World Leader Deep End:
More Pay, Better Security 
to Be Found in Being
a Dictator, Writer Finds

Dear opinion page editors of America,

     Due to the decline of positions currently being made to the editorial opinion page boards of your newspapers, I have decided to decline all lack of appeals for me to run for president of these United States. Quite frankly, I'm overqualified. Instead, due to the fact the position seems to offer more security, I am going to apply for the position of dictator.

     While I would like to be the dictator of your opinion page board(s), quite frankly (and there's nothing really wrong with being French), the pay back is better if I chose a nation, large or small, abroad. Indeed, I will be outsourcing my dictator skills.

     With so many larger nations supporting such positions, but many of them currently due for a change, it appears to be an area of significant growth. Opportunities will no doubt abound. Even if all hell breaks loose, such as the case in Egypt, dictators are needed. Whole cities can rage. Castles will burn. But, as is clearly apparent, you can't rebuild a burning house until the flames have been doused. So, even when bad stuff happens due to all of the bad citizens surrounding them, dictators are still needed, just to keep the lights on.

     I could refer to many of my skills mentioned in my refusal to run for president of the United States, due to my complete lack of experience and political standing in society, a situation leading to complete disfavor among my complete lack of voters who will vote for me, as sufficient proof that I am, in fact, the only man willing to do this dirty job. Let's face it. People can't handle the truth. No elections are needed. I'll just take over and stay, for many many years if need be, to direct events, or at least try to, as I see fit.

     Of course, I do have some background in dictating. Most people who know me would say, for example, that I am a complete bastard. Especially my X-wives. And they all have plenty of shoes, so they are quite perfectly capable of filling in should I ever suddenly die or seek asylum in France (nothing wrong with being this frank, is there?).

     Also, I'm really good at playing the Milton-Bradley board game, Risk. All versions, although I prefer the original. Which makes me a conservative. A downright fundamentalist ... when it comes to Risk. For example, I shall always believe, as the kings and popes have long believed, that as cheaply as it pays, in terms of developing its own armies, that Egypt is the place to own: The Middle East? Not so much. Seems to be some kind of highway for trouble. Much better to hang on to Egypt. Goes back to the Crusades, I think.

     Although I'm quite willing to outsource my dictating skills to just about anywhere, it appears there will soon be an opening for a dictator in Egypt. However, I will accept a position in Libya, should that country soon fall to the winds of democratic change. Not sure about North Korea, if only because I don't speak much Chinese.

      If you decide that my language skills, since I really speak only a little English, with sprinklings of Spanish, French, Italian, Gaelic, Yiddish, German, Apache and Hopi and in Tongues, often at the same time, limit my ability to jump in to a new position with my boot stamp hitting the ground hard on the first day, punishing those who, quite frankly (nothing wrong with being French, really, really, believe me, since I may need to go to France eventually for vacations in exile, waiting for my eventual return ... once all of the appropriate bribes are paid), I will consider running for governor or senator or congressman in states, large or small, which do not limit their terms.

     (Digital Signature Goes Here)
     Douglas McDaniel

      P.S. I tried to come up with a funny line regarding Jacques DeMolay, the last grandmaster of the Knights Templar, being burned at the stake in 1309, in that paragraph regarding the reasons why the problem with Risk has something to do with the Crusades, but I just didn't think enough people would get the joke.

     P.P.S. Artwork by Pink Floyd's artist for anything to do with "The Wall."

     CC: Come, See Jerusalem


Sputnik Moment

Spoken like an angel of light
in the halls of Pandemonium,
purple ties, in harmonium,
Robispierre without peers,
silver tongued saint,
to the tainted, with silvery hair,
shadows taller than wind,
caught in corners,
making loud old sounds,
growing louder,
making the case, without debate,
as the illusive image flickers,
without debate,
mixing the media-phors
about nothing being funny,
about peace love understanding
holding hands across America
to all the sweet voices of nobodies,
silent majorities, loud-mouthed
minorities, frozen out, surrounding
blue-lit burn barrels, yearning
for the golden ghosts of yesteryear,
receiving instead, this Plutonic tonic,
with nothing but their imaginations,
all beer-soaked and dumbed down
to go with the drifts of currents,
mountains, prairies and stars

