Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

Everybody Waits

March 26, 2017 2 comments

(for Everyone to Die)
… in irreverent tribute to “A Song of Ice and Fire” by George R. R. Martin 

As blue shadows of evening gathered between the snow drifts, Sar Kevlar Bananister swaggered a circuitous route to the tavern, glancing often over his shoulder to make sure he was not followed.  After several months the snows had abated for a fortnight and a few street folk had emerged, shuffling here and there, looking for someone to eat.  The only meat animals left in Kings Doormat were rats and the supply was quickly dwindling.

The snow was piled high against the buildings on either side, up to and sometimes over the second story windows and leaving only a narrow, icy path in the middle of the street.  Kevlar squeezed past a gaggle of giggling, hungry-looking sluts at one intersection, shouldered his way through a thicket of withering thieves at another, and in Arsewipe Square maneuvered around a melange of mercenaries making merry.  Must have caught a rat.  One of the men made as if to trouble him, but looked quickly away when Sar Kevlar placed his hand on his sword hilt.

The Leaky Dick was by reputation a a dark, moist hole filled with distasteful whores, and dispirited folk too small to mention, name or care about, and redolent with bodily fluids, wood smoke, stale ale and free mashed turnip hors d’oeuvres during happy hour.  Sar Kevlar wore a plain short coat of ring mail over a jerkin of parboiled leather, his longsword sheathed in a plain black lacquered sword condom devoid of device or arms so as not to declare his identity.  I wouldn’t be caught dead there …  It was nevertheless where he was bound.

Arriving at the Tavern, he grabbed the dirty knot of hempen rope that served as the door handle and pulled it open.  His ears were immediately sodomized by a sudden tumult of conversation.  What in the name of the seven bloody hells?  His heart faltered, as just inside about two dozen teenagers stood near the door with daggers encrusted with dried blood in their hands.  His blood, he realized.

“Druthers take you Little bastards!” whispered Kevlar.  “What in the name of The Strange One are you doing here?”

“We don’t know, Sar,” piped a pimple-faced boy of about fifteen years – almost a man grown.  “We’ve just been wandering around for six years, trying to stay out of the cold.”

“Aye, boy, haven’t we all, haven’t we all.  Now pipe down and don’t call me ‘Sar.’  I’m pretending to be in incognito.”

The young man rolled his eyes.  “As you wish, sar.”

Kevlar headed toward the back of the tavern where there was a curtained-off room for private rendezvous.

“Uncle, you old broom-up-the-arse!” said a voice that turned out to be his nephew, Haimy.  “Back from the dead, are you?  Well met and welcome!”

“Yes, right,” said Kevlar, glancing ruefully at the many eyes that were now turned upon him.   Haimy brought back unwelcome memories of Shurethayn, Kevlar’s niece, being paraded naked and shaved through the streets of Kings Doormat.  A sight burned into my brain forever.  “You, too, I see. Seems we’re popping out of the ground almost as fast as they put us in.”

“I confess I didn’t expect to see you,” said Haimy.  “Most of the time its the flawed and haunted characters that get raised, not the wholesome, well-adjusted sort like you.”

“Yes, I myself expected to stay dead,” said Kevlar.  “Would have preferred it, truth be told.  I’m only a bit player, after all, and I have morals.  I have no business in this filthy story.  Your resurrection is no surprise, though, wot?   An incestuous swordsman deprived his sword hand who continues to dream of flogging his sister with the flesh noodle.  You are the deadbeat dad of kings.  They don’t come much more twisted than you.“

“Not so twisted anymore,” said Haimy, sadly.  “Since I was hanged my sister-noodling days are over.  It’s all part of my continuing very unlikely yet compelling transformation.”  He grabbed the arm of what Kevlar had thought was a man who was facing the bar and spun her around to reveal a tall, muscular woman with broken teeth and one ear.  She wore a shirt of mail and a longsword with a beautifully jeweled hilt at her belt.  “This is my girl, Braindedda.  Isn’t she the best?”

“I’m very happy for you both, I’m sure,” said Kevlar, shaking Haimy’s stump.  “Pleased to meet you, my lady.  But if you’ll excuse me I’m late for -“

“-Your ‘secret meeting.’  Yes, of course, go ahead.  Thank you, uncle.  Perhaps we’ll get together later.”

Kevlar smiled, nodded and turned away.  Don’t count on it. 

“Sar Kevlar Bananister!” rang out as he made his way to the back room, destroying whatever illusion of secrecy may have still remained.  Kevlar nodded to Grand Maestro Payless, also newly resurrected and looking worse than ever.  He had always been ugly, and the fresh scar where his throat had been slit was no improvement.  The degree to which his eyes had sunk back into his head didn’t help either.

