Issuu on Google+

spark

Matthew Gibson


Copyright 2012 Matthew Gibson


Contents Introduction Page 1

Creative Works Page 3

Technical Writing Page 28


Introduction This is my book. The photos that are contained within are all my photos. They reflect antiquity coupled with raw power. You may notice the abundance of trains and cars. I chose them because they’re powerful. They’re antique. They have a certain mythos surrounding them. Trains brought people together. They changed the entire infrastructure of the United States. They permeated early American Literature and made it possible for minds to travel to the places they imagined might exist beyond the borders of cities and small towns. Cars are a form of individual freedom. They’re engineering marvels which have scarcely changed in function or basic form in the past 110 or so years. Like trains, they brought people together, but unlike trains, there is no social aspect, no mingling of multiple people bound for the same destination. Cars brought people together in an entirely different way. They gave folks something to tinker on in the garage and created a gear-head subculture. They also gave teenagers in the fifties, sixties, and seventies a certain avenue for sexual exploration. Getting away became easy. It still serves this purpose today. On top of this, I love trains, the look of them, their machinations, their movement, their sounds and the people which drive, work and design them. The science behind them astonishes me. The same is somewhat true of cars, but the connection is far deeper. It’s personal, it’s familial. So, the photos stand somewhat apart from the writings themselves, but not really. Because they represent the creative part of me which produced the writing in the first place. So that’s sort of how this book works. This book. is a reflection of my abilities to write, edit and professionally present myself. I hope it gives a sense of who I am and what I want to achieve. More importantly, I hope it helps me to be who I wanted to be all along


Creativity This is me fighting the panic. This is me trying to understand and conquer life. The pieces in this section are all creative. They’re all a part of me. They’ve been prompted by professors, events in my life and books that I’ve read. They have parts from the songs I know and the people I’ve met. They include anecdotes from the places I’ve been and the ones I’ve loved. This is my fiction. This is my poetry. These are the parts of me that make up me and open the window into some of my darkest fears, deepest loves and fondest years. Why do I use trains? I love trains. They represent antiquity, power, and the human force. They rust, yes, but they don’t erode away in a month’s time, a year’s time, or a century’s time. They are massive and they move things, people, ideas. Yes, even ideas.


Me and the Gunslinger sat perched On a rock that touched the sea. That was when he turned to me And said, “I’m made of mythos, nothing But air and imagination. And maybe a dream. Maybe two dreams. But no more. I’m a Quick shooter, but I’m not that quick.” We listened to the surf, a slivered Sickle silver moon rising above, reaping stars. “Hey Gunslinger,” I said after a pause that lasted Half a civilization, “I’ve got something new for you. Something you’ve probably never tried. It’s Called rabbit-tobacco. Just roll it and smoke it.” His attenuated fingers felt along the Tobacco paper as he rolled it, licked it, Sticked it. He brought out a pack of Matches and struck one. Then he ground It out against the stone and offered me a hit. I took it, let it roll out slow from the lungs, From deep in me where the diaphragm is And the secret skies we harbor in the pits Of our bellies.


The space is cramped, my shoulders seem to touch the walls of the corridors. I can imagine that being here is like living in a wooden submarine. A radar screen television set in the living room broadcasts static and white noise soundings. The illusion is complete. We are completely submerged and I can hardly breathe. The yellow light dims, the bulbs flicker. Are we about to lose power completely and become hopelessly lost in the immeasurable fathoms of this dark, dark ocean? I close my eyes and pray not. -Excerpt

from “I Stood as a Young Boy�


I’ve seen you cry whenever they’ve called you “bitch” or “nigger” or “whore”. I’ve heard what you’ve said about the evils they commit against you. Believe me, it’s really got nothing to do with your skin color. But it’s got everything to do with their insecurities. They hate you in a way which you could never understand because your heart is too pure. Don’t let them get you down. They’re trying to steal your happiness. They’ll spread lies about you. They’ll kick your feet from under you. They’ll harass you when you feel you’re at your weakest. They’ll scrutinize the most insignificant parts of you. Got a scar they don’t like? They’ll give it a nickname and use it to break your heart. They’ll hate you as a person. They’ll bite you and poison you with their darkness. They’ll see the light within you and try to stamp it out. You’re thirteen, so don’t let them do it. They’re the exact same people who tried to steal my happiness when I was in school. -Excerpt from :Dear Natalie:”


