In the summer of 1990, I interviewed Dr. John Gofman at a conference at Northwestern University. Gofman, PhD and MD, was speaking about the medical effects of radiation. He had manufactured the first teaspoonful of plutonium for the Manhattan Project, and now he was an anti-nuke activist.

Gofman made headlines three years after Chernobyl, when he predicted that 475,000 people would die from cancers directly attributed to the meltdown. The official UN report, published in 2005, belied that prediction, stating 4,000 people were killed by Chernobyl fallout. In 2006, the book “Chernobyl: Consequences for the Catastrophe for People and the Environment,” published by the New York Academy of Sciences, stated that 1,000,000 people had been killed including 170,000 deaths in North America. Gofman had been off by half a million people.

I mentioned to him that, at the behest of a committee of concerned citizens, I had recently stood in an illegal nuclear dump outside of Sheffield, Illinois. A cancer cluster was spreading around the area. At the time, there were tens of illegal nuclear dumps over all fifty states. After our interview, he turned to walk back into the conference, stopped and said, “Read about the Aztecs.”

This led me to learn about Huitzilopochtli, the Aztec god of war and sacrifice. The great Mesoamerican culture, which flourished between 1300 and 1521, had its core a firm belief that the sun was a deity, that darkness was a sign of the sun’s displeasure with its people. Huitzilopochtli, the priests decreed, demanded sacrifice—removing the beating hearts of enemies. Untold numbers of people were killed in frequent bloodletting rituals.

Hernan Cortes, with a small band of soldiers, brought down the Aztec empire with relative ease. The Aztecs, because of the need for human sacrifice, chased down and captured their enemies as opposed to killing them outright. Cortes, with the distinct advantage of guns, was a slaughterer.

John Gofman’s analogy, Aztecs and their “bond” with what he called the Neo Aztec nuclear industry, was clear. Radiation: The new Sun God. Religionists in the employ of the nuclear industry sold the concept of nuclear power as something which could not affect Christians; only non-believers would die. People actually believed that. Small wonder that the nuclear and chemical industries, for short term monetary gain, were able to kidnap and sacrifice a planet.

Imagine a time when civilization was temporarily, catastrophically disrupted, Dr. Gofman told me. Future archaeologists, lacking historical information, would discover, dig and open burial places. In some of those burial places would lie caches of nuclear waste. The scientists would die immediately. It reminded me of the movie which scared me to death as a kid, “The Mummy,” with Boris Karloff rising from the dead and going on a killing spree.

We “New Aztecs” are sacrificing our children to Huitzilopochtli Inc., purveyors of chemicals and the poisons in our food and water, makers of guns for mass murder—now an afternoon’s activity at the mall; to unchecked capitalism in search of profit, minus few or no safeguards regarding the environment. The stockholders of Huitzilopochtli Inc. rely on passivity of people. Sinclair Lewis’s character Babbitt is the perfect metaphor. Huitzilopochtli Inc. relies on indolence. Television and now smart phones are the perfect metaphor for the ass-sitter class.

Few of us would, say, stand in front of a Chinese tank; step forward at a lynching and attempt to stop it; boycott a store because of its discrimination policies; speak out in a public place when we see injustice; place ourselves in harm’s way with certain death but feet away; march; or merely just cast a vote.

Twenty years ago, I wrote a short story, “The Last Tree.” With it would come the last flower, the last bee, the last child, the last memory. We would become Mars. It seemed so absurd that I erased it. Now it seems utterly possible.

Ironically, we will soon land people on Mars. Dear Martian bacteria: The Aztecs are coming.

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Sunday Morning Coming Down

On my morning Genehouse walk, I was riled enough to not see a thing—just plowed ahead ignoring the sights and sounds. I did note on Stroke Hill that the cicadas were deafening. About six miles in, I called my friend Sheila S. I’m checking in, I said. I’m going to write about El Paso, and I want to talk out loud.

Sheila S. said: “Did you hear about Dayton?”

251 mass shootings in 216 days. 29 people murdered in the last 24 hours. All by assault weapons. All white males. Most citing President Donald Trump as their inspiration. Is Trump responsible? Absolutely.

Aren’t we all responsible?

