Tuesday, December 30, 2014

This Book Really Hurt Me

Someone once said of me, "I found the perfect film for Harry. It's foreign and depressing." I thought it was pretty funny because I know that's what it seems from the outside. For me, there's no such thing as an ugly truth because only truth can lead us to hope. I want to know what's going on. I crave it. And oftentimes truth like that cannot be found in Hollywood films. So yeah, foreign and honest - as I like to call it - that's me.

Some points can be driven home too much, though. Nazis were evil, I get that. Don't need any more lists of atrocities. But when exploring a new culture I wish to know all about it so I dive right in. That's what I did with Khaled Hosseini's "A Thousand Splendid Suns" and I have been forever branded by it. Mankind in all her sorrow can be so very wretched steeped in our fear and ignorance. As with any piece of cloth, we are only as strong as our weakest point lest we tear completely in two.

"A Thousand Splendid Suns" refers to a 17th century poem:

"Every street of Kabul is enthralling to the eye
"Through the bazaars, caravans of Egypt pass
"One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs
"And the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls"

It's an ironic title considering the horror to follow. Spanning over approximately 45 years ending in 2003, the book recounts life in Afghanistan during times of both relative peace and turmoil from a female point of view. And let's just say even in the best of times the insecurity of the Middle Eastern male is off the charts. Women are emotionally caged and brutalized stemming from a culture rooted thousands of years ago. It is said the eyes of the Afghan soldier are dead and chill the soul when seen. Just imagine those same eyes coming home to live with you.

As with any society, poverty is an unforgivable sin. Combine that with being female and the results can be tragic. I would not recommend this book for American teenage girls. This is the type of thing that must be sought out. The girl Miriam mired in poverty is basically sold to a man with hands cold as ice and a heart bent in agony. She is a prisoner in her own home to live at her vastly older husband's mercy. It is said we always hate those whom we wrong and thus Miriam became an object of his hate.

Her sentence was for life.

In the corners and edges of this existence she tries to plant flowers of hope. She swings between anger and despair finally settling on bitter apathy. What would you do if you were thusly trapped? What is life without hope? Without the full expression of every soul we can never know our full truth. But in Afghanistan, where empires go to die, the fabric of society is but a gaping hole, an abscess in the world, and like an aching tooth is crippling to the body.

I remember getting an email in 1999 from an internet friend asking me to sign a petition protesting the rights abuses against the women of Afghanistan. That was my first hint at the backwards nature of the region. The Taliban had taken over who then legalized - and mandated - cruelty towards women. The book details each age: from the pre-Soviet invasion, to the Communist rule of Kabul, to the internecine warfare following the Soviet departure that gave rise to the evil men in black turbans.

As each age passes the rights of women change. Was surprising to read how progressive the Communists had been in this regard. Of course, the warfare alone was terror enough watching friends and neighbors be caught in the crossfire, blown to bits as images of body parts haunt your memory. Millions fled to Pakistan but little salvation was to be had there living under little more than a tent in camps ravaged with disease. It was hell with all exits closed.

What's most touching, though, is the human resiliency: small moments of banding together seem as grand as any peace conference, the sharing of sorrows that build bridges between enemies, planting flowers in the battlefield because life must go on. Any scrap of humanity in this context is heroic. Thank God a book like this was written to capture these treasures. If only our own efforts in the region had been more noble we could have been as water to these seeds.

As the rips in society are not mended both here and around the world, as more and more people live in virtual slavery that robs the joy of life, the more tragedy will grow. What can one do when placed into that situation? All we can do is try to hold on to our humanity even in the face of futility. If one can do that, one can save one's self. But somehow, that doesn't seem enough.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Life At The Speed Of Light

"Christ, how am I ever going to show this to to the Admiral?" The ensign held up a french maid uniform to show.

"Don't. Bad enough we got this crap detail to begin with cleaning up this asshole's mess. Not gonna explain every wacky detail of his dead son's life. You can if you want to."

"No, thanks! The intel boys must have come across it already anyway. I heard they scoured everything."

"Yup, including the Admiral now too. Can't have your son be a scumbag spy and not be above suspicion yourself no matter who you are."

"Yeah, but an Admiral! Thirty-five years - "

"That don't mean shit. You know what would have happened had junior here not offed himself? They'd of beat the shit out of him every day he spent in Leavenworth, no joke. None of this shit is a joke. Hard to blame Admiral Hawkins if he had protected him but they never give no slack on that."

"Ferguson told me what the lieutenant said when they caught him red-handed."

"Yeah, what?"

"Well, it doesn't make any sense..."

"Just tell me!"

"He said he just couldn't be the person his father wanted him to be."

"That's it? 'Daddy didn't love me'?"

"Yup. Betrayed his whole country for that. What does it mean?"

"Shit if I know. Looks of that maid uniform maybe he was a fag too." The senior ensign was puzzled by the sight of a wedding band. "Take a look at this. I thought he was never married."

"He wasn't. Ferguson said Hawkins used it to act like he was married because that's supposed to attract women."

"Your shittin' me! That's too funny. Damn, everything about this boy was a lie. He musta been in hell."

"Ferguson's theory is he betrayed us because he betrayed himself. I don't know about that."

"I don't know 'bout that, either. All I know is he was a goddam traitor and he did everyone a favor blowing his fucking head off."

"Still, it seems kind of sad. Hey, Washington, your dad proud of you?"

Washington stopped and glared, eyes frozen with reproach. "Who gives a fuck."

The two men resumed gathering up the dead man's belongings to be handed over to his father the Admiral. No more words passed between them as they filled the black plastic bags to the brim. They tossed the maid uniform in an outdoor trashcan and delivered the bags as ordered. Afterwards, the two ensigns got the hell away from each other as soon as possible.


"Hey Mom and Dad,

"Boot camp is neat! They run your butt off here. I'm getting in great shape! I bet the time I get out of here my whole body will be ripped and strong as an ox. The instructors really know their business, experts all of them. It's a whole different feeling than when I was in school. I never knew I wanted to do then. But I'm fitting right in here.

"I want to learn shooting the most. If we can't kill the bad guys what's the point of anything? The better I can kill the more useful I am. That's how I see it. What are these people thinking saying they don't war anymore? Just wait until those terrorists come over here blowing everything up. They'll be singing a different tune then! But I won't let that happen because I'm going to shoot them all first. Can't wait!

