skonen_blades: (Default)
We’re not built to withstand the storm.
We change every time we survive a crisis.
We are shuffled to one side into a new person after every intensity.
Now that we know that:
(We lack a center
that every test changes us and doesn't cement our certainty
that every crucible merely rearranges our atoms
and doesn't refine us to a more concentrated particulate)
We avoid the situations.
We no longer seek the prow in a storm.
We suffer from survivor’s guilt on a genealogical scale.
A humanity-wide scale.
And it feels like the only antidote to the horror is ignorance.
The inability to affect real meaningful change causes the need for a form of permanent hibernation.
A chrysalis of affected indifference that will never butterfly.
An act.
And we lack the strength of character to choose otherwise.
Our tears are a drink for some.
Our failure is hated by most.
And we are getting weaker, both with age the knowledge that they're right to feel the way they do.
So we choose to become shadow.
To be in the current of the river.
To live beneath the notice of the pure of heart.
We have a lack of purity now.
We are not deeply polluted. We are not rotten.
But we are no longer pure.
Our insides are not dirty but we can no longer ride certainty to a goal.
Our focus always has a reason for plus or minus.
We have thrown ourselves against life's wall and it has appreciated it.
Like a laughing Viking.
We feel like we can no longer be instrumental.
We pass the torch by giving away our fire.

skonen_blades: (Default)
He’s walking into autumn.
He’s living an eclipse.
He’s half human and half sunset.
The light that burns half as bright burns twice as long.
Or so he hopes.
Playing dead so well he’s gone full method actor.
This is his impression of a clothesline.
Call him Canadian scarecrow.
Call him paused at seconds before impact.
Call him slow motion.
The tortoise and the hare were running two different races.
Slow and steady doesn't win.
It's just satisfied with less.
His version of failure is 8/10ths of the world's version of success.
It's hard not to look up to someone as tall as him.
The beard has all the answers, the age has all the wisdom.
He’s a 'used condom is half-full' kind of guy.
This is his impression of an empty bucket.
Watch him be parking lot.
Watch him be low tide.
The living embodiment of a discarded air guitar.
He has the gift of depression that never stops giving.
He can't breathe underwater but he can hold his breath for 45 years.
Let's flip a coin and disappear before it lands, he says.
Let's climb into Schroedinger's box and snuggle up with that cat, he says.
He embarrasses his mirror.
The universe is a predator that's picking on someone else these days.
Either that or he doesn’t feel the blows anymore.
He’s a pillow fight in a war zone.
He’s aging into irrelevance and maybe the most alarming thing about it is that he doesn’t mind.
No panic.
Just patient sinking.
Just love for friends.
Just quiet desperation.
Just tombstone lullabies for an old man.
Don't get him wrong.
He loves life and he’s not going anywhere.
It's just that he’s put down roots in the path of a forest fire.

skonen_blades: (dark)
He feels a deep transition churning in the belt of him. The anchored soul of him. His visor, helmet, fist and feet are ready for new sights, new sand, and new hair. It’s an unimagining. It’s a slate cleaning. When he is old and single, he will have pages and pages of ideas that he did not act upon. He will have acted on some of them but most of them will have been waiting for a time when he had the talent that never came. Like a crazy cat lady, he’ll be a crazy idea man. They will string-puppet him to the end of his days in an unavoidable, hazy way. They will be like sunglasses he can never take off.

What positive part of the human experience do you think you are permanently missing out on and will never experience?

He is wrapped in sailboats. The functional whetstone of him no longer has any knives to sharpen. He is walking through a silent canyon and has been for some time. He wouldn’t call this depression. He would call it a journey. He’s portaling through percentages. He is at a crossroads but he have been here for some time yet still, somehow, moving forward.

There is more grey in his beard but he can no longer see as far. The mousetrap is closing in slow motion. His jacket is made of thumbnails. His backpack is full of dead batteries. He is a bronze medal borrowed from a friend.

Like an old boxer with no one left to hit with his powerful, trained hands.

skonen_blades: (gahyuk)
I am too old to enjoy the future. I am physically unable to.

People, like older trees and metal from the ground, could not be retro-engineered. Transporters were finally here but everyone who had dreamed of their existence could not use them. Anyone already born at the moment of their invention were forever denied the use of them.

It was a magic man-made molecule. A destabilizer, a cataloguer, and a quantum anchor pairing that, when activated, allowed for a temporal reversal field to happen to all particles attached to its field. Basically, one pressed ‘play’ and the object with these designer molecules took itself apart down to the base level. When the completion trigger was transmitted to a sister pad, it activated a ‘rewind’ function on the other half of the quantum anchor pairing, making the object build itself again by performing the actions backwards in time. The time debt repaid itself to the trillisecond and the universe remained in balance.

