Simple Machines

Carolyn and Lucas use the EB Engine to push them into new creative territory. The discussion ends up touching on language, simple machines, graphene, and happenings on the other side of closed drawers. 

Find many more goodies at

Feel free to share what you come up with on our facebook/ebcreativity

Box Fans, Apples, and Inter-dimensional Machines

Lucas and Carolyn take the EB Engine for a spin and share what they came up with. They talk about family, inter-dimensional travel, apples, and box fans. 

If this episode made you think of any memories, please feel free to send us a message at

You can check in on the EB Engine at any time by going to and pressing play!

EB Radio Livestream

EB Radio Cover

Lucas and Carolyn use EB Radio as the prompt for this livestream. This discussion includes themes ranging from climate change to serial murderers. You never know what you’re going to get during an EB workshop!

Remember to submit phone recordings to be played on Endless Beautiful Radio on the website,

Carolyn’s EB Livestream Result January 13, 2019:

We have come to the old cemetery,
crayons and paper in hand, scalpels for the lichen,
brushes for the grit--so many slate headstones,
their skulls and carven wings, so much ash and dust,
and four hundred years peace,
a baker’s dozen generations of children
come to wax over the names and pull dandelions
from the weedy plots, run sticks over the railings,
and dream of the river a quarter mile
across the field, the sizzle of the campfires
steady along its silty banks.

The seasons become as messy as the waves,
bleeding into each other, ebbing a little higher,
a little lower on the beach, folding,
stretched and consumed by the undertow.
The timing hasn’t gone wrong, but
the way we’re using the time has—
too fast, churning our days into foam
when we used to have flat rollers.
At the back of the bay, mussels
and barnacles entomb themselves—
do they still believe the tide will turn?

If all things change--and nothing is static,
where do we set our stones?
Knowing our time in the low tide,
the dry wait while the river curls away,
do we build our castles and our crypts
on the hill or in the plain?
We are blind to the dragons that
live in the rising seas--carefree
in the ultimatum, walking through a laugh,
and that might not be so bad.
Would I rather live long enough
to feel the wave reach up,
write my epitaph in the wet sand,
and watch it fade--or go on swimming,
treading the deep, and brave the below?

Lucas’s Result from 1.13.19

He emptied the sharpener out in the small bin near his fish tank. Pencil shavings fluttered down into the basket, releasing the satisfying aroma of shaved wood and ground graphite. This was probably the third time that he had emptied the sharpener. Henry had lost count. He tended to get caught up in his work. Some called it tunnel vision. He liked to call it following his muse. Satisfied that all of the shavings had been cleared (Henry kept a toothbrush on a nearby table to aid him), Henry clapped the metal casing shut and sharpened his number 2. Ah yes, that was a good point, it was time to get back to work.

He sat at his desk in the corner of his apartment. Sun warmed the wooden floor and various decorations that he had strewn about. Some might have called the stacks of newspapers and photos lining the walls junk. Henry preferred to think of them as precious mementos. Instead of wasting his time in the evening by watching television or surfing social media, Henry found all of his necessary pleasure by examining the grainy photos that he had managed to gather and by meticulously jumping from word to word lining the pages of the newspaper articles.

The words truly transported him, Henry always found new meaning in the syntax and the rhythm. “Back Bay Bomber Strikes Again,” read one article. Henry remembered that one quite well. His first job had gone relatively unnoticed, but the police had tipped the reporter from the Times off that they’d been tracking some “Back Bay Guy.” Henry had scored three kills on that one. It really had been quite daring. A bundle of C4, tossed in the luggage area under a bus. Henry had made sure his note that he had worked on so hard had survived by sealing it in a titanium box with a key welded next to it.

