Sunday, January 28, 2007

The Taming of the Unicorns

(Jan. 2007)

There is a place where unicorns go. It's not a place found in any map, nor any book. It may not even be real, but they go there by the by, drawing the maidens from slumber and rest for reason no man living may know or guess.

All who return are different, changed. They seek different lovers, with softer touch, the Spaniards words and kisses like phrases rolling from tongue to tongue. They drift from old lives into new, following a song we never hear.

They are no longer virgins when they return from the unicorns, hearts no longer pure, eyes no longer quite as gay. Having seen, they can never see; having loved without conditions, they can never do so again.

To hunt the unicorn we must forsake being men, to walk down roads we gave up long ago, to sing castrato, to forbid the young to become men but arm them to weapons and set to them hunting, to restore the balance of the world.

They removed the horns of the unicorns, having none of their own.

There was blood spilled in placed too sacred to have names, and there is a place now, where some children go, being neither one thing nor another.

It is not found on any map, save that of the pain of the human heart and wishing to be who they are inside as well as out. There is no magic left in such places, only solitary silence unless another stumbles in and they realize they are not alone, that no one is ever alone.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Nephilim Morning

Nephilim Morning
(January 2007)
Josh MacLeod

“After the snow, there will be ice.”
          That’s what she said to be over the phone, but I wondered if I’d misheard her over the car horns. It’s winter in spring, traffic is backed up the devil’s arse so far it’ll be like a second Fall once it comes out again over the blessed overpass and the 3 dollar a minute psychic is trying to give me my future, tell me my destiny in her little cubicle in the middle of nowhere, probably remembering the ads and wondering where the sexy girl in lingerie was, and if she existed at all, doing the same lousy job, milking the same marks while corroding her soul with petty lies instead of grease as some fast food hole.
          I wonder if she’d meant lice; I thought it had cleared up, but some things are more persistent than ex priests in a bathhouse.
          “There will be rain,” she added, a low beep under the last word giving it an ominous note. I hung up the phone rather than pay more money, drumming the steering wheel and looking at the cars in front and the cars behind. Another idiot was honking his horn, as if his modern medicine magic could change anything at all.
          I wanted to get out and rip his head off. Both of them, just in case he did some thinking with the hat rack too.

Black ice has always fascinated me; how it can hide. Everyone is afraid of fire, but it’s the cold that should worry them. I wonder if nature is trying to make up for the pleasure of dying in the snow and falling asleep rather than screaming in a burning inferno.
          I know what those are like, because I was born in one. Even demons have children, after all, though people called us giants and sterile out of envy. It’s hard to justify rebelling when your parents were the first rebels, the real ones, when they rebelled for your sake. Hell of a guilt trip, in the literal sense.
          I bought the time share up here mostly to give me time away from them, from everyone else. And I started killing them. I didn’t mean to, but it’s like everything else: it’s hard to stop things, and it’s easier each and every time. I’m not up to a pack a day, though the one fire in the tenement came close.
          It doesn’t change anything. They still go up, or down. Mostly down, because the Elected are chosen long before they’re born and nothing I can do can change that. They get to pass go, everyone else goes to jail.
          I’ve met a few of them who knew, handing out their two hundred dollars to whores of all shapes and sizes, buying every drug they could to get enough pleasure in before the purity of heaven lobotomized them into a singing sexless chorus for the tone-deaf bastard up in the sky. I generally hurt them, if they ask, if only to delay heaven on earth.
          Everyone keeps saying it’s going to happen soon, but I keep fighting it. A death here, a message there. There’s others too, down Below, fighting the same fight, for the one place where we can be free. And these damn hairless apes have no clue what it means to live here, free of Heaven and Hell, between Above and Below and all other shitty euphemisms.
          They’re the only ones that are free, and they keep wasting it, throwing away their brief moments in the sun. And they wonder why I kill them. Honestly. I know I’ll have to stop, soon, or risk causing the emasculation called paradise.
          But they are so damned annoying and smug I want to kill every last one of them.
          And there little dogs, too.
          Because, who doesn’t want to kill little dogs?

I give in and honk the horn, fondling the plastique detonator beside me on the seat. Soon. Soon I’ll go home again.
          But before then, I’m bloody well selling the time share before some fucked up rapture devalues it. I love that place.
          I wipe the first tear away, quickly, thinking about ice, and rain, and wonder if I can kill her first, thank her before the Holy Light comes down and turns her into a drone.
          Not for $2.99 a minute, I won’t.

