Tag Archives: politics

Werewolves—The Hounds of Hate

by Michael Dickel

One wonders if a group of people who have a fetish-obsession with alpha males overpowering beta males are really werewolves (werwolf, in German, a fort, a plan, an insurgency, ever a human?) rather than human beings. Perhaps they are devolved to pack animals easily confused by a gilded chair and spotlight glare. They seem to have failed to realize that the beta males fight over hierarchy, the lone alpha in each pack standing aloof and indifferent to their struggle.

The followers packed in the hall raise their hands in a familiar, evil salute.

The one in front mentions alpha males, before saluting his leader’s election.

In their poorly learned algebra: Power equals everything; morality, ethics, community equal nothing. They worship the square root of negative 3. No one, not even I, know what that means.

Some reject all leaders other than themselves. Even the one elected remains insufficiently aggrieved and enraged to take the reins. Wild horses run through them, disordering their imaginations with fantasies of powerful stallions. The stallions laugh at their inadequacies.

It begins with wordsthe werewolf singing the song of cancer cells—unlimited growth, spreading out, destroying all else, leaving nothing but toxic waste behind. When he howls “greatness,” he sings to spread deadly cancer in our midst. Unchecked growth. We must resist the cancer, gather our antibodies, strengthen our collective body of love and wisdom.

Whiteflies invade the green leaves and suck the plant dry. They excrete a honeydew of hate. They believe that they grew the plant. They want to be in charge of the plant, even as they kill it.

The werewolves will make Wolfland great again.

Afraid and weak, these werewolves bark, bite, howl, yip. If they didn’t run in packs, they would be nothing. That is why the alpha obsession raised to the power of fetish. They use terms from pornography. They are pornography.

What is pornography? Is it human? Am I / pornography / human?

The hounds of hate have been unleashed to the sound of trumpets. They turn against learning and research. The rich and powerful control them by remote signal. The rich and the powerful laugh and laugh. The hounds fight over the scraps. They get trumped.

Then the hounds turn on the rest of us, licking their sagging, blood-spattered jowls.


Werewolf Nazis-2
Digital art from downloaded web images
Werewolf image src / NAZI salute src

If you haven’t already, place your mouse cursor over the links and wait. You will see an excerpt pop up from that linked page. The excerpt inter-plays with this text. I’m not sure how / if this works in mobile platforms.


Filed under Flash Experimental, Hybrid, Writing

Michael Rothenberg and Mitko Gogov

Morning News

Michael Rothenberg

Hold me back!


you are,

if you are,
give me

the will
to keep

my mouth

Michael Rothenberg
Photo @2015 Michael Dickel


The Forgotten Retort between Two Gazes

Mitkko Gogov
Translation from Macedonian by Aleksandar Mitovski

And so we role-play clockmaker and time
Both with hammers aimed at mutiny’s head
And a clock is a bigger bastard than both man and everlasting sun
As we forget burnt words and human dust

Ugly tongues and nasty minds
They drag the lent of the soul

The inner voice doesn’t (ever) go out,
Like angels’ dander or hell’s gasoline it just booms
Skip the small lightning bolts
Twist the lowest mountains
The force of forever would, like a mother to her son,
And barely ever
In the rood of our heads
Like snails
We hide our true home
Not realizing that the slime of our soul
Leaves traces of disquiet in our sleep

We keep the stars in our hands,
Why is it when we throw them
They strike like heavenly boulders?

Stones have learned to resound
Yet our dulled hearing needs to wake up!

Both fire and abyss alike
Are eternal
Just like our pensive, darling souls
Just like a shard in marbles, when our bell breaks
We are of piercing glass, yet
Troubled as the soul remembers
But knows not to reciprocate

We’re birds that have decided to build their own cage,
We sing of the freedom we’ve created
But the space in which we act is
Barely as large as our wingspan is

Be the river that desires to break through the cold
And the ice of the mountain whose home is winter

We all want to see the whole
We all want to be a part of someone’s whole
We want to add to the whole, bid for it,
Increase it, make it rich

Cripple it without realizing

As we don’t grasp we’re nothing but cutouts
A square on a Rubik’s cubepersevering, searching for its match
On the other side of the cube
We’re seemingly moving in a circle
Rolling all over the globe like a stolen bobbin of yarn
From grandma’s old chest.

