Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Drunken Reverie on the loss of a true, blue, friend

My hat is off, to you, my pal.

Long days, and drunken nights...together we spent!

What a ride it was, this "l'enfant terribleee".

She was a great, old gal, a grand dame, in deed!

And what a grand ol' flag above her did once waive (and now, no men, together, can save).

But now, she is daid...and all that we have before us, and before us is mourn, mourn, mourn.

For the life of a gal, who was grand ! God love her soul.

God, love her soul !

A Grande Dame was she (Vespuci will vouch). A Grande Dame, a grand gal, and the
of the South.

Young scouts they did pledge, an honor so deep.

But now, she is gone, all piled up in a heap.

Oh now, she is gone, and what have we left? A memory of her, and a life, now bereft.

But here's the grand deal (and a grand deal 'tis indeed)...

A man once commented to me, as I sat in the East, that "our thang" was on wane, that "she", like her, was dying, slow death.

And to him I did reply from my seat way on high "if she lives in one heart, she lives without 'part' ".

And so it must go; "virtus junxit mors, non separabit" !

Grand dreams, grand schemes (and even grandier idears) - they too, they will live, if only they live in one heart (that beats true. That, beats true).

And so I must go, and so I must do, as those who before me, brave bastards knew too.

True dinkem, true dinkem, true dinkem 'til dee.

So drink 'til you drop, mon frere and mon ace!

Together we live, if (in secret) our hearts - they do keep pace, keep pace, keep pace - until end of long race...

And onward, and upward, together we will trudge, and an eagle one day, us both, she will judge.

From this pit we will fly, and rise from crevace, and above lousey fray, cherub raptors we will boss.

And order she will come, to a chaos that is high, and at talon-swords that we weild, she-devils they will die!

We will rip, we will tear, ripping flesh until bone - she will bear.

Uncovering truth from she-devil's dark, dank, deep lair.

And forsooth, God will reign, and we upon knee, upon knee we shall bear - a burden so light, hard burden, but no care.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


At night my mind devolves upon
a rising tide of pain
that quells the echoes of God's voice
and spreads the mortal stain

And sleepless, facing fears unknown
to the clarity of day
One paranoia climbs another;
thoughts surmount and fray

How to subdue an unchecked mind
put down this madding fission?
Tame this beast of consciousness
and regain sober vision?

Till gears are stripped and bearings lock
and shafts both burn and freeze
Abed I'll lay tormented just
a madman at his ease

Friday, August 08, 2008

One from our sister site

Twightlight Fell on Forest Hill

An old man enslaved. Chained, to his will. He champed the cigar, and considered the till.

He chewed that old stogy, and his mind melded in a falling, twilight sky.

An unbelievable shade of blue it was; and it is true, there can be no doubt, absolute. He'd never seen nothin' like it, in all his years beneath them mountains he always held, so dear and close to his still beating (thank God), heart.

It was such a pale blue. It mimicked his eyes, and a tear almost came, but then came to subside.

Fireflies flickered against this pale, beaten sky, and his lantern, it shimmered, in rhythm to an oncoming, dark sky.

He knew there'd be stars, later that night, and they too would flicker, and rule the dark sky. They surely would live longer than these seasonal flies, but somehow they were kin, and their line?

But in that moment between, when it's neither darkness or light, the old man took repose, and considered his plight.

He was abandoning, in sort, but grasping in another. While his life had been through changes, he'd never quite given up - even through changes there was not a quitting, but only a shifting; like a chain on a sprocket to a tearing, new high.

This change was no doubt of monumental import; but somehow he took refuge in knowing the sort.

On Forest Hill he did love, he built and he toiled. He had his own place, and he sewed fertile soil.

One thing was for certain in his dubious mind; here he would live, and here he would die.

This circle of life, what a grand scheme it yields perfect habit, of that, there can be no pretense.

So the old man did puff another deep drag, and ponder his existence in this fairytale wag.

What a beautiful life it is, against this deep, blue-green hue; another day just shy of heaven on this forested hill, this shelter from life's cruel skew, with an explosively simple, and monumentally incredulous, serene, sweet view!

He gasped one last evening gasp as his soul's eyes did peer, upon the heart of the Lord in a splendor he so deeply revered.

And with that, he turned in, awaiting the fray, for the changes that come in yet another, new day.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Chattering Tale

This is the tale of a cutty-sark sail,
of a winch's lip
and a Dragon's tail.

Of Dragon Beast' foal
running down Dragon Beast' spine
with sprocketed chain
chattering metered time.

Humming in unison
they soar, head to tail
the beast clad in iron,
they run as on rail.

"And what is there mission,"
quips curious, young lad
"for they run and they run,
turn 'round back up, it's sad!"

