The Torturer’s Song of Love

When I ask these questions
if you give the right answers
there will be no pain
do you understand?

I deplore circumstance
has led us to this, but I am
a professional and I pursue truth
with the greatest zeal.

I want to believe you,
and I would believe you
but I cannot believe you
because you’re lying to me.

I am quite ruthless,
please understand
these acts of torture
only help you

to try to remember.
I do implore you
tell me the real truth
I want to believe you.

If I could only believe you—
does squeezing please you?
I could do so much more
to help you remember.

Tell me what you’re feeling,
what you’re thinking—
it really is
of interest to me.

Does your smoking bother you?
Would you like to tell me something?
Relax, breath deeply,
take your time, have a nice day.

Be happy. I’m happy.
Happy to share this time together
It makes such a difference to me;
I hope you feel the same way.

These little moments
will be our golden moments—
we’ll share so many
you’ll see.

And when you get to know me …

No, when you REALLY get to know me
you’ll really start to like me
we’ll talk and share stories
just like old friends—can I call you friend?

strange beginnings
make for wonderful endings
we’ll laugh about this one day.

But until our next time,
you think about the truth
and what you want to tell me
good night — dear friend.

LITE FOOD (the shill)

Ladies and Gentlemen,
allow me to introduce
something so UNIQUE
you won’t find it in your local supermarket—
you won’t find it in any restaurant—
you can only buy it online—
I’m talking about a credible,
scientifically tested product that is
SAFE … S-A-F-E and
it’s all the rage in PARIS, LONDON,
LANDING and all points between —
I’m talking about Lite Foods.

The amazing culinary breakthrough
created using dedicated cyclotrons
and high particle bombardment
maintained in a zero degree temperature
so we reduce all the calorific content
of any food to zero

Imagine french-fries that don’t add an inch — and still taste as good!
Malted shakes fresh and frosty as the one you used to get
at the old corner malt shoppe—ahh, the good old days … .
Don’t misunderstand me —
this is not a gimmick —
We Will Reduce Your Calorie Intake To Zero.

Think about your next vacation
Perhaps you have considered a tummy tuck
or worse, a diet of nothing but good for you,
coupled with a new physical regime—
that is too much work with no snacks as reward.
If that works for you—don’t listen to a word I have to say.
Because, I’m inviting you to forget all that stuff,
eat anything you like as the pounds just melt away.
All your favourite foods, burgers, beer, chips and cheese,
pizza, chocolate, sugar pies and anything deep fried.
Who wants to eat anything they want
and bloat into a eighth wonder of the world?
you need this stuff
this stuff is going to change your life FOREVER!
You’re going to get one!
You’re going to meet someone nice!
Oh yeah—we’re talking results.
And it’s easy—just pop in your mouth, chew and swallow—
modern science takes care of the rest.
We Guarantee It!
If our food isn’t found to be
according to credible, independent laboratory (willing to go out on a limb and expose itself to massive lawsuit for fraud, slander, libel, copyright infringement and product suppression)
then we’ll happily refund your money
and you can go back to greasy, disgusting, sickly, indigestible
and you can have it
but me—I’m dining out LITE tonight—
don’t you think it’s time you do too?


Why do I do what I do? The ceaseless injection of lethal pain killer designed to numb my soul to the future; the feeling in my hand will be gone in five minutes; will I love my hand that much more when it will not feel like a hand? Not quite a part of me, another extension of flesh not quite me. Not entirely what I expected. Five minutes to go.

I am trying to be part of a minority; I cannot be black, or Jewish, or a woman, or an alien — this is my only alternative. All I want is to look from the outside in without leaving the comfort of my room.

My room’s wallpaper has flowers and between them naked men and women  cavort. Both bodies and flowers dissolve upon closer inspection into dots of colour. The world dissolves into a spoon. I dissolve into a glass of water. Five minutes is long gone.

The molecules in a glass of water contain enough space to encompass the future light of an eternity of digression, equivocation and substantiation of a formula so obvious, so simple, that the arcane and hopelessly sophisticated must try it; it must be sampled—if only to say you have done it;

and then you have done it. And done it again. Again. Another done it. Like notches in a glass of water. Slicing into a future of impossible light cone and rod and a spherical song that knows no wrong. Simply goes on, over and over. Until light fades in a glass with a spoon that reflects this moon that lies between all the space in all the molecules in this universe that goes into keeping that glass of water right where this is.

Illusion is the great seductress; the wall is a mirror that allows us to examine the cracks; the curtain rises on the stage, or the world.

And the war? this unexplained…rigorous manifestation of our toxicity?

Our febrile senses,

deluded imaginations,

rotted souls,

so tired, so exact.

