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Michael McDaeth

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Novel | Roads and Parking Lots | buy the book

picture of novel "Roads and Parking Lots"

Roads and Parking Lots - availble in paperback and Kindle at amazon.

a review of Roads and Parking Lots

Michael McDaeth delivers with a well written and poetically fast paced tale entitled, Roads and Parking Lots.  Immediately you are introduced to the clever and witty protagonist, Mick, who is your normal everyday average guy who just can't seem to take anything seriously.  He finds himself in middle America 1980's and takes us on a long ride through the years of his youth that he spends wandering... read more

Hitchhiking Story No. 9... from Roads and Parking Lots

Hitchhiking Story No. 9

I squatted on the gravel strip until 3:00 a.m. The wheel was on the downside – what little traffic that rolled past acted like they didn't see me – so lowdown in my life. I started walking toward the bright lights of a truck stop a couple exits over. Low low low. I trolled the truck stop parking lot for a good Samaritan, "Hey mister where ya headed?"
"Milwaukee."
"No shit! I'm heading in that direction myself, can I bum a ride?"
"Nope, sorry, the company won't let me. Liability issues."

The same old story from every one of them – company men to the core, "What happened to Rubber Ducky?" I implore. "Never was such a thing," they retort, "jump a train, you fucking wart."
No train in sight, I shuffled back to the freeway and walked and walked and walked all the way to a rest area where I spread out my army issue sleeping bag on a concrete picnic table and dropped out of sight. A couple hours later I was back standing on the freeway – thumb up in the cool dawn air – barely refreshed. Hardly a dip from the well and still I was on my feet, dancing in the morning sun, happy, so very goddamn happy – for no reason at all.

It took forty-seven rides to go a couple hundred miles. The day was gone, the moon was rising fast. I stood and sat and stood again. Nothing, just me and the moon waiting for a tardy hunk of Skylab to tumble out of the sky, not a doubt in the world that it would hit me. Only the moon would see it, a mute witness to my last moment, cracked square in the skull, split down the middle.

It was at least two in the morning when one of those mid-sixties GM model spaceships went wheezing past, muffler dragging on the pavement, a comet tail. The suspension was shot, so the body was riding the axles like that murderous hunk of Skylab in a coffin. It squeaked, wheezed and sparked as it ground its way down the ramp and onto the freeway. Then it stopped, reversed, and wagged and dragged its way back up the ramp. I dove for the ditch. They found me anyway, cracked the window, "Which way is Earth?"
"You're already there."
"Do you need a lift?"
"No doubt about it."

The dust cleared as I made my way to the passenger side door. There, with the window cracked wide, was a shit-eating-grin wearing a very drunk spaceman. I queried, "How far are you boys going?" I got a glimpse of the captain at the controls, he was just as dizzy as Mr. Shit-Eating-Grin. He pointed at the moon, "We're going that way – hop in."

I climbed in the back and sat, tense, in the middle between my duffel bag and sunflower suitcase. Captain had a hell of a time counting us down. To his credit though, when he hit zero, he found the gas and we jerked out of there and nearly went off the ramp before he yanked us back on course and we wagged and dragged our comet tail down the ramp and into outer space. Captain needed the entire universe to keep us moving forward and, if that wasn't bad enough, both of them wanted to talk with me so had their heads twisted toward the backseat, mouths flapping. I couldn't make out a thing they were saying, something about light years, black holes and hand grenades. I leaned forward between them and tried to tune them in. Captain was on fighter pilot, Skylab was strafing the Milky Way. He kept screaming at me in that over-enthused-falling-apart-alcohol-fever-way you get before the hammer falls. He slapped the steering wheel around like it was a heavy weight prize, a prayer wheel, a mail-order bride. Shit-Eating-Grin was trying to light a cigarette with his head out the window. Planets zoomed by in the background, zoomed by again, and again – like a cheap cartoon. There was a halo over Skylab though we hardly deserved it, drunken spacemen-angels of Babylon and I.

The effect of Captain's twisted head caused Skylab to veer excessively to the right. Since I was the only one looking forward, I was the only one who was terrified. I pointed past his starry eyes, "Look out!" He jammed the wheel to the left just in time and kept it out of the asteroid ditch – without even turning his head! Oh, sweet halo, hang on! Shit-Eating-Grin yelled, "This is our planet!" and Captain brought it out of warp and dry docked it at the top of the ramp. I bailed out just as the Tennessee Valley Authority pulled up behind with lights flashing and siren blaring and out came two hard-assed aliens with their guns drawn, kicking up quite a stink regarding our re-entry. They slipped me and my baggage to the side, after ten minutes of sober pleading, and hauled Captain and Not-So-Shit-Eating-Grin off for a night of quarantine and six months of counseling. I was left with a warning to, "Stay the fuck off the freeway, punk." Which I returned with a, "yes sir," followed by a slightly delayed, just above whisper, "motherfucker."

