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Nae Nov 2013
“Nicole Brunelli, the first small town journalist receiving...” - no - “...the best journalist of Ludlow receiving the Pulitzer Prize! She is ambitious, determinated, fearless, unstoppable and this couldn’t be possible if she wasn’t like this otherwise she would never had revealed the macabre events of Bethlem Royal Hospital! Aaaaaaah”.
My name is Nicole Brunelli I’m 28 years old and I’m a journalist. My childhood wasn’t easy but what childhood was? My mom died when she gave me birth, and my dad... lo... my dad loved me too much until my 16 years old. By then I was starting college and I went to live with a friend of mine, we moved to  Glasgow and we graduated together. We had the time of our life and I ended up marrying him, a few years later we moved to a small town called Ludlow, we had our precious first child and I became an unknown journalist. But now everything changed, this is what I was meant to do.
I research about Bethlem Asylum and some archive stuff just doesn’t make sense, death dates, nonexistent patients, witnesses like one man who lived in the area of the hospital attested to the “cryings, screechings, roarings, brawlings, shaking of chains, swearings, frettings, and chaffings to be heard from the outside.” and he also said something about the managers of the facility that were known as Keepers, and were seemingly as frightening as they sound.  One such Keeper, Helkiah Crooke, a member of the medical department of the royal household, took over, ousting the former for being “unskillful in the practice of medicine.” It could be assumed that he would then handle the medical inattentions to the patients, but no records were ever made of any medical needs of the patients. He himself referred to the patients as “the poore” or “prisoners”. Something is not right I feel it and that is why I’m going there to scrutinize, and due to this I’m going to be the first and the best small town journalist receiving a Pulitzer.
My husband doesn’t really agree with this, but he knows how I am, he knows I’ll do everything for my Pulitzer, and to make him and our baby proud of me...
The time has come, this is it. My future is about to change, I am here now, after a bus ride to Bethlem that **** 3 hours and 45 minutes, I am here.
They refused to receive me! They don’t let me in! They don’t let me in and they don’t give me any information about their procedure on patients or anything! No, no, no, no. I gotta find another way to get in.  I have to. I gotta find another way in. I’ve got to do this! I don’t know what to do, I was so close, so ******* close! I can’t give up, I can’t! I’ve got to do this! This is what I was meant to do!

One night passed and I was still there waiting for them to let me in until the night watch, where a nurse thought I was one of them trying to run, or at least that was what she wanted me think. For instants I thought “This is my chance! This is it” until I realised that once I get in, the difficult part is to figure how to get out.
Three days passed and I realised what they were doing there...people coming in aisle F as sanes or insanes and two days later coming out as vegetables or dead... They were using patients, human beings, and most of them weren’t even crazy at least when they got there, and they were using them as cavies for their experiences.
Of course, who would believe in crazy people?
After the seventh day as a patient in the Asylum I had earned the right to a guided tour to aisle D... where they give you shock therapy. Apparently I’m a messy patient, I talk to much and I refused to take some pills, so they sent me to see Mr. Cleymoore, the asylum shrink so he could diagnose me; he said that I would never see my family again, that I would never see my husband or my baby again, he said he knew all about me, and he wanted me to sign myself in the asylum but I refused to do that...So they faked my death. In my plug diagnosis my name was no longer Nicole Brunelli, now I was Lisa Coventry and I was diagnosed with hidden schizophrenia and double personality disorder, caused by the fire that killed my family when I was 16 years old.
But how would they know all of this? My family, my past, my whole life?! It doesn’t make any sense!
Three months passed and I had a tour to aisle D every week. This place was crazy, it makes me think who are the insane people here. The way they treated people! The way the “disturbed” were chained up to walls and posts like dogs. They slept on beds of straw only as the water supply did not allow for washing of linens. The way the rooms had exposed windows, leaving the patients in damp conditions at the mercy of all weather and utter darkness at night. The hospital itself was actually noted as “a crazy carcass with no wall still vertical,” offering only leaking, caved in roofs, uneven floors and buckling walls.
Under Crooke’s Keeping, the residents were not only filthy and unclothed, but malnourished to the point of starvation using a “lowering diet,” of intentionally slim portions of plain food only twice a day. It was meant to deplete and purge the madness out of the victims, while helping to conserve money. 
 There were no fruit or vegetables to be given. Mostly bread, meat, oatmeal, butter, cheese and plenty of beer was the menu. While all of this is terrible, the true horror was in the moneymaking scheme that kept it running at all. Originally, the hospital was open to the public in hopes that food would be brought to the inmates from the community. Quickly, money was charged, creating a sideshow where the public was invited to watch patients displayed in cages, laugh at them as they banged their heads repeatedly on the walls, and even to poke them with sticks and throw things at them.
 Luckly I made a friend there, Mike Spencer was his name, he was the male nurse who used to do the night watches, he used to stay all night with me just talking and making promises; he knew I wasn’t crazy and that actualy helped me keeping me sane, at least for a while.
 Six months passed and I wasn’t the same.
They are coming, they are coming...they are coming for me...they are coming for Lisa.
 It’s cold, the cold tastes like blue. - Ahah - it tastes like blue! - Ahah...It’s cold... they are coming for Lisa, Lisa doesn’t want to go with them...
 She said that she’ll keep me safe, she said she would take care of Lisa. Lisa is hearing them, They are coming! Lisa doesn’t want to go, no, no, no, NO.
 She said they wouldn’t hurt me. YOU SAID THEY WOULDN’T HURT ME! They, gave me shocks again, they gave Lisa shocks.
 It’s not my fault. They know. They know. They must know why am I here if they don’t know? It’s not my fault she made me do it! She said it was the best thing! Now they can’t have him. Now he’s safe. My unborned baby is safe. They can’t have him now.
 She said she would protect me...She said she would protect Lisa. Shut the voices down! Shut the voices! She’s saying bad things. Lisa doesn’t like what she’s saying. She keeps telling me - “ You killed your mother when she gave you birth! it’s your fault that daddy loved you and used you to replace her! You know you liked when he used to play with you and love you. Everybody knows he used to did it what people didn’t knew was that you liked it! you wanted more! You know he only did it because you let him! And you certainly know who started the fire who killed him...” - SHUT UP! We need to shut the voices down! We need to shut the voices! shut...shut the voices...shut the... shut the voices down... shut the voices down... shut... shut the... shut the voices...
 She said Mike promised. She said Mike promised Lisa to take me out of here... Mike promised.
Two more months passed and I was completly insane due the shock therapy, but Mike kept his promise and he took me out of there, in the middle of the night he gave me a coat and he drove me to South Hampton seaport, he gave me the ticket and said that that was the further he could go. Along with the ticket he also gave me his lucky neckless and told me he bought me a ticket to Cuba so I could be free. I left a friend in that seaport a really good friend but I needed to go I couldn’t go back to that place.
 I had no lugagge, no shoes, nothing, just a coat, a neckless and a ticket to freedom.
 I had to ****** adapt to the situation and try to go unnoticed and not to attract to many attention, so I went to my cabine and stayed there until the end of the cruise for the maximum I could.
Cyril Blythe Sep 2012
I followed him down the trail until we got to the mouth of the mines. The life and energy of the surrounding maples and birches seemed to come to a still and then die as we walked closer, closer. The air was cold and dark and damp and smelt of mold and moths. Delvos stepped into the darkness anyways.
“Well, girl, you coming or aren’t you?”
I could see his yellowed tobacco teeth form into a slimy smile as I stepped out of the sun. It was still inside. The canary chirped.
“This tunnel is just the mouth to over two hundred others exactly like it. Stay close. Last thing I need this month is National Geographic on my *** for losing one of their puppet girls.”
“Delvos, ****. I have two masters degrees.” He rolled his eyes.
“Spare me.” He trotted off around the corner to the left, whistling.
“I survived alone in the jungles of Bolivia alone for two months chasing an Azara’s Spinetail. I climbed the tallest mountain in Nepal shooting Satyr Tragopans along the cliff faces. In Peru I…” Suddenly I felt the weight of the darkness. In my blinding anger I lost track of his lantern. I stopped, my heartbeat picked up, and I tried to remind myself of what I did in Peru.
I followed a Diurnal Peruvian Pygmy-Owl across the gravel tops of the Andes Mountains, no light but the Southern Cross and waning moon above. I am not scared of darkness. I am not scared of darkness.
I stopped to listen. Somewhere in front of me the canary chirped.

When I first got the job in Vermont I couldn’t have been more frustrated. Mining canaries? Never had I ever ‘chased’ a more mundane bird. Nonetheless, when Jack Reynolds sends you on a shoot you don’t say no, so I packed up my camera bag and hoped on the next plane out of Washington.
“His name is John Delvos.” Jack said. He handed me the manila case envelope. “He’s lived in rural Vermont his entire life. Apparently his family bred the canaries for the miners of the Sheldon Quarry since the early twenties. When the accident happened the whole town basically shut down. There were no canaries in the mines the day the gas killed the miners. His mother died in a fire of some sort shortly after. The town blamed the Delvos family and ran them into the woods. His father built a cabin and once his father died, Delvos continued to breed the birds. He ships them to other mining towns across the country now. We want to run a piece about the inhumanity of breeding animals to die so humans won’t.” I stood in silence in front of his deep mahogany desk, suddenly aware of the lack of make-up on my face. He smiled, “You’re leaving on Tuesday.”
“Yes sir.”
“Don’t look so smug, Lila. This may not be the most exotic bird you’ve shot but the humanity of this piece has the potential to be a cover story. Get the shots, write the story.”

“Do you understand the darkness now, Ms. Rivers? Your prestigious masters degrees don’t mean **** down here.” Delvos reappeared behind the crack of his match in a side tunnel not twenty yards in front of me. He relit the oily lantern and turned his back without another word. I reluctantly followed deeper into the damp darkness.
“Why were there no canaries in the mine on, you know, that day?” The shadows of the lantern flickered against the iron canary cage chained on his hip and the yellow bird hopped inside.
“I was nine, Ms. Rivers. I didn’t understand much at the time.” We turned right into the next tunnel and our shoes crunched on jagged stones. All the stones were black.
“But surely you understand now?”
The canary chirped.

When I first got to Sheldon and began asking about the location of the Delvos’ cabin you would have thought I was asking where the first gate to hell was located. Mothers would smile and say, “Sorry, Miss, I can’t say,” and hurriedly flock their children in the opposite direction. After two hours of polite refusals I gave up. I spent the rest of the first day photographing the town square. It was quaint; old stone barbershops surrounded by oaks and black squirrels, a western themed whiskey bar, and a few greasy spoon restaurants interspersed in-between. I booked a room in the Walking Horse Motel for Wednesday night, determined to get a good nights sleep and defeat this towns fear of John Delvos tomorrow.
My room was a tiny one bed square with no TV. Surprise, surprise. At least I had my camera and computer to entertain myself. I reached into the side of my camera bag and pulled out my Turkish Golds and Macaw-beak yellow BIC. I stepped out onto the dirt in front of my door and lit up. I looked up and the stars stole all the oxygen surrounding me. They were dancing and smiling above me and I forgot Delvos, Jack, and all of Sheldon except it’s sky. Puffing away, I stepped farther and farther from my door and deeper into the darkness of night. The father into the darkness the more dizzying the stars dancing became.
“Ma’am? Everything okay?”
Startled, I dropped my cigarette on the ground and the ember fell off.
“I’m sorry, sir. I was just, um, the stars…” I snuffed out the orange glow in the dirt with my boot and extended my hand, “Lila Waters, and you are?”
“Ian Benet. I haven’t seen you around here before, Ms. Waters, are you new to town?”
“I’m here for work. I’m a bird photographer and journalist for National Geographic. I’m looking for John Delvos but I’m starting to think he’s going to be harder to track than a Magpie Robin.”
The stars tiptoed in their tiny circles above in the silence. Then, they disappeared with a spark as Ian lit up his wooden pipe. It was a light colored wood, stained with rich brown tobacco and ash. He passed me his matches, smiling.
“What do you want with that old *******? Don’t tell me National Geographic is interested in the Delvos canaries.”
I lit up another stick and took a drag. “Shocking, right?”
“Actually, it’s about time their story is told.” Benet walked to the wooden bench to our left and patted the seat beside him. I walked over. “The Delvos canaries saved hundreds of Sheldonian lives over the years. But the day a crew went into the mines without one, my father came out of the ground as cold as when we put him back into it in his coffin.”
I sat in silence, unsure what to say. “Mr. Benet, I’m so sorry…”
“Please, just Ian. My father was the last Mr. Benet.”
We sat on the wooden bench, heat leaving our bodies to warm the dead wood beneath our legs. I shivered; the stars dance suddenly colder and more violent.
“Delvos canaries are martyrs, Ms. Waters. This whole town indebted to those tiny yellow birds, but nobody cares to remember that anymore.”
“Can you tell me where I can find Mr. Delvos and his, erm, martyrs?” The ember of my second cigarette was close to my pinching fingertips.
“Follow me.” Ian stood up and walked to the edge of the woods in front of us. We crunched the cold dust beneath our feet, making me aware of how silent it was. Ian stopped at a large elm and pointed, “See that yellow notch?” Sure enough, there was a notch cut and dyed yellow at his finger’s end. “If you follow true north from this tree into the woods you’ll find this notch about every fifty yards or so. Follow the yellow and it’ll spit you out onto the Delvos property.”
“Thank you, Ian. I really can’t begin to tell you how thankful I am to find out where to find this elusive Mr. Delvos and his canaries.”
“You don’t have to,” he knocked the ash out of his pipe against the tree, “Just do those birds justice in your article. Remember, martyrs. Tell old Delvos Ian Benet sends his regards.” He turned and walked back to the motel and I stood and watched in silence. It was then I realized I hadn’t heard a single bird since I got to Sheldon. The stars dance was manic above me as I walked back to my room and shut the door.

The canary chirped and Delvos stopped.
“This is a good place to break out fast. Sit.”
I sat obediently, squirming around until the rocks formed a more comfortable nest around my bony hips. We left for the mines as the stars were fading in the vermillion Vermont sky this morning and had been walking for what seemed like an eternity. I was definitely ready to eat. He handed me a gallon Ziploc bag from his backpack filled with raisins, nuts, various dried fruits, and a stiff piece of bread. I attacked the food like a raven.
“I was the reason no canaries entered the mines that day, Ms. Waters.” Delvos broke a piece of his bread off and wrapped it around a dried piece of apricot, or maybe apple. I was suddenly aware of my every motion and swallowed, loudly. I crinkled into my Ziploc and crunched on the pecans I dug out, waiting.
“Aren’t you going to ask why?”
“I’m not a parrot, Mr. Delvos, I don’t answer expectedly on command. You’ll tell me if you want.” I hurriedly stuffed a fistful of dried pears into my mouth.
Delvos chuckled and my nerves eased, “You’ve got steel in you, Ms. Rivers, I’ll give you that much.”
I nodded and continued cramming pears in my mouth.
“I was only nine. The canaries were my pets, all of them. I hated when Dad would send them into the mines to die for men I couldn’t give two ***** about. It was my birthday and I asked for an afternoon of freedom with my pets and Dad obliged. I was in the aviary with pocketfuls of sunflower-seeds. Whenever I threw a handful into the air above me, the air came to life with flickering yellow brushes and songs of joy. It was the happiest I have ever been, wholly surrounded and protected by my friends. Around twelve thirty that afternoon the Sheriff pulled up, lights ablaze. The blue and red lights stilled my yellow sky to green again and that’s when I heard the shouting. He cuffed my Dad on the hood of the car and Mom was crying and pushing her fists into the sheriff’s chest. I didn’t understand at all. The Sheriff ended up putting Mom in the car too and they all left me in the aviary. I sat there until around four that afternoon before they sent anyone to come get me.”
Delvos took a small bite of his bread and chewed a moment. “No matter how many handfuls of seeds I threw in the air after that, the birds wouldn’t stir. They wouldn’t even sing. I think they knew what was happening.”
I was at a loss for words so of course I blurted, “I didn’t see an aviary at your house…”
Delvos laughed. “Someone burnt down the house I was raised in the next week while we were sleeping. Mom died that night. The whole dark was burning with screams and my yellow canaries were orange and hot against the black sky. That’s the only night I’ve seen black canaries and the only night I’ve heard them scream.”
I swallowed some mixed nuts and they rubbed against my dry throat.
“They never caught the person. A week later Dad took the remainder of the birds and we marched into the woods. We worked for months clearing the land and rebuilding our lives. We spent most of the time in silence, except for the canary cries. When the house was finally built and the birds little coops were as well, Dad finally talked. The only thing he could say was ‘Canaries are not the same as a Phoenix, John. Not the same at all.”
The canary chirped, still only visible by the lanterns flame. Not fully yellow, I realized, here in the mines, but not fully orange either.

When I first walked onto John Delvos’ property on Thursday morning he was scattering feed into the bird coops in the front of his cabin. Everything was made of wood and still wet with the morning’s dew.
“Mr. Delvos?” He spun around, startled, and walked up to me a little too fast.
“Why are you here? Who are you?”
“My name is Lila Waters, sir, I am a photographer and journalist for National Geographic Magazine and we are going to run an article on your canaries.”
“Not interested”
“Please, sir, can I ask you just a few quick questions as take a couple pictures of your, erm, martyrs?”
His eyes narrowed and he walked up to me, studying my face with an intense, glowering gaze. He spit a mouthful of dip onto the ground without breaking eye contact. I shifted my camera bag’s weight to the other shoulder.
“Who told you to call them that?”
“I met Ian Benet last night, he told me how important your birds are to this community, sir. He sends his regards.”
Delvos laughed and motioned for me to follow as he turned his back. “You can take pictures but I have to approve which ones you publish. That’s my rule.”
“Sir, it’s really not up to me, you see, my boss, Jack Reynolds, is one of the CEO’s for the magazine and he...”
“Those are my rules, Ms. Waters.” He turned and picked back up the bucket of seed and began to walk back to the birds. “You want to interview me then we do it in the mine. Be back here at four thirty in the morning.”
“Sir…?”
“Get some sleep, Ms. Waters. You’ll want to be rested for the mine.” He turned, walked up his wooden stairs, and closed the door to his cabin.
I was left alone in the woods and spent the next hour snapping pictures of the little, yellow canaries in their cages. I took a couple pictures of his house and the surrounding trees, packed up my camera and trekked back to my motel.

“You finished yet?” Delvos stood up and the memory of his green and brown wooded homestead fled from my memory as the mine again consumed my consciousness. Dark, quiet, and stagnant. I closed the Ziploc and stuffed the bag, mainly filled with the raisins I sifted through, into my pocket.
Delvos grunted and the canary flapped in its cage as he stood again and, swinging the lantern, rounded another corner. The path we were on began to take a noticeable ***** downward and the moisture on the walls and air multiplied.
The canary chirped.
The lantern flickered against the moist, black stones, sleek and piled in the corners we past. The path stopped ahead at a wall of solid black and brown Earth.
The canary chirped twice.
It smelt of clay and mildew and Delvos said, “Go on, touch it.”
I reached my hand out, camera uselessly hanging like a bat over my shoulder. The rock was cold and hard. It felt dead.
The Canary was flitting its wings in the cage now, chirping every few seconds.
“This is the last tunnel they were digging when the gas under our feet broke free from hell and killed those men.”
Delvos hoisted the lantern above our heads, illuminating the surrounding gloom. All was completely still and even my own vapor seemed to fall out of my mouth and simply die. The canary was dancing a frantic jig, now, similar to the mating dance of the Great Frigate Bird I shot in the Amazon jungle. As I watched the canary and listened to its small wings beat against the cold metal cage I begin to feel dizzy. The bird’s cries had transformed into a scream colder than fire and somehow more fierce.
The ability to fly is what always made me jealous of birds as a child, but as my temple throbbed and the canary danced I realized I was amiss. Screaming, yellow feathers whipped and the entire inside of the cage was instantaneously filled. It was beautiful until the very end. Dizzying, really.
Defeated, the canary sank to the floor, one beaten wing hanging out of the iron bars at a most unnatural angle. Its claws were opening and closing, grasping the tainted cave air, or, perhaps, trying to push it away. Delvos unclipped the cage and sat it on the floor in the space between us, lantern still held swaying above his head. The bird was aflame now, the silent red blood absorbing into the apologetic, yellow feathers. Orange, a living fire. I pulled out my camera as I sat on the ground beside the cage. I took a few shots, the camera’s clicks louder than the feeble chirps sounding out of the canary’s tattered, yellow beak. My head was spinning. Its coal-black eyes reflected the lantern’s flame above. I could see its tiny, red tongue in the bottom of its mouth.
Opening.
Closing.
Opening, wider, too wide, then,
Silence.