"I heard Kim is getting married. It doesn't matter because I don't care. The army's making a man of me. She might feel awful dumb when I come back with medals from defending our country. Her choice. I don't really care. Just heard about it is all.

"You'd be amazed at the officers here. When they talk have NO doubts. Really makes you understand how we got to keep these wars going. The civilians out there just don't understand. They only get to say what they say because we do what we do. But we don't need thanks. We know our duty and do it. This is the most noble I ever felt in my life. They even quote the Bible to us, Mom. I know you'll like that. It's very inspiring hearing how much God wants us to kill. I am grateful I have finally found true meaning.

"If we don't go on killing people I just don't know what this world will come to. Pray I'm a good shot!

"Love, Tommy"


Spenser enjoyed himself best when he was "forgetting", aka drinking. "Four and half more fucking years! I'm seein' the world stuck on fucking Okinawa! What the fuck we doing here anyway? I thought we won that fucking war!"

None of the Japanese in the bar took offense at Spenser. They knew him - and his misery - too well. For him, the military was simply a means to an end. It all seemed so exciting when he signed up. He realized now they were simply telling him everything he wanted to hear. Spenser also realized he didn't know as much about life and the world as thought. Those recruiters were slick!

Gaining some direction in his life had been like sticking his head above water for the first time in his life. Without that breath of air he'd of gone straight out of his mind. But here on the other side of tunnel he'd found prison - not the promised land he'd envisioned. The days dra-a-a-gged by, a constant struggle to keep himself amused amid an endless desert of banality. Any crumb of entertainment was viciously guarded and sought. And the times when he could do his "forgetting" were the best of all.

"Hey, who's going to love me long time?" he shouted out to no one and everyone. "American GI got mucho dinero."

Spenser got his languages mixed up when he was drunk. He expected them to understand any foreign word since they were all foreigners (seems logical at the time). He was only joking about the money, though, adamant on "never paying for it ever". And a good percentage of the time it worked out fine for him.

"Damn you people live in tiny places!" Spenser couldn't wait until his exile ended and he could return to the big wide open United States. The small room of her residence only reminded him he was in a prison. "But those legs of yours sure do help! That's something I can salute!"

She understood some English but she didn't need a translator for the universal sign of interest from a male as he dropped his pants. She kept smiling and laughing as Japanese girls are wont to do. His American manners were so different and exciting. She couldn't wait to tell about this experience later to her friends. Ayuko attempted to join Spenser's banter.

"Yes, yes, I salute your fag!"

"That's FLAG! Pronounce yer damn L's!" But her salutations ended all discernible speech and Spenser made it through another day alive.


Silverman never expected to end up on the wrong end of a mop handle in the bowels of an aircraft carrier even in the sorely misbegotten life he'd led so far. He hated his life, had always hated his life, and was going to hate his life until the foreseeable future. Joining the Navy was supposed to have given him something to fix his life but he never found it. That's when he decided he was just going to take it. "They owe me!"

He had a keen eye for weakness and naivete. Silverman trolled the hallways of the ship for fresh female recruits, especially those with "a missing Daddy syndrome" as he called it. He knew how many recruits joined up looking for guidance, but also knew the only "guidance" they would find was to be used and used up (which so few want to admit). That would leave them vulnerable and play right into his hands.

Raping was good but afterwards was better. To see the broken look of trust in their eyes, no longer looking at anyone directly. "Welcome to the real world, bitch!" he'd crow as he passed by later with a smirk. Silverman knew they wouldn't tell, they'd be too crushed by what Daddy would think of their failure. He too was a recruiter - a recruiter into the army of the miserable. No one felt more raped than he. Silverman bragged of his latest conquest to a group gathered round his bunk.

"Dumb bitch didn't know what to think when I whipped it out. Was like she was disobeying orders if she refused. Thank God for naval brainwashing! The minute I saw that hesitation, I knew! The feel of that firm ass drove me nuts. And like always, the more they protest the more I like it! Her protests got confused real quick and at the end she was just crying, which is really hot too."

"You really sure she ain't gonna say nothin'?"

"Who's she going to say anything to? She'd be cutting her own throat if she did. Besides, you know what I said after?"

"No what??"

"Want me to call Daddy for you?"

"Whoa, that's cold, man!"

Kohler was lying on his bunk overhearing everything. He thought it time to interject. "Spoken like a true gentleman and a scholar!" he surmised with a grin.

Silverman - as usual - was incensed by Kohler's words. "You just shut your faggot mouth over there! I don't want to hear shit out of you! You understand?"

"Me?" asked a surprised Kohler. "What could I possibly have to say? You're defending liberty and freedom - one rape at a time."


Silverman lunged towards Kohler but having already calculated his path of attack Kohler heel kicked his opponent in the upper thigh, putting Silverman on the floor clutching his leg. "I'll get you for that, you asshole!"

"You do that, smart guy, but know this: you start a war you goddam well better be ready to finish it 'cause I sure as hell am." Kohler's usual joking facade had disappeared in a burst of fury ready to pounce on any word Silverman said. Silverman was smart enough to keep quiet - which only hardened his grudge. But Kohler wasn't done yet.

"What is this shit, anyway? We're all scared shitless we're dying here. You guys sign up to be heroes? You really fucking think we're out here "defending democracy"? I've seen these gung-ho morons believing every officer descended from heaven and every general's an angel. Scare the shit out of me. What a collection of lost souls we are. Except for goofball Spenser over there you're a bunch of lost sheep with your head up your ass - and thinking that is patriotic!"

Kohler turned on his side away from the group. Everyone wanted to say something in their defense but words failed them, seeming too inadequate. The only retort they could finally muster: "Then you're a sheep too."

"Ba-a-ah," Kohler replied, putting the conversation to rest.

Next week when Silverman got a letter from home stating he was to participate in their "Hometown Heroes" project, he read it extra loud in order to goad Kohler. He read about getting front row seats at a pro basketball game and how he'd ride around in the back of a pickup at a baseball game. "The crowd will go nuts!" he laughed. But not a peep from Kohler.

