I Still Believe (II)

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Aleksandra Grigoryevna Samusenko (Russian: Александра Григорьевна Самусенко, Ukrainian:Олександра Григорівна Самусенко; 1922, Chita—March 3, 1945) was a Soviet Ukrainian commander of the T-34 tank and a liaison officer during World War II. She was the only female tankman in the 1st Guards Tank Army.

Samusenko was awarded the Order of the Patriotic War 1st class and the Order of the Red Star, which she received for bravery in the Battle of Kursk.

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The T-34 looked like this:

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and this

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I’ve been inside submarines and gun turrets and tanks. They are terrible spaces, no shit: there’s no room to breathe and the fucking seats are made of metal that seem designed only to hurt the human frame. There’s nothing romantic about them. They are artificial war-horses made for only one thing: to kill other war-horses by way of screaming shells and fire.

Yet I’m still seduced. Especially by the idea of a young woman driving a metal machine into battle. Maybe I’m just an asshole. Maybe my idea of a WARRIOR TANK WOMAN still looks like this in my head:

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Steve Scott

Ridiculous, isn’t it? And even worse: I’m not “seduced” or turned on by a guy driving a tank. Brad Pitt behind the wheel of a killing machine doesn’t get me hot.

So I’m just an asshole, aren’t I. Note there’s no question mark at the end of the preceding sentence. I’m just a sexist asshole. The idea of a pretty, frail, cute, preferably barefoot girl wielding death still gets me stiff. I don’t want her to hurt me—sorry, not my scene—I’m very good at hurting myself, thank you very much. No, that’s not it.

The concept of a feminine creator/destroyer is really the only spiritual concept I truly believe with every cell of my body and blood. Yeah, I worship The Moon, The Rain, The Snow, The Trees, The Sun… but Woman? Whew. Baby. I want to both take her and worship her, bind her and elevate her. Jesus can go do his thing on the mount, and Buddha can dream for all eternity. But I will pursue and try to capture The Goddess until the end of my days.

I still believe.

Isis am I, and from my life are fed
All stars and suns, all moons that wax and wane,
Create and uncreate, living and the dead,
The Mystery of Pain.
I am the Mother, I the silent sea,
The Earth, its travail, its fertility.
Life, death, love, hatred, light, darkness, return to me—
To me!

Hathor am I, and to my beauty drawn
All glories of the Universe bow down
The blossom and the mountain and the dawn,
Fruit’s blush, and woman, our creation’s crown.
I am the priest, the sacrifice, the shrine,
I am the love and life of the divine!
Life, death, love, hatred, light, darkness, are surely mine—
Are mine!

Venus am I, the love and light of earth,
The wealth of kisses, the delight of tears.
The barren pleasure never comes to birth,
The endless, infinite desire of years.
I am the shrine at which thy long desire
Devoured thee with intolerable fire
I was song, music, passion, death, upon thy lyre—
Thy lyre!

I am the Grail and I the Glory now:
I am the flame and fuel of thy breast;
I am the star of God upon thy brow;
I am thy queen, enraptured and possessed.
Hide thee, sweet river; welcome to the sea,
Ocean of love that shall encompass thee!
Life, death, love, hatred, life, darkness, return to me—
To me!

Aleister Crowley, from Tannhaüser

•  •  •

Credits: Top panel Hollow by Zenibyfajnie. Bottom panel The Priestess by Lady Frieda Harris from Crowley’s Thoth Deck. Great thanks to Dress Rehearsal Rag for the Crowley quote and the reminder of her glory. Middle panel—it’s not as tall as the others! Well, that should not break the strength of the Holy Three. She/They will be fine. Show me a perfect, no-fuck up spell. You can not. Anyway. That is all.

Ω

Leonard Nimoy, 1931 — 2015

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As we all know, Leonard Nimoy died yesterday. I wouldn’t be able to look in the mirror if I didn’t mark his passing. Nimoy as Spock was truly an iconic figure and character in our collective pop-culture consciousness, and I guess we all thought he would live forever. He didn’t. None of us do. But he lived pretty long, and he certainly prospered. I’ll spare you my memories of growing up with Star Trek ToS, my appreciation (and occasional jeering) of his numerous artistic efforts and accomplishments, the time I met and spoke with him, etc, because the outpouring of sadness and shock across all media outlets regarding Mr Nimoy’s passing on Friday February 27 2015 served as undeniable recognition of what Nimoy/Spock meant to everybody: someone and something so unique and potent, it felt like a death in the family, a piece of ourselves who would never come back, now gone forever, a Science Fiction and American original.

LLAP.

Ω

I Still Believe

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I still believe in the power of fiction, I still believe in super girls.

