Missing in America

Sean Paul Kelly posted a brief thing about what he misses most about Asia now that he is home. He said it's undoubtedly, "...being able to walk out my door, be it in Istanbul, Singapore or India and walk down the street to get what I want, see my neighbors, smile at strangers and stretch my legs." That's possible in a lot of heavily populated urban areas, but that's not what he's talking about. Kelly was referring to the isolation that now exists because of the automobile culture here in the United States.

A great many people made the culture of driving a topic of discussion because of the insane gas prices last year. Driving everywhere has made social interaction much more difficult. The sense of community from knowing people in your neighborhood, or even in the same building, has significantly diminished because of the amount of time spent in cars and trucks. That's obviously not true everywhere, but it's getting much more widespread over time. The phenomena of traffic isolation makes normal social interaction much more difficult. It's becoming more pronounced as new generations grow up without knowing any other way to live.

The social and cultural damage from the automobile is only one way in which it's making the world a worse place to live. It's insane that we have covered massive portions of our towns and cities in concrete. Our society has been so profoundly altered by the automobile that it means more than life. Nothing grows through concrete or cement, and the two surfaces hold heat.

Getting out of a car in the middle of a big parking lot during the hottest part of the summer is like stepping into a corner of hell where they ran out of air ducts. Any living thing that gets stranded out in the middle of a parking lot is dead for sure. Earth worms are a no-brainer, of course. They wind up crispy in a matter of minutes. Lizards could survive a little longer, but that's not saying much. Lizards, amphibians and other reptiles, while being cold blooded, will cook up deader than shit on asphalt. Birds, puppies, human babies - these are all creatures that will die if they get stuck in the middle of a hot ass parking lot.

Babies die every year. Some lady leaves her baby stranded in the middle of a parking lot. It gets so hot that even when babies survive such neglect they are likely to have brain damage, depending on the length of their stay out there in pavement hell. The forgetful parent always looks shocked and devastated. Just how stupid does one have to be to think pavement is good for life?

Cars spew noxious fumes and emissions into the air at an incredible rate. Regardless what sort of "safety controls" are applied to the internal combustion engine, the entire concept is flawed to the core from an environmental standpoint. By the time we are burning fuel in vehicles the substance has already impacted the environment at ever stage of production.

Even when oil production is not disastrous it's still not great. Offshore drilling in the United States has resulted in millions of gallons of oil spilled in the Gulf of Mexico and the other oceans. Oil transportation has been just as detrimental, or more so, than production. Then after the oil arrives in refineries the production of gasoline creates gigantic quantities of air pollutants. The entire downtown area of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, smells like slow death because of it.

People who love the combustion engine are slow to admit such facts. They like to believe that there's nothing wrong with hundreds of millions of cars blasting pollutants into the air. If they admit the truth it means they have been wrong all along. A little ego goes a long way to perpetuating myths. In many cases specific personal debates about the environment only continue to exist because people hate to admit when they lose.

Taking all of these things into consideration, just about anyone with money still drives an automobile around. People are still sitting in slow moving traffic, or stopped altogether, running their engines as the money burns up and floats into the atmosphere. How many people don't really know their neighbors very well?. It's silly to even hypothesize they may know some of the people driving to and from work around them. They are isolated from human contact until they get to work, unless they pop into a store or stop for food, and then they're isolated until they get home.

There's a breakdown of human interaction that has gotten worse and worse. That may not be as bad as drastic climate change, but it's not really open for any debate at all. Cars have done wonders for jump starting the destruction of modern civilization. It's silly to think we could return to simpler, more trouble free times, but it's not crazy to think that we can change the present for the better.

Or you could just buy a big fucking Hummer, pay your wife Botox injections in return for stiff mouthed fellatio and scream "Yippy-kai-yay Motherfuckers!" as you jump out of a plane and destroy the world as we know it. I won't try to stop you. Somebody has to be an ignorant asshole in order for me to get laid for being sweet and attentive. And it's going to take a lot of work to repopulate this rock when the right wing survivalists are nothing but shadows on their Unabomber sheds.

Roll Call of the Lesser Devils 132


what I am through
Dionysian chained blue thoughts
break them or
bend yourself a space
make words confessors
make sentences to keep up the blinding pace
with thoughts that are slow, though even they race
open the face of the clock,
rocking back and forth, bent double
no clock tells time
they all lie
but they love to drop hints
nothing escapes, not a peep
certainly none of the hidden winces
on a face that's hidden quite well
the ideas all say I am begging you
and you motion back, class dismissed,
then comes to me, my dirty mind
a beautiful scene, go, shaker shake
lovely and you know what it makes
me feel
as the timeless walls send out emissaries
to gauge the proud's fall
no, clocks to make time
will never unwind
the kinks and knots
of a permanent obsession
between you and me
makes not a bit of difference
as long as someone owns
this, takes charge
with responsibility, and canters happily
with wicked candor, private or publicly
elicits unquenched wants, needs, moans
nothing could be closer than home
but knowing that the need pierces down to the bone
now can you hear me?
the warp tries to choke me
off before you struggle to know
like a partial muscle must struggle to grow
when there's not enough space to let it show
and maddening the impropriety
of not giving someone what they want
my gods but you're a wicked one
the words need to plead
but the eyes must cease
seething in advance,
while breathing, shallow
through small eyelets wink
a body that's written all over
like scrimshaw on the bawdy captive
and nothing in ink, none the worse for wear
though red does it make the face
the hoots and catcalls show everyone cares,
that's cover, disguise,
forbidden skin, and still can't rise
too late to stop or quell, so again
all thoughts inside a silent shell
wrapped thrice in leather,
strapped and tightly
a banquet where lust feeds nightly
just not the prisoner bound hand and feet
no sound but pleas for release
Bacchus chained such thoughts
but now
though I was almost through
the time went by and far too soon
the fleeing fingers quickly captured
only halfway down the laces
of the first of three binding bodices
choked by what's real again
it knew long scant reference
does know needs won't
be granted, no wishes and only strict
noes, no flow comes
tis now a rhyming schematic
capricious mystery,
no longer secret,
It's the mistress who makes me keep it.

Did I dream I wrote this or was it worse?
Am I still trapped in this mummy's curse?
Did I think this straight into text,
Or has she come to punish on another pretext?

[Note: This poem is naughty. This poem is exactly like all the poetry I burned in 1992 (?). It's about sexuality that was condemned by the Christian church. Church fucked my head up. I used to be afraid of myself. I sure wish I had not burned all that work. Over the years it has occurred to me time and time again that it was some of the best writing I ever did.]

Roll Call of the Lesser Devils 129-131

I will walk you home tonight
away from alleys refuse littered,
It wasn't gold, it barely glittered,
You wanted friendship and got remorse,
Wanted a marriage and got divorced,
Fading sunshine barely lighting
Broken dreams, and painful tidings
Hollow laughter once again finds me,
With hooks and lines and sinker binds me
Flopping in the suffocating air
I wondered why your love said buyer beware
always, and I wonder still
why does the reverb vibrate until
all that is said becomes “good-bye?"
From where does the sad sound originate?
Her laughter was mocking, I wanted to die
See nothing but still hallucinate
All wrong intentions are paid in kind
So I wondered if my own humor
was something she'd find, a long time after,
Like a sunburn or worse, a malignant tumor
And in looking back see the vengeance attained.
Had the sad sound sounded
The same
Way to her at last,
Were all my empty fears unfounded
Could our private tryst have been more hounded
in the watchful jealous public eye
By scoffing at our innocent kiss
The experience that we truly missed?
This, then, is likely a true farewell.
My petty thoughts slew our love
Nothing's well
Repeatedly as always I destroy
My own ambitions.
‘Tis a pity the shy boy is so coy
These words
These endless revisions.
It could have been fun
If only we'd made better decisions.

In the interest of perfection
The self study in the mirror,
Such an excuse
For the boastful angel;
Vanity couldn't be much clearer
In time the face in the glass
Will be nothing if not conviction
The glances come stares
The scorching piece flesh
The intent behind all sultry selfishness,
Social duties, derelictions
Desire is rarely a work of fiction,
But if you don't want
Get along, get away
The smell so strong
The hunger clawing to find a way out
The blood in the corners of your mouth
You pout
Yet snub the living gift I bring
Writhing and struggling,
An old and gristly human being,
Falsely blame, I'll take the brunt
It's just a child's game, just for play,
Though the one who writes this, living inside out,
Never gets enough of the pain,
Hurts his body just to feel the hurt,
And doesn't get why they call it insane.

The photo had faded at last
Into completely gone away
gone the scent of new discovery
welcome, at least
the short
bitter-sweet release of my own final day
the opposite of the one that has birth
yes tomorrow and tomorrow
certainty of both gimmickry and laughter
the rain will come to my garden
I will harvest later
and watch more grow
then harvest merely a single picture
keeping in mind the importance of a large gene pool
every plucked image
found hanging in the bathroom
from a poorly tied noose
really more of a slipknot
tied three times
tell me something with suicide rhymes
brings the population closer to extinction
the end was sung
before the game began
none of us have any chance
without accepting the truth
welcome, we three aren’t enemies
it's from another place hand scratching
not itches but benedictine sins and saplings
another inside plant good joke
tape recorder winding and audio spills forth
the informant is grabbing it off the floor
it unspools into small piles of black
magnetic plastic rendering audio
bio empty nothing logical
what could be seen was tucked back inside the guts
behind the shirt, the face of wax
share the time and wealth and know
when one rose comes to you
future vanish
run, boy, go


Of course many of you don't get it. Why would anyone remember the most important character Douglas Adams ever wrote about? You can save the whales, but you don't give a shit about a flower pot, amirite?

