The Icy Ninth

Attention: Until I can figure out how to add new posts to this page, The Icy Ninth will be a repository, an open, bottomless pit for all new additions of my literary offerings that are of a dark, stark, dank, gloomy, gruesome, chilly, morbid nature. If you are Poe prone or Morticia minded, The Icy Ninth is a cool place to chill. If you're just too darned happy, stop by, it's sure to bring you down or at the very least, level you out. 

Lower Hell, inside the walls of Dis, in an illustration by Stradanus
 There is a drop from the sixth circle to the three rings of the seventh circle, 
then again to the ten rings of the eighth circle, and, at the bottom, to the icy ninth circle.

The Icy Ninth

It was a cold day in hell.  
Flies were swarmin’
over by the well 
There was no tellin’
when I’d be gettin’
out of that place
Your face was plastered
 on every wall
You loomed large
 You loomed small
I tried to remember
but couldn’t recall
your name

It could’ve been Dick
It could’ve been Harry
It could’ve been
Manny, Moe or Mac
and yeah, sure
it could’ve been Larry
You had my back
that much I knew
but was it true
that I was I
and you were you?
You turned the screw
You tightened the vice
You spun the wheel
You threw the dice
I said no once
You said yes twice
then you tossed me
your  grim advice
“You made your bed
go die in it.”
The summer sun
grew cold as ice
hung in the sky
a lie
a monkey
tethered to a junkie
going around
and around
and around
getting nowhere fast, man
letting out a blast, man
just before it hit the fan
and went
I’ll never forget the sound, man
Till they put me in the ground, man
Your cold voice in my ear
saying loud and clear
Abandon every shard of hope
ye who enter here”

 Lasciate ogni speranza, voi che entrate

 by Leo, 5/22/2012

 July 2, 2012

What The Moon Said  (To Mary)

Sometimes there are no thoughts worth thinking. None that will come to mind at least. No matter how long you sit at the kitchen table in front of your notebook, waiting, waiting. There’s only so much coffee a body can take without ill effects. Cigarette after cigarette brings nausea. At times like these the best you can do is get lost in music. Everyone seems to say it better, and if you can’t say it best, why say it at all. Hence the block. The perfidious wall that no thought can climb or pierce, leaving only the music to reside in.

Blue eyed men come and go. Trying to coax you out. Pull you through. Brown eyed men ride through your daze on motorcycles loud enough to wake the dead, but still you sleep the deep numb sleep of the prisoner, convinced that you are in this thoughtless place for life. You dream of escape, but only briefly. The dream could fit on the head of a pin, the eye of a fly, the asshole of a gnat. The dream is like a firefly; a sick, anemic firefly emitting one last flicker before she calls it quits and falls into the tall, wet, evening grass, or watches her light, detached from her body, slowly fading, a make believe jewel on the finger of a child.

So much for the brief dream. The spasm of hope. The last kick of caffeine trying to make a dent in the atmosphere. Oh baby, there’s got to be more than this. And so the saga continues. The pen moves across the page not caring anymore if what it puts on the paper is drivel. Bob Dylan. Meet Me In The Morning. Something’s moving somewhere. Gonads are rolling. Hips are swaying. Oh baby, there’s got to be more and more of this. Feel the pain. Be happy. Move those feet. Keep the beat. Grab a blue eyed man and dance. One more cigarette isn’t gonna kill you. Another cup of coffee might even cure what ails you. It’s all in your head anyway. Anyone will tell you that.

You look like Axl Rose today with that bandana tied around your head. In those glasses. But wouldn’t it be more accurate to say that Axl looks like you, after all, you were in this getup before he was conceived. Sitting in the same kitchen so many years ago and you're still rockin’. It don’t seem proper but it is. Perfect and proper. How can you take the rock out of a rocker? Anyone who tries would be committing an act of high treason. And there are treacherous people out there. Everywhere. Who would just love to rip that bandana off your head and put you in your place. Down. Under. Below. That’s what guts are finally and primarily for. To resist. To rise above the inferior forces of authority. To keep the internal revolution going. The young rockers ought to take good care of the old rockers and vice versa. Grab a body, keep it moving. Make your music, and if you can’t make it, play it, play it loud, and don’t let anyone make you turn it down. Down is only a decibel away from off. And off is what they want.