After the cops cleared out, I popped the hood and stood next to Skylab hoping for a sympathy ride. Someone from the first car that passed hollered, "Get a horse." I laughed and yelled back, "Yeah, that's original!"
I had a horse once when I was a kid. I was shoveling horseshit in the corral one day when the Old Man said to me, "The next one's yours." It was his attempt to heighten my interest in his mini ranch. It didn't work, but some things are just meant to be. When the foal was born she turned out to be just as sickly as I. She wandered around the pasture coughing and wheezing and dripping. We were a perfect match, cross species soul mates. We walked around the pasture together, wiping our noses on the same tamarack posts. I hardly ever threw crabapples at her and when I did, I went easy on her. The Old Man couldn't take it, the horse reminded him of me and I reminded him of the horse. One of us had to go, it was a toss up. Then, the side of her neck started to swell. It looked like she tried to swallow a watermelon. The Old Man called in a veterinarian, but he didn't know what it was. He suggested we contact the veterinary school at the University of Minnesota since they were always interested in rare cases.

We hauled my sick little filly down to the school and on the way there the Old Man got me all worked up, "I don't know why we're doing this, I doubt she'll live another day." Suddenly, that horse meant everything to me. I sobbed out the window. The Old Man gave me a couple minutes, that was all he could take, "Oh, quit your blubbering, it'll be alright or it won't."

The veterinary school determined that my horse had an infected guttural pouch caused by a little rip in the throat that allowed a little dribble of her mother's milk to collect and spoil and swell. They closed the gap and drained the pus and soon she was just another healthy, happy horse. I was alone again…
The next car to appear slowed up and rolled down the window, "You having some car trouble?"
"Yes, I am, can you give me a lift?"
"Sure, how far ya goin?"
"Minnesota."
"Jesus Christ, boy, I'm only going ten miles."
"That's good enough for me."
"Well, climb on in then."

Everybody talks about how wonderful this country is but I gotta say I don't see it. I'll agree its natural beauty is quite stunning, but wherever we've setup shop, put down roots, blah blah blah, it's disgusting. Talk about the banality of evil, the same scene repeats itself every three miles: a rolling crooked frame – coming or going it's the same bowel movement – the same fucking sale – used car dealership – fast food – motel – gas pump – pigpen – supermarket – split level – alcoholic. Progress is an eye sore. buy the book

   


Novel | Under Protest | buy the book

picture of novel "Roads and Parking Lots"

Under Protest - availble in paperback at amazon.

About Under Protest: November 30th, 1999. A man and an outspoken camera follow a protest singer through the streets of Seattle during the WTO protest.

Chapter one from Under Protest

30 November 1999 – Seattle

It passes through the frame, brakes squealing like a pen full of dying pigs.
"The bus is coming! I won't make it without your help, take the guitar, run!" He drops his guitar case at my feet and chases after it.

The bus stop is up and around the corner. He lumbers up the sidewalk with a microphone stand and bungee-strapped battery-powered amp pressed to his breadbasket. The tip of the mic stand pitches back and forth above his head with each lumbering step – like he is waving a flagpole with no flag attached.
He is nearly twenty yards away yet he still fills the frame. I have no choice but to follow at close range.
I drop the camera to my side, the lens is upside down and backwards, it is always good to know where you've been. I pick up his guitar and follow along like a good little engine – jarring the sidewalk with waterlogged pistons.

Up ahead, he rounds the corner and stops. I pull up even. He says, "I guess there wasn't any hurry." There is a long line waiting to climb aboard the bus. We stand at the end of it.
I zoom and pan the sky, it is gray and drizzly, a few drops hit the lens, I wipe it with my sleeve – it smears. Instantly I am pissed off, "Goddamn it!"
"What's up?"
"Oh, nothing."
"I gotta tell you, I've been listening to these CDs, right, and they're really turning my life around."
"What are they?"
"Ever heard of Bryan Oswald Breen?"
"The Cable Access guy?"
"Yeah. Capital B, lower case o, capital B; BoB – everybody calls him BoB. He's too good for the mainstream. He's DIY all the way. He's a life coach, a philosopher, a musician, a chef, a plumber."
"A plumber?"
"Oh yeah, BoB believes everyone should know a trade. It was while plumbing the Australian Outback that he discovered the potential of the dreamtime. He picked it up from the Aborigines. Did you know they don't discern between dreaming and being awake? It's all the same to them. He thought maybe they were on to something so spent six months checking it out. Just three months in he began to develop his nine rules for LSS: Life State Situations; what we're experiencing right now, and DSS: Dream State Situations; what we experience when we sleep. He says they're more closely connected than we think. In fact, there's really no difference at all. It's a problem of our culture, we learn to make a distinction between the two."
"Really?"
"Yeah."

