Friday, March 21, 2008

Present Arms

As the shadows creep around the paint-flecked walls
There persists the calling of the faint echoes of years soft-passed,
Almost imperceptible at first, steadily creeping as sirens in stealth
Until entangled with secret, silent memories

    My swaddling of truth lies in patience, waiting

-- A flash brings it all back --

The persistent bass-drum beats
Fall into the arms of the booming bugle calls
Which cascade into a 21-gun salute
And as the silent smoke rises,
Not pope-white, but it still advises,
With the smoke rising and the shells falling fast and often
Onto the dewy grass blades rooted to their dirty coffin,
The infidel corporal shines from all corners of himself
As he sends all the death knell with hollow, bravo-foxtrot, notes

    My swaddling of truth lies in patience, waiting
    And some day will ensconce me as its lading

In the hall the major darts past portraits of commanders
Then pauses, mid-stride, allowing all the years of neglect
To be reflected in her chiseled face,
Realizing there was something pretty there, once

And the general hands out coins and prose
To all the soldiers he’s told are battlefield heroes
But the stand-to will still rise at oh-six
Regardless of how many hollow coins are flipped
The trumpet from the private was torn
Then bayonets and bullets flew
But the general’s flag remained in view
As two brigades were wasted on the lawn

  The wind whips gaily through the town square
  Perusing empty street and alley alike without care
  And by God, I am telling you, by God I swear

    My swaddling of truth lies in patience, waiting
    And some day will ensconce me as its lading
    But for tonight I fall by its warm glow
    And by some simple muse simply know.

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Love On Top Of A Washing Machine

music player

Love On Top Of A Washing Machine

She was sunlight interrupted
    on the soft-wood floors of my mind.
She was a breeze on a humid day
    that blows itself into a winter
     gale force across your face.

She was the salt water
    surrounding the boat
     lost at sea for centuries.

She rose and fell with every breath
She sparked life and snuffed death
She captured the inmates and in stealth
Fed them bread and stories for their health

She was a white prom dress
    in the black breezy night

She was every footfall before the bedroom door opens
And she was the smoke rising from my cigarette

She was the dirt and the detergent,
   the goods and the money
   the race and the standings,
   the inspiration and the song.

It was love from the rinse cycle,
And now she’s gone.


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Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Flesh of Fallen Angels

Note: This is fiction. I swear.

(New installments will be posted below, to keep the beginning at the top, where it should be, I think.)

It’s all part of the game—that’s what they said, anyway. It was their game, so they should know the rules at least. In all his 20 years of life, J.D. had never had anyone explain to him that everything going on around him actually was a game. He’d always believed it was just a series of unrelated random events. So, at least he was making progress. The dumbass.

Diane Sheppard was different. She was the youngest girl of four in her family, so she had so much advice through the years it made her head hurt when she thought about it—and she made sure anyone she talked to would soon suffer the same malady.

Diane Sheppard was frequently alone, which was odd considering her rather good looks. At this moment, she was not alone, however. She was in one of the 12,000 seats that made up Durham County Stadium. She stood and applauded like the rest of the packed stadium as Jonathan “J.D.” Dawson struck out his 10th batter in a row.

J.D. wondered for a second what else was going on behind the scenes that he didn’t know about, then walked off the mound as 12,000 fans made a hullabaloo about something he’d been doing all his life—namely, throwing the horsehide by guys wielding wooden weapons. Frankly, he was a bit bored by it all, but the signing bonus was in multiple millions, so he couldn’t just quit. Not to mention the fact that in a few years he’d be in the majors blowing people away and cashing checks most people could only dream about. As he crossed the threshold of the dugout, he looked up into the stands and winked at Diane Sheppard.

When J.D. winked at her, every girl in Diane’s vicinity wanted to kill her. Knowing this, she beamed a proud smile and sat back down in her seat feeling like she was floating on Earth like some kind of angelic carnality. That aura made all the girls around her want to kill her twice and piss on her rotting corpse. It was a vicious circle. But then again, so was life.

