All the News that’s fit to print

It has been an eventful few months.

I’m working on several things at the moment now that we’re approaching something resembling normalcy. I hope everyone is safe and vaccinated, and doing well. This is just a quick post because I’ve been neglecting the blog.

In early October I had a breakthrough Covid infection and had to quarantine for a couple weeks. I’ve been vaxxed since my age group was eligible, so fortunately I did not have to go to the hospital, but that was an unexpected and unpleasant surprise. We had managed to avoid it all this time, and then one brief interaction of probably less than a minute brought it home. But luckily, out of our family of four I was the only one who tested positive.

During that time I was resting I did a little work on some of my creative projects. There are several story lines I’ve been writing, a couple in scripts that will be making their way to a rep’s desk sooner than later, a game story line with many branching conversations, a series of short films that I want to see made, and a few other notes on different ideas. Just before this mandatory sick leave I did see a proof of Counterfeit Collective in it’s ready-for-printing format, which was cool, but it may not be available for a little while. Interestingly, this year some things have changed even for print media. There was a rule book we were waiting on for a particular tabletop role playing game and it has been delayed due to various issues from costs of certain supplies to shortages in the supply chain itself. At least in that case we got a preview PDF copy of the book as it is now (it is still not yet through final editing) so we know what the new rule set is. That is good, especially if you are planning to run a new chronicle and hope to stream that whole adventure on one or more platforms.

I wish there was more I could share right now, but we’ve been dealing with a few issues that are slow to resolve. Just the ubiquitous things we all have to deal with in this day and age, like medical insurance not paying for things they should (not even related to the Covid 19 case), decisions about exactly how/when/where we are going to “retire” in a few years. Yes, I put that word in quotes because it’s a myth of American life that we might get to “retire” at some point…where kids are going to college, how to pay for that, etc., etc. Our youngest will graduate in 2024, and we are staying where we are only to give them some stability after all those moves and deployments earlier in life. Once they’re ready to go on to university, we are (or should be) moving on to where we want to be.

So somewhere in the next few updates, I’ll share where interested persons can find a print copy of Counterfeit Collective, when (roughly) to expect a follow up, where we will be streaming some of our role-playing shenanigans, and some of what goes into preparing for an indie film project. There are a few other things I would love to find time for, but we’ll have to see what happens!

It’s good to be able to breathe again. And to have energy. We really shouldn’t take those things for granted. Stay safe everyone. May the Force be with you all. Always.

Y’all need to get right with ZEN

We are almost to the Point of No Return.

I’ve actually been looking forward to it because so many of the people I know are so completely full of shit, and so deeply in denial that I may be in danger of overdosing on Schadenfreude whenever the scales finally fall from their eyes.

Some of the truth will come out in court, some in the congressional investigations, but all of the bills are about to come due.

I remarked at some point in 2020 that the cops abusing their authority during the BLM protests brought guns, tear gas, and rubber bullets to a live streaming camera fight. A lot of people in law enforcement and politics badly underestimated what they were dealing with. There were sound reasons that we saw a Wall of Vets, and the Wall of Moms standing between the protesters and the police. I watched as many of those streams as I could. We saw plenty of attempts by various individuals to lie on Faux News about was actually happening…but we have video! We can just roll the tape. Many of those cases are coming up as well.

Over the past couple weeks, I’ve had a series of disturbing conversations with several people. They still don’t get it. All of them can believe whatever they want, but their belief doesn’t make it truth. Courts don’t run on rhetoric, they run on evidence. Lawyers that took part in the alleged election fraud lawsuits have already been sanctioned by the courts for their lack of professionalism. When you allege fraud you have to present evidentiary support for whatever fraud you are claiming took place. If you don’t have any, you get thrown out of court. If you ignore the warnings of the court, and continue trying to bullshit your way through the same case sixty different times, you will then get disciplined by the courts or the bar association, or both.

