Phoenix Revisited

•February 6, 2008 • 6 Comments

There was this really great theory, Bryce recalled, about planetal orbits and the distances between them, something about mathematical equations that matched musical notes, creating a kind of melody. Musica universalis. That might have been it, but as science had progressed the theory had been disproven, and besides, Bryce’s memory was a little dusky from the journey, and this was many years ago.
Still, as he looked out from the observation deck at clusters of stars and nebulas and galaxies, it was a theory he wished were true. If there were no reinforced window between him and the inky depths of space, might he hear the softest of hums, a gentle frequency that would resonate through his body as the blackness ate him? It would certainly be better than the incessant drone of the warp engines, thrusting the ship onward at speeds beyond light. This shift business was starting to get to him. He appreciated not having to sleep for the entire thirty years to their destination, but the tedium of spending a month working, only to be put back into cryo-sleep for another six, well, his brain didn’t seem to cope too well with this arrangement. He knew that more than a month of working in solitude would probably drive him crazy, but who was to say he wasn’t already crazy? Oh well, only three more days until he went under again, perhaps he would feel differently by the time his next shift was due. The Phoenix was the pinnacle of scientific and technological achievement, and was more than capable of making the journey unaided, but the powers that be thought it better to always have a member of the crew awake, just to be sure. Of course, the powers that be also thought having more than one crew member awake was a waste of money and supplies, so Bryce didn’t have much faith in the intelligence of the ‘powers that be’, but he wasn’t exactly in a position to argue.
Halfway through the journey, and the ships logs had yet to record a mishap of any kind. Endless repetition meant that Bryce could now complete all the usual checks in four days. He had now worked out a schedule that saw him spend the rest of the time divided between exploring other sections of the ship, attempting to read everything in the ship’s onboard library (which held close to 6 million books in its database, from the complete works of Shakespeare to Hyperdrive Maintenance for Dummies) and tasting every possible combination of food and liquids the ships Nutritive Regeneration Dispensary could come up with. Sure, the crew were all injected with the necessary substances to keep their bodies healthy and functional whilst in cryo-sleep, but giving them access to approximations of food on earth when during their shifts would see to their mental health. Pleasure is as much a human need as food, water or sleep. And yes, there were books for that too.
It was hard to believe that the Phoenix was moving at such incredible speeds, as everything beyond the safety of the observation window seemed to be static, unmoving. Bryce knew it had to do with the vast distances between them and the nearest star, but he wasn’t interested in the logical explanations. Right now, has was happy to lose himself in the thought that perhaps they were moving that slowly, that has really wasn’t that far away from home.
But the thought of home had barely formed in his mind, when he saw it. It was close enough to the ships barrage of sensory equipment to slow the ship to a true stop, somewhere in the depths of the Phoenix, a million nanochips had begun analysing and quantifying, but all Bryce could do was stare. It was huge, filling the entire observation deck with a warm glow. Of course, all temperatures were regulated by the ships core, so it couldn’t have really been warm, yet Bryce could think of no other way to describe it. It was almost as if a tear in space had occurred, leaking light from another universe. Bryce could have sworn it was pulsing, it seemed to swell larger and then in the same instant shrink back down again. It seemed alien and alive, perhaps the birth of a new heavenly body, or the death of one. It was so bright, he didn’t even notice the deck lights whisper off, and he couldn’t have noticed the lights in every other part of the ship die either. It pulsed every shade of red imaginable, or was that every sound of red? There was something else in his head now, something louder than the drone of the ships engines, although as with the lights, the sudden quiet of the engines failed to distract him.
It still felt warm, as if the ships titanium hull were on fire. Perhaps were it not so beautiful, Bryce would have noticed the floor glowing with its own dark red, noticed the tear filling every inch of his gaze. Had his last thought not been of light and heat, Bryce might have considered the legend from which the ship took it’s name. The Phoenix, burned to ash, only to rise again.
And Bryce rose again, yet not Bryce. Not his memories, nor his thoughts and dreams. But Bryce, beyond the confines of space, of time, and glowing, pulsing with a music more ancient than the universe.

