On The Shore

From caring for the thankless, to comforting the bereaved 

I found a family out there on the shore 

Through days without rest, and nights without sleep, we stood at the ready, for the wounded and the weary, the desperate and the frenzied, that washed up on the shore. 

Their numbers did not matter. Our numbers did not matter. Even when they washed us out to sea, we swam back and cared for them, in the shelter of the shore

Everyone us us, devoted to the task of caring for the hopeless, from bed pans to vomit bags, from drunks to junkies, from the very old to the very young, we cared for each and every person, in the shelter of the shore. 

Then the waters dried up. Though we worked and tried the shore became a desert and the hope we had ran through our fingers  like sand in the ocean. No matter how fiercely we gripped at it, it washed away. 

I’m here now, in the echoes of family and friendship, hoping for the day that I find you all again.¬†

Those gentle, loving, fearless hearts. Those who’s spirits I adore, out there waiting on the shore.

Fin.

To my Shands Lake Shore family. I’m blessed to have known any of you.

Here’s to good sleep

It’s ten minutes to midnight

The voices are singing

The first soprano is belting out the truth

Eight minutes to midnight 

The voices are familiar 

They sound like home, I can hardly resist 

Six minutes to midnight

Everybody is in their places, waiting for the inevitable 

I gussy myself up 

Four minutes to midnight 

I’m pretty, tell me I’m pretty 

I’ve made myself up for you

Two minutes to midnight

So warm, so easy

Like slipping into a bath, squeeze the ducky

It’s midnight 

I’m alone, not sure what to do 

The bombs drop, death everywhere

At least Im clean. 

Not Little, Not Lost: a poem for Lucy

Not Little, Not Lost: A poem for Lucy.

When the days become unbearable and you find your strength is waning.
The evening brings anxiety upon your your mind is reigning.
When the perils of existence leave you wounded, beaten, tossed.
You’ll find that you are powerful, not little and not lost.

When you sense that your identity is slipping through your fingers.
Desolation in your soul seems eternal as it lingers.
When holding to the tethers exacts an awful cost
You’ll find that you are capable, not little and not lost.

Never let them tell you what you can and cannot handle.
Never let them treat your inner beauty as a scandal.
Your love and warmth are paramount in burning off their Frost.
My dear you are a warrior, not little and not lost.

The Apologist and the Viking: A Tale of Forbidden Love

1

Kent leaned back in his chair and rubbed his eyes. He’d spent the last few hours working on his newest article on dinosaur riding apparatuses, and it was time for a break. Kent stood up from his desk, stretched, and went to the refrigerator for a lemon aid. Heeding the righteous call of God is thirsty work. Taking a sip from his lemon aid, Kent made his way back to his desk, sat down, and opened the screen on his laptop. He stared at his work, reading over it for mistakes, the glow of the screen lighting his face in the darkness of the room. Nearly perfect, he thought to himself, and he resolved to put in the finishing touches, in the morning. It was time for something fun.

Kent pulled up his YouTube account and began scrolling through his feed, looking for atheist content to destroy with his superior intellect, and skill for logic.

He watched a couple of Paulogia, and Godless Cranium videos, then he stumbled across something new, In Time with Nicholas Soutter and some chap named Ansgar Odinson. Kent giggled at that name. He picked a video at random, and leaned back in his chair, sipping his lemon aid: he would need a refill soon.

After what seemed like an eternity of waiting screen passed, the video finally began. There, before him, was Ansgar, the Viking King. Kent was instantly stricken by the bearded, blonde, Nordic beauty looking back him from the screen.

“My God.” Kent whispered, the voices of a thousand Valkyrie roaring in his loins.

Never had he seen such an example of manhood. Such supple features, a gaze as fierce as nor’easter winds, lips full and silky; Kent watched them move and wished they were pressed against his own. Lost in thought and filled with awe, Kent slipped into a private world of wonder, and mystery; where his Viking King awaited him.

2

Thunder crashes in the distance, a young stable boy finishes locking down the horses in preparation for the coming storm. As he closes up the barn to head in for the evening, he sees a man, on horseback approaching the farm.

“Health and happiness, young man, I am Ansgar Odinson.” Ansgar said. “Where is the master of this farm?”

“Health and happiness sir, He is away seeing after the sales from the harvest” Kent answered “May I offer lodging? I have a nice lamb stew, and some bread and mead inside. I fear the coming storm will be fierce.”

