Good Jazz

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The way to tell good jazz is that you don’t notice him till the song’s ‘most over. Good jazz sneaks up behind you and pulls down your shorts and then drinks your beer when you to turn to see what’s happening. You stumble and fall, wondering who did the dirty deed, and you look back, but you sure it couldn’t be jazz, ‘cause he sitting yonder in the corner, cleaning his horn and minding his own damned business. That foam on his mouth just blow back from the spit valve.

Good jazz hangs outside the club, under a tattered awning as the rain soaks up the oil from the day’s toil, leaning against the brick wall. He’s out there, cool as fuck in his shades, smoking a shorty and minding his game. Good jazz sees you, and exhales a thin cloud, and says, “What’s up?”

You get excited, seeing his axe and hoping he might play you a bit, but he don’t play, ’cause the music is him. He don’t need to play that horn; good jazz gonna play you instead. You stand next to him, quiet as all get out, listenin’ to his stories and trying to remember the words. But good jazz don’t need no words to tell his stories.

Sometimes, good jazz ain’t a he at all, and when that happens, it’s special, ‘cause you know damn well that bad jazz be trying to keep good jazz locked up all night. You can find bad jazz anytime. He sit in the back of clubs, wearing shiny shoes and a too-tight suit, blowing sour notes from his horn and making a ruckus. You ask bad jazz to chill so you can hear good jazz blowing and singing outside, but he don’t shut up.

Bad jazz always wants attention.

Good jazz, though, good jazz he just play and whisper. He don’t write down the notes and she don’t sing the song the same way twice, but that just bring you back. Good jazz don’t color in the lines, ‘cause the lines remind him too much of prison cells or dirty, smoky nights in the monochrome city with just a needle to keep him company. Good jazz would rather be outside, playing with his girl, sexing her something good, and letting you listen, long as you keep your eyes closed.

Good jazz don’t never seem to stay in the club long, but that’s okay. Better out than in anyway, right?

Writing Prompt: 10 September 2016

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Here’s today’s Writing Prompt:

Background: A 2016 study has found that Acetaminophen (also called Paracetamol outside of the U.S.) the main ingredient in Tylenol and about 600 other drugs, not only reduces pain, but also reduces empathy for the pain in others.

Prompt: There is a global epidemic of a new, virulent flu strain, for which the primary course of recommended treatment is a new anti-viral that includes Acetaminophen. The problem is that the virus amplifies the anti-empathy effect and now survivors are being turned into sociopaths. How does society deal with the effect?

Alternate Prompt: Within 50 years, use of the drug has reduced human empathy significantly. How is society affected? Would the military research and increase the effect for its troops?

The Books Thus Far

Completed:
The Changeling (Fantasy)
Grandfather Time (Fantasy)
Mastery of the All (Fantasy)
Hard as Roxx (Science Fiction)
The Juice and Other Stories (Short Stories)
The Brooklyn Trace (Mystery)
Jeanne Dark (Mystery)
Beyond the Farr Road (Short Stories)

In Progress:
Eddie Daley: Black, White and Blue

Not bad, if I say so myself.

Drumpfing on the U.S.A

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This was always meant to be my writing (only) blog, but since I’ve spent my time writing and not marketing, there’s been nothing to post here. However, I’ve come to realize that writer isn’t my occupation, it’s my identity. I write because I have a boatload of things to say irrespective of whether anyone wants to hear them.

With that in mind, I, like most intelligent people, have been thinking a great deal about the emergence of Donald Drumpf. Like his political-track avatar, Adolph Schicklgruber, Drumpf has capitalized on the intrinsic anger of the downtrodden to emerge as a viable, if reprehensible, candidate. However, what is largely overlooked (on purpose, I think) by the media is the fact that he’s also capitalizing on a large segment of the populous that was and remains racist. Let’s not pull punches: Nazi Germany could not have existed if a large number of Germans weren’t racist when Schicklgruber showed up. My wife, who lived for a time in Germany, assures me that racist underbelly still thrives. ‘Dolph persisted for the same reason Drumpf does–because (some) people were waiting for them.

