Monday, May 29, 2006

They Shoot Liberals, Don't They? (Part 1)

"Goddam liberal!" The old man sitting on the corner just couldn't get over it. "He's a goddam liberal!"

In this meeting of the mindless, no greater crime could be committed. The presence of the Liberal had become unbearable. His words kept ringing in their ears, driving them mad. The Voice of Panic could not be quelled. They all agreed: the Liberal must be destroyed.

"He's an agent of destruction. No doubt about it, he'll destroy everything we've built," said one who believed a new order must be found.

"What I want to know is: who the fuck does he think he is? Think about it! Who is he to comment on the world we have made?" said one with no faith in himself.

"Exactly! Is this not the greatest country on earth? Have we not been chosen for this honor because we are God's people? We cannot let this man continue to spread his gifts!" said one who regretted his lying.

"He's a madman with no regard for the truth. You saw how he attacked us - literally! Our institutions of business, the legitimate trade of commerce, condemned by a truth teller," said one who saw no purpose in his life.

"Goddam liberal!" confirmed the old man, wearing only a diaper.

A violent silence fell on the room. These silly wankers believed themselves men of fraud so their mores and their livelihoods must be preserved at any cost. The gall of that man! Things would be fine if he'd just shut the hell up! This Liberal among them was their worst nightmare. Now they would give him his worst nightmare.

"There's only one solution. Yes, it's the Worst Thing Possible to do. But to keep what we call good and decent, to honor ourselves and prevent that instigator from bringing change, we must stop him. Unabated, soon all peoples will believe his Word and turn against us and our bullshit. Crucify anyone who speaks the truth. He's no Savior of mine!" said those who wished to be saved.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Kakushi-toride no san-akunin

The title of this post is the Japanese name for Kurosawa's favorite film Hidden Fortress. It's my favorite film of his also. It's the most life affirming of all his efforts. In the chaos of ancient Japan, the Akizuki clan has been destroyed. All that remains is the Akizuki princess and her legendary general, Rokurota Makabe. Their goal: to sneak the clan's gold to safe territory and rebuild.

Unfortunately, their gold is discovered by two bickering, greedy peasants (who inspired Lucas to create R2-D2 and C-3PO in their mold). But the pair are so greedy they agree to help transport the gold thinking they will take an equal share. But notice of their escape is spread across the territory, bringing a series of constant brushes with capture.

For the Princess, it's an education of the underbelly of the world. Disguised as a peasant, she sees first hand the day to day suffering of fuedal life. But she also shares their joys as in the great Yamana fire festival, dancing around the great fire and singing the ritual song:

"Kindle your life and burn it away,
Live with all of your might.
Kindle a blaze in this dark world,
For life's dream lasts but one night."

This motley crew bonds together against all odds. But they are trapped in enemy land and the noose grows tighter. The dreaded sound of the conch shell signals the arrival of pursuing troops. Gunfire comes in from all angles when at last, they make it to the border of safe ground - only to be captured by waiting samurai.

But it is the Princess that is the soul of this film. After surviving all the close scrapes and being dragged through a world so completely foreign to her, she finally faced death. But in this, she was not defeated. Her fearless general Rokurota begged forgiveness for his failure to deliver her to safety. But this was her reply:

"I am happy to die! I have enjoyed a happiness which I could have never have known in the castle. I have seen people in their true form, both beauty and ugliness with my own eyes. I thank you, Rokurota. Now I may die without regret."

Friday, May 26, 2006

I Heart Heretics

The mercifully fading Da Vinci uproar has put a new focus on the Catholic church, an institution I really don't much care about. For me, it has nothing to offer. What I do care about is when people get hurt. And although I have no ill will towards the church, there's not much to think about an organization whose slogan is: "It's OK. We don't burn people at the stake anymore."

In a free market world, the need for approval is one that always finds a willing caterer. There is no greater purveyor of this than the church. When people got all riled up over the Catholic church not being all moral and pure, well, what are you? Twelve? It's a business like any other. But so ingrained is a desire for God's approval, we have allowed this society to create some of the most horrific crimes in history. None that I'll repeat here, but let's just say the Ku Klux Klan and the church share some similar history.

From what I understand, the Da Vinci Code demonizes a group within the church called Opus Dei (said "day"). Turns out this is a fun bunch of guys who believe in self-flagellation. S&M for God! Somehow I have a hard time picturing Jesus paddling himself. But I guess if the choice is between that and growing up, then hey, pass the whip.

