Dear Mr. Escritor,
It is, from a certain perspective, a privilege to observe the bloom of Amorphophallus titanium, and not only because of its size. Some specimens of the plant have grown an entire decade before they are capable of producing their massive bloom: once the flowers die, another decade might pass before they return. No bees attend to its pollination needs: rather, the flower attracts carrion beetles and flesh flies. According to Wikipedia, Amorphophallus titanium, (more commonly known as the corpse flower) draws these insects through a combination of chemicals: “dimethyl trisulfide (like limburger cheese), dimethyl disulfide (garlic), trimethylamine (rotting fish), isovaleric acid (sweaty socks), benzyl alcohol (sweet floral scent), phenol (like Chloraseptic), and indole (like feces).”
We will not be publishing your manuscript.
The Trouble With Cussin’ Is There Ain’t Enough Words For Excrement and Fornication.
I've always loved curse words, and fuck in particular, for it's versatility and gumption, but as I spend most of my time around little earthlings, it becomes a definite priority to curb the expletives in order to adequately civilize the darling little munchkins. Some of my favorite sci-fi's have tackled the problem, coming up with great replacements- "Frack"(Battlestar Galactica) and "Smeg"(Red Dwarf) being prime examples.
I've noticed that curse words tend to have a common theme; being short and satisfying to say is only one prerequisite, the other is that it must be a shameful subject matter. Many of the best curse words simply mean poop: "crap" "shit" etc.. The only thing which makes fuck more objectionable is that it equates to sex, and if there's anything humans find more shameful than shitting it's sexing, especially around children, obviously. Can't let 'em know that they were born into a sexually reproducing species, they're not ready for that harrowing dingleberry of bad news, not for another few decades at least...
"Cock" is another of my favorites in adult company. eg: noun: "what a marvelous cock you have!" exclamation, verb & adverb: "cock! I've cocking cocked it up again." alternate verb:"all I need is a good cocking." adjective: "you're looking mighty cocky about it." more questionable adjective: "what the cock happened to that sandwich?" (and it has the advantage of being brushed off with the definition of "rooster" if accidentally overheard by young ears. But it's still cutting it a little close to the mark of social-unacceptitude...)
All that said, there is actually another existing word which has all the uses and which is acceptable to say around litl'uns: "Snot."
noun: "wipe the snot off yer face youngin."
verb: "stop snotting on the furniture, that's what snot-rags are for."
adjective: "Alright, I see your handkerchief is already quite snotty.."
adverb & exclamation: "'snot my fault your father skimped on our snot-wiping expenses. Just use the snotting toilet paper or sniff it back in. No, your sleeve will not do in a pinch, we shall not be a family of grotty little snots!!"
Re: Your Submission
Dear Sir. I have read your submission querie, and would have to sadly reject your project. By 'Sadly' i am being the most ironic that I have ever been. It is not often that i bother to answer quries at all. Most of what i receive is beneith contempt. Other project would get only a copy-pasted formal rejection. But having read your submission and the sample 5 pages which you included, i feel such extreme disgust, and bile towards the entire human race, because it includes you (so i assume, though it is quite possible you are some ooze-sucking radioactive slug, living in a toxic swamp), that i decided that you should get a more personal touch. Again, i can't be sure that 'personal' will be an adaquate description for the recipient of this letter.
Firstly, let us see the submission letter for the collosal failure that it is. You want to entice me to cooparate with you on a professional level, with a hope of some future remunaration from book sales. Normally, it is considered bad form to smear a gelatenous coat on the paper, even if it is meant to preserve the fibers. as you appologized for that, it is clear that you were well aware that snail mail is supposed to be mucus free, and most book agents nowdays prefer them new-fangled 'E-mails' as a faster, cleaner method of correspondance. Beside the residues snd secretions you were so tedious in listing, the form of the letter and the intention are so pathetically written, that i would have to be high on crack to even consider reading past the introduction line. Incidentally, it could be that some are all of your secretions contain a neurotoxin of some sort, as i have read past the intro, and am feeling a headache. Again, not good form or in any way appealing for further correspondance. I would like you to try and think of my job, you selfish, selfish..thing. I am not really interested in literature. That's just the propoganda. Every agent, just wants to make money. A lot of money is better than some, and infinitely better than none. Conversly, we measure how much work WE would have to do, to get your book published and promoted. If it's too much, than we reject. Your choice of a sample, which should be the most exciting, interesting, sexy, dramatic, tragic or funny part of your novel, was a long observation you made about a pebble that had one jagged edge, and about a cap from an old aspirin bottle. Not cherished or metaphorically oriented pieces. If this is your BEST work, than your book is basically a catalogue of objects, the mostvinteresting of which is a slightly jagged pebble and a bottle cap?! Who would need a lengthy 4-page description of a rock?! If you had added some interesting fact, say about geology, then maybe i would be able to pitch it to the ever-widening geology-buff crowd (just so you note, you scum, that no such crowd exist in a serious way, and that the term crowd must be at least 10 people..i mean humans.) All this and plenty more are just the tip of the iceberg, as i see it, of what is wrong with your submission and you as an individual in implication.