Kohler knew already lost souls were not confined just to his neck of the woods. Nobody in this world wants to admit the truth, to speak about how they really feel, or stand out from the mad crowd. The world is swirling with lies and deceit, hurling headlong into a hopeless fate, life slipping through fingers at the speed of light - and the time of revelation coming.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Watching The (Gas) Monkeys

Gas Monkey 1

Anyone who watches the reality show "Fast N' Loud" knows that it's based here in Dallas. Gas Monkey Garage builds hot rods and resto-mods with flair and flamboyance. Their place is easy to find and get to and they opened up a gift shop in the front end of the store to feed their fans. Anytime you drive by a smattering of fans can be found out front. The crowd was larger than usual last Friday because they posted the monkeys might be available for mingling.

Gas Monkey 3

A transport was being loaded for the famed Barrett-Jackson auction next month in Phoenix. Literally hundreds of millions of dollars worth of cars will pass through. Gas Monkey wanted to "get them some of that" so from what I understood they were taking nine cars. They don't always have a lot of success at auctions, though. But if you attend only one auction in a year, the Barrett-Jackson one is the one to attend.

Gas Monkey 10 Aaron stopped for every person who wanted a picture.

Blackness in enveloping me in my now empty world and I had to get out of the house before losing my mind. I have come to find too late that the greatest gift in life is sharing and giving. Wealth is determined by what you can give of yourself. Into the abyss I have been thrown. In a desperate attempt to cheer myself up I headed out to see the scene. It helped a little. They have a good camaraderie at the shop and a good vibe you can feel. I was somewhat envious but at least distracted a bit for a while. Unfortunately, on the drive back the darkness swallowed me back up.

I managed to catch a few monkeys on video. First time I've seen them actually filming:

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Alphabet Game

In the beginning was the Creator, and from the Creator derived the various Spirits of Design, one of which was the Spirit of Wisdom. The Wisdom Spirit designed an alphabet from which one day could be built languages which would derive communication and the living arts. Although it can not be known until the full alphabet is revealed, once full revelation is achieved harmony is also achieved.

Across the newly minted planet a few letters were revealed to each of the various lands. "ABC" to one, "FGHJKL" to another, one only got "Z". The Creator was very happy with the job of the Wisdom Spirit as the final solution was a journey of self-discovery that taught the wisdom for eternal life. With anxious hearts they watched the planet begin its journey.

But faith in the Creator was both rare and reviled. Having failed to piece together the alphabet, the unharmonious planet fell into chaos and despair. "What is the point of living? I see nothing but perpetual strife!" wailed the masses. The lands granted the greatest number of letters also had the greatest understanding. But they abused that understanding only to make war on lands of fewer letters. In this no wisdom was to be found.

When the FGHJKL land conquered the Z land the inhabitants of the Z land were no longer allowed express that letter. Conservative overlords of the FGHJKL land felt that was the best way to preserve their power. They thanked the Creator of FGHJKL for giving them the power to rule and in this way made themselves holy in their minds. But harmony did not come no matter how much they persecuted those who still believed in Z.

The more you tighten your grip the more 
star systems will slip through your fingers.

Heated warfare erupted between the lands, each one claiming only their letters counted and were the true letters of wisdom. Insecurity from their path ate out their hearts in dismay no matter how many battles won, though. This happened even as each land fought in the name of harmony. Confusion clouded their minds, giving way to endless debating of finding an answer without full revelation of the letters. "It's not practical to hope for that kind of cooperation between the lands. We must be pragmatic."

Eventually one land made a breakthrough. Instead of suppressing the letters they conquered they added them to their understanding. With this greater understanding they became the most powerful nation on earth. But their desire for power was greater than their desire for wisdom. Seeing that if they kept adding on letters until all were known they'd lose their power as harmony would rule, they stopped their conquests thinking they could be satisfied with the understanding they had already gained.

But it was only by the growth of adding letters they maintained their rule as they began to fall into rot and decay. During this time many false prophets rose up to "save" the land and return it to its glory - no extra letters needed! But no matter how much faith they put into the treasonists the decay continued unabated. This brought about great consternation. "The Creator has abandoned us!" "The Creator wants us to be evil!" "The Creator does not even exist!" But these things were only said because the full alphabet had not been revealed.

Clinging in fatal stubbornness to their ignorance and denial, the planet was doomed. The Wisdom Spirit sighed. "They're fucking morons! They suffer for no reason! It's all self-made! What in heaven are we going to do?" But the spirit of wisdom knew the answer as soon as the question was asked. "Either they will listen to me or crucify me." The outcome, however, was already known or the trip would not be necessary in the first place. But those willing to hear must be divided from those who were unwilling so they could be saved.

"I bring you good news! Your suffering can end! Simply put together all your letters of understanding around the world and harmony will beat your swords into plowshares. The truth shall set you free. It takes only the faith of a mustard seed."

But instead of celebration came rebellion. "He's saying we're fucking morons killing each other for no reason. Well, I refuse to believe that! We can't be that stupid. There must be some validity to not sharing our letters! One thing I know for sure: if that soul speaks one more word I'm going to lose it!"

So in order to keep from looking like morons, they rejected peace and harmony, protected their lies and crucified the truth-teller. So enraged were they, anyone who simply agreed with the truth-teller was also killed and tortured in the worst way possible. "We cannot let them destroy civilization!" This was said though civilization had yet to be attained - and could never be attained without full revelation of the alphabet.

Epilogue: The weight of truth eventually crushed the planet over time - even as it was viciously slandered and rebuked the more apparent the truth became. "It's a fantasy! The idea of truth is a fairy tale! There's no point in sharing our letters. Why let the other side win? We'll be condemned by history!" In this way they hoped to escape responsibility and not be condemned but in reality ensured it.

Once the full alphabet was revealed, a collective "Oh" went out. "So that's what it means." As the "reasons" for not sharing disappeared, the planet reversed its inversion putting those who'd revered the truth first and the liars last. Finally building on the rock the builders had rejected, there was no going back from the new realization and true civilization was born. Woohoo!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Napkin Writer


"My God, that's me!"

I'm not sure if I said that out loud or not. In the poker game of life I try not to speak my thoughts. But I was so startled and scared by the sight of what I thought was my insides outside I reacted before I could think.

