Song of the Broad-Axe Publications

One Wandering Eye --- by Jesse Smith

The party decided it was best to travel within the eye of the hurricane indefinitely. As long as they stayed inside everything would be okay. Sure they were forced to stay mobile but it became easy– a wall of violent gray a mile high doesn’t exactly sneak up on you. It was comforting, really. It felt safe.

In The Eye wind does not exist. You have never felt such stillness. If you were to drop a leaf it wouldn’t sway, even an inch. Sometimes the residents would tilt their chin up at the cloudless blue sky and try to remember how it felt, the tickle against their neck. When this didn’t work they usually pretended that it did. They thought of a sound like swaying trees or a picture like cornfields brushed into waves by gusting force and said oh, yes.

A family is what it became for the anti-stationary domicile. With that, as with all groups of limited space, there were feuds and jealousies and delusions and obsessions. The women of the group, thirteen in all, mostly remained with their backs collectively against the whipping fury. Too may things have been said about men and their Kinetic potential to put their trust in them. There were two women in love, who at first stayed safely in the middle, but they too began feeling the airless tension of The Eye and decided to move out, refusing to believe even for a second, the false security of that windless dome. Slowly it became a prison, imposed upon them by forces beyond control, a panopticon in which they had to watch the savage beasts twirling forever around their front and their back.

The men knew they weren’t that. But still they watched with a distant eye, knowing the others were too. The women knew what existed in the mind of a solitary man. If they are aroused, a step in any direction is the way of danger. Good men... and this is what they were most frightened of. Good men, the really good ones, don’t banish those dangerous thoughts, not completely. Even in them the thought exists, stuck somewhere between shame and understanding. And every time it arises it needs to be pushed back down, to be fought harshly with cold rationalization.

Sometimes, when the tension between the two tribes became too great the men would step carefully toward the storm. They walked until the great wall, lifelessly gray, rose high above them. They walked until that great fierce plane of destruction began tugging at their skin so they could comprehend, even just barely so, the strength– the size and the implications of this stillness they inhibit.

One day on such a walk the women became trapped in between. They stood now where they always stood before. It was difficult to imagine such a confrontation to be an accident.

The women, eyes rabid and scarred, told the men with timid strength not to come any closer. And, backed against the gray, the women tethered themselves blindly to it. It pulled kindly on their fingertips, telling them gently where to stop. And they walked their glassy walk by the feel of that, always maintaining their gaze at the men.

The many faces of innocence. Of poorly hidden desperation.

“Don’t come any closer.” But they did. They held out a hand like a mystic, motioning for calmness, their great big eyes wide and sweet, begging for interpretation. The women threatened to jump, to leap back into the violent oblivion, sucked up and into the dimensionless sky away forever. But the tension was too great. The men could not let go. If they did it would be total collapse, all systems fail. So they inched forward, inducing convulsive trembles in the women having trouble staying upright, that invisible tether inching dangerously up their arms.

The men wanted to stop but they couldn’t. They really couldn’t. They walked on, rolling their step from their heel. From that distance the wind, horizontal, getting ever closer, sounded like a rolling train– ceaselessly marching above the tracks at a register you couldn’t help but feel. It screamed like a Mayan spirit. It pitched and awed in a wave, sinking low and rising thin, cutting a razor into your fragile ears. The men continued forward. It overtook them. The women were similarly overtaken, only not with virility but death. The great enveloping wall ceased as an obscurity, a concept. It became, as they craned their neck upward at the inverted monster, the thin wisps of cold moisture, all completely and undeniably real. It was not then but now. It was not a wall but an entrance, a gate they had no choice but to enter.

The men stepped closer, their eyes watering like mad, so close to tears.

The jump was easy. It was not a choice, and in the end they almost felt like they wanted to. It was easy in every last second, when it had to be. And with that their breath was taken away, stolen, and their knees bent, their clothes bunching and whipping wildly with the flowing rain, furious.

Chopin Étude Op. 10, No. 3 ---- played by Russell Block

Chopin Étude Op. 10, No. 3 ---- played by Russell Block

From Spring Onwards --- a poem by Tom Porter