Monday, August 20, 2007


I was swinging flamelessly flawed
Crookedly along a line of shooting fame
Where bleeping patriots bang
Living bull winking after coming
All that distance for nothing

and knew it mattered something
as my lead,
felling numbers by the wayside.
Washington. ID’ed.

D’ever visit
Looking like what is it
The keeping of the holy sanctuary
Ringing in clocks and cells
Sent off spacely spiffed
And then gathered erroneously
Introducing numbers colored
What has been?

In the beginning there was no faith
Tremble forsook theirs
The lady barker bit as something silent
And something like slender pumped branches
Of guilt-ridden hitchhiker fire
Gave zero a sympatheticological smile
Charging the going rate of two dollars
And manslaughter
And acts half flag
Half rag

Gagging suspicious gangs
Some sing some hesitate to recall
Soil deep replacing
Me and you.

Deciding to return to space
Its only begotten
To do right by what’s left
Like sheep they would leap
In a twinkling of a cobra’s eye
Insufferably here to stay
Using maximum flair to cornbread level
Dressed above the Machiavellian hips
Calling themselves out as apostles of
Aesthetics of inactivity
Their seed.

I said that night
Bar stool on my tongue I am
The college of my choice
And you agreed
That mine is a subtle creed
Strangerhood breed
Speaking for myself as if I had no tongue
Some new testicles glorified
Kinetic Pierjudy Rapier
And his spicy bride
Who aspires to the moment I ask.

[ 1981, Corpus Christi, TX ]


Originally published on April 28, 1996

Ben. Welcome back. Yes, I did receive your last note warning of your transitional silent period. I also keep a hard copy (paper) file system, and so I was able to dig up your last note with ease. I would very much be interested in hearing all about your problems reaching me. I've been weathering a series of machine-sensitive download anomalies myself and the more I study a problem, hashing over software and hardware variables and contradictions the less I discover I understand. So you might as well throw whatever details you have the time or the desire to divulge onto the heap.

The last thread that you suggested we begin to articulate is the one which portrays our differences in taste, so here goes a short list of truly disgusting habits I have:

I enjoy cultivating and picking scabs off sores. Must have begun when I was a scab-infested kid. I feast on red meat, pork, shellfish and other salt-and-fat infested poisons. I am fifty pounds overweight. I drink cheap, watered down beer, preferably Carling's Black Label. I despise heavy brown beers. No liquid can surpass an iced tea. Never drink coffee. No drugs except an occasional cannabis noblesse oblige. I am a fascist neatnik in the household domain (everything in its place, and shoes off at the door) but tend to be somewhat a slob (wearing the same few rags day after day) when it comes to personal hygiene. I love women and have often stated over the years that I interpret the quality of my own life by the quality of the women in it, yet I also subscribe to many mysogynist fundamentals.

I am a coward, and have no aims to change the world for the better or the worse, yet I rage at the sorry state of American inner cities, particularly the fear-inducing gangster-driven neighborhood I live in today. I wish Jesus Christ would finally get his act together and clean up this mess he claimed to care about, or get off his high horse and shut the fuck up. I am against everything. I am against nothing, except what bores me. I am always bored. I loathe myself. I think I am a genius but what good is genius without a plan? I adore the American game of baseball. I despise what millionaires have done to the game. I do not watch boxing, very little football, even less basketball, no hockey, uh, soccer, just in passing. I quit playing sports as an adult because I quit leaving the house because my neighborhood is vibrating with thugs challenged by the color of my eyes and the thickness of my skin. I often know I am paranoid. I often know I am the paupered prince of the sublime cognoscenti. I believe the United States is the best country on the globe. I believe the US is in deep shit of its own making, and is squandering its birthright as a nation with all its emphasis on liberal guilt, and little on historic notions of personal responsibility. I believe all states must be consdervative, all populations liberal. I believe all political systems by nature are corrupt because human beings are corruptible, and are part of the animal kingdom where the fierce outmaneuver the weak as a matter of science. Religions ARE the opiate of the people, yet opium is a better gift to humanity than Darwinian logic. I am not apathetic concerning these passions of the political world but I am passionate concerning the apathy this world calls political action. Enough for now.

My last good reading was THE RECOGNITIONS by William Gaddis. I can't seem to read science fiction. I hate rock-n-roll because that is the only music I love. Yet it seems to render meaningless the battlefields of the soul defaulting to hero worship and a feverish fetishism of the tools of the trade. I do fancy sorrowful Appalachian music, circa 1920-30s. I've never wanted to own a gun until last week. I guess I am a burning conservative, or simply am incrementally with each passing year more afraid of random or racially motivated violence than I was in my innocent youth. Despite his opinions on just about everything and despite how his hirelings treated me over the phone a few years ago when I requested an interview for my publication (my plans to bus out to Kansas were hissed) I still can appreciate William S. Burroughs, although Ginsberg has lost favor with me. I am a book addict, but have had little time recently to indulge my habit outside of E-mail and computer manuals, and that's okay by me. I believe scientists are just as vigorous the liar as the mystics, and though I believe honesty is the only policy worth policing, I argue the side of the mystic against ruthless scientist, and the side of science against thumbnail mysticism. Most poverty in this country is self-induced and self-perpetuating, while the overlords all across the board are gouging the shrinking middle. Joblessness is a sin against self, yet I will not hold a job because of the exploitative and debilitating nature of the capitalistic set. I do however expect people to provide for themselves with work. Lazy bums do not gain my sympathy, no matter what excuses they think they are entitled to exploit.

That said, I do believe Ben, I have given you enough fodder (both explicit and veiled) to crush this relationship if you have a mind to do such a thing. Our differences, eh? The mystic's queue within me suggests that despite any cosmetic differences, even those of philosophic, political, artistic, or fleshly configurations, we will not discover many differences between us because like attracts like at this succinct level of coincidental modulation. In other words, we have sustained a conversation already more thorough and less pretentious than most people accomplish in a lifetime of chatter among themselves, with little reason other than a need for self-expression and a willingness to participate as another exerts himself in a similar fashion. Of course, I prefer to march to the beat of a humble arrogance opposed to the march of an arrogant humility. As to your revealed need for quiet introspection, I say carry on. Write when and what you can. Don't force yourself. Bottom line: I need you about as much as you need me, but like mortality, communication resolves chaos not nearly as often or as brilliantly as it disrupts order.



Originally published on April 30, 1996

Yo Steve, your gnat is gnawing at my forehead. Was too depressed, especially after reading your notes yesterday to respond to anything much. Did get back to Tom Howell. He's a practicing HTML author now, quite proud in his jest, and sent his brag to "Gabriel" just like family. He always brings a smile.

Your job as literary justice in moaning is taking its toll on me however. A small toll, but one I recognize and simply weather, and also moan about afterwards, just to show you I know what I'm talking about despite any argument you or they would bring to your defense, or mine. But that's we price we pay for being ourselves. So here's the grease. High gear, Friday stew, stem, and glabe discharged to slow gear by Monday and on into Tuesday. But I'm feeling better now. Timside brought a puff to a gruff, and the clearly grown clown is clue-driven again.

Wish I could help you in your status search, but this, appropriately, is evidence that I have failed in this department, particularly as I must state emphatically, as it concerns you. Maybe it will take seven years to thaw or two months to germinate, as each thought bares itself in time, and then comes the moment when we all put in a call for mercy. The messianic skids uncoil as we try to separate the body from the mind, or the mind from its redeemer, accompanied by the same long list of equivocating characteristics we've known about ourselves from the earliest years of our precocious lives, characteristics and traits we called them by different names then, or at least, most of them.

A very conservative idea must come to pass. This is the genetic or scientific approach. We know this path, or rather we stumble across it, and figure we don't have a chance to evoke ourselves. This sudden opinion of ourselves reads itself to the world in word and picture, skin and tragedy, speed and oblivion. We clutch for hope that our highest aspiration remains our surest fallback position as we dally with the fires of our own heated disputes with a strengthening opposition.

My own most vicious excitement of the day was Sue allowing, even offering to keep the whole house cool today with air conditioning. Man, what a bosslady, although yesterday there is still some confusion in my head whether she knew her spanky new luggage was due at the house yesterday. It came, but was delivered across the street to 110. Don't even know those people, which hurled me into a mild rage (5.2 on the GT Richter) before whimpering down to a sigh.

Thus, baking in the raw configurations of cause and effect seeking motives & derivations of man, and god, and country I had to face the repeated crisis of being home yet again, just upstairs with only a small fan compensating for repeated delivery failures posting an argument against me. My half-deafness may also contribute. More than likely the air was blasting at that point. I turned it on around 1:30 yesterday in the computer room, and around eight last night as I nodded out with QUE's Netscape 2.0 in the sofa shortly before Sue bounced into the room and removed my glasses. I slept another few hours there in the royal chair before sliding myself into bed just after midnight. A long & heavy dream sequence followed me after I pounced up slightly dazed at seven oh nine. Still depressed. Alienated by having to growl in sweat past the courier's light knocking on my door, yet once more again.

Missing a delivery irks me enough. Knowing that I didn't even know to expect a package that day had me twisted in knotnumbing speeches to myself. She surprisingly got on the phone and gave that piece of mind that almighty customers are supposed to inspire. But knowing a delivery was coming hasn't kept me from missing eight to a dozen deliveries over the past few years. Ah, but what is missing from this picture? Sue must have known it was coming but she neglected to tell me, or remind me because this transaction was initiated on her order. Yes, she surprised me by harrassing UPS (it turns out; I mistakenly thought it was a JC Penney's direct delivery with a glance at the delivery paper. UPS is not mentioned anywhere, but Sue obviously called with knowledge.) Anyway, I've let go of that issue until it pops up again. Her luggage is sassy, and bless baby with baboon oils, it's obvious her Carribbean cruise is shaping and tidying up in her mind as the calendar drills onward.

That brings us full circle back to you. I can't respond to your unSETled or UNsetLING loops except by running it back onto you. I figure you figure Tim, Sue, and I are your set. But while each of us chagrin in general challenges to what appears to be each of our individual, and better or worse for it, our collective fate we are surfing from day to day realizing the overall will take care of itself one way or the other just like you do, you seem bitten by the biggest bug of all of us.

All we are saying is not give peace a chance (although that too), but just face up to the fact that "life" ain't gonna like us if we don't like it. So now let's figure to solve in the equation: Life=x, where x is whatever ONE can achieve. A second equation: (Good)Life=(Good)x may first appear redundant, and needs to be reduced to its simplest form, the linguist feeling unserved by pure mathematics would insist words are self-modifiers, and not to its own finite standards decipherable like numbers in a numbers racket. Seeing goods in stores one once lusted after but which now seem plastic and faraway does not change the relative value of the goods, or does it?

Has x changed, or has the quality quotient changed? What caused us to change?

This is a mystery I suggest the philosophers, the mathmeticians, the psychologists, the theologians, the aarTvarks, the united we piss paragons, and the warbugles get together to solve, but then again, the word fails us also. Until the word can mend as well as melt flesh, we cannot rest as advocates of full knowledge, and replicated consciousness in those who would be anybody's avengers. Do we ever avenge past failures? Agreement, however fragile an agreement, to accept one's bland experimental kinetic placement in this whistling dixie of a world is the only path I can recommend. It's a role. A puzzle. An almighty gig just as big as anything one can't quite figure in aces right now.

