PROFIT: 3 of 4 People Will Try Something Else

Female figurines with upraised arms, from pre-Dynastic Egypt c 3500 BCE

      Since August 2011 when I published WOOP: We the Workers of the World Walk Out On Profit, the people who do the world’s work every day (You) have continued to work harder, get poorer and become seemingly more powerless—because, of course, there is no bottom or limit to the subjection intended for us by the Profit System (https://jackdempsey

      This is also fundamentally because working people have continued to believe the lie coming at them 24/7 from Profit—that they have no real power to change course. This, even as Profit must have them working every day, like a powerful vampire who actually depends on willing victims.

If you believe that is your “fate,” you might want to know what other people think.

At the end of WOOP I asked a simple poll-question: “Is private Profit the best way to promote everybody’s progress?”

Here are the results (and I did not vote!):

      Total Responses/Votes: 36

      EMPHATIC NO: 22 votes (or 61.11%)—“because taking more than you give [Profit] does not add up.”

      MAYBE WE NEED A NEW SYSTEM: 6 votes (or 16.67%)

      Add those two figures (total 77.78%): THREE OUT OF FOUR people support active cooperative change or at least believe another way is possible. 

Not a single respondent expressed belief in the maxim of Profit that “selfishness drives me to meet other people’s needs.”

The remainder (6 votes or 16.66%) voted “Other” without any comment whatsoever.

So, What are we going to do about it? Do you understand yet that your daily relationship with Work is your greatest point of real power? Business knows it. 

As the Capitalist Profit System continues to lie, steal, conquer, kill and destroy the Earth to “prove” itself—as you look at your only “choices” in either Shillary, or Donald-Everybody-Duck—we might want to look again at what really is happening to us, and what we still really can do about it. May these words from Thucydides at the head of WOOP‘s original page challenge and inspire you to act, with all other human beings, on behalf of your own life and the life of the only planet we have.

The secret of happiness is freedom, and the secret of freedom, courage.

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Ancient Minoan Calendar and our Heritage of (yes, relative) Peace

Happy Summer Solstice!

Announcing publication of a small (50pp) color-illustrated booklet The Knossos Calendar: Minoan Cycles of the Sun, the Moon, the Soul and Political Power, published in English and Greek versions by Mystis Editions:

Description. Minoan Cycles of the Sun, the Moon, the Soul & Political Power. AUTHOR’S NOTE. Minoan civilization returned to the sun over 100 years ago.


In 2001, UK archaeologist Lucy Goodison demonstrated a core feature of Minoan astronomy in plain sight all along. The throne of Knossos—which stood for over 1500 years circa 2500-1400, inscribed with a solar disc and lunar crescent—is positioned to be touched by the light of Winter Solstice. With Summer Solstice sunlight also built into this chamber, this can hardly be other than the Minoans’ essential prime counting-anchor for the New Year Day of their central calendar.

A New Moon at Winter Solstice (as we saw last December 2015) pairs the sun’s and moon’s cycles at their newborn beginnings; and today in the sky is their paired complement of a Full Moon at Summer Solstice, with both bodies at their cycles’ peak. From here (hot as it is), the sun begins to fall again toward shadow, and so does the month’s moon. These doubled pairs of events repeat every 8 and 1/2 years, and a huge body of evidence suggests that this was the central Minoan reconciliation of solar and lunar time.

Along this cycle, the sun presents 18 solstices (9 Winter, 9 Summer)—and, month by year, the moon’s particular phases are highly regular along the way between them. Hence, as generations of observation and teaching went on, this was a very practical calendar, whose uses ranged from agriculture to the Minoans’ highest and deepest mysteries, woven in rhythms of light and shadow.

Why, after all, did “Minos” (or Minoan leaders) reign for a uniquely limited “8 or 9”-year term? In the sacred arts of Knossos, there was a predeliction for doubling significant features (even the blades of their central symbol, Labrys the double axe). And, this doubling had its match in their astronomy, as their cycles of solstice lights were matched by shadows of the greater 18/19-year Saros Eclipse Cycle. (The first written record of predicting an eclipse, circa 5th century BCE, is called the beginning of Western science.)

As many other scholars explore the bases for the timing of Olympic Games, for the cycle of time in Homer’s Iliad/Odyssey, and for the central functions of The Antikythera Mechanism, they independently detail the same calendric periods. There simply was no other possible place than Minoan Crete to have begun and bestowed so much understanding.

This little book includes all the central evidences, while Calendar House: Clues to Minoan Time from Knossos Labyrinth (free at presents the full range of studies demonstrating the patterns of Bronze Age Crete’s sacred astronomy.

Thanks, and a wonderful Summer to all—

Jack Dempsey

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(“I Knew Right Away He Was Not Ordinary”)

Chris Pfouts a

        These memories of Chris Pfouts—fiction-writer, editor of multiple magazines devoted to the arts of tattooing and motorcycle culture, multi-talented craftsman, life-adventurer, and generous friend of man and beasts of all kinds—come more than two years after his passing (June 2013). I only just learned about it, because while our friendship of several years was an intense one in the way of fellow writers—starting way back in New York City in 1986—we had gone our ways and lost touch by the mid-1990s. That was my fault, and Chris’ decision, which I’ll explain in due course. On my side, anyway, the best of the friendship went on through after-years, teaching and encouraging me to rise to my very best as a man and writer, and his passing away will make no difference in that relationship.

