Issue 49 – April 2024

Human beans have talons and fangs, wings and claws. They will bite and trample. Their tongues are pressed against their teeth, sempre ready. They are in a state of coiling. To be always in the state right before a strike is the maker of exhaustion. This is why we sleep — the human brain’s insatiable, would burn us out, and make our bodies husks if it did not shut down often. All that we attach to this is met within.

The lights were up and we were burning. We intuited there was someplace else to be. Getting there took only a decision. It was not akin to picking out a wardrobe. It meant entire recapitulation to a driving force — if that was inside someone already, they were set. They need only recognize. If they didn’t have one, they could take one from the aether, from a passage or a staff, and plant the outside one inside them. Electric motor spinning, it would react in their core, and launch them into act. The outside force, brought in, will take up residence in the brain in the space where it conceptualizes the heart. This space is bigger than the cavities in which the organs thrive. (“I’d like to thrive in your cavity.”) Though technically ethereal, it is a member of the autonomic nervous system. It controls without input. Whatever occupies that space wields the power of a god — creation and destruction, the cause and resolution, the feeling and mundane.

The track was burning and it flickered in our heroine’s eyes. Our hero saw it when he locked into them. She douched the old analogy, and things he needed to stay up there went into the plumbing. A fine sieve was poisèd in his hand, ready to sift out the particulates. It couldn’t be so easy but the big things came down to a nod this way or that.

Life is night-reluctant. There are two points on the line, and the middle is another’s cavity. One end’s where we do not want to be, and one end’s where we do. The goal lasts fifteen minutes, longer if we drink. Each point marks the countdown.

So much talking’s left to do. Fragments reach us, change our minds. Every year the tracks turned, eventually reconnecting with their start. The view was scenic for a long time, but then we noticed the landmarks were the same. Hills that must have been the private property of a zealot, for the missive painted in bold letters that was visible from the highway. It was an assertion regarding the supernatural, designed to trigger an emotional response. The landowner would claim victory if it guilted one glancing passenger to attend a weekend rite of Iron Age gobbledygook. Attendance has been falling for some time, which means landowner power has been waning. Zealots want their lot to be the right one. Where they do not own the land, they put up poles and rent big signs. The missive’s more important than their long-term security — indeed they’re convinced they derive security from that. Their ocean’s black, the sky is black, the ground is black, and the air is white. A lot of them will murder for a simple “no it’s not.” They value willful ignorance, actually believing it’s better than verifiable proof. Their wants are so important to them that they’re uncomfortable when someone else wants not the same. They don’t want to feel bad, the goodly billboard zealots. This is instinctual and persists even though their very axioms were designed to make them feel bad — so clutching their axioms to their breasts is public anguish. The gauzy punishments they are threatened with make it easy for them to turn around and dole out variations thereof on everybody else. The space where the impulse to protect themselves from pain meets the stunting truncheons they put their faith in, that space is the factory of neurosis. Many ask questions and put that all aside, once they get so low that death is imminent and the instinct for self-preservation takes over. It should not have to reach that point. That point is a fugue of confusion, loathing, and encompassing depression. And part of that is our evolutionary past. Any proto-sapiens who left their tribe were certain to die, so the brain developed a harsh punishment to inflict on its own body to keep us in the group, so we can fulfill our role, whether passing on our genes, securing shared resources, or caring for the young and the infirm, the “or else” that justifies consumption of the air.


The gunstocks left outside vented the sunlight. They’d been taken from their discount superstores and bought by those with genital fixations. They had need of that much power. It was not a matter worth to them explaining. They knew they had the power to kill a human life with no effort, at no cost, not even needing to have their eyes open when they pulled the trigger, to see the blood come out as warm as it would never again be, to push past the revolting convulsions and bear witness til the twitching stops, and perhaps be treated to the guttural, animal breaths like some maddening cross between a walrus and a howler ape. And the otherwise insecure can be sure their piercing ballast launchers were designed with their convenience and ease of use in mind, so they can be deployed quickly and without strain. These marvelous inventions let the bearer know he can have the final word of any conversation, not just of a dispute. And they imbue hope. When having a bad day, this insecure chap need only tuck it in his trousers out of sight and feel this form of hope: “I ‘ope ‘e tries it on me. I bloody ‘ope ‘e does.” The other form is just as uplifting, giving him the potential to be a hero — stopping a robbery, saving a woman, or defending his property from those who’d conquer it. That would juuust about fulfill him. He could dine on such a memory until his dying day, if brain plaque doesn’t take it from him first. Some people play the lottery for just a little hope, some attach death-weapons to their waist, some sit in bars and drink, and some send out their art daydreaming its acceptance. Of all our varied options, the life-taker must be number one. We definitely should tolerate their widespread propaganda, sweep their frequent misuse into the memory hole, and bury the dead schoolkids in the doubtless well kept lawns of Uvalde coward cops.