I felt dizzy. I remember feeling the darkness surround me; it felt warm.

“I vaguely remember Delvos helping me to my feet, but leaving the mine was a complete haze.” I told the panel back in D.C., “It wasn’t until we had crossed the stream on the way back to the cabin that I began to feel myself again. Even then, I felt like I was living a dream. When we got back to the cabin the sight of the lively yellow canaries in their coops made me cry. Delvos brought me a bottle of water and told me I needed to hit the trail because the sun set early in the winter, so I le
I.

One night at the Troubadour I spotted this extraordinary girl.

So I asked who she was.

‘A professional,’

That was my introduction that on a scale of one to ten

there were women who were fifteens—beautiful, bright, witty, and

oh, by the way, they worked.

Once I became aware,

I saw these women everywhere.

And I came to learn that most of them were connected to Alex



II.

She had a printer engrave a calling card

that featured a bird of paradise

borrowed from a Tiffany silver pattern

and,
under it,

Alex’s Aviary,

Beautiful and Exotic birds.



A few were women you’d see lunching at Le Dôme:

pampered arm pieces with expensive tastes

and a hint of a delicious but remote sexuality.

Many more were fresh-faced, athletic, tanned, freckled

the quintessential California girl

That you’d take for sorority queens or future BMW owners.





III.

The mechanism of Alex’s sudden notoriety is byzantine,

as these things always are.

One of her girls took up with a rotter,

the couple had a fight,

he went to the police,

the police had an undercover detective visit

(who just happened to be an attractive woman)

and ask to work for her,

she all but embraced her

—and by April of 1988 the district attorney had enough evidence

to charge her with two counts of pandering

and one of pimping.

For Alex, who is fifty-six

and has a heart condition and diabetes,

the stakes may be high.

A conviction carries the guarantee of incarceration.

For the forces of law and order,

the stakes may be higher.

Alex has let it be known that she will subpoena

every cop she’s ever met to testify at her trial.

And the revelations this might produce

—perhaps that Alex compromised policemen

by making girls available to them,

—perhaps that Alex had a deal with the police to provide information

in exchange for their blind eye to her activities

—could be hugely embarrassing to the police and the district attorney.

For Alex’s socially correct clients and friends,

for the socially correct wives of her clients and friends

and for a handful of movie and television executives

who have no idea they are dating or

married to former Alex girls,

the stakes are highest of all.



IV.

Alex’s black book is said to be a catalogue of
Le Tout Los Angeles.

In her head are the ****** secrets

of many of the city’s most important men,

to say nothing of visiting businessmen and Arab princes.

If she decides to warble,

either at her trial or in a book,

her song will shatter more than glass.





V.

A decade ago, I went to lunch at Ma Maison,

There were supposed to have been ten people there,

but only four came.

One of them was a short woman

who called me a few days later and invited me to lunch.

When I arrived, the table was set for two.

I didn’t know who Alex was or what she did,

but she knew the important facts of my situation:

I was getting divorced from a very wealthy man

and doing the legal work myself

to avail lawyers who wanted to get a big settlement for me.


Occasionally, she said, I get a call for a tall, dark-haired,

slender, flat-chested woman

—and I don’t have any.

It wouldn’t be a frequent thing.

There’d be weekends away, sometimes in Palm Springs,

sometimes in Europe.

The men will be elegant,

you’ll have your own room

—there would be no outward signs of impropriety.

And you’d get $10,000 to $20,000 for a weekend.





VI.

The tall, slender, flat-chested brunette

didn’t think it was right for her.

Alex handed her a business card

and suggested that she think about it.

To her surprise, she did

—for an entire week.

This was 1978, and $20,000 then

was like $40,000 now,

I knew it was hooking,

but Alex had never mentioned ***.



Our whole conversation seemed to be about something else.



VII.

I was born in Manila

to a Spanish-Filipina mother and German father,

and when I was twelve

a Japanese soldier came into our house

with his bayonet pointed at us,

ready to do us in.

He locked us in and set the house on fire.

I haven’t been scared by much since that.



My mother always struck me as goofy,

so I jumped on a bus and ran away,

I got off in Oakland,

saw a help-wanted sign on a parish house,

and went in.

I got $200 a month for taking care of four priests.

I spent all the money on pastries for the parish house.

But I didn’t care.

It felt safe.

And the priests sparked my interest in the domestic arts

—in linen, in crystal.



A new priest arrived.

He was unpleasant,

so on a vacation in Los Angeles I took a pedestrian job,

still a teenager,

married a scientist.

We separated eight years later,

he took our two sons to another state

threatened to keep them if I didn’t agree to a divorce.

Keep them I said and hung up.

It’s not that I don’t have a maternal instinct

—though I don’t,

I just hate to be manipulated.



My second husband,

an alcoholic,

had Frank Sinatra blue eyes, and possibly

—I never knew for sure—

had a big career in the underworld

as a contract killer.

Years before we got serious,

he was going out with a famous L.A. ******,

She and her friends were so elegant

that I started spending time with them in beauty salons.

They were so fancy,

so smart

—and they knew incredible people,

like the millionaire who sat in his suite all day

just writing $5,000 checks to girls.



VIII.

I was a florist.

We got to talking.

She was a madam from England

who wanted to sell her book and go home.

I bought it for $5,000.

My husband thought it was cute.

Now you’re getting your feet wet.

Three months later,

he died.

After eleven years of marriage,

just like that.

And of the names in the book

it turned out

that half of the men were also dead.

When I began the men were old and the women were ugly.



IX.

It was like a lunch party you or I would give,

Great food Alex had cooked herself.

Major giggles with old pals.

And then,

instead of chocolate After Eight,

she served three women After Three



This man has seen a bit of life

beyond Los Angeles,

so I asked him how Alex’s stable

compared with that of Madam Claude,

the legendary Parisian procuress.

Oh, these aren’t at all like Claude’s girls,

A Claude girl was perfectly dressed and multilingual

—you could take her to the opera

and she’d understand it.





He told me that when she was 40

she looked at herself in the mirror

and said

Disgusting.

People over 40

should not have ***.

But She Was Clear That She Never Liked It

even when she was young.

Besides, she saw all the street business

go to the tall,

beautiful girls.

She thought that she never had a chance

competing against them.

Instead,

she would take their money by managing them.





X.

Going to a ****** was not looked down upon then.

It was before the pill;

Girls weren’t giving it away.

Claude specialized in

failed models and actresses,

ones who just missed the cut.

But just because they failed

in those impossible professions

didn’t mean they weren’t beautiful,

fabulous.



Like Avis

in those days,

those girls tried harder.

Her place was off the Champs,

just above a branch of the Rothschild bank, where I had an account.

Once I met her,

I was constantly making withdrawals and heading upstairs.





XI.

We took the lift

and Claude greeted us at the door.

My impression was that of the director

of an haute couture house,

very subdued,

beige and gray, very little makeup.

She took us into a lounge and made us drinks,

Whiskey,

Cognac.

There was no maid.

We made small talk for 15 minutes.

How was the weekend?

What’s the weather like in Deauville?

Then she made the segue. ‘I understand you’d like to see some jeunes filles?’

She always used ‘jeunes filles.’

This was Claude’s polite way of saying 18 to 25.

She left and soon returned

with two very tall

jeunes filles,

One was blonde.

This is Eva from Austria.

She’s here studying painting.

And a brunette,

very different,

but also very fine.

This is Claudia from Germany.

She’s a dancer.

She took the girls back into the apartment and returned by herself.

I gave my English guest first choice.

He picked the blonde.

And wasn’t disappointed.

Each bedroom had its own bidet.

There was some nice

polite conversation, and then



It was slightly formal,

but it was high-quality.

He paid Claude

200 francs,

not to the girls

In 1965, 200 francs was about $40.

Pretty girls on Rue Saint-Denis

could be had for 40 francs

so you can see the premium.

Still, it wasn’t out of reach for mere mortals.

You didn’t have to be J. Paul Getty.





XII.

A lot of them

were models at

Christian Dior

or other couture houses.

She liked Scandinavians.

That was the look then

—cold, tall, perfect.

It was cheap for the quality.

They all used her.

The best people wanted

the best women.

Elementary supply and demand.



XIII.

She had a camp number tattooed on her wrist. I saw it.

She showed it to me and Rubi.

She was proud she had survived.

We talked about the camp for hours.

It was even more fascinating than the girls.



She was Jewish

I’m certain of that.

She was horrified at the Jewish collaborators

at the camp who herded

their fellow Jews

into the gas chambers.

That was the greatest betrayal in her life.



XIV.

She was this sad,

lonely little woman.

Later, Patrick told me who she was.

I was bowled over.

It was like meeting Al Capone.

I met two of the girls

who worked for her.

One was what you would expect

Tall

Blonde

Model.

But the other looked like a Rat

Then one night

she came out

all dressed up,

I didn’t even recognize her.

She was even better than the first girl.

Claude liked to transform women like that.

That was her art.

It was very odd,

my cousin told me.

There was not much furniture

and an awful lot of telephones.

“Allô oui,”



XV.

I had so many lunches

with Claude at Ma Maison

She was vicious.

One day,

Margaux Hemingway,

at the height of her beauty, walked by.

Une bonne

—the French for maid

was how Claude cut her dead.

She reduced

the entire world

to rich men wanting *** and

poor women wanting money.

She’d love to page through Vogue and see someone

and say,

When I met her

she was called

Marlene

and she had a hideous nose

and now she’s a princess.

Or she’d see someone and say

Let’s see if she kisses me or not.

It was like

I made her,

and I can destroy her.

She was obsessed

with “fixing” people

—with Saint Laurent clothes,

with Cartier watches,

with Winston jewels,

with Vuitton luggage,

with plastic surgeons.



XVI.

Her prison number was

888

which was good luck in China

but not in California.

‘Ocho ocho ocho,’ she liked to repeat

Even in jail, she was always working,

always recruiting stunning women.

She had a beautiful Mexican cellmate

and gave her Robert Evans’s number

as the first person she should call

when she was released.



XVII.

Never have *** on the first date.



XVIII.

There will always be prostitution,

The prostitution of misery.

And the prostitution of bourgeois luxury.

They will both go on forever.



“Allô oui,”



It was so exciting to hear a millionaire

or a head of state ask,

in a little boy’s voice,

for the one thing

that only you could provide

It's not how beautiful you are, it's how you relate

--it's mostly dialogue.



She was tiny, blond, perfectly coiffed and Chanel-clad.

The French Woman: The Arab Prince, the Japanese Diplomat, the Greek Tycoon, the C.I.A. Bureau Chief — She Possessed Them All!



XIX.

She was like a slave driver in the American South

Once she took a *******,

the makeover put the girl in debt,

because Claude paid all the bills to

Dior,

Vuitton,

to the hairdressers,

to the doctors,

and the girls had to work to pay them off.

It was ****** indentured servitude.



My Swans.



It reached the point

where if you walked into a room

in London

or Rome

as much as Paris

because the girls were transportable,

and saw a girl who was

better-dressed,

better-looking,

and more distinguished than the others

you presumed

it was a girl from Claude.

It was, without doubt,

the finest *** operation ever run in the history of mankind.



**.

The girl had to be

exactly what was needed

so I had to teach her everything she didn’t know.

I played a little the role of Pygmalion.

There were basic things that absolutely had to be done.

It consisted

at the start

of the physical aspect

“surgical intervention”

to give this way of being

that was different from other girls.

Often they had to be transformed

into dream creatures

because at the start

they were not at all



Often I had to teach them how to dress.

Often they needed help

to repair

what nature had given them

which was not so beautiful.

At first they had to be tall,

with pretty gestures,

good manners.

I had lots of noses done,

chins,

teeth,

*******.

There was a lot to do.



Eight times out of ten

I had to teach them how to behave in society.

There were official dinners, suppers, weekends,

and they needed to have conversation.

I insisted they learn to speak English,

read

certain books.

I interrogated them on what they read.

It wasn’t easy.

Each time something wasn’t working,

I was obliged to say so.



You were very demanding?

I was ferocious.



It’s difficult

to teach a girl how to walk into Maxim’s

without looking

ill at ease

when they’ve never been there,

to go into an airport,

to go to the Ritz,

or the Crillon

or the Dorchester.

To find yourself

in front of a king,

three princes,

four ministers,

and five ambassadors at an official dinner.

There were the wives of those people!

Day after day

one had to explain,

explain again,

start again.

It took about two years.

There would always be a man

who would then say of her,

‘But she’s absolutely exceptional. What is that girl doing here?’ ”





XXI.

A New York publisher who visited

the Palace Hotel

in Saint Moritz

in the early seventies told me,

I met a whole bunch of them there.

They were lovely.

The johns wanted everyone to know who they were.

I remember it being said

Giovanni’s Madame Claude girl is going to be there.

You asked them where they came from and they all said

Neuilly.

Claude liked girls from good families.

More to the point she had invented their backgrounds.



I have known,

because of what I did,

some exceptional and fascinating men.

I’ve known some exceptional women too,

but that was less interesting

because I made them myself.



Ah, this question of the handbag.

You would be amazed by how much dust accumulates.

Or how often women’s shoe heels are scuffed.





XXII.

She would examine their teeth and finally she would make them undress.



That was a difficult moment

When they arrived they were very shy,

a bit frightened.

At the beginning when I take a look,

it’s a question of seeing if the silhouette

and the gestures are pretty.

Then there was a disagreeable moment.

I said,

I’m sorry about this unpleasantness,

but I have to ask you to get undressed,

because I can’t talk about you unless I see you.

Believe me, I was embarrassed,

just as they were,

but it had to be done,

not out of voyeurism, not at all

—I don’t like les dames horizontales.



It was very funny

because there were always two reactions.

A young girl,

very sure of herself,

very beautiful,

très bien,

would say

Yes,

Get up, and get undressed.

There was nothing to hide, everything was perfect.



There were those who

would start timidly

to take off their dress

and I would say

I knew already.

The rest is not sadism, but nearly.

I knew what I was going to find.

I would say,

Maybe you should take off your bra,

and I knew it wasn’t going to be

beautiful.

Because otherwise she would have taken it off easily.

No problem.

There were damages that could be mended.

There were some ******* that could be redone,

some not

Sometimes it can be deceptive,

you know,

you see a pretty girl,

a pretty face,

all elegant and slim,

well dressed,

and when you see her naked

it is a catastrophe.



I could judge their physical qualities,

I could judge if she was pretty, intelligent, and cultivated,

but I didn’t know how she was in bed.

So I had some boys,

good friends,

who told me exactly.

I would ring them up and say,

There’s a new one.

And afterwards they’d ring back and say,

Not bad,

Could be better, or

Nulle.



Or,

on the contrary,

She’s perfect.

And I would sometimes have to tell the girls

what they didn’t know.

A pleasant assignment?

No.

They paid.



XXIII.

Often at the beginning

they had an ami de coeur

in other words,

oh,

a journalist, a photographer, a type like that,

someone in the cinema,

an actor, not very well known.

As time went by

It became difficult

because they didn’t have a lot of time for him.

The fact of physically changing,

becoming prettier,

changing mentally to live with millionaires,

produced a certain imbalance

between them

and the little boyfriend

who had not evolved

and had stayed in his milieu.

At the end of a certain time

she would say,

I’m so much better than him. Why am I with this boy?

And they would break up by themselves.



Remember,

this was instant elevation.

For most of them it was a dream existence,

provided they liked the ***,

and those that didn’t never lasted long.

A lot of the clients were young,

and didn’t treat them like tarts but like someone from their own class.

They would buy you presents,

take you on trips.



XXIV.

For me, *** was something very accessoire

I think after a certain age

there are certain spectacles one should not give to others

Now I have a penchant for solitude.

Love, it’s a complete destroyer,

It’s impossible,

a horror,

l’angoisse.

It’s the only time in my life I was jealous.

I’m not a jealous person, but I was épouvantable.

He was jealous too.

We broke plates over each other’s heads;

we became jealous about each other’s pasts.

I said one day

It’s finished.

Sometimes I look at myself in the mirror and say:

Break my legs,

give me scarlet fever,

an attack of TB, but never that.

Not that.



XXV.

I called her into my office

Let us not exaggerate,

I sent her away.

She came back looking for employment,

but was fired again, this time for drugs.

She made menacing phone calls.

Then she arrived at the Rue de Boulainvilliers with a gun.

She shot three bullets

I was dressed in the fashion of Courrèges at this moment

He did very padded things.

I had a padded dress with a little jacket on top.

The bullet

—merci, Monsieur Courrèges

—stuck in the padding.

I was thrown forward onto the telephone.

I had one thought which went through my head:

I will die like Kennedy.

I turned round and put my hand up in a reflex.

The second bullet went through my hand.

I have two dead fingers.

It’s most useful for removing bottle tops.

In the corridor I was saved from the third bullet

because she was very tall

and I am quite petite, so it passed over my head.



XXVI.

There were men

who could decapitate,

****, and bomb their rivals

who would be frightened of me.

I would ask them how was the girl,

and they’d say

Not bad

and then

But I’m not complaining.

I was a little sadistic to them sometimes.

Some women have known powerful men because they’re their lover.

But I’ve known them all.

I had them all

here.



She will take many state secrets with her.



XXVI.

I don’t like ugly people

probably because when I was young

I wasn’t beautiful at all.

I was ugly and I suffered for it,

although not to the point of obsession.

Now that I’m an old woman,

I’m not so bad.

And that’s why

I’ve always been surrounded by people

Who

were

beautiful.

And the best way to have beautiful people around me

was to make them.

I made them very pretty.





XXVII.

I wouldn’t call what Alex gives you

‘advice,’

She spares you Nothing.

She makes a list of what she wants done,

and she really gets into it

I mean, she wants you to get your arms waxed.

She gives you names of people who do good facials.

She tells you what to buy at Neiman Marcus.

She’s put off by anything flashy,

and if you don’t dress conservatively, she’s got no problem telling you,

in front of an audience,

You look like a cheap *****!

I used to wear what I wanted when I went out

then change in the car into a frumpy sweater

when I went to give her the money she’d always go,

Oh, you look beautiful!



Marry your boyfriend,

It’s better than going to prison.

When you go out with her,

she’ll buy you a present; she’s incredibly generous that way.

And she’ll always tell you to save money and get out.

It’s frustrating to her when girls call at the end of the month

and say they need rent money.

She wants to see you do well.





We had a schedule, with cards that indicated a client’s name,

what he liked,

the names of the girls he’d seen,

and how long he’d been with them.

And I only hired girls who had another career

—if my clients had a choice between drop-dead-gorgeous

and beautiful-and-interesting,

they’d tend to take beautiful-and-interesting.

These men wanted to talk.

If they spent two hours with a girl,

they usually spent only five or ten minutes in bed.



I get the feeling that in Los Angeles, men are more concerned with looks.



XXVIII.

That was my big idea

Not to expand the book by aggressive marketing

but to make sure that nobody

mistook my girls for run-of-the-mill hookers.

And I kept my roster fresh.

This was not a business where you peddle your ***,

get exploited,

and then are cast off.

I screen clients. I’ve never sent girls to weirdos.

I let the men know:

no violence,

no costumes,

no fudge-packing.

And I talked to my girls. I’d tell them:

Two and a half years and you’re burned out.

Save your money.

This is like a hangar

—you come in, refuel, and take off.

It’s not a vacation, it’s not a goof.

This buys the singing lessons,

the dancing lessons,

the glossies.

This is to help you pay for what your parents couldn’t provide.

It’s an honorable way station—a lot of stars did this.



XXIX.

To say someone was a Claude girl is an honour, not a slur.



Une femme terrible.

She despised men and women alike.

Men were wallets. Women were holes.



By the 80s,

if you were a brunette,

the sky was the limit.

The Saudis

They’d call for half a dozen of Alex’s finest,

ignore them all evening while they

chatted,

ate,

and played cards,

and then, around midnight,

take the women inside for a fast few minutes of ***.



