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Some Assembly Required

(Prompt: Interference by Pete1987, via writeworld. Be very careful. If you see yourself in today's piece, make sure not to flinch. Knowing isn't knowing better, but it's always a start.)

Valentine's already come out through the other side. She shines now, you see? Of course you do.

They said that her eyes once shone like sapphires, so they were the first to go. Pressed behind concave plastic, at first, then shifted in a thousand shades to find the finest hue. Then came the instruments that looked too much like sharpened, serrated spoons. Then came the wires into optic nerves, the buzzing drill, the scraping on dry bone, then finally the whir of re-alignment.

Then her eyes really were sapphires. Now, they shine.

They said that her skin was once as white as alabaster, but she didn't take the proper care of it. She let it stretch with lazy living, let it grow too pale or too tan by seasons. Her skin just wasn't ruggedized for her careless style of ownership. She couldn't be trusted with a gentle thing like good skin. So they sealed it in - first wax,  and then the kind of clear plastic that squeaks. She sounded and moved very much like furniture. Unacceptable, and so? Peel and replace.

Vulcanized rubber slid over a sheath of steel as insulated as a Faraday cage. Now, her skin shines.

They said that her voice once sang out like early-morning light. She sang the wrong kinds of music, though. She abused what others had worked and bled and fed to give her. Country on Tuesdays. Hip-hop and soul rhythm in the wrong neighborhoods. Once? She sang Taylor Swift. Once? Avril Lavinge. Once? One damned Direction. She had no business  a voice, if she didn't use it in a pleasing way. Not once did she sing a song for an audience - and that was one step too far for any sensible human being to tolerate. How could she have been so very selfish?

They didn't even bother replacing voice boxes. Words cannot shine, and that's the thing...

A lady, if properly engineered, is seen and felt...

But never, ever are they heard.

(c) 2013 Lawerence Hawkins, text only

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The Beam: cradle

I slept in a bed last night
curled up on the right,
because a ghost was sleeping on the left;
he thought I was his wife
and slipped his arms around me when I rested,
his dead eyes sank into my hair and sighed;
I just leaned back into him and cried,
for the ache in his aural being,
the solace he found in my breathing,
for my lonely, beating heart;
and the night pitched into waves,
into planetary bodies screaming and colliding,
I crawled into hollow-marrow bones for hiding;
but, I found a mutiny inside,
myriad madness marching, and I lied;
I told them I am a goddess, a creator of time
and they fell to their knees in remorse,
pray’d to me in chattering clinks and missing links
with fervor and earnest and passion;
I flew into a raging fit,
smote them all in a single hit;
the world fell away into a spinning, blurring mass
and I thought I was alone at last,
but, tangled in my limbs was the corporeal stranger,
resting sweet against me in a noose-love grip;
and he poured himself inside me then, tip to slip,
he rode my hips like a prism-refraction,
then came in a dust-mote cloud of satisfaction;
and in my grief I began weeping,
because after I woke, I was still sleeping.

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The Beam: Soul

i.  basileis

This is my kingdom;
the pavement painted straits, flatland fortune,
crescent-forged coves and moss-plaited cypress elders;
the shade, alive-dead with wraiths and feral felines,
sailors trapped, trappers trolling;
 

my spirit was born here, years ago when I was fresh
and shy; living in the gate to the Milky Way,
wearing stardust on my eyelids and sleeping in black water;
singing to milk thistles about bibettes and beauxs,
ladybug babbling; secrets carried in gnat clouds and mud puddles,

 
remembering is easier than I thought it would be;
I still don't feel much more than the drive,
the need to be beneath the Beam,
and memories make judgment much more pleasant to deal;
shortens the trek in my mind despite the distance

 
Another, and Another, then Another;
they are crumbling beneath my throes
and I have become something of an empress entity;
there are haunts beneath my flesh, pacing my veins,
hovering at the tunnel of my pores, gagging to break free;

 
I have come to feel these talents beneath my skin,
they speak in fusion and fission, blood borne murmurs
that my bones obey; tossing and turning,
I know that I am no longer the girl I once was
and I realize that I don't really miss her.

