The Day the World Went Away – Vol. 16r (repost with new introduction)

Hello,
Is there anybody in there?
Just nod if you can hear me.
Is there anyone at home?

“Comfortably Numb” by Pink Floyd, The Wall. Performance by David Gilmour.

Hello? Can you hear me? I know it’s been forever and a day since we’ve made contact, but leave it to another premiere of The Walking Dead to raise the, um, words, around here. In true zombie fashion, we truly are resurrecting words around here. . .bringing back my favorite volume of Words, “The Day the World Went Away, Vol. 16,” which many of you may remember from last February. It focuses around the words of the oh-so-talented Cayman Thorn and Jennie (CK Hope), and is made all the more haunting by the stark photography of Michelle “Mamamick” Terry and Mary Pierce and Marius Gustaitis, and an end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it playlist (or two) by yours truly.

It’s impossible for me to quote Pink Floyd lyrics without giving a nod to a new friend and phenomenal writer, Ruby Browne, whose post, “Pink Floyd, bourbon, and identity” has been echoing in my mind all week. Take some time to visit her site and drool over her words, just as I do. From that post:

Before I found words, I used these ones. Often they are still the only ones to make sense. When my whole body shakes and the corners of my vision dip in and out of focus. When my hands curl into shapes only good for dragging across bricks, breaking mirrors, or pounding dents into the roof above the driver’s seat. When the things I can’t sort through to explain knit themselves into a nest in the bottom of my throat. My brain just repeats:

There is no pain, you are receding
A distant ship, smoke on the horizon
You are only coming through in waves
Your lips move, but I cannot hear what you’re saying

~ Ruby Browne, “Pink Floyd, bourbon, and identity

So enjoy these Words for the Weekend, and these from last October’s Walking Dead premiere “The Whole World is Haunted Now, Vol 39,” and know we’ll see you again soon! Don’t forget, we post daily Words at WordsForTheYear.com; come join us! ~ Love, Christy and Jennie

***

Some things we plan, we sit and we invent and we plot and cook up / Others are works of inspiration, of poetry … – “(I’ll Love You) Till the End of the World” (video) by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

We read to be moved. To escape. To feel. Every once in a while, when we’re lucky, we read something that takes our breath away, and leaves us numb, dumbfounded; when feeling returns, we tingle, as if our souls–like our feet sometimes–had fallen asleep, but have now reawakened. I call these “ooph” moments–as in that sound you make when you feel as if you’ve been kicked in the stomach and a rush of air escapes your mouth in one rapid “oooooph!”

Most weeks I sit, and I plot and I weave words together. This week began no differently; I started with a plot–an inkling of an idea to celebrate the February 9 return of The Walking Deadsparked initially by a challenge to create the perfect zombie-themed music playlist.

But thanks to one man’s Muse, this volume ended up in a totally different universe–a fantastical universe in which I would like to live full-time. This volume morphed into “a work of inspiration, of poetry,” and I stand trembling with electric excitement as I offer you these vulnerable words and images of heart and soul.

Read this. Read it all, then read it again. Then please share it. Let your faith in humanity–in the written word–be restored. Even in the end of days, when death roams all ’round, love will be here waiting. Still.

In event of the zombie apocalypse, you can have your chainsaws. I’ll take love and music, and words and imagery, to sustain me. And Twinkies, lots and lots of Twinkies. (But no Sno Balls.)

***

“there is a place that still remains
it eats the fear it eats the pain
the sweetest price he’ll have to pay
the day the whole world went away”

~ “The Day the World Went Away” by Nine Inch Nails, from The Fragile (Left)

***

“He walked out in the gray light and stood and he saw for a brief moment the absolute truth of the world. The cold relentless circling of the intestate earth. Darkness implacable. The blind dogs of the sun in their running. The crushing black vacuum of the universe. And somewhere two hunted animals trembling like ground-foxes in their cover. Borrowed time and borrowed world and borrowed eyes with which to sorrow it.” ~ Cormac McCarthyThe Road

***

Journey by Michelle Terry

“And I will go on ahead, free
There’s a light yet to be found
The last pale light in the west”
– “The Last Pale Light in the West” by Ben Nichols
Journey by Michelle Terry 

***

Stranded
by Cayman Thorn

I was watering my lawn when the old days were murdered.

It began as a wail of sirens that blanched out the normal business. Next came the silence, a dark and suffocating blanket of nothingness- as if dredged from the bottom of the ocean. Then came the dead, in crushing waves of absurd horror show that stole my breath away. They moved in a relentless, clumsy blot with countless others plodding along in tangled flanks.

Their movements were mechanically wrought from the stubbornness of muscle memory; a collective of slow, lumbering efforts with lifeless black orbs and mottled, vein pocked skin. Their mouths were clenched in a derelict scowl and their sound was a congenital hum of miscreant notes that sounded very much like sandpaper on violin strings.

I barely made the interstate before I had to quit my wheels thanks to the roam of feasting armies of the dead clogging the six lanes in a Tennyson march. I grabbed my backpack and set off on foot, calibrating my legs in the pursuit of some familiarity. Hours to days to weeks like this, as a stealth scavenger of food and shelter and sanity.

