In the cards…

Simple 5 card spread. I don’t write fiction.

“Not I, nor anyone else can travel that road for you.
You must travel it by yourself.
It is not far. It is within reach.
Perhaps you have been on it since you were born, and did not know.
Perhaps it is everywhere – on water and land.”

-Walt Whitman – Leaves Of Grass

I went back to Travis’s house.

Found the driveway on the first try.

Parked my car and went inside.

“I didn’t much care for us, minus you”, I said.

“But you were never far”, he answered.

There is no road here, no map and no landmarks.

Who we are in the present moment is all we can become.

“It’s like sight reading”, I told him, “we must live in real time.”

It’s not yet, but it could be:



Sheeple Listen

The Tower is a card about war, a war between the structures of lies and the lightning flash of truth.

It happened again.  I heard on the news that “It is in our nature to demand an explanation”, so by all means, let the explaining commence.

Tell me how he was such a nice young man whose mother just so happened to purchase the very weapons that were later used to take not only her life, but the lives of 20 children and 5 other adults before her son turned them on himself.  I guess she got her money’s worth. I mean, killing human beings; that is what they’re designed to do, right?

Tell me how we didn’t miss the signs because there weren’t any.

Tell me how more guns equal less crime.  Like more vermin equal less disease?

Tell me how video games are probably to blame.

Tell me how a lunatic, is a lunatic, is a lunatic and will find a way with, or without, access to a gun.

Unabomber, Jeffry Dahmer

let us pray

for Timothy McVeigh

but god didn’t stop them.

Adam Lanza could’ve showed up with a car bomb or a pick ax, but he didn’t. The s’umbitch showed up with a gun, just like Jared Lee Loughner, just like James Holmes, just like all the other legally armed murderers who, in the name of self defense, purchased an arsenal sufficient to defend a small country, when in fact the killer was on the lawn the whole time. They outnumber Hanibal Lector a thousand to one and yet we look for explanations that favor insanity over weaponry. Brave Clarice. You will let me know when those lambs stop screaming, won’t you?

Tell me how guns are not the problem.

Tell me how pedaling fear is not the problem.

Tell me how the unabated sale of firearms to any deranged asshole with a credit card is not the fucking problem.

Go on now, tell me, I wanna know.

Tell me how this latest incident won’t incite scores of new gun sales.

Tell me how one of those guns won’t end up in the hands of a disturbed individual when they slip past the end of their rope.

After we rinse and repeat, you can tell me again.

Tell me about your 2nd Amendment rights.

Tell me how god hates abortion,

don’t tread on me, motherfucker.

Tell me why I should have to defend myself against a legally armed murderer.

But on second thought, maybe guns aren’t the problem.

Maybe YOU are the problem.

Maybe your tiresome rhetoric and psychotic, garbage-head paranoia are the problem.

Your back woods, snake handling revival, seventh grade ed*u*macation and “family” values just might be the problem. Trolling the floor of wal-mart, blind-sided by falling prices and high on Diet Pepsi; yeah….that’s you alright.

When Jesus talks, the sheeple listen.

Therein lies the problem.

Coffee Grounds

He wondered how many times I would pass his driveway so he stood on the porch to count. Somewhere around the 4th time I turned in and he forgot right away that he had been counting something.

I got out of my car and stepped over a snake that was coiled lazily in the sun. He didn’t see it but it saw me. It always does. Red touches yellow, me and this fellow.

Travis invited me in. He had survived the Leo, but the Scorpio is a different kettle of fish entirely. He was apprehensive about my visit.

Unusual. A déja-vu of sorts, like pulling an old book off the shelf. I should be a stranger here but I don’t feel out of place. I press my ear against history to listen for voices. Nothing.

But there’s my picture on the wall. Memories of me that I didn’t know existed were kept alive. I was here in a parallel universe, hiding in plain sight.

“You wear your clothes well” he told me and I remembered that I forgot he had a clothing fetish; an odd quality for a guy who hates underwear. I forgot but he knew all along. The things he carried were with him the whole time. I didn’t tell him about the times I would get up from the couch to cry alone in my bathroom. I couldn’t explain why I would do that. Nor did I mention any of the other things I did to forget him, to get over it, to cowboy-the-fuck-up and get on with the business of living. I couldn’t sit in his house and tell him about these things as I clearly had not done them with any measure of success.

