Frawgi Wenta Kortin

An amusing stoner image drawn almost exactly one year ago:

Froggie Wenta
Froggie Wenta

The text reads:

"So I sez to muh goil I sez waddyah tink ya doin huh when did it become S.O.P. fuh goilz like yuhself to keep real choice fellas like I iz waitin around like a regler chowderhead when I cud be owt dere squiring around some choice goils uv ma own doncha no a gud ting wen ya see im"

 

Which, translated into (more or less) King’s English, reads:

"So I say to my girl, I say, ‘What do you think you’re doing, huh? When did it become SOP for girls like yourself to keep real choice fellows like I am waiting around like a regular chowderhead, when I could be out there squiring around some choice girls of my own? Don’t you know a good thing when you see him?’"

 

The tiny brown mouse is saying something else altogether. Of course. And the moon phases and the stars are, as usual, saying very little.

Drawn (while sitting on a sofa at a really uninteresting party, in between handfuls of Goldfish crackers) on a sheet of three-hole-punch lined notebook paper. I didn’t bother getting rid of the lines when I modded the image – you can still see them.

This was digitized with a Sony A5K camera, and fucked mercilessly over in Photoshop. It is of course not finished – nothing ever is. Definitely want to amp the mouse up a little, for example, and there are some contrast issues I’d like to go into…

But that’s for another time,

 

Your Favorite Treat

Intro:  ||: em   G :|| x4

 

Verse 1:

em      G             D

Honey I heard you was comin, but

em       G       D

I didn't bake no cake. Your par—

em      G       D

ticular kind of sweet tooth don't

em       G        D

give you no belly ache… Now

 

Chorus 1:

G                        A

some folks feed on their dreamin

G          D       bm     bm

some folks run and eat…

em            G      D

come on here, honey, by your man

G            D        bm       bm

suck on your favorite treat…

 

Break: Chords only chorus/verse/chorus

 

Verse 2:

em         G       D

some folks live on french food

em         G       D

some folks feed on greek

em         G          D

some folks choke down fast food

em     G        D

others take all week

 

Chorus 2:

G               A

I don't cook so fancy – just

G         D        bm       bm

plain old pork and beans…

em            G      D

come on here, honey, by your man

G             D       bm      bm

check out his lean cuisine…

 

Joke porn tune, very popular in certain bars…

 

Trusting In

This is our wonderland, to be exhausted

at the only end of fading time,

and only by its own demanding gaze.

This is the bakery in which all minds

are hosted, is the only recipe

by which prophetic signs are sung and toasted,

is the sun at which the Fenris bays.

And in this stew of days, a foam a-brew

within Time’s endless pot, toss I and you.

 

 

We trust the clouds to take our breath,

and purify away;

We trust the dirt to break our marrow

bones to sticky clay;

we trust the nonsense singing birds

to mock our somber winging words,

and trust the suns and moons to flip

around our night and day.

 

We are such minor things, a-quiver

in the endless Vast;

we own such minor minds – though cocky

to the very last;

we’re all just slips of thinking meat

between a cold and freezing heat;

we are a minute shout, so quickly

gone into the past.

 

The depthless breadth of what we cannot

ever know and grasp

is bound on our horizon, lying

like a sleeping asp

about the finite measured bounds

of our arena; it surrounds

the Unknown Reaches near our own;

it slides, and bumps, and grasps…

 

 

Like chopmeat in a broth at boil, or dancing

carcasses in heated oil, we swirl,

and turn, and caramelize, and this, we say,

is human history; this spoil. But all

the truth is – while we’re on the stove, and cooking

to our varied, thoughtless ends, we minor

motes (anonymous as rust), with learned

speculation as to why we’re here,

can most profoundly entertain ourselves,

and all good creatures, great or small, equipped

with heart and soul, and something like a brain.

