Hybrid Moments: A Literary Tribute to the Misfits (including my own story!)

I’ve been publishing stories over the past few  years in some pretty well-made publications, but they’ve all been edited by friends and acquaintances for indie press books (i.e. self-published by a group rather than an individual). Though I’m super grateful, I’ve also had a hard time not feeling like these weren’t ‘real’ acceptances of my stories since I got little to no editorial feedback and kind of feel like they would’ve accepted more or less whatever I gave them, the editors usually being friends of mine who were looking for contributions from me. Now I’ve at last had some strangers accept my work for publication on merit alone. And I get paid! (Small amount, but it’s my first ‘sale’!) They don’t know me from Adam and I don’t know them from Eve, but I really like the vibe of their burgeoning press (Weirdpunk Books) and I’m super happy to be included in a project dedicated to one of my all time favourite bands, the Misfits. My story’s based on the song ‘Demonomania’ from their album Earth A.D./Wolfs Blood (1983). I blog a tiny bit more about how I wrote it and felt about it here.  There’s still a few days left to pre-order the book with a few bonuses from their Kickstarter.

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Through Ferguson’s Eyes (1st attempt)

Those with guns

get sons.

Those without

go without.

 

Beautiful brown hands

are raised,

shots are fired,

hot life runs out,

is not gathered again.

 

Does the blood run

right to his home,

avoiding the carpet,

to tell his mother he’s dead,

like in the Colombian tale?

 

It seems to have sent a trickle

to every house

in the neighborhood

(‘these are the people

in your neighborhood’).

 

Every single citizen

bears a single drop

to the scene of the

shoot-shoot-shoot-shooting,

shaking with fear and horror.

 

They pool the drops together

into a great red weeping

question mark

that smears into a raging

unreadable scream.

 

This is the way the world bends

down,

to birth another enmity –

and fire must follow

as surely as tears.

 

Sooner or later,

weeping and gnashing,

rioting and looting,

rubber bullets and

tear gas reactions too.

 

Shadowy masked figures

loom out of smoke, heavily armed

and blue-lit like bad retro sci-fi,

a corny dystopia

not funny now at all.

 

Those with guns

get sons.

Those without

go without.

 

White skin is beautiful too,

but it’s harder to see

right now – it just looks

bloodless,

absent of color.

 

Good cops exist,

and peaceful protesters,

but naked animosity

runs deep in all of us

and very near the surface.

 

No one really knows

what’s going on,

but we blog and tweet

and like and share

to show we (appear to) care.

 

We don’t know

what we care about

or care about

what we know –

it’s just a show.

 

But we do feel,

and in our better moments

we try to follow wherever it leads,

to whatever little truth

it bleeds.

 

Those with guns

get sons.

Those without

go without.

 

Or so it seems

when we’re living

hellish dreams,

where power never left

its hallowed whitewashed halls.

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Asking… (half-cocked)

Why?  Why do we want justice, vengeance, love, redemption, healing?  Why do we dream of finally backing the whole gang of rapists and murderers into a dead end alley and beating the life out of them one by one?  Why do we dream of all the unholy horror unwound, undone, re-doomed, put to rights?  Why do we dream of Love as a Prize Fighter dealing out the blows of justice on pure evil’s arrogant head until the brute can’t get up any more, ever again?

Why?  Why all these glimpses of judgment and retribution, righting of wrongs?  Why is there even a dream beyond those dreams where the unjust too are somehow forgiven, the real punishment for the unjustifiable crimes meted out to the last inch, yet forgiveness and reconciliation for all – all – all who will receive it?  Nobody meant to become that, the disgusting perpetrator of unspeakable evil. Nobody was meant to become that.  No baby was born for the express purpose of ending up a monster of inhuman cruelty.  No destiny decrees that.  That’s why we dream of the redemption even of monsters.

If you don’t ask these questions, you’re just not asking much of anything.  You’re no seeker.  You’re more dead than alive.

monster boys need love too (or The Terror of Clay Creek)

What if I
told you I
got inside a
crustacean,
just laid
myself low
down in the
silt of the
riverbed
and waited,
facedown and
fecund a second,
an hour, a year,
a half a lifetime
(while you
weaned,
preened
and primed),
down in it I
turn half
to slime
and suckerfish
until a skiff-long
shadow looms
in waters above
and the greatest
crayfish of these
channel-ways
lays down
on me to die,
old and full
of years,
Grandcrawdad,
and my skeleton
fuses to his
guts and his
exoskeleton
becomes my
skin: I’m within.

The great crawdad,
crayfish, and I
begin to rise,
black eyes bright
and big claws
clacking,
there’s no
backing out
now that I’ve
backed
into this and
up the bank,
shell shining
wet, streaming
rivulets
all down the
armour-plated
concatenated
length of me,
of we,
Crawdad Spirit
and
Suckerfish I.

And these days
a big-brained
crustacean
has been
sighted in
your rivers,
on your banks,
even outside
the windows of
riverside homes,
families frighted
by the sound of
incidental
antenna-tap
on glass,
a horrible face
looking in and
leaving as if
searching for
someone not
found in any
of the many
homes haunted,
the creature
roving now
inland and
drying, some
say dying,
great claws
rasping the
ground as if
dejected, and
a keening
cry in the night
none hear
without fear
and a feel
of some
unaccountable
sorrow.

And I hear
hissed rumours
of the existence of
monster-sympathisers
wondering
how such a thing
came to be
and what It wants
(shamed and
bad-named,
these curious
are branded
ontologists),
‘What does It
want?’ they wonder,
and I wonder
whether you
are one of them,
the sympathisers,
whether you maybe
just maybe
feel sorry for
The Crayfish Man.

And here,
here at last,
here I see,
finally, you,
hair, as ever,
spilling down and
silver-streaked
now, your skin
like earth, tilled
and tamped,
more beautiful
than ever.

My claws cease
their dry-clacking
through the tall
grass and the
concatenated
dry-length of
me, of we,
shudders and
the great
ghost of my
crayfish host
lifts away
and is gone,
leaving you
and I alone
with unspoken
thoughts and
unreadable
glances, I of
double the
body and half
the spirit, limbs
unliftable, in
need of
submersion and
extrication both,
and you,
whoever and
whatever you
now are.

(What if I
told you I
got inside a
crustacean,
would you
take me back?)

Image

 

(photo by Flannery O’Kafka)

Link

Ride The Nightmare: Towards a Theology of Horror & Monstrosity

I’ve been blogging on several topical blogs over at Google’s Blogger franchise since 2009. I mainly started this WordPress account in order to interact better with some WordPress blogs I follow.  But I’ve also always wanted to give WordPress a go and have even considered switching over completely.  This will start the experiment at least.

For my first blog post here, I simply link you to some reflections on theology of horror and theology of monsters that I wrote every day last month as a Halloween-themed series. That should keep you plenty busy for now.  Enjoy and feel free to join me in discussion. Cheers for reading.