Monday, 22 May 2023

The Mourners

people in black were gathered
in front of the house on the corner.
A man died by suicide,
One or two days ago,
My mom told me.
Poison? Hanging?
I couldn’t remember.

Later that night,
I woke up to a cacophony of screams,
bangings on the doors and windows,
and crazed dogs’ barking.
The mourners were trying to get in.
My parents were asleep upstairs.
Couldn’t they hear this bedlam?
Was the outside door closed?
I couldn’t move.
The uproar stopped abruptly,
they found a way in.
Stealthily, dark silhouettes moved toward my bed,
holding candles,
their faces pale blurs,
feral small eyes shining with hunger.
Their whispers rustled
like wind-blown autumn leaves.
I wanted to tell them I wasn’t dead,
that they must be looking for the suicide
in the house on the corner.
But maybe I looked dead to them?

The old hag in the lead
had her gnarled hand closed in a fist.
I opened my mouth to scream
but only a throaty hissing sound came out
and my jaw locked open.
Dirt trickled from her fist into my mouth
like sand through an hourglass.
My tongue fought the falling soil
like a cornered worm.
The mud choked me,
and I burrowed deeper
into darker slumber. 

Tuesday, 16 May 2023

Dog Days Attack

Summer is here, and all your teams have lost;  
your jerseys are but shrouds in the dusty closet.
Summer is here, the sun spits its venom,
chicks show more skin,
those coltish legs and round buttocks
are bitter poison down your throat
spreading paralysis.
Even the diabetic woman with a cane
and a cesarian scar,
has ghosted you.
Your overdrawn account puts a toothless bj
beyond your reach.  
These dog days have ambushed you,
and stole your breath.
The sweet stench of fresh-cut grass
turns your piles of movies and video games
into distant graveyards
suffocated by hazy loneliness.  
Summer is here, the vast blue sky
is a noose around your neck.
All your teams have lost,
nothing left to cheer for,
no bullets left.
It’s time to wipe off your anxiety sweat,
and throw in the towel. 

Monday, 8 May 2023

Neighborhood Morbidity Watch

The two obese brothers cackled 
as they threw bricks at each other.
On the street, some guys played soccer with a cat
filled with sand,
while others used sparrows and rocks
as tennis balls.
Cars kept passing by, now and again,
a monotone procession,
driving the faceless from work.
Car horns and swears slashed the dusty daylight.
On the playground, George stopped swinging,
and injected mud into his forearm.
On the front stairs to my cubical apartment building
John was getting a frantic bj
from his chubby girlfriend
as he stroked his favorite stray dog.


At the place across the street,
Tudor and his gang were gathered
around a broken cellar window
throwing in firecrackers
and lighted cigarette butts.
Screams and guffaws
cut into the evening’s
jaundiced underbelly.
Up on the second floor,
Mr. Sharp took long puffs from his smoke,
face twisted in a scowl,
soccer game commentary
blasting from inside.
His wife-beater was stained with blood.

I walked to the gray building next to mine.
Old Dick was doing his thing
Climbing between the opposing walls of the two places,
Hands against one, feet against the other.
He got to the first floor, shaking,
Face red with strain.
A small group of fans looked up,
Mouths agape.
The ponytailed girl with a short leg
counted for hide and sick
as the Siamese twins
hid behind the abandoned car on bricks.
Inside, Andy “Fathead” went “Vroom-vroom-vroom.” 

Angela was at the usual spot,
On the stairs around the corner,
Talking about a telenovela
with the brown and chubby midget woman.
Angela ruffled my curly hair.
“My handsome lil’ prince,” she said.
I sat next to her, began eating sunflower seeds,
and caught glimpses of her generous cleavage,
and the tender skin under her flowery dress.
Her hairy warmth was as salty as the seeds in my mouth.
Angela’s husband was in jail,
and her boy was subnormal, housebound,
with a leaking eye.   

To the west, beyond the tops of the drab buildings,
the sky was bloodied and bruised;
the night would be warm and wet
like a festering wound.



Tuesday, 2 May 2023

Deep Down Necrosis

Dysmorph by Brendan McCarthy 
                    I scrape off your face,                      

your plastic smile,

like tooth decay.

Through the cavity hole

I press on the wormy tangle

of upchucked nightmares

and leftover words,

but those nerves are too spent

to carry electricity.

The impulse floats

like a dead fish in a murky pond.

The yellow, fermenting pus

of your resignation

stains my gloved fingers,

And it reeks of abandoned theaters

turned squatter houses.

You’re but a wrinkled mask

stretched over a swamp,

bubbling with rot.

Your screams gargle like clogged drains.

Your gums are mush,

no bone, no story.

All we can do for you is cover the gray ruin deep down

with a waxy ruin,

and hope for a good embalmer. 

Friday, 14 April 2023

Review of David Peak's Corpsepaint

David Peak’s Corpsepaint is a treat for black metal fans and readers of cosmic horror. As I count myself in both these categories I fully enjoyed this book. Peak’s writing is concise and penetrating, poetical yet punchy, he does an amazing job describing physical and psychological decay and degradation, suggesting pessimism, hopelessness, and damnation. The tone of the book reminded me of B.R. Yeager’s Negative Space as well as the atmospheric horror movie The Witch. Peak is good at conveying the heaviness of a curse, the moral paralysis of being forsaken by a god. His descriptions of the transfigurative power of music come close but don’t match those of another champion of cosmic horror, Curtis L. Lawson, in Black Hearts Boys Choir.

