I haven't done anything with music for a while. On that note, I wanted to not only get back to it, but steer clear of the rock inclination I usually go down. Why? Because doing different things is how people grow. It's not a hard concept to grasp. In any event, I went with what I feel is a more atmospheric, and lighter tone than I usually aim for. In addition, I took a little time to sketch an image for a simple video. Said images are below. Enjoy!
Hey folks, currently busy with some other projects that're all coming together, yet somehow wrapping up at the same time. In other words, feeling a bit crunched, but that said, I still managed to take some time to put together new art. As such below you'll find a fresh piece entitled "Forest." It's based off some photos I took a while back for a miniseries I did called "Never Better" (http://honestyisnotcontagious.com/rants/never-better-part-5-blood-and-bone). Cleaning out files, and getting organized I stumbled on the unused photos, so started putting together the work you'll find below.
In other news, I just wanted to mention we've got regular flash fiction going as steadily as we can crank them out. You can find them on our Tumblr page (https://jackblankhsh.tumblr.com/). Why the separate pages? Because shameless self promotion requires reaching out across as many platforms as possible. Also, the flash fiction is literally written within a moment. I see something, it inspires a thought, so I take a picture and write a story based on whatever idea popped into my head. It's all done on my phone, and Tumblr is the easiest platform for me to access on the go. Stories come to life any time of day, so either check us out there, or maybe follow on Twitter @JackBlankHSH to catch reports on arrivals.
Anyway, thanks for tuning in, and I hope you enjoy "Forest."
Wearing ruby slippers
Every click bitters
Into starry eyes
What kind of fool expects
From gemstone flecks?
A desperate child
Who hasn't smiled
Since being exiled
To where a bear
Gnaws a square
Claiming to repair
Of family astronomy.
A constellation's dictation
Divination of a destination
By execution of an equation.
Nothing to lose
Dons the shoes
Clicking a bruise,
Or three, or four.
For any door
To exit the cesspit
Where the puppet
Is whipped with its strings
Until the stings
Seem the love of kings
Too mad to rule,
So in this school
A hammer is a tool
To open a mind,
Blind, and bind.
The children's books
Safe to let look
No cyclone left alone
Run hoping to be blown,
Carried off to Oz... wake wrapped in gauze.
No Munchkin applause.
The broken jaw is silence,
But defiance finds reliance
In words as healing balm
Recited as holy psalm
From L. Frank Baum.
kitty built a casket,
so dumb pup
or into the whacko basket.
Fell for a kitty queen
She's match-less kerosene
Burns at her desire
When she wants a fire.
She's the electric
In a live wire.
don't dare ask it.
an upper cut
to bust the final gasket.
To redecorate the scene
Painted better than
What it's always been.
High on toxic fumes
Misbelieve the looms
Won't weave simply
A path to tombs.
A little while back I got the chance to perform some spoken word at a fundraiser for a local Chicago theater company called Coffee & Whiskey Productions. Around then they were performing a show entitled "Karaoke Night at Al Capone's House of Pancakes." It was a wonderful play I personally enjoyed a great deal. Not only funny, and at times heartfelt, it possessed a quirky uniqueness that turned an old story into something fresh. These folks seem to really get that it's not just the story you tell, but how you tell it that matters. They've also got some great ideas on how to involve the audience as much as possible.
They can sum themselves up better than I can, so I encourage you to investigate the links below. That said, it was my pleasure to have an opportunity to help them raise some cash.
Anyway, getting back to shameless self promotion, here's the video of me reading a short piece entitled "Titan Canned." Enjoy!
Coffee & Whiskey Productions – Theatre is Conversation
Coffee & Whiskey Productions - Home | Facebook
My poem “Couch Rebels” can be heard on today’s edition of Coffee with Underhill. It’s a wonderfully laid back podcast, a nice quiet way to start, or wind down the day. This installment features three poems, and I thoroughly recommend you listen to them all. “Dream Lovers” and “Enjoy the Dance” really help round out the show, offering, it seemed to me, a subtle shared theme about love, daydreams, and the old chestnut carpe diem. But maybe you’ll get something entirely different out of the experience. That’s the beauty of poetry.
So enjoy Coffee with Underhill.
(WARNING: the following is inspired by an old dirty joke that has lived throughout the decades in many variations. That said, over time it’s gotten considerably less and less tasteful, to the point it is almost a kind of hideous attempt to reach the absolute bottom of the barrel in regards to decency. As such, it is meant for MATURE AUDIENCES only. In fact, it isn’t something close to decent, so no one should actually read – hey, put that knife down. Stop it. Oh my god, you stabbed me you psycho. HELP! HELP! Oh dear lord, it’s getting dark… the darkness… it’s empty.)
The family gathered for breakfast. Mom sat across from Dad, brother and sister opposite one another, and Grandma drifted around the kitchen on her motorized wheelchair. She seemed a little more focused than usual as she actually managed to avoid hitting the walls this morning. That put Dad in a decidedly good mood. He expected an excellent practice today.
