Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Bankrupt Tuesday (with new, improved Pagan action)

Word on the street is that a roasted chestnut is actually a bitter, gross thing, so here's a repeat of last year's extremely helpful guide to the bountiful holidays of this most wonderful time of the year! As old ladies, entitled suburbanites and ignorant doofs of all bents berate sales clerks it's important to keep in mind that if the holiday you're feverishly shopping for begins to get a little inconvenient, there are plenty more where that one came from. Your calendar of Holiday Joy awaits!

12-6 - St. Nicholas Day (International) –for those who really, truly need to grow up. Everybody knows there’s no such thing as a saint. Why, I hear even that Obama sometimes kinda has...sex (make sure nobody heard that, OK?)

12-8 - Bodhi Day - Buddha's Enlightenment (Buddhist) –because ain’t no party like an enlightenment party, ‘cause enlightenment party don’t stop

12-12 - Hanukkah (Jewish) –the first and best "#$@@-ing pain-in-the-ass season we have to drop everything for and pretend like it's, WooHoo!, the most important thing in the world when, really, do I really wanna be bothered" traditional commercial gathering

12-12 - Virgin of Guadalupe (Mexico) –blessed Madonna (not the icky old one) sought by Spring Break frat boys everywhere

12-13 - Santa Lucia Day (Sweden) –Lucille Ball, for all the sweater wearing early morning mall walkers pining for the days when women were wacky, and men were acceptably ethnic (but just for that one time since Ricky was so comically darling)

12-16 - Ashura (Islamic, Muslim) –No freaking idea (from the Wikipedia entry); really, what the hell?

12-16 thru 25 - Las Posadas (Mexico) –Frat boys: this does not translate to anything remotely sexual; and sorry about the virgin thing too

12-18 - Al Hijra - Muslim New Year –and nemesis to Gojira (that's Godzilla to you)

12-21, 22 -- "Yule/Winter solstice. Get drunk on ale, mead and cider, party like it's 999BC, and keep the hearth fires burning 'til dawn to coax the bright orb in the sky to come back again, pleeeeease." (courtesy the most excellent Lady de Winter) (And for grogg's sake, know when to throw a flagon across the room and stumble to a corner for seriously glorious rough and tumble snugglebunnies; tis the season for giving, dammit)

12-25 - Christmas (Christian, Roman Catholic, International) –us. Period. Deal with it. Suck on it. Feel the love

12-26 - Boxing Day (Canada, United Kingdom) –the one day Mike Tyson truly opens himself for an honest, deeply reciprocal relationship...or still a huge wtf?

12-26 - Kwanzaa (African-American - Dec. 26, 2009 - Jan 1, 2010) –see again: Wikipedia

Then there’s the “New Year”, which falls on 12 million different dates. Still waiting for Americans (and lesser Americans, like other countries and stuff) to pass a world amendment that January 1st now and forever marks it so we can all get our New Year's Eve party on at one single time. Can you imagine everybody in the world partying on December 31st? New Year's falls at midnight, dammit. If it's 2:17pm where you are, deal with it. Imagine the precious, introspective worldwide rush to get laid.

World peace through orgasms. I have a dream...

In the spirit of all that is good, let us be gracious enough to warrant receiving. And Happy Christmas, John Lennon, wherever you are. God bless us. But not too much. Nobody wants to become fat, indolent or arrogant, right?

Nobody wants that.

In Honor of Excess and Prurience

Flipping the channels and made the mistake of catching a bit of the horror movie Hostel last night. Stupid movie in the "wanna see a dead body" vein we're caught up in (I'm looking at you, CSI). So here's a little ditty in honor of excess and prurience. It's a quick shot I did on another website some time ago that I like to call...


He hated being called ‘Magic Johnson’ but Johnson Wafers loved the way the ratings rolled in. Have I No Shame premiered Monday with a guaranteed two season run likely to stretch into even more. “Regurgitainment at its finest!” he’d pitched to the Advertisers Guild, whose left eyes, to a man and woman, all twitched due to Starbucks poisoning. “We’re taking people off the street, asking what they’d do for large sums of money, then a month later secretly placing them in those exact same positions.”

“Sounds like Punk’d.”

“No, no, this shit’s real. Guy says he’d suck off a retard for a million, guess what? Short bus and helmets right around the corner. Hey, I put money in the right hands I can get the Pope to double dip a nun.”

“You’re not going to kill anymore hobos are you?”

“Baby, that was last season.” Johnson covered his forehead as though he had amnesia. “Last season doesn’t exist…but don’t tell me Death of a Hobo didn’t make each and every one of you come. Vanessa? You came. I know you. Admit it, you came, didn’t you?”

She smiled. “A little bit.”

“A little bit. America loves me.” He dazzled the room. “And when I kill a hobo, America hates the hobo. Christian Right objected once only because editing didn’t take him out pleading ‘Dear God!’—and I fired the entire production team—but get this, I’m rehiring them as the cast of a new reality show of production fuck ups who fuck up major productions, real movies too, like that shit with the kid, the one showed her titty before she was seventeen.”

Pederast,” someone offered.

“Yeah, fucking movie earned two billion worldwide. Pederast Too is slated for production. My secret fuckups will be there. Let me ask a question now: I know Vanessa’s silks are wet, but is anybody going to tell me Monday night ratings of 68 percent didn’t provide the jumping off point for the most satisfying sex of your lives? Your wives aren’t limber anymore but don’t tell me that the hookers were closed! Davis? Is Agricult in? Norbeane, commitment? Stuck & White is the biggest producer of shit we don’t need. I’m practically delivering a third world country to you with money they have no idea what to do with. I need commitments from everybody in this room or I will shoot every last one of you gangsta style with the gun held sideways and everything.” He produced the gun from his blazer pocket. The smiles on the faces reinforced his love of theatrics. “Two to the fucking head, I’m not playing,” he said smiling. “And we’re gonna do something completely new with advertising for this. Each show, only your brand. Ok? Means one week S & W gets to showcase every piece of shit they’ve got for a solid hour, every little subsidiary that nobody knows you own. Vanessa, I give you the Spring slot to hawk No Fat Chickz. Perfect time to get that diet shit out there. Yesterday’s premiere was commercial free except for the subliminal shit. Imagine what that would have translated to,” he told the room, training the gun on each as a pointer. “Did I not prove myself to you?”