Chris Pfouts b

        In 1986 a mutual freelance-writing friend had invited each of us with many others to his annual Easter gathering at his New York home, and that’s where I met Chris—a versatile, merrily opinionated fellow scribbler who was the picture of the biker gang-leader you’d never want to meet in a dark alley: he must have been 6-foot-five from the long thick hair down his shoulders to his motorcycle boots, with a broad lean build of California surfer steel, a quick bright smile and piercing stare, a goatee gracing his rough rocky features, and always a beer in his formidable mitt.

        Chris loved to laugh, especially right through anybody’s pompous pretensions. He loved rough ruthless honesty, and he knew how to listen before he drove his wit through your brain, gut, or both. While I was writing for educational textbook publishers, Chris wrote for and edited various motorbike and tattoo magazines: two of his primary passions, not to mention his love for hard-hitting literature, hand-crafting jewelry, and his ever-growing collection of vintage children’s toys, most lately including a “Mr. Machine” fresh out of the 1960s box, whose acquisition tickled him like a giant kid. Before the day was out, we each knew that the other was struggling to write our first serious books, and we made a pact to swap manuscripts and feedback. Having noticed that Chris came to this half-dressy holiday gathering in jeans and a T-shirt, it was too late to escape the pact when I saw at last the “Psychotic Reaction” tattoo on his bicep.

        Plowing my way through the ancient-world research for a literary historical novel, these first impressions made me dread Chris’ sometimes-brutal bluntness—and yet I wanted to know if the work could stand up to it, and if I could rise to his comments and his friendship. In fact, Chris went into thoughtful, open-minded detail far beyond anybody else’s reactions, he told me plainly what he thought I should hammer harder and what I should drop, and I daresay the work gained tremendously from his response.

        Meanwhile, Chris’ novel—called Music From A Cement Piano—knocked me over with its energy and eroticism, its sharp randy dialogue, its lovingly obsessive detail and humor, spare but rich style, and its trio of main characters who all seemed to have been carved out of sides of Chris himself. The narrator was indeed the image and voice of my new friend with his range of interests and talents, from breaking motorcycles down to the bone and rebuilding them to his gift for turning any bit of scrap-metal into novel jewelry, while he and his mate—a powerfully sexy and vibrantly outspoken half-black woman—shared the joys of house-sitting at the former California residence of actress Carole Lombard.

        The passion between them was no more or less than living life richly each day, exemplified by the first pages’ scene of their drinking and fucking in Lombard’s swimming pool. The central complication arose from the third character, whom I remember as Carl—a crude-brained local landscaper whose failing marriage to an overweight wife he called “Mushy Fuck” led him to start spying on the lovers through their Hollywood hedgerows. Chapter by punchy chapter alternated between the lovers’ steamy life-delighted joys, and Carl’s pathetic intensifying spiral of pornographic peeping and personal misery. Page by page, I knew that Carl wasn’t going to be satisfied till he somehow laid his grubby hands on her, and/or their luscious lives—and by the end, told with just as much gusto as the rest, Carl’s insane invasion of their world cost him his own. The words tour de force came to mind, and Chris was just as grateful as I was to have his work enjoyed and taken so seriously.

        I’m not sure how many times Chris tried to get Piano published—I greatly hope that this outstanding book eventually does see print—but I failed the same likely number of times with my own work, and we kept each other going as writers will. Chris’ various New York apartments were big quasi-industrial spaces where he could spread out his projects and passions: he loved all kinds of exotic mechanical junk, rare crazy records, and always there was a half-assembled motorcycle splayed out in his living-space, his dream to build/restore for himself the perfect vintage Indian Chief. Then, by the fall of 1987, I got the lifetime-opportunity to leave New York for the Greek island of Crete (about which I was writing), and Chris’ letters kept his usual sparks flying as he bounced from gig to gig, writing constantly in multiple modes and, like me, fighting for that break that could launch the life we really wanted—answerable to nothing except our skills and arts.

        When I came back from that dreamlike year of writing by the sea in Crete, I bounced next for a year to Portland, Oregon, where my engagement with a terrific woman broke up on the rocks of my virtual unemployment; and, not wanting to live in New York anymore, I next bounced back to my family home north of Boston, while Chris left the city for new freelance horizons in Pennsylvania. His letters said he found it as drab and dull there as a rusty muffler, and eventually he returned to New York City. Soon I’d bounced again, back to Crete on my own for another year of trying to finish that goddam novel and land a European publisher for it—and Chris, to my great surprise and pleasure, came over to see what this Greece thing was all about for two weeks in that May of 1991.

        He had meanwhile sent me the much-appreciated company of some of his favorite half-whacked tunes collected on cassette: it opened and ended with “Hot Rod Lincoln” versions by Johnny Bond and Commander Cody. The rest of the list was pure Chris-company that kept my isolated spirits up: “Out With The Girls” and “Fujiyama Mama” by Pearl Harbour, “Six Days On The Road” by Dave Dudley, “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” (by “Dylan Is God”), Captain Beefheart’s “Plastic Factory,” “Baby Please Don’t Go” by Them, “Big Balls” by AC/DC, three Black Sabbath tunes (“Ozzie Fuckin’ Rules!”), and the creepy-funny “Transfusion” by Nervous Norvus.

