exponentiation ezine
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exponentiation ezine: issue [7.0:literature]

The Necklace of the Brisings

One night in Asgard, the home of the gods, Freyja, the goddess of beauty, love, fertility, and more, dreamt of the most beautiful necklace ever crafted. When Freyja awoke, she had an irresistible urge to find this necklace, so she traveled down the Rainbow Bridge, Bifrost, to Mid-gard, the land of men. What Freyja didn't know is that Loki, the crafty and cunning god of mischief and deceit, had followed her. He followed Freyja all over Mid-gard, as she searched for the necklace of which she had dreamt when all of a sudden she looked into a cave to see a flicker of light, as if from a flame, emanating from the deeps of the cave. She decided to descend into the depths of the cave as one never ascends into depths, and as she neared the bottom chamber of the cave she noticed the light begin to grow, heat began to envelope her and she heard the sound of what may have been hammers ringing as they pounded upon metal.

As Freyja neared this chamber she became much more stealthy as to not give away her presence and as she cast her eyes around she saw four fat ugly disgusting dwarfs who were all working upon the very same necklace she had seen in her dream. Freyja had a notion to steal this necklace but she thought better than that as she was the goddess of beauty so she surrendered her presence to the eyes and ears of the four dwarfs and she made an attempt at charming them out of their beautiful necklace: a necklace which Freyja knew, deep in her heart, was made exclusively for her. She demanded the dwarfs give the necklace to her and at her daft request they all gave a hearty laugh; they laughed so hard that their fat, little bellies jiggled, and they almost fell over.

After the dwarfs had regained their composure they assured Freyja that she could have the necklace but she also had to acquiesce to their desires. She offered them land, to which offer the dwarfs laughed again; she offered them gold, to which the dwarfs replied that they had more gold and silver than they could have a want or need. Freyja was running out of options when the dwarfs made their offer to her. They stated to Freyja that only one thing could gain her possession of the necklace and that was for her to sleep with each of the dwarfs, one per night. To this request she cried repulsed, "Sleep with you?! You ugly dwarfs?! A Whore! A whore, they would call me!" And to this reply the dwarfs merely smiled and looked at her until she finally gave in and said, "Fine! Do as you will, for I must have that necklace; it is the most beautiful one in all the nine worlds and it must be mine!" So, Freyja slept with the four dwarfs, much to her own disgust, though she knew that she could live through this inconvenience to gain possession of her desire. Now, all this time, Loki had been trailing Freyja and upon discovering her dirty deeds and unbridled lust for this necklace he turned himself into a falcon and flew back to Asgard to inform Odhinn, the Allfather, in his hall Valhalla, whose walls are made of shields and spears, of Freyja's terrible misdeeds. Odhinn flew into a rage and knocked Loki to the floor with one mighty swing of his huge arm, and bellowed, "GET ME THAT NECKLACE!!!" Loki limped away, still in pain from Odhinn's mighty blow, and waited for Freyja's return to her hall, Sessrumnir, whose walls are made of silver and shine brighter than the sun.

As Freyja completed her end of the bargain, the dwarfs, satisfied as they were, gave Freyja the necklace she so desired, and she returned to Asgard, though she was slightly less light hearted than when she had left five nights before. When she returned to her hall, Sessrumnir, whose walls are made of silver, she locked herself into the chamber, and she gazed into the mirror, at her new necklace that she so cherished and she vowed never to take it off now that she had finally obtained it after such despicable deeds as she performed for ownership of it. Now, her hall, Sessrumnir, whose walls are made of silver, was an impregnable hall, and nothing could enter into her hall not even if attempted by force. However, Loki, the sly one, appeared outside Freyja's hall and he turned himself into a fly and he began setting about a way to breach the walls of her hall. He tried everywhere and he had failed every attempt until he found one place in the wall that had been damaged which he could barely slip into while in the form of a fly. He flew into Freyja's hall and he walked upon her as she slumbered with her necklace fastened round her neck and he began attempting to remove the necklace.

