Sunday, June 26, 2011

Dream of the Raven's Gate XI

I opened my eyes.  There was no sensation of movement, no sound to be heard.  It was dark, so very dark, and I strained to see anything.  Wait...Whispers.  Shuffling or scuffing of some kind. I tried to speak, found I had no voice, not even a hint of breath, no sound at all.  Was I bound as well?  Was I floating?  Difficult to tell, still disoriented from waking...

Something brushed against me, something small, but sharp.  It slid across my cheek like a fish, it's long body undulating in some unknown current.  Slime coated me where it touched my skin and my mind twitched - sharp and slimy made little sense.  Then another. Then many more.  Again, my mind raced wildly, unable to gain information from my eyes, I relied on the sensations against my skin and my ears to determine what was going on here. What might have been a school of fish covered in sharp glass scales rushed past me, I could feel the warm trickle of blood on my cheeks, and I now realized that I must have been bound in some manner as I was truly unable to move.  The rushing sensations stopped suddnly, and I could almost feel a change in the darkness, a deepening. 

A voice spoke, wet and thick with ageless depth. "The Key" It was nearly unintelligible, but still clear in intent.  I had a key... a silver one... it was power and it allowed me passage...
"The Key..." The voice spoke again.  Deep, like a bass drum submerged in a swamp.  "Give me the Key..."
I tried to make sounds, again, no matter how hard I tried, I could not. Then a new sensation in my head, behind my eyes.  Crawling uncontrollably over my thoughts, I could only describe it as the tentacled arms of dozens of sea creatures.  It was maddening. They stroked my memories, they caressed my every thought as though those were solid and tangible.  They stroked the flesh inside my throbbing, lost skull as a lover caresses the skin of his beloved. Intense pain erupted when they would snag on one memory or another and pluck at it like the string of some infernal instrument.  The sound a raucous note ringing forever, a vibrato stroke against a moldy cello...  My head begged release, and I began to see lights and flashes.
"The Key... It is there... give it to Meeeeeee..."
I fought to maintain my grip on reality, or what I believed was reality.  My fingers wanting to catch hold of the bleeding wounds on my face, the pain a stark contrast to the madness boiling inside me now. That pain as real, here, and with cause.  The madness in my head might be imagined, or the tail end of some dream unknown to all others.  The tendrils bored into the meaty flesh of my recollections.  They discovered the soft folds of my mind, and rent a path into the center of my being. 

I wept openly.

Each taproot finding purchase in the fertile soil of my mind, each one taking a different hole and making it their own. They prodded and ransacked, they dug deep and plucked at the memories, making sounds into a hellish symphony, one made up of memories. The emotions surrounding each memory erupted again and again, while my captor, unseen in the black, began to answer the notes with his own music.  Each memory inciting a response from the madness in the black, a scream from a new voice each time.  It felt like ages before I realized that it was my voice screaming...


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Dream of the Raven's Gate I - X

As I begin to embark on this path again, I felt it worthy to assemble the entirety of this work so far in one place.  I've been asked for this before, and just never got around to it.  So here it is, essentially unedited from the originally posted version.  You do know what this means, don't you?  That's right.  XI is in the pipeline.  

Enjoy the ride and thank my Muse.  She's a keeper...  
With love.  And with a respectful nod to Howard Phillips Lovecraft, without whom, this would not be possible. 



Dream of the Raven's Gate
I there anything sweeter in life than to travel with your eyes filled with the future, your hands held with care, your heart filled with love, and adventure yet to come?

I don't think so either.


The rain soaked the world outside my window as I lay in the bed wondering how long I had until the alarm finally screamed at me from the bedside table. It was still raining when I rolled over to turn the still-silent clock off, and when I fell back to sleep in the pre-dawn darkness. That same darkness crept slowly across my bedroom and perched atop my dreaming brow.

"Wake up, child" It hissed And I opened my eyes on the far side of a familiar landscape clutching the Silver Key. I choked and gasped, but the dream held me and began to grow beyond the initial musings.

"Where am I?"
"Here, Child"
"Where? And who are you?" I demanded of the unseen voice. "What am I doing here?"
"A dream, Child. Your dream. And you hold the Great Key in your grasp. A treasure many would kill for" The menacing hiss dragged me along deeper into the spawning world around me. Hedges, rolling fields, intricate iron gates, each feature growing out of the nothingness that was before. My eyes brightened with the realization that this was MY world, and I could make it anyway I wanted.