I was sitting in the downtown Dallas McDonalds by the bus station. The classical music keeps out the thug element but you still get your share of transients and vagabonds. I was there sitting in heavy black darkness, the light of my life gone; wishing I too was gone and how much longer I can even stay. I was too scared to return to my empty apartment, now not much more than a cold cave. Have you ever lived in a cave? It's where hearts go to die.

I hate McDonalds but what can I do? It's the only cheapo joint around the increasingly upscale downtown area. It's depressing standing in line like Jews herded off to the camps. You can easily tell the people who are just passing through on their way to someplace real and the rest - like me - for whom this is our final destination. Oh, the indignity.

I don't want anyone to know why I'm really here, that I have no place else left to go, that my "home" is a cold damp hell; that I ran away from life. I see I'm not alone in having troubles but I sit uneasily knowing no one could have as much self-made trouble as I. Like Lawrence guiding the Arabs as only he in all the world could have done, I know only I could be placed in so unique of a position. My only cover is that it's so beyond the pale of human normality no one has the thought to even suspect it's possible.

Doing what no other white man in the world could do

I'm disguised in garb above my emotional well being (they always come for me when it time comes to round up the usual frauds). Feeling as low as I was I was desperate not to be exposed - though that's what I need most. I know I need to come clean. I know I keep pretending I'm better off than I really am but it's hard just to let my appearance go. That's when I spied the scruffy soul.

It was almost like spotting a hot babe, I couldn't take my eyes off him. There was something I had to know but I didn't know what. In the heat of the moment I don't let myself process what I am feeling - one of my worst traits. He was unkempt and unconcerned - I envied that freedom. No shave, shower, eyebrow plucking, and ear hair trimming for him before leaving the house. His jacket's better days were not in this decade; all his clothes were shabby. But he owned them as opposed to them owning him (unlike Mr. Acura cocksucker standing in line up front looking all impatient).

He was in his own little world, not constantly evaluating his surroundings as I always do. He didn't need to fit in and I admired him for that. I don't think, however, he realized any of these good traits about himself. Then I saw him quickly writing on his napkin as if he'd just solved E=mc2. When I noticed lost scraps of paper in his pockets that's when I had my involuntary outburst.

I got real nervous, wondering if anyone would notice the man was exposing the true me. He was leading a more pure life than mine. I could tell he had no use for the internet or TV or the latest news. Whatever had gone wrong for him in his life wouldn't allow for such irrelevant matters. He was the kind who could walk through a crowd of holiday shoppers or police brutality protesters in equal obliviousness. He had words to write. Words lost to the world.

I was dying to see those words but I couldn't approach him. I felt he'd be naturally defensive and disinterested. He'd also spot a phony a mile away and I always come off as a phony when I'm not lying. And to be honest I had one greater fear stopping me: that I could not match his words were I to read them. Like I said, he was leading a far braver and more honest life than I and that's the name of the game in art.

Still, those words would be like gold to me. I could measure my own efforts against his. He knew his writing would never see the light of day, scribbling on napkins and odd receipts. I recalled in John Lennon's early days he too scribbled on napkins, as yet unsure if he could share them with the world. But this soul I studied had no hopes of being on the writing edition of American Idol awaiting discovery and fame. He wrote only as the forlorn trapped creature of creativity's cruelty.

Barring a miracle, I knew I saw him as he would die; his efforts fluttering out of his pockets blown down littered streets and into irretrievable sewers. Or like in this case, wadded up and left on the table. After he wrote, he looked up. I averted my eyes but he only stared straight ahead, chewing on something visible only to him, perhaps even composing. His look was frowning; unhappy. Was it because he was not happy with the words coming to him or because he knew his efforts would never reach the light of day?

I tried to speculate on what had made him take a left turn in life leading him to this point. My own pain was palpable and pressing my brain, these being the worst of times. Maybe he feels that pressure too. I wondered what he would think of my online blog. Would he see it as a waste of time, an extension of my posturing life? I'd be terrified to show him. Most people hide their honest reaction to my writing (which makes it all the more apparent!) but I knew he would not. I have to believe there are only a handful of critics in the world who could match what he'd have to say.

He gets up to leave and the illusion shatters. In his gait I can see he's a broken man who does not ever share his opinions. As a fellow cockroach, he too scurries from the light. All the lonely people... As he exits I half expect everyone in the room to scramble for his napkin to see what nugget he might have left. I was wildly self-conscious slipping over to nonchalantly retrieve it on my way out. I made sure I was well alone before I read it, my heart racing. His lost words: "fast food fiction".

So Google Has Blocked My Blog

A funny thing happened on the way to national insecurity. Somebody got his feelings hurt! Not that my blog is anything but mental doodlings but it seems lying under oath has its drawbacks even when never convicted or even called out as a bullshitter and my wee little joke hit too close to home. It never fails to amaze me how many people think fooling people into believing you're honest gives the same benefits as actually being honest. Oh sure, you can get the suckers to trust you with your con job - problem is you no longer trust you. After that comes the inevitable self-sabotage I know so well.

I have an IP tracker on my Google-hosted blogspot account. On my "I Got A Blow Job From CIA Nominee John Brennan!" post I have over 16,000 hits. Not because of my tasteless satire of his Sergeant Schultz act where he knew "Nothing! NOTHING!" about torture, didn't know what it was, how it could even be defined and that in fact the entire universe is completely unknowable in his mind. So I wondered if he'd know if I had my dick in his mouth. Everything is such a mystery to this poor man!

But rather I got all those hits because of image searches that returned the pic up top. Women rule this world but they refuse to sit upon the throne and force to men to make all the decisions so they can take the heat (and also because moron men then think this actually makes them in charge). So pictures of hot girls giving fake blow jobs in public drive men crazy whether men admit this or not. So why am I not getting any hits on that post anymore?

Over the last couple of weeks my hits mainly come from Googlebot going through my posts one by one. Perhaps my posts are being sent over to the CIA for scrutiny, those defenders of liberty who only want to know the truth so they can betray it! Ah, must be fun doing evil claiming it's in our national interests. When the inevitable time of revelation comes these fools will be running from the truth like a third world dictator threatening to nationalize his country's oil runs from a CIA sponsored coup. No legal briefs can save you from karma!