The Hanging Tree

•January 24, 2008 • 6 Comments
There’s a certain way sunlight strikes the tree, in the dying days of Autumn, that makes it seem as if it’s underwater. It doesn’t filter through the branches so much as it flows down them, and as the breeze strengthens, the tree sways with the languid ease of a ripple upon an ocean.
Perhaps, before Adam’s kind, giants had claimed this place as home. Perhaps they had congregated at this spot, desperate to flee whatever the affliction that threatened to remove them from the earth’s memory. They lifted their arms to the sky, in supplication, in hope that their Creator would save them. As their desolation grew they clung to each other, crying out in voices the sound of granite and dirt and dust.
This was what the tree looked like, giant arms intertwined, curving up to the sky, an unanswered cry for deliverance. It was as if the earth had answered instead, in the only way she could, giving of herself, of her lifeblood, where once was flesh now wood.
At least, that’s what the elders of Adam’s tribe would have them believe, and that as this tree was the remnants of an ancient wisdom that walked paths long forgotten, it must have been imbued with magic. Sacred, to be revered. But Adam had yet to see any evidence of this magic the elders spoke of, and was at that stage in his young years where the world that can be seen begins to nudge the unseen world closer to the edge of an abyss. Stories could not transfix him as they once might have, the world he could touch was the only thing he believed in now.
But he had not yet lost his curiosity, nor the impish drive to tread beyond the borders of what was permissible. Besides, with a foot pressing down upon a branch his hand had but clasped a few seconds ago, it was too late to give concern to rules and superstitions. If he was not meant to climb the tree, than why had it been created with such perfect footholds, bark that was not rough against the skin, branches that seemed to offer support where his hands sought it?
The only real concern tugging at Adams mind was that the more he climbed, the further it seemed he had yet to go. Still, he must reach the top eventually, and with his father’s blade he would cut from those topmost branches whatever he found there, and return triumphantly, revealing to the whole tribe how blind the elders truly were, how set in their dying ways.
But the tree knew better, somewhere from deep within, it remembered wanting to be saved, and centuries had spawned from that memory a cruelty, a malice sharp as the blade sheathed in Adam’s belt. Let this creature climb, let it’s arrogance and petulance make it feel invincible.
Bark suddenly went smooth, a branch snapped, hands clutched and missed, and a scream slowly faded into the distance. The tree knew better.

•September 6, 2007 • 8 Comments

Someone turned 1 yesterday….


•August 31, 2007 • 4 Comments

There’s nothing better than listening to the new Ulrich Schnauss on the way to work on a rainy Friday morning. I’m back, and that’s a start.

•May 3, 2007 • 20 Comments

sticks head out of the miasmal mists of work and fatherhood…….

So this is 30. Doesn’t seem to be much going on.

begins to slip back into the swirling ether….

No…..wait. I thought I saw………oh, just those damn squirrels again.

slowly disappears……..

Icarus Falls

•April 13, 2007 • 5 Comments

It’s about bloody time I finished what I started wouldn’t you agree?

Except that, well, I can’t find a trace of Part Seven anywhere. I’m sure I wrote it, I’m almost positive it wasn’t a hallucination, but then where is it? Searched old blog and new, googled, but nary a trace. So, please, if anyone happens to have a copy of it cached somewhere, please be a darling and let me know?

That way, Part Eight can actually be brought forth into existence next week.

In the interim, for those who have no idea what I’m talking about:

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

Part Six

Left behind

•April 3, 2007 • 4 Comments

her voice

fresh tendrils and

honey rhododendron

take root

bloom in lungs and


thoughts are

sugar splinters

It’s like squeezing blood from stone these days. I miss Jenn. I miss reading something that would blend my envy and inspiration into a peppermint sundae. What happened? We wrote, we challenged, we collaborated. But some of us left, and some of us forgot, and some of us got busy (not Carl, who remains steadfast). Are we hanging on when we should be letting go? Or when things shifted, was I not looking?

words are not

but live instead

in form in flight

in heart in depth

their sound has warped

waxed and waned

what echoes

what lingers

is sullen

is stained