Tag Archives: POET

The Belles of Picardy and more by V. Alarcon Cordoba


Joaquín doesn’t live here anymore . . .


“… he died of the Vietnam War

from drug and alcohol abuse.” — it’s what I tell
whoever still asks about my brother

I remember Joaquín
he used to fill my head with stories
about days he’d spent on furlough
in the summer of ’67
in San Francisco
while recuperating from two broken legs
at Treasure Island Naval Base hospital

he described in foggy detail the Haight-Ashbury
the Fillmore
how he’d watched Eric Burton
who was a regular then
tripping on acid
singing blindfolded
daring himself to not walk off
the edge of the stage

he also introduced me to his Missouri Meerschaum
a yellow corn-cob
with a tortoise-shell colored plastic mouthpiece
and the small bag of Vietnamese
he had smuggled
from his tour of duty in ‘Nam

my thoughts
a stream of moving pictures

I closed my eyes
and in an instant
opened them

the bohemian . . .

… painting the pages

The Belles of Picardy


… during
the Vietnam War
I became a conscientious objector

I looked with horror
at photographs of overcrowded cemeteries
with no room left to bury the dead

tombstones lined up shoulder to shoulder
on the landscape of Europe
like soldiers marching to their death

I remember
the photograph
of my father in uniform
bringing to mind that he had indeed
been one of the lucky ones
who had made it back in one piece
from the Pacific Theatre

in my head I heard bells tolling
hammering to the beat of foot marches
an anthem to the dead

and to my brother
who was yet to die the slow death
of Vietnam’s lingering poison

I called it
The Belles of Picardy
an imaginary war march sung by the nymphs
that beckon soldiers

from every cathedral bell tower
in every corner of the world
to the Fields of Flanders

(for years I had watched the dismal gray theater of Eastern Europe
never realizing that what they depicted could one day come true)

the bohemian . . .

… painting the pages

ABOUT V. ALARCON CORDOBA  -VISIT HIS TERRIFIC BLOG  –  the bohemian  @  https://alarconvictor.wordpress.com

I am a writer of poems, short stories and existential fantasies. My writings should be read as lyric paintings—theater of the mind (to borrow a phrase from Eugene O’Neill). They are better viewed as pictures rather than verse—the vivid blue of a Paris street illuminated by a harvest moon and a lovers’ quarrel at 3 o’clock in the morning, or the sunlit yellows of a Kansas wheat field in a rolling epic of the American West.

They are fiction, but filled with the realization that one will eventually wake from the dreams of childhood. But those dreams, though doused, are never fully extinguished. Life is change. Life goes on. Dreams remain forever. Find your dreams.

Have you ever found yourself caught in a trap so subtle you wonder how you ever got there in the first place? Have you ever needed to get out of a situation, but were too enticed by desire to leave? In Flatland – A Modern Southwest Adventure Icarus Dade finds himself in the grip of just such a web of intrigue.

When a railroad accident in the Four Corners region of the New Mexico desert leaves him stranded, Icarus finds life much more complicated than he could have imagined. Follow along as he becomes entangled in a seemingly inescapable net of love, corruption and betrayal in the double-dealing small town justice of Flatland.

Now available at the following:





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Norman J. Olson a few more poems and artwork

Norman J. Olson a few more poems and artwork

Norman J. Olson a few more poems and art

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Published on Apr 22, 2014


a brief poetry reading and art by Minnesota small press poet and artist Norman J. Olson

imcd45ages                                                                         imcdeages






Ana’s GuitarThis is my friend Ana’s Guitar.

Ana is a Poet who, some years ago, went travelling through Nashville, Tennessee collecting and patching memorabilia to this guitar. The arm sticking out from the bottom of the photo is Mr. Howdy Doody’s Puppet!

If you view this in larger size you can read the details on leaflets.

You can view this in Large here;



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I am in love – and, my God, it is the greatest thing that can happen to a man. I tell you, find a woman you can fall in love with. Do it. Let yourself fall in love. If you have not done so already, you are wasting your life.

— D.H. Lawrence


excerpt from LADY CHATTERLEY

D.H. Lawrence

D.H. Lawrence Biography

D.H. Lawrence
I am in love – and, my God, it is the greatest thing that can happen to a man. I tell you, find a woman you can fall in love with. Do it. Let yourself fall in love. If you have not done so already, you are wasting your life.