To actually have done this over here ain't much different from having done that over there. To achieve anything without factoring in this finer evidence stoolpigeoned up against our biases and our prides is to fool ourselves of our misplaced recognitions. It's not about value or unvalue. It's about both, and there is no separation of state and status. Would Colin Powell really think he would be any different a man whether he is president of the United States or simply a retired soldier, a self-confessed Republican, a busy and influential party member at that, good husband and father, and distinguished symbol for an amazingly broad spectrum of people?


And communication boils, hot springs
we flock against in hordes still wet behind the ears
from our last visit to the sources of good

riddance and circumstance
lockjaws rifled by the word
timed riddles still waters

flooding our echoes
flames filled and felled
as the woods the would nots

and the teachers resort to tears
comic fears basic hogwash
mister to clean our stripping

canons of doubt
figures in between the couch
the clue and the closet

salvaged for memories
lost pretension
segregated ifs

or something else entirely.



Most excellent letter. Every note sounded to perfection!

I think you are coming around to wherever the line meets its maker. Thank you for noticing my lead. Am disturbing the peace upstairs today. Want to put some sleeper of sorts back into that corner. One ficus tree has major bug infestation spreading a jelly substance up its leaves and a thimbleful smudging that far north window. The other one had the beginnings of that rot on some newer sprigs nearer the trunk but I think by pruning them I might have chased away the culprit. As far as my life goes I don't claim to be any great shakes. I am merely following up on what feels most natural at any given moment. Just like yourself, Sue, Tim, and nearly every other grain of sand from here to as far as the mind can predict.

eRighteously in pursuit of a point of view, I was in persistent boil last night. Mostly over Tim, Steve, and Sue in that order, debrewing & stewing coursewise the baseball game Sue had channeled onto all TVs on the middlefloor much to my sour delight by the time I returned from Hechinger's with dirt and manure, a few more seeds, and a bulb to stick in a socket, knowing a kissup she denied, once twice, three times a cock crow. I ranted. I puffed. I rolled over.

But I feel blessed with knowledge and vision today despite an occasional stumble that's kicking down some doors and cleaning off some dirty windows just to SET things straight, shaking it up all the way from Eden down through the skulls and quills of the crack and the rat, and the latest bull edicts leftover from a question of the quick smack and the do nothing fats. It ain't easy on the middlefloor. Opened some doors. Closed some others. But you know how it goes. A good captain knows limits of his own ship.

I'm taking a room on the middle floor. Hope to get a day bed or something sane back there. I want to live in all the Dollhouse, work it, and make it suitable for the right number and right combination of people, you know, the imaginary band, and an occasional guest. Still have this afternoon that middlefloor rear window cleaning chore. Will shake up the books as we know them, but I'll come out feeling swell, not better in ages. May divorce Sue, most likely will not, since I told her I'd never leave her even if I had to yell all the time, which is precisely the force of habit she doesn't like, but let me tell you one thing, it is easier for me to do soooooomething, then yell about feeling nearly alone in my quest, than it is tooooooo convince others they should also try it.

Greener pastures? Yeah, no. Nod to sleep. Hear the winds. No TV. Close enough to hear the back gate coerced. The middle TV becomes mine in this shakeup. I control its passion, its loss. Night watchman, part owner, 40 Dollars and cents. All alone (dancing with myself). Others have retired to their own quarters. and so I would then see my guests on a need to know basis. And tell them to bug off when I'm just not in the mood. Sue and I no longer one mind. Eghads! What would become of life? Sue would say we've never been of one mind, and I say that's exactly how I solve the equation. I've already solved for X, and now I must solve for Y.

Sue and I, forever linked, but there is more where that came from, and I must keep up this struggle for the Dollhouse's best interests. Garbage in, garbage out. Looking for an angle, Steve? It's all right here. It's right here in me. I told Len Bracken that yesterday. Me and the rest of you. Tom knows I say it, Rounthwaite, Swartout. Williams, they all know it too. Am I great strikes? No, but I don't strike out a whole lot either.

My current unhappiness stems (uh, he said stims) from the slow pace at which I work. I stay busy all the time, but it never seems enough to do all that needs to be done. I love everything I am doing these days, even the gazing. My impatience with myself is exacerbated by the sandgnats of my generation buzzing all around my head and my toys, my time and my noise. But that's what in the end is called life. I just wish I had more privacy on the one hand, and a larger, more productive staff (or as they say in the rock and roll cruiser), the fab four or five, even six or seven motivated chaps righteous enough to launch this happening idea centered around the Dollhouse of course (well, the Stadium-Armory commercialization project would do wonders for these urges, but that's another archive my head keeps curling up in bed with better left to other paragraphs).

Bottom line, I'm ready for change. Watch the sailors sail. Tim without a job? Can't fathom his presence around here the same way he sees it. His intuitive lack of inspiration can also be painted as an intrinsic lack of discipline because nothing stands in the way of a Tim Shipman goodhour feasted with breaking soundbarriers and a loaf of goatsheadsoup with a chosen few gathered in His honor. I want to see Tim achieve these goals, but he ain't there yet as best I figger.

My own 24 hours a day are rather sacred to me, and I've always felt that way, but I have given them freely much too frequently to events I chafe while performing, and isn't this the root of all evil, as both Tim and Len Bracken would conspire to have me believe, and so I do also believe. And too, you would have no intellectual recourse but to throw another log on that fire of poor response as well. You have been chafing and moaning for months now. Sue is the same way. Hey, it's most people's nature. Yet faulty reckoning folks every inch of the way have no choice but to HEAR and SEE me rebelling against nonsense while they cling to and celebrate their own while all I dare to do is EVERYTHING. I do not celebrate bullshit.

When I finally cave to that stroke or that brain seizure and am in a twinkling of a cobra's eye made a vegetable, the false friends will soon enough scatter after the scorn and the laughter has faded to yet another dull memory. They always do. I can make most of it happen already in a flash. Even as we all slurfishly wait for the big one to fall into our lives.

Life creeps into our souls. How do we handle this creeping sickness? We begin to crave roles in which we can play the exemplar or the idiot. Messy! Yet it seems it can only be AFTER then (after the man with a thousand plans said Norko) that the My will versus Thy will way of life can finally produce results of a lifetime's toil, especially now as we all begin to recognize ourselves as the double-edged sword that rips its up-to-the-minute reports into our handheld brains. And in that time as always the scatterers will themselves be scattered.

Guess I should toss this one up on the wires. Dirty windows are calling.


Originally published on May 15, 1996

You wrote:
Hope you don't consider this an invasion of your privacy, but while checking some screen names for work, I was curious to check on what your whole list of handles was.

I wrote:
Well Steve, I suppose you are entitled to quote a tired old windbag recently heard around the Dollhouse, "Hey it's MY JOB!"

And to paraphrase old Delmore Schwartz, "and in jobs begin responsibilities!"

DS was one of James Laughlin's original wonder boys, a saber-rattling drunk, poet, and hapless mad Jew, perhaps in that order. Sent several women to suicide and sanatariums. Betty Sue, however, earns her stars and stripes, a remarkably strong if somewhat unmotivated woman. Pride of roof over head is the most dominant consoling factor, when analyzing my relationship to her remarkably strident loyalty, but I'm getting off track and still staring through dirty windows. Delmore wrote a short story that brought him a vigorous measure of fame from peers and critics called In Dreams Begin Responsibilities. Glad you picked up The Recognitions. Wish you'd complete it, but my life is not yours, and you must follow your own pace I believe. No beer, wow, me neither, but then I have a an excuse. I'm too old, tired, and cranky already. Alcohol dries up the brain fluids. I often feel the chemical blahs, and must liquify with other chills to balance the death wish with the lust for living alternately flooding these low energy reserves with sleep and excitement for what's happening now at the Dollhouse, at odds with any remaining residue my own dreams and responsibilities can provide me.

Love to share, hate to waste. Not greedy, just discerning. If the guilty and the innocent share the same bedpan in the afterlife, why am I arguing this over that in the present one? To this question I have only one response. Because I am headlining with G.O.D.

Yes, THAT goo oh dee, my imaginary punk rock band - Gather Or Divide, G.O.D.



Time sleeps close to earth
now as we groan without irony,
asking bright future,

where is thy promise? Sinister factors
threaten with extinction the entire global nest
as proud terrors of control
and fickle poisons of chaos
are unleashed

to give us all a taste of the wicked ruins.

ALL nations and ALL peoples
must recognize and name
this ever-pursuing power grab
which separates the wheat
from the chaff in its own
peculiar language.

It is time my friends to inspire the future.

[2000, Washington, DC ]

Friday, August 17, 2007


Originally published on September 17, 1996

Landry wrote:
This reminds me of an argument I had with my friend Brad who is a painter. He said that painting is art and writing is craft. What do you think?

Someone should kick poor mad William Blake up out of the grave. He called Jesus and his disciples the greatest ARTISTS the world has ever seen about the same time his friend Thomas Paine was facing the wrath of the English & American church leaders with his AGE OF REASON. Uh, now THAT reminds me of that intrigue Tom Wolfe's THE PAINTED WORD invoked with his fictional world reknown artist (this was a book about the NY painting scene where one's greatness as an artist is inseparable from the superior qualities of the particular THEORY of the art, brownie points for the thinker, nee writer once again, it seems) who while sitting in an unremarkable bar in an unremarkable mood suddenly had a great idea. He had only a glass of water and a paper napkin at his disposal. He quickly dipped and began etching, but just as suddenly as the idea had dawned in his mind's eye the world famous artist collapsed on his barstool and expired. Obviously his etching evaporated, but the question remained in Wolfe's assessment, was the idea that the now dead artist had expressed ever so briefly been that artist's, and therefore, perhaps the world's greatest work of art?

Blake did it all in a sense, yet he called Jesus the GREATEST ARTIST. This same Jesus who never wrote or painted a damned thing except some line in the sand, and there are those biblical scholars who amazingly even claim this was an apocryphal tale (now famous as the "he who is without sin, please please cast the first stone" scene) inserted by later scribes. This viewpoint leads of course to the idea that ideas are the guts of art, NOT shapes, lines, colors. Paintings may certainly express an idea, or several, but one is never exactly sure what that idea is unless the artist is part of that Clementine Greenberg (the NYC art don) regime boasting an idea per brushstroke...

I tend to agree with Blake, but then, can paintings lie, cheat, and steal the way words do?



Originally published on September 18, 1996

Thanks Landry for appreciating. Just what this discussion was originally supposed to be about is still up for debate! Go figure!

Derrida & Schrodinger's cat, not chickens, somebody else piped in, but for my money I don't know why these people think a topic can't or won't stray a few fuzzy threads away from the barrowness of whatever it is they think THEY are ranting on about. After all, these snits aren't even in charge of the group. I simply jumped in where I had something to say after being bombarded with a bunch of notes yesterday from a this Derrida group I guess I joined a few weeks ago because I haven't joined one recently...

