It’s the End of the World As We Know It — Vol. 43

That’s great, it starts with an earthquake
Birds and snakes, an aeroplane, and Lenny Bruce is not afraid

“It’s the End of the World (As We Know It)” R.E.M., Document (R.E.M. No. 5)

It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine . . . Why? Well because it’s another epic “end of the world” volume of Words to celebrate the season five finale of The Walking Dead. As most of you know, we’ve done this a couple of times, originally with “The Day the World Went Away, Vol. 16” (one of my favorite Words volumes) and then again with “The Whole World is Haunted Now, Vol. 39“.

This volume revisits our original heroes from Volume 16, and also includes some stellar photography, music, quotes and poetry culled and curated by yours truly. Huge thanks to my friends Cayman Thorn, Mary Pierce, Michelle Terry, Jennie Hope and Heather Void for making this epic volume, well, epic.

We hope you enjoy this weekend’s volume of Words for the Weekend. Please feel free to share or tweet, and definitely leave us a comment and let us know how you liked it and how in the (end of the) world you’ve been. We’ve missed you! Love, Christy

 

***

“People were always getting ready for tomorrow. I didn’t believe in that. Tomorrow wasn’t getting ready for them. It didn’t even know they were there.”
― Cormac McCarthy, The Road

***

"Magic Ball" by Mary Pierce

Magic Ball” by Mary Pierce

 

Fire and Ice

by Robert Frost

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

― First printed in Harper’s Magazine, December 1920.

***

"Looking Glass" by Mary Pierce

Looking Glass” by Mary Pierce

There Will Come Soft Rains

by Sara Teasdale, 1884 – 1933

There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;

And frogs in the pools singing at night,
And wild plum trees in tremulous white,

Robins will wear their feathery fire
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;

And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.

Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree
If mankind perished utterly;

And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn,
Would scarcely know that we were gone.

― From Flame and Shadow. (currently available free for kindle)

***

from “When the World Went Away”

by Heather Void

She is lost.

He is lost.

All is lost.

If this land
can be brought down
then why not you?
Knees and hillsides
clattering together
Holes
Collapses
Gaps, missing pieces,
what was once important
taken to nothing
everything is destructible
delusional
you are not her hero
you are not his hero

You do realize
it’s ok
to stop walking

Never-

***

I look to you
How you carry on
When all hope is gone
Can’t you see

Your optimistic eyes
Seem like paradise
To someone like
Me

I want to take you
In my arms
Forgetting all I couldn’t do today

― Depeche Mode, “Black Celebration,” from Black Celebration

***

“Of the good in you I can speak, but not of the evil.
For what is evil but good tortured by its own hunger and thirst?
Verily when good is hungry it seeks food even in dark caves, and when it thirsts it drinks even of dead waters.”

Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

***

The Hope

by Cayman Thorn

We trudge through the woods, thick with trees that provide much needed cover from the reckoned and the cursed. The spruce and maples and pines do their thankless work with a meanly curious flair, throwing the world into an apocalyptic twilight whose grip is an all-encompassing hopelessness. Our march is a methodical incision as we trace the creek by ten paces; the water’s slow and perpetual breaths help to garble the inadvertent steps or purposeless whispers.

I owe these people my life, but that’s not why I walk with them.

I walk with them because they remind me of what humanity used to feel like, and, they were amicable to my destination; the one I mapped out with Sam back when the world was alarm clocks and bitter coffee and shitty arguments about nothing at all. They refer to me as their ‘beacon’, and I know it’s a genuine sentiment. They’ve come to believe in these steps to her almost as much as I do. We share a reason for living, from different vantage points perhaps, but of the same conviction.

Hieronymus Bosch

The Garden of Earthly Delights, inner right wing (Hell). Circa 1480 – 1505. Hieronymus Bosch. Via Wiki Commons.

They found me tied to a tree off the Interstate eight days ago. I was being used as a guide by a group of academics whose smarts didn’t work quite so well without satellites. When I refused their offer to join ranks, they resorted to semi-automatic negotiation. So it was that a college dropout became their most trustworthy navigational tool, until my group showed up and loosed me. We made our getaway while the professors were luxuriating in a nearby pond. I was able to gather my belongings- most important of all the leather bound journal I have been spilling my thoughts onto for the last month. The bastards confiscated my Ruger, but the group and me decided against a showdown. In this new world, there are battles worth choosing and fights worth walking away from.