My Game Called Fear Remember that time I had the Fear. The poison? The Prickle? It crept up the back of my neck, filled my arms. Turned each move into a moment where—Pause— It’s in that instant right before my main man Mario Is about to fall on top of a Piranha Plant, and get his Ass bit off. Well, the Prickle is the big bad Lizard, and I’ve gotta Get to the other side of this damn bridge all the while It’s breathing fire. Hop. Jump. Bounce. See ya later! Ya scaly fuck! But the relief from this Fear is in another Castle! On I go, to World 2. 3. 4. 5…6…7…8… Eight’s it, right? No. There 9…10… Eleven’s coming up. And—Un-Pause— Now I’m driving, and I’m not sure where I’m going. 1up Bitches!


I drifted into a dreamless sleep when I invented man’s first time machine. I set to work. There were gears I filed from bronze by hand. Wheels that I honed. Belts. Pulleys. A broad array of things That spin. Tensioners for the springs. Gotta draw those mechanisms together. I didn’t even have time to write up blue prints. The cosmos had determined it was my purpose, To become the first Traveler. And so I slept and listened Whenever it said things like, “Solder circuit 122-A to a 15 ohm resistor”. “Because if you don’t, it’ll overheat and melt the continuum.” Whew. Glad they corrected that mistake. But when it was time to flip the switch. And all the quartz bearings were spun and the silver alloy joints were polished And agleam with grease, and she sat there, pretty, like a wingless bird, With all the alacrity of flight in her every curve, Nothing happened at first. I pressed the push button with “GO” stenciled on its green Front. Then slowly, the thing bucked and gathered up energy. And I was shot through A spell. Until I reached an end. And it’s kind of like that feeling that you get when you Drift off to dreamless sleep. But the universe did not whisper. It was a booming crash on a celestial Shore. I’m no Rod Taylor, but man I kicked some temporal ass.


To Byzantium I stood barefoot on the shore, a man unrestrained by fear, imminent death or doom. A vast strip of sand, fine as virgin regolith, ran from the east to the west, a great switchback swath from which occasionally sprouted a cluster of rainbow umbrellas. And the ocean, to the south, distant oil rigs like ships’ masts looming just at the edge of the horizon. What boggled my mind wasn’t the vastness, wasn’t the illimitable openness of the ocean. It wasn’t the waves, it wasn’t the gulls, it wasn’t the crabs nor the sturgeons, nor the dark grey glistening backs and dorsal fins of dolphins leaping up out of the water no more than thirty yards from the shore. It was the fact that about a thousand miles due south—precisely south—was a whole other country, a whole other shore. It was the fact that the surf washing up about my ankles had touched a thousand countless shipwrecks lying broken on the sea floor, so much scattered detritus buried in the sediment, treasures unseen in rotting holds. It was the fact that the world in its entirety was just lying out there, somewhere, unreachable by me, yes, but still, I could immerse myself in their waters, their surf, their waves, just as they were immersing themselves in that very moment in our waters, our surf, our waves. If I could go out far enough, perhaps past the oil rigs which siphoned up black oil from the sea bed day and night, halogen lamps burning like small orange suns in the darkness, then I could see all the things that I had dreamed of as a boy. Ocean monsters swimming about in the murk of sea trenches like godless horrors, swirling, lurking, and squirming. There were people on ships, moving to places I’d never see. There were planes and pirates and water spouts. Hurricanes and dinosaur bones and coral reefs the size of small islands. Volcanoes. Nuclear submarines. Ice bergs. The ocean was an avenue to the world, a crossroads which I stood at and gazed out like a road-wearied traveler, wondering where that highway goes, and this highway goes and what about that highway over there? I’m not sure about the history of this place, but I can tell you this: it must be full of constant change. The coastline must always invariably change, as does all things, but nowhere else does change occur so swiftly as it does in matters concerning the tides. Overnight the slow work of waves washing in fresh sand, depositing it, and then receding, taking away more sand with it can alter the entire topography of the sea floor just a few feet out from the beach. Sandbars can emerge and be eroded away over the course of only a day or two. And the water level is never the same even from one hour to the next. The tidal effects of the moon’s gravitational pull are constantly causing the waves in the waters to rise and fall. If you pay attention from one day to the other, you can see this process at work, always changing, always shaping, always erasing. Yesterday I wrote my name in the sand. The next morning it’s gone. The tide swallows all and leaves no trace in its wake, and that’s all there is to it. Then there are the little creatures that burrow in the sand whenever the waves hit the shore. What a life for them, of constant toil. The waters loosen the sand, dislodge them from their burrows, and up they float. Then the waters sluice back down, and they hurry to dig down deep again, awaiting the next wave to disinter them. Is this their religion? ? Do they pray to nautilian gods? Are there