And let’s not bullshit at home, shall we? Drumpf is an idiot, but he’s a conniving, psychopathic idiot who understands history and can pick up the mood in a room (or a country). He’s running as the overt racist (not the bigoted billionaire who doesn’t care about race because he only cares about himself) because 30% of the U.S. population is racist. How did I come up with that figure? I have a degree from MSU: Making Shit Up.

Barack_Obama_Dope_posterSee, sounding truthy is as easy as asserting a partial truth with conviction. I don’t know how many Americans hate blacks, Mexicans, Jews, Muslims, Hari Krishnas, Jehovah’s Witnesses, poor whites, rich whites, Central Americans, Asians, gays, lesbians, women, or the Dallas Cowboys, but I know it’s a fucking lot. (Y’all don’t hear me. ) These douchenozzles first came out of the woodwork when Barack Obama got elected as the Brotha in Chief. They were pissed his family was never enslaved, so they called him Kenyan. They hated that his “HOPE” platform gave life to the aspirations of those unlike them, so they pretend his presidency has failed and convinced the stupid that our roiling economy is flagging.

So, it’s not surprising when they began using “Muslim” as an avatar for “Nigger,” as in, “He’s a Muslim.” Every time someone says that, substitute the n-word and you get their true meaning. (Yeah, bitches, we knew what you meant, and you meant it in precisely the same way you do when you say Ted CruzMissile is a Canadian. By Canadian, you mean Cuban, and we can’t have one of those either, can we?) Obama looked dope and smoked dope and was dope and that rankled the red-necked shit out of America’s sick underbelly.

We never emerged, fully, into the light. But the thing is, we knew that. When we had our last, secret, All-Blacks meeting, with Barack as the principle speaker, we, the negro collective, discussed how we knew that Big B needed to be the Oval Office’s Jackie Robinson. President Obama could not hit back. He couldn’t point out that most of the Senate is a collection of racist and sexist assholes determined to stop him from doing anything, just as surely as they’ll try to stop Hillary. He couldn’t jump down from the podium and bitch-slap Mitch McConnell or have his boys “influence” Justice Clarence Unclethomas to stop being such a little shit and come to the damned meetings. Obama couldn’t do any of those things, and trust me, he wants to, because others will follow him into the White House.

A woman will follow him. A Latino will follow. An Asian will follow, and it’ll happen soon, and by then, America will finally be who the fuck the world needs us to be. Don’t believe me? Look who’s running for president, who made it to Super Tuesday, and forget they’re all flawed: 3 White Males, 1 White Female, 1 Black Male, and 2 Cuban Males. Huh? Say what? Still not enough women and no Asians, but it’s starting to look like America up in here, even if most of the Americans trying to be in charge are dickheads.

We’re supposed to be the good guys, people. We are supposed to carry the torch for hopefulness, for believing that humans can live together, join their cultures, and make some really fucking cool music. We’re supposed to love those who love god, whichever god, and embrace those who don’t just as lovingly. We’re supposed to not care whom you marry or whether you’re a lesbian who was born with a penis or if you listen to Justin Bieber or if you like ice hockey. And goddammit, I’m tired of sitting here crying because we never get there.

So Big B has done his job. He switched on all the lights and the fucking, hate-filled, cockroaches came screaming out of the woodwork. Drumpf, unknowingly, has done his job too. He’s rallied all the roaches and given them hope they can take the country back. But don’t fear, Europe. Do not be disheartened, Asia. Don’t mourn us, Africa. We know exactly what the fuck we’re doing. Sometimes, the only way to stamp out all of the cockroaches is to turn on the light, put food in the middle of the kitchen floor, and stamp the holy fucking shit out of them.

There’s going to be some foot-stomping coming very soon, and Hill is the lady we’ve chosen to wear the boots. Why?

