Lies and Libations

this is a song
about a girl
I once loved
she was pretty
as a West Memphis
and crazy as
a sack full of rats

but I loved her
and the sex was
so good

I got the scars
to prove both

she left me
on a cold January morning
after she stabbed me
right here
because she thought
I stole her liquor
out of the refrigerator

and that was that

but I still love her
to this day

so sing along,
you folks bereft
and alone
the song of someone
you once loved

and we can all get drunk

Working on the next book, writing a story about an intergalactic man whore for hire. Good times, oh yeah.

By the way, next book is currently titled “Alien Hookers and Other Strange Words.” Tell all your friends


I went too far one night
into my cups and my bottles
and my draughts and my drams
and found myself somewhere

out of time and place
in a bar in a strange place in a
world unknown but populated by
faces familiar and never seen

by me at least and there
they were, poets all, hard men
and severe in countenance
and outside the door only darkness

Lord Byron his own self slapped
me on the ass and grinned a
trickster grin and said to me
“There is no instinct like that of the heart”

then he leapt away from
me in a pirouette and a spring
upon which he finished his bottle
of wine and dashed it into the fire

and passed outward
into that darkness
outside the door
and was gone

Dylan Thomas stood upright staggering
his breathing labored but
his face alive with purpose and said,
“I’ve just had eighteen straight whiskies, I think that’s the record”

then he stumbled toward the exit and
I begged him not to go but
he waved me off and with
a shuddering cough

he passed outward
into that darkness
outside the door
and was gone

at the end of the bar, something moved
as Bukowski groaned and woke up
from his winter slumber and
demanded wine and beers and said

"We have wasted History like a bunch of drunks,
shooting dice back in the men’s crapper of the local bar”
then he called us all pussies,
snatched a bottle of beer from the bar and

as he stomped to the door,
I tried to stop him I really did
but he was too much for me
snarling as he brushed me away

he stepped out
into that darkness
outside the door
and was gone

So there was me
tiny and scared but
with all the beer I could drink so
I looked at the darkness outside

and said

"There’s more time than you think, I think
so let’s all have another round and consider.”

You know,
I did.

Ah yes, the Blood Moon. A thing foretold in legend, passed down among our ancient ancestors in fireside stories. A time when that bright pale yellow cheese in the night sky flies arrogantly too close to the mighty Sun and sheds its thick layer of crimson wax upon the lowlands and the unsuspecting. Wax which we gather to cover our horrible forms, hoping to survive the coming winter.

No, no wait, I think that was the Dutch.

Something like that, anyway. I read it on the internet.

Maybe it’s just an eclipse but I kind of like to think our ancestors knew better than us.

Silly people we are, with our telescopes and our astronomers and our science.

So good Blood Moon to you all, and please have your fondue sets and various crackers ready.

So it’s been a while, right?

I know, I say that every time, but really it has been a moment since I spoke with you strange people on the other side of this strange little box. I’ve been busy, of course, running around, having adventures, liberating monsters and madmen of their treasures and princesses and tavern wenches of their virtues.

As one will do, when one is a Rogue.

There were some difficulties, of course, I got marooned on an island for a bit, there might have been some dragons, and then for about a year I was stuck in the most backwater shitty harbor of the Forgotten Realms with the stupidest adventuring party imaginable…

But what really happened is this dratted little box which I use to communicate with your weird dimension ran out of charges, and it was quite a while before I could get back to civilization and find a competent mage able to charge the damn thing. After many a tribulation here we are, you and I, and once again I may be able to share my adventures across the aether so that you may marvel and wonder at the ways of the Rogue.

'Twill be a moment though, because I'm sort of recovering from being dead. No big thing, really, happens a lot around here. At the moment, I am laid up in one of the finest Inns in Waterdeep, nursing my wounds with wine and cheese and women and other things. It is my intention now to lay out my adventures in a longer format; say, almost like unto a book or tome of knowledge or something. Perhaps a sacred leather bound volume that may serve to inform the future Rogues of this world, and possibly entertain the weird naked-spider-fish-people of yours.

Only time will tell, my friends, for I am notoriously lazy in any sort of academic endeavor. However, since the extent of my injuries (and death) are such that I am unable to even rise from my bed (or rise in other ways, ahem ladies I am ever so apologetic), I feel I must find a way to pass the time err I go mad.

And what better way than talking about myself?


Stay, as they say in your world, tuned.

