My Excuses

So here are my excuses
Half way between the painted images of my basement floor,
Sort of strewn or gored with left over pizza, cake plates and bottle caps
And my kitchenette sealed with the small spills of afternoon tea
Of drinks that were far too sweet and mouths too nice to say so

Somewhere near my old drum set with its broken skins
And throne that makes me feel at odds and alone
Past the couch whose legs are falling off
Because of the weight of time spent lying around when we could have been smiling, or laughing or getting along or making love

Close to my bathroom floor signed with love by my morning phlegm
That was coughed up with a little too much blood for my liking
Over by my panic attacks near the counter that had me pulling at my hair in despair
And trying to choose what the most responsible thing to do, when doing what I wanted would have been enough.

Those are my excuses for forgetting my passion and acting safely, forgetting that beauty is in a moment where you can’t hold back or you have to make a decision based on only you, and what you stand for not the feelings of those around you. If you get caught up in being sensitive to everyone seldom is art made, and even less often is happiness born.

How is it that babies are born every second yet every one makes a mother sigh in bliss and a father puff with pride?
Truthfully I don’t know, probably because it’s all a personal race to a meaningful end where the same guy whose been waiting there forever still waits to say
“You’re done, son.”
And I refuse to bend or kneel to the idea that the universe has no purpose or that family is just safety, because safety just means that you don’t want to die for anything.

My friends and I are dangerous. We are the kind of people who are dead to a world that doesn’t understand that we don’t care bout it’s money or plans and when threatened by mortality we can laugh like kings on mighty steeds. The funniest part is that it came for free. Those are the kind of people who I’ll sit with on my back porch sipping wine, and waiting for the stars to prime. Maybe we’ll dance with a reggae jive or just sit in silence with our eyes on the sky.

– Justin Koop (2009)

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Something to Sleep On

You wake up from a dream, startled and awake: very awake. You slide your feet off the side of the bed and look to your left. Your wife is sitting next to you, her chest rising and falling slowly as she makes tiny noises in her sleep. You smile and stand up. Your feet are greeted with a nice warm carpet, and you are glad you went with it instead of the hardwood. You want to yawn, but stifle it on your way to the bathroom. You pause for a second to wonder why people go to the bathroom when they wake up at night. You dismiss it from your mind and continue. The new carpet seems to crunch like new snow under your feet. You feel comfortable. Your pajama bottoms cling loosely to your legs. Your usual white t-shirt, the one that you only really wear so your wife can wear it after sex, slides with you as you move. You reach the bathroom and dread that horrible moment when you finally give up groping around in the dark and turn the light on. You hear a car horn faintly. Fortunately, you manage to get hold of the cup and turn the tap on. It gushes forth and you place the cup under. You hear the water flowing through the pipes and pray that it doesn’t wake your wife. There is a light clunk probably from the boiler room. You take a sip and spit it out. You flick the other temperature and wait for a bit. You empty the glass and fill it again. This time it’s refreshing. The pipes groan as you turn off the tap. Your mind feels clear, light and agile; like you could outwit a scholar. It feels good to be up. You stare out the bathroom’s high window at the receding light of the moon and guess that it’s around three o’clock in the morning. You back down the hallway towards your bed and hear the floorboards creak under you. You noticed the faint blue glow from your computer monitor in the main room and decide to head that way. The brightness hurts your eyes, sending throbbing pains through your skull. You shake your head a bit and miss the sound of rustling sheets. You sit down at your computer and open Microsoft Word. It tells you that it recovered a document; you make a sigh of relief and look at a nearby clock. It reads a flashing 12:00. You deduce that it was an electrical storm and shake your head. You save the document and hear your house settling some more. You walk over to your balcony and open the blinds. They make a rustling noise, much louder than you wanted and they sway still after they’ve been opened. You stare out into the dark neighborhood, cracks of thunder splitting the sky and lighting even the darkest alleys. You can’t help but noticed how softly the rain was falling. It reminded you of gentle tapping, like a mouse was trying to get in. You hear soft shuffling and feel warm arms come around your waist. You smile, and your cheeks feel so high up that they shouldn’t be on your face anymore. You turn and see her, her drowsy hazel eyes staring up at you making you bright like a thunder crack. Boom! Your house shakes a little. She doesn’t seem to notice. She buries her head in your chest and you hold her tight.

A thunder crack, soft tapping, the rain, the house settling, creaking floor boards, crunchy carpet, sheets, sheets again and quiet.

Octopus MAN!