Notes on Discordia

There's only about forty pages of Discordia left and that project will be over. I haven't cross checked what I'm posting here with the sloppy mess at Angelfire. I am posting from the original draft, which I had not had until I returned to Arkansas last fall. This isn't so much a restoration thing as a portage.

The Angelfire lesserdevil site was thrown together in three days what seems like a long, long time ago. It was done without the benefit of any formal training in web design, as if any professional wouldn't know that just from looking at it. With very little knowledge about presentation points, cascading style sheets, frames or graphics what came into existence looked childlike and simple. That was the best it could be for the knowledge and money available for the project.

The entire motivation for creating the Angelfire website was to have a safe place to keep all of the writing that had been transferred from paper to disc. Windows has always been, and continues to be, an inferior product with inherent design flaws affecting it's function and longevity. It started and stayed that way because of profit from software applications that addressed Windows' flaws. Anyone without expensive security software was doomed to have an OS that slowed down until it was barely usable, or could not be used at all.

Windows cost me hundreds of pages of new material, vanished, poof, into thin air. Eventually the backup ritual became a necessary religion, because without constant backups material and work would be lost. Then backups would stop working.

Online backups became extraordinarily important, and were used as much as possible. Angelfire was just what was available one day. I never expected the writing to be found, much less discussed or disseminated among the art world. I lived off the grid close to 16 of the last 20 years, entirely because of poverty. That meant the digital revolution among all forms of art and information that took place on the Internet happened without my knowledge. It wouldn't have meant much if I had known anyway.

Discordia was written about five years ago. The book was supposed to be a lot longer. The plan was to keep working on it through the end of 2004. It did not happen that way. In fact the project was cut short by about five months and never finished. That requires a little explanation.

Discordia's writing took place while I worked at a local factory in Northwest Arkansas. I was here to help my parents survive, because they were both disabled. They were only getting one disability check though. There was really no way to help them from South Louisiana. That was not just because good jobs were harder to find, but also because in South Louisiana all my earnings would wind up going to drugs, mostly Coluvoa. Even while paying rent here there was still plenty of money left over, and I gave my parents as much of it as possible.

Still suffering from serious back pain, from the original pinched nerves at in my lower back, the work became more and more difficult to do without either debilitating pain or lots of pastillas (opioids really are the best ones, and they don't seriously register on the DEA schedule). On top of that my spinal condition had been gravely exacerbated by Tribcorr 16, months earlier. The work was also dehumanizing. The day my mother got her disability check I quit the job, moved out of the bungalow I was renting and split.

Work on Discordia ended very abruptly. I tried to throw an ending on it, and it came out fairly bizarre. It's almost weird enough to say it was supposed to end that way, but it really wasn't. It was a preemie novel, weighing only about 3 ounces, but with a goatee and pierced eyebrows. It's never going to be finished. I don't even know what I was doing with it anymore. I know it would have been better in 4 more months, but it never got there.

And that's all I have to say about Discordia.

Discordia: Installment Twelve

Chapter Ten:

The House in Ascension Parish

The timber that floated down the Mississippi River resembled monsters and water folk, as soft moonlight cast its glow down on the mighty current. The waves slapped at the shore in syncopated rhythm, setting an impossibly complex beat for a song that whispered on the breeze and slithered through the thickest thickets. The path that followed the riverbank crossed dimensional barriers, and was much like the path that followed the banks of every river everywhere. The seven people riding four horses on that path were unique to Discordia, however. No other place had ever witnessed such an occurrence.

Jesus rode first down the narrow game path, and then Dorothy, with Louis and Lena holding tightly to their backs. Lena couldn’t believe Jesus would rather have a man’s arms around him than hers. Jesus had thought about that very fact a few miles into their ride, but he didn’t want to stop so soon. The assassin had already decided to swap Louis for Lena. Jesus noticed the dirty looks she kept giving him.

Not far behind Dorothy, Michael held on to Elizabeth on the back of her horse. He dwarfed the attractive warrior, and the sight was slightly ridiculous. Rosie brought up the rear, except for one rider-less black and white stallion. The unencumbered horse looked content, but everybody else showed signs of increasingly poor temperament. They looked and felt stupid riding two to a horse, and Rosie felt totally alienated at the end of the line. Their frustrations were about to boil over.

“I can’t believe you had a totally tricked out 1964 gangster, and we’re riding freakin’ horses,” Louis’ griped.

“I can’t believe we’re partnered off with the same sex,” Lena grumbled.

“I can’t figure out why I haven’t thrown you from the back of my horse yet, princess,” Dorothy menaced Lena.

“Can you all keep it to yourselves until daylight?” Jesus beseeched, but he didn’t believe it would happen.

“I’m sick of riding back here with no one to talk to,” Rosie spoke up loud enough to be heard in Lafayette.

“I do have to use the bathroom,” Elizabeth offered on behalf of everyone who wanted to stop, “and I’m not peeing in the saddle, Jesus.”

“I’m glad you said something, Elizabeth. I’ve had to go for an hour,” Michael gushed. “The sooner we take care of this, the sooner I’ll quit worrying my bladder will explode.”

“Okay! I get it!” Jesus acquiesced rudely. “Let’s take a few minutes. Try not to get bitten by a snake, or fall in the river.” He was only half joking.

The riders reined in their horses, and everybody dismounted. Michael sprinted into the dark trees. Even though he was in a hell dimension, he still couldn’t bring himself to urinate in front of women. Elizabeth walked a few feet into the undergrowth, pulled up her skirt and squatted down. Lena made for the trees, but Rosie chose the undergrowth. Jesus thought he might be watching a nature show on the urination practices of the human animal. He noticed that Dorothy was watching him observe the other people. The two laughed simultaneously.

“Well, which are you, Dorothy? A bushes person or a trees person?” Jesus giggled. The sound was refreshing, because it rarely came out of him.

“I’m a woman who waits with the horses until everyone else is finished,” she answered with a smile, “and then goes in the trees.”

“Funny, I would have taken you for a bushes person,” Jesus disclosed honestly.

“What about you, Jesus? Are you so uptight that you sweat out all your urine?”

“I’m so dehydrated that I’m seriously beginning to consider drinking river water. I didn’t get anything to eat or drink back at the fortress, and I didn’t bring anything with me. There’s a canteen on the horse, but it’s empty. I know only a couple of basic transmutation spells, and the process takes me half an hour,” the assassin lamented.

“You are wound too tight. Why didn’t you say something? If you’re leading us, then you have to keep your strength up. Hunger is bad, but dehydration will take you right out of the game,” Dorothy lectured him.

“I’ve been through much, much worse. I wanted to put as much distance between ourselves and Baton Rouge as possible, but we’re stopped now. So, Dorothy, do you have anything to eat or drink?”
“I just fight. That’s Elizabeth’s department.” Dorothy turned and called out, “Elizabeth. We need clean water, and something to eat.”

“Coming right up,” Elizabeth answered as she stood up.

Everybody returned to the horses from out of the night. Elizabeth picked her way down to the river and filled up all the canteens. She wasn’t sure how they forgot to fill them up, but it didn’t matter. On the way back to the horses she said some words over the water. The canteens glowed briefly. She handed one to Jesus, who showed his trust by drinking long gulps of the river water. Elizabeth passed out the rest of the canteens, and everybody drank.

Elizabeth gathered some grass and soil into a straw bowl. She said some words over the bowl, and a soft glow obscured the contents. When the glow subsided there was a long loaf of bread poking out. She passed the loaf to Jesus, who broke off a piece and passed it on.

Jesus climbed into his saddle before a conversation could start. He was anxious to get underway. He didn’t think they could afford the time to stand around and talk. Once he was mounted, he addressed the issue of seating and riding order.

“Lena, I want you with me,” Jesus told the young woman. She beamed and took his hand. She snuggled up against him after she was in the saddle.

Rosie looked totally jealous, so Jesus addressed her next. “Rosie, I want you right behind us with Louis, so you three can talk quietly. Keep it very quiet, though. We have no idea where the hell we are.” Both Rosie and Louis looked appeased by the idea.

Michael volunteered, “I’m sure I can stay on a horse as long as we ride at this pace.” The group slowed down after they left the city. To prove his point Michael walked over to the black and white stallion and climbed into the saddle. The stallion liked the attention.

Dorothy put in, “I’m going to bring up the rear, in case of attack.”

“I’m with Dorothy at the rear,” Elizabeth sounded off.

“Michael, I want you between us and the veterans,” Jesus told the priest.

