It's time to grow up and start seeing the world the way it really is and not the way we want it to be.

Monday, April 30, 2012

the toys you never won

            there was chesapeake and i learned to spell the name on the yellow paper and i put my name and chesapeake and west virginia and i wrote them down and that was the name and i was there and living in it and being in it before i knew what it was called by people who were not in it and the noise and i lived above levin’s discount in three rooms with my brother and my mother and my father and he was the one and there was yelling all the time and the yelling seemed as natural as the curfew siren at ten o’clock each night from the fire department out back where i was once a junior patrolman and i heard of kids getting to go down to charleston to see the jail but i never went because i quit and the noise and the river the kanawha and the long coal barges with the big stern wheel and the low moaning they called each other with and i heard and there were dead fish in the river and i saw them dead and i covered a live one with lighter fluid and burned him in the mud puddle and there was the basketball court of the grade school i attended and hot summer nights and lights and people playing horse or dancing and i couldn’t sleep and lay in the hot dark between the sheets and heard the coal trucks on the road going from the mines to the plants or to the barges on the river and i knew the whitelight flashes even then like the cold glow of a streetlight and my body turning white and i was scared and not sure what i was scared of and i heard the trains on the track beyond the white firehouse and the repair shop for the low mining cars that go into the ground with men and bring back black coal and men with black buried deep in their skins and fingernails that were never clean and white like mine when i was still wrinkled from the tub but were black like the coal in the trains and above them the turnpike with the long cars going by and making sounds i could not hear over the rumbling of the coal that was around me and on all sides and moving and shifting and killing and the people in the cars going through and high above me and not in it like i was and calling it names that they had made up and that weren’t my names that weren’t chesapeake or west virginia or philip or anything and i did not know if i could see it because it was too close and you had to be up high and blurring by on a turnpike to see it and i was down low so i played in it and thought the mining cars with low v shaped bottoms were toys and i played on them and i played and pretended they were cars and long and blurred with speed and free and not flat and low and ugly and broken and not toys at all and i played beneath the steps that led up to where i lived and where my parents yelled and i could hear them and know that she cried and he was not a man and yet i didn’t know and yet it was something i would learn and at night i was afraid and didn’t know why and i lay and waited and listened to the coal moving in the earth and in the air and in the water and in my eyes and i played hard during the day with the sun hot and played hard beneath the rotting wooden stairs and played hard with the kid from the house behind the store and the white house and the girl who tried to kiss me and i put my broken arm in front of my face and ran and the door that led into the black dark room at the back of the store and you looked into the room and through the dirty glass and saw old bicycle pumps and boxes and darkness and i played with ginger who was young and chained beneath the rotting stairs and would tangle her chain around my legs and drag me down and lick my face and breathe hot heavy dog breath into my face and it was wet and warm and ugly like the girl from back doors who used to try and kiss me and i played and one day found it lying there or he brought it with him and i don’t remember who he was only that he was a kid and i was a kid and that made it all right but i do remember it and i always remember it and it was a steel metal tape measure that spun out stiff and shiny and had inches and feet and i played with it and i played and it was late and evening and getting dark and they called and i didn’t want to come so i played and he came and was fat and laughing and being a daddy and picking me up and throwing me over his shoulder and i didn’t want to go and the other kid was staying and why couldn’t i and he was carrying me and i had the tape and the other kid had the box end of the tape and i grabbed and fought him for it and he was laughing and he was laughing too and carrying me back to their endless yelling and i didn’t want to go and the other kid was staying and pulling me back with the shiny metal tape and i grabbed the tape and he pulled and daddy pulled and it hurt and the tape cut and jerked and the tape sliced through the palm of my hands and it hurt and i dropped the tape and it still hurt and it wouldn’t stop and he was laughing and i was ashamed because it hurt and didn’t bleed but it hurt and it hurt and i was ashamed because it hurt and didn’t bleed but it hurt laughing and i was ashamed of myself like when i wet my pants that time in the grocery store and ran back and hid them under the bed and i would have made it but i was at the grocery store and filling out a coupon for a basket of food to be given away and i needed to go but i had to fill the coupon out then it happened and i ran and ran and ran and i won the food later on but there wasn’t the toys i wanted and they had them up on the shelf you couldn’t reach and i thought i could take them if i won but you only got the food and i ran and ran and ran and i was scared at night and didn’t know why and i was ashamed of my cut hands and i was ashamed because i wanted toys when we needed food and i was ashamed and all the while the coal moved around the back and front and both sides in the barges on the river and the trucks on the road and the trains on the tracks and in the low cars in the mining repair shop that became the toys you never won

