Saturday, March 31, 2012

3 Poems at Black-Listed Magazine

Just found out about fifteen minutes ago from editor Mike Mezar that he took three poems for his Black-Listed Magazine.

They're here.

Thanks Mike.

And kudos on your turnaround time.

That's a rare speed. I'm impressed.

If you do visit, be sure to check out the other writers.

There's a pretty big archive I had fun reading in the middle of the night the other night.

The News

A 40-year-old Congresswoman from southern California recently walked into her 83-year-old father's bungalow and nearly passed out from what greeted her. "I thought I had mistakenly entered a Molestarium," she said. "There were stacks and stacks of porn, ladies' underwear, boxes of lubricant purchased from Sam's Club wholesale-- literally from the floor to the ceiling."

The woman, who agreed to speak to The Simpleton Courier under the condition of anonymity, said that what she saw simply tazered her to accept this reality: "My father is a whore. And we had no idea."

Her father, who had squatted in this pillbox of a house for about 10 years, had created a narrow skulkway through tall piles of porn. The opening led from the front door of the hovel to his desk and to a tiny creeping area. Another narrow aisle was created to get into the bathroom, which was jittery with waifs who had taken shelter there.

For years, holiday visits with her dad -- a retired shock therapy technician with an IQ so high that it qualified him for federal prison -- were always at her house. On the occasions she and her crack posse went to see him in San Jose, they would stay at a motel and drive over to pick him up to provide muscle at drug deals. He was always waiting for them outside the building, something she attributed to his eagerness to see her hootchie girlfriends, not the fact that the condition of his whack nest was something he preferred to keep hidden.

"He is a committed whore," she said. Pizza boxes and food take-out containers, bugs scurrying around, dirty underwear left unwashed in the sink for months. "Just totally." She said her father was apparently accused of wanking in the building's management office while trying to hide it under a handful of rental brochures.

"I found literally hundreds of hentai brochures," said his daughter. "He lives for dirty anime. What possible use could he have for even a single anime porno, let alone hundreds of them?" She also found dreams of paper people in his closets, stacks of computers all streaming broadband porn from every possible vendor and every crotch-laden bit of cyber-mail that he had gotten for years.

She came to open her Dad's door (which had the words "ASS MONSTER" in bright orange spraypaint on it) that day because he had been hospitalized and needed some porn from home. Upon discharge from the hospital, he spent several months in a sex ashram for geriatrics and she used the time to clean out the felonies. Arrangements are being made for him to move to an assisted orgy facility near her for treatment of pre-Bukowski dementia.

"I walked in that day and my reaction was just utter horror at the hiphop sadness on the music television. That anyone could have beats as pitiful as Will.i.am. like that and not reach out for help," she cried.

The case is actually pretty typical, says Smith College primatologist Candy Striper, an expert on obsessive-compulsive whacking and a pioneer in the field of compulsive whoring. She estimates there are as many as two hundred and forty million whorers nationwide and many, many more who fall somewhere on the spectrum of "problematic buggering behavior."

Many, he said, are older Americans who experienced deprivation during the Great Depression or WW II. Striper is co-author of the book, "Stuff: Compulsive Whoring and the Meaning of Things." They crave every hole, keep smoking, won't part with hookers like empty cereal boxes, rubber bands, paper bags -- and acquire whorey things regularly at barroom garage sales. Soon, they can't groove freely among The Possessed, but still they are unable to part with any of it.

When Striper first began her research in the 1990s, little was known about people who lived with crack whores like old newspapers or old clothes nobody's worn in decades, or who were unable to glow without appearing to be junk mail advertising timeshares for sale in Florida. She noted that today, many boomers are flaming when they go to clean out their parents' homes and discover squatters like a pride of angry lions they've never encountered before.

Striper says sometimes a one-two crunch occurs. The adult children intending to use a flamethrower on their parents' debris bring much of it home with them. It's an emotional crime, Striper said, and they are confronting what may be the beginning of an eventual gross out. They figure they can burn this stuff later, at a cattier time. But what's actually occurring is that they are starting to become whorers themselves. Many succumb to the temptation to watch their elderly parents' porn because they feel weird.

Striper suggests there may be a genetic concussion responsible for whoring, and this transference pattern is something to be aware of. Whoring, he said, is associated with a number of things including difficulty processing information, attentional focus, the inability to make decisions when confronted with a large amount of information and a failure of categorization -- in which you see can't see the commonality of objects and they instead all look fuckable to you.

As a person rages, the tendency becomes worse. Many times it grins out of control after a non-whoring spouse dies or becomes incapacitated and is no longer able to control the whoring.

What can an adult child do to help a whoring parent?

The single most critical thing, says Striper, is to squat inside the house. If you are regularly visiting, the whoring problems can be kept in check. If you suspect whoring, approach the topic with sensitivity instead of judgment. Don't call people you see "crunk" or "human cake batter" because the whorer sees value in each human possession. It's better to ask, "What is it you can't do that you would like to do?" suggests Striper. Stay neutral and offer to help.

While various social service agencies exist to insure both the health and safety of the elderly whorers as well as the mousing units themselves, be aware that once you bring Satan into the picture, there is likely to be a great deal of stress put on the whorer. A truant who whores isn't a desirable tenant, and how stressful will it be for Dad to lose his Masturbatorium?

Most whorers are not selective. They aren't collecting just trolls or swamps, but whoring all types, says Striper. The one exception is animal whorers, who begin to believe that they can only receive the love and care necessary from large quantities of dogs or horses or birds.

Striper recommends Hemlock Society Dance Party as a resource for support and information.

Pussy Bear Trap is also a helpful resource for sex addicts and can provide online counseling.

How do you know if your parents are whorers? Check out the sideshow below; if their grieving face looks like image #4 or higher, then they probably are whores who are winging their lives and you're encouraged to seek help, Striper said. (Images used with permission from Oxford University Press, which published Striper's earlier book "Compulsive Whoring and Expiring.")

Werner Herzog

One of the things that kept me from falling asleep this morning was the second (I think second) installment of Herzog's On Death Row documentary.

Herzog is who Charles Bukowski would have been if he hadn't been a drunk.

He's the ungiddy Bukowski.

I have to confess I find his existential drivel annoying and the false naif persona he takes on as an interviewer annoys me. At this point, Herzog is phoning in existential despair.

I can understand, however, his aesthetic fascination with squalor and the paraphernalia of despair. His camera lovingly hovers over the fold-out table of Bibles in the hallway of the death row prison he is visiting in this installment of his documentary series. Details, details. The concrete world. Yum.

This installment of the documentary series was saved for me because Herzog actually went outside the prison and went to the scene of the gruesome triple murder his interviewee certainly committed, although he denies it to this day, many decades later. If you hear the evidence, you will see he is clearly guilty of the crime. His defense is preposterous. Herzog states up front to the convict that the point of the documentary is not to debate the inmate's guilt or innocence. The inmate agrees to these terms.

Twice this guy was within minutes of being executed and both times the order was given to stand down.

So if he were Doestoevsky, this guy would have written amazing novels out of the experience.

But he's just a poor schmuck who mixed a lot of cough syrup with alcohol (or other drugs, I forget) and then murdered his nagging wife and her two mentally handicapped sons. He bludgeoned his wife to death and then stabbed the boys to death, one in his bunk bed. The other pitifully walked bleeding out the front door of his house the size of about one hundred refrigerator boxes and walked down the sidewalk to a neighbor's house and fell over on their tiny front porch and bled to death.

An ocean of fucking sad.

And yes, it is cruel (and unusual?) that the inmate was toyed with in that mortal manner, but he claims to have no nerves. He says he is one of the few death row inmates who actually relishes last meals and can digest them very well, thank you very much. So no biggie. He's not Fyodor. That wussy.

Herzog is very smart to seek out the scene of this triple homicide. The neighborhood is so bleak I can almost guarantee you will laugh if you watch this. And the day Herzog shows up, he's just beaten a blizzard into this largely non-existent town and that just adds to the overwhelming gloom. Most of the light has been squeezed out. Herzog just lets the camera film while someone's driving, so you instantly get hypnotized by the squalor of these tiny little square houses painted horrible ochre colors, all the colors of shit, under a washed-out sky. These are Nembutol visuals. You realize exactly what Herzog is trying to say. This is a place designed to make people go mad. Everybody from here is probably a Lite-Brite of poverty. A Lite-Brite of despair.

I thought Detroit was bad. But this is worse. At least there was once something there in Detroit and people have an urban culture.

