God Shed His Grace On Thee

It is not that the guy was black.
The emblems of blackness on the walls of the home,
jazz like and geometric blacks in poses
with saxophones, with suits, with all the right
bright black colors.  It wasn't that.
It was the lack of poverty there.
It was the overflowing trash in the kitchen,
no one is starving here, no one is alone
in this abject misery, everyone has a cell phone.
It was not the not-one clear place to sit down
to do the paperwork because of clean
laundry in various stages in piles.  It was the three
pennies resting on the floor just inside
the front door that no one bothered to pick up.
It was dirty, not mopped in months.  And perhaps free
of the stigma of a dirty home occupied by black folks
doing black things, running beauty schools,
no one tried to change my opinion.
I had to ignore the missing window
in the car out in the driveway, I had to bring
my own paper towels.  I had to remind
myself of the home I just left,
the one where the white folks scurried
around for hours to clean up
the living room for my visit, I had to
remind myself of their porch piled high
with a mixture of last Xmas fleece throws
broken Crock-Pots and torn-up old recliners, I had to shake
the thought that I might have heard a rat there.
I had to shake all these notions, shake the nervous
epiphany, the horrible reality of dying in this mess
as they all will one day, rushing to move the sofas
for the EMTs.  The hoarders and DES obesities,
the veterans and mothers of girls who died of fentanyl
as if by accident, the rules now, not the exceptions,
up to our necks now, no one on the lawns.

I had to remind myself that this is the America we hope to save.
This is the America we know we have to.


2 Good 2 Be 4 Gotten

"Yet like certain colors of the spectrum, only certain creatures know the code well enough to extract enough nourishment for themselves and like bees, nourish the others."  -from Darla Whitehead Tells All

What a day, part Steel Magnolias and yes, part Apotheosis of Johnny Cash by one Michael Cadieux. Nice place to start tomorrow morning because stories like this need the part of dawn that the birds cough up for their young. Yes, exactly that part.

She as in the second person of the self, the self who is best seen in the present as part of the past. She as in part perpetrator/protagonist and part innocent bystander.  In that way, the story can be told if it can be told at all.  It might be illegal or at least, unethical if not fully immoral to do so.  She, not herself but her, raised her head whereas her chin had been sitting squarely on her chest so that the stylist could create that undercut look, it was now looking forward with a most penetrating gaze as she said, "I regarded her as one of my best friends."  This was accompanied with an almost fiendish grin.  There were so many ways to understand that, to 'take that' as they say.  To run it through the possible filters of meaning.  Her tone of voice, well.  She did not hope that she would be heard by anyone other than "the one of her best friends" friends that sat half on and half off the chair under one of those old helmut shaped hair dryers that no one ever uses anymore, as if trying to escape.  The kind of friend you drop like a hot potato for years and out of some kind of perverse necessity, describe to someone not privy to it all, as having this sacred role of best friend.  One of.  To be clear, one of.  One of those best friends.  The kind you can obviously do without for long periods of time.  Periods of time interrupted only by chance meetings in tucked-away beauty parlors like this one which is on a road being chip sealed.  Those types of places always seem to need chip sealing.

Back to Johnny and truth be told, she hadn't noticed Cadieux's work as much as she had understood the quality of the coffee table book that the painting Apotheosis of JC (let's cut to that chase right now) appears in. JC as in the risen, as in the Hurly Girlie of Lunatic Park, the poem she had written that appeared in a feminist journal twenty years before.  There are two JC paintings Cadieux included in the small, smartly printed on mid-range art paper coffee table book.  The other is titled "JC calls out to JCC", his dearly beloved.  Both paintings worth not only second looks but actual study.  Worth hoping to one day see in person because until a person has the chance to see it in that way, they can never truly comprehend the mastery of the artist and the cohesive spirit in which something that masterful is created.  The spirit that compels whomever might view it to read into it a plethora of alternative meanings and histories. The one who, in possession of such a thing as a talent, uncovers the corollaries as if they lay under a thick carpet of dust. Uncovers these by blowing on them and whispering the words:  art/religion, art/life, art/reality, art/beauty etcetera while uttering the spell "ne plus ultra". That. 

She had taken to collecting other people's discarded books and along the way had come across some rather famous tomes.  Many of them were western themed because of where they were found, local treasures.  So valuable that people just tossed them out like trash.  Or did they?  She often thought that perhaps they were orphaned children, lost in tumultuous break-ups replete with protection orders and one party or the other tugging on a dog threatening to get litiginous and in a fit of rage, placing wonderful items in an old cardboard box and then handing them over to the personnel at the little thrift by the Dairy Queen with a diabolical, "I just don't need these anymore."  As if they were theirs to begin with.  Of course she was extremely respectful of the need to reunite book with owner when possible but in most cases, there was no way of knowing who belonged to what.  In this case the Cadieux book was meant to be right where it was, reminding her of how meaning is never far away from discovery and the facility of consciousness is free to assign as much or as little weight to the propensity of coincidence as the owner of it liked.  The owner of the consciousness that is.  What is writing or painting afterall but this?

Before Charlene revealed her one of my best friends' friend identity to the unsuspecting stylist, the two of them had taken turns investigating the other.  Darla was an open book.  Charlene on the other hand was, how to put it nicely, too smart to allow her personal life to be subjected to any scrutiny whatsoever. Social media.  All the same, even if social media weren't a thing, she'd have hidden herself from public view as much as possible.  As if she were Howard Mechanic she had assumed the identity of a school marm instead of the beauty pageant graduate and Vegas showgirl hopeful she actually was. Some women never run out of that kind of hope and even if they do reconcile the issue within themselves as they steam past the point of no return in their late thirties, the audience they engaged when they were young budding hopefuls refuses to forgive them their faux pas, their desperate charge to the top of sexual objectification that peters out somewhere between first baby and first real job in an alarmingly public way.  All the same, after a few false starts she had made it to principal of the small high school from which she graduated and then promptly, retired.  After a very short stint at the top she just vanished into the back of everyone's mind.  Only to pop up here and there as she had popped into Peg's place.

"So what are you doing nowdays then?"  Darla felt almost as if she wasn't entitled to know and in reality, she wasn't entitled.  It was more of an obligation at this point, especially after realizing there would be no escape as the dye in her own hair had to process for a whole thirty minutes.  The stylist had mistakenly taken her emerging gray roots to an extreme form of fuschia and therefore had to dye it a second time, to fix it.  Darla hated the beauty parlor.  For her it was one of the worst places in the world to be in however it was as necessary as an outhouse at the swap meet on a hot day and too many sips on the Big Gulp Thirst Buster.  Charlene though must have felt quite at home with Darla's stylist, with any stylist for that matter.  And certainly, Peg was not going to be seeing her as regularly as Darla every six weeks but the two of them appeared to be quite comfortable with the foils and unforgiving light. She was obviously an interloper here and made sure to say early on that she was living somewhere in the city, in the foothills.  That's short hand for I'm now very rich or at least, I am a bigger fish in a slightly bigger pond.  "Well, I'm retired and doing some writing."  She said it as if it were expected that she would have chosen to be a writer instead of being on the board of trustees of a notable charity in the city.  That sort of thing.

