Tag Archives: war

Pretzels & Chocolate, a poem

jim-valvis

PRETZELS & CHOCOLATE

(rented room, cigarettes)

I am eating pretzels
and they are hard
but splinter into salty crumbs

with the merest bite
they only satisfy
part of my tongue

(rented room, cigarettes)

so I pick up the chocolate
greedy for it to melt
against my palate

sucking the firm square
feeling it mold to me
the way I imagine

my body molds to yours

(rented room, cigarettes)

retaining the character of sweetness
to complement the salt
to balance my mouth

I am eating chocolate
thinking of us
together

(rented room, cigarettes)

illustration mockingbird mimus polyglottos

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The Analysand, a short fiction

illustration analysand short fiction

The Analysand, a short fiction

“I’ll take your word for it,” she said.

She remembered long-forgotten moments; instances of innocence, of confidence, of hope. Her analyst wanted more from her than pages in her journal, more than frozen images which may… or may not… have actually happened. Four bundles of smooth, shiny, purple rope lay on the coffee table in his office, four beautifully coiled bundles, bound & tied with intricate, ceremonial knots. His eyes met hers; bright blue lamps of inquisitiveness and Inquisition.

“Where do you get that kind of rope?” she asked.

“I make it,” he said. “I dye it with Tyrian purple and condition it with organic beeswax.”

She kept her face neutral; curious. She’d had enough of fake tourist traps for a dozen lifetimes; boring main highways hadn’t ever led her to anyplace she’d want to stay in for long. And the sun rises even after the darkest night. And the sun sets after the sunniest day. Night has its own charms. Her wounds were on the inside… and his? His… would be healed by helping her heal her own. The rope laid on the table, gleaming & inscrutable. Her favorite violin, a Bergonzi, sat silent & helpless on her lap.

She’d been dead so long; she’d wanted her to speak for herself for so long. Her mother had treated her like anything but a daughter; pupil, instructor, heathen, missionary, ghost, confessor, beggar, heir, therapist, patient. So strike a pose; strike a deal; strike a match. What difference does any of it make: preserving body & soul is not good enough; nurture your body and your soul. Peace arises where all paths meet; crossroads for weary travelers. Fevers can burn you up. Water can heal. She put the violin back in its case.

“Okay,” she said. “It’s worth a try.” She stood up off the couch and took off her clothes.

Dr. Zhu tied her up gently, kissing her as he did. Yes. He started at her ankles, and bound her up like a trussed bird. And then he helped her lie down on his soft purple couch and began his work. Where you find the water of life, is home.

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How Art Thou Received? (a prayer for refugees)

How Art Thou Received? (a prayer for refugees)

Imagine: suddenly, without warning (because that is how war arrives) you are a war refugee! Simply running away from being murdered. And how are you received when you can finally stop running, when you are out of range of the guns, the bombs, the blood? No countries to take you. No one to feed you. You are a skeletal pawn in a skeletal game.

Embalmed corpses declare war on the living and fight for their “territory” against other embalmed corpses using armies of young people; embalmed corpses feeding on fresh, young blood.

I know something is very wrong, somewhere. It must be addressed, and addressed properly. Our prayer, our incantation, our spell to heal, must be more powerfully crafted, more distilled, more essential, than was the horrid spell we are trying to break: a tradition of might over right, strong but wrong, a spell of ignorance which has caused so much harm, and is trying to do more… powered by the love of power, the love of control over people.

The scarred parts of the heart can be replenished; the broken parts, glued; the weak parts, strengthened; the fear assuaged, the pain relieved. But the desire to change, to truly alchemize oneself, spin that straw into gold… the gold of the sun… the silver of the stars… the red planet… the North Star… primal navigation by looking not at the ground, but by looking up, to the sky… that kind of desire doesn’t visit often.

If you want to know where you are going, be sure your map is accurate, or at least doesn’t kill you. Migrating birds know this. Power & Liberation. Slave & free. Joy & Suffering. High & low.