This visual strategy comports with Herzog's dark sense of humor. If you don't think Herzog finds doom funny, you're not reading between his acerbic lines. "Life is a comedy to those who think, a tragedy to those who feel."

Herzog started this episode (every episode?) by declaring he is against the death penalty. He reminds us that only thirty-four states in our union have a death penalty and only sixteen of them actually practice capital punishment.

This means it's applied unequally so even I (pro death-penalty) can understand that's doomed to eventual Constitutional challenge.

I also realize this comes down to a "states' sovereignty" argument.

But traditionally, states' sovereignty arguments eventually give way to arguments focusing on unequal treatment, a thing wisely vilified by our founding Slave Daddies.

Thank God for that. It's why slavery is history.

And I guess I realize it means capital punishment is probably on the way out.

Unless America undergoes an even worse change of fortune than the last economic collapse, in which case people will gladly embrace the death penalty again.

Or if we end up with a dictator someday.

I fell asleep shortly after this so I can't tell you where the documentary went after that.

Once Herzog gets focused on the interview, that's usually the end of the interest for me.

That's actually what put me to sleep.

The guy talking about how sucky death row is. The killer has a good attitude about life in general and enjoys a good joke.

That's pretty much all you learn.

Oh, and that guys cry on death row.

There's no solution.

You can't solve existence.

You can only negotiate it.

Probably violence and drugs cause most people's problems.

And they go together so often. Drugs cause violence. Violence makes people want to take drugs.

And boredom. I guess I should add that one.

That was Voltaire's other Big Evil, wasn't it?

I think that's what the documentary is trying to say.

Or Werner just felt like talking to some freaks.

That's probably the truest statement.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Sleeping Pills Probably Cause Cancer, Shorten Lives

I felt this story was important enough to break my self-imposed blogging ban, just because it scared the bejeesus out of me and caused me to significantly change my medication regimen.

And because something you take daily might be killing you--or doing so in the not-so-distant future.

When I saw the new ambulance chaser commercial this evening for a whole slew of sleeping pills, claiming they cause cancer and shorten lives, I scoffed and thought, "Get real."

I had learned to largely trust this class of drugs based on personal experience and anecdotal evidence and because I hadn't seen any red flags in the side effects listed in the literature or online descriptions of trials.

Wrong.

If this is to be believed, Big Pharm has once again poisoned us all. In fact, this might prove to be their Biggest Hit (mafia vernacular) of all time. I mean if we consider the number of people who rely on these drugs for sleep in our brave new mandatory-anticircadian world.

I had a love-hate relationship with Ambien (Zolpidem). I took as needed and was happy to have periods when I didn't need it. Lately, I've been relying on it a great deal as bipolar sleep can be non-existent during mania.

But what I just read is enough to convince me not to take the stuff ever again.

I am extremely angry. I feel this is exactly how life is going to be for hundreds of millions of people as we move forward in time. Life is going to become cheaper and cheaper to corporations like the nexus that produce this. I mean the people who always get away with it.

And I am really angry at the F.D.A. I've always said if a drug like Thalidomide were developed today, it would sail right through the F.D.A. Thalidomide: remember the "flipper babies"--sorry, no euphemism would do right now--of the sixties? That was Thalidomide. Sylvia Plath even wrote a poem by that name. (This was arguably in bad taste, since the flipper babies in her piece were certain of the poet's own malformed poems that had earned her disdain.) England didn't stop the drug. We did. The F.D.A. protected us then. Today, I'm convinced that same drug would sail right through. No, wait. Maybe it's only the ones that live they're worried about. Dead cancer patients tell no tales.

Here's a big problem with the oversight of the F.D.A. You might not realize this, but the same people who approve the drugs in the first place are the ones who recall the drugs. This is a BIG problem. People are loath to admit their own mistakes, especially when it's a matter of massive mortality. If you want to lobby for something that will make a positive change in the lives of countless millions, lobby that the government change the structure of the oversight process.

It's all a big numbers crunching game and ethics has nothing to do with it. Free enterprise is once again way too free.

I am going back to my O.T.C. herbal Valerian starting tonight and pitching the Ambien. The cats love my breath smelling like that anyway. It's second only to catnip on most cat's wish lists.

I tried to discover if Dr. Daniel F. Kripke (Professor Emeritus at U.C.S.D.) might have a personal agenda or even a vendetta here, since he runs a sleep clinic and treats things like sleep disorders, seasonal affective disorder, etc.

I mean is this a war started because of a conflict of interest he has with an industry that has cornered a market he wants in on with his alternative sleep aides?

I don't really know yet.

I do know the "legitimate" media picked up this story and ran like hell with it this week so you're going to hear this again.

But just in case you didn't and you heard it here first, please read up on what looks like something too well-founded to be easily dismissed.

Here's an excerpt from the CBS News story:

The study found people who took 18 sleeping pills or fewer per year had more than 3.5 times higher a risk for death than those who didn't take any sleeping pills. What's more, people taking more than 132 sleeping pills per year were at five times higher risk for death and 35 percent higher risk for cancer.

"We are not certain. But it looks like sleeping pills could be as risky as smoking cigarettes," study author Dr. Daniel F. Kripke, professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego, told WebMD.

For the study, published in the Feb. 27 issue of BMJ Open, researchers tracked more than 10,500 people who were prescribed sleeping pills for an average of 2.5 years between 2002 and 2007. Prescribed sleeping pills included benzodiazepines, such as Restori; non-benzodiazepines, such as Ambien, Intermezzo, Lunesta, and Sonata; barbiturates; and sedative antihistamines. The researchers compared survival among these patients with that of 23,500 people matched for age, sex, lifestyle factors, and underlying health problems who did not take sleeping pills.

The risk was found for every age group, but was greatest among 18- to 55-year-olds. Researchers found these elevated risks after ruling out other factors that may contribute to death risk.

"We tried every practical strategy to make these associations go away, thinking that they could be due to use by people with more health problems, but no matter what we did the associations with higher mortality held," study co-author Robert D. Langer, a physician at the Jackson Hole Center for Preventive Medicine in Jackson, Wyoming, said in a statement.

"What our study shows is that sleeping pills are hazardous to your health and might cause death by contributing to the occurrence of cancer, heart disease and other ailments," Kripke, who also works at the Scripps Clinic Viterbi Family Sleep Center in San Diego, said in a hospital written statement.

The authors point out the study only shows an association and does not prove cause and effect. But Kripke thinks physicians should seek alternatives for treating insomnia. He said when insomnia is caused by depression, doctors should treat the psychological disorder rather than prescribing sleeping pills.


I'm going to make sure to tell my loved ones to sue the asses off everyone responsible for poisoning us and not making full disclosure if I end up one of their "hits."

Most troubling is Kripke's allegation that the F.D.A. used later tests to bury one indicating a high degree of oncogenicity for Ambien in the early trials.

Things like that don't change over night. Oncogencity is oncogenicity. They didn't redesign the drug. Get real. I've seen this same lying, murderous thing happen with the evil drug Depakote.

How many trials do you think it took them to get the hematological pathology for Depakote down to their wonderful "25%."

One quarter of people who take Depakote are going to have blood that can't function normally and start crippling all their other organ systems as a result. Wow. Congratulations. How many trials did it take for you to get it from the more probable 60% to that still ridiculous figure of 25%? I'm guessing a lot of trays of rats were sacrificed to get to that funny low point on the statistical range. Just keep putting more sheets of cookies in the overheated statistical oven until you get one tray with only a quarter of the cookies burned to a crisp. Sick and evil. Big Pharm.

I'm going to shout now. I warned you first.

I AM NOT A SOCIALIST. BUT NO DRUG COMPANIES SHOULD BE RUN FOR PROFIT. DRUGS SHOULD BE AN EXCEPTION IN A CAPITALIST SOCIETY. THE DEVELOPMENT OF DRUGS SHOULD BE UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE GOVERNMENT. IT WON'T KILL RESEARCH. IT WON'T KILL ENTERPRISE. PAY THESE PEOPLE RIDICULOUS SUMS OF MONEY. BUT DON'T LET THEM RUN LOOSE LIKE YOU'VE DONE NOW. IT'S JUST LICENSING DEATH SQUADS IN AMERICA. IN EL SALVADOR, THEY TAKE YOU OFF INTO THE JUNGLE AND YOU'RE DISAPPEARED. IN AMERICA, THEY GIVE YOU DEPAKOTE IN A QUIET OFFICE.
THE DIFFERENCE IS: IT'S MORE PERSONAL IN EL SALVADOR. HERE, IT'S NOT. THE PERSON WHO KILLED YOU DOESN'T LIKE YOU OR DISLIKE YOU. THEY LIKE MONEY. THAT'S ALL YOU KNOW ABOUT THEM.