        None of those tourist-pussy Vespa’s for Chris: he was going to ride a decent bike or forget it, and I deferred to become his rider as we took to Crete’s seacoast and mountain roads, with him driving and me guiding the tour. Chris instantly loved the island’s semi-desert high country and bright blue sea, the fresh food and warm-hearted people, the blasé way in which everyone enjoyed the almost-naked beach customs and topless sunbathing European nymphs. Chris couldn’t stop often enough to photograph the new-to-him language of Greek highway signs: for example, a simple exclamation-mark before a hairy turn or hazard which he translated roughly, “Hey stupid, wake the fuck up!” He also loved the little roadside shrines that usually marked where somebody had been killed by careless driving: more than once it was nothing but Chris’ sharp eyes that saved us from plummeting down into some hairpin-turn’s ravine or into a road-collapsed pot-hole. “Oh, look!” he’d say pointing at one with his best Curly-voice from The Three Stooges. Chris was also rich with always-spot-on lines from books and songs for every occasion: talking about a certain slim romantic hope of the day, he laughed with Dylan, “I still can’t remember all the best things she said!”

        As we stopped someplace to swim and eat, I saw for the first time Chris with his shirt off, and almost fell over when I saw the ultimate writer’s tattoo across the huge expanse of his back: he’d never mentioned having it, but there was the biggest and most detailed image I’d ever seen on a human body, a shapely brunette in leopard-skin bra and tights leaning back on an old Remington typewriter whose rendering made you think you could tap the keys. And that, baby, was Chris’ muse: the woman who’d never get off his back.

Chris Pfouts c.jpg

        There was also a kind of new caution in Chris, who was now holding off from more than a couple of the Greek and German beers he liked so much, and the explanation for that also came from his flesh. Chris had been shot, in the leg, one night during his last year in New York, and the scars from the hell-hole hospital operations he’d endured to save it were horrifying. His manly reticence meant I’d never heard about it, and would get no real details until he published Lead Poisoning: 25 True Stories from the Wrong End of a Gun later that year. But I do know that he came through it not only thinner and more cautious, but more subdued, having looked—as he’d almost bled to death on that Brooklyn street, shot by a neighborhood crack-dealer—into the face of the real Reaper.

        The essential facts: one summer night, living in his usual big-and-cheap-rent kind of place in Brooklyn, Chris stepped out across the street to the local bodega for some beers. He’d casually dropped his latest bag of trash into a curbside can, and as he then stood waiting in line in front of the bodega’s bulletproof window, he watched a local young crack-dealer rip his trash-bag out of the can, come across the street with it, and pour its contents all over the street in front of him. “Yeah?” Chris shrugged to him. “What are you gonna do now?” The reply was, “I’m gonna do this, motherfucker,” and the shit-for-brains pulled a pistol and shot Chris in the leg. Chris, by chance having dropped his trash on top of the dealer’s street-side dope-stash, went down, then managed to crawl as he bled back up the stairs to his apartment, and had the terrified presence of mind to call a friend before he dialed 911—so that, in case he went into shock, he could be sure that his Emergency call wasn’t a delusion that left him to bleed to death. Chris only just barely survived at all, and several restorative surgeries put him through a god-awful gauntlet of the medical care that mostly-impecunious Americans typically receive.

        Before Chris went back home with his usual armload of projects, plans and career-hopes—about which he was willing to confess more discouragement than ever before—he told me, “You’ve really found a great place here, Jack: make the most of it, and do whatever you have to do to get that damn book out there.” One last night, we were roving around chasing semi-close encounters with stunning young Cretan women in the thick of the crazy streets of Heraklion. “That woman is five quarts of sex in a gallon jug,” he quipped; dismissing a try to talk with another because “I’d just be disappointed when I see the grass-stains on her knees.” At last, Chris came out of a music store with a Thanks-for-the-visit gift for me, a rare cassette of very early Dylan songs. Inside it, he wrote a line from Dylan’s “Isis”: “I knew right away he was not ordinary.”

        So, Chris and I kept on keeping in touch. He grew his working network of writing/editing jobs (he styled himself “Top Hat” as an editor), and managed some time in northern Europe in that connection, speaking out against racist remarks he once heard with a riposte something like: “Yeah, put black people down all you want, Fritz, and you can thank them later for all that jazz you love but never created, and all the other things you’ve ripped off from their souls and cultures.”

        But before much longer came our parting of the ways. How? Well, Chris had written another novel, called Birdsong Street—which for me was his half-despairing complete indulgence of his darker side, concerning an anonymous urban wreck of a landscape centered around a street laid out like a Schutzstaffel S, where every man and his guns were a law unto themselves and whose denouement was a full-blown Texas-style war between its gangs and the police. “I’ll kill anybody who tries to change this place,” said his blood-soaked lead character near the end. It was a far cry indeed from Cement Piano: I told Chris why it so dissatisfied me and why I felt it was less than I knew he possessed. That didn’t go over very well. He was increasingly fed up with trying to please anybody—even as the joy of his discovering that he had a full-grown daughter living in California lit up his life in deep and unexpected ways. Just as we began to drift apart I could hear, out of that and his trip to get to know her, a profound warmth and wonder in Chris that I’d never quite heard before. He was crazy about her, elated as ever I’d seen him that she dug him, too, for exactly who he was.

