Tuesday, September 6, 2011

"How America's Prison Systems Could Be Fixed (Part 2)"

What leads to most of the behavioral problems in prison? We could blame the fact that there are so many different personalities forced to live in a confined space together. We could blame the individuals, saying that they are incapable of acting in a socially constructive manner. Many factors may be pointed out, including economy and even racial barriers. The truth is, that while these factors may play a part, they are avoidable. Our militaries see many of the same factors come into play, with less of the problems.

I believe that the main reason for this is the time we have on our hands. As busy as I keep myself, I still find long periods of time with nothing to do. The sheer boredom, combined with the many grating personalities that surround me, often leads to feelings of anxiety and frustration, which turn leads to antisocial acts or behaviors.

I am not saying that I act out, but certainly I have not always filled my days with productive activities. I love to gamble. There have been times when the boredom has set in and the poker table began calling my name. Before I realize it, I'm locked in to the table and neglect all other duties. Even writing takes second place.

Now, if more of our hours in here were spent geared toward productive ends, if we were forced to live and act as a responsible members of society, not only would we be more prepared to reenter society, but there would also be a decrease in behavioral problems within the institutions.

How could our time be spent more productively? Well, there are a number of ways, and certainly some of the population does pursue productive activities, but it is the majority we need for prison to be successful.

Here are a few of my own ideas:

1. Set up prison boot camps - Allow for inmates to volunteer for military training programs, just as if they were joining the Army, the Navy, the Marines, or whatever. Or course, there would be no provision of guns or ammo, but nothing else need change. Those who do well may join the actual division upon release, on a probationary enlistment. This would help increase recruitment and being military run programs, it would be rehabilitation without the added expense to the state's budget.

2. Show more support for talents of prisoners - There are many artists, poets, musicians, authors, and other talented individuals who find no outlet for their works. Most are not as luck as I am to have a sister who supports me by posting this blog. Resourceful individuals will find ways to hone their craft, but after a few years, without a way to share your work with others, the work begins to lose purpose and soon the inspiration is gone.

3. Offer college scholarships to prisoners - Perhaps an athletic scholarship is not possible, but there are quite a few in there that could qualify for academic scholarships. The more we educate the people, the greater our society can become. Neglecting to better those in the prison population, or at least offer the opportunity, means our only expectation for them should be failure.

4. Create a job market in the prison system that is comparable to what one would find beyond the walls - This means not only placing prisoners in positions that aid in the operation of the prison itself, but also developing more prison operated businesses that provide products or services for the communities (construction crews, furniture making, TV repairs, farming, etc.) This would do more to generate funds to cover prison costs and provide necessary services to the state which supports said prison. Rather than being helpless burdens on the state and the taxpayers, prisoners become self-sustaining, responsible citizens working toward the goal of establishing themselves as productive, up-standing members of society.

Certainly, the above ideas need some fleshing out. They are meant to be seeds, that hopefully grow towards necessary changes. Other ideas are needed as well and I would welcom any ideas others may have. But, I am still just a prisoner. My words can only reach out to ears that are willing to listen. Others must make the changes.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

"How America's Prison Systems Could Be Fixed (Part 1)"

Many of my essays have focused on my social dissent, but what good am I serving by pointing out problems without offering solutions? Perhaps that is the greatest problem we face, too many complaints and not enough answers for those complaints. Personally, I don't believe the answers are so hard to find. If every person in the world cam up with one good idea and put it into action, maybe we would begin to see a difference.

Unfortunately, it is not that way. Too many of us are waiting for the problems to just go away, or for someone to come along and fix them for us. I only wish I could fix everything. I wish I could right the wrongs, and solve all the world's troubles, but I am only one man. I do what I can to voice my opinion here and hope I can make some difference, no matter how small.

I begin with a problem I am currently facing, the failure of our prison system. If you read my three part essay, "Why Prison is Failing" posted in July of 2010, then you are familiar with some of the problems we are faced with.

Perhaps you are wondering why this is a concern, not just for prisoners but for our nation...Maybe the world as a whole (Prisons are everywhere, and they are all failing to stop crime rates from rising). I would answer that by saying that, though prisons are filled with violators of social order, those "violators" are also members of society. A society that can't function at its maximum potential if all of its citizens are not productive. Prisons have one adverse effect on the economy and stability of a nation. Indeed, it is a small part of the problems facing our world, but a problem in need of solutions, nonetheless.

Tomorrow, I will work on homelessness and world peace...For now, here is my idea for the one problem facing society.

To begin with, Prisons have to cease being nothing more than human warehouses. Over 70% of the population are non-productive during their time here. The hours are spend playing board games or basketball, simply waiting for another day to end, when they can go in their cells and watch TV or sleep. After a few years of this they are dumped back into society, institutionalized and unable to function. This, in turn, leads the individual back to prison or forces the state to support the burden of another skilless, uneducated citizen.

The solution is to treat individuals in prison just like they are in society. Make school and work mandatory. Pay the inmates actual salaries or hourly wages, then bill them for food, rent and clothing. Make prisoners pay taxes, just like we would have to if we were free men. This will instill the responsibility required to be successful upon release. It will also allow the prison to be more self-sufficient.

This brings to mind my second point: If prisons were completely self-sufficient, or at least generated enough revenue through a number of inmate operated business to provide for necessary expenses, millions of dollars could be saved by the state. Those millions could go to education, law enforcement, drug and alcohol programs, aid for the homeless, and whatever other areas are in need of support, that would ultimately lead to a decrease in the crime rate.

Also, by paying higher salaries to working inmates, it reduces the financial burden on the prisoner's family and allows for them to offer some support of their own wives, children, parents, etc.

Now, the question remains as to what should be done with the prisoners that refuse to go to school or work? Simple! Put them in segregation units, stripped of all privileges. Why should this be treated as just a vacation for the dregs of society? It should not be. Prison is a wake up call and you either get our of bed and make it to work on time, or you hit the snooze button and oversleep, thereby missing the bus.

In summary, prison must reaffirm its focus on rehabilitation, but even more keyed in on creating responsible citizens, capable of functioning in our societies beyond the fences.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

"Social Discontent"

A cycle of events
Playing repeatedly in my mind
Create to destroy;
Destroy to create,
Rebel against the divine plan...
Stray from the intended path.

You claim to possess Truth,
Yet divide into factions,
And kill in his name!

Kill yourself with Sin...

But Cause means to take away nothing

Cause brings about effects,
The art of creation,
The gift of life.

So how is it we find
that our answers lie
In the dropping of bombs?
And blood on a sword
Is our show of understanding?

Perhaps we should check the books again.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

"Waiting for The End to Come"

Recently, a religious leader began "prophesizing" that the Rapture would occur on May 21, 2011. When it didn't happen, he claimed that there had been a miscalculation on his par and the correct date was to be some time in October. Many factions argue that we are currently living in the End Times prophesied in the Bible. For centuries, there have been "hellfire and brimstone" preachers that spent countless hours talking about the horrors that await the unrepentant.

Now, I am not one to argue Scripture, or try to sway a personal belief. However you choose to think your end will come is your business. My grievance is with the pessimistic attitudes that almost seem to desire the End and mass destruction. I get the feeling many of them are mad at the world, and want to watch it burn.

Is this what we wish to pass onto future generations, dissidence and cynicism? If we are just waiting for the world to end, then what is the point of living?

Fools! Open your eyes. See the realms of possibility and hope. We will create our own destruction by seeking it out. There is an old saying that goes "What you put in is what you will get out..." If we keep instilling a hopelessness in mankind, mankind will continue to not care what happens in this life.

There is beauty in the world, but so many look for its downfall. Why? You could help build it up, instead you look to tear it down. God never said to just sit around waiting for Him to destroy the world. He said "be vigilant". In the meantime, he wants us to be good to each other.

A new Heaven and a new Earth comes not in the flames of destruction. Paradise is not born from falling buildings. Our future is the hope that I see in my Nieces' eyes. It is in the artist's paintbrush, capturing the essence of the human soul. It is the pen's might over the sword. It is life and living to our fullest potential.

Let us begin planting the seeds of a New Eden, rather than fearing a New Babylon.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

"Only The Young Die Good"

It's always raining in my mind
Deadly drops of suicide
suffer the puddles of yesterday
Praying to God that the dam will break
And wash away all the pain inside
Cause it's always raining in my mind.

And we all go down
Wishing that we could
Live to be 110
But only the young die good

Now I know the smack is God for some
Look at me, I'm the chosen one
Heaven, it seems, just takes a prick
What gives you the right to say I'm sick?
Judge me to be your forgotten Sun
My God is smack until I'm done

I would rather crash now
Than to fade away
I would rather go out
In a burning blaze

And we all go down
Wishing that we could
Live to be 110
But only the young die good

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

"What The World Needs Now"

The world needs what it always needs, its heroes. Now, perhaps, more than ever. It is the reason comic book thrill-rides are enjoying such popularity at the box office. We want to cheer for those larger-than-life figures overcoming great transversity. We want to witness the ordinary rise above and become extraordinary.

The problem is that there are no true giants amongst men in this day and age. Don't misunderstand me, now. There are plenty of stars in the sky, but it seems that none are bright enough to light up the world. We are in an era of supernovas that flare up for but a moment, then fade into oblivion. Perhaps this trend is the product of our mass media and technological advancement. Perhaps the heroic spirit has died in the hearts of men.

But what is a hero? A symbol of selflessness and hope? A source of inspiration? A legendary figure that transcends the standards and defeats all odds? I say that a hero may be all of these things, or only one of them. If we look to George Washington as a hero, he certainly embodied these virtues, but can we say the same about James Dean or Kurt Cobaine? How were they selfless? Certainly, they are more symbols of tragedy rather than hope, yet they are heroes in the eyes of many because of the inspiration they have provided through attitude or music.

Heroes come in all shapes and sizes. They are heroes for many different reasons. My dad has always been my greatest source of inspiration, my hero if you will. Not because of anything spectacular, but because of the way he raised my sisters, because of his intelligence and creativity, and because he has always tried to do the right thing. Maybe I didn't always see things that way, but age and maturity has cleared my vision.

