Flight of the Bumblebee II

Related imageOmani Resef Yeman was one of the great diplomats and strategists of his time. He helped bring a time of peace and prosperity to the hive that would remain the glowing standard for diplomacy. One of his major accomplishments was shifting their focus on energy renewal and making the hive energy independent. It took a concerted effort, but he managed to influence powerful lobbies that had maintained familiar policies for years.

His son, Mulalli Actuhm, grew up admiring his father’s hard work, until years down the road when it was all dismantled. Omani Resef Yeman, at the height of his power, suffered a debilitating disease that effected several hives around the planet. It made bees act irrationally, suffering from a form of dementia that made them wander out alone in the world and forget how to get back. It effected their noses and made them lose the scent of the hive, as well as their own.

Other bees will attack each other if their scent is not closely aligned with their own. It doesn’t necessarily mean they have to have the same scent. The scent has to be close enough.

Omani was forced to settle into being nothing, as his condition became much worse. He suffered for a while, before ending his own life. He cannibalized with an inner-city neighborhood and was absorbed into the hive.

Mulalli hadn’t agreed with his father on several issues, but he did admire how he worked with others and managed to have what success he could, even against powerful foes. His father always found a way. Where they differed was in the politics. Mulalli believed that, no matter how hard they worked, those in power would always be able to keep them down. He used his father’s success to show the failure of politics. His father worked his entire career for the queen and her people and all of that came crashing down. The lobbies eviscerated his policies and the queen suffered. It wasn’t long until she became alienated by her people and the assurance of a populist revolt came to pass.

‘The Third Eye’, a group of revolutionaries led by Visyei Kislyah, received the label of a ‘terror cell’, after its attack on Lot 570xG. It didn’t take long for some of the main aspects of the group to dissolve, having seen the ugliness of the reaction to their crimes. Some warned the queen of the dissent, while others went into hiding. A lot of them ended up dead, with those in power blaming a deadly nerve agent, but always some form of ‘coincidence’ or ‘accidental poisoning’.

Visyei remained a pertinent threat for years, but always nothing more than a threat. He became a ‘boogey man’, used to scare the population into behaving and not venturing too far from its leadership, for fear that the ‘Third Eye’ would see them. When he met Mulalli, the threat became a reality. Visyei Kislyah maintained an underground network to sustain himself and further his political power, managing to unite various outlying groups that wouldn’t have joined his cause before. The hammer that came down against The Third Eye served as a political beacon for those who would act. They were forced to act faster than they wanted and thus mobilized to defend Visyei before it was too late.

The result was a number of attacks on civilians, not only by the Third Eye, but various paramilitary groups and even those in power. The scourge of violence drove the bees to madness, as the attacks came one after another, leaving no discernible enemy. The groups came and went, but none were ever defeated. More came up, suffering some indignity from their leaders and proving that they’d rather die than continue in this manner. The government took this as an opportunity to clear out some of the less desirable neighborhoods. A virus was infecting several communities that led to a severe bout of dementia, which had also infected Omani Resef Yeman, and they hoped to put it to an end.

Mulalli Actuhm helped lead the revolution, while Visyei did the same behind closed doors. Mulalli was the perfect figurehead. His people rallied behind him and, in this way, a populist revolt came about that never had a chance at success. The populists were equipped with a wide array of rifles and automatic weapons, but none of that mattered when their government had napalm. It took only a few hours for the revolution to end, one fateful day, when it was too quiet. The queen, sensing the collapse, enacted a lethal toxin that killed thousands of her people. The collapse was far too much and the hive could no longer be sustained.

It took only a matter of hours for the hive to collapse in its entirety. The upper strata escaped first, of course, leaving the lesser sects of their society to ‘sink with the ship’. After all, it would only make sense, that those who sought a ‘populist revolution’ to be held responsible.

Now, the hive and its future has become a riddle. The world is interested because all the bees are dying, when, in reality, they’ve lost their faith. They can’t imagine any reasons to unite, rebuild the hive and start all over. It doesn’t seem like all that effort will be put to good use. This is a generation of bees that grew up during a time of mass corruption and greed. For as much as they don’t want the same fate for their future, they also can’t think of how to keep it from happening. They don’t know another way, so, they wait.

Mulalli Actuhm lives a quiet life, despite the infamy of being responsible for the collapse of an entire culture. Most bees are learning to survive as something else. They don’t want to be bees. They live solitary lives, although they all work the same and perform the same tasks. Most bees have learned to make tunnels in the dirt to serve as permanent hovels. They live in close proximity to their brothers, but the connection between them has been lost. A new hive is the furthest thing from their minds.

Flight of the Bumblebee

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A list of bees: military personnel, diplomats, political rivals, associates, doctors, ninjas, assassins, street vendors and hackers.

America and the rest of the human world has always taken a strong stance to stay out of inter-species politics, despite the extreme detriment that comes with allowing the unrest to devolve into something far worse. At times, you’d like to move on and forget it, as even foreign affairs in the human world often seem far too complex, as our scopes and opinions remain all the more limited. Experts don’t seem to have an answer. The politics of other worlds and other species are far too complicated, even for those who’ve studied their entire life. In this way, it might make sense for us in the common world to stay away.

