The Power of Things

We put so much weight in things

Lucky socks and magic talismans

But it is not the things themselves

that make the difference,

but rather our belief in them,

and not only that

but also any power invested in them

by a Third Party.

Moses’ staff was just a staff

until touched by the hand of God.

Then it became a snake, a battle-winner

and a sea-splitter.

Anything can be amazing when

believed in and touched by the hand of the Divine.

So, believe in others, believe in yourself

and believe in God,

lift all things up to God,

so HE can work wonders in and through them.

Einstein’s Dice

Albert Einstein once said, “God does not play with dice.”

He was speaking of quantum theory. They were beginning to find that atomic particles, on the subatomic level, exist in multiple locations and cannot be nailed down to just one.

But Einstein, even though he pioneered quantum theory, disagreed. He swore science would be able to define everything, but that was not the case.

No matter how much we are able to describe about the Universe, still a part of it evades description and remains a mystery.

Even the smartest minds cannot begin to fathom the wonder of the Divine, but it is so much fun finding out little bits more each day.

Tarantula

Dancing tarantula-style
All your legs and arms and form
in motion,
wearing draping cloth
that moves in a wave around you.

I no longer no where you begin and end
Your motion is blurred in the dim lighting.

Furiously and fleetingly
you move to acoustic music that plays softly
in the background,
or am I just hearing things?
Am I hearing the beating of your heart
and crafting a rhythm to match?

I clap in time
and laugh
You beckon, I dance
Flailing just like you

The clock is melting Dali-style
We are beyond time now.
Sense and reason have nothing on us.

Heart beating, soul pounding
Sweat pouring
I can feel our breaths

Then the music jerks to a halt
and we drop to the floor
beside each other,
inside each other
Melting into one mystical creature
Not phoenix or liger
but something outside of words,
not an it but a living thing.

Let us spread our wings
and stretch our talon-claws
When the house lights go up,
we will fly away.

Like Dandelions

The stage is set,

the audience is arriving, sitting down

We are undressing, redressing, getting into character

assuming our roles

Jim calls time and I take the stage, talk to the people

See how their day is, make them grow comfortable

Soon it’s time to go, I give the signal, we start to act

There are hula hoop performance, salsa dances,

excerpts from Joyce and Chekov

The living statue gives an erotic monologue

I sing a song, have my heart broken

and it’s all okay, all good

Tonight we’ll do it again

Then it’s curtain call,

we take a bow.

The audience cheers, we depart for the yellow room

They depart, we change

back into our normal selves, whatever that means

We talk with those who stay behind, clean up,

celebrate our victories, recap anything weird that might have happened

linger in the foyer, not wanting leaving

absorbing all the post-play magic that we can.

Then there are hugs and well wishes,

we get in our cars, we drive off

The next morning, when it’s not a theater night

A strange sense of loss consumes me

a grasping at the wind,

but theater is a moment, and eventually the place will cease its run

and all will move on

like Dandelions

The work never ends

God of life and passion and everything good,

bless my friends as they go on their way.

The Deeper You Go

There is a strange interplay to be found

between science and magic,

I could explain intimacy in terms of chemical reactions

Oxytocin is released

when an owner pets his dog,

when a child suckles at her mother’s breast,

when two people make love in the night

This oxytocin is the hormone responsible for bringing us closer together, for creating bonds,

but what service would I do to anyone to just leave it at that

Intimacy is so much more, and yet

still the simple matter of biology remains

Life is both an equation and an occasion,

a formula all people can enjoy.

Does knowing the inner working of a machine make it any less magical,

seeing the backstage of a performance any less engaging?

Indeed, tearing away the curtain, revealing the man at the controls

only makes it more beautiful,

if there is any beauty to be found in the first place.

That is the division between fact and fraud,

the latter can only take your so far

before the thrill expires,

whereas the former only gets more amazing

the deeper you go.

Smoggit’s Apprentice: Part 11

They traveled several more days before the sandstorm hit. It came upon them suddenly. They were walking. The day was hotter than normal, but not unseasonably so. The air was still. Then, the sand below their feet began to move. The air around them began to betray them, swirling and whipping about them. Before they knew what hit them, they were caught up in a blazing cyclone. Smoggit’s whole body shook as he summoned all the magic within him to fight it off, but Mother Nature played the cruel mistress that day. She crashed into them like a wave, knocking them to the floor, sucking the wind out of their lungs, and then burying them upon several feet of burning sand.

