Monday, October 17, 2011


I received my first posters printed from my Serenity Gallery today.  They were processed by and are decent quality.  Matte print. Color. Black and white. 24x36 prints.

My Silent Exile.
Mandrake Season.
Season's End.
Blood of the Naiad.

I believe they look amazing. They are the beginning, the first of the new brood.  Even though I have no customers, I have developed a product and made it available. I once criticized artists that had no venue for their works to be purchased. I now have printed art, but no demand.

I am giving away "My Silent Exile" and "Season's End" to a United Way Auction at work.  People will purchase them, and my art will end up in their homes.  This is how an artists lives, I suppose: through representation in the lives of others.  Most of the money I make at my day job goes towards funding the artistic (or spiritual) evolution of my customers, advancement of my ability to express the darkness within.

It is through them I live, through them I survive and evolve.  It is through them I breathe.

And keep the darkness alive.

In 24x36 spaces.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


I can't deny the desire to become something different than I am, a disquiet discontent with the person that I am.  I think it is a consequence of my life, this lonely, misdirected path doesn't seem like the road I should be on.  It is incongruent with that of my elders. Many times in my history have I contemplated changing. This time seems different though.  I've burned through social circles and exited on the other side without company.  I've pushed the boulder to the top of the mountain, only to see it fall again.  I've dedicated myself to an artistic path, and still don't have artistic respect or a following or a market. I have a recognizable brand, but one that is relatively worthless, especially in an economy that cannot afford to support art.

These days, it is my blessing and curse.  It gives me a bit of an escape from the darkening days, but it pushes me further from common human circles.  

I am just tired of trying to please everyone else, and leaving nothing for myself.  I no longer know what happiness is.  I try to envision a personal concept of happy, and feel sadness, as if all of my former concepts are now attached to the deep soreness, dreams bloodied and bruised and left to die.  Our concepts of happy remain that pure and glowing so long as they are not tested.  Once the power of a happy place or state or person has been diminished, he/she/it no longer powers the same light as it did before.  

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

old dreams and grounded hopes

Nobody likes to change. Time passes so quickly, and before you know it, you're a shade of the person you once were.  Your hair falls out.  Things just start hurting at random.  The power of atrophy becomes stronger with each passing day.

You can feel her touch rake your skin, her whisper of decay in your ears.

"You're gonna die, just like the rest of them," she coos.

"Only faster."

I can feel the gravity of life dropping, the dynamic center losing speed. And I blame it on myself, because I'm not working hard enough to push away her grasp, running fast enough to stay out of her draft.  But there's little I can do. Once she's onto you, part of you, within the orbit of your heart, her dissolution consumes you.

We sink quick. To dirt, much too fast.  Once we reach a certain point of ascension, we can only stay elevated for a short time.  Before the inevitable fall begins.

To a memory, much too fast.

And she stands mockingly apathetic to our frailties. It's not her job to care whether or not we need more time, or need time slowed down.  Maybe just stopped for a while, so I can catch up a bit and know what it's like to live, be present at the peak of that ascension and appreciative of the view. I am hopeful that I didn't already miss the inertial jump.

Planes fly because of a complicated set of parameters and factors.  People are no different.  As the body of the  plane begins to break down, it eventually has to be junked.  It loses it's ability to call to air, reduced to a sad rusted heap of old dreams and grounded hopes.

We talk, and there are fewer in number to listen.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

i'm sorry, i got the sherpa drunk

And before you know it, you're bitter, the sickness of sadness sliding down your throat and into your lungs, captured in your capillaries and pushed into your extremities, ultimately plunging back into your core, the coronal center of this world, your orbit and your existence.  Bleating, until the muscles don't have the strength to beat anymore.  It's a cautious and careful curse.

But a cunning one.

You believe you understand, but it's all context. It's your truth, not necessarily reality.  When you turn to face truth in the cracked pane, things are much clearer but less complete.

It's been a year of crevices and crags, of highs not thought attainable and lows abysmal. Of weddings.  Of funerals. Of three failed relationships, and the further distancing of cherished friends.  Of chances and choices, of evolution and decay.  Of the release of my first major artistic project, and the realization that I don't have an artistic product that I survive off of, if I needed to.  Of physical steps backwards, and spiritual steps forward.  Of empty days and emptier nights.

Of giving up.  Giving in.  Giving away for the sake of us.  Time is the greatest xenomorphine the soul can buy; you give of yourself until the old you is a numb reflection of the person you used to hold dear.  But the disconnection is addictive and intoxicating.  It becomes you.  It changes you.  It redefines you into something lost, out side of the circles and the numbers of common society.

It marks your days and changes your ways.

Today is ten ten, once again. I'll always be tied to this day, the one day in my life that I've ever committed my future to another, that I ever vowed to protect another with my life, that I lived the life of my parents and their parents before them and all the generations previous.  I am an anomaly, I suppose; a cunning and cut-off new breed that has no past, whose given name is even the thing of a ghost story.  Without a past, the future is a leafless tree in a shallow graveyard.

I am not depressed.  People tend to think that I am.  Depressed people don't function well as normal humans.  I can function just fine; I am just darker now, the colors of pain stained onto the cloth of this heathen existence.  The nice turned ice.  The frown without the ability to fully stay up-side-down.

So, nod and smile then.  The sherpa can't read the map anymore anyway; he seems to have lost clarity some time ago, drunk on the thin mountain air and the bitter milk of regret.  Regardless, we must keep ascending, in order to survive and have things like computers, and broadband and Starbucks and caffeine and socially-important standing so we can attract women and followers and fans and pseudofamily.  Man, do we need this.

