Thursday, January 30, 2014

Poem: Fire Ants

Published recently in a Danse Macabre Anthology titled Morgenblatter~Abendblatter.

Good Night, Don't Let the TV Ads Bite,



Fire Ants

see-through ochre
leaky with pores,
a shawl of musky hairs,

they fondle with rods
more sensitive than nerves,
groping in quick lines

and wearing a sheen
of multi-flavored sweat,
a language for a breastplate of nostrils:

chemicals of fury and obedience.
of ravage and xanex.
dopamine and pain.

with chunks of the mauled
in their pliers grip,
their sharklike moustaches,

they run so fast
it would be big cat speed,
immune to god,

tender as a stone.


Monday, January 27, 2014

Portland Press Herald Article!

The article below discusses how my poetry is featured, in conjunction with the art of Kenny Cole, in a current exhibition in the University of Maine Museum of Art's Zillman Gallery. The project is called Parabellum, and is thoroughly anti-war.

I blogged about it recently, but this Portland Press Herald article, with hundreds of Facebook recommendations, really blew me away. It includes a video of Kenny discussing the thought-process behind the concept, a mini-biography of his life, and a great deal of his philosophy and its multileveled expression:

Click here to read PPH

This is so intensely moving. I'm dumbfounded, flabbergasted, and don't know what else to say.

Fly Well In the Dark,


Friday, January 24, 2014

My Chapbook Rebellion Relaunches at TMR!

Click here for Rebellion info

Jennifer Hollie Bowles & Co. have relaunched The Medulla Review Press, and with it my chapbook, Rebellion, which won first place in a TMR competition. Every poem in this volume is previously published, somewhere or other, and they are some of my favorites in over a decade of obsessive scribbling.

The title comes from Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov, which has a chapter of the same name. Like Ivan in the novel, my voice here is damning, crisp, passionate, and half lost to madness, as I challenge the horrors hidden in the status quo. Ivan is eventually seduced and mentally destroyed by a psychotic visitation from the Devil, and maybe that will happen to me someday: but, in truth, the only Devil I see is metaphorical, a poetic descriptor for the lack of conscience and superabundance of greed that infests the US Empire.

Please consider purchasing Rebellion, either in physical form (recommended) or for Kindle download:


To find out more about Medulla's relaunch, go to the site:

This is an exciting time for the editors as they begin to build a press whose philosophy blends aesthetic excellence with spiritual healing and psychic journey. One reason I am so glad to be affiliated with TMR is the wonderful ethos that underlies their literary aesthetic.

We need to support venues like this. If we want to survive our techological push, we need a mature ethic: we need an empathic and sane psychology, a progressive awareness that seeks mental health and self-candor in leaders and citizenry.

We have been programmed by a reckless 19th-century version of industrial capitalism. It trojans a fanatic dogma of 'money first' that encourages narcissists and sociopaths to rise to the top. It promotes a most sad practice: shallow competition for material goods in the name of an insidiously instilled vanity. Marketers and advertisers use deep-mind techniques to dumb us down. They sell illusory fixes for manufactured neuroses. It's pernicious, a mind assault that cripples our potential to think about what is right and decent, what is compassionate and virtuous. The system of logo-commercial saturation impedes the evolution of our collective conscious. At the same time, profiteers speed the growth of technological power.

In the early 21st century, we are still like thirteen-year-olds in terms of our moral proficiency. We are easily provoked punks with nuclear weapons.

Consider some great moments in the history of civilization: the quantum leap from pre-democratic to post democratic culture; from no human-rights to an assortment of human rights. This is the sort of transformational gestalt we need. We need new concepts to inform and govern the integrity and wisdom of our behavior, both as individuals and nations.

We are so much more than the petty bickering consumers that the exploiters want us to be. We can advance the Good. By this I mean a Good beyond any one religion. It is touched on, as an archetype, in all religions; but the Good is secular as well as spirit-laden, and advances through a trio of empathy, ecstasy, and philosophy.

We do not have to be Selfish. We can transcend this bankers' concept, and seek, instead, something noble and environmental: the Good.

That is the crucial--absolutely necessary--message of our time.

The enemy? Narcissism, product-hunger, vanity, avarice, sociopathic demagoguery.

Evil? Evil is these forces riveted into an imperial culture machine that sacrifices human life and soul-beauty for the profit and supremacy of a very few. As we proceed into the nuclear age, the genetic-weapons age, the age of sophisticated robots, we can't afford to act in the way Peter Gabriel lays out in his song, Games Without Frontiers.

