Battle without Honor or Humanity #6

Interrogation

A: And the reason for your sudden “appearance”?

Angeklagter: I wouldn’t call it sudden. I was standing there for, like, a long time. Mostly I just stand around and wait for people to fuck with me. This usually takes time, assuming I don’t resort to dickless provocation. I possess a vast and formidable stature. I’ve never met anyone who isn’t scared of me. But that doesn’t mean nobody picks a fight. Fear is the engine of masculinity. Without fear—and insecurity, and idiocy—the male subject wouldn’t do anything. He wouldn’t get out of bed in the morning.

B: This is not a matter to be taken lightly.

Angeklagter: I don’t take anything lightly. Everything I choose to endure is a cosmic elephant. Frivolity nauseates me. I mean, I’m not a homunculi, for Chrissakes. I was born for the screen. Look at my face. Look at my eyes. Just one eye. Can you honestly say that my countenance indicates anything other than a healthy entitlement to shit on the entire universe at my leisure? It’s not as if I lack a traumatic kernel. No. My selfhood is empowered by the repressed memories of thousands of pulsing horrors. Yes. Invariably I experience a tension between a feeling of genuine happiness and the desire to destroy myself. I’ll tell you how it happens. I get to feeling really goddamn happy—and then I recognize it. What I’m feeling, I mean. Interpellation is the problem. My happiness calls out to me: “Hey, shiteater, you’re happy!” And I realize that I’m susceptible to much grander and more devious machinery. Or I simply realize that I’m happy, too happy, and this sort of happiness doesn’t last, so I might as well put an end to the fucker now. Depression sets in. I don’t want to kill myself. I’ve never wanted that. I just want to be tolerated. I just want to exist. Somehow existence must be enough.”

X: I have a document that proves you are the owner of the helicopter in question. Is this your signature?

Angeklagter: Document? What document? I don’t know what that is. You can’t prove my signature is my signature. It is the nature of signatures to evolve with the flows of identity. What looks like my name today could look entirely different tomorrow, or yesterday. I’ll tell you something. I am the reincarnation of television’s Platonic Form. That cocaine high you get from watching music videos, Stallone movies, Schwarzenegger movies, Van Damme movies—that’s me. I may be an electromagnetic earthfucker, but I don’t do drugs. Never have. Van Damme had a problem for awhile, I understand. The point is, I am not a man—I am dynamite. I am the Wallace Stegner of the literary world; my Angle of Repose swings between my legs like a Third World. You may be wondering what I’ve done to overcome myself today. Nothing. Let me assure you that, in the interests of everyone inscribed by the powers that beleaguer and unman us, the gas tanks of obscurity cry out to the void like infants who have suddenly realized that alienation is the heartbeat of the human condition. Do you know when the heart is ripped out of the chest you can go on living for up to thirty seconds? It must be ripped out quickly, of course, and certain valves must be prepared beforehand for terminal severance. My aorta lies in wait. Dotted lines encircle the fat tentacles in all the right places. You gentlemen are barking up the wrong killing spree. I didn’t do anything. You don’t have anything on me. Am I under arrest? I’m lawyering up. Now. I plan to represent myself. I’m D Harlan Wilson, esquire. The D stands for DDT, Jake the Snake Roberts’ signature move. To enact the move, one applies a reverse headlock and destabilizes one’s knees, ramming the face of one’s opponent into the mat. I have enacted the move on countless occasions and thus weaved it into the fabric of my primary signifier. I don’t know what esquire means, other than it is a title of respect and adulation typically appropriated by human beings with law degrees who want to sound fancy because they can’t call themselves Doctor and they don’t have a Ph.D. I possess a Ph.D. and a law degree. Ergo: Doctor DDT Harlan Wilson, esquire. I advise my client not to answer any more questions. Let me see that document again. That’s not even my client’s name. That says Stanley Ashenbach. I don’t know that asshole. That’s not my client, in any case. Good lord. Can we go now? Are you holding my client here indefinitely? We’ve answered all your questions. I demand that you arrest my client immediately. Or set him free. The choice is yours. Choice is an illusion, like sky monkeys, but you realize this. Ultimately we don’t choose anything. We are chosen. Often against our will. But that is the nature of the cultural maelstrom. We produce culture, extending it from our literal and figurative bodies, and the resultant firmament in turn reproduces us, hurling bolts of mediatized lightning at our souls, imploding the souls. I couldn’t tell you what was real and what was fantasy if you had a gun in my mouth. But I’m not trying to run the world, am I. I’m just a cunt on the street. But no, that helicopter doesn’t belong to me. I’ve never seen it before I had this dream. Darla was my wife, though, and I loved her. I was sorry to see her killed.