Addicted to each other, we are. Can't get enough of each other, we seem.  So impressed with who we are.  We promote ourselves through pages and social connections and butterfly-like engagements. With egos not easily satiated, we lust for each other.  For what we have and who we are.  Or what we can do.  For the temporary respite from solitude.  For now, rarely forever these days.  Solitude finds you like a debt collector with an urgent commission.

We always pay.  Eventually.  The mountain claims more than it allows to summit.  You're just another number, no matter the latitudes.

Kick the sherpa and see if he responds.  He might know the right path through the rough.  But, honestly, do you trust his guidance? How do you mark the words of a dead man?  Do you reckon his honesty, or lament his sentence?  I would apologize to my guide, but part of methinks he's led me a bit astray, away from the mountain and into the vast pasture of the drift.

You believe you understand, but it's all context. It's your truth, not necessarily reality.  When you turn to face your guide and his drunk visage, things are much clearer but less coherent.

But that's the way we like it, more drunk than sober.

More bitter than better.

Less than more.

More lie than


Thursday, October 6, 2011

the wasteland

This time and this place are very unfamiliar.  I feel more weary now, from the spirit out, weathered by the bitter chaotic winds.  Rustier. Wasted.  More him, less me, the shadow overcoming the sun in a spectacular decay of light.  The red spectrum bleeds deeply and with creepy touch, into a stain of degrading memory.

Fading.  I am

no longer sure of the path.  The roadsigns seem foreign and the maps are soaked with spilled coffee and tears.  Here, the wasteland speaks in cinderous tones.  The weeds behind me are filled with snakes and liars, whispering and whistling for .

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

user experience

Some days, it's just not worth it.  Today, for example, I check into my blog to find all of my blog counts cleared to zero.  I don't know why.  It just happened out of the blue screen of death.  Yesterday, there was a pittance of views, mostly by link and blog engines, and today there are none.

My readership was obliviated. A first for this blogger.  Part of me wants to hunt down why I lost all of my counts.  Part of me thinks that'll take too much work.  Another, much stronger, part of me is apathetic.

This isn't for you anyway.  It's for me.  The views ultimately don't matter; it's the spill that does.

This is my selfish little escape to anywhere, anywho and anyhow.  If you're reading this, I applaud your interest and diligence. I'm not sure how entertaining this will be for either of us, especially today, a day when my user experience opinion of life isn't very high.  But thanks for being here, with me, in this space today.

Today I feel lonely, and I appreciate your company.  More than other days, and I don't know why.  This doesn't seem like an escape to me today; the words feel like a coffin, baked in the short sun of an Indian Summer and prepped dead for the cornucopia.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

the sternum (part 1)

We join here and keep the cavity closed tight, safe from prying eyes and nails and interests.  But, truth be told, I contemplated releasing the connection today.  Letting the separation happen.  Schism the chasm.  Stretch the cartilage until he could no longer hang on.

Reduce him, become more of me.  Over the last couple of months, I have come to rely on his guidance completely, and at the final accounting, I'm not sure that I'm better off.  He's directed me to some shallow, forgettable experiences and a life that I don't recognize. One cannot live on fantasy alone.

And art is fantasy.  It is the twisted reflection of my reality, filtered and flustered and run amok.

"Obsucrious" was released to a whimper.  Disappointing to the point that I give it away now, more often than asking people to pay for it.  A select few of my friends have actually taken time to experience it, far fewer than I expected from a social network that I blew up as big as I could, through cultivating international friendships and artistic connections. In the end, there is much silence.  A phone that doesn't ring for weeks.  A calendar now dominated more by professional activities than social.

Is this regression, or the sternum slowly separating, ready to spill the darkness from the whole within?

I choose not to think about it, the growing darkness. I get fat.  Cut my hair to become someone I've never been:  sleek and successful. I focus my energies on righting my life, compromising the direction to no one.  I learn to like distant paths and silent nights. I let the darkness take over for a while, grow out a beard and stalk the shadows of the world.

Perhaps the sternum isn't separating, but eclipsing, refusing into something different.

Something altered.  But the same.

I feel like I will break apart in the britlling of the coming cold.  The cartilage cannot keep this together.  It feels weaker and less destined for cohesion. Yet, there is odd strength and fearlessness, a surrender to madness.

If this is the way it has to be, then so be it.  I will fight to keep it together.

Regardless of circumstance, turbulence or weather.

a return to omnivoreland

Today's Lesson (late edition):   I missed chili most of all.

Two months ago I weighed a meager 147 lbs. My ribs were prominent, my energy levels low.  I had painted myself into a corner with my conviction towards vegetarianism, but I was a rather horrible vegetarian.  If anything, I was a pastatarian.

I drove myself to that state.  By will, by sheer determination two years ago to get my weight down.  In January 2009, I weighed 198.  I was fat, unhealthy and unhappy. Most people didn't notice that I was, because I've becoming amazing at smiling through pain, but I was dismal.  I hated wearing my clothes, which constantly felt tight and overstretched.  I despised looking at pictures of myself.  Bloated.  Thick.  A return to the heavy, chubby man that dominated my twenties.

That was then.  Now, I'm far less critical.  I asked myself why I was a vegetarian, and I didn't have a good answer.  It worked well when I was trying to lose weight, horribly when I needed to gain it.

So I changed back to omnivore and discovered that moderation is the best route.  I committed myself wholeheartedly--body and soul--to vegetarianism, and it ran me into the ground.  Physically drained the life out of me.  I got my wish of weight loss and then some.

It's autumn now.  I've gained twenty pounds and regained much of my former structure.  I feel thicker, stronger, angrier.  I'm more careful now, knowing that I'm in control.  I broke through the other side, understanding that balance is the key to accomplishing anything.  You must experience the spectrum of your dynamic state, and become acutely aware of your center. The center will keep you from harm and foul. You do that by getting to know yourself.

