How to know you may have had too much to drink: when you have to reboot your computer while wearing wireless headphones and you go to the refrigerator to grab another beer and the Window Startup Sound comes on so loud that it scares the shit out of you.
Writing exercise or
exercise for writers
haiku warmup to
start things off as keyboard springs
heat stiff fingers up
put some music on
pour a few stiff drinks to get
the muse rowdy now
then make some room for
awful alliteration always accounts for awkward
transitional sentences that are harder than you think
metaphors like the organic food are often overrated
synonyms are the equivalent of repetition
over and over and over
because rule of threes
drink, drink, drink and
get deep into it now
no pain no gain for cliches
symbolism is so many trees dying as
your father passes from fall into winter
plot is pretty hard to get right because
climaxes are seldom easy to satisfy with
though a good denouement is always appreciated
by the audience you must write for
so, drink, drink, drink
and, write, write, write
don’t quit now
time to get deep
read the old masters and try
to emulate without copying even though
"Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal"
try to fight T.S. Eliot and Kurt Vonnegut
realize Vonnegut is still dead
and, drink, drink, drink
and, write, write, write
get total bastard now, write
and hardcore pornography
curse Bukowski and Cummings
and Hunter S. Thompson
for the bastards they were
then brace yourself,
get down deep in the workout
as epiphanies like beautiful angels
reveal themselves naked and burning
into your soul
have a vision of your Muse
drink to her
and for a precious few minutes or hours
strike fire from the gods onto paper
wonder if at the end of it all if
you are a character a reader can root for
cooldown (with a drink)
then sleep and of course
I used to keep a dream journal
next to my bed because
I thought I would record
all the brilliance of my
just waking moments
dutifully I wrote in it
every night when I
sat straight up with genius
ideas and such dramatic
wanderings as the mind has
at four a.m.
I waited patiently for a month
until I felt enough of my
nightly seed had filled
such a prodigious
tome of imagination
and finally looked upon
the brilliant and super
important idea-laden pages
it was pretty much
all pictures of dicks
and the words “no”
and occasionally “yes”
and on one mysterious occasion,
and that was it, so
I quit bothering with recording
my nocturnal emissions and
I have slept soundly since
eventually concluding that
dreams are not as
deep or insightful
or mystical as I thought but
just dicks and vaginas
and the occasional orangutang
I think that explains
a lot about the world
"I will answer your questions when I am drunk," he said, "and only then. Feel free to make small talk until that time."
I glanced at the cameras rolling over my shoulder and somewhere beyond the glare of their lights, caught my producer’s eye. Nodded. He nodded back and we began, understanding that this would not be the usual interview. Normally I would, as one of America’s premiere news anchors, engage in a repetitive session of question and answer and repeat, until we had enough footage to edit together the right response, carefully tailored to our target market. But this one, this one was different. He asked for me specifically, you know, something about my work in New Orleans during all the trouble. So word got passed around and the network responded to his requests, and here I was, in a dirty bar in the backwoods of Tennessee. Waiting for a madman to get drunk enough to answer my questions about what happened. On that night, that night that had froze our blood as a nation, once again.
And not just any madman, a madman that had killed six other madmen. Six terrorists if you were to ask the FBI. Six terrorists that walked into a government building, armed to the teeth with weapons and explosives, highly trained, feverishly bent on teaching America another lesson about ourselves written in blood and fire. “Homegrown” is what the feds called them in the official releases. Nobody wanted to talk about how some of them were trained by our own military, no.
They were highly trained, well armed, prepared, ready.
This one little guy, nervous and tapping his fingers on the bar while his drinks were set up, had walked through them like a ghost. Killed them like they were sacrificial lambs eagerly waiting for slaughter. No way around it now, no government coverup could handle this story, the footage was all over the internet and leaked onto YouTube and everywhere else within minutes of its happening.
Death himself, they said, the Undertaker represented. This little guy. A drunk, even.