That's the problem with treachery and betrayal, it's just not professional. We all want to believe we are competent in our jobs but those in the public trust feel the pressure tenfold. When you think of the hundreds of millions of lives and families you betray on a daily basis, the threat of exposure is unbearable beyond endurance! But Johnny boy, even if everyone in the world slapped you on the back and hailed you as a hero for all time it would not change your fate one iota. In fact, anyone who does that is betraying you.

Friday, December 19, 2014

The Joy Of Suicide

Monster Man comes
Worshiping his sword;
He's come to bring me
The Living Word!

"Slay your feelings
"Through and through,
"Or with this blade
"I'll slay You!"

"You'll be slain
"Like Cool Hand Luke,
"And nailed like the Savior
"We did rebuke."

"You'll be commanded
"To do the need-less;
"The first to suffer
"Will be the greed-less."

"If in your soul
"Industrial pollution;
"I have for you a
"Chemical solution."

"If slavery is
"Not your dream;
"Then into the night
"You shall scream."

"No one must ever
"Break the chain!
"This world is built
"On human pain."

"Holy is denial of
"This realization:
"Not now nor past has
"Been civilization."

But I could not be stopped
From smelling this flower;
Even if I must die
Within the hour.

From the blade I
Can no longer flee;
Only in love
Can I be free.

I spent my life
Doing the unwanted;
Of my dead hopes
I'm now haunted.

They promised me love
In a world of war;
Said I'd be safe
If I was a whore.

But I can say now
In honest sorrow;
That without love
There's no tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Hanging Out With The BIG Cats!

White Tigers face

I'm certainly a fan of feline mystique even having grown up with only dogs. My theory has always been God made big cats, took one look at them and said, "Son-of-bitch! I gotta make smaller versions of those because they are just too too cool!" Animal gifts! They do a soul good. I certainly can testify to that.

White Tigers box

White Tigers bob

I knew there was supposed to be a place about an hour from Dallas that was a cat sanctuary but was unable to locate it when I tried years ago. Luckily, I came across an article in the paper on tours at the Center for Animal Research and Education (CARE). Was a gorgeous day and I jumped in my car to see the big cats in person. They did not disappoint.


Tiger fan feed

The tour guide was very informative (as you can hear on the video). Some of the lions have been featured on reality TV shows. One is especially famous for his long teeth like a sabre tooth tiger. One trick they like to do is throw cardboard boxes with chicken bones over the fence and watch them devour. You can hear them crunch in the video ("Same density as human bones!" informs the guide). But the desire to grab them and hold them and check out their fascinating faces is overwhelming at times.

Black leopard 4

Black leopard 2

But these guys are killing machines, programmed for the hunt. Small children are warned not to run in front of the cats even outside of the cages. It triggers an instinct and the predators might rush the fence. Their power is hard to comprehend without experiencing it firsthand. At the end of the tour is a tug of war contest between humans and a lion (also in video). Hint: don't bet on the humans.

Lion cub 1

Tug of war

Animals are blessings to make our lives richer. I always loved John Lennon but I loved him even more when I read once he finally settled down late in life and knew he was going to have a home, first thing he did was go out and get three cats. He was supposed to be the man who had everything! Seeing these supple yet brutal creatures in person certainly leaves an imprint and makes you realize we all play a role in this world and how important it is to preserve what's precious.

Front gate

Click here to see the entire photo set

Complete with gratuitous cub snuggling!

Center For Animal Research and Education
245 County Road 3422, Bridgeport, TX 76426
Phone: 940-683-8115

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Part 2: The End Of Wealth

It's a feeling of quiet creeping horror. As if I'm sliding down a frictionless hill right off the face of the earth. I can decide to stop but it makes no difference. I try to turn to the left, or the right, but down I still go. Seems I've lost all my say on an irrevocable path to doom.

I could scream or ask for help but what good would it do? I just keep flailing, grasping at anything to find traction, the answer (if there even is one) slips through my fingers. The Army asks if I can make the cut. Preacher man asks me to join the fold. Salesman asks if I've got the New Hip. But these fatal fathers are false. Who can help me? Who would try? Who could help me even if they did try?

I guess I must explain before I do slide off. Like a pinball deflecting off a bumper, my life has changed direction. The Woman Of Fabric got under my skin and into my head. One is no longer content with dog food after tasting steak. All you can think about is getting that steak again - no matter how impossible. I have over eight hundred million dollars, now suddenly useless.

The pleasure of her company - i.e. true pleasure - is gone from me. But when I went back to my traditional pleasures - my cars, my travel, my women - the pleasure is gone from them too. Oh, my. The further I slide down the hill, the clearer my sin. Because I can find nothing inside of me the outside is lost too. I'm sinking in the quicksand of futility.

It's obvious now what a tight edge I'd been walking. I've been living the good life since I was born. Why the fuck not? I always made a big show of it - covering up like a lot of my ilk do. But a secret dream had I: to be a person of worth. I could care less about business or finance or worldly games. Big money allows you to hide in all sorts of useless endeavors in the name of "responsibility". In the end, it's just busywork; a distraction. I wanted my distractions to be in the Egyptian sun of the Pyramids, sailing around the world on my yacht, and never a bikini far away. You can keep your office make-work!

I do have an office, though. It's a lovely pretense and gives excuse to ride high up into the Dallas skyscrapers as if I have real business to conduct. They bow and scrape before me, no one questioning my presence. "He's rich! He must be important, doing important things!" I found my fraudulence an amusing con. There actually is some paperwork on occasion to take care of but really, no office required for that. This fraud, however, is no longer amused.

I had hoped/dreamed/wished/fantasized/pleaded there is something real I can do in this world. I hadn't given up on me - and that is what allowed pleasure to my carnal cravings under the sun. I watched my mates slide into guilt (mostly from benefactor parents) by taking up phony positions and phony marriage contracts. Once trapped, they tried to lure me in too but I flicked away their concerns without a second thought. I'm the last holdout for decadence. Frankly, it had been a point of pride.