READ AND BE AMUSED

Justin Koop

January 19, 2009

Tales of the ridiculous and the fantastic

Story one: The Octopus Man

There once was a man named George Washington. He lived in a gigantic ten-bedroom apartment in downtown New York, otherwise known as Brooklyn. George Washington loved his wife, Denise, and their seven children who are not relevant to the storyline. George Washington was the man’s man. He had a long beard that was coarse enough to use as a scouring pad, he had a scar over his left eye and an eye-patch on his right. He drove a 1989 Buick, and smoked cigars weekly. His favorite drink was Brandy, and his favorite past time was hunting. His wife would cook him four strips of bacon, two eggs, two pieces of toast and a large glass of pureed fruit for every breakfast, he would make a deer meat sandwich for every lunch, and supper alternated between Spaghetti and Bologna, or any food with a silent G or H. Now George Washington was a good man, and wanted to provide for his family. He had been a soldier in the army but was discharged honorably by General Lee Badass because he was too amazing for the army. He found a job at the local Nuclear Power plant (New York celebrated the construction of it’s fortieth Nuclear Power plant in 2041) in order to keep feeding his gross amount of nameless children. George was such a hard worker that eventually he got everyone else fired and ran the entire Nuclear Plant by himself, This put surprising amounts of strain on the Marriage between George Washington and Denise Washington, as captured by this clip of audio surveillance taken by the FBI.
George – “Honey, I’m home!” *the door closes*
Denise – “Why are you home so late George? This keeps happening every day!” *said in a very whiny and annoying voice*
George – “I run an entire Nuclear Power Plant, woman!”
Denise – * in a mocking tone * “I run an entire Nuclear Power Plant.”
George – “Why do you do this to me? WHYYYYYY? I do it because I love you!”
*A short pause, where George makes a disgusted grunt*
George – “What IS that thing?!”
Denise – “This is my pet octopus! He keeps me company because you’re gone all the time!”
George – “Oh no you don’t!”
*Grabbing and squishy noises and small amount of protest from Denise*
George – “This is my octopus now, and we’re going to go play Backgammon because you don’t like it but I bet the octopus does!”
*Foot steps going away, and soft yet manly sobbing are heard distantly*
George and the Octopus became instant friends. Their friendship grew strong through a mutual love for muscle building and drinking protein shakes. Together they began a collection of medieval two-handed swords. Each day after safety checking the Nuclear power plant, they would duel to the near death with those swords, then laugh heartily and sharpen them. During this time Denise developed a great loneliness from lack of friendship and company.
One night, George Washington and the Octopus were playing “hot potato” with a live World War I era German hand grenade known as a potato masher. Both were having such a rowdy time that they forgot to push the secret lever in the factory that controls time and space as a whole, but that’s ok because it doesn’t factor into this story. They also forgot to safety check the facility and the nuclear core melted down. Luckily, through a team effort between the octopus and George Washington, they were able to activate the radiation shields and prevented any damage to the surrounding ghetto.
A month later, in the Bronx state hospital, George woke up from his radiation-induced mini-coma. The doctors explained that he would probably feel light headed and notice that he had eight appendages capable of crushing human skulls. They also explained that although George had saved New York, he and his best friend octopus were melded together into one being. The octopus could not control anything physically, but George could hear his voice whispering badass catch phrases to get him pumped up. He was filled with such a righteous fury that he decided to walk home, rather than ride the transit system. On his way home he noticed a familiar female figure going into a near-by palace. He followed close behind the woman, and soon discovered through empirical evidence that it was his wife! “Why is my wife visiting this palace?” The Octopus-man wondered. “Glub glub!” thought the octopus. “Yes.” Agreed George Washington. Just as the Octopus had suggested, they snuck into the place, hung from the ceiling and followed Denise around until they reached the throne room. In the middle of the immense marble columned room stood a golden throne atop a pyramid that was made completely of 12 week old baby panda skulls emblazoned with diamond dust which was hand-ground by Hercules. The throne was made out of pure 100,000 karat gold and forged by thousands of elementary school children across the British Commonwealth whose lives were completely and voluntarily dedicated to this one masterpiece. Denise entered and walked over to a very pale white man, who was wearing a Sikh turban and carried a large bag of Cocaine, who was standing upon the throne.
The Octopus man dropped down from the ceiling in a maddening fury! “Halt!” He cried with wild abandon “That is my wife!” Suddenly, he realized his wife was cheating on him with the Pale Man! Suddenly, he realized that Pale Man was a Drug lord! Suddenly, Ninjas came through the windows with their swords drawn for combat! Suddenly, the ninjas lit on fire! Suddenly, the nearby statues came alive and started swinging swords made of stone! Suddenly, the Pale Man threw twenty-five grenades! Suddenly, His wife was the pink power ranger! Suddenly, his wife went into labor! Suddenly, the entire cast of “The Big Bang Theory” appeared in a flash of blinding light! Suddenly, Denise began to have birth complications! Suddenly, the roof blew off because of a tornado! Suddenly, the walls became electrically charged because of the massive electrical storm raging overhead! Suddenly, Denise was having quadruplets! Suddenly, the fire on the Ninjas was made out of knives! Suddenly, the statues became wreathed in extreme and dangerously majestic black fire! Suddenly, Denise thought the Ninja’s were friendly! Suddenly, a killer combo of the knife fire on the ninja’s and the intensely black fire wreathed statues’ swords hit Denise in the arm causing her to fall onto the panda skull pyramid which broke, revealing a T-Rex whose proportion is only comparable to the Cyclops which charged through the back wall of the throne room even though he was covered in Vipers! Suddenly, the cast of the Big Bang Theory adopted all five of Denise’s children only to subject them to cruel scientific experiments. Suddenly, the T-Rex and the Viper-covered Cyclops were battling in the sky above Denise (for the Pale Man had cast a levitation spell on them) and the ensuing fallout threw her in-between the Octopus-man and the Pale Man, causing a sudden realization of everyone in the room that she was about to die. In the dead silence, that seemed to pass to on through all the eons of time that rang over the battlefield like a bluebird on the fields of Normandy on an early summers morning in June when George Washington was busy winning the second world war, The Octopus-man reasoned with the Pale Man, “ I love my wife! Don’t take her from me, and drown her in a sea of cocaine!” The Pale Man answered, “Don’t doubt that I have a sea of Cocaine! Why should I give her up? I love her, and she’s the mother of my, now, twenty three children!” The Octopus-man retorted “But I’m dying of cancer, and she shot me with a gun, and you’re really cheating on her with Jenny and we have a secret homosexual relationship, but I still love her more than anything!” Denise interrupted by saying “Don’t I mean anything to you two? Why can’t you settle this like men and kill people! My heart is now with the Scorpion-Man from the Museum of Man and Scorpion. Also, I’m about to die.” The Octopus-man and Pale Man couldn’t really argue with that one. The Scorpion-Man was pretty badass and they knew it. They then spent some time getting to really know each other, and in doing so forgot about Denise who was devoured by the half-T-Rex half-Viper-Covered-Cyclops

’ offspring of the aforementioned of each breed. The Ninja’s took a much-needed holiday to the Cambrian islands. There they stayed until they died of old age, each one of them achieving their dream of being just like George Washington. The stone statues, feeling the bonds of their slavery loosed by the absence of the Pale Man, committed accidental mass suicide by sumptuously feasting on the baby panda skulls until their stone stomachs burst. The cast of the big bang theory sold the throne to the devil, who reeeeeeeeeeeally wanted it.
The Octopus-man, refreshed after a goodnights sleep, set out on his epic quest to seek the Scorpion-Man and vanquish him for no other reason than he hadn’t yet crushed any human skulls with his eight appendages capable of crushing human skulls, even though he had plenty of opportunity but never really took the initiative.
TO BE CONTINUED!