Monday Still

The Darkness hissed from somewhere outside my ears, but my world grew still. Upwards and outwards, beyond all measure of my imaginational limits. From a blank canvas sprung the meadows and glades, while a breath of wind sweept the barley into a wave that carried lover's wishes away into the newly-formed azuline sky. All of this driven by my whim, my wish, my desire, my lust. But there was another side to this Dream World. And from the hissing the Darkness spat upon my painting, I felt the stirrings some where deep down of a creature I did not yet believe in. It's tentacled face blank and it's eyes closed still. Quietly, the Silver Key trembled in my grasp as the stirrings began.

A glorious sunny day opened before me. The wild creatures I had become accustomed to were there in abundance, as well as animals I did not recognize. Half-formed abominations that slunk away under shrubs I could not honestly identify. But this was MY world, and as such I expected that those unfamiliar things to be nothing more than fleeting memories from forgotten days. I turned around on the neatly groomed path upon which I stood to face her, suddenly there, and wearing the same squint I wore from the golden rays. Turning again to the path, I felt her gaze no more, and did not think twice until much later. "You must continue, Child" the Darkness whispered into me, "Don't stop there. Bring them here, you will see how much you missed them when you see them for yourself".

"Who? And What do I call you?"
"I am the ancient, and I am the sleepless. Call me what you will, but I call myself Karasu." I was shocked at the name. Karasu. The Raven. Where had I heard that before? The thought was hung there in my sleeping mind and I hoped I would remember to check when I woke from this slumber.
"Why won't you bring them here, to us? You know they want to be here, don't you? Bring them" Karasu seemed to writhe with anticipation. But still I knew not of what he spoke.

And the Silver Key trembled again.

Lost In Time

The Great Old One lay cold in his tomb. Shadows, aeons old, draped themselves around his bloated, slime-covered body and stilled the creature beyond death. But the beast had long waited to return, so long that Death itself had finally turned a blind eye to the demon so patiently counting the untold millennia. As the Dream Land was formed above, strange energies began to stir deep within a long-forgotten place below. And somewhere in our world, men young and old began to gray overnight, and woke with eyes wild from the impending madness. Those who listen too closely to the whispering in the night and mumbled nonsensical words in their slumber began to focus power in an unthinkable direction... Backwards and forwards through time and space... from this dimension to the land that lies between dusk and dawn.

And ever so lightly, the Great Creature began to take it in. The waves of madness and dementia pulled from the world we know being consumed without conscious effort by an Evil beyond all limits of comprehension. Few other times in our recorded past had this evil been stirred, and the ensuing madness guaranteed that the memories of It's coming are unreliable, disjointed things that were not meant for the newspapers, but rather for filling the pages of fantasy novels.

And still, it slumbered. But just as the most insignificant light can be seen in the pitch blackness of the ocean depths, so could the faintest of green glows be barely made out from beyond the Old One's eyes...


Sunlight beamed into my face, burning the sleep from my eyes and wrenching me from the world I had seen within myself. It was morning, apparently, but I had no recollection of the night's wonders. Like the early-morning fog, the daylight cast my dreams aside and dragged me into the here and now. I was again chained to reality, grounded in today, and bound to labor another day of my life wastefully away. I was out of bed and showered before I felt even the slightest pang of remorse. And I didn't even remember what felt badly about. But I felt it. And it passed quietly as I started my day with a cup of coffee and a pasted-on grin.

At lunch, another ice-cold spike buried itself in my spine. I didn't know why, but it was there in me, and I could not shake the sensation. I began to feel quite tired, and had to force myself to stay awake throughout the rest of the afternoon. As my day closed, I finally had to succumb to the irresistible urge to sleep. I pulled off the road for just a moment, to rub my eyes and try and stay awake. I could not resist. My eyes closed. And when they snapped open, I was standing before an enormous iron gate. A gate I recognized. And in my hands quivered the Silver Key. A smile broke across my face and I unlocked the gate and it swung freely open unto a world of my own creation. I stepped through and left any memory of the world I was born into behind me.

And beneath the swirling darkness, a faint green glow pulsed ever stronger. And a vast evil imperceptibly shuddered with a coming greatness...

Lost In Time

I danced with my long-lost lovers, and I sang with the greatest bands I ever knew. I rolled like a child down the green hills of places I had only ever read about in books, and lay on my back looking up at the brilliant sun. My heart was dancing and my soul was so sated that I could not imagine what to do next. I spun around on the largest carousel I had ever seen, manned by REAL dragons, eagles, seahorses, and all manner of whimsical creature. I wandered the world I have imagined. And I knew, deep within me, that there was still more to see, and experience, and enjoy, and much more.