Oh no you're not I thought to myself.  Yes, me.  Darla.  The writer.  Oh no you're not.  That's my shtick and weren't you the one whose mother denied me a position on the pom squad, who never considered me for a part as a dancer with a Star Wars light saber in the extravaganza known as the Follies?  Oh yes, the time has come for that to finally become part of the collective memory known as celebrity gossip. I didn't bother to ask about the nature of her writing.  Anymore than she would have had the gall to ask me how my dancing classes were going if I'd have been so ridiculously presumptive as to assume I could learn how to dance after menopause, 30 or 40 pounds too late.  That fiendish grin, that knowing smile that revealed the entire underlying current of the awkward exchange in which Charlene doled out her special indulgence as if I ought to be grateful to her for her gracious mentioning of my role in her play, She looked every bit the part of the pageant winner holding her bouquet of long stemmed roses the way one holds a newborn while bending to pick up their pacifier and simultaneously kissing one of the children who had been shooed up onto the stage by Charlene's unapologetic mother who knew her daughter would win regardless of who was in the race. All entirely staged. There in the lackluster middle school auditorium in which she had won Stace snapped this exact photo using a flash bulb, that most archaic of artistic tools that brings darkness into light.  

Stace committed suicide forty years to the day later, not that the date matters, not anymore. I imagine that she must have been in the same weekly stay hotel up near the foothills, the "I'm rich now" foothills, the dingy place she had fallen in a few weeks before while in a drunken stupor and cut her head open to reveal part of her skull.  Having been dismissed from her marriage by her unable-to-change-her/change yourself, better-than-you husband who remained comfortably ensconced in his foothills home.   The one who honored her by attributing her suicide to alcoholism in a public announcement no one asked him to make, no one needed him to make because we all knew.  Her sons knew and they didn't need no stinking announcement even if they thought they did at the time. Never mind that alcoholism is not synonymous with suicide, no one ever threatens to get drunk to death as she did when she posted her final words, "the world doesn't need me anymore".  Never mind the idea that the until death do we part piece includes but is not limited to, failure to read the fine print in the church brochure in the first place.  Never mind the despicable negligence in reading it and plain ignoring it like he did, ignoring every single risk factor in the book.  JC, calls out to his beloved, June Carter.  In the painting, she is simply a field of blue dots and JC is only a figment of one's imagination, a few tube like squiggles that seem to be arms flailing in space but even then the wormy figures could be those happy accidents all painters know about but keep the secret to themselves. To create the sense that art is actually planned.  I assure you, it isn't.

I did not attend the pageant that night. Stace had actually been in the contest and after losing had run down into the orchestra pit to snap the shot that ended up in the old yearbook. I could not be bothered and perhaps, just perhaps I should have gone in order that I might not be one of those types of 'best friends', the kind you can do without, the kind that only shows up by accident like a squiggly figure in a post modern abstract mixed media assemblage.  The one that shows up in order that it can be captured, like in a camera, the kind that the Native Americans fear, the one that can abscond with a piece of a person's soul, the shutter of the camera like a trap door to the underworld from which no one can return.

In hopes that this does not disintegrate into the clap-trap sound of honky-tonk, the color of that flashing red light inside Stace's Days Inn back window, the one she smoked out of knowing that it wouldn't matter anyway, in hopes of that, let us pray.  Let us think well of each other and of Stace.  She was glad she never gave up the smokes even though her husband Dan hated it, said it made the cats stink.  At that moment, with the rope around her neck and ready to go, she knew she wasn't ever going to die of lung cancer and that last smoke was the sweetest one.  

Here we are Charlene.  Just you and me, how is it going?  I wanted to wait outside the salon and pull her aside and say, let's get together.  We can talk about your book.  I'd love to know.  Are you writing this story from the back side like a reverse painted lamp?

Or, am I? 


To become the paper.

There used to be a system of colors
easy to tell the difference between
summer and September, to know
the liturgy printed on the leaves.

Not any more, not any more.

Humans cannot write
in those languages,
our appendages are too small,
eyes too weak.

And we fall asleep too soon,

New Poems Leb Summer 2019

What the Thunder Said About Exemptions
Home again home again, jiggity-jig. No place like home said the little piggy all the way back to Kansas. The buffalo roam where the heart is, I did not leave it in San Fran.
Lebanon. Like visiting an unrequited love in the state hospital, just to make sure the right choice was made. Oh, it was but parts of my heart ache all the same.
Hoping against hope that one day, yes, one day. If only one day they'll invent a cure for chaos. Knowing that all the same, there is such a thing as natural law.
Natural law creates outcomes, buries the detritus alive in present perfect tenses and continuous infinitives.  Natural law restores order and the meek shall,
they shall no matter what, yes. They shall.

I'm Sorry I Love You Said The King
The fog's already burned off. He declares it is to ripen the figs. I'd rather not say. Causality.
Miles and miles of tossed and torn plastics, miles and miles of one after another. Pharmacies next to butchers, beauty shops alongside old tires. Laborers, Syrian refugees.
There's just no plan, all so random as if time has finally taken over and won. Here in the wake at the back of the boat,
cancer is killing everyone. One at a time by the dozens. The post-coital run-off is in the gutter, part animal and some of it fog, the color of gray in hell.
The same ice cream truck interrupts the maghreb every day. You can almost hear the change falling from their pockets as they rise from the rugs.
I'm sorry the sky stops there, holds down the putrid steam below as night turns figs into fall.

Lights On
At the Magrheb an ice cream
truck enters the din of six
or seven hilltop muezzin,
the perfect punctuation,
such a blend!
We are already discussing
the amount of burghul,
the weight of the kishsk,
the cost of the kind from Baalbeck
versus the bah'ledi.
I've already used next year's
supply of hyssop, the kind
that immunized the first born
on the passover.
I knew that the ice cream truck
was due to stop by though,
a little sign from the heavens
at the Magrheb, a little
snowstorm of sound at dusk
in the fog as well as
on Sunday just past
what used to be called the Sabbath.
I've seen so many such things before.


What the Thunder Said About Exemptions
Home again home again, jiggity-jig. No place like home said the little piggy all the way back to Kansas. The buffalo roam where the heart is, I did not leave it in San Fran.
Lebanon. Like visiting an unrequited love in the state hospital, just to make sure the right choice was made. Oh, it was but parts of my heart ache all the same.
Hoping against hope that one day, yes, one day. If only one day they'll invent a cure for chaos. Knowing that all the same, there is such a thing as natural law.
Natural law creates outcomes, buries the detritus alive in present perfect tenses and continuous infinitives. Natural law restores order and the meek shall, they shall no matter what, yes. They shall.


I'm Sorry I Love You Said The King

The fog's already burned off, he declares it's to ripen the figs.  I'd rather not say. Causality.
Miles and miles of tossed and torn plastics, miles and miles of one after another.  Pharmacies next
to butchers, beauty shops alongside old tires. Laborers, Syrian refugees.
There's just no plan, all so random as if time has finally taken over and won.  Here in the wake
at the back of the boat.
Cancer is killing everyone.  One at a time by the dozens.  The run-off is in the gutter, part animal and some of it fog, the color of gray in hell.
One ice cream truck interrupts the maghreb every single day. You can almost hear the change falling from their pockets as they rise from the rugs.
I'm sorry the sky stops there, holds down the putrid steam below as night turns figs into fall.