There is another mass: Mass white racism. Doesn’t matter if it’s silent or subdued—or even if it’s on display via social media. It all plays into basic ignorance of our origins. All of us, all humans, come from Africa. The European thing, the white thing, is myth. James Baldwin characterized it as: “People who need to be white.”

The human thing, the fifteen or so common African ancestors from which we all come—mitochondrial DNA, dear hearts who will want to deny truth—is a failed experiment. We stood up on hind legs half a million years ago—peanuts in evolution terms—and in the blink of an eye have nearly destroyed every other life form and the support structures of air and water.

“I didn’t come from monkeys.” That’s right: You didn’t. Well, your 40th great-grandmother was a monkey.

It is arrogant and wrong to declare a single specie sacred. The woman-hating patriarch dolts who wrote the Old Testament were ignorant of science, of evolution, of biology, of the extent of the world. In the beginning, four billion years ago, prokaryotes, life forms in the oceans which would evolve into all life, appeared. This is the prologue to the genealogy of humans. DNA is the historian. No skeletal evidence, of someone not related to Africans, exists. Every human bone ever found is related to the first tribes of Africa.

The one fatal characteristic of humans? Insatiable lust for slaughter. I have it, you have it. Religionists have it in spades. Most of us don’t act on it. We invented the concept of laws to keep ourselves from slaughtering our neighbors.

Sometime in the Twentieth Century, the civilized world, reacting to the carnage from slaughter lust, banned guns. Except us. Our founding myth is gunslingers, free rangers, Marlboro Men. Armed pioneers holding off the hordes of redskins. We love slaughter. We drink blood, dip our babies in blood.

That love has led to Dayton. To El Paso. Only the NRA and gun stores have a vested interest in the very white sickness of gun love, of gun Viagra.

Supreme Court Justice and Republican John Paul Stevens: “Rarely in my lifetime have I seen the type of civic engagement schoolchildren and their supporters demonstrated in Washington and other major cities throughout the country this past Saturday. These demonstrations demand our respect. They reveal the broad public support for legislation to minimize the risk of mass killings of schoolchildren and others in our society.

“That support is a clear sign to lawmakers to enact legislation prohibiting civilian ownership of semiautomatic weapons, increasing the minimum age to buy a gun from 18 to 21 years old, and establishing more comprehensive background checks on all purchasers of firearms. But the demonstrators should seek more effective and more lasting reform. They should demand a repeal of the Second Amendment.

“Concern that a national standing army might pose a threat to the security of the separate states led to the adoption of that amendment, which provides that ‘a well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.’ Today that concern is a relic of the 18th century.”

Beyond the “relic” clause lies owning guns in the home. I personally won’t do it, but I don’t care much if you do. As for open carry and conceal carry, these things are for white racist cowards who believe that Negroes are going to hurt them.

Destiny? There is no such thing as destiny. Meaning? We have no idea of the meaning of life. We know completely, the meaning of death. The mass slaughter kind: We love it. We’re the Neo Romans. We love Bread and Circuses—fast forward to the bloodletting—only, we watch it on our smart phones.


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“My mother used to bake bread in the hard times. She would put the warm loaves in a short barrel with a tight lid—to keep the ants away. So this one time, barrel or no barrel, them ants was on that bread in the barrel—looked like little sesame seeds. My dad, he said throw it out.

“Mom, she wasn’t going to be defeated. She put them loaves on a flat baking thingy, fired up the oven. And us kids watched them ants come running out that bread to save their lives, all baked and crispy. And we ate that dang bread. And maybe a few baked ants.”

This was Farmer Orville holding court on the southwest corner of his wraparound porch where the breeze was. We were watching ants crawl out of my bowl filled with a pound of blackberries, fresh picked, my fingers stained with juice.

One paying customer (Orville won’t take money from me), an immense fat old man wearing a straw hat, was on his second full bucket of berries. He walked from bush to bush, his shoulders rocking up and down like an oil pumper. His wife was waiting at home for the start of jam season.

A doe and her fawn stood below in the old dry lake bed and grazed. Ruby Puppy was sound asleep in her pen in the sun. She can’t come out and play when customers are around—she’s too aggressive and could knock an old person down. The north field was filled with giant rolls of hay.