Now, his next job was coming up. His biggest one yet. He loved public transportation. All of the bustle. All of the stories converging in one place. Desperate mothers pulling their children by their shirtsleeves. Loners and lovers. Perhaps even killers on their way to their own scores. But they would never make it. Not if Henry had anything to do with it. The explosives were prepped. Henry’s biggest payload yet. Enough to derail the Amtrak. Henry signed off on his note. “Love, The Back Bay Bomber” and closed and locked the box. He grabbed his luggage and locked the door. His Uber was waiting to take him to the station.

Blacksmith Livestream

Blacksmith Livestream

Lucas and Carolyn reflect a bit on all of the amazing developments that the listeners and participants of EB helped make happen in 2018 before using Session 38: Blacksmith for this livestream. Lucas writes about the sometimes grueling sacrifices that a parent must make for their children. Carolyn writes about classification and how to better understand the natural world that we live in. It’s a good time!

Lucas’s result from 12.30.18 livestream:

He poured the small stones into the glass jar. It was nearly full. The weight of it had been growing heavier over the past two hours, but the chanters demanded that the rite be carried out fully. Children laughed as they skipped along the beach, throwing small sticks at the gulls and kicking at knee-high waves. His brow was dripping with sweat, his eyes stung from the wind, salt, and sand. The jar slipped in his hand as his muscles cramped. He knelt and cradled it near the core of his body. At one time, he might have asked himself, “Does this matter?”

He hadn’t eaten for two days. Long, white blisters, flecked with blood lined his feet. He had sustained a gash on his shin from slipping on the algae-covered rocks–it had almost cost him the jar. It had almost smashed upon the rocks. The children sitting in the grass above the dunes laughing. But he had caught it.

There were times that he felt like he was flying as he walked upon the beach, holding the jar, waiting for the stones to be loaded within. His stomach felt as if it dissolved or perhaps slip down his leg and out the tips of his toes, relieving him of the added weight and trouble of eating. In the beginning, when the ceremony began, he remembered wondering how a gull would taste if he would strike it with a jagged rock, smash its beak, and roast it on a spit. He had supposed then that it might taste like chicken, or perhaps a tame fish, but now, he had forgotten what any of that tasted like, or why it even mattered in the first place.

A young girl, perhaps five years old, placed her hand on the lip of the jar. He looked down at her delicate fingers grasping at the smooth glass and was struck by how extraordinarily small and articulate they were. It took him a moment to realize what she was doing–that the stones that were appearing in her palms and being flung out into the sea, had come from his ceremonial jar. She laughed and marveled.

He sat as she pulled more of the stones from the jar and threw them into the water. Her eyes sparked green and blue. She jumped and splashed like the happy gulls. Before he knew it, half of the jar was gone.

Carolyn’s result from 12.30.18 livestream:

Rustling means that among the marbles,
something in the jar is alive, to be counted,
slippery among the interstitial of the spheres.
Can it be seen? Does it matter?
(the thing itself and whether it can be seen)

The pulse quickens, the quick of the nail
at the edge of life reaching under the lid,
uncertain of its expectations. So then—
the same question--does it matter to me?

Does it matter at all? If I know
how to open the jar, should I?
Those internal conditions change
by that conditional. The shift of it. The twist.

Is this too serious?
Maybe it isn’t so dire, this living,
that living thing, but even so,
how would I know? Can’t know its song
unless it sings it. Cant know if it sings.

Does knowing such things matter?
(the thing itself and whether it sings)
Is the buzz of curiosity worth the cause?
The effect? The consequence.

Is consequence the opposite of sequence,
the thunder echoed back from the burst,
the result possibly an insult?
Intention passed off as the precursor
to the tension it makes,
what it precipitates, what is saturated
in that flooded jar.

-Carolyn Decker 12.30.18
using EB Session 38: Blacksmith

Snow Livestream

Snow Livestream Cover

We use Session 52: Snow for this workshop. Carolyn writes a piece of fiction that questions inspiration, imagination, and dreams. Lucas writes a story about a not-so-distant future where virtual reality provides the ultimate escape. What will be the consequences for our society when this happens? Also, send your recordings to add to the new EB Radio station on our website!

