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Member since: Sun Jun 4, 2017, 05:46 PM
Number of posts: 821

Journal Archives

Fortunato in the Catacomb

What strange pale dream-mist is this,
That drifts between in-here and out-there?

Where have fled the feelings of my youth?
Desire, passion, lust, engagement, even shame?
Why is the village square so empty?
Where are the friends of my youth?
Where its blood-red certainty?

Where is any sense of future?
Of past?
Of present?
Where is the desire to live?
Or even desire to die?

Victor Frankl taught us that a man can live without hope,
So long as he can still create the dream of meaning.
To dream - aye, there's the rub.

It is not loss of hope that tops that slippery slide,
Rather it's the epiphanic horror of knowing
That meaning must be created anew in every moment.

Woe betide the man who but relaxes for an instant,
And in that precious twinkling slips his grasp
Of all desire to invent more spurious meanings.

"Enough, enough," his spirit murmurs.
The dream-mist drifts,
I cannot see you through its veil.
The candle gutters.
Posted by The_jackalope | Tue Jul 10, 2018, 07:28 PM (1 replies)

British anti-terrorism police called in as unknown substance leaves two people critical

Source: Reuters

AMESBURY, England (Reuters) - British counter-terrorism officers joined a police investigation on Wednesday after two people were found in critical condition from suspected exposure to an unknown substance near the English city where a former Russian spy was poisoned.

Britain’s Sun newspaper reported that the man and woman had been poisoned and were showing similar symptoms to those displayed by ex-double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia who were victims of a nerve agent attack in March.

The Sun said samples of the toxin involved had been sent to the nearby military research centre of Porton Down for testing.

Read more: https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-police-critical/two-people-in-critical-condition-in-uk-after-incident-in-amesbury-police-idUKKBN1JU058
Posted by The_jackalope | Wed Jul 4, 2018, 11:02 AM (2 replies)

In Memory Of Those Who Have Gone Silent

Carefully I thread my bison-bone needle
With the gut of a sea otter.
Tenderly, stitch by stitch,
I sew up my mouth.
Bind my feet with drift net,
My hands with razor wire.
Without a final glance,
Pour acid mine tailings into my eyes.
All witnessing and action stilled,
I slip soundlessly into the abyss;
Adding one more stillness to the lifeless sea.
Posted by The_jackalope | Tue Jul 3, 2018, 12:12 PM (3 replies)

We will not end Trumpism by voting.

The USA may be able to vote Trump and the Republicans out of office. However, Trumpism itself is not a political movement, except incidentally. It's a revenge movement, a movement of total retaliation. It has spawned a "kind of politics that is nearly impossible to deal with using reason or empathy or awareness-raising or any of the other favorite tools of the left."

This why I have suspected since halfway through the campaign that the USA is headed toward an abyss that looks a lot like some kind of civil war. And I don't have the first clue about how to prevent that outcome.

This Political Theorist Predicted the Rise of Trumpism. His Name Was Hunter S. Thompson

Most people read Hell’s Angels for the lurid stories of sex and drugs. But that misses the point entirely. What’s truly shocking about reading the book today is how well Thompson foresaw the retaliatory, right-wing politics that now goes by the name of Trumpism. After following the motorcycle guys around for months, Thompson concluded that the most striking thing about them was not their hedonism but their “ethic of total retaliation” against a technologically advanced and economically changing America in which they felt they’d been counted out and left behind. Thompson saw the appeal of that retaliatory ethic. He claimed that a small part of every human being longs to burn it all down, especially when faced with great and impersonal powers that seem hostile to your very existence. In the United States, a place of ever greater and more impersonal powers, the ethic of total retaliation was likely to catch on.

What made that outcome almost certain, Thompson thought, was the obliviousness of Berkeley, California, types who, from the safety of their cocktail parties, imagined that they understood and represented the downtrodden. The Berkeley types, Thompson thought, were not going to realize how presumptuous they had been until the downtrodden broke into one of those cocktail parties and embarked on a campaign of rape, pillage, and slaughter. For Thompson, the Angels weren’t important because they heralded a new movement of cultural hedonism, but because they were the advance guard for a new kind of right-wing politics. As Thompson presciently wrote in the Nation piece he later expanded on in Hell’s Angels, that kind of politics is “nearly impossible to deal with” using reason or empathy or awareness-raising or any of the other favorite tools of the left.

Fifty years after Thompson published his book, a lot of Americans have come to feel like motorcycle guys. At a time when so many of us are trying to understand what happened in the election, there are few better resources than Hell’s Angels. That’s not because Thompson was the only American writer to warn coastal, left-liberal elites about their disconnection from poor and working-class white voters. Plenty of people issued such warnings: journalists like Thomas Edsall, who for decades has been documenting the rise of “red America,” and scholars like Christopher Lasch, who saw as early as the 1980s that the elite embrace of technological advancement and individual liberation looked like a “revolt” to the mass of Americans, most of whom have been on the losing end of enough “innovations” to be skeptical about the dogmas of progress.
Posted by The_jackalope | Fri Jun 29, 2018, 05:22 PM (15 replies)

How long must your nation go without revolting

Before we can say your nation has become revolting?

