The Fargo Kantrowitz’z Literary Campsite -Law After Law- Joey Kantor

 

2010

Law after law after law after law after law after law after law after law after law after law after law after law after law after law after law after law after law after law after law….freedom in America? Yeah, right.

 

If you make a directional driving mistake on the streets of the country a money hungry black and white will roll up on you and, if you are poor, take everything you have, literally.  Happened to me yesterday. Saving every penny from being a substitute school teacher and authentic Christian and for what? Now I have zero so Police Officer Assistant Debbie can have her salmon at Chez Louiee on Saturday night.

 

It is preposterous that money from traffic tickets should go to the people giving them out. This is almost as ludicrous as putting the control of hard narcotics into the hands of the people that the rich people have crushed and tossed to the street to practice necessary crime. (crushed by pricing and culturalizing them out of existence and neglecting the fact that we are emotional and psychological beings who, when defeated, will self-medicate).

 

When you are poor, I mean really poor, not the kind of poor where you can’t buy another fishing boat or have to drive a Kia, but poor poor, you look at the world around you and everything and everybody you see is just cruel. Everybody is holding on to what is theirs while forming barriers around themselves for fear of losing it. They look at you and see someone who wants what they have. It doesn’t matter that they don’t carry cash. They know what they have. What their worth is, so to speak. And it seeps into them and they glance at you sidelong and wonder: is it in the tossed aside poor where the justice (that even they feel deep down)  is going to show itself – in the destruction of ME?

 

Paranoia. What a wonderful thing paranoia is. It is spread throughout the world, passed on to everybody, but it has its birth by people closing down, not because they have not, but because they have. They need to protect themselves. And they really have good reason for this paranoia, because of their ill thought out protection methods, most noticeably, “the drug war.”

 

Then there is paranoia on the streets driving (oh, as long as I have money in the bank, but did I just make an illegal turn…oh…oh), paranoia on the news: actual quote (Glenn Beck) “Gaza….Gaaaazzzaaaaaaahh.” Ooooh. I’m so scared of those philistines. Pass the corn pone Stupila. Okay, Dupus. Stupid Americans, the same ones who keep us in paranoia because they believe in killing everything just to sort of get it out of the way.

 

Back to our idea of paranoia and how paranoia is part and parcel of a deep need by those who live good, fearful little lives to kill everything that is Not Them. The Drug War. My own personal hell in this drug war comes from having gall stones. I have been hanging at the beach in sunny southern california before going back to my illustrious gig as a substitute teacher in Nevada when I had a gallstone attack. Now, in California you can get a card that says you can use marijuana if you have a physical ailment. I’m not from California. Well, gallstones go something like this: you eat that bowl of potato salad because you just had to eat it and eight hours later you are curled up on the floor in a fetal postion for another good six hours before you come out of it and just wonder what the hell you’d been through. The Only thing that alleviates the pain is pot. No, I went to the doctor once. He gave me a narcotic. It didn’t work. Nope just pot.

 

Call me a stoner. Take me to jail.

 

Anyway, it’s seven in the morning and it’s coming on. I’m not yet in the fetal position (I’m a 46 year-old-man), but I will be soon enough and I’ll welcome it. The fetal position remedy is better than the standing straight up or sitting remedy in my professional opinion. I’m poor. Don’t tell me to go to the doctor. Anything to take away the pain.

 

I go out to the beach boardwalk area where you see the people who know the real carnage that the drug war has wrought (the actual patients, I mean addicts, I mean criminals, I mean…) These are the beaten down homeless people who are necessarily scammers and thieves, some of them, or just good souls who have lost faith. Don’t say that they need Jesus. They don’t.  Jesus is the last thing that they need. They need You!

 

But getting back to the story, it’s coming on. The yuppies are on the streets. Their equivalents, the down home country folk from Missouri, won’t be out for a few more hours. But the yuppies like to walk and breathe the nice fresh air. They live in nice houses that cost thousands of dollars a month. They’re good people too, generally, but the butter crust of humanity doesn’t see them like that. They’re just more rich people (everybody is a rich person compared to them) who are seeking their morning comforts.

 

I go up to an African-American fellow whose chances went away a long, long time ago and chat with him. He’s off his rocker, but hey, I live in America, Everybody is off their rocker. I tell him straight up because of the knife trying to carve its way out of my insides: I need a joint.

 

My new friend has been around just long enough to not give me too much of a “you’re not a cop are you” stare. I feel that he will help me. Now, this is the lowest of the low. His face was so punched in that his nose actually looked kind of cool because of it. Distinguished in a way. He’s the guy you would steer your kids around on the sidewalk. He helped me. He was the only person in the world who would help me.

 

I can’t help but think about Jesus (my mother owned a Bible store for 25 years), how Jesus talked about the “least of these.” That if you help the “least of these” that you help HIM (Jesus Himself). Well, I was the least of these and was helped by what you would perceive as the top qualifier for “the least of these” title.

 

A little Christian charitable act, also known as a misdemeanor in modern Christian America, as the joggers jogged by and the sleepers from Tennessee slept with their doors locked dreaming of new laws to take money away from those who make innocent mistakes, and the “fundamentalists” (as if they were doctors or something) blocking themselves further and further into their fearful shells while the Karl Roves (non-Christian, college-educated) of the world hover like the vultures they symbolically are and pick and scheme ways to tie in their love of safety with their love of Christ and come up with the idea that “War is the Answer.”  (Thanks, guys, you killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people in Iraq.)