I discovered that I missed chili most of all.  In the chill of autumn air, it is the penultimate cold weather food.  And the winds are whipping up the perfect recipe for a brutal, bitter season.

Fire will be imperative for survival and sanity in the coming months.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

xenomorphous laws (1-21)

The "Xenomorphous Laws" are scattered thoughts about this blog in relation to my second book "Xenomorphine" (The Bonesetter's Revenge, Book2).  I'll adapt these laws and change them over time.  I'm not exactly sure where this is going yet, and like any good xenomorph, this will change faces and stances and places throughout this journey.  "Xenomorphine" is the title of my second book, and while I have much content already written for the book, I still have a lot to craft to provide cement to the story.  I hope these are as wise as they are entertaining.

Xenomorphous Laws (1-21)

1. This will change you, and you will learn to love it.

2. Few journeys end the same place they start. 

3. Everyone dies young--the good, the bad and the ugly.

4. Listen to your heart, before it buys an aluminum bat and beats you into submission.

5. If you spend your life drunk, your memory box at the end of the flight will be a blur of stupid fights, bad decisions and moments you wished you had back.

6. Don't alter your life knowing that number 5 is your destiny. Your crash will probably involve Alzheimer's anyway, and you won't remember your name when it's time to surrender your ticket or be locked in an infernal prison.

7/ Wise men jump; scared men calculate the distance of fall.

8. Trust the crazies; the sane have ridden the roller coaster too few times.

9. If the cart ends up before the horse, teach your horse how to push.

10. Life is mostly about timing; you may not control the chaos of events, but you can make sure that you're at the right place at the right time to let serendipity balance the clock.

11. Little is experienced from staying inside.  Unless a barstool is your friend, then you will experience more than a little bottom-side growth from your stay.

12. If love doesn't work, like a lot. Something is better than nothing.

13. Stop reminding yourself that you're alone.  Most of the planet is in the same sad state you are, and would rather not be reminded of their misfortune.

14. We are alien to this place and always have been.

15. You are alien to this place, but so is everybody else.

16. Make love, not news.

17. Make waves, not dust.

18, Make truth, not lies.

19. If you're just a "plus one" for anyone, you're minus one within.

20. When all else fails, cut your own hair.

21. Don't take things so personally.

the last crash

Today's Lesson (early edition):   Time eventually crashes every airship, regardless of whether or not the crew knows how to operate its controls.

My friend Kiki's father is dying.  Perhaps weeks away from his own death.  He's an older, tallish man who raised a strong family, but is now weakened by his failing body--overworked heart making up for failing kidneys.  On dialysis, he has months to live; without it, not long.  Kiki's siblings are converging in this area this weekend so the father can estate plan with the three of them.  It is a gruesome, real story about a man at the end of his life.  I am truly saddened for my friend Kiki, whose father is on the verge of saying "Good Bye".

But we all have our ways out of this place.  Some know their route; others enjoy the ride with blissful ignorance.  Either way, his end is imminent.  Near the end of our conversation, I gave her a compliment for being there for her father near the end of his days. I suppose it's common sense that we would be there for the passing of our parents, hopefully to comfort them into their exit door.  We should expect such reciprocal treatment from our children and loved ones.

We gave each other a painful look when we both realized that neither of us would probably have such generous care.  She's married, in her 50s, with no children.  Men die first in marriages; it's almost a statistical given.  I am not as far down the path as she is, but have sparse family and no offspring to speak of.  I'm not middle aged, but I'm of the age where a midlife crisis is plausible.  Even possible.  The reality is when we make our individual exists, at the end of our long and winding road, the odds of us departing without loving, caring, lifers around us to pillow our fall is pretty small.

I write these words and they automatically seem whiny.  "Poor me for not having planned better", I hear myself complain in my head. I compare myself to the success of my friends, old and new, and wonder how I got plopped on this runway, in this cabin with this crew. The words do seem a touch defeated and hopeless.  we're not dead, and there is time for us to make sure there is at very least a sweet looking stewardess for the final ride. But how does one not lament the empty plane, the rows of silent seats and a cargo hold devoid of comforting memories?  Life was simpler--not less difficult, just more direct--in the era of Kiki's father.  The path to "The Dream" was not as complicated and convoluted, with competition attacking your stability from every global angle.  Roles, though resulting in far less freedom, were far more defined and clear.  Every time I got used to a persona or familial role, circumstances changed my course.

Or I got too drunk to understand the map.  And so did the pilot.

Or maybe I'm just making excuses for my failures, or the streak of longitudinal choices that didn't go my way.  Maybe I'm saving all my luck up for that final clearance, for one final shot with the stewardess before my departure.

The best thing about life on the main runway is that you don't have to contemplate heavy questions like these. The people who are lucky enough to have the common path don't have to ride through the turbulence with a window seat at 2am and no one else around you. Yes, the truth is that everyone dies alone, and odds are good that we won't be able to determine where we are and who will be around us when we pass on.  We all return to the same dark window we original flew through.  But if at the last moment, which comes swiftly for all of us, there is no one to keep us company, was the trip worth it at all?

Time eventually crashes every airship, regardless of whether or not the crew knows how to operate its controls.  Today, I'm thinking that I haven't prepared well for the last crash.

Monday, September 26, 2011

gaining it back

Two months ago I weighed 147 pounds.  I now weigh close to 167.  Twenty pounds isn't that dramatic of a swing, except when you're living in a state next to skeletal. Over the Fourth of July holiday, I vacationed in Vegas.  While memorable for many reasons that aren't positive, I turned a strange corner there:  I looked at myself in the mirror and realized how gaunt I had become.  Through a commitment to vegetarianism to get my weight down and address other health concerns, I forgot what it meant to eat.  I had backed myself into a nutritional comfort corner where nothing was enjoyable.  And, unlike previous phases in my life where health conditions whittled me away without my consent, I was fully responsible for the bony visage I was becoming.  It's what I thought people wanted me to be; specifically, what girls wanted me to be.

