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Francie Lynch  Jan 2016
Tagged
Francie Lynch Jan 2016
When I was tagged
As a child,
That meant I was IT.
And that's all-inclusive.
Being tagged as an adult
Means I'm profiled,
And that's a game changer.
It's childish.
Ugo Apr 2012
Dedicated to stillborn fetuses, 99 cent Malt Liquor and Existentialism
1.
Nymphomaniac tree huggers
And overweight bisexual vegetarians
Swallowing phentermine poison to stay fit.

2.
Funky fresh *******  
throwing pigs at St. Augustine’s pear tree
and frolicking abortions over Moloch’s philoprogenitiveness,

3.
While sipping barbecue sauce dipped in Lipton tea,
dancing around adhesive bonfires
reciting memories of holocaust, the Kristallnacht nights
and beautiful words suffered by ancestors lost.

4.
Inhale chicken noodle soup, with a side of Lithium,
And prance to Literacy class to combat envisionment
With free association conceptual constructions,

5.
Computerized like Prometheus’ fire burning through SmartBoards
In classrooms where the poison of heterosexual history
Is fed to boys in skirts cursed by Adam’s apple,

6.
Baptized by social norms and locked away in hopeless closets
According to the Tautology of Leviticus…
until they cut their breath by the vein of soteriology;

7.
Misunderstanding of God’s words
Covets the innocent to early graves
In biblical paratactic irony…like God betting Satan for a Job.

8.
Rub fried chicken oil on Bartholomaeus Anglicus’ skin
and soil his white pride with ***** flavor,
for revenge  On the Properties of Things

9.
and howl out in glory of victory
over totes of  lickerish piper methysticum blunts
that beg the conundrum,
'What is the origin of this world?'
'Ether,' he replied.
But it is not ether!
Nor Datta. Dayadhvam. Damyata.
It is Dada. Dada. Dada!
  10.
For this is a record of the life stories of the greatest minds and geniuses of your generation,
written in boys and girls
who mimicked Basquiat’s genius and tagged bathroom walls with abstract philosophies like “Love is a prime number” and “ the weight of Duncan McDougall’s soul can only be found on the 15th of October”
who drank vampirish gulps of Vicodin while consoling themselves with aphorisms such as: “don’t rue the misses, you don’t need a Mrs. when you’re elevated by chemical kisses”
11.
Who stood naked in mirrors, weeping, for they were a mystery to themselves, but a great talent and soon to be legend to some.
Who lit cannabis in loneliness and waltzed naked with their ghosts, fantasizing about ****** tomatoes and Corpus Christi Mexican Jazz.
Who composed psychedelic anthems from dreams that were lost in ghettoes where virginities were lost for loaves of bread, for the hunger of bread.
12.
Who wrote suicide notes on a toilet seat, contemplating the texture of Marshall Mathers’ favorite underwear and whether the color green was an invention of **** Germany.
Who used to love their lovers in darkness and colored the streets of Manhattan with rainbows on June 24, 2011 to mark the date lady liberty finally bought a new pair of glasses.
13.
Who lost musical talents to a Wine-house and ended up in a whine-house where lobotomy was subsequently prescribed by the milligram.
Who indulged in pharmaceutical vices and when asked why replied simply, every recursively enumerable set is Diophantine.
Who diagnosed themselves with “start ****-itis” and self medicated by eating Fifinellas at the stroke of each midnight.
Who rubbed paraprosdokians on their skin and occupied Wall Street in search of a new euphemism for being American.
Who poured Alkalizer on a dead moose and kicked it while feasting on the divine question, “why does Rice play Texas?”
14.
who got bored with conventional relationships and bought the Origin of the World on street corners from vixens nicknamed “Jezebel” and climaxed atop of them screaming  “I’m in Babylon, the great Mother of ******!”
Who attempted suicides upon suicides upon suicides, in Oakland, until they were shipped away to private catholic universities in Rhode Island, where the history of Colossus was being taught.
15.
who serenaded love interests with four letter curse words at open bars where Kubla Khan was read and Tartars kings were licked all over like holy communion *****.
Who drove home with the spirits of wine and crashed on telephone poles where their obituaries were written in their prime, leaving their mothers weeping and calling congress to reconsider Prohibition.
16.
Who mixed Redbull with Propofol and drank the juxtaposition galore only to be woken up the next morning dead in their sleep.
Who tattooed rat poison packages with goodwill messages such as “****** divided by Water =6th day of creation” or “Seroquel + Brett Favre = St. Patrick”,
who went speedballing with Basquiat during autoscopy and woke up wondering the cost of Nautilus in Albuquerque.
17.
who took 33 hallelujah 1800 tequila jello shots and daydreamed about laying on Mithras’ grave, yelling, beetlejuice, beetlejuice…beetlejuice.
who found the truths of the Bible invalid by the miscalculation of Pi in 1 Kings 7, verse 3, and mailed death on anthrax letters to Reagan in protest.
18.
who sat empty bellied at breakfast tables wondering the temperature of satellites at Lagrangian points,  only to soon catch fire in their tongues and speak Labyrinth soliloquies that ended in
19.
Zion,
Where Google knows every answer.
In Zion
Where the youth, tomorrow’s future, quote a ***** named Hova better than they can quote Jehovah.
In Zion
Where *******’s art was used as weapon during the Cold war.
20.
In Zion
Where sartorial geniuses where no pants,
In Zion
Where David Kato Kisule is the secret hero of these words, for he was taken at a time
In Zion
Where we were supposed to be our ancestor’s sci-fi.

21.
In Zion,
Where the youth bear the scarlet letter X for they are a problem to tradition and hold no definition for the future, for they have discovered
In Zion
That the origin of this world is in their living eyes, and not in the dictionary of their ancestors who lived
In Zion
when the epitome of the literature of life ended in Revelation of Amen and Shantih shantih shantih;
this is a record of the greatest minds and geniuses there ever was, written
in Zion
where the meaninglessness and nothingness of Dada reigns, and the trinity of life now lives in the Subject, subjective and subjectivity.
http://www.amazon.com/OLAF-Nothing-Above-Fiction-ebook/dp/B009XZ9OVY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid;=1353822133&sr;=8-1&keywords;=olaf+last+king+of+nothing
Casey May 2015
Your absence has gone through me Like thread through a needle. Everything I do is stitched with its color.' -W.S Mervin, Separation.
Not original work
train rails and switches
chairman Mao in effigy
executed, hanged
all white and pierced through by knives
cold crow calls threading the wind
cup cake clouds float past in rows
dry board walls and puttied glass
tagged and tagged again
Choka
CHAPTER ONE

My geographic movements during the past year could be called “A Tale of Two Couches.” So as June draws to a close, I assume the position here again on Couch California. I am back in Hemet, the place the smug among us call Hemetucky--as if there was nothing a couple of Mint Juleps and a **** of Blue Grass wouldn’t cure. It is the year of our Lord, 2014: so far an interesting year for women. There was a woman who wore socks to bed. There was always my long-time, here today-gone tomorrow, long time companion, currently teaching somewhere remote on the Big Rez, a southwestern Navajo concentration camp near the 4 Corners.  Next, there’s my current object of affection, that fine and frisky lady from The Bronx by way of Bernalillo--currently at home in Laguna Beach, Orange County. Trixie: my main squeeze at the moment.

And now, completely out of the ******* blue this afternoon, my cell phone rings and it’s ******* Juanita--my all-time favorite woman, Juanita Mi Favorita de La Quinta--a Coachella Valley town and desert wadi, extending its lucrative winter tourist season to become a significant, year-round retirement venue and a robust service economy feeding off it.  Juanita arrived there in the late 80s, in middle of her early forties.  She was unemployed, homeless, just a suitcase to her name and a two-year old toddler in tow. Her parents were there, as was her Aunt Peggy.  Juanita was always Peggy’s favorite niece, her favorite child, actually, Peggy herself being childless, never married.  Aunt Peggy put her maternal instincts to work on Juanita Rodriguez, her Sister Rosalia’s second favorite twin daughter.