We leave our people like
Forgotten church bells in our soul
Though we’d like their thoughts to echo
But you’d only hear the blood of your words
And angels pacing on the cobblestone road
Leaving without making a sound,
With a touch ingrained in us like a scar from child’s play
Like a mother’s hand holding a teaspoon of soup
Like a father’s lesson of how to chop kindling
Without losing a finger

We cut and we carve, but the truth can’t be carved,
Because, if we do, it will carve us back
And bury us six feet under
Even though we never brewed enough coffee
Even though we never leaped over enough bonfires
Even though we lied when we said that spirits came but we summoned witches
And the fairies choose our shadows as their mates
No, our shadows, like us, would rather hide in verses
And battle quietly for their hidden lives.

We’d rather be snow: white, clean, untarnished,
But you can’t keep snow in a jar, it won’t sit still,
Neither will love
Trapped, lonely, not shown, framed.

Love floats alone in a frame, like a cross-stitch
Of a woman spinning yarn as her wool is coming to an end.

Let’s make our minds ascent in a global fire
And resurrect the enchanted souls.

A forgotten retort between two gases

Please leave me
Leave my
Predicaments be

It’s not the time in which
The soil on its own and
By its own volition
Did turn over
And roll over

We all move,
Twist, roll over,
As we live we do not remember
Or notice,
While we’re dead
‘we do not eavesdrop
As others gossip about us’
Probably all spine issues are gone.

Leave the world be, darling,

It is not a part of you
Can’t you see in your naiveté, how,
Through your breath of lunacy they pass you by
They skip right over you
They won’t even cough anymore?
Leave the trams, darling,
In them fewer wishes are travelling these days

Towards you,
Inside you,
Next to you,
No more hands reaching out
No more raised voices

—we drown in our own outcry

We hope that hope as our last refuge
Will pay our debts
Will turn off the light
And in the end

Just like us all
Will leave
And go

To hell.

Mitko Gogov
Photo @2015 Michael Dickel


Michael Rothenberg has been living in the San Francisco Bay Area for the past 37 years but recently moved to Tallahassee. He is a poet, painter, songwriter, and editor of Big Bridge Press and Big Bridge, a webzine of poetry and everything else. In 2011 he and Terri Carrion co-founded the global poetry movement 100 Thousand Poets for Change.

His songs have appeared in Hollywood Pictures’ Shadowhunter and Black Day, Blue Night, and most recently, TriStar Pictures’ Outside Ozona. Other songs have been recorded on CDs including: Bob Malone‘s The Darkest Part of The Night (Caught Up in Christmas) and Bob Malone (Raydaddy’s Blues), Difficult Woman by Renee Geyer, Global Blues Deficit by Cody Palance, The Woodys by The Woodys, and Schell Game by Johnny Lee Schell.

His poetry books and broadsides are archived at the University of Francisco, and are held in the Special Collection libraries of Brown University, Claremont Colleges, University of Kansas, the New York Public Library, UC-Berkeley, UC-Davis, and UC-Santa Cruz.

Mitko Gogov lives in Macedonia, where he writes poetry, short stories, essays and journalism. He writes haiku, senriu, renga which he publishes occasionally in the micro blogosphere twitter, but once published in London by Yoko Ono as well. His work so far has been present and translated in several anthologies, collections and journals for literature and art in India, Pakistan, Philippines, USA, Russia, Spain, Mexico, Argentina, Check Republic, Germany, Serbia, Croatia, Albania, Bulgaria … He’s current with his first collection “Ice Water” published in 2011. in Serbia, and in 2014 issued in Macedonia, in the edition “Fires” for the publishing house “Antolog”, supported by the Ministry of culture.

As conceptual artist with several exhibitions, installations, performances, scenery, short movies and multimedia projects he participated in a few international group exhibitions and projects in Macedonia, Serbia, Bulgaria, France, Norway and Italy.