If we must label people saints, then I have a few candidates. My first choice is John Lennon. If you want Catholic ones then try JFK and RFK. Two more obvious ones are Martin Luther King and Ghandi. Do any of these have the church's seal of approval? Many will gives reasons why not. But to be saved, each of us must look to our own judgement, and not to those who once considered coffee "the invention of the devil."

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Sarcasm Alley

"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against the house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."

And thus so shall we crash, despite all the laughable protestations that we are based on Judeo-Christian values (Jesus preached greed when?). The foundation of this society is built one thing: the Alley. Who among us does not fear to end up here? Many have committed suicide rather than face such a fate. Not sure I can argue with that decision. It is this fear that drives you to your slave labor and to accept all indignities. It is this fear that puts us at each other throats for survival. It is this fear that rots our souls.

The Alley has also become the source of our pop culture as freedom has evaporated from structured society. You won't hear the tender, soulful songs of the 70s. It's all hard rap sounds now. Nobody feels safe to express vulnerability. Oh, we make stuff that sounds vulnerable and seems tender, but it's just a mockery of the real thing. Of something that has died. These should be the times of sack cloths and ashes to regain our soul.

The basis for power is insanity. At some point we got so twisted that insanity became the norm and sanity ridiculed. And despite all the self-praise we heap upon ourselves today, this condition still holds true. "If I can't have what I want, I'm going to kill someone." Think about it. Somebody first had to make that decision to threaten with murder. Then the murder became organized into war and killing became a way of life. Now it's considered crazy not to kill.

How many of you can imagine taking a knife and sticking it into another human being? Not many can and yet it's considered irresponsible if one cannot. Why? Because the human race believes threats are The Way. The road to paradise, safety and freedom is paved with blackmail. We point to ourselves as a shining example. We have riches, power and freedom. But so have had many nations in history - for a time. But there is one fatal fundamental flaw to a world that hopes to terrorize itself to success.

It's inhuman. We are human. In order for us to survive, all things inhuman must be eliminated. Duh. So we can blame all our problems on the terrorists or economics or literally the storms that rain fury upon us, but those things were going to happen anyway.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

The Myopic View

I try to keep up with things. Sometimes I hear just enough to know a phrase - like "The Da Vinci Code" - but not really know what it means. In those cases - if I care - I use the internet to fill the gap. But there's still nothing like the good ol' newspaper. They keep saying the net will replace it, but I hope not. I like its portability, its look and its feel. The daily paper is my friend.

One column I usually check out is
Ed Wallace's in the Sunday Star-Telegram. Ed is an enviro-capitalist, meaning he wants to have his cake and eat it too. Not gonna happen. But we won't tell Ed that. There is a sad, sad day coming for my capitalistic friends when they find out their worst nightmare has come true: you can't eat money. But that's not my discussion point. I was amused by something Ed wrote:

"What would happen if some of the countries we depend on to finance our deficits...decide to hold off on buying U.S. Treasury Bonds?...Is Iraq getting better or worse? will our energy needs be met in 10 years, when there are 1 billion automobiles on the world's roads?...Is global warming real, and/or is any part manmade?"
He goes on to say: "These are questions that I ponder virtually every day. I have to, because the health of our economy often dictates the success of our automobile industry." Poor Ed. He doesn't understand the Zatoichi Principle. He wants to deliver us back to the boom times of the 90s. We ain't gonna deal with these issues because we don't wanna. Didn't your brain hurt just reading all those questions?

Most people with food are myopic. They don't give a shit what's happening as long as they've got theirs. In fact, many people actually look for retreats from reality so they can enjoy their food in peace. At that point, those persons tend to see only themselves. And that's where your friendly neighborhood con man steps in.

Anyone can be taken. At some point in life you have to trust someone - and there are people out there who live to betray that trust. Then there are the con men who look for those who betray themselves. I am one of those. I pass myself off as something I'm not in order to get something I want out of you - all the while you must think you are taking advantage of me. But there are all types of cons out there so let's take a look at a few.

The 'Do it for God' swindle: No ground is so fertile as the religious one. As a sage co-worker once told me, there is no greater force in the black community than the church and the huge amount of money it rakes in. So the bad news for the individual scam artist is that most of the con is already organized. But there's still plenty of room left. Sometimes those with a straight business scam will pose as a man of God to gain trust, other times the purpose is portrayed as doing "God's work". Religious people are not questioners. "Hallelujah!" says the con man. Hard to have sympathy for the lazy blind.