In the woods the mind
has much mistaken,
the currency of the re-awakened,
all mankind peering inside his apple,
his words written in two mirrors,
written down twice, eyes sympathetic
to the two faces of citified man,
Luddites locked out, being the divided
electronic icicles, turning red or blue,
waiting for the mail gone paperless,
to poets seeking heat from cornstalks
covered in snow, to laughing waters
flooding now, measured in GPS miles,
in cool and sleazy breezy smiles

And this perfect image,
with a different vision
for the Everyman, offers
an acre, a plot, a carnage
of a green and pleasant land,
where the clean air is unclean,
and the last waters, thundering mean,
with books to burn, words in earns,
facts gone to myth ... blown this kiss
with posts on the wall, unreadable
mega-bit tattooes and star bright
Twitter accounts, in aeons, gurus
keeping track of stock options,
riding in limousines, praying in their pines
of a dim-lit Sputnik rendered into far stars,
wishes in dreams gone to daylight footballs
in darkened Sunday afternoon bars
as light and time shines in two suns so bright,
not a dead star but a man made overflight,
searching for reasons, for something to say
they stuck around for ... a last tree,
a bit of grass, all caged behind bars
in this house of infinite mirrors,
the Saint has joined the sinners


Gothic January

Two lovers shared
a broken tree
to burn a fire
to stay warm from thee
while the knight
took the queen out
for a dance
beneath the sun
the military marched
to the frozen One
and success, and strife
rode a chariot
to a star
to make happiness
a drink
at the oxygen bar
and I told you,
"I can't boil oil now ...
I'm kinda in the mystic
just a little bit;
in circles, in pinwheels,
in cyberstazi
and the FBI,
in the lamb
who walked
beneath January's
darkened agnostic sky ..."
as the lovers dreamed
and the gargoyles stood
in summer corn stalks,
in frozen wood,
within a circular steam
within a steam
and you screamed love,
come back to me

