Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Cushion

Bubbles, tickling the inside of my mouth, and the inside of my conscious. The people in this party had recently collectively decided to relax and play. This is in contrast to the stiff, awkwardness that marked the beginning, before the sparkling beverages. Now, we flitted about, like buoyant things in shifting winds. With arms spread and legs kicking, the container was filled side to side. We bubbled up, climbing, taking the party vertical. 
"Hello. I mean, 'good evening.' Could you, um, help me up?" I think her name is Mary, or Jane, or Mary Jane. It had gotten to that point in the evening. She used me as a stepping stone in her poorly coordinated ascent. The alignment of her skirt became a casualty in the maneuver, and quickly wasn't covering very much. The partyers were, like Mary Jane, not bothered by the spectacle, some even appreciative, no one surprised.
A man was next. I couldn't tell you his name, despite it being the second time seeing him at one of these events. He left his wallet and keys on a ledge near me and asked, "you'll be here, right?" I thought about speaking, but that would require opening my mouth, and I didn't want to let any of the bubbles escape. Instead I shook my head 'no.' He paused, then shrugged, and left them there anyway. His ascent was even less graceful, but his pants didn't drop, so less entertaining, too.
I noticed my body hanging on its frame. I wasn't as light as air, but as malleable as water. The bubbles bouncing on the inside of me, both mouth and stomach, and everything in between, was pulverized. I felt soft all over, like a well made pillow. Enough people had taken the party to another level that there were empty sections of ground. Finding the most inviting of these, I spread out, a living cushion.
"You are not going to sleep, are you?" asked one woman. "Dude, I'm going to tea bag you," said a young man. To both I explained that I was soft and formless and was like a pillow made out of bubbles. They both agreed and piled atop and aside me.

(c) Michael Mosher 2010

Monday, August 30, 2010

Between the Winds

The howling winds  that have cut a grand gallery through this stone continue their work. The sound, it pierces the mind, rendering thought cleft, jagged.It is here that those who wish to divorce themselves from thought, to be at one, and yet nothing, with the present come. In a melody, at times beautiful, at times eerie, the Students of No-Mind chant upon rock spires with the winds. 

As a visitor you at first realize you are hearing the voice of another person. Then, the echo is denied as the winds come. You try to reflect on the union of these sounds, but thoughts are pulverized before maturation. You are left with rough, dry rock and thought denying sound. The winds shift, and you laugh at your discomfort, your weakness, like a roller coaster rider walking away on queasy knees. Then the winds return and you find the rock a comfort; leaning on ancient pillars. The striations of varying color and coarseness present their majesty to your fingertips and eyes as you descend to find sitting more appealing than standing. 

The winds pause, but the chanting does not. You think how foolish it was to waste your last thought on mirth and begin to fear. How fragile we are, how tender and weak. When the winds return you have already turned you head to the ground. You envelope your head in arms and rest forehead to Earth. The tears begin, then the body shaking sobbing. Tension has left your back and your spine has opened but, you don't notice. The same air those sounds ride on goes into your lungs. You stop shaking as you stop trying to fight, stop trying to deny or fear. You are between the winds, or you are not.

(c) Michael Mosher 2010

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Scheduled Love

"Morning already?" he asked an empty room. She had left already for work. It was later than he hoped. His cellphone mockingly reminded him of this by displaying the time, and her picture. In the picture she gave the sweetest smile, one not frequently seen, he thought. 
The house didn't seem like his home, that he didn't belong. It was a place for two, or at least that is the way it was transforming. This morning, his tardiness, wasn't his first mistake.  A cat brushed his leg and cried. "I need to be more disciplined to keep Margaret," he replied as he bent to fill the food bowl.
After a while, he sat with his breakfast and wrote an itinerary for the day. In it were entries like "Organize my stuff in living room and bedroom, 4:30-5:30" and "Take out trash, including cigarettes, 7-7:30." He looked it over and found it complete after stuffing one last entry in, "buy flowers, red wine, and bubble bath, 4:15-4:30."

(c) Michael Mosher 2010

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


This malign place, where dread both primal and practical continuously nips at your heels, and even shadows run from themselves, cannot be my home indefinitely. There is a wariness that bleaches the soul with constant exposure to such depravity. Those who have never left, or always were, appear like aged bone, frail and muted. 
When Mickey came last eve with the latest report she concluded, "I'm glad I am alright." I paused whilst processing this, especially the last, before catching the social cue and answering. Now, alone, I write that it seems we will all be directly affected, eventually. If we must all suffer, isn't better to do so one's self than to find loved ones in pain?
Though this be dreary, others have similarly been afflicted. The Grangers, newleyweds of not quite two months, have already lost that look in their eyes. Between Matilda and I, we had a schoolchild's disposition toward one another certainly for two years, while perfect strangers have suggested the newness of our union well after. Also, this is the only wedding this year, and July draws to a close without any others planned.