“It’s why we call you ‘Magic Johnson’,” cooed Vanessa.

“It’s why my magic Johnson fits perfectly in every one of your holes.” He made as if to unzip. “Who here wants to see me fuck Vanessa on the spot?”

Fernando Elliphon’s hand went up.

“Fernando, you freaky bastard. Put your hand down. Pens, ladies and gentlemen: pick ‘em up and write something down.” There were cameras filming the entire pitch, hidden but capturing everything in perfect HD. Vanessa Del Rio (she got teased about that all the time) had the kind of body and fashion sense that tended to get blurred on TV. But not on Magic’s new secret show. Johnson affected a crafty look. “Ok, we’ll loosen things up a bit.” He nodded Fernando’s way. “You hold Vanessa down while I fuck her and you commit to two as yet unproduced series. Sole sponsor.” He proposed something equally outrageous to the other seven, coming around to something of a consensus on what they’d do to see that these deals got sealed. “Vanessa, apparently everybody wants to see you get fucked.”

She just smiled at him. Vanessa Del Rio had eaten more men in her life that a protein cookbook was in the works.

She stood and shimmied her thong loose.

First up was Magic, then Gordon, then Elliphon and Epstein in tandem, then-—after a bit more cajoling—-Ms. Riggs from FreeMart. By the time Mailer and Pratchett hit it, Vanessa was more than just a shadow of her porn actress’ namesake. She epitomized the dirtiest fuck in the world, full of sex and lust and hunger and teeth, with sweat, semen and labial juices across her forehead, cheeks and hair. Her diet company had every food manufacturer in the world by the balls. Del Rio said don’t eat it, it didn’t get ate. True power is the ability to fuck in a boardroom without a care about the world. Cameras captured her holding a dick in each hand and throwing her head back like a warrior princess before the final battle.

Ye gods, the season finale was going to be a helluva show.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The 7 Really Irritating Sins

The 7 Really Irritating Sins

Count them down: In the publishing world subtlety is for white folks; misogyny works for Latinos; stick with Russia for sadness; chicks dig froth, vaguely psychologically-questionable sex and Italy; Zsa Zsa Gabor singing, “New York is where I’d rather stay!” is the private anthem of an entire industry (see YouTube, “Green Acres”—you’ll find it); kids will read the same book written over and over, and, lastly, black folks can be found down the hall, around the corner, and in that little box.

I’m supposed to say I was inspired by the classics to write, and in several senses I was: Native Son was the first novel to show me that books weren’t just loads of words luckily thrown together. Ninth grade English, courtesy Ms. Macklin, a grizzled black matron who probably failed Jesus and who I’d like to imagine saw potential in me but more likely thought I was a jerk, revealed an incandescent truth to me: that Bigger Thomas toward the end of the book was exactly like the rat being chased by Bigger and family through their squalid home at the beginning. My little mind said ‘Wait, you’re telling me the writer at the beginning of an actual book, not a comic or something I’m reading for fun, knew to connect the beginning with the end after all that writing in between? You’re telling me there’s more to books, writing and English than me answering enough essay questions correctly for a passing grade? You, Ms. Macklin, you crony cow heading for retirement or death, heads or tails, are going to stand in front of this classroom of bored, gullible inner-city teens and without a hint of deception open our minds to the amazing notion that art is not accidental but constructed?’ See, I’d built my share of models and Legos, and I knew that certain pieces of things had to go in certain places in order for the vision to become real.

“Yes,” the crone would have said, “After decades of teaching flat stares and hormones, I am telling you, you creative, slightly intelligent little jerk, that drawing, writing, singing, dancing, and sculpting are one and the same: constructed realities based on the inner laws of the universe. Art.”

To be fourteen and suddenly realize you’re God. My favorite thing growing up was finding broken toys and seeing if I could combine them into something new and exciting. ‘Big Head Man’ was the head of the fuzzy-bearded G.I. Joe crammed onto a much smaller green army man (the grenade thrower guy, best in the pack, I honor his brave spirit the way he quietly suffocated inside the cavernous, empty head of someone’s discarded G.I. Joe). Super Spiderman was, of course, Spiderman wearing Superman’s cloth costume. He kicked much ass. Big Head Man was cooler than 007 and could outfight just about every toy anybody else had, up to and including jointed plastic snakes, Planet of the Apes men, or the scrawny white Barbie knockoff that became a much cooler, action figure-ier Wonder Woman in disguise when my sister wasn’t around.

I’d grown up constructing things, combining disparate bits of interest, and by the time Ms. Macklin hit me with a supernova, I was primed to channel my impulses into the coolest outlet of all: fiction writing.

Native Son, however, is not what inspired this young black kid to write. Wasn’t Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man either. Or Sojourner Truth (because she had the coolest name ever), W.E.B. Dubois, or George Washington Carver, perennial icons of February blackness.

It was McElligott’s Pool.


McElligott’s Pool grabbed me years before Ms. Macklin. Language was malleable, said Dr. Seuss, language was fun. There was magic in it if you could control it or mold it. The imagination was limitless…

You tell a kid from the ghetto (before ghettos were made corporately cool) that imagination is, was and forever would be limitless, you watch him step back and fly. Seuss made me an avid reader. At times I would write in a journal and have fun in there, but mostly literature was a spectator sport. Fiction, especially science fiction (Harlan Ellison is a god, but he didn’t come till my later teens), just kind of “happened” for people to enjoy. It was manna from heaven. Ms. Macklin effectively told me that not only was there a recipe for manna, but the ingredients could be found down the aisles of any market. The day my mother told me I read so much I should probably write my own book sealed the deal and I’ve been the Muses’ pool-boy ever since.

