Dogslandia

Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Sonnet #161

The thing about the dog is this: I knew

The moment I saw her I knew who she was:
My dog, forever, and always stay true
To that moment of insight, seen in the laws
Between the laws, into and through
For time is a jewel, not unlike a fish tank
A solid that forms from the illusion of now
And moments come, a young pup with thanks
In her heart, for both of us instantly know 
The vision of life, growing old together
Will be, always us, until all shadows
Enjoined, entwined, and meant for each other
A man and his dog, a flash through the cage walls
At cosmic truth: This is my dog, unto ends and all

Monday, February 13, 2017

Sonnet #160

The part that no one tells you about catastrophe
There is panic, sure, and shock where you don't
think this is really happening, a synechdoche
emerges out of a mental epiphany, where notes
gather in the brain, and a piece of the terror
becomes a moment of joy in awe, the bones
of joy and wonder carrying human foolish error
wrapped in a gauze of fear and pain, the stones
collapse, the levy breaks, the volcano burps
The plane is going down, down, down, also
It means something greater, it also hurts
But it means something greater, cosmic glow
enflames the knowledge of the mortal spectacle
Laugh and feel a grateful glimpse beside sepulchral

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Sonnet #159

We cannot save the bees so let's build bees
It's easier just to make a tiny robot drone
Than to change how we plant trees
Changing how we farm, we field, we home
Better just to build a better bee
It will be battery operated, require jobs
Factories to build it, refine it, see
the workers lining up to turn the knobs
And lawyers will protect the patents
And truckers will drive the bots to fields
Where salesmen set up contracts and latent
economic investments unlock on fortune's wheel
Wait for the man come round to release new bots
It's better this way, plastic buzzing dot to dot.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Sonnet #158

Make your own things if you can
The manufacturing has degraded
Nothing is meant to last. I'm jaded
I know, but it's true. The wingspan
Of the common angel has diminished
until the bones are showing under feathers
And even slightest weights are tethers
To a point where no one's ever finished
Just thrust out of the window, and pray
The wind is strong today. Make your own
If you can. It takes a plan, supplies, stay
in the house a while and dedicate ground
To build your own, unimported, harbors gray
never dropped, no management bound

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Universal Laboratory

Currently, there are stringent regulations and rules in place to protect interstellar objects from contamination by earth-based organisms, either single or multi-cellular. The scientists studying the water of Mars do not wish to contaminate the sample that might contain evidence of life with life. At some point, though, we do know what needs to happen: Colonization. The universe is a laboratory of wonder and amazement, and there comes time to start fiddling with things. You see, all known and verified life forms in the entire universe are located on one floating rock, and, more specifically, upon the smear of soil and air that skims across the surface along with the sloshing jostle of sea that slips around the top of massive tectonic plates. We are one giant volcano away, one nuclear winter, one asteroid, one broken Paris Accord away from potentially ending all life in the universe, period. Not just our own, but all life. This is the only place we know there is life.

For this reason, I question the decision to focus on interplanetary exploration without the notion of any terraforming, at all. There was serious discussion of how to terraform Venus, for example, by Carl Sagan, who suggested releasing genetically-modified bacteria into the upper atmosphere of the planet to eat through and shift the atmosphere into something more habitable to life, to permit terraforming to happen. Mars, a rock devoid of surface water, seems a poor candidate for life as we know it in our forested, grassy, suburbs. But, life is pernicious and takes root at the base of deep sea vents and at the top of the Himalayan range. The sort of life that is possible in a Martian atmosphere will emerge or not, if enough seed life is planted. I say, start throwing the life forms - the tiny ones - all over our stellar town. See what we can get moving. See what terraforming we can make happen on Venus and Mars. The multi-cellular, complex organic life that could be the legacy of earth is currently limited to just one little blue ball. Our situation on earth has never been more precarious. It's time to make sure that life has a better chance of continuing, even if it isn't us continuing.

Spread life. Terraform to support life. If it is human life, that's great for us, but the first step is getting a massive, complex eco-system of single-cellular life forms to pave the way for the massive, complex eco-system of some sort of multi-cellular, complex organisms. We cannot guarantee that they will eventually form cities, become anthropologists, and recreate our marvelous, mysterious, nihilistic dance with creation. But, where there's life, there's hope. That's what they say, anyway.

