“My wife had opened a bottle of liqueur, on which the word ‘Ananas’ appeared and which was a gift from our friend Otto: for he has a habit of making presents on every possible occasion. It has to be hoped, I thought to myself, that some day he would find a wife to cure him of the habit. This liqueur gave off such a strong smell of fusel oil that I refused to touch it. My wife suggested our giving the bottle to the servants, but I—with even greater prudence—vetoed the suggestion, adding in a philanthropic spirit that there was no need for them to be poisoned either.” – Sigmund Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams (emphasis in original; ed. Gay)
“The Internet began as an unlikely collaboration between the military and academia. This fact alone explains much of its contradictory character. The military wanted to link their giant mainframe computers together to share data in order to build better bombs and rockets. They also needed a robust system, open-ended and flexible enough to be extended indefinitely but sufficiently rugged to withstand nuclear attack. The generals turned to the geeks just as they had during the Second World War. Isolated in their cozy ivory towers, the scientists wanted to share data and multitask easily. The system they created elegantly embodied their liberal ideals as well as the military’s strict requirements. It would be transparent from end to end. It was also anonymous and egalitarian, in that all data would be treated equally regardless of either source or destination. Scientists built these values into the Net’s core protocols, or agreed methods of doing things. Programs can certainly be devised to weigh, block, or trace data, but they are all additions to the protocols, not replacements. The fact is that freedom for good or evil is built into the very foundation of the Internet. Any attempt by anyone on any level to limit it in any way is an application built on top of that. And what one application can do, another can undo.” – Jay Nelson, “Can the Internet Be Tamed?” (emphasis in original)
“Learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience.” – David Foster Wallace, “Kenyon Commencement Speech, 2005″
“Satan has one pure pleasure: waiting until you have forgotten him, moved on with your life, feeling, if not a certain variety of cheerfulness, precisely, then at least the deficiency of immediate despair, and stepping up beside you on the street, nestling up behind you in your bed, to remind you in his hissy whisper of just who and what you are not.” — Lance Olsen, Calendar of Regrets
“Imagine for a moment, just a moment, that the reason the earth-ball is swarmy with transgression lies not in the fact that Man has foundered, failed, fallen, but that he has never risen, flourished, revised his basic constitution in the slightest, has always been, in a word, exactly what he is now: sin lodged in skin.” – Lance Olsen, Calendar of Regrets
Squirrels in West Rogers Park
are fat. Skin ’em and gut ’em
and stuff ’em with cloves of sauteed
garlic. Sprinkle with black
pepper. Wrap ’em in foil.
Set ’em to baking in the coals.
They come out all juicy, the meat
melting off the bones. The skulls
can be dipped in clarified
butter and eaten whole.
Nine out of ten doctors
will tell you that the crazy guy
who gathers sopping newspapers off
the sidewalk in the rain while talking
to no one you can see about all
the reading he now has to do
is a crazy guy.
He stops talking when people
draw near, he’s not that crazy.
He knows where the danger lies.
Ten out of ten doctors
will tell you what they would have
done for or to or about
the crazy guy. Ten out of ten
of them will be wrong
and so will you.
Usually, when a piece of mine is first published someplace else, I post a notice here on my blog, with a link to the someplace else. I also post the notice and link on Facebook. Then, about three months later, I add a copy of whatever it was to my previously published works on this site, with a notice of same posted again here on the main line.
Tonight is different. The aptly named Synchronized Chaos published one of my short prose pieces, “After the Dreaming,” on their website two weeks ago and so butchered it that I’m not posting a link to it here or on Facebook or anywhere else. What I’m doing is posting here the original unscrewed piece, so that all three of my readers may enjoy it in its pristine entitlement.
After the Dreaming
We woke up and found ourselves wearing clothing and carrying weapons, our women carrying babies on their hips as we wandered dry, sun-drenched plains on our way to gather in crowded cities and drink beer in cool, dark shops, gossip and grind grain by the city walls, watch the seasons and the pirouette of the stars. Calculating when to plant the corn, painting ourselves, hacking the gemstones, melting the ores and prostrating ourselves before ten thousand gods we sliced the hearts from endless rows of sacrificial victims captured by the soldiers arrayed in endless rows of the armies we found ourselves marching in when we woke up out of our infinite dreaming and into this endless nightmare.
“A quickness in believing evil without having sufficiently examined it, is the effect of pride and laziness. We wish to find the guilty, and we do not wish to trouble ourselves in examining the crime.” – Francois Duc De La Rochefoucauld, Reflections (trans. Bund & Friswell)
“We deceive ourselves if we believe that there are violent passions like ambition and love that can triumph over others. Idleness, languishing as she is, does not often fail in being mistress; she usurps authority over all the plans and actions of life; imperceptibly consuming and destroying both passions and virtues.” – Francois Duc De La Rochefoucauld, Reflections (trans. Bund & Friswell)
“Humility is often a feigned submission which we employ to supplant others. It is one of the devices of Pride to lower us to raise us; and truly pride transforms itself in a thousand ways, and is never so well disguised and more able to deceive than when it hides itself under the form of humility.” – Francois Duc De La Rochefoucauld, Reflections (trans. Bund & Friswell)
Hell in a very small place
is directly beneath my feet.
Las Hermanas de Las Dolorosas
live if you want to call it living
in the apartment below my soles.
Their bickering ends only
when one or both of them
lose or loses consciousness.
O to sleep
and not to scream.
They are up and at each other
at nine o’clock
and five-thirty the following
morning. Sometimes I expect
to hear gunshots and hope
they don’t accidentally aim
at their ceiling. More likely
I think their impasse could
resolve with crashings of furniture
and smashings of glass and
wailings followed by
and the news trucks showing
up outside on the street.
Most likely, though, it will
go on and on, the muffled
whine, the occasional shout,
no end in sight, two people
locked together forever
in their love and hate.