Carolyn’s Result:

The hatchway door opens. Cool air rushes in sudden and stale, displacing the swelter of the underground. From inside the tunnel, the engine whirs. The guide lights flicker on in succession. Spray jets coat the opening with ice, and workers rush to buffer smooth the launch pad. The pod races up the chute, quicker than can be heard, races into the distant sky, known only as a dim comet tail flash escaping the horizon. Another farewell song blasted off-planet with the tourists inside frozen in sleep.

I miss birds. This off-world appeal didn’t prepare me to ignore the cravings for things I didn’t realize I’d cared about. Sure some people have their holograms, VR. What you don’t predict is that, without the exposure to all those subtle things in life back home, you don’t even dream about them anymore. Marty says you can only see what you’ve seen, but I guess the subconscious starves without proper feeding like anything else. Maybe I’m must jaded.

Maybe I just don’t have any imagination anymore. Left it behind. Looked down into the dark tunnel one too many times and stopped seeing dragons swarming down there. Just mechanical gravity. Launch pads. Landing straps. I guess I figured we’d find something unexpected all the way down there. I remember what we feared–but we just didn’t find it.

Lucas’s Result:

The door swung open slowly. The hinges creaked and the frame moaned under the weight. Humidity had swollen the wood, malformed it so much that Alex had to lift the door in order to latch it. What a shithole. His apartment. He’d been there for six years now. Hell, the heat hadn’t worked at all during the winter for the first two years, not that Alex would have known enough to do anything about it. His mother had stopped by—one of her bi-yearly visits, told him that he better call the utility company or she was going to call the cops. Alex’s mom told him to stay off the dope. He’d never done drugs. Never drank. Maybe popped an Adderall from time to time to boost his focus, but that was about it.

So yeah, Alex got his heat turned on, but that didn’t mean much for him in the middle of August, sweating like a pig in his shitty apartment, fogging his headset lenses to the point that he had to constantly wipe them dry. His mom had been wrong about the drugs, at least the ones that you shoot up or dump down your throat, his drug of choice was virtual reality.

Alex wiped his lenses again and his brow. He pulled the visor down and found himself in a beautiful spring scene, complete with a line of blackbirds on low wooden fence, a spring mist coming off the hills, and enough moisture and cool relief to make him forget about the infernal reality that his body was currently buried in.

Almost. Sweat was dripping down his cheeks so much that they soon filled the eye wells on his VR set. He pulled them off again. “For fuck’s sake!” yelled Alex. He looked over and realized that his door was still open. Alex set the VR set down on his desk and walked across his apartment, through the pizza boxes and coke cans, to close it. He grabbed the handle, picked it up, and locked it firmly.

To live was to suffer. This existence that he was forced to revisit every time he was outside of VR was pathetic compared to the one that he had carved out inside it. Alex had been an early adopter of the technology, so he had made a name for himself in the circles. In the beginning, it had been novelty jobs like mowing someone’s virtual grass, or perhaps walking their virtual dog, never anything gross— nothing sexual or hyper violent. Alex was above that, the tech was beyond that, VR represented a new beginning for humanity, and it was pioneers like Alex that were pushing it forward.

He put his headset back on.

Gift Livestream

Gift Livestream Cover

We use Session 73: Gift for this workshop. Watch and listen as Carolyn shares her powerful story of being in the Women’s March in Boston. Lucas shares a crazy story about being at a Slayer concert. The discussion then turns to ideas of liberty in America and what that means in 2018. We have the video and audio versions of the livestream below.