(c) Michael Mosher 2010

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Canyon Winds

Naked winds, blowing bristly bear hair,
baring bare babes aloft,
borne of aeries howling crags.
the valley, her gift, on wings still wet,
Undulations, oscillating, convect.
Holding out thin frail arms.
Skin stretched taught
pushing invisible phantoms below it,
'til the unimaginable gulf can be measured.

© Michael Mosher 2010

Thursday, August 19, 2010

First Principles

Question marks on the horizon. 
The puzzle isn't clear. 
we didn't know it was a puzzle 
Define the formula, 
Logic is elusive, 
aloft in winged migration. 
Will we see the pattern? 
Will we look up?

Closed loop inconsistencies. 
Disjoint mysteries. 
Carnival ride 
operands and no operator. 
Graph greatest efficiency, 
make a line, 
a division. 
Test the boundaries, 
push the envelope.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Unnamed Writing Exercise 001

The Devil may do what the Devil may care, but the Angels of our better nature will care more. What is it to be bound, to be held, motionless, imprisoned. Powerlessness, weakness, ineptitude, ennui. There is an anger burning bright amongst the wronged and the righted. Amongst those that have suffered a great punishment, branded by their victim-hood. 

This Devil-in-Chains , Scion of the Oppressed and Imprisoned, stands in the darkest, deepest pit. It hears the muffled cries and pleas through unending tears. All that rattle the hope of vindication and revenge stoke its fire.

A spirit of revenge, a spirit of anger and impatience. an immature spirit which harbors the potential for continuous strife. A seed for another link in the nigh unending chain of revenge.Those chains it is wrapped in are the one's it chooses to wear.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Compression Ratio

A pinprick of light, a veiled silhouette, a muffled voice, a creaking stair. All impressions that betray a greater meaning. They project past experiences, allowing for their transformation into present assumptions and expectations.

There is no way that I can "know" every second of your life when I don't even know mine. All those shames and failures, washed down to a thin dull, but manageable form. The brain only receives a sixth of what the eye takes in, what must be the compression ratio of our memories? 

But, I want to know you. I want to share your life. I listen to your stories, the dark and the light ones. Hopes and fears together. I get highlights, a synopsis. I want it all, I want to be there, vicariously. When did my brain stop "seeing" Echinacea and start seeing only the image composite  of an "ideal" Echinacea built from several memories? How much of what I share with you is like that? 

Hopefully, what we share is, mostly, real memories, preserved and shared for the same reason; they are important. How much, as an introvert trying to function socially, do we project stereotypes and archetypal constructs on the mental profile of a new acquaintance to comfort us? Can we really appreciate each other through time, or are we always stuck with the version of you we decided we wanted to believe is "you?" Does it make a difference when we have been present for those changes? Maybe it is easier to appreciate our own changes when we reflect on someone else's? Maybe the other way around? Maybe it is easier to appreciate when we are told as an outsider what changed and what didn't and how their thoughts were different then when we don't have a personal point of view on the subject.

You hear the belt creak and it triggers a memory. You share it with me, and now I can listen to that same sound and think of you and your past. I smell the orange and share similarly. Will we open ourselves to the possibility that the people before us are unique, both from all other people and from each previous incarnation of themselves?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Social Sciences

Can human expression be mapped? If so, would it be meaningful? Has human knowledge been enriched because we now have a binomial distribution showing the heights of of people? Sometimes it seems the quantitative expression of human action , outside of the physical, but the socio-economic, political, and communicative-relational are fraught with impotence, or at least inefficiency.  
Think of the amount of study it takes to be able to design a bridge, or a building. The long years of math, a modest amount of physics and material science. It is about as long as one would have o spend studying to make complex computational models expressing the economic principles in a system, complete with logical operators, and statistically sound.
You spend a number of years finding a new gene sequence, or a vaccine. In the same number of years and you have defined old problems in new ways, maybe had a completely new model for some foundation principle, but really you have created so many more questions, and set your colleagues scurrynig to disprove and vet your work.
US President Franklin Roosevelt used the economic principle of Keynes to end the depression of the time, but what about the economic principles that were ignored in the Smoot-Hartley act of 1930? What of psychology and the way we raise our children, or conduct or workplaces? Political science has failed to prevent wars, not even wars for pride and glory.

