Active Shooter Suppression System

Wide eyed
Screaming 
Short breath
Shaking hands
Pulls
Fluorescent green
Lever on the 
Wall nearby.
 
Sticky white foam
Explodes out
From pipes
Hanging bolted 
Beneath the 
Fire suppression
Sprinkler system
Lines. 
 
Coughing
Banging into furniture
Scrambling away
Blood trickling by
Fresh, jagged, 
Bullet holes
On the wall.
 
Now he struggles
To reload.
 
The thick foamy
Foggy haze
Clings to him 
Hard to pull
His hands away
From the magazine. 
Coughing.
 
Footsteps
Heavier on the
Sticky ground
Harder to see down 
The goo speckled
Optics.
 
Greasy wavy hair
Plastered to his
Face.
 
Black clad officers
Fly down the hallway.
 
He clicks the 
Trigger 
Awkwardly, 
Laboriously pulling his finger 
Away, sticky release,
Trying to pull again, 
Missing, 
Bullets falling, 
Into the tiled floor, 
And cement walls,
 
As he is smashed apart 
Splattered red scrambled egg yolks  
Blown out of him by police 
Assault rifles. 
 
Metro crime scene
Cleanup contractors
Pressure wash 
And mop their
Way through the
Building
Reloading their
Canisters with
Green soapy fluid
Quickly hand drying
Behind them
To avoid
Water
Damage. 
 
Federal officials reviewing proposal
For mandatory installation of the system
Sternly click through graphs. 
 
Red lines show normal killing rate 
Per unit of time the shooter is active. 
Blue lines parallel beneath the red,
Show the encumbrance system adjusted killing rate.
 
The gap,
Statistically, 
Are the lives saved. 

**The point here is, in addition to preventative tactics like better policing, gun control, and access to mental health services, why are we not considering methods to help mitigate damage onsite?

I’m not trying to put this out as an actually correct solution, though I guess it might be. It’s just a starting point.

The hypothetical tool is trying to stop activity quickly. So how do you do that? Is it something earsplitting? Is it foam? Is is tear gas?

This story focuses on foam delivered like the fire suppression chemicals that come out of the pipes you see in public buildings:

Atlanta Fire Sprinkler System Installation | Fire Systems ...
Source: https://firesystems.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/AdobeStock_170793608-1024×683.jpeg

The story is supposed to be disturbing, because installing a system like this is acknowledging the possibility of this occurring much more directly than gun control or mental health initiatives do. Any time you look up and see the pipes, you remember that it is a possibility.

The question this is supposed to leave you with is, why would we let squeamishness prevent us from preventing deaths?

New Normals #1: Thomas Verdone Jr.

Today in History 2055: 
America elects its first Kommon Kink Kult member as president. 

A far cry from JFK, America’s first Middle Catholic president, Sunfox broke through entrenched stigma against so called, New Religions, by focusing all the meaningful aspects of his platform on popular manufacturing reforms. 

Born Thomas Verdone Jr., and known by his political fursona “Sunfox Blazeheart,” he was one of America’s most infamously authoritarian leaders, and surprisingly, also one of its most well regarded. 

Sunfox was the son of a wealthy ocular modifications manufacturer in New Jersey City, NJ. He was homeschooled by his mother, quickly proving himself a biomedical engineering prodigy. His early aptitude for corporate management as taught by his father was just as startling. 

At just 13 years old, he had became America's most prominent pro-kink acceptance organizer. Sunfox rocketed to stardom at the Anthrocon 2033 Psycho Pup Show, when him and other young church members unveiled a "counter-sit-in," where they streamed the imprisonment of senior furry community leaders in Sunfox's Hudson Crest apartment while making Tik2 Tok2 campaign clips from the pulpit. 

Purportedly also one of the most influential Power Subs in NAMBLA, critics of his organizer career argue that adopting a fursona was an intentionally bland choice used to help garner non-kink community support. Critics have also argued, with some support, that the Anthrocon 2033 sit in was supported by NAMBLA insurgents who used the furry community's inherent anonymity to sow chaos within the crowd.

After entering office at 36, Sunfox took an extremely aggressive stance on body modification device consumer protection. 

His militarization of safety regulation culminated with the creation of the Production Oversight Officer Corps - Hotel Company, a counter-corpo special operations unit under the president's direct, and sole control.

