Monday, December 26, 2022

Holiday Spasm War

This holiday season's copywriting has enjoyed a hugely successful conversion rate despite an accelerating economic downtown and consumer uncertainties, and it's largely thanks to Chaffbyte, the upstart automated AI marketing platform utilizing machine learning trained on a proprietary dataset of ransom notes provided by assorted police agencies, international law enforcement, and true crime collectors. It's as if Herman Kahn's famed escalation ladder had finally been effectively translated into a rewarding sales funnel. #chaffbyte #escalationdominance #hermankahn #machinelearning #ransomnotes

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Poem for Jill and Wonder Valley

Stenciled warnings are often ignored


It was May the first,
and Jill was right.
Wonder Valley was never designed
to be a success.

The unseasonal Burning Man
reeling drunk on Faux Squalor,
a cocktail of reclaimed wood and rust,
slumps forward, and rests on uncalloused elbows.

The predatory rictus of lax capital fails to conceal
his impatience, awaiting a spark to engulf him
in a side-scrolling self-immolation.
All your tropes are belong to us.

But Jill was right.
Our island floats upon a basin
of fossilized water, a gift of briny surprise
that poisons outsourced dreams and nurses
a Potter's Field of yellowing dice,
bold ventures reduced to bone dust and gossip.

In the desert, shadows are treasured.
We brought our own shadows to mingle with the others
and loved them like our own.
There they were accepted, embraced,
tolerated, shunned, but never chased.
Empty space, like a lover at a loss for words,
the empty space needs respect.


This was written following a spirited community meeting about a proposed 'wellness' resort to be built in Wonder Valley, CA.

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Poem for Dale Dry Lake


Dale’s glimmering snow white disc
Late Pleistocene plenty
A palace of indifference,
Observant and faithless
Baited brine, noiselessly swelling
A crystal crust,
The day’s pregnant unrest

Hashtagged swag flail desert tropes
While a sunless virus is dreaming green,
Off-grid Dry campers,
Tuff Sheds scatter
Upon the deckled arid shore
Exurbanites bursting
Their Aeolian blisters

140 years of failed dreams
Recovered memory, and managed retreat

* * * * *

Thanks to James Colbert for editing assistance.

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Word Slingers, Wednesday 9/8/2021

Some Word Slingers product from this afternoon's session and their associated prompts.

Tail between your legs, getting longer and longer, harder to flick out of the way, the pursuit grinding down while time to tripping accelerates. 

"I think I've found a new SpIn - care to hear about?" 

"SpIn? Cardio workout?"

"Special Interest, abbreviated as SpIn, s, p, capital I, lower case n, SpIn. Neurodivergent love lingo - I could go on and on."

"No need. Parallel Play and all that, got it"

The chase resumes, then peters out. The sun descends and holes the horizon, the flare fans out diluting distance. A light bulb goes off, then on and its noon again. Something to be said about circumnavigating one's room.

Kepler's tale comes to mind. The circle widens and wobbles, just a bit.

Prompt;  Running in circles

* * * * *

Upcycled, the dream fulfilled

Unending blue jeans, from horizon to horizon, the sustainable web of hand-crafted crypto-marketing, fashion unleashed in algorithmic purity from forest floor to hi-rise board meeting.

Buck naked but upended, the blue jean reigns.

Prompt: Blue jeans

* * * * *

Swimming-ly. How'd it go? Swimmingly. Swallow much? 

The crawl, or scissors kick, doggy paddle or breast stroke.

Combat swimmer, yeah, it's a thing.

Aqua-culture to cool a Depression Era audience, your Esthers, our Williams, we agreed to be thrilled, dampened and relieved

Sadly, we paddle around now in an arid infotainosphere with thunderous choices sans the aqua-spectacle, reminiscing a glossy smile uplifting from beneath the manicured waves of the studio tank.

Prompt: Swimming

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Trona: A Piece at a time

A hush fell on the world. It was a depopulated West but food wasn't a problem, electricity not a problem. It had been a hard landing but the dust had settled and there was enough of everything to go around. 

Devoted to collecting the Inheritors hug the desert dry lake and shun the the curationism that had poisoned the Gone world through a disastrous distraction that was global in scale.

Literally the inheritors of the world, they had no illusion about weaponizing nostalgia as it was already demonstrated to be a loaded gun. Loosely aligned across several cadre type organizations, they were the children of dispossessed consumers, rummaging through the middens for Dean Martin's drivers license.

Craft historians were revered and life was now organized by a striving to establish meaning in the accumulation of seemingly worthless and obscure objects organized into opaque hierarchies of value.

Spare parts and salvage, there was now enough of Ground Zero to go around.

[A bit of world building for a game scenario that was being kicked around last February.]

Monday, June 14, 2021

Council of Missing Persons: Mojave Chapter

We are missing you say. Maybe so. Missing or vanished?

The Mojave desert is both thin place and dumping ground. The latter, just look at the suburbanites tenanted upon its arid shores (the tide is long out, but never far away, listen). And the former, the surface of things hide their perforations. Finger-traced and ready to pry open, only a keen and indifferent eye can locate them leaving them untouched until disappearance and a way-in calls.

Advice. Gather your own lost souls, ones not yet willing or able to vanish. Disappearing into one's life remains mysterious and elusive. There is, after all so, so much, and so many things that seek to gain our attention and work our needs.

Questions. Doubtless there is much you want to know of us (and we want to know why the posted portraits are universally so unflattering - Interpol does a much better job). Who are we? Some of us are touched, intuitives if you prefer, and others are secret shoppers. The list is long and its very hard to pin us down despite the piled up saccharine comments and shotgun spray of personal identifying details platformed as flypaper upon our departure. This clumsy display acts as artisanal reclaimed wood to prop up and enliven drooping gossip, yet we remain hidden within the folds of a fantastic listicle.

Found. Yeah, that's agreed, Search & Recovery. But it's only remains, not animal and not really us as the DNA, the bone dust and dental records are all borrowed, passed on and bring no reward.

Many. Yes, there are enough of us to fill Amboy Crater but it's an inebriated rumor that we meet there annually. 

Gone. Do not distress. You're not yourself, they say. Get started and find something of substance, then we'll talk. Some of us have tinnitus as constant companion and may require repeated inquiry.

Our journey is not a quiz. There are only questions, and the answers lie elsewhere, dissolved and dislocated from an effortless causation. The journey is not over for us, just started.

Get yourself started. See you there!

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Waiting on Pangea Proxima

I look at my wrist. 300 millions years to go, more than enough time to sell real estate. I'd finished with undiscovered countries, those hidden from maps, but was still to negotiate a string of Late Pleistocene lakes that draped themselves across the Mojave. Beach front property, sold vertically, up-and-down across deep time, my clients learning the meaning of sunken costs while basking upon the bleached shore of a dry lake.

[Submitted to The Short Story Postcard Project, April 29, 2021]

Dale Basin Haiku

Sheephole Mountains

Pleistocene plenty
A palace of indifference
Observant, faithless

Mist veiled nabkhas
Dale glimmering snow white
day's pregnant unrest

eye drink Dale Lake dry
the baited brine noiselessly
swell a crystal crust

Virus dreaming green
off-grid, off-green, dry campers
Tuff Sheds on the lake

Desert tropes, Dear John
140 years of failed dreams
Ain't enough for me

Bad actors under
Aeolian blisters bake
ham-fisted desert

Hashtag swag, Dear John
suburban feralities
Ka-Ching, greener Green

Recovered memory
Larrea Tridentata
and managed retreat

On deckled shores
dry lakes measured in bits of
Rhode Island units

[From a work in progress]