When everybody got situated the horses cantered down the path once more. Sunrise was still an hour away, and the only thing evident about the scenery was the river. The path followed the course of the river, which meant the party was riding below the level of the surrounding areas. They wouldn’t have been able too see the countryside even in broad daylight. That was partially a good thing, because nobody could see them. It was also a bad thing. They could be riding through a densely populated conclave of evil, and they wouldn’t know it. For that reason Jesus insisted they converse only in hushed voices.

“Your parents were murdered and you wound up here? That’s terrible, Louis,” Rosie whispered sympathetically after the young man spilled his sob story.

“I don’t feel sorry for you, Louis. So your parents were murdered. You can’t keep using that as an excuse to live in misery forever. Your parents would want you to move on. I think destroying your life insulted their memories. Let me ask you a question. If you went back home right now, would you pick up where you left off? Would you start using heroin again?” Lena grilled him at length.

“No, I definitely would not. I’ve been through too much, and I’ve seen too many things. Besides, I think the Order of True Love cured me of the addiction,” he answered. “If I were to go home right now, there’s a girl I would like to see. She won’t see me until I take care of a few things, so my goal would be to get my life straight. After that I would look her up.”

“That’s sweet, Louis. What’s her name?” Rosie inquired with a slight touch of jealousy in her tone. Louis was holding on to her, but talking about another girl.

“Her name is Paula. I only met her one time, but it was like I fell in love with her on the spot. The demon who sent me here said it was just lust, but what would he know about it,” Louis muttered.

Jesus listened to the conversation. He asked, “What was the name of the demon who opened the portal, Louis?”

“His name was Sirius.”

“Don’t worry about anything he said, Louis. I’ve met Sirius, and he’s a total loser. If you really felt love, then that’s what it was. Don’t let anything else change your mind about it,” Jesus reassured him.

“Fat lot of good it does me right now, though. I’m on my way to fight a major devil, and I’m almost as worried about winning as I am about losing. I can feel something waking up. Actually, it feels like someone is waking up inside of me. My thoughts keep rushing through my head, and I don’t understand them all. I’m afraid that whatever lives inside me will destroy me when it comes to the surface,” Louis revealed. “I don’t want to be swallowed up. I don’t want to lose my humanity.”

Michael had strained his ears to listen for quite a while. He kept his horse very close to Rosie’s. When Louis began to open up, Michael knew that it was time to join the conversation. He had found a new angle to approach Louis’ problem.

“I think your feelings of love are critical to your survival, Louis. You did nothing but deaden all your emotions after your parents were killed. You didn’t feel love for anyone, until you met Paula. Even though you only felt it for a short period of time, you experienced love again. I am positive it was very genuine. That’s why the demon Sirius belittled it, and that’s why Asmodeus attacked her in your dream. The devils wanted to extinguish the love inside of you. Love is the key to your survival, Louis. Love is the ingredient you need to overcome everything reality can throw at you,” Michael finished what he considered his most inspired sermon to date.

“That’s the first thing you’ve tried to convince me of that I found rational, Father Flannery,” Louis said quietly. “I believe that, but I’m not sure how it will help me. I felt love for Paula, but I didn’t have time to get to know her better.”

““It isn’t about Paula, Louis. She’s just a girl you met. Love is the answer; love in general. You were so junked out that your feeling of love for her may have constituted the last bit of love in your entire being. I am sure that you need to cultivate that feeling. Love and God are basically the same thing, Louis. Don’t tune me out just because I said God. You want to survive, and I want you to survive. To do that you’re going to have to let love into your heart,” the priest lectured.

“I could help you, Louis,” Rosie offered innocently. “I liked Michael’s solution. Love is a good thing, and I haven’t heard any better ideas. I could show you love, Louis. Maybe you could even love me back.”

“That’s very sweet, Rosie. It makes me feel nice that you care enough to offer,” Louis expressed his appreciation in a sincere tone, but he was very turned on by what she said.

Louis felt his manhood stir against Rosie’s back, and from the way she stiffened she felt it too. Louis yearned for sexual intimacy. The last time Louis had sex was before he got strung out. Rosie’s offer sounded better and better. Every step the horse took caused him to rub against his pants, and worsened his condition. Rosie arched her back and leaned back into him, to increase the contact between them. Nobody noticed what they were doing in the predawn darkness, but the sudden silence indicated something.

“Not right now, Rosie. You’ll drive me crazy. We have to wait until we get somewhere safe to bed down, whenever that may be,” Louis whispered into her ear softly.

The conversation about love drove Lena to once again obsess about the man she was holding. She wished it wasn’t the middle of the summer, because it was too hot to really enjoy the snuggling. After Jesus complained of the heat she peeled herself off of him. The idea of rubbing her sweaty body against his hadn’t fully left her mind since she climbed up on the horse. The constant bouncing in the saddle was making her horny as hell. It certainly wasn’t improving Jesus’ chances of getting away from her.

Jesus was not thinking about sex or love or Lena. He was focused on survival. His companions worried him deeply. They didn’t seem to grasp the seriousness of their situation. Jesus wanted to keep everyone safe, and he needed their help to do it. He considered advising Louis and the girls about the procedures they were to follow in the event of danger. Jesus listed survival priorities in his mind. He made it to number three, “Where to meet if separated.” That was when Lena’s hand found it’s way into his crotch.

“What are you doing, Lena?” he hissed as quietly as he could manage. He didn’t want the other members of the party to hear him.

Lena pulled in very close to him, like she was going to whisper a response into his ear. Instead she drew his earlobe into her mouth and sucked on it. He tried to pull away, but they were entwined on the back of the horse. He couldn’t get far. Lena wrapped her other arm tightly around his chest, and pressed her chest against his back. Every single hair on his body was standing on end, and her actions were having the effect she desired.

“I want you so bad, Jesus,” she breathed into his ear.

“Normally I would definitely take you up on that offer, Lena, but right now is not a particularly good time. Please don’t get upset. As soon as we find ourselves in a safer place, I promise you we can enjoy each other’s company as long as you like. But not right now,” he told her through gritted teeth.

Lena worked on the zipper of Jesus’ jeans while he feebly attempted to stop her. The problem was that he didn’t want her to stop. He was tired of having to remain on constant alert. He spent two thousand years on high alert, and he didn’t want to do it anymore. He wanted to get off of the horse and throw Lena to the ground, but that would not help their situation. He intended to get them out of Discordia. Until then they weren’t safe to play sexual games. Jesus found one last pocket of resolve inside himself, and pulled Lena’s hand off of his crotch.

“You really promise, Jesus?” she asked him. Fear of betrayal lingered in the sound of her voice.

“I promise, Lena. If we live through this, then we can have sex until neither one of us can walk.”

“I’m going to hold you to that,” Lena pledged.

As a show of trust she backed off of him slightly. She could feel the slight breeze cooling the sweat on her chest, but her stomach remained miserably hot. She reminded herself to find another top as soon as possible. The latex made her look fantastic, but it wasn’t the right fabric for a Louisiana summer. She bet Moonshadow, the girl who picked it out for her, had no idea what warm, sweaty latex felt like.

At the rear of the party Elizabeth and Dorothy were carrying on a quiet conversation of their own. Dorothy evinced the friendlier personality of the two, contrary to her forbidding appearance. Elizabeth constantly searched Dorothy’s expressions before speaking up about a subject, and she gave the larger, more masculine woman more than an average amount of attention. The two shared an obvious bond, which Elizabeth took very seriously.

“Do you think they know we love each other?” Elizabeth made almost no sound as she asked the question.

“I don’t think so. I know how uptight you are about us, but I get the feeling that we aren’t among the most judgmental people around. For heaven’s sake, you could cut the sexual tension with a knife. I don’t think it would be the end of the world if they found out,” Dorothy murmured in a subdued tone.

“I don’t trust easily. You know that. If they disapproved of us, then they might be slow to help us in a jam,” the fair woman whispered back.

“Nobody here would willingly allow us to come to harm, Beth. I’m sure of that. The priest might frown upon our relationship, but I wager he would lay his life down for any of us. We’re in good company.”

“That’s what I thought too, Dorothy. I wanted to make sure you agreed with me, in case I felt like touching you later.”

“I will never understand why you’re attracted to me, Beth. You could have anyone, man or woman. I’m probably the ugliest woman in Discordia. Why me?”

“No, Dorothy, you’re beautiful. And I love you.”

“I guess I should believe you. That’s what you always say.”

The priest in front of Elizabeth caught fragments of their conversation. He shrugged and smiled. Michael surmised early on that the two warrior women were lovers, but it wasn’t because he bought into any stereotype. He noticed the way they exchanged glances. The night wasn’t dark enough to conceal their relationship. He disagreed with their choices for personal and religious reasons, but as a Christian he withheld judgment. It was not his place to presume to know best for everyone.

Louis disturbed the hushed atmosphere by speaking loud enough for everyone to hear. “Discordia doesn’t exist anyway. I know I’m back in my house in Spanish Town, sleeping or heavily hallucinating. There’s no way this is real. I experience it through my five senses, but perceptions can be altered. An altered mental state would mean altered perception of sensory information.

