Saturday, September 25, 2010

Bank Robbing Blues

Don't believe the movies, it's a dirtier life than it looks.

There's a peculiar curse placed upon creative people and it's been that way since we decided to substitute our own order for that of nature's (which is why it's inevitably doomed). We hear of the successful poets and musicians and artists from over the centuries (none from the Dark Ages) but those are the lottery winners of talent. Other "Creatives" are forced to deal with life in less fortunate circumstances.

A worker bee life is just fine - if you're a worker bee. Unless you can entertain us to the point of receiving compensation, worker bees are all society wants. That is why we have the myth of the romantic outlaw who breaks all the rules. Sure, in the end they are forced to unforgivably kill and destroy to maintain their lifestyle - but we understand. We want to live too. We also feel the thorns of the world.

I was #2 man in the crew that pulled the infamous Barnstown Bank robberies. Robert, our leader, was a creative genius, a force of nature all his own. He had no choice but to comply to his creative desires, it was an obvious death were he not to. I didn't have Robert's drive - that raging need - but I was creative and intelligent enough in my own right to review his schemes and poke through any holes I might find (which was rare and ones I found were of enthusiasm).

Linda and Larry rounded out our crew. Linda had her own demons bringing her down, craving a personal outlet she never fully explained but we all sort of sensed (We knew not to pry. It was part of the trust we afforded each other the outside world never gives.) Larry was more of what I call a "creative admirer", someone who sings in the shower but never on stage. He loved our exploits and daring imagination and for him to be useful in our endeavors meant the world to him.

As criminal crews go, we were tight, a quasi family. We started small, scuffling our way through with tentative jobs, testing ourselves and finding our place in the criminal hierarchy. We all had faith in Robert and he never disappointed. It was truly marvelous to go over one of his plans, they were almost operatic in their detail and rhythm of operations. No, we weren't a band that could go on stage, we were a band with a different act - and we were proud of that aspect. Yes, our acts were wrong in the eyes of the world but we filled a need that came from God.

The first time we robbed Barnstown Bank had been a precision masterpiece. I was point man on dissecting the bank as I was the best at analytical design. That made me more visible than the others but then I had an ego to be satisfied too, to let the bank employees know of my particular genius. (It's strange but the employees became sort of an extended family by default, sort of like blood relatives - there were those you liked and hated but either way you were stuck with them.) This compulsion of mine to show off was my eventual downfall.

Safeguards were put in place afterwards - but that only spurred Robert further. We laughed when he presented the plans to go back. We didn't know who the unknown foe was who designed the safeguards but we were going to him show our mettle. We wanted to shout to the world: "We're somebody! We count too!" We were going to make them listen come hell or high water. The more we found ourselves the more important we realized that was. This would be our first job with absolute flair.

Robert's plan worked to a T - and sure did get us recognized! We were dubbed the "Creativity Crew" by the media and since I was forced to lead the actual operation I became the face of the franchise. Nothing could be proven or tie me to the crime directly but my necessary scouting made me known at the bank and by deduction they knew I was guilty. It was dangerous and scary, but I loved the notoriety and recognition. The bank employees had this illusory version of the life we led, free from the ball and chain of their desks. You could see it in their eyes. It was perilously ambiguous because on one hand it made them want to cooperate while on the other their jealousy sought to sabotage us.

Our big breakthrough - as so often is the case in stories like these - was the beginning of the end. First Larry started getting cold feet, being pressured by the cops to spill the beans. He'd fed into their characterization of us and guilt like a tapeworm was eating him up inside. He just wanted to confess - as if that was a final solution. I managed to rally him back around but it was tenuous and I never would fully trust his weak mind again. Not that I didn't understand his need to confess, I shared that too.

I also started a relationship. I obviously could not bring someone fully into my life but we had a "coffee shop" friendship. Luckily, she was a woman most self-possessed and thus knew and cared little for the world at large. She was wicked funny and responsible in her relations, my admiration growing on a daily basis. We would meet by happenstance at a Thai coffee shop, sharing smiles but no questions. How she afforded to be there day after day I never knew - nor she me. Soon I found myself thinking of her during the dusty day, looking for smiles to bring to her. It's painful to think of that time now.

Success had gone to Robert's head as well. The mad bastard came up with a THIRD plan for robbing the bank even with the new security they implemented. I immediately had doubts. We were going to come up through the sewers dressed as a SWAT team and use our "official" power to circumvent what they had put in place. Not strong enough yet to pull away I went back in to reconnoiter and I was embarrassingly mobbed by bank personnel who were equally galled and thrilled I dared to come back.

If we can't break free, neither can you!

I felt like an idiot so I decided to play it back against them saying, "You know guys, I could only be doing this as a distraction to our real objective." I wasn't but it messed with their heads and they became like aimless ants trying to sort it out. But then Linda made a mistake and was recognized by an employee, putting her on the spot. Linda was forced to account where she was during the robbery so she put on an elaborate display for the police as a Vegas showgirl that rightly used their own dicks to fool them. We never knew she had that in her!

But we were the Creative Crew after all.

So Robert had gone heady with success, Larry had his gnawing doubts, Linda had been panicked like never before and I had a relationship where I couldn't come clean. No way I wanted to do this job. The banksters were pissed as all get out feeling public sympathy was more with us than them the alleged pillars of society. A tower had been set up in the middle of the bank that monitored any and all activity. We were doomed just by walking in the door. I know Robert had an answer for that - he had an answer for everything - but instinct told me, "No more of this."

Pulling away ripped me in two. The desire to go on was overwhelming. In some ways it had been my first taste of life with my head above water, breathing in free air at last. How could I say no to that? I wanted to breathe and keep on breathing the rest of my life. Pulling away also broke the bonds of our gang, which is always a marriage of sorts. But I saw only jail as my future and that was one thorn of the world I could not overcome. After this, it all came crashing down.