In effect, it made transporters a reality.

The only hitch was that transportable objects needed to be manufactured from the base up with the molecules embedded into their chains. This presented no problem to ferroplastics, ceramics and chemical compound agents which were the basis for most building materials and household utensils destined for the moons or the outer rim.

It was a simple operation to have the molecules chemically bonded into the DNA chains of an embryo but only in the first trimester. A new generation of people were being created with the ability to flit between transporters both on Earth and her fifteen colonies in the solar system. It worked for other biologicals as well. NuMeat and ReFish were plentiful among the planets.

The rest of us were planet-locked.

Cargo slingships pushed Gs that would crush a regular human, let alone an old one like me. Passenger ships were fewer and fewer in number with the new generation’s ability to transport instantly. It drove ticket prices into a cost bracket only the superrich could afford. And I was not rich. I could never leave Earth and even when traveling around my own world, I was restricted to fuel-burning planes and buses with the other old people.

I’ve read about getting old. How events around you seem to speed up. How life gets harder and faster while your ability to deal with it weakens. I feel that it must be more apparent now than ever before in the history of mankind.

I am not merely slow. I am going extinct. The other seniors and I are the last few remaining members of a pruned branch of the human race. Airports and bus stations are only for the aging and the already ancient.

We have an official classification now. While the rest of humanity is still referred to as homo sapien, we have been re-designated as homo tardus. Slow humans. The young ones simply call us ‘tards.

It is humiliating to have to move so slowly. I dearly wished to be a part of a future with transporters and now that it’s happened, I have my nose pressed against the glass with no ability to take part. Myself and the other science fiction fans who have lived to this moment are cursing our longevity, growing bitter.

We take trips together and huddle in our apartments, watching vintage science fiction shows using antique ‘DVD players’ and 2D ‘televisions’ with tears in our eyes as our numbers dwindle.

skonen_blades: (thatsmell)
Fat, old animals don’t exist in the wild. They only exist in zoos.

At some point, you realize that you’re not who you were.

With the clarity of hindsight, you wouldn’t have wished your younger self on any partner but now, here, looking in the full length mirror, you can’t picture yourself in a carnal embrace with anyone without a sigh of disgust.

There are people that wonder if you can ever truly know another person and there are people that think yes, you can. The people that think you can are young. You used to think you could know a person.

Now you don’t even know yourself.

There comes a time when you’re so sick of being wrong that you just pretend not to notice anymore. You become a shaded half-measure, attracted to yet unworthy of unicorns. Hopping and failing, hopping and failing, like a wounded rabbit.

Sometimes it rains for so long you think you’ll never be dry again.

All you see in the mirror is an elitist douchebag too easily clouded by compliments and living in denial of faults you no longer feel you have the strength to change.

It’s a moment when you realize that better late than never is bullshit and that Prince Charming is only a mask hiding the crucible of old age.

All you can see are the paths not taken and the dangers lurking in the possible paths left. And it doesn’t even make you feel trapped. It’s the resignation you feel that would be the most alarming thing about your surrender if you were still capable of feeling alarm.

It’s the morning that’s left you like this. The first of many mornings to come. Too many to even consider with a sober mind. Even the rest of this day is a weight.

You’d never kill yourself but you start to think if you were caught in a bank robbery, that maybe it’d be okay to be just insolent enough to goad the criminal into shooting you.

You start to understand prisoners who refuse to bathe as a form of protest. It’s the only form of control they have left.

Your debts, obligations, and commitments stretch into an unending future that your younger self would have seen as a challenge. You just see it as an anchor you’re attached to sinking deeper, a life getting harder and faster while your ability to deal with it physically and mentally is whittled away.

It is then that you see the bars on your cage.

skonen_blades: (Default)
When bad days become everything you know, when you see what a burden you are in the eyes of the family you still recognize, when you can’t keep up with anyone younger than you, it’s time for a vacation. Maybe a permanent one.

Come on down to the MacGillicuddy Estates. Everything from yesteryear is here. We’ve got rockband. We have playstation one through three and we have ‘best of the late 1900s’ karaoke We’ve got android masseurs or if you prefer, we even have human ones. Live 3-D video uplinks with your children and grandchildren is just the same as being there. The dome is sealed and set to ‘Florida’ twenty four hours a day.