POOCH is noted for live beaming the killing of almost 6,000 corporate security officers, and streaming the torture of nearly 250 factory floor managers. 

Sunfox personally controlled some of POOCH's most infamous operations from the White House basement Rave Garden, surrounded by his raucous supporters in full, rainbow, KKK gear.

Due to security concerns, these so called, "ScRE-Mixes," could rarely be shown live but when those that did air received record high viewership and motile engagement ratings. 

Even after his suicide, echoes of his cult-like popularity have manifested with the widespread wearing of toe bands, CasualLeashes™️, knuckle tattoos, and eyelid tattoos in Sunfox’s signature Gucci-Gold-Tiger-Stripe pattern.

**Notes after:

Going through this imagine the techno chaos of the Cyberpunk 2077 world. The language, body modifications, and weakened nation states.

“Kommon Kink Kult,” is based on anti-racist KKK art projects like this one: https://news.artnet.com/exhibitions/paul-rucker-rewind-york-college-1114256

“New Jersey City, NJ,” is a play on New New York from Futurama, but with a better flow of words. It almost sounds like a light joke from Idiocracy where people are confused that it’s Jersey City instead of New Jersey City, because it’s in New Jersey, not Jersey.

Anthrocon is one of the furry community’s longest running and most important conventions. Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthrocon

During the counter-sit-in they’re basically making selfie Tik Toks with the crowd, sitting in the place of the people they ousted.

NAMBLA is a real organization, it’s the North American Man Boy Love Association. It is horrific as the name sounds. Now can you even imagine what it would mean to be a “Power Sub” in that organization. Link about NAMBLA to prove this is real: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_American_Man/Boy_Love_Association

The NAMBLA part is inspired by the South Park parody of them, which is as entertaining as it is horrific.

“Counter-corpo” is another direct Cyberpunk reference where people aligned with corporations are called “corpos.”

The White House Rave Garden is yet another renovation of the White House basement, where once Nixon’s bowling alley was infamous, 2056 is going crank the dial up a bit.

White House Renovations
https://c7.staticflickr.com/6/5836/31324102046_3115717f4f.jpg

The ScRE-Mix is mashing together an image of Obama ordering a strike from the Situation Room and a disgusting rave. Here Sunfox is doing truly brutal things from a situation so absurd it almost stretches our imagination. Right now our vision of being in control, whether the stately hero, or the criminal mastermind, is that they’re doing things calmly. Sunfox is Heath Ledger’s Joker with a dynamic political career. Seizing power by riding the waves of political passions.

In researching this peice I went through an extensive knuckle tattoos blog. Which was more interesting than you’d think: http://www.knuckletattoos.com

Rocking Cars

Ethiopian and Somali
Midwest megalopolis kids 
Harassed while commuting
To school, 
Meet at summer coding camp,
And study traffic law. 
 
Dads downstairs laugh about 
Times past in dusty cities 
Alerted by screams
Beating thieves in the street 
While fat, bribed, police sit at the station. 
 
Low-income high school teacher
Americorps volunteer weighs in. 
 
100 dollar traffic fines for Audis
Barreling through crosswalks, 
Complained out of. 
 
Anonymous, free, “Rock ‘Em” 
Hits iTunes store. 
 
Rocking cars gets mainstream
As angry SmartCar passengers,
Pedestrians, and 
Guys watching their Mazdas from bar patio seats
Play on ordinance packed
Interactive make-a-driving scenario game 
And know the driver was wrong. 
 
Pockets of rocks 
Exploding righteous fury 
As cars drive away. 
 
Nosy neighbors 
And office workers passing though parking lots 
Surprised to see whose car 
Is peppered with little dents 
 
Or maybe not, 
So surprised. 

*This is one of those tough stories that feels like it is going to occur, but wouldn’t be pleasant to have happen.

The two perspectives, the very vulnerable pedestrian walking through the crosswalk, and the heavily armored but often oblivious driver, are irreconcilably at odds. I didn’t get a crash course on pedestrian walking rules, other than to not “jay walk,” whatever that means. And I’m not an expert in traffic laws. So it’s hard to know when what you’re doing is actually, definitely, correct. I imagine there is some demand for an app like this, and I imagine that if people felt they were definitely in the right, they might lash out a bit.