My epiphany came from wandering the streets alone in Vegas.  No one should feel alone in Vegas, not naturally.  And when I saw the withered reflection of myself in that dark mirror, the truth was undeniable.

This path wasn't working.

So I changed.  In a matters of days, I brought back my old ways, went from vegetarian to omnivore.  My body didn't fight back.  Overall, my energy levels increased in the coming weeks.  I gained weight fast in the places where I needed it.  The skeletal frame I had become filled itself back out, wrapped tightly in the dead flesh of other creatures.

I went from living at peace with the natural world... to consuming it.

the divided continents

Today's Lesson (early edition):   Your reality and fantasy are in constant conflict, and cannot co-exist in any material space.  Build bridges in your imagination, and unite the divided continents.

But what happens when you've lost your ability to dream.  I slip into sleep at the end of the day, exhausted and lost to the world of the living.  I never remember my dreams, except if they are especially noteworthy and inexplicably striking.  I usually wake up tired, my sleep restless and distressed, wiring disconnected from years of broken attempts at a night's peace.  Blame it on my tortured body, and the whipmaster within, leaving me without the normal and common circles within which to heal and recharge.

I slip into oblivion.  Perhaps that pact was made so long ago when darkness dawned--by day I'd belong to me; at night, something or someone else.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

stay buried

the butterfly, copyright 2011 artemis sere

Stay Buried
from the chapter "The Calm Before"
from "Imago" (Book 1 of the Fetch Trilogy)
copyright 2009, 2011 arrtemis sere

They arrived in different cars.  Hers, a shimmering golden Lexus, and hers, a Green & White taxicab.  They couldn’t have been farther apart as they eyed each other in the bumper-to-bumper sidewalk parking, sitting on opposite sides of the street and waiting for the other to make a move.  Aurora knew she would lose this match of wills.  She couldn’t afford to continue to wait for her whore of a mother to stop playing games, and she chuckled at the thought because, in truth, her mother was a well-paid, much-experienced bitch of the beat.   The kids at school loved that.  They had great fun with it.

At her expense.

Elsee had been an excellent mentor to Aurora from a distance, a deadbeat mother in every other instance.  Aurora twirled a lock of her ruddy hair and peeled the paint of her mom’s shiny sedan with her glare.  Her mom looked like a big-eyed pest from a distant planet in her oversized, trendy sunglasses.  She wanted to grab her by her alien antennae and thrash her around.  She couldn’t believe she was the spawn of such trash.  And the cleavage, my GOD.  Her mom never went anywhere without showing off the product, as if it was always for sale and the shelves were stacked and packed, just for you.   If she learned anything from her mom, she learned that humility was more profitable.

And, judging by her mom’s brutal and painful history, Aurora's route was safer, nine times out of ten.

“She’s waitin’ for you sweetheart,” the thick ‘stached cabbie said and clicked digits on his sleek, extra-expensive phone with all of the sweet features a fat, toothless, single wheeljockey desires.

Aurora envisioned a phoneful of porn, probably of pigtailed adolescents.  And she wasn’t far from the truth.   She was repulsed by the driver, but she didn’t want to leave her comfort zone. “She can keep waiting,” Aurora said and looked at the clock.  The session was supposed to have started five minutes ago, and they obviously were running late.

The scruffy man rolled his sunken eyes. “Clock’s tickin’ Goldilocks...”

“Thanks,” she replied with a huff. Aurora was used to getting her way.  Usually, people were intimidated by the prevalence of black attire and goth stylings, perplexed how a girl so radiant and so beautiful could be so completely dark.  She gave him points for ending the discussion with one, complete dismissal.  She didn’t have the resources to continue this war of stares with her mom; she had two bills cash and little beyond that.

It had been a very slow week so far at school.  “Will you wait?”

“Are you kidding?”  The cabbie grinned, punched buttons on his meter, and handed her a fare receipt.  “Here’s my card. Call our number when you’re ready to go home.  $23.30 princess.”

Aurora tightened the black lace scarf around her neck, as if to remind her fat friend how “unprincesslike” she was.  The marks she hid from the world would obliterate any princess talk upon mere utterance of the topic.  It did every time.  But it also led to other questions.  Questions that she was not ready to answer.

For herself or anyone else.

She grabbed her black canvas purse, as non-descript as a shadow itself, and fumbled for her wallet.  She stuffed a wad of crinkled bills into the cabbie’s grubby hands, smiled as artificially as she could, and pushed open the cab door.  A grumble of curses followed her exit as she clutched her black bomber tight against the autumn wind.  A buck wasn’t a very good tip for the cabbie, and Aurora was aware of that.  She’d spent most of her time in and out of cabs and was typically generous.

But not today.  Today, the world was her enemy and everyone that inhabited it could not be trusted.

Aurora shuffled to the exquisite amber-glassed door of the thick brick building, named The Chapelle after the original designer who, ironically, hung himself in the basement just after the building was finished, never once shooting a glance down the walkway to her mom’s parking spot.  It was bad enough she had to be with her for a whole hour, much less listen to her grovel about “how hard she tried to be a mom” and how “complicated her life is”.  She’d get weepy, wipe her eyes with a lace handkerchief, blow her congested nose, and swell up like an irritated cyst.  It was all bullshit to Aurora.  She knew her mom well enough to know which emotions were real and which were fake.  Her mom showed her dedication to family when she skipped town less than six months after the birth of she and her brother, leaving her parents to raise the young tots.  If it weren’t for the murder of her parents and the kidnapping of her son fifteen years ago, Elsee probably would never have left Truth and Consequences and returned to the Twin Cities.

