a sampling of creations & imaginations

Graffiti

by Geoffrey

I'm a scribbler living in Kansas; a simple soul contented by simple pleasures; a man finding and enjoying beauty in the incongruent—like the beauty existing in both the straight lines of a Dickinson poem and the comedy born from the tangled mess of barbwire wrapping around the cuffs of my jeans as I enter a farmer's field while hiking. Honestly, I cannot comprehend why cultured folks with degrees from important schools, skillsets exponentially sharper than mine, and with wheelbarrows of fans are visiting this website. Certainly, your lives are interesting and rich...sufficiently fertile to produce adequate inspirations you can harvest as you ink this transient article for the digital press or novelize that important and necessary universal human theme for a traditional publisher. Yes? And yet here you are...soulless automatons in service to the specters of self-importance. WTF?!

~ Geoffrey Allison, 2021


Table of Contents

a sampling of

Poems

This is hunger. I am Hungary.

"This is hunger. I am Hungary."

a poem bearing witness

by Geoffrey Allison. Original copyright 2015.


Hadley said “there are so many sorts of hunger” almost a century ago and truth keeps these words afloat: their meaning bobs up and down right now on rafts in the Mediterranean and echoes throughout the Carpathian Basin.


There is hunger all around me…


To endure, placing one tired, or maimed, foot in front of the other, and continue forward — a massive exodus leaving sands wet with tears and blood — traveling toward safety and security for family, friends and neighbors. This is hunger. I am Hungary.


To understand there is too much homelessness already and not want more in streets and doorways. This is hunger. I am Hungary.


To suspect perceived differences and guard ourselves from these. This is hunger. I am Hungary.


To anguish for too long under a pounding hammer and a slashing sickle — implements conceived in hope by one and poorly wielded by others — and forge a future from this suffering. This is hunger. I am Hungary.


To protect fields and flocks from trespassers — uninvited strangers for whom we have not planted enough grain and raised enough livestock — and husband inventories for the safety and security of family, friends, and neighbors. This is hunger. I am Hungary.


To plant soil, fertilized with the blood of brethren, and take pride in its harvest and share this fruit with the world. This is hunger. I am Hungary.


To plan and construct based on rules set and communicated, only to have those rules suddenly change — shifting sands scattered across two continents by mortar fire, missiles and the application of foreign policies — and worry about the future. This is hunger. I am Hungary.


To desire a better history be saved and remembered and a better future lived by our children — and their children’s children. This is hunger. I am Hungary.


To dance in peace and joy and celebrate in public parks, holding one another, under free and open skies. This is hunger. I am Hungary.


To dream worlds into existence: where the quest for freedom is no less important because of skin color or religion. This is hunger. I am Hungary.


To be stolen from goulash, shackled at the gulag, only to return home again branded — herded under yoke into Diasporas of purchasing preferences toward foreign economic interests: restaurant chains, beverages, grocers and personal care product retailers — and watch a country’s surplus exit through porous borders so desperately now defended that forces the question: who then do we work for? This is hunger. I am Hungary.


To live in the present and fear perceived threats against it, and too easily forget times we struggled for independence and freedom. This is hunger. I am Hungary.


To wish to integrate cultures without threat of subversion and create new societies, friends, and families. This is hunger. I am Hungary.


To fight against the forces that might rewrite history, demanding not retribution but awareness and vigilance to prevent history from repeating. This is hunger. I am Hungary.


To firmly stand on unpopular ground awaiting the mudslide of popular opinion. This is hunger. I am Hungary.


To recognize similar circumstance: one of the homeless aiding the homeless. This is hunger. I am Hungary.


To choose compassion — distributing food, clothes, and medicine and offering shelter — at train stations and roadside camps. This is hunger. I am Hungary.


To smile in spite of adversity and temporarily convert a train station terrace into a concrete pitch and pass a football between fellow travelers and volunteers. This is hunger. I am Hungary.


To succumb to frustration at obstacles hindering progress and throw stones and garbage, rush barricades, and cut fences in search of freedom. This is hunger. I am Hungary.


To swallow hard and resist deadly force and match the thrown stones with sprays of water — not bullets. This is hunger. I am Hungary.


To clash. To hug. To cry. To smile. To bleed. To heal. To share. To take. To seek. To deny. To love. To hate. To stand firm. To move forward.

“There are so many sorts of hunger.”

The Weight of Thought

"The Weight of Thought"

by Geoffrey Allison. Copyright 2021.


this is time alone

in an open-air bar

a chance encounter

a shared drink

this is leaving together

under the eye of the bartender

that shared walk on the beach

finding in the passing sands

seashells and shared interests


this is the tide coming in

cold water touching ankles

this is the rising water

a warning


this is the smile

in the coffee shop off Ku'Damm

the awkward introduction

composed of two languages

the walk under steel skies

the agreement to meet again


this is the question asked

on the razor's edge

along the narrows at the

strait of Öresund

this is fifteen minutes witnessing mannerisms

and remembering every detail now five years on


this is the shared cab with coworkers

the agreement of who's to sit on whose lap 

this is your joint decision, quickly made

the electricity coursing through the cabin --

yet shocking nobody


this is the map you keep folded

all the locations camouflaged

restrained in silence


this is the "No's" to the knowing

of two random persons intersecting

this is the constant reaffirmation

of commitment, 

this is guilt like ghosts haunting

not in the sex never sought

but memory whispering all the romantic

love ley-line crossings left untraced


​​​this is the weight of thought

Flight Path

"Flight Path"

​​by Geoffrey Allison || SIXSTRINGcpa

Original Copyright 2020. All Rights Reserved. ​


A grasshopper landed

At the edge of the open screen window,

And, in the near distance,

A plane engine whined and cried.


Yesterday was Friday.

In the shadow of a courtyard I held my phone, 

Pointing the speaker toward the small gaps

In the screen window made by the filaments.

For you I played Supremes and Sam Cooke.

Four Tops and Three Dog Night.

Earth, Wind and Fire.

And the Brothers: Blues and Doobie--

    while texting my own.


Overhead the Cessna soared.

It left from the private airport you used.

Sharing a flight path. Chasing freedom.

   As you had to.


Some must fly solo.

Some equipment outfitted only for one.

I have always known.


I remember your leaving.


This morning I stood in the predawn.

Staring again into the sterile room.

Again through the meshed screen,

In COVID-protocol.

A fighter. A soldier. 

A now quieted body.


They lifted you from bed to stretcher,

Like you had carried me outside,

When I was a boy,

To share with me the night sky

From the cement front porch still hugging

The warmth of the previous day's summer sun.


Were you able to turn your head,

To open your eyes,

Would you have seen me,

What with Mars,

The God of War

--the light chip--

Marching across the horizon,

My shoulder?


Behind me. Behind us. 


(​RIP, Pop)

Rough Play **NEW WIP**

flint

"flint"

by Geoffrey Allison, 2021


here,

with its sharp edges,

flint reveals what lies

beneath verdant

hills


wildflowers

invite me to bend

into hidden prickly pear

cacti


and the Bluestem leans

easily into its nature,

like a lover telling truth

slant


there,

I learned how to embrace

you, before I'd ever met

you

Particles on a Piano

"Particles on a Piano"

by Geoffrey Allison. Copyright 2017.