A happier alternative might be to learn how to American Sign Language sign, “Thank you!” to cars that let you walk by, but that’s a tough sell.

Manifest Destiny, a Continuous Project

Land grabbers barrel toward 
The heartland. 
 
American lawmakers
And unhappy urban masses
Look deep in their hearts
And ask if
Taking away someone’s land
Is really so extreme? 
 
Or something wholly natural. 
Lions chasing off cheetahs.
Coyotes chase off buzzards,
If you don’t use it as well, 
Then we’ll come for it. 
 
The electoral college
In part
Asks us to care for
The enormous expanse
Of America. 
 
We trust Mr. Wyoming
With that extra voting power
Because he is supposed to
Use his first-hand knowledge,
His personal investment,
To help us decide
How to help the land. 
 
Mr. Wyoming,
Oklahoma
Nebraska,
Kansas,
And all their friends 
Grew big monocultures
Let the topsoil blow off,
Flooded rivers
And down the way,
Our gulf with nitrogen inputs. 
Then they voted 
To gut the EPA 
So they could do it some more. 
 
Fewer and fewer people
In rural towns.
More meth
And opioids,
And decaying main streets,
And apathy. 
 
Less and less
Exciting ideas.
New businesses shuttering.
Farmers conglomerating,
Using financial tools to
“Survive” at scale,
While close ups are starving. 
 
More leases.
Farming contracts,
Hoping for oil booms,
Settling for 
Incompetent wildcatters when
The hope fades.
Animals that aren’t theirs. 
Fields full of 
Anonymous Black Angus cattle. 
 
Divided land holdings
Between splintered
Absentee owner grandchildren. 
 
When the Feds legislate 
National,
Wide reaching
Adverse possession standards,
And open the flood gates. 
 
Tent cities go on the march. 
 
A great Eastward expansion
Hacking clearings into
Thickets of brush
And utilizing the property
At least as much as 
The out of state
Shreveport refinery owner
Who hasn’t visited in 8 years. 
 
Couples living their van lives
Start parking.
Feverishly reading
Survival guides,
Permaculture blogs,
Articles on cabin building
And meeting the deadlines 
For their work on the road
Tech day jobs. 
 
Before and after
Soil samples
Pictures
Productivity assessments
Statements of reliance
Statements from new neighbors
Attesting to how they’ve
Improved the community. 
 
The Range Wars are on again. 
 
As urban outcasts 
Step timidly into small town churches.
Farmers markets pop up,
Tractor Supply stocks soar,
Tents get set on fire,
Van lifers shot in their van,
Before anyone saw they were
The new neighbors. 
 
Little plots of sweet peas,
Red clover cover crop,
Growing mushrooms in logs,
Selling duck eggs,
Chasing goats,
And turning weeds into teas. 
 
Legal battles,
Where local judges
Order removal
As a matter of course
Until the suit is resolved. 
 
No loans.
More bartering.
Who do you sell to
When it’s just you.
 
Opioid rates don't decline, 
But the surveys are harder. 
Shooting heroin tents, 
Around the fire, 
Staring at a clear night sky. 
 
Too little cash, 
When there’s so much bartering.
The drug dealer’s van 
Travels up dirt roads,
And only takes cash,
And the ranch house over there,
Has cash. 
 
Federal agency decisions
Arrive by email.
Citing soil health,
Knowledge,
Constructive use,
Good relations with
Their neighbors
Who swore by affidavits
That they lived nearby. 
 
The land is theirs,
In trust,
For 2 years.
Will need to resubmit 
Evidence of improvement. 
 
2 more hard years, 
Only for the crazy, 
The creative, 
The listless, 
The rootless, 
The people that, 
Better or worse, 
Made America the first time. 

*This piece is about my property class talking about adverse possession, indigenous land reform efforts I read about in Mexico, and the tent cities that popped up during the 2008 financial crisis.