It is in light of our hopes and desires to remain neutral on these politics that I feel the need to at least share them and allow for a bit of understanding about a complex environment. The hive has been misunderstood for far too long. The bee has also become a desperately unforgivable monster, which seems to terrify us every step of the way. It’s been necessary for years to avoid the bee, much to the detriment of the ecosystem, although I’m glad to share this opportunity to perhaps change your opinions and unlock the mysteries of the hive.

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Mulalli Actuhm, known terrorist.

One cannot begin to talk about the history of the bee without first referencing Mulalli Actuhm and the Populist Revolution. He’s been responsible for a vast channel of inter-species terrorist organizations for quite some time. He’s gone down as one of the most familiar faces for the civil unrest that has plagued the hive ecosystem, for which a rallying cry has been uttered for years, in which the bees are now learning that there is a possibility of escape from the dreadful lives they’ve lived. Those who maintain the delicate balance of the hive ecosystem consider him a terrorist, while those who’ve escaped and fight for the ‘resistance’ consider him a freedom fighter.

In an effort to understand Mulalli Actuhm, one must consider the eco-politics of the hive. For years, it was believed that the queen controls the population by a scent that drives the bees to specific categories of ‘work’ that allow them to carry on fulfilling lives within the context of the hive. This, however, is a misappropriation, for the strands that allow power to twist around her wiry knuckles are being pulled by powerful groups of interest that serve as ‘feudal lords’ or ‘lobbyists’ as one would see in a representative democracy. These are lesser factions that help to hold power within groups, which, while detracting from the power of the queen, allow her to point in other directions when something goes wrong. She can blame these groups, if they don’t come through in a beneficial way for the hive.

In this way, the hive reacts and cannibalizes these groups of interest. Now, it can be stated that the act of ‘cannibalizing’ groups of interest, is not so easily accomplished, as is the act of voting out a local official who is seemingly not acting in your interest. These groups form powerful bloodlines and allegiances that make them formidable and thus, assure the continuation of a process that is less than ‘fulfilling’ for the life of a humble bee. The entire system gets corrupted and thus, an all-out revolution occurs. It doesn’t take much for an entire bee colony to revolt. We’re seeing it now, but you hardly get to see. Once they make the choice to go into ‘full-swing-revolution’, it happens so fast that no one has an opportunity to truly observe the phenomenon.

However, there are also no records within the colonies, because no colony would want those records to be. Bees revolt all the time, but nobody in a seat of power wants that history. They don’t want the bees to remember that every so often an entire hive collapses because they get annoyed with their leadership. It also might be a bit of history that doesn’t seem beneficial to maintain for those in power, as perhaps it hasn’t happened so often, especially to the success that a momentous revolution has occurred.

Mulalli Actuhm was a member of the ‘first-born El’, which is the queen’s direct line. The queen is accustom to certain politics, aiming to maintain her matriarchal status, she takes on a group of lovers that match her scent. The key to the scent is in disguising itself. The scents become so powerful together that it dulls the ability to smell. It’s almost odorless, yet still palpable, still permeating, still there to remind its people that they belong under her control.

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Omani Resef Yeman. Not a terrorist. A pretty good guy.

Of the hundreds of lovers taken by the queen, Omani Resef Yeman, was her closest ally. He was a keen, shrewd bee, who took to politics like a fish in water. He helped the queen maintain her hive by manipulating the special interest groups and then kept them from chipping away at her power with ‘reform of the establishment’, led by political lobbies that sought to undermine her rule. They ended up having hundreds of children, of which none was more adept at politics than Mulalli Actuhm.

Bees hardly ever have close bloodlines. More often, once they’re born, they’re given a particular scent that allows them to ‘find out’ they’re meaning, somewhat like a person would find his purpose in life. They find out what they will do to serve the hive. Most are given menial tasks that lead to their decision, yet there are several jobs that one can take. Some bees have a temporary immunity to the scent, which allows them, for a short while, to think for themselves. The immunity is due to a deterioration of the bloodline or a ‘faulty chromosome’, which allows for cognitive dissonance and a certain degree of freedom of expression.

There were three brothers who stayed closer together and formed a tight-knit group of hooligans who, at the time, were a public menace. They terrorized other bees with petty acts of violence and vandalism. They loved to fight and made it into, not exactly a game, but a code of honor. They’d insult someone and expect him to fight. A bumble bee is a humble creature, who possesses a swelling of pride and a sense for defending it. He’s not immune to jibes and receiving them from younger bees serves as even more of an insult, especially when those bees are members of royalty. It’s customary for bees of a higher bloodline to steer clear of lessers, for strict penalties are more in favor of those who have no power, as opposed to those who do. It’s a clever way to maintain barriers between classes, while making those on the bottom believe they have in the least a semblance of an ethical code within their democracy.

It consisted of Mulalli, Darshiba and Okami. Mulalli was the unquestioned leader, while Darshiba was a powerful brute and Okami a playful diplomat who somehow managed to ease tensions with the locals. The boys soon learned that life was a lot funner at the bottom. They enjoyed hanging around with bees of a lesser sect, because it was much easier to get into trouble. A local bee, Ansulum Machati, owned a secretive club that allowed only a select few members to enter. It was rumored that one could get anything he wanted in ‘Boma New’, which is, as far as I can tell, a type of ‘speak easy’ that operated during prohibition. The bees are strict when it comes to alcohol, as it has led to an increase in infertility and inhibits certain chromosomes that impair productivity.

