Saturday, September 29, 2007

Hump, What Hump?

I received an email from my agent today, addressed to "Dear Quasimodo." Made my day. Best thing that's happened this week since that bootleg copy of SPANKENSTEIN arrived in the mail....Wayne

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Greater Good: Storytellers Unplugged 09.28.07

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I should be thankful I am in the Central time zone, this way I have an extra hour to poke away at this keyboard. This may change in the very near future. My one-fingered click clack, I mean. I'll stay in the Central time zone, probably die here. Not in the suburbs, somewhere back in the city. I leave that up to karma. I'm looking down at my fingernails, like a guy testifying at the mob trial currently transpiring here, or some trying-to-be-serious comedian on a late night HBO special. I'm putting off what I want to say, to confess. Proactive contrition, if you will. Its a world of iPods and nanopods and other things I do not even know how to spell correctly. Some phone that moves like a three card monte dealer shuffling the deck. People who don't have writing programs on their computers but they can text the basics for TREASURE ISLAND or CANDIDE to a friend, while the quiz is being handed out. Virtual Cliff notes. In a few weeks, the 25th anniversary showing of BLADERUNNER will be in our theaters. Some nights, when the pain is bad and I try to keep the voices at bay because when PK Dick's goddamn voices started jibber-jabbering, he wrote about the damn things. I'm stuck with them just floating in my thalamus, as my one good finger tries and puts their rants down about as fast as Abe Vigoda's character Phil Fish taking a witness statement on BARNEY MILLER. Nights with the pain, after ten or twelve hours at the plant, I'd fall on my knees in worship if I saw the floating cube with the Oriental woman selling little green pills (if I recall the color correctly, and it was probably a damn stool softener, not some pain killer, oh the jolly jape of madness!)from BLADERUNNER. I want to finish this. I feel as if I am tapping from the inside of my ribcage.

When I take my eventual dirt nap in the time zone I alluded to, hopefully the corpse found in a timely manner so as to be stuffed and mounted and auctioned off every year so that I can be owned and taken to conventions and banquets by Beth or Brian or David or Sully, depending on who ponies up the most money for the charity of their choice, I want to be remembered as the guy who did it the only way he could. Rather...I wanted to be remembered that way. I've always been content with my body of work, even if it meant ignoring the voices of envy, of all those who type faster, those who get everything purged while my output is that of a 48 year old man with an enlarged prostate. I wanted the vanity, if that is the word, to be dead without ever enhancing my manner of typing. I have indeed dictated to writer Yvonne Navarro and teacher Janet Winkler while I was recovering from the car accident in 1989. I often get offers from people to type something for me, and right now, Kate Sterling is retyping a long essay I wrote for the defunct ED McBAIN COMPANION, just so I can get it on disk and try and whore it elsewhere.

Proactive contrition, my friends. I absolve myself from what I will do this coming week. I am surrendering a huge part of me, a truly enormous portion of my mind and soul, and purchasing Dragon Naturally Speaking 9.0. I so so so do not want to do this, to become a robot, to become a voice that will speak faster than my stream of consciousness and likely fuck up my stories better than the meds I take for being bipolar. But I have to do this, I have nonfiction assignments from Salem Press, a poetry collection from Annihilation Press, and if it kills me, I will write CITY WITH NO SECOND CHANCES, scenes of which float in my head like slices of deja vu when I am awake or asleep. I have an agent, a good one, and I know he will be on my @$$ like a good agent should. I haven't had an agent in a decade and I'll do this fellow right, and I'll do all of you, my readers, right, as well. But I feel that I am doing myself a great wrong.

I have discussed this with many people, most feel it is about the body of work I still have in my various brain cells, locked up by a palsied caretaker. There are those who wouldn't give my dilemma a second thoughts, those with the texting and the iPod shuffle. But this is a very hard thing for me. Turning over myself to a computer program.

For the greater good. Should there be a question mark there? As of October 15th, I will have been with America Online for ten years. Its a way of life for me now. Will Naturally Speaking be that way, as well. Or am I simply afraid that I will fail, that I do not have those stories in my head after all. Proactive contrition: Philip K. Dick, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest my sins, blah blah blah. I'm confessing my sins before I commit them. Next month you won't be reading my type written word, you'll be reading whatever the hell my voice tells the computer program.

And I hate myself for surrendering, all for the so-called Greater Good.

