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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 2,662

About Me

More things I say at <a href=\"http://vixenstrangelymakesuncommonsense.blogspot.com\"> Strangely Blogged</a>.

Journal Archives

Swimming in Their Blood

In the beginning was the first blow,
and the first blow begat vengeance,
and the next blow begat vengeance,
and vengeance begat vengeance,
like a family tree of misery.

The never-ending tit for tat
wrenched babes from tit and
tattered the world.
The vision of She Who Ever Fights
wades in the blood of the fallen
and her sword arm never fails.

And with each generation the lie
of who did what to whom and how
blood answering blood
will cancel the stain,
and ever do we see an
increasingly blood-stained history.

And microscopically I see
the everfighting bacilli
invisible to the naked eye
wading in the blood of those who
ever fight, infecting them
with bloody dreams.

For my steel, a needle
I might prefer, to subtly inject
an antidote to this bloody strain
that so poisonously infects,
inoculating with common good
against whatever this is
swimming in their blood.

The Ghosts of Fallen Women

My head is always beset
with the visions of fallen women
bloody in hotel rooms,
murdered at home,
lying in ditches,
traduced and betrayed,
in Magdalene Laundries,
on coroner's gurneys,
throwing themselves downstairs,
taking pennyroyal oil
and bleeding,
dying for days.

These living women
haunt my conscience,
these girls who shrieked
their labor songs in chains,
or were jailed for dropping
their gifts like stones,
who threaded the path between
their addictions
and the health of two,

who took beatings knowing they
did not
take those beatings alone.

My mind is haunted
with the knowledge of gifted women
happy in motherhood
blessed with strength
privileged in many ways--
and they remind me also
of these so many ways
the freedom to bear
means everything.

And that the freedom to choose
one's life, and
the freedom over one's body,
and the triumph
of the once-"fallen"
is the only redemption I give a damn about.
For the sake of the dead and gone,
for the sake of the here and now,
and for the sake of those
to be.

Only choices
let my
women be free.

The Dream is Not for The Awakened

The American Dream
is leveraged to the hilt
if you must know what
became of it.
For those whose dream is
America alone--they have it
but for those told that we had such plans
luxurious, great, unbelievable?

Our borrowed education and
mortgaged homes
and credit cards to bandage over
our occasional failures of making
rent remind us that our freedom
to dream is not free
and our human capital
gives us only so much credit,
and it is so very amortized
over time.

The dream of steady work,
pensions, savings,
time to enjoy your spouse
and kids--translate to flexible schedules,
personal savings plans,
and occasional leave.
But none of this was the dream.

There was a time when you or I
settled, eventually
by our fig and vine,
and drank deep of the richness
of life and the reward
of upright and righteous living,
our future generations
planning their way
where a way was clear-cut
and paved.

We drop our generations
into gorse and thistle
and we ourselves beat
among the reeds.

The dream was sold away
by those with seller's lips
and coster's eyes to sell to
us the fruits of our own labor
at a price so dear,
we pass up material comfort
because dreams are cheap,
and success is
priced out of our market.

Why don't we dream?

Because we know.

Why don't we dream?

We have seen.

Don't sell your pitted wares
from this gilded pulpit
and forget the labor that
our wallet means--

You think a dream is our birthright--
but some would sell it gladly for
a hill of beans.

What matters

What matters is the terror
that makes the indignity
pale before
the need to cry out
in self-defense
of your body,
notwithstanding the
threat to your mind
or the threat to your
but the terror of control.

That word,
the specter of unseemliness
and the collective distaste
at the messiness
of so-called undignified
or unrespectable people;
the idea there should be self-control--

it's a lie.

When others have control
of you,
they strip that dignity and
they determine what seems
and make a new story
from the silence
of your stolen voice.

That undignified self
is a self robbed of dignity.
That unrespectable self,
is a self denied respect.

That control--
that some people have when
they shoot themselves while in handcuffs.

That control--
that some people have
when they find the strength to heave themselves up
by a bed sheet.

That control--
that some people have when they remain a threat
after ten or twenty or thirty
bullets fill their bodies.

That control--
that some people have when they
can provoke getting their body slammed
with a certain look in their eyes.

That control--
when all the education and self-determination
end up in an altercation
and a trip to a weekend
incarceration--no round trip.