aquatic deities they try to appease? Do the diligent perish because they refuse to burrow no more? I caught one of those little critters one time and stuck him in a plastic bucket. It just kind of sat on the bottom, still, motionless. Did he think me a blessed supreme being for delivering him to a place of temporary rest? Or did he curse me because he could not worship? Check, please. So we drove to town, my wife and I. Interesting place, the coastal towns and cities. All full of shops with cheap souvenirs priced to make up for the overhead which went into purchasing in bulk gaudy necklaces made from nail-polished sea shells. Ain’t this whole capitalistic system fantastic? It might be, if I didn’t feel so sorry for the sad storefronts I’ve seen, chock full of plastic crab-fakery and fishing-nets suspending barely-there bikinis with YOLO on the bottoms. I found the ice cream shops pretty cool, because of the treats. Yeah! But everything else could wash into the ocean and I don’t think I’d miss it very much. I could do without novelty Tees and orange foam drink insulators. All that stucco stuff and plastic pirate gear could get sucked out in some freak selective accident, swallowed up by the oceans, the rest unharmed. Of course, I wouldn’t want that for the beachgoing folks who like those kinds of shops and might just happen to be inside. But then again, I try to steer clear of souvenir stores topped with giant purple octopi. Say something meaningful. This idea that I could say something meaningful keeps coming up. The ocean is beautiful. Is that meaningful? Not really. I don’t know what you think it is beautiful. You don’t know what I think is beautiful. We’ve got to be on common terms here. It’s hard to pinpoint what it is that makes the ocean beautiful to one person and boring as a brick wall to another. But if you were to ask me, I wouldn’t say the ocean is beautiful, I’d say that at sunset, when one is walking along the beach, there is nothing quite like the chafing of sand grains against your heels, the tickle of sea surf about your ankles, and the star-burst brilliant death of daylight in the west striking fire in a billion crystal particles all around you. It’s like walking on a carpet of galaxies, each one turning underfoot, cool in the dark of space. Let’s just say it’s Junoesque. I got buried in the sand. Do you know what that’s like? It’s like being entombed in cement in a very gentle kind of way. Like being swathed in sugar granules, wrapped up tight, feeling cozy while you wiggle your fingers just to feel the texture of that which has covered you. It’s like having your own protective encasement. Weird. I know. Who the hell philosophizes on the tenants of sand burial? But have you heard of the chora? The inner womb? The inside spaces? Well, let me say that I have been in the sand chora, and I have reflected and thought my deep thoughts and I have this to say: I long to be buried again. Sand crabs! There’s a key in my pocket to my old car back home, and even as I hold it in this very public place I am having a very secret memory of what I’ve left behind me and how I long to get back. If someone saw the key would they understand? Probably not. It’s just a key. But to me it’s a recollection, a sensation, a feeling of open roads and asphalt that touches the distant skies, dropping off the end of the earth. I’ve got a motor-vatin’ machine back home, and the engine’s cool. It needs to be hot, it needs to be run. But when I get it in it, all I want to do is go. I’ve already gone. I’ve come here. There’s nothing more really to be had. Except maybe those roads across the avenues of the ocean.