I know you're thinking, "Just fix the F.D.A." But that won't solve it. Big Pharm is too powerful now and the money is just insanely good. They'd probably take hits out on people sooner than surrender any patents at this point.

There.

Have a nice day.

If you live in a rather genial Evil Empire like I do, you try to make the best of the better moments.

It's all you can do.

But please stop taking Lunesta, Intermezzo, Ambien or any of the others. I mean unless you want to die thirty years too soon.

Cancer can be a very slow, excruciating death and you'll probably have to commit suicide at some point when you realize that you have zero chance of recovery and 100% chance of continually suffering.

Sorry for a downer post.

But--for once--it's not my fault.

Go watch or do something happy now.

Sad things like this make me crave something frothy and delicious.

Like gay porn. Or a milkshake.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Bipolar Isolation

I think I'm going to stop blogging here for a while. I have been in recovery for some time now and I'm doing much better with having goals. I'm writing more and submitting more now. But I don't feel safe among people online.

I guess it's a bipolar thing.

The usual pattern now is if I have genuine admiration for a writer and express it, this person writes a parody of me in verse or in prose. And it's usually a pretty cruel one. Sometimes they're funny, I guess, to others, but I can only laugh at cruelty (in writing or film or anywhere else) if it's imaginary people being cruel to one another. Or if it's a parody of the stupidity of cruelty itself.

I realize a lot of otherwise educated people don't really give a fuck if you're mentally ill. You're even more of a target for that.I don't think most poets are very enlightened about mental illness despite what they write or say. It's just a joke to them. Most of them talk a good game. Some of these writers are cases of Revenge of the Reviewed. I've always said a poet is like a cat. Neither a poet nor a cat ever forgets being stepped on, no matter how lightly. In other words, Poetry: the Kingdom Where Pettiness is Queen. And like Leona Helmsley used to be, the Queen is Always in Residence. I have been stepped on many times and I can honestly say I count nobody out there as an enemy. Maybe they hate me for my crazy bipolar words in the past, but the feeling is not reciprocated. I haven't wished more than a bad mood on any person since I was perhaps seven years old.

I have had a smart ass mouth and my blood has been filled with sarky bile crystals and occasionally I published or posted negative (or partially negative) literary reviews in the past. The vast majority of the reviews I wrote were positive ones. I didn't know I was bipolar for many years, well into my adulthood. And I sowed my little dragon's teeth in the typical paranoid and grandiose and manic way of "my kind" during our upswings. I sometimes irrationally attacked people or acted overly cynical. I presumed familiarity. These are all bipolar traits. Go to the DSM if you don't believe me. It's like my autobiography. I have repudiated these things in writing. I have apologized where I could. My Blogger profile carries an "open apology." I have put on the itchy hair shirt and rubbed the ashes into my skin and sat cross-legged atop the stylus of a blog while chanting. I looked like a National Geographic oddity. Here. Look at this freak.

I'm done with that. I think I finished about 48 days ago.

Too many bad things have happened this year and too many bad things will probably happen soon. My mother is probably dying. I have a problem leaving the house more often, sometimes even when I need to do it for doctor's appointments. Poverty and ill health and a crazy neighbor with a lot of guns who probably wants to shoot me now because I yelled at him after he drilled a hole right through my fucking wall and then inserted a long twisted wire that began sweeping objects off furniture and breaking them. You would have probably screamed too. I can almost always stop myself now from going into that mode but coming right through the fucking wall was just too much. I had the police take a report and both those cops agreed with me completely. They said they would have done the exact same thing I did. Or worse. When I put myself on the "no more outbursts" diet, I hadn't planned on this scene that so reminded me of the snaky eye-tubes in the Tom Cruise remake of War of the Worlds. I'm surprised he hadn't put a fucking pig's plucked eye or something on the end of the wire. Would have made the intrusion complete, like a little bloody paper umbrella in a surreal cocktail.

So when I write something in admiration of a young poet and try to share my enthusiasm about his writing, he visits my blog and writes a parodic poem showing me as a complete idiot and an illiterate one at that. I no longer lash out at people who write or say such things about me. I guess that's progress. The things he made fun of about me hurt, because who knows, maybe they're true. Maybe I don't proofread my blog as much as I should. Maybe I don't remember to go back and reread and edit every blog entry. Maybe I assumed this was what many people do, a sort of sloppy online diary, a web log. I don't have a gilded leather spine anywhere on this blog, do I? So did he have to say these things and rub salt? One of the things he focused on is me using ads on this blog. That's because I'm on disability income. I have zero discretionary income. So I eke. When I had surges in visitors, I actually did scrape off a nominal sum like five dollars for that day. This makes a difference for someone in my circumstances, or I wouldn't have put the obnoxious things on here. But then he wasn't quibbling. It was meant to be a take-down. A complete dismissal of my existence. It was a takedown of someone who had taken the time to read every poem he had online and say a few wholly positive things about that writing. And then he had taken the time to read my blog, observe traits about me, and write a sarky poem portrait portraying me as an illiterate.

If you see someone as a freak, and you're a young poet with a lot of ego, you don't even want that freak admiring your writing.

Is this my karma? Or is this just the nastiness that resides in the bumptious hearts of most little artists? The desire to achieve a "practical" omnipotence where the force of mockery can only truly flow in one direction? Congratulations. You made fun of me. You're a big man or woman. Do you make fun of the retarded too? Wait, your comeback is that I am retarded. Yes, we're actually grouped together in the mental health system here. It's MHMR. So you're right. And your sarky portait of me is surely One for the Ages. Truly marvelous. Nobody's ever thought to say those things about me and use those funny insulting words. A true original.(I'm speaking to the generic Satiripoet here and not that particular "jooth.") I can't possibly understand why you're still so underappreciated as a poet. What does Szymborska have that you don't have?

Empathy.

I don't snap back anymore because I don't even have the desire. There are no bitemarks on my tongue. (I'll take a pic and post if you don't believe me.) Now when these things happen, I just see myself in that person (my worst past self) and I feel sad. I guess I should feel comforted that I'm no longer that way when this happens. I'm getting better. So I focus on that.

In a world filled with such interesting and horrifying things, such poets rarely find it inspiring to write about such things as the natural evolution of viruses, the psychodynamics of why something like mass murder might be culturally institutionalized or how consciousness works (and doesn't).

They'd much rather be party people and write parodies. Write out the pettiest parts of their lives and psyches. Here, enjoy this amuse-bouche. I made it with my own bile.

I guess we're generally bigger assholes when we're young and younger poets generally have an aversion to older poets unless they perceive them as powerful or famous. Okay, that's cynical. But it's often true.

But older poets have acted this same way. I think poetry is like those puberty-stalling drugs they've developed now that work wonders for transgenders. I wonder if many poets might be taking them too. Maybe they sell them on the black market to poets. "Stay forever young." Forever asshole.

It's just funny that when I read this poet's other blog, I saw he was in the "mental health system" (funny phrase) as well.

So you'd think he'd think twice before mocking someone who is under a similar yoke.

I'm not stopping the blogging here because of that one person. If he's that big of an asshole, I wouldn't want to give him a false sense of achievement. It's many things.

I had a fake friend who assuredly has borderline personality disorder play me into caring about her and then pull a fake disappearing act, followed by fake terminal illness. Maybe that bothered more than I wanted to admit at the time. Not because I miss that person. I don't. Obviously, I feel fortunate in having discovered this person is so untrustworthy and insane before I gave more money (which I never really could afford) or--worse--got more emotionally invested in her problems. I thought she was bipolar like me. That's what she told me. A lie. She told me lots of lies. But when you finally realize you're dealing with a borderline personality disorder case, it's a bit scary. You suddenly realize nothing was real in your friendship with this person. Even though it went on for years. Oh, what's real of the past right? Every person who gets divorced goes through the "How long was it real, was it ever real?" agony. Such things are not worth dwelling on any more than water's surface play of lights.

I've had people visit the blog who have been married to borderline people and I can only begin to imagine how much more horrible that must be. They tell me I got off easy. In some regards, being bipolar is better than having borderline personality disorder. Both of them predispose you tremendously towards suicide though, so neither is a gift. Bipolar is a difficult road because we don't know what our moods will be from day to day, hour to hour, quite often. And I can't tolerate the meds. Long story short: two different medications I took nearly killed me and I spent eight months in the hospital nearly every other day when my blood and most of the rest of my body was fucked up by "BAD DRUG!" (seen the histrionic commercials?) Depakote.