Earthly possessions are relative and succinct from here. As a vagrant, I hold closest to my journal and a Ruger snub-nosed revolver. The journal behaves as a leather bound talisman whose pages are fed with details and quotes and unvarnished thoughts. The Ruger serves a dual purpose; its monstrous effect protects my journey through hell while also serving as arbiter of last rites in the event I reach the lonesome corner of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

What keeps me going is the belief she has made it out alive. That she’s abiding by the agreed upon location from our contingency plans made back when such things were discussed over wine and Jimmy Cliff songs.

The religion we knew from the age of guilt and steam is a truncated ritual in the now. From here she is my deity. I cannot see or touch or feel her from this place but my faith in her existence is strong as mountain rain. My church is the unbothered moments where my feet roam listlessly across the stubble of broken concrete and the gravelly mash of dead grass. I don’t worry on sins and there’s no reason to ask for forgiveness. In my survival come the psalms.

Each place I come upon is littered with artifacts from the age of the living and somber evidence of the dead’s reign, stretched out in an infinite tomb of agonizing sameness. Carcasses as prevalent as graffiti, spent vehicles parked on sidewalks, personal effects lay in tattered ribbons everywhere while the monsters fester and swarm in their deadly work as if honeybees from the nine circles.

Languages have given way to dialects, whose rigid construct of words has been whittled into soldier-like brevity by common folk warriors. We are the tenants of the dead, trading information across the dying cities and towns and neighborhoods with uneasy terms of negotiation. The only agreed upon thing is that no one knows why the world went away but we all want it back again.

I budget the much-needed sustenance of memories, because to borrow too much is a trespass into madness. I sojourn meditatively on the plush of my old chocolate lab, the smell of oranges, the frolicking delight of a bloody steak dressed in mushrooms, the tragic measures of Puccini. Of all the things I think on, it’s her smile that kills me most of all. The not having of it is why I prune my memory banks and subsist on small doses. Her smile, it was the one true thing that moved, inspired and thrilled me back to a time when pretty curls held mystery and days were forever.

I go it alone because the only company I want is hers. To spend time around another living soul seems treasonous. My journey is to her and for her and of her. I want to collapse inside her hair and I want to live until I die inside her kiss. In the interim, I’ll fantasize on the many things I knew and the many other things I never got to know and I’ll love them both in a whole and different tether of rhythmic flame.

When I finally made the beach this morning, I wept.

I claw deliberately to the midriff of shoreline while I recite movie lines as if pledging allegiance. I’ve learned that whatever keeps you sane is what you must stick to doing. The sand is damp; the whir of ripples falling elegantly is the only audible thing. This fact keeps my senses sharp, steeling me against comfort because comfort gets you killed out here. My eyes scan the peripheral like tentacles and I want to reach for the water but I can’t afford such an extravagance.

If I’m blessed enough to render my last breath, I’ll sing a prayer to John Lennon and I’ll curse the damned fates. And then I’ll move the cold piece with its hard payload into my hands and I’ll break an unopened pack of Marlboro Reds. I won’t give the slightest shit that its drag is bitter because to me it will taste like Christmas morning. And then I’ll close my eyes and she’ll be standing in the doorway, giving me that smile while her hair goes crazy across her shoulders.

The world will seem a lovely fire.

***

End of Days by Mary Pierce

“If it’s the beaches
If it’s the beaches’ sands you want
Then you will have them …”
– “If It’s the Beaches” by The Avett Brothers
End of Days by Mary Pierce 

***

Still
by C.K. Hope

The day the world died away,
the plane
banked over ocean
towards an uncertain home

The outbreak below;
lumbering bodies
scattered the tarmac
wheels ground out death
to the dead beneath
My heart raced
as we lifted in air
I pray it hasn’t come
to you
I know it has
I feel it has
and there is no door
or home left
for you to stand in
wait for me

Remember times
of talks and Cliff
And tasting wine from
each other’s lips
All those times we had
conversations of this
in front of fires on
cold nights, laughing
at how we’d survive all
Just you and me
as we watch,
wrapped together,
the earth burn
and then in pen
and paper we
would
rewrite the world
together

I will be there

My hand presses to pane
as ocean swells past,
sobs and screams echoing
through the fuselage
none knowing
what awaits
if anything or
one left
living
among these shuffling dead

But I know.
I know.
You breathe for me still
You will be there

I lay head and palms to pane,
plead and pray,
beg you to hear me,
feel me still
You need to know
I’m coming to you
Do not sing to Lennon
when you get to the sandy shore
I will be there
Do not move the cold
steel from hand to hand,
don’t despair,
Don’t you dare not be there
Wait for me still
I will meet you there

Let the gods rain down
fire and brimstone
and the wrath of all hells
I’ll walk through the flames,
the destruction and pain,
all that used to be
to begin again with you
and we’ll rise from this ash
stronger than before
we will be here,
at the end of all things
we will be, still