(C) Michael Mosher 2010

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


The burning of dung left an acrid scent in the air. The sun had gone down, although the clay walls were quite warm, and a need for light and cooking spread across the village. Korlanna had seen the last of her pupils leave some time ago and had cleaned  the room of wayward chalk and slate. While the number of children had stayed fairly steady over these three years, an increasing number of adults had begun studying, as well. The cool mornings consisted of the children's studies, while after the noon sun made the pits too hot to work an adults class began. Korlanna's afternoon classes were more difficult. Not because the adults weren't mature, attentive pupils, quite contrary, but that she was working a second job, simultaneously.
This second group, males of various races, consisted of a lot of potential clients for her evening work. She had to make sure her clothing was perfectly cinched, with liberal amounts of cleavage. She had to shave, and what hair remained couldn't appear dry or dusty. But, that was all preparation. When in the front of the room, her pedagogue had to be impartial, but her body language had to reward the men. Playing the helpless creature ripe for plunder didn't work well with teaching. This dance required a more active role. A particular school of thought said the best teaching required rewarding pupil's participation. It was from this Korlanna drew inspiration. She rewarded all active learners, but she nearly threw herself into the laps of a man when he spoke. Also, playing the willing servant, happy to be of service, was a fruitful strategy.
All of this went through Korlanna's mind as she prepared her next lesson, teaching her replacement. The next merchant caravan had just come to the village along with one of her Dwarf sisters. She told her literacy students that her stint was up, and a rotation was in order. Their reactions were largely disappointed, which she found flattering. To ease both their hearts and hers, she suggested they write her, putting to practice their new found knowledge. The last thing they wrote was her name and the name of the town she would reside in again, North Ledopolis. 
Though her excuse for leaving was true, it was only part of the truth. The immediate impetus was that she was pregnant, and, hopefully, from a Human. If so, the child would fetch a high value from the gladiatorial houses, enough that she would never have to prostitute again, and only teach because she enjoyed it. However, while most people would have mixed feelings knowing a child they never wanted was being sold in to slavery, these are runaway slaves. The village is based on an encampment of those who got far enough away from the cities that saw them as property, later to be able to trade the salt in the ground beneath them. They knew the value a child from the union of a Dwarf and a Human could yield. So, Korlanna made a point to explain what the Penny Royal dried leaves were for, making a spectacle of the purchase in the market.

(C) Michael Mosher 2010

Friday, August 06, 2010

Love is

Love is a many-splendid thing, it is also a source for not-so-splendid sensations. It is utterly beautiful, breath-taking, awesome. Yet, it is a pipe's song luring you off cliffs; what lies below is a mystery.
It fills quiet moments with secret joys, seemingly unexplainable smiles and laughs and exclamations, "Oh, I know someone who will love this!" It makes the days and weeks go by faster, as if the very orbs of heaven were under its sway. It makes mere seconds become centuries, as if two people could hideaway from the world like Rip van Winkle, sharing one dream. 
It makes conversations take this level of import that salespeople and office managers can only fantasize of creating in their own. Those mysteriously beautiful moments just sharing words are such treasures that when they are absent it is unmistakable, as well. Which is to say, love creates expectations. We long for a certain level of intimacy, for a certain degree of closeness by which we can share these private joys. The irrational heart is too selfish to accommodate "reasonable demands" which takeaway its promised bounty.
So, Love creates the sorrow that only placing perfection in an imperfect world can. It is the power that moves mountains, but those mountains have a course all their own. It helps us enjoy the smaller things, but blinds us to the bigger. It makes a lifetime not seem long enough, but a week an unacceptable turmoil.
We feel those we love in our hearts now, especially now, despite them not being close. They are a fire that burns hot in our chests, providing us comfort in a cold world. We are never alone, never unwanted, never forgotten. It is a gift, one that sparks and spits when its orbit brushes against anything else, and is so bright when closest we don't think we will ever see again, nor want to.


(C) Michael Mosher 2010

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Primary Symbols

What is the mind? A series of symbols, networked together making different paths. Each path the route of electrical impulses across neurons. But what of these symbols and the greater self. If all constructs, memecomplexes of our thick knowledge can be said to be the accumulation of these symbols then aren't their composition highly important in our ability to think new thoughts?

How could we add a new primary symbol to our current record? What would it look like to us, and how could educators recognize them? Finally, are all primary symbols devoid of a proclivity toward any particular set or categories of constructs? If so, would there be some primary symbols that we would want to avoid?