Because the sexist, woman-hating, rape-as-a-weapon-of-war-tolerating, my-bitches-came-out-of-the-kitchen-to-vote-for-me, flag-waving cockroaches are still in there hiding, and we need a lady badass to flush them out.

Drumpf and Clinton play Election Night
Drumpf and Clinton play Election Night

Shit is going to get really different, America, because there ain’t no country left for the cockroaches to take back. This land belongs to the world, and we’re about to clean the goddamned kitchen.

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You’re welcome.

P.S. Comments are off, because I didn’t ask your opinion any more than you asked mine. If you disagree, get your own soapbox and tell people.

Up There, Somewhere

So, I’m reworking my science fiction novel, which I will try to get published (one day) via the traditional publishing model (assuming I can find one open to some LGBT lead characters). I’ve started at the beginning, and am re-imagining my book as the movie it needs to be. As such, the opening needs to be my lead characters sailing through the predawn darkness of the desert on their bikes, not her response to it.

I’ve said it, but now I’ll be showing it. More importantly, I’ve learned–from my other, better books–I must make you feel it. She’s headed “up there, somewhere,” and that’s the adventure in the book. Like so much in life, one launches oneself clothed in little more than hope–a wish, two parts luck and fifty parts work–and try to make life do what it do. She’s like that, opening her story wistfully and misty eyed because it’s dark, no one’s awake but her, and there’s no one to see. She’s strong, and true strength isn’t granite. It bends, it bows, but it never breaks.

My girl is there, with her daughters, and life is about to get real. All she can count on is her training, and her hope that “she and this bloke, god, can be mates.”

This way go I, with her, and for real this time. One thousand, nine hundred, and fifty-nine words. That’s the opening sequence. If I haven’t made you love her a little by then, if you don’t want to sit in her jump seat and take the ride with her 1959 words in I’ve lost you. If this isn’t the best thing I’ve done, the best thing I’ll ever do, then I’ll have done the world a disservice. It’s time to turn the world on its ear, Roxx and me.

Wish us luck.

T’ree A.M.

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It t’ree a.m.
High I&I
rakkle and roll,
swing an’ sway,
irie feelins t’ru de day.
Night-a call, me
sess a-blow,
rakkle me brain now
don’ cha know.

It t’ree a.m.,
me reggae flow,
bounce ‘pon de train
an’ mek we go.
T’ru dem tunnel,
out de side,
down we block,
so me can hide.
Rakkle and blow,
Sess na sway,
life naw good
it waste away.

Handful of Blues

Monday Night is blues Night
so I wrote you a song that go
something like dis.

I was born with the blues in my hand.
I thought it was a flesh axe,
but it was a silent guitar that only played one note.
If you’d been there, I’d have sung it for you,
but I doubt you’d have heard me.

The doc let me home with a slap on the ass
and the usual kick in the balls.
We paid him for the one, but the other was on the house.
WroteaSongAboutIt
WanttoHearItHereItGo.

It always seems that when I sing the sweetest—
my softest songs—
can’t nobody hear me.
Y’all don’t hear me neither.
And ‘round about 4 (years not o’clock)
I wrote you a sweet song and called it
“my head is full of you but my hands
only caught the blues.”
Mama would sang it wif’ me,
but she only sings off-key, and her one note
sounded like a song she wrote
to my melody.
Still, it made me feel good, knowing
I had accompaniment
of a sort, and I needed some damn
feelgood
I’m telling you.

So when I met you,
lyrics in your left hand, sheet music in your
sweet pocket,
I figured we’d sit the fuck down
and finally write all them goddamned blues
I was born with.
I gots a muthafucken library of ‘em,
as you prolly know,
and they all have happy endings,
my songs,
‘cause see
somebody’s songs got to.

I got a pocket full of you
but my hands are left
holding the
muthafucken blues.

(With thanks to Michael Burks for the inspiration.)