(design/edited Leo Edelstein and Yanni Florence)
from the Pirate issue


Discharged from the U.S. Army 'disability' pension and a loose flap of skin over the hole they bored in my skull. Don't tell me they didn't plant one of those silicon chips inside. The size of a louse. I'm dead meat but not that dead. Sons of bitches, it's not just the cruelty toward their fellow man (and I am a white man, a Caucasian) but the failure to respect. That's what pisses us off. You're a Pvt. First Class all your life. It's all rank. Wore a suit, a tie, dark socks to explain my case at the VA. Bitch with a silver whistle the size of a thimble around her neck she went out into the corridor to blow. Didn't I hear it? Escaped down the fire escape, fell, broke my leg in two places. The VA claimed no record of me! Would not pay. Refused. My own father, in his underwear, was held up to public ridicule. Also my mother, who was in the courtroom the time I had a jury trial, her diabetes made her sleepy and when she nodded off the judge yelled at the bailiff to clear that woman out of his court like she was trash. It's been passed down in the family. Now I'm an old bastard myself. I thrive on adversity. This preacher in the St. Anthony's shelter trying to tell us what's God's love. Suffer little children. That shit. So I hauled off and punched the asshole in the gut. Tell me about love, asshole. I got no love to spare I said. Tell that to the babies stuffed down the toilets! Later somebody said I was speaking a language sounded like German. Some foreign language. I couldn't make any sense of it and naturally supposed it was erroneous, then afterward realized it was the silicon chip responsible. Still, the VA would not pay. I put my fingers plus thumbs in the flame on a gas stove at my sister's to alter the prints. It's what you are driven to in this nation. Served three months at Red Bank, for passing checks. Served fourteen months at Jackson, checks and 'resisting arrest.' Meaning a plainclothes cop mashes your face against a wall, bounces your head off a urinal never once explaining who he is, or why. Knees you in the kidneys so you're pissing blood for a week. The other time, I was staying at the Hotel Niagra, paying by the week, and they called the cops claiming the room was damaged, fist-holes in the walls and the toilet crapped up. Again, escaped out rear window. Learned Momma had passed away, while I was in Red Bank. No word. Many a man will regret that omission. 1975-88 many travels. You must keep in motion to block surveillance. They use a big dish satellite out of Washington D. C. The FBI. Your travels and your thoughts are gauged, then it's on microfilm. You can thwart it if you know how. A woman promised she'd remove the chip in my brain with a tweezers. I believed her. I am a fool for pretty women, I don't care what color they are. Took all my cash and shoes. My Bible, with Momma's snapshot taken in her casket. Somebody said, that's disrespect, the snapshot of Momma was a double exposure with some girls on a beach in teeny-weeny bathing suits like they wear now, but that was an accident. Also, I didn't know those girls. I didn't touch a one of them no matter what they said. And I'm not going back to the hospital: try me. Hosed down the drain. Crucified. I climbed on the table in the cafeteria before any of the orderlies could stop me. I spoke of the capitalist system leeching a man white, then spitting him out like rind. It causes the death of a noble woman like my Momma before her time. It causes a woman pure-hearted like my first wife to grab hold of a crying baby, our mutual son, and thump him on the floor so both his knees shatter. Crucify me, that's all that's left. Sixteen days in a straitjacket, isolation. Covered in my own shit. You think a man's going to forget? Discharged, went to St. Paul staying with my sister. Came home one night, the fire trucks were in the street, the cops. A claim of 'suspected arson.' All my clothes, personal papers, I.D., my Bible and precious possessions. No justice. The insurance company claimed 'act of God.' My own sister betrayed me, a telephone call. Like Judas. She said, Oh I do not want to do this, but -. My first wife said those same words, Oh I do not want to do this, but -. Then they slide the needle in. Then they slice you open like a fish, gut you clean. Escaped to Gary, Indiana. Worked six weeks for U. S. Steel, melt shop. The product was I-beams. Vision in right eye permanently impaired. Lungs riddled with steel filings. The union busted me for 'false I.D.', called in actual cops in their hire. Beat me, left me for dead. The man whose union card I had was me, but the VA claimed otherwise. A married woman took me in. Angel of Mercy, she was. Met at the dog races where, it's strange, it's a fact of life, people are undersized mostly - they are not big, nor tall like me. She was married but her husband was missing two years. 