Happy October, my favorite month of the year. Now if you'll excuse me, I'll let a little bit of myself die before you hear from me again. Thanks for your time and patience. Your chattel, Wayne

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Bring It On, Polly!

This is the kind of night where IF I had an iPod and IF I knew how to program it, I'd record every damn version of "Cocaine Blues" by Johnny Cash and then just put it on shuffle mode, out of spite. I got my teabagged at work this morning in a sequence of events not too far different from the Rifleman cover, only involving a skid of paper that weighed much more than that measly little log. Work in general was, There are days where, well, no need even blogging another word on it. It rained and so I stood in my leather jacket at 127th for 30 minutes, water from my jacket dripping into my socks, no lie. The smell of the Cal Sag Channel just a few blocks south was the smell of raccoon ass rash, dead fish, decaying wood, and you could probably toss tree mold into the mix. Then I showered the smell off with the help of a giant spider, i.e., I got clean in areas I never even touch because I was hopping around making girly sounds. So I want that iPod of JC bad. And that last piece of artwork? Fuck Polly. Racked in the ball sack, soaked in soggy shit, then dancing in the shower like I was in the opening credits of FRIENDS so this gigantic brown spider from hell would leave my nipples alone, what more could Polly do?

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Frazetta & Ross Present The USA 2007

I'm talking about Frank Frazetta and Alex Ross. Recently, I came across this beautiful rendition of my buddy the Wolf Man vs. Drac. I had once thought this to be a cover on an old CREEPY magazine, but I was wrong. The background is pretty much the coolest thing on the very cool cover. But it is Everyman fighting Count Dubya. Sadly, Everyman loses, then Bush gets his strength back by sucking on our individual liberties, courtesy of Alex Ross, who also provides the touching closure, with the Count embracing one of his lovely brides. This may not be a great post, people, but you gotta admit, the art is fantastic. Wayne

Thursday, September 20, 2007

He's Your Uncle, Not Your Dad

An obscure reference, to be certain. The name of an Elvis song from the film SPEEDWAY. He was talking about Uncle Sam because, thanks to his accountant Bill Bixby, his race car driving character owed the IRS quite a bit of cabbage. Last night, during that hideous day/night/almost day again at work, this young kid Robert, a HS senior working part-time, wanted me to show him how to use the computer (he wasn't certain if he could while that massive job was running.) He went to the website that showed how you could apply for the Selective Service online, and he told me his teacher had mentioned how everyone his age would need to register or face five year imprisonment. And there it was on the screen. I don't recall the teachers scaring the hell out of us in high school, although I also don't recall us planning to invade any country back in 1977. There's no oil in Zaire, I recall a big war going on at that time. I'm usually not political in conversation or in my writing, but I'm really getting sick of this country and what it is turning into. I can see how easy it would be for someone to go Sirhan Sirhan on George W. Bush (and screw you, Echelon satellite and Patriot Act), I always used to wonder what made one guy so angry and Robert Kennedy or President McKinley, now I know. Deep down, the way a serial killer knows. Its a matter of restraint. Well, I've gone off and ranted a bit. Back in the early 90s, I worked at a comics shop. Archer Avenue had a mix of Polish and Bosnian families, the Mexicans not moving here until earlier this century. One of the regular customers was very patriotic--as so many of us were on 9/12 and 9/13 and maybe a while after that--and he went back to Bosnia and fought in that war. This was in 1992, his parents came in and bought his comics, then mailed them overseas. One day in August, they both came up to me, very solemn. He had died. At that time, that is all they knew, and I never saw them again. I felt very melancholy restocking the shelves with the X-MEN and SPIDER-MAN comics I had kept in his subscription bin. We fight and fight, but all of us will live and die in the same place, on this planet, the one we are destroying every minute of the day. Wayne

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

thy will be done

just...not...yet. hour fifteen out of sixteen and then a nice girl named patty drives me home. i smell like ink and soup. there might be a haiku i could get out of that, but i really can't concentrate that hard. if you were here, you would hear me talking to myself in a deserted room as the machine makes sounds like waves against a beach. sum-beach. wayne

