Notes from New Sodom

... rantings, ravings and ramblings of strange fiction writer, THE.... Sodomite Hal Duncan!!

Friday, October 28, 2005

Say, Do Any Of You Guys Know The Madison?

Barrum bum bum bum!
Barrum bum bum bum!

Well, it's only a few days now before I head off to the States for the World Fantasy Convention in Madison, Wisconsin... and I am really rather excited now, to say the least. Hell, even before I catch my plane at the godawful time of 9:00 on Monday morning, I've got a weekend of fun ahead of me. A mate from my programming conversion course at Paisley University is getting married today (probably as I type this) so I'll be heading off to the reception tonight to say a very big congratulations to Mr and Mrs Colin Devon. Hoorah. Then tomorrow, during the day, I'm playing native guide to my interviewer from that PH-UK chat, Dubs, who's coming up to Glasgow for the first time to see the sights; I foresee much discussion on post-rock and weird fiction... and possibly many cocktails. In the evening, heh, I'm gonna try and drag him along to my mate Ange's Halloween PIRATE PARTY! Arrrrrrr! By Jack Sparrow's spitoon, there be fun to be had fer every man-jack of us! Grog and matelotage, I say! Grog and matelotage! I may even write me a little ditty on the theme of cabin boys, me hearties. Arrrrr!

Barrum bum bum bum!
Barrum bum bum bum!

Sunday, I suspect will largely be spent recovering meself till I'm in a fit state to get me packing done and catch me plane on Monday morning. Why, I hear ye say, that be days before World Fantasy! Well, the extra super fabulous cool thing is I got me a two-day stop-over in New York with some high-flown businessy stuff (and possibly a bit of less high-flown drinkingy stuff) with me editor, Jim Minz, and other Important People at Del Rey and elsewhere in the book biz. I have, of course, been wandering around for weeks being oh-so-casual (aye, right) about doing "yeeees... lunch in New York... you know the type of thing". Tigger-quotient on the increase again.

Barrum bum bum bum!
Barrum bum bum bum!

Then there's the con itself which I'm really looking forward to. It'll be great to see the two Jeffs again, messrs VanderMeer and Ford, but also, there's a ton of folks I've come to sorta kinda know in that mutual blog-reading/commenting way over the last year or so who I'm really looking forward to either meeting for the first time or meeting properly. I was so busy (or drunk) at WhirledCon that the few times I did hook up with someone I'd been wanting to meet I either didn't get much more than 5 minutes to talk to them (nowhere near enough to get past that initial slightly awkward "yeah... hi... I really like wht you're doing..." stage) or I wasn't really in a fit state to do other than grin and sway (I mean, have you seen the photograph of me standing beside China Mieville at the Macmillan party? Did I post it? Man, a greater contrast has never been seen; it's like a Cockney Henry Rollins looking suave, buff and eminently cool beside some Scottish jakie who's wandered in off the street to ask for "ten pence fer a cup of tea"... and is about to fall over). Anyhoo, folks like the Infernokrusher crowd -- the Davids Moles and Schwartz, Meghan McCarron and... ah, crap, I'm not gonna list names cause then I'll leave someone out and bump into them and feel all weird about having left them out of this blog entry and frankly I have the memory of a goldfish so I'd be here all day trying to list exactly who I wanna have a drinkee with. I will say, though, having just finished Magic For Beginners I do really, really wanna thank Kelly Link for autographing my copy at WorldCon (and ask her what the hell she was doing -- in a good way -- in the bafflingly wonderful "Lull"). And I really really really wanna meet Lucius Shepard. He read my book. He liked it. I wet myself. The man's a fuckin nazi-swatting, two-trains-riding, intricately-eloquent-sentence-writing veritable god of SF.

Barrum bum bum bum!
Barrum bum bum bum!

So, all in all, I think the next couple of weeks are going to be FUN with a capital F for Fucking, U for Uh-huh! and N for Niiiiiiiice. Right now, in the cage elevator of my heart, Tim Curry's high heel is tapping to the rhythm of anticip... ation.

