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Sep. 28th, 2004 @ 10:20 am Eine Kleine Nachtmusik
Current Mood: artisticartistic
Current Music: Poe - 5 1/2 Minute Hallway
"Eine Kleine Nachtmusik"

It's three a.m. I know it's three a.m. because the rhythm outside has slowed to a smooth adagio, punctuated by a staccato gunshot snare, followed by the rise of the siren wind section and drowned out by the brass of car horns. I also know it's three a.m. because the soft red light of the clock proclaims three-colon-oh-oh with the absence of the PM dot.
There's a tenor and a soprano down the street, their discordant notes tangled together in a primal harmony, no chorus, no bridge, just verse after verse seeking the final bar; D.S. al Coda al Fine. The voices surge at different tempos: the tenor at a march pace; the soprano in common time, while I pull a cigarette from the pack on the nightstand, waving it idly to the rhythm as I look for my lighter.
A sudden high note, a long wavering D, out of tune, and then, the Grand Pause as the flints get flicked and the soft glow of the Zippo ignites the baton. The Grand Pause can always last as long as the conductor wants, the only way to put real drama in a symphony, but I wave the Lucky Strike, giving them the signal to continue. The soprano begins her solo performance, in perfect key and pitch, notes slurring up and down the chromatic scale but always cycling higher, seeking to break the upper limits of the staff, into the realm of the virtuosos.
The tempo switchs to Grave, the notes echoing out long, powerful against the accompaniment of the orchestra outside, the winds wailing in piercing screams, the brass section blasting a harmony, seeking to drown out the budding diva, three quick snaps on the snare. And all the while her voice grows, the notes scaling higher, pairing against the bass thump of my heartbeat.
And then... crescendo.
The snares bang out the rhythm, the winds carry the melody, the brass the harmony, and through it all the diva's voice rides the crest, the pitch climbing higher, shattering the staff behind her to reach her summit: a C over High C to punctuate the end of the movement. There will be no intermission. The next movement commences immediately with the baritone beginning, "Hey Lady! Shut the fuck up! Some of us have to work in the morning!"
But I still stand up, lean out my window, and applaud the diva as I flick the spent baton to the street below.

(C) Tim Bristol 2003

About this Entry
Sep. 4th, 2004 @ 06:15 pm Original
Current Mood: creativecreative
Current Music: Staind - Just Go

The words used to pour out, like some torrent of liquid measure and fluid meter crashing and breaking against the restrains levied by how fast I could command my hand to write. There used to be a spring, at the source of the river, that flowed with quicksilver rhythm and rhyme, pouring through the canals in my thoughts, finding an outlet with pen on paper.

The muse used to sing to me, and I remember a time I couldn't spill the melody onto a page fast enough to satisfy her demands. There used to be a song for every occasion, and an occasion that sparked every song. I fell asleep each night with the lullaby of ideas whispering through me.

But now she holds her silence, and the stream of words has slowed to a desert arroyo of dust and sand, and the source spring has become an abandoned well that delves deep to the core of the earth and finds nothing but rock and air.

And now the floor is littered with crumpled paper, each one a rough white ball, each one another footsolider for the army of the rejected. Each one another fifteen minutes denied, each one another frustrated attempt to fill the arroyo from the water table I know still lies buried deep. Each one is a mockery of the songs she used to sing.

I just wanted to be original, but I found that all the stories and all the poems had already been written by someone with a better agent than I have.
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Sep. 4th, 2004 @ 06:36 pm Some more lines in my head
Current Mood: artisticartistic
Current Music: Linkin Park - Reanimation
"Language is a Series of Strings"

Incising hours from a jaded broken February
I long for a day with a pulse

Quick as a coma comes the
Demise of ebon marionettes:
Strings severed on
Serrated souls
Heavy as broken ice.

Melt through the cracks in the pain
Burrow and burn to the brittle core
Fall with both eyes closed and
Shatter with one hand open

6:45pm | 9/4/2004
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Sep. 4th, 2004 @ 03:12 am Marks
x-posted in my journal: magenta512


Bare flesh startles
at the ticking of needles, jumps
pulsating palpitations
of thick black memory
and glowing red

in the studio with a man
wielding an ink-
threaded needle, fastening
3 dark characters
in sweeping black strokes, foreign words
spoken in slivered moon
eyes, crossed lashes, carved
into the yellow-earth-
stain of my skin.

A language mirrored in the soft
fading scars, once
budding, fresh, purple
and deep as lilacs, a careless
accident, a match dropped, an untended stove, as
my American mother believes; an intentional
mark of my sex, my inferiority, my
child-sweet cunt, as I know.

Choice(s), these new words, surfacing
in places I want
seen, not hidden so deeply
in my body, my blood
that I
cannot read them,
tangible, throbbing red pain, accessible
and real.