The line crawls onto the bus – a human caterpillar: twenty-one broken hearts, thirteen sore throats, nine backaches, six stubbed toes, one loud cough, three minor colds, eleven bus passes, six loose changers, 2 one dollar bills. We make up the ass-end.

"I've been listening to his dream chants every night. BoB says they feed your subconscious while inducing lucid dreaming. The key is, through lucid dreaming, to create a dream world that you can return to every night while you're asleep. BoB says the Aborigines are the original lucid dreamers and that as a culture they built a common dream world through a sort of collective lucid dream."
"That sounds nuts."
"Hey, that's what I thought at first, but after seeing it in action I have to say there's something to it. To prove it, BoB slept eighteen hours a day and ate only in his dreams. For three months he ate only in his dreams and you know what? He put on fifteen pounds! Said he never ate better."
The camera snorts, coughs, shudders.
There are only two vertical stripes between us and the first step when, three steps up and standing before the altar, an old gray lady doesn't have the right amount of change. She means to get it right. She rummages through her purse, "My, oh my, it's gotten expensive to ride the bus."

It is drizzling harder now. He hovers over his music equipment with his wings spread like a flying cow. "Come on lady, let's go, man! People in this world! Don't even know they have to pay to ride the bus. BoB's rule number five: Be on top of it, whatever it is."

The old gray lady is having trouble putting two and two together, it has been a long time, a long time. The no bullshit bus driver sends her to the back – penniless. She doesn't go very far, the first crack she sees is the crack she takes. She shuffles a one-eighty, backs up and bends into it, it widens, two reluctant thighs give way – one on each side of the old gray lady's plaid behind.
I keep her in the frame, so sad in the box, barely any wiggle room, for her, for them, for us. She sits squeezed together, keeping to her thin vertical stripe. Polite unto death.

When it's his turn at the altar he makes a little scene by dropping the mic stand on his foot while searching his pockets for change. "Ouch! Dammit. Man that hurts. How much is it?"
"Another fifty cents," says the no bullshit bus driver.
"Alright, give me a second."
"I don't have a second."
He hems and haws, begs and pleads, "Gimme a goddamn break, man, I'm an artist," then turns and stumbles down the aisle without paying.
I drop in a dollar and follow with the camera video-taping the rows; it is a sullen crowd, damp and pissy. Faces turn out of view as soon as the camera finds them (some people can feel the lens reach out and pull them in). I catch them ducking out of the way nineteen rows ahead.
Meanwhile, he is smashing into kneecaps with his guitar case in one hand, the mic stand and amp in the other. He abuses both sides of the aisle hardly noticing the inflamed reactions. I get it all on tape. He lands a seat near the back and I find my own – camera rolling.
He clogs the aisle with his setup as he surveys his pockets again for some elusive loose change. "I know it's somewhere. Hey, have you got a quarter on you?"
"Here you go."
He combines my quarter with two nickels, three dimes, seven pennies, a button and some pocket lint, says, "Thanks, I'll show him that I can pay my own way. Keep an eye on my stuff," and heads to the front of the bus.
I zoom-in on a sheet of paper taped to the glass with the heading, "RIDER ALERT" in white block letters on a red strip. Below that in bold black, "WTO Conference to affect bus service." And below that in 16 point Helvetica, "Additional traffic and activities during the WTO conference Nov. 30-Dec 3 could affect bus service significantly, especially on Tuesday. Expect rerouting of buses and allow more travel time because of delays in service. When possible, Metro will post downtown bus stops with reroute information. Metro regrets any in-convenience and requests your patience."
The camera says, "Aaaah, big brother's gotta pinch his loaf, boo hoo."

He returns to his seat and eyes a girl sitting next to him. She is trapped next to the window. She is wearing headphones and gazing through the glass in a not so subtle stay-away-from-me general disposition. He bumps her with an elbow, "Hey, so what do you think of the protest?" She shrugs her shoulders and turns back to the window. She doesn't want to talk. She's been around long enough to know that most men are premature ejaculators. She wears the headphones to ward off all comers. Hasn't she made this abundantly clear? She can't possibly show less interest. He gives her another elbow, "It's important to be informed, check out 'a bitter wind is blowing dot com' it'll set you straight."