Measurement is all I know.

The King and the Counselor

C    I hate to interrupt Sire but it appears one of the priceless Merz works has disappeared from the East Wing.

K    yeah We know — We sold it

C    You what? — I mean I apologize Sire but you mean to say … You sold it … a priceless heirloom of our nation, a piece of irreplaceable history, and you sold it. Very Good Sire — Very Very Good. May I inquire if the piece was sold to a … foreign person.

K    We just wanna make ten thousand bux a day. Four times as much as We do now — four times equals profits equals big bux equals easy street. He was Japanese — he gave me a cool 10,000 yen for it.

C     (taps on calculator) do you realize You sold the Merz for less than 2,500 pounds?

K     WHAT? The frames are worth more than that— We can’t believe it.

C    Can we look forward to more sales soon Sire?

K    Yeah… We was thinking of selling this (pulls reliquary out from under his jacket)

C     Oh very good Sire — the priceless icon of the Virgin Mary’s toenail — I’ll … I’ll tell you what Sire — I’ll give you $500 for it.

K      500 BUCKS! You got 500 Bucks!! How’d YOU get 500 Bucks!?

C     It is a small saving I have set aside for an investment opportunity … I think this qualifies

K    Let We see the money

C     (pulls out five $100 bills and lays them out in front of the King)

K    Gimme (takes the money and hands over the icon) pleasure doing business with We. Hey — Counselor — go get me a glass of water (the Counselor heads to the door) Guards! GUARDS!! Stop the counselor — he just stole the priceless icon of the Merry Virgin’s ho nail. Stop him! That’s an order!! Good — bring him back to Us. Make him give the icon back. Are you sorry you held out on your King naughty Counselor? that will be all Guards — you can go (waits for Guards to leave). But seriously — what do you think We can get for the icon?

C    (glares at him)

K    Ok, Ok — what about this?  (pulls a large portrait from behind the throne)

C     That, Sire, is a priceless portrait of Your ever so greatly removed ancestor — Sirius — the Serious (sighs) what did You think You would sell it for?

K     Is he dead?

C    Of course, he’s dead!

K    Are they certain?

C    I assure You Sire Your great great great great great Grandfather is DEAD!

K    (in a huff) I meant the artist

C    what difference … I believe the artist is dead as well, Sire

K    Good, then he won’t miss it

C    Others might Sire!

K    All this stuff is boring — We need to do something to liven up this place — and We start by taking down all this dreary art and icon stuff and Hey! if We can make a buck then We got a little in the kitty if We want to redecorate

C    It’s not as if You need the money Sire. You have a palace, You eat from gold plate, You have numerous casks of gold and diamonds and other precious jewels too numerous to count. An art collection of rare breadth and discrimination — why would You want more money?

K    You can’t be too careful. Plan Ahead. Anticipate failure. We could use a little nest egg.

C    Well, you got mine.

K    What’s that?


K     First of all — no bills maintaining the priceless art collection, We mean You can’t eat it, wear it, dance with it— what use is it? It’s the only stuff We have that We never use and We still have to get it cleaned! Personally, We prefer baseball cards. Do you know how much a mint Horus Wagner is worth?  Betcha don’t  — WE DO! A LOT!! — We keep up with that sort of stuff, We mean art, schmart, who knows from shit on a wall — what We want to know — what is it worth?

C    Sire, if you are bent on selling the art collection may I suggest you start with the Dali collection ? The Edward Keene room?

K    Is he dead?


K    Usually people are worth more when they are dead — standard in baseball cards, I just figured it must be the same with art.

MORTE D’ARTHUR (the shill)

Ladies and Gentlemen,
allow me to introduce something
many might consider revolutionary,
psychosomatic, pathological,
paranoiac, and—plain old scary.

I know a good thing when I see one,
and I knew it when I smelt

A fragrance so royal,
so mighty,
it had to be named after a mythic King.
So new, it’s about time.
So fantastic, it’s more than magic—
it kills you.

Wear it and your time is up.
48 hours, 48 years,
how long? — no one knows
but as sure as cancer,
kills you.

Think of the fashion statement—
when people smell you—they know—
you’ve made a commitment,
you’re different, someone
extraordinary, someone
ahead of the pack.

I’m wearing it now …
my mind’s made up,
from now on, for me
it’s my way.

Tell your friends,
let your family know,
brag to your neighbours,
everyone will notice
it’s a brand new you —
share your timeline with us online.

What are you waiting for?
More of this
boring pedestrian reality?
You can continue to wade through
a sea of shit
if that is what you want
lonely, unnoticed, unhappy
but not me —
I’m the guy in control.