My long-silent companion slunk from the shadows and spoke. "Having fun, Child?"

"Yes, thank you" I replied, my lips suddenly cold and tight.

"Why won't you bring them here, Child? I know you need them here, so why won't you just show them the way? It is simple for one so skilled..."

"Who are you talking about, and why should I care?" My heart was now racing, my skin cold...Why was he asking me to bring them here? Should I know who he was talking about? Was I missing something important?

"Child," the darkness hissed at me, "Look into the spaces you haven't filled. You can see them, can't you? The lost and ready? The ones you need here. Bring them." The creature's voice seemed to boil from the darkness around me. I could feel the first pangs of ... what? Frustration? Hurt? Need? It was difficult to tell, but there was most certainly an undertone of tension. The creature, Karasu, watched me from the pits of the underdark. My heart became still and refused to beat until I cast my gaze away.

"I don't know what it is you speak of, beast. Who? And why the need for others. There are already so many here with us..." my voice left my throat in a ghastly whisper.

"Fool of a child. Look. You will see."


A knocking began to drag me from my world. Over and over the rap-rap-rap pulled me higher and higher, until I opened my weary eyes. A police officer was standing beside my window, and my car was not running. It was running just a second ago. And why was it so dark out? What time was it? I just pulled over a sec... I looked in disbelief at my watch. It was tomorrow. Very early in the morning. RAP-RAP-RAP. I turned my face to the window and reached to crank it down. The reflection in the glass told a story I had not expected. My eyes... my blue eyes were now dark.


I awoke in my bed, sweating and exhausted as the the sun warmed my room. I had some far-off memory of a dream and some hint of a nightmare, but my mind was completely blank. I couldn't even remember getting into bed, but I must have, since I was here. There was a rather odd sensation in the sheets, and I threw them back to find my linens filthy and damp. My feet were covered in grass clippings and mud. I had no lawn, and no recollection of having gone out barefoot in the night. A sinister dread filled my thoughts as I began to examine the rest of my body. My knees ached, and both knees and my right hand were swollen and bruised. My head hurt some, but not like any headache I had ever felt. More like trying to think under water whilst a marching band played just above the surface. I turned in the bed, dropped my soiled feet onto the floor and discovered immediately that I must have had some kind of episode during the night. My room was a mess, the drawers of my dresser and armoire open and rummaged through. 'How strange' I thought to myself as I began to make my way out of the bed holding me captive.

I stopped as I rose, my reflection in the obviously broken mirror halting all voluntary muscle control. My face was bruised, a shiner hung on my left eye like a badge of confusion. But worse than that, someone had put contact in my eyes! My eyes were dark, and hollow, and something else... difficult to nail down, but I looked older somehow. I got to my feet as quickly as I could, and to my amazement, could barely walk. The pain in my leg was excruciating, and flared from my ankle into my calf. "Fucking tore a tendon?" I asked the empty bedroom. So I hobbled to the bathroom, and began the arduous task of washing my battered body. While I was standing before the bathroom mirror, I realized I could not take the contacts out. Maybe I was drugged? Maybe something happened to me and I have blood in my eyes or something.... First to wash, then to call my doctor. I washed...and cried... and the pain made it impossible to do anything but.

After my visit to the doctor's office (thank God for sick-visit priority), I mulled over the results. Acquired heterochromia, probably caused by blunt trauma to the head. The other damage seemed to be a result of some kind of bar fight (me? In a bar fight?). The memory loss was also attributed to blunt-force trauma. CT scans and a bloodwork showed nothing abnormal, so the doctor chalked it up to a fight and told me to get some rest. So that was the plan... home to rest. Wish I had before putting the TV on.

"...officer was beaten to death and found mutilated..."

"In a dumpster" I finished, chiming along with the announcer.

"...Police are currently investigating, and remain tight-lipped" the TV barked at me as my head swam with fear and confusion. The face of the young policeman on the screen smiled back at me, his cadet-new shirt contrasting with his pale skin. I had seen this man before, somewhere, and recently. But where? And why did I seem to know that his body was found in a dumpster before I heard the words coming out of the newscaster's mouth? "Well, I must have heard it somewhere in my travels, then." It was my rational mind commanding to quell the madness swelling in side of me. "But his face!!!!" Again... my mind reared up...

"You did thisss"

I started, my heart racing. "Who said that?" I screamed into the empty apartment. But there was no one there. I was alone.