This year and probably next we’ll have weirdly mirror image court cases involving protests and assaults. Assaults by police on citizens, and by citizens on police. Some of our finest hack politicians will attempt to conflate things, as if property damage at a protest is somehow morally equivalent to attempting to overthrow your government. This is America. We sometimes burn things down celebrating Sportsball championship victories. Trying to gin up outrage by saying “Remember the Portland CVS” is not going to cut it here. A mob of White Walkers smashed up the capitol and killed four people. They were trying to stop the electoral vote count. Don’t try to pretend they weren’t. They openly said what they were there to do. Lying about it now won’t work. The court of public opinion won’t be deciding any damn thing here. All of these matters will get settled one way or another in really real for realsies court.

What I’ve noticed over this past year, is that a lot of people are having trouble adapting to change. We don’t have a choice. The cameras we have everywhere are the most obvious example of technology that is shifting everything in the landscape of our culture. This is why so many Karens have gotten their comeuppance whenever they tried to pull their usual bullshit in public. We can all Go Live! right now. You can go viral, or you can fucking behave like everyone else.

If that kind of instant accountability troubles you, you might be on the wrong side of history.

You might be perpetuating some antiquated attitudes in some aspect of your life. Most of us do. It can’t be helped if you and I were raised in a different time, but our future behavior can be helped. If we can change with the times. Our circle of friends will be wider if we include other cultures and different outlooks.

Those disturbing conversations I mentioned…they are all with or about people who are having trouble adapting to changes. I’ve mentioned before that I deleted Facebook years ago, and also unfollowed most of my family, in-laws, and many friends on Twitter and other places. Some of them morphed over the years into Angry old Men (and Women!) Yelling at Clouds online. It was all some of them did, all day every day on every platform they were on. This social media thing also is new. It has had an effect on how we perceive the world. How we relate to it and each other. Some of us have developed an addiction to the rage machine part of the world wide web.

So there we were, trying to have nice, pleasant conversations about wine, what the kids were up to, the weather, what some other friends were up to, how is everyone doing, etc., when we ran right into a neighbor raging over an Olympian, a family member decrying “wokeness” and a mutual acquaintance who may have gone completely Qwazy… there was also a little light transphobia and homophobia in the mix there somewhere. (There is too much, I am summing up). Some of these angry comments came right out of the blue, some were their usual rantings, and some were just quick changes of the subject of conversation maybe because they just can’t help themselves.

Nobody gained anything from any of that. It was mostly just annoying.

I’ve already spent too much time on this. I’ve got to go and take care of things in the real world. But before I do I just want to make note of a few other things.

It may be that some of my friends and family members just lack some experiences in life that might have prepared them for the more modern world we are heading towards. I mentioned back in 2019 that we now have some technology that is game-changing. It is starting to remake our world right now.

We have 3D printed houses now. Some print in place, and depending on the size/complexity of the floor plan they can print in as little as 24 hours.

We have 3D printed cars now.

We have AI driven trucks now.

We have robots that can stock shelves now.

We have cashierless stores now.

We have robocops patrolling streets now. (also robo-K9s)

The last cool looking prototype robot I saw was a crop harvesting machine.

So, while you all have been wasting your time with your bullshit culture wars, the next industrial revolution is upon you.

The folks who have only been telling you what you want to hear are going to have an increasingly smaller pool of working class people to pander to.

What comes next is going to be interesting.

We will have to make that evolutionary leap very soon now.

National Poetry Month 2021 edition

“Truth is like poetry…and most people fucking hate poetry.”

–Overheard in a Washington, D.C. bar

The above quote was the tagline of a meme I saw online and it made me laugh. It has also been said that “even poets hate poetry”. I don’t know who said either of these things, but they make a point. Like Captain America exclaiming “Language!” to admonish a team mate’s choice of words, we are all always editing what we are hearing or reading. We might fixate on a word or turn of phrase that is problematic for us and miss a point that we might not grasp at first glance, but might come to better understand later if we reread the piece, or talk about that topic again.