Take the plunge
into an unimaginable future
a timeless Avalon.
the fabulous
the unforgettable
that belongs to those who
seize their fate.

Embrace the scent of destiny,
the scent of the event
that will define everything about you
your end, your curtain call,
your relentless rejoinder
“you can’t ignore me”

because the end is very mysterious,
and so very, very now.

The Author Consults The Killer

A — if everything I write comes true, how come God never answers my letters?

K — Which letters?

A — Here (throws him a stack of envelopes tied together with string — each one stamped “Undeliverable”)

K — (unties and sorts through the stack), hmmm, “ God/ Eternity/ Postal code unknown,” “Jahweh/ any burning bush will do,” “God/ if you’re Buddha, please reincarnate in time to receive this letter/ Nirvana,” — very inventive, nice touch including the return address (rips open an envelope) “Dear God, If you’re reading over my shoulder right now, you’re not breathing hard enough.” (crumples it up and tosses it, opens another) “When you look over my shoulder like that I want you to know that suffering up close and personal and not from the perspective of omniscience and eternity is no fucking good. I don’t like suffering and I don’t need it. And while I’m on that point — I don’t think we need cruelty to delineate beauty, love can exist without hate, and landlords suck.” (crumples it up and throws it away) — you were on a roll until that last part, kind of a letter to Santa, wouldn’t you say? “God, when I watch myself writing, looking in a mirror, I wonder is that what you see, reading over my shoulder?” (pauses, sets letter aside) that one is good, closer to the truth than you realize.
Would you like to know something? When you write stuff, any kind of stuff, if you write about something before it happens and then it happens — well, then, of course it came true.
And of course, if you write it after it happened — well, that has to be true.
But other times, what you write, maybe it is still waiting to happen, and so it’s not true.
Reason is kind of pitiful don’t you think?
Did you ever consider: What you wrote wasn’t true enough? Perhaps, if you had written accurately, with greater feeling and greater conviction, God would have got your letter, and He might have been moved to reply — in which circumstance, it would be to late to caution you — be careful what you wish for.
However, for that to occur, I doubt pen and paper would suffice.
Other than that, there is no difference between you and me — we both create/ destroy — I operate on a more mundane plane — and my messes are easier to clean up.

The Killer explains to the Author The Desperate Nuance of Individual Fate

K — Have you ever met the killer? There are so many. Invisible — that’s how you can tell … when you do not see them, their cold dark eyes, but you feel them as they pass, and know them without understanding.

A — What do you mean invisible? People know murder when they see it, killers are caught … sometimes there are even videos!

K — What you see from the corner of your eye is true. Ignore what is right in front of you. Ignore the man talking to you, pay attention to who exits.
One of my favourites was Stick. He called himself that as a joke. Stick was skilled with the ice pick. But this was no ordinary ice pick. An ordinary ice pick is an overgrown nail in a handle, low grade steel, heavy, thick, in fact, somewhat repulsive — you know, the idea of using a tool to kill someone. You have to understand, the true pro kills precisely, exactly as they want to — it’s a matter of pride.
Now, Stick had ground a sharpening iron down to needle gauge. It was like silver. He showed me once, how he could walk so it flashed like a moment of sunshine reflected from a store window, how he could hold it so the light would glare in your eyes and you would never see the blade … .
He’d take down his target in public, a part of the crowd. He liked being the crossing guard no one noticed — kids are perfect camouflage he once told me in his calm monotonous voice. Otherwise, he would just be someone crossing the street at the same time his target crossed.
He bragged to me that once he was fully invisible, he would follow his target, weapon exposed, and no one would notice, as if he were a ghost. But, I of course know that no one would see him as he was unthinkable, it was impossible to see him, exposed, obvious — it was and is too much — people cannot bear it, so they turn and look away.
His pick, so fine, would enter from back, at the base of the skull, right above the spine and out again so quickly, he would appear to be catching a man who suddenly staggered.
He would shout, “Help, someone help, this man is ill,” holding his hand over the point of entry long enough for the wound to seal— the pick was that fine. He would stay, talk to the police, the paramedics, give his name and number, comfort standers-by, then go and buy a take-out meal and return to eat it on the spot, reluctant to leave his moment of perfect anonymity.
The illusion complete, time would pass and after a proper autopsy, investigators would start to realize Stick was their prime suspect — but no one could describe him — was he tall, fat, short, white, black? — no one could say, he was kind of tall, kind of short, kind of mixed, kind of older, younger … no one could remember him.
Stick is legion. He surrounds you, me, your family, everyone you don’t know. You don’t see him, because you don’t want to see him. And because he is so obvious he is impossible to describe. His greatest defense is everyone’s wish to forget.
And so he plies his trade, undisturbed.