'Be a good guy' scam: In
"House of Games" the art of the "short con" is demonstrated with this method. "This guy is gonna think I'm really a good person" is what you need to get the mark thinking. The movie uses a two step con where the mark actually volunteers his money. A more crude method was used on me coming out of Best Buy. I had just made a purchase (Walkman and batteries, I listen to the radio a lot) so I guess I looked like a big white sucker walking out with my bag. An older black man dressed in a weathered vest over a dress shirt entreated me for a few dollars for gas. Since I recognized he was trying to make a deal of tit-for-tat my reply was, "No thank you." His loss of interest was immediate.

Find the blind spot: The greedy, the self-serving, the myopic - whatever con you are laying on yourself is my 'in'. The only way to bust me is to bust yourself. Not much chance of that happening, believe me. Some suckers even keep lying to themselves after the con. The grip of the self-lie is amazing. This approach is by far the best way to use in a relationship. In the end, it's simply a matter of supply and demand. Somebody has something they want to hear, and someone else feeds it to them.

In summation: To thine own self be true.

The Zatoichi Principle

Zatoichi is a blind ('zato' means blind, ichi is his name) Japanese swordsman wandering the countryside in the Tokugawa Era (1600-1868). In his travels Ichi encounters all that you would expect: mockers of the handicapped, predators and those who simply wish to challenge his skill. Often times he is underestimated. It's a pretty good sign a character is going to die if you hear him say, "But he's just a blind man!" On a rare occasion Ichi's sword might be matched. But never bettered.

But Ichi was also a person of compassion and justice. It riled him to see the poor oppressed or even to have himself picked on because someone saw him as an easy target. In his over 25 films, Ichi's flashing sword forced robbers to return money, killers to flee and "bosses" (mobsters) to pay for their sins. So when our blind hero was jailed and met a man wrongly imprisoned, it became his quest to set him free.

Of course, it wasn't going to be easy. Powerful men had imprisoned the man because they needed him executed for what he knew about them. Ichi spends the entire film gathering evidence of the jailed man's innocense, ruffling many feathers along the way. In the final showdown to get the evidence to the proper authorities, a large group of samurai ambush him with nets and other contraptions - as well as their swords. It takes Ichi a good 10 - 15 minutes of film time to make it passed the entire gauntlet. Finally, the information does get through but only with a Herculean effort.

Every Zatoichi film ends with him resuming his wandering of fuedal Japan. This one is no different. But this time he hears a priest being obviously wrongly arrested by three government agents. As he hears him dragged away, Ichi does nothing. He saunters to a nearby beach and sits in reflection. He could spend a lifetime righting the wrongs of the world. But at some point, the world has to take responsibility for itself. There is no other way.

"I can't do everything!"

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Reading the Human Heart

This is another something I wrote years ago, posted on my poetry pages. As I said before, you see a person's true character when you are at their mercy. And if you choose not to see that character, that says something about you too.