Barrum bum bum bum!
Barrum bum bum bum!

Ya know? I'm just waiting for that elevator door to slide open with a sudden rattle and clang and the lusciously lascivious Near Future to whirl around and arch an eyebrow at this lil ole hick from the sticks.

Barrum bum bum bum!

Oh yeah.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Talking 'Bout My Generation

I've got a big blog entry coming (soon... honest (I think)) on the politics of unreason. In the meantime, Elizabeth Bear linked to an essay she wrote back in the days when our generation were all being described as slackers:

We are pedestrians in a world without sidewalks, striding across traffic against the light. We are overqualified, overeducated, overworked, overstimulated, underpaid, underemployed, undervalued and underwhelmed. Our cats have their shots, but we don't have health insurance. We are smart, and we are lost, and we are going to proceed wearily through life with a thick, hopeless, mournful longing and a bleary-eyed fatalistic love that we won't bother to try to explain. We have a martyr complex, yes indeed.

We're not holding out any hope, but we never learned to back down.

Parts of it remind me of a conversation I've had a couple of times with a mate, Jim, who's in his 50s. Jim's the kind of guy who has two freezers always stocked, who goes to Macro and buys multipacks of everything. Me, I have less food reserves than a foraging nomad. Why? Jim grew up fearing that Nuclear War could happen any day. He's of the "duck and cover" generation. He's of the generation that prepared for it. I'm of the generation that grow up knowing Nuclear War would happen any day. I'm of the "fuck, whatever" generation. As Bear puts it:

Nuclear war was too big to worry about, so we accepted it. In the event of a nuclear holocaust, you had bomb shelters and "duck and cover." We had plans to drive to the Pratt & Whitney or Sikorsky plant and sit on the hoods of the cars with the radio turned up, drinking from a bottle of whisky and holding a sun reflector. Nero had a point: when the end is inevitable, do it in style... We had accepted our deaths. Now we are standing in the sunlight blinking, and wondering what to do with our suddenly long and frightening lives. Understand: we never expected to live this long.

Anyhoo... go read the essay. It's fucking great.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Can't Stop, Won't Stop


The town of Ratzinger in Germany, so quaint
In its traditions, burghers dressing up as saints,
Remains resolved to bring back pogrom past.
Why then, I say, let us get medieaval on its ass.

Stitch me a skin, a suit, of Bacchus Harlequin,
Carve me a pipe, a thyrus flute, veined in green sin;
I'll stroll into the old town square, bawdy and bold,
And with a rhyme declare their crimes gaudy and gold.

You, buggermeister, draped in guilt and gilt in ermine,
I'll say, would you rid your town of rats, of vermin
Or enforce a plague of silence, using rules to shroud
Lipservice paid to fiddler priests with children's mouths?

Is Ratzinger not rife with skittering rodents and blood-hungry fleas,
Led by a rat towards Dark Ages of crusades, fire and disease?


I'll play Ratzinger's volk a song, lead them astray;
Threaten they'll lose their children or this piper pay.
I ask no coin of gold, no tithe of dead;
I only say: bring Macial to give me head.

When he has licked my thick white licquor,
Slicked his lips to slurp my spurting ichor,
Swallowed my strings of jism, how I'll sing
And turn my tush to him, so he can kiss my ring.

Sad as a song, we know though, history repeats:
The volk of Ratzinger will lie, as sure as rodents breed.
They'll cheat the piper; this time though, I'll leave the kids
And turn my song on Ratzinger's full-grown hypocrites.

You see, if I can sing the rats of Ratzinger down to the river, lead them in,
Then we might say the death of men can "wash away our sin".

A Sonnet For Benedict

Let us all gather at a new Cafe Procope,
Philosophers and libertines, to roast the pope
In postures modern Aretinos and Raimondos might devise
Were Romano's positions not locked from profane eyes

In the archives of the Vatican for cardinals to teach
Their choirboy Legion secret pleasures they might reach,
Hand jerking on their cock, tongue working on an ass,
Cleaning the sin of shit and spunk, these secrets passed

Down through the centuries from popes to priests,
From cardinals to bishops, in the groping hands, the sheets
Soiled with the blood of lambs, slick trickling down the thighs
Of boys so soft... so sensual... so innocent. Ratzinger sighs.