“The problem is that none of this makes any sense. My parents get murdered for no reason. A demon crawls out of my brain and transports me into a Dungeons and Dragons reality, or wherever the hell it is. I kick heroin during an afternoon nap. I’m still in Louisiana, only it’s full of street gangs with names right out of Sesame Street. You know, the Sesame Street Samurai. How much of this bullshit am I supposed to believe? We’re riding horses in the middle of the night. Don’t forget we can turn bread into grass and drink straight from the Mississippi. I just need a break. Can I please catch a freakin’ break here?

“You’re all going to tell me that this is real, that this is Discordia. Mystical magical Discordia, where things are as normal as we need them to be, and scary enough to make a good campfire story. Well, I don’t believe it. Screw you guys, I’m going home,” Louis concluded. The horses continued to plod along.

“You don’t think I’m real, Louis?” Rosie sniffled, her feelings hurt.

“Weren’t your parents murdered in normal reality?” Lena expressed her confusion. Louis ignored that question.

“It’s not you, Rosie, it’s this place. Something isn’t right. It’s too much like home to be so different,” Louis muttered.

“And then Louis cracked up, unable to grasp the idea of alternate dimensions,” Jesus announced to nobody in particular. “It’s the same, yet different; real cutting edge stuff. Get a grip, Louis. Also, for your information, I can see in this light, and so can the horses. Riding horses by moonlight is no big feat.”

“I don’t think I explained myself too well, Jesus. I can’t find the words I want to use. Maybe the words don’t exist. I do not believe Discordia is a real place. I think it may be a dream state that we are all experiencing,” Louis groped for understanding.

“Until you figure it out, Louis, try to remember that death here is real. Pain here is real. If you don’t believe me, then ask Rosie about it. Ask Dorothy or Elizabeth,” Jesus admonished, weary of Louis’ melodramatic doubts.

“It looked pretty real to me,” Lena added.

Louis decided to shut up about it until he had a clearer idea of what he wanted to say. That was good, because he was wrong. Discordia existed as surely as Earth existed. They were two identical places with different characteristics.

Jesus knew more about dimensional travel than the other members of the party, having traveled back and forth between Earth and Discordia hundreds of times. He didn’t publicize that fact anymore. People always wanted him to send them home when they found out he could cross dimensions. His abilities were severely limited. The contract he made with Belial guaranteed his return to Discordia after every trip, and nobody was allowed to tag along. Jesus hated fine print.

The pale light of dawn spread out over the lush Louisiana undergrowth, and everybody relaxed somewhat. At least if trouble approached they would all see it coming. The path they followed looked tiny in the daylight, and it wound through a wildly overgrown bottom. Saw palmetto and Johnson grass dominated the floral species beside the track. A short distance away a stretch of forest followed the river as far as the eye could see in either direction. The green of the forest pleased the eye. Ancient cypress trees, live oaks and mimosas stood out in a jungle of sassafras. The area looked totally uninhabited.

The veterans in the party agreed on the absolute necessity of leaving the river. The Mississippi zigzagged back and forth like the track of a dying earthworm. Though they traveled close to forty miles along the course of the waterway, they were only twenty-five miles closer to New Orleans. Jesus volunteered to scout the surrounding area before they left the secluded game trail.

Everybody dismounted in the rays of the newly risen sun. Jesus set off without preamble, taking only the pistols on his belt for self-defense. Elizabeth refilled all the canteens and transmuted more bread, which everyone partook of greedily. Thousands of birds began their daily lives in the nearby forest, sending a cacophony of whistles and chatter into the sky. By daylight the driftwood in the river’s current floated lazily by, without provoking sinister introspection. It was exactly like a deserted stretch of the Mississippi River back on Earth, right down to the stifling temperature that rose by the second with the sun.

“One thing worries me, Dorothy. We rode out of that tunnel with five horses, and we’ve ridden on soft ground all night. I checked out the trail behind us, and I could follow it with my eyes closed. Won’t the bad guys have trackers?” Louis inquired uneasily.

Elizabeth answered, “I specialize in equestrian magic. One of the more difficult spells I mastered hides tracks. For the first few hours of our ride we left no tracks. I have limited power, like everyone else, so the Order boosted the strength of my spell. It still wore off, but only after many hours. It’s unlikely that anyone will follow the riverbed until they find our trail, but that’s a risk we have to take.”

Michael peered hopefully at the river. The long night of riding left him dirty and sore. The water looked cool and inviting. He knew the current in the deeper part of the river could drown even the strongest swimmer, but the slow moving shallows by the bank didn’t appear too dangerous.

“Does anyone want to go for a quick swim?” Michael asked cheerfully.

“I do!” Rosie was ebullient at the suggestion.

“Only two at a time,” Dorothy warned, “and don’t take more than a few minutes. No place on Discordia is ever truly safe.”

Rosie ran down to the water’s edge and shed her clothes, heedless of modesty. She waded into the water and splashed around happily. Michael took longer, and he shed only his outer garments. He entered the water still wearing an undershirt and underwear. The water cooled him off wonderfully, and eased some of the soreness of riding all night. Rosie obeyed Dorothy’s warning like a good girl. She exited the water after about five minutes, directly followed by the priest. They both looked refreshed.

Dorothy looked at Louis and Lena. The two shook their heads vigorously. Neither one of them trusted Mississippi River water, regardless of what dimension it might be. Lena didn’t like the brown color of the water, and she didn’t like the idea of shedding her clothes like an exhibitionist. Louis pondered the subject for a second, and concluded that the forces of evil probably didn’t treat their sewage. He wondered if Rosie and Michael were going to die after their swim. Louis didn’t know that there were almost no sewers on Discordia.

Jesus marched back into sight twenty minutes after Rosie was fully clothed. Michael stood beside his horse, dressed and ready to go. The two swimmers knew that Jesus would have nothing good to say about their excursion into the water, so both Michael and Rosie acted nonchalant. If Jesus noticed their wet hair and damp clothes, he said nothing about it. Louis weighed the amusement value of telling the assassin he had missed a wonderful show, but decided against it.

“I have often observed that people rarely reside in isolated areas on Discordia. Without alliances people become easy targets here, so almost everyone lives in the cities and towns. This part of Louisiana is no exception. I scouted a one-mile radius around our position, and I didn’t find any signs of recent human activity in the vicinity.

“I did find a place for us to rest. There’s an abandoned house about a mile inland from here. This area should provide us with relative safety. We are in the middle of nowhere, and nobody knows we are here. This would be a good time to gather our wits and make our plans,” Jesus announced to the group.

Jesus took the reins of his horse and set off through the dense undergrowth before entering the forest. Lena positively glowed, and followed close behind without saying a word. Dorothy and Elizabeth chattered quietly about something as they fell in line. Michael glanced suspiciously at Rosie and Louis, certain they were up to something, and then he set off after the group.

As soon as the priest turned his back, Louis took Rosie in his arms and kissed her playfully. She warmed to his embrace, and wrapped her arms around his shoulders. He pulled away from her and put his fingers to his lips, and then he hurried to catch up with Michael. Rosie hoped her bad luck was finally changing. She led her horse along with a bounce in her step.

The party picked their way through old growth woods that stood several feet below sea level in a state known for flooding. The low spots in the forest floor contained stagnant green pools, and snakes congregated in the tree branches that hung over the water. The sunlight couldn’t penetrate through the canopy of vegetation hundreds of feet overhead. The layer of secondary growth along the floor sometimes obscured the travelers’ feet. The earthy smell of rotting leaves drifted in the thick moist air, and the constant buzzing of mosquitoes surrounded the slow moving line of people.

The swampy woodland crawled with species of wildlife that no longer roamed on Earth. Neither Louis nor his friends had a full appreciation of what they were seeing. The wilderness areas of Discordia existed unchanged since the beginning of time. There was no industry on Discordia, because almost everything was created through magic. The environment had not suffered the devastation that was so evident on Earth. In a world of constant warfare and a zero birth rate, there was never a housing shortage or a pressing need to clear land. They were walking through a forest that had never faced the exponential population growth of the United States. It was like Louisiana at the time of Christ.

The forest gave way to a clearing that contained an abandoned house, right where Jesus said it would be. Somebody had spent a lot of time on the dwelling. It was two stories in the Acadian architectural style. A low sloping roof increased in grade towards the back as it climbed to a high peak. A wide front porch ran the width of the front of the house, and the low roof ran to the front edge of the porch. The house had glass windows, and not all of them were broken out. The dark windows stared down upon the travelers’ arrival impassively. No clues about the house’s original builders could be seen outside.

The horses spooked when they entered the clearing. Something about the house disturbed the animals. They became restless and anxious to move on, and even Elizabeth couldn’t calm them down completely. Everybody brought her the reins of their horses and she led them a short ways into the trees they had just come out of. Jesus watched her as she took the horses, and they both exchanged troubled expressions.

“There’s something wrong here,” Jesus said immediately. “Dorothy, would you mind helping me check the inside of the house?”
“Let’s do it,” Dorothy told him. She freed a long knife with her right hand, and a can of pepper spray with her left hand. Jesus arched his eyebrows at her, and she responded, “Bow’s no good in a house.”