‘Blessed is he who has found his calling,’ or some such, ‘and let him shut the hell up.’

I’m a writer.

The distinction is that I’m not an author. You’ve never read me. I’m published about as often as sex in a marriage. Poems and short stories. The novels, which are my cherished children but a wise man once said “Eat your children”, are in the purgatory of aspirations set aside for projects and dreams. I’ve written three complete novels, each different from the previous; there’ve been nibbles at each. When I was younger the nibbles elicited excitement, but then, when I was younger I wrote with the gnomic strength of destiny. I’m forty-four years old now. That’s about where Billy Joel sang, “I’m young enough to still see the passionate boy that I used to be, but I’m old enough to say I got a good look at the other side” in the song ‘The Night Is Still Young”. I may never have the pleasure of seeing someone glance at the cover then read the back jacket with interest, wondering if this Clarence Young, this presumptuous bastard attempting the telepathy of novel-writing, was worth their time. I can, however, say “I’m a writer” with that sense of pride that comes from devoted service to imagination, the Muses, construction and telepathy. I can say that if there are gods of creativity I have not sinned against them. I’m a black man who’s written about women, angels, love and androids; I’ve studied my own work, studied the works of others, and realized that falling short simply means preparing the leg muscles to spring back up.

I’m a construction foreman. I’m part of a dedicated brother and sisterhood of builders. That’s a powerful place to stand, and in a meaningless world it very much means something. We are the stories we tell not only to others but to ourselves. Actually, especially to ourselves. A long time ago I had a character realize the story we think we’re telling is never the one that’s being told. The builder is himself built. This piece is written in response to those who have not found a voice and are wondering whether the effort to build is worth it, for anyone who recognizes him or herself in the following outstanding words: “I have no mouth and I must scream.” (Harlan Ellison)

I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream. All praise to the writers and the tangled knots that inspire them. There is truth in solitude. Truth must, at all times, be spoken. Otherwise life is but a life of sin.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Snow Is Gone, Snow Is Coming

My gift is being goofy. There’s not a lot of it in this world. There’s not a lot of respect for you and I to enjoy. Take some time for Dr. Seuss. Take some time to masturbate. There’s nothing wrong with masturbation unless you’re a politician shaking hands, ‘cause they don’t know how to wash and they wipe their hands on the back of your shirt if they can and they infect you with disinformation to sell their particular brand and I believe that run-on sentences have their place in this great land, the mind it turns, the mind it spins, my mind rattles like a penny in a coffee can. Hello, world. This is me. Look real quick. Too late, I’m gone. My gift is wanting to be loved. My gift is wanting you to care. In a perfect world this would be a song, I would look so damn good in underwear, but it ain’t perfect; we haven’t made it so. We muck about. In the fashion mag of our life we strike doofy poses. We never think of what could be, only concerned with what we saw…on…TV… My gift to you is foolishness wrapped in words and cellophane. It’s a smile and it’s a wink saying “Tag, you’re in this game.” To play you have to chase me, have to follow where I go, but I warn you I’m a ninja on a carpeted floor. So close your eyes and stop your breathing: listen for the molecules’ flow…

There’s a lifetime’s course before you. College credit guaranteed. The Paradise Foundation is an institution with an open door. In a perfect world a man could wake up and say his luscious dick was available for consumption, a lady would say these breasts are amazing; she’d look around for who could please them. She’d wonder if this world was blind to everything she had to offer; she’s amazing and she smells good and she remembers Pythagoras’ theorem. In the morning her body’s like wet toast but buttered up and really warm. Her brain doesn’t turn on till late morning, but when it does it gathers energy for a storm. She’s been alive before, she knows it, but there’s a grocery list to write for her husband, who’s a dear. There’s a lifetime’s course before you. There are books you’ll never read. There’s a singer singing for you a special song you’ll never hear. Just knowing this is important. The books and singers will persevere. In seven lifetimes you’ll never see them but by number eight they’ll be right there.

A gift is often elusive. Who gave out that crystal chair? There’s glass under my ass. Hope no one looks up under there. And yet it’s comfortably contoured, and the peanuts I dropped from yesterday are sitting there. My gift is being goofy. There’s too much of it in this world. Goofy like remaking terrible movies first made in 1982. Goofy like watching Spring Break guys on a cop reality show. I’m waiting for my car to get fixed at the dealership. The TV on drags me to boring reality. Matt Lauer is stupid; maybe a midget will run on stage and choke him. Maybe five minutes can be devoted to more than trained seals clapping clapping.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Beautiful Third Act

Description in R-Sharp of A Beautiful
Girl Whom I Will Most Likely Never
Meet (or: Exorcism in the Key of Be)

Very similar to a song sung slightly off key by a man who’s dreaming, conjuring and predicting through the veil of loneliness confused Muses have thrown into his eyes. Muses which force him (who in certain dreams becomes her) to confront the glaring white fields of chaos and fashion for them the explanations of things. They are like children, which is just as well. It affords him a sigh of relief that they won’t immediately see through his high-thrown hopes and prayers.

This is as personal as it may ever get because reality has forced its dreams on him. He chews the inside of his left cheek and stares at existence, rather rudely, for when it notices him he doesn’t look away. Stares off within a sphere of (what is it called, so pert and quaint?) personal space. Personal space. Inner space. The final frontier. His name is Simon Templar, just like the Saint’s of that old TV show. Those old stories. He is a thief and liar, noble and honest in his vocation. He knows one day he will be married. The world is full of foolish people and poor decisions. He longs for simplicity. Wife. Friend. Home. Happiness. There certainly must be a reserved space of time and place for these. Somewhere in the future.