He thinks of sweet fucks with his shorts down in the grass and dirt,
A boy of fourteen, buttons open, smooth skin under his brown shirt.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Bolshie Week In The Blogosphere

By way of Christopher Barzak, a stonkingly-good must-read essay from the Mississippi Review, on the group-think underlying the War On Terror.

Yes, it's Bolshie Week, here in the blogosphere. So it's not just me that's getting to the "fuck this shit!" breaking point, muttering "Nil Paseran, motherfuckers" under his breath?

A TV Series: The Republic

Episode One, pre-credits:

We see the ARTIST, with a guitar case slung over his back and a GIRL draped round his arm, entering a hotel lobby. He goes up to the reception.

(peeling notes out of his wallet)
I'd like a room for the night -- King Size bed if you've got it, mate.

Do you have a credit card?

(looks a bit shifty)
Can I pay in cash?

We still need to see some ID.

(sighing, peeling out a card)

So the name is...


ARTIST and GROUPIE stumbling into hotel room.

I can't believe I'm with the one and only --

(puts a finger to her lips)
Fuck that shit. I hate that bullshit.

As she moves past him into the room, he closes the door and we get a close-up of the rakish grin on his face that tells us, really, he's loving every second of this. He puts the guitar case down on a chair. She starts getting undressed.

You know, I love artists. I feel so lucky.

I'm the fucking lucky one, love. Believe you me.

As they start undressing each other and getting it on, we fade to black. Then, in voice-over:


It's morning. The ARTIST is standing in his shorts with his empty wallet in hand. The GIRL is nowhere to be seen. He throws the wallet across the room.

Fucking bitch! She fucking ripped me off. Fucking... bollocks! You fucking wanker.

He rifles through his clothes for his mobile phone, switches it on. The display shows 'no signal'. He sits on the edge of the bed and picks up the phone on the bedside cabinet, dials. We hear a tone, then an automated voice on the other end of the line:

This number is not recognised. Please hang up and try again.

(slamming phone down)

He picks it up again, dials for reception. The TV remote is beside the phone. As he waits, he picks it up, switches on the TV and starts flicking channels. We get a montage of news shows, reality shows -- no soaps, no fiction.

A weather report:

In the aftermath of Huricane Katrina --

A reality show:

(shouting at fellow housemate)
-- I don't know where I am with --

An armchair discussion show:

-- history, changing in ways we never expect --

Hello. Yes. I'm trying to get an outside line.

What number are you trying to reach?


A news report on the TV. Scrolling headlines say "Yancy steps up security" beneath visuals of a White House news conference:

President Yancy today stepped up the security alert after...

What the fuck? Uh... 07789 998 654.

And I can promise America this: that no artist is going to...

I'm sorry that number doesn't apear to exist.

... not on Talbot W. Yancy's watch.

Yes it bloody does. Sorry. Look, it's my manager. It's a British phone but it works over here, love; I've called him before. Can you try again?

British, sir?

(looking at the TV in confusion now)
Yeah. You know. Tea and crumpets. God Save The Queen. The Sex Pistols, you know? The Rolling Stones. Jumping Jack Flash, he's a gas, gas, gas.

Is this a joke, sir? [pause] Am I on TV?

No. What are you... hang on, what the fuck is on TV?

... the activities of artists -- musicians, painters, so-called novelists -- these have no place in America. These have no place in the Republic...

Sir, are you feeling OK? You sound disturbed.

I am fucking disturbed, love. Look, I'm over here touring with my band. I'm trying to get in touch with my manager because some bloody floozy... look, never mind. All I want... [staring at TV now] what the fuck is this?

... the great and ancient principles on which this Republic was founded. We will have no painters in the Republic. We will have no musicians in the Republic...

