So there was this guy, see. And he had a small dirigible and he flew it often over that place. People would look up and smile and wave always hopeful that someday he would begin to offer them rides in it.
So when he flew over main street, thousands of faces looked up at him and cheered.
Eventually he did begin to offer rides, usually in exchange for some other small favor. Merle Johnson brought him a pie once and got a ride. Melinda Pomegranate helped him take down his laundry from the clothesline once and got a ride. The biggest favor he ever accepted in return for a ride in his dirigible was a collection of 180 massive beautiful leather bound blank books, with intricately marbled covers filled with beautiful handmade paper from the Amalfi coast in Italy.
When he received those books he was so happy that he cried.
In the dirigible, he had a small desk and above the desk was a long shelf where he kept the books.
He took to keeping a bottle of nut brown ink in one desk drawer, and also kept a small collection of pen holders and nibs in a small box there. Often when he was in the air, he would take down one of the journals and sit looking out the window at the beautiful landscape below, and he would sketch the hills, valleys and rivers as he went by them.
One day, someone gave him a lovely set of watercolors, in exchange for a ride.
With the watercolors, he began to color in the images he had sketched, although the first group he did this with he could not vouch for the accuracy of colors, seeing as he’d had to paint from memory but later images were made in full color on the spot and the more he sketched the better he became at understanding the colors he saw and how to express them accurately.
A few years after he obtained the dirigible, he made an announcement to the people in his town.
“As much as I love living and flying with you all,” he said, “I feel that I must begin to see other parts of the world.”
Then he explained that he fully intended to be gone for a very long time, but also that he fully intended to return, with paintings and stories and memories to share with his townsfolk.
“I would like one, or perhaps two people to travel with me. I will teach these companions how to fly the dirigible. We will all live on board for the duration of our trip, and I will of course pay these companions for their time and furnish them with food and anything else they should need while we travel together. “
There were two teenagers – Mabel and Silvester who volunteered to help him in his journeys.
They traveled far and wide, first keeping within the boundaries of their homeland, but eventually venturing further north even to the pole, where vast expanses of ice passed beneath them. They went to all the other continents and to as many nations and states as they could access. There were a few remote locations where they could not travel, but the saw most of the world, both from the high views of the dirigible, and from the ground, for they landed daily and slept and ate frequently among the people wherever they were.
This traveling continued for nearly three years.
One day, they were in Rome, and he drew the coliseum. Another time he drew lions in Africa, some sleeping in trees, others as they brought down prey, others still as they frolicked and played along the banks of a long green river.
One day, they attended a festival of dirigibles, and that day they were among hundreds of other flyers in the sky over a beautiful desert city, with minarets and gleaming pools and tall cellphone towers.
One day, they landed in India and found themselves engulfed by a festival in which people pelted each other with pellets full of powdered pigments. The air was an exciting cloud of color and motion, and joy was everywhere around them. Silvester said that Holi was the best thing he’d ever experienced. “Even better,” he said, “Than flying.”
And Mabel’s favorite stop was the three days they spent in northern Mexico watching the migration of the monarch butterflies. Even at their high traveling height they found butterflies on the dirigible both inside and out. But on the ground, they found themselves covered with the orange insects.
Finally, as is always the case with journeys and voyages, they found themselves drawn back to their home.
The journey back was slow and not nearly as easy as the adventure had been because, after three years of mild air, they found it necessary to navigate through many storms during the journey back.
By this time of course both Mabel and Silvester had become adept at piloting and navigating their dirigible, but still the weather delayed them. It took an additional year in flight to bring them back to the old river and the beautiful brick buildings of their home town.
Everybody in the town was overjoyed to see the three return, and they were hungry for tales of distant lands. They were also of course hungry to fly again as there had been no dirigible in the area since the three left.
Mabel and Silvester were married just a few days after their return and the pilot made a gift to them of the dirigible, and all of the empty books that remained on the shelf, although he removed the ones he had filled with drawings and writing to his own home – as well as one final empty volume, to fill up with accounts of his last years.
Mabel and Silvester took many people on many journeys, some close to home, some very far, to mysterious places of magic and intrigue.
It is remarkable that during the lives of the pilot and of Mabel and Silvester, the world was entirely at peace. It was a period of nearly a decade altogether where there was not a single armed conflict anywhere on the planet.
In the end, all 180 of the massive books that had been given to the pilot were filled with stories and drawings and colored paintings and that collection is now called “The Decade of Peace”. In these modern times when so few people remember any time without war, they are much revered.