Every day there's another one – she shaves her legs for this? The chatter of whackos, maniacs, with stinky armpits, halitosis, greasy hair or no hair, potbellies, ham hocks – one trick phonies. She takes a deep breath – the shortest distance between two points is a curve; every woman knows this – she feigns interest, "Oh, what's that?"
"It's the web page for my protest song and the truth about the WTO. My tune is the Longshoremen's official theme song for the protest. They rented a street blimp for the day and they're playing it over loudspeakers as they drive through the streets."
"That's nice, well, good luck then."
"So, really, you should get informed regarding the issues, I mean, it affects us all. My song is a good start, pretty much spells it out for you." She nods her head, okay, okay are we done yet?
"Hey man, we're getting off here."

As we exit the bus he says, "Dammit, I forgot to give her a copy of my CD. That won't happen again."
We hit the sidewalk and suddenly there is a cloudburst. He hustles his gear under an overhang and tosses off his backpack.
"I hope this doesn't keep up, my amp is essentially cardboard it will disintegrate in this downpour."
He unzips his backpack, peers into it, gives it a shake and probes the bottom, the wrinkled corners, the hidden pockets. "Let me introduce you to Nature Boy power bars." He pulls it out of the backpack and holds it in front of the lens: an oblong green wrapper with green meadows and green mountains. "These things are great. And guess who makes them? BoB!"

Off in the distance (on Denny Way), protesters are marching. I get a shot with the camera – the line of the march stretches beyond the edges of the frame. The camera says, "There's nothing keeping us here. We're not pegged to this guy." The camera is right. "I'm going to get a few close-ups of the march."
He unwraps and bites into the Nature Boy power bar. "Alright, but come back as soon as the rain lets up. I want to get this show on the road."

I run to Denny Way and Wall Street. Five or six cop cars within a stone's throw of each other are gunning their motors and whirling their dervishes –sirens going wild. The marchers are stunned silent, a few holler back, the rest soon follow, "Take back the power and corporate greed!" The cop cars answer by squealing their tires and speeding south toward the Paramount.

The average protester wears a slicker and carries a backpack. In addition, some push bikes, walk dogs, carry cardboard signs, umbrellas. There's a bale of sea turtles, various puppets, drummers, pipers. A few of the coordinating brood carry cloth banners stretched between them.
The sheer concentration of life creates a buzz in the air, a low frequency humming – a giant bumble bee. It's no time to be caught flatfooted. I ask a passing protester, "Hey is this march going to the stadium?"
"Yes."

I sweep the demonstrators with the lens – a long slow Hollywood pan of the crowd – the camera narrates, "Please. Won't you help save Tammy's baby? He's deathly allergic to a certain type of fungi that only grows on a half acre in the middle of the Amazon rain forest, but we can't take any chances." The camera laughs sarcastically and adds, "That's what you fuckers are like. I've been around. I know. I once video taped 'Atlas Shrugged'. You assholes will say or do anything to feel special. Cowards."
The camera had me there. I shut it down "snap!" and head back to the overhang. It has settled into a light drizzle. buy the book

 

 

Short Stories

My Sister

My Sister

My sister was seven when she first got the notion she could walk on water. She practiced on mud puddles in tinker bell shoes - pulling her skirt up, stretching her neck out and pointing her head down to get a better view. "Hmm, I can't tell. What do you think? "I can't tell either, maybe we need a deeper puddle." "What do you mean we, I don't see you doing anything." Then she pushed me down and walked away in search of another.

By age fifteen she had conquered all surrounding puddles and lakes - dancing in pure white sneakers over muddy waters and leaving not a trace. "It's merely a matter of correct breath, feeling the proper vibration, and stepping through the illusion. It's easy, nothing to it, give it try." I would - breathing deep in old army boots stepping boldly toward a deep dark puddle splash splash splash along bottom gravel bed coming out soaking wet and pissed. "You're hopeless ya big klutz." "It's just a stupid mud puddle!" "Mud puddles cannot be stupid, they, like everything else exist as neutral manifestations of this miraculous universe. It is you who attach meaning to it, for instance your wet feet, you created them and now you want to blame the mud puddle." "I don't want to play your stupid game!" "There are no other games to play little brother." Read more


 

Black Hole

Was a man once: burned out, grimaced in white knuckles and perfect nails, an emptied jubilee, a failed suicide, a pock marked soul in ash blue ensemble. All for a speck on a x-ray missed by the passing eye like a haystack from twenty nine thousand feet. A tiny black hole that slowly burned its way through his bones; ratcheting him downward one vertebrae at a time and pulling you down as well.

The black hole emits only memories - the bacon is done - the game is on - the tide has turned. Hands: huge hands, and fingers long and light like ice daggers hanging from an eave - beautiful and brittle and far from the black hole. Eighty nine years of tossing it back - dealing it in - throwing it out - polishing it up - watering it down…

Was a man once: all light and blowing and drunk and wife beating - taking off chunks of the house with his heavy breathing two tone down a dark narrow driveway with the lights off. Gramps is here!! Through the mail slot then on all fours chasing me through the house howling and growling. Climbing on his back and getting a bumpy ride around the living room. He would fall apart when you weren't looking.

