Reading Houellebecq

The too real is uncomfortable. We are pragmatic. We are rational. We are realists. I am in the first third of the third novel by Michel Houellebecq, Platform. Yesterday I finished The Elemental Particles, before which I read Whatever. That I find him comfortable to read is to his favor, his characters are messed up, confused, deranged, ironic, post-modern, neo-existentialist. Choose your label, you won’t change the liquor within. You take the shot you get the burn. Jesus said that all of the virgins awaiting were given some oil and told to wait patiently for the groom (lucky guy) who would come soon.

Already past, every edit shifts the timing and makes lie any pretense at presence. Present tense. The I who writes is always here and now, and conceptually, assuming other people’s experience is similar to my own, as reader I hear the reading voice within here and now also. These words however are stones, chemical aggregates, ink on paper purposed by a carbon unit to convey meaning to other carbon units. I write, ecriture is the art I chose in my youth through which to express to God my appreciation to him for allowing me to be me.

In the poker game of my mind Wittgenstein has trumped all the French (Breton, Sartre, Camus, Lacan, Foucault, Barthes, Derrida, Badiou), and my Frenchies they are not happy. (There was a little attitude spun in the sequence of words, “Frenchies they” meaning that as I wrote in my head I did a little of that Alabama head-rolling that was one of the few joys I took away from my time in the deep South, in the last four words of the previous sentence.) Wallowing in self-pity, they give me Michel. One who dares to see and paint with words the emptiness that science sees as eternity, that yawning void inside each new certainty, the consideration that invites new questions. A gnarly little white man born on an island off the coast of Africa but French through and through. What did you do with the oil you were given?

What did you do with the talents I left you? Jesus asked in a different story. In yet another he says Father Abraham told the dead rich man that his living relatives don’t need to be told to fear eternity, they already know, just deny, deceive themselves. I think that’s the point, what he was trying to explain, trying to make clear.

What cannot be spoken of must be passed over in silence or something like that, and so Ludwig filled the heads of his students with the fragments, some simple some complex, no system but seeking. I think Ludwig understood that each of us understands as best we (deliberate grammar mistake excused to cover the sexist nature of the English language) can. When I read him I imagine him pondering and that gives me pause. I know there is something I’m missing, something I just can’t grok.

Peeking out from behind the curtain was a mistake, the damn dog saw me. Here they come, I’ve been exposed. There’s a fraud at the end of the yellow brick road (think the finale of Lloyd Webber’s Starlight Express, if it is part of your repertoire, the scope of your definitions, otherwise you won’t get it). I am not sure my potential reader will get the curtain reference, even after I threw in the dog, poor little Toto.

I’m not sure where the Light at the End of the Tunnel association came from, some existential correlation that intimates correspondence sparked, like adenosine diphosphate (the latest explanation, definition, differentiation as far as I can tell from Science, that determines that matter is alive). Spin the web and cast the spell. The words flow. Matter is alive.

I know I shifted metaphors, shared a play that was outside the game at hand. Did you notice? Did I catch you? Or did your mind object to trumps following poker? Were you bemused, offended? Prose poems are like that, they start and jump shattering paradigms, landscapes, philosophies. Grammatical abstractions, didja ever think mayhaps? Here I am, on this spot, spewing forth this stream of words, evoking a shared vocabulary with individualized meaning constantly reconsidered according to context.

You’ve got a scar on your forehead, Harry. Is he coming to get you? Is he coming to take you away, ha ha he he ho ho, to the funny farm, where life is beautiful all the time. Time gets a bad rap, I think, like Baudelaire’s dark beauty, Jeanne Duval. She was experienced and did what a girl had to do to get by but Charles knew that about her and accepted her as she was. She had dark blood, but wasn’t pure. Poor, she learned the ways of the street. It pleased her that Charles was so in love with her.