In the corner behind Payless stood two figures that seemed to be men, except their eyes were luminous blue and their hands were black.  Also they were clearly dead, and not recently so.  Rotting skin hung from their faces and hands, and there was exposed bone here and there as well.  One raised a glass as if toasting Kevlar and drank.  Wine ran out of a hole in his belly that looked like it came from a lance or spear.  Kevlar shook his head and continued on.

They had seemed disturbingly familiar.  Why am I reminded of Edderd Stork?  Poor Edderd had been the King’s Foot briefly before he was beheaded on the steps of the Great Septic Tank for telling the truth.  He should have known better.  It’s lie or die in the Game of Balls.  Kevlar had learned that first hand, yet he maintained a grudging admiration for Edderd, whose balls had certainly been among the biggest.  With all the dead people walking around, perhaps the wights were a couple of the many dead sons of Stork.

A middle aged woman, fair of face with auburn hair collided with him.  “Excuse me, Sar,” she said, and curtsied. “I beg your pardon.”

“Mensa Stork!” he said.  “Why do you look so sad?”

“Because, sar, I’m thirty-nine years old and still a virgin,” she said.  “Oh, great virtue and all that rot, but the only chance I’ve had at sex in my miserable life was with your dwarf nephew, who thank the gods was not up to the task.  Since then I’ve just been stuck in limbo while-“ her voice dropped to a whisper “-the Forgetful One works ‘on other projects’.”

“Your unlikely continued maidenhood is a mystery to be sure, my lady Mensa, even as is your very life,” nodded Kevlar, sagely.  “You had more likely been raped or beheaded or both a dozen times – not necessarily in that order – rather than continuing on as you have in your quintessentially blithe terror and stupidity.  Indeed, you might be the least likely person I have ever known.”

“I do feel rather like a cartoon character, sar,” she replied, sighing.  She whispered, “Perhaps when the Forgetful One remembers us, if he ever does remember us, he’ll either give me a bit more realistic life or a least an abrupt and violent end.”

“I wish you the best of outcomes, my lady.”

“Thank you, Sar Kevlar, my husband is waiting inside for you.”

“Thank you, My lady.”

Kevlar opened the curtain just wide enough to slip through.  The darkness of the room relieved but dimly by the wavering light of a few earwax candles smoldering in sconces made of human bone.  There were windows, but they were covered by the deep snow piled outside against the side of the building.  The room felt close and airless.

“Welcome, oh mediocre one,” said Tyrsome Bananister, from the head of the long table.  The table was polished where-wood, pale as milk, the candles reflected in its surface as in a still pond. Arrayed before him were steaming plates of the gods knew what kind of meat, with cheeses and oaten biscuit. “Please join us in our meal.”

To Tyrsome’s right sat another dwarf, a female one, dressed in scratched and battered armor that had been repainted with the Bananister Liar sigil.  “Let me introduce the newest member of the family, Badpenny Bananister.”

“You can’t marry!  You have a wife!”

“That’s true,” replied Tyrsome, and paused to scratch what was left of his nose, most of which had been lost to friendly fire during the defense of Kings Doormat against Stainless Barathonanonanon  (Are we confused yet?) “But Badpenny is not my wife.  She’s my adopted daughter.  But enough about me.  We have much to discuss, Uncle.”

“I can’t imagine what you mean,” replied Kevlar, looking away.

“That’s not surprising given your legendary lack of imagination,”  said Tyrsome.  “I am of course speaking of the Forgetful One.”

“Keep your voice down!” said Kevlar.

“Gods why?” said Tyrsome.  “Every one of the characters in this accursed world will soon starve to death in this endless winter he’s left us in.  All his toys will be gone.  Not that he cares.  He’s clearly tired of the Game of Balls.”

“I believe in the Seven,” whispered Kevlar.

“Why are you whispering, then?  We all know by now that The Forgetful Asshole is the only god for the likes of us.  It’s his twisted imagination that made me as I am, gave me my horrible back story and led me through my various painful and humiliating adventures.  I’d be happy to shoot him through the eye with my trusty crossbow given half a chance.  And it’s his so-called ‘creativity’ that caused you to be assassinated by a fat castrati and a kindergarten class.”

Suddenly the wind began to howl outside.   The walls creaked.  Blended with the howling of the wind were the howls of wolves, and as if from far away, a deeper, much more terrifying roar that could only come from dragons.

“Now you’ve done it,” said Kevlar.  “You woke him up and now he’s going to kill us all.”