As the world grew dark around her, Pamela closed her eyes and surrendered to death; but death would not have her. A golden and ethereal hand seized her and Smoggit and yanked them up out of the abyss. Like a geyser, they spit up out of the earth and plummeted back down, vomiting out sand and other desert debris as they went. Her body was weak. Her clothes were torn. She gasped for breath and life-giving water. But, still, she was alive.

It was after seizing upon that reassuring truth that she fainted.

***

She woke on the back of a worronî. She gasped and nearly fell off. However, a reassuring yet unfamiliar hand kept her still. At first, she thought it the same as before, but this one was bandaged and distinctly male. The other was not from this world.

“Rest. Preserve your strength. I can tell you have been through quite an ordeal,” said the man.

Not having her wits and still being quite weak, she did not argue. She did look around though, searching for Smoggit.

“Your friend is fine,” said the man. “He is with the others.”

She saw him, on the back of another. These sand rider had them both in their protective care.

“Who are you?” said Pamela.

“Servants of the desert guardian, Yarí,” he said. “It was she called us to you.”

She nodded and said, “I know.”

This was not a time to make sense of the situation. The situation, in fact, was beyond sense. So Pamela, even in her state of weakness and veiled understanding, understood enough to keep her words few and go with the flow.

Later that day, she, Smoggit, and the sand riders had dinner. It wasn’t much: just a few scraps of capachi root and morning dew with a hint of burrén rat. Still, it was good and much appreciated.

“Thank you for your assistance,” said Smoggit.

The chief sand rider waved off the gesture.

“Think nothing of it,” he said.

“Is there anything we can do to repay you?” said Pamela.

The sand riders glanced at each other, then nodded in consensus. The chief turned to face her again.

“We are sure that the time will come when we will need your help, either in this incarnation or the next,” he said, “we ask that you meet us boldly in our time of need.”

She smiled and bowed.

“We can do that,” she said.

“Yes, we’d be happy to,” Smoggit said.

Her gaze shifted to the worronî.

“Fascinating creatures, aren’t they?” said the chief.

“Yes. Fascinating,” she said absently.

“They mate for life and are faithful caretakers of their young,” he said.

“So I’ve heard,” she said.

He paused until the time was right, then said, “would you like to pet one?”

Her gaze shifted to the floor.

“I really don’t know if that’s a good idea,” she said.

The chief didn’t miss a beat before responding that time.

“Maybe not, but I feel it’s something that needs to happen,” he said. “Will you trust me enough to try?”

Well, you did save my life and all, she thought and gave him her hand.

The chief led her over to the creature. Her heart beat quicker the closer she came. When she reached the beast, she felt as if her heart were about to jump right out of her chest. He waited a beat and then set her hand upon the worronî. It twitched. She flinched.

“Give it a minute,” he said. “Bonds do not form instantaneously.”

She forsook her own desires and reservations and calmed her breathing. The tension in her hand diminished and her fingers came to rest gently upon the beast. She swore she heard it exhale as well. Sooner than she thought possible, she began patting her “enemy.” The worronî bubbled in approval.

Later that night, as they headed out, she hugged the chief sand rider.

“Thank you,” she said. “Two times over.”

He bowed to her.

“Thank you for letting kindness take its course,” he said, then waved her “farewell.”

She waved back, then they departed. The worronî she had bonded with lifted its head towards her as she went. She waved it “farewell” too.

Smoggit’s Apprentice: Part 8

Pamela heard the pounding of drums as they made their way to the foot of the Firebrand Mountains. The sound only grew louder as they pressed onward. As the Sun burned soft and orange through the pines wispy pines, she caught her first glimpse of the source.

A group of wood elves danced gayly around the fire. Men, women, children: all danced, hand-in-hand, while the band beat away at their instruments.

“Oh good. We’re just in time,” Smoggit said.

Pamela’s brow furrowed, but she said nothing.

The wood elves were quick to notice them. Amidst a collect of chirps and coos, she could hear them calling out Smoggit’s name. An elder elf, grey of skin and bedecked in vines, waddled over to him. They embraced.

Smoggit turned to Pamela. The elder turned with him.

“Pamela, this is my friend, Esäk; Esäk, Pamela,” he said.

Esäk chirped at her.

“Esäk says hello,” Smoggit added.

She waved.

“Hi,” she said.

Smoggit clapped his hands together.

“Now that we’re all acquainted, I suggest we get to celebrating,” he said, “do you like gooseberry wine?”

She scratched her head.

“I don’t think I’ve ever tried it,” she said.

“Oh, then you’re in for a treat! The wood elves are master vinedressers, and we caught them at the height of harvest season,” he said.

Esäk chirped again. Smoggit waved them on.