They flanked both sides of the front door, and then Jesus carefully turned the knob. The door was unlocked, and it opened noisily on rusty hinges. The two resembled Starsky and Hutch in the way that they entered the house, except Jesus and Dorothy were bizarrely mismatched. Dorothy looked like an extra from The Road Warrior, and Jesus might have been a well-armed Latino pimp, with silk shirts and white dress shoes. They disappeared into the interior of the house, and returned a couple of minutes later without incident.

“There’s nothing here. Whatever spooked the horses is invisible to us, and that means it can’t hurt us,” Jesus announced.

“Are you sure about that?” Louis asked him doubtfully. “Just because we can’t see it, doesn’t mean it can’t hurt us.”

“I think he’s right in this case. Horses can sense a lot of things we can’t. Maybe you should all follow us inside. You’ll have a better understanding if you witness it for yourself,” Dorothy said cryptically.

Louis went in first, simply because he was closer to the front door. Michael was close behind him. The girls waited outside. They didn’t like surprises. Elizabeth was busy with the horses. The ladies outside heard a holler from inside the house. Rosie almost jumped out of her skin. Louis ran out the front door and jumped off of the front porch cheering loudly.

“Yes! Yes!” he yelled and did a cartwheel across the clearing. “It’s furnished and air conditioned!”

Rosie ran over to him and pushed him. “Shut up!” she shouted at him, with a big smile on her face. She ran in the house, and a high pitched shriek emanated from within. Lena sprang into motion and entered the house like a blur. Another high pitched shriek echoed out of the house. Louis followed them both inside.

“Running water and soft beds!” Rosie exclaimed as she ran back out onto the front porch. She ran back inside immediately.

“Running water?” Jesus asked no one in particular.

“I don’t trust it,” Elizabeth called from the edge of the clearing. “And the horses don’t want any part of the clearing.”

“Could it be possible that this is a dimensional fold from Earth?” Dorothy wondered.

“Anything is possible, except for us to ever have answers to our questions,” Michael spoke up as he came back through the front door. “The house has a television set and video games, to go with the ice cold air conditioning. I’d call this place a mirage, but we aren’t in the desert. I’d call this place the devil’s temptation, but we haven’t heard from the devil, yet.”

“Maybe we just did,” Jesus voiced his reservations. “You have a point, padre. This place may be an attempt to make us complacent. I don’t think the house will hurt us, however, and I think we stick to the original plan. We stay here overnight and move on.”

“Good idea, Jesus,” Elizabeth agreed.

She tied the horses to a line she strung between two trees, and transmuted the grass and soil around them into high quality grain feed. She pulled the saddle off of her own horse, and Michael crossed the yard to help her. Jesus called into the house for assistance, and Louis popped out instantly. They soon had everyone’s gear inside, and Jesus called for everyone to gather in the living room.

“This house could be a trap, or it could be a gift. We just don’t know. I can’t see sleeping in the swamp with this air-conditioned house here, but we’re moving on after one night. Now, I know you are all tired, but we have a lot to do today. We can’t travel through South Louisiana swamps at night, either, so we need to be on a daytime schedule.

“I want everyone to conduct a concerted search of this house for anything that may be useful to us. Bring everything you find and put it on the floor here. Even if you only think it may be useful, bring it in here and put it on the floor. We’ll take inventory of all our assets after the search.

“Later I’m going to go over some practical points concerning our mission, such as chore assignments and emergency protocols. In the event of a crisis I want everyone to know exactly what to do, and to do that as if it were second nature. We’re always going to be outgunned and outnumbered, so we need to have planning and discipline on our side. Are there any questions?” Jesus had never led people into combat, but he took to the task like a natural.

“I want to know how to fight,” Lena submitted. “Can you teach me a few things?”

“After we have taken care of all our business, I’ll be glad to give you a crash course in self-defense. I don’t think it would be wise for you to go on the offensive only two days into your stay here on Discordia,” Jesus advised her.

“Yeah, I have a question. Are we still on our way to Asmodeus’ palace with no idea of what we’ll do when we get there?” Louis needled the Colombian.

“I had planned to drive an Impala through the front door, and then shoot a rocket into Asmodeus’ chest. We no longer have that option. I guess it would have been too easy. I’m open to suggestions. Are you still totally defenseless, Louis?” Jesus goaded the young man in return. Louis held back a dirty remark, thinking it foolish to argue.

“Which bedroom do I get?” Rosie asked, thinking ahead. She looked at Louis and smiled.

“Hell, I don’t know, Rosie. Pick one,” Jesus answered wearily.

Rosie yelped with joy and ran out of the room. Everyone else got to work searching the closets, cupboards and attic. A growing pile of items accumulated on the living room floor. The contents of the house gave every indication that the residence belonged to a large family, who enjoyed outdoor activities and sports. There were life preservers, backpacks, fishing rods and tackle boxes, baseball bats and football padding. The list of items grew.

Lena found camouflage hunting gear and guns, and claimed immediate ownership of the guns. Louis discovered topographical maps of Ascension, St. James and St. Charles Parishes, as well as detailed navigational maps of Lake Ponchartrain and Lake Manchac. Michael quit searching when he ran across the contents of the kitchen. Instead he set to work preparing a large feast for everyone. Rosie found bondage toys hidden under the bed, and figured they could use the shackles if they took a prisoner. She didn’t point out how much she liked the stuff, because everyone already knew. Elizabeth searched a closet in the laundry room, and found a large tent in a duffel bag. Dorothy pulled a six man inflatable raft from underneath it. They did a celebration dance and took their items into the living room.

While the party conducted a search inside the premises, outside Jesus found a power line. It started on one corner of the house, and disappeared into thin air. It seemed the electric line ran straight into the next dimension. Since the house had running water, he assumed that the water pipes did the same thing. None of the veterans had ever seen anything like it on Discordia, but everybody had learned to expect unusual phenomena. The group welcomed the phenomena that provided them with such comfortable accommodations.

After the search was over, the pile on the floor was much larger than anyone expected. When the search was finished, they lounged about on the couches and easy chairs in the living room. A wonderful smell floated in from the kitchen, and spirits were high. Jesus hated to spoil the festive mood, but their lives depended on it. He told Michael to put dinner on hold and join them.

“Rosie, what do you do if we get attacked?” Jesus quizzed the young woman.

She took a minute to think about it. “I’m not sure,” she shrugged. “Run?”

“You need to know for sure. Now, let’s get down to business,” Jesus told the assembled group.

They groaned, but everybody paid attention. It was a matter of life and death. After an hour the strategy session concluded. In the event of a battle, Rosie, Lena, Michael and Louis were officially instructed to flee. Dorothy, Elizabeth and Jesus would fight. Nobody was very satisfied with the strategy session.

“So I am supposed to run?” Rosie asked.

“That’s our strategy?” Louis expressed his frustration.

“You have to admit, Jesus, that plan won’t save us from being outgunned and outnumbered,” Michael pointed out. “The enemy can run too, and probably faster.”

“I still have a few details to iron out,” Jesus admitted.

“That’s it. We’re dead,” Louis threw out.

“Don’t worry, Louis. Let’s play video games,” Rosie suggested.

Jesus didn’t object, because Louis was right. They had no real strategy, and they were probably doomed. They might as well enjoy what little time they had left. Everybody left the room but Rosie and Louis, who sat side by side in front of the television and played Playstation games. Louis couldn’t remember the last time he had so much fun. They laughed and giggled together, and nothing in the world seemed wrong.

Not on the Telegraph

For A. Tapia

Wisdom applied to practice
Makes imprudence in matters of sewing;
Preoccupation may lead to a pricked finger.
Impudence manages private affairs of the heart,
But careful management of private budget
Is always well to sew.
Rubies in thimbles:
Sweet aphorisms.

Good Morning, Beautiful

Roll Call of the Lesser Devils 124-128

Will there ever be an end
To the fascination
The depth and the sight
Of my love for the night
And the lights,
And the pretty girls' hair,
All of which make me happy,
Or it's supposed to.
I keep wanting but never dare.

Is there ever an end,
And if there is
Why would I want it?
Something repressed and unsettling
Crawls around underneath the skin,
Where before I was only
Just holding it in,
It has now made a home for itself,
And I like it so much
It's a sin.

I was standing by my window,
On a cold and cloudy day,
When I saw that hearse come rolling
To carry my mother away.
I said to the undertaker,
"Undertaker please drive slow
For that body you are hauling
I hate to see her go."
I followed close behind her.
I tried to hold up and be brave,
But I could not hold my sorrow,
When they laid her in her grave.