Reality is an all or nothing proposition so I opt for nothing. The key aspect of any lucid dream is the realization that all the characters are you.

I thought I heard the devil talking. “Hey son, why ain’t you got no face? I could paint one on you, for a price.” I wondered which of us was being spoken to and decided it wasn’t me, or maybe it was me talking. My portraits have faces in any case.

“I liked it when you asked if I thought about you”, he said, “and I want you to know that I still have your filter and I use it every day.” He poured me a cup of coffee. I had no idea what he was talking about so my reply was only a quizzical look. “Your metal coffee filter”, he explained, and I still looked confused, “from the gallery“, he seemed to think it was so obvious and then suddenly I remembered and it was funny and sweet all at the same time.

This morning I woke up to find my kitchen floor flooded. I splashed up to the counter to dump yesterday’s coffee grounds into the sink and prepare to start over. Brewing coffee in the rising water: the way the world ends, the way the world begins.

Reconstructing Shelly


She’s not wild about the name, Shelly.

I could help, I thought. We rode in the car for two days.

I spoke of ordering experience from a catalog and I wanted to know if she was happy with her purchases. “Will you spend the rest of your life this way?” I asked. It sounded like I was asking her but I was really asking myself.

We traveled to the land of technicolor mountains, we slept on a hard bed in a small room and sat at the feet of a yogi whom we both wanted to fuck. We walked in the mountains and swung on an ancient gate. We stepped on grave stones and sat under trees.

None of this is real, we agreed. But it doesn’t matter because it’s just as easy to create one illusion as another.

My Current Ex

There is a stream that flows past my house. It is old like the beginning of time and it flows into outer space.

Four years ago Travis dumped me for his wife. They were already married.

I visited their home once and his wife, The Leo, was not there. While I did not fondle anything that belonged to her, I left with a telepathic uplink directly to her scheming little head. She was a high stakes gamer. I guess it takes one to know one.

I am a formidable adversary but it wasn’t my fight.

I told Travis, “Your wife is having an affair.”
“No, she’s not.” he replied.
Yes, she is”, I insisted.
“No, she’s not, but even if she were I wouldn’t care.”
“Ok but, yes, she is.”
“No, she’s not. I know her and she would never do that.”
“Yes, she would, and not only that but she is.”
“You don’t need to say anything more about this”, he told me.
“Ok, but I don’t want you to get all pee-pee hearted when you find out.”

I don’t know exactly HOW, but I knew with absolute certainty that I was right.

Two weeks later, on Friday of Memorial Day weekend, The Leo went out of town and accidentally on purpose forgot to log out of her email account on their shared computer.

There is a stream that flows past my house. From time to time it turns rancid and kills all the fish.

The next day, while I sat in my car in the parking lot of a church, Travis explained to me all the ways in which he was to blame for his wife’s affair and how he would walk through fire to get her back. “What the fuck is wrong with you?!?!” I demanded. I hung up the phone and went inside to photograph a wedding.

That same day, Dean told me that he was dying. I had been angry with him but the sheer desperation of my mood as I watched the wedding ceremony and prepared to shoot myself in the head, I mean shoot the family groups, had driven me to reach out to the one friend who could calm my heart in a crisis. I thought he was being snarky, and he was, but I did not realize until almost a year later that he had just suffered a 2nd heart attack following the death of his fiancé. We needed each other but I could not reach further than one simple text.

The Leo, upon realizing she was caught, divulged only as much info as she knew was on the loose, which wasn’t actually very much. Then, in one brilliant stroke of table-turning genius, she convinced Travis that it was his fault. I pointed this out but he was not able to follow my reasoning. Well played, Leo bitch, well played…

The Leo promised she would end her affair.

“No, she won’t”, I said.
“Yes, she will”, Travis insisted.
“Whatever”, I said.

Two weeks later, The Leo accidentally on purpose came home with condoms in her brief case. Five years prior to that day, Travis had a vasectomy.

“I will try even harder to win her back”, Travis said.
“Why?” I asked.

There is a stream that flows past my house. It comes from nowhere and it goes nowhere.

The Leo continued to flaunt her affair while simultaneously blaming Travis and claiming to be unable to decide whether or not she could still love him.

“I feel so close to her now”, Travis explained, “because she’s being real.”
“She’s clearly fucking with you now“, I said, “because she can.”
“No…, no, she would never do that.”

