clear skylines through a rabid mind

A theft of landscape

young neons glowing in hunger

under the sky

over the city of beans and balls

Reclamation of committee created vapidity

and mixing it to their own loud and fast and sweating illicit substances

Small rooms of totems and spiritual guides

smelling of sex and semen

and the liquor that flows from behind every door.

Hakim’s TAZ brought alive under the eye

of artless dollars.

Father and Son

Out of their element but craving alchemical polymorphing

gold for the future of grey wastelands

when the Charles runs foul and buildings blot the view southward

Oh dreaded Cronus who devours all children!

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Ending 2016 with a GosT

I went to an unexpected concert.
Small venue just outside of Boston, in one of the connected suburbs.
The weather was shitty. 2017 snuck up on much of the room, filled with wet weird goths and punks and cybermen, well dressed in various blacks and neons.

Some of us had clear plastic cups filled with champagne and when the ball dropped on one of the small tvs in the front corner of the bar we all said happy new year to each other.

In that moment, the room filled with people who regarded each other warily became more jovial. The punks smiled and wished each other a happy new year. “Clinked” plastic to plastic and added no extra words.

The eulogy to 2016 was given by a man in a skull mask covered in esoteric tattoos.

A Poem by Moonlight

Last night I was laying in bed beside the window. As the moon lit my face I was nodding off to sleep, fighting it every step of the way, as I do. Before sleep took me, I opened a document and, without looking at the screen, typed this poem in a daze.  I don’t remember saving it, it was saved as “.”

Under cold Nuit, the Northern sky and Southern
feathers flit in passing wind crisp as a cold river
The moon, bow strung, sings as she draws the string
the arrow falls to the forest and takes with it..nothing
the silver shaft cleans in the light cast by the mother who cast it
In a glen leaves strnen to strike nothing living
Nothing to hunt, nothing to hunt

The forest barren only me only me
there’s nothing to hunt

Object Writing: Mask

Slick wet plastic, stretch a wet balloon onto your face, held on with tacky alcohol stinking gum. Tap it for extra tackiness. Inside my new face, much of my new skin feels normal. My chin, as it waggles, beyond the monstrous sound that I make, gets wet, moist, and sagging from my face. Hot breath colliding with cool latex on a chill Autumn night. In the dark shadows of a winding playhouse the screamers can’t see or don’t notice that below my terrifying sharp teeth that crunch and chomp, the damp space that exists between my two chins.

Moving into Music

I’ve yet to find a home and so I benefit from frequent moves. Thankfully, this time I am moving very close by, just down the street from my home of the past few years in which I wrote essays.

Spurred by friends and with the assistance of some digital music equipment I have, in earnest, begun creating permanent music. It’s been a fantastic experience and I’ve had a blast learning the in and outs of Ableton.
For the things that I have made already (simple silly little things), please visit my soundcloud here, https://soundcloud.com/bobrossbreakdown

I have also, for the second time now enrolled in a songwriting course on Coursera.org. I didn’t pay too much attention to it last time but this time, I will complete it. I have invested something into the course and bought the instructor’s book, Writing Better Lyrics by Pat Pattison.

Some 9 pages in and I can already tell that it will be an informative and worthy read, and I have been given an assignment. For 10 minutes, every morning, I will do a piece of object writing. I may not write all of them here, but I will certainly include some of the here. Including this first one which is prompted with, “puddles.” The object is to be described in 7 senses, the classic five plus organic and kinesthetic.

Here goes:

A terrible fetid black. Greasy and shining and speckeled with floating bits of god-knows-what. It’s dirty and thirsty and looks tired and out of place in this hot grey metallic wasteland. Miraculously, it seems to survive, days, weeks after the last rain. Where has it come from? How could it still be here? Surely the sun touches this piece of ground where the rough asphalt of 7th ave. meets the indentation of the grey sidewalk, covered in gum like so many tiny black speed bumps, that could never slow anything in that city down. It is friends with the stench, the sweet smell of maple and garbage that gets inside your skin and nose and brain and being as you walk. The smell of maple, where does it come from, could it be the honey roasted nut stands? They offer such a wonderful smell in the chilled winter, when the garbage is easily hidden from the nose but not always the eyes. In the winter they crunch and warm you amongst the blustery radiant peaks. In the summer could it be the nuts?

10 minutes. That’s what that was. Pat says to not exceed 10 minutes, under any circumstances, as a way to make sure you don’t get lazy on other days. Every day must be the same, but every day will be improvement. Everyday will hone my ability to dive in my “sense memory” and come up with some good shit with which to put in some music I make.