EDIT: OK, so that whole poem is supposed to be right-justified...except the last line...and it looks all dopey on the page right now. To get the right effect, paste it into another document and right-justify it or, um, just imagine it. haha How do you left-justify on livejournal? I am html dumb, but there must be a way...
About this Entry
Jul. 11th, 2004 @ 01:34 pm Home
Current Mood: creativecreative
Current Music: Oasis - Headshrinker
((Disclaimer: This is pretty much game fiction for Mage: The Ascension, though I think it can be read without a knowledge of the game. It's a bit long, so it'll have to be a short story instead of a short short. Feedback is definitely appreciated.))

I wake up looking at a ceiling that isn’t mine.
The pattern’s all wrong. It’s that weird sort of staggered tile with some yellowed stains from people smoking around them. There aren’t any windows, but I know we’re above ground.
I just do.
The only light’s coming from an old switch lamp running off a tungsten bulb somewhere off to my left, the far left. I can feel that it’s a big place. I don’t know how.
I just do.
I’m lying in a bed, under thick covers because there’s no heat on the other side. I’m lying next to someone, and I remember that I was with that someone last night in the sense of me being with them in a biblical sense if I actually read the Bible. I doubt the Bible gave a how-to on what the two of us did other than how to punish yourself for doing it. He’s staring up at the ceiling, wondering how he got here as well. I don’t know how I know this.
I just do.
I track back through the threads and try to answer the question for the both of us.


“Saito Ryunosuke.”
I had to correct him, but then Americans are in the habit of getting our names mixed up, so it’s a forgivable offense.
“Kurt. Kurt McNabb, bani Verbena. Nice to meet you.” He extended his hand, I shook it. “So what do I call you? Ryu?”
Americans have a thing about short names, I’d noticed. I was prepared for this, so I nodded, and from that point on I was Ryu. I hadn’t named my Tradition, but then again I didn’t have one. It was nothing I had to explain, there were a lot of people who’d just spontaneously Awakened without either side getting to them first. We’re a hot commodity, but Kurt wasn’t trying to recruit me, but I figured that he figured I was an Akashic on the basis of me being Japanese. Americans tend to make snap judgments like that, I’ve found.
A truly boorish and barbaric lot, these Americans, especially this one, dressed in leather clothing instead of synth, listening to some old Celtic music instead of Corp-Pop or the newest single by the CFC’s off the “Dirty Rain” album. He was big, muscular and clumsy instead of lithe and graceful, rugged instead of finely featured, and probably had an axe somewhere instead of a katana.
We were sleeping together sometime after my third day in America.
It was a fast few weeks. I was supposed to be assigned a Mentor while I considered joining a Tradition, because that was what I’d come to America for after all. Home was home to the Technocracy, while America was still the land of the free. Kurt and I kept finding reasons to put it off until he came home with a too-big grin on his face saying he’d been accepted to study under Archmaster Black.
Even at home I’d heard of the infamous Archmaster Black. The stories of him were the stuff of legend, and every mage on either side was familiar with the events of Four Sixteen and the part he played in it. He was flooded with applicants to study under him, and somehow Kurt had been deemed worthy to study at his feet. I was happy for him, I truly was. He told me that he loved me that night. I kissed him and held him close until the sun came up.


“You’re still here.”
I could only nod. There were words but they were caught in my throat.
“I can’t regret this.”
He sounded like he wanted to.


Archmaster Black was made out to be somewhere over six feet tall, lithely built with the grace of a dancer and the ferocity of a razorhound on Hum. It was said that he had no emotion, that all turned to ice at his touch, that Death followed him like a cult member high on propaganda. The stories were collected, traded, assessed, and always assumed to be true.
I wasn’t surprised to see that in reality Archmaster Black was really just another old guy who’d gone prematurely white. I didn’t doubt that he was an Archmaster, that title usually needs to be backed up, but I wasn’t about to be impressed either.
And then he turned and saw me. I felt his gaze, stone and cold, and I froze, and then…
His eyes.
Like an emperor’s prized jade.
“Kurt McNabb, bani Verbena, Archmaster Black.”
I felt the first reflection I’d seen in that house in Shinjuku. He was crying.
He knew those eyes. And those eyes met mine. There was hesitation, but I can’t remember if it was him or me. I could hear muttering. Apparently one was not supposed to look in an Archmaster’s eyes as if you were an equal.
To anyone else, it was the same utterance. I could hear the softened tone.
“Saito Ryunosuke.”
Another moment of connection, and then he looked away.
“You’re not on my list.”
He wasn’t carrying one.
“I’m aware of this.”
“So why are you here? Watch your boyfriend?”
I don’t know how he knew.
He just did.
“I’m here to learn, Archmaster Black.”
“You think it’s as easy as walking in here and asking?”
I met his eyes. I’ve found that I’m more willful in this incarnation. All eyes were on me.
“Yes. Teach all those truly willing to learn, right?”
There was a glimmer of recognition on his face. I think I’d paraphrased Bruce Lee or some martial artist from the last millennium.
“Alright Saito Ryunosuke. Let’s see what you need to learn.”