Just as I am sure she knew that he was already riddled with disease. He was, he’d been a bad boy long before he met Jeanne Duval. It was part of the problem, a vector in the equation that expresses his relations with his family and the denial of his birthright that resulted. I hope you hear the rhythm of my irony, twisting words, coloring meaning with shades of sarcasm. She fertilized his evil flowers. They each knew and accepted what they had in each other and they kinda sorta stood by each other, or at least they each gave the other an other with whom they could compare and contrast the significant, the important, the real.

To think that we can define meaning is meaningless, we cannot refine meaning to anything but a correspondence never implying causation but hopefully showing signification, that we are. And we know. And we carry on, (gentle soldier), we step up. We step out, we engage our surroundings, we listen for the rhythm and we begin to dance.

The social contract has proven itself quite elastic in these post-modern times, we dejectedly accept hopelessness in the face of the eternal, a host of gods means no God at all. We must accord respect to all because the eternal is beyond our understanding and since we can’t prove it, measure it, put it in a mathematical equation, render it in a process of steps. We are expected to accept that god is something that evolved out of man’s need to face the fact that things change. And in this Darwinian clockwork universe everything is random, survival of the fittest mathematically led to evolutionary striving to survive.

I have to consider which philosophical approach is most rationally provable intuitively to be probably true, that’s all I can do. Hear all the lylyly lelele la la la. I am the very model of the urban postmodern man. Not. I do indeed construct my understanding of the world in measurements and definitions but the erectile nature of mathematics demands a Lego-world where we pretend that “Everything is awesome!”

Just because science says it is so does not mean that it is so. A truth that demands despair and denies eternity is not true to me. I feel its falseness at my very core, from the emittance of existence that is aware that it is me, that Lacanian nothingness that fades away as you approach it, the I that knows he composes, out of experience, the means by which I apprehend existence. We cannot escape this conundrum, we must embrace it or despair.

Deeper deeper, by the love of Jesus, daily let me go. I embrace life and being because I have freed myself from believing and am receiving daily the glory and wonder of being alive. These words flow, how far I don’t know, I am alive as I write them and during the times when I don’t write, I feel the flow building hoping that when the release comes, there will be truth and beauty within the words that will spring from the seeds God planted in my soul, and he will accept my offering, these evil flowers, twisted blooms from one man’s life.

I am proud of these, my evil flowers, they make me smile. I think that God likes them, too. Humankind cannot bear very much reality, but God demands it.

Comparing time to Jeanne Duval was deliberate but I doubt many got it so I’ll explain it, so you can see if it plays for you, plants a seed so an idea can grow. David Bowie sings, “Time, he flexes like a whore…” and for me this was always Jeanne’s song, from the very first time I worked my way through Baudelaire’s tortured life in nineteenth century France. Houellebecq’s work stinks of evil flowers, his characters reek of the odors of orchids that doubt any consideration, those who lives by the social contract but dare to fart in public.

I sense I play too free with words, I spread images on my palate and blur the colors before shaping my shadows on the canvas. I ask the crowd to consider. Can you not feel something therein, a bit of the resolute resonance that opens up that secret smile I see when I see myself? I had heard of Houellebecq before the current brouhaha but had never come across any of his work. I remember hearing about his trial for inciting bigotry.   When opportunity arouse to examine his work, I took it. And am enjoying it. I have The Possibility of an Island for when I finish Platform and then a French version of Soumission which I might try to read even though my French is rather rusty.


Evil Flowers

I have a gnome warlock, Rikmastah, on the Darrowmere server of the World of Warcraft game Warlords of Draenor. He’s the mirror of my real main, Rikmanski, another gnome warlock, who is kind of retired on a different server. I have only played the latest expansion, Warlords of Draenor, with this character. I became a citizen of Azeroth just as Blizzard was getting ready to release The Burning Crusade, the first expansion. I have enjoyed experiencing life in Azeroth since, it’s been nine years or so.

In Warlords of Draenor the players are sent back in time, teleported to a time before the destruction of Draenor, the time before Draenor became Outland, the location of The Burning Crusade. The dungeons in the Caverns of Time allowed players to experience the opening of the Dark Portal that beaconed all adventurers to come see new worlds, discover new things, reveal new mysteries, kill new monsters, and best new bosses.

