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December 29 2017

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Virgil Finlay


December 24 2017

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Happy Holidaze!

I spent a lot of holidays alone when I was younger. I remember walking around alone on Christmas eve, early evening, the world silent with snow. I would look at all the warm lit up houses. The families inside, eating dinner, washing dishes, opening presents. I would be overcome with melancholy and feel sorry for myself through New Years.

It took me a few years to come in from out of the cold and share in the holiday cheer with family and friends. I do remember one Christmas dinner with an ex-girlfriend’s amazingly dysfunctional family. I was washing some dishes just to get away from the madness for a few minutes. The hot water had steamed up the bottom of the cold window. I saw a boy slowly walking on the sidewalk, alone as I had once been on Christmas eve. I motioned to him and he stopped. I mouthed the words and I could see him shrug, uncertain of what I was trying to say. I wanted him to know, so I scrawled my message in the fogged window. I realized I needed to write in in reverse. REDRUM!

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Saturday Night Thoughts While Getting Arrested At A Prayer Service

The truth is, no one gives a damn about you. It’s OK. They don’t give a shit about me either and I’m fucking fabulous. Actually, I used to think I was a big deal, but it turns out, I’m just a mop closet full of light wearing a monkey suit.

I pretend to be too high-brow to watch TV, but the truth is I can’t handle it. I get really upset about sitcoms. I’ll get so embarrassed I have to get up and leave the room. Happens to me in reality too, but I can’t just step out into another dimension. Oh sure, I could, but I’m a sucker for punishment. I must enjoy my own pain. It’s better than nothing, I guess. If only life had commercials breaks…

Maybe it does?! Last night at a party I felt like everyone was trying to pitch me TV shows and phone apps. I wound up hiding under a bed with a cat and a Mexican take-out menu. I ordered the tacos. The cat went bonkers and got the chimichanga. You shoulda seen it. It was bigger than the cat.

December 22 2017

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December 21 2017

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When I was a young punk I was always broke and routinely stole from my places of employment. If it was a convenience store, I’d palm small items, cigarettes, or a few bucks here and there from the till. Once in awhile, I’d get desperate and go for a slightly bigger score. I once stole engineering books from the college bookstore. I gave them to my buddy and he sold em back to the store during the annual buyback. We made a few hundred bucks.

The one place I never stole from was a small specialty grocery store that was mainly a butcher shop. The two guys that started the place were left handed so they hired left handed butchers only. That’s the way the machines were set up. They had five left-handed butchers on the payroll.

One night the cops found a body in a hotel room across the street. The stab wounds clearly indicated a left-handed perpetrator. The case went unsolved. But it made an impression. I never stole a nickel from that joint.

December 19 2017

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Ya know when ya get older and you realize that you’re not as cool as you thought you were, but now you’re too old to do much about it? You’re never gonna be in great shape or get any prettier. You’re not gonna be rich so no one will even pretend for you.

Well, some of you might this sad or something, but it’s really awesome. Cuz now we’re free. No more fantasizing about some weird preprogrammed societal BS. Now we can get ugly and go live in the woods like a coven of electric witches. Talk about last night’s dreams to a murder of crows and run around screaming nude in the woods as fast as we can.

It’s time to get fucking real cuz we can see Death’s house and it’d be nice to make a little racket first. Let’s enjoy our own madness and this carnal form. Hmmm…. is Death flying a red kite?

Reminds me of an Issa poem.

That gorgeous kite
rising above
the beggar’s shack

December 15 2017

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December 08 2017

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Autochrome, Thomas Shields Clarke, ca. 1910

Old Mcdonald had a Farm

The farmers were disappearing. I can’t remember if it was before or after the bees started dying.

The sad, fairly simple chain of events was easy to trace from beginning to end. The farmers were broke. Most were forced into increasingly desperate chemical measures to wring every last cent out of the earth. Every year they would produce a higher yield, but the markets paid them less money. Eventually, they found themselves selling their harvests at a loss. They found themselves in a dark corner and, one by one, they disappeared back into the earth. Victims of a strange famine of greed.

Meanwhile, in town, everyone was moving into 8x8 foot hovels that provided one cot, free wi-fi and 59 cent double cheeseburgers.

At my father’s funeral, I saw the last bee I can remember seeing. My father had taken his monthly dosage of painkillers in one night along with a box of wine. The next morning, when all the snow had melted they found him dead in an oak tree still clinging to a large branch overlooking the back 80-acre field. It had been fallow for over a year, but I like to imagine that with a head full of pills and cheap red wine that my father imagined the corn as eight feet tall and dancing in the wind. The tassels full of bees and the birds singing one last song.

At the cemetery, the priest was droning on with a half-hearted eulogy when suddenly he stopped. There was a bee buzzing around the casket. We’d been told that all the bees within the tri-county area were gone for good. We all watched quietly as the bee landed on the casket and disappeared under the lid.