 

But let’s get back to the real criminals: poor people who are destroyed by road confusion tickets and gall bladder attacks. Well, I have one friend in the world. He got me a little weed. Just enough to get me through six agonizing hours of pure pain. Thanks criminal homeless dude who should be off the street and is what is wrong with everything in this country today and Mr. why don’t you go get a job and do something with yourself and get off drugs and you loser and law after law after law after law after law after law after law after law after law after law after law after law after law.

 

Good luck with all of that you “christian” (small c, quotation marks intended) fundamentalist, protection-loving fearful ones in all of your red states And blues. Don’t worry. It’s not just Republicans, although they are the most fearful and heartless in this world (and most gullible) {Ooh, was that politically incorrect?}  It’s everybody who goes day to day in this morass of laws without thinking about it. Some of us do think about it, obviously, but most don’t and you’re the ones, the non-thinkers (Saytan creayted yooniversitees where they learned too HATE Jesus {bravo, semi-educated Glenn Beck. Bravo!}) who keep it all alive.

 

Smile! Smile! Everything is good, because deep down you know that you would never give your life for another, ever, that you would seek a second amendment remedy before you did anything like that.

 

…but you give your life to shysters, to Presidents who say they are “born-again.” You killed hundreds of thousands of human-like blobs in Iraq because you didn’t want to think for yourselves. It was all over the place, the signs. I’m an idiot and by following responsible, non-biased journalists even I could see that Bush and Cheney’s whole thing was fishy. I don’t choose my journalist via religious affiliation. I am not a Fox News christian.

 

Now you’ve brought Jesus into this thing so, like John the Baptist (off with his head), you have earned my wrath and I therefore proclaim: Repent Fundamentalist Killers or God will spit you out of His Mouth.

 

Thank God I’m not a fundamentalist or you would have to fear that I mean that literally, that I’m a kook who is going to become the “mouth” of God. I don’t roll that way.  But you do. Your Tea-Partiers do. You are right up there with other famous “fundamentalists” who I will name now: Osama bin Laden, Mullah Omar, The Shoe Bomber, Mohammad Atta and some others who, like you, their names I can’t pronounce. Wake up! Law after law after law after law after law after law….(pharisees).

 

Legalize all drugs now so that doctors can dispense them and America can lose the paranoia that disturbs the average American peace of mind by nurturing violent criminality. There is no better combination for mayhem than competition and paranoia and that’s what you are sensing on your streets or at night when you lock yourselves in your homes.

 

Let’s give our country back to the people and stop this policing industry in its tracks once and for all. Give all monies made by arrests, confiscations and tickets to charities, anywhere that is not the pockets of those giving them out. This is Ludicrous, as is the drug war (just let the doctors be El Jefe, that’s all I ask), as is hoping that anybody is reading this or even cares. Good day.

 

 

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Published in: on May 5, 2016 at 12:18 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Crash of Nazi Robot 21224 -a short film- Albert