The walk is a lonesome thing, even with company. The canvas that stretches in every direction is a translation of Bosch inside his most depraved inspirations. The stench of decay is overwhelming inside the tombs of city blocks once densely populated. Even in the fat of open spaces, the evidence of mankind’s liquidation is prevalent. The silence is an agony that weighs on your mind and eats away at your soul, and this is yet another reason why the group was a good idea for me.

The walking dead are frightening beyond the most horrible fictional accounts. To those who still believe in something mightier than clean drinking water, the walking dead are symbolic of all the deadly sins of a world whose bill came due before Jesus could deliver atonement to the unwashed masses. To those who damned the shortsighted efficacy of skyscrapers and technology, the walking dead are a reconstituted assemblage of ash and rubble from the fires and monuments of blind ambitions gone amok. To the whole of us, the walking dead are unwitting victims gone rampant; delivered from the womb of madness into the disbelieving arms of an earthly flock whose religion has gone the way of guns and memories and who aspire to a normalcy gone missing.

Our group has gone thin to the realities of this new and horrible age. When they got to me, they were four. There is James, a middle aged attorney. He’s erudite, organized and his trivia marathons help to salve the unforgiving hours. Alicia is a twenty something schoolteacher. She can sing the worst day into something better, plays a mean guitar and can tuck a Kahlil Gibran quote into the most innocuous circumstance. Kevin is a retired nurse who keeps us in one piece, physically and emotionally. ‘Becca’ is an old soul at the tender age of eighteen. She can prepare fish or game as if there’s a convection oven and a full service kitchen at her disposal. She’s deadly with a gun, quick with a knife and her wicked sense of humor keeps the group loose.

They were once nine. The dead have taken three of them, and a roving band of pirates murdered two more. The latter serves as a reminder that there are no sides, not any longer. Not when the dead are feasting on an inverted rendition of Elysium, and not while the living take every cruel advantage inside this lawless place.

We can’t surrender too much time to sadness because it blinds our direction. The only time we allow ourselves to swim in those deeper places is when we’re exchanging stories. This is where we go thick on the particulars and bold with our deepest fears and regrets, seeing as how the present doesn’t much care for polish.

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness
~ John Keats

Tonight Rebecca read from Keats. The words were a divine intervention of times and places that never mattered as much as they do right now. We listened intently and for a good long time as she weaved one picture into the next, until our heads went heavy and the moon talked us into sleep.

I have this dream that visits me quite often. It’s Sam and me and we’re sitting in a bistro and we’re arguing over some completely inconsequential shit. I’m tossing out curse words faster than I can think them up and she’s answering each one of them as if a prizefighter before throwing combinations back at me. We’re drawing the eyes of the other patrons and we couldn’t care less because as far as we’re concerned, there are only two people in the entire world and we’re it. I say something that grows her pupils the size of sunflowers with mercury petals and fiery orange seeds. Her temples are bulging and her nostrils start flaring and her hair is coming undone and it’s sweeping across one side of her face. And, out of nowhere I just start laughing. I can’t stop laughing, even when she threatens to walk home. I’m sitting across the table from the most beautiful thing I’ve ever laid eyes on and I don’t want this moment to end, because inside this moment it’s just me and her, and the rest of it just doesn’t matter one bit. And then she stands up and I’m still laughing my head off, afraid to stop laughing because I know what happens when I do.

I open my eyes in a panic and the fire is damp and the sun is nowhere to be found. Inside the tiniest thread of a moment’s flicker, the dark gifts me her transparency and I can smell her.

And then it’s gone.

***

Poem 1760

by Emily Dickinson

Elysium is as far as to

The very nearest Room

If in that Room a Friend await

Felicity or Doom–
What fortitude the Soul contains,

That it can so endure

The accent of a coming Foot–

The opening of a Door–

***

“Where are you now, my beloved? Do you hear my weeping
From beyond the ocean? Do you understand my need? Do you know the greatness of my patience?”
― Kahlil Gibran, Love Letters in the Sand: The Love Poems of Khalil Gibran

***

 

“Hearts united in pain and sorrow
will not be separated by joy and happiness.
Bonds that are woven in sadness
are stronger than the ties of joy and pleasure.
Love that is washed by tears
will remain eternally pure and faithful.”