“There are places you’ll never see. They exist only within me. No one there is free. Because it’s my reality.”

The stigma associated with a (and again, how is it known?) tortured soul precludes and denies those who whisper from all angles, “We need to help you; here comes the normal life.” What makes their lives so easy, he wonders, disregarding obvious answers, that his should be thought of as tortured and difficult? They called him an artist. How he hated the convenience of that word. Artist! Difficult! Perhaps quite strange but certainly unusual.

Jimi Hendrix was an artist. He died trying to face the strain. Died young.

Simon Templar, the above by way of explanation, knew he couldn’t possibly have much longer to go; if he was going to dream it’d have to be quick and constantly, using whatever, whichever, whyever and whoever was available before his time ran out. Which to those outside made him appear unable to commit, unprepared to acknowledge that level of seriousness which human emotions are due if they are to mean anything. From woman to woman he seemed to go, although to any who’d have bothered to follow they’d have seen he went nowhere, and thus “womanizer” was hardly earned, accurate-- and to be honest--more than a little embarrassing. Failed expectations and such.

Thus by now it should be known that every artist’s greatest dream is of a beach to walk on, a home with a yard, buying forks and spoons, and sharing a meal hands to mouth without being afraid to smile. Which is of course far less than the impossible dream. Foolishness--no, not that; takes very little imagination to be foolish, and even less thought. Folly, much better, should also be known to be a necessary necessity, crucial in maintaining any semblance of life in one’s daily motions.

“God help me! I love it so! I am not looking for love. Love is everywhere. Who needs look for it? There’re over four point five billion kinds of it floating around all over this globe! What I’m after is ROMANCE in all caps. Talk to me, dance with me, trust me with a secret-- Just allow me to gaze at you. I’ll make a wish.”

Somewhere in the future the wish will be. Not certain who she is but her essence remains the same.

You are cordially invited to attend the most joyous celebration this century has to offer. The marriage of damn lucky Simon Templar to (your name here), to take place October twenty-seventh, 2310, 6:30 p.m., on the easternmost tip of K’laui beach. Attire of choice. No gifts allowed. If you want to smile feel free.

Could be you. Or you. But it’s definitely her. Up there ahead. The indistinct one. Yeah, that one, the collage. The knockout stream of sensory input.

Who would he marry? Given the go it’s a good bet he’d have married the old high school sweetheart. Which leads inexorably to divorce.

He scribbles: “Expect I’d divorce and remarry after the bitter aftershock faded. While I am searching for the ‘perfect love,’ that which survives, I am also quite aware that I need another drink, nor will I find it, or would not recognize it if I found it--” and with every word tacks a Muse upon the wall, until the walls of his mind are completely lined and the Muses see all that goes on within and stop their baffled frowning, content for a moment but absolutely no longer. “So yes, I will remarry should another beautiful, intelligent, creative, responsible, indulgent, thinking, creamy kind of dreamy babe happen to think it’s cool. Oh, and she simply must know how to properly appreciate a funky beat. Not watered down, weak funk, not no-talent divas, not the latest piece of bland R&B pap, nor the top 40 radio stagnation rotation. It must be uncut funk. Funk is transcendental, just as is the Rock. Gimme funk/rock and there’s a good bet that I will make love to you in the farthest flungest reaches of your mind.”

And now it comes to the fact that he was not thinking of the sea. The sea is a poem containing living rainbows. He was hardly a poem. He was a funky, cruddy beast, all gray and near dead. His thoughts were of a flower which was dying in a slim white vase she’d loaned him months ago. It might have been a carnation, memory’s unclear, might have been pink. Metaphors were everywhere, even down to the bag of two-day-old sunflower seeds he coddled in his lap. Both left and right corners of it had been opened, respectively he’d torn open the right and she (equals gone equals heavy equals forever) the left. He was commenting aloud to himself on the differences between them in an act so insignificant as the opening of a small bag of seeds. Her side was clean and precise; his was just a big rip.

He was not thinking of the sea.

So why then should the sensations of a beach possess him? A slow transformation from the heaviness of gray to the (if he might steal a moment from Kundera) UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS of the deep blue sea. He was the water seeping with rhythm into already moist sand, and he was sound: the calls of gulls skip-flying atop the sand, leaving shell-like prints to mark their flirtations with the earth. He was froth on someone’s toes. Those feet left prints as well, a single set weaving out and in with the surf. They were his. He tried to shake these sensations off because they felt bone-crushingly lonely. But the damage was done and pretty quickly melancholic lamentations wafted throughout all conscious lands.

Well. . . He could start singing Michael Jackson songs and find himself in need of tissue, y’know, like, She’s out of my liiiiife. . . (sniffle). Out of my--


Louder, say it. ‘Cause ther ain’t no wasy (Look, can’t spell. Whoa, is this a sign or what?! Always happens when the game’s afoot. A ray. Of truth.)

Consider him guilty.

“Do you understand, sir, the import of this trial?”

“Sir, I do not,” came his reply.

“Witches are a fancy. What say you to that?”

Templar’s grin: “I’d have to agree there,” he answers, picturing her laughing silhouette. She danced upon the wharf in the night and shined brighter than the Northern Star.

“It is the impression of we assembled that you make light, heretic.”

“Bloody objection! He’s already got me guilty!” protests Templar. Unmoved craggy faces stared down on him like stone in high places. He glanced at each fop’s face in their balcony roost. “I see,” he says.

“Do you? Pray tell us, what do you see?”

“I could’ve done things the primal male but I didn’t. Could’ve done it through a gauzy haze. But I didn’t. The opportunity was there but I. Did. Not. Do. It.”

“We’ve witnesses.”

“Look, maybe I wanted to, OK, and Heaven knows I’ve been held sway by temptation more than once, but in this case I swear my innocence!”