Now, i would normally add in a standard rejection, to try your luck somewhere else. This is what i write NORMALLY. Us book agents are extremely competitive and refer the bad, awful writers to our colleagues in hopes that they would get stuck with the mess of workibg with awful, terrible writers. However, there comes a time in every man's life, where he needs to face up to the big picture. Advising you to submit a query with other agents would be an act of unconceinable malice. I would not subject another human being, even a conpetitor to the misery that is dealing with you. I urge you to NOT. I repeat NEVER, attempt to approach another person with the filth that issued forth from your deranged, mucus-manating mind. It would be better for all, if you take one hand, (i assume you have one) and with it , to do us all a favor by blowing your head off. May god have mercy on your wretched, wretched soul!!
The Problem with the Mirrors
We used to think we had it hard. That was before the problem with the mirrors.
Life was always hard, of course. Money was tight, people died too soon, the wicked prospered, there were unjust wars. Sometimes you locked your keys in your car even though you were already having a really bad day and didn’t need that shit. It was never easy.
But the problem with the mirrors changed everything.
It happened so suddenly, that’s partly what made it so bad. There was no time to adapt.
I’ll tell you a story to illustrate. It’s easier that way.
Raymond woke up at 6:30am. He yawned and stretched. His wife, Joanna, rolled over and pulled the sheets back over her head. Raymond walked to the bathroom. He turned the lights on, squeezed the toothpaste onto his toothbrush, turned on the water, and then turned to look in the mirror and saw his reflection.
Joanna woke to a scream cut short by a sound like snapping branches and wet meat splattering on tile. She tore off the covers and rushed to the bathroom to see Raymond lying on the floor, what was left of his face frozen in a scream of agony. Blood was smeared on the walls and mirror. Pieces of skin and bone were plastered on the ceiling. Joanna tried to scream, but could only manage a dry rasp. Then she turned towards the mirror and saw her reflection.
Their daughter Sophie sprinted into the empty room, with panic in her eyes. She ran to the open door that led to the master bath and gasped at the ruined bodies of her parents. She fell to her knees and vomited onto the carpet. Then she ran to the phone in the hallway to call 911. As the phone rang, she looked up at the mirror that sat in the alcove above the phone.
Little Brian survived. He hid in his room. He was too short to see himself in any mirrors.
Around 750 million people died the first day, and another 112 million over the following weeks while the world figured out what was happening. We didn’t know what it was in the mirrors, but every mirror was lethal. Death was immediate, violent, and inevitable.
At first people tried to destroy them, but that just turned one mirror into many. They had to be covered and melted down, along with TVs and computer monitors with any sort of reflective screen. Getting the word out to the survivors was difficult as the world tried to contain the damage, especially with the danger of screens. There are more mirrors out there than you’d think once you start to look for them.
That was the problem with the mirrors. It was a catastrophe beyond all imagining, and it nearly brought humanity to its knees.
That wasn’t the worst of it though. We thought it was, we thought we’d made it through. We built a new world that looked very different from the old. But the thing is, the problem wasn’t just the mirrors. And even amidst the ruins, we didn’t realize how bad it really was.
I’ll tell you another story.
It was 6 months after the crisis. The world was trying to move on. Jonathan stood in his bathroom, straightening his tie as he looked at a picture of a boat drifting serenely on a Scottish loch. He didn’t need to be in the bathroom to get ready, obviously, there was no mirror in there anymore, but old habits die hard.
He pressed open a piece of particle board where he would have once had a bedroom window and checked the weather. It was a brisk fall night. He grabbed his coat and headed out onto the street.