― Kahlil Gibran, Love Letters in the Sand: The Love Poems of Khalil Gibran

***

“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.”
― Kahlil Gibran

 

***

from “Endymion”

by John Keats

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing
A flowery band to bind us to the earth,
Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth
Of noble natures, of the gloomy days,
Of all the unhealthy and o’er-darkened ways
Made for our searching: yes, in spite of all,
Some shape of beauty moves away the pall
From our dark spirits. Such the sun, the moon,
Trees old, and young, sprouting a shady boon
For simple sheep; and such are daffodils
With the green world they live in; and clear rills
That for themselves a cooling covert make
‘Gainst the hot season; the mid-forest brake,
Rich with a sprinkling of fair musk-rose blooms:
And such too is the grandeur of the dooms
We have imagined for the mighty dead;
All lovely tales that we have heard or read:
An endless fountain of immortal drink,
Pouring unto us from the heaven’s brink.

― John Keats, excerpt from “Endymion,” Book I.

***

***

But I Have Promises to Keep

by Jennie Hope

It’s been so cold on these dark nights I arise in the morning in dawns first light sparkling as brightly as the land surrounding me, as if I’m part of it, incorporated into it now. Ironically while its frost that should be aiding this new world of living death in my own ending and reanimation in a mockery of resurrection, it’s Frost that keeps me living, moving, keeps me fighting.

I have promises to keep.

I promised love would always be there.

I promised love would always be there,
even if the world ended;
And you promised.
And we sealed the deal in art,
and words,
and music
and blessed it with bottles of blood red wine
on moonless nights in candle light.

Breaking a promise like that could end the world.

And as fucked up as the world has gotten, it’s not done yet, which means you’re still out there.

Which means we still exist and our promises of heart and soul need to be honored; need to be proven to whatever higher power saw fit to test our resolve by releasing the darkest circles of hell upon this world — I will not be responsible for taking this crushed and teetering existence and pushing it into annihilation by forsaking love over the temper of a forgotten deity demanding recognition and remembrance.

And yet… in the twilight time, as I lay curled in a ball seeking warmth from the coming frost, the hopelessness within this now apocalyptic life and all I’ve seen and all it seems will be consumes me with a longing for eternal dreamless sleep, release from all this living death and horror.

But, I have promises to keep.

And in the twilight times,
as frost seeps into me,
and the ground,
and the trees
and I begin to forget to remember love and promises to be kept;
I invoke you to me in memory.

And as day falls to dark, in those last minutes,
a gift suspended at the end of twilight’s hour,
you are with me
Your whispered reminders of promise blanketing me in warmth against the frost
And as night blots out the last purple hue of dusk
the dark swallows your image
but cannot smudge out the warmth left behind
and I know I’ve miles to go before I sleep
for I’ve promises to keep.

***

I go too far then I go further still
Time starts to collapse leaves a void none can fill
Nothing you can say to hurt me with your forked tongue
Through blood shot eyes I watch the world come undone

I will not be broken
I won’t be turned away
When it’s too cold to breathe
and too dark to pray

I’ve come too far to give up
or to be turned around
I will not be broken
I will not go down

― Ben Harper “I Will Not Be Broken,” from Give Till It’s Gone

***

“We wanderers, ever seeking the lonelier way, begin no day where we have ended another day; and no sunrise finds us where sunset left us. Even while the earth sleeps we travel. We are the seeds of the tenacious plant, and it is in our ripeness and our fullness of heart that we are given to the wind and are scattered.”

― Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

***

from “When the World Went Away”

by Heather Void

“And what if you are dead?”

“And what if I’m not? Walk.”

There
is nowhere
to walk to.

And what if he is dead?

And what if he’s not?

What then?

how long are you willing to wait

When you start hoping
that he’ll stumble into you,
not over you,
tie your wonders and your worries together
and burn them in the ache of every sunrise.

What will you do when the world ends?