Story of my Childhood

The Story of My childhood
By: Justin Koop
December 28th 2009

It was a cold winter night, just around seven o’clock. I was sitting in the cab of my father’s 4×4 truck, listening to a Christian rock station called ignite one-o-seven, when a great thought popped into my head. I suddenly remember, to my great joy, that I hadn’t seen my good friend Nafets in quite some time. Perhaps I thought to call him simply because I knew that I’d be alone because both my parents were gone on a trip, and my girlfriend was away on another trip, and my room-mate was also away, but I was surely glad that I did. I dialled his number on the truck’s phone, and soon had him on the line.
“Hello?” answered Nafets’s sister.
“Hi, is Nafets there?” I answered, hopefully.
“Hold on a moment.” She said politely, if not slightly agitatedly. I heard a “Nafets!” being shouted in the muffled background.
“Hello?” answered Nafets, his familiar and warm voice crackled slightly because of the phone.
“Hi Nafets it’s Justin calling!” I exclaimed.
“Koop!” he said with enthusiasm “How’s it going?”
“Well!” I said in a very convincing manner.
He laughed then responded with a chuckle “That’s good.”
“Would you like to hang out? I’ve got a vehicle and nothing to do.”
“Umm… Sure! Just let me check.” He muffled the phone but I still overheard him asking his mother if he could hang out with me.
“Can you drop me off afterwards as well?” He asked.
”Yes of course, it’s no problem.” I responded. He was gone for another moment.
“Alright!” he said boldly, “How far away are you?”
“I’m on McLeod um… what street is this… McLeod at Molson. I’ll be there in five minutes ok?”
“Alrighty! See you then.” *click*

I hung up the phone, and with great anticipation made sure to travel 5 kilometres above the limit in order to reach his house quicker. As I arrived upon his pink house, four minutes later, I turned down his street whose name I always forgot to wait for him. It was extremely snowy on that particular street and I was sliding all over. I decided, after not seeing him right away that I should do a u-turn, park and go in to get him. After struggling through doing a u-turn in the bulky truck in the thick snow, I saw that he was out on his lawn already. I saw his familiar boyish face still pale and gaunt as ever, but with a smile that I had truly missed. Nafets and I were childhood friends. Our mothers were dorm-mates in college so we were destined to be friends with each other. I remember distinctly when we were five years old, running down his street far away from his house (which was honestly only a block but it felt much farther back then) and into a park where we pretended to be spies or some other such childish non-sense. It felt good to be with such a trusted friend from my past. For the last few months I had spent the majority of time with my girlfriend or with my room-mate, and I felt the need for some of my old friendships and those bonds of trust again.

On the drive back to my house, we talked about what we were doing with our lives, and how each one of us was doing for grades at school, and which new video games had come out, and what we had all received for Christmas. When we got to my house we fell immediately into old rhythm. We scoured my DVD collection to find a good movie to watch, but we ended up checking out a few of the games I had recently bought. After awhile though we got into a conversation that really tantalized my brain. We started to talk about writing. I had brought up that I was reading through the Harry Potter series, and he mentioned the Foundation series from Assimov and before we knew it we were having a wonderful conversation about art.
I said, “Every artist ought to strive to create literature. Things should be held to a standard.”
Nafets said, “But what about Art that just tries to be fun? Art that is solely there for entertainment? It achieves its goals and does it very well, whether we like it’s goals or not.”
“But there’s got to be a higher standard friend, otherwise no one will ever write anything good!”
“But what if everyone just set out to meet their own goals, and made what they wanted out of themselves? Aren’t people just going to do what they want anyway?”
There was much more talk of this, but the message had really sunk home. I replied, “I guess that other people and their bad literature doesn’t really change me does it?”
He nodded
“I guess that I should just follow my own advice rather than getting upset.”
He nodded
“I guess that I should just keep writing, and giving true life to my stories.”
He nodded and grinned
“And write what is really real.”

That’s why I love Nafets. He always inspired me to become better. He always inspired my faith as much as he did my writing. We talked then of our faiths, and how we felt about growing up. I told him that I wished that everything I realized were subliminal already, or that when we realized something and wanted to change our ways and habits to conform to it that it would just be instantaneous. He just smiled that knowing smile he always does and made me feel quite assured that I’d figure things out. We talked about worshiping God, and how it was important that people were singing, and realizing that it has nothing to do with them but that it’s all about worshiping God. We talked about how no atheists know what it really is to meet God. In order to know him and experience things through him you can’t just be given evidence, you need to realize that it’s all about him and that it’s not all about you and come to know him. We talked about sermons and about how he wanted to be a minister. I felt proud of him. In my heart I wanted Nafets to succeed. I wanted him to become the best minister there ever was, and I could feel all my positivism charging him up and making him smile. Nafets and I had always been magnetic. We always seemed to have direct lines to each other’s minds, and always knew how each other worked. Even though we treated things quite simply, there was a complex underlay of knowledge that did not need to be spoken of.

I drove him home, knowing that I would be a good writer, and that he would be a good pastor and that we would be there for each other just as we always have.