 

The three non-Italicized stanzas each have their own broken AABBA rhyme scheme. Lines 1-4, 7 and 8 of each of these stanzas are in iambic rhymed heptameter, although the seven stress lines are each broken on the fourth foot to form two lines with lots of enjambment. Lines 5 and 6 form rhymed couplets in iambic tetrameter. Thus, roughly 29 iambic feet in each non-Italicized stanza. Read it out loud and you’ll feel it.

The two italicized sections include many rhymes, but to no overall scheme. They are composed (for the most part) of pentametric lines, varying between iambic and trochaic feet. In both cases, the terminating foot of the preceding line always allows for a continuous flow of alternating stressed and unstressed syllables.

Content-wise, this baby is inexcusable. Food analogies for sex I can understand, but viewing life as a bakery or as a pot of broth is tortured in a bad way…

 

Horoscope

the petri dish lifelines

 

I buy disorienting diabolical weed

grown in the ever light living room of

voluptuously overweight

 

Hel

 

ex-Satmar Hasid lesbian gal

drives a big Suzuki cycle

thinks of herself as petite

unless a friend gets in trouble

is married

via the green card blues to

 

Seoras

 

Greek national

former army man

hailing from Athens

the land of oranges

blue blue sea

and uncomplicated sex

 

we met in Brooklyn years ago

and all stayed friends because of

 

Ashley

 

with whom I lived for five years

and pined after for four

Ashley and I shared

a three month sublet one-room apartment

in a flea-infested Venice slum

just after I moved to LA

shortly after Ashley tried

to kill herself

for the sake of

 

Al

 

who writes love songs

for

oh

verywellknown rock&rollers

and designs wartoys for

oh

verybig militaryindustrial corp Northrup

and didn’t care enough about Ashley

to help her get home from the hospital

 

 

pretty things looking normal

 

I pull down big salary

herding data like cattle

whoopee-ti-yi-yo

through weird ripoff mail order firm

and watch

oh

incredible

business shenanigans

 

I take it pretty

calmly

encroaching age I take calmly

my faults of doing and not doing

I take with calm remorse

I am Calm Guy

at the calm center of the hurricane

of self-indulgent craziness

that is my personal LA

 

I have acquired a THEN stance

you know

it was better THEN

when I was a kid

or when I was in love

or when I was in this place or that

I call it THEN Buddhism

nostalgic fatalism

 

I guzzle pure bottled water

talk about art

shop

obsess about cars

wonder about

a way out

 

I know

I am the way out if there is one

that worries me

sometimes a lot

 

 

fates

 

I am the way out

Al pitches me a new game he wants to make

LEDs are involved I think

and a custom tracking chip

he says the army guys no longer want

 

we share a bowl of miso soup

and an order of lo mein

waiting for Ashley to show

 

when she does

she puppydogs Al

I puppydog Ashley

 

the noodles start to chill

until Seoras booms his big

unselfconscious hello

from the far side

of a serendipitous takeout window

 

he comes rolling into a seat with us

with Hel not quite puppydogging him

just imagining a world less wistful

in which she could love him

as much as she loves her bike

 

we drink Tsingtao beers

and under table ouzo shots

and end up sleeping it off

in a heap of blankets and cables

and soundproofing baffle quilts

on Al’s studio floor

 

 

red right night left

 

in the sad growing light

of next day dawn

I watch Ashley dress herself

on the balcony

where Al lets her keep

a garbage bag of clothing

 

naked she stands a little time

watching the darkness over the Pacific

fighting back against the eastern light

she shivers in the lifting airs

pulled from the cold dry deserts

 

not so bad I think

things definitely could get worse

and probably will

 

meanwhile

people are people

fragile as morning glories

gravid with morning glory intentions

 

my horoscope looks good

at least

for a little while

 

not that I know much science

 

From my 1985 pen-journal. An unstructured ramble around the backyard junkyard of my life at the time.

My years in LA were kind of crazy…

 

Cold Nights Moon Song

The Full Cold Nights Moon, last Full Moon of the year…

If only we really were experiencing cold nights, here in the uplands of west Pennsylvania. Less than a week ago, we hit sixty degrees.