The Ditch

     Funny things happen when you get hurt! It was a beautiful, sunny day as I walked along my favorite country road. I noticed a fresh new flower and I stopped to smell it, but when I did I stumbled into a ditch and twisted my leg. I tried to get up but the pain was too piercing. So I sighed and waited for help to come.
     Imagine my joy when I saw a man approach me with a Bible in hand - though he did have a scowl upon his face.
     "Please, sir, I have fallen-"
     "You have fallen because you are no good! This is plain to see! It is the righteous who are upright! And if you had been righteous, you would be upright, too!"
     The man stormed off, leaving me to mutter, "Did he say 'upright' or 'uptight'?"
     But I did not have long to moan before a preaching man came along - a true man of God - and I said to him, "Please, sir, there is something wrong with my leg-"
     "My dear son, there's nothing wrong with you. You are made in the image of God! Don't speak so poorly of yourself!"
     "No 'buts' about it! You're a good person! I believe in you!"
     This preaching man patted himself on the back and started on his way. I cried out to him, "I need help! My leg is hurting! I'm glad you believe in me, but-"
     "Good! Glad I could be of help!" he smiled as he waved goodbye.
     And I was left to mutter, "At least one of us can feel."
     Then down came the road a long, dark, expensive car I thought would never stop. But it did! A window rolled down and bundles of cash were thrown on top of me. "Here you go!" boomed a voice from the car. "Money will solve all you problems!"
     "What I really need is a ride into town!"
     "You're not fit for my car! The money will save you - it did me! Thank me later!"
     And the car moved on, leaving me to mutter, "Why does he think he's saved?"
     I really got excited by what I saw next. Three gorgeous girls, barely dressed, who loved the role of sex objects.
     "Can you girls help me up?" I eagerly asked.
     "Oh, you poor man! Can't you walk at all?"
     "Not a lick! Won't you girls give me a hand?"
     "Well, we think you're a sexist pig so we're going to take your money and go shopping! Maybe that will teach you some respect!"
     And they giggled away with all the money, leaving me to mutter, "Thank you for showing me respect."
     Next I saw a limping worker pulling a Man in a cart and I yelled to them, "Please! My leg is hurt! Help me get out of this mess!"
     But the Man in the cart replied, "You faker! I'm so sick of you people who won't help yourself!"
     So I appealed to the limping man, "Help me sir. Surely you know how I feel."
     "I am only a slave to the Man!"
     "Help me to town and you will be a slave no more!"
     "But I must be a slave! I do not want to be like the Man!"
     And he hobbled away, leaving me to mutter, "Moses lived in vain."
     By now I was really starting to get fed up! "Nobody gives a damn about me! The minute I need help no one will have a thing to do with me! Won't someone please help?"
     "I care!" yelled a man who came running. "I'll help you!"
     "Thank you, sir! You don't know what I've been through! You can't imagine the pain and anquish!"
     "Oh, but I can! Has it really been awful?"
     "Yes! I had stopped to smell a flower when I fell in this ditch, twisting my leg -"
     "What? You mean you fell in here all by yourself? You can't blame this on anyone?"
     "Well, no-"
     "Then stop wasting my time, you scum!"
     And he ran away, leaving me to mutter, "Goddam lawyers!"
     Then a blowhard came along followed by a herd of eager listeners, some of whom came to help me. But the blowhard reprimanded them, "Don't help that man! We can't be expected to solve the problems of the world!"
     And they scurried back, leaving me to mutter, "Doesn't anyone know what they're doing?"
     Then a gang of noisy and proud children straggled down the road, laughing at me. "Look at that stupid man in the ditch!"
     And they all lorded over me and spat on me and cackled, "Bet you wish you were us, huh?"
     "No," I honestly answered.
     Then they spat on me again and screamed, "Bet you wish you were us!"
     "No," I still answered. "But who taught you to act this way?"
     "Who hasn't!" they bitterly replied.
     "But do really think you can get away with this?"
     This made them laugh and they started to drift away taunting, "You can only hurt the people you're better than!"
     And I was left to mutter, "Are children really the mirror of society?"
     Next came the children's parents, who were chastising them. "We are not responsible for you kids! We told you not to do wrong!" Then they looked at me in scorn and scathed, "Get up out of there! Who raised you to be like that? You are ruining this country! There are NO excuses! The world is perfect!"
     And no one would even come close to me the rest of that day. I would yell at them but they would only move to the other side. I could hear them wonder why I was there or why I would like it so much, which made me really angry. So I screamed at them at the top of my lungs with all the fury I could muster! But I would only hear them conspire to each other, "He's obviously a lunatic! If he were any good, someone would have helped him."
     And they despised me, leaving me to mutter, "You made me this way."
     The sun sunk low in the sky and I was very near giving up hope when the shadow of a man came over me. "Are you hurt?" he asked.
     "What do you care?"
     "I care to help!"
     "Yeah, right!"
     "I mean it! Let me help you out!"
     But I was still leary and I said to him, "You mean you're not going to judge me or deny me or lie to me or use me or abuse me or con me or rebuke me or spit on me or blame me?"
     "I shall do none of those things. I'm going to help you back to town if you will let me."
     And then he helped me up and supported me as I looked upon him with grateful and wondering eyes. As he helped me down the road, I burst with gratitude, rejoicing, "Oh, thank you! You don't know how much this means to me! I thought I was hung out to dry! You are the nicest man in the world!"
     So he turned to me and slyly smiled, "And you better tell that to everyone in town, too, or I'll break your other leg!"
     Funny things happen when you get hurt!

ADDENDUM: In California, a man was robbed and beaten and literally thrown into a ditch. Several people passed by him but none stopped to help. Later that day, he died. His mother is now trying to get a law enacted that makes it illegal to not render aid to the victim of a violent crime.

I wrote this story long before this incident, as I see this happening spriritually all the time. However, no one considers it to be "real" or a "story" until it happens physically. But the spiritual transgressions like this result in just as real deaths.

The Forgotten World

I know why I get so many dirty looks and the homeless have so much wrath pointed in their direction. It's because we ain't you. We don't care if your stupid society lives or dies. All the rules and bullshit you come up with, betting your soul and building your life on it, you can just imagine what outsiders might think of you. Which doesn't really bother you until you actually see one in your midst. Then it all becomes real.