But, her mom did come back.  Mostly.  Something happened in the desert of New Mexico that changed her forever; older photos of her mom painted a very different picture, visions of a woman alive and vibrant and celestial, glowing with life and love.

The woman in the pictures wasn’t the Butterfly she knew.  Aurora grew up in a muted and plastic world filled with expensive gifts and lavish memories, sponsored by her mother’s boyfriends.  She accepted everything generously, but always wondered who her father was.  She assumed her father was one of the men in her mom’s rotation, but the past was something they didn’t discuss.  At all.  Apart from the fact that the suitors were male, her mom had no interest in a relationship with anyone.  Sure, each one of the men that called her “baby” thought they had a special connection, but her mom was not to be netted.  Love was collateral damage to her, part of a world that was mired in heartbreak, frustration and complication.  Her mom stayed away far away from love.  It was the easiest answer.  Less mess, less stress.  An uncomplicated life.

And, most importantly, the past would stay buried.

The front door of iron and amber swung open with a squeak.  Leaves swirled and trailed as Aurora entered into the foyer of the exquisite building.  Majestic ironworks and large, towering palms stretched throughout the entryway, with the gentle trickling of a hidden fountain giving the whole room a lush and sedgy feel.  It was impressive and beautiful, but nauseatingly overdone.  Aurora really wanted to vomit in one of the plant stands, just to prove how plastic and counterfeit the Chapelle’s well-manicured lobby was.  But she didn’t.  If there was a chance that she could’ve vomited in such a directed outpour that it would overrun the edges of the plant stand, stream silently and slimily through the elevator bays and into the lobby, and trip up her mother upon her entrance into the building, sending her synthetic figure and silicone punching bags sprawling to the cold, dirty floor, she would’ve considered defacing the public place.

But scraped knees wouldn’t change the ways of the Butterfly.  They both knew the low world well.

She pressed the glowing number 8 on the elevator keypad and listened as the box screamed downwards, its whining and whirling gears and cables screeched for a measure of autonomy it would never find.  The Chapelle was an older office building, yet maintained well.  Aurora was impressed by its marriage of wrought iron and vine, a modern attempt at mixing greenery and industry.   The arrogance and self-importance of family counselor Barb Baroni aside, her building did have an exquisite interior decorator.

Then, the light changed as the shadow of a person approached the front door of the Chapelle.  The whole lobby became a shade darker as the figure moved closer.  Not wanting to deal with a tenant not named Barb Baroni, she pressed the elevator button again, hoping to speed the drop of the elevator.

The figure stopped before the front door and stood unmoving, its shimmering visage captured clearly in the amber glass.  The image felt familiar, but she could not place its origin.  It was too tall to be her mother, too lanky to be a classmate.  While she wasn’t scared, she was definitely not in the mood to deal with a stalker hoping to score a sweet connection with an unprepared sixteen-year-old, in daylight no less.  Both prepared and petulant, a combination which had led to her expulsion from high school a few weeks ago for attacking a cheerleader, Aurora became unnerved by the watcher.  The Principal had called it an “attack”; Aurora saw it as justice.   Elsee saw it as stupidity and scheduled family counseling sessions to help curb her daughter’s appetite for destruction.

But Aurora knew she set the cheerleader straight.  There would be no further trouble or words between them.  In fact, she felt like she gained respect through the encounter, even if it came at the heavy expense of fear.   She pressed the elevator button again, hoping the urgency of her request was heard by the elevator elves in the Chapelle’s machinery.  Fuck, she would’ve settled for a Keebler revolt at this point, anything to get the creaky lift to move faster.

Beyond the lobby, the dark figure did not move from the door.  It stood still and silent on the other side, a tall blur in a brownish pane, watching her every move.  She considered that now would be a good time to have a cell phone, that her off-the-grid lifestyle didn’t offer many options for dialing a savior in a time of need.  Scanning the elevator bay, she realized that she was at a dead end, with the elevator banks her only visible method of escape.  Her breath quickened as she realized she was trapped.

Faster and faster and faster until she was spinning.

And darkness, full and complete, consumed her.   Her muscles felt tired and weary, drained from the stress of fear and…. something else.  The darkness was thick and murky, with stale air hanging like failing cloud.  The smell of soot, rot and expired life made her gag, almost sending her stumbling to the plant stand in her memory, from a place that was now ominously unfamiliar.  She struggled for breath and, slowly, breath returned to her collapsed lungs.

Aurora tried to estimate how long she had been without air, and then realized that she wasn’t holding her breath at all.

She was being constricted.

“They call for his head milady,” a deep, solemn voice cut through the stillness.

Aurora shook her head, hoping the agitation would reorient her, but dizziness followed.  She was someplace different now; the world itself felt older, slower and mercurial.  The air moved with greater purpose and liberty, and the heartbeat of something distant and sovereign echoed in the obscurity.  “I know,” she replied with words that surprised her, and with a huskier tone that was completely curious to her.

“What is your wish?”

Aurora was still not strong enough.  Her balance wavered in the full dark.  She remembered being pushed into a shadow-filled train tunnel once as a freshman dare.  Football players and other blowhard athletes had lined the middle of the tunnel to freak the newcomers into respecting their power through fear.  Only, she never made it to the other side.   Her classmates searched for her for hours, and when they had given up hope of finding her, they reported her as missing.  The authorities had tried to get a hold of her mom, but, as was typical on a Friday night, she was relatively unreachable.  When she showed up at school the following Monday, she was questioned by counselors, police, teachers, friends…  The attention brought an end to freshman hazing in the tunnels, but it also enlivened suspicion and awakened questions that Aurora worked painfully hard to keep buried.