“Did you mean it, what you said?”
I was giving him a chance to back out. I can do this because the feeling’s mutual.
“I wouldn’t be here still if I didn’t.”
There’s a pause that begs something be said. He broke before I did.
“Are you cold?”
I shook my head.
I felt his lips press to mine, our eyes meeting again.
“Not anymore.”


“Christ, McNabb! Move it! I could run that maze blindfolded with no senses active in under three minutes and you’re on fifteen!”
This was one of his nicer tones. It was easy to observe: Archmaster Black was a cruel sadist. It wasn’t physical at all. It was completely emotional and psychological. Any feeling of connection between us had been berated and beaten down. If anything I was getting it worse than anyone else.
That day we were running the Maze. Forty yards by one hundred. How that old bastard could run across the field in less than three minutes much less through the Maze blindfolded was beyond most of us, even if he was an Archmaster of Entropy. Kurt loved the guy, I was starting to despise the Bishonen myself.
They all lined up to run the maze, the fastest time that day being eighteen minutes. If you used magic, and he caught you, you failed. Simple. Kurt was out in sixteen minutes, and not in the good way.
“Saito! Go!”
I decided not to play his games anymore. I ran around the Maze, dashing along the outer wall, much to the amusement of my classmates, and Kurt looking like I’d committed the greatest taboo. I rounded the corner, and rang the bell at the exit.
“Ryunosuke… I told you to run the Maze, not run around it.”
“This was faster.”
There was a crowd gathering. There were like piranha circling, waiting to latch onto the Archmaster’s ass the moment he gave an opening.
“You broke the rules.”
“Fuck the rules you old bastard!”
I’d excelled in Advanced English back home when it came to the profanities.
“Fuck… the rules?”
The killing smiles that decorated the class at that point…
“I’m a Mage. I’m not part of any Tradition, but I know what a Mage is. We break the rules, we set our own. I didn’t even cheat. What was the point of going through some idiot Maze when you could just run around? What, because *you* told us to? I’m learning to survive here, not be housebroken!”
Dead silence.
Perhaps I might’ve overstepped my bounds.
There was a long pause, and his eyes met mine.
“You pass. Go home. Nothing more I can teach you tonight.”
I didn’t go home though. I waited for Kurt, who apparently was ready to fight Archmaster Black to the death in case he decided to punish me for my apparent stupidity. Instead the Archmaster invited the class out for coffee. This is a tradition after someone finally solves the Maze, I’ve heard.
The rest of the night was hazy, but then again I did get sick that night.


“You’re shivering. You sure you’re not cold?”
I could only nod. There were words caught in my throat, but I wanted the silence for a little longer.
“You have to leave?”
He was sitting on the edge of the bed now, looking down. He was thinking about Kurt when I should’ve been.
“Was it right?”
I could say it hurt that he asked, but I could understand why he did.
“It feels that way. So why do you have to leave?”
He was looking at his hands, seeing something I couldn’t.
“These aren’t worthy of holding you anymore.”
I touched his shoulder, and he didn’t pull away like I thought he would. He was taking every moment as it came.
“So cleanse them.”
He looked back at me, his look indulgent for a moment.
“It’s not that simple, Ryu.”
I returned the gaze.
“Only because you won’t let it be.”


“I can’t be your Mentor, anymore, Ryunosuke.”
I should’ve seen this coming. He hadn’t spoken to me all day. No insults, no berating, no anything. I simply got sent off to firearms practice for the duration of the class. Kurt still had to jump through the hoops that everyone else did. He held me the night before, so proud of me, he made love to me a couple of times. There wasn’t anything wrong between us.
But now Archmaster Black was kicking me out.
I should’ve come up with more than that, but in the end it was really all everything boiled down to.
“I don’t have to explain it, Ryunosuke.”
It started to slide into place.
“You call me Ryunosuke.”
“Everyone else is their last name. I’m my first name.”
My eyes met his. He was silent.
“Tell me the truth Archmaster Black. I deserve at least that, right?”
“My name is James.”
There was a spark of recognition at that name. Standing on top of the Statue of Liberty, seeing a young man bruised and bloody and only needing me to feel safe.
I knew that for all his fame though, no one called him that.
I sat down, our eyes meeting.
“Your left eye is darker than your right.”
“My left eye sees the past.”
“So tell me about it.”
“About what?”
“Your past.”
A smirk. I didn’t think he could do that.
“I would’ve thought you knew all about the Grand Archmaster Black’s illustrious past.”
“I do.”
“So why are you asking me?”
A beat, a pause while I leaned forward.
“Because you said your name was James.”