Make more life. There are planets near us that are indifferent to their status as sterile labs, and form a naked canvas for the organic fingerpainting smears of Darwin's God.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Laughing at the End of the World #2

In a national tragedy, a two-seater Cessna crashed into the Arlington Cemetery in a possible terrorist attack. President Trump personally visited the scene of the terrible crash to oversee the investigation and recovery. The Cessna pilot was found dead almost immediately. Determined to get to the bottom of the tragedy, he kept directing the rescue crew towards finding body after body. He gave his unfiltered comments to the press.

"This despicable, cowardly attack on our veterans," he said, "This loser terrorist and his entire nation of... I'm hearing Delaware? Is that a country? They love me in Delaware. I'm huge in Delaware! They elected me by a huge margin! Except for all the fraud. Well, we're building a wall around Delaware and Joe Biden is going to pay for it because of this cowardly attack. This despicable, cowardly attack on our sacred veterans. We have been digging up victim after victim, and there are hundreds, maybe thousands of veterans impacted by this radical liberal elite Cessna attack!"


Friday, January 20, 2017

Laughing at the End of the World

After the parties let out, but before Monday, when day 1 truly began for our latest president, the elderly man decided to relax like many elderly folks who don't read books. He rummaged around until he found a puzzle in a back closet. It was a tiger puzzle, and this pleased him. Tigers are winners, the best, number one. He opened the box and dumped the pieces out across the table, and started trying to put them together. Quickly he became frustrated and began cursing about losers and the worst puzzle. His daughter heard him and came in to see him.
"Hey, big guy. I hear you debating over here. You aren't on twitter, are you?"
"This loser puzzle. It is the worst, a failed puzzle. All the pieces are orange. There's no black pieces. I blame Obama for stealing all the black stripes. Those loser liberals! This puzzle is rigged against me!"
His daughter looked around at the puzzle, and the picture on the box. "That's awful, dad! Here let's get someone to throw those pieces. Look, I put some Legos in your desk so you can show the Senators a model of your Wall. Don't worry; I made a Mexican supporter buy the Legos for you."
"This tiger puzzle is rigged against me!"
Swiftly, she snatched up his phone and the puzzle box. Outside, she called a ma I over to clean the mess. The maid was of Mexican origin, and this was considered typical, as she was accustomed to being invisible in the room with the powerful man. The maid, carefully recruited by his daughter, was over forty.
The President's daughter went to the head of the kitchen and handed the box to him.
"Never ever buy Frosted Flakes, ever again," she said, "or you will be fired."

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Sonnet #157

I have a line of jars with water
Some with canes and some with roots
I change the water, wait for green shoots
To rise above the lip, sons and daughters,
Rise up through glass, and green with me,
I will sprout, too, as I am old and gathering
Barnacles in my bones and mossy smothering
Together we will lay down in a trench and see
The glory of the spring from beneath the ground
Where all that grows from us rises in bunches
And we seek all soils, all waters, unbound
Sons and daughters, you till until the hunches
Hurt, the scratches weep a little, aye, but the sound
Of songbirds in spring, the garden green lunches.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

THE FORTRESS AT THE END OF TIME

It's out now. If you pre-ordered,  I thank you. If you did not, I encourage you to do what you can to get your hands on the novel. Libraries are wonderful. Request it at yours, today!



And, if you want to help spread the word, all help is appreciated. In these noisy times, every little thing that helps art along is a good thing. Tell your friends if you like it, or if you hate it, or if you don't care either way. Talk about books. It's important to keep that part of ourselves alive as we stare down what's coming later this week, when what we always thought America was becomes something else, entirely.

Good luck, and godspeed, and eat art, make art, talk art.


Friday, January 13, 2017

I'm Around...

Recently, The Brazen Bull's Charlie Chipman was fortunate enough to get the chance to sit-down with Tor's author Joe M. McDermott, and talk about his upcoming book, The Fortress at the End of Time. Below is the transcript of the interview in its entirety. Charlie and Joe talk about everything from what is about the craft of writing that intrigues Joe to the so-called 'Dream Salesman' and their unfortunate customers. Joe's newest novel is set to be published on January 17th, 2017. To pre-order a copy of The Fortress at the End of Time click here Pre-Order The Fortress at the End of Time, and to learn more about the book, Joe, and Tor, click here Tor Publishing. Enjoy!

(CC) First, before we dive into your book, FORTRESS AT THE END OF TIME, I want to know about you, the author. Tell me about yourself, who is Joe McDermott?    

(JMM) I'm pretty sure I'm human. I'm a pudgy, middle-aged white guy from suburban Texas, mostly. 

(CC) Why writing? What is it about the craft that drew you in? When did you realize this?