A band, sir? You mean as in... musicians. Sir, do you realise what you're saying to me? Sir, you're admitting to criminal activities. I'm going to have to report this. I'm going to have to call security, sir. Sir? Sir?

The ARTIST lowers the phone, lets it dangle and drop as he stands, staring at the TV screen in shock.

President Talbot W. Yancy won't stand by while these writers spread their lies, while these artists create their painted images, while these musicians seduce our children with their songs. Not in my America. Not in the Republic.

Three security men burst in the door of the hotel room. Two grab the ARTIST and wrangle him to the ground. The third goes to the guitar case.

What the fuck is happening here? What the fuck are you doing? Look, I don't have any drugs in there. It's just a fucking guitar. I'm a musician, you know, a fucking "performing artist". Jesus Fucking --


MUSIC: Opening with Iggy Pop's roar of "Loooooooord!" from "TV Eye", we get a shot of the ARTIST standing in the middle of Time Square, camera view circling him as the background morphs, all the ads for musicals and shows dissolving into Stars & Stripes, the President's face, ads for everything but shows. Then as the guitar riff comes in and the song takes off we cut into a montage of character close-ups interspersed with dystopian shots. These gives us the credits and (re)establish the basic premise -- Yancy saying "We will have no artists in the Republic", shots of police breaking up gigs, guitars being smashed, manuscripts being burned, stacks of records in football stadiums, newspaper headlines from the 30's about singers being lynched in Alabama, from the 50's about FBI smashing illegal printing press operations. When the music gets to the break and the song pauses, we cut to the ARTIST in a police interview room, leaning over the table at a cop...

I don't know how I got here. I don't know if there's any others like me. All I know is one day I woke up and I was in the Republic.

Guitar riff kicks back in and we see musician on stage playing it, then we're plunged back into the flashcut montage of dystopian police state imagery -- choppers, batons, riots, ending with the anarchist Circle A sprayed in black over the Stars and Stripes and then the title:



OK. So. This is the pitch: It's The Prisoner for the Neo-Con era, The Fugitive for Bush's America. It's about a musician who finds himself in an alternative history version of America -- a version based on Plato's Republic, where all art is outlawed.

We never learn the character's name; he only ever introduces himself as some contemporary artist or musician who will never have existed in this world...

-- Who are you? a character asks him at one point.

-- Jackson Pollock, he says bitterly.

He's a criminal in this world, on the run, and he doesn't even know how the fuck he got here. Only thing he knows: in the first episode as he's being led out of the hotel by the police, it's the girl who ripped him off who sets him loose (denying that she knows him? describing herself as a "sympathetic soul"?)... before disappearing.

So in the long-term story arc, he's looking for the girl because she's gotta, he thinks, have something to do with him being there. Is she part of some resistance movement? Did she use some technotoy to bring him over from his own reality, to be some crazy-ass musical messiah? Because as he travels through this dystopia he's going to be acting as a catalyst for change in each episode in classic Kung Fu / Highway To Heaven style (Hmmm... I think I wanna end the first episode with him headed out of town, hitching a lift with Highway To Hell as the soundtrack). Thing is, he's really not that great a musician; he's big label and middle of the road. His songs are puerile nonsense and he doesn't really give a shit about saving the world. That's all bollocks, mate. So maybe she (they?) just brought him here as a distraction, to take the heat off while they plot in the shadows. That's the SF theory of what's going on.

Then there's the alternative reading that isn't SF but Fantasy. Maybe he's dead, this is his personal Hell and she's some sort of psychopomp leading him a merry dance through it. Maybe he's Orpheus and (as his quest for her becomes more and more obsessive) she's (becoming) his Eurydike. Maybe she's Death. Is this SF or is it Fantasy? Is he gonna get back to his own world, or find out that he's dead, or be reunited with whatever lost part of himself the girl represents? Well, when the multiple endings are shot a la The Fugitive and one them gets broadcast, then we'll find out, but until then, that's a mystery the audience will just have to argue over in the pub. I ain't telling.