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Of course it’s an aesthetic. Super-powered girls and women, my Muse on mega steroids, yeah, well, so what? What’s wrong with that? Beautiful prose, “beautiful fantasy lovers,” fiction is supposed to seduce us, and we as writers must seduce our readers.

STATION ELEVEN

I mean, my first literary crush was

SYLVIA FUCKING PLATH

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Who, in my fantasies, looked like this:

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Damn, I wanted to save Sylvia. In a fantasy sort of way. Like averting the Titanic disaster, or killing Hitler in 1933. I wanted to save Sylvia Plath. Because I believed. Her words, her genius.

I wanted to save her from the fires and fumes of her self destruction.

Reading her poetry as a teenage boy, I felt nothing less than anguish. Here was a real Supergirl—but she just couldn’t live. Not on this Earth. Not on this world.

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Lady Lazarus

BY SYLVIA PLATH

I have done it again.
One year in every ten
I manage it——
A sort of walking miracle, my skin
Bright as a Nazi lampshade,
My right foot
A paperweight,
My face a featureless, fine
Jew linen.
Peel off the napkin
O my enemy.
Do I terrify?——
The nose, the eye pits, the full set of teeth?
The sour breath
Will vanish in a day.
Soon, soon the flesh
The grave cave ate will be
At home on me
And I a smiling woman.
I am only thirty.
And like the cat I have nine times to die.
This is Number Three.
What a trash
To annihilate each decade.
What a million filaments.
The peanut-crunching crowd
Shoves in to see
Them unwrap me hand and foot——
The big strip tease.
Gentlemen, ladies
These are my hands
My knees.
I may be skin and bone,
Nevertheless, I am the same, identical woman.
The first time it happened I was ten.
It was an accident.
The second time I meant
To last it out and not come back at all.
I rocked shut
As a seashell.
They had to call and call
And pick the worms off me like sticky pearls.
Dying
Is an art, like everything else.
I do it exceptionally well.
I do it so it feels like hell.
I do it so it feels real.
I guess you could say I’ve a call.
It’s easy enough to do it in a cell.
It’s easy enough to do it and stay put.
It’s the theatrical
Comeback in broad day
To the same place, the same face, the same brute
Amused shout:
‘A miracle!’
That knocks me out.
There is a charge
For the eyeing of my scars, there is a charge
For the hearing of my heart——
It really goes.
And there is a charge, a very large charge
For a word or a touch
Or a bit of blood
Or a piece of my hair or my clothes.
So, so, Herr Doktor.
So, Herr Enemy.
I am your opus,
I am your valuable,
The pure gold baby
That melts to a shriek.
I turn and burn.
Do not think I underestimate your great concern.
Ash, ash—
You poke and stir.
Flesh, bone, there is nothing there——
A cake of soap,
A wedding ring,
A gold filling.
Herr God, Herr Lucifer
Beware
Beware.
Out of the ash
I rise with my red hair
And I eat men like air.

Sylvia Plath, “Lady Lazarus” from Collected Poems. Copyright © 1960, 1965, 1971, 1981 by the Estate of Sylvia Plath. Editorial matter copyright © 1981 by Ted Hughes. Used by permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

† † †

I grew up with three older sisters. They were all weird and powerful, overwhelming to poor little drax! It must come as no surprise to even the most casual of my readers that I’ve fetishized super-powerful women in the bulk of my fiction.

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Gloriana Blitz from DOOMTOOPERS by Jo Chen & La Shae Ortiz

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Samantha Cross from CYBERSTORM by William Briggs Jr

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Mori Kim Marr from EXIT VECTOR by Claire Boucher Grimes

So is she my super-muse or my super-dream girlfriend? Both. Like I said up top, “Of course it’s an aesthetic.” And again, so what? It is an aesthetic that has served me well in both literature and life. Example: when I met my former wife in 1994, she was a 3rd degree Black Belt and she kept weapons in her fucking kitchen. “Show me,” I asked her, and she whipped out a Sai for her right and a Sai for her left and she tore through that tiny kitchen, black tights and bare feet, her hair flying, a blur, she would have put Frank Miller’s Elektra to shame and I thought OH MY GOD OH MY GOD BABY I WANT TO MARRY YOU, and I did, and we did, and it was great and we had two amazing children, but in 2015 we don’t love each other anymore, and that’s okay—that happens—but it’s also okay because…

I still believe.

I received a few gift cards for my recent birthday. I was adamant. I wanted a copy of STATION ELEVEN and a Supergirl Action Figure, an icon for my desk.

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I had to release Supergirl’s ankles from metal bindings as the cat on my lap looked on. This might be the most surreal photo I’ve ever snapped.

Reason3

But there she is! On my filthy fucking black desk! An ideal, an aesthetic, a heroine, a muse. I still believe, I still believe, I still believe.