How's it going? My back between my shoulder blades has been bothering me the past few days. Tonight Sue & I are traipsing out past Bailey's Crossroads to Borders to catch the Guy Kawasaki booksigning. Guy is the official MacEvangelist, again working for Apple. Hope to get a snapshot of the Mac Guy & yours truly. Later we'll stop for dinner, then cruise back into town for one of Guy Debord's Situationist International flicks, from the 1960s, I would suppose. Len Bracken issued the invite. Tonight in the WPA artspace...whoopee! He breathed his signature Bracken's breath over the phone with a hint of desperation at Gabriel's indifference, "Uh, nine o'clock's probably a little too late for you, right?" But I said that this time he was in luck. We were going to be out, and would certainly try to swing by to catch his idol philosopher in action.

And yes I noticed that this would be a two Guy (actually a GYE & a GUEE, but who's counting these days?) evening...


"Create like a God, Command like a King, and Work like a Slave..."


Originally published on September 16, 1996

Finished the Bukowski book, and am 75% finished with D'Sousa's 650 pager which I unabashedly declare as the most thorough and well-adjusted look at racial intelligence in the literature to date. But to dash off that old egotistical drunk with a few passages, I either am forced to reflect my own struggles, or claim lines I find fascinating for a variety of reasons of which I suppose I'll mark up in the appropriate pauses. So have a laugh, attack of superiority, goof, or gaff. Be assured that I'm not trying to browbeat you with anything particularly profound, but am simply exercising the most available form of verbal flatulence not essentially my own:

Bukowski wrote:
" per a 'literary conspiracy' against me, I suppose that a great many do hate me—much of it caused by my writing style which is rather unpoetic, also in my drinking moments I have caused difficult feelings, I suppose. No excuses, man, also in my own short stories I am often the bastard villian of the pieces. I guess I am convincing. Also I don't mingle much with the literatti (sic) New York City or North Beach up at Frisco, none of that. I am the loner. People come around here, I beer-up, and I have a tendency to run them out the door. All in all I suppose I have given off rays that I am a son of a bitch. They almost have me believing it myself."

Well, Buk nailed me on this one, although I believe my own grammatical intuition is in lot less need of an editor than CB's, who throughout this book of letters was found railing against the "gross impertinences" of that particular class of literary befrienders, and yet appears as sloppy a writer as I've ever seen in print, much less world famous. Now where is my baseball bat. There are a couple of vaguely familiar intruders with a case of Black Label at the door again...

Bukowski wrote:
"Well, the female is a clever creature. She knows how to regulate her affairs. Most often it is the man who falls apart; it's the man who jumps off the bridge. When we give over our feelings they run off with us. There's no regulating them. I give over my feelings too easily, and it's not all regulated to suck and fuck (as the sculptress calls it). I get as much or more, out of other parts. Small talk. Breakfast together. Sleeping while touching. Waiting while the other goes to the toilet. Lovemaking after a stupid argument. Drinking beer with maddened friends. Hundreds of tiny things. I am never bored when I am with my women. I get bored in large formless crowds. Bored, hell, I get desparate, I lather and blather at the mouth, my eyes roll, the sky shakes. What am I talking about here?"

Uh, Gabriel. You're talking about Gabriel...

Bukowski wrote:
"I think that what has happened with Hal is that he has put total importance upon POETICS and what a poet is supposed to be. A good poet never knows what he is, he's a dime from the edge, but there's nothing holy about it. It's a job. Like mopping a bar floor. I can't rail too much about him; I suppose that the things he has imagined in his mind seem very true to him. Who is to judge? I rattled around his place in Venice a couple of nights drunk but it was more in energy and clowning than malice or a wish to destroy. I'm an asshole in many ways, I even enjoy my assholeness. I can tear a man in half in a short story; I can also tear myself in half, but I'm no knifer, I don't whisper things into editors' ears. I'm no destroyer. Nothing can be destroyed that has the power to move forward into its own thing. Fame or acceptance or politics or power has nothing to do with it. Nothing is needed but self going-on as self must. One only need realize this small realization."

Well, so far I have done nothing but quote what I presume to mirror my own thoughts, but this brings me to a question about the language you used in your last letter, Landry.

You wrote:
Your individuality schtick as an artist and a human being is very interesting. For one thing, I think that you are one of the few people I know who really is asserting their individuality. So many people think they are doing it when all they do is change uniforms.

INTERESTING? Does your usage of this word best translate to clever, queer, peculiar, noteworthy, what?

You wrote:
However, I do not think that whenever me or anyone else brings up generalizations about minorities or women they should be dismissed as bunk. I think that white males (at least in Western Culture) are socialized into a world that allows them to see the world differently. It must feel pretty good to come in on top. Then, if you fail, you only have yourself to blame. While I don't think anyone should use their group's oppression as a crutch or an excuse for any flaw they may have, I don't think the general population of blacks, Asians, women, Hispanics can escape some of the hardships put upon them throughout history by white men.

Now we are tiptoeing into the pond best swam within the context of D'Sousa's book. I just got off the phone with Len Bracken who does not share my enthusiasm for D'Sousa's points of view, he having heard him on a radio talk show (I caught him on Donahue), although I challenged him to read the book before dismissing him out of hand. I am throroughly convinced of the integrity of D'Sousa's work, perceptions, and remedies for what ails us as a culture, although admitting it will take a cold day in hell to convince the Boasian liberal establishment to nudge an inch off its pedastal, but I'd rather postpone that commentary until a more appropriate time. Now back to the asshole of the hour:

Bukowski wrote:
"Norse? I understand his viewpoint. We simply come out of different poetic backgrounds. And when I'm drunk I am generally rude and boorish and stupid to everybody alike. I don't just select Hal. If he could understand this he might feel better. Before a man can ever meet the gods he must learn to forgive the drunks. Alta? I understand her viewpoint, and it must certainly seem plausible and right to her, but creation, art, is the breakthrough. We hardly do what is proper or kind, though often, in life, we are kinder than most, much more. Without flying flags about it. Alta does not know how to write a sentence down. It hurts her pitch. I don't want to rape Alta. I don't want to rape anybody. I never have. But if an artist wants to go into the mind of a rapist or a murderer and look out of that mind and write down that mind, I don't think that is criminal. Furthermore, I didn't say my stories in NOLA were "sarcastic." I don't apologize for my work. If I write a story about a shitty woman then that shitty woman did exist. One form or another. Blacks can also be shitty as can whites. I refuse to be restricted in the materials I can paint with. It's really all so ridiculous to defend anything as JUST that thing, can't they even understand that? Oh Alta, I HAVE love...that's why I can write other things..."

Ditto again. Hence my own niggard reputation. A capsule rant of the reality of a consciousness which has predicted me since a child, if I may: I presumed at the insidious sterile age of seventeen to wreck my whiteness, my elitehood, my natural intelligence by lowering my standards to the world's. I have refused time and time again the higher education the world says I must have in order to achieve the level native intelligence requires. I have stated on several occasions and to surprising acclaim that I drink to excess so I can be as stupid and as forgetful as the rest of the world. I tattooed my body, not in a jones to appear chic and confrontational but because a Navajo wanted to mark me and because I dared toss away any hope of worldly respectability my native intelligence and white skin supposedly entitles me to receive by throwing in with the foolish and the irresponsible, blackening it. I fattened up to escape the hype of my earlier thinness, and to test the women who claimed to love me for my mind when time has proven it was my body these older women desired. I dare to remain jobless so as not to take a job from those who claim the system is rigged in my favor. In my pure uneducated but highly observant 20s back in the 1970s I was popular and hung with the gay population, and also infiltrated the hispanic and black cultures, and as a result often had projected onto me what I was reading was the sole domain of my own kind, the white cetera et cetera. But enough of this blather, this is not the stuff of Email where it simply sounds like histrionic self-rationalizing apochrypha, but the iron truth is in God's own magic pocket calculator, and as such as my memories sustain me, I will not relinquish the justification of my own experience any more than a thousand subsets of humanity do with their own slant after their own fashion.

This has gotten rather long, and I have three more bookmarks to exploit for your perusal, so until next time....



[To the Editors of The L.A. Free Press]
November 15,1974

Hello editors:
Regarding the Lynne Bronstein letter of Nov. 15 about my story of Nov. one:
1. The story was about pretentiousness in art. The fact that the pretender had female organs had nothing to do with the story in total. That any female made to look unfavorable in a story must be construed as a denunciation of the female as female is just so much guava. The right of the creator to depict characters any way he must remains inviolate—whether those characters are female, black, brown, Indian, Chicano, white, male, Communist, homosexual, Republican, peg-legged, mongolian and/or ?
2. The story was a take-off on an interview with an established female poet in a recent issue of Poetry Now. Since I have been interviewed for a future issue of the same journal and for future editions of Creem and Rolling Stone, my detractors will get their chance to see how I hold or fail under similar conditions.
3. When the narrator lets us know that he has Janice Altrice's legs in mind might infer more that he is bored with the poetry game, and also might infer that he could have a poolhall, dirty joke mind, at times. That the narrator might be attacking himself instead of trying to relegate the lady back to a "sex object" evidently is beyond the belief of some so-called Liberated women. Whether we like it or not, sex and thoughts of sex do occur to many of us (male and female) at odd and unlikely times. I rather like it.
4. That "she is indeed speaking for Bukowski himself, who has expressed a similar contempt for unknown poets who give each other support." The lady spoke for herself. Her "contempt" was toward poets not academically trained. My dislike is toward all bad poetry and toward all bad poets who write it badly—which is most of them. I have always been disgusted with the falsity and dreariness not only of contemporary poetry but of the poetry of the centuries—and this feeling was with me before I got published, while I was attempting to get published, and it remains with me now even as I pay the rent with poesy. What kept me writing was not that I was so good but that that whole damned gang was so bad--when they had to be compared to the vitality and originality that was occurring in the other art forms. As to those who must gather together to give port, I am one with Ibsen: "the strongest me alone."
5. "Now that he's well-known and the only California poet published by Black Sparrow Press, he thinks that nobody else is entitled to be a poet—especially women, My dear lady: you are entitled to be whatever you can be; if you can leap twenty feet straight up into the air or sweep a 9 race card at Western harness meet, please go ahead and do so.
6. "A lot of us think there's more to write poetry about than beer, drunks, hemorrhoids, and how rotten the world is." I also think there's more to write poetry about than that and I do so.
7. "Female artists, on the other hand, try to be optimistic." The function of the artist is not to create optimism but to create art—which sometimes may be optimistic and sometimes can't be. The female is bred to be more optimistic than the male because of a function she has not entirely escaped as yet, the bearing of the child. After passing through pregancy and childbirth, to call life a lie is much more difficult.
8. "Could it be that the male is 'washed-up' as an artist, that he has no more to say except in his jealousy, to spit on the young idealists and the newly freed voices of women?" Are these the thought concepts you come up with in your "ego-boosting" sessions? Perhaps you'd better take a night off.
9. "Poetry is an art form. Like all art it is subjective and it does not have sex organs." I don't know about your poems, Lynne, but mine have cock and balls, eat chili peppers and walnuts, sing in the bathtub, cuss, fart, scream, stink, smell good, hate mosquitoes, ride taxicabs, have nightmares and love affairs, all that.
10. "... without being negative ..." I thought they'd ridden this horse to death; it's the oldest of the oldest hats. I first heard it around the English departments of LA highschool in 1937. The inference, when you call somebody "negative" is that you completely remove them from the sphere because he or she has no basic understanding of life forces and meanings. I wouldn't be caught using that term while drunk on a bus to Shreveport.
11. I don't care for Longfellow or McKuen either, although they both possess (possessed) male organs. One of the best writers I knew of was Carson McCullers and she had a female name. If my girlfriend's dog could write a good poem or a decent novel I'd be the first to congratulate the beast. That's LIBERATED!
12. Shit, I ought to get paid for this.

