Spit Thoughts on Odin

(Fast-Scratched Work is often what gets posted here: a timer is set for a half-hour and a minimum of five hundred words need to be generated in that time. A friend of mine dabbled in pottery and was taught to dig his own porcelain clay from out of the shores of Lake Michigan. Fast-scratched work is the literary equivalent.)

Odin surely shoo’d the two ravens, Hugin and Munin, from his shoulders every once in awhile. Thought and Memory – poetic as the image may be it must’ve driven him half-mad from time to time: two creatures of the sky, winged and fluttering, with their harsh squawks, sitting on his shoulders and making themselves heard. 

And what would his son have thought? Straightforward Thor, with his clarity of right and wrong, his love of the farmer and his anger against the mountainside? A god born from Odin, with his secrets and his heavy thoughts and his languages burning through his fingers, dripping like blood, words falling on the page as if it were thirsty earth beneath his crucified form? 

What would Thor have thought of this individual, with his hat pulled down low over one eye, mucking with his depth perception? What would he have thought of his father wandering the fields of bloody battle, reading the carnage like a vast novel: the way this man fell some distance from the skirmish, a spear through his middle and an arrow in the back of the neck; the splatter of blood against a mix of trampled oats and field grass, ending with a great blotch of gore gathered around the end of a severed arm, a small axe still held loosely in the fingers; the look in this young man’s face, a first beard finally coming in, face still held in a squinch, a streak of saltwater cutting through the dust and blood on his face, starting in his eyes? 

If Thor was the hammer that drove the battle forward, Odin was the walking staff held in a gnarled fist that poked and prodded around the field following the destruction. 

And did Odin sleep? Or did he only lay still and listen to the woman whirring like a clock marking time with each exhaled breath? How long until Hugin and Munin came to tug at his hair, nip his ears, until he finally rose, pulling his sleeping gown from the crack of his ass as he reached for his staff and moved out into the morning? 

Mornings are better when they’re mythic, one can think. A touch of the dreamer is like a drift of smoke across the lips and nose: you draw it in and exhale if you like, but then  there’s no escape what dream or nightmare may follow. 

There must be more beyond, thought the fool once he traveled beyond. What was the man who drew forth the pen and brush and scraped colors against the canvas hoping to achieve? Do dreams come first? 

And can dreams be worked towards in sorrow? 


Sometimes, wouldn’t it be good if the heart could yawn? Just open up like a tiger’s mouth drawing in a cleansing wash? 

Or is the heart more like a fist? Something too often clenched tight. But the breath is needed to relax those fingers, the heart begins to constrict and then builds what it needs to hold those ventricles closed. A mother with four shunts in her heart? Didn’t she wake every morning, just like her always-mournful son, with a push of anxiety and doubt? How do you avoid the sins of your parents when the heart trains itself to grow around them? 

If only to give it up and relax for a spell. One is looking, always looking outwards. 

But we’ve returned to the morning scratchings, the morning tunes soon. One does what one can and keeps the coffee flowing.

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