September 23, 2016 § Leave a comment

A Word Portrait.

Imagine a valley in the heat of a desert. Parched land, cracked and hardened for miles, dotted with hardy dust-drenched wildlife and prickling cacti. In the midst of the desert runs a river: sometimes nearly barren, sometimes overflowing its banks, carving a sloping trench of greenery through the dryness and the sand. And where the green meets the sand is a tent of jewel-bright colors.

They are this: the floating of silks in the wind, the soft heavy drape of velvet, the rustle of cotton and linen. Layers of cloth to make a dwelling, to signal a presence, to conceal and reveal. Shifting fabric of every texture and rich color. A tactile experience and a visual one and through it all the scent of oils and resins perfuming the night air.

Are they a tent or a temple? A disorienting maze of silken walls that shift with the wind or a draping comfort that muffles the sand and sound outside? Is the brazier of incense a thing of sensuality or sacredness, or perhaps it is both…

At times one might glimpse a repaired tear, a sword-gash sewn back up and layered over with watercolored silk, a rip mended with gold embroidery and glinting beadwork, a handful of loose threads longing for their former mooring. There is calligraphy along every seam and hem, tapestries holding knowledge in their warp and weft, a wisdom in the paint and ink hidden in the fluttering of layered veils.

Here and there are crystals to catch the twilight filtering through the gauzy roof, and sometimes an open space above to see the diamond starscape. Now and then there are chimes softly singing, and a tent-pole strong and bracing amidst the fluidity of cloth. The sand shifts beneath the woven tapestries of the floor, yielding yet supporting all at once. All is air and water, the night breeze playing on the surface of liquid cloth.


September 23, 2016 § Leave a comment

A Word Portrait.

They are bright eyes in the summer undergrowth, the white of fangs in a merry grin. The greenery grows through the cracks of concrete and stone, and there they are too, bursting with irrepressible life.

Fairy-bells chime like silver laughter. Dandelions and chamomile erupt out of a sidewalk seam. There is a synanthropy of fluttering feather and flashing fur in city back-alleys. They are green summer life blooming in unexpected places, in spaces designed to keep it out, in scaffolding steel and the earth paved over. And they are the wonder and pause in the bustle of grayscale life upon noticing, like a sudden breath or a break in the clouds, the abrupt color of petals or the subtle gleam of fox-eyes.

There’s resilience in this verdant softness, and a gentleness. There is the service-delight of brownie and the green-tending of the sprite, yet there is too the tender sensitivity of brush-tailed fox and child-wise Fool. They are emotions experienced whole and pure, with sorrow and hurt flaring as vibrant as joy and delight.

They are the softness of fur in a close warm den, the tumble of fox-kits with their coats sun-shining. They are the shining fall of water down a cliff-face. They are soothing spiced tea and the warmth of friendship deepened over a shared cup. They are summer intensity in all its greenery and emotion and heat.


August 4, 2016 § Leave a comment

A Word Portrait.

Her bones are steel – not the steel that comes only in rigid unyielding, but flexible, bending arcs of ordeal-forged metal. Her heart is passion-fire, sometimes consuming her from the inside out, sometimes fading to low embers from lack of fuel, and sometimes the ideal warmth of hearth-flame.

The easy analogy for this woman would be silk and steel, that core of refined steel with the outer softness of silk – but silk is an orderly thing, spun in crystalline moments by hungry patient spiders, and she is not so controlled. Her skin is not silk – it is living hide, dark and supple, warmed by the heat of her heart and her passion. A raw, primal creature dressed in civilization’s veneer, jewels on a wild thing, a sensual softness overlaying fire and steel and the hint of sharp teeth.


July 7, 2016 § Leave a comment

Word Portrait.

The bearsark is clad in rough-hewn plate, bronze and iron and copper all dulled and scarred through heavy use. The stories say they go shirtless into battle but this one clothes themselves in metal, holds their shape to human with will and caution. They are armed and armored, solid-standing, watchful-eyed.

(Do you see the marked bear pelt beneath the chipped and tarnished mail? No? Look close. Look careful. Approach slow and steady, and maybe you can glimpse it.)