Unfortunately, for Loki, the sly one, Freyja's arm was upon her necklace, as if she were stroking her prized possession even in her sleep, and Loki was forced to ponder and to try to find a way to get her to move. He found a feather, and he began tickling Freyja's nose with the feather and eventually Freyja's arm came up to scratch her nose and as she did thus Loki grabbed her necklace as quickly as he could without awakening Freyja from her slumber. As soon as Loki had obtained the necklace, he turned back into a fly, and he flew back out the same hole he had entered, and he flew all the way to Odhinn, the Terrible One's hall, Valhalla, whose walls are made of spears and shields, and he delivered to Odhinn the necklace that had brought a potential disgrace upon the gods. When Freyja awoke, she noticed that her necklace was gone and she let out the most horrid shriek ever heard to this day, which resounded through all of the nine worlds. She made her way, as quickly as she could, toward Odhinn's hall, Valhalla, the Hall of Battle, for she knew that such cunning treachery could only be the work of Odhinn, the Terrible One-Eyed One. When she arrived to Odhinn she demanded an explanation and for her necklace to be returned to her to which Odhinn replied with laughter filled with scorn. Freyja scolded Odhinn for his treachery and continued to demand for her necklace to be returned to her, adding that she would do anything to have it, as she had already shown with the dwarfs, when Odhinn interrupted her, saying, "It is no lie, I did decree that necklace to be brought to me, and it is also no lie that you are also no stranger to treachery: what will the worlds now think of us gods, with a whore among us. You do not deserve to possess this necklace, but, seeing as how you have shamed yourself enough for its ownership, I command you to return to Mid-gard, to find two kings, and to set them against one another in hatred, and I command you to stir up hatred among men, until war leaves the fields bloody with the dead." To which she replied, "As you wish. Now give me my necklace." And to Freyja her necklace was returned. - Hrothgar


Monopoly (Of the World) Your tears are but a sign of modern over tension,
Your mind is televisions' biological extension,
Cry the time away to find, when you open your eyelids,
You are but a variable taking all the highest bids,
Happy to devote your life,
To subservience on a switchblade knife,

And always begging for more.

You can be paid to be a whore,
Come fiscally entwine yourself in our twisted fair,
Because once there's nothing left we can sell the fucking air,
We'll charge a hundred for a lung full and a thousand for the two,
And when everyone is in our fists we'll incorporate the food,
You see it's not about survival, unless you count yourself and I,
It's about my soaring bank book updates coming on the fly,
We'll pillage what is left that we haven't poisoned yet,
And when we're almost out we'll put somebody else in debt,
For we are not to blame, we are the country's newest spine,
We are the corporate managers who pay ourselves to whine,
We give your salary so you can buy back what we give to eat,
You see our clever paradox? We thought it would be pretty neat;
You go to any poorer country and simply set up shop,
And then they've nothing else to do but work until they drop,
So simply give no one the choice but work, unless they want to die,
And then the only way to live is buy, buy, buy. - Mark McNeil


Streams that Don't Flow

Cars zoom under the bridge. They stare down, watching with no fixation the blurry lights as they bleed into one another. Orange, white, red, transitional hues. Sometimes gaps where the dwindling sunlight reflects against the paint of the vehicles: dark green, grey-hardly as brilliant.

It doesn't stop, the steady river of cars and lights. When exhaust hits their nostrils they cough a little, their stomachs clench. Steve clicks his teeth as the wind hisses passed them in the open air. Audible chill ripples through his nerves. His clothes ruffle.

"What's up?" Kyle asks, raising his eyes and looking forward. Hills with trees line the highway and conceal suburbs connected by the concrete bridge.

"I'm really high, and it's fucking cold up here."

"Let's get moving then."

Shoes bounce off pavement arhythmically. The wind resists them. Cars pass-an endlessly moving line, filing and shuffling. Wait your turn. The procession slows, crawls, and stops. Thin sheets of exhaust drift upward.

Trails and trees and out of every one you see the same thing. Large, open houses, two door garages. Kids skateboarding. Rows and rows of houses, and a car to adorn each one. They walk by hastily.

"I know this little stream. One way it just dies off, and you're at a huge freeway. I haven't gotten to the find the other end yet."