(JMM) I wish I had a good answer, but I don't. I write because I don't have the power to change the world. It's either writing or standing on a street corner and shouting at passing cars. I don't feel like writing is nearly as effective, but at least I don't have to leave the house to do it. 
continued here: http://www.thebrazenbull.com/single-post/2017/01/11/Joe-M-McDermott-Interview
Let’s start with an introduction: Who is Joe M. McDermott?
That’s who I am when I write fantasy novels. I’m going by Joe M. McDermott, these days, in part because I am tired of people I have known for years calling me “Jim.”
Your new novella, The Fortress at the End of Time, will be published by Tor.com in January 2017. It looks really interesting: How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?
Larry Nolen, of OF Blog of the Fallen, recommended a book to me, that I loved, and which led me to another book, which I also loved. The first book was The Tartar Steppe by Dino Buzzati, an old Italian Surrealist anti-war book. On the Amazon recommended page, there was also a fascinating book called The Opposing Shore by Julian Gracq, a French classic of SF. I loved them both, and thought about how they were better military fiction than the military fiction I was reading, because it was more about dealing with the idea of the military, the way the bureaucracy and culture press down on the soul and psyche, than about any great acts of violence.
continue here: https://civilianreader.com/2016/12/12/interview-with-joe-m-mcdermott/

Joe M. McDermott Guest Post–“The Writer Industrial Complex”

There is the writing, then there are the publishers, and then there are the consultants to writers and publishers. I refer to the third category as the “Writer Industrial Complex” and they are in the business of selling services that may or may not help books and stories along. It’s not necessarily a bad thing that this industry exists, and it can provide valuable services at critical stages of a writer’s practice. However, there is always a dark side where there’s lots of hope, a limitless supply of wannabes with money, and no accountability whatsoever. You see, the Writer Industrial Complex can always place the blame for your failure to implement their system successfully upon the feet of the phrase “Write a better book”. There are very few meaningful professional standards, and no licenses to lose. If poor student performance and bad reviews build up, it doesn’t take much to burn the website down and start over.

continue here: http://www.locusmag.com/Roundtable/2017/01/joe-m-mcdermott-guest-post-the-writer-industrial-complex/

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Sonnet #156

The killing freeze browned all the citrus leaves
It wiped lantanas down to brown like baking sun
like drought and sun, but it was cold, the trees
so cold, they broke the cells, lost to brown

They say it only happens every couple years
So fight to bring them back to life and harvest
What comes when the spring rain rears
And all the heat returns in summer, the hottest

Aye, we brace, we lose, and only a few degrees
Of chill in the wind, a very gentle dip from wind
The tiniest of moments in the greatest forces we see
a subtle shift in the air, a rock face fallen, a sin

A single sin, a single tailpipe adding heat to sky
The threshold is so small, and all the trees die

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Sonnet #155

In fourteen lines or less, I shall explain,
Why we will never know if color is real
It was not discovered until the prism's grain
Extended out the ray of light like skinning peels
Until then we believed all things had a color,
But now we know all things reject the pigment
That we think they are, it bounces all over
With other hues devoured. It's a figment
of imagination, then, a flicker in the eye
A way to tell a shape from shape upon the plain;
At night, for all the universe is night, color dies
and there is only shades of black and grain
like ancient television screens distorting
We know it as we see it, a convenient sorting.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Sonnet #154

Nature remembers every cut, every stone
The city is a forest that we forget to see
We see the building past the trees, not the trees
But we never left her when we built our homes
There is no division between city and country
The trees on the streets rise up, the possums
and insects hum. The cats run wild, hunt for some
beetle or songbird or mouse, who sneak into our pantry.
The trees of the city, the grasses and hedges
The flowers that bloom and the migratory birds
We see only parking lots, not their edges
We see only roadways, unknown we are herded
Climb past the fences, walk where development alleges
But never start, and thistles break through the ruins, hard

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Sonnet #153

For every season of the birds there is a song
Because to sing is to remember time
We hand our story down with music, rhyme.
Time that changes everything, we do all wrong
When we betray the music of our memories
That taught us how to live. The song of children
Is the song of learning, we tell them
How to know the letters, how to tell no lies
Then, the dancing season comes, the quarrels
The quest to be a strong woman or man,
The love that burns all flowers, burns all morals
The third season, we're the singers where we stand
Humming while we work, giving songs for sorrows,
Masters of the art of how to woman and man
Until the dirges come, the last season, winter, narrows.