Carolyn’s piece from the 12/9/18 livestream:

We make noise--we holler, we join
the ruckus and the rumble, the jostling
shoulder-to-shoulder, knee-to-knee
of the gathering, we cheer,
our voices singing the steam whistle,
the rally of the island ferry pulling
into harbor. We ring out the gleam
of firelight, of the torch lit from without,
and we link arms, becoming the conduit
for that rushing spark. Our feet move
together, but not in unison, each its own
stepping, and the journey overlapping.
We will not leave breadcrumbs to be
trampled or stolen, but shouts to echo
and rebound from the ears, minds, and
mouths--the lungs, the fluttering furnace,
that web of blood, that breath.
We are not idle--neither are we idols,
our faces not incarnations but makers
of incantations, of what worth saying,
and the noise of it more so. We extend,
suspend disbelief in our noise making,
shake out the silent naught-saying,
drill deep into our bellies for that
joyful source, the whoop, the cry,
the announcement of no fear,
hear me, hear ye, sudden
and earnestly. Uulation! Jubilation!
Victory and pomp--costume and
all of us subsumed in revelation—
the ongoing exploration, left right
over up and down, we go through it—
stomping, cheering the way.

Lucas’s entry from 12.9.18 livestream

“Make some noise!”

The crowd was going wild. Children jumped in their seats. Men threw buckets of popcorn at one another. Mothers flung hotdogs onto the stage. It was complete anarchy.

“Take a seat, take a seat, ladies and gentlemen!” It was the bodiless announcer booming over the loudspeakers. A fat raccoon, oblivious to the command, rolled its way out onto the stage. The crowd went into a frenzy again. This went on for another five minutes.

Finally, after everybody’s vocal cords were charred, and they felt like they were going to pass out if they didn’t get a drink in them, they sat down.

Attendants wearing black t-shirts, black pants, white sneakers, and wireless headsets like secret service agents raced up the stairs onto the stage. They frantically swept the hotdogs, raccoons, and other rubbish off the stage. A tall throne, gold and red, was brought out and set onto the center. It rotated on a small platform, so the entire arena could see what was going on.

The stage crew disappeared to the edge of the stage, near the stairs, and a new figure appeared. He appeared to be a Buddhist monk, he wore orange robes, his head was shaved, he looked noble, and yet, he rolled a carry on luggage alongside him. The crowd remained silent. Not a murmur. Not an errant hot dog.

The monk slowly rolled the luggage toward the center and the throne. He slowed a few times as the luggage almost tipped over, until he climbed up and took a seat. A woman ran out with a microphone, knelt before him, and handed him a microphone.

One word.


The crowd erupted again. Men, women, and children went wild. A drunk man riding a camel somehow had made it through security and almost made it to the stage before being tased. This was all on the jumbotron of course. He spun around wildly as electrodes pumped electricity into his body, probably looking for the camera.

The monk motioned for the crowd to quiet again. After a few minutes, they obliged.

The monk stood on his rotating platform, held the mic up to his mouth and said, “You don’t have to be alone anymore.”

“No!” yelled the crowd.

“Uh huh, you know it. You can feel it. You can see it. Look around, to your right and your left. Take that man, woman, or child in your arms and tell them that you love them.”

The crowd was silent. More silent than before. The monk lifted a finger as to cue something, and a high school band began to play up in the upper decks. The monk swung his finger around as if conducting the music. The crowd was still silent, except for the band.

And then, just as he had approached the stage, the monk began to leave. He grabbed his luggage and rolled his way back off the stage.

And the band played.

Jar of Treasures Livestream

Jar of Treasures Livestream

We chose Session 43: Jar of Treasures for this workshop. Watch and listen as Lucas pens a story about a mysterious man and his journey around the country. Carolyn writes a poem about the importance of creating and maintaining shelter…and knowing when to leave it. We have the video and audio versions of the livestream below.

Lucas’s Result

He didn’t know what he had been walking for anymore. The soles of his shoes were worn out. His jeans were shredded at the bottoms. His neck had been sunburned so many times and had peeled so massively, it was thick like the hide of a bison. He’d been at it for 25 years. That’s right, this wasn’t a weekend jaunt, not even a summer hike, this was a multi-year, multi-season, walk, and he wasn’t sure why he had started.