“Yer lying through yer teeth!”

“All right! Maybe I am! You’re of flesh and bone, man, how can you blame me? You weren’t there, you don’t know. . .”

“You admit your crime,” the foppish barrister sniffed.

“I admit nothing. And further state that no crime has been committed. I concede to the dreams, but have you yourself not dreamt? Have you not known the stabbing pangs which fuel all life? Do you not know how often a man is driven by thoughts of all things female? You’ve not even faced me with a binding motive! Motivation? Her simple existence alone is motivation, and if we’re to go by that then I should definitely have some company on this stand. Oh, you hypocrites. You fearful heathen. Sin just short of selling your souls and still think you’re fit for saving. Have you never known a sensuality so seductive that sex was an afterthought to orgasm? I’m talking about more than temptation. I’m talking about, I’m talking about , yes, you understand, the airy feeling you get behind your eyes that’s always a sigh or the cusp of a thigh--”

The fop tried to assert himself, having lost a measure of control, which fact did little for his consternation, beginning, “I hardly--”

“Definitely moving towards something, do you mind! Risk, ladies and gentlemen, take that risk even if you’ve got to whittle it down to its most nominal before you do so. You’ve already pegged me as a heretic so I’ll prophesy this much for you: I’ve seen the future and it will be long. Pack a lunch. But there are no guarantees. So much beauty but that doesn’t mean love. And love doesn’t mean last. Ah, but lips are a joy especially when their little corners turn up, which forces the eyes and cheeks to light up, and just seeing that sight fills all the shadows with such a powerful glow that you have to restrain yourself from jeopardizing that joy. Gentlemen, if you’re wanting a crime then I present you with this: she smiled at me and I dared think of kissing her--yes, merely a smile. Simple yet eloquent and always close to something wonderful. As for the other, she’s no more a witch than I am a saint, and I should be more suspect had I not been seized heart and soul to commit that rash fancy. There’s the more cause for worry. That was all to it; just a kiss. On the cheek, for God’s sake. The rest I swear I know nothing about.”

“You swear that was the extent of it?”

“Am I to be held guilty, sir, for what goes on in my mind?” Templar asks wearily.

The Muses clapped. When that wasn’t enough they rose to their feet. White and red roses rained about him center stage. Sweat dripped from his forehead from the exertions of the play and unbeknownst to the cheering throng he wished they’d bloody well sit down so he could get out from under that damned spotlight and head for the mountains. Go somewhere and think about the trivia of circumstance. Templar looked off the to side, moving only his eyes, to see the stage manager enthusiastically giving the signal for encore. What more was there to do!? Mephistopheles was not his name; he had no more tales to tell. He could dredge up this or that but surely they’d seen it all before?

Then the idea hit. After the curtain fell Templar motioned the prop man to his side and instructed him to gather together a perfectly mathematical white board, one inch thick by three feet wide by nine feet long, some paints, and a stark black tripod.

When the curtain rose to a hush the stage was clear of everything save the performer, who stood just outside of and to the side of the spotlight’s circle as if waiting. As if not quite ready. A second spot then shot through the darkened theatre, landing in the wings, stage left, illuminating the frightened prop man, signal that he should move. He wheeled the tripod across the lonely stage, the spot on him and him alone all the way, Simon Templar still off in the darkness, and when he reached the midpoint between stage left and Templar he stopped and stood to one side of the board, revealing the multi-colored message painted across its length:


The spotlight stayed on the sign. The prop man walked to the front of the stage, climbed down into the orchestra pit, went up the steps to the right, then walked straight up the center aisle way all the way to the theatre doors, which he opened, stepped through, and closed without once uttering a sound.

“Or perhaps as part of a design,” Simon Templar said when the click of the doors faded, his voice carrying through the hush. He did not step into the light; rather, the light moved to envelop him. “Fancied I’d be devastating, and prithee listen, I was. Fancied a song. Or even a Bogart send off for some future goodbye. Me with my roguish grin and soulful eyes, her with her heart in hand and a stiff upper lip. No rampant, rhapsodic emotionalism. Just a touch of honesty behind whatever words there were. Fog would roll in through an open window. The lights would be dim. Inside I’d be screaming, ‘I could make you happy every goddamn single day of your life!’ but on the outside she’d hear something wistful, something unthreatening and meaningless: ‘We’ll always have Paris,’ he said. His hand wavered, hesitant. Should he touch her?” asked Templar of the audience. “Would she know what that touch meant? But there, it was done. The back of a finger brushed against her cheek. It moved--” His hand fluttered to his chin and stroked lovingly-- “to her chin and rested a second as if it meant to linger. Too soon it was gone. And all the while her eyes had been on him though he could not (though he burned to!) look into hers. ‘C’est la vie,’ she answers. Around them, out the window, a slow rain mists.”

His hands had moved to caress one another without actually touching, more like caressing the air contoured between them. This was done intensely and feverishly, always a different motion, a different position, a varying speed, single-minded, self-centered-- His breathing became quicker and quicker, sweat again trickled his brow-- so absorbed and delicious, and... and...

“Oh, God! I see stars!”

The audience jumped.

“It’s full of stars. That’s what I told her but she didn’t quite understand. You’ve got to have patience if you’re going to count the stars. I told them that. Why the fuck didn’t they understand!? Why walk away looking over your shoulder like I was a stranger, convincing yourself that a stranger’s tears are nothing but water? I wish I was a whirlwind so I could smash up my room and be unafraid of the true function of anger. Oh, like a vessel I burst; like a vampire I thirst, Oh, definitely moving towards something. Landing flaps are down and I must ask you to remain awake until the aircraft has come to a complete stop. Now it can be told: the meaning not Of but IN life.