He is President of the Association for Cultural Development and Protection of Cultural Heritage “Kontext – Strumica” and organizer of the international movement and festival “100 Thousand poets for change” in Macedonia, Strumica. He is also the CEO & founder of the internet portal strumicaonline.net and one of the editors at the ezine for culture and literature in Macedonia, reper.net.mk. He organizes many other cultural and art events, collaborating with youth, art, film and theater festivals.

As youth trainer he provides different creativity workshops, such as: forum theater, multimedia, design, stick art, street art, graffiti, use of organic and recycled materials in contemporary art, handmade and social aspects as PEER & informal education, EVS, youth participation etc.



Filed under Poetry

Hybrid Flash

My Brand Here

Brand Me 2 ©2016 Michael Dickel digital art from photos to accompany My Brand Here, a poem by Michael Dickel

Brand Me 2
©2016 Michael Dickel
digital art from photos

This comes from the whole MBA mentality. Maximize profit over any other value or goal. Make yourself your


Go ahead. Buy into it. “Brand” yourself. And remember, slaves and cattle are also branded. Brand-name recognition recklessly pursued in the name of prophets of the profit margin. Wear those symbols proudly.


yourself, for the marketeers will surely be profiteers. Privateering allows pirating your soul while piloting your stock in trade to traveling sales forces onward soldiering.


yourself to the devils of industry and commerce. Commerce with your social media connections and connect with your media’s social commerce, commerce with your lovers, socially mediated by your respective brands.

Brand Me 1 ©2016 Michael Dickel digital art from photographs to accompany My Brand Here, flash experimental writing by Michael Dickel

Brand Me 1
©2016 Michael Dickel
digital art from photographs


everything you once held to yourself, close and dear. Tattoo your tattered logos flying in the high winds of finance, dollars and change pouring down like rain. Then make breathing illegal.


each and every moment or thought in the framework the followers tell you trend toward highest numbers, broadest bandwidth, greatest sales potential.


how to maintain the largest audience of fleeting moment, knowing some will land and get caught in your web. Suck the flies dry. Let the dogs go free. Feed the cats the scraps of your soul. We all are already bound to their for-profit prisons, legs shackled, chains rattling. We are all

search-engine optimized.


Poetry Month 2016 | Fragments of Michael Dickel

Water Poems (a poem)
Flowstone Time (a poem)
SNR—Hybrid Word Dance
Veiled Lady (a poem)
My Brand Here (Hybrid Flash)
Rosy Morn | Poem | Essay | Photographs
Blue Notes (collage | poem)
The BeZine April 2016 — Celebrating Poetry Month


Filed under Experimental writing, Flash Experimental, Poetry

Lately (a poem)


Lately I’ve been waiting for the FBI to arrest me as a fraud,
or the CIA to hire me to spy on the inner lives of fools and idiots.
Last night torrents of water flooded my sleep; overflowing
rivers of mud and shit streamed down walls and into basements,
washing away sump pumps, drowning elevators, eroding foundations.
Perhaps the EPA will come after me now, or the Army Corps of Engineers.
Sluggish, I can hardly move my body out of bed as the cold air
weighs heavier than the warmth of love-making that is, for
the moment, eight time-zones away. Remodeling a house takes
too much time but selling it seems a copper-pipe dream.
Perhaps the Corps will hoist me up using a crane and solve
the dilemma of the unfinished bathroom plumbing and walls.
The Buddhists recommend letting go of materials and wishes,
but I still blow out birthday candles and buy lottery tickets
and ask old lovers if they remember me fondly, at least.
I’d hide like the iron gnome in my garden, under mushroom
umbrellas, if I thought it would help solve the problem of
the world. The United Nations could feed me, then, and the
CIA try to assassinate me instead of hire me, and the FBI
pay me as an informant, while the Army Corps of Engineers
builds a levy to hold me in and the EPA declares me a disaster
and Cohen’s monks just laugh and laugh and laugh. They know
I won’t win the lottery and the only birthday wish that comes true
is the present, old lovers forget, and the bed? Too warm in summer.