That control, is a control
done unto,
and is done without respect for
your life.

And that is what matters.

And that is a situation very much out of control.

"The Left" Is Actually Obsessed With Cake.

Sen. Ted Cruz has addressed LGBT rights again, and once again the best way I can describe our differences is "cake or death."

What Cruz has to say about "the left" and our weird support of gay rights is:

"Is there something about the left and I am going to put the media in this category that is obsessed with sex?" Cruz asked reporters at an event in Beaumont, Texas, according to the Texas Tribune.

"ISIS is executing homosexuals you want to talk about gay rights?" Cruz continued. "This week was a very bad week for gay rights because the expansion of ISIS, the expansion of radical, theocratic, Islamic zealots that crucify Christians, that behead children and that murder homosexuals that ought to be concerning you far more than asking six questions all on the same topic."

Cruz railed against "mandatory same-sex marriage" and criticized a reporter for asking about his views on gay marriage, according to the Texas Tribune.

Nobody on the left gives two damns about what consenting adults (key words, "consenting" and "adults") do in their private time. What we are concerned about is a public issue--how LGBT people's rights are respected in employment, in commerce, in not being harassed in schools, workplaces, or the street, and in being able to form property contracts with the partner of their choosing. It's not the sex--after all, Lawrence v. Texas used equal treatment under the law to invalidate anti-sodomy laws that discriminated specifically against LGBT people, and the accomplished attorney Cruz should be well aware of that case. The movement for equality is about rights that extend beyond the bedroom, but do not extend beyond those that straight people already enjoy.

So it happens that when Governor Pence or Governor Jindal enshrine a tradition that excludes certain people as a class by elevating the distinction of other people's religious prejudices, they are actually violating the equal treatment concept. They are saying that some classes (where that class is picked out by some but not all persons as uniquely deserving of being so singled out--and which should not exist as a class by law because we should presume equality) get to be treated differently because some other class (religious people, whose faith exemption from the law of the land is taken at face value because they have shouted the equivalent of "dibs-no homo!") is being given special treatment.

To either not understand the distinction because it is too outside of one's ideological box to grasp it, or to be able to well and truly able to grasp it in principle, but be quite cozy in not grasping it in practice, are both hallmarks of a craven mind. Yeah. I went there.

Also, and I am so glad Ted Cruz brought this up--ISIS is not the standard by which Americans should judge our conduct. Saying that any group should be content with less than full equality because elsewhere they might face death is a cop-out. We are not like ISIS here. But this does not mean that we should be satisfied with just not being ISIS. I woke up this morning, and I was not an axe-murderer. Is that my standard?

Comparing ourselves to the worst of humanity is a fairly disgraceful scale. We torture, but seldom with rape. We use mines, but not in the fields where children farm. We drone, but mostly we go after "evil-doers". But the reason Sen. Cruz seems comfortable with this comparison is because he doesn't have a problem with the discrimination itself. Only the degree--like a whore, we know what he is and are quibbling about his price.

And I, on the other hand, know what that discrimination is like, to a degree, and realize that there are Americans who aren't all that removed from ISIS on this score.

The choice is cake or death. The Left will always go with cake. This is because we are not out of our damn minds.

Her Body: Graveyard

The first time at twenty-five
I felt the child inside me alive
until the cramp and blood--
the violent ending
of my unsung son.

And the second time,
she barely registered--
a missed period, a test,
and I guessed,
maybe yes--this time
I'd fight my biology.
But I fought nausea
and in tears knew
how quickly
ceased to be.

My hard-fought fertility
has taken me from
the bed to the ER
to doctors and the spare
couch where I have sat,
paging through unaffordable options,
to have
just one, adorable child.

So tell me,
when this one dies,
if it dies, under my heart,
when do I start to heal--

with a surgical finish
and a promise that we will meet again?
Or will some
jumped up motherfucker
make me leave his little
joined in me until the
rush of
thankless labor
some days off
let me unburden the ghost
of another child I did not have?

Make my heart a
and inscribe there
their names unwritten
for what your laws will make
of my potters' womb.