Eyes Closed

Justin Koop

December 30th 2009

Eyes Closed

There was a stale fluorescent light harshly zapping the bleach white room into a blinding brightness. Grant’s eyes flickered, and they opened for the first time in a while. He looked around, seeing a white table, laden with needles and what looked like a bottle of anaesthesia but he couldn’t quite make it out. He felt surge of panic rise in his chest as he tried to call out for help, only to find his mouth gagged by an equally white rag. He took several deep breaths, and tried to keep his wits about him. He glanced down to his right, and he still had his silver watch on, which his grandpa had made for him on his eighteenth birthday. He had always wanted to make his grandpa proud, but found himself in gradually worse and worse situations. This one took the cake. He tried to stretch back in his mind, and find out where he had been before he woke up. He could remember little, his head hurt too much. He remembered his family, his mom, brother and sister all sitting at home but that’s it. As he finally relaxed, he heard a crashing noise and sat bolt upright. He heard the faint sound of a man screaming. He looked through the reinforced glass, and saw a porcelain white door swing open, and a man’s body fall through it. Another man, dressed in complete black stepped through the door after the body, and over it. He then took a quick look through the same glass, which Grant was looking through and quickly started to pick the lock on the door that led into Grant’s holding area. He took deep breaths but couldn’t help getting extremely afraid as he heard the door click open. The man in black walked up to the table and sat on its edge, eyeing the strange assortment of drugs on the table. He laughed a little, and pulled the balaclava off his face. He had a strong chin covered in bristly stubble. Grant thought that he looked a lot like Snake from the Metal Gear Solid series, but never got a chance to say it. He spoke in a quiet but authoritative voice, “Listen kid, I don’t know how you got here or who brought you here, but I do know that I have orders from my superiors to take you out of here and bring you somewhere without a scratch. I’m going to untie you, after I explain everything to you.” He paused then, checking through the window. “You are in the back room of an extremely illegal grow op of a new drug called hyperdontia, which is an extremely dangerous chemical which can cause a ridiculous amount of damage including loss of life. I will untie you in twenty seconds, then hand you some clothes and a gun. You will get dressed, because that hospital gown really doesn’t suit you, and then follow me. Now before you ask whose side I’m on, I’m the good guy. I’m the guy who is saving your ass and I work for the government so just save your questions till we get somewhere where we’re less likely to get our heads blown off.” After a rant like that, Grant could only nod. He gasped as the man pulled his gag off, and he sucked in the sterile air. He quickly pulled off the gown, which he hadn’t even noticed he was wearing, and slipped into a pair of blue jeans and a brown t-shirt. They fit well if not a little tight, making his brown hair a blue eyes stand out quite nicely he thought. The man humphed at Grant who was admiring himself in the glass, and shoved a pistol into his hands. Grant looked nervously down at the pistol, and pulled the slide lock back. He then asked, as the man opened the door to exit, “Wait! What’s your name?” he asked fearfully. The man smiled politely, lifted his silenced pistol into an action pose and said “Rambo”. He then laughed and exited the room, at a low crouch. Grant followed close behind and tried to be as stealthy as Rambo was. The two of them stalked through a series of hallways, ducking into rooms and peering out into each hallways extremely white walls which smelled recently painted. Sometimes they would stumble on a body of a person that Rambo had obviously dealt with. Most were hidden in rooms and Grant only noticed their brainless bodies out of the corner of his eye. The minutes seemed to drag on, but the thrill of hiding and staying unseen was extremely thrilling for Grant. Finally they reached a stairwell. On the stairwell was the first window he’d seen in a while. Out the window was what looked like an industrial park, several factories, including a furniture mill stuck out. The slipped down the stairs to the ground floor and out the exit door. They exited to what looked like an extremely well kept parking lot except that there were barely any cars. Rambo walked briskly, checking over his shoulder for cameras, which there was one of but he obviously had sabotaged it on the way in. He entered a beige Toyota Camry and Grant entered shortly after. Rambo pulled out of the parking lot and onto a major freeway after that. Grant then breathed a sigh of relief and struck up conversation. “Ok. Now I need to know some things.” He asked. Rambo looked at him and grumbled something under his breath. Grant continued, “I want to know how the crap I got into that place and where I come from.” Rambo reached over and opened the glove box, throwing a file onto Grant’s lap. He also almost hit a squirrel that was on the shoulder of the road. He swerved back onto the road and picked up speed. Grant read the file, which had plenty of information about him. His name was Grant Shore, son of Martha and Randy Shore. Randy Shore died at the age of 44, accidental death at the work place, and Martha Shore was the mother of three who worked at the local grocery store in his hometown of Winnipeg, Manitoba. He then read the official mission persons report that had been issued for him. He squirmed a little. “Is my amnesia really that bad?” He thought to himself, “Did I just run away and get caught by some thugs or something?” He continued to read, and the next part shocked him the most. There were several pictures of him shaking hands with some men, and very obviously selling something to them in a briefcase. He flipped through the rest of the pictures and if his jaw was elastic like in the cartoons, it would have hit the floor. Rambo turned off the road, down a dirt path towards what looked like an abandoned barn that was rotting out. He stopped the car, grabbed the file from Grant and got out. He pulled his gun out and said, “Follow me.”

Chasing the Reality

Justin Koop

January 4th, 2009

Chasing the Reality

Welcome to reality
It is paid to you hourly
It’s cold hard cash
Hopefully six figure salary
Its all money figures this
And money figures that
And money’s funny, runny
Though your fingers like honey

Sticky fingers, want to steal
Sticky fingers, want to keep
Stick fingers need to reap
Sticky fingers need to feel

I bought an iPhone, new shoes, a new record or two
A flashy car, a new house, a diamond ring for you,
I care what you think,
So much that I will drain
My accounts and my stocks
To buy a little fame

Them Ole’ Days

Today I was reading through some old Edgar Allan Poe, and some Wordsworth and Coleridge. I wish that I could wave a wand or say an incantation that would bring us back to that time. At a very fundamental level I am a Romanticist. These writers, and writers of that time were all about reviving a very humble and begign version of man. They believed that ‘a man, in closeness to nature is perfect’. I couldn’t agree more.