We have already lost the world;
I’ll amuse chance for a lifetime longer.
(Is every balcony in this neighborhood a widow’s walk?)
The world ends and ends and ends
And I will keep my promises.

What will you do when the world ends?
Wait.

for how long

until the ocean rises to meet us,
skeletons colliding,
limbs crashing together alongside waves
ocean shore ocean shore
sand dragged to the other edges of existence
until the world is only flood

for how long

until wind decides to toss us into elsewhere,
scattering ashes
until the world is only fire

for
how
long

until we are overrun
until there is nothing else
and life is a mythical ailment
until the world is only them

how long are you willing to wait

until, after millennia,
compassionate tectonic plates
haul our atoms close enough
to hold each other’s half-lives.

until the world is only.

for how long

forever

 

― Read Heather Void’s epic poem in its entirety: “When the World Went Away.” Heather is one of the best contemporary poets out there; if you love poetry, definitely check out her website.

***

***

from “Defeat”

by Kahlil Gibran

Defeat, my Defeat, my bold companion,
You shall hear my songs and my cries and my silences,
And none but you shall speak to me of the beating of wings,
And urging of seas,
And of mountains that burn in the night,
And you alone shall climb my steep and rocky soul.

Defeat, my Defeat, my deathless courage,
You and I shall laugh together with the storm,
And together we shall dig graves for all that die in us,
And we shall stand in the sun with a will,
And we shall be dangerous.

― Kahlil Gibran, from The Madman (read online)

 ***
This week’s playlist features music by Jimi Hendrix, U2, Muse, the Flaming Lips, Sean Rowe and more:

 

 

And for the first time, our playlist is also on Spotify. I mostly use it for running playlists, but you’re welcome to follow me (I’m Starrrling) if Spotify is your thing:

 

***

The-Walking-Dead-Season-5

These end of the world volumes are, of course, inspired by AMC’s The Walking Dead.

 

 

Huge gratitude again to Cayman Thorn, Mary Pierce, Michelle Terry, Jennie Hope and Heather Void for making this one helluva volume of Words. Like it? Let us know in the comments. If you were on the run from zombies, what one book or album would you take with you? Or if you had one last meal, what would you want it to be? 

18 comments

  1. Nothing short of awesome. Incredible talent is amongst us. ❤

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m biased of course, but I love this volume with a fiery passion. And I love you too sweetie!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’m so happy to see you around these here parts again. 🐻 xox

        Liked by 3 people

  2. Cool, running playlists! I’m now your newest Spotify follower!!!

    Like

    1. Haha! Awesome, Dan! I think that makes you lucky #3 🙂 As Arlo would say, it’s an Organization!

      Like

  3. Christy,

    When we go back and forth with emails and you talk about ‘putting something together’, it becomes the understatement of the year when I read this. This is just brilliance, how you weave one piece into the next. Everything borrows from the other, it’s mesmerizing to read this and then go back and read it again and then just be like ‘Holy shit! This is why I love writing!’. It’s a remarkable gift you possess, to weave and to blend and to pluck the most applicable pieces of literature and place them in the right spot. Every. Single. Time.

    One of the things about writing that I dig is when you’re able to grab the mood of a room and turn it into words. Take the silence and make it sing. Heather and Jennie, they’re simply a fascination to the senses in how they can do this. It’s just one of the most beautiful things, when you get lost inside a person’s story and you let the words carry you to a place you never knew existed. These ladies are blessed with a remarkable gift for translating the silence into song, and we’re blessed in that we get to go along for the ride.

    Mama Mick and Mary are two of my favorite peeps for a reason.They’re wickedly smart, they’re ambitious with their words and they are downright seductive when they still an image into forever. How you transform a simple shot into stained glass beauty is beyond me, so I love the voodoo they do with their amazing skill sets.

    And you Christy, thanks for asking me to join your brilliant posse of dames. You get me without trying, you just do. You’re my Soul Sister, and I’m thankful to have walked down this road with you. You always bring it, after which things get REAL. Thank you for that, all of it.

    Hmmm, as far as a book or album I would take along with me inside the zombie apocalypse, I’ll go with The Prophet and the Jimi Hendrix Experience.