Craving slaves, some are trying to roll us back to serfdom, only they can use our own science & technology to rape us! Serfdom: tied by birth to land. You are a pawn, a source of income; in thrall to your Lord and Master. Freeing serfs is always a struggle. Brute force arm-wrestles the human race, and brute force often pins people to the mat, but… you cannot keep people down for long. The oppressed will continue to spring up and defend their inalienable human rights. All people are created equal: including our ancestors, who existed long before the self-anointed first “private property” owners. Human beings are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, yes? The earth cannot belong to any one of us. Period. We own this planet. All of us.

 

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Why I Hate You, a poem

illustration why i hate you

Why I Hate You

You know why I hate you?  You’re a weak vine, needing to be propped up, needing more comfort than a baby.  You imagine bugs, crawling up the walls, down your hair.  Their wings whir in the night like soft sobs.

I hate you because you’re ugly — a slob, a slut, a sucker.  Because you saw your mother passed out on the carpet in front of the television, one too many times, but you didn’t kill her the way she wanted to be killed.  You didn’t help when she needed you.  Because you let yourself be unimportant for so many years and did nothing to help yourself until it was too late, until you’d already lost the war.  Peace came on unfavorable terms, the enemy couldn’t be placated.

I hate you because you’re afraid of the dark.  When you’re with a man, you lean on the solidity of his body, the real beat of his heart, you listen to his rhythmic breathing, and you’re not afraid anymore, but you start to get antsy.  His body sounds so much stronger than yours.  They don’t cry the way you do.  Does that mean they don’t feel?  Why do they want to be with the likes of you?  You don’t have the slightest idea what you want from them.  Late at night is the worst.  The stars unfold ahead of you, and you can’t find your way to the future, stupid bitch.

That’s when I hate you the most.  You’re utterly without honor.  You imagine your ex-husband, fat and happy in his bed, eating candy.  He doesn’t suffer like you do, he has already forgotten why he married you in the first place.  He is perfect.  He is way above you in the cosmos, he is light, reason.  Your life is insignificant, ignorant and small, and won’t leave a shadow.

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president barack obama is being quoted out of context by the radical fringe right, and I’M SICK & FUCKING TIRED OF THIS SHIT

illustration president obama

the full text of president obama’s speech in which he advocates FOR democracy, not AGAINST it. a paragraph is being circulated, ENTIRELY OUT OF CONTEXT, to defame him. I WON’T STAND FOR THIS SHIT.

“And it was here in Europe, through centuries of struggle, through war and enlightenment, repression and revolution, that a particular set of ideals began to emerge, the belief that through conscience and free will, each of us has the right to live as we choose, the belief that power is derived from the consent of the governed and that laws and institutions should be established to protect that understanding.

And those ideas eventually inspired a band of colonialists across an ocean, and they wrote them into the founding documents that still guide America today, including the simple truth that all men, and women, are created equal.

But those ideals have also been tested, here in Europe and around the world. Those ideals have often been threatened by an older, more traditional view of power. This alternative vision argues that ordinary men and women are too small-minded to govern their own affairs, that order and progress can only come when individuals surrender their rights to an all-powerful sovereign. Often this alternative vision roots itself in the notion that by virtue of race or faith or ethnicity, some are inherently superior to others and that individual identity must be defined by us versus them, or that national greatness must flow not by what people stand for, but what they are against.

In so many ways, the history of Europe in the 20th century represented the ongoing clash of these two sets of ideas, both within nations and among nations. The advance of industry and technology outpaced our ability to resolve our differences peacefully. And even — even among the most civilized of societies on the surface, we saw a descent into barbarism.”

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Suffering Jets, Bowling Litionists, and Peace Knicks, a fable

illustration suffering jets bowling litionists peace knicks

Suffering Jets, Bowling Litionists, and Peace Knicks, a fable

My mom’s always trying to teach me History.  She says it’s important for us kids to know all the bad stuff that happened in the olden days so we won’t be as stupid as all those olden people were.  My mom seems really mad at those olden people.  She says human beings could have lived in a “paradise-on-earth” if it wasn’t for a whole bunch of bad ideas they thought up and then were stupid enough to get stuck on.  Just as if they were GOOD ideas!  My mom thinks good ideas are real important.  I’m not so sure because I can’t always tell the difference between one of her “good” ideas and one of the olden people’s “bad” ideas, but I’d never tell her that because if I did I think she’d go nutsy-futsy just like Nadine Houck’s dad did, and then I’d be pretty much alone except for that mean bunch of kids living on that hill up from the lake.  They’re not mean so much as they are just pissed because nobody’s really around to care for them and make them read their schoolbooks every morning.