Things I want in various episodes:

1. As the series progresses he'll start to find the underground. There's graffiti and rap in the ghettoes. Rap is art with no tools as evidence, after all; all you need is a fast mouth and talent. The cops can bust the illegal gatherings but they can't control it completely. Also, this gives an inroad to address racism and "low" art, street culture, the fear of the black man and his music, the association of that with "base" urges, going back to the reaction against Rock and Roll, Jazz and Blues, as "negro music".

2. That fear of music and the attempt to suppress it will be explicated further in an episode where the Artist meets a woman whose mother who was involved in the 60's protest movement in this world. She remembers the marches where thousand of people would sing, until the National Guard were sent in with water cannons and rifles. She talks about this song taught to her by her mother, but she refuses to sing it until the end of the episode, when, in this angelic voice, wavering at first, and then stronger, more resolute, she sings "We shall overcome".

3. I want the ARTIST to introduce himself as Donald Sutherland in one show and get into deep shit for it because here Donald Sutherland is a Solzenhitzen-style novelist who can never show his face in public but whose fiction circulates in samizdat form. I want Donald Sutherand to play himself, and having seen his Hard Talk interview on BBC News, where he was in fucking tears over the current state of America, hell, I think he'd be fucking up for it. At one point in that interview, Sutherland said it was like he'd just woken up one morning and America had changed. He didn't know how they'd got here, but somehow, somewhere along the way, it stopped being his America. And that's fucking exactly what this show is about.

4. I want Martin Sheen to play the President. I want Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins as guest stars. Fuck it, I want every motherfucking liberal activist actor who's right now looking at what Bushfeld Inc. are doing to America (and, by extension, the whole bloody world) and thinking, how the fuck did we come to this?... I want them all to have a chance to spit in the face of the Right Wing arsewipes. Actors, writers on guest episodes... brothers and sisters, I say unto you, come forth and nail yer colours to the mast. Cause, let's face it, this doesn't have a hope in hell of getting made without some serious fucking Big Name leverage.

5. A full-on assault on the dumbing down of culture. Why is TV allowed?

-- TV isn't art, says one character. It's news and reality shows, game shows, fly-on-the-wall documentaries, sports. Art has themes. Art has subtext. Art lies to us.
-- And you think that shit doesn't? says the Artist.

6. The Artist has the only electric guitar in existence since this "Platonist Republicanism" (need a proper name for it) took off, like fascism and communism in the first half of the 20th Century. By the time, they should have been wiring guitars for sound, the Republic was busy with its purges. So I know this is hokey as fuck, but I want a scene of the Artist hooking up his Fender Stratocaster to a PA, sticking a switchblade in the speaker and showing this world some Louie Louie. Hokey, yes. But, hey, it would still be cool as fuck.

7. Stand-up comics are allowed... as ersatz philosophers, creators of commentary rather than art... right up to and including the bitter savage humour of a Lenny Bruce or a Bill Hicks. But they're still trapped in the system, pressured by commercialisation, network culture. Rebellion appropriated and commodified for mass consumption. An episode with a Bill Hicks figure, perhaps, kicking against the pricks.

8. A mad Cecil B. Demented style "art terrorist", full of shit in philosophical terms but fucking trying at least. How far can you push Dadaist / Surrealist / Situationist performance art so the authorities can't call it art? How far do you go before direct action becomes terrorism? Playing this idealist off against a more cynical hero let's you explore the idea in more depth.

9. A painter and decorator who's always had aspirations to art, doing a Jackson Pollock style "decoration" of a public building. Take the whole philistine reaction to Modernism and invert it. "Is it art or is it not?" Well, here, the philistine's are damn well sure that it is art. And that's why they hate it.

10. Jukeboxes with tracts -- stirring speeches like that Battle Hymn of the Republic but without musical backing.

11. At a football game, there's no Star-Spangled Banner at half-time. No, they have some fucker up to emote the Pledge of Alliegiance while everyone stands, hand on their hearts.

12. Stars & Stripes armbands. Christ, is it that far off from those fucking lapel badges every goddamn anchorman seems to wear? Really?