Here we go again…

Travis remained tragically unable to grasp what was happening and I grew increasingly unwilling to explain.
“Seriously”, I threw up my hands, “are you retarded?”

This went on for months until finally I gave up and went away. As a parting shot to the heart, I told Travis, “When she finally gets around to settling for you, you’ll think you’ve won, briefly, until you discover that you don’t want her anymore and then you’ll see what a sad waste of time this has been.” Naturally, he didn’t believe me.

There is a stream that runs past my house. If you swim in it long enough, you end up where you were.

Three and a half years later Travis and The Leo are now divorced. Dean has left me to go to Memphis and Travis has returned. I don’t know why I am still drawn to him. It makes me nervous and I’m afraid of what might come of it. It clearly didn’t go very well last time and yet, I don’t send him packing.

The revolving door turns but I think the point is about something other than opportunity. Maybe I have something to teach him or maybe he has something to teach me or maybe I just want someone to play the part.

There is a stream that flows past my house but actually it’s only a mirror.

You Are Here

You are here and god doesn’t care what you think.

Not interested in your opinion, acceptance, denial, praise or even acknowledgment.


If I told you god was in the details, would you call me a Christian, a scientist, or a liberal? Be careful what you think of me. To say, ‘god is in the details’ could mean a lot of things.

There was a shooting on Friday, a terrible massacre at a theater in Aurora, Colorado. During the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises, twelve people were gunned down while they sat like helpless beer cans arranged on a fencepost. Hypnotized by the screen and mindlessly chewing their popcorn one minute, shot in the face by a lunatic the next. Did god save this one and not that one? No. Did god worry that allowing this to happen during the premier of a Warner Bros film may have a detrimental effect on that week’s offering plate? Nah. God is the laws of nature, nothing more and nothing less. Never underestimate the power of nature or the nature of power for that matter.

This story is about the idea of safety. First thing to know is that there is no safety, there are only odds. I’ll be the first to say that I lock my doors and wear my seatbelt in hopes of repelling death, but these things are not guarantees. Turn on the TV and receive minute by minute updates on all the things that go bump in the night: child molesters in the city, bears and coyotes in the mountains, rabid pit bulls in the streets, assailants in the bank, music in your ears, religion in the home, sin in your heart. There are infinite things to be afraid of, and we are so nearsighted as to think the world is chaos and that is our biggest fear of all.

To dispel the fear of chaos we’ve made up some funny stuff. Specifically that if we can win favor with god then “He” will save us from this disorderly mess, that it isn’t really chaos at all but all part of god’s plan, god so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son, whatever the fuck that means, to die for our sins and here’s the best part, that god made us in his own image. What? The creator of the universe is a self righteous, fat, bald monkey who is greedy, jealous and vengeful? Apparently, there is no prerequisite for being god but we take comfort in this idea nonetheless.

A lot of the same people who would tell you this god story is true also wanted Sarah Palin to be vice president of the United States, not because she was qualified but rather because she seemed just like them. She was a hockey mom with a limited vocabulary who didn’t know why there was a North and a South Korea, which countries were in NAFTA and that Africa is a continent as opposed to one big country. But you know, who has time for all that boring geographical mumbo jumbo? She did admit to believing in evolution which made me like her a teeny tiny bit but nowhere near enough to earn my vote. She was a pawn in a poorly executed publicity stunt, but she had a cute smile and a nice rack and she was just like them. Personally, I want to think that my elected officials are smarter than me, or at least possess a superior education, because I don’t think I’m qualified to be president. As we speak, I don’t have the skill set required to run a nation and I sure as hell don’t want someone who is no more qualified than myself to be out there making decisions on my behalf. I don’t want them to be just like me but, unfortunately, most of them are. They can’t keep us safe.

It’s easy to pick on Sarah Palin as she is a tall blade of grass but she along with a long, long list of others have worked hard at promoting the fallacy that we can keep ourselves safe and tame the chaos by arming the general public with guns. Legally armed citizens make the world a safer place because fear of retaliation will stop the “bad guys” dead in their tracks, once again fooling us into thinking we have the upper hand on nature. Perhaps due to the bias of the liberal media, there are precious few stories in which a Johnny On The Spot utilizes a legally owned weapon to step in and save the day yet the idea that everyone can be a hero is astoundingly pervasive because we’re scared and we’re gullible and that’s it. That’s the human condition: scared and gullible.

