Google Poem

Google's having a little contest to promote the Google Books site. I let myself get sucked into it, because I'm such an incurable Google fanboy, and ended up spending half an hour penning the following poem as my contest entry.

The contest asks to write something creative about what reading will be like in one hundred years. Yeah... I know. Anyway:

New resolutions
scream trillions of pixels
with contrasts a million to one

Ocular sensors
trace corneal movements
interpreting which apps to run

A Quantum-core palmtop
with subspace transistors
draws holograms right in your hand

You've a high speed connection
with off-world poets
and here you are reading Ayn Rand

Obama's a Bitch

Let me tell you why Obama's a bitch.

Obama's a bitch because he didn't withdraw the troops; because he's still trying to make hay out of an indefensible act of unprovoked aggression. Because he thinks he and his staff can do, in eighteen months, what a thousand military and sociopolitical strategists haven't been able to figure in half a decade spent eating, sleeping, and breathing Iraq. That is, to somehow split the nation's oil properties among the three dissident factions in such a way as every one of them can hold the majority alone. And thereby prevent the surely inevitable civil war what came foaming up with the cork when we loosed Iraq from Saddam's, albeit dictatorial, politically steadying influence.

And Obama's a bitch because he won't let that civil war come; because he'd rather silence the will of the Iraqi people under a stifling, American-made government that bids to hold the peace by an unpopulist, overwhelming force, than allow the people of Iraq, for whom those institutions are supposed to be, the self determination of a civil war. No, we've too much invested in Iraq's exports to let the people rise up and have it out. Why, that would lead to burning oil fields and broken pipelines, and we'll be damned if we traveled half way around the world, killed, tortured, and imprisoned all those innocent people, only to walk out the door without a steady flow of natural resources to show for it! Obama's a bitch because he's still trying to make G.W.'s bloodshed pay.

And he's a bitch because he didn't put that bloodthirsty sociopath, his generals, and all the rest of the Bush staff up for war crimes charges. He's left all the evils committed thereby to stand as evidence of their lack of fault. Thousands tortured; tens of thousands imprisoned without cause or means of redress; hundreds of thousands slaughtered by excessive use of force; American citizens stripped of citizenship and imprisoned without charges; warrantless, indiscriminate, nationwide surveillance programs... And all abominations go unrebuked! All are justified in a deafening silence; in the absence of a trial.

A trial is not a conviction, by the way -- it does not mean guilt. It means that there is sufficient evidence for inquiry. Is there not that?! Is there no question in the people or their leaders - in Obama - as to the legality and righteousness of all that has been done in these dark days? Yet here is placidity. Here is tranquility. There is no inquiry, nor outrage for this trial's absence. So it shall be remembered that none were injured. None called for justice, so all must be right and justly done.

Obama's a bitch because he won't apologize to Iraq and the world for a war no man alive can defend or justify. We are all stained black and red with the blood of millions - every one of us - and he bids us all to walk about pretending cleanliness, as though we did a good thing; as liberators rather than the harbingers of murder, unrest, and destruction.

Obama's a bitch because his health care plan is a fucking coupon, and nothing else. Because if he passes his discount 'crap care' plan we're all doomed to another fifty years as the world's only peoples so heartless - so shamelessly greedy - as to have the means but not the interest in establishing a Universal Health package that would cover everybody, all the time. This so-called Christian man, Obama, means to leave this so-called Christian nation, America, an affront to the very God he claims to worship, by keeping health and reasonable care a commodity on the exchange. This one never read the story of the Good Samaritan, it seems.

And if he gets his way we will be saddled with this for-profit, rack'em and stack'em, system of medicine for another half century without the political capital of the people's unrest to move us an inch toward real progress. In other words, I will not, in my lifetime, see a fair and equitable system of health care in America. I will have died before it comes. And presumably of some Cancer, the fighting of which produced costs so great that my wife and children will be left not only widowed and fatherless, but homeless and penniless as well. These I will credit to Obama.

Obama's a bitch because everything he has done and said, with the exception, perhaps, of closing Guantanamo, is a middle of the road, fence-sitting, fiscally conservative, politically viable, corporate-centric, safe and agreeable, popular consensus seeking, "p'weese evew'ybody wuv me awl at wunce," stop-gap half-measure of ambiguity. Because after eight years of unabashed evil, the likes known only under rule of Hitler, Kahn, and the Catholic church, Obama's great answer to these dark ages - his plan to put these moral miseries behind us - is nothing more than a return to slow and steady moderation. Back to the status quo everyone! For Christ's sake, yesterday the ruler of this nation was on TV saying human torture is a-okay, now's the changing of the guard and here's the backlash come in the image of a skinny, straightened man, hands folded neatly over his finely pressed linen suit, saying quietly, "I disagree." You should be fucking shouting! You should be livid! Hell, even if you don't care, for the general morale of the public a leader at least feigns outrage!