INT. DAY
Close up on head of Nazi Robot 21224. VO screams and mayhem in background. VO of children being removed from mother. Voices of Nazi Robots barking commands. Furniture being toppled, etc. Title/Credits.
Typed words on screen:
2014.
North American Annex – Tennessee Sub-Quadrant – of The Greater German Domain.
Sixty-nine years after The Great Vanquishing of the United States of America by Adolph Hitler.
Screaming crescendoed. Total mayhem.
CUT TO:
INT.COMPUTER SCREEN
Digital numbers multiply ultra fast.
CUT TO:
EXT.DAY
Robot close up. VO mayhem.
CUT TO:
INT.COMPUTER SCREEN
Numbers accelerate even further, even faster. Volume meter in red. Word: “prohibited” underneath.
CUT TO:
INT.DAY
Close up of robot. VO mayhem continues. Children being taken away. Woman Screaming. Children crying. Gunshot. Only children crying.
INT. COMPUTER SCREEN
Numbers suddenly stop. They stay there frozen a moment and then begin to go backwards until it is merely the alternation of the numbers 1 and 0.
INT.DAY
Close up of robot. Robot goes into motion amidst children crying and the commands of other robots behind him. He exits. Sunshine is on his face. He continues to move, soon leaving all sounds behind.
CUT TO:
EXT.DAY.ROAD
Robot walks alone down road.
CUT TO:
INT.COMPUTER SCREEN
1 and 0 with 0 staying on longer than 1.
EXT.DAY.ROAD
The robot stops as he hears an approaching car.
CUT TO:
INT.COMPUTER SCREEN
Numbers roll again. Volume goes up. Words: 2004 BMW sl44 model, registrant Cara Anderson, Millsville, Tennessee, sub-quadrant, 20, two brothers, Layne, 23, Michael, 26, mother, Tiffany, 49,Father, Gabriel,51, single, Junior Class, Goebbels Institute of Mass Communication, Art and Design. 2016.
CUT TO:
EXT.DAY
Close up as he stands there.
INT. COMPUTER SCREEN
Numbers replace words. A brief coordinate outline of car and then the word: Disable.
INT.DAY.CAR
Cara’s car suddenly goes dead. At first she is perplexed, but when she pulls over the robot is standing there.
CARA
(Groaning)
Oh,God.
Cara gets out of her car. The robot stands there.
CARA
Well?
No response.
INT.COMPUTER SCREEN
Numbers pick up speed and roll at calm pace.
EXT.DAY.AT CAR
CARA
Well? You obviously need my help. Aren’t you going to get in?
No movement by robot.
CARA
Look, I mean, look at it this way, sir, I’m not going anywhere unless you get into my car and let me take you where you need to go. Are you in trouble?
No movement by robot.
CARA
You wouldn’t have disabled my car if you didn’t need my help…sir…and by law I must take you anywhere you want to go. So, where do you want to go?
INT. COMPUTER SCREEN
Numbers rolling fast again. Volume control. Audio replay is in red. Arrest number ac5563876245axs, Janet Miller, 30, deceased, bullet, NR63869 induced fatal capture, children received for re-education, Terry, 8, Jason, 6, Tia, 3. Eighth infraction from quota. 3:23 p.m., Tuesday…
EXT. DAY.AT CAR
CARA
Well?
INT.COMPUTER SCREEN
Words suddenly replaced by fast numbers. Then numbers slow down, stop, and then begin to go backwards until, once again, they alternate between one and zero.
EXT.DAY
NR21224 gets into car.
INT. CAR. DAY
They sit there. Cara looks at him like she is waiting for him to turn the car back on and then tries the ignition. The car starts and they pull out.
EXT.DAY.ROAD
Car pulling away.
INT.DAY.CAR
Silence. NR21224 faces road. Cara is young and curious and keeps looking over at him.
CARA
I’ve never really driven before with a Nazi Robot, I mean, are you guys all as…diligent as some people say you are? Oh, I should just shut up.
Silence.
I mean aren’t you going to even tell me where you want to go? I mean, okay, please, sir, where may I deliver you this fine sunny day?
No response.
INT.COMPUTER SCREEN
Nothing but the slow alternating 1 and 0.
INT.CAR.DAY
CARA
I don’t get it. Why won’t you answer me? If there is one thing I know about NR systems it’s that they are very good at speaking up when it comes to commands. Are you broken?
No response.
INT.COMPUTER SCREEN
The 1 and 0 slows until it is just the 0.
INT.DAY.CAR
CARA
Oh, my God. You’re broken.
Cara laughs.
Well, then, this an odd turn in the proverbial road of life, isn’t it? What should I do with you? Should I just drop you off with the Gestapo somewhere? You’re supposed to tell me, you know. I could get in trouble here.
INT.COMPUTER SCREEN
The numbers begin to roll fast again. The word “Drive” appears.
INT.DAY.CAR
NR21224
Drive.
CARA
Drive. Okay. Drive. We keep doing that then. Sounds good. Drive.
Silence.
So, that was some Blood Flag Festival,huh? Do they let you guys go to that? I probably shouldn’t tell you this but I think I had a couple too many celebratory steins if you know what I mean. You got to stop and smell the roses, right? No, I guess you wouldn’t know what I mean.
Silence.
Do you like music?
She turns on radio. Dance beat plays.
INT.COMPUTER SCREEN
Numbers spike. Volume goes into red. Words: Accelerated beat. Forbidden.
INT.CAR.DAY
NR21224 quickly grabs her wrist and holds it.
CARA
Ow.
INT.COMPUTER SCREEN.
Numbers shoot all the way down to zero.
INT.CAR.DAY
NR21224 let’s go of her wrist. She turns off radio.
CARA
You’re not going to re-educate me for that are you?
INT.COMPUTER SCREEN
Just 0. The word “No” appears.
INT.CAR.DAY
NR21224
No.
CARA
No? You just witnessed a foul and you say you are going to do nothing? Oh my God, you are broken.
INT.COMPUTER SCREEN
Still just 0.
INT.CAR.DAY
CARA
I always wondered why all the Nazi Robots aren’t given eyesight. You’re like bats in the dark, but, I guess you really wouldn’t know this, but you know people by their faces more than anything. I don’t have a face to you, but you know I exist. I always thought that was a little weird.
INT.COMPUTER SCREEN
Numbers pick up speed. A few computer co-ordinate images appear. The car, numbers, a girl’s co-ordinate outline, numbers, a computer co-ordinate flower outline,numbers, a computer co-ordinate sun outline,numbers, then the girl outline again, numbers. Then the words: flower, sunshine, odd pets.
INT.CAR.DAY
NR21224
Flower. Sunshine. Odd pets.
CARA
(Laughs)
Where did that come from? You’re my favorite Nazi Robot.
INT. COMPUTER SCREEN
Numbers roll calmly between one and ten.
INT.CAR.DAY
CARA
I mean why didn’t they give you guys any video capabilities?
INT.COMPUTER SCREEN
Numbers spike again. In one corner of screen is a new meter with a high number on it. Underneath are the words Video Code Protocol 7956jlm-4226- Emergency Activation Sequence. The other numbers continue to rise with great speed. They then slow down to a stop. They then begin to fall. The words: Highway 9-3 – Road Marked Fuhrer’s Peak. Go now.
INT.CAR.DAY
NR21224
Highway 9-3. – Road Marked “Fuhrer’s Peak.” Go now.
INT.COMPUTER SCREEN
Video protocol number stays static. Main number goes down until it is once again 1 alternating with 0. After a moment the video protocol number begins to count down.
INT.CAR.DAY
CARA
Fuhrer’s Peak? You’re not going to kill me are you because I don’t think local Nazi Robots are programmed to do that unless you’ve done something really, really bad?
INT.COMPUTER SCREEN
Numbers continue to alternate between 1 and 0. Underneath are the words: Flower, Sunshine, Odd Pets. The video countdown continues.
INT.CAR.DAY
NR21224
Flower, Sunshine, Odd Pets.
CARA
Good. Here we go then to see or whatever some flowers, sunshine and maybe an odd pet at Fuhrer’s Peak. I was going to get my hair done for the Perfection Rally, but you can’t beat Sunshine, Flowers and Odd Pets.
CUT TO:
EXT.DAY.CAR
Car drives up mountain.
CARA
(VO)
How about a little music? I’ve got just the thing for you.
Symphony by Wagner, Hitler’s favorite composer.
They continue up the mountain, finally making it to Fuhrer’s Peak. They get out of the car and look out over the world. It is beautiful.
CARA
If you could only see this.
INT.COMPUTER SCREEN
Just 1 and 0. Countdown continues. Word: Flower.
EXT. DAY.MOUNTAIN
NR21224
Flower.
CARA
You want a flower? Yeah, sure, I can find you a flower.
She runs off and picks a flower and brings it back.
NR21224
Place on external receptor.
CARA
Huh?
NR21224
Forehead.
She places flower against his forehead.
INT. COMPUTER SCREEN
Numbers spike. Quick coordinate image of flower. Corner countdown.
EXT.DAY.MOUNTAIN
Cara removes flower from his sensor and smells it. She smiles at him.
NR21224
Sunshine.
CARA
Haha! Sunshine! You’re actually commanding me to bring you sunshine! It’s all around you! It’s in the air! You can’t feel it because you don’t feel but it is here. If you could feel you would know. Sunshine is everywhere and it is one of the things that make people very happy.
INT.COMPUTER SCREEN
Alternating 1 and 0 turn into just 0. Countdown continues.
EXT.DAY.MOUNTAIN
NR21224 extends arms. Raises palms then puts them back down and lowers arms.
INT.COMPUTER SCREEN
1 and 0 again. Countdown in corner. Quick coordinate outline of girl. Words: odd pets.
EXT.DAY. MOUNTAIN
NR21224
Odd pets.
CARA
There are no odd pets around here. There might be a squirrel or raccoon or something but they’re not really pets. You can’t pet them. You know, touch them, feel them.
INT.COMPUTER SCREEN
Just number 0.
EXT.DAY.MOUNTAIN
CARA
You can’t feel them because you can’t feel. So sad.
INT.COMPUTER SCREEN
Just 0 and countdown.
EXT.DAY.MOUNTAIN
CARA
Come here.
She goes to him. Faces him. Touches his sleeves. Gets on her tippy toes and kisses him on the forehead sensor.
INT.COMPUTER SCREEN
Numbers spike at fast pace when suddenly the countdown ends and the words: emergency video activation enabled.
EXT.DAY.MOUNTAIN
Through a fuzzy fish eyed type of lens we see Cara’s face moving back from NR21224 the moment after the kiss. She holds the flower and wears a peaceful, loving smile.
NR21224 moves forward. Cara stops him briefly.
CARA
Where are you going?
NR21224 walks past her.
CARA
What are you doing?
NR21224 keeps walking in the direction of the cliff’s edge.
CARA
What are you doing?
He moves determinedly forward.
CARA
No.No!
He moves to edge and looks back at Cara through the fish eye. No sound.
CARA
(Soundlessly)
Don’t. There’s hope for you. I care about you.
NR21224 steps off of the cliff and terminates himself.
Cara falls to her knees, picks the petals off the flower and cries.
CUT TO:
BLACK