Near final revision:

I'm Sorry I Love You Said The King

The fog's already burned off. He declares it is to ripen the figs. I'd rather not say. Causality.
Miles and miles of tossed and torn plastics, miles and miles of one after another. Pharmacies next to butchers, beauty shops alongside old tires. Laborers, Syrian refugees.
There's just no plan, all so random as if time has finally taken over and won. Here in the wake at the back of the boat,
cancer is killing everyone. One at a time by the dozens. The post-coital run-off is in the gutter, part animal and some of it fog, the color of gray in hell.
The same ice cream truck interrupts the maghreb every day. You can almost hear the change falling from their pockets as they rise from the rugs.
I'm sorry the sky stops there, holds down the putrid steam below as night turns figs into fall.


The story of Kenneth Place 

Backstory of the day I discovered the backstory of my own backstory of yet another person's backstory which tweaked my interest.  We're all so famous it seems.


Straw Hat Meets Paul Bunyan at the Johnny Appleseed Farmer's Market

If this is what it takes to publish, I'm out.  This is the formulaic, what is expected delivery of a tract house in Orange County.  The fish in there is bland, swimming in a bloody lake of pomegranate juice for crying out loud.  After reading it, I couldn't even burp.

In The Son in Law, a short story by Nahid Rachlin (am I to believe this is how we get closer to Iran? liberal style?), Ms. Rachlin arbitrates a overly long insulting look at American men who wear blue jeans and 'over shop' just after playing roughly with their toddlers.  One paragraph would have sufficed and it would read, "Intellectual Savek era Iranian exiles working in the Ivy League industry of law and books are above love and find time to cherish a look back with their eyes wide closed to the bitter poverty of the Shell Oil Company and R. J. Reynolds Tobacco, Inc in order to dismiss the fourth grade reading level of Trump supporters who read US News while taking heavy gulps of MJB between bites of Pillsbury Toaster Strudel (apple of course).  And then they decide to bounce their grandchild on their knee."

I think of Reagan's token of appreciation sent to the Shah.  A machine that printed actual one hundred dollar bills.  Legitimate one hundred dollar bills, perhaps a myth but all the same.  Knowing what the Bush Family did to aid Saddam Hussein pretty much substantiates the nefarious activities between the Republican Party and the 'regimes'.  Even Carter played his part in the neverending story of 'since the car was invented and oil discovered' Great American Novel.

Being who I am and knowing what I know, I am forced to wonder, is this an exile from Khomeini, one of those poor formerly wealthy Shahbites who, if truth be told, likely has the sophistication of a wealthy teenager from any number of elitist left wing high schools that pepper so much of this country   And write so much of this countries literary trash.

Lines like, "Their English was inadequate and their expertise, hers in Iranian history and his in criminal law, didn't transfer to the new job market. They worked at un-challenging jobs, she as a hairdresser and he for a mail order plant and garden equipment company," demonstrate, at least to me that never was there a time where assimilation translated to such complete unadulterated hypocrisy.

I came upon Ms. Rachlin's name amongst a bevvy of would be writers while looking into the whereabouts of an old, um, friend.  Who has recently broken a leg in a couple of places after being run down by a car, karma style.  I also noticed his stairway to literary heaven placed a few Arabic tomes just below Dante.  I had to wonder when he might let that go, the war that was 'all about' me.  Speedy recovery sir!  

I searched for at least one of her short stories to determine if I'd found a pot of gold.  To have finally found an Iranian writer who could tell the truth, not only about Iran but about her self.  And I wasn't truly disappointed.  Only perhaps in my own hard desire to find a legitimate writer instead of one of these narrative creators who are enlisted by the status quo of the academia minded and controlled publishing houses.  The 110% of which are left leaning liberal fascists that have about as much love for the real culture of post Khomeini Iran as they do for John motherfucker Bolton.  

Read it for yourselves and depending on how you like your tacos con cabeza, I guarantee you, you'll be delighted either way.  By the story or by this biting review.




I hesitate to write things sometimes, I do anyway and then I spend a day or two regretting....not that I wrote down what was on my mind. In fact, sometimes things are important enough to transfer to a blog that I've run for over 15 years. Most things are lost into the subconsciousness that FB is. What I tend to regret, for lack of a better word, is the absolute understanding I have of living in a world where blindness to facts is becoming the norm, not the exception. Perhaps the facts and variables have become too numerous or complicated to fathom for the majority of people. I have found that arguing with willfully blind people is useless and produces animosity all around. I have also found that some people are unwittingly blind, mostly due to altruism to a 'perceived' common good and some, due to direct instructions from the 'higher ups' in the 'perceived common good'. Yet another type of willful blindness is solely reliant on financial/material gain. That kind of deliberate blindness is the truly unforgivable kind and embodies a sociopathic gaslighting of others in order to perpetuate more blindness and therefore, more financial/material gain. That's the kind that can eventually get a person onto a guillotine as was the case with Antoinette, Marie. Perhaps the devolution of societies and entire civilizations is a direct result of defective, erosive, blatant and imposed by authority 'blindness'.

Blindness is a subjective cognitive dissonance. It is our innate sensitivity to hypocrisy (real or imagined), in ourselves, in others and in civilization as a whole. It is an integral part of our 'social fit' in terms of group belonging, strength and if we are instructed to not communicate understandings between one another, we are doomed to a hopelessly downward trajectory as 'nations'. I'd say the most common areas in which cognitive dissonance has become a societal problem are not only increasing in their intensity but in their ability to cause societal damage. Some of those areas are: religion, politics and science. I place them in that order however it is much more likely that science is second only to religion in this. Sadly, we live in a civilization that has been conditioned to separate not only "church and state" (even waging wars to force others to swallow this extreme, killing them relentlessly if they don't) but to separate religion from that which religion is meant to legislate i.e. the 'state' and the 'universe'. As a muslim of course, I know for certain that without the state (politics) and the universe (science), "god" as such has literally no reason to exist at all. And I beg to differ. I either missed the memo or as a whole, others missed not just the memo but the entire operational handbook. I assure you, I missed nothing. What is more, we as muslims share this certainty with a whole contingent of other people in other 'religions' for lack of a better word. I urge those people to put aside their petty complaints about the personification of the unseen, their ideas of saviors and multiple sources for the same damn thing..... If only for the few minutes it will take to hear me out.

We live in a time where society has exiled their own creator to the sidelines. And it shows. We are ALL IN whether we know so or not. I refer to an important Quranic analogy about the sun and the moon being asked (by God) whether they would submit 'willingly or unwillingly'. Both replied, willingly. Neither of them were told to submit to humankind. Unlike the angels and the devils (djinn) who were ordered to follow specific directives. Angels follow immutable directives from God himself (and have no free will)and the djinn, follow directives both from "God" and from mankind. I assure you, they isn't too happy about that either. Unfortunately, some people got that a bit mixed up and believe the devils can control human beings. They can't but they will help humans to do the wrong thing if the human is so inspired to do so. And look around you. Many of them are doing exactly that...with seemingly magical means of ordering people to do what they are supposedly told to do. Like believe in Global Warming in spite of evidence to the contrary. Big evidence.