Answered, old man:
"The mighty Mother, Dragon Beast,
she calls out her lads,
she sends them a' scurry
for the dreams that she'd had...

From points farther East,
her breath doth return
as mist from the sea,
cooling belly fires that burn.

And her children have riders,
like Wraiths, they hold on
through the spine's knotty curves,
Man, maiden and sons.

Young girls they line up,
for rides on the beasts,
their hair like the pony,
leather clad for the feast.

Mortal food's not their object,
on this ride through curved hell.
To be seen by the subjects
those Demons 'neath scales.

'Tis a long ride down'
cries bloggers from sides,
"and over edge you will tumble
for the Demon's dark prize".

But onward and onward they travel
they travel, they do
their purpose, you ask?
like their piston's, redeux.

They clamor and clank
they hum, and they purr
but kitty's not timid
wire rifled, her fur.

"But where will they end up,"
questioned young son
"since their mission like piston
see-saws backwards and yon?"

"Ah, their's is no mission,
on that you can bet
to ride Dragon's tail
is all they have left."

"But what of the wraiths
holding on to their backs?"

"Ah, they will keep going
long as God sets their tracks".

And the winds blew the fog
from far out at sea
the sails like chains chatter
a Pirate's ship carries "she".

The winch, she is coming,
like a whore on a breeze
she comes to take mountain,
Dragon's lair at it's knee.

And what will be left of stout spine
and it's brood?

The foals, they will gallop
and wraiths run for good.

And Dragon, she'll stay
and lick at her wounds,
until another day
engineer's and their children
and eggs hatch new brood.

And so they will run
and race through those curves
Until winch and ship come take them
and send souls beyond Earth.

-Sir S.E. Visum, esq.
on being brought back to life

Monday, June 09, 2008


No one loves God as Jesus.
And for Christ, none could love Him as God.
From the wilderness we cry "Jesu, Jesu, Jesu",
and from home, only, "My Dearest Dear Lord".
But alas, we must all and always merely, pitifully and meagerly try, try, try.

For grace, it is, good enough?

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Spinning Song

It's stuck in my head, really.

Has been, all my life.

A catchy ditty, it's about spinning.

Not auguring, or falling out of the sky in a tail-spin; not political either - it's plain, old-fashioned spinning, on a spinning wheel.

No, not like the song from the 60's (let the spinnin' wheel spin) - yarn (and not "talking a yarn" either, actual, bona fide yarn (of the kind used to make afghans, and funky capes that old women and hippies wear).

It's actually a song, composition, really. Played on the piano. It's a catchy tune.

But, isn't that the way of spin. Spin is sticks with you.

It binds, and it magically takes small fibers and through some mystical quirk of nature it forms them into this structure that does not unravel but yet clings in a manner that can not be fully explained (or at least, not to satisfaction - why does it not simply unwind?).

How is it that this song, this piece, this composition is so like the yarn it tries, through cadence and tonality, through rhythm and vibe, to mimic?

Da, da, da, da, da, da...da DA.

Over and over and bloody over, clickety-clack, just like that damned wheel...spinning, pumping with their feet, spinning, spinning, spinning.

It's mind numbing, really.

Like the political quacks and hacks...always spinning.

I have to ask, though; with the yarn, it binds and makes something useful. Something we can wear, or keep our bodies warm in the Winter (if we are old women or hippies - although I did once see a bikini made from afghan - quite fetching until it got wet at which point it looked as though she had cocker spaniel puppies attached to all her nasty bits. Wet and nasty cocker spaniel pups. Oooo, I just keep getting a deeper state of funkiness).

What then is accomplished by the political variety of spin? Is there a double-helix array formed from the spin that binds into this form that covers our bodies not unlike the array that forms the skin that contains and manifests our bones, our brains, and even, to extent, our souls?

I think it more like the airplane, beginning its descent in a tailspin, and then like the auger binding itself into the muck of the earth. Rather than forming something of the earth, it digs into its mire.

Ironic that political spin would be of that sense of the word, you know, twisting into the dirt seeking its origin in the depths of the planet - in the hell from which it was formed rather than providing anything of noble use to man.

Oh well; I do have to get my heart right. It is, after all, an election year and it is, frankly, time to talk turkey.

Clickety, clickety....clack.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Cool Breeze

A cool wind blew through town today.

It was odd for the breeze to be cool this time of year.

Oh granted, I suppose, it could still be considered early Spring (if not late, early), but still, peculiar.

Whiley wondered, what would be the outcome of it all?

With the townsfolk in such uproar, maybe this cool snap would cool the hot heads as well.

They are pretty perked up over this one. Goes deep too...down in the roots.