Maria, Rosalia’s first favorite daughter, Juanita’s twin sister—MARIA: lives in Newport Beach and acts as an extra in many commercial ads shot in southern California and elsewhere, an irony never without sting for Juanita. “Que lastima!” Poor Juanita: as her would-be Hollywood Movie star aspirations disintegrated over the years, along with her unrealized lower expectations to be TV star, and even those semi-glamorous modeling gigs at trade shows and fairs—the elephant’s graveyard of the acting profession—failed to materialize, and now her celebrity habitat shrunken even further, to that sporadic but consistent mockery of stardom, I refer to any would-be thespian’s ignominious one-celled visual protozoan: The Extra Call List.  And—*******-- what happens next? Juanita’s sister Maria starts getting these parts, starts getting hired by filling out a ******* postcard, starts getting paid to look good in the background. *******: no professional education or instruction, no agent, and no need to **** off both the producer, the producer’s cousin Morey, the director and the director’s wife’s huge Golden retriever, Genghis--actually a mighty handsome animal--or needing to spill $4K on that Derma-brasion, Juanita inflicted on herself last year.

Juanita, as you already know, was the second favorite daughter and the second favorite twin of the family. She became the third favorite child in her three-child family upon the arrival of her slick baby brother Nico-- the Golden Child, who grew up to be a glib Merrill-Lynch stockbroker, office and residence, Beverly Hills 90112.  (Enter forcefully into the narrative, His Nibs himself, Sir Nicodemus of Hollywood, Juanita and Maria’s baby brother Nico. He speaks: “Excuse me, stockbroker my ***, as it says in a 11 point Rockwell Boldfont, right here on my gold-leaf embossed business card: Senior Large Capital Investment Counselor.”)

No, Juanita had a hard time just treading water in that Cleveland shark tank. And though she lacked nothing in the cuteness department, she had this one fatal flaw, namely, the gift of ***** and sass and a reflex to speak truth to power. Juanita: rejected by Rosalia as a threat to her hegemony as Boss of the Girl’s Club, was cast adrift on a tempestuous childhood cruel Montserrat sea, out there on the briny deep . . .  
                

                                      



High Seas: where many a tuna has a Sorry Charlie moment: “Star-Kist don’t want no tuna with good taste; Star-Kist wants a tuna that tastes good.”

Finally, Juanita is rescued, taken aboard the Good/Soul Aunt Peggy—that wayward bark Elisabeta Rodriguez, home-ported in Southside, Chicago, Illinois—the rescue at sea performed in classy, rather low-key manner; no Andrea Doria drama, but understated:

{Camera One, Helicopter above, zooms over turbulent ocean surface. Peggy, an oasis of calm, aboard the raft Kon Tiki with Thor Heyerdahl and his crew, floats by, whispering, “Going my way, Honey? Climb aboard. Have a homemade oatmeal cookie and a small glass tumbler of Jack Daniels.” Okay, no, that’s not fair. Sure Aunt Peggy drank, but never got round to offering you a drink until you were well into your 30s. Let’s just say she offered you a warm glass of milk, the mother’s milk deprived you by your mother, her sister Rosalia. Dear Aunt Peggy: a seasoned survivor herself, flawed by early childhood deafness and grotesque speech.  Yet, she had refused to settle for life in an asylum. She made a go at life.  She learned; she prospered; she flourished. And when the time came, she was there for you in the Coachella Desert, there for her feisty niece Juanita Ann.  Aunt Peggy: a loving spirit personified, became Juanita’s special confidant and counselor, her personal cheer squad of one. Juanita, of course, a former cheerleader herself--an early hint of greatness to be sure, a highlight, perhaps the highlight of her life, shown off every Halloween, still celebrated at American high schools each Fall. She is the Principal’s secretary at a huge suburban high school in Indio. Each Halloween, if the date falls on a school day, Juanita arrives for work wearing that scrupulously preserved, vintage 1966 cheerleader uniform, looking real foxy still, snug now in all the right places. Eternal Truth: Juanita has always and will always be good looking. Life with Juanita is perpetual “ooh la-la.”

So, I am on the couch that afternoon, reading more of Gramsci’s prison notebooks, specifically the philosophy he calls “Praxis.”  Completely out of the ******* blue, Juanita calls me on a RESTRICTED phone, as I said, Juanita, a torch I’ve kept burning for years, flaring up like a refinery flame--oil still very much in the present energy mix--hope springing eternal as they say, and instantly my mission in life is rekindling our lost love. Juanita’s conceived her mission prior to her phone call:  using me to keep her son from being whacked by the local Eme--the Mexican Mafia—that ethnic-pride social club that the RICO-squad-- using family tree socio-grams and other expensively-printed graphics, the one RICO keeps trying to convince us is some sort of organized crime conspiracy. The Mexican Mafia: like everything else practical and utilitarian in this world: THAT’S ITALIAN! And, if you are starting to sense a bit of ethnic chauvinism on, between & below the lines, you are barking up the right tree.
                                                           ­     
      
                                                            
(AUTHOR’S POST-SCRIPT EDIT: And, an ad for dog food right here? Not the best choice of sponsors, perhaps, at the moment. Juanita was far off from the ****** ***** that start looking not half-bad at 2:30 in the glazy morning, not anywhere near those beasts you find lingering in the airport bars you usually frequent near closing time on Saturday nights. No, I remind you that Juanita was all “ooh la-la.” In my next printing—and my Lord, there have been so many, haven’t there, Paulie “Eat-a-Bag-of-****” Muldoon? I will change out the Alpo ad, plugging in a spot for Aunt Jemima pancake syrup or Betty Crocker whipped cream, you know, something more apropos.)

Juanita, I really must hand it to you. You showed the greatest staying power, year after year as I moved further and further away from La Quinta, California. Juanita: you embraced what was good in me, ignored my flaws and strengthened me with your love for so many years. As far as you and Peggy, I guess it was a case of the “apple not falling far from the tree” one of many endearing Midwestern metaphors you taught me.  Peggy taught you, taught you to be kind and then you taught me. No matter what bizarre venue I pulled out of my ***, you showed above-average staying power, continued to visit me wherever I went, Casa Grande & Buckeye, Arizona, Appalachia, West Virginia, and even Italy, when I thought I’d try Europe again after so many years.  With each move, each time, Juanita renewed her commitment to the relationship. Meanwhile, I continued to test her, quantifying her dedication, undermining her sense of mission to disprove my worldview on the expendability of women. Surely, you know that one: the unreliability of women, women who disappear without saying goodbye. That old deeply etched conviction to never get attached to a woman, any woman, based on the empirical fact that women have been known to suddenly die, a fact seared into my still tender metal by the surprise death of my mother on 11 January 1962.

1962. It was already an insecure world, to wit:  The Cuban Missile Crisis. Nikita Khrushchev, in his time both Dr. No and Dr. Evil, namely the Premier whom we Baby Boomers saw as Boogey Man of All Time (Although Putin is showing potential, lately)—the Kennedy ****** (what else could you call it?). All these events scary, whether or not I got the chronology right . . . I remained on high alert for any threat to my delicate adolescent psyche.  My mother-Rosa Teresa Sekaquaptewa-died at 2 o’clock in the morning, screaming in agony while apologizing to my father for not having his dinner on the table when he walked in from work that prior afternoon. She’d already been in bed since noon, attended by two of my aunts--both my father’s sisters--who loved their Hopi sister-in-law, Rosa.  Also present was Lafcadio Smirnoff, M.D.--last of the house call medicine men--a dapper, mustachioed, swarthy gentleman, misdiagnosing her abdominal pain as a 24-hour virus, while she bled out internally for at least eight more hours, her whimpers alternated with screams, well into the wee hours of the morning.

