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Jack Babalon

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Confessions of a Fuck Up Artist [Jul. 19th, 2017|01:09 am]
Jack Babalon
[Tags|]

Twelve hours, not counting an hour lunch or the commute, is a rough day on anyone's clock and yet sitting at the end of it all I can do is laugh with exhausted gratitude. The money needed, the distraction welcome, the respect on both ends of the check mutual. That's the key to the best jobs, when the person handing you cash for the hours does so with a muted nod of fuck-yeah respect. The Big E gave it to me when I worked Spring or on freelance security gigs at art house happenings. Then there was Ollie, a Skunk (half skinhead, half punk according to him) from back when Vampire Country was the Wild Wild South who employed me as an inexperienced carpenter for rent and drug money when living with Violet Larue. Those were some of the best jobs I've ever had, but going much further back, I can recall those distant days of utter liberation that was being a dishwasher.

Fucking Bizzaro's Pizza in Jax was something else let me tell you. Worked at the Landing off Saint John's River scrubbing sauce pots, pie pans, and steam trays for eight hours solid. Worked in a space no bigger than a walk-in closet over a sink deep enough to drown a dozen baby changelings at once. Got paid minimum wage. Had to sneak illegal smoke breaks in the employees access hallway that allowed rear access into grease pit shacks from the food court. Even worked the dreaded Gator-Bulldog showdown during a hullaballoo the locals called - 'The World's Largest Cocktail Party'.

And the whole time I was the happiest asshole in all Nowhere-Nothing North Florida Jax.

For I just had all my dreams crushed when I failed a piss test and was discharged OTH after confessing to be a fuck-up artist first class as well as a fully fledged dope fiend at Captain's Mast. After that I packed up my duffel bag, got a boat ride through the canals of Venice, got an escort to a plane, got to Sigonella, did a few days and did busy work and drank beer and lifted weights in transit. Next stop Philly at a base just down the block from a major baseball stadium. While there got a tattoo, met the OTO at a book store on South Street, dropped X with some skinheads I met outside a comic shop, and went to raves blowing my savings in a mad rush of fear. Then I was kicked out legit with nothing but the duffel bag on my back. Took a plane down to Jax.

There my people were waiting.

Johnny Law, my brother beyond blood and partner in crime since back in Liqourdale along with Tommy Boatswain, a fellow pothead and bilge rat who had the balls to have my back down in A-Gang Hell before being busted for the midnight toking.

Johnny was the assistant manager at Bizarro's Pizza and scored Tommy and I jobs.

Tommy was a steam cook and I was a dish washer.

We lived along with a buddy of ours from the ship, Doug Gallant, in a two bedroom apartment. Tommy slept in a makeshift tent he erected in the kitchen out spare bed sheets and a mattress from Christ only knows where. Me? I had a water bed with a broken heater in a room with no other furniture. We spent our nights watching pirated cable, smoking weed, doing blow, going to clubs where we always spectacularly failed to get laid, slamdanced at bars whenever someone played Ministry, got chased by Nazis from Einstein's down in Mayport (well not Tommy, Tommy was a son of Them Thar Hills, West Virginia and would be running from no man thank you very much), and dropped as much acid as we could beg, borrow, bum, or in an absolute emergency actually pay for. Some of it was no better than Robitussin boiled in a frying pan over a picture of Timothy Leary wincing in disapproval. Some of it made 'things' especially when I mispronounced Hebrew in barked shouts trying to remember how to do a lesser banishing ritual while tripping my balls off. Then, when I hooked up with a shy baker girl with long curly hair and big Eyeore eyes, she turned Tommy and I onto speed and I am here to report that for all the damning side effects a man can in spite of them wash the fuck out of some dishes.

Which was fucking great.

I had a radio and I blasted Bauhaus and Greater Than One and Skinny Puppy off cassettes (all Wax Trax with the little factory label lined up adjacent for proper meth-head OCD aesthetic) that got blasted off a small boom box. I had on these old black Docs that I had worn holes into their orthopedically designed soles. I was soaking wet, singing along, getting stoned in the freezer with Tommy and Johnny, talking shit, eating free Italian food every day, looking forward to doing acid and having non-stop orgasm-less sex until dawn with the Little Baker Girl (cookies laid out along her thighs that I would eat blindfolded with hands tied behind back - correctly identifying each flavor as we wait for either the law or the Nazis to come kicking in our front door). At night I wrote bad poetry in my journal and shoplifted Little Debbies and used stolen phone cards to call the Parental Units for cash that I swore was for bills but which all went to our dealer Rashim - a 340 pound white guy in glasses with a Mohawk who made you sit in a human litter box of an apartment for two to three hours in order to throw off the cops.

There were friends invincible then and foes everywhere and I danced defiant between them after washing dishes or stay up all night watching each other's faces melt or go on a drug induced and inspired crime spree that saw us stealing several dozen plants, pots, and patio furniture from various blocks throughout the swanker parts of Jax. At one point our living room looked like a jungle hideaway and everyone came over to smoke with us - gutter punks and club kids and drug addicts and fuck ups and bar flies and we entertained them all. Talked shit, boasted the impossible under oaths sworn upon blood's grave, got into shouting arguments over Ministry or the Sisters, testified to scene drama unfolding outside the neutral zone of dance floors, vowed grudge's vengeance, and out of a dozen folks jammed in a single living room you'd be hard pressed to get five bucks between us all.

What you would get was a bit of shelter from both street austerity and numb comfort conformity, what you'd get is laughter warm, pot smoke pungent, and tales told taller with each telling. And there you'd find me inexplicably at the center of something larger than any of us together (even with the knowledge that my center was but one of twelve). Alive for the first time in my life and I mean that literally as before the Nav from which I was kicked out the years prior to that had been under the Parental Unit's roof and rule.