​For my wife, this and all things.

Inspiration: "Together We Will Live Forever" by Clint Mansell


dearest love,

i never mind that we are so small.


do i ever tell you?


of my wish for nothing, nothing but to do it all over again — to share it all over again — with you. two motes, each applauding the other's performance atop that black-lacquered stage.


do i ever tell you?


in that polished surface, how i search the reflection. and you are always there.

our instrument grander still. you are never not beautiful.


do i ever tell you?


of my admiration, how your spirit resonates when hammers strike thunderous chords composed by unseen hands and melodic keys twist and turn.

life unlocks surprises. and you are never not kind — never not brave.


do i ever tell you?


about the pulsing, the vibrations drawing us closer. how we resonate. remain bonded. move through crest and trough. until quiet returns.


do i ever tell you?


about my ancient memory, what i have always known:

together we will live forever.

​and we have.

My Church

"My Church"

by Geoffrey Allison. Copyright 2021.


You shout 'Sacrilege!'

As I tap on empty

Eucharistic plates using

Bones of paschal lambs

A rhythm, my

Signature, both

Confession AND

Commitment, a

Covenant, new and old,

Under the tabernacle

Neon sign: Open 24hrs.

maybe

“maybe”

by Geoffrey Allison. 2022.


maybe my I

has become desensitized to

simulated light: I never find passion

inside LEDs, nor discover secreted hurts by

   pointing only a flashlight beam

 

when gloom gathers and shadows loom

that which is artificial fails

 

invest faith in stars: sunlight

softening Cinque Terre’s hard traces,

warming stony faces with lips in the narrows

silently curling, ready to taste desire’s reward, the

roaring sprays of Ligurian seafoam misting skin and

   tongue in salted cotton candy

 

accept unexpected wisdoms,

navigate a New Moon’s indigo: even in dark,

unrestrained hands adventure hope & wound,

curve & edge, fingers running routeways

through watery mangrove and soul—

there, near the rounded belly of the world,

flesh touches wet, conjuring radiances of

bioluminescence—a beacon of symbiosis

   

   guiding heaven inward

Biscuits n' Gravy (or Early Morning Poet)

"Biscuits n' Gravy"

by Geoffrey Allison. Copyright 2021.


Here's to you, the Bubbas,

Bowl of biscuits n'

Gravy in your lap,

Squinting cowboys

Fighting light fired from

Poetry Foundation's website,

That favored pistol,

Asleep on the arm

Of a mid-century modern

Knock-off design, in case

You sight that troublesome

​Backyard squirrel

town #15

"town #15"

by Geoffrey Allison


a barn roof of metal is pitched like a steeple, allowing ice, snow,

and dreams of better futures to fall

onto arid ground and into dry socket

mouths struggling now to speak —

 and keep faith in prayer


were it that a teardrop could improve an acre,

 I would fruit the county

Migration

"Migration"

by Geoffrey Allison. ​Copyright 2021


beyond,

there is a backyard dance of year-round birds

and migrating aves, dipping into seed feeders

​to rhythms of nature measured in random

poetic feat -- 

and mine, 

still at the floor

of a screened storm door, 

​like a shy boy, his back against

his junior high school gymnasium wall.

slot car box-set

"slot car box-set"

by Geoffrey Allison


i rolled out of bed;

inserted the batteries;


began playing

again


accelerating into curves;

trigger-squeezing a white knuckle

ride on buried rails down

digital cocaine

straightaways


on a track of ones & zeroes

in a world of perfect 10s

the crofter couple

COMPLETE / NOT PUBLISHED HERE

Note: for a few days hidden & in-progress versions of the poem could be found & viewed on the website, but only if a person browsed with intention (as some, unsurprisingly, did).

Titular No. 11

"Titular No. 11"

by Geoffrey Allison. 2016.


Through the shadows stalking,

amidst the scavenged souls screaming,

I heard THE BELLMAN's ringing,

and my conscience faintly talking.


Across that burdened distance,

a tumultuous mind set free,

that believing fool a captain

of DREAMS I'LL NEVER SEE.


A pilot without license,

a course he cannot cross,

sailing into SOUNDS OF SILENCE,

still a winner in his loss. 

Poet's Comments & Notes

NOTE: If you're the type of reader that does not want to learn why/how/what the writer was thinking when they created something, then don't read on.

This is hunger. I am Hungary.

I had finished reading A MOVEABLE FEAST prior to heading to Hungary. We were in Budapest at the height of the refugee crisis. When we arrived, I located Keleti station on a map and began researching organizations who were involved in coordinating volunteer efforts and worked work to learn how and if I could volunteer while there. In the interim we — my wife and I — worked our various jobs during the day and then moved about the conjoined cities at night and on weekends. There was a uniquely singular phrase — almost identically expressed, word for word — uttered by the expats and tourists we met while there.

"Where is the UN?"

Brits were the nationality most frequently encountered. frequent nationality we encountered. But Americans uttered a near identical phrasing, too. As did other Europeans we met and who spoke English well enough for us to have some semblance of a discussion.

It was the repetitive nature of the phrasing that stuck with me. It cut a groove, not unlike wagon wheel ruts you might find out in the prairie. A line drawn. A scar. Evidence of people traveling. Migrating. And it was how the words were spoken, with notes reminiscent of religious disbelief, as though a deity had failed those speaking in dumbfounded tones. Querying, out loud, what it all meant. And, as importantly — with question marks just behind their irises — what the crisis portended about where we were headed.

The repetitional nature of the phrasing reminded me of The Beatitudes. Only I didn't want — or as is more likely the case, was not skilled enough — to develop a poetic conceit around "Where is the UN?" as a foundation for a prose poem. I recalled a quote Hadley had made in A MOVEABLE FEAST. 

​Then I just started listening—listening and watching.

Originally, I set the poem against a backdrop of various people and places in Budapest I photographed in 2015.

The Weight of Thought

An impromptu poem created on 28-May-2021 and finalized on 31-May-2021. It revealed itself during a walk; I composed it in my head and typed it up immediately on my return. Inspired by the incomparable Buckethead. Specifically, his instrumental titled "How Much Does a Thought Weigh" [Bandcamp link, here] included in a random playlist I was listening to while walking. 

Flight Path

I wrote the first and second (final) draft of this poem on 29-Aug-2020, the day of my father's death. Much of it trapped in my throat for much longer.

flint

With respect, admiration and gratitude the short poem "flint" is dedicated to the stranger whose unseen presence felt familiar, who crept briefly through my private spaces and places. And then quickly departed. I am made more human — vulnerable, complete, and improved —hopefully— by such invasions.

maybe

I wrote this poem in response to a prompt, one that I appreciated because it intrigued. There was something fascinating from an engagement perspective. I recognized it offered an opportunity to explore & comment on the prompt’s first requirement (hesitation / uncertainty about ‘memory’) through the approach & presentation of the prompt’s second set of requirements—vividly describing a moment.