~ Iowa City, Iowa


'The Social Network' 
Hot type, cold blood and greed
on the singed, if golden globe
     In reviewing the new DVD of the brilliant, fast-paced film, "The Social Network," one can dispense with the actual activities in the movie, other than to say, yeah, it's fine, it's a great film, but more importantly, it's a fine effort in the art of inter- (and outer-) contextuality. Also, you could simply write a review of Facebook life, since it's about that, too. Also, you could simply just say that Facebook is America, the weird and sick and sad and saintly and generally freewheeling and just plain helpful face of it, and also be right on about all, as if there were any difference. But at first, I'd have to critique Facebook itself as the only internet worth being on, has been for a long time, because it's about life and death and all of our masks, and the world's, too, in all of the social media out there: and also this, it's a virtual see-and-say toy.
     Anyway, before my idea of the neighborhood called Facebook is forever changed by the reviewing of this movie, I thought I'd make a point or two about important, really really serious things I need to say Facebook and, therefore, modern problems, as well as the challenge to exist in networked life, in general. Such as, boy, you really get an idea of what Marshall McLuhan, the famed media critic, was intending when he wrote, in many, many different ways, that we can't understand our world until we understand our media better ... on how, as an extension of ourselves, we all need to get better educated on the whole electronic trip, or we will be swallowed whole by the same.
     Facebook, like all social media functions, are our masks, unveiled, unleashed, driving crazy mad or way too slow, on the information superhighway of both innocence and experience. So then, when we use it, we are completely naked to everyone, or, with a little more effort, insanely hidden from view. We need to get wise, maybe even get licenses, training even, before we go out and use it. Because it's like fire, a Promethean thing, and we better understand it better, or else. We may be victimized by sticking our necks out to give a glimpse of our lives, and most certainly give everyone our personal information, when we should have known better, or, doing just that better. Not sure yet.
     When I get that figured out, I'll let you know.
     Also, sorry if anybody was hurt in the making of my social media empire, my little fleet of the damned, all of you former high school buddies, lost loves, poets, artists, bleeding hearts, all of those who say they "like" or "dislike" me, who posted on my wall ... as I posted on theirs ... and so on. After that, the mind tends to wander. The mind is your father's Buick on Fox News. The mind is your child getting into trouble, or, simply learning how to type and co-exist in the global village. On Facebook, the mind becomes and extension, into cyberspace, of the promised land where no guns explode, and there's nothing to get hung about. No, that still happens in real spacey spacey, folks. Love is shared, as it exists, in the land of touching things, in the land of flesh, as opposed to dreams (see Facebook), after you have shed all of your post-traumatic stress disorder anxieties on whatever you believe socially, politically or spiritually, artfully or clumsily, in feminine or masculine in hiding of, or screaming out, about all or the above, in that sharp difference between what you do online, and what you do in the real world.
     Are you weeping yet? I'm not. See: That's Facebook. And the film did not make me cry. It made me cringe. Because the story about the people who came up with the idea, a bunch of horny males in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is pretty much America, too. If viewed in its upper strata, that is. Nope. It's not. And that's America, too. It's the gun-toting militia and it's the lady in Dubuque who thinks women should be able to preach more often in churches than they have previously been allowed. It's a rant, I want my bottle, toy. But it will never actually pour out milk. It's a way to say, please play with my kitty so I can get bonus points, it's a way to push your rock band through a total stranger's ears. It's a way to give you a glimpse of some cool cat's photos of Nepal, or, your best shot at showing everyone how living way too well is the best revenge of all. So they can fully resent you. Hate you. Then, flame you, in four words or less. Maybe one or two, even.
     Are we weeping yet? I'm not. That's because, well, after thinking about all of the millions of dollars I might have been crawling to if I had learned of this history of Facebook, subjective and somewhat tainted as it is, in the eye of the filmmaker, I didn't get to see it in the theater, instead. Therefore, I am behind a very fast wave, indeed. I missed the boat. The real-time cycle has washed over me. The guys who came up with the idea. Incredibly brilliant, originally fun-loving blokes, spoiled as they already were, have either eaten each other alive, or, cashed out, to the tune of about $25 billion. All because, hey, you didn't study hard enough in school because, hey, while they were slinging all of this code, you were on Facebook, or, whatever it was called back then, or, you were out in the weather, or, out watching football in your shorts, while these geeks were slinging such said code.
     And now, dear reader, the wave is passing over and under you. And while you, dear reader, may or not believe in the importance of social media in your lives, believe me, the moon's rotation around the earth doesn't need to be believed-in, either, to have a mega serious impact on our little lives.
     Are you weeping, yet? I'm not. So let me digress. Maybe even rest. Let me tell you the story of the brain damaged girl from high school who contacted me and said, hey, I remember you. We "talked" on chat. We chatted, for a while. And we came to an understanding. She understood me. I understood her. And then we went on with our lives with a better understanding: She of me; I of her, and the whole earth turned a little bit more, hmmm, what is the operative term this week, "Kumbya," with a better grasp of how it actually spins.
     I'm weeping, perhaps, just a little. Punch that in as "like," in the parlance of social media. What we often don't like is found in the ranting of little Marcie Marble of Miami Beach, Florida (if that's where she really lives), who tells us to join in her crisis call to keep Facebook from dissuading she, her (quote) "friends" from posting pornographic photos of herself and her dog; asking her fans (readers, if they can read more than a line or two), to join in her cause against the machine run by the guys, for better or worse, featured in the film, "The Social Network."
     The film, "The Social Network," is as hip and cool, as hot and visionary, as the subject matter. It turns on a dime. It's difficult to follow. It's horrifying. It's amazing. It's everyone else wondering this: It could have been me making that thing go viral. Or, wow, I sure am glad I decided to stay outside and train horses, instead, for a living.
     But if horses could type, their communications would no doubt be a kind of psychic Facebook. Also due to such tools, the world spins faster, or seems to, people talk faster, or seem to. And if we all stare at each other in shock and shame, in this place called the global village, this little spinning web where we can dial up a friend or two in Paris or Nigeria or London or Dubuque, then so be it. A better understanding of each other arcs us all toward liberty and better understanding. No bombs go off there, and in the land of the suffering and the forgotten and the typically daily lonely, it's one fine place to be.
     And if the puppeters on this electronic highway of greed can be thanked, by a slick and snarkey film such as "The Social Network" seems to indicate, the mind, once a midget turned inside a cave wondering about all of those horrible sounds out in the world indicating large and vicious creatures trying to eat them alive, well, folks, with such tools, in the hands of the right people, with the right kind of healthy ideas in mind: Well, those folks, yeah, right on, thanks for your suffering, your madness; and thank you for your greed; you have given us some brilliant space, a city of light and dark, where we can all safely comprehend our mutual loneliness, our goodness, or desperate need to be heard, our own vision of ourselves, so that we can be more apparently captured, better hearded and heard. The next big thing? Who knows? Ask yourself. When you travel, where does your mind go?