I was free, I was high, I was getting laid, I was hunted, I was an awful poet, I was amped up, I was free and I was a fuck dishwasher. Of course it all came crashing down in addiction and poverty and heartbreak.

Now sitting here with less than eight hours until I got back to the job I just got off three hours ago and I'm laughing. Seeing you there Johnny, Tommy, Little Baker Girl and her Wanna Be Model friend and Doug Gallant and even Jeremiah Sinn and it's alright.

It didn't have to last, it wasn't supposed to, it was there for us then and there for us now as a memory we maybe summon as we each sip a pipe at the end of a long responsible day. There, with obligations and duties temporarily set aside, we can see ourselves then. Odds invincible and temporarily immortal.


Alright, time for yours truly to fuck off to bed now.

bg9davlny4pl0v4lwoil
linkInvoke

Confessions of a Fuck Up Artist [Jul. 13th, 2017|11:38 pm]
Jack Babalon
Pumping Iron with Debbie Tomorrow down at the Y. One of the few human beings I still face-to-face with outside job and family these days. To imagine Debbie picture a round eared elf fresh from a holiday down in Parris Island. Flash tattoos along the arms offer a lexicon to the outside eye of those symbols that dominate the unknowable within - a snaked eyed dice on each wrist, a compass on each elbow (one pointed East, one pointed West), along sculpted triceps stars that resemble jumbo sized versions of the ones generals wear on the lapels, and on the right calf a blind monkey in a Napoleon Hat pointing nobly at nothing with a white cane. Of course the tattoos are like the second thing you notice when you first see her. The first thing is the camouflaged t-shirt with the words GIRL HOMO emblazoned in big sparkly bubbly letters. This shirt has granted her a sort of invisibility of averted gazes. It works like this. Say you're some total skeev out on the machine openly peeping the local talent. Then you read the words and see the belligerent elf with the shaved head and the combat boots worn in direct violation of the Y's dress code policy for working out and instantly you pretend to see nothing. From there the slightest spark of glitter on the words GIRL HOMO 'cause even the worse pervo or dude-bro will blot them out and their wearer with them.

Not me, though. All I could see when I first met Debbie Tomorrow was the blind monkey in the Napoleon hat on the right calf. The sight of it peeled off some psychic scab grown over the place where Dad was cut out of my life and when she asked me what the actual fuck I thought I was yokel-gaping at I pointed to the monkey with trembling fingers unaware that I was crying.

She took me to her car and let me sneak a few hits off her vape while I spilt on the whole woe is me fucked up damage bullshit that pops up around this time of year. It's weird when you lose someone you love their birthdays become sort of Anti-Holidays - days of grieving reflection with many nights of dread anticipating its arrival. A little nicotine settled the nerves and though I wouldn't quit apologizing the whole time it felt good to talk to someone about things, lift the lid off the pot before everything boils over and douses the flame. After a good minute of silence where I hissed hits off the vape, she ordered me to quit with the I'm Sorry routine and that what I needed right now was to burn off some aggro. Together we did a solid hour of weight training. To be honest I didn't think she'd be able to keep up with me but twenty minutes into the grind and I'm struggling to not go vanish into the sauna and pass out.

This was last December. We only run into each other at the Y, though I believe I saw her walking a pit bull down in Oak Junction a few months back. I honked at her from the Toy Yoda but she flipped me off without once looking my way. However since we're the only ones who can see each other when we're here we spot each other.

Currently we're at the bench. I've got two 45s and two 35s on the bar. I do ten even though she counts only 8 and a ½ between profanity laced barks of encouragement. When it's my turn to spot her I offer to drop the weight down. She slaps me with a look that says - "Don't you fuckin' dare" to which I back up behind the bench with palms up.

She pops a solid ten and pushes out with a jungle cat growl an 11th for good measure.

We swap spots. I'm determined to do twelve to show her up while my muscles politely point out that they'll be lucky if they can squeeze out three with an assist. After lollygagging a good minute to steel myself for the iron I begin reps and she begins questions.

One... and I pop 205 (160 + the bar's 45) like it ain't no thing.

"Hey we still friends online?" She asks.

I lower the bar and answer - "Of course."

Two... comes up machine steady but with a slight singe at the biceps.

"Are you blocking me then from the real posts then?"

"Nuh-uh," I sigh lowering the bar a little quicker than I should. "Wait? Real posts?"

"Yeah," she lays her fingers on the bar, "your adventures in Vampire Country. How come I can't see them no more?"

Three... comes with a huff but no assist rendered still and the muscles seem to have more in them than initially surveyed.

"Stopped going," I say steadying a slight wobble on the left wrist and drop the bar.

Four... and I can feel this one, I can feel the burn of the last 8... fuck that ten... reps now.

"How come?"

"The risk to reward ratio wasn't in my favor," I force a laugh as the bar bounces off the pecs.

Five... and the aches kicking all over as the 20 years of smoking and Little Debbies kicks in.

"In other words you got scared," she snorts a laugh and I join her.

"Fair enough," I huff and hoping she doesn't notice I only go halfway down with the bar before jutting up between her upside down gaze.

"Of what?," she says gently pushing the bar all the way down to my chest even as her fingers coil around the bar tighter.

Six... didn't think I'd get this far and I nod my head when she gives an inquisitive noise to see if I've got 'this'?

"Everything," I groan and I'm ready to holster the bar to call it quits but insistently she pushes the bar back down.

"Everything?" She repeats.

Seven... and the sweat stings my eyes and those 205 pounds feel like they're being pushed on some sort of high gravity planet but I persist.

"What I want," I growl at her, "I'm afraid of getting it even more than I am of not. I'm afraid of who I am is not who is seen even while being afraid everyone will see the real me. I'm afraid of getting my ass kicked or kicking someone's ass only to prove that I can. I'm afraid of having given my best and everyone quietly agrees it wasn't enough."

