Friday, April 4, 2014

Night Falls For Each of Us

But when it falls for all of us,
who'll be left to mourn?
The stars will be set free from their constellations.
The moon will breathe a sigh of relief,
and return to its state of modesty.
The sun will rise unanticipated,
and not be held accountable for anything at all.

Best of all, hell will finally freeze over,
while heaven waits...forever.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The new journal's here! The new journal's here!

Ok, so it's not exactly new, but volume 31, #1 of the South African Journal of Philosophy is now free and clear (emphasis on 'free') to download at your leisure. Did I mention it's the volume focusing on antinatalism? Well, now I have.


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Prodigals are the Exception (that prove the rule?)

It's been an interesting journey for Christian, known as Waywardhorizon over at YouTube where I sometimes hang out. He mocked antinatalism for a season, then embraced the philosophy, then rejected it, and has now come to champion its cause once again. He is an intelligent, thoughtful and sensitive young man. He's also a budding filmmaker, which will make his future contributions to the discussion even more interesting; at least, that's what I'm anticipating. Christian has also started a blog, which I've added to the roll. Here's the link:
(Lightlessness: Rejecting a Futile Existence)

and a link to his YouTube channel:

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Richard Cory and The Mill

A couple of my favorites from Edwin Arlington Robinson-

Richard Cory

Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
Clean favored, and imperially slim.

And he was always quietly arrayed,
And he was always human when he talked; 
But still he fluttered pulses when he said,
'Good-morning,' and he glittered when he walked.

And he was rich - yes, richer than a king -
And admirably schooled in every grace:
In fine, we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.

So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without the meat, and cursed the bread; 
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head. 

The Mill

The miller's wife had waited long,
The tea was cold, the fire was dead;
And there might yet be nothing wrong
In how he went and what he said:
"There are no millers any more,"
Was all that she heard him say;
And he had lingered at the door
So long it seemed like yesterday.

Sick with a fear that had no form
She knew that she was there at last;
And in the mill there was a warm
And mealy fragrance of the past.
What else there was would only seem
To say again what he had meant;
And what was hanging from a beam
Would not have heeded where she went.

And if she thought it followed her,
She may have reasoned in the dark
That one way of the few there were
Would hide her and would leave no mark:
Black water, smooth above the weir
Like starry velvet in the night,
Though ruffled once, would soon appear
The same as ever to the sight.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Another Saturday Night (and I ain't got no body)

I've been digesting some stuff that happened a few weeks ago, and I guess I'm finally ready to write about it, so here goes. I believe it was the last Saturday in February, I'd just gotten to work and had a few minutes before I clocked in. I was chilling at one of the outdoor tables huffing my vapor pen, when I heard somebody calling my name. It was Mike, the homeless guy with the wrecked knee who got stabbed 14 times last year, hobbling up the driveway in my direction. Mike is 61 and lives on the streets. He always has a tale of misery to tell, like the time he fell asleep in the rain and froze to the bench he was sleeping on. His latest misadventure involved getting pinched pretty hard between two cars in the grocery store parking lot where he and others of his tribe hang out a lot. Fucked up his knee even worse, if that's possible, and the accident also left him badly bruised all the way up his side. Par for the course for Mike, I'm afraid.

Anyway, we traded a few short sob stories, which we tend to do when we run into each other. The streets are filled with such stories, and being a sympathetic ear I'm regaled with more than my fair share of them. With 3 minutes to go, I was just getting ready to beg off when Mike says to me "Yeah, things haven't been the same since Mo' died. I wrote some words, but nobody would give me a ride to her funeral."

"Wait a minute. Who died?" I held my breath.

"You know, Monique over at Denny's." And I just...lost it.

Monique was a waitress at the Denny's near my own place of employment. Many's the night when I'd wander over there after work, 2 or 3 in the morning, and try to get some reading or writing done before the sun came up. Monique was usually there, and I seldom got much work done because we hit it off, and she'd usually sit down at my table between customers (very few at that time of day), and we'd chat about this and that. Her fiance, who was unemployed and therefore had nothing more productive to do (I assume) often hung out there all night to keep an eye on his lady, and sometimes the three of us would stand outside in the cold, and we'd smoke and talk and laugh, and for that small slice of time everything seemed right with the world. Kinda, anyhow.

