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Very short stories to read at the bus stop.

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(viewed 2209 times)
We all have one,
All of us.
Silver in our skies,
Lifting us from the sea.
The slower ones,
We'll wait a billion years for them,
We of the dawn.
How alone we feel,
How pitiful our imaginings of a universe full of talk,
Rich in minds.
We listen and we call
But there is only silent emptiness we can't explain.
We all have a moon,
We treaders of the dawn,
Calling us from our sleep an eon too soon.
The universe is ours for now,
Not locked in deathly silence,
But inarticulate with youth
While we, with our moons,
Must wait.

Posted by Euphro

Lasso the Sky

(viewed 1464 times)
Can you feel it? Reaching upward?

Not the metal of the antenna itself. That's poetic nonsense. Metal's metal. It's solid, if a bit whippy. It sticks up. It doesn't reach. It'd sag and droop if it could get away with it.

I'm talking about the charge.

The building over there is sitting in a puddle of it. Hell, you're standing in it too, but it's best not to think about it.

If you ever wave a magnet over a pile of paperclips, you'll see them stir and wobble. That's what you feel. The stirring.

Shake the magnet back and forth over the paperclips. They'll start sticking together and clumping up. Without even touching them, you can tease them into a pile, maybe even get the one on top to stand up and reach....

You really do feel it. The creeping static charge moves your hair around, on your head and arms and legs. You can feel it tug on your eyelashes. As the charge climbs over you.

The air, the water, the dust in the air all starts sucking up the charge. Molecules line up into threads and chains and cables that the other charge in the sky teases upward.

Ionized air molecules behave differently, chemically speaking. The air smells sharper. Like tin. It tastes like copper.

That's what's climbing the building and threading its way skyward: ionized molecules joining ethereal hands in a daisy-chain reaching upward, upward -- trying to link with the mirrored chain reaching downward.

If it was dark enough you could see it. The chains of ionized air glow like glowworms.

You can feel it, though. Surely you can feel it.

You're standing in a puddle of charge. You have your own cable of ionized air forming above you, snaking its way up into the sky. You can feel it.

The building over there with the tall antenna on top of it has a couple hundred feet of head start, straining upward to shake hands with the sky.

Hope it wins in the race for the lightning.


Posted by Laszlo Q. V. St-J. Xalieri

4th May 2009, 04:27   | tags:comments (2)


(viewed 2350 times)
We live in a world of ghosts.
An aftermath.
The Age of Mammals. Great.
We cannot see past the "ordinary" to what was lost.
We look at trees whose sharp and bitter leaves
Avoid the meal they will never be,
And branches that grow high to escape
Mouths that will never reach for them.
We listen to a dawn chorus that has lost its baritones.
I miss those ones I've never heard.
And wonder how it would have been
To look into the eyes of Troödon,
Or out of them.

Posted by Euphro

over the kitchen sink

(viewed 1509 times)
"Why do you challenge me on those three little words?" I spit and say.

I knew from that first day when we lay in the bails and you punctured
my soul.

"What fool wouldn't be able to tell when they'd found the needle in
the hay?"

But now you prick against my conscience because I know I am only six
degrees of separation from another true love...

...and someone who will cut my head off.

Posted by beth

29th Apr 2009, 00:52   comments (9)

The wreck shift

(viewed 1620 times)
Do I celebrate my failures? Wrap a silk ribbon around my heavy heart
and present it for demons to feast? Should I allow broken certainty
to overboil, to circulate salty liquid through arteries and out
retinas? Do I sit and brood in a puddle of sulky residue? Should I
celebrate my failures or allow success to set them free?

Life is a timeline without a pause. You can't stop at nowhere, you are
always somewhere, you may not know where.

True failure is often misdiagnosed, a misplaced coordinate; not a
symptom of exertion or the will power to succeed. Failure resides in
the cracks and shadows, in waning confidence and wavering assertions.
There are no straight lines to success, no simple routes or maps. No
shadows without some light seeping through.