Charles Bukowski

Saturday, August 11, 2007


Thirty-one years ago, on this date, August 11, I financed my first "new" car. This was long before the Dead Milkmen wrote their song which tries to say it all about this sort of car. But it didn't even come close. My new car sported a mere five point one miles on the odometer when I drove it off the lot. It was a beautiful car. It was indeed, a bitchin' Camaro. The Milkmen nailed that much. But in fact, my 1976 Chevrolet Camaro was the nothing less than a magic carpet ride. For I would go on to put 96K miles on that metallic blue automobile in the first thirty-six months I owned it, traveling back and forth to Texas several times, and winding among the backwaters of the five southeastern states of Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, North Carolina, and Tennessee in which I worked as a surveyor for a prestigious civil engineering firm headquartered in Atlanta, flummoxing mayors, city managers, and county engineers with the well-packed trunk and backseat full of bush axes, machetes, hubs, stakes, chains, range poles, level rods, magic markers, flagging, tripod, transit, level, and a truckload of other tools of the trade, all ingeniously organized and functionally accessible when needed.

I shall return to this topic. Right here, in this space.


Too little, I had driven past
Monica’s fiance. No few acquaintances
of theirs had been bothered. We
smoked the exceptions,
then left. Trespassing became the neighborhood.
It then became the neighborhood emotional
issue of the month, breaking
tongue and bread with the long arm
of this decade’s white dragon.

Extreme unction.
Friendship fees on high.

“Extreme unction should you proceed!”
read the dashed copperfield propped
against tomorrow’s
shining leg zipperbound
model. We swelled, then agreed
that it was a constitutional command
better left to true believers. Frank decided
to visit Paris if he ever became French.

Famous bus-stop populations
melted that morning, the first of Maybe.
Monica’s fiance chose to remain
standing in that colonial position
while the rest of us resting in the silver bosom of Sally’s garage
took to fasting. Wheels spun winninglessly.
Monica spread during the anthem, quoting
Albert Camus—”For what strikes me,
in the midst of polemics, threats and outbursts
of violence, is the fundamental good will of everyone. From
Right to Left, everyone, with the exception of a few swindlers,
believes that his particular truth is the one to make men
happy.” She said it was godsway
and middle class, so
to speak I didn't.

Approximately the very hour
the sunny laundry of Frank’s School Glue & Emporium
became clue, Monica’s fifteen-year old sister
blurted out that her period was due, &
later speculation would prove
indeed her period was late. Ever
the conscientious ballyhoo gang, all
except the redheaded little virginboy
with the Bob Dylan
album collection, took off
for special assignment.
The redheaded little virginboy
with the Bob Dylan
album collection just sprayed
his pencil with falsetto
nausea, resigned his post
and called Monica the most
he had ever

He took exception, however
to the notion of her aimless talk.

Carrying far the issue of pornography
for its own sake, Monica's fiance sued her
for sanitary abuse. The rugged briefness
of his case, compacted into a single
blow single file delivery, rent
aspiring druggists miles
around. “Stay one more,” she yawned.
“We can serve up the wife of malcontention.”
Frank abstained. Monica’s fiance just turned
the page in the open book closed to drifters
he kept on the mantlepiece, next
to his autographed photo Germaine Greer
had sent him in a weak moment.

“Let’s pretend we’re all William Burroughs
& read lines from poems
that will suffocate a ghetto
in East Chicago at will!”
exclaimed Monica, looking for one last piece
of action. Needless to say, her speech
is our beautiful white-sanded
beach, our summer home in Malibu, our
heaven sent sex, our double edged sword
in hot buttered popcorn world.
Belushi, Akryroid, Murray
rolled into one pair.
We gazed, then died.

Live past fire
the way you dream Monica.
Dream the Monicalife. As it

Stretching. Scheming.
Close enough for laughter.
Where the marks meet.
Where past misery
chooses to call its own
friends, in fragile expressions
of the few mentionable mistakes-of-god,
luring us with somnambulant luxuriance,
pinch-hitter anonymity driving
us deep into the inner limit. Stretching
strength, strolls straight forward
patience. Monica I love.

6.Muffy songs are superfluous. Monica’s
fifteen-year old missing period
sister decided to hurry
on by the orphanage lest she
be contaminated. And King Cabin Ernie
& his current have taken laryngitis. His
excuse is all of the above, and leaves little doubt
as to his Garden of Eden. We laughed
to chuck the chance of moot poisoning. Monica
shoved her angry leg into a bucket of yellow paint.

is not yours until the final blow,”
Shrank the Shadow grew. “The paved
edge is yours—”scoffed I,
wearing my January
drawers, still too obedient
to punk rock music to show
my checkstubs. Hours later around the bases,
flew groundhogs crying, “Sweet sweet he’s
the dove we want to meet!"

I immediately fondled the new girl. And quoted
myself from one of my poems, “By words the serpent stings.”
Enid knew the scam, edgy throats and hives. Enid was a friend.
Been to Georgia State
delivering a state address—
never been late
never early either…
Enid and her lipstick.

I could write these lines together.
I could make them swell and them
(Anybody can write that,
but few are issued the intent.)
I have never been
late. Enid works in Chemicals,
handling slippery things in dark
rooms, closed to drifters. There need be no discussion. I am
a glad sack, meaningful, necessary, and somewhere
supposed. You dear youthful voyeur, have elsewhere
deposited the dangerous question
marking the spotted tapestry
lately behind bookless
quotations shown impotent
by default & timberline insult.

Time is space as answer.
Monica, her exposures, and the Bob Dylan
album collection whispered salty
somethings into the inkstained
ears of the redhaired little virginboy.
We departed as a moving force in America
only to arrive. Somewhere pointed! Pay Day.
Sally sold her garage to buy her wedding clothes.
Frank called it a fucking shame.
“No one knows what they did to the sandman.”
I corrected. By that time neither did I.

Little tits and nervousness.
Health conscience.
Lucy Biggs.
Heroes who live.
Jack Kerouac
Monty Python.
Heroes who die, sarcastically.
As a political enemy.
Every one of you.

I could have carved a noun for openers.
Is there a room in this planet for queer discussion?

Monica soon married.
The rest became. Enid still works in a photo
lab. Lucy Biggs grew up to write
a Canadian Poem. The real Frank
O’hara traded his religion
for the Boston Celtics.
The redheaded little virginboy dyed
his hair. Monica’s sister found
her period hiding beneath
Franz Kafka’s slide rule, went on to establish
the underground newspaper for disemboweled
authors, “Popular Semantics” Bobo the historical husband
used his prowess to sit in on a jazz festival, and loved her
for it. And Monica learned his favorite quotation. Sally
didn't leave a forwarding address. I just wrote
this stick.

P.S. John Wall made the headlines.

[ 1982, Atlanta, GA ]


Rimbaud has received me,
and I rock his drunken boat. A fever
frothing both his mouth and mine,
each glitter phosphorous, sublime
kamikaze believer.
His archipelagos
in the stars
now wet with perspiration of dry
summer sucking stones,
open woes.

He welcomes me in my madness,
assures me I am nothing but
sheer speechless vision,
pale flier of raw bone.

“The poet
makes himself seer by a long
prodigious and rational disordering
of the senses. Every form of love,
of suffering, of madness, he searches
himself, he consumes all the poisons
within him, keeping only
their quintessences!”

I nod gently on this wine,
chewing on the tettered ends
his long-snapped kept bargeline
reveals, aged like finer cheese,
mankind's more

[ 1984, Washington, DC ]

Friday, August 10, 2007


Originally published on January 2, 1998

Steve Taylor wrote:
"Thinking of making a DC trip in the next few weeks—any better or worse times for you? I'm trying to remember the details of the nickelball-locked-outside day. I remember you were wearing sandals, but was there snow on the ground?

January is relatively lean pickings for me, so whatever tunes your guitar. I've got jury duty next Wednesday, the 7th, after getting a fine & jail threatening followup to the duty I skipped in December. This city has to bullywhip somebody I suppose. It might as well be the voters and jury duty evaders since they can't seem to stop the host of other criminal activities we of wrinkled doodads boast.

Still sniffling but managed to bail out of the house long enough to retrieve that 1986 Sylvan Theatre rockathon videotape I mentioned a while back that Darrell Willis had in his possession for the past two years or so down in Florida, as well as to stop in on Tim short enough to create merely a mild nuisance of myself. We came bearing gifts of coffee, sausage, feta, sweetbreads, corkscrew and wine. He retaliated with a nifty pipe.

Tried to buy one of the new IOMEGA 2 GB removable media drives, but nobody in the business is expecting any new shipments until March or April. Bummer.

Have thrown back another hundred pages or so of INFINITE JEST to about the halfway mark of the book. Hope to get some reading in tonight. Tired of the Macwhacky webfest for the moment. Marvel a fresh start manana. My old pal formerly of Philly, Kenny Sacks, surprised me on New Year's Eve with an E-mail. He's a recent AOL statistic. We're supposed to romp to a chat room on Sunday for some real chatter. Met Kenny through the Prodigy Baseball Manager game in 1994.

We almost were killed in that weird miraculous still can't believe we survived without a scratch driving event when wheeling back from a Richmond Braves game that September. We've taken in several Phils games at the Vet over several years. But he's been living in Seattle grunge for the past three and blew off our get together this year on his annual return for still undisclosed reasons. He's still in the mental health racket, complete with scant pay, loathsome human interface, hapless hours, and lethal environs. Seems for the past few years he's taken to "near-socialist" leanings in the workplace as shop steward et cetera . . .

You and me, bud, we've got it made. Snow or no snow.



Originally published on October 16, 1997

Steve, search AltaVista with the keyword SCENEWASH. Man a monopoly, but it shouldn't last forever. I don't recall ever signing SWORG with AltaVista or any search engines for that matter, since I had no active content there, but oooowwwweeee, what a presence!

How are you "set" for a fall classic in the City of Brotherly Glove in the last weekend AFTER Halloween with two or more proles from the City of Neverending Elections? Depends on how things shape up around here with bookcases and client bases, but we might be settled enough by then to take a slow drive to the north country. Some ten dollars in tolls is enough to make this a rare visit, as I'm sure you're aware, but of course as a native son of Philadelphia you are bound by cleverness to find a way around the tolls given enough time to wander the backroads. I haven't discussed this with the Bug, but surely we'll jump at the chance to eat in a unfamiliar restaurant where all the snappy waitresses fire off checkerboard accents and the center of attention melts in the center of town, not in our hands.

Meanwhile I'm still frying in the pan as I hit pocket after pocket of web cramp and creativity null in my struggle to reinstate my SCENEWASH infrastructure, formerly of iMote (where that picture of us on the Perquacky Deck resides somewhere in the Literary Chip stack, oh yes, the Misguided Tour, don't ask me again, use your bookmarks silly, if'n you can't find your way back through the breadcrumbs of your mind).