Ready for some vaguely interesting paragraphs with questionable structure and grammar?

Here goes another move.

The Space Wedding

My sister was wed today, for the second time. The former clause is the more important because I write this from Las Vegas. It was a beautiful ceremony. The wedding was held at The Chapel of Flowers, a mid-size (by Vegas wedding standards) chapel that sat just past The Stratosphere, the casino in old Vegas known for its Seattle-like space needle, thrill rides, and sheer amount of methamphetamine addicts that mill around outside. The ceremonial chamber of the chapel made it seem very clear to me that this was not going to be a wedding at all, but a sort of induction. Six candles, evenly distributed, were laid out on two matching pedestals before an alcove that bore shining faux crystal curtains against a gray wall. On either side of this alcove were the same rainbow glinting crystal curtains but instead over lighter gray walls. Crystal chandeliers hung down from a white and glittering ceiling. The floor was a mostly white marble with streaks of starry black. I was certain that after my sister and, soon to be, brother amongst the stars walked in, that we were going to be told of the arrival of a marvelous comet. We would be implored to reenact our past lives, regardless of their place in time or space, as a way to cleanse ourselves for the comet’s arrival. Surely there was going to be a strong punch at the reception.

Unfortunately, we were not accepted by The Alpha-Proxari, and the punch was found to be weaker than expected. My family only came out of the ordeal slightly larger and slightly more Italian. Thankfully, there was no appearance of Elvis. I’m not surprised, my sister and my starbrother have never shown any fondness for the rocking pudgster. My aunt, however, was not going to let such an obvious trope escape uninstantiated. Tomorrow, as a sort of joke, the sister of my mother, has inflicted upon my poor, pregnant, newly rewed sister, and much more of my now extended family, a Vegas show entitled, All Shook Up: A Stage Tribute to the King. My aunt, E.L.F., has a history of foisting painful pranks on the family. This is something I have only recently begun to acknowledge and respect, but only because I have been able to spot them and avoid them. This time, she was kind enough to ask me if I wanted to attend a stage show with the family first. I asked what it was and found her to be guarded about the truth. It took only light cajoling until she told me the part of the title previous to the colon. That was all I needed to hear to say “no, but thank you.” This is not the first time she has spent large sums of money in order to wittingly obligate members of the family into attending stage shows that they did not want to see. This seems to be her favorite form of “prank.” Often her choice of awful stage show will hinge on some sort of thematic trope or stretched pun, as in today/tomorrow’s case. The case of the Las Vegas wedding that was mercifully missing Elvis and so, whether you want him or not, BY E.L.F. THERE WILL BE ELVIS.

It has been raining in Las Vegas for the two days that I have been here. Not consistently, but enough that it has felt like a privilege to be in the desert while it is raining. The rain has been pleasant. Of course, my sister would have none of it. While on the way back from a delicious Italian dinner at a casino in the old strip called The D (if you giggle at that name, as I did, than it means you are likely under 33), it began raining and my sister made her displeasure known. I spoke my now commonplace refrain of “climate change is a bitch, blame the generation of (whomever is closeby and older).” In this case the blame went to my aunt, who being a bit tipsy and ready to joke stated, “no, its the fault of you kids.” My sister guffawed dismissively and I replied with a quick and quieter than usual, “says the Woodstock hippy who got a job with an oil company right out of college.” This statement was mercilessly true and in retrospect very aggressive, but it was taken graciously well. My uncle choked. My sister said “damn.” My starbrother let out a single, Nelson-like, “Haw.” My aunt paused and laughed out, “and it was a shitty oil company.”

I have two more days here in Vegas, though I leave late on the second day, which prohibits anything too wild or far off of the strip. I do have plans for tomorrow. They require more scheduling than I normally like to do on a vacation. I have in my possession a single, cm by cm, paper tab with a deliciously stereotypical Grateful Dead head stamped on it. After eating this tiny bit of paper I will be living a stereotype, that of someone who has ever fancied Hunter S. Thompson and decided to try and capture some of his mad magick. I have and continue to fancy Hunter the man, the character, and the author. I’m certainly not going to try and force any Gonzo goings-on tomorrow, but I’m certainly open to anything Vegas has for me. I’ll have to stay open for my 8pm dinner reservation with my family. I’m sure that will go well and that I won’t appear to float 3 feet above the table during the second course.

Shocktober Short Story Spooktacular: Scary Schwartz Stories

It was a great idea to offer that last frightening “boo” to this month’s introduction. I’m sure it was the cause of Joaquin’s decision to stay away from the North-East coast.


