Two Views of the FreakShow

It was a dusty, blow away town. The crowds here were larger than otherwise, since people here had nowhere else to be. Nowhere they wanted to be otherwise. Surely this was encouraged by the entrance fee, reduced to a scant two bits, cheaper, brother, than the run down movie “palace” on what passed as small town Main Street.

Come and See


The movie house had worn carpets where the tents at the freak show were bare earth. It had dim lights where here there were full views. Couples would kiss there, in the balcony, if they were not interrupted by an usher serious about a morals policy. Here there was freedom. Still, there was less often kissing among the visitors, as the atmosphere was not as encouraging to amorousness amongst the patrons.
And they were patrons. They made all this possible.


The barker intoned as much when he spieled, “Friends, you make all this possible. Were it not for you these unfortunates would languish in poverty and obscurity. Shame, my friends. Shame. We expose the wonders of the natural world. A view of humanity and decency. We thank you for your kind patronage. And please, no screaming in the tents. This way to the attractions.”
Hard times. These small towns were the only thing keeping the show afloat. For now.


“Mr. Mayor,” said the barker as he tipped his hat to a little old man at the head of the line. He knew this man from his years in the trade. And he wasn’t the Mayor, just the oldest man in town. And a grump, as well. But everyone treated him as if he were the mayor, as an act of street magic. A psychic pay-off.
“Hmph,” answered the mayor, as he flitted his hand in the air, shooing the barker away. But the barker stood where he was and smiled as the mayor passed by and in. It is a service industry.


The old man came as a tradition. He had experienced a good night here, at a traveling carnival, so many years ago it was the last century. And he relived it, just a taste. A tantalizing remembrance faded through the years. When he was here it was as close, and as far, to or from the fact as he got. It was happiness and sorrow. Punishment and reward.
But it was best not to speak of it, for it was, at its heart, at that time, forbidden.


Inside a tent, people gathered before the stage. They were muted. There was an eagerness to proceed. The crowd stood hungry. Alert.
The curtains billowed.
“Ladies. Gentlemen. Fear-st your eyes at the sight. Incomparable. Are we not all in our heart alone? Do we not stand by ourselves in the wilderness looking for a trail? A clearing? A safe shelter? This girl was kept down in the cellar at the estate of her family and spoken of only in hushed tones. But here, at last, now…”


And the curtain parted. And she sat overlooking the crowd.
And there was an instinctual gasp, collective. As all viewed her in silence thereafter. It was even as if the mayor was impressed.
They looked at her. And she at them.


It was what they did. The onlookers looked on. But what would the spectacle do? It was the spirit of reciprocity. If they could look in, we could look out. For what is one to do when they are reduced to spectacle but to become a spectator? To look out from oneself. To assimilate.
They look at us. We look at them.
And we wonder.


The faces, the bodies. The hidden truths unspoken. Passions. Dreams. Lusts. Hope. Illusions. Disillusionment. Despair. Apathy. Silence. Depression.
Look out at them and read it in their faces and bodies. Worn in. Weared out. Lost. Each, in their way, lonely. Abandoned somewhere, sometime.
Time passed and no one said nothin’.
Then the curtains closed.


“Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, I am always impressed by the maturity of our patrons. And we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. And if you will proceed to the next attraction I’m sure you will find something quite different, though who can say what one sees rather than another? A matter of perspective.”


The old man was bitter. All he saw! He saw! The mayor he was resolute. “Weren’t nothin’ wrong with that girl ‘ceptin’ the…”
But he got pushed aside by the crowd as they made for the exit, and on to the next social distraction, talking about how shocking it was. A release valve for the strain of the mainstream. There but for grace…


When he was a boy he saw a theatrical extravagance, or so it was billed. Two men presenting selections from the bard, but they were just making it up, talking gibberish. And while it got good word of mouth in the beginning, by the end the town came to tar and feather the charlatans, who escaped before the last show, leaving all the people in town alone in the hall with rotten produce, tar, and feathers. And no one would talk about what happened next. But the old man remembered. And he laughed.
But people today ain’t got the sense of yesterday.

Cupidity

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It’s time for a tale of love. A love story, if you will.

As old as the fingers of fate that surround.

Heartwarming! Hearts on fire.

“Someone Else’s Memories” and “Line of Flight” from the album The Politics of Desire by Revolution Void licensed under Creative Commons Attribution License 3.0.

“Winner Winner!” “Divertissement,” Schmetterling” and “Off to Osaka” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

Genie, Genie, Genie

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A sparkling new podcast episode which dares tell the truth about wishes and the human heart.

“Winner Winner!” “Divertissement,” “P.I. Tchaikovsky Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy,” “Ghost Dance,” “I Knew a Guy,” “Camille Saint-Sans Danse Macabre” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

“Someone Else’s Memories” from the album The Politics of Desire by Revolution Void licensed under Creative Commons Attribution License 3.0.


Rabbit Digs the Hole

The Rabbit needed a place to rest. And the safety in the open was a matter, as usual, of grave importance. So he claimed the right of the land and began to dig. Down. Sloping down. Into the cool and welcoming Earth. Some creatures were displaced, with as much grace as could be administered in the circumstance, and a network of tunnels joined the network of tunnels that formed the local underground. A refuge of perpetual night.

Idle Rabbit, Rabbit Idol

One digs to escape, dig it?

There were Moles in the underground.