“The wife and daughter are goin’ shopping today,” Orville said. “So my wallet will be losing weight.” Quilt Queen loves to shop. She never has enough earrings, sweaters or gewgaws. Her slogan regarding her husband is, “What’s his is mine, what’s mine is mine.”

It was hot at nine am. Eighty-five degrees, eighty-five percent humidity. You either take a long walk just after sunrise or you hole up in the air conditioning. I go through two tee shirts and pairs of socks and underwear on days like this, which means I have to do laundry once a week. I’m pretty sure Quilt Queen does laundry every day.

But rejoice. My friend Cartney gave me a bunch of first heirloom tomatoes. I’ve been looking at them reverently as if I were in Chicago’s Art Institute. I’ve photographed them with a table of Indian artifacts. Now I’ll have to eat them. The good news is Orville now has tomatoes for sale.

Blackberries, local blueberries, Calhoun peaches, melons, kale and spinach, green beans, melons, radishes and carrots, lettuce: all of it is available locally, all fresh, all desired, all coveted. Orville gave up on strawberries, damn it.

A blackberry (not those abominable plastic clamshell mushy berries at the supermarket) is a metaphor for life. Unless you toss it into your maw and tongue mash and swallow without tasting. Most people live their lives without seeing, without tasting, without savoring. A blackberry is a perfect thing. A tomato is an edible jewel. A Calhoun peach reminds me of Georgia O’Keefe’s flower paintings, female and lush and gushing nectar.

Orville on tomatoes: “I grow ’em, I don’t eat ’em.”

His joy is in the planting, the nurturing, the cage building—even the weeding. His last breath will be inhaled while weeding, on his knees, secure in his Missouri Synod Lutheran way that God and the angels are nearby.

As for me, existentialist, I am thankful for this wrinkled farmer who will never be warm enough on the hottest day. He is a man among boys. He is open and loves to laugh and look at ladies picking blackberries and eat bacon. He is gruff to cats and dogs even as they nuzzle and cuddle with him. He is conservative in the old fashion sense. He wonders why people just don’t get along.

“Having once put his hand into the ground,
seeding there what he hopes will outlast him,
a man has made a marriage with his place,
and if he leaves it his flesh will ache to go back.”

That is a segment of a poem by the Kentucky poet Wendell Barry And that is Orville.

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When I walk, in my memory I hear Bach’s “Anna Magdalena.” I vary the temps, the instrumentation, piano to organ to harp to full orchestral arrangement ala Rimsky-Korsakov’s bible of orchestration. I walk into the music, so immersed in beauty that I often step off the trail into the weeds, like a distracted driver.

When I walk, I feel I am in a parallel wood to reality. Passersby bring me out of it and just as quickly I am back in my mind. This morning Anna M. morphed into Samuel Barber’s frantic “Concerto for Piano and Orchestra,” which sent my legs pumping to six miles an hour—until it ended and I climbed three bluff hills, hearing “his truth is marching on.” Not bad for an atheist.

I possess what archaeologists call “the eye,” wherein I see everything, every camouflaged creature, every arrowhead buried in gravel beds, every movement of the forest. I see the unseen: ancient Indians walking the very field I’m in which I am standing, the dead lying in graveyards. I suspect Thornton Wilder and Langston Hughes had the same gift. They did not need eyes.

Handel, of course, has me all beat. He saw God and ran for his apartment and emerged a short time later with the entire “Messiah” in hand.

There is a barred owl living in the forest where I walk. I have seen her with baby owls several times and many times heard her call. She lives in a hole in a sycamore tree, launching herself down to the path at snakes and squirrels who don’t see her. I hear her sing: “Who-cooks-for-you.” And we do counterpoint. I duel with Carolina wrens and cardinals, but I can’t do the rapid trills of finches.

Now I’m one with the orb spiders, an LSD dream of arachnids, preeminent spinners. Seemingly overnight they are weaving masterpieces between low branches, under porch eaves, four-foot-wide webs, trawlers and fly fishermen, somehow looking bookish, motherly, their handiwork cozy haunts under which to read “The Wind in the Willows.” And their prey, caught in the web, mutter, “We are proud to die for you.”