He used to give me all the change in his pocket whenever I fetched him a beer or pulled weeds in the garden. Easily four or five dollars to scamper off to Risey's butcher shop where high octane saw machines and dried blood and cold and damp and steel mixed with cupcakes, Twinkies, potato chips, snowballs, Fudgesicles, Eskimo pies and my runny nose.

A cracker jack mechanic, he gave me my first car, a 1970 robin egg blue Chevy Impala, when I turned sixteen. He re-built the motor, gave it a new coat of paint, and delivered it himself one Saturday afternoon: the last in a line of auto deliveries beginning in the late 1920's when he built cars with scrap parts from dumps and junkyards and drove them around the countryside selling them to the local farmers.

When he first learned of the black hole he tried to take it out with a shotgun but dropped the gun on the floor in a fever and the trigger broke off. By the time he got it back from the shop the black hole was ahead.

Was a man once: Down I-35, the summer of my high school graduation, from Mankato, Minnesota to Mission, Texas: he in an old 2 ton grain truck with a cooler of beer and me in a red El Camino pulling an aluminum fishing boat. Forty-five miles per hour in record heat and resentment and waste and vapor angels and drunken Gramps getting lost on the freeway. He blew out the front brakes making a sudden stop while circling San Antonio. He grabbed the shoulder - took a look - found the leaks - cut the lines clean - drove a spike up each one and rode the rear brakes the rest of the way never exceeding twenty-five miles per hour. I'd get fed up and ram on ahead then pull off find some shade and eventually he'd come steaming down the road give me a wave and a face and we'd begin again.
Years went by and I hardly ever saw him: treating him poorly, ignoring his old stories, seeing only his wrongs, not holding his great hands.

Was a man once: bound up in everything.

The last few months of his life were spent on and off his death bed, always refusing: stiff cherry faces, broken down sobbing, grieving wet handshakes, drip dried clergymen. Then he was gone. The black hole had a life.


 

Grandmas

I'm squatting down, down, down, and crapping in ditch water ankle deep while Sunday morning grandmas, making for early church meetings, peek out their passing window seat, and see me half way done in the gray dawn early light. "Oh my goodness gracious." In Midwest sweet, looking again for possible relief. I was still there. "Oh my goodness gracious" now imprinted on the brain with such design it competes with forced thoughts of blue birds and rhubarb pie.

Yet something is different, unaccountable, old feelings dart in and out, the what ifs beg for attention on the periphery of the mind like acrobats on parade. The opening and closing of arthritic hands on spines of faded bibles turn warm becoming the sweaty palms of sixteen year olds and the white stripes that keep them on the straight and narrow seem sinister in their insistence to keep moving. And they do, soon arriving at church rolling over crunch gravel parking lot to the deafening hymn in low idle of Chevy Impala: the drip drop water from sad muffler onto sacred dirt – reaching for the lever – ears tingling – forcing a smile.

Minister Frank, his sermon never so clear high up on angel ears with snow capped soliloquies of rising up and settling down and rising up and settling down – the crack of knees – the adjusted eye frames – the small forest clearing of repentant throats and wandering minds "Which page are we on?"

After Church standing in line to shake the hand of Minister Frank and thank him for the lovely service and inquire as to the health of his mother and he nodding in eulogy, wiping his hand on his vestige sleeve, squeezing an eye for effect, and speaking of the fine doctors at the Mayo clinic while glancing over head and shoulders for the next in line.

Alone in the crowded church basement and leaning toward something else. Not the usual things like coffee and cookies and weather talk and nieces and nephews and grandchildren and more weather talk. Maybe take a drive over to somewhere over there or down by the river to toss a rock like 60 years before in effortless efforts and bragging rights and unnamable places and unknowable forces outside God's tether line. Finally, wandering home the long way down hwy 18 and taking the loop back by way of hwy 69. A little out of the way but a very nice drive. Arriving home to phone calls of another death in the family. Her old gray face nods accordingly.

 

 

 

 

Essay

These seven essays were first published on counterpunch.org.

A Warrior Nation Weeps

Buried deep beneath our warrior nation's handwringing exercises our true guiding principle is: violence works. Violence kept us on the continental shelf. It served us as we moved across the continent: all those little babies, young children, women, men, elderly; savages (to use the parlance of times) violently murdered for their land. It is their bones that grind under our feet, chalk the ground. Their telltale hearts that still beat.

