The Brakeman had a bony countenance…

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

When reality sucks and attempts to change that reality are met with derision and/or apathy, what is a person to do?  Sometimes the realm of fiction is a good escape.

I’ve had this piece in production since before I decided to give up the fight and stop working to improve that reality.  Let someone else take up the fight and put their heart on the line, to be stomped on and shredded time and again.  And I thought I should probably finish it and share it with those who desire some closure.

The fact that it is connected to the Transgender Day of Remembrance may give it some relevance.

_ # ^ &  _ # ^ &  _ # ^ &  _

The Engineer noted the curve in the happentracks ahead.  Sie pulled the cord which let loose a trumpetful of sound.  The Passenger awoke suddenly.  The Storyteller and the Listener looked outward.

Suddenly the train began to slow.  In the cab the Engineer cast a worried look at the Brakeman.  The Brakeman had a bony countenance…

Crossposted from Daily Kos, perhaps erroneously.

The WeaveMothers have appeared before.  In what passes for chronological order, they are here:

Weaving Reality

Picking up the rhythm

Nebulous answers to cogent questions

Looking back at the present


On the Thickness of Skin

Waging Peace

Stone Soup


Of the Greataway, a Machine, and WeaveMothers

The Dedos


What Shenshi Did

Friday Philosophy: Overcoming Fear

Having ready Michael Greatrex Coney’s, Song of Earth (Book 1 is now at Google Books) is also helpful.  Or you could just relax and accept the possibility of the Celestial Steam Locomotive passing through the Greataway.

The Storyteller remembered an ancient story, a story that came from many cultures on many worlds.  Thanatos, the Angel of Death, Grimnir, la Morte, the Grim Reaper, Susan’s grandfather…the list goes on and on.  It was the story of Death, come to life.

As the Storyteller spun the tale, the Brakeman reached out of the cab.  A bony finger grazed a strand of the tapestry.

_ # ^ &  _ # ^ &  _ # ^ &  _

The Weavemothers sensed the unraveling of the strand and one…or all of them…rushed to save it.

Somewhere and somewhen, one of the autonomous units ceased to function, mostly unnoticed and uncared about.

_ # ^ &  _ # ^ &  _ # ^ &  _

Sometimes death can mean a new beginning.  Sometimes it means change.  And sometimes it is the premature extinguishing of a life not yet lived.

Every day people around me reveal that they live in a country that shocks my soul.  Words that they speak suddenly open infinity between us.  Books or friends or conduct they embrace recede to a pinpoint on my screen and go out.

It is my habit never to hurt the people around me.  Their offenses against my taste, my moral sense–my religion–can’t be allowed to darken their lives or our joint residence in our time.  In separate rooms we are traveling our lives.

–William Stafford, Daily Writing, June 2, 1993.

I probably had something approximating the same thought at around the same time.  I was a little more than half a year into transition.  I could list all my friends on one side of a sheet of notebook paper and still have room to write an essay or two.

William Stafford was busy dying.  I was busy being born.  Both can be lonely business.

_ # ^ &  _ # ^ &  _ # ^ &  _

The train regained its speed and rhythm.  The Passenger once more dozed.  And the Listener sobbed.

The Storyteller searched for other words to say, but nothing seemed appropriate.  It was as if some of the brightest of stars were being dimmed, even snuffed out.  The tapestry seemed to be losing its luster.

Words from a long-forgotten poet leapt to the fore:

We live in occupied country, misunderstood;

justice will take millions of intricate moves.

–William Stafford, from Thinking for Berky

But we…none of us…can make all of the moves ourselves.  So sometimes we have to trust that others will do so.

And when they do not make those moves…or they ignore the moves made by those who do…or they don’t understand how vital those moves are…they abandon the striving for that justice…thinking there will be another time…another place…somewhen more convenient for them…after more and more of the bright lights have been broken…when someone else, but not they, can worry about those moves.

After all, the world has more important things to consider than justice.  Always has and always will.

