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Psychopomp Volume One




If you feel inspired to wait it out until the hardcover, the magic date is December 20th. That means I can’t promise it’ll land in your lap prior to this year’s scheduled global panic. You’ll also be able to buy the Kindle version this day, and thanks to science you’ll have many hours to peruse your purchase, salute your preferred deity, and take a nap. Should things proceed as predicted by people who shy away from reading, remember to arrange yourself in an orderly single file line with a single bag of personal artifacts. It’s unimportant where this line is going — what matters is that you’re in it. Should things proceed as (un)predicted, tune in to this website for consolation prizes, or locate another doomsday more likely to reveal the desired outcome or exit strategy. This isn’t a test. Maybe consider it a new year anyway, just because you can, and abandon every soul sucking enterprise or entity intruding upon your personal happiness. This requires bravery, a good sense of humor, and frequently decisions other people call crazy. This word is sometimes a signal that you’re on the right track. Consider the accuser carefully. You are loved.

Psychopomp Volume One: Cracked Plate Now Available

This blog has been a quiet place. Novel completion is quite an ordeal. That should be belt categories awarded with each stage of progression, kinda like Karate.  My boxes of completely pretty and complete novels have been temporarily delayed on account of Hurricane Sandy. Just when I’d resigned myself to a fate of them having been fashioned into a raft, I received a message that the books will arrive November 6th. If you haven’t ordered and would like to, it’s actively available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and anywhere else in reach of Ingram distribution (which is pretty vast). Bonus points to whoever completes the first Amazon review.

The book is also available for purchase from the One Eye Two Crows website. There’s a few kinks in the store, but they should be worked out ASAP.

 

The Ebook and the hardcover should be available very soon. I’ll keep you posted, fine friends!

America by Space Ship Part 1: The Badlands

Landlock after extended road travel leaves me sourpussed. Only 46% of my person percolates in the present; the rest continues merry wandering in the same rented Dodge Avenger we dubbed the Space Ship, a craft that accumulated 6,158 miles before we reluctantly surrendered the keys to Avis and accepted a deflated bus ride back from BeaverTRON into Portland proper. The other 54% of me has elected to re-visit newly collected haunts. First re-entry point: the strange space of South Dakota, where half the state is a waking nightmare pulled from the pages of Peter Matthiessen’s nonfiction masterwork In the Spirit of Crazy Horse; the other half is accessible only by invisible slide. My co-conspirator Dok Z and I Lewis and Clark’d this territory for two days, and my skin still smells of sage and is bronzed orange-red from awesome sun.

South Dakota: we arrived in Murdo sleep deprived and irritable, having narrowly escaped the Corn Palace insect-saturated South Dakota hellmouth. For endless exits there was nothing save for ghost town gas stations daring us to stop to clean the windshield. There we’d inevitably find a wiper and water bucket so thick with unidentifiable six-legged somethings that if a sample were collected and placed on a slide, it might devour the microscope. Aliens have arrived, people. They’re just very small…

Anyway, in Murdo the border of our motel (the only one with any vacancies) was lit with PINK neon, and as we exited the Space Ship the manager was waiting for us, and in some unseen nook or cranny Quentin Tarantino was waiting to film.

 

Other than the neon it looked like hundreds of other motels, a simple series of windows and doors arranged in rows, a parking lot filled with out-of-state license plates and construction worker pick-up trucks. Manager chap was nice enough, and inside the room was decorated with endless signs listing reasons to be excited about the hand towels, and reminding us to respect the queen-sized bed as a holy resting space.

JESUS IS REAL

While I can’t confirm the existence of secret passageways and have never been accused of super-sluthery, I can testify that throughout the night, whenever I looked out the window, the manager was going into one door, before exiting from another completely on the other side of the motel. Attempts to rub the funhouse from my eyes failed. Dok Z mumbled in his sleep about gunshots, then woke and asked if I heard them. Did I hear them? I was busy listening to the argument happening on my face, while negotiating the black cloud that entered the room to cowboy clock my sixth-eye closed.