They're worked up over who they are...over where they come from, and more, where the outsiders are from. There can be no doubt, the town was changin', and not necessarily for the better.

Lot's of outsiders blowin' in, like the cool breeze.

The breeze is temporary, but these outsiders, seems like they're gonna stay.

Whiley wasn't sure he wanted to go back to town. Mamma brought him some chicory coffee, and they sat on the front porch swing, watching the humming birds on the tiger lily's and commentin' on the blue birds and purple martins.

Looked like a good year for them. Nothing ever changes with them.

Happy birds, they were.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Approaching the Rationalist's Idiom

So, because you only have a hammer, and not a screwdriver, you advance the argument that nails are naturally preferable to screws.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

A Chat with Ribeaux

Ribeaux: Hello. Can you hear me? Is anyone here? Anyone at all?
Kraekun: Yes, Ribeaux, I am here. It is I, Kraekun!
Ribeaux: Hello, Kraekun.
Kraekun: Hello.
Ribeaux: Tell me, have you the time?
Kraekun: The time for what? For me, there is always time.
Ribeaux: For a chat, or a verse, or a well-turned phrase.
Kraekun: Ah...I may need the time, for all that.
Ribeaux: Well, you see, my time, it seems I hurry here and scurry there, always after some new pursuit...always, always, always it seems, perpetually "on time", and yet, always in a hurry and never for the things I want.
Kraekun: Well, what is it that you seek? Money, fame? Perhaps a new set of threads?
Ribeaux: No, not in the least. I want for nothing. However, wouldn't it be nice to simply take a very long shower...I mean, truly long. Stay in there for days. Wouldn't that be nice?
Kraekun: Well, I would think one would become rather "crinkled" in that, wouldn't you?
Ribeaux: Oh, I should think rather shriveled...but, would it not be so very cool if you were not. Wrinkled that is.
Kraekun: Well, I suppose. Tell me, this isolation and protracted cleansing, what effect do you suppose it would have on your countenance? Do you suppose it would flatter your soul?
Ribeaux: Well, if we use the physical as example, I suppose the heated water will ultimately have a drying effect on the body...sort of robbing it of its natural emollients. I wonder if it would do the same to the mind and conscience?
Kraekun: Well, if one had a conscience, then I suppose it just might have *some* effect...I wonder what form a dry soul would take?
Ribeaux: With that much cleansing, I would think it would be most "squeeky" - very clean, I suppose.
Kraekun: Yes, but three days! God forbid. The skin might all slough off...then where would you be? A walking set of musculature. Arnold Schwarzenegger would be proud!
Ribeaux: Oh, I don't know about that.
Kraekun: What ever do you mean?
Ribeaux: Well, in my case, he might be a bit embarrassed.
Kraekun: Oh?
Ribeaux: Well, let's just say that my soul is a bit "healthy".
Kraekun: Ah. Well, there is much to be said for the glutenous soul! Why, think of all the great men who were "portly", deep down. Why I'd venture to say that most men are of a portly sort, when you peel back the flesh and peer into the soul. What man doesn't wish to feast!
Ribeaux: Yes, but feast on what?
Kraekun: Well, in matters of the soul, I would think righteousness.
Ribeaux: Ah, and there is the rub.
Kraekun: Hmmm?
Ribeaux: Well, you see, isn't it really definitional?
Kraekun: Righteousness?
Ribeaux: Well, what is right, really.
Kraekun: I don't follow you?
Ribeaux: Well, given a choice between two circumstances...which is the "right" choice?
Kraekun: Well, that depends on the circumstances, don't you think?
Ribeaux: Not really. I mean, regardless of circumstance, one choice will be right, and therefore righteous, and the other...not.
Kraekun: I suppose...
Ribeaux: No is black and white...right is right.
Kraekun: Well, let's break it down with an example.
Ribeaux: Absolutely. You have two guys.
Kraekun: Yes, in a chat room.
Ribeaux: OK. Let's say they are discussing...oh I don't know...sports!
Kraekun: Sounds reasonable.
Ribeaux: Baseball.
Kraekun: You bet!
Ribeaux: Hardy harr. Well, let's just say that one proposes that the ball was safe at home.
Kraekun: And the other, of course, disagrees.
Ribeaux: Precisely. Now one is right, and the other, wrong. Which is it.
Kraekun: The one who sides with the ump.
Ribeaux: No, no, no. It was a judgment call. Too close, and yet too far for most. Some said the umpire needed glasses, while the opposing team was all for his 20-20 vision.
Kraekun: But the ump is sanctified. He is a professional...accustomed to making judgment calls. It is what he does for a living, for God sakes. It's what he does.
Ribeaux: But there can only be one right and one wrong. So who is it.
Kraekun: The umpire. He's living it. He dies by it. He'll be fired if he makes too many wrong calls.
Ribeaux: So, you see, he can make a wrong call.
Kraekun: He's only human.
Ribeaux: And yet, ain't we all?
Kraekun: Well, there is Clapton.
Ribeaux: He's a ruddy guitarist. What does he know about baseball.
Kraekun: I bet he could sing a song about it.
Ribeaux: The fact is, somebody has to be right, and somebody wrong. Blues singers are all wrong.
Kraekun: Oh, now. Why'd you have to go and pick on blues singers. They are soulful, you know.
Ribeaux: So full of what?
Kraekun: They are full of soul.
Ribeaux: So was my Grandma's catfish pie, but I got news for one ever wanted to eat it twice.
Kraekun: Indigestion?
Ribeaux: Right down to to your very soul.
Kraekun: Well, you'll have that.
Ribeaux: Yeah, her pie was just wrong. Kinda like that nursery rhyme...four and twenty blackbirds...who ever heard of that?
Kraekun: Yeah, blackbird pie can't be very good...I've never had catfish pie, but now I think about it, it doesn't sound too appetizing.
Ribeaux: Damn full of bones. Tasted like the bottom of the lake.
Kraekun: Yikes. You know that ain't good.
Ribeaux: Nope. It was just wrong.
Kraekun: Sounds it.
Ribeaux: Well, listen, I gotta go. Try and ponder on that right and righteous thing, would ya? You might try applying it tomorrow.
Kraekun: Might make me sick. Like your Grandmother's pie. If I were to act righteous, people might think I was up to something.
Ribeaux: Something fishy.
Kraekun: Yeah. I'll try and live it and not "act" it. Goodnight Ribeaux.
Ribeaux: Sounds like a plan. Good night Kraekun.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