It was to be expected. As the rabbit was relaxing after a cool dig, in the cool splendor of his new digs, one of the moles literally tripped over him.

“I say, who’s there?” shouted the Mole in a horse whisper. 

“I am just an adventurer,” said the Rabbit. “I am not a fighter.”

One digs to escape, dig it?

“Well, sir,” said the Mole, “You are a malingerer! Hiding away from the troubles of the world! A shirker. What do you say for yourself?”

“At the moment,” said Rabbit, “Nothing.”

The accusation was not without some merit.

“Deadly silence,” said the Mole.

And there were dim eyes all around. The underground. Moles in the underground. Suspicious. For good reason.

One digs to escape.

“We are the consolidated underground,” said the Mole. “We are what is left of those who came before. Scraps. Bits and pieces.”

“Where will you go from here?” asked Rabbit.

“Onward,” said the Mole. “To the inevitable ending. We fight no longer to win, no longer is it personal survival which drives us. We fight especially hard when we cannot win, for then our actions matter even more. For then it is a matter of righteous history.” He shrugged his slight shoulders. “We travel the underground. It provides escape routes and comfort. Comfort is, you know, fleeting in this world.”

Among the Moles were scattered others. To the far side was a Shrew. Her eyes illuminated and flickered reflecting the Rabbit’s light. 

Dig it?

“Now,” said the Mole, “We construct the story of our glory. Battling against great odds we keep true to our ethics. And hope that our ideals emerge victorious. You see young Vanja. She joined us after her village was destroyed. We have scattered into cells and travel the tunnels. We emerge one at a time and tell our story at random locations, to random listeners. Then we retreat back underground. It is the only way. Vanja is particularly adept at this kind of warfare. It is like starting a thousand fires. It is uncontrollable. It is unconquerable.”

“Have you heard,” said Vanja, “The song of the traveler? It is reverberating everywhere. The traveler landed in a field. Fell out of the sky. And arose. It was a celebratory feast the traveler had landed on the outskirts of. There were park benches and food. Flowers. And merriment. But the traveler saw above the festivities hung the body of a man, dangling over the events. Still. And no one else gazed toward the sight. Instead children played and lovers fraternized, even quarreled over trifles, while above the man twisted in the happy breeze. And the traveler said, ‘Who is that man? Why does he hang around here?’ And the crowd turned ugly. For it was not a topic for polite conversation. And words were minced. And there were misunderstandings and malice. And the traveler left, for it was not the destination, you see, but afterward people kept looking at the hanging man, who they had previously forgotten. And they were ashamed. But they did not know what to do about it. And that is how the picnic was spoiled, but there were disagreements about why.”

art by Richard F. Yates

The marketing of desires unfulfilled

Scene from a pornographic film in 8 millimeter, silent:

A title card read: “Oh, Eros! God of Love! Forgive me!”
There are street scenes of people of all ages walking alone in the city. At the park. Eating alone in a restaurant, an act Rain considered the impetus for the creation of drive-through windows, and then, as she thought this, a shot of cars lined up at a drive through window, each car with one passenger. A shot of exhaust spilling out of the tail of an idle car, ready to go but confined in line, waiting for full satisfaction, only to be thwarted by industrialized processed food from which most nutrients were removed, prompting a drive to continue consumption in order to fill the resulting void which was bottomless. Top off. Always.

Continue reading…

New Books! New Books for Old!

Two NEW books for the New World.

Sex Robot Cuddle Party & At the Existential Sandwich Shop;An older book: Perils of Free Thought: a book of no small danger and my oldest books revised and reformatted for the world of the future, Scenic Cesspools (a novel of transgression) and Hard Fought Illusions of Choice.

Available from Amazon, KOBO, Barnes & Noble, Overdrive

Continue reading…

Apropos poem

I propose. A tax on marriage.
And other things I may disparage.
I further call for attacks on syntax.
A sin tax on grevious body attacks.
A body tax on mischievous snacks.
Some thumb tacks
To impress some paper
About the accord.
To hear read aloud at the notice board.
A blanket tax on climate change.
A partial tax on a rearrange.
A carpet tax on well thrown rugs.
A rug tax for a balding thug.
I ask for all these things in turn.
So we may all have money to burn.

Classic comedy explained for today

Marx Brothers
Four brothers find their identities through wildly exaggerated cultural appropriation. One is an unscrupulous Italian, One is an unruly and frenetic Mute pushing himself in everyone’s personal space, One is a wise-cracking Southern Gentleman of no means, and the other appears normal which is the joke. Sometimes there is singing. Sometimes musical solos with no explanation.
Why it is funny: Zeppo! His name is Zeppo!

Abbot and Costello
Two associates stick together no matter what. One is a well mannered gentleman who has a knowledge of strange ethnic names and generously tries to impart this knowledge to his associate, and is known for his patience, as the other man lacks the patience to follow along. That one is known for his catch phrase, “Hey, Abbot. Hey, Abbot.” 
Why this is funny: Today there are medications for this!

I Love Lucy
Lucy and Ricky are involved in a heteronormative BDSM relationship sometimes involving their neighbors Fred and Ethel. A complicated power dynamic is played out in the sample episode wherein the ladies buy new fancy hats, against the wishes of the men. Afterwards it goes according to the setup: each couple retires to their private domiciles and the women are spanked over the men’s knees as they wail. 
Why it is funny: Hats! Closets full of hats! Her name is Ethel! Separate twin beds!