Lot of people out there on the dang ol’ internet all hollering and arguing and yelling about stuff. Some folks say we’re all gonna die, again. People complaining about anything and everything, and thanks to this crazy informational invention, it gets poured into your eyeballs everyday. Well if I may put on my old dude hat for a moment, please allow me to share something with you.

I’ve been on the internet in one way or another since 1986, and in that time, I’ve learned a few things:

1. Don’t argue with crazy people. They will not get any less crazy and you will not get any more sane.

2. Don’t argue with stupid people. You can’t teach them. If they were open to knowledge, they wouldn’t be stupid.

3. Don’t argue with people who think the world is going to end for some reason. It hasn’t happened despite Y2K, bird flu, swine flu, any presidential election, Nostradamus prophecy, ebola, “young people today,” or anything else. They just like being excited by things.

4. Don’t believe stuff you read on the internet before you check it on and at least two other places. No many how many times it gets emailed and reblogged around.

5. Don’t feed the trolls. There are people that just want to make you angry and will say any horrible thing just to get a response. They cannot be enlightened and they feed on attention. Ignore them or block them and they will wither and die.

6. Don’t listen to people that say the internet/smartphone/technology/television is killing interpersonal communication, they’ve been saying that since the 50’s at least and somehow we still manage to get together for drinks and make babies. They probably said that about the printing press.

7. Post pictures of cats, food, babies, flowers, sunsets, whatever you got that makes you happy. Write stupid jokes and short stories and bad poetry. Honestly, very few of us really have anything profound or deep or insightful to add to the world, and that is absolutely okay. We’re just people, it’s alright. Might as well be happy about something.

It’s just the internet, folks. Just a series of tubes at the end of the day. Probably one of the most amazing accomplishments of mankind, yeah, but nothing to get worked up about. Everybody take a deep breath.

And remember to take it easy.

October 1st and by my thumbs
something wicked this way comes
meddle not in the affairs of the witch
lest you see her in the mirror switch
and mind those who you seek to burn
or the spirits upon you
may turn


also enjoys rolls,
bagels, eclairs,
bear claws, doughnuts,
some pies, macarons,
puffs, tarts,
strudels, turnovers,
Mooncake from China,
and Ladies’ Navels from Turkey,


Arthur was face down on the bar at the Blue Magnolia when they walked in around five o’clock, his eyes closed, head surrounded by empty glasses and lit candles.

Angie tapped him on the shoulder, “You okay, Art?”

"M’m fine" he managed. He pushed himself up and rubbed his eyes.

"Been drinking a little?" Angie asked.

"Yeh." He signaled to the bartender for another round.

"You think that’s a good idea?"

"Heh," he dug a crumpled pack of cigarettes out of a jacket pocket, "been drinking since noon. Not sure where I’m going with it, but I know I’m not there yet."

"What’s with all the candles?"

"Don’t know, ask Miss Eileen." Arthur said, and gestured at the bartender.

The bartender sat two beers and a shot of whiskey in front of them. Miss Eileen was a tall woman, maybe six and a half, sporting a blue summer dress and about a days worth of stubble.

"Something we used to do in New Orleans," she said, "when a man got the devil in him and he’s tryin’ to poison it. Keeps it from getting out and causing trouble."

"See?" Arthur waved his shot around to encompass the whole of the Blue Magnolia, "they get me here."

Arthur Jones was what they called a “sensitive” child, in 1978.

Intelligent beyond his years and mostly bored with everything, he’d had a rough time in grade school. After a couple of month of inattentive behavior and his habit of asking disturbing questions in class, some of the teachers got together and decided he belonged in special education. Proceedings began apace, in spite of the protestations of his mother.

It so happened that year, that the effects of the fabled Marland Report were felt throughout the public school system. Children with higher IQ’s were all the rage, and federal monies were available for so-called “gifted students.” Money-hungry school districts scrambled to find enough students to meet the quota. Somehow in the process of all this, Arthur found himself alone in a classroom with a man, taking tests, answering questions.

It was different, at least, so he tried to answer the questions honestly.

Years later, his school transcripts would reflect the following report: “Subject showed interest in all vectors of questioning, apparently answering some questions preemptively, according to tester on site. Results of Wechsler–Bellevue Intelligence Scale inconclusive, as subject exceeded testing parameters. Tester on site suspected subject of pre-exposure to test material or possible coaching from outside sources. Subject then, on record, offered several observations about tester which led to tester refusing to work further with subject. Further testing recommended in controlled environment, subject is recommended to advanced placement, with observation.”