A high field

There is the field at the top of the mountain,
Where knee high grass is woven in patterns by the wind,
and Moved aside but not broken by the passage,
of Wild animals, children, and angels.

It is not a place of prideful self-congratulation,
nor a place for healthy disraction,
It is not a gateway to another kingdom,
nor a secret garden to keep in silence.

The sky there is hardly less distant,
And no new monument needs to be made,
To boast of man's indomitable spirit,
As evidenced by the remoteness of that place.

Yet, if I were an Irishman I would call it enchanted.
They did not look far for the fairy realms,
The dancing and singing of little people,
May come from the other side of a hedgerow.

And between the folds of the ridges below,
The dark, heavy trees fade away among the clouds,
What we have left is for the moment forgotten,
And all that we are is all that we brought.

It is a high field,
A place to be grateful.

PM 17: Sleep

Ierod called to Check, and the two together, lifted my head and trunk and placed me into a sitting position.

"Feeling great?" Check said, gruffly. I was silent. "You got great scores. Great things ahead for you. Its quantifiable!"

I turned to face Ierod. He was smiling. Then I looked at Pamille. She seemed less strange to me. She seemed, not grotesque and freakish, but normal and almost natural. Her expression, before an expressionless mask, now clearly bore the signs of a nervous guilt. The weight that had been such a burden, though sensible, was not unbearable any longer. My stomach, which had been twisted in knots, now seemed steady.

"I'm thirsty."

"Tired too, no doubt." Ierod added. " Training isn't rest." I was tired. "And, it's not really over anyway. It will take a few shifts and sleep will help out."

I was tired, but I was also determined not to show any weakness anymore. These people who had seized control of my life, must be resisted if I was to preserve it.

When Ierod, stepped over to Check and pulled him aside as if to say something in private. I swung my legs over the side of the table. I dropped down and walked over to them as assertively as I could. Confidence was welling up within me from some unknown source.

"Can we go back to the canteen?"

Ieroed and Check looked at me in some surprise.

"Sure, hold on. Pamille needs to discharge you. Would you please?"

"Already done." She said.

Ierod's eyes lit up. "Fantastic! Come on. Let's go!" He gestured for Check to follow him, but the troll shook his head.

"I have to put together a team. Pamille and I need to look at the current allocations and whose overloaded. Shortage of people. Everyone is lazy. No one wants to work anymore. Especially those n-gen goons. Rotten, squeamish, miserable lot."

"We'll continue our discussion later. Come with me... Peter right?" I nodded. "You probably remember the way. " I followed him out the door steadily, this time paying more attention.

"How long was it?"

"The training?"


"You mean how much time did it take?"


"I don't know. Maybe a little over a half shift. I don't follow timers. I just run around and when I get tired I find some hole to lie down in and sleep until I wake up and start running around again. You're probably a little confused by all this. But you've had plenty of sleep, plenty of rest. You'll find you don't need so much. Well except to let those chips finish doing whatever they do up there.