But when handed the reins of something real, I freaked and ran away. After a lifetime of refusing to face the mirror, I fled the altar's steps, refusing my bride. What if the box of fate's fortune is found to be empty?? I thought I was smart to be able to keep my lies alive, to not know of me, i.e. keep the party going! Then the thought hit me like the gates of hell opening up: I had left a treasure trove after all. Those weren't just fairy tales and myths I'd abandoned.

I pace the patio of my seven million dollar penthouse like a caged and restless lion. I think to myself, "What would they think if they could see me now? I'd be mocked from end to end." None of the old tricks work anymore! These realities - I had not counted on them. I never really thought it mattered if I was anything real because the world never really thought I mattered either. I fear the dark as the black hands of Mordor strangle me in the night tortuous and unforgiving. I cannot go on this way - even if I were to decide to.

I have begun to disconnect. I feign interest in my old pursuits and "life" as if I'm an actor reciting a memorized script. I know the words to say, everyone acts as if they still believe me - but I don't believe me. Sitting at an outdoor cafe at West Village shopping center seeing my Aston Martin parked up front to be shown off by the restaurant means nothing to me now. The idea of travel interests me not. Women are strangers in my bed. Everywhere I go is still me. All I can think is: "Keep the lie alive. It's all you've got left."

Nightmare After Nightmare

I'm walking alongside a rural blacktop highway. The sky is grey, cloudy and bleak; unsustainable. I live in a world where you don't dare need anyone or they tell you, "I don't have time for you. I have my own life." Stranded and abandoned, I trudge ahead in mental anguish. I don't know exactly where I'm headed to but I know it's bad and I must get there; no choice or say.

On the other side of the road is a man and woman both wearing wedding dresses. They are forced by their family to sell flowers by the road to get money for the farm. I can't make it out but I have to imagine they are miserable. Suddenly, a fellow traveler comes up, journeying on the same path as I. He too spies the miserable couple and speaks my thought, "At least we aren't them."

He's stuck going to the same place I am so we travel together. I like him but I try to make sure I don't become needy so I'm not cut off. There are odd spots of stalks left on the farmland. We see more wedding dress flower sellers on the other side of the road, some going back in down the long dirt road to a farm house beyond the horizon. Then my companion is gone, I can't see him.

"Where'd you go?"

"I was on the other side of those stalks for a minute."

"What for?"

"I saw someone so I wanted to shake his hand. It was a farmer."

"Oh." I didn't want to shake anyone's hand but I loved how everyone he met was his friend. Mired in my misery I just wanted the world to go away. I deeply envied his ability.

Finally, we get to this giant submarine right at the edge of a body of water. This is where we've been headed: reporting for duty. My heart is crushed. The Captain seems nice as we boarded but I wondered if that was really true or just an act I needed to believe I was so scared and mortified. My traveling friend makes off for another part of the ship. We are parted as I feared but at least someone is out there who knows me.

On my own again, the pressure engulfs me as I begin to realize my situation. I ask what it is we do all the time, it seems so boring. The reply is a laundry list of boring items. My heart is sinking, dying. All they care about is that they can use me. Worse yet, most of these clowns here want to be used. I've been dropped into a madhouse. Then the sub wiggles violently side to side for a couple of moments.

I don't say anything because we are on water after all. Then I ask, "Hey, do we ever leave port and actually go out in this thing?" "Yes, we do." That I cannot do. It's one thing sitting here above the surface with the hatch open but to go out to sea trapped in this sardine can would drive me out of my mind. I have to tell them. I have to tell them I can't do this. Will they listen? Is the captain truly kind and understanding?

Next thing I know I'm watching a scene of a D.A. who's been kidnapped by a bad guy in this small dank wood room. I can't make out if the D.A. is a man or woman. But the bad guy has him/her being forcefully injected with heroin by one of his henchman. The D.A. swoons and says, "That feels so good, Charlie." I'm horrified and wonder if they are really doing it then I see the tourniquet on the D.A.'s arm. Yes, this is real.

The bad guys says he wants a few favors in return for the poison he's injecting. I begin to realize the D.A. is also a Bill Cosby rape victim, drugged when least expected. Predators everywhere - and they are always winning. Worse yet, they walk among us unseen, manipulating lives, and nobody wants to know. I sit there watching, wishing I didn't know - but I do.

Then I'm traveling in a car down swank Mockingbird Lane towards SMU where construction is going on. On a private estate off the road I'd seen in the distance a huge hall being constructed almost done. The day is foggy and it's hard to see. My Mom is in the car with me and I ask if she wants to go check out the building because I know she enjoys stuff like that. She says no.

But I say we're going anyway because I'm being selfish and I've been dying to check it out. We get out of the car into this large glass walled building that's also full of fog. We have to travel down many hallways if we are to get to the grand hall. I go down one and turn the corner and the owner is lying down in a room and says something to me friendly. I think my Mom knows the guy because all the rich people go to our church.

My Mom has yet to take a step and says something about being able to see the Big Hall well from a distance. So I head back to get my photography equipment, very frustrated and feeling guilty. Nothing ever turns out as I planned, so I have to wake myself up. This is 24/7 nonstop. I can't wait for this world to die.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Part 1: Of Poverty And Wealth

"That's my car!" she pointed in beaming pride.

We strolled together in the warm Fall afternoon through the old East Dallas neighborhood approaching her rental abode and there in the crumbling concrete of a driveway a Toyota Corolla was boldly parked. As she toured me around it she filled me in.

The delight in her voice was musical and lyrical. It wasn't so much the car but what it did for her that she had not had before. Because it served her, it was special beyond all others. She bragged of its fuel efficiency, the famed durability of the model (which she had duly researched) and how well she had bargained on the deal. I grew more envious by the moment.

My own car was the latest Maserati - not known for its fuel efficiency. I loved my new toys, the immigrant salesman even chiding me, "Mr. Bond, you go through cars like tissue paper!" Meh. But as we sat inside the car, she showing me her little touches to personalize it, I realized hers was ten times the car mine could ever be. I had bragged before on the Maserati's Italian leather being so scrumptious it was "just this side of an orgasm", but here I sat in a finer interior I could never match. I started to feel lacking.