lead the gutters to the blind

describe an arc along the ground in sand that will not shift
follow trees in shadows past the buildings that are left
when the heavy sky comes crumbling down to bury damned mankind
lead the blind men to the gutters, lead the gutters to the blind

nashville, 1971

with a dozen roses from tyler, texas...
stems pressed between my elbow and my side,
blossoms jutting out beneath my shoulder
like a burst of blood frozen by the camera
in a cheap and violent movie...
i lope easily across the rain-engorged alley
my dingoes squishing shamelessly in the mud
erupting small splashes of sound
into the early sunday morning silence
then, from the alley, i ascend a gentle rise
to the glass slick, rain-washed lawn
of a tall, rambling three story house
turned gray with vampire winter’s wind
sucking life from ancient white-washed walls

now the leather of my boots squeaks on splintered stairs
a sneaky, sheepish sound
my run ended, i am suddenly slowed
not ready yet to announce my arrival
i carefully climb the wooden backless steps
uneasily attached to the rear of the house
to the first landing and the single eye
of the back door window whose lacy curtains are half-closed
as if what lay beyond were feigning sleep
and watching me greedily behind an eyelash thin wall

now, shuffling the mud from my boots
onto the frilly fibers of her doormat,
i feel a massive, incredible wave of adolescent shyness
sweep past my adult sophistications

and drown my will beneath a flood of indecision
i hold the roses before me in one hand
an ineffectual barrier, fooling no one,
my free hand stretches out, one finger trembles
the trembling translates into a noisy, stacatto buzzing
of her un-feminine, unnerving doorbell

i stand, back to a gray and ugly sky,
facing a door in a wall of gray and lifeless wood
and feeling just as gray from the inside of my ash dry mouth
to the paleness of my nearly fainting face
with a ridiculous, incongruous bouquet
of obscenely red roses
mocking all the gray and coldness
in the air, in the me

and the door opens
moving on mysteriously silent hinges
in a world where such things nearly always creak and rasp
and a gasp of air envelopes me
like the breath of a child escaping all at once
astonished by the splendor of the tree on christmas morning
warm and tingly, vibrating with a thousand whispers and promises
laced with the twin smells of baking bread
from an oven somewhere nearby
and a perfume that strikes with
a pungent, serpentine sensuality
transforming the yeasty image of bread rising
into a throat catching, erotic flash of twin breasts rising,
pale and flour-ery from a shocking, silky slip of negligee

my eyes skid past her
careening off walls and floor and assorted pieces of
salvation army furniture and mirrors and stained glass, tiffany lamps
till, braking and boomeranging, i force my focus to her face
my elbow creaks, arthritic and threatening to pop loudly
as my automatic arm thrusts the roses forward
unnecessarily close to her pert nose

i stand in the space between the seconds ticking by
and my hand begins to vibrate with a low hum
i stare into her solemn, searching eyes
and know that if she does not smile soon
my whole arm will be palsied with
a violent, uncontrollable spasm
and i’ll scatter a cascade of rose petals at her feet
and turn and leap down the stairs
in a complete and utterly defeated rout
and run back across her yard
through the mud of the alley to my hollow room

and in the instant when it seems the fabric
of time itself must surely rip from the strain
a faint, butterfly-shadow of a smile
passes over her serious, until now unapproachable, face
the roses bunched lightly to her breast
she turns slightly
and, with the delicate motion
of a fragile fingered
impossibly feminine hand,
she invites me in

the coin that you pay with is one you once tossed

prisoned inside my private world
i watch dust devils dash and swirl
and lift the skirt of a nubile girl
i hear the wind raping the trees
i see the bruised and battered leaves
come crumbling down around her knees

i kid myself that i’m not mad
i’m not bitter, i’m not sad
that i don’t shed tears for love unknown
and my foolish fears haven’t left me lone
that i still walk the path between the stars
and i still can catch fireflies in jars

but i no longer seek the reason why
i giggle when i hear grown men cry
i’ve never lived, so i’ll never die
and dying is such a tired cliche
done to death and every day
is done again like dogs at play