The North Carolina sun beamed down on the ball field, gleaming in green and brown and white-chalked splendor, when something really quite strange happened. As J.D. sat on the bench, the crowd went crazy for no obvious reason whatsoever.


J.D. couldn’t care less about what those yahoos in the stands were getting all lathered up about. As his teammates spilled out of the dugout to get a better view, he walked down the long hallway back to the small, dank locker room. He ripped a worn hard-copy book from his locker, and re-read the passage that had proven a mental obstacle for him for a good while now: “Natural selection is the blind watchmaker, blind because it does not see ahead, does not plan consequences, has no purpose in view. Yet the living results of natural selection overwhelmingly impress us with the appearance of design as if by a master watchmaker, impress us with the illusion of design and planning.” J.D. shook his head as slow as a field plow.

At that moment, Diane Sheppard couldn’t care less about natural selection. That was because at that precise moment she was getting beaten down like a child molester in prison by three women in the stands of Durham County Stadium. The other 11, 996 fans in attendance didn’t dare stop the cat fight, even though the scuffle was so obviously unfair.


J.D. shook his head, in fact, all the way back to the bench. He wished that damned bitch, that damned Diane Sheppard biotch, never put any of these cornball “idears” in his head. They made him feel… feel… he didn’t know. Weird? Gay? Superstrange? Whatever you wanna call it, J.D. didn’t like it. At all. He resolved silently to tell Diane about it, too.

He couldn’t tell her right then even if he wanted to, because she was flat on her back in the rear compartment of an ambulance headed to St. Regis’s emergency room. J.D. didn’t know that right then, though. If he had known, it wouldn’t have made much of a difference.

J.D. would have been perfectly happy without Diane’s intrusion into his inner sanctum—his restful mind. But no, she had to get all up in there and start kicking things up, start making a whole heckuva lot of noise for no good reason. He wished he could just go back, back to those lazy High School days when cheerleaders would go down on him just to be able to say that they did. It was like a badge of honor for them or something. A wet, sloppy badge of honor. And how could he deny them the pleasure of earning that badge? It made HIM happy, it made THEM happy, it made everyone happy. Well, everyone but the cheerleaders’ boyfriends, but screw them.

And then this Diane Sheppard person had to come along and screw it all up for him. What right did she have, really? What right did she have??

J.D. wanted to expel her from his life, but for some reason, some crazy fucked up reason, he couldn’t. He just couldn’t.

He could resolve to, sure, he had done THAT like a bazillion times before. But he could never carry it out, could never close the deal. Every time he tried, he had to look in those EYES, and then everything was lost, gone, forgotten.

And J.D. thought that was an awfully rotten thing for her to do. Awfully rotten. And the worst part was, she hardly had done anything at all. So effortless. Diane Sheppard was nothing if not effortless.


Diane Sheppard effortless flickered one of her eyelids open. She was in a hospital bed, and her brain was screaming for mercy from the searing pain invading its space. She had bruises all over her head and body. She wondered what she had done to deserve such a savage beating. And then she drifted off into a very pleasant coma.


The Durham Bulls scored a bunch of runs, so they decided to pull Dawson. He shrugged on the bench when Coach Faizon told him about the strategy. He then meandered off to the showers.


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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Las Vegas Played Like Hash and Haze

Note: Due to the miracle of reverse-chronology technology, this was posted after the one above, but appears below as it is a continuation of the story. Thank you for caring.


“Yeaheaheah….Hahahaha…New shitnewshititit!...” a car radio speeding past Dopplerized.

Gary Flingerzmith barely noticed the gangsta rap lyrics. He had shit to do, and lots of it. Complicated stuff. Not your stupid little simple shit, like buying the week’s groceries or getting that tattoo from college lasered off. No, this shit was intense. And Gary Flingerzmith knew it.

In fact, the complexity of it was what drew him to it. Gary Flingerzmith wanted to go down in history. BIG time.

(In his whiskey lullaby dreams, and Spaghetti-O nightmares, Gary was always doing arithmetic. Not because he had to, but for fun.)