God doesn't care if your stupid society lives or not, either. Our Maker only cares if our souls survive. Hard to think about having bet wrong, isn't it? It's an unbearable thought for some. Of course, to not face it leaves an equally unbearable fate. So we are spies among you, forced to the outskirts of the world, observing you with no vested interest in what you created. At any moment, one of us may give voice to that little voice inside you you so desperately bury at all costs.

It's a unique persepective on the outskirts. You get a worm's eye view on the world where you can see how people act when their actions are unchecked. You never truly know a person until you are under their thumb. See how all the "good" people act then. I admit there have been times when I have come across true kindness. Perhaps more kindness than I myself could give were the situation reversed. Those are moments and feelings you never forget. To be succored, not sucked dry. It's a glimpse of a paradise that could be, and it inspires you to do better.

In "King Rat", James Clavell wrote: "For the men, Changi was more than a prison. Changi was genesis, the place of beginning again." I'll never forget reading those words. Changi was an infamous Japanese POW camp in WWII. 150,000 prisoners went in; 10,000 came out. Clavell spoke of being thrust into a twilight world between life and death. A place not imagined unless forced to experience it. The men adapted and morphed into animals. When the war ended and a freshly scrubbed allied soldier arrived to liberate the camp, the prisoners scattered in shame. I cried when I read that book - the most powerful book I have ever read. I'm crying as I recount this now.

Thank you, world. Thank you for my Changi. And God help you if you think you won't be the fucked for it.

Suicide Is Painless

THE SCENE: Capt. Walter Kosciusko "Painless Pole" Waldowski - the best equipped dentist in the army - has decided his womanizing is merely a cover-up for homosexuality. Feeling he has nothing to live for, he can see only one way out: suicide. Painless seeks out his surgical friends for a quick and easy method. "Black capsule!" says Trapper John. Painless wonders if it will really work but is assured by Trapper, "It worked for Hitler and Eva Braun."

If I had a such a capsule, I would be mercifully dead right now. Those first feelings when I wake up in the morning - my true feelings I bury in the course of a day - are unbearable in their despair. My only way of functioning is to suppress the desire to live. Trudge my way through the forced labor required of me, lie about my need for friends and a family, pretend there is hope. Let's be honest: there is no possible future for me.

Leaving you people will be the greatest joy of my life.

"Suicide is Painless"
Music by Johnny Mandel
Lyrics by Mike Altman

Through early morning fog I see
visions of the things to be
the pains that are withheld for me
I realize and I can see...

That suicide is painless
it brings on many changes
and I can take or leave it if I please.

I try to find a way to make
all our little joys relate
without that ever-present hate
but now I know that it's too late, and...


The game of life is hard to play
I'm going to lose it anyway
the losing card I'll someday lay
so this is all I have to say


The only way to win is cheat
and lay it down before I'm beat
and to another give my seat
for that's the only painless feat


The sword of time will pierce our skins
it doesn't hurt when it begins
but as it works its way on in
the pain grows it grin but...


A brave man once requested me
to answer questions that are key
is it to be or not to be
and I replied 'oh why ask me?'

'Cause suicide is painless
it brings on many changes
and I can take or leave it if I please

...and you can do the same thing if you please.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Fool Speaks

Usually, I say nothing. Tell me the world is flat and I'll pat you on the back and say, "You da man!" Nature will sort things out. Seek and ye shall find. But this time I was trapped. The preacher man forced me to participate if I wanted food. So I violated my policy and spoke truly. Dammit!

At first, there was just a long silence. You could see the wheels turning in all the minds in the cafeteria. "Did he really mean that? What did he mean? Is he gonna start foaming at the mouth?" Then the whispers started.

"There's something wrong with him. He's different."

"I just think he really doesn't know any better. Sad."

"Some people just can't face the harsh truths of life. They make up things to believe in to suit themselves."

"How can there be any hope for someone like that?"

"If you ask me, 'stupid' is the word to describe that guy."

The preaching man bore the cross for all. "It's up to me," he martyred. "I must save this lost soul."

There's nothing so scary as eyes that try to be kind. I'll never forget them as he walked over to me. Even as an outcast homeless, I had never felt so isolated. I can just imagine the forsaken feeling Jesus felt up on the cross, trapped in a world that clamored for his death. Experiencing just a tiny slice of it was enough to send me into a wholesale panic. Then the preaching man bent over to me and hissed.

"You are wrong, my son. There are witches in this world. And we must burn them all."

Hey, I'm a believer now.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Da Vinci Code - Broken!