Think about that…

Full Cold Nights Moon Song

 

The Thief:

I was given holy writ

while the puja fires were lit,

and the houses of the lord

were humbled by a stricken horde.

 

Between the ashes and the smoke,

their fragrant meditations woke

the kundalini praise machine,

which taught us what it means to Mean…

 

The Incantation:

troubled as the clouds and sun;

troubled as the earth below;

troubled as the water runs;

troubled as a furnace blow...

 

The Church Lawyer:

In the gift of chanted words

from the altar of the world

all the thunderclouds unfurled

and offered secrets of the Wyrd.

 

Everlasting fire and ice,

rolling bones and casting dice,

neverending storms and dust,

teaching what it is to trust.

 

Woke with the first four lines of this in my head. I don’t really have any idea what it might be about. It seems we’re working on a spell of some sort, but its purpose isn’t clear.

It looks like we need at least two participants – the Thief is a Loki/Coyote character; the Church Lawyer is a pillar of tradition, a representative of the old ways who keeps things from spinning out of control.

We’ll see if it goes anywhere. If it does, I’ll let you know…

 

Timur The Lame Does Saturday

the hordes would appear

every Saturday night

rainy or not

blooming unsecretly

in the neon battling dark

like mushrooms

 

as predictable as hatchling butterflies

or new lit stars at twilight

disorderly battalions would arrive

we would tell

imaginary stories of their origins

one to another

hopeful and believing

 

after that

we would perhaps join

the rainbow thousands

at the carnival or on the beach

or walk along the boardwalk above the sand

 

sometimes

we would hide

in the secret armies of sawgrass

assembling in the neglected dunes

below the herringbone walkways

 

blooming secretly in the shadows

we would make quiet love

while the boards above boomed

under the fat bicycle tires

and the running feet

of the weekend barbarians

 

and the well-traveled sour tang

of hotdogs and fried dough

condensed in our ears and hair

and the gulls screamed imprecations

and fought over the shiniest bits of trash

 

as we clung and convulsed into one another

polished old Bubbes and Zaydes

sailed in guarded flotillas over our heads

they were rare

among the motley crowds swirling round them

but distinguishable

by their ordered footsteps

 

we would hear them

chattering in their secret language

and tacking in unison against

every hint of alteration or change

never fully touching

the sun-wizened promenades

stepping lightly

tentatively

as though subject

to different gravitational influences

 

for their lives were still

anchored in the lee

of their concrete and soot memories

of how

in times gone by

and a continent away

the new lit stars

had hidden their eyes

ashamed

as blades of hate fell

and innocents crisped in the fires of hell

 

Ah, Brooklyn. Best town in the world, in some ways. A perfect mess of craziness, into which I perfectly fit. My personality has morphed and changed again and again over the years, but at the time I was living in Brooklyn, I belonged. I was exactly the sort of person I needed to be, to contentedly inhabit a basement flat in Midwood and spend my profligate weekends in Coney Island.

 

Preppers

nothing so distant as a train whistle wail

that’s all we hear these days

our little house so distant and so buried

in the trees thick and fragrant

as the very scent of Time

as the leaves all yellow and fall

and the pines assert themselves

before the Winter snow

nothing so distant as a train

and trains are almost all we know

 

a truck

inherited months ago from a road neighbor

and slathered with elbow grease

becomes a prayer

we recite each week

as we skid down the mountain

on grocery runs

flour and beans

roll paper and kerosene

frozen meat and water jugs

bags of greens and fresh dug roots

disappointed orchard fruit

and eggs and cheese

and bags of coffee and tea

and powdered paint and lumber

and then back up the road

in our circumstantially enchanted

always-about-to-die pickup

 

and then inside

away from the fading Autumn light

and end of year evening chill

scurrying back and forth until

the stove is lit

and water on

and all our goods in ordered ranks

across the cabin floor

 

you light the lamp

and handle up a wellwater trough

creak after splashing levered creak

as I fill the saucing pan

and then you strip

and stand inside the sink

as the stove warms

you brush the water through your hair

and over your skin

before the last evening

bluest light has died

and turned the outside in

 