Live megalomania has the whole world in its hands. Tonight commands will light resistance in our hearts. It’s all very easy. Though there’s screaming above, below, and all around, careful notice shows it comes from a few anti-social personality disorders (ASPDs). Peace is the norm and the default. Corporate media’s lunging at our consciousness keeps us in a state of activation of our lower drives, in turn allowing us to be riled, and thus directed. Moving masses scare and top the individual. The churning urn online is not the familiar, by now dull, view out our clotted windows.

The mount passed us heading north. There are lots of reasons we believe why we don’t have mounts ourselves. They have us convinced we should be walking.


Our hero’s adrenalin reached a rolling boil in a pot of its own soup. The highway signs were counting down his lady love’s hometown appearance. He was well past waiting calmly for deliverance. He charged a room at a BnB he could not really afford. Meeting her was to be an abject opening. He could not go in with any walls intact. He had to be raw, to be transparently vulnerable. She was like an alien empath. Any resistance she would see as dissembling, any posturing a cover up, any resentment, revenge. She had to be able to, not only see right through him, which she could already do, but feel his every hidden thought. There had to be no doubt he was not keeping something from her. Which however he presented himself, the fact he drove all this way revealed his deepest want. Showing up at her parents’ door could be an affront, at work could be illegal. Man he hoped she didn’t have a job here unless’n it was helpin out at granddad’s gen’ral store (his cosmopolitan view of the corn belt). A payphone call from a local number might get her to answer. It might also get him hung up on. Plus she wouldn’t be able to see the Abelard in his eyes, or the rising and falling of his chest quicken at the merest hint of her good graces. She had to see his involuntary wince as she attacked, and note his spine straighten with the conviction, about them, that brought him here.

There had also to be room for humor. If she’d lost her phone, thought their status had not changed, and was on her way back to him tomorrow, she deserved to soak in the look on his face when he realized what a fool he’d been, with the implication that he’d done it all for her, and would go to outrageous lengths to put her first, over and over again. The best around was not enough, and she had to know in her core that he was It. And he knew she didn’t mind a spectacle as long as it did not feel like coercion. There was really no getting around the surprise of his appearance, but it couldn’t cause a scare. He wanted her to spot him across the room and run into his arms.

He decided to go with yard signs. He’d stick them in the ground on consecutive blocks leading to her parents’ home. Each sign would be one word — heroine, I, miss, you. And then on the last block before her house, he’d be standing there. He’d wait until she left her house (which meant a stakeout, but it was for the greater good) (which is among the most harmful justifications). Then he’d vampirely hammer in the stakes, and then he’d wait. She’d approach her home the same way as she left, reading sign by sign, with rolling pauses between the words, giving her time to digest. The first impression of her name would take a form that depended on her. He could not predict it although he’d love it if he could. He’d of course turn it toward his gain. Between the blocks whatever swirl of feelings sprang up would have a chance to settle before the final reveal, thus no one emotion would be dominant upon sight of his presence. She’d be primed. At the juncture of hope and reality, at least his appearance would not be an impossibility. At worst it would be unlikely. This should mitigate the shock. However there was a real chance it would be a monkey’s paw. Rather than mollifying the unwanted, the plan would do it to her joy. Her first reaction could be excitement, a burst of happiness that has too much time to settle, as she begins to question the utility of his actions, so that she’s just above lukewarm by the time they’re face to face. He’d have missed the moment of embracing her in bliss, that contact a conduit to shared emotion, which is always amplified. Instead setting himself up like a roadside attraction could mean he’d have to build up the bliss, when he could’ve had it from the start. Or he’s so distracting that she drives into a pole. But he couldn’t think of a better plan so he resolved to go through with it. She didn’t know someone out there was resolved that she go through something, and was going to make sure it happened, forcing her. In this way every interaction, except those between intimates, comes without consent, beit media or missions.


Every human is a stakeholder in their own BS, and some are so fanatical that they will spread theirs on anyone they meet, and they take particular delight in sullying side-steppers, who are universally seen as the a-hole in the situation. When one guy makes another feel bad just by his very presence, there’s nothing the first guy can do to make it better. If he was the friendliest glad-handler who really listened and took a genuine interest in the second guy’s life, invited him to dinner, then on vacation, and one’s son married the other’s daughter, the second guy would harp endlessly to his clique how the first is a failure as a man. “But you have driven with him on the highway? He doesn’t drive a constant speed. He accelerates and then lets off the gas, accelerates and then lets off, so everybody in the car is leaning back and forth the whole time, catching their seatbelts, feeling queasy. It’s like, the car’s an automatic, buddy. It ain’t that hard to drive. You want to push it down a little more on the uphill, I get it. You want to let off a little on the downhill, that’s the usual. But it should be a little, not all the way on the flats, not pushing down then removing feet completely. Strewth!”