Another horn, an end of patience and the car is hot, though not as hot as home. I only hope I’ll get leave soon enough to come back and sell the time share for one last trip to Disneyland, and a few more bodies saved from God.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

On Writing, or: Hack’s Truths

On Writing, or: Hack’s Truths
Daniel Johnstone, interviewing (recording) Joseph Harmsburg, noted author and, the interviewer notes, promising wino.
Josh MacLeod

Writing is channelling. Waiting here for voices, wonders, marching bands through dreams sleeping and waking. The muses whispering in a chorus, sometimes in Greek until we get he channel right, turning noise to signal, watching our test patterns dissolve into meaning, evolve into something --
          Shit, boy. Don’t write that stuff down. I was just being pretentious. I do that, after a few drinks. You wanted to know about ideas, right? Where they come from, where they go? That one there, those words: from a song. Nothing’s original, not unless it’s a bunch of drek no one can understand. You don’t know what drek means? Trash. Crap.
          Being a writer is knowing shit like that and desperately finding a use for it. And here’s you, asking me that stupid question, as if I have some magical answer for you.
          You want magic? Good luck. Go and try get a fart from a dead man, and let me know. I don’t know if magic’s anywhere, except where we never look. The obvious things. Birth. Death. The moment between. You know, life.
          Everyone keeps asking: “Hey, Joe, where did you get that idea from?” when they aren’t suing me, saying I stole it from them. And what if I did? Ideas are cheap. Anyone can have them. It’s the execution that matters. Try telling that to a lawyer; you won’t get very far. No, not very far at all. So I lie.
          I lie for a living, so this shouldn’t be anything new. I lied to my wife, when I told her I loved her, when I said I thought our baby was mine. I lied when I said I’d be there for her, when that thing we had that can’t even feed itself. I’m good at lying, but crap at deception. I can’t deceive myself, though the Lord knows I’ve tried.
          (Speaking of Him, ever heard the writer’s prayer? ‘O father, who hath wrote a book.’ Funny, until you realize it was all dictated. Poorly at that.)
          Every day, I wake up. Look in the mirror. And I see my face and no one else.
          Being a writer is like everything else, if you want honesty. We all tell stories. We all lie, and make shit up. Sometimes we even make up. It’s a job. I’ll let you in on a secret about it: real writers don’t get writers block. They write for a living. They can’t afford it.
          You don’t hear of carpenter’s block, of auto-mechanics block (“Sorry, I can’t fix your car. I’m blocked today.”) It’s only the unpublished or the prima donnas who get “blocked”. The rest of us just work through it. Don’t look at me kid; you asked.
          All these writers will give you jokes, about where ideas come from. They come from assholes like you. I’ll do a story, some day, about you asking me questions. Or someone like you. Some character will have bits of you - you’re stupid plastered grin, say - and you’ll never know.
          Writing is like rape, it’s theft. We steal from everyone else, and then snicker whenever anyone claims we’re "original" or "unique". No one’s that. We’re just telling stories kid.
          We’re just giving the old tales new faces. That’s all.

Saturday, January 06, 2007


Home is where the heart is, saying
Uttered by those who never leave.
Mine is stranded, piggish; rotting on
The island where she never leaves.

After a goddess, returning to my wife
Is hollow, less substance than dreams;
All women are goddesses says the Captain
Whose madness bade us follow dreams.

"All women can be Circe," he said.
"Or Helen; all men Paris - you understand?"
But nothing remained of our world.
He came by the ship late one night, saying:
"I wonder -- must we leave to find new dreams?"

And all I said was -- "I understand."
Hoping for a goddess as a wife,
Knowing my dreams mad in this world.
All of us came, following our Captain,
Looking only for uncharted waters
And things we cannot understand.

[And here we are. The last poem from 2006!]

Friday, January 05, 2007

Border Crossing

Border crossing hacked down raw ditches,
fragile pond swamps under grey clouding
slowly bleached white from above.

When is the sky only one colour
clear and true? There are no answers
deep as questions, currents questing

there is only identity - fragile plastic & paper:
Nothing escapes burning, melting, fire & loss,
memories fade and bodies: they die, decay, vanish.