The breeze, the chattering water, the rustling of leaves, the slight friction of parachuting cottonwood seeds, the agony of the baking earthworm, choruses and formal choirs and fiddlers and drummers and thrummers: Whitman: “Give me solitude, give me nature.”

Tobias Picker, whose masterpiece, “Old and New Rivers,” plays in my mind, the only music perfectly capturing the scream and secret and hush and serenity and trumpeting and howl and the “who” and ripple of the teaming universe. This is the music I will die to.

These are my companions, like Leopold Bloom’s companions in “Ulysses,” the passing loved ones, bawdy ones, drunk ones, troubadours, angels. This is how each day begins.





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July 4 Address to the Nation

From our fearless, feckless, fuckless president Donald J. Trump:

“In June of 1775, the Continental Congress created a unified Army out of the Revolutionary Forces encamped around Boston and New York, and named after the great George Washington, commander in chief. The Continental Army suffered a bitter winter of Valley Forge, found glory across the waters of the Delaware and seized victory from Cornwallis of Yorktown.

“Our Army manned the air, it rammed the ramparts, it took over the airports, it did everything it had to do, and at Fort McHenry, under the rocket’s red glare it had nothing but victory. And when dawn came, their star-spangled banner waved defiant.”

From “The Genehouse Hysterectomy of the United States:

The 1775 winter of Valley Forge, not to be confused for the winter at Valley Forge, two valleys two forges, one and one is two–as we all know–was…uuuuuge and baaaaaad. Followed by the musical “1776.”

Our George Washington Army manned the air, the cannons launching many mans into the air on short missions, very short missions, catching inferior British cannonballs, then hard landings–icy ground–ouch!

Nights, we rammed the Rampart sisters–well, I rammed the Rampart sisters, first cousins and a twelve-year-old serving wench.

And we stormed the airports and confiscated the planes, the J-4 Jennies,the Kraut Messerschmitt’s, the Spirit Airlines so we could fly the slaves to freedom except the good-looking lady ones.

Fort McHenry: we decorated it with glitter and spangles for the holiday. I took the flag for my personal blankie–everybody knows that the “Star-Spangled Banner” was written thirty-five years later–different war. My men didn’t know their history–tough toenails on them. They protested but I gave them my best stink-eye red glare and waved defiantly. I had nothing to do with the victory, the same as my election for president.

The next day, we bought presents for our wives and concubines–mine was named Stormy–from Cornwallis of Yorktown, a tony shop in a Jersey mall.

Cornwallis of England–boy, did we screw that rat bastard.

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In the last days of her life, my grandma Olive, confined to an Alton nursing home bed, opened her eyes, saw me (I was visiting from Chicago) and asked: “Are we by that river?” Yes, I told her. “Can you take me there?” No, she was bedridden.

“It wouldn’t take long, Ewing.” She thought I was my father. After quite a few minutes of begging me to take her to the river, she said calmly, “Just take me to the river, Genie.” Why, Gram? “Take me to the river and drown me.” I sobbed, and I did not drown her, the merciful thing to do.

She had been baptized in the Big Muddy River as a girl. Now, after a thankless, hardscrabble life, she wanted to sail away. Her brother and sisters had left home as soon as they could. Olive remained behind to take care of Selinda, her sickly mother, and to fall in love with Morris Royer, a boy who lived on the neighboring farm. Morris wrote her a poem: “You are witty, you are pretty, you are single—what a pity. And I am single for your sake. What a couple we would make.” Morris took her to the hayloft then left.

I thought of this as I looked at the horrifying photo of the drowned Oscar Ramirez and his beautiful two-year-old daughter Valeria. They floated near the shoreline of the Rio Grande, Valeria tucked inside her father’s shirt, her arm around him. The helpless mama, Tania, was on the Mexican shore.

This is the new promise of America, desperate people seeking that mythical shining city on a hill, who will only know the myth and never the reality. Brown people with dreams, following in the footsteps of black people who were brutally forced into the myth, the labor of all of which, made possible the ill-gotten wealth, the morally corrupt first step of white America.

Imagine Tania’s pain. We can’t? Oh, yes, we can. The truth is, we won’t.