A strong arm grabbed around her waist as she began to feel feint and kept her from collapsing.  “Milady, are you alright?”

She strained to see who was holding her up, and could not through blurred vision.  She could feel his strength rippling beneath the threads and armor and bindings that separated them, but try as she may, she could not identify the person that offered support.  “Yes, I’m fine.  Thank you,” she said and tried to stand on her own.

“He should’ve stayed dead,” the voice lamented from behind.

“Who,” Aurora asked between gasps for breath.  Before an answer could be uttered, her strength gave out completely, sending her into a painful freefall toward the cobblestone floor as darkness overwhelmed her senses.  She fell forward and, luckily, her collapse was broken by the soft, cold, unconscious, naked flesh of a man.  It was a most uncomfortable pillow, but she felt an odd sensation as she drifted away:


how to enslave (a nation)

how to enslave (a nation)
from The Bonesetter's Revenge (Book 2, Xenomorphine)
copyright 2009, 2011 Artemis Sere

simplicity sells
one lie at a time

in lies we trust
in God we lie
in lies we must
never question why

so paint your pictures
and taint them well
for the generations of the blind
to inherit them all

this is how to
enslave a nation
this is you
on your knees
this is a call for
this is we
fighting the disease

in lies we trust
in God we deny
in lies we lust
never answer why

so protect your futures
behind titanium walls
for the generations of failures
who inherit your fall

this is how to
enrage a nation
this is you
pleading for release
this is a call for
this is we
becoming the disease

in lies we trust
in God we die
in lies we cross
bound by the lie

so swallow their poisons
drink stink and smile
for the generations of the sullen
walking lock step single file

this is how to
evolve a nation
this is you
rising to your feet
this is a cry for
this is we
enslaving the disease

one lie at a time
selling simplicity


union of luna, copyright 2011 artemis sere

from The Bonesetter's Revenge (Book 2, Xenomorphine)
copyright 2009, 2011 Artemis Sere

pretty pretty plastic pieces
braces snaps straps and laces
     you can be a perfect assembly
     you can be an idyllic allegory

pretty pretty plastic faces
nip tuck stretch and straighten
     you should be a perfect assembly
     you should be an idol like me

pretty pretty plastic smiles
suck swallow bow and revile
     you need to be a perfect assembly
     you need to be an idyllic allegory

pretty pretty plastic hearts
silent hollow still and dark
      you will never be a perfect assembly
      you will never be an idol like me


portrait of a carnivore, copyright 2011 artemis sere
from The Bonesetter's Revenge (Book 2: Xenomorphine)
copyright 2009, 2011 Artemis Sere

don't worry my bride:
OK is not a state in
which I will ever
rightly reside

you say
there ain't no
goin' back, but Tulsa, baby
back is all we have to give
and I just wish
you weren't
so damned

without color
eventually fade away
and in our shotgun
dramedy, we pulse
the night from
the day

so spin the wheel
sulfur the skies
the route is scorpious
the hills are wide
you bring the picnic
and I'll bring the pain
and together
we'll forget
this ozone haze
and forever
we'll set ablaze
these Tulsa days

don't worry my bride:
OK is not just a state
in a dig rigger's

you say
we gotta bury
our bloody roots, but Tulsa, baby,
beneath the fields of shale and
care, the secrets we share
will never stay silent
and I just wish
you weren't
so damned

without color
are our coffin call
and in our shotgun
tragedy, buckshot
will blacken our
brazen fall

so spin the winds
of these F5 skies
the route is cyclonic
the road is blinding
you bring the picnic
and I'll bring the pain
and together
we'll reflect
this ozone haze
and forever
we'll set ablaze
these Tulsa days

don't worry my bride:
OK is not just a state
from which we run
to hide

you say
we ain't never
gonna be free, but Tulsa, baby
with hell on our heels you
whine, while a path
of broken lives and
dollar signs paves
the road behind
and I just wish
you weren't
so damned

in the gutter
and one on the floor
debris smashed windshield
and a shell-peppered door
we brought the shotguns
the wedding was a gas
bonnie and clyde on genocide
bouquet of blood and cash
carnage without honor
marriage without age
and in our shotgun serenade,
the vows never fade

so spin the chamber
of these momentous events
the route is brutal
the road is bent
you bring the picnic
and I'll bring the pain
and together
we'll regret
this ozone haze
and forever
we'll set ablaze
these Tulsa days

sharridan terrace

naglfar, copyright 2011 artemis sere

sharridan terrace
from The Bonesetter's Revenge (Book 2: Xenomorphine)
copyright 2009, 2011 Artemis Sere

would you trade
now for then:

for a place
I've never been
and never seen
I harbor fleets
of plunder and pain
full-sail and
cannonade ready
with docks stacked
of hungry violent
pirates willing to
pillage for
fun and frolic
and bring asunder
the tall
and innocent
structure where
they'll call
madness, possibly
argue rage
but in plain truth
collateral damage
is the case
for a place
I've never been
and never seen
so flee inland
and escape as far
as your wobbled legs
will allow
this margin
of sharp descent
and dissention
is mutinous
and thorough
all thanks to you
my untamed
and faceless

no, betrayer,
I would not trade
now for then and
for the rest of your time
is prize thine
and though unkind
for the rest of my time
I shall deify
your ruin
of us


utopya lost, copyright 2011 artemis sere

from The Bonesetter's Revenge (Book 2: Xenomorphine)
copyright 1993, 2011 artemis sere