Ω

NOW… LET THE WORLD TREMBLE… LET THE VERY HEAVENS SCREAM IN DESPAIR!

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This is what happens when you turn 50: you lose all touch with reality, man.

Anyway, happy birthday to me, “On your knees, humanity,” etc, etc.

Ω

Winter Storm DARIUS!

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Warms my icy heart, draxfans. Oh yeah.

Ω

Patti Smith and David Lynch Discuss The Artistic Process

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What else do you need? Do the click.

Ω

The Trailer for the Shitty New Fantastic Four Movie, and Nick Mamatas’ Doctor Druid Teaser Treatment in Ten Tweets

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Really, this was one of the highlights of my day.
Ω

Post Hexmas Ephemera

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from left to right: Joseph, Ben10 BrainGuy, R2D2, Jesus, Moses, Wizard, Iron Man 2 Android, SpongeBob, SnakeWeed, Angel

The Nativity scene above created by my children Dakota and Damien was deemed by the coparent as too sacrilegious to be shared on facefuck sorry facefool sorry fucking facebook.

† † †

If you’re reading this, CONGRATULATIONS. You’ve survived the Hell of December that’s cursed with a holiday known by various names: Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, more. My creative friends have coined a term I can live with: HEXMAS. It evokes paganism, Witchcraft, The Solstice, a spell to help us survive.

December is a bleak month, baby.

Here are a few moments that helped me survive.

† † †

 FIRST, WE TORTURED THE CATS

THEN WE MADE EXCEPTIONALLY BAD MUSIC

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THEN WE PAUSED FOR A PHOTOGRAPH

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Then we noticed the color of the sky…

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So we went for a walk in the woods, and I took this pic of Dakota—

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and we came home

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And I opened my presents. Books.

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Happy Hexmas, Draxfans.

Ω

The Real Nightmare Before Christmas: Freakin’ Guns

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Guns will never go away. Like sharpened sticks or knives or nuclear weapons, guns are a permanent tool in the vocabulary of human violence. “Obey or die” is the dictum of the gun. It remains the weapon of choice for cowards, terrorists, twerps. It’s easy. Just squeeze.

Pop.

Pop, pop, pop.

I recently survived a short unhappy stint stocking shelves for a major toy retailer which shall remain unnamed—

oh, fuck it.

Anyway, the shelf under my charge looked like this—

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Apparently all intended for 13 year old white boys. Look at the packaging! And I counted 15 different models of these evil toys, with names like RAPTOR and REVENGE and RAMPANT. I need to check those names at the nerf site or someplace. But they were all “evil,” you know? Toys named with “malicious intent.” [citation / correx tk]

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Well-coiffed, pimple-free, gleeful with pearly teeth paid for by daddy’s insurance, these fucking white boy brats apparently can’t wait to go pop! pop! pop! at an imagined enemy or foe. There was never a child of color on the packaging of these toys. Not one. I looked. I checked. Nope. Not even even a kid with a mild suntan. Man oh man it made me sick. I had to go throw up first in the FROZEN® then BARBIE® aisles, because I kept seeing one face, again and again.

Adam fucking Lanza.

School Shooting Gunman's Remains

It’s hard to escape Lanza’s zombielike visage where I live It’s hard for me to get Adam Lanza’s face out of my head. The shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown CT on 12/14/12 hit me like 9/11 x Hiroshima x Dachau x 10 which equaled a horror I couldn’t imagine  

Fucked up kid walks into a school. The games he played, the rage he endured, the foes he hated and it all went far faster than pop pop pop, it went off with the rapid fire concussive force of grenades as the angry fucked up white boy wiped out two classrooms of first graders with his wicked cool gun.

Yeah, throwing up in the BARBIE® aisle, I kept seeing this kid, with his wicked cool gun.

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Guns will never go away. This post wasn’t stirred by the creepy packaging in the creepy toy store with the blood laced vomit in the Barbie aisle during a BS low-pay stint during MY FAVORITE MONTH OF THE YEAR around the time of an unhappy anniversary, God, fuck no—

My anger and frustration has been building for a while. The insanity caused by gun violence in recent weeks: the righteous outrage sparked by court decisions in Fergusson and Staten Island, the horror unleashed in Pakistan, the execution of two cops by a fucking nut in Brooklyn Saturday night…

I wanna be Luke Cage. I want to be Power Man. I want to break these fucking handheld cannons of cowardice into so much shrapnel.

But guns will never go away. Like knives, or nukes. We can’t smash the dragon back into the box.

Merry Christmas.

Luke Cage illustration by George Tuska, I think.

Ω

If It’s Friday and You’ve Had Enough and You Want to Get Off This Damn Planet—

—this might be your ride.

Also, it helps if you’re in Japan. Opening today.

Ω

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