In this case I will again comment on a matter that presented itself and live with my own regrets as I see fit. Apparently yesterday, an article appeared in alot of FB feeds. It caused an acquaintance of mine some consternation because as an artist/activist/scientist, they didn't want to talk about it.. It was yet another man made global warming fear mongering article. I didn't take it seriously but many people did. People on both sides of the issue. Some people literally made videos about the idea that the article suggested an armageddonist message....from the left or rather the so called "left" which is peopled much more by agnostics/athiests than it is from theists and their ilk. So, regretfully I must respond to this gag order communicated to me by an innocent activist/artist/scientist who appears to be trying to follow the instructions the article gave. The article which disingenuously attached Trump and coal (unpopular things to liberal people) to scientific prophecy. Not for lack of a better word because science is prophecy. Like it or not.

The article originated from the United Nations, the same UN which has failed the Palestinian people over and over and over, turning blind eye after blind eye to state terrorism in numerous countries like Rwanda Cambodia and East Timor to name only a few. The same UN which sponsored one of the largest all-country burglaries WITH bribery programs (Food for Oil headed by the discredited Kofi Annan) in Iraq based on false evidence of WOMD which were never ever found. The agency that continues to aid and abet the ongoing wars on Arab people being waged by some seriously bad international actors (Israel, USA, Saudi Arabia). The UN that turns a blind eye to the starvation and suffering of the Yemeni people. And now, they hope to "save us all"....from ourselves? Are you kidding me?

The "global warming" article is "peer reviewed" but only by the "peers" embedded in the IPCC (a special branch of the UN) which is literally paid to prove global warming versus doing things the way they are actually done in science by considering all the variables (like the little tiny fireball in the sky known as the sun). In science, theories are tested and if they survive, are used to provide 'predictability' (prophecy). Few if any 'theories' are ever determined to be "settled" and that applies right on down to the theory of the speed of light. Yes. Some people don't know this but in science there are things known as Constants which are not constant at all. What has been determined, sometimes even by the researchers who discovered these hard core variables in the first place, is that CONSTANTS actually CHANGE over time and are dependent on a multitude of other variables, some of which are also these very same wayward "constants". E=MC squared is not the bedrock of all things we once thought it was. Worse, it can only remain constant if the universe has more than four dimensions (X, Y, Z and Time). The ones that we can actually study are truly very limited, as limited as the constants of 'religion' and the 'five' senses. The ones they create in mathematics (I refer to as mythematics) such as string theory (versus a much more likely 'theory of everything' known as the Electric Universe) are imaginary (the unseen world known as 'al ghaib' in Islam). Like "god" we can never ever know if they actually exist (through direct observation Big Bang-in-vivo versus God sitting on a cloud-o) and have no hope of actually studying an outcome...except...through mythematics which implies both logic and reason but doesn't actually prove it in real world evidence. Like the Big Bang which happened in the past and is utterly, entirely unobservable and developed mainly by Jesuit priest/scientists. All of those imaginary causes can only be observed indirectly and without direct observation, they will remain theories and for some (agnostics) that also applies to "god". No athiests then should legitimately support the Big Bang. That would be the most contradictory stance and quite laughable in terms of logical deductive reasoning. As well, many of these 'theories' are not what we call "reproducible" which in "science" is critical and much more so in what is known as "cosmology." Predictability, not the speed of light or other such "constants", is the real bedrock of science. Oddly enough, predictability is also the bedrock of religion. Imagine that! All religion, every single belief system on the planet concerns itself with one important thing and that is the 'future' and how we can avoid hardship in this life and beyond. By turning to the past.

Cosmology is the poorly veiled answer science has for "god". One of the best examples of 'god' in cosmology is what is known as the Universal Observer theory in which we can't even observe the data because when we do, we inadvertently change it. We change it through 'human interpretation' and through actual influence on subatomic particles (do we really or is this another excuse for things such as Bell's Theorem otherwise known as 'spooky action at a distance'?).

Climate as such is not only related to environmental factors (a blend of natural and man made (created using nature) influences) but more importantly, things way way out of human control in the realm of this same and 'godlike' cosmology. Not only out of human control but mostly outside of our ability to even observe it, forget even theorizing over it unless you accept that theories remain theories usually for eternity. Just like the afterlife.. If you don't think so then why does NASA spend so much money counting sunspots? Why has China just launched a new satellite that will provide vastly improved data sets regarding solar activity? What's the point of 'manned space flight' to planets that are as close as Naco is to Bisbee in the scheme of the Milky Way let alone the entire universe/multi-universes away from us? Why bother? Nothing here in Naco will tell you much at all about anything in Tokyo afterall.

Cut to the chase. We have now been told and many of us are dutifully following our marching orders which are being issued directly from the UN which has not provided more clean drinking water to the poor in the world. Instead, they have created more poverty (that THEN needs clean drinking water) in the world through numerous violent and state sponsored acts of aggression throughout the world by failing to hold the really seriously abusive states accountable (US/Israel). Benefiting not only from the war contracts that sprout up when serious issues are ignored but from the administration of recognizance in the aftermaths of these same wars...through so called "peace keeping missions". Marshall planning it all the way to the banks.

How on earth can anyone buy into this new weaponized doctrine of 'global warming' then? Since when has the UN done anything even remotely beneficial for anyone and even if they've had small successes, their large failures have cost millions the loss of life, liberty, wealth and sovereignty? How many times have they been caught red handed fostering war through institutionalized bought and paid for neglect? Not to mention, sex trafficking like that which was uncovered in one of their favorite hunting grounds called the Congo and Angola? Like the Catholic Church, the existence of this 'international flag ship of peace', it exists not because it is effective/honest/human centered but because it employs so many people and has self appointed itself to the 'human good' just like the popes appointed themselves to be 'god's representatives on earth' using smoke signals and insider trading. Some of these UN secular theologians are very highly paid having discarded all notions of that old useful vow of priestly poverty. Like members of the International Panel on Climate Change i.e. the IPCC who are treated to Enron-like island retreats and other career bonuses too numerous to mention in order that they continue to manufacture fake science. Fake SETTLED science. Who now are manufacturing this horrendously corrupt gag order by photographing a child next to the bones of an animal. They used to use sickly polar bears until National Geographic had to publish a retraction because polar bears are thriving. Increasing populations even.

Donald Trump appointed one of the most disgusting anti abortion, pro Israel/Zionist, pro death penalty monsters in modern history, Nikki Haley, who was just removed or resigned as I cross my t's and dot my i's today. Second only in terms of agregious appointments of John Bolton to National Security Advisor, who, if you ask me, has his own circle in Dante's hell right next to the Diablo himself. What on earth must be going on then?

That's the UN. Regardless of what you think about Dr. Ford's situation and that miserable catastrophe. No one batted an eyelash over Nikki Haley. Not. one. single. eye. lash. Not CNN, not FOX. Not the left that is too busy curtailing discussion about global warming and not the right that is too busy worrying about Alex Jones. Trust me, those two things are more related that you might imagine. And today, that awful David Gergen, CNNs answer to the burning man festival that the real rich and powerful men attend, owl oak lodge over in the redwoods...awful Gergen cited Haley as being a symbol of our 'stability'. To what? Zionism? He seems to be feeling the loss heavily.

But folks still want to love all this BS coming out of that monstrous agency known as the UN? Because if Donald Trump hates global warming, they must love global warming. They forget that Donald Trump has reoccupied the UN using people like Bolton and Haley. They like being scared and having others scare them. I'm here to tell you, you have your thinking caps screwed on and you've stripped the threads. It doesn't appear that many of you will ever be unable to unscrew your noggins because they are entirely jammed. I'm not at all surprised when in fact liberals embrace a policy coming out of a severely slanted and decidedly Bilderberg agency like the UN.