Specifics I haven't yet decided:

Is America isolated (huge fucking walls sealing it off from Canada and Mexico), with the rest of the world dancing in the streets? Or is it Pax America, with the whole of Western culture basically having adopted the Republican model? On the one hand, the Artist could be trying to get the fuck out but finding Homeland Security at every turn, scared shitless about getting shipped off to Guantanamo Bay. On the other hand, getting deported back to Britain wouldn't be such a bad thing if the rest of the world is free. I kinda like the idea that the Artist has no escape from the Republic except back to his own world; it's purer.


OK, so it's not the most subtle political allegory ever, and there's not a single network that would touch it with a barge pole, but I don't fucking care. It's a simple set-up for a series, and it's got a lot of scope, I think. And I think it's fairly pertinent. Christ, it's the End of the Enlightenment, mes amigos, and I got this nightmare vision of a future where the philistines and fundamentalists are in charge, and they can do whatever they fucking want while us liberal types sit idly by and watch our world go to shit. Oh. Wait. That's not the future, is it?

Christ, I want to make this show.

(As a "btw": that Sonnets For Orpheus entry expanded a few times over last week as I updated it. There's 12 of them in total now. Just in case ye were interested in my anti-religious vitriol but missed the additions. Anyhoo...)


Thursday, October 13, 2005

Better To Rule In Hollywood

Fuck me if this is ain't goddamn cool and groovy:
Hollywood are making Paradise Lost, the movie!
Man, I've totally got to get me an audition,
To play Satan in the method manner; my rendition
Would, I swear to God, against all others', far excel --
Or should that be "I swear at God"? Ah... what the hell.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Sonnets For Orpheus


Who'll sing for Orpheus now in this inferno,
Walking pavements filmed with oil like flame
Smears iridescent in a gutter, streaks of petrol rainbow
On the rain-streamed tarmac? Who will shame

Self-righteous hellions with their leather book
Skinned from lamented Tammuz, lit with stolen fire?
Go on! Wash in His blood, you bleating servants of the Crook;
The Shepard bound to split-rail fence is my messiah.

Fuck all the gods; you let your temples lie in waste.
Saint Dionysus! Where's your pecker now? You would allow
Your stolen name to mock a painted copy of your face?
Maybe this mouthy cunt will raise your green and golden bough.

So. I will sing for the head of a dead poet from his body ripped,
Give voice to the mute mouthings of his bloated lips.


Muses, as Bacchae, tear my flesh apart.
Muses, as Furies, feast upon my heart.
Muses, as Fates, spin, weave and clip my mind.
Muses, as Horae, give me one season to define,

I'll sing the new reign of Orpheus Rex.
I'll sing of the vine, the grain, the salt, and sex.
I'll sing you my soul. I'll open up and bleed.
Muses, as Graces, all I ask -- give me the charms I need

To celebrate the flesh as word
And elegise the soul as broken bird
In simple tongue as sung upon the street.
Give this poor faggot your bright flames to feed.

Muses, if you still hold Apollo dear,
For Orpheus his priest, just whisper in my ear.


Some blame the Thracian Bacchae for his death;
Others say Zeus, for mysteries revealed,
For secrets slipped out on a poet's breath,
Murdered the man, to keep the truth concealed.

Surely, I say, the King of Gods is not so cruel!
Surely, I say, the God of Kings can suffer singing fools!
What sort of threat to Him was Orpheus's lyre?
Only the greatest, motherfuckers, since a lightbringer's theft of fire.

I say the bloody tyrant's reign is done.
I say humanity is king when Orpheus's song is sung.
As Heaven fell to the scythe of Time, and Time to Light,
So when the truth is told, His Glory shines like shite.

Orpheus, my Marlowe, Lorca, harrower of Hell,
What did you learn from Death He wouldn't let you tell?


How many souls feeding on ash in the houses of the dead
Lived as they died, in poverty, with dust for bread
And ragged sraps for skin, while TV vultures dined
On their vicious pity -- Faith and Hope and Charity divine?