i once knew rules and a thing called sin
i pattered prayers and mouthed amen
my faith was furious, but a trifle thin
i grew tired of seeking a savior to blame
i forgave myself, learned to live with my shame
found water or wine gurgles down the same drain

there is nothing left for any of us
a long ride to the grave in a short black bus
and all of our fuming and all of our fuss
cannot cajole the driver to changing his route
or opening the back and letting us out
so it’s best not to whimper, best not to pout

i look out the window over my kitchen sink
hidden in shadow, with coffee to drink
watching a young girl and trying to think
why a flash of white panties once felt like a fire
what it meant to be eaten, consumed by desire
but my dragon is flagging, too quickly i tire

i watch her walk by and she doesn’t see me
just as well since my lusting’s now limp apathy
and the pride of my loins can do nothing but pee
surely that is life’s lesson that i somehow had lost
you pay for your pleasures without knowing the cost
and the coin that you pay with is one you once tossed

canadian club

god knows how many cases
of canadian club i have collected

i have traversed a thousand miles
across the darkened continent
and found no animal worth the killing
i have plunged over the brink
of my own billowing niagara
only to come bobbing with disheartening cheerfulness
to the surface:  downstream and unimpressed

i have grown moss on my north side
while waiting with a patented patience
for some heavenly sign to split the fog
and illuminate the manuscript
my fateful moving finger hath writ
only to be pissed on by passing dogs
and mistaken for a candid camera mailbox

god only knows how many cases
of canadian club i have collected
and i am left still thirsty
always on the brink of boredom
sherlockian cocaine kept close at hand
if i had taken a mathematical muse
to bed at age of twelve
instead of this damned poet’s whore
that hangs around my neck
a fat and painted, powdered albatross
or if i’d cut a chemist teeth
and singed my soul on satan’s bunsen burner

then perhaps i could afford
to ignore this none too gentle prodding
to plow unyielding paper with a poet’s pen
instead i pass my rumplestilskin days
spinning gold into these polyester poems
and gaze with eyes glazed like be-sugared donuts
in awful, fascinated boredom
on all the silly soliloquies my soul concocts

i run the boston marathon of my mind
and panting turn to see the crowd
has grown as bored with me as i with them
and has left my sweating, adidas’ed self
to enjoy my momentary triumph

Introduction to When Green the Grass Did Grow Around the Fumbles of Desire

Philip Jarrett
Dunbar, WV

when green the grass did grow around the fumbles of desire

when green the grass did grow around the fumbles of desire
i followed my own footprints up my mountain seeking higher
looking with my eyes i found myself too quickly blind
looking past my eyes into the hollow of my mind
i fell forward in a graceful swan into my private fire

i pulled myself aright and stumbled backwards into grief
i grumbled like a madman, i tumbled like a leaf
i spent my seed in spurts of song
and fainting fast into a long
and hopeless, dreamless sleep:  i found relief

and now i lay a vegetable upon god’s cutting table
a phallic, inert cucumber…too soon, too soon unable
to bleed my heart into a bowl
to eat my flesh to feed my soul
to grind my life down to a role:
a neon aesop’s fable

i long to fly a phoenix flight
across the mountains of the night
to grow myself back to the womb
to cheat the devil, beat the tomb
to raise a new sun all my own
to stand upon green earth alone
and if i die, may god be damned
but if i live, to live a man

hey, cowboy, let me see your face

hey, cowboy, let me see your face
the scar where pain still lingers from a broken-necked beer bottle brawl
the teeth gone bad and yellowed like old paper
from the chew you cannot swallow
the whiskers like a patch of stiff,
dew frozen weed from too many early mornings
the ravenous etching of an ugly time drip down below your eyes

your eyes, hey cowboy, let me see your eyes
or are they set too deeply ‘neath the harrowing ridge
of your high wrinkled dusty forehead?
let me look into your eyes
and see the passage of dim whiskey settle down to aching joints
or the light that drained through your thick thighs
into the heavy, hairy well of a sweaty, wet-back chicano whore

you’re old, cowboy, old and dying near the grave
your broken fingernailed and cold split hands have dug
you’re old and what you were you never were
and what you never will be
you soon will never have the chance to be again

you’re old, cowboy, you’re old and you won’t open up your eyes
to let this imitation of an imitation
booted and jeaned young fool of a bastard
look back
and feel his father’s flesh
or hear his mother’s cry

An Elaboration On Truth and Fable

Adam and Eve were offered two choices:  Eat of the Tree of Life and live or of the Tree of Knowledge and die.  The Snake lied to them and told them they would not die.  They ate and this is why Daddy has to work hard in the fields and Mommy hurts so bad when she’s having a baby and Snakes crawl on their bellies.  This was the fable before Christianity weighed it down with all the baggage of Original Sin.