But then again, the damn car isn’t waterproof. It wouldn’t really last very long on the high-seas highways. Do not, not even in times of extreme panic or out of the necessity for sudden avoidance, pull off the road and onto the sand along its sides. The sand is a hungry thing, swallowing up hapless motorists and eating the mushy parts, spitting up nothing but splintered bones and wheel axles. Not really, but if you believe that roadside sand is that ruthless, then you’ll never get stuck. Stay. Out. Of. The sand. Unless, of course, you’ve got one of those fancy balloon-tire dune buggy deals, then you can dip and shuck and jive all over the sand and not worry about burying it up to the wheel hubs in the stuff. But believe me, General Motors engineers did not have sand-buggies on the brain when they designed the 2004 Malibu. I can attest to this. Nor did they build the rear control arms as load-bearing structures. Because if you happen to be a motorist who does, despite all my warnings, pull off the side of the road and into the sand, and there also happens to be a fellow motorist offering to snatch that car right out like he “did for that eighteen-wheeler feller” the other day, make sure you don’t hitch that bitch right to the rear control arm. Hitch it to the frame somewhere, anywhere. Drill, carve, chew, and gnaw a hole if you have to, but don’t use the rear suspension as an anchor point. Because if you do, your car will look like a broke-legged dog who’s just been kicked in the ass, and it’ll drive just as straight. Also, be prepared to get sand in your teeth, because crawling under a car to attach a heavy tow-chain to the control arm that I just told you not to attach a tow-chain to will do that to a person. Stingrays are frightening. Yes, stingrays. They killed the fucking Crocodile Hunter, so you can imagine the horror they strike in a humble beachgoer like myself whenever I see one swooping about in its underwater habitat like some sort of winged homing missile, looking for a swimmer to stab its steely barb into. I don’t really swim though, I wade. I never quite got the hang of swimming. Some people have a knack for it. I guess it’s because large bodies of water in general make me anxious. In particular large, churning bodies of water filled with all sorts of ungodly creepy creatures. Back to the ocean. I remember reading somewhere at some time a quote said by someone that there are more grains of sand on the beach than there are stars in the universe. That’s a bold statement. There’s lots of stars in the universe. Just the stars we see in our night sky are the stars in our own galaxy, and there are billions of galaxies. But having gotten sand everywhere, in the insoles of every shoe, in between the grout in the beach house bathroom tile and in between the cracks in the floor, in the corners of all the rooms, in the bottoms of every suitcase, in the follicles of my hair, in the lids of my eyes and in the folds of every shirt; in the webbing between my toes and in the places that chafe the worst when filled with sand, I will say that I’d hate to have been the poor bastard who went out and counted all those grains of sand. I swear it sprouts legs and crawls into some of the places I’ve found it. So yes, without counting every single one, I believe there are more grains of sand on the beaches of the world than there are stars in the universe. There’s about sixteen galaxies’ worth of sand in the floorboard of my car at this very moment.


I miss my home. My real home. The feeling you get when people know your face and you’re not just some body walking down the sidewalk. Home is hundreds of miles away. I’m in a foreign land with an entirely different language and entirely different people .They look the same, they speak the same, they act the same sometimes, but they are altogether different because they do not know me. Nor do I know them. The baptismal immersions in the ocean do not bring me the peace that home brings. I cannot wash away who I am or what I’ve done. It’s still there even when I’ve held myself beneath the brine and salt, tasted it, and come back up for air, sputtering, wondering why I’m still alive in such a lonely world. Then I go to my wife, and I see her, and she is a part of home that can never leave me. There’s home here even in all this emptiness.


How This Whole Running Away Thing Works

[Iteration 1] You’ll snap before your emotional breakers are thrown. Overheated and overloaded, you’ll begin to go a little mad. But only enough so that you can stop what you’re doing and run.

[Iteration 2] But then, as you’re making your way down the street, eyes Darting about like an escaped lunatic’s, you’ll begin to wonder, If it was really a good idea. Then you remember that you left the Hose on in the garden and you’ll be pissed even more.

[Iteration 3] Then you’ll lose yourself in streets beyond the borders. Beyond your town. Because you’ve never been this far before. And also because you want to get lost. You ignore the sound of police sirens. To get to.