A twist of folded cloth
A tryst bundled into bed
Out of sight
In the borrowed time
Of a stolen night
Gentle revenge lent
To padded footfalls
Bite, bite away
Needy, hopeful pets
Crimson stained tongues
That lap with affection
Suspect no other infections
Prayed for training
Clawed at holds
Shunned the rooms,
And the rooming house
Did not tell of that time
Nor did I ever sell the story,
Secrecy, just as well.
And the white eyes were ringed with decay
anointed then wrung
flung away
reach not for that piqued fire
in memory burn pure and clean
purge travesty vain
and off blood wean
the changeling moans
feign rippled through
personal thunder storms
the struggle too calm
tutti frutti, yummi delicious
toro fine torso
it's only the future one blew
in a no no did we ho ho
hum, and then diffidence slunk away
in borrowed shoes
sands trapped in a bottleneck
no escape from time, ravage
the existence weaver slipped in this spot
and into his neck freakishly
buried a dull stained meat cleaver
harried unto death denial
with the grave a non merry marry
witness yon tattered minstrel
the vessel you laid on it's edge
and the flesh which ripped under the blade
and nothing you say can undo
please quietly walk away
you will find only reticence, tension
the dark tears of nightmares' vision
and the finest cuts, though not venison,
the lech erred, see
wilt petaled sea
wilt flower
bloom menaced by day
blighted, unclean
a stain spreads
time soon wanes left wanting
hunt close in the gentle
frilled bunting
and pure
must be different
be true to us sure
for a too far edited
djinn of stormy melancholic mood
form flawed and dimmed
insuring cast screams will entice
toss and then show honed
shame me
tower without humor
the mnemonic knows, daughter
only with hard boiled memory
can the past win any friends
and never any sympathy
I know nothing of love
having never been given any
and say, are you different?
find this pain to be a lie
there can be no love deeper
than this
sinking in blood
up over my thighs
what do they mean
these gory sighs?

The first and only
And all are one
Caressed his young heart
With delicate words
Murmured songs soft and lonely
Like morning dew
And the breath of their love
Was a mist that covered the world.

The tale of what I was sure
Would soon be my latest conquest
Must unwind like water
Must saturate the soil
After a long, gentle rain.
At the end of the stretched out day
My subject and I cross each other’s paths.
I have not forgotten sorrow
And yet no tears came for the brazenness
Of my haughty personal ambitions.
I wanted neither to bear her burden
Nor to lessen my own.
I merely saw the face behind her sweet voice
And thought we could share a few moments
One last time.
“How very poetic.
You are such a dear, dear boy,
But why not run along and sing songs somewhere else.
Anyone could see
Your only interest is sexuality,”
She cut back, expertly.
How could I,
With only my empty voice
Quiet the bubbling of harsh neuroses
Left in the wake of this agony,
This defeat, and not by choice.
Much later, when I had long since
Gotten over that
She came to see me.
It seemed she wanted to do
All that
After all.
“So, you’ve come
Thinking you can make me dream
Or have echoing thoughts
Only of you,
But this vision turns no water to wine,
Even though no fineries of language
Could match such a science as yours.
No, I am afraid it is far too late.”
Revenge is bitter, but sweet.
Later it struck me
That my nose was missing.
Spite had ravaged my face.

Liza Garza

I learned about Liza Garza through Kaitlyn Foley. Incredible sound and production value on this track. Breathtaking.

The all or nothing rule on signing posts is very irritating. Either they all say a name I provide or none of them do. I hate rules.

Friday Night

Crash city. When I took the screen capture everything was fine, for about 5 seconds. I may unjack the cable modem just to try to isolate the problem. It may be the frakking plasmoids...

The Giant Apple in the Room

Apple computers are not discussed in this web journal. The operating system of even the early Macintoshes provided almost instantaneous response to commands. They haven't been discussed here in opposition to Windows because they don't enter the business picture in Net competition. Market share, when referred to in this web log, only refers to Net market share.

The closest open source operating system to Apple are the BSD's, which differ from Unix only in originality, the same way Linux differs from Unix. The language of BSD is less diffuse than high end graphical interface Linux systems, but, as in all things, how a person takes to learning it depends on individual backgrounds.

Hacking the BSD kernel and compiling for installations is intuitive at a computer language level. The file system resembles Linux only minimally. It could be considered more instinctive based on naming, if someone wanted to nitpick. However, the responders might only do so, or participate in nitpicking, to make fun of the originator.

The debate over BSD scripting vs. Linux scripting doesn't get ugly. Debating object oriented semantics amounts to versioning and debugging. The history of programming languages and the learning of them provides all of the mental fuel anyone could need on the subject. Apple computers, while astonishingly good, don't enter into the world of pure networking platforms and programming-only computers.

"The Divider"

Tuesday Night

Roll Call of the Lesser Devils 120-123

It’s knot me
It’s never, ever been
But somebody keeps watching,
A perpetual quest to find something
That never existed at all.
It's all about names, dates
Times, places,
Saucers, plates, mirrors
Razors, one toot for the road?
It'll make my world, it's sounds, it's faces
A lot clearer.
Those guys: Try not to hassle or goad,
They're just the police,
And they're paid what they're owed.

Escobar, Pablo, Escobar, man...
I have nothing
Once an “A” in college.
Your riches disappeared between my ears,
And now there is nothing
But the sound of the ocean
If one's pressed close to one of these ears.

Excuse me,
This life is much too tight.

I take walks by fountains,
Sit below inscriptions
Too worn to tell their stories
Of politics and gentle greed.
Desperately without I utter
An invocation
And with a supple snap
The old worlds collapse,
There's naught a young man can do
In the way of doing an undo.

It is not my end to falsify proof.
The truth is a delusion,
A grand deluge
In this new world.
Breath is much too clean;
The cold air is much too sharp;

There is still time left
To soothe away the hidden barriers,
Expose the connections,
The network hookups.
Catch me now.

Your case will be convoluted and taciturn
Based on faulty de facto egoism
And hollow attacks.
I smile as the evidence burns.

Sly established, sloppy pigs,
Grant me one request,
Find your ass
And insert your thumb.
Do it for me but remember
That Jesus is the one who'll leave you blessed,
And I who will make you look dumb.

Speak To Me Not

See the little plastic people
Climbing in their wooden diorama
They claw over bodies
Like chalkboard fingernails
Howling frightened goslings
Loosing feathers as the curses fly
Thought bubbles mark the fears
Of the toy soldiers who block the way,
And the artificial implants, saline titties,
Glue sniffing sycophants,
They say faithfully all the while,
“I am a real person. What are you?”
The little people take comfort
Only in themselves and those
They trust
Truths outside in bright, broad daylight
In plain view of the older gods,
And Sol and Yahweh and whatever star
Laugh at the people hiding
Because they know right where you are.

At night the plastic people flee
Before their true selves are unmasked.
The dark and silent moving shapes,
And flapping excess flesh for capes,
The awareness of their own negative worth
Could be considered hell on earth.
Hide your eyes, don't look
As the melting plastic melts and runs,
The light of the sun does that light of the fire shun
Not only that but the now
Will blind and burn
There's no hope of ever escaping
It's your conceited fantasy raping

Speak to me not of who you are
I can see just fine for myself
And if you could see yourself from my eyes...
You have it all by far,
And by that I mean the wealth,
So tell me why
As the plastic fries
Are you so afraid to fade and die
In our childish culture war?

You smile when you see me
A graceful indication
That the memories of our near happiness
Have not completely faded.
Is that what it is?
I hope I'm not too jaded
To know.

I smile back
Mainly out of recognition,
That barest minimum,
And time, and possibly a sense of duty.

Long ago the smiles meant
A hidden world, like the one beneath the waves,
Of compassion and mutual emotions.
Our love was fickle and fancy though
Sometimes like the rolling oceans,
One moment a peak
And the next a deep sink,
Just the thoughts
Are like an albatross. To me.

The glances, the nuances of deep felt kinship
Played across our faces like reflections,
Like the pretty patterns cast by afternoon shadows,
But the clock ticked away on that love.
Still I smile.

I know how the warmth got away
As surely as I know why
I feel no pleasure at all
When I see you.
If only I hadn't gone so far
To make sure it hurt
To be you.

Tired wandering eyes
Tired of wanding the well
To make all those wishes come true.

The walls of the well
Down in the cold muck
Are as slippery as icy hell.

Philosophy decries
Victory for the wish maker.

Like the snake in the rose garden
Crushed beneath the heel,
The gardener who thinks slow
Helps none grow,
But if he acts quickly
His actions might end
An eternity of hideous sins.
So much for the serpent.
It was never really the snake's own fault.
Didn't you ever know?

Sincerity hinges on
Christian certainty
The garden lets Cynical
Be wedded to Optimism.
They had yet to pass that law,
Written by cold hearts that never thaw.

All this was done
For your penny's wish,
Victory is your prize.
Be careful though,
The snake that's pretty and green
May just have you hypnotized.

[Quick note: The poem that contains the Escobar references was originally given to Patrick Brabham, the artist. He kept it, which blew me away. I gave it to him in 1990. He still had it in 2000. I wish I had that handwritten original. It was very funny in a "strung out on blow beyond belief" sort of way.]

Roll Call of the Lesser Devils 115-119


While in good graces
The beauty flows savagely.
Bestial claws leave scratches on blank walls.
Drug addicted Bohemian posers,
Musicians and artists, dancers and actors,
All crave the feeling lost
Moments after feeling it,
In vain but bold
Utopian contradictions beholden,
Or abject ignorance of truth.
To idealize things, objects, materials,
Ethereal wants for tangible lies,
That which they do not have,
Desire for in darkness cries,
But when in darkness beauty flows
To genius grasped
Brightness clasped
Tightly in a coat of only few colors
Designs fit to a graying world,
The soul is freed from tangible need,
Invisible bonds and broken
Links of hidden chains,
Subjections, objections, dwindling
Mind's eyes glorify
What's seen inside, magnifies,
That which no one
Will never really own.