_ # ^ &  _ # ^ &  _ # ^ &  _

And the Storyteller wondered what riding the train across the Greataway was accomplishing and considered disembarking somewhere.  If only there was a place “with liberty and justice for all”.

And the Listener pondered listening to a heartbeat, as opposed to listening to the absence of one.

And the Passenger wondered about the Girl…and whether she would ever find a place she could truly call home…and Manuel…and the art he created with his mind.

And the Engineer asked why the train should exist if there were no passengers.

And the Brakemen lifted a bony finger…

_ # ^ &  _ # ^ &  _ # ^ &  _

Lives Trapped

in a Puddle of Blood

Lives Worth Less

Lives worth less

or worthless lives?

Lives lived

in between

denied access

doors closed

always adorned

with the signs


the desire

to be rid

the different

Forced away


unless we are


to be fodder

for the “jokes”

and slaps

too often deadly



sometimes dismembered

at best ignored

until space is made

for us to step into

after it is vacated

by everyone else

Words spilled

into a void

are worth what?

Liberty and justice

for all?

Not hardly

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–November 20, 2009


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    • Robyn on November 21, 2009 at 01:54

    …which is available in Sister Outsider.

    …in order to come together we must recognize each other. Yet I feel that since you have so completely un-recognized me, perhaps I have been in error concerning you and no longer recognize you

    Presently I feel I have lost a sense of community.  It is sad, but true for me, that it doesn’t take many people who by their actions make me feel unwelcome to overcome the friends I have made.  Pain is pain.

    And there is a limit to the number of failures one can endure when there are so few successes…which I am continually told I will be able to see sometime after I die.

    • TMC on November 21, 2009 at 02:37

    that you feel you have lost your sense of community here and at DK, since you posted this there as well. I know the frustrations of gaining and losing, and mostly losing, but not on the personal level that you have. My wish is that you find some comfort in your relationship with your life partner and your work. I truly  hope that all is physically well for your and that you get past this deep feeling of loss and pain. Please know you are often in my thoughts and prayers.    Blessed Be

    • Heather on November 21, 2009 at 03:00

    I had this messageboard for eight years that had 15 internet friends on it from all over the world. we wrote everyday about our lives. I watched and wrote with two people that were in high school at the start grow into adults and jobs and even a marriage and baby. We bought houses and changed countries and laughed and joked and cried and some of us even met in person when and where we could.

    Then after 8 years it all died. Now there are just three of us left and the others rarely if at all comment or visit. it’s hard not to take it personally. But I have come to an appreciation of the time we did have and the stuff we did share.

    I have a lingering bitterness towards those that left but I also know that people’s priorities change as their lives move and i will become less important than the things that impact them daily. Even my two kids have shown me that.

    I know that they do not think less of me as a person even though they literally think less often of me.

    I wrote on our board that i hope people drop by from time to time and say hi just so we all know that everyone is safe and well. we spent a lot of time together.

    So I hope that you do the same with the people that you have grown close to here and that have lived with you through your writing over the years. I don’t know much about this place from more than several months ago but i know that there are people here who care very much for you.

    • TMC on November 21, 2009 at 03:28

    I just read the two threads from your comments at DK. Please DO NOT let two narrow minded asses like that drive you from communities that care for you. You had a lot of support in that one thread and I added my donut to the other assholes stupid comment. If you don’t want to post the links to the threads I will do it for you.

    • Massman on November 22, 2009 at 00:42

    I will sorely miss your web presence.My only reason these days to visit DK is to read thought inspiring diarists such as yourself.There are fewer and fewer these days and I’m saddened to hear of your departure.I understand your feelings and wish peace for you. I’ve told you before that you helped me learn.That turned out to be fate,as my wife and I now find ourselves adjusting to our eighteen year old niece coming out as a trans male.Without getting into my families’ personal story,I wanted to say that I was looking forward to learning more from you.We would like to do whatever we can to make his transition more comfortable.We have loved her all of her life and will continue to love him for the rest of his.

    Peace Friend.

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