How many souls naked except for crow-black feathers
Screech in that dirt of Hell, trapped in the terror of forever,
Because one quill, white -- as from an angel's wing --
Sent them to glory in the Somme, to die for Christian king?

How many souls, burning and burning and burning now,
How many queers of Sodom, whores of Babylon must bow
And crawl and beg forgiveness, beg for mercy, beg for their lives,
To a God of Love? Would that be the infinite Love -- of man and wife?

Did Orpheus, seeing these horrors, sing for Eurydike alone?
Or was the heart he met with harder even than the dancing stone?


I walk through the stench of slaughterhouse -- a tanner's yard --
The reek of piss and sulphurous oxide, on my way to work.
Incontinents and rotten eggs -- aye, I remember from the kirk;
The smell of weak will and corruption inside puts me on my guard.

We must learn lessons from the past, my gays, gypsies and Jews.
Never forget they'll make your home your grave
Once it's their Homeland, free of the brave.
Here at the end of Enlightenment, Dark Ages start anew

And with no Heaven overhead stilll they can make our world a Hell
Again -- halls full of shoes, and spectacles, false teeth,
Hide of humanity skinned from we beasts,
Their incense rising with their prayers. Zyklon-B, I call that smell.

Fanned by angelic wings, the clouds of strife unfurl,
So I must sing of an Orpheus who walks this world.


Words fired from the hip,
Fuck spurting from the lips,
One little finger I do flip,
Two fingers as another quip.

Song spitting my disdain,
Cunt burning in my brain,
I scorn the hellfire and the pain.
Damnation's end is my refrain.

Rock cracking to his song,
Love smashing Right and Wrong,
He'll break the hearts of weak and strong
And Death himself will sing along.

Here is my Orpheus, his severed head held high,
His tongue as lethal as Medusa's eyes.


Open your gates and let the spirits talk with me.
Open your gates and let the suffering shades walk free.
Open a bottle. Let the spirits flow in streams.
We will have no more Hell, no more sad dreams.

This is my answer to all critics and all scorn:
I sing for Death and not for you; my song is torn
From sorrow and I will not cease
Until the pious, pure only in hate, offer true peace.

No parables, no platitudes, no prayers.
Strip off those lies and stand before me bare
The truth of loss, the honest end of days.
Life has a cost: two pennies we all pay.

Then might I listen, without laughing, to your rules.
Till then I dance and drink to Orpheus, his fool.


Order emerging out of chaos, Orpheus taught,
A simple cosmogony the world forgot
In its romance with one God and His Law,
Two thousand years of his almighty shock and awe.

Two thousand years to win back what we've lost,
And every heretic burnt at the stake the cost
Of this division into sinners in Hell and saints in Heaven.
Two thousand years. Now hear the voice of Orpheus, his vision.

Listen; can you not hear his song still in the silence,
Echoed, in corridors of might, down centuries of violence:
A lacunae, the pause of a lion poised to spring;
The hum in your heart, his lyre's still resonant strings.

Even with Orpheus dead his rhythm lives on in the stone.
His tune still plays on the ivory flutes of every human bone.


Hush. In the forests of the dawn,
Rustling the leaves with hoof and horn --
A yawn -- rising on legs unsteady as a fawn,
Pan wakes! And to the song of Orpheus he's drawn.

Look. Three Arcadian shepherds find a tomb.
Flashlights of archaeologists sweep the gloom.
Apollo notes his new audience with a nod, resumes
His drumbeat on Marsyas's stretched skin. A slow doom doom.

Pan and Apollo -- who else shall we raise
From sleep amongst the hyacinths and narcissi of lost days?
What other queers and heroes, gods and gays?
Let's rouse Endymion from his drowsy haze...

Send him to Artemis, lure down the hunter of the stars
To pluck not on her bow but on a steel guitar.


Now, Dionysus, wipe that Christian plaster from your face
And in the frescoes of the Vatican and every chapel
Shine through from beneath tempera lies, reclaim your place,
God of the fruits, green garlanded in vines. Reclaim that golden apple

For forbidden Adams who would fuck an Yves.
Let us taste naked flesh and truth; no false disgrace
Of shame and sin, no hiding cocks and cunts with leaves.
Let us recover the sexual idyll of our race.

