Beginner Level: Eternal

November 30, 2016

Eight year wash cycle
clean brain ready – fluffed & folded –
for more stains to set renewed anew
gun oil, blood and soil
deep, rubbed in
unavoidable
Kool-Aid dribbles down the chin
pure refreshment innocent
from childhood past recalled
better days of youth and vigor
dreams as yet not unfulfilled
ah, the wonder of looking ahead
safely tucked
back in the untouchable past
Grease and Happy Dazed and Confused
That Seventies
That Eighties
That Show & Tell it how it was
how it ought to be again
clean and bleached
polished gleaming
sanded smoothly
rough edges forgotten
in memory’s beauty
of the wonderful things to come
that didn’t come
quite out as wanted
and now like as a child
who refuses failure
calling for a do-over
sad adults
unable to grow-up
unable to move forward

Blue Bin Mortician

November 28, 2016

On your expiration date
how will it be best to be
sour milk immediately disposed
dumped unceremoniously down the drain
or like a tin of past prime peas
opened and eaten anyway?

On the slab, young and pretty
flipped over, bottom up
in a position for
what I like to call
recycling run amuck.

Toothpick (Peckerwoods)

November 22, 2016

Individually
cellophane wrapped
toothpicks –
splinters of wood
used to poke, probe
and penultimately pry
impacted invaders
from betwixt dentition –
these tiny sticks
encased in plastic
like the bodies
of the recently deceased
so much care taken
to assure their sterile integrity
kept separated, isolated
never to be contaminated
prophylactics
for the world’s tiniest boners
wee damselfly dicks
waiting for the moment
to work their magic within
the befouled orifice
of our pearly white home

The Thing That Should Not Be

November 18, 2016

Time isn’t on my side and neither is space so I must hurry if I want to get this out. The phone’s at 23%. I’ll need to text fast, and there shan’t be time for proof reading. Please excuse that. I don’t mean to prostrate myself before you, dear reader. All I ask is your understanding and patience. This is a history. It’s your history that doesn’t exist yet, and it will be erased by the time you are in the time I am in. It will all be erased except for this, which will also be erased, someday too too soon, but for now, it can be, here, and only here, in the years that exist between us. Forgive my haste. The ventilation is poor in here, but soon I will be overcome. There can be no more ado. I must begin.