The bar plummets and the braking fluid in my elbows is just about drained because it hits my chest with the strength of a punch.

Eight... just cannot be done. Eight hovers inches over a burning chest. Eight is why am I afraid and I don't have it in me to answer her. Not the will but the answer. Eight is beyond me... but not beyond us. She lifts the bar effortlessly assuring me of those words that sing sweetest to the ear of any man: "You got this, baby. It's all you."

With a thunk we guide the bar together to the hooks on the bench's arms.

I lay there looking up at the glare of the fluorescent lights on the ceiling.

Debbie Tomorrow's gone now... her job here complete.

"Deactivate Emergency Imaginary Friend Protocols," I whisper to the blind white glare unable yet to will my body into motion. No one laughs. No one hears me. No one would get it if they did. It's alright. That's why I got Debbie and the rest of them. I feel bad for them though. They probably want to move somewhere else to but are stuck in Terminus with me.

How long? A minute. Three. I don't know how long I'm laid out there on the bench like it's nap time at Pre-K. I forgot to charge my headphones and normally I count time here by number of songs I've heard or off the stair climbing machines. There's an emptiness underneath the scorched earth muscles and it feels better than having it stuffed with what cannot be said.

Eventually some other white guy with a shave head and a gut approaches with his imaginary supermodel fluttering besides him as a glass outline.

"Hey buddy," he asks the last question and the only one that counts, "you done here or what?"
link1 Summoned|Invoke

Dispatches from the Admiral's Grave [May. 29th, 2017|01:42 am]
Jack Babalon
[Tags|]

Next to me at the bar sits this chick with Richard Spencer hair and lipstick nosferatu red. She's eating wet spare ribs so the barbecue sauce is dripping off her fingers which she suckles tenderly. When she scrapes the last shred off meat off the bone she looks at me and asks if I'm waiting on someone.

Nope, I reply watching a soccer match between Terminus and the Apple between reading a book between digging the band between scrolling through my phone.

'You just got that look about you,' she says washing back some ribs with a swig of an umbrella drink, 'patient and forlorn'.

Small talk ain't my thing if I don't know you and it's been over two weeks since I've done any drinking so all I can muster is a shrug.

'Do I know you?,' she asks scrutinizing my face.

'Prolly not,' I mutter as folks up at the bar lean over and around me to order drinks that spill all over my book.

'No,' she insists waving a rib bone at my face in some act of necromantic divining, 'you used to come here a lot didn'cha?'

I motion helplessly conveying a 'you got me' or a 'no idea what you're talking about, lady?'

'Don't be coy,' she laughs, 'you're that guy that barged in drunk into the women's room that night and without word one started making out with a very shocked young lady who until a moment ago had been weeping inconsolably.'

I shoot a look to inform her that bells rung are zero for zero.

'Definitely not me then,' I snort thinking she must be thinking of Sinn or Bud or Magpie or some other ghost I've orbited peripheral back in the day.

'See the thing is that lady in the women's room was me... you walked in, acted surprised to see someone else was there, saw black mascara running and a life twisted up by bad decisions and you smiled at me like a man smiles when he's been away at sea for too long and before I could say anything you just put a finger to my lips and shushed me before...'

'... being maced I'd hope,' I mutter to the television.

'... pulling me into those big arms...'

'... not that big, nowhere near as big as my gut or sense of self-loathing,' I mentally correct her.

'... you kissed me right there and then and instead of kneeing you in the nuts I kissed you back because I could taste a pain on your lips that made me forget my own for a minute. Then you pulled back, laughed as if God alone had whispered the punchline to the universe in your ear and on your knees you went Sunday school quick and under my dress you dove Jack Rabbit quick where you put that tongue in cheek of yours in a better place for a hot minute. Do you remember me now, Jack?'

'Yes,' I sigh watching a penalty kick as a beer is passed in front of my face, 'but you're not her and she wasn't a 'her' anyway and it doesn't matter because you're not saying a word of this are you?'

'Excuse me?,' the woman sitting next to me asks with amused bafflement that earns a brush of her hair from her bangs.

'Sorry,' I look away, 'was talking to someone else.'

She looks around the bar quizzical, makes a face like you do when you bite into an oatmeal cookie that should've been chocolate chip, and does me the honor of pretending I'm not there.

This is the Admiral's Grave, this is Vampire Country, this is Life after Back-Up, and here in this place where I came to tell stories but only brought drama I'm just one more ghost remembering those banshees that sang like sirens once.
linkInvoke

Underground [May. 26th, 2017|01:51 am]
Jack Babalon
[Tags|]

This is Underground, a dying subterranean mall carved from a Reconstruction Era railroad depot to replace the one Sherman ordered lit up bright enough to give envy to the Morning Star's light. "The City Beneath the Streets" it was billed when reopened as a shopping and entertainment district back in '62 when Fulton was the only non-dry county in the state. From across the Southeast many a fine southern gentleman and lady came to Terminus in search of metropolitan revelries. Now there's nothing left but cast iron arcades that roll down the cavernous viaducts. Nothing but 18th century brick shops burrowed narrow into the earth and accessible only by descending stairs. Beneath iron roof trusses merchant carts are manned by bored Hispanic women flipping through their phones on stools. The carts are packed with smart phone cases and tourist tchotchkes and MLK t-shirts. Abandoned shop windows are covered with old photos of the city blown up into grainy visages. The lighting is kept minimal, so no matter how bright the day outside one walks through Underground Terminus under a perpetual dusk.

Here you'll find the Terminus Zero Mile Post. This is a cubed stone, chest high, foot wide, cereal milk gray speckled pink marking where the Western & Atlantic Railroad grew themselves a city.