A monument to death in me.
My life a tomb
for your

Her Body: Home

She saw the pills in the drain of the sink,
covered in coffee grounds.
He could have rinsed them down--
but he wanted her to see.
She thought about rinsing them off
and hiding them somewhere like her purse,
but she didn't. Playing that game
would only make it worse.
She told herself she could get more
if she said she was just seeing her ma;
he would let her go then, she could
make it quick--it wasn't so far.

And then a week went by and she didn't go.
And then there were two.
By the third week she thought
about it a lot; by the sixth week, she knew.
She couldn't say a word to him--
he'd only rub it in her face
and she didn't know what story
might get her to that other place,
the one halfway across the state
with the 72-hour wait.

Her Body Battlefield

The battle was here
on her skin,
under her nails,
thick in her nostrils,
warm at her legs,
for moments,
desperate for weeks.

When the
became her emergency
the truce flag
was waved
not by herself
but by the heroes
she thought might
have saved

but she
was given up for dead
on the battlefield
of her body
(or at least, hors
de combat),

and her occupier was
treated with
as if
she mattered no more.
For on one battle
rested her entire

Her Body Migrant

They wanted her
back down,
no hope,
used, traded.

nightmares only.
Freedom denied
and penetration
Stolen life
a story
of transit-points
and bargains
and sometimes,

she was the chip.

This seed
that tastes like shame

holds a body in bounds,

and would you dare bargain for her
freedom with indifference to her

not call this thing "rape"?

Make her body the place
you sink in your
staff and wave your
merry flag? A fish and a cross?

Fuck yourself.

Her body is her proof.
Let her have her freedom.

And leave your beady little conscience
to its worrying stones.
She bore her cross
why should she bear
a crown of thorns?

Her body is not your business to shame
but the burden you
to know.

And if you do not dare--
speak no more of her fate
slink down from your place;
for you have no right to
what you would
not face.
Her body,
and the sanctity of its life.

The Horizon of Veronica Smart

The speedboat named The Horizon, owned by one Veronica Smart, was an unsalvageable mess after plowing uncontrollably into a less-fortunate speedboat, which had no salvageable persons onboard. But The Horizon had Veronica Smart, and her insurance was very good and rescuing her was like salvaging gold bars with little rubies worked in. The Coast Guard picked up what remained of Veronica Smart and, after finding that she was in no way responsible for what happened, left it to the doctors to figure out how to make the most out of what they pulled out of the water.

Veronica was young, healthy, 28 years old, the daughter of a politically-influential billionaire. She was attractive, headstrong, athletic, and missing quite a lot, but the doctors were reasonably sure that they had the technology to keep her mostly intact and functional.

Of course, there was the issue of consent. What they were proposing was a bit dramatic. But when they explained that her body, such as it was, could either undergo dozens of operations and months if not years of physical therapy to regain a portion of her original functionality, or could be restored to even more optimal functionality by a full replacement of her damaged limbs with the most advanced cybernetics, she was intrigued. Having though about it for a bare minute, and understanding full well that money was no object--she consented. Getting right back to what she considered her business, without any major hiatus, seemed a fully reasonable decision.

Of course, it didn't go quite as well as was expected.
The problem was where to leave well enough alone, and there really hadn't been a very good well-enough. Her legs were shot, but they led to her brittle and shocked hip-sockets, which could be rimmed with steel, but then, what of the rest of her pelvis, and then, her spine had several fractures, but figuring out where to put a rod in was a bit delicate. And well, her arms were broken, but where does one stop? 3D printed clavicles, breastbone, steel-reinforced bones, and then, well, the nerve-damage caused a bit of a confusion about the opportunistic infection that affected her fingers, because having about 40% of her body replaced had triggered a bit of a shocky insulin response. So they went with the hands, too.

She had quite a few more surgeries than she thought she would, and coming out of the epidural fog she wondered really, what was her and what wasn't. But when she got the hang of the commands and how to integrate the replacements with her thoughts, it was really more like relearning how to use a part of herself, and not like mastering a tool at all.

All in all, she was about 60% new. Her teeth were already implants from an unfortunate horse-riding accident. Her jaw was enhanced.

She took off before her therapy was complete, because she had things to do. She got a PDA hardwired into her left temple, because of course she did. She was a living WiFi hotspot. She could hit up search engines at the speed of thought. She downloaded mods to her cybernetic limbs to enjoy VR games. She acquired a peripheral robot servitor to do little errands that sent her date via a remote cam.