Published in: on December 11, 2014 at 2:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

You’re Supposed to Be

Well, here we are once more at the campsite. There is very little happening here in Millsville today, Easter Sunday. I sit in my coffee house and think about the stuff that occurs to me, none of it amounting to much. It’s a lazy day. Not much going on. People walk in together, couples, smiling. I always sit alone. I’ve always been a bit of a loner, a loser you might say, especially as a writer. I used to want to be a writer, but then I realized that I had nothing to say.

That never stopped me, though. I wrote two novels and half of a third. I wrote a million stupid little essay type things, never able to gather the stuff up and turn them into legitimate works. My thoughts are more of the scattered variety. I will have a million thoughts and a million non-thoughts, each of these things won’t matter to me or anybody. Especially you. I get self-conscious when I write in public. I don’t have the ego anymore to attempt to write short stories. Each one is too much of a plea for attention.

My novel wasn’t like that. My latest novel demanded attention in itself. The short stories though seem like a little test I must pass in order for the world to know that I am a “real writer.” I’m sick of that scene, but more than anything, and oddly, I really liked writing my short stories.

I wish I wasn’t so fucked up in my head that I could just write and not worry about the details of it all, but I can’t. I guess I will always be a writer writing from the peripheries inward until I get to some morsel of truth and mine it.

Unfortunately I get to the truth and all of my energy is taken up by that outer morsel. I can rarely move onward and into the core which might allow me to jump track and go into the short story mode or the non-philosophical mode and directly into the metaphorical mode where trees represent other things in some far out way while remaining trees. I like trees. I like thinking about them, their place in the world. How they look good up against a blue sky, how light through their branches look cool, how the leaves sound in the wind. I like that. Unfortunately, I rarely ever get to the place where I think it’s meaningful to write about them. Those simple days seem so far behind me now. Simple even though the reality of it is that to write of these things is not simple but complexity hidden within simplicity.

This type of physical writing is what poets do. But then I stop and realize that nothing poets write is not poetry and that includes thoughts on not being able to write about trees. When I stop worrying about what I write then I am free to express what is inside of me. If there is no form, no title or label like “short story,” “essay,” or the like, I still have the words which have acted as a salve to a too rough exterior membrane, a pair of eyes hurting from too harsh a sun.

I need this meditation. This is what writing is. It is not always or should it ever be just a way to make money. When you come to it from that door there is no place to enter. It’s like opening a door on to a brick wall. Nor is it any good to go the route of writing thoughts that are supposed to sound wise that aren’t wise, which are actually just blowoff, steam. You’ve got to do a lot of this type of writing to get to something meaningful or rather, to get to a trail of thought long enough for the reader to accept it as potent, rather, for it simply to be potent. If it is potent the reader will have no choice. A lot of words must be shed to get to potency.