Whether you’re inclined to indulge the hocus-pocus or are the type to stodgily insist that nothing is real until Mythbusters conducts the appropriate experiment, the fact remains that this motel was plucked from an unaired episode of Scooby Doo, bulging with entities eager to latch on and puppet unprotected people with ghostly tentacles.

In other words: South Dakota is a haunted holy fuck of a state. The 2000 census claims the population of Murdo is 612, and I suspect 40% of these folks have since been eaten.

Burning rubber back on to 90W we learned fast that the western side of South Dakota is equally haunted but wears a prettier face. Amazing scenery does not, however, slow the pimping of the waterpark, an aggressive boil on the butt of family tourism wank that begins blooming in diaper rash earnest with the Wisconsin Dells. It almost doesn’t matter what the Dells are, exactly, because every billboard coaxing your car towards exit doesn’t give a shit about this natural wonder. Advertisements ham-fist tease about dozens of hotels and lodges and mini-person prisons engaging in full-tilt street brawls for the coveted title of most HOLY FUCK water park, each featuring rides that inexplicably reference stinging land-based mammals and insects. Grinning faces of prepubescent youngsters on waterslides and body surfing through furious chlorinated water are framed by screaming comic sans demands to GET WET.

I know what you're thinking: why doesn't the boy have face paint?

 

Dok Z and I spent several dull-scenery minutes working on the marketing campaign for our hypothetical water park, WET AS FUCK, and while I don’t remember much of the proposed schematics and body pummelling near-drowning excitement, my current fantasy goes like this: at WET AS FUCK, the minute you walk through the hotel doors three retired firemen in Clockwork Orange uniforms immediately render the entire suitcase-baring family WET AS FUCK with the assistance of a firehose. Those dedicated cigar-smoking workers don’t let up until your whole family is unconscious and pressed into the concrete, clothing in tatters, shoes knocked loose, spinal deformities violently corrected. In this state the fam is directly deposited (courtesy of black unmarked van) to the Badlands, which has a way higher amazing-factor than anything involving a plastic slide and pee water.

Badlands National Park: Seriously, wow. Dok Z wasted no time in claiming this turf for his personal pleasure saucer, and I can’t fault him the quick action. We initially choked at the $15 investment required, but less than a mile deep I was pondering permanent relocation. Hiking the Enter the Door Trail exposed us to prehistoric landscape locking the bodies of undusted dinosaurs, and blue sky accented by golden eagles. The trail was not really a trail at all, just a collection of yellow flags tricking your eyes in a half-hearted attempt to direct your party away from permanent LOST status. Signs warning of rattlesnakes further activated my inspection of the dots and dashes pocking the cliff sides. I let the dust sink into my skin, invited it in, harvesting a new kind of high.

Off-camera: sense of purpose restoration

 

It was in this space that my nose-twitch towards other tourists switched. I wasn’t alone in my awe, and regardless of age or physical ability the terrain was explored with care and appreciation. Kids ran to have their pictures taken between rocks that framed their bodies and scrambled up the buttes, while older folks examined edges for footholds and let their eyes turn skyward on the lookout for birds of prey and incoming saucers. Sure, there was the lone marble-mouthed cell phone jockey blathering day-trader jargon into his sweat-soaked armpit while his unattended children played tiddlywinks with a cougar and plotted their forthcoming angst, but without those kids we wouldn’t have Marilyn Manson, and then what would their t-shirts say?

 

Dok Z, recasting his vote on the relevance of Creed

According to the National Park Service website, the 244,000 acres comprising the Badlands are “one of the world’s richest fossil beds,” functioning as home to bison, bighorn sheep, prairie dogs, pronghorn, and black-footed ferrets. After exploring the visitor center’s winding corridors and informative, touchable science-things, we picnicked and examined the camping spots while daydreaming of future visits where we’d have the opportunity to linger. Then we traveled into the higher altitudes to spy prairie dogs running across roads and standing on top of little mounds, looking adorable in squeal-and-freak-out fashion. Higher still, a single goat with a collar, ear tag, and bored expression wandered into the road and dared the slow moving cars to accelerate to ramming speed, before enjoying the absurdity of a half-dozen white people ape-footing out of vehicles to ignite the possibility of an animals-attack style YouTube video.