Adverse possession is an interesting and exciting concept in law (in the US). The typical requirements for someone to gain title to land through adverse posession are:

  1. Actual possession: (Happened in this story) Physically occupying the land, meaning at least the “ordinary use to which the land is capable and such as an owner would make of it.” [Singer (2017) at pg. 293, citing Smith v. Hayden, 772 P.2d 47, 55 (Colo. 1989)].
  2. The possession is open and notorious: (Happened in this story) Some occupancy that is sufficient to put a reasonable land owner on notice that you are occupying the land. They don’t have to actually see it, as long as they reasonably should have. ***LOTS of state by state variation apparently. Singer (2017) at pg. 294.
  3. It is exclusive: (Happened in this story) Means that the person occupied the land was using it like a true owner of the land would, and wasn’t trying to share true owner rights with another party (the true owner, or an adverse possessor who is also trying to claim the land separately from the main adverse possessor). Singer (2017) at pg. 294.
  4. It is continuous: (They were working on it in the story) A level of constant occupation that looks like was a true owner would do. For example a summer cabin an adverse possessor only occupied in the summer might qualify since that’s what other reasonable owners of that type of property in that area were doing. Singer (2017) at pg. 295.
  5. It is adverse or hostile: (Happened in this story) A non-permissive use. So if the adverse possessor was given permission to be there, it probably wouldn’t count. Singer (2017) at pg. 295. But there is a general presumption that occupying the land is non-permissive. [Singer (2017) at pg. 295 citing Robarge v. Willett, 636 N.Y.S.2d 938 (App. Div. 1996)].
  6. It is maintained for the statutory period. (They were working on it in the story)
  7. SOME states require that it happened “under color of title.” (NOT what happened in this story).
  8. SOME states require the person paid property taxes on the land.

There is also a discussion on the adverse possessors state of mind. This story focuses on what many courts, and people, would think of as the least sympathetic adverse possessors. These characters did not make an honest mistake about boundary lines or have a deed with a typo, they are basically land pirates. They are out to purposefully take land from someone else with the only moral justification being that the permaculture attempting grabbers might do a better job of using it.

A law article by Cooter & Ulen cited by that same textbook discusses an economic rationale that adverse possession “prevents valuable resources from being left idle for long periods of time.” Another law article cited by that textbook talks about why it may be more efficient to give the land to these possessors through the adverse possession doctrine instead of asking them to just buy the land. “The adverse possessor’s long term use (and improvement) of the property, combined with the rick of civil and criminal sanctions, will in many cases constitute strong prima facia evidence that the lawbreaker places high value on the property.” Peñalver (2010). And Judge Richard Posner says that comparing the value an absentee landowner seems to attach to the property, to the value the adverse possessor who is working hard on the land seems to attach to it, we should award the land to the adverse possessor because, “their combined utility will be greater if the adverse possessor is allowed to keep the property.” Posner (2014).

If those arguments sound strange to you, or unpleasant, then it is worth considering the kinds of arguments made during the 1800s advocating for a manifest destiny and westward expansion.

Peñalver, E. M., & Katyal, S. (2010). Property outlaws: How squatters, pirates, and protesters improve the law of ownership. Yale University Press.

Posner, R. A. (2014). Economic analysis of law. Wolters kluwer law & business.

Singer, J. W., Berger, B. R., Davidson, N. M., & Penalver, E. M. (2017). Property Law: Rules, Policies, and Practices. Wolters Kluwer Law & Business.

Are those citations poorly done? Yes. Is this a poetry blog? Yes.

Body Pockets

Subcutaneous 
Modifications
Make for
Mild party tricks
And offer
Day at the beach
Convenience. 
 
Straight edge dads
In striped Polo’s
Book appointments online
For piercing parlors
With good Yelp reviews. 
 
Cheery skinsmiths
Greet out of place
Artisan class
Lawyers,
Computer scientists,
Pilots, 
At the door.
 
Sitting on a 
Dentists chair
A man in flame scrubs
Whose face is
Pimpled with metal
Hands the esquire a 
Plastic rectangle
To put him at ease 
And incite questions. 
 
The certified 
Lead Minor Surgical Installments Tech
Is ready to
Rapid fire answer. 
 
Heavy duty clear
Zip-Loc plastic bag
With no Zip-Loc 
On top
The size of an 
Efficiency wallet 
Nervously
Rubed between the 
Middle and 
Forefinger
Of his fat
Soft 
Hands.
 
Safety? 
Infection rates? 
Removability? 
Special care? 
Very safe
Very low almost none
Very removable some scarring
If you plan to become a
Body builder
Let us know,
 
Otherwise
Wash and dry
Like everything else. 
 
