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Night Melting – A Meditation


Photo by Paulo Barcellos Jr. –

New York. Beautiful. Powerful. Rooted in vision. Granite foundations. Settlement and port for the expeditionary who seeks comfort in the wake of distress and discovery of the unknown. Who advances in spite of it, because nothing matters to him more than time spent in new and unfolding terrain. The world is too interesting not to explore. It lies beneath his feet, awaiting his next step.

Lies beneath his feet. He smirks at the irony as he marches into it, toward another perspective, trampling on the falsehoods that hold things up. An owl sits on his shoulder and screams like a banshee. The sky undulates and melts like a black candle that drips to the ground and coagulates over holes made by buckshot fired from heaven. Love heavenly love. God’s deadliest weapon.

He grabs his pillow and lays his hand on it gently. He places his head on it, smiles and pulls the trigger. Blood spatters on the glass and into the heavens, onto the stars and planets in the far distance, dripping away, falling into the cold bottomless space in long shiny crimson threads. Something rumbles below. Lightning erupts. Rips the darkness in two and the black abyssal sheet is yanked apart and a white light bursts through it and floods the field and singes his sight until all he can do is stumble around like a deer caught in the beams of a juggernaut speeding down the highway at one hundred miles an hour, honking its horn and stopping for nothing as it roars and revs and growls through the light and smashes into him with vengeance unleashed from the depths of despair. The rage of a life spent in the eye of the hunter, in the shadow of people’s polite smiles and pretensions, does not negotiate its advance. It rips through the flesh and shatters bone and ligament. The light goes out and the night bursts back, splashed across the field, morphs again, dripping, dripping down to a ground torched and prepared for divine impregnation.

Something begins to stir and grow. A series of fresh bones and ligaments and thick arteries and interwoven veins and capillaries flowing with red and yellow juices assemble into form. A monument of lives and dreams sophisticated and mechanic that rumbles without pause. The city of New York emerges from the curd to fill his vision.

He steps right in. Takes a deep breath and spreads his arms. Life bursts through a billion openings, casting long shadows down the bustling roads, up the towering walls of this beautiful, powerful and magnificent hell. New York. City of dreams. State of wonder.


  1. John Christopher

    The writing is spectacular, and I love the ending. There is a wonderful idea here too. I wish it had more of a statement to make, maybe some more concrete images of the actual city night life. I do love it, and can’t criticize much. It’s very poetic writing, which I love. Maybe staying away from the concrete is even a good idea. It is almost like a poem. Good work!

  2. sampson

    Thanks John. It’s a great pleasure to hear that a piece resonates.

  3. Will

    I’ve been looking at this page for over an hour, not sure what to think. Well, more sure of what to think than of what to write here. Should I write a long ass text and hurt your feelings? Close the web page and say “fuck it, I’m out of here”? Decisions, first world problems.

    One of the first literary works I read, and I was quite young at the time, was Sir Thomas Mallory’s “Le Morte d’Arthur”. It was at that point I learned to appreciate simple writing. Too many details ruined things for me. Now, detail can be pleasing to others, like this dude John Christopher. He thinks “the writing is spectacular”.



    I always try to be as conscious and courteous as possible when considering other persons’ writing styles, and the vocabulary they use, among other things. Merely because they have a different style and use different words than I would have doesn’t necessarily make their works worse, or better, than mine. However, I have limits.

    I am also not against breaking traditional rules of writing. A run-on sentence, something all English speakers are taught to not do when learning the language, is something I can tolerate, or even laud, if it is done, in my eyes, beautifully. But, as with breaking rules, one has to do it in a way so as to be the *exception* to the rule, and not a mere infractor of the rules. Any moron can break rules, but not everyone can “create their own rules”. I unfortunately don’t see any rules created here.

    “Rips the darkness in two and the black abyssal sheet is yanked apart and a white light bursts through it and floods the field and singes his sight…”

    This is a classic run-on with no redeeming qualities. There is no reason to have it. A well placed run-on sentence can create emphasis, but I see no emphasis here–at least, I certainly don’t *feel* it, and, as a reader, if I don’t feel the emphasis, then you, in a way, failed as a writer, especially if it was the expectation of the writer for the reader to feel emphasis.

    You know what I’m saying.

    The detail. Oh, the detail. So much detail and yet it explains nothing. Keep in mind, it may mean something to you, but does it mean something to your reader? And when all your detail is metaphor and simile? You are, as they say, flirting with disaster. Your dramatic metaphors are so vague, I wonder what is the point of them. Your metaphors are also ridiculously diverse. Melting candles, buckshot, automobile headlights (2012 Ferrari headlights or 1899 Daimler headlights?)…why the fuck is there an owl and why is this owl distressed and screeching?

    It’s like you write random shit, load it full of detail, attach it to something, like an event, a place, whatever, and then present it as art work. I don’t know, bro.

    I have no empathy for the character, whoever the character is supposed to be. I have no feelings for the city itself. I am unconvinced of the city’s majesty.

    Why at one moment is the night sky like a black candle dripping wax to the ground (this line had great potential but you really kind of fucked it up), and the next moment the sky is a black abyssal sheet? Aren’t you aware that the consistency of a wax and a sheet (of paper, of cloth) are different? Come on, bro. If I am creating a universe in my mind–a universe you’re trying to describe to me with all this detail–how could you say this? This is unacceptable, let’s keep it real.