"The Last Supper"

Everything's got some sort of Da Vinci tie in now. I think there's even a TV show called that. And it's all really annoying. So I finally submitted and got a little education on all the hullabaloo. Here's the Cliff notes version:

Jesus got horny and knocked up Mary. Since then there has been a secret(!) bloodline of Jesus. This bloodline is actually the true Holy Grail, and has existed among us all this time. Great nobles throughout the ages have known and guarded this secret, with Da Vinci dropping sly clues in his art.
So is any of this true? Well, yes and no. On a factual basis, it's a joke. The genius lies in making it a fascinating and captivating tale. The mixture of fact and fiction makes for a cogent explanation - and therein is the key. Why do crave an explanation of our own history?

This is where the truth comes in. Yes, we have suppressed truth over the ages. We hunger for it and it's a gnawing ache upon our souls. Surely there is more to life than this! But the truth we suppress is that of our own failures, of us turning our backs on the treasures of life. We have taken the dream God gave us and made it a nightmare. But that version won't sell 40,000,000 copies.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Children of the Son

"People of the earth can you hear me?"
Came a voice from the sky on that magical night.
And in the colors of a thousand sunsets
They traveled to the world on a silvery light

The people of the earth stood waiting
Watching as the ships came one by one.
Setting fire to the sky as they landed
Carrying to the world children of the sun.

"Then the Lord said, "The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know."

As the angels descended from the heavens, the dawn of a new consciousness broke. Fears of a thousand lifetimes invaded the hearts and minds and souls of all who bore witness. The terror of truth came closer with every step. A blinding light searched like a frantic spotlight through their being. All who saw knew - and many eyes were lowered.

Knowing the souls of their watchers - and knowing their essence was transmitted to all living things- the angels spoke.

"We have come to ask why."

Many tried to answer but none could speak. Resolve turned to doubt. From certainty came confusion. Anger a hopeless illusion. The question rippled through them like a wave, washing anew forgotten dreams. Hidden hopes dared to crawl into the open. Who could have ever thought life a bad thing?

But many still struggled as the angels spoke once more.

"Bring us paper called money. All that you have."

Those still confused silently rejoiced. Goddamit! I knew God was a Republican! But even they complied as the basket was passed around and brought to the feet of the angels. Then the angel lifted the basket high above her head as a sudden wind blew all the paper away.

"Never again let this decide who among you shall eat."

No one moved. No one wanted to. They were free. An unbearable yoke was broken. Sad eyes gained new life; bent backs grew straight. Could this be real?

"Bring us a killing device."

A gun was brought and the angel ordered herself shot. But the shot could not hurt her - just as no weapon could.

"Nothing of this world can ultimately deliver you."

Helpless eyes grasped for anchors they could not find. What was there to hold on to? Had they journeyed down the wrong path after all? Was love truly the only answer?

Then the angels raised a shimmering mirror - and the worst fears were confirmed. For even though a thousand faces stared into the mirror, only one looked back - and it was their own.

"You cannot hurt another without hurting oneself. You cannot heal another without healing oneself."

Now came the time of dreams and deaths - each to his choosing. For some saw this as the End and some saw this as the Beginning. But each knew why this moment had come. They had cried out for it.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Ode to the Gunfighter

When my book was criticized for not being in a specific genre, I sarcastically wrote this poem as a Western. Not sure if John Ford would have wanted the movie rights to this...

Big Bad Bob
Was new on the scene.
Beautiful, proud and
Just plain obscene!

"Dee Debby Dee
"Was my true love.
"My heart fit her
"Like a hand-made glove!"

"But on her love
"I shut the door.
"So now I search
"For love no more!"

"I'm best with the gun!
"You watch and see!
"Come gather 'round
"And worship me!"

None believed him,
None thought it true.
"Well, just follow me!
"I'll make fools of you!"

But Jim Jimmy Jim
Had the best gun.
When men saw him
They all would run.

Big Bad Bob laughed
At Jim Jimmy Jim.
"I have a dog who's
"Better than him!"

Those were words
Worth dying for.
For with their guns
They were both whores.

These lovers of death
Went to the street.
A man can't live
If he can be beat!

And so death rang out
Within their battle.
As in the slaughter
Of stupid cattle.

And thus Jim Jimmy Jim
Gave up his life.
And Big Bad Bob
Had a new wife.

He smirked at the
Soul-less Jim Jimmy Jim.
Then strutted over
And jacked off on him.

Big Bad Bob loved
His dick to be seen.
Beautiful, proud and
Just plain obscene!

He left it out
For all to worship.
Calling loudly
For its courtship.

Sad women did swoon
And did fall under,
Gratefully feeling
His lusty plunder.

All through the town
He was hero to all.
They wished to be him,
Both big and small.