>SET 00:00:49

a southbound subway train
screams through
the tract gutter of the ghetto nation
where swirls and sirens paint its underbelly
while in the concrete web above
no one gets out alive

     so what side are you ON?

not the preacher, teacher
saint or samaritan
each sip the sweet venom
which coarses through the spider's heart
and swoon as the arachnid's teeth
sink into their souls

     so what side are YOU on?

yet we, flies in the web
defy statistics and
four milliseconds
as the centipede breeds
words like 'obey'
and 'lawful'
into our vernacular
and we hear
with perked ears and
personal agendas,
praying that we don't
become another

     so what side ARE you on?

lost on the bullet train
between scream and
serene, a pensive pawn
sits cocooned and collected
with a bookbag in one hand
pistol in the other
torn between
brother or enemy
lawful or evil
heaven or

     so what SIDE are you on?

and in that
quickening moment
the glistening eyes
of the innocent spawn
open to the chaos of the
gossamer world,
as the strands of lies
spun by the false prophets
and fallen pulpits
dissolves, and his
choice is


lost vegas

lost vegas
from "Xenomorphine" (The Bonesetter's Revenge, Book2)
copyright 2011 artemis sere

we laugh
we drink
we merry
and cry
we fall
we crawl
we crash
and rise
we launder
our failures
with misfortune,
bankrupt memories
and glittery

is bitter shelter
in this land of the lost
yet we flock here
regardless of cost,
to cinder and suffer
of thirst never
on entitlements
and embarrassments
and pleasures of the

we lose
amongst the
tables and
lines, recall
this plastic place
in better times
built by gods
long since gone
tall tombs which glisten
and burn in the blistering
sun, and when all
hope is finally done,
lives rolled up
and the last wheel spun,
when the leech has drank
more than its share,
left us with little
blood to compare
we laugh
we drink
we merry
and cry
we become
the lost,
without sky

plus one

shiverreal, copyright 2011 artemis sere

plus one
copyright 2011 artemis sere
[xenomorophous reflections]

a common situation these days: invited out with a female friend, only for the out to turn into meeting a group, sometime large, sometimes small, seldom a party of two. these change of "out scenarios" typically happen as a surprise, where the original scenario involved "two people hanging out".  why am I devoting blogspace to something so unique and personal?

this is a recurring theme in my life:  where I'm not good enough to be "the one", but am good enough to be someone else's "plus one'. "Plus one" is a trendy term now that Google picked it up and created social activity around it.  the term also applies to events, where you would be put on an access or guest list and be offered the ability to bring someone along.  that person becomes your "plus one".  it would seem to be a flattering act to be someone else's "plus one", until that's all that you are across the board:  "plus one" for all, number one for none.

these days, the best I seem to do is act as "plus one" for someone.  I suppose I shouldn't care so much; I should be accepting of the gracious invitation with a smile and without hesitation or question, just be happy to be in the periphery of someone else's circle.  but I can't help but feel slighted by the fact that I can do no better than someone else's disposable hero, savior of the hour, lover for the moment.  I can't help but feel pushed away from the center of others while few have interest in nearing the center of me.

even more frustrating is that people can't seem to understand what I'm talking about when I say that I'm disappointed in our change of plans--changes not initiated by me in any way, but changes that I must roll with regardless.  sensibly, what I'm talking about deals with an imbalance of selfishness.  i'm railing against the lack of equilibrium that I've been historically offered by my friends, the minimized level of involvement that people have in my world, my orbit, my drama, my history, my interests, my past, and/or my future.  perhaps I'm too good at listening and being accessible to people in general.  or perhaps my too accessible to certain people that have habits that I have been patient with.

I feel like a lesser person for engaging in a blog bitch session.  few will read this, and even fewer will be able to relate to what I have to say.  people on the normal path--with nuclear, mainline connections and common directions--cannot relate to the frustrations of a single man exiled by life; people on the single path seem to work the outscenes fluidly and dynamically, without thought, passion or care.  the outscenes are there for oblivion, not heart; they're there for comforting the lonely and the lost for a night, to push butterflies from cocoons and into regretful glances, one-night stands, and herpes-ridden beds.  the outscenes aren't there to help a person escape to a sane place.

the outscenes are there to nullify the personality of the plus ones, not give hope, not offer chances.

six empty

six empty
copyright 2011 artemis sere, wikipedia
[xenomorphous research]

[immunosuppressive drug, wikipedia]

  • Immunosuppressive drugs or immunosuppressive agents are drugs that inhibit or prevent activity of the immune system. They are used in immunosuppressive therapy to:
  • Prevent the rejection of transplanted organs and tissues (e.g., bone marrow, heart, kidney, liver)
  • Treat autoimmune diseases or diseases that are most likely of autoimmune origin (e.g., rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis, systemic lupus erythematosus, focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, Crohn's disease, Behcet's Disease, pemphigus, and ulcerative colitis).
  • Treat some other non-autoimmune inflammatory diseases (e.g., long term allergic asthma control).
  • These drugs are not without side-effects and risks. Because the majority of them act non-selectively, the immune system is less able to resist infections and the spread of malignant cells. There are also other side-effects, such as hypertension, dyslipidemia, hyperglycemia, peptic ulcers, liver, and kidney injury. The immunosuppressive drugs also interact with other medicines and affect their metabolism and action. Actual or suspected immunosuppressive agents can be evaluated in terms of their effects on lymphocyte subpopulations in tissues using immunohistochemistry.
[mercaptopurine, wikipedia]
It is used to treat leukemia, pediatric non-Hodgkin's lymphoma,[citation needed] polycythemia vera,[citation needed] psoriatic arthritis,[citation needed] and inflammatory bowel disease (such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis)

It has demonstrated some in vitro effectiveness against Mycobacterium paratuberculosis.