To enter the world of Warlords of Draenor the player works through a quite clever and fun scenario that results in the destruction of the Dark Portal and becoming trapped in the past, on a planet that we know to be doomed, cut off from the world as we know it, working with long dead heroes and the ancestors of peoples we have already come into contact with.

I can’t help but wonder, will the end of The Warlords of Draenor be the destruction on Draenor, the exile of the Draenae people to the Exodar? I still have a Draenae character, she’s stuck in her fifties, the ass just bothers me. I like to play third person over the shoulder, kind of like my little guy’s personal computer, one with a great deal of influence since my little guy usually follows my advice, does what I tell him to do. I say usually because sometimes lag interferes with my game, sometimes life interferes, sometimes it seems like something’s just messing with me, wanting to fuck me up.

I dropped an F bomb, used the F word. It is acceptable in twenty-first century postmodern casual discourse. It was not acceptable to the mid-twentieth century moderns who considered vulgarity base and degenerate. When I was young people wanted to look good, even poor people had enough pride in themselves to understand that their bodies, their physical being expressed how they felt about themselves about life. Today people, even those with wealth and good genes, are intent on defacing the majesty of themselves with ink and gages and pins and worse. And they want to call this defilement, this debasement, beautiful?

The dominant prose stance of the postmodern turn of the twenty-first century is the faux autobiography. The storyteller understands that he or she is only the sum of the impressions received by his or her awareness in the time that he or she has been existent. Even the wildest of imaginative products are the logical and necessary cognitive compositions forged out of experience to inform experience. This is the garden that I have managed to hold onto after nearly sixty years of life.

When I was young I thought that there was a great and masterful garden out there waiting for me to grow into. It was my destiny, my right. It was not true. True, there are a few great and masterful gardens out there, but not enough for everyone. When I quit waiting for someone to come along and give me all that I ever wanted just because I was me, I picked myself up and looked real hard around me and decided to compromise myself a little to open a door that led me to the beginning of the yellow brick road that hustled me here, finally, to the jeweled city in the desert.

Where I intend to spend the rest of my life and where I hope to meet my maker. I don’t know about all that other stuff. I read my Bible. I read the I Ching as well. The Qur’an, the Bhagavad-Gita, TS Eliot, Homer and Dante and Shakespeare. As intellectual awareness changes so does metaphor and method. It is a good thing (Martha Stewart), word speak of times and places that have no permanence, to the potential of conditions that delimit, that restrict, restrain, that bind and hold back. It’s hard to avoid running into the Enlightenment wall.

I reject the postmodern conclusion that either God is dead or there is not nor has there ever been a God. I reject any and all philosophies that have as a premise that God is an unnecessary complication for what is essentially a simple idea. One day, a long time ago, time and space just happened to become, and from that becoming time forced the scattering of space (or it could be the other way around, space allowed the unfolding of time), and because things happened to have happened just so we are who we are, or something like that.

I have played out these gathered parts, sought to reveal myself in this twisted bouquet of evil flowers. They are the only kinds of flowers I can produce in this hidden parcel of land wherein I have created my place apart. I gathered the few seeds that the accident of birth allowed me. I pour all that I am and have into their germination, their cultivation, I can only share what blooms, these evil flowers, products of my here and now.


Evil Flowers


Survival. Of the fittest. Survival. Continuance, continuity, not disappearing I know that I write these words because if you are reading them I am here. I get survival, I grok continuance, the finite and the infinite. I accept and embrace that reality is greater than my existence and I believe that I am who I am because I am who I am supposed to be, an open expression of faith and love, the great leap, it makes sense because I know it does.

I believe in God, the one and only God who manifested his presence to diverse peoples according to their needs being ever diligent for that soul that cries out, here I am, use me, Lord, make me… vanity, significant. I cannot get past that sin, that vain desire to survive through these words, to survive as Shakespeare survives, as Dante. To live on and find breath as new generations wage war on Troy, accompany Odysseus on his journey. Blind poet, Homer still delights me when I come across a good translator who has found a rhythm that allows me to enter the amphitheater, inhale the fragrant sacred herbs that allows the listener, me, to forget about here and now for a while, the drift into that holy imaginary place where the words heard become the word spoken and I am Achilles and I have just been told Patroclus is dead.