Obama's a bitch because, for popularity's sake, for his continued political viability, he has toed the line. He has let every significant injustice of the previous administration go unredressed. We needed a hero for sanity. We needed someone to pull America in a new direction, and to pull as hard, harder still, than Bush had pulled us all toward unfeeling capitalistic imperialism. We needed a hero to lead us into an age of compassion, peace, and charity. What we got was a colorless, odorless centrist. A man so deeply absorbed into the middle ground that he could no more tow us away than he could resist being floated along with the wayward nation himself.

And this man, this is the answer to Bush-brand conservatism? This is the rebuttal? This is the people's response to insanity, oppression, fear, and hatred? You know what? Forget Obama. Obama's not the bitch. You're the bitch... Bitch.


Written in response to 'Twitter Poems' at Nikolaus Maack's blog 'Kill Everything.'

Your first thought was the rightest. And I can say that because I have absolutely no experience with Twitter or iPhones or any of it. That makes me the best authority on hand, I'd say. And as the most austere and unimpugnable authority in the land (I'm gaining rank) I have decreed by fiat and order of the King (that's me, don't you know) that it's all an affront to the Holy Mother Church and therefore must be spun upon the spit and burnt upon the stake.

As if we hadn't enough outlets for the idiot-children of the world to incessantly publish their ill-informed, conjectural, two line op/ed "statements of fact..." No, we needed something to meet the gap of incredibly short and emotionally hollow communications left between text messages, instant messages, and blackberry emails.

Finally, I can publish every errant thought that squeaks humbly through the empty chambers of my mind in such a way as the whole world could logon and see it - that is if any of them cared. They don't of course. So it's really just me and a few friend(s) who might *MIGHT* bother to take the occasional glance; and not because any of us is interested in seeing what the other's written, but truly out of some sickly selfish mental undertow of implied karmic reciprocation: that "if I'm looking at someone else's, then surely they, or someone, somewhere must be looking at mine."

The internet wasn't crowded enough, I suppose, hadn't been covered completely yet with the dried, crusty semen stains of comment after comment, that so quickly became the norm when Satan and his merry band of assholes-with-degrees-in-marketing figured out that they could quadruple the number of clicks-per-visitor if they let every douche bag with an asshole make a spectacle of himself, voicing a meaningless, unwanted opinion that only serves to taint the experience of all other onlookers while muting the significance, if any, of the actual, original content. Remember that, you sick fucking world? Content? Remember what it was before you mutated it all into endless responses and interpretations and verbose editorials? Not to mention the flame wars, shameless plugs, and disputes over punctuation, definition, usage, form, and meter.

Needs be to extinguish the last few pixels worth of unoccupied space and unexpressed thought, right? Silence is too raucous for this crowd. Must that it be killed by chirping twits and twitting twats and flapping cunts whose wonders never cease.

What little good one Nik Maack might muscle 'way will ne'er be 'nuff to warrant any execution's stay. It's to the gallows! Out damned spot!

Fuck Twitter

Grave Vandal

As I headed swiftly through the upstairs living room toward the shower this morning I found myself the victim of about six seconds exposure to the Satan-box.(TV) A dark haired women stood in front of a cemetary holding a microphone to her mouth. From the bottom of the screen a few words were recorded in my mind: "Hundred," "graves," "Indiana," "opened up."

The dark haired women spoke. "...families are now being restricted from entering the graveyard, as many who have already been inside now report seeing bones lying about the open graves..."

I kept walking passed, like I do each morning, limiting my exposure to the thick, yellow mucous of insanity that comes oozing from that unholy tube. But this time I found myself smiling. That sentence and those words - the sunny, green and blue vista before which the woman stood as she said them, all in combination, made me really happy for some reason.

What I imagine, see, is that a group of like-minded people got together last night with some shovels and whatnot, and just went nuts digging up graves; tearing open rotting caskets; whipping the decayed remains of the long dead all over the dirt covered remnants of a previously well-manicured lawn! Muddy footprints track back and forth all over and around the open holes, their paths spotted with the off-white splinters of thigh bones and detached ribs gleaming like treasure under the sunny blue skies overhead. And today, this morning, the cops are all standing out there with their hands on their hips, their hats leaned way back, mouths hanging open, not sure where to start, what to do, or who exactly to blame, with this heretofore inconceivable act of heretical vandalism.