When animals don't attack

 

Leonard Cohen was an appropriate companion. Next time I’ll stay longer than a day.

Next up: The waiting arms of WALL, South Dakota.

 

 

Snake chases her tail

Greetings blog-trolling human forms and spam robots!

Right now I’m systematically wading through hundreds (and hundreds) of pages of writing, in an effort to minimize accumulation of Hard Drive Rot (TM) and free myself from the literary phantoms spooking up my mirrors. This means discipline, which is confusing, since I’ve come to understand that word as one synonymous with punishment. Like a lot of you, most evenings I’d rather intoxicate myself on moon juice and monkey-slap my keyboard until nonsensical images formulate themselves for 135 character internet posting, which means something for exactly four minutes until I forget what I was talking about in the first place. Like now…

Anyway, the idea is to finish (and publish) two books that have lived and died and been plagiarized within the confines of my brain meat ten times over into exhaustion. Both books are some diet flavor of done, but require editing and word rearrangement to better meet my perfectionist face-slap standards. I assure you these standards don’t essentially amount to self-inflicted staple wounds and thinly-veiled self-loathing. Really. It’s useful. USEFUL.

While I’m doing that the snooze button on this blog has been pressed, which is probably for the best. When I started it the idea was to post goo-goo-ga-joo vomited onto the screen in 30 minutes or less, with no further editing, to activate the ability to write, release, and call it done. The experiment worked: sure, yeah, I can let something go now. Unfortunately, most of what got posted is clit-lit, verbal masturbation informed by whatever attractive human specimen captured my wandering coffee shop eye. A couple of things didn’t suck, but I shudder to think some unsuspecting sap will stumble upon this website and use what’s witnessed in e-form to measure my writing prowess. That’s bullocks, people. It’s better to buy the books. So I’d better get busy…

Anyway, if you have interest in supporting my completion endeavors (in the monetary sense) please buy the shit out of my stories on Scribd. You can find them here: http://www.scribd.com/fallsapart

Future postings will offer details on my haphazard progress towards completion, and whether my hand wringing has escalated to hospitalization or decelerated into happy space and aum. There’s all kinds of other somethings in between but I’m a chick of extremes and it’s unlikely that I’ll occupy such airspace. Gargle my thoughts, unsuspecting someones. GARGLE.

Love to you,
Amanda

Death Posturing

You’re done for. There’s one thing, then another, and there’s nothing after that.

What does that mean? A cleverly concealed pocket-knife could wiggle me away from a railroad tie-down, and suddenly my sour mid-life expiration could alter to paper-skin ancient, eyes pearled and body bent to occupy chairs that wheel and rock. Or maybe future-me belays from broken cells to cyborg, monocle red-laser eyes special-crafted to aggravate cats and melt thicker thoughts from enemies. Half of me bones braced for dusting, the other half sculpted new, locked in with hook and screw.

No: you’re done for friend. Tally your hoe for the waltz-step through endless white curtains before frail begets faint and both retinas blink blank.

Huh. Well, movies suggest quaint segments of life should be summoned from my switchboard for long walk companionship.

– A hair-pinned and pressed grandmother I never had, apron-clad and bespeckled and pulling a tray of cookies from an eye-level oven.

– Running around an endless oak my Midwest backyard didn’t know, not pursued by a bell-bottomed sister screaming and swinging a neon-green plastic bat.

– A chaste slow-dance sponsored by Hallmark, swaying driftwood to puritanical tracks bleating of love as candy-hearts and water-spun roses, embracing someone well-washed I wouldn’t love.

In this canned universe no one is giggling maniacally in a way that inhibits oxygen intake, and never at creatures who audibly sigh and scowl “Come on!” after eighteen agonizing minutes in a pharmacy line.

