Oh what hath a mind map wrought?

it’s sketchy, rough, riddled with holes and could stand plenty of juicy detail but its coming about reminds me this is hands down my favorite flavor, though I stray from it far too often – remember again, get excited, forget, stray, over and over. But enough of that.


Another Critter Saves Another Human

Hunched on the bench a safe
distance from a domain of central
squares rich tastes kept functioning
and where expensive parties
pretended to turn in at polite
hours but all such turns were nothing more
than larks in lull, so back to the bench’s
occupant alone in his hunch
and distant enough from the described domain
of rich tastes so explosions in ecstatic
expressions may as well exist

in one of the solar systems
this hunched form had taken to
fantasizing about: how it would be
to float for a few thousand years
in the middle of nowhere
because maybe then he could accomplish
something and a far away hound who bayed
made a clearer soundtrack than the revelries
in the central squares. Salted stubble
twitched like the loafer’s sole wasn’t so old
as it was which was an unknown quantity

and rains when the day was an evening
pelted wide poplar palms and a few still
dripped leftovers on the bench or hit
his salted mane, and along with his
facial twitch hesitated with
the half-empty pint, like the focus
on the leaky sole opened another
valve and the past crashed as a tide
which containment could be but temporary
and three-fourths of a span is
still temporary, and if balloon

clouds existed outside the ken
of all kinds of cartoonists,
a faded white one might’ve fuzzily
formed against the otherwise indigo
backdrop and if a nocturnal
critter would happen by and was literate,
might make out what the lips recited too
softly to hear, that it wasn’t supposed
to turn out this way, but then again,
maybe this was the destiny
and what was dreamed of is typical.

Well it so happened a nocturnal
critter was in the neighborhood,
to the extent this locale
could be called a neighborhood
because it was more like a neighborhood for
elements that wished to exist in
environments harmonious
and natural but without too many
human-built dwellings, or more
specifically, this nocturnal
critter human books lump with marsupials,

had a hole in an old fat oak,
and happened to be seeing to
a ritual suitable
for a nocturnal critter,
the specifics about not only this
nightly ritual but a vast list
of nightly rituals belonging to
mist-wreathed realms no human book
has any idea about – now because
the nocturnal marsupial
spent most productive hours

nocturnally – on nights of nightly
rituals or nights free of nightly
rituals – vision for ordinary
objects was weak but vision for more
abstract presences was quite acute,
so the fuzzy cloud of thought
had enough plasticity about it
to cause this furry critter to pause
its way to its nightly ritual
and it wasn’t like the cloudy thought
was a blazing billboard – more like a road sign

telling human travelers to prepare
for a merge – so the furry nocturnal
marsupial crept closer though stealthily
just in case appearance deceived,
the deception being that the being
hunched on the bench didn’t emanate
a vibration that spelled t-h-r-e-a-t,
and even if the appearance
and the truth conjoined so as to be

one harmonious body
malevolent or benign,
the critter still had a nightly
ritual to see to and besides
didn’t want to freak out the human.
But when the critter crept close enough
to read the scrawl in the cloud, felt
a sudden obligation to communicate;
sometimes it was the right thing to do,

to freak out a human, not a huge
freaking out, but a moderate
freaking. “My ritual can wait,” said this
nocturnal marsupial
under a breath breakfast nuts
yet flavored. So the critter loped
to the worn loafers and when the hunched
being reacted in shock and the half
pint slipped from his hold, and though

the distance was too far to worry
if the bottle should shatter,
it would’ve bonked the critter
straight on the critter’s noggin
had the critter not had such a swift
inner response system and the inner
swift response team aided the critter
in dodging the bottle just in time
but also caught it before it hit the ground

and though it was heavy it wasn’t
as heavy as it was when it was full
for now this half pint was only half
full, and he offered it back and the being
took it and swigged and rubbed his eyes,
and the critter couldn’t fritter
the open opportunity,
and initiated dialogue.

“Hey I was on my way to see to
a nightly ritual – for I am
a nocturnal critter though I’ve no
idea why our heavenly managers
in charge of critter-fashions
and occupations and purposes
chose to put me on night shifts
though it’s nothing I much mind,

except I’ve – well we see I ramble
– seldom do I converse with a human –
what I mean is I see you too are nocturnal
and I couldn’t help notice the thought
that escaped your chambers of thought which
I can imagine you’d not worry about
locking on a night so deep
in placidity as this night is.”

“You can see what I think or you think
I have within me chambers of thought?”

“All creatures have within them chambers
of thought. About seeing them – yours – sometimes
I wish I had other powers – believe me.”

“Okay – and?”