Did you see Valeria’s photo? Snuggled between Papa’s legs, purple headband with a huge purple flower framing her gorgeous face, her shock of curly hair; bits of peanut butter and jelly sandwich in both tiny hands, and oh that winsome smile. Imagine her at her Quinceanera, her entry into womanhood, what she would be, this new, proud American.

If white Americans gave way to feeling the pain of the oppressed, we would be an entirely different country. We who arrived on the eastern shore with guns and slaughtered our way to home sweet home. We who revere mass murderers like Andrew Jackson and scorn the warriors like Harriet Tubman. “Kill them all,” Ward Bond’s preacher character said to John Wayne’s Nathan, in some western. “Let God sort ’em out.”

Grandma Olive’s neighbors were mostly poor black farmers. She called them “good colored.” In a neighborhood of poverty, of dirt floors, well water baths, outhouses and the like, racism was a fool’s errand ensuring that the fool would get no help, no food to tide one over, no comfort, no helping hand. No gossip.

For Olive, the river, where her sins had been washed away, was freedom from pain. Oscar and Valeria sailed on the Rio Grande to freedom from wont, not baptism, only to veer off into the far country called Oblivion. God sorted them out: the ultimate fate for “colored people.”

We’re all headed there anyway.

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I hiked into LaVista Park early this morning. June 13, sunny, temperature about sixty-five and a cool north breeze. And the buffalo gnats were dying out. It was a perfect day.

Silence. Because the Mississippi River has flooded for nearly two months, there was no traffic therefore no farting motorcycles on the Great River Road, nothing but birdsong: Carolina wrens, pileated woodpeckers, redwing blackbirds, puffed-out cardinals and shameless mockingbirds.

A lone bullfrog was imitating that HBO intro sound: Bwaaaa.

Down in the valley I came across what I thought was a copperhead. It was stretched across the path, three feet long, nonplussed at my presence. As I got closer, I could see it was an eastern fox snake, a specie which is known for docility and I am a big load of docile. I moved the snake into the underbrush by hoisting it onto a long stick because I knew someone would come along and kill it. I will never understand people’s irrational fears of reptiles.

The lower park was open, the flood waters receding rapidly. I was able to walk all the way to the swollen river, still as high as the street signs. A flash of electric blue went by, and I turned to see an indigo bunting, a rare sight in these parts, finch-size, surely the most beautiful bird alive, its feathers like an azure glaze on a pot made by a potter on LSD. The indigo bunting worked the reeds along the path, gathering up topseed.

I climbed five hundred feet up the bluff road, my heart hammering, my right knee screaming, across the hill line then back down into Clifton Park. Stiritz Lane is there, the only way in and out for thirty homeowners up at the top.

There was an enormous snapping turtle on a boating tree branch, and Mr. and Mrs. Mallard swam around it. Down the path was Stevie’s house. Her son Michael came from California weeks ago to help her cope with the flood and he never left. They have no hot water and they can’t use the toilet. Four feet of water is in the basement. The air conditioner is failing. Stevie’s front steps are flooded. You could sit on her porch and toss out a line for a catfish.

A car parked at the Stiritz lane flood blockade, and a hippie-looking couple got out. They were wearing waders and sporting badges, Red Cross volunteers going door to door and ordering supplies for the stranded. They had a drone in the air scanning the homes below. Did I know anyone who needed help? Yes, I said, Hummingbird Man’s house is underwater. I directed them to Stroke Hill and how to find that unfortunate family. (“You know how it is, Gene,” Hummingbird Man told me while he sat in a lawn chair in the knee-high river water. “We’re river rats. We take what comes.”

I don’t know how it is. I live above it all. But the farmers above it all are hurting. Rain keeps coming. Peaches—forget it. Autumn apples—not likely. Farmer Orville’s tomato plants are drowning. The color up from the river is fade green, washed-out cornflowers, and there are exhausted butterflies and cynical honeybees.

Orville, Quilt Queen, Ruby Puppy and I sat on the porch and bitched. We’re out of jokes. We have been told that these two flooded months will now be the new norm. We won’t get California-style fires and ultra-hurricanes; we will just drown.