        Secondly, in my own career-despair, I’d applied and been accepted to Brown University Graduate School, thinking there might be a life in teaching (there isn’t, thanks to business, of course). To keep my blood wild in the stately soul-freezing halls of the Ivy League, Chris generously sent me Lester Bangs’ exuberant collection of rock’n’roll essays called Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung, inscribing it thus:

Dirty Doctor Dempsey Drags Boffo Bangs to Brown: Result is Distaff Delirium & Femme Fatalities—Antics for the Annals of Academia. If History is Bunk, who gets the top and who gets the bottom? Doc, I don’t feel so good. Chris Pfouts, August 2 1992: the dirt on the edge of the book is a bonus.

        The next year, as early high hopes of a new life sank into the grad-school-grind’s realities, I wrote to Chris expressing my dour disappointments. His terse reply: “I get more cheerful letters from guys in prison.” And he was right, I knew it even then—but it took me years to bust through all that and get life going again. Meanwhile, we fell out of touch. And while I kept the best eye I could on Chris’ doings via the Internet, I could never coax him to reestablish our connections. I don’t blame him one bit for walking away from my privileged whining—not one bit. But I always will regret that I blew the friendship this way, that we had gone our ways after years that did so much to bring out my best as a man and writer.

        Chris, I will always miss you, always appreciate how much of yourself you shared. Stay with me, because I need your courage and guts, your refusal to bow before anything, your multi-sided creativity and joy in life to which anybody living should aspire. I’m only proud to be one of the many who knew, appreciated, and loved you like a brother.

        When I thrill to the wild Cretan thunderstorms over the mountains where I live today, I’ll know it’s you, roaring across the sky at last on that mighty Indian Chief you always dreamed.

Chris Pfouts d.jpg


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Merrymount CD cover Jpeg

Well, Matt Damon is busy with leotard-fittings to play Aqua-Man, but someday Boston and New England are going to claim their real-world first heritage with a worthy film about the life, misadventures and achievements of our first English poet and naturalist among this continent’s first peoples, our first multicultural rascal and political exile, Thomas Morton of Merrymount.

True Revelers are too few these days. Morton was the primeval precedent for locking them up. To the dance of money, the last wilderness they’re taming is in us.

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Conference Recovers Long-Lost Works of Peristalsis


            One of the less-noticed scholarly conferences this year was at least unusual. For how often does a long-lost major manuscript, particularly that of an idiot, come back to light from the ancient Western world? Now that most of the murder-trials have cleared up over which PhDs would translate it into modern tongues, the half-mad Book of Peristalsis returns with a hemorroidal vengeance, to blow the dust off professors and their classics-shelves alike.

According to the conference host, Doctor and Professor for Life Hans Klammy of The Institute for the Study of Ancient Idiots by Later Ones (ISAILO, Alcatraz), Peristalsis (1000?-950? BCE? Oh, what the hell) is thought to have been the son of an early Greek mother from Crete (there were also many late mothers) and a Philistine father (with some nice habits, too), who plied his wares in the eastern Mediterranean in the early Iron Age. “We’re pretty sure Peristalsis used a boat,” said Klammy. “But this guy was a walking poison-pen. We only knew about his work from idiots of Classical times, so this is a true find. And, it’s mine. On sale in the lobby.”

The work emerged several years ago as Doctor Klammy was unwrapping some fish. Noting a level of stink that could only have a literary origin, he noticed the picture-like signs of an ancient writing system. When he showed the script to fellows at the Institute, every one who could get near it affirmed its authenticity, just to get away from it. So, the Institute’s tech-experts came to the rescue, filling their hot-tub with Chanel #5, bleach and a touch of Guinness to leach the manuscript back into workable shape. Then the wheels of translation and publishing started to turn, and this minion of mockery began to speak again, 3000 years after everyone told him to shut up.

But why was that? We hunted more information around the conference floor, and then spotted Senior Lecturer (there are no Junior ones) Fritz Mazo among the few on their feet. “Ahh, Peristalsis. Peristalsis, ahh. Ahhh,” Mazo intoned through his imitation-sable beard. “What?”

Into this void leaped Dean of the Institute Ima Mann, a harridan deeply involved with the font and page-numbers of the publication. “Peristalsis witnessed the rise of full-blown Western kleptocracy with its kings. As such he was ostracized as a killjoy, a real pill, a pain in the ass of criminal power,” she sneered. “This was a maverick, a horse never broken to the rule of smelly old men. And they hardly even had saddles back then. Want some more metaphors?”

Scholars said that until now, the best evidence of Peristalsis had been only another legend, one of the direct inheritors of this tradition: a Greek of Classical times called Sotades, who reputedly composed scurrilous verses against the nascent Athenian empire, and saw them all burned before the aristocrats (already no strangers to mass murder for money) threw him also into the fire, in concern for the city’s youth.