That night I dreamt my father’s casket was a hive. His body had turned into golden honey, buzzing with new life. I woke up crying, certain that somehow he’d save us. I kept waiting to see a honey bee as if it were a sign, but I never saw one again. Not yet, anyway.

December 07 2017

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I’ve been buying a lot of new gadgets on Amazon. I buy five to ten things at a time and they all ship in separate boxes.

A strange hole opened up in my head as I began to break down all the boxes, plastic wrap and clamshell containers. I worried that the animals would get stuck in the bags and packaging. So I cut them into long strips but I still worried that the animals could become entangled. So I cut them into small squares.

I spent most of the rest of the week cutting packages into smaller and smaller pieces until I was left with nothing but a fine dust which I accidentally inhaled.

I then crawled out into the backyard wheezing in a suffocating panic. Just before I lost consciousness the animals gathered around me. I tried to shoe them away. “If I die, please don’t eat me!” I said. “I’m no good for you. I’m no good for anything!”

December 01 2017

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I had seizures when I was little. The first episode was when my mother and father split up. My mother waited until my father went away on a fishing trip, then we packed up the entire house late into the night. Uncle Al came by the following morning with a moving truck and loaded up the boxes and most of the furniture.
 As I watched them load my little bed I decided I wasn’t going to leave. Actually, I’d decided before that, when Mom told me we were leaving because Dad was sick.
 I sat down where the dining room table used to be and said to myself. I’m not leaving. My mother yelled at me that it was time to go. She seemed really far away but she was in the same room. Things had slowed down and everything got blurry. When she tried to pick me up it was like a jolt of electricity surged through me. I thrashed once or twice and went completely stiff. I heard my mother scream and I woke up in the hospital.
 In the hospital, everyone was really nice to me. I was given a toy airplane and ice cream. I could watch TV all day.

The second seizure was a year later when I was in 1st grade. We had to take a phonics test. I felt a wave of panic because I never did any homework and was terrible at phonics. And then it was like I was swimming inside myself away from my eyes. The harder I tried to swim back to my eyes, the more it hurt. So I let go and fell into my shoes.
 I woke up in the nurse’s office. They gave me some cold apple juice and my mother came and got me. We went to the hospital but they didn’t keep me overnight. I got to stay home from school the next day and watch TV on the couch.
 I liked the game shows. Everyone was always jumping up and down and screaming, while the lights flashed and music played. Strangers ran up and hugged each other. I practiced winning too, jumping up and down on the couch and hugging my stuffed bear. My mom came in and yelled at me that I was going to give myself a fit.

Ever since then I’ve tried to stay calm.

November 25 2017

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Black Friday

I bought the newest video game console. I take it for long walks in the woods and ask it questions. I hold it like a baby and rock it back and forth as I wander through the trees and over the rocky terrain.

Tonight I made it all the way to the junkyard to see if the chief was there. The chief claims to be Native American, but everyone knows he’s really a totaled ‘73 Mercury.

The chief speaks to me, asks if my baby can sing. I assure him my baby can do anything.

We sit on the riverbank and listen to the inert strum of black plastic - the hum of the land singing in the wind. The chief smiles and nods at me and I smile back.

“These black Friday deals are pretty great,” he says.

“Yeah.” I nod. “It’s almost like the real thing.”

“Almost,” says the chief.

We go see Grandmother. Grandmother is a wolf who became a tree after her lover died. Grandmother never says a word, but she says plenty and she feeds us.

Afterwards, the chief walks me halfway home under the vast twinkling night sky. We can almost hear the satellites whisper above the crickets.

“Your baby is right,” he says.

“I know,” I say, and we both laugh.

November 16 2017

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but I get up again

November 09 2017

An excellent 6 ½ minute film on art, awareness and simplification.

November 03 2017

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November 02 2017

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There was a boy in my school who lived in a prison. His father killed the boy’s mother, brother and sister, along with three police officers. He escaped capture, so the boy had an armed guard with him at all times and lived in a secure facility.

The guard’s name was Chet. He was really nice. He told me little jokes like, “How do you greet a three-headed monster? Hello, hello, hello!” He’d laugh and give me a stick of gum.

I didn’t like the boy, though. No one did. He was weird and rarely said anything. When he did say something, it never made any sense. 

“The freak” is what the other kids called the boy. His real name was Darren, same as mine. This is why we were always seated next to each other in class. I didn’t call him the freak, except in my head. I guess I was kinda relieved the other kids called him that, so they didn’t confuse him with me. The adults called him Darren, though, and sometimes they got us mixed up. Sometimes a teacher would say, “Darren, can you put your book down and pay attention please?” I’d jump, thinking she was talking to me. But she was talking to the freak.