Anyway, my mom’s always trying to teach me History, and so I try to learn it.  Like today, she got started on the “god-damned East-West mutual suicide pact.”  She says that back when there were lots of olden people, (she says there were BILLIONS, but that nutso-futso and I don’t believe her), everybody actually KNEW what would happen if there was “an all-scale nuclear confrontation.”  Like, they made TV shows and movies about it, and people wrote all kinds of books and stuff, and they had big “world conferences” and all, and lots of people even made stuff for people to buy so that when the “all-scale nuclear confrontation” came, they’d have water to drink and canned peas and tuna fish and EVERYTHING.

And like people even built bomb shelters in their yards and stuff.  My mom says this is “evidence of the world-group insanity” of the early twenty-hundreds and that I should mark it WELL in my soul.  So anyways, all the olden people actually KNEW what could happen and all.  Which is real hard for me to believe sometimes. Like if my Mom and me actually KNEW that the roof of our house was going to fall in, and so we bought big steel umbrellas and helmets and stuff, and kept living right in the SAME actual house but all the time acting real worried about the roof caving in and talking like MAD about how to prevent it and all, but really not doing anything to brace the ceiling.  And EVEN having some guy show us pictures of what our blood would look like spread all over the floor.  But then we’d just buy bigger steel umbrellas and harder helmets but we STILL wouldn’t leave the house.  Damn, isn’t it hard to believe that those dumb olden people could actually ACT like that?

So anyway, the whole of Earth really, really KNEW that they were in a big pile of trouble.  But people did ALL sorts of stuff to “distract their lunatic sensibilities,” my mom says, and they’d do stuff like jump out of big airplanes to feel what it was like while all the time they just kept stocking up on the god-damned steel umbrellas and helmets.

My mom said that one time in the middle of the twentieth century and towards the 70’s some olden people actually and truly came to their senses and try to yell loud at all the “sleeping fools,” my mom says.  She says that she read all about them in college and always wondered why they quit yelling.  She says that groups of good people would get together all down in history, but that as soon as they had “achieved their one objective goal,” they would trickle down and eventually dry up.  She talks about the Suffering Jets and the Bowling Litionists and the New York Peace Knicks and that they all lost their momentum in the end.

Anyway, my mom says that HER theory of what in HELL happened to people is they had plenty of guilt, but no feeling of responsibility to go along with it.  Like they felt bad about their “sins of omission” and all, and they hung their heads about it, but what it REALLY was, was just “crocodile tears.”  Like they would say, “Gee, I feel SO guilty, but gee, if I felt guilty about every bad thing in the world I wouldn’t be able to SLEEP at night and my face would break out and I wouldn’t be having FUN and stuff.”  Like they had a mental maturity age “of about three,” my mom says.

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a critical review of equatorial rhythms, “written” by rak, former coast guard seaman

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a critical review of equatorial rhythms, “written” by rak, former coast guard seaman

Equatorial Rhythms, “typed” by RAK, is the pathetic, badly written “story” of a young coast guard seaman (who enlisted in the United States Coast Guard because he knew his lack of basic survival skills, and in fact, life skills in general, wouldn’t enable him to survive being drafted to Vietnam for even one full day, nay, not even one full hour during the Vietnam War), crossing the equator south for the first time.  This self-absorbed, narcissistic young man’s self-pitying past and dismal present intersect with the foreknowledge of his bleak, frightening, and boring future, which he will spend lying on his wife’s couch, letting her pay the bills for ten years, then suddenly dumping her after she survives devastating brain surgery, because suddenly she isn’t content to pay all the bills and be a quiet, crocheting robot anymore.  This dull, depressing “story” examines life aboard a coast guard ship, with all its gray-tinted, salty, and decaying “friendships,” petty complaints about stuff that should be barely worth mention by normal humans, the author’s unique, sadly unfunny, bathetic humor and what the narrator incorrectly terms “violence,” a couch-potato-wannabe life, clumsily contrasted with the power of the impossibly vast, eternally wild open sea:  a power and majesty the narrator will never, ever, ever understand, or even appreciate with the respect it, the open sea, is due.

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