Maybe that's not what happened. Maybe a tornado set down in the graveyard or something. That makes more sense, I guess. But in my mind I want to believe it was the work of wild-eyed, crazy grave vandals.

And I fucking love it, man! I suddenly want to be a grave vandal too! I want to go out at midnight in black face with uneven tribal markings smeared across my cheeks and blazing white rings painted round my eyes, half naked, in a dirty pair of old blue jeans with the legs, not cut, but torn off; worn off by time. I want to swing a pick axe into the hallowed ground of some old dead guy's final resting place until the soil is black and workable. I want to dig my fingernails, knuckles, and forearms into the soft, wormy silt, feeling blindly, wildly, for a coffin's lid. I want to catch it in my hands and in one powerful, sweeping motion fling it away and out of the hole, sending up a spray of rich black dirt across a lawn made blue-green beneath the soft yellow light of a full moon. I want to fill my eyes with the yet undisturbed bones of some ancient soul whose long since left them to rot; to try and make out how they used to come together to form a man. I want to take them up, to feel them in my hands and arms, rolled between my fingers; the sensation of light, dry bones clinking against each other like wind chimes, the emptiness of the chamber wherein the marrow once grew resonating a faint musical note. I want to carry them out of the hole, a tangled mess of some dead man's frame - the smaller ones falling carelessly away as I struggle to the surface. In one explosive motion I want to thrust them all out and upward into the sky. I want to make it rain bones!

...You think there's something wrong with me?

Heartbreak on the Back 9

I went golfing for the first time today. Kevin, Kelly, Matt, Frank and I played the back turn at the Heather-Highlands in Holly.

In short I find I have a straight and fairly consistent drive, though with a tendency to strike the ball higher than long; I have no use for the irons, long or short, they're all atrocious; I'm a wizard with the woods; and I'm mostly reasonable on the greens.

The best player with us was Frank and even he only managed to bring in one bogey hole. Everything else was doubles, triples, quadruples, and mercy scores.

Combined, the five of us managed to be the slowest thing on the course. In all it took us over four hours to play eight holes! That's right, eight. We were so slow, such a nuisance to the pairs behind us, and so haggered by four hours baking in the sun that we called it at the 17th. Actually, at the time we were all convinced the 17th was the 18th. When we discovered another 402yds stood yet unconquered, we rose the white flag. In fact, most of them didn't even putt-in that last hole we shot, feeling the pressure of the two groups waiting at the tees behind us... I putted in. 5 on a par 3. One of my better holes, actually.

Let me try to draw my scorecard, all ANSI-fied - I may or may not be using a monospace font, but you'll get the gist.

Par   4 | 4 | 5 | 3 | 4 |  5  | 4 | 3 | 4 | 36
Roy   7 | 9 | 7 | 6 | 7 | 10 | 7 | 5 | x | 58

I don't think my figures are that bad for a first time, and even when compared to the rest of the group. Most everyone came in around sixty. In fact I had the second best score of the day. Frank beat me by five strokes.

I had fun. It was a good time. I only lost one ball in the weeds and to make up for it I found one in the woods. I'll definitely add a small bottle of sunscreen to my golf bag from now on, in case I should ever find myself again, stuck on the sixteenth hole at high noon with four other guys, swatting away at 3200yds.

When our merry band dispersed from the Highland fields I stopped off quickly at the bank and then immediately drove to Dunham's. For the purpose of our match I'd borrowed a putter from Frank and I figured I should pick up my own. Actually I wouldn't have bothered buying a putter immediately, except that two days earlier I'd met a girl at Dunham's who had made me believe again in love at first sight. Really, I was floored. For just a moment she helped me try to find a strap for my golf bag and between her beauty, voice, and manner, I was a goner. Without going into too much of the details I knew I had to go back and ask her out. Buying a putter was as fine an excuse as any to get me through the door.

When I parked the van I saw her out front. Dunham's has been having a sort of sidewalk sale, clearance thing for a few weeks now and someone always has to be out there to make sure the filthy urchin children don't walk off with the loot. Seeing that she was there I spun the gears of my plan into action.

I went in, tried some putters, found the one I wanted, bought it, got back in my car, and drove away. Ah, step one complete.

... Wait for it.

From Dunham's I drove to a florist's at the top of the hill that separates Clarkston and Waterford and bought a single lavender rose. Lavender roses, I'd looked up, symbolize enchantment and love at first sight; at least to the people who think that kind of stuff up.

