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The Ode

Ode to the Writer

By Tom Foster

 

We are the lords and ladies of creation, yet we are still just players.
In the beginning we are as in the end.
We do not aspire, we simply do.
There is the dream, tempered by the reality, and given form by the thought.
By our thought, by our dreams, and by the reality we impose.
It’s a madness of the sort that only poets and writers can truly understand, and even among those only a few can comprehend.
Comprehension, that is a truly frightening thing.
We play with words, we are those that can immortalize, and those that can do what must be said and say what must be done.
It is confusion, this comprehension, and in the midst of it all, it is the single word that carries power, the one among all that is ever elusive, ever there, always waiting for us to return to, to remind us what it is that drives us, what keeps the fountain flowing.
Every last soul that has ever put ink to paper, ever put finger to key, every vague idea that swirls inward from the maelstrom we call the world, the universe, and everything in between and without.
For everything that could come, for everything that has and will come, we are there. We are the ones that do not deny the voice that tells us, “this must come to pass”, or “this must be remembered”.
It is who we are, what we do, and through everything, it is the lifeblood of those who cherish this timeless art form, this undeniable urge to say, in their own manner, “I AM”.
We are not gods, we create, and yet in the process, we are created. It is our words, penned and copied throughout the ages that have helped to shape the world, to say that, “WE ARE”, that “WE EXIST”.
Whether tyrant or savior, good or evil, saint or sinner, the words that are put to time’s test are those that will come to define the world we know. Memory is not enough, though it serves.
As do we.
We are the lords of creation, the ones whose words will last and echo into the ages, for all to see, and all to remember.
Is it truth?
The better question is: Does it matter?
We are the lords and ladies of creation, and by our words, the world we know is shaped, molded, and given to the next generation, and so on and so forth until the whole mess ends, only to be rebuilt, and to crumble again.
We are the lords and ladies of Creation, and this is our legacy.

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Hypocrisy Is At It Again…

black lives matter Memes & GIFs - Imgflip
Steven Crowder on Twitter: "This week in review...… "
Meme Exposes HARD TRUTH About Black Lives Matter Protests
Political Correctness & Censorship Meme Gallery - Politically ...

I probably shouldn’t laugh, but seeing as how it’s more about how BLM is the most important thing on the minds of so many, it’s better to laugh at the hypocrisy then get depressed by it.

The Favor (part II)

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“None of you gave me an ounce of personal space that night,” he said with a mild grin, “Everyone was up in my grill the whole time.”

Clinton matched his grin as he sat in another age-worn lawn chair, “We were testing you man,” he said jovially, “If you would’ve pushed back or something we might have left you alone after that night. You weren’t a tightass at that time though.”

“Yeah,” Tyler replied, “Being called traitor and a piece of shit has that effect.”

“Oh come on man,” Clinton said, shaking his head, “You’re gonna hold that over me still?”

“It was only a few year ago Clinton,” Tyler replied, “And you deserved more time than what you got. You even agreed with me on the phone.”

“If I’d let you have it the cops would have locked me in the hole for being ‘too aggressive’,” Clinton said, raising one hand to make air quotations, “Besides, I know better now, that skank admitted on her way out the door that she fed you a line of bullshit that turned you on me.”

“I never turned on you,” Tyler said, “Mike and I were even there to welcome you back the day you got out, only to wait for a couple of hours for absolutely nothing. And what did happen that day?”

“Crystal came and picked me up,” Clinton mumbled into his beer, not meeting Tyler’s eyes, “And she fed me a line about you not giving a shit.”

“It was never bros before hoes with you man, for all your talk,” Tyler said with a deprecating chuckle, “I didn’t expect it to be, but any woman that smiled at you and spread her legs and then told you that your friends were a problem somehow became wise and all-knowing enough to turn your head around.”

“Hey fuck you!” Clinton said, leaning back, “Like you’ve never just let a woman come between you and your friends! Do I need to remind you of Hooter?”