“I watched a man once beating himself with a switch. He had no clothes on. This was in a lavatory. This wasn’t very long after I’d ended something quite unique with the only one who fascinated me, so I wasn’t very tolerant. I took the switch away and broke it. He looked at me as though I’d dared slap him. He was crying. Trapped like amber in each tear I saw the tiny image of what he had lost: his wife to the dreaded disease indifference. ‘Well, you get no sympathy from me, mister, and I’m damn well not going to take responsibility for you. Get your ass dressed.’ As he fumbled about I told him to stop acting like there’s no tomorrow; Use his pain and sorrow to fill him up with power. Jabbing him in the chest with my finger I said, ‘If you’re going to partake of it then herein’s the sweet and sour, herein’s the only worthwhile endeavor. The heart. The beat of the heart, mister. If you want punishment just count the beats, ‘cause it’s ticking down and life doesn’t get any more painful than that.’ He started asking me stupid questions and I asked him just what his name was. He said Picasso. Might’ve been Van Gogh. ‘What’s it all for?’ he says, ‘What does it mean that I am here?’

“ ‘Art is in the doing of the thing, not the thing itself! Hell, man, even I know that. It is not something to be discussed or imparted, not something to be explained. Why else an artist demurs if a work is praised? He knows that the important part has been done, that the artistry in the work has been selfishly consumed. What’s it all for? Well, hell, asshole, it’s for you!’ And I kicked him out of the lavatory for interfering with me pee.”

Templar stepped out of the one spotlight, which remained lit but did not follow, and went to the sign on its tripod. Standing in front of it, arms akimbo, the dreaming man’s shadow fell across the quickly written directive.

“I suppose you can’t separate one from the other. Like juggling, isn’t it? They think you’re juggling three balls when you’ve only got one. Love is God. God is love. Art is life. Aye. Love’s more sweet than sour, nothing weird about that, even if, damn, you don’t even know my name. Even if she can think up at any impromptu moment a thousand reasons to be contrary, or why flowers shouldn’t be picked, or why sugar shouldn’t be licked. . .or why, why, Why must I be the one you run to? I don’t know but I, I think I--” He gave a little twirl and soft shoe. “Can dance if I want to. Oh, to be able to dance. To express with body as mind. Wonderful! To twirl and shake and fall and slide and twist and glide, all with you in my arms anticipating my every move. Dancers fascinate me, the ones who create. I like watching them. Emotion is art. Art is emotion. Ability to feel is the greatest gift humankind has to offer humanity. Dance with me into the essential void, the light fantastic. Emotion through movement logically obtained. Dance with me-- Oh. Wait.” He stopped, dropping to his knees and seeming a little embarrassed.

“Look at the time. I am sorry but. . .” he paused, he shrugged, and the one spotlight went off. “I’m free.” Then he dropped prostrate to the stage floor, below the light so that the Muses were left with nothing to look at but the large spot lit sign on an otherwise darkened stage, very colorful but simply not that interesting that they would sit there for very long.

The very final dream. As if he expected them to believe that. Perhaps for now. Perhaps for the night. But there’s always tomorrow. The room clears after this one.

A Blip In The Universe

Before part 3 explains Life,the Universe & Everything (we miss you, Douglas Adams) in story-form, I have to address something: There’s a Dogspace. There’s a Dogspace. I kid you not. A "MySpace"-like thing where people can post pictures up and create member profiles…for…their…dogs. I kid you bloody @#*%#ing not. We are so completely batshit lonely that not only do we crave these weird-ass virtual “friends” online everywhere but our dogs need them now too. Is gross/stupidity the absolute requirement of the day, where everything that can be seen begs to be seen???

I don’t wanna know about your @#*%#ing dog. I did MySpace for 2 seconds as a lark; got on Facebook thinking it was beneficial-—it is not—-and, by God, the first time I get some random Twitter on my phone (I think I’ve got email function on it, I don’t know) from somebody I haven’t spoken to in 3 months asking me what I’m doing or telling me they’re going out for Whiz and bread…There…Will…Be Blood. I will go all Daniel Day-Lewis upside some crazy mofo. Reach all the way back to a tomahawk, some Mohicans and “No matter what happens you stay alive! I will find you!”—because if anyone’s gonna be the one to beat your ass, I’m gonna be the one to beat your ass. “Go ‘head,” I say with my one eye twitching, “Twitter me. Twitter me bad.”

MySpace. YouTube. When Schwarzenegger comes back butt naked to make sure humanity is doomed he’s going to realize it’s a wasted trip; coulda stayed home and watching cyborg porn.

Twitter? Twitter deez! said the poet to the pastor. Twitter deez!

1) Reality has become the exclusive province of television. 2) The populace is now so stupid that becoming interesting is really too much of a bother. It’s much more preferable to hit Second Life and pretend we’re Astaire on the ceilings of our foreheads. Technology does not serve anymore, brethren. It is marketing itself to create itself. Butt Naked Arnold Machine ain’t looking for John Connor, it’s looking for Market Share.

Dogspace. Social Networking at its best used to be sitting around dissecting the latest episode of Twin Peaks to blow your mind. Or deeper still, saying hi to a pretty lady and being able to carry a conversation with her for five to ten minutes without running out of steam. Social networking used to actually involve people. I ain’t a person on the computer. I am Thor, master of the Willy that brings both joy and thunder! Over there somebody’s Albert Einstein by way of Paul Newman, Cindy Crawford if you squint real hard and completely forget what Cindy Crawford ever looked like, totally over their father fixation (the fact that 18 of her 39 “friends” have monikers like Daddydat69, HopOnPopWhyNot, or WhoArtInHeaven means absolutely nothing) and lastly and leastly over there somebody took time out of their day to create a member profile for their dog on Dogspace, and invite other people/dogs to be their dog’s friend.

Let me repeat that. Listen closely. There are dogs (get the mental picture) that have member profiles on myDogspace.com.