The skill in writing is often knowing which part of the mass to cut out and which to leave intact and, once you’ve cut out the fat, how to weave it back together again so that the reader thinks that it is all just one long coherent thought, a pure lie, of course, misleading to the highest degree and a secret that writers don’t tell one another except by screaming that you must edit, edit, edit. If writers really understood their process they would explain why you must edit and the reason is simply, like I said: we must write a lot of words to produce a few that limited space in publications will allow.

Sometimes I wish, though, that we weren’t so blocked by
the need to look good on the page. There is something to be said for messiness, truth in mistakes, sloppiness providing better lines to read between which is what good writing provides. If we published more good writers’ sloppier writing maybe we could free people up to attempt the meditation. Instead, we’re all so “great” through meticulous editing that people see the final product and say,”Oh, I wish I could write.” I just want to say: “You can!” If you can edit.

In other words, my message is you must lie to the world that you are a genius in order to become a genius. It’s a sad yet true fact. Just remember that the lie comes after you’ve written the original thought, a thought no greater than any thought belonging to any non-writer. We must accept that we are all in this together, that writing is an exercise that can be extremely therapeutic. We must lift from the ground rules the notion that to “really” write you must be great. This is simply the notion of a bunch of bullshit-headed college dickwads who believed the critics with standards so high above the average that they too were most likely among the “non-selected” and therefore punched down those below them. It’s a pecking order, Shakespeare on down, but a pecking order un-ordered by true writers whether Shakespeare or me or anybody else who believes that the words that you say aren’t quite as important as the fact that you allowed yourself to say them at all.

We are all going to die along with our memories. To allow yourself to write is to allow yourself to live vividly. It is
merely a tool. If the words are “great” this is merely a by-product of having become honest enough with yourself to allow your pen to say things that are truly inside instead of creating a style or philosophy that fits some personality that is not so true to who you are than to who you think you’re supposed to be.

Published in: on November 15, 2014 at 5:38 pm  Leave a Comment  

You’re Ninety

You’re Ninety

Once
-above the beginning-
there was
now.

I wondered
for three years
about what I should do.

You have to understand,
I wondered what
what to do meant.

It’s always the idea
that you are something
-other-
than what you are
that trips you up.

Usually a word happens
and you go to it
and you stick there
like some object
stuck to
a gluey wall.

You never know
if what you are going to do
-or say-
will matter in the end.

There are so many
examples
out there
of people
who have done well

and you should take it
as a good thing,
that they came through
and succeeded in the end,

but it is all about life
-ultimately-
and along the way
you always hear
that they had
-trouble-

They couldn’t do the thing
they wanted to do,
couldn’t move an inch
closer to it,
in no way, ever.

Lost, they were,
just like you are now.
-lost forever-
but ultimately successful,

like some story seeking
an ending
and finding itself.

I was born a seeker,
more a dreamer.

A lost cause
to anybody
who knew me,

but as you age
you learn
the code
and realize

that to be
a lost cause
is a found cause

in the game of
the eras.

The eras are all that matter
to people like me,

because when you have
something to say
to the eras
you feel as though you
came upon something
-true-

and that means
that there
can be
something
true,

that it is possible
at all,
and that life has meaning.

We like to think that this is the case,
that we are not just here
by chance,

another conglomeration of cells
coalescing
so that “life”
can make it

in a
biological sense,
Darwins “success.”

What is it all for?

Ask an intellectual
and he or she
will tell you
that it is in finding
-truth-

Ask a married man
or a married woman
with children
what the meaning of life is
and they will say
Life.

There is no arguing
with that
as every intellectual knows.

There is never a way
to better
the notions
of the biological
-victors-

the non-intellectual
masters,
the ones who
-reproduce-

the ones who know all
because they replicated
their terms,

gave themselves
a second chance
and therefore doubled
their wisdom quotient
just by doing so.

The others, the me, the we,
the others,
we all sit and sink
in the face of the wisdom
we will never know.

Money doesn’t come to us,
unless we’re shrewd
and often,
we delete our shrewdness
in favor of rightness.

We lose our ability
to have children.

Failed works,
minute wanderings of soul.
Finished stuff.
-blamphed!-

Whatever that means.
Doesn’t matter.

We are not the Gods and
we are not the fathers,
but merely the trustees
of the interstices,

the places where thoughts
were bid from higher powers
To never go.

Kerouac and Wolfe
and Whitman
were all streaming live
their hopes.
How many lost words
did they utter
to unlistening populations?

How many words of theirs
have never been heard,
but for a fleeting moment
in minds of people
who needed just that
useless moment?

Supreme wasters of time.
Monumental seekers of faith,
but failures all.

Never seeking rightly
that which could give them
sustenance.

A jazz play, by Kerouac.
A New York autumn’s glee by Wolfe.
A world praising by the great Whitman,

but all to feel,
to know, to feel, to know,
to feel, to learn to think

that we are more than just
something
dour,
so easily perturbed.

We seek in order to live.
But we are asked to die.

No way could this be
in such a short span
as the almighty God gives us,

but we are asked to do so
-anyway-

It is a turn we take.

When our beauty reigns
so do our words,

but the real writers know
the difference
and they never give in to
the hype.

It is the orchestration
of death
that devours us.

It is the need to rage deeply
one more time
when all of our needs are met.

Too old is nothing but
a lie.

Too old is nothing but
a moment
when others can win
and you can lose.

It is a manner
in which new can overtake
old,
but Thomas said it best,

do not give in,
for it is a matter important
to the usurpers also,

for if you do not give in
nor will they
and into old age such rage
-will ring-

and you will know that you
mattered,

not just that you mattered,
but all mattered,

that all within biological skin
mattered,
briefly, at least,

and it did not have to do
with your age
or your decrepitude,

but it had to do with
your soul, an ageless thing,
superior to all attackers
-always-
no matter the age.