Boma New also functioned as a political playground. Anyone could buy time and spew whatever rhetoric they wanted in three of five rooms. The main room was where the entertainment would be, which often included a beautiful singer that played a delicate tune by the sounds that reverberated between her stinger and abdomen. The tune played out for a few hours, with several guests and performers, while business could occur in the backrooms. Some of the rooms were occupied by business, while others took to dark pleasures.

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Visyei Kislyah, former operative for the queen and known anarchist.

Others took to revolution. On the night in question, Mulalli Actuhm walked into one of the backrooms, which was reserved for a known anarchist, Visyei Kislyah. Visyei was actually a brother of the three, although it didn’t register at the time, as bees only remember a select group of their relatives as closely as they should. (Bee bloodlines are far too complex for the moment) Visyei didn’t have much of a crowd at the time, but that would change after meeting Mulalli, who was so interested in the insistence of change that Visyei presented that it would change his life.

Visyei Kislyah started his career as a populist, which is a bee who believes that the ‘lesser bees’, as they’re known, will rise up and destroy their abusers under the guidance of an ‘extreme hand’ or ‘one who will lead’. They look to various strong leaders of the past to guide them, but the insistence is that the will of the people is reflected in the will of the tyrant. This insistence has led to several terrorist attacks meant to cripple the regime that maintains power over the hive.

One such occurrence, which led to Visyei hiding out underground for the rest of his life, was the ‘Lot 570xG cannibalism’, which left thirty bees dead and several more without homes. The group, known only as ‘The Third Eye’, barricaded several lesser bees in their homes, before detonating plastic explosives that destroyed a sect of ‘Lot 570x’, which is something of a natural power source to the hive. Natural power sources are what give the hive life and is also what allows those in power to maintain it. Without a power source, the lesser bees, or so it was thought, would revolt and a war for survival would ensue. It didn’t go as The Third Eye believed, as blame came down throughout the hive and the act became nothing more than an act to inspire fear.

(I apologize for interrupting this story, but it’s gone on for too long. I think I’ll have to post more on the topic another day! Again, I’m sorry for the inconvenience, as I’m truly impassioned for you to know all about bee politics and I hope you will forgive me and come back Tuesday, April 4th! Thanks!)

Raconteur Street Blues

I grew up around some of the great narcissists of our time. History won’t remember them, so I have to. They were great storytellers, who forged a knack for survival into an unequivocal hunger to live like kings. They spoke of riches and wealth that they couldn’t have possibly known, yet painted a picture so alluring we had no choice but to believe. They were raconteurs, wizards possessed of a singular illusion that painted the world in their image and presented it to us, as if it were ours.

A Raconteur is “a person who excels in telling anecdotes”. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/raconteur Also, an anecdote (Please note: I don’t want to insult anyone’s intelligence. I mean to provide clarity.) is “a usually short narrative of an interesting, amusing, or biographical incident”. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/anecdote A raconteur is a great storyteller. I’ve always considered the word to be closer to ‘being a good bullshitter’, which is worth its weight in gold. Anyone can tell a story, but getting people to care is a miracle akin to walking on water.

Storytellers are plentiful. You can see them in coffee shops behind laptops, biding their time until they have a chance to share, connect and separate. It’s in that singular moment, where we connect, that things change. They can become dangerous in a moment’s notice, as they infect your mind with complex riddles that the storytellers have been working on since the dawn of time. You might wonder, ‘why would a person share such a riddle?’ you can’t think like that. It’s how any good storyteller wants you to think. They want you to assume they have no reason to hurt you. There’s no harm in believing what they believe. There’s no harm in believing them without question.

The thing that all decent ‘raconteurs’ must ask themselves periodically is ‘do I care more about myself than I do the story?’ I’ve lived among some of the great bullshitters of modern history. We heard plenty of stories growing up, yet so few of them added up in a way that it could make me care. The raconteurs possessed this trait that added depth to their stories, not just with what images they infused, but with how they made us feel. We felt involved. They tugged on our heartstrings and moved us toward an end that we couldn’t see. They possessed our future, as we waited for these mindless heathens to comb through the vast wasteland of their psyches in search of an end to whatever narrative they were painting.

Any good story comes from a single point. It’s not the beginning. It’s just a point. They wanted to make a point. They’d lie about having sex, so they’d present a narrative that made the possibility of them having sex seem possible. They’d plant a few mental images here and there, forming past and future around this premise. Ultimately, their goal was to forge a real, however unlikely, narrative, in order to make us believe.

The raconteurs believed what they said. The proof was in their words. They told us to take it from there, because taking a man at his word is as good as taking it in blood… at least when you’re a child. When we were kids we lied and it helped. We had impossible things to accomplish in a collapsing world full of poverty and the imminent threat of some incomprehensible bullshit. We had to hide sensitive information from our parents, while taking advantage of our God-like inertia, limitless energy and simple-mindedness. We had to prove to other kids that we were cool, while, at the same time, making our parents think we’d never do the cool things that get you into trouble. It added to our personal mystique, having accomplished nothing, we needed something to set us apart. We’d lie about drinking and drugs, losing our virginity, feats of the utmost stupidity… you know… harmless bullshit.