Wednesday Still

Screaming, I fled to the sanctuary of the bathroom. My mind raced, my heart pounded, and my skin was peppered with goose flesh. I ran the cold water from the sink into my hands, and splashed it copiously onto my face trying to shock myself back from the brink of madness. Rising, I caught my reflection in the mirror and made a horrifying connection. I was graying. Not only were my eyes darkening, but my hair was graying. It was a very subtle change, but I finally accepted the only possible explanation: I was mad.

I threw open the vanity drawers and found the bottle lying like a cat ready to pounce. I hadn't liked taking them when I hurt my ankle last year, and left the pills in the drawer. "Madness cannot fight death" I thought. I poured a handful out and threw them in my mouth. I sucked water from the faucet and crumpled to the floor below. No more of this. No more. My mind screamed at me "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" I babbled as I began to feel that light, far-off feeling swoon over my head and face...

I felt the train coming down the track as I stepped into the glare of the station. And suddenly I was standing on the platform, while an evil creature resembling a locomotive skulked along the tracks. It's sinuosity repulsed me, the glistening black and chrome skin slid past the platform and dragged to a halt as a door opened up and what might have been ochre-black rot fell out of the doorway. A woman exited the beast, looked at me from behind her wedding veil, and smiled. "Good evening, my dear" she said flatly. "Would you please help me with my luggage?" My eyes darted from her face, to the open, oozing door, and back to her face. She seemed perfectly rational. It had to have been me. I nodded, stepped towards the open wound, and stepped inside. Instantly, the wound closed, and I felt the beast lurch along the tracks. I was trapped in side this thing, this demon. Spinning, I fell into a waiting bench, and struck my head on the rail just above. A tiny trickle of blood began to run from my skin, down my face, and dripped rhythmically onto the floor where it was lapped up by what I thought were half-formed shadows. I felt sick, crazed, and amused all at once. Then the Creature swooped into my vision, a shadow of memories and desires. Karasu.
"Foolish child. What have you done?" Karasu asked me. I did not want to answer, but I couldn't stop myself.
"Ended it. Ended this madness."
"No, fool. You began a different journey. One that you are not yet prepared for. Why didn't you bring them here, instead? You know how much you needed them here?"
"You weak child. You do know. You don't remember the first time you saw me? They were with you. They came with you and you were complete. Now there is no hope."
"I DON'T KN....oh my god. My god my god my god! I remember... I ..." fear washed over me. I had some tickle deep inside me that made my dream-skin crawl even more than it had in the real world... back there... where my body lay dying...

In the darkest of night, in the heart of hate, a faint green glow was pierced by a noise that could have sounded like laughter.

Lost In The Timelessness Of The Dream World

A shiver ran across the spine of the Great Key. It's silver skin flashed the subtlest of despair, and it once again resumed it's place in my mind.

My body lay dying on the cold tile of the bathroom. I could not hear the shouts of the men at my door, nor could I feel the tugging and pulling as the scene developed in slow-motion into one of the many stereotypical take-down reels to be shown at police conferences for years to come. The one overzealous rookie shot me 4 times after I convulsed, and would never again serve in the uniform. The paramedics arrived, working frantically to save this murderer, and the scene continued to spiral deeper into chaos. I was dragged off, resuscitated, with the hope that I would make a recovery and be able to be held accountable for my egregious actions. I saw all of this through the far-off eyes of my dream-self, and prayed that I would forget before waking. My home was ransacked, and my life rent asunder by the men trying to prove my guilt. It should not have been so difficult, as the clothing I had worn was in plain view, and my bedclothes were still covered in the filth of the night.

In the darkness of a long-dead tomb, a green glow began to pulse with certainty. The faintest of glows began to spread into the retched darkness, and Death still hadn't taken notice. So finally, after so very long, The Great Old One stirred. Storms, the like unseen for centuries, spread over the seas in places rarely covered on maps. Ships caught in these storms suffered as few living understood. And for so many, madness came in their sleep. Words, unspoken and strange, were uttered in the sleep from the very mouth of chaos. Children begged for their mothers and babies started awake unable to be cooed back into slumber. It had truly begun, and there in the cell where He had been bound, He began to prepare for the coming reign.

Karasu frowned at me from the shadows... He could see the recognition on my face. He knew I knew, and could not yet decide if I should be led into the arms of understanding. He decided to leave, and turned away from my eyes and vanished into the nether. The train sidled onwards...


A young boy stood silently at the top of a carpeted flight of stairs. In the rooms below, he heard his father's demands of his mother, and was too frightened to venture past this top step, but too interested to move away. His father had been a sailor. His mother would become a widow. And in the years between, the child would grow into a man. But not yet.