Battle without Honor or Humanity #5

This is the fifth installment in the serialization of my unfinished story, "Battle without Honor or Humanity." It is also the first mircochapter that will appear in the completed story.

Exposé

The exhaust fumes of tubas and coroners drift across an empty playing field. Buoys waver on the sandbar. Spectators are reminded by the Tall Commissar that every word is an artifact of destruction.

Segue to a placid, happy mise-en-scene depicted with violent academic techné.

Battle without Honor or Humanity #4

Glands

I go to a boycott with my sponsor. He insists that I “inject” myself into the “public institute” on a regular basis. It’s not raining, but I see storm clouds rolling in, and I hear thunder like arthritic moans.

I am in Fort Wayne, IN now; Colorado belongs to my fever dreams.

I run a finger across a brick wall. Ceramic flakes fall onto my knuckles and into my palm.

It is 2011 again.

I don’t know what’s being boycotted. An angry crowd has gathered in front of a medical textbook store. My sponsor and I get close to the crowd so that we can hear what everybody’s talking about.

They’re talking about glands.

Glands, in fact, is what they are boycotting, staging the affair outside of a place that sells books about glands, among other superfluities. Glands are overrated, they say. Glands are myths, they say. We as a society have been trained to think that glands are indispensable for human existence when the truth of the matter is they are largely unnecessary and in many cases inimical. This veil of illusions must be lifted. Somebody must pay.

The one gland they make an exception for is the breast. Or rather the many glands that constitute the breast. They serve a very real purpose, actually and figuratively. The latter in particular. Several participants tote signs with crudely illustrated pictures of single breasts on them. Chickenscratch solar coronas encircle the breasts, and arching above them is the acronym ADNI (Artifacts of Desire Not Included). I realize that the participants are all bald men who look like they have spent too much time in backyard ponds.

It starts to rain.

My sponsor walks me through the five stages of grief, otherwise known as the Kübler-Ross model: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance—in that order. I explain that I have been experiencing the stages backwards. I accepted Darla Shine’s death immediately; it was very much a relief, since I often obsessed about death, especially the death of loved ones, how much it would hurt when it happened, when it would happen, then the loneliness, the self-pity, the fear of consciousness being turned out forever, shattered like a Tiffany lamp, etc., so when that helicopter killed Darla, who I had loved more than any other woman, and I had loved many other women, I was almost happy—I accepted it like an envelope of crisp, untraceable $100 bills. Then I slipped into a deep depression because I realized I shouldn’t have accepted her death so willfully, so comfortably. I started to bargain with myself. If you get a little sadder about Darla, I told myself, you won’t be so depressed, not about not being depressed about Darla anyway. I countered the offering with a general truth: Depression is a phantasmagoria made flesh by ways of seeing. I went back and forth with myself. This made me angry after awhile. And deranged. I told myself that I wasn’t angry and deranged, even though I clearly was. Hence denial. Then I felt calm. Hence the end of the five stages of grief—backwards.

My sponsor squeezes my elbow and says, “It’s all right to cry.” I tell him I know that but I don’t feel like crying. He tries to kiss me on the lips. I cock my head like the hammer of a six-shooter.

“Glands,” whispers a stranger. He raises a sleep-jagged brow ... and his face derails, sliding into collisions of meaning.