“Well for the first
– worst thing any being can do
is to wallow in self-pity.
And the only way any creature
wallows in anything is – well what is
wallowed in must have an extensive
breadth – must be able to encompass.  
You’ve made the half pint your security
blanket – but your half pint is peanuts.
The self-pity wheel – gotta get off it –
somehow – that’s your project –
but it’s what you must do.”

“Okay, that makes sense.
I know it is a detestable habit.”

“It’s pure

“Yeah okay.
Pure poison.”

“The worst poison there is.
Substances you pour or puff
– well they are not optimum
but like I said – peanuts.”

“So you’re saying if I pull
my head out of this self-pity
pit or jump off the wheel….”

“I think you comprehend.
Now I want to show you something.
I don’t normally do this – then again
I don’t normally initiate
conversation with humans.”

A brazen dismay
illuminated the human’s face
as the critter reached into a pouch
and pulled out what was clearly a mystical
if not magical device.
Critter, about to press a paw
on a varnished walnut button,
stopped when feeling the tension
and then seeing the dismay
so brazenly illuminate the face
of the human who was no longer
hunched, and the critter could believe
inebriation levels had fallen
and fallen to such an impressive
degree as to tempt another spelling,
this time a p-l-u-m-m-e-t.

“Yes we critters possess
magical devices
– you should see the markets and when
critters wheel and deal over devices –
all kinds of devices, not just magical
– mystical devices are pretty
popular. But nothing can compete
with anything magical.
Make it magical and critters gobble
it up. By the way I’d appreciate it
if you keep this to yourself.”

“Well most of the few people I know
question my faculties already
so I don’t think they’d think much was amiss
if I did fail to keep it to myself.”

“I understand that – this is not a case
of a situation you might slip under
an eye of observance but of
a principle and we never know
who might take anyone else a bit more
serious than the majority – all
and the majority are not the same.”  

“I can see the concern – I promise
I will keep this fascinating fact
about magical devices
possessed in the natural world
to myself – the bigger curiosity
that would be the peskier bug
– this too I shall not blab about – but do
all critters possess magical devices?”

“Of a fashion. Not so many
have one like this magical
device packed with features.
Features. Can’t have a device
without – can’t skimp on features.”

A quadrangle that managed to jump
through all the hoops connected
to rectangle qualifications
or being legally justified
to call itself a rectangle,
but this quadrangle didn’t breeze
through the rigors of assessments,
only because this quadrangle
had never been absolutely certain

of a rectangular future,
but squares were absolutely out
and an extra side was a hell
of a lot more expensive
than a side of greasy spoon gravy,
and because the sides though looking like ropes
in process of erasure and melt
contained yet enough composure,
well the hazy quadrangle

barely passing for a loose rectangle,
appeared on the sidewalk, like a panel
colored with melting ice or swirling steam,
propped at an angle like a dinner tray
for the bedroom diner so a neck
need not crane – critter tapped again
a varnished button. Critter muttered, “let’s see
what we get – oh yeah – there –
not a bad haul. Oh where to begin?”

The steam in the screen gave way
to blank blackness and what appeared to be
spheres began to develop as dots
in the space as though emerging
from an oceanic hideaway.

“Let’s try this one,” Critter
punched once more and one sphere
expanded to a window
and Critter said to Human,
“hey can you spare a swig?”

“Sure. Sure.” And Human gave
Critter the half pint or held the bottom
like the bottle was a bottle
for nursing a calf or colt
except without a nipple,
meaning the bottle had no
nipple but an open mouth

– nipple wouldn’t feel right in this
context anyway and neither would
a calf bringing wisdom – what Critter
did not get to because this wasn’t the time
to complicate a human’s
cognizance, especially cognizance
trying to erect defense
against drunkenness forces,
was that there were exceptions

to magical device possession,
as in, it had to do with
a definition of a critter
– and critter definitions
had to deal with close proximity
of the bovine question, as in,
where on the critter continuum
do bovines fall? Because bovines
were generally not possessors
of magical devices

– so anyway, Human held the bottle
like that while Critter took his liquor
swig, winced, wiped the back of his paw
over his lips. Said thanks and Human
took a swig too though no longer
out of habit but just because
the burn and the communion
with a critter felt like the right
thing to do – the way to know
if something is the right thing to do

is if all others cannot
be heard above a whisper.
The scene suddenly in full flower
looked so real that Human
knew if he could reach in he could touch
things and touch them as though he were
a giant, because one finger
dipping into the big blue pool
would send the water splashing
maybe over the house which was
a mansion by any human standards.

“Not a
bad spread.”

“Why are you showing
– that’s what I was meant….?
You are pouring thorns into
my wound that shall forever gape?
I hope there is a reason for this pain
you author and that I did not commit
a grave error by believing your
intentions were pure – pure for the goodness
side of the ledger regarding
the good and the bad I mean.”

