i hesitate to proceed with it, as it moves into something more like philosophy than simple creative writing. more like activism. -k
torture was clearly a primitive defense of any society, forcing noncompliants into submission to meet specific aims of a culture. less clear was how a supposedly highly evolved culture involved in numerous humanitarian causes could keep it insular and protect the rudimentary institution of torture. if culture was to evolve, torture would cease to make sense. if culture was to be evolved, it would shutter the chambers and send all devices and mechanisms to their proper places behind glass cases in the future museums devoted to the betterment of the lives of the victims of torture. yet culture, like its individual constituents, tends to return to the primitive defense mechanisms when under duress: repression, regression, projection, reaction formation, and sublimation. and then covers it up in denial… torture. what would it matter the criminal or the crime? the use of an instrument reflects back on the one using it. if i pick up a sword and run it through someone, i am now a murderer. even if i kill a murderer with their own very sword, i am -nevertheless- a murderer, too.
You spilled your popcorn – I stated the obvious. Kell was standing up now and stretching over me to cuff Bless in the ear with the side of her hand, but Bless was fixed on the man, and taking it all in, while up on the screen was a lesser sin, in black and white, walking the halls, inspiring the fright, shadows in the night, and the boyfriend was on his way back with an RC Cola exchanging pleasantries with the cashier, it was calm and quiet in here, the safest place you thought you could be, at a movie, watching life from the outside in, the silver screen… a lesser sin. And I was in between the clash, trying to hold Kell off, we can’t do anything, it’s done! And I led her away, while Bless finished him off and his boyfriend came upon the body slumped down, and saw the woman who seemed to be holding him up from behind and he went and held his friend, down on his knees, looking between the seats into the eyes which were aglow, but it was colorful and he wouldn’t but remember later, what was so off about it, asking her what happened? and she said innocently I don’t know, he just, he just had a seizure or something, I tried to hold him but you know they say to let them free, and, well, I didn’t want any harm to come to him so I did, but it sure was a bad seizure – is he on some medication? — Book 3 (teaser). Ame and the Tangy Energetic
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I need to start by saying I have been reading MH Clark’s books since I was a teenager way back in the eighties, when computers were the size of small houses, Ronald Reagan was president, electric typewriters were fashionable, and photographs had to be developed to be seen (unless you had a slide projecter or viewfinder…uhh… S.O.S… what the hell is she talking about)? Anyway, libraries were still libraries and books were still books, then, and I read a lot of them in my alligator tee shirts drinking grape koolaid with a Canadian penny zippered inside the pocket on my sneakers. And all of her books I read were gripping, suspenseful, amazing!
Then I found this one a quarter century later, part of a Reader’s Digest collection of four, while watching my clothes spin in the dryer at the laundromat down the street. They have books lined up on a ledge which runs along the washers, and it’s give-a-book, take-a-book. So I took it and devoured it in a few days. Sadly the plot and characters and everything felt very rushed, almost like it was an outline for a much larger and longer work she didn’t have time to write.
The setup was interesting, all the players moving in and around an old mansion which had been taken apart stone by stone and transported to New Jersey from Wales and re-assembled on 50 acres just a few miles from Manhattan. And the haunting memory of someone who disappeared there. Someone who died there. And someone else who disappeared. Intriguing! Old money, New York City. Ambassadors, landscape artists, drunks, addicts, art thieves, and shady personal attendants fill the pages.
Sadly the book did not live up to its potential.
Ironic it was a stone’s throw from my spin cycle.
I know MH Clark has so much talent and I cannot end there, on a sour note, after having picked her up again. I decided I am gonna go back to her first bestseller she wrote in 1975 and read that one. I probably read it already, back when a trash compactor was your foot inside the bag, when Coleco and Atari were the gamer’s games, but I want that old feeling back, when I was gripped by suspense and she had me, amazed.
Will he come back to me? The silence in the house might break her delicate wrists in two, toss her on the woodpile, long nights, to keep warm. Abbreviated days. All of her memory of him coming home. The squeaking of the belt under the hood of his Jeep, where he parked beneath the sycamore tree. One of the kittens would bound out to meet him. Fatigue had not undone him. She would quickly get up and wrap a sweater around her, step into the sandals by their bed on the mahogany floors, and take the 45 steps down to the kitchen, the backs of her thongs clicking into her heels. She would grab a nice glazed ceramic bowl out of the cabinet, pour some oats and some water without measuring, into a pot on the stove. Oatmeal was his favorite. Then she would hop back up onto the landing, and click down to the front door to swing it open for him. The feeling of him pressing into her. The cool kiss on the neck. These were the memories.
My impressions from an article about a murder of a young girl in my city. The trial started yesterday, but the outcome is only certain in one way… a child is gone — http://www.katyamills.com/2015/08/on-murder.html
She looked around the city night. The canopy provided by the trees made this street darker than others. Low hanging branches and leaves flecked shadow into the metallic orange light painting the sidewalks.
A sociopath stood unseen. Camouflaged against the papered concrete walls like a barred owl.
She sensed him and he sensed her sensing him.
Were she only distracted by an iphone or earbuds, he thought. But he would not be disappointed, standing there, silently watching her navigate the street in her fishnets and heels.
Only his pupils moved across the smudge of cirrhotic, ashen pale of eyes.
In the walkway between buildings, not far from there, beneath a basement apartment’s window well, out of sight, lay the crumpled formless residue of human life and spirit. Breathless and emptying itself of fluid.
The spirit of the dead hung heavily over the sociopath, like a large cotton overcoat immersed in a pool of blood of all the ones had died by his hand in the night. A parade of frozen faces preoccupied his mind, his thoughts.
She gripped her pepper spray tight. She knew the unnatural evils under city lights, might come out the woodwork and contend with her sex.
She remained unafraid, carrying herself gracefully across the pavements. Aware the heavies were awash in their own karma.
Some terror of what one has done and cannot undo. Gyre of samsara, spinning down toward the core of the earth. For infinity. Forever.
Some fly by the seat of their amps jagoff Beatles cover band had just finished their faux rooftop set in a cursory attempted homicide of Norwegian Wood (it was no good), and were rolling their bussed in geriatric fanclub down the switchbacks of wheelchair ramps along with their stage.
No sooner had they jumpstarted a few hearts, incidentally, off a wall of mutilated sound, were they relocated to barstools in a dark and gutless lounge walking distance away, faux infighting, pitting their Lennon against their McCartney, in decidedly Canadian English to the tune of a couple rounds of Seagrams Sevens lowballs.
Up up and away on the roof where they left it, a blood soaked groupie lay down with ear to the cement for some train come listen frozen still posture, carelessly angled out across the parking space spraypainted parallel white lines.
He was young enough not to discern quality from the wall of mutilated sound washed away. He was old enough apparently to get himself thrill killed. Caught in the cymbals. The cross fissured fractures outlining his skull.
His pulse quickly tapered, his eyes they went dull. Blood pooled all about him. So long, Jethro Tull.
The oil pure olive
swans there were seven
a mountain inverted
erased from the sky
an brownout electric
fashion show in the dark
the sound of high heels
a girl in the park
they might find her body
wrapped up in a vine
cold brown paper cuff
on the ground
no breath and no
the swans glide in sevens
across the old duck pond
beleagured the webbing
half mast with the flag
a shadowy figure
amorphous at best
inverts like a mountain
erased with the
from the sky
in the west