We’ve got a holodeck! That’s right. The star trek fantasy of your youth is a reality of today. Relive some glory days in slow motion or put yourself on distant planets. Your imagination is your only limit. Keep it limber.

Payment plans available. Credit ratings not a problem. We’re government funded! Come on in today. And when it’s time to check out, when you’re done for good, just tap your call button in a simple pattern and our patented ‘dream dose’ will send you off to a permanent dreamland after a short questionnaire to determine you mental cognizance and/or your lack thereof.

Live your finals days in peace and quiet. End your life on your terms. Give your family peace of mind. Call today.

skonen_blades: (hluuurg)
The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese. The third time’s the charm and four balls will get you to first base. If that doesn’t work, take five. Next, you’ll be six degrees of separation from your original goal. You’ll need to work seven days a week just to get back to square one. You’re behind the eight-ball and just when you think you’ve gone the whole nine yards, the referee’s counting to ten. A 9/11 disaster hits your life and you finally admit you need a twelve-step program.

You’re waiting for a hypnotist’s voice to count back to zero and then you’ll wake up feeling refreshed, that it was all a dream. But it doesn’t happen.

skonen_blades: (didyoujust)
Half of memory is made of humidity, temperature, and smell.

The hot wall of damp air blankets my shock as I step off the train. Ten years disappear with the cluck of a hen. Here I am, shirt already sticking to my skin, and the feeling of being here rises to fill me again like a déjà vu videotape that was only ever set to pause.

It makes a gift of the present. I moved away from here a decade ago. I was twenty-two when I left. I spent my last years of being a teenager in this place. I remember the parties, the markets, the nights with strangers, the stink of the alien food that became familiar, the social cues that became part of my language after local friendships formed.

I felt like a thread being sewn into a blanket. There’s a lack of isolation here. Everyone’s a cousin.

I’ve been away in the white world for so long that the constant press of flesh in the crowded train station is annoying again instead of comforting.

It makes me think that Youth is a city. A consequence-free environment that was never free of consequences. A viewpoint that is mutually agreed upon with other people your own age. Bodies that don’t care that they have to work at six in the morning because they can stay up until three and they’ll only be a little groggy for the day of work. If they have a job. Having a good time is secondary to having money and having fun is only something to do in between bouts of athletic sex and drug use.

A hot city with no traffic laws and only a semblance of a municipal government. Chaos in clusters. Each day had a new ending.

When I moved away from this humid place back to mainland Europe, I grew up. I got my stuff together and organized my goals into acceptable, achievable chunks. Frivolity came to me in fits. Every two weekends, a party would show up and make me laugh for a while and then, like a submarine, I’d go back under and resume work on The Plan. Long winter nights cooled my need for fun.

But now, this body that I’ve come to think of as old is drinking in the stink of the marketplace; the blood of the meat and the steam from the soups. I can feel new life fizzing through my veins like a nitrogen lesson, ascending too fast from a deep-sea dive. I want to kiss the first person that comes close to me. Like I used to. Of course, I don’t.

I’ve become a subservient, helpful person now. I’ve become a person that is part of a gentle tribe on par with librarians and missionaries. I’m a scholar, socially awkward at the best of times, listening to colleagues express their structured views. I’m come to believe in The Word as a primary means of communication. I’ve forgotten how to listen to The Animal. I’ve forgotten to trust the instincts that pace within me, leashed and mangy and pretending to be tame.

I’m supposed to be here for two weeks to see an old friend. I consider tearing up my return ticket right then and there and never going back to Europe. I also consider turning around and getting back to my seat right away, not even letting my luggage leave the train, and buying a return ticket immediately.

I settle for a compromise and start walking forward.

skonen_blades: (gahyuk)
The future crawls over us to get to the past. We are nothing but bridges.

Soon enough we’ll end up in the Wynding Downs retirement facility, trading memories for poker chips that equal the seconds we have left.
Ticks in our beds and talks with our friends.
Frisbee 45s for DJs that have long stopped spinning.
Now the silence skips.
Turn the tables.
I never knew my grandfather on my father’s side and from what I hear, I’m better off. I hope that’s the kind of shit that doesn’t run in the genes.
A pin-striped tiger looking back from the bars of the mirror.
These are time brackets.

I pulled my heartstrings out of the hands of the puppeteer.
I used them to make a hammock to hang between the horns of my dilemma.
They were leashes. Nothing controls it now.
It’s not a heart, it’s a pulsar.
We carry our stars on the inside.
It’s a kodo drum.
Let it shake the windows of the glass house.
Let’s use the sheets from the bed where it happened as sails.