From somewhere, the sound of a far-off train whistle cut the night in two and started a young boy from his peaceful slumber. He opened his dark eyes, sat bolt-upright in bed, and looked about the room. When his eyes fell upon the open window, he began to sob to himself, tears streaming down his cheeks and dampening his crisp white sheet. The whistle sounded again, and a strange light began to drip into his room from the open window. The boy leaned back as the light fell upon his bare floor, and he cringed as the pool began to grow, it's luminosity consuming the darkness in the boy's room. Fear and dread took hold of his heart and all the world was lost to him in an instant.


Suddenly, he was on the open ocean, a man now, and the waves slammed the boat from all sides. Great, calamitous thunder rolled overhead and the Johanson looked worriedly at the compass which spun wildly, never pausing more than a second at any one heading. The ship, The Alert, was slightly tattered, and it seemed impossible that the charts could be right since there was an island out there... but how? Then they were screaming and leaping.. running from the thing behind them, and the the darkness grasping the breath from his very lungs...The darkness called.. the hate and the rage and the confusion... all of it welled up. He ran, fearing for his life... he pivoted, and he cast his eye upon the lumbering madness behind... The horrific Star Child, freshly born from his beyond-death slumber. Like a tsunami crashing upon a thin strip of beach, his sanity broke, and forever more, a young man would see eternity in the black behind his closed eyes.

Death eventually came for the man. It swept him up and ushered him into the waiting arms of the Great Old One. And in the decades that passed, an average and unremarkable sailor became the agent of something not of this world. He was transformed... and took a name he had heard in some far-away land on some long-forgotten voyage...Better now, here as an escort in the Dream World, then as some shoddy man toiling on the thankless sea.


Forward in time, now... a child sits with three woman and another man. The woman are dressed for a party, while the man has the air of a huckster. They are excited to be there, the oldest most of all. The man begins by turning the lights down even lower, until they can barely make out each other's faces. He says strange words in the hot little room, the boy can feel beads of sweat on his face, and wants to wipe them away, but the women are clinging to his hands from either side, as well as each other. The man continues to chant, and smoke begins to billow out of the censer to the man's right. It startles the women, and makes the boy grasp their hands tighter. The man shudders, now even stranger words are coming out of his mouth, but they no longer feel like the work of a sham -they feel unnatural and alarming. The women panic slightly when the man quiets down and speaks in a voice not his own.

"Margaret. My sweet Margaret. I left you so suddenly, and I am sorry for that... I see our beautiful Helen is with you. I missed her life and beg you to forgive me. Could this be another of ours, Margaret?" The room was chilled, and the man was not moving as he had before. He was far away and lost in the moment. The youngest woman began to shake, The oldest, Margaret, wept openly and was both joyful and saddened. The middle woman, Helen, simply stared in disbelief.

"Da...Daddy? She said almost imperceptibly, "Daddy, is that really you?" The voice returned to the man's mouth with rush, "Yes, Helen. It's Daddy. I've missed you so much, my darling. The sparrows came for me, sweetheart. But I see you in your dreams, and I love you still." The women all wept now.

Then Margaret spoke "This is your granddaughter, Norma, and her son. He has your eyes." The voice turned and looked. "And he doesn't know you. Only that you were a sailor."

"My granddaughter, my great-grandson, how perfect a vision. I see you all in the dreams, of course, but here and now, in this place, I am sorry for my absence. I mustn't stay long, my loves. I must not be missed for too long a time, as it will not be wise. But I am glad to be here and to have seen you all. You, boy - come to me with these women someday. You will need them. The Silver Key is yours, child. It will come to you in your lifetime. Use it wisely. Now I cannot speak further. The seas will rise and R'Leyh will come again -" And with that, the man crumbled into a soft pile, his hair once black now gray, and his eyes blank with some unknown madness.


Standing now, a shadow in the corners of a quiet place. Rich fabrics and soft carpet set the scene. The creature slips from shadow to shadow, edging closer to the open casket. Margaret's body lies in eternal peace, he knows this. But he is drawn to this mortal capsule, to the face of the woman he loved. His presence goes unnoticed, as the visitors have all long-since gone, and the staff is safe in bed for the night. Just a shadow and a few select lamps to illuminate the moment. He stand before her, and lets himself remember the day he left her standing upon that dock. He had promised to come back. He had promised to see his darling daughter before her next birthday. How long ago was that? Seventy years? She was still so beautiful to his eyes, and for the first time in as many years, the creature wept a tear. A single salty tear that fell upon the empty shell of the woman he remembered. The track it took down his face burned like the sun itself was scorching him. But it was worth the pain. He remembered the dripping sky of his childhood, and how the star-spawn had somehow chosen him to be his agent. He remembered the glowing fear that visited him, and guided him to choose this woman from so many others. He didn't understand then, and would have eternity to ponder it all. He loved her, despite his being guided towards her. She had shown him the joys in life, and he left her to die alone.