Asking for an ally.
Posted by The_jackalope | Fri Jun 22, 2018, 12:38 AM (9 replies)


by Warsan Shire

no one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark
you only run for the border
when you see the whole city running as well

your neighbors running faster than you
breath bloody in their throats
the boy you went to school with
who kissed you dizzy behind the old tin factory
is holding a gun bigger than his body
you only leave home
when home won't let you stay.

no one leaves home unless home chases you
fire under feet
hot blood in your belly
it's not something you ever thought of doing
until the blade burnt threats into
your neck
and even then you carried the anthem under
your breath
only tearing up your passport in an airport toilets
sobbing as each mouthful of paper
made it clear that you wouldn't be going back.

you have to understand,
that no one puts their children in a boat
unless the water is safer than the land
no one burns their palms
under trains
beneath carriages
no one spends days and nights in the stomach of a truck
feeding on newspaper unless the miles travelled
means something more than journey.
no one crawls under fences
no one wants to be beaten

no one chooses refugee camps
or strip searches where your
body is left aching
or prison,
because prison is safer
than a city of fire
and one prison guard
in the night
is better than a truckload
of men who look like your father
no one could take it
no one could stomach it
no one skin would be tough enough

go home blacks
dirty immigrants
asylum seekers
sucking our country dry
niggers with their hands out
they smell strange
messed up their country and now they want
to mess ours up
how do the words
the dirty looks
roll off your backs
maybe because the blow is softer
than a limb torn off

or the words are more tender
than fourteen men between
your legs
or the insults are easier
to swallow
than rubble
than bone
than your child body
in pieces.
i want to go home,
but home is the mouth of a shark
home is the barrel of the gun
and no one would leave home
unless home chased you to the shore
unless home told you
to quicken your legs
leave your clothes behind
crawl through the desert
wade through the oceans
be hunger
forget pride
your survival is more important

no one leaves home until home is a sweaty voice in your ear
run away from me now
i dont know what i've become
but i know that anywhere
is safer than here
Posted by The_jackalope | Thu Jun 21, 2018, 12:33 PM (3 replies)

Scene on a bus

Written after I arrived at work this morning.

On the bus a greying civil servant
Clutches his strap with the grip of a drowning man.

Tears streak his cheeks,
Flooding from behind dark glasses
That protect his eyes from the sun
And the bovine gaze of strangers.

In his hand, an iPhone.
On its screen
A black-haired little girl
Screams forever in red shoes.
Posted by The_jackalope | Thu Jun 21, 2018, 08:55 AM (0 replies)

Scene on a bus

On the bus a greying civil servant
Clutches his strap with the grip of a drowning man.

Tears streak his cheeks,
Flooding from behind dark glasses
That protect his eyes from the sun
And the bovine gaze of strangers.

In his hand, an iPhone.
On its screen
A black-haired little girl
Screams forever in red shoes.

I wrote this after arriving at work this morning.
Posted by The_jackalope | Thu Jun 21, 2018, 08:19 AM (0 replies)

The Reading

I know this isn't exactly poetry, any more (or less) than life itself is poetry. However, I claim poetic license because of my use of the word "guttering".

This short story is a metaphorical account of my life right now, woven around a Tarot reading I pulled on the afternoon I wrote it.

I had the narrative all worked out and was about to try and invent a suitable reading to drop into it. For some reason I decided to see what the Universe had to say, and did an actual reading. It turns out that the Universe knows best after all. It was only the second reading I'd ever done, and it freaked me right the fuck out.

The circular 7-card spread used in the story is called "The Path". The card interpretations are drawn from "The Tarot Handbook" by Hajo Banzhaf, with light editing for flow.


I walk down the line of people that winds like a river to the wooden door. A lifetime line of hearts and minds flows past. At the end of the line I turn and take my place. People already there smile and greet me warmly.

"Hey, you're here!" "It's good to see you!" Then a conversation-stopper: "How did you find out about this?"

I have no coherent answer for them. I'd been out walking, and something had whispered, perhaps in the voice of a leaf. "Go that way."

I hadn't wanted to go that way, of course. That way looked quite uphill, and I already had another destination in mind. But a few steps around the next bend, the path I followed was blocked by a wind-fallen tree. From its leaves that same intuition whispered to me once again, "That way. Go that way."

So I went that way, and here I am at the foot of a long line of smiling people, standing in the shade of maple trees, without a clue or a care in the world.

I look back along the life-long lineup. The door at its head opens; a person steps inside; the door closes.

We wait in the sun-dappled shade, chatting like old friends. It seems that the call has been strong for all of us.

In what feels like scant minutes the door is right in front of me. I admire the precision of its workmanship, the rustic elegance of its hardware, the sheer beauty of its wood. Soundlessly it swings open.