“Aye, rest and a bit of mead will do me good. I am weary from my travels.” Ansgar replied.

Kent felt a thrill in his heart as the big man dismounted his horse, the muscles in his thighs and arms bulging. He handed Kent the reigns and went into the house to wait. Kent watched until the Ansgar disappeared, then went to stable his horse, a big steed as was necessary to carry the weight of the man.

As he rubbed the horse down, Kent couldn’t help but fantasize that he was rubbing down Ansgar instead. He imagined the vikings powerful muscles first tensing, and then giving way to his firm touch. He heard in his mind the hot, heavy breath, and gentle moans as he worked the tension from Ansgars body.

Kent put away his tools, and locked down the barn, securing the animals.  heading into the cottage, took deep breaths to clear his head, and slow his pulse. he could not feel this way, it was forbidden.

Upon entering the cottage, Kent found Ansgar reclined with his massive feet up on a footstool, drinking a horn of mead.

“I helped myself to a drink.” Ansgar said, smiling.

“I am glad, sir. I am sorry for the delay.” Kent replied¬† “I was seeing after your horse, its a fine steed, sir.”

“Aye, it is indeed.” answered Ansgar, giving the young man a long, steady look.

Kent blushed, and shuffled a bit.

“Shall I fetch your dinner, sir?” Kent asked.

“Aye, I’m famished, you’ll be joining me of course. I have many questions about the country ahead.”

Thunder crashed overhead, and the first gales of the storm billowed around the cottage. The young man moved to the kitchen, and served up two bowls of stew, a loaf of bread, and fetched a fresh keg of mead. He set the table and Ansgar moved to join him.

As they supped and spoke, Kent felt a yearning in his loins, a deep need to kiss, and be ravaged by this man.

After dinner concluded, Kent tidied up and joined the the viking in the main room.

“Come and sit next to me.” Ansgar said, his deep booming voice sending quivers up Kents spine.

“Gladly sir.” Kent replied, moving over to sit close to Ansgar, his heart thrumming in his chest.

“I’ve noticed your gaze upon me, and see the need in your eyes.” Ansgar said. “You’re a very comely young man”

“Thank you, sir.” Kent replied submissively.

“Come sit on my lap” Ansgar said.

Kent moved to where Ansgar was sitting, obediently settled into the big mans lap. Something firm, and surprisingly large pressed against his buttocks.

“I have been sometime without affection, and your’e shapely figure has aroused me.” Ansgar breathed into his ear. “Would you pass the evening in my embrace?”

“I am yours, Ansgar.” Kent moaned.

Ansgar pulled Kent in to kiss him, and Kent exploded in a sea of fiery lust, and strangely enough his lions went cold, uncomfortably so.

3

Kent jumped up from his computer table, pants soaked with iced lemon-aid.

Kent went to his room, and changed his pants: no small feat, considering the erection he had.The dream had been so real. He could almost smell the aroma of oil, and man-musk the beautiful viking had emitted.

Oh well, he thought, the mood was ruined for now, but he always had later.

He would return, in due time, to the simple life of a stable hand, and the beautiful viking; Ansgar, the picture of manhood, the mighty warrior, who would rescue him from his meager existence, and whirl him away to high adventure, in his firm and loving embrace.

Freshly changed into his bed-clothes, Kent settled back and dreamed.

 

This story is meant as satire. None of the events of this story are meant to be taken literally by anyone. Just a fun bit of fiction, for a laugh.

I love you all.

 

 

 

.

.