Echoes of the sane
In empty marble halls,
As the temperature drops.
It gets so cold inside.
Wasn't there a movie
About the big chill?

Why do the spirits come?
The sane are unwelcome here
This is my place.
Go. Away.

These halls exist to hold
Only myself,
And silence,
And maybe pain.

All I hear
Echoes of oblivion
They sound
Much better now
With frozen walls
To draw out what little life
They'd left.

Soothe burns, release
Grudges, at least,
In this, my place,
Where slumbers this beast.
Go. Away.

Do not touch me.
Yes, I know.
The inside never,
Never grows.

Love me now
Or walk away.
I have no time
For idle fascination.

Love me now
Or walk away
I have no time
For tears
Or unhappiness,
Youth wasted and
Innocence passed away.

Love me now
Then walk away.
I have no time
To see more.
I'm a coward,
And less poet than whore.

Working for an end to come,
I work to an end
Where work is done,
But my goals goes unachieved
When I seek the end of need.

I work to end an empty life
But the end is only work,
Or toil, or sweat, and nothing else,

My goals disappear, all washed away,
Hidden by sorrow,
And tears, if I may
Just tell the truth
About It All.

Born to suffer, born to lose,
We swim against an uphill stream,
Like fish swim on,
With little else to choose,
Fight the rush,
The sweeping current's gush
Of loss and sweet rhapsody

Fight, there it is, that word again,
It's something of a must
Before the end, we all fight on
And new life begins.

Life begins in the stream of consciousness,
Beyond only fatal shores,
Or a float downstream
And upside down
To gelatin pools
Under science's critical
Questioning eye,
Where only tiny, small things die,
Microscopic happy, swimming,
We must fight on
Just you and you and you
And I.

Give thanks
To live another day,
To Fight or fade and decay, or worse.
The stream doesn’t care.
It just keeps rolling along.

On the other side of knowing she waits for me,
Just beyond a whisper.
What is left but a sense of age
As the earth spins on,
And though I yearn to take to the skies,
My flight will never be.

Words never captured the infinite moment,
But rather enslaved the names.
The flames have always been awakening torture,
For wax melts,
And at the gates of hell
The beacon has always been a lie.
It lures proud ships to rocky deaths,
And urges the foolish to fly.

Come inside, hurry, for love never waits.
In the priceless world of misty reality
The music of my heart is a lullaby
And my sleep is a passionate surrender.

On the inside a world waits openly.
Behind her eyes and mine the sparkling dreams come
And none can ever hope to own them.

[Notes: The truth is that on some of these there are no originals. I remember a lot of them, but others I don't remember much of. I know how I did the revisions though, and so I'm reverse engineering the changes. The number one thing I did was attempt to make all verbs active voice, and do away with gerunds.

I studied Russian under a woman who graduated from Harvard. Her last name was Rutherford, so she was Ms. Rutherford. I don't remember much else about her except she really got under my skin critiquing my poetry. She made fun of the gerunds.

To give you an idea of how thin skinned I was about my writing, 14 years later I set out to change every gerund into an active voice verb. Curse you, Ms. Rutherford! You got your revenge on my inattentiveness and dozing after all!]


So Early It's A Day Early

Roll Call of the Lesser Devils 112-114

Songs From The Edge

When you’ve lost all hope,
And your last chance slips away,
Optimism dissolving into the air,
When no caring words are left to say,
Look into my eyes, look deep within,
Look and cry despair.

When the sun in the sky
Cries wistfully farewell,
But the stronger storm rages on in your mind,
Turn all your sails,
To the west turn your sails
To chase the last rays to a personal hell,
To repay life’s unkindness in kind.

Are you seeking the comfort of another soul,
In the hush of a lazy afternoon,
While over head the rain falls to hearts of stone,
And the rainbow flows cold like the northern lights,
In the cruel embrace of the earth mother’s hate,
At the end are you all alone?

When the green of the world at last turns to black,
And the blue seas finally run red,
Stand on the edge of insanity,
Stand and sing despair
All that is left
For humanity.

Sing to the children
Who are cold in the streets
Sing songs like tears
From the eyes of a lovely young bride
Who wrongly pays tribute to an unworthy man.

Stand on the edge between forever and now
On that vast gulf urging to suicide.
You may leap to an end in the arms of the void.
Many have.

Bitter memories will fade with the beating of your heart
As you beg your petty god to release and let fade
Your being to the comforts of oblivion.

Better still you may leap with gladness in heart,
Your voice lifted up in defiance and rhyme.
Sing songs of the lost as you fall to your death
With a smile, bringing light even there
In the nothingness.

For if leap you must, and almost all do,
Then remember your life as you fall.
In the moment before the void encompasses you
A streak of light will race into the night,
And far up above on the edge,
The ledge of hopelessness,
Someone will pause in their rush to doom,
Maybe singing, will stop in mid note
And whisper under their breath
“How beautiful, that light.”

When dogs and men no better than dogs
Have rent asunder all that was once sacred,
All your feelings, all your trappings held so boldly,
Lift up your voice in song;
Don't let them chain you
To an earthbound form.

The Innocent
He was once a human
Like everyone else
Then he was a prisoner
Falsely accused.
They killed his heart
Wrapping steel cords around him
Squeezing him;
cords became a cage,
Tighter and tighter,
They fed the beast they created
And then wanted to kill.

It does not work.
It will never work.

The prisoners file past the righteous.
Except for clothes
It is difficult to tell them apart.

The Long Road Home

Where rolling river meets the sea
In a palace of jade and gold
Left I coldly a young beauty
To begin my journey home.
Far away on a mountainside
By an icy bubbling brook,
Lay my home, my cherished home,
The place where my father died.
While going there I tarried
In dreams, grand thoughts
and the comfort of blissful ignorance.
I cast that all away
Sought the truth in my soul.

I set out walking again,
And I walked
On the way to my bubbling brook.
It just grew farther and farther away,
And my feet swelled and lent their pain.

I rested my weariness
In a lovely forest glen;
Soon I was spoiled by naughty nymphs,
And faeries who whispered of sin.

Before another moon had passed
My home had been nearly forgotten.
I seemed to have found my place at last
In that forest of earthly delights.

I now spend my time in the arms of the meek
And the lovely, and do you dare
Question the value of what I seek?
Don't bother.
Nobody cares.

Remote Keylogger

There was an invention last year that allows someone to record the electromagnetic signatures emitted by keyboards. A remote user is able to record the signatures released while typing, and then convert them into English (or whatever language). It's a keylogger that requires no Internet connection. Cool, huh?

Here's Richard Stiennon's analysis of the invention.



Grave Thoughts

The walls, the trees
The sky and the wind...
Everything whispers not to forget.
There once was a child born,
And nothing has been the same since
For any of us
All parents inside, willing
Or kicking and screaming into maturity.

The future is wide open.
A smattering of humor
Laced with insecticide,
That is the good news.

The day began properly,
Filled with the nervous sense of

Fingers touched
And lips met.
Just as prophesied
The stars eclipsed the sky,
And no one cares why.

The sting of the recluse,
The festering open sore
That is loneliness:
Call it unsatisfied desires.

We all get what we want.
Too far.
Just how far
Would that be?
When what you want is not
What you want.

Couldn't there be further?
In the basement
Chained up by pointlessness.

Broken glass and razor blades
Make such wonderful toys
For all the good little girls and boys.

Play with me, cut your self.
The pain fades.

Skin peels away from the small corpses
So much easier than from
The big ones.

The tiny legs and dainty paws
Once so alive,
To grasp,
To run and leap,
Scraps on the chopping block.

In the forest a hollow resonates,
Vines cling like the arms of jilted lovers,
And the hidden life
Despises that which they see
In this thing, man
(despises and fears).

This is no pale faced prairie boy.
This is the hard savage from the frozen waste.
Prairie boy looks like a light snack.
This is not the repressed Christian
Who described the white whale,
Nor the honest one who masked the priest's face.

I AM: the harbinger
Of a new way.

Now make them Fight

Somehow words
Became children's games,
In a world devoid of contact
Under houses
Playing in the dust
With a little black dog
Named Bo

As a child my
Dangerous games
Were always the most fun.

Mystery becomes angry
When too many secrets become clear.

A paltry hint,
A brief clue,
Nothing frightens the true.
The earth mother sleeps,
Safe in the arms of Pregnancy.

The father could not swallow the child.
A stone wrapped in swaddling clothes
Guarded the fruit of Rhea's loins.
And so the father groaned,

The child could not be eaten,
Such the legacy of Cronus,
Doomed to face defeat
At the hands of his own son.
Even in death
Gender contradiction
Oh, mass confusion
and misguided vocabulary.
Never fear, young one that you were,
The bugaboo only seeks to frighten
So that he will be left alone.

A difficult curse to shake.
Even devils once had a soul.

The lessers lost favor
For foolish pursuits.
Imagine sacrificing eternity in heaven
Because your wings would look better
Polka dotted.