The first step in gaining knowledge is the admission of your own mortality. 

You have to shun the fruit of the Tree of Life in order to partake of the Tree of Knowledge.  

The Snake is the one who says they will not die.  And he's lying to you.  Anyone who tells you that you are immortal is lying to you.
Let me repeat that.

Anyone who tells you that you are immortal, that there is life after death, that you will resurrect from the dead in your own flesh and rule with Jesus in a Thousand Year Kingdom here on Earth is telling you a lie.

It doesn’t matter how old the lie is or how confusingly ornate and baroque the lie has become or how many people believe the lie.

It’s a lie.

When someone who knows no more than you do tells you what you want to hear and you believe it then he is a liar and you are a fool.

Am I claiming that I know more than you do?  No, I’m saying there are only two things we can say with certainty on the subject of death and the afterlife:

We all die.

Nobody comes back from death.

Anyone who claims knowledge beyond those two indisputable facts is lying to you.

Why do I keep hammering on the word ‘lie’?  Aren’t they just of a different opinion than me and shouldn’t I respect their right to believe and teach what they want to on the subject? 

You’re right; I can’t stop people from believing a lie.  But they can stop themselves.  They can begin to learn anew the terrors of freedom, of thinking rather than regurgitating.

When someone tells you wild tales about Death and Damnation, Heaven and Hell, God Versus Satan and that you are at the Epicenter of a Cosmic Battle for your Eternal Soul it’s all very thrilling and exciting, especially that part about you being immortal and that when you die you don’t cease to exist but live on in some ethereal sense to return to your bones at the End of Time and be judged for the Sins of your Life and sent to either Eternal Paradise or Eternal Punishment and that the only way you can avoid Burning In Hell Where The Fire Is Not Quenched And The Worm Dieth Not is to turn your life, money and mind over to him and he’ll see what he can do for you...

...I think I can safely say we’ve left a simple lie far behind and gone deep into the territory of psychotic fantasy.

Here’s the tricky part.  This same person who tells you all this also tells you whoever would come around making you question his fabulous tales is trying to steal your soul and if you listen to him it’s an automatic one-way ticket Down and there’s nothing he or anyone else can do for you.

You’ve got to admire a con game with that caveat inserted to keep the mark on the hook!

Do I sound angry to you?  I hope I do, because I am.  I’ve lost fifty years...a half of a century...of my life when I was a Christian just as surely as I would have if I had been placed in prison for a crime I not only didn’t commit but a crime of which I was the victim!

Death is the truth; life after death is a lie.

I’m not shy about using the word truth.  When the likelihood of an event occurring is ever more increasingly scarce with every minute of every day then refusing the word truth would be like refusing to call a rock, a rock.  In any other species than man, we accept as a given that part of the description of the life form is it’s longevity.  

The sea turtle can live a 150 years, then he dies and does not come back.  My dog will live 12 to 20 years, and then he will die and not come back.

With the human species we can trace the longevity rate from age to age, but in the end we always die.  

And in spite unsubstantiated rumors that must, by definition, be accepted without proof...hell, the less proof the better!  For believing something in spite of tangible evidence to the contract is the ultimate act of faith!

And no one has ever come back.  Sorry, Jesus, but until we perfect time travel and a DNA sample is collected while you were alive (if you ever lived at all) then another after the resurrection (if that even happened) then the premise of my argument applies to you as well.  One of the many high points along the way towards atheism was when I realized and accepted the simple truth:

If it doesn’t happen now, it didn’t happen then.

You want to study the alleged miracles in Christian scripture then you study their modern counterparts.  Faith healing, prophecy, exorcism, glossolalia are all being practiced today.  If they happen now, then we can conclude they happened then.  I spent years in Charismatic/Pentecostal religion and have practiced and experienced all of these things and more.  Not once did I encounter anything that could not be described better and fully without reference to the supernatural.  I have read anecdotal ‘evidence’ (that is to say, the brags and boasts of people whose motivation is to increase their standing in the church they attend) but I have never encountered a single miraculous event in any serious, peer-reviewed publication or while bouncing up and down in a back pew, hands in the air, snot flying from my nose and tears from my eyes…OK, maybe the tears were kind of forced.  