Many of them hated what was happening to culture with the industrial revoloution and sought to change people’s minds through poetry and natural living.

I wish, too, that Canadian culture could take a dial back in time to the Romantic era. Fashion was simple and elegant, Customs were observed to show respect for other people. Of course there were faults like people who would take those things too far, but it would be better than throwing away respect all together!

Maybe if I justs start following it other people will join up!

Anybody know where to get relaxed-wear from the 1700’s?

– Justin

The Octopus

A ‘Justin Koop Classic’

October 25, 2008

The Octopus

Out of the Sea, springs a scene, unseen

Mortal eyes do glean, sense of awe from this being

A man; you and I; steps from the foamy brine

His head, in the sky, flies nigh to On High

Humans, ought not to mock

His face, fearsome with tentacles flocked,

Was that of an Oct,

Masterfully maneuverable, monstrous with muscles wrought

Atop his back, borne brightly and brave

Wings of wonder, widespread in whispering wind

Wings: neither flapping nor flailing, falling nor failing

Each powerful eagle plume, perfectly placed in position

His hands holding hard, his instrument of honor

Ivory keys, quickly click constant consistent choruses

Marvelous Melodies melt the mundane and make them magical

Softly, secret sounds seep and silently, like an assassin, strike

The accordion sings:

Wings, alight me from the sky split asunder;

O noble huntress of the sea, sing your siren song to me

God-like, his golden greaves gently graze the golden sands

Heaving his heavy haunches, he humbly steps landward

His body above the beaches, broadly breaching lands borders

First: frightened falling jaws flop like fearful fallacies

Scared sailors seem significantly less salty

Tears tear torrential trenches towards the threshold

Broken because of beauty, badass boys blink back briny bulbs

Second: Silent cities sleep soundly, somber and unaware

Parents planted permanently, prostrated placidly, in bed

But children chase the colossal creature, captivated

And playing peacefully as the Pontifical power passed overhead

Third: The slums sit stinking, storing sick slothful sludge

Brothel girls gaze gauntly, grown greatly joyful

Jumping jauntily out of their jail, jamming

Streets with singing voices celebrating sovereign self-determination

Fourth: The castle collapses under catastrophic crushing,

The foot of the Oct fell fully, flattening false kings

Causing clutching queens to quickly cut chords and

Run.

Fifth: the Mountain. Monstrous, matching the mighty Oct,

Coffee farmers coughed, calling Oct regular stock,

Oct brought its face, full view, front the fearful farmers,

They rapidly realized their wrongs, rolling in rough-cut self-wrath

Monks meditate, making much moaning

Their cry calls the Count of Oct, climbing the consecrated crags,

Their shock is sudden and solidified by staggering size and surprise,

As heads bow, honoring his heavenly head, holding holy happiness

So do trees bow, teetering toward, and tops twisted, topiary “THERE” signs

The sun set as treetops swayed, steering the sizable Oct southward,

Followed by flocks of free faces,

Dancing downwards, to dark daridinian lakes,

Burning, wreathed rouge-like, red poured regally

Onto the octopus’s head

The lake looked lacking, losing light and leaking black

But beauty’s broad body blessed the blank black lake,

Dazzling and dancing, dark depths dare not dim,

Brightness breathes blue beauty, beneath billowing bearings

Ships sink at sight, splitting their seams in self-sacrifice,

Ill-conceived ideas about man-made monstrosities meaning much, Die

Dealing dark damage to darker demons

The octopus’s great strides set his course past this world’s edge,

Taking astral steps beyond sun, Saturn and space.

Where golden light and dark of night became one,

And there he remains to this day:

Wondering at the waters of the world from which he wandered.

–         Justin K.

© Justin Koop 2008*

*Not for redistribution without written consent

Triumph des Willens / Triumph of the Will

*Please note that wordpress messes with my indents and I’m too tired to fix them.

Justin Koop

February 9th 2010

Triumph des Willens / Triumph of the Will

Gregor Horton wiped grease off his sweat stained brow. He had finished fixing an old, rusty Chevy engine with time to spare, but he had sat under the car relaxing, screwing and unscrewing the same bolt to ensure no one caught wind of his mechanical engineering degree. It made him sick to have to work in such conditions. He had worked in pristine factories designing the newest and greatest engines for car’s, tanks and jeeps, not in old shops, repairing older Chevy’s. He slid out from underneath and took off his gloves, placing them on a tool rack. He pulled off his dirty blue cap, and stood outside to get some fresh air. The cool north wind blew through his slick golden hair. He and his family lived in a small house two miles past the garage, which stood ten miles outside the city. Gregor walked from the spot underneath the great line of oak trees that lined the highway to the point in the road where it curved downwards, spiralling across a cliff face. He could see his cottage from there, which poked it’s serene grey chimney top out of the tree tops. About twenty yards from the house rested an old bronze fountain that rusted green with age. That fountain had been there for quite some time before his family settled in. The salesman didn’t even know who had put the fountain there first, but that the last owners of the land had taken great care of it. As Gregor returned towards the garage, he met up with the owner, Freddy Jones. The sixty year old mechanic spat out some tobacco tar into the trees before Gregor got close enough to talk.

“Taking a break Freddy?” asked Gregor playfully, taking a handful of chew tobacco that Freddy held out to him. He hated chew tobacco but had adopted the habit to fit in.

“That’s right. That dang Chevy engine is giving me trouble. Bailey is hitching a ride out here from his little down, whose name I forget, to come pick it up but I don’t think I’ll finish it in time.” He spat again.