The couple are about to give Ruby Puppy to a daughter. They don’t have the energy to care for a young herder dog that needs lots of running. I’ll take her, I said, and Quilt Queen snapped, “You aren’t family.”

And this is true, I am an orphan. I am in exile in my own hometown, and I’m writing about racism, and people don’t want to hear it. The synonym for Alton is Whitey Town. Ask Elijah P. Lovejoy shot to death on his printing press: You don’t belong. If the book gets published you can’t live here.

But every once in a while, visionlike, one sees indigo, ethereal indigo, one sings with birds, all the professionalism gone and who gives a shit that once I sang like an angel? Now I write the songs, not sing them, mostly in minor keys.

Today the song is “Indigo,” a Joni Mitchell jazz riff. Key of D. A turtle and some ducks and snakes walk into this bar and….

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The Kingdom of Plastica

“The Kingdom of Plastica”
It is the time of the small. Inchworms dangle from trees and arch along pathways, aiming to become geometer moths—carpet, winter, ennominae, peppered, pug. Web strands dangle like high wires across the jungle (woods, but the deep humidity changes the feel). Whole colonies of insects exist under oak leaves.

Mayflies, Junebugs. Nipping buffalo gnats—my body is covered in welts. The food is blood, leaf, stick, soil, garbage. You can’t sit like a character in an E. M. Forster novel, contemplate Pan and take in the view. The view will eat you, skin you, bruise you, suck you, lay eggs in you.

Quid pro quo: In the time of the small, a hiker inadvertently kills with every step. What look like dragons under a microscope are in fact soft, mushy, malleable, soupy, saucy. “I’m going for a hike,” also means “I’m going out and murdering.”

Speaking of which: We have murdered a river. The flooding Mississippi River is a cauldron of human hormone medication, birth control pill residue, farm chemical runoff, radiation detritus, Styrofoam and shredded plastic, prostate shots, human shit, sick fish. This is not the bluff view, of course, the Pan view, but the actual sum of the river.

The new hymn, lyrics by us, is “Shall We Shit on Our River.”
But this is what we wished for.

And now, 80% of teenagers have BPA in their bodies. They have increased risk for mammary problems, immune disorders, liver and kidney malfunction. That is a small price to pay for progress.

Our spawn are the children of the Kingdom of Plastica. Scores of them will die in front of your eyes—better here than in Iran, right? Take comfort: Like soldiers, they will have sacrificed for their countries; like good little Capitalists, they are dying for their corporations. It would be our little secret if loudmouths like that bitch Ocasio-Ortiz hadn’t started ranting about it.

Why would a river poison itself? It is a mystery. Why would species commit suicide? It is a mystery. Yet, poison and commit suicide they do. All we can do is sit on the sidelines and place bets, helpless because we are innocent. Well, there was that eating of the forbidden fruit thing, but that was then.

In the Kingdom of Plastica, it’s a ‘you say minutia, I say Mnuchin’ kind of thing. Nobody’s to blame. Wait. Harriet Tubman—stealing contented slaves and shepherding them north? Maybe, those damn inchworms.

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Jonathan Swiftboat’s A Modest Proposal

The Missouri legislature, already known for Whitey, pre-Darwin behavior, in addition to passing a particularly draconian abortion bill, recently decided that Missouri voters were misguided when they voted for a “Clean Missouri,” initiative, a package of laws which included raising the minimum wage, end lobbying at the statehouse and redrawing Republican jerrymandered districts. Clean Missouri passed in a Republican state!


But, how did Republican Whitey governor Mike Parson and the legislature respond? They held a press conference and pledged to follow the will of the people. Just kidding. They insulted the voters by insinuating that the electorate was not knowledgeable enough to vote this way, and they passed laws which would make the Clean Missouri initiative unenforceable.

“Fundamentally, you think when the people vote you shouldn’t be changing that vote,” Parson told the AP. “But the reality of it is that is somewhat what your job is sometimes, if you know something’s unconstitutional, if you know some of it’s not right.”

In other words, Parson and his fellow Whitey conservative Republicans know better than the voters.

