The Napping Bard

Underneath a tree, lies a scribe. A bard in colorful clothes, though obviously of modest means. In his lap lay unfurled parchment, an unmoving quill resting in hand. Looking closer, words can be seen upon the page-- ink still drying on the page. Looking closer still, beneath, beyond the words... whole new worlds, new plays, new characters... a gem with many facets-- waiting to be discovered.

Location: Midwest, United States

There are many pieces of who I am, many roles, many hats, many masks, many voices. In this place within the crystal screen, some of those pieces will be given a voice, a shadow form of their shadow form.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Another Four Colors

Light Side - A quiet day.

The Bard pushes his hat up off of his eyes.
No disturbance, no noise, no ruckus.
Nothing to grab his attention.

Which is not the way these things work.

Knowing this, takes to his feet and wanders off.
Sometimes, you have to looking for the next thing....

He passes the Hunter, not realizing he is there until after he has gone well past him.
Silently waiting and watching-- nothing. Everything.

Even the fool appears to be taking a break.
The Bard finds him at the crossroads sleeping in a tree,
his foot wedged in a crook of branch,
hanging upside down like and very unlike a bat.

The Bard, wise in the way of fools, does not question the pose,
nor ascribe any meaning to it,
at least none beyond the obvious anyway.

In the deeper vale, where the shadows are dappled, and the undergrowth wilder,
the Bard spies the youth.
Strangely, oddly, unusually... quiet, intent even.

Eyebrow cocked,
using a trick he picked up (sort of) from the Hunter,
he circles around and approaches the shrub encircled tree the youth is leaning against
(using a trick he picked up, sort of, from someone else).

This space must be the youth's space.
Funny, the Bard never thought of that before.
All of them had a space of their own-- of course the Young One had his own.
And in this space, strewn about, stacked up, secreted away, within the encircling green walls,
a collection of treasures,
odds and ends, bits and pieces, all invaluable-- if you knew the right way to look at them.

Which sometimes the Bard did, and sometimes he did not.

But one stack... the stack the Youth was currently engaged with...siezed his attention.

The Youth's hand held a book, a collection of pages, colorful pages...
The Bard drew closer and looked down at the pages...seeing within the panels a window to a forgotten world.

A boundary free world of borders. A black and white world of four colors.
A world of heroes and villians. Of capes and tights.
A world of myths and stories.

Stories like....

Sunday, January 01, 2006

The Neverending Game

Sitting under the tree, in his normal spot, feathered cap pulled low over his eyes, the Bard catches a much-needed nap.

In the distance, the sound of....
a ruckus--
yes, definitely a ruckus--
scares his nap away.

He pushes his cap up and then his body, wanders off towards the noises.


Out in the field, a game appears to have broken out.

No game of tiddlywinks, this.

Oh no.

This game involves running and jumping and -- my oh my -- tackling.

The Student comes up from the ground, running on young legs; a pack of determined characters in pursuit.

The Bard cocks his eyebrow and tilts his head, "What game is this, rugby?"

The Leader cuts off the Student forcing him to zig rather than zag-- right into the Good Son.
In the collision, the Student drops the ball.
It sparkles in the noon-day sun, glittering and spinning.
Before it hits the ground, the Child is there. With a peal of laughter, he grabs it and is off, little legs pumping.

Another spectator, the Gamesman, sidles up to the Bard, "No, not rugby. Wrong, ball. No goal posts. No scoring area."
The Bard nods, eyes glued to the action.

The Child, not running very fast, nor very strategically, is caught by the Caring Soul.
Who, in a creative play of compassion, does not take the ball away from the Child, but rather lifts them both off the ground-- and begins to run with renewed purpose.
The Child laughs even harder-- "Wheeeeeeee!" He throws his arms out to fly like Superman, or a Plane, or a Bird.
The new game trumps the old game... and he lets go of the crystal sphere.
The other players are not so lackadaisical.
They dive for the ball.
A pile ensues.

On the sidelines, the Bard winces. He looks at the Gamesman, "Shouldn't you be out there playing?"
"Nah... I don't play that game as often as I used to. It's not as fun as it looks."

The Minister's voice (a joint gift from the Leader, the Salesperson, and the Bard) washes out across the field-- and everyone pauses.
In that moment of reflection, the Minister grabs the sphere.

Knowing the Gamesman as well as he does, the Bard asks, "So, you're taking bets on the game, then?"
The Gamesman smiles.

Out on the field, the Partner has latched on to the ball as well.
The Minister and the Partner engage in a personal tug-of-war.
The crystal sphere between them.

"I don't bet on this game," says the Gamesman, as he turns and walks away.
"Really?" asks the Bard, "Why not?"

Out on the field, the Partner yanks the sphere out of the Minister's hands, clutches it to his chest like a newborn babe, and runs off the field. Zipping and dodging between the trees. A few of the players pursue him. Most just let him go.

"It always ends the same."

The Bard looks off into the trees where the Partner disappeared and nods his head in understanding.
"It's not a game to him. It's his heart and soul."