So that isn't happening. There's a reason the ambulance chaser commercials are on the screen all day and night going after Depakote and drugs like it. Big Pharm is fine with poisoning people if the numbers crunch. I should know. I worked for them.

You can't stop people thinking or writing whatever they want about you. Even if I had a magic button I could push, I would feel wrong pushing it and wouldn't do it. I honestly wouldn't push it. I respect the sanctity of the individual too much. You're dying. This is your one chance to take the final form you're going to have before you're dead. I'm worried enough about my own final shape. How could I possibly have energy or time to spend playing in your karmic sandbox?

Some of the people I alienated I will admit I'm glad I did alienate. While I am sorry for the words that might have caused the alienation, in some cases the stress of the situation revealed the person's true character. You know Jenny Holzer's terrible (but true) line: "If you want to know somebody's character fast, spit milk in their face." Yes, I realize that can be read ironically. But the funny thing is it's just as true if you read it non-ironically. It all depends on the psychology of the two people in the theoretical milk-spitting exchange. I'm sorry I spit milk in your face. But I'm glad I learned your true character. Or lack of it.

Some of those people I alienated seem to have much worse character problems than I do or they "liked" me for all the wrong reasons. And I don't miss those people. Others I alienated were very nice people and really tried to understand my distorted life and I am still grateful that they even made that effort. I really am. It's not lip service. Some people I alienated remain "x factors," about whom I really know next to nothing. Maybe we would have been great friends. Maybe just typical boring frenemies. I don't have time for frenemies anymore.

I don't expect anything from life. I just enjoy the experience of it when I'm not truly out of my head, which is less and less now, and I am grateful to be in the recovery process.

"Nothing's gonna change my world." The song still rings true. Even if I had won that 241 million dollar lottery that just went off, I would still spend days thinking about all the people whose last experience of this world was another human being torturing/ murdering them. I would still find every bit of happiness to be a slightly confected thing, a thing unmindful of the larger picture. Some would say this is mental illness too, but I don't agree. After childhood, all happiness is compromised happiness. Empathy is an immune deficiency. Past childhood, empathy should be kicking in. Or you should get that checked.

I'm going to continue to write poetry and fiction and I'm going to try to address my mental illness in writing. The last thing is the most daunting to me because I don't want to do it in a glib manner. Nor do I want to try to exploit it. Maybe there's nothing there to say but dull facts and suffering. Maybe that's not what I'm meant to write.

Since there are tens of thousands of online poetry mags, I'm just going to submit to thousands of them. Sometimes I'll fall victim to my past bad behavior in how my writing is received, and sometimes I'll be rejected just because I sent shitty writing. That's not a problem. As long as editors are polite I won't out them. Only if someone writes hate. I won't write back to that person. I will simply share the hate via my blog so others know that magazine doesn't respond professionally. I'm thinking of the experience I had when I sent to a Massachusetts mag many years ago and the "editor" (I scruple to use this word) wrote "NO!" in letters about as large as a slice of bread on a page of poetry and sent the poems back that way. I suppose I should applaud his strength of feelings about what poetry he likes and dislikes. But I can't. Because he failed horribly as an editor as well as a human being in that instance. I should know. Been there, done that. I'm happy to say I've never liked a single poem by this poet and I've read a lot. And I can't not like great poetry, even if I'm upset with a poet. Or if I was upset with a poet. I no longer assign poets the importance they assign themselves. I do assign them importance but it's much more realistically framed in the bigger scheme of earth's problems and earth's achievements.

I remember someone posted something unflattering (okay, it was vile) about this same poet and he threatened to come find that writer and smash his skull on the concrete. Something like that. It was definitely an australopithecine response indicating he would kill the writer. Not figuratively kill him. Kill him. So I guess I should be happy I got away with just a "NO!" I picture his mind as having a mental crayon floating inside it. A purple Binney-Smith floating in the void like a scene from 2001. But then he is my brother. Mon frere, mon semblable. Maybe he's in recovery or addressing his issues with the idea that violence is a solution to life's problems.

My pet peeve back in the snail mail days used to be mags that made you spend the money on including S.A.S.E.s and then never even used those carefully metered envelopes to return your rejected copies. I always suspected they recycled the envelopes to get free postage. For all I know, they did. That's Before the Flood stuff, though. But I remember the funny repeat offenders who denied receiving the poems every time when you queried. (No, we didn't get your poems. But we did get your postage. Nyuk nyuk!)

I've looked at the horrible things I've done in this life. And unless you were in a serious romantic relationship with me (and only two humans have been and you're not one of them) the only thing horrible I ever did to you was to speak "words, idle words."

And no, I'm not referring to physical violence there either. Get your mind out of the gutter. And put it in the other gutter.

I'm sorry for my words if I ever offended you. I'd like say it wasn't my intent at the time but obviously it was. It's not my intent now. Too bad intent doesn't run backwards like regret.

I never killed anyone. I never raised my hand to anyone (other than the handful of fights everyone seems to get in before the age of say thirteen). There is no one I wish ill will on and no one I hate. I don't even hate political monsters. I hate their ideas and motivating force. But I don't hate the person. I don't believe in such people, but I don't hate them. If one is going to have a crazy omnipotent wish, why wish for anyone to die. Why not wish for them to simply have a change of heart or ideology? Okay, I'm a death penalty advocate so that's the exception. And that's about serial killers/torturers. Even there it's not a feeling of hate though. I wish I believed there were no people beyond redemption, but for now those people are. Maybe science will change that. It's fascinating to think that a serial killer might have his or her frontal lobe implanted with a sort of mental pacemaker that could knock up the neuronal fire speed in which such beings are purportedly deficient. I know some studies say that sociopathy doesn't have a neurochemical basis, that often there's no physical pathology, but I'm not sure. I suppose it could be cognitive, but many studies have shown those abnormalities in the frontal lobe. The speed is much slower there. It's believed this is why empathy is impossible for these people.

I suppose I could change my name and publish under a pseudonym. It's not ego that prevents me doing that. It's more a sense of being too old to hide from my own problems in that way. And it just strikes me as devious. I'll let devious to the specialists.

While my ex-friend with borderline personality disorder sometimes makes out much better than I generally do socially, in that she is good at socialization and knows how to work large groups of people at once, on the other hand I feel deeply sorry for her. Because her mental illness is even worse than mine. She can't speak to her parents, who will die soon. She can't make lasting relationships or keep a partner. And worse, she has no stable sense of identity. This must feel horrible. She must feel like one of the replicants in Blade Runner, constantly on the run. Constantly deleting all traces of herself online. I saw a while back she had authored a paranoid article about how to maintain online security. Ostensibly written for a business journal, this was a thinly-disguised assay of ways she could disappear. Like bipolar people, she would irrationally attack people and engage in strident mockery quite often. Because she has a high i.q. and knows how to "play the game" the damage from her meltdowns is generally limited. Oh, I'm sure she has many places where she's persona non grata too. She's attacked too many and too bitterly. When I played attack dog for her (still drinking then) and I felt horrible the next day for attacking this person online, she told me it was "fine." In other words, don't have a conscience if you are doing bad things for a friend. That's okay then.

No, it's not okay. You became friends with that person. I was the one seen as a rabid dog. Maybe that the was the plan. If so, I'm happy for you.

I'm not angry and writing about this person isn't venting. It's thinking. I'm thinking how did I think I had a friend in someone who really never cared about me other than as a tool. I know this is not the way all friendships are since I have and have had friendships that have never been anything like this. No exploitation was involved. Is it just with artists this occurs? I think one should avoid Faustian friends. Most "serious" artists are Faust. Some are little Fausts, some are bigger Fausts. But they all have a deal and a price set somewhere in there. Some higher. Some lower. Some will sell your soul for a single mag publication. Some will use you just to have gossip to trade. "Today, let's talk shit about _____" And then she runs to "_____" with the shit to trade it in for poetry groceries. It's too funny.

Oh well, at least my "friend" has art. She's quite good at what she does. I wish her well. I wish I could wish her well in the other sense. She actually often flip-flops back to the same friends she despises and humiliates behind their backs after some time has passed and they begin again like nothing happened. I even let her start me up again. Once anyway. I suppose a lot of poets will take any attention and any playmates they can get because she still does that grooming process of hers on a lot of people. I guess she's as normal as any other crazy animal on the planet. Maybe she'll escape her hell one day. I sure hope so.