I can just hear the ghosts of dinosaurs laughing at us. Frickin’ T-Rexes with their spastic little arms unable to text worth a damn. I’ll be damned if a dinosaur laughs at me! I am not part of the Matrix! I will not be engineered to be a part of everything without being a part of anything.

I will run naked through the streets and make love with my wife in the Pope’s guest quarters. I will leave my cell phone at home in a drawer on purpose—-not charging; let the sucker die of starvation!—-and walk outside without shaking.

Lord help us.

Pet lovers? I understand you. I had several dogs growing up. They’re wonderful. Make you feel like God in the garden. Pick up a ball and randomly toss it all the way to the end of the yard? His crazy ass will run it back tongue looping and tail wagging every time. Maintenance ain’t that hard either. Feed ‘em. Play with ‘em. Keep ‘em from sniffing diseased butts. They’re basically children except there’s no chance they’ll grow up hating their looney fart of a parent. Unless you are looney, in which case dogs will run away. You’ll never know why. You’ll think it was a dog thing. Lassie, come home. But Lassie knows crazy. And crazy is not a reliable source of food.

Never fuck with a dog’s Alpo.

Can I ask this: who cares what kind of dog you have? Who needs to see those cute pictures? Who gives a rat’s ass that your dog sits at attention whenever America’s Funniest Pets comes on? I’ll tell you who: crazy, looney folks like you, you Dogspace-using tool of the idiocracy. There are a lot of you, but dammit, that doesn’t mean you should have access to technology! The Amish aren’t sitting around mailing sketches of their horses to one another. Hobbies? Fine. I like Star Trek. But I’m not about to give my imaginary Tribble a page on Tribblespace. Hell, I don’t have an imaginary Tribble. If I did he would kick your Dogspace ass beyond Antares.

Comes a point when the unnecessary becomes the ridiculous. Just because you can...doesn’t mean you should. Can we stop pretending useless, idiotic things are actually beneficial in some synergistic, marketable way? Must every bit of cool technology start out as something annoying? When I was a kid I wanted a communicator and tricorder so badly I’d have gone to church for them. Thanks a friggin lot Verizon and Blackberry! Communicators and tricorders were not meant for douches! They were for Kirk and Spock, dammit, men of action. Heroes. Heroes who needed heroic things. When they perfect transporter technology and fake-accented spokesmen are able to beam themselves directly into the homes of every American for ten seconds a night during mandated commercial breaks in every dinnertime, I will personally allow rabid squirrels to nest in my pants. On a nightly basis. Then I literally won’t have the balls to keep myself from going nuts.

Amen and good night.

Use the net for what it was created for. Sweet, blessed porn. That’s irony, son. Use it as you would a dildo in an elevator. Sparingly and with great precision. Woof.

Perhaps Lemmings Want To Fly...

Full Blown Rant: If there’s one thing we’re pushed to do these days it’s talk, and there are too many people who think writing is simply the physical equivalent of talking. I have no intention of being nice. Being nice means people who would be better off starting a garden or joining a gym are instead filling the world with useless, incorrect words. To ninety-nine percent of the ever-growing hemorrhoid of people considering themselves writers: you’re not. If you’re writing just for you, that’s one thing, but if it’s out there, whether blog or ebook or random post on Why My Dog Is My Lover and it’s all about how you have been passion to be a writer since high school and you feel that it is your opinion that in your words you are blessed to have peace that your writing... Damn. Let it go. Pick up a book, any book, read it, enjoy it, love it, then come back. We’ll wait.

Main problem is writing is a verb, so people think that when they’re writing they’re “writing.” No the hell. If doctoring became widely used as a verb, would folks decide putting a Band-Aid on constituted doctoring? Writing is a profession. It’s not some grand, democratic, all-embracing activity that welcomes anyone with the desire to join the fold. A bad writer rarely becomes a good writer. A good writer can become better. And a great writer, well, those are few and far between. There’s the physical act of writing and there’s the mental discipline of being a writer. Art used to be something special. Now it’s American Idol and everybody with a computer trying to write Hankty Bitch 4: Rise of the Deceptive Hoes (African-American community, can we finally put to rest anything remotely “ghetto fabulous”? Brother is begging). How do we appreciate an artist’s efforts when we wrongly say “Aw, we can do that” when we can’t?

Dig out the album “Around the World in a Day” and listen to “Pop Life” again. It’s by Prince, you ignorant sonsabitches.

We can wait.

I’m passionate about music. But I’m not about to stand up and make myself look a fool thinking because I can play the opening notes to “The Beautiful Ones” I need to perform. I can air-guitar like a mofo, but put a real guitar in my hands and watch it spontaneously combust. Somebody says to me, “You can’t sing,” I don’t get offended; hell, I can’t sing. But I do sing. I’ll bop around my house trying my best to hit a baritone and melt my wife’s draws off like the second coming of Barry even though I sound more like I need to take something for a cold and lie down. A lot of y’all out there cannot write. That ain’t harsh, that’s truth. And you don’t get points for trying. That’s what’s wrong with the world, everybody wants the right to fail in flames of glory but get points for trying. No. Not when your lack of preparation guaranteed you were going to fail. Let’s stop coddling ourselves, people. Do what you wanna do but be who you are. A writer is somebody whose words coil around your mind like somebody who’s studied the Kama Sutra and is itching for the final exam. If they take you where you’ve been it’s only to show you what you missed, but more likely a good writer is taking you someplace you might not have thought to go.