With my secret life - and secret pride - now gone, I turned on my coffee shop girl. I felt I was shaming her with my friendship and I kept imagining over and over her horrified reaction to the truth of me. Like I said, she was one most responsible in her relations and I was paying her back like this? For months I spent grieving and I wonder to this day what would have happened had I confronted her with the truth of my inadequacies. I don't understand it but a voice says I sold her - and myself - short.

Was it all just a dream in the storm of your eyes, Sara?

We had a last party as a gang out on some ranch. It was painful. My heart broke the entire time and I felt tragic guilt for letting everyone down but I stuck to my guns. Larry surely would have cracked had we done another high profile job, the voices the cops put in his too loud to ignore. And Linda was so on edge she was ripe for a mistake. And Robert needed a personal life as opposed to substituting his art for one. But the worst crime of all: it killed my creativity not to do that third job.

Now I live in a prison of my mind. Literally, not a night passes I don't relive our jobs in my dreams only this time something always goes wrong, either by unimaginably bad luck or a vital detail we had skipped. My interest in life is waning, spiraling out of my hands. It's easy to see for me why criminals keep going until they get caught: the crimes are the only times they feel alive. Without that, you get the sort of living death I lead now. I can almost physically feel it inside me, a collapsing of the heart, my back bending in despair. Whatever person I was with the coffee shop girl, I am no more.

CODA: The cops came banging on my door. Some smart new inspector looking to make a name for himself. He reeked of danger. Someone had come across Robert's plans for the third job and actually pulled the daring stunt off. I secretly smirked at the news just knowing how much that must have aggravated the cops and the bank. Rumor had it they were shutting that branch down. That goddam inspector was convinced, however, I had knowledge of the job and tried planting stolen money on me right in front of my face. It was a gambit that might work. But I fought through my daily pain and argued my way out of it.

But the nightmares hear no argument. We robbed the banks to free ourselves but I'm not free at all, living with a past I cannot escape, my sanity slowly draining away. I don't know where freedom is anymore. Maybe it's with the love I gave up, after all.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Unemployment: A Modest Solution (My WAPO Editorial Entry)

We all love the idea of the principled newspaper editor crusading against injustice and shining a light on the dark corners of human behavior. But nowadays editorials are mostly for corporate shilling, muckraking and pompous punditry. Who needs them? But turns out there's a more pressing question: Who needs 250 bucks so he can show off a new pair of Nikes at the shelter?

That would be me, bitch.

The Washington Post is holding a contest a la the Jackass films and offering a small stipend for those willing to go through the self-abuse. Eh, may as well get paid for my masturbation. Since the most acknowledged problem we have today is unemployment I've decided to share what I believe is a unique and saleable solution to the masses, sure to win in a blaze of infamy:

To anyone who's been paying attention over the last few years a punctured hole of seeping unemployment has penetrated America's hull and we need to do something about it lest we all sink. Our industrial base has evaporated, our economic clout eroded and the only thing we seem intent on generating is paper profits skimmed like a mob boss from a casino.

This leaves us with a landscape filled with derivative landmines and no real work left to do (since creating an oil free America is not an option). So how are we going to plug this gaping hole of unemployment? I have an answer for that: kill all black babies.

This solution has many positive aspects:

1. First off, America loves a racist. We don’t vote them into office because we hate them! Like a woman in her Sunday best on Oprah falsely claiming she wants a "sensitive" man, we also like to pretend racism is dead in this post Obama world. But Obama's election proves our continued racism: finding a black man to blame for our problems.

2. Welfare: fixed! We all know Darkies breed like rabbits so they can maximize their welfare checks and luxury options on their Cadillacs. I even asked a black woman her child's name and she said, "Welfare Check!" See, there you go: empirical evidence I just made up, the finest kind of reporting (and oh so hip!).

3. Bloodlust. We ain't the most violent western country for nothin'! Americans just don't feel right less'n we killin' folks. Sooner or later we gonna run out of them Afghans and we'll have to find some other folks that ain't rich, white and greedy.

Now, I'm not some wild-eyed radical looking to eradicate our black brethren all at once and ruin pro sports, the military and the rap community. We just need to stem the flow. Currently, unemployment sits under 10% and the black population at 11%. That gives a 1% buffer for good measure.

I know there are vicious fiends out there who want black children born to roam the streets in hopeless despair as opposed to giving them a quick, humane death. Bastards! And I even had some crazy liberal tell me, "But you're putting profits before people's lives!" Well, duh! This is America, pal, we do that every day.

Of course, I sabotaged it with the word "Darkies" since no paper will print that for fear of being called racist - and also a fear they are in fact racist. But the real truth is we already know what the answers are to our problems, why debate them?

Monday, September 20, 2010

I Know It's Trivial - But I Like It, Like It, Yes I Do

State panel declines to clear investigators in Willingham case

DALLAS -- Several members of the Texas Forensic Science Commission this morning rebuked efforts by the chairman to clear state fire marshal investigators of findings of professional negligence or misconduct in the Todd Willingham capital murder case.
"The investigators followed the standard of practice by investigators at the time, but what was not followed was the 'science' at the time," commission member Sarah Kerrigan said. "There is a disconnect between the investigator and the science."

Not a headline that garners a lot of attention but a significant one nonetheless. You see, here in the dark lands of Texas we'll take any ray of light we can get. What makes this significant is that the Chairman of the Forensic Commission is Governor Perry's personally appointed hatchet man. Perry removed three of the board members - including its leader - just as they were about to conduct a full scale investigation of the Willingham case.

Chairman John Bradley's job is to quash and delay any substantive findings until after the November elections. Why? Because the state of Texas willfully murdered Todd Willingham and Perry is now desperate to cover it up having staked his reputation - such as it is - on the righteous guilt of Willingham.

