9 times the comet

1 the comet came

and i

2 the comet came

and i was back in my brain

but

3 the comet again

this time like a friend

standing demanding

the globe reprimanding

not sure what it meant

but the sparrows are landing

4 the comet

jaws like a sonnet

circle of singers in the crest of a wave

praying and laying the heart of  knave

i made me a man of lightning and air

someone i thought could take me to where

the stink and stammer of the stardust corruption

was something that my wit could wrap with eruption

i made me a man who made only pain

because villains are willing to howl in the rain

lessons i carved but erased every morning

my ironside doggerel is whippoorwill warning

5 the comet

still think I’m on it

ship made of stories and stolen bluebonnet

6 the comet, nothing this year

creeping down alleys  and clutching my spear

7 the comet, harder and harder

running out of rambles kept safe in my larder

rhythms are ramshackle and fable for fools

the weaver won’t last if even his loom unspools

8 the comet, the comet, the comet

it’s not hard it’s only hard when it’s only the comet

comet the blood comet the time

comet the singer puking up rhyme

 

 

9 times the comet

9 times the gauntlet

unsteady remainder i wait for the sun

i am a container for days on the run

 

 

 

i hate this

no not that

here not then

now now, no no

too late

wrong color

wrong tone

wrong black and tan wire wrapped around the phone

i love that, i hate this

screwing up my courage to type the word kiss

hamper your temper and still sharpen the blade

no one can never know how the light lines are made

gardens of gerunds and sultans of nouns

everything lost when the red marble’s found

no  wrong, too late

a heart sigh too much

i hate what you make what i make what these make

what clatter is the matter when the three day bread can only break

all there is is this

this i hate all i have that i have is this

i hate your this

i hate your that

jealous and sour and howling cravat

stop

stop this

stop that

too late

The Wind

Start small.

Build a tree, and a chair beneath, and then wind, and then night. The wind is cold.

An actor enters, sits on the chair. They are waiting.

Start small.

The actor is a man with red hair. His clothes are old, cut for a larger person, perhaps stolen. The man sits in the chair and leans back. His head almost brushes the bark of the tree. He shivers. He is waiting.

Already the lines form in the dark, already the roots spread.

Tempting to leave him here. Tempting to leave the man to his moment. Is he waiting for a lover, waiting for a rival, waiting for the sun to rise? Ask but the answer is already clawing against your teeth.

He is not a young man, nor old. He has a knife tucked in his belt. He once loved to sing, but now does not remember the way of it. He is waiting in the chair under the tree on the edge of the town (a town! of course, this moment requires it). He is waiting for another traveler, one that can lead him home. He has promised gold to the traveler but he has none. He has no particular plan beyond waiting and the knife and the roll of the dice.

Does he have a name? He does, but not one you can claim. He has two, but they did not travel with him. Why him, why this shadow and not one of your own? The question is sharp and heavy but you feel the moment passing.

The man in the chair looks up, almost as if he can hear you pondering.

You are close, you are tempted to speak – but the moment is passing.

The wind is cold. The man waits and hopes to have more than a knife to offer. The tree and the chair and the town wait. The wind is cold.

rime

stand at the edge, doorway house

green field around you

you are awake at last

but empty, maybe less

than before

you wear clothes you have swallowed the thin soup

you are ready to know

if you are who you were

jonas is off chopping wood

now is the time

where you can walk alone

on skeletal feet to the edge of the water

the edge of the yard, the sun beats down

is yellow, is daffodil face

you are ready to know

if you are less

you hum

you are white hair blowing in the wind

you are skin and bone

you are

merely human

 

regret but also relief

that sleep could prove a thief

 

now you can live and die and eat bread

drink wine and let sleep take

whatever it might wish

you can be

merely human

 

ah, but now

a spike of fire on your brow

you on the edge of the water

on the edge of merely

you do what you must

you reach down

your hand in the water

your hand in the water

your hand is the water

the water is now

you replace blood with wind

skin with storm

you drink deep

ah, you drink deep

 

 

 

Belenus and Belisama

nypl.digitalcollections.510d47db-b605-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99.001.wOnce before the world was old, a woman walked from her village to the river to fill a vase with water. She was no maiden. Her feet were strong on the earth, her hands full of care. She had borne two children and lost two children. Her eyes were dark and her hair was darker. Her heart was darker still. But still she walked to the river to bring water, still she sang the songs when the three moons demanded it, still she ate and still she was she.

She was named Maero, which means sorrow, for sometimes we are marked for the paths we must walk.

But on this day as she walked to the river, she found a man groaning on his back, laying on his back just a few feet off the path.  He was a golden man – hair, skin, even his eyes. A green snake was wound around his legs and the serpent had sunk its fangs deeply into his thigh.

Maero sighed and sat her vase down.  She crept forward with her careful hands and grabbed the snake behind the head. She pulled the serpent’s fangs free from the golden man’s leg, then crushed the serpent’s head with her strong feet. Without pausing, she knelt at the man’s side and drank the poison from his blood and spat it out onto the dead snake’s corpse.

The golden man moaned, but at last grew still. His golden eyes stopped fluttering and he looked at Maero.

“You saved me,” he said, “you saved me. Thank you.”