Tyler rolled his eyes as he heard the nickname, as he did remember ‘Hooter’ very well. She’d been an older woman, well into her late 30’s when he’d still been in his mid-20’s, and she’d been absolutely gorgeous. But she’d also been a little possessive and during an outing to the bowling alley had done her best to insure every woman that came close to Tyler that he was her man and that it was hands off, eyes off, and talking kept to a minimum. There was just one problem though.

“I remember her, and her name was Angela, but I also remember that I didn’t finger her in the bowling alley, or do I need to bring up Potatoes?”

Clinton went quiet for a moment as he was reminded of the one-night stand that he’d met at the Hazel Dell Lanes years ago. This had been around the same time that Tyler had still been with Angela, but the night in question he’d started at the bowling alley only to meet up with an old family friend to go drinking with a group of college students. Clinton had told Tyler later on of how he’d satisfied the much younger woman, whose name was Selena, much to Tyler’s lack of surprise. Her nickname however hadn’t come from that night, but instead had been given the morning after Clinton’s first night with her, which apparently left a sour impression on him as she’d ‘laid there like a sack of potatoes’ during sex as he’d put it.

“I wish you wouldn’t.”

“Then don’t feel the need to bring up Hooter.”

“Didn’t she end up taking off with your boss?”

“Good riddance.”

“Cheers to that.”

“Yeah,” Tyler said, not bothering to raise his can, “Look Clinton, I’m not here to rehash the old days. I’m not here to be reminded that I’ve made some mistakes when it came to the women I’ve met and fooled around with. Get it?”

“Then why are you here?”

Tyler stared hard at his former friend before answering, letting the other man know that he was tired of the bullshit, tired of the flippant and careless nature he affected so often, and just plain tired in general.

“I’m here because we used to be friends, and because I figure the favor will let me sleep better at night. But when this is concluded, we’re done.”

“It’s like that?”

“It’s been like that, catch up and get the drift.”

(to be continued)

At Least One Reason

America is not a perfect place, nor has it ever been, no matter how anyone wishes to romanticize any notions of the past before the ‘white man’ came and apparently upset the precious balance of the world. If we’re really to harp on this issue then one has to ask how far back in time we’re ready to go and who can carry the blame for swinging the first punch at the wrong person and what color they were. If we’re going to stay in the present time and wonder why we have such issues it might be preferable, as bringing up past events that none of us had or have any control over will continue to provide fuel for a fire that’s been burning for far too long.

There’s a reason why the racial divide exists, and it’s the fault of all those involved, not just one side. Our justice system is faulty, it is flawed, and it unfortunately isn’t getting better at this point. And yet, the response to that same faulty system, to demand that it be torn down rather than reworked and given a different set of hands to steer it back on course, is no better than the problem that already exists. And then come the arguments “you don’t know what it’s like, you’re not black, you have no idea what it means to be afraid. It doesn’t affect you, you’re privileged, and so on and so forth…”

They’re true, to be honest, those comments and many more. I don’t fear for my life when I leave my home. I don’t wonder if today will be the day I’m unfairly targeted. I might wonder if I’ll be unfairly judged for what others have done, for remaining silent and apart from the issue as stepping into it tends to come with the caveat of ‘us or them’ as people seek to divine just ‘who’s side’ you’re really on in any given argument.

I’m not any side. I want no part of this. What I want is for those that did wrong to be punished to the full extent of the law, to feel the terror and the dread within their prison walls, thinking whether or not this is the day that someone will take justice into their own hands. But apart from that, I want to live my life as best I can, which entails treating people like people, for better or worse, in accordance to how they treat me and those I care about. I wish to teach my children to respect others, that every last person in this world is to be afforded the respect they’ve earned, and that which they are to be given until otherwise noted. My wants are bound to make me a target as well, but I will weather them and hold fast with my convictions and my own ideas of right and wrong.