Douglas stared at his martini. It was perfect. Not to dry or sweet and no matter how many he drank (this was his third) he never got further than a perfect pleasant buzz. He had a sudden flash of his death. He’d had several of these since sitting down here at the Alors Je Suppose Que Je Suis Mort bar and grill just up the street from the pearly gates. Something heavy, Douglas couldn’t remember what, had fallen on him and crushed the life out of him. It had been very unpleasant, but mercifully brief. Now here he was…awaiting judgment, having a perfect martini. He looked around the room. It was a typical bar/restaurant. The were pictures of movie stars, and licence plates on the wall. It was bright enough to read but not so brought as to make it uncomfortable. He downed his martini and glanced up at the bartender. Mort. Mort looked like every bartender Douglas had ever known. He was tallish wore hornrimmed glasses and had dark hair and complexion. He wore a white button down shirt with a black tie and slacks. His sleeves were rolled up to reveal very hairy arms. “So this is the afterlife?” Douglas said. “Apparently sir.” Mort answered. “Another martini?” “Um. Sure, why not.” Douglas said. Mort set to mixing the martini. “I assumed there’d be more…you know…flames.” Douglas said. “If you would prefer to be on fire that can be arranged sir.” Mort said “No, no. Uhhh. No. Just the martini is fine. Thank you. ” Douglas said. Mort nodded and continued with the drink. Something about Mort gave Douglas the screaming heebie geebies. Though the man was almost preternaturally polite the was something predatory about him. He looked at Douglas as a man might look at his dinner. “So how long does this usually take?” Douglas asked. “Not that I’m in any hurry. Just curious.” “It takes as long as it takes” Mort said dismissively. “The line to get in is quite long you know. Your not the only person who died today. ” Douglas liked around at the empty bar. Perplexed. “But I’m the only person here.” Douglas said. Bewildered by the statement. “You’re the only person you can see here.” Mort responded. “We like to keep everybody separated until they’re placed. It cuts down on the drama.” Placed. So there was still a chance he wouldn’t get in. “Um. By placed you mean?” Douglas asked nervously Mort sighed audibly. “Yes placed. Where you’ll be best to serve the Lord. If you were damned they’d have made past your knees and to your genitals by now. The Damned get a straight, one way ticket to the bottom of the Pit.” Mort said setting the fresh martini in front of him. Well that was a relief. Douglas settled in and sipped his drink. He waited, and waited. And when he hit bored with that he waited some more. After what seemed like an eternity (the irony of this thought was not lost on Douglas) he finally got up the nerve to speak again. The aura around Mort was unpleasant to say the least, but there had to be a way to expedite the process. “Hey uh Mort” Douglas said. “Yes sir. ” Mort said. “It seems like like I’ve been in here for years buddy.” Douglas said. “Yes sir. Seventy three of them to be exact. ” Mort said. Douglas stared. Dumbfounded. It took him a full ten minutes (days?) To recover. “That’s just a figure of speech Mort. ” Douglas said “Yes sir. I gathered as much, but you were correct so…” Mort replied. Douglas stared at Mort. He hadn’t considered time differential until now. He sat back down. Another flash. He had pooped himself. Well hell of course he had. A fucking piano had fallen on him after all. Wait. It was a piano. Douglas had gone out like Willie goddamn Coyote. Fuck. He had been on his way to a date with a very promising Cubano lady when it happened too. Douglas had flogged his dolphin more than once to her Instagram page. Hell, he’d even manscaped his nether regions in anticipation of what he’d hoped would be a fruitful night of fucking and cuddling. Ce la vie. Then the side door opened. Douglas turned to see what might have been the loveliest woman he’d ever seen wall into the bar. There was a funny thing though. She didn’t arouse him at all. I mean at first sight she should perked at least I tinge. A twitch of cock. Something. Yet when he looked at her he limped right up. It didn’t make sense. Then to his surprise she walk right up to him. “Mr. Douglas Van Winkle?” She asked starring at her clipboard. “Ummmm yes. That’s me.” Douglas replied. “I’m Verititous. I’m here to assess your proper placement in Heaven and more industries LLC. How are you today?” “Yeah. I’m feeling okay I guess. ” Douglas said. “Very well. Don’t worry about your sex drive. It’s fine. I have that affect on people.” Verititous said. “I’ve been reading over your resume. There’s not much here that is of use to us.” “Yeah. About that. I don’t remember filing out a resume.” Douglas said. “You were on earth for 14,192.65642 days. We calculate your resume by the combined skills, knowledge, and the level of sacrifice made our learned by you in that time period. ” Verititous said. “Oh I see.” Douglas said “Not much you can use?” “No. Not much at all ” Verititous said. “Of course if masterbation were a marketable skill in heaven you’d be a shoe in for a good position.” Douglas figetted at this, and cleared his throat. “I didn’t masterbate that much.” Douglas said embarrassed. “17,432.565 times. Honestly Mr. Van Winkle I’m surprised it didn’t fall off.” “Oh okay. Wait how did I manage to wavk it .565 times?” Douglas asked. “We account for attempts as well as success’ Mr. Van Winkle. ” Verititous replied. “I think we’ll put you on the golden streets and pearly gates maintenance crew. You should fit right in what with your knack for polishing things. Here is you credentials. Please report for duty promptly tomorrow morning, and in enjoy your stay in heaven. You almost didn’t make it you know.” “Yeah. I was a bit surprised myself.” Douglas said.