I've blogged before on the railroading of Willingham and the shameless and cowardly defense of it by Texas authorities. Willingham was convicted of setting fire to his own home that killed his three children. Jokesters who passed as fire marshals decided it was arson because it made for an irresistibly juicy story on which careers could be made. Welcome to the nightmare of good ol' boy Texas justice.

Bradley with his mouth full of lies.

Over Chairman John Bradley's objections, she and other scientists on the commission demanded a further examination of the forensic standards and said the commission may issue a report by January. What's more, some commissioners said a systematic review of all arson cases handled by the Texas fire marshal's office may be needed because it was using faulty methods.

Willingham, a Corsicana mechanic, was convicted of setting a fire that killed his three children in 1991. Friday's commission meeting was seen as the showdown in the years-long debate of whether the fire marshal's office botched the arson investigation that sent Willingham to the death chamber in 2004.

A commission panel issued a draft report this summer concluding that the office had not committed professional negligence or misconduct in the Willingham case because the forensic analysis met the standards of the day. Bradley, district attorney in Williamson County, recommended ending the case.

Your future is in our hands!

When the initial draft report came out I really thought the bastard Bradley was going to get away with it. (How scary is it that someone so politically invested and utterly dismissive of the truth is a District Attorney in charge of prosecuting justice? His fellow Texans may claim him, God won't.) So reading about this rebuke last weekend tickled me pink! His fellow board members refused to kowtow to the madman and have decided to get to the bottom of what really happened.

At issue is the good ol' boy method of arson investigations used at the time. Method that went something like this:

"It done burnt down, Leroy. All way right ta tha ground!"

"Yup, Elmer. And I hear tell its sum librul living here too."

"Gotta figger that, doncha? Acting all careless and such. Yep, looks like arson to me."

"That me profeshunal opinyun too, Elmer."

And just how have they gotten away with this sort of self-serving, laksadasical behavior? By excusing it with the claim it met the "standards of the day". But it seems maybe - just maybe - that's not going to wash anymore. Bastard Bradley was livid with the board members failing to advance his political career.

Bradley, clearly frustrated by the discussion and hammering other commission members with questions, said not enough credible and reliable information exists to fault the arson investigators.

"It is incapable for us to come to any other conclusion because of the ambiguity of the case," Bradley told commission members. "Fire standards have evolved. ... We are not tasked with deciding guilt or innocence."

Instead, he said, the commission's task is to determine "whether fire investigators exhibited significant negligence or misconduct."

Later in the meeting, after concerns were expressed about the contents of the draft report, he said, "I'm a little bit tired of a committee's continued criticism of individual words when [I am] trying to reach consensus."

"Reach consensus" i.e. railroad the meeting! Instead the commission voted to convene a "live panel" this November to bring in officials from the fire marshal's office as well as outside experts. Bradley questioned this, snidely calling it "a battle of the experts" and also questioned the commission's legal authority to review further arson cases. He then sucked his thumb and pouted.

Wilingham's relatives were also in attendance, tearfully thanking the board members for their stance. They hope to finally clear Todd's name and tell the story of how a devastated and grieving father over the death of his three children was then slandered year after year and finally murdered in a surreal miscarriage of justice. The Innocence Project has played a key role in bringing this outrage to light:

In 2006, the Innocence Project filed a complaint with the Forensic Science Commission about the science used in the investigation.

The commission eventually hired a national arson expert to examine the case. He found that the fire investigators had a poor understanding of fire science and suggested that the fire could have been accidental.

But before his report could be formally presented to the commission last year, Gov. Rick Perry replaced the chairman and several other members, delaying the inquiry. Perry has defended Willingham's execution.

This is far from over and it's apparent Bradley is dug in like a tick on a coon dog. The live panel will be spun as "my expert cancels out your expert" along with reasonable sounding comments like "the truth lies somewhere in between" to muddy the waters further. But I do have hope a definitive statement will be made eventually and Texas can be rightly branded as a killer of an innocent man.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Left Behind

I was walking - wandering - as I'm wont to do with no place to go and no one to do. I hate these moments of lost time feeling out of place, peering into finely manicured homes I can never enter. I tell myself their lives always seem more idyllic from the outside, that their children could be drug addicts and the parents conservative by nature. But then I see a man watering his lawn in peaceful distraction and my house of cards falls to pieces.

In the neighborhood I strolled, all the cars were new with the owners having chosen the colors of their own volition. What's it like dictating a car should be a certain color, I wonder. And yes, though one could smell the money in the houses, the grass was real and the homes of character - no plastic to be seen. I don't want money without personality. If I could pick a place, I'd pick here to live. This gave me an affinity to the inhabitants - one I dare not express, interloper that I be.

What could I say were I invited in for tea? I love tea, I would love a cup, I crave meaningful conversation. But comes a point I need explain myself and that's a retaining wall I can't overcome. What if they see the spark of intelligence in my eyes? What if they say I'm a handsome boy? What if they ask me why I wander alone... I have no answers for me. I keep my shame to myself. Oh yes, I'd like to visit but let me come back when I'm true blue, when I have something to bring to the table. Have I the courage to accept a gift with nothing to return?

I started to turn, to flee before the answer caught up with me - and then She came outside. It was Rachel. Like a laser beam her eyes fixed on me across the road like a lighthouse on a moonless night. Her face broke into an instant smile gushing with delight. My heart pounded to life both scared and elated, and I too smiled wide at the sight of her. She gaily waved her arm to me hello while her other arm was locked into a man who strode with her in obvious unity. He was tall and strong and I was prepared to hate him but he had kind eyes. Never the fool, she.

