Redwood Story Part Two (Excerpt)

Hi all. School is fast approaching, and I’ve been trying to squeeze in more work before the real work starts.
This is the second chapter of my work-in-progress, tentatively titled Constellation of Giants, or A Tall Tale. I polished this one up a bit so I’d have something to post.
The story is part satire, part fairy tale, very much in the vein of Animal Farm, except with trees instead of animals, and capitalism instead of socialism. If you have any thoughts or comments, I’d love to hear them, and if you’d like to read the first chapter, click here. Thanks for reading!

Constellation of Giants

Chapter Two

There are three things valued above all else by any right-minded tree: a plot of rich soil, enough water for one’s roots, and an open sky above. Such things are not given freely, but must be earned through hard work, perseverance, and ingenuity. From the moment the radicle emerges from its seed, it’s in constant conflict. This is especially true in old-growth forests, where the floor itself is often lost in dense thickets of ferns and bushes, in caked duff and detritus. Out of the hundred thousand seeds shed each year, and uncountable pollen, the percentage of trees that successfully grow beyond the first three years is, remarkably, less than one.

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Redwood Story (Excerpt)

Hi all.  I thought I would post the first chapter to a story I’ve been working on for awhile now, so I could keep up with my blog.
It’s part satire, part fairy tale, very much in the vein of Animal Farm, except with plants instead of animals. It takes place in the Redwood Forests of California. The working title is Constellation of Giants. If you have any thoughts or opinions, I’d love to hear them. Thanks!

Constellation of Giants

Chapter One

The inhabitants of Bretton Woods had watched the river diminish in the midst of a long drought. Not only could they see the waterline sink year after year, baring the smooth rocks of its bed, but they could also feel it receding from their roots. They had spread their runners to the edges of the bank, but it was clear that things were not going to get better anytime soon.

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Amerithon – (II)

Lake of the Sky

“I found no place whereon I could stand. I worked a charm upon my own heart.”

 

“So we get to Tahoe, he says he has a boat.

He doesn’t. His friend has the boat. He made

it sound like his,” she makes careful note.

 

“Wait, what does he do again?”

 

“Some start-up in Reno, front-end design.

And there’s seven of us in this dinghy,

this little bowrider, and one ice-chest,

hardly any beer in there for the afternoon

let alone the fireworks.”

 

“O, how was it?”

 

“Like I said, I could’ve used more to drink.”

 

“No, the fireworks.”

 

“Okay, I guess.”

 

“That’s what I thought.

I went there last year. It was crowded though.”

 

“Way too many people,” she gives the word “way”

its own paragraph. “We were basically

parked in the middle of the water, then

the gas runs out, and we get towed

into Cave Rock by the beach watch.”

 

“Really?”

 

“He says it’s got to do with the motor,

but I don’t think he knew what it was.

Some people try so hard, they try so hard.”

 

“That’s a shame. He seemed nice.”

 

“I know, I was hoping,”

she enlarges her O, rotund and regretful,

and it swallows the memory of him whole.

 

“O, I know,” the other groans. “You can never tell.”

 

“They make the beach seem so romantic.”

 

“Where did you two go?”

 

“To Kiva,” she says.

Her friend hums along ambiguously,

as if she might know the implication.

“Zephyr was packed, but the trailhead near Fifty

was close, he kept saying, ‘Let’s find somewhere

quiet, I like to lay down and watch them.’

He didn’t want to have to stand,

said there were too many people around.”

 

“Oh my god,” she says, dragging god along her tongue.

 

“I know. I’d only had a couple beers.

We met some kids near the creek smoking.

I made nice and got a joint out of it.

He doesn’t smoke, but I needed something.”

 

“Really? Who doesn’t smoke, even a little bit?”

 

“He gave me a look, too, a ‘so you’re that kind of girl.’

And you’re the sort of guy who loves fireworks?”

 

“Right?”

 

She halts as if approaching some precipice,

heels planted to launch her next words over the cliff:

“I know.”

 

“That’s a shame. He looked like fun.”

 

“If you’re ever considering it, don’t.

They make it seem like a good idea,

but the second you’re down there, it’s sand everywhere.”

 

“Oh, I know. I met this guy last year

at Sundown Festival in Huntington.

He didn’t even want to find somewhere quiet.

The mainstage lit up the shoreline,

you could see all the cigarette butts and

empty baggies, but people didn’t care.

They looked like big sea turtles squatting

over their eggs and tossing sand.

Some of them were waist-deep in the shallows

security wiggling flashlights at them

making sure nobody overdosed and

washed up face down the next morning.

I took off my top but that was all,

and I was still fishing out sand a week later.”

 

“A towel’s no good either, not when

he’s excavating you with all his weight behind it.

I knew it wasn’t going to be exactly like they said,

but I thought that if we took our time it might be fun,

but the whole time I could see those lights

under Mount Tallac, I thought someone could see us.

All you had to do was look long enough

and see our shadows weren’t moving

exactly like the surf, almost but not exactly.

 

“He finished on my thigh of all places.

I got up and walked into the lake

and rubbed it off, it felt like bits of jellyfish

in the water, and I’m sure someone saw me

cause I was the only one out there

while the fireworks went off.

I wasn’t sure where my top had gone to,

but I gave the towel a few shakes

and used that like a shawl.

Then I saw this person standing across the way,

standing by himself, all alone,

I knew he must’ve been watching us this whole time,

and do you know what I did? I took off

the towel and flipped my hair over my head

and wrapped it up and let him look at my chest.

I angled toward the light from the fireworks

so he could see it.

I thought, at least someone should get something out of this,

otherwise it all felt like a big waste of time,

at least let someone get the wrong idea.”

 

Her friend replies with abrasive enthusiasm,

                                                        “God, I know.”


R. Charboneau

Amerithon – (I)

Sutro District

“I myself raised them up from out of Nu,  out of watery nothing.”
—The Book of Overthrowing Apep

 

At Lands End we poise along the Roman ruins

of Sutro Baths as on a balance beam.

It is mid-morning and the fog belt peels

off the alameda, where they say

the Yelamu once sang to the sea

singing to Xa-Matutsi who capers

in a sweathouse at the end of the sea.

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