But the rural Mississippi school couldn’t afford “advanced placement with observation” so they just shunted Arthur into the “gifted” program and called it a day. He spent his sixth period every day whiling away the time making papier-mâché animals.

It was enough.

Outside of school, the library was his escape. Originally just a big room in the back of the local State Farm Insurance offices (and mostly composed of Harlequin romance novels) he spent the majority of his days there undisturbed. He read everything. Even some of the Harlequin stuff, though it was just awful. Arthur devoured old Sherlock Holmes stories, Edgar Allen Poe writings, and any encyclopedia he could get his hands on. The library was shut down for a month or so in the summer of 1984 and that was the longest summer he could ever remember, but it was worth it because it finally reopened in a new location, formerly a Piggly Wiggly grocery.

Named for some local important family, the library had come into government money and been expanded ten-fold. Arthur walked among its tall shelves and stacks of books awed and reverent, his fingers stroking the spines. So much information, so much knowledge, it was a lot to take in for a fourteen-year-old boy.

So he picked a book, and he started reading.

The day Angie and Seth walked in, he was sitting in a chair, feet propped up, a stack of books to his right. They shuffled in awkwardly, unsure of this quiet cool place, this temple of the written.

"Hello." Arthur said.

"Hey." Angie said. Seth nodded.

Arthur put his book down and studied the pair. “Say, uh, do you like detective books?” he asked.

They looked at each other and nodded.

"Cool. I’ve got a bunch here, Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Sherlock Holmes, The Three Investigators. They’re pretty good, if you want to read them," he gestured at the stack next to him.

They sat down with him, and picked a book for themselves.

When he suggested they start a Detective Club a little while later, it just seemed like the natural thing to do.

 "Southern Detective Club" character development.
For more information see also “Robert Arthur” and “Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators” and also True Detective and possibly The Venture Brothers for good measure…
You ever have one of those moments when you realize that the main character is filled with anger and hatred and spends most of his time controlling it and trying to do good things to offset its effects?
Anti-hero, you say?
Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, I say.

"Southern Detective Club" character development.

For more information see also “Robert Arthur” and “Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators” and also True Detective and possibly The Venture Brothers for good measure…

You ever have one of those moments when you realize that the main character is filled with anger and hatred and spends most of his time controlling it and trying to do good things to offset its effects?

Anti-hero, you say?

Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, I say.

It all started innocently enough, somewhere in Mississippi in the early eighties.

Angie Young had known Seth Johnson for many years, from way back when they were babysat by Miss Modina, the large, older black woman paid by Angie’s family to take care of her while her father was away on business and her mother was… well…

"Busy," as they said.

"Fucked out of her mind on wine and valium," was what Angie would say years later, but there you have it. Miss Modina would come over at six in the morning, bringing young Seth with her, and cook breakfast for them both. Seth was her adopted son, she said, and everybody left it at that. He’d been born with a variety of maladies which left him in leg braces and on crutches, but he was a smart boy, and she doted on him.

Angie and Seth would play games in the backyard, build little forts among the tall grass of the field behind the old big house, and all was well until Angie’s father fell on hard times.

It was the day after her twelfth birthday, she remembered. He was down the hall, yelling at her mother. Angie crouched behind a plush red couch, clutching her favorite doll to her as her father railed against the idea of his only daughter being babysat by “that kind of people.” Too young to understand at the time why, she cried when he said that Miss Modina and Seth could not come to play ever again, but being just old enough to understand rebelliousness, she snuck out of the house and got on her bike, pink and purple with a white basket on the front, and rode down the hidden trails and the back ways until she came to Old Egypt Road.

It wasn’t fair, she decided, she liked Seth and loved Miss Modina and who was he to decide who could see who? That was stupid, and thus, running away seemed the only logical solution.

Old Egypt was the black neighborhood, Angie knew that. Everybody knew that. There were no black folks living in the city limits of Asheville, they all lived out along Old Egypt. Angie had never been there before, but her anger and her sadness drove her along the dirt road. At night everything was different, darker and quieter, with brightly lit houses in the distance like foreign lands. She knew Seth’s house was the third one after the old bridge, though, because they had talked about it before. Angie pedaled onward, breathing heavily, and after the old bridge, and the third house, turned left down the driveway.