I close my eyes to
the death surrounding
and open memories
to the reverie of you
coming up the drive –
smiling that smile
always just for me
the ending days last light
golden around you
within my doorway view
as the sun sets the world
to a lovely fire behind you

Let the world die
You and I,
we will be, still

***

Sunset on Ventura Beach by Marius Gustaitis

The world will seem a lovely fire …
Sunset on Ventura Beach by Marius Gustaitis

***

“When he went back to the fire he knelt and smoothed her hair as she slept and he said if he were God he would have made the world just so and no different.”
Cormac McCarthyThe Road

***

Still by Michelle Terry

“I said thank you girl, thank you girl
I’ll love you till the end of the world”
– “(I’ll Love You) Till the End of the World” by Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds
Undying by Michelle Terry 

***

“You have to carry the fire.”
I don’t know how to.”
Yes, you do.”
Is the fire real? The fire?”
Yes it is.”
Where is it? I don’t know where it is.”
Yes you do. It’s inside you. It always was there. I can see it.”
Cormac McCarthyThe Road

***

“When the world ends
You’re gonna come with me
We’re going to be crazy
Like a river bends
We’re going to float
Through the criss cross of the mountains
Watch them fade to nothing
When the world ends
You know that’s what’s happening now
I’m going to be there with you somehow, oh…

I’m going to love you
When the world ends
I’m going to hold you
When the world is over
We’ll just be beginning”

~ “When the World Ends” by Dave Matthews Band, from Everyday

***

The Road Goes Ever On by Michelle Terry

“It can’t be this way always
A train must come, a train must come …
Troubles will be over, all our joys come over
Better days are coming by and by”
– “Better Days Are Coming” by Jimmy Cliff
The Road Goes Ever On by Michelle Terry

“Then they set out along the blacktop in the gunmetal light, shuffling through the ash, each the other’s world entire.”
Cormac McCarthyThe Road

***

Deepest gratitude to Cayman Thorn of Drinks Well With Others and to our own Jennie– C.K. Hope of Daisies From Dust–for creating breathtaking words expressly for this weekend’s volume.

Gratitude also to Michelle Terry of MamaMickTerry, Mary Pierce of A Wilderness of Words, and Marius Gustaitis of Trudging Through the Fire for graciously providing photographic imagery, some especially for this volume. Thank you for making these words shine, I appreciate you SO much.

And lest we forget what sparked these beautiful words … a playlist challenge issued by none other than Mr. Cayman Thorn. Instead of the zombie gross-out, I opted to follow his lead, so what follows is mine and Jennie’s playlist for the “end of days.” The world may be ending, but we will be here. Still.

“Songs remain. They last…A song can last long after the events and the people in it are dust and dreams and gone. That’s the power of songs.” 
Neil GaimanAnansi Boys

This week’s End of Days-themed music playlist via YouTube, features music by: Johnny Cash, Bob Marley, Ben Howard, Nick Cave and more.

Playlist link:

***

This volume inspired by The Walking Dead on AMC

This volume inspired by The Walking Dead on AMC

***

But because I am never one to back down from a challenge once committed, Cayman, here’s your zombie playlist: …;-)

~~~

9 comments

  1. Tomorrow night can’t come soon enough. Happy to see this post again. And hey ladies, perhaps we can throw a Season Finale post together for WD. Just saying….

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    1. Couldn’t agree more…I’m really looking forward to tomorrow night!
      We just finished binge watching Z-Nation on Netflix this week, and while it was good and gory (and oddly very funny), I’m ready for some Walking Dead tension–and music.
      I think I’m feeling the tug to come out of hibernation, so I could be totally down with a Finale post. Looks like there are 9 episodes, with a wrap on March 29, so I’ll try to email everyone sometime in the first couple weeks of March.
      I often wonder if our couple managed to find each other on that fiery beach…would love to continue that story line in some capacity. Hmmmmmmm.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Now that, is a brilliant idea. And why you is who you is and I’m just a fancy words playing dude with too much attitude for his own good. Yeah, that’s a gotta happen kind of brilliant idea right there. I’ll be in touch.

        Like

        1. I’m just a dude playing a dude playing another dude … heh … you know how to find me, “talk” soon.

          Like

  2. Thank you so much! What a lovely surprise.

    Like

    1. Surprise! 😀 Hope you don’t mind me quoting your work…I couldn’t get that dang song out of my mind when I was drafting up the intro this morning (not that I’m complaining though, I love it!)

      Like

      1. I’m honored.

        And I know what you mean. That one sticks with you.

        Like

  3. Yea! It’s so good to hear from you again. I followed Words for the Year so probably you posted more there and I’ll hear from you more now. Hope life is treating you good, Christy!

    Like

    1. Hi Char! It’s great to hear from you. Life is going wonderfully, and I’ve been keeping up with the running too. I’ve taken on a challenge to unplug more this year, so I don’t spend much time on-line, but Jennie and I have somehow kept up with the Year site (thanks to the scheduling in advance feature). It’s one (usually short) post per day, so please don’t feel you have to like or comment…it’s very low-key and all about the words.
      Hope you’ve been doing well and are looking forward to Spring! -christy

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