But back to the world in general.

Heroes should begin at home with the parents of a child. If we can't be the inspiration our children need, then what future do they have? Men must stop just fathering children and start being good fathers. Women must be mothers after they have given birth. Once a child comes into the picture the parents have to grow up and start showing some responsibility. Then, perhaps we will begin to find our heroes again.

We must bare in mind, though, that heroes are still just human. People have flaws. One of the reasons why I feel we lack Lincolns, or Lennons, or even a Gandhi is because we are so quick to crucify them for the slightest transgression. We look to exploit any weakness. No longer do we find those giants amongst men, for we are too busy tearing each other down.

The world needs its heroes, let us each do our part and may we stop looking for villains. Rise above all expectations and be what the world needs and our children deserve.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

"A Silent Friend"

It clicks,
but no life.

They have come with their suggestions
They offer diagnosises
But nothing else

My friend sits silently,
And I burn within.

The loss weighing heavily upon my mind,
Squeezing sanity from my veins.
Nothing to drown out the voices.
Nothing to burn the images from my eyes.

It clicks,
But no life
and no hope for tomorrow
or the day after.
If I knew its cause
I would rip the problem from its heart,
Give it a spark...

I would resurrect the dormant giant
That sleeps across from me.

My only friend,
My only sactuary...

It clicks,
But no fire.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

"The Storm"

I'm tired,
But I'm so wired that I can't sleep;
I pop pills inspired by just how cheap,
This life has become,
I'm in deep...
And God knows that my flesh is weak,
Lost my paddle somewhere up creek.

Now I've got this sickness;
I'm a freakshow,
A misfit.

My path is bent to the wicked
A little sinister,
Left to the addicted.
I can't shake the twisted;
A state of mind,
That has come to define
The nightmares I've witnessed.

There's a war coming,
And I can't keep running,
But I can't face the demons...
The ones screamin'
Inside my head,
(Such a lack of reason).
Loss of all sense,
Just another mad season.
A legion of damned
Crawling from the pits,
The depths of my soul sees
The destruction of my wits...

There is a storm on the horizon,
A rise in the winds,
Redemption by fire
Payment for all of my sins...

Rain down,
Come on rain down,
on me______

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

"The Show of Shows: The Art of Performance"

Int - Psychiatrist's Office. DEADEYE is laying on a couch. A well-dressed, middle-aged man sits in a chair at the clown's head. He is a PSYCHIATRIST.

PSYCHIATRIST (speaking into a handheld recorder): Case number 119-46318. The subject is Edward Michael Casey II, otherwise known by the stage name "Deadeye the Daring". Edward, do you have any objections to the recording of this session?

DEADEYE (shaking his head): None at all.

PSYCHIATRIST: Okay, good. Now would you please state your name for the record?

DEADEYE: Deadeye the...

PSYCHIATRIST: Your legal name please.

DEADEYE: Ahhh...Edward Michael Casey II...E=MC2...But the name is all relative. Heh-heh...

PSYCHIATRIST: Relative to what? (Notices Deadeye's expression) Oh, you're making a joke.

DEADEYE: Am I, Doc? Isn't it true that my name is relatively associated with my location? Here, I am Edward...Under the Big Top, I'm Deadeye (Grins) At your Mother's house I'm "Daddy".

PSYCHIATRIST: (With an annoyed look) You use humor to deflect any insight to you as a person, as opposed to you as a performer. Why do you think that is?

DEADEYE: What makes you think there is a difference between the person and the performer. All the world is a stage. Humor is just a part of the act. At least for me it is.

PSYCHIATRIST: And do you think you have to always be performing?

DEADEYE: Of course!

PSYCHIATRIST: What if there is no audience?

DEADEYE: (Matter of factly) Somebody is always watching...

PSYCHIATRIST: Could you elaborate on that?

DEADEYE: Well, usually we are surrounded by other people. People pay attention. It is not necessarily about being in the spotlight. It's about knowing when to hold their attention, or deliver with perfected timing just the right line. Get what I'm saying? (Shrugs) And if there are no people around, there are animals, or bacteria, or God...

PSYCHIATRIST: So you believe in God?

DEADEYE: Somebody raised the curtain...

PSYCHIATRIST: (jots something down) What did you mean by delivering "with perfected time"?

DEADEYE: How do you know what questions to ask?

PSYCHIATRIST: I listen to your responses or your end of the conversation, then base my questions on what I think will give me further insight.

DEADEYE: Well it is not much different on my end. I listen to the pulse of the audience, my fellow performers, and the direction of the show. When I see the door of opportunity open, I jamb my foot in.

PSYCHIATRIST: And if the door slams shut?

DEADEYE: It's gonna hurt like Hell!

PSYCHIATRIST: I mean if the opportunity passes?

DEADEYE: So do I! It hurts to miss out on that perfect timing. Think about how many times you thought of a great question or a comeback to something someone said earlier. You kick yourself for not coming up with it then, when it would have been so...right. Then you just itch to tell somebody the great thing you just thought of, but it will never be as good as if you delivered it with that perfect timing.

PSYCHIATRIST: You seem to be very passionate about this "art of performing"...What else are you passionate about Edward?

DEADEYE: There is nothing else, Doc. The show is all there is. Without it, I'm just a freak.

Friday, July 8, 2011

"After The Rain"

Ten years have passed, but we have yet to shake the lingering spectre of that fateful day. The skies are still looked upon with suspicion, our umbrellas kept close at hand. We say it is only as a precaution, yet in our hearts we know not if but when. The sad part is that we will be no more prepared, only slightly less surprised.

Perhaps I fear the inevitibility as much as anyone, yet a part of me yearns for it to come again. This time in a force strong enough to wash our wretched species from the face of the Earth. We would deserve it. After all, we caused the storm.

Of course, the average person will deny it. It is so much easier to blame some other source than to shoulder the responsibility ourselves. That is especially true in times like these. When the buildings came crashing down it is better the human spirit fears the beast in the dark, rather than the man in the mirror. A common enemy creates community. Communities thrive.

For a time, we were a community. After the rain, we had a common fear and a strong sense of survival. We looked to our neighbors, fellow survivors of tragedy, and found comfort. Unity. Passion colored our words as we agreed to change our ways and prevent history from repeating itself. For a time, we move forward.

That time passed, and soon we began to slip back into our former states of ignorance and selfishness. So yes, we will deserve when the eye passes over and the storm descends upon us again.

* Author's note: I wrote this several months ago. With the recent killing of BinLaden, I felt it was a good time to post "After The Rain". While it reflects the tragedy of 9/11, it is not necessarily a commentary on that occurance. It is a fictional excerpt taken from a story I wrote about a deadly storm that wipes out half the world. It is one survivor's perspective.

While fiction, it echoes with truth. When tragedy strikes, we look for the devil. We exhaust every effort to blame, then eradicate the problem. We think this is the solution.

People in your glass houses, put away your stones. Look to your own transgressions, and fix those. If everyone worried about what they needed to improve on a personal level, as well as on a social level, then the world could begin moving toward a brighter future.

Osama bin Laden is dead. Vengeance is ours. Now, is the world really so much better? Did our wars end? How many people out there still feel hate and fear? How many are hungry right now? That's what I though. The real mission hasn't even begun.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

"Am I Hollow"

Well, nothing prepared me for a day like today
And nothing ever scared me like the pain of heartbreak
I told you every secret...I gave you everything
And I only wanted one moment,
I only wanted to say,

I'd sell my soul for you if it would make any difference
I'd shed my blood for you if my heart wasn't so constricted
Your eyes are daggers,
Your head games are twisted,
And I only needed a moment,
I only needed you to witness
All the nights I spent down on my knees begging for you
And no one else scars me the way you do
I choked on every word,
I suffered every look,
But you only broke me
the way you forsook...

Am I empty?
Am I a tool,
for telling you the truth?

Am I hollow?
Am I a fool,
for ever loving you?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

"A Day In The Life...(Part 4)


Another meal. Best one of the day. Everything is edible and after I finish eating, I am actually satisfied. Here's the thing though, I didn't get satisfied by "legal" means.

Now before anyone jumps to conclusions, let me explain. Our portions are typically small. Tonight we have Hot Dogs (2), baked beans (1 cup), potato wedges (3), and cookies (2 Duplex). The food tastes good, but the portions are like something off a kid's menu.

It used to be, if you wanted extras, you waiting till they finished feeding, then went back for seconds. They stopped allowing for that in order to save money. Now the leftovers are thrown in the trash, give to the c/os, or eaten by the kitchen workers.

When they stopped "seconds", guys started "beating the device". This means sneaking back in line and getting another tray, or take two trays out of the slot. The officers are scattered around the chow hall in an effort to catch these transgressors. Some guys make it, some don't.

About a year ago they set up a scanner and gave us new I.D. cards. These cards are swiped when one goes through the line to get a tray. If your card is swiped more than once during a mean, it registers on a list and you are fined for stealing. This means the c/os are less vigilant. Now, I can't reveal all the secrets, but I assure you it is easy to beat the machine. Since the c/os pay less attention, thinking the scanner will catch the "thieves", more guys get back in line, sometimes several times. The scanner has made it easier to "beat the device". Sorry taxpayers. I was hungry.


For the next two and a half hours I hang out with a friend of mine, J. We generally watch a little TV, talk, and wait for mail call. Tonight he gets a stack of mail from his dad, print-outs from various websites he's interested in. I blanked today, but hopefully tomorrow will be better.

At 7:30 we watch Jeopardy, and compete against one another. It's fun and exercises the mind a bit. Plus it spawns some good discussion topics.

At 8:00 they lock down for another count. I head for my cell.


We will be locked down for an hour, during which time I watch PRETTY LITTLE LIARS, one of my favorite shows right now. When the doors open, I am back over at J's to watch BEING HUMAN on Sy-Fy at 9:00.

