Here it comes.


  1. The double double edge:

    Is it a story about a crusty conservative nun holding back Father Kev Withit and the progress of the Church of What’s Happening Now? Or the story about an empowered woman of the Church fighting the powers that be in an early (and if not anachronistic, at least, sensationalized) example of pulpit pedastry?

    Either way (or both ways), it will be interesting to see where the Church comes out in the end.

    Ah-ha! Priests frigging little boys? Lets all become Prots. Clearly the Church has lost its right (sic) to proclaim the Truth. Demystify the sacraments NOW! Strip the ritual away NOW! Etc.

    Or, Ah-ha! So, Pre-Vat was even Pre-Vat back before it was Pre-Vat? Well, see? this empowering women and laity thing wasn’t something the pointy-headed liberals at Vat II dreamed up, was it?

    No. I think I’ll grab a Malachi Martin novel and sit this one out.

    Why don’t they make Powers stories into movies, dang nabbit?


  2. cubeland Mystic says

    Why don’t they make a movie about William Wilson whose amazingly fantastic CD’s I just purchased?

    I’d pay to see that. Talk about great beauty.

    How about a two man movie? It could be called, Matthew, JOB, and Bourbon. You sit out on Matthew’s patio drink and discuss important stuff, but with a twist. The session turns into a discussion about the perfect movie, and then as the screenplay develops amidst shots, your dialogue would be interspersed with the actual scenes from the finished product that you are developing on the fly. It ends with the sun coming up over La Mesa. The last scene of the movie is Mrs. L picking up the empty bottle of bourbon throwing it in the trash, and saying something like “I wish they’d do some real work.” or some such. That’s the whole movie.

    Let’s write it, right here in this post.

  3. CM,

    A great idea – and there’ve already been several rehearsals on several different porches – without a camera.

    I’m just in a sharing mood. Here’s the long (if not the short) of it.

    I wrote this a number of years ago.

    p.s. I haven’t forgotten your request – by the way.


    Akilles and Patrokolus on the Porch of Hades

    – for M.L.