Originally published on February 2, 2000

Hmmm... fishy scenario. And don't you love it when these folks reword and thus reward your own complaint by tossing it back atcha in a ridiculous restating of the obvious! Sue has a certain genius for this sort of troubleshooting herself, but I have no urgency to rag on her this early in the morning, so off we go to your problem. I certainly don't have a clue what's besludging the Fastmail system short of that pesky Y2K bug, speaking of which I can relate a recent problem of my own.

My web log stats program which fraternizes with WebStar and which I provide free of charge via a web interface with user ID and password to 'XusNet clients caught that blasted bug. A fix was issued after my sister (a client) discovered a problem. The beta upgrade fix was acknowledged front and center on the vendor's website sometime in the middle of January, a quick download and installation, and the problem was solved. What dismayed me was that I didn't get an email from them alerting me to the bug, or its fix.

Secondly, and closer to your own email problems is that sometime last month my own 'XusNET mail server fell victim to a mail attack where some unscrupulous cell phone mass marketer was hitting me with thousands of mail relays every minute of the day. Of course I caught it when my daily logs piled in exponentially against the normal rate of one per 24 hour shift. As I was frantically hurrying about trying to solve the problem, soaking up the manual wisdom, toggling and what have you, I also got a mail warning from a website dedicated to such SPAMMING PRACTICES telling me I had been placed on a blacklist which identified sites which allowed such despicable email relay practices, and could result in other sites refusing to handle ANY mail requests from 'XusNET servers.

Fortunately I had read about this very site a couple of months ago, and with that heads up in mind, wasn't totally panicked by the news, but grateful to be part of a great checks and balances loop. I solved the problem partially, but then in a mail relay to a client (again, my sister) another problem in my config showed itself. She was being allowed to relay mail. I think I have fixed it, but she has been slow in responding to me after I suggested a particular test at her end of things.

Oh well. . .

One might be forgiven in thinking Fast.NET would be ahead of the curve on this one.



Originally published on March 17, 2000

You know Steve, I've actually given some thought to this idea several times these past few weeks, mostly on Sundays as I eagerly scan the sports pages for baseball bits, but I'll probably pass, what with my persistent feeling of work overload, our new house hunt and sales fever, and such. But thanks for asking. Would love to bring those Poets back, but I think the best I can do is wish you good luck with the Rhubarbs.

Speaking of gallery openings. Just read an article yesterday about DC's NOMA (north of Massachusetts Ave.) being the center of a new commercial push up the New York Ave. corridor, complete with four new circles, office buildings, upscale housing, shops, et cetera, the mayor is touting. Of course, the urban renewal project will more than likely oust the artists who rent loft space in old buildings amidst mechanic shops and other grease monkey estabs, and one was quoted saying that they would like to organize in collectively buying a place east of there, as in NE, so that they won't fall victim next time to this sort of urban swell.

And so it goes, the Stadium-Armory infestation continues to remain the invisible fringe west of the Anacostia, although the mayor is still talking like DC will hustle in a team which will play at RFK until a downtown stadium can be built across from the White House...

We drove by a few places yesterday from a short list of available units in DC provided us by our agent, and will actually visit inside a couple of them if they are still available after this past weekend. It's amazing that DC is suffering a housing shortage. Last Friday afternoon we had our first walkthrough here in the Dollhouse, but the tall professional anglo from the Smithsonian was decidedly not interested, but our agent remains highly optimistic of a quick sale. Our first scheduled Open House for next Sunday has been postponed at least a week at my request, so I can get the courtyard up to snuff once this last (hopefully) cold whiff passes. Sigh. . .

Meanwhile, go hip young man, nothing lasts forever. . .



Originally published on October 22, 1997

I found out last night that Bracken when he called back, getting Sue at nearly 3AM (uh, is that right?) on the phone after leaving my birthday party to inform me that he had driven past, and stopped for Reggie a few blocks away from the Dollhouse after we had given up on the lad, foiled in a ten dollar weed run for the Brack & me, Reggie claiming the ten spot Sue gave him was lifted at knifepoint, then on top of that preposterous real life event, he the Bracken, proceeded to tell Sue that Gabriel was a poor writer, a confusionist, and whatever else he could swirl across lines of counterproduction in trying to seduce Sue at my expense.

The fact that writing (neither mine nor his) never once surfaced all night is what makes this whole slander so outrageous. Sue told him she didn't want to hear it, and probably wouldn't remember this call in the morning. She did remember but only revealed this part of the conversation to me last night some three plus weeks after the fact.

Subversionary bastard, ain't he? As for Reggie, what a twit. He talked about how I'd never disrepected him, and yet, he stoops to this garbage. I haven't heard from him yet. Maybe it's a pay a year in advance sort of plan with Reggie.

Sue DID mention that Len had called that night. Hell, I was there. I heard her responses. She just never mentioned his remarks on my writing. I think she was protecting me.

Len's not a confusionist (a label he has pinned upon Greil Marcus, Stewart Home, and Gabriel Thy, so I suppose I should feel the company benefits kicking in any day now), he's merely confused.

Ring. Just got off the phone. It was Bracken. He was with his dad he said, looking at Scenewash. Asked me if not a lot was online yet. I stated yes indeed that was the case. He was very specific in his questioning. I replied in same. Queer conversation. Not that there's anything wrong with that.



Originally published on October 16, 1997

The following letter was composed in response to a query from an old friend Steve Taylor, then in Philadelphia.

"Glad to see you are starting to populate the Scenewash. Is that name from one of your print works or did you create it for the online medium? You know I'm always a sucker for an etymological tale..."

No, twas a fresh brainstorm while I was working on a Lily Artwatcher subsection dealing with local events, hyperpersonalized and literally screaming fotographic intrigue a few months before I cleavaged iMote. I'd created a banner page, and not much else. As I recall a snapshot of Sue is highlighted in a collage of moderate success. However I liked the multiple entendre of Scenewash so much (epistemologically & locally) that it grew whiskers, a gut of grand proportions and into the ripening domain you are only beginning to fathom.

It will also remain a subsection, as originally intended, within the SWORG/LILY section, but you'll just have to wait until it's fleshed online sometime next year undoubtedly to know any more about that than I do right now. It's presently only a gleam in the sacrificial iMote and a few building blocks of infrastructure waiting attention. Since I have Cafespirit, and a bevy of other themes mapped out in LILY, I quite have forgotten what I intended with the original Scenewash quarter.

Yesterday was somewhat of a creative breakthrough. You will like what you see. The work is still offline as I still need to clean up some peripheral files before uploading, but I hope to have a lot more online by the end of this weekend. My computer is currently tied up with a 10MB download of a new site creation beta from Macromedia called Dreamweaver.

At my modem speed projected download time is over an hour and a half. I've crashed in the past trying to download and send mail at the same time, so this note will have to wait until the software is on disk, but man, a while back I downloaded MIE v3.1 in an uninterupted streaming session only for it to be corrupted from the very first click. Lost all that time. These huge downloads are not fun, or apparently very reliable.

Well, it took almost to the minute two hours to download. It expanded cleanly, but I'll wait until later to install and nose around. Of course I'll let you know what I think about it. How is Net Objects Fusion treating you? Or haven't you been studying it, like a good webmaster should in the best of worlds . . .

Bracken says, "Power to the Lazy Worker!" Can you belief he really thinks the world will improve if we all became lazy on the job? Next time he goes under the knife of a surgeon (knee work last year), he should slip the nurse one of his pamphlets, and have the medical staff, "go lazy on him." Then he should move to Mexico.

I understand lazy is a way of life for millions down there (just another white man myth I suppose). The industrious ones are border rats in a life and death frenzy to land a job. The lazy are generally stupid and vacant of morals in a swirl to maintain that laziness. In this way they match the filthy rich jet setters the revolutionaries supposedly want to overthrow. Power to the Bourgeoise!


Originally published on October 10, 1997

Just in case you wanted to join this offshoot of Engst's Tidbits, and one should perhaps drop this to Berman, ha ha ho ho! Did I tell you? Garfinkel snuffed the IAG account, poof gone. I deleted the web server files earlier this week. His letter graciously thanked me for my efforts, but admitted that the site was a failure. Of course he ended with the obligatory carrot of future work, yuckety yuck...

From the—It's "Jiff" and I Don't Want to Hear Another Word—department, I find that while logic may dictate the "g" in GIF (Graphic Interchange Format) is pronounced hard, like gift or gefilte fish, that hasn't stopped dozens and dozens of readers from offering opinions, many of them hilarious.

However, several people wrote to say that they either worked with folks at CompuServe or read the original GIF specification, all of which specified a soft "g". None of us at NetBITS understand why we haven't seen the definitive word before, so here it is. Charlie Reading writes:

"I worked with the creator of GIF (Steve Wilhite) when I was still employed by CompuServe. Steve always pronounced it "jiff" and would correct those who pronounced it with a hard G. "Choosy developers choose GIF" (spinning off of a historically popular peanut butter commercial)."

Well I, for one, will stand by the hard "G" as in graphical. I prefer the all natural peanut butter, anyway. And I'm not about to be given pronunciation lessons from a Compuservant. Interesting bit of history, nonetheless. Over the years I've noticed that almost all graphic arts types pronounce it hard, while a certain percentage of computer types go soft...


Orginally published on October 12, 1997

My sister sent me this. I wrote back telling her not to worry about this sort of probable hoax. It is a hoax, isn't it? My sister and her husband are hardcore fundamentalists. Mark was here in DC RFK Stadium last weekend for that 500,000 strong masculine Promise Keepers rally. We didn't hear from him, not even a ring, although Laurie E-mailed that I might. His church crew was bussed in and bussed out with no time for heathen family I suppose, driving back to Atlanta all night to arrive there just in time for a sunrise Sunday service. Anywaze, these hoaxes are enough to frighten this sort back into the typewriter and telephone age, given the dynamics it took to get them finally wired in the first place. Lamely, neither Mark nor Laurie attached any personal commentary to their forward.


Originally published on October 13, 1996

Anecdotes on the grill, hip-hugging and pressure cooked people sprawled about the deck with all sorts of psychoses just a spoon feed away. All told, it seems everyone left with a pleasant evening under their belts after chortling on cheese dip, assorted dishes and the chow din of new acquaintences.

Bob and Peter had never met. Michelle was new bird. Allie announced she was moving in with Bob, saving $800 a month, helpful since she too is leaving Columbia Research for greener pastures, that is to say, her hunt for that illusive green card, saying that CR has a long record of hiring aliens but dropping the ball on green card sponsorship.

The gathering began late, which of course threw off my own psychological equilibrium for most of the early part of the day since I had hoped for an early start, early end, but things softened and turned to a generalized sense of fun once Peter and Michelle arrived sometime shortly after 1730hrs.

The afternoon heat chilled rather quickly, finally underpinning the autumnal ambience to the other seasonal changes visible in the sheets of orange-brown leaves blanketing the backyard matched by the brilliant, cascading angles of the fading sun.

Bob was cheerful all night long. He and Peter gloried in their common interest in comic books and Japanese animation. Allie unloaded her greencard woes in her horrible English tongue which is less a mumble than a slippery slur of half-formed syllables. But she too was cheery, even as the night pushed late into the mind, curled into her chair, snuggled into sweatshirt sleeves intent on listening to the banter of the boys.