Carry On,




Saturday, January 18, 2014

My Poetry, with Kenny Cole, In UMaine's Art Museum!

Kenny Cole’s Parabellum, which includes my poetry, launched at the University of Maine Museum of Art (UMMA) on January 17 and will feature in its Zillman Gallery until March 22. I’ve blogged about Kenny’s art before--his ferocious criticism of war; his utterly original style that crosses dimensions and mediums; his manic prolific intensity; and his brilliant modulations of satire and caricature--and yet nothing can describe how I felt when I saw the folding, three-layered canvases of Parabellum. Keep in mind that this exhibit covered four walls of a fairly small room, certainly an inundative effect. Given the Zillman Gallery's position in the museum, near the front, and its shadowless lighting and hermetic feel, the space was clearly designed to showcase a single artist with encompassing force. Here is a photo of the two of us at the opening, “co-conspirators” according to Kenny:

The canvases behind behind us co-conspirators are like books in that they swing open to reveal layers. The bottom layer behind all the canvases, on all four walls, contains my writing (see the links to some images below). It is quite impossible to truly express how special this felt: my words so wonderfully encapsulated by someone whose fiery inspiration wells up from the tempestuous madhouses of the subconscious--much in the way I seek out my muses when I write. Kenny had to break my poems into blocks of phrase, and decide which blocks to put inside which square blocks of canvas. He informed me that he spent a great deal of time on it, immersing in my voice. Witnessing how he chose to parse me, I think he has brilliantly engaged with my ecstatic process, perhaps more than anyone else (with one exception: artist Shanna Wheelock, with whom I have lived with for the last fourteen years); and, therefore, he has heard my heart in a fascinating and unique way, the gift of a full psychic embrace.

Leaving aside Kenny’s genius and sui generis expression, there is a further sense in which he alloyed with my thoughts: on the level of justice. We are both horrified by war and the extreme sickness of behavior inside and around it. War is the most obvious, violent, and disgusting expression of a great psychological blockage in the collective conscious of our society. Somehow--and this is so astounding--we citizens casually accept war, unthinkingly take it up as a practice, support it with our tax dollars, even as the entire bellicose ritual, greased with killing and hate, murders, maims or displaces great masses of people, not to mention the desecration of animals and Earth--all of it exploited by Big Money.

The classic book on this global tragedy of blood continues to be ignored and ultra-marginalized: War Is a Racket written by Smedley Butler. Butler was a Major General, received two Congressional Medals of Honor, a Distinguished Service Medal, and ran as a Republican candidate for Senate in 1932. You can read his entire treatise here:

Here is a quote from page one:

In the World War [I] a mere handful garnered the profits of the conflict. At least 21,000 new millionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during the World War. That many admitted their huge blood gains in their income tax returns. How many other war millionaires falsified their tax returns no one knows.

How many of these war millionaires shouldered a rifle? How many of them dug a trench? How many of them knew what it meant to go hungry in a rat-infested dug-out? How many of them spent sleepless, frightened nights, ducking shells and shrapnel and machine gun bullets? How many of them parried a bayonet thrust of an enemy? How many of them were wounded or killed in battle?

Kenny Cole knows war is a racket, and he brings three powerful strands together: his genius, its expression, and, in the footsteps of Butler, a vivid castigation of the infernal ways of organized massive bloodshed. Of critical import, Kenny conducts his condemnation so as to draw the audience into his red-emphasizing work. We are trained by the media not to hear, not to see, not to react, even when presented with the deaths of tens of thousands of innocents. Kenny chips away at the colossal shields of denial with a mighty skill. His paintbrush is also a psychic chisel, expertly applied.

Perhaps the greatest part of Kenny's approach is this: he leads his audience not only see war's evil, but also to keep the door of insight open, if only a crack, long after viewing his fantastical illuminations.

Congratulations, Kenny Cole, on Parabellum!


PS: Below are some links to Kenny's art. Also, below is one of the poems that was used in Parabellum.