Off with our heads and off with our tails and off with any and all items of interest. They would like to bore us, you see, bore us to death whenever possible. Take it from me, I almost fell into their smooth white hands. Fortunately though, I had sharp teeth and was able to bite off each and every slick, wicked finger. Tasteless hor dourves. Cocktail wieners. I spat them out with an elaborate show of disgust, washed my mouth out with vodka, and escaped through the keyhole before they came at me with the main course. I was gonna be their dessert. They had to settle for J-E-L-L-O. Without whipped cream. It was rough. I felt for them, but only for an instant. I had to conserve my compassion. It was hard to come by. Like silk stockings and aluminum brassieres. Tin titty tin titty tin. I hid behind trees all the way home in case they had scouts out looking for me. Bounty hunters. Rock collectors. Can openers.

I had an idea and I had to get home in one piece to think about it, to give it some more thought, uninterrupted attention, to ponder and mull and contemplate. To concentrate, hone in, ruminate. The light bulb over my head was driving me crazy. It was burning so bright I was afraid it would blow out before I reached the front door. I slipped in through the mail slot, looked up above my head, and to my delight it was still incandescent. What a woman. What a trooper. I had just opened my notebook to a clean page and picked up my pen when the phone rang. I didn’t want to answer it and risk losing momentum, but it could be important. Maybe it was someone calling to buy old Honda parts. What if it was the Publisher’s Clearing House calling for directions to my house so they could send out the Prize Patrol. I had to pickup the phone.

It turned out to be a pervert who wanted to have phone sex. He had just gotten out of the shower and was at the other end of the line stark naked. So he said. He wanted to know if I could help him out. I told him I was busy and gave him the number of a woman who had always treated me badly. He said “ much obliged.” I said “don’t mention it.” Wouldn’t you know, by the time I got back to my notebook it was gone. The idea, that is. The wonderful thought I had tried to hang on to was now kaput except for a vague recollection of its having two distinct parts. A single concept with a positive and negative pole. A simple idea with a profound impact that could extend into various topics of interest if goaded, tempted, coaxed. A self replicating self, replicating a self replicating self. Something like that. I knew that much. I was able to salvage that much, but the idea itself, the core of the idea, was lost. I made some more coffee, and again, I sat and I waited. I hate losing a good thought. Trying to get it back is like digging for buried treasure without a shovel or an X to mark the spot.

Oh well, I shall have to go about my business without my cherished treasure and hope that I will come upon it inadvertently. That it will pop up as I crawl on my belly through the weeds. Now, what is my business? That too, I have forgotten. The birds are singing mightily. It is peaceful in the kitchen. Spring. The windows are open. My mouth is sour from coffee and cigarettes, but there is no one to kiss or speak intimately with, so who cares. I feel less than interesting. I need a manicure. There are so many things I should be doingi nstead of sitting here waiting. All good things come to those who wait. That will be my excuse for indolence. A furry bedfellow. A soft kiss on the nape of the neck. A pinched nipple. Oh lord, I am descending. Into lustful reverie I go. Shall I allow it?

I am in a pasture dotted with black and white cows. Grazing. I am not grazing. The cows are grazing. I want to make that perfectly clear. Although, perhaps it would be more interesting if I were grazing too. I have been dumped, or to be more exact, deposited on the meadow by, dare I say it, aliens. It is the middle of the night and we are under a full moon. I know that cows are not let out to graze in the midnight hours, but these are special circumstances. Special cows. I don’t know what the aliens did to me, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they forced me to smoke a joint or something, judging by the way I feel. Anyway, the moon is talking to me. Moon talk is so hard to put into words, translate into English. It is loaded more with feeling and less with literal sense. Certainly it lacks all common sense and that is good. I should tell you that I get the distinct impression that the moon wants me to graze for the sole and specific purpose of ingesting chlorophyll, the way a lover might casually pass you a green chiclet. I feel ridiculous about it, but I comply, reluctantly, not wanting to offend the moon.

I have done sillier things, more thoughtless things, so I console myself, defend my behavior, my one-night-stand of grazing, by telling myself, and now you, that my action was not performed without thought. I thought first and then I grazed. That made it and makes it a little easier to swallow. I just hope my husband wasn’t peeking out the bedroom window through the venetian blinds. I don’t think I could ever explain myself, my grazing, to him in a way that he could accept or understand. He would never see me in the same light, or think of me in the same way, again. I would certainly lose credibility. I assume he was not a spectator that night, if he was, it hasn’t affected him one way or another, at least, not that I can determine.

What the moon said: “Oh, Mary, Mary, Mary, my sweet little Juniper Berry, why must you be so perverse? Resisting what you should embrace, embracing what you should resist. Somehow you have restructured your senses. Mistaken pain for pleasure. Run from joy. Sought out fear. You must return to your natural state. Trust your heart. Free your soul.”