Democracy in America (Police filming and observing anti-Bush demonstration, St. Paul, MN) ©2006 Michael Dickel

Democracy in America
©2006 Michael Dickel


Filed under poems

Nematode Garden Crisis

Nematode Garden Crisis


“While most of the thousands of species of nematodes on Earth are not harmful, some nematodes parasitize and cause diseases in humans and other animals. Also, unfortunately, there are many that attack and feed on living plants.” Organic Gardening.com

The garden-shutdown, precipitated by a minority of garden participants belonging to the Ancient Intransigent Nematodes of Tea (AIN’T), shocked the woman with a beard. The bleeding hearts cried soft nectar tears.

The bleeding hearts cried soft nectar tears.

Soft nectar tears.
©2013 Michael Dickel

The toad flew in from a marsh in Africa to join a meeting of garden life-forms. A few frogs chorused in greeting as he joined. The snails still arrived last.

Only a small number of obstructionist nematodes instigated the crisis. Their purported love of tea remains beside the fact.

They refused to participate in the interdependence of the garden, insisting on withholding compost from the garden until all life forms reformed the cycles of birth, life, death, decomposition, rebirth through re-uptake by others so only AIN’T would benefit.

Opposed to Socialist composting, they insisted that leaves, cuttings, wintered stalks, and similar products, belonged only to the seeds that produced them and their favored worms, who re-processed them. They denied that soil, other compost, rain, sun, air, or symbiotic life-forms contributed to producing these valuable food sources.

In short, they rejected biological interdependence with a parasitic vengeance that threatened the ecological balance of the garden.

As far as their thinking took these worm-brains—which was not very far, for, after all, they were nematodes—as far as they could figure, the food source belonged to the seeds that produced it.

The nematodes that processed it, of course, took their take.

In short, they rejected biological interdependence with a vengeance that threatened the ecological balance of the garden.

They rejected biological interdependence.
©2007 Michael Dickel

Their take on things did not agree with the rest of the garden creatures congress. AIN’Ts destructive-purposed refusal to participate in the necessary budgeting of energy, time, and resources to the process had now frozen the garden solid.

They had closed down the garden.

They brought December, but January loomed ahead. Then the coldest temperatures would penetrate deep into the soil. The whole garden could collapse.

Without the protection of compost, the warmth of its decomposition process, the absorption of solar heat by its darkness—without the slight warmth from this necessary system, the roots of all plants would freeze solid. All of the seeds would die.

This did not bother the nematodes.

They didn’t believe in January, global warming, the cycle of life that produced the garden or the inter-dimensional mathematical and geometrical recursive reflections of its essence.

The worms only believed in eating what they wanted for themselves and in a firm denial of their reliance on others.

They pretended an interest in the seeds, but they knew all seeds die when they grow into plants. They did not care for the plants, despite AIN’T rhetoric.

The nematodes only wanted the aftermath of compost to themselves. And after the math, which they did not understand, they only wanted for themselves and their own everything they could incorporate into their worm bodies.

The toad and a few bird friends feasted on the AIN’T worms. The rest of the garden life-forms worked together to dig the compost out and to spread it on the garden.

Meanwhile, the woman with a beard tried to recruit AIN’T nematodes committed to interdependence.

The toad discouraged her, saying this group were only soil pests anyway.

The toad flew to a marsh in a Caribbean Rain Forest to hibernate for the winter.

The garden survived. Barely.

They were only soil pests anyway.

They were only soil pests anyway.


Filed under Flash Fiction

Off the Trail

20130729-230311.jpgThis one feels a bit clunky to me, but perhaps that’s because the end of Flash Fiction Month fast approaches, and I’m worn out. I’ve written a lot this month—thank you to those who have read my forays into a world resembling fiction and stayed with me. Thank you for the comments and encouragement. I hope this little bit of dystopia provides some pleasure, some provocation, and perhaps just enough despair to help us to resist such a future…

Off the trail

By chance I learned that they planned to crucify the married couple for honeymooning off the grid and outside the mainstream economy.