No. My friend, this isn’t a movie.

Switchboard triggered even still. Images summoned from sun-baked scalp:

– Me tent-locked during green-sky opening, water rushing underneath (vinyl surfing), testing stakes. Outside wind speaks a more threatening tongue and activated ears ask eyes to answer.

– Mambo bullwhip-crackling wet green ground to coax drummers furious as she summons lost Africa from belly slumber for Papa Legba. Oh, Papa Legba.

– Me fay-cozy between two monstrous redwoods, boots pressed to one trunk and back suction-cupping the other, daring tension to inch me upward, or rigid curve me catapult.

– Freshly plucked baby in my thrice-born arms, learning air without water. Me drinking in. Spirit lands unseen.

– Tomato caterpillars caged in Styrofoam egg cartons, round padded feet slow stepping fresh-clipped leaves for rapid gobbling post antennae inspection.

– Wild-haired man burdened by backpack, patterned and pierced, blue current skulking the street after me so I don’t leave – not then, not ever.

– Bodies thick on a fire escape suddenly more dangerous, talking in spirals about events that lightning struck uniform corpses to make us all mad magicians, striping our eyes, dotting our lines. Then many are two and touching.

– Lying on a blanket in the high desert plains, techno-blasted and cowboy-capped, dehydrated mouths calling sounds from lost dimensions where all are copper and exterior-wired.

So you’ve accepted death?

Not for a second. Three times this bell has rung for me, a stale drone from far-away towers eating air for the ankle-grip. Three times you’ve finger beckoned and I’ve snaked away in debt to doctors and water. I could still learn to swim a little bit better, could still highlight heart with a kinder crayon, could still find words to darken white pages (no curtains, no waltz) letter-sparked by anonymous alchemists to leave me better remembered.

Does any of it actually matter?

I can’t hear you. The sky is breaking. My palm boasts six stars.

No one’s read to me in awhile.

Kali-Ma (On Working for a Sexual Assault Hotline in the Appalachian Foothills)

Woman says: “Walked in on my boyfriend. He was with my four year-old daughter. He was touching her all kinds of places. Called the police, and they can’t find him, but I know where he is. I’m gonna kill him.”

She says: “I know what they’ll put her through. First they’ll give her this exam and stick objects she doesn’t understand in places she no longer loves to collect DNA on swabs they’ll likely lose. Then too much time will pass before they put her on a stand and hand her a doll and ask her to show the court what happened. They’ll say, ‘Did he use his thing? His private parts?’ And she’ll be scared and confused, and she’ll start to hate dolls, and the defense will call her an ‘unreliable witness’ and that’s when they’ll call me up.”

“I won’t need no doll. I’ll tell them what I saw. Don’t think every word I say will be sweet on their ears. And they’ll say, ‘Oh, you was angry at the defendant, wasn’t you? He was gonna break up with you. He never loved you. That made you angry, didn’t it?’ I’ll say I don’t know about all of that, all I know is he smelled like dead man the minute he sunk his dick into my daughter. He smelled like gun powder, just like my hands do now.”

“And they’ll say, ‘Is that a threat?’ and they’ll pack that man in a bullet proof vest and position one cop to the left and another to the right so I don’t do what needs doing – and we both know what needs doing.”

I’m nodding at the phone like I’m seen when she says: “Am I wrong for thinking this?”

Shuttered black eyes blink skulls to my feet, then I respond: “No. Where is your daughter? Is she safe?”

She says: “She’s settin’ in my lap. I told her she’s going to Nana’s for a spell. Jus a lil while. Jus a spell. She doesn’t want me to go, but I’m fixin’ to have myself an accident, if you know what I mean.”

I do. People have accidents all the time. Hell, just recently in Athens County a certain pedophile ate the wrong batch of brownies. He just so happened to die.

She coughs fire from her throat and asks: “What would you do?”

And I answer long-tongued: “I’d hide the body.”