“Where are you going?”
I felt I deserved an answer. I probably didn’t. He gave me one anyway.
“Las Vegas.”
A Free-City. Neutral territory.
“When are you coming back?”
“After I’ve washed my hands.”
I had to smile. He needed this, I could tell.
“I’d wish you good luck, but…”
He chuckled, leaning in, a light in his eyes that I could tell he’d thought was long dead. He ran his fingers along my face, and then something cold was placed in my hands. I looked down, and found an old pistol, ornately engraved, “Glamdring .45” down the barrel.
“Keep her safe for me.”
I could only nod. I knew what the gun meant to him. He then walked away from me. The door clanged shut, the echo hanging in the air to extend the moment that much longer.
He’d told me last night. Again and again he’d told me, every time with greater fervor. And bravery isn’t the strength to hide your emotions, it’s the strength to bare them to the world.
“I love you, James.”
I couldn’t tell you why I mean it.
I just do.

(c) Tim Bristol 2004

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Jun. 18th, 2004 @ 12:52 am Consolation
Current Mood: artisticartistic
Current Music: Save Ferris - "Come On Eileen"
I’m not a gay man, I’m a gay guy. There is a distinction between the two. I’ve never listened to the Smiths or The Cure. I watch football purely for the violence and could give less of a damn about the spandex. I like my steak rare, my beer cold, my apartment in a state of organized chaos, and I tend to get led around by my dick just as much as a het when the prospect of getting laid is on the horizon.
Which is probably the reason why I’m still sitting here at the college-run, student-staffed restaurant after two and half hours when it should be perfectly obvious that I’ve been stood up. Again. And if that smirking waiter asks me if I’m ready to order yet one more time I’m going to shove that bowl of stale breadsticks up his snide little ass.
Regardless, I’d had enough glasses of water for the time being so I had to make a quick stop at the mens, bearing the fragile hope that when I got back to my table he’d be standing in the archway looking for me with written apology in hand.
The room had an institutional antiseptic smell yet still managed to preserve all the hospitality of a university mens room, complete with a Sharpie-scrawled directory of which fraternities possessed either a penchant or talent for fellatio. I don’t have a problem with that particular technique, it just seems like more of a consolation prize, like the cases of laundry detergent and furniture polish that the losers would get on game shows. At the close of the night, I’d rather say that I got to the bonus round and fucked.
I did my business in the stall, since I’m weird about taking a piss when other people can see, the toilet having the kind of force of water pressure that could flush a baby seal. It’s weird the things you think of in the mens. When I got out after washing my hands he wasn’t there. It was a fragile hope anyway.
People always tend to stare when you’re at a table for two and you’re only one. This is usually the tripping point that keeps most closeted gays out of public places, since we all automatically assume that suddenly everyone knows that you’re expecting another man, and they’re simply waiting for the servers to bring the torches and pitchforks once they’ve reviewed the proper Angry Mob Procedures set by the UN and approved by Amnesty International. I’ll admit that even I get nervous every so often, but then again, I am a deviant’s deviant, so the fact that I didn’t appear as a Harbinger of the Rainbow Apocalypse would help me pass for straight.
But people do tend to stare, especially when you’re sitting by the window, primarily so that you can be seen by your date and you can see him. Instead, I saw her, the woman from my psych class. She was the kind of person that you were perfect friends with in class, but didn’t pay attention to the moment you stepped outside. You also tend not to know her name or forget it more times than not. But of course, she knew that I had a date that night. We made eye contact, and with that, she came in to console me, decked out like Our Bimbo of Mercy, and sat at my table, her cigarette dangling from her mouth, the filter smeared with lipstick.
I told her that it was a no smoking restaurant. Came back by saying it was just something to have in her mouth while she waited to get a proper replacement. Unlike the people around me, I figured she was talking about a joint. Asked me how long I’d been there, replied with that ambiguous “a while”. She smirked, and asked me to a movie at the student theater. I asked why, she said we could at least salvage the evening. Apparently she’d been stood up too. With a simple shrug we were on our way, a rather abysmal romantic comedy looking to be the highlight of my evening.
Looks like no bonus round for me tonight, but I guess that someone’s got to be the poor schmuck who never makes it past the first commercial break. Oh well, he was probably a lousy lay anyway who just wanted to be friends first or leads you on all night and then just wants to be held. I guess that a bag of popcorn and some formulaic cinema is good enough for now, at least until I ask him out again.

(c) Tim Bristol 2003
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