The Great Old One called him from his beyond-death slumber. His return was coming, and the creature had to begin his tasks. The Key had to be granted, and it fell to him to find it and pass it on. That damned Carter had changed so much of the landscape... And now it must change again.

The creature bent down low, kissed the lips of the woman who's body lie before him, and slid back into the shadows. Karasu flew into the Dreamlands, alone as always.

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn

Lost In The Timelessness Of The Dream World

Karasu stood before the great door and waited for the madness to overtake him. It never came. Instead, he waited, unflinching before the impending strike of confusion and hate, the driving storm of yammering gibberish that would again fill his mind as it had so long ago. He stood. He counted out the seconds, the hours, the days.

It wasn't coming.


The Great Old One stirred. His timeless slumber roused by the loving caress of a madness so complete that he longed for it's touch. A great slimy body floated in the void between worlds. Trapped here on this plane, he roused himself so slowly as to trick death yet again... to have death pass his eye unknowingly over his already dead body. The dreams kept pouring in, breathing life into his lifeless form. The dreams. The means to connect him to this world forever, to begin his reign of madness again. The Great Old One once dreamed. He was falling, falling, falling through space and time... falling to this dreadful place where the creatures were small, weak, and unimaginative. But he was taken in as a God, and worshiped, and countless innocents were slaughtered in His name. Natives danced, and civilized people reduced themselves to lusting, blood-thirsty savages all to appease His will.

And still he roused slowly...


Swirling though the void, minds racing to and fro, dreaming men sought to find purchase in the brewing storm of chaos in their minds. Overnight, sane men went mad, hair grayed in the brief moments between closing their eyes and seeing the sunshine again. Inescapable horror chased them in a dreamland they never expected - and above all else, a feeling of impending doom upon their brows. Wives and lovers woke from fitful sleep to scream in terror as the madmen replaced their husbands and partners. Mothers fell to their knees as their sons stared into the eternal night of crazed babbling and the rage of lunacy. And still the Star Child roused ever so slowly...


Somewhere, in the beautiful lands formed by one man's imagination, the locomotive trudged on along a track made of broken dreams, human bones, and the knowledge of a coming evil. Inside, a man was trapped in this world, unable to wake into his body, newly revived and resting peacefully back where it was chained to a hospital bed. Elsewhere in this world a trio of women dressed in white stepped off of a stone stair together, opened an immense iron gate adorned with ravens and spires, and began a journey of hope.


Karasu waited for the storm to start.

But it hadn't yet.



The Moon's consort gives Her the gift of a world rich and vibrant. A world alive with the sights and sounds of joy, of happiness, and of love. He places at Her feet the promise of another bloom, another breeze, another kiss form lips parted, loving, and patient. He bows respectfully before Her beauty, and lifts Her up into the night sky for all to see, all to admire, and all to worship. He commands the world under His reign to love in Her name, and He looks longingly upon Her face with lifetimes of adoration.  The lovers eternally chasing, striving for those moments when Their love will touch and the world will be cast in Their shadow.

Long live the Oak King.
Blessed Solstice, my friends.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Songs for the Day

Something a little different from yours truly today.  The first time I heard this song, I cried.  It made me think of my father for no other reason than I wished dearly that he had been consistent enough as a man to actually pass something like this down to me as a boy.  There are so many images in this song that DO remind me of my dad, though.  He went down the road in the rain and snow, and if ever there were a car I *would* associate with my dad, it would actually be an El Camino. 

My father left me many things that I did not expect to receive.  I know how to turn a wrench because of him. I got his temper when I was a younger man, as well as his short fuse that has taken a long time to mellow. I learned (indirectly) that it's okay to seek out something better for yourself if it benefits your family.  He showed me that you should never underestimate how many peoples' lives you touch. And he taught me (although it has taken me  along time to realize, appreciate, and understand that he did) that sacrificing one's *self* can add so much to your own life.  And that he did in spades.  Giving makes your own life better.  