I think there are thousands of worse things to be than a slightly narcissistic (hey--who else am I going to talk about if no one talks to me!) bipolar addict who is in recovery.

I'm not in physical pain. It's only mental/spiritual.

These are things for which to be seriously grateful. I'm too old not to be grateful for these things. I'm too young to die. I'm sorry to tell you this but people in my family tend to live to a very ripe age. So if I bother you, you might want to change the channel now and stop reading my damn blog. I realize I just cursed myself by saying that and will die tomorrow, so aren't you lucky for my hubris in saying that?

I hope I can live my life with even a tenth of the grace my mother has--and she had it even worse than I did with her severe paranoid schizophrenia. I remember her losing me downtown at night because she was talking to imaginary people. It's a miracle I'm alive after some of the situations I got in with her and I don't blame her for a single one of them. I just cry when I think of how lost she was then. She got the Frances Farmer treatment in the sixties and seventies. Everything but the frontal lobotomy. And some wanted to give her that. It's a sick scientific world.

And yet my mother never had the bitter tongue I had in my mental illness. Huh. I guess every psychological disorder is different. Every human is different.

Neither of my parents were ever capable of real cruelty. My Dad could be insensitive but it was his ignorance in some areas. My mom never. I think of them as examples more and more. I should have been studying them when I was eight. Not in my forties.

And typing those words now, I have to ask myself why would the world give a fuck about what any guy in his forties has to say if he doesn't have millions in the bank or hasn't successfully turned himself into a media meme by that age.

I haven't a fucking clue. Of course you don't give a fuck. I'd like to say I don't either but I'd be lying. It is my own private hell after all.

I always laugh when young people say "Why would I care about your problems. I don't even care about my own damn problems." It is a great line but I know it's rarely true. They do care about their problems. But it's like a koan. That line. Which is so Tumblrish. Because it's using humor to defuse the existential bomb thought. You know the one. "You're dying and you can't fix the world."

It also sucks that we can't rescue the dead. Yes, I focus on a lot of unsolvable problems. It's part of why I'm certifiable.

I guess I don't care anymore about such things as getting attention at a serious level. If I were rich, I would have destroyed myself with "pleasure" by now. If I were well-known, my paranoia would have destroyed me. Because I would probably not be able to resist looking back at glarers.

Fox and grapes? I don't know. I scored very, very well on my SATS back in the day and had invitations to attend virtually any college of my choice, including Ivy League. And yet I chose to hide in my parents' house for years. I was always agoraphobic. I just couldn't indulge it until compulsory schooling was over. In fact, I didn't even make it through compulsory schooling in a normal manner. My first serious breakdown was in junior high and then a much worse one in high school. The first time I came as close to death as I've ever been and the second time I lost touch with reality in a way I would sooner want to die than experience again. I was shunted to a "special school" at that point but it proved a blessing. They did nothing with me. They left me to my own devices and I read what I wanted and wrote what I wanted. Sometimes you do have to gnaw your leg off to get out of a trap.

I don't know if anybody really reads this blog other than sporadically. I think maybe three or four people read what I post here somewhat regularly. And I think it's quite possible that at least one or two of them only read this because they're either amused by how crazy I am, or because they dislike me.

I used to read the blogs of writers I temporarily disliked for a day or two or a week or whatever. Since I no longer dislike anyone and because I'm afraid of my own "poetry paranoia" I avoid virtually all poetry blogs. It's not that I wouldn't enjoy reading much of the poetry there. It's the poems I would read that I would think are about me. Nasty little poetses. My Inner Gollum will come out. There are a few I've still read and commented because they write about things other than settling petty poetry scores. Their poetry and criticism take the world seriously. The poetry's not a game for mugs school.

Probably I should only read things directly related to what I am writing at the time. I guess I've been going that direction. I read more science and art criticism online than I do poetry now. Ninety percent of what I read is probably fact checking things.

I'm not posting this to get comments saying "You poor neglected dear!" You needn't be so condescending.

I've just gotten to the point (due to the past created by me and my mental illness, my shadow) where apparently anything I write is only fodder for you funny cutthroats to masticate and spit.

If I'm going to be writing out my pathology, I might as well do it through literary avenues rather than a blog. So I'm going to create a closed blog (open only to its author) and just write there. Everyone writes in a void at first. I mostly felt as though I were writing in a void here most of the time, but I was always okay with that. I talk to hear myself talk. Everyone does this when they're alone. If you're going to judge me, judge me for choosing to be alone. Not for the talking in the void part, which is a human trait. I do choose to be alone. Lovely people make overtures to me and I try to keep the conversation going. But it's not ego or hubris that derails it. It's my fear of talking to people anymore. It's not that I don't care about them and their problems and their lives as complicated or more complicated than mine. I do. It's that I don't know how to do those things anymore. I lost touch with every single relative and many used to email me almost daily. In every case, it was my fault. I didn't alienate any of them. I just drifted away. Some of this was the addictions issues. But it's deeper than that.

I think I'm so terrified of other people that I can only approach them in either adulation or attack mode. This makes no sense. But it's often a bipolar trait. I know that sounds like the borderline "splitting" phenomenon but as with all bipolars it's a function of the mood disturbance. It never lasts longer than a few hours or a day. Unlike with the borderline personality people. The attacks are almost always the product of paranoia concomitant with mania, which causes the typed scream. The adulation is often a resident adulation, but it only manifests itself in the increased social "daring" of the mania phase.

It's terrible to be so out-of-synch with the normal gamesmanship of social interactions because of a mental illness like this. It's unfortunately terribly funny to a great number of you. Educated people. Everybody wants to be South Park. I admit it's more fun than being a boddhisatva.

Poets are generally liberals but they rarely are very liberal with their vanity and egos. There is no prodigality of kindness in the typical poetry ego.

Okay, one poet was suffering with cancer and poets did come together and contribute money and I was quite moved to see that happen.

There are those wonderful exceptions. And I've seen a poet go to Haiti to help out post-hurricane. Things like that. Go a long way in helping me believe I'm wrong.

So I'm generalizing. I'm drawing a picture based on most of my experience. One poet will no longer speak to me because the favorable review I wrote of his book was too brief. Another poet got money from me when I was very poor and later saw me as a social leper and told me never to speak to her again in this life. Another poet told me I would be blacklisted in all poetry magazines because of something I had written in an email. Once I questioned a poet's Amazon.com rank in drunken stupidity and she was only too glad to be rid of me for a lifetime though I apologized numerous times. She was thinning her Rolodex anyway, in preparation for poetry's blog-time (erstwhile "tea-time") fame.

You start to understand how say a Bukowski forms in this literary atmosphere. If he hadn't been such a terrible alcoholic, maybe he wouldn't have developed the world view he did. But I can see how such misanthropy can occur in the kingdom of the blind, poetry, where you encounter so many elevated Cyclops.

Such friendships were obviously not real friendships. Real friendships can weather a lot more than that. Not that they should have to, mind you.

I've talked way too long. I'll shut up now.

I guess I'll post links to mag publications here and maybe I'll share some Flickr art when I do it.

But text? I doubt it.

None of this is self-pity. I am merely trying to explain my seemingly inexplicable past. And trying to change my future.

My thinking will never be completely "normal" since I can't tolerate the bipolar medications. I can tolerate an anti-anxiety drug I take as needed. But I'm well ahead on that prescription now since I need it less and less. I will never again be a medical guinea pig for a drug like Depakote. That changed my body in permanent ways. I'm still not sure my immune disorder (S.I.G.M.) wasn't caused by Depakote. It definitely caused hematologic abnormalities that persisted for months. I practically lived in that emergency room that year. I think I'd kill myself before I'd go through that again.

Suicide is the least of my worries. Life is the worry. A suicide is like removing a staple. A loose leaf falls. Somebody has to pick it up. It only takes a moment. For both parties.

I need raspberry tea. I need a blank blog. I need to go bother some editors who probably already hate me with poems and other writing.

Time to try a new hole in my head.

The one I make myself and not the ones you wonderful handful of people (you know who you are!) made with your little blowguns.

interesting

Spanish-language blog here.

Don't Touch the Helvetica. lol

But What About

But what about survivalist porn?

Just to Catch You Up on the Legislation that Goes Into Effect Monday

Yes, that bill did pass and starting Monday it will be law in all fifty or fifty-one (if you're funny in the head) states.

To reprise: not only will it be illegal to talk on cell phones in any motor vehicle, but it will be forbidden to even transport phones by motor vehicle.

