I don’t have stories, I have impressions. As in imprints. As in dents.

Naming something lets it go, then something else fills its place. It takes nothing less than constant and rigid attention to keep the mind clear. For?

For the right kind of invaders.

There are purple invaders, and there are red invaders. Purple invaders help till the soil and darn the socks and shuck the corn. Red invaders shout up a storm, calling one to another and smashing the sconces. Purple invaders are the right kind of invaders, but you put that together, didn’t you?

Purple invaders say how do you do and pin your guts to the wall of your back. They work the levers of your memory and the pulleys of your pelvic floor. Drrrrrrrrr go the purple invaders, from potential to kinetic.

Red invaders shove nose-first and do not want to wait, won’t wait. They skewer your meat with their stupid proboscides, and make a mess of everything. All the shiny wooden boxes they smash. Anything that’s brilliant or even reflective.

Purple invaders assiduously wipe their feet before coming in, and tradition grants them access to all. Perhaps this is why they are so neat — in a sense, it is all theirs.

In another sense, they expand upon it, and in another sense we are all disinherited and dispossessed. This is because the invaders can invade each other’s lands, and smash into a million million shards of angry stone and glinting harm.

The borders are uncertain, and factions of defectors complicate matters still further. (Jesus loves me, this I know.) A song. An offering to the One who is bigger. (For the Bible tells me so.) I want so often to be comforted. Life was unbearable in the absence of Christ.




This was a redcoat turned purplecoat. One we spun back from the edge.


This is a picture of the edge. Where do you see yourself?

It is delicate turning a redcoat. Sometimes you lunge forward in the dark to grab a shadow and your arms come back all fire. Sometimes you have to kick him away, fucking just aggress him and then he will charge.

And then you’ve got to have your net, you’ve got to have it there and waiting, open and strong. If he misses the net, he can fucking mow you down, and you’re eating bayonet before you ever say boo.

Sometimes you have to jostle their amorphous oily sides, shimmering green and copper and black. Sometimes they won’t rise for weeks on end and get horrible bed sores that ooze red glitter in thick jelly.

The danger here is the loss of resources. The hours spent trying to coax intentional motion from the slovenly hide. The lost strength that shows itself slowly, then all at once in a precious lost moment of focus. A redcoat can make you suck yourself dry without ever lifting a finger.

Purplecoats are not at all above betrayal, either. Just because they intend to do good, does not mean they don’t stray. A purplecoat is still an invader. It is still a hostile, a rat.

A purplecoat can get all turned around, and it can take you with it. A purplecoat may want to help, but lose all drive and cry. All coats are reversible, and purplecoats the most so. Toss one up in the air, and better than level it lands red side up. Or only looked purple in that one light. Or is already feeding on your brainstem.

What is it like when you’ve got one? You tie it up and watch it tic. Yeah, I know what I meant, spellcheck, No k, tic.

It is art made of violence made of art. Who will stand, and will any of us get out alive?

When you tie up a purplecoat, it turns red. That is the point, and why your knots must be sure. It doesn’t matter if you took good notes if they end up splattered with your own blood.

You used to think you could make them stay purple, and they all, each of them died from the results. They’d stretch until they were see-through to get away, or cut out holes, too big holes around their eyes. You can’t ask a purple one to persist through that kind of process, that kind of horror and degradation. You’ve just got to be thankful it gives of its life as its one last shot at dignity.


Falling, but do not fall. Watch. Do not try to follow, do not launch a search and rescue. You are an observer, and it’s too late now to help anyway.

Watch. Make yourself watch. Something is dying for you, so watch. You think it’s better to turn away, but then they are dying in vain. They are dying so you can watch, now watch.

Watch how the truck tumbles and catches on its harrowing way down the canyon. Note any rips the rock tears from the metal, any jagged rusted smiles now cut in its body. Note any suspicious loss of fluids, screaming, smoke or animals scattering. It’s difficult at first, but in time you’ll come even to hear pebbles pushed down further in the dirt. An eagle alights across the way, and now you see an arm, just an arm.

So what do you want to do, catch up? I hope you can see that’s preposterous. When the crash is over and the flames die down, we’re going, I promise, to get a better look. But we’re not looking for survivors. We’re making observations of a crash.

It’s calm. It’s so calm, and you get closer to see the purple stillness. Then it skewers your eyes with two yellow talons, turning its hand then jerking, wresting away sopping lobes and most of the zygomatic and nasal bones with it. The lacrimal bone turns to dust as it thrusts your face toward heaven.

I told you not to go down there yet.

You have to be patient. You have to be patient and make excellent use of your time. There is more data than you can process in one pass. You know more than you know consciously, – that’s why we set up that camera over there. It’s why you should note your impressions as well as the facts, and not bother overly much with the difference. If other observers surface and would like to confer on data, we will happily join their efforts. But truth be told, that’s not going to happen, so let’s just roll tape.


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