They weren't sure what to make of her when she went back in to ask if her diaphragm wasn't right. What she meant was--her breathing wasn't optimal. She coughed. She presented an ungodly green sputum. What she assumed was a wares issue was a biological concern--pneumonia. Quite a bad case, too. And she rather innocently signed a request form to see about getting artificial lungs. It was the Plague years, after all, and lungs could not be simply replaced from donors if needed. And the tech to get cloned lungs wasn't as on-demand as the meat-vatters insisted in their investment paperwork.

She got the pneumo-works and a stainless steel heart. It clattered in a charming way that made her think of teapots. This motivated her to really sink herself into her chosen work--

Charity. It always struck Veronica that she had been uniquely blessed in her life, after all, with money, and looks and all that. It also always occurred to her that she had hovered near-death more than a few times. So she built a few hospitals that performed, if not the same high-tech therapies that kept her running, reasonable technologies that allowed poor people to live a bit longer. She raised money--but that was for sponsoring the unfortunates who benefitted from her hospitals. Otherwise, she made a profit from people who had Brand X, Y or Z insurance and could sort of aspire to her ideal, which she put in her biography and all her charity literature. To be remade, healthy and new.

The digestive system was replaced with stainless steel and PVC after all her necessary medications took a toll on stomach, intestines, bladder and spleen, to the extent where she demanded they come out, or everyone on the staff of her premier hospital get sacked. And her actual nutritive requirement was so low, anymore, that she required ergs more than calories to go on. Her skin was replaced with a flexible solar-cell sheath.

Her first face lift was an actually lifted face. Her epidermis couldn't handle the heat of her various cranial implants anyway. The pseudoskin with solar cell inlays would never wrinkle, and the pores allowed optimal ventilation. Her eyebrows and hair were real. Ish. She kept abreast of all innovations in the body-mod arts as she led her father's business to capitalize on a hundred or so amazing new things to do with a human base model.

Her eggs were stored at thirty five and frozen because they were doing no good in her ovaries, and those little bastards had to come out because menstruation was ridiculous, and so did her uterus because she would hire a mother for her kids, anyway, and fallopian tubes were just iffy little pistols up in her junk, right?

Her eyes and ears were basically sub-optimal. Having downloaded wares that persuaded her of the enhancements to her senses (along with a guarantee of no decline in sensory experience) she bought in for the top-of the line optical and auditory implants. She could see ultra-violet and infra-red. She could hear dog-whistles.

She came at last with some profound sensory dysphoria and seizing to the crack medical team that had been advising her all this time. She wasn't hitting her targets. She was missing words sometimes. There were gaps in her holographic memory of her chronological life.

They did a CAT scan. The tangerine-sized thing that was all that remained of her original wetware processing was sick. It was dying, in fact.

They tried to be very circumspect and gentle. "Your brain is nearly dead," her GP explained.

"I remember who I am and I know what I want to do--so it can't be my whole brain, right?" Veronica replied.

"Well, no, you have processors for all the tech that make up your body, but your original birth-body brain is falling apart. Your parts work, but the organic 'you' is not working. It's dying."

She gave it a moment's thought. "Would I process more optimally without the wetware?"

Her doctors conferred. It was possible. Her various processors for the different parts worked well enough together. The wetware was human, but was it necessary?

"It is probable," one of them ventured.

"As I suspected," Veronica replied, and accessed her cell phone. "Execute estate protocol, fig. A corporate personhood, fig. B contract to serve corp. That is all." She then instructed the doctors. "I would prefer you remove the malfunctioning wetware so that I can continue performing optimally."

One of the surgeons gasped--"But that is the last part of you that is fully human!"

Veronica regarded him mildly. "I was Veronica when 75% human, and 50% human. I was Veronica at 90% factory parts. Why would the smallest part of my brain make a difference, now? And besides, I'm getting married in a week." She grinned and added "A church wedding."

Hardly anyone did have church weddings anymore. The alarmed doctor gulped and asked--"Does your intended know?"

And she replied "That is between me and my doctors! Just get my brain out of here, can you do that? My groom awaits!"

And the wedding was purely lovely, the cathedral, glorious, the groom, totally nervous, and of all too many human parts.

But that, of necessity, could be corrected.

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