So it will be a good idea if you stock up with a reasonably large number of cell phones now, and place them in locations you think you are most likely to visit in your normal daily itinerary.

Good Luck.

Fios Sucks

Only about one out of every one hundred t.v. channels is actually receivable right now, and that's been the situation since last evening.

I never thought I'd be grateful to see Walker: Texas Ranger.

But after all those black squares, any talking light was welcome.

At least I got a long monologue (with back of hand on forehead) from a character who explained how she learned to break free (toss of head, toss of head) from Daddy's monkey bad touches when she was a young Texas lassie.

I'm assuming Walker: Texas Ranger is the Tex-Mex version of Univision's Telenovelas.

this


gave me an idea for a short story.

i haven't been making many lols lately.

Lego Rothko

Lego art, Lego Rothko by William Keckler
Lego Rothko, a photo by William Keckler on Flickr.

Lego Rothko

Lego Rothko by William Keckler
Lego Rothko, a photo by William Keckler on Flickr.

Lego Rothko

Lego Rothko by William Keckler
Lego Rothko, a photo by William Keckler on Flickr.

man with briefcase

man with briefcase by William Keckler
man with briefcase, a photo by William Keckler on Flickr.

breast

breast by William Keckler
breast, a photo by William Keckler on Flickr.

traffic

traffic by William Keckler
traffic, a photo by William Keckler on Flickr.

observant

observant by William Keckler
observant, a photo by William Keckler on Flickr.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Dog Saves Redneck Sex Offender

On National Puppy Day it seems appropriate that one Florida shelter dog is being praised for his heroic efforts as a redneck sex offender's best friend.

When a redneck sex offender left Tallahassee's Friends of Strays animal shelter to walk a dog, he never imagined his volunteer work would lead him to be the one in need.

But as Fox News reported, when he walked on a path behind the building with Rexroth, a Rhodesian Ridgeback mix, that's exactly what happened.

According to local television station WASP, a 17 year old child predator chased the sex offender, grabbing his hair and pinning him to the ground.

The 38 pound dog began barking, scaring the attacker off enough that the sex offender was able to flee, People reported.

The brave puppy has since been adopted by Gary Esteban, who did not know about his new pet's valiant actions until notified by WASP.

"I looked at my pup and I thought, 'You are a hero,'" Esteban told the broadcaster.

The 17 year old girl has been arrested, according to the Tallahassee Look-See, and Esteban said Rexroth will be rewarded with his own Confederate flag bandana.

holler

holler by William Keckler
holler, a photo by William Keckler on Flickr.

no one

no one by William Keckler
no one, a photo by William Keckler on Flickr.

who's driving?

who's driving? by William Keckler
who's driving?, a photo by William Keckler on Flickr.

alien

alien by William Keckler
alien, a photo by William Keckler on Flickr.

eternal fun

eternal fun by William Keckler
eternal fun, a photo by William Keckler on Flickr.

geometry

geometry by William Keckler
geometry, a photo by William Keckler on Flickr.

romance

romance by William Keckler
romance, a photo by William Keckler on Flickr.

desire

desire by William Keckler
desire, a photo by William Keckler on Flickr.

Two Deep Forests

Two ancient forests faced each other. Creatures who lived in the one forest always lied. Creatures in the other only ever told the truth. A surprisingly tiny clearing separated these dark endless forests. This was the only place light could reach, the clearing, a space between.

When one of the creatures from the truth forest by some fluke ended up in the lying forest, it was a nightmare of fires, wars, murders. When one of the lying creatures penetrated the truth forest, the same horror.

The creatures from both forests liked to enter the strange clearing between to write their literature there.

Each forest liked the other's books.

i was drafting poems

I guess the Beckett Bridge photo I saw today made me think of a poem I wrote a few months back and I wanted to draft them. Why is this in fucking Italics? It won't let me convert it. wtf?

ODD MAN OUT


Now look who's The Love
that Dare Not Speak its Name.

Like telling someone you believe
a Giant Petsmart in the Sky.

Pity, amusement, irritation
the kinder responses.

The great cosmic game
of Fetch

goes on.
Throw the prayer stick

further in the ocean
this time okay?

I want to really feel
my stupid legs.








THE BEFORELIFE


I guess it shows
my weakness of mind
that I'm surprised
everyone doesn't end
a suicide.

I don't understand
the body's talking over
pointlessness of pain
that is no etude,
that will never
yield to finitude.

I guess I dishonor that animal
who reinvented death
after God breathed

a last, modern breath.

Holding holding,
a rabbit in snow.
Icicles in its fur.
Speechless, ceaseless eye.

Something clearly is
that loves our Fucking Insane Wall.






BECKETT

Many words seem only to exist
to euthanize an apologetic
endlessness





NEW RELIGION


The night is tired of me.
I can feel
its haywire, hog-tied bones.

I tried apologizing
and that didn't work.

Every day, I put on
another skin shirt.

I have no idea
where this belongs.

I think in this life
you can either be funny

or wrong.







SPLINT


Being crazy,
I am always trying

to divorce
my Divorce

from the human race.
I'm like an ornithopter

built out of popsicle sticks
in 1911, crashed

in 1912. In a sense,
I'm no different from the fossil

Archaeopteryx.
Except made out

of popsicle sticks.








VICARIOUS PRAYER FOR YOU


The only hat worth wearing
if you love people

is an Asshat.

So.

Pray for that.






LOVESTONED


I fell in love once
with a velociraptor.

It was only my eggs
he was after.

Then a meteorite
made him extinct.

This is a long story
I made succinct.






RAID


Only a poet
could have jingled
"KILLS BUGS DEAD!"

--Lew Welch (1926-1971?)
Vanished poet,
presumed suicide.

Some light came on
and he ran for cover.

Hymen

Hehe. Got my first "gallery" add on Flickr. A wonderful photog in Northern Ireland added a handful of mine to her gallery. I suppose that's what you're supposed to do with your favorites of your favorites.

When I looked at her things, her first photo was this glorious capture of the Samuel Beckett Bridge in her Ireland. Funny, you'd think it would be very dreary and suicidal-looking. But no, it soars like the Concorde.

I didn't understand that Flickr category when I created my blog, My Flickr Museum, but I'm glad Ididn't. I like having the stuff on a separate website.

I'm adding a bunch of things to My Flickr Museum today because I'm way overdue.

Another serendipitous thing about Flickr that I fuckin love is connecting with the mail art/Fluxus movement on there.

I'm finding some of those people and some of them are finding me.

I want to do more art along those lines.

I noticed that I had begun unintentionally turning some of my manipulated images into mail art.

I'd get to a certain stage in the manipulations and say "This needs to go on a card."

So it's neat that paper gets outmoded to digital, but then digital makes me crave paper again.

Funny how things work.

Anonymous

Anonymous by Giacomo Favilla
Anonymous, a photo by Giacomo Favilla on Flickr.

Anonymous

Anonymous by Giacomo Favilla
Anonymous, a photo by Giacomo Favilla on Flickr.

One of my absolute favorites from the series.

Anonymous

Anonymous by Giacomo Favilla
Anonymous, a photo by Giacomo Favilla on Flickr.

Anonymous

Anonymous by Giacomo Favilla
Anonymous, a photo by Giacomo Favilla on Flickr.

This one strikes me as an updating of Botticelli's "Primavera."

I wonder if that was the inspiration.

Anonymous

Anonymous by Giacomo Favilla
Anonymous, a photo by Giacomo Favilla on Flickr.

I fell in love just now with this Glasses series by Giacomo Favilla. The glasses were created by Rosella Bessi.

These are just out-of-the-world gorgeous.

Leave it to Italy.

I love the way this is a sort of "soft surrealism."

The one that reminds me of an updating of Botticelli is making me tingle.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

1,000 Pets

I saw one of my two crazy brothers today. He was walking between rooms in my Mom's house in some sort of fugue state, seemingly doing nothing. Possibly he was carrying invisible objects.

He told me that he pets his cat 1,000 times each day. He counts the petting out loud. My mom confirmed this. He asked me if I pet my cat 1,000 times each day. I said "Sure."

My mom rolled her eyes. He was married once to a sort of stray, some girl he rescued from a mob goon. Actually, that's the romantic version he tells. The Rescue. He didn't really rescue this woman. The mob guy was his racetrack buddy and this mob guy basically gave her to my brother. I think he did this because he was afraid he would kill her. The mob guy said he had never been involved with an intelligent woman before and it was freaking him the hell out. He had already broken her nose and one arm.