From 10:00-11:00 I kill time by hanging out in the pod area talking to a few guys in here. The conversation is light and really has no direction. We are all just passing the last hour of the day away, with nothing better to do.

At 11:00 I head back to my cell and prepare for lock down, this time for the night.


Following lock down, I relax. This is my study time. The cell block is quiet. People are going to sleep. I can actually focus and digest the information I am taking in.

This study time allows me to wind down after a long day. By 12:30 I am growing tired. I watch a bit of Sportscenter, then mark another day off the calendar. Hopefully, sleep will bring good dreams. It is my favorite part of the day. For the next five hours...give or take...I'm a free man.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

"American Psycho"

Like a shock to the system
I lay my convictions
At the feet of Liberty
This social destruction
My only instruction
On the road to Anarchy
We bleed out the sickness
This sickest existence
In the sands of yesterday
And with lovely rebellion
Inspired by Hellions
Spark the fires of jealousy

My bloody confession
Plants the seeds of possession
By the demons that like within
Fill your plates with addiction
And violent attention
Find a path paved in sin
Sell your illusions
Beautiful delusions
To keep me blind to truth
With a head full of lies
I'll look to the skies
And disregard the proof

Another moment of war
So who's keeping score
In those political games
Kill for defiance
Reward the reliant
And call it democracy

I'm an American Psycho
Just a product of the media

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

"A Day In The Life...(Part 3)


After a quick stop by the cell to drop off my books, I go down to the main area of the cell block. Once again I am waiting, this time for lunch. It is not a long wait though. They call us to eat at about 11:15. Lunch today is: Pinto Beans, rice, cornbread, cabbage and an orange. The beans are bland, the rice undercooked, the cornbread tastes like gritty cardboard. I don't even dare the cabbage. The orange is pretty good, but I suppose it is hard to mess that up. By the end of the week I will be sick of oranges, since they will give them to us once a day for the rest of the week. After about 3 days they will be freezer-burned and not as good.

Lunch is more filling than breakfast, but no more nourishing. The food sits like a warm lump in my belly, taking up space but doing little else.


Returning from chow, I proceed to carry out my duties as a Housman. That is a job title within the pod. We are not required to work, but if we wish to earn money, it is the legal method. My job is to scrub the showers. It is disgusting, unfulfilling work that pays $0.35 an hour. I'm lucky to have it.

The job takes me about 30 minutes to complete, which I follow with a quick shower. It is then time to lock down for another count. My cell partner will stay at work maintenance shop, so I will have some time alone during this lock down.


Why it takes an hour and a half to count is beyond me. They go through the block in about 5 minutes and there are enough officers to cover each block. The entire count should only take about 20 minutes and probably does. Every other count is cleared in under an hour. I am fairly certain it is cleared a lot faster, but they keep us locked down so we are out of their way. (The C/Os I mean.)

I use this time for writing. It is peaceful, few distractions. I can actually think clearly and transmit my thoughts to paper. Sometimes I wish they would leave me locked in a cell by myself. If I have to be in prison I would prefer not to deal with the ignorance that surrounds me.


This tends to be a lazy part of the day, unless you are scheduled for school, a program or work. Otherwise, the next 2 hours are "down-time". For me, it is a good time to get a little reading in or maybe a nap.

At 3:00 my cell partner comes in from work and the prison is again locked down for count. I'm a little tired, so I take a nape while my cell partner watches CNN on his TV. I might be watching my own TV but the cheaply made, piece of junk died about 3 months ago. I've been saving to get it replaced ever since. Maybe it is a good thing. I could use the rest.

Count clears at about 4:15, but they don't open the doors for another 10 or 15 mintues. The sound of my door clicking open wakes me up. Over the years I have developed an aversion to sleeping with my door open. Not that anything has ever happened, but it is just safer to always stay alert. So I get up, wash the sleep from my eyes, and once again I am waiting. This time for dinner...

To Be Concluded...

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

"A Day In The Life...(Part 2)


For the next hour and a half I kill time by reading. I'm waiting for my scheduled library time. A lot of time in here is spent waiting. Waiting for mail, waiting for visits, waiting for something good to come on TV, waiting for meals, waiting for release...It seems that whatever I do in those intermittent periods is just a way to kill time. Even reading, something I once took great pleasure in, has lost a lot of its enjoyment.

Today I'm finishing up Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. A great book! One of the few I've read recently that was really though-provoking. Unfortunately I can't lose myself in the story as much as I would like. In a cell block that has 120 cells and 200 other inmates living there, distractions are plentiful. It is loud. An argument has just broken out with one guy claiming Buddhism was the first religion. The other claims it was Islam. I think both of them are idiots, but I'll keep my opinions to myself...and the facts. What good would it do to argue with rocks?

I fight through the distractions and finish the book. It occurs to me that perhaps I am like Ender and this is all a test, one big game. Maybe the world is just screwing with me to get me pointed in the right direction. Or maybe people are just stupid...I go to the library.


Trying to find a good book amidst the dust-covered shelves is like an Easter egg hunt. One must keep his eyes open, look in the least likely places, and rely on a little luck. Sometimes you find what you are searching for with ease and sometimes it surprises you...Maybe you have even looked in that very spot several times and just overlooked the prize.

There are a lot of books in the library, but most are hack novels found on dime-store racks. There are popular authors, but rarely can you find all of an author's catalogue and "new-releases" are not shelved until years after their release. Many of the books are stolen or misplaced.

To make matters worse, the library is extremely disorganized. For some reason they split the books up into a number of sections and subsections. There are shelves for Westerns, Horror, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Romance, and General Fiction. These are further divided into three sections: Hardback, paperback, and trade paperbacks. What this means is that if you are searching for books by a particular author, they may be in any number of locations. Take Dean Koontz, for example, some of his books are in Horror, some in Fantasy, some in General Fiction. Some are hardback. Some paperback. Some Trade paperback. To find a book by Koontz, you may have to check six different shelves...If they were even shelved properly. Even books from the same series (i.e. Koontz's 'Odd Thomas' series)are split up and scattered about.

This is compounded by the fact that the inmate workers and the head librarian don't seem to care. They are extremely lazy and selfish. As long as their own "wish-lists" are fulfilled, to Hell with everyone else. The workers are so busy reading magazines and typing on their computers, that asking for help is treated as a burden to them.

Now, this may not seem like a big deal, as we are lucky to have a library at all, but here is my dilemma: I find it hard to get entertaining and intelligent novels. I enjoy all types of genres, as long as the material is enjoyable. When I read, I want to take something away from the book. Science Fiction and Fantasy are favorites of mine, but often those genres are filled with trilogies, epic series, and universal-scoped settings. What I find more often than not, is that there are books missing from the series, and usually it is the first or second book.

Returning Ender's Game, I am eagerly anticipating reading more of the series...Book 2, Speaker for The Dead, they have, but all the other books in the series are missing up to book 6. I'll get Speaker...but who knows when I'll get to read any further. This dampens the pleasure I'll take from reading Book 2.

I am only supposed to stay for 30 minutes, but they are not overly concerned with running us out on time, so I continue searching the shelves for "eggs". We can check out three at a time. I end up deciding on Albert Camus' The Rebel and Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones.

Across the hall from the main library is a small office with a wide selection of non-fiction. In addition to the three books I check out from the main library, I am permitted to check out one from this office. It is as disorganized as the main, if not more, so I can't walk around and search the shelves here. Instead, they have a catalogue on the desk. There is no logical order to this catalogue, and many books listed are missing. Also, there are many books on the shelves not listed. It takes another 15 minutes before I pick out a bit of political philosophy in the form of J.S. Mill's On Liberty. With that done, I leave.

To Be Continued...

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

"A Day In The Life...(Part 1)

5:55am - It begins with the shrill, piercing sound of a whistle shattering the restless slumber in which I am partaking. Whatever small respite my dreams have granted from this reality is instantly ripped from my grasp as I scramble from my bed.

It is the first head count of the day in which we are required to stand. This is no easy task for me though. Besides the fact that I am only half awake and not yet in full control of my limbs, I am also on the top bunk in a 5'x12' cell with another grown man, surrounded by sharp steel and concrete. Not much space to maneuver. Federal law mandates that a double cell should be larger but this prison was built 100 years ago and is grandfathered out.

Increasing the danger in climbing down is the fact that there is no ladder. I have the choice of dropping down to a concrete floor. If I'm lucky I won't miss the edge of the toilet in the darkness and end up ankle deep in water...and possibly some other liquid I won't mention here.

This time I make it down without incident and position myself on the floor to wait for two officers counting to pass by the cell. It takes longer than necessary, as they stop at every other door to scream at the occupants that weren't standing fully. There is a tone in their voices that is more reminiscent of a master to a bad dog, than a man speaking to another man. But that is how we are often viewed, as animals in need of training or lethal injection.

Meanwhile, I am shivering from the cold. Our cells are drafty and damp, and there is no heat...Only steam pipes running throughout the prison. It's wintertime, and I can nearly see my breath. The summer will be worse, since there is no air conditioning. At least its easier to stay warm than cool down. Also, I just woke up, so my bladder is full and my kidneys hurt from the need to urinate. No rush counting though, I'll be fine.

Finally, they pass by and I can relieve myself. Then it's back into the bed for 30 minutes or so. Mainly, because it is so cold and I want to be back under the blankets, but also because the door is still locked and I have nothing better to do. I would wash my face and get ready for breakfast but there is no hot water in the cells either. Too cold to use my sink, so I'll wait for the doors to open.

6:45am - I can hear the tell-tale clicking of doors opening as our day officially begins. An officer is calling for "Shop-Chow" to stand-by. That is for the inmates with jobs outside the cell-block. They always eat first, so they can get to work early.

I stay in bed, listening to my cell partner get ready for breakfast. He tries to be quiet but it is hard in such a confined space. There is last call for "Shop-Chow" and he heads out the door.

The rest of us will be called for chow about 30 minutes after the shops. I decide to go eat, but rest for another 15 minutes before getting ready.

