Cockatiel

©2022 Michael Raven

Still grooving on the whole take a short bit of time out of my day to improv a composition. We’ll see how long that lasts before I burn out, but I am liking the stretch I’m giving to my creative muscles that’s a bit different than the writing (poetry/short story) muscles.

Here we have something more along the lines of historic music by myself (non-electronica). Muddy, phased, shoegaze rhythm guitars, overchorus’d bass, plodding drums, C-minor key and phrases melody that echoes itself with minor variation. It’s been a very long time since I wrote something along these lines and, while I was tinkering, I came up with plenty of more melody phrases to play off of if I want to pursue it further. This is more like what you’d hear in the interlude between verses. The verses themselves would be simpler on the melody elements to leave the vocals room to breathe. Not sure if I would have a chorus structure (thinking Joy Division influence, there).

I might come back to this one, as I feel it has potential.

It has a little more post-processing on it than Chinese Take-Out, but it’s still “demo” level of production; i.e., see if it sticks in my head and I want to come back to it. Some ‘verb and compression, a hint of echo, a touch of stereo.

Lemme know your thoughts. As good or better than yesterday? Or “shitcan that shit”?

About 90-105 minutes of experimentation on this one before you have what you have below. I started with nothing in mind, just grabbed a drum phrase and started dinking around.

You’ll only waste about a minute of your time listening to this one.

Fall-outs

©2022 Michael Raven

He felt the telltale electric charge ionize the air of an incoming walk-in before he heard or saw anyone. Or fall-out, he supposed, because they always fell some distance, higher or lower when they came and out, well because they were leaving what they knew instead of coming home.

The hairs on his arms danced in place, twitching to the beat of arrector pili reaching out for the other side, or the charge in the air. He ignored it, the feeling had become more frustration than excitement in his time in this place as surrender settled in. The others were coming, not going and there was no leaving, no homecoming, for the likes of him as far as he could tell. So he set to drifting on, like he always did in this twilight place.

Continue reading “Fall-outs”

Tree hollow

©2022 Michael Raven

A body won’t have noticed the hollow in the tree, had they just walked by, ambling as most folks do through forests, sticking to established forest trails. No. It wasn’t something that would have drawn attention at all, and that suited Stuart just fine. It was his secret hollow, a door to other places and times, something not given to being understood, especially by the old men and women.

If you were out of school, Stuart reckoned, you earned classification as “old man” or “old women”. Most people, he reckoned, and just by observation alone, were old well before that point, someplace and when around the age of thirteen by his estimation, but his judgments and proclamations trended to wide margins of forgiveness.

Stuart was quite content with the arrangement, being just shy of eleven himself and figuring he still had a good thirty years or more before he got old. He’d made a promise to himself, he did.

And so, every afternoon he sat in that hidden tree hollow with Bernard, the small red fox who lived nearby, and Hopping Joe, the crow who seemed to live everyplace and nowhere and they listened to the secret lives of the many people walking by. Bernard and Stuart asked many questions; Hopping Joe, well he seemed to have answers for it all. Meanwhile Lucas “Fuzzy Rat”, the local squirrel would shake his head in the branches overhead and make chirping noises in disgust at Joe’s answers. Stuart thought most of it was cow-pies, but Bernard accepted what Joe said, and that seemed to be enough. Every once in a while, Hopping Joe would tire of Lucas’ chirps and chase him off, but Fuzzy Rat never stayed away too long.

Perhaps he learned something about the world from Joe, in spite of his disagreeable sounds.

Endless, the hall

©2022 Michael Raven

He walked down the halls, finger dragging the dust from divider panels and three-quarter height trim, the lawnscaped green flowing out to infinity before and behind and cheap brass plated rails leading the leftside way, oak veneer solidcore doors with window slit wire mesh peepholes accessorizing, except where privacy was desired. Those did not let in or out the secrets behind closed door and were clouded or absent to hold secrets bursting at bay.

He hummed, occasionally tip tapping out some poly-rhythm, the time of which only known to him, but the count quite accurate and on as his fingers gathered the dust greyscale on the friction ridges making up his identity, should anyone care to match it up to another mark left on the plated rail.

No one did.

No forensic teams looked to put him away, put him behind bars, as he strode without apparent purpose. At that, however, a witness would have been wrong.

He had purpose behind walking these endless halls with endless walls and countless doors, each and every locked against trespass, but oh! how they tempted him with lurid promises as he passed. Inured, he felt no succubus temptation in the vague shadows and play of light any more. He remained… disinterested.