 

ii.  lava

back behind the oak tree, Another is hiding,
she's such a tiny thing, only little and naive;
but, we're all bound for the same fate here,
a fate only one of us can see,
our world has no ticking-tocking hands;
she will devastate and eradicate,
with her adolescent demands,

 
a rolling flame tickles my brain and I jump away,
a lava kiss to burn me to a crisp;
"Petite cocotte!  Try again." I think-speak,
as she vaults a vesuvian-ash streak;
a warm air divide with hurricane demeanor,
and my eyelashes spark like shooting stars,
I think of making a wish on this double bad luck;
then lava rushes across my tongue to flood my lungs,
steam curls around my lips and I am crawling through the grass
and it scorches into straw where I pass;

leaving a black wake behind my misting limbs,
the tiny thing is laughing with a straight face,
she doesn't even flinch when I spill at her feet,
with her fire in my eyes, I blink into her soul;
she is my tiny little marionette, my puppet to hold,
she is bending for a hug, an innocent goodnight kiss;
and I press my mouth to hers and rid her of nightmares,
soothing all the cold places in her heart with the heat she spares,
she melts into a slimy mess and stains my favourite dress;

 
not a backward thought plagues me,
the child-slaughterer I am;
my blood will not allow
that kind of weakness now.

 

iii.  peridot

there are finger lengths in my peridot soul,
he hides them in the whirls and whorls of his tips,
along with my future, to lay on the nape of his neck;
to know that I drink him in, to hold me from within

 
I am a haji constellation, seeking to dwell,
in a shape shifting soothe, a bronze-globe dome of space
with every macro-cosmic creation on my face.

 

 iv.  ammonite

when the Beam speaks; it rains ammonite slivers,
and the eternity in those tears give me the shivers.

 

 v.  tarot

I dream awake; of jade and opal and pearls,
a ghost-man that found the light, but still visits me every night;
and I know that he sleeps sound, with no one around,
not a single breath for miles;
he could not rest with the living madness,
or lay still surrounded by animated sadness;

 
he wants me to come for him, to take him away;
and I don't know where he fits into the picture,
but, I can't rest if I don't lay with him in the dark;
I know that I loved him when I was no one
and he holds bits of my eyes in his palms
because I see his hands on me wherever I go

 
still, the Beam is all that I know;
that sugar’d steel melding, bolt and flow;
but, he says that we are one,
and for us the Beam will hold;
we are Older than the rest,
made to shoulder the sky,
as infinite as the void and we will never die.

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The Beam: Trek

-Trek-

 

the tall man in the corner has his eyes on me,
his top lip is fuller than his bottom lip
and I bet he kisses like a lightning storm in August;
he's going to ask me to take a road trip,
down into the mesa; a saturn-ring on earth,
to make love to me on the hood of his Olds 


under a killing moon; with a wolf's devour hunger,
madly; until his stamina no longer holds.
 

I can already feel the hum of the engine trembling my thighs
and maybe I have no control; he's already coming my way;
this shouldn't be happening, he's immune,
or maybe he's Another, too; an original make, like me;
but, I know that when he's spent
he'll put me away; out in the mesa-galaxy vast

 
so, I need to walk away now
and walk away fast.

 
my lungs are heaving like dusty, dry trees
inhaling and exhaling red and orange and brown leaves;
his scent is high on my cheeks, he smells like the sea,
a great churning whirlpool rampage;
my heart is sputtering a whispering lay,
like a beautiful tragedy's mating call

 
terror steps are pacing my hasty retreat,
and my back is grazing the wall.

 
he smiles; like the archangel of sex and death,
speaks in my mind low,
"Sweetness, I know that you know,"
there is room for only one on the pedestal
in the middle of the lake; between the platinum pillars,
and his mind has seen that space below the beam

 
we all have the burning to bathe in its sheen,
to glow on the pulpit of creation's dream.

 
he bends at the knees and slides one between my legs;
drops a palm at my hip and tangles the other in my hair,
my skin sighs into his capture; screams to be throttled all over,
but, fear is stomping down my throat
grinding a fever into my gut; a snapping slap
to my psychosomatic grip

 
my stasis-mechanism lets go wildly
and bucks into a crackling whip.

 
every head turns at once; eager to obey,
and his winged-grin fades just before I say,
"Help me, please.  Don't let him get away."
he understands fully now and tries hard to fight;
looks the first in the eye and screams at him to stop,
but, they are all mine and this tall man will not survive

 
"You can't control them without their eyes, it doesn't work that way!"
he doesn't seem to realize what I'll do to stay alive.

 
and as they press in upon him, ripping his life to shreds,
these guarding soldiers; mindless drones,
caught in the thrall of my tethering pull;
he gives in with a grunt then laughs silent like a mime,
looks at me calmly and says,
"You are the evolution, girl; don't expect to be free.