Back then I read a lot of books about monsters. I read every monster book in the library. I began to write my own stories and draw pictures to illustrate them. I drew a picture for the freak once, but he ate it. After that, I gave all my pictures to Chet.

The freak didn’t have any friends, and I was a bit of a loner too, so I felt sorry for him and sat by him at lunch. I liked talking to Chet. I liked Chet a lot. I wasn’t supposed to talk to him, but I did anyway.

One day I asked him, “Do you have a gun?”

He nodded. “I carry a sidearm, yes. Like a police officer or a bank guard.”

“Are you a police officer?”

He shook his head. “No. I work for the FBI.”

“How long will you protect the frr…  Darren?”

“Until your father is captured.”

I ignored his mistake. “What if they never catch him?”

“Don’t worry, Darren, we’ll catch him.”

October 27 2017

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TGIF! thank god it’s gorilla guns friday

Play fullscreen

Best & Worst of the 1980s - Eurythmics - Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)

Another electronically cold ‘80s hit that MTV played constantly during the summer of 1983. In the video, Annie Lennox dressed like a man with short red hair. She reminded me of the Joker. She also had a tiny blood red circle between her eyebrows (I was 11 and had no idea what a bindi was). 

The song and video will always bring me directly back to a 102 degree August afternoon. Jeff Johnson and I had gotten kicked out of the city pool for dunking girls. We were starting middle school in a month. We scrounged up some change for an Orange Crush and some candy and sat in the park sharing it. 

The homecoming king Brian Jensen had killed himself a couple days before. 

Jeff asked if I wanted to go see Brian’s body. Of course I wanted to see the body. I’d spent the previous two days in a daze trying to figure everything out, turning it all over in my mind while I mowed lawns, swam, ate, watched TV. I’d even had a dream about it. Brian had been the starting QB. His girlfriend, Mary, was the prettiest girl in town. Yet he’d shot himself in the head with a pistol. I’d seen him three days before at the pool. He was talking to Mary, who was a lifeguard there. He seemed relaxed and happy, a tan blond god. 

Jeff and I rode our Huffy III’s over to the funeral home. We were dressed in cutoffs and ripped mesh football t-shirts. We threw our bikes down on the lawn under a pine tree outside the large ornate front door. The funeral director came outside. He was dressed in a 3-piece black suit and eagerly invited us in. 

It was dark and cold inside. There were probably more than 30 people there. Mary, her family, Brian’s family, classmates, townsfolk. The funeral director knelt between us and asked us if we wanted to see Brian. We nodded silently, eyes wide. 

He led us up to the casket. There was Brian, an orangish mannequin in the mint green suit he’d worn for Homecoming coronation. 

I leaned in real close to look at the small dark circle, like a shadow, right between his eyebrows. It was no bigger than an eraser. It looked like the same hole I’d seen in the video on Annie Lennox’s forehead. I don’t remember anything after that. Except turning around and seeing someone holding Mary, who was weeping, wailing, almost screaming.

My mom was mad as hell when I told her about it at supper. She stood up dropping her fork with a clatter. “You went dressed like that?!” she yelled.

Dad touched her shoulder. She looked lost for a second. I didn’t understand. Mom sat back down, cleared her throat and we ate in silence.

October 23 2017

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Captain Kangaroo nurses a Sheep

October 22 2017

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Mitchell Funk 1977

Live at the Holiday Inn! (hammered at an arts & crafts show)

We began to worship the impractical. We surrounded ourselves with forests of books and stacks of humming LPs. We hung colorful canvas heavy with the tortured artist’s vibrant blood. We filled notebooks with ink, tears and hunger. We tried everything to root our disappearing selves back into the flesh, but it was too late. The ghost machine was draining us. We were disappearing.

Another ruined world. Paradise lost. Another failed dream. A house, so bright and happy when we moved in, now in full bloom from our neglect. A litany of failed projects that sputtered out, sagging with the weight of our confusion and blame.

We are worthless.

Everything we touch falls apart.

Do we understand reality? Our world would fall apart with or without us. Do we understand that we have been given the one true gift? The endless possibility of making something. Anything. The one true thing. We could build something. We could sing. Tear something apart only to build it again, better this time. Even if it’s a fragile house of cards, even a cover song, butchered. To place in our hands or heart our desire in the light of our own attention. To make love out of nothing at all. To reach into the darkness of a blank canvas and spill a little blood. Creator forgetting itself in the creation. Until we can’t tell the difference. Is the song singing us? Who created who? Is there only one? Or is there two? The light and the dark both build the other up, tear the other apart, like a dance that forgets and fucks up everything - until it falls in love.

I created a monster and fucked it to death
I made it bigger and better until
it fucked me, devoured me

and then we were three
The monster, me and
our gleaming death dream of

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