They’d order women up like pizza.



Since my second husband died,

I only met one man who was right for me,

He was a sheikh.

I visited him in Europe

twenty-eight times

in the five years I knew him

and I never slept with him.

He’d say

I think you fly all the way here just to tease me,

but he introduced me

by phone

to all his powerful friends.

When I was in Los Angeles, he called me twice a day.

That’s why I never went out

he would have been disappointed.



***.

Listen to me

This is a woman’s business.

When a woman does it, it’s fun

there’s a giggle in it

when a man’s involved,

he’s ******,

he’s a ****.

He may know how to keep girls in line,

and he may make money,

but he doesn’t know what I do.

I tell guys: You’re getting a nice girl.

She’s young,

She’s pleasant,

She can do things

she can certainly make love.

She’s not a rocket scientist, but she’s everything else.



The world’s richest and most powerful men, the announcer teased.

An income “in the millions,” said the arresting officer.

Pina Colapinto

A petite call girl,

who once slid between the sheets of royalty,

a green-eyed blonde helped the police get the indictment.

They really dolled her up

She looks great.

Never!

What I told her was: ‘Wash that ******.’





XXXI.

Madam Alex died at 7 p.m.

Saturday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center,

where she had been in intensive care after recent open heart surgery

We all held her hand when they took her off the life support

This was the passing of a legend.

Because she was the mother superior of prostitution.

She was one of the richest women on earth.

The world came to her.

She never had to leave the house.

She was like Hugh Hefner in that way.


It's like losing a friend

In all the years we played cat and mouse,

she never once tried to corrupt me.

We had a lot of fun.


To those who knew her

she was as constant

as she was colorful

always ready with a good tidbit of gossip

and a gourmet lunch for two.

She entertained, even after her conviction on pandering charges,

from the comfy depths of her blue four-poster bed at her home near Doheny Drive,

surrounded by knickknacks and meowing cats,

which she fed fresh shrimp from blue china plates.



XXXII.

She stole my business,

my books,

my girls,

my guys.

I had a good run.

My creatures.

Make Mommy happy

Oh! He is the most enchanting cat that I have ever known.



She was, how can I say it,

classy.

When she first hired me

she thought I was too young to take her case.

I was 43.

I'm going to give you some gray hairs by the time this is over.

She was right.





XXXIII.

I was fond of Heidi

But she has a streak that is so vindictive.



If there is pure evil, it is Madame Alex.





XXXIV.

I was born and raised in L.A.

My dad was a famous pediatrician.

When he died, they donated a bench to him at the Griffith Park Observatory.



I think that Heidi wanted to try her wings

pretty early,

and I think that she met some people

who sort of took all her potential

and gave it a sharp turn



She knew nothing.

She was like a little parrot who repeated what she was supposed to say.



Alex and I had a very intense relationship;

I was kind of like the daughter she loved and hated,

so she was abusive and loving at the same time.



Look, I know Madam Alex was great at what she did

but it's like this:

What took her years to build,

I built in one.

The high end is the high end,

and no one has a higher end than me.

In this business, no one steals clients.

There's just better service.



XXXV.

You were not allowed to have long hair

You were not allowed to be too pretty

You were not allowed to wear too much makeup or be too glamorous

Because someone would fall in love with you and take you away.

And then she loses the business



XXXVI.

I was pursued because

come on

in our lifetime,

we will never see another girl of my age

who lived the way I did,

who did what I did so quickly,

I made so many enemies.

Some people had been in this line of business

for their whole lives, 30 or 40 years,

and I came in and cornered the market.

Men don't like that.

Women don't like that.

No one liked it.



I had this spiritual awakening watching an Oprah Winfrey video.

I was doing this 500-hour drug class

and one day the teacher showed us this video,

called something like Make It Happen.

Usually in class I would bring a notebook

and write a letter to my brother or my journal,

but all of a sudden this grabbed my attention

and I understood everything she said.

It hit me and it changed me a lot.

It made me feel,

Accept yourself for who you are.

I saw a deeper meaning in it

but who knows, I might have just been getting my period that day!



XXXVII.

Hello, Gina!

You movie star!

Yes you are!

Gina G!

Hello my friend,

Hello my friend,

Hello my movie star,

Ruby! Ruby Boobie!

Braaawk!

Except so many women say,

Come on, Heidi

you gotta do the brothel for us; don't let us down.

It would be kind of fun opening up an exclusive resort,

and I'll make it really nice,

like the Beverly Hills Hotel

It'll feel private; you'll have your own bungalow.

The only problem out here is the climate—it's so brutal.

Charles Manson was captured a half hour from Pahrump.



I said, Joe! What are you doing?

You gotta get, like,

a garter belt and encase it in something

and write,

This belonged to Suzette Whatever,

who entertained the Flying Tigers during World War II.

Get, like, some weird tools and write,

These were the first abortion tools in the brothel,

you know what I mean?

Just make some **** up!

So I came out here to do some research

And then I realized,

What am I doing?

I'm Heidi Fleiss. I don't need anyone.

I can do this.

When I was doing my research, in three months

I saw land go from 30 thousand an acre

to 50 thousand an acre,

and then it was going for 70K!

It's urban sprawl

—we're only one hour from Las Vegas.

Out here the casinos are only going to get bigger,

prostitution is legal, it's only getting better.





XXXVIII.

The truth is

deep down inside,

I just can't do business with him

He's the type of guy who buys Cup o' Noodles soup for three cents

and makes his hookers buy it back from him for $5.

It's not my style at all.

Who wants to be 75 and facing federal charges?

It was different at my age when I

at least...come on, I lived really well.

I was 22,

25 at the time?

It was fun then, but now I wouldn't want

to deal with all that *******

—the girls and blah blah blah.

But the money was really good.



I would've told someone they were out of their ******* mind

if they'd said in five years I'd be living with all these animals like this.

It's hard-core; how I live;

It's totally a nonfunctional atmosphere for me

It's hard to get anything done because

It’s so time-consuming.

I feel like they're good luck though....

I do feel that if I ever get rid of them,

I will be jinxed and cursed the rest of my life

and nothing I do will ever work again.



Guys kind of are a hindrance to me

Certainly I have no problem getting laid or anything.

But a man is not a priority in my life.

I mean, it's crazy, but I really have fun with my parrots.



XXXIX.

I started a babysitting circle when I wasn't much older than 9

And soon all the parents in the neighborhood

wanted me to watch over their children.

Even then I had an innate business sense.

I started farming out my friends

to meet the demand.

My mother showered me with love and my father,

a pediatrician,

would ask me at the dinner table,

What did you learn today?

I ran my neighborhood.

I just pick up a hustle really easily,

I was a waitress and I met an older guy who looked like Santa Claus.



Alex was a 5' 3" bald-headed Filipina

in a transparent muu muu.

We hit it off.

I didn't know at the time that I was there to pay off the guy's gambling debt.

It's in and out,

over and out.

Do you think some big-time producer

or actor is going to go to the clubs and hustle?



Columbia Pictures executive says:

I haven’t done anything that should cause any concern.

Jeez, it's like the Nixon enemies list.

I hope I'm on it.

If I'm not, it means I must not be big enough

for people to gossip about me.



That's right ladies and gentlemen.

I am an alleged madam and that is a $25 *****!

If you live out here,

you've got to hate people.

You've got to be pretty antisocial

How you gonna come out here with only 86 people?

That's Fred.

He's digging to China.

You look good.

Yeah, you too.

It's coming along here.

Yeah, it is.

I wanted to buy that lot there, but I guess it's gone?

That's mine, man! That's all me.

Really?

I thought there was a lot between us.

No. We're neighbors.



He's a cute guy

He's entertaining.

See, I kind of did do something shady to him.

I thought my property went all the way back

and butted up against his.

But there was one lot between us right there.

He said he was buying it,

but I saw the 'For Sale' sign still up there,

So I went and called the broker and said,

I'm an all-cash buyer.

So I really bought it out from under him.

But he's got plenty of room, and I need the space for my parrots.

Pahrump will always be Pahrump, but Crystal is going to be nice

All you need are four or five fancy houses and it'll flush everyone out

and it'll be a nice area.

They're all kind of weird here, but these people will go.

Like this guy here,

someone needs to **** him.

I was just saying to my dad that these parrots are born to a really ******-up world

He goes, Heidi, no, no; the world is a beautiful garden.

It's just, people are destroying it.

I’m looking into green building options

I don't want anything polluting,

I want a huge auditorium,

but it'll be like a jungle where my birds can really fly!

Where they can really do what they're supposed to do.

There were over 300 birds in there!

That lady,

She ran the exotic-birds department for the Tropicana Hotel,

which is a huge job.

She called me once at 3:30 in the morning

Come over here and help me feed this baby!

Some baby parrot.

And I ran over there in my pajamas

—I knew there was something else wrong

and she was like

Get me my oxygen!

Get me this, get me that.

I called my dad; he was like,

I don't know, honey, you better call the paramedics.

They ended up getting a helicopter.

And they were taking her away

in the wind with her IV and blood and everything

and she goes, Heidi, you take care of my birds.

And she dies the next day.

She was just a super-duper person.



XL.

I relate to the lifestyle she had before,

Now, I'm just a citizen.

I'm clean,

I'm sober,

I'm married,

I work at Wal-Mart.

I'm proud to say I know her. I look into her eyes

and we relate.





I got out in 2000,

so I've been sending her money for seven years

She was…whatever.

Girlfriend?

Yeah, maybe.

But ***, I tried like two times,

and I'm just not gay.

She gets out in about eight or nine months

and I told her I would get her a house.

But nowhere near me.

I didn't touch her,

but I'd be, like...

a funny story:

I told her,

Don't you ever ******* think

about contacting me in the real world.

I'm not a lesbian.

Then about two years ago, I got an e-mail from her,

or she called me and said, 'Google my name.'

So I Googled her name,

and she has this huge company.

Huge!

She won, like, Woman of the Year awards.

So I called her and I go,

Not bad.

She goes, 'Well, I did all that because you called me a loser.'

I go, '****, I should've called you more names

you probably would've found the cure for cancer by now.



XLI.

No person shall be employed by the licensee

who has ever been convicted of

a felony involving moral turpitude

But I qualify,

I mean, big deal, so I'm a convicted felon.

Being in the *** industry, you can't be so squeaky-clean.

You've got to be hustling.

Nighttime is really enchanting here

It's like a whole 'nother world out here, it really is

I’m so far removed from my social life and old surroundings.

Who was it, Oscar Wilde, I think, who said

people can adjust to anything.

I was perfectly adjusted in the penitentiary,

and I was perfectly adjusted to living in a château in France.



We had done those drug addiction shows together

Dr. Drew.

Afterward we were friendly

and he'd call me every now and then.

He'd act like he had his stuff together.

But it was all a lie.

Everything is a lie.

I brought him to a Humane Society event at Paramount Studios last year.

He was just such a mess.

So out of it.

He stole money from my purse.

He's such a drug addict because he's so afraid of being fat.

He liked horse ****, though. He did like horse ****.

This one woman that would have *** with a horse on the internet,

He told me that’s his favorite actress.

Better than Meryl Streep.



XLII.

The cops could see

why these women were taking over trade.

Girls with these looks charged upwards of $500 an hour.

The Russians had undercut them with a bargain rate of $150 an hour.

One thing they are not is lazy.

In the USSR

they grew up with no religion, no morality.

Prostitution is not considered a bad thing.

In fact, it’s considered a great way to make money.

That’s why it’s exploding here.

What we saw was just a tip of the iceberg.

These girls didn’t come over here expecting to be nannies.

They knew exactly what they wanted and what they were getting into.

The madam who organized this raid

was making $4 million a year,

laundered through Russian-owned banks in New York City

These are brutal people.

They are all backstabbers.

They’re entrepreneurs.

They’re looking at $10,000 a month for turning tricks.

For them, that’s the American dream.



XLIII.

If you’re not into something,

don’t be into it

But,

if you want to take some whipped cream,

put it between your toes,

have your dog licking it up and,

at the same time,

have your girlfriend poke you in the eye,

then that’s fine.

That’s a little weird but we shouldn’t judge.



She was my best friend then

and I consider her one of my best friends now,

because when I was going through Riker’s

and everyone abandoned me,

including my boyfriend,

I was hysterical,

crying,

and she was the one that was there.

And, when somebody needed to step up to the plate,

that’s who did, and I have an immense amount of

loyalty, respect, and love for her.

And if she’s going to prison for eight years

—that’s what she’s sentenced for

—I’ll go there,

and I’ll go there every week,

for eight years.

That’s the type of person I am.
Cyril Blythe Nov 2012
I followed Delvos down the trail until we could see the mouth of the mine. The life and energy of the surrounding birches and sentential pines came to a still and then died as we left the trees shelter behind and walked closer, closer. The air was cold and dark and damp and smelled of mold and moths. Delvos stepped into the darkness anyways.
“Well, girl, you coming or aren’t you?”
I could see his yellowed tobacco teeth form into a smile as I stepped out of the sun. It was still inside. The canary chirped in its cage.
“This tunnel is just the mouth to over two hundred others exactly like it. Stay close. Last thing I need this month is National Geographic on my *** for losing one of their puppet girls.”
“Delvos, ****. I have two masters degrees.” I pulled my mousey hair up into a tight ponytail. “I’ve experienced far more fatal feats than following a canary in a cave.”
He rolled his eyes. “Spare me.” He trotted off around the corner to the left, whistling some Louis Armstrong song.
“I survived alone in the jungles of Bolivia alone for two months chasing an Azara’s Spinetail. I climbed the tallest mountain in Nepal shooting Satyr Tragopans along the cliff faces. In Peru I…” Suddenly I felt the weight of the darkness. I lost track of his lantern completely. I stopped, my heartbeat picked up, and I tried to remind myself of what I had done in Peru. The mine was quiet and cold. I wiped my clammy, calloused hands on my trail pants and took a depth breath.

In through the nose. Out through the mouth. This is nothing. I followed a Diurnal Peruvian Pygmy-Owl across the gravel tops of the Andes Mountains, no light but the Southern Cross and waning moon above. I am not scared of darkness. I am not scared of darkness.
I stopped to listen. Behind me I could hear the wind cooing at the mouth of the mine.
Taunting? No. Reminding me to go forward. Into the darkness.
I shifted my Nikon camera off my shoulder and raised the viewfinder to my eyes, sliding the lens cap into my vest pocket. This routine motion, by now, had become as fluid as walking. I stared readily through the dark black square until I saw reflections from the little red light on top that blinked, telling me the flash was charged. I snapped my finger down and white light filled the void in front of me. Then heavy dark returned. I blinked my eyes attempting to rid the memories of the flash etched, red, onto my retina. I clicked my short fingernails through buttons until the photo I took filled the camera screen. I learned early on that having short fingernails meant more precise control with the camera buttons. I zoomed in on the picture and scrolled to get my bearings of exactly what lay ahead in the narrow mine passageway. As I scrolled to the right I saw Delvos’ boot poking around the tunnel that forked to the left.
Gottcha.
I packed up the camera, licked my drying lips, and stepped confidently into the darkness.

When I first got the assignment in Vermont I couldn’t have been more frustrated. Mining canaries? Never had I ever ‘chased’ a more mundane bird. Nonetheless, when Jack Reynolds sends you on a shoot you don’t say no, so I packed up my camera bag and hoped on the next plane out of Washington.
“His name is John Delvos.” Jack had said as he handed me the manila case envelope. He smiled, “You’re leaving on Tuesday.”
“Yes sir.”
“Don’t look so smug, Lila. This may not be the most exotic bird you’ve shot but the humanity of this piece has the potential to be a cover story. Get the shots, write the story.”
I opened the envelope and read the assignment details in the comfort of my old pajamas back at my apartment later that night.
John Delvos has lived in rural Vermont his entire life. His family bred the canaries for the miners of the Sheldon Quarry since the early twenties. When “the accident” happened the whole town shut down and the mines never reopened. . There were no canaries in the mines the day the gas killed the miners. The town blamed the Delvos family and ran them into the woods. His mother died in a fire of some sort shortly before Delvos and his father retreated into the Vermont woods. His father built a cabin and once his father died, Delvos continued to breed the birds. He currently ships them to other mining towns across the country. The question of the inhumanity of breeding canaries for the sole purpose of dying in the mines so humans don’t has always been controversial. Find out Delvos’ story and opinions on the matter. Good luck, Lila.
I sighed, accepting my dull assignment and slipped into an apathetic sleep.


After stumbling through the passageway while keeping one hand on the wall to the left, I found the tunnel the picture had revealed Delvos to be luring in. Delvos reappeared behind the crack of his match in a side tunnel not twenty yards in front of me
“Do you understand the darkness now, Ms. Rivers?” He relit the oily lantern and picked back up the canary cage. “Your prestigious masters degrees don’t mean **** down here.”. He turned his back without another word. I followed deeper into the damp darkness.
“Why were there no canaries in the mine on, you know, that day?” The shadows of the lantern flickered against the iron canary cage chained on his hip and the yellow bird hopped inside.
“I was nine, Ms. Rivers. I didn’t understand much at the time.” We turned right into the next tunnel and our shoes crunched on jagged stones. All the stones were black.
“But surely you understand now?”
The canary chirped.

When I first got to Sheldon and began asking about the location of the Delvos’ cabin you would have thought I was asking where the first gate to hell was located. Mothers would smile and say, “Sorry, Miss, I can’t say,” then hurriedly flock their children in the opposite direction. After two hours of polite refusals I gave up. I spent the rest of the first day photographing the town square. It was quaint; old stone barbershops surrounded by oaks and black squirrels, a western-themed whiskey bar, and a few greasy spoon restaurants. I booked a room in the Walking Horse Motel for Wednesday night, determined to get a good night’s sleep and defeat this town’s fear of John Delvos the following day.
My room was a tiny one bed square with no TV. Surprise, surprise. At least I had my camera and computer to entertain myself. I reached into the side of my camera bag, pulled out my Turkish Golds and Macaw-beak yellow BIC, and stepped out onto the dirt in front of my motel door and lit up. The stars above stole all the oxygen surrounding me. They were dancing and smiling above me and I forgot Delvos, Jack, and all of Sheldon except its sky. Puffing away, I stepped farther and farther from my door and deeper into the darkness of Vermont night. The father into the darkness the more dizzying the star’s dancing became.
“Ma’am? Everything okay?”
Startled, I dropped my cigarette on the ground and the ember fell off. “I’m sorry, sir. I was just, um, the stars…” I snuffed out the orange glow in the dirt with my boot and extended my hand, “Lila Rivers, and you are?”
“Ian Benet. I haven’t seen you around here before, Ms. Rivers. Are you new to town?” He traced his fingers over a thick, graying mustache as he stared at me.
“I’m here for work. I’m a bird photographer and journalist for National Geographic. I’m looking for John Delvos but I’m starting to think he’s going to be harder to track than a Magpie Robin.”
Ian smiled awkwardly, shivered, then began to fumble with his thick jacket’s zipper. I looked up at the night sky and watched the stars as they tiptoed their tiny circles in the pregnant silence. Then, they dimmed in the flick of a spark as Ian lit up his wooden pipe. It was a light-colored wood, stained with rich brown tobacco and ash. He passed me his matches, smiling.
“So, Delvos, eh?” He puffed out a cloud of leather smelling smoke toward the stars. “What do you want with that old *******? Don’t tell me National Geographic is interested in the Delvos canaries.”
I lit up another stick and took a drag. “Shocking, right?”
“Actually, it’s about time their story is told.” Benet walked to the wooden bench to our left and patted the seat beside him. I walked over. “The Delvos canaries saved hundreds of Sheldonian lives over the years. But the day a crew went into the mines without one, my father came out of the ground as cold as when we put him back into it in his coffin.”
I sat in silence, unsure what to say. “Mr. Benet, I’m so sorry…”
“Please, just Ian. My father was the last Mr. Benet.”
We sat on the wooden bench, heat leaving our bodies to warm the dead wood beneath our legs. I shivered; the star’s dance suddenly colder and more violent.
“Delvos canaries are martyrs, Ms. Rivers. This whole town indebted to those tiny yellow birds, but nobody cares to remember that anymore.”
“Can you tell me where I can find Mr. Delvos and his, erm, martyrs?” The ember of my second cigarette was close to my pinching fingertips.
“Follow me.” Ian stood up and walked to the edge of the woods in front of us. We crunched the dead pine needles beneath our feet, making me aware of how silent it was. Ian stopped at a large elm and pointed. “See that yellow notch?” he asked. Sure enough, there was a notch cut and dyed yellow at his finger’s end. “If you follow true north from this tree into the woods you’ll find this notch about every fifty yards or so. Follow the yellow and it’ll spit you out onto the Delvos property.”
“Thank you, Ian. I really can’t begin to tell you how grateful I am.
“You don’t have to.” He knocked the ash out of his pipe against the tree. “Just do those birds justice in your article. Remember, martyrs. Tell old Delvos Ian Benet sends his regards.” He turned and walked back to the motel and I stood and watched in silence. It was then I realized I hadn’t heard a single bird since I got to Sheldon. The star’s dance was manic above me as I walked back to my room and shut the door.