Michelle didn't talk much, not that she's shy or inarticulate, but with a full deck of notorious chatterers on board, she politely played it safe. She's a psychology major at Purdue, and was markedly endearing as she also curled in her chair, tilting her head in such a way as to communicate an adoration for Peter whenever he took to the common soapbox.

But she's no mere fawn. Peter had burned some bacon earlier that afternoon, and when Sue suggested the microwave was a saner choice for the chore, Peter of course started in with his own variation of Shipwreck rationale.

Michelle surnamed Carnes as in Kim no relation, immediately backed Sue as Peter mumbled off into that land of geez, can't I ever be right about something, even when I'm wrong about nothing spin cycle. Maybe not. Perhaps I'm being ever slightly unfair for the sake of a short line of bull.

Admittedly, I wasn't there in the kitchen, although at one point I nearly bolted from my chair to race upstairs as my complaint-driven pathos peeled back the stench of newly formed carbon gathering in my ever sensitive nostrils, but Sue witnessed to me later, and I have no problem imagining that when she said he started explaining something about hot grease and the natural water in the bacon combining to blacken it, he was pulling a big time, uh, well you know what I mean.

This a been a banner weekend. Had a swell time on the bay feasting with the three Spence dolls plus Pitch. I'm sure this topic has come up before but I forget your opinion on crabs. I would imagine Philly to be a great place for the critters, even while somewhat overshadowed by the world famous Philadelphia cheesesteak culture.

My friend Kenny Sacks, now in Seattle . . . I just timed out to ring him, but got the machine, formerly of Philly, still raves about how much he misses the Philly steak of his youth. His mom once had promised to ship him a crate of the whole steak-n-cheese enchilada, bread, meat, cheese from a local distributor just to ease his homesickness and taste bud deprivation after he moved out there a couple, well, maybe three years ago now. Don't know if that panned out, but it was a nice motherly gesture.

His mom is a dear, a small hairspray-blonde Jewish cabana queen who looks and talks like she just stepped out of a Seinfeld episode. She kept trying to feed us sweets from the fridge. One year our colleague in the fantasy baseball league wimped out in getting our Phillies tickets. She bailed us out with her influence, calling the front office, seating us in the best seats we'd ever had over the four games Sue and I had shared with the Nuthouse Gang, right near home plate just a few rows up and a few seats down the first base line behind the net.

Peter and Michelle are gone for the day. They'll sup at his parent's house tonight, and she'll fly back to Indiana tomorrow afternoon. Peter got a call this morning suggesting he's still in queue for a job interview at, I think, one of the places he's interned. That's timely, since we mildly roasted Peter the last hour of last night's gathering focussing on his need to find a job because neither he nor we are rolling in web business yet, and in order to really be worth his ambition in GSIS stock, he needs to improve his own skills and speed with practice, not on my time and dollar, but on his own.

No feelings were unduly trampled, and I feel the exchange was blithely enlightening, as he admitted that he has often been chastised for a lack of speed and creativity in his work, and is hoping to improve on these fronts in time. I'm committed to helping him where and when I can, but he must certainly begin to pull his weight in some area, and for now that appears to be simply paying the agreed upon rent, and then working to improve his skills in areas that we both can exploit so that he indeed can become a healthy factor in the growth potential of Graphic Solutions Ink Systems and CYFII, his own company. In other words, we're each still operating in good faith.



Originally pubished on October 8, 1996

Yeah, I read about the code, haven't used it either, or have I? Wait a minute, seems I did, but it flubbed, or no, I found a page that boasted it, but my viewer did not register the change, yes that's it, and I never dwaddled around trying to find out why.

Do you have to put in a full day today? The 8500 is in the shop. They ordered a new logic board which will be delivered on Monday. Hopefully that fixes it, and by the middle of NEXT week I'll be busying reloading software into the bubba box in NATIVE POWERMAC CODE!!!! WHOOOOOOPEEE!

Left foot has swollen up like an elephant's tootsie, but I'm hobbling around pretty good, yet without stamina. Upstairs, downstairs both feet give out in short order, and I don't want to aggravate too much these poor dogs with 265 pounds of brute force hunkering down onto them one step at a time. No red streaks up my calf, no hint of internal bleeding or other catastrophic parlay.

Woke from a bizarre dream this morning. Starts with Sue and I seemingly younger, she pregnant and bulging, me tattooed and as rich in ugly righteousness as I scare the camera today, strolling into a staid smalltown church of about forty people in the middle of the service. The whole batch of them stop their hymnsinging to turn and stare like idiots in the breeze. We sit sheepishly at the very back in a section of those common metal fold-out chairs behind the last pew although there is plenty of room in the the wooden section, but why presume.

The stark surroundings of the church prompt me in the dream to question Sue in self-conscious whisper if this were indeed a Methodist church (Sue's heritage. I was raised primarily in High Episcopalean diocese.). I looked around and saw that the pews were liberally integrated. Several Negro faces. Several Asian faces. Maybe even a Hispanic face. I was counting, just noticing the rainbow. All were visibly shocked by our arrival. I checked for dress code violations. Several men were without jacket, just short sleeves and ties, just as I was wearing, but none sported tattooes of course.

Perhaps it was only the extreme tardiness of our intrusion, for the service soon ended, the offering plates passed. I noticed I was carrying a fistful of change in my hand and as I dropped it into the plate the jingle of coin skirting over coin was long and impressive to several who were charting our every blink. The offering was the last event of the service, and since we were in the back of the church right next to the door, gawking folk were beginning to file past us with oooohs and aaaahs at the clink clink of what seemed an endless stream of coins dropping from my closed fist.

The first to speak was a black man that I had to look up to see, although I recognized the voice, and then the face as the wizened but genteel man who played the boss in the fact-checking department of a big publishing house on the shortlived Herman's Head sitcom, a black man, who simply said to me, "Hello Gabriel, it's good to see you here."

It was at this point that I knew that this was not the beginning of the dream at all because prior to the church scene, this black man (wish I could remember his name on Herman's Head, or better yet his real name, but only Bernard comes to mind, and uh, that's my neighbor Chisley's given) had greeted me as the principal in a typical highschool scenario as I registered there.

Geez, back in highschool, but married with pregancy, seeking refuge in a bland Methodist culture...a wacky dream, but it doesn't end here. After this first greeting, my polite smile, a knowing nod, I am still cha-chinging coins but finally empty my palm just as some other black man comes dashing through the foyer door to where I am now standing with a shout directed straight into my face, "Now I KNOW God made Jesus a white man!"

I take this in, and squinch up my face before retorting, "No, Jesus was a Jew in diapers." Everyone in the now-crowded foyer hushed and turned the phrase over in their minds. I stared straight at Herman's boss, principal and deacon one might suppose, as he repeated it out loud with full affirmation, and I feel welcomed at last, and the dream then shoots to a pool scene. By the way, the Herman's head dude is not the preacher. A white man of no consequence suited up in that role, but his was a nearly silent part in the dream, but obviously this other character was the center of respect in this exchange.

The pool scene was a drag. Outsiders, insiders, debutantes, jocks, nerds, inepts, me and a preggy goodlooking Sue slippery and machiavellian in god-issued trunks and bikinis. The pool was huge, larger than most but certainly no football field. Positioning, bravado, and social powerplay the only game in town. Kids I recalled now from a quickscan of the schoolyard when I'd signed up earlier just before the church scene were all here. There were a series of poolwater confrontations in the dream, but none I recall clearly except the last one, when a secondary member, maybe third or fourth lieutenent down the dominant male rich kid insider's hierarchy suddenly announced he was well on his way to notching Sue, and there was nothing I could do about it because she'd agreed to swim as his partner in the"big race".

I knew it was time to wake up. I know this kind of dream. I never win. This is the eternal chase, one confrontation after another with no clear resolution. I am never fast enough to fully escape nor fast enough to catch a culprit when in a rare twist I am in pursuit of them. A variation on the roadrunner and coyote theme no doubt. Thousands of these futile dreamchase scenes have logged in my head over the years, childhood and adult. The best resolution is simply to wake up. And I did. But the feelings I felt in protecting a pregnant Sue were quite warm and fuzzy. I was particularly touched by that portion of the dream...

I do love her even if I am sterile and talentless. Why she loves me is still the mystery dance my dreams have not revealed...



Originally published on October 18, 1996

Gave up momentarily on the ISDN chase. Nobody in DC knows a damned thing, but as I predicted somewhere tucked between the page 3 girl's left and right tit, all is not well in the Power Mac ghetto. Sue gabbed half an hour with Apple last night, leaving her miffed and sexist.

She absolutely HATES talking to female tech support. Says they are snotty, know nothing, airheads on ice. Well, okay, Sue wasn't as colorful, but you get the drift. I tell her that I have experienced male support just a spitiful, but seem to get along splendidly with the online gash (uh, Bukowski's word). Although I recall a ClarkNET Sally who was a pile of ketchup beans. Is there, uh, something here the professional anti-sexism rads are missing in this delighful picture? All I know is we know what works for us...

Meanwhile she is taking the CPU into her office this morning to check it against other monitors. The CPU light came on last night but the monitor did nothing, yet all suspicion rests with the CPU she and Apple are saying. SHIT, more delays, lemons and apples, go figure...

Will keep you updated. That huge monitor is awesome looking on the new table we bought. But of course RAM is nowhere in sight until we get this Mac up and running. Guess that's what I get for trying to save eleven hundred bucks...



Originally published on October 3, 1996

Notes is a bust, but I guess before I'll ever get around to affording Director 5, Avid VideoShop is a decent start, so again, rather than webbing I was reading this afternoon. Like Tom Howell said to me one time, "Any fool can spend money...."Most interesting concept. Little green apples, uh, Macintosh apples...

What I'm talking about is the olfactory packaging assault. Hardware and literature needs no sniffing, but aromatically introduces itself with gusto to the nostrils as soon as the box and ever more powerfully when the plastic wrapping is unfurled...

Absolutely cool. The absence of the 1710AV display undercuts what would surely be some sort of full frontal euphoria though. A call to Apple just now netted me nothing more than what I already knew. Two more weeks may pass before all the backorders are filled. Or then again it may show up tomorrow. Credit card is billed as each portion of the order is shipped.

According to the set-up manual the 8500 is shipped with voice recognition software enabling user-scripted commands to perform tasks as well as rendering responsive feedback from the Mac itself. Uhmmm...

When at Microcenter I did ogle over a 200mhz Performa that spoke the application names when the mouse passed over them, but I was completely ignorant that the Mac had voice recognition capabilities already out on the 8500/120...

I do believe I'm gonna get a kick out of wearing the QuickTime movie producer's cap. All that video footage collecting dustbunnies will finally serve a purpose as I push to integrate multimedia into the iMote core premise: the cult of personality exposed for what it truly is, nothing more than reality itself. Understatement and pomposity explored from the historical and futuristic prespectives. The perilous dichotomy explained as the everbroadening gulf between inexplicable social aloofness and seamless integration into the fabric of worldly imperative.

From Jesus to Debord (did I mention Bracken confessed last week when forced into the corner of my argument that among some dissenters Debord is ridiculed as just another Jesuit poseur?) I wish to stake a claim for what ails the world in general and will use the tracks of classicism to upbraid the apostles of the classes. I believe I have been laying in the groundwork, and now I have nearly all the tools of production.