Eyes Wide Open

America, your Tombstone, Arizona,
stands out, in memorial balloons,
talking heads of post-gunfire analysis,
in anguished memories echoing
gunfire, in flowers left upon
the furnace of revolution,
in the mixed up mindspace
of mistreated man-monster
assassins, in creature comforts
shaken like broken tablets
given by Moses, by the mere
shattered jerking around
of horrifying images
to television commercials
where we are asked
to ask our doctors

We the people are capable
of so much more: Capable
of surgeons able to render
miracles far more healing
than moon missions,
predator strikes
from deep in the sky,
from quick stock fixes,
dialing up foxes,
connected by two-year
contracts on cell phones,
by unholy secret armies
unleashed upon the world
but now rendered
in one sick sad baldface
mad hatter joker fuck,
who decided to make
history by shedding
your blood, and your children's
children's blood, to make
that point, old pointy,
that no one else could give
a hearing to because,
old shriner shiner,
it pays too much
for the talking skull,
to answer the one question
it can't answer for itself: Why?

The map is fully dotted now,
with hands holding hands
and yet we can't all seem
to becalm the energies
flowing from the angry sun
because, dear masters,
the amplified drug lords
of commerce, offer more
ailments, sick sad treatments
that have nothing to do
with love, just money,
just time for bull markets
and disinformation

We can dream,
point to our heroes,
and tolerbrate
a forgivenness
of our sins,
only as long
as the car ride

Clearly, nature
is doing its damndest
to show us our faces,
our spewing missed
places as fomenters
of foul foams
guzzling up
from the bottom
of our beer bottles
and polarized teas

Listen to the water,
America; listen
for gentle silenced
sounds, in cattle cars
racing by, in delivery
trucks chasing us around
with backwards beeping
to greet each morning,
to failures to answer
the myriad echoes
of grieving sisters
for suicide cults
set too hard
on logic chopping,
on passions, on reason,
to the revolutionary
flavors of the season,
to rocket ships made
for secret mission masters,
to lies sold as truth
in penciled in televised
image makers, harbingers
of false light, false words,
false perpetrators
of plans against you,
America, plans beyond
pure reason, just plans,
authority zones of controls
intended for our sponsors
of capital gains, tax dodges,
miniscule media channels
to jail up the Jonahs,
the Joans, arching , marching,
moving forward to nurture us,
to set love right, for Job,
so he can no longer suffer
in the error of St. Paul's
jealous rage and error

Fear, no mind reader,
can open our eyes
for the first time, America,
open them, now, read see feel
your own bodies, connected
to the whole earth,
not just your slicing borders
for the first time


Devolution of Arizona

Arizona, I don't recognize you anymore
Your creosote roots lie beneath
the perfect piles of McDonalds parking lots

Arizona, an unequal symmetry
of rubble piles collect
Ten thousand miles from here,
the angry sun awakes, a lion,
the wind pulls sacred smoke
around the window
and out the door

I scream into silence

Arizona, you are responsible ...
The middle-aged businessman
with expendable income
sweats for pleasure
and I feel
"pretty peppered"
by it all

Arizona, when can I stop swearing?

I swear in the heat like a pizza oven
Arizona, you are a car part store
but you got no glass to see through
and the beige collection
of air-conditioned caves
are conditioned to respond
in all the right meets wrong ways

The forests are in ashes
as the governor gapes
from a helicopter high
for the diversionary tactic
of the the unrael politic
and asks the spotlight
to "move on"

The spotlight will not
"move on," the world
is watching

Arizona, I can find no fluid,
no friend, nor car phone
to lean on
for company ...