The canary’s wings and Delvos stopped. “This is a good place to break our fast. Sit.”
I sat obediently, squirming around until the rocks formed a more comfortable nest around my bony hips. We had left for the mines as the stars were fading in the vermillion Vermont sky that morning and had been walking for what seemed like an eternity. I was definitely ready to eat. He handed me a gallon Ziploc bag from his backpack filled with raisins, nuts, various dried fruits, and a stiff piece of bread. I attacked the food like a raven.
“I was the reason no canaries entered the mines that day, Ms. Rivers.”
Delvos broke a piece of his bread off and wrapped it around a dried piece of apricot, or maybe apple. I was suddenly aware of my every motion and swallowed, loudly. I crinkled into my Ziploc and crunched on the pecans I dug out, waiting.
“Aren’t you going to ask why?”
“I’m not a parrot, Mr. Delvos, I don’t answer expectedly on command. You’ll tell me if you want.” I stuffed a fistful of dried pears into my mouth.
Delvos chuckled and my nerves eased. “You’ve got steel in you, Ms. Rivers. I’ll give you that much.”
I nodded and continued cramming pears in my mouth.
“I was only nine. The canaries were my pets, all of them. I hated when Dad would send them into the mines to die for men I couldn’t give two ***** about. It was my birthday and I asked for an afternoon of freedom with my pets and Dad obliged. I was in the aviary with pocketfuls of sunflower-seeds. Whenever I threw a handful into the air above me, the air came to life with wings slashing yellow brushes and cawing songs of joy. It was the happiest I have ever been, wholly surrounded and protected by my friends. Around twelve thirty that afternoon the Sheriff pulled up, lights ablaze. The blue and red lights stilled my yellow sky to green again and that’s when I heard the shouting. He cuffed my Dad on the hood of the car and Mom was crying and pushing her fists into the sheriff’s chest. I didn’t understand at all. The Sheriff ended up putting Mom in the car too and they all left me in the aviary. I sat there until around four that afternoon before they sent anyone to come get me.”
Delvos took a small bite of his bread and chewed a moment. “No matter how many handfuls of seeds I threw in the air after that, the birds wouldn’t stir. They wouldn’t even sing. I think they knew what was happening.”
I was at a loss for words so and I blurted, “I didn’t see an aviary at your house…”
Delvos laughed. “Someone burnt down the house I was raised in the next week while we were sleeping. Mom died that night. The whole dark was burning with screams and my yellow canaries were orange and hot against the black sky. That’s the only night I’ve seen black canaries and the only night I’ve heard them scream.”
I swallowed some mixed nuts and they rubbed against my dry throat.
“They never caught the person. A week later Dad took the remainder of the birds and we marched into the woods. We worked for months clearing the land and rebuilding our lives. We spent most of the time in silence, except for the canary cries. When the house was finally built and the bird’s little coops were as well, Dad finally talked. The only thing he could say was “Canaries are not the same as a Phoenix, John. Not the same at all.”
We sat in silence and I found myself watching the canary flit about in its cage, still only visible by the lanterns flame. Not fully yellow, I realized, here in the mines but not fully orange either.

When I first walked onto John Delvos’ property on Thursday morning he was scattering feed into the bird coops in the front of his cabin. Everything was made of wood and still wet with the morning’s dew.
“Mr. Delvos?”
He spun around, startled, and walked up to me a little too fast. “Why are you here? Who are you?”
“My name is Lila Rivers, sir, I am a photographer and journalist for National Geographic Magazine and we are going to run an article on your canaries.”
“Not interested.”
“Please, sir, can I ask you just a few quick questions as take a couple pictures of your, erm, martyrs?”
His eyes narrowed and he walked up to me, studying my face with an intense, glowering gaze. He spit a mouthful of dip onto the ground without breaking eye contact. I shifted my camera bag’s weight to the other shoulder.
“Who told you to call them that?”
“I met Ian Benet last night, he told me how important your birds are to this community, sir. He sends his regards.”
Delvos laughed and motioned for me to follow as he turned his back. “You can take pictures but I have to approve which ones you publish. That’s my rule.”
“Sir, it’s really not up to me, you see, my boss, Jack Reynolds, is one of the editors for the magazine and he...”
“Those are my rules, Ms. Rivers.” He turned and picked back up the bucket of seed and began to walk back to the birds. “You want to interview me then we do it in the mine. Be back here at four thirty in the morning.”
“Sir…?”
“Get some sleep, Ms. Rivers. You’ll want to be rested for the mine.” He turned, walked up his wooden stairs, and closed the door to his cabin.
I was left alone in the woods and spent the next hour snapping pictures of the canaries in their cages. I took a couple pictures of his house and the surrounding trees, packed up my camera and trekked back to my motel.

“You finished yet?” Delvos stood up. The mine was dark, quiet, and stagnant. I closed the Ziploc and stuffed the bag, mainly filled with the raisins I had sifted through, into my pocket.
Delvos grunted and the canary flapped in its cage as he stood again and, swinging the lantern, rounded another corner. The path we were on began to take a noticeable ***** downward and the moisture on the walls and air multiplied.  
The lantern flickered against the moist, black stones, sleek and piled in the corners we past. The path stopped ahead at a wall of solid black and brown Earth.
The canary chirped twice.
It smelled of clay and mildew and Delvos said, “Go on, touch it.”
I reached my hand out, camera uselessly hanging like a bat over my shoulder. The rock was cold and hard. It felt dead.
The canary was fluttering its wings in the cage now, chirping every few seconds.
“This is the last tunnel they were digging when the gas under our feet broke free from hell and killed those men.”
Delvos hoisted the lantern above our heads, illuminatin
Nigel Morgan Oct 2012
I can imagine her in Aarhus Kunstmuseum coming across this painting, adjusting her glasses, pursing her lips then breaking out into a big smile. The gallery is almost empty. It is early in the day for visitors, but she is a tourist so allowances are made. Her partner meanwhile is in the Sankt Markus Kirke playing the *****, a 3 manual tracker-action gem built in 1967 by Poul Gerhard Anderson. Sweelink then Bach (the trio sonatas written for his son Johann Christian) are on the menu this morning. In the afternoon she will take herself off to one of the sandy beaches a bus ride away and work on a poem or two. He has arranged to play the grand 83-voice Frobinus ***** in the Cathedral. And so, with a few variations, some illustrious fugues and medley of fine meals in interesting restaurants, their stay in Denmark’s second city will be predictably delightful.
       She is a poet ‘(and a philosopher’, she would say with a grin), a gardener, (old roses and a Jarman-blue shed), a musician, (a recorder player and singer), a mother (four girls and a holy example), but her forte is research. A topic will appear and relentlessly she’d pursue it through visits to favourite libraries in Cambridge and London. In this relentless pursuit she would invariably uncover a web of other topics. These would fill her ‘temporary’ bookcase, her notebooks and her conversation. Then, sometimes, a poem would appear, or not.
          The postcard from Aarhus Kunstmuseum had sat on her table for some weeks until one quiet morning she decided she must ‘research’ this Sosphus Claussen and his colleagues. The poem ‘Imperia’ intrigued her. She knew very little Danish literature. Who did for goodness sake! Hans Christian Anderson she dismissed, but Søren Kierkegaard she had read a little. When a student, her tutor had talked about this author’s use of the pseudonym, a very Socratic device, and one she too had played with as a poet. Claussen’s name was absent from any online lists (Were there really on 60 poets in Danish literature?). Roge appeared, and the painter Willumsen had a whole museum dedicated to his work; this went beyond his El Greco-like canvases into sculpture, graphics, architecture and photography. He looked an interesting character she thought as she browsed his archive. The one thing these three gentlemen held in common was an adherence to the symbolist aesthetic. They were symbolists.
         For her the symbolists were writers, playwrights, artists and composers who in the later years of the 19C wanted to capture absolute truth through indirect methods. They created work in a highly metaphorical and suggestive manner, endowing particular images or objects with symbolic meaning. Her studies in philosophy had brought her to Schopenhauer who considered Art to be ‘a contemplative refuge from the world of strife’. Wasn’t this what the symbolists were all about?
         Her former husband had introduced her to the world of Maurice Maeterlinck through Debussy’s Pelleas and those spare, intense, claustrophobic dramas like Le Malheure Passe. It was interesting how the discovery of the verse of the ancient Chinese had appeared at the time of the symbolist project, and so influenced it. Collections like The Jade Flute that, in speaking of the everyday and the natural world, held with such simplicity rich symbolic messages. Anyway, she didn’t do feelings in her poetry.
           When she phoned the composer who had fathered three of her children he said to her surprise ‘Delius’. He explained: C.F. Keary was the librettist for the two operas Delius composed. Keary wrote a novel called The Journalist (1898) based on Sosphus, a writer who wrote plays ‘heavily laced with symbolism’ and who had also studied art and painted in Paris. Keary knew Claussen, who he described as a poet, novelist, playwright, painter, journalist and eventually a newspaper owner. Claussen was a close friend of Verlaine and very much part of the Bohemian circle in Paris. Claussen and Delius’ circle intersected in the person of Herman Bang, a theatre director who produced Claussen’s Arbedjersken (The Factory Girl). Clauseen wrote an important poem on Bang’s demise, which Delius set to music.
          She was impressed. ‘How is it that you know so much about Delius?’, she asked. He was a modernist, on the experimental edge of contemporary music. ‘Ah’, he replied, ‘I once researched the background to Delius’ Requiem. I read the composer’s Collected Letters (he was a very serious letter writer – sometimes 10 a day), and got stuck into the letters of his Paris years when so many of his friends were Scandinavian émigrés. You once sent me a postcard of a painting by Wilhumsen. It was of Clauseen reading to two of his ‘symbolist’ colleagues. I think you’d picked it up in Denmark. You said, if I recall, that you’d found it ‘irresistible’’.
          And so it was, this painting. Irresistible. She decided that its irresistibility lay in the way the artist had caught the head and body positions of reader and listeners. The arrangement of legs, she thought, says so much about a man. Her husband had always sat with the care embedded in his training as a musician at an instrument. He could slouch like the rest of us, she thought, but when he sat properly, attentive to her words, or listening to their sweet children, he was beautiful. She still loved him, and remembered the many poems she had composed for him, poems he had never seen (she had instructed a daughter to ‘collect’ them for him on her passing). Now, it was he who wrote poetry, for another, for a significant other he had said was his Muse, his soul’s delight, his dearly beloved.
          The wicker chair Sophos Claussen is sitting in, she decided, she would like in her sitting room. It looked the perfect chair for giving a reading. She imagined reading one of her poems from such a chair . . .
 
If daydreams are wrecks of something divine
I’m amazed by the tediousness of mine.
I’m always the power behind throne.
I rescue princes to make my own.

 
‘And so it goes’, she thought, quoting that American author she could never remember. So it goes, this strange life, where it seems possible for the mind to enter an apartment in 19C København and call up the smell of brilliantined hair, cigar tobacco, and the samovar in the kitchen. This poem Imperia I shall probably never read, she thought, though there is some American poet on a Fulbright intent on translating Claussen’s work into English. In a flash of the mind’s miracle she travels to his tiny office in his Mid-West university, surrounded by the detritus of student tutorials. In blue jeans and cowboys boots Devon Whittall gazes out of his third storey window at the falling snow.
 
There is nothing in the world as quiet as snow,
when it gently descends through the air,
muffles your steps
hushes, gently hushes
the voices that speak too loud.
 
There is nothing in the world of a purity like snow's,
swan's down from the white wings of Heaven,
On your hand a flake
is like dew of tears,
White thoughts quietly tread in dance.
 
There is nothing in the world that can gentle like snow,
quietly you listen to the silent ringing.
Oh, so fine a sound,
peals of silver bells,
rings within your innermost heart.

 
And she imagines Helge Rode (his left arm still on his right shoulder) reading his poem Snow in the quiet of the winter afternoon at Ellehammersvej 20 Kastrup Copenhagen. ‘And so it goes,’ she thought, ‘this imagination, flowing on and on. When I am really old like my Grandmother (discharging herself from hospital at 103 because the food was so appalling) will my imagination continue to be as rich and capable as it is today?’
          Closing her notebook and shutting down her laptop, she removed her cat from its cushion on the table, and walked out into her garden, leaving three Danish Symbolists to their readings and deliberations.
brandon nagley Aug 2015
Differentiation between the poet
And the journalist;

The journalist writeth a script that's scripted,
A poet wilt writeth untamed, none script, just raw soul!!!!!




©Brandon nagley
©Lonesome poet's poetry
axr Jul 2014
Look in the camera with the colgate smile
sound concerned even when you aren't.
Tell them that someone famous just died.
Don't fumble, you're LIVE.
Get the story before anyone else
or wave your career a goodbye.

Two minute break
Sip that water and put that make up on.
Manipulate the public
and your legacy shall live on.
Humiliate the politicians till they
can stand no more.
Sound vaguely interested
when you're bored.
Display the public ranting,
the promotion is yours.
Get your sources lined up
take down the unimportant notes.
Write about the bodies which were blown up
but your boss wants more.

Shove the mic in their face.
Demand reasons behind this failure we embrace.
Exaggerate the words said by a famous mind.
In place of truth fill it with lies.
You dared to step in the public's misery.
You were just another journalist desperate for a story.
Words blow
with the blast
Ink drops as oil to the flame
and burn the fire's light

Waved in the leaden air  
the majesty of accuracy
scald the ears waxed with injustice
Literacy and liberty
are for all longing eyes

A witness to the silences—
to misfortunes ignored
to blessings need to be heard
to weak breath
trying to make sense of its existence-

the sonar in the deepest sea of truth
hears silences louder than speeches
Also, he believes in voices
voices stronger than power
Writing with a purpose,
with a mad fever.
It takes me over,
a mad man with a pan,
with a soul,
and no remorse.
With a will,
to excavate reality,
and question the morality,
the uncountable insanity,
of our world,
which feeds,
but lets us starve.

The keyboard obeys,
as the words continue,
to display the unfairness,
or what they call justice,
and constitutionality.
I am of one nationality,
but they only see the color,
the tanned skin that,
covers those opinions I hide.
A young democrat,
with view not radical,
my outbursts sporadical,
analytic vandal.
Causing scandal,
making headlines,
before deadlines.

The industry is dying,
those who protect the innocent,
not the tabloids or fox news,
but those who report.
Really report on the wrongs,
and criticize the operations,
of borderline frail relations,
connected with GOVERNMENT.
With the system, the MAN.
The mother loving OPPRESSOR.
I am the professor,
Cronkite's successor.

We are the last line,
of defense and honesty.
We are those who watch,
defy the conventional,
and put down the animals.
Sadists, ******, murderers,
bankers, and lawmakers.
Hiding behind the first amendment,
with pride and purpose.
Sincere to a fault,
that's the job description,
the drug prescription.
Call it the right decision.
We write the truth,
but no one will thank us.
CH Gorrie Sep 2012
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall
I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”
Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times."
                    - Matthew the Apostle

I
Seventy-seven bottles of gin
lie in the guts of sensuous men;
seventy-seven *I forgive you
's dissolve
in a fanatical mind's resolve.

II
What offence occurred under Saint Constantine's priggish eye?
Was it specious as a Samian's thigh?
Or Sumerians receiving alien diplomats?
Maybe somewhere far under Moscow Putin's massing cloning vats...

III
Whatever discursive and belligerent milieu
church authority finds most tried and true
seems to be the most important decider
in the future of things like the Large Hadron Collider.
Perhaps, unfoundedly, they find it funny that Higgs
(though it seems much like calling the Liberal Party "Whigs")
is a name shared by a man and a theoretical particle
(though it be libelous in any journalist's article),
and thus label similar advancements as "blasphemous".
I guess that this is what it is: believing just because.

IV
Who can know blasphemy from piousness?
Maybe all Luther did was obfuscate a prior mess.

V
Seventy-seven palm-branch-adorned, donkey-riding kings:
an automatic-ring-making-machine beleaguering proselyte rings.
rained-on parade Sep 2014
I heard we
ran out of papers
so you ran up
around the walls
of this house-
thoughts scribbling
on them like the paint
we could not decide upon;
like a troubled mentalist
looking for solace
the sound of your pen
against the walls-
how they went from
flowing to screeching-
hands now bleeding
blue
heart; you reached the
porch where you underlined
your first steps and her last;
the bedroom a serenade
between the sheets some-
times a lie tucked away
underneath;
there are fractured stories
in the woodwork finally
seeping out.
You are making the
ceiling cry in the eulogic living room; the kitchen
is a mess of lonely dinners.
You left the library for the last.
This was where you began a
passion never ending
fantasy; open up
the curtains.
The world will one day
listen to the way
a little scribble went
to a house
and came back
a masterpiece.
R.

Le muse de fataliste
preservationman Apr 2015
Breaking News
A Robinson’s affair
It has been called party goers in beware
The Pelican Club know fore shoot outs
There are also fights to talk about
The Chef’s have been making guest sick
The Pelican Club is not a good pick
The ratings of the club had been very low
Business is certainly somewhat slow
As a poet journalist, I will tell you, “Let the Pelican Club go”
The Flamingo Club is the place to be
When you walk inside this is what you will see
Flamingo bird statues decked out in black and white with an offset of red bowties
Music that will make you serene in an automatic dance
The whole atmosphere will put you in a trance
Yet each dancing step you will seem to advance
All kinds of drinks for you to sup
However don’t forget to leave a tip
The Flamingo Club will make you feel special like the bird itself
The Flamingo Club is not like everybody else
This journalist being the poet in reporting in what you needed to know
It goes too show
Take in the Flamingo Club and just let senses go.
nivek Apr 2016
The graffiti of the heart
finds its way into poetry

and the singing journalist
spins the storyline.
Bob B Oct 2018
At the Saudi Arabian Consulate,
In Istanbul, Turkey, I hear
Something dreadful happened, although
Details are as yet unclear.

Saudi born Jamal Khashoggi,
Journalist for the Washington Post,
Entered the consulate knowing that
It might not be a welcoming host.

An Apple Watch might seem useless.
Khashoggi's Watch, nevertheless,
Recorded his brutal beating and ******,
According to the Turkish press.

But was it an Apple Watch, or had
Turkish authorities bugged the room?
Whatever the case, people are certain
That that’s where Khashoggi met his doom.

We know he entered the building whole.
We're waiting to hear more news releases,
For many fear that the journalist,
Exited the building in pieces.

When asked if he'd condemn the Saudis
If they had committed the ghastly deed,
Trump at first appeared reluctant
To criticize them or intercede.

The Saudis pay billions of dollars
For weapons, he said, to the USA.
And what's-his-name wasn't even
An American citizen anyway.

Later, Trump admitted that
We need a thorough investigation.
But sanctions involving money? No,
That would severely hurt our nation.

Meanwhile, the Saudis **** innocent
Yemenis with the weapons they buy,
And rectitude falls by the wayside
As bank accounts multiply.

