ASVNDER: One Day at the Beach

Accidents will happen,
but then they grow up
and someone is blamed
for them.

In fact yes, mom did
drop me on my head in
a roundabout way, but
that is not
what is

I am deeply embarrassed
by my own success,
by my own privilege,
by my own whiteness,
by my own unmetered rage,
and by my own hands —
the awful results they've

I am an impostor...
was I made this way?

Accidents will happen.
In fact yes, some grow up
to have accidents
of their own
and accidentally fall off
into coldest voids
due to accidents of the

Searching with those broken
hands and feverish brains
for something to call
their own.
they fight frothing currents
deep into the unknown.
until an accident
delivers them

Until an accident
delivers them

Waves fiercely crash upon
faces unknown and
bodies unknown and
laughter unknown and
waves fiercely push upon
heartstrings and bone —
until accidents happen.

Torn asvnder,
cast across,
rewinding summers —
suddenly born alone.

Until an accident
rides in the waves,
crashes and delivers them


Been on that Ledge Again

Every once in a fly's lifespan,
he steps back out on that ledge again
and makes a damned mess in a fragment
of the space-time continuum.

He flattens smiles like fresh asphalt,
and smoothes away the happiness—
Why can't he just be positive?
All the time!
Every time!
Never Negative!
Always full of SUNSHINE...

Gets stuck on one progression,
that one break in a song that loops over
and over...
and over...
pushing everything over.
Haunting the bones with Dorian modes
and restless diatonic dreams bring
buckets of sweat brimming with regret
and over
and over
(so over).

He snuck a climb back up there again,
indeed a pretty view can be had
and the sun's fingers feel not so bad.
Until the break recedes and the last
drum beat pierces the warming rays.

On that ledge not scared, oh why can't
he be happiness
and ponies
and rainbows
and stop the smothering...


Pressed into her void there,
as though anyone might ever dare
to get back on that ledge again.


Tell me what I am supposed to do
after putting all of my eggs into
a basket shaped like you.

My yellow heart now scrambled
into bits — sadness with fits,
square jawed death knells and
rust blunted wits.

This is my brain on drugs.

Yes, I have numerous questions —
regarding high temperatures and
melting points.

I am burnt toast; there will be
no butter,
no jam —
except between rocks and hard

I have lost most my teeth and I
reek of burned grease.


it's what's for dinner.

Welcomed when it came with any
type of smile, though we both
can only last for a while.


For Anjuli

Cold but not alone for hours on
the telephone and these are some
things she might have said to me:

You look around sometimes
You are not at the end of
    Anyone's rope.
You are not wrapped around
    Anyone's finger.
You are not embedded in
    Anyone's heart.

Your selectable hopping campfires
Are casting them all in shadow and
You sometimes turn around to catch
Yourself in the shadow too.

You exist to amuse them?
Are you yourself amused?

You told me one time
about the little you.

You tried the Kava yet?

[a long and wondrous pause]

Are you still with me?

You seem to be with everyone.

Are you still on the line?

You told me it was cold tonight.

You made me say something tonight.
You somehow made me say that thing.
and you know it wasn't my habit—

Yet, I said it to you.


A message from the future:
You will not ever hear me say it again.

Are you with me?
You are probably tired and cold.
You have become one with the circuits.
You lost focus.
You lost me.


My Amsterdam boots, remember those?

A message from the future:
You foolishly affixed yourself
to the bottom of their soles.

You make me laugh so much
and that is why I said it.

You make me want to be with you.

Are you still with me?

Yeah — oh yeah, that's right...

You're almost with me
yet not.

I Need to Put This Stuff Away

I want to put this stuff away
this awful junk
surrounds the day.

I want to put this stuff away
to find myself
less far away.

I want to put this stuff away
this awful junk
  heaped onto me;
    to take a breath
      that sets me free
        and lights the moon
        a path to be —
      closer, I need
    you and me and
come what may,

I need to put this stuff away.

The Golden Hour

I sit alone looking numbly into nature, vaguely only
do I know greeting card days like these.

Out here, there's a golden hour that lasts a year,
where light enters her ethereal evening gown, but
the sun never seems to be going down.

Perfect smell and flawless sound.

yes i am no good for you

yes — my worst ran ragged
        it leapt and swept
        sadness over seawalls

yes — my worst tore shit up
        and reached your shores
        all too much

no good part of my soul
no good sound from my mouth
no good touch from my fingers

        found your coast
        to be clear
        nor a beach to hold near

        or heart to beat same
        or warmth in whispers of
        your name

no good time alone
no good starry skies
no good journeys of mind

        landed upon your
        sunny mountainside
        like welcome raindrops

        or lovingly lodged
        in your heart metaphor right
        through the concrete blast door

yes — we thought we'd found
        the tide, the moon, the stars when
        wind plus water blended into waves

yes — the break rode like a roller coaster
        mad undertow and riptides that stole
        away everything we used to know


i am


good for you

All or Nothing

I have worked for years
to be gray
to walk the middle way
to have far less duality
to see no black and white
or limits of right and wrong
and one extreme to another
but with you—
I am ready for all or nothing.

Dialed Up Nineties

After ASCII doodling
       using TheDraw
    was creating & consuming
    Autodesk originated FLI
    based animations
of the highest order.

BSD Unix and VMS and Linux
all loomed on the horizon
but cost extra to discover.

Careful leveraging of
    toll free numbers
provided gateways to many
long nights across
multiple time zones.

Even love was cultivated
    this way — by voice.

With young and foolhardy
  use of dual tone multi
  frequencies not found
on the standard keypad.

Then came common gateways
interfacing through Perls
cast at our naive feet
via repeated primitive
HTTP requests thanks to a
man named Doug.

It was chatting.

Someone called Victoria or
just Vick... an Australian,
babbled streams of nonsense
with an American. Babbled
again and again with
this boy for the
    sole sake of soulful


Then, September arrived.

It proved to be eternal.
Brian Shumate
Work: stuff with clouds and security — play: art, writing, programming and outdoor activities
This article was created with Substance, an open self-publishing system.