— D.H. Lawrence
Poet, Playwright, Author, Journalist (1885–1930)
D.H. Lawrence is best known for his infamous novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover, which was banned in the United States until 1959, and is widely regarded as one of the most influential writers of the 20th century.
Born in England on September 11, 1885, D.H. Lawrence is regarded as one of the most influential writers of the 20th century. Lawrence published many novels and poetry volumes during his lifetime, including Sons and Lovers and Women in Love, but is best known for his infamous novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover. The graphic and highly sexual novel was published in Italy in 1928, but was banned in the United States until 1959, and banned in England until 1960. Garnering fame for his novels and short stories early into his career, Lawrence later received acclaim for his personal letters, in which he detailed a range of emotions, from exhilaration to depression to prophetic brooding. He died in France in 1930.Early Life
Author D.H. Lawrence, regarded today as one of the most influential writers of the 20th century, was born David Herbert Lawrence on September 11, 1885, on the Haggs Farm in the small mining town of Eastwood, Nottinghamshire, England. His father, Arthur John Lawrence, was a coal miner, and his mother, Lydia Lawrence, worked in the lace-making industry to supplement the family income. Lawrence’s mother was from a middle-class family that had fallen into financial ruin, but not before she had become well-educated and a great lover of literature. She instilled in young D.H. Lawrence a love of books and a strong desire to rise above his blue-collar beginnings.Lawrence’s hardscrabble, working-class upbringing made a strong impression on him, and he later wrote extensively about the experience of growing up in a poor mining town. “Whatever I forget,” he later said, “I shall not forget the Haggs, a tiny red brick farm on the edge of the wood, where I got my first incentive to write.”As a child, D.H. Lawrence often struggled to fit in with other boys. He was physically frail and frequently susceptible to illness, a condition exacerbated by the dirty air of a town surrounded by coal pits. He was poor at sports and, unlike nearly every other boy in town, had no desire to follow in his father’s footsteps as a miner. However, he was an excellent student and in 1897, at the age of 12, he became the first boy in Eastwood’s history to win a scholarship to Nottingham High School. At Nottingham, Lawrence once again struggled to make friends. He often fell ill and grew depressed and lethargic in his studies, graduating in 1901 having made little academic impression. Reflecting back on his childhood, Lawrence said, “If I think of my childhood it is always as if there was a sort of inner darkness, like the gloss of coal in which we moved and had our being.”In the summer of 1901, Lawrence took a job as a factory clerk for a Nottingham surgical appliances manufacturer called Haywoods. However, that autumn, his older brother William suddenly fell ill and died, and in his grief, Lawrence also came down with a bad case of pneumonia. After recovering, he began working as a student teacher at the British School in Eastwood, where he met a young woman named Jessie Chambers who became his close friend and intellectual companion. At her encouragement, he began writing poetry and also started drafting his first novel, which would eventually become The White Peacock.


D.H. Lawrence’s New Mexico: The Ghosts That Grip the Soul of Bohemian Taos





Bavarian Gentians
The Wild Common
How Beastly the Bourgeois Is (1929)
The Ship of Death (1933)