Here you'll find a miniature amphitheater, on the edge of a baby blue stage sits an old man waiting with sips off a flask and behind him a cardboard cutout of the city 150 years ago.

Here you'll find a passage to Five Points Station, the nexus of the MARTA rail line, commuter packed, everyone hustling to work here where the city's slaves were once auctioned.

Here you'll find an actual gas lit lamp that may or may not designate one of the city's secret leylines and from which casual acts of time-travel along Terminus's history may unfold.

Here you'll find a life-size statue of a man with a performing bear. The placard explaining the significance of this figure is conspicuously missing so I can only supplicate that this was in fact a forgotten mayor of Terminus. Perhaps back in the Reconstruction the only man who could stand up to the hooligans from neighboring Snake Nations was a man with a little bit of gumption, a little bit of knowhow, and one big ass bear at his beck and call. Who knows? Not me certainly.

For here you'll find a food court of which all but three franchises have been shuttered. One of which is called What The Chicken operated by an old Asian lady who screamed at me to try a sample. I did. Stoner famished I ordered something resembling chunks of teriyaki and sesame sprinkled abortion chunks on a bed of fried rice with precisely one tiny cube of carrot in it. I took my seat. Pulled out my book and prayed it tasted better than it looked.

Didn't get but one bite in when I look up and there's this skeezy looking mother fucker hovering over me. Dude's skinny, 50 something, wearing a Brave's baseball cap from which spills scraggly nicotine blonde hair, gold chain hanging around neck, gold chain dangling off a wrist wrapped in a gold watch, rain jacket zipped up, and reeking off some Old Spice Listerine cocktail.

"Hey mister," he tells me in a drawl I can't place except to save it ain't from any of the satellite counties orbiting OTP that I know of, "I just wanted to warn you that that food you about to eat ain't no good. In fact you're the first person I've seen in the last hour actually order something."

"Great," I stab a chunk of sesame abortion with a plastic spoon, "I'll be sure to consider that when I write up my review for the New Yorker."

"No need to get smart with me," the man bristles, "just thought you deserved the right to know."

"Much obliged," I raise the fork with jabbed meat and point it in a direction away from my table.

The man staggers off and I try to focus on my book. I get a paragraph deep before I hear a commotion. A few yards away at another table where a family of three - Pop, Moms, Terrible Two - is being confronted by the skeezy looking guy.
Apparently he's trying to warn the family about the food their eating as well.

Pop is having none of it. Pop is a burly man, all gut, caveman arms, barrel chest wrapped in a Falcons jersey. Pop tells the Skeeze to get going. The Skeeze tries pleading with the Moms - oblivious in her phone to the situation - to not let her child eat this shit. Pop tells Skeeze to get a move on and that there won't be a third time. Skeeze looks like he's about to take off when he turns back out of his turn to snatch the styrofoam carton of food away from the Terrible Two. Pop grabs the carton. Skeeze won't give it up. The carton rips open. Rice and What The Chicken chunks go flying all over.

A janitor nearby focuses on wiping a table down with a dirty cloth. A young couple with bags packed with very expensive clothes that serve as walking advertisements for sneaker companies pause as they pass by. The Asian woman screams at them to try a piece of Sesame Abortion. I take a bite of mine and tastes worse than it sounds. Finally Pops gives Skeeze a push.

Skeeze staggers back, adjusts his glasses, straightens up, and yells at the top of his lungs - "Go ahead and punch me! I have AIDS!"

Pops does a double take. Moms stays screen locked. Terrible Two is throwing animal crackers.

"What?," the man bounces the palms of his hands off his chest, "Got nothing to say now?"

"Sir," an exhausted security cop waddles over from behind the shopping couple who are both now filming the encounter,

"I already told you can't be here bothering these folks."
Skeeze blinks at the cop, lifts a finger to signal a point about to be made, opens mouth in protest, and then bolts out of the food court. The security guard gives chase. For all of five feet. Then gives up winded and goes over to the What The
Chicken where the Asian lady gives him a cup of ice drizzled in Soda.

Pop brushes himself off and admonishes the Moms for not filming what just happened.

The janitor continues to wipe the same tabletop with the same dirty rag.

The shopping couple giggle and laugh and pray for Viral before shambling along.

The same chunk of rancid meat squishes between my teeth. I spit it out into my carton. I fold the book closed. Stow it away in backpack. Throw out my food and like Persephone doing a Walk of Shame from the Hotel Hades I exit Underground to rise back into the city.

S'up?
linkInvoke

Parallel Earth Day! [Apr. 23rd, 2017|02:39 am]
Jack Babalon
Happy Parallel Earth Day, Citizens of the Internet!

Yes, it's April 23rd, the day after Earth Day, when we gaze and reflect upon all those manifestations of the possible spanning the infinite breadth of the Multiverse. For on this day alone, the veil between eigenstates becomes visible not just to those with Code Indigo clearance, the rank of Most Worshipful Oracle, or the owner of a casual drug addiction. No on this day the frequencies align, ley lines converge across possibilities, and all of us - with a teaspoon of willpower and a dash of imagination can access briefly That Which Could Have Been.

It is on this day that a higher than normal number of failed science-fiction writers go missing along with many "crackpot" scientists who've been ostracized by their peers into obscurity. Where have they gone? They have used this thinning of the walls between realities to slip away into their own private Schrödinger's Box. Once inside they vanish into a puff of conjecture and reappear in a world more closely aligned to their desires. Not just them either. On this day many a mentally ill patient disappears from their room or homeless psychotics stagger into a new universe. These souls however have little say over what world they enter, some find themselves revered as emissaries of the gods others hunted by flesh eating nanobot swarms. It is a little known fact that many of the crazy guys you see shouting, cursing, and praying at the same time, are in fact arrivals from a parallel earth they can no longer return to.