-by Bob B (10-13-18)
.the cardinal-dittoheads... the anchors that read from a cue... the basic tapeworms of: auto- and spasms... herr spaß... some say: pristine grammar, and hardly any spelling mistakes... because... you bring an ummy: and braille... to gold-dig the priße.... the siamese twins shifted "gear"... moved from vermont to northumbarland... so driving on the "opposite" side of the road... seems or would forever seem: normal... atom-bombarde with a leftover of letters... giraffe tyrone and schlang: the holy trinity of: ⠊⠉ ⠥: i see you: IÇU (ee, oh y o)...

the secular church of woke -
or whatever you call it -
plato despised the poets: almost a priori
from the "utopia"...
of "the" republic...

otherwise, what?
journalists are the priests of the secular
church?
journalists becoming allowed to savor
a priesthood-caste status...
with no church akin to a st. paul's
cathedral... but a glass-ceiling
and the wandering shard...

that these days journalists feel
impelled to be treated as the ancient lore
of the priest?!
the journalist these days
is the neupfarrer...

******* to the load of them...
but unlike the modern day priest...
i would not wish to be...
burnt at the stake...
by some... weak-cognißant: button-pressing
circus monkey!

how a priest became a journalist...
or how a journalist became a priest...
how horrific my heresy...
would have have to be...
to burn at the stake...
compared... to...
the "compensation" on offer from...
the current journalistic-priesthood
of secularism.
judy smith Oct 2015
He's accosted Kim Kardashian, Brad Pritt and Ciara, but red carpet prankster Vitalii Sediuk tried his luck with a much fiercer face on Tuesday.

The Ukrainian journalist approached US Vogue editor, Anna Wintour, outside the Chanel show at Paris Fashion Week.

Wearing a black headdress and glittery sequinned glove, Vitalli broke through the security barriers and ran up to the notoriously icy journalist as she exited the show.

With a microphone in his hand, Vitalli could be seen attempting to get her attention - but nonchalant Anna kept her cool and dismissed the prankster, striding straight past him.

Anna's security stepped in immediately and removed the prankster, who made a peace sign with his hand.

Anna is by no means the first star that Vitalli has pranked.

He famously targetted Kim Kardashian in September last year in the huge crowd that gathered around Kim and her husband Kanye's car as they arrived at the Balmain show at Paris Fashion Week, in which her sister Kendall Jenner was walking.

In bizarre scenes, Vitalii - the prankster who accosted Brad Pitt at the Maleficent premiere in Los Angeles earlier last year - was reported to have pulled Kim's hair [which he denies] and almost knocked the then 33-year-old starlet to the ground, in front of Kanye and her mother Kris Jenner.

Security quickly jumped in and escorted a shocked Kim into the building.

This was just one of the many times the former journalist has had run-ins with celebrities including America Ferrera, Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lopez.

Brad Pitt recently spoke out about the infamous run in with the now-notorious Sediuk at the Malificent premiere in Hollywood in late May.

The movie hunk said he was forced to defend himself after the Ukrainian television personality tried to 'bury his face in my crotch.'

Brad said he was having a great time mingling with fans on the red carpet, but things soon turned nasty when Sediuk sparked a melee that left the heartthrob with broken sunglasses.

He told People: 'I was at the end of the line signing autographs, when out the corner of my eye I saw someone stage-diving over the barrier at me.

'I took a step back; this guy had latched onto my lapels. I looked down and the ****** was trying to bury his face in my crotch, so I cracked him twice in the back of the head – not too hard – but enough to get his attention, because he did let go.

'I think he was then just grabbing for a hand hold because the guys were on him, and he reached up and caught my glasses.'

The Moneyball star said he likes people to have fun, but argued Sediuk's antics could end up spoiling glamorous Hollywood events for everyone else.

He said: 'I don’t mind an exhibitionist but if this guy keeps it up he’s going to spoil it for the fans who have waited up all night for an autograph or a selfie, because it will make people more wary to approach a crowd. And he should know, if he tries to look up a woman’s dress again, he’s going to get stomped.'

Sediuk was sentenced to 30 days in jail after attacking Brad at the Los Angeles premiere of Maleficent.

He was already on probation for jumping on stage with Jennifer Lopez when he jumped over a crowd barrier at the opening of Angelina Jolie's new film Maleficient and struck Brad

He was charged with assault, battery, unlawful activity at an exhibition and delay of an exhibition, received the jail sentence plus 20 days community labor, 36 months probation and a $220 fine.

read more:www.marieaustralia.com/cheap-formal-dresses

www.marieaustralia.com/princess-formal-dresses
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
A Simillacrum Jul 2018
Master, have mercy.
I am Master. I
Have no Master.

The planet
is atrocious.

I am It.

Planet Earth
is atrocious.

I am It.

Why is it so hard
to see
be yond peace?
Why is it so hard
to be
who you want?

The mind, secluded
in a prison rift
of copy paste
makes waste.

Where is my paper?
Where is my pen?
I write for me!
I repeat as if I
will soon
believe.
I write for me!
(logging on again)

The planet is horrid.
I am part of It.

Oh, Peace & War,
do we know it.

Yet with an audience,
my imagination
grows stagnant.

The once in abstract
gathers into form.

I did this misdeed.
A disservice.

Once a dreamer.
Now a journalist.
This one is for [redacted]
You make me want to run away.
That, is definitely a good thing.
A reminder that I never meant to stay.
Brandon Apr 2012
Free unrestricted journal publications
Words are bombs, dropping ink and paper
Typeface whistle blower and in your face
Chasing stories and truth, free the gonzo
The revolution in print, internet, television
Notepads, computers, and wi-fi
Liberated publication for all open eyes
A world of free thinkers and literary fact
No comment from the silent advertisers
Their payment in truth concealing lies
The United Censoring Of America
The political principles of censorship
Glory or death, guts and congratulations
No justice, no peace, no surrender
We’ve got the voice louder than power
The accuracy of enigmatic liberty
The freedom to say what you want to say,
what you need to say, is being taken away.
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.
Given the apparent magical surrealism that the months of April is the month of fate for and death of writers, artists, dramatis, philosophers and poets, a phenomenon which readily gets support from the cases of untimely and early April deaths of; Max Weber, Miguel de Cervantes, William Shakespeare, Francis Imbuga, and Chinua Achebe  then  Wisdom of the moment behooves me to adjure away the fateful month by  allowing  me to mourn Gabriel José de la Concordia García Márquez by expressing my feelings of grieve through the following dirge of elegy;
You lived alone in the solitude
Of pure hundred years in Colombia
Roaming in Amacondo with a Spanish tongue
Carrying the bones of your grandmother in a sisal sag
On your poverty written Colombian back,
Gadabouting to make love in times of cholera,
On none other than your bitter-sweet memories
Of your melancholic ***** the daughter of Castro,
Your cowardice made you to fear your momentous life
In this glorious and poetic time of April 2014,
Only to succumb to untimely black death
That similarly dimunitized your cultural ancestor;
Miguel de Cervantes, a quixotic Spaniard,
You were to write to the colonel for your life,
Before eating the cockerel you had ear-marked
For Olympic cockfight, the hope of the oppressed,
Come back from death, you dear Marquez
To tell me more stories fanaticism to surrealism,
From Tarzanic Africa the fabulous land
An avatar of evil gods that are impish propre
Only Vitian Naipaul and Salman Rushdie are not enough,
For both of them are so naïve to tell the African stories,
I will miss you a lot the rest of my life, my dear Garbo,
But I will ever carry your living soul, my dear Garcia,
Soul of your literature and poetry in a Maasai kioondo
On my broad African shoulders during my journey of art,
When coming to America to look for your culture
That gave you versatile tongue and quill of a pen,
Both I will take as your memento and crystallize them
Into my future thespic umbrella of orature and literature.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez, an eminent Latin American and most widely acclaimed authors, died untimely at his home in Mexico City on Thursday, 17th April 2014. The 1982 literature Nobel laureate, whose reputation drew comparisons to Mark Twain of adventures of Huckleberry Finny and Charles Dickens of hard Times, was 87 of age. Already a luminous legend in his well used lifetime, Latin American writer, Gabriel Garcia Marquez was perceived as not only one of the most consequential writers of the 20th and 21ist centuries, but also the sterling performing Spanish-language author since the world’s experience of Miguel de Cervantes, the Spanish Jail bird and Author of Don Quixote who lived in the 17th century.
Like very many other writers from the politically and economically poor parts of the world, in the likes of J M Coatze, Wole Soyinka, Nadine Gordimer, Doris May Lessing, Octavio Paz, Pablo Neruda, V S Naipaul, and Rabidranathe Tagore, Marguez won the literature Nobel prize in addition to the previous countless awards for his magically fabulous novels, gripping short stories, farcical screenplays, incisive journalistic contributions and spellbinding essays. But due to postmodern global thespic civilization the Nobel Prize is recognized as most important of his prizes in the sense that, he received in 1982, as the first Colombian author to achieve such literary eminence. The eminence of his work in literature communicated in Spanish are towered by none other than the Bible, especially  in its Homeric style which Moses used when writing the book of Genesis and the fictitious drama of Job.
Just like Ngugi, Achebe, Soyinka, and Ousmane Marquez is not the first born. He is the youngest of siblings. He was born on March 6, 1927 in the Colombian village of Aracataca, on the Caribbean coast. His literary bravado was displayed in his book, Love in the Times of Cholera.  In which he narrated how his parents met and got married. Marguez did not grow up with his father and mother, but instead he grew up with his grandparents. He often felt lonely as a child. Environment of aunts and grandmother did not fill the psychological void of father and mother. This social phenomenon of inadequate parenthood is also seen catapulting Richard Wright, Charlese Dickens, and Barrack Obama to literary excellency.Obama recounted the same experience in his Dreams from my father.

Poverty determines convenience or hardship of marriage. This is mirrored by Garcia Marquez in his marriage to Mercedes Barcha.  An early childhood play-mate and neighbour in 1958. In appreciation of his marriage, Marquez later wrote in his memoirs that it is women who maintain the world, whereas we men tend to plunge it into disarray with all our historic brutality. This was a connotation of his grandmother in particular who played an important role during the times of childhood. The grand mother introduced him to the beauty of orature by telling him fabulous stories about ghosts and dead relatives haunting the cellar and attic, a social experience which exactly produced Chinua Achebe, Okot P’Bitek, Mazizi Kunene, Margaret Ogola and very many other writers of the third world.
Little Gabo as his affectionate pseudonym for literature goes, was a voracious bookworm, who like his ideological master Karl Marx read King Lear of Shakespeare at the age of sixteen. He fondly devoured the works of Spanish authors, obviously Miguel de Cervantes, as well as other European heavyweights like; Edward Hemingway, Faulkner and Frantz Kafka.
Good writers usually drop out of school and at most writers who win the Nobel Prize. This formative virtue of writers is evinced in Alice Munro, Doris Lessing, Nadine Gordimer, John Steinbeck, William Shakespeare, Sembene Ousmane, Octavio Paz as well as Gabriel Garcia Marquez. After dropping out of law school, Garcia Marquez decided instead to embark on a call of his passion as a journalist. The career he perfectly did by regularly criticizing Colombian as well as ideological failures of the then foreign politics. In a nutshell he was a literary crusader against poverty. This is of course the obvious hall marker of leftist political orientation.
Garcia Marquez’s sensational breakthrough occurred in 1967 with the break-away publication of his oeuvre; One Hundred Years of Solitude which the New York Times Book Review meritoriously elevated as ‘the first piece of literature since the Book of Genesis that should be required reading for the entire human race. The position similarly taken by Salman Rushdie. Marquez often shared out that this novel carried him above emotional tantrums on its publication. He was keen on this as his manner of speech was always devoid of la di da.so humble and suave that his genius can only be appreciated not from the booming media outlets about his death, but by reading all of his works and especially his Literature Noble price acceptance speech delivered in 1982.
Matt Oct 2015
Journeyman Pictures
Will take you on a  journey

The DVB journalists
Jailed and tortured

They showed the military
Shooting at protesters

They hid on the balcony and filmed
They got footage
Of the Japanese journalist
Who was shot by the military

Another journalist
Helped make

An award winning
Documentary

About the devistating
Cyclone that hit Cambodia
In 2009

He was captured and jailed
For years

He had promised to write
The girl he met
From his documentary

But could not because
He was jailed

He made his own guitar
While he was
Wrongfully jailed

He is a good man
He just wanted to show
What the people were going through

Now he has been released

An executive from DVB media
Came to talk
With the Burmese officials
In 2009

About having their own
Official office

Some of the journalists
Have spoken out
About how they
Were tortured

Things are improving
Although it is a process

I hope DVB succeeds
And is not pestered
Or persecuted by the government
Any longer

This poem is dedicated
To the journalists
Who went through
Great hardships
To show the injustices
Of their government

Who wanted to document
What the people
Went through
After the cyclone
Nigel Morgan Apr 2013
As he walked through the maze of streets from the tube station he wondered just how long it had been since he had last visited this tall red-bricked house. For so many years it had been for him a pied à terre. Those years when the care of infant children dominated his days, when coming up to London for 48 hours seemed such a relief, an escape from the daily round that small people demand. Since his first visits twenty years ago the area bristled with new enterprise. An abandoned Victorian hospital had been turned into expensive apartments; small enterprising businesses had taken over what had been residential property of the pre-war years. Looking up he was conscious of imaginative conversions of roof and loft spaces. What had seemed a wide-ranging community of ages and incomes appeared to have disappeared. Only the Middle Eastern corner shops and restaurants gave back to the area something of its former character: a place where people worked and lived.

It was a tall thin house on four floors. Two rooms at most of each floor, but of a good-size. The ground floor was her London workshop, but as always the blinds were down. In fact, he realised, he’d never been invited into her working space. Over the years she’d come to the door a few times, but like many artists and craftspeople he knew, she fiercely guarded her working space. The door to her studio was never left open as he passed through the hallway to climb the three flights of stairs to her husband’s domain. There was never a chance of the barest peek inside.

Today, she was in New York, and from outside the front door he could hear her husband descend from his fourth floor eyrie. The door was flung open and they greeted each other with the fervour of a long absence of friends. It had been a long time, really too long. Their lives had changed inexplicably. One, living almost permanently in that Italian marvel of waterways and sea-reflected light, the other, still in the drab West Yorkshire city from where their first acquaintance had begun from an email correspondence.

They had far too much to say to one another - on a hundred subjects. Of course the current project dominated, but as coffee (and a bowl of figs and mandarin oranges) was arranged, and they had moved almost immediately he arrived in the attic studio to the minimalist kitchen two floors below, questions were thrown out about partners and children, his activities, and sadly, his recent illness (the stairs had seemed much steeper than he remembered and he was a little breathless when he reached the top). As a guest he answered with a brevity that surprised him. Usually he found such questions needed roundabout answers to feel satisfactory - but he was learning to answer more directly, and being brief, suddenly thought of her and her always-direct questions. She wanted to know something, get something straight, so she asked  - straight - with no ‘going about things’ first. He wanted to get on with the business at hand, the business that preoccupied him, almost to the exclusion of everything else, for the last two days.

When they were settled in what was J’s working space ten years ago now he was immediately conscious that although the custom-made furniture had remained the Yamaha MIDI grand piano and the rack of samplers were elsewhere, along with most of the scores and books. The vast collection of CDs was still there, and so too the pictures and photographs. But there was one painting that was new to this attic room, a Cézanne. He was taken aback for a moment because it looked so like the real thing he’d seen in a museum just weeks before. He thought of the film Notting Hill when William Thacker questions the provenance of the Chagall ‘violin-playing goat’. The size of this Cézanne seemed accurate and it was placed in a similar rather ornate frame to what he knew had framed the museum original. It was placed on right-hand wall as he had entered the room, but some way from the pair of windows that ran almost the length of this studio. The view across the rooftops took in the Tower of London, a mile or so distant. If he turned the office chair in which he was sitting just slightly he could see it easily whilst still paying attention to J. The painting’s play of colours and composition compelled him to stare, as if he had never seen the painting before. But he had, and he remembered that his first sight of it had marked his memory.

He had been alone. He had arrived at the gallery just 15 minutes before it was due to close for the day.  He’d been told about this wonderful must-see octagonal room where around the walls you could view a particularly fine and comprehensive collection of Impressionist paintings. All the great artists were represented. One of Van Gogh’s many Olive Trees, two studies of domestic interiors by Vuillard, some dancing Degas, two magnificent Gaugins, a Seurat field of flowers, a Singer-Sergeant portrait, two Monets - one of a pair of haystacks in a blaze of high-summer light. He had been able to stay in that room just 10 minutes before he was politely asked to leave by an overweight attendant, but afterwards it was as if he knew the contents intimately. But of all these treasures it was Les Grands Arbres by Cézanne that had captured his imagination. He was to find it later and inevitably on the Internet and had it printed and pinned to his notice board. He consulted his own book of Cézanne’s letters and discovered it was a late work and one of several of the same scene. This version, it was said, was unfinished. He disagreed. Those unpainted patches he’d interpreted as pools of dappled light, and no expert was going to convince him otherwise! And here it was again. In an attic studio J. only frequented occasionally when necessity brought him to London.

When the coffee and fruit had been consumed it was time to eat more substantially, for he knew they would work late into the night, despite a whole day tomorrow to be given over to their discussions. J. was full of nervous energy and during the walk to a nearby Iraqi restaurant didn’t waver in his flow of conversation about the project. It was as though he knew he must eat, but no longer had the patience to take the kind of necessary break having a meal offered. His guest, his old friend, his now-being-consulted expert and former associate, was beginning to reel from the overload of ‘difficulties’ that were being put before him. In fact, he was already close to suggesting that it would be in J’s interest if, when they returned to the attic studio, they agreed to draw up an agenda for tomorrow so there could be some semblance of order to their discussions. He found himself wishing for her presence at the meal, her calm lovely smile he knew would charm J. out of his focused self and lighten the rush and tension that infused their current dialogue. But she was elsewhere, at home with her children and her own and many preoccupations, though it was easy to imagine how much, at least for a little while, she might enjoy meeting someone new, someone she’d heard much about, someone really rather exotic and (it must be said) commanding and handsome. He would probably charm her as much as he knew she would charm J.

J. was all and more beyond his guest’s thought-description. He had an intensity and a confidence that came from being in company with intense, confident and, it had to be said, very wealthy individuals. His origins, his beginnings his guest and old friend could only guess at, because they’d never discussed it. The time was probably past for such questions. But his guest had his own ideas, he surmised from a chanced remark that his roots were not amongst the affluent. He had been a free-jazz musician from Poland who’d made waves in the German jazz scene and married the daughter of an arts journalist who happened to be the wife of the CEO of a seriously significant media empire. This happy association enabled him to get off the road and devote himself to educating himself as a composer of avant-garde art music - which he desired and which he had achieved. His guest remembered J’s passion for the music of Luigi Nono (curiously, a former resident of the city in which J. now lived) and Helmut Lachenmann, then hardly known in the UK. J. was already composing, and with an infinite slowness and care that his guest marvelled at. He was painstakingly creating intricate and timbrally experimental string quartets as well as devising music for theatre and experimental film. But over the past fifteen years J. had become increasingly more obsessed with devising software from which his musical ideas might emanate. And it had been to his guest that, all that time ago, J. had turned to find a generous guide into this world of algorithms and complex mathematics, a composer himself who had already been seduced by the promise of new musical fields of possibility that desktop computer technology offered.

In so many ways, when it came to the hard edge of devising solutions to the digital generation of music, J. was now leagues ahead of his former tutor, whose skills in this area were once in the ascendant but had declined in inverse proportion to J’s, as he wished to spend more time composing and less time investigating the means through which he might compose. So the guest was acting now as a kind of Devil’s Advocate, able to ask those awkward disarming questions creative people don’t wish to hear too loudly and too often.

And so it turned out during the next few hours as J. got out some expensive cigars and brandy, which his guest, inhabiting a different body seemingly, now declined in favour of bottled water and dry biscuits. His guest, who had been up since 5.0am, finally suggested that, if he was to be any use on the morrow, bed was necessary. But when he got in amongst the Egyptian cotton sheets and the goose down duvet, sleep was impossible. He tried thinking of her, their last walk together by the sea, breakfast à deux before he left, other things that seemed beautiful and tender by turn . . . But it was no good. He wouldn’t sleep.