The Gamesman nods, tips his visor in salute, and walks off-- seeking a game of less importance.
Leaving the Bard to find another tree to lay under and write
of a game that isn't,
a crystal sphere that sings with a woman's voice,
and a struggle that never ends.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Air Supply

Shadow Side
Environment Crisis Response

<< The room is dark. They are always dark. The glow from a multitude of screens, dials, buttons, switches, guages, and blinking indicators washes over the faces of three figures. Each is sitting in a chair, wearing an ear-piece with the nifty-neato microphone hanging down over their cheek bone.

The figure in the left most chair, closest to the door, is wide-eyed-- always. Twitchy and constantly looking back and forth with a jerky motion. He is rather jumpy...but then again, that is exactly why he has this job. He is in charge of first responses. He needs to react-- immediately, if not sooner. Act first, think later. Speed over accuracy.

The figure in the middle is focused. Focused on the middle panels, the really important ones. Focused on the twitchy one sitting way too close. One eye forward, one eye to the side. Mouth turned down at the corners. He stopped jumping or reacting to the constant twitches long, long ago. He is a cynic... a disbeliever...a contrary person-- and he really, really doesn't like the twitchy one. Of course, that is why he has this job.

The figure to the right... well, who can say. Eyes seem to rove at random, settling on nothing... focusing on the unseen at times. Quiet to the point of near invisibility ear-wise.>>


-Air Quality Alert-
-Foreign Scent detected. BAD Scent!!! Foreign Scent detected.-
-Lungs reporting problem. Coughing Jag. Sore Throat. Burning airways.-


First: "Poison Gas! It is poison gas! Chlorine Gas is fatal. Its acidic!!!
Stop breathing! Close eyes!"

Second: "We are driving. Belay the 'close eyes' order. Repeat- keep eyes open, please."

Third: "Chlorine gas is green... and extremely rare."

Second: "This is not chlorine gas."

First: "Smoke! Burning rubber smells acrid and is hazardous. Our car is on fire!!!
Pull over to the side of road and get out, NOW!"

Second: "We are on a four lane interstate. Belay the 'pull over' order."

Third: "There is not smoke."

Second: "Our car is not on fire."

First: "We are feeling faint.... We are losing consciousness!!! We have to stop driving, pull over!"

Second: "Again, belay 'stop driving' order."

Third: "We feel faint because we stopped breathing."

Second: "Start breathing again--"

First: "Shallow breaths, remember there is poison."

Third: "This has happened before. This isn't unusual or a crisis."

First: "It burns. It stinks. It made us cough."

Third: "We are driving through downtown Chicago."

Second: "Cancel all alerts. Resume normal operations."

First: "Sorry, I thought it was poison."

Third: "It is an easy mistake to make."

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Shhh... We're Hunting Elephants

The Bard cocks one eye open, something unusual must be happening.
With the end of his quill, he pushes up his feathered hat-- to better see the world.

The fields are filled with lush grass and burst of wildflowers. The sky is bright blue. The leaves in the tree above him gently moving in the breeze.

And through the trees, the Bard sees the Hunter stalking silently from field to forest-- trailing behind him a group walking quietly-with-much-noise, sneakily-with-much-fanfare.

Something unusual indeed.

The Bard finds his feet and heads over towards the odd parade.

At his approach, the Hunter glides to a stop. Motionless, waiting without waiting.
The crew behind him, marches on (mostly oblivious) until they too are forced to stop and take notice.

The Bard looks to them. The Leader, the Brawler, the Empath, and the Minister.
The start of an off-color joke if only they had an inn.
He cocks his eyebrow and opens his mouth to ask--

"Shhh!" says the Brawler loudly, "We're hunting."

The Bard feels his eyebrow climb higher still and he looks to the Hunter.
The Hunter says nothing. (The Hunter always says nothing.) Gently shrugs his shoulders, looks back at the quartet as he nods his head slightly.

"What are you hunting?" the Bard asks.

"Elephants," says the Leader confidently.


"Elephants!" they all say in almost-unison. (All except the Hunter, of course.)

The Bard wonders just exactly how far his eyebrow intends to migrate.
He looks to the small prairie of wild flowers. He looks to the northern woods.
He looks to his left. He looks to his right.
He looks to the Hunter, who nods with great earnestness.

The Bard looks once more to the left and to the right, a casual glance behind him.
Then says, "I don't see any elephants."

"Of course you don't." growls the Brawler.

The Empath, almost apologetically, says, "They're invisible."

"Invisible Elephants?"

"Oh yes," says the Leader, "You can't see them. That is why we have the Empath and the Minister with us."

"I can sense them-- their weight pushes on everyone nearby," said the Empath.

"I can hear them-- they fill the silent spaces between words," said the Minister.

"I can feel them-- they make my arms itch," said the Brawler.

Everyone turned and looked at him.

"Well, they do!" he said, crossing his arms over his chest.

The Bard looked at the Leader and cocked his head.

"I'm leading, of course," the Leader said. "This is an important quest. Invisible Elephants are dangerous. They impede progress. They stifle truth. They, well, they--

"They make my skin itch." growled the Brawler, shuffling from foot to foot, pacing in place.

"Yes. As you say. In any case, it is a grand adventure, a worthy goal, and I'm am leading," said the Leader.