The bearsark moves with the stiffness of old wounds and healed scars. They move with the coiled power of long training and applied skill. They move with the carefully conserved energy of one who has experienced much and knows not to overspend themselves.

(Do you see the callouses and the scars on the skin beneath the iron plates? Do you see the bloodstained cloth and guarded stance? Look close. Look careful. Approach unarmed and unarmored, and maybe you will be allowed to see.)

They stand watch. They stand guard, and hold the meeting-place for the safety and comfort of others. They smile, readily; the armor is well-worn and rigid but they have a ready friendliness and camaraderie to them, a clap on the shoulder, a hard hug.

The mead-hall shines with firelight and merriment in the long hours of the night, and the bearsark stands at the door facing into the darkness. The mead-hall bustles with music and passion, and the bearsark holds the entrance. They greet and clasp hands with those entering and leaving; they drink a cup now and then; they share a dance here and there; they entertain with a joke or a story that diverts curious stares. They are part, yet apart. They maintain their human shape within their armor and stand steady.

(Have you seen the ferocious glory of the bear-shape, the beauty of claws and jaws and fur? Have you seen the battle-frenzy and the passion-fire? Don’t flinch. Don’t shy away. Have you seen the wide wilderness and smelled deep loam, old bones within the cave, the heavy heady musk of predator and primality?)

They are ferality tightly caged, they are wild and wounded, they are strength held in check, they are a warrior’s pride and disciplined focused power and a tender ferocity. They are taut grace, an immense force under tension and under pressure.

Creature of the Wood

July 7, 2016 § Leave a comment

Word Portrait.

They are the primal wild come home to dwell. Dressed in court finery, the gilt and glamoured gleaming of Sidhe regality. They move like dancing, like a hunting cat, like a courting crane. They are a horned creature dancing around the Solstice fires, head high and crowned in holly leaves, or perhaps in laurel or in ivy. Yet there is no ferality here, but an older kind of civility, the gentry of another world: a fanged smile, gilded hooves, an elegant bow.
They are the heavy shadows beneath ancient tree roots given form in city and court. There is an intensity and a deepness in their gaze, the world woven into a dance between two spirits.  They are an elemental force and there is something fey about them, a glamourie of searing passion to draw in the touch-hungry and bright-eyed. Nowhere else will you meet a more gentle and charming hunter.
The Sidhe are always hungry and ever yearning, after all.
They are coiled grace and passion wound taut beneath the skin. There is a core of them that is incandescent and pulsing, a fire that needs so so much fuel to sustain it and yet gives out warmth and light and heat in return. That heart can scorch and sear and burn, too; no creature survives long without defenses.
(Can you glimpse such a heart without going blind, without burning your sight out, like looking into the heart of the earth, like looking into the sun? Will you be elf-struck and lose yourself? Or are you a thing of wildness and brightness and darkness as well, who can walk into fire and wood and cave and come out again?)

The Beast Below

July 7, 2016 § Leave a comment

Word Portrait.

They are a slippery skittering thing, evading grasp, evading definition. They are layered softness and shifting forms. Moss grown thick and lush over once-shining chitin. The chitin a carapace to protect the tender furred creature within.
They come from out the barrow, and the barrow is their home. They live beneath the earth with crawling things and slithing beasts, growing moss on their hide, fungi in their hair, the roots of the world entangling in their soul.
Listen, listen. The rhythm of their heart is a chittering insect sound but you have to listen close. The sound of their breathing is that of the wind over the heath. Spiders wove their spirit and cicadas sing their thoughts.
Look close. Burrow into the mud and grit of the underbelly of the world. Let the centipedes roam through your fingers and the worms taste your sweat. Learn to love the scent of decaying leaves. Be quiet and still enough to hear the small insect sounds of the underbrush, the brief bold lives of the people of the earth.
They are the soft rich yielding of grave-loam and the fire-heart beneath the earth’s crust and the heavy shifting of tectonic plates. They are the murmuring contact of ants and the biting defense of spiders. They settle into safe separate solitude beneath leafmold and winding roots where few will venture for fear of crawling things and imagined horrors, they befriend the many-legged and no-legged things of the warm dark of earth and heart, and they peer through the cracks of the world.