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Devil Its Due

Chalk it up to a 14 hour shift (Monday/Tuesday), 8 the next (today), and then, inexplicably, I am working tomorrow from 9 AM until 1 AM Thursday. But my sleep habits are nil. I don't even know if that sentence makes sense. In the last half hour I have drank coffee, mango juice, and now ice water. I was watching RACE WITH THE DEVIL at 3 this morning, a great bad film from 1975 with Peter Fonda and Warren "I'm Getting Too Old For This Shit" Oates, where satanic bikers chase them as they drive a Winnebago all around the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. I look at the Chinese poem about the banyan tree, hoping to get drowzy. I listen to Yusef tell me the city is bad after dark. (Well duh.) I Google the advertisement that says Hayden Panitierre has got milk. (To keep it a level field, Masi Oka also has milk.) Still awake. Google "asian cult cinema" and see above. The button was a birthday gift from my niece Ashley. She knows I am afraid of clowns. Have any of you been told the story behind my fear of clowns? Its quite vivid and graphic. Christ, I wish I could drink some whiskey with my vanilla ice cream, but I only hit the booze roller coaster at conventions, trying to carry on Karl Edward Wagner's legacy to little avail. (But, damn, the Zanzibar club in Toronto was amazing; a Romanian girl told me all about a Romanian doctor who performed belly button surgeries for would-be strippers. Guess I can now write the, ah, bar bill off as story research). And, since being in Canada that first week of April, I have had two Budweisers. That is all. Roller coasters are better when blacking out in foreign lands. Bob thinks I should write a memoir without explaining who people are, like no footnotes or whatever, so this should be one whack-job entry. Ten after midnight. If I went to sleep now, I'd lie awake until 2. Guess I'll Google that asian cult site again...Wayne

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Candy-Coated Clown They Call The Sandman...

Martel Sardina drove all the way out here to the seventh level of Hell--accessible only by the Tri-State Tollway--to interview for DARK SCRIBE magazine, mostly about John Wayne Gacy and my current projects. That's not the clown I'm talking about, though. As I told Martel, I have this somewhat condensed diorama of Chicago in my dreamtime, el tracks that always turn in different directions to stations with different names, an archway in mist on a rise above and outdoor market just past the Halsted Street bridge at Archer. I forgot to tell her about a specific area towards Sheridan Avenue that has different angled streets that somehow entangle themselves so there are several intersections involving the same streets, always with the same buildings, none I can cull from my memories. Last night I dreamt of the pinkish-red funhouse again, I'm assuming because I read the LA Weekly article on Philip K. Dick at 2 in the morning. HE Fassl was in the dream because I fwd the article to him, that much I know for certain. I get off a train and am at the far end of the opposite side of the street. There are seven three-flats, all grey and quiet. This never changes, and it was daylight in only one dream that I ever had, more like dusk. The sky is aqua, at the end of the block, taking up two lots, is a two story building with lights and lanterns outside, the stone sides of the building going from pink to blood red and back. It might even look like a layered cake, in a weird way. I always go inside the building in my dreams, and sometimes I sleep long enough to actually leave the building, several times from a fires escape on the roof. Most times I am shocked awake by funhouse mirrors or leering faces, there is great depth to the hallways, and I was dreaming of this place long before any Rob Zombie films. The only anchor to reality in this recurrence of the pink-red building was that, early this morning, I was happy to see Harry Fassl, though he seemed hurried and pressed $40.00 into my palm and left. I woke up at 7 AM sweating, as I always do because of these front-loaded monstrosity dreams. I do not know the name of this building because I have never walked to the cross street to see the other angle of the building. I suppose the true terror would be that if I did, I'd see an empty lot like in the westerns filmed in Old Tucson. That would mean that the mirrors and the ghouls were someplace else my brain was visiting but trying to give me a happier exterior. I write this with melancholy because these dreams wipe me out, but I also feel nostalgic because I haven't visited this place since last century. Again, I chalk it up to Phil Dick, because our I am running parallel paths to his roads of insanities. That's Harry at the bottom, at Jeff Osier and Cathy Van Patten's home, the night before we invaded Afghanistan. The middle photo is of me goofing on a set photo HEF was using for another story and the top one is my head as a prop for a story called "Wilson's Ghosts," by an author whose name escapes me. Maybe I'm going on and on in this post so I can get the dream out of my system. Stupid candy colored laughing house...Wayne