Think of when you were a passerby, without any need or expectation in your immediate surroundings, and caught a scent which sent you on an internal journey. You were suddenly in another time for a fraction of a second, then for several moments consciously fascinated at this gift of revisiting the past. Could we not say that this scent is a primary symbol? It maybe a the primary symbol for one memecomplex, or possibly there is only one that it is strongly linked to, but could be used for others.

The human obsession with symmetry is a curious commonality. Could it be that all of our sight is a shuffling of primary shapes and colors? There are objects which have a most definite round shape, another rectilinear. Then there are irregularities of such minute complexity we see them as a whole and find shape in the larger swath. A crack in the plaster with all of its texture, the vertical climbs and long troughs, are but a crooked line, in totality. The bumps and ridges of a course surface become out of focus as we step back until a more symmetrical structure is identified.

(C) Michael Mosher 2010

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Business over the 'Pits

"Master Kervoklav..."
"Please, you are an adult now, here on your own business. Call me Torheck." Before Jarvis could apologize or protest or make some excuse, the salt pit manager produced a bottle of wine. As he poured out to cups he made a toast, "to first names."
Jarvic did not delay any longer letting Master Kervoklav know the rumors were true, that his father had died. As a former slave, an outlaw, and a master of men Torheck did not afford himself the luxury of expressing the delicate emotions. Having cultivated a long relationship with the elder Merchant al-Fadlon and his family, he reacted as one of his station and birth might be expected to, he hit something. Notably, he had the prescience and presence of mind to have a hanging bag of sand and use it as the target.
When the two men were sitting together again, the younger had before him two documents, on paper. The young ibn-Fadlon turned the copy of his father's Statement of Indebture to face the manager and pointed out the "X" he scrawled to indicate his consent, and the string of, to him, strange symbols that supposedly represented his name.
"He kept telling me, 'Torheck, you have dealt with me unfairly and put me in your debt. I will not forget this.' At first I thought he is giving me a great complement. But, after some time it appeared like an insult, if you don't mind me being frank. I loved your father, and wouldn't have cared if he stopped acquiring my salt, as long as he would visit me on his routes." He cleared his throat, and not because of the air. "Finally, he produced this contract, a mystery to me, and a mystery to everyone else. I never admitted that there was writing in my office, let alone from your father."
"Thank you for your discretion. My father would always say of you, 'Master Kervoklav is a far greater asset than the salt his pits produce. He is as trustworthy and loyal as a House member. Not to the House because of membership, but to those he deals with because of his nature and our fair dealings.'"
An exchange of memories and pleasantries continued as a cold casserole of meat in a fruit sauce was presented. The writing was discretely hidden until after only mead was on their lips and no further interruptions were expected.
"The more than fair exchange rates you provided my father was converted into an investment. You have nearly an eigth of his Caravan, and thus approximately a thirty-second of the whole House. You could extract your investment now, as upon the guarantor's death there is no penalty, or you could sign this." Another document revealed from underneath the other, filled from top to bottom with the alien symbols, and a blank line ripe for Torheck's consent. "It is the swearing of my fealty to the House, and a promise to uphold the dealings of my father. I don't need your consent to continue his work. However, with it not only would it make my struggles less, but we could trade immediately."

(C) Michael Mosher 2010

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Salt Mines

Salt was in the air, on our tongues, in our hair. Leaving everything stained white, the workers hands bled from the excessive flexing of dry and cracked skin. So red was the accent color. This layout, of shocking red in an unending field of white was remeniscent of the sky above. The horizon was long, the clouds this time of year vacant, and the heat of an angry sun seared all it touched.
It was not without irony that the miners were dismissed shortly before High Sun, when she was in her zenith. Starting work at the break of dawn, or whenever a worker was able to show up, and going till the heat was unbearable, but not lethal, was the method used by most labor intensive industries. Thus, the irony was not easily perceived by one entrenched in the culture.
"By the Moons, look at you. Just like your Father!" Carefully inhaling to avoid gagging on wayward salt, he continued, "Jarvis, it is good to see you, but please tell me you aren't looking to work in the pits again?"
Masked behind a wet cloth cum air filter, Jarvis replied, "It is good to be seen, but no, I appreciate the beauty of the mines from the priviledge of a removed point-of-view."
With a gesture of familial curtness, the elder motioned for his guest to join him in the managerial tower. This structure afforded a lookout for windstorms and bandits, alike. The five open sides had the option of two covers. The first a weave of giants hair, providing the occupants with shade, but airflow. The second, which would overlap the first if employed, was a thin reptillian hide, for significant winds. Both were dyed red and purple, the colors of the village. A wagon just arrived at the tower with water after visiting the worker's pavilion.

Michael Mosher 2010 (C)