It’s hard to get that thrill you did the first time you did something…sex, the Holy Spirit, LSD….and when you can’t you feel like a failure, the tension builds inside you like the bugs just under your skin that only you can  see…till you take it a little bit further than the time before…just far enough to get that sick thrill.  When I was a witch…I’ve been in every kind of religion they make and some I made up myself…I use to tell people that if you aren’t scared shitless when you were casting a spell then you weren’t doing it right.  

The addictive cycle, the ever increasing risk, all to make the ultimate commitment, to get that thrill you got the first time one more time.  It's why men have affairs and women have vibrators. It's the same in sexual perversion at it is in religion.

Ted Bundy started his career from a chance glance of a woman in an open window undressing set off the cycle of thrill, then dullness and repetition, that ends when the person takes it a step to far.  Ted Bundy ending up raping and murdering women.  The question is, when if he’d walked home that night without seeing the woman undressing in the window?

What if it was you?  What if you saw the woman in the window?  Is there a Ted Bundy inside of you molesting your Inner Child?

I know Evil.  I’ve seen it in others, sure, that’s easy and most of the time other people call Evil isn't Evil as much as irritating.  Spotting it in others…Hitler, Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Ladin…that’s the easy part. 

Seeing it up close, being in the same room, the same house with it day after day does something to you.

Something bad, something you never come back from.

It's when you realize that you aren't one of the Good Guys.

No, you don’t know Evil till you see it staring back at you in the mirror.

 But I digress…

We refuse to accept that when we die we don’t come back, can’t ‘come back’ because we don’t go anywhere except down the drain on a mortician’s slab.  Hence, death without return is a descriptive of the human species.  

A descriptive is based on all available evidence and can only be changed if evidence to the contrary is discovered.  To describe something is not in the same class as theorizing and is not subject to the laws of probability and, therefore, can be stated as a fact.

A word about probability.  There is an argument against making truth statements of any kind that goes since there is an infinity of probable outcomes then that teapot orbiting the sun could possible be there or, in the extreme, will be there in some alternate universe.  This isn’t an argument at all, just an exercise in semantics. My objection is that this is an imaginative exercise made possible only because we lack the evidence to disprove a fantasy.  I think it was Chris Hitchen’s who re-worded the old cliché “the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence” by adding the caveat “the absence of evidence where evidence should exist is evidence of absence.”  Probability theory points the way for further study and should not, cannot be accepted as an end within itself.

But to treat it seriously and dismiss it in the case of human mortality I’ll pretend it has value.

Probability theory only functions within an infinite set.  In other words, if you take the universe(s) as your evidentiary group, then anything can happen, has happened and will happen.  In the case of human mortality, we are not functioning in an infinite set.  What we have is a finite set consisting of every human being from Eve to the extinction of our species…another unavoidable, since extinction is evidenced in all species just as all individual members of the species are mortal.  As such, we can make truth statements within the boundaries of the finite set of the human species.  Never mind all those orbiting teapot species that are immortal, we can say as an observable fact we are not included among them.

Remember Philip’s Law:

If it doesn’t happen now, it didn’t happen then.

The corollary of which is:

If it doesn’t happen now, it won’t happen in the future.

The laws of this universe are constants as far as the finite set of the human species.  Just as a miraculous inversion of those laws in a particular incident is impossible and would, in my opinion, lead to destruction of our universe, then we can say with certainty these laws haven’t changed in the 200,000 or so years humanity has existed and will not change in the 200,001 to perhaps a million years before we become extinct although that figure is too high since we are the first species capable of bringing about our own extinction as we seem intent on doing.

The population is every dead person in the world from Adam to Dick Clark.  It is a finite population, therefore we can make positive and negative statements.  In this finite population, what is the percentage of people who have come back from the dead...people with have empirical evidence for?

The answer is zero.  We have a hundred per cent mortality rate as a species.  No one has ever come back from the dead.  How can we be sure?  Investigate cases of claimed resurrection from the dead as we have in our world now.  One would be more accurate to study zombification in Voodoo if one were truly interested in the resurrection from the dead.   

One more slight digression, then I’ll give everyone a chance to tell me what an idiot I am.