Rachel and her seeming beau headed off in one of those slick expensive imports to a place that only two can share. I bet he chose the car's color too. My arm dropped as I lost sight of them and my adrenaline rush switched into rivers of pain through my veins. No, I'm not one for whom time should be made. She acknowledged me well in the recognition but my own life I was expected to lead. But I had no life. I wonder how she reasoned my walking by. I had no idea she lived around here. Would she think me a stalker? That's all I needed.

We'd met at the Asian Film Festival and we shared a common passion. We exchanged email addresses and kept in touch, gradually deepening our thoughts and loves and pains. It was never a romantic relationship but we grew connected over the wires and I thought of her during the day, anxious to find something she'd enjoy. While her emails were much anticipated presents, of some things we never spoke. We were like two dancers who met, twirled in rhythm and drove back to separate homes. Little did she know I was stumbling my way unknowingly through the steps, a fraud all along. But the taste of her was irresistible.

But it wasn't until this moment of coincidence I realized the forever wall between us. In that moment I came to see God has no mercy in the making of one's life - as it should be. I withered, revealed before the mirror, feeling exposed on the sunny, swank sidewalk. Have you ever died in suburban, afternoon light for all the world to see? Rooted in despair my legs could not move. I waited for the inevitable thunderbolt from God. One thing I knew for sure: I could dance with her no more. I showed her moves imagined, not lived.

A closing voiced shattered my reverie. "Wow, man, you know that chick? That's one hot babe!"

I turned to see a cocky, young college boy, a soul so far apart from me I barely managed seeing him as a fellow earthling. He was duly impressed by her acknowledgement of me - kudos I did not deserve - but I also saw his uncontainable designs on her as she was one most desirable. Achingly, inwardly begging to flee before this alien creature, I now had the chore of explaining myself. Just fucking great.

"No," I demurred, "not really."

"I don't know, dude. She sure seemed to know you!" Translation: "My horny ass sure does want to meet her!"

"We met once long ago, is all." If I have to stand here one more second I'm going to explode! I moved away in self-preservation.

"She was awfully happy meeting you again!" I would get an observant asshole. "Maybe you could get me an intro sometime."

Bastard wouldn't stop trying to corner me. Why does this kind of shit always happen at the most inopportune time? It's like some sort of siren goes off in the universe announcing a free-for-all on my sorry ass. Run naked through the world, God's gonna strip you and leave you by the roadside anyway. I needed to find some way to get this kid off my back even though I knew I would never again upon pain of death walk this neighborhood.

I wanted to explain to him she was far, far out of his league but I could see his young ego had yet to experience defeat from one such as Rachel. I thought of praising her, explaining she was most certainly worth meeting. I considered giving him the brush off as if I were somebody myself. What popped out was a plea of my own, struggling to free myself from my agony.

"Sorry, man. Guess we each gotta make our own lives on our own."

My pace picked up as I scurried away but I felt his eyes boring into me, doing the one thing I most needed but did not want: examining my life. I tried to clog my ears and misunderstand the wind but still heard: "Dude, that's fucked up."


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Bullet For A Soldier

I met a man
In Afghanistan;
And put a bullet through his head.

Children screaming
Black tears streaming;
As he lay bleeding in his bed.

I sang my song
"This man did wrong!"
Military's proper fashion.

But Afghan souls
Thousands years old;
Yet hate me with proper passion.

In my brigade
I'm just a maid;
All hail the conquering hero!

"Suffocate him!"
"He shares our sin!"
Dreaming as the madman Nero.

Napalm jelly
Burns my belly;
Scorch tender mercies when I kill.

Internal plea
No place to flee;
For what eats me they have no pill.

Hey America: damn your love, damn your lies.

Twisted flower
In its brown hour;
Silent, sinking sun bears witness.

My painted face
Hides my disgrace;
Quivering bullets scared shitless.

Public charade
Life's masquerade;
Sharp pressed uniforms to revere.

When love is bought
The soul lives not;
Time marches in eternal fear.

Who wants to live
With hell to give?
Precious family home abused.

Inside my room
Earth's final doom;
Hope's ticking time finally used.

They tell me when
My kill's not sin;
But my life's in the devil's bin.

Liar's prison
Pass by the untold tales of men.


WASHINGTON — When Lt. Col. Dave Wilson took command of a battalion of the 4th Brigade of the 1st Armored Division, the unit had just returned to Texas from 14 months traveling some of Iraq's most dangerous roads as part of a logistics mission.

What he found, he said, was a unit far more damaged than the single death it had suffered in its two deployments to Iraq.

Nearly 70 soldiers in his 1,163-member battalion had tested positive for drugs: methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana. Others were abusing prescription drugs. Troops were passing around a tape of a female lieutenant having sex with five soldiers from the unit. Seven soldiers in the brigade died from drug overdoses and traffic accidents when they returned to Fort Bliss, near El Paso, after their first deployment.

"The inmates were running the prison," Wilson said.

What Wilson had to deal with, however, was hardly an isolated instance.

With the U.S. drawdown in Iraq, the Army is finally confronting an epidemic of drug abuse and criminal behavior that many commanders acknowledge has been made worse because they'd largely ignored it during nearly a decade of wars on two fronts.

The Army concedes that it faces a mammoth problem.

A 350-page report issued in July after a 15-month investigation into the Army's rising suicide rate found that levels of illegal drug use and criminal activity have reached record highs, while the number of disciplinary actions and forced discharges were at record lows.

The result, the Army found, is that "drug and alcohol abuse is a significant health problem in the Army." Where the Army once rigidly enforced rules on drug use, it got sloppy in the rush to get soldiers ready for the battlefield, commanders say. Officers who once trained soldiers on everything from drug abuse to financial planning had only enough time to get their troops ready for battle.