This is largely about words, written words, and so we should acquire a few definitions before we begin.
Terror -The feeling of fear and dread in anticipation of a horrifying experience.

Horror -The feeling of revulsion and fright upon experiencing a frightening experience, often proceeding from terror.

Ann Radcliffe, the matriarch of Gothic writing, wrote that terror aimed to stimulate readers through imagination of perceived evils while horror closed off the imagination through fear and threat of physical danger.

During a written discussion comparing the two words/concepts, Stephen King, in his non-fiction book Danse Macabre, adds the concept ‘revulsion.’ Revulsion is a ‘gross-out,’ an appeal to being disgusted through gore.

Films benefit from having several approaches (e.g. sound and visual effects) available to evoke those three concepts. Often, people differentiate ‘scary’ movies by how suspenseful they are (their ability to create terror,) how horrifying they are (split by genuine visual horror of aberrations or ‘cheap jump scares’), and how ‘gore-y’  they are (the use of gore to evoke revulsion.)


Now that we’ve finished that brief discussion, I present Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories to Tell in The Dark – or I present the scariest portion of that book for many of my friends and me, the original cover art.

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While sitting with friends and reading from these scary stories, it was generally agreed that this picture was the most frightening portion of book. It was also decided that the new illustrations, when judged on their ability to create visual unease, are child’s play next the pipe smoking head-tree of our youth. We all remembered this terrifying head but no one remembered just how literal the title of the book was. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is exactly that.
Many stories within the book are designed to be read out-loud and acted out with the aid of stage directions within parentheses. For example,
“The head turned and stared at the boy. Slowly it opened its mouth, and-
(Turn to one of your friends and scream:)
AAAAAAAAAAAH!” – Me Tie Dough-ty Walkerpg 14-16

Mr. Schwartz included a section of source descriptions for the tales – the quoted tale was originally transcribed from Mrs. Otis Milby Melcher in 1940, a woman from Kentucky. She suggested expansions to the story for the benefit of further retellings. Alvin changed the ending of the story by the suggestion of several 13 year old boys who thought the ending was not scary enough. Originally there was no stage direction or scream, only a single “Boo.”

Since these tales are designed to be told out-loud and directly to potentially willing people in the dark, the terror that is generated is really up to the dramatic ability of the story teller. The horror generated is reliant on the story teller to properly time and perform a scream or in one case “…,pounce on one of your friends.” There are tales in the book that don’t have stage direction and can function when read alone but nothing in the book is very scary without being a child or having another child jump at you in the dark. The classic tale that every kid knew when I was growing up, The Viper, is not popular because it was particularly scary but kids were able to do their best Eastern-European accent attempt at the end. The tales are short and the suspense is formed by quickly establishing a setting, which maybe normal but otherwise in a spooky atmosphere and adding something bizarre or supernatural after the first 3 sentences of establishment. The reveal of the bizarre creature occurs in some stories just before the storyteller must frighten the audience or the reveal doesn’t occur at all before the storyteller frightens the audience.

While Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark has been a pleasure to go back to, read aloud, and explore, I’m not doing this to learn how to write short stories that only scary if performed for you in an off-putting environment. I’m also not looking to write specifically for children. However, it would be a wasted effort if I didn’t try to write my own Schwartz-like short story.


Spooky Story to Scream at Someone in A Sewer

Young Paulie Fitz skipped through orange and red leaves on the sidewalk of Pittsington Avenue. Skip-crunch skip-crunch.

“Hey Paulie,” said an old woman whose bench sat on the porch of an old house. The old woman was almost entirely covered in black cloth and a light grey fabric for her head shawl. Her creased face, large nose, and long fingers were all that showed of her. Paulie stopped and stood by the mailbox away from the house.

“I don’t think I’ve met you before. What is your name?” asked Paulie.

“I knew you since you were a baby and I have to tell you something. Please Paulie, come closer.”

Paulie took a couple of step forward and said, “I don’t remember you though. I should be getting home.”

“It is because you were very little, Paulie. What I must tell you is important and I am too old to keep shouting. Please, come closer.”

Paulie walked up to the edge of the porch.

“It is getting late and my mom might come looking,” Paulie said.

The old woman beckoned him closer with a long bony finger.

“It is a secret Paulie. I must tell you, please come closer,” said the old woman.

Paulie climbed the 3 steps and walked up next to the old woman who leaned in and said…

(Lean in close to your friend and fire a gun into the ceiling.)