“Relax, uncle,” replied Tyrsome.  “That’s not the way things work here.  Only the folk too small to have names are killed wholesale.  Characters like us are dragged around Festeros or across the Cesspool Sea to Bloody Fluxville and roasted to death over a slow fire while serenaded by odiously long descriptions of clothing and food.  You’re right, he will kill us all in the end, but with long and painstaking hideousness and words beyond count.  In fact, perhaps he’ll just use the words and we’ll all just expire of old age.”

During Tyrsome’s soliloquy the wind had gained strength.  The walls of the tavern were visibly shaking.  A window shattered and in popped the head of a dragon, black as night, smoke drifting from its nostrils.  It opened its mouth and a gout of fire enveloped Badpenny.  She screamed briefly in agony as she was cooked to perfection in an instant.

“My daughter smells delicious,” remarked Tyrsome, as Kevlar simultaneously vomited on the table and soiled himself.

Tyrsome turned to the Forgetful One as the dragon bit off one of Badpenny’s arms.  “They compare you to Tolkien, but there is one important difference.  Tolkien could finish a story.” 

The dragon turned toward him, heatwaves rippling from its jaws. Tyrsome squinted against the heat.

“Oh yes, please do,” said Tyrsome.  “Please, please, please end this.”


Lounge Lizard

December 30, 2014 2 comments



At Eye On Life,  Rosa Farrington’s poem ” #ferguson” created a bit of a stir, attracting some comments.  While our poets attract a fair number of readers, few of the readers comment, so this was new and refreshing.  Over the Christmas holiday Donal Mahoney favored us with some very interesting poems as well, and what the hell I also threw one into the mix for good measure.

A note to poetry submitters to Eye On Life:  please submit only works that have not been published elsewhere.  The first thing I do with a poetry submission is paste the first few lines into a Google search and see what comes up.  If the poem comes up on or whatever, I have to reject it.   This goes for your blog, too.  If it is already on your blog, readers really do not have a reason to read it at Eye On Life.  Okay, enough bitching.  On with the show – or is it one with the show? Hmmmm…

Musically I am continuing to compose and lyricize, and will venture back to the Lizard Lounge with a couple of musicians (to be finalized) from The Rubenoff Project.   Two songs in ten minutes and a chance at performing a third tune in the final round if chosen.  If you’re in the Harvard Square – Porter Square, Cambridge area on Monday, January 19th at around 8:30 pm, please stop by and cheer (or boo).

My second favorite tune from the Lilypad was “You Locator.”  We’ll probably reprise that at the Lizard Lounge.


Slouching Toward September

August 27, 2014 Leave a comment

wachusettPIN62014_003Submissions are up at The Poetry Locksmith, which is COOL. We are blessed that many new poets have found us at Eye On Life, enriching our pages with their work. I (and we) are grateful.  Please stop by and enjoy the voices of Nina Longfield, M. Drew Williams, Valentina Cano and many others.

As I mentioned I have started posting a little of my own work at The Poetry Locksmith, too.  For years I felt it was a conflict of interest, but since we changed the design of the whole site a couple of years ago, and because I do not place ads on other poets’ poems, I have had no place to put ads on the Poetry Unlocked pages. Now I can put ads on my own work and feel that I have not done anyone wrong by marring their work with advertising – only mine. At the same time it gives me a creative outlet. It’s a win-win situation.

Musically things are often quiet in the summer because band members are on vacation, but now things are beginning to flow again.  Gigs are scheduled for Unclaimed Freight and Too Klez for Comfort already, and I hope to schedule a performance of my own work soon. I will be sessioning with a brand new group of musicians at the end of August to see where we can go.  If good recordings result I will be sure to cue you in.

My latest and greatest music can always be found at Reverbnation, a site that offers promotion services for musicians and composers like me 🙂  I have a few tunes there for your listening pleasure.

In the Hardware Genius sector I published an article about electric strikes and another one about how to become an online hardware dealer.

That about sums up my creative activity for now.  Hope you all are having as much fun as I am.

Bubbles and Streamers

July 9, 2014 1 comment

PINNashoba004Motion is a lovely illusion, full of nuance and visual stimuli.  The orderly-seeming motion of water and the mysterious effects of moving air are certainly fascinating phenomena.  Motion only exists because of relative position.   The motion of an object can only measured by its changing relationship to some other object.   It must be traveling either away from or toward some other thing.  Both objects are either in the process of coming to be or ceasing to be.   The path of the moving object is always a curve because both the objects and their relative motion have separate relationships with the energy and motion of the expanding universe.

In the midst of all these unpredictable eddies and currents I write to you unsure of everything, including my own existence – or perhaps yours, or both.   One might ask, why?  But why might one ask?

During the month of June, The Poetry Locksmith feature at Eye On Life was blessed with a good crop of poetry submissions.   We posted poetry from perennial contributor Donal Mahoney, new poets J.K. Durick, Frank C. Praeger, Cynthia Vantresca, Maria Picone and others, and returning poets Michael Estabrook and Diane Webster.   Please stop by and read their fine work.  You can read some of my work there, too.