    The mixing-bowl between us, laughter and the droll parsed out,
    Drank to, we sat squared off, knee to knee,
    Exchanging demons for a weekend as once we exchanged
    Armor of expedition and trophies
    Of moment. The afterthought of many-wandering oars
    And the quick-fix oracle of fans
    For winnowing the distances, the silences, the storms,
    Aren’t enough for us to step from the porch.
    We have our wine, we have our forms and night’s eternity
    To look upon. The sky grows vastly darker,
    The cypresses windier, the graves graver, and the talk
    Livelier than ever. Yet, the catalog
    Of ships grows less significant with each passing year’s fame
    – And more and more of Troy’s veterans come
    To rest in the same place. It is as if old Homer’s ghost
    In absentia left word years and thrones hence
    For Cicero’s shade – that he should stand gently in poet’s place
    Down here, and speak for him through us by God.
    And by God, given reality’s own round-aboutness,
    We see Cicero, a third between us,
    Leaning in a listening posture against a column
    Or on an altar to edit friendship’s
    Familiar paragraphs, affection’s smooth, simple syntax,
    And the easy rhetoric that colloquy honors
    With the warm embrace of anticipation, never lost
    Between two for whom mutual understanding
    Is like second breath. His masterful style is needed, though,
    If only to absorb the solitaire
    That conversation amounts to among men who know themselves
    And each other too well and too long.
    But conversations are not orations whereby laurels
    Crown the better-prepared, quicklier wit,
    More clever ironies, or sighs that meant most going deepest.
    Instead, friends pretend to what is beauty,
    What is best in beauty and what fashions most beautifully
    The things that occupy time’s whole into
    Their talk. It is done, of course, offhandedly with the give
    And take delivered by battle’s schooling wounds
    And by divine favors dropped in Zeus’s tin balance dish.
    Not that competition is the measure,
    Only that good sense is demonstrated which always renews
    The vigor of voice and eye, and keeps up
    An ear and a nose for good subjects of conversation.
    Speaking, these many years after dusty death,
    After the roar that downed a thousand men, the rites performed
    On a friendship’s momentary parting,
    We relive the tension of the guide-wires that drew full sails
    And tight hulls. We did not let our words fall
    Or wander into Hades’ thorns, the stubble of ego’s
    Vanity. Rather, what once suspended battle
    Between victory and defeat. What still is the last word
    In friendship. What will be the war song sung
    Down to the sleeping ages. Yes, we will survive them all.
    Still, notice, our words concern themselves still
    In this place – both the ones painted on by Homer, and those
    Which sprang from the head of action just like
    Beloved Athena, our patroness, our sweetness, our hope.
    But take no care, friend, to define the rest.
    Nothing is nothing; memories are echoes, sonic nostalgia
    More or less to measure as they fade away.
    We have kept close, though, the community we soldiers keep.
    The brevity of life only brings it
    Closer. Life is autumn, now. See, she brings her burning loss
    Like a city abandoned by the gods.
    Yet you and I have never seen her so beautiful.
    She is like a river, cold against the sky,
    Turning in crazy pursuit of herself through a forest.
    It was on her banks that manhood’s ships burnt,
    Collateral effects, the sorrowful capitulations
    Of boyhood. Life’s uncomplicated mess.
    The losses won. All the larger victories no longer so.
    Emotional storm damage. Sheered lines.
    Tackle to untangle. The dutiful drawing out of
    Spearheads and arrow shafts from the fresh dead.
    Like shore-leave-taking sailors, we magnified our great deeds
    In the wine-bowl’s brass bottom, our faces there.
    It was not so long we’d gone, after all. When the winds blows,
    The leaves fall, and bowls filled again, carved up with
    Unripe stories, stained with spelled-out prayers of living for dead.
    At war, we remained at table until
    All were satisfied all was said. When horns blew, bodies rose.
    We knew dawn was on us. And bodies fell.
    The ground filled with a windfall ripeness, stained with the same blood.
    And now – well, we don’t get up from table
    Anymore. Not ever again. Nor need we. Hollow sounds
    Hallowed. Light our substance. Sight our meat.
    In the frank acknowledgements and cleverly apt descriptors
    More at home among discussions of wine
    Than the grizzly sleepiness following late-kept talk,
    We count and watch the same haggard faces come
    Through the gates of horn, plenty thinking, thinking all is fate,
    All a joke, all a soldier’s life, alright.
    But full measures of the universe are ever subject
    To the truths we plumb, our minds like wine-bowls.
    The shifts in our own talk, though, remain as natural as wind
    Drawing a quick breath across the mountains
    Selective in the trees it downs, choosing these and not those,
    For heft or grain, that is, use or beauty.
    Our ability to follow each other line for line,
    And read from each other well for next topics,
    Is as secure as ever the regal draw of a bow,
    And solid as a spear’s strong heft in hand.
    It was all there, and we knew we couldn’t sleep until demons
    Were exorcised, their full dimensions drawn;
    The final tamp on their graves like the last courageous touch
    To a paean’s meter, the last word
    We could possibly say, a word left to prove its own gift
    By being withheld, shared in mutual silence,
    Friendship’s necessary sacrifice to imagination,
    Left unspoken. It was all there, apparent
    As wounds after the armor came off for the last time,
    For the last time rending hearts and honor,
    Despite arrowroot’s soothing solution. The bodies fell.
    Let them fall, and fall again. For the sky pips
    Our talk with first light, but no horn sounds. So, let bodies fall.
    All they’ve done now belongs to words between friends.

  4. notrelatedtoted says

    I stopped reading after you likened yourselves to Akilles and Patrokolus….(I kid, I kid).

    CM – it’s gonna have to be an art house flick, ‘natch. Sorta like Coffee and Cigarettes, but uh, maybe we could call it, Bourbon and More Bourbon?

  5. Cubeland Mystic says


    What you wrote many years ago is what I am getting at. (BTW the gift of having an occasion to write something such as that is a wealth beyond the wildest imagination.) Maybe as ~Ted suggests it is an art house film. Okay, an art house film is still a film, and it would be credited and provide the grease for future projects.

    In my mind the way I imagine it is you have the two main characters, who create the plot for the best film ever over a bottle of bourbon.

    One friend is romantic and serious, the other is perhaps more sardonic and laid back. They begin to work out the plot, each states their case as voice over on the actual scene, but the voices fade and the actors take over. The other has a turn, and likewise the same thing but disagreeing, and the same set of actors take over just in a completely different movie. They work the plot into a masterpiece combining their styles while strengthening their friendship.

    There are 3 movies in one, 1) the creation, 2) differing stories merging to one, 3) strengthening the friendship. It’s actually a work on the creative process. Topics that could be discussed are faith, sex, art-as-wound, death, creation.