But for the rest of us, Parallel Earth Day allows us to be psychic tourists of That Which Could Have Been. We are free to gaze upon a Rome that never fell or one that fell to Hannibal for both are empires whose reach remains interstellar. A favorite is one where a certain fluke of astrophysics meant a certain asteroid missed a certain dinosaur populated planet. But, narcissism being a part of the human condition, the most popular of course are those countless universes where our No's were Yes's. A high school romance that bloomed into marriage, the whim of curiosity nourished into an unfathomable career, a love one still alive or a glimpse of your grave confirming that you had made the right choice.

All of it yours to see for this one day only.

Sort of like the way you can see ghosts on All Hallows Eve only or airship fleets on Saint Tesla Day only with, you know, parallel universes.

Now how exactly does one go about psychically traipsing across the Multiverse? Glad you asked. The trick is to remember that there's a reason that parallel earths are designated by numbers in the comic books. For example if you're a DC fan (or just a Batman fan as many fanboys of all genders are) then you know those adventures take place on Earth-1. If you're a diehard Marvel Zombie (or even an enthusiastic casual) then you're probably aware that what's considered proper continuity takes place on Earth-616 (a number designated by Alan Moore when he was working on Captain Britain back in the day and across the Pond. That's because there's a certain Gematria involved here, where as the sacred numerical value isn't assigned to the letter or word but acts per your basic Kaballah 101 but to a plane of existence.

Now with infinite earths comes infinite number assignations which is where your typical brainiac fails in their calculations to open a gate to another world or worse opens the wrong one. This is exactly how you get invaded by gun wielding simians or tentacle spewing abysses.

What's needed here is intuition and a bit of improvised sigil work.
Step 1: Meditate on the universe you wish to visit and then write down the first five numbers that pop into your head. You can light incense or candles, do banishings or invoke into some avatar drag, solve a series of complex math equations while naked in the blood of a dolphin, whatever it takes to set the mood per the individuals chosen ritualistic dogma. So long as you write five numbers down after meditating on the universe you're trying to book.

Step 2: Scratch out all repeating integers.

Step 3: Now combine the remaining integers into a unified symbol.
This symbol is your own personal 'Magic Number' for accessing the parallel universe you've been focusing on.

Step 4: Now we get all Genesis P-Orridge and rub one out while meditating on the sigil. There are many methods that can be involved and I recollect working the door at a Sigil-Bukkake Party at Spring 4th, where some rookie magus painted his sigil on the forehead of some poor Ukrainian Raver while a bunch of members of the Skeeve Lodge did the sort of invocation no amount can erase the memory of having to mop up later. Still as the kids say nowadays... You Do You Shall Be The Hole in the Law.

Step 5: Now burn or eat the paper on which the sigil has been created. If burned be sure to inhale the smoke of the flames and also to not like do this anywhere near flammable objects or near whatever other shit some asshole might sue me over.

Step 6: Cannot be spoken of here... know only that it will become clear in a lightning flash of intuition upon completion of the first five steps. That or howling Math-Demons from the Many-Angled Dimensions will descend upon you (a sign that perhaps your mind wandered during Step 4 allowing the terrible things between possibilities into our world).

But keep in mind that many of us across the Multiverse are content to spend April 23rd in contemplation of That Which Could Be. Many do not engage in the Integer Sigil to access visions into the "universe next door." Some are content to spend the day Cosplaying as the person they could have been for 24 hours - choosing to look at life through the perspective of another world, another history, another gender, another life form. Others just get drunk and watch Sliders reruns.

In the end though Parallel Earth Day is really about when we look outward to those possibilities unreachable, not with shame at what we are not, but in wonder of what we could be.

Hope it's a good one, Citizens of the Internet.

link1 Summoned|Invoke

4-20 to Life [Apr. 20th, 2017|10:58 pm]
Jack Babalon
The closest I'll ever come to understanding the embarrassment and mute rage Gaelic Americans suffer during Saint Patrick's Day is going through any given April 20th in the last decade or so. As marijuana consumption becomes normalized in the Western society the Secret Partaker has become a safe cultural stereotype to milk for a few laughs. All day you'll hear radio DJs and TV anchors and late night host after late night host doing that old 'Stoner Voice'. You know the one. It's a pinched croak in the throat uttering in the ethereal tones of those just roused from vivid dream. When they use it it's to summon absurd conjectures bookended between amnesia and hunger - "Oh, what, was I sayin'? Shit, man, what if animals were, like able to read our minds, would they like, be you know, stoned when they read our minds when we're stoned? Fuck it, let's order a pizza, man."

Cue: Laugh track.

Smiling Host: In other news...

... and no mention that according to the Drug Policy Alliance the number of Americans arrested in 2015 for possession of narcotics was 1,249,025. That's a lot of savings accounts wiped out for lawyers and fees. That's a lot of scholarships denied for a dime bag. That's a lot of jobs lost with the prospect of finding another one much more difficult than before. That's a lot of young men and women thrown into the Rape Zoo to serve a hard 20. 1,249,025 Americans who had their lives ruined or made much worse. And how much of your taxes on that other dreaded day in April - the 15th did we spend arresting, convicting, trying, incarcerating, paroling those million plus citizens? Enough to fix a fallen bridge maybe? Enough to fix a VA system that been dilapidated through bipartisan neglect? Maybe a bit left over to put some kids in school maybe or failing that at least not have them drinking lead poisoned water out of the faucet?

But please... do your spacey-trippy voice for us one more time. Tell us how we all don't wake up until well past noon. How none of us can hold down a job much less a memory of what just happened five minutes ago. How we're basically what zombies would be if zombies could talk and were ravenous vegans. So c'mon, it's 4-20! Let's hear your tight fucking five with the punch line that ends in Munchies or a surfer elongated Dude. Show us your Stoner Black Face for a few laughs and let's ignore there's been a war waged against those you mock for the last half century.