7:20am - Breakfast. Our menu for today is: 2 boiled eggs, grits, 2 biscuits, fried potatoes, milk, juice and coffee...Sounds better than it is. The eggs are overcooked. The grits are cold and slimy. The biscuits are hard and dry...No butter and jelly. The potatoes are undercooked and have black spots on them. I try to drown the food in salt and pepper but most of it still tastes like dirt. The milk is cold but it is on the verge of going sour. The juice is in a bag and is more like Kool-Aid than fruit juice. The coffee is scolding hot and smells like urine. It doesn't taste much better.

I eat everything on the tray and somehow I'm still hungry. What I take away from breakfast is not nutrition and satisfaction but instead an upset stomach and bloating.

To Be Continued...

Thursday, May 12, 2011

"Love Story"

The old saying goes, "it is better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all." I am fairly certain that the originator had never loved or never lost. At the very least, he or she did not lose for long. I would challenge him or her to drink from my cup for awhile and see if he or she still feels the same. I hope you can bare through a bit of angst as I give my epithet to love.
- Kill me, Sarah, kill me again with love.-
She was my first love, if a 5-year-old can love. I know that I liked holding her hand and stealing kisses from her when our Moms were in the other room. Sarah never broke my heart, but we were jumping on the bed one time and her head hit me in the mouth. It busted my lip open. I remember thinking that the pain was worth the sympathy Sarah showed for the rest of the day. I would bleed every day to experience her tenderness for but a moment.
Then, one day, she was gone from my life, and I don't remember ever seeing her again. Of course, my memories of her remain, and at times she has been reflected in the eyes of others.
~No place like the road~
Between the ages of 5 and 10 I would spend the summer traveling with my Dad across the country. He was the stage manager for a number of children shows. It seemed that there was always a young lady in the cast I developed a crush on, most notably the girl who played Dorothy one year. She was the first to break my heart. She was 12 to 15 years older than me and never intended such a thing, but what can you say to a young boy "in love"... I suppose it was a lesson to be learned as much as a dagger to my heart.
~The Girl Next Door~
In 7th grade I pursued Mitzi. A lot of guys didn't think she was all that special, but to me she was the most beautiful girl in the school. My thoughts were consumed by her and whenever she was near, I felt weak. Even when I began to date another girl, it was Mitzi I wanted to be with. She never gave in to me, and then I moved away and never got a chance to win her over.
~30 days of Bliss~
After Mitzi it seemed there was no sunshine. She lit up every day for me, even if she was never mine. After I moved, I lost sight of love or crushes, or whatever, and grew a little cold. My heart had so many fractures at this point.
And then there Becky, and she brought the sun. She was pretty, smart, fun to be with , and she loved me. Every kiss was like fire and every touch like an electric shock. We were together for a month, and it was pure bliss. I have known happiness since that time, but I'm not sure it was as good. Sometimes I think that Becky was my soul mate, if such a thing exists.
One day I was sent off to private school, out of town. I was only gone for one semester, but when I came back Becky's family had moved away. Her father was in the Navy and he had been transferred to a station in Italy... I never saw Becky again.
~Beautiful Pain~
I have only loved two other girls since Becky, and both were nothing more than foolish pursuits on my part. The first was a broken shell that may have loved me, but was damaged emotionally. She suffocated em with her misery. The other never returned my feelings, or couldn't. Not in the way I hoped.
Love was beautiful when it was present and active, and it was painful the rest of the time. For each girl I have loved there is a wound in my heart where they drove their daggers. i have loved and I have lost, and then I screwed up my life. Now here I sit in prison with little hope at easing the suffering of lost love.
I have learned to live without that sort of love, as I have little chance to achieve a successful relationship in here, but to have loved and lost is a torture I can't shake. And yet, at times the memory is enough to inspire and motivate me to become someone the objects of my affection could have been proud to love... So maybe it was worth something after all.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

"Our Failing Tongues"

In an age of visual media we seem to be losing a mastery of the English language. What was once complex and beautiful, is becoming simplistic and vulgar. Look to Shakespeare or Chaucer to see just how words could once be used to express something more profound than the literal message. The ability communicate is becoming a lost art.
I often hear the corruption of the language by those who do not care to learn a proper way of speaking, or by those who think it is fashionable to use slang terms. What madness is it that finds "Ebonics" acceptable? To me it is ignorance, one we support with our action. Regardless of how intelligent one may be, how that individual is judged. To gain an elevated status in the eyes of our contemporaries and be respected, one must learn to communicate effectively.
I have discovered a few things that allow me to present myself as an intellectual and, while I am still perfecting my methods, I feel I have come to empower my speech by using these methods. We should all try to learn to be more effective in our communication, or prove to the rest of the world what fools we truly are.
And what are these methods:
1) Speak clearly- One should enunciate properly. Learn how to properly pronounce the words you use. Mispronunciation words make one appear ignorant. If one does not speak clearly, he may be misunderstood.
2) Make eye contact- Present a positive self-image, one that projects confidence in your words.
3) Be Concise- Get your point across without rambling speeches. You will lose your listener's focus if you don't get to the point
4) Be prepared to speak- Know what it is you wish to say, what is the message? Understood the meanings of the words you use and use them in the proper context. Remember, if your listener doesn't understand what you are trying to say, your message will not be delivered.
These are but a few simple tips. Properly applied they can make one a better communicator. We must hold on to the mastery of our tongue or find ourselves failing to present a respectable image. "For correct speech is a search for knowledge" - (The Book of Lecan)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

"Dreaming The Raven"

It was the dawn of a new day that I awoke to find myself on a blackened plain, charred by a destructive force. Bodies lay scattered as far as my eyes could see. Nothing moved but the dust and ashes of our past swirling in the winds, and I thought, we did this to ourselves.
Slowly I began to walk across the plain, calling out with the hope that someone remained alive, but there was no answer. The world was dead, murdered by the human race. Only the smoldering remains of our ignorance was left to keep me company.
As the gravity of the situation came down upon me, I fell to my knees. The crushing burden of mankind's sins weighed on my shoulders, for I knew my guild was no less. Tears began to flow.
For how long I knelt there and cried I am unsure, but I suddenly sensed I was being watched. Cautiously I raised my head and wiped the tears away. About 10 feet from me perched a large, black raven on the limb of a fire-scarred tree. A grin seemed to split it beak, as its beady eyes glared at me. Then it spoke:
"All is not lost, the world is not dead, it only sleeps. It sleeps a self-induced sleep of laziness, ignorance, and narrow-mindedness here in the plains of Illusion. They must come to realize what is and what is not if they are to ever awaken.
No, all is not lost is, but it is the responsibility of every individual to pull themselves from their slumber. Life is effort, an effort of logical thought geared towards comprehension. With comprehension comes truth.
These you see before you are not dead, they sleep fattened and content with their illusions. But you sleep no more, for you have seen beyond the illusions. Inquiry and deduction have opened the doors to reality. Now rise from the ashes and go forth to lay the foundations."
And with that, the Raven took flight, leaving me there on that plain. I was no longer alone in a world of dead, for wisdom would accompany me and soon a great nation would rise from its slumber.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

"Faith vs Science"

I have recently read several things that made me think on the subjects of faith and science. Often, these two institutions have been set in opposition of one another. Many try to use one to disprove or dismiss the other. I saw this to be a trend in the aforementioned materials, and it disturbed me.
From the corner of science, I have heard Atheists and Agnostics swing their facts like a sword, aimed at the heart of God. They point to theories such as evolution to 'disprove' creationist theories. Miracles are scoffed, and considered impossible. I have heard faith in god called "silly as believing in the Tooth Fairy. Religion was said to be a stick with which those in power beat their subordinates.
On the other side of the fence, I find even more ignorant arguments: "Science doesn't matter, I'll just rely on my faith." "Science is filled with falsehood designed by the devil to mislead." (i.e. Dinosaurs did not exist!) or "Perhaps there is supra rationality; reason beyond the normal definitions of fact or data-based logic;"
I could go on with all the examples of faith attacking science, or vice versa, but that is not what this about. My goal here is to express my own feelings on the matter. Using faith, fact, and logic I have come to my own conclusions.
In my examination of both faith and science, I have found them to not be conflicting, but compatible. The hold equal importance in matters of understand, wedded in the goal of connecting to divine. Faith is the hypothesis, science the proving ground every mystery there is in the universe. We are still working to understand all we can. This existence is a reflection of the divine. The more we understand the creation, the more we will understand the cause.
Faith is not foolish, it lets us hold on to an idea, until we can realize the truth faith is only foolish when it is allowed to blind one from the facts. We must not be afraid to let go of something we believe, if we are proved wrong. Holding on to a lie is not faith, it only leads to spite and weak foundations. Remember, what is the magic of yesterday is the science of today.
We must not be so eager to accept or dismiss. We must trust faith and science in our continued search for truth. As you come into harmony with truth, there you shall find wisdom. In wisdom, lies the highest form of faith... A righteous relationship with the divine without any doubt.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

"By the People, For the People"

'The greatest invention of mankind is the institution of government."
I may have misrepresented myself in the past as one opposed to government. On the contrary, I believe it to be important for any civilized society. Without government, there can be no clear organization of goals and interests. We are left only with a state of disorder, that lacks an inclination towards society's advancement, offers no protection of rights, and does not seek the interests of justice.
So why do I often present such an Anarchist attitude? Because, the politicians are mostly corrupt and in turn have corrupted our governments. The ideas behind political philosophies are well intentioned and designed with the common good in mind. No, the idea of government is not flawed, but the way in which it is administered.
Am I saying, then, that fault lies at the feet of the rulers? Not at all. The constituents of any administration are as much to blame for the mishandling of power as are the politicians. In a perfect state, the society works with its rulers to insure success in all areas of concern. There is no separation of 'government' and 'the people', for the government is 'the people' and the people are the government.
It was once said "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country." For too many of us are outspoken about the issues but do little to see that anything is actually done. We were once a nation that fought for our beliefs, but now fear the overwhelming shadows of "political correctness" and threats of litigation.
I'm not saying we need take to the streets, only that as a society... No, as a race of beings who live on this one planet we must work toward out common goals together, alongside our rulers. And should these rulers oppose the institutes of righteousness, justice, and liberty, then it is our duty to cast them down from their thrones. Lay your feet upon the necks of the tyrants and demand the unity of a nation.
Government is good when it is just, and it works when the administrators and the people both seek the unified goal of advancement. Let us not lose sight of our dreams. Let us not fall victim to our own shortcomings.
Ask yourselves what you can do to better the world. There is nothing too small and no plan too great, there is only you to keep you from accomplishing great things and making a difference. Were every individual to make but one contribution to the betterment of our world, what a grand place it could be.