    One character might be advocating for period piece with plot X and rhyme scheme ABCCBA, while the other a contemporary piece with plot Y and rhyme scheme ABCCCA. The final product might be Period, Plot Y, rhyme scheme ABCCBA. The beauty and cleverness of the film might come in having character A from Plot Y moved into plot X to fall in love with character B. You move from jeans into hoop skirts or some such.

    There might be a bit of tension between the two friends, and they work it out their own drama in the plots that they are creating. If cleverly done it could be a masterpiece of modern cinema.

    But what you can show is real friendship, and the meta-language that develops amongst creative people. The slightest vocal inflection, a raised eyebrow, the filling of a glass to specific height.

    For example, each character instinctively pours the other’s drinks. The host character drinks his bourbon neat one finger and nurses, the other has exactly three ice cubes in his tumbler and two fingers. Always new ice cubes in each drink. Pour 4 drinks in the film, the audience will catch it. One smokes cigarettes, the other a pipe. Little props like that to add depth.

    If it were me the patio would be a garden, and the star lit sky would be stylized to the point where you could see Saturn’s rings and Jupiter’s storm. Each scene might have a specific constellation highlighted Orion might take on a purple hue. A low crescent moon hung with mists. Moon and mists would change color and shapes slightly as the film progressed. The flowers would look as if Plato designed them, and the fragrance would would nearly be palpable to the audience.

    There would be food in every scene. They would work through the plot as if they were working through a multi course dinner. Except each course would be a sumptuous work of art. But you would never see it served or cleared, the next course would just be there in the next scene.

    The only constant around the table would be the friends and the bourbon’s crystal decanter and a damn fine pair of crystal tumblers. The pipe smokers pipe would change too.

    But when the sun rose the next day, the two friends sacked out in the living room sleeping, the spouse came to clean up they might find a plain empty Jack Daniel’s bottle, an avg. patio, junky mix-and-match patio furniture, an ashtray pilled with butts, no garden, a couple crappy glasses. See it?

    I can keep going if you like.

  6. Matthew Lickona says

    I’ll do it, but only if you join the party…

  7. Cubeland Mystic says

    I am totally in as long as you promise to make me my favorite Lentil dish.

    Mystic Lentils (serves 10 mystics)

    4 cups water
    1 tablespoon lentils

    Bring water to boil, add lentils, cook till al dente, strain. Serve unseasoned.

    Some mystics (the indulgent ones) like the lentil liquor. You can reserve some if you like. I don’t care for it. Also, please pick up a small bag of Mystic Mix from TJ’s. I like the Locust and Grubs mix, Ranch flavored. Jalepeno is fine if they don’t have ranch.

  8. notrelatedtoted says

    The mental image I have of Cubeland Mystic is a mash-up of Gandalf and Hunter S. Thompson.

  9. CB

    The concept of a movie within a movie that comes into being as the characters discuss/ruminate on the plot has been done – albeit, in a manner slightly more narcissistic than what you have imagined. Its called Adaptation. The last real film that N. Cage made.

  10. Cubeland Mystic says


    Thanks for the input. I was not aware of that film. I read the plot summary at IMDB. I don’t think it is the same thing. I could work around that part. However I was devastated tonight watching speed racer, and they stole my moon and stars, and flowers! But that is kind of the idea what I was getting at.

    I slept on it. I have the visuals down. The setting is a walled garden. Spanish architecture. Stucco, organic and warm, walls thick and earthy–creams and ochres . The night clear and warm, still. There should be lots of flowers and colors. Everything is in bloom, trees, shrubs, vines, ground cover. They will be illumined by moonlight, but they should have their own internal glow. You know, it should have a look very similar to when your guardian angel shows you the gardens of heaven. You know what I mean? There should be at least one massive oak, and beneath it is a large table.

    A large rugged table maybe stone or wood. Preference to stone. It should be reminiscent of an alter. On the table a beautiful bourbon filled crystal decanter. It should look like the Arkenstone in the moonlight. The bourbon, rich and carmelly, and with its own internal glow. Two equally magnificent gold rimmed crystal rock tumblers, a crystal ice bucket, the ice inside should be faceted like large diamonds. A wickedly cool, hand carved tobacco pipe on stand, with crystal tobacco jar, a golden cigarette case. Next to the table, should be a raised bronze fire basin. It should be thick bronze bowl with a large oak fire burning. (Tobacco should always be lit from the fire.)