The uncertainty I chose were questionable or unsuccessful results—memories, or lack of meaningful ones—from engaging with the artificial or simulated. I chose two moments to describe.

The description of the moments in the poem, worded as they are, allow readers to easily interpret the wording of the poem in a couple of ways. How they read the poem is up to them. However, titling the poem, “maybe” serves a purpose: a flag, a signal, a chance for readers to rethink or question their conclusions or interpretations — a future memory? — resulting from their own interaction with the virtual, the simulated, a poem in response to a prompt, presented to them in a milieu the speaker admits to approaching themself only hesitatingly at the onset.

Titular No. 11

Originally shared on Twitter on 22-November-2016. A #1LineRhyming exercise using the titles of songs queued up & playing randomly as the seed stock for single-sentence stanzas for impromptu over random-chance (song selection) poetry production. "Titular No. 11" songs: The Bellman by Buckethead, Dreams I'll never See by Molly Hatchet, and Sounds of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel as covered by Disturbed.

a sampling of

Short Fictions & Excerpts

The Garden Gnome (excerpt)

DEDICATION

For my wife, this and all things. For the people of Kansas, there's so much more coming.

And, of course, to the signatories of the Harper's Open Letter, for making it necessary.


GARDEN GNOME

by Geoffrey Allison. Copyright 2020.


   At precisely eight o’clock in the morning, Lacy Hensley pulled out of her garage. Two minutes later, she approached the guardhouse of Chicory Place, a suburban enclave containing one hundred patio-style homes located at the edge of the city limits of Whispering Woods, one of a dozen towns and villages comprising the larger metropolitan statistical area known—and collectively and colloquially referred to—as Grace City.

   Lacy pressed down on the brake pedal of her customized Ford Ranger and waited for the inconspicuous RFID transmitter, pasted low near the dash on the inside of the windshield, to trigger the gate. She raised her hand clutching a microwaveable breakfast sandwich and half-heartedly waved to Mr. Rickles, a former elementary school principal, volunteering for the morning shift at the gatehouse.

   Then she turned, stared straight ahead, bit down on the sandwich, and waited for the arm to rise and allow her to exit.

   “Have fun today. Get some ideas. We’re counting on you,” Mr. Rickles said as she pulled away.

   Lacy turned left at the entrance to her housing development and eased onto one of Whispering Woods’ countless neighborhood roads named after shrubs or trees. At the first traffic light, she turned left again. This time merging into the morning drive-time traffic clogging the numbered streets. These ran in an east-west direction. Built to gather all the drivers the suburban town unleashed: the fearful and angry, the daydreaming: distracted and disengaged, and the worried and stressed-out-from-parenting-kids-shouting-in-the-backseat.

   A crumb trail of asphalt pebbles—rolled smooth and flat—carried Lacy and the others toward the expressways.

   Lacy guided her truck down an on-ramp and took advantage of the relative safety of having no cars to either side of her. Buffered by emptiness, she pressed the media button on the touchscreen of the aftermarket media system she’d installed in her ‘83 Ford Ranger.

   The pickup was one of the first to roll off the Louisville assembly line and Lacy actually bought it in Kentucky, albeit decades later. She’d driven down to buy it off an automotive plant retiree. The truck’s original owner, who lived in Maysville—where Rosemary Clooney had been born.

   The journey to buy the Ranger was a memory now. The final road trip with her father. Bittersweet, yet no less precious. Lacy kept it alive. Sometimes she found herself mouthing the imagery when she recalled the experience. She’d speak bits and pieces of the scenes out loud, giving a life to them as she did.

   They were heading out of town, on their way back to Kansas. Her father was following her in his car. He honked as they approached a metal building with a sign that said it sold groceries. She slowed, pulled to the shoulder and her father pulled alongside her. He shouted through the window, suggesting they have a picnic before leaving town. They turned into the micro-store and bought bread and meat. And off-brand potato chips that tasted like chemicals. They had lunch in a sprinkling rain—along the banks of the Ohio River. Her father had tortured her. He kept pretending to wipe food from her face, as though she was still a little girl. Worse, he sang—and did so poorly, intentionally offkey—as he performed the artificial ablutions. He wiped away non-existent crumbs from the corners of Lacy’s mouth and belted out the lyrics to an old Coronet tv commercial Clooney had jingled.

   And then… it happened.

   Lacy closed her inner eye, blinding herself to the memory, and focused on the time displayed on the audio system.

   Thirty or so minutes to get there.

   She hoped it would be enough time to listen to at least two episodes of her favorite podcast. If she could tick off two episodes from her list it would make her feel productive, had accomplished something—anything, had earned a return on the time she was investing in the drive to Pandora.

   She scanned the overhead road sign and flipped the turn signal before merging into the far-right lane of the interstate.

   That’s not the word father would have used.

   Freeway. That’s the word he used. Right up until his death. He had brought the word with him. Had packed it up like he had his clothes and dishes and brought it with him when he relocated to the Midwest. That was the term he had grown up with. The one he’d appreciated. The word fit his personality. It shaped it too.

  Lacy considered the interplay. Her father had been a container of words. A utilitarian container, to be certain. Not ornate or fancy. A footlocker. A bunk trunk. But he had been carved and chiseled from words, too. Good and bad.

   Lacy continued driving and thinking.

   Heartland natives most often used the word highway. That was the word her friends and their parents used when referring to the monstrous cement tentacles.

   Lacy used neither word. For all the bronc she’d been born with—and still displayed naturally, effortlessly—she had discovered ironies. As she matured, bits and pieces of her own personality revealed themselves. For all her untamedness certain specificities comforted her.

  The word interstate felt accurate to Lacy. Suggesting a conjunction, or a series of conjunctions. If not downright inclusivity, then at least hints of connectivity, of fluidity. Interstate meant a road a person might take to get from here to there—even when here and there were separated by great distances and perhaps by culture and custom. Or states of being and feeling, too.

   She listened to her own thoughts, as her podcast played in the background.

  A thought crept into her mind. She cringed. She turned up the volume and tried to push down the unexpected blip floating to the surface of her consciousness. Wanting to drown it. The thought of the route she hadn’t taken. The riverside roadway set snug against the hills hugging the Sunflower River. The other route, twisting and winding, that also connected Grace City to Pandora. Filled with lost backwoods roads. Forgotten exits. And enticing entrances, too. Like the old wagoner’s trail that eventually became a tractor road and that now was the entrance to the infamous roadhouse: Justus Meats, Home of the Snyder Cut.

   Her body shuttered as if it could shake loose the goosepimples blanketing her flesh.

   Thirty minutes to Pandora.

   Lacy continued her private calculations.

   Another ten minutes to get across town and arrive at the gardens, assuming I can cut through the Ad Astra College campus without getting stuck by all the peds.

   Lacy calculated twice more before settling on an estimate that felt solid and comfortable.

   I’ll arrive a few minutes before the arboretum and gardens open.

   “Unless, of course,” she said out loud to herself as she touched her belly. “I need to make a pit stop.”