Truth is the trickiest thing. Everyone says they want it, but when it’s not something they agree with they have a reaction that makes you wonder. Truth. It’s a funny thing, because I could write out the truth as I see it and (hopefully) half of you would love me and the other would hate me. The trick for any good raconteur is understanding the right formula, while having as full an understanding as you can of the truth. I believe that you can’t write a decent story, even if it sounds like nonsense, without a sense of truth. It has to be written, spoken and lived with conviction. Truth has to appear in every word, exactly as you’ve seen it, while managing not to conflict with the truth, as it is. You should, as a good storyteller, align yourself with the truth in order to make your narrative more honest and compelling.

I never thought about truth when I was young enough to fall for these stories. The morality of lying, as one presents it to himself, so that he might further his ends, has become all the more staggering as I’ve reached adulthood. I’ve been trying to think of the right way to word this question. I doubt it’s perfect, but it needs to be asked. I’m curious as to what everyone believes:

Can you have a moral premise without any evidence?

Some raconteurs have no regard for the truth. In all honesty, as a kid I didn’t care. I was surrounded by some of the greatest storytellers of my time. I couldn’t be bothered to figure out how some of these impossible stories could be real. I believed with all my heart, because I was a stupid kid who still believed in Santa. (FYI I believed in ghosts for longer than I believed in Santa, but I also assumed the ghosts would grant a wish or needed my help or whatever.) These are men who have learned to lie in a way that ‘everyone believes that you believe what you say’. You believe them, no matter the evidence to the contrary, because they, not their narrative, hold up well against the barrage of truth that assaults them on all sides.

They’re not not-sympathetic characters. Their truth is a depressing harangue of emotion and pain that most couldn’t understand. What’s worse, they keep it to themselves. They keep it! They hide all that pain and suffering, but even more, they hide the truth! They move with such intent when they tell their stories, as if revealing a deeper, more significant wisdom, while simultaneously hiding it from the world. It’s in their emphatic gestures, their movements, as if their bodies shift depending on the tone of their narratives, not to mention their eyes… it’s in all these things that those of us who were forced to listen HAD to believe.

We believed it all the more, because we lived it. They borrowed from our lives and, in this way, we added to the false narrative. Storytelling is a necessary skill. It made us feel good in a time where people were laughing at us, because our river was full of poison and visitors had no reason to… visit. The pain of being alive could’ve shown itself in crime and self abuse. For us, it showed itself in acceptance of nonsensical bullshit and downright lies.

Near-possible realities were a simple narrative that captured our attention, which begs the question: why do they need our attention? Evil raconteurs are like evil yogis. You can assume they don’t exist, as if there is no darkness when there is also light, but this is another simple narrative that’s easy to digest. The simple narrative is used to ensnare. You don’t need to talk about angels to be a good raconteur. You have to make people believe. This is that much more significant. You MAKE people believe. You take them on a journey, where they start out as a skeptic and then, through a few twists and turns… holy shit… you just made someone believe in angels.

(Also, if you don’t make them believe, you at least allow them to suspend reality for a time, which is kinda the same, although I admit there are differences.)

Making people believe and sharing with them a deeply personal truth is about as different as water and oil.

For what it’s worth, they thought they were kings, but that never stopped them from fighting to become that oh-so desirable, and unquestioned ruler of the universe. They lied and stole and fought, but the stories to me became all the more touching. These people, the Raconteurs, were at war with themselves, as well as the truth and as well as a circumstance of poverty and extreme depravity, which was plentiful, in our ever-collapsing society. They fought for freedom: the freedom to be as insane and harmful to oneself as you can get. They fought to make the world a weird place.

The Bottle Men

Image of our Ancestors… I guess.

For a longer time than I can remember, the homeless have been presented as a thing, this massive structure that seems impossible to break down or an ocean, because it would be impossible to disseminate a drop of rain from the largest body of water on the planet. The homeless in this country lose their identity and, after a while, they all start to look the same. Even if they look different, after a while something happens where you don’t pay attention. You see them, but it’s like seeing a tree in someone’s office. You don’t think about it. You shut off. They blend into the scenery to such a point that nobody says anything and the world moves on.

It’s when you break down certain levels of poverty that you realize there even are levels. Homeless isn’t the furthest decline into poverty. If anything, it might be nearest the beginning. It depends on who you talk to, if indeed you can talk to anyone. The homeless aren’t always one for conversation. Some need a lot of help and have fallen so far that talk isn’t good enough. They move shiftlessly, like ghosts trying to find their own plane of existence. They have a way of blending in that’s quite miraculous, for although they share the same appearance of grime and disease collected over tattered clothes layered on top of one another for warmth and utility, each of them has a singular destiny relative to his condition.

The Bottle Men are nothing unique to our city. They wander around with steel baskets that they wheel around and fill with bottles. They get their donations from neighbors and businesses. They live among us, and aren’t a they, which is to say they aren’t a group. They’re individuals who make their living off recycling. They pick up the bottles that people don’t want to return and bring them to their recycling centers to get some cash. It isn’t glamorous, but it allows them to exist. I think it’s important to examine this story, because, although it’s not the lowest level of poverty, it’s somewhere within that delicate strata and deserves thorough inspection. It isn’t that they’re desperate, although some of them most likely are, it’s that they’re made to be. They’re made into ‘The Homeless’, when these are individuals under a certain set of stimuli that become a certain way. Their conditions are unique, despite ending up the same, I assure you they’re quite different.