“We haven’t been sure if Sotades existed, either,” added Mann, “but it was said that Peristalsis was his master and rhetorical suppository.” Dean Mann then twisted her whole face sideways to demonstrate the infamous sotadic smirk, which made her resemble Dick Cheney with gas.

Ancient linguist and Idiot Emeritus Norm L. Freek delivered the keynote address from a rusty guard-tower, and assured this reporter that he’s only fifty-three. It seems that Peristalsis, as a young boy growing up in Crete, learned that his lineage had included a Minoan princess. This really depressed the youth as he helped his mother hawk seaweed at beach-resorts to Mycenaean tourists, the families of warlords who took their tans between rounds of chariot races, bloodsports, face-stuffing and pillage.

So it was that when Peristalsis’ seagoing father showed up again, he hid himself aboard the boat among a shipment of alimentary medications. There, he started to write, with a stick for his first stylus and, shall we say, unsavory ink. This couplet is accepted as his earliest work:

So long, sword-loving mainland mother-fucks:

Reap what killing teachers sows, you schmucks.

        Once Peristalsis’ father and the crew stopped tossing the boy overboard, they took him under their wing, hoping to suffocate him. But the plucky stowaway took all they could dish out, and at last they spared little Peristalsis, unless they needed a drag-anchor. Times were hard.

Dr. Freek insisted that multiple Aegean, Canaanite and early Hebrew writing-figures used in the manuscript point to Peristalsis’ eclectic school-years as the bung-boy of a hermaphroditic lord in the Near Eastern port of Ascalon. The city was then a bustling seaside entrepot of multinational cultures, trade, and fist-fights, which is altogether weird because Charlton Heston’s Moses is looking off into empty land at the idiotic end of The Ten Commandments. Anyhow—By the time of his manhood, Peristalsis was master of his father’s boat. This worked well as he was kicked out of every port where he opened his mouth. And still the dogged craftsman ploughed on, breaking new ground even at sea. He improvised new patterns in his rhymes:

Our mothers’ lands were households feeding kin:

Your fantasy called profit smashed right in.

You business-pricks who cheat the farm and Earth,

You’ll find out starving what your gold is worth.

        “Peristalsis’ world was changing,” Dr. Klammy noted in his interminable contribution to the conference, “Everybody Duck, Here Come the Kings: or, How to Make a Buck Till We Find the Philippines.”

“’Peri,’ as we fond fellow-idiots style him, had just begun to prosper on the Black Sea trade by way of windy Troy,” Klammy said. “And then his old enemies showed up for their one last big hurrah—the sack of Troy, which of course turned into the Mycenaeans’ own complete exhaustion and bankruptcy, besides Brad Pitt’s most unbearable film.”

Dr. Freek, who by then was drunk on fermented oak-moss, added: “Peristalsis watched with glee while the mainland warlords took each other down. Ahh, but little did he know that this only opened the Greek duh-duh-door for the dimwitted duh-duh-Dorians. Some say Homer himself took up from Peristalsis’ leavings. I have noted, in the index to my revised addendum footnoted in the coda to the afterword of my definitive history, Freek’s Greeks, that Achilles’ first epithet for the ‘great’ thug King Agamemnon was, ‘You wine-sack.’”

Hence the next turn of life for Peristalsis as an omni-exile. For some time after, marked by the rotting of his boat, he became a forest-dwelling nobody, a drop-caste, seeking out wild consolations in the Near Eastern hills beyond the newly-planting Philistines. Up there, he encountered the dyspepsia, cultural wreckage and fermentation left in Pharaoh’s wake—for Egypt’s wars with the Hittites to control this land, which belonged to neither one, had exhausted both of them and everyone between.

So far so good, great kings.

You’ve robbed and killed and now you’re finished too.

Hot poxes on the lords who kiss your rings,

and think us born to build and clean their loo.

        “What Peri means in this insufferable quatrain,” observed the portly imported German scholar Hartmutt Tweedle, “is that in Canaan, the new crop of would-be petty kings wanted all these lumpen-folk hiding in the hills for slave-labor projects, for their own little dim day of glory. Indeed, many of these brigands had personally mooned Ramses The Third. I have slides.”

Thus, among these Canaanites, who chose exile over slavery to an asshole (defined by Professor Klammy as “a failed human being”), Peristalsis immersed himself in the kindred spirits of a real old-time religion—a pantheon of goddesses and gods that made his head spin worse than the music, but in a good way.

After all, the whole universe and Earth and Moon and Sun were still alive and awake spinning all around them through an eternal now of cycling seasons and stars and desires and there were “fertility cults” whose ways added up to making life good for children and from birth to joyous polyamorous ceremonial feasting and fucking with an occasional rumble and beyond death too there was a luminous river running through and shining out of everything so that being alive was, all in all, not bad, if you kept your burnoose loose, though there wasn’t even a ceiling-fan.

Through its last agonizing day, the conference explored Peristalsis’ late years. He came down into the coastlands again and there were Philistine farms and olive groves and towns well-advanced in their first-generation designs and music as wild as the hills interweaving with Aegean flavors too, and rites and festivals holding every fractious fuck together, girls and boys of all description marrying up and not a king in sight. They liked pork-ribs wine and seafood and being left alone and competing to see who could throw the craziest cosmic party. Perhaps surprisingly, this might have been the end of Peristalsis as the idiotic poet he had been.

