in praise of weight

"there are possibly 2 ½ or impossibly 3 individuals every several fat thousand years" ~ e.e. cummings fat thousand years, a rich millennium, a pendulum swung heavy, regal, slow a fruit so ripe its flesh dents under thumb when plucked from branches laden, angled low let time be fat, and men and women ample let never belly sour, hungry for hope let us live large, and make a great example let our grand dances avalanche downslope our words have weight; our actions can make matter of airy thought and insubstantial dream life is a feast, heaped like a groaning platter made succulent with butter, oil and cream believe, dear heart – they only do you damage who try to trim you down until you vanish

brawl scrawl

How doth the frimbling donnybrook bisect a torrid flan Then find a winding tumbleweed to drape its scrapes upon? The nether weather's never clear enough to glimpse the mist Betwixt the fixtures' baffled laughters, fearful of a twist. Just listen. Welters melt, and gilded geldings pine for mates. Their late embraces face the svelte erasure of the dates When shoes wear feet, and dews compete to drench the desert's jowls. Its muffled scuffle rips its lips free of their grip - and howls. Horrendous mendicants relax. Though taxed until they bruise, They'll spin thin sinews into strings that other things can use. Heaped deep in narrow barrows that depend upon red wheels, The toil they spend won't end until the oil defeats the squeal. Oh, never doubt that out's a smaller side of wall than in. Only a strong belong lets more than trifling life begin. Let conflagrations sizzle, drizzle overmatching blaze, And shed predation for the lore of one who humbly prays.


Life imitates art imitating life, informed by forms assembled in response to mythic heroes, petty childhood taunts. An empty canvas duels a palette knife; keys under fingers grapple, twist and slip. A thought - the ball in play that arcs to earth, the soap dropped in the bath - well, is it worth the crush of bodies or the long, cold drip? Yet long before they tell you where the zone lies at the end of long green fields, you know the screen, the cloudy waters are a veil dividing you from what you've always known: that victory is not a place you go but what stays locked inside you if you fail.

Brainwashing 101

Brainwashing 101 (Yesterday I got into an interesting debate on Twitter around the notion of reciting the Pledge of Allegiance at government meetings. My assertion was that the flag and the pledge are, to a certain extent, arbitrary symbols. They stand for America, but the sense in which they do so is highly individual. Do they stand for America as we currently are? the whole sum of our history? or the idealized dream of what I hope for us to be? The effect is different based on an individual's understanding. My esteemed fellow ponderer insisted that any rote recitation is, primarily and inescapably, an instrument used to reinforce unthinking obedience to authority. As such, they argued that mandatory recitation was archaic and a form of brainwashing. That particular discussion is over, but it inspired me today to describe in detail what brainwashing entails, as I understand it, in case I ever find myself in another situation where I wish to clarify the point.) Brainwashing (dictionary definition: is systematically manipulating someone to change their attitudes and beliefs. Torture can be part of it, especially when gov'ts or terrorist groups brainwash, but I'm expressly not including torture in the following comments as I don't know anything meaningful about its use. Before brainwashing as such can take effect it's necessary to lay a foundation of distrust in own judgments & punishment for wrong thought. Punishment for wrong thought must be reflexive, self-inflicted, tied to whatever is most precious: affection, sense of belonging, self-love. Once belief that "my disagreement w authority X is my filth & unworth as a being" is really, truly solid, then brainwashing begins in earnest. Each individual dwells inside their own personality. Can touch, and potentially alter, any system. Systems must be anchored or erode in time. That is why self-condemnation must come first, to create a protective shell of fear and loathing around systems which brainwashing will install. Similarly, the acquisition of new knowledge must be hedged with protective rejection reflexes. Natural fear of anything strange exaggerated. Everything flows to this anchor: reject and condemn self. Elevate authority X. Not over self but over other loves, other sources of identity. Identity rests in self but actually isn't sourced there. The need to have permission of authority for self-judgments and new perceptions to be valid comes first. Directly founded upon this, love must be constrained. The fountainhead of all motivation is love; the more you love, the more your identity has power. Love powers the personality as sunlight powers the growth of plants. Thus all love must route through authority, to concentrate that power. Not that all love must be directed towards authority- this limits perception to the point where daily functionality is compromised and tends to increase the likelihood of counterproductive and/or self-destructive behavior. But authority must condone all emotion, especially affection or approval- the motive for these experiences must factually originate within the self, but self cannot be perceived as their source. No valid perceptions, judgments, actions or experiences can originate in self. Authority must confer validity and worth after the fact. If this validation is withheld, the experience of individual identity can be largely negated. Authority stands ever between self and the world. Without at least an abstract sense of authority's approval, to enjoy a sunset, choose a soda flavor, (yikes!) read a book should terrify. The universe is inherently, aggressively hostile. However this hostility is justified. Self is 100% blameworthy, unless authority intervenes. Once this sense of an inimical universe lightly held at bay by authority's whim is solid, the other can be defined. The other is optional, but the fear and self-disgust which hide authority's control of decision-making from any conscious examination should be projected outward. Ideally equating "punishment for wrong thought" with the other is so deeply ingrained that the worthlessness of self ceases to be perceived. This second, outer layer of emotional pain reiterates and mirrors the inner, functional foundation of self-rejection. It further protects authority's control from examination. Externalizing hate and wrongness onto the other provides partial, symptomatic relief from the painful experience of self-rejection. The destruction of the image of the other, and the myth of the other as the source of unworthiness, would result in self experiencing the full weight of that continuous inner negation and will thus be avoided. To recap: 1. self worthless, authority confers worth 2. new data bad 3. no unauthorized love 4. universe hostile 5. project self-hate onto other When these systems are properly installed the personality will perceive them to be self-generated. All personality systems must be perceived as self-generated or else their function will be compromised. Once they are firmly in place, commands can be given. Because internal systems of authority control are presented as originating in self, commands designed for compatibility with this will have greatest effect. Commands packaged as enticements, as suggestions, as mock "problems" which can be easily solved by routing emotion and decision-making through the control systems are likely to be effective. Use simple, incomplete patterns. The mind's ability to see & complete patterns is largely pre-conscious: consciousness is only activated after. This is desirable. Under all circumstances minimize, deride, punish and disincentivize conscious thought.