Novahead

I'm excited about Steve Aylett's new book, Novahead, the last installment in the meta-satirical Beerlight series. Here's a description and a scintillating blurb:

About to quit the failed experiment of civilization, fake detective Taffy Atom is detained by one last casea boy with a bomb in his mind. But what’s the trigger? Pursued by cops, mobsters, mercenaries and a mechanical swan, Atom carries the bomb and trigger through Beerlight City, the single holdout of creative mischief in a world overtaken by the trend-led Fadlands. By the relentless principles of gun karma Aylett’s final Beerlight book lands you in the Delayed Reaction Bar and fixes you a glass of antifreeze with everything in it. Listen to your heart. It will not stop slowly.

“The most original and most consciousness-altering living writer in the English language, not to mention one of the funniest. In
Novahead, Aylett delivers his most searing work to date and comes up with noir fiction so black it’s fluorescent.” Alan Moore

Monk Punk Table of Contents

I have completed my introduction for the upcoming anthology, Monkpunk, which will be published by Static Movement within a month or so. I trace the influences and origins of monkpunk (from Beat literature to cyberpunk, steampunk, splatterpunk, etc.) and try to show how this movement presents a unique riff on punk literature. Here's the TOC:

"The Spiritual Riff: An Introduction to Monkpunk" by D. Harlan Wilson

"Fistful of Tengu" by David J. West

"Don't Bite My Finger" by Geoff Nelder

"The Power of Gods" by Sean T. M. Stiennon

"The Key to Happiness" by R.B. Payne

"The Just One" by William Meikle

"Wonder and Glory" by Adrian Chamberlin

"The Liturgy of Hours" by Dean M Drinkel

"Brethren of Fire" by Zach Black

"The Second Coming" by Joe Jablonski

"Suitcase Nuke" by Sean Monaghan

"Capital Sins in a Dominican Monastery" by Gayle Arrowood

"Nasrudin: Desert Monk" by Barry Rosenberg

"The Last Monk" by George Ivanoff

"The Cult of Adam" by Mark Iles

"Snowfall" by JC Andrijeski

"Xenocyte: A Kiomarra Story" by Caleb Heath

"Vortex" by Joshua Ramey-Renk

"The Birth of God" by Jeffrey Sorensen

"Rannoch Abbey and the Night Visitor" by Dave Fragments

"Black Rose" by Robert Harkess

"Citipati" by Suzanne Robb

"The Path of Li Xi" by A.J. French

"Where the White Lotus Grows" by John R. Fultz

Battle without Honor or Humanity #3

This is the third installment of the pseudo-serialization of the titular story in my upcoming collection, Battle without Honor or Humanity.

Darwinism

On the philosophy of coaching a competitive sport . . . And suddenly I am the coach. Rancorous. Balding. Christian. A spool of flab hanging over the belt . . . I don’t care how young the players are: crow’s feet are mandatory during prayer. We stack hands and pray to the lord for a win. We pray again for our sins to be forgiven so that we can win. We pray again for a big fucking win. We continue to pray. “Lord,” my lips utter, “let us buttfuck our opponents harder than they’ve ever been buttfucked before. Please. Please, lord.” I am whispering now. “Let us tear their asses apart with our giant, skilled cocks.” There is a devout pause during which my pursed lips twitch and then deliver a commanding “Amen.” The players open their eyes. I look at them, at their faces, their eyes, and I decide we need to pray some more. We kneel and lock arms, cutting off the circulation of blood to our forearms and hands. The limbs swell and turn purple.

Battle without Honor or Humanity #2

Here is another microchapter from the titular story in my upcoming fiction collection, Battle without Honor or Humanity. It's becoming more like a novelette and will probably end up around 10,000 words. Rather than "serialize" it from beginning to end, I've decided to post randomly selected microchapters. As with much of my writing, there are a thousands of plateaus, and one can enter through infinite orifices and liminal spaces ...