Thursday, September 13, 2007

How My Border Collie Got Stabbed

She has died and her home was demolished, a monstrosity now standing in its place that blots out the stars, but the widow Debo used to live in that Hansel & Gretel house-type building, with my bi-level to the north with the flag out in front. Just a few days after my 40th birthday--this would be 1999, we had been living in Burbank for less than three months, ah yes, the safe suburbs--my border collie Barbie (named by Ashley when she was four) went up against the barbed wire fence separating the properties by the garages and barked at a couple of white trash fucks on meth who were trying to break into Debo's garage. They stopped to shut my dog up by stabbing it and then ran off. They might've been the guys who were arrested a week later, but, the justice system being what it is, they are likely on the streets by now. The vet at Scottsdale Hospital was very patient, giving my dog 212 stitches. There were two holes in her torso (I guess) with a rope inside, knotted at either end. I would moved the rope inside Barbie to keep the blood from coagulating. Within a week, the vet removed the rope and said that tampons could be inserted into the small holes as the closed up. I slept on the living room floor with my dog, holding her paw, the Tylenol#3 barely working the first few days. I will never forget her whine, but I held her paw and stayed awake as long as she did. She was four when this happened, she healed and spent the autumn wearing t-shirts instead of bandages as they provided more comfort. Barbie died in June of 2003, just over the age of seven. She had cancer, and the stabbing could have hastened it along by weakening her immune system, or however doctors put things in their taciturn words. Every other dog I have owned has lived to be at least 16. I am still angry that the meth heads had to be so cowardly by reaching through the fence, the fact that Barbie fell over into the grass may have helped the initial bleeding into clotting, but if any good came from it, it was that as least the fuckers didn't end up stabbing a defenseless eighty-five year old with a walker, should she have tried to call them off. I have another border collie now, but I still hear the echoes of those pain-filled whines, optimistic as they were, because at least I knew that Barbie was healing.........

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Letting The Chilly Girl Have The Cab

This post might seem rushed because my right side is spasming, a cold rain has made the temperatures drop quite a bit. I was at the Red Lion tonight, Roger brought up some hardcover copies of FIENDS BY TORCHLIGHT for me, and I made it from work in time for the 2nd half of open mike. Martel--who will be interviewing me for DARK SCRIBE this weekend--wrote me this note and PSd it that I could post it on my blog. Its a nice note and I think I'll post in one day, but let it hang around for awhile. Many of the readings were quite long and Roger and I ended up taking the Brown Line back downtown at 11:30. We met a toothless wonder named Claude who told us about the Ewing Hotel (pictured) and how if we gave him money it would be for McDonalds and not Giordano's deep dish pizza, a somewhat clever line coming from a guy asking for spare change. I got off at Adams & Wabash, crossing overhead for the Orange Line and waited as Roger got off at Madison. I had told him to look for me and saw a flash of either a camera or a gun with a silencer. Either way, I hustled down the stairs and took the el to Midway Airport, the end of the line. By now it was almost 1 AM, and the airport was filled primarily with people who were sleeping it off until their connecting flight four or five hours from now. I went outside for whatever cab I might hope to find and let a young woman take the one cab in line. Another was pulling up further down the terminal, but I had a leather jacket on and she was shivering in a low-cut summery blouse. It looked like her luggage thingie with the wheels on it weighed more than she did. Well, the next cab was the cab of karma. A tiny Chinese man was behind the wheel, I recalled thinking how I never had a Chinaman for a cabbie ever in my life, and by the end of the ride, having talked about a few things like Monday's rain and that I was a writer, he showed me poetry of his own that he had written and explained one about various interpretations of the banyan tree...the tree itself, romance in the shadows, reading in the grass, many things. He offered me a copy, as he had several in a booklet beside him, otherwise I would have declined. I walked down the street towards my house--its always simpler for the cabbies to drop me off on 87th and make a U-turn--and smelled the poem and the note with his name in English and in Chinese. He arrived here from Chunking seven years ago. The pages smelled like the cab, a mustyy smell like that of an attic, or of our own Chinatown with its many small, enclosed shops. That's all there really is to my posting, though I wonder what kind of driver the chilly girl with the big suitcase had. Meeting a guy like Xinyao (X-zin-gao)makes me almost not think of 9/11. I am reading a book where a guy mentions someone so devoid of emotion that the numbers nine-eleven don't even make him think of making an emergency phone call. OK, now I'm done. Tomorrow I will write about how my last dog was stabbed by suburban polak thugs three days after my 40th birthday....Wayne