My father is gone.  The standing joke with him was that his funeral would be empty. We always thought otherwise, but you know how that really goes, right?  you just never know.  When he died, we finally understood how many people my father's gifts touched.  The stream of people was almost comical, and the wake was standing-room-only.  I remember my mother, weeping, leaning into my shoulder and whispering to me "If he could only have seen this..."

I believe that what happens to us in the afterlife is entirely dependent on our beliefs.  So in that case, Dad, Did you see?

And we love you, miss you, and wish you were here. 

*I* wish you were here.

<3 <3

"Watched it coming up Winslow
Down South Park Boulevard
Yeah it was looking good from tail to hood
Great big fins and painted steel
Man it looked just like the Batmobile
With my old man behind the wheel

Well you could hardly even see him
In all of that chrome
The man with the plan and the pocket comb
But every night it carried him home
And I could hear him sayin'...

Don't gimme no Buick
Son you must take my word
If there's a God in heaven
He's got a Silver Thunderbird
You can keep your Eldorados
And the foreign car's absurd
Me I wanna go down
In a Silver Thunderbird

He got up every morning
While i was still asleep
But I remember the sound of him shuffling around
Then right before the crack of dawn
I heard him turn the motor on
But when I got up they were gone

Down the road in the rain and snow
The man and his machine would go
Oh the secrets that old car would know
Sometimes I hear him sayin'...

Don't gimme no Buick
Son you must take my word
If there's a God in heaven
He's got a Silver Thunderbird
You can keep your Eldorados
And the foreign car's absurd
Me I wanna go down
In a Silver Thunderbird"

Silver Thunderbird
Marc Cohn

Saturday, June 11, 2011

With Pride (For My Son)

In the watery years under the bridge you grew
and though the years 
fairly flew
you never lost your smile

Your paths changed and branched and twisted round
they reached towards the sky
and deep in the ground
where you learned to stand

You found your place amongst your peers
and in the crowd of strangers
your fears
but hope is what you kept

And tomorrow brightens a whole new day
With treasures to find
In your own way
and you carry your years in your heart

So today my son begins journeys new
But with you I shall leave 
I Love You
You carry home wherever you go.

My Son.  
Burrillville High School Class of 2011


From Left to Right

My son graduated high school yesterday.  He marched so steadily with all his classmates, he moved with that air of pride that can only come from someone who is deeply happy with what they have accomplished.  He sat there, on the stage, beside not only so many of his peers, but alongside his girlfriend and just beamed.  He was excited.  He graduated.We laughed at each other and made faces back and forth from the stage to the crowd, We listened to the speeches his class officers gave and the strangeness from one of the guest speakers as she read from "Curious You" (A Curious George book!). I heard a few beautiful nuggets that might actually appear in my own writings someday. 

But eventually, we came to that point where they called the names.
Then they called HIS name.
Weyland Connor LaBelle
And it was a very big deal to hear.

He beamed, his world open before him.  No endeavor too great.  His chest swelled with pride and with joy.  He laughed with the crowd, he shook hands and high-fived his classmates.  He became a member of the Class of 2011.  He belonged. And when the time came, the class, in unison, moved their tassels from left to right, and the cheers and the shouts and the explosion of silly string became quite the spectacle. A beautiful expression of the pressures that build up inside a class that had to deal with so many challenges.

And somewhere, deep inside, I thought of many of you. I thought of how it felt when WE walked across that stage.  And I remembered how easily I walked away and vanished into the land of "Where are they now?"  I have tried to stress to my son how very important it is to nurture the relationships that he holds dear to his heart.  I have made every effort to point out the fulfillment that comes from having good people in your life.  And I recognize that it is going to be difficult for him when he leaves for Florida on Sunday.

To you, my only son, I raise the mug today. To you for feeling pride and accomplishment To you for making a tough decision to continue in a relationship with Jill regardless of the miles.  To you for seeing the road ahead and being both excited and fearful. 
To you, Welyand Connor LaBelle, for a bright and beautiful future. 



Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Love, The Creature

A creature waits to be fed
Softly beside your bed
And when time grows near
You face your deep fear
And plunge headlong instead

Love IS a creature, waiting for you to sacrifice yourself to it, become One with it... To see the beauty inside it's gullet, and the wonders that those who give all to the Alter of the Beast realize.  It is worth the sacrifice of self to become one with a beast so powerfully in control of your heart.  It makes life more interesting, it makes giving more rewarding, and it makes pain deeper and more cutting.  But the pain is worth the tenderness that often accompanies it.

Your heart wants to give in.

Let it.

Lie naked in the jaws of the beast and let it take you wholly, completely, and passionately.

Love, itself, becomes the reward, your heart and soul the investments.  And worth Every. Single. Tear.