My youth is dead, it is hard to convince myself that there is still another flare of passion to be explored by this old body. Everything still functions and my desires haven’t abated one bit. Survival of the fittest is one of the foundations of evolution, along with the commonality all life shares, the sub-cellular creation of energy that is the spark of life that informs and makes possible through willful intervention of light converting earth into energy.

God is bigger than all that bull-malarkey. Darwinian evolution, L Ron Hubbard-Ian Dianetics, same-same so sorry. I am not a Scientologist and, other than sitting on their mailing list for years, I have no connection with the Church of Scientology. I am me, however, and it was during the time I was reading a lot of “holy books” by people like the Reverend Moon, and I decided to read Dianetics.

I read science-fiction because, as opposed to romantic fiction which examines relationships, or political fiction which deals with the ethics of society, science fiction is an exploration of the great “what if?” I knew about Dianetics from the TV commercials, which promised to show how to unlock the potential of the human mind. Being a reader of science fiction I had come across and was aware that L Ron Hubbard tried to present Dianetics as an alternative to psychology and hit upon the novel ideal of presenting his teaching as a religion to keep the hounds of social acceptability from ripping him apart as they, the powers that be, those who have the ears of, did to so many others who dared espouse any ideal that confused the evolving twentieth century man.

I also know about L Ron Hubbard because I am a student of the times, life, and work of Aleister Crowley. AC was a voluminous poet whose verse on more than one occasion rises to sublime heights. Having been born early enough to participate in the dawn of the twentieth century, Crowley benefitted from the shrinking of the known world that came with the Industrial Revolution. He was born well enough in the nineteenth century to secure his education and he had money and status enough to begin his adulthood with on a positive and progressive foot, which he mindlessly or mindfully, invested heavily in cruel shoes that led him down dark and dangerous paths always exploring the latest, the most adventuresome, the formerly forbidden or forgotten, the delirium of delicious substances from faraway places. Jack Parsons was a student of Crowley’s who, later in California, met a young adventurer, science fiction writer named L Ron Hubbard.

After I read Dianetics I saw something therein and, haunting all local used bookstores on a regular basis, managed to collect all the published public works of Dianetics and Scientology. Long story short, I think L Ron Hubbard was a great synthesizer who had the same goal as Crowley, as Darwin, as Shakespeare, as Dante, as Homer. To share what he learned. Survive is the perfume distilled from the flowering of the Darwinian understanding. Check out The Tone Scale, the Science of Life, L Ron’s application of the I Ching to his postmodern religion.

I have looked at some of the “other stuff” on the internet, the stuff the haters use to fight the organization. Having read Mission Earth, all that stuff is just noise to me, there’s a lot of sheeple (people who would rather or have been deceived into following) out there who need their mysteries and mayhem (Kansas).

A big part of the problem for me is that I don’t trust anyone or anything that claims to be the truth. There is only one truth, there is no god but God and all that I am and all I have had or ever will have, comes from God. All the rest is this and that, jots and tittles, bits and pieces. I don’t have any grand narrative, I have a myriad of narratives all glistening with the dew of truth, I just have to decide which biomes I wish to inhabit.




I want to tell the truth. The real truth, all the irredeemable reality of it. I know my experience, and my understanding thereof, are not common to most men. I am not completely uncommon, at least in my taste, one to four out of ten perhaps according to Kinsey. I am a male bonder, I seek physical including sexual intimacy with men. These words are too raw, they reek of the bitter perfume, the scent of the blood roses mixing mingling with the bittersweet smell of my blood, sacrifice demanded by the thorns that guard the rose.