Gregor spat as well, “You could let me take a look at it. You’re not as spry as you used to be, I’m sure. Damn.” Some spit landed on his shoe.

Freddy spat, “Alright, you young buck, I’ll let your youthful forty year old eyes take a look at it.”

Gregor and Freddy laughed, then they both spat. “You can head on home now if you want.” said Freddy

“You sure boss?”

“Yeah, Jon just went into town to pick up a part he ordered and he’s anxious to get working on his racing engine.”

“You got it.”

Gregor got into his old Chevy pickup, whose bright red paint had turned salmon by rust and age. He rumbled down the road, humming the melody to a Ink Spots song. He sorely missed making beautiful new engines. The rattle of his truck and the thought of fixing old Chevy’s from nearby towns made him sigh, and spit out the last of his chew. He rolled up the gravel driveway, which looked like a natural archway because of all the towering and leering oak trees that touched tips overhead. He parked the truck and got out. The took a moment to survey his house. The thick wooden walls that made up the wood cabin facade were gleaming in a new coat of varnish, the roofs new black shingles reflected the sunlight that made it through the canopy overhead, and the signature metal smokestack which protruded from the two story cabin above the canopy expelled smoke cheerily. Their old home had unmatched beauty, whose sprawling landscape and marble facade inspired the envy of many. It had a yard that was big enough to farm in, and a huge professional garage where Gregor would design engines. These days demanded a different life from Gregor, however unfortunate it was for him.

As he climbed his front steps, he heard his wife Maggie singing softly from the kitchen window. He heard her stop and curse in German at the poor quality of the stove. He walked through the front door, and slid his shoes off loudly so Maggie would hear him She came racing around the corner, waving a letter around as frantically as her long curly blonde hair. She embraced Gregor despite his dirty clothes. She removed herself from him quickly, and said in high pitch,

“Jimmy’s sent us a letter!”

Gregor smiled and laughed, joy spread across his face. She began to read,

“Dear Mother and Father, I know that I’m taking a great risk by sending you guys a letter, but I had to let you know what’s going on. School is fantastic. I’ve never seen such a huge group of dedicated people. Of course there are people who don’t care, but I don’t really spend time with them. That official, Billingham, is keeping me well supplied with money. It’s being laundered through some businesses, so no one will be able to trace it to you. Before you become afraid I sent this message through the governor himself, and made sure he didn’t read it. It seems like your large bank account is not only benefiting me though. The governor has been able to get major publicity and even more favour in the county. Keep an eye on him, one day he may not need your money anymore. It must be frustrating not being able to use your own money.

I just finished my mid-term exams, and am enjoying a trip with my friends. We’re going to go west to New York for a few days, then return. While I’m there I’ll pick up a copy of an engineering magazine for you father, and a recipe book for you mother. I will write again soon. Love, Jimmy” They had migrated into the living room since Maggie had started to laugh. Their hard work had finally began to pay off.

“Oh, darling he sounds so happy!” exclaimed Maggie, her German accent showing through. She flicked dry toenail polish off in disgust. Gregor could see her discontent, even in this moment of happiness. Both sat in silence for a moment, feeling a mixture of anger at living like peasants with their money working away from themselves, and pride at their sons achievments.

Gregor moved towards a wooden shelf which had row upon row of books perched on it. He plucked Intro to Politics off the shelf and flicked it open.

“I am almost jealous of his learning!” replied Gregor excitedly, then looked up at Maggie, saying “Do you remember when I used to be his teacher?” He fingered through the book. He stood up abruptly and starting pacing around the room melodramatically. Maggie laughed. Gregor had a surprisingly good talent for mocking his own teaching mannerisms. “Consider the people under Communism.” he said with a false Irish accent, “They are only happy until the system is held by both official and people. As soon as the government begins to spoil itself the people become angry, and a dictatorship forms.” He stroked his invisible moustache. Maggie rolled on her seat with laughter. Gregor broke from character, and sat down on the sofa. He leaned back, and began to look at the bookshelf. Maggie stood up and walked towards it, still giggling. She ran her hands across the books while looking out the great front window. Mathematics, English, German, Mechanics, Science, Politics, and Geography passed under her fingers. All subjects that Gregor had spent his youth learning about, just has he passed it on to Jimmy. Maggie stood by the window, staring out into the trees. Gregor stood up, to go wrap his hands around her waist. As he passed the books he noticed their age, and recalled the thrill of purchasing new books. He gave a disgruntled sniff at having his money being laundered through the damnable to-be governor, and not a cent for himself to go and buy new books. As he approached Maggie, his dissatisfaction faded when he remember the future he was providing for his son. He wrapped his arms around his wife’s waist, and watched the sun begin to set over the trees.

Gregor slipped quickly into sleep. A dream faded into his mind. There was a mysterious looking man in scruffy looking clothes who appeared at the door, carrying a briefcase. The man unpacked the case, which had a fake passport, birth certificate, an address for a home which had been purchased in the fake name, and a separate bag with 500 thousand dollars.

“I don’t know you, and you don’t know me” the man hissed, as he exited.

Jimmy entered the room, his eighteen year old face shining with happiness. Gregor smiled, and kneeled in front of Jimmy. Gregor explained how these supplies were very hard to get, and had taken years of preparation and bribing a weak-minded politician, but that it meant that Jimmy would be able to go to school like they had always talked about.

Gregor woke up to a dull thudding sound coming from downstairs. He wiped his eyes wearily and looked out the window. The sun began to rise, and a great wall of black clouds approaching from the west. He slipped into pyjamas and slippers, and trod down Jimmy’s favourite staircase where he used to pretend that they were cliffs.