It's one thing to accuse human kind of using too many plastic water bottles and ruining the environment. It's a whole other parochially inspired nonsensical get-yourself-to-the-confessional and buy your tributes for the pope mentality when you believe that humans can change the actual climate, the cosmological climate that is so big that what happens on a star at the furthest reaches of just the tiny little Milky Way impacts the chlorophyll down in your little daffodil sanctuary next to your pot plants. Climate is not only God like, it has inspired many civilizations to build entire multilevel structures just to predict when the sun is going to rise in 20 years and some, in 20,000 years. I've come to a near conclusion that all that stuff about the Aztec calendar was real. It was real climate science, from the past, before we ran to the nearest Blockbuster to rent a copy of Back to the Future.

In Islam, we are instructed to go to the GRAVES. To study, in other words, ARCHAEOLOGY. The UN which has done its best to monopolize and cover the facts of the matter like the great flood and it might have been more than just one flood and I assure you, those floods wiped out entire civilizations and buried them with the fishes much like Obama hid the body of Osama. They will never be found. These cycles repeat themselves. No more and no less. Humans are not going to change anything about the climate, for the better or for the worse. When you are told that we caused it and we must change it, get out your pocket book because the next step in this grandiose robbery of mankind is going to be, we need to fix it. To fix it we (the cash strapped UN) not only need money but we need to inject the air with alot of crap like hail busting chemicGerman company was ordered to cease and desist by the Mexican government. Screw Nafta, clouds travel. Without passports.

Yes the climate is going to change. The beauty of this very rotten UN plan is that they knew that already. It's a win-win for them because they can always blame all that weirdly severe, early/late, record breaking snow on this poorly understood and studied only by those they pay to prove it MAN MADE global warming. They aren't really lying to you....global warming as a theory is truly 'man made'. I'd say it is MAN INVENTED and invented by some really corrupt 'men and women'. My challenge to people now then is to tell me how the IPCC explains volcanoes in this scheme of theirs. If volcanoes are not the smoking gun of predictability, I don't know what is. Mount St. Helens followed the ice storms in the 70s. It's right there in the record, we all lived it, most of us anyway. I guarantee you, global warming cannot answer this question, cannot provide you with your much deserved prophecy that stands between you and your death. Oddly enough, the solar minimums can and they've been giving that answer to mankind throughout history. The answer is: poof. Everyone and everything melts away leaving a few remnant structures that measure the sun's passage throughout very very long swatches of time. We too will melt or be buried standing in volcanic ash or fried in a burst of asteroid activity or hit on the head with baseball sized hail one day. Probably not tomorrow and certainly, telling anyone that in 2040 we are all going to die is not the business of Global Cooling folks.
We leave that to the Armageddonists at the UN IPCC who are putting the gun to your head and asking "all in"? No one is allowed a partial pass, just like all armageddonists who fail to comprehend that all things considered, who in the hell wants to survive that? How on earth is the UN going to save me? Or you? They clearly haven't managed to save all these other folks now did they?

There's an old saying.....never discuss RELIGION or POLITICS.

Now we must all abide by a third method of learning how to shut up and take it: we are no longer allowed to discuss the weather. Not from a rocking chair on the porch on a sunny day down in Georgia and certainly not in a conversation with a friend. Because through these various legislations emanating from a defunct piss poor church like the UN, things like SETTLED SCIENCE ARE ISSUED LIKE PAPAL BULLS to wide eyed, good hearted 'believers in science', Settled. Science.


It suddenly occurs to me, she refers to herself in third person using her given name. There is something innately wrong with this, as wrong as the use of the hippocampus to describe pearls to swine. Climate change can wait for today, today it is sunny and Sunday it will rain. We only need 48 hours of warning you know.

I woke up with a bad hangover. All that testimony left me feeling I might have chosen the wrong side of history again. They finally found that little girl who was strangled and left in the dirt, abducted from her bedroom by the assailant years ago. They also found a teenager whom he strangled.

Of course he raped them. Of course he did but we must wonder, since they are only bones and hair, was it before or after they died?

I'd like to be Louis CK right now or Bill Cosby. It's so close to home. She tells me he revealed another of the victims today, a would be polygamist who bought rings but not promises. A medical doctor no less. The bearer of the human torches we all ought to be but fall far, far short.

She refers to herself in the third person. She is never in the room in this act, always an observer or wanting to be observed. Like the hippocampus. The mysterious organ that rules all the planets or is 'thought to'.

Everyone is watching us all the time. We watch each other now, we count our numerous likes and even have a means for disliking each other without seeming to mean it as personal attack. We can delete this or that, we can edit it a little more and I assure you, the shot heard round the world kept me awake all night long. Because that wasn't a shot that was fired, it was a whole army marching into the fray, throwing themselves on their swords and remembering every last incident as if it were yesterday. I don't know but I am 100% certain about certainty. More like 50% in the virtue department. I know I am never wrong because no one truly purports to be wrong. Instead they just label it, dress it up with I'm sorry, no offense intended et cetera.

Those two girls pictures are on the front page of the free Mexican paper down at the store. I had no idea that the older girl was so beautiful. I love that the Mexicans do it this way, no holds barred. In other countries they show you the real photos. From car accidents to mass gang war shootings and beheadings. If life wasn't already so real I'd say, just wait, it's gonna get real, real soon.

Did I tell you I babysat and the kid's father cornered me in a garage, tried to feel me up and french kiss me? I got away. I got away from several sexual predators. Aren't they all? Hunters versus gatherers? I'm pretty sure I was raped but only if I change and insert a few variables. Pretend that I had not spent hours and hours in front of the mirror practicing to be a woman who needed a sperm donor.

She tells me now she hates them all. Her trust has been broken. Her ideals have been shattered. I want to say welcome to the club honey but instead I try to tell her: born alone, die alone, men = women. God's up there, here's the master copy of the test. Check it out. Yes, you were assaulted because you would never agree to do this if that variable were visible. But you see darling, they never are truly visible. Your windows are never really locked, your valuables are often stolen right from under your nose and it takes a good long time for you to see that they are missing. All those rights you did not really see as worth defending: your pussy. vagina. cunt. birth canal. Someone told you, told us all, that paying lip service to the labia is enough to physically guard it from invasion.

My mom's best friend Vera was raped with an ice pick. An ice pick. It left her barren. In more ways than one. She died a hopeless drunk with COPD.

Barbie refers to herself in the third person time and time again. As if she was never born, as if she will never die. As if the mechanics of the ruse are not as visible as they are. All that make up. We must all be clowns or geisha girls. We all have to side against the perpetrators or there must simply be something wrong with us. Because at the core of this problem is the fact that we are not in charge of our bodies anymore, like we were in the seventies and had guiltless sex. We are all molls in the mafia by now, dressed to the nines or naked. Forced to pretend that WASPs who go to binge drinking schools because their parents have money to burn were actually virginal girls in the safe confines of the cloister.

I'm surprised they did not attack the Jesuits too. I'll just throw that in for fun. Luckily, most of the nuns turned to each other. At least in my town they did. My best friend is a lesbian. She had five rotten step fathers in a row. Another person's father killed a man for assuming he was not just homeless but he was gay. The professor's body lay rotting in the tent for days before it was discovered.