"You'll find that the problem really is staying clean and hydrated. Everything is always so dry, and the n-gen don't like the way you'll smell when you get dirty. Nin-folk don't care really. They hate us whatever we smell like. All except the 'intellectual' disenfranchised type like Pamille. But even she doesn't really like us.

"Your suit and the food will take care of a good part of the smell. If you feel the need to defecate or urinate, find a hole like one of those," he pointed to a narrow door, hardly larger than a locker. It was marked by a red circle. "It shouldn't happen too often. But perhaps this is all coming to you. I don't what they teach you in training now. It used to be that the Nin-folk left most of the training to other humans, but now, they like to control it. They aren't squeamish so they probably implant all sorts of things, all sorts of hidden motivations." He said the last two words with thick irony.

"Where am I?"

"In what sense."

"What am I doing here?"

"Don't get philosophical. By the way, I don't like the name 'Peter,' It's too... abrupt. Two syllables, but too hard. I don't like the sound of long e's myself. They pierce my eardrums, like a shriek. I like quiet things more. So, I'm going to call you something else. Your surname was something Irish or Scottish, right? McLane?"


"Not a lot of Irish or Scotch up here surprisingly enough. Or if there are they all long since forgot about it. They don't usually like native English speakers you see." We passed through the doors of the canteen. "I hate this place." He said. "But get yourself something to drink. Go ahead and get something to eat too while your at it." I did as he told and he went and sat down at a bench. The canteen was almost entirely empty. I provisioned myself and returned. "But you'll be different I bet." He said enigmatically, "You won't be like these other things."

"What does that mean."

"I don't like things too clean." He said. "Not meaning I like things dirty, but I think you have to throw the dice every now and then. They like rules, that's what being a Nin-folk is all about. Making lots and lots of rules. They want everything to fit in its own particular hole and stay in the hole. That's why they don't like native English speakers. And that's why Bud and I recruit them. You have messy thoughts, I can tell. You have dark, dirty, nasty, rotten, thoughts." The seriousness of his tone frightened me. "Which is why we are going to get along. You and me and Check and Bud. We are going to shake things up and make it a little less predictable."

"What am I supposed to be doing?"

"Oh.. you'll figure it out. You're a smart kid Macko, and it will come to you soon enough."

PM 16: Aside

I feel the temptation again, to step away from the story and simply explain things from the vantage of experience. But this would not be fair. Not to me. I feel that you should suffer, with me or rather, I think you should suffer like me. Perhaps that's not what I mean either.

Honestly, it is remote now, and I strive to relive it. That's why I am writing. For who is reading? Who is caring? Who does my story concern? Only me.

But if there were a you... an invisible reader. How different things could be.

You could feel my uncertainty and disorientation. You would say, "Yes, I can see how it was painful. That was more painful than anything I ever had to deal with." Or. "How did you endure it? I don't think I could." Then we could agree that I suffered. And we could agree that it was meaningless. "The tragedy is that it was all for nothing."

How many groans of mankind are left unstudied? The vast majority of them to be sure. No one pauses or reflects on the inherent absurdity of the vast majority of awkward confrontations or embarrassments. No one thinks about the freakish absurdity of an accidental crossing of the Styx. The gargling cry in the night from a man dying of some nameless disease in some nameless place.

I survived my own near encounter. I saw the boatman, and nearly paid the coin. I stepped back, but there is a dark future ahead. I will step on that boat and no one will mark my point of departure from this world with a gravestone. If I could write my own epitaph, it would say "and no man afterward remembered that poor man."

So, tell me. Why should I skip forward a single moment or omit a single pang of being from my narrative? I should describe describe the growth of the hairs on my neck.

But I will be merciful. I will say no more of my despair, but this: something within me snapped in that moment on the table, and regardless of what lies beyond, only death can heal me.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

A short, short

A short, short

He was born on the fifth of December. He died on the twelfth of November, Eighty years later.

In his life, he experienced love, joy, trouble, pain, sadness and happiness.

He traveled, some. He stuck around, some.

He lived, he laughed, he saw and he danced.

He lived a life that was truly worth living, and he died a death that was truly worth remembering.

He was passing a liquor store that day, when a man exited, gun to the chin of a comely, young lass shouting profanities (in front of the children, no less).

With a gun in his vest, he reached inside and felt the curvature of the trigger, like he’d done so many times before.

He pulled it while it was still in his vest pocket. He shot the man cold, but as he was dying, and before he hit the ground, he fired a shot into his breast.

He died on the twelfth of November, in the hospital where he was born, eighty years ago.

A nurse there told me, his last words were “I had a good life. A good, good life”.