For where, now, could he ply his old obsession—indeed, the idiotic tradition he had created—with so few calculating, brutal, parasitic slobs entrenched on thrones, camouflaged in gold and too much Old Spice? Ironically (another first in the Iron Age), Peristalsis had found a measure of content in Palestine, but he might have lost his voice. He’d never so enjoyed a civilization that lacked cruise missiles. The Philistines had settled mostly quietly into lands that old empires had broken, and called themselves lucky to be Pharaoh’s policemen on the East-West trading highways. At least it kept that perennial pompous putz off of everybody’s back.

This was the conference moment that led both people in the audience to the forty-six scholars’ major point—that an idiot, one might say, is one who will not be ruled by a murderous hollow kleptocratic culture, because it isn’t one.

What saved Peristalsis from cosmic harmony came along just in time. Into the vacuum, a rival and very different school of idiots was rising. There had never been anything like them, and that’s a quote. The Canaanites heard, and trembled in their pants.

…This will be the manner of the king who shall reign over you. He will take your sons, appoint them for himself, for chariots and to be his horsemen, and some shall run before his chariots. And he will appoint himself captains over thousands, and set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make him his instruments of war.

He will take your daughters to be confectionaries, to be cooks, and bakers. He will take your fields, your vineyards and olive yards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants. And he will take your men- and maid-servants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work. And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen.

        In the folks whose supreme abomination was idolatry, Peristalsis the poet found himself more than outmatched. Did he live to wonder why nobody listened to that guy, either? For, you guessed it—Starting with their first king “like kings of other lands,” in two mysterious centuries this new tribe of idiots had ethnically-cleansed away most of the Philistines. Of course they had options: they could be slaves, they could leave, or they could die, and the new folks would be happy to facilitate.

Circles and cycles and dynamic interweaving cultures would henceforth devolve into a worse-than-useless succession of frothing madmen waving flags toward nowhere (Utopia), generating “progress” toward a goal that, today, is still as unspeakable as the name of its volcanic god—who acts like a smelly old man with a burning bush.

And lo, in appreciation of the new management, good old Pharaoh soon came smashing back through the country again, to clear that tribe’s strangle-hold on the highways. The Philistines’ centuries of highway patrol had made Egypt rich, and of course “easy wealth” got by your own or somebody else’s violence becomes an addiction that must be fed, till its spiraling mental illness leads to self-destruction. Same crazy notion, same bloody pattern, same outcome in ashes: incompetent gangsters taking over millennia of life and enduring, themselves, maybe two or three hundred years. Thanks, guys. Heck of a job.

Peristalsis was living through an already-failed experiment that had only gone round and round in a vain death-dance of natural defiance dragging everything with it. What unifies his wretched scribbling (if anything) is that the history-progress scam will go on till everything is dead unless people dig it into the mud with other wattle-waggling reptiles called Rex. We have only one more apocryphal nugget, that Peristalsis passed gently at last in a cheap pension on Mykonos with the first sotadic grin frozen on his face.

But that new Near Eastern school of idiocy was nothing if not tenacious. Its main competition arose only much later in the days of Plato (a.k.a., “Fatso”), when Athens was holding festivals to thank Dionysos (the one demigod for a really good time) for not coming to visit. They had their own imperial “good soldier” reasons tricked out, besides, to banish poets. Having kicked all the angels out of town, they filled the forests with monsters, who soon ran over Massasoit and Tecumseh, then “settled” California.

There just wasn’t time to explore how Peristalsis’ works left Shakespeare himself scratching his Coriolanus. But Peristalsis may yet find new audiences in America, where the heirs of his foes have carried on the story with righteous frackin’ zeal. Coming soon is the 1620-2020 anniversary of Plimoth Plantation, whose dedicated loons called Separatists (i.e., separated from everything in their own psychotic-evangelical brains) and patriarchal Puritans, modeling themselves on schmucks of old, went off the deep end—burning the country’s first English idiotically visionary poet out of house and home, hoisting him off the continent in a cow’s harness, and then launching a mystical flaming fiasco at Native Americans. At living Native Anybodies, all the way through Saigon, Palestine and Kabul, until this plutocracy of putzes came round the planet and dipped its sucking-straws into the last people likely to fight back, as long as they have celebrity cable.

Clearly, if Peristalsis the man teaches anything, it’s that it’s one thing to be an idiot, and another to pioneer new ways to build or stumble into an insane idolatry of fascist selfishness and call it freedom. Perhaps he can speak from the lines of his last leaving:

When lo, you violent creeps, who live to lie

‘gainst human hearts and souls, have done your worst

We’ll heap your graves with fetid offerings high

And dance the living circles we loved first.

         “We’ve honored worse. Thank you, one and all, and remember I take MasterCard,” pronounced Doctor Klammy, and the conference was adjourned into police custody.

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What Martin Luther King, Jr. Might Say to Americans Being Crushed by Profit


MLK Jr, 'Just Take the First Step'

For Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday (1/20) of 2014, I’m reposting these excerpts from his last book of essays, The Trumpet of Conscience, 1968—written as he planned a people’s occupation of Washington DC.