These statements can’t be literally true, of course. Take song lyrics for example. Songs are simplified poems, and vocal music is hugely popular and influential in every culture. Songs that resonate with people express things that many of us can relate to. So while poetry as a genre in publishing these days may be a niche market, it is still poetic language that drives a lot of what defines our popular culture. Everything from songs by our favorite musicians, the jingles that are still apparently a thing in advertising, great dialogue in movies and television, rhetoric in speeches that are aimed for mass appeal, they all take something from poets. Rhymes, alliteration, similes, the mechanics of the language in these compositions or productions are poetic.

It is interesting that there is this sort of dichotomy, we rarely see a book of poetry on the best seller list among other works, but it does influence so many things. A few years ago I read about a self published volume of poetry entitled “The Princess Saves Herself in This One” and how it had then gone on to be published by Andrews Mcmeel publishing and placed in bookstores. I bought a copy at a Barnes and Noble when I saw it and enjoyed much of it. Those poems were about resilience among other things, and the author clearly worked through some traumas to compose her work. I’ve read glowing reviews and criticisms that completely dismiss that book as bad poetry. The thing is though, it resonated with a lot of people.

What else is there? I can agree with some critiques of a lot of the poetry that I see posted online (and printed in some journals), but I’m also a big fan of e.e. cummings, whose free form shenanigans are well known. Ultimately, all poems are just words on a page. Sometimes I’m just playing with words. I doubt I’m alone in that. But whether it is just wordplay that gives the spark to an idea, or if it is a much more personal experience that the poet is trying to relate, they are still just thoughts put into whatever form seemed most evocative at the time. Dreams given form, as another saying goes.

That includes experimental forms, in my opinion. In some of my e.e. cummings inspired poems, I’ve tried all kinds of things that are way outside the bounds of traditional rhyme schemes. Some have featured backwards text, words spaced out all down a page, some verses left aligned, some right, some centered, some very much not-even-verses, etc. But even in those cases, the idea was the thing. In those cases, what I wanted to do was experiment with the form as much as I wanted to get whatever idea I had across. In some other cases, form brings out better word choices, more interesting detours that you may wind up taking to express the idea in the more fixed format of some rhyme schemes.

As my other favorite poet once said:

“I’ve always been interested in form, maybe because I don’t trust my own spontaneous nature to come up with anything interesting, and form imposes a certain opportunity to get deeper than your first thought. There’s a school of poetry that believes first thought, best thought. That would have condemned me to an inauspicious superficiality if I had followed that, because I don’t have any ideas. Irving Layton once said to me, ‘Leonard is free from ideas.’ I don’t have an idea and I don’t trust my opinions. I think my opinions are second-rate, but when you submit yourself to a form, then something happens and you’re invited to dig deeper into the language and to discard the slogans by which you live, the easy alibis of language and of opinion. And if you’re looking in the Spenserian stanza, for instance—which is a very, very intricate verse form—you have to come up with many rhymes of the same sound; you’re invited to explore realms that you usually don’t get to in ordinary, easy thought. I’ve considered my thought stream extremely uninteresting, and it’s only when I can discard it that I find I can say something that I can get behind.”
–Leonard Cohen

So, either way can lead to magic. Some ideas just catch fire and become something interesting in a flash, some we have to struggle with over and over for many days/weeks/months/years. …decades. However long it takes. Sometimes I’ll borrow a conjoined word from you know who, sometimes I’ll make up my own word. Other occasions may find me on Rhymezone at 2 A.M. while also flipping through an actual thesaurus to find just the right word for one line. You never know. But the idea is the thing.