Kenny Cole’s main website:

The current UMMA description and official photographs of Parabellum:

Another UMMA link (one that might last after March 22, when Parabellum closes):

And Kenny’s catalogue associated with Parabellum:

Kenny’s work-blog on Parabellum:

My previous reviews of Kenny Cole and/or Parabellum:


Here is the poem “Weapon Possessed," one of several used in Parabellum:

Weapon Possessed

bitten by his rifle,
the trigger a sting
swelling into his finger,

he can’t retreat, only shoot,
wherever he goes they
tell him to shoot,

and his gun agrees,
poisons his kindness,
owns him like a scorpion
that whips across culture,

between the eyes.

he can’t accept
this werewolf life
of murder and being a scared father,

of serving peace but cradling
a metal demon-baby instead--

knowing it wants
to jump in and fight,
to kick angry in his arms,

get hot, snarl, rage.

and when it is done vomiting death
it goes back to its coffin
in a metal locker,

below the picture of his wife
and child.

("Weapon Possessed" was originally published in Raving Dove, and nominated for the Best of the Net Award)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

My Workshop at Rooster Moans: Sold Out, but...

My four-week online workshop at, with 20 allotted spaces, sold out a couple months ago. However, you can still join if you want to make a donation to Poetry Coop (aka Rooster Moans Poetry Collective) in its efforts to build an actual physical barn for poetry retreats. Find out more about this project here:

Find out more about my workshop here:

A $40 donation gets you a seat in my workshop. You'll need to arrange this with Lissa Kiernan, Program Director, when you make your donation.

Please consider any donation, even $10. Rooster Moans is run by some fantastic people!


Friday, January 10, 2014

Poem: Sync Fail

This recently appeared in the journal Offcourse , issue #55

To see it in person, along with two other of my poems, go here:

Carry On and Be Good To Yourself,



Sync Fail

drowning from the sky,
though it fretted above him,
its smoke the cowl of the rush,

it became clear that streets were timecards,
and cars ogreish,
and people had no face.

who dreamt this city?
what cramp in a convolution
of profit was he?

the ground slid oddly
in trapped angles,
imprisoned by red and green lights.

signposts, a wrath of spades,
threatened to dig the whole shifty thing
into the sewer.

no one was disgusted
more than they hid in a harness of fear.
they embraced the little treats, because

it made them feel Pavlovian and wise.
and the armamentarium of billboards,
and the pharmacopeia of glowing screens,

smiled on.


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Release: "Inventor Reflects" in Samizdat

A few months ago, Samizdat Literary Journal showcased my poem "Over Cocktails." On December 28, they posted a second poem of mine, "Inventor Reflects." You can access it at the site:

Or directly here:


As always, they have coupled the poem with art. The poem obliquely concerns Icarus, and the image presents an ethereal-looking research-stage fighter jet. This is a nice touch, and might have taken some thought on the part of the editors.

(They did a great job pairing "Over Cocktails" with an image, too.

I highly recommend this journal. See my detailed thoughts here, if you wish:

Samizdat Review

I'm tired. Brain dead.

Best of Flights,


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Situation

I was born in the US Empire during its time of peak flourishing, in the 1960’s, to a middle class white family, with well-educated parents. This largely influenced my chances and trajectories. It allowed me to foster an attitude of contemplation and to be curious. I did not have an easy go: I had to struggle diligently and constantly to stay grounded and gain knowledge. But I cannot deny the importance of events beyond my control in steering my fortune.

Such is the unfairness, luck, and inherent cruelty of life, going back in history as far as I know. I was destined, upon birth, to benefit from the unethical practices of my people. While millions starved across the globe, due to no fault of their own, I was handed the financial, social and genetic basis to challenge the difficult hurdles that reared up before me.

I learned that the Earth has been here about 4.5 billion years, with modern humans showing up around a hundred thousand years ago. Everything changed with agriculture, around 10,000 BCE, though before that we were the greatest hunters on the planet, and lived well.

Civilization brought several thousand years of struggle between rationality, on one side, and ignorance and power-lust on the other. The big lesson: ideas can both shackle and liberate. Culture can program the human mind, rendering the ‘naked ape’ highly resistant to innovation, creativity and justice.

We all know it: patterns of thought tend to repeat, generation after generation. A kind of behavioral social software settles into the ruts of tradition. Culture persists because it has developed techniques to replicate its mechanisms in progeny.

Part of this we can blame on the brute physicals of evolution. We are geared to focus on short-term material wants, which, in human terms, requires gregarious cohesion. We are animals first, thinkers second.

And so...

Women achieved the right to vote in my country less than one hundred years ago. In many countries, they are still completely subordinate. The greatest genocide of all time--afflicting the variegated tribes and nations of North and South America--occurred over the last 500 years, with repercussions and racisms still going strong today.

All of us are all largely molded and hampered by the belief-systems that dominated human advances and horrors before our birth. And there are plenty of horrors still, some of them tentacles of old yet vibrant Leviathans.