    The sky is ablaze with stars, prominent constellations bolded, planets large and visible (mars, venus, jupiter, saturn). The moon large crescent diamond bright, and entwined by mists. Moon mists take on the colors of the subjects discussed, if Christmas, greens and reds, Easter, purples, death, black. Along the back walls of the garden, iridescent mist should be always pouring over the wall and down along ground encircling the outer rim of the space. Along the left side of the garden is a black gate, dark foreboding, an beneath it oozes a dark sinister mist into the garden. It is kept at bay by the iridescent mist, until the plot darkens.

    The space is ritual space. It should be as organic as possible, except perhaps the black gate. Maybe it should look hight tech. The garden should have a timeless feel.

    The story is about friendship as JOB discussed in his poem. What binds their friendship together is the creative process. They have a passion for good stories, so they’ve been meeting for years to create and discuss them. One man is a master craftsman. He works in metal, stone, and wood. He creates physical things of both great beauty and great function. The other is the intellectual. He creates things out of thought. Timeless and beautiful expressions of the mind. Both are married and have families. The craftsman is more romantic and emotional, the intellectual is more modern and rationale. The craftsman smokes the pipe, the intellectual smokes cigarettes.

    They meet monthly in the garden for the sumptuous dinner, bourbon, and smoke in order to discuss the act of creation in different contexts. The craftsman is a person of the past, and struggles with modernity. The intellectual embraces modernity and progress. Both are men of faith but it manifests differently in each. When they enter the garden they are equals in pure creative space.

    Here is where I get stuck. Do they meet to create the perfect “story”, and then have the drama and sizzle occur in the scenes that they hash out together? Kind of how I described it above. Or are they manipulating a pretty well formulated “story” like capricious gods. The audience is catching them putting their finishing touches on the final draft. You see those scenes enacted on the screen Sort of the the last critical plot twists.

    They always have the temptation of the black gate. That would be selling out their art. Where does it change or go from here? That is enough for today.

  11. Cubeland Mystic says

    If anyone wants to chip in feel free. Cubeland is the irony, however the Mystic part is becoming more real. The iridescent mists pour over the walls of my cube at work. Sometimes it becomes overwhelming.

    Hence, I am not really in tune with what might make an interesting story. I intended my comments for everyone to share their ideas, since it is so frustrating to see films made that disrespect our faith or make fun of our concerns. Instead of being angry or frustrated about these things let’s direct our energy into creation. I thought it might be interesting to create a story about creation itself.

    When evil or bad taste strike, create.

  12. Matthew Lickona says

    I’ve been simmering ideas all weekend. Question: would the women bringing the exquisite food enter the patio through the same black gate?

  13. cubeland Mystic says

    No one enters the garden from the black gate. In my mind that gate only swings one way. Part of the drama of the story is for the two friends is to resist the temptation to enter it. One leaves the garden by that gate. It leads to corruption. It is a struggle not to go there. When your editor asks you can you add a scene where this character “gets killed in an exciting car chase”, or “can you write in a more graphic sexual description”. One leaves the garden by the black gate.

    This garden space is totally symbolic. Everything in the garden is a creation of the two friends. Nothing is served it just appears at different stages of the progression. In a world that judges everything by material gain, and kills for it, this garden space must be the richest of all.

    One of the messages of this story is that your faith, creative powers, education, and culture are your greatest wealth. And that if you understand this, you can never ever be poor.

    Your Godsbody readers are rich rich people. The contributers here (you, your brother, and JOB) are very rich. And this is wealth that no one can ever take from you.

    In this garden the mystery is all around you.

  14. cubeland Mystic says

    Two things that I just thought about for the two friends. These are the spiritual state of each of the friends. One should be experiencing a state of abandonment, and the other the state of great grace.

    I’d be curious to see how the two would play off of each other, and try to create something together within differing interior states. Abandonment against abundance. Perhaps the wrong way to frame that, but that’s the idea.

    The challenge would be to do it without direct references to God. Although the garden was not intended to be an eden, the great oak in the middle was intended to be a symbol of the cross.

    I am struggling with the Characters ages.

  15. I think I should be at that party too. Somebody has to be there to hold you three down when you start floating away on thick mist of poetry and mysticism.

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