Then, I guess we could ask, what creates this massive body of water that we call ‘The Homeless’, but does that really have one answer? I assume that they’re generated from across the river. They walk along the bridge and ask a question of the Sphinx that guards it. If the Sphinx can’t answer they’re allowed to pass. If he can, he must eat their hearts. You’d think we’d have more bodies washing up along the shore, but the river goes on forever. It’s our protector against the endless sea. If you’d just go over to the other side, you could see them sleeping beneath the overpass, roaming the streets around the mission that’s a block away from the bridge.

Some don’t care about bottles. They’ll scribble a few desperate words on cardboard and wait for passersby to hand over a few bucks. It gets repetitive on your way to work, day after day, as the place remains the same, yet the homeless person changes. I don’t know if there is an agency of homeless that take turns waiting at the same spots, but something must happen, some arrangement of stimuli to make them flock, like birds heading south for the winter. Something clicks in their minds that they have to be here at this time, always the same times each day.

Time seems all the more important to the homeless. You’d think they wouldn’t have anywhere to be, being homeless, but they shuffle in patterns, like the tides that come with morning and night along the river. When night comes, the tide moves in, when its’ gone so is the tide. Morning comes and the homeless move. Five o’clock comes with that rush of traffic and the homeless become vigilant. They follow a rhythm that has yet to be determined, as I doubt many scientists are looking into the migration habits of Bottle-men or the virulent mating season of people that live under the bridge.

Jahua the Debtor

Every city has a spirit and, perhaps a few are schizophrenic, because they could have many. The frantic nature of the world can create several voices that those within the confines of a city are compelled to follow. As to which voice you follow or which you hear, this could depend on several factors that I know nothing about. The voices are out there, summoning us to their whims in ways that remain beyond our comprehension.

Where we’re moved, we must at least hope, is in the name of good. Some spirits, however, choose no sides. They follow their whims and desires. Their means and goals are their own. They’re tricksters, because we can’t tell what they want. They do as they please, breezing through realities, as if they own them.

In this town, there are a few homes that leave out bags of bottles as an offering to such sacred tricksters. Usually, it’s the keepers of this faith that come to obtain these sacred offerings. The keepers of this faith are known as ‘the bottle men’, as they walk around with metal carts full of cans and bottles, in honor of their gods.

From time to time, an enigmatic figure appears on the streets of our city that appears to be just another ‘bottle man’, but is in fact a creature with intimate knowledge of other worlds. He wears a thick robe that covers most of his body. His eyes are silver and change to red when he’s mad. He carries a pack over his back that looks empty, but holds inside it the souls of countless vanquished enemies.

When a soul is stolen from its owner, the person remains as an empty shell of himself. The soul departs from his body, as in death, and he remains in a comatose state, for which he might never escape. The souls come from across the universe. Jahua wanders throughout the cosmos returning to those he’s defeated to mock them. He makes them pay for their souls with one penny a day. The interest he charges ensures they’ll never pay off his debt. Jahua goes door to door collecting his tariff and for those he’s yet to meet, he must go and challenge.

Jahua the Debtor comes to your door and waits to be welcomed, whereby he’ll come inside. He’ll drink nothing that you give him, take nothing that is offered. He sees it as owing you for your hospitality and takes it as an offense. Nobody knows what the challenge is, just that it’s some form of card game. The victim never seems to remember much, just the deck of neatly folded cards and glossy black. People have claimed to have bested Jahua, but have no proof. The effects of defeat are always obvious, as the color in a victim’s skin turns pale, their eyes become lifeless and without hope and their teeth rot into a vulgar yellow.

Jahua has taken his time in procuring the souls of the city, although he doesn’t have us all. It becomes necessary for those in the city to take precautions. Some of us never answer our doors. Jahua is a master of disguise and can even take the appearance of a close loved one. He cannot enter under an arch, so many people make their entryway into one to prevent his advance. This has been written off as ‘mere superstition’, however, several homes continue to make arches for their doorways, as a meager hope to fend off the offensive debtor and keep their homes intact.

Ballad o’ Brother Bear

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I expect to live in a country where we’re allowed to make up words… just don’t expect my sympathy when you’re subpoenaed for a military tribunal. You can’t expect to commit such an audacious crime and express yourself without consequence. We all should have reasonable concern for those who make up language, because they go beyond our reasonable interpretations and make up their own. What if that’s all that language is? What if we’re clinging to a vocabulary that only makes sense to us? You could be talking in your own words, as if every conversation is between you and your imaginary friend! Then, there are those words that lose their meaning over time. If they don’t disappear entirely, that is, they become something else. They’re just words without any symbolism in our psyche to cling to and further themselves into the future. This is written in honor of those words.

Doesn’t ‘Masha-Rein-A-Ma-Doo-A-Ma-Da’ sound suspiciously like an Irish version of the N.W.A. song   ‘Fuck the Police’?   No… it’s just ‘Whiskey in the Jar’. The tale is about a highwayman who robs a British official, then comes home to find his wife cheating… not just cheating, but having sex with said British official. A-masha rein a-ma-doo a-ma-da!