I mentioned a few of the poets I was reading last year at this time, so I’ll do so again. Be sure to look into some of their work during this years National Poetry Month: Fatimah Asghar, Andrei Codrescu, Billy Collins, Ilya Kaminsky, Amanda Lovelace, Eva Xanthopoulos, Erin Belieu, Sandra Hochman. Also be sure to listen to some songs by Leonard Cohen, Gordon Lightfoot and Bob Dylan.

March Madnesses

It’s going to be another long day in our prequel dystopia. My wife goes off to work at 5AM and today won’t be back until maybe around 8PM if things go well. The kids are in online high school and that is the way it should stay for the foreseeable future. They have spring break next week, and can look forward to doing absolutely nothing other than probably visiting their Grandma, who thankfully is now vaccinated. I’m struggling to work on writing while I charge up the MP3 player and headphones for my workout later. I’ve got two scripts to finalize, one for a contest and one for something else. When I’m not working on those or the endless mundane chores that we all have to do (unless we have people who do those things for us), I’m working on rewrites of parts of a novel, and plotting out several other projects. Only one of those will see the light of day anytime soon, but they are all good things to be working on.

I keep coming to the realization in different ways and in interactions with various people, that what we all knew as “normal” was not all that great to begin with. I completely understand why so many of us are so eager to return to normal–several of the projects I want to make happen simply won’t until we have some semblance of normalcy–but at some point we have to face facts. We could–and should–be doing so much better. This morning I noticed that two states here in the US are lifting Covid19 restrictions, and once again celebrating prematurely. That news and the news of the two countries that are once again shutting down, were just two headlines in my news feed. They didn’t just pass in the night, they seem to literally be trying to live in two different worlds.

There is an amusing account on Twitter called “Accidentally Left Wing” which takes examples of right wing people who have gone so far off the deep end of their usual rhetoric that they wind up falling over the edge of their flat earth arguments and circumnavigating the factual globe (philosophically speaking) to the point that they are making left wing people’s points for them. Statements like “we need to return the ownership of these huge corporations to everyday folks, the people who do the work. It’s the only way to stop their socialist agenda.” Which was an actual post by an actual person somewhere that doesn’t understand anything.

This is the kind of thing I think about when people cry “censorship!” online. You would expect that anyone arguing to nationalize social media companies to formalize their place as a new virtual town square and enforce absolute laissez-faire freedom of speech for all would be on the left side of the spectrum, as they tend to like centralization and regulation, but no…the only ones trying to equalize the speech of the Covid Hoaxers or the Anti Vaxxers and all their lies and delusions and put their insane viewpoints right next to actual scientist’s statements as if the two deserve equal time, are all on the right wing. They seriously seem to want to tell private companies what they can and can’t do with their platforms. If a store can enforce a “no shirt, no shoes, no service” policy, then social media can enforce any similar policy. A “no facts, no sanity, no service” notice seems perfectly reasonable to me. Like this blog is my personal space on the interwebs, and I’m not required to give equal time to any Karen. My domain, my rules. Now, if I broke a policy of my web hosting provider and they cancel me…I wouldn’t expect to be able to change that without legal action. Which I wouldn’t take, because it’s expensive. And also because I’m not a grandstanding snowflake. I’d just go somewhere else.

I keep feeling like we are reaching a tipping point, and then the cycle continues. I deleted Facebook years ago, so if anyone besides the few people in my peer groups that I saw finally question some of their beliefs towards the end of my time there has seen any kind of light, I don’t know about it. Nobody has said anything to me. But, if any of them attempts to defend the idiots that have been “de-platformed” for their noxious views, I will show them no mercy. Those are the people that called Sandy Hook a false flag operation. They are the ones who called Covid a hoax. Many of them made their businesses on peddling conspiracy theories that kept getting bigger and crazier, and eventually “the Storm” wound up being a tidal of wave of delusional dipshits that attempted an insurrection. There were no mass arrests of traitors to the republic within the so called “Deep State”, because we don’t have one. We only have a Ghost State that was never properly exorcised.