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Lucid Lucy

There was a February morning when Lucy went out among the Philistines feeling very clear and lucid. She was Lucid Lucy. If you asked her about it, she would say that she had no idea why she was so clear headed that day. It certainly was not about drugs. There was no significant change to her routine. She woke up and had her coffee and and English muffin for breakfast, dressed as always casually. When she left the house she had her laptop in the usual messenger bag, and she had no place in particular where she was planning to go to. It was just a day off, and early morning walk, first to the train station and then wherever fancy took her. 

By the time she reached Davis Square, Lucy was humming with a new and unrecognized energy. Her hands seemed to be vibrating with it. In her head, there was a melody playing at a rapid speed – something too complicated and too quick to define and understand. Although it was an odd and unasked for musical backdrop, it was not annoying like an ear worm. It was somehow pleasing and when she let it move through her it converted the energy she was feeling to something with a strange warmth and charm.

Sitting in the train station waiting for the Red Line train to arrive, she felt the energy first grow to fill her entire being, then shift to become the clarity we already mentioned.  

She found herself fascinated, watching people move in a new and revelatory way. The subway platform had become a stage, and the activities of the people going off on what appeared to be very serious and vital missions was some kind of theater, a fiction which only she could see as a fiction.

Finally a train arrived. She sat on the bench as most of the passengers rushed in, driven by their individual purposes, then she slowly sauntered onto the nearest car herself. There was plenty of space – there were only a few riders in the car with her – one young man who was listening to music on his headphones. An older woman with a romance novel was in the seat nearest the front door. 

Lucy took a seat about midway in the car, and just watched everything, wide eyed and excited.

After several stops, she got off at the Harvard Square station. On the way she’d decided that a cup of tea was in order, and she knew of a tea shop on the square where she could have a nice cup and then find an outdoor bench to sit on. If she was lucky, that fellow named David would be out playing his signature blues songs. 

When she found David, he was playing near the stone chess tables, and she was happy to find a seat there. She took out her laptop and settled in to write for awhile.  

She nearly left, realizing that there would be no internet this far from any of the wifi cafes, but when she checked for available connections in her control panel, it turned out that there was a single unsecured connection available. Without even thinking, she allowed her laptop to connect and she began browsing and reading today’s news.  

She found herself bouncing around making various tiny essays into research – first on some science item she found on a friend’s Facebook page. That lead her to a story about a musician who wrote songs based on random sounds he recorded and looped with an app on his iPad. That lead to a story about global warming, which lead to one about Gnostic Scripture – something in fact about the Gospel of Judas. After reading that, she closed the laptop, stashed it into her bag, dropped a five dollar tip in David’s basket (he then happily thanked her) and started strolling around Harvard Square with the phrase “Gnostic, gnostic, gnostic gnosis” running through her head endlessly. Somehow it seemed to Lucy that this phrase, which was really more of a chant after all,was somehow causing her to “tap in” to the voice of God which, truth be told, was actually the case. 

The point of clarity she had achieved that day had, in fact, attracted the attention of a God. Not the God, the big all powerful one that the Judeo-Christian faiths believed in, but a lesser God, one who had been all but forgotten by most humans, although there were small pockets of people around the globe who knew and revered him, but did not pray to him – he was a God that hated prayer! 