Friday, April 29, 2011

“Zen Juggling”

The arena was plunged into darkness. Seconds passed, and the crowd began to murmur uneasily. Then a dim, purple glow rose from the center ring. A drooping face with a wild, lopsided grin. One eye rolled uncontrollably. The other soaked in its surroundings.
The figure gave a slight bow, and then tossed four objects into the air. They were torches that burst into orange flames as they reached their highest point, leaving trails as they came tumbling back down. No sooner did one drop into his hand, was it again flung up into the air. Faster and faster the torches spun through the air, to the delight of the awe-struck crowd.
There was a frantic drumbeat that seemed to pace the juggler’s flashing hands. Other than that, not a sound could be heard.
To most, it appeared to be a feat of great concentration. For Deadeye, it was second nature. Here, in this moment, the Juggling Jester felt true peace descend upon him. His hands moved like separate entities. He did not see or hear the crown. Nothing existed but self, one with his props.
Deadeye was juggling. He was Zen.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

“You Bet Your Life”

Every performance is a gamble; your life is the stake. Sing the wrong note, take a wrong step, or whip the lion just a little too hard, and it could all be over for you. Pull off that one legendary performance, and you could go right to the top. Either way you’re screwed.
If you flop, people will always remember your failure. It takes a lot to ever recover. If you are amazing, you will never again match those heights of excellence. The only direction you can go is down. It’s called ‘peaking’ and it’s as much a career ender as failure.
Tonight we have seen both, and a little in between. The elephants performed a satisfactory Rachmaninov, and the monkeys were comical, but average. Manny Fats, our strongman, was… incredible, if not inspiration.
Caliberini was the big surprise. He soared to his greatest heights in a performance that left the audience in shock and wanting more. Even I was amazed, and I’ve seen it all. After 40 years as a ringmaster, its hard to surprise me, but Caliberini’s routine did just that.
Our lowest point was Whiskey’s performance. The old lion finally let the drink beat him, and it was a sad display. He could barely stand, much less jump through hoops. I won’t fire him; he has been with us for too long. He’s family. But it may be time to move him out of the center ring.
There’s still one act remaining. A personal favorite of mine. Deadeye makes his return tonight, which is always a big thing for us. Whenever he is released from Branherst, he comes back better than ever. It is like the asylum grants him a renewed vigor. Sometimes I think he has no peak. That he is in another universe all together.
So, here we go. Everything is all set for the Juggling Jester. All he needs now is for me to go out and introduce him. Into the spotlight I step, Ringmaster here at El Circa de Cykoticas.
“At last we have come to the grandest finales. Tonight you have witnessed extraordinary feats of courage, beauty, and brawn. Your eyes have feasted on the visual food of gods! But nothing has prepared you for what is yet to come. “
“Turn your eyes, if you will, once more to the center ring, where soon you will see a performance that will be talked about for years to come. Tonight, after three months we welcome back to the Big Top one of our most beloved acts! Ladies and Gentleman! Boys and Girls! Without further ado, I give you…”

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


If anyone knew our secret, the appeal would be lost. It’s a big deal to be a headliner. Center ring is what we all aspire to, and our act earned it. But it would all come crashing down if our secret got out.
There are three of us. My brother, Xeke, he’s the oldest. He started out with our parents and has the most experience. He taught my sister and me everything mom and dad taught him. They died when I was 6. Xeke was 15, so he took care of us.
My sister, x-tacy, is my twin. She’s got the looks in the family… We’re not identical. She also has the rawest talent of the three of us. Those two factors kind of make her the centerpiece of the act.
Me, I got the brains. My name is Xavier. It was my idea to do the whole act in the nude. After all, sex sells. Why not cash in on such a hot commodity? That’s what got us the headline spot. Acrobats are a dime a dozen, but naked acrobats… Well, you get the idea.
Collectively we’re known as Triple X. We do the trapeze, the high wire, and a number of other tricks. You should see X-tacy work a pole. The guys go mad for that part of the show.
But, for as much as the ‘sex’ sells, it’s the danger that is the real draw. People come to see us risk our lives. Secretly, they hope a wire snaps or a foot slips. They want to watch one of us tumble to our deaths.
That’s why our act would be ruined if people knew our secret. My brother, my sister, and I can’t die, or even get injured. We’re immortal… At least I think. We still get older, so maybe age will kill us, but a fall won’t. That removes the risk. That takes away the thrill. So, we keep our secret, and continue defying ‘death’… and censorship.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


“We got real lucky tonight, people! Nobody got hurt when Everest came down, but that doesn’t mean we’re off the hook. I wanna know just what happened here tonight. You hear me?
The Professor was pissed; you could hear it in his voice. Not as pissed as me, of course. The Roller Coaster was my turf. She had been in the family since day one, forty-two years ago. Now she was nothing but a pile of junk. The whole dame thing had collapsed. Not all at once. A little at a time. It was slow enough to get everyone to safety, but not to save her.
I felt like crying, or screaming. It was the end of an era. My baby was dead… She should’ve had another 10 years.
I know what this was, though. I don’t know who did it, but I know someone did it. No one can tell me otherwise. I’ll find out who, and when I do, well… Payback’s a bitch.

Monday, April 25, 2011

“Vanity Plates and Bumper Stickers”

*A few of the notable displays found on the backs of Carney vehicles:

-Vanity Plates-
Bowwow- The Dog faced Boy
CNVLKNG- The Professor
MGCMAN- The Great Galetto
ZIGZAG1- Ziggy the Dragon
GOTWOOD- Max and Bucky

-Bumper Stickers-
The Dog Faced Boy- “Calm down, I was only cleaning myself”
“Looking for a good place to bury my bone.”

Ziggy the Dragon- “Objects in your bong may be closer than they appear.”
“Marijuana for president!”
“I’m not a pothead. I leave the leadership roles to others.”

Jumbo Jenna- “Caution! I brake for drive-thrus.”

Max and Bucky- “You can learn a lot from a Dummy. Who do you think taught me to

Saturday, April 23, 2011

“Under The Influence”

Any other night they would have closed the show, but with Deadeye’s big return, the Ringmaster made a switch. Maybe that’s why it happened. Maybe it was just inevitable. Whatever the case was, Whiskey screwed up and it would cost him.
On any other night the big lion had time to sober up before going on. Tonight he was rushed out first. Perhaps it would have been better to just pull out for one show, but a star never sat the bench. No matter what, the show must go on. So, go on they did. Salazar should have known better.
It began with Whiskey stumbling out like a boxer who had taken one too many blows to the head. The lion weaved his way through the ring to the edge of the first row, belched loudly, then proceeded to vomit on the patrons sitting there. No shame would have come if Salazar had pulled him out them. He could’ve claimed Whiskey was sick and the clowns could’ve come back out. But it didn’t happen.
Instead, Whiskey gave a gave a grandiose bow, stumbled back toward the stunned Salazar, and took the trainer’s whip and microphone from him. It was the liquid courage. The lion then proceeded to chase Salazar from the ring, using his own whip on him several times. With that done, he walked back to the center ring, and made a dozen or so vulgar statements before finally doing a face plant and blacking out. It was a sad spectacle.
Whiskey probably won’t remember it in the morning, but everyone else will. It is a stain on his career, one that will probably lose him his headline slot, if not his job. But, that’s fame. Here today and gone tomorrow. R.I.P. Whiskey.

Friday, April 22, 2011

“Three Piece”

Ext- The Carnival’s Midway. Three teenagers (Smoke, Diesel, and J.C.) are leaning against a game booth horse playing and watching the crowd pass by.

J.C.: Man, this place is a drag. We got anything going tonight, Smokey?
Smoke Go fetch! Nah… Uncle Lou wants us to help him out tonight, but it’s probably something stupid.
Diesel: I ain’t doing no work!
J.C.: Well, we gotta find something to do. What’s up with Ziggy?
Smoke: Dry as a bone… Dogface said old “Puffy” was blazin’ on Spinach earlier, so…
Diesel: This ain’t so bad, just hangin’ out here…

Diesel: What I mean is that it could be worse.
J.C.: What’s worse than being bored out your mind?
Diesel: Well, you could be stuck in an elevator that keeps on playing Justin Bieber over and over and over….
J.C.: Ok, I get it.
Smoke: Or you could be watching Donkey Porn.
J.C.: What the hell is Donkey Porn?
Diesel: Two donkeys going at it on camera…
Smoke: Or a donkey and something else.
J.C.: That’s sick.
Diesel: Actually, its probably not that bad… Well, I mean, if you’re a donkey.
Smoke: He’s got a point.
J.C.: Okay, but back to the original problem. We need some action.