Violence kept black people as slaves and then set them free. It was there to keep them separate and unequal as it still does today.

Violence met violence in two world wars. Violence to end violence. Absurd? Not for the warrior nation. Violence is often the question and the answer.

All that violence makes for brittle, paranoid souls. It makes for a reactionary nation that lashes out at every perceived ghost taking scores of real innocent victim's lives in the process, and in a horrific ironic twist, the victims are likened to ghosts; scary, fleeting, invisible, forgotten.

In a warrior nation violence seeps into every crook and crevice and even into the nation's DNA where it births whole new technologies, economic systems, sports and entertainment. Most of them inherently violent. What is the engine of an automobile but enclosed violence used to propel us down a road violently cut into the good earth. Violence is used to obtain and control the precious fuel used in the machines that violently push us along. Smokestacks expel toxic plumes violating the clean air. Toxic chemicals violate the water and soil. Violence carves up the world into linear patches and says these are mine. Violence keeps those lines in place.

In a warrior nation violence is said to be used to keep the peace and almost everyone agrees that it must be that way, sadly. But when violence breaks out and strikes the warrior nation from within, it sobs, weeps and is absolutely mortified. An unexplainable event for which there are no words to describe. Like it just saw a ghost.

But it wasn't a ghost it was one of their own with spiked DNA thinking they could solve their problems with violence.



Plague

When ebola or some other plague adapts itself to the technological world, when it can stream itself, when it goes wireless, when it learns to fly, the people of this fair land will see how far off the road they veered.

The plague has its task to perform. To remind the good people what's what. To reduce them to oozing bags of pus and the singular; who survives and who doesn't. On this precipice the plague puts all values in order, all superficial acts cease, it is enough to simply breathe. Warren Buffet won't be buying and selling stocks. Kim Kardashian's ebola ass will bid farewell alone and in the dark. The plague exposes the people's infinite schemes and renders them moot.

Cancers are our internal plagues and a clear indication of what we do to the world we do to ourselves. It all adds up to using this good earth as a toilet. We are the toilet people.

This state of robbing Peter to pay Paul is a plague and all the worse as it is done with so much aplomb and arrogance they even croon about it, unfurl giant flags, send the fighter jets overhead, and then follow up by lecturing Peter, harassing Peter, keeping Peter from associating, killing Peter or throwing Peter in jail, it cannot last. The jungle gods are angry and they have spat a concoction.

It could be argued that the West has been a plague on the world for over five centuries - and counting. A plague carrying plagues. With ninety percent of the indigenous population wiped-out in these lower forty-eight; certainly that amounts to the worst of plagues.

We were a plague on the passenger pigeon, the whales, wolves, the list is endless, horrifying, and continuing, but does it get us out of our cars, keep us from cutting deeper into the earth and the little remaining wilderness? Nope. It's no idle decision, the system is against you nearly every step, it's a rough go.

Democrats and Republicans hope you are recycling your paper, glass and tin, giving to your favorite charity at christmas, because only a token is expected, a penny from a dollar buys an indulgence to get into heaven. They tap on their i-phones with equal awe and delight. They are all technologically goo-glee-eyed. All the eggs are in one basket.

If you're waiting for the plague to arrive it's already here. When it turns its teeth on us we will have little defense, moral, spiritual, technical or otherwise. The lock is stripped and we are shut in. No choice but to be stripped ourselves. Those who climb out of their death beds may see a much different world.



Suffering for Superficiality

Poor creatures. Brittle-boned leather-skinned skeletons. Ignorant. Retarded. Miserable. Mad porcelain dolls. Committed to hours of painful unnecessary surgery for vanity and their glass-eyed keepers. They look like vampires indeed they are vampires. Sucking from the public tit. They are going to live forever!

Poor pathetic creatures. Endlessly turning in front of the mirror. The reality cameras. Strapped in, oh no, the fatal flaw; a shallow chin, a bump on the nose, teacup breasts, old age. There's always a fix.

The glass-eyed keepers.Their self-worth abstracted to their money, positions, wives. What can they say? Everything must be propped up. Nothing stands on its own anymore except the illusions that drape their lives, oozing from their pores as they are woo whooing in a limo or huffing and puffing on a golf course while the wives sitting poolside, giggle together, "Ugly people should not be allowed near the pool" take each other apart, self-aggrandize, parrot for the lens, caught in their own thought bubbles.

For a lucky few, the botched facelift; scar tissue, hanging flesh, lopsided face, the sad clown, the Oprah interview. "Oprah, I learned that there is more to life then a pretty face and that one should accept themselves and others as they are and that we are spirits in a material world." "Amen, sister." They break for commercial, it's a spot for Victoria's Secret, what were they talking about?