Local anesthetic to
The lawyer's left thigh
An incision.
Peels yellow fat and 
Carefully parts
Muscle tissue. 
 
Measures twice
That it is perfectly
Deep
And wide.
 
Pulls a new plastic wallet
Suspended in antiseptic
From the pink 
Drawers behind
The patient’s 
Reclining polyester chair. 
 
Carefully slides
It into the
Incision
With forceps
Very much
Going with the
Flow of the
Muscle to
Reduce irritation. 
 
An omnipotent 
Observer
At a club
2 days later
Would see
Flame Scrubs 
Now in 
Bold clubbing
Button up
Pulling a
Dime bag of 
Cocaine 
From his 
Left bicep. 
 
An otherwise
Unassuming girl
In the bathroom 
Pulls a 
Baggie of molly
From a pouch 
In her cheek 
That she 
Mouthwashes daily. 
 
An addiction 
Recovery ally
Worriedly searching
Through the 
Human cars crashing
Vigorously tongues 
The scar in his mouth 
Where his
Own little pouch
Used to be.

*This piece was largely inspired by the CyberPunk 2077 gameplay trailer released last year. I wrote it as a way to think about light body modifications that take a step away from the aesthetic value of piercings and start to move towards more utilitarian consumers. 

I wanted it to have the gross feeling that I think watching the ripper doc cut into V’s arm does in the video. Something unsettling, but that you know is useful. It doesn’t feel useful to you, but useful to the character. I don’t want a surgically implanted pocket, and I don’t want someone to rip my eye out and install a more advanced one that links up to the world around me, but I can see some value in them. 

CyberPunk 2077 Trailer: (48min, an absolutely amazing video, should be nominated for an Oscar) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjF9GgrY9c0

The National Defense

*Warning: Politically charged and doesn’t have the same Ideas-at-the-Center approach.

Militia Men 
Making an America 
Safer from
Foreign Powers. 
 
6 character passwords and 
No Facebook privacy settings.
Vote so kids can get shot
By angrier other kids.
Vote to raise
Maternal mortality rates.
Speeding home from a bar
A little over the limit.
In for another preventable 
Disease surgery.
Shooting endangered birds 
And cats. 
Training in woods 
They let burn down.
 
Fat and 
Tall and 
Pale and 
Bloody red and
Jaundiced yellow 
Flushed face 
Screaming.  
Pounding books
That they haven’t read.
So excited
To prop up an 
Atheist king. 
Even McCarthy 
Would throw those
Fancy auto driving,
Ranting about struggles 
They don’t face, 
Morally poor, 
Apparatchiks 
Out. 
 
The militia
Hiding in your home.
Holding the village 
At night when the 
Americans aren’t looking.
Rancid sweat smelling 
Camouflage denim
Terrorists
Carrying AKs
Say they’re 
“Just out hunting.”
Through lying smiles. 
Like they own the damn place. 
 
A safer America. 
 
Poorer.
Dying out.
Rotting and
Oppressive. 
Why worry about 
Treasure-Seeking-China 
And Always-Jealous-Russia, 
Coming to fight 
When you’ve already joined 
The Bloc.

*I think it’s interesting comparing these kinds of dangerous/strenuous activities to the previous poster people for anti-American ideals like the the Soviets, and Taliban insurgents.

Political Arguments, Over Cards

Wizards of the Coast
Tries to take 
Politically neutral stance
On blue collar
Trading card line.
 
Printed on thin
Plastic card stock
Water and wear proof
1/3 taller than
Normal playing cards.
 
First edition has 4 decks: 
Armed Resolutions - Red
Peaceful Resolutions - Blue
The Economy - Black 
The Environment - Green.
                                 
3 rows to play on
Conservative
Liberal
And 3rd parties.
 
Each card has:
A name,
A power number, 
Which row,
Counter effects,
And some have
Special abilities. 
And on it’s back
Red or Blue or
Black or Green 
To say which deck. 
 
Critics excitedly remark
This is knock-off Gwent. 
 
CD Projekt Red 
Eagerly cashing 
It’s huge check
And Wizards
Worried about 
Such a risky venture
Counter,
 
“No this is the
Real thing.
In Real Life.” 
 