I cannot over-emphasize: today’s ideas of freedom and social progress tilt precariously on an ancient foundation of change-resistant rulership. This rulership relied, as it does today, on extreme violence. How this plays out--the tension between freedom and the desire of the powerful to control others --is going to determine our collective fate.

Never in the history of humanity, or the Earth itself, has there been any time like now: the invention of nuclear weapons, the rise of the internet, and also the rapid expansion of secular ethics--all of these alongside the inveterate claws of avarice, lust and war.

Add to this tempestuous mix the psychology of a primate: we humans have a tendency to go into denial; to repress critical information; to displace our anger irrationally; to project our own self-hatred and doubt onto others; and on and on. All these defense mechanisms can take place below our ability to admit we have them, even more our ability to defuse them.

Ironically, the fanatic has become a militant not just of mythical doom, but actual doom. Fanaticism salves a primal fright of the great unknown, and claims to save the soul; but it actually cripples the soul, sacrificing an open mind for delusional beliefs. When two fanaticisms collide, the result is butchery and woe. In the nuclear age, that is indeed a recipe for apocalypse.

Another major psychological factor: about 3% of the US population is diagnosable with sociopathy or narcissism. Such people act without conscience. They end to behave recklessly yet often with great persuasion. They can rise to thrones of high leadership, aided by their ability to lie without flaw, inflict evil for selfish gain, and warp others’ view of reality.

Such is the milieu of the early 21st century. Four things stand out to me right now. First, no matter how much progressives, such as ecofeminists, want to move civilization in utopic directions, we are going to be checked and limited.

We are limited by our own bodies and minds, but also by fanaticism, plutocracy, the entrenched drag of tradition, the selfishness of males who don’t want to yield any ground to females, the power of demagogues to sway millions, and so on. Plus, all the psychological mechanisms that accompany these, and hinder the ability of humans to be rational.

To emphasize how bad it is: those who claim to be rational are often, in fact, in the grips of irrational psychic forces such as repression and projection.

Second, things are changing very rapidly. The Earth has never seen such fare. Even the Permian Extinction was nothing like the invention of the internet. Scientists are now modeling computers on neural architecture. It is only a matter of time (let’s say a thousand years, though I am probably throwing the ball too far) before artificial life forms gain mental equivalency.

Third, this is a time of unreckonable extremes. It is a divide is that could drive anyone insane if they pondered too long. Genocide. Universal suffrage. World Wars. Civil Rights. Human-slaying drones with “hellfire” missiles. Universal healthcare.

As Dostoevsky suggested, we have invented the Devil. And it seems, as Freedom warrants, that many of us are stumbling toward an exquisite system of ethics, one that is both pragmatic and advanced.

Maybe the great question is: What will drive our technological rush? The Devil, or ethical considerations wedded to formulas for psychological health?

Fourth, anything is possible. Utopia. Equality. Wisdom. Flourishing. However, attaining these goals is for future generations.

It is sad that we will not live to see this better world of better beings. But we can start now, by laying down some crucial seeds for the potential garden of the future

I would like to propose an idea: The Good. It is the outcome of ideas that will decide human destiny. One key tension is Liberal vs. fanatic.

Another is corporate consumerism versus praise for our Earth. The material greed of corporations disseminates jingle-laden propaganda to challenge balance, spirit, and reciprocity.

The Good is beyond the provenance of any one religion. Although any religion (if not fanatic) could be a pathway toward The Good.

The Good involves advancing human rights and equality. It means enriching empathy and conscience. To seek The Good we must immerse in environmental spirit and philosophy.

The Good does surely involve spirit. We can all praise The Good together, but each in our place, and in our own creative, unique way. Buddhist practice can advance The Good. A modified Christian practice could, too (but there would have to be a lot of re-interpreting).

What could The Good be? What does it imply for our lifestyles? I have made a few suggestions. Human rights. Psychological awareness and health. Environmental conscience. Connective yet personal spirituality.

A lot of discussion needs to happen. A nation founded on the The Good would have, I think, a lengthy Constitution embodying a history of arguments, debates, dialectics, precedents, and more.

The Good would encompass science, the occult and psychology. Counseling for everyone would be a good start. Plenty of care and support all around, for anyone ready to take the courageous journey of self-knowledge.

Maybe the motto of The Good is none other than the words that hung over the gate at the Oracle of Delphi: Know Thyself. Another incisive option comes from Virginia Woolf: "Everything in fact was something else."