“I dunno about angels,” Gary muttered to himself, “but it’s fear that gives men wings.” He wiped at something on his lips and said. “Goddamn video games, video games, Goddamn.” Gary Flingerzmith took another swig from his flask, and continued right on walking, directness be damned.

When the whole world wanted you to get dead, the proper perspective was hard to come by. It didn’t really matter what was in your head so much as what was in your heart. Things became fragile and everywhere you turned, shards ripped up your feet as you tried to get from here to, like, right over there and shit.

Times always were hard for Gary. Ever since childhood he was known as “Big Head Bob” because of his massive cranium. He had killed his mother. Well, his head did, technically. It was so massive, that at birth it caused “complications.” And when those complications were over, his mother, Florence Flingerzmith, or “FloFling” to the rag-tag tabloids, got dead. And it was all his damned fault. And he hadn’t even been, like, a whole minute old yet. So, when you’re a minute-old murderer, you kind of know that life ain’t gonna be a walk in the park, know what I’m sayin’?

Gary's mind sputtered and wheezed: Damned dogs howling in the night. The mice prowl, the cats cowl themselves with shadows, and the dogs howl at the moonlight. Human vagabonds kick foul shadows around the streets, but it’s as useless as a towel in the ocean. All of them are left with a hollow pit of a stomach. The only winner is the moon. The discarded cigarette butts in the gutter come a close second.

Yes, it’s true. Even your best friends will sell you out for a dime and a cheap lunch. If you don’t know that by now, either you’re not paying attention or you’re just a damned fool. Some people you just can’t help.

With a mad thunderstorm making the roof sound like it was taking a barrage of small-arms fire, you turn over on the couch and understand how much worse it is when it’s your own family who sells you out to the highest bidder. Revenge? Sure, it’s an option. But you know, deep in your burgundy heart, that if you don’t make it something spectacular, something unique, something the grandest of legends feasted on, then it ain’t worth doing. No way.

Next stop, Las Vegas, Nevada. Home of Sin City, Hell heat in the shade, and one Mr. Heimerdinger Flingerzmith.

In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. But in the land of the bland, he’s just another jackass running around.


First thing Gary Flingerzmith did when he got into Vegas was to hit a pawn shop and acquire a nine millimeter pistol and some ammunition. Then he checked into his hotel, played some slots, had sex with a hooker, and went to sleep.


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Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Whirligig Lit-Zine

Soooo, anyway, in a past life, I used to publish and edit and distribute internationally through Tower Records Worldwide, a litzine called The Whirligig. After Tower went belly-up, so did TW. Here's some stuff from that dead era, really just for my own amusement rather than anything else.

Whirligig Imagery:

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Ann Sterzinger reading in Chicago, at the Cullen Carter Benefit Thing we did with the ULA and others:

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Some critical acclaim for The Whirligig:

"For all its modest, zeeny presentation, THE WHIRLIGIG is one of the most important lit journals being produced in this country." - Karl "King" Wenclas, Founder of the Underground Literary Alliance

"One of the best collections of fiction I've read in a long time. Seriously. I read a ton of zines, novels, short stories, whatever crosses my visual path, and this was an exceptional collection. I read more every chance I got." - Davida Gypsy Brier, Xerography Debt

"The gang down here at the Jersey City Office of The Ministry Of Cool, Useful, and Interesting quite like The Whirligig, a great li'l ficzine out of Brooklyn. Perzines and scenezines died a long, slow, and mostly well-deserved death, but The Whirligig editor/publisher took a different route. He publishes some of his own stuff, but always gives the other authors and stories the lion's share of the zine and the hype (such as hype is in the zine world). He also does amazing things like offer useful editorial commentary, publish on time, and works to develop an interesting multigenre voice for the zine.

And the strategy seems to be paying off. He's published some of the cream of the underground crop including Jeff Somers, author of Lifers; Jim Munroe, author of Angry Young Spaceman and Flyboy Action Figure Comes With Gasmask; Ann Sterzinger of the Underground Literary Alliance, and Jennifer "Callie" Callahan of the very ironically titled Vanity Press." - Nick Mamatas, of The Urban Bizarre and other literary fame

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