COOL PEOPLE – Charles Bukowski

Charles Bukowski

Birthday: August 16, 1920
Birthplace: Andernach, Germany
Real Name: Henry Charles Bukowski
Parents: Henry Charles and Katharina [Fett] Bukowski
Description of Father: “[A] cruel shiny bastard with bad breath . . .”
Education: Attended Los Angeles City College, 1939-41
Work History: Manual worker in a dog biscuit factory, slaughterhouse, potato chip warehouse and various other dead-end jobs; Postal Carrier; Postal Clerk; Drunk
Medical History: Suffered from Acne Vulgaris, Hemorrhoids, Acute Alcoholism
Literary Influences: Conrad Aiken, Louis Ferdinand Celine (Journey to the End of the Night), Catullus, Fyodor Dostoevsky (Notes from the Underground), John Fante, Knut Hamsun (Hunger), Ernest Hemingway (early writings), Robinson Jeffers (long poems), James Thurber
Nonliterary Influence: Red Strange (aka Kid Red), a mentally ill tramp and derelict friend of Bukowski who wandered the highways and byways of America. Bukowski often plied Red with beer and encouraged him to relate his wildest stories, many of which ended up in Bukowski’s own poems and short stories.
Interests: Horse playing, classical music, fat whores
Alter Ego: Henry “Hank” Chinaski
Drug of Choice: Alcohol
Long-time Publisher: Black Sparrow Press (defunct)
On Solitude: “I was a man who thrived on solitude; without it I was like another man without food or water. Each day without solitude weakened me. I took no pride in my solitude; but I was dependent on it. The darkness of the room was like sunlight to me.” [Factotum, 1975]
On Work: “It was true that I didn’t have much ambition, but there ought to be a place for people without ambition, I mean a better place than the one usually reserved. How in the hell could a man enjoy being awakened at 6:30 a.m. by an alarm clock, leap out of bed, dress, force-feed, shit, piss, brush teeth and hair, and fight traffic to get to a place where essentially you made lots of money for somebody else and were asked to be grateful for the opportunity to do so?” [Factotum, 1975]
On Skid Row: “Those guys down there [in skid row] had no problems with women, income tax, landlords, burial expenses, dentists, time payments, car repairs, or with climbing into a voting booth and pulling the curtain closed.” [Factotum, 1975]
On Rejection Slips: “And rejections are no hazard; they are better than gold. Just think what type of miserable cancer you would be today if all your works had been accepted.” [Letter to Jory Sherman, April 1, 1960, included in Screams from the Balcony, 1993]
First Published Short Story: “Aftermath of a Lengthy Rejection Slip,” March-April issue of Story magazine, 1944

On Short Stories:
“I do not believe in writing a short story unless it crawls out of the walls. I watch the walls daily but very little happens.” [Letter to Ann Bauman, May 21, 1962, in Screams from the Balcony, 1993]
On Hemingway: “Hem had style and genius that went with it, for a little while, then he tottered, rotted, but was man enough, finally, and had style enough, finally.” [Letter to Neeli Cherry, 1962, in Screams from the Balcony, 1993]
On The Beat Generation: “Now, the original Beats, as much as they were knocked, had the Idea. But they were flanked and overwhelmed by fakes, guys with nicely clipped beards, lonely-hearts looking for free ass, limelighters, rhyming poets, homosexuals, bums, sightseers – the same thing that killed the Village. Art can’t operate in Crowds. Art does not belong at parties, nor does it belong at Inauguration Speeches.” [Letter to Jon Webb, 1962, in Screams from the Balcony, 1993]
First Book of Poetry: Flower, Fist and Bestial Wail, 1960 (shortly after the publication of this chapbook, Bukowski attempted suicide by gassing himself in his room, but quickly changed his mind . . .)
Major Works:
Post Office (1971)
Erections, Ejaculations and General Tales of Ordinary Madness (1972)
Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame (1974)
Factotum (1975)
Love is a Dog from Hell (1977)
Women (1978)
Dangling in the Tournefortia (1981)
Ham on Rye (1982)
War All the Time (1984)
Hollywood (1989)
On Drinking: “Frankly, I was horrified by life, at what a man had to do simply in order to eat, sleep, and keep himself clothed. So I stayed in bed and drank. When you drank the world was still out there, but for the moment it didn’t have you by the throat.” [Factotum, 1975]
On Personal Hygiene: “Nothing is worse than to finish a good shit, then reach over and find the toilet paper container empty. Even the most horrible human being on earth deserves to wipe his ass.” [Factotum, 1975]
Films Based on Work:
Tales of Ordinary Madness (1983 – Italian) – Director: Marco Ferreri. Starring: Ben Gazzara, Ornella Muti, Susan Tyrell, Tanya Lopert, Roy Brocksmith. Gazzara is severely miscast in this debacle based loosely on “The Most Beautiful Woman in Town.”
 Still worth at least one viewing.
Barfly (1987) – Director: Barbet Schroeder. Starring: Mickey Rourke, Faye Dunaway, Alice Krige, Jack “Eraserhead” Nance, J.C. Quinn, Frank Stallone. Bukowski wrote the screenplay for this cult classic based on his early experiences in skid row. He even appears in a cameo as one of the barflies.
Love is a Dog from Hell (1987 – Belgium) – Director: Dominique Deruddere. Starring: Geert Hunaerts, Josse De Pauw. Adapted from Bukowski short stories, mainly “The Copulating Mermaid of Venice, California.” Bukowski considered it the most faithful adaptation of his work.
 Also known as Crazy Love.
Walls in the City (1995) – Director: Jim Sikora. Starring: David Yow, Michael James, Tony Fitzpatrick, Paula Killen, Bill Cusack. Three short films based on Bukowski short stories about assorted barflies.
On Politics: “I used to lean slightly toward the liberal left but the crew that’s involved, in spite of the ideas, are a thin & grafted-like type of human, blank-eyed and throwing words like vomit.” [Letter to Tom McNamara, July 14, 1965, in Screams from the Balcony, 1993]
On Luck: “I’m one of those who doesn’t think there is much difference/between an atomic scientist and a man who cleans the crappers/except for the luck of the draw – /parents with enough money to point you toward a more/generous death./of course, some come through brilliantly, but/there are thousands, millions of others, bottled up, kept/from even the most minute chance to realize their potential.” [“Horsemeat” in War All the Time, 1984]
On Death: “I want to die with my head down on this/machine/3 lines from the bottom of the/page/burnt-out cigarette in my/fingers, radio still/playing/I just want to write/just well enough to/end like/that.” [“suggestion for an arrangement” in War All the Time, 1984]
Cause of Death: Leukemia
Date of Death: March 9, 1994
Final Resting Place: Green Hills Memorial Park, Palos Verdes, California
Epitaph: “Don’t Try”