A ready dirt trail stretches in the direction Kyle has turned, grass cropped on either side. It's dark. Leaves mosaic, little asymmetrical blocks of color peek through and where trees are scarcer, coherent images are revealed. Tan - yellow painted houses behind wire fences. Tool sheds and sky and windows into kitchens. Steve looks at his shoes. Squirrels chirp and rotate up trees. Rabbits hop onto the road, where a car may or may not swerve from them. Rails and steel tubes punctuate the creek. We're putting a road here, so you gotta make due buddy. We've got to keep going. You? You'll get along just fine. The creek thins, but houses become more disbursed. NO TRESSPASSING - huge plots of land with long driveways where they walk into the distance through the front yard - grass nicely kept to frame the wild, knotty, untended fields and short trees. Cars rip by them.

The stream is gone. Bare hills roll out encircled by trees and other foreign yards. The refreshing drone of high speed rolling time bombs provides ambiance. They stare at the sky cool and damp in the grass, passing a joint back and forth. Light is sapped from the sky and stars fill in gaps. Their isolation has grown over the years. Fine matter nearly invisible linked them together so smoothly in the sky, but the evenings darkened and even the moon fought resiliently to continue showering stolen rays. So, they kept their distance and spoke their own names weakly. The ponds listened less while still casting a lulling glow, ever fainter.

Horns fought feverishly and the hum was like automatic feedback, the soft pitch that resonates the morning after an eardrum challenging concert. Grass crunches like muted paper under their shoes. Another stream concealed by drooping willows beyond a house. Harvested land and young apple trees. Kyle looks down, sighting distant highways. Lights blip by fast as blinking: orange, red, amber, white. Apartments loom, pale glows from eternal eyes watching always, ceaselessly observing the subjugated reaches.

Steve smashes a stick against a metal sign post. It splinters into thousands of fragments and one half is sent flying. Steve holds the other half in amazement. It is wet to the marrow, and smells of rot. Picture of a snow machine and a dirt bike in a column, a glaring yellow background capturing starlight, wobbling down to a fine vibration.

A satellite tower blinks a red light - on and off - its alternating red-and-white body puncturing the soil beneath it. They reach a dull hum of cables. Steel girded towers scream DANGER HIGH VOLTAGE surrounded by the additional - absolutely necessary - barbed wire chain fence. Towers stare each other down in their timeless deadlock, bound with thongs of violent energy. Little bush patterns where boxes are crumbled; sleeping bags accompany backpacks and brown LCBO bags, flat and thin.

Large, open houses, two door garages. Swerving grids of houses arbitrarily placed in cul-de-sacs and crescents. Wealthy people live on crescents, where they drive pricier cars and shop at Wal-Mart. Their feet express disease in rapid unison; eyes float to arrays of leaves. Lights and wrapped black cable are revealed in the mosaic. Wooden poles like crucifixes stand parallel, holding hands to their brothers', Hallelujah.

Kids skateboarding in offensive shirts, because defiance is okay. Your seed can oppose you, don't worry about it. It's in the rules, see? Now have a beer and let's watch football. Hey, it's just teen angst, they'll get over it.

Blue chemiluminescence flickers against curtains projecting through picture windows. Street lights illuminate spheres in yellowish tint. The chill deepens as the sky yields to blackness. They disappear into the indistinguishable yonder.

Better suit up, it's a long and lonely journey ahead. - Risc


The cold in the air

This tinge in the breeze
that had lain dormant,
out of senses altogether
It awakened my mind
and lifted my lids
To the colors of autumn
in the waves of air

It was then when I saw
the old man Winter,
riding in their wake
on a motley leaf,
cast to flutter by the breeze
Empty branches whip
in the grayest of winds,
but a soft hum rises, lulls
the earth into sleep

And when the winds finally die,
and night falls
on the waiting ones
He sits still on his leaf,
silent as stone,
eyes fixed at the skies

The trees are like spires;
among them he is silent
Grasses cover the earth;
among them he is still
A lone flake of snow
trails down unto him:
his abiding eyes close,
and the dawn breaks
white and calm


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