Deep down there is a small, little smile that reminds me to be thankful that I am living that same, good, good life.

Reposted on Sterquilinium by permission of MB Shepherd


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

PM15: Training

Looking back at that strange walk back down the corridor to the reclamation room, I now find my inaction difficult to fathom. I was certainly weak, tired, and confused. But that is not why I did not try and fight them as they led me towards an unknown but certain danger. I did not try and fight them because I was, at last, moving again. Something was happening. Does a condemned man without hope find some relief when the guards come and get him and start the slow progression towards the gallows? Or did he learn to live with the uncertainty and build up a false hope that death would never come?

I had only been left in suspense a few minutes, perhaps an hour. But it had been enough in this disorienting realm to put my mind in a frenetic state. The slow walk, supported by Ierod and Check had restored order and acted upon me like an opiate. But that false calm was not to last long. We returned to the morgue and they carefully laid me back upon the gurney. As soon as my back touched the cold metal, an almost animal like desire for self-preeservation returned and I strove to sit up.

"Hold on there fellow. This is nothing!" Ierod said as he strapped one of my arms down. "All we are going to do is implant a few chips into your brain. That's all."

I cursed and shreiked and managed to rip my arm away from Check. But with Ierod and teh burden of heightened gravity I was fairly easily subdued. Pamille injected me with what I imagine was a sedative and in a few moments, the urge to fight left me again. The tinny taste of blood filled my mouth and the back of my head ached.

"You better hold still or you'll have some nasty brusies and the whole thing will take longer for the wires to set up. Believe me, you want the wires as short as possible to help your scores. Anyway, it's not like it hurts much."

"I think," Pamille said, "you call this 'minimally invasive.' Essentially that means we do as little damage as possible." I remember that there were only four fingers on her hands. The skin of her fingertips was soft and warm and her touch gentle as she turned my head so that my right ear was against the table. There was a sharp pain behind my left ear. "That's one." And then another in the soft fleshy part of my neck. "And two. This next one will hurt." She pulled back my eyelid at the corner and I felt something slide behind my eye, an enormous pain caused me to gasp, but it ended so quickly I hardly had time to eact. "And three. Now, four. This one is uncomfortable but not so bad." She inserted something up my right nostril. Again a pain and I began to sneeze uncontrollably. "Almost over." She said as she placed one hand over my head with impressive force and then with the other hand, opened my mouth and inserted one of her fingers. I felt a pain in soft pallete above my tongue. "There, that's five. Give it a few minutes to set up and then we can test it and see how well it does."

I lay there on the table as still as if I were dead like the bodies all around me.

"That wasn't so bad was it?" Ierod stated with a barely credible enthusiasm and only a trace of genuine sympathy. "You'll be better than ever in a few minutes."

"What happened?" I asked.

"Training." Check answered. "Five little chips in your head now. They wire themselves in and start checking things out. You'll get that sensation in a few moments."

And indeed, I suddenly was overwhelmed by a series of flickers and bright lights, sounds, sensations, tastes, and odors. They shot all over my body so that I seemed to feel them all at once and every place. If the conversation was continuing about me I lost track of it. The flooding of my perceptions was not exactly pleasent, in fact in some ways it was excruciatingly painful. But what made matters worse was the maelstrom that followed it as I was treated in rapid successions to a rainbow of emotions from despair to euphoria, wrath to lust, frustration to detachment.

When I came back to myself, I found myself unbound. Check was gone but Pamille and Ierod were nearby conversing...

"97." Ierod said. "I don't care what the other scores say, how can you argue with a 97 reflex. And a 94 retention. Combined that's unprecedented. No one scores that high. This is better than anything you could get with a C1OP."

"Yes, but the covariance is a 58. Passing is 60."

"Oh you can fake that. Who is to know."

"It doesn't matter who is to know. There's a reason why passing is a 60, and ev3n at 60 we would limit his service to only a few months."

"Would you send him to MRA?"

"Of course not. It's way too dangerous for that."

"Then what are you suggesting?"

"Dump it."

Ierod turned quickly to look at me. I was completely still though my eyes were staring at him. "How much longer?" He asked anxiously.

"At least ten minutes. It has to regain its balance. It would be completely disoriented."

"It freaks me out." He turned back to Pamille. "But 97, 94, 88, 91 thos scores are too good. He could be in charge of a division in two or three months. We need someone like that."

"58 Ierod."

"Who looks at covariance. Nobody even knows what covariance is except you and the chip designers. He probably scored low there because he scored high. Too much information always leaves a little confusion. If you go slow, it works it's way out on the field."


"Is almost 60. I need someone."

"Even if it did pass those scores are too good for what you want."

"No. It's perfect. I give him his assignment. He has time to adjust. He comes back in three months. You test him again. If he's still 58 then we dump him..."