You are a maverick
who cannot fly.

But you are a God, too,
a man or woman who can live forever.

You know but you do not tell.

The others don’t listen anymore,
because you are not beautiful,
but you know,

and the fire is like lightning
that streaks wide
across reality

and where not acknowledged,
all is lost.

-You’re ninety-

but you matter.

You matter like a son of a bitch.

Published in: on October 15, 2014 at 8:37 am  Leave a Comment  

Creative non fiction

joey c kantor

Tear up your library card

The writer Phillip Roth, arguably one of the finest literary novelists of the past fifty years, recently stated that he no longer reads fiction. A study states that dyslexics make up a high proportion of CEO’s. Steinbeck said that knowledge and wisdom enters us the moment that you close the book. Reading is touted as one of the best things that you can do for yourself, the equivalent of intellectual and emotional exercise.

But what if entering the worlds of others could actually have a harmful effect on you? What if exposing yourself to elegantly structured sentences pointing to fine truths could actually cause you to go blind? I wanted to find out if this could be the case when I recently came to the realization that I didn’t want to read fiction any more, or if not anymore at least for awhile. You know what seemed to happen? I sensed the power of contemplation was coming upon me. All of those words I had sipped, slurped and gobbled seemed gone soon after I read them. Afterwards I couldn’t tell you what I had learned because I don’t read to learn. I read to experience. To translate this learning is another story. I began to resent reading. It all just started to seem like vanity, like here was a lucky author, something. Definitely not with more to say than me just because he or she had been vetted by society. I have written millions of words myself, or at least it feels like it and I still have to bow to the experience and talent of others in order to grow? Well I had had enough. I stopped reading fiction and threw my fate to the gods. Either I would deal directly with my own unexpressed self or I would experience nothing at all.

I guess I came to the place where I said goodbye to literature as a crutch. I waved goodbye to being the perpetual student, especially when all the twenty something’s were winning all the writing prizes through sheer intellectual energy. I believe I may have been sold a bill gf goods by the educators in this world. More and more I think that all of this importance of reading over doing was a conspiracy by academic elders making 200 grand per year and publishers doing the same. Everybody says they love reading and literature then they have to love it to eat once they choose it as a vocation or art form, but do they forget why? And if you are constantly shoveling more and more of this into your head, where is your own mind? Do you have room? Must you perpetually shovel so that you be like an addicted teenager to his or her telephone? All in the name of smarts? Healthy smarts? Beneficial smarts, ones that will allow you to do your work at the top of your game. But where has the contemplation gone? Where have you gone? And mostly where have all those words gone because, conceivably, by my age I should have read enough words to provide me enough wisdom to last several generations. At some point might it be just important to put the book down, to stop being a student and, like those dyslexic CEOs become a doer instead and see into what form the words have molded you?

Perhaps when writers say that you must write to be a writer they mean that you must cease to be a reader and become a doer, an experiencer of the fruits of every word you have ever read. Wisdom piles up. Perhaps they are unconsciously telling us to put away dependence on what we think we know or ought to know so that we can enter the process completely free of immediate outside influence. Perhaps a high volume human word vacuum would discover that their own expression style resembles a feather slowly lifting away through a breeze. It is important to come to a sense of who you are through what you express because you discover your limitations, the end of your belief of who you are in exchange for the real and humble knowledge of who you actually are. I’m not Einstein, but then again, Einstein ain’t me. Should you desire to be Updike or Toni Morrison there is a way but it involves cloning. Even if you read every book your favorite author ever read you would still come up against the diagram of your parameters. A beautiful novel like The Old Man and the Sea isn’t Finnegans Wake, but would you want it to be? Everybody is afraid of looking foolish. We imagine our final forms will be revealed and we will see that we were slower than this one or not as beautiful as that one so we try to capture lightning where we can, to bottle thunder in the hope that people will mistake us for that, a human being for an inanimate phenomenon whose only real use is nature’s mystery and ours a vessel for symbolism. We are afraid to look up, to look away from the words of others, like we are afraid of falling behind in a race. Read those words! Have you read this writer yet? You really should because they can infuse their spirit into you and you might just succeed as if you would succeed after the mysterious transfer of the non existent reality that we call luck .

Or you can look away. Hear the frogs croak. Look around you. How did you get where you are, why are you there? Have you stopped long enough to figure it out? Maybe you should get a move on, be somewhere else, but one thing is for sure, you are where you are. No doubt about that and if you are there then there has to be a chance that if you put your mind and animal instinct to it you might just be able to move on to somewhere else. You look around and you can see, you put away the fantasy journal of others that by your reading it will somehow initiate you into a club of other able-minded mentalists. You will be alongside the big daddies, but don’t fall behind. Don’t fall behind or maybe you should.

I always liked the vignette in Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath where the retarded man liked the river so stayed there. This a symbolic statement to me. One of those wisdoms through imagery that we can only get when we put the book away and allow it to come back to us. I see it as Steinbeck’s simple nature, the simple man inside of the elegant thinker. If you go toward the unsophisticated, the boring, the droning nothingness of nowhere inside of you, then you may eventually find a perch where thoughts of change can move you, make you eventually do. It is a lot like just slowing down. The writer needs to slow down, close the book of others to open the book of himself or herself, share, and by so doing, becoming a writer too.