I won’t seek to right the wrongs of this world, as this is not my place. I will not support divisiveness, nor will I seek to say that one life matters more than another. There is fairness in this world and there is equality, but as human beings we rarely find the connection to such ideals, but will gladly blame one another for the inability to reach said ideals. With that being said, treating one another as sentient, thinking beings is an ideal that would be great to see, but in this lifetime or any other it’s an ideal that both succeeds and fails in different measures.

This is a definite fail, as it only divides further under the less than convincing ideal of fairness:

The Favor (part I)

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It was hard to leave a friend. He’d done it a couple of times in the past, but each time left a scar that couldn’t be seen, a mark on the soul that sounded melodramatic to anyone else but was etched deeply and without possibility of healing. Sitting on the back porch of one of the man he’d cut out of his life years ago, watching the traffic go by on Hazel Dell Avenue off to the right and mayflies dancing over the ragged lawn that surrounded the small concrete patio, he couldn’t help but wonder once again why he’d come back. He didn’t owe the guy anything, not anymore at least. They’d settled up a while back, and the cost had been relatively low for him, but had included a busted nose and a broken wrist for his former friend. That had been two years ago though, when his buddy had reached out to him after unceremoniously casting him aside, saying that he’d betrayed him and that he was a worthless piece of shit.

He hadn’t done anything of the sort to be fair, but he had stated that his friend needed to remain in jail. Anyone that choked out their fiance for no better reason than being drunk and irritated deserved the punishment they received. He’d said as much to his friend when they’d talked on the phone, and his friend had agreed.

“Hey man, you want a beer?”

The voice of the man he was here to protect, a twist of irony to be certain, interrupted his thoughts as he inhaled through his nose, leaning back in the rickety lawn chair that felt ready to crumble beneath him at any moment.

“Sure,” he replied. His friend handed him a cold, gold-colored can that he took gratefully, cracking the top as he then took a hearty swig.

“Did they say when they’d be coming?”

He shook his head as he swallowed, his mind traveling back to a better time at that moment, a good time, a better time at least.

“You remember when we met?” he asked. Clinton, his red hair and scruff liberally splashed with grey and white, nodded as he grinned.

“I do,” he said, almost wistfully, “It’s been a long time since then though.”

“Yeah,” he admitted, “Yeah it has.”

17 years ago…..

The sharp rap of knuckles on the screen door leading out to the deck startled him as Tyler looked up from the assignment he’d been working on. He knew who it was at least, that was something, as he recognized his parents’ downstairs renter. Curtis, or Colin, or something, that was his name.

“Hey man,” the neighbor said, his wide smile telling Tyler that he might have been a bit inebriated at that moment, “What’s up? You wanna come down and hang out with us?”

Tyler looked back to the laptop sitting on desk in front of him, its soft glow almost telling him to go on, to just have some fun for once. He’d been studying pretty hard as of late as he was trying to obtain the first of many degrees he wanted to earn in his college career. There were still three pages of a project he had to get down, but he still had another day to make it happen, and he’d always been able to finish his assignments on time without fail. Plus, his parents were out of town, he was 22 and legal to drink, and didn’t have much else going. So why not?

“Who’s ‘us’?”

The neighbor shook his head slightly, still smiling, “Just me and a few friends is all. We’re downstairs just chillin’ and I thought it might be a good idea to come and get you, see if you want to hang with us.”

And that was how it had started.

(to be continued)

To Be Worthy (part X)

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“Are we dead?” Ben asked. His mouth suddenly felt very dry, and his balls had somehow crept up into his throat.

“I’m afraid so,” Mama Frigg said, “I might have to chide my husband for that, since not too long after you saw him, a truck carrying a heavy load of timber jackknifed for some reason, and the load it was carrying broke the restraints.”

“We were killed?” Steve croaked.

Nathan nodded, “Brains blowed right outta stinkhole,” he said giving a low whistle as he shook his head, “Won’t give ya boys no mo den dat, it warnt pretty.”

“Then, seeing him,” Ben said, shaking his head, “It meant…”

“That he’d decided to mark you for the Valkyries,” Mama Frigg said, “Yes. But since we were in the area I decided it’d be best to pick you up and simply escort you myself.”