6-MP ribonucleotide inhibits purine nucleotide synthesis and metabolism. This alters the synthesis and function of RNA and DNA. Mercaptopurine interferes with nucleotide interconversion and glycoprotein synthesis.

Some of the adverse reactions of taking mercaptopurine might include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, fatigue, stomach/abdominal pain, weakness, skin rash, darkening of the skin, or hair loss. Serious adverse reactions include mouth sores, fever, sore throat, easy bruising or bleeding, pinpoint red spots on the skin, yellowing of eyes or skin, dark urine, and painful or difficult urination. Unlikely but serious side-effects include: black or tarry stools (melena), bloody stools, and bloody urine.

Symptoms of allergic reaction to mercaptopurine include rash, itching, swelling, dizziness, trouble breathing, and pancreatitis.

Mercaptopurine causes myelosuppression, suppressing the production of white blood cells and red blood cells. It may be toxic to bone marrow. Weekly blood counts are recommended for patients on mercaptopurine. The patient should stop taking the medication at least temporarily if there is an unexplained, abnormally large drop in white blood cell count, or any other blood count.

Patients exhibiting myelosuppression or bone marrow toxicity should be tested for thiopurine methyltransferase (TPMT) enzyme deficiency. Patients with TPMT deficiency are much more likely to develop dangerous myelosuppression. In such patients, it may be possible to continue using mercaptopurine, but at a lower dose.

Allopurinol inhibits xanthine oxidase, the enzyme that breaks down mercaptopurine. Those taking allopurinol (often used to prevent gout) are at risk for mercaptopurine toxicity. The dose should be reduced or allopurinol should be discontinued.

Mercaptopurine can lower the body's ability to fight off infection. Those taking mercaptopurine should get permission from a doctor in order to receive immunizations and vaccinations. It is also recommended that, while on the drug, one should avoid those having recently received oral polio vaccine.

This drug is traditionally not recommended during pregnancy, but this issue has been debated, and current evidence indicates that pregnant women on the drug show no increase in fetal abnormalities. However, women receiving mercaptopurine during the first trimester of pregnancy have an increased incidence of miscarriage.  Davis et al. 1999 found that mercaptopurine, compared to methotrexate, was ineffective as a single-agent abortifacient; every woman in the mercaptopurine arm of the study had fetal cardiac activity at follow-up (two weeks later) and was given a suction abortion.

Mercaptopurine causes changes to chromosomes in animals and humans, though a study in 1990[6] found that, "while the carcinogenic potential of 6-MP cannot be precluded, it can be only very weak or marginal." Another study in 1999 noted an increased risk of developing leukemia when taking large doses of 6-MP together with other cytotoxic drugs.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

land of the lost

land of the lost
copyright 2011 artemis sere
[xenomorophous reflections]

What is it about me that connects to the transient--to the people that are between phases in their lives or have seemingly lost their way on the road? I don't seek out these types of people, but they seem to find me, friend me, connect with me, force me to care about them, make their drama part of my life, to the point where the styles and patterns of their transience become my existence. I become like them, spiritually nomadic like them. Disconnected, yet in the same dizzying orbit as them.


xenomorphine cover v1, copyright 2011 artemis sere

copyright 2011 artemis sere
[xenomorophous reflections]

straight away, I'll thank her for this.  for bringing me back here, to the written word.  for now.  I am hopeful that this refreshed commitment to letting it all drip onto the page helps again. I can't seem to find equilibrium or direction here in the memory ward, arteries and veins weak from the poking and prodding, the letting and coagulating, the metamorphosis from failure to functional.

things are changing within, but seem to return to a common center. alien in purpose and path..  painless in promise, but presenting only broken ties.  this is what I've worked so hard for:  a return to isolation, a strengthened connection to disconnection.  book one was the dark start; this is the bewilderment in the wake of the ultraviolence of life.

this addiction to disappearance in the strangest of forms.

regardless of reason or cynical treasons, I'm back here, to a life with far fewer answers than questions.  to a life of empty nights with the auditor's calculator in my heart.  to thumped hope and swollen pessimism. and I tell myself that this can't be all there is to this dire craft.  of healing, only to be fractured.  of loving, only to be traded.  of caring, only to be dropped.

never good enough.  truly, and without divergence. the drugs are seemingly our best friends, but we can't seem to pull ourselves from them long enough to be human to each other.  the liquor is always the victor.  it's dominance is grand and historical. amazing and brutal.  but I'm not here to judge or jury; the furious truth is that the need to disconnect is inherent in all of us.  we are each a bit antisocial. why is that?

natural survival instinct would tell us to move closer, stay bound, be a tighter tribe for the sake of all human people. creatures that stray from the flock or the herd rarely survive in the wild. we are dichotomous, deeply hypocritical, split in two beings that drink symbiotically off each other.  venomously feed through intravenous pipes, the darkness becomes part of us, a shade of us.

the exile of us.

wise people tell you that you should learn to enjoy being alone, find a way to appreciate the conversation you can have with yourself, getting to know yourself better.  solitude is a great partner for a while, until it is the only soul in town that you know.  after a while, she too stops returning your calls.  you become the last survivor on a planet filled with people that talk and walk through you.

I feel like I am sometimes accompanied by an alien reflection of myself, giving me confidence and speaking the words that the humble human has trouble releasing. the stranger takes away the pain and helps me through the changes and the long lonely walks.  this is not an admission of failure; this is a retreat, into the spaces where metamorphosis was once possible. straight away, I have to thank her for this. she made me realize that I needed to return to serenity and into the comfortable cocoon of away.

This is the phase of painless change with strange and amazing complications.  It will be a trip.