Archive for the 'ambient' Category


‘Mankind Is Unkind, Man’

WIP poem for a new project.  Poetry is something I’ve never studied or really practiced – We’ll see how this turns out:

In between the skulls, stacked twelve stories high,

the brackish pools, cypress walls, and mossy carpet,

fluttering reptile covens, and cloudy gray sky,

Stand, man, stand damn tall against the windy cry


Street corner physicians and by the hour

girlfriends blow kisses and whisper love.

The weak and poor huddle together and cower,

and spit obscene shit, and scream “It’s now or


Mankind is unkind, man.

Hustlers rape and politicians bribe,

and fuck you cause they can.

Mankind is unkind, man.

Southern discomfort comes in waves,

Twos and threes cheap clinic connections circle

and drip yellowy heaven that saves,

Trip hard a path that blazes and paves


Personal mayhem and a path to kill,

Your best friend drugged and out on the floor

Artful revival paramedic skill,

and you don’t care that his hearts still


Mankind is unkind, man.

Don’t you hate this town and this life,

the fucking dirty air and swamp land.

Mankind is unkind, man.

I don’t pretend to understand they why or how,

or where the need comes from.

It’s still enough to know certainly now,

what abuses the vile and beaten allow



A rude awakening

I woke up three days ago to a hole where the roof, windows, and upper floors of my apartment building should be. Blown out by some noiseless explosion that had not disturbed my completely sound sleep. The unfiltered noise of the city drifting in to replace my alarm clock. I laid in bed for some time, listening. Before long, the white noise was shattered by a screech, “JESUS!”

From my bed, I could see into my neighbor’s apartment, as he struggled to hold onto his oak dinner table dangling from the rubble that used to be his nook. His wife cried and screamed and did little to help him as the massive table creaked and slowly slid backwards under the pull of gravity.

I vaulted from my bed, and slammed hard into the wooden floor of my apartment, my feet still tangled in the sheets. “ROY!” I screamed. “HOLD ON!” His wife shot her eyes to me and wailed again, blubbering out something that sounded like “Help.”

Roy, for his part grasped at the table, working his hardest to crawl his way across the slick finish of the wood. “I’m trying!” He yelled, his voice half muffled by distance and the wind rushing past the building.

I stumbled over what was once my fridge, a gnarled and twisted pile of sharp metal, tearing a gash in my leg as I tried to crawl across it. Roy’s wife screamed again, as the wooden legs clawed into the carpet of their apartment began to crack under the stress. The stress of it’s own weight, and Roy’s middle aged girth, too much for the glue holding the leg to the table to stand.

The table crashed into the floor and began to slid over the side of the cliff that was once our apartment building. Roy yelled something that was swallowed by the noise of the moment, and then lost in the next. Roy’s widow collapsed to her knees, sobbing, burying her head in the carpet. I stood shocked, looking out over the expanse between our building and the one across the street. It too was missing a large part of it’s wall, in a sort of half spherical pattern, as if someone had dropped a massive bowling ball between our two buildings.


Grinning White Teeth Preview

Below you can preview the first three chapters of my first novel, Grinning White Teeth, available here.

Grinning White Teeth Preview



It seems almost like fate that as the momentum builds behind the death of Michael Jackson, the novel is released. The news media is gnawing at his corpse, chewing on every single detail of his life, the media perception, trolling through his home, his things. Morbid curiosity glues America to their chairs, fingers flipping from one news network to the next. A giant circus of shills screaming “We’ll show you anything as long as you keep buying our advertiser’s products!”

This is it – The “American Death Cult”.

Celebrities are digested and shat out for all to see. The public keeps coming back for more. Obsessed with death, trying to hide it under the guise of hero worship. Praying at the altar of POP ICON.

And I’m the one who’s morbid.

Think about that next time you watch minute by minute coverage of fans gathering outside a hospital while someone mildly renowned slips into a coma and passes out of existance.

Again, Grinning White Teeth is available here.


New Work / Grinning White Teeth released

My first novel, Grinning White Teeth was released yesterday via the printer’s website. Follow the link to purchase. Thre months after completion, and I’ve come to term it my “demo tape”.

Featuring the artistic talents of Adam Geen on the cover, GWT follows the story of Cassius Hall, an Olympic caliber drug user and semi-functional human. Cass is crushed when his estranged best friend, the famed Jennifer Belle, dies of a gruesome overdose. Determined to stop the carnivorous “American Death Cult”, Cassius sets out to tell his best friend´s story before the cultural assembly line can get it´s hooks into her. When it´s discovered that a biopic about Jennifer is being developed, Cassius turns to the people closest to her to paint a picture of what celebrity really gets you.