At this point in time, he had managed to make it to Vermont. The flies were terrible. The birds, beautiful. I had rained an hour prior, now he trudged along the side of the road in the gravel with soggy socks and shoes, cars whizzed past. The passenger in the last truck had tossed a cigarette out the window. What a loser. Even he knew that it wasn’t cool to be smoking anymore, and he’d been in the elements, walking both in society and outside of it, for the past 25 years.

For every transgression, there were 10 wonderful things that happened to him. A few weeks ago, a blue-haired woman had brought him a piece of apple pie. She had spooned it into his mouth as he walked. She told him about the cardinals that were out by her feeder and about her grandson and his video games. She needed to talk. He liked the pie. It was a good thing.

He wasn’t always on the roads. He had special permission. Was that how this thing had started off 25 years prior? He got an idea for a fundraiser, or something like that, he wasn’t sure exactly why, all he remembered was passing by a carnival in Alabama, and the sheriff driving up and handing him a paper. The sheriff told him that he could walk anywhere that he pleased, that the President had even signed it, so he’d been doing that, but he wasn’t exactly sure why.

A few months ago, in Texas, he had crossed through some farmer’s field, brown cows watching him, mashing tall grass between their teeth. He had crossed a barbed wire fence to find a farmer with a shotgun waiting for him.

“You’re on my property, you goddamn fool,” said the farmer.

He produced his pass, and the farmer turned white. “My apologies! Let me clear the trail ahead for you. Please, don’t tell them about this. I’m just trying to protect my land…I’m sure you can understand.”

He couldn’t understand, because he couldn’t remember exactly why this had all started—just that he needed to continue to do it. So he walked. And he supposed he would walk until his feet fell off, and the birds would steal his flesh, and his bones would be bleached in the sun. He wondered if another man, woman, child, or animal would come upon his bones, and he wondered if they would remember why he had started this thing in the first place.

Carolyn’s Result

We’re all looking for shelter,
looking to uncover someplace funny,
but home like–some island
sliding over the surface of the ocean,
a place inverted in the mirror
where a chip broke out of the glass
and the reflection became less
a reflection, having broken and fallen off,
and more of a brother, someone
easier to accept for their flaws—
even love them for them.

If that shelter takes the form
of a bottle someone long ago
cast into the woods, and now
some squirrel has filled it with acorns,
make a fire by the mouth—
you’ll need water to boil, but
that generous seed can be pounded
into a meal, and you’ll have not only
a place to sleep, but food,
and warmth–what more can you need.

Put your fingers in there,
mind that you don’t shock them red,
remember the numbers and letters
of the spell. Once you’re inside,
you’ll have to figure out how to
get out of there. Make it stop moving.
Pull back on the springs or the
lever, and puzzle your way through.
Any shelter worth its measure
can stand a little stretching,
but you’ll want to ensure you’ve got
at least two doors, an exit plan for either.

It’s fundamental to survival: shelter—
need it to go on living, but,
fully worth belaboring the point,
you need a way out. You can’t need it
so bad that you get stuck.
A spider doesn’t get caught in its own web
and get out. Birds leave their nests
and only rebuild when the season is right.
A sense of home is episodic,
and getting lost is the only way
to enrich the journey. So wander,
take shelter in wisdom instead of worry,
and don’t stay there too long.

EB Livestream
-Carolyn Decker 11/25/18

Salt Livestream

Salt Livestream

We picked a random session from our library and ended up with Session 56: Salt for this workshop. Watch and listen as Carolyn pens a fantasy world that she’s been imagining for 15 years! Lucas writes a story that examines a man’s harrowing escape from murderous drones. Is this frightening tale a window into our collective tech-dependent future? We have the video and audio versions of the livestream below.

Carolyn’s Result

It rains heavily in the swamps. Ever since the cataclysmic earthquakes, and the development of the desert, weather gets stuck over the bottomlands. The cliffs drop off far the west where the draining rivers empty over the lost city–whether or not elves lived there remains unclear. There’s an unwelcome energy in those archways. The people of the guidebook live in the swamp, and only those who have found one of the fleeting shadow plants hold the rank of honor, of those who see into that other eclipsed world.