And I hope you’ll consider how horribly King’s words of FORTY-FIVE YEARS AGO have come true. Under this measure of the time in which I lived, I feel ashamed, that human inequality and the suicidal murder of Mother Earth have only intensified under the walking lie called Profit. And “what can you do,” when people have grown so comatose, inward (with their devices) and passive? “Take the first step.”

Consider these 2014 economic stats from “Another Shocking Wealth Grab by the Rich — In Just One Year,” by Paul Buchheit (piece discussing new research data), published at Common Dreams news website Jan. 21 2014:

“The overall calculations reveal that, to the best approximation:
–The richest 400 individuals made…

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The Doors at Boston Arena, 1970—A Fan Remembers

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          This hand shook the hand of The Doors’ keyboard-player, Ray Manzarek, as I met and talked with him at a trade-show appearance south of Boston in the mid-1990s. For me, by proxy, it shook Jim Morrison’s hand.

I hated to have to wash it later, but that afternoon the steamy film star Traci Lord was promoting her book at the table next to Ray.  No matter—My whole body still remembers back to the night when a 15-year-old lapsed catholic, at his first-ever rock ‘n’ roll show, felt that astounding wash of sound and ceremony pouring out of The Doors—live at Boston Arena on Friday night April 17, 1970.


          This was not long after Jim’s ridiculous arrest in Florida. The Doors, despite the tight rich power and new range of their latest Morrison Hotel album, were already losing most of their booked gigs to America’s morality-circus. The nation busily napalming Vietnamese villages in order to liberate them was concerned about its children’s spiritual health. Was that why The Doors couldn’t get into the best Boston venue back then, the original funky Boston Garden with its 15,000 seats? At least we were sure to get a down-and-closer show at the half-sized Boston Arena, on St. Botolph Street—though it stood in an area of town that my good ol’ Irish Dad, with his urban roots, considered not the best for a youth already gone astray.

Well, he drove me and a first-band-mate George through spring rain into Boston that night to see these “Four Sad Bastards” (his name for The Doors on seeing their first album-cover). So there we were, working our way down to the floor and into a wide potential riot-ring filled with rows of loose folding chairs. The hall was like a great naked gymnasium hung with Beanpot Hockey banners, and while it had the same rotten-circus-peanuts odor as the Garden, the Arena air was full of a smoke sweetly strange to our clueless nostrils.


          An unmemorable blues trio opened the show. Behind their set, John Densmore’s drum-kit (including a pair of skin-drums across his toms), Ray’s lean keyboard and bass piano, and Robbie’s skeletized Fender Bandmaster guitar-head were enough to upstage anybody, and The Doors’ 10-foot-high blue and silver “wall of sound” amp system kept the main act’s promise on show. People were waiting only for that to come alive.

The same fate met the next act, folk singer Gordon Lowe, whose seated set of songs and acoustic guitar faced waves of chants for Doors, Doors, Doors! and bursts of unkind applause that meant “You’re done, get off the stage!” Poor guy. The high moment of Lowe’s show was when he said he felt “Jim’s presence” close behind him. 45 minutes later there was a growing bustle with cameras flashing out of sight below the rickety stage stairs, and the whole place stood up roaring.

You can hear Jim and the band bursting into the light on the CD of this night’s two shows released in 2012. “Alright!” he howls in his warm-ups to the rowdy welcome. “Alright! Why shouldn’t I feel good?”


          And off they launched into the lead track of Morrison Hotel, the rolling rhythms of “Roadhouse Blues.” Robbie’s guitar, Ray and John all sounded sharp as a tiger’s tooth, but the only disappointment that night (and on the CD) will ever be the Boston Arena P.A. For Jim sounded most of the time as if he were crooning through a soup-can on a string, except when he really cut loose. Of course, the up-side was that the P.A. was a system separate from their wall of sound, and that was going to crown the second show when The Doors decided to play “all night” and the Boston Police cut the power—to everything except the microphone. It made for a classic cursing Exit-Stage-Whatever for Morrison, whom Ray at last swept into his arms and off the boards as drunk as a boiled Irishman from shooting at least a case of beer through two shows. “Fuck this place!” The lion’s last Boston roar.

Back in that adolescent trance, in the presence of a national-impact band who didn’t give a shit how they looked, who took poetry and sex and art and the Earth and the body and the whole human spirit seriously, I had nothing like a critical eye and ear. Densmore in his tank-top looked lean as a cat and his slash and splash were as electrifying as his studio tracks. The whole building moved with Ray’s big blond lock of hair swaying over the keyboards while his long knuckly fingers bounced and stabbed. Robbie paced, turned and communed with the rafters, slicing his luminescent lines through the songs on his Gibson SG, and Morrison pranced and skittered, jiving along the edge of the stage and giving women’s outstretched hands just enough to hope for one good grab. “Eat me!”

Listening now, it’s clear that Morrison was sloshed getting out of the limo. The CD’s second song “Ship of Fools” shows him forgetting and mumbling half the words while the band turned it into their best moondance of a jam. But it fetched them only mild applause, and things turned musically worse with their next concert standard, a medley built out of “Alabama Song,” “Back Door Man” and “Five to One.”

