Today’s Red Room blog suggestion reminded me that I have been testing theories of individual flight in different literary modes for several years. The first example below is from my novel, Christmas When Music Almost Killed the World (which is currently undergoing preparation for the release of a second edition), and the second example is from I Made My Boy Out of Poetry.
Ruzahn Gives Danny Blue a Surprise Flying Lesson
Danny Blue stepped back and looked at Ruzahn’s brilliant glittering dark eyes and explosion of hair. Something made him turn to look over his shoulder and he thought he saw Ellison staring down at them from the window. Then he felt Ruzahn’s grip on his shirt and the seat of his pants.
“Hey, what’re you–”
“It’s time,” said Ruzahn, looking down, then up.
He lifted Danny Blue with ease, and with one powerful heave tossed him like a sack of feathers toward the sky. Danny Blue prepared to yell “Ow!” or simply grunt and die after splattering in the street. A heavy gust of wind shot up beneath him like a wave and lifted him higher, then a second and a third and more until he was so high in the air that he had no doubt he was about to die. The only question was why had Ruzahn done this to him? Or maybe he wasn’t about to die. Maybe this was the controversial so-called trans-evolution theory in action. Just as he thought he had come to an understanding of what must be happening, a lance of lightning slammed his chest and crackled throughout his body. His flesh and bones seemed to melt like wax as the lightning came again. Struggling to remain conscious, he forced his arms to stretch outward. He wondered why they were covered with feathers the shades of indigo, blue, and black.
Oh, I don’t have arms anymore. I have feathers.
Feathers covered his entire body and a fan of them spread out behind him. He didn’t remember lying down to sleep but knew this must be a dream. It was nothing like what happened when he jumped through time and space inside the lights of the Angel of Come Hither and Go Yonder.
I’m dreaming that I’m a bird flying at night.
There was no need for him to think–only feel, and sense, and know. He looked up and was so dazzled by the brightness of the moon and the stars that for a moment he was blinded. The pupils of his eyes narrowed to reduce the light until he saw with clarity not only the stars and moons of the galaxy he had taken for granted all of his life like everyone else he knew. He saw as well far-off pink and green clouds of galaxies giving birth to new worlds, swirling gray portals of matter swallowing the realities around it, giant pulsations of radiance that made him feel these might be gods of some kind. He had seen satellite pictures of these cosmic phenomena but as photographs they were nothing more than beautiful theories. As he viewed them now, they became reasons to believe everything Valerie had said about their world being only one version of itself and their universe only one of an uncountable number.
A rush of warm vibrations flowed upward from the earth below, enfolding him and gently going through him. He glided on the sensation until he realized that the vibrations were sound. It came in waves of different intensities, depths, and temperature with an impact so powerful that it nearly knocked him out of the sky. The same as he had done with his eyes, he adjusted the amount of sound he allowed himself to experience.
Still, this was different because he realized he could hear with more than just ears. He could hear with every feather on his body, with the openings of his nostrils, the softness of his tongue, and even the talons of his feet. What was more, he understood that what he heard was not just random dissonance and cacophony. It was the rhythm and power of the earth’s own song. Or should he say his earth’s own song if there was more than one? He had no sooner begun to marvel at this wonder when another wave of melodies brushed across his back. He looked up. How had he never noticed it before? The gentle pulsing and flickering of stars and nebulae made a kind of music, a sweet easy mesh of whispered tones and sighing harmonies that held him in its force like the earth held the moon.
For the first time, he arched his wings forward at an upward tilt, then sliced them backward and shot upward, flying in a large loop with the underside of his wings bathed in the light of the night sky and his back caressed by the song of the earth rising from beneath him. He flew in a second loop and felt an explosion of intoxication from his skull and chest to his wings and tail.
by Aberjhani (from Christmas When Music Almost Killed the World)
TIME TO BE THE SUN
Wake up pretty baby.
It’s time to be the sun.
Time for us to drop
back down to earth
like old lovers
falling into new appreciation
for the soft mouth
of an attraction
that is no longer beautiful.
Open your eyes,
oh precious light.
It’s time to cry
the glorious syllables
of our past,
time to thrash and moan like dragons
the secret songs of our future.
We are going to the valley
where roses blush naked and wise,
we are going to the mountain
where night rolls fiercely
with an uninhibited dawn.
Wake up pretty baby,
shine bright my summer joy,
Time to be the sun
and send forth flesh
to heal the bones of time.
Time to be the woman
hauling up gold
from a heart you thought destroyed.
Time to be the man
you thought long dead
buried in waters of tortured mind.
Time to be your own faith
and give miracles to heaven.
Time to be your own truth
and pull your ass up out of hell.
Time to be the sun
and watch your soul rise pretty baby shine,
rise pretty baby shine,
rise pretty baby shine.
by Aberjhani (from I Made My Boy Out of Poetry)