[Iteration 4] Shit on a cracker! A rocket-ship! Just what you needed. You climb up. “I’m no pilot,” you say, but ah, that’s alright. Because this infomercial will sell you a product that can teach You to fly a rocket in thirty seconds. Twenty-nine. Twenty-eight.

[Iteration5] Prime the pump. That’s step one. And when you do that The entire side of the rocket frosts over as liquid hydrogen Begins to circulate through fuel lines just beneath this


Begins to circulate through fuel lines just beneath this Beast’s steel skin.

[Iteration 6] When she blows, she blows. You hang on. The stitches of Your favorite gardening shirt pop out one by one. And somewhere In the back of your head is the sucking sound as cerebrospinal Fluid begins to pool, collectively, at the base of your skull.

[Iteration 7] So this might not have been such a good idea, after all. You wanted freedom? Right? And the air is getting Rarefied and winter-night clear outside your porthole. What’s that coming up? Looks like a DirecTV satellite.

[Iteration 8] Better not roll down the window. But you’d like to catch A glimpse of earth falling away. But you’re stuck in your seat. Strapped in by the force that moves you. Moves you and confuses you at the same time.

[Iteration 9] And once awake, you realize some neighbor’s kid was mowing. Mowing the driveway. The rock driveway. And you’re bleeding From your forehead because there’s a pebble lodged just under The skin of your temple. “Too bad that didn’t kill me,”


[Iteration 10] So you stand up on your own because no one cares. The Garden hose has pissed all over your shirt and shoes. And You’re embarrassed as hell. So you start running. And running. And your eyes dart like a lunatic’s as you make your way down the street.


Major Tom-Tom. Are our navigation systems up? I’d just like to double check to know. You know? Since Space is there. And we’ve gotta get navigating because The moon and the stars and the planets are Theah. And now I’m gonna send power to the Fuel pumps. Each one big as a man. Pumping a hundred thousand gallons a second. Kla-Boom! And the engines ignite. Generating power equivalent to Ten-Thousand Screaming, Red-lining Automobiles with their accelerators to the Floor! Drifting. Falling. Calling Home. Because we’re lost. And now the maplight’s gone out And I can’t see the star-charts. This is space. And Its Hazards are hostile to us all.


Major Tom-Tom.

Are our navigation systems up? I’d just like to double check to know. You know? Since Space is there. And we’ve gotta get navigating because The moon and the stars and the planets are Theah. And now I’m gonna send power to the Fuel pumps. Each one big as a man. Pumping a hundred thousand gallons a second. Kla-Boom! And the engines ignite. Generating power equivalent to Ten-Thousand Screaming, Red-lining Automobiles with their accelerators to the Floor! Drifting. Falling. Calling Home. Because we’re lost. And now the maplight’s gone out And I can’t see the star-charts. This is space. And Its Hazards are hostile to us all.