They are proud musicmakers. String instruments, flutes, drums, and all their making waterproof and buoyant. Even their homes portable among the buttressed trees. Shallow shipbuilders too, not seafarers, but they will have sailing competitions on the great lake by the high waterfalls. Rarely, but perhaps less rarely than the other peoples of the land are they visited by the little folk, the old ones that live in the hollows of the world, keep the stories, and seldom intervene.

The people of the swamp are good hosts, but they guard their home fervently, and they do not like trespassers. On the far north of the country, they are not often on the receiving end of rumors, but they have heard of the shifters found lately in the kingdom–of creatures taking mythic forms, forgetting what they were before.

They fear this shifting, but they prepare for it to come within their waters. How to deal with it they will decide together when the time comes. They are not sending anyone after it, not yet. But three young ones are keen to stop it in its tracks. Twin brothers and a sister, only one of whom has seen one of the shadows yet. It made him quiet, and afraid, and his brother jealous, eager to prove himself. The sister admired but grows impatient to find her own, and earn its name.

Lucas’s Result

He crouched low under the weathered slat of wood; the rain had been coming down hard for a few hours now; water was pooling by his feet, and Tony was trying his best to shake a shiver. An errant whistle left his mouth as he comforted himself. It was such a ridiculous slip of the situation he couldn’t help but laugh— and given the circumstances, he appreciated it.

Dropships were canvassing the area of the mountain pass. There were three in his vicinity now. Their strobing searchlights flitting through the trees. “What type of man was up there looking through such a thing?” thought Tony. Sure, they were machines, they were all machines, but somewhere there was someone getting rich, or getting off, or getting something. Tony hoped as much. Otherwise, this was all a waste. To throw away an entire civilization and possibly a species: human beings, to sell them down the river and not get fabulously rich or something, it was all a little too pointless for Tony.

He had been careless. He had been flagged for operating outside of the protocols of his community; it had started with a knock on his dormitory door; a beautiful woman had brought him a rose and asked him to dance; then she had asked him to download files from his Class 2 security job in the harbor. Tony was a virgin. Most humans were at this point in time. And the sight of a woman was overwhelming—intoxicating. He obeyed. He downloaded the files. Now he was running through the forest from machines that would tranquilize, eviscerate, and vaporize within seconds. What a game this had become. The strobing machine moved on to another sector, and Tony ran through the surging rain and pressed against a wide oak.

Tony enjoyed games. Not the super-immersive combat sims. Not even VR. He liked the simple ones. His grandfather brought Tony to an arcade when he was a child, when they were filled with pinball machines and light-gun games, not sexbots and morphine transfer units. He remembered playing one called The Addams Family for hours while his grandfather patiently watched and sat on a stool behind him.

His grandpa would occasionally say things like, “Feel that recoil when you press the buttons?” or “Go ahead, tilt the machine a bit, not too much though,” and Tony would squeal with exhilaration. Even when he was a child, things that were “physical” beyond interfacing with the digital word, were a novelty.

Now Tony was dealing with all the physical he could handle.

The government was not shy to showcase videos of drones swooping down and plucking fugitives, carrying them up hundreds of feet, and dropping them like sadistic birds of prey.

He hoped he wouldn’t make the highlight reel.

Night Weirdos Livestream

Night Weirdos Livestream

Here is our livestream from Sunday, November 11 at 7 pm EST! We debut a new session here: Night Weirdos. What’s up with the name you ask? Well, Carolyn and I are often weirdos wandering around making and recording noises in the night! The strange looks we receive are half the fun! We have the video and audio versions of the livestream below.

Lucas’s Result

It had been running all night, and they were running out of gas. Luis was the last one to use the can. That was two hours ago. He estimated there was maybe a quarter left. Then they’d be out of light. This wasn’t a matter of discomfort, though. Sure, there would be a chill when the lights went out with the generator, but the light was also keeping the creatures out in the forest.