Oh, and that's War as in Literal. Tanks. Body Armor. Swarming helicopters. Military Grade Firepower. Surveillance and espionage. Night raids. Stun grenades. Paramilitary tactics enforced by masked men in all black. Citizens gunned down in the crossfire. War in the dwindling ghettoes of the city, War in the economic ravaged towns of Middle America. War where ever people have been taught that their poverty is not because of automation or outsourcing but from an inherent laziness of character. War, on all those who can neither escape nor conform to the reality around them.

Don't get me wrong. I've seen drugs fuck some good people up bad. I've seen scumbags who left their baby crawling around a floor littered with trash, knives, and guns while they did bumps off the pamper box. I've seen friends at parties or shows then never see them again because they never woke up the next day. No doubt this sort of thing can't go unchecked. Help is needed. Education is needed. But we all know that if the drugs don't destroy your life, the law will do it for you. That's the truth of it, from the casual smoker who hits a bowl on special occasions to the shivering junkie you try to pretend you don't see asking you for a little help.

I guess it gets me because I'm pretty damn close to the stereotype. I'm a passive go lucky soul, who wants to sleep late without a care for work or cash in the world. Just get baked, write crazy shit in hopes of snatching the melody in the ear, make love with abandon, and then eat a lot of processed sugars while binge watching anime in a state of post-coital bliss.

But the other Stoners, the other Narco-Americans I know?

They get up before dawn. Get families fed and delivered to school before hitting the job. They pay bills and taxes on time. Balance checkbooks. Monitor their credit rating and blood pressure. Vote - Democrat and Republican and Neither. They attend PTA meetings, board meetings, city council meetings. They make money and buy new cars and big screen TVs and get the new phone every other year that gives jobs to the robots and third world children. They have served honorably in our armed forces as well as their communities and not one person they love has ever gone without or suffered at the hands of their casual habits.

Yet all it would take for them to lose it all is a random cop pulling them over for the slightest of infractions or a nosey neighbor reporting to 911 the funny smell coming out their window.

So maybe here on 4-20 we could take a moment from our memes and recycled Willie Nelson quotes to remember that while the Stoner has been normalized through pop-culture they remain criminalized in the eyes of the laws of this land.
linkInvoke

Confessions of a Fuck-Up Artist [Apr. 19th, 2017|01:20 am]
Jack Babalon
[Tags|, ]

It's hot enough again that I can trade out yard work for weed like some sort of deranged teenager, trapped, broke, looking to exchange sweat for kicks here in E-I-E-I-OTP Land. What choice do I have? Uncle Sam wants his cut of 2016's haul and I don't exactly feel like going all Lysander Spooner over the situation. So yard work for the Good Green it is.

My first assignment tear down the cascades of English Ivy strangling a small forest squared off in a remote suburban backyard tucked behind a Shag Blue Mid Century A-Frame.

Beaten up work gloves hang off the arms cartoon sized, machete freshly sharpened, faded Black Flag tee tearing up at the pits, a three day hangover lamprey coiled around the inner-narrative. This is what I have to work with.

Step One: praise Ogun offering the machete, along with its god, the respect of a loaded gun.

Step Two: Chop-Chop, Mother-Fucker, Chop-Chop.

Step Three: Tear, yank, uproot Hentai thick tendrils until your growling and covered in sweat.

Step Four: Repeat Steps 2 through 4... only this time put a little back into it.

Which is what I do for a good thirty minutes, wrapping vines around gloved fists, tugging them off the bark, ripping open the earth still damp with an earlier thunder shower. Petrichor memories of preteen days running through the wilds of Van Cortland Park, climbing trees, scaling walls of the 19th century aqueduct getting lost through the Bronx-Yonkers border. Orange and amber of dusk flickering through leaves as I ran around with the dogs playing. The persistent sense that somebody, or something, was watching you deep in the verdant foliage. Unseen, but close enough that the gaze heats up the back of the neck, scaring you while making you feel special at the same time.

Focus, I got both hands wrapped around a root thick enough to make a sailor blush, and while I've managed to peel it off the tree with minimal damage, it's tangled up deep in the dark soil. No matter how hard I pull it won't budge. It almost feels as if something is pulling back...

I was fourteen and found that I liked the idea of being watched by whatever it was in the woods. My witness was neither human nor beast, this much intuition ascertained.
There was a place literally off the beaten path. Through a small animal trail winding through bushes of pure thorn, there was a place where a creek ran between stones large enough for me to lay spread eagle on. Which is what I did after taking my clothes off with coy shyness to my invisible witness. The trickle of the creek's waters, dying sunlight sparking off the water's surface, the wind sighs across ancient oaks, the stone's cold press against my bare skin, and excited in ways
I couldn't fully comprehend much less articulate, found myself pleasuring myself for my invisible witness.

The root won't budge, the vines are growing around my arms, up my legs, the tendrils not just pulling back, but trying to drag me down into the soil...

... and 31 years ago splayed across that stone, masturbating furiously to the shadows growing out of the brush and between the branches, gathering in silent witness to my performance, to my confession...

... knee and elbow deep in vines now, feeling the fat black bugs crawling under my shirt, as the roots drag me deeper into...

... the shadows grew closer with the dying light and moaned their satisfaction. I closed my eyes wanting not to see what they were but rather bask in the radiance of their attention. Thunder rumbled...

... thunder rumbles and I focus all my strength on plucking my right arm free. There's a wet, ugly pop in my elbow that comes with a whimper instead of a growl. But it's enough to let me reach for the machete. Son of a Ogun, Orisha Combat Chant muttered, and the vines on the left arm are reaching for across the shoulder, up the neck, towards...