“Eat up kids,” he said, “You’ll need the energy.”
Daughter rolled her eyes, “Are we practicing again?”
“Every day,” Dad beamed.
Mom nodded. Stirring her tea she said, “We have to practice honey. Every day.”
“And remember, big smiles!” Grinning, Dad shoveled a heaping helping of oatmeal into his mouth.
“Big! Smiles!” Son echoed. Mom and Daughter shared a thought, but didn’t speak it. The boy is young, they thought, yet shouldn’t he get it by now?
After breakfast the family went in the living room. The largest room in the house, it remained devoid of furniture allowing them the maximum practice space. Dad led the family through the usual ritual of stretches, his own personal blend of yoga and aerobics to keep them limber.
“All set?” Dad asked. Son nodded vigorously, while teen Daughter shrugged. Mom offered a weak smile.
From the kitchen Grandma shouted, “The Kaiser won’t take my virginity.”
Dad clapped his hands together, “Okay. We do as always, facing the south wall, acting like the agent, the stage, the audience, the whole world is watching.”
The way his eyes glowed, delighted at the spectacle he envisioned, the enthralled crowd – it reminded Mom why she fell in love with him. His passion filled the air with wonder. He conjured visions of wild psychedelic theatre which defied all reason, though he rarely brought a thing to the stage. Yet, tying her heart to him felt like lassoing a comet. Riding across the stars, she flew down the rabbit hole with him.
“Line up!” Dad snapped his fingers rapidly.
The family sprang into action.
“Big smiles, big smiles.”
They each donned a sunny grin. There could be no doubt practice made this display perfect. Standing shoulder to shoulder, from Dad the tallest to Son the shortest, and unintentionally, from oldest to youngest, the family addressed the bare southern wall.
Dad said, “Ladies and gentlemen, tonight we bring to you a performance you are guaranteed to have never seen.”
Mom added, “Witness a wonder for the ages.”
Daughter continued, “A marvel beyond comprehension.”
Son concluded, “And no, it’s not just our pretty faces…”
Brief chuckle then as one the family said, “It’s what we do.”
The family scattered, each to their designated spot. Mom and Dad hurried to opposite sides of the room, while Son and Daughter, diagonal from one another, flung open boxes containing juggling pins. Daughter pitched one to Dad, who threw it to Mom. Son pitched one to Mom, and she threw it to Dad. As such, the parents soon juggled nine pins, deftly hurling to one another until it seemed a stream flowed between them.
Son and Daughter walked through the stream without flinching. Though Daughter did close her eyes in worry, always afraid of another concussion, she made it to the other side unharmed. Meanwhile, Son walked down to center stage. In one motion he slipped his pants down, got on his knees, and bent over, ass up in the air. Daughter took a deep breath, focused, and sprang into action. She performed a flying roundhouse kick that fired a pin out of the stream, straight into Son’s asshole. She allowed a moment for the imagined audience to absorb what just occurred before going into another series of acrobatic kicks, firing pins at the already lodged peg, each strike hammering it deeper into the boy. Son endured every impact with a smile.
Daughter then did a split-kick firing the last two pins at Mom and Dad. The pins hit them right between the eyes. Not entirely feigning disorientation, the parents clownishly stumbled towards their mark, where they collapsed – Mom on top of Dad. Daughter ran forward, and using her parents as pummel horse performed a Yurchenko vault – round-off into a back handspring then launching off the parent-pile, somersaulting through the air – landing on the length of pin with her anus.
(This maneuver took some time to perfect as Dad insisted the family wear completely matching outfits. However, removing a pair of pants mid-Yurchenko proved too improbable. Eventually he relented, allowing Daughter to wear a sort of cheerleader outfit, so long as the color scheme matched. Something about their outfits being maroon and gold seemed of paramount importance. Mom soon got her own cheerleader uniform, and from there the acrobatics got a bit easier.)
Gripping the pin with their respective sphincters, the children proceeded to crawl away from each other, eventually pulling the peg out of the boy. However, it now remained lodged in Daughter. In gratitude, Son hugged Daughter. He seemed to squeeze her so hard the pin shot out of her asshole, all thanks to a well timed push on her part. However, when the anal cork popped it loosed a splatter of shit. Daughter grabbed a handful, and playfully slapped Son.
Soon the kids chased each around the room flinging feces at one another. By now the parents, having regained consciousness, though never really having been knocked out, stood watching their children. Given the look on Mom’s face, the shit tossing inspired a notion. Mom whispered in Dad’s ear, he nodded vigorously, and the two began furiously making out.
Stripping each other naked they dove into a wild display of intense porn-grade sexual zeal. The kids continued running around tossing shit. Dad shot them a look.
He growled, “Remember your cues!”