“I hope this isn’t Freddy coming to call me in early…” he thought. He came close to the front door, almost stumbling over his own shoes from the previous night. He shook himself awake, and answered the door. A stubby looking man in a clean black suit with a handle bar moustache that had grey spots all over it stood rigidly in his doorway. Gregor blinked several times in disbelief at him.

“G-governor Billingham… What the heck are you doing here?” asked Gregor, growing more frustrated as the sentence left his mouth.

John Billingham pushed past him, saying, “Let me in. We’ve got to talk business.”

“What do you mean we have to talk business?” asked Gregor, with a hint of incredulity. Billingham walked into the living room, and picked a book off the shelf then removed a handkerchief from his chest pocket which he mopped his sweaty brow with.

“I need more money Gregor.” he said, his voice quavering and his low form shaking nervously, “All the publicity is costing more than I had accounted for…”

Gregor moved around him, and snatched the book from his hand roughly.

“Cost more, hmm? How much more?”

“Well let’s look at what it will do for both of us…”

“For both of us? I figure that I’ve got all I need right now.”

“Yes, that’s of course true. I j-just mean that i-it would be beneficial to you to keep me in office correct?”

“And that’s what the last four hundred thousand dollars that have done. I’ve already bought you. How much more do you need, check that, want?”

“I-It’s true that I am gaining in popularity, but my competitor Mr. McNeal is a crafty little bastard. He’s got all the money from his rich business friends from New York and…”

“All you’ve got behind your sorry ass is me. Why won’t you tell me how much you want?”

“I want you fully grasp the situation before you make any conclusions…”

“Don’t manipulate me you worm!”

“Two hundred thousand!” exclaimed Billingham

Two hundred thousand?!” screamed Gregor.

“Well you don’t even use the money do you? It’s just sitting there and you’ve got plenty of it…”

“I will never let you access that money again.” said Gregor resoloutely, and began to walk to the door. “Now get the fuck out of my house.”

Billingham’s face flashed red with anger and he shook a stubby finger under Gregor’s nose.

“Your son better not get too comfy then. I’ll have my last penny spent finding him and proving you’re both criminals and…”

Gregor smacked Billingham over the head with the book, whose binding broke, sending pages across the floor and a few down Billingham’s jacket who stumbled backwards and fell onto the ground. Gregor grabbed the man’s jacket which immediately began to crease. Gregor’s worried face looked into Billingham’s rage filled face.

“You’ll have your damn money.” He released Billingham who bounced his head against the ground when Gregor let go. He got up slowly and awkwardly, then dusted himself off and headed for the door. He left as suddenly as he came.

*          *            *

Dear Father,

If you’re reading this letter then you’ve found it safely hidden in the last package I will send through Billingham. I’ve done as you suggested in your previous letter. I’ve distanced myself him, not letting him see me, know what I am up to, or find out what my fake identity is.

Love,

– Jimmy

Gregor read this over breakfast three days later, while watching his wife bustle about making coffee. She seemed panicked, but determined to work it off. “I hope Jimmy isn’t worrying about me.” He thought, and said out loud. Maggie turned around, and replied “I also hope that. I am stressed.” She had said it in a very think German accent, the kind she would use when trying to seduce Gregor. She sallied closer and began to rub his shoulders, then kiss his neck. While they made love he would wonder if his son had made love to a woman yet, and whether he would ever know about it. This depressed him, and caused him to be very quiet once they had finished.

The next morning he received a package in the mail from New York. Inside was a muffler tip made of chrome that had been pre-paid. Gregor hadn’t order anything like this, especially not from New York. He automatically assumed that Jimmy had sent it to him. Maggie climbed down the stairs, completely naked. Her golden locks draped around her shoulders and swept close to her round breasts. Her hips swayed while she walked, the curve of her buttocks looked slim and sensual. All of her basked in the bright morning sun, shining off her inviting milky white skin. Gregor ripped off the packaging frantically, searching through it for a hidden letter. Maggie knelt next to him, her right breast squeezing into his arm.

“Who is that from?” she asked playfully.

“Jimmy… There has got to be a note somewhere!” he replied through gritted teeth.

He flipped the invoice around in his hands, then started to scan the pages. Written at the bottom of the second page in small German it said, “Father. Money is all gone, even mine. I’m hiding from Billingham. I love you.

Gregor fell back, his head resting against Maggie’s lower stomach. His head reeled. “All my work is being undone!” he thought “How is this even possible? He stole everything that I have set up for my son!” this part he yelled aloud, pushing up to a standing position, not noticing his hand placement on Maggie’s pelvis. He hurriedly ripped his coat from the hanger, and searched around for his shoes.

“Where are you going?!” Maggie asked frantically, pulling on a coat to cover herself.

“Billingham took all of our money. He siphoned all the money for Jimmy. I’ll kill that fat American bastard. Without that money, Jimmy won’t be able to finish his schooling and all of our hard work and sacrifice will go to waste!”

“Honey no!” exclaimed Maggie, “I… I don’t understand what’s really going on but you can’t go off killing someone. We worked so hard just to give Jimmy this opportunity, we’ve been hiding and not enjoying our money…”

“Don’t you think I know that?” Gregor flung his hands out in a desperate gesture, “Don’t you think I’ve been thinking about how amazing it must be for Jimmy to be experiencing the world without having to hide from his past? Don’t you think that I’ve been suffering? Don’t you think that I’d be willing to sacrifice everything so he can have this opportunity?”

Maggie stood silent for moment, then kissed him gently on the cheek. “We both love our son. Go to see Billingham, but… don’t kill anyone. We have enough blood on our hands.” They stood solemnly for some time. Gregor and Maggie looked into each others eyes and they had a quiet moment of remorse for their past lives. Gregor took a deep breath, and exited the house.