Diesel: Well, that was something.
Smoke: Yeah… Looks like it came off of Mount Everest… I wonder if anyone was hurt?
J.C.: Who Cares? Let’s get out of here before we have to help clean it up.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

“Smoke And Mirrors”

“The art of a good magician isn’t the trick itself, it is the presentation.”
The Great Galetto sat on an elegant, high-backed chair, his legs crossed at the knee, looking more like royalty than carnival illusionist. His apprentice carefully watched his every move and noted his every word, as the magician conversed with the young woman sitting across from him. She was a reporter for the local paper, doing a special interest piece on of the carnival’s more popular acts.
Like many entertainer’s, Galetto’s ego fed on attention, and the pretty blonde was giving him a healthy dose. An interview, her short skirt, and the wide-eyes look of admiration she was giving him had Galetto firing on all cylinders. Give him an audience and he’d give them a show.
“The bigger the bang, “ he said with a wink, “the bigger the payoff.”
All his charm was turned on as he spoke, laying one hand on her knee. The lines were transparent, but delivered with such perfect timing that she ate up every word.
These were the secrets the apprentice had to learn. Not the illusions themselves, devices were easily mastered, but delivery had to be perfected. Or, as Galetto had just said, presentation.
“But what it really comes down to is knowing when to pull the trigger.” He gave her a smile that said more and she blushed.
That was the apprentice’s cue. It was time to perform some magic of his own and disappear. He got up and left the trailer. As the door swung shut behind him he heard Galetto asking the reporter is she wanted a glass of wine. Somewhere in the direction of the roller coaster there was a crash and screaming. More than usual.
He shrugged and began walking toward the cluster of trailer’s known as ‘nightmare alley.’ That was where the Professor’s freaks stayed. Maybe Jumbo Jenna was done for the night. He liked feeding her doughnuts. It was one vanishing act that didn’t require a lot of smoke and mirrors.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Professor Lucifer Von Diablos is a showman, no doubt about it. He has that unique talent to deliver witticisms with perfect timing. Like P.T. Barnum, Groucho Marx, and W.C Fields, this carny is a quotable entertainer that will be remembered for his sayings long after he has stopped talking.
- On the Dogfaced Boy: “He’s a teenager. I’d expect him to chase tail, just not his own tail”
- On Jumbo Jenna: “She ate her way to the top, literally. We used to have a less fat fat lady, then Jenna ate her. The rest is history.”
“Once, we thought she was pregnant. Turns out she had just sat on a midget and he got stuck… where? Well, it sure wasn’t her armpit, Einstein”
- On guessing weights and ages: “Women hate it, but it’s not my fault if they’re old and fat.
- On Funnel Cakes: “Dough and white powder…Reminds me of the 80’s, before I joined the carnival.”
- On the Bumper Cars: “It’s like the L.A. Freeway, without guns.”
- On whether or not carnival games are fixed: “Well, they sure as hell ain’t broke! But if you mean, do we cheat… only when there’s money on the line”
- On the Circus: “Their tent smells like animal crap. Our midway smells like cotton candy. They have a bunch of clowns running the operation. We have rides. Which one are you gonna pay money for?”
- On the Carnival’s Ventriloquist Act: “One’s made out of wood. The others a dummy.”
- One the Great Galetto: “You wanna see him do a real magic trick? Watch how he disappears when you ask him where he learned how to escape from handcuffs.”
- On the Ringmaster: “Anybody that talks as much as he does should just shut up.”

Monday, April 18, 2011


They are everywhere, promoting the Carnival, selling the circus. I see those posters on the ride to work. I am assaulted by them at the grocery store. Bright colors and flashy words overloading my senses.
But I can’t look away. The imagery draws my attention like a disaster story on the six o’clock news. I am fascinated, and frightened. What lies in the hearts of clown and freaks? Why do I have this irrational desire to attend one or the other?
There, the flyer for El Circa de Cykoticas claims to be the “most incredible display between Heave and Hell!”, and I want to know if its true. Is Caliberini really as amazing as his name suggest? Just how daring is the juggler, Deadeye? Would the beauty of X-tacy truly break my heart? That placard sells it so well…
And over here, a placard for the Carnival of Chaos. “Come out for the ride of your life!”, it screams. They have a magician, and a ventriloquist act. There is a freak show featuring the Dogfaced Boy, Jumbo Jenna, and a real-life dragon. Do they really have the tallest roller coaster in the world? I don’t know, but I want to find out.
The child in me is bouncing around in anticipation for a show. I want to go to both, but I can only afford one. Oh, the agony of choice. Damn posters!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

“On Top Of The World”

My favorite ride is the roller coaster. Not the new versions they have at eh big, corporate theme parks, but the old rickety wooden one they have here at the Carnival. It’s called Mount Everest, and it boasts the highest peak of any roller coaster in the United States. Maybe the world. It’s a real classic. What I love about it isn’t the breakneck speeds it reaches, or even the triple loop. What attracts me is that first climb to the top. The rise before the fall. There’s a thrill of anticipation as the car clickedy- clacks its way up, the rails moaning and groaning with tension. Then you reach the top, and for a moment it seems like you can see the whole world. You hang there, suspended above the carnival, before plummeting back down again.
As much as I love it, I have to wonder if each ride will be my last. Everest is 42 years old and sure to go at any time. But maybe that’s the real thrill of the ride, the risk.

Friday, April 15, 2011

“Night At The Circus”

‘Ladies and Gentlemen! Boys and girls! Tonight you will bare witness to an extraordinary display of madness, mayhem, and magnificence! Here, beneath the Big Top, in these three rings, feats will be performed that will leave you paralyzed in awe! Don’t blink. Don’t turn away. Don’t even get up to use the bathroom, we can hose the seats off. What we can’t do is give you an instant replay, so don’t miss it the first time!
‘Indeed, we have a show in store for you! Death-defying, dazzling, and dynamic exhibitions that will make your head spin and your mind rot. I dare you to prove otherwise…
‘ To my left, witness Herculean feats of strength performed by the world’s most powerful man! Ooh and Aah as the Amazing Caliberini risks life and limb.
‘And to my right, you will see the only full elephant orchestra in the world, featuring renowned cellist Yo-Yo “Ma, I don’t think we’re in the jungle no more!” Also watch as monkeys sling feces at one another in an act we call “Holy Crap, Duck!”
‘But here, in this center ring, is where you will truly be amazed, as some of the world’s greatest acts shall take on some of their biggest challenges. Here we will experience the stars of tonight’s extravaganza!
‘First, we will welcome Whiskey the Wild. A lion with attitude. His tricks should astound you, his words could offend you, And his blood- alcohol level would certainly kill you!
‘From there, we move on to the high flying trapeze act, Triple X. They will have you saying, “Did they just do that?” Yes, they did.
‘Finally, our show will close with the return of one of our most beloved acts. Blind on his left side, he will perform feats of balance and dexterity impossible for one with no depth perception. You will fear for your own life, as much as you fear for his, as the Juggling Jester manipulates fire, knives, and fate.
“Sooo prepare yourselves! The show is about to begin! Welcome to EL CIRCA DE CYKOTICAS!!!’

Thursday, April 14, 2011

“Money Talks”

I just finished a 90-day stretch. My eight at the Branherst Institute for the criminally Insane. It wasn’t my longest, nor was it my shortest, but it was my easiest.
After the first one, a person just learns how to make the best out of his time in there. I like to look at it as a mini vacation. I check in, relax, and enjoy the thorazine. Yeah, my stays just keep getting easier. At some point I might not check out.
Today I did, though, and it felt good. The break was nice, but I’ll be glad to get back to work. First, a quick job for the Boss, then I get to close out the Big Show tonight… That’s my true passion, juggling.
My partner is a clown called Blaze. He handles my pyrotechnics. He’s also the one I’m teamed up with when the Boss has one of his ‘special jobs’, one we don’t talk about. We that from time to time… Rob a bank, kick a Dogboy, pick up some milk… I don’t ask questions, I just do what the Boss says. He signs the paychecks. He gives me the spotlight.
We parked in front of a run down trailer, about a quarter of a mile from the carnival. I could hear that stupid calliope music playing and screams of delighted patrons. I really hated the carnival.
“This is it?” I asked
Blaze nodded, stubbing out his cigar, “This is the address the Boss gave me.”
“And your guy is in there?”
“Yeah, he’s in there?”
I sighed, “Let’s do this then.”
The sooner we got this job over with, the sooner I could get back to the circus. Blaze went up the steps and banged on the screen. I stayed off to the side, eyeing the trailer warily.
The door swung open to reveal a scruffy looking carny in a dark blue jumpsuit. He smelled like gasoline and goats. I was thankful that Blaze wasn’t smoking.
“You Henry?” Blaze asked.
The man scowled, then looked around wildly. He looked liked he should’ve been in Branherst. Finally, his eyes came back to rest on Blaze and he jerked his head in a gesture that said, “Yes” and “Come on in” all at once. We complied.
Inside was cramped and smelled even worse. Machine parts and grease seemed to cover every square inch of the trailer floor. A workbench was holding up one wall. It was here the man walked to and began tossing tools and blueprints around till finding what he was looking for.
“Here,” he muttered, handing a bundle of rolled up papers to Blaze. “Mount Everest, everything you need to know about the roller coaster is in there.”
Blaze handed them to me without taking his eyes off the carny and said, “Check it.”
I looked,
“We good?”
I nodded, “Yeah, we’re good.”
Blaze reached into his pocket and pulled out a roll of bills, then tossed the roll to the carny.
“Can’t believe you sold ‘em out, Henry,” Blaze was saying, as we made our way out.
Henry just shrugged, counting the stack, “Money talks, Clown”

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Tonight was the night. After all his planning, Caliberini was finally going to perform his greatest stunt. It would either make his career, or break him… literally. But it was worth the risk.
He wanted the center ring slot with every other fiber of his being, if it required his life in exchange. Not that he wanted to die, but to be a truly great daredevil you had to risk everything. Tonight he was putting all his chips in the pot and going for the big score.
Once more, he checked to be sure everything was ready shark tank. Check. Motorcycle gassed up. Check. Hoops with flame projectors. Check. Super-Flammable Jumpsuit. Double-check. Everything looked to be in order. All that was left was to actually do it.
Up till now he had just been a part of the show. Tonight, he would jump the shark and become The Show. After this performance, Caliberini would be legendary.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