Work socks became puppets, gloves and tea towels in your hands.
You were the glint at the bottom of the well.
For you, fists, forgotten birthdays, and meth were school supplies.
I remember I got so angry once when my dad forgot my birthday.
But your parents had never remembered yours. Not even once. To the point where you forgot when it was.
You buried a time capsule in your back yard when you were ten and you are never digging that fucker up.
You came into this world like you’d been thrown from a car.
And now here we are.
You on a good day.
Me near the edge.

skonen_blades: (dark)
Nanny Saline.

Her knobbled fingers had calcified into claws. She smoked like some sort of engine. The four-wheeled trawler with the IV bag went with her everywhere indoors. One of her eyes had been replaced with glass but she rarely wore it, choosing instead to tell us kids that our future was in the meat-coloured eye socket and to stare deep.

She was darkly merry. As happy as crows on a battlefield or worms in a graveyard. Her yellowed dentures clattered like castanets as she cackled down the hallways of her huge mansion.

A battalion of nurses tried to stay out of her way.

She had a striated tendon in her neck that kept her looking stiffly to the right until the doctors threaded metal through it and tightened it back in the other direction.

That was the first of her tendons to go. Over the next ten years, one by one, sixteen other tendons on her body gave way and had to be wired. She was all borged up. It was a good thing she flew in her private jet. They never would have let her on a conventional plane with that much metal in her body.

She married into money young and had about a dozen ungrateful kids. She was a real dish back then.

She had a black soul. It was like she had the opposite of humour, only laughing at the bad stuff.

She was held together with a need to outlive everyone she knew.

And now here we are, standing at the side of her grave plot, watching her being lowered into the ground.

I’m surprised, looking at the headstone, to find out that her given name was Reindeer.

skonen_blades: (dark)
It’s December and I think it might be a friend of mine’s birthday today. I can’t remember who, though.

I empty clip after clip into the face of the blue skinned alien trying to force its way through the elevator door. I slam the big red button to close the doors and get us going up. I am soaked in the alien’s slightly radioactive blood. I have two wounded and three KIA with me in the elevator. I have memorized the names of the men whose DNA dogtags I could not retrieve during the battle. We’re all that’s left of the fifteen units that were sent in.

I think I left the oven on at my apartment. I’m anxious to get home and find out.

The elevator lurches as a thermal gust follows an EMP through the shaft. My helmet sensors shut down and my armour goes suddenly real-weight. There’s a screech like a metal throat being torn to pieces and thunder shakes us around for a while. Then there’s silence and darkness. The elevator has stopped. The back-up red LED is blinking on my armour and the armour of the other two wounded. I look up through the grate on the ceiling of the elevator. I can see a tiny square of light.

One of my fillings is loose. I keep forgetting to make a dentist appointment to get it looked at.

I help the two wounded to their feet and arc-weld their shoulder plates to my own. I line the monomers up so we become basically one object. I grab the DNA dogtags of the two KIA. I heft the heavy handle of my gun and dial the muzzle all the way open for maximum spread. Jason on my left is passed out. I tell Pyotr on my right to close his eyes. I aim at the ceiling of the elevator and pull the trigger. The small roof blows open in a wild noisy shower but the lines hold.

Jenny’s birthday is coming up and I still have no idea what to buy for her.

I spool my fist cannon’s grappler up and over the main cable and flick the switch to make it attach. Luckily it’s ferrous and not ceramic. The attachment holds. Pyotr is crying. Jason’s gone flatline. There are seconds left to get him to the extraction point so that he’ll live. I point the muzzle of the gun down between my legs and pull the trigger. There is a blinding explosion and richocet shards punch little jigsaw patches of melted steel into my armour.

I can’t remember if I paid the hydro bill before I left.

The floor of the elevator turns to cheesecloth. The KIA fall listlessly down the elevator shaft below our feet. The three of us are hanging from my wrist cannon now in armour that is no longer assisted. I can feel my shoulder give way sickeningly easy. The three of us are now kept from the inky darkness by the sinews and muscle and tensile strength of my flesh. There’s a shrill screaming coming from one of us between bared teeth and when I realize who it is, I shut up. I take a careful aim on the cable supporting the elevator, the cable I am not attached to. If I miss, we all go down. If I hit it correctly, we go up. Sweat crawls into my eyes.

I wonder how Jake is doing. I haven’t seen that guy in ages. What’s it been, like, five years already? Jeez. I think he still owes me twenty bucks.