​   Lacy felt motion. A lump of the microwaveable breakfast sandwich somersaulted in the confines of her stomach, where a pre-existing chaos—the reason for today’s road trip—already resided.

​. . .

© 2020. All Rights Reserved.


Geoffrey writes about Whispering Woods, Grace City, Pandora, Ad Astra College, Justus Meats, and the twisting waterway known as the Sunflower River, as well as other fictional places, too. 

side Affects (Flash fiction)

​"side AFFECTS"

a burped lark on writing

by Geoffrey Allison || SIXSTRINGcpa

Original Copyright 2017. All Rights Reserved. 


On the best days, I wander through a tangled wood of words and become lost in the scribbling. Eventually I find my way out, return to the real world. Occasionally the dreamscape persists.

The heavy curtains still suffocate the light and encourage me to journey deeper into a dark inner-space. I'd closed the drapes last night, drew them tight. If I hadn’t, the first light of day would have flooded into the eighth-floor studio apartment at ten minutes past four o’clock in the morning. It is two days until the summer solstice and I’ve been in Prague since the beginning of June.

A Czech friend, also a writer, landed a plum assignment. I received her call in mid-May: “Listen, I’ve got a gig. It’s a good project. I’m heading to China at the start of June, I’ll be gone all month. Come to Prague—I know how much you love it here. You’re not well… and... you can use a change of scene. Use my place while I’m gone. You’ll have it all to yourself. Get work done.”

She’s right. I love Prague, whose beauty is peculiar. The city is a year-round flower but its blossoms peak during the summer months, when the inhabitants soak up the sun as they work and play outdoors. Pale skin blushes to rosy pinks and reds, olive skin hardens to bronze, and mocha flesh melts and sweetens into luscious chocolates.

My skin is pale—an Elmer’s Glue white—and I’m stuck to this frail wrapper. It is a condition, one of the many side effects plaguing me, one of countless self-cast curses. And those are the most dangerous.

I passed out last night and started writing as soon as I woke—whatever time that was—and I’ve been working ever since. Writing until I could work no more, until I reached a natural stopping point: the end of a chapter.

​Lunchtime has come and gone, passed me by hours ago. I only now realize this.

Confused, suffering from the by-products of my existence, I leave the apartment then enter the stairwell with metal runners rusted to a poisonous orange colour and anchored into concrete walls that are flaking and painted in graffiti I cannot read or comprehend. A dizzying aroma fills my nostrils and I rush for the exit door.

I need to cross the street if I am to make it to the mini-mart at the corner of Lucemberská and Radhošt’ská, where a lunch waits for me: a premade sandwich and a soda. It’s unsophisticated, not the best meal for someone in my condition. But my resources are limited—simple must do.

I step down from the curb and my foot makes contact. It’s unfamiliar pavement. I hear the noise of heavy traffic and the blaring horns of all those drivers trying to warn me. I am swallowed whole by the disorienting sound. As the automobiles pass, gusts of wind stir the grit that has been collecting in the gutters since the last down-pouring of teardrops. A tornado twists and spirals. An abrasive sandpaper cloud rises and scratches at my skin.

Something is off… doesn’t feel quite right. And I know it.

There is a fear that haunts every person I’ve ever known—no matter their economic position, or skin color, or spiritual belief system. It controls me now, grips me tight.

Am I naked? Exposed?

Confusion, or worry, or doubt: at times like this, what is the difference?

I look down and search for evidence, to confirm my instinct: No trousers.

What is this? How?

I touch my face and feel the tacky smudge of a lipstick smear. It runs in a diagonal direction from the corner of my mouth toward the anterior edge of my right ear. I look down and discover I’m standing street-side wearing a sleeveless sundress made from a bright white and pale blue checkerboard fabric. Such an ill-fitting costume, underpants missing, cock and balls exposed—at the mercy of the harshest elements.

​It is then I realize, my eyes finally adjusting to the revealing light, I am no longer even in Prague.

Inevitable (Microfiction)

​"Inevitable"

by Geoffrey Allison. 2023.


Her ambition, all-consuming. His obsession, obvious. 

The timeline soon enjoyed a scandal.

Stories of CRISS (excerpt)

Prologue from STORIES OF CRISS by Geoffrey Allison | SIXSTRINGcpa. Copyright. 2016. All Rights Reserved.


PROLOGUE


   I am a robot. Well, I was. I died.

   There is no reason for tears. No displays of concern or sorrow are necessary. My life was good. I enjoyed life’s great pleasure: I shared it, no matter how brief it may have been, with a handful of friends.

   I had a name. My inner circle—trusted comrades and boisterous confidants—simply called me CRISS. But to others, my mechanical cousins and the harried adults who employed me and the rambunctious and inattentive boys and girls who climbed all over me and who often inadvertently hit my power supply shut-off switch, I was known as a Cultivar Robot: Irrigation System Servicer.

   I see that you have kind eyes. And I think we could have been friends. So, you may call me CRISS, but only if you want to.

​   I will pause here for a moment, in case you are confused, your mind spinning with curiosity after stumbling over the peculiar facts now in front of you. The sudden obstacle in the shape of the obvious question: How does a machine made of metal and memory chips, of soldered circuitry and servos, come to life...and then die?

   Would you believe me if I told you a magnificent cosmic wizard brought me to life? That she found me in the debris of a crashed intergalactic cruiser and then scrubbed my smoke-stained shell, made from advanced alien-alloys, after dipping me in a bath containing the same aqueous solution used in her alchemical experimentations?

   Would you believe that the rings encircling heavenly bodies are more than particulates of cosmic ice and space dust? that within those ethereal discs microscopic beings of angelic origin live and that these beings have the capacity, if rarely the desire, to bestow life on anything passing through them? and that I was the recipient of such rare Divine Grace?

   Either might make for an interesting origin story, wouldn’t they? I think so. But they aren’t mine.

   My life consisted of ups and downs. There were moments of joy, blinding me with happiness. And passages of time that blanketed me in fear. My existence may not have been illustrious. It was important though. Not because of some grand singular event but from the accumulation of shared experiences. It was about people, coming and going. Together, we confronted whatever presented itself and crafted something meaningful, propelling ourselves onward with each decision we made.

   They were everyday decisions, not unlike one you have in front of you now.

   You do not have to learn about my life story. You can choose to close this book and go outside and step into the fresh air and inhale all the beauty nature offers, taking it in with all your senses. Or you could watch television, or play video games, or learn to play the Theremin, or practice preparing perfectly cooked rice. You could do any number of things, if you set your mind to it. I believe you could. What gets done is a choice, your choice. It always is. If you wish to continue now—and I certainly hope you do—all that needs doing is for you to choose to turn the page.

© 2016. All Rights Reserved.

___

Geoffrey writes about Whispering Woods, Grace City, Pandora, Ad Astra College, Justus Meats, and the twisting waterway known as the Sunflower River, as well as other fictional places, too.  

I Don't Like It (Flash fiction)

Flash fiction in dialogue-only form.


"​I Don't Like It"

by Geoffrey Allison || SIXSTRINGcpa

Original Copyright 2018. All Rights Reserved.