Old Virginia
Came out of her house.
She yelled to the world,
"That man's a louse!"

But they beat her back
With stick and stone.
"She was just jealous
"Of his bone!"

So day and night
His dick would stay out.
"Somebody beat me!"
He would shout.

So gunfighters came
From across the land.
Against Big Bad Bob
They tried their hand.

But he would beat them,
Every last one.
They ended up dead
And covered in cum.

When Vy Vickie Vy
Saw what he could do,
She creamed aloud,
"My all for you!"

She was his servant,
His mommy and slave.
She cared not
If she served a knave.

She loved his dick
And kept it real big;
Making for it
A miniature wig.

Wide eyed people came
From miles around,
To watch her dress up
Her strutting clown.

And women would please it
Who stood in a line;
And men would please it
Who liked to whine.

They were days of boasting
And days of great feasts.
And none could conquer
The dangling beast.

But then came the ghost
Of Jim Jimmy Jim,
His timid brother
Tim Timmy Tim.

He rode into town
Armed with only the truth;
Calling Big Bad Bob
Out of his booth.

Big Bad Bob yelled
Back to this clod,
"Don't fuck with me!
"I am a god!"

The people there
All shook their head;
Said Tim Timmy Tim
Would soon be dead.

But said Tim Timmy Tim,
"I know what is true!
"I know what it is
"That frightens you!"

Retorted Bob:

"No man alive
"Can frighten me!
"My dick's still out
"For all to see!"

But out came a mirror
From Tim Timmy Tim,
And Big Bad Bob
Saw his image just then.

Cold monster eyes
Were upon his face;
And they pleaded to run
Away from their place.

He tried to get mean,
To stare them down;
But all his hate
Just came back around.

Big Bad Bob just stood -
His dick hanging out.
The wondering people
Starting to shout:

"Beautiful, proud and
"Just plain obscene!
"That is the image
"We have seen!"

Big Bad Bob saw
They loved him so;
But it was his love
He craved to show.

This lost soul cried,
"What should I do?
"Somebody tell me
"What's false and what's true!"

Bob found his death gun,
And took in his breath;
With a bang Big Bad Bob
Had finished his death.

And thus crumpled down
An image of man;
His image of life
Had all been a scam.

Then Vy Vickie Vy
Let out a scream,
"But he was beautiful, proud
"And just plain obscene!"

This illusion destroyed
She could not understand;
She held on to his dick
With her delicate hand.

And thus he lied
In his final despair,
Big Bad Bob
With his dick in the air.

Then angels spoke
Who'd witnessed it all,
Repeating words of
The Maker of all,

"For this is God's
"Judgment on you:
"I let you
"Decide what's true."

Sunday, May 14, 2006

On a Raft Floating in the Middle of the Universe

A food fight had broken out on the plane. Dripping, messy musicians stood giggling helplessly at one another. A morose, dreamy girl sat in the back. Her eyes drifted away. The luxury jet screamed through the clouds in a triumph of modern engineering. She was the gilded passenger. And her life, she started to believe, was a gilded cage.

It had all started with that enigmatic janitor. Drawing her out, changing her perspective. Damn him! Damn him forever! Her life wasn't perfect but she could've been satisfied in her misery. She thought she had everything in place. Now she was at the end of one long chain reaction taking her from her receptionist's chair to 30,000 feet in the sky.

Her marriage had been wrong. She knew that. But she didn't have to admit it! Would have been a good thing to hang on to. Have two kids, live in the suburbs. A nice comfortable lie. But she had grown past all that because of the wry and passionate observations of a man who seemed to know her without her ever breathing a word. She truly had had dreams of a better life. A real life, the one she believed in as a child. Alas, no way to put that genie back in the bottle.

The band's song blasted through the plane's sound system. "Life is just a fantasy. Can you live this fantasy life?" Stars faded within her eyes. Yes, she had made the decision to acknowledge her gifts - gifts the Janitor Man had seen so clearly. But had she come all this way just to be used up all over again? She knew the answer to that too.

But I'm trapped, a slave to the good life. I can't live off $7.50 an hour again. No one but my sister will talk to me since I hooked onto the band. Dear God, when I prayed to You faithfully, I made bad decisions. When I stopped all prayers, I still made bad decisions. All life slips through my fingertips. Just let the plane crash and I can die a quick and painless death. Since her lie had died, she felt she had to as well.

The dread hand of Darkness reached coldly once more for her heart. Not again. Had she even the right to hope for hope? The movie played out once more in her mind. Driving to the airport, there in the street, a glimmer of recognition in that bum's eyes. Immediately she thought "Janitor Man!" Two souls stared into one another; old dreams roared back to life. Had she just dreamt it all? No matter. One thing her anger knew for certain: there was no future with him.

