65 million years ago The Cretaceous Period The loops of leaves on the primordial trees swayed softly in the afternoon breeze. A breeze which cut like rivers of cold across the dry desert heat. Too gently to noticeably disperse the silvery surface of what little water remained in the shrinking oasis. In fact, what became noticeable to the little bird were the pair of yellow circles submerged in the water. They shared the same deep orange-yellow as the meat from the fruits he ate from the trees. Each of these circles also held a void, as oily black as the gaps between the stars; inescapable. They moved in harmony with the most minuscule movements of his head, as if tethered by some unseen force to his body. A body which had every nerve ready to spring. To fly fast and hard away from the danger of this could-be predator dragging him beneath the surface. But the foggy familiarity of the shapes anchored the little bird to the edge of the water. A vague recollection of shelter and safety, of a nesting area he had briefly existed in and never returned to. That he could never return to, for it was lost in another time. Another place. A reality so unreachable that it was only upon seeing the eyes on the water that it was recalled to his mind as a memory. The shapes were eyes! And so similar to what he now remembered were his mother’s eyes. More panic at first. A soreness in his wings from his blood building up in preparation for sudden flight. His mother’s eyes stared back at him from the surface. But they were not held within his mother’s face. The ashen feathers above the eyes were peppered with specks of black. This creature that ate his mother’s eyes gazed up, back at his own plumage. But upon further study the bird was met with a locked gaze. An unbliking stare. So much pain and panic in those eyes, but the bird could not look away. Would not look away. In fear that doing so would cause the creature to take his eyes next. So the bird instead studied the eyes, and then the face. Feather by feather, noting each way in which this head was wrong. In which it wasn’t what it was meant to be. The darkness surrounding the eyes, the spot of pink skin from a missing feather, the dash of red on the beak. That dash of red... the same color, the same shape as the one on his own beak. The little bird’s breathing stopped, his chest hurt. His vision blurred at the edges but the eyes stayed sharp, boring into his very being. Overhead, a shimmering comet veered ever closer.

Pitter Patter

It’s the pattern It’s the repetition It’s the pattern It’s the repetition It’s the pattern It’s the repetition It’s the pattern It’s the repetition

Mother Rat

Take heed, my little ones- Don’t crawl through the tunnels beneath, Where the metal worms wail. They’ll scream, and they’ll shriek, and they’ll rattle your teeth. Too close and you’ll be missing your tail. Be vigilant, my bundles of joy- Of eagle and hawk. Of dog, and of cat. The creatures that stalk The ill-hiding rat. Be wary my pups- Of flat stretches of land Where smog-machines roam. Just hurry as planned To get back to this home. What’s more, my sweet little litter: The wise ones will kill you. With traps. With poison so bitter. They’ll scream and they’ll trample Wherever your skitter. My life-year a huff and a puff. My, how I’ll miss you. My loves how I love you… I hope its enough.

Are dogs artificial?

The word artificial is broken. Why do we use it? The dictionary definition (pleh) describes it as things that are made or produced by human beings “rather than occurring naturally”. Rather than occurring naturally? Why that arbitrary division? Anything we produce could not, by definition, be artificial, since we are a part of nature’s whole. It feels like a word that was coined, popularized and accepted in a cultural worldview that has a desire to separate humans from nature. A pointless, and largely negative pursuit which serves only to make humans feel superior to their surroundings. It presents to us an understanding of the universe which reeks of fear of the greater of existence. Where we must be separate lest we are devoured by it; become it. But surely it’s still useful to differentiate between things which happened with and without human intervention right? We know there’s a difference between an artificial lake and a real one. The word “man-made”, while hyphenated, creates a distinction between the two concepts of human and nature without implicitly dividing them. It excels at distinguishing the differences without creating a divide. Armed with this new word, we can look upon a plastic plant and differentiate it from the plant-material plant by calling it “man-made”. While still maintaining that they are ultimately made up of the same basic stuff present in literally everything. Down to both being fancy carbon things even. But. There is a gray area in defining things as “man-made” because there are things that exist as collaborations between humans and nature. Modern fruits would not exist in their current forms without humans morphing them to better fit their needs, but those humans didn’t create the “original” fruits. So are modern fruits natural or man-made? What about dogs? Non-existent without human intervention, but something feels off when we attempt to call a dog a “man-made” or artificial object. Cleary, they are natural… maybe just “human-influenced”. Though by this new metric even the most artificial thing you can think of is simply “human-influenced”. …Maybe the answer is not in trying to think of larger and all-encompassing theories. I believe we really mean something when we say artificial. Yes, in the grandest sense, these words are not quite true, not quite real. But once we zoom into the moments when we want to use them, they do exist. Humans make music. If we want to go by the most rigid definition of artificiality, then music is an artificial act. But just like dogs, this feels wrong. How can music be artificial when we know it’s so…”true”? So natural? (Are true and natural overlapping ideas? The opposite of artificial is real, right?) It’s because it’s something we understand as being a part of our human nature. Music, art, sex, games, dance, haphazardly written blog posts. All a part of our nature, and therefore a part of Big Nature. Intrinsically un-artificial yet man-made by definition. So. Maybe artificial is just the aspect of humanity that is upset at its own creations. The plant is artificial because we expected a “real” plant, another living being, and we instead found plastic in the shape of a lie. Too infallible to be natural: a failure. That intelligence is artificial because it’s still unlike talking to another human. Artificial are the things which humans attempted to imitate, and failed to make real. Artificiality is when you feel disappointment upon seeing something for what it truly is. Dogs are real.

On bathrooms

Santa, I may have outgrown. Him, the easter bunny, even Jesus. So let me tell you: I will NOT say Bloody Mary 3 times, at night, with the bathroom door closed. Hey, there’s just some things not everyones gotta mess with. I respect the vibes in this enclosed little room. Especially since

confessions of a winter hipster

There’s a moment, deep into the night, when the streets on my block run empty and quiet save for the fear-burdened rats who scurry between the garbage-scattered sidewalks. In the middle of the second largest city of North America, there is a time unlike any other when you can stand in the middle of the road and no cars will bother you for dozens of minutes at a time. You can exist as a human without a car in a space where cars violently take priority; like stepping into a world where the pedestrian was prioritized over the vehicle. A minuscule act of defiance against the swathes of land that are offered only for the machine to exist in, and for our frail bodies to merely cross. I love the feeling of presiding over the roads in these moments, a tree unmoved by the stream in the middle of a river. But this paradoxical place, so magical in its rural sensation within an overwhelmingly urban environment, only exists during the winter. As the nights get warmer and people come out from sundown to sunup, the once sacred environment, ever so silent, is now as bustling at night as it was during the day. The cars claim their space again. Even in their absence, the other pedestrians, as much love as I have for them, steal away the privacy from the quiet moment of disobedience. You’re no longer making a stand. You’re just standing where you shouldn’t be.