We are on this wild pendulum ride now and there are no easy answers but the least we can do is not allow another pedophile strangler necrophiliac to live another day. By reducing our complaints to old stories of dry humps gone wrong. Or dads of the kids we babysat trying to indulge the fantasies engendered in them by Penthouse models with small tits wearing tiny kilts.

It's called a value system not a virtue system. We all know sexual abuse is wrong.


Fire Alarms of Citarum

Now, this is a new patio.  Same old stars and planets.  I think of the days when we'd not think twice over shooting out the streetlights, pulling the lever on the fire alarms even though they'd catch us with the blue dye on our palms, the place where our futures were written.  This is a new patio and a loving couple pass by just before dawn, clicking their tongues at the dog that they raised from just a puppy, that sweet smell of pup and love, that unifying element, that status quo of Western Civilization.  A dog named Boo whose abdomen exudes the memory of everyone's first bike and lost tooth.  This is a new patio but it's been here since the beginning of time.  Waiting for the sunrise this morning, waiting for the happy Mr. and Mrs. Smith to pass by, eager to improve their heart rates, lower their systolic BP.  Yes, that too, that too.  If I shot out the streetlight, things would come into focus but I don't own a gun.  Yet. I'd have to keep it out of reach where it would be of no use, would have to learn how it works and then, worry about it working, worry about how to keep it clean.  A well aimed stone would do the trick anyway and rocks are free, no hate speech intended.  They'd run to fix the EPA approved of lamp though because  in this hemisphere darkness is the enemy.  It looks too much like night. Mr. and Mrs. stride into the distance, holding the sin of their flashlight, praising and examining the character of their dog as the sun revives all this stuff one more time.  They'll be off to work in a few hours, the stores will all be open and no one will be the wiser. The price of Indigo is 4 billion somethings.  It says so on their hands. 


To Whom It May Concern Again it is coming of age, blown open blossom, turn key operators and survivors, coming up for air twice. Yet forty or fifty are burned alive, forty or fifty are buried, forty or fifty become lost scrambling up the hill to check. When the machines start to stop at zero, replacing the hums with great silence filled and fitted by one huge conversation between nature and her guests: promises and facts, big success stories, all of it gravity gravity gravity.


Causality of the Qiblas
-Don't look now, someone's done your starvin', CCR
The little stars are moving hard
knowing if right or west, such
great distances, monstrous dark
places in the sky. How strange
it is to consider the azure
disc, black and all so empty
save for this light as it enters
the lenses of atmosphere, one
after the other filters and delivers
to the Ard* her rainbows and cancer,
limonada and drought.
Yes, he gives light to the needs,
Yes exposes the hand that steals,
Yes says yes to the Mariana trench,
affirmative to the eyeless fish.
Brilliance strums the giant string
of bird noise at dawn as night
is bound to day in terminal slavery,
reflection pitches shadows on the moon.
Illumination brings out the fruit,
sow, seed and sweat.
Yes tows the iron and the iceberg.
He is Yes, flying those kites,
Yes brings the ants on home,
each and every time.
Yes is the neutrality in the dog fight,
the eternity of No
is half a heart beat long.

Causality of the Qiblas
-Don't look now, someone's done your starvin', CCR

The little stars are moving hard
knowing if right or west, such
great distances, monstrous dark
places in the sky. How strange
to consider the azure
disc, black and entirely itself
save for this light as it enters
the lenses of atmosphere, stacked
bandwidths and delivers
to the Ard* her rainbows and cancer,
lemonade and drought.
Yes, he gives light to the needs,
Yes exposes the hands that steal,
Yes says yes to the Mariana trench,
affirmative to the eyeless fish.
Brilliance strums the giant string
of bird noise at dawn as night
is bound to the day in terminal slavery.
Reflection pitches shadows on the moon.
Illumination solicits sow, seed and sweat.
Yes tows the iron and the iceberg.
He is Yes, flying those kites,
Yes brings the ants on home,
each and every time.
Yes is the neutrality in the dog fight,
the eternity of No
is half a heart beat long,
and the people bowed and prayed
to the Neon God They Made. -S & G


Detail from the Patron Saint Llorona Holding the 12,000 Year Clock-figure 2b
Naco was so beautiful at dusk last night....a little diamond choker beneath one enormous chinchilla collar made of cold steam. Worthy of a Saks Fifth Avenue insert yet all I keep thinking of are the particles the mammoth left behind, the hide and tusk cells still in the air. This mammoth has been after me since I was a child. Out near the old tailings pond, opposite the El Rancho murals and coin op horses...was she there on that broad Savannah, did she run up the old canyon chasing her child before falling under a hail of Clovis projectiles? Certain of finishing my mother's last thoughts as I sat on the front seat in the old Chevy in '72 and she pointed and said, "out there!" What if all those Border Patrol agents just started digging? We'd have a trench instead of a wall and rains like this would form a moat. How big is this castle after all? This. This is how Allah tells time. This is the over-and- over buried in the once-again.


However exhausting the ex lovers
that punctuate the lines
may be, there is one thing
for certain, it better not be me.
Time, for what it is worth,
doesn't wait. Even for itself.
I see that one everyday
hidden in the fender of an old car,
standing atop a bowl of lemons
crouching in the store window.
Nothing more than reflections,
little lights, darks and assumptions:
this must be a car, that must be
the 12th of May.
It used to be the sale of a soul
measured the length of our kisses.
Now it's the time between
Xarelto and Entresto,
named by the Gods themselves.
This is the ejection fraction,
here is insufficient data,
the disclaimer contains words
like 'hope' 'will' 'as soon as possible'.
Remember: it is a disclaimer.
After all is said and done,
after all the photos have been strewn,
the typos corrected,
our belongings divided between
the thrift store and museum,
the vacuum of our latitudes,
and longitudes, these solar polar
bang bangs shift into high gear
and since it is all towards
the famous improvement
of our generation,
you know, the one that escapes
the fate of the Anasazi, escapes
La Brea, escapes the dreaming-
of-a-steak Las Caux pictograms,
Since it is that.
Dearest Darling, Happy Valentine's Day.
The heart is a pump.
The soul is an occupying army.
These winds might blow it up
towards Jupiter.
I hear it looks like paisley
and the rain lasts longer than the year..


The Eulogy of a Thousand Ransoms

"When we are marching in the mud and cold
And when my pack seems more than I can hold" - Lili Marlene

"See how God is punishing you."  The smirk on his face must have frightened the other passengers, they must have moved over a bit to distance themselves from an energy none of them recognized as Satan.  The Evil Whisperer.  The commandeer of remorselessness.  Satan sat back and closed his eyes, chuckling to himself, as cheerful as could be as the bus ambled through the curfew colored darkness. As the viral count mounted one after another assault on the pious ones as much as those guilty of far greater things than murder, he could be seen back near the sullen little toddlers resting their heads on their mommie's laps, shaking his head over the ignorance of people, the impersonal nature of his God, the same God who created all these poor dumb human beings.  These runners from the fire scared of their own shadows.  

It was probably raining as he climbed onto one of the buses taking passengers out of the city, past the strewn-about bodies too dangerous to collect, through the dark coal soaked air of Montserrat  County.  It is the kind of rain that turns on and off without warning, a person can almost drown standing up in that kind of downpour, the downpours of West Africa that bring hurricanes to New Orleans.  She could not hear other voices in the background nor was she really interested in what they might be saying or not saying.  She knew who was on that bus down to the last demon.