Seems ironic then that our latest public shooting took place during a movie that glorifies vigilante justice when, in fact, there were no vigilante heros on the scene that night and in reality, there rarely is. The man who was there, James Holmes, was perfectly within his rights when he purchased his 4 weapons and 6000 rounds of ammunition. Who was he protecting himself from? Oh yeah, “bad guys”.

Jared Lee Loughner was also legally armed when, on January 8, 2011, he attended a public meeting held in a supermarket parking lot and decided to go ahead and shoot 18 people. Six of those people died including Arizona District Chief Judge, John Roll, and a nine year old child. Among the survivors were U.S. Representative, Gabrielle Giffords, who sustained a gunshot wound to the head.

Of course, these are not the only two occurrences but just two that come to mind. The NRA will tell you that the reason these things happened is because there were not enough other guns present, that the legally armed bad guys had no reason to fear retaliation. Since when does psychosis fear retaliation? Fear of retaliation may, on occasion, deter desperation driven crimes like muggings or bank robberies but true malice only needs a vehicle. Armed civilians provide about as much safety as blankets infected with small pox provide warmth.

There was a time when the right to bear arms was deemed necessary to deter a tyrannical government, repel invasion and to facilitate a natural right of self defense. This probably made sense when a muzzle loaded musket and flintlock pistol were considered to be advanced weaponry but don’t you think for a minute that handguns are going to keep the government out of your house. An American army tank can level a neighborhood in a matter of minutes. Personal firearms are no obstacle for the weaponry of our military. With regard to repelling invasion, no one storms the beach until they’ve already blown up the city and the bases. If that happens here, we’ve got way bigger problems than can be solved with a .40 caliber pistol. If a robber breaks in to your house at night while you’re sleeping, then by all means, blow his head off.

But here’s the thing, our government has no motivation to control us by force. They’re not going to invade our homes personally because there is no need. Why should they exert effort when there’s church and football and beer commercials keeping us dumb and placid? Do you really care about the economy when there’s gay marriage to be up in arms about? How important is the cost of health insurance while the Superbowl is on? Our society, yes our society, the one that we created through inactivity, allows men who toss a ball around to be paid infinitely more than the people who educate our children. There’s always plenty of money for war and Bud Light but for some reason millions of Americans go without needed health care because they can’t afford insurance. Do you think guns are keeping you safe from the government? Think again suckers, they’re fucking us every which way they can while we watch football and scrap over women’s reproductive rights and gay marriage. Senators and congressmen, they don’t give a fuck about those things but they want us to care so we won’t notice what they’re really up to; working tirelessly to promote their own business interests. Get this shit straight people, there is a circus going on, full of god and guns and unwanted pregnancies, and it’s there solely for our entertainment.

As a god fearing nation, we the people, we’re a bunch of ungrateful mamma’s boys assuming that someone or something will come along and pick us up, compare our score cards, wipe our boogers and cook us dinner. God doesn’t work that way. God is science. God is the laws that govern the universe. You can study and learn to use the laws or you can sit around arguing over bullshit and waiting for Armageddon. God doesn’t care which path you choose because the laws are the laws, a system with infinite variables, set in motion to play itself out any which way. It saddens me to think that something as spectacular as planet Earth could be left in the hands of human beings but this is the truth. Mamma didn’t save the dinosaurs and she’s not gonna save us either. Our safety and survival are contingent on only one thing: our ability to preserve the systems that sustain us and if we can’t do that…

When the music’s over turn out the lights.

Pandora’s Box


This is for Shelly, if she ever happens to read it.

You know that feeling?

When you walk into a dark room with a sad person and the weight of their emotion has the density of a collapsed star, you know that feeling?

It hits you at the door, the seal has been breached and everything that’s not nailed down is being pulled into the vacuum. Information has run amok. To create evil that cannot be undone, this is the result of opening Pandora’s Box ill-advisedly. To the casual observer, it appears that something has come out, that facts have escaped, but this is incorrect. Like fruit from the tree of knowledge, the truth was always plain to see. It is interpretation that must be relied on to keep the plug in the sink. There’s nothing in that box. To crack the lid is to cause a shift in focus. The sour glow of enlightenment blasts everything in it’s path, coats it with radiation and draws it into the fray. You can try to resist but this rift in the fabric will drain the life force from anything it touches. The only thing to come out of Pandora’s Box is gravity.

Secrets are gate keepers, my friends.

Guard them carefully.