He found his way to Lucy and appeared to her, first as a vague bluish cloud, then solidified into something of a recognizable human form. He solidified directly in her path and she had to stop very short in order not to collide with him and she nearly cursed him out for his carelessness, but the she looked into his ancient face and realized his true nature and was stunned.

“You are Pan,” she said matter of factly.

“I am,” he replied. 

She walked quickly over to a stone seat and sat down, in shock. 

Pan sat beside her and took her hand. 

She found that the vibration that had started earlier today was still active and when Pan touched her, it harmonized with a vibration emanating from him. The combination of the two sounds was as sudden as an orgasm but on a much higher order than any physical orgasm she had experienced. With the orgasm came a flood of images and thoughts – the phrase she had been repeating to herself suddenly made sense. This was, in fact, a Gnosis. 

Pan looked surprised. He had not expected this either, and finding his thoughts and his vibration witnessed, he popped back into the blue vapor form and allowed a breeze to dissipate him.

Lucy was so puzzled and fascinated by what was happening that she didn’t notice his departure. Anyway, the thoughts and ideas that had transferred were filling her mind, and the residue of Pan’s vibrations continued to dovetail and harmonize with her own. Deep in her cellular structure, the vibrations were working to transform her. Eventually the vibrations themselves changed into something more resembling sound and Lucy found that with a slight effort of will, she could guide the sound to different parts of her body, where it engaged in further transformations, gilding her flesh and her organs, transforming the blood in her veins into a potent liquor which had ideas and images of its own to impart. 

Then it was if a veil lifted and suddenly everything around her became translucent and she saw that where there had been matter, there was now a latticework not unlike a wireframe in Illustrator, except that this wireframe pulsed and flashed with a life that was terrifying and invigorating. 

Even her own body seemed to be composed of luminous fibers – she thought that if anyone saw her, she would look like a brilliant hairy cocoon, shot through with light from a mysterious spectrum. 