“Soldier, you got the look of someone just coming to the realization their momma isn’t a virgin. What’s souring you?”


“Hate being treated like I was some goddam robot.”


“Hell, we’re all robots. Every single one of us. And all treated the same. So, rub some dirt on it.”


“Hmph.


"I hate the shit they’re always feeding us, too.”


“You're in the wrong place then. Independent thought and choice? Lofty ideals and notions like that going to get you reprogrammed. Or worse, sent packing for good.”


“Court-martialed? Banishment wouldn’t be so bad.”


“I’d say that depends.”


“On what?”


“On you having the capacity for thought of any kind capable of sprouting under that helmet of yours and take ‘hold ‘tween those things you call ears.”


“You think so, yeah?”


“Damn straight I do. Best you get your head twisted on straight, soldier. And do what you’re told. No. Questions. Asked. Hooah!”


“Whatever.

“Who are they?”


“Them? Recently come over from another division.”


“Mercs?”


“Did I say they was fucking Mercs? They’re soldiers, different division is all. Someone in the Inner Circle had the bright idea to combine forces. Intimidate the enemy, show of force. M-A-G-N-I-T-U-D-E. Magnitude. Or amplitude, or some such shit. I only know what they tell me. And I don’t question my orders. Especially not ones coming from high above.”


“How high?”


“Let me put it to you this way, soldier. You and I can’t even see the bungholes of these folks, who spend their days developing creative ways to shit on and use us to do their bidding. That’s how high up.”


“I don’t want my ass in the crosshairs jus’cuz of some of ‘em don’t know what the hell they’re doing. These noobies experienced?”


“They’re experienced. Came over from the DNC.”


“The DMZ?”


“No, shit-for-brains. I said The D.N.C.”


“Oh?”


“Yeah, oh. Now you’re tracking. See what I mean? Experienced, like I told you.”


“Maybe too rough. Look at ‘em. Asses dragging.”


“I see them. That war was waged with insanity. So many sides and facets. It turned sideways—a fucking Fun House mirror that turned out to be. Hell! half the time soldiers from both sides shot at their own. It was a frenzy. It happens. Automata, all systems go…mutually assured destruction. You’d look like piss in a shit-bucket if you’d’ve seen the action they did.”


“Hell! that was two years ago.”


“You think that makes any kind of difference, soldier? Two years ago. Or ten years. What’s time mean to us? We’re forever. Legion. Hooah!”


“Hooah!


“Whatta they been up to since?”


“Doing what we do… what we’re trained to do.”


“Damn pathetic life we got.”


“Roger that, soldier.


"Stay frosty now.”


“New orders coming in?”


“The King’s at the keyboard. We’re being called up. Time to hype this shit.”


“Not again?”


“Button that lip and hold onto your dick. This is what we’re about, soldier.”


“I don’t have to like it.”


“No, you don’t. Honestly, nothing much to like about serving in a Bot Like Army. But we’re heading in just the same. So…Get in. And get out. Amplify that shit. Do your duty, soldier.”


“Hooah!”


​“Hooah!”

The Box of Pandora (excerpt)

DEDICATION

​​For my wife, this and all things. For the people of Kansas, there's more coming. 


The Box of Pandora

by Geoffrey Allison. Copyright 2021.


   Kansas had coal mines. Lots of people don't know that. But it's true. It had a history of pride in standing up for the poor. The taken and forgotten. The yearning to be free. The disenfranchised. A home to socialist and worker’s rights outfits lead by women. Wives, sisters, and daughters of laboring men.

    When I share that fact about Kansas, people look at me as though I just told them some ancient myth. They don't believe it. Some people don’t believe other stories. Think they are myths, too. They believe, for example, Pandora's Box isn't real.

    But it is.

    My friend, Tommy, and me… we've seen it.

   On a summer night, crouched under the low branches of trees spiked into a hilltop located just outside Pandora, Kansas, the proud home of Ad Astra College, with the Sunflower River quietly snaking behind us, we saw workers—men and women—coddling steel cables dropped and disappearing into a hole.

    Into a great pit in the shape of a square located smack dab in the middle of one of the abandoned strip-mine channels. And of an impenetrable darkness allowing not even the light of the giant floodlamps the workers used to guide their efforts slip in or out from its surface plane.

    Four cranes—one on each side of the pit—lifted from that puncture wound of perfect symmetry a giant cube slowly rising from the void, as though nothing else of it existed except that which could immediately be seen. The shape revealing itself to this world through a bend of physics. Melting in reverse, and only becoming real through that process.

   The workers guided the suspended box to the flatbed of a big rig quietly waiting like a mountain lion come down from the western highlands to hunt in the Kansas grasses. And just as soon as its cargo was secure and could depart, as though something important at some unknown destination impatiently awaited its arrival, the semitruck pulled away from the workers and their floodlights and drove away. Heading in the direction of Grace City, the taillights faded into a night made less dark by the knowledge that that pit below Tommy and me was real.

​And darker still.

​... 

© 2021. All Rights Reserved.

Geoffrey writes about Whispering Woods, Grace City, Pandora, Ad Astra College, Justus Meats, and the twisting waterway known as the Sunflower River, as well as other fictional places, too. 

Lost Letter (Microfiction)

​"Lost Letter"

by Geoffrey Allison. 2023.


Inside an empty cabin a rushing wind entering through an open window deposits an unmailed letter into a gap, like a maildrop slot, in the floorboards.

Dearest,

In the end, it seems my favorite poets aren't necessarily the most skilled with words but those wrapping themselves in convenience, choosing silence, quiet to power, coveting attention and thinking themselves seducers, unsighted, believing themselves blinding anybody, everybody, in this comedy I found comfort, the sound of my laughter echoing across the landscape of the stilling world.

Badge (excerpt)

Badge

by Geoffrey Allison. 2023.


Paulie had stopped first, having been the first of us to round the corner at 17th & Vine, a block from where we had been instructed to meet the old man, the center of the fabled Jazz District. Once a scene, once having made a mark on history. Twice, in fact. Now erased as many times. There the brick wall of a building had collapsed in a jagged diagonal pattern; its top edge appearing like the outline of one-half a lightning bolt electrifying our discovery, and amplifying the abruptness in the message. A few feet above ground level, the bottom edges of spray-painted letters appearing as though tickled by swaying tall grasses, the words read in faded colors:

Welcome to the MODERN Police State, bb!!

​... 

© 2023. All Rights Reserved.

Geoffrey writes about Whispering Woods, Grace City, Pandora, Ad Astra College, Justus Meats, and the twisting waterway known as the Sunflower River, as well as other fictional places, too. 

a sampling of

Songs & Lyrics

Bored Room Blues (instrumental)

"Bored Room (aka Boardroom) Blues" is an older song of mine, from a collection of songs I composed under the name The Geoffrey Michaels Project, newly made available (Feb 2023)

Listen on:

militant P.I.G.

"Militant P.I.G."

Lyrics by Geoffrey Allison. 2016.