Think about Jesus being God Incarnate.  Set up a computer model if you have the skill and inclination.  If the Creator of a Universe were to Incarnate into his own Creation would he not set up an infinite loop that would end in the destruction of the Universe?  

I’m reminded of Robert Heinlein’s Glory Road one of his few attempts, and maybe the only one’ at fantasy.  There is a creature who attacks the gang of intrepid questers (isn’t there always?) who is indestructible by definition.  How do they overcome such a creature?  They feed the creature it’s own tail and continue to stuff the tail in the mouth until he is the size of a beach ball then a basketball then a baseball then a marble then a speck of dust until all that is left of him is a greasy spot on the hero’s hand.  

I submit that the Incarnation upon which Christianity rests is an impossibility just as making a monster disappear by feeding it it's own tail.

Don't know the science that could prove the impossibility of the Incarnation, got a hunch it's out there somewhere.  But I'm no scientists.

I am, in truth, (drum roll please)

An English Major!

And even worse,

With a Philosophy Minor!

As Sheldon put it:

"Oh, the Humanities!"

In conclusion, we die.  We don’t come back from death.  

In order to become a grown, adult human being you must first acknowledge these truths.  Clinging to superstition and fable wastes countless lives to potentials they will never be able to fulfill.

I know it did me.

Atheism is admitting the truth.

The Truth.


But remember or hear for the very first time a lesson that is hard in the learning:

The Truth won't set you Free... have to Free the Truth!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

the choice

if i could catch you like a dark firefly
and hold you in my hand
prick my thumb with your mosquito’s tongue
till your eyes glowed bright again
then i would think my life completed
that i had finally done my part
and as my soul depleted
give my blood, not just my heart

but you are not an insect
to spare or slay with a swatter
and i am not so perfect
yet i claim you as my daughter
and life is not so gentle
and fate is never kind
and the price of love parental
is to give up love that’s blind

so i sit in stony silence
as befits a man who’s died
watch you suffer another’s violence
bear the bruises of false pride
i scream behind lips tightly stitched
burning bile has stole my voice
knowing you, alone, must come un-bewitched
and the best i have to offer you is

the choice

and the field ‘neath my feet will lay fallow

the world is a harsh metaphor
for something i can’t understand
twelve candles or stars
or tongues of fire
against a darkness not evil, but bland

i’ve stumbled and grumbled my way through life
passed sixty years now and nothing to show
a month-to-month rental
some trinkets and trifles
a head full of nitro with no fuse to blow

so come along girls and all you young men
the promise was made to be broken
with god for a lover
and satan your friend
there is much left better unspoken

life is a mystery and death is its solving
and all the rest is a red herring
the sun will rise ever
the moon keep revolving
so learn when you’re young to stop caring

old age is a blessing and death is no curse
as i drop through the hole in the gallows
one last shit and it’s over
for better or worse
and the field ‘neath my feet will lay fallow

translucent trailed the tear

translucent trailed the tear
down her alabaster cheek
her pale, pink tongue slid out
then quickly in again
as she tasted her own sorrow
her eyes darted there but settled here
one corner of her red lips tic’ed a tweak
stifling a smile into a pout
at being caught to her chagrin
finding a place inside herself to wallow

she did not break her gaze or look away
and i, inebriated, rose to the challenge
the game became a contest and a dare
a dare i knew i dared not lose
yet had no idea what prize i’d gain
or what i’d forfeit if i had to pay
i only knew her skin so white and mine a sickly orange
from climates diseased beyond repair
and too much nameless, foreign booze
and a mind not yet mad but still no longer sane

i rose to my feet holding my drink
and her eyes at the same time
in a feat of dexterity that amazed even me
i walked a nearly straight
and narrow line across the room
and with no invitation took the seat across from her
words that needed saying i could not even think
an introduction seemed superfluous and asinine
for this much closer to her i found that i could see
myself reflected in her eyes, a fly in a spider’s loom
and the words i sought did not exist
they simply never were

her skin was far whiter than skin was meant to be
her lips were redder than a rose’s blood
her hair black as the midnight of a man’s soul
her eyes curled back and upwards
from a thin and delicate nose
a warm musk radiated from her like an angel in heat
i could not see the clothes she wore,
they meant nothing to me
from a whore’s red dress to a nun’s black hood
to an empty sack that once held coal
she opened my eyes so widely i was blinded to her clothes
as she drank from me with lapping sips
like a kitten at the teat

