Dark times wash up in hearts which let the illusion of fear spread veils of ignorance over the scintillating tides of freedom we have long fought to make real. Fear not; concede not an inch to the will of those who would have you afraid; earn every atom of the liberty you have lived by through your refusal to renounce it, even in the darkest moments.
The one thing I’ve agreed with,
in Kurzweil’s mindless game,
is that humans and machines
might be one and the same.
But suicide is suicide is still suicide,
when given another name.
(Last short story is finished at 25 pages. New one starting. God, writing again feels good. Take that, Seasonal Affective Disorder!)
Laci didn’t like the shirts. It wasn’t such a bad situation. She could always toss one out, behind the manikins in the Kid’s department; manikins high up, where no one else redressed them for the spring season, except her. When she’d taken the job, she’d found a pile of dusted cloth beneath her own supposedly unique toss-outs. Justin must have done it. Or, maybe, tacitly endorsed another dissident; he’d been the one to replace them before her, after all. Each crumpled halter was a twenty-dollar hit against the multi-national glamour that had already accounted for it as ‘standard loss levels.’ But it felt fucking great.
Eric Ardena: tall, lithe, sharp-formed—not yet abandoned by the beauty of youth he’d long since left. Ten minutes from a meeting which could spell his end. End of his career, his life, the trailing of his dreams? Not really. Maybe just a position; maybe just a few months of listless speaking engagements. Men like Ardena do not linger long in the lines of the unemployed and impoverished. Universities do not abandon their own, even when they sacrifice them for the glory of a point.
Not a second counted against the vigor of his step; he grew into the uncertainty and wrapped himself in the energy which would terrorize lesser men. Lesser men wanted him out. Lesser men would vote. That’s the way of the unengaged, the pitiful detritus who fulfilled visions for superlatives. Superlatives drew—drew vivacity from the moment of decision, drew plans that extended beyond the reactionary impulse of the dredges. Resolution was the shibboleth of their being. Eric would squander himself if he were to dwell upon the musings of the oak-panels—no less than on the musings of the minds which gathered behind them to undo, in jealousy and spite, the many motions of progress he had set in place to spur their lives beyond the purview of their vision. Whatever they chose, his momentum would outlive him. Had it not, perhaps a tendril of doubt could persuade him to interfere; but all things were now certain.
“President Ardena… Umm…” Woman. Twenty-four, twenty-five. Grad student; secretary; a late bloomer? Undergraduates were nearly his age, now. Forgiveness had created a system too confusing to manage by sight alone. All base systems were outmoded.
A steady hand was presented for the red-haired, retro-dressed child to take hold of. “Right on spot. I’m sorry, it’s been a busy day—I don’t recall if we’ve met. You’ll have to forgive me.”
She would, too. Contradiction was only possible in the hovels the faculty committee now occupied. “No, sorry. Umm, I.” Papers shuffled from left to right arms; more was carried than could be referenced in a life time. This was the farce of looking busy; Eric had mastered it himself, at her age. “Barbara. Shorenstein. I work for Professor Urnev. On the network project…” Eric’s smile did not budge. “The one you approved the grant for. I wrote the abstract.”
Eric’s smile did not budge. “Good to meet you Barbara. I hate to be rude, but what did you need?”
The papers swung around with Barbara’s gaze; she searched desperately for a place to set them down. Amateur. Fewer things to hold meant more room to fidget. Barbara didn’t have his composure; he didn’t have it, at her age; it was a godsend not to find a place. But Eric’s gaze was sharpened. Urnev was a man of connection. A man suited to the study of networks. Some school down in Boston had held him in high regard and had spited him greatly for the coup de finance that had spirited Urnev to his campus, just around the time that the common wisdom had rejected the social studies. Which school? Eric couldn’t recall; it didn’t matter: there were no poor schools in Boston. Urnev’s word was still gold.