Luis had signed up for this surveying trip in hopes of finding some solitude. There were only three in the camp. He had just gone through a bad breakup back in Seattle. He was decided what to do with his life. Was grad school next for him? Would he move to the east coast to where his sister was living. The past few months had been filled with him asking those questions repeatedly, walking around aimlessly, never getting any closer to the answer.

That’s when Luis had read the advert in the newspaper. “Surveyor Assistants Wanted”. The pay wasn’t that great, but it wasn’t nothing, and the requirements were that you had an able enough body to carry up to 50 lbs and could spend a few weeks out in the Northwestern forest.

There were two other men in the crew. Ben, a huge stoner, and his complete opposite, Larry, the high-strung disciplinarian. Ben was out here trying to score money for weed. Larry had signed up for the trip to condition his body for the coming apocalypse.

Luis was somewhere in the middle. He thought the trip could be constructive, but he was also just trying to escape, to allow his head to clear a bit. They all seemed to be accomplishing what they had set out to do until the third night.

Luis woke up to a loud siren. He thought it was a smoke detector in their cabin at first, but after they all searched around for nearly thirty minutes, they realized that the sound was coming from outside. Luis had grabbed a flashlight and followed the blaring siren to a shed out back. He had opened the door to reveal a peculiar machine, about the size of a shop vac, sitting on a concrete slab.

There were various lights going off on the top, and the sound was deafening. Luis attempted to turn it of by finding a button. They eventually got desperate and began mashing everything in sight.

Lanky Ben hit something. The siren went off. The relief that they were feeling didn’t last though. Another more terrifying noise began emanating from the treeline around the cabin. It sounded like some sort of large bird. It was loud. And whatever was making the sound, sounded big.

The three of them had started running for the cabin when hidden speakers sparked to life with a shot of distortion.

“Attention surveyors!” yelled a male voice.

“Good luck!”

Carolyn’s Result

The tile was red–the door composite wood,
hollow–one time when we left the dog
in the garage during a thunderstorm
he nearly clawed and chewed his way through it.
There was green pile carpet for a while,
and then a more modern, thinner, sandy mosaic,
the whole room done over like the desert southwest.
We had two hammocks, one canvas, one nylon.
We didn’t have a windchime, but we did have a piano.
The top panel could come off, reveal the internal hammers,
and let the whole house get loud.

There was a bulge in the drywall from a bullet,
or so I was told–maybe it had just buckled,
a weak spot either way. The water table was high
so the ground was almost always wet,
and whenever somebody flushed the toilet,
the sump pump would bubble up from a buried pipe.
The soil was almost all silt, so dark
and dense, held together so closely
that it couldn’t grow carrots, wouldn’t let
a root like that grow straight,
but some years it allowed pumpkins, trailing
runners over tracks of the rototillers.

The fort in the back got pulled over
to the neighbors after we outgrew it,
stood by two willows instead of an elm,
the elm came down too, but its stump grew sprouts.
There were toads in the lilacs.
There were dinosaurs in the basement.
There was a rocking horse that rocked on its own.
One time I snuck out but I just used the door,
never did climb out the window
the way I expected I’d need to–
the house never did burn down
and we never had to gather by the basketball hoop,
clutching a photo album or a blanket.
We were free enough, each of us to leave it,
and I don’t think any of us have been back.
Maybe drove by it. Moved on.

Frequency Workshop 4 Livestream

Livestream Cover

We kicked off our first FB livestream on Sunday, November 4 at 7 pm EST! Members of the Endless Beautiful Creators Group chose our Frequency Workshop 4 session as the one to be used. We have the video and audio versions below.