Peer over, under and around. Appreciate the journey - the scenery. Be
experience rich.

When demons cross my path, I control the thoroughfare. Do I forge
forward through the Carrion of thwarted ambitions or take a new
direction? It's my choice, my destination, my journey, an evolving
point towards my own tailored satisfaction.

Just carry on.

Posted by beth

27th Apr 2009, 22:29   comments (16)

London Book Fair

It's not a good time to sell a new title to a publisher. The economy's bad, many have cut back already, everyone's scared and everyone says they're not taking on new titles.

I went to the LBF to sell some of my own work, books by friends and Microhappy. The only success I had was with Microhappy. Two different places have expressed interest and will get back to me.

So it's probably a good time to tell you what I pitched. From that you'll know what we need from you to make it work.

Microhappy is a series of short pieces with accompanying images by the same person. Started here, about a third of it will have already been published on this site. The rest will be original work by the same writer-photographers. The sample book (ultimately to be one of 52; one for each week of the year) was chosen from a design perspective only.

If either of these publishers come through someone in the team will approach you as authors, ask the normal questions (do you want your work published for a percentage of any profits, will you guarantee it's your work etc). Then comes the fun stuff because we'll need much more material than we have and a lot of it needs to have not been published before.

Watch this space

(all design by Sprocket, the stories and shots are yours, this was a sample and will be reviewed if and when we get a formal contract)

Posted by Dhamaka

26th Apr 2009, 15:11   comments (18)

Life is Beautiful

(viewed 1705 times)
I'm all for genetic engineering. I LOVE the 150-watt firefly. For instance.

I like my new leather wings, even though they'll never be able to do more than let me glide down a flight of stairs. And they make me sit funny on the bus. They're no more stupid than a tattoo or wearing spike heels for twelve hours. They help keep me warm, they keep the rain off, and they get me laid.

But that was the thing I never expected from genetic engineering. Life is PRETTY. Life is SEXY. Life makes WARMTH and LIGHT, and there was never enough of that.

Life used to be red in tooth and claw. Sometimes it still is. But life is also BEAUTIFUL. It was all the encouragement we needed to clean up the environment a little.

Now all it takes for me to have a decent porch light is a tiny sliver of apple smeared above my doorframe.

Life is beautiful.


Posted by Laszlo Q. V. St-J. Xalieri

25th Apr 2009, 20:58   | tags:comments (3)


(viewed 1580 times)
It's a molten ball of nickel-iron -- the poison that kills fusion-powered nightlights -- coughed into the vastness and adopted by a mother half her age, a bright mother who has yet to catch the killer hemochromatosis. Silica rock and carbonates on top of that, oceans of saline plasma, then a couple feet of microbial processed carbonates, sulfoxides, and nitrates whipped into a meringue and crusted with a light frosting of asphalt, concrete, and a confection of threadsteel and glass.

On top of that, in the atmospheric interface of soil and space, coterminous with sixty miles of damp air and the first twenty or so thousand miles of space, is the realm of a lighter foam of ephemerality -- flitting taxis, rented hotdogs and sugar-crusted nuts, rented and flitting illusions of wealth, still dense enough (so far) to have not been boiled into space, or maybe trapped by a transient and perverse inversion layer, wrapped in lacework Kennelly-Heaviside foil and thrown back into the cooling coals for an ultra-slow slow roasting.

The flavors are so delicate and fleeting -- a layer of melt-on-the-tongue rice paper, pork-flavored candyfloss, sweetened smoke silked with capsicum and cinnamon and chocolate aromatics and topped with electrified air and magnetized vacuum -- capable of being vanished with a sneeze or slapped away forever with the wind of a careless backhand.

We all scuffle for a sniff as if, as if. As if we ourselves weren't particles in the aroma, waiting to be slapped away in a whiff of diesel fumes, dollars, and sausage-inna-bun with mustard. Where is the shadow of the hand?

Posted by Laszlo Q. V. St-J. Xalieri

11th Apr 2009, 22:10   | tags:comments (6)