Weather-Eroded Arch

January 20, 2016 § Leave a comment

A Word Portrait.

They are a methodical steadiness, a quiet keenness. They are the enduring dance of air and stone, both wind-sculptor and standing-stone sculpture. Patience and dedication wears away the stone from solid rock into a graceful arch, stone balanced impossibly on stone, rooted deep into the earth and whittled into shape by the ceaseless air. Stillness and dynamism, a rock that seeks the challenge of shaping, a sky that seeks the stability of stone. When worn too thin, perhaps they collapse to earth – and begin the work anew, fallen into a new shape, ready to windcarve again.


Faerie Fire

January 20, 2016 § Leave a comment

A Word Portrait.

She is something fluid and fey, a dancing flame that burns with an otherworldly light, golden smoke and green faerie fire. She entrances and she dances, she is hot enough to burn and cold enough to freeze. Now she flares to fill the room; now she dims, ungraspable, slipping from sight. She is eyes in the flame, Cheshire-slitted, a keen mirthful awareness, a merciless evaluation. She gleams, and she laughs, and all the tales of the fair folk with their silver bells and will-o-wisp glances come to mind, all feline languor and a predator’s playfulness. There’s a rawness beneath that fey shining, a hidden heart of the eldritch flame, kept safe behind glamour and clever Cheshire sharpness and icehot changeling games. And when you try to grasp the flame of her, hold it still or hold it captive, is it you who feels the pain of burning or is it she?

They call the Fair Folk heartless, but I don’t think it’s true –
rather they live by different morals than me or maybe you,
And their hearts may be hidden in a stone or in a flame,
locked away with the key of their secret name.

They’re truer though than humans, cleave completely to their code,
a moon-bright sense of justice, though it be alien and cold.


January 20, 2016 § Leave a comment

A Word Portrait.

This is a creature of the threshold and the ways between, shadow-walker with a shapeshifter’s eyes. This is something synanthropic, the wild come to dwell and thrive amidst civilization, yet lairing in the cracks and edges of things, crepuscular, watching and waiting, observing with a night-bright gaze. This is kin to coyote and jackal, buzzard and crow, fox and coon.

A moonlight passion thrums in the bones, but the passion is a quiet hidden thing, like the wild cracking through the edges of the city concrete, the startling sight of eyes in the alley glowing from a car’s headlights, the sleek shadow of a lean canid silhouette in an abandoned lot. The wisdom found in 4am stillness when the whole world seems at rest and the sky is infinite above. The kind of beauty you have to search for in back alleyways and abandoned buildings and overgrown cemeteries, the kind you can find nowhere else.

Theirs is not that of predator nor prey, not the hungry teeth of the stalking jaguar nor the rapid pitterpat heartbeat of the rabbit. This is a quiet confidence in movement and speech, a laughing wariness, a weighing look that seeks to stare through the skin of the world.

Lines in Water

January 20, 2016 § Leave a comment

A Word Portrait.

Lines. Fracture-lines in darkened scrying mirrors. Strong thick spiderweb lines wrapping around the self, reaching to the surroundings, connecting, enfolding, entrapping. Jagged lines, curving lines, spiraling, a network of lines.

Compartmentalizing, and connecting, and walling off. The lines are cords and links–and they are walls within and without–and they hinder, and they protect, and they do nothing at all. They obscure and they outline, and she is covered in lines, made of lines, radiating them, entrapped by them.

Some are connected to others, and she pulls them. Some are connected to her, and she is pulled by them. Some once connected elsewhere and are now snapped, broken, frayed. Some are knotted. Some are slowly repairing, slowly growing.

She is all lines and often monochrome but there are flashes of color, some strange textures, red ocher and azure, golden, opalescent. In places she is held riged and in places she is as shifting-shimmering as water.

There is much of water here. Rainfall, storm-crash, new-moistened earth. And sometimes stagnant pools, murky, choked with moss and pondweed. She is a bark-skinned liquid chimera with half-wings nad fur and mismatched gaze, feet in four worlds. She is at once soft and spiked, staticky, roiling chaos with the wind that stirs the water or whips it into frenzy.

Water in lines, a net in the murky depths, tight-constrained and breaking free a tie at a time.

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