Pretend for a second
Everything you were taught is true.
Funny, isn't it?
Imagine now
That it was all lies.
Don't be at a loss for words.

God is a feeling,
A warm, fuzzy cathexis.
Faith be far from unbelievers
And believers can't give theirs away.

Are Not As Safe
As They Once Were.



The web has ears,
Floppy rabbit ears.
Lagomorpha prowls for his doe.

No images reach this place
Where consciousness
Battles doubt
And finds

No finger ever reached out
To touch the hand of God
Deus noumenon
Nowhere else

Console yourself.
There is one chance.
Embrace the truth.
Embrace that which you know to be certain.

Ne plus ultra
Forever routs

How could stupidity
Ever win anything?
By definition
Must be discomfited.
Donne datum.
Sheer ignorance is different.
The greatest defense
For five billion lost souls:
They were neophytes,
One and all.
N'est-ce pas?

Is a

The Word Made Flesh
The beginning and the end
And all in between
Know Him
Know eternity
Chew on this gasconade,
The words are their own accolade.

Oh ye of little knowledge,
Thank the Lord for those with educations
And experience.

Did you ever stop to think
That I am not the problem,
But that maybe it is your own ignorance?

Go, go, go
Boy got an ego.

Enough small talk.
Got a life?
Got an inkling?
Something special that makes the difference?
Don't be too shy to share.
It's not art.
It's heresy, hypocrisy,
Just plain filth.

Easy now
don't upset the bottom feeder
you know how testy poets can be

Once a vision of grandeur,
Free beneath the moon,
One of God's stateliest creatures,
Regal and above all criticism.
Since its beauty first met my gaze
Its rack of a dozen fleches
I have wanted the venery of the beast,
So that it's musty meat could grace
My lusty Christmas feast.

Simple creatures
Consternate the judgmental.
Judgments of the mundane
Over-shoot the mark
Through analytical

The simplest plans
Offer the least chance of failure.
Simple enough?

A Mr. H. S. Thompson?
No, wait
The things I expect from
My audience.
That's why you came,
To hate,
To abhor.

Please tell me
You don't want to curl
Round the feet of insanity,
And wait for supper's
Delicious treats,
Hand fed.

My pet, my sweet.
Succor me.
Nothing else will suffice.
Your maculate touch
Brings my dead nerves
To life.

I want you,
More now than I ever
Have before.
The Paphian purse
My favorite ingredient for every concoction.
The flavor lasts and lasts.
The mystique in the shapes and the meanings
Find no parallel beneath the sun,
Burning entity that the sun may be.
Shame flounders in the shallows.
The promise of youthful flesh
Drew the predator in close,
But confidence and surety
Beached the great hunter.
I feel no shame.
The only beauty left
For the old and grisly
Resides in the forbidden
Untouchable sanctuary
Of the mature yet to lose innocence.

I exist at cross purposes
With the objects of my desire.
The immaculate are disgusted by the sight
Of one so hardened by the world.
Granted a new lease on life,
All infatuation aside,
Every breath tastes so good,
And all the nectar sweet.
This is not the man-boy

What sick, twisted games...
I hope you didn't think...
It's written all over your

Once seen
The evil
Is impossible to

The evil is a joke.
The badness
Is quaint,
Yet trite.

Hunger for unconversant flesh
The immortal.


The insecure.

Only a cold, lonely place
Where nothing living moves
Or breathes.

Once breached
The shakes
And the shivers
Keep all too close

The journey to warmth
Can only happen
When love oversees.

No life
Without Love.

No thought
Finds safety in hatred.

No existence
Will become eternal
Without embracing
That which is intelligent,
And unfailing.

So simple
But so complicated.

Master of cliches
I beg you,
Make me free.

Hush my mouth.
It's all crazy talk.
Shut my face.

And I
Should have been a pair of ragged...

Seas of golden goodness.
Nothing like golden showers,
Baths of acidic lust
Tempered by sheer primordial

Dare spoken word
The stronghold of perversion?

Unleash the wolf
For He has grown mightlily hungry
For the blood of infants.

Tender baby flesh
Offers the path of least resistance
To the fangs of hardened

Jesus knows.
Just how good
Babies taste
For in Him
All is realized,
A weakness
For infant flesh.


Guard your young.

The mere mention
Of shiny coriaceous dress,
Or the snake caressing Beauty on a spancel,
Even at the molecular level.

Shiver me timbers...
I like that.

My affection is the same
For sheer wigglers sticking out of
Strict chaussure,
By the mouths
Of groveling subhumans.

Censure me.
I laugh.
Pathetic dogmatics.
You amuse me.

I wonder what the taste
Of cock-strong
Would do to your interpretation.

Somewhere along the way
Simple became biological
And my hormones woke up
To want...

If only biology
Could explain
This unholy

Want for the
The folds,
Want for unbridled concupiscence.
The good little guy
Has gone.
By the big bad
Of must have.

Must have it.

So perfect,
So right,
Must have it!

Rational thought replaced
By sight,
And Technique.

Must Have IT!

The caress
So deep inside
Hold on!

Still here...
So fine,
Still female,
Still happy with you,
Take me!

It won't be like taking
An unwilling victim.


So strong,
So wanton,
Want one,
Want it!

Go figure.

The truth will open doors...
Now what was that
That was so important
For the world to know?

It must have been this.
There is nothing more important
Than animal attraction.
Mankind exists
For no other reason.

Why don't you show me
Where I went wrong,
While you're at it
Show me how
Aren't like that,
Just to entertain me,
Because I already know
How right I am.

Choke on it.
You are an animal,
No matter how you deny.
So Am I!

You Are Not Alone!
Cry out not to emptiness!
Cry out!
I hear you!
I love!
I love you!
I love everyone!
Love is the key!
Love become reality!
Blessed Be!

[Notes: The lines about eating babies, which occur in a bunch of places in my poetry, are all references to wartime propaganda of the past. Enemies were very often described to the populace as baby eaters. There were often graphic descriptions accompanying those claims to prove just how evil the opposing side really was. This was propaganda designed to keep public morale from becoming so low they rebelled and started killing people at home, while the army was away.

This poem, however, is also about the baseness of lust gone unchecked. There's at least one reference to pedophilia. The intent is to show that animal urges become vulgar in and of themselves, regardless of the language employed. Our civilized society has been moving further away from savagery for quite some time. If thrust into an environment devoid of the mechanisms of civility man could quickly devolve into a bestial creature again.

It's all about desire. The poem following this delves deeply into Zen Buddhism and ridding the self of desire. This poem was meant to set a basis for the condemnation of desire. This is not a glorification of such urges, or any sort of confession from a mythical author or a fictitious viewpoint. This was an indictment of such behavior.

At the same time there is also a blunt meaning, which goes hand in hand with the baby flesh propaganda tact. It is that sometimes simple lust can be mistaken for something worse, because deep down most people know just how horrifyingly dark lust can make the mind. Simple lust becomes equated with something more sinister, more complex, more evil. Painting the image as I did shows just how impossible it would be to reconcile that inward evil image with the reality of such acts. So few people are really like that, yet the image comes to mind because of them. Suspicions are cast on everyday people because of fear, when such acts and individuals represent a tiny, tiny sliver of even the worst and most perverted among humanity.

Needless to say, such people would likely not spend about a week writing one of the best poems of their life about it. They would be busy mutilating their own genitalia, or whatever it is such evil people do. I really don't know much besides the sort of imagery their reality invokes in my creative awareness.

If you didn't know before that I am one of the world's most daring poets, then you do now. I'll tell you why. I am daring because if taken at face value, things like this could easily get me killed or worse (and worse probably wouldn't be hard to do to me considering how crippled I am).

I started my career as a writer thinking that I would become legitimately accepted and recognized not long after I finished college. That did not happen. Just because success left me behind does not mean that I stopped acting like my poetry would one day be discovered and people would say, "Holy crap! This is wicked word play, with layers of meaning." Now, years later it is finally coming to light. I'll be damned if I let the world drag my hard work and artistic clarity through the mud because they don't understand what the fuck I'm doing.

This is not a diary. This poem is a fucking masterpiece of the macabre (that's a joke, in case you didn't know). And I toiled over it. If you don't get it go back to when you were eight years old and start paying attention until you reach this point in life again.

One more thing. Just so everyone that's still unconvinced knows: The child I refer to is me. I was the child. I was the victim. So get over yourselves, because I won't have you making my work look bad.

(Update: Explaining myself gets tiresome. I'm referring to the child in the poem. Also, college girls, when I discuss old and grisly wanting young hotness. It just gets harder and harder to talk to the young ladies in their early 20's who are my favorite people in the world. When they get to my age they are all full of heartache and exhaustion, of which I have plenty of my own already. I would think people would get that.)

I forgot. There's a really big meaning. Nothing is wrong with any consensual sexual behavior among mature adults (Or even immature adults. I like cartoons.), but some people make it sound like a horror story. Maybe I already implied that, but I wanted to make sure I said it. Normal sexuality encompasses a huge range of behaviors. Only fears from the dogmatic make it sound bad]
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Related written works at Angelfire, Sex Symbols, Cymbals of Silence.Repent or Die