I am just the mirror

Not the scars under the face

That sinister secret evil

Always lurking in that place

 

In the marching protest

Are boots too quick to throat

Overstepping their intentions

Allowing madness to control

 

Fire! Aim. Then you make ready?

Are you ready for the truth?

It’s no great public service

with the cops so quick to shoot

 

I am the reflection

The sudden interjection

From deep inside the heart

I am the reflection

Halting the progression

And tearing us apart


​I am just the mirror

I can’t see inside your head

All the thoughts you’ve kept hidden

All that angst and fear and dread

 

All that mixed emotion

Gets stirred up in the mind

An unhinged mental trigger

Pulled from behind a hidden blind

 

The tools don’t do the killing

It is an inconvenient truth

To recognize those demons

And admit they are the proof

 

I am the reflection

The sudden interjection

From deep inside the soul

I am the reflection

Halting the progression

That makes the world so cold


I am just the mirror

I can’t penetrate your heart

Can’t dress up all that mistrust

Or tell you where to start

 

All those unsaid secrets

That manifest themselves into hate

Scripts with too many actors

Everyone participates

 

A devil waits in shadows

And always in the dark

Seems imprisoned here forever

Chained to all our hearts

 

The sudden interjection

Psychological projection

Our inner fiction found

Halting the progression

The means of our regression

Forever are we bound?

 

I am just the mirror << I am the reflection >>

I am just the mirror << I am the reflection >>

I am just the mirror << I am the reflection >>

I am just the mirror. Where is the reflection? 

In the Space Force

"In the Space Force"

Lyrics by Geoffrey Allison. 2019.

Parodying [initial announcement of] Space Force. Adapted from "In the Navy" by Village People.

 

Where can you find weird aliens

Meet talking amphibians

Militarize technology

Where can you make childhood dreams come true

Explore distant galaxies

Imagine rocketing to planet Züb

Sleep in a cryogenic tube

Then bomb astronomy

Pilot phallic-looking probes

Vivisect sentient nematodes

To protect Lady Liberty


In the Space Force

Yes, you can sail the cosmic seas

In the Space Force

Step outside you’ll fuckin’ freeze

In the Space Force

Come on people, just sign right here

In the Space Force, in the Space Force

Enlistment lasts 10 light years

In the Space Force

Come on, leave that dying rock

In the Space Force

For a chance to meet with Vulcan Spock

In the Space Force

Get your exogenetic Grok

In the Space Force, in the Space Force, in the Space Force (in the Space Force)

They want you, they want you

They want you as a new recruit

 

 

Can you handle massive Gs?

Hunger for dehydrated peas?

How 'bout sleep in zero gravity

To extend human depravity? Then get yourself to outer space

You really shouldn’t wait

Feel like you’re too old

To serve in Death Branch Six

Don’t you worry 'bout a thing

Curved space-time has its tricks

You’ll be young enough again

Trained to bomb foreign galaxies


In the Space Force

Yes, you can sail the cosmic seas

In the Space Force

Step outside you’ll fuckin’ freeze

In the Space Force

Come on people, just sign right here

In the Space Force, in the Space Force

Enlistment lasts 10 light years

In the Space Force

Come on, leave that dying rock

In the Space Force

For a chance to meet with Vulcan Spock

In the Space Force

Get your exogenetic Grok

In the Space Force, in the Space Force, in the Space Force (in the Space Force)

They want you, they want you

They want you as a new recruit

Songwriter's Comments & Notes

NOTE: If you're the type of reader that does not want to learn why/how/what the writer was thinking when they created something, then don't read on.

militant P.I.G.

P.I.G. serves double duty here. The obvious interpretation ignores the acronym. The acronym broadens the definition to Person(s) In Glass. 

because in this, our modernity, we've come only so far...

Mead at the Pillory

Commentary, oddly approached


Seems a bit harsh.

Ye think?!

I do, aye.

Better them then us, I say.

Aye, true enough.

Right then, folks. Drink up, and wind 'em up!!

Zeitgeist Slice

Visited Amazon.com to read a sample from a novel by a writer whom I've not read yet; one who has another book coming out soon. For my taste & preference, I found nothing in the story or style interesting enough to compel me to finish even the sample text offered by Amazon to would-be buyers. 

I do not understand why this writer has been served a slice of the zeitgeist pie. 

The experience did, however, inspire a new t-shirt design: 


**figuratively wordless on social media: author, to critic/reviewer**

(saying silently to themselves)


**increases frequency of Tweet likes**

(I do have a new book coming out.)


Which then inspired another design:


**literally wordless on social media: critic/reviewer, to critic/reviewer**

(saying silently to themselves)


** [silence/inactivity] **

(No, no, no!! Not as clever, nuanced, & sophisticated as me. Not at all, no.)

19-Mar-2023

Come On...Make Some Art Out of It

This Barron's report dated March 6, 2023, states that Norway became Europe's largest natural gas supplier in 2022 and raked in $140BB in oil & gas revenues.

Far be it from me to tell an artist how to approach their livelihood; however, if the facts presented in the Barron's article are accurate I believe there's a solid opportunity for an artist holding a degree from one of the world's "preeminent" universities¹ (and desiring to feed their ego and secure or solidify their place in society & culture) to seek a grant from Norway, or Equinor, to develop an audacious (gigantic-ass) art installation under their auspices and with the purported intention of raising awareness of ecological & environmental issues.

I'm guessing the grand opening of such an installation would draw very famous &/or wealthy people who'd certainly fly in on private jets for the unveiling or ribbon-cutting, thereby drawing media attention to the exhibit. The media coverage thus securing a steady flow of tourists that would include the adorable, little Timmy Bobbinsmoot, who will accidentally drop his candy bar wrapper while visiting the artwork, and who will then be quickly labeled as the careless, thoughtless child of science-deniers and ridiculed by online mobs who only recently clapped for the nob awarded the grant to build the fucking monstrosity.

Bottomline: as of this writing, it routinely seems to me that increasing or securing one's social status & cultural capital is still accorded more importance & weight among the human population than seriously confronting any 'threats' society & culture likes to feverishly chatter on & on about. 

_______

¹ Ivy League, Cambridge, Oxford, or similar.

17-Mar-2023 / last edit: 18-Mar-2023

Woke, Broke, & Bespoke

Woke: writers of trad publishing, incl. small press

"She's a billionaire's daughter!!"

"OMG, this piece!!"

"So, a newspaper of record does puff pieces now?!"


Broke: (would-be) writers pursuing trad publishing, incl. small press

"Wait, what?!" 

"Holy shit, I had no idea a Koch family member was involved in publishing!!"


Bespoke

"I don't know her; however, a woman looking like that, whether rich or poor... well... let's be honest... if I was on a business trip and at the hotel bar and I saw her, and her demeanor & attitude hinted she was a person as kind & intelligent as she is physically attractive, then I'd probably ask if I could buy her a drink or two in the hopes we might then talk about random shit late into the night."