Working on my next project, The American Literary Firearm Society. Excerpt below:

I first joined the American Literary Firearm Society on a cool fall evening three years ago, sitting at my desk with a fifth of whiskey and a painfully new Kimber .45 ACP. The grip still smelled of freshly pressed rubber, the clip was slick and smooth with machine oil. I had drained the bottle of whiskey quicker than usual, aggressively pouring refill after refill. The glass was clear and flawless, a ring of brown courage left at the bottom.

I counted off to myself, a second for each round I had loaded into the clip. One, two, three, four. I declared a spiritual war. Five, six, seven, eight. Time to dissociate. Nine, ten, eleven, twelve. Hope it’s nice tonight in Hell. Thirteen, fourteen, and one more in the chamber.

Screw this.

The gun cracked a tooth as it slid passed my lips, the pain was momentary and minor. The barrel angled upward, the sight scraping the roof of my mouth. Behind me, Hemingway and Thompson were cheering me on. They had been cheering me on for weeks. They founded the fucking group. ‘American Literary’ equals authors. ‘Firearm Society’ equals gun lovers. That is, American authors who’ve blown their brains out. I felt like I was starting a trend.

Trigger back, hammer down.

The amount of pressure from those two wasn’t much. Correctly applied, but minimal. I had spent fifteen years as an author, slugging it out, struggling to keep myself afloat. There were successes, wild and exuberant successes. Fantastic moments of triumph ringing out into the night. Successes that burned out, as did my marriage, and receded into the past with my money, my property, and my hairline. Then one misstep – “box office poison” they’d call it – and suddenly no editor would touch me.

Word gets around Manhattan quickly. I tried to sneak new work in under different pseudonyms. I wrote as Nicholas Cheney, Henry Pallas, Paul Darcy, Anton Holst. I’d leave my earlier work off of queries, and still they’d figure it out. Each rejection would start, “Dear Jack Harker.” I’d continue to read it in my own words. “You are a loser, who deserves to lay in traffic. Your work won’t sell, so we’re not interested, you hack piece of shit. Please go end your life and stop killing trees, because we are a ‘green company’ now, and we would rather you don’t send us giant manuscripts that we’re going to reject without a glance.”

Twelve manuscripts, running the gamut from genre to literary fiction, Post Modern to Southern Gothic, now collecting dust in small little packages in my office closet. I should have burned them before I buried the Armscor full metal jacket 45 in my skull. I had a feeling that no good would come from leaving them behind.

Thompson screamed and bitched at me to quit crying like a little girl. Hemingway laughed and told me to go get a hunting rifle like a real man. So I pulled the trigger. The force from the bullet exiting the top of my head jerked my body up and back. The two welcomed me with open arms to the Society. I asked them, “What now?” Hemingway turned away from me. Thompson smiled and bit hard on his cigarette holder and said “Now we get more.”

So we did.

No one notices our kind. We are faceless, names on spines stacked next to each other endlessly in bookstores. We have voices, essentially our whole identity, but we’re ethereal things. The most narcissistic of us stuffed into designer black clothing in a very well managed black and white photo on the back flap. You might recognize one or two on the street. You’ll miss five more when you stop to look. We are anonymous. No one bats an eye when five, ten, fifteen, failed writers pick up guns and end themselves in a year.

The Society grew bloated with souls. Leah Whitman, the narcissist, wanted everyone to watch. She threw a dinner party. At 10:00 PM on the dot she stood atop her long oak dinner table, pressed a Glock to her head, and sprayed her brains all over her guests. Gregory London, the psychotic, took a hostage with a flat head screwdriver. He committed suicide by deliberately enticing Milwaukee’s finest. Stellan Faulkner, the obsessive compulsive, spent thirteen months picking the weapon, the bullet, the day, and time of his suicide. He covered his living room in two blue tarps, called his parents, carefully taped his suicide note on the front door, undressed, and meticulously folded his clothes before he wrapped his lips around a Browning Maxus Stalker.

Each had reasons for wanting to die. Each hung around with the three of us for a time before moving on to wherever. Now we make it a habit to meet once every six months, bringing new faces with us. A simple enough task for the motivated. They call it “The Sylvia Plath Effect”, a curious correlation between writers and mental illness. As if writing only attracts the unstable.

Now it’s up to me to find the new kid.