Daughter immediately flew out of her clothes. She sat down, spread her legs, and proceeded to fist herself. Son started jerking off. When he fired a stream of semen at her, he wagged his cock, some flecks hitting him in the face, but most landed on her chest in calligraphy script stating, “God Bless America.”
While Son licked Daughter’s breasts clean, Mom proceeded to bend Dad over. Using a juggling pin she churned his anus bloody. That cued Daughter to run over, leap onto Mom’s face, and twisting bring her down. Flat on her back, Mom smothered under Daughter’s vagina until she passed out.
(In the inky depths of her blackout she dreamt of life’s myriad roads. She traveled them all, but only in dreams. Although, at times, she accidentally lived the life Dad promised would come; once the act took off, and the family became famous…)
Son pushed Daughter off Mom, and started what appeared to be CPR. One might think it making out as well, and this preplanned either or allowed for the next dramatic moment. For as Son took a deep breath, pressing his lips to Mom’s, Dad did a power slide, using shit, sweat, and ass-blood to streak across the hardwood floor, plunging cock first into Son’s asshole. The penetration seemed to surprise the boy, who gasped a lungful into Mom. This cued her back to consciousness, though the timing sometimes left something to be desired. To that end, Dad fucked Son like some kind of sexual bellows, apparently pumping air into Mom until her eyes fluttered to life.
Mom rolled away from Son. She braced – leaving a pleasant dream behind – then performed a kick-flip. She started doing cartwheels, while Daughter did the same, until the two collided with one another. They fell into a pile, enthusiastically making out with one another.
By now the commotion drew Grandma into the living room. She rode in on her motorized wheelchair, eyes bulging in disbelief.
She cried out, “This isn’t what Sister Sledge wanted.”
The line always changed. Dad allowed for ad-libbing given the old woman’s age. However, whatever she said acted as cue.
The family disengaged from sexing one another. They circled Grandma like feral primitives. At a subtle nod from Dad the family attacked the old woman. They tore her apart with their bare hands. Any holes they ripped open, Son and Dad soon got to fucking; sometimes fighting each other for access to a delightfully tight gore-hole. Daughter grabbed a juggling pin to smash the bones of an arm then used the hand she snapped off to give Mom the shocker; while Mom sucked out Grandma’s eyes, spitting them into her hand, lubed with spit before shoving them up Dad’s asshole. When Son came he sprayed down the whole family, each decorated with a different Japanese character – sleep, dream, and beauty.
But only the most discerning eye could catch it. For soon the family plunged into a writhing pile of flesh. What started as orgiastic fucking became a violent tangle of teeth and claws – the blood orgy. Every conceivable bodily fluid poured from them, spreading a puddle of human grease across the living room.
Throughout the whole performance they never stopped smiling.
(Son never knew any other life. Daughter tried not to think of the time she ran away for a week; the wide world nothing like home. Mom started counting down to her impending blackout from blood loss – what dreams would come?)
For some reason the boy always died first. So the end tended to be the same. Dad stomped his teeth out, and stuck his cock in Son’s mouth. Daughter strangled Dad from behind, while using a chunk of Grandma-bone to shiv him in the kidneys. Mom pounced on Daughter’s back, biting into her neck and fondling her blood covered breasts. She managed to rip open Daughter’s throat, arterial spurts shooting red ribbon several feet. Dad appreciated that. More dramatic, he thought. Daughter spun around, and wildly stabbed Mom with the bone shiv as many times as possible before collapsing. Mom rapidly bled out.
Pulling out of Son’s mouth, Dad turned to face the audience. Finally able to cum, he unleashed a torrent at them shouting, “We are the Aristocrats!”
He fell down dead, flopping face first into a smear of blood, shit, and his own jizz.
Floating in the darkness Dad thought, “Not a bad rehearsal.”
“Not bad at all,” the voice spoke. It always answered him. It always spoke honestly. Some would say it said what Dad wanted to hear, but Dad didn’t have time for such doubters. Those kinds of people plagued his whole theatrical career.
The naysayers constantly shooting down his grandiose visions – “It’s impossible,” they’d say, and no matter what he did no one gave him a chance.
He wanted to throw a live grenade into a mosh pit during a punk show. Too dangerous; someone'll die.
“But they’ll never forget the show,” he said.
No one listened to him. No one possessed the scope of his vision… until one evening lying in the bath – seventeen Oxy and a bottle of vodka – he slipped into the darkness, and heard the voice.
It filled all of space and time. It offered a deal. He accepted.
“I think you’re ready,” the voice spoke.
Dad said, “One more rehearsal. Then the act will be perfect. We can’t have any errors, or folks might not get the metaphor.”
“Right, right it’s a metaphor. Well, I’ll resurrect your family, and you can practice again.”
“Thanks. You won’t regret it.”
The voice replied, “I never do.”
“No one’s going to forget this act.”
“And that’s all that matters.”
The family gathered for breakfast…