Author Archives

Mike Yost (Photographer/Writer)

I have a passion for words and photography (and craft beer . . . and weed). Just trying to be creative and experience the creativity of others before I'm kicked off this lonely planet. Death may nullify my body and brain, but (hopefully) not my art. I've been capturing snapshots of time and writing out the thoughts of fictional characters in my head since I was a kid. Maybe even younger! Not sure. It's hard to remember that far back. (I blame the weed.) I had the opportunity to pen a novel for grad school. Five characters. One narrative. Existential dread! You can purchase my first book, Remnants of Light, on Amazon here: http://amzn.com/B00MZBT15C It's available in paperback if you want to be retro and ebook if you want to be modern. Personally I think there should be a stone tablet option.

Strange Terrain

Stop,” I hear, though no one is around.   The soles of my shoes scrape lightly against the asphalt as I turn my head, looking up and down the alley. It’s full of parked cars, but empty of people.

Just stop,” the voice says gently. I lock my legs in place, tilting my head sideways. “Stop and look around you.

“It’s just an alley,” I reply to no one in particular, surprisingly comfortable with the fact that I’m talking out loud to myself in an empty alley.

Look down,” the voice says.

I glance at the tops of my shoes, white and orange with threadbare shoelaces running loosely through the holes. “Yep,” I say to myself. “Those are my shoes. Bought them years ago at a skate shop, even though I don’t skate.”

Next to your shoes,” the voice replies patiently. “Look.

I sigh, pulling my gaze from my shoes.  It’s then that I see it. “Whoa.”

Precisely.

Strange Terrain_1

I get down on one knee and carefully examine the ice, the water still frozen in the tall shadow of an apartment building selfishly absorbing all the sunlight.   “It looks like the surface of some exoplanet.”

Strange Terrain_2

An entire alien world waiting patiently to be explored,” the voice replies.  “Sitting silently next to a pair of shoes you bought at a skate shop, even though you don’t skate.

Strange Terrain_3

“And I would have walked right by without noticing.”

You’re welcome,” the voice says.

“Who are you?” I ask, leaning in closer, now traveling through deep canyons, climbing towering mountains, and exploring rugged landscapes made entirely of ice.

Stop asking silly questions,” the voice replies.  “Just look.

 

Photographs and Prose copyright Mike Yost 2016

Keeping Time Timeless

Painted Sky

“Don’t you see?  We’re the clouds, man.”

“I see you’re stoned.”

“Flung into the sky only to be pushed and bullied around by the wind, eventually burned away by the sun.  Nebulous.  Transitory.”

“And full of moisture.”

“Yeah, man.  Spilling our tears onto the thirsty earth.  Striking the ground with brief bouts of rage that echo for miles and then fade into deafening silence.”

. . .

“Pass the joint, dude.”

. . .

. . .

. . .

“So, then what are the mountains?

. . .

“Time, man.”

“Time?”

“And we’re floating just above time, hanging just above those jagged, sawtooth peaks that have been there for centuries.  Fixed.  Steadfast.”

“And full of Quartz.”

. . .

. . .

. . .

“Then what?”

. . .

“We glide over the mountains—”

“Over time.”

“Yeah, man.  Glide gracefully, or not so gracefully.  And only for a few, fleeting moments.  That’s all we get before being blown over the horizon, eaten up by the teeth of those mountains.”

“The teeth of time.”

“Exactly, man.”

. . .

“Sounds like a bad band name.”

. . .

. . .

. . .

“Then what?”

“What do you mean, man?”

“After we’re gobbled up by the teeth of time, then what?”

. . .

“Nothing, man.  Clouds just evaporate.  Soon forgotten.”

. . .

. . .

. . .

“Then why?”

. . .

“Maybe there is no why, man.  We just are, and then we’re not.”

“Like the clouds.”

“Yeah, man.  Like the clouds.”

. . .

. . .

. . .

“Or maybe . . .”

. . .

“Maybe what, man?”

“Maybe we’re here to collect experiences, you know?  Like clouds collecting moisture.”

“I follow, man.  Billowing up with experiences.”

“Stretching high into the atmosphere.”

“Exploding into the stratosphere.”

“Until we’re so rich and heavy with experiences that they violently pour out of our lives in sheets of rain and cracks of lightning and gusts of wind.”

“Sheets of experiences cascading from the heavens.”

“Giving life to the trees that cover the mountains below.  Our experiences watering time.”

“Cultivating time, man.”

“Sustaining time.”

. . .

“We’re here to experience experiences, man.”

“And keep time timeless.”

. . .

. . .

. . .

“This is some really good pot.”

“Yeah, man.”

Photograph and prose copyright Mike Yost 2016

Serrated Sky

I walked past a homeless man, a derelict human being with deep lines cut into his forehead as he slept on a fractured sidewalk beneath a blue, threadbare tarp that snapped sharply in the breeze.

I quickened my pace, shuffling between the broad shoulders of two abandoned buildings looming over me, their skin of cracked brick and broken glass an echo of possibilities negated and forgotten.

I glanced upward.

Serrated Sky

There they were.

There they had been.

Hovering high above me as silent witnesses to the muted madness far below.

Photograph and Prose copyright Mike Yost 2016

Wings of Spontaneity

It was all so spontaneous.

Unpredictable.

Violating the sacred boundaries of my comfort zone.

I finished up some work on the computer and snapped my laptop shut.

I threw on my leather jacket to keep warm, laced up my Gore-Tex boots to keep my feet dry, and wandered out of my apartment into the frigid embrace of the brisk night, my camera swinging gently from my neck.

Street_Night - Peace

My boots hit the sidewalk without direction or purpose as I began searching for whatever it was I was looking for.

Street_Night - Light Reflected

Listless.

Lost.

Alive.

Street_Night - Wall Art

I quickly discovered the city had been waiting patiently for me, slowly revealing its secrets with each shot as I meandered my way through the scurry of passing cars, couples with interlocked gloved hands, a drunk stumbling while singing some forgotten, archaic tune.

Street_Night - Pete's

And every time I raised my camera to my eye and heard the shutter go “click,” I thought to myself how lucky I was to be dragged out of my place by the swift wings of spontaneity.

Street_Night - Circle of Light

 

Photographs and Prose copyright Mike Yost 2016