More Proof We Are Now the U.S.S.A

NSA has massive database of Americans' phone calls

"It's the largest database ever assembled in the world". The agency's goal is "to create a database of every call ever made".
Boy, do I feel safe now! No way a terrorist can attack us. We've got them all on double secret probation! See, there's two ways we can catch them. First we look for certain keywords because we know all terrorists speak like this: "On Monday, May 12, I, Mr. Al Qaeda, plan to blow up [insert building name]". No way they are smart enough to use innocuous code words that are impossible to search on. HAHAHA! Morons. Secondly, we are analyzing call patterns. Meaning if you are making lots of calls to somebody, you've got to be up to something. Gotcha!

Now it's time to make Daddy happy. Like the KGB used to say, "If you've got nothing to hide you have nothing to worry about." I'm a good citizen. Look at me Daddy! Pat me on the head and LoJack my ass. My Daddy loves me and would never do anything wrong. It's so good to live here in the United Soviet States of America, the land of the free - even if we aren't.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Gulag - It Aint Just For Soviets Anymore

GULAG - Even more broadly, "Gulag" has come to mean the Soviet repressive system itself, the set of procedures that prisoners once called the "meat-grinder": the arrests, the interrogations, the transport in unheated cattle cars, the forced labor, the destruction of families, the years spent in exile, the early and unnecessary deaths.

This is what we have become. And many of us laud this proudly, rejoicing in their "victory" over human rights, applauding our demise. Like all things, it's a matter of love. I must make you love me. There is no cost too high.

Mexico almost legalized personal drug use. The American hypocrite community shit its pants and got to them before the law could become enacted. Whew, close one! No one wants to be exposed as a hypocrite, a person of no morals. Had that law gone into effect and the sky didn't fall for our southern neighbors, the gnashing of teeth would be heard around the world. No, our self-loathing must stay hidden - there is no cost too high.

So many think control will save them. There is no rational explanation for our drug laws. That's why all arguments are emotional ones. It's not that the immoral majority is pissed you're taking drugs, it's that you're taking the wrong drugs. Simple politics. Texas leads the nations in DWIs. Mention that around here and you'll see a bunch of rednecks high-fiving each other. "Look at what we can get away with! Yeehaw!" But if you got any of that wacky weed, well, we don't hold with that. We gotta put an end to that - there is no cost too high.

But power is an illusion. "But if I can't control you, I can't make you love me." Christ, these people whine! It would be funny if the consequences weren't so tragic. One third of our prisoners are political. This ain't about morality, it's about rape. Find a man with a joint, you can take his car, his job, his life. I have seen this with my own eyes. Holy Hypocrites follow the script to first say that is "terrible", then argue its necessity and always end with "there is no cost too high."

"With a record-setting 2 million people locked up in American jails and prisons, the United States has overtaken Russia and has a higher percentage of its citizens behind bars than any other country." This is the truth of us. We are worse than than Stalin. Traitors among us say that is a good thing. You can see them on TV, hear them on the radio, read them in print. How bold. Right now we are like a bunch of punks out joyriding: laughing, speeding, tearing things up. "Not my car - who cares?" But the bill is gonna come due for that behavior and the punks won't be laughing then.

But I will be.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

How I learned to stop worrying and love the Berlin Wall

I once got published in Mad Magazine. I had the best response to "How to best lure the Spanish Armada into a trap." My reply was "Whistle, and call, 'Here, Spanish Armada!'" Simple, direct, uncomplicated. That's how I like things.

So it seems we woke up one day and found out immigrants (shock! shock!) having been living right here among us (gasp!) and not only that they got here illegally (oh my God!). And the horror doesn't end there. Those latino bastards have been soaking up all our good landscaping, dishwashing and housekeeping jobs. The nerve! But now it's time for what America does best: panic. America, where "
everyone's a super hero, everyone's a Captain Kirk".

Simple, direct, uncomplicated - that's how everything should be. Let's build us a bad ass wall with flame throwers and machine gun nests and super duper radar tracking that won't let in even a mosca. Man, would that be cool! But what do we do about the 11 million lawbreakers already here? Are we just going to forget the law and let all hell break loose?? Are we going to spend our hard earned money to send them back?? Hell no! Seems to me the cheapest and most expedient solution is obvious: mass executions.

I went to the headliner film in last year's Latino Film Festival. The speaker was telling how Mexicans were going to reclaim Texas "one baby at a time.", Well, folks, be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.