Critter slipped the whiskey
from the human’s hand that shook
and decided to sneak one more swig
and said to himself, “this is why
I can seldom stomach the work
of counseling humans” and added
a muttered, “I’d brought my own jug
of critter juice had I known.”

But on turning back to the human,
Critter couldn’t much nurture
a feeling other than compassion
and set aside what he wanted to say
and instead said, “if you’ll practice
basic patience, a thick packet
of enlightenment will be
expediently delivered to you.”

“As you say, Mister Critter – hope it’s okay
to call you Mister Critter since
that’s all I know to go by
and by the way, did you not
on your entrance portray yourself
more specifically? Meaning, were you
not a marsupial – I mean
are you still a marsupial?”

“You know, that’s for humans to give
themselves headaches over. Whatever feels
best for you – my classification
is your most minor priority
– look – there’s the king of this castle.
In the back with the gathering.”

“Wow are they ever splendidly dressed!
So clean, so comfortable. Oh and that
table spread with what must be the best
cuts of meat – and those bowls of pears
and pineapples – surely they come from
the most exclusive orchards
in the universe! Exclusive
things for exclusive people!
Oh yes I see! That should be me!
But because of my self-pity….
this dratted drunkenness…..”

Critter was snickering
too heartily to pay
much attention to Human’s
words, as he said, “Let’s see if there might be
more truth behind what appears to be.
Oh this feature-packed magical device!”

It was like what looked most real
and clearest to read to glean truth
from had been but a flimsy,
gauzy, mask, and easily
forgotten once lifted
– the entire scene was distinctly
darker though not the good darkness

like a dark-skinned enchantress
bathing in the falls of a tropical
island’s world of lush coves – the figure
marked as the smiling king was barely
recognizable – only because
the seats and stances hadn’t changed
because nothing of the scene was changed
but the scene became more vivid, more true.

“Mister king of the castle there – check this out
– he detests his family and his
family detests him. Princes
of at least three countries he owes
mountains of debts to, consider him
a puny pauper. He contemplates
ending his life. Can’t wait just a couple
more decades, if not half that – we all know
those speed by fast enough. He wishes

he could be a poor, unknown poet,
without a roof, without
responsibilities, without
insipid nags keeping him
an enslaved prisoner in velvet
ankle manacles and making him read
the lamest pretentious mags and wishes
he could speak his mind free as the wind
but he is monitored and should he speak

one offensive word to the one wrong
man or woman or should the wrong ears
hear him speak his one wrong word, he risks
saying farewell to all this luxury.
What he would give to be free
enough to sit on a bench in the middle
of the night with no one pestering him,
sipping some whiskey, getting slightly stoned,
contemplating the universe.”

“He would be – he
would wish to be me?”

“Oh he would indeed
wish to be you. He would give up all
he has to be you – or that’s what he says,
because what he has is what he’s earned
and what he’s earned he can’t hardly let go
of – even if what he’s earned he detests –
like his family he feels he earned so
he detests them because nothing that exists
within the scope he calls his
came to him willingly.”

Human went into the hunch again
but this hunch was more like the hunch
of contemplation or digesting
a spoonful of a hot epiphany
than the hunch one may hunch into
out of a heart about to break

from a spirit wallowing in a blue
despondency – or like the critter
counseled, the source almost always
originated from a seed of self-pity
– because he’d set the whiskey to the side
like it bugged him, like he no longer

needed or could get interested,
like a large half of his travails
were his focus on what were surface
issues – that he’d indeed conformed
to a style considered correct
and normal by the majority.

“I guess that’s the one catch I fear
I will continue to wrestle with
– what you’ve shown with your magical
device is not untrue, but there must be
a million other variables.
It is tempting to examine a few but….”

“It’s a temptation you should see is frail.
And try crossing out your o-t-h-e-r
and make your million plural.”

Human frowned. Frowned deeper.
Face lit with illumination.
Turned to try to speak to Critter
but could not find one word worth using.

Critter only smiled like history’s
most patient sage as he hopped to the sidewalk,
glancing up before going on his way
to see to a nightly ritual.
“I think you got it. Chew on it
nonetheless. Chew on it and keep chewing.”


About Timmy the Scribbler

Love to write all kinds of stuff I love writing so many different kinds of stuff it is a constant struggle to narrow the focus to a manageable handful and let the others go. But a few years ago I dipped my fingers into a poetry pie and of all my uncertainties, one thing that is no uncertainty is that it is one passion that must remain, so maybe that's the one. I do dearly delight in chopping up fictional works into stanzas and syllables.
This entry was posted in fiction, poetry, practice, story-poetry, writing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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