Donald Trump 
And
Antonio Guterres
Red versus blue
Square off. 
 
On Racks at a 
Gas station and
Near checkout lines
At a Wegman’s
In Ithaca, NY
Mayor Svante Myrick’s
Official headshot
Sits printed on 
Strange rectangle cards.
 
You can get him, 
Individually from  
Stacks at the registers
For 99 cents, 
And taped to the 
Starter deck boxes
Hanging on flimsy
White painted
Metal shelves.
 
Blue card,
Low power,
Low controversy,
No counter-effects, 
A cool
Special effect. 
 
A special run
Only for that city.
 
No one in
Groton,
Binghamton,
Philadelphia,
New York City,
Or Miami,
Will see him
Unless their
Associate professor 
Friend mails him.
 
Families silently 
Play out
Heated arguments
With their
Controversial politician
Loaded decks.
 
Older conservative 
Parents beat their
College age nieces
With a surprising venom.
 
And those same kids
Breathe sharply in,
Reinforced, when
They win instead.
 
Bored truckers,
People at coffee shops,
Police, and
Devil’s advocate
Card shop owners
Come over to 
Stranger’s tables
And ask to play.
 
Always eager to
Show off their
Small town, or
Governor, or
Chinese card from
A conference. 
 
An official
New York Times styled 
Fact checking page
Profile of voting history and
Outsize controversy links
Builds up in 
Proportion to popularity 
As casual card fans
Ask for neutral,
Centralized,
Resolutions to
Stat related 
Disputes. 
 
A baseline to be political
Early and late
In life.
 
A child asks
His grandmother
Why people fight 
Wars 
When they could
Play checkers
Instead. 
 
I don’t know 
Honey.
 
Dialogue,
A barrier between 
It being about the cards
And over the cards
 
Easier
 
Like talking while
Driving
 
Looking out the 
Window. 

*When I played through the Witcher 3 I loved the in-game card game, Gwent. I thought it was really interesting how a lot of everyday people in that game were carrying around decks of these cards, and bartenders sold you ones to expand your deck, and characters would casually talk about the game. I thought it was interesting how characters would use a deck usually aligned with their same faction (northern merchant uses a Northern Realms deck instead of a Nilfgaard one). 

I think something like that might work in real life, and I think it would have a positive impact. I think it would A: make political discourse more calm, and B: help people stay more informed. 

A: I think the most important line is, “Like talking while driving.” That’s the goal, to turn the weirdly heated debates we get into about people we only vaguely know and only sometimes support, into more rational discussions. Use the plain numbers of a card game to thinly veil someone’s real feelings about politics. Just enough to have everybody take a breath. 

B: I think it would be cool for a game like this, with hyper limited distribution of local political cards, to keep people in touch with local politics. I think it would be interesting to compare the relative merits of your local mayor or police chief card with the national characters in your deck. Think about their importance, actively build an investment in local elections. 

****Importantly thought, I’m not convinced that this is actually the way to make this idea work. It’s objectively way too nerdy. Like basing it on The Witcher series is not how you reach the audience the poem talks about. Truck drivers, police officers, your parents, are probably not going to be super entertained by this weirdly targeted new spin on Magic the Gathering. 

The reason I posted this is because I would really appreciate some thoughts on types of games or strategies that might actually accomplish this. How do we make a game that let’s people keep political engagement in their back pocket? How can people talk about politics like they’re looking out the window while driving? 

Links:

Here is the Gwent card builder that I used for the cards above: https://custom-gwent.com

Here is a video about the aftermarket Gwent game, it is way different from the version inside the actual Witcher video game, but it’s a more exciting and shorter intro than otherwise available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QE6V8NgKLEQ

One Stop Shop Rifle

Counter protestors clash
With AR-15 holding,
Kevlar vest wearing,
Digicam helmeted,
2nd Amendment 
Open carry activists. 
 
Green t-shirts
With bold white slogans
Pulled over polos 
Carrying picket signs
And beige plastic tube blunderbusses. 
 
They maintain trigger control and keep their
PVC muzzles pointed
At the ground
In mocking mimic
Of the Mass shooter,
Militia,
Violent conspiracy theorist supporting,
Hysterically screaming, 
Morbidly unhealthy, 
Skinny crazy eyed, 
Gun rights rallyers. 
 