Take back your stolen sunburst, Helios, and wear
It with the pride these humble hypocrites deny
In mockery of modesty. My sky-eyed god of golden hair,
Their righteous arrogance their humble words belie.

Now, a new sun rises, proud as the morning glory of a cock.
Now Orpheus sings again, song shattering Prometheus's rock.


The panic of popes and priests is sweet song to my ears,
Child-raping charlatans who have defiled
The temples of our bodies and our minds, all driven wild
With lusts unleashed after two thousand years.

Throw more decrees! Slam shut and bolt each door!
The song of Orpheus roars inside your blood.
It is humanity, this sensual mire of flesh and mud.
You curse it, priests. It's you who chose this war.

How proud! How pitiful and proud, the pomp of men
Who'd bury our Apollo and cage Dionysus in a saint,
Outrage a sleeping Pan. The song of Orpheus, even faint,
Will never die, but will live on in flesh and rise again.

Can you not see wounds healing? Gone, the maggots of your lies!
Scabs crumble now, revealing -- yes -- the opening of Orpheus's eyes.


This is the song of Orpheus, this:
A song of blood and spit and piss;
A song of sacred cunts and cocks;
A song sung in the bars and docks;

A song of faggots and of whores;
A song more holy and more pure
Than any cant of righteous zeal
Blind as the dead to what the living feel.

This is the song of love and death.
This is the song of those two thieves of breath.
This is the song of how a heart can break and swell.
This is the song of how the living go to Hell.

This is the song of Orpheus, a song unbound by time.
This is a song bound only by the lover's rhythm and the poet's rhyme.

Tango For The Dead

Thought I'd chuck in another musical interlude while I'm busy doing proper writing. This one does actually have a musical to go with it -- Nowhere Town, my gay punk Orpheus story featuring Jack, Puck and a bundle of other splinters of my schizoid unconscious, including a sorta Tom Waits meets Alex Harvey psychopomp called Chorus, who sings this at the end of Act One. You just have to imagine that tango beat... you know... that...

DUM, da da dum dum...
DUM, da da dum dum...

Death, alone of all the gods,
Requires no persuasion,
No gifts, no invitations.
Death, alone of all the gods,
Has no devoted preachers,
But always He can reach us,
No matter what the odds.

But if you can face
His cold, dark embrace,
There's no other love as true
As when Death walks with you.

Chosen, alone of all His fools,
To sing His inspiration
In tears and lamentations.
Chosen, alone of all His fools,
To take Him as my muse,
To pay His awful dues,
To praise him as he's cruel.

But if you can face
His cold, dark embrace,
There's no other love as true
As when Death walks with you.

Death, when I was seventeen,
You took my heart completely,
Cut out clean and neatly.
Death, when I was seventeen,
You claimed me as your own,
This rag of skin and bone,
To see what is unseen.

For if you can face
His cold, dark embrace,
There's no other love as true
As when Death walks with you.

Death, the enemy of hope.
Death, the chair, the rope.
Death, a bullet from a gun.
Death, he comes to everyone.

Death, destroyer of all lies,
Who crushes all delusions,
All merciful illusions.
Death, detroyer of all lies,
Who opens up the mind -
No longer am I blind
With pennies on my eyes.

For if you can face
His cold, dark embrace,
There's no other love as true
As when Death walks with you.

Death, alone of all the gods,
Accepts no celebration,
Offers no consolation.
Death, alone of all the gods,
To Him no glass is raised,
For Death will take no praise;
He only takes our lives,
Our husbands and our wives,
Our sisters and our mothers,
Our fathers and our brothers.
Our enemies and lovers.
Like Him there is no other.
The rest are only frauds.
Alone of all the gods!

But if you can face
His cold dark embrace
There's no other love as true...
As when Death... waaaaalks... wiiiiiith... youuuuuuuuuu!

Da da dum dum, da da DUM!