On paper, in English, what the moon said is condensed to a few lines, a short paragraph. But it wasn’t that way as I lay belly down in the pasture, soaking it all in. Time slowed down to such an extent that it almost seemed to cease. Each minute seemed endless as the moonalogue dripped slowly into my consciousness. I still, on occasion, drift into a daze and pick up on, or receive pieces of it that were not fully absorbed out there in the pasture. I refer to these extant pieces as M & M’s and assume they were planted in my brain at intervals. Every once in a while, one of them will melt into meaning and rise to the surface. God only knows how many little pellets remain. It could be a lifetime supply. The messages seem always to be preceded by a hot flash with a coinciding loss of equilibrium. These sensations used to frighten me. Now I take them in stride and wait patiently for their meaning. It could take minutes, hours, days. It could take weeks. I never know what to expect or when to expect it. People often remark that I look preoccupied. I can’t imagine why.

Two thoughts have just occurred to me. I doubt very much that they are M & M’s because I have entertained these thoughts many times prior to my pasture experience. The two are related, as most, if not all, of my thoughts are in one way or another. Number one: What makes me believe that someone, anyone, would be interested in my thoughts? Number two: What makes me believe that someone, anyone would not be interested in my thoughts? I will now explore these two thoughts. On second thought, maybe I won’t. I might, and I might not. We’ll see. It all depends. I’m not sure, at this point, what it depends on. I feel strange and confused. Badly depressed. I think my imagination is playing tricks on me. I am being tortured by demons. Wait. Let’s not jump to conclusions. Maybe I am being tortured by demons. It's all in the inflection. I will try to compose myself and then we will see. I must have pushed the wrong button and let the little bastards out oftheir cage. They get such pleasure watching me squirm. They would love me to think I’m psychotic. I know better. I am beyond psychotic, and not many people can say that with complete authority. I will return to this writing, this putting down of thoughts, after I round up all the little demons and herd them back into the O.K. Corral. Yippy ti yi yei git along little dogies, it's your misfortune and none of my own, Yippi ti yi yei git along little dogies ……

A long hot bath has helped me to regain my composure. Notice, I do not confuse or equate composure with sanity. My sanity is intact. My composure, on the other hand, comes and goes, controlled by any of a long list of factors, none worth mentioning at this point. Long hot baths are my primary method of rustling up the dogies. Naps are good too, when time permits. Love is excellent, but sometimes hard to come by. Now, where was I before the onslaught? I was in some wishy-washy place, indecisive about a couple of related thoughts and whether or not I should explore them. I think I must. I think I can, will, should.

Why would someone, anyone, be interested in my thoughts? What makes me believe my thoughts are so entertaining? I’ll tell you, these questions have me stumped. I wish I could come up with some good answers. I’m afraid I’ll have to give these questions a lot more thought before I attempt to answer them in any self-satisfactory way. And what is the point of providing answers to please anyone other than myself? It would be ludicrous. Maybe I have unwittingly answered my questions without even trying. I think I have. Yes, by golly. By Jove, I think she’s got it! I don’t give a frying fruck what anyone thinks about my thoughts. Yeah, that’s it. My own fascination is all I am really interested in, and I don’t feel the least bit shy about saying that I find my thoughts to be absolutely fascinating, not to mention that they serve a good purpose. I put them down on paper in order to know where I’ve been, where I am, and where I’m going so I won’t get lost, or to be more exact, so good thoughts won’t get lost or buried. I’m a strategist you see. A thought strategist. You can’t get anywhere in life with out a strategy. Oh lord, I think I’m getting somewhere. I’m getting warm.

I feel so close to the concept I lost a while back. The treasure I lost because of an idiot phonecall. It may have been an M & M ,judging by the warm feeling that has just come over me. I think it has something to do with judgment. Fi, fi, fo, fum, I smell cow manure. The concept that splits into two equal parts and extends into many fields, especially medicine and psychology. A way of judging, diagnosing. Maybe. Maybe. A measuring device. A system to ascertain whether or not a thing is real. A reality litmus test. Yes. That’s it. But, and this is such a big but, what is the concrete nature of this something, this idea, this thought? I keep getting the picture of an egg being cracked open. Uh oh, I hear my husband’s truck pulling into the driveway. I must stop. Interruptions. How I detest them. I must put this notebook away and pretend to be doing something domestic. Something worthwhile, like polishing the toaster.