Back in the gated communities the poor pathetic boorish creatures continue unabated, it is simply beyond them; no retreat, up the security. They'll get to heaven like an elephant through a keyhole.

Let us hope that there will be a lot more botched facelifts in the future. Their lives may depend on it.



Dog on Island Man in Tree

Control is the DNA of the culture. This may be why there is an obsessive message of freedom built as a dome over this radioactive truth. Freedom seems mostly a fantasy an abstraction like pristine forest and humane treatment, often dreamt about, written about, but rarely occurring. It is enhanced coloration on a big screen. It goes along more believed-in than reality. I've met few free thinkers who haven't spent at least a little time against their will in a barred institution.

Control is the goal in every boardroom, precinct, sports event, classroom: of markets, people, opponents, subjects. It is never not the goal. There is no reason to exist except through the exercise of control. Therefore every day is a kind of war play. The practice of war is the ultimate attempt of control. The result is always chaos. When a culture of control creates chaos it reacts with more elaborate and wider methods of control thereby creating ever more chaos.

The idea of control exists in happiness as a pursuit; for it must be dragged down from behind, skinned and cutup for use - controlled. You can go anywhere, but your mind stays right here, in place, gleaning beginning, middle and end with linear brains, myopic by design, through bad stretches and good, a smiley face for the moon, a crooked road made straight.

Happiness through pursuit and Freedom through control are the prevailing messages. Freedom to control those curls, frizz, dandruff, in pursuit of said happiness. Dicks, diabetes, wandering minds, high blood pressure, asthma, all can be controlled. All is happiness with a job well done. Freedom to control the road in a SUV, All Wheel Drive, control the borders, money, time, global warming. You may as well control a ghost; and indeed there are efforts in that regard.

Often paralleled with freedom is privacy, here again, it's hardly a veil for your nether regions (certainly not at the airport) because control lies at the heart of everything. It is map and grid and grid and map for greater and greater control. It is bit and parse and split and smash with ever increasing - uh huh - control. To what end? Control of course. There is no other end for the west but a tightly scripted happily ever after, a myriad of colorful sunsets, experienced everywhere from the same chair, straight jacket, sippy straw between the lips, mechanical hand to lift the veil and do the dirty.

If you were to ask just about any American what freedom meant to them they would almost certainly say one way or another: the freedom to "control" their destiny. They got it deep down in their bones. Freedom and control are so intertwined it's likely more often than not that when one pursues freedom one is licking the lolly of control.

After a couple thousand years under the strict supervision of an all knowing all seeing all controlling celestial king, science came along and tossed him aside more or less, but it turned out that control was king and the king remains. One can readily see that we are returning to the bosom of an all knowing, all seeing, all controlling entity.

So for a dog on an island or a man in a tree there is no backing away. There is no being left behind, alone, you will be controlled accordingly. There will be a rescue whether asked for or not. A beginning, middle and end will emerge to order the chaos. Control is freedom and freedom is control.



Consumer Alert

They call us consumers as they consume us. Our time, money, attention, work, all belong to them as they see it. We are born indentured in mind, body and spirit and there most of us remain. Theirs is not to assist us to clear our debts, alleviate our fears, theirs is to pile on more of it, to extract from us our lives, to put a toll on every breath, to tap our beating hearts.

We pay the premiums through the prime-time of our lifetimes and the best we get are doled out installments when we can no longer run jump or sprint. And then they have the gall to call them the "golden years" all that and they may reduce or even stall the installments (due to an issue of their own making!), calculating correctly that every month gained for them brings us closer to our deaths. Money saved is money earned in their book and every book they bother to print.

Sad but true this society is but a series of gill-nets placed in waters we are made to swim. It begins in the crib, staring up at a square ceiling, chipped leaden paint, bluish boys and pinkish girls, brow beaten adults passing it on, sunday schools, superstitions, public schools that value standing quietly in line over creative thinking and expression. Nearly everywhere the honest truth gets the kibosh.

If we are unlucky in our parents, health, smarts, etc, a gill-net may catch us by the throat, and before we can get our bearings straight, they will have drug us aboard for processing; to feed some penciled-in institution that demands a harvest.

When it's time to fight crime they do it in poor neighborhoods where capitalism at the street level doesn't look so good. They appear to fight against it, but it is entirely an act of separation, they do it to obscure the view, the poor practice capitalism in its purest form of supply and demand. This is where deregulation and free enterprise exist in all their ravages. Their war on the poor has produced a lopsided prison population and perpetuated craters of violence and degradation. To cover their ongoing crimes a PR industry springs forth and runs day and night inflating all manner of bogymen to justify their injustices.

Capitalism only exists for us on the ground. The expense of competing, for us, is bourn by us. Where we compete, they collude. Where we labor, they merger. When we get together it is an evil union. When they get together it is a benign association.