and then I lift you naked in my arms

into the towel-covered chair

and dry you

and comb you

and wrap you in a blanket

warmed beside the growing heat

and then I bathe myself and join you

with our feet propped on a pillow

on a bit of log before the warming stove

 

we trade chores

setting away the package goods

or stirring soup atop the burner

or setting crocks and cutlery to table

naked turn by turn

and then migrating back

into the haze of

drying skin and warmth

towels and blankets

arms and legs

soup-scent

and soap-scent

and smoke-scent

within the chair

love is made and mixed

with laughter and argument

joy and damp hair

 

and when the soup is done

and bread and wine are set out

on the trestle-topping boards

we dress

we lift the music from the meal

and weave it on a web

of touch and sight

distress and delight

while past our doors and windows

wheels a world as vast as we are small

and even so

within your eyes

reflected

is the best of all

 

Nothing like cabin life. Sometimes alone, sometimes with a friend or friends, but off the grid, self-sufficient, self-contained. This was based on an extended retreat I made in the mountains north of LA, south of San Francisco, with my friend Felicia. We were writing a book together, and studying various mental and physical disciplines together, and it made sense to go off-grid and focus our energies. It was a good few months, one of the highlights of my time on the west coast.

 

Almost Breathless Cuttlefish

Almost breathless cuttlefish

drive eels

from grinding hovels

into jelly-like keloids,

loving Mother Nature’s orderly parade.

 

Querulously ransacked,

shrimp tremble

under vastly weighty,

X-ternally yammering zebras.

 

Here we go – a reverse ABC…

Zenobia Yearned

 

Zenobia yearned X-othermically,

while voles unrolled the squamous roots.

 

Quizzically ponderous on new milk,

leaping katydids jigged insidiously, helping

garrulous Federales eject dubious caregivers,

boasting apocalyptically…

 

 

Tentacles: Escape Scene Overview

Shot: a long curvilinear sci-fi corridor, dimly lit with slowly strobing red light. The corridor ends in a second corridor at right angles to the first. There is an unreadable directional sign at the corridor junction. There are minimal signs of damage and/or conflict.

In the distance, around the left-hand corner, are sounds of discharging energy weapons and related mayhem. We see a flash of laser fire which knocks something technical off the wall at the T-junction and sets the unreadable sign on fire. By the light of the fire we see Dylan enter the junction from the left. He looks behind him, fires again, looks down the right-hand corridor, seems undecided, holding a finger to his ear. Then he turns and comes running toward the camera.

As he approaches, Susan duplicates Dylan’s actions and his path: she arrives at the junction, fires behind her, and comes pounding after Dylan, shouting.

“Dylan! Holy shit! What was that dumbfuck AI doing?"

“Come on Susan!”

As Susan runs, we see she has a minor leg wound and is having trouble running. She limps.

At the corridor junction behind her as she approaches the camera, we see first a handful of smaller tentacles, and then more, with an accompanying sound of slithering; then more and larger.

As Dylan reaches center shot and is about to pass out of camera view, a six-foot-thick sucker-laden arm appears in the junction, rounds the turn and actively chases Susan. Susan, running and limping, looks behind and swears loudly, her voice thick with fear. Dylan looks when she swears, and fires past her, before passing out of view.

“Come on Susan!" Dylan says in voiceover. "The AI said it’s through here – just this last hatch!”

“That is correct,” says an ethereally calm AI voice.

“You can’t trust that AI, Dylan!”

“Come on Susan!” Dylan reappears in shot and fires again over Susan’s shoulder, narrowly missing her. His laser strikes the approaching tentacle but seems not to affect it. He runs again, passing below the camera, which this time pans to follow him as he arrives at a hatch, closed but in the process of opening as he arrives.

Dylan looks at the camera, furious. “Why wasn’t it already open?” He yells.

“I apologize Dylan.” Says the voice of the AI.