“Come. The party bell tolls,” he added.

They approached the center of the gathering. Many hugs were shared, especially between Smoggit and the elves. Pamela was a lot more reluctant with her affections; but, with a couple sips of the gooseberry wine, she became a lot more open to the idea. As the elves and music and bonfire twirled about her, she pointed at the wine.

“This is powerful stuff,” she said.

“I know! Isn’t it fantastic?!” he said as he downed his third glass.

Smoggit’s face turned a merry shade of pink and he would occasionally hiccup and laugh in the same breath. Pamela had never noticed it before, but he had the loveliest dimples.

After introductions and drinks were liberally shared, the drummers fell back into position and, with no absence of pomp and flare, began passionately beating the heads as one (not in unison, for one played one part and second a second and a third a third; but, it all seemed to work seamlessly together, as if it were just one drum playing).

Smoggit raised his empty wineskin up into the air.

“Farrekåñna!” he said.

The elves repeated back the phrase.

Pamela leaned in, more closely than she anticipated, but she chuckled of their near-collision and continued.

“What does that mean?” she said.

“Lord of the Dance,” he replied. He took his arm. “I’ll show you.”

He pulled her into the ring. One elf took one arm, another elf took the second. Smoggit disappeared into the center as the elves began to move around in the circle. Spinning, spinning. Everyone laughed and laughed and sang nonsensical songs. Pamela was so beside herself that she eventually joined it, spouted gibberish for gibberish’s sake. The experience was very freeing. A little while later she spotted Smoggit amongst the percussionists, blowing away at a pan flute. This made her laugh even more, to see a master wizard pittering away on a penny whistle.

***

Eventually the music and the dancing and the wine died down, and Pamela found herself beside Smoggit, the elder, and a select few others as they told stories and reconnected around the dying embers.

Esäk chirped at her. Smoggit leaned over to her.

“He says you’re quite pretty,” he said.

She put a hand on her chest.

“Thank you,” she said.

“He always says you’ve got a nice smile, when you dare to use it,” he added.

He chirped again.

“He also sees the makings of a great warrior in you,” he concluded, “quite the impressive collection.”

She bowed.

“Tell him I am quite the impressive girl,” he said.

He translated and Esäk giggled approvingly.

“I told him about Xocotí,” Smoggit reported, “he asks if you have a weapon.”

She shook her head. Esäk ran away. She reached out her hand to beckon him back, but the elf moved too quickly. She lowered her hand again and turned to Smoggit.

“I don’t believe in violence,” she said.

“Trust me, you’ll believe in this,” he said.

Esäk showed up shortly thereafter with a diminutive pouch and handed it to her. She reluctantly took it and opened it up. Inside was a glass decanter full of an effervescent, purple liquid.

“It’s kalaharañ´îo juice,” said Smoggit. “It will boost your magic threshold ten fold. You will need ever drop of it to take down Xocotí.”

She eyed Smoggit and began intensely studying his facial expression.

“With your help, of course,” she said, “right?!”

He paused.

“Of course,” he said as he cracked a bittersweet smile.

She tucked the vial into her chest.

“Thank you,” she said.

Esäk gave her an effulgent bear hug.

“So, what now?” she said.

Smoggit yawned and stretched.

“Now, we stretch. We have a full day ahead of us. Maybe, if we make excellent time, we can cross Masari Meadows and reached the borders of the Telánquo Swamp by nightfall,” he said.

She frowned.

“Did this answer upset you?” he asked.

“Yes. No. I don’t know. I was hoping I could stay longer. It has a good vibe,” she said.

Smoggit and Esäk looked at each other and smiled.

“I suppose we could do that, yes,” he said. “It would be nice to get in an afternoon game of Barato ball before shipping out.” He slapped the elder’s thigh. “Besides, we haven’t got the chance to catch up in some time. He’s lived quite the life, you know?”

“I could imagine,” she replied.

Esäk chirped and cooed.

“All right. That settles it then: we’ll stay a bit longer,” he said.

She clapped.

“See you all in the morning, then?” she said.

“Yes,” Smoggit said, “sleep well.”

***

She did not sleep well. Something about the evening made her toss and turn. Still, it was one of those nights where she wished she were asleep; so, throughout the entirety of the night, she opened her eyes only once.

When she did so, she saw him, Esäk, emitting a slow, soft purr as sleeping Smoggit’s back. She moved slightly to catch a better look. The elder instantly cast his gaze to meet hers. They locked eyes for a fraction of a second, then he disappeared, leaving Pamela in the space between dusk and dawn.