I’d like to think people get what they deserve. That the universe will right itself whenever things go wrong. It doesn’t always work out that way, but I’d like to think so. Sometimes I even give it a little help, when I think the universe needs it. It’s just my way of keeping the balance.
Who am I? A nobody at the carnival. One of those faceless, nameless guys that hawks food from a booth on the midway. You may have seen me somewhere else, but you just can’t put your finger on it, and you don’t really care
Me? I’m a little better at keeping tabs. Maybe I saw you help that old lady across the street. Maybe you’ll get an extra scoop of ice cream when you come to my stand.
And maybe I saw you kick a dog, or worse…
You’ll never know. But someday you just might get a yellow snow-cone that’s not quite all lemon, or chocolate covered peanut that’s been double- dipped. That soda you’re drinking may be Sprite, lacking a dash of r and e.
Get what I’m saying?
So, watch what you do. I will be, and remember… it’s just karma

Monday, April 11, 2011

“Job Security”

Look over there, on the other side of the midway. See those three young punks hassling the customers. Yeah, the ones that look like they belong in a juvenile detention center. I know what you’re thinking. Somebody should toss them out of here, but nobody will. You know why? ‘Cause they work here.
Does that comes as a surprise? It shouldn’t. Those boys are the professor’s nephews. Nepotism at its finest. He won’t fire them either. Says they bring a little spirit to the Carnival. Yeah, spirit, and crime sprees...
But that’s job security in our business. Us carnival folk are all related to somebody in the business. The booth’s and rides get passed down through the generations. The circus folk are like that too, so we got that in common.
Judge us however you want. Call us freaks and gypsies and vagabonds. We won’t deny it. We’re all those things, but more than that, we’re family.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

“In The Spotlight”

Some things just stick with us, haunting our every moment. Dominating our every thought. That’s how it is for me. One thing I will never be able to forget.
The first time I stepped into the ring was like taking in oxygen after nearly drowning. There was a feeling of giddiness I can only compare to a free fall from a thousand feet. My heart felt like it was going to explode.
I had practiced before friends and family and on my own, but at that moment I was before a real live audience. This time my judgement was in the hand of stranger who would not see the person, but the performance. A hush fell over the crowd, and the lights went down…
When the throbbing pulse of the music began to play, the audience seemed to vanish. It was no longer a performance, it was just me and the stunts. The Amazing Caliberini versus destiny. The music and lights swirled around like howling winds and falling stars. In the distance, the rolling thunder of guns blazed, and I became lost in a storm of bullets.
Nothing had ever prepared me for that moment in the spotlight, and nothing could ever equal the feeling it still gives me. And that’s why I do it night after night. Even if someday it kills me.

Friday, April 8, 2011


Int.- Clown Car. Blaze is driving. Deadeye sits in the passenger seat trying to balance a pencil on his fingertip.

Blaze (smoking a cigar): So, how was Branherst?
Deadeye: No freakin’ balls!
Blaze(Cut his eyes toward Deadeye): Say what?
Deadeye: No balls, clubs, scarves, devil sticks, nothing! I was really starting to lost it in there. Know what I mean? Juggling helps me keep my head, but did they get that? Nope! I’ve spent the last three months using fruit to help keep me from going bananas. (Shakes his head.) Apple sauce day was real fun.
Blaze: Bet the drugs were good, though/
Deadeye: Average… At best… You know what was really a blast? The people.
Blaze: Who? The staff or the other loonies?
Deadeye: My people… There was one guy who swore he was Jimmy Hoffa. Kept trying to organize a union.
Blaze (laughing): What were his demands?
Deadeye: Extra pudding cups at dinner and a wider selection of fat crayons.
Blaze: So what happened?
Deadeye: Well, finally the orderlies got so tired of all the fuss he was causin’ and took him for shock treatment. He was gone for about a week. Two of the para-schitz…
Blaze: Pair of what?
Deadeye: Paranoid Schizophrenics… Anyway, tow of them got to arguing over what happened to old Jimmy. One claimed it was an alien abduction, the other said there was a government conspiracy that had him killed. They went back and forth until finally old Jimmy was wheeled back into the ward. That sparked a whole new argument between the two. But, they did agree on one thing. Jimmy wasn’t Jimmy any more and they had to keep a close eye on him.
Blaze: Was his brain fried or something?
Deadeye: Most definitely. For the first few days he just sat around muttering to himself. Then one day he woke up and went right back to trying to organize the common people against what he called ‘the injustices of corporate administrators.’
Blaze: Wow, that sounds like some wild stuff. How was the food?
Deadeye: Pretty much like what we eat out here… They got hamburgers, spaghetti, cereal… They just give you different brands. Know what they call Fruit Loops?
Blaze: What?
Deadeye: Loopy Fruits…
Blaze: No way! Do they taste any different?
Deadeye: Nope, taste exactly the same… They even got a toucan on the box… Birdie Bill… He’s got a slogan that goes, “Let your beak be your guide.”
Blaze: Crazy, man. So if it’s the same thing, why do they call it something else?
Deadeye: Licensing, Brother. In this day and age it’s all about licensing.

Deadeye: This it?
Blaze: Yeah, this is the address the Boss gave me
Deadeye: And you’re sure your guy is in there.
Blaze : Yeah, he’s there.
Deadeye: Let’s do this then….


Thursday, April 7, 2011


Every clown has a face, and every good face tells a story. It's more than just a big, red nose and greasepaint. It's about creating a unique character. Like any other act, it's all in the presentation. That's what separates the professions jokers for the birthday party bozos.

The clothes, the comedic style, even the act itself all hinges on the face. It's a product to be sold. If the suit makes the man, then the paint makes the clown.

But the clown has to believe in it too. He or she must embrace the face and become one with the character. I am Deadeye the Daring with or without my paint. The makeup only allows the Juggling Jester to surface and give the people a show.

Without my paint, I am nothing more than a deformed madman. Crippled before I was born by the stroke I suffered while still in the womb. My left side is weakened, the muscles of my face drooping obscenely. I am blind on that side as well, and my left eye rolls wildly beneath the lid that never fully closes. Psychiatrists have diagnosed me as insane. The state has institutionalized me eight times.

Without my pain, I am social pariah. With it, I am a star.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

"Ferris Wheel"

Smiling faces walk the midway, oblivious to the sinister origins of a carnivals attractions. It is a place of madness and mayhem, disguised by brightly colored paint and pretty lights. Many of the rides are based on ancient torture devices. The games once had much higher stakes. I suppose ignorance really is bliss. It would certainly dampen the mood if people knew the truth.

Take the ride I operate, for example. Seems innocent enough. A big wheel, with seats that hang from crossbars. The wheel turns and the chairs go up, then they come down again. Great fun. But, did you know it comes from an interrogation tactic used right up until the mid-1800's? It's true. They used to strap the person being questioned to a rotating wheel, the base of which was under water. The wheel cranked until the victim was fully submerged. Then they were left there to thrash against their bonds for anywhere from 30 seconds to a full 2 minutes. Just before they drowned, the wheel was cranked again, bringing the subject back up for more questioning. If the answers weren't satisfactory...Down they went again.

The process was repeated again and again until the questioners were satisfied, or until the subject was dead, whichever came first. Fun fact huh?

Still want to ride? Got your ticket? Then step on up, you're the next in line.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Size matters. Don't let anyone tell you differently. That's not to say that bigger is necessarily better, but it definitely has to be hearty enough to fill me up. I'm like Goldilocks. I want something that's just right. If it's too big I just can't handle it. Too small...well, take the other night for example. This guy come to my trailer with something that was barely a mouthful. It left me so unsatisfied I couldn't sleep. I was up all night tossing and turning.

I will say this, though, if the person really knows what they're doing I can make an exception. Like last night...Oh, it makes my knees weak just thinking about it!

I had this girl come over to take care of me. I don't usually swing that way, but she came highly recommended. She was well worth it too. Fulfilling my every desire right up to the big finish. What she did with whipped cream and syrup should be criminal.

Oh my, I'm getting all flustered. Maybe I'll call her up just one more time before we leave. I could do that now, just to see what kind of breakfast menu she puts together. Cooks like her don't come around often and my appetite demands the best. How do you think I keep up that voluptuous, thousand pound figure? Good food and a passion for eating.

Monday, April 4, 2011


"You know what the difference is between a ventriloquist and his dummy? One is the brains of the operation, the other tries to talk without moving his mouth...Ha!"

The tuxedoed puppet known as Bucky clutched his sides as he cackeled maniacally at his own joke. He sat in a tiny chair, built to a scale that suited him, rocking back on two legs. Next to him, hundched uncomfortably in the small trailer, was the massive form of Edgar, who by standards was considered a giant. His abnormal proportions were all the more apparent when compared to his fellow carny, especially in the cramped space they currently occupied.

"Oh, boy...Max is so easy...Just like his sister! Ha-Ha!" Bucky nearly toppled over as a new stream of laughter came belting out.

Edgar grunted, and shook his head.

"Why are you always so hard on him, Buck?" The giant asked.

The puppet gestured, as if dismissing the question.

"Max is a moron! He thinks he can just treat me like some run-of-the-mill blockhead...I mean, c'mon, look at me!" The doll jumped to his feet and twirled around, showing off his two-foot frame. "I sing, I dance, I write all of the jokes for our act. He would be nothing but a barker if it wasn't for me!"

"So why do you stick with him? Why not get your own act?"

Bucky sat back down and thought for a minute before responding, "I would, but truth is, if it wasn't for Max, I woudl still be locked in a trunk dryrotting, so I guess I owe him for gettin' me out."

He paused, before continuing, "But as soon as I feel that debt is paid, I'm gone. No strings attached."

Bucky nodded, as if agreeing with himself. Edgar nodded too, but was more because he was sleepy than agreeing with the Dummy.

"So, did you hear how the ventriloquist died? Somebody stuck a scratch-and-sniff sticker on the bottom of the pool! Ha...."

Sunday, April 3, 2011

"Cash Crap"

Int. A dimly-lit carnival trailer. Clouds of smoke fill the air. The walls of the trailer are decorated with cult-classic movie posters, rock-and-roll memorabilia and a variety of other stoner paraphernalia. Sublime is playing softly in the background.