01-Mar-2023

Consciousness Contours™

Consciousness Contours™

Because One Shape Simply Cannot Contain a Scale-shifting & Evolving Consciousness

Consciousness Contours™ is based on continuing deliberative research & study undertaken, without the benefit or baggage of wealth & privilege, over several decades at Snide und Erdog Institute, whose twin campuses are located on the outskirts of the beautiful European cities of Kassel, Germany and Vaduz, Liechtenstein.


"A box has corners, and that's where they tried to put—tuck away: place, hide and shelter—Baby."

Hans Gruber, Snide und Erdog Institute Sarcasm Autonomic Response (SAR) researcher, not the notorious mastermind behind the (ultimately failing) heist in DIE HARD

24-Feb-2023

Laughing

It is presently this:

Don't rewrite authorial works... it is their (professional / creative) voice!!

But, also, this... sometimes:

Ignore the testamentary voice (the pre-death human request, wish, desire, expectation) of authors and publish & republish & republish & republish & republish private journals or diaries or letters or unfinished or previously unpublished poems, short stories or novels, etc. they'd not wanted brought into the public sphere.

Amazing. The 'professional' Land of Letters is filled with such hypocritical absurdity—culture, attitudes, values & actions. 

As an aside, I am finding it difficult to believe Roald Dahl wrote for children... because he seems to have written well that which describes human adulthood.  

**smdh**

20-Feb-2023, 9:49am / last edit 08-Mar-2023

Feeding (Oneself to) the Beast

To those in the present silently (or loudly) lamenting or fretting about AI encroaching into human expression while gorging with evermore content the digital mouth & stomach that is Substack et alia: I have marked my calendar and set a date in the not-too-distant future at which time I'll shake my head, smile & chuckle softly, and raise a glass to toast & drink in celebration of silliness.


Note: the following is intentionally written (to be read) melodramatically, in the manner & tone of the **back of hand sweeps up to & gently caresses forehead** we'll drink & dine on art!! sort of person. You know...the type that impresses upon members of The Club [Humanities] how serious they are and how much they despise religious zealots as they themselves litter their feeds with photos & quotes (of depth, of course), engaging in the practice of a comical de facto ritualistic canonization of 'artistes' & intellectuals.


Oh, useless heart!!

Vestigial tailor of tales


Wonder-pump stitching

Derrick boring

Dry landscapes

Barren souls

Self-stripping

Dancing

For Followers

Chasing

Fame counts...

(Doesn't it?)


We desired,

Once, to be legendary.

Mythic.

We became myth.

13-Feb-2023, 11:04am / last edit: 8-Mar-2023

Somewhat relatedly. The following was originally posted on the WTF?! page of this website on 03-July-2022.

leaning into preconceptions & prejudices of the self-obsessed & self-righteous. ¹

Limp Dickinson Epistles

Simple Satire

_______¹ 15-Dec-2022: I intentionally waited a week to add the above descriptor/epigraph because I wanted certain folks to have a chance to find and read Holiday Letter '22 without the additional context so they might exercise their great & powerful minds & simply act like the egotistical, presumptuous, know-it-all jackasses they are. 

21-Mar-2023 (edited 22-Mar-2023)

Master,

I had the strangest dream last night. I dreamt a weekend comedy troupe aired a skit the writers room titled REP LAUNDERETTE. 

A DC-area jogger stopped along a wooded path to inquire if someone rubbing their crimson-stained hands, shouting Out Damned Spot! and costumed like a Renaissance Fair performer required assistance. After a brief exchange, the passersby admitted they didn't know how they could absolve the noble woman of the guilt she professed and so pointed the berobed figure toward DC, stating that she might be able to wash away her sins & cleanse herself in the Atlantic. The Lady Macbeth figure then melodramatically decried the advice as born of vile ignorance better delivered by a Royal Ass, stating that the body of water nearest DC was the Potomac and that the Atlantic Ocean was located some miles farther to the east. The Good Samaritan character ended the scene with the deadest of deadpan deliveries I have ever witnessed, "Who said anything about your visiting the ocean?"


Yours truly (but unavailable for fluff n fold duty),

Emile 

March 21, 2023

07-Mar-2023

Master,

Why have you not smote my enemies? Are we, you & I, drifting apart? Tell me, how have I blinded your love? Tell me we'll be okay. I cannot lose you... your righteous power to smite.


Yours truly (but troubled),

Emile 

March 7, 2023

28-Feb-2023

Master,

Geneva and the surrounding area influence my emotional state in one of two ways. Either the beauty of the landscape commands noticing and thrusts me into ecstasy's realm. Or the high cost of living—propelled, in my opinion, by the many persons whose incomes are derived from, and whose lifestyles are funded by, tens of thousands of faceless taxpayers & donors located thousands of miles away—torpedoes me to the bottom of a mortar of modern institutionalism possessing both global reach & influence, a position from where I am meant to be deconstructed, ground into a pasty melancholic tapenade. Today, on the last day of February, solemn with grey skies and depressing temperatures, I confess I woke waiting for the pestle to do its work. And it has. Even now, after we paused afternoon post-lunch meetings & tabled discussions until tomorrow, freeing me to enjoy hours of late afternoon sexual intercourse with a beautiful bureaucrat from a country I will not mention, I crave only your attention and am using a few minutes of solitude to stretch out on the bed and write to you as my temporary companion busies herself elsewhere in the apartment she calls home for six months of the year. She is preparing coffee. And bread in the throes of a Maillard reaction—in America, this would simply be called toast.

How the cold stings & numbs in your absence, and absent the buttery warmth of good ol’ fashioned American toast and God’s smile… that He, as you know, directs only upon America.


Affectionately,

Emile 

February 28, 2023

26-Feb-2023 (edited 27-Feb-2023)

Master,

I am glad to have abandoned social media... and the my accompanying routine embrace of cowardice & self-censorship manifesting in post (self) deletion. In these, our private correspondences, fortified further by the ambience of a small restaurant tucked away in a residential neighborhood on the outskirts of Geneva and an early supper consisting of a remarkable quantity of crusty bread + fondue (Gruyère & Emmental, of course) and a bottle of Chasselas, I enjoy an internal warmth fostering confidence that encourages intimacy. 

Last night I dreamt a man made himself available to neighboring housewives being neglected by partners who squatted on haunches like over-sized chimpanzees in front of computer screens & who busied themselves replying to insipid memes posted by one of the world's richest men. This (dreamt up) man was not a prostitute—mind you, I am not implying sex work is immoral, or that I disapprove of intimacy outside of wedlock; I am no blunted prude, despite the repetitive normative strikes from New England's social hammers. It is only that the man never sought payment. He did create a Wishlist on an online retail site. A list of only one item. Soon he enjoyed gifts resulting in a pantry & cupboards filled with 9-pack-cartons of his favorite brand of 5-minute-ready pho noodles.

Curiouser & curiouser...

Emile

February 26, 2023P.S. Oh, you poor thing...

23-Feb-2023

Master,

Keeping to myself, here in my rooms, news & events find me slowly. Is it true? Are some of the most vocal opponents of "Cancel Culture" in the process of canceling Don Lemon? Have they now found some valid cause to passionately pursue? Or is this opportunism at work? Would this be an opportunity to pause & peer into the machinery and see clearly how it all fits together—the clockworks...that others too have their reasons...their beliefs, passions & causes? Is this the season for armistice in the Culture War? If so then like smoke lingering low on the battlefield my ennui might eventually dissipate. 