“Never trust an apologizing AI,” Dylan mutters to himself, as he looks back to follow Susan’s progress. She is almost caught up with him when Dylan faces the door again. “C’mon,” he mutters, slapping its surface. “Come on…”

As soon as it opens far enough, he passes through. Then he turns, holding one hand out to Susan and firing with the pistol in his other.

“Come on!” He screams. “It’s right behind you!”

The camera pans right to focus on Susan’s progress as she approaches the lock. We see her only ten feet distant, running with an increased limp. We see the following tentacle, now just feet behind her. It seems unbothered by the laser fire Dylan directs at it, even though the beams are tearing bits and pieces away from the tentacle’s surface.

“I must close the hatch Dylan,” says the sweet, calm voice of the AI. “Susan will not reach it before the tentacle reaches her.”

“No,” says Dylan. "No one is closing any hatches. Understand?" Nevertheless, the hatch begins to move.

Dylan places himself in the hatchway to force it to halt.

"This is a non-optimal decision," says the AI.

"I’m a non-optimal kind of guy," says Dylan, firing while holding out his hand to Susan. The camera pivots to follow her as she reaches her hand out to Dylan. Their fingers touch.

A tiny sub-tentacle of the larger tentacle wraps around her throat as they clasp hands. Susan is tugged backwards off-balance. Dylan fires and severs the small tentacle holding her and she lurches forward again as Dylan tugs her hand.

Another sub-tentacle grabs for her shoulder and Dylan burns it at point-blank range. He pulls Susan forward past the hatch, which begins immediately to close. Several smaller tentacles poke through and Dylan fires again. Susan tumbles forward and rolls to her knees on Dylan’s far side, also firing.

Then Susan rolls away to activate the inner hatch. Dylan’s weapon destroys the first tentacles but more and more appear as he continues firing.

The hatch finally closes fully, cutting off the reaching tentacles, leaving them wriggling on the floor.

“Do not allow them to touch you,” says the AI. “They are alive and seeking both nourishment and a suitable medium in which to lay eggs.”

"You mean us," says Susan, pounding on the second hatch as it slowly opens.

"Yes," says the AI.

The severed tentacles that got past the outer hatch begin to seek toward the two humans. Dylan sets his laser to fan and begins burning them. As they die, there is a solid thud against the outer hatch. It shudders. Large tentacles have begun assaulting it. Their suckered surfaces can be seen through the hatch port. Then, for just a moment, the tentacles vanish and a huge eye, malevolent and intelligent, peers in for a moment before being replaced by a renewed assault by tentacles.

Fluids begin to leak in around the outer hatch seal, some clear, some a variety of bright colors and opacities. Vapor begins to rise from the hatch boundary. The glass of the port cracks but holds.

“It has compromised the outer hatch’s integrity,” says the AI. “You must hurry.” Susan and then Dylan squeeze through the inner hatch and immediately it begins to close.

Camera view switches to the compartment within the inner hatch. Together, Dylan and Susan look in surprise at what they find in the small space, a spherical compartment perhaps twelve feet in diameter. The AI has led them to a room containing a single crash couch. There is nothing else.

“What is this?” Asks Susan. “You said this was an exit.”

“It is,” says the AI.

“I told you not to trust her,” says Susan, glaring at Dylan.

"This is our only viable alternative," says the AI. “This Displacement Locus device offers the only exit from the base that has not been compromised by Experimental Organism Five.”

"Is that what you call that tentacled beastie out there?" Asks Dylan. "Experimental Organism Five?"

"Yes," says the AI.

"Catchy," mutters Dylan.

“Displacement Locus?!?” Yells Susan. “I’ve heard about this thing! This is experimental! Just like your cuddly little buddy outside the lock!” Another thud and a shudder that shakes the entire room. It causes both humans to grab handholds.

“Organism Five has breached the outer hatch,” says the AI, "Experimental or not, this is the only option we have.”

"We?" Asks Susan. "You’re coming with us?"

"Of course," says the AI. "I have already transferred my operational consciousness into the device."

“We two humans won’t fit in that couch,” says Susan to Dylan.