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Three Times Four

Three times four is a fragrant message to surly individuals with corduroy patterns on their egos and impediments marring their secret hearts.  They mind the store but only on a Saturday afternoon, never on a Sunday.  They live with Mellificent and her cursory pilgrims, the ones who follow and degrade the very ground they walk upon.
Shirking her duties is nothing new.  She shirks with impunity knowing full well that the posture cannot assert and the eagle lifts its wig to show us the new feathers underneath.
A small but pelting snowstorm winks at the frequent but fishtailing division. Who is this pestilent viper we love so well? Who is this torqued pillory, this orchid willow, this ill fronted text of a persimmon graphic?
Philosophy can be magnified but never multiplied.  Plead your case before the trim judge and the firm lawman.  You will bench the path and offer no remorse for guilt is only of the latter sort.  He is Hermione’s and you will bless him, if not his agnostic pie and wenches of the wilting branch.
Government, they say is forlorn but never truly foreign.  I have a small pouch full of cat stuff and peas. You can wiggle the pasty chartreuse theater ribbon and a single walking stick.  I will on the other hand eat the apple pie and stuff the larger of the two turkeys with something I think it will enjoy.
We walked up to the crevice and looked deep into it.
There it is, she said, the Well Being.
Sure enough at the bottom of the crevice was a well, and into it had crept the Well Being.
There should be no sophistry here. There should be no Madonna music here. There should be only one short recording, “More Songs About Buildings and Food” by Talking heads.  No other will be tolerated.
If you ache then you will be the aching one.  If you count your onions, you will have the fragrant finger.
I was keeping right as one does but the air got in the way. It was much heavier than average for in fact it was not air, but a wall. The wall was, perhaps, built of rocky roses and an interstitial highway. We must not rob this filched anchor. Be on the watch for atolls and simple sugars, feeling carefully along the rim making sure not to cut yourself on the sharp edge.
Should blood well around the blade, look at your skin to see if it is broken. Angle your putrid soul along the frequent hedge of paradise, where illusory birds and worthless saints peak out from under their camouflaged halos. I have one Daisy and she is unfinished but not needy or wanton.
You build small hills out of eggs and croutons.
Walter will not eat croutons so he will not climb these makeshift hills.
Have you see the illusion of the wurst and the belt of Orion? Have you loosed your workaholic leopard on the porch and laughed at the jokes your computer tells you?
I don’t ask for your four givens. I ask for your putty whelp and her ignorant paddle.  I ask for your ill gated pogrom and your featureless lagoon.  I see you for what you are and even so I deny and deny you.  I hear what you say and even so I plug my ears with strange new starches and a single octopus. You can dream of Ctulhu but you cannot drain the swamp.
The old ones are coming. Now look!  The old ones have arrived, fully at the time of their arrival.
There are no tautologies that are not reflections of cataloged art collections and in those collections there can be only one Pollock, as our fortune has shrunken and there is no fish in this shroud.  The dream that Smeagol had was one of Hobbits and Dragons and it did not end well.
Gandalf and Frodo, it is said, got blown off course after leaving the gray havens and ended up in New York City, just in time to watch the World Series.  Not understanding baseball, they assumed that the ball was the tiny head of a goblin and they cheered every time it was hit.  After the game, Gandalf determined that Frodo should be armed with a bat.  “It looks heavy, and far better for killing enemies than any knife I’ve ever seen.” But in fact, the bats proved to large and too heavy for poor Frodo.
Later that night, they searched for a safe place to sleep, but no place was available that did not smell like piss.
After the clean and well appointed digs at Rivendell, they were keenly disappointed, but still would not complain to their host.
Maria took pity on them.
“Come up to my place,” she said.  “I have a sofa and two recliners. You’ll be comfortable there, and it may be small and cramped but its clean.”
Gandalf was concerned that there might not be room enough for his wizard’s staff, but Maria assured him that it would fit quite comfortably in the living room closet.
Gandalf went along with them, muttering “What in the name of Gondor is a living room and why does it need a carpet?
I cannot explain to you this idea of snogging mountain lions. This idea of snogging mountain lions is beyond my ability to reason. It passes beyond the pale of my imagination.
Who took the cabinet to the capable church?
Who placed the goblet next to the chalice?
She who drank from the beaker will never hold the fine bone china
Hyacinth does not permit, and even as he dissents, Richard will not act openly.
This death must not rise above the tide.
Who is the behemoth on the berm?
Crystal is the behemoth.
Who is the behemoth on the sea?
Crysis is this behemoth on the sea.
Crowley was waiting for Regardie and they both held tight to their Tarots.  This wheel of fortune is better drawn than most. This Empress not so much.  But of all these cards, my preference is the King of Swords, for he carries a disk and a spear and he speaks loudly in a language I understand.
Speech cannot languish in the guise of a worshiper, it must instead come on the wings of a pear.
Multiply the anvil towards a foxglove and drink the tea of testes not.
Flit to the edge of a worsted catastrophe. This is only an apostrophe –
You look in  a mirror at the toad of destiny and you crawl over the orphan’s widow to see outside and notice if the weather has yet turned as the newsreader promised.

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They may Kiss or tell secrets

There are orchids on top of a box of drawers. Her chest pounds like the oceans in the morning but like the wind at night. In this there is no evil more anchors stove tops and banana cultures small monkeys with aching hearts. I live in the speculative world of ruptured features, off the wall participles, nuggets of antagonistic wealth hidden inside two blessed vessels. She dreams of Prudence and the songs sung one day in the distant past. I have sorted two streams of thought neither one being the curt and succinct one that is required.

Softly without shoes we walked in the giving sand. Avoiding glass like experts we move our warm feet uncut and smoothly belligerent. Taxed only. By the proximity of cold water.

I see the motion of the hands, waving back and forth like Sarah’s beautiful hands on her microphone stand. I haven’t seen her in the morning yet, only late at night when I can only imagine the true color of her face.

Two lanes on the highway, delineated by straight and dotted lines.