    Mwah! to you ladies….have a peaceful holiday weekend!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Cayman, you honor me. Thank you. I love you.
      My fifteen miler beckons, but I’ll be back in a bit. Think I’ll add Sam & Dave, and The Cult to today’s running line-up. 😉

      Like

    2. Just wanted to thank you again for your soulful comment. Your words lingered in my mind all weekend. Words, music, art … it’s all about the underlying emotional feeling to me, and then I just link those feelings together. It’s not even really about the words, if that makes sense at all, it’s the feelings those words invoke.
      The Prophet … great choice. and Jimi … can’t go wrong there. Although after the finale of TWD, I’m wondering if I shouldn’t take along a rave or techno album to distract the zombies. 😉
      Hope you had a wonderful weekend, -c

      Like

  4. Dormis Aeternitas · ·

    one song would suffice… Great post.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s a beautiful song, and new to me. Thank you so much.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. What Cayman said. Seriously. I’m reading this, taking in the words, the music, the images, thinking, this is fucking genius, how DOES Christy do this, match it all so seamlessly to create a perfect package? And then I get to Cayman’s eloquent comment and he has said what I was thinking far more beautifully than I could.

    Cayman, I’ve read your story 5 times so far. I will probably read it at least that many more times. Your words are so achingly beautiful, so elegiac, so delicious. (My last meal would probably also be my last book, come to think of it. I like the taste of words more than and food I can think of — even chocolate.)

    Jennie and Heather– just WOW. Poetry of the highest order.

    Michelle, your photos always blow me away. And how perfect is that sunflower photo for Cayman’s discription of Sam’s eyes?

    All of you, I am humbled to be even a tiny part of this production, and amazed at the artistry involved. Y’all are something special and I would spend my last days of the zombie apocalypse with you in a heartbeat.

    As for my last book? All the Light We Cannot See. It’s brilliant and stunningly beautiful. As for my end music, there is so much I love, but at the end of the world, I want to go out listening to Yo Yo Ma playing Bach.

    xox

    p.s. Christy, I laughed throughout the day while you were “window shopping” on my blog. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Oh I had the best time window shopping! Your blog truly is a good place to get lost.
      I’ve yet to read “All the Light…” but everyone and then some says it is a masterpiece. I’ll definitely bump it up the list.
      Yo Yo Ma is a fine choice. Tough, but I think I would pick Ella and Louis … vocals, instruments, classic lyrics, memories and oh so much feeling.

      xoxoxo

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Sigh…..alas, I have nothing to add! Every last beautiful word and photo has been captured here.
    As I read and view all of the talent above, all I can think about is how awesome it is to sit at the cool kids’ table. Then, I imagine how I’d spend an afternoon with each of you.
    Christy and I would go for a run…we make it for a mile and then I’d have to hop on a bike to keep up with her for the next 14. I imagine us trading stories, me gleaning life lessons and begging for writing lessons.
    Jennie would give me lessons in poetry and let me grab secrets around how she makes the classics her own (Robert Frost…GENIUS!!) Then we’d wander off to find Goaticus or a rabbit hole.
    I already told Mary (today) that I’d love to spend an afternoon just taking pictures. I only hope to capture life like she does. After that, it seems that a unicycle and a longboard might be on the agenda.
    I’m afraid I’d have to remind myself that I’m married if I hung around Cayman for an afternoon. If his moves are a smooth as his words…well…
    And Heather – a new friend to get to know and another talent to be in complete awe of. Gorgeous!

    Just so you know, this little comment isn’t all about the Kumbayah…it’s me being truly grateful to have run across you band of wildlings – you truly make my life better just by being in it. xoxoxo

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Haha, you and those long legs…I’d have to run just to keep up with your normal walking pace!
      I have a feeling I’d glean just as many, if not more, lessons from YOU my friend.
      (Less than one week to Game of Thrones!)
      Love! xoxo

      Like

  7. mishedup · ·

    I love this…
    i have not seen one Walking Dead episode…
    yet why should I?
    These compilations of awesome tell me the story
    Thanks you all

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I had such a thrill putting this volume together! I was like a kid in a candy shop. So glad you enjoyed it.
      Love xoxoxo

      Like

    1. Perfect word. Thank you so much.
      Grateful.
      -c

      Like

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