The house could have been as silent as the excellent double-glazing allowed. Only the windows of the attic studio next door to his bedroom were open to the night, to clear the room of the smoke of several cigars. He was conscious of that continuous flow of traffic and machine noise that he knew would only subside for a brief hour or so around 4.0am. So he went into the studio and pulled up a chair in front of the painting by Cézanne, in front of this painting of a woodland scene. There were two intertwining arboreal forms, trees of course, but their trunks and branches appeared to suggest the kind of cubist shapes he recognized from Braque. These two forms pulled the viewer towards a single slim and more distant tree backlit by sunlight of a late afternoon. There was a suggestion, in the further distance, of the shapes of the hills and mountains that had so preoccupied the artist. But in the foreground, there on the floor of this woodland glade, were all the colours of autumn set against the still greens of summer. It seemed wholly wrong, yet wholly right. It was as comforting and restful a painting as he could ever remember viewing. Even if he shut his eyes he could wander about the picture in sheer delight. And now he focused on the play of brush strokes of this painting in oils, the way the edge and border of one colour touched against another. Surprisingly, imagined sounds of this woodland scene entered his reverie - a late afternoon in a late summer not yet autumn. He was Olivier Messiaen en vacances with his perpetual notebook recording the magical birdsong in this luminous place. Here, even in this reproduction, lay the joy of entering into a painting. Jeanette Winterson’s plea to look at length at paintings, and then look again passed through his thoughts. How right that seemed. How very difficult to achieve. But that night he sat comfortably in J’s attic and let Cézanne deliver the artist’s promise of a world beyond nature, a world that is not about constant change and tension, but rests in a stillness all its own.
Daniel James Mar 2011
Shrouded in secrets
The men from F-Branch
Recite the techniques
Undiscussed in advance
Of Democracy's dance
Democracy's dance
Democracy's Dance with Terror.

Outside the port of Umm-Qasr
Hundreds of men
Hooded in the dark
Of the midday sun
Kneeling on the run
From Democracy's Dance with Terror.

Suspected by students
Back home and online
Theories get conspired
Petitions get signed
"Stop Democracy's Dance!
Stop Democracy's Dance!
Stop Democracy's Dance with Terror!"

The attorney general
Is called for advice.
A solemn exchange
Top down bottom line.
His argument is
"If it's nice it's all right."

Ministers from Ministries
Are detained and questioned
By the goggles of a press
Suffering sleep deprivation.
It's like a game of touch rugby
Outside downing street
With a twist on the rules of 'Just a minute'.

And outside the port of Umm-Qasr
Democracy doggedly dances her dance.

But the rhythms of the dance
The stress of white noise
Peaked
And escaped on the wind
Blowing through the forgotten kindness
Of confused hearts and minds
Escaping through the drafty guilt
Of hung up uniforms
Dancing on the mumbling lips
Of sleeping soldiers
With wives, partners, families, friends
Back home
Who don't know what it's like
They don't understand the drill
They can't do the moves
They don't know what it's like.

But the dance did not stop
It did what every bad vibration does
And moved elsewhere
And was henceforth known
By an unpronounceable acronym:
JFIT!

And now we join James
Young musclebound man
With a drink in hand
Back from tour of duty
It's a Saturday night
And the Weston women like a soldier,
A real man.
The fact that he
Has been doing his duty.
"Do you mind if I ask..." Asked Deborah
Showing more than necessary of her bra
"Where was you based, your base in Iraq-
Your third base, in particular?"
"I'll tell you," Said James
And the ladies came quick
Putty in his hands
Just like a joystick.
Said James, with the gravitas
Or some silverscreen star,
"While out in Iraq,
I was stationed
At a British logistics base in Shaiba.
It's outside Basra.
Basra in Iraq.
Iraq?
You have heard of Iraq?"
But by then,
Deborah and her bra and her friends
Were talking to another group of men
Who worked in property development
And apparently, Deborah, they're neighbours
Or something, because that one said
They've got seventeen houses between them.

But what James hadn't told them is this
The exact meaning of words in English
Like British Logistics camp is
Not always what you think that it is.

Oh did I say camp?
I meant base.
Please delete any mention of camp
From the record.

It was not long before
That James' routine
Had been... very different
To say the least.

Indeed soon after crossing the border
And re-invading his parents' home again
He'd been watching Jeremy Vine when
He spotted a pattern of systematic abuse
On the curtains
Whenever he muted the telly.

James decided to get out of the house
And to help him get a grip
He decided to go shopping
But when he looked down at his list
It said:

59 hoodies
11 Electric plugs
52 Alarm clocks
122 pairs of earmuffs
160 torches
117 blackened goggles
132 stress positions
39 enforced nakednesses

And by this stage he realised
That perhaps he ought to see someone.
But instead of seeing a journalist
Or the Swedish King of wikileaks
He went and saw a military psychiatrist
Who charged him a lot to let him speak
On a one-off profit plus! contract
James ended asking the same question
Week after week -
Do you think I'm crazy?
What does all this mean?
The doctor replied:
"Of course you're not crazy,
It's just your mind is very ill,
I'll tell one part of it to ignore another part -
Here - take one of these little pills
They're only one pound ten each
And if you take one
Every three hours
Every day
For the rest of your life
(Or until you die,
Whichever is longer)
You'll be fine.

Meanwhile,
The dance continued to be taught
Like capoeira on a foreign-office team-building course
On the art of interrogation
The alpha-tango
Aimed at prisoners of war.
But the footsteps of karma
Where circling once more
And the base back at Shaiba
(Near Basra. In Iraq?)
Was once more withdrawn
This time to the airport
Along with other UK forces.

Now relatives of the victims
Both at home and abroad
And those most susceptible
To empathy's ill-considered force
Were planning to divert the dance -
Divert the Dance!
Divert the Dance
with Demo Dances,
Demo Dances!
Demo Dances!

Then it was the turn of the politicians
To work their magic of popular logisticians
By answering the questions no one has asked
Like are we human or are we just dancers?
We are just humans
Doing democracy's dance
Democracy's Dance
Democracy's dance with
(cough, cough).

And the news reporters
With their sleep-deprived goggles
Reported in such detail
As to make one's mind boggle
Each step, each move and each deliberate error
Of democracy's dance
Democracy's dance
Democracy's dance
With Terror.

(To be Continued... on the BBC)
Pearson Bolt Nov 2016
i’ve long dreamt
of black flags in the streets
tonight i marched beneath
the shadow of their wings

shoulder-to-shoulder
in hope and solidarity
an anarchist professor
with a climate change activist
an independent journalist
and one of my students

as mid-November winds tugged
at her pink-and-brunette hair
she lifted a hand-drawn sign
of a gigantic sneaker
smashing a ****
and i felt
for not the first time
an enormous sense of pride

how humbling to at once
inspire and be inspired by
an eighteen-year-old
punk and artist
who asked to borrow
The Moral Imperative of Revolt
two scant months ago
then took to the streets
to oppose and depose
a twisted fascist virtuoso

for two whole hours
we hundreds owned the streets
we marched down Rosalind
Central and Orange Avenue
as protest slogans rang angelic
we raised hell and found heaven
in liberty equality and solidarity

but then the pigs closed in
cordoned to Lake Eola
to scream acquiescent rhetoric
at the fish sleeping
blissful in their innocence
beneath the jet black surface

a half-dozen cops in riot gear
astride horses loomed
ominous before us
backlit by the headlights
of the aggravated motorists
our march had forestalled

as the people abandoned the streets
we’d won so easily
i felt my chest wilt beneath
the weight of forsaken opportunity
my eyes scanned the remaining crowd

four stood strong
rooted to the concrete
by the world's weight
anchored by conviction
an anarchist professor
an independent journalist
a climate change activist
and a freshman college student

i heard the professor whisper to his student
i heard him say she'd put herself in harm’s way
that they'd lost the day when the marchers
turned their backs and walked away
but she didn’t flinch or move an inch
she stood silent and vigilant
shoulder-to-shoulder
chin held almost as high
as her ****-smashing protest sign
and her matching *******

and in that moment
i could’ve died
smiling
This poem is not about me. Quite the contrary, this poem is about my brave student. An absolute champion.
Pencil shavings are greater than
Ball point pens, and their precise writing.
A clean, cut pencil portrays any emotion you desire;
Brittle, sharp or a soft embedding on a sheet of paper.
On occasion, ball point pen' s ink,
May bleed and seep through
Affecting every aspect and body.
Tell me doleful writer,
Is this what has become of you?
Ayad Gharbawi Dec 2009
THE STORY OF SARA


AYAD GHARBAWI


CHAPTER 3: BEING AN ACTIVIST

  
Gradually, we become ever more radical in our burning quest to uproot every conceivable element of the corrupting culture of the oppressors.
  We soon started to call these oppressors 'Pigs', because that is exactly what they were: overweight, bloated, filthy animals who live simply eat and consume all day, and who love to live in their own excrement.
  The Pigs had to be removed, because you cannot negotiate with a pig.
  It was so obvious to me!
  Some people did, indeed, argue that diplomacy and negotiations were the way to achieve our blessed equality-based society, but that was pure idiocy to me; because, for Heaven's sake, a pig will remain a pig and cannot become an 'enlightened' pig! These criminals, who are creating poverty, and who are killing people, because they do not allow them decent health services, must be completely eradicated, or else, ordinary people will continue to suffer.
  One day I heard Tony give a speech in front of a huge audience: "There's no point in cutting the tail of the snake. No, you must go straight for the head, and that's how you **** it!" And there ensued roars and cheers, from the mainly young crowd. "And, if someone is trying to **** you, what do you do? Negotiate? Talk to them? No, you **** them first, that's what you do! That's who the Pigs are, my friends. They are out there killing you, and so many of you tonight are simply not even remotely aware that you are dying slowly – so, you must, first of all wake up, and realize that someone, somewhere, is draining out the blood of your life, and next you must identify the cancer that is killing you. So, who's the cancer?" Tony screamed, and the by now delirious crowds immediately responded with a thunderous and hate-filled, "Pigs! Pigs! Pigs!"
  "The Pigs talk and teach us about 'morality' and 'respect' and 'decency', and other subjects like that. That's laughable now, isn't it?! I mean, the blood stained mass murderer is teaching us etiquette here?!"
  "No! No!" roared back the audience. "**** the pigs! **** the pigs!" they suddenly and somehow instantaneously started to chant. So, I must correct what many people think about Tony, and that is, he 'invented' and popularized that phrase, '**** the pigs". No, he didn't; it was the audience that night who spontaneously came up with that really exciting and vibrant phrase!
  From then on, violence became more common along with the never ending chants – if not screams – of '**** the pigs!' Every day, and all over the country, the movement had flourished, and there were the most refreshing and gloriously destructive riots in almost every major city.

  It was at this time that I first heard a speech from Omar.
We waited for the man to appear, but he seemed nowhere to be found.
  My God, I heard from so many people that he was the most radical in the deepest sense of the word!
  Apparently, he made Tony sound like a child!
  He also had a well disciplined party – unlike Tony.
  Here was a place that I can find the ‘cause of my life’!
  I could work for Omar and that would be the point of my life!
  The thought thrilled me – because I was already a convert to their ideas, but with Omar, there was a real party that was actively fighting the government, whereas Tony and other leaders like him were independent activists, but with no party behind them.
    Then, Omar suddenly appeared.
  He was of medium height, average looks - but it wasn’t long before you noticed his inexpressibly burning, fanatical eyes!
  I was about a few metres from him, and I could feel the sheer intensity of passion and rage within those eyeballs!
  This man must have absolutely the words of truth, for no Man could look like that and be a liar!
And then he gently spoke:
  "**** the pigs, I hear you say. Well, that's not good enough for me. People like that make me yawn. And, I'm bored of yawning every day. We need more. We need to move on faster. I need speed. It's not just '**** the pigs', it's '**** the cops!', because the cops defend the Pigs and attack us every day; '**** the teachers!' because every teacher does nothing except to teach us with pointless information'. And, '**** every human being' who sides or serves the establishment!”.
  Omar’s eyes were literally able to stab right through your heart and soul simply by staring at you!
  I can well imagine that my reader will not believe me and will say it was because I was a convert to Omar’s ideas that I found his eyes to be so abnormally powerful – but, what do you say to all those people who did not like him, and who met him, and yet, they, too, all said that his eyes were profoundly piercing?!
  So, you see, reader, do believe me – it’s not because I was emotionally enthralled by Omar, that I am describing him to you the way I do!
  He had beautifully framed fingers – I don’t know why I noticed that!
  He had a rather longish nose – maybe, that was one defect in his face, but you hardly noticed that, given the other attractions in this man.
  And then he possessed the deepest, most guttural, and yet so sweetly melodic voice, that I had ever heard, and when he spoke, he simply entranced me – not to mention the thousands of others.
  Omar continued, beginning to raise his ragged voice:
“And, so I order you, tonight, and tomorrow, and every day, to fanatically and ruthlessly exterminate every visible sign, agent, artist, writer, philosopher, painter, sculptor, journalist, teacher, professor, lawyer, doctor, surgeon, banker, engineer, everyone who works in the mass media like the television, every film maker, every scientist, and every single employer and employee of the Pigs."
  The audience now simply shrieked the verb, '****! ****! ****!’ while Omar went silent, amidst this wild orchestra of hate being played out.


  I noticed, that unlike Tony, Omar wouldn't gesticulate or move his hands at all.
  Actually, he just stood there, rock solid, like a statue while only eyes and mouth spoke!
  The man, I swear, looked like a 'human rock'!
  He was the absolute epitome of boundless hatred; of unrestrained defiance against the rulers ruling us!
  Yes, I do admit, and I hesitate to say so, but, yes, he almost did like completely maniacal – were it not for his self control and the beauty of his words!
  The audience relaxed.
  Omar waited until there was silence, and he continued:
  "Do you see the difference between what I am saying and what brothers like Tony say? People like Tony demand from us to uproot the pigs. But what Pigs does he, in fact, mean? Who does he mean, when he says 'Pigs'? He means the rich. That's it.”


  Now, Omar abruptly went silent.
  Tension.
  He was staring at us.
  I could feel that the audience felt nervous precisely because Omar was staring at them.
  Finally, he continued:
  “Can you imagine the limits of his intellect?! To Tony and his misguided followers, the solution facing the problem before us is simple enough: you simply wipe out the rich, and suddenly we have the beautiful society!"
  Omar was sneering, being utterly sarcastic in his voice and tone.
  "So is that it, Brother Tony? Is that all we need to do?”
  There, he stopped again, with a sarcastic, wicked smile on his face.
  The man’s body simply had no motion in it!
  I was waiting to see, if Omar would, at some point, move his body or his arms, but so far nothing!
  He continued:
“My goodness, I never knew that the gigantic problem facing us was to be solved in such a simple manner! But, no, you're being fools. Or, maybe you're fooling your selves. Either way, I don't know, and more importantly, I don't care, because, as I told you all out there listening to me,” suddenly, he began to scream with his rasping voice:
  “I'm a serious man, with a serious mission, and above all, I'm a man in a hurry!"
  Again, Omar went suddenly silent.
  I could sense, that he was deliberately teasing the audience, because they were obviously desperate for him to continue speaking, while he, would every so often stop speaking, thus adding to the tension in the atmosphere!
  The audience laughed, loving the biting sarcasm; obviously there were lots of rivalry and jealousies between the two camps, and so Omar's followers just loved to hear the buckets of insults being poured upon the followers of Tony.
  The mocking tone continued:
  "These fools are retarding our own path to victory! These followers of Brother Tony, are doing the dumbest acts that I have ever seen. I mean, what do you mean and what are you trying to achieve, when you have his followers going to restaurants and disrupting the place? I mean, is this what the definition of 'stupidity' is, or what?!"
  The crowd cheered: "Yes! Yes! Idiots!"
  "Listen here Brother Tony; I would like to say, 'it's all right, you're still young and you'll soon grow up'. But I can't say that. You know why?"
  The audience waited as Omar paused.
  He was staring at his audience.
  Suddenly, he erupted with his deafening scream:
  "I can't wait. Didn't I already tell you that? Didn't I tell you I'm a man IN A HURRY AND I'VE GOT TO DO MY WORK! DON'T YOU PEOPLE OUT THERE GET IT?"
  He roared, and the masses applauded furiously.
  "I don't have time, for children like Tony, and for his own little children, to stand in my way, and wait for them to grow up! I don't have the time, because I have an enemy out there, that needs to be completely, ruthless and fanatically exterminated, root and branch, do you now follow me?"
  "Yes! Yes! We follow!" screamed the masses.
  Silence.
  And then, Omar continued:
  "So, we know who Tony defines as the Pigs. What about myself? We must talk the talk of the brave. If you're scared, then get out of here. Why do I say this? Because this struggle requires the most ruthless behaviour on our part, and to be ruthless, you need to be brave, and to be rave means you have no fear."
  It sounded almost as if he were singing.
  Or maybe it was my imagination.


"So, who are the Pigs, you ask me? Simple. The Pig is a man, woman and child who has any Pig Attributes. What do I mean by 'Pig Attributes'? Very simple. Any human, who has in his brain, any idea, concept, believe and acceptance of any value from the rulers who rule us all. And, what are these 'values' that come from our dear rulers? They are ideas and values such as: there are the simple ones, like the belief in the right to profit, belief in the right of property, inheritance and so on. Then, there are the other beliefs, such as, belief in compassion for the rich, or cooperating with the rich or socialising with the rich. You follow?"
  The audience was silent.
  "That means, any human in our sick society, poor or not, who in any way, not only physically interacts with the rulers is a Pig himself, but also any human, poor or not, who has in his heart and mind, any empathy for the rich is a Pig himself, and so therefore, it follows – and I hope you people out there are listening to me – it means, therefore, that a poor human being who has any Pig Attributes, is a Pig himself, just like the rulers themselves. Do you understand?"
  Silence.
  And then he walked out.


  It was so sudden, because I expect a really screaming end from Omar, but to the surprise of everyone, he ended and simply walked out!
  But, I, understood what he meant.
  Basically, he was enlarging the definition of what it meant to be the 'enemy'.
  This struggle was now going to be infinitely more difficult. With Tony, the war was simple enough.
  We were 'right' while anyone belonging to the ruling class was 'evil' and that was it.
  Obviously, no member in the ruling class can deny that he's in the ruling class! They can even change their accents and their clothes, pretending to be poor, but there are computers and archives, such as birth certificates, school records, and it doesn't take long, to find out a person's origins.
  But now what Omar was proposing, that a Pig is any human being who interacts with the ruling class is evil.
  Also, anyone who has any thoughts that have any Pig Attributes (for example, being pro-ruling class), are also evil, and therefore, had to be eliminated.
  In other words, the poor can be Pigs as well.
  I loved that, because, I was never comfortable with most other left leaders, including Tony, who only focused their ire against the rich.
  To them all the poor were ‘blessed’ and ‘sinless’, and I knew, from my own background, that they simply romanticised the poor, probably because they themselves were all rich people who had never lived one day of their lives in poverty.
  With Omar, being impure, or sinful could be anyone in society – and, your background or class didn’t matter.
  That was far more logical to me!

But with joining Omar’s party, came other problems for me.
How were we supposed to ‘find’ a Pig, or an impure person?
  How can we be sure if a person has the Pig Attributes in his mind?
  It seemed ludicrous to me!
  I had doubts because as attractive an orator that Omar was, once you went home and thought about what he actually said, a lot did not make sense.
  I had so many ideas that contradicted what Omar had to say.
  For example, can’t we achieve our goals by peaceful means – rather than choosing the path of violence?
  And if we must use violence, then why don’t we attack military targets and not civilians?
  Wasn’t it wrong to target civilians and civilian places – like factories, farms, and shops?