“Let me ask you a question,” Miller said, sitting on the slope with his elbows propped up on his knees. Sarah responded with the slightest of nods, then replied in a voice barely above a whisper, “Ask me anything.” Miller sprawled out on the slope and looked up at the sky overhead, heaving a sign and reading the stars. “I can’t rightfully ask what it is that I want to ask without feeling as though I’m overbearing.” She smiled. She loved the little mysteries he sometimes presented her, though solving them was sometimes so exhausting. “Just ask, Miller. You know I’ll always be honest with you. If it offends me, so be it, but you’ve yet to hurt me.” He shook his head. “No,” he said, “This is different. This might hurt you. You know I’d never hurt you, but if it were unintentional? That I couldn’t help.” She laughed. Again, it was so exhausting sometimes trying to decipher exactly what it was he was trying to get at. “Just ask,” she said, and ripped up a dandelion from the grass beside where she sat. She threw it at him. It floated gently down onto his chest. He took it in his hands and looked at it for a long time, as though consulting it. Finally, tired of the Mystery Game, as she liked to think of it, he said, “Would you die with me?” Another laugh escaped her. “What?” She asked. “Would you die with me? Just for a while. I know someone who can bring us back from death. A man with a magical machine who does nothing all day but think on death, work on defeating death, and dies every other hour just to scowl at death. To celebrate life, I think it is only appropriate that we understand the toils of death. What death brings. How death feels. What death does to the heart. If you truly love me, then death cannot kill our love. When we come back, we will love just as much, if not more. For our hearts will be separated by the great void that is lifelessness.” When he was done, she realized he was serious. “Miller,” she said, crawling over to him. She sprawled out by his side, plucking the dandelion from his hand and waving it in the air as though she were orchestrating the changing of day into night. Late afternoon approached. The sun dipped low. More stars emerged. “I think you’re a little hung up on this. Who was that friend of yours who did this?” “Mikel. He died twice over and came back to life.” There was a brief silence. Her heart murmured something to his. He stirred and scratched his leg as a chigger nibbled the flesh there. “I don’t think it’s a good idea,” She said at last, and he gave out a sigh of consternation, blowing out his cheeks in his exaggerated way. “And why not? Death can’t touch our love.” She sat upright. “No, but Death can kill us, can’t it? It can take us away from the knowing of that love, from the fulfilling of that love.” He sat upright, too, and faced her. “No one has died and stayed dead. It’s in a nice clinic. I’ve already visited and I’ve seen what they do there. I’ve seen the facility. I’ve walked through and taken the tour and had the entire life-death spiel from the director of medicine there. There is no danger. Only an enlightenment that no philosophy, no religion, no piece of literature or string of music can provide. Why do we constantly, as human beings, speculate about death when it is right there for us to take?” She stood up, blades of grass ground into her naked knees. Chiggers leapt off her skirt, back to the comfort of warm earth. With all the life therein, of course. And the death, too. “I don’t like it. Besides, my father was a Baptist! He wouldn’t go for the idea. And what about the money? The cost of the procedure? Not to mention the risk of neither one of us coming back!” “I’ve saved up the money,” he reassured her, “I’ve worked doubles for the past three months to put aside enough.” “Why don’t you take that money, then, and buy us a house? Or invest in college? Go to some technical school


College and get a doctorate in nuclear mechanics or something? I’d hope you wouldn’t make scrubbing the hydrogen tanks of the Venus rockets your lifelong career choice.” But he didn’t even consider what she had just said. He just kept shaking his head, dismissing her notions of a better life, a better job, a better future as silly. “It’ll never happen,” He told her, “And I can always find a job somewhere else that pays even more. To me, for us death means that we can survive anything! We can survive death, we can survive the toils of financial insecurity! Nuclear mechanics won’t always be a job. Soon there’ll be a whole new field of mechanics. And houses? Have you even studied the nature of the housing market? I didn’t think so. Doctorates are for folks with rich parents. What I’ve saved up couldn’t amount to more than a single class. And there’s nothing wrong with what I do. I’m getting work experience. It looks good to an employer if they’ve seen that I do work hard. So let me be!” He huffed. She turned away from him. The moon rose and illumined both their faces in the whitewash of night. Finally, he stood up and took her by the shoulders. Holding her, rocking her gently, he kissed her ear. “Fine. I’ll die alone then. I love you, but this is something I’ve thought about for a long time, now. Even before we met. I cannot change a dream anymore than you can change the course of my determination. Anymore than anyone can change the flow of time. In death, of course, time is immaterial. Two souls wandering about, we could find one another and embrace for an eternity.” Tightlipped she turned to him and kissed him, feeling the soft flaxen hair on the nape of his neck. “Alright,” she said at last, pushing away the stories she’d heard of the horrors some had witnessed in that great ether that was the Afterlife. They arrived at the clinic by train, the electric motors winding down as they got off. Droves of those who sought death emptied out of the cars. Some were excited because it was trendy. Others looked glum, dour, their faces drawn down into a stupor of unshakeable sadness, hoping that they’d die this day in the clinic. Miller and Sarah registered at the front desk and waited six long hours to be counseled. They walked into an office at the end of a long hall and sat in plastic chairs lining one of its walls. The office itself was sparse, and the man sitting in the plastic chair directly across from them was cold. Sarah knew he was cold because his flesh was the color of a drown face in moonlight. “I can’t see,” he said after reviewing their papers, “Why a fine young couple like yourself would want to take such a journey. Death is so far off for you. Why? Why should it matter what’s on the other side? We’ve had leukemia patients, we’ve had soldiers come back with incurable infections from their battle wounds, we’ve had burn victims with only days to live. We rarely give the death treatment to young folks. Especially a couple of young folks who are going into this together. The shock of dying and returning to life will change your perceptions. I assure you. I can almost guarantee you.” Silence. Miller looked at Sarah uncertainly, then he looked to the counselor. “Counselor, I assure you, we have both gone over this decision together and we both agree that the risk is acceptable. We want our perceptions changed. We want our lives to be different. While others may do it to ease their transitions into death, we do it because we want to strengthen the bonds of love. To show death that it cannot kill the bond between two hearts so strongly drawn together. That’s why we do it. Death may be far off, but our love is here and now.” The counselor nodded. “You make a good argument. I still, however, think it is an unwise decision. But you’ve paid, and I’ve