Half finished thoughts on paper

Slowly, they eventually come together into something new. Most of the time they don’t have to, lasting long enough for music or moments to fade.


I woke up to the sun sneaking in between the venetian blinds, warm light soaking the room in a gentle orange. I slowly pulled back the bed sheet and slid off the mattress, careful not to wake Sarah as I stood. I winced at the creeking of the springs and waited in silence to make sure she hadn’t awoken, her gentle rhythmic breathing the only sign that her motionless body was still alive.

I dug through the pile of clothes thrown chaotically on the floor next to the bed, searching for my cigarettes and lighter. I opened the Zippo with the greatest ease, and was just as careful in closing it. I enjoyed it, the first drag in the morning, killing the burning ache in my throat and jump starting my consciousness.

I peered through the blinds, watching the world below already alive and kicking. The taxis and delivery trucks, the bike messengers and town cars, all of them twisting and turning through the street, lives intersecting for a moment before receding off into the darkness. From high above I watched, stark naked except for a thin sheet of smoke wrapped around me, and smiled.

In my head, in his perfect deadpan, Lou Reed spoke for me. Oh it’s such a perfect day, glad I spent it with you. The song played in my head, the world slowing down to a slow beat as he droned on and on. It played to completion, and when it was done I smothered the cigarette in the ashtray and dress. I left, without ever waking her.


Grinning White Teeth is done

That is, my novel Grinning White Teeth, is complete on it’s second draft. Query letters have been sent out to various agents around New York, and the clock is on for returns. Typically, established writers will tell you “It’s a 1 in 12 success ratio” with agents. So, here’s hoping that it is picked up.

In the meantime, I have been plotting and outlining a new novel, based on the beautiful world of Windsor McKay’s “Little Nemo In Slumberland/In The Land of Wonderful Dreams”. It has been in the public domain for some time now, and I’m excited as hell to work on it. Depending on how it works I’ll be looking to either go the traditional route, or possibly take it in a GNU direction (which has, for various reasons, fascinated the hell out of me.)

Geen was handed, the other day, a micro rewrite of the Child Ballad “Twa Corbies” for his upcoming art book, Cheap Vodka. (I love the name. I had been kicking it around like an old can for years before unknowingly handing it to him.) I anticipate it will be posted here when it’s complete. We’ve also considered continuing to adapt child ballads for a submission to However, the prose script can be seen below. I used it as an exercise to play with an idea I’d had during the writing of Grinning White Teeth. It wasn’t as prevelant in the novel, however it should be up front and center when reading this:

The Three Ravens –

In the valley down the river, in the low light of a pink sunset, on a crooked and dry husk of a tree, sat three Ravens. They had watched as the two armies clashed, and they had watched as the solider fought bravely, and they had watched as he was run through. The Ravens waited as the battle receded, the victors moved in pursuit of the defeated, and the solider was left to die with the day.

The first said to the others, “We should not have waited, my friends. We have lost too many meals to the heat.” The second said to the others, “We should follow the armies. The wounded will be freshly dead as they travel.” The third said to the others, “I stake my claim here.”

Below them, below the dry and dead tree, in the tall blood soaked grass of the valley, sat the soldier’s three animals. The hawk, the falcon, and the dog. They waited by their master, waiting until the day died, waiting until their master followed soon after.

The hawk said to the others, “He is lost to us. We should look for food.” The falcon said to the others, “He is lost to us. We should look for shelter.” The dog said to the others, “He is lost to us, let us look for a new master.”

The soldier lay in the tall grass, in the valley, under the crooked tree, and passed as did the sun. Next to him, the hawk, the falcon, and the dog began to mourn their master, and above him, the three ravens grew restless.

The first said to the others “We have waited too long.” He crooked his head to the third, and flew off to find other food. The second turned to the third and said “The wounded have surely now died, watch as our brothers follow the armies.” He crooked his head and joined the murder flying above them. The third sat stoically watching the soldier. “I stake my claim here.”

The hawk watched as the sun fell behind the far mountains, and watched as the the field mice began to scurry along the ground, and left to hunt. The falcon felt the temperature dip, and the winds picked up, and flew off to find shelter. The dog saw, in the distance, a lamp light flicker in the dark, and left to find a new master.

Above the knight, in the dry and crooked tree, in the valley covered in the dead, sat the third raven, who had yet to eat.

Mike Black is…

A writer, reader, commentator, music lover, art lover, futurist, tech lover, pragmatist, romantic, DepDecoist, and a bastard. Hopefully you enjoy.

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