I imagine that we will see many more of what I’m going to call “zeitgeist extinction events” in the next few years. The world is changing and some of our people can’t adapt. That is not just their problem, either. In the information age, your crazy uncle isn’t just some drunk ranting at the end of the bar. His rants can echo well past the grapevine of the old days and your immediate vicinity. Whatever nonsense he’s on about now could get amplified and distorted and embellished by thousands of other disingenuous malcontents until a breaking point is reached. Your snarkiest quip can now be weaponized, perhaps into something you never foresaw and produce an actual result in the real world that you may come to regret. There are people out there right now that are facing charges because they followed some people shitposting online. It’s an Orwellian wonderland.

When even some far right networks have to stop and read some disclaimers on-air about how they don’t agree with the electoral fraud claims of your favorite disgraced ex president just so that they can avoid being sued you know it’s getting REAL. Once this whole pandemic ordeal is finally behind us, it seems pretty obvious that the wrongful death lawsuits alone are going to blot out the sun. People’s lies, people’s propaganda…killed over half a million souls in the U.S. alone. (So far)

It would be one thing if the people that wanted to play Russian Roulette with the virus could do so without actually hurting anyone else. I’d discourage anyone from it, because I lost a childhood friend in just that way (not a virus…it was actual drunken Russian Roulette) and you can’t get anyone back once they’re gone. But things don’t work that way in the real world outside the childish memes that have come to epitomize the shallow depths of understanding of at least 74 million people here. If they get it, I can get it from them, and one of us may die. None of us know who it will be, because even college age athletes with no known comorbidities have passed away from complications of the first strain of Covid. Now there are more. An in-law died of the virus not long ago and his family still doesn’t grasp how wrong they were about the situation we all find ourselves in. It is beyond tragic.

I’ve had to come back to this draft several times today while multi-tasking. At this point, the day is done, my wife is still at work, and while progress was made on various projects, it still only feels like we’re just surviving. Just barely.

Next time: updates on ePubs, subsequent proposed moviefilms, and other less horrifying content.

Stay safe out there.

1/20/2021

Today was a fine palindrome day. I split my time between doing the usual chores, seeing to it others were doing theirs, doing a little research, and watching news coverage of the inauguration. At one point, my workout was interrupted by a welcome call from ASU when one of my students insisted I be on it as well. It is all going well so far. It has been almost three months since I knew they were going to need to switch to a different online school, and after waiting a little while to see if they got in, I’m so glad they are in a better place.

cover image from Counterfeit Collective
The collection was released on 12/14/20

In that same time-frame Counterfeit Collective was released as an eBook on several platforms. My understanding is that there will be some time before it appears on any other services, so whenever it does debut anywhere new, or appears in another format, I’ll update whenever that happens.

I’m working on some other projects in the calms between storms. Maybe we’ll get lucky and there will be fewer storms this year, and we’ll be able to talk about them sooner rather than later.

I hope everyone has a happy and healthy new year in 2021!

Masks & Mirrors

This has to be the weirdest Halloween Season of my lifetime. People have been wearing masks everywhere for months now, and will be for many months after. I’ve got plans as I do every year for All Hallows Eve, yet they may take place only here at the house.

Our plan is to have our own little Halloween here at the hacienda, not attend any parties, and if anyone stops by for Trick or Treating, that’s fine. I will wear my plague doctor mask underneath my costume mask and hand out the good stuff as usual. It will be the first non school night Halloween in a few years now and before all this pandemic related chaos I had been looking forward to it. We always go all out for Halloween. In 2017 I was Spiderman (AGAIN), in 2018 it was a months long quest to assemble the best Darth Maul costume I could, complete with the most screen accurate lightsaber which by itself set me back hundreds of dollars. For 2019 I put together a Leon Scott Kennedy cosplay starting with an actual police officer uniform as a base, and authentic tactical gear, just to go the extra mile. This year’s costume will be less elaborate.