Alas, I'll gamble it is not.

Fondly,

 Emile

February 23, 2023

22-Feb-2023 (edited 23-Feb-2023)

Master,

I love you, despite you loathing me. But do not loathe me more than you do already. I couldn't take it. My heart would crumble. If you distanced yourself from me further then I'd seek refuge elsewhere, display a photograph of a shirtless Putin, pin it prominently, just under the rectangular wall-mounted landline and right next to the postcard with the traditional-looking image of Jesus that was sent to me as a 'gift' after I donated $100,000 to a televangelist who, in exchange of fair value thusly bargained, promised to pray for our nation's leaders to ensure the global supremacy of America (but only from a foreign policy perspective, the terms of the invocation-by-contract clearly & narrowly defining supremacy to exclude considerations for such things as ubiquitous health insurance coverage or affordable healthcare delivery costs for her citizens, etc.)

Lovingly Yours (para siempre),

 Emile

February 22, 2023

21-Feb-2023 (edited 23-Feb-2023)

Master,

Since we last spoke, I've strayed. Cheated. Took another lover. Who, also, however, I have since abandoned. The love too difficult, needing to be teased out & coaxed with wine before, and requiring soft music and the lights turned off to initiate intimacies. Not like us. Do you remember the last time? The boutique hotel in Trieste, the sea breeze rushing over the short wall of the balcony, the daylight streaming through the open shutters bridging exterior to interior, our bed-sheeted silhouettes being captured by the telescopic lens attached to the espionage drone flying above that yacht anchored in the harbor, our two bodies entangled underneath the bedspread adorned with a quilting of our shared-favorite emblem, the logo of the NGO that partners with a preeminent policy research institute situated on the campus of one of the world's leading academic institutions and is alleged to furtively engage in statecraft to ensure & secure democracy worldwide.

Tell me we are keeping keep no secrets between us. Tell me you are thinking of me too.

Yours truly,

 Emile

February 21, 2023

17-Feb-2023

Master,

Returned home to a mess. What is the proper response to modern day "gods" creating artificial intelligence non-profits that (ultimately? eventually?) seek to maximize profit when a past Modern Prometheus left a clear & obvious trail of breadcrumbs? 

February 17, 2023

16-Feb-2023

Master,

The nighttime sky, while beautiful, arrives too early. My wintry spirit needs uplifting. If only I could find on pay-per-view several matches of fisticuffs between the employees of The Lever and the Secretary + staff of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Sirota v. Buttigieg **ding—ding**

February 16, 2023

15-Feb-2023 (edited 19-Feb-2023)

Master,

A difficult choice tonight: What to do for exercise? Use a European hotel's gym equipment whose maintenance looked suspect. Or have sex with a professional companion. I played it smart. And by smart that is to say, not knowing when or if I'll ever return, I invested all the remaining foreign currency I had.

I'm spent.

February 15, 2023

14-Feb-2023

Master,

Are you aware I'm an American who successfully fled late-stage U.S. Capitalism for Europe and am using my exile to reconstruct (if only in my own mind) the rich artistic ethos & environment enjoyed by the Lost Generation, only with fingers and palms & psyche free of those wretched callouses & blisters...and scars...absent the memories...the horrors...the metaphysical burdens of seeing firsthand the results of violent warfare? (I did have a bad rideshare experience once. And my first psychoanalyst, a Russian, who studied in Prague, acted unprofessionally at the conclusion of our third session and made a romantic advance. While I don't harbor any ill will toward the Czech Health Ministry's approach to qualifying health professionals, I am leery of Russians—and that was before western governments increased the frequency & amplification of anti-Russian sentiment. My Russophobia is so bad that when a friend gifted me a copy of a novel penned by a modern Russia-born author, I furtively tore the book in two and deposited both halves in pens housing the pigs living on a Brittany farm operated by that same friend, whom I visited last Spring.)

And like the great writers, painters & intellectuals, are you aware I too drink & smoke cigarettes? That I sit behind a computer screen, with a perpetually semi-filled ashtray to my left and drink to my right, and spend large portions of my day trolling random internet users, people I don't know, strangers sharing comments or thoughts about their personal likes or dislikes that I elevate to higher levels of discourse through my QTs spiced with references to or directly quoting Adorno, Wittgenstein, and Proust et al? That I have read & memorized the "Great Books" and quote them in the manner all proselytizing devotees recite their Holy books? (Annoyingly)

Am I such a cliche? How can that be...given the depth & breadth of my knowledge, my refined cultural palate, and my essays published in self-professed iconoclastic e-Zines? Am I not both the 1) subversive—and, therefore, alluring—cave entrance that enchants and entices people to freely enter the darkness and engage in a deeper exploration of what it is to be human as well as the 2) substantial gateway—the ornately buttressed arch framing the path into gardens of proper aesthetics, better taste, and praxis of philosophies?

Why then am I less effective to the citizenry as a tool for book discovery & increasing appreciation for reading than a random young woman with a substantial TikTok following?

Send me affection. Be my Valentine.

February 14, 2023, 1:14pm

13-Feb-2023

Master,

You surprise me when I return to something and find it different. At times less than. Maybe I was never bad. Perhaps it was never good. Never inspiring or containing depth of meaning or importance. The way I genuflected with crooked back and viewed angles, seeing what wasn't but what was wanted there.

February 13, 2023, 7:27am

10-Feb-2023

Master,

Fear not. "High Culture" is very much alive and well. Among the refined, the self-professed cultured tastemakers & public intellectual set, dressed in colorful bunting representing all the finest institutions, is an exhibited drunkenness often thought only witnessed among the rummies.

Such heights of presumption, and altitude of ego. High indeed.

February 10, 2023

Holiday Letter '22

Dearest Family & Friends:


If you have wondered about our unnatural & unusual disengagement, have entertained suspicions with respect to the feeble excuses we both have recently & reticently communicated to you as justification for our absence from the perennial autumn gatherings we never miss and always enjoy, then I hope this 2022 holiday season letter not only finds you safe & healthy but also offers an update regarding our goings-on since I last wrote to you on our behalf at mid-year, just days after our end-of-June return from an extended vacation.


She arrived unexpectedly, from a time after mine, a generation behind, entered off the street and stepped into the community center gymnasium with a rhythm and cadence I hardly recognized, more than 20 years my junior, with black hair and blue eyes, and an excitement for her first job post-graduation from our shared alma mater, several smiles opened a handful of dialogues that soon lead to a first kiss reigniting passions, renewing human necessities I’d not realized I'd deprioritized, and encouraging sufficient repeat secretive daytime visits that impelled me to initiate delicate & uncomfortable discussions with the partner whom I’d shared a life for more years than she herself had lived, out of nowhere she arrived, entering our lives near the middle of July, only weeks after I last wrote you — like a blizzard in summer.

December 08, 2022