... shadow lips kiss across my body as the first omen-spasms of the little death tremble, with the wind groaning the treetops and all the birds silent...

... and if I don't strike soon the vines will have buried me and if I strike the vines in the wrong spot I risk severing a limb...

... and lightning flashes against closed eyes as rain splatters across the stone and I open my mouth feeling shadow fingers trace the words I'm mouthing...

... and I open my eyes after a quick guestimate of a prayer to pull back on my left arm with the last of my dying momentum and strike with the machete...

... YES, I hiss, shudder, and convulse into laughter as the seed of my effort drowns in the pouring rain while the watching shadows withdraw back into the woods to sleep in satisfaction...

... the blade cuts inches above the fingers managing not to sever completely the growing vines but damage them enough that I can tear my arm free. I hack next at the roots around legs, carefully but not without a certain rage behind the blows. For the next ten minutes I slice away at the root until I'm staggering and huffing for a cigarette.

I look up and it's the last tree.

Darkness soon, bus to catch, train to catch, another bus to catch after that and maybe some dinner in between. The vision of that dusk on the stone in the woods echoes behind blinks and rubbed eyes. Shake it off. Pack up the machete after thanking it and its owner. Slap on the headphones. Smoke half a joint tucked in the cigarette pack. Wait to stop trembling. Gather your fee, an eighth of Lemon Kush wrapped in a lunch sized potato chip bag. Head home and realize that at last Saturday's hangover is gone.
linkInvoke

Get on the Bus to Beelzebub [Apr. 12th, 2017|01:17 am]
Jack Babalon
This whole city's completely traffucked now that 85 has been taken down by what diligent authorities assure us was only a crack-head with a Bic and a little time to kill. Others of course believe the fire to be a literal manifestation of the socioeconomic razing of the old neighborhoods that once defined Terminus. Of course it must be said that this town does have a history of playing with fire and hell what'd you expect would happen when you make of your city's seal a mythical bird rising out of flames. Resurgens, say it enough times and something's bound to get burnt. Still, it's better than neighboring Agnes Town's symbol of a man bowing to another man who is holding a feather. I have zero clue what that shit's all about and zero intention of finding any. It's their freak flag and that's good enough for me.

Point is there's a sudden epidemic of cluelessness jamming the MARTA stations as society deteriorates into one where its citizens must occasionally ride a bus or a train. Now normally an unexpected caste collision of oblivious privilege and starved insanity crammed into the same aging transit system at rush hour offers no dearth of teachable moments for the lay anthropologist. But for the rest of us who are just trying to get home after a Fuck-You of a day MARTA offers an experience best described as the movie the Warriors if it was directed by the people running your local DMV. Now throw in a few hundred MARTA Noobs acting like entitled cattle who demand first class seats on the trip to the charnel house and it's enough to crack even the most seasoned commuter.

Therefore it is to you, new MARTA passenger, that I propose a few guidelines to follow in order that your public transit experience ends with as little blood, sweat, and tears as possible.

1. White people, remember that you're new urban adventure isn't the Wire, it's closer to Oz or The Night Of. So practice everything you've ever learned about prison from HBO and apply it to your northbound jaunt across the city. You want to look in a manner that is neither directly at a person or one that averts their gaze. Carry yourself with respect but respect those around you and if you don't act the fool you'll get home without getting shanked. Also, if you find a cinnamon roll on the empty seat next to you and eat it then you are contractually obligated to be the provider of said cinnamon roll's bitch for the duration of the commute.

2. If musical comedies have taught us anything it's that the world is a more magical place when complete strangers burst into song. Remember this when randos start shrieking "The Greatest Love of All" in your ear after a long day.

3. Did your backpack or grocery bags pay a fare? If the answer's no, then they don't get their own fucking seat. Your precious rucksack will be just fine on the floor and while none of us want to have to engage with the other blocking up a whole seat because you don't want to deal with anyone doesn't make you a quirky introvert but an insensitive cunt.

4. If you see something then... keep it to yourself, okay? Yeah, we all see the guy screaming about how Jesus was a CIA agent or the dude jerking off between the train cars but it doesn't mean you have to get involved in a conversation with them, or even worse with me about what they're doing.

5. Always remember to bring a book with you, but preferably an ancient grimoire that you'll need to banish the demons and ghosts lurking on the station platforms with. Audibly(tm) Books on Stream offers a wide selection of ancient Sumerian and Hyperborean texts read by some of today's biggest stars. The Necronomicon as read by Steve Buscemi or the Book of the Law as chanted by Gilbert Godfrey are big hits.

6. No, don't touch that.

7. That either. Jesus, what are you thinking?

8. Should you fall asleep only to awaken to an abandoned train that keeps riding endlessly through impossible tunnels while through the windows you glance creatures made out of impossible angles while the lights flicker on and off and there's a shadow approaching , just remember this. You really should have given that homeless man the dollar he needed.

9. It is a known fact that pickpockets, vagrants, and undercover police will avoid you if you dress up as Santa Clause even if you do so in early April. It's just generally bad karma to fuck with a Santa. Also effective is dressing as Mark Twain or a cardboard robot though this will attract the rats that live in the stations for reasons unknown at this time.