I was upstairs in that dormer bedroom listening to her die. An hour later, Father Numb-nuts of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish teleported in, beaming directly into my bedroom from the parish rectory.  Father Seamus Numb-nuts, an illuminated Burning Bush . . . not quite the bush I ‘d conjured at other times, so many times alone with Gwen Wong, ******* Playmate of the Year, 1961, one of Hefner’s hot centerfolds. No, give me a ******* break, you momo! Whacking off is the last thing on a libidinous, adolescent guinea’s brain when his mama is being tortured and killed by God. Even Alexander Portnoy, Philip Roth’s early avatar would have drawn the wanking line at that unforgettable moment.

No, perhaps what I’d had in mind was The Burning Bush Golf Course where so much of Fletcher Kneble’s political mischief and government shenanigans got cooked up. You remember his books, some of the Cold War’s finest: Seven Days in May, Vanished, etc.

Or better yet, perhaps the greatest political slogan of the 20th century: “STAY OUT THE BUSHES!” Thank you, Jesse. “Thank you, Reverend Jackson,” I slip into my Excellence in Broadcasting mode, my very own private Limbaugh. Announcing my on- air arrival is El Rushbo’s unmistakable, totally recognizable bass line bumper, courtesy of Chrissie Hynde’s Pretenders band mate, guitarist Tony Butler: Dum, dum, dum-dum, Da-dum, dum-dum-dum-dum-da-dum-dum. Single, “My City Was Gone” by The Pretenders
Rush Limbaugh Song– YouTube www.youtube.com/watch?v=SScW9r0y3c4

I become Reverend Jackson. I emerge from the vapors, an obscure abyss of deep family pangs and disappointments, ever-diminishing public relevance and fade to black (no pun intended) and media oblivion. The only thing left is that line:  “STAY OUT THE BUSHES!” You will always own that line, Jesse--true political genius (to wit: Rainbow Coalition) Jackson that you are, despite El Rush-Bo’s virulent anti-Black animus, his predilection to mock you, Al Sharpton, Corey Booker, Barack “Hussein” Obama, and any other professional ***** in America. Isn’t it time someone came right out and tagged Mr. Limbaugh as the Father Coughlin of our time.

Meanwhile back in The Bronx, enter another man of the cloth:  It’s Seamus Numb-nuts, making one of his many well-documented spectral visitations, his splendiferous miracles and wonders. How much longer will the Vatican ignore this humble Bronx priest, this epitome of Sainthood; this reverent man, lacking only the stigmata for a unanimous consent vote? Quote the Numb-nuts: “God Works in Mysterious Ways.” An old standard to be sure, but a lovely, all-purpose bromide for explaining why evil exists in our world. Needless to say, I was underwhelmed; I lost God at that moment, consequently shooting myself in the foot--metaphorically-speaking-condemning myself to an unshielded life, life OUT THE BUSHES!  I went forth into the world without God, without that handy divine crutch, that Andy Devine metaphor for when one’s legs grow weary: a puff of smoke, a reverb twang and a nasty frog croaking “Hi-ya, Kids. Hi-ya, Hi-ya. Hi-ya.”

   Andy's Gang - Pasta Fazooli vs. Froggy the Gremlin - YouTube
► 3:55► 3:55
www.youtube.com/watch?v=H35odPm7b3w Aug 8, 2012 - Uploaded by jmgilsinger
Froggy the Gremlin -Tuba ... Andy Devine (Aug 24, 1952)

Life for me became lonely and purposeless. And probably explains my susceptibility to military discipline and a subsequent career in clandestine government service. In 1968--the very day I turned nineteen, September 25th of that year—that fateful day when I should have shot myself in the foot—literally not metaphorically--earning that coveted 4-F physical rejection, a draft deferment to be desired, that 4-F classification of unfitness for duty, a necessary loophole in U.S. conscript service law.  The Draft: last used during that great commonwealth Cold War purge, that culling out of the unwashed, uneducated children of immigrants, that cut-rate, discount, lower socio-economic ***** bank—the only bank where after you make a deposit, you lose interest, to wit: most Black, Hispanic and Poor White Trash parents.  We were cannon fodder, many of us got to be planted at Arlington and other holy American shrines, still wrapped in black or olive drab leak-proof body bags, doing our generational bit to strengthen the gene pool left behind. A debt, some would say, we owed the country and, given the sorry state of the global wicket, increasingly an obligation to the species. And if I had to predict an outcome, Fascism in America will arrive riding the white horse of the environmental, anti-nuclear Bolsheviks. One could argue that Communism has moved so far left on the political spectrum that it’s now the far right.  Concoct a legislative policy goal, accomplish it legally as the bill becomes Law, signed by the President, endorsed and blessed by The U.S. Supreme Court, the highest court in the land.

To wit: “Three generations of imbeciles is enough?” declared Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., an Associate Supreme Court Justice at the time, buttressing a majority argument harnessing the power of U.S. law as a legal means of purifying the race.  When euthanasia failed to win over American hearts and mind, the Federal Government played the war card again and again. Vietnam: undeclared and therefore unconstitutional--except for that Gulf of Tonkin ******* resolution. Vietnam: a cost-plus eugenics project, if ever there was one, although responsive, of course, to the needs of the Military-Industrial Complex.  ******* Ike: he warned us against Fascism in America. As usual, we ignored the man in charge.

Eugenics? Why didn’t the government just put all the retards on the stand, as John Frankenheimer did in Judgment at Nuremberg, a crafty Maximilian Schell humiliating a feeble-minded Montgomery Clift?  Why not, make everyone face a public tribunal, forcing all of us to testify in court, exposing our many substandard and borderline substandard cerebral deficits?  Why not force everyone to demonstrate just how ******* dumb we are, using some clever intelligence test, something l
Michael Blace May 2014
the yellow sun
was shining down
on grass and sand and waves
it was a place
where children went
to laugh
and dance
and
play.

as molly ran
and wandered off
she found a magic thing
a deep blue house
carved out of stone
in which the wind
would sing.

the other children
climbed about
and gazed into
the cave
and johnny said
“i’ll lead the way”
(because he was most brave)
and tad and tommy
followed him,
for they were big
and strong
while alice chose
to stay outside
but molly tagged along.

the dark was very chilly
and the silence, very wet
johnny shivered and looked back
but couldn’t leave
just yet.
now molly didn’t notice:
awe
and wonder
filled her eyes;
she found a solace
in the stillness,
comfort,
in the pitch black sky.

when suddenly, there came a rustle
from a hundred winged things
as dark as sin
with deep red eyes
shrieking
just like rusted swings.

tommy was the first one out
(his long legs made him fast)
then john and tad
ran into alice
and tumbled on the grass.
and when the world
had settled down,
the quiet had returned
they saw that one
was not around
and they became concerned.


but don’t you worry,
little molly
was fine as fine can be
as she uttered boldly to the dark:
“you never frightened me"
Nigel Morgan Dec 2013
A Tale for the Mid-Winter Season after the Mural by Carl Larrson

On the shortest day I wake before our maids from the surrounding farms have converged on Sundborn. Greta lives with us so she will be asleep in that deep slumber only girls of her age seem to own. Her tiny room has barely more than a bed and a chest for her clothes. There is my first painting of her on the wall, little more a sketch, but she was entranced, at seeing herself so. To the household she is a maid who looks after me and my studio,  though she is a literate, intelligent girl, city-bred from Gamla Stan but from a poor home, a widowed mother, her late father a drunkard.  These were my roots, my beginning, exactly. But her eyes already see a world beyond Sundborn. She covets postcards from my distant friends: in Paris, London, Jean in South America, and will arrange them on my writing desk, sometimes take them to her room at night to dream in the candlelight. I think this summer I shall paint her, at my desk, reading my cards, or perhaps writing her own. The window will be open and a morning breeze will make the flowers on the desk tremble.