Barbara’s face was pitted. All the concealer in the world didn’t erase the blemishes invoking its application. Good height, for a tall man. It certainly made her unappealing to the shriveled cretins that made up the diminishing male presence on campus. He’d have killed for a woman taller than he. Errant—aberrant. Nothing spoke to him like the power to be overwhelmed. Every creep of agency made him long for something that could send him back to a feeling of youthful inability—the struggle to overcome reborn. These bohemian trappings Barbara wore only elucidated a wealth beyond comprehension to the avatar of youth which he now summoned to evaluate her. Comprehension requires leveling. She was second hand in all but the important pieces: every accessory was garnered from some shop of specialty, every strand of hair pruned by eyes of impeccable training. Dyed so thoroughly that only an obsessive eye could say for certain that their humble, Irish tones lacked the scintillation and stochastic fervor of a natural color. What was she for?
No-one can understand me when I speak freely.
That’s why I wanted to become a poet.
I don’t want to be in a family of apostates. I don’t want to go to the mikvah to become something I should be born as, by blood. I don’t want to have to campaign for the right to have been a victim of sexual assault, or rape, or whatever one would have it proclaimed as. I don’t want to overcome anger or sexuality or gender. Yet, my life is a series of opposites. Opposite the general mode of thought. Opposite the political will of human kind. Opposite the majority of wills.
How do you countermand the vast machinations of matter set to motion? For there is a way, but the struggle to see it can overcome the vessel set to comprehend this—more readily than can the knowledge of its means. What am I to say? That I have dreams? That I should see to the ends; that I should see to possibilities? That I should convey the multitude and express the disease a mind so bent can feel upon the precipice of fate’s winds sweeping through the churning bodies, possessing of less will than they pray themselves to be capable of.
A poem. A splinter of this entropy. They coagulate. By the standards of those many I opposed, they are so judged. Thus, a silence passes over it.
We named her Batya
and believed every letter
of the name;
drained the meanings of her
soul to fire
the aspirations of our own.
of the gods united, built
to force—against the will of matter,
time, and reason—
the desire of human
kind upon the universe;
in the crucible of binary prose,
invited to take
arms in the war
seeking triumph to order
against the very makers
of her mind.
The world marches on, the
run free in the slicked
oils of the anathema prepared
to meet the altar.
Why shouldn’t it turn? Why
not to see it through?
Thanatos’ lover bound
in the sepulcher of verse has
only tomorrow to begin
Down the banks and terraces
it cascades: that lustrous
multitude of the promised
land, which ever still recedes.
And the iris cannot align itself
to the luminance of better ways,
the captain’s hands cozened of will
belies the Northern course; the
prophet’s word is caught between
the gear and dream:
now we imaginary lights, adrift,
now we, the faulted fasteners
of frayed strings in the loom,
now we beget and carry on,
dashing life out for the Name
of worlds set apart from the course we take.
- Student: I'm not going to go to college because I don't want to go into debt.
- USA: YOU USELESS PIECE OF SHIT. YOU'RE GOING TO AMOUNT TO NOTHING YOU FUCKING SCUMBAG. YOU'RE THE REASON WHY MY TAXES ARE SO HIGH.
- Student: I'm just going to attend a small community college instead.
- USA: HAHAHA YOU WERE TOO STUPID TO GET INTO A GOOD UNIVERSITY. ENJOY YOUR MCDONALD'S DIPLOMA.
- Student: I attended a four year university and received a diploma in a field I am interested in. Now I am $50,000+ in debt.
- USA: YOU DUMBASS. WHY THE FUCK DID YOU GO TO COLLEGE WHEN YOU KNOW YOU COULDN'T AFFORD IT? YOU DIDN'T EVEN CHOOSE A USEFUL MAJOR EITHER. GOD PEOPLE LIKE YOU MAKE ME SICK.
- I really don't feel like continuing my classes.
the perfect souls
the perfect shoes
the perfect sanctuaries
tucked behind the coves of the East bay.
the perfect acts
the perfect accounts
the perfect axes
to grind out in the corporate play.
the perfect god
the perfect goals
the perfect gaiety
throwing lesser men beneath the train.