Trip tapping, humming tuneless, he succumbed to his mission instead. And — lost in his reverie that had gone on for so very long and he stepped one foot, then another ahead — he didn’t notice an end to his hallway journey and nearly walked into the bare, unadorned wall in his path.

Puzzling, he pondered, unhummed and of bestilled tappity tap. His eyes awoke with a start and a smile and he rummaged his rumpled frock pockets made of velveteen crushed until he plundered from them a stick of char, black as ebon night and drew upon the blank before him.

With fingers darkened soot, this he carved:

Shaky-handed door on the empty blockage, devoid of anything but white. Then, he pushed at the crooked center, gave a shove, a push, a thrust and, with great groaning at injustices untold, his drawing gave way to more nearly endless paths, this time carpeted red, with doors rightwise and rail left.

Click-clucking his tongue, he stepped through and sullied his other hand with dust of grey from the other rail, humming a humming kind of jaunty tune.

Forest interloper.

©2022 Michael Raven

I lost my way again, dammit. It’s all the damned bird’s fault, of course. And the way this place absolutely refuses to follow the rules. I mean, if it followed the rules, I wouldn’t have gotten lost walking down that narrow forest path, following some noisy sonofabitchin’ bird repeating something that sounded very much like, “Here!” I’d follow the voice or, at least, I thought I was following the voice down the narrow paths cut by deer, or whatever makes narrow paths in this forest. Then, the damned thing would start laughing at me whenever I started down one fork or another — it seemed the trail was nearly all forks, by the way — the bastard would start laughing behind me and so I’d through arms up, backtrack, take the other fork, follow the “Here!” unless it was laughter, and then I got hopeless turned around. It didn’t help that I was in the middle of a small clearing and there were at least nine paths leading away from it. And they all looked pretty much the same.

That’s when the fog rolled in. I mean, I still had some sense of direction until that moment — not my usual “I’m a walking compass with a high-end GPS embedded in my skull” level of sense of direction, but I kinda had a feeling for where North ought to be until then. The fog messed up everything.

Cue stupid crow or raven or whatever doing his laughing routine. Fucker better hope I don’t catch up to him, because this is all his fault.

Now I’m lost. In some stupid clearing. With fog.

Heck, I don’t even know where this place is. How I got here. How I get out. I must have been drinking again, but I don’t recall doing even that.

Oh great. Now some guy wearing antlers and a eerie skull over his face is coming out of the fog. He has something in his hand, some kind of bone that he’s raising over his head. Is it a knife? A bone knife? I think it might be time to r–


Having a bit of fun writing first-person perspective exercise based on Anne’s prompt for the week. Complete improvisation, minimal edits. The fog might be the allergies that decided about two hours ago I need to have a massive histamine reaction to. So I took the good stuff, which always makes me sleepy and a wee giddy. It was that, or the eyes become useless pillows of itchiness. Anyway, hope you enjoyed.

twitter crosspost || 24may22 [part II]

©2022 Michael Raven

I was continuing to feel inspired, so I added a bit more to the story with Winter. I’m not gonna post the whole additional thread, but another nine fragments added to the original starting with the two below. Follow the tweet link for the rest. It’s probably dreck, so click with care and watch your step.

Home by the Wood.

©2022 Michael Raven

“Wow. Just — wow.”

Zelda knew her mouth hung open and didn’t rightly give a shit that it hung open as she took in the back acreage of the lot. Waning sunlight filtered through the bright emerald trees as they swayed in the light breeze that blew from the west. She saw motes of cottonwood or dandelion spinning in a mad dance where the sunlight caught each bit of fluff and the parade seemed almost endless. Dodging the airborne seeds were small midges, gnats and probably more than a few mosquitos knocked from their lazing on perches of tall grass between her and the woods. The scene might have been nightmarish to most city-dwellers, but she was looking to move for exactly this — to get away from the soot and noise of the city and grow closer to the earth, even with its allergens and insects.

Continue reading “Home by the Wood.”

High noon.

Athame cut, slice the veils, peel back the ribbons and rags. Step right through, this place, this display of atrocity.

Graceful, lithe and lean the shadow moves. He looks from one side to the next, scanning, taking it all in, memorizing. He beckons, and the others, they follow.

One brushes the travelsoot from leathers, a duster, then flourishes the wide-brim and taps that free of the road as well.

Continue reading “High noon.”