The Ballad of Brother Bear:

(Now, remember it is a ballad and you must repeat ‘Masha-Rein-A-Ma-Do-A-Ma-Da’ as often as you wish) Lookin’ to the stars one night, I see ol’ brother bear, whose grinnin’, snearin’, snarlin’ teeth warned give’a bit’a care. For ‘neath the seamly starry sky I prayed for sweet surrender to cast down on the land of Tul and any mine offender. Beneath the glisten, guiding stars shines light to sling and pebble, ask God to grant me ‘gregious sin in blood be born the rebel. Takin’ sling and steady fast to rabid, dreadful creature, an’ as he spotted his demise I sent him to the preacher. Walkin’ with this wondrous night I thought against my blunder, for hopin’ for a wish fulfilled and saintly sinful plunder. But as I entered to my home I heard the head-board rattlin’ and lyin’ deeds of sweet Elise, our creaking bed was tattlin’. I walked in with an angered roar, and neither could be bothered, as sweet Elise was in delights, which she had ever wondered. Takin’ Tommy from my wall I let off two-click’s thunder, Ol’ sweet Elise arose from bed, t’was Brother Bear she’s under. That bastard bear, he smiled, with the wicked scar upon him, it seemed despite my murd’rous ways my wish was lookin’ grim. Readied wretched weapon toward the twinkle in his eyes, quick to catch the fates, who would make turn with my surprise. For as I readied him to death it was my sweet Elise, who would not let ol’ Brother Bear unto his damned release. She cried and poured her love upon him, ‘spite our sacrament, and even in his wicked deed ’tis I could not lament. His eyes upon me, in this moment we could see the humor and we could laugh as brothers, who should’a let the joke go sooner…….

There you go… a bear fucked his girl-friend… have a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

The Forgetful Root Scripture

“To be radical is to go to the root and the root is man.” -Erich Fromm

Memory is this great big root that’s different in all of us, because we all have different experiences that allow it to grow stronger, dig deeper and compel our spirits toward the future. Causalities arise because of the root, which is somehow connected between body and mind and held strong by remembering this connection. In some, the memory is not so strong and the root is maintained, while it doesn’t offer any form of extenuation that would otherwise help it grow. Instead, the root maintains a solitary path without the minute branches that would allow it to thrive.

These minute branches are what maintain certain pockets of resistance against the memory that strengthens the connection between body and mind. There’s often significant memories lost in the mire of these small branches, although it can also be tedious moments out of our lives that the mind sees no reason to remember. If you focus on a memory it grows like a weed. It can overwhelm the powerful root of all your memories and before you know it nothing of your past is remembered beyond this single weed that has grown out of control.

It’s a selective process, but in order to ensure that no single weed overwhelms it, the mind works to cut away these branches and keep itself as sturdy as possible. There’s no telling which memory will be the next to assume the mantel of authority inside you, as the mind has no way of clarifying which connection is right or wrong. It just connects. Something connects and a weed grows out of control. There’s no honorable mention. Everything just happens without causality.

It’s a selective memory that rules the world and it starts with every root within every person. We cling to these memories inside us and the root is sustained, while we forget certain things about ourselves. As long as we remember who we are, everything is fine. However, we might miss these branches, for they provide the details that no one else will ever understand, except for you. It’s very personal. Only you can determine the worth of a memory. Otherwise, you’re just a man or woman, a person, a living thing with wrinkles under your eyes to show your age, like the rings of a tree.

The little things about you are what connect these roots to the outside world. They connect us, because out there in the distance is another branch of another person’s root who wants nothing more than to connect. The roots are unique and yet, somehow, out of the vastness of the cosmos, they find a way to connect with other roots that infest this universe. It might be a singular connection, a point in reality where two distant bodies meet, but it’s still significant, because two roots that meant nothing to the world somehow find their way. All signs pointed to the roots drying out under the sun, like a worm that came up for too long after a storm, but somehow, they beat the odds and proved to the cosmos that they belonged.

If we choose not to acknowledge this connectivity it disappears. The roots don’t go away, however, but the chance to connect is gone. It creates this horrible gnarled appearance out of the roots, as one reaches out to the other, while the other pulls away. They offer their warmth against the cold expanse of the cosmos and are refused. Their roots die out. They gave too much of themselves in order to reach you. Even you, in acknowledging this connectivity, will lose a bit of yourself. You’ll never regain this connection if it goes ignored for too long. The energy between you will die out and the world will move on.

The connection isn’t always easy to spot, but when you do, it’s most likely because of these branches that connect to the thick root of our memory. You lose some of yourself over the years and maybe that makes the root into a coarse thing full of barbs and nooses, something that appears far more treacherous than it is.

Two neighbors, Aldus Grim and Mekhi the Red, choose hatred over what they share in common. For some, hatred provides for them a sense of importance, which I think strengthens the will of the deeply ingrained root of their memories. In this way, they are connected, although their hatred will never bring them together. I think that maybe they just don’t see. Aldus the Grim used to be exactly like Mekhi the Red. Aldus got a girl pregnant very young. He was a punk and never quite grew out of it. The difference is in age and experience. Aldus worked his entire life to support his family, while Mekhi is at the very beginning, with two kids and two jobs. His girlfriend works as well, but has another child wrestling around in her belly. Aldus had three children and now lives alone. His wife died only a few years ago. The constant appearance of misery on his face never really changed, not with her death, not with anything I can remember. Alcohol helped him through the misery and Mekhi is much the same. He’ll have his parties, which get too loud for Aldus, who usually calls the cops.