She laughs, and so do I, both wondering if I’m serious. So I add with the rolling hill accent: “I don’t rightly know.”

In my daydream her head fills my lap, and comfort crafts saccharine speeches: There are children who don’t remember. Who wash it cleaner in their minds. Transform the memory into a less-fulfilling game of doctor. Some people become scientists, anyway. End up okay anyway. Some people do, anyway.

Instead something spools out about trusting the system and the wonders of counseling. It’s my job to talk this way.  I congratulate her for electing not to continue to share a bed with unfortunate company, for not considering her four year-old a hussy, like some might. Some might.

She snorts: “I don’t know about those women. I know about this one. I’m her mother. The night is long. I’m not even tired. And I know where he is.”

Scenes from November

Paw firmly pressed against glass window, hanging on with the force of his fingerprints. Wishing the glass fuller, the rain less cold and furious, his scarf less tight around his ears and the woman next to him some other someone with more interesting ideas and a shorter shopping list and a clothing style that solicited envy.

Yelled conversation into cell phone, a soulful request to download some of the worst music 1988 offered spit through braces and bouncing off bright blue hat. Someone says fuck it and starts smoking right on the bus, sucking down two full hits before the driver barks orders against him. Nicotine flowers my brain’s fire.

Challenged to remember what I did before this month shallow-graved me, what swashbuckled, patched and arg-barked my ship pirate before all slowed to standing water. Were my hands warm?

If I can wait out wet solstice sun will slow-banish dark and full moon will burn without veils through plastic. If I can wrestle my way up to snow level and stare at god-perch peaks or escape short-sleeved into desert orange, November could choke on her turkey. December could mistletoe drown.

Weaving love-me-nots with grandmother memory, a single stitch summoned again and again, winding uneven path to warm. Outside rain continues while I wither, alarm beeps to deepen sleep and funnel sorrow into dream.

Career Day (Plotting of Future)

Mad Rambler

This uniform feels familiar. Unmonkeyed thanks to mittens, swaddling clothes for anxious digits twisting accusations. Thumb-tacked. Shoes shower-capped. Paper ribbons tied loose to yarn-spooled hair flat-ironed with heated horseshoe. Downright LUCKY.

No: unglued and unshoed. Everyone knows the only horse has feathers.

Fruit-juice in washpans from the bed of every foot at the foot of every bed from the spool of every head. This is the future friends, the future. Ask the army of ants exiting ear and evolving to pink-eyed plastic prior to window blind climb. War for the Pane, antenna-fired shots don’t bang or pop or pow or fizz, they squirt and pink eyes pin-drop. Koala with an x-marked spot escapes a neighboring narrative and inquires about the absence of bamboo. What the hell is there to eat around here? Giggle escapes mouth; not leather grip clutching wrist.

This is the future, friends.

Scavenger

Bottles and cans bottles and cans dumpster dive donut dollar rushing rusher bottles and cans bottles and cans thank you sir thank you ma’am bottles and cans bottles and cans.

Office Nutcase

Gather round wayward masses winking corner-office twinkies, foot shuffle downtrodden druthers! Did you see that one commercial with the guy from that show, not that one the other one, who wears the tie and does that thing with the football by the watercooler with that girl, the blonde one? Wasn’t that AWESOME? Oh tomfoolery, oh hapnappery, oh shenanigans hooligans happenstance, oh shitty mcfuckernuts, get me out of this habit or into a habit and unsex my dead nether forever. Required form in triplicate, two-6-dash-9-niner. Profits are down people, profits are down. Submit your request, submit submit, and for God’s sake get down from there, we only have the one bucket! Sign here and here and initial there.