Is premature death or irrepressible riotous living the only two acts separating me from my destiny, or am I merely a hollow shell of a pretender? That is the test I have always dared to wait while all the pieces are gathered onto the board (bored?). I have seen the enemy, and the enemy is us, to borrow a phrase. Like I have said to Bracken in several a lucid moment, revolutions are a dime a dozen. If it ain't the bum on the street asking for a dime, it's me asking for a dollar twenty. We are exactly the same, me and that bum. We are both messed up because we cannot control the nature of need nor the nature of corruption. Life is the mathematical ratio of one to the other.

So to quote YAST, of course ripe in a rebellion of his own with SAST...

Let's Mac on! dudes and dudettes! Or is that more properly put, LET'S MAC ON DISKS AND DISKETTES?



Originally published on October 1, 1996

Still haven't processed my photo op with the Mac Guy Kawasaki...

Have you heard from Lynn since the middle of last week? I haven't. And did I tell you I tried to research the current status of the home ISDN bill still before the Public Utilities Commission?

And now that I think of it, it's been a week since I requested a copy of the commercial specs and pricelist by phone. But anyhows, I got quite a bit of runaround at both the telephone company AND the PUC, finally getting a call back from someone in the Department of Energy a few days later(which dazed me for a few seconds until I finally figured out the relational matrix of ifs, ands & buts since he didn't know why he was calling either). Still nothing. He told me I should call the PUC. I told him that's who I thought I had been referred with digits by the telephone company to call. Alas, I rang his office instead. He admitted to being somewhat part of the process, but....

I think I need a telephone job. To know nothing is to fulfill the obligations of the job.



Originally published on October 1, 1996

Hope you don't think that you have figured out the whole of my philosophical slant in these few paragraphs to have blitzed your eBox in recent days. The more I write the less I am confident any real communication can exist outside of fuzzy logic. A thousand pages later, and there is still room for clarification, redundancy be damned. However any aspiring philosophy must start from a foundation of concrete suppositions. The GT foundation rest solely upon a single concept. I am nothing in a crowd, and only something by the gift of God. The concept of God working through the individual rather than institutional flavoring is not unique to me, nor is it universally accepted, but I suspect I can certainly in the face of the de facto collective spirit of this contemporary age put a uniquely 21st century spin on this ancient wisdom, and shed some light on a problem which pits humanity not against itself but against the old demons of the past, and in a word, is sin. In an early poem (circa 1981 of mine) I accuse Lucifer as the author of time. All of nature's manifestations are both inspired and corrupted by the torque of time's perspective. We work finally within this framework of time, but we should suspect its motives.

Perhaps the best model I can use to relate what I mean when I unilaterally dismiss collectivism as the prime mover of spiritual and physical matter, and thus, an unrivaled conductor of truth is the marriage, or lover's problem. I suggest that no matter how close we want to become the mirror of our partner, or merge dissonance to create a more diversified whole, an irreparable separation is evidenced against us. While ancient teachers suggest that the two become one, this metaphor has rarely been illustrated in fact. History as failure in this regard has shown a bigotry against this unification of two into one. And if two cannot become one, how can dozens, thousands, millions, billions simply and without fracture? Thus my point. Even the individual is plagued and ultimately corrupted by opposing forces. One may argue this diversity strengthens the individual, and thus the whole of thousands can thus be strengthened by this diversity, I hold with the old proverb that a house divided cannot long stand. This approach say other, less insightful accusers, steers me into the traditionally conservative camp. I will not reject the label out of hand, but I hardly think anarchism the way I define it can be held up to the conservative light without displacing a few fundamental concepts of both.

My slant of personal responsibility leads to acceptance of a status quo. I am not talking about doing nothing to change the world in which we live, but I am talking about unholy alliances to the threat to personal autonomy. We are not born with natural or civil rights outside of the social contract. Too many folk presume on the basis on envy and tokenism that what Joe Blow possesses (however gained, and true, evil has laways lent a helping hand to so-called progress), Jim Jackoff is entitled to the same. The conspiracy of universal equality while a feel good aspiration is not played out in reality bytes either. None are free from the taint of evil, and yet we struggle for greener grass in precisely the same spirit that made the grass seem greener to begin with. Competition and greed. Nothing satisfies us when we know someone else has something that seems better than what we have. The marketdriven culture (just as Marxism predicts) is a vicious line of defense against human nature and natural forces from the outside. But the "clock" can never be turned back without catastrophe. This is human nature corrupted by greed and envy. Doublespeak and unmasked falsehood crowd into every arena stealing from the human spirit every good motive as time's own author extracts a token penalty for every semblence of progress. Confusion multiplies itself with human numbers. We do not argue good versus eveil. We argue me verus them. Confusion versus confusion. Good and evil.

Here's a clarifying sidebar. The year,1982. Mid-summer. Midtown Atlanta. A few days before I had been approached by two strangelooking womenabout my own age just outside the Omniplex. I was 26. Teresa was defiantly overdressed in several layers of streetdrag wool skirting and sweater. I do not recall the other woman's appearance anymore because it was Teresa who gave me her phone number and the Moonie tract.

For the next two weeks we saw each other daily. I visited the Unification House in the quaint residential Little Five Points neighborhood. She came by the Howell House highrise apartment I was then sharing with my mother for tea and crackers. It was actually my mother's place, but I stayed with her for six weeks upon returning from Corpus Christi where I lived for twenty months prior. We traversed the city on foot for five or six hours every day, she in low keyed proselytizing mode, me in a gentle informative resistance.

On this particular day we crossed West Peachtree and turned down Peachtree Main along the infamous corner now revitalized but on this day was still marked by the Dunkin Doughnuts and just beyond, the Christian Science Reading Room. Teresa I knew already, was a product of the 1960s subcultural elite. I knew for instance that she had spent her adolescence in a nudist camp, and that background emerging from the fog of unbearable shame had driven her to the neurotic devices of concept-defying heavy clothing and long frizzy hair in which she hide her dark but very attractive facial lines. I knew she confessed great comforts in the teachings of the Moon organization even when she found them lacking, evident in a few details I will save for another time.

But on this day she was questioning me had I read the two or three theological booklets she had given to me a day earlier. These rather thin booklets were published in a very simplistic styling, oversized footprints, large typefaces, and hordes of colorful pictures. This literature literally reminded me of the kiddie biblestory volumes I had voraciously gobbled up as a child, only thinner. They were workbooks, with a quiz at the end. I had not read them. Confident I already knew all the answers I had simply put them aside meaning to take a half hour to skirt through the topics just to meet my obligations to Teresa, but at this point I hadn't. Besides I had loaned Teresa a thousand page theological tome called the URANTIA BOOK that had been given to me by a former lover a couple of years before. I never got it back, but of course after admitting that I had not read the booklets but I intended to do so, Teresa countered with predictable and similar remarks.

These confessions led me straight to the point I wanted to make to her. Everybody believes their own version of the truth is self-evident and required for everybody under the sun. "Oh but if you would just read these..." she countered. I again repeated the premise that all works claim the truth, and great works have great legions of followers. Nothing is proved right or wrong except in the minds of believers of this or that truth. Whatever Teresa might claim, Johnny Can't Read has a contradictory truth. Jimmy Can Read has another. Evereybody's running around in this crazy attempt to convince everybody else that they are wrong. Teresa smiled at this empasse. Just then we were rounding the corner. I spied the Christian Science Reading Room and asked her if she wanted to dip into there for a few minutes, cool off, rest our feet...

She acquiesced with a sweet okay. We strolled to the reading room. This was not a very large place, fitted into a space nestled in the vee between two major thoroughfares converging at roughly a thirty degree angle, but it was airconditioned and pleasant and waiting for us. I found a chair a few feet from the bulk of the library. Teresa sat in a chair on a perpendicular wall where she was soon approached by an old woman of the faith. They were soon engaged in conversation that barely rose above a whisper. I thought nothing of this, and heard only occasional snippets as I dug into a random book I had pulled. This was a libraaaaaaary after all. Bits and pieces of their chat floated over to me. I was surprised to learn Teresa had been born a third-generation Christian Scientist. Seemed this was a girl with quite a checkered past. They argued in ever polite tones. The woman persisted. Fifteen to twenty minutes into this routine I overheard the words good and evil, and some reference to the edenic tree of knowledge of good and evil.

That was when I spoke up. "Does not the tree of the knowledge inspire knowledge of the DIFFERENCE between good and evil? I inquire of the old woman who to this point had only nodded a respectful hello to me upon entering the room. "Yes, you can say that. Different translations render it a little bit differently, but you can read the CORRECT rendering in OUR books." I replied that I had to confess that I did not know the difference between good and evil. Fire immediately plunged into eyes. "Oh you certainly do, and if you do not, you can read it in our literature. You only have to READ it to understand," she growled. I countered again that men for thousands of years have argued over these things.

I am not sure what I said next but I drew upon current ecological and ecopolitical concerns or some matter such as this, to give a few examples of what I meant by my own confusion with this complex issue of good and evil. She flew into a unmistakable rage, "Oh you are just a troublemaker. You'd better leave. Right now I say. Just leave, and don't come back. I mean it. Don't come back!" I returned the book I still had in grip to its rightful place, and said not another word. Teresa was ushered out alongside me. As the glass door swung close, the pinchedface woman, probably in her late sixties, muttered the word troublemaker one more time just in case I had missed the point.

On the street again I immediately sensed what had just happened and inquired of Teresa, "Do you know what just happened?" She didn't know what I meant. "Do you remember what we were talking about just before we stepped inside?" Again she couldn't piece her memories together. I played it out for her. "We were trying to convince each other to read each other's books. I told you that everybody believed they already had the truth, IF ONLY OTHERS WOULD READ OUR BOOKS."

Teresa's face was beginning to show a glimmer of recognition, but I continued. "Then we step inside and you are barraged by yet another somebody who does exactly what I predicted. It's in THEIR book, THEIR truth, THEIR certainty that all life must bow..." Was this the stroke of God himself drawing us into the Christian Science Reading Room for an example of divine truth, I put to her as we strolled on toward downtown on this sweltering summer afternoon.

She finally burst into a rapt amazement, profoundly moved by my explantions, and was giddy that God had shown her a sign. Otherwise nothing would have occurred to her. No threads ever match up. Nothing is connected. An intellectual zombie I'm afraid is all so many of the most devoted folks on earth appear to be. Teresa didn't suffer a loss of faith with that event, but I was overwhelmed by the finger of God in this point blank proof of what I knew to be oh so true...

We are all fools in this game nobody can win.


Originally published on May 22, 2003

My apologies Mr. Westling,

Without a doubt, I did not intend to tarry so long in replying to your previous dispatch, but life and its shadowboxers are busy as usual gesticulating with grunt and grin, keeping me in other quarters, but I did very much wish to reply with familiar timber. As to the "noisy self-interest" comment and its covering a lot of ground, of course, of course, and THAT was the point. Five or six people struggling each at various stages of life dotted across the four corners of the global landscape while humped over the almighty questions of what exactly to do and precisely when to do it, ended as one might expect, everyone busying himself with his own perceived notions and chores in his own perceived neck of the woods to the detriment of the so-called group effort. No great mystery existed, nothing to reveal. We just sort of drifted away from each other.