10. While eating on the trains is forbidden open weeping is not only allowed but encouraged.
linkInvoke

Battle Womb America [Apr. 7th, 2017|12:57 am]
Jack Babalon
Watching battle cruisers launch Tomahawks on the news and the nervous system's jolting me into a level of awareness not known since quitting cocaine. Here's the situation from my corner of PTSD (Perpetual Trump Stress Disorder) America. One part of me feels like my TV is broadcasting from the Gulf back in '91 allowing me to watch my ship even while huddled within her. The other part is waiting for a voice to crackle over the speakers barking in monotone authority - "General Quarters, General Quarters, All Hands Man Your Battle Stations." Zen Panic, that's what I used to call it when I'd jump out of whatever I was doing to hit the deck. Never felt so alive really scrambling like that through the corridors and down the hatches and everyone telling me to slow down and lighting up a cigarette in the hole alone in my little corner of the ship. But I wasn't a soldier, a marine, the Navy SEAL I signed up but psyched out of becoming. I was Navy and the Navy doesn't come to fight, it comes to destroy. It comes to launch millions of dollars of raw death from the sea, straight through the sky, to engulf in flames the sleeping earth until nothing remains but rubble. In this all four elements are alchemically invoked to call down the Angel of Death upon distant lands.

For I was Navy and the Navy in the late 20th/ early 21st Century is not War but rather her Herald.

After the ordinance, after the barrage, after the Navy's Black Metal Fourth of July Murder Party, comes the War along with the sons and daughters who will have to fight a Peace out of it. They will come to butcher, they will come to save, they will come to protect and patrol and do the work of them ordered by those not there to see it done much less its cost and not a one of them will come back the same. I was Navy and we did not see the faces we killed, in that we are blessed as it didn't fuck us up like it does those who did, do, and will. But in not seeing those faces I often wonder if it meant we didn't have to sacrifice that part of ourselves that keeps us from doing it in the first place.

The faces I have seen though are those who have had to deliver what we only heralded and what's in them is enough to let the rest of us understand all there is to know of War. Most of us have seen that face at the airport, on the train, on the streets, at the bar or the job or the family reunion or waiting in the mirror. There is something sharp in their countenance where ours is soft and intuitively we sense the cut behind that sharpness never heals completely. It's a face everyone seems to know... except those responsible for making them.

I was Navy and tonight I'm there in the bilges with some poor dumb kid who maybe found out too late that they'd rather be a poet than whatever they wanted to be before Basic. Strength and love, unknown shipmate , with wounded prayers to those that will suffer what we have heralded.
link1 Summoned|Invoke

Confessions of a Fuck-Up Artist [Mar. 31st, 2017|01:19 am]
Jack Babalon
The day ends in flames as night rumbles the earth with thunder and even an armchair occultist could tell you a lot more is at work here than just a collapsed bridge over a highway. It's Bad Magick 101, it's Necronomicon Karaoke, and Tarot shuffling with a deck full of Towers. Mainly though it's something that shouldn't be on this side of Hell waking up in the rainy shadows outside your window. Here's the situation from close to the front line. As you may have read in previous dispatches filed to Kether Command, Terminus is a lot more than the economic engine of the Confederate States of Appalachia. It is in actuality a city rebuilt from ashes where all that was Strange and Untamed in the South came to find freedom or fortune or oblivion. What the Strange and Untamed didn't realize however was that the City was a trap/cage set by those undying antebellum/antediluvian powers that rule Southeast unseen. Terminus is sealed by the 285 loop and within the perimeter the intersection of highways into I-85 create a binding sigil that ensures the madness that lives there doesn't spread out to infect the rest of the region.

Over the decades though a vibrant culture grew inside the binding sigil - it's madness had a rhythm that pulsed out of strip bars and nightclubs to reverberate across the nation. It's vision was bohemian infested brick walls lit up with graffiti runes and streets where dogwoods bloomed Samurai weather in spring. It's blood was the rail-lines, it's heart was a Dream of her greatest prophet slain. It was a city unlike any other and it drew the Strange and the Untamed from further and further across this land. The dark magicks that bound the city began to buckle under the strain of the population overload but Terminus thrived and her voice became a roar and her vision became a testimony and her Dream became, briefly, a Possibility instead.

I was one of those pilgrims who came here in search of mastering the Narromantic Arts, completely unaware of the binding sigil that caged the city. Just another 80's suburban casualty trying to escape their white privilege not out of some noble pursuit of equanimity but rather to flee the soul negating anti-culture that came with said privilege. The city's were magick circles that protected us from the slave-god morality of the lands outside them. A place where the weird can get wild and the wild can get weird without anyone having to wake up to the Lynch Squad waiting outside your front door. We came to make music, we came to tell stories, we came to a place that only through great Will or great Tragedy can one truly ever escape its magick seal.

Such was the deal, we lived sealed away in the city with the outside world safe from our madness and our madness safe from their conformity.

Until the suburban boredom and small town values got a whiff of our revelries and followed us into the cities to make it theirs. The day-traders, the developers, the yawning khaki masses flooded into Terminus and in doing so began to strain the dark binding magicks of the highway sigil. Then our national shit storm of an election goes down. Once again nation divided cannot stand... especially when they can't stand each other. The zeitgeist soured, a second Civil War brews, the artist-shaman of the cities we relied on to channel the collective dread out of our subconscious have been priced into banishment. The weight of daily horrorshow doubling with each glimpse on the internet, with each piece of history gutted into a Starbucks, with each old neighborhood appropriated by the viciously affluent.

Cracks show, outbursts rumble, the center buckles.

Until a bridge on the highway in the sigil collapses and all that energy to keep the Strange and Untamed bound here is released into the Red Wilds of the Confederate States of Appalachia. All our starved yearnings, all our marginalized terrors, all our muted screams, released in a ball of flames as traffic grinds to a halt the day before the big new baseball stadium opens up in Ty Cobb County. Too much bullshit squeezing the Strange and Untamed to the edges of the sigil but unable to escape it strain the system and...

... snap, crumble, and bang!

The seal is broken, the sigil shattered, the genii awakened and the three wishes she grants are given to the Angel of Death without hesitation. The streets will soon flow riot with gunshots and doomsday fucking and once again flames will herald what Terminus is to become.

Reporting live from the crumbling rune, this is Jack Babalon, over and...

85 North 3/30/17
link1 Summoned|Invoke

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