We have become their polluted water sinking to its lowest level. We are where these unnatural chemicals have come to dissolve. On and under the skin, through the lungs, eyes and ears, into our hearts and minds. Our bodies are merely vessels for social contamination that is why misery abounds and unsound advice rattles through tinfoil speakers.

The message is clear. If you become a meal, a purse, a pillow, a rug, it is entirely your own doing, the current distribution of things is by natural order in need of only a few minor tweaks now and then, laws elaborated and elucidated by courts supreme merely guide the ship safely through troubled waters, your reward will come later, don't forget those golden years, just keep kicking the can down the road. And pay no attention to what they do but what might happen if they don't do what they do. You've seen the commercial, advertised bogyman's bloodlust and penchant for rape and baby massacres knows no bounds.

If we don't hop-to and kill on demand we are jeered as cowards and traitors, the very thing that they are guilty of, for what is more cowardly than to steal from the people their time, bread, shelter, thoughts. What is more traitorous than digging a trench shoving the people in and saying "You all start here."

If they think of us at all it is usually as their chattel, cattle, troublesome cows. A herd that must be pushed and prodded. They prefer us locked in the cargo hold while they run the ship. Anyone looking out a porthole can see the ship is hell-bent for the rocks. A seagull's view of the deck would reveal that their helicopters are packed and ready for lift off. If disaster is averted probability will stand in awe.

They call us consumers as they consume us. They insist that we are the problem. Too many, they say, not enough to go around. This is greed barking through gaping holes.

We give our best years, do our best to avoid the worst of the gill-nets, turn our sorrows into something less sorrowful, with extended arms, opposable thumbs, love, practice the miracle that is life on this good earth that is being trampled by this thing that exhales devastation and calls it living.

Be a loose rivet. Let this thing rattle apart.



Merrily They Go A-Rampaging

There are only a few tigers and polar bears left in the world. These miracles of nature are now tax-deductible charitable donations. They are being counted down on tv their numbers only growing on sympathy lists, the outcome inevitable, the tale of a gaping wound and a bandaid.

Charities for people are the opposite. There are too many of us, those over there didn't get their ducks in a row, now the ducks are dead. It's the right thing to give and mere pennies will suffice, the price of a cup of coffee. They won't mention it was likely another arm of the same bloated beast that rifled their pockets and slaughtered their ducks, it's the Holidays after all, that would be rude.

The same ads appear every year. A soft pleading voice over sad soft music. Only money can help. Don't change just send your change. There are no tigers or polar bears in your backyard, it has been swept clean, the problem is over there, keep doing what you're doing, change nothing just send your change. And be aware. Don't buy tiger dust for your wee wee. It doesn't work and we got pills for that anyway. Enough money and awareness will fix the problem. Same with cancer. It's democracy for your wallet. You are a consumer after all. What better way? Please, just a few more dollars, we are so close.

The tigers and bears move past the camera in slow motion as the soft voice pleads for their declining numbers. Please, don't get up, it will hardly take anything, new technologies are in the works, change without changing, in the meantime little cameras will keep a sharp eye, when a tiger goes down by a poacher it will render in HD.

Face it. This planet is peopling. More people are coming, people. All macro animals better get to the nearest park or zoo and face a techno human future pacing behind bullet proof glass their animal utterances squawking through a stiff speaker in the wall.

In fifty years time they'll likely net as many tigers as big-foots in night vision cameras. This peopling planet is pushing aside more and more of less and less. To get on in this world one may have to become a snapping turtle. More than that one should strive to be multi-animalistic in this people'd-up world. It has worked for me in the past. I've been a jail bird, a wolf and a mourning dove. It might be time to conjure up your inner gorilla.

People are the great imitators. We've already had a grizzly man, a few tiger mommas, some tattooed lizard people already roam our streets. We may end up with herds of human gazelle, after the actual gazelles are gone, prides of human lions, we already have the proving grounds of Cosplay as its natural predecessor. I have an elderly neighbor who would make quite the exotic bird. She opens and closes her eyes independently and she snacks on the seeds she flings around her backyard. For variety's sake, and because most bore so easily, there will be plenty of people in mass produced costumes to fill the void.

It's true this globe will go on without these incredible animals stalking the wilds (it doesn't seem to miss the dinosaurs) but by definition with their exit there will be no more wilds. Planet earth will become a park in total. Papered in people. This is devastating.

The world is becoming like a fast food menu. The same ingredients pressed into different shapes and chemical tastes. Disguised as variety. Nothing truly wild. Just the nightmarish machinations of corporations, governments, serial killers and terrorists. I'd rather have real wolves at my door.

 

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