The number of misdemeanors that soldiers committed — including traffic infractions, drunk driving and being absent without leave — rose to 50,523 in fiscal year 2009 — a sign, the report said, that "good order and discipline" were declining in the ranks. Five years earlier, the number was 28,388.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Anatomy Of A Doomed Writer

The angel operating the lathe of Heaven called out, "Who do you want to make next?"

"A doomed writer!" answered God with a good natured laugh.

"But God, why do we have to make so many doomed people? We just did over 600 future blood diamond miners!"

"Yes, but they know they are doomed. This is a special kind of torment and it provides me with a unique pleasure. It's good to watch them squirm in futile agony like a worm on a hook. First comes the suffering then comes the final fate of being eaten alive as fish food! Me, that's funny! It's sort of like watching the unemployed only it's from birth."

"But don't you remember? That's how we ended up with Hitler? Those frustrated artists are the worst! They have no way of surviving in society so they end up with this twisted drive to rule the world. People don't like dying!"

"Apparently they don't like living either."

"I like it so much more when we make people who've got it made from birth."

"Yes, but how many Britney Spears can the world take?"

"Point taken. One doomed writer coming up. What's the money factor on this one?"

"Zero! Not one fucking cent he gets off his writing. What do I care of money?"

"What level of torture do you want?"

"Give him maximum insight! Let him see ALL the insanity! So when he writes about it everyone will say, "What are you talking about?" Oh, this boy will be delicious!"

And thus a Doomed Writer was born, forced to wander the world wearing nothing but his underwear, a sight to scare children, excite rapists, annoy politicians and amuse women with his perpetually covered penis. And the writer wondered: "What's the fucking point of this!"

His first thoughts were upon the madness of the world which knew nothing but thought it knew everything, deciding how lives should be. Early on came the message: "Math and science! Math and science! Learn it or you're shit!" No one ever said that about art. Artists were on their own to make their own dreams on their own time. But the appetite for time was a hunger never sated by the world. More, always wanting more to feed the ghastly grills.

"Kiss a girl and no one will ever want you. Chicks dig cash, boy!" No one ever told him he was a doomed writer but a future he could never see. So he sold himself into slavery to get the cash cow king but in his slavery he found a life he could not share. He cried to the world, "I need love!" The world replied, "We need the rent!" And in this way God was cursed.

From dark, slimy pits oozed Suicide Slugs leaving a trail of sticky despair on the ground and whoever stepped in their trail was stuck like a fly on flypaper. No one ever killed the slugs or helped those who got stuck, it was merely said, "That's life." As the slugs crisscrossed the globe ruining ever more land life became a game of avoiding death rather than living life. A bad time for all, an even worse time for a gifted artist.

The Doomed Writer, having been given maximum insight, lashed out against the slugs, writing one day the planet would be uninhabitable if they were allowed to live. But this brought wrath and fury raining down upon him, his fellow cohabitants explaining, "We've always let the slugs live so saying that makes us look like assholes and losers! We're going to let the slugs live even more and show you how "write" we are! Hahahaha!"

Hey, wait a minute! No exit there!

Lost and confused like a rat in maze with no exit, the Doomed Writer limped broken and blind. "Are my words not true? Should I write lies for fun and profit? But I've been gifted/cursed to know there's no future in that. I should say a prayer. 'Dear God, fuck you too.'" But God was silent, leaving him in the hands of his fellow man for safekeeping.

A woman of fine bridal linens and ritualistic lipstick posed in front of the mirror to admire her society's perfection. She was pure lace and frills, shapely with human desire to make even a gay man's heart beat faster. In came a Neanderthal grabbing her hair and dragging her outside through the mud while reciting lines from Mad Men. The woman called out to her friends, "We're eloping after all!" Later on TV she complained all men are mindless apes who fearlessly drag women through dirty dirt. She called it a sign of true love.

War Beasts, spreading like blackhead pimples, roamed the land in ancient animosity with metal mallets. In metal they trusted and blinding polls declared them the most trusted of all the beastly beasts. Knowing this, the beasts took their mighty hammers, raising them up to ask, "Do you or don't you like war?" Those who answered no got the peace whacked out of them. Passers-by who witnessed the beatings snidely remarked, "Trust the hammer you idiot or we're all doomed!"

Men Of Vile Words were reviled across the land for their falseness, duping the duplicitous with promises of perfidy. "Why oh why!" cried out the good people, "did we ever elect you?" But the good people re-elected the Vile Word Men en masse or "the terrorists will win!" Then, while wearing "I'm a bad ass terrorist too!" T-shirts, the great whitewashed demanded songs of "lying lies to make us feel better!" Afterwards everyone merged for a massive groupthink hug - "Because God wants us to!" - all the while picking each other's pockets.

The Doomed Writer wrote day after day of the good madness he witnessed, shriveling like an unwatered orchid. At night at work/hell he sat naked in his mop bucket masturbating on the freshly laid carpet thinking of all the well heeled walkers who would trampled over it the next morning. In this way he smiled without pay. Then he put a mock gun against his head (you guess which one) and fired it until exhaustion. His eyes fluttered before seeping sleep. "I don't know what else to do. Why can't I ever make the right move? I must be doomed after all. I've got nothing left to do but love - which means I'm fucked!"

Two women of lengthy legs - traits of indisputable worth in their alleged minds - were disgusted by the sight of the naked janitor in the morning light. "Look at the sick bastard! I am so morally superior to him as far he knows!"

"He's a doomed writer," sneered her friend and unknown hater. "All those goddam artists are like spies reporting on everything we do. Let's call the police before everyone finds out we're not really outraged."

"Well, if that little prick bastard has been writing about what I've been doing I'll have his pinhead on a platter! Life," she swore, "is a state of blind."


Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads. And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps. And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they kept themselves pure. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless.


Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Left Wing Slut

"I'll never say no to you." And never did she.

"Good. Get down on your knees. And suck it, bitch!"