Karin sleeps too, a desperate sleep born of too much work and thought and interruption. These days before Christmas put a strain on her usually calm disposition. The responsibilities of our home, our life, the constant visitors, they weigh upon her, and dispel her private time. Time in her studio seems impossible. I often catch her poised to disappear from a family coming-together. She is here, and then gone, as if by magic. With the older children home from their distant schools, and Suzanne arrived from England just yesterday morning, they all cannot do without lengthy conferences. They know better than disturb me. Why do you think there is a window set into my studio door? So, if I am at my easel there should be no knock to disturb. There is another reason, but that is between Karin and I.

This was once a summer-only house, but over the years we have made it our whole-year home. There was much attention given to making it snug and warm. My architect replaced all the windows and all the doors and there is this straw insulation between the walls. Now, as I open the curtains around my bed, I can see my breath float out into the cool air. When, later, I descend to my studio, the stove, damped down against the night, when opened and raddled will soon warm the space. I shall draw back the heavy drapes and open the wooden shutters onto the dark land outside. Only then I will stand before my current painting: *Brita and the Sleigh
.

Current!? I have been working on this painting intermittently for five years, and Brita is no longer the Brita of this picture, though I remember her then as yesterday. It is a picture of a winter journey for a six-year-old, only that journey is just across the yard to the washhouse. Snow, frost, birds gathered in the leafless trees, a sun dog in the sky, Brita pushing her empty sledge, wearing fur boots, Lisbeth’s old coat, and that black knitted hat made by old Anna. It is the nearest I have come to suggesting the outer landscape of this place. I bring it out every year at this time so I can check the light and the shadows against what I see now, not what I remember seeing then. But there will be a more pressing concern for me today, this shortest day.

Since my first thoughts for the final mural in my cycle for the Nationalmuseum I have always put this day aside, whatever I might be doing, wherever I may be. I pull out my first sketches, that book of imaginary tableaux filled in a day and a night in my tiny garden studio in Grez, thinking of home, of snow, the mid-winter, feeling the extraordinary power and shake of Adam of Bremen’s description of 10th C pre-Christian Uppsala, written to describe how barbaric and immoral were the practices and religion of the pagans, to defend the fragile position of the Christian church in Sweden at the time. But as I gaze at these rough beginnings made during those strange winter days in my rooms at the Hotel Chevilon, I feel myself that twenty-five year old discovering my artistic vision, abandoning oils for the flow and smudge of watercolour, and then, of course, Karin. We were part of the Swedish colony at Grez-sur-Loing. Karin lived with the ladies in Pension Laurent, but was every minute beside me until we found our own place, to be alone and be together, in a cupboard of a house by the river, in Marlotte.

Everyone who painted en-plein-air, writers, composers, they all flocked to Grez just south of Fontainebleau, to visit, sometimes to stay. I recall Strindberg writing to Karin after his first visit: It was as if there were no pronounced shadows, no hard lines, the air with its violet complexion is almost always misty; and I painting constantly, and against the style and medium of the time. How the French scoffed at my watercolours, but my work sold immediately in Stockholm. . . and Karin, tall, slim, Karin, my muse, my lover, my model, her boy-like figure lying naked (but for a hat) in the long grass outside my studio. We learned each other there, the technique of bodies in intimate closeness, the way of no words, the sharing of silent thoughts, together on those soft, damp winter days when our thoughts were of home, of Karin’s childhood home at Sundborn. I had no childhood thoughts I wanted to return to, but Karin, yes. That is why we are here now.

In Grez-sur-Loing, on a sullen December day, mist lying on the river, our garden dead to winter, we received a visitor, a Swedish writer and journalist travelling with a very young Italian, Mariano Fortuny, a painter living in Paris, and his mentor the Spaniard Egusquiza. There was a woman too who Karin took away, a Parisienne seamstress I think, Fortuny’s lover. Bayreuth and Wagner, Wagner, Wagner was all they could talk about. Of course Sweden has its own Nordic Mythology I ventured. But where is it? What is it? they cried, and there was laughter and more mulled wine, and then talk again of Wagner.

When the party left I realized there was something deep in my soul that had been woken by talk of the grandeur and scale of Wagner’s cocktail of German and Scandinavian myths and folk tales. For a day and night I sketched relentlessly, ransacking my memory for those old tales, drawing strong men and stalwart, flaxen-haired women in Nordic dress and ornament. But as a new day presented itself I closed my sketch book and let the matter drop until, years later, in a Stockholm bookshop I chanced upon a volume in Latin by Adam of Bremen, his Gesta Hammaburgensis Ecclesiae Pontificum, the most famous source to pagan ritual practice in Sweden. That cold winter afternoon in Grez returned to me and I felt, as I had then, something stir within me, something missing from my comfortable world of images of home and farm, family and the country life.

Back in Sundborn this little volume printed in the 18th C lay on my desk like a question mark without a sentence. My Latin was only sufficient to get a gist, but the gist was enough. Here was the story of the palace of Uppsala, the great centre of the pre-Christian pagan cults that brought us Odin and Freyr. I sought out our village priest Dag Sandahl, a good Lutheran but who regularly tagged Latin in his sermons. Yes, he knew the book, and from his study bookshelf brought down an even earlier copy than my own. And there and then we sat down together and read. After an hour I was impatient to be back in my studio and draw, draw these extraordinary images this text brought to life unbidden in my imagination. But I did not leave until I had persuaded Pastor Sandahl to agree to translate the Uppsala section of the Adam of Bremen’s book, and just before Christmas that year, on the day before the Shortest Day, he delivered his translation to my studio. He would not stay, but said I should read the passages about King Domalde and his sacrifice at the Winter Solstice. And so, on the day of the Winter Solstice, I did.

This people have a widely renowned sanctuary called Uppsala.

By this temple is a very large tree with extending branches. It is always green, both in winter and in summer. No one knows what kind of tree this is. There is also a spring there, where the heathens usually perform their sacrificial rites. They throw a live human being into the spring. If he does not resurface, the wishes of the people will come true.

The Temple is girdled by a chain of gold that hangs above the roof of the building and shines from afar, so that people may see it from a distance when they approach there. The sanctuary itself is situated on a plain, surrounded by mountains, so that the form a theatre.

It is not far from the town of Sigtuna. This sanctuary is completely covered with golden ornaments. There, people worship the carved idols of three gods: Thor, the most powerful of them, has his throne in the middle of the hall, on either side of him, Odin and Freyr have their seats. They have these functions: “Thor,” they say, “rules the air, he rules thunder and lightning, wind and rain, good weather and harvests. The other, Odin, he who rages, he rules the war and give courage to people in their battle against enemies. The third is Freyr, he offers to mortals lust and peace and happiness.” And his image they make with a very large phallus. Odin they present armed, the way we usually present Mars, while Thor with the scepter seems to resemble Jupiter. As gods they also worship some that have earlier been human. They give them immortality for the sake of their great deeds, as we may read in Vita sancti Ansgarii that they did with King Eirik.

For all these gods have particular persons who are to bring forward the sacrificial gifts of the people. If plague and famine threatens, they offer to the image of Thor, if the matter is about war, they offer to Odin, but if a wedding is to be celebrated, they offer to Freyr. And every ninth year in Uppsala a great religious ceremony is held that is common to people from all parts of Sweden.”
Snorri also relates how human sacrifice began in Uppsala, with the sacrifice of a king.

Domalde took the heritage after his father Visbur, and ruled over the land. As in his time there was great famine and distress, the Swedes made great offerings of sacrifice at Upsal. The first autumn they sacrificed oxen, but the succeeding season was not improved thereby. The following autumn they sacrificed men, but the succeeding year was rather worse. The third autumn, when the offer of sacrifices should begin, a great multitude of Swedes came to Upsal; and now the chiefs held consultations with each other, and all agreed that the times of scarcity were on account of their king Domalde, and they resolved to offer him for good seasons, and to assault and **** him, and sprinkle the stall of the gods with his blood. And they did so.