He was going on a date. He couldn’t believe it, it felt like a crazy thing to do, after everything that had happened. But life couldn’t stand still forever. They’d met over a landline-based phone dating service. Smartphones were obviously impossible.
The restaurant was a nice place, a few blocks away. He sat down and chuckled as he looked at the table setting. Fine wooden chairs, a white table cloth, and plastic flatware. Glass was too dangerous. The restaurant had no windows, nowhere had windows anymore, but the heat was cranked up and it was comfortable. He took his coat off and sipped on his water.
His date was named Savannah. She said she’d be wearing a blue dress and a flower in her hair. He saw her come in and his heart skipped a beat. She was gorgeous, with pitch black hair down past her shoulders and eyes like golden fire. She saw him and gave a little wave. He waved back. She walked towards him and time stood still.
She wasn’t wearing makeup (how could she?) but she didn’t need it. She was beautiful,
funny, and disarming. They talked and joked for an hour. They ordered drinks, then dinner.
It made everything seem different. He gazed into her eyes and smiled. She smiled back.
Then his eyes went vacant. His skin turned grey and he tensed up. It was like he swallowed a meat grinder. His chest split open and his jaw burst in two. His guts splattered across the table and Savannah’s gorgeous blue dress. His eyes never left hers until he tipped backwards away from the table.
Then she finally screamed.
He’d stared too deeply into her eyes, that was the problem. It was never the mirrors. It was the reflections.
The mirrors we could handle. The problem with the reflections was infinitely worse.
Society was never the same after we came to realize the extent of the damage. No one could ever look too deeply in anyone else’s eyes ever again.
We tried many things, of course. Science marched on. But the damage could never be truly undone. Relationships were never the same, and the world could never be the same after the problem with the mirrors.
Long Reach of Silence
Lost in the dark, tangled in silken threads
skeleton fingers of old wounds
leaving empty spaces between lunacy
and distorted visions of obsidian darkness.
Mourning in cobalt skies of midnight hours
forest becomes enemy of old torments,
stones knead blisters on quivering feet -
confusion of illusions in dress of doom.
Muted energy splinters along my trail
unraveling nerves in soupy congealed mist,
rough sands of time lingering in deep recesses.
cracked jars of pain hang breathless from limbs
Fist of night pummels in long reach of silence
eroding numbness fading into nothingness.
a crashing, crushing soliloquy absorbing
intensity between shadow and soul.
Judging purely on acoustical qualities...
Pish posh fiddle faddle tommyrotten soup,
Fox dug a hole in the chicken coop
Purile, jibber jabber, nosh, nincompoop,
Here’s a little gumboot chock full o’ goop.
give me fleeting knowledge
name of a road
view from rented window
a waitress’s smile
give me first drops of rain
a row and seat
a hotdog’s price and taste
nearby child’s eyes
give me moments that fill
leave memory unburdened
and refresh like
the last firework’s crackle or
the path of syrup on pancakes
Kill the Indian, Save the Man (Voices From the Plains 1)
Thomas Flowers died on an acre of land, a retired banker in Pecos, New Mexico and given a Christian wake delivered by a Priest at the New Desert Cemetery and was buried in make-up on his cheek, short and neatly combed hair, cotton shirt, tie and coat, khaki slackers and penny loafers. There were proverbs and psalms recited, his offspring sang hymns from the New Testament Gospel. There were no rattlers, whistling, drums of war, bullroarers, dancing or chanting. It was not a celebration of life, it was a proper Christian burial. The desert that day fumed with orange dust scattered from winds, lightning scorched the sky and touched down upon the earth, illuminating the symbol and spear of some ancient warrior god, and thunder roared with the thud of a thousand bulls like a cursed vision come in the span of a few seconds.
The civilized man Thomas Flowers was born seventy seven years earlier to a Navajo Tribe, given the name Juniper Tree in present day Genado, Arizona, and inherited the blood of a natural born warrior, natural on the horse and with bow and arrow, performer and singer in sacred ceremonies to heal the sick, and artist in tending to and then butchering sheep.
One morning on an eclipse while the light upon the earth descended into darkness, there were scoring waves of wicked horse beat and the wind whispered in sacred tongue to him, and he spat out his blood cake and gathered up his band.
It was the coming of the Americans.