 
I don't know what waits for you in the Beam
but, when it's done, you'll be resting here with me."

 
and as his brilliance pours into the cracks
of the hardwood floor in this small-town bar,
his words reverberate in the air;
charging electric pulses on my eyelashes
and I see ultramarine depths at their tips,
the men come to sit like dogs at my feet

 
and they leave sanguine skid marks as they clamber
to follow me as I step out on the street.

 
"Stay!" I bellow and they do so with disappointed faces;
but, I haven't got a minute to waste,
there are others like him, like me
all racing to the source; that holy triforce shining,
like diamonds and ivory in a sapphire rest;
stoic and steady, brutal in their quest

 
I am still clouded by frustration and trepidation;
yet, I am thrilled by this ultimate test.

 
I can no longer remember anything from before,
my past blew away on a gale force swarm;
sometimes I can taste memories, but I spit them away;
there's no room for nostalgia and regret,
weakness is the final mistake;
and I have worlds to travel with this mind

 
there is no give with my take; guilt is for the common,
for the bleating sheep leading the blind.

 
lands are dripping into the background;
I am crossing lines and plots as days,
there is Another within my reach,
she hears me coming in her fingers; ready to meet,
when I open the door and walk inside
there is a sudden freeze

 
time is standing still in this dive;
this old woman speaks in threes.

 
she is withered and papery; an ancient power
and I wonder at the strength in numbers,
the significance of age and war;
she is idly murmuring in code,
but, I can see her intent in the back of my eyes;
she is poison to the touch; asp grey
 

an eater of beating rhythm,
a ghosting touch to prey.

 
"You took him, with no sight to hold."
she sang in a smoke-stained voice;
"He fed you the heat, but you fed him defeat."
I begin to dance in wide arches, then;
"Your lover was the first soldier
to become an Older." 


I am spinning gracefully between the time-still bodies;
closer and closer, as the woman's song grows colder.

 
"You can't remember him, can you? 
Still, these words hold true."
swaying toward my death, I can not deny;
"The lake holds no love, only chaos from above."
my blood is slowing now;
this waltz is cresting in shade; so near

 
jerking short, I clear my throat and sing
in steely riffs of how I wish you were here.

 
the old woman dips; falls to the tiled floor,
my soprano vibrato rises, fills the walls like sand;
climbs from ground to ceiling with drowning cadence,
enchanting her veins to retire; lulling her lips to sag
"You have stolen misery from this old hag", she squeaked;
and then I bedded her with a deftone change, in the house of flies

 
"They took you two together, you'll find him again." she mouthed,
"He won't be the same, though, no matter how hard he tries."

 
I want to grind her into ash, sing her into dust;
blow her away in a jet stream gust,
watch her banshee soul float into the blue;
venom and fury are shaping my journey,
my way of thinking now
and I do not mourn the loss of my humanity

 
those chinks in my armor are closing
and this purpose is sharpening my sanity.

 
I don't want to think about him,
he is from before; a past passed,
but, as I set to the path I will tread,
there is a flash of green'd bronze on my lids;
almond-shaped ammonite illusion;
pierced with a mirrored black light

 
and now across the stars, I see his face,
and he's speaking to me through the night.

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Contact

The heft of girders

In the weightless night

Of space is nothing

-

Day is so far off, and yet

Ever present as a point of light

Past the blue bauble.

-

Assembling whales

To cross the infinite width

Of distance measured

-

In aeons, unpredictable

Evolutions away;

The only reaching out

-

We can accomplish

With the universe

As we understand it.

-

To fizzle out

Unidentified, a flash

In a foreign atmosphere.

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The End's End

Grey and choking smoke

Of uranium power unleashed

Melted plastic skin

Twirls in fudgy asphalt

 

Wagging tongues 

Of gold and red

Lashing and licking

All consuming

The bones

Of their mortal gods

 

The pungent smell

Burning fat and styrofoam

Indistinguishable

From one another

 

But no one is there to witness

This radioactive filth

He has created

 

No one grieves

Not a single tear 

Nor a sound was heard

In the land of death

They are nothing more

But soft putty 

 

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aria

There are no tears in Aria;
pain is as fluid as air,
filling the lungs of the enslaved
with thick strips of raw cotton
saturated in agony; raging,
every breath burning like liquid fire,

gathering behind anhydrous eyes
that long to gaze much higher.

A sun-ridden planet; psychotomimetic desert;
desolate sand hills that mask terror amuck,
breezes that carry whet razors
slicing across forsaken, dead faces,
cutting and bruising; shredding dignity and resistance;
suffocating and harsh; a dictating desecration,

authoritarian climate, beating its dwelling
into an existence of damnation.