'Suspect of foul play.' It was a mixed neighborhood. Things happened by broad day. Tampa, Florida. Roaches big as your fist. Trailer park. Next door, guy had a .45 caliber Commander. The FBI was on my trail picking up signals I guess from the chip. I never touched that gun. No prints of mine. Cops came to question me after the robbery but had to let me go. I'm legally blind I said. I can't find my way to the fucking toilet I said. Later I was in Houston, Texas. Saw this plaster-of-paris Jesus Christ on a cross, fucker must have been twelve feet high. Scared the shit out of me. His heart exposed, and His eyes. A year later, in the St. Anthony's shelter for men, I was beaten mercilessly for preaching the truth. I don't mean Jesus, I mean the rational mind. I mean Jesus in his physical torment. They kicked me out of the shelter for drunk-and-disorderly. Taking no mind for how I was pissing blood. So I woke up under this bridge, and these kids came along. These kids beating up on bums, especially white guys. Down in Houston the kids'll snort anything - aerosol spray cans, paint thinner. They'll do anything for a buck. I said, Here's all the cash in my pocket plus my shoes, here's nails, a hammer, you know what to do. There was an old billboard next to the bridge, sign for Coor's Beer but it's all torn off, tattered. I said, Right there, see, my feet can rest on that ledge. They were eyeing me like some old fart. Rail-tailed hair, eyes like somebody's thumb had been gouging them, mouths like dogs grinning. They were spics, and a nigger or two. Or all light-skinned niggers. You can't tell their eyes - a ten-year-old's the size of his own daddy. Estrogen from red meat and eggs does it. They're all on welfare. Our tax money is fatting them up. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, I said. They were wondering what to do then one of them yells, Gimme the beat! And the little fucks jump me laughing in my face, take my money and my shoes leave me bleeding on the ground. Came north, then. To St. Paul. Fortunately, the VA had me stamped overseas dead which is the deadest kind of dead meat. SO no trace. Born here 58 years ago but no trace. Arrested vagrancy, drunk-and-disorderly, stripped me naked and forced me into a gas shower. Claiming lice, but I know better. Authorities deny any such showers in the United States, but those who survive know a different story. Once, a mobile TV crew came along interviewing people for Fourth of July, what are your plans for Fourth of July they were asking, tried to avoid me but I stepped right up, I took the microphone out of this bleached-blonde's hand and started saying how I had been stripped naked and forced to endure a gas shower in that very city. It was clear public protest but nothing came of it. Freedom of speech and of assembly in the United States gets you nowhere. A kick in the ass. But I was North now among friends. Even the niggers here talk better. Woke up under this bridge where there's laughter echoing up under the girders. All these kids come along. Five of them. I figure they're looking for me, and I'm sure looking for them. I'm a tough old bastard, I'm skinny but I'm tough. Born here 58 years ago did I say that? I got these rusted twisty nails and a hammer and I'm pointing up to the railroad trestle where there's some T-beams like a cross. Here's my cash and my shoes I'm telling these kids. My signet ring. It's actual gold. It has an onyx, and gold. The kids are saying, Man, you're crazy. Cutting their eyes at one another, giggling. I smelled the beer they were belching. White kids, too. I said, I was talking kind of loud, I said, It's you or somebody else who comes along here next, you want my money or don't you? Standing there scuffing their feet. Little grins passing among them like minnows. They're hot to do it, but they're scared. Thinking, What the fuck is this old guy after? I started yelling at them. I swung the hammer in the air. Saying My kidneys are leaking blood. In my left eye there's a blaze of light like a burning fuse. Jesus showed the way, He's the way, the truth, and the light. King of the assholes. Every human baby comes into the world thinks he's hot shit then one fine day wakes up to the fact he's shit. They're looking at me, and I'm looking at them. Watch out, man, they're saying. I'm saying, Look my Momma loved me just like every other Momma loves her baby, or ought to. Hugged and kissed and one day I was crying hard like a baby will and she picked me up under the arms not knowing what she did (for so a woman will, and I am not one to doubt) and thumped me on the floor, hard. Both knees broken and never been the same since. Legs bowed like a chicken wishbone. The Mayor of St. Paul singled me out of a crowd, a crippled kid riding his old man's shoulder all hot and exited in the face, it's V-J Day August '45 and the Mayor is being driven through the streets of the poor in his fancy black limousine like a hearse, he sees me, grins and gives me the V-sign, that happy day never to come again to these United States. O.K., asshole, you think you are singled out for a special destiny but it comes to this: a rotting railroad trestle, rusty bent nails, a claw hammer out of somebody's pickup truck. Here's my money, you little fucks, I tell them. Get busy.