Thursday, February 29, 2024

Going Down?

The world lit up from behind me and splashed glitter down my throat. It was hard to breathe and the death came quietly as the elevator door closed. Sparkles faded to darkness. They say I gently slid down the wall and crumpled on the floor.

There was a throbbing. And the smell of old dirty brass. Someone hit the big red emergency call button and far away through the deep ocean of darkness, an alarm sounded.

I don't remember the CPR or the defibrillator. I do remember the clean smell of the sheets on the medical raft that lifted me and floated me out to the ambulance. Then the world came back with antiseptic purity at the sharp tear of flesh when they made the hole into the vein where the IV went in. 

What magic buoyed me? Who are these dark purple people made of rough fabric and tactical textiles? She said I had a seizure and she would meet me at the hospital. 

Life ain't fair and the world is mean. But I feel grateful to have another day.

Monday, February 12, 2024

Invasive Species

I took my head off
So I could feel the sky
But the ponderous
Lantern Fly
Brought China 
So close 
That the planet 
And in the darkness
I drank 
The New World Order
And my whole body felt curiously
Where did the sky go? 

Friday, February 9, 2024

The Harvest

(originally published in 1982)


Slowly, across the field, it moved. Past the endless rows of wheat, it moved. Its front blades churned up the long golden strands of buffalo grass. The huge harvester plunged diligently through endless gold. It didn't ask why. It knew nothing of international affairs. It was only a computerized machine. Twenty feet high, forty five feet long, it would not have to be approached by a human until it had collected its three thousand bushels of tirelessly collected grain.


The soviet spy sped silently over the grain. Upon entering the United States, he had almost been detected. He was lucky. The Americans, he thought... how stupid they are for placing an embargo on their grain again. War had almost begun the last time, now his country must take The Offensive. He eased back on the control column and his pressurized craft rose effortlessly, like a defensive eagle taking wing to protect its nest from a vicious predator. From here, he could see the horizon, where the sea and sky became one, a large band of soft velvet reaching its outstretched hands to eternity. Rough and raucous were the mountains that defended the eternal ocean of grain from the destroying ocean of liquid.


As the hovercraft exceeded its ground travel altitude, on board computers switched gas balance, wing angles, and other things necessary for flight, and he began to soar faster and higher. A slight breeze swept the field and the grain leaned down in a big wave, each lithe blade mimicking the strand behind it. One small spot caught hgus eye and the hovercraft swerved to the left and dived. The Harvester put up a barrier to to the giant wave of grain. The grain swept around the harvester as water flows around a rock at the water's edge, He had almost missed it. He looked around to the rear compartment and made sure of his tiny side blaster and three cartridges of explosives., A glance once more to the ocean, a deep breath, and he dived toward his destination.


He slid down through the sky to the large mechanical machine, leveled off, and set his speed to match that of the Harvester. He released the air lock and the glass and steel canopy swung open. Agilely, he reached over and wrapped his fingers about the col metal bars of the Harvester's catwalk. He slung the explosives over his shoulder and prepared to jump. He released his left hand from the hovercraft and swung slowly down to the catwalk. "There are three danger places",  he remembered, "depending on what type of harvester you find."  "Only one location will destroy the harvester. Don't worry about finding out, simply put explosives in all locations."  He stopped on the second catwalk to look for a small elusive door. "There it is." He opened it silently and placed in a small cartridge of explosives. He ran back up to the top and down the other side to look for a similar door. "Found it", mnu mumbled. Inside, as in the other one, the air was almost unbreathable, He fumbled in the darkness for aone small pipe that led past him into the wall. He placed the explozive there and left.


He went up to the top ao a small computerized opening and switched onto manual. Now, he was driving the Harvester, making wide circles and crazy angles in the unharvested wheat.He didn't know why this was so hard.. coming over here to the United States. No one knew he was here. This was no act of legerdemain. In fact, no one knew any of them were here. Over one thousand of his comrades had slipped through the "tough American defense", "Ha!"  What the heck, he would hurry now, jump back into his hovercraft, and fly back to his wife who was waiting in silent agony for his return to Mother Russia. He scurried down the front ladder to a small opening to place his final charge. The flame engulfed him from all sides and he fell slowly down the front of the huge Harvester. In great pain, he laid in the bloody hay and could only mumble, "faulty explosive". Now he realized in horror that he was no longer the predator, He screamed in terror as the great blades churned toward him. He couldn't move. The vicious teeth of The Harvester bit sharply into the prey.


The Harvester, oblivious to the world around it, continued on diligently through amber waves of grain.