COOL PEOPLE – Leonard Cohen on Longevity, Money, Poetry and Sandwiches


Leonard Cohen on Longevity, Money, Poetry and Sandwiches

“I was always like a bear in a honey tree, just trying to get something without getting stung to death”

Leonard Cohen performs in Australia.
Graham Denholm/WireImage
Leonard Cohen performs live in 2013. The Canadian icon talks about his songwriting secrets in a new Q&A.

BY | September 19, 2014

Leonard Cohen is our leading poet of love, wisdom, and sorrow – and according to the lyrics of Nirvana’s “Pennyroyal Tea,” the guiding spirit in Kurt Cobain’s afterworld. We sat down with the singer-songwriter on the occasion of his 13th studio album, Popular Problems, in a formal dining room at the Canadian consulate in Los Angeles (he primarily lives in L.A. and mostly recorded the album in his home studio, but he hails from Montreal). He discussed producer Patrick Leonard (“It was an unusually fraternal collaboration”), his fedora (“I’ve got about 20 of these”) and the aging process (“My high jump is definitely degraded”). Cohen turns 80 on Sunday, and Popular Problems will be released two days after that.

RELATEDLeonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen Offers Rare Peek Into His Writing Process

When you finish something like this record, are you proud of it?
It’s the done-ness of it that I really like. It nourishes me. Some guys don’t know how to open a door.

What are the pros and cons of working at home?
I don’t know if there are any cons. It’s very nice to go into your backyard and climb up into your studio. We had some good mics there, and both Pat and I had our keyboards, so we were able to flesh out these songs.

Patrick said that part of the process of working together was stripping out any excesses or fripperies.
Yes, both in the music and in the lyric. We were both, I think, quite compassionately savage about our vision. Pat, because he has such an abundance of musical ideas, he’ll sometimes overproduce. But he’s quite aware of that. So sometimes we’ll just say we don’t need a chorus here, we don’t need horns here, you know, we need to break it down here. And same with the lyric: If something’s obscure or just on the wrong side of accessible, then Pat will mention that and I’ll happily redirect.

How do you know when a song’s working?
You can pretty well tell. We play it for select people, like my daughter – there’s a few people who aren’t afraid to tell you that it isn’t working. We had another song on the album, which was called “Happens to the Heart,” which will be on the next album. It’s a very good lyric, a very good tune, but we didn’t nail it. So we didn’t put each other on about it – not for more than a week or two. “You know, this song really doesn’t make it.” “Thank God you said that, Pat, because I can’t stand it.”

Has your approach to making music has changed over the decades?
I never had an approach. I was always like a bear in a honey tree, just trying to get something without getting stung to death.