When we got out to go in her house I looked around the neighborhood. In the older parts of town there's tons of parking in the streets and even on the lawns. The number of over-sized SUVs bothered me. They use a ton of gas and are wildly impractical. I have friends who drive Hummers solely because they are a ridiculous waste of space. "That's the whole point, darling!" But trying to emulate that so you can think your life is something it's not, I had no respect for that. They weren't like she.

Her house was as I was beginning to expect of her: clean, organized, great feeling. She's the kind of person who wherever she went, she made it better. My penthouse view of downtown Dallas received rave reviews at my last party. I beamed as if I were somehow responsible for the skyline. How empty and hollow that seemed now as I compared it to her beaming about her car. As I sat down in her lovely space, my world began to tilt.

We'd met in an encounter group. Of all the people in the room, she stuck out to me, a shining light. "Why isn't everyone around her?" I wondered. Their loss, my gain! In mixed company (wealthy and not wealthy) I don't wear my $18,000 suits or drive my latest Italian exotic (to prevent fucking door dings if nothing else). I prefer to be anonymous, to play the Hiding Game. You know, I don't want you people feeling inferior or anything. The meeting place was just a few blocks from her place and frankly taking the time to walk meant only extra time to be with her!

During the course of the conversation I learned she had cobbled her furnishings together from Goodwill outlets and the like in the richer parts of town. She had an excellent eye and knowing she had basically designed the experience in which I was now ensconced duly impressed me. My penthouse decorating ran into the six figures with its Asian theme and high flying decorator who walked me through all her ideas. My contribution had been to nod my head in agreement to her suggestions. I was so proud of how it turned out, but now...

I sunk down in my chair a little intimidated. I'd never felt as good in my own home as I did sitting here in hers. The organic vibe of it, knowing that all the touches reflected the wonderful her, made this into a palatial paradise. Westminster, Versailles, Taj Mahal - eat your heart out! Man, I didn't want to leave but rather explore every inch of her place. I've been to Versailles and marveled at its magnificence but it came up short compared to this. I had been missing out on the true attraction.

Less impressed now

I thought of the futility of trying to explain this to my friends. "What's so special about a WWII shit-hole in some beaner neighborhood?" I suddenly realized I hung out with that crowd because of my need to feel morally superior to someone. They weren't even in the same universe as she in terms of class and refinement. Stick any one of them - and maybe even me - to live in a place like this and they'd throw a fit for the ages, bitter and resentful that anyone had more. I was getting smaller by the minute - and still playing the Hiding Game.

I think because she noticed the constant smile on my face she kept sharing about her life - and yes, that very much pleased me. She'd met a guy but was not serious yet. As she told me about him I began to feel a flaming jealousy. I hadn't meant this to be a sexual encounter! But then I knew it was the attention alone he received that so inflamed me. When she spoke of her recently acquired job that allowed her to do more of what she wanted, I felt jealous of that too! I thought I had everything, turns out I had nothing.

I had been so proud of my small witticism to the accountant. "Ha ha! Mr. Bond. You can't put "check endorser" as your occupation!" Oil royalty checks in Dallas carry a certain cache of snobbery among the boot and cocaine crowd. They were like my free pass into society, no soul (or personality) required! But shit, sitting here listening to her talk was better than any exclusive night club from Dallas to New York. Funny part was, she was starting to rub off on me.

I actually became somewhat witty around her, feeding off her drive and passion. How long can I keep this up!? I was both terrified and excited. I wanted to run back to my friends - or whatever they really are - and tell them of this fantastic experience. Sadly, I felt myself wanting to do this in the vein of desiring to one-up them. Yes, yes, you had your trip to the Serengeti, but guess just what real happened to me! And I bet she'd like me more than all the rest of you. That, to me, was the real measuring stick.


CODA, six months later: The gorgeous stranger slips from between my silk sheets perfectly nude with her flawless skin, hair drifting lazily past her shoulders, stepping towards the penthouse patio on her finely feminine feet. "Oh, wow," she gasps taking in the morning view. It's rare to see such thick fog in Dallas, the eerie air about the mountains of buildings shrouded in clouds is almost surreal. I'm thinking if I took a picture that moment of her naked form overlooking the city in fog it would go viral in a heartbeat - not that I would tell anyone she costs 1500 a night.

Instead, I stayed on my bed moping, my only thought: "What would she think, she whose time cannot be bought? Would she be impressed by this picture back in her East Dallas castle? No, she'd dismiss it as trivial knowing it had been a scene purchased not earned."

When it came time to end the Hiding Game, it came out all wrong. "Well, my car's a Maserati." I said it like an asshole, an effete snob, jerk of the ages. Every time I tried to tell her something more, I did it again! What possessed me to act like that!? Then I realized it was my fear and insecurity that I truly had nothing to offer and that like I had for all my life I used wealth as my reason for being, a character substitute. In my circles, that's little drawback since so rarely any of us saw a need for character and often philosophized on its irrelevance.

She grew tired of me and my sneering idiocy until she no longer answered the door. I ached to hear the details of her life. I never got the nerve up to ask if she'd take my money. You might think that's a simple thing to offer, but with a woman of fabric it's a delicate proposition. She taking my money would be the greatest gift of my sordid life. But first to do that she'd have to see the real me and that I'd never let happen. Do other trust fund babies have this problem, to be defined by their loserdom?

Every life needs direction. There's no way around it. I've seen the original "Thomas Crown Affair" 50 times. Rich man Steve McQueen is asked what he could possibly have to worry about. He replies, "Who I want to be tomorrow." The pressure is excruciating! The closest I ever came to doing anything was trying to recreate my own personal Blade Runner set in the abandoned warehouse district south of downtown Fort Worth. It would have been so cool, right down to the matching neon! (Yes, I really do have that much money. Thank you, oil speculators!) The zoning assholes wouldn't hear of it, though.

"She just wants you for your money." "That's the plan!" I'd always reply. I don't make that joke anymore. My taste of the good life has forever fouled me of my own. People look up here in envy at my penthouse luxury seeing it as paradise. But for me, it's a prison. I'm nobody, with nowhere to go and nothing to do. My once-in-a-lifetime chance to escape gone forever. What that guy said about the eye of the needle, he wasn't kidding. I just didn't think it would have been me barring the gates to heaven.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

The Stranger Within

Your love at an end
How can I live
With the stranger within?