the room swirled swiftly ‘round me
and the light turned gold and warm
i swam and drowned and flew and fell
i saw lights like stars beneath my feet
and ships like shadows o’er my head

in the ‘morn i awoke in a dumpster
with leftovers leaving to fill a landfill
sticky memories a stain in my underwear
a head filled with yearning for unparallel pleasures
a vacuum i’d never felt before
and i crawled out of the filth and the feces
to see her once more


with seeds of darkness flashing in her eyes
she came to me at night and soiled my dreams
i fought her, or at least, i thought i fought
but a wild, maniacal laughter
soon overtook my screams
and my lurching, grasping struggles
found me trapped between her thighs
and what i thought i ought not
turned to what my seeking sought

angel or witch, lover or bitch no matter which she came
i’d lie in my bed my head full of dread
masking a heart spiced with coal black desire
my soul to restore from this demon whore
            fresh from sulfurous pits of fire
terror surged up my spine, phlegm clotted my throat
            my blanket rose
like a cock on a vane

i had drank much sedation to still my trepidation
but medication was always a waste
my eyes yearned to be closed
while the fires embers glowed
but toothpicks held open my lids
my mouth muttered and stuttered prayers best left
unuttered:  a glossaliac gurgle,
a growl and a grumble
            one last tear as i try to repent...                

...and then with a cry i was spent


nibbled to death by ducks

nibbled to death by ducks

there isn’t much that’s left of me
some bones and hair and strips of flesh
i am being slowly, relentlessly nibbled to death by ducks
all that once was pure and fresh
has long since succumbed to obscenity
my shriveled soul has slipped my grasp and sank beneath the muck

death holds a paltry, insignificant fear
compared to premature decomposition
pain, though unpleasant, shrieks i’m alive
not agony, but numbness plots the course of my deletion
and at night in deathly dark i strain my ears to hear
the flutter of wings at my window as they arrive

soft thudding of webbed feet
creeping closer while i feign sleep
struggling to stay still in hopes that they will wander off
my fingernails, grown long, lacerate my useless skin
and i hear, dear god, i hear their muttered, quacking soft
my eyes, shut tightly shut, squirt tears as i quietly weep
then the first cold bill nudges me
and the feeding frenzy begins

from karl marx to pale jesus

i don’t want you to
accept my beliefs
i want you to question your own
why should i care
if here and there
there were little phil jarrett clones?

make up your mind
but not like you make
the bed in the morning you leave
all tightly tucked corners
with no room for doubt
is no way for a man to believe

furl flags on the ramparts
paste poems on your prius
and blog till your bloggin’ content
these words that you mutter
you might as well utter
so pull up your thesaurus and vent

from riots to revolution
there’s no easy solution
left untried then put up on the shelf
from karl marx to pale jesus
there’s a repeating thesis
the only change you can make is yourself


Suggested reading:

  • A History of the End of the World by Jonathan Kirsch
  • American Colossuss: The Triumph of Capitalism 1865 - 1900 by H. W. Brands
  • American Colossuss: The Triumph of Capitalism 1865 - 1900 by H. W. Brands
  • Life After Death by Alan Segal
  • Radicals for Capitalism by Brian Doherty
  • Radicals for Capitalism by Brian Doherty
  • The Science of Evil by Simon Baron-Cohen
  • The Science of Evil by Simon Baron-Cohen
  • Traitor to His Class: The Privileged Life and Radical Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt
  • Traitor to His Class: The Privileged Life and Radical Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt


About Me

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I am from West Virginia. Born in New Martinsville to a minister's family. Traveled around West Virginia and Southern Ohio growing up. The only stability I got was from my mother's side of the family in Boone County. My Great Grandfather on my father's side was preaching in Madison during the Mine Wars. He ran for the state legislature on a pro-union ticket and won only to have the coal companies tie the results up in court so he ended serving only one day out of this term. My Grandfather on my mother's side stood with the miner's at Blair Mountain and died of Black Lung when I was still in my teens. I was raised a Conservative Christian...not a Fundamentalist. Strict separation of church and state based on the understanding that what makes for a good politician is pretty much the opposite of what makes a good Christian. I'm politically radical in that I believe in one man/one vote and the only way to have political equality is to have economic equality. I'm an atheist because once I accepted the fact of my own mortality I found no need for belief in God.