The females carry the burden
of man's every little whim;
a complete domination at their heels and swords;
The men drink old blood and suffering
from the veins of their women,
tasting ownership and surrender in every sip,

thrusting their power into sacred places;
we are nothing but their posts to whip.

I am fresh; having been swept from my world,
in an abduction, by Arian thieves;
in search of worldly wives for their jailing bodies;
snatched from my warm, satin sheets
after a night of lush splendor and dancing
in the arms of a beautiful, emerald-eyed stranger;

that left me at my doorstep respectfully,
never suspecting of my impending danger.

With ten months of hell in this land,
I have felt naught but defiance,
until today; a celebration begins at dawn,
that casts cold fear deep in our hearts;
those of us that have no husband,
for one reason or another,

it is the annual gathering of tribes,
The Day of the Brother.

On this day, politics are settled through flesh,
a truce is called for every attending group;
a coming together for the men
at the hands and bodies of unwed slaves,
to be sampled and devoured at will;
those of the secondary race,

and I am desperate for heroics,
to escape the fate of this place.

Sitting in a tent filled with trembling minds,
not a single word is uttered; not a sound
acceptance of fate, that which cannot be changed
is the hardest thing I've ever had to do;
I often am beat for my haughty delusions,
affliction of cells and tissue repair

this is a torment of my core; of sanity being,
of the only part of me that I still care.

A whistle is blown and the tent falls away,
exposed to scores of men with tunneled vision,
and drooling, black-toothed grins;
their dirty hands cupping and squeezing their pricks in anticipation,
"Run, bitches! Run!" a tyrant yells,
"Give us a chase, whores!"

Screams rise from frightened women, whoops from excited men;
running; some cornered down to all-fours.

Heaving and gasping, there is no point in weeping;
this is no nightmare to shrug away at consciousness,
hearts are stone here, no bleeding;
even friends are enemies in the wake of duress,
pleading is irrelevant of the source; I cannot hear;
"Come with me," my friend-foe calls to me,

"We have found a hideaway."
I have no intention of following to see.

A flick of my wrist; she's caught up and peering close,
down in the grains, she falls silent, but vicious;
"You stupid cunt, I'll have to get her myself.
I offered you a trade, but now I'll just have you both."
a stout, puny thing with a black rat face;
tensed; a grunt bursts forth, along with my fist,

a right cross shatters his glass just as I am torn free,
lifted high, a knife to my throat before I can resist.

Kicking at nothing; swimming in this arid sky;
paces are rolling swiftly despite my stand,
a triumphant chuckle trickles in my ears,
and I fall limp and lifeless; given over to resignation,
to be defiled by filth and grime first,
then passed to others again and again,

perhaps until my body collapses in death
or until what little of my mind left goes insane.

Barbaric and crude; this festival of domination;
while most will rape their women in plain view,
some have a taste for elegance and propriety;
booths, like fair stalls selling wares and treats,
with cubicle-style walls and a padded bench,
a voting curtain; to remedy performance anxiety and spare shame,

a row of these narrow nooks looms ahead,
and once inside, an idea finally came.

Crushed to a chest of might with no face,
he pitches me forward towards the bench;
I look up into emerald eyes so sweet,
snort softly and laugh like a hyena,
irony isn't even ironic anymore;
a sardonic smile lifts the corners of his demon lips,

I stand on tiptoe to trace my tongue across his neck,
he shoves me backward with his hands around my hips.

This is the night we met, in my mind;
I pull him down atop me with an insistent tug,
murmur desire into his mouth of smiles;
groan with pleasure when he slides inside,
drape my legs around his waist tight,
stare into those eyes as he works;

lean forward; forehead to forehead; whispering,
when his rhythm skips and jerks.

Grunting his release to the murderous sun;
the blade in his slacked grip lays flat against my thigh,
a quick swipe of his finger-tipped steel at my hook,
rains claret essence on his flowing anatomy;
gagging; choking; barren eyes glazing, I hear him bellow;
"No! No! Why? I planned to take you as my wife."

With his seed burning like acid in my lifeless womb,
I feel relief wash over me with the end of my life.

There are no tears in Aria;
pain is as fluid as air,
filling the lungs of the enslaved
with thick strips of raw cotton
saturated in agony; raging,
every breath burning like liquid fire,

gathering behind anhydrous eyes
that long to gaze much higher.

A sun-ridden planet; psychotomimetic desert;
desolate sand hills that mask terror amuck,
breezes that carry whet razors
slicing across forsaken, dead faces,
cutting and bruising; shredding dignity and resistance;
suffocating and harsh; a dictating desecration,

authoritarian climate, beating its dwelling
into an existence of damnation.