Is financial necessity is good or bad for art?
I think it levels the ground. I never had huge amounts of money when I was young. I had huge amounts of fame, and I always had the sense of labor and recompense. I always said I don’t want to work for pay, but I want to get paid for my song. Financial necessity of course arose in a very acute manner a few years ago. [His then-manager stole over $5 million from his retirement account.] I thought I had a little bread, enough to get by. I found I didn’t – for which I’m very grateful because it spurred a lot of activity.

I was curious about a lyric on “Nevermind,” “There’s truth that lives and there’s truth that dies.”
“There’s truth that lives and truth that dies. I don’t know which, so never mind. There is no need that this survive, there’s truth that lives and truth that dies.” It’s one of those phrases that resonates in some corner of the heart. And I don’t think it serves us well to explain it or to analyze it or to interpret it. It sounded right to me. There are certain truths that are in a dormant stage that you can’t always locate or be nourished by. But they’re there.

When you’re writing a song, are you aware that you’re tapping into something that you may not have a conscious handle on?
Well, I think that sometimes when you’re in ninth gear, or when you’re really skiing down the slope – you’re right on top of the snow, you don’t want to go any deeper. As someone said, you learn to stop bravely at the surface. If you hear something that really resonates, you just fold your hands in gratitude and try to incorporate it into the song. Sometimes those obscurities are just bullshit and they have to be excised; they have to be ruthlessly removed even if they sound good. Because they produce a disconnect in the song that every listener feels unconsciously. If you feel somebody’s trying to put you on, you really feel it.

Do you write much poetry that isn’t suitable for lyrics?
Oh, yeah. And sometimes I think, “What the hell am I doing? It doesn’t mean anything, it’s deeply irrelevant. Not just to everybody else but to myself.” But what else are you going to do? Everything else has gone away. Most of the things that I’ve liked to do, for one reason or another, it’s often inappropriate to do them.

At age 80, are there things you can’t do that you used to be able to?
There’s a lot of things that you can do that you couldn’t do when you were younger. You depend on a certain resilience that is not yours to command, but which is present. And if you can sense this resilience or sense this capacity to continue, it means a lot more at this age than it did when I was 30, when I took it for granted.

What are you good at that has nothing to do with music?
I can make a couple of good sandwiches: tuna salad and chopped egg salad. And Greek bean soup. I was a cook for my old Zen master for many years. So there were two or three dishes that he liked, you know. Teriyaki salmon, a few things. I wouldn’t call myself a good cook by any means. My son is a very good cook. My curries are not bad.

Do you write songs faster or slower than you used to?
There’s always a group of songs that I’m working at. Some of them are 10 years old, and some of them are just a few weeks old. I’m always trying to adjust these songs to some position where I can bring them to completion. There’s a few songs that I would like to finish before I die. One in particular, it’s a lovely melody that I can’t find any words for. I’ve been trying for a good 15 years. I’ve tried many, many versions. And God willing, maybe something will happen.

After you’re gone, what would you want people to remember about you?
I never give that much thought. Some people care about their work lasting forever – I have little interest in it. You probably know that great story about Bob Hope. His wife came to him and said, “There’s two plots available at Forest Lawn. One looks at some beautiful cypress trees, one looks over the valley. Which do you think you’d prefer?” He said, “Surprise me.” That’s the way I feel about posterity and how I’m remembered. Surprise me.

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/features/leonard-cohen-on-longevity-money-poetry-and-sandwiches-20140919#ixzz3DsKV0y8m
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images (63)images (62)images (61)images (60)images (59)images (58)images (57)images (56)1101620309_400picture-Tennessee-WilliamsTennessee Williams

Bill Boggs Interviews Tennessee Williams

“It’s an honor to have this great American Playwright in my archives. This interview came to be because Tennessee’s agent was a friend of mine and he actually offered to have his client do the program. It was a big day at the station, and after the interview we all went out to lunch together. An odd footnote is that three days after doing this interview I ran into Tennessee at a party in New York and he did not remember me. That aside, in this interview Tennessee reads one of his favorite poets, Hart Crane. This is a memorable literary moment.”—Bill Boggs








Playwright (1911–1983)


Tennessee Williams was a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright whose works include, A Streetcar Named Desire and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof


Playwright Tennessee Williams was born on March 26, 1911, in Columbus, Mississippi. After college, he moved to New Orleans, a city that would inspire much of his writing. On March 31, 1945, his play, The Glass Menagerie, opened on Broadway and two years later A Streetcar Named Desire earned Williams his first Pulitzer Prize. Many of Williams’ plays have been adapted to film starring screen greats like Marlon Brando and Elizabeth Taylor. Williams died in 1983.