There it was, at the end of Adam of Bremen’s description of Uppsala, this description of King Domalde upon which my mural would be based. It is not difficult to imagine, or rather the event itself can be richly embroidered, as I have over the years made my painting so. Karin and I have the books of William Morris on our shelves and I see little difference between his fixation on the legends of the Arthur and the Grail. We are on the cusp here between the pagan and the Christian.  What was Christ’s Crucifixion but a self sacrifice: as God in man he could have saved himself but chose to die for Redemption’s sake. His blood was not scattered to the fields as was Domalde’s, but his body and blood remains a continuing symbol in our right of Communion.

I unroll the latest watercolour cartoon of my mural. It is almost the length of this studio. Later I will ask Greta to collect the other easels we have in the house and barn and then I shall view it properly. But for now, as it unrolls, my drama of the Winter Solstice comes alive. It begins on from the right with body of warriors, bronze shields and helmets, long shafted spears, all set against the side of Uppsala Temple and more distant frost-hoared trees. Then we see the King himself, standing on a sled hauled by temple slaves. He is naked as he removes the furs in which he has travelled, a circuit of the temple to display himself to his starving people. In the centre, back to the viewer, a priest-like figure in a red cloak, a dagger held for us to see behind his back. Facing him, in druidic white, a high priest holds above his head a gold pagan monstrance. To his left there are white cloaked players of long, straight horns, blue cloaked players of the curled horns, and guiding the shaft of the sled a grizzled shaman dressed in the skins and furs of animals. The final quarter of my one- day-to-be-a-mural unfolds to show the women of temple and palace writhing in gestures of grief and hysteria whilst their queen kneels prostate on the ground, her head to the earth, her ladies ***** behind her. Above them all stands the forever-green tree whose origin no one knows.

Greta has entered the studio in her practiced, silent way carrying coffee and rolls from the kitchen. She has seen Midvinterblot many times, but I sense her gaze of fascination, yet again, at the figure of the naked king. She remembers the model, the sailor who came to stay at Kartbacken three summers ago. He was like the harpooner Queequeg in Moby ****. A tattooed man who was to be seen swimming in Toftan Lake and walking bare-chested in our woods. A tall, well-muscled, almost silent man, whom I patiently courted to be my model for King Dolmade. I have a book of sketches of him striding purposefully through the trees, the tattooed lines on his shoulders and chest like deep cuts into his body. This striding figure I hid from the children for some time, but from Greta that was impossible. She whispered to me once that when she could not have my substantial chest against her she would imagine the sailor’s, imagine touching and following his tattooed lines. This way, she said, helped her have respite from those stirrings she would so often feel for me. My painting, she knew, had stirred her fellow maids Clara and Solveig. Surely you know this, she had said, in her resolute and direct city manner. I have to remember she is the age of my eldest, who too must hold such thoughts and feelings. Karin dislikes my sailor king and wishes I would not hide the face of his distraught queen.

Today the sunrise is at 9.0, just a half hour away, and it will set before 3.0pm. So, after this coffee I will put on my boots and fur coat, be well scarfed and hatted (as my son Pontus would say) and walk out onto my estate. I will walk east across the fields towards Spardasvvägen. The sky is already waiting for the sun, but waits without colour, hardly even a tinge of red one might expect.

I have given Greta her orders to collect every easel she can find so we can take Midvinterblot off the floor and see it in all its vivid colour and form. In February I shall begin again to persuade the Nationalmuseum to accept this work. We have a moratorium just now. I will not accept their reasoning that there is no historical premise for such a subject, that such a scene has no place in a public gallery. A suggestion has been made that the Historiska museet might house it. But I shall not think of this today.

Karin is here, her face at the studio window beckons entry. My Darling, yes, it is midwinter’s day and I am dressing to greet the solstice. I will dress, she says, to see Edgar who will be here in half an hour to discuss my designs for this new furniture. We will be lunching at noon. Know you are welcome. Suzanne is talking constantly of England, England, and of course Oxford, this place of dreaming spires and good looking boys. We touch hands and kiss. I sense the perfume of sleep, of her bed.

Outside I must walk quickly to be quite alone, quite apart from the house, in the fields, alone. It is on its way: this light that will bathe the snowed-over land and will be my promise of the year’s turn towards new life.

As I walk the drama of Midvinterblot unfolds in a confusion of noise, the weeping of women, the physical exertions of the temple slaves, the priests’ incantations, the riot of horns, and then suddenly, as I stand in this frozen field, there is silence. The sun rises. It stagge
To see images of the world of Sundborn and Carl Larrson (including Mitvinterblot) see http://www.clg.se/encarl.aspx
SassyJ  Jan 2017
Tagged Rolls
SassyJ Jan 2017
I was swept in the crowned dreams
on twinkled naps of assorted teams
****** in the bursts of sensual frames
of tagged rolls and engaged fumed tows

Tell me why snippets of times entertain?
as they crucify indeed they always retain
the flow of sustained growth fly away
as it lays it's sweet sullen kiss on my lips

Set me free at the shrine of the not wants
Set me free at the harvests of that November
where traces of raced long hard road smiled
with whispered voices of untuned memories

I am always swept into thorny realms
inside the stained map of their stolen hints
suckling their ***** summery adventures
of tagged rolls and engaged fumed tows
Keith J Collard Jan 2013
Resident Facebook by Keith Collard

{remnants of a blood and ice coffee stained diary}


23april1996,

Been working at this mansion for at least four months now. Fellow co-workers are friendly enough. The pharmeceutical researchers are very pompous with their exact demands. Im in charge of the food storage and refridgeration for the mansion. It is the only modernly powered facet of this mansion. Besides the labs in the basement(from which I only heard).


26april1996,

This mansion is too creepy, the architect designed the living quarter and main facade of the mansion in a 1920 neo gothic fashion--with gas lamps and gothic paintings. Every device, even the typewriters in the mansion are old fashioned mechanical. A top researcher told me in casual conversation that these doors and clocks are more durable than current electronic means, built in the same fashion as the pyramids and stonehenge--he was pointing out all the clocks and engraved doors in the dining hall as he was speaking,while I was putting out the food. He's the usual eccentric for as these researchers go, he told me the company president paid him to design classical mantraps along the mansion and guardhouse to keep workers from straying, encrypted with runes and riddles as keys(some odd ducks).


2may1996,

Mansion workers were given each a laptop today by the head researcher Albert Wesker. This guy is like the James Bond of scientists, dashing and suave with a 9mm berreta at his side(wish we were allowed guns). He wears sunglasses--even at night. He said they experimented with a comunications app the scientists have been using to communicate expeiremental data. The only app available on there is something called Facebook, which the scientists call "fbproto."


5may1996,

The f.bproto is neat, we can watch movies , talk to eachother, and to workers at the pharmaceutical's sister facilities. Everything is monitored by the companies security admins Ive heard. The company will be holding raffles via f.bproto for staffers who could win a chance to participate in "beneficial lab trials" from ***** extension treatment to magnetic wave reducing therapy. Sounds unappealing to me...I put my name down on the site just in case.


6 may1996,Been talking to girl who works in sanitation department underneath the guardhouse, her name is Ada, she said there was an important goverment official flying in to the helipad today. She is pretty cute, and one bright light in this shadowy mansion. message from company, we should join democratic party on fbproto. whatever they say,they're the scientists.


10may1996,

Been stayin up too late posting on f.bproto,the company is posting alot of links, of visual images and sentences I don't quite understand. Ben from mansion cleanin services keeps hitting on Ada,I want to defriend him but want to know what he's doing. I put my cat in fbproto company pic contest,with everyone else who was given lab pets by the scientists, I put little gloves on her paws--Im sure to win.