Carolyn’s Result from the 11/4/18 livestream:

Voices mingle in the chamber,
muffled as the leaves through the tall panes,
the glass frosted, the trees bronze–
my grandmother reminds me that
when I was a child, I told her
November was my favorite month
and she asks me to remind her why–
the skies, I realize all over again,
pinkness coming through the bleak grays,
the reminder that the grays have beauty,
and I think of the cornfield, the rows
cut and the husks parted with harvest,
the stalks left for windbreaks, for geese
and turkey to huddle behind and peck,
for coyote to linger in, those crepuscular hours.
The November sky an eruption of dark lines
and glimmers of winter gold, lines that draw
us underground with the other life,
and the dead, to the trumpets and the drones,
still some things flower, witch hazel yellow
as the wings of bittersweet berries, capsules
of the entwining vine, the burst of color,
all the more poignant for the contrast.
WIth all this background, all the leaves
to shuffle through, all this material
to pack amongst our living, what better
joy than this intermingling, the backwardness
of remembering, the decision of revision
or remainder–she knows these pieces of me
that I do not, my babyhood, my spring,
but we live together in these seasons–
we visit, I ask her things I have asked
before, or that I haven’t, and the sky
burns a new tint, a flame of cloud appears
that might’ve been there before, but went
unnoticed, now lingers over the field
and the valley, becomes known, and shifts again.
I could call it back, recall its hues,
its pattern, bring it in me here to earth,
to store down in my roots.

Lucas’s Result from the 11/4/18 livestream:

The geometry of the crowd was perplexing. Lines of three. Some broken off. Some not leading to any particular destination. One even snaked its way to a derelict Coca-Cola machine. Chet laughed. He sat in the large waiting area of the hospital. Some sort of cafeteria slash Starbucks slash purgatory. He had been lucky enough to find a seat next to the window. It was raining. His uncle was dying of cancer.

Chet’s uncle Silvan had been dying of cancer for 10 years now. At least that’s what the doctor had told him. When do you begin dying anyway? Is it right after you’re born? Or maybe, thought Chet, maybe it was when you hit your thirties and the reality of it all set in. Anyway, Silvan was dying. Stomach cancer. It was painful. Silvan hadn’t recognized Chet when he had entered the room last.

Chet tried to bury his thoughts in his dried out turkey sandwich. It was horrific. The tomatoes had soaked through the crusted, crouton-like slices of bread. The lettuce was slimy. There was a ridiculous drama on the TV in the corner. A boy watched what looked like King Arthur and his knights sitting around the roundtable. The costumes were cheap. The TV was one of those big ones too. It sat precariously on an aluminum stand three feet above the boy. It would crush him in an instant.

Boy, this sandwich is terrible, thought Chet.

Chet’s mother entered the cafeteria. Silvan was her brother. His mother was strung out. She had been sitting in the hospital for the past week. She’d been putting this thing off for five years now. Silvan and the whole family had. They knew it was a matter of time before he ended up in the ground. Until they’d spend a week, not being able to console one another. Until Chet ate this terrible sandwich. It had to be about him, didn’t it?

Jesus, Chet.

His mom sat down. She was pale. No makeup on her face. Her hair was tied back in a haphazard bun. It hadn’t been washed properly over the past week and looked like a rusted coil of barbed wire. Chet watched as she went to a dispenser and slowly filled a styrofoam cup with burnt coffee. He knew it was burnt because he had choked a cup down himself.

“How you doing?” asked his mother.

Chet shrugged. He looked back up at the TV. Somebody must have changed the channel. Some sort of cooking show now. A woman was feverishly beating the side of a metal bowl with a spoon. A crazy glint in her eyes. Chet wondered if it was for the dish or the ratings.

“Terrible,” replied Chet. He tried to drink more coffee, but he quickly pulled it away from his lips. It was so dry, it was like drinking sand.

“Yeah.” His mother dropped her head and studied the dirty floor beneath her socks. She gave up on wearing shoes on day two. Chet figured it was an attempt to feel at home. He doubts it had worked.

“Did he say anything else?” asked Chet. He didn’t know what else to ask his mother. He could try to dig through the emotions of the week, but they were still in it.

“No,” said his mother.