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Through The Multiverse

How was I to know that if I mixed latex frokm Izzy Rizzi's Trick Shop and paint primer that the removal of my Boston Brand outfit would cause my eyebrows and part of my cheek to peel off? It took two years for my eyebrows to grow back, and, guys, its amazing how hot and blinding the sun is, so don't ever think of shaving them. Even if Stewart uses that as a cult hazing. The following year I just dressed as a cop and tried to arrest Supergirl. That same Hallowe'en, vibrating one second from our existence on Earth-14, Sternberg himself wore my Deadman costume (cobbled from an old Daredevil costume, I am so resourceful)and swiped Jack Skellington's wallet. That's how he could afford starting the Earth-14 cult. The bottom photo is not a costume at all, its me as The Phantom Bee of Burbank. Keeping the souh suburbs Sternberg-free regardless of where in the multiverse we are....(by the way, I have been making references to Earth-14 since before I knew Stewart. His influence humbles us all, even Marlboro Spartacus, my name on Earth-23.) Wayne

Who Watches The Watchmen?

I am writing this entry simply so that you don't need to see the "I Coulda Been A Contender" photo anymore. I've been working fourteen hour shifts again, and will be working again within hours of my typing this. So I found the oddest (and most colorful) photo in my secret stash, but couldn't pass up on my previous thread, and so posted an x-ray of my skull. The circle shows the area that is the cause of my nosebleeds. That, or where the alien implant is...Wayne

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Wayne Al-Sallee, Al-Queda Operative

Fuck it, let the NSA tag my heading. Christ knows if I get voice activated software as I am resigning myself to with a huge *sigh*, I can expect the same shit I had back in 2000. Back then, the program INSISTED my last name was Sailor. No shit. It INSISTED, as if I must be wrong. "Are you certain?" My reply: "I can use you as a coaster, you fuckburger." (Fuckburger is a word I rarely use, though it is quite common to hear me say fuck fuck fuckitty fuck when I am trying to type. I am adding all of these f words so that the NSA will report back to their superiors (c'mon, Rumsfeld is still the shadow man) that there's this new Arab guy, Al-Sallee, who is causing a stir about a...voice...activated...thingie. To paraphrase that odd film with Patrick Swayze that had Julie Newmar in its title, I think that the first story I read (since I know "they" will be listening) will be called "To Wang Chung With Love, Sirhan Sirhan." Look for me on CNN or check your local listings....Wayne PS I'm ranting because I really don't want to resort to Dragon Naturally Speaking because, to me, its like having to wear adult diapers. I swore I'd never use voice activation. There really is no plus side to this. I'm selling out, pure and simple. And since I have no real photos to go towards this post, I'll just show some of my hideous little Frankenstein body.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The Devil You Know

In my self-deluded rantings about yesterday's telethon, I skipped over the two photos at the Cook County clinics, right there between the burn ward and the Lighthouse For The Blind. A rainbow coalition of freaks. A brotherhood of the disfigured. First, I'd go into Room 13. I'd be asked questions, be told to draw a happy picture, then get grilled on why I drew Martian tripods in a burning landscape. (Let's just say I'm not good with portraits, OK?) Then Room 18, the place where the clinical psychologists sat behind a one way mirror, watching me do tasks in a room with white walls and no windows. Empty walls, just the one way glass thing. A mirror so I could see how fucked I was. Being timed on climbing stairs. On picking up round things like St. Joseph's Children's Aspirin and putting them into a bottle with a thin neck and opening at the top. Left handed was fine, but right handed was burning agony. I wanted to smash that mirror, not knowing in 1967 that there were people jotting notes (for possible case studies to put in print) on my miserable progress. Three days a week until I was 14. Fifteen years later I was hit by the car. Every few months I have to make my nose bleed out to ease the pressure in my head, I have a thing that gives a 64-watt jolt to the left of the bridge of my nose. So proud of how my left side worked, even as they wrote of the dismal failure of my right...thing. What would they think of that ridiculously twisted left arm, how I destroyed all their work by carelessly walking into a car? The entire CD of THREE DOG NIGHT's Greats Hits have played as I've typed this. Fuck it all, I'm getting voice activation for this computer. Then DSL if I can afford it. Let the Unabomber shit his pants if he finds out. Voice activation is not the devil I know. That bastard is the one that lives in the thalamus of my brain, pushing images and sentences further and further ahead of my one finger typing until I think back to 1967 and how, if I had any sense at all in those Martian tripod-sketching days, I should have run full throttle and fuck it into that goddamn mirror and sliced my face off, let the damn therapists get a real good piece for whatever paganistic journals they wrote for. Publish or perish...Wayne