I returned to Dunham's and in a rare moment of universal perfection found her utterly alone at the building's front. I climbed into the back of the van and dismantled the little arrangement the florist had made. She had shoved all that baby's breath junk in there and, not that it didn't look nice, but what I really wanted was the lone rose. With all that stuff around it it becomes a scene, of which for sure the flower is the star, but just as well a player on a busy and distracting stage. It makes the whole thing ornamental; the rose is just a rose; just a pretty flower wrapped in thin green cellophane. Alone it's more. Alone it carries and demands its own weight and meaning. It's a symbol. To be appreciated and considered as something unique. Alone it represents affection, wonder, and the potential of love.

I approached her with the rose hidden well behind my back. She saw me and recalled me. "Back again?" she said smiling. For a moment I thought that she'd remembered me from the two day's earlier, that perhaps she too had felt the strange and powerful whirl of sudden aliveness I had then. But I couldn't let my unlikely romanticisms get out of hand, here.

I asked her name. Erin. I'm Roy. "Do you remember me? I was in here two days ago..." She looked up and off to one side, as if digging through her mind. I see. She had only remembered me from earlier today, when I bought the golf club.

I continued, "I was looking for a strap for a golf bag." "Oh, right and we didn't..." she trailed off.

I looked at her for a moment in silence, trying to arrange my words; trying to recall and deliver the loosely contrived speech I'd practiced in the van on the way in. I looked away, feeling awkward and nervous as I began.

"Well, I don't know exactly what to say..." I took a deep breath and looked again into her eyes, "except that I was utterly enchanted by you, at the first sight of you, at the sound of your voice." Slowly I delivered these practiced lines, pausing between each sentence fragment, trying hard to think clearly under the weight of anticipation, nervousness, and the fear of looking foolish.

"Oh," she cooed in a sweetly sorrowful sort of way.

"So," I said, "this is for you," as I revealed the lavender rose, setting it in her hands. She cooed some more in the beginnings of broken sentences that simultaneously conveyed appreciation and a sad sort of empathy. I knew it did not bode well.

"I'm here to ask if you'd like to come out on a date with me some time."

She stuttered in search of the gentlest words. "Oh, I'm... I'm sorry... I'm sorry, but I have... a relationship."

How cruel fate.

I had decided, long before I'd come, that in this eventuality I must still, though delicately, offer her my phone number. It's so incredibly rare that I'm attracted to anyone at all, let alone struck like I had been here. I count it only the second time in my life that I had been so instantly floored by a woman; by merely standing in her presence. In my desperate appreciation for the rareness of this event I had no choice, despite what callousness finds in it, but to tender every hope and chance I could of bringing up this seed to fruit.

"If you don't find it insulting, would you at least let me give you my number?" She shook her head. "I can't. I'm sorry. Unfortunately," she sighed and smiled sympathetically, "I'm taken."

No Entrance

("Turn the vehicle around, sir.")

My first, admittedly sloppy and simplistic, solo-go at 3d chalk art. This was a spur of the moment idea inspired by a large group of intruders who came striding brazenly onto my property earlier in the day. Some people call them "family." The tire tracks in the photos evidence both the trespassers' departure and the ineffectiveness of my makeshift barricade.

(The reveal.)

My greatest difficulty here was the unevenness of the blacktop. The dips and bulges, and especially the hump down the middle of the driveway forced me to warp the shape of everything by constant, minor corrections that sent me back and forth, to and from the viewing angle, more often than I'd have liked. I'll be careful to choose flatter, more consistent surfaces from now on.

(Lumpy, ain't she?)

(Look'it them gams.)

Next time I'll also try to choose something with more potential for the kind of shading my dad accomplished in our mailbox masterpiece. This is pretty flat color-wise, and I must admit a lot less visually interesting. But I think I made up for it in staging...

(Sorry ladies, I'm... single.)

(Twenty-eight inches of muscle and fury!)

Incidentally, we got about five minutes' rainfall no more than an hour after I took the last of these photos, so it's likely my little sawhorse is already kaput. Que cera... I certainly learned a number of lessons here for next time and I did enjoy the work. It's a victory in and of itself that I finally broke into the fifty sticks of K-Mart chalk I bought. I used all of five, maybe.

Next time: Flatter surface; more detail; more shading.

("Move along, sir.")

Half Right


This week we tried out a cover Brandon brought in, 'Half Right' by Heat Miser. Lots of little flubs and a general state of confusion regarding the song's progression result in a first-attempt I really like. I even managed some backup vocals from behind the kit.

This is the first practice recorded on my new Zoom H4. I think it worked splendidly. The effort to end-product ratio here is awesome:

1.) Put H4 in middle of room.
2.) Press "Rec" button occasionally.
3.) Download MP3s from SD card.
4.) Mix to desired consistency.
5.) Let stand.

Recorded in stereo using the Zoom H4's on-board mics; EQ'd and compressed, then loudened, expanded, and excited.