A Song of Gabriel

I stare out at the firmament, where the ocean meets the sky.

Crimson honey gold spreads out like paint spilled in water.

A song of Gabriel.

Apollo pilots his chariot into the sea quenching the Helios flame.

Night falls across the world crying out:

“Cast your inhibitions aside and embrace my darkness my love; I cannot hold you forever but I will hold you until morning comes.”

Absentee

A young girl lies dead, blue lipped, in her mother’s arms; choked on sarin gas in Syria.

A young bride shivers and weeps, covered in silvadene in India.

A young boy prays this is the last time in Philadelphia.

And still there is no sign of you.

Is Atheism a Religion?

The short answer is, no.

Atheism is not a religion. It’s a declarative stament about the existence of God/gods.

This is a popular argument between atheists and theists. I’ve noticed theists using it to derail conversations, fairly often. Ask them an uncomfortable question, and they’ll lob it into the conversation like a hand grenade. It works all too well.

If you want to piss off every single atheist in your circle, just make that stament. Then sit back and watch the conversation devolve into chaos.

Watch as the conversation becomes a definitions game. That game is seldom won on either side.

So here’s my question:

Would it matter?

If atheism were a religion, would that classification affect the validity of its core stament:

There is no God, or I don’t believe in God.

I don’t believe it would.

We don’t oppose religion because it’s classified as religion, we oppose it because it’s not true. Because organising ones life around a lie forces one to deny fundamental truths that contradict that lie. This has disastrous effects on society.

It’s the cause of oppressive laws, science illiteracy, bigotry, and violence in the name of said beliefs. Just to name a few.

The constant need to square the circle. To make actual reality, reflect fictional “reality” so you can continue to believe the lie.

This is laid out much more eloquently by Nicholas Lamar Soutter in his wonderful article here:

https://www.theatheistcodex.com/

If any of the religions turned out to be true we’d be forced to drastically change our approach.

So, the next time some theist uses the tired old turnip “atheism is a religion” maybe don’t argue for three hours over definitions. Maybe instead, ask what difference it makes. Put the onus on them, and watch them squirm.

It works. I promise. Every time I’ve used that response, the theist in question was stumped. I’ve actually watched their face drop.

Why? Because there is no good answer. Explaining why we oppose religion, and how their assertion is irrelevant, true or not, leaves them with no angle to work.

That’s just my opinion my loves. Stay strong, stay resolute, and be the atheist that makes your local pastor wake up in a cold sweat.

I love you all.

White People: An Anthroplogical Study.

During my life as a white man, surrounded by white people, I’ve learned a lot about my own race. Through careful study I have managed to narrow white people down to four basic groups. There are subsets within these groups, but the focus of today’s article will be the four mains groups.

So without further ado. Here are the four groups of white people, I’ve discovered and categorized.

1. The outright racist:

This is a group of white people that will tell you unequivocally what they think. They don’t care about cameras, or their reputations, and are generally surrounded by their own ilk. (Likely because everyone else finds then loathsome.) They are often very fond of lifted pickup trucks, confederate flags, and country music. (Though this is not always the case.)

Now I’m not saying all country folks are racists. That’s entirely untrue. I know a lot of people who love country music, and lifted pick up trucks who are not at all racist. I’m not so sure about the confederate flag.

Here’s a relevant story:

I was in Atlanta, helping an apartment community get caught up on broken a/c’s. (I used to work in apartment maintenance.) It was evening and my friend and I were at this little bar down the road from our hotel room. It was open mic night, and if you know me at all you know that I fucking hate open mic night, but my friend really wanted to listen to off key, poorly written, poorly played country tunes so….

C’est la vie.

Through out the night there was a mixed crowd. I’d had a lengthy conversation with a Somali national about ISIS, over several beers. There were young, aspiring country singers in cowboy hat’s and boots. A group of black guys playing pool over by the bathroom. Everybody was getting along swimmingly.

Enter the racist.

Four very drunk, very redneck, young men walked into the bar. A tallish one in the back of the group, was looking around the bar with a look of outrage on his face, an out of nowhere he screams:

“WHAT THE HELL ARE ALL THESE GODDAMN *EXPLETIVE* DOING IN HERE? I’M ABOUT TO SLAP ME A GODDAMN *EXPLETIVE* IN THE MOUTH!”