Monique was young, maybe in her early thirties. Divorced. Three kids. She was bright, and warm, and seemed mostly content with her lot in life. She was also very, very thin, which I suppose was natural considering the fact that she had cervical cancer, unbeknownst to me at the time. I think part of me loved her, in that way that old men love some young, vibrant people for the warm energy they put off. So when Mike gave me the news, it hit me pretty hard. I was just in the process of standing up when the truth of what Mike was saying hit me, and I swear my knees almost gave way, and I almost started to cry, when I realized that I had 1 minute left before I had to clock in. So, I grabbed hold of myself and stumbled towards the door, all the while Mike apologizing for hitting me with the news that way, which made me feel even worse because what the hell did Mike have to apologize for, anyway? And I went inside, put on my apron and went to work, hands shaking and all. I guess everybody could see that something was wrong, but it was all I could do to maintain my composure, so I just sort of shut everything down except my hands, and tried to lose myself in my shitty job as best I could.

Eventually I got into the swing of things, calmed down, because you gotta do what you gotta do, right? Only, I kept seeing her face, hearing her voice, plus I felt like I'd taken quite a beating in the solar plexus. Still, things could have been worse. Oh, yeah, things DID get worse didn't they?

So, it was getting to be around 10pm, and I was just starting my pre-closing routine in the kitchen when some guy stumbles into the dining room looking more than a bit distressed. "What now?", I'm thinking, then he makes his way up to the counter and groans out something incomprehensible. It took two or three attempts before I finally gleaned what he was trying to tell me. "Call 911" was what he was saying, and then he wobbled a bit, fell to the floor, grabbed his chest and started screaming out loud. All this scared the bejeezus out of the girl I was working with, so I sent her to the back to dial emergency while I stayed with the guy and tried to calm him down. His screaming eventually died down to a pitiful moaning sound, sort of like what I imagine a dying cow might sound like, his hand grasping his chest as he lay on his side on the cold tile floor in a fetal position, all the while me leaning over him and telling him he was gonna be ok, that help was coming. But he kept fading, and fading, and then he turned onto his stomach and his face was pressed flat against the tiles, and it was about then that I felt myself rising out of my body, out through the top of my head like steam escaping from a kettle. I didn't go far; just sort of floated there above my head like one of those cartoon lightbulbs when somebody gets an idea. And right before the guy passed out, he managed to turn his head slightly, but just enough to look at me and whisper "My name is David. I'm sorry." Then he closed his eyes, and was gone.

No, he didn't die. Actually, the paramedics showed up right about that time, and they brought him back. I'm not even sure he had a heart attack. Meth is really popular around here, and while that shit can definitely fuck your heart up, sometimes things seem worse than they really are, which seems to have been true in this case. So they strapped ol' David to the gurney and hauled him away, and I haven's seen him since, which I'm hoping is good news one way or the other. As all the excitement petered out I slumped back into this mortal meat, had a cold shiver or two, eventually returning to my work. Did my spirit really leave my body? Did ancient astronauts really supervise the building of the Great Pyramid at Giza? Will Monique's children and finance be reunited with her in the after life? Nah, nah and most likely...nah. In the end, it was just all a bunch of shit that happened, ultimately meaningless and all forgotten soon enough. But I've been seeing Monique's face ever since all this went down, floating there behind my mind's eye, forever young, forever true to her children until she just couldn't manage anymore. And I want to weep again.

One more thing: Mike tells me that Mo' was looking really bad the last time he saw her. She was yellow, a result of progressive organ failure, he tells me. He told her she looked like shit, and should go home, but she said she needed the money. Monique made it through her night at work, then went home and died. I wish I'd seen her one more time, although I'm not really sure why. Just to be a witness, I guess, like when I have dogs put to sleep I always stay with them and hold them 'til they're gone. To be there with them until the final moment, when that big steel door opens to the other side of eternity and they pass through, never to be known again.

So, yeah, that's how I spend my Saturday nights...sometimes.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

No, Really!

Seriously, I'm getting back to work. Thing is, see, although I realize that some things bear repeating, I just can't bear constant repetition, if you know what I mean, so I've been in a bit o' quandary. I think I'll try to bypass the cloud of pedantic obfuscation that's been hovering over the subject in certain venues, opting instead for the blood and guts of the thing; both literal AND figurative blood (a clarification for those still playing along. You out there?).

In case you haven't heard, my book has been mentioned a couple of times as being source material (along with others, and ESPECIALLY Tom Ligotti :)) for the recent HBO series 'True Detective'. Well, reading material, anyway. Yay for me? Anyhow, it'll be coming out soon in Ebook format according to Chip at NineBandedBooks, which'll be nice for a number of reasons, I think. I'm also working on a revised and expanded version due...well, whenever. You know how it goes.

Oh, I'm also on Twitter now. Again, yay for me. Not much substance coming from this corner, but LOTS of emoting, I promise!

Say No To Life

Ok, ok, I'll be back to writing here very soon. In the meantime go check out Karl's blog, 'Say No To Life'. Great articles, great comment threads.