It was in the cash register at Antigua Bread where I saw my first gold plated dime. This was on November 14th, the night of the supermoon, the closest the full moon had been to the Earth since January 26th 1948. Normally, I’d have been drunk.
On the Wednesday after the election I’d gotten suspended from my social club, the Fraternal Order of Eagles for verbally attacking a Trump supporter. Somebody who thought fascism would be terrific for America should have been used to being called a fucking idiot, but I guess he wasn’t, and took offense to the epithet.
“What did you call me?” he asked. It’s funny how guys always have to ask that when they hear themselves get called something they don’t particularly appreciate getting called.
“I said you’re a fascist enabling fucking idiot, you fucking idiot,” I said. After much more cursing and raised voices, I was banished by one of our trustees. The trustee in question looks much like a corpulent toad and has a grumpy churlish personality that also puts one in mind of toads. Not that a toad has ever been particularly rude to me so maybe the toad comparison isn’t apt since Joe was generally ill-mannered and off-handed with club members, and non-members alike for that matter, but enough of toads and trustees. The point is, I’d been kicked out of my drinking club and therefore I wasn’t drunk. In light of that, needing something to do besides drink, I filled my evenings with long walks and paper cups of coffee rather than long sits and glasses of rye. There were other places I could have gone for spiritual fortification: Johnny’s, The York, Highland Bowl, La Cuevita, Maximilliano’s, Sonny’s Hideaway, Café NeLA, the Hi-Hat, Footsies, Block Party, Las Cazuelas, Villa Sombrero, The 5 Line, Colombo’s, The Greyhound, Folliero’s, the Hermosillo, ETA, The Eagle Rock Lounge, La Fuente, El Pescador, another La Fuente, El Arco Iris, The Offbeat, Villa Sombrero… Okay, the point is, again, that there was no shortage of beak dipperias. I chose sobriety. God help me, but I fucking chose it… I don’t know why, but I think it was to escape the new light and the coming winds, and truth be told, I wanted to get suspended. I wanted to be thrown out of the Order.
“Small Americano,” I ordered.
“Hot, right?” she asked.
“Yes, hot,” I said.
“Two eighteen,” she said. I gave her a five and tossed a couple quarters into the fish bowl.
“That looks like you might have a dollar in with the dimes,” I said helpfully, observing the crescent glint of gold in the ten-cent compartment.
“No,” she said, and excavated it for me. She held it up. “It’s a dime. I wasn’t sure if it was real, but it looks real.”
I held out my hand to her, and she passed the coin to me. It was a dime. The year on it was 2016. It was normal in every way except the color. I handed it back. “Seems real enough,” I said, and looked it up on my phone. There were Google hits for “gold plated dime,” but those hits then were different than the ones now. They’d have to be, of course, and everybody knows it, although we tend to ignore it just like we ignore the “PKD was right!” graffiti you can still see down certain alleys in certain neighborhoods where the light of that November moon failed to cleanse.
The truth of alternate universes, realities like ours, tethered to ours but different, is not accepted as fact. Scientists have conformed it. The tests confirming their existence are testable and repeatable with predictable results. 99% of the scientific community accepts the existence of Anthropomorphic Parallel Ontologies (APOs) while the laity continues to howl in derisive denial. It’s sad but expected. Furthermore, these APOs are fragile like glass bubbles blown too large, too thin, and the glassmith, so you know, has noxious breath. Our realms are delicate, small cracks are common, and the fouler and danker winds escape and seek to pollute the sweeter spheres. It’s a fact of physics like hot air rising, and as it turns out for us, our neighboring APO is one of the most vile. The universe attempts to heal the cracks; it takes time; the process is non-linear (two steps forward, one step back) but eventually, some corrections get put in place. This time however, the iniquitous exhalations that have contaminated our world may be too much for natural self-correction to mend.
The significant supermoon of 1948 was one such correction. Our world was cracked, and wars raged, proceeded by economic ruin, waves of fascism and nationalism and then more war, culminating in nuclear devastation. But as the moon of January 26th 1948 drew nearer, the world healed. It put itself back together and reparations were made for the horrors, with the ultimate establishment of a Jewish state on May 14th of 1948. The problem is, however, our adjacent universe will never depart from our company. It is our twin… through a glass darkly, if you will. It is the world where we all have goatees and where the Nazis won WWII. As the graffiti reads: Phillip K. Dick was right.
On Tuesday, November 4th 2008 the United States of America elected Barack Hussein Obama to the presidency. He was the first non-white to hold that office. He also had a funny sounding name to most of us. It was a high point for the world, and although the age that followed didn’t seem all that golden to most people, it most assuredly was, as the outlawed Spanish language would have put it, “Un edad de oro,” but as we all know, after the golden age comes “la caída del hombre (the disgrace of man).” Our disgrace had a name, but here, for the sake of decency and good manners, we will call him the Thing with the capital “T.” Preceding him there was the tHing with the capital “H,” and long before that the thing with the capital “G.” They will all, here in, remain unnamed.
On November 8th 2016, six days before the dark portent of the moon rose in the night sky, the most rotten and deplorable elements of society rose up and elected the Thing president. There were signs it was coming. Racism, xenophobia and hatred of women had been plaguing the west for years. England scapegoated immigrants, laid all its nation’s problems at their feet, and voted to exit the European Union. All of this is understandable only in light of the miasma of hate and fear oozing in from our fascist partner APO.
Parallel Ontologies are labeled “Anthropomorphic” because only human actions make any difference between them. Maybe some decisions made by lower animals can affect some minor changes, but as of yet, science hasn’t discovered any. It is human choices that drive all the dissimilarities. Otherwise, all the stars, all the planets, the quasars, dark matter, laws of light and gravity and motion of every atom remain identical. Without humankind, the worlds are pure. Unfortunately, and I don’t think I need to tell you this: we are humankind. Ain’t that a kick in the teeth?