I squeeze the trigger. The leads connect and because of the awkward way I’m holding the gun, the recoil grinds a shower of sparks off my shoulder plates. There’s a pull on my shoulder that brings more pain that the meds can cut and I vomit up against my faceplate. The nanos scrub it down. My visor clears just in time for me to see the white square racing down to meet us and swallow us whole. We bust up through the roof of the installation and land in a tangle of metal and flesh out in the open on warm gravel.

The cloud I’m looking up at looks kind of like a horse.

Our emergency beacons go off like screaming babies and the answering cry says we’ll be picked up in thirty six seconds. I don’t think Jason is going to make it. Pyotr will probably be okay but the psychs might wait for a while before putting him in the field again. I’m sixty eight years old. This was my two-hundred-and-fifty-sixth mission. They know I’ll be good to go again after I've been debriefed and patched up.

I have to remember to pick up milk on the way home.

skonen_blades: (appreciate)
What do you think when you see this guy? He’s eating by himself in the Wendy’s late at night on a Friday. He’s thin and he’s a young looking seventy-five year old kind of man. He’s wearing a white suit jacket, a bright pink shirt, and a black bow tie. Like a Miami magician. You’d think he was on the way somewhere and he stopped in there for a quick bite but upon closer inspection, it doesn’t look like it. He’s taking his time. He’s got nothing else to do. You get the feeling he’s been there for hours. You get the feeling it’s more than just his night that’s finished. He’s almost disappearing before your eyes.

He used to be a gymnast. You have no idea the life this guy has had. He hasn’t been the same ever since his second wife, the one he really loved, passed away six months ago. She was a trapeze artist in a traveling circus that he did some part time tumbling work for in Berlin where he grew up. They emigrated here in the fifties together as friends. She lost most of her family in the war. The two of them kept in touch. He got married to a Canadian. She didn’t marry but boy did she have lovers. A European trapeze artist? Forget about it. Even in her late thirties she was still taking teenagers home. She moved out East.

The German Gymnast’s first wife left him after eight years. He had an obsession with organization that never sat well with her and eventually she left after realizing that she couldn’t change him. It’s too bad it took so long. All that wasted time for both of them.

The German Gymnast’s letters to the European Trapeze Artist became a little more desperate and heartfelt as well as more numerous. He was turning to her as a friend, not a lover. It didn’t cross his mind to be romantic with her. They both had friends in Canada after living here for ten years but they never really had anyone to connect with back in Europe. The Gymast was an only child of only children and they had both died years ago. No cousins to speak of. The Trapeze Artist had nothing as well but that was more a choice on her part. They only had each other when it came to talking about the years before coming here.

For a person who spent her life flipping through the air, she sure spent a lot of time running.

For a person who spent his life tumbling end over end, he was driven by order and stoicism.

It was surprise to both of them when she packed her bags, flew the x hundred miles from Ottawa to Vancouver and knocked on his door. When he said yes a few weeks later, a few phones calls to the capital brought whatever she couldn’t sell over as well.

Those years they spent together, all 36 of them, well, they could have taught teenagers a couple of things about passion and having fun. They’d almost lived their lives in reverse. Like they’d been old when they were young and only found youth later.

Coming to love so late, they had the knowledge to craft it, keep it safe, and live it.

He’s lost without her but he clings to his sense of order. It would have been their anniversary tonight. He puts on his best and eats somewhere close that he can afford.

He doesn’t care that people will think he’s a crazy old man talking to himself for hours in a Wendy’s. Tonight, they’re together in Berlin in an open air café on the vacation back home that they never took.

skonen_blades: (incredulous)

There is a day once a year that the three fates look forward to.
The three fates, you ask? You may not have heard.
There are three women. They each have a shape.
One is young and comely. The blossom of youth.
One is middle aged. Practical and knowledgeable.
One is old. A bit on the crazy side but very, very wise. The Crone.
These three women weave the tapestry of destiny.
They are the spider. They have the power to end threads.
Do they just record or do they innovate? No one knows.
But once a year. Once a year.
Once a year these fine ladies get to put down their sewing and do something that keeps them centered.
They all get to become the same age.
The first year, they all become sixteen for a day.
The second year, they all become 38 for a day.
The last year, they all become 82 for a day.
And then it starts all over.
It’s the little annual window into each other’s life that keeps them centered and knowledgeable about what the other woman’s mind set is and what they feel like in that body. It’s the mix of their outlooks that results in the harmony.
Next week it’s time to be sixteen again.
They will take the day off and sit on a beach in Waikiki and give beauty pageant trophies to each other, laughing and laughing.



skonen_blades: (Default)

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