11may1996,

Karl sent me a message on fbproto that he saw a researcher go into his room, and never saw him leave, and when he went to clean his room the researcher was not in there. This mansion is creepy, I mean a statue of a woman cutting her own throat with the inscription "only death shall set you free,"is that a little gloomy or what. fan of smiley faces on fbproto.;)


12 may 1996

man, the doors are like eight inches thick, solid wood, I locked myself out of my room and tried to shoulder the door in. Well, the door with its inlaid wood carving just laughed at me, it resembles a dragon or snake or someshit with two fern looking wings, red and blue. Spooooky stuff. I had to go get the security admin for the mansion staff living quarters. He unlocked the door, and told me that all the doors are solid oak. I asked him what the words at the bottom of serpent meant, he said it says in latin “ the two wings of the beast are red and blue.” I asked him what the hell that means, he says he didn’t know, but that it has to do with the research the scientists are doing.

I stayed up almost all night on fbproto, at first because my shoulder was killing me, but then it went away, and I kept finding myslelf with a ciqerette in my fingers all the way burnt down and my skin charred, geez, fbproto really takes your mind off things, especially this mansion which reminds me of a sepulcre. That Dan thinks he’s hot stuff, posting himself in his living quarters in the guard house, which is better than the mansion staffs. He get’s to go to the guardhouse recreation room, his profile pic is a bottle of Johnny Walker Red in it’s high end package that looks like a coffin, that him and the guards won at dart’s. It’s not hard to win that when Albert Wesker is on your team, that guy sunk three darts WilliamTell style into the bull’s eye. He tagged me in the picture of the Johnny Walker, *******.


13 may 1996

Locked myself in the walk in freezer today by accident, forgot the code….a researcher let me out finally, and asked if I was alright, I said I was fine, he just looked at me curiously. I was in there to clean out these blue vines, that kept on growing into the ducts and stuff, kept on turning the temperature down. But I won’t lie, I had my laptop with me to pass time, but after a while I couldn’t scroll down because my fingers stopped working , so I pressed the keyboard with my tongue. Ada’s pictures kept me warm, oh how I love her…..I want her so bad.


13may1996

Had a dream about the helicopter ride in and how the dense forest resembled a corpse’s face as we flew past it fast overhead. We touched down on the helipad, and there were dead bodies in the razor wire, they were shaking as if they were in a laughing frenzy from the rotor wash of the helicopter. Then as I entered the main façade (my footstep's echos on the tile seemed to walk away and disapear into the mansion)and stepped on the black and white checkered hall floor, Albert Wesker was there, and he was nicely dressed as a bartender or sumthin, and he asked if " I wanted a ****** mary," and he was squeezing a heart into the glass, then I looked down and there was a hole in my chest where my heart was supposed to be. Then there was a giant ice coffee and dancing with a mirror to moonlight sonata….****** stuff, this mansion is getting to me.


14may1996

dan is such a ****, keeps posting pics of himself shirtless, he was given some experimental hormone from a researcher and is relleshing in it It was some form of energy drink called Red Bull.

Him and Ada are talking more. Message from company to like republican party page(whatever)Daves three eyed frog won fbproto pic contest,grrrr.


15may1996,

there's been more accidents in the mansion and in the labs below. Fred from the kitchen staff cut off his fingers today,and Ive heard through Chris' post that someone fell into the live feed area where they feed animals to their experiments. Bob put his fbproto password(instead of mansioncode) into the mechanical lock at the observatory springing a trap of spikes that spiked his hand to his head and his head to the wall, the featherduster was still in his hand(or face).;(


16may1996,

the scientist with the always grave look has disapeared, the guards said he transferred,but a fellow researcher said he was fired, shame, I liked him.

There is a plant living in my radiator, keeps growing vine-like tendrils, and is turning up the heat...230 friends on f.bproto,woot woot.


17may1996,

the company is handing out promotional ice coffee that they created in the labs to staffers via f.bproto,I wasn't picked, dang,its said to give you "10x human energy and vitality".I became a fan of Backstreet Boys on f.bproto.


18may1996,

karl found a memo from the missing researcher under his bed when he was cleaning out his room, sent me a message via f.bproto,it read that the researcher concluded that the f.b proto had negative effects on living tissue, decreased brain function,increased tendencies for violence,and not worth the sublimal control contract with the goverment, and that both pre-cambrian ferns pose to much liability for a biohazard and show signs of sentience.........hmm,im up to 300 friends now.


19 may 1996,

more accidents in mansion, Albert Wesker sent message to staffers that he was just promoted to Head of Security,and that if anybody is caught leaving the premises they will be shot. I wouldn't even dare to go out in the surrounding forest, I hear the wild dogs howlin all night amid those dense woods.just became a fan of Ace of base, they are awesome.


20may 1996,

my roomate looks like a hot messs, his skin looks pale with black blotches and he has pitch black circles underneath eyes, he's been taking the labs new painkillers, man he should change his profile pic. I poked Ada.


21 may 1996

message from f.bproto, "outside guards replaced by Hunters.".....man, def would not go out there now, I fed one of those ape reptile thingy's live feed the other day( Phil went missing, I had to do his job, always doing other peoples work), and the feed for that day was a cow, and this thing just poked the cow to death with its razor claws.

Everyone of those brute raptor things have a skeleton key has their middle razor claw, a researcher said they can hear every door open and shut in the mansion, " If you see one, turn around and go out the door you came, if you enter a door your not supposed to, well....." he didn't finish what he was saying, only walked off muttering "what have I done....".....I friend requested him on fbproto, his last post was "god forgive me." His profile pic was his mansion room, with replicas of insects and a fishtank(that is rumoured to be a model of a giant one in the basement). He disapeared soon after and his fbproto was deactivated.

Joined Labville on fbproto.;)


22may1996,

message from company, the labs are combining expieramental ice coffee,painkillers,and steroids,anyone on f.bproto can partake, and we should document how we feel and what we do on fbproto multiple times a day. Took a pic of myself shirtless, can see spine coming thru skin, and I keep catching the red plant from the radiator posing in the background, or giving me bunny ears......grrrrrrrr.;(


23may1996

went to smoke a spleef on the stone balcony, near the greeen house over looking the forest the other night, they grow all kinds of red and blue marjiauna there.....but there was one of those reptile hunter things, standing guard there, blocking the path, it screamed and almost blew my eardrums out, " okey dokie" I said, and slowly backed away and left......friggin nazis these pharmaceutical people are.

I got rid of the Labville app on fbproto, that game is too hard, I keep running out of butlers to feed my experiments, and my humans keep escaping into the woods. But mostly, Im sick of seeing

Albert Wesker's name with the highest score everytime I play......



25may1996,

Ben said he saw a handfull of scientists and guards on the helipad taking a chopper out. There is more plants decorating the halls, no one knows who put them there, some rooms are blazing hot, others are ice cold. Ben said to not go to the library, everyone who went upstairs to that room has not returned, that the blue ones have took over the cobblestone path to the courtyard where the armory is. Said he saw Kevin in the tangles running up the stone wall on the side, he had a vine going in his mouth and coming out his eye; and he said that the researchers call the red ones "evaginates," for how they trap and slowly eat you(sounds ******). Im not on Ada's top friends list anymore, angry.


26may1996,

the mansion is awash in accidents and fighting, roomate looks like zombie, others look like reptilian muscled gorillaz, others just a blur they move so fast.eyes hurt from staring at f.b proto. Moaning alot. everyone is playing "I Saw the sign" from Ace of Base. Vines keep stealing my hat, and eating people.


25...,

no food, ate cat,mittens and both hearts,gas lights out, dark,everyone walking around with laptops to see,blue fbproto reflections on walls.fml.