Most likely the mood on the bus was as grim as it was on the bus she had taken from the airport in Nicosia to the detention center on the fair grounds on the other side of Cyprus during that onslaught in '06.  Ten days of heavy shelling had left her in an excited state of pure exhaustion in which sleep matters very little.  Sleep in that state requires too much energy.  He wasn't there, he didn't bother to call even though the cell phones and electricity were 24/7 the entire time.  Even though his own children were in the line of fire.  As she looked out the window of the unmarked bus heading out of Nicosia, she felt as if she was being herded like a goat to the slaughter, no idea where the bus might be taking her and her children if anywhere at all.  Regardless of not knowing where she was headed, she knew why.  It was a fact:  souls belong to the sender, to the originator, to the director.  Not to those bodies that drag the souls around day after day.  Those souls all return to the manufacturer one day.  Those souls are all on a trajectory whether they know it or not.  Of that she was certain, Cyprus was absolute proof.

She knew for certain he failed to understand the nature of his emigration now in '13, seven years later, knew he refused to comprehend that the battle was on for his soul, not his body.  He feared Ebola, not hell.  Last time they were together he'd said, "I cannot believe what you believe."  Her mouth fell open and she had remained silent.  It wouldn't do any good to warn him again.  He'd gone completely AWOL.

Indeed, perhaps God was punishing her for being so gullible when he'd suddenly turn on her during a long distance chat and call her stupid, remind her of how useless she had become.  As he mocked her by pretending to lose a tooth knowing full well that she had just lost her third and he'd not had a cavity in his entire life, he managed to look so terrified one might imagine he'd been diagnosed with an incurable disease.  He looked into the camera and covered his mouth, his forehead wrinkled into some kind of agonal death graph.  She nearly wept over his loss, knowing as she did how important his appearance was to him until he started laughing and revealed his intact incisor.  She had just shrugged it off as a bad joke.  As she always did, using humor to cover up the fact he was incapable of understanding other human beings, she hadn't considered yet the possibility he was now in a state of possession, not his own.  It was far worse than that and for that mistake born perhaps of exhaustion or worse, laziness, perhaps then God was punishing her for not stepping in a bit sooner by divorcing him long ago, perhaps when she woke up after a drunken suicide attempt, her second and found he had placed a baseball bat by her head.  But now it was God stepping in as he had done for her several years before when she'd tried to murder her own soul.  She knew all about the machinations of this mysterious war with the devil.  She'd survived not just a suicide attempt, she'd survived intact and burning with a desire to get full disclosure.  From God.  Who obliged her on a need to know basis rather than the want to know way most people believe it ought to be.  She just never thought she'd have to write a battle plan.  Never knew she'd be sitting in the position of gunner, thought she'd just be down in a trench dodging shrapnel with the knowledge that Armageddon was now on, full throttle.  For a few fleeting moments now and then, she almost wished she'd never been made privy to this outrageous contention for the human soul.  Very fleeting moments, regrettable ones at that.

Now though, she was too busy screaming to notice anything but her own noise, her face pressed against the laminate flooring as the pain inside of her chest blended with the excruciating struggle to yell louder than he could whisper in an attempt to wrest control back from her delusional captor thousands of miles away.  She'd been hit and hit in the vital organs.  Somewhere in her mind she believed that the louder she screamed, the greater the chance might be that he would just stop whispering into the phone, trying to dismantle her resolve to preserve whatever sanity she had left, stop her hemorrhage and restrain his mad ability to wreak havoc in her soul with just a look let alone with six words murmured with the intensity of an AK 47.  Into an electronic device.  In another hemisphere.  The world of the unseen.  Mouth to satellite to ear.  Enter through the eye of a needle, it is easier.  And the bleeding just continues for hours and days.  It's the Space Age now.

All she could do was scream and all she could scream was "Stop! Shut up! Stop! Motherfucker!"  Over and over until at last she lay quietly, exhausted and sweating from the writhing about on the floor.  She had already lost 25 pounds in 2 months, nothing tasted like it should and even if it did, she'd refuse it to stay at fighting weight, lithe enough to carry her own pack and his, light enough to avoid the landmines if she could.   She was in the midst of war.  She'd been there already for long enough to know the difference between a mere battle and Armageddon.  There is no time for food, there is only sustenance there on that field, enough to get through to the next break of day, the next night raid and hostage taking.  Somewhere in that bunker she realized she had the ransom.  It was enough to get both of them to enough safety to stop for a bit and reconnoiter the troops.   

Her friends would show up unannounced to drag her out to one or the other restaurants in town and finally they stopped coming at all, a certain element of victim blaming in their tone of voice the last time she would politely decline their final offers .  Her only appetite now was for information, for clues, for proof, things of monetary value, black market things.  She was also fatigued from explaining the complexity of events to each and every person around her, tired of trying to convince them that she knew where she was headed.  All they could see was the eye wall of a hurricane and through good intentions urged her to evacuate.  Seek a divorce, give up, we know what's best for you.

Thirty five years of marriage and slowly all of it was beginning to make sense.  If only it was the type of sense which made one feel that type of pure joy one must feel when their disease is cured rather than the agony they must feel on the day their CT shows a large tumor just to the left of their nipple, but the base of it is rooted in the lung, it is inoperable.  Regardless of knowing she was right about the email one of his girlfriends had sent, "you were crazy last night, did you make it home alright?"  Regardless of knowing that and the rest of it or at least the parts God had revealed to her, she still felt as if tangled and bound at the ankles and wrist, screaming through the rags in her mouth saturated with saliva and the metal taste of blood pooling in her lower lip.  She'd made one little mistake.  One unfortunate accusation that was clerical in nature rather than substantial. The email was real, it meant what it meant, he'd been out on the town with the lady from the bank.  The one who kept sending him messages on LinkdN.  Confronted with that, he scanned the message and of course, since the name was wrong, he had grounds for pulling out all the stops, grounds for another attempted assassination, no baseball bat required as he had learned from the whisperer, one need not use violence in the netherworld when six words will do.

She'd attributed the email to an elderly Catholic woman, the head of a charitable group working for USAID, instead of the actual sender.  The sender was actually just another poverty stricken mistress of which there must have been at least four or five, perhaps more.  It wasn't her fault, there were so many names and things to go through and she'd mixed up the names.  She had piles of bank statements next to her computer in the guest room.  The stack of paper was such that if the door sucked closed suddenly from a draft, they'd slip off the desk like platelets forming enormous clots of white on the floor, one after another drifting through the air.  She'd pick them up each time, scouring them as she did and find one more cash withdrawal from a bank machine near a casino on the reservation in Tucson.  She'd mark it with one of the yellow highlighters and replace all of it into chronological order once again.  The time line would expand another month or two, January 2009 to March 2009 and on to this afternoon, "..see how God is punishing you?"