The couple backpacked along the Appalachian Trail, using second-hand equipment, carrying home-prepared dried goods for meals that friends provided to them as gifts.

The followers of Christ Capitalist found such sacrilege untenable, especially in light of the anger it would cause the Corporate Lords of the Boardrooms.

I heard my editor on his cell, assigning someone to cover the Meeting of Judgment where the sentence would be pronounced. When I overheard that the other reporter wouldn’t be back from her current assignment in time, I sauntered in and asked what Ed had for me, like I didn’t know anything.

“The Reverend called to request we send someone to this Meeting, give it coverage to send the message out. Work, spend, play inside the economy.”

“Got it. Keep the money flowing.” I knew the catechism, but didn’t believe it. I’d sent dried lemon peels, home-made penne (dried to preserve it), a chunk of parmigiana traded on the underground market, and a sealed container of pesto for them to make a backpacker’s lemon pasta.

The Meeting of Judgment followed the usual pattern of these religious courts. A minister of the Reverend’s flock read out the charges. Two other ministers sat on either side, listening gravely. They conferred briefly. It didn’t matter that the accused even now were somewhere hiking in the woods.

As per custom, the ushers served cups of tea to the witnesses at the Meeting. I sipped a sad orange-pekoe until the lead minister announced a decision.

Crucifixion. It had come back in style around 2020, shortly after the great purges that deported, jailed, or enslaved first the non-Christians, then the wrong-type Christians.

I had not heard of or seen a crucifixion. Up to now, it had been an advantage of a rural assignment.

“What are you going to do?” The man I knew as Germaine asked me. He’d popped up out of the crowd as I pushed out the door.

I’d seen Germaine at several social gatherings of people like me. My circles went along with the Reverend to a point, that is, enough to survive, and no more. We kept to ourselves, and tried to avoid the scrutiny of the Reverend and his ministers.

“Do? I’ll write a story about the Judgment, the reasons for it, and watch to see how many hits it gets on the Screens.” I didn’t know Germaine enough to be baited into saying something damaging. Besides, that was what I planned to do.

“No, about them. We can’t let them get caught.”

“You could get crucified yourself for getting involved. Even what you said is a crime against Christian Capitalism.”

“What is Christian Capitalism? Something made up by corporate overlords, there never was such a religion.”

I walked away. I considered whether he might be an agent provocateur, meaning I should report him before he denounced me for doing nothing. I decided that I didn’t want to get involved, and would invoke my sometime role as investigative reporter should he accuse me.

The next morning I had coffee with Frank, someone I thought I knew enough to trust under most circumstances. He told me that Germaine had been arrested for sedition, blasphemy, heresy, all as a result of spouting the Devil’s own socialism.

“I’ll be damned.”

“Probably,” Frank said. “To tell you the truth, I thought he was a spy.”

After Frank went off to work, I looked for a story on Germaine, but didn’t find one. I wondered how Frank had heard.

I read my story on my Screen. It played well, several hits, re-posts, and praiseful comments.

It bored me. No, more than that. It sickened me.

I didn’t believe any of it. I knew the young couple, knew they loved the woods, knew they couldn’t afford a resort honeymoon because they wanted to buy a house and the downpayment would take everything they had.

They wanted to fit in and had no revolutionary or irreligious intent. They just wanted to get along.

Just then, I realized that the Reverend and the ministers didn’t care. And maybe Frank didn’t read about Germaine on a Screen.

The Reverend wanted to make a statement, keep people scared, keep people trying harder than ever to feed the economy and concentrate power and wealth into the Corporate Lords, who ran the Reverend.

Or maybe the other way around, the Reverend ran them. It doesn’t matter now, I realize.

Frank wanted me to play along and keep away from people like Germaine. It was almost a friendly gesture.

And that’s why I find myself sitting in a deer stand along the Appalachian Trail. The newlyweds should pass under it sometime today, if they haven’t yet been waylaid.

When they do, I’ll wait to see if they find the package I left out.