2aprol

took chris' ice cofee and killed ben before he took steroids,lol,ate steroids,no one cooking food, getting hungry,guards came,ate em.....bullet hole in my chest......chaaange f.bproto profile pic to facee....my quote is mooohaha... just. saying


23...,

feel strong, fast,gruntin alot, hungry, no food, ate carl, ate red plant, carved him with my skeleton clah....I hate mondays was post on f.bproto,yum ice cofee.


43

oooohhhh, lol,lol, top ada friend list, ,ate benny...b.esisde armpits....he stink.....roarrrrr......oohhh....bullel wond in cheeek....see benny in thar......moving quick......hunman bones everyware....stain carpits....helicupter....mur guards......no.....pulice.....wesker is wit em....ace of base now.....bed of blud..I wit...fur em.....fbproto sez **** starssss ......


2..........rooooooahhhhh,yum, ohhhhhhh,lol,raohh.fml............[rest of transcript unintelligible]
Peach  Sep 2014
Drunk
Peach Sep 2014
Their lips and memories soaking in *****
And dead intimacy that they try to revive.
Alcohol burns the throat, but numbs a heart’s bruise.

He drinks to flood his sober blues.
She peers into her cup and takes the dive.
Their lips and memories soaking in *****

Bodies twist together, as they confuse
Passion with a polluted *** drive.
Alcohol burns the throat, but numbs a heart’s bruise.

Loneliness tagged on their souls like tattoos,
But in a whiskey glass true love cannot thrive.
Their lips and memories soaking in *****.

He counts the number of girls he screws.
She kisses in order to feel alive.
Alcohol burns the throat, but numbs a heart’s bruise.

No concern for dignity that they are eager to lose,
Artless *** as a means to survive.
Their lips and memories soaking in *****,
Alcohol burns the throat, but numbs a heart’s bruise.
JJ Hutton Jul 2013
The first time a man ever pointed a gun at me and asked me to love him was at Granny's Kitchen in Greensboro, North Carolina.

The waitress, a soft spoken white woman with her hair pulled back in a bun, had just dropped off my plates --- a simple mix of scrambled eggs, two pieces of greasy bacon, and a short stack of pancakes. Now, no matter how cheap, I always feel like I'm cutting loose at breakfast places for the sheer abundance of plates. While I'm sure the eggs and bacon could have shared real estate, each component had its own china.

The waitress lingered at my table, her fingers fidgeting with straws in her apron. I made eye contact. Well, my eyes contacted hers; she was staring at my lips.

Sure I can't get you something to drink? she asked.

This was approximately the tenth time she'd made sure. She was uncomfortable that I had supplied my own beverage -- a Big Gulp. But even more than that, she was uncomfortable by the deep red stain taking over my lips. Contents of the Big Gulp: merlot, boxed.

(That is an unnecessary detail. I've only written it so I never do it again.)

Before Greg hopped up on a table and announced to the restaurant, If I could have your attention, my name is Greg and this will only take a second, blah, blah blah, I poured a copious amount of syrup on my pancakes. Then I moved the bacon to my pancake plate. In my experience, very little in this life is better than syrup on bacon.

I shut my eyes for that first bite, just like the commercials. The syrup dribbled a bit onto my beard, and when I opened my eyes, I discovered it had also landed on my shirt. I grabbed a napkin. Heard a chair slide backwards. I started with my beard, peering around the diner, making sure no one saw. I think I heard someone gasp. But I was busy, working that napkin then against my shirt. Jesus, I thought. My grandma, who's got a splash of the Parkinson's, could eat with more grace.

If I could have your attention, my name is Greg and this will only take a second, a very official voice boomed behind me.

I turned around to see if I recognized him as one of those cuffed jean-sporting, wild plaid-loving NPR hosts. He wasn't one of those. He was a sunburn with mop hair in a black tank top and hemmed jean shorts. He did, however, have a cleft chin. That's actually worth noting. Don't see a lot of them these days.

I know you guys are busy, he said. I know that like me, you guys are probably broke as hell. I mean no offense Granny's, I love this place, but it ain't exactly four stars. Or three. Anyway, all I want from each of you is five dollars. If you ain't got five, give me four. Ain't got four, three. And so on.

He started with the stringy Japanese couple on the west side of the restaurant. Nobody really seemed scared, not the freckled brat in canvas sneakers, not the liver-spotted gentleman with a copy of that day's paper.

My old friend Jerome used to say that white folks are the only romantic criminals. He tacked it up to that whole Bonnie and Clyde crap. Greg, it seemed, was privy to that information, too. He smiled and thanked each person as he robbed them of a few presidents. The victims, smiling back, seemed to be thinking of their names tagged at the end of some newspaper dialogue. A few even gave more than he asked.

Here, take fifteen. Times will get better.

Aren't you just a charmer.

It was all very moving.

So he gets to me, and of course, I don't have any cash. I carry a debit and an arsenal of credit cards like a normal American. I don't know how he made it to me before running into this particular problem.

No, I don't have one of those iPhone card swipers, he said. Well, you gotta give me something.

I offered a gift card to Harold's Clothes for Men, it had like two bucks on it, but he wasn't interested.

What's your name?

Henry.

How much do you weigh?

Enough to keep me prohibited from most amusement park rides.

I like you, Henry. Well, let me ask you something. Have you ever loved a man? he asked, pointing his smudgy revolver just past my ear.

I shook my head no.

Me neither. I've always been curious, though. You been curious?

There was a time when I was thirteen -- Blake Hinton was changing after basketball practice -- and I remember thinking, that is an incredible chest. These lines just sprawled from his sternum, lines leading to these almond *******, and I specifically remember wanting to eat them like, well, almonds. But that hardly counts as curious. So, I said, No.

To which Greg responded: Get curious, boy. You're coming with me.


In the spirit of honesty, I was in a bit of a haze before Greg made me climb into his beat up Cavalier. Not just from the Big Gulp brimmed with merlot, no, I hadn't slept in two days prior to the whole gun-in-face incident. Reason being, I was, as Greg would say, broke as hell, and the rent was due. I stayed up both nights conspiring (and drinking). So, really I was pretty thrilled to be kidnapped away from the whole situation.

I had visions. I guess from the lack of sleep. Maybe they weren't visions, maybe just dreams, or fever dreams, I don't know. All I know is I blinked, and we were in the Appalachians. And there was a grey longbeard in the backseat rattling on and on about how change is easy, movement is easy; it's that whole nesting thing that takes courage and strength, blah, blah, blah. I told him to be quiet. Greg told me to get some sleep. I blinked.

We were in a karaoke bar in Madison, Tennessee. There was a gin and tonic in front of me. I took a drink. There was a water with lime in front of me.

Greg asked, Where did you go?

I told him, your dreams, trying to be cute. He turned and asked the bartender for a Yeager bomb. Reaching for the server in -- granted -- an overly dramatic gesture, I said, Make it two. We made it three. We made it four. Seven. Then some vague, but perfect number, because my head rang right. The words came right. And I was a journalist, asking Greg all the right questions.

I'm not a criminal, he said.

I was just bored, man, he said.

You see, I was in a rut, he said. Last month I put up a personal on Craigslist. I know, it's pretty ******* desperate. I've read the kind **** people put on there. But mine was different. I just wanted some time with my ex-wife. Some couch ***, you know? We hadn't done it on a couch since I dropped out of college, and I hadn't even really thought about it until a couple weeks after the divorce. Then it was all I could think about.

A black woman, whose teeth glowed under the black light, began singing "Wild Horses." Then he read my mind, I think.

Yeah, she answered it. Did our thing on her sofa. It was nice and all, and like all nice things, you just want more, but she said I couldn't have no more, this was a fluke, a one-time, or no, a one-off thing, she said. Had to relocate, so that's why I did that whole thing at Granny's.

You ever get it on a couch? he asked.

No, I said. I've see a bra though --- two actually.