Now, something nagged me while reading Corpsepaint and I think it points to some tensions in the thinking behind the work. Nerding out alert! Black metal clusters together a number of extreme ideologies that are sometimes at odds with each other. With his seminal early albums, Varg Vikenes, the man behind Burzum, influenced Satanic Black Metal (SBM), National Socialist Black Metal (NSBM), as well as Depressive Suicidal Black Metal. Other central acts of second-wave BM like Darkthrone and Mayhem displayed both Satanic and NS sympathies. However, Erik Danielson from Watain is careful in separating the two. "Racial ideas, to me -- from my perspective as a spiritual person -- are really irrelevant. I study other cultures, and I'm interested in radical ideas of viewing the world, but when it comes to racial ideas, I've never really found a speech or text about it that could make sense to me. When we view the world from a spiritual perspective, racial ideas become very mundane, and insignificant. We are talking about an animal that developed into man and that is, to me, where my primary enemy lies. Not in any specific kind of that animal. We are all that animal, and I am completely uninterested in any ideas contrary to that, to be honest."  

The anti-human impetus behind acts like Watain, Funeral Mist, or Inquisition, the satanic desire for liberation and transcendence of human nature is in conflict with any narrow interest in race or the war between races. 

These tensions amongst BM ideologies are reflected in Corpsepaint and the world-views of the main characters. Max and Roland are rebels without a cause marching on a path to self-destruction. “Black metal is not for well-adjusted people,” Max thinks. “Hard drugs and corpsepaint are symptoms of the same disease.” On the other hand, Seph is more into the NS, land and blood side of things. She is dedicated to her community and the preservation of its heritage, something reminiscent of Varg Vikernes’ eurocentrism, except Seph is more focused on her pure Ukrainian heritage and blocking out any Russian contamination, and the decadent modern world in general. (David Peak proves to be a bit of a visionary here, given the war between the two countries that started last year.)  

Now we finally get to what’s been nagging me about this book. Seph doesn’t believe in Odininsm or something that fits NS ideology, but in the Lord Leviathan, which sounds a lot like a god of death and destruction, something that a Satanist would worship. In other words, a god that doesn’t care about races, but is out to destroy all of humanity. Let’s take a closer look at how Leviathan is introduced:

Seph states, “He clears the path to ascend and wages war on the primordial being -- chaos itself, the bornless one -- unleashing the black miasma that covers the world. The war is long and it is difficult, but ultimately the Lord is crowned the victor. He becomes the all-knowing, ever-seeing protector of our lands. From that day forward, He reigns supreme as the Lord of the lords, ruler of the Black Sea, and bringer of peace. And we are all his children. His blood is our blood, the blood of the land’s firstborn son and daughters. He provides the air we breathe, the food we eat, and in doing so, he lives forever within each of us. And in death we return our bodies to the earth, joining our flesh to his flesh, the Lord Leviathan.”

Initially, I was tempted to interpret this through the lens of the Sumero-Babylonyan myth of the goddess Tiamat, the primordial chaos, who was defeated by Marduk. However, Tiamat, being bornless, is also deathless and one cannot kill what is already dead. Thus, even though Marduk proceeds to create the world and mankind, he cannot fully extinguish the principle of chaos that slowly penetrates the created universe and eventually brings about its destruction. So, in this interpretation, Leviathan would be the equivalent of Marduk, a creator god, a god of order, which fits the description of him as “bringer of peace.” Although, even on this view, it’s unclear why Leviathan favors one race or nation (Ukrainians, in this case) over others. The god seems to have local and universal attributes, making its nature difficult to grasp. Incidentally, this is also an ambiguity in the nature of the Christian god, who is both the god of the Jewish people and the god of humanity as a whole. 

But even this line of charitable interpretation is called into doubt when, on the next page, Leviathan is characterized as “formless,” “the black and unknowable abyss that surrounds our world,” “the darkness between the stars,” “always at war with others like him.” These attributes again call to mind the goddess Tiamat, the dark mother of chaos, rather than Marduk, the creator. Moreover, Leviathan’s plan turns out to be the destruction of everything. He shows no mercy to his own people, those of his blood, he’s just ready to swallow the world. However, in an NS framework, one would expect that the creator God would favor one race over others or people exemplifying certain virtues like courage or loyalty, over cowards or cheats. That’s why Odinism and the promise of Valhalla are a good fit for an NS outlook. But there’s no Aryan paradise awaiting the followers of Leviathan, both believers and non-believers are turning to ashes and dust.

We may note that, like many ancient gods, Leviathan has a dual nature; he’s torn between opposites, creator and destroyer, bringer of peace and war, local as well as universal. But this unclear and paradoxical nature makes him a bad story character as the reader has no clue what he is exactly and this drains the emotional oomph of the narrative and its overall cogency.       

Nerding out stops here. All in all, mythological discussions aside, I truly enjoyed Corpsepaint and its portrayal of music as an act of transcendence, liberation, and transfiguration. As Mortuus from Funeral Mist writes, "I choke the human within, to gain the will of a god." 




Wednesday, 1 March 2023

The Loser (Ode to Emil Cioran)

When puberty hit                                                                             
I resigned from humanity,
and applied for the job
of full-time ghost.
Raging hormones
made me hang up my cleats,  
and exile myself in libraries                                     
to quench my thirst for losing.
I painted graffiti with my cum
on bathroom stalls
in the language of boredom.

Even as a ghost I was shy and clumsy,
couldn’t perform a decent haunting,
a small part in a nightmare,
or even a mildly unsettling apparition;
I was mostly slacking, killing time,
In the backrooms of the night.
Being a ghost ended up scaring me,
haunting me,
stressing me out.  
Naturally, I’ve been demoted from full-time ghost
to casual phantom,
but even that minimal responsibility mortified me.
Next step, I quit being a specter altogether,
and pursued a fulfilling career in nonexistence