She gratefully obliged, making herself used by the pleasure she gave, sacrificing herself before her god. Her god was also her boss and she the kind of hired help he fully desired.

For ten years she'd been carrying on affairs with a married man - this one just her latest. The men were always connected to her job which she hoped to twist into fulfilling all the needs of a personal life. She bound herself up in her affairs, crying wretchedly if they ever threatened to break off. On occasion she steeled herself into staying away, making a political stand to herself that she could stand on her own two feet. But propaganda breaks under reality's bite and she came rushing back more willing than ever.

Her cousin pleaded with her to stop the affairs, that they could only end in trouble, with her winding up old, wrinkled and alone. But the broken bird craved the cruelty. "Please, let me have just a little more fun. Just a little while more. Not now." Not ever. The key to success was the self-lie: that the married men truly loved her ("It's different with us!" was her campaign poster) and that a future of bliss was just around the corner - but it was the hopeless hope of fighting a war than can never be won.

War does a soul good!

Though recently turned 45, she still savored the thrill of sliding on her low-rise slut jeans exposing her crack to the world. She pressed the remote to the TV to find a Republican redneck squawking about government regulations giving more concern to the environment than to business. "People need jobs. Let's take of care of people first," proposed the man with a greedy grin.

"That motherfucker!" she spat. "You don't give a damn about people at all!" She made a mental note of putting him on her list of bad apples to fix. Many issues, many lives needed fixing and the Slut had answers for them all, pinning her ears back in blind determination. She felt a need to campaign and called a close distant friend.

"I signed up for that online dating site. I can't believe the creeps on there." Her girlfriend on the phone had also signed up and confirmed she too found men dripping with 'creepy charm'. "I'm holding out for someone good. I need to get serious about finding something real." As her friend prattled on in reply, she smiled to herself, congratulating herself on the wonderful promise she'd made to her adoring public. Now she had moral cover for her sluttiness. If exposed she could point to the membership testifiying to her sincerity of finding an honest relationship.

Outside the city limits was a lodge where executives in her industry escaped for relaxation. It also had a reputation for sexual rampages. Like all corrupt politicians, she couldn't resist the temptation of false morality. And if no one called her on it, she was safe.

"I'm thinking of going out to the Lodge this weekend. I need a break." In fact, she'd already made up her mind with relish.

"The Lodge? That place is full of sex fiends!"

"Oh, I know. But I'm not going out there for that. I just need to get away and besides it's a good way to meet other real estate developers." She hung up the phone in elation. The Slut planned to make no good on any of her promises but still found herself electable as a person of high morals. The rush of feeling and power was like a heroin injection filling her empty life. She swore to herself she'd arrive at the lodge with absolutely no intentions of being seduced - and she couldn't wait for it to happen!

Next Monday she picked up the phone at work, a male voice speaking. "I sure would like to see you again at the Lodge!" He licked his wolfen chops.

"I've got bruises all over my body. I can barely remember what happened I was so drunk." She remembered every detail in reality but she loved the role of the naive virgin.

"We crashed through the furniture. You were barking like a dog. It was great!"

"Oh, I don't know about all that. If you say so." Truth was even she was shocked by the depravity she'd exhibited. She was slipping, rotting, morphing into something she hated.

"Well, I really want to see you again. Just say when."

"Okay, but I've got some dates lined up with and I'm not so sure I have time for frivolity like that." She quickly disconnected from his uncomfortable presence. I don't have dates lined up, but I could. So that's not a lie. I can quit these affairs anytime.

Later that afternoon driving back from a land deal, her boss looked over at her with the stare of demand. "I want to do you now."


He pulled into an empty field overlooking a long grassy field. While getting into position the Slut suddenly recognized the property: it belonged to the developer with whom she'd had her weekened affair. Her boss-god wanted to take her in plain sight of it, letting her know to whom she belonged. He's jealous! Yes, he still wants me as his toy!

Elect the right person and you can keep your corruption!

On the phone to her girlfriend, she made a delicious stump speech, sure to impress the masses. She finished her story with: "It was a total accident we ended up by that field," she declared of the state of their union. "Wasn't that a wild coincidence?"

"That was no coincidence! He did it on purpose!"

"Oh, I don't know. He can be awfully naive sometimes."

"I think you're nuts!"

"No, I'm not. I've got medicine for that." On her dresser lay a cornucopia of prescription medications.

"There's just no talking to you!"

The Slut looked curiously at the dead receiver. "I wonder what her problem is." Then a knock came on the door. She was informed a neighbor down the street was suicidal. "Like, OH-my God! I've been, like, so suicidal all my life. I so know how to fix him!" She left with the urgency of a diplomatic envoy to war-torn Middle East. She knocked feverishly but no reply.

"I shan't be stopped!" Her dogmatic mission from God was not to be denied. "I'll find out what the problem is." Immediately she marched to his garbage can, overturning it and digging through each and every item. "I'm gonna fix him!"

"Hey there! What the hell you doin' in my trash?" The old man was appalled and livid stepping out his side door.

"I'm just trying to understand you."

"That's no way to get to know anybody! Don't you know nothin'! If ya can't come through the front door don't come at all!"

"But your trash is so beautiful. I will worship it to make you better-"

"I can't believe you even have to be told not to go diggin' in my affairs. Get the hell out, you crazy woman!"

When she told her friends about it afterwards she professed confusion on why he was so protective of his trash. She was merely executing correct political policy. Just can't help some people. Also, to bolster her image, she told of putting her boss in place. "He starts in on how he got this email about how Obama screwed up the economy and I was like, "Stop right there! I'm not going to listen to that shit! Don't be repeating that crap to me!" What she failed to relay was her boss-god's reply of, "OK. But just remember you need my Republican dick in you." The Slut agreed - and with every thrust the more she became as he was.