Which prompted me to look at the bartender and say:

“I’d like to close my tab please.”

My friend wanted to stay and see the fireworks, and I had to explain to him that, I wasn’t interested in getting shot.

I’ve seen similar situations play out over the course of my life, and they never ceases to shock me.

I don’t know how it played out, but I will say, the black guys playing pool laughed, shrugged, and waved the guy off. They went on playing pool and completely ignored the bigot.

I loved them for that.

2. The Subtle/Self-denying Racist:

This person is not any less racist than the outright racist, they’re just confused about it. They will often use their religion, mainly Christianity, to justify these beliefs. They also seem to think that all reasonable white people reciprocate in these views. And if there are no minority groups around, they will inform you of their oppinions with outright zeal. Now I’ve had the displeasure of having educated, seemingly reasonable white people unload some veiled racism on me alone, and after a few drinks, but that’s not the norm. The best example is here:

I was moving back to Myrtle Beach from Charleston, and had rented a truck. My ex and I were returning the truck, and looking get our $250.00 deposit back.

I was driving the truck, the ex was driving our car with my son in the back. It was a cool day in October, my son was enjoying his Nintendo DS, so we opted to let him wait in the car.

Upon entering the office at the truck rental place, the lady at the desk sent her husband to inspect the truck. We waited with her.

Noticing my son in the car she asked:

“Oh, is that your son in the car?”

I refrained from saying something snarky, like:

“No, a fellow I know owes me a debt, and I’m keeping the boy as collateral.”

I simply affirmed that it was and that he was eight.

When she heard this her whole face lit up, and the racist tirade began:

“That’s how old my daughter is, and you know what she says she wants? A black boyfriend! Can you believe that? It drives her daddy insane! We tried to take the scriptures, and show her where the Bible says that the races shouldn’t mix. But she won’t hear it. She says she’s gonna get her a black boyfriend, and he’s gonna become her black husband, and they gonna make little half breed babies. You ever see those little half breed babies? Aren’t they beautiful? Do you think God makes them babies so beautiful, because they don’t have a race to identify with?”

I don’t know if I just have an understanding face, or what. For some reason people will just tell me what they think. It’s a curse.

Now I know what you’re thinking:

“Duke, I would have let her have it! I would have told her she was blah blah blah blah!”

I don’t believe you.

Because that’s what I would say, had it not been me who was there. The experience was so unbelievable that I had no idea what to do. My ex and I just stood there, slack jawed and in shock, as her husband came back into the room. He told her it was good, she gave us our money, and we left.

Here’s the thing. If you told this woman she was a racist, I bet she would be genuinely hurt. She would deny it completely, and likely say something like:

“There’s black people that go to my church, and some of my best friends are black.”

They just need to stay away from her children.

I see this kind of thing all the time, and it never ceases to disturb me.

3. The Confused White Person:

This group is comprised of mostly reasonable, non-racist white people, who can’t figure out why everybody’s so angry at them. They make friends readily with anyone who’s agreeable, regardless of identity. They are unreceptive to a abhorrent ideas about people based on identity. Essentially, they’re good people. Being good transcends identity. Your character is not attached to what group you belong to, it’s personal to you.

It is no way reasonable to make assumptions based on identity. If we cannot get to a place where actions speak louder than innate characteristics, we’re never going to beat racism.

And we’ve arrived at the most insidious group of white people there are.

4. The “I’m not like all the other white people” White People.

Here we have a group of white people with seemingly no self awareness, who are constantly squalling about their own awfulness, whilst simultaneously preening their own virtue.

They are happily offended on behalf of others. Even when others are not, themselves offended. And will call out any person who doesn’t appreciate their being offended in implicitly bigoted terms.

They see themselves as the defenders of the downtrodden, and disenfranchised. However, their language, actions, and additude show much more sinister intentions.

They fail to see the air of superiority they portray. How believing that minority groups would be helpless if not for them, is both condescending and arrogant. Also everybody is literally Hitler.

This group of white people are, in my humble opinion, the biggest obstacle to equality. By magnifying hatred, and creating division they stifle a very necessary conversation.

If you should come across one of these white people in the wild, avoid them at all costs. They don’t really care about you. They care about seeming virtuous. They are not.

In conclusion, not all white people are racist. We should condemn any and all racism, regardless of the source. And if you’re a butthurt white person, offended by what I’ve said here; I invite you to vigorously and thoroughly suck it.