The Harelip was lying on his bunk, dozing in and out when I came into the room. The lights were off, with only the moon illuminating his physical ugliness from a shaft of light penetrating the grimy window. I was carrying my notebook. He suddenly leaned forward on his pillow as I pattered in. “California is weeping tonight,” he mumbled, incoherently, before the words were drowned out by additional snores. California is weeping tonight, I said to myself. CALIFORNIA…is weeping tonight. What, was there a wild fire? His hypnogogic babbling took on wide, eerie, cryptic significance. I sat down, and in the darkness I wrote: “California is weeping tonight,” in my notebook. And then I wrote: “AND SO AM I.”
The dreams of the last few nights.
All I remember was moving into a dorm room at some Xtian college
with three rapacious girls.
They took down my Black Sun banner and image of Kali, which I had to hide.
Maybe they weren’t keen on sharing their dorm room with with a fashy Hindu fetishista
…. Anyway, we are all lying in bed (not the same one), and the room is getting progressively more crazily quilted with Xtian and girlie wall hangings spreading like undifferentiated tissue across the face of the sober, sundappled walls… Next, we are all in a bookstore at the mall together, and maybe this is 1997, and A and J are there. The Xtian girl has an ugly McGangbanger boyfriend, poisoned cornrows and a tattoo deftly and ugly sitting atop his brow, and I sit, we are all sitting in a line facing each other, and I try to palm read him. A, (with a disapproving face), gets up and walks away.
Next, riding in a van with J
And probably A too, and J is a brewer of microbeers. We are headed to a south Marion bar that is actually a dream college bar I have dreamed before.
We pass a business that says “Kim’s Oxycontin” on a billboard out front
and I laugh that they are allowed to advertise they sell Oxycontin. Once we get to the bar, the Xtian girls are there, walking around naked; no longer so Xtian.
They have enormous, tube-like cunts
as if someone has stuffed a vaccum cleaner attachment up there.
J is in another room, and I go ask him if he has a certain brew he can deliver.
He shakes his great hairy head
(The bar itself is a sort of weird, ramp-like affair, the bar wrapping around in a sort of square as it goes up to meet an upper level.)
The naked sluts are sitting next to some long-haired barbarian boy metalhead like a guy I use to work a shit job with as a fry cook, and I ask him if his tee shirt has a barbarian on it. He’s going to get the (huge, gaping) pussies, and me none of course, but I say
–You don’t want me, you want this guy.
Im a bookworm.
at the dorm putting posters or whatnot on the walls
and some hillbilly maintenance guy got blonde curly hair and a moustache is kneeling beside me examining the wall and he try to crack wise but I make fun of his stupid cracker accent and he get up all offended.
Were I the Reflection Within the Mirror
Were I the reflection within the mirror,
So tastefully drawn, by time
To stand erect and aloof, contemplating the contour lines
Of a face drawn and haggard
By the ravages of age.
I could dance amidst the tick-tock
Magic of days,
Wander through the empty, labyrinthine halls
Scream at the lonely hours hissing by
In somnolent reverie; and wonder, oh wonder, Where truth ends,
And reflective illusion takes the reigns…
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The infernal wisdom and heroic verse of the mysterious “Ragnar Redbeard” is preserved here, in this tiny, forgotten tome from another day, another age. The fierce, brutal logic of the author of “Might is Right” is presented herein, along with his epic songs and exhortations to Thor, Odin, and old, battle-hardened, bloodthirsty gods from the long ago. Whether you worship Odin or simply revere the brutal, cynical logic of the strange wordsmith who advocated a “World of warring atoms,” you will not fail to delight in this small book, available again in print for the first time in many, many long and silent decades. From an original, crumbling edition of 1890.
WE must have been stranded in Amsterdam, at the world’s oldest, ugliest youth hostel. The girl that was with me had red hair and freckles, pale skin. (Note: It is my studied observation that, at least in my dreams, I am always somehow fucking death.)
Outside the window, crossing the pavement, a swarthy man in tight shorts, with a bulging, flabby gut is walking around like the proverbial caged animal of yore, apparently the sap rising in his veins or whatever passes for virility in this day and age.
“The sonofabitch has a higher testosterone count than I,” say I, turning to the girl, whom I instruct must not only froog in the upstairs window, but must thrust her head out and let fall her long tresses Rapunzel-like, so that the potential customer milling about below might crawl up them toward paradise, heaven, Nirvana.
“It’s not working,” say I. “Fish won’t bite.”
“Maybe he’s scared it’s some sort of sting operation,” she say, licking dry, greedy lips in the waning light of an amber sunset glow. Funny I think, the walls in here collect red from the light.
Red, red, everything is red. Hair, freckles; her body, though, is translucent white.
I crawl on top of her. It is late and maybe there is some requisite appreciation of the role I am playing as the impromptu pimp/provider. She covers my mouth with her own before wiggling, jelly-like, out from under my bulk. “I can’t fuck you,” she say. “Sorry.”
I think that this is a completely understandable position for her to take. My repressed sexual drive, however, seems to have made manifest in the turbulence of the barometric drop; as night falls, vast storm clouds seem to roil and brew across the curiously desolate face of Alternate Amsterdam.
(Isn’t this the way it is in gothic hokum stories of mad families living atop reeking, stinking tarns, stories wherein the desolation and madness of the incestuous line is made manifest in the heaving, wild weather, the environment that spills out of the pages and into the desolate soul of the reader, as he [alternately she] envision a living Sheol?)
At some point in the night, I prowl the musty, too-close claustrophobic halls, beating the walls with a club as if looking for hollow spaces. I suppose I was dress-rehearsing a murder, but, as fantastic as it sounds, vast, shimmering clouds of what I could only take to be some sort of globular, mist-like lightning began to shine through the windows, seeping uncannily through the cracks in the plaster. prerecorded and clearly artificial feminine telephone operators are being loudspeakered from some distant park, sounding as if they are trying to coax a 747 out onto the runway.
The Redhead is sitting Siva amidst a glowering crowd of scruffy but undeniably blonde young men. The central figure, a young man not unknown to me, looks upward as I enter, his face a soft pillow of stupid, bovine expectancy. I suppose I could have cleaved his face in twain; or, at the very least, crushed his skull like an egg with the powerful force of my wooden cudgel.
Instead, I compose this poem.
“Lying in bed, I turn over stare blankly as shadows roll across the wall. You bitter red pill that you are, hard to swallow in one exquisite mouthful.
“‘I suppose,’ you say, ‘I taste hot and rank.’
“I dunno, but, for one moment, an entire world lived and died on the tip of my tongue, rolling one bead of sweat down to die…”
The following poem was found, uncredited, in an edition of the book The Tower of Wye by William Henry Babcock. The book dates from 1901. This copy is inscribed to “Ethel Clem, 3-05” and a card inside proclaims “from Sophomore and Junior.” A yellowed piece of paper has the following poem written, uncredited, in shaky pencil.
The Silver Sixpence
Unknown (Ethel Clem?)
It was only a silver sixpence,
battered and worn and old,
But worth to the child that held it,
As much as a piece of gold.
A poor little crossing-sweeper,
In the wind and rain all day —
For one who gave her a penny,
There were twenty who bade her nay.
But she carried the bit of silver–
A light in her steady face,
And her step on the crowded pavement,
Full of childish grace.
Straight to the tender pastor,
And, “Send it,” she said, “for me,
“Dear Sir, to the heathen children,
On the other side of the sea.”
I don’t believe in coincidences, nor do I think a poem such as this should be lost. If anyone knows the true authorship, let me know.