He’d fight them in the desert for twenty years, clad in red war paint streaking down his face as though it were blood come down from his scalp, racing his unbroken horse across the desert with a bullroarer whipping in one hand sounding like some motorized and alien vehicle storming the earth, and a bow and arrow in the other, in such a lightning procession that it became the stuff of myth and legend, coming with his band of warriors scoring the sound of wind and storms.
When all the other Chiefs signed a treaty of peace with the United States in 1868 and surrendered, Juniper Tree refused, defending the land of his birthplace he considered sacred.
He was finally captured by General Adam Herod Adams somewhere in the Painted Desert, slung off his horse by rope tied to his neck and the General’s saddle, and made to walk behind the General’s horse, 333 miles with his fellow Navajo who surrendered, and as a prisoner of war, forced to transform his entire identity into that required by American civilization.
His children were not allowed to learn their own language or own ways, and when he died they had no ways of knowing how to honor his life upon the earth proper.
The Choice Itself.
One wants to blame a deity for death’s sadistic run...
What curs-ed horror of the realms has killed us all for fun?
What Satan’s spawn conspired to bereave us of our will?
...When innocence has died, can joy be welcomed purely still?
Oh world; cruel world; you precious thing;
How and why could from you fling
Our living, heaving, flesh and bone;
Our flimsy, fragile, futile moan
Clinging to your sacred stone?
The Greeks had it that fates held life within a wrinkled hand,
And that sounds pretty right; a single thread; a paltry strand...
If we were immortal we’d be rocks and cliffs and sand.
The green, the blood, the yearning, would be stripped to arid land
And we’d crumble into rubble with no reason left to stand.
The curiosity of life is it can be undone...
Does a flower need a reason to spreadeagle for the sun?
I don’t want to die; I want to know that I’m alive.
That my faculties are with me; that I’ll work and fret and strive
To compete where ardor takes me,
To concede when I am wrong.
To prepare my kids for challenges and show them where they’re strong.
If the world is harsh and scary; if they’re lost amidst the throng,
I’ll be there when things get hairy, to remind them they belong.
But for one thing?
If a choice is there at all.
For a bear the thing is honey,
For a dog; a bouncy ball.
For a monkey... maybe money?
For a frog; a mating call,
For an ivy-vine; a tower,
For a diver it’s the fall.
For a bird; a pretty bower.
And for me?
...I want it all.
An Announcement & Thank You
I have finally self published a thing!
*Before you click either link below I must warn you - it is for mature audiences only (NSFW/contains sex/basically it’s silly romantic pornography, I’ve had a hard year)
Here it is:
Or here is the evil Amazon version: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09263DLQ9?ref_=dbs_m_mng_rwt_calw_tkin_0&storeType=ebooks
In order to further embrace my new passion as a hopeless romantic I will also be re-posting some of my Prose poetry over to my new writer blog here:
I must also make a confession - I have woefully used Prose for my own self reflection/development. [rueful nod]
When I started here I just wanted an outlet to get back to the fun writing I used to engage in as a kid. I had never felt inspired to write until I came here and found all these thought-provoking challenges. Then suddenly I couldn’t stop and became addicted.
I also met several wonderful, talented writers all pouring their hearts out into the Internet and then I realized - why am I holding myself back? Because I can’t “make it” as a writer? It is incredibly easy to self-publish now - and yes, there is a sea of crap out there and maybe mine’s no better - but that’s fine.
Because there are also thousands of bright lights blinking in the ocean and I choose to toss in with them. If one small post a day from a random stranger in the world can make me smile - fuck, that smile is enough for me.
So after I felt so inspired I wrote an entire book (and maybe two others which are forthcoming) I decided heck with it - I can always get the day job. Why the hell not publish the damn thing on the web for the woefully low price of half a cup of coffee and maybe some other souls might find it?
And so I did : )
I am not pimping my works out here for anyone to go read (read what YOU need, not what others say to!) so much as announcing my own happy moment.
I also want to truly thank from the bottom of my heart this inspiring community of poets, prosers, and posters for continuing to ignite each other’s passions as well as provide much needed sanity/group therapy in a world gone mad. Please continue to take care of each other and let all your beautiful voices be heard. It may have all started with Challenges, but honestly it’s your posts that truly inspire me to write more - you are all not just poets but muses incarnate! Continue to be the beautiful bright lights you all are!
Mad Love to You All!
- The Wordsmith / aka Harper Daily