Monday, September 3, 2007

You'll Never Walk Alone

I'll probably get some good-natured crap from a few of you, just as I did when I mourned the death of Christopher Reeve, but here goes. Labor Day weekend has always meant the Jerry Lewis telethon for Muscular Dystrophy. I always considered myself one of "Jerry's foster-kids" as the United Cerebral Palsy organization is so thoroughly screwed up that they can't even run telethons every single year, and have cut back on half their programs for the kids with CP, like the summer camps. But MDA has always done well, and I'm NOT a pollyanna, I know quite a bit of that money goes to pay rich people fat paychecks that they can write off on their taxes, and, yes, there are WAY to many needy organizations out there with or without telethons, some I think more deserving of others. But I've grown up with the Jerry Lewis Telethon. I may not watch it as much, the show gets pre-empted by a Cubs or White Sox game, but I associate my affliction more with MD or ALS sufferers than those with CP. (When asked, I explain the main difference is that you can only get cerebral palsy from birth or if oxygen is cut off from your brain). Jerry always ends the telethon singing--well, I've heard worse people "sing"--"You'll Never Walk Alone." Now I never knew it was from CAROUSEL and it was a chant at freaking UK football matches, and I have the song on an Elvis gospel cassette mix. Walk on...walk on...with hope in your heart... and you'll never walk alone. I'm always pretty quiet on Labor Day...Wayne PS: The two photos at the top were a huge part of my early life. I spent three days a week in room 18 of the Cook County clinics until I was 14 learning how to make my body function as best as it can.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

My Bram Stoker Touch & The Cult of Sternberg

On Stewart "Cult of" Sternberg's blog, he requested--well, he tried to cyber-hypnotize--me to check out the website of this guy Scribbler580. Well, there's a good chance that if I go to this guy's site, from what Stewart says, he's a new writer, well, eventually this guy will win a Bram Stoker Award. As you can see from the above images, I've been a Finalist in five DIFFERENT categories, and, yes, Kate, I did call myself the Susan Lucci of the Stokers back in the day both of us were losers. I even lost to Stephen King by two digit votes. I alluded to my poetry yesterday, Annihilation Press will be publishing a collection, MEMOS FROM AN ELEVATED HELL, in the spring of 08. I'm not certain if the Horror Writers Association has a way for me to lose for poetry collection, it would likely be in "other media." Perhaps they'll include blogs in their awards, and I'll be a Finalist to Stewart. See, I have the touch. Way back in the day, the first person to want an autograph of THE HOLY TERROR was Bill Sheehan. I had not seen the book yet, having been on a panel when the dealer's room in Nashville opened. Bill had never written a thing, he simply enjoyed the cons and meeting the writers and artists. After awhile, he started writing. Then he wrote a biography of Peter Straub, AT THE FOOT OF THE STORY TREE. Then he won a Bram Stoker Award. Sternberg stares you down from his blog profile like a satanic James Lipton crossed with Malcolm McDowell. Go to his site. Find the link to Scribbler580. I'm afraid to use his name because there one day might be a Stoker award for People Whose Blog Wayne Allen Sallee Has Mentioned. As it is, amongst Bob and Sid and Etain and Charles, Stewart seems the likely one to kick my ass should that award ever materialize. Wait and see...Wayne

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Desmond's Inferno

Long before I wrote fiction, I scribbled poetry back when Anwar Sadat was alive and my college profs thought my poem about "Sweet Soldiers of Nicaragua" was the cat's pajamas. Then I realized I could string my images together and make a story. I wrote poetry off and on over the following years, not as much of late. I would write a story or event regarding Katrina than I would try and write a poem the way people do after a great loss of life (and a failing of government). I've been retyping some of my older poetry from various notebooks, trying to get them all in one place at one time, including the biggest thing I ever wrote, the title you see above, the illustration by Joe Vajarsky. As I've been typing this in segments (the damn word counts exceeds several of my stories), I've retyped much shorter poems. I've attached one here, I had it stuffed in a folder and have never sent it anywhere. From my handwritten notes on the back of the sheet, I wrote it on September 3rd 2001. Very soon, I'll be back visiting Dante, avoiding Desmond like the plague...Wayne