<3 <3


Saturday, June 4, 2011

Reflections in the Asphalt Sky

I hit a milestone today.  Actually, it was the Ten Mile Stone.  It felt good, and while I was out there roasting happily under the Mighty Sun like some wafer-thin pan filled with batter lying inside an EZ Bake Oven, my mind happily wandered through several (okay, more than several) paths.  Here's a glimpse that I am more than happy to share with all of you.


I am a Runner.
I don't know how much I really qualify for that title, but I am.  I feel it.  No, I don't shop at the right places or wear the latest running fashions, but inside, where it counts, I have an affinity for all those who run.  And it feels pretty damned good to me.  Running has helped me in so many ways... I have lost weight (I have no idea how much, since I treat a scale like a television - an extraneous appendage with little use in my life these days),  I have a means by which I can sort things out quietly when I need to, I can set personal goals and meet them at my own pace - thereby maintaining my self esteem, and I have yet another subject to use when conversation with others is lacking.  In my heart, I am a runner.  Someday, I just might look the part, but that matters little to me.

I am a Writer. 
Hm.  This one took some time to work through, since labels are already a touchy point for me.  But I am.  I write.  I see the world through words, and I WANT to express the beauty I see openly and with care.  It makes choosing the words so important.  It also means that I pay attention to words when they are used... I like to learn new ones, and I guess at some point in my life I should actually invest some time into reading one of those "Improve your vocabulary" books that are so very prevalent in the writing section of most book stores.  But back to the topic... I AM a writer.  One of these days, maybe I'll get my butt published for real, if it ever gets to be that important to me.  I doubt it.  But you never know.  Maybe after I part these waters, one of you will gather me up and place me between good leather covers to share.  But that's your call.  I will eventually have to decide who gets the rights to do that... hm.  Funny how my brain works.
Any volunteers?
On that note... while I was out there (no giggling, yes... I am out there...) I had a little ditty pop into my head.

     The City lives on without you still
Yet feels your sweet touch upon every hill
     And in noisy tubes far down below
Keeps your heart beating and letting it grow
     And in busy streets bustling above
The City throbs with your powerful love
     From cacophonous harbors to those college halls
Your city remembers you and waits for your call
     In cloudy skies above towering glass frames
A City in love whispers your name

So yeah.  My mind wanders sometimes.  Deal with it.
On that note (pun sort of intended) I will include that I seem to be a songwriter as well.  No, I'm not kidding, although I never EVER thought I'd say that.  I am also a Poet.  Not the most profitable of trades, but hey... it sure is wonderful.

I am an Artist.
Holy Hell.  This one was probably toughest of all to accept.  I mean, Runner?  sure.  Writer? Well, okay... but an Artist?  Yes. I am.  I have produced small pieces, I have some photography out there, and I am trying (slowly and desperately) to play music.  All in the name of Art. My sweet Gina is my connection to the professional art world, and I appreciate her greatly.  She is such a wonder to watch as her mind wraps around things from the perspective of a trained artist... amazing.  Also, my very wonderful friend Randy is my connection to the world of unexpected passions.  He looks the part of a tradesman, as many of us do, but speaks of music as if it were a beautiful woman.  I am SO taken when he begins to work his mind around a project, when his Muse reaches into his heart and begins to draw from him the essence of what inspiration is meant to do.  It's amazing.  Not to say that many of my other friends aren't artists.  Rob, who taught me what it was to write... to appreciate the written word... and to make love to a page.  And so many others...  Even Tom who will probably never even read this.  Tom taught me that you do not have to be a photographer to appreciate the world through a lens.   To all of you I have slighted by not mentioning, know that your influence is here, in my heart.  Always.

I Am a Friend.
This I know to be true.  No matter what else I am in life, this is my greatest goal.  Need something?  I'm there, Baby.  Need a hand to hold? An ear to listen? A shoulder to cry on or to hang furniture from?  How about a babysitter, a doormat, a strongarm?  Gotcha covered.  Anything you need, I am here for you.  All of you.  Every. Single. One.

And I am glad for it.

I try so hard to be a friend.  Sometimes it's easy, sometimes, not so much, but
I am here.  Honestly.  I am.

Thanks for letting me be.

I am ME.
Here I am.  See me?  This is exactly what you get.  No surprises, no nonsense.  I'm here.  Want to know something?  Ask.  I'll tell you.


That's all for now.  It was a long 10 miles, but well worth the investment.  Maybe next time, I'll see if I can add a few more.

Time to rest.

Love to all of you.