Early Years

Playwright Tennessee Williams was born Thomas Lanier Williams on March 26, 1911, in Columbus, Mississippi, the second of Cornelius and Edwina Williams’ three children. Raised predominantly by his mother, Williams had a complicated relationship with his father, a demanding salesman who preferred work instead of parenting.

Williams described his childhood in Mississippi as pleasant and happy. But life changed for him when his family moved to St. Louis, Missouri. The carefree nature of his boyhood was stripped in his new urban home, and as a result Williams turned inward and started to write.

His parent’s marriage certainly didn’t help. Often strained, the Williams home could be a tense place to live. “It was just a wrong marriage,” Williams later wrote. The family situation, however, did offer fuel for the playwright’s art. His mother became the model for the foolish but strong Amanda Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie, while his father represented the aggressive, driving Big Daddy in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

In 1929, Williams enrolled at the University of Missouri to study journalism. But he was soon withdrawn from the school by his father, who became incensed when he learned that his son’s girlfriend was also attending the university.

Deeply despondent, Williams retreated home, and at his father’s urging took a job as a sales clerk with a shoe company. The future playwright hated the position, and again he turned to his writing, crafting poems and stories after work. Eventually, however, the depression took its toll and Williams suffered a nervous breakdown.

After recuperating in Memphis, Williams returned to St. Louis and where he connected with several poets studying at Washington University. In 1937 returned to college, enrolling at the University of Iowa. He graduated the following year.

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Commercial Success

When he was 28, Williams moved to New Orleans, where he changed his name (he landed on Tennessee because his father hailed from there) and revamped his lifestyle, soaking up the city life that would inspire his work, most notably the later play, A Streetcar Named Desire.

He proved to be a prolific writer and one of his plays, earned him $100 from the Group Theater writing contest. More importantly, it landed him an agent, Audrey Wood, who would become his friend and adviser.

In 1940 Williams’ play, Battle of Angels, debuted in Boston. It quickly flopped, but the hardworking Williams revised it and brought it back as Orpheus Descending, which later was made into the movie, The Fugitive Kind, starring Marlon Brando and Anna Magnani.

Other work followed, including a gig writing scripts for MGM. But Williams’ mind was never far from the stage. On March 31, 1945, a play he’d been working for some years, The Glass Menagerie, opened on Broadway.

Critics and audiences alike lauded the play, about a declassed Southern family living in a tenement, forever changing Williams’ life and fortunes. Two years later, A Streetcar Named Desire, opened, surpassing his previous success and cementing his status as one of the country’s best playwrights. The play also earned Williams a Drama Critics’ Award and his first Pulitzer Prize.

His subsequent work brought more praise. The hits from this period includedCamino Real, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Sweet Bird of Youth.

Later Years

The 1960s were a difficult time for Williams. His work received poor reviews and increasingly the playwright turned to alcohol and drugs as coping mechanisms. In 1969 his brother hospitalized him.

Upon his release, Williams got right back to work. He churned out several new plays as well as Memoirs in 1975, which told the story of his life and his afflictions.

But he never fully escaped his demons. Surrounded by bottles of wine and pills, Williams died in a New York City hotel room on February 25, 1983.

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Charles “Hank” Bukowski


Charles “Hank” Bukowski


The Secret

don’t worry, nobody has the
beautiful lady, not really, and

nobody has the strange and
hidden power, nobody is
exceptional or wonderful or
magic, they only seem to be
it’s all a trick, an in, a con,
don’t buy it, don’t believe it.
the world is packed with
billions of people whose lives
and deaths are useless and
when one of these jumps up
and the light of history shines
upon them, forget it, it’s not
what it seems, it’s just
another act to fool the fools

there are no strong men, there
are no beautiful women.
at least, you can die knowing
and you will have
the only possible