"... look this is what you were hoping for. Your chips are better than standard issue. And when's the next time you are going to get to try them out? Three months. Check didn't see the scores. Just change them. Take four off the top three. Add 12 to covariance and he's in the black all around. The total is the same."

I heard Check walk in. "So. What's the score?"

"428." Replied Ierod cheerfully.

"Not bad. Not tremendously good, but not bad. What was his high?"

Ierod looked at Pamille. "It scored low in covariance." She said


She paused. "Yes. A 70."

"But a 93 in reflex."

"93? Really? You must have plunked them down with nanometer leads. Well, what the hell is covariance anyway."

PM 14: (Continued)

Editor's Note: I apologize for the use of the various acronyms if they make the conversation too confusing. C1OP = Class one operative which Peter was originally hired in as. MRA = Material Resource Acquisition, a minor position in the EARA which does not require much in the way of special skills. EARA, if you recall, is the Eternal Agressive Revolutionary Army. PE is Population Encouragement. Transit is, of course, like a period of suspended animation or induced coma. It's really used to keep people who are going to be in tight containers for long periods sane, but it is unhealthy.

The actual conversations were much worse for Peter and filled with more jargon-filled language and references. I have simplified them substantially.

"I don't think so," Ierod said, "confused more likely. Has he been trained?"

"No," Pamille replied. "I am going to administer the basic training program for MRA."

"What a waste. Look, why don't you go ahead and give him a C1OP? See how he does?"

"We don't have many left. You talk about wasting resources. It was in transit two weeks too long. Who knows what that did to its..."

“One of Gereltz people was in transit for almost two months and lived.” Interrupted the Ogre. “Remember, he had stuffed himself in to hide from that PULVA raid and shipped himself back here. But no valid claim form came with him and if we hadn’t needed the tube we would never have even looked inside.”

“That’s very amusing, Check, but if I recall that fellow’s brain was a tad on the mushy side.” said Ierod.

I regret now my first opinion of Check, but he was in fact ugly and combative. Yet I came to know that he was one of the “good guys” in the EARA. Like Ierod.

“Yes, not that it matters but it is now just re-spooling transmission records off unclaimed shuttles.”

The obscure talk was again causing me to hyperventilate. “There’s nothing wrong with me!” I screamed out, and followed the protestation with a stream of expletives. The three of them stared at me for a moment.

“Class 1? I don’t think that would be a wise thing to attempt.” Pamille said after I was done.

“Then why not try one of your experimental programs?” Check suggested. “If his mind is mush what difference will it make?”

“I don’t want my reputation further lowered around here. When it goes bad, what will people blame? Me or it?”

“I won’t tell anyone. What about you Check?”

“It seems like a perfect opportunity to try something new.”

“You could always just say he died suddenly.” She was hesitating. “Come on Check, let’s get him to his feet. Central training?” Ierod grabbed one arm while Check grabbed the other.

“No, Diot will probably be in there. Let’s take it back to reclamation. We can do it there.”

Friday, February 15, 2008

PM 14: Gasp

I almost dozed off until yet another jolt startled me. And with th jolt came another intense emotion, an instictive and urgent desire to run. It was so powerful that, if my weight had not been so great I would have jumped out of my seat. Instead, I lurched upward, tripped over the bench and landed on my back with a loud and painful thud. I cried out, and went still, my breath coming in gasps.

I sweat remembering it.

I stared at the ill-lit ceiling above me, clenched my fists and groaned.

"One of yours?" A voice said.
"No. Don't know him. Probably a space transporter whose been too long on the aem." The last word came was pronounced with an emphasis on the first letter like ay-em.

I propped myself up and saw the two contestants above me. The skeleton-man crouching, elbows on his knees, looked at me as if I were a particularly disgusting bug he had just crushed with his boot. The other, spent his gaze on the other occupants who had backed away to the walls.

"Look at them. They're so pathetic. Miserable. Less than worms really. And I'm supposed to do something with them?"

"Who are you?" Skeleton-man asked.

"Oh, just get an HRO. He needs a lethal dose of something or other."

"Here, let me help you up. Where are you stationed?" The skeleton, with surprising strength and speed grabbed me by the wrists and yanked me into a sitting position.

"Why do you waste your time?" The ugly one queried nastily.

"I'm short you idiot. What have we been talking about. " He turned back to me. His look was not kind, but it was curious. "Are you a transfer or are you a new recruit?"

"I'm Peter. MacLeinn. Where is Bud?"

He put his hand to his mouth, possibly to conceal a smile. "Procurement. You're a nojen. Hey, Check, go get Pamille."