“But, then who, who are you?” Ben asked, turning to face Nathan, “You’re not a Norse god, are you?”

Nathan brayed with laughter, “Oh no mon, not I. That big fella you see back here, he a Norsie, him Thor, big man wid da hammah, while dis gloomy one ova heah, he be-“

“Ares,” said the man named Aaron, “God of war. Now that we’ve dispensed with the names, are we there yet?”

“Always de impatient one,” Nathan drawled, “Dey call me Anansi, de trickstah, the spidah, and many otha tings.”

“But you’re not all Norse?” Ben asked, “Then where the hell are we going?”

Nathan/Anansi laughed again, “Ah dese ones eh? Dey tink it’s all so simple as one place fo’ one, one place fo’ anudda, and so and so be it. Ain’t to point to be worthy only to end up in jus one place! Rahtid!” he laughed, “Ain’t no one place mon! They’s many, MANY places, but we all get to visit from time to time.”

“What?” Steve asked, frowning as Nathan/Anansi rolled his eyes. At that moment Mama Frigg motioned Ben over, whispering something in his ear as he felt compelled to listen. When she was done he leaned back, narrowing his eyes in question. She merely nodded, smiling as she kept her eyes straight ahead. Turning to Anansi, who was now staring at him again, Ben spoke.

“Anansi, tell me a story.”

The deity leaned back with a content look, “I thought you’d never ask…”

The End

To Be Worthy (part IX)

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“Once, long ago,” Nathan drawled, “Was only dat deh most loyal an’ feeyas would be taken up. Now, we take what is left, dem dat be worthy o’ takin’ dat last ride t’ de final place.”

“What?” Steve asked, sounding more and more afraid as he shrank back from Nathan.

Nathan ‘tsked’ just once, “Wish we could tell yah boys dat yous was t’go home now,” he said in a solemn voice, “But ol’ One-eye don’t appear for jus’ anyone, and he don’t appear unless dose dat need seein’ has already sprang loose the coil.”

With the patois Ben was having some trouble understanding Nathan, but his mind was spinning like a top as he looked over to Frigg, who kept her eyes forward, a sad cloud having come over her eyes as Nathan continued to speak.

“Bit of a surprise really,” he chuckled again, “Woulda tought that the cahpentah boy woulda tried t’ claim dese two eh?”

“Or the fallen one that whines all the time,” Toby snorted, “Why people gave us up for them is still hard to believe.”

“No one wanted to be givin’ up eyes and livestock no mo’!” Nathan said, laughing aloud, “Y’all wanted too much in the end, jus’ like so many o’ you dat didn’t see what de ‘worship was doin’ to de people!”

“Nathan, that’s enough,” Frigg/Freda said from the front.

“Sorry Mama Frigg,” Nathan said with a chuckle, “Me mout, it gets away from me sometime.”

(to be concluded)

To Be Worthy (part VIII)

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“So you see boys,” Nathan said with a grin, sighing as he continued “These new people thought they were the ending and the beginning, they thought they’d surpassed the old people, and the old people weren’t needed any longer.”

Ben and Steve were both sitting quietly, listening as Nathan finished, though it was Steve who spoke next.

“You’re talking about something other than just people, aren’t you?”

Nathan ginned even wider, a strange look coming to his eyes as Steve just barely flinched, “No need t’ worry Mama Frigg,” he said, his voice taking on a depth and accent that he hadn’t had just a moment ago, “I’m tinkin’ dese ones might gwarn be irie.”

“What?” Steve asked, “What the hell kind of talk is that?”

Toby snorted from the back seat, “And these are the ones you thought to be worthy?”. His voice had taken on a deeper tone as well as rough, almost guttural accent that Ben and Steve both turning to look at him. The burly young man they’d seen was still there, but the hardened look in his eyes had been intensified a hundredfold, making it hard for either of them to maintain eye contact.

Freda, or Mama Frigg as Nathan had called her, sighed as she replied, “Your father appears to think so.”