But he saw her growing dependence on him and called off the affair once again. She wept into the phone that night a complete basket case, inconsolable to the end. Her cousin gently suggested she seek a husband of her own.

"That's the last thing I want! I don't ever want a husband again!" Her voice turned venomous.

"No, you just want everyone else's."

"You just don't understand."

"No, I understand perfectly well: you don't want the responsibility."

The Slut staggered off to her bedroom, aching for a sexual conquest to retreat into her cavity of corruption. This bleak, dark hole could not be her life. Just couldn't be! And she couldn't let her singlehood tarnish her reputation. She needed a catchy jingo to sell to her supporters...she got it! "Once married, twice shy!" Perfect. Re-election was in the bag.

A few weeks later, desperately clinging to her dying image, she imparted forth her political bona fides:

"I know what Obama's problem is: he just doesn't want to take on any responsibility. All he does is put out political statements trying to make everyone think everything's OK when it isn't. 'The economy's good...we're making the right decisions...the war is a noble endeavor.' But he's just lying to himself so he can feel good about what he's doing. He's a whore of Babylon just like they all are up there in Washington. Somebody's got to do something about all this corruption!"


Friday, September 10, 2010

It's The End Of The World And I'm Not Alright

It was as if all our tears had suddenly come to light.

I was in a panic running through the stripped and abandoned apartment building. Most everyone had gone. The mass migration was on and a mad globe spun around that. I was back to driving an Olds 98 I once owned but it was dented and I wanted to trade it before I had to move. But the oppressive chaos educated me on my foolishness.

Environmental collapse closed in on a worldwide scale leaving only pockets of survivability. The day of debate had passed, this was a living reality. Yes, we really had fucked up nature's support system, our stubborness beyond all reason insisting on our own way. Even now we were of two minds, clinging to remnants of the old ways, talking of money and economics. News reports came in that some heady folks in Belgium had it all figured out how to keep both our money system and environment. But how the hell was I supposed to get to Belgium?

My only thought was on finding a safe place.

"Those Belgian bastards!" I cursed to myself. "Why did we have to be so stupid and not figure things out? I'm always on the losing end, it is my constant shame." But the whole Belgian story was a lie, just another group wallowing in self-deception. Though eroding like a cliff side in a withering rain, pride still existed for living a lie - always considered mankind's greatest triumph.

I was working for a newspaper but they had run out of resources. It was really strange because in the end they had run out of capital letters. And being tuned into all the news reports only hurt me, cluttering my mind with illusory facts made on the wings of wishful thinking. No, better to know thine own self than hear the echoes of false hopes.

New identities emerged, each person known by his or her greatest sin. I was known as "The Man Who Let Down Sherri Wright". Sherri was the ultimate in femininity, still to this day the prettiest girl I've ever met or seen - including any model. But it wasn't just her physical gifts but her warmth and excitement and the fact she was a fantasy plucked right out of my head that made her so special. Most of all, she'd been sent to save me - but I had run away in fear. I knew then my life was over but I lacked the courage of a bullet.

Like the world, every day I lived on the greater the price I paid.

I was one of the last holdouts in my bare, barren building. A girl showed up and I wanted to dodge her now that my identity had been revealed, walking around with this dark cloud of shame I could not escape. But she was kind and talked to me and I listened to her as I winced in pain at her discovery of me. She told me to forget everything but survival. Worrying about trading up the car, transporting all my unwieldy possessions, trying to hold onto the old life - forget about all that. The pride of lies had turned fatal.

I acknowledged her words, wondering if she noticed my deep inadequacy and if she'd seen me truly would she still stop to help me. "It's just me." I found myself saying that mantra over and over again, guilt clubbing me like a mindless, unstoppable baboon. The Age of Artificial Answers was gone forever. Can't debate your way out of hunger, no slick arguments to trick the truth. Money was the biggest problem. The girl warned me on the lack of electricity wherever I might have to go and after all, what is money but an electronic number?

As in all desperate times, bandits rose to the top of the hierarchy. If I pulled out all my money where could I physically keep it safe? "Why the fuck are we even still using it anyway!" I decided to keep it in two spots, a small amount to be robbed by the bandits and the rest in a place hopefully they would not find. Only, I knew they would find it as they inevitably pillaged my car on the road to nowhere.

You see, it was all coming to light, every last damn thing we'd ever done to create life or death. I remember thinking, "This is who we really are." I need to find my manhood before I die, hope for the world had escaped in the night.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Jesus and Koran Burning Are Alright By Me

Books are sacred objects to me. They are one of the greatest links to our past and the very act of putting something down on paper has a unique power alone in all the universe. I don't know why that is, but it is. Writing is sort of a self-branding of the soul, a commitment that echoes throughout the ages. So would I do a book burning for any reason ever? Not on your life.

But we each have a learning curve in this life of ours and what are thinly veiled acts of stupidity to one person are The Way To Life to another. Just think about how you want your stupidity pointed out when deciding to point out others'. (Not that I always practice that). Thus I give a shrug of dismay when I hear some whacko wants to burn books in order to bring about his salvation. But the books will be burned, he'll be the worse off and life goes on. Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da.

"One thing I can tell you is you got to be free."
John Lennon in "Come Together"

I'm hearing all sorts of arguments on why said whacko should not have the book burning but none of them hold water. Legally, they can't. Unpopular speech is the most important speech to be protected. And that's not conditional. As long as I'm not required to agree with it, people can have any opinion they want. It's by expressing our opinions we discover the truth or falseness of them (if one has an open mind).

To quote the attorney general, he called the Gainesville planned burning of Korans 'idiotic and dangerous' and underscored in many different ways that that activity is really a hate-incitement activity," Khera said. "While it may not be a violation of the law, it may be an act of free speech, it certainly violates our sense of decency."