ZIGGY, a dragon that is reminiscent to Puff, without the Magic, or perhaps a green, urbanized Barney, lounges in a bean bag chair in one corner. He holds a bong in one hand and appears to have taken one too many hits from the device. The trailer's door opens. ENTER THE DOGFACE BOY.

DOGFACE : It smells like a forest fire in here, Ziggy! What the blazes are you smoking?

ZIGGY : Just a little medication...

DOGFACE: Dude, that's spinach.

ZIGGY : What?

DOGFACE : You're smokin' spinach, numb nuts!

ZIGGY : Maybe I am, Dogface. Maybe I am.

DOGFACE: No...Really, you're smokin' spinach...And canned spinach at that.

ZIGGY : Well, give the Green Giant my compliments! He's sure made me jolly...

DOGFACE: You can't get high off spinach!

ZIGGY : How do you know? You ever smoked it?

DOGFACE : Well, no, but... It's just common knowledge. People don't get high from spinach!

ZIGGY: What about Popeye?

DOGFACE : Popeye? What about him?

ZIGGY : Look at the facts man. His best buddy spent all day scarfin' hamburgers, his girlfriend was a meth-head with a pimp named Bluto, and he was always squintin' and suckin' on that pipe. Popeye and his whole crew were gettin' blasted on spinach. .

DOGFACE: Oh, my god, you've smoked yourself retarded.

ZIGGY : And speaking of some trippy-ass cartoons, what was the deal with Dagwood Bumstead? He had that hot wife and all he wanted to do was eat sandwiches and sleep. Dude was definitely dippin' into the ganja...

DOGFACE: We weren't speaking of "trippy cartoons", we were talking about you smoking spinach!

ZIGGY: Ooooh...Maybe I should try cookies! That big, blue dust mop on Sesame Street is always raving about them.

DOGFACE : You're an idiot...Anyway, Boss says you got 10 minutes to curtain, so get a move on.

ZIGGY : Sit, Ubu, Sit. Good Dog.


Saturday, April 2, 2011

"Big Top"

They call me Blaze, a name I picked up is Desert Storm working demolitions. I was special Ops, so any mission I may or may not have been a part of never happened. At least that would be the official story. Now I'm a pyrotechnics expert for the circus, still earning my keeping blowing things up. So, I guess the shoe fits.

The outfit I work for is one of those year round operations that just seems to appear in the middle of the night. You know the kind I mean. One day you're driving past an empty field and the next there's a big tent and the overpowering smell of large animals. We come in the little fanfare, hoping to draw the curious, and once the fat lady has sung, we vanish. The people get a show and we get to eat.

Lately things haven't gone so smoothly. It is that damn carnival. We all know it. They seem to be in every town we lay stakes, stealing our business. When you have the only show in town, everybody shows up, but when you give the folks a choice...Well, they don't always choose you. It was easier before we had to compete with the Professor and his band of freaks.

The other clowns ehre at the circus want to go "Godfather" on the carnies, but the Ringmaster has issued strict orders not to cross the midway. He doesn't want to make our feud a public affair. It's not my job to ask questions. The Boss has been running this show for nearly 40 years, so he must know what he's doing.

"You pickin' up Deadeye today?" Whiskey asks, as I pass his cage.

The lion is our star, trained by the famous Salazar. He's also a raging alcoholc, hence the moniker and the flammable breath wafting in my direction. He's lucky my cigar's not lit.

"Yeah" I answer, barely slowing.

"Make a stop for me," He yells, gesturing with the half empty bottle of Jack Daniels he's drinking. It's the universal sign for "I need a refill".

I just grunt my assent and keep walking. I ahve an hour till the asylum officially releases Deadeye into my custody, but its a 45 minute drive and there's always paperwork to sign. This is Deadeye's eighth trip to Branherst, so release is old hat.

It wouldn't be a big deal if I were a little late, but the Boss has a job for us to do and the sooner I get Deadeye, the sooner we can get the job done. It's one like my Iraq days. Something that won't officially happen. We get in, we get out, and we get back. If it all goes right, we'll be back in time for the show. If not, Caliberini will fill Deadeye's slot. That's not an option any star wants to take, so I'll do all I can to get him back in time.

Friday, April 1, 2011

"Aiming for the Skies"

The Amazing Caliberini was the toughest mofo in the Three Rings. He knew it, and so did everyone else. That was why he could keep his head held high, even if his act wasn't a headliner yet. Someday he would make it to the center ring, and when he did there was no going back.

Currently, El Circa de Cykoticas boasted three star attractions. The opener was usually Deadeye, the Juggling Jester. His fiery displays and deft manipulations of hand and eye had earned him some renown as the most daring juggler in the world. Next came the high-flying acrobatics of Triple X. The troupe was made up of two brothers and their achingly beautiful sister. The death defying act was only made more brilliant by the tastefully erotic spin they put on their performance. The closer was a veteran of the circuit. Known as Whiskey the Wild, the trained lion pulled off tricks that would make Sigfried and Roy's cats jealous.

Anything other than the three stars was just filler. Sure, Caliberini's name was on the poster, but almost as an after thought. No one would notice it if they weren't actively looking for it. That was something he hoped to change.

Waiting the other acts out wasn't an option. The "Exes" were young, Deadeye in his prime and Whiskey had tenure. Their slots were secured, unless a really spectacular act came along. So, Caliberini worked on his act. He swallowed swords, took sledgehammers to the sternum, cannon balls to the cranium, and dove on dynamite. Tonight he was going to catch a bullet with his teeth, and tomorrow he would wrestle a grizzly. Whatever it took to draw the crowds, he was game.

Yeah, Caliberini was the toughest mofo in the show and anyone who doubted it, wouldn't by the end of the night. He would always prove that claim, just like he would always aim for the skies, whether he was in a cannon waiting to be shot over the Big Top or not.

Introduction to the A to Z Challenge....

When my Dad told me about the writing challenge planned for April, I was intrigued by the idea. As a part of the "blogging community" and as a writer, it was an exciting proposition. So, over the next month I will be posting writing titled alphabetically A to Z.

At first I planned to just write a variety of poems and essays, as I have done in the past, but I didn't find the inspiration. It felt forced and lacked creativity. Then, an idea came to me. Why not write 26 related stories? From there, the juices began to flow, as I began to mold the clay of one of my old creations. The result was what follows in the forth coming April posts. Collectively, I call it "The Show of Shows".

And what is that?

Well, at first there was only the circus, and the crowds came to see it. This was good.

Then the carnival came to town and noone went to the circus. This was not good.

From that day on, the two factions have been at war, and this they call "The Show of Shows"....

Thursday, March 31, 2011

"Ordinary Ones"

You can show me all of your picture books
And you can swear its not as bad as it looks
But I know the truth to be had
And I really don't care about that.
I've been a fool only a foolish one could love
I've been fooled a time or two by the man above
But I know the truth to be had
And its not really quite so bad.

So, what are the questions to the answers you seek?
Do you find your conclusions down on your knees?
And who are the ones you think you fear?
Do you run from the all the voices you hear?

I have a new solution
Bury the fools in the ground

Destroy your institutions
Lay your crosses down

And do you know...
What is takes to live?
What it takes to learn?
Reinstate the truth
Put away your guns
I'm finished with the fight
My ordinary ones

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

"Night of the Living Dead, Part 6 (Land of the Dead)"

The touch of mortality
Corrupts our sinful flesh
A plague to crush the heart
Beating in our chests
And like the fires of Armageddon
Dancing through the streets
Mindless beasts infect the masses...

The semblance of Humanity
Just one of many masks we wear
As we try to hold on to the pieces
Of this crumbling world we share
Machines of destruction and death
Upon the sanctuary's floor
Pouring their virus into our veins...

Look upon the tower we've built
A reminder of what could have been
Our enemies bare human faces
My killer was once my friend
And this we have constructed
More a tomb than a home
But what is the difference,
Here in the Land of the Dead?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

"A Brief Commentary"

I have noted comments on my poetry/lyrics to be somewhat less inspired than those made on essays. Often there is nothing to say, and that I understand. Such is meant to be appreciated or 'experienced', if you wish. Many of the comments are on the 'dark, serious nature' of my works or the 'violent imagery'. As an artist and as an appreciator of art, I find it common for the creative mind to be misunderstood. Often, writings such as poetry or lyrics are left open to the reader's/listener's own interpretation. This interpretation may or may not reflect the author's intentions, it is only how the work spoke to that individual. Sometimes the intent is villainous unjustly, or read out of context.
I often find this occurring with my own writings, and I feel I am being misrepresented or judged falsely because of what someone thought they understood, based on a lyrical piece. I don't really feel I owe on explanation, since I don't write for anyone but myself. I only wanted to take a moment to clarify.
It must be understood that I use the language to display vivid imagery and pain a picture with words. If I were to actually paint the image of Christ on a cross it could be considered violent... It could be considered vulgar, or it could be considered an image of beauty. It really depends on how one looks at it. See, look obscenity and you shall find it. In Psalms, David cries for God to slay his enemies, among other 'violent' requests... Shall we speak ill of his words.
I'm not saying I have written "holy works", only that if they are seen in a certain light, and not understood, they could be misunderstood. But judge me not, lest you reveal your ignorance.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

"Can't Shake The Feeling"

A long night in a hotel room
A bottle of jack on the left hand side of the bed
Cool air and lonely blues
Trying to shake the cobwebs out of my hear

Every moment weighs on my heart
And the walls echo with better days
Smooth sheets and the warmth of her breath
The road rolls by in a heavy haze

I can't shake the feeling
I can't put you down
You're like a fire burning out of control
And I don't know,
I don't know if I can

The wheels are turning back to you
And I can't seem to close my eyes anymore
I'm one the other side of 72
But I'm trying to make it in under 24

Yeah, I can't shake the feeling
I can't put you down
You're like a fire burning out of control
And I don't know...
I don't know if I can