I’m not trying to dash hopes and dreams. I’m trying to be honest. If you’re more concerned about what picture you post on your online writer profile or cutesy screenname you come up with in order to show the anonymous world that you have a fabulous personality, than with wondering whether you’re offering anything to the stew by showing what you wrote, then, no, you are not a writer. President Obama had the word “elitist” thrown at him a million times during his campaign. What’s wrong with being elitist? The incorrect perception is that it automatically excludes ninety-nine percent of us (yes, I’m making up figures) from playing in the reindeer games. And if it excludes, it’s bad, right, because that’s how the Man keeps us down! Fight the power! Lovely people, to borrow the old expression, that’s some fatback bull! Elite doesn’t mean stay out, it means come on in, but wipe your feet and turn off the cell phone and keep your kid from climbing on top of the dining table and be prepared to be intelligent. And nobody out there (all three people reading this) better pretend America ain’t the dumbest it’s EVER been. Black folks, come here, come here: Listen. Slaves. Yanked across an ocean. Separated from families. Split from their native languages. Getting the daily beat down in America. What the hell’d they do? They learned other languages—-not the least which was ENGLISH—-so they could communicate. What other languages do you know? Besides “Papi”?

But I digress.

I’m elitist. I expect a certain level. Not that I won’t eat some fast food like it’s Pam Grier on a summer day, ‘cause I can tear the hell out of a Wendy’s double, even when it’s stacked up all weird by high school girls too busy flirting in the back to pay attention, but I will turn away from that in a heartbeat if somebody is firing up shrimp and mushroom peppers with baked sweet potatoes. Elite doesn’t mean keep out. Elite means you ain’t there yet but the door isn’t locked. Like I said before, we used to appreciate good music. We expected Earth, Wind & Fire to pronounce from the gods; we heard lyrics full of emotion, metaphor, beauty—-hell, damn near literature!-—and we felt something. We felt the artist respected us. Artist brought his A game. Otherwise, it’s an insult. You better not tell me Usher’s “Make Love In This Club” will be on rotation 30 years from now in the same block as the soulful anguish of the man singing, “I want you but I want you to want me too.” I will kick you in the balls.

Don’t play with something you should cherish for life.

Love your art, and it will show love.

For those who want to learn about writing as a hobby, cool. Nothing but applause. Gardening, hitting the gym: same thing. Hobbies are the playground of the elite. (And for those of you thinking elite means money: I grew up in the worst ghettos of Detroit; we moved around about four different times before I hit sixth grade; the neighborhood drunk—-when he was sober-—taught me to play checkers; I know poor and I know ghettoes, and I knew then—-as I do now—-that a ghetto ain’t a place until it’s a state of mind.) But don’t write awful shit thinking somebody needs to see it. Write it, then put it away, then go out and meet somebody. Be a part of the world. Have no fear. Don’t think you’re a writer till you’ve put in the work to be a writer, same for any profession. Writer, doctor, musician, farmer, basketball player, film maker, reporter—do what you wanna do, but be what you are.

“I know I’m no poet, but I don’t wanna blow it. I don’t care to win awards. All I wanna do is dance, play music, sex, romance; try my best to never get bored.”

If you feel all right let me hear you sing. Yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh-yeah!

(Intermission. So we’ve got writing, art and Pam Grier: definitely moving towards something. I plan to hit you with a story in Act 3.)

Monday, November 15, 2010

It's Only Obscure If You Forgot To Open Your Eyes

Bear with me. I'm trying to cobble a few things together, bring in some old words with some new. Writing is on my mind. The art of it, the commerce of it, but mostly the art. Since there ain't but 3 people reading this, I'm ringing the bell. School's in. The topic: "If You Aren't Willing, Or Able, To Put In The Work, IT WILL NOT LOVE YOU BACK." This counts as 100 percent of your grade. Show all work.

Another fine writer coined that solid sentence. That sentence is hard as a rock and warm as gold. Read it again, dammit, while I go fantasize about Rosario, which I haven't done for a minute.

"If you aren't willing, or able, to put in the work, it will not love you back." -- Warren "Nuttin' But A G-thang" Bonner

That right there, chirren, is truth. And it applies to all of life. That's what truth does. Truth is like greens juice on your plate: soaks up in everything regardless of whether you want it to. Whatever you want to love you in life, whether it's a career or person or the Spirit above, if you aren't willing to put in the work it will not love you back. It cannot love you back. Love between you will not flow.

Writing needs a reason. Needs a goal. We write in diaries & journals to give form to otherwise shapeless days. We write creatively to show God we're paying attention. Novels exist to share space with the Bible. Writing needs a reason to be read. I posted on deejay Michael Baisden's social site for writers a few moons ago about how sooooo many folks who don't write worth a damn are suddenly proud patriots exercising their democratic right to free speech and a quicker buck. I got a response from someone trolling the site saying I couldn't write worth a damn. I know that's not true. The reader, who I didn't know existed till then, took umbrage with the message because he was basically stupid and didn't want to admit it. Made his response a personal attack complete with snide tone. Snide can't hide. I'm not professional or anything but I can definitely write worth a damn. That ain't ego, that's truth. I didn't just sit down, put on a paper mask and say "I'm a writer." I have studied word construction, story structure, cadence, psychology; I have been critiqued left, right, up and down by writers a hundred times better than I'll ever be and I've lived to tell the tale. I've even made a few dollars writing. Publication's a beautiful thing, but there's no correlation between that and a poolside view of a Maserati and impossibly-boobed women tired of their clothes. I know I'm a writer because I've put in the work. And I know that there's no such thing as stopping putting in the work. When a person starts thinking 'This is it, I've reached the pinnacle, I don't have to put in any more work', understand this: that person is a fool. I say to myself, "I ain't the shit, but I wanna be the shit" so that I'll never stop needing to learn more.

I guess what I wanna say to all 3 of y'all out there is yes, this is my passion. This is my opinion. And writing does give me peace. But before I put something out for consumption, I stop to ask, 'What am I giving out?' McDonald's, or something grilled on the bbq with my own two hands?

Additional thought: a lot of writing isn't doing; it's UN-doing.

And I'm out. More to come soon. For now, the wife has joined me upstairs, and the internet is a dead thing compared to a soft smile. Come back though; there's a chance I just might explain the universe in 3 parts. A good chance.