"I like porn," he said, smiling for the first time as his shot of cheap whiskey and big glass of cold beer arrived, "it makes the other stuff quiet for a minute, you know. Quiet. I watch some big ol’ blondie waitress getting drilled in some cheap-ass seventies flick, you know, and she’s lovin’ it. For a little while all that shit in my head goes silent. Know what I’m talking about? Like the voices shut the fuck up outta respect. That makes me a pervert, I don’t care. It is what it is. Aristotle was a pervert, man, he used to sweet talk the young boys of Athens about philosophy and politics and then ply them with wine. I know what’s up, man. I know what’s up."
He picked up the whiskey, considered it for a moment, “You know what I mean?”
He looked me full in the eyes for the first time since I’d arrived, television news crew in tow and I admit it, I flinched a bit. There was nothing false in his gaze, nothing of lies and half-truths, of the thousands of misrepresentations that I’m used to in this business. Just the truth. Or madness. Didn’t matter, the contractual obligation my station and I’d entered into just to get the interview was very simple, it said, “The reporter (hereafter referred to as “Scribe”) shall consume what so ever the Primary Question (his own legalese name for himself) shall consume and thus so, as the Primary Question will answer whatever questions the Scribe asks, so shall the Scribe answer questions.”
So I said, “Yeah, I know what you mean. I’ve been with my share of big blondie waitresses in my day.” I didn’t mention, of course, that my waitresses were all men. But I think he knew, because he smiled.
"Answered like a true journalist," he said and he toasted me with his glass, and I toasted him with mine, and we drank together. I was used to a much better caliber of alcohol, and this cheap stuff burned its way down my throat, making me cough and splutter. He laughed at that, and went to plunk some more money in the jukebox. Country music, I remember, that was all he would play.
That’s how it started, of course, and like most people I wasn’t ready for where it would go.
A story I’ve been trying to write for some time now and on which I’ve been blocked bad. So I tried something different. It’s a hard story to tell, a story about survivors, but it’s important. It needs to be told, even if it won’t make any sense to most people.
So you know, fucking art, yeah.
I’m in a H. P. Lovecraft sort of mood tonight, might be the weather, might be the wind, might be something much more sinister. Only time and social media will tell the tale.
"Vanilla Ice wrote the song "Go, Ninja, Go" as a testament to the dark heart of evil in mankind and its inevitable eternality. Playing the song backwards has made dogs and some men go mad."
"Blues music was invented by Lucifer in 1936 in an attempt to get poor people to drink more Sterno, a hellish elixir of the worst sort. It met with limited success due to gospel influence on the genre. He fared much better in 1992 with ‘Achy Breaky Heart’ which was ultimately responsible for many suicides and the destruction of the Grand Ole Opry. This is all a matter of record, if you know where to look."
"In 1947 in Roswell, California, a third-tier dimensional breaching experiment went badly wrong, resulting in a partial encroachment into our reality by things best not described. The heavily Illuminati backed government of the time managed (barely) to contain the incident and created a cover-story of alien ships and bodies which was quickly picked up by agents in the UFO community and deflected public investigation by tainting the whole thing with crackpot madness. It was not the first time nor the last this tactic of misinformation was used."
"I find epaulettes frankly sinister. Epaulette is a French word meaning "little shoulder" (diminutive from épaule, meaning "shoulder"). Its true purpose would horrify you beyond understanding.
See also “perch” and “homunculus.”
"Truth. What an awful concept. At the bottom of every bottle, the end of every terrible tentacle-porn anime. Icy cold tendrils sliding into your brain. Just at the base of the skull, thrusting into the hippocampus, a thing named from the Greek hippos meaning "horse" and kampos meaning "sea monster". Where memories are kept. Yes. Truth. No wonder humans are so adept at falsehoods, at telling stories. They may be our only defense against madness."
"The Space Needle in Seattle was built in 1962 by the Pentagram Corporation using plans originally designed by Nikola Tesla and given to them in secret by the United States government. Its function would seem to allow it to channel and direct what Tesla called "cosmic-energy" towards an unknown purpose. It was used once, in July of 1969. Both the Seattle-Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspaper archives for that week have gone missing in recent years. I was born that same week.
I think not.”
"The more of my words you research to find their Truth, the more Truth you will not get, and the more research you will need to do, and thus the further down the rabbit hole of madness you will fall. Alice In Wonderland was written by a drug-addicted shaman. The rabbit is a metaphor for the knowledge of mankind, always late to somewhere and fearful of consequence. If you drink the potions, as they say, you will understand."