The house was small, ramshackle, a clapboard sort of affair. But when she dismounted and approached the door, the smell of good food cooking comforted her somewhat.

Tentatively, she knocked.

The door was almost immediately answered by Seth, who stared at her wide-eyed.

"Angie?" then he turned and yelled, "Miss Modina, Angie is here."

The room was dimly lit but warm. The furniture was old and worn but comfortable looking. And there was Miss Modina, enormous, “Child, what are you doing here? Oh lord.”

Angie blurted, “Daddy said you and Seth can’t come over any more and I thought that was stupid and it’s not fair and so I ran away…” and then she started crying, because that seemed to be the only thing to do.

She was ushered into the big living room and sat on the couch. The house smelled of pork roasting and incense. The shelves and tables in the corner held old glass bowls and jars of candy, because Miss Modina, as Angie knew, was the Candy Lady.

See in the tiny neighborhood of Old Egypt, the black kids couldn’t go to the local drug store on their own so they went to the Candy Lady. An older lady usually, well-respected by the community at large, who sold hard candy for a penny-a-piece and some chocolate for a bit more. All the children knew Miss Modina, and she was revered.

Maybe a little feared too, because some folks said that after dark Miss Modina offered a different kind of thing. Something to do with her being from New Orleans, they said, something to do with spirits, and maybe advice, and maybe babies. One time Angie heard her mother and her friends talking about “going to see Modina for a solution.” She didn’t understand what they meant until she was a lot older. Every society, it seems, has its old wise healers.

And also people that know how to do what is necessary, sometimes. Like when a pregnancy shows up unexpected, or maybe scandalous, or maybe because of darker reasons. Then it didn’t matter if you were white or black, back then, you needed Miss Modina.

"Now, Angie, look at me." Miss Modina said, kneeling down in front of her, "Your father is a good man, and he made a decision, okay?

"Yeah," Angie said, "but it’s a stupid decision."

Miss Modina laughed, “Well maybe so, but it’s his decision, okay? Something you got to realize, girl, is that black folks and white folks are different. The worlds we live are different, right? Mister Young, he’s got to think about how the other white folks see this, okay? And you are his child, so you have to respect that. I know it don’t make no sense right now, but one day you gonna understand.”

"I don’t wanna understand, Seth is my friend," Angie sobbed.

Miss Modina hugged her close, “I know child, I know. But it is what it is right now, okay? So hush your crying, I’m gonna call your mamma so she can come get you, she must be worried a fright.”

She wandered into the back of the house to get the phone, and Seth sat down on the couch next to Angie.

"I’m sorry your daddy don’t want us to be over there no more, Angie," he said, feeling awkward, "Here, you can have a grape sucker if you want one. I was saving it for later but I figure you might need it right now."

Angie sniffed and took the offered treat, “Thank you.”

They sat there in silence for a while, while Miss Modina talked on the phone in the background.

Angie wiped her eyes and unwrapped her sucker, a look of grim determination slowly coming over her face.

"Seth?" she asked.


"I don’t care what daddy says or Miss Modina or anyone else, we are friends, and I ain’t gonna let that change for no stupid adult decisions, okay?"

"Okay, Angie."

She popped the sucker in her mouth and took his hand.

Together they watched Sanford and Son until Angie’s mother drove up outside.

That was probably the start of it, right there, but they didn’t get to the thing until they went to the Library.

The Library, really, that was the beginning.

Let me tell you something, there is magic in cooking.

Just the thing to turn a long shitty week into something much more better.

The combining of ingredients plus alcohol and music, maybe do a little spontaneous kitchen dancing, adds a lot of flavor. Simmer all that together, bask in the riotous scent that fills your house, taste the result.

It is, I humbly think, one of the highest expressions of what humanity is. The concept that we can take something absolutely necessary for our survival (food) and turn it into a source of infinite pleasure, that soothes the mind, heals the body, and pacifies the soul.

It is magic, contained in a pot of stew or pan of meat and vegetable or a square baked dish or a flat sheet of pastries or steamed buns or woks full of everything and brown sauce or just a fire and a piece of meat charred.

It is magic, and every time I turn on a stove, I am humbled by it’s presence.

Lions and Gazelles


As the frat boys roll into the Lower East Side, their collars popped and their Docksiders worn with salt water from the deck of Daddy’s boat, I stay close to the walls hoping to go unseen. Their girlfriends are impossibly tall, their legs going all the way up with boots that cover their knees,…

This guy. This guy gets it.