Monday, December 01, 2014

Sherry Berry Is A Mournin' Mormon

"Is life always this hard, or is it just when you're a kid?"
"Always like this."
- The Professional

Life in a rural Texas town is two things: what it really is and what you imagine it to be. If you're a "lifer" never making it out, the world remains a dream, a perpetual place of wonder. For almost all who venture forth into that world, though, that dream dies and memories of it fade to black. But for lifers like Sherry Berry it never dies - not for a moment.

The hell of high school didn't escape Sherry. But for her, that was a huge state secret to take to her grave. Never could she let her parents know just how badly they had failed her. That paralyzing fear trapped her physically, mentally and spiritually. She came to accept the idea there was "something wrong" with her. She didn't know exactly what - but so many people were desperate for her to believe it! But like everyone, she was born with the desire to live.

Her secret high school crush was Andy Gibb. It's true she had eyes for a boy at school but he was too real. She felt more of a chance with someone whom she would never meet. Plus, Andy undoubtedly had absolutely no redeeming value in her parents' eyes. But she knew he was wonderful and perfect and the world he lived in was wonderful and perfect. How could it be anything else?

She owned no modern music herself. Sherry snatched only glimpses of this most forbidden of fruits, her heart singing with every second of every sound. That's what life should be, transported to the clouds! Some of the other kids at school understood this (with whom she could never be friends), but in Sherry's house she was all alone - even from her own sister. The same yet different - a puzzle to last a lifetime.

She heard the talk of girls who did as they wanted. Sneaking out at night to meet boys, feeling their groping hands, going out on dates. They moved forward into worlds she could only imagine as she was left behind. Every soul in her world told her those were wrong and evil things. How could she be right and they all be wrong? While some girls never thought twice of attending a high school dance Sherry Berry would have paid the devil himself to attend. What magical events they must be!

Fate conspired against her there too. Her body - even at seventeen - is what one would describe as "maternal"; big boned and unathletic - or as she called it, "oxen". Those lithe skinny girls were made for dancing and romance and life. What was she made for? "God's will." And apparently God never got horny or dreamed of Andy Gibb in his room. But what was right?

Rampant guilt left her like helpless roadkill on a country highway. She didn't feel good about herself, her parents told her sexual desires were wrong - and yet she could not stop them! High school hormones surrounded her daily, swirling her head in confusion. Only Andy's voice spoke clearly to her; he who lived above the trivialities and massive insecurities of her small and meager life. Life could be beautiful - for some.

I wear the clothes of an old maid. The same long, floral print dresses every day. One morning she had a thought to say, "My ankles still show! What if a boy lusts after them?" It was the cheekiest she ever got but her mother dismissed her concerns out of hand, ushering Sherry off to her daily humiliation amid the cheerleaders and tight-jeaned vixens. How could they be as bad as her mother said? They radiated with life while she, Sherry Berry, ached for it in howling despair.

Time marched on, God merciless to all those in chains. She began to turn on herself, unable to justify her life choices, wishing she could die. When a couple of the pretty girls turned up pregnant she took empty satisfaction in her chastity. Bored, excited teenagers not knowing if they'd ever live passed the city limits took to each other in desperate passion. They married, divorced a year later, then life gradually disintegrated into small town drunken glory and Saturday night fights. But at least they had lived once!

Isolated with only her parents and cooing monolithic church members for support, she had no choice but to be slowly pulled into the borg. Her life was over, unwanted and worse yet, un-wantable. Her grades at school were outstanding, partly because of the massive pressure they be so but mainly because book smarts came easily to her. But listening to the popular girls she felt that attribute made her only more unattractive. Her big-boned face could never bat her eyes coyly at how "smart" he is. But after the great bluff of the high school ordeal is over, can life get better?

"Turn that off! That's devil music!"

That wasn't Sherry's mother speaking but Sherry herself. She'd once seen the cover of an AC/DC album with their in-your-face aggression and horns sprouting from the head. She recognized the song as theirs (of which she was secretly proud of such hipness) and duly chastised the boys in the Walmart parking lot. She felt a sense of ownership since this was her place of employment. Yes, she who ranked in the top 5% of her class dutifully cashiered the long lines of rednecks, white trash, and blue-haired lifers. The true crucifixion was in pretending not to recognize her classmates who passed through.

Manual labor was deemed inherently moral. Those girls who headed off to college did nothing but drink and engage in orgies. Even a religious university was too scary. Besides, coming from a large Mormon family they had little money to spare. And since wasting her intellect had been deemed a moral endeavor she had no political room to complain. Goddam politics! Her voice had no value.

Marriage sealed her imprisonment. Nothing but a fat cow baby machine. He came complete with parental approval. She died at the thought of Andy seeing her in the abject despair of lovemaking. He'd think me a fool! He'd think I let him down. Oh, Andy! Save me! Was life really meant to be this bad? Part of her still held on to the belief her dreams were real and the world outside full of promise. Nothing else makes sense!

On March 10, 1988, the day her first child entered this planet, the last of her dreams also died. Andy Gibb passed away from complications of drugs and drinking, mired in a deep depression - a virtual suicide, tragedy of the highest order. Her hated mother was right. Her despised father was right. Her dreaded religion was right. All life is a void.

How could this happen? He was perfect! He had everything I do not. Life really is nothing but a cruel trick God plays on us; nothing but death, denial and duty. I've been a fool! Jesus said we must overcome. I see what that means now - and overcome I will.

Uploading naked selfies will get you
DISOWNED by your parents!!

The last vestiges of life she beat out herself. She lives now as a vocal opponent of gay marriage, rap music and women with tattoos. Once firmly ensconced in the wrong, she lost all fear of speaking out. She wages war against her imagined world where love still might live. Volcanic rage erupts at the thought of a life found when hers is lost. No one must have it. No one. If that ever were to happen she'd be finished (aka reborn).

With that in mind, her children are kept as tightly chained as she had been, savaging them as irresponsible beasts without ever giving them a chance. Sherry paints the outside world as hopeless and pointless, refusing to be a part of its "immorality" and thus "saving" her children from it. She tells them they too must overcome their evil desires to live. She rejoices in their guilt, praises repression, and applauds obedient acts. Her dream twisted into her enemy and her enemy into her dream.