Symbolically, a lot of masks have been coming off people and institutions this year. I suspect a few more will fall this Halloween Season and in the next few months. Some of our friends and family may not react well to this. In all honesty, I’ve cut myself off from quite a few people over the last few years, because they are delusional. We are almost to the point where some major illusions are going to be shattered once and for all. Of course, some people will still cling to them, like those poor old Soviets that missed Stalin until their own dying days. But the rest of us, who can still see reason will have to pick up the pieces and move forward as best we can. To put it in appropriate Spooky Season terms, the light of the new moon will show us some things in the darkness we didn’t want to see, and the full moon on the night itself will reveal some very bad news for our freakshow economy.

There. That is my formal Fortune Teller prediction for Halloween 2020. Perhaps, like that time in second grade when one of my teachers read my palm before Trick or Treating and told me I would go to college, get married and have two kids, it will be eerily accurate. Perhaps only some of what I foresee will come to pass. But, if even only half of what I suspect we will see come to light it will be one hell of a ride over this next year. Massive financial fraud. Money laundering. Stock market manipulation. Conspiracy to…well, you get the idea.

Coincidentally, if my fortune telling proves correct, some shocks to the system should be right around the time this book comes out:

Counterfeit Collective is all about that fake society

So, we might all be too busy standing in bread lines to buy it, but hey—at least it will be out! That’s progress, right? I absolutely love what the artist did with the cover art concept I had. This country is a circus on the best of days, and really needs to grow up and become something better …like a Ren Faire or a Community College.

This project is a short volume of poetry exploring themes of illusion, delusion, lies, damned lies, statistics, nationalism, racism, denialism, all sorts of isms. Some of the poems have been published previously, others were written to fit the theme. It is about the masks our society wears to fool us into playing the game, the masks we wear into the carnival, how many of the games are rigged and all that goes along with that. Given how dark this year has been, I sometimes wish I had opted to go with the other theme I’m collecting poems for, which is much more spiritual, but here we are. That one will have to be next year if we live.

After the formatting is done and the ebook hits the market, there will be print copies eventually, but there is no firm date on that yet. Once I have sample copies, I may know more. Next month, if all goes well, I’ll be entering a contest in another genre, with at least one script. Next year I’ll have other things coming out in one form or another. It’s challenging trying to look past the train wrecks that are already here and those I think I see coming up, to focus on those things I want to bring into being. I’m sure everyone can relate to that on some level.

I hope you all stay safe and sane, and keep working towards a brighter future. I voted early this past week and dropped off our ballots at the usual official drop box location. This is the most important election of my lifetime. If you haven’t already, you need to go vote. It is well past time we had adults back in the rooms where national decisions are made.

Next time, I’ll update with where to find the book once it is published, what I’m working on currently, and what I hope to be doing in the future.

May the Force be with you. Always.

I can’t wait until 2020 is hindsight

I’d hoped to update before now, and to have something to share. Cover art is about to be created for my book, and everything is taking longer than it should. Some of this is my fault, the rest is circumstances.

Last year, I wrote about the perfect storm of perfect storms that was about to roll up on our shores, and honestly, even then I had thought it was “near future” not tomorrow that we would see the effects of climate change hitting. Then Australia was on fire at the beginning of the year and now the southwestern U.S. where I live is going the same way. There are nearly 100 major fires burning over here at this moment in time. Ice shelves have collapsed, it’s been one of the busiest hurricane seasons on record already, and fall and winter are going to be rougher than years past for many reasons aside from the once in a century pandemic.

When I last remembered to blog, it was not yet known how devastating this disease was, or how badly our current administration would handle it. It was back in late April/Early March when I expected to be doing some new things, and then my kids stayed home after spring break. They’re still at home. The school district here has been doing a fairly good job with online schooling, but we may have now reached a point where if they insist on requiring my girls to go on campus for any reason–even just testing–I’m going to have to withdraw them. It’s not as if what they’re proposing is safe right now–in Israel they are about to lock down AGAIN. Schools became a major vector for them after they rushed to reopen. You would think that school administrators and elected officials here would consider that and other examples around the world to be “teaching moments”, and respond accordingly, especially in states with high infection rates such as AZ. But, you might be wrong. We shall see.