I step across the threshold into a dim room that feels like warm, peaceful awareness. A thought fleets by: "If a room could feel like love, it would feel like this."

A voice that sounds just like the room invites me to sit down. I do.

On the table, two guttering candles and a deck of cards, set on a cloth whose colour escapes me. From the other side she looks at me through wide, dark, almond-shaped eyes, with a smile that reminds me somehow of a painting in the Louvre. My gaze keeps coming back to her eyes. She holds my glance and lets the connection develop in its own time.

"You want to Know." It's not a question.
"Yes," I tell her.

"Do you have a Question?" I swear her voice spoke the upper case.
I think as fast as I can.
"Yes, I do."

"Then we shall begin."

She holds out the deck of cards.
"Please shuffle these as much as you wish."
I shuffle and hand it back. As she takes it our fingers graze, and I notice that she noticed.

A flick of her wrist fans the cards onto the table.

"Please pick any seven cards, thinking of your question as you do it. Please use your left hand."

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven. Done.

She turns my cards over one by one, arranging them in a circle on the cloth.
After a moment she looks back at me. "Your question concerns a relationship."

As the candles flicker, the room shrinks to just her eyes and the circle of cards. She begins to speak their story.

"The card in the first position shows the subject of your question. It is the Three of Swords. This indicates that there is a decision to be made that is in opposition to your feelings. This could signify either an obstacle or a liberation. The rest of your cards say it is the latter. This indicates that you are freeing yourself from dependencies and doubtful habits through the power of your mind. This is a painful, yet necessary step.

"The card in the second place is the Ace of Swords. It represents the principle of higher reason, of clarity and resoluteness. In a relationship, this card represents the relief of a conversation that clears the air; it indicates a solution, the mastering of a deep-lying problem. You have properly analysed the matter, and see it clearly.

"In the third position is The Lovers. This card indicates a great experience in love, yet with the requirement that a previous framework be renounced. That renunciation is essential for the possibility of love held by this card to manifest. Perhaps discarding past approaches is the decision that is in opposition to your feelings, as told in the first card.

"In the fourth position is the Two of Cups, signifying the loving encounter. In the personal realm it indicates flirting, spontaneously falling in love, or finding the expression of loving relations within an existing partnership. You give others the impression of being in love, that an interesting and lively encounter has spurred you on.

"In position five we find the Page of Pentacles. It proclaims an opportunity that is offered to you, one that is sound and reliable. It speaks of having a valuable and enduring experience, and stands for the initiative that turns a flirtation into a solid bond. Here it is not a matter of you doing something, but rather your willingness to let yourself be helped or given something.

"Position six is the King of Wands, that represents the masculine side of the fire element. It is the incarnation of self-assurance and the affirmation of life. This card is an expression of idealistic striving for growth, and the great potential for development and maturation of a person. Let yourself be guided by the strength of your faith and your inner certainty. Stay true to yourself and your moral principles. Trust in your sense of justice and prove your inner greatness in this matter.

"Finally in position seven we have the Three of Pentacles. The test that was the subject of the question, as given by the first card, has been passed. This card shows you entering new realms of joyful experience. It also shows the successful conclusion of some aspect of education or development in connection with a new beginning on a higher level. You have reached a threshold where you can step into a new phase of your life. The time is ripe, and there is no need to hesitate."

Her eyes never left mine as she spoke, and deepened as each card was told. Looking into them now made me dizzy.

"I can see in you that the reading is true. If there is nothing left undone here, I invite you to sign the guest book by the back door. I try to keep all my friends."

Reluctantly breaking our gaze, I walk slowly toward the back door. Someone else's pulse pounds in my ears.

A thick leather-bound book rests on a small table. I pick up the pen and inscribe my name on a fresh sheet of hand-made paper. Impulsively I turn back the pages, and smile when I see that one of the men just ahead of me in line has left this comment:

"Eyes you can get found in."

Perfect perception, perfect words.

Stepping across the next threshold, gently closing the door behind me, I emerge smiling into the sunlight of my new world.
Posted by The_jackalope | Mon May 21, 2018, 09:38 AM (0 replies)

Principal Uncertainty

Principal Uncertainty

I cannot know your truth,
Nor yours, or yours, or yours.
Nor can any of you know mine.
We say we hear each other's words,
But mere vibrations of the air are poor carriers
For such profound subtleties as Truth.
Even the singing energies of the universe seem,
In the end, a purely personal affair.

So, in heedlessness or love, we act on faith.
Send out our deepest heartborn dreams,
Desires, values, aspirations,
Embossed on quivering molecules.
Praying all the while that some shred arrives intact,
Though we will never know for sure.

Upon such jellied foundations it is our conceit
To build the monuments of Self and God,
Then after, raise a glass of good Merlot to celebrate
Our deep-felt sense of shared community.

Posted by The_jackalope | Fri May 4, 2018, 08:47 AM (0 replies)
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