On a test range
A man in 5.11 tactical khakis
Holds a foot and a half long 
3.5in diameter beige tube. 
At the back is a pistol grip 
With a microphone 
And speaker
And a trigger. 
 
He pulls the trigger. 
 
The self-defense pipe
Erupts 
Throwing a wide wave of 
Pink,
Sticky,
Elmer’s Glue thick
Pepper gel
Slapping into the 
Paper silhouette target 
At 450 fps. 
 
GPS trackers
Embedded with the gel 
Like the wad
In a shotgun shell
Ripped through the paper,
Stuck to the sand 
Behind. 
 
The phone in the handle
Calls 911 when the trigger is pulled. 
An operator,
Warned ahead of time
About their test 
Jokes that
“The suspect
Doesn’t appear to be moving much. 
Hiding at the scene of the crime,
A new technique maybe?”
 
After the shot
Pink-white cloud 
Lingers over the area
Like the smoke from a musket volley. 
 
A trailer house living room
The front door open
The flimsy screen door 
Stuck open, 
Bent from being slammed 
Into the wooden banister.  
A cloud of pink-white haze lingers over 
An empty,
Quiet,
Room. 
Airborne gel settling onto a couch 
And particle board end table. 
Wave of gel covering a huge swath 
Of the wall above the couch, 
With a silhouette vaguely showing. 
 
The 911 operator is silent, 
But still recording. 
 
22 minutes later
Police pull over a truck
Driven by a man 
Covered in paste
Exuding a silent GPS signal.
In the bed
A cold, 
Small,
Body 
Hastily wrapped in a sheet, 
The sheet secured 
Against the highway winds
With hooked bungee cords. 
 
A father hands his daughter
A flare gun sized version,
The most popular version.
Not restricted on college campuses
“And because they won’t pass those…” 
He trails off about 
On campus concealed carry 
Or something, 
As she reads the instruction manual
That he has not. 
 
A voice in an alley way
Apologizes to the operator.
Thinks it was a mistake.
Not sure what he looked like,
Not sure what he was going to do. 
The police who find him
And the gun he tossed as he started to run,
And the blood under his fingernails,
Are pretty sure what
He intended to do. 
And if you trust them,
Then good to have pulled the trigger. 
 
A survivor 
Watches the protest on tv. 
Wandering when it will turn into 
A scene from The Patriot 
Blood and smoke and running 
And killing over politics. 
 
An aisle at a sporting goods store. 
Reset key, like a hex key, 
To reconnect the phone to the trigger. 
Replacement CO2 canisters, 
Replacement tubes 
With varying features, 
Better GPS, 
More intense burning, 
Wider spray. 
 
Hesitant to kill.
And hesitant to explain,
To the inevitably descending police 
Why they pulled the trigger. 
Neither side turns it into 
A battlefield. 
A stalemate for now, 
A show for the cameras. 

*This is a piece I have been working on for a long time. Years I guess. I remember seeing a picture where someone laid out all the devices from the 80s or 90s that are now inside your smartphone. I thought it would be interesting to ask if you could do the same with a self defense device. 

I also am a little tired of thinking of self defense devices in terms of little pepper sprays, tasers, and then making the huge leap to an actual firearm. What if we could find some middle ground. Where the immense power that you’re bringing to the fight is not that you will kill that person, but rather that you will sick the teeth of the justice system on them. Colored, hard to get off wave of sprayed material, immediate call to 911 so the recording of the attack can begin, a GPS location of the attack recorded, throw GPS trackers onto the target when they flee. Really bring new meaning to the “caught red handed,” turn of phrase. 

I also love the image of this as a type of anti-weapon for counter-protestors to wield against pro-gun groups. It’s something that says, “-I am uncomfortable with what you are doing. – I will not stoop to your level to show it. – I am not defenseless. – And I am willing to take responsibility for my actions.” I like the idea of these protestors having something clearly contradictory in their hands that goes beyond a picket sign. 

North Dakota Sea Bird

Unabashedly impasto oil painting
Of a pelican
Fitfully lifting out of the water. 
 
A beautiful range
Of white, feather peaks
Lifting out of the canvas.
Crashing sea foam green waves
Falling towards the viewer. 
 
The Sea Bird. 
 