I feel a sorrow for lost tomorrows
All those little dreams we never redeem:
No ways, only truths, bombast without proof;
Under all gladness floats deeper sadness,
Everything we are only goes so far.


Needing a word for things we have no words for,
Silences filled with grey noise contrails in the air;
Hungry for bodyspeech smiles, proof the devil may care,
And panting with inks that don't exist anymore.

Thursday, January 04, 2007


Dreams are only good for the things we can't hold.
Moonbeams and lotteries, broken hopes and this moment:
Words are twisty ropes but dreams are never lent --
Held too close to the heart, never break and never part:
Dreams are only good for the things we can't hold.


To be able to forget
Is all we desire from heaven;
To cling to no regrets
Is all we need from this life.

Lost Roads

There are highways that are lost
Streets devoid of names;
I once knew someone who
Swore 'til blacker than blue
Drinking was a man's last game
Best played when thoroughly sauced.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


cacti in the rock,
tours of desert and palm --
life will find a way.

Unclaimed Ashes

God is a wafer.
There are ashes, in
a cup too heavy for drinking.
Sedimentary ash,
purity the remains
after the fire, dumped to Earth.
From the mud we
make idols, adding tears,
sifting out ashes of older gods.

Is No Mystery

Blown about like ashes on a wind we never see,
Moving towards mourning, dancing to memory;
Our father is dying, breathing so hollow,
If one god can die cannot all follow?

I am tasting ashes of the wind between the worlds,
Looking for the axis mundi, curses higher hurled;
The bull bleeds and dies, so too all Mystery:
Gods are all about me but none I care to see.

The only god with loving died this day:
Apollo and his are silent, what more left to say?
Mithras is dead, dull fire is the sun,
All is silent now for the Mystery's passed on.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Thoughts on 2006 ....

This is not a poem, damn it. Which, in some respects, sums up the end of the year quite well. I'm still a little stunned I managed to complete such a project, and know I'd never make the attempt again. As for the attempt itself, my reactions tend to be mixed.

I had a lot of fun writing some of it, there's a few poems I really liked and went: "Hah! Yes!" over, but for the most part (unlike most years) nothing really stands out. There were good poems, but no great ones. Even so, it was a fun experiment, and those who came along for the ride can breathe sighs of relief that is is over :)

In 2007 (aka now) I'm turning the blog into a short story one. The goal is to post 1 short story every 2 weeks, 3000K workds max, and use it for that. What it will be in 2008 is unknown....

I'll still post some poems, but not as many of course.

Just Green


I opened the door
Just once and no more
Looking for new things
Leaving just everything.


I try to feel
If our dreams were real
On the other side
There'd be places to hide.


No act of creation is ever wasted;
The profession of the magician
Finding meaning behind words.
The true alchemist the one who
Does not claim to turn lead to gold
But finds the gold in all things

Where lie slumbering beauteous beholders.

Breaking stones to free their dreams
The magician dances, uncaused, liminal
And middle, changer who is unchained.

As the tree spreads it's leaves so
Leaves scatter forth and grow
Planted by the hands of poets
Whose names are never known.

Monday, January 01, 2007



Number of poems written: 571
Days I didn't write a poem: 24 (all in Jan-May)
Average number per day: 1.56
Longest poem: 55 lines (Drinkin’ With The Mates)
Shortest poem: Censorship (0 lines)
Total wordcount: 45,722 words



Number of poems written: 54
Average number per day: 1.7
Longest poem: The New Year (43 lines)
Shortest poem: Interpretation (2 lines)
Total wordcount: 3,854

Total # of of poems in 4 months: 206
Total Four Month Word Count: 15,931
Total # of poems a day: 1.675

3 Poems for the day...


The artist reading between lines
Is the critic trying to be kind.


The sky falls southward, a soft whispering
Edged by broken hardness of weathered rock;
A gasp morgadored, if waiting for anything --
Last whispered bard song making a new lock.


Stranded on the freeway
Looking for a highway
Got no place left to go

Finding a place to stay awhile
Empty of dreaming guile
Looking for things to show

Needing a sign to guide the way
To tomorrow from the ruins of today
Digging down deep and low

Stranded on the freeway
Looking for a highway
Got no place left to go