  
  There he stood; eyes blazing as ever.
  What makes eyes 'blaze' I wondered.
  They don't actually emit any light, do they?
  So how can one man have such penetrating, piercing eyes that go right to your innermost heart?
  Omar seemed to be made of steel.
  Or, maybe it was all in my imagination, as Sanji would always be telling me.
  It was his personality and also his body language: that stern, stiff way of standing, that seemed to be the epitome of defiance against the evil in the world!
  His whole body seemed to be chiselled from the purest marble; there he stood, this heroic rock, against the tyranny of the storms and the oceans that were crashing on him; and still, there he stood, not only in supreme piety, but also, there he stood, waging a struggle against these very dark forces of evil.
  He will rid our society and our nation from evil, and one day, we shall live in a truly happy country.
  This nation and its sad people, this nation that has so many miserable, poor and unhappy people, will soon be able to live free, happy lives, without the burdens and the shackles imposed on them by the ruling elites.
  He spoke:
"They need to be utterly, and without a shred of human mercy, be exterminated, or else, it is us, who will be exterminated! It is either them or us! We need to cleanse our entire body from these cancerous cockroaches. Don't you people understand? Call it '******', call it 'exterminate', call it 'butchering them' – I do not care; what I do care and what I need in order to breathe uncontaminated, fresh air,  is to surgically and methodically and blindly eliminate the very existence of every Pigs on our land! That is why we have no choice but to fight. The criminals leave us with no choice. If they surrender their corrupting ways agai
Mateuš Conrad Jun 2016
preliminary explanation

before i really begin the project i have a few scatterings
of thought that made me do this, without real planning,
a different sort of impromptu that poetry's good at,
less Dionysian spur-of-the-moment with an already
completed poem entwined to a perfect ensō,
as quick as the decapitation of Mary Boleyn with the
executioner fooling her which side the swing would
be cast by taking of his hard-soled-shoes -
i mean this in an Apollonian sense - i know, sharp contrasts
at first, but the need to fuse them - i said these are
preliminary explanations, the rest will not be as haphazardly
composed, after all, i see the triangle i'm interested it
but drawing a triangle without Pythagorean explanation
i'm just writing Δ - i'll unravel what my project is
about, just give me this opportunity to blah blah for a
while like someone from an existential novel;
what beckoned me was the dichotomy of styles,
i mean, **** me, you can read poetry while in an awkward
yoga position, you can read it standing up, sitting down,
eating or whatever you want - obviously on the throne
of thrones taking a **** is preferred - the point being
what's called serious literature is so condensed for
economic reasons, font small, never-ending paragraphs,
you need an easy-chair and a bottle of cognac to get
through a chapter sometimes - or at least freshly mowed
grass in a park in summer - it's really uncomfortable because
of that, and the fact that poets hardly wish upon you
to be myopic - just look at the spacing on the page,
constantly refreshing, open-plan condos, eye-to-eye -
but it's not about that... the different styles of writing,
prose and the novel, the historical essay / encyclopedia
or a work of philosophy - what style of writing can
be best evolutionary and undermine each? only poetry.
poetry is a ballerina mandible entity, plastic skeletons,
but that's beside the point, when journalism writes history
so vehemently... the study of history writes it nonchalantly,
it's the truth, journalism is bombastic, sensationalist
every but what courting history involves -
a journalist will write about the death of a 100 people
more vehemently than a historian writing about the Holocaust...
or am i missing something? i never understood this dichotomy
of prose - it's most apparent between journalism and history...
as far as i am concerned, the most pleasurable style of
prose is involved in the history of philosophy, or learning per se,
but i'll now reveal to you the project at hand -
it's a collage... the parameters?

the subject of the collage

it weighs 1614 grams, or 3 lb. and 8 7/8ths oz.,
it's a single volume edition, published by Pimlico,
it's slightly larger than an A5 format,
3/4 inches more in length, and ~1 centimetre in
width more, it has a depth of 1 and 3/4 inches in depth,
a bicep iron-pumping session with it in bed -
i was lying with this behemoth of a book
in bed soothing out a semi-delirium state
listening to Ola Gjeilo's *northern lights

and flicking through the appendix, and i started thinking,
no would read this giant fully, would they?
the reason it's a one volume edition is because
the only place you'd read such an edition would
be in a library, at a desk, and you'd be taking snippets
out from it, quotes, authentic references points
for an essay, esp. if you were a history student,
such books aren't exactly built for leisure, as my arms
could testify... after the appendix i started flicking
through as to what point of interest would spur me
onto this audacious (and perhaps auspicious)
act of renegading against writing a novel (in the moment,
in the moment, i can't imagine myself rereading plot-lines
after a day or two, adding to it - that's a collage too,
but of a different kind - and no, i won't be plagiarising
as such, after all i'll be citing parallel, but utilising
poetry as the driving revision dynamic compared
to the chronologically stale prose of history) - i'll be
extracting key points that are already referenced and not
using the style of the author - the book in question?
Europe: a history by Norman Davies prof. emeritus
at U.C.L. - the point of entry that made me mad enough
to condense this 1335 page book (excluding the index)?

point of incision

Voltaire (or the man suspected of Guy Fawkes-likes spreading
of volatility in others) -
un polonais - c'est un charmeur; deux polonais - une
bagarre; trois polonais, eh bien, c'est la question polonaise

(one pole - a charmer, two poles - a brawl, three poles -
the polish question) - mind you, the subtler and gentler
precursor of the Jewish question, because the Frenchman
mused, and not a German, or a Russian brute...
and i can testify, two Polish immigrants in a pub,
one senior, the other minor, one with 22 years under
his belt of the integration purpose, one with 12 years,
the minor says to the senior about how Poles bring
the village life to cities, brutish drunkards and what not,
it was almost a brawl, prior to the senior was charming
a Lithuanian girl, before the minor's emphasis on
such a choice of conversation turned into idiotic Lithuanian
nostalgia about the disintegration of the Polish-Lithuanian
commonwealth, primarily due to the Polish nobility.

10,000 b.c.

looking that far back i don't know why you even
bother to celebrate the weekend -
i mean, 10,000 years back Denmark was
still attached to Sweden,
England was attached to France,
and there was a weird looking Aquatic landmass
that would become a myth of Atlantis
in the Chronicles of Norwich,
speedy ******* Gonzales with the equivalent
of south america detaching itself from Africa...
mind you, i'm sure the Carpathian ranges are
mountains. they're noted here are hills or uplands,
by categorising them as such i'm surprised
the majority of Carpathian elevations as scolded
bald rocky faced, a hill i imagine to have some
vegetation on it, not mountain goats with rock and roof
for a blacksmith in a population of one hundred...
at this point Darwinism really becomes a disorientating
pinpoint of whatever history takes your fancy,
Europe - mother of Minos, lord of Crete,
progenitrix / ******* and the leather curtains
of Zeus's harem (jealous? no, just the sarcasm
dominates the immortal museum of attachable
****** to suit the perfect elephant **** of depth
the gods sided with, by choice, excusing the Suez
duct tightening of a prostate gland... to ease the pain
upon ******* rather than *******); mentioned by Homer
the Blind tooth-fairy, the Europe and the bull,
Europoeus and the swan, same father of wisdom to mind,
on the shores of Loch Lomond -
attributes a lover to the bull, Moschus of Syracuse,
who said earring Plato cured him of where the ****
should not enter even if it shines a welcome
in the disguise of Dionysius... revisionists bound to Pompeii
named Titian, Rembrandt, Rubens Veronese
and Claude Lorrain revived the bulging bull's *******
and her mm hmm mm, too gracious my kind, hehee...
Phonecians from Tyre and Io - so too the Sibyl of ****** -
and unlike the great river civilisations of the Nile,
the Ganges, soon to be the Danubian civilisations
and gorged-out-eyes-that-once-sore-colour-but-lost-sight-of-
colours-­after-seeing-the-murk-of-the-Thames...
soon the seas overcame civilisations of the rivers,
as Cadmus, brother of the thus stated harlot said:
i bring you orbe pererrato - hieroglyphics of the cage,
but not an owl or a hawk inside it -
so let's perfect speaking to an encoding by first
rummaging into learning how to procure the perfect
forms of counting - i say left, you say I, i say right
you say II, left right left right, what do you say?
VI. bravo! the Hellenic world just crossed the Aegean
and civilisation bore twins within the cult of a lunar-mother,
Islam of Romulus and Remus, a she-wolf
a canine of the night - according to another -
tremulae sinuantur flamine vestes - or so the myth goes -
a cherished phantom of what became the fabled story
of sole Odysseus with his ears open and the remnant
sailor's ears waxed shut - as if the bankers of this world,
revelling in culprit universal fancy than nonetheless
bred the particular oddities - lest we forget,
the once bountiful call of the sirens to the oceanic
is but a fraction of what today's sirens claim to be song,
a fraction of it remains in this world, the onomatopoeia
of the once maddening song, the crude *******
arrangement of vowels bound to the jealous god's
déjà vu of the compounding second H.

from myth to perpetuating a modern sentiment

you can jump from 10,000 b.c. to the Munich Crisis
of 1938 - 9 with a snap of the fingers,
imitating quantum phenomenons like gesticulating
a game of mime with Chinese whispers necessary,
if Europe is a nymph, Naples her azure eyes,
Warsaw her heart, Sebastopol and Azoff,
Petersburg, Mitau, Odessa - these the thorns
in her feet - Paris the head, London the starched collar,
and Rome - the sepulchre
.
or... die handbuch der europaischen geschichte
notably from Charlemagne (the Illiterate)
to the Greek colonels (as apart from Constantine to
Thomas More in eight volumes, via Cambridge mid
1930s)... these and some other books of urgency
e.g. Eugene Weber's H. A. L. Fisher's, Sr. Walter Ralegh,
Jacob Bronowski... elsewhere excavated noun-obscurities
like gattopardo and konarmya had their
circas extended like shelved vegetables in modern
supermarket isles, for one reason or another...
prado, sonata sovkino also... some also mention
Thomas Carlyle (i'd make it sound like carried-away isle,
but never mind); so in this intro much theory,
how to sound politically correct, verifiable to suit
a coercion for a status quo... Europe as a modern idea,
replacing Imperum Romanun came Christendom,
ugly Venetian Pirates at Constantinople,
Barbarossa making it in pickled herring juice
in a barrel to Jerusalem... once called the pinkish-***-fluff
of Saxony, now called the pickled cucumber,
drowning in his armour in some river or Brosphorus...
alchemists, Luther and Copernicus were invited on
the same occasion as the bow-tie was invented,
apparently it was a marriage made for the Noir cinema,
beats me - hence the new concept of Europe,
reviving the idea of Imperium Romanun
meant, somehow including Judea in the Euro
championship of footie gladiator ***** whipped
narcissists, rejecting the already banished Carthage
(Libya / Tunisia by Cato's standards) and encouraging
the Huns, the Goths and the even more distant Slavs and
Vikings to accept not so much the crucifix as
the revised spine of the serpent but as the geometry of
human limbs, well, not so much that, but forgetting
Norse myths of the one-eyed and the runic alphabet
and settling for ah be'h c'eh d'ah.
dissident frenche stink abbe, charles castel de st pierre
(1658 - 1743) aand this work projet d'une paix perpetuelle
(1713) versus Питер Великий who just said:
never mind the city, the Winter Palace... i have aborted
fetus pickles in my bedroom, lava lamps i call them.
the last remaining reference to Christianity?
Nietzsche was late, the public was certain,
it was the Treaty of Utrecht, 1713, with public reference
to the republica christiana / commonwealth was last made.
to Edmund Burke: well, i too wish no exile
upon any European on his continent of birth,
but invigorate a Muslim to give birth on it
and you invigorate an exile nonetheless:
Ezra expatriate Pound / sorry, if born in eastern
europe a ***** Romanian immigrant, pristine
expatriate in western Europe, fascist radio has
my tongue and *****, so let's play a game:
Russian roulette for the Chinese cos there's
a billion of them, and no one would really mind
a missing Chow Mein... chu shoo'ah shaolin moo'n'kah!
or a cappuccino whenever you'd like to watch
classic Italian pornographic cinema with dubbing
with nuns involved... Willaim Blake and his
stark naked prophesy, pope pius II (treatise 1458)
even though Transylvania, Tharce and Hungary
shared the same phonetic encoding with diacritical
distinctions like any Frenchman, German,
or Pole at the Siege of Vienna (1683)
to counter the antagonising Ottoman - i swear historians
do this one purpose, juggle dates and head-of-state figures
prior to entering a chronology - they must first try out
a ******* carousel before playing with the toy-train...
broadcasting to a defeated Germany public, T. S. Eliot
(1945) ****** import to into Western Germany
and talk of the failing moral fabric, China laughing
after the ***** intricacies of warfare of trade,
what was once wool we wished to be silk...
instead of silk we received vegetarian wool, namely
hemp, and Amsterdam is to blame... nuke 'em!
that's how it sounds, how a historian approaches
writing a history from the annals, from circa and
circumstance and actual history, foremost the abbreviations,
the fishing hook standards, the parameters,
the limits, and then the mathematics of history,
one thing culminating into another... contra Lenin
N. S. Trubetskoy, P. N. Savitsky, G. Vernadsky
Russian at the perks of the Urals - steppe Tartar shamans
or salon pranced pretty **** boys? where to put
the intoxicant and where to put the mascara... hmm,
god knows, or by 21st calculations, a meteor;
they say the history of nations is a history of women,
then at least the history of individuation
and of men who succumb to its proliferation
is astoundingly misogynistic.
Seton-Watson, among the the tombstones too reminded
of remarkable esteem and accomplishment
with only one gravedigger to claim as father...
as many death ears as on two giraffe skeletons
stood Guizot, men of many letter and few fortunes,
or v. v., incubators of cousin ***** and none the kippah
before the arrogant saintly diminished to
a justly cause of recession, ha ha,
by nature's grace, and with true advent of her progression
as guard-worthy pre- to each pro-
and suggested courteous of the ****** fibre,
oh hey, the advent of masqueraded woofing,
a Venetian high-brow, and jealousy out of a forgotten
spirit of adventure that once was bound
to hunting and foraging... forever lost to write  history of
a king dubbed Louis the XIV...
crucibles and distastes for the state to be pleased,
once removed from Paris, forever to Angevin womb
accustomed once more, at Versailles released -
as cake be sown so too the aristocratic swan necks
for worth of mock and scorn - and the dampening rain
rattle the blood-thirst of the St. Bartholomew's Day
slaughter, to date, the rebirth of Burgundy,
of Anjou, and with the dead king presiding, to be
of no worth in judging himself a king before god or pauper...
saluer Antoine Quentin Fouquier-Tinville!
that i might too in stead rattle a few bones prior to burial
with the jaw that will laugh and chatter least
had it been to my kingly-stead a birth so lowly.
then at least in satisfactory temperament i procure a
judgement of the noble like of a *****
for an hour's worth of pistons and jarring tongues...
as if from a nobleman then indeed as if from a *****,
for who sold Europe and said: Arabia, if not the
Frenchman, the Englishman, the Spaniard?
the former colonial conquests served you not enough?
i imagine the reinstatement of Israel like
the Frankish states under Philippe-August...
precursors to a cathedral dubbed Urban the 2nd's..
there were only Norwegian motives in the Ukraine
and the black sea... Israel to me is like plagiarism
of the Frankish states of the middle-east, with Europe
slightly... oom'pah loom'pah mongolian harmonica.
some said Rudyard Kipling poems,
some said Mr. Kipling's afternoon tea cakes -
whichever made it first on Coronation St.
some also say the Teutonic barbecues -
it was a matter of example to feed them hog
and cannibalise the peasants for ourselves,
a Prussian standard worth an army standard of
rigour - Ave Maria - letztre abendessen nahrung -
mein besitzen, wenn in die Aden, i'd be the last
talking carcass...
gottes ist der orient!
gottes ist der okzident!
nord - und sudliches gelande
ruht im frieden seiner hande.

germany's lebensraum, inferiority and classification,
inferior slavs and jews, genetics and why my
hatred of Darwinism is persistent, you need
an explanatory noting to make it auto-suggestive
for Queen & Country? diseased elements,
Jewish Bolshevism, Polish patriotism,
Soviets, Teutons, the grand alliances of 1918
or 1945? Wilsonian testimony of national self-determi
The stage was  set the little untalented ***** monkeys gathred
like bizzar attention seeking ******  all for the title
of  Hello Poetry's top poet.

But enough with the weird named carbon copy poets
who now **** the charts im just saying im a little bitter.
Lets take a look at the judges you silly little donkeys.

It was a who's who of people who actully were something
that what in the real world we like to call original.
Jack  yes the loveable kinda ******* ****** who deep
down would probaly have more in common with Jack the Ripper
than Lord Byron  im just saying.

Baths  yes the queen of Hello  and i'd  be a smart *** now but im scared she'd hurt me  and not in a good way  not that im into
pain dam you Marv  Albert    i never knew the tijuanna brass were so freaky.

Chris Smith  the poet  the model  the all  around  hansome devil
with a heart of gold  you go girl.

Phil Roberts  the silent  yet  down right evil  arch enemy of
all things  sweet and pure finally off probation and his meds.
Still the restraining  order was in full effect thank God  Barney
that devil worshiping dinosuar was no where in site  and as long as the voices in Phils head were happy we were all safe.

And the man the myth the pervert drunken *******  of Hello.
Just back from his recent vist   to  Shady Pines  resort slash mental
institution.
Gonzo  along with his court ordred doctor .
Dr Jerry  Who held many degree's in bartending,Massage therapy with happy endings,And chemistry yes  he was a real busy ******* slash drug fiend okay dealer.
What a girl has her needs.

Sitting at the judges table it was the usal chatter how are you.
Nice ***'s  hey Phil  put down the knife.
Jack  wear did you get that muzzle and straight jacket?
Baths  reminding me she didnt wanna have to use the pepper spray
like at the Hello christmas party.

Gonzo pouring his wild turkey.
Dr Jerry yelling  hey just what do you think your doing?
What are ya drinking by yourself?
Good point  you silly *******  so after four strong drinks
some lines of uhh  sinus powder from Columbia they dont just
make records  to my suprize we were off like lindsy lohan
on a drug I mean  well a drug run.

The first couple of guys read there genitic poems all of which
were like taco bell food.It  pretty much  would either give you food poisening or the ****'s.

Person after person read there poetry the drinks poured
people gave there opinions  Chris well the poem was great just maybe pace it better.

Baths giving another deep comment that was always welcome
that and the contestants outta sheer fear knew not to cross her
cause **** happens after dark around here and the Hello dumpster
is filled with not just bottles of wild turkey yeah remember Drew?
Exactly.

Jack gave a long muffled  comment  that must have surely been brillant someone should really remove that dam muzzle.

Phil  goddamed dinosuar  i'll teach him for playing hard to get.
oh yeah he'll like it he'll like it real good  oh look
a puppy dog.

Okay kinda weird  but well yeah.

Then the  attention turned to the attention grabing little *****
of Hello  no not  Gary ****** man.
the only G that matters beside's spot  Gonzo.

Well I think you need to lean more into the microphone  when you
read  and um well to relax  show more clevage.
And may I say if that was a samba   it totally ******
1 star.

The room and other judges must have been amazed by my depth
for they were all silent.
Dr Jerry aplauded  dam he really knew how to fill out that cheerleading outfit   we really needed to take a fishing trip im just saying
male bounding is okay sometimes  just ask Phil.

The people kept rolling in i slept through most of the mens readings
the women  because im a gentleman  and a scholar I had DR Jerry give my card  cause if Ican help inspire and guide maybe cuddle  fresh hot
young poets im all for it   I know what your saying yes I am  
giving back to the Hello community and not just STD's and hangovers.

But enough with the foreplay  finally  with the tension built up
like little catholic school girls waiting for there savior Justin Bieber to make a appearence   it was time.

Who was Hello's top new poet.
The short little **** *******  slash  napoleon of hello walked to the mic.
And after several  attempts at reaching it  one of his many  
assistants slash  friends with benfits of staying on the charts forever
assumed the possition.
So he could stand on there back and talk in the mic.
Get your mind outta the gutter.

The winner is  for there poem the Gentic.
There began a rumble beside me ******  Dr Jerry
stop jerking off were public man.

But it wasnt my dealer I mean doctor .
It was My fashion forward amigo Jack.
The rumbling continued slowley the straps began to snap
as his color changed to red once would have been to green
if not for copyright infrigement dam you king kong.

The red devil burst from his restraints  like a  stripper off
a four week ******* binge let loose  at Macdonalds.
tables flew  clothes were ripped.
Bathe's yelled  at the top of her lungs  look ****** I have a tazer
so if you try to cop a feel i'll use it.
Must have been talking to Phil or Chris.

I knew what to do  in this chaos i quickly ran with the special talent of Hello  to my dressing room  DR Jerry  emergency bring  wild turkey duct tape  a video camera  a inflatable swimming pool  some jello mix and  a Kenny G  cd  and some roofies .
Im kidding  I never listen to Kenny G.