Published in: on July 25, 2014 at 4:55 am  Leave a Comment  

The Fargo Kantrowitz’z Literary Campsite #73 – Albert

I was just walking down the street the other day when my school book learning got in my way. Actually, another day to a writer is always that day of years ago. A day equaling an entire period of angst and hell in the writer’s life, everything metabolized down into some symbolic form until you just can’t quite stand it anymore and you write about the relationship between a chicken and a squirrel and try to pass it off as art.
Now, it is art. This is the funny thing. It is art. But in order to be welcomed into the fold of humanity as the textbooks say that we need and want, we must do everything in our power to impress upon the hill people that it is art. This is an art in itself and is a higher art for it is what forms “artists” as we understand them: Bernard Shaw, Sarah McLaughlin, Rodney Dangerfield, Whoopi. What binds all of these people together is that they wanted to be famous. Being famous is the most important thing in the trek of the artist onward to sublimity. If we don’t become famous then we are nothing? Why is this? Because if we don’t become famous then we’re going to be scraping shit off things for others as their slaves. None of us want to be slaves. We don’t even believe in slavery and yet we are. Isn’t that funny how that happens?
So the main question becomes how we are to not be slaves in this world of slaves where everybody is a slave to somebody else unless you decide to completely back out and become a hermit. Now, hermiting has gotten a bad rap as of late with Ted Kazinski and all. In a family of “hard workers” it is even harder to break away from this desire to be alone or, god forbid, simply intellectual as opposed to industrial. People are brought up in this world to tackle the problem of somebody else. In the Bible they say that every part is equal in stature. You need the feet as much as you need the head. Well, the symbolic structure of “the feet” in our society consists of scrubbing toilets and making the beds of drunken, rich, drug-besotted 19-year-olds who have driven into town in their daddy’s BMW convertibles. Whichever way you slice it there can be no doubt that in this case being the head is undoubtedly better than being the feet, especially when you get a little of their cum on your finger as you change their sheets.
But strangers cannot affect you nearly as much as your own family can. God forbid that you have a father who makes his living scraping shit off of sewer walls because you will have learned that scraping shit off of sewer walls is the pinnacle of human existence, that there is no greater goal to strive for than to scrape shit off of sewer walls. This is just an example. Every human being believes that every other human beings should be doing what they are doing if only for the reason that if they don’t believe this then they will recognize that they have been wasting their lives, which we all, for the most part do every day.
And time passes. This is true. As you get older and your world does not materialize as you expected it would according to your dreams you see that all is in a state of slow deterioration. I imagine even the “successful” see this deterioration, if they don’t express it then maybe they feel it on the inside. They feel their weaknesses. I sometimes think that the only people who are happy are those who have forsaken the idea that you can improve your lot on earth by overcoming the material obstacles, by becoming the head instead of the feet. While it is better to be the head than the feet, it does not slow the process of deterioration. This is a truth. But also, this is not a truth. Every word is false if another word follows. A truth suggests that you can stop right there and bask in reality. Well, there is reality and then there is surreal reality and then there is blackest reality and then there is hopeful reality and then there is…
You get the picture. By the time you have the answer you’ve forgotten the question. We are all the mule trying to reach the carrot tied to our tails by the fool who laughs and laughs and laughs, who cannot stop laughing, who will never stop laughing, who has come upon a truth and, smarter than the non-fool, stops.
If you have love in your life then all of these ideas are ludicrous. They are all ludicrous anyway if you think of them in terms of how they will be understood. Isn’t to be understood to be loved if you are a good person? I rarely see instances of love between strangers. Loneliness isn’t the down side of being alone, it stems from seeing the world in love. Love is a singular connection. Once you stop being lovable then you are halfway released from any tether you may have had on earth. From here you enter the loveless realm of the workings of the mind. You can go to the moon or sit on a star from here, but you won’t be able to feel it. You will only be able to see it. When you look you glimpse the light from real human beings who have found the connection. Your book falls the nine miles it takes to get to hell. You wait, but you wait for nothing. For death. Same thing.
There is always the self help route. This too is faulty because we don’t want help. We want love. We can’t just change the pictures in our heads and somehow be alright. Even understanding is a failure because no matter how much we understand we are going to have to fight those closest to us to realize it in our lives and our society will always be about thirty years behind those of us who have taken the initiative and plotted out the possibilities of our human potential. We are still alone. Individuals are pushed backward, flushed out of the system. We walk the outer rim of earth, lonely puppets without puppeteers, alive due to some bizarre system we developed as children and perfected as adults much to our detriment. When we are not being blasted in the ear as to what we should do and how we should do it by our loved ones we are following paths of thought that take us only further away until, finally, we are at the outer rim, walking lonely and aimlessly within the realm of our highest aspiration which in it’s final form is spiritual when we thought it would include the physical, the mental, the emotional, the familial. Skin hanging upon bones. Man does not live on word alone.
They say that the hopeful people do better as human beings than the non-hopeful people. The numbers are pretty convincing although I don’t have them here. I’m not sure what they mean by “hopeful” but I imagine it consists of not having had many bad influences in your life. I think hopefulness comes from having had predominantly positive influences in your life. I personally get tired of trying to figure it all out. I guess this makes me less hopeful and therefore a failure according to the study which therefore makes the study useless to the hopeless and beneficial only to the hopeful since the hopeempty are easily beaten down and often gullible and believing, always attributing to themselves the worst and thereby becoming hopeempty.
At least us hope empty people have got some role models: Sartre, Camus, Beckett. The Hopeful look at these people and don’t understand them. The universities make sure that we worship. Then they come out with these studies which place the divides between the classes; between the educated and the ignorant. I believe that the ignorant are more hopeful. I am not hopeful because I know the futility in trying to make it in this world using my chosen method: the mind. There is nothing I can say to convince anybody of anything. When I do try I simply question my motives and find that I want others to read me and be changed and then if I go further I discover that if they are reading me then I am probably getting paid. I want my physical comforts so I can continue to dispense this “truth” which will set them free and keep me fed and housed. Truth is better left spontaneous. In actuality it cannot be given at all, but only expressed. Words are a cheap whore that I visit again and again, always believing that the next time I will get out of her what I dream.