The artist carries the bird
Wrapped in a plastic tarp, 
On his long hike
Through drizzling rain.
Across the flat grassland
Or rural North Dakota. 
 
His guide looks on stoically
As the artist walks up to
The pipeline.
To the pool of crude oil drippings.
 
And flings the bird in. 
 
And pulls it out. 
 
Rewraps it,
For the trek back
To the gallery. 
 
Anonymous
North Dakota Sea Bird, 2026 
Oil on canvas 
73.7cm x 92.1cm 

*This piece started as a recycling art discussion. About painting something, and throwing it into a garbage dump, and then posting on social media that the finder can have the piece. A way to ask people to engage with the act of recycling, of looking through trash like you’re looking onto at the belt at a recycling center or picking through refuse like that documentary about people living in the garbage dump in Nicaragua. 

I liked the idea of throwing away art and having that be as much a part of the painting as the work itself. 

I think it would be interesting to ask people to engage with the dangers of the Dakota Access Pipeline by tying it to the gulf spills. I like the idea of the original painting being in the very visceral impasto style where it is trying to reach out to you. I like that the original painting is an albatross lighting out of the water, and then it is covered in thick crude oil like the most iconic images of the Deepwater Horizon spill. 

I think it would be good for people to look at that painting and say why the fuck is a seabird covered in oil from somewhere land locked, and then think about the horror of the Exxon Valdez spill. So yeah, why the fuck is that bird covered in oil and what does it have to do with North Dakota.

Explanation of what an impasto painting is: https://emptyeasel.com/2007/07/26/what-is-impasto-thick-textured-paint/ 

Albatross picture I used as basis inspiration: https://pgcpsmess.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/456436.jpg 

Associated blog: https://pgcpsmess.wordpress.com/2014/04/28/white-pelicans-pelecanus-erythrorhynchos/ 

The pickers at waste disposal site in Nicaragua: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Chureca  

Dakota Access Pipeline wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dakota_Access_Pipeline 

Deepwater Horizon spill: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deepwater_Horizon_oil_spill 

Image of an oil covered pelican from Deepwater Horizon: https://blog.nwf.org/2014/05/study-estimates-around-800000-birds-killed-during-bp-oil-spill/ 

The Exxon Valdez spill: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exxon_Valdez_oil_spill 

Sticky Drippings in the Future

In the pristine, 
Stainless steel,
Imagined future,
Where did the 
Sticky drippings
In your fridge go? 
 
Today was
Somebody’s 
Impossible to grasp, 
Lasers and
Robots and
Cell phones and 
Synthetic organs,
Tomorrow. 
 
In your far-off tomorrow, 
Will you be bent over,
Cleaning the 
Black syrup drip
Of exotic fruit and 
Lab grown meat
Left there too long? 

*This piece is in response to a book that I read called Yesterday’s Tomorrow, which was a collection of illustrations of how people in the early and mid 20th century thought the 2000s would look. Also, admittedly, I thought about the episode of Spongebob where they find a time machine and everything is chrome but they’re still in the Krusty Krab.

I just think it’s interesting how the world has come so far, and is so much safer, and faster and we’re all still so so so angry. When you look at the illustrations in old science fiction magazines it seems almost like they forgot that humans will still find things to do, and be unhappy about. Your robotic, Jetson’s maid will still forget to clean some spot and you’ll try for hours to fix it and probably yell at someone over the phone, even though the voice on the phone will probably be a Google powered AI (real thing) that just sounds like a person.

The question of the poem is rhetorical. Of course we will find something to do. Of course we will scrub the little brown-black line of former fruit. Just like we feel the compulsion to clean our room. It’s a mental health exercise. It isn’t necessary. We won’t die from leaving a bed unmade and clothes all around the place. And we won’t die from the one discoloration in our kitchen. But we’ll find things to do and clean even if it is just a game we make for ourselves.

Here is a citation to the Yesterday’s Tomorrow book (because there are a lot of them): Corn, J. J., & Horrigan, B. (1996). Yesterday’s tomorrows: past visions of the American future. JHU Press.

And here is the Spongebob episode:

Article about very realistic AI callcenter operators: https://www.zdnet.com/article/googles-human-sounding-ai-to-answer-calls-at-contact-centers/

Fun video of one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXUQ-DdSDoE