“Yes,” she tied her scarf around his wound with steady motions. “Did you not see the snake?”

“I…fell,” the golden man looked embarrassed, “I didn’t see the snake. It came upon me as I lay here.”

Maero looked around. There were no trees of any particular height on this path, nor a cliff or mountain. She looked down at the golden man in suspicion, “You fell? From where?”

The golden man pointed up towards the sky at the face of the bright morning sun. “From there.”

Maero sighed and stood. She reclaimed her vase from where it waited in her path. This strange golden man was mad and she had no time for madness.

The golden man sat up with some difficulty, “Wait! I’m telling you the truth! I am the God of the Sun, I fell from my chariot. Very embarrassing, but it is true! I am Belenus!”

The woman turned and looked at the golden man with doubt. “The god of the Sun? Then how can you be here if the sun still shines in the sky?”

Belenus opened his mouth, then closed it again. He pointed up at the sun again, but then let his hand fall. “It’s complicated!”

Maero laughed, just a tiny bit. She then turned back to continue down to the river.

Belenus had by now managed to get to his feet and called after her, “Wait! Don’t you want me to reward you? Or maybe you could…perhaps…help me?”

Maero sighed and then replied without looking back, “God of the sun or no, time waits for none of us. If you wish to come with me to the river, you can help me fill the vase. Then you can carry it back for me to the village. Then I will feed you, perhaps.”

She walked on to the river and the sun-god followed, limping but relieved.

And so it began. Maero led and Belenus followed. She taught him to fish from the river and taught him to make jars from clay and taught him to sing when the three moons demanded it.  His wound was healed within a day but he seemed in no hurry to return to the sky and his chariot. She taught him how to tend the green grapes and how to weave the sheep’s wool and how to fight when the wolves came howling.

After some time, the elders of the village approached Maero in confidence.

“Maero, “they said, “We have watched the moons and consulted the old songs, and summer has gone on too long. The cold winds should be blowing, the leaves should be turning – but none of that has happened. The sun rises and sets, but it does not alter its course. It is time for the sun-god to return to the sky.”

Maero nodded, for she knew better than to argue with Necessity.

She called Belenus to her and took him by the hand. She walked him down the same path where she had found him until they stood by the river. Maero pointed at the bank and helped him lay down. She went into the water and looked down at him.

“It’s time for you to go home, ” she said.

The sun-god opened his mouth to reply and she seized him and plunged him down under the water. Belenus flailed and clawed at her, but she was strong and sure. At last the golden man grew still and she let him float down the river.

That winter was long and cruel, and spring a weak remainder. Summer found her waiting and unsurprised when Belenus walked through her door again.

She took him in her arms and comforted the sun as it wept. He could not stay and she could not go and time waits for none of us. She drank the poison from him and spat it out on the earth, then she turned so he could see the child sleeping behind her.

From then on the woman chose a new name, Belisama, which means faith, for sometimes we choose our own paths no matter how hard or shadowed they may be.

As it was told to me, I tell to you. Let the sun turn on the wheel and bring us back together.

Invocation Sketch

Sing in me, O Muse

of fire.

Fire that burns the grass

fire that is the grass

perennial

sure and rude

on the hillside.

Sing of fire and sing of the night

when.

The night when She saw Fire and

everything after

The tournament of wands

and the beloved annihilation.

And

everything after.

The fire is here

come closer

it is what we always say.

Or

are you Fire?

 

Vagabond Contract

In the course of events it often becomes necessary for travelers to enter into common cause for needs of safety, efficacy, and mutual gain. A simple covenant is best for all parties to prevent any misunderstanding or ill repute at the termination of the time of joined purpose. All that sign this contract pledge by their sacred honor to abide by and uphold the following terms, until such time that a simple majority of the undersigned agree that the contract be nullified.

Bond the First: Safety. You shall do your best to protect the life and possessions of the contractors. You shall not allow harm to befall the others through malice, duplicity, or lack of care.

Bond the Second: Efficacy.  Goals and objectives will be decided through free dialogue and simple majority vote. If a contractor cannot abide by a decision, they may leave the contract with no penalty. See Breaking Contract section below.

Bond the Third: Mutual Gain. All wealth collected by members of the contract will be divided openly and evenly. Accommodations can be made for equipment, tools, weapons, etc. that could prove of no value to some members.

Breaking Contract

In good faith: Contractor leaves due to pressing concerns beyond their control or due to an honest disagreement with the other members of the contract.  They are eligible to their share of any earnings, along with whatever supplies are needed to send them safely on their way.

In bad faith: Contractor breaks one of the three Bonds, leaves without warning. They are eligible to nothing but the swift vengeance of the remaining contractors. They are an Enemy of the Contract and should be dealt with harshly, in accordance with local law.

Completing the Contract

All contracts of this type must have a clear termination point. A tangible goal, a specific milestone, a destination, or simply a date on the calendar. When this point is reached, the contract is fulfilled and all contractors are released. Each contractor must agree to the terms that fulfill the contract and they may not be amended without a unanimous vote from all involved.

Completion Terms






 

By signing below we tie our fates together and place our lives and honor in the hands of strangers. If the words of vagabonds can hold true, then no storm on the road nor beast in the dark can prove our path false.

  • Xenodross Nicander