Monthly Archives: July 2016

ROCKY SILHOUETTES

I climbed a mountain.
A real one.
Not an emotional one.

At the top,
there were no trees.
Rough grasses and rocks.
Scurrying mammals and flowers
blooming as if spring.

The air is thin there.
But that is not why you gasp.
It’s the strangeness
of everything that surrounds you,
so far below
and beyond.

Everything looks a painting,
a photograph,
not real.
But it is.
It is not enough to take a picture.
It is not even enough to stare.

So I sat awhile,
at the top of the mountain.
And let my thoughts
chase the sailing the clouds,
the rocky silhouettes,
the valleys carved by rivers
and creeks.

JUST FINISHED: A Clockwork Orange

Author: Anthony Burgess
Genre: Dystopian Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

O my brothers, what an interesting read.  A Clockwork Orange is a dystopian novel about a young teen named Alex set in England. The world is quite different from the one of today with many young people, who refer to their gangs as “droogs,” running amuck in the night hours and committing violent crimes. Alex appears to not have any moral compass and has created for himself a life of “ultra-violence” and an imagined superiority amongst his fellow peers. This novel explores his exploits and the consequences that come with them, should he ever be caught.

There were two standout themes that I found unique to this read. The first is the slang that Burgess created for the young teenage characters which is referred to as Nadsat. According to some light research, he created it from a Russian-influenced English. Now when I first started this book, I was a little discouraged that the heavy use of this ‘made-up’ language was a little much for me but I realized by the time I was into the third chapter that I was reading it just as smoothly as regular old English. And it actually became quite fun. I would even read a few paragraphs to some friends out of the blue just to get their reaction and then continue on. I’ve also gotten into the bad habit of saying viddy instead of saw…but I’ll work on it : )

**SPOILER ALERT**

The second theme that stood out was when Alex was captured by the rozzes (police) and imprisoned. He was able to get the early release by agreeing to a new special treatment. This treatment basically rewired his brain to immediately feel sick and in pain when he either thought, saw, or tried to commit a violent or immoral act. Essentially, it was the government’s way of eliminating crime altogether. But what they created was person who no longer has a choice to act in the manner they choose. The elimination of free-will. That then begs the question: if one cannot choose to act to their own will, are they even human? What is a human without error? The other thought-line I enjoyed out of this was how did this government decide what was right and wrong? What governed that standard and who was to say that was correct?

**END SPOILER ALERT**

Oh – and I can’t forget the irony in Alex’s character for having a hysterical passion for classical music. Most people would never think a person that cherished such a fine art form could also perpetrate such vehement cruelty.

I do want to put a warning for the weak stomachs out there as this novel will delve into violence with full force, even if it is in the Nadsat slang. However, do note that Burgess is not promoting violence in the novel, but using it as a vehicle to pose the thematic questions and shape the characters.

If you are in the mood for a book with creative language that questions the limits of free will, this once is for you.

FIRES

When fires burn,
they mar the land.
The flames turn
the living to ash
and blacken
the bark of trees.
Growth is stunted
and for a while,
it is as if time has stopped,
too.
 
The aftermath is bitter
to look at.
Hard to understand.
But hope is fulfilled
in knowing new life will start again
around the roots of the dead.
 
When emotions burn,
they mar the person.
The feelings turn
good intentions to bad
and fuel
irrational thoughts.
Growth is stunted
and for a while,
it is as if time has stopped,
too.
 
The aftermath is bitter
to bare.
Hard to understand.
But hope is fulfilled
in knowing that we can always continue forward
even while starting again new.

FEVERISH (Part 2)

I woke up with a start, shocked at my surroundings. When I had laid down last night, it was in my small uptown apartment on a stuffed down-pillow wrapped with one thousand thread count sheets. But where I laid now was far from that.

A hard, starch white elevated bed with what felt like a rock for a pillow. The bed had been placed in the center of a round room with padded walls. Sunlight streamed in from the glass ceiling above, filling the room with more unnecessary brightness. My eyes started to throb from the numbing intensity.

I looked at my clothes to find them changed as well. A grey tunic hung loosely about my chest with a matching draw-string pant. The fabric had a rough texture to it, leaving my skin to feel dry and slightly irritated.

I flipped myself up onto my side and swung my feet onto the floor. But as soon as I tried to stand I felt my legs give from weakness and I plummeted onto the ground. I let out a moan as I tried to stand back up. Every part of my body felt as if it were mush, fumbling and releasing any tension in the muscles. Why was I so tired? I gave up after a while and lay on the floor, finding it surprisingly as comfortable as the bed I had been placed.

Questions started to fill my head but I was unable to do anything about them as even my mind seemed to feed off the exhaustion that had captured my body. So I relented and began to doze off. Just as the heaviness of sleep came upon me a small door opened up through the padding and a woman dressed in blue entered carrying a clipboard and a book.

“Oh no! Mr. Urnst, you’re not supposed to be up. It’s all rest for you right now. Thank goodness for this padding, right?” She flashed a smiled and quickly walked over to me. After a few heaves, I was back on the bed laying stiff as a board.

“Okay, now.” She started writing on her clipboard as she hummed a tune and walked around me, every so often poking a body part. After a while she nodded and then walked up to an area directly in front of my bed. She gently pressed a square next to a small inset in the wall. A release in pressure sounded and a cabinet-sized door swung open from the panel. Inside was a number of switches and lights. She flipped one towards the far right and instantly a thin white ledge began to protrude from the wall, about the height of my bed.

A click was heard as she shut the cabinet door. “This is for you when you’re ready,” she said as she set the book down on the ledge near me. “It’s everything you’ll need to know about the first phase. And then some.” She smiled.

“Miss?” I had finally charged enough energy to speak “Can…can you te….tellll….llll…” I lost the sentence as I spoke, finding myself breathing deeply.

The woman chuckled as she shook her head. “You testers. All of you are always so surprised. I can just never figure out why. I mean what did you expect? Oh well, just how it goes.” She winked and began walking towards the door. At the last second she turned and said, “I almost forgot, this is your first awakening. Silly me.” She straightened her back, lifting her chin awkwardly and said, “On behalf of the Untouchable Staff, welcome to the training facility. You have officially started you’re testing to become an Untouchable. Or as some of us like to say, a superhuman.”