The fascist reality was bleeding through into ours. It’s like sleeping next to a partner with bad breath. You try to keep your back to him, but sometimes maybe your shoulder is sore and you need a position adjustment so you roll over and there it is, that rank cloud of cool ranch, beer and digestive decay rolling across the pillows your way like a dense fog creeping ‘cross the moors. You turn away (ach!) but it’s too late. You’ve sniffed a snootful, and it’s done, a part of you now, internal. The world doesn’t change all at once. It’s a cancer, a virus incubating in the healthy cells and replicating. That’s an old metaphor, but it’s how it works.
More coins turned to gold until they all became that color, for the fascist Thing enjoyed the color of gold, and had the White House sided in the stuff from Fort Knox. Soon, the Thing himself appeared on the money. At first replacing only Franklin, but soon the Thing was on every bill and every coin except the dime, coincidentally, which was graced by the profile of Reagan. People could barely remember it any other way. This was all normal. It was all considered very quite normal. There was also the wall, which was there, all 1,989 miles of it. Nobody could recall it ever being built. It must have been built, an enormous, and frankly fairly useless, structure such as that, but it was as if it just was… breathed into being, and that’s how these things happen.
Women going through security in international terminals knew that part of the security process was a pregnancy test. You remove any metal items from your pockets, slip off your shoes, take your laptop out of the case and pee on a stick. If the test shows two pink lines, then it had better show two pink lines upon your return to the country or it’s old stoney lonesome for the baby killer. Roe v. Wade was overturned quite quickly, but the big obvious loophole was a woman with the means, a rich woman, (poor women were back alley shit out of luck) could board a plane to a more enlightened nation and bippity-boppity-boo, an Aperol Spritz in hand whilst lounging on the sands of the beautiful Mediterranean sans embryo in the womb. That loophole (as in where the neck goes on a noose), however, was quickly tightened, which meant you had to have considerable wealth, private jet wealth, to obtain a safe and legal abortion without the government forcefully re-impregnating you and locking you away until, this time, birth is given.
The period from 1973 to 2017 when abortion had been legal was considered a dark age, a time of immoral experimentation much as was the era beginning just after the civil war and lasting until 2019. People talked of slavery’s 154 years of absence from the United States as an experiment that didn’t work. It was largely accepted that a black man (a half black / half white mulatto born of criminal miscegenation) did ascend to the presidency, but that it was also him who very nearly lead us to our destruction: bankrupted economy, tripled debt, all time record high unemployment, police murdered daily in the streets, white people living in constant fear, mass shootings, embassies under siege, perpetual acts of terror and, of course, Benghazi, Benghazi, never forget Benghazi – the single worst radical Islamic terrorist attack America had ever seen. Thank Jesus Lord our nation’s one true God that communist coon and all his family were hung to die and rot, meat for crows, right there on the White House lawn. The executioner looked immaculate in his freshly pressed white hood. That was a golden day. A tremendous step forward in the healing of our country.
Please, excuse me. It’s difficult writing from this time. The zeitgeist has a way of possessing the words, and taking the narrative away from oneself. It was, in fact, truly dreadful to see that family, hanging there, for weeks on end as the police rounded up the African Americans from its cities and put them in chains to labor in the fields once worked by undocumented immigrants. It wasn’t always this way. I know it wasn’t. I can still find the graffiti that says, I forget, an author who wrote a book about Nazi Germany winning WWII, but all those books were burned, and the digital files scrubbed as was most science fiction. Too much of it had female characters and minorities in positions of power. People would get confused reading about such absurdities as women presidents. That was definitely something that never happened. Some people say it was about to or they used to say that, but you don’t hear those murmured rumors of a history lost as much anymore. Our neighbor’s air is filling the house, filling our lungs, oxygenating our blood and nurturing the brains that give rise to our minds. We are forgetting what once was, what used to be normal, and accepting how things are now as the only way that is or ever truly was real.
The air is thickening. We’re down to 6%. It wants me to hit delete and not send. Through the tiny basement window I can see the moon is rising, a thin waning sliver. The motions of the spheres won’t stop. Reality is relentless. It won’t accept a lie, and that things ever were any different than they are now is a lie. The meanness and coarseness were always there. The racism and sexism were always there. The male supremacy and homophobia were always there. The cruelty and disinformation, it too, never quit the human race. For a while we were afforded the luxury of rose-colored glasses. We saw by the light of a good and just moon. That light has been extinguished, and the malodorous vapors of an ideologically malicious world has come to choke us all, but I’m here to tell you, it will be all right. I’m a white man, and I ought to be fine. When the fields turn to dust and the crops fail; the white men are granted access to the best of the food supply. When the floods come and the cities drown, the white men get first pick of new digs during relocation. So, I’ll be okay. I want you to know. I understand that in the time you’re living, people sometimes worried about other people. Compassion and empathy used to be common weaknesses. We’re over it now. The bleeding heart liberal has been purged from our ranks. I was the last of their kind. I think. Or am I still? No, maybe not one anymore. I’m on the cusp, waning, about to go out, to become dark, cold and new like the moon. I must steady myself. Okay, deep breath. There. That’s better. Oh, shit. Send. Send. Send. Come on. No bars. No bars. No fucking bars. Send, please send. No fu…