The Bard looked at the Hunter, who was obviously breaking trail for the rest of them, and then back at the Leader.

"Not all that lead are in front. Not all those in front lead." The Leader said quietly.

The Bard looked anew at the Leader, wondering at the change-- the when of it. Probably during one his naps... short though they were.
He looked at them all again. Noticed nothing in their hands.

"What are you going to do with the Invisible Elephant once you find it?" he asked.

They all looked at each other.
Then they all turned as one and looked at the Minister.

The Minister looked at the Bard and said, "I'm going to name it."

The Brawler chuckled in a way almost sinister, "Oh.. they hate that."

The all nodded...
and with that the Hunter glided off,
the rest of them following behind him all earnest and eager.

The Bard walked back to his tree,
began to sit down--
and stopped--

He looked to his right, he looked to left, he glanced over his shoulder.
With a slight shake of his head, he settled back to his favorite place.
Pulled his hat down over his eyes,
and let his quill dance across the page...

Monday, October 10, 2005

The World Outside - Colored Ribbons?

Dark Side
Office of Observations
Cubicle of Irony Inquiry

Watcher: "Hmmmm. Another of those yellow ribbon stickers on an automobile."

Wonderer: "How many is that?"

Details: "At least a hundred, just in our neighborhood."

Wonderer: "What do they mean again?"

Watcher: "They all say 'Support Our Troops', so they mean the person supports our troops."

Wonderer: "Really?"

Archives: "Actually, the yellow ribbon symbol was origionally mentioned in a folk song and related to a paroled prisoner coming home. Then during the Iran hostage crisis people adopted the yellow ribbons as a symbol of hoping for the safe return of the American hostages. Somehow, someone shifted the symbolism from prisoners to hostages and most recently to soldiers serving overseas."

Wonderer: "So the yellow ribbons people are putting on everything don't symbolize what they say they do?"

Archives: "I didn't say that. The yellow ribbons symbolize whatever the people want them to. But the ribbons used to symbolize something much different."

Wonderer: "What about the white ribbons?"

Archives: "White Ribbons?"

Watcher: "Yes, recently, I've been seeing a number of white ribbons stickers on automobiles."

Archives: "Do they say anthing on them?"

Watcher: "Nope, just an off white color ribbon."

Details: "Those are yellow ribbons that have faded."

Wonderer: "Faded?"

Details: "When the war first started, some people were very quick to put a yellow ribbon sticker on their automobile. Over time, the dyes used in the yellow ribbon stickers fade. The war has been going on a very long time now and many of those first stickers have faded to an off-while color."

Archives: "I don't have anything on white ribbons... but a strip of white clothe tied around a stick is a universally recognized symbol thoughout history."

Wonderer: "A symbol of what?"

Archives: "Surrender."

Wonderer: "Isn't that ironic."

Details: "Tragic, too."

Wonderer: "And maybe, just maybe, Hopeful."

Facets and Faces

This gem has two planes...
almost classically yin-yang in appearance,
one side, bright; one side dark.


The facets on the bright plane,
most of them,
all but one, perhaps,
are one-way, out-to-in,
windows into a world of blues and greens,
a pastoral setting of trees and fields,
a small stream or two, leading to a small lake too.
And in the scene,
a cast of characters, all playing their parts,
doing what they do, living their lives,
or living mine...

a child, an innocent, an open book with eyes wide
an angry young man, a brawler, a macho man wanna-be
a clown, a juggler, a mime, a jester
a caring soul, a healer, an empath
an android, the thinker, the intellect in humanoid form
a hunter, an outdoorsman, a tracker, a shadow in natural clothes of green and brown
a gambler, a game player, a card sharp, a very good guesser
an explorer, a curious traveler, a non-tourist in a Dr. Livingston hat
a minister, a pastor, a prophet
a politician, a cousin of Machiavelli-- twice removed
an orator, a storyteller, a speech-writer and speech-giver

other characters flit in and out
on stage for a time and off in the wings waiting for their next cue
but the main characters remain
this is their home

and recording them all, listening to them, watching them,
one of them and apart from them,
the Poet, the Muse, the Bard,
his quill moving with a life of its own
upon a piece of paper that shines with a glow all it own,
like that of two-way mirrors,
or windows looking in.


The facets on the shadowed side,
shadowed in the literal, non-cliched way,
mult-faceted just the same,
each a window into this world.

Occasionally, a glint of light,
a mistake maybe, an accident,
and the one-way is two-way for a moment or two,
allowing a view of dark rooms,
and shadowy figures,
all working earnestly,
each a cog in the wheel,
each a worker bee in a hive,
each a citizen of a mega-metropolis,
librarians, researchers, engineers, programmers, detectives, managers,
employed in the most complex cooperative known (or more appropriately, unknown).

It can be scary, looking through those windows the wrong way.
Some things are better left inside the black box.
Sausages and Laws, they say.
Neither is as confounding, nor as interesting,
as the voices in one's head.


A plethora of facets,
Two planes of one gem,
Enough visions and voices for a lifetime
of reflections-- or inflections.

Watch the sparkles...