A truck that has ornaments carved by a Mexican artist on its hood – colorful figures with golden skulls, shiny, perhaps ceramic, and the driver looked at them and talked to them while he drove as if they could hear as if they were responding to him and perhaps they did.

Off the road there is a small path where we sometimes walked, she in her leotard, I in my torn and faded jeans. How did the jeans get faded? I wore them forever and continually washed them and loved them until they were faded.

Have there been oxen on their way to Damascus? Have the Beatles played for them singing Obladioblada? Have there been moments of water moving in a passionate wave? Have there even monuments which fell out of the sky intact, seen and yet ignored?

The aliens have been here, we are assured of this. There are days and days worth of videos explaining their presence. Certain people believe them like gospel.

Today there was wind but now it is still. It is cool outside but not cold. I have the virtuous song of a clock ticking on the wall – where the numbers should be, it instead says, simply, tea time – every hour is tea time, except a few in the late afternoon where instead it was high tea.

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The Movements of the Plates

Allowing for the movements in the plates, the human ones, that are hidden under a maypole in the distinct vicinity of a corpuscular sky. Who were the human ones? Who were the small ones who stayed under the rocks and stones and never, ever popped up their significantly combed but empty heads? They all collected pills, and ampules. They all fell over the edge and into a spinning miasma of politics.

One day, Miranda was walking there among them, working out math problems in her head of heads.  She wore no bandannas for she was no Banana Queen, but she listed this way and that as she walked, like a drunken tailor, like a mushroom too big for its stem.

Holly stood beside her rafting nullified crustaceans and building small walls to keep them in.

Did you ever really like the pugnacious participle? Was your grammar ever beyond reproach?

I had that solitary jar and inside the delicious electricity, the shortened circuit and the impact of a crucible.

Had the moment passed, we would have been obnoxious and joined the fray, but instead time stood still and an orchid became carbonite.  Where, she wondered, is Han Solo, and why is his cellphone on my nightstand?

In that frozen moment when nothing could occur we had no pattern and the pygmies lifted the veil. But as is ever the case the only thing behind the veil was another veil, this one too heavy to be lifted in the time out of time.

Hercules has ballast but no corduroy.  Are you eating vacuoles? Have your sultry Madonnas split the proper knees of their jeans?

Do not be circuitous in this because vessels and orthotics hold sway in the virtual web.  I saw the vertices and counted them one by one but Nonna said no and we had to fluctuate beyond nucleotides and true black.  Even so, you canted the lift to the pilgrims and fractured only two frozen suns.

And that morning, we listened slowly to Gypsy Soul and daydreamed of an earnest Calcutta. Did you breeze the soldier in his beer steeped philosophy? Did you dream her up into tragedies both Shakespearean and Netflixian?

That’s when it moved in the correct way again. Always forward but with memory that could if exerted look back and foresight that could, to some degree, peer forward. That is when we were blessed by the snail in her shell and the hermit crab in his.

Were there nights with casual services, rendered on the regimental fluting? Where there are forks, there are figures and you must account for the autonomy of the anatomy, utilizing the full craft of aromatherapy.

What is the temperature of the disguised tremor, the organism that knows its own pleasure and can always provide?  Who is the Dortmunder with the Frankfurter hat? What is his team, where is his stadium?  In this circus, who is the ringmaster and who the Molly Ringwald? And more importantly, will she bring with her her ringlets?

Paddy was working on his laptop and he discovered the website of a soccer whale.  The whale was known for artful use of the blowhole in the mad discovery of heretofore untapped goals.  This lead to small inroads in foreign trade, and the balance of Miranda was restored.

The gaol and the hammer were disdained.  Fourteen oracles left their perches to join in the seed frenzy.  Never one to rock the birdbath, Christy looked deep into the pocket of her left shirt and her right skirt, panting loudly and calling out to Fragile Bill.