He took that as a joke, which was good.

Though wild horses couldn't drag me away, a gasoline horse could.


He handed me a courtesy breath mint after I finished throwing up. The Nashville skyline looks perfect, he said. Especially at night.

My stomach was gravel in a washing machine. Masculine love. At gunpoint, I had agreed to indulge it. I was going to make love to a man -- not just a man -- a criminal. Not something to write about on a postcard.

Mr. Winters, my esteemed landlord,
Apologies about the rent. Got kidnapped by a *******, and I'm presently banging and being banged by him in Music City, USA.


I blinked.

We laid on opposite ends of the queen-sized mattress.

I always liked Super 8s, Greg said. I don't see the point in spending so much on a hotel. A bed is a bed.

And I tried to be funny with something about the confidentiality of dark bedsheets, but it fell flat.

Greg cried. I love my ex-wife, he said.

Can I help?

Will you hold me? he asked.

The air conditioner kicked on in the already freezing room.

I'm sorry. You don't have to, he said.

I scooted against him. He smelled pleasant in a family-vacation-kind-of-way, like a fresh pretzel covered in salt. I put my arm under his neck. He buried his face into my shoulder. I blinked.


The front end of his Cavalier was held together with copper wire and coat hangers. It was a two-door. Both doors dented from, according to Greg, hit-and-runs. It had a Vermont plate on the back. It was red. I mention all of this to say: if we kept moving, we were bound to get pulled over.

In the parking lot of 3B's Breakfast, Burgers And Beer, Greg asked me to retrieve his revolver from the glove compartment. You kinda have to uppercut it, he said. And I did.

I don't want to do it again, but we have to. I'm not staying put, not until I hit the ocean. But don't worry, I'm not going to hurt anyone.

He showed me the revolver. No bullets. I nodded, in approval, I guess.


The second time a man ever pointed a gun at me and asked me to love him was at 3B's Breakfast, Burgers And Beer in Bellevue, Tennessee. Of course, it was the same man, Greg, but the circumstances were a little different.

I went with two orders of biscuits and gravy --- or B & G as my dear friend Chance affectionately calls it. Four bites in and I'd yet to hit biscuit. For a moment, I wanted to tell Greg, C'mon man, ***** the ocean. Tennessee does gravy the way God intended. Nobody would find us in this suburb. We could be sharecroppers. Do they still have sharecroppers?

Do you like fresh corn? I asked. It was the first crop that came to mind.

Greg didn't answer. I noticed his plate of hash browns and eggs -- sunny-side up -- were untouched. You okay?

He was, he said, trying to get in the zone, that's all.

Alright.

Our waitress looked like a poster child for ******'s Youth. She couldn't have been much more than sixteen. She had blonde -- almost white -- hair. Her eyes changed color with the intensity and direction of light, a gradient between seaweed and dark ocean blue. She appeared to be an amish girl gone defective, and I was about to inquire into that very supposition when Greg stood on the table, and said, If I could have your attention, my name is Greg and this will only take a second.

Tennessee is not North Carolina. In North Carolina, they got a healthy aversion to firearms. In Tennessee, however, once a babe can walk, the *******'s got a BB gun and an endless supply of empty soda cans for target practice. I say that, to say this: when Greg stood on the table, so did three other men. Their three guns pointed right at him.

Lower that gun, brother. You ain't gettin' any money out of us.

Hate to shoot you in front of your boyfriend.

Coffee spilled and ran off the tray our waitress held. She shook so hard, it wasn't clear how many women she was.

Greg's cleft chin centered on one gunman, than the other, than the other.

Just drop the gun, *******.

We don't want to ruin no one's breakfast.

Fellas, I said, he doesn't have any bullets in his gun. We need a little money that's all.

That ****** is just trying to protect him.

I'm calling the cops, a purple-haired old woman yelped from under her table. Silverware clanged against the floor. Then the buzz of a fly. Then the pop of fries drowning in grease. Then the bell chimed as some idiot walked inside.

Greg's arm was shaky as he pointed the gun at me. Do you love me? he asked.

I blinked.

And I was at 3B's in Bellevue, Tennessee.

I blinked.

And I was at 3B's in Bellevue, Tennessee.

I blinked.

And I was at 3B's in Bellevue, Tennessee.

I put my arms up. Slid my chair back a ways. Stepped on the chair, then unto the table.

Do you love me? Greg asked.

His breath smelled like last night's alcohol and that morning's coffee. He was a child, a sunburnt child with a cap gun. He wasn't going to hurt anyone.

I put my hand on top of the revolver and lowered it. He crumpled, as if I were scolding him. They still pointed their guns at us. But for the first time in my life, I felt secured, tethered to a space.

I lifted Greg's chin up with my index finger. Covered his eyes with the palm of my hand. And I kissed him. I kissed him, keeping my eyes closed tight.
Devin Weaver  Feb 2013
Of Anger
Devin Weaver Feb 2013
I am angry today
Angry because all the core is hollowed
Angry because content became arbitrary
Angry because lies can so easily be packaged, sold and consumed
As honesty
And in consuming, leverage is given to the machinations of the lie
The machine is now whirring
Can you feel it?
Can you feel the happy monster, hollowing out the core
Processing all the content
And spitting it back indistinguishable, shiny and price-tagged?
Can you feel the great shudder of humanity
Yearning for its heart
Searching for its passion
Longing for its character?

I am angry with the greedy for their philosophy
I am angry with the weak of character for perpetuating
And building from the blueprints of greed
I am angry with the politicians who broadened the roads
Guiding emptiness to our doors
I am angry at the vast apathy, seeping from out doors
Flowing over each road and filling the cracks in the system
I am angry with each individual I have met
Who had a chance to let go of an empty façade
And choose to do something human
But who chose, instead, to look down
And push forward in the lie
I am angry that what is good is lost
To what is practical

I am angry because healthcare is not about the health of people
I am angry because education is not about learning
I am angry because news is not about being informed
I am angry because food is not about nutrition
I am angry because work is not about contribution
I am angry because music is not about sound
And art is not about beauty
I am angry because being a person is not about relating
To other persons as they are
But about relating to their function in the lie
Their function in the aforementioned and hollow
Shells of what once served as our pillars

Yesterday I was sad
I felt saddened by loss
Loss of people and meaning
Loss of a future that now seems impossible
Loss of purpose and agency
But then I realized something important
I realized why my heart still pounds when I see children
Beaten by police for speaking out against the lie
Still pounds when I learn of rebels
Still pounds when I see the truth growing up through
A crack in the road
Still pounds when I hear the slam poets
Yelling at my generation
I realized that sadness is what one feels
In the process of giving up
And anger is the forerunner to action
To life and to love

In sadness we absorb all the pain of the lie
In anger, we pull tight the raw sinews of our sadness
And shape stones of the pain we’ve absorbed
And though we are all mortal
At least, when we die in action
We send a message that reverberates
Through all the machinations of the hollowing lie
Through all the squandered hearts of society
Through all the ages and spaces of consciousness
We will be human
No matter the cost
We will be full
No matter the loss
We will relate to each other as we are
And we will not believe the lie

When you strike out in just anger
You feel all the camaraderie of history
Of those who shared in the common understanding
Of justice and of fighting for its attainment
And in that moment of action
You are not alone
A thousand immortal fists bolster you
Each one shouting “truth!” loudly and in a straight line
An unwavering line that does not bend
To time or place
To odds or probability
To fear or hesitation
To hatred or malice
To resources or means
Nor to any limitation

The only one true sin that man can enact
Is to forget love
And in forgetting love, grow detached
Fall into sadness and despair
Fall into apathy and neglect
Fall into the void of their core
Fall such as to forget what they deserve
And the punishment for true sin is to be alone
I, for one, would rather embrace the vast love of truth
And companionship of anger
Than wither into sin
Cold and lonely

— The End —