The screams were that of a german shapard ripping a smurf to shreads.
Help me  plaese  mommy I almost felt sorry for Eliot.
But i did what a true gentleman slash long winded journalist does in these time's. Sat back with some cocktails and enjoyed some jello
wrestling  opps  I think  the tickle monster is loose.

Me first  me first  ******  Phil  well if it keeps the voices at bay
why the **** not.
We laughed we danced  Jack Horner  bathed in Eliots blood.
While Chris said please  stop including me in these ****** stories
Gonzo.
    
While Baths  kept her tazer in hand  and dry white wine in the other.
Much like  a bad habbit I grow on you.
Jack looked at me as old brothers in shared insanity often do.
Hey Gonzo  when ya  gonna end this one mate?
Hey amigo  as soon as ya get that  *** on stage and close the show
with a lady gaga  preformance.

The *****, the *******,  the Brits,And Gonzo,
With his doctor slash roadie slash personal man servant bartender
who could ask for anything more than a purple dinosaur's head on a platter but enough about Phil.

Untill next time Stay Crazy  Kids.
Gonzo.
Im back *******   and  back to being a true gentleman of Hello.
Okay more like the lovable **** slash drunken perve you all love
okay tolerate cheers
preservationman Apr 2016
Breaking News
A Robinson’s affair
It has been called party goers in beware
The Pelican Club know about shoot outs
There are also fights to talk about
The Chef’s have been making guest sick
The Pelican Club is not a good pick
The ratings of the club had been very low
Business is certainly somewhat slow
As a poet journalist, I will tell you, “Let the Pelican Club go”
The Flamingo Club is the place to be
When you walk inside this is what you will see
Flamingo bird statues decked out in black and white with an offset of red bowties
Music that will make you serene in an automatic dance
The whole atmosphere will put you in a trance
Yet each dancing step you will seem to advance
All kinds of drinks for you to sup
However don’t forget to leave a tip
The Flamingo Club will make you feel special like the bird itself
The Flamingo Club is not like everybody else
This journalist being the poet in reporting in what you needed to know
It goes too show
Take in the Flamingo Club and just let your senses go.
Robdejong Nov 2013
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Vamika Sinha Jun 2015
Dear Vamika,
of a long and a
short
time away. Of the
future, when
your ******* are fuller
and you can finally speak
French fluently.

I hope you are a woman.

I know you
have not changed the world.
I didn’t write you that way.
I’m still
not writing you that way.
For my cheap gel pen
has none of that spark
of Fitzgerald’s and Nabokov’s,
who could bewitch the imagination with
such timeless giants
as ****** and Daisy.

So remember:
you’ll be brilliant
but absent
from any history books.
But still.
You are enough, exquisitely enough,
for the literature
I inhabit.

Hence, I fill pages with your inky
outlines, shade in the spaces
slowly
with hopes and wishes and poetry and dreams.
For you, of you.
I note
all that you are
composed of, so that
even the marginalia
laughs out your lipstick,
your clothes drawers,
your reading habits.

I am writing you as a woman.

I am writing you
as Music. Here is your laughter,
a little smokier now,
unspooling like a work of
Debussy’s. Here are your
fingers, lighter now, like meringues
or dandelions, as they dance
on your silver flute,
better, better, better than ever,
in shiny theatres far
grander than you imagined.
And here are your tiny
scrawled music notes, that with a few touched
keys, echo as tumbling stars
in the ears of thousands
and then plenty.

I hope you are a woman.
So play, compose, laugh and sing; be
Music ‘til your dying day.

I am writing you
as Ambition. It is calmer
than the fire that currently
singes my hands. Yet it’s still as
constant
as the flame you
light, every night before bed,
in front of the Goddess Durga
you pray to.
Your heart still
salivates for hard-boiled
surprises, for lucky pennies
found on pavements, for the
metallic sweetness of, yes,
success.

I hope you are a woman.
So strive, and strive again,
‘til you’re nothing but ash.

I am writing you, too,
as Success.
Surprise!
Those words unhooked
from the crevices of your mind,
are now bound in
paperbacks.
You are a poet, sleeker than
the 17-year-old fledgling
in her dim bedroom.
You are a journalist,
pouring morning stories
like hot tea, and sighing
with honey glee at
your name in
print.
You are a writer;
you fill even more pages, and
you now have a
gleaming, expensive
pen.

I hope you are a woman.
So write, ‘til you have lost
all breath.

I am writing you
as Compassion. How could I not
let you share words (your  personal magic) with
countless sparking children?
And not fill your hands with
gifts of maths, English,
science and art that you can
give and give and
give to them?
An education is as precious and
priceless as Picasso, you say.
A human right, all the same.
A human right.

I hope you are a woman.
So be kind. That’s it.
Always.
I have not forgotten  
to write you as
Justice.
Go out and support,
wave flags and placards,
sign petitions, join many
campaigns, scream out ‘til
your throat can’t bear such
honesty, such
indignation.
Keep fighting.
Never stop. The world is unfixable,
imperfect and
unhappy.
Help it.

I hope you fight for other women.
I hope you fight for other humans.

I am also writing you
as Resilience. So you’re able
to face yourself in that
mirror, even though
your stomach has a stubborn bulge, still,
and you haven’t yet learned
to smile at your nose.
Still.
And I’m reminding you that you do,
yes, you do,
have the strength to cry alone, then
get over it,
to have panic attacks, then
get over it,
to pick yourself up from
life’s many disintegrations and
start again.
You can. You’ve already done it.
I hope you always will.

I know that you are a woman.
So never give up, as
cliché as it sounds. Go ahead and
die trying.

Now, as the cadenza
of this rather sentimental piece,
which I’ve spun as
sweet
as stolen sugar
and the romantic comedies at which
you secretly weep,
I am writing you as
Tenderness.
See, I decided that Love and
Romance are but
bombs. And you and I both
believe in non-violence.
Therefore, you are
a hugger now, with lips
which kiss your husband,
scold your children
and sing
lullabies to the whole silly lot of them.
Your heart is always
swimming
with a good bit of warm wine,  so don’t
question its fullness.
Take care of yourself.

This.
This, above, is all I hope for you
to stay and have and be
until the symphony’s final note, your
final breath.

You are a woman.
Flawed, intelligent, beautiful, cracked, strong, kind, stubborn, soft, honest.
Real.

You are a woman.
So stay like this,
but be just a little more wiser, a little more grown
each passing year.

A woman.
Vamika, that’s all I ever want you to be.
What do you hope to achieve in your lifetime? (Entry for Commonwealth Essay Competition)
Softly, gently, I  sipped
your red cherry-lip petals
patiently, silently, I grabbed
your brown nip-let buds
deeply, knowingly, I drowned
into your blue eye-oceans
The feminine body turns
to be  a dates garden
amidst my own
barren desert !


Williamsji Maveli
Email: williamsji@yahoo.com

*
KGA (UAE Chapter)
Literary award for Poetry declared for
Williamsji Maveli’s   “Arramviralthumbath…”
The Kallettumakara Gblobal Association (KGA), UAE Chapter has announced their first poetry award for excellence to Williamsji Maveli's  third  poetry collection   titled as “Arramviralthumbath …”  (On the tip of the 6th finger,  published by H & C Books, Trichur) .The award has been declared  by Mathew David, Chairman of KGA at their Executive Committee meeting held recently in Sharjah Emirate of United Arab Emirates.  The award has  also been considered for his poetic works scattered in his recently published book named  as “Maa Salama."  ( means "With peace"  in Arabic). The poems have been gathered from different desert sketches,  focusing on his real-time life experiences ,while he was working in UAE for more than 30 years.  Williamsji, (Williams George),   former Ras Al Khaimah based Journalist and lyricist of tester-years has been nominated for a literary award for the first time for literature. The Award is being formulated by KGA  (Kallettumkara Global Association, UAE Chapter) for  outstanding contributions to literature  from the native writers  of Kallettumkara,  a village town in Trichur, Kerala in India.  The award will be presented by the KGA’s UAE Chapter on the grand occasion of their 10th anniversary, which is being scheduled to be held during September, this year,
according to Mathew David, Chairman of Kallettumkara Global Association.
Translated from original poem in Malayalam to English by the author. Extracted from ARRAMVIRALTHUMBATH....(At the tip of the 6th finger, written by WILLIAMSJI, published by H & C BOOKS, Trichur, Kerala in India
www.williamsji.com
www.christ-bcom.com
Jeff S Dec 2017
when i was ordained a journalist,
a halfwit wisdom-speller with i's too often after e's,
they mounted a valediction for me:

"goodbye, you crucible of culture and the end," they pomped.
"we wish you joy on your carpetbagging beats,
the inciting sins you write your things about—

"the ways in which we fall.
and glory to you, the one who settles truth
by shivering quotes in darkness

and flickering candles in caves.
for what would be the world without you?"

a better place, I'm told; a feast of fiends without wits.
and likely more bourbon
to go around.
Mateuš Conrad Oct 2018
.oh man, a spoiled mood, so rare, but so invigorating at the same, it's like you get so mad that you're only waiting for the cooling period, the cooling period is always so... armchair analogous... some people turn to a gym sauna, but nothing compares to letting off steam from, the tabernacle, i.e. your heart.

woke up at 10am, checked the time,
dived in for a snooze...
3 hours later, i thought i just lay there,
a strange sleep consumed me,
as if: half awake, half knocked out
by a Mike Tyson punch...

took the broken drill to the workshop,
walked in... immediate
claustrophilia emerged...
the scents of metal, oil
and cardboard...

    are men more prone to claustrophilia
and women more prone
to claustrophobia?

such a gentile lad behind the counter,
his father working beside me on
some other mechanical tool...
he said some wise words about
hands, and tools,
and what not...
can't exactly remember what he said,
but:

hands & tools were in it,
so... given that: hands are tools...
he wasn't far off from the truth...

such a gentile lad...
he even managed to catch up with me
in the off-lice
while i was wondering what beer
to buy (on this fine fine October
afternoon)
to get my details...
     gripped his shoulder gently
and said my thank you...

but last night was something else...
i rarely become mad while drunk,
but when i do:
pandemonium in my head...
the ego become a Minotaur
and subsequently the labyrinth expands...

phobias and philias -
fears and loves...

  while i was walking up to the workshop
with my broken drill,
i passed a Muslim family...

now... if i saw a pretty large spider crawling
unsuspected and with catching
it with a ****...
i'd have a reflex reaction,
an irrationally funny reflex reaction...
SO WHAT THE **** IS
ISLAMO"PHOBIA"?
apparently some people like to abuse
words...
   i passed the Muslim family casually...
what? they're just people,
the father was teaching his children
how to cross the road safely,
and his wife was watching
him with that motherhood glee
of contentment with regards
to how their father was engaging
her offspring...
  
   islamophobia?! what?!
come again... because i've just explained
what arachnophobia is...
a phobia is associated with
the reflexes... or rather... a reflex...
an irrational, funny (later) reflex...
      when i see a Muslim i don't react
to him / her like i would react
to a ******* spider of abnormal size
(abnormal... because it's not
a tarantula)...

but today i woke and felt i had to
concede to an apology,
yes, casual "racist" that i am,
i forgot to prefix the word ****,
i.e. ****-,
       because, just sometimes...
i can't be bothered to add the suffix
-stani...
                  simple...

   but there is a but...
my father was in a slight traffic collision...
and... i had to listen to him
ramble on and on about the details
as i filled out the police report...

when two cars collide...
you exchange insurance details...
so the insurance companies can
meddle in the matter...

but this ****- woman had some sort
of bodyguard who intimidated my father,
telling him: it was illegal to exchange
insurance details...
yes yes... accents: i call them diacritical
distinction coordinates...

              the point being:
what is she? some ******* Hindu deity,
a holy cow?!
        so she couldn't have had her sight
impaired by the Ninja outfit?!
a liberal journalist in a center right
newspaper (i think that the times
is center right, or, at least,
i like to think so)

                     wrote an article about
donning the niqab for one day...
and she herself claimed that her vision
was impaired... when, walking...
there...
           i'd ban niqabs for the purpose
of safe driving...
     no! there's no ******* compromise!

****...
        i just want to drink a beer,
and watch a cherry tree change color in
this glorious season...
         why does everything have to boil
down to the nitty-gritty,
the fiddly, the perpetuating nuance of
what is, and what isn't -
   that isn't always black & white?

- but i do remember why my parents emigrated
to England... well...
if they weren't ****** over by
some ****** lawyer... England was just
a step-over... over to Argentina and
hopefully to H'america...
    seems my mother had a fascination
with her grandfather...
a polyglot, who emigrated there...
   married some woman,
abandoned his son (my grandfather)
due to his brother's smear campaign
to inherit some land, yada yada yada...
but the Iron Curtain was lifted....
   major recession...
my hometown's steel industry collapsed,
plus the Communist Party connections
of my grandfather:
who joined the Party?
               for opportunistic reasons...
and to fulfill functions like sitting court
on a jury...
                        my hometown saw the demise
of the fall...
                    around 20,000 jobs lost,
if not more...
          
and yes, i know what illegal immigration
looks like,
   but i also know what legal immigration
looks like...
   i've seen the ping-pong...
i just hate it...
                    when some Somali with 10
kids gets a council house in west London...
and he's probably "illegal" too...
or, whatever Commonwealth ****-hole
he comes entitled with the status:
the former colonized.

but at the end of the day...
i just want to drink my beer man.
A B Faniki May 2019
Your smile is like the scent
of a wildflower; you give
it generously and graciously to all;

like a flower you wear beauty
Marvelously; that is why designers
made you their abode;

the bees (journalist) and beetles (fans) of the
concrete jungle love your sweet nature,
which is like that of a flower;

that is why your name is
on their lips and they chase
you wherever you go.

You are the most gorgeous flower
with the most captivating blush
and beautiful stalk;

you make the world blissful by
allowing our eyes to drink your
beauty till we stagger drunk with it.

By Jove! Everything about you is
wild, charming, and down to earth,
like a wildflower in the spring.
This poem is for all the beautiful women out there,  whos smiles and beauty make the world an amazing place.
Soma Mukherjee Jul 2011
When asked about the recent death of a poor farmer, the minister frowned
He had just returned from a trip abroad and he didn’t like this sound

“I think it is politically motivated”, said the minister
“I smell conspiracy, this looks suspiciously sinister

Our state has been suffering from drought and I wanted to bring in some cheer
That’s the reason I went abroad to find out about some good kind of beer.”

The journalist was confused and asked how could alcohol help in drought, in its absence no one ever died
“That’s what you think”, said the minister, “no one has died so far because it has been cheap, and well supplied,

And moreover, his reason of death is still unknown
Let the autopsy report come then we will discuss”, minister added with a groan

“Sir he died of hunger”, said someone in the room
“What! How dare he, wasn’t he a farmer?” said the minister bursting with fume

“But sir”, said a journalist, “he didn’t have anything to eat,
And he also had a big family to feed,

When he could not control hunger any more he drank a lot alcohol and ate some wild grass
He fell sick but could not be taken to the hospital in time due to VIP movement and road blockage on the orders of top brass”

The surprised minister replied, “See I told you alcohol is cheaper than medicine and food but why would someone eat grass with alcohol, how silly is that
And he was not only a bad farmer but it was animal food he was eating, he was nothing but a rat

And if you had a choice tell me whom would you save
A VIP who was going to inaugurate a shop or a farmer so eager to dig his own grave”

How profound said someone sarcastically
“What do you mean by found I was never lost”, said the minister quite dramatically

Someone-“No sir I said profound”
Minister-“That’s what I am asking I was never lost to be found”

“No sir” said the minister’s aide, “if you consult thesaurus…”
“Why should I”, interrupted minister, “I don’t know anyone named thesaurus”

Minister’s aide-“No sir according to thesaurus …”
Minister- “I don’t care what Mr Thesaurus says”
Minister’s aide asked everyone to take a break and took him to a room and said, “Sir, Thesaurus is a dictionary”

Minister-“Oh so now they operate under this name and playing their ***** games”
Minister’s Aide- “Who sir, who plays ***** games?”
Minister- “The dictionaries working with these poor people and helping them some education, health and god knows what”

Minister’s aide- “Sir they are not dictionaries they are missionaries”
Minister- “Its same, missionaries are dictionaries headed by thesaurus to sabotage out government,
Soon I will set up a committee to investigate their work and movement,

But before all this, that dead farmer will be punished for stealing animal food; call PETA, it’s a case of animal cruelty,
And for that his family will have to pay a heavy penalty.”

Minister’s Aide- “But sir they don’t have anything they really are poor”
Minister- “Why what about the land they have, seize it and teach lesson to others that’s the only cure”

Minister’s aide- “ Sir we can’t call the PETA members, the black bucks you killed last month has already caused lot of uproar”
Minister- “what! You mean to say that a prominent member of society like me can’t even hunt for some deer’s and tigers, what’s next, wild boars?”

Minister’s Aide-“Please sir it will only bring in bad press, What if we provide them some seed and money to start farming?
Minister-“Well that can be arranged but the way these poor farmers are dying is quite alarming,
First I need to find someone who can be blamed for this death,
You are right Elections are near I can’t afford to lose the people’s faith.”

Ministers aide- “Sir let us leave the family and blame the one who is gone”
“You mean the dead farmer, asked the Minister, “explain how that will be done.”

Minister’s aide- Sir let’s put the entire blame on him that he didn’t wait for monsoon and left his family in dire state
And to top it up he tried to bring bad name to the party even after his death

We provided seed and power at a very minimal cost
That he could not get it timely was not our fault”

The whole controversy died and the minister was applauded when he compensated the farmer’s family with money, land and seeds
And in return the farmer’s family took back the case supported ministers claim that the culprit was farmer and his greed.
The farmers' plight and  politicians, bureaucrats and their apathy towards their problems. A story where the prose and poetry mingle.
A K Krueger Jan 2014
Once more unto the breach,
dear friends;
We tremble, we
withdraw our pens
We sit still, listen
Calm, collected
To prove our brains
Have not defected,
Once more letting them teach
Our heads
We caw and flutter
Fresh from beds.
We wait long, patient
Trudge the trenches,
to stave away
Failure's stenches.
Once more, until we meet
Our ends;
Continue calling
What luck might send,
We want most, if not all
The gifts unknown,
To make them known.
And yet this day
Is clearly done,
We slump away
Back to our homes.
We write our fingers,
to the bones.
Sleep and toss,
(A dream's a peach)
Then once more,
Unto
The Breach.
Andrew Parker Mar 2017
3-2-2017 (unknown date of origin)

Something's wrong... you don't belong here.
I said, looking down at the pineapple on my pizza.
I said, looking down at the ketchup on my macaroni.
I said, looking down at the cream of mushroom soup on my meatloaf.
He said, looking down at me and my boyfriend, holding hands in public.

Like I'm a creep.  I'm a ******.
What the hell am I doing here? I don't belong here.

You see there's these things that we learn at the dinner table.
When we're kids we have certain items served to us on our plates.
Whatever doesn't end up there, isn't a part of the discussion.
After all, they say if you don't have a seat at the table, you are likely to be on the menu.

So, when ****** orientation and gender identity aren't seated at the table of childhood, they get served for the first time in unexpected places.  

Like an avante garde celebrity chef's designer meal, prepared for critiques by the food bloggers.  

They get served in college classroom debates or in dorm rooms with freshman roommates.  

They're on the menu in in some movies but served with a side of stereotypes and silly trope toppings.  

They get grinded into glitter dust sprinkled on the annual PRIDE Parades like an overly salty seasoning mix.  

They're on the menu in workplace diversity trainings, but too little too late - they get lost in the marginalized buffet.  

They get served at the oppression Olympics, or actually at the Olympics unwillingly by a journalist who only pretends to eat a well-balanced diet, but really has LGBT food allergies,  if you know what I mean.


In reality, these should be staple dishes consumed by commoners, consumed by you and me, consumed by children along with their healthy daily dose of broccoli and cauliflower, squash and zucchini, even eggplant.  

They should be in every ******* cookbook with pictures and all different kinds of recipes!


I want every child to have gay on their dinner plate, lesbian lunch, gender nonconforming on the brunch menu, and bisexual breakfast.  

And everything in between in the queer spectrum served during snack breaks.  


I want every child to look down at their plate and see pineapple pizza and say, gee that looks great!  

I love all of the pizza toppings, no matter whether gay or nay.
... except for anchovies, of course.

— The End —