Who is this oriental instrument: He is, of course the bland particulate, the velocipede without funyums, the integrated soapster with his flagellated organelle.  Who is this dangled jackalope: He is, of course the frequently sequestered but oft quoted vanilla wafer, its similarity to a Catholic host not unnoticed.

Three times one is uppity. Please she said, do not be a snob.

The orchid presents hazards, but carries no known or knowable weapon.  Can this be the patter of an integer, padding the world with Pi and eking out its existence on the pulpit of a single hydraulic jack?  Who jumps that bully turnstile, who follows tigers into orbit?

On Friday, the virgin approached Ganymede in her craft.  The other virgin lay in his craft as well, but the divide was great and crossing the black hole would present certain problems

Vacate now.

And forge pistils for the pollination.



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Just a quickie, drawn with Paper 53 and a very cheap capacitive stylus on an iPad Air (first generation)

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It’s cloudy today. My mind as well as the sky. I  am in that mood where there is no energy or inertia. I just want to settle someplace and doze or even sleep deeply for awhile, but I’m out and around trying to avoid that.

It’s also breezy – I was going to say windy, but that would be unfair to the gusts earlier this morning.  Earlier this morning the wind was powerful enough to bark like a dog across the edges of the roof.  My bedroom window was open when I fell asleep last night and this morning I was woken up by the flapping of the curtains – and the spray of rain that came in and spread clear across the room.  My door was closed and I kept stirring because when the wind gusted, the door rattled in its frame.  Never enough to rouse me completely, at least not until the curtain flapped and the moisture came in.

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Heart Music

The heart sings its own secret music. But what music comes from a heart shaped guitar?

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Hearts Until Valentine’s Day

Last year between the first of February and Valentine’s Day I made and posted more than 100 heart and heart inspired images. This year I’m making more. You can check them out on Twitter, #HeartsUntilValentinesDay. 

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the vanilla hillsEvery night I dream. I dream more now than I used to, since I’ve begun using some binaural recordings to help me sleep more deeply.  When I wake up in the morning, I always have a clear memory that I’ve been dreaming – but very rarely actually remember the dreams.  What I remember from the dreams are impressions – sometimes places, sometimes faces or colors, or motions, just isolated fragments of what I dreamed.  I have a “knowledge” that I’ve been traveling and although I don’t clearly remember the actions in the dreams, I know that they are a continuation of my day to day living, but in a different world – or possibly different worlds.

I’m sometimes jealous of people who tell me that they have very clear memory of what they have dreamed. But I remember dreaming when I was much younger – I remember every detail of some of those younger dreams, and although they were sometimes very dramatic and surreal and seemingly filled with symbolism and meaning, they also did not leave me with the impression I get from these less clear dreams I’m having, that I’d been traveling to other worlds.  That sense of traveling is new, something that has entered the dreams in recent years.

I think that the dreams I’m having now are more important – but for some reason, accessing them with conscious thought as memory is forbidden.

Somebody suggested that I am practicing for my next life by traveling to the world I’ll be reincarnated in.

The great thing that comes from these dreams is that my painting is informed by them.  Just as my paintings are composed from impressions I collect when I’m out and about (so that, for example, a watercolor landscape includes some of the flavor as the landscapes I drive through here in Arizona, without really including representations of real locations, I also include impressions from dreams in those images.  So a landscape like the one above (made with Paper 53 on my iPad) echoes things I’ve seen in the waking world, the colors and the composition also include elements from places I move through when I dream – the other world is represented.  Its not a literal representation, but a kind of visual paraphrasing for something I’ve experienced.

I don’t think that, short of solving the problem of telepathy, we can ever convey the literal truth of things we’ve seen or felt – but we can strive to capture and convey our impressions – keeping in mind of course that all such things are both personal and colored by opinion and so unreliable as anything more than a general guide to the thoughts in question.

That is how we create the parallax which allows us to share the world and to experience the myriad of dimensions that we move through and experience but do not process on the same high level that we use in processing our consensus reality.



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