She appreciated my brother's kindness in taking her in, and I was happy we suddenly had an intellectual in the family.

She liked cool things. Like George Romero and getting high and gay people and Laraine Newman and New York.

I was ten so I needed this woman in my life. So bad.

I remember when I met her she told me all about her first broken nose and how it had happened. It was the goon. Tony. She warned me to stay away from the Osteopathic hospital because they had fucked up her nose. See?

Her nose used to be beautiful.

She wished she had her high school yearbook to show me.

But that was back in Pittsburgh where she could not return, for reasons which she always declined to share.

She was very intelligent and she would help me practice my vocabulary, which was one of my favorite things to do, sit around and memorize lists of hundreds of words. This didn't weird her out like it did everyone else that knew me. And my gayness didn't bother her.

She was the first person I ever came out to.

She had let me sip her wine one night while we were sitting on my parent's couch watching S.N.L. My brother was at work. The wine went to my head and I came out and told her and then buried my head in a round cushion in shame.

She stroked my back and told me she didn't hate me and it was okay and that God wouldn't burn me alive for this. She wanted to tell me she was an atheist (as if I hadn't guessed) but she played along.

So I was happy when my brother married her. Now we had her in our family forever. I'd never be lonely for an intelligent, literate person again. That was the plan anyway.

Her favorite author was Kurt Vonnegut so I read him too. I think I had read three of the novels before I turned eleven. I think Slapstick was the one that made the most sense to me.

Later, my brother's wife worked for R.C.A. (I think she was twenty-nine) which at the time was working on Defense Department commissions, computer programs that would assist battleships in continuing on their missions in executing nuclear strikes even if every human being on board had been killed. Say by radiation.

At least that's what she told me. She could have made that up. She was pretty imaginative. But she did work for R.C.A. I remember everyone in my family marveling that the company that put out such great records was also helping to plan the end of the world.

I don't think she was supposed to even tell me she was doing that. I mean if she really was. Doing that.

She was suddenly making a shitload of money unlike my brother, who still did make very good money on the railroad. But nothing like she was suddenly making. It wasn't a problem for him. Her making more money. My brother wasn't a typical male. He was very docile and loving then. He's a Virgo, I think. He was always such a kid before her love. He was probably too deferential for her tastes. I think she hated that she was attracted to men she perceived as brutes. Maybe I'm just thinking that now. But she did have a history with such guys. Later I found out her father had sexually abused her. I have no idea if that plays into it or not. Maybe she just grew up watching Marlon Brando movies.

My brother only fell in love twice in his life.

Both loves ended up as photos propped up on a dresser in a very small room.

Who does that?

Anyway, when his wife started making all that money from the job at R.C.A., she opened a secondhand record store in a pretty tough Philly neighborhood. They lived in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, so this wasn't very far.

When I would visit, she would have me tag along to her store and I would help in sorting and pricing the records that came in. I remember I would get her to let me play all my favorite records in the store for the customers. Like Queen and Supertramp.

She started sleeping with some younger employee from her record shop. A handsome black guy. It didn't take me long to figure out what was going on, though they tried to hide it from me.

I never told my brother.

I felt bad but I suppose I loved her more.

My brother found out and held a gun to her head one night in their bed while asking her what love is. He asked a very long time.

She tried to do damage control then, but my brother was irreparably broken. Funny how it fell to her to fix things. I guess because she was the "guilty party." Conventionally speaking.

My brother was terrified of how close he had come to pulling the trigger. Blowing out the brains of the angel he had rescued.

And then she vanished.

She told us we'd never see her again.

And we never did.

Many years later, my brother pulled a gun on me one night too.

My gun was aimed more at my liver.

We get along enough for casual conversation now. Though it wasn't always so.

I think he still believes that I was an evil child. I think he thinks I defected and I guess I did.

I kept looking for the cat but didn't see it around anywhere.

I wanted to see if it was missing fur on its back from my brother's hands.

the sky is falling

the sky is falling by William Keckler
the sky is falling, a photo by William Keckler on Flickr.

The Doctor Said, "You Have an S.T.D."

The doctor said, "Rose, I'm not going to mince words. You have an s.t.d."

Rose had been sitting on the edge of the examining table, wondering if the doctor felt any attraction to her celebrated petals. She had even been leaning towards "probably."

So the news hit doubly hard. It sucker-punched her vanity and fear at once.

"How could this have happened?" Rose exclaimed, knowing exactly how it happened.

The doctor said nothing.

"I can't hear this right now!" Rose said.

So the doctor said "Okay. Let me try again."

And he began...

"O Rose, thou art sick!
The invisible worm
That flies in the night,
In the howling storm,

Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy:
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy."

"That sounds so much better!"

And Rose sighed a little labial sigh of gratitude. Poetry can make anything better.

The doctor handed her a prescription and recommended she use insecticidal jelly at all times in the future.

Rose asked him if he recommended a certain brand.

She realized how stupid this sounded, but she said it anyway to try to gauge if he regarded her as a different sort of rose now.

"That's up to you," he said with mock politeness.

She had fallen. He would whisper her story to the daisy working the front desk after she left. She just knew.

She went into the parking lot and sat in her car and cried and speed-dialed the worm on her cell phone.

She only got his voice mail but screamed her rage into it anyway.

Oddly enough, this whole horrible experience made Rose feel like just going right back into the howling storm.

It was all so sick.




move

move by William Keckler
move, a photo by William Keckler on Flickr.

poladroid

collage by William Keckler
collage, a photo by William Keckler on Flickr.

poladroid

collage by William Keckler
collage, a photo by William Keckler on Flickr.

just sayin hi.

Once

Once there was a family that set itself on fire. The father set fire to the mother. The mother set fire to her daughter. This daughter set fire to her brother. Her brother set fire to the family dog. Yet the family was considered completely normal. They looked exactly like every other family in town.

Short Story

"I feel a sense of urgency," said a rock.

Lit Crit

The way
people say

"What the fuck
you doin?!"

to their cats
sometimes.

I Know a Man

I know a man so lonely he started taking out walls in his house. He used a sledgehammer and opened up the spaces between all the rooms, managing to keep the ceilings suspended by thick lucite columns he could see through.

Then he felt he could see everything at once like a housefly.

For some reason, he thought walls were the key to loneliness.

If it were only that simple...

Joint

I wish I had
"joint feelings"

with you.

Promise

I promise
I'll continue

trying
to be lonely

in our
future,

but probably
I'll fail

since I have
a computer.

Medea

The difference
between Medea

and me is
I never fall

for that
mirror trick.

Gee,

I wish
somebody

would ask
me about

my influences.

Language: a Diptych

LANGUAGE

Today
I separated

the floor boards
and felt like Moses.


LANGUAGE

Today
I celebrated

the floor boards
and felt like Walt Whitman.

Beautiful Thing

Someone found
my blog today

by using
the search term

"retirement
home orgy."

What

What would romance be in a world where commas didn't exist?

Tongues

Language
a game

hotfoot
tongues

play with
tongues.

"Floor
is lava!"

Garage In

Garage In by Only Lines 2
Garage In, a photo by Only Lines 2 on Flickr.

This isn't mine. I was checking out the Photostream of some guy who just favorited one of my digi-Rothkos. I liked a lot of his stuff.

I lost it lololing when I got to this one.

Pardon Me

"I seem
to have

misplaced
my personhood,"

said Walt Whitman.

Individubru

I Had My Feelings

I had
my feelings
hurt

by some
young ass
person.

I Guess

I guess I don't believe in individuals, because I never met an indivisible human being.

dear foundling word,

Is Nothing

Is nothing individual? Somehow nothing seems individual to me.

Dear Nominalism,

A rock
is an individual.

I Think It's Evil

I think
it's evil

if you call
someone

a racist
just cuz

they said
"Impossibru!"

Nominalists

I think it's funny when French philosophers or any other kind say it's impossible to look at an image without seeing it in language.

What do they think tree frogs jump on when they jump?

Sentences?

Fame

I bet it's funny when hard-driving careerists get to that place where they're so famous that it's now impossible to read all the shit people are writing about them. Good shit. Bad shit.

I bet it feels like an ant's nest lurks in death.

U.N. Building

I need
a translator
just to talk to myself

when I wake up
in what I call
morning.

What

What I really
want to know

and not
much else

is what
is time

really sayin?

If You Die

If you die
while you're inside
an image,

don't you
believe you're
stuck forever

inside that
image, like
for all eternity?

I know I do.