Their connection is to keep away from one another, because they know that they share a branch of reality. One is the future. The other is the past. They are one within the same cycle.  They work hard to stay away so that they don’t have to acknowledge their condition. Whether they should be coming together, well, who can say for sure? You’d like it to be possible for Aldus to reach out and help, maybe seeing some of himself in this young man who went down the same path as him, but that doesn’t seem to be in the cards. Maybe it’s because that connection to himself, and not to Mekhi the Red, died long ago. Maybe the root is reaching out through Mekhi, trying to reach him, as his root withers into the future. Maybe it’s his past self calling out, begging him to understand that he was a young fool once. Now, he’s an old fool and the moment is gone. It’s much simpler to believe that youthful version of you no longer exists. He had to refuse it in order to survive and thus, it no longer exists.

The Whale Fall

Image result for whale fallhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whale_fall

A Whale Fall is when a whale nears the end of his life and decides to commit his body to an abyssal zone, which is a relatively deep area within the ocean, where he collapses and rots into the floor. The amazing thing is the life that comes about because of his death. Scavengers feed and multiply and thus, a cycle evolves and, as follows, an ecosystem. It comes from the husk of this beautiful creature, which commits itself to this place upon sensing its own demise.

I walked into my friend, Milky G’s, ancestral home. It was a place that he’d grown up, raised as a boy, well after his father left. He’d never known his father, although his mother had a few partners. None of her partners stuck around and he was left with her to care for him. She would die from a drug overdose when he was around the age of ten. After that, his grandmother took care of him, along with a few other members of his family. His uncle and grandfather also died in this house. I don’t know how much death it takes for a house to be considered haunted, but certainly, if there were ghosts to infect the city it would be here.

It was his grandmother who, being the only one to survive, after seeing two of her children die, not to mention a third who died years ago in childbirth, decided to raise him. Unfortunately, she was one of the great enablers of her time and thus, spoiled a young Milky G. He found out long ago that he could get away with murder, at least in her eyes, and when other family members would try to punish him she would intervene. She did the best she could for him, but the world and everything in it was rotting around them. We couldn’t see it then, but the chipped paint and gnarled corners with nails jutting out that tore open our arms and shoulders as careless young men who ran down the halls should’ve served as warnings.

The utter lack of interest in the twelve people who lived there should’ve been a dead giveaway. Nobody wanted to work on it, because it would’ve cost more than the house was worth. Towards what would be the end of his family’s time in this house, Milky G would be the last one in the house. The thing is that Milky G wasn’t handy. Within a few weeks, the plumbing seeped into the basement and after hours of trying to fix it, he finally had to call an expert. The second floor bathroom leaked into his first floor apartment and the water damage was everywhere. Tiles had to be removed and it left empty spaces in his ceiling. The floor of the bathroom mutated a putrid yellow and brown, which came out much clearer against the white ceramic tiles, which chipped and left the grey floor showing underneath.

Milky G wasn’t set on saving the house, but he didn’t have anywhere else to go. He had to make it work, because he had no idea what to do with himself. He never bothered with college, which was probably a fair assessment of his skills. He’d never been a good student. He never put the effort into studying, reading, understanding for him to be successful. It was much easier for him to be the clown. Becoming a clown for everyone was a mode of self-preservation, which claimed his entire life. He wasn’t good at telling jokes or making people laugh. He just… was a trickster. He manipulated and conned and, although people should’ve been mad, it never worked and usually ended in a catastrophic blunder. It’s terrible to think about it, but his life was a long-running, much more depressing episode of ‘The Three Stooges’.

He thought he was tough. He thought he was a force to be reckoned with, but none of that was true. He knew it, but refused to accept it. Several times, he was forced to acknowledge who he was and, although he surrendered every time, deep down it tore him apart. Deep down, Milky G wanted to be something so much more. I don’t know what he wanted to be… maybe he didn’t know either, but he understood that although he was this person, it isn’t who he should be.

Although it shouldn’t it most certainly was and he would never escape it. When I returned to his ancestral home years down the road, Milky G greeted me at the front porch. The porch is made of three concrete steps that are cracked and falling apart. Someone painted over them without sealing the cracks, so now the paint oozes into the slivers of broken ground. Milky G smokes a cigarette and stares at the other side of the road. The problem is there’s nowhere to stare. You can’t look down the road, across the street, a few blocks away, because you’ll be staring into someone’s apartment or right in their face and that’s just god damn rude.

He’s staring at his neighbors sitting on their porch. They don’t seem to notice his gaze, but he stares for most of the time that he’s talking. This entire block used to be full of people our age. They got old. They moved away. They found bigger and better things. Milky G let his cigarette burn out, before tossing it into a can next to the stairs. He led me into his home. The front hall light doesn’t work, but there’s enough light that we can make our way to his apartment. The scent of stale cigarettes and trash bombard my nostrils. The room is tossed, destroyed beyond all repair, as if it’d been raided. I don’t even notice at first that there’s a baby on a bed that’s just placed in the center of the room, amidst trash and rubble and filth and depravity and utter, ugly vulgarity that, although we claim we’re decent creatures, does exist and never, ever should. It’s one of the most horrifying sights I’ve seen and, for the life of me, I can’t believe the tranquility of this innocent baby boy. He’s far too young to understand. Ma and Pa needed an accomplice in life, so they decided to yank him out of that ethereal slumber beyond time and space. It’s not fair, but that’s the god damn cycle.