Published in: on May 11, 2014 at 6:34 am  Leave a Comment  

This Fallow Morn

How so much this thing that we do. All. Sort of do, but not do, and all that there is left, after not doing. That which…

What next. When there seems to be nothing there still is is. Can we write of what IS when what is Not is not mentioned? Where is the real when…

Put words to what is, that is the the. No other words need apply. So simple this is. This know, this what is, but what isn’t known.

I praise these its, these knowns, for what they are. No words need more be mentioned, but those words that are, in real, more so than is, in that what is known is not real.

Yon precipice. I fall? Perhaps, all the way down to something. Born of something, this more. This fallow morn.

Published in: on January 18, 2013 at 1:28 am  Leave a Comment  

A Story too ___ to ___.

The two children played on the sidewalk in front of Mr. William’s two story brownstone, but they didn’t know that. They had never had trouble before. Mr. Williams was home watching t.v. at the time when he looked outside and saw one of the boys, Tyler was his name, but he didn’t know, draping superheroes one by one on to the spikes of his black wrought iron fence. He watched when suddenly the other one, Mickey, jumped up and began the process of hitting each one of the superheroes off of the fence one by one: Captain America, gone, into Mr. Williams’s ten square foot front yard. The Incredible Hulk, bam, right behind Mr. Willliams’s two feet in circumference planter which held exactly one dead cactus. A scream of protest went up by the younger child, but Mickey didn’t care. Whack. Mr. T flew as far as the second step of Mr. Williams’s staircase. Tyler started to cry.
Jesus Christ! growled Mr. Williams and he got up and slammed open the front door. Both children looked up at him in abject fear, but did not run away.
C’mon, you guys, you’re too close to my house. The last thing I need right now is some crying brat screaming outside my window. I’m trying to sleep!
He hadn’t been trying to sleep, but was actually pouring over the Wall Street Journal to find out how a few of his companies were doing. Things were looking pretty bad and now this.
He did it, cried out Tyler, the tears streaming down his face.
I did not!
Yes, you did! And he turned and hit Mickey. Mickey took the punch because he was more concerned with Mr. Williams. He was the older and he was the one who would be getting in trouble, not Tyler.
Just go, said Mr. Williams, just get out of here and don’t play around here. Where do you live?
Mickey turned and pointed.
Up on Wallerby.
Well, then go play on Wallerby. What are you doing playing around here anyway. Who cares. Just get.
But I need my toys! Pleaded Tyler before breaking into a full out cry.
Oh, Christ, where are they. What toys?
Over there. The Incre-di-ble Hulk is behind that thing. Captain America is right there, he said, pointing. Mr. Williams looked down and saw Mr. T on his step.
Christ! he yelled and the kids almost ran, but didn’t. Mr. Williams moved forward fast and bent down quickly and in anger to pick up Mr. T so he could throw it back over the fence when he felt a sharp pain shoot from the small of his lower back and then sort of zigzag around the rest of his back before the momentum made him fall forward and he fell headlong down the staircase of exactly eight steps.
The boys just stared at Mr. Williams lying there at the bottom of the stairway. He did not move and they both briefly thought that he was dead until they heard him groan, a long, sad moan that proved he was only hurt. Suddenly Mickey darted. Tyler forgot about his toys and sprinted after him. After a moment they were around the corner of Wallerby. Mr. Williams would never see them again.

Williams? What is Williams anyway? British.
Of course.
So you’re probably not catholic unless you’re Irish/British, right?
No, I’m catholic and British/British, British-American.
Like me.
Like you, Calvin Williams smiled. He liked the feeling of this girl.
A lot of people asked about Catholicism at Notre Dame, especially at the beginning after first arriving as freshmen. Both Calvin and Sarah were new, both standing in line together. Neither knew another living soul at this, their first meal at the dining commons just outside of the dormitory that they soon discovered that they shared. Sarah led them to a table without turning to look to see if Calvin had followed. Calvin followed knowing somehow that it would be alright.

This girl seemed to play her silences in a way that he had never really known before. The girls in high school had been a lot of fast lip jabbing together and eyelash flashing at strategic moments. This one seemed to float on a cloud. Her silence did not lend itself to interpretation and because of this Calvin knew he could follow and sit with her. As she sat down she checked only once out of the corner of her eye whether he was behind her. She smiled and acknowledged him. Perhaps he was being too brazen, but she didn’t give that signal. They were, from the first, just right.
What’s your major, she asked.
Pre-med.
Her eyes fluttered up then back down as she sipped through her straw.
A doctor.
That’s what my parents think anyway. That’s what I’ve told them. And here I am.
She took a little time before she spoke again. It was odd for Calvin. Time passed and they simply just ate. It was suddenly as though she had forgotten that he was going to be a doctor, something he had hoped would service him well in his pursuit of girls ala the standard dream of the young college man. It wasn’t until she was finished with her salad that she spoke again.

After they accepted one another’s companionship at that first meeting a little void inside each of them was partially filled, the lonely part of the overall void of coming to a new place, the scared part of themselves they tried to cover in their new clothes and sure knowledge of what they thought they wanted to do in the future.

Published in: on November 1, 2012 at 5:29 am  Leave a Comment  

Self-Portrait

In Line Once Again Of Course

Published in: on May 13, 2012 at 7:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

wait…

I used to be a writer. Now I’m a “content provider.”

Published in: on May 6, 2012 at 5:39 pm  Leave a Comment