"A tinfoil hat, you say? Of course, that is the proper nomenclature of the modern times for paranoia, yes. Supposed to protect you from the beams or waves put out by satellites or cell phone antennas from the government. I ask you, what happens if you apply tin foil to an antenna, say for a radio or, if you are old enough to remember, a television?
It magnifies the reception.
Now, think about who told you this was a protection.
Yes, now perhaps you begin to understand.”
"Ah yes, now you begin to understand. Julian Huxley writes a book about telepathy. His brother is noted parapsychologist and mystic Aldous Huxley. Who taught French at Eton where one of his pupils was Eric Blair, who later went on to be known better by his name of George Orwell. Yes, THAT George Orwell.
The rabbit hole knows no end, Alice.”
"But what of the Government?" you ask, "If the Truth is out there, surely they must know. Perhaps even now they are monitoring our conversations."
When thinking of the Government and Truth, I ask you to consider the Teleostei Lophiiformes, or Anglerfish. A particularly savvy predator from the deep ocean, evolved in many cases with a single dangling appendage upon its bony head which, thanks to a bacterial interaction, produces light. A light that many creatures in that deeply dark abyss would swim toward, only to be met in the end with a nightmare of teeth and bloody consumption. Now, imagine a sea wholly seething with Anglerfish, and at the very bottom of that sea is the Truth, locked away. “Government,” since the days of the very Greeks themselves, has spent hundreds of years stocking that sea. They don’t need to monitor our conversations, they don’t care about your understanding of these matters.
You and I are irrelevant to them and, naked and adrift, we can but wait for the terrible end.”
"There have been attempts to arm and protect the common public, some more successful than others. The Teletubbies, for example, represent the five stages of elemental matter and the mathematical timing of their songs and chants contain hidden thaumaturgic ritual designed to teach children to protect themselves from such horrors as they may encounter. And some drug users, who are drawn to the program in their altered mental state. Understandable.
Our Congress, which is a thoroughly Illuminati controlled institution, regularly votes to cut funding for PBS. I think this explains much.”
"And even tonight I hear them, their cold clammy limbs scratching and thumping upon my basement door. The whiskey cannot keep my body warm, faithful reader, nor steel my nerves at the end. I have imparted what Truth I have to you via this most amazing of oracles, the internet, and from this point it is upon you to dig deeper and further into the very graves of humanity’s past. I wish all the blessings of whatever gods you may worship upon your task.
As for me, I aim to finish this bottle and meet the Abyss with the axe in my hand and all of the rebellion my heart can muster. As the Black Elk once said, “…off toward the west and north they were yelling “Hokahey!” like a big wind roaring, and making the tremolo; and you could hear eagle bone whistles screaming.”
It is a good day,
Doctor Victor David Lorthos, esq.”
you want the Muse
you want her bad
to write stories
that move and
wants to eat
drink beer and
play video games
and not much
so you learn
anything else would
likely drive you to madness
Can I take a moment to talk about well-done steak?
I know, I know, it has a bad rap with every chef and cook and foodie bastard from Boston to Los Angeles and from here to Timbuktu. Anthony Bourdain himself has spoken about it at length, going so far as to suggest that you might actually hate beef if you order it well-done, and that Chefs will saddle you with the most awful old piece of meat in their freezer if you dare go below medium rare.
I am here to tell you, that is absolutely fucking incorrect.
The secret of a well-done steak, much like the one I have sizzling on my grill as I type this - a good and proper 16 oz. piece of Black Angus beef well marbled and rightly seasoned - is a hard thing to come by. It takes much practice, trial and error, determination and perseverance. The road to understanding is littered with lesser cooks who grimly discarded their awful burnt charcoal attempts into trashcans and swore “never again, never again, from now on if it doesn’t bleed when I cut into it I’m against it.” And hey I get that, if pink meat gets your goose moving, then by all means pink it up. But if you persevere, if you learn from the mistakes, if you are careful, you can master one of the most difficult of all grilling techniques.