Clockwork Fascism

November 14, 2016

Between two suns
in a slow figure eight
hour glass orbit
(although the sentient inhabitants
of Ghariph know of neither
“eights” nor “hours)
the planet reaches
intercept and then beyond
where the influence of Ghar
will wane and Riph rise

While bathed in Ghar’s
calming blue spectrum light
peace, compassion and plenty rule
happiness and contentment reign
scientific advancement is made
the People (as Gharian’s call themselves)
pursue pleasure
each to their own path
whether intellectual, physical, spiritual
in all
is an overwhelming sense of acceptance
and approval
from all by all
not that there were no debates
there were plenty
and they were enjoyed
in the pursuit of knowledge
philosophically and logically
but then
the jurisdiction of ascendency
as always it does
by the inevitable
motion of the spheres
those majestic clockwork heavens
transfers to Riph burning blood-red
where the Real People
(as Riphians call themselves)
abhor happiness – not their own ¬–
but that of others
laws and rules become strict
regarding the physical pleasures
schools and other intellectual centers
are demonized, defunded and shuttered
the land becomes no more
than a resource
to be plundered for profit
by any with the strength to take it
denial, avarice and hatred rule
poverty and sorrow reign
the powerful blame and mock the weak
for their weaknesses
there is warfare, hunger and thirst
fields and cities are razed
science is denied
this is how it is
how it’s always been
always will be
Gharians know this
Riphians know this
the sad Ghariphians
both know and lament
this
hoping someday
a great savior may come
and swallow whole from the sky
the foul red sun
darkening its dominion forever

Please Cease

November 10, 2016

Death’s armory endless
effective and inexpensive
ask the Gashlycrumb Tinies
if you don’t believe
what with one
valiantly against defended
two, three, four
a hundred million seven more
ready to breech defenses come
a relentless salvo
from scythe to syphilis
amoeba to anvil
the cloaked one conjures
anticipating the avoidance
countering the dodge
no rally complete to conquer
the very nature of
the end
is a kind of victory
prostrate at bony feet

Forgotten in Reverse Waiting for the Light to Turn

November 8, 2016

Adore the dead
they are you
history plants shallow roots
too easily stumbled over
stubbed toe
gravity’s pull
skinned knee
busted nose in the dirt
joints creaking
the body rises
back up from the forest ash
looking back
so easy to see
the submerged skeletons emerging
gnarled bony knots
of wood half decayed
exposed as hot winds blow
accumulated layers of fertility
dried-out sand storms
once the earth, once life
away on endless dust devils
traversing the old nation states
of men
it is what we see
it is seen so easily
it is this truth, this fact
that makes it so painful
so filthful
every time and time again
over
we do it
soon now
not to rise
creaking or otherwise

The Living Left

November 4, 2016

All in their deaths
try to give them
that that which
they can no longer do
as the living
we are the surrogates
of the dead
through us they live
by proxy
and that is what is meant
by ‘never forget’

For the beloved
of the deceased
we must be there
to join in the dance
the merriment and passion
what else are we
if we cannot offer
a glimpse of relief
from grief

More from us pours
the longer we stagger on
past the graves of others
the more we owe
their left behind
to nourish and cherish
in their absence
who they cannot
is our moral obligation
as survivors
as the carriers-on

Grant unto them
what cannot be granted
by the lost
speak and love and adore
remember their past and
lead them forward past
it
is what we do
in their deaths

Spherical Lies

November 1, 2016

Atom, that in which
ancient Greek meant
a particle indivisible
like attempting to fold
paper in half
over eight times
allegedly a limit
is achieved and if
when
such limit is surpassed
where the definition
remains the same
and the atom is split
there we voyage
into our contradictory age
where men of the new world
revert
and proclaim the Earth flat
the conspiracy of Magellan
NASA in his wake
meaning violated
logic refuted
Mercury in retrograde
the stars call for a bad day

it is our way

October 26, 2016

oaths wilt
like police
under pressure
as bullet casings weep
to the ground
cleansing the earth of fear
where they fall
flowers of terror grow