So, I have to wonder, to consider, to weigh whether I am fooling myself by believing that anyone actually reads these words. I post these evil flowers to my blog, which contains my email address, because I have faith that I write these words for a reason. I have a lot (to me) followers and I get quite a few likes but my reasonable understanding of the nature of the chase after the almighty dollar makes me question whether there are any readers out there in Cyberia or is it all just a shell game. I usually check out the pages of those who like me, I wonder what they found to like in mine. There are some real pages, real poets, but I am old and they are all too young and I do not approach the young fool, I wait for him to approach me.

Every time I write I feel like I am working my way through another of Wittgenstein-ian considerations, Nietzsche-ian meditations, Baudelaire-ian aphorisms, whatever you want to call these bits of words, phrases, thoughts, ethical apprehensions. I tried to write beautiful poems but my soul rebelled, since the enlightenment men have written pretty verse, am I man enough to write the truth?

If nothing else I expected some reaction to the sophistomanifesto, my elaborate theory of art. I escaped a lot when I was young, got away from my mother and sisters, I would disappear early on weekends, I knew abandoned places, I had explored the woods and knew where the especially quiet places were. I remember my stepfather taking me along when he went to visit his friend and the games his friend’s kid and I played. I hated him, I wanted him. He would lay on the couch in his loose underwear watching football and sometimes, if he wasn’t careful, his dick and or balls would roll into view. The poet sings his happy song.

I didn’t choose to like the things I like, I just like them, the things that catch my breath and fix my attention. I have found this special place, in the heart of the park, just off the path, here, behind these bushes. My personal space, my own special garden. I’m feeling playful. Would you like to play with me today?

“I’m dancing as fast as I can” but it reeks of desperation and I really take exception to the thought that I am just an animal, the current state of biological evolution. This song, these words, my soul crying out across the distance, all signs “pointing the way to dusty death”. I thought that’s how things were, when I was a kid, there was school and church and when I was there I could be good. I tried real hard, anyway.

But I always had to go home and the rules were all different there. For a long time, most of my elementary childhood it was an endless parade of sitters and neighbors who gave my sisters a focus but didn’t know what to do about me. My neighborhood was urban but they hadn’t gotten around to the renewal part, there was an abandoned train station, the barrel factory, the local woods.

We moved around a lot when I was young but usually stayed within walking distance of the star cluster of bars that were the center of my mother’s attention. They were all different and I knew my way around them from an early age. I have tried to see it differently but I recognize what was through the grace of hindsight and I don’t want to judge and I understand you never got past the eighth grade and there wasn’t much a woman could do in the fifties.

But that’s just making excuses and that’s not what I want to do. I want to invite you into my garden. Convince you to come play with me a while.



Metaphors and mayhem. Three ems. Considered, deliberate. Symbol extended to the breaking point. “I love the sound of breaking glass.” (Bowie) Things have to be taken apart before they can be put back together. I don’t have title to this small clearing here where I am cultivating my garden.

Candide by Voltaire is a terrible story. Anything and everything that can go wrong does. Candide learns that everything he ever thought was true is false. And perhaps worst of all he comes to an understanding of human nature that leaves him with a sole desire, to tend his garden.

There are ways of seeing this in a positive light. When confronted by the naked reality of random evolution having a garden, where one is safe and derives a bit of personal satisfaction out of the layout and the obvious care that has been taken to set everything up just so, is a wise and life affirming approach.

But to withdraw, to just give up the fight, to find some way to content one’s self with. Oh, no. I still get hard. My penis still rises to the occasion. I can when I get an opportunity which isn’t as often as I would like but I’m old and most people don’t see me as a sexual being anymore.

I am a man, a male. The existential accident of my birth placed me in an environment where I was aware of and actively engaged with my penis. I remember it getting it hard and making it tingle before I matured. I remember playing with friends, doing the things we thought adults did, made each other feel good. I remember waiting to mature, bonding, sharing the mysteries of manhood, touching, tasting, testing.

The other boys grew up, grew out of it. Puberty changed things. I never got into pussy. I played the game and tried to convince myself that I wanted it but even after I had it I never understood it. I always knew I never wanted children. Was it this or growing up with my mother and sisters? Thank God, I was different. I was a boy. I was male.

