Sunday, January 27, 2008


Olympus Mons is located on the planet Mars. It is the largest mountain and volcano in our solar system, standing around 16.7 miles high with a base nearly 342 miles in width. The Valles Marineris is the largest known canyon in the solar system, stretching more than 3,000 miles wide and dropping 4 miles deep. Mars average climate is similar to Earth’s although the temperature variation is drastic with lows in the -220 degrees to highs in the 60’s. There is currently no human occupying the planet.

We spent that summer there, like we always did. We always stayed at the Red Rock Resort and Spa because it sits right at the base of the mountain. That summer was something special though. I was shipping off to the outer system at the end of the year and so it would be the last time we could all get together like that. I remember the look on their faces when I told them I’d be leaving for two years. Shock. Sadness. Curiosity. And excitement for the annual trip.

I remember one day in particular when we went for a hike up and along the mountainside. If you’ve ever seen Mons then you know how massive and daunting it is. Imagine Everest times three. Red and looming like the Rockies on steroids. Red dust collected under our feet and on our and gear and on everything it touched the way smoke sticks to clothing. But we had wanted to get to a spot we were told was perfect for viewing the Valles Marineris. So we continued while the giant watched over us. We moved along the outer rim, watching our footing, battling the wind as it kicked scents of day old pastries and fresh soil into our faces. We were careful not to slip.

One of our friends had asked us if we were nearing the end. We were getting close. He had never been with us on one of our trips so it was special for him to. As we approached our destination giant boulders stood on both sides to let us know we were close. Humongous red basalt formations, like the kind in Yellowstone only bigger, led the way to the plateau we sought. Red dust plumed with ever step, tasting like talcum powder and cornstarch. As we navigated the stones we could see the valley ahead. Our pace grew at the excitement. We quickly found a clearing and set our things down. The valley stretched for days. It was beyond terrific. Imagine a valley so wide that one side knows day while the other welcomes the night. The stinging chill of the cold wouldn’t shake us from the beauty of it all and we had time to spare.

Monday, January 21, 2008

expletive deleted

down by the river where the sun stays out and the moon waits by the window a black haired man washes his face. knees bent at the shore he looks into the water and sees what he used to be. "where were you when she walked away?" the man in the water asks him. "where were you then?" and he thinks to himself like he does every day at dawn and tries to find the answer to the question. "i don't have the answer to that. not today." he responds. and a breeze picks up, kicking rocks at his self. the water ripples and the man disappears and the black haired one thinks to himself like he does every day at dawn. another voice from the distance, riding the winds like a paper airplane. "where are you going with that heart of yours so dangerously exposed like that?" he says. the man turns and looks for the source but fails to locate it. and he thinks to himself like he does every day at dawn that maybe he thinks too much.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

"Sea Dog"

Colin Beckwith wrote this in a dream in the winter of '89. It goes:

Dear Anne-Marie,

It seems like forever since I last wrote to you. What was it that you always used to say when things got like this? Anyways, I supposed it's irrelevant now.

My mind has been fading, it seems, or drifting but never returning in the same state that it left. Moreso than before. I think the move has had the opposite effect than what I had hoped. I don't know what I'm going to do. I don't know.

I went outside the other day. I took a walk down to the river. It was frozen but it wasn't as cold outside as you think it'd be. I walked a path along the side of the river. I didn't have my camera. I don't know why. I always have my camera and there were so many beautiful shots I could have taken. But I didn't. I saw deer. Two of them. They were under a tree, just enjoying themselves. I turned around and headed back home.

Do you know what I saw the other night? I'll tell you. I was sitting outside on the porch and I saw a shooting star. But it didn't stop, you know? It didn't dissipate half way across the sky. It kept going. I think it may have landed somewhere. Well, not landed so much as maybe just crashed into something. I want to find it. I think it may have crashed a few miles outside of Halifax on the southern side.

Did you know that Cap'n Crunch had a pet? His name was "Sea Dog".

I don't know why I'm still here, Anne-Marie. What I'm looking for. What I'm expecting to find. I don't seem to know much of anything these days. I can't shake that feeling. I'm thinking of coming home, Anne-Marie. I know enough time hasn't passed but I think I may go insane if I stay here alone for much longer. "No man is an island." That's what you would always say! I knew I'd remember.

I should be wrapping this up now. I have to make it into town before dusk. I'll need some supplies if I'm going to track down that star. I think I can find it. I'll make sure to bring my camera to take a picture of it and I'll show it to you when I come back.

Can't wait to see you, Anne-Marie. Until then…

Colin Beckwith
January 13th, 1989

Thursday, January 10, 2008

eye enn vee eye ess eye bee ell eee ell eye gee aych tee enn eye enn gee

the lunar eclipse sent him back in time. back and forth. traveler. space/distance. a mass particle. accelerate the beats of the heart, i say, a heart-attack manufacturer. import and export. wrap up your trip. he settled it. settled down at the semi-circle base of the arctic chill zone, nestled in a cottage outside of northern Halifax. couldn't decide. fire made sheep's skin sweat like rain. mind like a puzzle, too hard to solve. haven't the patience to quite yet see the solution. i say, this is quite the sight. front door agape. tell me this is not the sight! what'll you have, today? hmm? lion, snake, lamb, owl, coyote, giraffe. you tell me! is this not the sight to see? king of the day make your choice. they are all quite nice, no? traveler. traveler! pull yourself t.o.g.e.t.h.e.r. madman and men alike no not the struggle, do they? my boy! p-p-p-u-u-u-l-l-l-l-l-l-l on the main lever. ignition. count down from 6. 5. 5.4. 4.3. 3.7. abort? not in this hemisphere. drop the lever and take out the moon! light bulbs flash on and off and on again at the base of an oak tree. is it the snake? no, not again.

Monday, January 7, 2008

"he can’t read people anymore...maybe he never could."

lights shift from green to red, bouncing off one another within minute droplets of water. a sign points "this way" while the crowd goes the other. amongst the madness a young girl finds herself lost, separated from her mother. the mother battles a falling hydro-arsenal from above as she frantically tries to locate her daughter. more particles of light move between here and there surrounding those that have and those that have not the will to continue. freezing now, the girl pushes a path between never-ending legs to an open spot where she hopes to see her mother. a brief let up in the weather is all it takes for the mother to spy the girl towards the back of the chaos. they say the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, but what do they care?

"you look too hard," she said, "you always have. always trying to find something to save you. always looking for that one thing that'll give you back what you had. you look too hard."

upon hearing her accusation he knew it to be true. but like all stubborn people he would not immediately admit to it.

"you don't know what you say," he responded, defensively. "i don't look too hard. it's just, i don't know. i just don't look too hard." he tried to gather his thoughts. it wasn't his best come-back, but then again he was never one for confrontation.

"you know what i think?" she asked, not expecting an answer. "i think you get your hopes up too easily and every time you do there always ends up being something to disappoint you." she knew she was right by the look that he gave her. "why don't you just stop looking?"