On the writing front, I did receive good feedback from my editor on the poetry book, and that will be out in Q4 sometime. The revisions on the novel will take much more time. I’ve got no time table on that, I just want to get it right. Once the collection is out, I’ll be working on that, and there are a couple other projects I will be pitching for different media. It is hard to find motivation some days to work on these with everything else going on in the world, but the creative work does help with my depression.

I sincerely hope that all of you that read this stay healthy and safe throughout the rest of this dark year. Wear a damn mask. Do your part. Remember that we are all in this together.

02/20/2020

I missed posting on palindrome day due to being busy. This date will have to do to satisfy my OCD. 🙂 It’s close enough I guess. Updates on the writing front: no new novel news. A collection of poems is forthcoming. Currently in editing. After that, one of the two short film scripts I wrote last year is due to be revised.

There are some new things on the horizon. In the next couple of months I’ll be in the studio for a podcast and a session zero of a roleplay campaign that is planned to be streamed on Twitch and possibly other platforms. That should be fun.

Other than those things, I’m just dealing with IRL stuff. Need to do taxes, and shift some investment strategies. We haven’t had a five year plan in more than five years, and we really need to be ready to move by the end of 2024. So…yeah. This is starting to loom large in my mind now.

Updates on when the collection comes out will be here and on whatever social platforms I’m still on by then.

/Gandalf

Expect me when you see me.

09/19/2019

Captain’s Log, Stardate 73181.5

Life on Earth is …intriguing. Sometime last year a source informed me and several others that 9/18/2019 would be the date that some disclosures would be made and it would be the “beginning of the end”. If you don’t know what situation I’m referring to, it doesn’t matter. What is interesting is how this individual and another keep calling out specific dates well in advance and with some specificity of just what is going to happen…and not being as wrong as your average meteorologist, or financial guru, or doomsday cultist, etc. In fact, it would be disturbing how often they are eerily correct in what they tell me if I wasn’t in a Zen state much of the time.

It is quite a time to be alive. We are about to the point where we will be forced to make an evolutionary leap. It’s just not climate change, and overshooting the real finite resources we have, it isn’t merely advances in technology that are changing entire industries, it is an almost perfect storm of perfect storms rolling up on the shores of our post-feudal societies. If you have never watched Drunk History, or Adam Ruins Everything, or read anything that makes you realize what a haphazard mock-up of a functional civilization we are living in…you may be shocked by what is coming in the next few years.

I won’t be, but I imagine that all those who are still trying to drag my country back to 1950s Mayberry will be. They are still all clinging to their previous industrial revolution fantasies while automation is about to replace whole segments of the workforce with Skynet.

They’re still arguing for manual labor jobs when we can 3D print entire houses right now. There are self driving trucks and cars on the road right now. There will only be more of them. Those particular trends are worth mentioning because not even the old trades will be safe. They are no longer needed. Now our so called society will get to grapple with reality on several fronts. We still have a consumer based economy, but so many more consumers are about to be consumed by progress. This is where it will begin to break down. The only way out is through.

I didn’t mean to write such a stark take on that, but here we are. Big changes are coming. We need to beam everyone up. I’ll let you all know whenever I have a concert or a reading in Ten Forward to lighten the mood. Til then, Live Long and Prosper.

National Poetry Month

In the spirit of National Poetry Month, I’ll share a few of mine, what ideas or situations inspired them, and which poet’s styles influenced them. When I was growing up, there were books by e.e. cummings, Leonard Cohen, Edgar Allen Poe, Yeats, Frost, Kerouac, Basho, Rumi and others lining the bookshelves. So many styles of poetic expression to explore and learn from. Add to that the books of songs from many of my parents favorite musicians, and the poems and songs in the Lord of the Rings books I started reading at an early age, it’s no wonder I dabble in all these things.