Perhaps God was punishing her as she shut the front door and watched the officers check in using their radios at their car out front.  They ran her in the system, cautioned her to change her address at the DMV, saw there were no outstanding tickets or warrants, no protection orders and handed her driver's license back, their faces a combination of pity and seriousness. They must have seen it all in their jobs.  From dead cows out on 92 to meth addicts holding guns to their head up at one of the dumpsters on American Avenue a mile away from her home.  Her neighbors were all on board, she'd warned them one by one that things might not be normal at her house for a while.  She'd told Janice of course.  Told her the marriage might be over.  The old woman across the street was trying to quit smoking but would call her up to bum a cigarette now and then.  It was nice to have a neighbor who for the price of a Pall Mall would listen to her laments for a half hour.  Janice advised her to get a boyfriend.  Standard advice from those not privy to the real issue at hand, the End Times things.  Those of us that know Armageddon gets us all.

This afternoon however, a gardener from another town had been trimming the grass across the street at Janice's house.  He alerted the police and feared for the inmates of the house across the street, he feared for her and whoever else might be screaming but he couldn't decipher the message.  He could not have known that the perpetrator was thousands of miles away on a bus running for his own life during the Ebola outbreak, on that bus down a few seats from Satan who was cheering him on, chuckling and goading him to more outrageous taunts than the ones before, each blow more daring than the last.  Poor Janice must have discussed it with her hired man and knowing as she did from personal experience, suicide can and should be prevented but it was likely she didn't want to betray her friend's confidence so she went along with the emergency call.  She knew the woman across the street was all alone but "common" sense got the best of her. Janice's husband had put a gun to his head over a quarter of a century before but it might as well have been yesterday, or the day her son did the same thing a decade later.  Janice lived with regrets and didn't need more of those so she let the gardener use the land line to call in a civil disturbance.

After the door closed and the police drove away, she dropped to her knees and just wept. Her old dog was outside hiding in the garage.  He looked as if he hadn't been fed for days however that wasn't the case.  He just couldn't eat either.  When he died some years later she buried him on High Lonesome and returned in a few weeks to collect whatever bones she could find.  The ordeal had taken years off of his life, Ebola kills dogs when it can and as she dug his shallow grave, her captor who had become her captive stood near coercing her to finish as quickly as possible, as if this death did not matter.  Stood there sinning as he was wont to continue to do and this she knew, and this agreed to.  There was no option in the matter.  Afterall, she understood the machinations of this war.  She understood the ransom of souls, the value of captives, the unseen bargains and treaties.  She had purchased the lease on his soul using the five swears, she just omitted her signature on the fifth after he had signed on his.  She didn't purchase it knowing she had done so, she only refrained from cursing him out of fear for her own soul, that much is for certain.  She knew he was as clueless about that as he was about the old dog's bones, as clueless about the sign he related back then.  He'd been in his shop on Gurley Street just down a bit from Sinkor when a man fell face first onto the sidewalk, infected to the gills with Ebola, dead before he hit the ground.  No one would remove the body for hours and hours and he must have felt more than a little uncomfortable thinking that God had him in the cross hairs by then.

Sometimes she felt she'd signed a contract with the devil by forgiving him, by taking him back.  She knew he was incurable, she knew he was blind but she'd had a dream long ago.  Fortunately she had written it down and for whatever reason, it turned up on the battlefield as if God himself had tended to it all those years lest it be forgotten.  In the dream, his mother had come to her and offered her $20 to go pick up her son on the other side of town, a place known as the Ouzai.  She knew exactly what the money was for when she reviewed the document so many years later, she just didn't know if it would be enough to get them both through that dismal last battlefield.  She mentioned it to his mother who was aware of her son's deviance from the path she'd taught him about herself and his mother agreed.  His mother was asking her to purchase her son's ransom in the dream, to rescue not just one of the fallen, not just a compatriot cut down by friendly fire.  She was asking to rescue a traitor.

When she collected the dog's bones she took her grandsons with her as if to insure that one day if she ever had to relate to them the importance of it all, she could remind them of her vow to bring the dog home, even if it was just one tooth or a single vertebrae.  Remind them to leave not one man behind in enemy territory, not one faithful animal either.  Nor their corpses.  To teach them about the sanctity of their vows and the ravages of their abuses.  To caution them with some real firepower.  It would be enough proof for them to know it wasn't just another one of her crazy old recollections, those stories she'd tell them about her days in the prison or the time she belted a Syrian in the gut with a walking stick.  She might let them see into the dark world of the gaslight, the prison tunnels she knew so well, explain it to prove God to them if she ever had to.  And although she knew she would never would do that unless they were in danger of becoming lost themselves, she would never do it to harm anyone even him.  She'd keep his secret if it meant these boys might recall the old man when they meet him in heaven.  All children deserve that much of an investment.  That ransom gave her just enough leverage for the never-ending tenure of being a jailer with a captive, just enough leverage to keep enough ammunition in the barrel lest he tries to jump ship again.  Just enough ammo to get off a few warning shots in his direction if need be.

Those bones.  She'd hold them in her hand and see that dog standing out in the rain, fearful of her screams.  Fearful of the demon that was trying to collect her too.  Wise dog.  Brown.  His ancestors in the Cave calling out to him in his sleep.

It was as if all those artifacts might somehow be used to build the ark she needed to get through the rest of her earthly life, to carry a few souls alongside her if she could manage to stay boarded herself.  Sails made of bank statements, oars made of femurs, the windful whispers of souls and saints and shaitans churning up the waves as the faithful stand on deck holding on for dear life, grandmother at the helm.  It's a rudder not a wheel she says to herself.  It steers in a contradictory manner.

Sailing on this sea of memory, hand to helm, the memory of near drowning in her own sweat on the floor while Janice bit her cheek and fought the urge to join her own men long since gone, to pull her own trigger, she'd pray to live only long enough to arm these little boys if she could, these youngsters out with her robbing graves. She prayed to die before she'd ever have to see them succumb to the machinations of the war mongerer, the slave driver, the hell-bent bothers of the accursed one whose sentence has always been hell while ours is only yet death while we live.  To live long enough to show them that fear is the devil's doing, in the shadow of the valley of death, fear no evil.  The Good Bible says without showing one how to load a cannon, how to escape the darkness of ignorance, how to ransom a soul.  It's all just alot of talk to little boys.

Lightning flashed on the horizon as the intrusion of innumerable battering memories poured down on her decks interspersed with a few clear days here and there.  At times she feared the next storm, at others she waxed nostalgic over battles won.  Death nears without exception, Armageddon gets us all.  Even her and if she could, she'd sit beside them at her grave and remind them to wash their faces, change their socks.  She'd whisper to them, I loved him anyway.  I had to.  You'd not have been here at my grave had I not given in to all that charm he used on those ladies.  He charmed me as he charmed them.  She'd whisper, I love you both too.  She'd whisper, I love your wives even though you have none.  I want you all.

Love she thought, love is not what the rest of them think afterall.  Love is the battle, love is the leading of the troops home, love starts on a mattress and ends in the grave.  Love is the thousand ransoms you hold onto, hoping against hope you won't spend them in this life frivolously on romance and all of its trappings or waste them on the gamble, later is always too late in roulette.  The gambler pushes his chair away only when his pocket turns up empty.  All our days are numbered but the receipt is in the safe.  It isn't collateral.   

Love, love thy neighbor.  Love thy spouse.  Love everything and fight to keep it whole.  Love is better than Love.  She'll tell those two boys with regret in her voice that it's better to save than to spend and how she'd hoped to never have to.  Either one.  She'll tell those two boys, carry on.  At ease.