D.S. Black (firstname.lastname@example.org) toils in a special collections
library in Berkeley, writes for various newspapers and obscrure literary
journals. Associated with the now defunct magazine PROCESSED WORLD.
WRITE YOUR OWN TICKET
a voter's guide
A vote is a terrible thing to waste. Each day, the temptation to spoil my
ballot come November grows with all the gnawing hunger of flesh-eating
bacteria. What is to be done?
Pity that we do not have a None of the Above option in the contest
to be President. In Russia, where it is possible to so register one's
disaffection, None of the Above outpolled even former Sovietchik Mikhail
Gorbachev in last June's election.
Maybe the trick is to write one's own dream ticket. Fill in the names
of those who are our real representatives, regardless of any legal or
anachronistic impediments. A wide open race, which, given the many local
constituencies and interest groups, could make for some unusual choices.
Venerable civic societies like the Odd Fellows or E Clampus Vitus
would have no difficulty endorsing a local hero/eccentric like Emperor
Norton, giving his leadership a belated constitutional nod. As the original,
self-styled monarch himself is long dead, an actor would have to serve
as a stand-in. Given the recent history of this office, that shouldn't be a
One man, one volt, says the South African humorist Peter-Dirk
Uys. Maybe it is asking too much for Americans to rub more than one
brain cell together when choosing leaders. By that logic, Forrest Gump
should be a shoe-in.
If we're going to have a CEO for President, why go for Ross Perot
when Bill Gates is waiting in the wings? The next release of Microsoft
Wetware could, if properly and universally implanted, readily supersede the
constitution and render the Supreme Court and Congress obsolete. Slowly
but surely, by release 2000, Big Bill could, through this cybernetic
"fix," be counted on to iron all the bugs out of society, in time for the MS
San Francisco Cacophonists, that rambunctious group of urban
pranksters, are themselves polarized. Either they go for an anarchic, hip-
flask-swilling Santa Claus who will promise, and then profane, anything,
or they support a 40 foot high neon-skeletoned Burning Man--in which,
like latter day Bohemians, they cremate every care in the world.
The industrial performance artists at Survival Research Laboratories
are not surprisingly fronting one of their fire breathing, corpse-chomping
robots. Word is they'll get the Department of Defense (and Offense)
portfolio in a Cacophony Administration. St. Stupid would be a fine Chief
At the Bearded Lady cafe in the Mission, a member of the
Woodshed Dykes says her vote is with K.D. Laing, never mind that the
chanteuse is a Canadian. "Everybody knows the best Americans are
Canadian," she said, citing Peter Jennings and Monte Hall. "But if Alanis
Morrisette were old enough, I'd certainly vote for her," she added.
Vigilanteism is a time honored American tradition. Perhaps the
shooter of Tupac Shakhur would accept a nomination? Just think: the first
drive-by President. (Also, a good way to downsize the Secret Service.)
Beat fans are pulling for local street poet Jack Micheline.
After his recent star turn in a series of designer underwear ads, Beat
Briefs, Micheline has shown that he truly does bear the mantle of his
dead buddy Jack Kerouac. We tend to forget that beat is just beautiful,
And me? Who gets my vote? Why that's easy: You, of course!
(a spit from the grave)
He wasn't the first and he won't be the last to go. Still, it hurt like
hell to hear that he's now dead, proximally from pneumonia, but basically of
AIDS...one of the sweetest, dearest, funniest men you ever could meet.
Years ago he sold me a t-shirt for an HIV Humor magazine (DPN:
Diseased Pariah News). The graphic showed the hand of Madge, the TV
"personality," holding someone's hand down in a saucer of blood: "The
blood of over 100,000 Americans who have died of AIDS, Mr. President.
Why, you're soaking in it!"
This was under another President: Bush. All that would be needed
now is an update of the figure: 200,000? More?
Clinton may only be a fair-weather friend to marginalized folks like
PWAs and gays. But for real vitriol, one has only to bring up the
Republicans. At the memorial service for my late friend, who was both gay
and a PWA, there was a gamit of activist types, queer and
In such a radical crowd, there was the predictable post-mortem on the
Republican National Convention.
"In the 1980s those people wanted to put me in a concentration
camp," remarked a man wearing a "Silence is Death" t-shirt. He recalled
Congressman William Dannemeyer's plan to isolate persons with AIDS.
"You don't forget that," he said, still angry.
I'd tell you more about my friend, who was like me a writer and
sometime newspaper essayist. I am, however, inhibited from divulging his
name, out of respect for the privacy of his surviving partner. You should
understand after what follows.
For our late friend's hatred of conservatives once revealed
itself in a diabolical plan for what he wanted done with his body when he
I can't say who else might have remembered these words (nor
would I), and I refuse to speculate on any actions they might have inspired
during the recent convention. But they did etch themselves into memory a
couple of years ago, when I first heard them. Who knows if he got the last
"After I'm cremated," he said in all seriousness, "my ashes
should be taken to a Republican Party lunch or dinner--one of those self-
congratulatory 'Realizing the American Dream' rallies--my ashes should
there be planted in the soup or the pepper shakers.
"After everyone has polished off their rubber chicken and dessert
courses, as they spoon the sugar into their tea or coffee, it should then be
announced that they have just consumed the last mortal remains of one
_____, dead from AIDS, no friend of theirs."
The Vacation Program writes to those away
from their mail who might be tempted
they are beyond
reach the sound of my voice
The Vacation Program wants you to
get with it.
It acknowledges your experience off
line may be (apparently) more
vivid than what you have on
but asks that you interrogate the nature
this experience for
2) financial/career advancement
3) geo-, pataphysical considerations
sinecurely, yr ever humble & ob't Etc
--VP (your all-purpose killer app)
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