This all occurred in the age when showing no sense could still be rewarded. There’s someone to reopen, and our hero thought that he could do it. All uneasy dreaming goes somewhere. It finds expression in the real world. We’d take it out on the ultra-violet spectrum if somehow we could reach it. Everything our five sense can detect will be defiled by someone. The bullied flock feels like slapping somebody around. They cannot stop. Feels-like is the common course for action.

Tonight on his arrival they will both sleep here, in the same city, for the first time in nine days. It took him just two to drive here. He meant to go straight to buy supplies, so he could make his signs, but he hit traffic long before the city’s arterial loop. It crawled a while before hitting a complete stop. To his right was a semi but something prevented him from asking if the trucker knew what was the problem — our hero could not see up there through the windows to know if the truck driver was there. The waiting became interminable. He’d had time to lay down in the backseat, rest a while, even doze a bit, be unable to fully fall asleep, get bored, frustrated, and get back up again. His phone was dead — no charger, as he’d hastened to depart. So he got out of his car and started walking forward, down past the stopped cars on the expressway. There were other people milling around outside their cars. He didn’t talk to them, without any excuse, unlike with the trucker. He resented being expected to break the ice, so he didn’t. Once in a while, other times, he felt like taking charge, being friendly and assertive, and making the first gesture. Sometimes it would result in a conversation he actually enjoyed. Rarely it would lead to something more, wakka-wakka. But the first time it back-fired and someone took it the wrong way, or used it as an excuse to attack, he was like right, I’m not doing that again. The same way the athlete who broke our heroine’s heart in high school made her vow never to be in that spot again. In this way sub-prime bonds are passed along.

Eventually there were people walking toward him. They paused and talked to a group up ahead, then continued on their way past him, back to their cars. He nearly asked them if they knew, but his own demeanor stopped him. Fortunately the group ahead were complaining that it was going to be two more hours, waiting on the highway for the wreck to be cleared. It had been two hours already. That was the news he’d sought but had not wanted. On his own long walk back to his car, some people stopped him and asked what he had heard. He relayed, “two hours,” an in-stride brief commiseration, then carried on his way. The distance he made suspended the murmurings behind him. He did not pass them smiling.

Which is to say, by the time he neared her neighborhood, he was totally wiped out. He checked into that room, totally zonked out. Squat shadows touched the starlings, the finest wishes of his heart. They took flight when he thought of them. The promissory moon gave way to dazzling light whenever they came true. The rest of the time they spent sleeping in their woven nest. His will for them was fly up toward the sun and never settle near the earth again, to ride the updrafts tickled to, til death. Which no one wanted regardless.

They’d have understood the next perfect denouement. His secret place inside was always fair, neither hot nor cold, and breezes of each temperature came on their subconscious command. Those invited in, like him, never ate except for pleasure. They didn’t have the need. Imbibing fermentation worked but altered states would vanish on command, without a price to pay. There was no boredom there. It was an Iron Age heaven. And to get there all he had to do was eat shit his entire life, accept it and be happy following every rule, take the warm and feathery soft starlings, their heartbeats vibrating quickly in his hands, their legs tucked up and wings enfolded, little balls of fluff, impossibly light in their wondrous cohesion, and delicately pet their heads down to their backs before pointing their mouths and anuses away, making a fist, and snapping them in C-clamp hands, then giving way to the frenzy, taking one in each hand and smashing them together in strongman claps, detritus flinging in the air like chalk, digging his fingernails into the belly of another and rooting all its organs out like one finger squeegeeing a jar of batter clean, becoming gothically enraged at the scratches from their beaks and claws, stuffing one inside the other’s empty cavity, applying pressure slowly til it suffocated, rubbing two others’ heads together til friction caused them to combust, then holding the fire under the belly of another, pulling it away, and replacing it again, as the flame flickered in his now demented eyes, intoning Iron Age sentences he’d been forced to memorize, all thought suspended in bloodshed, so thoroughly convinced that he was right that he’d be incredulous and baffled if someday a passing friend asked him about the starling he’d once cared for so dear, and just as the memory of a hatchling’s down barely brushed his consciousness, his colonized superego would shout the feeling down with words irresolute, so that he was what the ASPDs wanted once again.



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