*

Gregor noticed the bumping and chugging of his rusty truck progressively less and less, the closer he got to the campaign office. He couldn’t miss it, seeing as every second billboard had his name plastered on it, as well as his address and slogan. The fat bastard with his thumb up saying ” Come together for the good of our families. –  Vote Billingham for Governor” His own money hard at work.

Gregor rounded on the governors headquarters at around seven thirty pm. He stepped from his truck, and made for the door. He stopped abruptly and turned back. He reached into the cab of the truck and pulled out a tire iron, which he tucked inside his jacket. He looked around nervously, and he walked inside the building. The room had emptied out save for Billingham himself and two younger women who fawned over him. Billingham’s face spelled terror, but became hidden quickly with a insincere smile.

“Ladies, I think we’ll have to resume speaking another time. This gentleman needs to hear how I’ll improve the lives of everyone in the state!” The girls giggled and left the building with hands trailing on his arms. Billingham smiled at them as they left.

“Let’s talk in my office.” said Billingham, sourly.

They walked in together, Billingham first. As he spun around to speak to Gregor the tire iron flew at his head. He attempted to dodge but it smacked him in the forehead large end first, a sickening crunch filled the air, then the iron ricocheted off and stuck into the drywall. Gregor grabbed his collar and punched him with such force that he spun atop his desk, scattering badges and pamphlets across the floor.

“You bastard!” screamed Gregor, as he picked up a chair.

Billingham rolled off the table in time for the chair to bounce off the desk where he had been and into the wall. He crawled out from underneath and laughed through bloody teeth. Gregor rounded the desk and stuck his foot straight in Billingham’s face. The governor continued to laugh. He struck again, and again, and with each blow the governor seemed to laugh more manically. Once the governor’s nose broke and sprayed blood like fountain, he stopped.

“You’ve got nothing on me anymore Gregor!” said the governor, manically “You can’t hold anything over my head!”

Gregor walked across the room, and began to pace. The governor got up, and held himself up against the desk. “You can’t do anything to me now Gregor. I’ve got all of your money, your wife’s money, and your sons money. All of your dirty Nazi money. I bet knowing how to engines for the nazi war machine seems all that useful now does it?”

“Watch your damn mouth Billingham.” sneered Gregor “It’s that Nazi money that’s got you where you are now.” The governor laughed.

“I’ll go public!” screamed Gregor, which seemed to make the man cringe

“Like hell you will. You’ll get the electric chair.”

“And I’ll take you with me. Aiding an ex-Nazi…”

“Once a Nazi always a Nazi…”

“Accepting bribes, smuggling Nazi’s to American soil, forging identities…”

“Yeah. It sure is a damn shame your boy is so smart Gregor. I would have found out who he was. Ahaa! That’s it. That’s why you’re here. Your son doesn’t have a damn penny to his name, does he? If you don’t get the money back from me he’ll probably rot out in the street! Become a homeless

A vision of Jimmy as a homeless boy on the streets of New York flashed in Gregors mind. Gregor threw another book which landed straight in the centre of the governors chest and he coughed roughly. Gregor ran up to the short man and rammed him against the wall, holding his throat. The governor gurgled visible, spittle flying onto Gregor’s strong hands. He pulled the tire iron out of the wall, the blood that had been flowing from the governors nose now spilled across Gregors hands.

“You… you…” He paused for a moment, and thought of his wife and all of the time he had spent raising Jimmy.

“I’ll admit to it.” Gregor stated.

“What?”

“I’ll admit to being a Nazi. You can claim that it was your private guys who brought me in. We can destroy the evidence of where all your funding came from, they’ll never bring it back to me. You can get all the fame for capturing a Nazi, and that’ll secure your victory more than my money…” The governor coughed roughly, and wiped blood away from his mouth.

“What’s the hell? “cried the governor, “You were just about to murder my ass! What do you want?” Gregor dropped to his knees. All the information on how to build tank engines, and car engines, his wife’s breasts or politics slipped from his mind as tears rolled down his rough face. “Give my son a future. Give him that money back. He’ll move it around and you’ll never find him or look for him ever again.” The governor became taken aback, but revelled in the shame of this broken man. He contemplated Gregor for a moment. His hand ran through his greasy hair.

“You’ve got a deal.”

*          *            *            *            *

The trial had finished. The sentence was death. The governor was elected. Those who heard of the proceedings were not surprised. Maggie walked free, shipped back to Germany for illegal immigration. Jimmy disappeared, new name, new school, just to be safe.

As they strapped electrodes to his body. He shook visibly at the thought of his own flesh being electrocuted to the point of turning black and burned, and eventually becoming completely brain dead, even before his internal organs would fry. He focused on his wife and his son, as the whirring sound of charging electricity mounted.

My Friends

Justin Koop

April 5, 2009

My Friends

I see two coins

Flipped from hands that demand

We sell all we have to grab at them

And spend our time and our energies

Wading through wanted ads, and saving pennies

To buy that fourteen passenger van

To haul our happiness to the landfill

Just to fill it up again

My friends have hearts of ether

That can pass through the hands that try to keep ‘em

And stones that try to beat ‘em

And they speak words of peace

And wisdom in age where old people are caged

In disrespect and their own bodies to decay

I dedicate these words to the people who have heard

The news and want to cry every time

A woman loses her baby to her own selfish pride

I dedicate these words to people who see that objects decay

And that happiness is just a simple step away

People who sing words like “Our guns: We shot them in the things we said

Ah we didn’t need no bullets cos we rely on some words instead”

Because although they may not fully understand

His love, and where it comes from

They’re on the right path, learning fast

Welcome, my friends let us forgive one another

Let us smile at the sun and dance by the moon

Let us stay silent in a moment of grief

And just be.

Let us only speak if the word is truth

Let us snip the world’s noose

My friends and I, see the green in life

And it’s not money or cash, its the grass

That grows, that lives underneath our backs

As we stare at the sky that will always stare back