Fuck you, Eric Holder, you outrageous hypocrite. You want to lecture America on decency while you let war criminals roam free, walking around laughing and unprosecuted. Here's a piece of advice oh great mahatma: Let the book burnings happen and then talk about "looking forward and not backward". That's you and your boss's stated recipe for fighting crime. Indecency is thine, buddy boy.

Nobody questions this religion

But I understand the rationale: Don't piss off the Muslims! But that kind of thinking is in reality the "idiotic and dangerous" thing to do. I'm supposed to give a fuck what they think? I think not! What special brand of intelligence have they shown to warrant that? Who says I have to put them on some sort of pedestal? I don't believe in religion. Never have, never will. Not my job to babysit them. Bad enough I have to do it for all the goddam fundamental capitalists.

But see, I know what the real problem is. The problem is we are raping countries that are predominately Muslim. And that's where the real guilt comes in: we don't want our ill intent exposed. Blowing up families and funerals and marriages, that might be what's really pissing them off. Just because you have convinced yourself it's for a just cause doesn't mean it is one. By your fruits they shall know ye. And death is our fruit.

"What other people think is none of my business."

You want safety and national security? Try dedicating yourself to peace. Whether it works or not, it's the only way possible for success. Not wars in the name of peace nor sanctioned corruption in the name of justice nor lies promoted as truth. I don't have a problem with any free speech. In the end, we make or break ourselves with our own words (spoken or unspoken) - words are the overflow of the heart. So if you want to live your life in Muslim chains, always walking on eggshells, have at it. I already know how that turns out.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Mockingbird Station, Day & Night (Photo Essay)

Perhaps the greatest failure of American corporatism is in our passenger railways. During the railroad boom of the 19th century, safety considerations and infrastructure took a backseat to quick, huge profits. In the latter half of the century, wrecks killing dozens of people were not uncommon. But even with a growing public outrage, it was only slowly over decades did conditions improve.

That same lackadaisical reputation has haunted them ever since to where passenger rail service became an afterthought with the rise of the automobile and airplane. Other countries who took their railroading more seriously were able to advance to bullet train technology, something which our vast expanses of land could surely use. But to do that now would essentially require us to start from scratch - which leaves us forever married to the half-ass tracks we currently have.

Urban areas have it much better because they did start from scratch. Here in Dallas the ever expanding DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit) network provides a sleek, comfortable alternative to the daily grind of rush hour. One byproduct of this are the equivalent of outposts that sprout up like in the days of the Old West. These urban outposts are a conglomeration of upscale lofts, tony shops and restaurants along with entertainment options. One striking example of that is Mockingbird Station off Central Expressway.

The Angelika Theater is a favorite destination of mine and it is the focal point of Mockingbird Station. But I had never taken the DART light rail system to get there before. I didn't this time either. But I did take some pictures before and after watching a film. (Do NOT see "The Disappearance of Alice Creed". It is you who will be taken hostage.) And after my photo taking, I hopped aboard for my very first taste of light rail commuting.

Day Terminal 2
Here we approach from a parking lot. As you can see, DART buses also service the station as it's a complete transportation hub.

Day Kiosks Close
Easy to use kiosks allow you to purchase a ticket per your requirements.
That's exactly what I'll be doing after the show.

Day Escalator Down 2
The actual station had to be built below the surface. Building around existing structures proved challenging but created interesting venues like Mockingbird. One way down is by the escalator.

Day Escalator Outside
I peeked over the edge. I caught it in a quiet moment.

Day Tunnels
From the south end, the trains arrive and depart through these tunnels.

Day Station 4
Some people start to gather at the train's stopping point.
I like the color scheme and the open architecture.
It has good feng shui.

Day Train Tunnel 2
The train! The train!

Day Train Stopped
The train doesn't wait more than a couple of minutes.
I went back upstairs.

Day Lofts
Behind are the high dollar lofts with retail shops on the bottom.

Day Trains 3
I took a final peek down below before heading into the Angelika.

Angelika Night
It was dark when I came back out.

Station Platform Night
The platform was all lit up. I purchased a ticket and descended into the lights.

Escalator Night Outside 3

Tracks Night
Waiting for my train to arrive. Was a bit anxious, feeling like I had a target on my back.

Train Night
I hop aboard, wondering how and when my ticket is checked.
It never was! I just could of walked on!

Onboard 2
Not many fellow passengers. Tried to be discrete with my camera.
The guy on the left was a grubby Hispanic fellow, missing one arm.
Next to him was a hippie looking dude. They ran into one another
and shared the ride.

Onboard Corrider 2
We whooshed on through the night. It was magnificent! Elevations changed according to the requirements of the infrastructure, taking us up and down like an elongated roller coaster. A rushing sound eerily popped up at regular intervals, reminding me of the obelisk in 2001: A Space Odyssey, as if countless thousands
of souls gave voice to a gigantic release of energy.

They tried to keep me amused with poetry. Seen better stuff than this on Open Salon. The windows were mostly too dark to see through. I did enjoy seeing the headlights of cars on the Expressway running parallel.

Onboard Entry
I eyed the exit doors as we approached the return to Mockingbird Station. Watching the one-armed Hispanic smile at his companion and leave gave me pause at even my own plight. What chance had he in the world? The hippie ended up standing behind my seat, singing "Hot for Teacher" by Van Halen. When his stop came, he hit me up for money and I apologized. No way I'm pulling out my wallet. I never relaxed the whole time.

Station Arch Night
I looked back on the station on my way back to the car.

Maserati 2
Sorry, Dallas, your DART rail is damn cool
but I luuuvs my Maserati!

Highway Sign
From the Expressway you see this sign. Funny thing was, when I looked behind me I realized where I was: at the future site of the GWB Lie-brary.

Click here to see the whole collection