poem for "Unicorns Are Jerks"

The 'title' of each stanza is actually Theo's caption from the relevant page of her wonderful coloring book, Unicorns Are Jerks. Which you can totally buy at Though my poem is not in it, you can always do what I did and write it on the blank pages opposite. ----- Everyone thinks unicorns are pure and magical, but really they're jerks. This sober fact I must attest: a Unicorn's amusement's best described as "Someone else, annoyed." (The German word is Schadenfreude.) Unicorns use up all of your shampoo. That special soap for which you saved a Unicorn will use (the knave!), then ask you, sniffing, if you've seen the mess they guess is yours to clean. Unicorns hog your fries. "Let's get some lunch!" say Unicorns. Once you arrive, they could have sworn it was your plan to take them there and order fries you meant to "share." Unicorns borrow your clothes without permission and stretch them out. They "borrow" only what is new - your favorites, that look best on you if Unicorns are left alone five minutes while you're on the phone! Unicorns judge you for your taste in music. "Oh, you like them?" they say with scorn - no matter what! A Unicorn will criticize each song they wrote not having heard a single note. Unicorns dine and dash. They wave around a messy hoof and drive the waitstaff through the roof, demanding everything "just so" but then don't pay before they go! Unicorns talk and text in movie theaters. A Unicorn will not sit through to watch the plot unfold (like you). They'll talk out loud, and spoil with glee the details from IMDB. Unicorns don't replace the toilet paper roll. How can they wipe, with hooves? Who knows? The tissue's used up when they go. Those Unicorns leave in a rush, don't light a match - or even flush. Unicorns sing breakup songs around you when you've just been dumped. When your whole world has been squished flat a Unicorn's amused by that. A friend would tell you grief can't last, not sing sad songs to mock your past. Unicorns fart in elevators. On purpose. They'll use their horn to block the door, tromp on your two feet with their four, flick their bright tail with grace and art and then let loose a monstrous fart. Unicorns monopolize the ball pit and don't let anyone else in. A ball pit's made to play and share. But when some Unicorns are there their pointy horns and rowdy play mean we're more wise to stay away. Unicorns never listen. They never try to make amends. Instead, a Unicorn pretends you pointing out the things they've done is "drama" you made up for fun. Unicorns delete your music collection and replace it with their own audio memoirs. They mess with files on your device without permission (that's not nice!), delete your stuff, and when they're done behave as if you owe them one. Unicorns eat your leftovers. YOU WERE SAVING THAT! Although the fridge is full of treats, of course the magic horse just eats that special thing you really want, bought from your favorite restaurant. Unicorns spend the whole trip sulking because you wouldn't let them drive. Since teleporting magically is hard, and gas YOU burn is free They'll beg for rides to far and near then pout when you won't let them steer. Unicorns are the worst house guests, and they never leave. They ask to crash for "just one night" but never leave without a fight, nor ever lift a hoof to clean though last week's lunch is turning green. When you point out that unicorns are being jerks, they act like YOU'RE the jerk. Confronted with their own "horse play" a Unicorn will always say you're making a big, stupid deal of something that's not even real. Don't be a unicorn. Even unicorns don't appreciate it. These magic horses' uncool ways can leave you steaming mad for days. They may look nice- but they're no fun to hang around. So don't be one.

no chore

the mess you left me yesterday is in my way. the cold floor slaps sleep-tender feet I'm up, for if we eat is mine to say. when I shake you awake, I pray the day we face will end with me held in your arms again. today's mess may be mine. I mean, only the dead are clean. life gives the soul indignant needs: eat, shit. drink, bleed. this mess does prove we live - entangled, as we move in sheets and fates. no chore, but love, to smooth them out once more.


you want to get what gets you what you want and yet the acquisition of intent is where the bulk of bloody money's spent. sketch on white napkins in posh restaurants to pay the piper dancing to the tombs prepared for those whose lack has made you great. the waiter lifts away the empty plate, hushed as unmentioned elephants in rooms. the hand that feeds, once bit, will feed no more. those dogs who cannot hunt sit by the bowl; whomever's rooting through the cabinet must see the beasts that crouch behind the door must keep them thus, must spend for their control more than is meet to keep their needs well met.

dragon histories

An X-ray beam inside the ancient stone spreads out, reflects a fan of angled peeks inside the fossil Archaeopteryx, at feathers anchored to its hollow bones. A flock of robots wavers in the sky. Their plastic exoskeletons owe much to this clawed beast no human hand may touch. Far from the first of vertebrates to fly, it seized a happy accident's design, leapt from a limb and, reaching, did not fall - spread wings which are but ghostly shadows now. Will our experiments leave such a sign, set down in text or chipped from limestone wall, when dragons turn to ask their histories - how?


the road unfurls an icy landscape, seen, not walked by bone-sore legs on frostbit feet face winter through a window, through a screen as wheels crush slush that vibrates through your seat gloves on the wheel, a scarf across your mouth you touch no thing and all that touches you was built to meet the hands you now reach out your only world's the made things world leaks through five thousand generations fought to tame the wind and lightning, growing things and ground give every object function and a name which we can call to answer to its sound infuse world with the internet of things then hang from it, marionettes on strings