Sometimes there are no thoughts worth thinking, and sometimes there are far too many. Especially when time is limited and you have to choose one from the many. Especially also, when the many which have floated to the surface, if thoughts indeed float, are excruciatingly painful. Oh god, what a beautiful child, so serious, so thoughtful, so intelligent, so potentially insane. No, please, let’s not say that about her. Let’s say instead that there exists the possibility of her becoming disturbed. And let us try to nip it in the bud. When she asks us a question, let us give her the truth. When she perceives reality, let us not deny it. Instead, let’s pat her on the back and say, “Good job, kid.” Why should we hide reality from her? Why indeed?

by Leo

July 2, 2012

Fear Itself

Once you open the door to fear, you’ve got it forever. Its quick little feet follow you around, and its silent fingers poke and prod (enter) your most private places. You learn to live with palpitations, head cocked, neck strained – on the alert always, ready for fight or flight at the slightest provocation. This boogeyman, this raunchy intruder, eats away at your guts from morning to night. You live on antacids and fennel tea. You try to stay away from the little white pills that the doctor prescribes, but fear is addictive, and sooner or later you’re on the floor with the bastard on top of you, pinned to the linoleum, with dust in your hair, terror in your eyes, and prayer, like a cold stone on the numb lips of your dry mouth.

The real self turns the radio off, depressed by the change of weather and the diminishing prospects of divinity. Fair thee well Saint Clementine or whoever the hell you were twenty minutes ago. Nausea accompanies the disfiguration, and despair takes over when desire drops the reins. One can never be sure when a coup will erupt; when a checkered dress will become suddenly criminal and an innocent green ribbon found guilty of blatant joy and ripped from the hair. Then, it’s back to the camp; where fingers cling to a wire fence and eyes look out on flat, flirtatious nothing.

The decree is this: that body and soul be kept apart at all times and at any cost, lest the two should get together and accomplish something magnificent. No joy shall be born here on this battlefield; only mourning, chastisement, and bewilderment; only dilemma, and preponderance of fear. Fear is the ugliest phantom of all. Perhaps the only one.

by Leo


Radio Alphabet (by Leo)

Radio SOLO
I fed the cat
and I fed the kids
and I fed the man
who fathered them.
Then I went to the attic
where I used to have fits
but now have a media blitz

I sit on the floor
under a light bulb
enjoying my coffee
two feet away from
a big pile of bat shit
lamenting the loss of my wits
Oh, my beautiful brain's on the fritz

Isn’t it lovely
to be so removed from
that thing called civilization.
And isn’t it lovely
to be all alone
broadcasting your own
private radio station.

Unusual signals
of unknown origin
stream through the rafters
and fall to the floor
Intelligence services?
What are they after?
I’m not sure any more.

There’s no indication
that I can determine
that I am a cutout, an asset, a mole
Where does this
Radio Alphabet come from
What planet? What nation?
What pole?
by Leo

Unusual signals
are shortwave radio stations of uncertain origin that broadcast streams of numbers, words, or phonetic sounds. Although officially there is no indication of their origin, radio hobbyists have determined that many of them are used by intelligence services as one-way communication to agents in other countries. For other examples, see The Conet Project.

Numbers stations are shortwave radio stations of uncertain origin. They generally broadcast voices reading streams of numbers, words, letters (sometimes using a radio alphabet), tunes or morse code.

The voices that can be heard on these stations are often mechanically generated. They are in a wide variety of languages, and the voices are usually women's, though sometimes men's or children's voices are used.

Evidence supports popular assumptions that the broadcasts are channels of communication used to send messages to spies. This has not been publicly acknowledged by any government that may operate a numbers station, but in one case, Cuban numbers station espionage has been publicly prosecuted in a United States federal court.[1]

Numbers stations appear and disappear over time (although some follow regular schedules), and their overall activity has increased slightly since the early 1990s. This increase suggests that as spy-related phenomena, they were not unique to the Cold War.

Espionage or spying is a practice of gathering information about an organization or a society that is considered secret or confidential without the permission of the holder of the information. It is also the use of spies in a war. Unlike other forms of intelligence collection disciplines, espionage involves accessing the place where the desired information is stored, or accessing the people who know the information and will divulge it through some kind of subterfuge.

A spy is a person employed to obtain such secrets. Within the US intelligence community, asset is a more common usage. A case officer, who may have diplomatic status (i.e., official cover or non-official cover) supports and directs the human collector. Cutouts are couriers who do not know the agent or case officer, but transfer messages. In larger networks, the organization can get quite complex, with many sophisticated methods to avoid detection.

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