography of Hugh de Morville (a composite of several knights of that name from 12th cent. Scotland), and two long-term webcomics, BearCats of Mandhu, the plot is coming together in my head, I need to get it out, The Adventures of Maintenance Man, I need to find the right illustrator.

Oh, and I am still working on the Daily Doggerel, but I have decided that a poem a day, every day, is too ambitious when I'm working 50 - 60 hours a week.
mckenzee: (typo)
A pair of shoes with the soles reversed, left sole on right upper, vice versa.

Obit: Jack Slipper of Scotland Yard

“Sometimes when she’s in a hurry she misses the trash can on the corner, so I pick up up for her. I clean it and file it away at home, in case she ever changes her mind. I also refill her copier at night when she isn’t there. She hasn’t had to buy toilet paper in years, but she doesn’t seem to notice.”
~Confessions of a 21c. Heinzelmännchen
mckenzee: (learning)
I’m in Tri-Citys, Tennessee and have worked 31.5 hours over the past two days. I also found time to write this. It’s not exactly what I wanted to do with the concept of giant buttprints, but it’s a start.

I had been in A____ for three months when Amad took me to see the seat of a bodhisattva. In the sandy courtyard of a school, in front of an unused doorway, there were two oval indentations surrounded by offerings of wild flowers and pencils bound in red ribbon.

This is where he sat after being denied entrance to the school. At first he followed the lessons he could hear through the open windows, using the doorstep as a desk. Gradually, however, he stopped listening and started meditating on what he had learned.

He stopped going home at night, sleeping instead in the doorway, meditating for hours after the students left for the day.

The third year, they say he stopped accepting food from the students, living only on water.

The fifth year, he rejected both water and sleep, sitting up chanting day and night. The students had long gathered around him, seeking wisdom. Now, the teachers joined them, watching for any trickery, shamed by this outcast’s dedication to contemplation.

The seventh year, he arose, complained of the noise, and walked out of the courtyard. The few witnesses were to stunned to follow. He was never seen again.

His disciples believe that he will return, once he has resolved all questions. They gather in the doorway to discuss their lessons, leaving offerings for his return.

The schoolmaster himself, a lama of the Floating Island School, sweeps clear the doorstep and buttock prints every morning before prayers.

Young students scrape up handfuls of dust from the seat, for luck during their examinations. One day, no doubt, the ever expanding hole will be taken as proof that he was a giant, rather than an underfed child seeking enlightenment.
mckenzee: (earth)
Is anyone out there an expert on Sint Maarten/Saint-Martin, Peg Leg Pete Stuyvesant or Caribbean soccer?

NOTE TO SELF: Comite de Football Saint-Martin, Sint-Maarten Soccer Association
mckenzee: (coke)
“Something there is that doesn’t love a wall...”.

It’s me. I’m willing to admit that I am the “something there is”.

While there have been walls that I liked, they tended to be ramshackle, vine-covered and easily overcome. Walls that I could scale, reach into the tree and sit, eating a plum.

In my earliest memory, of walls that is, my cousin, sister and I, armed with hammer and large screwdriver, created a new window into my uncle’s basement. He was not pleased. He had worked very hard to buy a house and build a home for my aunt and cousins. He loved his walls, having earned them.

Not me. I like doors. I like windows. I liked seeing the remains of the Berlin Wall stacked like dominoes in a vacant lot, waiting to be overturned again.

I like open spaces. Last night, working on the street in the rain, after a rap concert let out, flooding the area with police and very loud groups of friends, I retreated to the shelter, not of the truck or trailer, but the shadows under the trees.

I like to keep my options open, not close myself in. No zombies will ever trap me in the cellar. I know not to go into that cabin, into that attic, into that closet, to wait.

It seems I am also quite fond of commas.
*Mending Wall
mckenzee: (ping)
I was just a young boy when the world ended; December 31, 1999.

Sure, the internet survived and all the computers kept running, with minor glitches, but no one seems to remember that the thunderbugs disappeared. Pepsi Clear vanished from the shelves and suddenly there were things made from blue corn. BLUE CORN?!? Where did that come from?

Mostly, though, I miss the thunderbugs. And my sister, Mandy.

Nobody else remembers Mandy.
mckenzee: (SadMonkeyBust)
very much a work in progress...I don’t know why my brain is doing this to me, but I think it could grow into something very large and annoying. The essay, not my brain. Although that is large and rather annoying also...

There was a man.

We say there, for he is not here. Here being the point in space-time where I am writing these words. He is also not here, the place and time when you are reading the words. If he is in neither my-here, nor your-here (although I realize that when you are reading this, you think of your location as ‘my-here’ and my location as ‘your-here’ as I am ‘you’ and you are ‘me’ to yourself) but he exists somewhere, then he is ‘there’... or he was.

There was a man.

There was. Really. We are not just creating him for the purpose of this story. He existed. Perhaps he exists. Or, at least, he may still be in existence at the time that I am writing this brief piece about him, though he may no longer exist by the time that you, whoever you may be, get around to reading this. He couldn’t live forever just so that you could read “There is a man”. So, a man was. What he was hasn’t yet been defined, for who can fully define another person or even themselves? I cannot tell you enough about myself to define who I am. But I can tell you a few things about him.

There was a man.

He could remember the smell of fresh cut grass and it reminded him of small puppies. Certain angles of sunlight in the late afternoon, stretching beneath an approaching thundercloud, made him think of the Old Testament. Dry-rotted cotton or the sound of a train evoked his great-grandfather. The smell of buttermilk made him sad, though he couldn’t explain why.

There was a man.

But to limit him to a gender is in no way intended to slight the sisterhood of women. There was a woman, there are women, there will be women. The little girls will see to that. He just happened to be a man, as is half the world. As a man, he had certain privileges and abilities. There were not his fault but he tried to rectify them.

There was a man.
mckenzee: (steampunk)

Translation of the House Among the Stars,

Being the True and Precise Accounting
of a Classical-Revival Townhouse
and Its Travels between Diverse Planets,
with a Special Concentration
on the Myriad Adventures Experienced
by the Inhabitants Therein.

mckenzee: (Thomas)
The late evening sun was creeping across the kitchen, slanting past the African violet dying on the windowsill and lighting sparkles in the stale air.
He was sitting at the table, beer bottle by his side. Sifting through some dogeared postcards, he picked up a pen, then began to write.

rough scene for a longer story. )

He got up, carrying the letter to the stove. Lighting the burner again, he paused. Then, roughly stuffing the letter into his shirt pocket, he lit another cigarette.

Here it is, [ profile] raygunn_revival
mckenzee: (typo)
I was meeting with Andrew the Eightysixth, King of Scotland. He was guarded by seven clones, known as The Williams (yes, sometimes I dream in capital letters).

August was known as The Month We Dare Not Name, and so people called it Late July (the 32 through 62).

Lots more detail here and in the comments. Please please please add your comments! )

I have got to flesh this out into a story someday...
mckenzee: (coke)
very rough draft inspired by a René Burri photo and a conversation in the laundry.

I was standing in the laundrymat earlier today when an older gentleman pushed in a cart full of posters. He started pulling down the old advertisements. He worked his way around the room, then noticed me.


I nodded and smiled.

“Est-ce que something something something?”

Oops. er... “pardon, je ne parle français.” airplane story here )

”You say ‘nice to meet you’ when leaving, correct?”

“Normally, yes.”

“Yes, c’est normale.”

“Well,” he nods, “nice to meet you.”

“Bon soirée.”