Things have quieted down musically, as they usually do in the summer when many of the musicians I play with are away.  I will also be away for a couple of weeks and away from my instrument as well, so when I return I can look forward to getting my chops back.  I did manage to get the last piece from our recording session up at Soundcloud if you would like to hear it.

I have been working on some new music and will keep you posted as to my progress.

I wrote a couple more articles about door hardware, too, if that is one of your vices 😉

Thanks once again for stopping by.


March 29, 2014 Leave a comment

A time of endings and beginnings.  microwave_tree

Monday is the deadline for entering the Eye On Life Poetry Contest, offering $150 in prizes.  As it stands right now there are five poets entered, so odds are great for all of them.  If you were to enter right now you would have approximately a 1 in 6 chance of winning the $100 first prize.   Of course there are usually a few last minute entries, so in the end the odds may not be quite as spectacular as they are now, but I’m sure they will remain quite good given the low turnout this year.  This will be the last Eye On Life Poetry Contest, ever.

In music, Monday is the end of one phase and the beginning of another.  Today I will rehearse with what is ostensibly (or perhaps potentially) my band that will play music that I have written.   Today it will be decided which tunes we will record.   On Monday night we will meet at the studio and make recordings, ending the first phase of this project.    In the second phase of this project, the studio will provide me with sound files that I will use to market ‘my band’ to some local clubs.  The last phase of the project will conclude when we perform my music live in front of an audience.   I’ll let you know how it goes with all that.

In the mean time the resurrection of the Klezmer band, “Too Close For Klez”, is well underway.  Last night I played with members of TCFK at a local middle school fundraiser for their music department.  It was a lot of fun.   We have a gig coming up later in May.

In other news I wrote this recipe for our favorite vegetable stew, complete with a video of me for comic relief.

The Conspiring Universe

winter_fruit_treesRecently it has been a time when the swirling influences have gelled in marvelous kaleidoscopic momentary formations.   At other times it has seemed as if I were wearing a trench in the Earth with the sameness of my days, and while there remains an element of that, doors have opened and I have opportunities to pass through them into new and exciting spaces.  So it has passed that my companions, Desire and Despair, have at times been at odds, but as through time I have come to know them well I can greet each with equanimity and detachment for the most part; and being aware of those times that I succumb, I can afford to be amused at my inner stories rather than tortured by them.  As I have said before, I am a very lucky man.

From the vantage of detachment I can look upon the boiling pot of influences and be grateful for all of its patterns – both those I would have chosen for myself and those that I would not.  I can see, also, both the effects of my careful stirring of the pot and of my leaving it be.   I have found (and am advised) that leaving it be is usually best.

So it seems that in my immediate future I will record my own music with fine musicians and have multiple opportunities to play R & B, Klezmer and jazz; in my intermediate future I will perhaps have an opportunity to perform my music in public, and I will be traveling to a distant land with my lovely wife;  and in my later future I have no doubt that many delightful surprises await.  There is some other stuff going on, but I think I have touched on the highlights.  Now we’ll see how it all unfolds.

At Eye On Life the Poetry Contest is off to a slow start with only two poets so far competing for the over $150 in prizes.  If this keeps up one of them will have to win two of the prizes.  That won’t do.  Be sure to enter right away so you don’t have to worry about the March 31 deadline.   At The Poetry Locksmith, Donal Mahoney has continued to bless us with his prolific work and Samuel Vargo has returned with more of his eclectic and thought-provoking verse.

I wrote a couple of articles for newbies to door hardware – “Door Handing for Hardware Dummies” and “How to Order Hardware for Small Commercial Projects” – and a poem.  Also I am working on a how-to article about what to do when your lock explodes, video included.  It should be fun.  I did the video already.   I’ll let you know when it’s up 😉

Hardware Rising

September 8, 2013 1 comment

pawtuckaway82013_006It is interesting to watch life unfold.  I found door hardware to be surprisingly rewarding this week.  For part of that I thank my employers and their customers, and for another part I thank the Door Hardware Institute for publishing my article “Multi-Function Doorways” in the September, 2013 issue of their magazine, Doors and Hardware. 

In other news I wrote a rhythm and blues piece called “Love Is No Fool” and an article about the basic principals of the key machine.  “Love Is No Fool” came out pretty well considering my rudimentary equipment, and despite the rather twisted lyrics is an uncharacteristically conventional kind of tune.  Hmm.

Unclaimed Freight has a huge gig coming up October 3rd in downtown Boston.  More info as that unfolds.  🙂

In other words, I have a LOT going on.  It’s nice.