warned you,you, so you can go. rightright as soon as you leaveleave my office. ThirdThird door I’ve warned so you can Go go.to Goyour to your as soon as you my office. on your and tell why you’re there.” MillerMiller stoodstood and took door on left. yourStep left. inside Step inside andthe telltechnician the technician why you’re there.” Sarah by the hand. They left together. Before shutting door, the Miller turned toturned the and took Sarah by the hand. They left together. Beforethe shutting door, Miller counselor one last time. you Counselor,” he said.heThe man a blackathing, to the counselor one last“Thank time. “Thank you Counselor,” said. Thesmiled, man smiled, black a laceration in a bloated fish gut. “Call Lazarus. It’s theIt’s name was given birth,” thing, a laceration in a bloated fish gut.me “Call me Lazarus. the Iname I was at given at And before Miller could anything else, Lazarus motioned them out with a wave birth,” And before Millersay could say anything else, Lazarus motioned them out with aof his hand. Miller let the door close quietly behind them both. “That was strange,” wave of his hand. Miller let the door close quietly behind them both. “That was Sarah whispered, out in the drab and light and of the hallway. right andturned looked strange,” Sarah whispered, out dreary in the drab dreary lightThey of theturned hallway. They for the third doorfor onthe thethird left. “Everything’s so clean, but so dark,” Miller running right and looked door on the left. “Everything’s so clean, butsaid, so dark,” one hand the one wall hand of thealong corridor though to sense the pulse place, Miller said,along running the as wall of thetrying corridor as though tryingoftothe sense to make it had a heart thatsure beatitand that thundered. the door the pulsesure of the place, to make hadblood a heart that beat and They bloodopened that thundered. and entered. They opened the door and entered. Inside were two tables surrounded by equipment. A man wearing a respirator approached them. He spoke, his voice an electronic melody. “Hello,” He said, sounding like a robot with a burnt-out voice processor, “My name is Trent and I’ll be supervising your visit today.” Miller walked to where Trent motioned and sat on the table. “Is the mask necessary? I mean, should we be worried about infection?” Miller asked. The man chuckled a mechanical chuckle. “No, no, no!” he said, “It’s just that I have no lungs. I was born without them! Without this, I couldn’t process oxygen! Whenever it fails, I die, and when they resurrect me, I get a new one and keep on living!” Sarah’s eyes were wide. She sat down on the table, feeling dreamy, in shock. Breathe. She thought. But it was so hard hearing the labor that Trent had to go through to breathe through his mask. It made her throat cinch up. She coughed to clear it. Her heart pounded. She inhaled to still it. “Are you ready?” he asked. And they both nodded their consent. Then came the masks and the steel probes taped to their body to monitor their vital signs. Drifting off to die, Sarah remembered her mother at home. I wanna go home—she thought, seconds before her heart stopped. In Death, there is no transition. Real death, true death, involves the moment of being, and the moment of not being. The body is dead, the brain is dead, the heart is dead, the kidneys are dead, the guts are dead and the blood is dead. But the memories, they keep coming. They linger around, residual charges in a dead circuit. There was the memory of antiseptic chemicals. There was the memory of Trent’s breathing as Sarah’s lungs gave out. There was the memory of departing from the electric train and seeing the faces drift in the gloom of despair before fading to their respective states of languor. You can’t do this to me! A voice from Sarah’s consciousness protested. But it was too late. Already the chigger clinging to the top of her scalp—the one which had hitched a ride on her from the grass in which Trent had revealed to her this inner desire—had sensed the fading warmth and leapt off onto the table, hopping away, happily alive, its minute heart beating, its miniature lungs breath air. Careful not to choke on a dust mote, Sarah thought. But did she really think? Or am I distilled, now? Can I slip through the floor cracks? Can I shoot myself down through the core of the Earth, out the other side and into space at a relativistic fervor? She wiggled her soul, twitched what little consciousness she had. Nope. Nothing happened. She hung suspended in a grey fog that was without any true color. She couldn’t move. It was like being buried in mortar. And she did not sense Trent. Or Miller. Only that Miller had passed. There was a sudden draining of life from some deep part of her core. No cold.