It has printouts of the Screen story I wrote. It has a copy of the Judgment Decree. It has a map of little-known trails that cross this path, and what cash I could withdraw without getting stopped by a minister.

I thought that I would watch them pick it up and wait until they were gone, then make my way home after a few stops to justify my travel, should I get checked.

Now I’m thinking maybe I’ll ask if I can walk with them a while when they go off the trail. I’ll cut out after a few days, find my own way.

I don’t know why I’ve decided to do this. I just don’t feel like writing another story I don’t believe in, I guess.


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Filed under Flash Fiction

Philip Roth’s Our Gang

Satire: Old and New

It helps to know about (or remember) the administration of Richard M. Nixon to laugh out loud as I did while reading Roth’s great 1971 satire skewering Nixon, but it’s not necessary.

Our Gang certainly includes details about Nixon (as well as about Spiro Agnew, several Democrats, and a cadre of famous news reporters and commentators of the time) that improve the humor of the punchlines, but far beyond that, the book attacks cynical political opportunism that uses nearly-reasonable-sounding rhetoric to twist reason into unrecognized train-wreckage, no matter the time or place.

The humor maintains clear, loud resonance even today, over 30 years since its first publication. Or, perhaps I should say, especially today.

Our Gang opens with Trick E. Dixon’s stated position in favor of the rights of the unborn (as actually stated in a quote from Richard M. Nixon at the beginning of the 1994 edition I read). He plans to show his support by introducing a Constitutional Amendment giving them the vote, expecting to secure their votes for himself. Pro-life? Or pro-self-interest?

The plot rises to Dixon’s “wag the dog” attack on Copenhagen, created to distract voters from a Boy Scout protest that he “decisively” stomps down. Dixon (unlike Nixon) is assassinated, but the double-talk of Orwellian White House Spokesmen and wily politicians denies the obvious until it can no longer be ignored. The Emperor’s Clothes are definitely on and beautiful, but doesn’t he look just great in his naked splendor?

Throughout, Dixon and his advisers pull all of the moves we continue to observe and decry—with intent hand-wringing—in today’s politics. The media goes along blandly, asking predictable questions that allow more twisting of words into bits and pieces of good-sounding nonsense. Occasionally a reporter asks a challenging question that allows Dixon to point to yet another red herring for the news hounds of justice.

One difference today is that more of the political operatives are part of the media now (think Limbaugh, Fox News, etc.). Still, media noise, announcements, pronouncements, and distractions (then and now) are revealed as a circus of absurdity designed to distract voters from reality while consolidating power to Tricky Dixon (but name your least or most favored politician or world leader or power broker to fill in the blank of that name).

Foundation for Fundamentalist and Tea Party Politico-Religious Speech?

The final chapter of Roth’s wonderful book might explain the post-Nixon rise of Fundamentalism in general and the Tea Party in particular. Dixon has descended into Hell and debates Satan in an attempt to win an “election” for the office of Devil. This helps to explain today’s (fill in the Fundamentalist Political Movement in the Religion of Your Choice Here). While Roth doesn’t tell us this, Dixon must have won. The new programs Roth has him propose are now evident amid the religious distortions, hypocrisy, and viciousness of this surging Fundamentalism.

Calling for

“bold new programs in Evil that will overturn God’s kingdom and plunge men into eternal death,”

he goes on to point out that a major part of the problem is that

“at least one half of the people presently on earth…no longer believe in the existence of Hell, let alone its influence in world affairs. And maybe Satan is satisfied that the Devil, the highest official in the underworld, once the very symbol of nefariousness to millions, is considered in the upper regions to have absolutely no power at all over the decisions made there by men.”

Fundamentalists of every persuasion seem determined to re-connect us to concepts of the Devil, Satan, and the Evil influences of not-their-belief not-their-way-of-living. Their politico-religious rhetoric makes this clear. So, Dixon must have won, then or later. And “the Devil, the highest official in the underworld,” has set his minions loose here and abroad, in terrorist circles and Tea Party hypocrisies, trying to get more than half of us to once again fear the Devil, as only the Devil would want us to do.

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Filed under book review, Writing