I’m talking a steak that looks like crusty black shit on the outside, but opens up like warm butter under the knife. Charred drippings of fat packed with so much flavor that you lose the ability to function for minutes as they slowly dissolve on your tongue. Something so good that a mere sliver of it melts in your mouth and makes you feel like you just french-kissed a fucking angel. A thing of beauty, worthy of worship, the hardest steak to master.
A piece of beef so good you will want to punch Anthony Bourdain in the mouth for daring, DARING, to deny you such a delicacy.
Try it, enjoy it, love it. The road will not be easy, but when you get there you will understand.
Now if you will excuse me, I have an angel to make out with.
"Charon brought his raft
From the sea that sails on souls
And I saw the scavenger departing
Taking warm hearts to the cold
He knew Sesame Street was a haven
For the meanest creature ever known”
~Gil Scott Heron, Me And The Devil (paraphrased)
Burt’s phone rang at six thirty A.M. in the goddamn morning.
He tried to ignore it.
"One two three four five, six seven eight nine ten, eleven twelve!" it sang to him, growing increasingly louder. He’d only been asleep for a couple of hours, it was a bad night on the Street last night to be a cop. But that was his gig, right? Sesame Street P.D., Puppet Homicide Division. Lieutenant. Yeah, he was proud of that, but this six thirty call was bullshit. Burt turned over and eyeballed the phone’s screen.
It read, simply, “Chief Grover.”
He swiped the screen and tried to keep his voice down, “Lt. Burt here.”
The conversation lasted only a minute, but by then he was wide awake.
"Right. I’ll be there in fifteen." Burt thumbed the phone off and sat up, rubbing his eyes. Gentle yellow light from the rising sun slipped in through the blinds and across the other form in the bed, snoring gently. Dappled beams illuminated brown felt. Burt sighed. Even after all these years he didn’t know what he and Ernie were. Friends? Something else? Hell, who knew.
Burt pulled the blankets back up over Ernie’s shoulders as he slipped out into the cold of their apartment.
Time to go to work.
Of the Super Bowl Commercials this year, this one in particular stands out to me. Apparently it has generated some hate among the ignorant in the interwebs (who are legion). So let me clarify some things here:
Yeah, this is a country largely stolen from its native people, built in many ways on the exploitation of the poor and immigrant, and we definitely have our share of hate and problems, but we are still the greatest socio-cultural-economic experiment the world has ever known, and we are still greater than the sum of our parts.
And if you don’t like that, feel free to stay. Sooner or later, your children will understand.
"You sure you okay? I could order you to go to the hospital, you know." Chief Grover hovered over him like a nervous parent.
Burt shrugged, touching the bandage on his head tenderly, “I know, but I’m okay, I promise. Paramedics said maybe a concussion but probably not. Benefits of having a pointed head, I guess.”
Grover snorted, “Damn good thing then. Looks like Abby is going to be okay, they’re taking her up to Sesame General to get checked out. As for you, take the night off, and tomorrow too. This was a hell of a thing. Get some rest.”
Burt shook his head, “I still got paperwork, this whole thing is going to be a media circus, lot of work to do.”
The Chief frowned, “We will take care of that, you get your ass home and get some sleep. Don’t make me go all Super-Grover on you now.”
They both smiled at that.
Burt opened the door to the apartment and dropped his keys in the bowl next to the door. Somewhere in the distance he heard the soft sounds of running water.
"Ernie?" he wandered toward the back.
"Burt? Hey Burt!" Ernie rushed out of the bathroom, soaked from the waist up. "Oh my god Burt I’m glad you’re home. I was collecting ice cubes last night and I put them under a blanket in the tub and now they’re gone and it’s just water and I think a fish snuck in from the ocean and stole them Burt. We need to call the police, oh hey Burt, you are the police, yay!"
Burt just stared at him.
"Holy cow Burt, you have a bandage on your head Burt. Are you hurt, Burt?"
And Burt reached out and held him close.
"Burt? What’s the matter Burt?"
"Nothing, little buddy, nothing. Just glad to be home."
Whatever this was, Burt figured, it was good enough for him.
"I’m okay, Ernie. I’m okay now. Let’s go look for your ice cubes."
Together, they began the search.
This episode of Sesame Street brought to you by the numbers 8 and 2, for chapters and friends, and Interrogation Room B, for everything else.