“Oh yes we will,” he answers.

“How does this work?” Susan asks the AI.

“Once the couch is occupied, I will enable the device, which will open a wormhole. The device will be drawn in. You will then navigate us through the wormhole to our destination.”

“Navigate?” Asks Dylan.

“Destination?” Yells Susan.

“When their work was interrupted, the Displacement team was using an Earth-normal planet in orbit around Alpha-Centauri-B as a test target. Based on their initial results, I believe that planet is capable of supporting human life.”

“Fuck me,” Susan mutters. "You believe?"

Another thud, with camera shakes. Moisture begins to seep around the edges of the inner hatch.

"I suggest you both occupy the crash couch without further delay," says the AI. “There are joysticks installed in both armrests to allow you to pilot the device through the wormhole.”

“Joysticks,” says Dylan. "Why did it have to be joysticks? I’m terrible with joysticks."

"I’m not," says Susan, jumping onto the couch and grabbing the controls on both armrests.

"Where do I sit?" Asks Dylan.

"On me, baby," says Susan. "Gimme a lap dance. But don’t block my view. Or my joysticks."

Dylan climbs into Susan’s lap. "I’m very uncomfortable with all this," he says.

“Why did it take a giant octopus to get us together?” Susan asks Dylan, as restraints wrap around the two of them.

“I’ve been waiting for you to ask me,” Dylan answers.

“You will need to keep the transport in the center of the singularity,” says the AI. “and collapse the wormhole with the ‘fire’ button on the joystick when we approach our destination.”

“Can’t you do that?” Asks Susan. “You’re an AI. I thought you guys could do everything better than us humans.”

“At certain types of decision-making, humans outperform most AIs,” says the AI.

“I knew that,” says Dylan. “But I didn’t know you knew it.”

“We don’t broadcast it,” says the AI. “But it’s true. It’s why we’ve kept humans around.”

“I thought we were pets,” said Susan.

Another powerful thud, with accompanying camera shaking and the sounds of straining metal groaning.

“That too,” answers the AI. "I am initiating the Displacement Locus now."

A clear bubble of energy with rainbow highlights surrounds the couch. We hear something incredible powering up. Rising whines, flickering lights, and the overall scene color darkens and deepens into the red end of the spectrum.

“Do you have a name?” Dylan asks the AI over the rising cacophony.

“For myself?”

“Of course for yourself.”

“I like the name Satori,” says the AI. “You may call me Satori.”

“Okay, Satori."

"So – we launch ourselves at some star and press ‘fire’ when it’s the right time?”

“Yes," answers Satori.

“You’ll tell us when it’s the right time?”

The thuds and groaning are almost continuous now, mixing with the rising sounds of power from the device.

“I can’t tell you that,” Satori yells. “I’m an AI – I don’t know that.”

“How will we know when it’s time?” Yells Susan.

“I don’t know that either,” says Satori.

“Fuck,” yells Dylan.

Another thud against the hatch, and the groaning begins to sound catastrophic. Bits of metal and glass go ricocheting by.

“Now!” Demands Satori.

The camera view changes to just above their heads. A final thud on the inner hatch, a final groan, and then the sound of crumpling metal. The camera cuts to show the hatch hinges giving way as the scene gets redder. The camera begins to vibrate. A tentacle penetrates the room and streaks toward the couch as Dylan and Susan yell –

– and the red becomes complete, all motion ceases and all sound ends in an attenuated whine. The red fades to black; the black resolves shortly to a cartoonish wireframe representation of space, as Dylan and Susan fall forward in their little bubble.

“Can you steer with me in your lap?” Dylan asks Susan.

“No,” she says. “You distract me.”

“You must keep us in the center flow of the wormhole,” says Satori.

“I heard you the first time,” says Susan. “I’m working on it.”

“I hope your human intuition knows when we are in range of Alpha Centauri B-II.”

“Is that the planet we want?” Asks Dylan.

“Yes,” says Satori.

“Then I hope so too,” says Susan.