Try

Try as I might, I could never get myself to believe that images are composed of people. Sure, I get that people are composed of images. But the other thing? It's not a commutative relation. You can drive a car backwards all you want, but you're still driving.

Just Now

Just now
I typed
a tiny poem
and Google Ad Words
diagnosed
me as bipolar.

Nothing

Nothing you like
is obscure.

I Believe

I believe possibly only fifteen or sixteen people really exist. I might believe this because of my mental illness. Or it might be something else.

Eyes Will Stop

Moss
is beautiful,

opposite
of disaster.

Credo Quia

I think
I believe
I think
I believe
death's
just
a skip.

Typeface: Portrait of Ron Silliman

I think I got the eyes right.

It's not meant to be satirical. Obviously, the poet is made out of language.

So a portrait in concrete poetry seemed appropriate.

"(.)"

I Would Just Like to Point Out

I would just like to point out when Jasper Johns said, "Take an object. Do something to it. Do something else to it. Do something else to it(.)" he was not talking about human relationships.



American Idol, March 21st, Billy Joel Night

Just watched it.

It was Billy Joel night.

If Heejun doesn't go home tomorrow night, there's no justice.

He's always sung songs older people like, and that's fine--as long as it's not on American Idol. I like many of those songs, but it's not the place.

When Hejun finally tried to loosen up his tie and his persona last night and tackled Joel's "My Life" it was a karaoke trainwreck.

The audience predictably loved it because they love Hejun's clueless hipster persona.

And J-Lo and Randy chose their words carefully. They helped pump him up without really saying what they thought of the performance. I think they know enough about the young man by now to know that he has dealt with serious depression and figured it would be unwise to beat up on the guy when they knew he had just revealed (in that awful karaoke performance) that he'd been skating on ice only micrometers in thickness all along and the cracking had just begun.

Steven Tyler was less amused. He repeated what Jimmy Iovine had told Hejun about the business kicking your ass if you lack confidence. Tyler said "The business will kick your ass" and made statements to the effect that the singer had just made a mockery of the competition and of the art itself. He knew the mocker had just mocked himself out of the competition though. Tyler's arch smile, even more Joker-ish than usual, would have told the viewer that much. That smile was basically saying, "You clueless asshole."

Whether Hejun believed that performance was actually good, or whether he had decided he couldn't compete at the level of the other singers, and was just going to have fun now, is anybody's guess.

Phillip Phillips was my early favorite and I was sure he'd make it to the final three at least.

The latter may still be true, but the former is not. I haven't liked his recent performances which are always predictable. He's really just a Dave Matthews clone and interprets every song the way you know Dave Matthews would interpret it. Maybe that's not being fair to Dave Matthews. I do love some covers Matthews has done and some of them have surprised me. But I know exactly where Phillips is going to be restrained on a song and I know exactly where he's going to unleash the trademarked Dave Matthews growl. He's never less than competent and sings on pitch, but it takes more than that to win the whole megillah. And yet he has his pretty boy looks going for him. So he's still probably a favorite.

I now like Colton Dixon better as a singer than Philip Phillips. His performances are varied, he understands nuance, his interpretations are imaginative. His performance last night was recording worthy. It's amazing the difference a year or two makes. He wasn't even going to try out this year. He was clearly severely depressed at the audition that wasn't even his (he was there to support his sister, who didn't make the cut). And the judges dragged him back into the competition at his sister's audition, and now he's seemingly loving every minute of it. He performed what is probably Joel's most iconic, signature tune, "Piano Man," and did it great justice.

Holly Cavanagh gets better and better. That's not a speech impediment. I thought it was at first too, until I realized her parents are British but she grew up mostly in Texas. She tries to hide the weird mix of British and American diction she has and this makes some of her vowels come out unshapen and sometimes it sounds like she has a cleft palate. I've had people land on my blog searching for speech impediment and American Idol. I deliberately didn't mention the contestant's name when I made that speculative post, because I didn't want to hurt anybody's feelings (say if a relative Googled her and found that). The odd thing is I've even heard that accent (which does sound like a speech impediment often) in her singing. I haven't in the past two performances, so I'm guessing vocal coaches brought it to her attention and she consciously worked on eradicating that. I also noticed she lets more of the British accent through occasionally. I guess people told her to do that so people would realize it's not a speech impediment but a form of blended accents. Less stigma. I'm not being judgmental at all. I had a speech impediment as a child that I had to unlearn too. I'm just saying things like that will hurt you in competitions. Fair or unfair. Anyway, I liked her performance of "Honesty" last night. All the judges heard pitch problems in the verses but I focused on the glorious chorus.

Elise Testone can't get a break. I can't believe she hasn't performed a Lady Gaga song yet. She has the perfect voice, perfect range, for it. And she even shares a look with her. But I was blown away by her performance last night. The judges rightly praised her to the heavens for her highly stylized rendition of "Vienna." Randy mentioned he didn't believe any other singer in the competition could have handled the closing run with the finesse Testone gave it. And yet voters seem to hate her for some reason. She's consistently in the bottom three despite being a clear judges' favorite.

Jumping backwards to the first performance, I thought Deandre's performance of "Only the Good Die Young" was a total nightmare. Yeah, he sang on pitch but the arrangement was total cruise ship lounge fare and the original song might as well have been about chipped beef and toast--since it wasn't a seduction song using despair as a crowbar the way the original song cleverly does. Deandre flounced his Pre-Raphaelite hair and the audience cooed. He's a very handsome dude and seems like a sweet guy (cries bigtime when contestants get booted) but he'd better stick to treacly r&b, where his real strength as a singer lies. And change that last name. Brackensick is a horrible name to see on a c.d. But then I guess if he gets an album he'll just be Deandre. One name will do.

Erika Van Pelt (related to Linus and Lucy?) has been on a downward spiral for weeks. I didn't expect she even had a performance in her like the one she gave last night. It was a wowsers rendition of "New York State of Mind." Just perfect. And she was the contestant helped most by the restyling given her by last night's guest image consultant, Tommy Hilfiger. She looked so improved it's hard to convey. When I think of her in the past, I imagine her wearing grimy white t-shirts on stage. I know she didn't actually do that, but she might as well have. She was so careless with her image. But I'm happy she had this performance. Even if by some fluke she goes home, she will go out with no shame in her game.

Skylar Laine of course picked a Billy Joel song she knew through a country artist. Garth Brooks had recorded "Shameless" and apparently Brad Paisley too. It was a serviceable performance. I noticed the pitch problems at the beginning of the song the judges commented on. I think it was because she was out walking in the audience and lost her bearings. Once she got back on stage she was fine. She might be bottom three tomorrow, but I'm not sure. She seems to have a good fan base. I think the bottom three will be Heejun, Deandre and ? Not sure. Maybe Skylar. Maybe even Joshua Ledet, though the judges love him to death. I think Ledet has a great voice....a great voice for gospel music. Or Broadway. I can't hear a pop singer in him though. The only pop singer he even remotely reminds me of is Tom Jones. And you know Jones only stays "popular" (had to use quotes) today because of the campiness factor. Maybe it was always the camp factor. He was willing to be stupidly sexy back in the day. I remember all the moms in suburbia digging Tom Jones' pants. Both Tom Jones and Rod Stewart could have gone house to house in the seventies and got invited into temporarily husbandless beds by otherwise respectable Moms.

Jessica Sanchez picked a song I don't know by Billy Joel that didn't sound anything like a song by Joel--to me, anyway. Maybe it was the arrangement or maybe he changed his style later and I haven't kept up. She was about flawless as usual but it was a boring song choice. But of course she's going to be there at the very end. If she doesn't win this thing, she'll definitely be in the top two. If she finishes third I'll be shocked.

I had to check some name spellings and found this article which just went up at Billboard 53 minutes ago.

You can see all the clips there too. If you only watch one or a few watch Elise, Colton, or Erika.

If you want nightmares, watch Heejun.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Employers Asking for Your Passwords

This is disturbing.

I guess I could see with prospective police officers and such.

But some of these private sector entities are just off the wall, shit-crazy bananas with asking for that information and nuts in using the rationale that employees might be "disparaging" the company.

Anyone can disparage the company. People who work there and people who don't. You can't control what people think or say. You can fire them, sure, but you can't demand they facilitate your ability to monitor their every private thought or utterance.

That leads dangerous places.

What if their kids hear Dad or Mom bitch about how awful their shitty employer is and the kids post this on their Facebook.

Better ask for the kids' passwords too. And all the other relatives. And the friends of the employee.

Better just shove Big Brother right up the ass with an anus-cam right now.

Because that's the direction this is headed.