The wolf is watching

By GPS, without your bullets in fistfuls
you can find me in the living room,
darkly lit, with rayolight flashing
bible black blurbs
on non-violence
cursing your name

Arizona, not even Ginsberg
would gripe about your tripe,
so blurred with anonymity
hell hardly matters anymore

Arizona, my life's belongings
are melting in a storage facility
and there are more things that beep
here than I can count
my frozen assets
of the heart

Arizona, you haven't hassled me for a while,
though I'm a loose cannon at the mousy mouth
 ... The world is flooding, bleeding,
burning blinding in high winds from above
as you dry up and blow away

Arizona, heart patients are being denied,
a kid got crushed in your parking lot
and I went to one of your social service buildings
and was amazed about how many homeless lurks
were sleeping in the lobby,
dreaming of Mississippi burning

Arizona, I can't get assistance at the cash register
and the mountains are closed, cats run free,
the lizards have disappeared,
to plot secret revenge
to assuage denial

Arizona, you are sucking in souls,
eating them, spitting them out,
at very low wages ...
of sin ... I suppose ...
and six are dead now,

How long? How many more?

Arizona, I think you should
battalion the borders with snow
and big bad bars of soap,
painting you headless
telegraph cross with wires,
tin cans of TNT
and a sacrificed fox

~ Iowa City, Iowa

With slight adjustments
from, "Ginsberg Rolls Over,"
the latest book of poetry
by Douglas McDaniel



Bones of the dead
on the walls
of the art gallery

Forged from
a single act
of procreation
desecrated for
a deconstructed
nation, from a few
stolen moments,
stolen from
the living

Dragging an auto
with an iron horse
carried by train
to an airport,
then flown away

Across a field
of dead birds,
sucked out
of the sea
into the suicide
center of grief
from a painting
by Grant Wood

Now confessed,
I feel better now

~ Iowa City, Iowa



How different
might history be
if Hitler is able
to take a three-hour
nap on a certain
New Year's Day
of America's choice?
If he had been able
to feel the cool alert
behind his eyes
that his view
had been a bit
cross and yes,
maybe a bit more
blue oil paint
would do and yes, yes,
that Leonard Bernstein
cat is groovy
and yes, Custer,
that guy, had turned around
to let the sea
of the dispossessed
catch up on their own cruelty
and consider to let just
a few of those bastards
live to tell a real story
of mercy to the newspapers
back home, that to win
a war of genocide
was no mercy
and the cornflakes
in my own head
were nothing but alcohol
stains upon daylight
clouds of peace?

Bombing Run

Say what you want
about the low lifers,
tyranny begins
at a very high
gosh darn it
beating my guts
in Oppositeland
is very high praise,
because what you call
a Tea Party is really
not even dinner,
because ancient drums,
the many tom tom toms
are just the steady
pound on a tenderloin
of the mind
turned into a tender drum
sweet and kind and pure
and even if Walmart
broke the place up bad,
one more purchase
at the near-dead
country store
just might
make just enough

Where Sir Freudo
Lost the Ring

The morning began
and never ended
quite unlike many others
as I stood like
one of those granddad old
palace sentries
who guarded monarchs
at their pearly gates,
expressionless, zombiefied
in next to last Templar mode,
poised and posed, metalurgy
realized to be hurtful treasure
for TNT people, useless as they
come and go, now rendered,
once again, quite pointlessfully,
as a word picture with a blue sharpie,
purchased in San Francisco
by Saint Francis of Assissi ...
upward, turned back toward Zeus,
his challenger ... Him who once
maintain in Spain great
bloody mountains of gold
taken from small brown men
who knew of nothing more
to see Sheriff Joe Arapaio
as nothing less than
an avenging Lord of Death ...
He from across the sea
failed to learn more beautiful
things than bad code scrolled
by a false fundamentalist God,
false single immutable sword,
a word that can't be weighed,
edited, reconsidered,
in a Bible black brick
by burn barrel people
who, iron cast, in their rejoicing,
instead deciding to send
the Ring of Doom
back to his maker
at the foot of Father Washington
in a statue beneath the snow

Washington, Iowa