Bubonic


De facto embodiment: I find myself holding a samurai sword, the leather handle long and grooved and worn, but somehow inviolate, and I maneuver the weapon with a totem of two glued fists. I allow my opponent to put me on the defense, drawing him in, and then I bow to one side, devoutly, softening my elbows, editing the coalescence of my shoulder muscles, and finally sweeping upwards in an act of sociopathic and hate-fueled cathexis ... My breath leaves my esophagus like the exhaust fumes of a luxury vehicle as the tip of the blade passes through my opponent’s face. It doesn’t touch the upper teeth or the palate, but it splits the chin, the jawbone and the tongue, and when he falls to his knees in the dust, and when his mouth drops open and apart like an exploded mine shaft, the tongue flails in the screaming wound like two bubonic snakes.

Author Illustration for The Kyoto Man

Brandon Duncan has painted an impressive author photo for my upcoming novel, The Kyoto Man, the third and final book in my scikungfi trilogy. Here is the artist standing next to the final portrait.

Brandon also illustrated the author headshots for the first and second installments in the scikungfi trilogy, Dr. Identity, or, Farewell to Plaquedemia and Codename Prague.


Battle without Honor or Humanity #1

Here is a microchapter from the titular story in my upcoming fiction collection, Battle without Honor or Humanity. In the next few weeks I'm going to serialize the story from the beginning. I anticipate 30-40 microchapters . . .

Interlocution

I exclaim, “I can’t stop thinking about it. It keeps running through my head. It’s all I can think about.”

“Shut the fuck up.”

I have gone to the movies again. A bloody action s/hero film. The theater is full and I have secured an aisle seat. I have not purchased a soda. I have not purchased candy or popcorn. Ushers guard the emergency exits with their lives.

I exclaim, “I know I won’t always feel this way. I experience chronic mood swings. I wouldn’t go so far as to call myself bipolar. But I’d call myself something. Sometimes I feel like the actor Timothy Olyphant—gifted, good-looking, Hawaiian, underrated, in some cases altogether unknown. That reminds me. My father encased my legs in prosthetic technologies. I don’t recall anything being wrong with me. I think his intension was to test and examine the technologies. I do recall tripping quite a bit. I recall breaking bones, too. I died, once.”

“Hey. Asshole. Shut the fuck up.”

I can tell by the sound of his voice that he’s big. I exclaim, “I am an electric samurai. I am the noblest savage. I am precisely what I want to be. I slay cumulonimbus clouds with one hand, oceans with the other. I colonize the Giant Places. And yet failure lurks around every corner. It has been said that I heave entire diegeses from the bowels of my action-painter’s bucket like a magician yanking a syphilitic kangaroo from a ten gallon hat. But the scope of my intentions transcends my great remove. The universe cannot hold me accountable for these deeds, these breaches of gestalt. These wild therapies. The world is my analysand and my conclusion is that the world should place Barrel against Temple and blow Brains against Empty White Canvass. I have never owned a gun, but I have fired guns, on occasion. As a child on the prairie—bored, alone, deranged—I spent my afternoons picking off squirrels, finches, lizards, and other godless creatures with my father’s .22 rifle. They exploded like mortal fireworks. I have a confession to make. I was the Human Beat Box in the rap group the Fat Boys. The way it worked: Crazy White Boy plus Black Fat Suit equals Human Beat Box. His death by heart attack—a grand and terrific hoax. Now here we are. I don’t mean to be glib, or impractical. Never. I only do the best I can to convey my perspective, to extend my selfhood, and to negotiate the various ways in which I am interpellated by countless Ideological State Apparatuses. This movie stinks. I don’t believe the antagonist means it when s/he kills somebody.”

As blood splashes artfully across the camera lens, blocking the audience’s view of a gruesome wound, I feel his hand on my shoulder, and I shoot out of my seat like an unmanned clockspring.

We collide. We exchange blows. We set reality on fire.

Rolling across the treacherous swill, we engage in a battle without honor or humanity.