The Whitey Alabama legislature, oblivious to the overwhelming majority of voters who support a woman’s right to choose, and citing horrifying false information re fetuses, have voted to make the unborn “people.” Will these unborn “people” be able to: Vote? Get health insurance? Carry conceal carry weapons? Masturbate while watching “Mike Pence Gay Porn for the Unborn?”

Donald Trump is guilty of the same hubris, nominating anti-environment people to key environmental positions, even at the risk of destroying the environment. His anthem, to the tune of “Power to the People,” is “Fuck You to the People.”

A Modest Proposal:

  1. It shall be lawful for voters to grab legislators who don’t act on constituents’ wishes by the lapels, drag them to public spaces, and put them in stocks and force them to listen 24/7 to Rush Limbaugh and Nancy Pelosi. Imagine Mike Parson having to repeat over and over: “I am an arrogant whitey asshole” while Pelosi’s voice licks his earhole.

2. It shall be lawful to force self-interested legislators such as Mitch McConnell to bloviate, “I am the Grim Reaper when it comes to the Green New Deal,” while sitting in a pig manure retention pond.

3. It shall be lawful to force the head of EPA and his grandchildren to drink crude oil with their natural gas injected pork chops while sitting outside a grizzly bear den.

4. It shall be lawful to make lobbyists for the plastic industry subsist on a diet of plastic dust while sleeping on plastic water bottles and spending jail time removing plastic from wild animals.

5. It shall be lawful to make Sarah Huckleberry Hound Sanders eat unlimited Colonel Sanders—his chicken, that is—while she lies to the press, grease spewing from her dead eyeballs and congealing on her daddy Whitey Mikey.

6. It shall be lawful to make President Trump eat Legos preformed into his own verifiable lying words and fed to him by clients of an abused women’s shelter.

I said it was modest, didn’t I?

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A Death

I don’t want to hear about your hatred of snakes.

All humans are born with the fear of reptiles and fear of falling—no doubt cellular memories of our 200,000-year-old ancestors who, if they fell out of their nest trees, perished by fearsome predators such as sabretooth tigers and enormous reptiles. Our charge is to overcome our fears, especially in the modern world where you stand more of a chance being hit by lightning than bit by a snake, and snakes, like every single living animal, are now utterly dependent on our stewardship.

And just now I failed at my charge. I ran over a beautiful black and yellow striped snake, with my lawnmower. It was partially hidden in long grass under a bush. Worse, she was alive but cut in two, her jaws snapping open and closed with pain, her thick body sliced and spewing out young. She was pregnant. She had intestines; she had veins; she shed her blood for me.

I prayed for her to die, to let me not feel my horror, but she kept opening and closing her mouth. I picked up a piece of limestone and smashed in her head, and I bawled like a baby. When one becomes God, you see, one rolls the dice for all living things, deciding which will die and which will live.

She is out of her pain and I am deep in mine. I don’t want to be God. I can’t imagine anyone wanting that, yet here we are. We live in such an unbalance, an obscene unbalance wholly created by us, an unbalance the illogic of which could scarcely be explained to first graders.

Hi children, I am Gene, and in but a short amount of time I have become the destroyer of worlds. I will teach you how to be a destroyer of worlds, how to live free of all insect life, all reptiles, all noseeums, all bad things; all you have to do is fear everything and react to everything then, with Mommy and Daddy’s help, kill everything that’s left. Then you will live a perfect human life, with one tree per city, and the new forests of ten trees, one per state, in which nothing can hurt you.

Children, we all hate snakes. You know why. Why? I don’t know.

I know nothing, my words signify nothing. You—you have tee-ball and roller coasters and support animals and play dates and achievement certificates and no pain: yay you! Bad snakes! Bad!

You have nothing to be afraid of. We adults have made sure of that. We are engaged in killing all your fears. We have already killed half of all animals on earth. We are sterilizing your food. We have told you fairy tales about good people who do good things! We have made it clear that people who are different than you are will not harm you up to and including we hang them!

Just. One thing. You are going to die.

But that’s for another day!

I don’t want to hear about your fear of snakes. Look in the mirror and behold a horror film, a hallelujah killing machine. If you love anyone, advise them to run as fast as they can—from you.

I am a murderer. What do you do for a living?

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