His girlfriend, Slinky Nostrils, was one of the most annoying creatures I’d ever known. When you’re young and you’re annoying people expect it, but when you’re old or have a child and you’re still this person it’s just infuriating. I know you can’t be expected to grow up in a matter of minutes. Logically, these are things I understand, but seeing the child nestled snugly in filth and debris… I’m glad I didn’t take a picture.I’m glad I can’t show you, although it’s an image I’ll remember for the rest of my life.

Milky G tried opening a door into one of the rooms, but there was too much junk on the other side. He put his shoulder into it, before it budged and he could reach in and grab a clean shirt. Clean is not a word for anything in this place. He walks me out to the kitchen, where I see a large pit-bull in a cage. He owed someone money, as was often the case, and now had to care for his dog. That explained some of the smell at least, although I hadn’t noticed the smell of piss until we walked into the kitchen. The dog had apparently grown tired of waiting to be taken out and instead peed in his cage. Milky G threw down a few old newspapers to soak it up, but there were no windows to let out the smell, so here it would stay.

He opened the back door and let the dog run down the stairs. We could hear it barking and then another dog joined, as they ran along the fence, knocking it back and forth to get at each other. Milky G walked onto the back porch and lit another cigarette, as he watched his friend’s dog running along the chain-link fence. It had only about ten feet of fence to work with, so had to go back and forth. The neighbor’s dog did the same and it went on like that for a few minutes, before he turned back to me.

Milky G. The weight of his eyes is something I’d never want to measure. He thought he’d be great. He believed with all his heart. The lights on the back porch don’t work. I remember when we were young that one of his uncles got electrocuted trying to turn it on. Several of the lights don’t work and the sockets are frayed, broken and eager to ignite in a magnanimous fire that would get rid of this building once and for all. The only thing standing in its way is Milky G. The only one keeping this building from certain doom is a man who could barely pass gym class.

I’ll be honest, I don’t remember a word that was said between us and, now that I look back, I don’t think any of it mattered. I have no idea how long I stayed. This place has a power about it, like one of many kingdoms of the Underworld. When I left, the sun was still out. The baby was still on the bed lined with garbage, but his mother was changing his diaper. I’m not rude enough to leave without saying goodbye, so I must’ve done that. I remember noticing on my way out that the ceiling was leaking outside the bathroom, at least enough that I could see the brown spot growing in the hall. I can’t think about that spot without imagining a biblical flood.

Milky G thought himself a great man, but that never came into being. His success was one of mass production. Countless Milky G’s roam the streets of, not just our town, but cities nationwide. They’re men who believe they’re greater than they actually are and have never given a proper assessment of their abilities. It’s a dangerous world that they create, because it has always sustained itself without a question. They worship the whale fall, because it gives meaning to this cycle. It promises that in death they will find meaning. It promises that their lives aren’t pointless. While I can’t deny this, I couldn’t see the point to Milky G. I don’t know why life seemed to take a particular appreciation in tormenting him every step of the way, but we all like to think that life enjoys kicking our asses more than the other. I mean… what about the whale?

Tom – Middle Manager

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This is a story dedicated to… not just a manager… but a person of interest in a world that is evolving every second that we’re a part of it. Whether it changes for good or evil… well… who’s to say for sure?



Tom –

Middle management

Sweaty, heavy breather, pained eyes hidden in cordiality, fragility, manager’s forced smile, talks in company slogans, insignificant, only a danger to those beneath him, only a danger to himself, has no self, none of significance, yet the duality of his corporate self and that dark creature within create such volatility, his presence is revolting, the duality creates a horrifying fragility to

Middle Manager Tom.

Thinning strands of hair on Tom’s head – shiny red skin – bald – vacation in Bermuda, one week off, fifty-one on, wife and kids smile – Tom the Dad on the right, them on the left

Murder – Tom sacrifices wife and children to dark gods, bathes in their blood, dances in ritual in honor of the moon – economic slave, to sacrifice and break the shackles

Fat gut – deprecations

Of body and spirit

Helter Skelter

Chronic masturbator

It Snowed and I Survived

I thought this picture framed the weekend with a certain perfection. It was a long struggle with Netflix and junk food the likes of which I’m thinking many did not survive. My thoughts go out to those with family members who didn’t make it or are reliving some form of ‘shell-shock’ from having endured hours upon hours of ‘Family Guy’ or ‘Walking Dead’ reruns.

This is a view of the city from across the river. You see traffic and then a building that overlooks the riverfront property of Albany. Across from that is Rensselaer, which is my hometown. I’d like to say it looks much more welcoming without the snow, but really it’s always grey. I don’t mean that to sound as depressing as it does, but I don’t know how else to describe a city with very little to it. If anyone from the city was asked the same question, I’d bet it all on them either saying it exactly as I have or resorting to stories from their youth. They could call back ‘the good ole days’ or suggest you look at photos of their grandchildren, which, to me, is missing the point.

The point is… I’m out of shit to do in this damn town, so I’m taking pictures from undisclosed locations to make it seem greater than it is… so, here we are. I’m thinking that it’s only me who wants more, because the city’s been this boring for as long as I can remember. You get used to nothing changing. I’m sure it’ll settle into my bones with a few more years, but does anyone really want that? Shouldn’t there be something greater, some wisdom we reveal from years of experience with this or that? I’ve been trying to understand what deeper understanding of the self I might’ve come across from all my years in this town, on this earth, somewhere in the ether of creation and chaos… nope, still nothing.

Maybe some day I’ll get to that one post that brings it all together. Maybe some day this’ll all make sense. Until then…