Jim hardly bothers to sing “Alabama.” In the studio “Back Door Man,” there’s a particular snake’s tongue flicker of Densmore’s high-hat in each measure, which that night flattened into basic blues, and while Robbie’s guitar-leads stood out in this medley (was he the first to play in two-hand-tap style? For I saw him doing it that night), by “Five to One” it seems that the four of them are losing each other, as if nobody wants to solo while Jim dallies far too long with the ladies in the shadows. “Aah wanna love ya, bay-bay”—whether that meant her or ourselves was unclear while Jim riffed into a list of procreative positions (“Wrap yah legs aroun’ mah head….Gotta go out get fucked uhhhp….”)—all of it met with, again, some modest applause.

Well, that was sure to piss off The Doors, and maybe that was why they came back hard in “When the Music’s Over.” The first half alone was about 15 minutes long with the three instruments pouring out fierce fire. The whole thing seemed to totter in the too-long almost-silence that Jim left through the middle—but then, after his plea for the Earth, the climax was altogether shattering. I still haven’t heard a rock’n’roll singer say it better:

What have they done to the Earth?

What have they done to our fair sister?

Ravaged and plundered and ripped her and bit her,

Stuck her with knives in the side of the dawn, and

Tied her with fences, and

Dragged her down…

           And when will the next shaman riding a wave of new music and politics dare their people to sing it and say it and live it and breathe it: “We want the world, and we want it—-Now!” I haven’t heard one since.


You can hear, on the CD, that The Doors were working to hold onto the still-sharpening edge that the music of Morrison Hotel gave to Jim’s sung poetry. I know they considered themselves a blues band, but for this one fan of Doors and blues, their chops stood out on blues ground mainly in studio examples such as “Back Door Man,” “Love Me Two Times,” “Roadhouse,” “You Make Me Real,” and the two late minimal “Been Down So Long” and “Cars Crawl Past My Window.” See if you agree as you hear out the rest of the show, but they didn’t play their new mattress-pounding “Maggie McGill” in either show (although the later crowd got their best new blues with “The Spy,” “Build Me A Woman” and “You Make Me Real”). Here instead began a long plateau of shuffle and Eastern-toned dervish improv that more or less fizzled into some of Jim’s new poetry—until he came bursting out of the dark in a single spotlight and shrieked, “Wake up!” Truth to tell, it scared the hell out of me.

The Lizard King had arrived and The Doors ripped and screamed and hammered through the central stretches of his “Celebration,” from Waiting for the Sun. And with one long final howl (“the cool, hissing, snakes of raiiiiin….”) and a snare-shot from Densmore, they took off into “Light My Fire,” hammering the first show closed with a pair of long first-rate solos from Ray and Robbie. Again, I saw Krieger blistering through his finger-picked lead in two-hand-tap style, and I don’t know of an example of the technique earlier than that.

What you don’t see with the CD is Morrison shooting beer after beer (after beer) all this time, his lurching staggers to and from the mike, his fighting off the hands that caught his sweater by the shoulder and almost pulled him off the stage, and again Jim laughing at the edge-biting women who kept jumping volleyball-high to grab his crotch (“What do you want? What would you do with it, baby?”). You don’t see Jim sitting down half-slumped against Densmore’s dais to philosophize when he took the level of “Light My Fire’s” middle down (“Plenty a’room, plenty a-room, y’all just get out there and populate….”) And the boy back then did not likely reflect on how those jokey words from a weary star spoke back to the worsening fate of Jim’s fair sister.

But something lit Jim’s fire in the end. For next we knew, he was up and he stumbled his way to the microphone stand, unscrewed the long shaft from its base, and then began to almost-hurl it like a spear straight into the crowd. He faked this move again and again and in the dark middle audience we saw half-rows of chairs get pushed aside by people trying anything to not get speared. Then, Morrison took the steel shaft by one end and started to smash his way right through the stage floor.

He just kept smashing with the shaft, and it was bent like an archer’s bow when he bent back again to shake it high above his head and faked more throws down into his tribe. Green as I was, I knew his alcohol-loosed rage was his anger come to a head, the anger that darkened his words and their music, born and lost in a Roman wilderness of pain. Morrison tossed his lightning-bolt  away, and found his mike, but only barely managed to finish, with little of the crescendo the song and show deserved. Musically they had long moved on. But Lord only knows how Jim could come back out and blow the roof off the building with the second show.

Looking back now, no less grateful for their music, it seems this was one of those nights when, as Densmore rued, The Doors just never knew which Jim was going to show up, the incompetent drunkard or the practiced poet of Dionysian inspiration.

George and I came out into the melee of Boston’s St. Botolph Street. It was now a clammy night of April rain and, just across the street, there was a serious fire in the huge apartment building opposite the Arena. Fire engines, turned-out residents, ambulances, news report crews, cops and all were now being inundated with rowdy glassy-eyed Doors fans headed for the next whiskey-bar. It was like a scene produced by Jim and/or that music, like a visual coda saying “See?” to the vibrations still with us.

“Where you been? Let’s get the hell out of here!” my father said.

All in all, Boston Arena got both Jim Morrisons that night—with a band giving everything they had. Jim, Ray, Robbie, and John—Thank You.


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