Memory is a curious thought of reclamation, the bringing into awareness of evaluated experience. I remember my mother’s youngest brother doing things to me when I was a baby. I remember as a child having my face forced down on his erection, choking, I remember him trying to sit me on it. I also remember feeling real good, especially when he would put himself between my legs, and hold me, and make love to me.

I was warped and twisted from the very beginning. The elementary years are filled with secret places and naked games. I seemed to find other boys my age who knew about as much as I did and before long we were naked and acting out. By middle school and the onset of puberty I knew enough to keep to myself.

High School I didn’t do without but I didn’t get a whole lot either. One last close friend and the beginning of the time of unrequited lust. I was smart and I had friends, a couple of really good friends, but they knew nothing about my intense fantasy life. I discovered adult books and late at night I would project myself into whatever I was reading at the time and twist it into a celebratory masturbation fantasy.

I was young, I was male. This was before the internet and perpetual porn. I found my stepfather’s stash of porn but the only pictures that turned me on were those with a man in them. I remember one picture in particular, I was probably seventeen. The girl in the picture has brown hair, a real country girl look, nice full breasts. Clearly visible behind her was the long haired dude. She was sitting on his lap and his penis was firmly planted in her vagina. His big hairy beautiful balls hung free and clear between both sets of open legs.

At seventeen I had my little pocket rocket, I knew that I was not done growing. This has not been easy to write, forgoing facile metaphors. Three efs. Full of feeling threatening to laugh. I have let you into my garden and showed you where might and majesty marry mercy and benevolence. Dark blood roses an occasional splash of candy apple red. I would not take you back there if I could, even these rough words fail.

I could have forgotten, put it away, made it past. I will not forget, I am who I am for a reason, I do what I do. I will never forget, every day is another day I have to glorify God, I will embrace eternity.


Old Dog

According to the Wikipedia, “Modern humans (Homo sapiens or Homo sapiens sapiens) are the only extant members of the hominin clad, a branch of the great apes characterized by erect posture and bipedal locomotion, manual dexterity and increased tool use, and a general trend towards larger more complex brains and societies.”

Only extant. Singular. Branch. Darwinian differentiation. Walking on two legs and standing upright, being handy and putting the environment to good use, communication and cooperation creating an optimum environment.

The statistic pool contains the hypothetical every one, all potential is contained within, the probable, now that’s a different story. We cast our curves and find ourselves at the intersection of an infinite number of potential lines and so we focus and force ourselves to see the lines that ground us in the here and now again.

Males are humans who produce sperm to fertilize the eggs of the humans that are female. I am a male. My distinguishing characteristic as a male is my penis (and testicles). I have experienced my life as a male and, although I have read and studied, and even spent my adult life with one, I do not know or understand the experience of being female. I find it hard to believe that a woman has the same kind of relationship with her breasts or vagina as I do with my dick and balls.

I realized quite young that I am a male and I always knew that the female experience is different. Women are sexual creatures, I recognize that, but as far as where they go and how they get there, I haven’t a clue. I played games in my fantasies, once upon a time when I did that a lot, and tried to understand what it would be to be taken, to seek completion through insertion. It’s not the same, letting myself be taken.

Most men implies statistical probability. I am a sucker for statistic studies, especially if it concerns a social issue, people’s attitudes, human sexual proclivities. I do not know why but I always knew that I was not like my “fellows“, that common run of humanity amongst whom I found myself. The older I got the easier it became to find words to delineate it, which didn’t make it easier because for a long time they were just hateful words.

I do not know any other experience, any other life. My mother encouraged me to read and school provided escapes that I wish I had been smart enough to see as opportunities, but I was so ignorant then. I did not know and by the time I figured a lot of it out it was too late. Another lesson learned. I have reached my maturity.

Old dogs like to sit in the sun. I am my penis, head and shaft I stand erect facing the morning sun, the desert sun, my soul ejaculates I am so grateful to accept each day.

Old Dog