    What’s up with the suicide bro? What’s up with the competing dripping? We have a black candle, the sky, dripping black wax and filling the dark places of the world (my interpretation), and then we have competing dripping from this celestial being’s bloody brain matter. Why competing dripping? What happens when this blood drips to the cold, bottomless space which is like a black candle? Does the blood and candle wax mix and drip down together? Does the blood drip *up* to the sky, and then the wax drip *down* to the earth, to New York? I mean, most likely you just didn’t think this through.

    More violence. Ripping flesh and bone and ligaments. So unnecessary. Why does the night burst? Isn’t the night dripping, oozing? How does it burst? I’m going to fucking quote this shit again:

    “Lightning erupts. Rips the darkness in two and the black abyssal sheet is yanked apart and a white light ***bursts*** through it and floods the field and singes his sight…”

    So you talk about light bursting, and then you’re going to talk about darkness bursting? I mean, come on, bro. If you’re trying to create a universe for me, you can’t use two words to describe two antithetical things, especially if this story is like 1000 words long. Every word is precious, and if a general rule is that you don’t use more than 1 descriptive word per short story, you using *two* of the same word for *opposite* meanings is just literary suicide. What the fuck were you thinking, bro?

    I suppose this story is some metaphor for the creation of New York, but, for me at least, it’s terrible. John Christopher might like it though.

    Now, I don’t know much about writing, or literature. I don’t read fiction anymore. Maybe I’m wrong about this “Night Melting – A Meditation”, but I don’t think so. I am just as critical of my own writing, with the difference between you and I being that I keep my writing to myself for the most part. I don’t publish for the sake of publishing. Because you publish for the sake of publishing, a lot of your, “crap”, for lack of a better term, is put out there for all to read when it really shouldn’t be.

    It’s like, where did the yellow juices come from? I know that you mean that the yellow juices are the night lights car headlights of the city–but where did they come from? Certainly not the guy’s blood. Certainly not the black wax. Lymph is basically colorless and wouldn’t be a good metaphor for liquid yellow light coalescing into Manhattan’s luminosity. So where is this yellow liquid coming from? And why is blood the red lights? Red lights that have different meanings, from traffic lights to porn shop lights. This blood makes everything the same color? But does a color have the same meaning?

    I mean, you don’t explain shit. So much detail, nothing is explained.

    Well, the Jon Jones fight is coming up soon, so I can’t really finish this. However, I hope you appreciate the amount of time I invested here, and don’t disregard it like stupid females do. Yeah, I said it.

    For the record, I feel that most of your writing is kind of bullshit without much critical self-reflection regarding it. I say this with love. You write this generic, extremely and unnecessarily detailed platitudinous crap that some persons enjoy. Well, if you have an audience and they enjoy it, that is what you aim for, bro.

    I’m sure that persons will disagree with me, and I know you’ve been writing for longer than I have (and maybe professionally), but that doesn’t give you a monopoly on style, nor does it imply that you have nothing to learn. And I think you have some things to learn.

    I use profanity liberally so don’t take it personally.

    Oh, by the way, why couldn’t he have touched his pillow and laid his hand on it gently? Why did he have to GRAB his pillow and then lay his hand on it gently? Come on, bro.

  4. sampson

    Will, all I can say is that you are not as integral as you think you are. You wag fingers like a headmistress, all the while claiming you are doing it for one’s own good. So self-important. The writers you trash may have a lot to learn, but so do you. Plenty too.

    Something for you to mull about as you sit back and present little, if anything at all, hiding your writing from others in the name of ‘decency,’ while you make public all the ‘crap’ you write about other people’s work.

    Like I said before, you seem to know everything about how others should write their stories but write very little of your own. You claim to write plenty, which you keep for yourself, but that’s just a copout. A big, loud copout.

    I say this because I actually invested time in reading what you wrote only to find out that you were critical of choices they were not yours to make. You may be trying to be a kickass critic, but you trash more than you criticize and that is the sign of a bad critic. Until you start writing your own stuff, you cannot be taken seriously about your opinions on other people’s writing.

    I suggest you take this energy and use it on politicians who mislead people. Call them out on their bullshit. Challenge them on why they chose to spend money on irrational subsidies rather than constructive projects, for example. That’s a set of choices you have a right to question.

  5. Will

    I have more important things to do than to waste energy on politicians, since you can’t separate politicians from a moronic public.

    –“I say this because I actually invested time in reading what you wrote only to find out that you were critical of choices they were not yours to make.”

    Like abortion.

    –“Until you start writing your own stuff, you cannot be taken seriously about your opinions on other people’s writing.”

    I’m pretty sure this is a logical fallacy.

    –“You may be trying to be a kickass critic, but you trash more than you criticize and that is the sign of a bad critic.”

    Are you saying that my criticism was not constructive? Almost every criticism I made I accompanied it with some alternative I would have done personally, or with an explanation as to why I considered it a weak line. Meh, I trash sometimes, but I certainly don’t trash more than I criticize. The fact that you stated this is making me question your objectivity regarding all this.

    I had better be a fucking sexy headmistress though, if you insist on analogizing me with a female personage, knowing fully well I have a penis. Your metaphors are very, very frustrating.

    I mean, for fuck’s sake. You listen to the lyrics of “Another Brick on the Wall”, and you could have made an excellent metaphor between myself (at least how you see me) and the old man teacher.

    But, no. Headmistress wagging her finger. Seems legit.

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