You wrote:
For or against Stalin. Three years earlier Breton's Surrealists experienced a similar debacle. There was no bridging the gap between the poet's investigation into experience and the Party's requirements of practical administration. But it arguably brought to light an irreducible toggle at the very core of the revolutionary project: does the collective or the individual have the ultimate say in charting direction of the revolution? The Surrealists never satisfactorily resolved this problem, and even as late as 1952, Breton indicated that his answer to the question "does the revolution require that social liberation must occur before individual liberation can?" was yes. I don't believe he really thought out all the possible implications that attend to this issue. If social liberation is primary, doesn't it follow that individuals are reduced to an instrumental role? This question goes to the core of the entire Marxist project.

I write:
Precisely! Just as a water molecule requires both hydrogen and oxygen atoms, each in obedience to its own individual composition and inertia, the social fabric of humanity cannot exist without freedom first gaining a foothold at the individual level. And yet, the masses great and small tend to follow leaders, whether these leaders are self-appointed messiahs, statesmen or revolutionaries, crowd-anointed stars of the hour, or bad boys (girls, too!) on parade and each grand movement is the articulation of a few wide open mouths apotheosized by the herd despite all intellectual cajoling that is to set men free to the contrary , because, whether this phenonmenon is a matter of personal nature or of social oppression, not all humans are capable much less inspired by an uncompromised divine light strong enough and focused enough to shake loose of the fetters and act as a catalyst for change. As such there will always be leaders and there will always be followers. Hence institutions and molecular compounds, mighty poets, shining lights, and safety in numbers.

You wrote:
My reference to your manifesto being "a little too sweeping" should be explained, I suppose. What I meant was that to assert that nothing of note has happened since the, what? The 1947 International Surrealist Exhibition perhaps? Was going a bit too far. Personally, I find some of Matta's 1960's works a real extension of the Surrealist outlook. Even Pop has a role in furthering our ideas of personal liberation. Of course, I look at the best of Pop as being heavily laced with irony, so that it can be read as a critique of commodity capitalism. I agree with you the balkanization is something we need to transcend.

I write:
But there is no escape from this monstrosity we know as time; time changes all perspectives, hence truth is always in travail. At least none less worthy of our concerns in our current apocalyptic node. We are soldiers called into a life of combat. Each soldier is armed according to whims of the moment. While it is certainly too late to write poems, it is far too early to burn books and paper money on the trash heap of our own impatient imaginations. Socialism will supplant capitalism, but not tomorrow, or the next day. There is much yet to be done in the name of competitive fetishism. Do I have proof of this? Does it matter except along the broad avenues and speculative pitter patter of the chattering classes?

You wrote:
I too am an autodidact, to a large degree. I do have 24 semester hours' credit from Roosevelt University in Chicago dating from 1972-74. My first great epiphany came at attending the Marcel Duchamp retrospective at the Art Institute of Chicago in March 1974. His work and life showed me that formal education provided more obstacles than opportunities. I find academia to be one of the principal obstacles to both individual and social transformation. My second great epiphany came from understanding the intimate connection between Duchamp and Max Stirner in 1989. My course has been set ever since. The bulk of the fruits of my interest in this connection is forthcoming, but it won't be too long now.

I wrote:
Having run willy nilly through all those blackened doors and those well-read windows, what have I gained that will put starch in my speech? Am I not the same dissatisfied sojourner that I was at 8, 14, 18, 22, refusing to memorize the lives and works of others so that I can exercise more freely the haunts withering within myself, only to be mocked as an unschooled ignoramus and a wasteling, no talent fool? What is it that we are really seeking, you and I? Should I yawn or squeeze a peach into my fist? Freedom? Like Pilate, I ask, what is freedom? What is truth? Is the only damned truth I can ever know for certain (because it has been with me the longest) is that every day of every year of my freelanced life has been augured by the truth and the lie shaped like a bonzai tree that encourages me to lose my ephemeral status, my skin, my gender, my race, my stinking unresolved life for the sake of OTHERS and their own unresolved notions? What do I care about others? Do they care about me? What is this truth I prefer to think as the ONLY TRUTH? If my life is nothing but a zen koan, has not my own insignificance been the only path worth noting. Debord was a hard-nosed poseur, just like the multitudes grinning with marmalade teeth, but he indeed invented himself, the poet and raconteur with critical aims. Six billion individuals, or five giant nations under one roof? What are the odds of me inventing either possibility?

You wrote:
You really shouldn't lift whole sections of material from the Encyclopedia of Philosophy on Stirner and present it as your own thought, although you chose a reputable source. George Woodcock, although prone to some of the same collectivist biases as so many other commentators on Stirner, did do a pretty good job at characterizing his thought.

I write:
Well lad, I hardly presented that chunk as my own writing. Methinks it twas a dead giveaway...

However, I make no excuses. As to Stirner, this is all I know... Notice the all caps, vital dates in parentheses. I suppose I could have pasted myself into the narrative, or simply given a reference. Yawn.

STIRNER, MAX (1806-1856), was the nom de plume of the German individualist philosopher Johann Kaspar Schmidt. Born in Bayreuth, Bavaria, Schmidt had a poor childhood (like myself). His academic career was long and fragmented. I am uneducated, while sponging from the world of books and media like there is no other purpose to life than to have read too much to be of any worldly good.

Et cetera. The point being, those who know anything about the "inimitable" unrequited fashion I shove ink to paper, know that I splatter adverbs, adjectives and lengthy unbounded syntax around the page like wood nymphs in search of an unsoiled Grecian urn, and either praise me, criticize me, or shriek delightfully at the joke, but the word inimitable always sets the pace. It was rather obvious to a seasoned reader of this humble bumbler which particular lines were added for personal affect, about four I think, at the very beginning, and the rest which naturally came from a source written in short brittle academic sentences complete with caps and parentheticals for the pure joy of letting a new sparring partner know that those few paragraphs were indeed ALL I knew of Stirner, line for line, having pulled the historical man distorted or not straight out a book that very morning, scanned, OCR'd, dutifully copied and then routinely pasted into context, prompted of course by your own well-appreciated overtures to him. Apologies that I didn't properly reference the jag for you, but I simply didn't realize I was submitting a white paper unto the authorities. Duly noted is your kind exception to my frightful oversight. See Debord, for more insights into plagiarism, although I really wasn’t erecting any such scam.

You wrote:
I guess you're already surmising that I vehemently disagree with your characterization of Stirner as "yet another status quo philosopher". Your evaluation sound a lot like Karl Marx's ideas on the subject, and I am painfully aware that the situationists used Marx as their basic philosophical substrate. Do you know a book that came out in 2002 by Kristin Ross called "May '68 and its Afterlives"? She, too, decries the "creeping individualism" that has seeped into the discourse on May '68 and related phenomena. But that is material for another post.

I write:
Status quo in my book projects an entirely other meaning than the one I presume you to harbor. To me status quo is extended to mean that all life is in flux, and since we have always had shining beacons, artists, poets, philosophers, statesmen, soldiers, con men, whores, zealots, saints, sinners, and the rest of us catawauling among the tall timbers and dry desert sands, to announce that the individual is the primary thrust of existence is hardly breakthrough revolutionary cant, but it is Stirner's rejection of revolution, even as his distrust in institutions is genuine, that interests me, and I thank you for bringing him to my attention, if for nothing more than hereditary concerns.

You wrote:
The thing that is important now is to indicate just why Stirner is not just another apologist for the small-time shopkeeper. The key point has to do with the irreducible toggle in the individualism/collectivism question: can I keep my own prerogatives intact if I allow a collective entity to be primary in my own mind and, by extension, in the world? The answer, I'm afraid, is no, and if this is true, then my own instrumentalism at the hand of the collectivity is inevitable. This engenders what Stanley Milgram (yes, that Milgram) calls the "agentic state", in which I sign away my right of decision in favor of one "in authority". I presume you are aware of the infamous Milgram experiments of 1960. One look at the results of these experiments should be enough to convince that ours is not a world in which "enlightened" egoism rules, only the debased kind, the infantile kind. Where vulgar egoism leaves off, Stirner begins. It is possible to trace a trajectory of an increase in "affective individualism" (as the historian Lawrence Stone terms it), beginning in the late 17th century and continuing up to the present time. Kinship ties have weakened, and individual prerogatives strengthened, in a fairly unbroken progression ever since this began. One of the main problems, in my opinion, is that this process hasonly gone halfway through its cycle.

I write:
Now, THIS is indeed close to the mark! How I have raged raged against the dying of the light when encountering the uncorrected rantings of Ayn Rand and Nietzsche (ditto in spades to leftist scalawags like Marx and his progeny), but yet have been unable to resolve the problem of how to congeal the collective notion, honestly and succinctly, given the range and variations of the specimen. I dare not trust ANY authority, unless I first taste its fruit. But individual tastes change, shift, capsize. As circumstances change, so usually does the hand that feeds them. Bureaucratic strength is corruptible as a result of its authoritarian nature in caricature of individuality redeemed, and thus l'd prefer living on the outside, accepting that isolation, rather than join any movement that coerces me with threats or ill-gotten gains, phoney, inflated, or otherwise. Living in the age of quarrel is no picnic on the high seas, but I think you are indeed traveling the right tracks in pinpointing what ails much of the West, that is the mystery of defining, or uncovering that nexus which balances the rights of the individual with the good of the collective. There has got to be a mathematical proof in this somewhere, but flesh and blood properly inspired is never a game of mathematics where zero and affinity take a stand, and the genetics of sin still rule with transparent and opposing thumbs. The society of the spectacle is no match for the society of dead certainty.

You wrote:
Individual empowerment is what we all need, not a centralized plan of forced income redistribution. This will only result in endless counterrevolution. It is moralism run wild, what confounded the French Revolution and the communist one as well. Collectives that legislate what's good for the others against their consent is no good. Self-directed anarchism could avoid these problems if brutality could be expunged form the consciousness of the millions. That if is so big you can drive a truck through it, I know. But the revolution is impossible without it. Start small, get bigger. Revolution from below. I believe we are not so very far apart philosophically. Breton, as well as Picabia, Max Ernst and Duchamp, all found Stirner to be quite compelling. It is only a question of continuing to resolve all the inconsistencies attending to the implementation of collectively constituted projects that keeps us from moving forward.

I write:
Such is the curse of the dreamer. That revolution from below you declare is part and parcel of the status quo for which I stand. But bullets and bombs, poisons and pride, hand in hand, one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind, each a lure of fascination, each a stumbling block. The only philosophy worth a nutcracker's suite is that which can be applied to the world in play. On the brink of catastrophic destruction, our world is not a safe place. Psychological warriors must gird their loins as the mighty clash for the sake of their history books. Words no longer make a difference, they have withered in the mouths of the arms dealers. Flesh on the bone will be burnt to bare cinders and those violent screams and sentimental songs of peace will not be heard in the heavens, but will choke on the smoke of the ancestral homes now in ashes and worse. Gentler minds will continue to seek sanctuary, but will find none, but the ones they were born into like the flesh of the moth. This is the age we live to defy, but few, very few, poets of promise and peace poling along a bloody regime have ever made it out alive, and the next generation often fares worse. But we can't stop dreaming, can we?

Munificently yours,