“What’s going on?” Steve asked, his voice quavering slightly as he looked from one face to the next. He found answers in none of them, though Aaron and Toby were content to glower while Nathan smiled and patted the air gently.

“Be calm white boy,” he said in that strange accent, “Everyting gwarn be irie, you wait and see.”

“That’s patois,” Ben said suddenly, turning around just enough to meet Nathan’s approving glance and nod. “Isn’t it?”

“Tun up,” Nathan replied, “Dis one smaht white boy heah.”

Frigga smiled faintly, “That’s likely part of why he wanted him.”

(to be continued)

To Be Worthy (part VII)

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There were these people you see, some of the first in the world, not a lot of them by today’s standards, but enough of them that they populated a world that seemed too small for who they were, what they were. These people, they knew that this place had been given to them, that they’d been left here by something, or someone, for a purpose, but they just didn’t know it. So they made their own purpose, their own reason for being there, and in time they forgot what they’d known so long ago, when they first started.

You see, these people created other people, lesser people than them, not worthless, but not as big, not as there, not as knowledgeable about the world as they’d become in their long, long lives. They lived for a long time before deciding to create these people you see, they stayed in one another’s company for so long that they wanted someone else, another kind of people, that would adore them, look up to them, and wonder at the world in the same way they’d done back in their youth, that which they could remember. They wanted someone that could look up to them like they’d looked up to….someone, they couldn’t remember.

So they created these people, and for certain the people adored them, they loved them, and they sought to make them happy. But after a while something happened. Those people, they got these strange ideas in their heads, funny thoughts that the original people didn’t put there, or at least couldn’t remember putting there. It was something handed down you see, something they didn’t plan for, couldn’t plan for, and therefore couldn’t really understand in the language of another being, even those that had come from them.

These people, they had gifts that the originals had given them, they had abilities that were lesser, but still great in their own way, and with those abilities and gifts they created a new world, new images, and new people, if you can imagine that. In time they even sought to forget the original people that had created them, keeping only their memory around, much as you might remember your grandpa from time to time, but not with anything other than a passing fondness. The originals were forgotten, left behind, and relegated to memory, and in some cases not even that.

They were forgotten, which was worse than being dead.

(to be continued)

To Be Worthy (part VI)

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Ben and Steve found themselves staring longer than they should have, particularly because they were staring as the three young men made their way into the vehicle.

“Guys, these are my boys, Toby, Aaron, and that grinning cat there is Nathan,” Freda chuckled as Nathan, a black-skinned young man with short, ear-length dreadlocks swinging as he moved about, clucked his tongue at her. Toby was a huge specimen, red-haired with a liberal amount of hair on his chin, cheeks, and upper lip, and a musculature that was obvious even beneath baggy clothing. Aaron was a leaner individual but no less fit as he moved with a grace that spoke of a young man that played sports, or was deep into something that had taught him how to move so naturally that he was more like liquid given solid form. Nathan was built quite solidly as well, though he was even leaner than Aaron, suggesting a type of wiry strength that was hard to gauge. “Guys, this is Ben and Steve.”

“They just passengers or are you taking them all the way?” Toby asked gruffly, plopping down in the third row seat as Aaron joined him, saying nothing for the moment.

Freda didn’t answer right away as she pressed her lips into a thin line, turning to glance at Toby in a mildly reproachful manner.

“What?” Toby asked, throwing his arms wide to indicate his confusion. Thankfully he pulled his left arm back just in time to avoid hitting Aaron.

“You know better than to just speak outta turn,” Nathan said, shaking his head at his larger friend.

“Oh like it’s the first time,” Toby said, rolling his eyes.

“Like what’s the first time?” Steve asked.

Toby offered a glance at Freda, his mother apparently, and then at Nathan, who just shook his head as he rolled his eyes before turning his gaze on Freda, who was already matching his stare with her own. She nodded once before turning back to the wheel, shifting the gear lever so as to get going.

“Guys,” Nathan drawled, “I guess it’s time for a story.”

(to be continued)