"No need, because she's sloughing her way through the door now." And in fact, over the skeleton's shoulder I could see her form approaching in its half sliding, half stubling manner.

"This one will be nothing but trouble." She said.

"Where did you get him? We aren't due for another two weeks?"

"It was simply late in getting here. It should be dead."

"So his position has been filled. Bud let go of him."

"Yes, but if you want it, it's too late. He has been claimed by Material Resource Acquisitions to..."

"Screw them. What do they need a nojen for? Any beast or lilly can stuff a bar of Beryllium down its pants." The ugly man started to laugh at this image. The skeleton turned to me, "My name is Ierod Iohann. I work in Population Encouragement. How would you like to work for me?"

The Ogre checked his snorting and blurted out contemptuously "What, you're asking him? Just tell him. Oh I suppose everything is flat now just like you like it. Let's all have a big meeting and we can take turns picking."

Pamille's voice picked up an edge. "It isn't yours and it hasn't been trained. You don't know what it is good for."

"Neither does MRA."

"It's obviously stupid."

"So? You can tell. He's a perfect neutral. That's what I need a neutral. Someone nobody thinks anything about or looks twice at but isn't a lilly."

"Where's Bud?" I asked.

"See. Stupid."

Monday, February 04, 2008

Skeeter to himself

"It's a long way between drinks," I said. "A long time with the cup held high."

There's nothing but a thin coating in there.
Like paint on the inside of a can.
I'm waiting for that last drop to fall.
But it ain't coming.
And I'm all dried up.

Any minute now,
I'm gonna crack,
And the gasps at the bottom of my lungs,
Are gonna come right up to the top.

"It's a long time between drinks," I said.
I've forgotten what it was like to be drunk.
Drunk and drunk and drunk and drunk.
And whadoicare? drunk.

Because what I was drinking
It wasn't no sin
And I wasn't drinking to forget anyway.
I was drinking to remember.
But I can't remember no more.

I'm gonna crack and I wish I would,
Like a sick man who wants to throw up,
But his body is still too well to obey,
So he wants to get a whole lot sicker.

I don't know whether I should break or not.
If I break would there be sumthin there to drink?
So I go on with the cup to my lips,
That nearly empty cup.
It's been a long time since I had something.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A Pseudonym for Kingdom, Come

In the place, that is not named,
in the hall, that no one finds;
there is a scribe who sits,
and ponders, upon time.

There is a name he seeks,
a name, he can not find.
Time it heals all scars,
and memory, it too may fade.

This scribe, he doth scratch,
a pate that is so sullen;
for want of years, and light,
he doth in age lose sight.

But memory somehow serves,
to render, incomplete
a soul without begrudging,
a soul, imperfectly complete!

And so it doth go,
upon the book of ages,
that One there is above,
who lives beyond the sages.

And in that mortal book,
there one solemn name.
And in that name...sanctification
of a love beyond one's nation.

And so, within this life,
I will continue, albeit same
to seek that mortal memory
of the Love, that is...His Name.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Huckabee For President - I Like Mike!

We need a fighter for our side in the culture war, not some weak-kneed triple divorcée like Guiliani, or a brain-blown Manchurian candidate like McCain. Get on the train and steamroll the Democrats in '08!

Monday, January 14, 2008

9:25 AM, 101st Floor

Though perched above the fires
that roil and send up acrid clouds
for now my view is clear

Before me untouched majesty
stretched out across a whitecapped sea
too far to be so near

Around me: screams and sobs and cries
and panicked prayers and futile rage
of those about to die

Heat must rise, and so it brings
in waves upon a fiery tide
an anguished tear to eye

Confronting my oblivion
yet still with choice and still with will
for minutes or for hours

Before me on my office desk
the icons of a life soon gone
to rubble with the towers

A picture frame of summer scenes
a beach with children, smiling wife
my shattered conscience learns

That all such things are treasures
for beyond the frame and through the glass
the second tower burns

Machines have failed, there is no way
to reach out from this flaming tomb
and touch those fleeting lives

Yet still I live, in mockery
powerless to save the life
from which my will derives

And so, again, that single choice
the choice to burn or fall and die
sum total of my years

I stand as I unknot my tie
then fold it, lay it on my desk
damp from unchecked tears

And walk to where the window gapes
where others, early pioneers
have given will their voice

And face against the endless wind
eyes closed, mouth dry and clenching fists
I make my final choice

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Nikki Giovanni on Current Events

Oh you rotten Musharraf!
You nasty, no good wanna-be white man!
You can blame the brothers
But we know you offed Bhutto
you nasty SNAKE
with your olive-drab army pants

You gonna get it when my bitch-goddess is callin' the shots

My bitch-goddess is gonna tear you up
you rotten Musharraf