Here are a few of my own, some previously published and others not.

time delay

had I had a handy handle

on anything at the time
my i might have missed
the fallout from the line

whereas

without the wherewithal
to withstand

the demented demolitions
in psycho culture landmines
its
explosion
was
extraordinarily
effing
ERUPTIVE

&

I was quite concussed.

“Time delay” received some positive feedback from a literary journal, but was never published til now. It is probably the most obvious which of my influences is at work here. There is a poem in the book “100 Poems” in which e.e. cummings describes a slow motion explosion and that was the part of that poem which inspired this bit of wordplay. In mine, I’m toying with words that begin with the same letter or sound, and describing my allergic reactions to the culture in my country in my younger days. Now, it is safe to say that I do have a handy handle on things. TD was written in 2016.

Intangible

the ghost that walks

through this venerable house

is long past gone

–yet it walks on

the places it made for itself

fallen into ruin, crumbling day by day

it dreams old dreams, retraces old steps

where other spirits fade away

the deep bells toll

the cemeteries fill

with every other soul

it strides onward still

the haunts change

but the fabled weight of ages

finds the stubborn wight unchanged

where other spirits fade away

the ghost still roams

through this weird world

it’s long past gone

–yet it walks on

the dreams it dreamed for itself

fallen into ruin, crumbling day by day

it finds new places, learns new steps

where other spirits fade away

Intangible first appeared in the Fall 2017 issue of Dark Gothic Resurrected Magazine, and later on Instagram where I posted a picture of the poem in print. It is harder to say which of my favorites influenced this one, and it is about the feeling I’ve sometimes had as I’ve grown older. As friends or family members or people I’ve known pass away, and I’ve somehow kept going, despite some serious situations that might have gone the other way.

“Sonnetra”

Though it flows in the course of honeyed words
Or silent, certain gestures ever thus made
Akin it is to fabled springs in enchanted wards
Ambrosia in our cavernous world of shade
There are two truths that define it forevermore
It may flow from lie and return to lie
It flows in spite our desire that it die
Felt, unfelt--it writes all our tearful lore
In all the days that will define our time
Its storm rolls in, and passes beyond
Ere the days diminish, this much is clear
Hold fast thy course, or by phantom lights steer
Onward, ever onward where thou desires't remain
Above all, have a care, in thy travels here
That thee does it thine way!

“Sonnetra” was one weird idea. The last line came to me first, and the title is kind of a pun. I don’t know where these ideas come from, people…I just roll with them. I’ve only written a few of these in my life, and there is not much call for sonnets these days. It is the age old observation that love sucks, and you might as well just love yourself first and do what you need to do for you. For this one, I really tried to channel Edgar Allen Poe for the style and just to carry the idea to its conclusion. It is obviously a riff off Sinatra’s “I did it my way” and it amused me to imagine either Chris Hemsworth or Tom Hiddleston singing this sonnet to that tune in full Thor regalia. It is almost as “out there” as the poem “Contrast” which appeared here some time ago.

So, there you are. Just some poems to celebrate National Poetry Month. One day, they will all be part of a collection, even the weird ones. Until then, I recommend some of the other poets I’ve been reading lately. Billy Collins, Andrei Codrescu, Erin Belieu, and Sandra Hochman.

Poetry can be profound in a few lines. Three, or one hundred and three. It is also sometimes just fun to play with words. It is great to read at any time, but is especially helpful if you find yourself in a rut. Then you can turn to the mystical musings of Rumi, or just experience the raw thoughts of someone else, and see your own humanity reflected in whatever kind of fun house mirror that person has going on. If nothing else, it will probably give you ideas.