like being buried in mortar. And she did not sense Trent. Or Miller. Only that Miller had passed. There was a sudden draining of life from some deep part of her core. No cold. Just breathless sensations that passed, collided, fell apart. She was paper mache in a northeastern gale. Good God what was that burning? “I’m a hellhound,” yapped a voice, and began nibbling at her ankles, “And you’ll be happy to know that Trent has died yet again. You won’t be coming back. Neither will Miller. So come and enjoy the eternal sunny summer with me,” And suddenly, she was flesh again, and the flesh burned but did not fall away. And her eyes roasted. And her soul screamed.

-The Pleasurable Death of Two Lovers


To the Pill

Well, I don’t know if I could live without you, Or even be alone without you. Or even pretend without you.

My little powder-pressed capsule, send out little puffs of your Secrets. Those ingredients that make you when they press you.

Not so bad, though. I hardly notice you. You’re such a tiny capsule. And you make such big changes. Actually some irreversible changes.

And when I stop taking you, I’m liable to die. Or worse yet, go crazy, knowing that again I’ll have to be alone.

And if it seems as though I hate you, don’t worry about that. I’ve grown accustomed to you, so keep on doing what you’re doing.

And what you do best. And I’ll keep taking you in, breathing you. Letting you work on my pores, work on the brain, the beat.

So don’t quit on me just yet. I know I’d die of some Spiritual asphyxiation if ever I denied you. And the great

Powder-companies that make you, press you into little pills. That change the heart and set off alarms in the nerves.

At first I hated you, and you weren’t my friend. At second, I hate you no more, and you are my friend.

But that was before I knew what all you could do for me.


But that was before I knew what all you could do for me. And now that I know what you can do…well.

All I can say is that the world’s not quite as dark. Though the light ain’t exactly bright.

And the thoroughfares still hold horrors, And threaten to kill at every corner.

But I can’t be bothered by that right now. Because I’ve got you in a bottle in my pocket.


Technical Writing In this selection I have included some of the work I have done in my technical editing and writing classes. Technical writing represents more ordered part of me. It’s a compartmentalized part. A hidden part. It’s the analysis of the cogs and wheels that make up the things around me.


The above is a poster I designed using my own photographs and my own templates for a play at my church. IF you’re curious about the integration of the deer silhouette, it represented a key element in the play—that is, the comic relief provided by a deer which keeps peeking in on the characters and startling the main actress. Also, I’d like to point out the fonts I chose, because they are rustic but still readable and appropriate enough for the poster design itself.


The above images are from the play program distributed to the audience before the play begins. I designed this with the use of my own templates and formatted the font accordingly. I was responsible for the content of the introduction and for the layout. This was a voluntary project that I under took on my own. I got approval from the director and she said she liked the design.


This is an evacuation plan I designed for Technical Writing. It is primarily for weather and fire emergencies and encompasses all the elements of evacuation plan design. I utilized various shapes to represent different icons in the event that the plan was printed in black and white or the person looking at it was color blind. I determined layout, design, and the building plan itself for this particular project.


This is a poster that I designed using photographs in the public domain for the Shoals Astronomy Club. I’d like to note the use of the QR code in the bottom left-hand corner. It was my first experience integrating such an element into any of my designs.


I would like to dedicate this work to the heritage which has brought me here and to the family which has made me who I am and can only help me in my quest to become who I truly need to be.



Matthew Gibson's Portfolio