Cult Leader

hallways slide from exit signs lined with sufficient logic for one uncomplicated thought colored neon with quotes from dead others, underscored passages in yellow holy books tucked quiet under eyelid. Agreement inspires declarations of being On To Something which satisfies small ego cookie starved since childhood. Now the stage is REALLY set. Little On to Something read this book and sign this paper and oh yes such a generous donation, I’m glad you were able to pay I mean play and oh here we go with that single thought (credit some other), giggle into the A-HA! more coaching and working of the One Thing already said (you’re really On To Something!). About this second thought – whoa, whoa, slow down, let’s not go complicating the story, let’s stick with what works, these methods have been tested and these thoughts have been thought out by other thinkers with thought pre-thunk for your thinking, so let’s just stick to the thought now why don’t we, don’t you think? This is love, my friend, a great bear hug swept under rug, oh come here fragile little flower, tucked and untucked, come here little hungry cookie drunkard for your mittens.

Firestarter (Arsonist)

CrackerJack offers a REAL PRIZE, fortune tidy foil-wrapped. Damp fumbling fingers scry the six-point font warning whispered through the 1950s into Emergency Exit of Here and NOW: THIS IS THE MESSAGE.

The beginning is only beginning.

This is the future, friend. The future.

recording of a fallen star

ghost of some other’s fortune.

the recording of a fallen star.

captured reflection reflected (neglected) ripple trick till the stomach’s sick. sliding high from the other side a self (not quite the self), lady in red (covered head), clucking from beneath her covering:

don’t go away stranger. stay a little longer, I’ve a daisy, another daisy twisted to crown and twirled tight around and begging beats for five-petal song. what are you doing with all this waiting, this tail-chasing, this mask-making? isn’t there some something-or-other called to uncover (discover), isn’t the sum some something-or-other, and you the only one with any math?

head shakes her shape away and if tongue were split I’d call beyond caw, summon sounds to draw moon to living room for midnight illumination. hunt for similar equations reveals heads turned into neighboring stations, blinking through bars at prisoners poisoned, and me translucent, cobweb hand, erasing all the almost i am.

still i waited (fated).

hallucinated.

armor-plated.

ghost of some other’s fortune.

the recording of a fallen star.

brown paper bag and purple crayon map, oh here’s another star and another, connected by three lines of triangle trick, location tagged throat-lump bagged, colored lines, colored confines. water-logged in winter showers doors locked and concrete blocked. just give me a minute, just one fucking minute. let me call the colors down.

scrying lump scanned by grandmother hands, handkerchief’d, initials stitched, there’s too much shouting (under the lines) escaped from triangle confines, there’s too much shouting and finger pointing and me hiding in the nowhere to hide. tucked into paper head into book there’s too much shouting too many voices each stumbling over another scrambling to surface, scratching for surface and there’s only one scratch to this paper one pen to trick one note to slip there’s only one message for this paper, all mine and passed through time.

asking a question that shouldn’t be asked – has anyone been witness? curse to break, hid from rage, too good at hiding, invisible cloak. too good at hiding, spell to be broke.

staring into nothing muttering some-something to counter the nothing to try again to try and blend to try and never the never-again.

outstretch paw to waiting claw and waiting caw slip into night under judging eyes and hope to be heard at once and again. song unsung, unsplit tongue.

reflected true and reflections of you, uncolored (covered) masked and detached. you never asked.

braided and fated (still I waited)

calling light in, illuminated.

moon colors (so revealing) what were you meaning?

small child’s song gone on too long

and yet I waited (fated)

still through it all I waited.

ghost of some other’s fortune.

the recording of a fallen star.

if this tongue were loving-crafted i’d summon you from distant blue, mouth ocean-filled and undistilled and only one survives the drowning. carcasses capturing the coast line one seal maggot-eyed blind. voice chasing waves away (this way) over the sky’s unstitched border against all orders and the sun spits salt in counter assault, wringing outcry dry. need to be wrung, eye of the sun, eye to the son. done.

sitting on the wire (expired) scavenger, carcass chaser, dark invader. tail fanned and plans unplanned diaphanous wings (no hands) pecking dumb at the lump sum. even black there’s no going back, one eye recording (hoarding) chorus shuddering from beneath my covering, map and math, there’s no going back. greatest fear (i was never here). never heard and never here.

ghost of some other’s fortune.

the recording of a fallen star.